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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.

More Training Camp News and More Favrewatch 2008

The Brett Favre saga continues. It looked for a time as if the NY Jets were close to making something happen but according to the Newark Star-Ledger chances now seem remote that the Cheese State Gunslinger will play in the Meadowlands this season for Gang Green. How remote – well if you click on the linked article and read the web address in your menu bar the link ends with:
favre_to_jets_is_absolutely_de.html

I assume the ‘de’ starts the word DEAD. While I won’t go that far (and the title says ‘very remote’) it isn’t looking pretty. Now is that a Favre thing or will the Pack not budge off the request for a 1st round pick (a price way too high for the Jets in my opinion)? We may never know. But as a wise man once said – it ain’t over until it’s over.

Favre didn’t file his paperwork for reinstatement with the league yet – though he could fax it in at any time – so we won’t see him Sunday and maybe Monday.

Stay tuned!

Asante Samuel Strains Hammy, set for MRI

Samuel strained his right hamstring this mornign at practice – according to NFL.com, he’ll have an MRI tomorrow to see the extent of the injury. I was just saying the other day how Lito Sheppard might benefit from setting up across from Samuel this year – but given Lito wants some new money, he might benefit in different ways if Samuel is out for any amount of time.

In other MRI News -
Saints Running Back Deuce McAllister Already Had One
McAllister missed Saturday’s practice after his knee swelled up post practice on Friday. The New Orleans Times-Picayune says the MRI was negative and revealed no structural damage but you can’t be very happy that after a handful of practices, he already had some doubts. I’ve been touting Pierre Thomas for a while now and I think he’ll compliment Bush very well at some point – whether that point is imminent could be debated but McAllister has now had both knees rebuilt and the Saints were looking at LaMont Jordan (I’ll get to him in a second) so they can’t be all that sure about Deuce either. Thomas played well in limited action and I think is a sneaky play in Fantasy Leagues this year – it ain’t just me and if you don’t want to take my word for it, listen to Brian Baldinger back in May. All I’m saying is, Baldy knows his stuff (even if I think he’s way overstating his case regarding Darren McFadden), so think on it.

Speaking of LaMont Jordan -
The Pats Swooped in and Signed Him
Almost as soon as Jordan was released, Adam Shefter was saying to watch out for the Pats. And he was right. I don’t know if I am that worried about Maroney now that this has happened – frankly Jordan is turning 30 and wasn’t as effective as everyone thought he would be when he left the Jets a few years ago, though much of that wasn’t his fault. He’s more likely a security deposit on Kevin Faulk than Maroney. I don’t expect huge things from him and he shouldn’t be drafted in a Fantasy League as anything but a deep back up. But I also am not worried about Maroney and he should remain a #2 or 3 back for you.

All that said, from a practical NFL standpoint, good signing. Jordan will fit in well there I think, the Pats can turn careers around and revitalize them (see: Dillon, Corey and Moss, Randy) and frankly they won’t expect him to carry the team so there will be less pressure than he’s had in the past.

Finally – for this edition -
The Arizona Cardinals Might Use Kurt Warner in a Specialist Position Again
This would just kill the value of either QB in a Fantasy League – and I have said this before, but it’s a terrible idea for the developement of Leinart. HC Whisenhunt has called Leinart the starter, but ‘won’t rule out’ using Warner like they did prior to Party Time Matt’s collarbone breaking last season – as the ‘no-huddle’ guy.

Listen, either Leinart is your Qb or he isn’t. Enough is enough. A quarterback needs to be in a rhythm during a game – throwing one in on special sequences is ridiculous. This soudns worse than when Romeo Crennel figured out his starting Qb last year by flipping a quarter. And I think HE was joking at least.

I’m not saying Leinart should win the job – I have no idea, and frankly I lean towards him beign a bust as he seems to spend more time beer bonging with nubile young co-eds than practicing or working on his game in the off-season. But he could be working when I don’t see him. Or he could be that gifted. But whatever – slapping Warner in during certain (and might I add pressure packed) moments of a game smells of a lack of confidence. Ify our franchise Qb can’t hack it when you need him most…. well, you need to question if he should be your franchise QB. Pulling him can’t be doing his confidence any favors and I am adamantly opposed to it. Either go with Matty L or with Warner. enough waffling.

Warner has been told it’s an open competition though Whisenhunt says it’s Leinart’s job. Further messy communication or motivation ploy? I can’t tell, you guys can let me know.

That’s it for now. More later and regularly M-Fri as we swing into Training Camp full force.
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Leave a comment below or email me at ThunderingBlurb@gmail.com

A few notes of the Day

Just got back in from watching several pro players training with Travelle Gaines at Elite Athletics in Westlake Village, CA. I know I’m not in great shape, but watching these guys work made me think I have to hit the gym again, soon. It was also great to see veterans like Lorenzo Booker, Billy Miller (who owns the joint) as well as rookies like Bruce Davis, working their tails off. Lots of effort goes into the off-season, believe you me.

More from those guys in the next week or so.

A few notes -

SF WR SITUATION STILL CLOUDY
The thought has been – and this is most discussed in Fantasy Football Circles – that with Mad Mike Martz on the job is San Fran, every WR in the area might get some good numbers. The debate has been who will get more catches – venerable Isaac Bruce or upstart Bryant Johnson. Arnaz Battle has been a whisper as someone who might have a Shaun McDonald/Mike Furrey-esque explosion under Martz. Well, now Matt Barrows has reported on his Sacremento Bee blog that the team might not be featuring a 3rd WR, as Marrtz has in the past. This could significantly alter Battle’s possible value and as someone in the middle of a Fantasy Football auction right now, has knocked down on my list of values. Keep watching, and I’ll keep you informed.

IS IT THAT TIME OF THE YEAR AGAIN? AKA THE GUARENTEE GAME
Every year someone has to make some kind of guarentee regarding how good their team will be and as we near training camps, we’ll see more of it – this week’s entry is from Donte Whitner, DB for the Buffalo Bills. I hate guarentees, they always come back to bite you in the rear end. But look at the Bills – they added not 1 but 2 good WRs in James Hardy and Steve Johnson (I’m telling you, Johnson will be a 7th round success story) to pull pressure off of Lee Evans. Added Leodis McKelvin to work with Whitner. Are saying they will involve Marshawn Lynch in the pass game more. The AFC East is open for business – the Jets are struggling, Miami is a disaster – the only sure thing is the Pats and if everything clicks, I’ll go on record as saying the Bills might give them two very hard games.

A wild card birth is not out of the question at all.

SAINTS AND COLSTON TALKING AHEAD OF TIME
With all the drama at the WR position this off-season – Ocho Cinco, Terry Glenn, Houshmandzedah, Engram – it’s nice to see a franchise and a player do something ahead of time. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (what is a Picayune?) reports that the Saints and top WR Marques Colston are talking about an extension. Colston (as well as Guard Jahri Evans) are already talking about extensions with the club. Of course, after they sign extensions, he might up and complain about them a year later when WR X gets paid 3x as much. But I think actually it’s as much about appreciating these guys and what they do as the money. And it’s smart to lock up your team’s dominant WR and a solid guard while you can. Make them feel appreciated. Keep them happy.

Always good policy.

I’ll be back later to keep YOU happy (see what I did there?) with another update tonight.

Please feel free to email questions or comments to thunderingblurb@gmail.com. I have a few emails already – if I get enough I’ll add them in a post for all to see.