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Fantasy News of the Week- 8/17

The NFL season is about three weeks away, and the competition is getting hot as players fight for starting jobs and final roster spots. With the distraction of number four driving Broadway, it’s easy to lose sight of other news around the league. That’s where I come in. Here’s your other fantasy news, with just a blurb about the immortal one.


Plaxico has turned to orthotics?

After courageously playing through the 2007 season with severe pain and discomfort in his ankle due to a torn tendon, Giants wide receiver

Plaxico Burress has turned to doctors in hopes he can fully heal. According to the

Newark Star-Ledger, Burress has been instructed to wear orthotics in his cleats and shoes due to the lack of arches in his feet which could’ve been the cause of the torn tendon in the first place. It’s the same kind of problem NHL star Peter Forsberg had in his two years while playing for

Philadelphia.   Burress has been struggling with the concept thus far, but wants to keep an open mind, saying, “My feet are really sore from the orthotics because that’s the first time I’ve actually run and played in them for just a little bit. It’ll take some time for me to get used to it and kind of break them in, so to speak. Once I get past that stage, I think everything will be downhill from there.” It seems as though Burress’ brittle feet may pose as a problem to not only the New York Giants offense, but to fantasy owners as well in 2008. He’s the Giants’ only big-time receiver, and while he insists he will be ready for the regular season opener, if he can’t play through the ankle injury this season the Big Blue offense as a whole will be in a world of hurt. Keep a close eye on Burress and adjust your rankings accordingly.  

Russell and Johnson look strong.  

To some, preseason games are nothing more than an opportunity for third- and fourth-string players to show that they belong. For others, they’re an opportunity to really establish themselves as players within their offense, making the doubters in to believers.   Two players that were featured in Friday night’s game fit this description – Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell and Titans runningback Chris Johnson.  Russell has the most to prove in 2008, but has looked good this offseason. In Friday night’s game he completed 10 of his 17 passes thrown for 75 yards and connected with tight end Zach Miller on a 10-yard touchdown pass. He has a strong arm, and if he can develop some solid chemistry with the likes of Ronald Curry and Javon Walker to go along with his safety net Zach Miller, he could be a quarterback who could surprise in ’08.  

Meanwhile, for the Titans, Chris Johnson has really looked good in the limited action he’s seen. Johnson is the Titans’ leading rusher this offseason and is averaging 8.8 yards per carry. He showed his big-play ability in Week 1 when he took one the distance to pay dirt from 66 yards out, and he continues to be the spark of the Titans offense. He seems to have a lot of drive in him, and according to the

Nashville Tennessean, wants to win Rookie of the Year. “My main goal is to win rookie of the year. I want to come in and do the same thing Adrian Peterson came in and did last year. I think that is possible. Every time we play a game, it’s campaigning for the Rookie of the Year,” Johnson said. “If I do what I have to do to help this team succeed, then the Rookie of the Year should come, and everything else should fall into place for us as a team.” While it seems like a high goal, it is achievable considering that the Titans are a run-first offense and have promised to use him a lot this season. “I am just looking at him as a tailback,” offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger said. “What we do outside of turning and handing him the ball is a bonus. He can do a lot of things, but I want to find out if we can turn and hand him the ball and how many times we can do that. I look at it different than all the ‘experts.’ I expect to see him out there on first and second down.” Heimerdinger also has made it known that he wants to use Johnson in the slot as a receiver on third downs much like the Saints use Reggie Bush. Overall, Johnson’s value seems to be rocketing up and for good reason, as it’s starting to look like he could steal away the starting job before the season is over while LenDale White will be featured in red-zone and short-yardage packages. Keep a close eye on this speedy rookie as he may have superstar written all over him.  

 

Garcia and Galloway didn’t hook up in camp?

