Donnie Avery Injures Knee

26 August 2010

Image courtesy of Icon SMI


St. Louis Ram WR Donnie Avery was injured in tonight’s preseason game against the Patriots. More details to come, but this could be a serious blow to the young WR. If you drafted him, give it some time until you hear the extent of his injury before doing anything drastic. If you are drafting before word comes out, you probably want to pass on him. I would also pass on any Ram other than Steven Jackson.

The Rams selected their QB of the future in Sam Bradford. Unfortunately the pieces aren’t in place for him to turn things around too dramatically this year. At least there is hope.


Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Moderate
They take on the Saints on the road in Week 14 followed by home games against Kansas City and San Francisco. It’s not a terribly frightening schedule, but aside from Steven Jackson, who are you counting on from the Rams?


Five Star Fantasy Option
Steven Jackson – My hope is that Bradford will at least keep defenses honest. Jackson was such a warrior battling through injuries to amass 1738 total yards (1416 rushing) and 4 TDs. He could have easily quit given the Rams’ ineptitude, but he didn’t. Gotta respect that. If the team is any better, which I expect it to be, Jackson should easily be a top 5-8 fantasy RB.


Four Star Fantasy Options


Three Star Fantasy Options
Donnie Avery – Avery burned fantasy owners last year, so he should come at a value. He will have some consistency issues with a rookie QB under center, but he at least has a competent one this year.


Two Star Fantasy Options
Sam Bradford – I’m not the biggest fan of this year’s QB class, or rookie QBs in general, but Bradford has the tools. He could start the year watching A.J. Feeley, but you have to imagine he’ll get his opportunity.


One Star Fantasy Options
A.J. Feeley – While he’s probably an upgrade over the QBs the Rams had last year, he does not have a firm grip on the job. Even if he holds off Sam Bradford, he will eventually yield to the future.


Kenneth Darby & Chris Ogbonnaya – Unless Steven Jackson goes down, you needn’t worry about this duo.


Keenan Burton, Mardy Gilyard, Danny Amendola, Laurent Robinson – None of these options excite me, but Burton and Robinson, assuming they have recovered from injuries, are the ones to watch.


Daniel Fells & Michael Hoomanawanui - Neither TE does anything to excite me.


Rams Defense/Special Teams – The Rams’ D would have taken a step in the right direction if they took Ndamukong Suh. That said, I see why they wanted a franchise QB instead. There is no reason to think the Rams’ D will be fantasy worthy in 2010.


Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

The season is approaching and the Rotoprofessor has stepped up his game to give you great fantasy football coverage.

Joe Flacco: Sophomore Stud or QB to Avoid?

Joe Flacco became a darling of the league last season, bursting onto the scene as a first round draft choice equipped with a big-time arm.  It’s rare that a rookie quarterback can walk into the NFL and immediately guide his team to a winning record, yet alone the playoffs.  He accomplished that, starting all 16 games en route to an 11-5 record and a wildcard playoff birth.

Before we dub him a great fantasy option this season, we need to be cautious.  First off all, the Ravens clearly protected him in their game plans, limiting him to 428 attempts.  That placed him 19th in the league.

He only managed 2,971 yards and 14 TD.  His strength was managing the game, throwing just 12 interceptions and stepping up to make a play when the team needed it most.

It is obvious that the offense was focused around the running game, however, something that is likely to be repeated in 2009.  When you have Ray Rice (who I profiled recently, so click here to read), Willis McGahee and Le’Ron McClain, do you really blame them?

You also have to take into account the questions surrounding the men on the outside.

Derrick Mason?  Is he retired?  Well, it seemed like it, but he had a change of heart.  While he does have seven seasons of over 1,000 yards, he is now 35-years old and you have to wonder how much he has left in the tank.  As a number two-receiver maybe, but he enters the season as the top receiver for the Ravens.

Mark Clayton? We’ve all heard about the promise and talent, but only once has he posted a season of over 700 yards or score more than three touchdowns.  Until he proves he can do that, he’s going to be surrounded with question marks and shouldn’t be considered a reliable option.

