December 17, 2017

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Even with the addition of RB Chester Taylor, Beanie Wells is still expected to handle the bulk of the rushing load for the Cardinals…..SS Adrian Wilson has a torn biceps but looks to be a go for Sunday.  It is still anyone’s guess as to how long he will last…..Andre Roberts will line up opposite WR Larry Fitzgerald on opening day.

Atlanta Falcons: Former WR Andre Rison was indicted for failure to pay child support. Well at least his house didn’t get burned down this time…..The Falcons have had an extremely quiet preseason for a team this good…..There doesn’t seem to be a question as to whether or not the Falcons will make the playoffs this season. Instead, the question is how deep they will go into the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens: David Garrard would be a perfect backup for the Ravens in their quest for a Super Bowl run…..WR Torrey Smith will get his shot at returning kicks in Week 1 with David Reed suspended…..Have to like the signing of OL Andre Gurode. The guy has made quite a few Pro Bowls and will provide valuable experience along the line.

Buffalo Bills: The Bills may want to get the ball in the hands of RB C.J. Spiller more often, but it will not be on kick or punt returns; where he will be the backup, not the starter…..Spiller will also be the backup to Fred Jackson at running back, who is the number one guy for Buffalo right now…..I’m still having a hard time seeing the Bills finish anywhere but last this season in the AFC East. Unfortunately for them, they probably won’t be bad enough to be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.

Carolina Panthers: LB Jon Beason is still battling an Achilles injury but is expected to be ready to play Sunday…..How the mighty have fallen! Not only has QB Jimmy Claussen lost the starting job to Cam Newton, but he may have also lost the backup gig to Derek Anderson…..I have the over/under on Panther wins this season at four.

Chicago Bears: Not sure why, but WR Roy Williams is still listed ahead of Johnny Knox on the depth chart. This may actually be nothing more than a matter of semantics in a Mike Martz offense–rarely there are only two receivers on the field…..Contract negotiations between the team and RB Matt Forte have broken down and will not resume again until after the season…..RB Marion Barber will be the goal line guy assuming he can remain healthy.

Cincinnati Bengals: There are rumors being circulated now that the Bengals let the cat out of the bag about QB Carson Palmer visiting ownership in order to light a fire under Andy Dalton…..RB Cedric Benson has been released from prison and should be good to go Sunday, but it’s really hard to see him having any kind of value this season…..The Bengals claimed WR Ben Tate off waivers. He has some upside, but it won’t be easy breaking into the Bengals receiver rotation.

Cleveland Browns: RB Montario Hardesty is healthy and should be able to give Peyton Hillis enough rest to keep him from wearing down as the season moves along…..WR Greg Little won’t open the season as a starter, but impressed the Browns coaching staff enough where he might get there by season’s end…..The new kickoff rule should definitely hurt the value of WR Josh Cribbs. You have to wonder though, if he will feel the pressure to return kicks even if he is eight yards deep into his own end zone.

Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys may be traveling to New York on a Red Cross bus. CB Terrance Newman is out with a groin injury, CB Mike Jenkins injured his knee in practice Wednesday and is questionable at best, and 1st round pick OG Tyron Smith hyperextended his knee in practice and is unlikely to play–ouch…..The good news is that WR Miles Austin returned to practice, granted on a limited basis, but should be good to go.

Denver Broncos: Although it has yet to be stated officially, QB Brady Quinn is the number two behind Kyle Orton. Still have to believe though that if the Broncos get off to a bad start, they are going to have to see what they have in Tim Tebow…..WR Demaryius Thomas is well ahead of schedule in his recuperation of an Achilles injury, and could possibly be ready to play in Week 1.

Detroit Lions: Quick, who is the Lions number two WR? That’s right, Nate Burleson, who could have a big season with everyone worrying about Calvin Johnson. If only QB Matthew Stafford can stay healthy…..DT Nick Fairley is not expected to be ready for Week One after undergoing foot surgery earlier in camp…..RB Maurice Morris is out for Sunday, leaving the backup job in the hands of Jerome Harrison.

