Monday, October 31, 2011
Saturday, October 29, 2011
This is the game you look at, as a fan, and circle as a win. They’re the lowly Dolphins. They haven’t won a game. Their coach is on the hot seat. They just collapsed epically against Tim Tebow! Tim Tebow! How can the Giants possibly lose this gamae?
The Giants haven’t played a complete game this year. The offensive-line is still inconsistent. The pass rush is inconsistent. Aaron Ross is inconsistent. They still have warts.
Meanwhile the Dolphins might not be playing well as a team but they have individual players, especially on defense, who are having solid seasons. Cameron Wake is a great pass rusher; Kao Misi and the Dolphins defensive line have played much better football than you probably realize.
If the Giants lose this game it’ll probably look similar to the Seahawks game. A combination of mental mistakes, the Dolphins defense playing stellar and a little bit of bad luck.
Here are the key match-ups for the Dolphins/Giants game:
Giants Vs. The Bye Week
The new CBA changed rules about team contact during the bye week (a team now must give four consecutive days off to its players during a bye.) The bye week was always looked at as a positive. It was time for the players to get healthy and get on the same page. The coaches, and players, could study film for two weeks to devise a game plan for a specific opponent.
It’s too early to make a definitive ruling but the teams coming off a bye last week didn’t look particularly great. The Browns, at home, barely beat an injury riddled Seahawks team. The Chargers lost to the Jets and looked particularly befuddled when it came to timing and game management. The Titans got decimated by the Texans at home.
Will this crop of bye week teams, Giants included, show the same kind of rust?
Cameron Wake/Misi Vs. The Giants O-Line
As alluded to earlier the Dolphins defense is better then you think. Wake and rookie Misi have graded out well, with Wake grading out as one of the NFL's best pass rushers by Pro-football Focus's grades.
Meanwhile the Giants offensive line has been inconsistent at best. David Diehl, returning to guard this year, has had a particularly nightmarish season.
Prediction: Giants make their fare share of mistakes but are simply too talented a defense to allow the Dolphins to pull away. Giants win ugly. 20-6
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
I’m going to start with what I enjoyed this week, because I feel like I come off as all “doom and gloom” in regards to my reactions to each show. I like the continued emphasis on Dolph Ziggler and Jack Swagger. I’ve always enjoyed Ziggler, but I’ve noticed that he’s really been making strides over the past few months. He can go in the ring, and his promos continue to improve. Squash matches worked to great effect in the gool ol’ days, providing a little extra boost to whomever they’re trying to heat up. Ziggler going over Santino with Swagger locking in the ankle lock in the post-match was probably about as basic and effective as you get when continuing the emphasis on guys. Mason Ryan came out to save Santino, which works for what they’re doing with him. The solidarity between the Ziggler/Swagger/Guerrero faction is one of my favorite aspects of Raw every week.
John Laurinaitis’s decision to tag up John Cena with Zack Ryder to face The Miz and R-Truth was a great way of not only giving Ryder the rub, but building more crowd support for Ryder, as we were robbed of his appearance in the main event due to Miz and Truth taking him out before the match.
Establishing Miz and Truth as the “rebels” may work a bit better if they’re not involved in embarassingly bad segments such as the one they had last night. If you missed it, don’t bother looking it up. Now, if we recall, Miz and Truth were the entire reason for the walkout a few weeks ago, which seems to be almost a distant memory at this juncture. Rest assured, they did indeed further contribute to that “unsafe working environment” that seemed to cause such an uproar weeks ago by taking out Zack Ryder before their match against him and Cena, as well as getting disqualified during that match (which became a handicap match, by the way) and “upsetting” the interim GM. However, there are no consequences, just a match made for Survivor Series against Cena and the partner of his choosing...The Rock. Wonder if he’ll accept?
CM Punk’s rematch for the WWE title seems to finally have been acknowledged, and it looks like Johnny Ace will make Alberto Del Rio defend his title against Punk at Survivor Series. Well, he actually said he’ll “think about it,” meaning Punk will have to jump through some more hoops throughout the next couple of weeks to get what he wants. This promo segment between these three was not terrible, but I’d say that Punk was the only real redeeming element, as he so often is.
Now, I’ll finally address the one thing on this show that I wish could have been avoided altogether. I’m of course talking about the Triple H/Kevin Nash angle that was deemed important enough to take up two and a half segments worth of television time this week. Nash attacked Hunter on the stage with his own weapon of choice. Then he attacked him again as he was being loaded into the ambulance. Two sledgehammer shots, two torn quads, and two segments later, the entire opening angle of Raw this week was centered around a friendship gone bad, and a match that nobody asked for or, quite frankly, wants. They’re playing up the possibility of Hunter suffering a neck injury, which should lead to so wonderfully melodramatic storytelling in the coming weeks. Assuming this feud is payed off at Survivor Series (which fits the current trend of hot-shotting absolutely EVERYTHING), it wouldn’t be a moment too soon.
Remember in June, when Punk almost saved this company? Ah well. I suppose we’ll see what the Muppets have in store for us next week...
Monday, October 24, 2011
by Jordan Lauterbach
This is not an anti- Andrew Luck column. It’s a calm down plea.
There is little doubt that the Stanford quarterback is one of the better pro prospects College Football has seen in years. His numbers clearly indicate that. This season alone, Luck has thrown for over 1,800 yards and 20 touchdowns. He is the likely winner of the Heisman trophy- if for nothing else, a tribute to a career that is probably finished.
He’s been a great college player. No one would deny that. But here is something that Luck is not- an NFL legend.
At least not yet, anyway. But you wouldn’t know it by the way he’s talked about in both college and NFL circles. It’s as if Johnny Unitas himself rose from the dead, laced up his high-tops, and enrolled in Stanford.
As both the NFL and college seasons progress, the chatter about Luck being the “can’t miss” of all “can’t misses” has gotten so fast and furious that it borders on lunacy.
Two incidents from this past weekend set the Luck love machine into hyper speed, enough to make even the most ardent of supporters of the quarterback chuckle and scratch their heads.
First, bad losses by both the Dolphins and Colts provided fodder to those who actually buy the insane premise known as “Suck for Luck.” This phrase is nothing but a clever ryme. If you’re unfamiliar- consider yourself lucky. But, for purposes of transparency, know that “Suck for Luck” refers to the idea that teams are throwing games with the conscious goal of locking up the worst record in the league, giving them the opportunity to draft America’s next great hero.
Goodness forbid these teams are just putrid and poorly coached. They must have an ulterior motive.
Take the Dolphins first- In a league that is so fickle and unstable, why would any professional put their jobs and reputation on the line for an organization that could cut them tomorrow? After all, most of those players are part of the problem. In all likelihood, very few will be around to see the fruits of their futility.
So why would they bother? Why would they care?
Tony Sparano sure doesn’t. After all, he only has a job because Luck’s former Head coach, Jim Harbaugh, decided to go elsewhere. Sparano is a dead man walking. Losing games purposely is like handing your killer a hand written suicide note, a weapon, and the keys to your gassed up car.
