Today marks the start of a new series here at the National Football Post called the Fantasy Fives. The purpose is to provide all of you fantasy maniacs with some important intel, quick-hitter style, as I break down the first round of preseason games. Be sure to let me know what you think in the comments section below. Yes, it’s OK to tell me I suck.
And remember, time is running out. Get your hands on the 2009 National Football Post Draft Guide and start educating yourself with some of the best fantasy analysis on the Internet. For those who haven’t signed up for the NFP Total Access Pass yet, do it now.
This is going to be your one-stop shop for all the information you need during the NFL season. My favorite feature is the Sunday morning Live Chat, where I’ll be answering all your start 'em/sit 'em and injury questions.
Also, be sure to join me today at 3:30 PM eastern in the Fantasy Draft Guide Section of the website for a Live Chat. I'll be taking all of your questions.
Let’s do this…
Five players you shouldn’t panic about…
1. Kyle Orton Denver Broncos
Yes, three interceptions in three drives is disgusting. But don’t jump ship on Orton just yet. It was his first preseason game and he played it without wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The preseason is important, but this poor showing was not enough to warrant a removal from your draft board.
2. Dallas Cowboys D/ST
456 total yards and 26 points against the Raiders? Ouch. However, the ‘Boys only gave up 10 points in the first half (when most of the starters were playing) and limited quarterback JaMarcus Russell to just 5.6 yards per attempt and zero touchdowns.
3. Jay Cutler Chicago Bears
It seems like every time I write about Orton, I’m also writing about Cutler. In any event, after Jay-C’s rough start in the Windy City (5 of 10, 64 yards, one interception), many of the Cutler haters out there are saying, “I told you so.” The guy didn’t impress anybody, but then again, neither did Kurt Warner (6 of 10, 53 yards, no touchdowns).
4. Antonio Bryant Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Bryant is plummeting down draft boards as he’s out for the remainder of the preseason following arthroscopic knee surgery. The quarterback situation in Tampa is suspect, and Bryant’s lack of work in August will set him back, but don’t be afraid to pull the trigger on him in the middle rounds.
Remember, he was a top-10 fantasy receiver last year with Jeff Garcia at the helm and he’s playing for a long-term contract. The Bucs’ defense is going to struggle this year, meaning the offense will be throwing the football for four quarters.
5. Rex Grossman Houston Texans
He’s the guy who could be leading one of the NFL’s most explosive offenses if starting quarterback Matt Schaub goes down this year (like he has the previous two seasons). Grossman completed zero passes but threw only one. Plus, he’s now on the shelf for the next month with a hamstring injury. Did I say don’t panic? Check that. Panic. Panic now.
(Editor’s note: That was a joke, so make sure you read the paragraph before you shoot me an email calling me an idiot for talking about Sexual Rexual. That is all.)
Five injuries you should monitor...
1. Carson Palmer Cincinnati Bengals
Palmer suffered a sprained ankle in Friday’s game against the New Orleans Saints. It’s currently unclear whether he’ll play in the Bengals’ next preseason contest Thursday at New England.
2. Marc Bulger St. Louis Rams
Bulger broke the pinkie finger on his throwing hand Monday in practice. He could be out two weeks.
3. Knowshon Moreno Denver Broncos
Moreno sprained his knee Friday night against the 49ers. The good news is that the results of his MRI were negative. The bad news is that he could be on the sidelines for the next couple of weeks.
4. Roy Williams Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys wide receiver sprained his left wrist during practice on Sunday. X-rays were negative and Williams is currently listed as day-to-day.
5. Terrell Owens Buffalo Bills
T.O. is currently nursing a sprained toe. He returned to practice Monday and participated in individual drills, only to take off his pads and retreat to the locker room for more treatment. This is the type of injury that could hamper the Pro Bowl wide receiver for a few weeks. Stay tuned.
Five guys who balled-out this weekend...
1. Ahmad Bradshaw New York Giants
One of the NFP’s favorite sleepers heading into 2009, Bradshaw looked damn good Monday night against the Panthers. The backup running back amassed 52 yards in seven touches and scored a touchdown. He also averaged 7.0 yards per carry.
