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Fantasy News: Week 5 Edition

Edwards excited about fresh start.

When I heard that the Browns traded Braylon Edwards on Wednesday morning I practically spilled my coffee as I pulled out of my driveway. Why? Literally, just minutes before it was announced I had gone and added Mohamed Massaqoui to the bench of one of my 4-0 teams; no joke. But I’m not here to talk about Massaqoui. I want to talk about one of my Top 3 wideouts on that same team – Edwards.

According to the

Detroit Free Press, much like the gang green and white faithful and

ESPN’s Colin Cowherd, Edwards is excited about his new beginning.

“It’s just a fresh start for me being in a situation where everything is moving in the right direction,” Edwards said Thursday. “It’s great for me to be a part of something like this. It’s good for me, for my mental, for my physical, and I’m expecting to play well in this system.”

So how does Edwards look with a green No. 17?

“He looked tall,” coach Rex Ryan said of the 6-foot-3 Edwards. “He’s big, fast; he’s everything.”

There is a lot of positive talk surrounding the one-year wonder receiver. In fact, Friday morning I heard

National Football Post’s Michael Lombardi express that he believes Edwards should be able to latch on quickly because a lot of the play numbers should be identical to those he heard called out in

Cleveland. It is also worth noting here that primary target Jerricho Cotchery is nursing a hamstring injury.

Overall, I believe that Edwards will see an increase in production in the Big Apple, but it won’t be right away and it won’t be anything like fantasy owners saw in 2007.  The best advice I have for fantasy owners at this point is please don’t jump too high on the hype and make a foolish trade that will cost you more than you paid for in the end.

Will Royal turn it around?

“I think at some point he is going to break out and have a big game. We try to throw the ball to the open guy, and hopefully, it is Eddie this week and we can get him the ball.”

These would be the words uttered to the

Colorado Springs Gazette by Broncos quarterback Kyle Orton

“I think Eddie and I have probably the best rapport with all of our receivers,” Orton said. “We have worked extremely hard, and Eddie is one of those guys that stays after practice every day to run routes and make sure he is doing everything that I want him to do. He has worked hard. We would love to get him the ball more. Maybe it will be the week.”

Royal has been the prime definition of bust this season thus far recording just eight receptions for 58 yards through four games. The funny thing, though, is that the Broncos are 4-0, so why would Orton change his approach to accommodate the quick and agile second-year receiver? 

Well, the Patriots will be in town and you know coach Josh McDaniels is going to want to unload everything he can on his former mentor when it comes to offensive production. The best news for fantasy owners here is that Royal’s production can’t get any worse, so he should come at a bargain price via trade or waiver wire. He may be a nice player to stash on the bench as a No. 4 or 5 option until Orton shows a little more confidence in him on the field.

Portis is at it again.

Ding-ding! The Redskins once again are dealing with a little bit of controversy when it comes to running back Clinton Portis. According to, Portis, angry with fullback Mike Sellers, allegedly “called Redskins offensive coordinator Sherman Smith in the FedEx Field coaching box Sunday and asked to have tight end Todd Yoder as his lead blocker.”

Head coach Jim Zorn downplayed it. “These guys love each other. This is just how a team goes,” Zorn said Friday. “I thought it was great. There was no fisticuffs, there was no shoving or pushing. … In reality, it’s just a lot of nudging and posturing.”

Message to Mr. Portis: Your lead blocker, Mr. Sellers, went to the Pro Bowl last year. You don’t go to

Hawaii on a pigskin vacation unless you’re really good. My guess is that Portis is picking on the smallest blocker on the team just in case things are to escalate.

The 28-year-old Portis has struggled this season and has yet to find the endzone.  Then again, the Redskins are having that problem as a group, as the offense ranks 27th in the NFL averaging 14 points per game. Heck, they only scored nine points against a Rams defense that allowed the 49ers to score 35; an offense with far less offensive weapons including their best in Frank Gore. Fantasy owners will find out if this was indeed just a spat or a sign of things to come; at least when it comes to Mr. Portis.

Mendenhall still has to prove himself.

Steelers running back Rashard Mendenhall has exactly skipped down a yellow brick road to get to where he’s at today. And, according to the

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, his career game against the Chargers last week — you know the one that landed him AFC offensive player of the week honors — hasn’t exactly cemented him as the starter, at least according to offensive coordinator Bruce Arians.

“Willie Parker’s a proven commodity,” Arians said of the injured veteran who is still first on the depth chart at running back. “When Rashard is (proven), then we’ll re-evaluate him. I hope it gets to that problem. I’d like to have those two healthy at the same time.”

This is not exactly good news for Mendenhall owners long-term, but the emerging runner will get another shot to show that he does belong starting every week this Sunday against the Lions. According to the

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Parker did not practice on Friday and will not play against

Detroit this week as he continues to nurse a turf toe injury.

What does this mean? Start Mendenhall if you have him. The Lions have allowed an average of one rushing touchdown per game and are surrendering 5.2 yards per carry every time an opposing runner busts through the line.

