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In a bit of a shocking development, Knowshon Moreno has been ruled out of this week because of an undisclosed injury. Josh McDaniels learned from Bill Belichick so don’t expect an injury update any time soon. Correll Buckhalter and newly acquired Laurence Maroney are expected to carry the load. Given the Broncos match-up against Indianapolis, this is a big blow to Moreno owners. Both Buckhalter and Maroney are risky plays even in a flex slot.

 

Josh McDaniels took in one of the Patriots’ castoffs, picking up RB Laurence Maroney in a trade. Maroney’s fantasy value doesn’t change unless there is an injury to Knowshon Moreno. He will merely provide depth along with Correll Buckhalter.

 

As for the Patriots, this solidifies Fred Taylor’s starting gig. Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis will share the load.

 

If you were holding onto Mauroney in hopes that he would win back his starting gig with the Pats, feel free to cut him loose.

Fantasy Football Injury News

3 September 2010

 

Here’s a look at some of the injury situations around the league as the preseason wrapped up.

 

  • Jerome Harrison owners have to be breathing a little easier after Montario Hardesty injured his left knee in last night’s preseason against the Bears. Fortunately for Hardesty owners it’s not the right knee that had been bothering him earlier in camp. James Davis was also walking gingerly on the sidelines, although it doesn’t appear to be serious.
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  • Reports that Michael Bush up to a quarter of the season or more according to Oakland Tribune’s Jerry McDonaldn can’t sit well with Bush owners. This is great news for Darren McFadden, who will get a chance to prove himself, and the owners who have faith in Run DMC.
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  • Beanie Wells owners appear to have survived a scare as he avoided a serious knee injury in Arizona’s final preseason tune-up against Washington. Given Beanie’s track record with injuries, this is a little discouraging, but assuming he practices feel free to roll with him against St. Louis in Week 1. If you haven’t drafted yet, you may want to bump Tim Hightower up a few notches just in case.
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  • The Steelers don’t have to worry about keeping their QB plans for the season opener under wraps as Byron Leftwich suffered a knee (MCL) injury. Looks like it’s Dennis Dixon time in the Steel City.
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  • Laurence Maroney finally played some preseason snaps rushing for 32 yards on nine carries against the Giants. As usual the Patriots’ RB situation is something to avoid, but Maroney is the guy I’d take in fantasy drafts.
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  • Marshawn Lynch returned to action as well, racking up two yards on five carries. He’ll be the backup to C.J. Spiller in the opener (assuming Fred Jackson can go), and return to third string (if he’s not moved) when Jackson returns.
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  • Correll Buckhalter returned to action for the Broncos. He only gained three yards on three carries, but I can tell you first hand from being in the stands that he looked really good on a 15 yard swing catch. He is in a RBBC with Knowshon Moreno, but should be a serviceable option at RB2 or the flex spot during bye weeks.
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Image courtesy of Icon SMI

The Patriots should continue to be one of the better teams both in fantasy and reality, but they aren’t quite what they once were. Perhaps playing more of an underdog role is what they need.

 

Fantasy Playoffs Schedule:  Somewhat difficult
If the Patriots play like they are capable of, their opponent doesn’t really matter. However, facing the Bears in Chicago (Week 14), the Packers at home (15), and the Bills in Buffalo (16) means they could have three bad weather games in the fantasy playoffs. You should keep that in mind when deciding between Patriot players and someone you consider of equal value.

 

Five Star Fantasy Options
Tom Brady – Brady had a great season (65.7 completion percentage, 4398 yards, 28 TDs, 13 INTs, 96.2 passer rating), especially when you consider he was coming off a serious knee injury. Don’t look for another 50 TD season, but he remains one of the elite QBs in the league.

 

Randy Moss – He’s playing for one last big contract. He can disappear a bit when teams get physical, but you know what you’re getting with Moss. 1000+ yards and 10+ TDs.

