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FRIDAY! Fantasy News and Notes

Another week in the books and another week closer to the kickoff of season!

Here’s some early Friday news:

Miami Dolphins
There could be a full on RBBC in Miami – HC Tony Sparano is waffling on whether Ronnie Brown or Ricky Williams will be his ‘bell cow’ and is thinking about maybe splitting carries significantly over the course of the season. I took Williams in the middle of a couple of drafts so far and will continue to target him as a #3/4 with upside. Brown is a very good back and can come back effective from his injury, but Sparano like Williams’ energy coming off the bench and in general. So Brown may be losing some ground and becomes less and less a safe fantasy pick.

New Orleans Saints
Jeremy Shockey will likely miss Saturday’s game against the Texans and while I am high on Shockey, this is what you get with him. He’s ‘lights out’ when he is healthy – which is a tough thing to predict. He still will serve a significant role in this offense, but remember that Bush, Meachem, Patten and even Billy Miller are there to pick up the slack if he isn’t 100%. Take him with the understanding that you need to have a decent and consistent back-up to him on your roster.

Buffalo Bills
Trent Edwards solidified his position as the Bills’ #1 QB last night with a solid performance of 9/14, 104 yds and 2 TDs. Lee Evans got involved with 3 catches for 55 yards and TE Robert Royal caught 2 passes, both for TDs. Sleeper TE? We’ll have to watch that one play out more. Rookie James Hardy was a non-factor tonight so balance out that first game with last night and we’re back to square one in guessing his impact with the team.

But back to Edwards – a few places I had heard questions as to whether JP Losman should be getting more consideration and I have to say, why? We know what he can do, it isn’t that spectacular and Edwards is really only in his second full year of starting. He’s have growing pains for sure, but should be solid. Just goes to show, the most popular guy in town is often the back-up QB. Edwards, by the way, should be one of the last guys you look at for a Qb on yoru fantasy roster. He’s got a long way to go to be a relevant fantasy player.

Philadelphia Eagles
Reggie Brown injured himself again and should have a MRI today. I have been – well not a big fan is the best way to put it – and this isn’t helping. I never felt McNabb looked his way for most of last season, he gets hurt to much and rookie DeSean Jackson is playing too good to be denied. I’m not saying Jackson will star tas the #1 or anything – just that Brown continues to be a bad idea for your Fantasy team this season. Jackson, by the way, isn’t just having good games when it comes to the big things – kick returns and receptions. he does a bunch of little thing well – like throwing a key block on Tony Hunt’s long TD. Now, Jackson did fumble on a punt return. But he’s a rookie, so buyer beware anyway, He will make those mistakes.

Don’t read into Tony Hunt’s big performance last night. He did it against a pretty weak 3rd string group of Carolina players in the last quarter. Hunt may still not make this team.

Carolina Panthers
On the other side of the field, rookie Jonathan Stewart finally saw the field and… well unspectacular should cover it. 4 carries for 3 yards is pretty unspectacular. The field conditions were sloppy, he wasn’t behind the top O-line and he’s way behind after having missed so much time with this injury. I still think he might grab the #1 late this season, but as I said on The Drive Block last night, DeAngelo Williams is probably the guy to grab right now if you want coverage at least early.

Jake Delhomme continues to look ok, but not great. 9/14, 54 yds and a pick are also unspectacular. Again, field conditions and rain didn’t help but he’s not where we hoped he would be at this point. He wide reciever situation is very unsettled: Steve Smith out for 2 games, DJ Hackett continually unhealthy, Dwayne Jarrett not producing. You’ve got Muhsin Muhammad and a bunch of random guys you won’t hear a lot about goign forward.

It does not instill confidence in Delhomme right now.

That’s all for now, more later as we head into the weekend and get another look at who is hot, who is not and who isn’t playing because – it’s preseason and they don’t have to.

