Getting a Read on Reggie Bush

RB – Reggie Bush –

Last season, fantasy users who scooped up Miami RB Reggie Bush were stunned by their good fortune. Bush racked up nearly 11-hundred rushing yards last season to go with just a tad under 300 receiving yards. The question we all want to know now is, “Can he do it again?”

It’s a fair question and I believe that Bush could replicate last season’s magic. But the reality is, HE WON’T! Let’s face it, after four years, Tony Sparano was never able to to put together anything more than a mediocre offense for the Dolphins. The new coach, Joe Philbin hasn’t had time to right the ship and the offense looks shaky again.

Miami’s offensive woes will be complicated by the fact that they have a rookie QB, Ryan Tannehill running the show. He and Bush may very well build something special together, but it’s going to take a lot longer than a few preseason games to get that going.

Bush has great potential, but it may take 6 or 7 weeks to get there – if  it happens at all.

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4 Injured Players Worth One More Look

So you’re ready to the roll the dice and scrape up some injured players that no one else is picking up. There are certainly some well known banged up players out there, but are they sleepers or just pure liability?

We picked five players who are nicked up but have had fantasy value in the past.

TE – Jason Witten –

Cowboy TE Jason Witten has been a favorite Tony Romo target for several years now. He surpasses or flirts with 1,000 yard reception mark every season and has always been the cream of the crop for NFL tight ends. The injury bug hit Witten during the preseason against the Raiders when the 30-year-old suffered a lacerated spleen.

This is not your run-of-the-mill injury in the NFL and no one knows if Witten will be out another week or another month. As of right now, Witten is questionable for the Dallas season opener against the Giants. If he misses the game, it will be the first one he’s missed since 2003.

I’m going out on a limb here, but I’d say roll the dice and lock up Witten. If his spleen holds up, he’s more than likely to be an impact player and real asset to both the Cowboys and your fantasy lineup.

RB – Jonathan Stewart –

Carolina RB Jonathan Stewart has been hobbled by injuries through out the preseason. He’s likely to play in the Panther opener against Tampa, but he will have plenty of company in the backfield.

It was hard enough for Stewart to rack up the yards playing alongside DeAngelo Williams. Now that Carolina has brought in Mike Tolbert, there is no clear cut favorite. This pretty much means that Jonathan Stewart has very little fantasy value for your team unless one of the other Carolina RBs goes down for the season.

RB – Kevin Smith –

RB Kevin Smith seems poised to start the Lions opener against St. Louis next week. The question is, would I want this RB in my fantasy lineup. There’s plenty of upside here. He’s got great talent and virtually no competition to challenge him for the job.

However, I have no interest in a player that has spent the overwhelming majority of his career injured on the sidelines. There’s an intangible when you’re watching Kevin Smith where you always expect him to leave the huddle with an injury. Many experts believe this is Smith’s year to shine. I believe Smith is two to three games away from a stint on the injured reserved list.

WR – Austin Collie –

Indy WR Austin Collie is the toughest player to evaluate on this list. Concussions are unpredictable in nature and Collie suffered his 3rd concussion in less than two years during the preseason. But he’s already been cleared to exercise and believes he might play in the Indy opener against Houston.

Before the latest concussion, Collie was supposed to be a critical cog in showing Andrew Luck the ins and the outs of being a successful NFL QB. Collie is only 26-years-old, but is coming off his worst season as a professional.

I personally have no intention of drafting him, but a more risk-minded fantasy player might get some true productivity out of him. Obviously, another concussion probably ends Collie’s career, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make good things happen for Andrew Luck and your fantasy team.

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Don’t Sleep on Carolina WR Steve Smith

WR – Steve Smith –

It’s actually possible that Carolina wide out Steve Smith might be flying a bit under the radar this year. We all know that Smith knows how to fill up a stat sheet. Couple that with the fact that Cam Newton’s accuracy has probably improved from last season and you have the makings of another banner year for Smith.

With his foot injury, Smith has fallen down depth charts a bit, but overlook him at your own risk. His foot infection has turned the corner and Smith is primed for a big game in the season opener against the Bucs. If he stays healthy, there’s no reason that Smith can’t equal or surpass his 1,394 reception yards, 6 100 yard games and 7 TDs from last season.

If you see Smith in the 3rd round and you haven’t drafted a receiver yet, he warrants serious consideration. If you see him in the 4th round, personally thank the rest of your league and add him to your team – he’s money.

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RB Ryan Williams Gaining Ground in Arizona

RB – Ryan Williams –

Who would you choose right now between Cardinals RB Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells? Williams was supposed to be a breakout star last year when he ruptured his patellar tendon. He is fully recovered now and still has that potential to be an explosive back.

As a former disgruntled owner of Beanie Wells, I will try to stay objective here. The fact of the matter is that Wells is a hard luck RB. He can’t hide from injuries and even though he is the featured back now, Coach Whisenhunt has his eye on Williams.

The fact is that any back that plays for the Cardinals is going to take a beating because the offensive line is no good. That’s half of Wells’ problem. The other half is that Williams has run well without the protection in front of him.

Williams is ranked far below Wells by most expert Fantasy rankings. But on draft day, if you feel tempted by Wells, snag someone else and grab Williams in a later round.

