Articles By Athlon Sports
Jacoby Ford wants to play football. His hamstring is feeling better and that's good for his fantasy owners. The Oakland Raiders offense, which just put 34 points on the notoriously defensive-minded New York Jets, is becoming a west coast version of the New England Patriots.
In fact, the Raiders may have one of the best offenses in the NFL right now. Because with Darren McFadden running all over the place, the Raiders offense is much more balanced thant the ultra pass-heavy Patriots offense.
And Ford's return is only going to make them better because he immediately becomes their #1 receiving option.
So with Ford coming back, what does that mean for the other fantasy options on the Raider team? Let's break it down:
Darrius Heyward-Bey - Downgraded
Heyward-Bey had a great chance to make his mark as an important part of the Raiders offense against the Jets, but he didn't live up to expectations. With Ford and Louis Murphy sidelined, it was Darrius' time to shine, but he just fizzled, with one reception for five yards. It's true he had shutdown corner Darrelle Revis on him all game, but he's going to have to show a little something if he wants to make an impact.
Jason Campbell - Upgraded
More weapons means more points for his fantasy owners. Campbell has a great running game and a plethora of weapons at his disposal. He could be a sleeper and is the perfect example on why you should always wait on a quarterback when you're drafting. With the Raiders clicking like they are, it doesn't seem to matter if they're on the road or facing one of the top defenses in the league. They are going to put up points and Campbell is a starter-worthy fantasy quarterback. No one will be talking about Pryor too much if they keep this up.
Louis Murphy - Downgraded
He's going to lose some catches. But then again, he wasn't really going to make a lot of catches anyway. So this one is pretty simple. Muphy is worth keeping an eye on, but don't expect him to have a huge season.
Denarius Moore - Hold
Denarious continues to put up numbers and Raiders coach Hue Jackson likes what he sees. Jackson said "he's turning intoa fine football player" after Moore put up a TD and o 57 total yards and mentioned that Moore's play on the field will get him more playing time. If you have him, keep him because he put up better numbers than Heyward-Bey against the Jets and the Raiders really like him. He could be their full-time WR#2 if he continues down this path.
Darren McFadden - Upgraded
If Jacoby Ford can be a deep threat to keep one less guy at the line of scrimmage, then it's only going to give the beast that is Run DMC more space to eat up yards and touchdowns. Darren McFadden could be a top-2 back at the end of 2011 if he keeps running the way he has in the first three games.
Chaz Schilens - Downgraded
This probably goes without saying, but if you were using Chaz to fill in for an injury, you should probably just drop him and take a flyer on someone else. With Ford back in the lineup, Chaz drops basically off the fantasy football map.
-- Pete Thomas
Beating the Chiefs was one thing. Defeating the Raiders at home was another. But beating the Patriots means the Buffalo Bills have arrived and it's time to start taking them seriously.
After 11 years of misery, the Buffalo Bills are finally giving their loyal but win-starved fan base something that they haven’t had since the turn of the millennium: a reason to show up. These Bills are resilient, they’re tough, and they’re fun to watch. When’s the last time you could say that about this sad-sack franchise that had become emblematic of America’s decaying rust belt?
Let’s run down this startling list of accomplishments coming out of yesterday’s 34–31 win over the Patriots:
• The Bills became the only team in modern NFL history to win consecutive games in which they trailed by 18 points or more. Against the Genius (Bill Belichick) and the Golden Boy (Tom Brady), the Bills erased a 21–0 first-half deficit.
• Against the Buffalo defense, Brady threw as many interceptions (four) as he did for the entire 2010 season. That interception total matched Brady’s career-worst for a single game.
• The Bills snapped a 15-game losing streak against the AFC East kingpins, and they snapped New England’s 10-game regular-season winning streak.
• For the first time since 1992 and the heyday of Jim Kelly’s fast-break offense, the Bills have opened a season scoring 30 or more points in their first three games.
“It’s the biggest win of my career. I can’t think of any bigger,” said linebacker Chris Kelsay, who has suffered along with Bills Nation for the duration of a career that began in 2003. “To beat these guys at home, in front of our fans, with the way they’re behind us despite being down early, it's huge. I'll never forget it.”
Budding folk hero Ryan Fitzpatrick outdueled Brady, completing 27-of-40 passes for 369 yards and two scores and posting a higher passer rating (92.6 to 86.0). After the Patriots had tied the score at 31, Fitzpatrick briskly led the Bills into scoring position, as the team took advantage of an overturned Fred Jackson touchdown to kill the remaining clock and kick the winning field goal from the 1-yard line.
Another long-term sufferer with the franchise, kicker Rian LIndell, supplied the winning chip shot. “That’s the loudest I've ever heard it in here,” Lindell said. “Certainly they’ve been the team to beat. It’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
In a shocking role reversal, Brady sounded like a guy whose team had missed an opportunity to take down the division favorite. “We played a good football team and made too many mistakes," said Brady. “It’s never easy. ... We had too many turnovers, too many penalties that allowed them to get some easy plays. ... I just wish we would have made a few less mistakes.”
If it’s any consolation, Brady continues to pile up yards at a historic pace. He has 1,326 yards passing through three games, breaking the record of 1,257 set in 2006 by New Orleans QB Drew Brees.
• The Detroit Lions are an equally shocking 3–0 for the first time since 1980 after picking up a key division win in overtime against the Vikings. Like the Bills, they erased a huge deficit, digging out of a 20–0 halftime hole in the greatest second-half comeback in franchise history. Unlike the Bills, they did it on the road. Not to overstate things, but Matthew Stafford to Calvin Johnson could become the most dynamic pass-catch combo of their generation.
• The Niners and Bengals anesthetized an announced crowd of 43,363 in a 13–8 snoozer. Andy Dalton finally looked like a rookie, throwing two fourth-quarter picks after going the season’s first 11 quarters without one.
• The Dream Team’s 1–2. The Eagles lost to the Giants 29–16, and Michael Vick’s ticked off after getting battered — he has a broken right hand — in a chippy divisional game. “I felt I got hit late. No flag,” Vick said of a shot from Chris Canty. “At some point something catastrophic is gonna happen. Not to blame the refs, but more precautions should be taken. I’m on the ground all the time in the pocket.” His concern is no doubt shared by Philly fans; judging from Mike Kafka’s performance in relief and Vince Young’s nagging hammy, Vick is indispensable.
• On a day of shootouts, none was better than Saints-Texans. Drew Brees put 23 points on the board in the fourth quarter alone as New Orleans erased a 26–17 fourth-quarter deficit. Everyone eager to anoint the Texans as the class of the AFC South had better take notice. This is what the Texans do.
Going into this NFL season the general consensus among the so-called "experts" was that the AFC East would be a two-team race between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets with the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins lagging considerably behind. Well, to this point, the Bills aren't following the script, if you will, as they are atop the division standings joining the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers and another team on the rise, the Detroit Lions, as the only undefeated teams remaining.