After that, whom else do they have?

  • Kelley Washington (73 career receptions)
  • Demetrius Williams (55 career receptions)
  • Yorman Figures (2 career receptions)

I would be a lot more comfortable with Flacco if he had a big-time, dependable young wide receiver who he could just throw the ball up to and watch him make a play.  Couple that with the Ravens desire to focus on the run and it makes it tough to consider Flacco as a usable fantasy option this season outside of deeper two-quarterback formats.

Even in shallower formats, I’d lean against stashing him as my reserve QB.  While it’s possible that he could post a good week now and then, there’s no guarantee that it’s going to come in the week that you need him.

What do you think?  Is Flacco a QB you’d consider drafting?  How good do you think he’ll be this season?

Is Donnie Avery a Fantasy Starter?

To look at Rams top wide receiver Donnie Avery brings a litany of questions:

  • Will he be able to progress from his rookie season and assume the pressures as the team’s top receiver?
  • Will his QB be able to get him the ball?
  • How will missing the majority of the preseason affect his performance?
  • Will he even be able to take the field for Week 1?

A second round draft pick in 2008, Avery was second on the Rams in 2008 with 53 receptions and 674 yards, trailing just Torry Holt in both categories.  With Holt now calling Jacksonville home, Avery was thought to enter 2009 as the team’s prime target but injuries have derailed those plans a bit.

He had been sidelined since August 7 after suffering a stress fracture in his foot during a scrimmage.  It was questionable if he would recover in time to open the season, but he was in the line-up for Thursday’s final preseason game.

He was only in the game for the first two series and didn’t have a single pass thrown his way, but being able to take the field was a huge victory.  While it is possible that he’s still hindered by the injury for a week or two into the regular season, the fact that he will be able to take the field gives him a chance to be productive.

Marc Bulger has also been limited this preseason, just helping fuel the questions about his potential success in 2009.  Once regarded as one of the elite quarterbacks in the game, he has been mired with injuries only once starting all 16 games in a season.

Last year he did manage to play in 15 games, but still had just 2,720 yards.  Over the past two seasons he’s thrown just 22 touchdowns compared to 28 interceptions.  His completion percentage hasn’t exceeded 58.5% each of the past two years.

Even this preseason, he’s been sidelined with a fractured pinkie.  Considering that the projected second-string quarterback is Kyle Boller, with a career passer rating of 71.9, there is reason to worry that Avery could suffer this season from poor quarterback play.

Will Bulger be healthy?  Can he rediscover his Pro bowl status?  What if Boller is forced into duty?

With that said, let’s take a look at what I would expect from Avery this season:

Receiving – 61 catches, 835 yards, 5 TD

When looking for a wide receiver, you want someone who you can count on.  With Avery, I don’t think you get that.  He proved to be good last season, but he was far from elite.  Throw in the questions about his QB and the fact that the Rams are going to be a team to ride Steven Jackson into the end zone at any time possible, and you get a WR with more questions then answers.

He has upside, however, considering he will be his teams top receiver.  He’s worth getting, but too me I don’t want to be depending on him as one of my top three receivers.  While he could prove worthy of a starting spot, he’d look better on my bench as a #4 who I can reap the benefits from if he outperforms my projections.

What do you think?  Do you think Avery will be a must start fantasy WR option or is he better as your fourth option?

Match-Up: Hester vs. Breaston

While neither Devin Hester (ADP of 95.48) nor Steve Breaston (ADP of 93.81) would be ideal starting WR in most formats, both players could prove valuable to your fantasy roster when all is said and done.  Which player would make the better bench option?  Let’s take a look.

After starting his career as a cornerback and return specialist (returning 11 kicks for TD between 2006 & 2007), the Bears wanted to get his speed on the offensive side of the ball.  In 2007 he began lining up as a wide receiver, though was more of a decoy then a consistent target.

Last season he began to be more integrated into the offensive schemes.  He amassed 51 catches for 655 yards and 3 TD.  Those are solid numbers, especially when you consider that Kyle Orton was his QB, and he enters the 2009 season as a starter for the Bears.

