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Fantasy News of the Week – 8/1/09

Training camp is here. The news is rockin’, and I’m rollin’ through it with the 2009 season’s first edition of Fantasy News.

We start in

Minnesota
, where now that the Brett Favre saga is over, (we’ll see about that) the question now turns to who will start for the Vikings — Sage Rosenfels or Tarvaris Jackson.

So whose job is it to lose? Well, nobody’s, yet. However, according to the

St. Paul Pioneer


Press,


Jackson
could have the upper hand. “Tarvaris has been through training camp, and he has been through the installations more than Sage has,” coach Brad Childress said. “He probably has a little better understanding when we start, but Sage has played in a very similar system. He will get up to speed very quickly.”

So what will the Vikings coach be looking for early? How about a checklist of things he wants to see from both quarterbacks? “Are we making the routine plays?” Childress explained. “Are we consistently hitting the routes that we need to hit over and over and over again? Are people wiggling open? Are we finding the check-downs? Are we holding the ball too long? Just all the things you look at in a quarterback. All the decision-making, that’s the big thing.”

For those who may be poo-pooing this story by now, don’t. Remember, even though both of these quarterbacks may be average at best, it’s still an important story to follow, because Adrian Peterson has to feel comfortable with the quarterback handing him the ball to develop some kind of rhythm, and when it comes to this factor the ball is clearly in Jackson’s court.

In

New Orleans
, and according to

The Times Picayune
, Saints quarterback Drew Brees is thinking big when it comes to wide receiver Robert Meachem. “(I expect) big things from ‘Meach’,” Brees said. “Going into his third season, he’s one of just a few guys that I can literally say that every day he gets better. It’s a tribute to him and his commitment to really trying to find a place in this offense and find a key role where he’s contributing a lot.”

It’s great that Meachem is getting better, but if I remember correctly, a lot of people were high on him last season expecting a breakout, only to get disappointed by a 12-reception, 289-yard campaign with most the yardage coming on a couple bomb plays in Weeks 3 and 4 when Marques Colston was out. Unless something happens to both Lance Moore and Colston where they can’t start the season, take a pass on Meachem and take your chances with the waiver wire when and if the time comes.

In

Denver
, and per the

Denver Post
, Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall was impressive in his first workout with the team showing no signs that he had hip surgery on March 31. “You could tell by watching him, he obviously has been working hard to try and get back where he was at last year,” tight end Tony Scheffler said. “He came out and looked real good,” receiver Brandon Stokley said. “He ran good routes; he looked precise.” The best part is that fans cheered him amidst the rumors of him not wanting to play for the Broncos.

This is good and bad news for fantasy owners. The good news is that if he continues to have a good attitude and continues to work hard, he’s going to gain the respect of his teammates, and most importantly, whoever is behind center come opening day. The bad news is that for those who were planning on taking him late in the third round and in to the fourth, you may want to re-think that plan, because his ADP could be on the rise fairly quick. Note:

Marshall
has recorded 100 receptions in each of last two seasons.
 
The

Philadephia Inquirer
reports that according to coach Andy Reid, Eagles running back Brian Westbrook is ahead of schedule with his rehab from the surgery he had in June to clean out bone spurs from his ankle. “We’re gradually feeding him back in,” Reid said. “He’s ahead of schedule, and I want to keep him there.”

So what is the Eagles backup plan just in case? Training camp will tell part of that story. However, it is important to point out that rookie LeSean McCoy is excited about his opportunity and, according to offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg, could be more comfortable with the offense by the middle of training camp. ”We ask the running back position to do an awful lot,” Mornhinweg said. “He’s still working through some things, but he’s really a bright young man. I do think that by, let’s say the middle of training camp, he should be pretty comfortable.”

If Westbrook cannot go opening day and McCoy continues to progress, and really shows he can do it all (run, catch and block), he may see the majority of the touches until the veteran All-Pro runner can make it back to the field. And while it may be too early to rule out Lorenzo Booker, it certainly looks like McCoy could be the prime backup plan.