2. Donald Brown Indianapolis Colts
Another NFP sleeper, Brown carried the ball five times for 58 yards against the Vikings on Friday night, including a very nice 38-yard scamper. The rookie from Connecticut averaged a very impressive 11.6 yards per carry.
3. Tom Brady New England Patriots
Stop traffic. All-World quarterback Tom Brady looked good while slicing up my Philadelphia Eagles at the Linc last Thursday night. Does this come as a surprise to anyone? The knee is fine, and Brady’s stat line was terrific: 10 for 15, 100 yards, two touchdowns, one interception. He’s going to blow up again this year and lead the Pats to the Super Bowl. Write that down.
4. Darren McFadden Oakland Raiders
I’ve been (and will continue to be) down on the Raiders this season, but McFadden looked real sharp against the Cowboys last Thursday. The second-year back carried the rock four times for 63 yards (15.8 YPC) and looked very explosive in the process. If he can avoid head coach Tom Cable’s right hook, I may have to move him up the boards.
5. The Green Bay Packers’ new-look 3-4 defense
It may have come against the lowly Cleveland Browns, but the Pack pitched a shutout and only allowed 191 total yards at Lambeau last Saturday. That’s a good start for a new defensive coordinator and a new defense that didn’t get much respect this past offseason.
Five position battle updates...
1. Leftwich vs. McCown Tampa Bay
I’m sure I’ll continue to take heat for this one, but you have to give the edge (as we’ve been saying for over a month) to Leftwich. He completed 6 of 14 passes for 61 yards and one touchdown. Not earth-shattering, but a cut above McCown’s performance: 4 of 8, 19 yards, no touchdowns, one interception.
2. Quinn vs. Anderson Cleveland
You know what I say about whoever wins this showdown? Who cares. Neither one has looked impressive, and the Browns are going to stink this year. Quinn went 7 for 11 for 68 yards and one interception, while Anderson was 0 for 2 for no yards and an interception. Nice work, boys.
3. Michael Crabtree vs. The 49ers Front Office
The feel-good story of the 2009 NFL preseason, Crabtree and the Niners are currently nowhere close to getting a deal done. Who’s the loser in this situation? Both of them.
Crabtree is going to be way behind the eight ball in terms of development, and San Francisco won’t be able to get much out of its first-round draft pick this season. Heartwarming, to say the least.
4. Giants wide receivers vs. each other
Not much was gained from Monday night’s game except that rookie first-rounder Hakeem Nicks is currently progressing slower than fellow rookie wideout Ramses (he is the best!) Barden. No one caught more than two passes, so it’s still too early to draw a conclusion.
What’s more interesting is whether anyone caught the “Nacho Libre” reference in this paragraph. If you didn’t, don’t worry. It was a weak attempt at humor.
5. Dwayne Bowe vs. himself
I’ve been rough on Bowe this preseason, but I’m willing to give credit where credit is due. The wide receiver was benched by head coach Todd Haley in an effort to get his butt in gear, and Bowe responded nicely.
He caught five passes for 70 yards against the Texans and is starting to look like he’s got his focus back. I’m not willing to pop champagne just yet, but it’s nice to see him coming around.
Five things you slackers should be doing right now...
1. Mock Drafts
Be sure to check out FantasyFootballCalculator.com. Tell them I sent you. That will get you precisely nothing, but the Web site is an excellent training tool.
2. Asking Questions
Get involved and be proactive. The new “Ask Joe” feature of the NFP Draft Guide has started to take off. Get in there and fire away. Who knows? I may even give you some good advice.
3. Gearing up for the NFP Total Access Pass
I know I mentioned it above, but I’m really excited about the TAP this season. It’s your one-stop shop for all the information you need to dominate your fantasy league. The Sunday morning Live Chats will be huge.
4. Talkin’ trash on Twitter
5. Enjoying the final days of summer
Hit the links, drink some beer and enjoy the final weeks of summer—because once the NFL season kicks off in a few weeks, it’s all business, baby.