Fantasy Football News & Notes (6/16)

Jerome Harrison is currently working behind Montario Hardesty during OTAs. Obviously, this is a big blow to those fantasy owners hoping to find a solid RB2 in the third or fourth round in the form of Harrison. This looks like it’s shaping up to be a timeshare. Keep an eye on the competition as training camp wears on. Harrison was outstanding late last season and could be a steal if he wins back the job.

Felix Jones is looking better in the passing game. Jones is unlikely to get enough carries in the running game to become a true fantasy RB1, especially with Marion Barber vulturing goal line carries. But if he can become a regular fixture in the passing game, he could do some serious damage in PPR leagues.

Dustin Keller primed for a big year? The Jets have added some wrinkles in order to utilize Keller’s talents and Rex Ryan has said that Keller is likely to have more TDs than last season (2). He is a solid TE option for those owners who elect to wait on the position and play Tight End By Committee (TEBC).

Domenik Hixon is out for the season with a knee injury. This is a big blow to the Giants’ receiving corps, which will have to lean on Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks even more this season. Move both players up a couple of spots on your cheatsheet.

Will Eddie Royal bounce back this year?
He seems like a prime candidate since Brandon Marshall left town leaving Royal as the best and most proven receiver on the roster. Last year was a disaster, but Royal showed what he can do in his rookie season.

Vincent Jackson prepared to sit out until Week 11. This is bad news for his owners and for Phillip Rivers, but it could be good news for Antonio Gates and Malcom Floyd, who reportedly looks great in workouts.

Cowboys looking to get the ball to Witten in the red zone.
He went for 94-1030 last year, but only caught two TD after averaging 5.5 the previous two seasons. If the Cowboys are serious about calling his number more in the red zone, it may mean Witten once again cracks the Top 5 in standard leagues.

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2009 NFL Week 13 Top Observations: Giants 31, Cowboys 24

Here are five quick-hit observations from the Giants’ 31-24 huge win over the Cowboys in Week 13.

1. Can’t blame this one on Romo.
Normally when the Cowboys lose, the attention immediately shifts to how well Tony Romo has played. But considering the man completed 41-of-55 passes for 392 yards and three touchdowns, nobody can pin this loss on Romo. The Cowboys’ defense and running game let them down tonight.

2. Somebody found where Brandon Jacobs was hiding.
For much of this season, Brandon Jacobs has been a ghost. But he emerged today by producing a huge 74-yard touchdown reception in which he actually outran the entire Dallas secondary to the end zone. He only finished with 39 rushing yards on 13 carries, but he did score his fourth rushing touchdown of the year and the key was that he contributed period. Along with Domenik Hixon’s wild 79-yard punt return, Jacobs’ touchdown reception keyed the Giants’ victory.

3. What the hell has gotten into Roy Williams?
After hauling in six passes for 60 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, Roy Williams has now reached pay dirt five times in the last six games. Granted, he has benefited from more teams paying attention to Miles Austin (who had another big day today, catching 10 passes for 104 yards and a TD), but he nonetheless is starting to produce. Given his lack of explosion and playmaking ability, he’ll never be worth the compensation that Dallas gave up to acquire him, but at least he’s not as useless as he was at the start of the season.

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Brandon Jacobs on Braylon Edwards: “I don’t want him”

When asked recently about the idea of his team possibly adding wide receiver Braylon Edwards, Giants’ running back Brandon Jacobs emphatically said: “no.”

“I don’t want him,” Jacobs said yesterday on ESPN 1050 Radio. “There are great players in the league that I don’t want. I just think the chemistry between the teammates that I have now is great. We don’t need to add a new veteran to the whole group.”
Jacobs also said no to trading for Anquan Boldin.

“I’m good with where we are,” Jacobs said. “I’m glad that we didn’t go forward and get [Edwards] or Boldin. Those guys are great guys [but] I’m not interested in that idea.”

This shouldn’t be taken as a knock to Edwards and Boldin because Jacobs is flat out saying that both players are great. This is more of Jacobs being a team leader and giving a boost to the players already on the Giants’ roster. By saying that the Giants’ are good as is, he’s giving wide receiver teammates Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham, Sinorice Moss, David Tyree and rookies Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden encouragement that they can succeed next season.

If you’re a Giants’ receiver and you hear a captain like Jacobs say that the team doesn’t need to add a great player like Boldin, then that should give you tremendous confidence.

Do the Giants miss Plaxico Burress now?

Eli ManningWhen the New York Giants placed wide receiver Plaxico Burress on the non-injury football list earlier this week and effectively ended his season, everyone said all the right things. The players said they could win with or without him and the media said the Giants were all about the team – both true.

But nobody could say following their 20-14 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday that the Giants couldn’t have used Burress. Eli Manning was just 13 of 27 for 123 yards and a touchdown, while no Giant receiver had more than four catches or 40 yards.

I don’t want to take anything away from the Eagles’ defense, because they blitzed and swarmed Manning the entire game. They also should have had at least one interception, but Asante Samuel and Brian Dawkins collided with each other and the pass fell to the ground.

That said, Manning looked completely out of sync with his receivers and Domenik Hixon dropped a perfect pass that could have been a touchdown. And once Brandon Jacobs left the game with a knee injury in the third quarter, the Giants could have really used a playmaker like Burress to breathe life into their offense.

Burress doesn’t deserve to be playing right now and it’s only fair he’s being punished for his selfish actions. But the idea that the Giants are a better team without him still remains to be seen and their loss Sunday proves that. They’re still the best team in the league and they will bounce back from their defeat. But it’ll be interesting to see whether or not the offensive woes that were on display on Sunday will reappear in the postseason without Burress in the lineup.

As for the Eagles, this was a massive win and it keeps their slim playoff hopes alive. With the Saints’ win over the Falcons, the final NFC Wild Card spot is up for grabs and if Brian Westbrook (203 total yards, 2 total touchdowns) and the Eagles’ defense plays as well as they did against the Giants, than Philly’s playoff hopes are far from dead.

Giants are still the team to beat in NFC East

Brandon JacobsThe Dallas Cowboys might be the most talented team in the NFC East, but the New York Giants are clearly still the team to beat. And it’s amazing the way the G-Men continue to fly under the radar in the NFL.

The Giants crushed the Seahawks on Sunday. By crushed, I mean destroyed, hammered and routed. And it wasn’t flashy, either. They ran Brandon Jacobs down the Seahawks’ throat, played outstanding defense and Eli Manning took care of the football. The end result was a 44-6 drubbing of Seattle at the Meadowlands – without WR Plaxico Burress, by the way. (Nice fill-in job Domenik Hixon.)

Entering the season, the Giants were easy targets for a team that could potentially fall apart this year. Michael Strahan retired, Jeremy Shockey was traded, Burress was bitching about his contract and Osi Umenyiora didn’t even take one snap before his season ended due to a knee injury. But after five weeks, there might not be a more sound football team in the league, save for maybe the Tennessee Titans.

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