NFL Week 10: Injuries Galore

16 November 2009

It seemed the chic thing to do this weekend was get hurt. Here’s an early look at how some of the trendiest players have responded the morning after.

It sounds like Cedric Benson (hip) will be able to play this weekend, which is great news for Benson owners because he faces Oakland, Cleveland, and Detroit over the next three weeks. Look for Bernard Scott to get plenty of action as well as the Bengals put a hurtin’ on these floor mats. How crazy is it that the Bengals could easily be 10-2 when they face the Vikings in Week 14. 11-1 if the Broncos didn’t win on that miracle tip in Week 1.

Speaking of the Bengals, Larry Johnson is rumored to be signing with them as an insurance policy. Character isn’t their bag so he shouldn’t have a problem with the team or the fans. It remains to be seen if he has anything left in the tank.

Ronnie Brown most likely would miss a game this week if the Dolphins played on Sunday, so the fact that they play on Thursday all but seals that fate. At least you don’t have to worry about the dreaded game-time decision.

Julius Jones is bleeding in his lung, which sounds extremely painful. That injury should cost him a couple of games. Justin Forsett will fill the void, though I expect the Seahawks to be pass happy.

The is reporting that Kyle Orton will give it a go this week despite his ankle injury. While this is good news for Brandon Marshall owners, I’d cancel the victory parade. Orton will likely be limited, and San Diego is tough against the pass.

Michael Turner suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss at least a couple weeks. Turner was in the midst of a phenomenal season. There is no replacing his production. You have to hope you had early success or this injury could derail your fantasy season.

Brian Westbrook suffered another concussion in the Eagles’ loss to San Diego. At this point in the year, I’d say it’s safe to cut bait on Westy and go in a different direction. I don’t see him playing any time soon.

Here are some Running Backs putting up serious preseason numbers.  Let’s take a look and see if they have a chance to translate some of that preseason production into fantasy worth in regular season play.

Glen Coffee, San Francisco 49ers – Coffee leads all RBs with 196 preseason rushing yards.  He is averaging 6.5  yards per carry (ypc).  He also has two receptions for 8 yard, but has failed to score a TD.  The Rookie out of Alabama is doing all the right things to serve as Frank Gore’s primary backup.  If Gore goes down, Coffee’s value skyrockets.  He is a great late round value as a Gore handcuff or trade bait.

Tyrell Sutton, Green Bay Packers – Sutton has 140 yards on 27 carries (5.2 ypc) with a TD.  It’s could earn him a gig on a practice squad somewhere or the UFL. 

Michael Turner running
Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons
- The preseason means little, but it’s nice to know the Burner is picking up where he left off with 128 yards on 13 carries (9.8 ypc) with a pair of TDs.  He is clearly a top four pick, with a bump in non-PPR leagues.

James Davis, Cleveland Browns - James has been shooting up fantasy draft boards with an amazing preseason.  He has looked great in practices and showed a glimpse of his big play potential with a 81 yard TD run against the lowly Detroit Lions en route to a 12 carry, 116 yard game.  Through two preseasons games the Clemson Rookie has 121 yards on 14 carries (8.6 ypc) and 3 receptions.  He has plenty of competition in Jamal Lewis and Jerome Harrison, but let’s face it.  The Browns are bad.  They are going to be bad.  It’s only a matter of time before they start planning for the future, and Jamal Lewis isn’t the future.  Harrison is better suited for the change of pace role, meaning Davis could get the bulk of the carries.

Kory Sheets, San Francisco 49ers - Sheets has 102 yards on 22 carries (4.6 ypc), but only has a shot of making the team because of Thomas Clayton’s knee injury.  He has no fantasy value.

Mike Bell, New Orleans Saints - Bell is an interesting option.  I obviously wouldn’t carry him on my roster as long as Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas were healthy, but he could be productive if one of them went down with an injury.  He has 100 yards on 10 carries (10.0 ypc) this preseason with a 46 yard TD.

760 Packers v Buccaneers
Ryan Grant, Green Bay Packers
- Again, I know it’s only the preseason, but it’s nice to see Ryan Grant find the end zone.  He has scored twice while running for 71 yards on 16 carries (4.4 ypc).  He has added a couple of receptions.  If he can score more than the 4 TDs he had last year, he’ll be one of the best RB2s.