Luck is the last thing on Sparano’s mind. Job applications? Maybe. Luck? No way.
The same goes for Indianapolis. They already have Andrew Luck. His name is Peyton Manning. At 35, Manning could have up to five more good and eight more solid years. It’s doubtful that Luck would see the field as a Colt before 2015.
By that time, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and the like will be retired, close to it, or somewhere else. Lifespan in the NFL is not long enough for players to become free thinking executives on the field.
Also, who’s to say Luck doesn’t pull a John Elway or Eli Manning and try to beat the draft system? Maybe he doesn’t like the heat or the pressure of having to be the next Dan Marino. Maybe he doesn’t want to sit on the bench for a few years only to be the guy who replaces Manning.
In a far more unlikely scenario, Luck returns to Stanford for his final year of eligibility, either to win a national title or take one more chance at landing in a more desirable NFL city. If Sam Bradford taught us anything, it's that getting hurt as a senior doesn't always mark doom.
Too many factors exist for throwing games to be seen as a plausible possibility.
Sometimes, teams are just bad. They aren’t conniving. They are untalented.
The Luck madness doesn’t end there.
ESPN anchor Stuart Scott tweeted this on Saturday night: …”…I’ve talked to NFL folks…Andrew Luck is the real deal and better than 20 NFL (QB’s).”
This isn’t a shot at Scott. The reality is that his opinion isn’t that far off from that of others. But, just as it’s ridiculous to say that the best team in college would beat the worst team in the NFL, it’s hard to compare college talent directly with NFL talent, given the large gap in the NCAA.
The difference between the best and worst player in college is lightyears larger than it is in the NFL. It’s just simple mathematics. There are 32 teams in the NFL. There are over 100 on the NCAA. That’s a lot of football players, and most of them won’t ever get tickets to an NFL game, much less play in one.
There are no Dukes, UCLA’s, Colorado’s, or San Jose State’s in the NFL. But there are on the Stanford schedule.
What’s more- the numbers Luck is putting up against these opponents are really good- but they aren’t legendary. Entering week nine, he isn’t leading a single major statistical quarterback category, and that's after playing the aforementioned opponents. How could he be better than 20 NFL quarterbacks when he isn’t statistically better than Robert Griffin III?Again, it’s not an anti-Luck stance. Saying that he has the tools to be a top 10 quarterback in the NFL is fine. It’s probably correct. But saying he’s already there is not.
Follow Jordan on Twitter @jlauterbach1
Friday, October 21, 2011
Early Time Slot: UNC @ Clemson- 12 p.m.
Mid-Afternoon Time Slot: Auburn @ LSU- 3:30 p.m.
Evening Time Slot: USC @ Notre Dame- 7:30 p.m.
Early: Oklahoma State @ Missouri 12 p.m.
Mid-Afternoon: Auburn @ LSU- 3:30 p.m.
Evening: Wisconsin @ Michigan State 8 p.m.
The Sports Insiders take over on Homecoming Saturday from 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.. College Football Saturday returns on October 29 at 11 a.m only on 88.1fm and WCWP.org.
Follow Jordan @jlauterbach1
Follow Bryan @BryanGallucci
College Football Saturday returns on Saturday October 29 at 11am only on 88.1fm and wcwpsports.org
Follow Jordan @jlauterbach1 on Twitter!
What exactly are those games?
1. Chargers(4-1) @ Jets(3-3), 1pm.
- San Diego's four victories have come against teams with a combined 4-17 record and their only loss came at the hands of the Patriots.
- New York's record and play hasn't been exactly something to write home about either. Their three wins have been against the lowly Jaguars and Dolphins + a Cowboys team that dominated most of their matchup opening night.
- Just looking at the numbers, the Chargers have the advantage on Offense and Defense. The problem for San Diego is staying healthy: Receivers Vincent Jackson, Malcolm Floyd, Antonio Gates and Running Back Mike Tolbert haven't been 100% for the Chargers.
- The only advantage that Gang Green has coming into this week is their special teams unit.
Prediction: With how inconsistent the Jets offense and defense is + San Diego's offense getting healthy & San Diego with simply the better defense look for a 24-17 victory for the CHARGERS.
2. Falcons(3-3) @ Lions (5-1), 1pm
- Atlanta is one of those teams that you can't predict. Will their offense show up? Can their defense contain a superb duo in Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson?
- For Detroit, last week was more what their head coach Jim Schwartz got into last week instead of the actual game. The biggest key for the Lions to win this football game is to stop the Run, more specifically stop Michael Turner. In games that Turner has rushed for 100+ yards, his teams are 22-3.
Prediction: take out last week's performance and Detroit has been a consistent football team. The only thing Atlanta has been consistent with is their inconsistency. Until the Falcons can show what kind of team they are, give me the LIONS with their MVP duo 31-21.
3. Bears(3-3) vs. Buccaneers(4-2), @ London 1pm
- Tampa Bay QB Josh Freeman's first NFL moments came in London two years ago. Have things changed since then. Back then he was with a winless team, this week he'll lead his first place Bucs off an impressive 26-20 win over the Saints.
- Chicago looked like the complete team coming off a 39-10 drubbing of the Vikings last Sunday Night.
- This game has the makings of a close game. Everyone is well aware of Chicago's Offensive Line woes. But at the same time the Bears have not played well this year on the road and now your asking them to play in another country.
Prediction: the reason why the BUCS win this game is: Tampa has a better feel of London, they've been there since Tuesday taking the sights in. While Chicago is treating this like a regular road game. Tampa will be fresher and ready to go. BUCS win 28-21
- Johnny Montalbano
-Follow Johnny on Twitter @MontalbanoNY and listen to Johnny on "Review and Preview" every Wednesday from 5-6pm only on WCWP.org
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Imagine this. You are an NBA player. You aren't a star. You don't make millions of dollars a year. You don't drive a Maybach. You don't have endorsement deals. You went to college, but the classes didn't matter. You were born to be a basketball player.
You make 780,000. It sounds like a lot but, that's before you lose half of it to taxes. Then another 25,000 goes to your agent. Then you have to pay your financial adviser 5,000 as well.
When it's all said and done you're left with 300,000 to pay the bills. You have a family to support. You have friends and distant relatives looking for handouts. You need these paychecks to keep up the lifestyle that comes with being an NBA player.
Now you are locked out.
You look for union leadership and find Billy Hunter. Do you trust him? Hunter makes three times as much as you do. He's looking to protect his own job. If he tried to secure a deal the star players didn't like he'd surely be fired. The longer he stretches the lockout the more money in his pocket. Hunters near retirement anyway. He won't be around to see the changes he's “fighting” for even be put into affect. You question where his allegiances lie.
You turn to your agent. After all he's your agent. You pay him to guide you. He'll be on your side...right? Then you realize he has a vested stake in many of the issues being debated in the lockout. After all 3 percent of your salary, over the life of your contract, goes into his pocket. Your career may last 10 years at best. His can span 30 plus. Whose side is he on?
