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The Huddle Daily -- Week Four Archive
August 12 - August 16, 2013  

August 16, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
The RB injuries are starting to stack up. Just ask Cleveland's Dion Lewis.

• Injuries were the news of the day, both in camps and during Thursday night's preseason action. In Denver, undrafted rookie running back C.J. Anderson suffered a severely sprained right MCL and could miss up to six weeks. Anderson was running with the second team because Knowshon Moreno was sitting out; the rookie's injury could mean Moreno makes the team and throws another wrench into an already crowded backfield committee.

• The most anticipated feature of the fantasy season is here. David Dorey's "Planning Your First Two Draft Picks" - which breaks down all the possible scenarios through the first two rounds and how that sets you up for the rest of your draft..

• The Browns took it to the chin injury-wise on Thursday. First-round pick Barkevious Mingo suffered a bruised lung, but at least he's expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. The news isn't so good for Dion Lewis, whose fractured leg will land him on IR, though there's a possibility it could be the "designated to return" list rather than the full-season one. Lewis' injury opens the door for Montario Hardesty to become Trent Richardson's backup, assuming he can get and stay healthy himself. Brandon Jackson and Chris Ogbonnaya, currently running as Cleveland's starting fullback, also remain on the radar.

• More Cleveland injury news: Jason Pinkston, starting at right guard while Shawn Lauvao recovers from ankle surgery, suffered a high ankle sprain and will miss at least four weeks. With Lauvao not slated back until at least a couple weeks into the season, the Browns are now scrambling for a starting right guard, currently manned by seventh-round pick Garrett Gilkey.

• The Lions had an opportunity to show the world who might step up as wingman opposite Calvin Johnson, sitting out Thursday's exhibition game with a minor knee bruise. The winner? None of the above, or call it a write-in landslide for Reggie Bush. While Bush was anemic on the ground (8 carries, 15 yards), he caught five passes for 44 yards in a performance sure to drive his PPR stock through the roof.

•  Both quarterbacks were sharp in Philly's exhibition win Thursday night, but Chip Kelly would be hard-pressed not to give the job to Michael Vick. Vick was 9-for-10 for 105 yards, with his only incompletion coming on a Hail Mary interception just before halftime. Vick also rushed twice for 20 yards. Nick Foles certainly wasn't bad, going 6-for-8 with an end zone interception and a seven-yard touchdown run of his own, but if you're throwing a fantasy draft pick at an Eagles quarterback you're reasonably safe making it Vick.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• While the Seahawks still don't know if/when Percy Harvin will return, they did activate tight end Zach Miller from the PUP list Friday. Miller tore his plantar fascia in the playoffs last year and will be eased back into the mix; currently rookie Luke Willson has been taking first-team tight end snaps.

• Four more preseason games tonight, then six on Saturday and football both Sunday and Monday nights as we steam towards the regular season. Happy football, everyone!


August 15, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Tom Brady is fine and all is right with the fantasy universe.

• Tom Brady is fine; repeat: Tom Brady is fine. After yesterday's scare Brady was back under center Thursday taking first-team snaps. This has been a test of the elite quarterback warning system; we now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

• The most anticipated feature of the fantasy season is here. David Dorey's "Planning Your First Two Draft Picks" - which breaks down all the possible scenarios through the first two rounds and how that sets you up for the rest of your draft..

• One guy Brady won't be throwing to is veteran Michael Jenkins, who was released by the Patriots. So all that homework you've been doing on Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson... looks like it's going to pay off, as they're your leading candidates for WR2 and WR3 duties in New England.

• The Jets' quarterback battle may be over before it even got started. Geno Smith continues to be hobbled by a sore ankle, leaving Mark Sanchez to take the bulk of the first-team reps in practice. Smith was expected to start New York's second preseason game but it now looks as if that duty will fall to Sanchez as well. There's a chance Smith could wow in the third preseason game, but as it stands Sanchez is the Jets' quarterback you'll want to avoid in your fantasy draft.

• Fantasy owners of Jermichael Finley have grown accustomed to disappointment. However, Finley is starting to heat up to the point that Aaron Rodgers has talked up his tight end twice in the last week. He's also been finding him on the practice field. With Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb sidelined with injuries, Rodgers may not have much of a choice. However, Nelson isn't back until Week 1 at best and Cobb has indicated his biceps injury may bother him all year so that familiarity with Finley may carry over into the regular season. There's certainly upside, as well as a very strong possibility you'll get Finley at a value on draft day because he's burned so many other previous owners.

•  Still waiting for an Arian Foster sighting, but Gary Kubiak says it may happen next week. It's not the calf that's slowing Foster, it's a balky back that has kept him on the PUP list. While the Texans aren't worried, fantasy owners are starting to slide Foster--once in contention with Doug Martin for the second overall spot behind Adrian Peterson--down towards the middle of the first round.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• IDP owners hoping for a bounceback from Jonathan Vilma will have to wait a little longer. Vilma is having knee surgery Thursday, and while the Saints are hopeful he'll be ready for the start of the regular season that may be aggressive. Vilma missed six games last year due to knee problems, and the Saints restructured his contract in the offseason due to fears about the injury. David Hawthorne is in line to get Vilma's snaps while he recovers.