As I’ve said before when discussing Eddie Royal (click here to read), Jay Cutler, who now mans the Bears QB position, completed 55 passes for 20+ yards and 7 for 40+ yards.  Compare that to Orton’s 34 completions of 20+ yards and 3 completions of 40+ yards and you have to like Hester’s potential for the big play a whole lot more.

The difference with Breaston is that you know he is going to be the third receiver on his team, unless an injury or some other situation calls him into duty.  When you play in an offense that boasts Larry Fitzgerald & Anquan Boldin, there’s not much you can do.

Breaston plays the Wes Welker role well, however, picking up 77 catches for 1,006 yards last season.  With Kurt Warner at QB, you know there’s going to be plenty of balls put into the air in Arizona, but can you safely assume he’s going to be able to match what he did last season?

The Cardinals, remember, are a team that didn’t boast much of a rushing attack in 2008.  Edgerrin James was the team’s leading rusher, and he amassed just 514 yards on 133 carries.  It was obvious that the team felt more comfortable putting the ball in the air whenever possible.

Things should change this season, however, after spending their first round pick on Beanie Wells.  You do not select someone like Wells if you do not intend to use him, and do so heavily.

A greater focus on the running game is going to mean less balls going in the air.  Who do you think is going to get less opportunity to make plays?  It’s certainly not going to be your stars, so it would appear unlikely that Breaston can repeat his performance.

So, when it comes to drafting your backup wide receiver and it comes to a decision between these two players, it would appear that Hester has a greater upside in having a big season.  Isn’t that exactly what you’re looking for?  A player with tremendous upside?  I’d make him your selection every time.

What about you?  Which of these two players do you prefer and why?

Photos courtesy of Icon Sports Media, Inc.

Kevin Walter recorded his second straight 800+ yard season.  He doubled his TD output from 4 to 8 though, which gave him significantly more fantasy value.  His is pretty much the choice when defenses are forced to pick a poison.  With Andre Johnson, Steve Slaton, and Owen Daniels attracting so much attention, Walter is able to do his thing.  Consistency is his big issue.  He had nine games with fewer than 50 yards, and only one of those games did he salvage with a TD catch.  He also disappeared down the stretch with just 5 catches for 48 yards in Weeks 15-17.  You hate to see a player end on such a low note, but that could help you land him at a discount.  He’s going around the 8th round of fantasy drafts and is best used as a WR4 for spot starts and bye week fill-ins.  I think he’ll see a slight dip in his production as his TD total goes down, but he should still catch 60 passes for 800 yards and 5 TDs.

Ted Ginn, Jr. made a big leap last year going from 34 catches for 340 yards to 56 catches for 790 yards.  He also ran for 73 yards and two scores.  Even with those two rushing TDs, Ginn, Jr. had just four last year, a number he’ll need to improve on if he is going to rise in the ranks of fantasy WRs.  Consistency was also a problem he had with nine games with less than 50 yards, including a game where he finished with -1 yards.  Not only did he not score any points for those who started him, but he actually took .1 away.  Two games later he caught 7 passes for 175 yards.  Ginn, Jr. is going around the 9th round in fantasy drafts.  He is not a reliable WR3, but makes a decent WR4 or WR5.  I expect him to continue to improve in his third season with 70 catches for 1000 yards and 5 TDs.

Donnie Avery’s stock is slipping a bit because of he’s out the rest of the preseason with a foot injury, and Marc Bulger’s broken pinkie.  Avery had a nice Rookie season with 53 catches for 674 yards and 3 TDs.  It’s tough to pick a second year player without seeing how he’s progressing and with a questionable QB situation at best.  Marc Bulger is not and won’t be the player we once figured him to be.  Kyle Boller, his backup, doesn’t have the best track record.  I would take Avery as a WR5, but would not want to rely on him as my main backup.  Avery has been going around the 8th round of fantasy drafts, but that number is bound to drop with the aforementioned injuries.  I expect 65 catches for 725 yards and 5 TDs for Avery.