Ahmad Bradshaw
Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants - Bradshaw appears poised to pick up Derrick Ward’s slack with 89 preseason yards on 11 carries (8.1 ypc) with 4 catches for 16 yards.  He has the burst to break one, and the soft hands to catch the ball out of the backfield.

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By Marc Mancuso

Everyone wants to avoid overspeding these days. Things that may look nice and shiny and sound good are not always the path to happiness. These guys had amazing 2008 seasons, but they are bubbles waiting to burst. In keeping with the economic theme, past results are not predictors of future performance….

All Overvalued Team:
QB: Kurt Warner, ARI — I am seeing Warner go in rounds 3 & 4 of drafts. Really? The guy is 38 years old with a very suspect injury past, having played only two full seasons this decade (2001 and 2008)

RB: Michael Turner, ATL — The consensus #2 overall but I’m not buying it. Matt Ryan has new toys and its expected that the Falcons will open up the playbook in his sophomore season. That plus the dreaded rule of 370 to me sounds better at #6 than at #2.

RB: DeAngelo Williams, CAR — Timeshare with Jonathan Stewart again this year. Barring injury, DeAngelo will not reach his lofty 2008 numbers. Let someone else take the chance on a 1st round pick. T he Panthers didn’t see enough in DeWill or they would not have drafted Stewart as their top draft pick in 2008.

WR: Antonio Bryant, TB Those expecting a repeat of last season’s success will be disappointed. A very suspect QB situation, and three viable RB’s, point to fewer targets and particularly downfield targets. Awesome as a #3 but think twice about drafting him as your #2. Bryant has already gotten nicked in camp with a torn meniscus and will miss 3-4 weeks.

WR: Santonio Holmes, PIT A good Super Bowl does not a good fantasy player make (ala Deon Branch). I like his talent and speed, but he’s far too inconsistent to be a #2 WR. I am seeing him go in round 3 of drafts. Pittsburgh reverted back to a running team last year after putting up big numbers through the air in 2007. This despite injuries to Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall, and Hines Ward never seems to age, are all factors will further diminish Holmes’ overall value.

WR: Brandon Marshall, DEN Elite talent, but too many question marks to consider him in the 3rd or 4th rounds. Kyle Orton does not have the gun that Jay Cutler had, and Marshall’s hip and hamstring issues, combined with a potential suspension, puts him in very high risk territory.

TE: John Carlson, SEA — Seneca Wallace is back on the bench, TJ Housh is on the team, and Nate Burleson is back and healthy and getting rave reviews thus far at camp. All signs point to Carlson going back to a middle of the road TE, who should not be considered a #1 option.

Michael Turner running
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Michael Turner more than proved he was capable of stepping out of LT’s shadow to be a feature back.  Early in the season he was inconsistent.  He would dominate bad Defenses [Detroit, KC, GB (injuries), Oakland, Denver] and get bottled up by good ones [TB, Carolina, Chicago, Philly].  Something happened in Week 12 though as he destroyed Carolina for 117 yards and 4 TDs.  He became a machine putting up solid games against everyone he faced, including TB and a tough Minnesota run D.  He had 100+ yards and/or a TD in his last nine games. 

There is some cause for concern though despite the monster numbers (1699 yards, 17 TDs).  He had 376 carries last year.  That is a lot for a back even if he didn’t have much mileage prior to the season.  Historically, RBs with such a huge workload see a dip in production the following year.  I’m already calling for his TDs to reduce because of the addition of Tony Gonzalez, who is great inside the 20.  He’ll face a tougher schedule this year with games against Miami, New England, Dallas, Washington, NY Giants, Philadelphia, and the Jets, along with two games against Carolina and Tampa Bay.  His fantasy playoffs schedule consists of matchups with New Orleans, the Jets, and Buffalo, which isn’t terrible.  Despite the likely dip in production I still think Turner will be a top 3-4 back.  I’m expecting 1700 total yards and 13 TDs.

