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Fantasy News of the Week – 8/30/09

Brady’s Sore Shoulder

Were you one of the many

Tom Brady owners looking for the Tylenol on Friday night? Admit it if you were. Well, according to the

Boston Globe, a source close to the team said, “there is no need for hysteria” and “there are not any concerns.” Word is that it’s just a sore shoulder Brady is suffering from. In fact, according to

ESPN.com, coach Bill Belichick insisted that Brady only came out because he wanted to see his backups. 

“Tom had a desire to play, but we made a football decision to play other players because we needed to see them at that position and make an evaluation there. That’s what I’m saying,” Belichick said in a conference call with reporters.

While I never believe anything that coach Belichick says, I do believe that Brady will be just fine, if it’s indeed just a sore shoulder. I mean if Brett Favre can do it, so can Brady. Besides how do you keep a talented quarterback like him off the field when your prime backup goes 3-of-10 for 18 yards and throws two interceptions?

Jennings

’ Condition

Fantasy owners’ hearts dropped upon seeing

Greg Jennings hit the deck courtesy of Cardinals safety Aaron Franciso and cornerback Bryant McFadden, but, according to the

Green Bay Press Gazette, the concussion that the rising star suffered was not deemed severe. “I’m good to go,”

Jennings said after the game. However, it is worth noting that the Packers will most likely keep him out of Thursday’s preseason game against the Titans.

Jennings

is a key component to the Packers offense and is a great value for fantasy owners heading in to 2009, so he needs to stay healthy. His situation should be closely monitored. 

Cassel

Lucky

When

Matt Cassel was sacked and his leg was squashed by the 314-pound Brandon Mebane with 13:37 remaining in the first quarter in last night’s game, shock and awe filled both the Chiefs and the fantasy world. The good news thus far, though, is that according to the

Sports Network

x-rays came up negative for any breaks. However, that doesn’t rule out any torn ligaments, which would probably sideline

Cassel indefinitely.

Insert

Tyler Thigpen, who came on strong last season, but is still struggling through new coach Todd Haley’s new offensive system as evident by his porous play Saturday night. According to the

Kansas City Star, Thigpen went 8-of-15 for 56 yards and threw a lot of really bad balls. “When you are one-of-10 on third downs (conversions), you are not getting it done at quarterback,” Haley responded when asked to assess Thigpen’s play.

At this point fantasy owners should not panic, but they should keep a close eye on the Chiefs quarterback race, especially once the severity of the

Cassel injury is determined.

Browns Starting Quarterback

Head coach Eric Mangini has a tough decision to make when it comes to his selecting his starter at quarterback. Does he go with hometown favorite

Brady Quinn? Or will he reward

Derek Anderson’s consistent steady preseason play? Well, according to the

Associated Press the head coach isn’t ready to make a decision quite yet. “I’ll look at the tape tomorrow, talk to the coaches and continue to evaluate it,” Mangini said. “When the decision is made, I’ll let everyone know.”

While Quinn did outplay

Anderson in last night’s game and seems to be the consensus favorite to win the starting job, there are no guarantees, even when you play in your hometown. My suggestion for now is to stay away from both of the quarterbacks in fantasy drafts until a decision is reached, because in my opinion, and from what I saw, either quarterback could win the job.

Game Ball

Rookie

Hakeem Nicks made his case loud and clear last night catching six passes for 144 yards and scoring two touchdowns. One of the touchdowns was from 71 yards out and came late in the fourth quarter with the Giants down by eight. 

Sleeper watch

Looking for the next

Antonio Gates? Well, look no further than the Packers’

Jermichael Finley. Finley has caught 33.3% of Aaron Rodgers’ 27 completions this preseason, including two touchdown receptions on Friday night. He’s definitely a tight end to move up on your draft board.

What to watch for Sunday and Monday night……

On Sunday night I’ll be watching Jay Cutler and Devin Hester’s chemistry, as I believe Cutler has singled out Hester as his primary go-to target. I’ll also be watching how good the Broncos offense will play without Brandon Marshall and who the primary receiver will be; I suspect that it’ll be a mix between Eddie Royal, Tony Scheffler and Jabar Gaffney.

On Monday night I’ll be watching Brett Favre, but more importantly how his teammates respond to his play. I’ll also keep a close eye on Adrian Peterson’s play behind No. 4. On the other side I’m expecting big things out of Texans running back Steve Slaton. This is a great opportunity for him to create more fantasy believers if he can churn out a nice game against one of the top run defenses in the NFL.

My Top 12 2009 High-Impact Players

Let’s kick fantasy aside (well sort of) for a moment and focus on some of the high-impact players that make my Top 12 heading in to the 2009 season. 

12.

Charles Woodson – He loves the new 3-4 defense that will allow him to make more big plays, is playing like it in the preseason and is coming off a seven-interception 2008 season. This is the Woodson many expected him to develop in to coming out of college. If he can stay healthy he will be a force on defense for the Packers.

