Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Weird doings in the Tampa Bay backfield

In one of the strangest set-ups in recent memory, Cadillac Williams has been named the starter in a "2-2-1" backfield rotation for the Bucs. That means Caddy gets the first two series, followed by two for Derrick Ward, then one for Earnest Graham. Weird...

That doesn't seem like a viable long-term arrangement but, rather, a chance for the coaching staff to get a look at each of their RBs and see which one has the hot hand (or feet, as it were) in any given game. It seems safe to assume that when/if one RB stands out from the others over the course of a few games, he will be given the majority of the workload.

For now, those of us who jumped on Cadillac while he was cheap just might like what we found, as he remains the most gifted of the three RBs when healthy. Those who spent a high pick on Ward (despite all my efforts to persuade you against it) should be very concerned. And Graham owners...well...I guess you can hope that Caddy blows out yet another knee while Ward disappoints.

In other news, I'm starting to worry that Anquan Boldin's hammy is going to be a problem in Week 1. He's still not practicing, and he's starting to look like a dreaded game-time decision.

You can probably forget about Pierre Thomas for the opener. He's still limping and it appears inevitable that the Saints will let him sit out the tasty Week 1 matchup with the Lions. If you need a one- or two-week filler at RB, you could do a lot worse than Mike Bell. Heck, even Reggie Bush is heading into the regular season with injury issues. (Shocker, I know.)

So Brandon Marshall has been reactivated. Will he play? Will he start? Will he say or do something stupid before or during the game? Will he know the playbook? That's too many questions for my blood. I wouldn't start him even if I owned him which, thankfully, I don't.

As projected by yours truly (and plenty of others), Matthew Stafford will be the Lions' Week 1 starter. He bears watching, if only because he has Megatron (Calvin Johnson) to throw to. Nobody at this time last year thought Matt Ryan would do diddly in his rookie season with the awful franchise he was drafted into. While it's just about inconceivable that Stafford could replicate Ryan's success and lead Detroit to the playoffs, I wouldn't put it past him to turn in some decent fantasy outings on occasion in 2009.

Matt Cassel is back at practice and could play this week. That said, how could you possibly put him in your starting fantasy lineup against the Ravens?

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