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Fantasy News: Week 7 Edition

Turner on the decline?

Last season,
Falcons running back Michael Turner had a season to remember. He finished
second in the NFL in rushing yards (1,699), recorded eight 100-yard games, and “burned”
his way to an NFL-high 45 carries of 10 yards or more, leading him to 4.5
yards-per-carry average. This season, he has recorded just one 100-yard
performance and has a yards-per-carry average of 3.5. So what gives? Is the
explosive back wearing down? According to the

Associated Press, Turner has
brushed the notion aside he’s wearing down after a 376-carry season, but knows
as a unit they need to get better.

“I still feel good. I don’t
feel tired or anything like that,” he said. “It’s not broken. 
Everyone knows, as a unit, we don’t want to be the weak link of the team. We
want to be productive, man. It’s hard. This is the NFL. It’s hard to go out
there and put up huge numbers every week, but it’s something we have to do.
There’s no doubt.”

The good news is that
Turner is on pace to at least match his 2008 rushing touchdown numbers as he
currently sits tied for third with six. The even better news is that of the
Falcons’ 11 remaining games only two – both against the Saints – will be
against a run defense allowing less than 100 yards per game on the ground. In
fact, Turner and the Falcons play the 19th-, 32nd– and 31st-ranked
run defenses in the final three weeks of the season.  If there was any
time to trade for the power runner that time would be now, before his value
shoots back up like a damn firework.

Cotchery to sit out.

In the last two weeks, Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez has looked lost without
primary wideout Jerricho Cotchery at full strength and in the game. The Jets
have lost both of those games, and to far inferior opponents, even with the
newly added Braylon Edwards in the starting lineup.

Well, Sanchez’s comfort
level may not get any better this week when the Jets travel west to take on the
unstable Oakland Raiders. Why? According to the

New York Post, head
coach Rex Ryan says his leading receiver (24 receptions, 369 yards in
2009) won’t even make the trip to sunny

California.

“Jerricho’s not going to
be able to play this week,” Ryan said. “I was hoping Jerricho [would] be able
to do it, but to make that trip all the way out there, we feel it’s best for him
to stay back and rehab … he’s not going to play. We don’t want to make it
worse. If we have a chance to get him 100 percent, or near 100 percent, that’s
probably the best option.”

For some fantasy owners
who are trying to cover bye weeks this is terrible news.  For
others who will have Thomas Jones and Leon Washington in their starting
lineups this is great news. I suspect with how poorly Sanchez has played
in the past two weeks, paired with the missing starter at receiver, the Jets’
game plan will be centered around spoon-feeding the football to the two-headed
running monster in hopes of having the same kind of success the
Giants had in Week 5 against

Oakland.

Benson vs. Forte

Another week, and yet another big-time storyline. Even a lion’s roar can’t and
won’t be heard in this Tiger-Bear fight. According to

ESPN.com, Benson
believes he knows why it took so long for him to get signed after being cut by
the Bears in June of 2008.

“I heard all the rumors
that were said coming out of

Chicago,” Benson
said Wednesday in a conference call with

Chicago
media. “Even the Bengals told me, they would call and inquire about me and get
nothing but negative things – just that I didn’t work hard, that I was a prima
donna, or didn’t work hard on the field, or I wasn’t focused. Anything negative
they could say, it was said. I’m sure that contributed largely to me not
getting picked up right away.”

Head coach Lovie Smith
later denied the allegations. 

“He was not blackballed
by anyone in our organization,” Smith said. “If anything, when a player decides
to leave here, or is cut from here, we do everything we possibly can to help
them go somewhere else. That was the case with Cedric.”

Which story do you
believe? Who cares, right? Instead, let’s focus on this week’s matchup which
features one fairly dominant runner and one disappointing ball carrier. It will
be a fight all game long, but who does have the advantage? 

This season the former
Bear, Benson, has scored a touchdown in four of the six games he’s started in,
has two 100-yard rushing performances to his name, and has averaged 88.5 yards
per game. The current Bear, Forte, who sprang on to the NFL scene in
2008 with a rookie fantasy season for the ages, has not lived up to
expectations thus far in 2009 and has recorded just one 100-yard game, one
touchdown and is averaging a paltry 58.8 rushing yards per game over his first
five starts. 

As for defensive rushing
numbers, well, the Bears have the clear advantage when it comes to
rushing yards allowed per game at 88.4 compared to the Bengals’ 96.8, which
swings the pendulum the other way ever so slightly.

So in the end it
comes down to who will score the touchdowns, and clearly Benson has the
advantage in this department not only due to his production, but due to the
fact that the Bears as a unit have surrendered two more touchdowns on the
ground then the Bengals have in 2009.

Who wins? We’ll see
on Sunday, but based on the numbers provided, for the time being, let’s
chalk this one up to the former Bear until the current Bear shows something
more in the stat column.

Peterson feeling good.

