Brian Hartline (MIA,
Oh Teddy, Teddy, Teddy …
which pass do you think it was that brought it all to this? Was it the one that
went straight through your hands? Or maybe it was the one that hit you and bounced
square of your shoulder to Darren Sharper to return for a momentum-changing touchdown?
So many to choose from, Ted Ginn Jr.? Welcome to heartbreak hotel. It’s done
wonders for Rashard Mendenhall this season, but it’s not like Miami doesn’t have other productive wide
receivers. Greg Camarillo has been points-per-receptions gold in seasons past and
Davone Bess is no slouch either given half a chance.
Ginn hasn’t been taking first-team
reps this week and thus far has been refusing to talk to the media since his
deflected catch was returned for that touchdown. Coach Tony Sparano has
reiterated that he has promised Hartline will be more involved and will see
more action. So far? He’s been true to his word, having Hartline pick up the
slack in training this week. Ginn cannot say this hasn’t been a long time
fans have had to endure his poor production and play for a number of seasons
A former Buckeye product
– ironically – that has sometimes been eclipsed by Ginn, Anthony Gonzalez and Brian
Robiskie, Hartline is a steady and productive WR that could produce dividends.
He was taken ahead of Austin Collie, Johhny Knox and Sammie Stroughter in this
year’s draft. Chad Henne definitely has the arm – and as posted here some weeks
back – has all the potential to be the franchise QB in Miami for years to come, especially if he can
build that rapport and chemistry with Hartline that is so essential to all
successful franchises. Then the yards and the touchdowns will come. Actually,
talking of Henne, who went to Michigan
Mike Hart (IND, RB), 0%
Another Michigan product (like Henne), Mike Hart is
a back that puts me in mind of the guy he will be replacing – Donald Brown. The
back situation is a well established running-back-by-committee. It’s been that
way for a few seasons – apart from the ill-advised experiment to see if Joseph
Addai could handle the featured back role (short version? He can’t). Both Hart
and Brown are featured-workhorse backs that have proven they can make the
mileage. At Connecticut,
Brown rushed for 3,800 yards and 20 touchdowns over three seasons, their
all-time leading rusher. At Michigan,
Hart rushed for 5,400 yards and 41 touchdowns on over four seasons.
Hart has been in the
running for numerous awards over his collegiate career – Heisman, Doak Walker
and Maxwell, as well as being only the fourth rusher in Big 10 history to
exceed the 5,000-yard threshold.
He missed most of his
rookie season and preseason with a knee and ankle injury. There has been a lot
of mileage on that young body already, so a few nicks are to be expected along
the way. With Brown set to miss 3-4 weeks(according to Bill
Polian)with a shoulder injury and not yet having even seen the practice
field so far this week, Hart has now become the RB2 in one of the most prolific
offenses in NFL history. Indianapolis plays
their next three games at home and have matches against Houston
(twice), Tennessee, Jacksonville
There is NO way this guy should not be owned. Not in ANY format. 0 percent
owned? Shame on you!
Matthew Stafford (DET,
QB) 10% and Dennis Northcutt (DET, WR) 3%
practicing for three consecutive days, so if Detroits want to play him, they
could. He’s facing St. Louis,
currently averaging 30+ points to opposing quarterbacks. Calvin Johnson is
50:50 to play right now, but it wouldn’t dissuade me from suggesting you take a
look at Stafford as worse wide receivers have
had better days than Johnson is averaging currently. Should Megatron not be
good to go – Northcutt is the add against a repugnant Rams secondary that are
allowing 223 yards per game through the air and have gifted 24 plays of 20+ yards
whilst managing only 5 interceptions all season.
There really isn’t much
to say here, sometimes it really is just that simple – just make the add, watch
the injury report. Job done.
Vince Young (TEN, QB)
By the way – does anyone
remember his Rookieof the Year campaign? Yeah, it’s a bit of a stretch
forany of us to remember – but he DID have one and that is what we need
to cling onto. The guy can play. No one flukes turning in a campaign of that
caliber. His problems since then are more nebulous, however, and definitely
more well documented. But look at it this way – if an experienced veteran like Kerry
Collins isn’t getting it done with pretty much the same talent around him (even
an upgrade at receiving corps. – Nate Washington, Kenny Britt), then maybe
Vince wasn’t all that bad? Maybe. Perhaps.Actually he was pretty bad –
Collins miasma of myopia when it comes to reading the defenses and making the
play is to blame for this rose-tinted nostalgia.