Green Bay Packers: Looks like RB James Starks and Ryan Grant are going to split the carries somewhat to begin the season, but it shouldn’t shock anyone if Starks gets a bigger and bigger share as the season goes along…..With TE JerMichael Finley back, WR Greg Jennings could see fewer balls thrown his way…..I’m going to say the Packers will get their title defense off to a good start on Thursday with a 31-23 win.

Houston Texans: If ever the Texans were going to get over the hump and win the AFC South, this season is it…..There is a rumor going around that with QB Peyton Manning not playing in Week 1, the Texans may choose to sit RB Arian Foster and give him another week to rest his injured hamstring. The thinking being that without Manning, they can beat the Colts without Foster…..If Foster were to miss the game, look for Derrick Ward to lead the Texans in carries, not Ben Tate.

Indianapolis Colts: The Colts season may be teetering on the brink of disaster. If QB Peyton Manning misses anything more than a game or two, the season for the Colts and their fans will be a long one. No team that I can remember has ever been so dependent on one person. Without Manning, the Colts ground game isn’t good enough to scare anyone. Kerry Collins has never been anything more than an average QB. Even the defense is built to rush the passer to protect a lead and leads may be rare…..It’s a shame that Manning’s streak of consecutive starts has to come to an end, but what a great ride it’s been. Here’s hoping he starts another streak shortly.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The release of QB David Garrard this late into camp came as a shock to just about everyone in the NFL. The team will start the season with Luke McCown under center but one has to believe that Blaine Gabbert could take over that role after their bye in Week 8…..The Jags have tried to sell this move by telling everyone that McCown outplayed Garrard, but the truth is it was all about money as the team saves about $8 million if he is not on the roster come Week 1.

Kansas City Chiefs: QB Matt Cassel may or may not have a cracked rib depending upon whom you believe, but either way it looks like he will start Sunday…..TE Tony Moeaki wasn’t so lucky however as he will miss the entire season with a torn ACL…..As I’m writing this, it has started to thunder and lightning outside–not sure what that means for the Chiefs chances this season.

Miami Dolphins: QB Chad Henne has had a good preseason and looks to be in sync with WR Brandon Marshall. If Henne can’t get it done this season, he won’t get another shot in south Florida…..The Dolphins were toying with the idea of starting Marshall and Davone Bess at WR, but in the end they decided to keep Bess in the slot and return Brian Hartline to his starting role.

Minnesota Vikings:  The Vikings are trying to figure out a way to get QB Joe Webb on the field to take advantage of his athleticism…..WR Bernard Berrian had to agree to restructure his contract in order to stay on the team…..TE Visanthe Shiancoe didn’t play at all this preseason, but looks to be ready to start Week 1…..RB Adrian Peterson is going to have a monster season.

New England Patriots: QB Tom Brady stated this week that he would welcome WR Randy Moss back. One has to wonder if this is Brady’s way of saying that he is not all that happy with his current stable of wideouts. Of course, the only opinion that matters is that of HC Bill Belichick’s, and he may not want the headache that is Moss on his team again. Could you imagine Moss, Chad Ochocinco, and Albert Haynesworth all on the same team?

New Orleans Saints: WR Lance Moore won’t play Thursday versus Green Bay…..This week may not be an optimal situation, but WR Robert Meacham could have a solid season. At the very least, he should be more of a target with the injury to Moore and Marques Colston playing on cranky knees…..Speaking of more targets, TE Jimmy Graham is going to be a household name by the end of the season.

New York Giants: The Giants lost yet another player when LB Jonathan Goff went down for the count with a torn ACL…..WR Domenik Hixon will open the season as the punt returner…..DE Osi Umenyiora is out for at least the first two games–at least it’s not for the entire season…..You have to love that the agent for former Giants RB Tiki Barber said he was shocked that no one signed his client. Really? Shocked that no one would sign a player who hasn’t played football in a couple of seasons and torched his former team in the media when he left.

