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Comings and Goings

It’s August, which means the draft is approaching, the greatest time of the year for fantasy players. Teams have reported for camp, everyone is in shape (except Albert Haynesworth), and news from training camps has already saturated us to the point of drowning. So, what’s been going on so far?

Ben Roethlisberger’s suspension has opened the door for Byron Leftwich. Leftwich never really had much of a chance last year with

Tampa
Bay
. They signed their quarterback of the future in Josh Freeman, although that future looks pretty bleak. Well, with Roethlisberger serving a suspension, Leftwich looks to receive the job in his place. He has been taking the majority of first-team reps at Pittsburgh Steelers camp, while Dennis Dixon has been mixed in sparingly. There will be no quarterback controversy, though, when Big Ben is ready, he’ll be the guy. In the meantime, Rashard Mendenhall, who should be in the Top 12-15 on your draft board anyway, figures to receive even more carries.

Denver Broncos’ runningbacks Correll Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno suffered injuries at the start of camp. Buckhalter hurt his back and

Moreno
was thought to have torn his hamstring, although an MRI proved that he did not. Buckhalter will reportedly miss a week, while

Moreno
could miss three weeks. The Broncos offense is a mess, with Brandon Marshall gone and Kyle Orton being only slightly less unappealing than Brady Quinn.
Moreno and Buckhalter, especially

Moreno
, figure to get the majority of the work in this low-powered offense. The time off may actually be a blessing in disguise. Keep an eye on this situation, since extended time missed could always bring around the name Brian Westbrook. Actually, I wonder where Tim Tebow ranks on their running back depth chart?

Reports from Washington Redskins’ camp are that Clinton Portis looks great. Temper your expectations a little, since it’s still very early in camp, but this is the same offensive system that made Clinton Portis a household name to begin with. True, Mike Shanahan is not to be trusted. Ever. With anything. But, if Portis can capture that old zone-blocking scheme lightning in a bottle again, it could make the Redskins interesting. And, if he doesn’t, they always have other washed up backs Larry Johnson and Willie Parker to trot out there.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Head Coach Raheem Morris says that he will ride the hot hand in

Tampa
. This means that you can avoid Carnell Williams, Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham (who’s being listed as a fullback) for an extra round or two. Remember, that Josh Freeman is only slightly better than you at quarterback, so those guys are going to get gang-tackled constantly anyway. Runningback by committee is as un-American as the French.

Ryan Mathews is impressing his coaches in

San Diego
. The rookie reportedly showed good vision, speed and power. The easiest way to forget about LaDainian Tomlinson in

San Diego
would be for this kid to come out and start putting up numbers early. The one thing that you can be sure of is that when Mathews gets to that second level, he’s not going to run out of gas. In the past year or two, it seemed as though Tomlinson lost that extra gear. Mathews has it. And, with a solid run threat, Philip Rivers might be in for a huge year.

The Dallas Cowboys are getting geared up to try and win a Super Bowl in their home stadium. Their high-powered offense has been taking some hits already, even before full-contact drills. It began with Roy Williams asking his
superior replacement teammate, rookie Dez Bryant, to carry his shoulder pads after a practice. Bryant refused. I don’t blame him. If someone I was better than started ordering me around, I’d refuse too. After that whole thing blew over, Bryant was apparently punished by the football gods when he hurt his ankle and will now miss 4-6 weeks. Bryant should be dropped a little, since he’ll have to rehab the ankle and take it slow. To add to all that, Tony Romo is apparently experiencing some soreness in his throwing shoulder because he’s thrown well over 200 passes in just a few days. No real worries here, since Romo should be fine, but it looks like Big ‘D’ is for ‘Drama.’

Wes Welker is a superhero. In Week 17 last year, his knee got completely blown up. I don’t know if he’s the toughest guy ever, the fastest healer ever or if advances in technology have come so far that they can cut rehab time for serious knee injuries in half, but he’s running around, making catches and doing other Welker-like things already. He’s not even on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list. I honestly have no idea what to do with him or where to draft him. I have to believe that he’s not Wes Welker, but isn’t 75 percent of Welker still better than 100 percent of Bernard Berrian?

Michael Turner looks really good in Atlanta Falcons camp. He reported in great shape, quicker, faster and most importantly, healthy. Remember what he did two years ago when motivated by his first feature back gig? I think he’ll do that again. I know he disappointed owners last year, but he is a large, angry man who is going to run people over this year. He’s also going to get a lot of goal line carries.

Cleveland Browns’ runningback Montario Hardesty hurt his knee and will miss the majority of camp. This means that Jerome Harrison has a huge opportunity to be the guy in

Cleveland
, and head coach Eric Mangini already knows he can handle the rock. Last season, in the final three weeks, he carried the ball 106 times for 561 yards and five scores. Granted, it was against
Kansas City,
Oakland and

Jacksonville
, but still, he can be useful, especially considering where he’s being drafted.

Lastly, Brett Favre has announced that he won’t be returning to the Minnesota Vikings due to his ankle not healing as well as hoped. We’ve heard this before. But it’s early August, and it’s hot out there. How many people expect Favre to be under center once again – for

Minnesota
? For anybody?

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