The

Washington Post
is reporting that, according to Redskins head coach Jim Zorn, second year wideouts Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly are in heavy competition with veteran Antwaan Randle El to claim the starting flanker spot. But who’s the leader? “Devin is showing that he is a little more seasoned than Malcolm right now, but they’re both going to be competing and Antwaan is not going to give it up,” Zorn said. “So we’re having great competition at that flanker position, especially with those two guys.”

Both Thomas and Kelly combined for 18 receptions and 138 receiving yards last season, while Randle El caught 53 for 593 and scored four touchdowns. But this all may not matter, because unless the Redskins open up the playbook a little more and tight end Chris Cooley takes a fall, neither Thomas nor Kelly will have success even if they do start. The only Redskins receiver worth drafting (in the middle rounds) is Santana Moss (79 receptions, 1044 yards, six touchdowns).


Other News


According to the

Atlanta Journal-Constitution
, Falcons wide receiver Roddy White was a no-show for the first Falcons meeting Friday evening. At this point he’s considered a holdout. White is scheduled to make $2.28 million in his final year of his five-year contract.

According to the

New York Daily News
, Jets running back Leon Washington isn’t too pleased with the progress that’s being made with his new contract. “It kind of hurts me a little bit because I’ve been here three years, busting my tail off,”

Washington
said. “I’ve played hard for the organization and for me not to get rewarded, or for me to be put in some type of situation, I’m not going to back down. I don’t feel confident that something will get done.”

According to the

Philadelphia Inquirer,
Eagles wide receiver Kevin Curtis suffered a bruised thigh on Friday and didn’t practice in the afternoon session. Curtis is also coming back from a Sports Hernia he suffered in 2008.

According to the

Oakland Tribune,
Raiders wide receiver Javon Walker is practicing without pain in his knee for the first time since 2005, and he believes he can be a dominant player again.

The

Associated Press
has reported that Buccaneers rookie quarterback Josh Freeman agreed to a five-year contract on Friday. Speculation already has surfaced about him starting sometime in 2009.


Other notable recent rookie signings include:

Brandon Pettigrew (Lions), Hakeem Nicks (Giants) and Chris Wells (Cardinals). 


Speaking Out: Imagine

America
’s Colors on Vick!




You ever wonder what Michael Vick would look like in

America
’s colors? And no Cowboys fans, I’m not talking about the blue and silver. I’m talking about the spirit of

America
, the colors of the flag. I’m talking about the red, white and blue.

Now, I know
Boston Herald writers are insisting that he’s not walking through the door to

Boston
, and I understand why they don’t want him to. However, I am disappointed in the fact that they don’t realize the potential domination Vick would bring to the offense.

Picture this: It’s 3rd and 16, and the opposing defense thinks they have the Patriots stopped dead in their tracks. Vick trots on to the field and stands right next to the immortal Tom Brady, or so says the announcer. The defense panics, not knowing who’s going to take the snap or throw the ball. Randy Moss is getting his fingers ready and his adrenaline pumping.

The pigskin is snapped to Vick. Moss runs a fly route. Vick runs to his left. What will he do — take it himself or chuck it deep? He pump fakes to Moss and tucks the ball as the safety bites in. But before Vick reaches the original line of scrimmage, he chucks the ball laterally across the field to Brady, who then launches it down the field to a wide open Randy Moss for an 80-yard touchdown. The announcer catches his breath. Fantasy owners everywhere go nuts. 

This is an example of one of the many things that could happen with two different style-dominant quarterbacks and one of the best wide receivers in the game on the field at the same time. You want wildcat; this is beyond wildcat. This is domination. 

Overall, I know it just doesn’t seem right that Vick would be wearing America’s colors after just wearing the orange jump suit, but remember that football is game of winning and money, and if the Patriots want both bad enough they may just cast Vick as that “wildcat” looking for a second chance, regardless of what their followers say.

Note: Patriots spokesman Stacey James has denied any and all reports suggesting that Vick was working out with the team Friday, but head coach Bill Belichick hasn’t ruled out bringing the former Falcon in to the equation altogether. “Have we ruled it out?” Belichick said. “I don’t know that it’s ruled in or ruled out. I don’t think it’s ever been put that way, so I can’t answer that.” Typical response.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for Fantasysharks.com. You can e-mail him at
e.huber12@yahoo.com
.

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