New York Jets: I know the Jets aren’t a passing offense, but you have to think they will come out throwing Sunday night against Dallas if the Cowboys don’t have their top two CBs playing…..David Garrard could also be a good backup QB for the Jets who only have Mark Brunnell behind Mark Sanchez…..CB Darrelle Revis has been dealing with a hip flexor, but he will be good to go Sunday.

Oakland Raiders: TE Kevin Boss is still not practicing and he is questionable at best to play Sunday…..QB Terrelle Pryor has changed his mind once again and now will appeal his suspension. Seems to me he was probably pressured by the team and the NFLPA into appealing. He might be better off just serving the suspension and getting it over with.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Jeremy Maclin is taking all of his usual snaps in practice and should be good to go for Sunday, but don’t be surprised if it takes him a week or two to get into the flow of things…..WR Steve Smith practiced Wednesday and may actually be available to play Sunday after all…..Sticking with WRs, DeSean Jackson will once again be the punt returner for Philly.

Pittsburgh Steelers: WR Emmanuel Sanders is indeed ready to go for Sunday…..LB James Harrison still does not believe he is 100% recovered from off-season back surgery…..The Steelers and S Troy Polamalu have been in contract negotiations. If Pittsburgh is unable to sign him, they will franchise the All-Pro after the season.

San Diego Chargers: Deciding which RB to take in your fantasy league, Mike Tolbert or Ryan Matthews, can drive an owner crazy. Matthews will probably get more carries, catch more passes, and be the main guy between the 20s, but Tolbert is the goal line guy and he’s going to get his fair share of carries also…..WR Patrick Crayton didn’t practice Wednesday, but still has a good chance to play Sunday.

San Francisco 49ers: WR Michael Crabtree finally practiced in pads and might actually be able to play Sunday, although it would likely be at less than 100%…..Not only did RB Kendall Hunter win the backup job behind Frank Gore, but he also won the kickoff return job…..WR Braylon Edwards was fined $50K this week for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, but once again won’t be suspended.

Seattle Seahawks: The Hawks said they are not interested in QB David Garrard. You would think with Tavares Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst on your roster that you would be interested in any QB that comes around…..WR Sidney Rice is still not practicing with a shoulder injury and may not play Sunday…..After the release of Jeff Reed, it looks like Steven Hauschka will start the season as the placekicker for Seattle.

St. Louis Rams: After placing WR Mark Clayton on the PUP list, he won’t be available until Week 7…..Former Rams WR Donnie Avery made it through waivers, so he’s free for anyone to claim…..I still think it’s a crime that the Rams haven’t found a true number one WR to play with QB Sam Bradford.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: CB Aqib Talib will play for Tampa this week, not so long ago it looked he might be released or even in jail…..RB LaGarrette Blount will not play on 3rd downs, but will still be the main ball carrier on 1st and 2nd downs…..Not only will Arrelious Benn play this week, but he will be the starter–nice to see as he had to battle back from injury.

Tennessee Titans: Now that RB Chris Johnson is signed, we will see if he suffers some kind of leg injury like it seems many players suffer who don’t attend training camp…..WR Kenny Britt will be good to go Sunday. He could be in for another excellent season if QB Matt Hasselback can remain upright…..Have to feel a little bad that WR Kevin Curtis couldn’t make the team.

Washington Redskins: So Rex Grossman will once again be the Skins starting QB. Makes you wonder how long until his turnovers drive the Shanahans crazy and force them to turn to John Beck…..S Oshiomogho Atogwe has been battling a hamstring injury all preseason but will play Sunday if he can practice later this week…..Roy Helu will be the backup RB behind Tim Hightower to start the season.

All Out Blitz

Arizona Cardinals: Not that this should come as a shock to anyone, but RB Ryan Williams was officially placed on IR this week…..The Cardinals may be paying the price now for trading away CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie as Greg Toler’s knee sprain may force the team to bring along 1st round pick Patrick Peterson faster than the team would like…..QB Max Hall will miss the season after undergoing shoulder surgery.

