Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Updates from around the league

If you haven't already, you need to check your lineup(s) to make sure you'll have enough warm bodies to get through the bye weeks, which begin this weekend. You won't have the services of any Eagles, Falcons, Panthers or Cardinals in Week 4. With the byes and so many injuries to deal with, you should probably start trolling the waiver wire early.

I had the joy of taking my son Preston to the Cowboys game last night at the Death Star for his 14th birthday. Even managed to get us seats in an awesome suite with the help of a good (now great) friend. And what do you know? There's Ochocinco in the suite next door. We exchanged tweets in the most manly of ways and shook hands outside in the hall. So much for my brush with greatness.

And while I was happy to see the home team win, I was not pleased that Romo failed to get the two TDs I needed to overcome the deficit I faced in one league where my opponent had both Peyton and MJD. But I was very happy to see Felix Jones working his magic, though his production only amounted to pouring on the points in my lopsided win in another league. That is, until he suddenly disappeared and Tashard Choice took over in the second half. We didn't know it at the time, but Felix had strained his knee (Wade Phillips just said he "sprained his PCL" in his news conference). Wow...that guy is some kinda brittle. Barber is expected back for Week 4, and Jones could be out for a couple of weeks. Choice should be picked up asap.

By the way, that's back-to-back 200+ yard rushing games for the Cowboys. Not too shabby.

Chad Pennington is lost for the season with a shoulder injury, so it's the beginning of the Chad Henne era in Miami. How long that era will last, and whether it is remembered fondly or with disgust, is anyone's guess at this point. But this could be very welcome news to Ted Ginn's owners, as Henne is known for throwing a good deep ball. That was clearly not Pennington's forte.

In related news, Tyler Thigpen was traded by the Chiefs to the Dolphins. Just in case the Henne era gets off to a slow start.

Not surprisingly, the Byron Leftwich era in Tampa Bay lasted about 2.5 weeks. The Josh Johnson era officially begins on Sunday. I'm guessing the Josh Freeman era kicks off around Week 7.

The Eagles just released Jeff Garcia. The message would be that Donovan McNabb will be ready to roll after the team's bye this week. Meanwhile, JaMarcus Russell has passed for 378 yards, 1 TD and 4 INTs as Oakland's starter. How Garcia is not heading west right now is beyond me.

Looks like Frank Gore will be out for at least a couple games, maybe more. As mentioned in yesterday's column, Glen Coffee will see the lion's share of carries for the 49ers in his absence, and he has a nice couple of matchups (Rams, Falcons) on tap.

Kevin Smith's shoulder injury doesn't appear to be too serious, but it's still not certain that he will be able to play on Sunday. Maurice Morris would get the nod if the starter can't go.

Willie Parker apparently has a minor turf toe issue that will cause him to miss some practice time this week. That's not what you want to hear if you own Fast Willie, who had a nice bounce-back game last weekend. If he can't go, Rashard Mendenhall could get a start. He was kept off the field by head coach Mike Tomlin in Week 3 because he had a poor week of practice.

There's good news and there's bad news for those who invested an early pick on Marshawn Lynch. Good news: You can finally insert him in your starting lineup this week, now that his 3-game suspension is over. Bad news: Fred Jackson performed awfully well in Lynch's absence, and has earned a continued role in the offense. It will be interesting to see how this situation shakes out in the weeks ahead. Smells like the makings of yet another committee backfield to me.

Speaking of which, Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy could be the next dynamic duo to share carries. After McCoy's solid performance Sunday, and given Westbrook's well-documented injury history, this is a logical move for the Eagles. It doesn't help us fantasy players though, but methinks Andy Reid could care less.

LT probably won't practice again all week, which would mean Darren Sproles gets another week as the lone starter. Wow...as disappointed as I have been thus far with Matt Forte, I guess it could have been a lot worse!

Greg Jennings aggravated his wrist injury on Sunday, but played through it. Though it was good to see him top 100 yards after his goose egg in Week 2, his two-reception total was not encouraging. Hopefully he can put the wrist issue behind him soon.

The hamstring injury that kept Dwayne Bowe out of Sunday's game could cost him the Week 4 matchup as well. The team doesn't want to risk making it worse by pushing him back onto the field too soon. Prepare to play without him this week.

And you thought things couldn't possibly be any worse in St. Louis. Ha! Marc Bulger bruised the rotator cuff on his throwing arm and could miss the next game vs. San Fran. (OK, it's arguable whether Kyle Boller is actually a downgrade.) The two starting WRs, Donnie Avery (ribs) and Laurent Robinson (broken fibula, out for season), were also knocked out of the game. Will Steven Jackson ever see the red zone again???


  1. Ladd,

    I want to pick up Betts, as you recommended, but is he a good start this week? I've got DeAngelo W and Beanie on byes and Felix looks like he's probably out for Sunday, so I'm having a bit of a crisis with only one RB this week (Ryan Grant). I would love Betts for the long run but for my situation, I need a RB this week who's a solid play. My other options are Buckhalter, Jerome Harrison, Maurice Morris, and Fred Taylor. Coffee and Choice were gone instantly (I'm still trying to get a "no transaction-rule" in effect from kickoff Sunday through 8 AM Tuesday since I have obligations nearly every Sunday, while others in my league have a laptop in front of them all day....kinda unfair) Anyway, I hope you can help me out. Your advice would be much appreciated.

    Also, I have an XM subscription and was curious if your radio show aired on XM? I hope it's not on one of those "Best of Sirius" channels or else I'm out of luck. But I would love to listen to it if it's available on XM.

    Finally, loved the "set your lineup on friday and walk away guy"....Hilarious! There's one in every league!

    As always, thank you for the time and the great advice. Keep up the good work with fanatsy fools and the twittering. (and sorry for the lengthy email)

    Rick Frank
    Cleveland, OH

  2. Thanks for the nice reviews, Rick.

    While I do think Betts is a good long-term pickup, I agree that he's not necessarily the best play this week -- assuming Portis plays.

    Of the RBs available to you, it's hard to say right now. If Kevin Smith doesn't play (I bet he'll be a game-time decision, which doesn't help you much), Morris could be OK. I don't like Taylor vs. Baltimore, or Harrison in general. So that brings us to Buckhalter, who would be my pick at this moment. He's running pretty well, and though he's sharing carries, he could have some success against Dallas. I'd pick him up for now, and consider swapping him for Morris later if Smith is ruled out.

    The Fantasy Source show airs on SIRIUS 127. I don't think it's also on XM. Sorry. You can always listen online if you can't find it on a local sports talk station.