Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- The Chicago Bears' Jay Cutler claimed that his concussion
this year was his first. Though Chicago has disputed them, reports say he
has had multiple instances of concussions. There isn't much to worry about
now, Cutler owners, but what if he sustains another one? Maybe he misses more
time than his recent inactive week....
- Cleveland Browns rookie Colt McCoy, who's expected to start
Sunday, has looked accurate in practice. Unfortunately, McCoy doesn't have
a big frame and could've used some time on the bench to work on bulking up.
Expect ample checkdowns and increased wildcat use this week.
- Don't read into head coach Todd Haley's public defense of Matt Cassel. The Kansas City Chiefs remain reluctant to use their aerial attack.
If they don't employ it more often this week against the Houston Texans, when
Brett Favre (elbow) has more issues with accuracy than
throwing deep. If he were to miss a game this year, it'd more
likely come from injury than a suspension for his textual harassment. The
Minnesota Vikings' signal caller would probably have to be convinced to sit,
but his elbow tendonitis isn't responding to cortisone shots. Maybe he's pulled
during a game to keep his consecutive games played streak going.
What's next for No. 4?
Jenn Sterger's cooperation in the off-field stuff will determine if a suspension
is warranted. A fine is likelier for Favre, but if he were to be suspended
for a few games, he might just retire on the spot. It'll probably be a few
weeks or a month before we know anything further on any league action.
- Don't downgrade Tom Brady now that the New England Patriots
jettisoned Randy Moss. Spreading the rock will help like it did back when
they won Super Bowls. He won't have to keep Moss happy by forcing passes to
- Speaking of Brady, the reported confrontations he had with quarterbacks
coach Bill O'Brien are a little blown out of proportion. However, numerous
players have had an issue with O'Brien because of the offensive schemes he
drew up last year. He seemed like he didn't have the capacity to run that
- Our insider doesn't think the New Orleans Saints' Drew Brees (knee) has been himself. Brees says he's fine, but something with his knee might be bothering him. He's underthrowing people. Of course, lack of a legitimate running game hasn't helped, either.
- The San Francisco 49ers' Alex D. Smith is going to take more downfield shots and will try to open things up a bit more. He has played cautiously in the past but will probably be in attack mode more often.
- Ray Rice has looked better in goal line situations than Willis McGahee lately. Expect the Baltimore Ravens' goal line split to be more
even moving forward.
- Chester Taylor is unofficially the Chicago Bears' short-yardage
back and is the likelier choice to be in on plays near the goal line. Taylor
is a better fit than Matt Forte, whose upright running style
takes a bit away from his potential in those situations. Forte will also receive
slightly more touches, though it won't be an even split.
- The Cleveland Browns' trade of Jerome Harrison means it's Peyton Hillis' show. Their acquisition of Mike Bell fits more with him
being the spell guy for Hillis - Bell can run similar downhill plays between
the tackles. James Davis' role is still unknown, but it probably doesn't
amount to a work increase from his backup duty.
- Marion Barber III will be the Dallas Cowboys' starting running
back. Don't worry, Felix Jones owners: That's just Wade Phillips trying
not to hurt Barber's feelings. Jones will remain the lead back in terms of
- If Detroit Lions wideout Calvin Johnson (shoulder) can't go this week, expect to see the Detroit running backs play a bigger role.
- Mike Hart (hip) should play and see about five to 10
touches for the Indianapolis Colts this week. However, he'll relinquish the
No. 2 role when Donald Brown (hamstring) comes back, likely after their
Week 7 bye.
- Sure, Randy Moss is once again on the Minnesota Vikings, but Adrian Peterson will be the focus for the Dallas Cowboys' defense this week.
New Orleans Saints new addition Julius
Jones could stick if Pierre
Thomas' ankle injury keeps lingering. Jones' best seasons came with
Dallas when Sean Payton
was their offensive coordinator. He hasn't been in town long enough to warrant
much work this week, but if no PT next week, he could see more.
Felix Jones to remain lead back?
- As for Reggie Bush, the Saints' playmaker won't go until he's 100 percent; he won't rush back. Bush is hoping and praying he'll be back for Week 8, but it's not a good sign. Our insider wouldn't be surprised if Bush's absence extended past Week 8, which would put him past the expected recovery time when he went out.
- The New York Jets typically aim for a 50-50 touch split for running
backs LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene, but LT's play has
given him most of the touches early on. Greene is getting into a groove now,
though, so whenever possible, expect them to aim for an even split.
- Jerome Harrison isn't all that familiar with the Philadelphia Eagles' West Coast offense. He probably won't play this week. Long term, however,
he's a better fit than the traded Mike Bell. Harrison fits the bill of former
Eagle Correll Buckhalter - someone who can make an impact on five touches.
- The San Diego Chargers should divvy out a 50-50 touch split between
Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert. Their eventual goal is to make
it Mathews with around 25 touches and Tolbert with around four or five.
That'll probably happen when Mathews puts in a full week of practice, but
he still might get a slight majority before that happens. Don't be surprised
if this week's game against the St. Louis Rams will be the time for San Diego
to see what Mathews has.
- The Seattle Seahawks will likely go with a 50-50 percent or 60-40 percent touch split between their backs Marshawn Lynch and Justin Forsett this week. Lynch is still picking up the new offense, which has a few of the zone principles from Buffalo but is still a difficult one to learn. Once he is comfortable in it, touches will probably go 75-25 or 65-35 to Lynch.
- LeGarrette Blount didn't play much last week because the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were concerned about pass protection schemes. They stuck with
Cadillac Williams most of the time. Not surprising because he's the
starter anyway. Williams will continue to see two-thirds of touches, possibly
three-fourths, if they're really that concerned about protection.