You turn to you fellow players. The NBA fraternity. These men are your brothers. You all want the same thing...right? You look at the salaries of your “brothers” who are fighting to keep the lockout going. Kobe Bryant makes 25 million, Kevin Garnett makes 21 million, Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire each make 18 million. Are they really in the same boat you are? Are they really surviving paycheck to paycheck?
Then you find out these star players agents had the foresight to defer money when they signed new contracts. You might not be getting paid, but they are. You also find out these star players are organizing a tour of Europe that might net each player a cool million for just a couple weeks of work. More money then you've made in your entire career.
Not shockingly you didn't get an invite.
You start to wonder why there's been no sense of urgency till just now. You wonder why no one seems to care that tons of players like yourself are out of a job.
And then it hits you.
You look around and realize that no one has your back.
Like what you see? Read Jason on ProSportsBlogging.com ,you can also hear him every Monday and Thursday on the Sportswire from 6-7 on 88.1 FM and WCWPSports.com . Follow him on twitter at J_Comack
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
The WWE Championship should, for all intents and purposes, be the most important thing in this entire company. It’s the one thing that every guy who steps through that curtain should have in the back of their mind from day one. Quite frankly, it’s gone from being an achievement, to a prop, to a complete afterthought. The main focus of this show for quite some time has been the main position of authority. General Manager, Chief Operating Officer, President, Commissioner, Sheriff...whatever you want to call it, it’s the one thing that this company puts over as THE most important aspect of the show. TNA is just as guilty of this. Personally, I don’t care who’s running the show in kayfabe terms. I don’t care who’s making matches, hiring, firing, or having an inappropriate relationship with the Bella Twins. I just don’t care. I want competition, athletic showmanship, and storytelling that begins and ends inside that 20x20 ring, not John Laurinaitis on my television.
There’s a PPV on Sunday. How could that possibly be? There’s really nothing worth paying to view, especially the WWE title match between two guys whom we just saw wrestle for 15 minutes on free television. I’ve been adamant about the need to decrease the number of PPVs for quite some time now, and I just can’t quite wrap my head around how anybody actually pays money for some of these B and C shows with no build and no incentive to purchase them. I have no problem shelling out 50 bucks when I’m invested in the product and compelled by the card. So much of that has to do with building anticipation. The way I see it, this company is just killing everybody’s interest.
My feeling coming away from Raw this week didn’t have as much to do with the show itself as it did with the overall mess of a product we’ve been watching for the past few months. There was some good on this show, don’t get me wrong. The alignment of Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger, and Vickie Guerrero has been growing on me for weeks, and I think they’re about to hit their stride as a unit. Zack Ryder was allotted some TV time this week. Hell, he squashed Swagger in seconds. Perplexing, but I suppose I’ll take it. Mason Ryan is just...there.
The team of CM Punk and Triple H still confuses me to no end. It’s probably best if we don’t question it, because it’s just wrestling, right? Some people might like to turn off their brain while watching wrestling. Hell, some people even like to turn off their brain while WRITING wrestling, and that’s what we’ve been witnessing for months. So yeah, Punk and Trips vs. Miz and R-Truth this Sunday. Forgive me if I’m not completely sold on that one. If I didn’t know any better, I might predict a turn somewhere in there. Wishful thinking, maybe. Guess we’ll see how it all pans out this Sunday...
Read WCWP's Jordan Lauterbach's newest college football column
College Football Saturday returns on Saturday October 29 at 11am only on 88.1fm and wcwpsports.org
Follow Jordan @jlauterbach1 on Twitter!
The Raiders today traded a first round pick in 2012 and a conditional second round pick in 2013 for Carson Palmer.
Let's separate fact from fiction:
Carson Palmer suffered serious knee injury in 2006 : Fact
Carson Palmer changed his mechanics after the knee injury in 2006 leading to his elbow/shoulder injury that caused him to miss most of the 2008 season : Fact
Although he claimed to be healthy Palmer was never the same after the 2006 season. Posting decent cumulative numbers but with very few on field results. : Fact
Carson Palmer hasn't won a playoff game. Therefore he isn't a good QB. : Fiction.
Carson Palmer is 32 and will start declining due to age. : Fiction
Carson Palmer had his best season when Hue Jackson was wide receiver coach of the Bengals (04'-'06): Fact
It's clear the Oakland Raiders overpaid for Carson Palmer. They could have had Matt Flynn, Kyle Orton, Josh Johnson, Vince Young or any other QB slightly better then Kyle Boller for significantly less.
Instead in true Raider fashion they swung for the fences.
The question is which Carson Palmer do the Raiders get.
Do they get the guy, who in 2006 everyone thought would be mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady for the rest of the decade? Or, do they get the guy who never fully recovered from injuries.
If the latter is true this will go down as one of the worst trades in the history of the NFL.
However, Carson Palmer is set up for success in Oakland.
Palmer has a very good offensive line (lead by the criminally underrated Jared Veldheer) to block for him. He has one of the best running backs (and explosive play makers) in the NFL in Darren McFadden. He also has what's quietly become a very fast and dangerous wide receiving core. Ford, Moore and Heyward-Bay all have the ability to stretch the field and run a true vertical passing offense.
The vertical passing offense is what made Palmer so successful in Cincinnati. Palmer learned the offense from QB coach Ken Zampese which is based on Norv Turners vertical offense (think Phillip Rivers) and very similar to what Hue Jackson's offense in Oakland now resembles.
This trade is obviously a steal for Cincinnati. They acquired high picks for a guy they expected to keep on the shelf for his shelf life.
But it's not a bomb for Oakland. At least not yet.
Like what you see? Read Jason on ProSportsBlogging.com ,you can also hear him every Monday and Thursday on the Sportswire from 6-7 on 88.1 FM and WCWPSports.com . Follow him on twitter at J_Comack
The biggest story, of course, is Carson Palmer being traded from the Bengals to the Raiders. Palmer being dealt is something that I, along with almost the entire football universe, thought was never going to happen since Bengals' owner Mike Brown wanted premium dollar for his banished QB, who really isn't worth it. However, favor fell in his hands, as Jason Campbell's injury made the Raiders completely desperate, and during a physical with David Garrard, it was discovered that he needed back surgery (as reported on WFAN by Mike Francesa), and therefore was not a viable option. The price for the Raiders was insanely high, a first roudn pick and a conditional first round pick, but Brown was happy to capitalize on their desperation. I am sure Brown will brag about this trade until the day he dies. Most importantly, grab Palmer in all formats if you need QB help. He won't pay dividends right away, but he should be able to learn the offense quickly enough, especially with the Raiders bye week coming up after this week's game. The Raiders think, at 4-2, they are a playoff team. While that remains to be seen, they know if they want to be a playoff team, Kyle Boller won't get them there. Steve Corkran expects Boller to start this week, then Palmer to take the reigns after the bye week, and looks like the most realistic course of action.
Interestingly enough, ESPN's Chris Mortensen reported that if the Raiders couldn't reach an agreement with Bengals for Carson Palmer, their next choice was to go after Eagles' backup QB Vince Young. You would have to think that Young would have been both cheaper in cost of trade and more ready to play immediately.