The Bills got to this point by beating the Patriots 34-31 on Sunday in Buffalo, snapping a 15-game losing streak to their divisional foe. Just like they did against the Oakland Raiders last week, the Bills came storming back after falling behind and basically beat the Patriots at their own game — plenty of offense and key turnovers.
Behind Tom Brady and Wes Welker, the Patriots jumped out to a 21-0 lead midway through the second quarter. The Bills never gave in and responded with 17 unanswered points, and then scored 17 more in the fourth quarter, capped off by Rian Lindell's game-winning 28-yard field goal as time expired.
Brady (387 yards passing, 4 TDs) continued to add to his record-setting early-season numbers, as he broke the NFL record for most yards passing in the first three games. But he also was picked off four times, which matched his career worst for interceptions in a game. Three of the interceptions came in the second half, including one by Drayton Florence that was returned for a touchdown.
Meanwhile, Ryan Fitzpatrick more than held his own against Tom Terrific as the recently-minted "Amish Rifle" threw for 369 yards and two scores of his own. More importantly, Fitzpatrick threw just two picks and directed the Bills' fourth-quarter comeback.
It's no surprise that the Patriots have one of the most potent offenses in the NFL as they lead the league in total offense and passing yards. What is surprising is that the Bills currently rank third (tied with the Dallas Cowboys who are playing the Washington Redskins tonight) in total offense, fourth in rushing yards per game and is No. 1 in points scored. That's a far cry from last year, when they finished 25th in total offense and 28th in points scored.
And while neither defense is anywhere near the top of the rankings right now in terms of total yards or points allowed, one thing that does have to be of concern for Bill Belichick is the fact that his Patriots are dead last in the league in passing defense. Through three games, the Pats have given up a mind-boggling 377 yards per game through the air. For comparison, the Jets have given up roughly half that many passing yards (189) per game.
And what of the Jets, you ask? Well Rex Ryan and Gang Green are licking their own wounds coming off a 34-24 defeat to the Raiders in Oakland. The Jets have been stingy when it comes to pass defense, but are having problems stopping the run as Darren McFadden gorged them for 171 yards on nine yards a carry yesterday.
Mark Sanchez has been fairly effective early on, but the Jets' inability to get anything going on the ground (100 total yards rushing, four yards per carry), meant Sanchez dropped back early and often to the tune of 43 pass attempts. The flip side of a pass-heavy game plan combined with injuries on the offensive line is that Sanchez was sacked four times and hit another six by the Raiders — the exact same totals the Cowboys had on him in Week 1.
Sanchez, who may have suffered a broken nose in yesterday's game, has already finished each game with a possible injury, a disturbing trend to say the least. Contrast that with Fitzpatrick, who has been sacked just twice in the first three games or Brady, who has gone down just three times.
Granted, it's just three games, but the early-season results are certainly encouraging when it comes to the Bills and people are starting to pay attention. The Bills will have their chance to continue to impress as match ups with the Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants loom following next week's game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
Looking further ahead, the Bills will get their first crack at the Jets in Week 9 with a chance to go 2-0 against the supposed top two teams in their division. And who knows, if the Bills can sustain their early-season success, perhaps their regular-season finale on New Year's Day against the Patriots will, for the first time in many years, actually matter. If that's the case, you can bet everyone will be watching, especially the so-called "experts."
Torrey Smith had a career day on Sunday. And it happened to come on his very first start.
The Ravens wide receiver blew up for five receptions for 152 yards and a staggering three touchdowns. If the fantasy team you played this weekend had him in the starting lineup for some reason, you should probably quit fantasy football forever.
So, with his explosion of points, Torrey Smith will be the number one added player on fantasy waiver wires this week. And he should be; catching lightning in a bottle is how you win fantasy leagues (look at Peyton Hillis and Michael Vick last year).
The other negative is that Torrey left the game with a tweaked hamstring (or it could have just been cramps from running all over the field.) Apparently the injury isn't a big deal, but keep an eye on this closely to see if it will affect his ability to play next week.
But let's not go overboard and blow your entire waiver wire allowance (if you're in a blind bid league) for Torrey. And here's why:
1. Touchdowns are hard to predict.
Touchdowns come and go. They come in bunches, and then they don't show up for weeks. Torrey had three on his first three catches. And that's not going to happen again. (If it does, then I'll eat my hat.)
2. He averaged a staggering 30 yards per catch
That, too won't happen again. The touchdowns and yards per catch add up to a career day that even Jerry Rice would be hard pressed to duplicate. Torrey Smith is not Jerry Rice. That average will get cut into a third if Torrey has a good year. So keep your expectations realistic. Don't pay for a wide receiver who's on pace for 50 touchdowns and 9 billion yards receiving. Pay for a rookie with some upside.
3. Joe Flacco had a career day
In another hint that these kind of numbers won't last, Joe Flacco, the guy throwing to Torrey had the best day of his career with 389 yards passing. The stars aligned for Torrey on Sunday.
So don't take all these negatives the wrong way. We're all for adding Torrey Smith to your fantasy team, but just make sure you don't overpay for him.
Update: It's official, Kenny Britt tore his ACL and is out for the season.
Kenny Britt was having a great season. Until he turned awkwardly on his knee after a catch against the Broncos and apparently tore his ACL and MCL on a freakish play where he didn't hit or touched.
Britt will have an MRI today to confirm the bad news that the Titans fear (there's still a slight chance that he just injured his knee, but it doesn't look good), but fantasy owners had been enjoying a breakout season by the Titans troubled wide receiver for the first two games. Britt was one of the leading receivers in the NFL who produced solidly and had developed a rapport with new Titan quarterback Matt Hasselbeck.
So if you're a Britt owner, what do you do now? Here's five players to go after on your waiver wire so you don't drop to the bottom of your standings.
Titus Young, wide receiver, Detroit Lions
It looks like there's enough of the Detroit offense to go around. After Young went without a catch on week 1, he had five receptions for 89 yards in week 2 and 4 catches for 51 yards in week 3. And it should be said that the Lions didn't play particularly well in week 3, but they were also down most of the game, forcing them to throw more often than they normally would have. But either way, the signs are encouraging that Young is clicking with Matthew Stafford. Pick him up as he could be a grow into a dependable WR3, and if Nate Washington or Calvin Johnson miss an time with injury, he could shoot up to a WR1.
Jason Avant, wide receiver, Philadelphia Eagles
I know what you're thinking: Isn't Michael Vick out for the next month? He is, but Vince Young should be a more than capable back-up who can come in and run the Eagles pass-heavy offense. But what makes Avant so intriguing is that Jeremy Maclin is likely out for week four, leaving many more looks to Avant, who has played pretty well already this season. Pick him up because that Eagles passing offense is very fantasy friendly. And if you can get a piece of it for even a little while, it will pay dividends. Steve Smith could also play a role in picking up Maclin's slack, but Avant knows this offense better.
