Here's what KFFL's inside sources are saying this week.
- The Indianapolis Colts' Peyton
Manning shouldn't have much trouble against the Baltimore
Ravens' current 3-4 defense. Typically, when Manning succumbs, it's to
pressure up the middle more so than off the edges, and this Ravens
defense is by no means as aggressive as its past incarnations.
- Sure, it's easy to think Chris Simms will
replicate his nauseating Week 10 line, but remember, he hadn't practiced with
the first team this season; of rouse, we're not saying he'll improve a ton.
Either way, the Denver Broncos shouldn't do many
things different if Simms has to start in place of Kyle
Orton (ankle), who probably won't go this week. Simms may challenge
downfield more often, but that's about it.
- Vince Young, of the Tennessee
Titans, has thrown the ball downfield some, but the biggest surprise could
be his accuracy. He has also looked poised and surer of himself in the pocket.
He is a threat to run, which combined with running back Chris
Johnson's effectiveness has made them dangerous in the red zone.
It's probably a bit too soon to expect Alex
D. Smith to be making many suggestions in offensive play calling;
he's trying to learn this San Francisco 49ers'
system first and is simply doing what is drawn up. He has never worked in
the same system for two seasons, so maybe next year he'll be more observant
in ways to help Jimmy Raye's attack, if Raye
Smith learning, not directing
- The New York Jets' Mark
Sanchez hasn't made much progress in the last few weeks. The rook
said he wanted to improve his completion percentage but hasn't turned the
corner. He cites his footwork as his biggest issue.
- Don't expect the Buffalo Bills to go back to Trent
Edwards unless new starter Ryan Fitzpatrick
goes down with an injury. They felt that Fitzpatrick is willing to throw the
ball downfield a bit more, despite his reputation as a game manager. Maybe,
we guess, that's true when he's compared to Edwards. Edwards probably got
a raw deal with all the things working against him this year - Terrell
Owens, a poor offensive line, rampant offensive changes and the no-huddle
- Buffalo may eventually give some work to recent addition Brian
Brohm, but not for at least a few more weeks.
- The Oakland Raiders finally pulled the trigger
and benched JaMarcus Russell for the
rest of the season, or so they say. They probably didn't want him facing the
Cincinnati Bengals at home or the Dallas
Cowboys and Pittsburgh Steelers on the road.
If Bruce Gradkowski can't get it done,
they may just go back to Russell and point to his rest as a positive.
- Speaking of Grad, expect the Raiders to call
more rollouts and work drives with short passes because he's in there. They
can actually try to accumulate aerial first downs instead of hoping to complete
a deep chuck.
- The Cleveland Browns have ignored former Eric
Mangini prodigy Brett Ratliff,
mainly because of how poor he looked in training camp and the preseason. It
looks like it'll be Brady Quinn's show
for the rest of the season barring injury or - if possible - any further disappointment.
- Preparation is already starting for a Brett
Favre-less future. Look for the Minnesota Vikings
to tab a quarterback in the upcoming draft. They're claiming Tarvaris
Jackson also has been making progress. Meanwhile, the status of the
Collective Bargaining Agreement will have a heavy hand in Favre's future.
- Whom do the Cincinnati Bengals turn to with Cedric
Benson (hip) unlikely to play? Our source felt it'd go 10 to 15 carries
for Bernard Scott, 7 to 12 for Larry
Johnson and Brian Leonard receiving
some of the short-yardage and receiving work.
- Long-term, LJ is probably the best bet if Benson's hip injury lingers. Once
Benson is back, everything returns to as it was before the injury and LJ signing.
- When will Michael Turner (ankle) return?
Well, it isn't looking good for this week's Atlanta
Falcons game. Next week they face the Tampa Bay
Buccaneers, so he might not be needed then. He could test it out in Week
13 against the Philadelphia Eagles. High ankle
sprains can take up to six weeks to recover from, depending on the player.
- Jason Snelling should receive around
95 percent of the carries this week for the Falcons
with Aaron Stecker dining on the scraps.