DeMarco Murray is expected to be the Cowboys starting RB with Felix Jones sidelined. Murray is a must add for any Jones owner and anyone looking for RB help. Murray gets two prime matchups vs the Rams and Eagles. While Jones' injury ensures Tashard Choice will not be dealt, Choice appears to have lost the explosiveness he once had. Jones is expected to miss 2-4 weeks, and in Felix' case, it usually lends towards the latter.
John Beck relieved the 4 INT throwing Rex Grossman in Washington this past week. However, the Washington Times is reporting that HC Mike Shanahan hasn't proclaimed who his starter will be. The Times story goes on to say that the receivers in Washington have been rallying for Grossman to stay the QB, but Grossman has a history of these massive meltdowns like he had last week, and the 2 QBs played virtually equal to each other in the preseason. Beck should be considered the favorite to start this week after Grossman's implosion in Week 6. Beck makes for a decent QB2.
Christian Ponder is the new Vikings QB according to an NFL Network report after Donovan McNabb was benched last week as well. Now, to be fair to McNabb, the Vikings O-Line is abysmal, but considering the way he seems to have lost his escapability, one can only wonder if he's either injured or just gotten old very quickly. This is the third team in 3 years to put McNabb on the pine, and with the Vikings season all but over, its rebuild time, and they may as well give Ponder the playing time for the rest of the season. He will have plenty of growing pains, but he's more mobile than McNabb, who was sacked 5 times by the Bears before getting yanked. Ponder is a low end QB2 for those in dire need of help at the QB position. McNabb can be dropped in all leagues.
Giants RB Brandon Jacobs claims he will be ready to go after the Giants' bye week this week according to Paul Dottino. He's been dealing with a sprained MCL. Jacobs return will cut into the value of Ahmad Bradshaw, who finally got on track against Buffalo this week. Don't expect any more 3TD games from Bradshaw with Jacobs back in the fold. Set your expectations for Bradshaw accordingly.
Mike Sims-Walker has resigned with the Jaguars, according to Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union. The Jags are desperate for receiving help. MSW drove his coaches in Jacksonville so crazy that they got rid of him, and then he wore out his welcome in St. Louis. Don't expect much from MSW with Blaine Gabbert throwing the ball to him. Desperation play only at this time.
The Detroit Free Press is reporting that Jahvid Best has not been ruled out for Sunday by HC Jim Schwartz, who said if Best passes his concussion tests, he will play. Best has a history with concussions, and still has to be considered a long shot to play. Maurice Morris is a must add for any Best owner. With the Lions having a week 9 bye, Morris could be called upon to handle the running game for 2 weeks to give Best ample time to recover.
BREAKING: Lions have acquired Ronnie Brown from Eagles in exchange for Jerome Harrison and a conditional 2013 pick. Expect Morris to still get most of the touches this week while Brown learns OC Scott Linehan's offense, but Brown's acquisition could indicate that the Lions fear Best could be out multiple weeks. Brown would be more likely to get the majority of carries, and of course the GL duty, should Best be out an extended period. Even when best comes back, Brown is now the favorite for goal line duty.
Harrison, who has experience in Philly as LeSean McCoy's backup, will now battle Dion Lewis for that position with the Eagles.
While Andre Johnson appears to be ahead of schedule in his return from hamstring surgery, he told CBS Houston that doctors originally told him his recovery "could take up to 6 weeks at most". Currently he has missed 2 games. Don't expect Johnson to be ready before week 9 at the earliest.
Michael Crabtree finally emerged from the shadows this past week, turning in his biggest performance of the year. Most importantly, he led the team in offensive snaps with 52, according to CSN Bay Area. Crabtree is always an injury risk with his history of foot problems, but worth riding when hot, especially since he saw 15 targets last week, and could be in line for more of the same with the 49ers WR corps being so thin. If he's available in your league, grab him up.
According to the Cincinatti Inquirer, Bernard Scott is expected to get the starting nod for the Bengals in week 8 vs the Seahawks. Cedric Benson's attorney is revieweing the NFL's decision to reduce his 3 game rip to 1 game, and indications are that Benson will accept the 1 game suspension and sit out week 8. Scott has a strong matchup vs Seattle and is expected to get a heavy workload. Fantasy owners have been looking for some clarity on this situation, and it looks like its finally here. Scott is a good player to stash on your roster this week for short term RB help.
Steelers WR Mike Wallace is dealing with a slight hamstring pull according to Mike Bires, and is expected to be a limited participant in practice this week. While he's currently expected to play through the injury, should the injury not improve, owners should pick up Emmanuel Sanders as insurance. Sanders has been getting more PT recently than Antonio Brown.
Chris Cooley's shattered finger is expected to keep him out 6 weeks or more, further enhancing the value of Fred Davis, who no longer need worry about sharing reps and TE targets. Davis projects as a TE1 and weekly starter going forward.
After gaining only 22 yards on 10 carries this week, Ryan Torain's grasp on the starting RB job in Washington could be tenuous. Tim Hightower's absence was a surprise, as HC Mike Shanahan decided to only keep him dressed as an emergency back, but Hightower expects to be healthy going forward according to the Washington Post. Shanahan likes Torain, but he will ride the hot hand whomever it may be. At worst, Hightower will be the 3rd down back for his patch catching skills and blitz pickup. Don't cut bait on him yet, as Hightower ran strongly in preseason and early in the season before injuring his shoulder. This has all the makings of the dreaded RBBC.
The Denver Post reports there's growing sentiment in the Broncos hierarchy that Knowshon Moreno is best suited to be a 3rd down back. With Willis McGahee having taken over the primary back role, Moreno has been relegated to 3rd down duty since he returned from injury. While it would take a McGahee injury to get Moreno back in the top spot for now, that's not exactly far fetched considering McGahee's history. Of course, Moreno is just as likely to get banged up. Moreno belongs on fantasy benches.
Percy Harvin played only 29 snaps against the Bears this past week according to ESPN 1500 Twin Cities. Harvin has been battling sore ribs. He's been targeted well when he's on the field, but temper your expectations at least short term with the switch to Christian Ponder at QB.
Greg Little had 6 catches for 72 yards in his first game as starting slot receiver for the Browns, and had he not slipped on the 1 yard line, would have had a TD as well. He's quickly establishing himself as Colt McCoy's favorite target, and if he's still available in your league for some unknown reason, you should rectify that immediately.
Tarvaris Jackson has not practiced in a week, so look for Charlie Whitehurst to get the nod for Seattle. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports that HC Pete Carroll is getting Whitehurst ready to play. He is a low to mid QB2 this week vs Browns
Reggie Bush's neck injury isn't considered serious, and its presumed the reason he never returned to last night's game had more to do with the lopsided score than the injury. Bush had 10 carries for 71 yards vs the Jets suspect run D. He should be fine for week 7, which is more than can be said for the Dolphins' putrid offense.
