Love ‘Em & Leave ‘Em: Thursday Night Game

Since Denver and Cleveland square off on Thursday night, I thought I’d throw out a few recommendations of some Browns and Broncos that you’ll want to start (or sit) this week. My regular “Love ‘Em/Leave ‘Em” post will go up Friday morning as usual.

LOVE ‘EM

Jamal Lewis has a great matchup with a Broncos rush defense that is 26th against the run. On average, they allow 5.1 ypc (2nd worst in the league) and 1.3 rush TD per game. The Browns are likely planning to establish the running game to help Brady Quinn get settled in his first game as the starter. Lewis should gain 80-100 yards and find the endzone at least once…Braylon Edwards is also a solid start against the Denver pass defense, which is 27th in the league…Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal are both worth starting against a Browns secondary that hasn’t been great against opposing WRs. On the whole, the Browns have a pretty good pass defense, but they allow quite a few fantasy points to wideouts…Ryan Torain looks like a sneaky good start against a Browns rush defense that is 28th in the league and yields an average of 148 yards and 1.1 rush TD per game. Be warned, Mike Shanahan is just as likely to pull a free agent off the street and go with a RBBC as he is to give Torain a full load.

LEAVE ‘EM

There are no players that I would bench based on the matchup, but I’m not feeling good about the chances of Tony Scheffler returning this week. He’s listed as questionable and didn’t sound positive earlier in the week when asked about the injury.

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Raiders to release DeAngelo Hall?

In a surprising development, Adam Schefter of NFL Network is reporting that the Oakland Raiders could release cornerback DeAngelo Hall as early as Tuesday night or Wednesday morning.

If they do — and the team was planning on doing it Tuesday before it held off — Oakland will have paid Hall $8 million for eight games and Atlanta a second-round pick for the cornerback’s services.

Oakland is planning to waive him now so as to avoid paying Hall the $16 million worth of injury-guaranteed bonuses in his contract. It is too much of a risk for a Raiders team that still needs to do more rebuilding.

If Oakland follows through, Hall would be placed on waivers, leaving playoff contenders with the question of whether they should put in a claim for him. If Hall goes unclaimed, he would be free to sign with any team.

This is absolutely shocking. Schefter doesn’t say why Oakland would be parting with Hall, but one has to wonder if he’s become a distraction not worthy of his play and price tag. Word has it that he was running his mouth off on his former Atlanta teammates in the tunnel at halftime last Sunday, but he would have to have done more than that to deserve a release.

Hall was absolutely abused by Eddie Royal on Monday Night Football in Week 1 and rookie QB Matt Ryan and former teammate Michael Jenkins made him look silly on Sunday, too. But still, Hall is coming off his best year as a pro and it cost the Raiders millions of dollars and multiple draft picks to acquire him from Atlanta. Strange.

You could have had this fantasy team…

We’re only two weeks into the NFL season and some fantasy owners are already lamenting their teams. Nobody – not a NFL team and certainly not a fantasy team – likes to start 0-2, and while some owners are furiously trying to improve their teams, others are no doubt wondering, what if?

As always, I’m here to help. Below you’ll find the team you could have had. The rules? Pretty simple. To ensure the player is available, we have to draft him a round early. That is, if the player has an Average Draft Position (ADP) of 3.02, we have to take him in the second round. The plan is to start one QB, two RB, two WR and a TE, and I’ll leave the K and DT to your imagination. I’ll mow through the first twelve rounds so that we have a starter and a sub at each position.

Keep in mind, this draft is for a 12-team, Points Per Reception (PPR) league, with the Antsports’ High Performance Scoring System.

Off we go…

Round 1 – Reggie Bush (2.07)
Drafted: RB12
Actual: RB3

Someone actually gave me grief about considering Bush in the second round of my Industry Insiders league, and while there are a lot of (Reggie) Bush haters out there, the simple fact of the matter is that in a PPR league, the guy produces. Through two games, he’s averaging 127 total yards, 7.5 receptions, and 0.5 TD per game. He’s on pace for a 120-catch, 2000-yard season.
Alternate: Tony Romo (2.09)


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Week 1 Fantasy Surprises: Now what?

Whether it’s a few breakout wide receivers, a suddenly mature quarterback or an out-of-nowhere running back, Week 1 of the NFL season always has its share of surprises. Here are a few of the bigger revelations from the first weekend of action along with what they might mean in the larger scheme of things.

Michael Turner ran roughshod over the Lions.
Most people were probably expecting a pretty good game out of Turner against Detroit, but I don’t think too many fantasy owners had “The Burner” racking up 220 yards (10.0 ypc) and two touchdowns in his Atlanta debut. The Falcons’ offensive line opened up monster holes for their RB, and unfortunately it’s not always going to be this easy. Turner will be tested against the Bucs this week before another nice matchup at home against the Chiefs. Going forward, Turner looks like a solid RB2, though he might have the occasional bad game when a team jumps all over the Falcons in the first quarter.

Jay Cutler shredded a good Raider secondary.
I was very high on Cutler heading into the season figuring that a guy who could throw 20 TD while losing 30 pounds (and a lot of strength) due to undiagnosed diabetes would be a good candidate for a breakout season now that his illness is under control. He did play the Raiders in Week 1 (never a good gauge) and shredded what was supposed to be a pretty good secondary for 300 yards and two scores. And that was without his top WR, Brandon Marshall. He looked comfortable and in complete control of the Denver offense, which looks like it could be one of the best in the league. I think Cutler has a great chance to finish in the top 5 this season, which isn’t bad for a guy that was available in the 7th round.


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Marques Colston to miss a month after thumb surgery

Bad news for the Saints

The Saints have lost their top receiving weapon, Marques Colston, to a torn ligament in his left thumb, FOXSports.com has learned. Colston, in fact, quietly had surgery on Tuesday to reattach the ligament and will miss the next month to six weeks.

The team will be counting on Deverey Henderson and David Patten to step up their production with its leading receiver shelved for the time being. It’s unclear when the Saints will announce his injury but they are scheduled to practice this afternoon, with Colston obviously slated to miss the workout

The article didn’t mention Robert Meachem, who had a nice preseason. Many thought that he’d work his way into the WR2 role in New Orleans, but he was a healthy scratch in Week 1.

My money is on David Patten being the best of the bunch, especially in PPR leagues. He has produced when given the opportunity, and he should have plenty of chances over the next few weeks. Henderson is more of a go-route type, so he may have a few 1-47 or 2-85-1 stat lines, but he could just as easily put up a goose egg. The wild card is Meachem. He definitely has the tools to be a breakout candidate, but it’s just not clear how much Sean Payton trusts him at this point.

Whoever emerges as the WR1 while Colston is out will probably be the third option in the passing game after Reggie Bush and Jeremy Shockey, so don’t give up a good player to grab one of these guys. I’d rather have Eddie Royal or DeSean Jackson on my roster. They should be good all season.

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