Archive for category Ray Rice

Friday Morning News Stampede

I’ll be posting my rankings at the big three (RB, QB, WR) and will probably touch on them during the News Stampede at Noon EST/9am PST. For now, a little light news to start our Friday off.

Also, a reminder I will be on The Jake Stevens Show ‘There It Is!’ on ESPN 1230 just after 7:30am PST/10:30am EST and you can catch it here or here.

Baltimore Ravens
According to the Baltimore Sun (which, if I recall, has been pushing for McGahee to leave the city all off season) the Ravens are preparing RB Ray Rice to start against the Bengals Sunday. We knew this, I think, and I still say with a rookie QB and an iffy O-line, he’s not the best play. Rice looks like he will be a solid play long term, but don’t get carried away. If he has the most upside of your backups, he might make an ok RB2. But I would rather not have to worry about how he will do in game 1 against 8 men in the box. Also, how much of a factor will McGahee be, if any?

Indianapolis Colts
Injured Center Jeff Saturday has decided against surgery (a common theme this NFL off-season, huh?), opting to rehab the torn right knee ligament and hoping to come back sooner than later. Certainly that would be good news for Manning and the Colts. It’s always a risk (see: Merriman, Shawne) but Saturday is an important presence along the offensive line and the sooner he gets back to snapping the ball, the better as far as Manning owners are concerned.

Seattle Seahawks
WR Deion Branch practiced in a limited fashion Thursday, though I think he is still a shaky bet to play Sunday. Even if he does, how effective will he be, having missed so much of the off-season? Yes, he’s a vet who knows the playbook, but timing is important for wide receivers and Branch hasn’t played consistently (really, at all) in a long time. Even if he’s in the Seahawk’s lineup, he shouldn’t be in yours. Not this week.

Tennessee Titans
WR Justin McCariens was back at practice yesterday after coming down with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday. He’s about the best bet in the WR core but I still wouldn’t throw him out there. In his favor is a familiarity with the offense from his first stint with the Titans and a veteran presence and experiance. Against him is the lack of any production since he left for the Jets and an overwhelming sense that he is past his prime – whatever THAT was. I still say the best receiving option here will end up being Chris Johnson. I suppose Alge Crumpler may put up some points, but I don’t want to have to count on it week 1.

That’s all for now folks – rankings scattered throughout today.


Quick reminder that today will launch the Thundering Blurb Daily News Stampede – Monday through Friday I’ll drop you a quick 15 minutes of news you’ll need to know to get the edge on your league mates.

A few stories of note this morning:

Baltimore Ravens
Willis McGahee returned to practice on Monday and while it’s clear he’s still coming back from surgery, what isn’t clear is who will start. My money is on rookie Ray Rice, but McGahee could steal carries if he practices well enough. Couple that with the fact that I think either runner will face 8 men in a box as the Bengals dare Joe Flacco to beat them with his arm – and I suspect either running back is a risky choice, even against the Bengals. Speaking of quarterbacks, Troy smith is home from the hospital and has dropped an astonishing 20 pounds. He won’t be playing anytime soon, hence the rumors Joey Harrington and former Jaguar Todd Bourman might sign with the team.

Oakland Raiders
Javon Walker also returned to practice yesterday and while NFLN’s Adam Shefter reports that he is considered questionable with a hamstring injury, he looked fine, though he did have trainers check his leg out. Walker is not someone I want to have to start at all this week against Denver.

Seattle Seahawks
Matt Hasselback was back at practice Monday and said his back was not going to be a factor going against the Bills week 1. While I am always concerned with a back injury, I may be more concerned with the beat up wide receivers. Hass could be a risky play against an improving Bills secondary.

That’s all for now – remember to subscribe to ITunes and get the News Stampede delivered right to your door!

More later….

Thursday Afternoon News

Second of probably three of these today barring some giant piece of news – also remember to catch myself, Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom on BlogTalkRadio as The Drive Block will bring you 2 hours of live genius beginning at 10pm EST/7pm PST.

Dallas Cowboys
Guess who’s back? Not Slim Shady but the ever-loving Rain Man himself – Adam ‘not Pacman’ Jones! Well it seems the gamble Jerry Jones and the ‘boys took will pay off. The NFL fully reinstated Jones today and according to the Dallas Morning News , he found out while he was eating at Hooters. Classy. Seriously though, Jones was just hitting his stride when he got into huge trouble and I think that once he has some real gameplay again, he will begin to get back in the groove. Good gamble by the Cowboys if Jones keeps his nose clean and his singles in his pocket.

Indianapolis Colts
You know how I was saying last night I was going to watch this game to see if Jim Sorgi can recover from an awful preseason. He won’t. Sorgi will not be playing at all since his knee is hurt. So watch as Quinn Gray and Jared ‘The Hefty Lefty’ Lorenzon battle to hold Manning’s clipboard. We hope that Manning’s back-up will be irrelevent but as the mystery around Peyton’s knee deepens and people will be worrying up until kickoff of Week 1 whether he will start or not.

The best part of this? Week 1? The Colts play the Bears when? Sunday night. That’s right – Manning owners may have to make a decision whether to risk losing a position if Manning does not play or putting their back-up in to play it safe but missing a good Manning game.