LaVelle Hawkins, wide receiver, Tennessee Titans
Whenever a star player goes down, the most obvious target is the guy replacing him. But the problem with the Titans is that's not so obvious. LaVelle Hawkins and Damian Williams will be vying for time, but it looks like LaVelle Hawkins will be the guy to get the first shot at filling in for Britt's shoes. Keep a close eye on this because if it doesn't look like Hawkins can get it done, Williams will quickly get his own chance.
Torrey Smith, wide receiver, Baltimore Ravens
Torrey went off on Sunday with 5 receptions for 152 yards and three touchdowns. The one thing we know for sure, he will never put up these kinds of numbers again in his life. And he will most likely be a waiver wire darling this week. But if you can snatch him, hey, it's always worth a flyer to see if Flacco has found a new favorite target. Expect something closer to a 2 catches for 47 yards line for the rest of the year, but you can't win if you don't gamble on guys like this. He's exactly what the wiaver wire is for.
Randy McMichael, tight end, San Diego Chargers
Well, Antonio Gates minor foot injury that he was expected to play through just got a lot worse. It's now a torn plantar fascia. No one knows exactly what this is going to mean to Gates season (or if he's even going to play next week.) McMichael doesn't have a great history of blowing up for fantasy owners, but the San Diego offense is a powerhouse, and if he's half of what Gates is, then he's worth starting in your 12+ team leagues every week.
Michael Vick's broken right hand will keep the Phildelphia Eagles' quarterback out of the lineup for the next 3-4 weeks.
Vick broke his non-throwing hand when he was hit by a borderline late-hit by Giants DT Chris Canty.
The Eagles have a bye in week 7, which means there's a good chance that they have to find a replacement until week 8. The Eagles play the 49ers at home in Week 4, then go on the road to the surprising 3-0 Buffalo Bills in week 5 and to division rival Washington in week 6.
So aside from the lowly 49ers, the Eagles will most likely be without Vick for two difficult road games.
And now it seems that all the preseason prognostications are coming true. Vick has only one full season under his belt and he's the type of player who plays the game with reckless abandon. His body takes a beating every game when his offensive line is decent, but this year, the Eagles' offensive line woes have opened him up to even more abuse than normal.
And for a guy who's only 5'10" and not built like a bowling ball (think Mike Tolbert) all these hits are taking a toll quicker than most thought.
Vick's broken hand will leave the Eagles with a big question: who will fill in for their injured star?
Mike Kafka, who came in when Vick went down with a concussion in week two to play better than expected, didn't fare so well against the Giants. He came in and put up two interceptions and did not look good.
But this is why the Eagles signed Vince Young. They knew that Vick was going to go down at some point, and now this is his chance to step in and take the reigns. Vince is still nursing a hamstring injury, but the Eagles have to hope that he can step in and make sure the offense doesn't miss to much of a beat.
The reason they signed a guy like Young is because he plays the quarterback position similar to Vick, in that they're both quarterbacks that defenses have to worry about taking off and running. A guy like Kafka plays a more classic quarterback position, which completely changes the offensive playbook, while Young can come in and run the same exact offense Vick did (almost.)
This is a huge test for the so-called Dream Team. But so far, this season has been a nightmare for the 1-2 Eagles.
Michael Vick's hand isn't broken after all. Updating a previous news item earlier today, the Eagles' quarterback has a contusion and deep bruise instead of what was originally diagnosed as a fracture.
During the Eagles game against the Giants, the team gave Vick's hand an X-ray, and the result appeared to be a broken bone. But apparently blood vessels can sometimes make bones look broken.
Right now Vick's hand is swollen, but he will probably miss no more than one week. And there's an outside chance he could play this week. They just need the swelling to go down and for some of the sensitivity (ie pain) to go away before Andy Reid and his staff make a call on whether he can play or not.
It's been a rollercoaster couple of weeks for Vick and the injury report. His status was up in the air last week after he sustained a concussion against the Falcons, but he ended up playing. Don't count Vick out again this week, after it was initially thought he'd miss a month.
And while this is no real surprise, it finally puts to rest all the talk of him coming back on a white horse to save an abysmal Colts season.
Irsya went on to say that Manning won't even begin practicing until December. At that point he Colts could have a record of 0-9 to 0-12. Or if they're lucky, maybe 1-8. (OK, so they looked better last night against the Steelers, but let's face it, this team isn't going to make the playoffs this year.)
But as difficult as this must be for Colts fan to hear, it must also be cathartic, too. They can now accept the inevitable and let go of a season. And let's face it, no one's going to feel too sorry for them. They've had an amazing run of 10-win seasons, endless playoff runs and a Super Bowl to top it off.
Welcome to being everyone else, Colts fans (Note: This does not apply to Patriots or Steelers fans.) What you are about to experience is known as "being a normal sports fan." Most teams don't win 10 games every year. Most teams also don't make the playoffs. And most teams, at numerous points in the season, have a seething, irrational hatred of their quarterback.
Welcome to despair. Welcome to frustration (yes, you've known frustration, but rarely in weeks 1-16.) Welcome to bitterness. But most importantly, you're now free. ONce you give in to mediocrity, you're expectations are so much lower. Didn't last night's decent showing against the Steelers feel good? If Peyton Manning was playing, that would've been a crushing defeat. But now, it's not so bad, right?
Get used to this, Colts fans. It's going to be tough, but if you don't expect too much, then this season will be far more enjoyable than all those other ones where you lost to Brady or too an L in the Super Bowl. Trust me. It's all about managing expectations.
Michael Vick is having a long season. And we're only in the third week of the NFL year.
After getting knocked out of last week's game with a concussion (where he was spitting up blood), Vick was knocked out of this week's game with a broken right hand. Lucky for Vick, he's left handed, but quarterback's non-throwing hands are an important part of their play.
VIck broke his hand after taking a crushing blow from the Giants' defensive tackle Chris Canty.
Vick's status is uncertain for week 4. After breaking his hand, Mike Kafka came into the game and Vick was seen in considerable pain on the sideline. The hit occurred in the third quarter. He left the game, then returned in the fourth only to leave the game for good.
Oh, and to make matter worse for Eagles' fans, they lost to the Giants (a team that has looked terrible the first two weeks of the season) at home, 29-16.
The Eagles' offensive line has been an issue for Vick all season, and his concussion and broken hand are direct results of getting drilled over and over again. If Vick continues to get beat up, he's not going to be on the field for much more of the season.
Vick is not a big quarterback. He's not Ben Roethlisberger or Matt Ryan. He's a slight guy and these beatings are going to take a serious toll not only on his season, but on his career if this keeps up. He's been hit more than most running backs this season.
