Fantasy Football Quick-Hitters: Benson, Westy, Orton, DeAngelo, Ronnie and Norwood

Cedric Benson did not practice on Thursday. Rotoworld reports that Bengals players who don’t practice on Wednesday or Thursday usually do not play on Sunday, but that an exception might be made for Benson, who is the league’s 6th-leading rusher. Cincy’s game against Oakland is at 4:15 PM, so fantasy owners with Bernard Scott can simply wait it out and see if Benson is active on Sunday. Those without Scott have a tough decision to make.

Brian Westbrook should make a full recovery. This is great news for Westy, but his 2009 is still in doubt. The doctors are recommending he be re-evaluated in 2-3 weeks, which makes his return in Week 13 at the earliest. The Eagles were told to take a conservative approach, so even if he’s healthy enough to play, I’d expect the team to shut him down if they fall out of the playoff hunt. Fantasy owners should hold onto him in the event that he comes back for the fantasy playoffs, but if there is a good option on the waiver wire, it might be time to cut bait.

Jerious Norwood returns to limited practice. It looks like Michael Turner will be out this week, but he’s optimistic that he’ll be back soon. It’s not inconceivable that Norwood would get some work with Jason Snelling in a RBBC against the Giants, though he’s been out a while with a hip injury.

Kyle Orton has torn ligaments in his left ankle. Brandon Marshall owners should keep an eye on this. If Orton isn’t able to play through this injury, it’s a big blow to Marshall. Orton isn’t great, but he’s a lot better than Chris Simms right now.

Ronnie Brown reportedly has Lisfranc injury. This generally requires surgery and recovery takes a while. If this is indeed the type of injury he has, he will enter the 2010 season as a question mark.

DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart are both expected to play tonight. Williams sat out practice on Wednesday just to rest, nothing more. He’s a good RB1 play and Stewart is a solid RB2/flex play in most formats.


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Fantasy Football Quick-Hitters: LJ, Portis, Henry and Westy

The Chiefs waive Larry Johnson. It’s interesting timing. Maybe KC saw enough out of Jamaal Charles (6 rushes, 36 yards) and Kolby Smith (4 rushes, 17 yards) to make them confident enough to cut LJ loose. The Chiefs have some nice rushing matchups coming up, but if Charles is only going to get nine touches, he’s not worth starting. His 6.0 ypc was encouraging, however.

Portis doubtful for Week 10. Ladell Betts will get most of the work in the Redskins’ backfield, but Rock Cartwright might be involved around the goal line. Neither is a strong play in a bad matchup against the Broncos.

Chris Henry out for the rest of the season. Henry was a popular breakout pick back in August, but never truly made a significant fantasy impact on the field. Had Andre Caldwell not proved to be such a dependable third option in the passing game, Henry might have had a bigger season.

Westbrook out as long as he has headaches.
Apparently, he was ready to play, but a headache on Sunday caused the Eagles to think twice. Concussions are dicey, but keep an eye on him this week. If he’s practicing, then he’s probably a go unless he gets another headache next Sunday. The game is in San Diego, so whether or not he makes the flight will be a good indicator of his status.

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Fantasy Football Quick-Hitters: Calvin, Westy, Gonzalez, McFadden and more

Calvin Johnson is back at practice. Not only does this help his owners, but also those that have Kevin Smith and/or Matthew Stafford on their rosters. HC Jim Schwartz told the press that Kevin Smith was his “workhorse” back, so with Johnson back in the fold, Smith should have an easier time finding running lanes. He’s pretty much an every-week start in PPR leagues.

Jamal Lewis reiterates that he plans to retire after the season. The Cleveland offense is so anemic that this really isn’t news that’s going to help anyone this season, but those owners in keeper or dynasty leagues might want to pick up Jerome Harrison and or James Davis on the chance that they become the Browns’ feature back next season.

Anthony Gonzalez seeks second opinion on knee. This can’t be a good sign. Gonzalez was supposed to be back by now, and the fact that he’s not is already a red flag. We’ll see what this second opinion says, but it’s not looking good. The only reason he’d seek another

Westbrook cleared to resume practicing. He is coming back from a concussion. It’s a little worrisome for his owners, but this good news devalues LeSean McCoy a bit, so if you have Westy on your roster you could use this along with Leonard Weaver’s big day to try to acquire McCoy on the cheap.

Seahawks release Edgerrin James. This is a sign for more work for Justin Forsett, who will be Seattle’s RB2 behind Julius Jones. Forsett has been more productive at times than Jones, but the two are likely to share carries and catches in the Seahawks’ backfield. Forsett should now be owned in most leagues.

McFadden, Schilens back at practice. I’d wait a week to see how McFadden plays, but it’s still a good sign that he is back on the field. The Oakland passing game is a mess, so Schilens is barely roster-worthy at this point.

‘Good chance’ Brian Westbrook won’t play against Giants

According to Philly.com, the Eagles are unlikely to rush Brian Westbrook back, even for a big game like Sunday’s tilt against the Giants.

From a fantasy perspective, Westbrook’s owners knew that he was going to miss a few games throughout the season, so they shouldn’t be surprised or angry about this news. LeSean McCoy is a capable backup, but it’s not like next week’s game against the Giants is a tasty matchup for either RB.

Desperate owners should look to Shonn Greene and/or Beanie Wells, who may be available. Greene is going to get most of Leon Washington’s touches and Wells is getting more and more work in the Arizona backfield. He’s a much better natural runner than Tim Hightower, though Hightower has more experience and better hands.

If Greene and Wells are gone, Mike Bell is another option. He is getting all of the Saints’ goal line work and has 27 carries in the last two games. He’s not going to post Westbrook-like numbers, but he should help fantasy owners get by. If Bell isn’t available, Justin Fargas ran really hard against the Jets and has a nice matchup against the Chargers in Week 8.

Different playcaller, same lousy result for Redskins

After their loss to the winless Kansas City Chiefs last week, the Washington Redskins stripped head coach Jim Zorn of his playcalling duties and handed them over to Sherman Lewis, who hadn’t even been with the team for a month.

The move was made in hopes to spark the Redskins’ dismal offense, but as their 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles tonight can attest to, Lewis isn’t going to change Washington’s misfortune over night.

The Redskins’ loss to the Eagles actually had very little to do with Lewis’ playcalling and more to do with Washington’s lack of execution. In the first half, quarterback Jason Campbell had a ball batted into the air by a defensive lineman and intercepted by linebacker Will Witherspoon, who returned it for a touchdown. Later in the half, Campbell escaped the pocket but didn’t get the ball out of his hands in time and was stripped from behind. The Eagles recovered and turned the gift into three points to take a 17-0 second quarter lead.

Campbell finished the night 29 of 43 passing for 284 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. For all intents and purposes, his final numbers weren’t bad (he had a QB rating of 91.6), but he often settled for check downs or underneath routes and both of his touchdown passes came around the goal line. He still struggled with hanging onto the ball too long and missing open receivers.

That said, his pass protection wasn’t that great and his receivers dropped a few passes. He also didn’t have Chris Cooley, who left the game early in the first half due to an ankle injury and never returned. All in all, it was a complete team effort by a Redskins squad that somehow generated 17 points from a brutal showing. Lewis wasn’t the problem tonight – lack of execution by the players was.

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