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This week’s topic
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What top 15 running back do you feel is poised for a fall?
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My response:
Even before winning the Madden NFL 12 cover contest, I was down on Peyton Hillis. Now that he also has the Madden Curse to deal with, that pretty much sealed his fate for me. The likelihood that he will be available when I am comfortable drafting him is razor thin.
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Browns GM Tom Heckert admitted that the Browns overused Hillis last year. There is little chance he gets as many touches this year. Montario Hardesty should be fully recovered from his ACL surgery, which will put them both smack dab in the middle of a RBBC. Hardesty was supposed to be the featured back before suffering the injury. Obviously Hillis played his way into a healthy workload, but he will have to share.
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As Colt McCoy becomes more comfortable in the offense, I anticipate the Browns attempting more than the 478 passes they did last year, which could also cut into the workload.
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Hillis finished the season averaging 35.7 rushing yards in his last three games and 54.4 in his last five. After scoring 13 touchdowns (11 rushing) in his first 11 games, he failed to score in his final five. Like I said, the writing was on the wall before the Madden cover. Do you really want to test the Madden Curse with an early draft pick?


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The NFC East has three established quarterbacks and one messy situation.
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Michael Vick is the number one fantasy quarterback in the division. He’s a bit of a risk in part because of injuries and in part because he’s never had a season like last year. He has the tools to succeed and the weapons around him to flourish, but we won’t know if he still has the drive to be a better quarterback. He’s easily a top tier QB1, but he has more risk than the likes of Rodgers, Brees, Brady, and Manning. Kevin Kolb is one of the better backup quarterbacks in the league. He could find himself traded, possibly to Arizona. He makes a decent QB2 if he’s a starter.
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Tony Romo put up big numbers when he is healthy. Dez Bryant is immature, but he gives Romo another quality weapon. He’s averaged 2699.5 yards and 1.9 touchdown passes per game over the past four years (51 games). His lack of playoff success keeps him from the Brady, Peyton, and Brees discussions, but he is possibly the best value among fantasy quarterbacks because of it.
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Eli Manning reached 4000 yards for the second straight season. Not bad for a team that historically likes to run the football. His career high of 31 touchdowns gives him an average of 29 over the past two years and 25 over the past six. He really formed a nice rapport with Hakeem Nicks and remains a solid QB1 if you want to address other needs or a high-end QB2.
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Then there is Washington. Donovan McNabb is as good as gone, which marks the second straight season he’s been sent packing. I don’t know if he’s a starting caliber quarterback anymore. Even if he finds a new gig, his fantasy days are most likely behind him. Rex Grossman could be brought back, but it appears John Beck could get a chance to show what he can do. This is a situation to avoid. Not only are the QB options mediocre at best, but they are running thin in the playmaker department.
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Also check out:


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Peyton Hillis won the Madden NFL 12 cover vote making the bruising running back  this year’s Madden cover boy. He was an improbable winner, taking down the likes of Aaron Rodgers, Michael Vick, Drew Brees, and Adrian Peterson. Hopefully he can avoid the dreaded Madden Curse.


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EA Sports and ESPN are teaming up to let you pick the cover of Madden NFL 12. We’re down to the finals, with voiting open through Sunday. Go to ESPN to vote. You can vote every day until the contest ends.
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The championship pits (pun intended) Peyton Hillis against Michael Vick.  I’m sure dog lovers and Madden Curse believers will pull for Vick. I too am voting for Vick, but not because I want him to get hurt. He was clearly the better player last year. Personally I think it should have been Aaron Rodgers, but since he’s eliminated I’m going with #7.

