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Fantasy News of the Week – 8/15/09

AFC East

Fantasy owners saw precisely what they wanted to see out of quarterback Tom Brady on Thursday night; well at least those fantasy owners planning on selecting the dominant 2007 signal caller. Brady went 10 for 15 for 100 yards and threw two touchdowns and one interception. But, according to the

Boston Herald, he wasn’t as elated about his performance as others may have been. 

“I missed some throws I wished I would have made,” he said. “I wasn’t as accurate as I would have liked, and even on some of the receptions, the throws weren’t great throws. I think you’re just trying to get the speed and the tempo of the game and make the right reads and throws. I think that comes with confidence, and being in there playing and executing in these games.”

The only question I have is how will he respond when he starts getting hit hard? The key to his 2009 success lies in the offensive line, and as long as the guys up front hold up their end of the bargain, Brady will feel comfortable in the pocket all season long. 

NFC South

There is good news, and even better news, out of

Carolina. According to the

Rock Hill Herald, running back Mike Goodson is making great strides with Jonathan Stewart resting his sore Achilles. He was running with the second offense on Friday, and “is looking more and more like a real live running back with every passing day.” It’s also worthy mentioning that reported just three days ago that the one player who has been receiving all the “Oohs” and “Ahs” at camp on a rapid basis has been Goodson. Keep one eye on him and the other on Stewart as the preseason progresses.

The even better news for the Panthers is that Steve Smith was back on the practice field, participating in non-contact drills. In case you missed it, Smith took a pretty big shot to his shoulder on Monday and his status became quickly uncertain. Now Smith says that it’s a “a pretty good bone bruise.” It’s looking more and more like a minor injury, but it’s definitely something still worth keeping an eye on.

AFC West

The biggest news in Oakland wasn’t the smack down they put on the Dallas Cowboys reserves on Thursday night; it was who starred at wide receiver for the silver the black early in the game. Second-year wideout Chaz Schilens caught five passes for 52 yards, but more importantly was targeted by starter JaMarcus Russell four times in the first series. And, as the

Associated Press reports, Schilens is becoming one of his quarterback’s most trusted receivers.

“I’m happy we gave him a lot of confidence, as far as giving him the ball early,” Russell said. “He’s a big guy, 6-3, almost 6-4. When you see a guy like that going up against some small corner, sometimes he battles little guys and really gets a chance to make a play.”

I suspect Schilens will be making a lot of plays throughout the 2009 season if he keeps progressing. He’s listed as a starter on the Raiders official depth chart. I wouldn’t claim him as a sleeper yet, but one or two more games like the one on Thursday night, and his ADP will rise fairly quick.

NFC North

The Green Bay Packers will be facing a good dilemma heading in to their preseason slate of games – who is going to be the No. 3 wide receiver? According to the

Green Bay Press Gazette, James Jones is reportedly the clear-cut favorite for the job over second-year player Jordy Nelson. Jones seems to have changed his mindset over his unproductive 2008 campaign and is looking great in practice.

“He’s having a very good camp,” offensive coordinator Joe Philbin said this week. “He’s catching the ball well; he’s making some plays down the field; he’s competing well for the football down the field. Talking to some of our defensive backs, they say his blocking – you know a guy his size, it’s critical in our running game that the receivers do the job down the field – has been good. So I think in all those categories he’s been doing well.”

This will be a battle worth watching, starting tonight against the Browns, as I suspect that whoever wins the No. 3 job will have a vital role in 2009, especially if either Greg Jennings or Donald Driver go down at any point.

NFC East

Philadelphia was a mixed bag of emotions after Thursday night’s loss to the Patriots.  Michael Vick will be putting on Eagles green … more on that later. But let’s talk about LeSean McCoy – the real Eagles story lost in the madness from Thursday night’s game. He was by far the most impressive offensive player for the Eagles against a tough blitzing Patriots defense. For the game he ran for 55 yards on 10 carries and caught two balls for 12 yards and, according to the

Philadelphia Inquirer, Brian Westbrook’s temporary fill-in may be feeling good after his debut performance.

“I was trying to get this first game under my belt, get that experience and see how it actually is to play with the ones and see the speed of the game,” McCoy said. “For the first game it went well.”

