Fantasy Football Insider - Week 4
by Tim Heaney and Bryce McRae
on October 2, 2010 @ 00:00:00
Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- Michael Vick has taken ample hits so
far for the Philadelphia Eagles, but Philly won't
do much to change the way they shield him, especially since he's not showing
any signs of being beaten up. They already do some max protect setups. More
running plays - something they lacked last week - will continue to help.
- One reason for the Cincinnati Bengals' Carson
Palmer's struggles: a lack of confidence his wideouts will run the
right routes. His footwork is still off, too, and offensive line struggles
haven't helped. After these next two weeks against the Cleveland
Browns and Tampa Bay Buccaneers, we should
have a better idea of this offense's effectiveness.
- The Houston Texans are worried about the beating
Matt Schaub has taken behind center.
They're working on getting the ball out quicker as Schaub has been waiting
too long for the wideouts to get open down the field.
- With the Tennessee Titans, Baltimore
Ravens and New York Jets on the docket for
the Denver Broncos in the next three weeks, expect
Kyle Orton to continue chucking the
ball at a very liberal pace.
- Though the staff isn't all that thrilled with his play, Alex
D. Smith should get at least a few weeks to work with the latest San
Francisco 49ers' offensive coordinator, Mike
Johnson. It's not like David Carr is pushing
for the starting gig.
- Cleveland Browns injured signal caller Jake
Delhomme (ankle) looked like he didn't want to plant his ankle, but
all his throws were coming out fine. When he knew where he was going, Delhomme
was fine, but he struggled when he had to improvise.
- Review of Jimmy Clausen (Carolina
Panthers) in his first start: Released the ball quickly and made smart
decisions, but he had trouble with snaps, a problem since the offseason. He
did a decent job spreading the ball around and is familiar with the offense;
Jeff Davidson is a Charlie
- Brian Brohm should eventually start a game this season for the Buffalo Bills. Ryan Fitzpatrick will have a sizable leash, though.
- The Baltimore Ravens will let Ray
Rice (knee) play as much as possible. Willis
McGahee might see third-down work, maybe cutting into Rice's receptions,
but don't expect much of a difference if Rice can go. If Rice can't suit up,
Willis McGahee should dominate touches
with Le'Ron McClain mixed in.
- It would take a "miraculous recovery" for Steven
Jackson (groin) to play for the St. Louis Rams
in Week 4. His workload - walkthroughs and taking some handoffs on the side
- wasn't even done at a jogging pace. Expect Kenneth
Darby to carry the load Sunday, with a sprinkling of Keith
Toston. Chauncey Washington
probably will stick mainly with special teams and not factor much into the
touch split. The Rams are considering Jackson's
injury a short-term issue and aren't looking to make a big splash to land
- Our Detroit Lions sage is confident Jahvid
Best (toe) will play in Week 4. That will leave scraps for Maurice
Morris and Kevin Smith. Expect
a much messier situation if Best can't go, but it looks positive for the flashy
- More on Best: He seems to be a fast healer. He hasn't been favoring his
most recent turf toe injury and looked good in the media portion of practice.
Of course, turf toe injuries tend to linger over the course of the year.
Nothing to be alarmed about, but in the new San Francisco
49ers' offense, Frank Gore might
see a slight decrease in touches in an effort to incorporate other offensive
weapons. He's still the "bell cow," though.
More cowbell ... err, bell cow
- Atlanta Falcons update: For the foreseeable future,
the game flow will determine Michael Turner's
workload. Once he gets into 20 carries, Jason
Snelling will start to relieve him more.
- Don't be shocked to see more of the Arizona Cardinals'
Beanie Wells and Tim
Hightower this week with all the rookie wideouts Arizona is trotting
out. It should be an even split, though as we go Beanie might see a few more
looks than Hightower. Nothing too drastic, though.
- Peyton Hillis, favorite of Cleveland
Browns head coach Eric Mangini, will be
the main guy for the next five or six weeks. One caveat: Cleveland is so gameplan
specific, they could go with James Davis
or Jerome Harrison, if the coaches
want to exploit a specific matchup.
- The Cincinnati Bengals' Cedric
Benson still has his explosiveness, but the offensive line hasn't
done a good job clearing out lanes for him. When that happens, look for him
to perform more like early '09 Cedric.
- The San Diego Chargers' Ryan
Mathews should see a full workload this week. Darren
Sproles and Mike Tolbert will
be mixed in, but don't expect much. Tolbert might be a bit more short-yardage
work than he did in the past.