Boser’s Tweetbeat – Sifting through the hashtags to bring you the hottest trending Twitter topics in the Fantasy Football industry.
By Ryan Boser
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A Kick in the Teeth?
The NFL’s decision to move kickoffs up from the 30 to the 35-yard line has been widely criticized by coaches, players, and fans alike. Touchbacks are boring, and more importantly, they deprive us of fantasy scoring opportunities. Last season roughly 16 percent of kickoffs resulted in touchbacks — that number is expected to double in 2011. Furthermore, it’s been speculated that there will be an emphasis on kickoff height, giving coverage units extra time to swarm. So how exactly will this rule change affect fantasy football? Well, unless your league awards points for return yards, the impact will be minimal. The odds of that pleasantly unexpected six-pointer from guys like Percy Harvin or Jacoby Ford just took a hit, but you shouldn’t be banking on those perks anyways.
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The Quarterback Shuffle

Now that the Super Bowl buzz has subsided, Michael Vick has reclaimed his throne from Aaron Rodgers as the No. 1 2011 fantasy quarterback. What’s more interesting is the range at which he’s been drafted. In nearly 40 expert mocks run by the fine folks at FantasyFootballWhiz.com and ProFootballFocus.com, he’s been selected everywhere from No. 1 to No. 26. I can’t recall a more polarizing fantasy prospect. I find myself trending towards the low end of the spectrum — outstanding quarterback value can be found in rounds 4-6.
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Trade Winds

Now that Andy Reid is reportedly willing to listen to trade offers for backup quarterback Kevin Kolb, we can safely begin to discuss his fantasy impact as a starter. Where? Take your pick — his name has been tied to speculation in Tennessee, Carolina, San Francisco, Minnesota, Cleveland, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Arizona. Of the eight teams mentioned, no player stands to gain more than Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald. The addition of a quarterback who can put a ball in his general vicinity would likely propel his fantasy draft stock back to where it belongs — among the top three wide receivers.
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Gold Rush
The fantasy stock of San Francisco’s passing game has seen an uptick since the hiring of Jim Harbaugh in January. For now, we have to assume Alex Smith will return as quarterback, although that could obviously change depending on how April’s draft plays out. In particular, tight end Vernon Davis’ and wide receiver Michael Crabtree’s ADPs are pointing up. Davis belongs in the top five at his position, regardless of coach or quarterback, but I’m still leery of Crabtree. He’s shown us very little at the NFL level, and his size/speed combination is nothing special. In 27 career games, he’s topped 81 yards just twice, and he’s only scored eight times. Moreover, he’s caught just 55% of his targets (103/187), and averaged a mundane 13.3 yards per catch. Does that seem like mid-round value to you?
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Ryan Boser is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association (FSWA), and regularly contributes writing and commentary to numerous media outlets. Ryan’s own website, Out of My League, covers both fantasy football and the Minnesota sports landscape.


Even Vick knows where he should be drafted.
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By Cy Holt
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For those of you who were lucky enough to pick up Michael Vick last year you don’t have to read this. Because only you select few know the great feeling and comfort of having him on your team. And for those who weren’t so lucky, you know the awful uncomfortable feeling of playing against him. #7 scored 300 points in 2010, including his monster 49-point game against
Washington in week 10.
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He was only surpassed by breakout running back Arian Foster who scored 313 points (according to ESPN fantasy football
standard league scoring). Vick did his damage in just 12 games. That is an average of 25 points per week. Just think of what he could have done if he would’ve played all 16 games!
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Within the top five scorers last year no player scored over 20 per game. Except Vick. Yes, there is some discussion on if Michael will be able to stay healthy and not get hurt. People say he runs too much, and takes too many big hits from opposing defenses instead of sliding. Well I got two things to say…
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#1 He got better of running out of bounds and sliding after his injury
#2 News flash for you, running backs take those same hits every play.
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So there is a risk with whomever you draft. But just know that Vick is as tough as they come. Most people are still stuck on drafting a running back with the number one overall pick . Well, I’m here to change your mind. Nobody in football has the capability to put up the monster week as Vick. He set a career high in rushing touchdowns and easily had his best season passing the football. He matured this year, finally working at his craft. With a ton of young, explosive weapons on offense, the sky is the limit for Vick.
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If I had the number two, three, or four pick I am taking a RB, but for the number one pick it is a clear and obvious choice that you should take Michael Vick.
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Also check out:


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Though the franchise tag may not be stick based upon what is agreed to on the next collective bargaining agreement, the Eagles made it clear that they consider Michael Vick the future at quarterback. Vick, who turned 30 last summer (don’t you remember the party), made a triumphant return to star status leading the Eagles to an NFC East title.
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Vick was his elusive self running for 676 at 6.8 yards per carry and a career high nine rushing touchdowns. This time around, he brought an electric passing game as well completing a career best 62.6 passes (the first time he’s topped 57 percent) for 3018 yards (first 3000 yard season) and a career high 21 passing touchdowns.
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This means the Eagles could be interested in trading Kevin Kolb, only unless they figure out the CBA, that may not happen. If the Eagles aren’t able to trade him before the draft, they won’t be able to improve their team this year. Given Vick’s style of play, the Eagles may be cautious and keep him around in case Vick goes down with an injury. They could then trade him next year.


Image courtesy of Icon SMI
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Having players go in the Thursday night games gives you a little bit of advantage. If your players do good, you can perhaps be a little more cautions with your team. If your players failed to put up good numbers, perhaps you will want to take a bigger risk, hoping for a bigger reward to make up for it. You also get a feel for your match-up depending on how your opponents players did. Let’s take a look at how fantasy owners will be feeling about their players.
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Top of the World
With the fantasy playoffs on the doorstep, you can’t help but swell with pride based on the numbers these guys dropped.
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Michael Vick – My #1 ranked QB this week did not disappoint. He threw for 302 yards, 2 TDs, and 1 INT. He added 48 yards on the ground. He’s definitely in the MVP hunt (both in fantasy and reality).
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Matt Schaub – Vick did his thing, but Schaub was no slouch. He threw for 337 yards, 2 TDs, and an INT. If you stuck with him (despite my #18 ranking) kudos to you. If you sat him because of me, my apologies.
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Arian Foster - Wow. That’s all I can say. Wow. 109 total yards (83 rushing, 26 receiving) and a score on the ground and through the air. You’ve been counting on  him all year, and he didn’t disappoint.
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LeSean McCoy – Not to be outdone, McCoy accumulated 130 total yards (44 rushing, 86 receiving) as well as a rushing and receiving touchdown. If you own McCoy, you can breath a sigh of relief.
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Andre Johnson –  So he didn’t score a touchdown. His six catches for 149 yards and two carries for ten yards got his owners off to a great start. It wasn’t enough to change your strategy, but it’s certainly a good start. continue reading »


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We had such a good turnout for the Ocho & T.O. contest that SMW Clothing is sponsoring another one. Once again you have a chance to win a awesome shirt that will make you the envy of your league.
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This week’s contest will also revolve around the Thursday night game.Whoever guesses the combined passing and rushing yardage that Michael Vick will have against the Texans on Thursday night without going over wins. No repeat answers.

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So leave a comment with your best guess and be sure to check out SMW Clothing.

2010 NFL Injury Notes: Week 2

17 September 2010


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Beanie Wells (knee) is headed to the dreaded game-time decision after being a limited participant in Arizona’s Friday practice. At this point I would make other plans for your roster. Tim Hightower can likely be used again.
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Percy Harvin (hip) is also a likely game-time decision, but all signs point to Harvin playing against Miami. Plan on using Percy, but check his status before kickoff.
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Kellen Winslow (knee) was listed as questionable for Tampa’s game against Carolina this week. Winslow has historically been able to play through pain so I would expect him to go. If you have a better option on your bench, I would use him, but I do expect Winslow to play.
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As expected Kevin Kolb (concussion) won’t play against Detroit this week. Michael Vick should be a strong play.
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Meanwhile, Matt Moore (concussion) was able to practice and will give it a go against Carolina. He wouldn’t be anywhere near my fantasy roster though.
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Hakeem Nicks (ankle) is making life difficult for his fantasy owners. It would be hard not to play him after his three-TD performance to open the season, but he’s also a game-time decision. The Giants don’t play until Sunday night so you’ll have to hope there is news before the early games. If you have another WR on the Giants, Colts, Saints, or 49ers that you can plug in if he doesn’t play, then you can gamble on Nicks. If not, and you don’t hear any positive news from Nicks’ camp, I would play it safe and leave him on your bench.


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