Daniel Thomas had 15 carries for 47 yds in last night's game, but most importantly, didn't seem to show any ill effects of his hamstring injury. Thomas is still the lead back for the Dolphins, but with Matt Moore under center, this offense has far more questions than answers.
The San Diego Union-Tribune reports that Vincent Jackson wasn't able to practice yesterday coming off the team's bye week. While HC Norv Turner appeared optimistic that V-Jax would be able to practice Wednesday, it should be noted that Antonio Gates, Ryan Mathews, and Mike Tolbert all took part in Monday's practice. When its pieces are healthy, the Chargers offense is among the NFL's elite. Should Jackson play, he's a must start in all leagues, as is Mathews and Gates. Gates situation may bear the most watching because his situation is both short term and long term, as he has fought through foot injuries for the last several years and has admitted that at this point its more a pain tolerance than anything that can be done to correct the pain surgically.
Sam Bradford was limping heavily on Monday, according to an AP report. HC Steve Spagnuolo acknowledged concern about Bradford's high ankle sprain, but says he has confidence in backup A.J. Feeley. Feeley will get all the first team reps in practice Wednesday and currently would be the best bet to start in week 7. Also, the Rams acquired Brandon Lloyd to help their WR corps, which has been decimated by injuries. Lloyd does know OC Josh McDaniels' system, and put up ridiculous numbers in it last year, but without Bradford under center, owners should temper expectations.
With the trade of Lloyd, Eric Decker becomes the primary WR in Denver. He's already receiving about 9 targets a game despite the fact the Broncos are a run-oriented offense. Hes a viable WR3.
Matt Schaub's lingering shoulder issue isn't expected to keep him out week 7 vs the Titans. A precautionary MRI revealed no damage according to Nick Scurfield. Start him as you normally would.
If you stashed Jackie Battle after last week, you stashed yourself a starting RB this week. The bye week came at just the right time for the dinged up Battle, who broke through in his first extended PT this year. According to the Kansas City Star, Battle has been earning the praise of HC Todd Haley and is expected to shoulder the load this week. If no one stashed him in your league, don't make the same mistake twice.
While Julio Jones hasn't been ruled out this week, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, keep in mind the Falcons have a week 8 bye, and may give the young WR another week off, hopeful of getting him back to 100% when the return from the bye week 9. Harry Douglas has 2 catches for 57 yards in his stead, and would likely get the start if Jones is sat down again this week.
Start/Sit questions? Send them to me on Twitter: @PCreightonWCWP
Catch me on The Sportswire, Fridays from 6-7pm on 88.1fm and http://www.wcwp.org/
Patrick Creighton has appeared on WFAN-NY and YES Network, and is the play-by-play voice of C.W. Post Football and Women’s Basketball.
Monday, October 17, 2011
Along the way, we had some very special guests sit down at the table with us to talk about the the upcoming basketball year. Unfortunately due to some technical difficulties we were unable to save the Coach Casey, Coach Moore, and Gilbert Montalvo interviews but I'd like to thank them for taking the time out and sharing a few laughs. Here were the rest:
Billy Butler - PG, C.W. Post Pioneers
Podcast Powered By Podbean
1) Will Robert Roode (One half of Beer Money w/ James Storm) capture TNA World Heavyweight Gold from Kurt Angle?
2) How bad will this match between Hulk Hogan (Age: 58) and Sting (Age: 52) really be?
By the end, leaving the Movie Theater (I've never seen a wrestling PPV or anything else other than a movie before in a movie theater setting), I was never sad, or even let down given the recent hype for Roode on the TV show over the last month, Impact Wrestling, and demotion of Vince Russo from Head Writing but disappointed that Hogan and crew couldn't even pull off a marginally better performance to make this PPV stand out from a random TNA PPV, ala, TNA No Surrender other than the setting and location being outside the Impact Zone.
Let's get onto the rolling thoughts with this show from last night.
Because of the last few weeks of TNA Impact Wrestling highlighting the positives of making Robert Roode into somewhat of a Main Eventer, after winning the Bound For Glory Series (A 6 month roller coaster ride to determine the #1 contender at Bound For Glory featuring the 10 top guys in the company that aren't champions), they had really built this series up Roode by beating AJ Styles, Frankie Kazarian, Gunner, James Storm, top guys in TNA, to get him ready for BFG in Philly.
I had an open mind without any negative thoughts going in to this event.
The movie theater feel was very cool in Port Washington despite the price of it being 22 dollars a ticket. It made me feel like I was in a time-warp back to 1985, watching WrestleMania 1, on closed circuit with a closed out theater to see some wrestling. I thought the group I was going with would be the majority in the theater watching this event.
This movie theater in Port Washington did such a good job advertising (not really), that you couldn't even tell the theater was showing a wrestling event, not even as if you were in the theater on the headlines of the movies they were showing. So we paid the money for the tickets and it was the same room that was showing Dolphin Tale. For my money, I wanted TNA to get Morgan Freeman to do the opening video but suffice to say, that was not enough...
When the theater doors first opened there were the 5 of us and 1 more guy in coming early (Half hour early) to get a good seat. If you came at 10PM, you could have picked anything in the theater it was that empty. I fully expected there to be a total of 7 people show up. There was 14 so I was somewhat impressed. Apparently, this was one of the 130 theaters that would be showing BFG live worldwide. Still, this is more theaters than the WWE would show for John Cena's next movie, The Reunion, before it hits Walmart the following week. Well done TNA.
Yes, I attended the show with my girlfriend, Amanda, (who's a casual fan, taking in her first TNA experience), two former co-hosts of OTR in Mike "Bon" Hawkins, and Josh Chapdelain. Josh's friend Dillion (Sorry if you're reading this and I got the name spelled wrong) tagged along also.
First match that started off the pre-show at about 7:45PM was Mexican America (As politically correct as they come) of Hernandez, and Anarquia, defending their Tag Team Titles against Inc. Inc. of Jessie Neal and Shannon Moore. Match was slow paced and methodical and not entertaining to the Philly crowd in the Liacours Center at Temple University nor the one in the Port Washington movie theater. I felt more compelled to get snacks than watching all of this match take place. I got my Popcorn, Soda and a candy, so I was set before 8PM when the show would actually start.
By the way, anytime you have Satind give you a song for the main theme of a PPV, it's generally a bad idea to begin with. On with the main show.
TNA has this running routine of airing an X-Division match, whether it be singles or multi-man match to start the PPV off and get the PPV off to a hot start. X-Division Title match = Austin Aries (c) vs. Brian Kendrick. A nice solid opener that featured Aries get some noticeable spots in like the Air Raid Missile through the middle ropes to the outside at bullet like speed. Gotta give credit to Kendrick for having the shin pads covering his bare feet for the unique and strange quality of this character... I'm giving credit to any pro wrestler that has ever wrestled barefoot like the late-great, Umaga, and also the lone remaining Von Erich brother, Kevin Von Erich. Aries wins with the corner dropkick and Brain BUSTAHHHHHHHHH!!! (Japanese Commentator call) combo to retain. This was one of the highlights in the show.
