What do we do with Marshall?

Looking at the Brandon Marshall situation with a purely fantasy eye, his suspension for the remainder of the preseason may create an environment where the troublesome wide receiver becomes a value on draft day.

After news of the suspension broke, a fellow owner in my slow auction league nominated him for bidding. I won him for $21, which was 5% of my total payroll (or about two-thirds his pre-suspension value). Here’s what Joe Bryant (of Footballguys.com) had to say in a recent email:

Marshall will probably fall out of the top 100 picks in most drafts now. We would still take a chance on him around the 9th/10th round range in PPR leagues, because if this really goes completely sour, you can cut him for the WW flavor of the week, but if he straightens out, he’ll be the rare top 20 WR you can get out of the top 100.

But this hasn’t been the case, at least not yet. According to Antsports, in 12-team redraft leagues from 8/29-8/31, his ADP dropped from the late third into the early fifth. I had a keeper league that drafted this Sunday, and Marshall went in the middle of the sixth. (I realize that in a keeper league, his value will be somewhat higher because of his long-term value in the league.)

Other owners are going to be scared off by Marshall’s ridiculously bad offseason. But the bottom line is that he’s in a contract year, and if he wants to score a big payday, he’s going to need to show up and act like a professional. At least this what I hope his agent is telling him on a daily basis during his suspension.

There are some indications that the Broncos are willing to work with Marshall this year. The suspension itself was only for the preseason, and if he behaves, he could very well be on the field for the team’s opener. This is a clear sign that the Broncos value Marshall and what he can do for the team. They are not yet at the point where he’s too much of a headache to deal with. Moreover, Josh McDaniels spoke about the situation at the most recent preseason game and he seemed optimistic about the WR’s short-term future.

The driving force behind Marshall’s future is Marshall himself. If he wants a fat contract, he needs to shut his mouth and play out his current deal. If he performs up to his usual standard, some team will forget about all of this and will give him the kind of contract he’s looking for. From a fantasy point of view, this makes Marshall a risk, but a worthwhile risk in the middle rounds. If he realizes his situation, swallows his pride, and acts like a professional, he can get the kind of money he wants. This is why I’m optimistic about Brandon Marshall in 2009.

Given what we know right now, his ADP of 5.05 sounds about right. I’d take him after Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson and Vincent Jackson, but before Santonio Holmes, Antonio Bryant and Santana Moss.

Of course, he could completely flake out and get suspended for the entire season, a la Keyshawn Johnson.

Don’t you love fantasy football?

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2009 NFL Preview: #32 Detroit Lions

Check out all of our 2009 NFL team previews.

Offseason Additions: Julian Peterson (LB); Larry Foote (LB); Phillip Buchanon (CB); Grady Jackson (DT); Bryant Johnson (WR).

Offseason Losses: Leigh Bodden (CB); Shaun McDonald (WR); Mike Fuerry (WR); Shaun Cody (DT); Paris Lenon (LB); George Foster (OT); Dan Orlovsky (QB).

Player to Watch: Louis Delmas, S.
Delmas, the Lions’ second round pick this year, immediately started turning heads in OTAs and continued to impress coaches with his aggressiveness and tenacity throughout training camp (although he did miss time due to a swollen knee). The former Western Michigan product is already drawing comparisons to the Colts’ Bob Sanders, which is quite a compliment considering how accomplished Sanders is. Delmas isn’t afraid of contact and flies to the football. While he needs to develop his pass coverage skills, he might lead the Lions in tackles this season.

Team Strength: There isn’t one positional unit on this team that can be deemed a strength, although wide receiver Calvin Johnson is so good that he can probably carry the moniker on his own. Johnson is a phenomenal athlete and gives the Lions’ offense a dynamic playmaker at receiver. Opposing teams try to blanket him in coverage and he still finds ways to get open and come away with the ball. As long as he stays healthy (he missed two weeks of training camp with a sprained thumb), CJ is in store for another monster season, no matter whom the Lions wind up starting at quarterback.

