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Fantasy Intelligence Report: News Nuggets, Week 2 Reactions, and Ultimate Romo Warrior

Let’s just get to it. 

N.N. — News Nuggets

The biggest news as Sunday approaches is coming out of Philadelphia, where it looks like quarterback Michael Vick may play against the Giants. According to the
Courier-Post Vick was given the o.k. to return to practice from the neurologist and looked just fine, according to wide receiver Jeremy Maclin.

“He looked good, man,” Maclin said of Vick in practice. “He looked fine, very in control of the huddle, in control of what was going on, in control of the offense. He’s in good shape.”

“That’s what you want out of your quarterback,” Maclin added. “You want him to want to be out there; you want him to put everything on his shoulders, and he wants to be the guy to take us where we need to go. So obviously we’re going to rally behind him, and we definitely want him out there.”

While this is the great news Eagles’ fans and fantasy owners were waiting anxiously to hear, on the flipside, there is still some concern surrounding how to ensure Vick minimizes the number of hits he takes. It’s something that is definitely on the mind of offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

“I’d like to minimize that, and he’d like to minimize that,” Mornhinweg said. “Some of it is his style of play, and certainly you don’t want to take that style of play away from him, but I do want to minimize the hits, and there are several things we can do there.”

One of two things will happen here. Either Vick will cut way back on the number of times he takes off running and over-compensate for the injury, or he’s going to go all out and play reckless all the time. It won’t be anything in between, which will be good or bad depending on who you are.

And in Tampa Bay, it looks as though wide receiver Mike Williams is having a hard time finding openings to catch the ball. According to the
St Petersburg Times defenses are doing everything they can to keep the ball out of his hands, including putting two defensive backs on him.

“When (defenses) go to Cover 2, the corner, instead of dropping down into his zone, he’s following me,” Williams said. “So, it’s like (there’s) a safety over the top and the corner’s coming, too. Even the ball that I did catch (Sunday versus Minnesota), I got hit by the safety, too. It’s always two defenders where I’m at. I just have to adjust to it. Hopefully we keep getting wins and whatever happens, happens.”

Uh-oh. This is not the news fantasy owners need to hear two games in to the season. Williams has been a fantasy afterthought thus far (five catches for 46 yards and one touchdown), and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon. Although, as pointed out in the F.I.R. Hot Sheet below the Buccaneers opponent this week, the Atlanta Falcons, have surrendered 602 yards and four touchdowns through the air this season. In other words, let’s not rule out Williams as a good starting option just yet. Just keep a close eye on his progress.

Once again the orange jump suits will be a popular costume at Cincinnati Bengals’ games in about a month. Over the years Cincinnati has become the stomping grounds for criminal activity in the NFL, and the stomp looks like it will continue.

According to the
Cincinnati Enquirer investigators found a total of 8.5 pounds of marijuana in Jerome Simpson’s Northern Kentucky home in what is being described a re-distribution scheme.

More on this to come, but there is a good chance that Simpson will see some prison time, and probably won’t be suiting up on Sunday for quite a while. Andre Caldwell will take his place in the starting lineup.

In St Louis, running back Steven Jackson tested his right thigh in practice Thursday, this according to the
St Louis Dispatch. However, his status will remain questionable/doubtful leading up to Sunday’s contest with the Baltimore Ravens.

“I was able to get out there today, practice a little bit, get a few reps in,” Jackson said. “I’m starting to familiarize myself with the game plan and knowing what Baltimore does. So mentally, I’m right on key with the team. I just have to continue over the next few days to see how the quad reacts to me actually doing physical work that’s football related.”

Back-up running back Cadillac Williams didn’t practice on Thursday, as he’s trying to rest a hamstring he tweaked in Monday night’s game against the Giants. Williams did tell reporters he was optimistic about being available on Sunday. The only other two running backs on the active roster are Jerious Norwood and Quinn Porter.

In New York there is a good chance that wide receiver Mario Manningham will not play against the Eagles this week after suffering a concussion against the Rams on Monday night. According to the
New York Post Manningham was not on the practice field on Thursday, and has yet to pass the concussion test.

This is not good news for the Giants or fantasy owners. New York already lost Domenik Hixon to a season-ending torn ACL, so if Manningham still can’t pass the test by Sunday they’ll have to operate with Victor Cruz, Devin Thomas, and Brandon Stokely as second, third and fourth options, along with the recently re-signed Michael Clayton.

In other words, if Hakeem Nicks doesn’t have the game of his life Eli Manning and the offense may find themselves in big trouble.

There is big news out of Jacksonville this week surrounding their quarterback situation. According to the
Associated Press coach Jack Del Rio plans on starting rookie Blaine Gabbert this week when the Jaguars travel to Carolina to take on the Panthers and fantasy sensation Cam Newton.



“We think Blaine has a chance to be a franchise-type quarterback and he’s getting that opportunity now to be our starting quarterback and to become that guy,” Del Rio said. “I think from the first day he was out on the practice field, one of the first throws he made in camp, everybody kind of look around and said, ‘That guy has legitimate talent.’ I think you can see it.”

Del Rio went on: “There’s a big upside potential, and we know we’re a good football team. We need a spark, we need more in our passing game and we think Blaine can help us get that.”

