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Fantasy News of the Week- 6/22

Bears’ woes still remain on the
offensive side of the ball.

Kevin Jones may want to play for the Bears in 2008, but the Bears don’t
want him to play for them.

  According to

Chicago Sun-Times head coach

Lovie Smith is happy with his average,
undersized, and inexperienced backfield.

“We like the running backs we have right now,” Smith said. “We don’t
have any plans to [sign one]. From Matt to


Garrett Wolfe to

P.J. Pope, Matt Lawrence, we like all
of our players, and those are the ones that we’re going with. So scratch Kevin
Jones off your list, as well as Shaun Alexander, Ron Dayne and Lamont

(if he’s finally cut). And if you even considered Travis Henry in the first
place, you must have been dreaming.”

Yes, Lovie has been a man of his word, but I don’t know how he can
justify having that many underachieving or inexperienced running backs on his
roster and no veteran to pick up the slack.

This seems unrealistic, but nevertheless he is the coach, and coach
knows best.

  This is good news for
fantasy owners in that Forte seems to have locked up the starting job without
even stepping foot on the field. It’s bad news in that behind him are two
running backs (Wolfe and Peterson) who had rushing averages of 2.7 and 3.4 in
2007, a third year player (Pope) who has never sniffed an NFL regular season
carry, and yet another rookie (Lawrence) who is more than likely not going to
make a significant impact in his first year.



Receiver, Hagan is receiving high
marks in



Behind the controversies surrounding

and the three man race for the starting quarterback job in

is a wide receiver dilemma.

  And when I
say dilemma, I mean open competition, no receiver is worth a damn especially in
a re-draft league, dilemma.

  In fact, on
paper it looks like the only receiver worth keeping an eye is recently acquired

Ernest Wilford.

  Not so fast!

According to the

South Florida
it’s been

Derek Hagan
who has really impressed this offseason; at least according to head coach

Tony Sparano. “I heard all the stories
and all that, and I know the kid was out here on his own time spending a lot of
time catching balls from the jugs machine, catching balls with the quarterbacks
and doing all those things,” Sparano said. “I really like where this guy is
right now and I think he’s playing with a little bit of confidence. When you
play with confidence and you feel good about yourself, you play fast.”

  Could this be the year Hagan finally puts
down the Butterfingers and breaks out?

“I’m ready,” Hagan said. “I’ve been sitting behind

Chris Chambers and

the last couple of years and now those guys are gone and my
expectations are high.”

  Yes, the
Dolphins have brought in Ernest Wilford, have a couple of hungry veterans in

David Kircus and

Greg Camarillo, and may see a rise in production from former first
round pick

Ted Ginn Jr., but it’s
Hagan who seems to be the most rounded receiver, and it may be Hagan who
emerges as the Dolphins top receiver come 2008.

Keep an eye on:

DE Quentin Moses.  If Jason Taylor is traded the Dolphins will be looking for a player to step in and provide similar production.   Moses (6’5″ 260 lbs) is almost the exact replica to Taylor (6’6″ 255 lbs) and does have the speed and pass rushing moves to be an impact player, but will need to mature quickly.  In 2007 Moses recorded 8 tackles and 1.5 sacks during the seven games in which he saw the field with the Dolphins. 

Who will be the odd man out in



There were a few hot stories in

this past week.

  At receiver, amidst all

Terry Glenn contract speculation

Terrell Owens injury woes, there
is a battle going on between


Isiaah Stanback and

Sam Hurd for more snaps.

  According to the

San Antonio Express News even though Sam Hurd remains the front
runner to back-up Owens, both Stanback and Austin showed glimpses of the kind
of players they can be.


“Miles seems to have gotten more and more confident,” coach

Wade Phillips said. “That’s made him
better, because he’s really talented. He seems to feel like nobody can cover
him, and that’s the way he needs to be. I don’t know if he felt that way

  Stanback has improved, but is
still a work in progress, “He had 100 percent attendance in the offseason
stuff, which has helped him,” Phillips said. “He’s like those guys (Hurd and
Austin) in that he shows flashes. He makes some plays and you say, ‘Wow.’ Then
every once in awhile he doesn’t run a route exactly the way you want it.”

  While it’s a relief that Hurd, Austin, and
Stanback continue to make plays in camp, especially considering that both Owens
and Glenn are aging and have struggled to stay on the field consistently, it
remains to be seen if their play can translate to the field every Sunday.

  Just for the record front runners Miles Austin
and Sam Hurd have combined for just 465 receiving yards and one touchdown since
both joined the Cowboys as undrafted free agents in 2006, with Hurd accounting
for 389 of those yards.


In other Cowboy
news, according to the

Dallas Morning
pass rushing linebacker

has added a little more weight this offseason in hopes of improving
his power rush moves.

  Initially Ware was
worried about losing speed, but it hasn’t shown thus far.

  “I feel stronger and faster, especially when
it comes to power and doing a lot of power stuff,” Ware said. “It’s helping out
a lot. You know when you can push a tackle around and sometimes they hold you
and you can throw them out of the way to get to the quarterback. When in their
mind they know you can power them, it’s when they’ll open up for more stuff you
can do.”


quarterback making progress and working hard.

While much of the talk in


is about the bad news surrounding

Javon Walker, and rightfully so, there is good news this

  According to the

Sacramento Bee head coach

Lane Kiffin loves the progress

JaMarcus Russell has
made thus far.

  “Right now, he’s
just really working so hard off the field as well as on the field,” Kiffin
said. “The way that the team is responding to him as you talk to different
players, their feelings about him, they’re ready to get behind him and

  Off the field Russell has been
spending a lot of time at home watching tape and trying to better himself

  “Week by week I get
everything, away from the time that we’re here, I have it on DVD and I watch it
at home myself,” Russell said. “Everything – run steps or pass settings, or
anything that I can become good at, I just go home and look over myself.”