As training camp closed this week there was one disturbing piece of news that came out of

Tampa

Bay. According to the

St. Petersburg Times, starting quarterback

Jeff Garcia and number one wide receiver

Joey Galloway failed to play catch during the three-week training camp period. “I’ve never been in a camp where you basically go 18 or 19 days and your starting quarterback just gets a few completions and none to your go-to receiver,” coach Jon Gruden said. Garcia has been slowed by a calf injury while

Galloway has been sidelined by a groin injury, on top of recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. Garcia is hoping to return to full strength as soon as his injury doesn’t seem to be severe.

Galloway still remains a question mark, but insists that both he and Garcia will be fine when it comes to chemistry. “I think it’ll come back pretty fast,” he said. ”I don’t think we need four weeks of practice together. I think getting repetitions in practice and, hopefully, one preseason game together will allow us to get a couple more opportunities on the field.”

Galloway is the only real fantasy option on the Buccaneers at wide receiver, so his return is critical for fantasy owners. He was one of 23 receivers who broke the 1,000 yard plateau last season and is aiming for his fourth consecutive at 36 years of age. 

Texans’ Brown out to prove he belongs.

Chris Brown has always been a dependable running back, when he’s on the field that is.   He has yet to complete a whole 16-game season, but has the talent to be a perennial 1,000 yard back. Now, according to the

Houston Chronicle, Brown will have an opportunity at a fresh start and a chance to prove that the Texans were right when they signed him.  “Being on a new team, you’ve got to go out and prove you belong,” said Brown, who spent the past five seasons with the Tennessee Titans. “As a veteran, you’ve got to prove you belong and you still have it.” Right now Brown remains as the number one backup to fellow veteran Ahman Green with Chris Taylor, Darius Walker and Steve Slaton on Green’s heels for carries. Green has had trouble staying on the field throughout his career, so Brown may see significant carries this season, but he needs to avoid the injury bug to have a real impact fantasy-wise. And is it just me, or do the Texans seem to have a taste for injury-laden running backs with little to no potential? First it was Domanick (Davis) Williams, and now it’s Ahman Green and Chris Brown. I think it’s time for the Texans to take a new approach.  

Panthers’ Stewart feels good after first live action.  

Fantasy owners got a taste of what to expect from Jonathan Stewart in 2008 on Thursday. Or did they? In his first live action Stewart carried the ball just four times for three yards in three offensive possessions for which the Panthers failed to convert one first down.   At first glance this seems as a bad sign for Stewart owners, but according to the

Charlotte Observer the rookie running back insists that he feels good and will get better over time.   “I just took what the defense gave me and made the best out of my opportunities,” Stewart said. “I’m happy I got a chance to really get my feet wet. You just have to be patient. If you rush things, you’re not really going to get a good aftermath.” On the bright side it’s good to see Stewart’s foot is indeed getting better and that chances of him starting the season somewhat healthy are good. For re-draft leagues he should be considered no more than a number three option at running back, but don’t be afraid to take him early in any dynasty format. 

The Steelers defense looks shotty; just ask their pro bowl linebacker.

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a reputation to keep. They’ve always been known as one of the top defensive minded teams in the history of football – a team that hits hard and plays every play as if it was their last. But according to the

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette pro bowl linebacker James Harrison doesn’t think the rest of his teammates are treating the preseason snaps as their last ones and isn’t too happy about it. “We’re going out there and treating the preseason too much like the preseason,”

Harrison said. “We’re going out there and thinking everything is just going to come when the regular season begins and we’re just out there playing snap for snap, getting our timing and not playing up to the level were capable of playing at. I don’t feel that’s OK.” The Steelers’ first-team defense has played four possessions for which they’ve allowed 17 points and scoring drives of 67, 70 and 90 yards – a far cry from what they’re capable of. “It’s not just going to snap around and just come soon as September comes,”

Harrison said. “You got to go out there and play these preseason games like it’s a real game, no matter how long you’re in there. And I don’t feel like we’re doing that right now.” It was just last season that the Steelers ranked first in yards allowed per game (266.4) and second in points allowed per game (16.8). 

Marshall

to stay with Cutler?

