News and Notes 10-18-11


*-The Oakland Raiders acquired Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals in a trade today. Oakland gave up their 2012 1st round pick and either their 1st or 2nd round pick in 2013 depending on whether the Raiders win a playoff game or not. The need for Oakland to make such a bold move was necessitated by the broken collarbone injury Jason Campbell suffered in week 6. It's expected that Kyle Boller will get the start this week against Kansas City and then Palmer will take over as the starter in week 9. Oakland has the bye in week 8. For more on my thoughts on this, I encourage you to check out my fantasy football blog as I did a complete analysis on why I think acquiring Carson Palmer was a good move by Oakland not just for this season but for the next few years. Palmer is worth the add in fantasy leagues for those who don't have quality starting QB's or mediocre backups.

*-Just as a follow up on the Raiders, they may have been tempted to go the free agent route with former Jacksonville QB David Garrard, but it was announced yesterday that Garrard needs surgery to repair a herniated disc in his back. If you've been holding onto Garrard as a possible deep fantasy football sleeper at some point in 2011, you can safely drop him. He won't be playing this season.

*-Donovan McNabb has been benched in Minnesota. Christian Ponder takes over and unless he flops miserably this is expected to be a permanent move. Ponder is likely to be a low end fantasy backup the rest of this season.

*-Sam Bradford's status for week 7 is in question because of a reported high ankle sprain suffered this past Sunday. High ankle sprains often sideline a player at least 2 games, but the Rams refuse to rule Bradford out for week 7 yet. Apparently the injury is to his non-plant foot and that increases the chances he may be able to play thru it. But winless thru 6 weeks of the season, I'd be surprised if they would risk Bradford to making the injury more serious than it currently is and it's likely that A.J. Feeley will start in his place week 7, and probably week 8 as well.

*-No word yet on whether Washington will bench Rex Grossman as their starting QB week 7 in favor of John Beck. They are expected to make an announcement tomorrow. Grossman threw 4 interceptions this past Sunday and while Beck didn't look great, he didn't look as bad as Grossman had. No matter what direction the Redskins go in, neither QB is a reliable fantasy option. And even if they decide on Beck this week, it won't surprise me at all if they switch back to Grossman in a couple of weeks after Beck has a lousy game.

*-It's sounding more and more unlikely that Tarvaris Jackson will be able to start week 7 for Seattle. Jackson is still bothered by a pectoral injury suffered back in week 5 and it's expected that it will take at least one more week for him to get it healed up to where he can play. This is a perfect excuse for the Seahawks to start Charlie Whitehurst for at least one game and see if he performs any better than Jackson has. Jackson hasn't been brutally bad, but he's also not been reliably good either.

*-Michael Vick may have suffered a minor concussion week 6 but it's not a serious issue and with Philadelphia on bye this week he's fully expected to be fine when the Eagles return week 8.

*-Matt Schaub is expected to be okay for week 7 despite having suffered a hip injury week 6. Schaub has suffered minor injuries to his hip, shoulder, chest, and knee in recent weeks but keeps starting. Gotta love a tough guy.

Running Backs

*-Jahvid Best suffered a concussion Sunday and his status for week 7 is very much in doubt. Detroit hasn't officially ruled him out yet but he's a long shot to able to pass all of the tests required, especially since this is his second concussion this season with the first one happening back in training camp. Maurice Morris is expected to start and be the primary RB now that Detroit has traded Jerome Harrison to Philadelphia in exchange for Ronnie Brown. Brown is likely to play some this week but will be limited until he gets a better grasp on the Lions offensive system. Long term, Brown projects out as the complimentary RB who gets the inside running duties that Best lacks the size for. Brown is also likely to wrestle the short yardage and goal line duties from Keiland Williams quickly. Morris is the RB to grab off free agent wires for this one week until Best returns.

*-Felix Jones suffered a high ankle sprain and is expected to miss 2-4 weeks. DeMarco Murray steps in as the primary RB with Tashard Choice getting more playing time than normal as the change of pace RB. Murray is a priority free agent add this week for those desperate at RB as he has a sweet matchup against the Rams this week.

*-Peyton Hillis has a hamstring injury and his status for week 7 is in question. It's believed to be a minor hamstring pull and there's a chance he may be able to play this week. The practice reports the next few days will be a tell if we can expect Hillis to be out there, but even if he is, I can't imagine that he would get a feature role. It's very likely he would at best be in a committee with Montario Hardesty which would limit the upside of both RB's against Seattle this week. If Hillis is unable to play, Hardesty becomes a low end RB2 this week. The Browns also signed Chris Ogbannaya off the Texans practice squad on Monday and that is an indication that Hillis likely won't be able to play.

*-The NFL has reduced the original 3 game suspension levied on Cedric Benson down to just 1 game and a fine. Benson's attorney is expected to recommend his client take the deal. If he does, Benson will sit out week 8 as Cincinnati is on bye this week. Bernard Scott would then start week 8 and be the primary RB with Brian Leonard getting a little more playing time than usual. Scott is worth the pickup if you have injury or bye week issues week 8.