Atlanta Falcons: WR Julio Jones is my pick for offensive rookie of the year in the NFC…..The reason I make that statement, QB Matt Ryan threw the ball an amazing 42 times last week. That’s unheard of in the preseason. The Falcons seem to be trying to make a statement to opposing teams: don’t load up at the line of scrimmage to stop the run or you will get burned by the passing game. RB Michael Turner has to like this as the safeties can’t play too close to the line of scrimmage anymore.

Baltimore Ravens: WR Lee Evans was still in a protective boot earlier this week, but the injury is still not considered serious and he should be good to go for Week One…..Coach Cam Cameron came out this week and stated that tight ends Ed Dickson and Dennis Pitta are pretty much running neck and neck for the starting job. Dickson is a much better athlete and has the higher upside, but needs to display that upside on a more consistent basis before he is handed the starting job.

Buffalo Bills: Linebacker Shawn Merriman looks to be ready to play in Week One. Merriman can certainly help the pass rush if he’s healthy, but he can’t seem to remain so for any length of time…..RB Fred Jackson was upset last week for not knowing what his exact role is in the offense. He did receive the start last week and is the odds on favorite to begin the season as the starting back with CJ Spiller playing more of a 3rd down role and being lined up in the slot on occasion.

Carolina Panthers: I believe the Panthers are going to be an improved team over last season. It is hard not to be, but they are still going to be lucky to win 10 games. I still believe they would benefit by having a veteran quarterback tutor Cam Newton who has looked awful throwing the ball so far this preseason…..Fantasy wise, it will be next to impossible for me to draft any Panther in re-draft leagues.

Chicago Bears: RB Chester Taylor looked like he was going to be released this week. He was told as much, but the injury to Marion Barber gave him a reprieve–although that may be short lived…..I have the Bears third in the NFC North…..LB Lance Briggs may have three years left on his contract and be north of 30 years old, but he still wants a new contract and may demand a pay raise if he’s not given one.

Cincinnati Bengals: We learned earlier today that QB Carson Palmer had a face to face meeting with GM Mike Brown in late July about his situation. Palmer is still demanding a trade. However, he could really force the Bengals hand by reporting to camp late this week or next, thus forcing the Bengals to either pay him or trade him…..RB Cedric Benson elected to serve his 20 day prison sentence immediately instead of during his bye week. He will only be required to actually serve seven days, so he should be ready for Week One.

Cleveland Browns: Each and every week I’m more impressed with QB Colt McCoy. Once again, he’s never going to be a stud who puts up big numbers, but he has the look of a QB who will do whatever it takes to get the job done…..RB Montario Hardesty is finally starting to look healthy after tearing his ACL last season. He has the talent to be a starting back, which will give the Browns a strong 1-2 punch between himself and Peyton Hillis.

Dallas Cowboys: I was a little bit surprised by the release of C Andre Gurode this week. Gurode can still play but Dallas didn’t think he was worth the five plus million he was owed in salary…..By cutting Gurode, Dallas is now a little over $11 million under the salary cap. Remember, the dollar amount a team is under the salary cap this season, it can be added to next season’s cap. So even though Dallas may not have been big players in the this year’s free agent crop, don’t expect the same next season…..The release of Gurode also means that Dallas’ offensive line went from old and slow to extremely young and athletic. If QB Tony Romo can withstand the hits he is going to get, he will have a big season.

Denver Broncos: DE Elvis Demervil looks to be fully recovered from last year’s surgery. He and first round pick Von Miller should give the Broncos a pass rush that has to be game planned for by the opposition…..QBs Tim Tebow and Brady Quinn are still battling for the backup job to start the season. One has to wonder, if and when the Broncos are out of playoff contention, will they decide to make a switch to Tebow just to see what he can do, regardless of how well Orton is playing.