After publicly bashing his star wide receiver this offseason after his stupid off the field antics, quarterback Jay Cutler apparently has decided to invite Brandon Marshall to stay with him at his home. According to the

Green Bay Press Gazette Marshall will be staying in Cutler’s basement in hopes of staying on the same page with his quarterback once he returns from his upcoming suspension. “What we’re going to do is, I’m going to stay in the game plan. And at night, we’re going to throw,” said Marshall, who has appealed the two- to three-game suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy. “And after we throw, we’ll watch film and he’s going to go over the game plan with me as if I was there.” From a fantasy perspective this is great news as

Marshall will have to be on the same page with his quarterback to make-up for the time he will lose due to the suspension.

Note:

Marshall did record six receptions for 59 yards and scored a second-quarter touchdown against the Cowboys on Saturday. 

Sleeper Alert

Andre Johnson is obviously the Texans star contributor, but keep an eye on

Kevin Walter as he has claimed the starting spot opposite Johnson at wide receiver and could play a huge part in the Texans’ success on offense in ‘08, especially if Johnson can’t stay on the field. Walter caught all six balls thrown his way for 100 yards and found the end zone on a 26-yard pass from Matt Schaub in the first half of the Texans’ 31-27 win over the Saints on Saturday night.   

Preseason/Camp Quotes

Vikings coach Brad Childress speaking about Tarvaris Jackson.

“He has had a good training camp,” coach Brad Childress said Thursday. “He’s very physically fit. I see good pocket movement. I see him right where he needs to be with his eyes.” –

St Paul

Pioneer Press

Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren talks about Bobby Engram’s possible replacement, Courtney Taylor, to start the season. “Courtney’s a pretty explosive guy,” Holmgren said. “He’s got great skill. He’s fast. I mean, his athletic ability is special.” –

Canadian Press

Ravens coach John Harbaugh confirms Willis McGahee is his starter, but then comments on rookie running Ray Rice after their 23-15 loss to the Vikings Saturday night. “Who’s going to be the starter? It’s Willis,” he said. Of Rice, though, he added, “But he plays like a starter, if that’s what you’re asking.”-

Baltimore

Sun

Jets quarterback Brett Favre comments after his strong debut for the Jets.  

“It worked out better than I thought it would, not that I thought it would go badly,” Favre said. “It was like starting all over again. I had some feelings that I haven’t felt in 17 years, but that’s a good thing.” –

Associated Press

Shark Attack:

News Rundown

Minnesota starting quarterback

Tarvaris Jackson suffered a sprained MCL in the Vikings’ 23-15 win on Saturday night…..Rams offensive lineman

Mark Setterstrom was carted off the field after re-aggravating the same knee that landed him on injured reserve for the final 13 games of the 2007 season…..

Jay Cutler showed great poise as he completed his first 12 passes and produced 10 first-half points before sitting the bench in the second half against a strong Cowboys defense on Saturday…..Bears starting quarterback

Rex Grossman expressed a lot of frustration after the Bears’ three-point loss to the Seahawks, while

Kyle Orton looked impressive and may be poised to steal away the starting job…..Colts quarterback

Jim Sorgi looked good in his start against the Falcons on Saturday. His performance probably locked him in as

Peyton Manning’s backup if Manning can’t come back in time for the start of the regular season…..There’s a sleeper on the prowl up the depth chart in

San Francisco, and his name is

Josh Morgan. With

Bryant Johnson,

Arnaz Battle and

Ashley Lelie all nursing injuries, Morgan saw his first start on Saturday against the Packers and he made the most of it as he scored on a 59-yard pass from

JT O’Sullivan in the second quarter and recorded his first 100+ yard performance. Word out of

San Francisco is that he’s been one of the best, if not the best receiver this offseason…..Finally, Raiders wide receiver

Javon Walker is having major issues with catching balls thrown his way this preseason as he’s been targeted five times in two games and has caught nothing, including one that slipped through his paws on Friday. He’s also reportedly underweight and hasn’t looked the same this offseason.  

Ronald Curry could be the best option at wide receiver for the Raiders in ’08.

If you have any questions, comments, or criticism feel free to e-mail me at e.huber12@yahoo.com

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