• Finally, there's always room for Jell-O and there's always room for kicker news. The Dolphins cut Dan Carpenter, leaving rookie Caleb Sturgis as the Miami kicker for this season. If you're buying that Miami's offense is ready to roll then maybe you'll buy Sturgis as your fantasy kicker. Carpenter, meanwhile, can wait for the phone to ring. Hey Dan, you ever been to Green Bay?


August 14, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Tom Brady in training camp, before chaos descended after limping off the practice field.

• The black copters were circling and guys in dark suits and sunglasses were talking into their wrists as Patriots camp was in full-on scramble mode when Tom Brady went down grabbing his knee during 11-on-11 drills. Brady remained on the ground for a moment before limping off, then returned after one play off and finished the drill. At that point Brady met with Bill Belichick and other members of the Patriots staff and then jogged off the field with head trainer Jim Whalen. If you're a glass-half-empty type you'll want to note that it's the same knee Brady tore the ACL on back in 2008, but at present all indications are 'tis but a flesh wound and Brady will be back at work well in advance of when games start to count.

• The most anticipated feature of the fantasy season is here. David Dorey's "Planning Your First Two Draft Picks" - which breaks down all the possible scenarios through the first two rounds and how that sets you up for the rest of your draft..

• Sticking with quarterbacks in the AFC East, Geno Smith didn't have a particularly good day either. While Smith took most of the first-team snaps in preparation for the Jets' second preseason game, he looked "brutal" according to head coach Rex Ryan. Smith is nursing a sore ankle, but that's not excuse enough for three picks during team drills and an unofficial 10-for-21 on the day. Combine Smith's struggles with his bum ankle and it's looking more and more as if Mark Sanchez is your Week One start for the Jets.

• Hold your cards on any optimism regarding the Oakland offense, assuming there's been any. Left tackle Jared Veldheer will undergo surgery to repair a torn triceps muscle and could potentially miss the entire 2013 season. The Raiders could also put Veldheer on IR designated to return, which would cost him roughly half the season. Not that Matt Flynn will be throwing deep anyway, but losing Veldheer is a blow to both the Oakland passing game and Darren McFadden's potential as well.

• Either somebody in the league offices doesn't like the Rams or maybe league policies aren't being communicated clearly in St. Louis. Linebacker Jo-Lonn Dunbar is the third Ram to be slapped with a league suspension; he'll miss four games due to a violation of the NFL's performance enhancing substance policy. Veteran Will Witherspoon, who played for Jeff Fisher in Tennessee, was signed just before training camp and is the likely short-term replacement.

•  A bit of good news in Indy, where tight end Coby Fleener returned to work after working through the league's concussion protocol He was on the field in full pads Tuesday and looks to take the bulk of the Colts' snaps at tight end while Dwayne Allen remains sidelined.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• The Redskins released veteran wideout Devery Henderson, who wasn't able to crack a Washington wideout rotation that includes Josh Morgan and Leonard Hankerson. Henderson may wind up back in New Orleans, as the Saints have continued to audition receivers to battle for the WR3 spot Henderson vacated.

• Finally, J.J. Watt wants to play offense. The Texans' elite defensive end has been vocal about wanting to line up at tight end in some sort of jumbo package, and while he did play some tight end at Central Michigan before transferring to Wisconsin Gary Kubiak doesn't see it happening any time soon. However, this may give IDP leagues an opportunity to revisit how they handle defensive players who score offensive touchdowns, if they don't already have rules in place.


August 13, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Ryan Williams may need to get back on the practice field to save his job in Arizona.

• One day after scaring the Chiefs and the fantasy world, Jamaal Charles sat out practice as he recovers from what is being called a foot strain. And while Charles' ADP takes a ding and KC holds its collective breath, here's why everyone is nervous: Redskins safety Phillip Thomas was placed on injured reserve after suffering a foot injury in Washington's preseason opener. Originally called a sprained foot, further examination revealed a torn Lisfranc ligament. Right now that's not what Charles is believed to have suffered... but then we thought the same thing about Darren McFadden two years ago and Maurice Jones-Drew last year.

• Be sure and check out The Huddle's Pre-Season Injury Report.

• How close is Ryan Williams to returning from his latest injury? Don't ask head coach Bruce Arians, who told the Arizona Republic he has "absolutely no idea" when Williams will see the field. Arians already has his own guy in former Steeler Rashard Mendenhall, and the Cardinals have a pair of rookie runners who didn't look half bad in the exhibition opener. So you have to think it would behoove Williams to stop coddling his knee and get back on the field.

• The Colts are already without tight end Dwayne Allen due to a foot injury; now they'll be without classmate and running mate Coby Fleener, who is working through the league's concussion protocol. It's not a killer blow to Fleener's fantasy hopes, especially since he spent a couple seasons with current Indy OC Pep Hamilton at Stanford, but it does take away his chance to claim the job for his own while Allen remains sidelined.

