Tuesday, September 16, 2008


WANTED: Strong, healthy wide receiver with height and speed who has a desire to explore the Northwest. Experience would be nice but an affinity to stay healthy is better. We'll take anybody who applies and if you discover Bigfoot, send Mr. Sasquatch along too. Send resume' to Seattle Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren.

For the second straight week injuries continue to be the story in the NFL and it's especially tough to be a Seahawks' wide receiver these days. With Deion Branch and Bobby Engram nursing injuries and Nate Burleson out for the season, the Seahawks were down to backups Courtney Taylor and Logan Payne last weekend. Payne didn't last long, making one catch for 14 yards before a knee injury took him out of the game and ended his season.
Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Damon Huard suffered a mild concussion and had to be replaced by third stringer Tyler Thigpen.
Minnesota Vikings receiver Sidney Rice suffered a knee injury (strained PCL) and could miss a week.
But the biggest news is the ineffectiveness of All-World fantasy football back LaDainian Tomlinson whose toe injury is apparently affecting his play. He only had 10 carries for 26 yards and two receptions for 14 yards

As a result of these injuries a pair of players ended up with some nice fantasy numbers and should be added to your roster if available on your waiver wire. Tomlinson backup Darren Sproles had a decent day with nine carries for 56 yards and a pair of receptions for 77 yards, including a 66-yard touchdown pass. And because the Seahawks were depleted at receiver, tight end John Carlson became the best receiving option with six catches for 78 yards.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers ended up being the top producing quarterback with 377 yards and three TDs and right behind was ageless wonder Kurt Warner who had 361 yards and three TDs for Arizona. Jay Cutler is developing into a top-tier quarterback and had 350 yards and four touchdowns thanks in part to the return of receiver Brandon Marshall (166 yards, 1 TD) from a one-game suspension.
With Juston Fargas hurt Oakland Raiders rookie Darren McFadden showcased his talent with 164 yards rushing and a touchdown. Although back Adrian Peterson didn't score for Minnesota he had a good day with 160 yards on the ground.
Green Bay QB Aaron Rodgers (328 yards, three TDs) continued to shine for the Packers and the big beneficiary was Greg Jennings who led all receivers with 167 yards.

One situation to take note of is the maturation of the high-powered offense philosophy of San Francisco new offensive coordinator Mike Martz. It took two weeks to get the different pieces of the puzzle to get on the same page, but rookie quarterback J.T. O'Sullivan and receivers Isaac Bruce and Bryant Johnson were certainly clicking on Sunday. Bruce, who escaped from the St. Louis Rams just in time, caught four passes for 153 yards. And Johnson, no longer in the shadows of Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin at Arizona, had six catches for 78 yards and a TD.
Last time I looked this afternoon (Tuesday), O'Sullivan, Bruce and Johnson were available on many waiver wires. Grab these guys because despite the presence of speedy back Frank Gore the Martz mentality has always been to pass first, run second.

Keep an eye on backup running backs Michael Bush (Oakland), Michael Pittman (Denver), Tim Hightower (Arizona) and Sammy Morris (New England) who seem to be getting more work and more action with each passing week.

Others to watch are Buffalo QB Trent Edwards who seems to be coming into his own and New Orleans receiver David Patten who had five receptions for 55 yards with the absence of injured receiver Marques Colston.

Sunday, September 14, 2008


With due respect to the ESPN NFL experts who are loaded with contacts, it would appear only Keyshawn Johnson, of all people, has done his homework among the panel of NFL experts on ESPN's NFL pre-game show.
He is the only one who thinks Matt Cassel can slip in and provide Brady-like numbers as a replacement for the injured Tom Brady.
Did any of these guys talk to or read comments from Cassel's previous coaches at USC or in high school? Or what about the Pats scouts who recommended to draft the kid out of college despite never starting there?
I think it's certainly going to be tough to win at the Jets today, but I believe Cassel will put up solid fantasy numbers today, including two or three touchdown passes. One thing I like about this guy is he is mobile and can move around if the pocket around him collapses. If you're hurting at QB today and have Cassel, use him. I have Cassel starting in two of my eight leagues.

If you are hurting at wide receiver, don't be afraid to give Logan Payne a shot. Who? With the Seattle Seahawks decimated by injuries at receiver, no-names Payne and Courtney Taylor will be starting today. Payne will be in the slot and what I've learned is this guy has huge breakaway speed. Many fantasy experts are saying start Seattle receivers at your own risk today. Do not be afraid to give Payne at least one shot. Seattle is home and the Seahawks always seem to bounce back with huge games at home after struggling on the road.

If you need a running back, one guy still available on a lot of waiver wires this weekend is Saints back Pierre Thomas. With Marques Colston out, Reggie Bush will be used more as a receiver. Thomas should get anywhere from 10-15 touches or more and should score a touchdown or two.

Some experts also don't believe Falcons back Michael Turner, who had over 200 yards rushing last week, is a guy who will dominate this season, including this week against the Bucs defense. I think this guy will be phenomenal every week and will prove it today. He's a bruising speedster on a mission this season to prove he is an elite back....and he will. Start this guy. I see him getting at least 100 yards and a touchdown or more.

If you have a better option, I would sit Jamal Lewis today because he has a horrible history against the Steelers. If you have to start him, expect about 40-50 yards and maybe, if you're lucky, a TD.

NOTE: Just a reminder, as if you needed it at this stage, that the Ravens-Texans game has been moved to November due to damage to Houston's stadium caused by Hurricane Ike. Do not activate any Texans or Ravens today...and good luck!!!