  As for Russell’s targets, well……. fantasy
owners will just have to wait and see.

Javon Walker has been released from the hospital and according to Lane
Kiffin, in an article released by the

Francisco Chronicle
, should be ready to go soon.

information I have at this point is he’s going to be fine,” Kiffin said.
“Training camp won’t even be an issue.”



not the only receiver to be concerned about.

Number two wide out

Ronald Curry
is coming off foot surgery and may struggle to get back in to the lineup any
time soon.

  That leaves inexperienced
second year back-up Johnny Lee Higgins and speedy free agent acquisition Drew
Carter as the possible opening day starters if all does

not go well with
both Walker and Curry.


Panther’s first round pick on
schedule and determined.

The latest out of Carolina is that first round pick, running back

Jonathan Stewart, is right on track in
recovering from turf toe surgery; this according to

  While he’s
nowhere near running a 4.34-40 time he has been seen jogging in his latest
workouts, “It’s a huge step,” Stewart said. “You’ve got to get your confidence
back into your body, sending the mental waves or whatever to let you know that
you’re capable of doing this now because your toe’s getting itself

  And if that’s not enough to get
you fired up about this kid, how about the fact that he’s itching to play and
help his team out as soon as he can, but is being held back by not only his toe
injury, but the fact that league regulations prevented him from even standing
and watching practices due to the fact that Oregon’s spring term was still

  “It was killing me a little
bit, just knowing that everybody’s in here putting in work,” Stewart said. “At
the same time, it’s a situation where if I was here, the only thing I’d be able
to do is retain information and go through rehab, which is at home — doing
rehab, working out and just retaining the information that I had, so when I
came here I could just stay on top of things.

My first NFL practice,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to

  It looks and sounds like the
Panthers found a real gem if and once Stewart gets on the field.

  As of right now

DeAngelo Williams remains the starter, but that could all change if
Stewart gets 100% healthy soon.


for more updates on his progress throughout the offseason, for
this is one player that bears keeping a close eye on.

More on the Titans’ Ealy.

As previously noted in last week’s Fantasy News of the Week Titans receiver

Biren Ealy continues to make a great
impression upon his coaches and fellow teammates.

  According to the

Nashville Tennessean some even think he’s a star in the making,
something that the Titans have been so desperately seeking on offense.

  “Everyone is saying we need a wideout, but we
have guys like Biren who’s under the radar,” tight end

Bo Scaife said. “He’s going to surprise a lot of people on the
outside, although everyone on this team knows what he’s capable of.

  He is a symbol of hard work and determination.

  Kids need to see guys like Biren. … He takes
his job seriously. He wants to be a starter. And he knows what it takes to be
on this level.”

  His hard work is
starting to pay off as he’s definitely getting coach

Jeff Fisher’s attention.

carries himself as if he’s been in the league for a number of years,” Fisher
said. “He didn’t have wide-eyes when he walked out the first day of practice
and he is confident and working to improve on any weakness. He has been very

  If Ealy continues to progress
and earns one of the starting wide out spots you can bet he’ll make an immediate
impact in 2008, even with

Vince Young
at quarterback.

  Ealy just seems like one
of those players who gets it and will make the Titans offense as a whole so
much better by himself.


Party animal
Leinart is ready to change?

Finally, in



is determined that he can get the job done as the Cardinals signal

  In a recent

USA Today article Leinart made it clear that he knows he has a lot of
silencing to do, especially considering his recent off the field troubles (if
you want to call them that).

is time for me to step up and really time for me to go out there and
play,” Leinart says. “I have to prove myself.”

  And according to head coach

Ken Whisenhunt it all starts with his
footwork, “What he was doing last year was crossing over his first step and not
getting away from the center, and that creates situations on a five-step drop
where he is not 9 yards deep, or he is not far enough behind the line of
scrimmage,” Whisenhunt said. “He wasn’t getting far enough from the line of
scrimmage, which makes it difficult protection-wise, makes it difficult for
timing of routes. It also makes the throwing alleys a little bit more

  Whisenhunt is right on the
money, but Leinart has to commit himself in to changing for the better,
something that the Cardinals head coach has said Leinart is willing to do.

  “If you are asking me about his commitment,
from what I have seen from him just in this offseason, I have no doubts about
(him) wanting to be one of the best quarterbacks and working hard at
that,” Whisenhunt says.

  If Leinart
doesn’t change, I’m sure veteran

will be more than happy to step in and fill the void, especially with
the likes of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald as his top targets.

Number of the Week: 71.2, which
is Matt Leinart’s career quarterback rating.

It’s also worthy of noting that Leinart has thrown just 13 touchdown
passes in 489 career passing attempts.

Shark Attack:

News Rundown

In Atlanta, rookie wide receiver

has agreed to terms with the Falcons…… In Buffalo the District
Attorney in the

Marshawn Lynch case
says that the second year running back has plead guilty to an unspecified


the Packers remain interested in acquiring

Jason Taylor if the price is right, but
the Packers may not be on

Taylor’s radar
of possible destinations……

The Houston
Texans added linebacker

Roosevelt Colvin
to their roster……… High expectations don’t bother rookie running back

Rashard Mendenhall in Pittsbugh…… San
Diego Chargers wide receiver

Eric Parker
is rumored to be traded or released before the start of training camp…… In
San Francisco, 49ers running back

is working hard to correct his fumbling problems……  Finally, in
Cincinnati, Bengals dramatic star wide receiver,

, underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on his right ankle, and
may be willing to change his approach to his contract situation………

Okay you can laugh now!

Thanks for reading!

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