Last week, the Vikings and running back Adrian Peterson had a scary moment when
the star runner twisted his ankle awkwardly when he was tackled by Ravens linebacker
Dannell Ellerbe. But, according to

Minneapolis Star Tribune, Peterson’s
ankle is feeling “pretty good.”

“It was kind of scary to
see but it was like God bless … I woke up the next morning and it was feeling
great,” Peterson said. “It was a little sore but from what you saw on film it
could have been a lot worse so I was thankful.”

Peterson only knows one
speed, and that’s all-out full throttle all the time no matter what the
situation.

“I go full speed,”
Peterson said when asked if he backed off a bit this time of year. “I really
pride myself as far as practicing the way I’m going to play. It’s been doing
pretty good for me so far so I’m going to make sure I continue that.”

 

Unless the Vikings exciting runner re-aggravates the injury, fantasy owners
will see the same Peterson they’ve seen since he started to shake and bake back
in 2007.

Unforgettable Quote:

“They’re undefeated, they’re
probably smelling themselves, rubbing each other’s balls, all that (stuff).” –
Dolphins LB Channing Crowder, per

The Times Picayune.

On the
injury front …

WR Chris Henry – Questionable

WR Chad Ochocinco – Probable

WR Jordy Nelson – Out

LB Shawne Merriman – Probable

WR Greg Jennings – Probable

WR Josh Cribbs – Questionable

RB Frank Gore – Probable

DE Mario Williams – Questionable

CB Antonio Cromartie – Questionable

CB Antoine Winfield – Doubtful

WR Percy Harvin – Questionable

RB Adrian Peterson – Probable

RB Rashard Mendenhall – Probable

WR Anthony Gonzalez – Out

CB Marlin Jackson – Out

WR Donnie Avery – Probable

RB Sammy Morris – Out

RB Fred Taylor – Out

WR Michael Clayton – Questionable

QB Trent Edwards – Out

S Donte Whitner – Out

S Bryan Scott – Out

RB Jonathan Stewart – Questionable

WR Jerricho Cotchery – Out

RB Darren McFadden – Out

WR Chaz Schilens – Questionable

RB Jerious Norwood – Doubtful

RB Marion Barber – Probable

RB Felix Jones – Probable

LB Scott Fujita – Questionable

WR Anquan Boldin – Questionable

CB Aaron Ross – Out

Speaking Out: Are NFL
fans being short-changed?

When the Patriots
and Buccaneers play a supposed-to-be Buccaneers home game across seas in

London at Wembley Stadium
on Sunday, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, with a big grin seated on his
pristine leather chair, will once again fill his pockets full of Ben Franklins.

Who cares about the
Buccaneers season ticket-holders who are expecting to get the full bang for
their buck, which, judging by their team’s record, has been more like a
discombobulated mime thus far, right Mr. Goodell?

All that matters is that
the NFL is making that five letter word – M-O-N-E-Y – all the time no matter
what the consequences. Forget about the 62,000 cheering Bucs fans who would’ve
finally had someone to cheer for this season, even if that player was lining up
for the opposing team. Forget about the possibility of the Buccaneers recording
their first win of the season, against the Tom Brady-led Patriots no less, in
front of their home crowd; yes I know it’s not likely. Most of all, forget
about the fact that we’re in the middle of a flu season like no other, and
traveling overseas could make things worse for both the Patriots and
Buccaneers players.

That’s right Mr. Goodell,
you’re a genius businessman, but have you lost your sense of responsibility to
the fans and players; you know the ones who pay your bills?

I know, you think an NFL
team could and should be added to the

London
market, and this is another way of gauging of whether or not it should happen. Yes,
I know, you want to expand the schedule and keep every NFL team currently
seated in the

USA
stuck to their chair. However, your notion for adding a 33rd team in

London permanently not
only can wait, but is missing one key ingredient – the evidence. 

Your evidence that

London would support this
new team is skewed because, obviously when you schedule one NFL game per year,
as has been the case of the past few years, more fans will come out, because it’s
a once-a-year event. It’s like a week-long music festival in that it’s so
popular because of the short period of time it covers.

Now, I do realize that
this addition to the overseas market may take some time and is still a work in
progress. However, in the meantime Mr. Goodell, please don’t short-change
American tax-payers who work hard to cheer for their favorite teams because you
want to experiment another way to put more money in your pocket, especially
during a time when the economy is down, and the flu bug is starting to bite
harder than ever before.

I have no problem with
you wanting to expand the NFL market, Roger, but do it the right way, and give
me some more evidence that supports that the British fans will show up every
single week for a full 16-game or more season. And if you can’t do that, then
what’s the point of sending the players possibly somewhere they don’t want to
go? Besides, the last time I checked football in

England is
played with a white and black round ball.

Thanks for reading!

The views expressed here
are meant to open the door for further conversation. If you would like to
debate this topic please feel free to e-mail me at

e.huber12@yahoo.com and it may be
re-visited at a later date.

As always, don’t be
afraid to bring your fantasy questions as well. Have a good weekend and don’t
forget to listen to the

Fantasy Sharks Gameday Advisor on Blog Talk
Radio.

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