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Giants sign starter Brad Penny

After he went unclaimed at the 1:00 p.m. deadline on Monday, Brad Penny became a free agent and according to SI.com, has signed with the San Francisco Giants.

Initially, no one claimed Penny because a claiming team would have been responsible for the remainder of his contract. The Giants only have to pay him the pro-rated portion of the big-league minimum of $400,000, which will be less than $100,000.

Putting aside Penny’s numbers this season (7-8, 5.61 ERA), this is a quality signing by the Giants. He’s familiar with the NL West after pitching for the Dodgers for four and a half seasons and also offers an upgrade over Joe Martinez, who had been filling in for Randy Johnson after the Big Unit was placed on the DL with a shoulder injury in early July.

Pitching in the spacious AT&T Park should only help Penny’s performance, especially considering he had issues keeping the ball in the yard while playing in Boston this season. He should also be plenty motivated to join a contender, especially a contender whose rival is the team that Penny had a falling out with at the end of last season (the Dodgers).

Considering that Penny comes cheap, is still throwing in the mid 90s and will make an impact immediately, he’s a perfect fit for a Giants team that is coming off a sweep of the Rockies and is now tied for the NL Wild Card.

NBA Rumors: Boozer, Gay, Monta and Rubio

Mavs interested in Boozer?

Add the Dallas Mavericks to the list of NBA teams that were — and perhaps still are — interested in acquiring trade-craving Carlos Boozer.

Boozer has also been rumored to be heading to New York as part of a sign-and-trade swap with David Lee.

Rudy Gay wants to stay in Memphis.

“I know what I can do on the basketball court,” Gay said. “Everything else will work itself out. I love Memphis. Memphis has been my home. This is where I want to be. I really believe this is where I can make big things happen for myself and the Grizzlies.

“I like what’s happened this summer. There was definitely a lot of thought put into this offseason with all the changes. I guess we’ll know more about what the changes mean when the season starts.”

GM Chris Wallace and Gay’s agent, Jeff Austin, haven’t gotten into specifics about what they believe to be Gay’s market value, and that’s where things usually get sticky. We’ll see if Gay’s goodwill continues as the extension negotiations continue.

Is Monta Ellis on the trading block? Yes, according to Warriors beat writer, Tim Kawakami.

Monta Ellis in Dallas? That I can see, if Dallas would send some short-term deals and if the Warriors would be happy taking a major talent hit just to dump Monta’s money.

For all the energy the Warriors have placed in telling us that Monta is their centerpiece and all the sweat issued to dispute my reports that he’s unhappy… well, I could very much see Don Nelson working hard to trade Ellis.

The Ellis-Golden State relationship has been heading south ever since Ellis’s moped accident. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Warriors traded him, though I could say that about anyone on the roster, other than Anthony Randolph, who appears to be untouchable.

Did GM David Kahn use a second round pick to help fund Rubio’s buyout?

On draft night, Kahn used a second-round pick to select Henk Norel, a European prospect whose selection had at least one ESPN draft analyst puzzled.

Norel also plays for DKV Joventut.

Might Kahn offer Rubio’s Spanish team $500,000 to buy out Norel’s contract, too, invite him to training camp and thus, in essence, fund $1 million of the buyout that way?

Kahn is in Spain again, trying to free Ricky.

Where will LeBron land?

That’s the biggest question hovering over the NBA this season, at least from a free agency standpoint. ESPN tackled this issue by surveying a group of “52 NBA noggins” to see what the general consensus is.

The good news for Cleveland fans is that 73% responded that he’s likely to stay put, in no small part to how the economy has affected the NBA salary cap. The bottom line is that, with reduced cap space, other teams are going to have a tough time signing two superstars, so they become less desirable destinations for LeBron.

New York still lurks as the biggest threat to pry LeBron away from Cleveland, and here’s why…

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