Matt Ryan throwing
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To say that Matt Ryan exceeded expectations last year is a vast understatement.  He started off slow averaging 167.3 yards per game in the first four games with 2 TDs (0.5/gm).  He tore it up in October and November averaging 244.5 ypg with 11 TDs (1.375/gm).  He fizzled a bit down the stretch averaging 203.8 ypg with 3 TDs (0.75/gm).  You would expect some growth from him in his second year, especially with the addition of Tight End Tony Gonzalez, who will team with Roddy White to give the Falcons an excellent 1-2 punch.  Michael Jenkins made strides last year and should benefit from Gonzo’s arrival as well.  Throw in an excellent running game with Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood and the Offense should be firing on all cylinders.

His fantasy schedule isn’t too frightening.  He plays at home against New Orleans, at NY Jets, and at home against the Bills.  His regular season is pretty tough being in a good division, facing the AFC East and the NFC East.  With his  weapons he still should be able to move the chains and put points on the board.  I’m expecting him to throw for around 3600 yards and 22 TDs.  He won’t dominate the fantasy scene, but he should be a pretty good value in the 8th round or so.

This is my preseason top ten.

Click here for my Midseason revised rankings.

Click here for my Second Half rankings.

1.  Adrian Peterson – All Day led the league in rushing and scored double-digit TDs again.  Sure, the loss of Matt Birk will hurt, but Peterson shouldn’t miss a beat.  He’s looking to add some muscle mass this offseason without losing any speed.  A bigger AP with the same speed and quickness.  Scary.

2.  Michael Turner – Burner Turner did not disappoint in his first shot as the feature back.  He struggled early against good defenses, but scored in seven of his last eight games.  As Matt Ryan progresses at QB, it will become more difficult to key in on Turner.

3.  Matt Forte - I love Forte’s versatility.  As a rookie he had the third most receiving yards for a Running Back.  Second if you discount Kevin Faulk, who isn’t a feature back.  He had 1715 total yards and 12 combined TDs.  Even if he has a 10% Sophomore slump dip in production, he’d still be good for over 1500 total yards and 10-11 TDs.

4.  Maurice Jones-Drew – With Fred Taylor heading to New England, MJD should be huge in 2009.  He’s always good for 400+ receiving yards and double-digit TDs.  Give him 300-320 carries and you could be looking at nearly 2000 total yards and 15+ TDs.

5.  Ronnie Brown - Last year Ronnie had 214 carries to Ricky Williams’ 160.  I think the split will be even more in Ronnie’s favor next year.  With Ronnie another year removed from his knee injury, he should be closer to the 2007 back that had 991 total yards and five combined TDs in seven games.

6.  LaDainian Tomlinson - LT battled through a variety of ailments last year and still managed to produce 1536 total yards and 12 combined TDs.  Not only do I think he’ll be healthy in ’09, I think he will be motivated.  I don’t see pre-2008 LT, but a better version that last year’s model.

7.  Clinton Portis – CP was severely overworked last year, but he still remains on the right side of 30. I see him producing similar numbers next year, only spaced out a whole lot better.  Jim Zorn will do a better job managing Portis’ carries so he doesn’t wear down at the end of the year.

8.  Brandon Jacobs - You would think Derrick Ward’s departure to Tampa Bay would have a significant impact on Jacobs’ value.  I don’t think so.  Ahmad Bradshaw will likely pick up most of the slack. As long as Jacobs can stay healthy, there isn’t any reason he couldn’t run for 1200+ yards and scored 18+ TDs.

9.  DeAngelo Williams – You must think I’m crazy putting D-Will this low after leading all RBs in scoring last year.  I’m sorry, but I don’t see another 1700 total yards from him.  Furthermore, there is little to no chance he approaches 20 TDs again.  Jonathan Stewart played a major role last year, and I think the split will be a little closer to 50/50 this year.

10.  Steven Jackson - Steven Jackson’s strong finish (637 total yards and 4 combined TDs in his last five games) is sticking in my mind more than the most forgettable 19 games he had in 2007 and the first part of 2008.  If he can stay healthy he has a chance to leapfrog several of the guys above him.  I haven’t completely forgotten though, which is why he’s in the ten spot.

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The biggest question I have for the Falcons is “can they do it again?”.  They have the pieces in place so I don’t see why not.  If Matt Ryan can avoid the Sophomore slump they’ll  be in good shape.  Ryan has plenty of weapons to work with, starting with Michael Turner and Roddy White.  Michael Jenkins made great strides this season and signed a four-year extension in November.  Having their QB, RB, and WRs intact makes the Falcons an attractive team for fantasy owners.  A lot has changed in a year.  Look for Roddy White to get paid this offseason.

