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Fantasy News of the Week- 8/8/09

Are you ready for some more fantasy news?  Get ready as I tour each conference giving you the best stories from this week.  And if you’re a fan of Matt Ryan you’ll like what I have to say as I speak out. 

AFC South
Everything is big in Texas, and according to the
Houston Chronicle Steve Slaton is bigger and stronger than last season.  “He has more muscle mass, and he’s stronger, and his weight is not hampering him.” Coach Chick Harris said.  The best part is that Slaton hasn’t lost any speed either.  “I feel the same, I feel fast, and I don’t think it’s going to slow me down at all,” Slaton said. “If anything, it’ll help me be better.” 

Yet more evidence to the notion that Slaton’s size should not be a factor in him lagging behind other running backs with the same skill set and opportunity.  At 5-9, 215 he is now officially bigger than his division counterpart Maurice Jones-Drew (5-7, 208).  I think you can probably figure out what I’m hinting at here. 

Speaking of Maurice Jones-Drew, there is word out of Jacksonville, per the
Florida Union-Tribune, that the Jaguars could implement a package that would feature MJD along with rookie Rashad Jennings in the same backfield.  The seventh rounder, Jennings, was overlooked in the 2009 NFL Draft, but has won over some of the coaches and players thus far, and is drawing rave reviews.  Keep a close eye on this situation as the preseason draws near. 

One of the biggest questions that is lingering in Indianapolis is: How good will Joseph Addai be in 2009? According to it’s so far so good as Addai reportedly had a solid first week of camp, and on Friday afternoon had several long runs.  Earlier in the week coach Jim Caldwell seemed confident in his veteran back. 

“Knowing him, and knowing obviously how he feels about his performance week in and week out, I would think he’s going to be geared up to have a great year,” Caldwell said.

Fantasy owners also should know that according to the Terre Haute News Caldwell expects rookie Donald Brown to have a role within the offense rather quickly.  “Donald Brown is a guy we anticipate will move quickly, in terms of his knowledge of the game and how he performs out on the field, so it will be exciting to see him in pads and see what he can do,” Caldwell said. 

The ADP results show that Addai has the upper hand thus far in league drafts as he’s being taken a little over 10 running back spots over the rookie Brown.  The Colts rushing attack could be two fold heading in to the preseason with Addai leading the charge on first and second downs and Brown spelling him in third down situations. 

One more note:
ESPN’s Chris Mortenson reports that “Manning’s chemistry with tight end Dallas Clark is outright scary.”

AFC East
In New York QB Mark Sanchez could be starting to gain ground on his competition Kellen Clemens, and in fact may have the starting job in hand, at least says
The Star Ledger’s Dave Hutchinson.  Sanchez reportedly looked okay during the Jets “Green vs. White” scrimmage on Thursday night going 9 for 16 for 70 yards, but that really doesn’t matter.  Hutchinson points out that head coach Rex Ryan was “giddy” about his quarterback’s performance, and has already made it known he doesn’t mind having a rookie as his starter. 

While clearly Sanchez deserves to be the starter come opening day, it may not even matter.  The way I see it is that with the offensive scheme that’s being implemented, and the defense that will be taking the field, odds won’t exactly favor either quarterback having a very productive 2009 fantasy campaign. 

Wide receivers are catching the eyes of observers in Dolphins camp, including
South Florida Sun-Sentinel’s own Omar Kelly.  According to Kelly rookie wideout Patrick Turner has been “super smooth” early in camp, and he catches “everything.”  The other rookie wideout, Brian Hartline, also has looked impressive making tough catches on a regular basis.  It is also worthy to note that on Friday Davone Bess was working with the starters while Greg Camarillo worked with the second unit. 

NFC East

The Philadelphia Eagles have plenty of storylines this training camp, but one of the most positive stories surrounds wide receiver DeSean Jackson.  According to the
Philadelphia Daily News Jackson has put the weight and character issues that dropped his 2008 draft day value behind him, and now is focused on doing as much as he can to help his team. 

“I’m not calling the plays and I’m not scheming anything up, but as many balls come my way, that’s as many balls as I’m going to catch,” Jackson said. “The biggest thing is being consistent. That’s what I’m doing through this camp . . . working hard, putting the work in. There’s no substitute for the hard work you put in.” 

But how do others view Jackson?  Former Eagles linebacker, turned radio talker Ike Reese was beyond excited from his view along the sidelines during practice as Jackson effortlessly hauled in deep passes on a consistent basis.  “If they don’t find a way to get that guy the ball seven or eight times a game this year, something’s wrong,” Reese declared. 

DeSean Jackson’s current ADP value sits at 59.19.

There is good news in Big-D.  According to the
San Antonio Express Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and wide receiver Roy Williams may finally be developing some chemistry.  As coach Wade Phillips put it after Wednesday’s practice: “Both of them seem to be on the same page more than they have been.” And the players agree. 

“(Williams) is a big part of the offense,” Romo said, “and we definitely need to have good chemistry and have good correlation as to what we are both going to do consistently, and I think we’re good now.”

“It’s feeling real good,” Williams said.  “We’re finally getting some timing down. It’s only a matter of time before it starts clicking. You’ll look and see, and we’ll have turned the page.”

While I still feel Witten will be the primary overall target due to the trust he has built with Romo, it is great to hear that Williams is finally starting to settle in as the Cowboys number one wideout.  The question now becomes: Will his current progression grow any bigger when the season begins? 

Looking for a dynasty sleeper at tight end?  Look no further than the Giants’ Travis Beckum.  The
New York Daily News’
Ralph Vacchiano reported Friday that Beckum is seeing more and more action every day, and has impressed when it’s come to two important attributes— soft hands and the ability to get open very quickly underneath.  I suspect we haven’t heard the last of Beckum, and he could even be a player that makes an impact in 2009.  He’s definitely a player to watch as the preseason progresses as he could turn in to that big playmaker the Giants are hoping to replace Plaxico Burress with. 

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