*-Jackie Battle is expected to be fine for week 7. The bye this past week was a good thing for Kansas City as Battle suffered an undisclosed head injury (believed to be a minor concussion) back in week 5. Barring any setbacks this week, I fully expect Battle to be the most primary RB for Kansas City as he offers much more upside than Thomas Jones. Dexter McCluster appears to have fallen way behind both of these guys in terms of touches and playing time.

*-Even though Ryan Torain laid a big egg Sunday, it's expected that he will again be the primary rushing down RB for Washington. Tim Hightower was active but didn't play a single snap. Torain is the best bet for fantasy worthiness but his star lost a lot of shine in a bad outing this past week. If he doesn't bounce back strong this week, the Roy Helu watch would become official.

*-Ryan Mathews was able to practice some earlier this week and barring any setbacks he should be fine for week 7. Mathews had a calf injury going into San Diego's bye this past week.

*-New England is expected to activate Kevin Faulk from the PUP list sometime in the next couple of weeks. While Faulk holds no fantasy value of his own, his return could jeopardize the fantasy upside of Danny Woodhead, Stevan Ridley, and Shane Vereen.

*-Cadillac Williams suffered a leg injury that some have reported as a knee injury and others a quad injury. Either way, while believed to be minor, this just further decreases his chances of being anything more than a low upside handcuff to Steven Jackson in fantasy leagues.

Wide Receiver

*-Andre Johnson is not expected to play this week and word now is that his doctors said he could miss up to six weeks as he recovers from hamstring surgery. Johnson's already missed 2 games and a third this week is fully expected. Barring any unexpected news to the contrary, I'm going to assume Johnson isn't playing week 7 and we'll revisit him next week.

*-St. Louis acquired Brandon Lloyd via trade from Denver in exchange for a conditional late round draft pick next year. Lloyd's contract is up after this season and he was a poor fit in Denver's new offense this season. In St. Louis he reunites with former Broncos head coach now Rams offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels. Lloyd may not start right away, but he is expected to play some this week and because he is familiar with the offense he is likely to take over as a starter in week 8. While likely to come at the expense of Danario Alexander, the Rams would be better off putting Lloyd in Brandon Gibson's spot and having two playmaking WR's in Lloyd and Alexander in their base 2 WR sets. Whether they'll do that is questionable though.  

*-With Lloyd out of Denver, Eric Decker takes over as the primary #1 WR for the Broncos. Eddie Royal is expected to be able to play this week after missing the last few with a groin injury. Denver may also have DeMaryius Thomas back for game action this week. Decker is the only one with fantasy upside though.

*-After they acquired Lloyd from Denver, the Rams released Mike Sims-Walker. But Sims-Walker wasn't unemployed for long. Jacksonville has picked him up. It's actually one of the best places Sims-Walker could have ended up at. He already knows their offensive system and it's hoped that his release by the Jaguars this past off-season and subsequent failure in St. Louis will be a humbling experience for him and he will concentrate on getting back to the form he had in 2009 when he led Jacksonville in receiving. He may not start right away, but he is expected to take over the starting spot from Jason Hill in the next 1-2 games.

*-Mike Wallace has a minor hamstring strain and while he may be limited or held out of some practices this week he's fully expected to be fine to start week 7 without issue.

*-No word yet on whether Julio Jones will be able to play this week for the Falcons. How Jones's hamstring reacts in practices later this week will dictate his likely status.

*-It's also unknown if the bye week was enough time for Vincent Jackson to get over his hamstring and abdominal injuries. Jackson didn't practice earlier this week and will need to by Friday for me to feel comfortable trusting him in a starting lineup this week.

*-After a no catch performance this past week I am officially advising anyone who still has Chad Ochocinco on their rosters to give up on him. You should be easily able to find better upside guys than Ochocinco on your waiver wires.

*-Dwayne Harris was released by Dallas. I normally wouldn't mention a guy like this but just in case someone has him on their roster, you can find a higher upside bench guy, even in dynasty leagues.

Tight Ends

*-No word yet on whether Antonio Gates will be able to play this week. He did get some practice time in earlier in the week but it's practice time at the end of the week I'm looking for before trusting him on his suspect foot. Don't be surprised if by the time we get to Saturday Gates is considered a game time decision.

*-Chris Cooley suffered a fractured finger injury and is out indefinitely. Between this and his problems recovering from last season's knee injury and it won't be a surprise if Cooley is placed on injured reserve soon. I feel confident in recommending that Cooley be dropped from fantasy rosters.

*-If you're looking for a TE to possibly grab, Jake Ballard of the New York Giants is available in many leagues. Ballard was supposed to be the backup to Travis Beckum heading into the season but Beckum's early season injury woes have allowed Ballard to show that he is at least a serviceable pass catching TE. He's no sure bet for reliable production but he's caught 11 passes for 186 yards and 2 TD's the last 3 games and has probably pushed a healthy Beckum into being his backup.

*-Jacksonville placed their TE Zach Miller on injured reserve today because of a lingering shoulder injury. Do not confuse the Jaguars Zach Miller with Seattle's TE Zach Miller. Seattle's Miller is the one who used to be a fantasy option for Oakland in years past and has been the invisible man this season since being traded to the Seahawks. News on him is that the bye week was enough time for him to get over the concussion he suffered week 5 and that he should be okay to be invisible, but on the playing field this time, week 7.