Detroit Lions: The reason I picked the Bears for third in the north is that I’m hopping on the Lions bandwagon and predicting a second place finish for them. Granted though, this all depends on QB Matthew Stafford and RB Javhid Best remaining healthy–two big ifs…..Best has already had a problem this preseason with a concussion suffered early on. He is expected to play in the last preseason game and be ready for Week One.

Green Bay Packers: TE JerMichael Finley won’t play in the final preseason game due to an ankle injury, but this injury is not considered to be serious and he should be good to go for Week One…..WR Randall Cobb returned to practice this week. Cobb has plenty of talent, but he will make the most noise for the Packers on special teams as they are loaded at WR…..Speaking of WRs, Donald Driver had a cortisone injection in the same foot he injured in the Super Bowl. It would seem to be a red flag to me. Have to think that Driver will slowly be phased out of a starting role as the season rolls along.

Houston Texans: RB Arian Foster’s hamstring injury has to worry fantasy owners. He was considered to be a top three back heading into the season, and now some believe he could miss up to a month. Of course, Foster and the Texans deny that he will miss any time, but one would have to think he won’t be at full speed and could re-injure the hamstring at some point during the season…..If you do draft Foster, better grab Ben Tate as his handcuff.

Indianapolis Colts: QB Peyton Manning was taken off the PUP this week, but still won’t play in the final preseason game. He is still questionable to play in Week One. Without Manning, the Colts are a bad team. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a team so reliant on one person…..Fantasy wise, Manning would scare me. I couldn’t take him as one of my top five QBs anymore, but top eight is not out of the question.

Jacksonville Jaguars: RB Rashard Jennings was seen on crutches this week after suffering a knee injury. Jennings was expected to become more than just a backup to Maurice Jones-Drew this season. The Jags don’t want to abuse MJD, but if this injury is serious than Jones-Drew may get more carries per week than first thought…..RB Fred Taylor signed a contract with the Jags Thursday for the sake of retiring as a Jaguar.

Kansas City Chiefs: WR Jonathan Baldwin is running routes but not catching passes yet as he still has pins in his thumb after his fight with RB Thomas Jones…..I have the Chiefs finishing second in the AFC West this season. Not because they are not a better team than last season, but because I don’t believe the Chargers will have as many problems on special teams as they did last season. Chiefs will battle the Jets for that final wildcard spot.

Miami Dolphins: RB Daniel Thomas has aggravated the Dolphins coaching staff so much that he may no longer be the main ball carrier for the team. Reggie Bush could get more touches than first thought. Don’t be surprised if the Dolphins reverse their thinking. However, the more Bush touches the ball, the more likely he is to get hurt…..QB Chad Henne has actually looked good so far this preseason. This is a make or break year for Henne. Perhaps the light bulb has finally turned on for him.

Minnesota Vikings: I’m not sure anyone in the NFL was happier for the contract that RB Chris Johnson received than Adrian Peterson–cha ching…..Speaking of Peterson, he’s not expected to come off the field in passing situations anymore. He is in store for a massive season and should be the first RB off the board in fantasy leagues.

New England Patriots: WR Wes Welker injured his neck making a tackle last week. Although he doesn’t remember the play, he doesn’t have a concussion. Once again, he should be good to go for Week One…..RB Kevin Faulk still isn’t fully recovered from ACL surgery and is likely to begin the season on the PUP list…..WR Brandon Tate has not impressed this season and could be the odd man out in the Pats WR corps.

New Orleans Saints: K Garrett Hartley will miss at least the next six weeks with a hip injury. Jon Kasay has been signed to take over the kicking duties…..I like the Saints again this season, but also believe they finish behind the Falcons in the NFC South…..Big things seem to be expected from WR Lance Moore this season, but don’t forget he has a nagging groin injury and RB Darren Sproles will also take some of the snaps that would’ve previously gone to Reggie Bush.