- Clinton Portis remains the starting
back for the Washington Redskins. He wasn't in
much during the second half last week because Washington was trailing and
he was nursing his wrist injury. When he was in, Washington was facing heavy
pressure and he had to pass protect. The 'Skins tried to work Ryan
Torain in more, but they didn't have the ball enough to do so. This
looks like it'll be a game-to-game split. Portis owners shouldn't jump ship
- Constant games of Carolina Panthers' catchup
have allowed Mike Goodson to enter
the touch fray. Goodson, their passing back, could see a fair amount of work
again this week; after all, Carolina is facing the New
- Peyton Hillis owes some of his Week
3 success to the Cleveland Browns running him out
of three-wide sets and taking advantage of the Baltimore
Ravens' nickel package. Don't expect the Ravens
to allow Rashard Mendenhall the same
comfort zone; he's a target.
- This week's matchup should be a true test for the Denver
Broncos' Laurence Maroney. He'll
have some help back on the offensive line, and he has a full week under his
belt in this system.
Correll Buckhalter will be used largely
as a situational toter, in most cases, as a spell back to Maroney.
- Houston Texans wideout Andre
Johnson (ankle) is iffy. The Oakland Raiders
run D isn't that great. Expect to see the Texans' Arian
Foster carry around 25 times this week.
- The New Orleans Saints' Chris
Ivory could be a workhorse. That might only be 12 to 15 touches
with Ladell Betts receiving around eight
to 10 touches. Look for more flares and screens as an extension of the running
- Expect a heavy dose of the New England Patriots'
BenJarvus Green-Ellis this week. He's
really their only back. He's a reliable, hard runner but nothing special.
He'll probably see three-quarters of the carries.
New England is probably being overly cautious with Fred
Taylor (toe), too. They signed Thomas
Clayton, who has to count against their 53-man roster for three weeks
now. Taylor's effectiveness was probably limited by both the injuries and
Finally, Danny Woodhead probably will
see four or five carries and come up with the odd big play, but he won't be
anything consistent for fantasy owners. They still don't trust his pass protection.
- The New York Giants might start giving Ahmad
Bradshaw the Tiki Barber treatment,
patented by head coach Tom Coughlin and aided
by running backs coach Jerald Ingram. Bradshaw's
fumbling seems to happen the same way Barber's did - a speedy back that loses
pigskin control during his football moves.
- If the Oakland Raiders can control the tempo
of Sunday's game, expect Michael Bush
(thumb) to receive something close to 10 carries. If the Raiders
need to speed things up, Darren McFadden
should continue with his 2010 workload. Ideally, Oakland wants to try setting
up Run DMC split out wide, in motion or in the slot more often, but with Bush
a non-factor, they needed McFadden to carry more.
- Ricky Williams' fumbling issues haven't
jeopardized his status in the Miami Dolphins' backfield
share. They haven't focused on anything other than normal ball security drills
in practice. Enjoy the continued workload guessing game between Williams and
- The Seattle Seahawks seem content to consistently
give Justin Forsett something close
to his Week 3 workload - for him to be the lion's shareholder. Leon
Washington's special teams show in Week 3 might earn him a few more
touches (maybe four or five), but he won't become a frequent contributor just
- The Indianapolis Colts are still worried about
Donald Brown's pass protection.
- Jacksonville Jaguars backup back Rashad
Jennings has been in games on third downs more, one reason for Maurice
Jones-Drew's decreased receptions.
- Need a stash-worthy back? James Starks
(hamstring), who's on the Physically Unable to Perform list, could
fill the role in cavernous setups. It's hard to believe the Green
Bay Packers are comfortable with Brandon
Jackson and John Kuhn carrying
the load all year. If they don't make a trade (Marshawn
Lynch still might be in play), they have Starks, who caught the ball in
college but still hasn't mastered pass protection. Either way, Green Bay should
give Starks a chance to pass John Kuhn on
the depth chart if he's healthy after Week 6, which is likely.
- Our source wasn't sure why the Arizona Cardinals'
Stephen Williams went undrafted. He's
big, can run like the kid and catches almost everything thrown his way. He
needs to improve his route running, but he could do some damage down the road.
- This week was the healthiest in practice Cards wideout Larry
Fitzgerald (knee) has been in awhile.
- Improving Michael Crabtree's performance
is a key in the new San Francisco 49ers' offense.
As mentioned last week, they want to create more separation for him to work
with. The new attack should help free him up a bit more.
- Brandon Marshall's trips to the locker
room for IV treatments last week were probably the result of overexertion
more than anything else. The Miami Dolphins' wideout
looked sluggish near the end of the game. Maybe it's the heat and humidity.