It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall during Andy Reid's offensive meetings and see if the Eagles wish they would've put their money on Kevin Kolb instead of the injury-prone Vick. A well-known fact about Vick is that he's only played one 16-game season. Every other season he's missed game. And this season looks like history will repeat itself.
If the Eagles want to be the Dream Team they appeared to be, they need Michael Vick in their lineup. Instead of signing Nnamdi Asomugha, and piling up a ton of defensive back's they should've put some of that money towards an extra offensive lineman to keep Vick safe and sound.
Offensive lines can gel over the course of the season, but they need to get on the same page sooner rather than later. If they wait too long, Vick could be on the IR before they have a chance to make a playoff run.
Check back for updates on Vick's situation. I'm sure he'll be having an MRI on his hand tomorrow. But the way Vick plays football, I'm sure a broken right hand will have a huge affect on his game. Will he be able to fly around the field with a busted wing? Time (and MRI's) will tell.
A few big names are listed as game time decisions this week in fantasy football. Here's who you should sit and who you should start.
Arian Foster: Do Not Play
Arian's becoming a weekly regular in this feature (not to toot our own horn, but we told you to sit him last week, when he was scheduled for 20 touches, but got bupkus). With his hamstring still bothering him, it looks like he's not going to play today. So while it's an easier call this week to sit him, Foster owner have to start getting worried that this is what his seaosn will look like. With Ben Tate filling in more than capably, this could be a story we hear every week in 2011.
Knowshown Moreno: Do Not Play
Moreno is also struggling with a hamstring (is it me, or are hamstring's this year's concussion?). And while he is a game time decision, I'd go ahead and sit him. Hamstring injuries are never good, and most fo the time they have a tendency to flare up and take a player down numerous times throughout a year, so I always err on the side of caution when I hear someone has a hammy issue.
Broncos coach John Fox came out and said that Willis McGahee is going to get the bulk of the carries. And since Moreno doesn't get the goal line carries, there's not a whole lot of upside to this play. Sit him with confidence and slot your other options in.
Felix Jones: Play in a PPR, Sit in a Non-PPR
While it's hard to say with a Monday Night game, I would play Felix Jones only if you are in a PPR league. He's going to be active after struggling with a shoulder injury. It looks like the Cowboys will look to get DeMarco Murray and Tashard Choice involved, but if Jones is as healthy as they say he is, I would assume that he's going to play his normal role in the passing game, but they may let the healthier backs take some of the beatings around the goal line. He will probably lose most of his red zone carries, but he should still finish with a handful of receptions.
Beanie Wells: Play
The hot news running through fantasy sites this week was that Beanie Wells wasn't going to be a good play because the Seahawks have been great against the run. But we have to remember that we're only 2 games into the season and one of the teams the Seahawks played was the anemic San Francisco 49ers, who's offense is pretty easy to shut down. Since Alex Smith can't put the ball downfield, the Seahawks just stacked the run. So I would say the jury's still out on how good the Seahawks defense is.
Beanie said yesterday that he was just fine, so it looks like he's going to play. The Arizona Cardinals running back has looked good so far this year, so there's no reason to stop going to the Wells (see what I did there?). Play him with a little concern, but he's done you well so far. Hopefully Larry Fitzgerald can open up and stretch that defense, giving Beanie a few more open holes to break through.
Peyton Hillis, who seemed to be fine after last week's strong performance against the Colts, surprisingly missed practice on Friday and Saturday when he came down with a case of strep throat.
And now he's listed as questionable in the Browns game against the Miami Dolphins today.
But my fantasy advice: sit Peyton Hillis even if he's active for this game.
I know football players are tough guys, but think back to how energetic you feel after you've had a fever. I know there have been instances where players have played while sick (Michael Jordan comes to mind), but Peyton Hillis isn't Michael Jordan.
Hillis takes a beating on every play, taking hit after hit as he's not a slasher who can make guys miss. I would think that his weakness will be affected more than other players. Hillis's game is predicated on power and wearing the other team down. But if he's already worn down by strep throat and a fever, then he will not be able to bring his game to the field today.
Look for Montario Hardesty to get the majority of carries even if Hillis is active. But look elsewhere, and play him only if you really have to.
The Pro-Bowl tight end will sit with his foot injury despite his questionable status, according to a report by NBC. NBC doesn't name a source for this story, so there's still a slight chance that Gates will be active, but when there's smoke, there's usually fire when it comes to these things.
This is very disappointing as Antonio was looking to bounce back after his going reception-less after last week's game against the Patriots. Up until yesterday, everything we heard made it sound like Gates was going to suit up.
But since this story isn't coming straight from the Chargers, keep an eye on the active and inactive lists when they are released at around 2:30 Eastern time (11:30 Pacific). But since it's an afternoon game, you may have to set your lineups sooner. If that's the case, it sounds like you will want to look in a different direction today.
I know that's going to sting to lose your high draft pick, especially against a weak Chiefs secondary that's already missing Eric Berry. This is a missed opportunity to pile up a lot of fantasy points.
On ths upside, Vincent Jackson, Mike Tolbert and now Patrick Crayton owners should benefit from Gates' absence.
Clemson Tigers' punter Dawson Zimmerman took a brutal hit that flipped him over when he was in mid-punt in the game against Florida State.
Right as he was kicking the ball, a rushing Florida State Seminole hit his legs with full force. Dawson flipped over and landed horribly on his head and neck. His knee was hit right as he was hit and he laid on the field for a while before walking off. He didn't return to the game and was seen with a pack of ice on his knee.
The Seminoles were called for a roughing the punter on the play.
The Tigers placekicker had taken over punting duties for the remainder of the game.
This was easily one of the most brutal plays a punter has ever taken. It's amazing he didn't have his leg broken, or worse, tear an ACL or MCL on this play.
The one really interesting thing about this play is that it may cause the NCAA to look at a rule change. Since this penalty occurred with just seconds left in the first half, the penalty against FSU didn't have much of an affect on the Seminoles. More teams in similar future situations could put punters in jeopardy, and the rull committee should look at enforcing this penalty in the second half, when it has an impact.
Notre Dame got the win against Pittsburgh, but it sure wasn't pretty. In a game marred by poor decisions, bad penalties and turnovers, the Fighting Irish were lucky to get a road win against the Panthers today.
Looking at the scoreboard, you might think that the Irish played hard and well enough to get a tough road win. But if you watched the game, the Irish should have won by 30, instead of squeaking out a 15-12 victory.
This game was a microcosm of what the Irish have done all year. You'd think after four weeks of football that they would have sorted through and worked out the stupid football, but it looks like they need a few more weeks to keep working out the kinks.
In a play that epitomized the day, the Irish had Pittsburgh back up on their own five yard line. On a 4th and 20, the Panthers were forced to punt, assuring the Irish would have good field position. But instead, the Irish were called for roughing the punter, a 15-yard penalty and automatic first down.