McCoy is definitely a rookie to have, especially for those intending on drafting Westbrook. He possesses some, if not all, the skills the pro-bowl runner and former fantasy stud possesses, and he is really working hard to stand out.

Game Balls

Let’s throw out a few game balls to a few other noteworthy performers. 

Chris Henry:

In the Bengals’ 17-7 loss Friday night, Henry caught seven passes for 100 yards and scored the Bengals’ lone touchdown. Let’s see if he can stay trouble-free.

Julian Edelman:

Dynasty owners may soon pay a little more attention to Edelman as he led all Patriots wideouts with five receptions and took a punt back 75 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter.

Visanthe Shiancoe:

He was Sage Rosenfels’ primary target in the Vikings’ 13-3 win over the Colts, catching four passes for 55 yards in the first two possessions alone. 

Chris Simms:

 Simms played brilliantly in the second half, leading the Broncos back into the game. He was 11 for 17 for 142 yards, and threw two touchdown passes, including one late 52-yard bomb to rookie Kenny McKinley.

Game Flop

Kyle Orton: He looked horrid against the 49ers, throwing three interceptions and making terrible reads on a consistent basis. However, it is worthy of noting that coach Josh McDaniels isn’t going to give up on him just yet.

Speaking Out: The Right Sentence

Which is worse – brutally beating dogs or accidentally killing a man who darted out in front of you while being intoxicated? It’s a question of common sense. But more importantly, it’s a question that so many respond the wrong way to. 

The Facts

On the same week that Donte’ Stallworth was suspended for one full season by commissioner Roger Goodell, former dog-fighting quarterback Michael Vick was signed by of all teams the Philadelphia Eagles, coincidentally the same team Stallworth himself once played for.

Now, to be fair here, commissioner Goodell has given the now Eagles backup quarterback until Week 6 of the regular season before he makes his decision on the type of punishment he will be receiving. And like most others I’m suspecting that he’ll be a little more lenient on Mr. Vick, not only because of the fact that he served a longer prison sentence than Stallworth, but the fact that the dog is not as high up on the importance chain as us humans. Is this right or wrong?

My Rant

Let me just say, for the record, I don’t care for dogs. In fact, since my early years I’ve been terribly uncomfortable when around dogs. However, this is a matter of common sense and the appreciation for life.

Vick showed no appreciation for life – his or the dogs that he brutally murdered. He showed no appreciation for the fact that he had it all. The man had it all – star power, cover shoots and the mega endorsements – and all he did was throw it all away to entertain his ego. To me, that’s a clear sign of not what Tony Dungy calls a “mistake,” no! It’s a sign of a bad person who does not deserve what he has, or now, what he has left.

Hard-working family men, who would give their left leg for a chance to even go to an NFL game, are being laid off left and right because of this tough economy, but here the all-immoral Vick will be employed once again in a city that saw unsung heroes like Vince Papale take the field on Sundays, who came from being nobody to somebody. Does this make sense to you?

I heard a former player on the radio yesterday say, “I think Vick did a great job in the press conference and will be a great role model for kids, especially in the inner cities.” Really? I don’t know about you, but if I had a kid I would be staying as far away as I can from Mr. Vick. I don’t care if he’s changed or not. The concept of me introducing my son or daughter to a beyond inhumane human being, to me, could be as bad, from a conceptual standpoint, as introducing them to a murderer. I’m not doing it!

My message is clear here: Vick should be disciplined far more severely than Stallworth was. Why? Vick’s motive was clearly to do harm inhumanely, while Stallworth’s was a lack in judgment – something, by the way, millions of others have done before him (ticket or not) – or what Dungy likes to call a simple “mistake.”

No, I’m not going to join PETA, nor do I think Vick should be banned for life as some around me have suggested. However, I do believe the fair punishment would be at least a match to Mr. Stallworth’s NFL sentence. Yes, Vick deserves a second chance, but that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t serve his NFL time, nor does it mean I’ll be pulling for him once he does finally step foot on the field among the greats who, like myself, so many pay to enjoy.

Thanks for reading!

Eric Huber is a staff writer for  E-mail him at

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