When Jerious Norwood (hip) is back
to full health, it should be around an 80-15-5 split with Snelling, Norwood
With the Philadelphia Eagles' attention focused
elsewhere (see: Vincent Jackson), the San
Diego Chargers' LaDainian Tomlinson
was able to enjoy his finest game of the season. It helps that the line has
more cohesion and he's apparently at full health, but the defense wasn't lining
up to stop him as often as in the past.
LT took advantage of Philly's plan
- It should be at least another three weeks until we see Brian
Westbrook (concussion) close to playing. The Philadelphia
Eagles' vet still needs several weeks of rest and tests. This means LeSean
McCoy takes over. The Eagles will also
give Leonard Weaver more work, which
they probably already should have been doing in short-yardage and goal line
situations. Thank Andy Reid's play calling
- The Chicago Bears gave the Philadelphia
Eagles a lot of film on the involvement of Matt
Forte in their passing game. You'd think Philly would be prepared
for it, but that won't change how often Chicago uses him in their passing
game. They can't the run the ball to save their lives. One reason they didn't
go to this sooner: Quarterback Jay Cutler
tends to look down the field, whereas Kyle Orton
was a checkdown machine.
- Our New Orleans Saints spy doesn't believe the
questionable Reggie Bush (knee) will
play this week; the wise one also suspects there's more to Bush's knee injury,
which by the by is located in the same knee that Bush had surgically repaired.
Pierre Thomas and Mike
Bell, as expected, would probably split any leftover touches if Bush
doesn't suit up, with Thomas being the safer bet for catching passes.
- Our source felt Steve Slaton would
be back starting for the Houston Texans this weekend.
Check out Hot off the Wire tomorrow
for the final scoop. Slaton will receive the bulk of the workload; if
he fails, it'd go to Ryan Moats and
then Chris Brown.
- The Pittsburgh Steelers might work in Willie
Parker a bit more, partially to help Rashard
Mendenhall over the long run. They might be trying to squeeze every
last drop from FWP. It won't be a significant role, though; they could put
him in near the goal line to shake things up.
- The Dallas Cowboys might be a bit more hesitant
to run to the right and in short-yardage situations with guard Marc
Colombo (ankle) out. Of course, it doesn't explain why they didn't rush
Marion Barber III often after the first
quarter last week.
- The touch percentage in the Seattle Seahawks'
backfield should break down as 80-20 for Justin
Forsett and Louis Rankin, respectively.
Justin Griffith might carry the ball
a couple of times. The 'Hawks could run some screens to the left in order
to keep Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared
Allen off balance.
- Even if his legs are given a rest, the Washington
Redskins' Clinton Portis (concussion)
still has so little tread left on his tires that you can't expect much when
- Look for the Buffalo Bills to focus a bit more
on involving Marshawn Lynch and Fred
Jackson with Perry Fewell taking over
the coaching reins.
- Michael Bush will start this week
for the Oakland Raiders, but expect them to ride
the hot hand once again if Justin Fargas
or Darren McFadden proves to be more
effective. Their quarterback change could open up more passes to the backfield,
- The Kansas City Chiefs will probably incorporate
Kolby Smith a bit more this week, but
Jamaal Charles is still the No. 1 option
for now. Smith looked healthy last week but needs to be a bit more patient
during his carries. He had a 15-yarder called back due to a penalty, though,
so he's showing life.
Shonn Greene must continue to work
on his receiving skills as he continues working toward succeeding the New
York Jets' Thomas Jones as the starter
sometime beyond this season.
Heir apparent struggling through air
- Our New England Patriots source thinks the questionable
Sammy Morris (knee) will give it a go
this week. If so, he could see upwards of 10 to 15 carries. If not, expect
more of what we've seen, with Laurence Maroney
leading the way.
- While we're on this topic, there has been no sign of the injured Fred
Taylor (ankle) in the Pats' locker room or otherwise. Our whisperer
thinks Taylor is under lock and key somewhere....