Slow Wednesday

Not too much going on this morning (or towards lunch for you Easterners) so this will be a bit brief. Feel free to check out the archives or yesterday’s Top 20 rankings.

So a few of the points to follow today:

Buffalo Bills
Tackle Jason Peters continues his holdout and while the sides have been back and forth occasionally, for the most part there hadn’t been a lot of movement. I have heard a few rumors he is in Orchard Park now and that’s a good sign. I don’t think it’s disastrous for the fantasy value of Marshawn Lynch and Trent Edwards & Co. if this lingers, but I do also remember what happened when Shaun Alexander lost his best lineman in Steve Hutchinson. Let’s hope we don’t have to find out if the biggest factor in that was age.

Carolina Panthers
According to the Rock Hill Herald, rookie running back Jonathan Stewart might play in Thursday’s game against the Eagles. HC John Fox needs to find out if Stewart is healthy enough to carry the rock consistently and if he’s got enough of a grasp on the playbook to be trusted. DeAngelo Williams is having a good enough Training Camp to where the rookie can be eased in a bit.

Denver Broncos
Two important bits here – 1) it was reported that Michael Pittman would move back to tailback from fullback after Ryan Torain busted his elbow. That has not happened. The #2 battle is between Andre Hall (staff favorite from last year) and Anthony Alridge. Hall is a more fully rounded back andI think gets hte job but Alridge is a phenomenally gifted athlete who is explosive and can make things happen. As always, with Denver, the back-ups are just as important (and befuddling) as the starters. 2) TE Tony Sheffler battled foot problems all spring and it was a concern whether or not he would be healthy and effective come Spetember. Worry no more. The big TE has been practicing twice a day in camp with no problems. With Brandon Marshall on the pine for at least 2, likely 3 games, Sheffler will get a ton of looks and can be a threat long for Cutler. The two are close friends as well and remember, it never hurts to be the QB’s buddy!

That’s all for now – more later – also, remember that the Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football show will be on tonight at 9pm EST/6pm PST! Head to the Thundering Blurb home page and tuen in live or download it via ITunes later!

Monday Stampede

Of course, more things happened this weekend than merely the Willis McGahee injury I mentioned last post.

Let’s go over some of them.

Seattle Seahawks
Bobby Engram injured his shoulder in the game this weekend, in a way that didn’t give me all that much pause at the time. Turns out it was much worse than it looked – Engram cracked his shoulder and will be out now for somewhere between 6-8 weeks, best case scenario with him returning for week 3. How likely that is certainly is a good question with Engram being 35 and not as spry as he once was. This leaves Burleson at the 1 spot still and a veritable free for all in the 2 spot with Courtney Taylor, Ben Obomanu and Logan Payne. Payne and Taylor have been banged up but nobody has the full edge yet. Keep an eye – one of these guys could have huge upside as the number 2. On the other hand if they all falter, things will be tough on Hasselback and Burleson owners.

Pittsburgh Steelers
First off, reports from the weekend that Daunte Culpepper was signed by the Steelers were mistaken. I suppose one aging and inneffective QB a weekend is the limit for QB signings. Byron Leftwich – he of the release so slow my 3 year old can count to 100 before he gets the pass off – was signed for very little and will open as the #2 behind Big Ben. The minimal cap amount tells you three things, one you already knew – 1) They don’t expect to need him, so neither should you. 2) They can cut him at any time, meaning his long term prospects are almost exactly what they were before Batch went down. 3) That little money reminds you just how little interest there is in this guy. Again, rather than draft him to back up Big Ben, pick up even a marginal starting QB (Trent Edwards, JaMarcus Russell, Matt Leinart) instead.

Tampa Bay Bucaneers
The bucs are still dangling Chris Simms out there and there is interest – but most teams appear to be waiting for him to get cut. Sure, the Bucs could keep him on the roster, but word is that the rift between he and Chuckie Gruden is far too wide – so it wouldn’t stun me if he was outright cut if another team didn’t deal for him. Incidentally, the Cowboys supposedly had scouts at the Tampa Bay game this weekend and may still be in play to trade for him.