Jerricho Cotchery played better without Brett Favre.  He averaged 82 catches for 1045.5 yars and 4TDs in the two years before Favre’s arrival and had 71 catches for 858 yards and 5 TDs without him.  Laveranues Coles moved on to Cincinnati leaving Cotchery as the main weapon for whoever wins the Kellen Clemens/Mark Sanchez battle.  I like him a little more if Sanchez is his starting QB.  Either way he should be targeted early and often.  Cotchery makes a nice WR4, going in the 8th round of fantasy drafts.  I expect 80 receptions for 950 yards and 4 TDs. 

Image courtesy of Icon SMI

Donnie Avery, who many fantasy football owners are counting on as their #3 Wide Receiver, will miss the next four to six weeks with a foot injury that occured in the Rams’ Friday scrimmage.

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, an X-Ray on the foot revealed no fracture, but an MRI “showed more than we thought,” according to coach Steve Spagnuolo.  He went on to add that “it’s probably a four-to-six-week injury.”

Avery was the #1 WR on the Rams depth chart following Torry Holt’s departure to Jacksonville.  The second round pick out of Houston had 53 receptions for 674 and 3 TDs in his rookie season last  year, including a six reception, 163 yard effort against the Patriots. 

Avery could miss the first couple weeks of the regular season , which should bump him down a few notches in fantasy drafts.  Considering this is an injury that could linger all year, I would have a hard time taking him as anything more than my 5th WR at this point.  I obviously don’t want him as a starter, and am leery of him as my top backup as well.  Laurent Robinson and Keenan Burton will likely start in any game Avery misses, and newcomer Ronald Curry should see some reps as well.  If you can downgrade Marc Bulger any further, I would do so.  I don’t trust anyone in the Rams’ passing attack now.

Written by Lisa Danhof

Fair Warning: I’m not clairvoyant. I don’t even play one on TV. That said, it really doesn’t take a crystal ball to anticipate some changes for your team. So, with a bit of deductive reasoning, logic, and historical evaluation you can finally stop reacting and start anticipating. For once you won’t be sniped at the waiver wire, but actually be ahead of the curve.

One man’s pain is another man’s gain – as the old saying goes. But are players up to making the most of the opportunities they’ve been handed? These three are what I consider the most likely to take the opportunities that they’ve worked really hard for and turn them into personal and fantasy gold.

1.  Nate Washington, PIT WR – 6.6% owned
Washington has turned into a favorite deep target of Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger as of late, with 2 touchdown receptions of almost 50 yards a piece in each of the last two games. His attempts only promise to increase with the suspension of Santonio Holmes. Per Coach Tomlin has been praising Washington’s practice habits. “Nate has been very consistent in practice,” Tomlin said. “Last year he showed us flashes of being a guy to be reckoned with. He could step up and have a big game and then three or four weeks step up and have another big game.” Now is the time Washington finally realizes all that potential.

2.  Donnie Avery, STL WR 22.3% owned.
In addition to Steven Jackson, Avery has been the biggest beneficiary of the new Jim Haslett regime. He has quickly become the number two target in a suddenly resurgent Rams offense; an offense has been consistently scoring more points each week. He has eight catches and 128 yards in the last two games, numbers that could have been even better had he not had a touchdown reception called back due to a penalty. But possibly the best news about Avery – his matchups for fantasy playoffs are Arizona, San Francisco and Seattle. This means get Avery now while you still can, even if he’s not needed until the playoffs.

3.  BenJarvus Green-Ellis, NE RB 15.6% owned
Green-Ellis looked sharp on Monday night as the lone remaining healthy back for the Patriots. Sammy Morris is out 2-3 weeks and Lamont Jordan will definitely be out again for the third straight week this week. Some sources have reported that the Patriots are going to go to ‘Running Back by committee’ but last week after Morris went down Green-Ellis was the dominate back, getting thirteen carries in the second half. Green-Ellis is the perfect position to become the featured back and to hold the spot permanently.

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