 

Four Star Fantasy Options
None

 

Three Star Fantasy Options
Wes Welker – He can move up to four star option if he proves that his knee will be OK. He could also slide down to a two or one star option. It’s a matter of how he recovers, and you won’t know until down the road.

 

Patriots Defense/Special Teams – They always seem to be an opportunistic unit. They have some solid match-ups against the Bills twice (Weeks 3 & 16), the Browns (9), and the Lions (12).

 

Two Star Fantasy Options
Laurence Maroney – I don’t love Maroney, but he’s probably the best option the Patriots have. Draft him for RB depth and ride him if he gets hot.

 

Julian Edelman & Torry Holt – If Welker is slow to recover, Edelman can be used to fill the void. Once Welker is back, Edelman will catch the ball, but consistency will be an issue. I don’t think Holt has anything left in the tank, but Belichick somehow squeezes the last bit of production our of veterans.

 

One Star Fantasy Options
Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and Fred Taylor – Each of them will probably show some value at different points of the season, but you can’t rely on any of them.

 

Taylor Price and Brandon Tate – Keep these guys on your radar, but don’t bother drafting them until they have defined roles.

 

Alge Crumpler, Rob Gronkowski, and Aaron Hernandez – The Patriots have little to offer at TE. Look elsewhere.

 

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews.

Yesterday I gave you the Sell High Candidates.  Today I flip it up and give you the Buy Low ones.  These are guys who have started off slow.  Now is the time to pluck them from your competition before their value increases.

Peyton Manning - How often is it that Peyton Manning has more INTs than TDs after three games?  How about only 3 TDs in three games?  There are about a dozen QBs who have had better starts than Peyton.  If you can somehow package a RB or a WR with little brother Eli and snag Peyton, why wouldn’t you?  How about Aaron Rodgers?  You have to be more confident in Peyton’s ability to score big throughout the year.  This could be a great year to own him since they aren’t running away with the division.  They likely won’t be closing shop in Week 16 this year.  He has the bye week to continue to get healthy and work out his kinks.  You need to strike now before he gets hot.

Joseph Addai - You probably should have tried to get him a week ago, but he’s has less than 200 total yards and 3 TDs right now.  If you can acquire him for Sell High candidate Michael Turner, I say do it now.    Once Saturday gets healthier Addai will be ripping it up again.

Laurence Maroney - He’s done absolutely nothing.  He is averaging 22.3 yards per game.  Why would yo even consider him?  He finishes stong.  Nine of his twelve career TDs have come in the second half, with six of them coming in December.  If you can get him for bargain bin value, why wouldn’t you?  Even if he doesn’t rebound, he likely won’t cost you much.  If you have guys on bye early at RB you can afford to stash him on your bench.

Braylon Edwards - He has 73 yards in three games.  That’s pathetic.  That’s slightly better than what Maroney produced.  His QB situation is a mess, but eventually they are going to have to get him involved if they want to turn this thing around. 

Chad Ocho Cinco - He’s also off to a slow start.  I’ve told you already not to trust Ocho.  However, if you can acquire him as your third WR, don’t you think he’s worth the risk?  He still has a great QB throwing to him with a great WR opposite of him.

The Patriots will look to avoid the Super Bowl hangover. I expect a different mentality for the Patriots starting from the top down. With Spygate in their rearview mirror, the Patriots can focus on football. They will no longer feel the need to hang forty points on their opponents. They don’t have to justify their dominance in a manner that in the end could have led to their demise. When you pass as often as they did, it puts a lot of pressure on their offensive line. They never really established their rushing attack, and it ultimately failed them when they needed it the most. Look for them to be more committed to the run to wear defenses down to win the time of possession battle and keep their defense off the field.