Defensively their key free agents are Lawyer Milloy, Jonathan Babineaux, and Brent Grimes.

KFFL Free Agent Tracker:

Pos Player Name FA Status Previous Team Current Team
RB Jason Snelling UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
WR Michael Jenkins Re-signed Atlanta Falcons Atlanta Falcons
OG Harvey Dahl UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
OT Terrance Pennington Signed Atlanta Falcons New York Giants
OT Todd WeinerNew player news! Signed Atlanta Falcons Retired
C Ben Wilkerson UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
OL Renardo Foster UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
DL Jonathan Babineaux UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
CB Brent Grimes UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
CB Antoine Harris ERFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent
SS Lawyer Milloy UFA Atlanta Falcons Free Agent

Besides the eight teams who’ve had byes, we’re 1/4 of the way through the season.  Here’s a look at the biggest surprises at QB, RB, and WR through the first four weeks.

Jay Cutler
– There are plenty to chose from (Philip Rivers, Kurt Warner, and Aaron Rodgers for example), but Cutler is blowing the field away with 1275 yards, 9 TDs, and 4 INTs.  His 300 yard, 2 TD performace without Brandon Marshall set the tone for the season, and he hasn’t let up.  He should keep on rolling next week at home vs. Tampa Bay.  He’s averaging 307 yards and 3 TDs at home so far.  Tampa has been vulnerable on the road allowing 343 yards and 3 TDs to Drew Brees in Week 1 and 268 yards and 2 TDs to Kyle Orton in Week 3.

Michael Turner - We knew he had big-play ability as a backup to LaDainian Tomlinson, but we didn’t know how he’d do as the Leading Man.  Well, so far so good for Burner Turner.  He has 422 yards and 5 TDs through four games.  He’s like the tale of two RBs though as he exploited two bad teams (220 yards, 2 TDs vs. Detroit & 104 yards and 3 TDs vs. KC).  When he faces better teams (42 yards vs. Tampa & 56 vs. Carolina) he hasn’t had as much success.  He could enjoy success again next week as he faces Green Bay, who gave up a combined 174 yards to Earnest Graham and Warrick Dunn last week, 218 yards to Marion Barber III and Felix Jones the week prior, and 103 yards to Adrian Peterson in Week 1.

Santana Moss
- Sure, he finished the 2007 season strong with 261 yards and 2 TD in his final three games, but who would have predicted 421 yards and 3 TDs after four games?  Especially when you consider that’s more than half the yardage he produce in each of the past two seasons.  If you watched Washington in Week 1, you’d be even more surprised.   Unfortunately for Moss, I don’t see a repeat performance this week vs. Philly, who has held three teams below 200 yards passing already.  Even if you include the game vs. Dallas, they are only allowing 196.3 passing yards per game this year.

Time for another edition of Fantasy Football Out on a Limb.  I scour the rosters to select a player who I feel will outperform a higher profile player in that given week.  I base my decisions on matchups, how the players are trending, and the ever-important hunch.  To mix things up I’ll occasionally do some two on one matchups or even pit RB or WR duos against each other.  Sometimes I’ll spot a player some points. 
6 points for rushing or receiving TD
4 points for a passing TD
0.1 points per yard for rushing or receiving
0.05 points per passing yard. 

Last Week
J.T. O’Sullivan
(20.65) over Derek Anderson (10.45) WHICH I WON
Maurice Jones-Drew (22.6) over Ryan Grant (5.4 )WHICH I WON
Larry Johnson (18.1) over Darren McFadden (4.8) WHICH I WON
Santonio Holmes (3.2) beat Bryant Johnson (2.5)  WHICH I LOST
Laveranues Coles (13.5) beat Amani Toomer (6.4) WHICH I LOST
Super Stetch:  
Chris Perry (15.3) beat Darren Sproles (7.7) WHICH I LOST 

Regular Picks:  3-2
Super Stretch Picks:  0-1
Overall:  3-3
Breakdown: QB: 1-0, RB 2-1, WR: 0-2



Season Record
Regular Picks:  9-6
Super Stretch Picks:  1-2
Overall:  10-8
Breakdown: QB: 3-0, RB: 5-3, WR: 2-5

Carson Palmer over Donovan McNabb
Palmer had been awful before showing a glimpse of his old self last week vs. the G-Men.  Now he gets to face Cleveland at home.  That should be the remedy he needs.  McNabb gets to go on the road to Chicago without his top weapon, Brian Westbrook.  Life will be much more difficult for Mr. McNabb.

