Articles By Athlon Sports
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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
"Game time decision" may be the worst three words fantasy football owners can hear.
Both players are still struggling with hamstring injuries and both are listed as questionable, and both should not be started this week.
Arian Foster's more-than-capable backup, Ben Tate, has given Texans' coach Gary Kubiak no reason to push his star running back back onto the field and into action where he could re-injure himself and go from being day-to-day to out for the season. Tate, who's actually third in rushing in the league (it seems like you can put anyone back there and they'll rush for 100 yards and a score every game).
Arian was in a much better situation last week (Kubiak had planned on getting him 20 touches) only to have h is hamstring flare up again in the second quarter. In stepped Ben Tate and the rest is history. It looks even worse for Foster this week, so it makes sense to bench him and hope the Texans do the same. Bite the bullet and hope Foster can get back to 100% next week and through the rest of the season.
Arian Foster Prediction for Week 3: 0 carries, 0 yards
Ben Tate Prediction for Week 3: 22 carries, 123 yards, 2 touchdowns, 2 receptions, 8 yards
Beanie is a similar story. He's going against a tough Seahawks defense this week and was already a questionable play at best. Add in his hamstring issue, and you're better off playing Joseph Addai.
Beanie also has a sketchy history of being able to play through injury (whether that's a fair reputation or not, I don't know), but I'm not willing to put him in my lineup and hope he comes through. I'd rather get a sure-fire 5 points than no points at all.
The other problem is that Beanie is playing in the afternoon game, so you'll probably have to make your lineup decisions before you know if he will be playing or riding the pine. I'm guessing he'll give it a go (he probably wants to do something about his reputation of being soft), but he won't be able to get much done. Sadly, neither will Chester Taylor or LaRod Stephens-Howling.
Beanie Wells prediction for Week 3: 5 carries, 12 yards, 0 catches, 0 receiving yards
Chester Taylor prediction for Week 3: 13 carries, 54 yards, 2 receptions, 11 yards
Check out our complete week 3 waiver wire.
By Pete Thomas
Ndamukong Suh is pretty good at football (in case you haven't noticed). And his reputation as a brutal defensive lineman is reminiscent of the Giants' Lawrence Taylor.
Suh has been fined a few times a few times in his young career (something which he usually disputes) and has become one of the fiercest players on the defensive side of the ball. He's one of those guys that defensive coordinators have to change their whole game plan for. If you want to keep your quarterback alive, then you better stop Suh first, and then worry about the other 10 guys later.
Suh nearly took the head off the Bears Jay Cutler (he was fined $20k for that.) Suh then went helmet-to-helmet with Andy Dalton (that was another $20k.)
And that's why he's so reminiscent of Lawrence Taylor (even though Suh's fines are a product of the kindler, gentler NFL). Suh goes out there and plays like a wild dog and can take over a game all by himself. And the fact he can do it from the interior of the line makes his game that much more amazing.
Suh's Lions have been a laughing stock in the league for years. But his play has given them life and hope again. When he came into the league he proclaimed that Detroit was going to go 16-0. And while he knew that wasn't the case, he knew his tema had to have that mindset if they ever wanted to crawl out of the hole. He's brought respectability to the Lions, something that Taylor helped do with Bill Parcells and the Giants in the mid-80s.
Off the field, the two men couldn't be more different. Suh is an unassuming gentle giant who let's his sister boss him around. Whole Lawrence Taylor was a crack addict who loved prostitutes. But on the field, these two men couldn't be more alike. You could almost say these two men are complete opposites when they're dressed in street clothes.
But on the field, they both can wreck offenses like no one else.
And the Lions, who are 2-0 to start the season have a good shot at making the playoffs. If they do, and if Suh stays healthy, it's almost a foregone conclusion that he will be defensive player of the year. Something Lawrence Taylor was named three times in his career. It would be a surprise if Suh didn't have a pile of hardware in his trophy case at the end of his career.
It's not often that an interior lineman becomes the most exciting thing to watch on the field, but if you happen to have tickets to this week's Detroit Lions-Minnesota Vikings match-up, don't keep your eye on Adrian Peterson.
Keep your eye in the middle of Detroit's defensive line, because one day you'll be telling your grandkids that you saw THE Ndamukong Suh play. He's just that good.
Manny Ramirez wants to play again. And who's surprised? The man who abruptly walked away from the game earlier this season after he was busted for a second time with PEDs has had second thoughts.
And this is just days after he was arrested on a domestic violence charge.
So the question goes out to all the baseball GMs right: Who's in the market for an over-the-hill baseball player who also happens to be full of female fertility drugs and needs to serve a 100-game suspension?
Anyone? Anyone? Didn't think so.
Manny Ramirez isn't a calming, veteran presence you can bring into a young clubhouse. Manny Ramirez is a headache for any manager. He's the last thing a team needs.