Then, later in the third, a 30-yard first down pass was nullified on an illegal hands-to-the-face call. There were so many mistakes (as well as an interception and lost fumble by quarterback Tommy Rees) put made this win much harder than it needed to be.
And just one of these types of games wouldn't be a big deal. But the Irish technically should be 4-0, instead of the 2-2 they are after this win.
They have outplayed each of their opponents, but they continue to make these stupid plays and mistakes that show a lack of attention to detail. No team is ever perfect. But while most football teams seem to make a handful of mistakes each game, the Irish manage to make a bucketful.
They weren't able to get the ball to their playmaking wide receiver Michael Floyd, who finished the day with only four catches for 27 yards. Floyd should be a guy who's worked into the Notre Dame offense much more if they want to be the dynamic unit they think they can be.
If this team can ever get their act together, they could beat anyone in the nation. Today's mistakes mainly came from the offense and special teams. Their defense looks strong and did a good job of covering up for the sins of the other groups.
All the mistakes put them in with their backs to the wall more than a few times, but they held Pitt to only two field goals and one touchdown (the Panthers went for two and didn't make it.)
Manuel was not able to warm up as the injury to his non-throwing shoulder he suffered against Oklahoma proved to be too much for him, as he will miss the first start of his career.
In walks Clint Trickett who it looks like will get the first start of his career.
Tirckett performed admirably last week when he filled in for Manuel and showed a great deal of confidence as we wasn't afraid to make seemingly any throws against Oklahoma's stout defense.
How much longer Manuel will be out is still unknown. But if Trickett plays well again today, it will be interesting to see if there are whispers of a quarterback controversy at Florida State.
This is a huge match-up for FSU against a Clemson team that plays them hard every year. If the Seminoles come out flat and lost to the Tigers, then their hopes of crawling and scratchiung their way back into a national title bid will be all but dead.
That's a lot of pressure on Trickett, but if he plays like he did last week, the Seminoles shouldn't lose too much at the quarterback position.
It looks like Dez Bryant will be good to go for Monday night's Cowboys-Redskins game. After missing practice Thursday and Friday with a quad injury, Bryant was back in pads on Saturday, which is exactly what fantasy football owners wanted to hear.
The slate of injuries affecting the Cowboys is well-known. Between Tony Romo's broken ribs, Miles Austin's hamstring and Felix Jones' shoulder, Dallas is spending more time in the infirmary than on the field.
But now that Dez is going to play, this should a points bonanza for his owners. Regardless of who suits up at quarterback (Jon Kitna is a very capable back-up who knows the offense as well as any other second-stringer in the league after he filled-in for the injured Romo last year).
And while Jason Witten should see a lot of looks, the Dallas qb will have to put the ball somewhere, leaving Bryant as the recipient of many of those targets. He won't have to split any catches with Miles Austin, who's out for the next few weeks. Bryant has already shown that he's almost unstoppable (unless he's being guarded by Revis, but then again, who isn't) and he should be able to put up solid numbers against the Redskins secondary.
Where else will the Dallas offense come from? With all of their offensive weapons dinged up or out (aside from Witten), if Bryant gets on the field, he should have, well, a field day.
The only problem with Dez this week is that he's playing on Monday Night, and you'll have to set your lineups Sunday at around noon, so you're taking a bit of a gamble by putting him in your lineup. But given the payoff, and the fact that he practiced two days before the game, it seems like it's a gamble worth taking.
Keep an eye on any breaking news about Dez on Sunday morning. Then, if you don't hear anything, put him on your starting roster, and pray to the quad Gods.
Injury Update. Antonio Gates is now Inactive Against the Chiefs
Nothing could keep Antonio Gates from playing against the Chiefs this week.
In a radio interview with a local San Diego radio station, The San Diego Tribune's Kevin Acee said he expects Gates to play.
The Chargers Pro Bowl tight end (and very high fantasy football draft pick) was questionable this week with a foot injury.
But after last week, when he was held without a catch against Bill Belichick's Patriots, it's safe to say he's got a bit of a chip on his shoulder and a little extra something to prove.
Now how much he actually plays will remain a mystery.
The Chiefs have proven to be one of the worst teams in the league this year, while the Chargers are a team that many pundits and prognosticators picked to go to the Super Bowl. These are two teams going in opposite directions.
So if the Chargers are up by, say, 24 in the third quarter, San Diego head coach Norv Turner will likely not risk further injury on his tight end and will probably sit him. The Chargers' starting receiving corps is injured with Malcolm Floyd a game time decision and Vincent Jackson nursing an abdominal issue.
But the Chiefs, who's secondary is also hurting, won't be able to cover Gates. If you're wondering about whether or not Gates should be in your lineup, well, he get him in there if he's in there. Because even if he plays three quarters, he's going to get his fair share of points as Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will look to get him the ball and back in the game to make up for last week's zero catches and only one target.
Think of Gates like the Incredible Hulk this week. Antonio Gates is angry. And opposing fantasy owners won't like him when he's angry (although his owners will love it when they see "Gates Smash!" the Chiefs.)
All of our Week 3 fantasy football rankings
by Alan Ross
He was the greatest player in baseball in the pre-Babe Ruth era, so dominating the game during this time that historians would refer to his 24-year major league career from 1905-28, all but the last two seasons with Detroit, as the “Cobbian game.”
Tyrus Raymond Cobb, despite his family’s objections signed a semi-pro contract with Augusta in 1904. It was during a Sally League game while with Augusta―where the Tigers also trained each spring―that Cobb, from Narrows, Georgia, in the Empire State of the South, was named “The Georgia Peach” by legendary sportswriter Grantland Rice. It was a tag that Cobb was said to have worn proudly.
In his unmatchable career with Detroit, Cobb was a 12-time American League batting champion—nine times in a row—and for 23 straight seasons batted over .300, a major league record that will likely stand forever. In all, Cobb is credited with setting 90 major league records during his career. Three times he batted over .400, his career best a .420 in 1911.
The cantankerous Cobb was also known for his surly temperament and aggressive all-out play, which invariably led to skirmishes, even with teammates.
But for all the honors, awards and titles, Cobb never won a world championship, the only thing lacking in his gleaming resume. He was a charter member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936, the fourth highest vote-getter in history. No less than Casey Stengel, a scrappy 14-year National League outfielder for five teams in the 1910s and ’20s before becoming the successful manager of the New York Yankees, said of Cobb, “I never saw anyone even close to him. He was the greatest all time ballplayer. That guy was superhuman, amazing.”
Alan Ross is the author of 32 books, including Echoes from the Ballpark.
E-mail him at: email@example.com
Mario Manningham, the Giants wide receiver who suffered a concussion in last week's game against the St. Louis Rams probably won't play this week against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Manningham didnt practice on Friday and is currently listed as Doubtful for the Giants this weekend. And with the way the NFL treats concussions, a player who isnt cleared to practice on Friday, probably won't miraculously recover in two days to put his brain in danger on the football field.