Running Backs
Jamal Lewis over Michael Turner
Jamal Lewis should have a big day against the Bengals in what figures to be a slugfest.  Michael Turner will return to Earth as he faces a team with an actual Defense in Carolina. 

Jonathan Stewart over Darren McFadden
I’ll let these two rookie RBs battle it out.  I’m taking J-Stew and his matchup against Atlanta even though he’ll have to share with DeAngelo Williams.  McFadden has to face the Chargers, who aren’t as tough defensively as in recent years, but will probably score in bunches to take the ball out of Run DMC’s hands.

Wide Receivers
Robert Meachem over Santonio Holmes
I’ll pick on Holmes again even though he got me last week.  This time I’m coming with Robert Meachem.  The Saints are losing guys like flies as Shockey joined Colston on the sidelines.  Drew Brees is going to throw the ball.  Meachem will likely be one of his top targets.  I don’t see Holmes finding the cure to what ails him this week when he faces Baltimore. 

Isaac Bruce over Hines Ward
I do another oldies matchup.  This time I’m taking Isaac Bruce, the new San Francisco treat, to take out Hines Ward.  For starters Bruce gets to face New Orleans, which is a much easier task than Ward facing the Ravens.  Not only do they have a better secondary than the Saints, they also will bring much more heat.  If Big Ben is hit like he was vs. Philly, he may have another early exit.

Kerry Collins over Jason Campbell
Kerry has a plush matchup vs. Minnesota.  If there line can hold up to the Vikings’ Pass Rush, he should be able to do some nice things.  Campbell has played well of late, but I get the feeling while facing Dallas he’s going to look more like he did in Week 1.

Atlanta Falcons Preview

1 September 2008


Well, at least the Falcons didn’t have their star QB arrested on dog fighting charges this offseason.  They brought in new Coach Mike Smith, Jacksonville’s former Defensive Coordinator.  Hopefully he doesn’t quit on them like Bobby Petrino.

Offensively they are handing the keys to Boston College Rookie Matt Ryan at QB.  He has a couple of decent threats in Roddy White, who emerged last year with 83 catches for 1202 yards, and 6 TDs, and Michael Jenkins.  Alge Crumpler has moved on to Tennessee and has been replaced by Ben Hartsock.  Their prized free agent signing was Running Back Michael “Burner” Turner from San Diego.  He’ll get teh chance to be the lead back for a change.  Jerious Norwood will be the change-of-pace back as Warrick Dunn returned to Tampa.

Defensivley they are going to hope Jamaal Anderson can improve as a second-year DE.  If he can, he’ll take some of the pressure off John Abraham, who had ten Sacks last year.  Keith Brooking and Michael Boley each had over 100 tackles at Linebacker.  Demorrio Williams has moved on to Kansas City, and will be replaced by Tony Taylor.  Another key missing piece is DeAngelo Hall, who went to Oakland.  He had big ability, but a big attitude to match.  Brent Grimes will step in to replace him to go with Chris Houston.  Chris Crocker was solid at Safety, but went to Miami and will be replaced by Erik Coleman.  Lawyer Milloy returns at the other Safety position.  He had 90 tackles last year.

Let’s see.  A lot of turnover on Defense.  Rookie QB.  Rookie Head Coach.  Yeah, this team is destined to fail.  Not only will they finish in the bottom of NFC South, they will challenge for the worst record in football.

Fantasy-wise there isn’t much to offer in the ATL.  Michael Turner is worth a gamble on a #1 or #2 RB slot, but you don’t know what you are going to get.  Roddy White makes a solid #3 WR in most formats.  Matt Ryan, Jerious Norwood, and Michael Jenkins are fantasy backups at best.  You’re not going to get rich (i.e. win your fantasy league) relying on too many Falcons.  Look elsewhere.

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