- Expect this week to signify what the Cleveland Browns
will give Chris Jennings the rest of
the way. If he impresses, they may wind up giving him touches close to those
of the retiring Jamal Lewis. Jerome
Harrison didn't take too kindly to his demotion out of the No. 2 role
and probably won't see much time until he learns to pick up blitzes better.
- The New York Giants have tabbed Danny
Ware as their third-down option. Ahmad
Bradshaw (ankle) struggles in pass protection, and the Giants
think Ware is just as good on the outside as a receiver. While Ware shouldn't
receive more than, say, five or six touches per game, his presence helps limit
the wear and tear on Bradshaw. They don't want to take away too much from
starter Brandon Jacobs.
- The corners of the Washington Redskins are aggressive
and could be caught out on double moves of some Dallas
Cowboys wideouts this week. The one to benefit: Miles
Austin. He could have a big play or two. Roy
Williams isn't a double move-type receiver, though he has turned in
two decent games, from a fantasy perspective.
- Vincent Jackson, of the San
Diego Chargers, faced constant double teams from the Philadelphia
Eagles last week, one reason for his poor showing.
- While Steve Breaston's overall offensive
involvement has declined a bit, the Arizona Cardinals
have seemingly been looking for him on deep routes lately. It has been harder
for Larry Fitzgerald to break free on
- Don't buy completely into Jason Avant's
big game for the Philadelphia Eagles last week.
He has several of those a year and remains a solid possession option. However,
they have so many other weapons that despite Donovan
McNabb's connection with him, Avant won't deliver on a consistent basis.
- As usual, the Pats' third option in their passing game is the open target
not named Randy Moss or Wes
Welker. No one among Sam Aiken,
Isaiah Stanback, a healthy Julian
Edelman, tight end Benjamin Watson
or running back Kevin Faulk has stepped up
to claim that spot.
- Brandon Gibson's transition to the
Rams' corps was easy, since Pat Shurmur's
playbook terminology harkened back to his days as Philadelphia
Eagles quarterback coach. Gibson clicked quickly with quarterback Marc
Bulger in Week 10 and should be given a big opportunity to contribute
here on out.
While it's still up in the air, there's a chance Indianapolis
Colts wideout Anthony Gonzalez (knee)
could be back in time for Week 14 - the start of most fantasy playoff
processes. Once he decides he's ready, his recovery and preparation will probably
be around three weeks.
A-Gon biding his time
- Pecking order for targets in the Kansas City Chiefs'
wideout corps sans Dwayne Bowe: Lance
Long, Chris Chambers, Mark
Bradley and Bobby Wade.
- Josh Morgan, the San
Francisco 49ers' other starting wideout, doesn't yet have the natural
football feel to match his talent and still struggles running routes. However,
they're willing to be patient with him given how hard he has worked. Having
the displaced Isaac Bruce mentoring
- Jordy Nelson appears to be fully
healthy, and he and James Jones are
back to their timeshare as the No. 3 (Jones) and No. 3a wideouts for the Green
- If you have to take this plunge, here's the Oakland
Raiders' pecking order behind tight end Zach
Miller: Chaz Schilens, Darrius
Heyward-Bey, and a combo of Louis Murphy
and Johnnie Lee Higgins. Higgins may
see increased work through bubble screens now that, you know, a quarterback
has a chance of finding him. Hard to argue that the talented Murphy isn't
getting shafted, though. Schilens has decent size and gives the Raiders
a competent presence on the outside, something they've been lacking all season.
- Cavernous leaguers should keep an eye on the Cleveland
Browns' Mike Furrey, whom quarterback
Brady Quinn looked to six times last week.
Makes sense; he's a slot guy, and Quinn favors the short game.
- A big part of the Denver Broncos' return to the mean: their offense's horrendous time of possession, keeping their defense on the field for a long time. Ironically, their conditioning was one of their biggest strengths early on.
- The San Francisco 49ers haven't allowed a passing score by a quarterback since their game with the Houston Texans in Week 7. Their secondary, led by new starting cornerback Tarell Brown, has been resistant to the big play aside from a running back touchdown pass.
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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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