Here’s the bottom line –
Young still has a winning record. Good players don’t become bad players
overnight, and that Rookie of the Year campaign? Of the games he started? He
had four fourth-quarter comebacks, rushed for 552 yards and 7 touchdowns, and
managed to orchestrate wins against both Indianapolis
and the New York Giants. His biggest problem is making the defensive read and
making decisions, all too often. As a rookie he had an INT:TD ration of 13:12,
a figure that decreased to 17:9 in his sophomore season. I’ll give him a pass
for his second season. A sophomore slump is not unknown, and considering he’d
been on the cover of Madden, combined with the burden of expectation he was
never going to live up to the hype.
Jeff Fisher did the right
thing sitting him down in his third season after he injured his knee – it gave
him the opportunity to watch Collins lead the Titans and do a great job. If he
managed to pick up even a fraction of his patience and ability to make a read
and recognize a defensive set, then he could be a nice surprise package down
the stretch with Jacksonville, St.
Louis, Seattle, Houston,
Arizona and San Diego all on the slate. He has all the
tools to succeed – stud running back, decent wide receivers and tight end options,
if he can bring the mindset he had from his rookie campaign, that is. Tennessee has the worst
pass defense in the league – he’ll have to open it up unlike Alex Smith below –
so this is high-risk/reward country.
Alex Smith (SF, QB)
Being a franchise QB isn’t
always what it’s cracked up to be – just ask Matt Leinart. But Smith has had
more than his fair share of problems, even a potential career ending injury. I
say “career,” but it would be more accurate to say it was a potential “potential
career” ending injury. Smith was taken with the first overall pick in the 2005
draft class. San Francisco
could’ve gone with Aaron Rodgers or Jason Campbell – who knew, eh?
Smith has worked with
four offensive coordinators in four seasons. If you want to know how that can
affect a young quarterback, go andtake a good long look at how well Campbell is working
out- another first-round draft pick (2005). It doesn’t take a rocket
scientist to figure out that it’s a big enough leap from collegiate to NFL
level football. With a lack of stability around him and an offense built on
shifting sands,it’s no wonder that he has not fulfilled his potential
As silly as it sounds –
the prolonged period Smith spent out with injury has probably done him the
power of good. His dedication to the team is apparent with his willingness to
restructure and reduce his contract in order to increase cap room. Truth be
told, though? Given his injury and performances to date, it was a choice he
made before it was forced upon him in all likelihood.
Has the guy got the
talent to succeed? Yes, he has. Has he shown it? Only in frustratingly rare
patches. Chris Collinsworth once said of Smith during a 2006 game against their
rivals – the Seahawks – ”That drive is the best I ever saw.”
a run-first offense and he has – like another quarterback we discussed above –
the tools around him. A patient coach, a decent running game and passing
options (Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan and Vernon Davis). So I expect interceptions
to be kept to a minimum. They’ll happen, but this could be the comeback story
of the season. Temper expectations and make the pickup in dynasty and 14-team
leagues for now and don’t expect too much, too soon against Indianapolis.
Jairus Byrd (BUF, FS)
?% – I wasn’t able
to get into a decent IDP league this season – I’ll have to have a word with Swarm
– but 12 tackles and three interceptions for a player that has undergone hernia
surgery as recently as July and had to make a position change ANDall this
in just his rookie season? Good job, Jairus – we salute you!
Shonn Greene (NYJ, RB)
48% – Just
because we told you a while ago. Temper expectations somewhat against one of
the premier rush defenses in the league this week (Miami) – but he is and shall always remain.
Wishing a speedy recuperation for Leon Washington.
Beanie Wells (ARI, RB)
47% – The double
stiff arm against the New York Giants defense was worth it alone – but ponder
this … Brandon Jacobs or Wells? Check the statline for the Arizona/New York game. Compare
and contrast – you’ll be surprised.In dynasty leagues you have to be enamored
if you own him … and envious if you’re the Tim Hightower owner that does not.
Justin Fargas (OAK,
RB) – 67 yards
rushing, 35 yards receiving; despite Michael Bush being around.
James Jones (GB, WR) –
A reception and a
Sammie Stroughter (TB,
WR) – 63 yards.
Led Tampa Bay in receptions.
Matt Stover (IND, K) – Six