If you're a fantasy owner, Manninham's injury, coupled with the season-ending ACL tear suffered by Domenik Hixon means you should probably go get Victor Cruz off your waiver wire (if he's still there.)
Sure, the Eagles have a very solid secondary and Giants receivers aren't projected to light it up this weekend, but Cruz could be a good play for the rest of the year if Manningham's concussion symptoms linger. And if there's one thing we've learned about concussions, it's that they can definitely linger.
Cruz was a preseason darling last year, and put up some more good numbers again this year. But at this point, with Hakeem Nicks also banged up, someone has to catch balls on the Giants and it's looking more and more like Cruz's time to step in has finally come.
We'll keep monitoring Manningham's progress, but we'd put it at only a 10% chance he'll play this weekend, but the future could be in doubt as well.
Victor Cruz Fantasy Football Week 3 Prediction: 4 receptions for 67 yards, 1 touchdown.
Orlando Brown, the former Cleveland Browns football player who was best known for his run-in with a referee who accidentally threw a flag in his eye was found dead in his home, sources confirmed.
Brown suffered the eye injury in a 1999 game agains thte Jacksonville Jaguars when referee Jeff Triplette threw a penalty marker in his direction. The marker went through his facemaks and hit him directly in the eye.
Triplette profusely apologized (it was an accident), and all seemed well and good, until a few minutes later when Brown went into a rage and attacked Triplette, knocking him to the ground.
Brown was suspended for three games (a suspension which was later overturned), but he had difficulty recovering from the injury. He subsequently sued the NFL and was forced to sit out for three seasons. He signed with the Baltimore Ravens in 2003 and played a couple more years before retiring in 2005, where he went on to launch the first Fatburger franchise in the state of Maryland.
The cause of death is unknown at this time.
Here is one man’s opinion on the most overrated and underrated sports movies. My opinion happens to be right, though. By the way, these aren’t my “best” and “worst” sports movies, just those that merit a little re-evaluation.
I know, The Big Lebowski is pop culture’s go-to bowling movie, and for good reason. But Kingpin is an underrated gem, the Farrelley brothers at their infantile best. Woody Harrelson exudes cigarette smoke and bad cologne as one-handed down-on-his-luck bowler Roy Munson; a pre-crazy Randy Quaid is solid as Ishmael the Amish farmer/bowler (the sight of Quaid perched on a urinal reading a paper is worth the Red Box rental alone); but Bill Murray walks off with the movie as Munson’s nemesis, Ernie “Big Ern” McCracken. Big Ern’s flyaway combover deserved a Best Supporting Actor nomination of its own.
Roy: “How about a gross of fluorescent condoms for the novelty machine in the men's room? I mean, those are fun even when you're alone. We're talkin' the hula hoop of the nineties.”
Big Ern: “It all comes down to this roll. Roy Munson, a man-child, with a dream to topple bowling giant Ernie McCracken. If he strikes, he's the 1979 Odor-Eaters Champion. He's got one foot in the frying pan and one in the pressure cooker. Believe me, as a bowler, I know that right about now, your bladder feels like an overstuffed vacuum cleaner bag and your butt is kinda like an about-to-explode bratwurst.”
Roy: (On smoking) “Who's done more research than the good people at the American Tobacco Industry? They say it’s harmless. Why would they lie? If you're dead, you can't smoke.”
White Men Can’t Jump
Director Ron Shelton can shoot sports action like no one else. The basketball scenes in “White Men” pulsate and move like jazz, and the in-game trash talk captures the bravado of the playground. My only quibble: The two leads aren’t quite good enough hoopsters to carry the movie as convincing hustlers. If this were real life, Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes wouldn’t have made it out of the first round of the first annual Two-On-Two For Brotherhood Basketball Tournament.
Sydney: “Oh man, shut your anorexic malnutrition tapeworm-having overdose on Dick Gregory Bahamian diet-drinking ass up. Leave me alone!”
Billy: “I'll tell you what. Why don't we take all these bricks and build a shelter for the homeless, so maybe your mother will have a place to stay. I want your mother and sister out of my house immediately!”
Billy: “You got that Z in your 'fro! Hey man, what are you, the Black Zorro?”
Another underrated Ron Shelton gem. The 18th-hole meltdown that ends the movie (spoiler alert) seems far-fetched, but it’s supposedly based on a real event from the career of Gary McCord, who consulted on the film. Shelton deftly captures golf’s ego-driven competitive vibe, its class consciousness, its elusiveness and its philosophical underpinnings. Not easy to pull off. Kevin Costner often sucks, but he’s never been better than he is in this movie, and he’s a reasonably convincing golfer, too. Better than Matt Damon in Bagger Vance, anyway.
Roy: “This is for Venturi, who thinks I should lay up.”
Romeo: “What does he know? He only won this tournament before you were born.”
Roy: “The critical opening phrase of this poem will always be the grip. Which the hands unite to form a single unit by the simple overlap of the little finger. Lowly and slowly the clubhead is led back. Pulled into position not by the hands, but by the body, which turns away from the target shifting weight to the right side without shifting balance. Tempo is everything; perfection unobtainable as the body coils down at the top of the swing. There’s a slight hesitation. A little nod to the gods.”
Not enough people remember this 1971 classic, which may be the greatest TV movie ever made and is certainly the greatest sports tearjerker of all time. James Caan, Billy Dee Williams and that haunting music reduced grown men across America to whimpering, sniveling little boys. Williams’ portrayal of Gale Sayers was the pinnacle of his career, over even Lando Calrissian and the Colt 45 commercials.
Narrator: “Ernest Hemingway once said, ‘Every true story ends in death.’ Well, this is a true story.”
Sayers: “I love Brian Piccolo. And I'd like all of you to love him too. And so tonight, when you hit your knees, please ask God to love him.”
All the Right Moves
Gets points deducted for Tom Cruise no longer being believable as a tough, hard-nosed, steel-town football player after all these years of Scientology and general flamboyance. But all in all, this movie captures the quiet desperation of life in a decaying small town and the importance of high school football — and more specifically, the high school football coach — to the players and the townspeople. I’ll give you a million dollars if you can remember Cruise’s character’s name. Give up? Stefen “Stef” Djordjevic.
“You're not God, Nickerson. You're just a typing teacher.”
“If you would've had Rifleman hold the ball, then we would've won the game. We didn't quit. You quit!”
I know this movie is beloved for its reverent treatment of the national pastime and the humor, nuances and poignancy of baseball in its purest form, but to me, it doesn’t really work. Call me old-fashioned, but watching an aging, jock-sniffing skank troll for trophy studs isn’t all that entertaining, even if said skank is a well-preserved Susan Sarandon. Oh, and that Crash Davis speech about believing in “long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days”? Nobody talks like that, except for self-satisfied screenwriters.