Next Match was designed to relive 1998 in 2011 in Philly with a match between RVD and Jerry Lynn. A full metal mayhem match which gave the crowd more reason to jump for the spots and not the match itself. Alot of concussion inducing spots later and this mess of a match was over. With all the head trauma and concussion discussion that takes place in 2011, you have to wonder why this match would even be needed in 2011. A big time thumbs down. Work safer, not dumber.
Third match on the card was a triple threat match between Samoa Joe, Matt Morgan and Crimson. Samoa Joe as the heel is getting the smart mark crowd reaction in Philly similar to Aries did in the first match of the night. Not good. Matt Morgan and Crimson gang up on Samoa Joe. Not good. Crimson just sucks in every way possible and has the look of a guy you'd make out of the generic sampler from WWE SmackDown vs. Raw 2006. A slow and plodding match that would indicate Samoa Joe wanting to leave TNA after the next few months. Crimson with a spear gets the win after Morgan does the work on Samoa Joe.
That was part 1 of TNA BFG recapped (Gotta get to class) and part 2 will be put up either later tonight during Raw or sometime tomorrow.
Till next time,
I'm Nick Malone.
In four games, New York Islanders star John Tavares already has five goals, three assists and eight points. The 21 year old Tavares has started his third NHL season with quit a bang, which includes scoring a hat trick in Saturday night’s game against the rival New York Rangers.
Since the season opener Tavares has looked like a stronger player. He’s a lot stronger on the puck and his skating ability has picked up. During the offseason he a power skating camp and reviewed game film to make adjustments to his game.
Islanders head coach Jack Capuano called Tavares the team’s best player following the Islanders 4-2 victory over the Rangers.
“He struggled his first game, but he knows what he has to do,” Capuano said. “He puts a lot of pressure on himself, you just leave him alone, he’s a student of the game, he works extremely hard and he’s going to get his chances. Right now he’s playing with confidence and he wants to help this team get into the post season.”
Matt Moulson, the Isles top line left-winger and Tavares’s friend, wasn’t too surprised at Tavares’s ability. Following Thursday nights 5-1 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, a game in which Tavares nearly had a had trick, Moulson believed Tavares would have a few hat tricks this season.
“It stinks, but I’m sure he’ll have a lot of three goal games this year, so not to worry,” Moulson said Thursday.
It only took Tavares one game to get his first of the season.
“He works hard every single day on his game and makes himself better on the ice and off the ice,” Moulson said on Saturday. “He’s just committed to being one of the best players in this league. He’s playing with a lot of confidence and when he does that he’s a scary player to play against. Like I said his first year, he’s only going to get better every year. The more mature he is and understands what he’s capable of and I think you’re seeing glimpses of it here.”
Time will tell what Tavares is truly capable of, but if he continues to play like the way he has early on then the team, and its’ fans, can expect big things to come.
You can follow Christian on Twitter @isleshockeyblog or listen to him every tuesday from 5-6pm on The Power Play on wcwp.org.
Saturday, October 15, 2011
But the big story here is the game itself. Rob Ryan’s defense goes up against Tom Brady’s high power multi-threat attack. The good news is Ryan, in the past, has had success taming Brady and Company. The last time Rob Ryan faced the Patriots was last season in November, where Ryan was the Defensive Coordinator for the Cleveland Browns. In that match up, the Browns defeated the Patriots 34-14, where they contained Brady to only 224 yards passing and a season low passing completion of 52.8 percent.
So far in this young season, the Dallas Defense has been working well, despite injuries and a depleted secondary. The defense ranks 4th in the league in total defense, 1st against the run and also has 13 sacks in 4 games.
Follow me on Twitter @bryangallucci
Friday, October 14, 2011
Sticking with the theme of talking about the NY team that won, first...how about those Buffalo Bills. Their theme this season has been beating teams that are only better than them on paper. The Bills beat the Eagles this week by a touchdown 31-24. Nobody told the Bills that their defense is not supposed be good enough to pick off a combined 8 passes from Tom Brady and Mike Vick. The Bills season stays a nice story as Fitzpatrick continues to spread the ball around and drive his offense into the end zone, and Fred Jackson continues to run over and through defenses., but when it comes down to the stars of this team, its gotta be this defense. The way they get to the ball and take it away is pretty incredible. Pretty incredible to think that even with a lack of a serious pass rush (zero sacks this week) they are still able to get five takeaways. This weeks star, once again, was Nick Barnett with his 2 INTs. With all the times this offense gets the ball, it allows Fred Jackson (26 Carries 111 Yds 1TD) and Ryan Fitzpatrick (21/27 193 Yds 1TD) to do their thing and outscore people, which has become Very exciting to watch.
Giants are next on the list because although they had their worst game of the very young season this week, theyre still in better shape than the Jets. This week the old Eli Manning came back to turn the ball over like he does so well, and the awful defense showed up and let Tarvaris Jackson connect on as many passes as he pleased. Dont let the numbers fool you, Eli's 420 passing yards were only there because of the Giants inability to run...again. The three interceptions were scary for Giants fans to see because they've all seen this from him before, and know this doesnt end well. The Giants have a serious issue running as Jacobs is out again this coming week against the aforementioned Bills, and Ahmad Bradshaw ran his way for a whopping 58 yards on 17 carries. What fans have been watching thus far in the season, has NOT been New York Giants football, and as well as Eli has been able to play, it is NOT the way they want games to go. The D-Line of the Giants (and Michael Boley), and the receiving core, are the only units on this team doing their jobs. This week it wont get any easier, as I mentioned playing the Bills, and being without Chris Snee, Brandon Jacobs, and Justin Tuck amongst many more.
Those loveable losers the J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets, this week they had another tough task in front of them in the form of the New England Patriots. The Jets are quickly falling too far back in, what looks to be, a very tough AFC East. The 30-21 loss to New England this week was a game that has become exactly the way the Pats want to play now. A Lot more running for BGE (Benjarvus Green-Ellis) than usual, and when they do let Brady throw its often to Wes Welker. Green-Ellis with 136 yards on 27 carries, AND 2 TDs was not only a sign of how well the Pats now are able to run, but also how much the Jets defense has changed and now have trouble stopping the run. Some of the keys for the Jets last few winning seasons have been the O-Line, and the defense. Nowadays in Jets world, both are failing at what they did best. Mark Sanchez cant be blamed for much this season because the O-Line cant keep him upright long enough. The defense has seemed to have lost something, whether its pride, or hard work, something has changed. Its almost like they just thought they were so good, that whether they worked or not theyd get it done, its not the case. Darelle Revis, Jim Leonhard, Im not talking to you...its just about everyone else though. It Should get easier this week with a game against the winless Dolphins, but that being said, if they cant pull out a win this week, its panic time.
