It’s been a busy news day with injuries, suspensions and even some trouble with the law. But don’t fret, there is some good news to report tonight too as a couple injured stars appear ready to make their 2011 debut this weekend. I’ve also got some thoughts on the Washington RB situation, a breakdown of why the Seahawks are so bad and even some players to target in free agency this week. So as Ton Loc said back in the ‘80’s, let’s do it…
Bengals RB Cedric Benson was suspended for three games by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell for violating the leagues personal conduct policy this offseason. Benson had been warned by the Commissioner in prior years after being arrested but had never been suspended. Benson is appealing the decision which means that he will play in week three against the 49ers but will probably miss the next three weeks leading up to the Bengals bye in week seven.
The good news here is that we will finally be able to see what Bernard Scott can do with feature RB type carries. Scott is by far a more electric runner than Benson and is also quite good in the passing game. He should be a usable RB3 or FLEX player while he carries the load for the Bengals.
Michael Vick is back at practice for the Eagles and he appears ready to go in week three. Vick was medically cleared and evidently wasn’t found to have suffered an actual concussion at all. Either way, he will be under center and ready to go against the Giants banged up defense this week.
Speaking of concussions, Giants WR Mario Manningham is doubtful for Sunday’s game due to lingering affects from the head injury he suffered Monday night. With Domenik Hixon already placed on injured reserve and Hakeem Nicks nursing a leg injury, the Giants will be super this at WR this week. Victor Cruz will get the start and should play a prominent role in the offense despite going up against a tough Philadelphia secondary. Cruz needs to prove that all of his heroics in training camp and the preseason are for real and that he is ready to take the next step.
Cardinals RB Beanie Wells left practice this afternoon after suffering a pull in his right hamstring. The Arizona coaches are saying that they’re not worried about Wells status but didn’t want to take any chances with him in practice either. Chester Taylor would see a big increase in workload if anything were to happen to Wells but at this point his status is probable for Sunday’s game.
The Rams appear likely to be without both Steven Jackson and Cadillac Williams against the Ravens on Sunday. That would leave the lead back job to former Atlanta RB Jerious Norwood. Norwood is a flashy runner who could single handedly rack up major fantasy points or who could self destruct right in front of our eyes. Cadillac is still a possibility to play this week but the more I think about it the more I doubt he is going to play.
Weed Him Out
After an impressive 4-136 yards on Sunday including a highlight worthy 84 yard catch and run, it looked like Jerome Simpson was on his way to a breakout season. Now it looks like he might be on his way to jail after a Cheech & Chong sized marijuana shipment was sent to the Bengals receivers’ home this week. Simpson has been “excused” from practice this week and is unlikely to play this Sunday against the 49ers. To make matters worse for the Bengals and for Simpson’s fantasy owners, Jordan Shipley has been place on season ending injured reserve meaning Simpson would be the WR2 the rest of the season. But it looks as though he will be fighting a legal battle, NFL sanctions, team punishment and possible prison time. Andre Caldwell is next up on the Bengals depth chart and is a pretty good sleeper for this week and beyond actually.
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Helu Of A Dilemma
By looking at the boxscore of last weeks game against the Cardinals, many fantasy experts surmise that Roy Helu is getting increased touches in the Redskins backfield. Furthermore, a basic investigation reveals comments made by Redskins offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan that state Helu’s use was only a result of Tim Hightower being “fatigued” late in last weeks game. This is simply not true. Helu was the more effective runner against the Cardinals and fact of the matter is he was in the game at crucial moments late in the fourth quarter which means the Shanahan’s have complete trust in him at this point. Helu is definitely the better runner here but was poor in pass protection during the early stages of training camp. If he has cleaned up his act protecting the QB, chances are he will be the one carrying the rock for the Redskins in the not so distant future. He’s a must handcuff to Tim Hightower right now and a must pickup for any team in need of RB help or depth.
Offenseless In Seattle
Tarvaris Jackson is a horrible quarterback. There is no arguing this point, there is no evidence to the contrary and there is no amount of time in which it would take for him to get it. He will never, ever be a NFL caliber QB. Despite this the Seahawks biggest mistake this offseason was not bringing in Tarvaris Jackson. The biggest mistake by any team ever is the hiring of Darrel Bevell. Bevell has made some of the worst personnel decisions ever the past few years and has done so for reasons other than football. Some may recall that it was Darrell Bevell who beat the drum constantly for the Vikings to launch that ridiculous recruitment of Brett Favre a couple years ago. He made matters even worse when he begged and pleaded for Favre to return to Minnesota despite having severe arm trouble and undergoing surgery that offseason. If the Vikings never would have gone after Brett Favre, the Vikings led by Sage Rosenfels would have been the NFC representatives in Super Bowl XLIV. Alas, Vikings fans had to suffer a playoff meltdown and watch Drew Brees rescue the city of New Orleans instead. Bevell wants to have a friendship with his QB, which he obviously values more than good football and that is the ultimate problem with him and the Seattle Seahawks right now. Charlie Whitehurst isn’t much better but at least he has shown the ability to get better with more playing time while Jackson only seems to get worse. The Seahawks made great personnel decisions this offseason with the obvious blemish being the acquisition of Jackson. Still, with weapons like Sidney Rice, Mike Williams, Golden Tate, Zach Miller, Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett there should be better offense than we’ve seen the first two weeks of this regular season. I believe that a better time is ahead for the Seahawks and for the aforementioned players but only after a change is made to the starting QB.
A couple additional Seahawks notes
Sidney Rice has resumed practicing and looks like he will make his 2011 debut this Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals.
LG Robert Gallery is out 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his troubled groin (HA!) this week. This is devastating news for an offensive line struggling to pass protect and create any room for the RB’s to get through. Evidently it does have to get worse before it gets better for the Seahawks this season.
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