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RB Ryan Williams Gaining Ground in Arizona

RB – Ryan Williams –

Who would you choose right now between Cardinals RB Ryan Williams or Beanie Wells? Williams was supposed to be a breakout star last year when he ruptured his patellar tendon. He is fully recovered now and still has that potential to be an explosive back.

As a former disgruntled owner of Beanie Wells, I will try to stay objective here. The fact of the matter is that Wells is a hard luck RB. He can’t hide from injuries and even though he is the featured back now, Coach Whisenhunt has his eye on Williams.

The fact is that any back that plays for the Cardinals is going to take a beating because the offensive line is no good. That’s half of Wells’ problem. The other half is that Williams has run well without the protection in front of him.

Williams is ranked far below Wells by most expert Fantasy rankings. But on draft day, if you feel tempted by Wells, snag someone else and grab Williams in a later round.

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Redskins Alfred Morris Making a Name for Himself

RB – Alfred Morris –

At the beginning of June, there were serious questions about whether or not an obscure sixth round RB draft pick out of Florida Atlantic was even going to make the Redskins roster. Fast-forward to a week before the start of the regular season and Alfred Morris maybe the starting Skins running back on opening day.

Morris was a madman in preseason averaging a monstrous FIVE YARDS PER CARRY! He has serious limitations as a blocker, but if he can run like he did in the preseason and stay healthy, the sky may be the limit. Coach Mike Shanahan has a long strange history with his RBs and this rookie certainly has his full attention.

Morris even got Wednesday night off for the preseason finale against Tampa so he would be well rested for next week’s season opener.

Banged Up Redskins RBs

Tim Hightower – Still working his way back from an ACL tear

Roy Helu – Achilles’ Tendon Problems

Evan Royster – Knee issues

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Give Brandon Marshall His Due

WR – Brandon Marshall –

It would be safe to say that Bears WR Brandon Marshall enjoyed two really good seasons in Denver while being on the receiving end of Jay Cutler passes in 2007 and 2008. Marshall averaged just a shade under 1,300 receiving yards during those two seasons before Cutler left for Chicago.

Now that Marshall has joined Cutler in the Windy City, there still seems to be some real chemistry out there between the two of them. Even with the Chicago offense out of sync through most of the preseason, Marshall seemed to have a great eye for whatever Cutler threw his way.

While Marshall racks up at least a thousand receiving yards every season, he is also the king of dropped passes and dropped touchdowns. But that should not really concern you. Drops DO NOT take away from your score, although it’s obvious that they don’t help too much either.

Marshall is also not much of a TD machine anyway. During the last four seasons, he caught more than 6 TDs just once. It remains to be seen if being reunited with Cutler will help with Marshall’s miscues.

But at least in the preseason, Marshall has looked right at home catching errant Cutler passes. It’s not far-fetched at all to think that Marshall could ring up about 7 to 8 TDs and 1,200 yards during his 2012 campaign with da Bears.

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Darren McFadden: Upside vs. Disaster

RB – Darren McFadden

Raiders RB sensation Darren McFadden is the most dangerous man in this year’s NFL draft. His offensive coordinator is even yapping to the press that McFadden will see more goal line touches this season. He had a monster preseason and looks nothing short of unstoppable.

That’s where the good news ends.

When this guys plays, he is as good as any running back in the NFL today. But anyone who followed him at Arkansas or with the Raiders knows that McFadden is made out of glass. He is an injury-prone player and you have to be the ultimate gambler or eternal optimist to draft him. He is the player that always ends up in the locker room.

So if you are tempted on Draft Day and he is out there, ask yourself two simple questions.

“Do you want an amazing back for 5-8 games?”

– OR –

“Do you want a solid back for 10 or more games?”

Answer those two questions and you will know whether or not McFadden belongs on your team.

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Chicago Focused on Two-Headed Running Attack

RB – Matt Forte –

RB – Michael Bush –

Confusion appears to be king in Chicago as Mike Tice is committed to using a two-back running attack in the Bears offense. The two RBs playing the lead role in this drama are Matt Forte and Michael Bush and that’s where the problem begins. Mike Tice says he wants both backs to surpass 1,000 yards this season.

With all due respect to Michael Bush, he is not in the same class as Forte and they should NOT be splitting carries.

Forte is the most explosive and dynamic pass catching RB in the league. He is completely healed from the MCL sprain that ended his season last year and should not be splitting time with any other back. Bush is better used as a change of pace back and goal line guy to protect Forte.

Bush is an impressive “slug it out in the trenches” type of RB and is great at those one-yard plunges – but Forte has to remain the go-to-guy for the Bears.

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Don’t Waste Time on Titans Quarterbacks

QB – Jake Locker –

QB – Matt Hasselbeck –

2nd year Titans QB Jake Locker has already been named the opening day starter for Tennessee, but don’t get t0o comfortable with that. If CJ2K really has his mojo back, the Titans are going to be desperate to make a playoff push. This means that Locker has to win coming right out of the gate.

The question is whether or not Locker can keep the starting job once he gets into the regular season. If he falters early, don’t be shocked if Matt Hasselbeck gets the nod sooner than later. Locker may represent the future in Tennessee, but he will be on a short leash as long as Hasselbeck is looming in the background.

Until Locker wows them in Tennessee, it’s better to steer clear of both players.

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