11.

Sam Baker – Baker will be the most important offensive lineman in the NFL this season. His primary responsibility will be to provide full-proof protection for quarterback Matt Ryan. His second responsibility will be to provide outside running lanes for Michael Turner. He will be matched up against top defensive talent in at least 10 of the Falcons’ 16 2009 regular season games and will be a pro bowler when all is said and done.

10. 

Justin Tuck – Tuck is the most versatile defensive lineman in the NFL. The Giants’ 1-2 punch of Tuck-Umenyiora will be the best the game will offer in 2009, with Tuck leading the way.

9.

Ben Roethlisberger – Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise — Big Ben is the Steelers offense. They may pride themselves in running the football, but his in-game management and uncanny ability to make nothing in to something without making a mistake will continue to keep him on my board of top impact players, injuries and all.

8.

Peyton Manning – Since the 2002 season the Colts have gone 85-27 with Manning under center. Nothing will change in 2009, even without Marvin Harrison at wide receiver. Manning will prove once again that he’s the one that makes the Colts offense go and not the players that surround him.

7.

Tom Brady – I would love to keep Brady off this list, but the fact remains that the Patriots are clearly so much better with Brady in the lineup. They went from 16-0 to 11-5 in one season; that alone accounts for something. If Brady stays healthy for a full season, he will lead the Pats to at least a 13-3 record and the AFC East crown.

 

6.

Larry Fitzgerald – 

It’s amazing how much of an impact Fitzgerald truly makes.  Even when he doesn’t put up monstrous numbers he helps create other opportunities for the rest of the Cardinals’ offensive cast. I believe Fitz is the prime reason why Anquan Boldin and Steve Breaston have become household NFL names.

5.

James Farrior – No, I am not crazy. Farrior is one of the most underrated, underappreciated defensive players in the game, and he’s going to blow up again in 2009. He’s not the glamour-type player like Troy Polamalu, but he’s by far and will continue to be the most impactful player on the Steelers defense.

4.

Aaron Rodgers – His preseason performance thus far is no fluke. Some may argue that he’s so good because of the receivers he has, but he’s performed at peak level no matter who has been catching passes. Did you see Jordy Nelson and Jermichael Finley Friday night?

3.

Adrian Peterson – I suspect that the arrival of Brett Favre will not matter when it comes to big picture defense. All-Day will still be the focal point of every defense he faces, something he’s been dealing with since the beginning of last season; something he has also overcome (10 100+ yard games in ‘08).

2.

Drew Brees – Just put it this way — by himself, Brees will continue to keep the Saints competitive in 2009. He can throw to any receiver in the game and be successful. He’s the heart and soul of

New Orleans football. 

1.

Matt Ryan – Stuck with the toughest schedule of any quarterback, and attempting to help the Falcons put together a consecutive winning season for the first time ever, Ryan will ultimately overcome and be the most impactful player in the NFL this season. He’s the most mentally tough second-year signal caller I’ve seen since Manning.

Speaking Out: Punt or Demolish

The Dallas Cowboys’ scoreboard blunders are getting to be sickening to the ear and the NFL’s solution is downright ludicrous.

According to the

Dallas Morning News, Commissioner Roger Goodell said if a punt hits the board the down will be replayed.

“We will continue to address the particular circumstances in

Dallas, giving full consideration to the competitive, safety and fan experience issues involved,” Goodell said in a prepared statement. “The Cowboys have been fully cooperative as we have addressed this subject, and we will continue to work closely with the club on a longer term resolution.”

Really commissioner? That’s your fix? A do-over? There are no do-overs in football.  Let them play the game.

Here’s what I propose:

Force them to kick around, or below it, or tell Jerry Jones to tear it down! All punters do is come in and kick the ball down the field; that’s it. I think they can encounter some obstacles every once in a while. Besides, if they’re good enough to punt in the NFL, they should be good enough to adjust to the scoreboard.

This scoreboard nonsense is absolutely killing me. The worst part is why in the world would Jones think it was okay to hang the scoreboard that low? I don’t care what the rules state. Common sense should take over at some point when putting together a multi-million dollar stadium. But wait, I forgot — we’re talking about the most thick-headed owner in the NFL. He probably wouldn’t listen even if the punter told him it was way too low. All he cares about is that “he’s following the rules.” 

I have news for you Mr. Jones — sometimes the historic rules don’t jive with current talent. And if you were a smart owner you would’ve known that, and I wouldn’t be wasting my breath talking about a ridiculous scoreboard that is a prime example of the wrong in football. Ultimately isn’t this just another example of how Goodell only cares about the cash flow and little about the integrity of the game itself?

Play the game or bring that hanging eye soar down. No do-overs. Enough said.

Thanks for reading!

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

e.huber12@yahoo.com

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