Not a lot of surprises around the league this week. The one game that, anyone who knows me, knew I would cover is, the Denver/SD game. San Diego (or San Diago...which we all know what that means) won this game 29-24 but all the focus was on Denver. The one reason everyone was watching Denver, like they will for the rest of the season, is the new starting QB the one and only Timothy Richard Tebow! Now Ill try to be as unbiased as possible, being a Huge Tebow supporter. Tebow came in to this game to start the 3rd quarter replacing Kyle Orton. To be fair, with the fan base in Denver...he never stood a chance. Tebow proceeded to go 4/10 for 79 yards and 1 TD. Along with this he had 38 yards on 6 carries and a score. Tebow Obviously has a long way to go to being a pro bowler or leading his team to the playoffs, but I for one think it is a very smart idea doing what Denver did, naming him the starter for week 7 after Denvers bye. Tebow has shown us though, that he can win, and loves to work hard and improve. I have high hopes for him, and really believe he can and will develop into someone that proves ALL the doubters wrong.
For the look at the rookies, it has to start once again with Cam Newton. Newton this week against an underrated Saints defense went 16/31 for 224 yds 2 TDs and a pick, while running 7 times for 27 yards and another TD. Not his best game obviously, but had his team in a position to win. However, as the story goes for Carolina this year, they lose another close one 30-27. Every city Newton visits on his road games should be excited to see him because more and more he seems like the future poster boy of this league. Andy Dalton and Blaine Gabbert faced off against one another this week and Dalton got the best of Gabbert and the Jags (as most teams do). Dalton went 21/33 for 179 yds with 2Tds and 1 Int, while making himself and AJ Green more and more of a legit threat to any defense they face. AJ went for 90 yards on 5 catches, one of which was for a TD. Blaine Gabbert completed 15 of his 28 attempts for 221 yds and a touchdown of his own. Gabbert hasnt started as many games as the other rookie QBs but is still coming along nicely. I just think when Jason Hill is your go to receiver along with Mike Thomas...Gabbert just needs more help.
I guess thats all for me this week, as always drop a comment, tell me what game I should be looking at closer for next week, I would be thrilled to oblige. Enjoy your Sunday everyone.
Happiness, and healthy fantasy weeks to all
So what are some key matchups to watch this week?
1. Bills @ Giants 1pm.
- The Bills have been one of the surprise teams and have an MVP candidate in RB Fred Jackson and played very well offensively but not defensively.
- For the Giants, they have been hit with injuries since the opening week. First on the defensive side and now offensively. G Chris Snee will miss his first game since his rookie season of 2004. RB Brandon Jacobs and DE Justin Tuck will also miss the game.
Keys to the game:
- For the Bills the Keys to the game are the same as they have been in previous weeks, get big games from their QB Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jackson.
- For the Giants, it will not be easy but they can win this game IF: Eli Manning has another sharp game which he has had all season with the exception of opening week. The Giants WILL HAVE TO run the football, and what that means is for Ahmad Bradshaw to get 100+ yards on the ground (Buffalo is 29th in Rushing Defense) Finally get a pass rush going, yes the G-men's best pass rusher may be out but this team still has two solid players on the Defensive Line that can get to the QB and the lack of a pass rush was a big reason as to why they loss a tough game to Seattle last week.
Prediction: It will be a close and high-scoring affair, but look for the GIANTS to take this one late thanks to Eli and Bradshaw. Giants win 28-24.
2. Eagles @ Redskins: 1pm
- Looking at this game during the preseason, you would think it be first place @ last place, but in a reversal of fortune it's last place @ first place.
- The "Dream Team" Eagles are trying to avoid their first five game losing streak since 1998.
- The 3-1 Redskins are proving this start is not a fluke, allowing the third fewest points in the NFL (15.8), as well as a dominant pass rush that has produced 15 sacks.
Keys to the game:
- For the Eagles: LIMIT THE TURNOVERS. Eagles are -10 this season as compared to the 'Skins who are a -1 . They are putting up fine offensive numbers but the turnovers from this team need to end before the "Dream Team" becomes the "Nightmare reality"
- For the Skins: look for two key positions on Washington to be key contributors to this game; the RB [Eagles have allowed over 1oo Rushing Yards in every game this season] and LB [specifically pro bowler Brian Orakpo who has 3.5 sacks this season]
Prediction: another close game that will be decided late in the 4th quarter, but with the momentum, home field advantage, and with all the pressure that is on the Eagles look for the REDSKINS to pull it out 24-21 at FedEx Field.
3. Panthers @ Falcons: 1pm
- Cam Newton gets his first professional start in his home state. Newton has been nothing short of spectacular to start his NFL career and his abilites will be a challenge for the Atlanta D.
- The Falcons, already with as many losses as in 2010, have been plagued with a fickle offense and a defense that has taken some steps in the wrong direction.
Keys to the game:
- For Carolina, keep the game close. Don't be fooled by their 1-4 start, the Panthers have been in every game, with all of them decided seven points or less. Look for that trend to continue against a struggling Falcons defense.
- For Atlanta, it really comes down to the play of QB Matt Ryan. Ryan, or "Matty Ice" as they call him has unfortunately been ice cold in the team's first five games, some of which is not his fault, his offensive line has yielded 14 sacks to start the season. It won't help that rookie receiver Juilo Jones will not play due to injury.
Prediction: look for Cam Newton's talents to be too much for Atlanta's struggling D. If Matt Ryan can return to the Matt Ryan of 2010 then expect a fierce battle. As much as it is a must-win game for Atlanta look for the PANTHERS to win 28-17.
-follow Johnny on Twitter @MontalbanoNY and listen to his recap of the week that was and his sneak peek into the week that will be in sports every Wednesday on "Review and Preview" from 5-6pm only on WCWP.org
Thursday, October 13, 2011
Last week, this column warned Kyle Orton owners that if the Broncos continued to flounder, that a change could be coming soon. Well, soon is now. Tim Tebow has officially been installed as the starting QB, and should be grabbed in all leagues. Tebow’s mechanics aren’t the best, and his accuracy has been a problem, but he still somehow manages to make plays with both his arm and his legs., and gets points on the board. The rebuild in Denver is here, and John Fox may as well get Tebow as many reps as he can to better prepare him for next season. Consider Tebow a middle of the road QB2 for now.
Jackie Battle insists hes ok after being held out of practice earlier this week according to KCChiefs.com. He was fortunate to not get a concussion after a hit to the back of the head. Hes clearly established himself as KC’s top back, significantly outplaying Thomas Jones. Hes the #2 hot pickup this week behind Tim Tebow.
This column has been pushing Curtis Painter for several weeks now, and Colts HC Jim Caldwell emphasized to the media today that Painter is his starting QB, barring injury, according to Philip Wilson of the Indianapolis Star. The O-Line will continue to be a problem, and while Painter’s accuracy (48.5%) hasn’t been good, look for it to improve as he gets more comfortable and continues to improve his pre-snap reads. Painter has shown tremendous rapport with Pierre Garcon, and those two should continue to yield dividends for fantasy owners. Painter is a decent QB2, Garcon is a high WR2. Joseph Addai won’t play this week, as Delone Carter and Donald Brown will split carries. Neither figures to be a good fantasy bet. With the Colts on the bye week 7, look for Addai to return to the lineup week 8. Its been a tough year for Dallas Clark. Clark already has 6 drops this year, vs. 7 the last 2 years combined according to ESPN.com. Clark is being asked to block more with the Colts O-Line being so hideous. Hes a TE2 at best.