New York Giants: In order for the Giants offense to work this season, WR Mario Manningham is going to have to have a good season to take the defensive pressure off of Hakeem Nicks. Not to mention QB Eli Manning is going to have to play better and limit his mistakes…..Third round pick WR Jerrel Jernigan, who was the leading candidate to take over punt returns, blew that opportunity with four fumbled punts versus the Jets Monday.

New York Jets: K Nick Folk won the kicking battle over Nick Novak…..WR Plaxico Burress and QB Mark Sanchez clearly weren’t on the same page in last week’s game versus the Giants. This is clearly a work in progress…..Jets finish behind the Patriots in the AFC East.

Oakland Raiders: TE Kevin Boss has yet to practice since injuring his knee a couple of weeks ago. He’s questionable to play in Week One…..QB Terrelle Pryor reportedly scored a seven on the Wonderlic Test. That’s incredibly low. The test has nothing to do with his ability to play football, but does show you that he is probably not the sharpest pencil in the box.

Philadelphia Eagles: WR Steve Smith is unlikely to play in Week One, and could miss most of September. This is why the Giants didn’t sign him…..WR DeSean Jackson could be the next player on the Eagles to sign a big contract after the Eagles rewarded QB Michael Vick with a $100 million contract this week.

Pittsburgh Steelers: LB James Harrison is still not at 100% after undergoing off-season back surgery and may get fatigued as games get into the fourth quarter during the regular season…..Due to the foot injury that has cost WR Emmanuel Sanders a good portion of training camp, Antonio Brown may be the Steelers 3rd WR to open the season.

San Diego Chargers: TE Antonio Gates practiced all week and will be ready to go for Week One….. The Chargers offense looks explosive and could put up a bunch of points week in and week out…..They are going to win the AFC West…..I love the trio of QB Phillip Rivers, WR Vincent Jackson and TE Antonio Gates, not to mention the RB duo of Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews–just scary.

San Francisco 49ers: RB Frank Gore also signed a new contract this week. It’s good that he received a lot of upfront money because that offensive line is going to get him killed…..As good a preseason as Kendall Hunter has had, he still hasn’t passed Anthony Dixon on the depth chart…..WR Michael Crabtree is still not practicing at full strength and is unlikely to play in Week One.

Seattle Seahawks: The signing of TE Zach Miller is all the more important now with the loss of John Carlson for the season with a torn labrum…..The Seahawks are still going to roll with Tavares Jackson as their starting QB even though the offense has looked abysmal so far this preseason and Charlie Whitehurst has outplayed him…..RB Marshawn Lynch has an ankle injury that will keep him from playing this week but he is expected to play in Week One.

St. Louis Rams: LB James Laurinaitis is still battling a pectoral muscle that he injured in the early days of camp and may not be at 100% when the regular season starts…..The Rams signed WR Mark Clayton to a one-year contract this week but he still might begin the season on the PUP. He is still recovering from a torn patellar.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs remind me of the Chiefs in that they may be a better team this season but it won’t show in their record. Not to mention, it certainly doesn’t help playing in the same division with Atlanta and New Orleans…..RB Earnest Graham is expected to be the Bucs third down back this season, at least at the beginning…..TE Kellen Winslow hurt his ankle in his preseason debut last week. It didn’t look to be a major injury, but the Bucs haven’t talked much about it this week.

Tennessee Titans: Everyone in Tennessee had a big sigh of relief today when RB Chris Johnson finally signed his new contract and reported to camp. The Titans don’t have the best of offenses to begin with, and without Johnson it would be non-existent…..More good news for the Titans, WR Kenny Britt is feeling close to 100% and expects to be so before the season opener.

Washington Redskins: I know RB Tim Hightower has had a great camp and is climbing up fantasy draft boards, but does anyone really think it’s going to last all season. What happens when he starts to fumble the ball or the Shanahans want to see what rookie Roy Helu can do? Plus the Skins don’t have a QB and teams may sell out to stop the run…..S Laron Landry has injuries to his Achilles and hamstring, but isn’t expected to miss more than a couple of games at this point in time.