• On the positive injury front, Dennis Pitta received some good news when doctors discovered no cartilage or ligament damage to his fractured and dislocated hip. That means there's a chance Pitta could play this season; how soon is anyone's guess, and fantasy-wise it will likely come too late to offer assistance, but for Pitta and the Ravens it's good news.

• More happy news for injured tight ends: the Steelers expect to activate Heath Miller from the PUP list prior to the start of the season. Don't get too giddy, however; it's more of a procedural move, much like the Steelers did last year with Rashard Mendenhall. By activating Miller now the Steelers could use him at some point during the first month and a half of the season; keeping him on the PUP would cost him at least the first six weeks.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• Looks like the Chargers will promote from within to replace Malcom Floyd, whose knee strain will keep him out until at least the season opener. Rookie Keenan Allen is the biggest beneficiary, with Vincent Brown already having moved into Danario Alexander's role. If only Robert Meachem were producing anywhere near his contract status.

• Finally, looks like the mystery Swiss treatment Sidney Rice had done to his knee is working; reports from Seahawks camp indicate he's back running at full speed as the team's WR1, with Golden Tate and Doug Baldwin in complementary roles. Rice slid down the cheat sheet en route to Europe; looks like it's time to push him back towards where he began.


August 12, 2013

Huddle Daily Fantasy Football Take
Jamaal Charles was "carted off" the practice field.

• The big news as practices opened this week was Jamaal Charles being carted off with an apparent foot injury. Now, "carted off" is a relative term; Charles actually rode shotgun after hobbling to the medical tent for examination. And the initial reports are no serious damage, with the team labeling the injury a foot sprain. But it sure did spike the fantasy value of rookie Knile Davis, who projects to be the backup in KC this year. Don't be surprised if the centerpiece of Andy Reid's offense spends much of the rest of the preseason in bubble wrap.

10 Pre-Season Stats You Need To Know From Week 1.

• With Dennis Pitta out and Ed Dickson sidelined, the Ravens went back to the Jim Cald-well for Brandon Stokley and Dallas Clark. The former offers a slot option to the young, thin Baltimore wide receiving corps; the latter is a fit for what the Ravens were expected to do with Pitta, albeit one who is on the downslope of his career. Essentially Clark is insurance if Dickson's injury takes longer than expected to clear up. His familiarity with Caldwell's offense puts him in line to match the numbers he posted last year in Tampa Bay, but unless Dickson joins Pitta on IR that's his likely upside.

• The Eagles, also in the market for pass-catching help, also turned to a face familiar to the coaching staff as they sent Nate Menkin to the Houston Texans for Jeff Maehl. You may remember Maehl as the Oregon Ducks' all-time reception and receiving touchdown leader under current Philly coach Chip Kelly. While Maehl is more likely to make the Eagles as a special teamer, you have to think he'll at least get a look in an offense he's had success in.

• Also sticking with the known are the Saints, who continue to throw darts at receivers and hope something sticks at the bottom of their depth chart. New Orleans signed Patrick Crayton, who was with the Cowboys when Sean Payton was in Dallas. Crayton will compete with Steve Breaston, Kenny Stills, and Nick Toon for reserve roles in the Saints' passing game.

• The new week saw a pair of injured running backs getting back on the field. Indianapolis activated Ahmad Bradshaw from the PUP list, where he has been since the start of training camp due to lingering foot issues. Bradshaw will likely see a reduced workload during the exhibition slate, but he's expected to run as Indy's RB1 ahead of Vick Ballard. The Packers, meanwhile, activated DuJuan Harris from their PUP list; Mike McCarthy has reiterated that Harris is his starter, and Harris received work with the first-team during Green Bay's Monday practice. Harris has been sidelined with a minor knee injury, but with his primary competition, rookie Eddie Lacy, nursing a hamstring injury it's a chance for Harris to blow up fantasy boards and reward McCarthy for his support.

Join The Huddle today for full access to our 2013 Fantasy Football Draft Kit.

• Chris Ivory returned to practice for the Jets... well, maybe "returned" is an oversell as Ivory has missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury. But it was nice for someone other than Bilal Powell to get the work, especially with Joe McKnight continuing his unusual offseason. Monday McKnight had to stop three times en route to the field, at one point bending over as if to vomit. Eventually McKnight made it to practice, but just 45 minutes in he was done and helped back to the locker room by the training staff. McKnight has battled migraines, dehydration, a head injury and a traffic arrest thus far in camp; he could use a day off.

• Finally, kicker Ryan Longwell announced he'll retire as a Packer, with whom he spent the majority of his NFL career. However, if he's signing one of those ceremonial one-day contracts to retire in green and gold, Ted Thompson would be wise to have another sheet of paper at the ready... you know, in case Mason Crosby continues to struggle. Longwell may have lost a yard or three off the long ball, but there's a good chance he's still more accurate than Crosby was last year.

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