Becaue right now, Manny, who will be one more year older is a .270 hitter with severely dimished power and not much speed who will turn every press conference for a team's manager and GM into a circus. Is that the kind of guy anyone wants or needs?
And Manny himself seems to realize this as well. He told ESPNDeportes, "If any team wants to sign me, I would play. But if no one wants to sign me, I would look to play in Japan or any other place. I was not prepared for retirement."
But the problem is, Major League Baseball seemed like it was ready for your retirement. And the thought of one of the greatest hitters in baseball history (who's legacy is already tarnished by steroids) opting to go over to Japan just to earn a paycheck is depressing.
But what else would you expect from Manny Ramirez?
Michael Vick participated fully in the Eagles Thursday practice session, making it pretty clear that he plans on playing this Sunday.
The oft-injured quarterback had to have been cleared by the league's third-party, independent physician for him to attend practice and participate in all the drills.
According to the very stringent rules set in place by the NFL once concussions became a clear problem for NFL players, Vick would not have been allowed to do any drills if the physician didn't give him the go ahead.
This must mean that all systems are go for Vick this weekend for Philly's home opener against the New York Giants. Barring any sort of setback (which is always a concern) where Vick experiences headaches or dizziness in the hours and days after practice, it looks like he's a definite for this week. (That sounds you hear is a million fantasy owners sighing in relief.)
As usual, when a player is coming back from a concussion, and even a minor concussion like the one Vick apparently had, the question remains if this is really all that safe.
Given the way Vick plays the game, he's going to take at least one big shot each game (and usually many more.) He's not Tom Brady. I know it probably makes no sense to treat one player differently from another, but when the player is Michael Vick, and you know he's definitely going to take a few shots over the course of the game, does it make more sense to be a little more cautious with him?
Mike Kafka did a stand-up job in his place and it seems like the Eagles might be better off sitting Vick for one more week against the lowly Giants. Sure, New York beat the Rams on Monday night, but anyone who saw that game knows that the Giants are not a good football team. The Eagles need Vick for the long haul. And losing him for one more game, as opposed to 14 seems to make more sense right now.
Just when you thought it was safe to go back to Candlestick Park, the San Francisco 49ers offense actually found a way to get worse.
Rivaling only the Chiefs as one of the most lackluster offenses this year (OK, and maybe the Colts), their newly-acquired wide receiver, Braylon Edwards will be out for three weeks following knee surgery. Which is the last thing San Fran fans wanted to hear. Not to say, he's Braylon has been lighting it up so far this year, but they need all the help they can get.
The already punchless offense lost another weapon and will be forced to rely on the underwhelming Ted Ginn Jr to fill his role.
So far, Ted Ginn has been providing half the team's touchdown from the special teams unit. But he's yet to show some of that spark when he's lined up at wideout.
On paper, this offense should be pretty good. Frank Gore is one of the best running backs in the league and Vernon Davis is a superhuman physical specimen who should shred defenses from the tight end position.
But Alex Smith has not been able to get their weapons the ball, and has continued to show that he can't get the ball deep downfield with much regularity, either.
But sometimes injuries like this can help a team make a correction. Instead of continuing to do the same thing that doesn't work, perhaps now someone will step up and take charge of an offense that desperately needs it.
With Michael Crabtree set to come back, maybe now is the time he finally lives up to his draft hype. If he does, then watch out.
Because the 49ers defense is good. If their offense actually pulle dtheir weight, this team could be dangerous come playoff time.
Is it me or is does something about this ad feel wrong? Should the NFL use Jamaal Charles' season-ending knee injury to get more people to sign up for their fantasy leagues?
I'm thinking no.
Maybe instead of putting a sad and concerned photo of Jamaal Charles, a real-life NFL player, not a fake pile of fantasy stats next to the text "Injury Ruined Your Fantasy Season?", they should be promoting one of the best young running backs in the league in as positive of a light as possible.
Do you think they would run this ad with a photo of Peyton Manning in a neck halo? I doubt it.
Darren Sproles has been putting on a show for PPR fantasy football teams the first two weeks of the season, but no one seems to be taking notice.
Sure, the New Orleans Saints' all-purpose player not a top-5 back, but Sproles, a guy who was going in the 10-15th rounds in most leagues has been an amazing value for PPR teams so far this year.
Other teams probably snickered and giggled when you drafted him in your league, but you're the one who's laughing now.
But, still, he doesn't seem to be getting the love in weekly rankings. So far he has 15 receptions in the first two games and has found the end zone twice as well. He's been putting up 18-20 points per game in PPR leagues. That's more than 95% of other backs in the league. Including ones that went in the first round (cough, Arian Foster, cough).
Sure, if you look at his classic running back line, he looks terrible. He's only got 6 rushing attempts for 24 yards. A great average per carry, but his rushing numbers aren't what's going to bring home any championship trophies, but it's his receiving that will make him a Top-10 back when the season is said and done.