New York Jets
As a known Jets fan with a new Favre jersey on the way (NFL.com WHERE IS MY JERSEY?) it should come as a suprise to nobody that I was goaded by my fellow owners in the local league I play, in an attempt to get me to reach for Favre as my QB – it started in round 3 and went until he was picked by someone else in round 10 . As I know you really don’t care a whit for my league, I merely mention it to illustrate this point I have said many times already – Favre’s biggest effect on Fantasy will be for his supporting cast, not himself. It’s not to say Favre will not do well – he might. However, the difference in expectations between what Penningon/Clemens can do with a ball and what The Favre does are pretty significant. Thomas Jones, Cotchery, Coles, Leon Washington – those are the guys who will reap the benefits of success more than Favre himself. I’ll throw out Dustin Keller as well – the kid is just tearing up Training Camp and may get a lot of looks along the sidelines. Favre will be no more than a solid QB2. Any Jets fans (or Favre fans) out there, let them yell – just keep picking value and ignore the taunts.

Carolina Panthers
Steve Smith suffered a concussion in the preseason game this weekend and while it won’t matter longer term (especially since he will miss weeks 1 and 2) he probably won’t play in Thursday’s game against the Eagles. It’s nothing more than that, but at this point we’ll see a lot less of our usual veterans and considering Engram, McGahee and now Smith’s injuries, it’s all the better for most Fantasy Teams. By the way, reports from Panthers camp are that the thought that rookie Johnathan Stewart will easily replace DeAngelo Williams from the starter’s job when he returns from his toe injury might have been premature. First, Stewart has missed a ton of camp and even working every day in rehab and reading playbooks will not replace reps lost in camp and preseason games. Second, Williams has allegedly redoubled his efforts this off-season and is far more dedicated than he has been in the past. Thirdly, HC John Fox loves his vets and doesn’t hand anything over to rookies, as Williams’ Dynasty owners are very aware. The longer Stewart is out and the better Williams can do in camp, the closer to a regular RBBC this will be, so I hope you drafted accordingly.

That’s all for now – back with more later….

Favre and the rest of the guys….

Is there any other news?

Favre and his agent Bus Cooke met with Pack President Mark Murphy met today – Cooke and Murphy for 9 hours.

Amazing. Murphy didn’t look pleased leaving. Brett did – though he only logged two hours. Cooke looked a little smug, but who knows? what were they talking about? Trades? Retirement? Whether Heath Ledger should get an Oscar nod?

I don’t know. Friday will be very interesting indeed. I would love to know – for real – what Favre wants. I am not 100% sure he’s only after a release. But I’d be curious to know what is really in his head.

Carolina Panthers
DeAngelo Williams has been running with the first team so far – HC John Fox doesn’t give starting gigs away without earning it. I still think Jonathan Stewart will get most of the carries, but you shouldn;t be looking at him as anything beyond a 3rd RB with tremendous upside. But anything sooner and you are facing some real risk – as with all rookie RBs.

Cincinatti Bengals
Rudi Johnson is looking very strong in camp – he may end up being a value at the end of the 2nd rounds (and farther back) where he is going now. But don’t read too much into the hype yet – he has to hold up over the season and that offensive line still has some large question marks.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall and Willie Parker are still looking like they will split carries. And here’s the thing – they seem very happy with that. Parker was ok during the time he split with Bettis – productive overall. You can count on good yardage for him and an uptick of touchdowns, but anything would be better than last year. Mendenhall will probably do all right and vulture some TDs but like Stewart, he won’t be reliable enough to warrant more than a #3 spot on your team. But I think he will grow to be a tremendous compliment to Parker as years progress.

That’s all for now – remember – in less than an hour and a half – The Thundering Blurb podcast goes LIVE at BlogtalkRadio.com! 9pmEST/6pmPST!

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