- Expect Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Justin Durant to spy the Tennessee Titans' Chris Johnson this week and force Titans quarterback Vince
Young to beat them.
- Keiland Williams might see more work on third down for the Washington Redskins, but Ryan Torain, who did some good things in pass protection last week, will be given every chance to be the primary back. If the running game isn't work, though, Washington is quick to abandon it, as they did last week against the Green Bay Packers.
- The Atlanta Falcons' Michael Jenkins will be in the game plan this week. Harry Douglas will see fewer snaps, and Atlanta will go with Jenkins in the red zone.
- Baltimore Ravens wideouts Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason
have favorable matchups with New England Patriots cornerback Devin McCourty
and Kyle Arrington.
- The Denver Broncos' Brandon Lloyd should remain at this level
of involvement in the offense. He has a rapport with quarterback Kyle Orton
and has been more consistent in his focus this year; his physical talents
are finally paying off.
The pecking order for looks on the Detroit Lions if Calvin Johnson (shoulder) doesn't play: Nate Burleson (ankle), tight ends Brandon Pettigrew and Tony Scheffler, then running back Jahvid Best.
All's quiet on the V-Jax front
- New York Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie could give Lloyd fits
this week. Lloyd is still start-worthy, but he might see a drop-off from his
recent brilliant performances.
- Even with his increased duties in the return game, Eddie Royal
won't lose any offensive reps for the Broncos. He'll probably be a useful
safety valve this week - read "a bunch of receptions" - against the New York Jets' aggressive defense.
- The Green Bay Packers' loss of tight end Jermichael Finley (knee) should, in theory, open things up for Greg Jennings. Expect Green Bay to go with a lot of three- and four-wide sets.
- Houston Texans All-Pro Andre Johnson (ankle) says his ankle feels better this week, almost 100 percent, though it'll bother him the rest of the year. He was double covered a lot last week.
- Mike Sims-Walker improved a little bit coming off the line
of scrimmage, something he has struggled with most of the season. The Jacksonville Jaguars were happy about that and are still counting on him being an integral
part of the attack.
- Don't buy into Todd Haley's kind words for Dwayne Bowe. The
Kansas City Chiefs' wideout is doing some little things right, such as run
blocking, but his drops last week exemplify his shaky fantasy stock.
- Wes Welker should continue his reception-hungry game with
Randy Moss no longer with the New England Patriots. However, Welker hasn't
been able to avoid tackles as much as he used to.
- The New York Giants' Hakeem Nicks played against Detroit Lions corner Alphonso Smith twice in college, though they didn't spend a lot of time matched up against each other. Still, there is a familiarity there. Our insider wasn't sure which way this matchup would go.
- The San Diego Chargers' organization is not talking to the media
about Vincent Jackson's impending report to the team. Jackson is eligible
to play Nov. 28 (Week 12) and must report by the week of the Oct. 31 game.
The Bolts aren't that keen to welcome him back - they're producing a good
offense without him.
- Brandon Gibson will benefit the most right now from Mark Clayton's season-ending knee injury. The St. Louis Rams' passing game,
however, is fluid behind Danny Amendola, their slot option. Mardy Gilyard will now start but remains a work in progress.
- Deep watch list: Danario Alexander, the leading receiver in
college football last year. The Rams promoted him from the practice squad
now that he's healed from his knee surgery. He's 6-foot-5, 215 pounds - the
Rams don't have a wideout with that much size.
- Deon Butler will be the new starter for the Seattle Seahawks with Deion Branch headed to New England. Expect this to be an audition, though. If Butler plays like he did in the preseason, our insider felt it'd be his gig. He did have some drops against the St. Louis Rams earlier this year, though. Ben Obomanu will receive a shot; he has good hands, knows all three WR positions and could be more reliable. Golden Tate still isn't trusted yet.
- Joey Galloway may continue to start ahead of Anthony Armstrong for the Washington Redskins, at least for a bit, but Armstrong played more snaps last week, and AA could take the job as early as this week.
- New Orleans Saints head coach Sean
Payton said he was ready to switch back to Garrett
Hartley, but our source wasn't quite sure about that. If Hartley misses
a kick Sunday, expect New Orleans to have auditions lined up for Monday.
Around the league
- Expect Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed (hip) to come back
in Week 7. He has reportedly looked great in workouts.
- The Denver Broncos' patchwork defense will be a work in progress
for however long they're missing free safety Brian Dawkins (knee),
safety Darcel McBath (ankle), cornerback Andre' Goodman (quadriceps),
linebacker Wesley Woodyard (hamstring) and Robert Ayers (foot).
The loss of Ayers will set back their pass rush.
- The Green Bay Packers will
probably stick with the run more, regardless of who is behind center or how
it works, in order to shorten the game because of injuries.
- The New York Jets' pass defense has suffered without cornerback Darrelle Revis (hamstring), who's 50-50 to play this weekend. However, there have
also been chemistry issues with safety Brodney Pool and cornerback
Antonio Cromartie adjusting to the new system. Kyle Wilson has
played more than they wanted him to because of Revis' injury. Their pass rush
isn't there unless they blitz.
- Also, our San Diego Chargers insider predicted the Jets will sign
linebacker Shawne Merriman, who is expected to be released in a few
weeks by the San Diego Chargers, because the Jets know how to use vets in
successful situational play.
- The Chargers will probably have left tackle Marcus McNeill
in the lineup this week.
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous publications, and recognized as a finalist in FSWA's awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, he's on The Reality Check with Glenn Clark every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. He hits the airwaves every Thursday at 9:30 a.m. ET on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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