Right now, Sproles is on pace for 112 receptions. That's up there with the top receivers in the game. The ones that were drafted in the first and second rounds. Sure, he won't have the same yards and touchdowns to show for it, but the way PPR leagues work out, the reception is a much more efficient way to get points.
One reception for no gain, is basically worth the same as one reception for 8 yards. And even if Sproles reception pace trails off (which it probably will), getting a guy with 75 catches in your flex or RB2 spot then you will have a much better chance of walking away with a championship this year.
It seems like guys like Sproles are the ones that are the secret to winning your leagues. He's not the sexy pick, but you can skip going after a second running back in the 3rd and 4th rounds, allowing you to beef up on another wide receiver or top QB, only to pounce on his value in the later rounds. It's time we gave this guy some more fantasy football love.
Jerome Simpson apparently really loves smoking weed. Or maybe he's a pot dealer on the side. It's really hard to tell with Bengals players these days.
Cincinnati police intercepted a package that was sent from California to Simpson's house that contained two and a half pounds of marijuana. When the cops showed up to search the house they found six more pounds of pot inside the house along with Bengals fourth-year tackle Anthony Collins and an unamed woman.
So why would Jerome Simpson, an up-and-coming star receiver in the NFL have this much weed in his house? Well, the obvious reasons are simple: He loves smoking pot. Or, he loves the money he makes from selling pot.
But there's only one true answer to the question of "why would an NFL receiver (even if he's on the Bengals) take the risk of selling pot?"
And that answer is: Because Jerome Simpson is an idiot.
Does he know how hard it is to get into the NFL? And is he also aware of how much money NFL players make? Maybe someone should show him one of his paychecks. Because the one big score he would get from selling 9 pounds of pot would be somewhere in the vicinity of $50-60 thousand dollars. And he has to split that with Collins and all the other participants, so his share will be what, $10,000. How does this make remotely any sense?
Jerome Simpson could make that much money with a few endorsements. And one of the major upsides of doing a few commercials is that the police won't come to your house and arrest you after you do them. And the NFL won't fine and suspend you, either. It's pretty much win-win.
The other upside of the whole "endorsements-instead-of-illegal-drug-running" is that you don't have the stress and worry of wondering when you're going to get caught (because most of the time, you're going to get caught).
Simpson was an up-and-coming star. He finished last year very strong and had continued his great play this season. Maybe it's a Bengals issue, since Cinci leads the league's locker rooms in arrests. Maybe this is how they go about hazing young players. Instead of taping them to a goal post, they make them get arrested for doing something extremely stupid and reckless.
Either way, a young player with a bright future is now a young player who might go to jail.
It’s only Week 3 of the fantasy football season and there have already been a ton of huge injuries and potential busts. Yet every Sunday morning when you check in before kickoff, all you get from your fantasy site is a bunch of bland match-up projections and quotes from that player’s local paper. Forget that. Your site should tell the truth about your highly drafted players. Here’s what we think it would look like if you got honest evaluations on your best players.
1. Chris Johnson
Honest Fantasy Advice: "Smart move drafting a guy who just inked a huge contract extension. That 2,000 yard season is still in play as long as there are 2,000 games left on this year's Titans schedule.
2. Arian Foster
Honest Fantasy Advice: "Was he coming off a flukey year? Check. Did he battle lingering hamstring issues all pre-season? Check. Are you a moron for taking him first overall and expecting him to replicate last season? Check."
3. Aaron Hernandez
Honest Fantasy Advice: "Remember when you were like, 'Should I take Gronkowski or Hernandez?' during your draft? Well, you chose wrong.
4. Peyton Hillis
Honest Fantasy Advice: "The Madden Curse strikes again. Also, the Curse of the Running Back Who Needs 37 Carries to Get 100 Yards strikes again."
5. Peyton Manning
Honest Fantasy Advice: "You really impressed yourself on draft day, huh? 'Look at me, I'm getting a top five quarterback in the 9th round! He'll never miss a start!' Now you're alternating between Tarvaris Jackson and Alex Smith while waiting on Terrelle Pryor's eligibility.
6. Michael Vick
Honest Fantasy Advice: We totally get why you'd take him so high. Nothing's more exciting than figuring out when Vick will take off next on a wild scramble and which type of injury it will result in.
7. Jamaal Charles
Honest Fantasy Advice: "Sure hope that league entry fee wasn't over 50 bucks.
8. Frank Gore
Honest Fantasy Advice: So far, so good. We'll just leave this here for now so it's ready for you when you need it: Gore will be sidelined for 2 to 4 weeks with inflammation in his knee.
9. Dez Bryant
Honest Fantasy Advice: He's unstoppable when he's on the field. No other wide receiver in the league possesses his rare combination of size, speed and injuries.
10. Marshawn Lynch
Honest Fantasy Football Advice: "Come on, dude, he plays for the Seahawks."
--By Saul Hutson