Yeah. The Jaguars need a lot of help in the passing department, as they currently rank 30th in passing yardage and former starter Luke McCown couldn’t find the end-zone once in the first two games. And while Gabbert won’t throw up Tom Brady-like numbers, he’s certainly a step up, even as a rookie, over McCown.

I would look for a spike in production from Mike Thomas this week, as he is pretty much the only reliable target besides Maurice Jones-Drew the Jaguars have at receiver.

W.2.R. — Week 2 Reactions

– I was impressed with some of the throws that Panthers’ rookie quarterback Cam Newton made against the defending champs. I was not impressed with the ugly broadcast crew of Ron Pitts and Jim Mora, and how they drooled like St. Bernards over Newton, even when he made some really bad decisions and threw up some ducks. In fact, after one of Newton’s interceptions, the former coach Mora expressed his disappointment in the play-calling. I have to wonder if he looked in a mirror before he opened his mouth on that one.

– Now that Rex Grossman has returned to NFL play, it will become very confusing upon hearing the words Sexy Rexy, especially when the Redskins host Captain “foot in his mouth” and the Jets in Week 13. Nonetheless, Grossman is back, and is a legitimate fantasy option moving forward, even more so than Mark Sanchez. I’m not kidding either. When is the last time a Redskins quarterback started the season averaging almost 300 yards and two touchdowns per game?

– Are the Seattle Seahawks even an NFL team? They have a college coach, a college quarterback, wide receivers named Golden and Obomanu, and a bunch of defensive players who were other teams’ scraps. Plus, I swear I saw two players with the same number this past week. Or maybe that’s just an assumption I made after, because they had 11 different players catch passes and Tarvaris Jackson only threw for 159 yards. Whatever the case, don’t be surprised if you see a lot of “SEA” (team name) on your waiver wire heading in to Week 4.

– Everyone can continue to slobber over Calvin “Megatron” Johnson like he’s some kind of superhero, but I’m saving my spit for Kenny Britt and AJ Green. Both receivers as a whole have been far more impressive than Johnson, who has caught two passes of 20+ yards and is averaging just 58.5 yards per game. Britt has been targeted 23 times, is averaging 135.5 yards per game, and has scored three times. Green is averaging 82.5 yards per game, has scored twice, and has caught four passes of 20+ yards. The bottom line here is that both Britt and Green are quickly turning in to every week must starts, and fantasy owners will have to start treating them that way, much like they treat Megatron.

W.3.F.H.S. — Week 3 F.I.R. Hot Sheet

The weekly hot sheet is intended to give fantasy owners a quick reference guide/card to help with the filling of starting lineups. It is in Google Docs format, and is provided below. This will be a feature that will be provided every week moving forward. If there are any enhancements you would like to see, please send any suggestions, I’m always looking to improve and provide the best material.



S.O.W.G. — Speaking Out With Gusto

When former Dolphins quarterback Dan Marino sits in the CBS studio every Sunday articulating his football knowledge he always sits ring-less, no obnoxious diamonds in sight. Marino is always well-received though, and is still considered one of the “great” NFL quarterbacks of his time, a title that was given to him before his career came to an end after the 1999 season.

Fast forward to 2011, and chastised from head to lung is Cowboys star Tony Romo, a strong-armed passer with a lifetime quarterback rating of 95.9 — a whole nine points more than that of Marino himself.

Tony Romo isn’t great though. He’s sometimes not even considered good. At least that’s according to a portion of football fans who both love and hate the Cowboys. His name is a re-circulating headline, and no matter what he does, good or bad, we feel the need to holler about his flaws, reinforcing them with no real good reason. Forget about Romo’s 38 wins in his first four seasons. They don’t even compare to Marino’s 41, or even Jim Kelly’s 28.

I mean, Eagles fans aside (you know, those who have been punched in the kisser by Michael Vick’s new found greatness) I have to say that I’m disappointed with the dagger that has been thrust through Tony Romo’s back over the years. It’s come courtesy of the typical chip-crunchers, beer-blubberers, and those ego-lead overpaid NFL analysts who read from a script and still vividly remember Romo‘s biggest blunder like their first intimate experience.

Yes, you would be correct in telling me how Romo fumbled a game-winning field goal snap in 2006. You would also be an absolute jerk if you didn’t point out that it was his first ever NFL playoff game, in his first season as a quarterback no less. I mean, how many tries did it take you to perfect the balance of riding on two wheels when you were five? Did your father rip you a new one after your first try?

Then, of course there’s the whole jealousy factor that most haters carry that seems to skew their clipboard judgment. The thought of one man who has experienced the movie
“In the bedroom” with both Carrie Underwood and Jessica Simpson just lights an inferno under many colors of skin. It certainly doesn’t get me steamed like a union protester though (no pun intended).

The bottom line here is that the Cowboys quarterback has greatness written on his chest, and as we saw last week against the 49ers he’s willing to put his own chest of greatness in extreme danger for his team and his fans. Yeah, it’s those same shameless fans who have ripped him apart like a Hulk Hogan tank top, but have failed to realize that he is a true Ultimate Warrior.

For the record here, I’m not a Cowboys’ fan. In fact, I really don’t care for them. However, I can separate my personal feelings from what I consider to be true.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for He also contributes a weekly fantasy column to

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