Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Wednesday Stampede

The first round of cuts have happened and teams have begun figuring out who will be able to contribute this year - as well as who they will try to sneak onto the practice squad.

A couple of straggling cuts:
Chiefs: waived OT Ken Shackleford and placed WR Kevin Robinson (knee) on the PUP list.
Lions: K Dave Rayner and DE Claude Harriott were released.
Redskins:re-signed LB Danny Verdun-Wheeler and waived WR Burl Toler.
Texans: placed OL Scott Jackson (foot) on injured reserve, ending his season.

Here's this mornings round-up of news.

Jacksonville Jaguars
Rookie defensive lineman Derrick Harvey has finally signed and will report to camp. His 33 day holdout will probably kill any IDP value he had this year and while he will have a shot to start, probably will be rotated in and out of the game too much and have too steep a learning curve to contribute in a big way. Missing the whole of camp will set him back this year, though he will become an impact player down the road.

Baltimore Ravens
Let's check the damage out at QB - Troy Smith has been out with tonsillitis. Joe Flacco is raw, with a big arm but much to learn. And now, according to the Carroll County Times , there is a fear that Kyle Boller could be done for the year with a fairly serious shoulder injury. The first set of MRIs taken don't look good and if Boller goes down, some lucky journeyman QB may get a phone call. Vinny Testeverde anyone? Best bet is that if Troy Smith can get back on his feet, he's the guy, but I don't love this group of QBs and wouldn't even want them as parts of a QBBC. Not thrilled with the WRs or Todd Heap either, in part because of this sort of stuff. Ray Rice may be the only fantasy option here and you can expect him to wear down towards he end of the season - assuming McGahee doesn't just show up and take his job back.

Tennesse Titans
Everyone is talking about rookie Chris Johnson and the immediate impact he can have here this year and consequently, everyone is also talking a lot of gloom and doom regarding LenDale White. As we spoke about on last week's Drive Block (and if you missed it, check it out on ITunes, or to the right of this column), it may not be a bad thing for White to split carries. I don't think it will happen week 1 and furthermore, I don't think Johnson's strength is running between the tackles. White will get a lot more of those carries - Johnson will see a lot of his work on the outside and in the receiving game. Plenty of value for both. In fact, with that core of WRs, Johnson may end up splitting out wide more than the Titans are thinking right now.

Both are good fantasy options - Johnson as a marginal #2 or a #3 with huge upside and White as a #2 who may taper off later this season. And of course, if you're looking to clear a buffet, well, White's your #1 pick. (That was for Cecil.)

Indianapolis Colts
Is it time to get nervous? Had you been nervous already about Manning? No? Well then, suck on this: According to a report on the Associated Press, Manning won't begin fully practicing until next Wednesday. While he's been doing limited work the past week, he hasn't been running them fully and certainly hasn't had any contact.

It's not as bad as it sounds. First of all, we're talking Peyton freaking Manning - he could miss OTAs, minicamps, Preseason and most regular season practices and be just fine (excuse the hyperbole). Secondly, this is The Franchise here - they will handle him like a China Doll until they have to throw him into a game and be cautious with him. Now, will he miss Week 1? Maybe. And that's why if you got Manning in your draft, it better be no earlier than the second and you'd better get a quality back-up - something you never had to worry about before. Don't bother with Sorgi - he's a mess. I think you need to be looking at someone at least in the Garrard area and I would be tempted to reach for a guy in the Roethlisberger range instead. Worst comes to worst, he's quality trade bait. But if Manning takes an extra week or two, you will be happy you have him. Problem is, he's goign to cause you to go too early for your backup.

And for that reason, this may be the year to let Manning pass you in the 2nd and go another direction.

Cleveland Browns
Derek Anderson's concussion is still affecting him, according to . Apparently he is still sensitive to light and feelign some other after effects. Not uncommon after getting your bell rung - I've had a few concussions and it can take a little while to get your head back together. He'll sit this week - I'd say for sure, though the team is hedging - and could miss week 1. Watch Brady Quinn closely - if Anderson sits for Week 1, it could be a rough week for all the growing team of studs the Browns have: Edwards, Winslow, Lewis and even potential impact players like Donte Stallworth. We can only hope that Quinn is ready for Prime Time and that the O-line plays like I hope it will. I think the studs in Cleveland will play well with Quinn, but until I see more of him, he makes me extremely nervous. Completing 14 passes for 106 yards is ok, but he only put together one scoring drive and started out slow. He's got work to do and as much as I was not sold on Anderson as joining the Elite Fantasy QBs, I know Quinn isn't there yet. Still, he has the weapons and the tools. I wouldn't play him - but I will gamble that he keeps Edwards & Co. valuable.

Carolina Panthers
We have a DJ Hackett sighting! Yes folks, the high-upside but oft-injured WR is running on the sidelines! Huzzah! He may even be ready for week 1! In all seriousness, the Panthers need him to be if they are going through with the Steve Smith suspension. He'll start opposite Muhsin Muhammad during the two game sit-down and would have a great deal of value to start the season off. But once again, his health has been his downfall. Hackett is very talented but he just can't stay on the field. I have loved his upside for several years but am now far too concerned with his injury history to rely on him, nor grab him as an overall #3 or 4 WR - if not just use him for bench depth. One day he may show us what he is capable of. But I have to say, I am dubious whether he will be able to sieze the opportunity before him early this season.

Grab him late - he has the upside - but be prepared to have him on the bench more often than your lineup.

That's it for now - remember tonight at 9pm EST/6pm PST The Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Podcast will be coming at you on and we'll catch you up on the news and notes going int othe final preseason games.

Back more later with news and some straggling cuts....

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