Did you know?

Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has not only thrown eight touchdowns in 2009, but since October 19th of last year he’s led Baltimore to a 14-4 record; second to just the Colts Peyton Manning (13-3). 

On the Injury Front …

RB Cedric Benson — Probable

WR Derrick Mason — Probable

RB Jamal Lewis — Questionable

S Bryan Scott — Out

S Donte Whitner — Out

LB Paul Posluszny — Out

RB Jonathan Stewart — Out

S Troy Polamalu — Doubtful

WR Calvin Johnson — Probable

RB Felix Jones — Doubtful

WR Roy Williams — Doubtful

RB Darren McFadden — Out

TE Zach Miller — Questionable

QB Eli Manning — Questionable

WR Antonio Bryant — Questionable

QB Donovan McNabb — Probable

RB Brian Westbrook — Probable

WR Keenan Burton — Questionable

RB Frank Gore — Out

DE Mario Williams — Questionable

WR Steve Breaston — Questionable

WR Wes Welker — Questionable

RB Fred Taylor — Out

RB Correll Buck halter — Out

QB Matt Hasselbeck — Probable

RB Joseph Addai — Questionable

CB Cortland Finnegan — Questionable

Speaking Out: Overprotection gone overboard, Rob Ryan, and more Brett Favre?

Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker LaMarr Woodley is struggling, but it’s not just on the field. Yes, his four total tackles and no sacks are scary awful numbers for a linebacker who recorded 60 and 11.5 last season, but he may have a good reason for that.

According to an article on, Woodley feels that offensive players are being overprotected. Sadly, he may be right. Even sadder is the fact that the yellow hanky throwing may be starting to kill the emotion and integrity of the game itself.

I mean honestly, how do you stop a 300-pound defensive lineman as he strides towards the quarterback? Here, he’s trying to make a play for his team, and what, he’s suppose to stop on a dime because the NFL is trying to protect its star players?  The way I see it is that if the quarterback can’t take the hit he shouldn’t be playing, because he isn’t conditioned like a football player should be.

And the rule about the defenseless receiver, ha ha, it’s downright absurd and laughable! Hey Mr. Goodell, that hit by Eric Smith on Anquan Boldin last season was a football play. It’s a travesty that Smith received a $50,000 fine and one-game suspension for it, even though he was the one who missed six games with multiple concussions. The latest is that Smith now trips over something every time he opens the refrigerator.

Yes, I know the NFL is a violent sport, but those who dare to lay it out there on the battlefield every week know this going in. Besides that, I’m not so sure I feel bad for a quarterback like Tom Brady who’s making millions a year living the dream and playing in a sport every boy dreams about growing up.

The bottom line here is let them play football. What’s next: Combine measurements on how fast a defensive player can stop?

Moving on to Browns defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, twin brother to the Jets’ Rex, who, according to the

Associated Press recently came out and made accusations that the Bengals Shayne Graham missed the overtime kick.

“You can watch the tape,” Ryan said Friday. “I’m not saying anything, but man, maybe the posts were crooked. Look at it.”

Well, I watched the tape, and wow, unlike the kick, he is right on! I watched it about a dozen times, each time, pausing it frame-by-frame, and that ball went way wide right. So when is one of the NFL officials going to review it and come out to apologize? Probably never. You can see the kick here.

And finally, we get to my most controversial thought of the week. It concerns the game every fantasy owner and NFL fan saw Monday night. It’s precisely what I thought would happen from the start.

Brett Favre — you either love him or hate him. Right now Goodell and the NFL loves him, kind of like how, for some reason, people love Barack Obama; clearly nothing to do with his politics or leadership. 

The game on Monday night was like an episode of

American Idol. It wasn’t about who was the better quarterback from a skills standpoint; yes, Mr. Talk Show Host (not naming names) you are dead wrong again! It was about who was the most popular. I mean, I gave you the numbers just a few weeks ago when it came to jersey sales during the preseason. Favre was clearly the favorite here on Monday night no matter what was to happen.

Now, I’m not saying that Favre didn’t play great, because that would be outrageous, but while I was watching all I could think about it were these three questions. Why was the Packers defense not blitzing No. 4 when they’re a blitzing defense and Favre hates pressure? Why was every big penalty (Charles Woodson’s great play won by the referees) called on the Packers (the Vikings had two called on them for 10 yards)? And why was Favre throwing so many bombs when the Vikings were up by over two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, yet he has the best running back in the NFL behind him?

I have an answer to all these questions, which no one will want to believe because it’s over the top and in fantasy land, so I’ll stop right here. Besides that, I’m just one man, one small spec on the NFL radar.

However, I do encourage you to be creative and think about what you think I’m trying to hint at here. Then think about everything that has gone down from the offseason on, and come to your own conclusion. Part 2 of this drama is yet to come, which I’m sure is bound to be even better than Part 1, attracting more viewers and money than ever. Isn’t that the point of the NFL?

For the record, I still love watching Favre play and I love the game of football.

Thanks for reading!

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

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