Conditioning wasn't an issue.
- When an NFL insider says Devin
Aromashodu isn't worth fantasy consideration right now, you listen.
DA might be later in the year, but Earl Bennett
is meeting the Chicago Bears' expectations
for the slot wideout.
- Buffalo Bills wideout Roscoe
Parrish could have a big game if he lines up in the slot against New
York Jets corner Kyle Wilson, who has
looked shaky so far.
Even with the love for Darrius Heyward-Bey
(groin) this week, he's still having trouble with the JUGS machine - something
that rarely is going to help your progress at this level. He still is a more
natural speedster than he is a receiver. He's doing more positive things,
but he has only caught nine of his 26 targets in the last two weeks, so he's
still a work in progress. Oh, and he's questionable for Week 4 action, too.
Can't catch a break, or a pass
- Joshua Cribbs' playing time won't
be in question, but the Cleveland Browns' wideout
has far better chemistry with quarterback Seneca
Wallace than injured starter Jake Delhomme
(ankle). When Wallace ad-libs and moves around, it lends itself more to Cribbs.
That doesn't work so well with Delhomme.
- The Cincinnati Bengals could go with their three-wide
sets a lot this week. Browns cornerback Eric
Wright lines up in the slot in that case; the Baltimore
Ravens' Anquan Boldin (eight receptions,
142 yards, three scores) took advantage of that last week. This week, it'd
probably be Terrell Owens or Jordan
- Eddie Royal's new job as the Denver
Broncos' punt returner won't affect his snaps. He was in mainly on three-wide
packages only. Denver will continue to take whatever the opposing defense
This week, that could mean a few shots against the Tennessee
Titans' rookie starting corner Alterraun Verner.
- The Indianapolis Colts' Blair
White is cut in the same mold as Austin
Collie but probably not as talented. Just don't expect White's role
to continue - there are just too many mouths to feed, especially when others
Reggie Wayne continues to see a ton of double
coverage, too. He's the No. 1, no doubt, but quarterback Peyton
Manning doesn't feel like he has to force it to Wayne like he did to Marvin
- As long as New Orleans Saints running back Reggie
Bush (fibula) remains out, Lance Moore
should be a regular contributor. He's probably the No. 1b option behind Marques
- With so many other receiving options, the New England
Patriots haven't kept Wes Welker
on the field as much. They're probably a little worried about the knee, too.
He's still reliable, but don't expect the big numbers from the last three
- Carolina Panthers quarterback Jimmy
Clausen seems to enjoy throwing to David
Gettis. Steve Smith has been
double-teamed a bunch, and Clausen hasn't been forcing it to the top dog.
- The St. Louis Rams might be looking to take advantage
of the Seattle Seahawks' pass D that was shredded
by the San Diego Chargers last week. This might
mean more Brandon Gibson and Mardy
Gilyard, who have been creeping ever so slowly into the game plan,
especially with Laurent Robinson (foot) injured
- New Seattle Seahawks wideout Brandon
Stokley might have some use as quality depth and sometimes as a security
blanket for quarterback Matt Hasselbeck in
the slot. Stokley was too enticing an option for Seattle to leave for some
other team to grab from the free-agent pool. He knows the system and has been
working with Golden Tate, who needs
help with his route running ... not a bad mentor to have teaching wideouts
how to refine their game.
- Garrett Hartley shouldn't be discarded
just yet. John Carney is probably just
there to coach him up. Keep an eye on the inactives Sunday.
Around the league
- Just doing his job - so says Jimmy Raye following
his removal from the San Francisco 49ers' offensive
coordinator gig. The offense had been boring for awhile, but Mike
Singletary's ball control offense was what Raye was trying to follow.
- Mike Johnson wants to be more flexible with
the Niners' offense - taking what the defense gives him more often.
- Baltimore Ravens' defensive issues: Four dropped
interceptions and a lack of QB pressure. Linebacker Terrell
Suggs' success against the Pittsburgh Steelers
(8.0 sacks in 14 games versus the Steelers) gives optimism for this unit's
performance this week.
- The Miami Dolphins are attempting to clean up
the execution of their wildcat formations, which are quickly becoming outdated.
They'll still attempt to use it off what they feel they can exploit any given
- Our source didn't think Jacksonville Jaguars
head coach Jack Del Rio would lose his
job this year, though he'll probably need to go 8-8 to save it. They've missed
on so many first-round picks, which hasn't helped, but Del Rio and general
manager Gene Smith have a good relationship.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.
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