We’ll talk about this a ton next week on the podcast both here and the at The Drive Block. Heck if it’s still this murky next Friday, I’ll definitely give you my thoughts on the blog as well.

Baltimore Ravens
So a lot of folks have been pushing for Willis McGahee to not only lose the #1 gig to Ray Rice but to get cut completely or traded. Chief among these folks would be the Baltimore Sun who would have run him out on a rail a week ago had they been in charge. Well, the Sun has finally admitted McGahee is unlikely to go anywhere. Now long term, he may not be there next year if Ray Rice plays like it looks like he can. But short term, if McGahee is healthy, I expect him to get most of the carries. I don’t expect them to over-utilize Rice so that he burns out mid-season. And they will need to run the ball a lot given the mess of their QB situation. There’s not a lot out there to acquire via Free Agency (Duante Culpepper is about it). The Sun points out if they wait until Saturday, Chris Simms may be cut my Tampa, but then they might be in a dogfight with the Cowboys and a few other teams and I don’t know they can win a street fight there right now.

Miami Dolphins
Ricky Williams is the starter for tonights finale though how much work he will see is debateable as the Phins will want to see what Ronnie Brown can do. Williams will start the season as the #1 – no matter how good Brown does. But – and this is important – there will be a split from the getgo. He’ll take the field first but he won’t be the only back here. If Brown is lights out tonight, he will get more snaps next week. If he’s average or – bite my tongue BAD – Ricky will get the majority.

Like I have said before – these guys are borderline #2,s or really #3 with upside. Treat them as such and leave yourself room to be pleasently surprised rather than annoyed because you depended upon them for too much.

That’s all for now – another post a little later and don’t forget The Drive Block on BlogTalkRadio tonight at 10pm EST/7pm PST.

McGahee, Rice and Handcuffs

The top news today is of course Willis McGahee. McGahee is getting his knee scoped this week (maybe as we ’speak’) and will be laid up at least 2-4 weeks. Now, from here on out, Ray Rice is a handcuff you need to have if you draft McGahee and THIS from a guy (me) who is not a big handcuff proponant. (Antonio Pittman might be another nice piece of insurance if you believe Steven Jackson will indeed hold out and you’re into handcuffing. Just FYI.)

But Rice was already looking good and generating buzz about taking carries away from McGahee before the scope. Week 1 is in doubt and now you have to look at the following:

  1. McGahee is not going to be a first round pick for you
  2. Ray Rice will be a guy who moves up and you might have to reach for to get him handcuffed to McGahee

And now you see why I hate the idea of ‘having’ to handcuff your players. Because inevitably you have to reach on the player. Cecil and Sigmund are very much at odds with me on this, as evidenced by last Thursday’s Drive Block. I’m not going to tell you they are wrong but I WILL say that they were both drunk, so you can’t trust them.

OK, maybe not.

But I will say that while I might like to target Chester Taylor if I draft Peterson with the #2 or 3, his ADP at Antsports is very reasonable at 7.10 (according to and yesterday in my local league’s draft he went in round 9. At that point, he’s cheap insurance, you’ve stocked up on higher upside RBs and WRs, probably bagged a TE and at least 1 QB – I mean, THAT’s value, not merely a handcuff.

Ray Rice is going even later than that – 11 round and on. That will change right…. about…. NOW. With McGahee hurt and week 1 in doubt, people are goign to gobble up Rice’s hype and before you know it, that ADP is going to drop 3 rounds or more in some drafts. He goes from a 2nd string guy like Felix Jones and becomes another Kevin Smith/Matt Forte. I don’t know I think he’s running away with that job, but he could.

When it comes to handcuffs though, generally it depends upon your league. In my aforementiond local league, my fellow owners do not hesitate to go after handcuffs most years – one fellow specifically will grab a backup if he hangs around ‘too long’ just so he has a shot at trading him to another owner in case of emergency. In fact, guess who got Ray Rice? Yup. He’s already sent an email to the unfortunate McGahee owner this morning.

Other leagues will be populated by guys who are just looking for the best available value. That’s how I like to draft. I drafted Addai in the 5 spot yesterday. Didn’t sweat getting Rhodes or Hart because there was better value at my spot round after round. Why grab Rhodes in round 13 (his ADP via Antsports) when Ricky Williams is there (ADP round 9, incidentally)? One will sit on my bench unless Addai goes down and even then maybe not put Addai’s numbers up anyway. The other could start in my flex right away.

I just like drafting depth. In a draft going 16-20 rounds, you have that luxury most times. Look, why reach for Addais’ backup when I can draft a bunch of RBs who could slip in and start or rotate in and out of my lineup? Aside from Addai, I have Jones-Drew, Willie Parker, DeAngelo Williams, the aforementioned Ricky Williams, and then Hail Marys Andre Hall and Steve Slaton. Did Rhodes add anything to that really?

In my opinion, no. Other’s mileage might vary, and in the end it’s your team. I can’t tell you how to run it. But I’d rather have a grip of running backs who might pop at any time, then worry about backing up one particular guy just in case.

Back with some news later…..