Aaron Hernandez will be ready to go this week vs. Cowboys, according to a Boston Globe report. Hernandez saw more targets than expected last week vs. Jets due to Rob Gronkowski being very ill before the game. Gronk fought through the virus but mainly stayed in for blocking duty. He should be fine to start as well this week in the Patriots’ 2 TE attack. Both players are worth starting every week. Danny Woodhead also returned to practice for the Pats. Since a 14 carry, 69 yd effort opening week vs. Miami, Woodhead has not managed to gain more than 21 yds on ground or 41 yds total in a game since. However, with BenJarvus Green-Ellis missing practice this week (per Ian Rapoport), keep an eye on Woodhead and rookie RB Stevan Ridley, who could share time if the Law Firm is shut down for a week.
Bengals owner Mike Brown continues to state there will be no Carson Palmer trade before the deadline, per a Cincinatti Enquirer report. Palmer will have to wait until March 2012 when the next NFL year begins. The Bengals have already moved on to the Andy Dalton era. Owners looking for QB help should wipe Palmer off their boards for 2011.
Peyton Hillis will be getting the bulk of the carries for the Browns this week, according to Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Backup Montario Hardesty will still get a few touches, but expect Hillis to get 20+.
Lee Evans missed practice today according to the Baltimore Ravens official twitter account. Downgrade him for this week. His ankle must not be responding . Find a better option for this week.
Tony Gonzalez returned to practice on a limited basis today. Start him as you normally would. Roddy White was a full practice participant, and should see an increase in targets with Julio Jones out, per reports from AtlantaFalcons.com. With Jones out, the Falcons will use a 3 WR rotation of Harry Douglas, Eric Weems, and Kerry Meier. None are worth rostering at this time.
Rashard Mendenhall is no longer on the Steelers’ injury report, per a Scott Brown report. Get him in your lineup as you normally would. Isaac Redman will return to backup duties. Jonathan Dwyer will likely see very little, if any, action. Ben Roethlisberger is also off the injury report. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette notes that Big Ben was only hit 2x all last week vs. the Titans, and that Ben believes he will not need to wear a special shoe designed to protect his foot. Expect Ben to be plenty mobile vs. the Jaguars this week in a strong matchup. Mike Wallace is looking at a big day vs. a weak Jacksonville secondary..
John Keim reports that Chris Cooley was limited in practice, and that HC Mike Shanahan admitted Cooley needed to have his knee drained again. Expect a reduced role this week vs. Eagles. Fred Davis is a TE1 play this week.
Matt Schaub returned to practice today, according to Nick Scurfield, but hes taking a banged up shoulder into a matchup against the Ravens. If you have a comparable option, it might be a good week to sit Schaub down, since he will still be without top WR Andre Johnson. Jacoby Jones has been a total washout since Johnson went down. If you must start a Texans WR this week, look at Kevin Walter. Arian Foster was limited in practice but that is likely the Texans letting him take it easy after handling the ball 27 times last week. He should be fine to start but has a very tough matchup.
Daniel Thomas is back in practice according to Ben Volin. He gets a favorable matchup vs. Jets struggling run D this week.
Brandon Jacobs missed practice again according to Ralph Vacchiano. Looks like he will be a no-go for Sunday. With David Baas set to return to the Giants O-Line this week, bump Ahmad Bradshaw up to RB1 vs. Bills run D. DJ Ware has no value.
LeGarrette Blount hasn’t practiced this week according to Roy Cummings and is unlikely to play this week. With the Bucs having a week 8 bye, Blount could sit next week too. Earnest Graham will shoulder the load, with Kregg Lumpkin as backup.
Redskins beat writer David Elfin believes that Ryan Torain will be given the reins to be the Skins top RB. Tim Hightower has a bum shoulder and is likely looking at being relegated to the 3rd down back. Its Torain’s job to lose at this point.
Panthers OC Rob Chudzinski has said the team will proceed with Cam Newton as its goal line back. While Joe Person reports that HC Ron Rivera said the team would like to “whittle down” Newton’s rushing attempts, don’t expect those carries to be removed at the goal line. They want to limit Newton’s open field running, and prevent him from taking any unnecessary hits. As long as Newton is carrying the ball at the goal line, hes a QB1. His progress from preseason to the regular season has been nothing short of remarkable. DeAngelo Williams value takes a hit with Newton getting carries at the goal line.
Miles Austin and Dez Bryant have been full participants in practice this week, and barring any late setbacks, are must starts this week vs. a weak Patriots secondary in what is shaping up to be a very high scoring game. Tony Romo is also a must start this week.
Marques Colston is fully healed from his collarbone injury and is no longer on a snap count, per a report in the New Orleans Times-Picayune. Colston is now getting the most snaps and should be in fantasy lineups. Robert Meacham is getting the second most snaps, followed by Lance Moore and Devery Henderson. Even though Drew Brees likes to spread it around, Colston is a must start, Meachem is a matchup start, Moore and Henderson arent currently worth starting.
With the trade of Derrick Mason to Texas, Jeremy Kerley becomes the Jets #3 WR according to ESPN New York. While he isn’t worth adding at this time, he will be first in line should injury strike Santonio Holmes or Plaxico Burress. Keep an eye on how Kerley progresses, especially if Burress continues to disappoint.
Mike Gehlken reports that Antonio Gates will not guarantee he will be healthy enough to return to the lineup following the Chargers week 6 bye. This is maddening to owners, who likely drafted Gates early and havent gotten anything in return yet. Its too early to write Gates off, especially considering his excellent production from the TE spot. Owners just have to grin and bear it for now.
A Seattle Times report has the Seahawks considering surgery on Tarvaris Jackson. HC Pete Carroll says team won’t know Jackson’s status for week 7 following their bye. Charlie Whitehurst will be handling all first team reps in practice this week and looks to be the odds on favorite to start at this time. Doug Baldwin gets a bump in value if Whitehurst plays, as these two seem to have good chemistry. The majority of Baldwin’s 136 receiving yards vs. Giants last week came with Whitehurst at QB. Baldwin is worth a flier in deeper leagues, and could be a spot starter going forward.
According to the Cincinatti Enquirer’s Joe Reedy, an official at Cincinatti’s National Labor Relations Board office gave a 3-4 week timetable on how long it would take before it reached a decision on Cedric Benson’s unfair labor practice charge. Reedy says the official is also the one who will make the final decision in the case as well. The NFL appears to be holding off on ruling on his suspension until this issue is also settled. Benson owners appear to be safe through weeks 9-10 at the least.
Start/Sit questions? Send them to me on Twitter: @PCreightonWCWP
Catch me on The Sportswire, Fridays from 6-7pm on 88.1fm and www.wcwp.org
Patrick Creighton has appeared on WFAN-NY and YES Network, and is the play-by-play voice of C.W. Post Football and Women’s Basketball