In the Passing game, I don’t see as many deep routes. They will utilize more quick slant routes and timing patterns. They will also use more screen plays as LaMont Jordan has joined Kevin Faulk to give the Pats a pair of capable receivers out of the backfield. If you look back to the Super Bowl, this is what worked. Wes Welker could not be accounted for. To this day I contend that if short passes to Welker caught 20 passes that day, in essence making him the focus your ball-control rather than the RBs who couldn’t shake loose, the outcome may have been different. They truly had no answer for Welker. Obviously you can’t subject Welker to that sort of pounding all season long so Gaffney, the backs, and Benjamin Watson will have to get more in the mix. When defense try and shut down the underneath routes is when Randy Moss and Tom Brady will exploit them over the top.

Defensively the lost some leaders, but the Patriots’ M.O. is to replace those pieces and move on without much of a hitch. I feel they will be up for the challenge. I see Jered Mayo being a big playmaker for the Pats. If the Offense can control the clock keeping this unit fresh, I feel they can be one of the best defensive units in the league.

The Patriots won’t complete another perfect regular season. They’ll drop a couple of games along the way (including one to the Jets). They will win their divison as well as a first round bye. They will return to the Super Bowl, only this time they’ll leave a happier crew.

Fantasy-wise I don’t see the Patriots being as dominant.  Tom Brady and Randy Moss won’t come near their 2007 production.  Sorry, those numbers were historic, and won’t be approached any time soon.  This doesn’t mean they won’t be top end players at their respective positons, it just means they won’t be breaking any records htis year.  I even see Welker taking a small step back in terms of production.  I see increased production for Laurence Maroney and Chad Jackson, assuming they can stay healthy.  The tough thing about being a Patriots owner is you may not get much from them in the Fantasy Playoffs.  Keep that in mind when assembling your team.

We’ve done the Big Dog RBs and the Second Tier RBs, now it’s time to look at the next wave of RBs.  These are likely your #2 backs unless you opted to go QB or WR early (which isn’t a bad idea).

Willie Parker – Fast Willie piled on the yards last year (1316 to be exact), but didn’t make many trips (2) to the endzone.  I don’t see Big Ben tossing as many TD passes next year so that number should go up.  The problem I have with Willie is the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall.  He scares me if I’m a Willie Parker owner.

Jamal Lewis – Jamal had a terrific season (1552 total yards, 11 TDs) last year with Cleveland, but I just don’t trust him to be my #1 RB.  I expect their passing attack to take a step back next year, which will make it harder to run.

Ryan Grant – Ryan Grant came in and answered Green Bay’s prayers for some balance.  Lost in the whole QB debate is whether or not Grant will be a fluke.  If Rodgers struggles at QB, things could get difficult for Grant.  I’d hate to pin my hopes on him.

Maurice Jones-Drew/Fred Taylor – MJD gets the TDs.  Fred Taylor gets the yards.  Will the recipe be the same in Jacksonville next year?  Most likely.  They compliment each other so well.  Unfortunately for fantasy owners it makes it difficult to rely on either one.  Obviously I give MJD the edge because of his age and his ability to reach paydirt.

Laurence Maroney – Did you see Maroney run in the playoffs?  I’m sure the Patriot Coaches did.  Heck, they probably even have video on it.  Bad jokes aside, I see the Patriots running a more balanced attack next year.  With the holes the passing game should open, Maroney should run wild.

Ronnie Brown – Until he got hurt, Ronnie Brown was having one of the best years by any RB.  Unfortunately he blew out his knee following an Interception (thanks Cleo Lemon) and will likely take a year or so to get back to form.

Brandon Jacobs – Brandon Jacobs is a beast.  He should have plenty of opportunity to score TDs.  He needs to prove he can stay healthy.  He’ll likely have to share carries with some capable running mates.

Edgerrin James – Edge had over 1400 total yards last year, but will turn the dreaded 30 next month.  That usually doesn’t go over very well for a Running Back.  The Cards have two extraordinary WRs to keep defenses honest, but I’d be shocked if Edge replicates his 2007 campaign.

Darren McFadden – This one is based on potential, but Run DMC sure seems to be this year’s version of Adrian Peterson.  I don’t see him running for as many yards, or breaking any records, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if he finished in top ten for RB fantasy scoring.

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