Friday, September 4, 2009

T-minus 1 week till the 2009 season kicks off!

All but six teams wrapped up their preseason schedule on Thursday night, and only two notable injuries resulted (at least those we've heard about thus far). Of course, very few starters played any significant amount of time, if at all, so we weren't expecting many problems to begin with.

At the top of the list of injury concerns is consensus Top 5 fantasy pick Maurice Jones-Drew, who took "a ‘UFC shot’ to the shin or lower leg," according to HC Jack Del Rio. The contusion is unlikely to jeopardize MJD's availability for the season opener, but it could be painful enough to limit his touches and/or effectiveness. Still, he's an elite athlete who has 10 days to heal. Chances are, it will be a non-issue by kickoff.

Also of note, especially to Matt Forte owners, is a seemingly more serious ankle injury to Kevin Jones, Forte's backup. X-rays were negative, and we're awaiting the results of an MRI scheduled for today. Not that we Forte owners wish anything but the best for Jones, but it's comforting to know that our top pick will handle virtually the entire rushing load for at least the first couple of weeks of the season.

Also nicked up was Giants rookie WR Hakeem Nicks, who left Thursday's game with a hip flexor. It doesn't look serious, and likely won't cost him any regular season action. That said, he's still a rookie WR, and he's unlikely to produce attractive stats as long as he's a backup.

The news for Steve Slaton's owners is not so positive. It seems HC Gary Kubiak has essentially proclaimed Chris Brown to be the Texans' preferred short-yardage and goal-line back. Here's his direct quote: "Our goal is to use [Brown] basically as a short-yardage runner, a red zone runner and Steve's backup." Which helps explain why Slaton, rather than going near the end of the first round, is now regularly available a half to full-round later. Of course, throughout his career Brown has barely been able to do a jumping jack without getting hurt; so the vulture threat may not last long.

James Davis again looked terrific in the Browns' final preseason game. Do yourself a favor: Let Jamal Lewis go to some other schmuck. You wait a few rounds and grab the real starter in Cleveland.

Second-year speedster Malcolm Kelly has evidently secured a starting WR gig for the Redskins, opposite Santana Moss. He far out-performed '08 Draft classmate Devin Thomas this preseason, and appears to be 100% recovered from the knee surgery that cost him his rookie season. Don't draft Kelly, but keep an eye on him in the early going. He could be a intriguing waiver-wire pickup if he gets off to a good start.

Updating previous reports, Rams WR Donny Avery has been cleared to play in Week 1. That's some serious rehab success! If you haven't yet drafted, make sure you consider Avery as an excellent mid-to-late-round pick.

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