This movie doesn’t know what it wants to be. Is it a sports movie? A rom-com? A meditation on race relations? An indictment of modern sports culture? It aspires to all of the above, but it does them all poorly. Its most famous lines are either gag-inducing (“You complete me.” “You had me at hello.”) or ridiculously overplayed (“Show me the money!”) Seriously? Show me the remote. And that supposedly adorable kid? About as charming as a pubic louse. Plus, Renee Zellweger squints too much, like a grapefruit exploded in her eyes. The movie does get points, though, for the cameo by Jerry Cantrell of Alice in Chains.
Million Dollar Baby
I strongly dislike this movie, but not for the primary reason cited by its detractors (its seemingly pro-euthanasia stance). No, I hate the clichéd narration, Hilary Swank’s affected Missouri drawl, her painfully stereotypical white trash family, the ridiculous and embarrassing supporting character of Danger — actually, there’s little that I don’t hate about this Best Picture winner, except that Morgan Freeman finally won a long overdue Oscar, too.
Field of Dreams
Considered a classic by most, it hasn’t aged all that well. I cried when I first saw it; now I sorta cringe in places, like James Earl Jones’ speech about baseball and America. Not even the voice of Darth Vader can salvage that cornball sermon.
The Color of Money
Not a bad movie, but when Martin Scorsese and Paul Newman are atop the marquee, you expect greatness. Newman won the Oscar for his second portrayal of Fast Eddie Felson, but at that point, it was more of a lifetime achievement award. Tom Cruise tries too hard in the supporting role of Vincent Lauria, Fast Eddie’s protégé, and the movie’s hurt by the fact that it’s a sequel to a vastly superior film, The Hustler. Also — no Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats this time.
The good news for Cowboys fans and fantasy owners alike is that it appears Tony Romo's lung has healed, increasing his chances of playing Monday night against the Redskins. This, however, does not guarantee that he will play because it doesn't change the fact that his rib is still broken. Just ask DeAngelo Hall.
Still, early indications are that Romo plans on suiting up and being under center for the Cowboys' home opener in the Jerry Dome. So the question all Romo owners are asking is this — should you play No. 9 this week?
With a second CT scan earlier this week showing the small puncture in his lung has healed, Romo has already cleared the biggest health-related hurdle facing him. While the rib is still broken, it's more a matter of pain tolerance than anything as to whether he will play or not.
However, since there's still some question that he will actually play and this is a Monday night game, the uncertainty may be too much for some owners to bear, and they may wish to look elsewhere to be on the safe side or for peace of mind. Who knows, maybe Rex Grossman is still available in your league? And raise your hand if you thought you would even think about Sexy Rexy as your fantasy starter this year.
Then again, we've already seen what Romo can do with a broken rib (not to mention a collapsed lung) — just ask the 49ers. So it may not be so much a matter of how effective Romo can be, broken rib and all. It's how effective can he be when several of his big weapons are also hurt.
First, Miles Austin is expected to miss at least the next two games with a hurt hammy, so that's one wide receiver gone. Dez Bryant practiced for the first time Friday since missing the 49ers game and his status is questionable at best for this week. Add to that Felix Jones' lingering shoulder injury, which at a minimum figures to limit him, and there will be a lot of people looking at their game program to figure out who's on the field when the Cowboys have the ball.
Tight end Jason Witten will figure even more prominently than usual in the offensive game plan, while receivers Kevin Ogletree, Jesse Holley and Laurent Robinson are the only healthy ones listed on the depth chart.
For those of who you may not be familiar with these gentleman, allow me to enlighten you. Ogletree has 14 career catches in three years, Holley owes his spot on the team to Michael Irvin's reality show, and Robinson was with the Cowboys earlier this season, but then released because of, wait for it, a hamstring injury.
At running back, the Cowboys appear to be in far better shape, but the options there aren't without question marks either. DeMarco Murray is a rookie who has yet to make any sort of impact in his first two games, while Tashard Choice is a veteran who has seemingly fallen behind the rookie on the depth chart. Most likely the two will share the load in the backfield, but with the issues at receiver, the Cowboys will need production in the running game to have any chance of beating the Redskins.
So when you add it all up — uncertain playing status + missing weapons + motivated opponent — you get one conclusion: bench Tony Romo this week (unless your only other option is Kerry Collins or Tavaris Jackson). Look at it this way, at least it won't hurt you to laugh or cry after the fact. The same can't be said for Romo.
By RALPH VACCHIANO
There is always time for a miracle, but miracles don’t happen often. That’s why, for seven NFL teams, they’re really already facing a must-win game this week.
It’s not an elimination game yet, but it might as well be considering the overwhelming historical evidence. Since the NFL expanded to a 12-team playoff field in 1990, only three teams have ever started 0-3 and made the playoffs. The last one was the Buffalo Bills … way back in 1998.
So yes, it’s gotten late pretty early in St. Louis, Indianapolis, Seattle, Miami, Minnesota, Carolina and especially in Kansas City. Below is a quick look at the dire situations of all seven 0-2 teams, ranked in order of their chances for survival.
1. Minnesota Vikings
They’ve suffered two narrow defeats in the first two games and gotten two ugly performances from QB Donovan McNabb. If he gets going and figures out the offense, this team has some potential. They also have Adrian Peterson, and with the best running back in the NFL they can’t be counted out. McNabb will get it going, too, and he has some dangerous weapons, such as Percy Harvin. In the next three weeks they’ve got the Lions and Cardinals at home and a trip to Kansas City – three winnable games.
Chances of survival: Good. Too much talent to fade away.
2. Indianapolis Colts
There remains a lot of talent on both sides of the ball, and Kerry Collins is a strong-armed, savvy veteran quarterback. But their hopes for survival absolutely hinge on when or if Peyton Manning (neck) returns. He’s not on injured reserve, so they’re at least hopeful to see him this season. What they need is to simply win a couple of games to stay afloat. That’s possible, if Collins can get the offense even a little in gear. It’s hard not to wonder, though, why the Colts waited so long to sign him. It seemed clear Manning wasn’t going to be ready for the opener. Maybe bringing a quarterback in a few weeks earlier would’ve given the team a better chance.
Chances of survival: Good, but only if the cavalry (Manning) returns before October is over.
3. Seattle Seahawks
They’ve gotten a good performance so far from underrated QB Tarvaris Jackson, but absolutely nothing from Marshawn Lynch, who looked so good in the playoffs last year. If he gets going, the Seahawks will have an offense. Better for them, they’ve got their next two games at home in one of the toughest buildings in the NFL for road teams to play. In a weak division that they won with a 7-9 record last year, simply winning at home could be enough. The Cardinals, Falcons, and Bengals are their next three home opponents. They need to win two.
Chances of survival: Decent, thanks to their location, noisy stadium, and crummy division.
4. Miami Dolphins
Of all these 0-2 teams, they are the most likely to actually be better than they’ve shown. Their problem mostly is they ran into two offensive juggernauts in the first two weeks – the Patriots and the Texans. Their defense looked better against Texans, which at least is a positive sign. But in a tough division with the Patriots and Jets and the surprisingly 2-0 Buffalo Bills, they need to get even better quickly. That also goes for quarterback Chad Henne, who has the weapons in Brandon Marshall and Reggie Bush, and no excuses.
Chances of survival: Minimal, because their division is tough, especially if the Bills are for real.
5. St. Louis Rams
They were only a 7-9 team last year and now they’re down a top receiver (Danny Amendola) and running back (Steven Jackson). Worse for them, they face Baltimore and Washington next, followed by trips to Dallas and Green Bay, and a home game against the Saints. The schedule, as it looks now, is just brutal. There’s potential on this team and in the weak NFC West anything can happen, but they may be too young and too shorthanded to dig out of a big, early hole.
Chances of survival: Minimal, due to their injuries and a dangerous schedule.
6. Carolina Panthers
There may be no more surprising story in the NFL than Cam-a-palooza – the incredible first two weeks of rookie quarterback Cam Newton. Even his biggest supporters never figured he’d throw for 422 and 432 in his first NFL start. And while that has sparked dreams of the playoffs in Carolina, the reality is it’s unlikely to continue. Rookie quarterbacks struggle and he will inevitably have his ups and downs. It’s not that he’s not good or potentially great. It’s just that adjusting to the NFL takes time. And if they’re already 0-2 and he’s got a handful of struggles coming, it makes the playoffs seem even further away – though perhaps not any further than 2012.
Chances of survival: Slim, unless Newton can defy all NFL logic and go where no rookie QB has gone before.
7. Kansas City Chiefs
OK, there is a more shocking story than Cam-a-palooza. It’s the complete meltdown of the defending AFC West champs. From 10 wins a year ago, they’ve been outscored 89-10 in the first two games to the Bills and the Lions – not exactly the Patriots and the Packers. Quarterback Matt Cassel (one touchdown, four interceptions) looks terrible. Running back Jamaal Charles is out for the season. They have to be shell-shocked by the shellacking they took in their first two games, and now they’re shorthanded too? This team is very likely already done.
Chances of survival: None. It’s over. And it’s ugly.
Update: Cardinals coach Ken Whisenthnt said on Friday that Beanie Wells will be a gametime decision this Sunday against the Seahawks. This is not good news, as Beanie was expected to be fine after tweaking his hamstring. The Cards play at 4:15 so most of your lineup will have to be set by the time his game starts. Do yourself a favor and look elsewhere this week. Beanie may not be worth the headache against an already solid run defense.
For fantasy football owners, Beanie Wells was a feelgood story for the first two weeks of the NFL season.
A much-maligned guy last year, he was a textbook draft-day steal. One of the few workhorse backs, he played through an injury last year, which explained his lack of production. When his only competition in the backfield, Ryan Williams, went down for the season, he was ripe to be an undervalued running back that savvy fantasy football owners targeted.
And he paid off for the first two weeks. He's been a workhorse who's piled up yards as well as a couple touchdowns. But after tweaking his hamstring in practice, coupled with the fact that the Cardinals are playing a Seahawks team that has a surprisingly stout run defense, is he worth a play this week, or should you turn to your backup?
The day after his hamstring injury was revealed, Beanie tweeted that he was OK, "I'm all good, I just needed to rest my wheels and maybe change a tire."
I'm not exactly sure what that means (is he getting a prosthetic leg?), but it sounds good. But as we've seen with hamstring injuries, they can flare up once they've become a problem (just ask Arian Foster owners.)
Fantasy football is all about playing the percentages. You want to put the team in your starting lineup that has the best chance to win. The Seahawks are a bad team with a good run defense, which means the Cardinals will likely do much of their scoring through the air and will have a lead in the second half.
That's probably the time that the Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt would opt to sit Beanie in place of Chester Taylor or LaRod Stephens-Howling.
I know he's been great so far, but it makes more sense to put Beanie on your bench and take a chance with any of your backups even if he practices fully in Friday's team drills.
Play your matchups this week and let Beanie put a little more air into his tires.
Beanie Wells Week 3 Fantasy Football Prediction: 67 rushing yards, 1 reception for 8 yards, 0 touchdowns.
Cedric Benson is a moron. At least that's how his fantasy football owners feel about him right now. Benson, who served five days in jail during training camp for two misdemeanor assault convictions that happened during the lockout.
Just when he started to get his career on track (he was a bust on the Bears), he now can't seem to stay out of trouble. He's now been served a three game suspension for a violation of the NFL's conduct policy.
So what does that mean for your fantasy team? It looks like Benson will miss weeks 4, 5 and 6 (he's going to appeal, but we know how those usually go.) So, if you own Benson, you need to find one or two stop-gap players to get you through his missed time.
If You Own Benson, Pick Up These Players To Get You Through His Suspension
Larod is dealing with a injured hand, but it doesn't seem to be serious. What's more important about the Caridnals backfield is that Beanie Wells missed practice due to a tweaked hamstring. Once Larod's hand is fine (which should be soon), he will step into the starting role there. Beanie has already showed that the Cardinals can move the ball on the ground and if LaRod gets the nod (hey, that rhymes), then he may be a steal that starts for the rest of the year.
Week 4: At home against the New York Giants
Week 5: At Minnesota
Week 6: Bye
From a fantasy perspective, the Redskins backfield is a mess. But Helu is getting more and more touches each week as the current starter Tim Hightower has been passable, but not exceptional. While Helu has looked great in both running and receiving. If Helu keeps getting the ball more and more, he will be getting starter touches by weeks 4-6, and the Skins go against two defenses soft against the run in that stretch (unfortunately, they also have a bye, so you'll need a little more duct tape to make your team work.)
Week 4: At St. Louis Rams
Week 5: Bye
Week 6: At home against the Eagles
This is sort of the "duh" pick as he's Benson's backup in Cincinnati. But you need to go and handcuff him right now because the Bengals are going against three poor teams in weeks 4-5 and could turn into a nice fantasy payoff when a career backup puts up starter numbers. Bernard Scott has never really wowed anyone, but this may be the ideal situation for him to fill-in for Benson and do a little more than tread water.
Week 4: At home against Buffalo
Week 5: At Jacksonville
Week 6: At home against Indianapolis
With Matt Forte being the center of the Bears running and passing game, Barber will not put up huge yardage numbers. But he is coming back from an injury and will be suited up week 4-6. All week Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz has heard it from fans and media to not abandon the run, so he will be a little more conscious of the Bears running game in the next few weeks. Forte will get the bulk of the load, but Barber is a guy who can come in and steal a few touchdowns from time to time. He would be a gamble play, but if you're desperate for someone, he may be one of your best options who could sneak a few cheap touchdowns.
Week 4: At home against Carolina
Week 5: At Detroit
Week 6: At home against Minnesota