This is it; it's finally here. The NFL season begins tonight, as the defending Super Bowl champion Pittsburgh Steelers start their title defense against another AFC powerhouse, the Tennessee Titans.
Of course, the kickoff of the first NFL game signifies the kickoff of the fantasy football season. It is now time for all of our offseason work to payoff. The hours of studying stats, projections, mock drafts, positional battles, etc. is about to pay off.
For us here at the Bruno Boys, our preparation for the 2009 fantasy football season actually started the day after the Steelers were crowned Super Bowl champions. While other Web sites were switching over to fantasy baseball, fantasy golf, or fantasy soccer (yes, there is actually fantasy soccer; just ask Bruno Boys Cory), we here at the Bruno Boys did nothing but get ready for the upcoming fantasy football season.
We added several new staff members, put out the annual Bruno Boys Fantasy Football Cheat Sheets, and, of course, launched our new and improved Web site, all with the hopes of helping the Bruno Boys Nation accumulate even more fantasy football championships than last year, and, based on the feedback we got from you out there, there were many in 2008.
With new content added to our website every day to help you prepare the best possible fantasy football lineup each and every week, make sure to check back every Thursday as we look at news around the NFL and breakdown the potential fantasy football impact.
This week we will take a look at the injury status of Pierre Thomas, Anquan Boldin, Brian Westbrook, and Maurice Jones-Drew. Plus, we check in and see if the Cleveland Browns have named a starting quarterback.
Pierre Thomas misses practice Wednesday, questionable for Week One
New Orleans Saints running back Pierre Thomas missed practice on Wednesday as he continues to nurse a sprained right knee. Adding insult to injury, he also received stitches in the same leg after he cut himself chasing his dog, who had escaped into the neighbor’s yard.
The fact that he is chasing his dog is a good sign that the injury is not too serious, but at this point Thomas is very questionable for Week One. A home date with the Detroit Lions is a winnable game for New Orleans, even without Thomas. If you have Thomas in your lineup, you should start to consider other options.
If Thomas sits out the Saints will likely turn to backup Mike Bell to share the workload with Reggie Bush, who appears ready to go after some nagging injuries in the preseason.
A healthy Bush should be considered a must-start RB2 and Bell is worth a roster spot as a RB3 or flex and definitely has fantasy appeal against a Lions team that was terrible against the run in 2009.
Anquan Boldin misses practice Wednesday, very good chance he will play Week One
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Anquan Boldin missed another practice Wednesday while dealing with a hamstring injury. Boldin has also missed the team’s final two preseason games, but head coach Ken Whisenhunt said that Boldin’s chances of playing the season opener are “very good.”
This is excellent news for Boldin owners. He had 89 receptions for 1,038 yards with 11 touchdowns in 2008, playing in only 12 games. Boldin is one of the NFL’s best wide receivers and, when healthy, he is a must-start WR1 in all formats. He and Larry Fitzgerald may be the best wide receiving tandem in NFL. The Cardinals host NFC West division rival San Francisco 49ers in Week One.
Brian Westbrook feels fresh after missing entire preseason
After spending most of the 2008 season banged up, Philadelphia Eagles running back Brian Westbrook spent most of this offseason recovering from multiple surgeries, which caused him to miss the entire preseason.
Wednesday, Westbrook said that he feels fresh and hopes he’ll be back to normal after only a few carries. He also added that he believes he can be ready to carry a full load in the Eagles' opener on the road against the Carolina Panthers.
Westbrook had surgery to clean out his left knee in January after the Eagles were eliminated in the NFC Championship game, and then, in June, he had surgery to remove bone fragments and scar tissue from his right ankle; both injuries caused him much discomfort last season.
Westbrook will start for the Eagles Week One, and he should be considered a low-end RB1 option. He may not be ready to carry the full load as he suggested, but the dual-threat back will see plenty of action against a banged-up Panthers run defense.
Rookie running back LeSean McCoy, who looked pretty good in the preseason, should also see some carries in the game and help keep Westbrook’s legs fresh.
Jones-Drew returns to practice Wednesday, expected to play Week One
Fantasy owners can breathe a collective sigh of relief as the Jacksonville Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew returned to practice on Wednesday. Jones-Drew had missed practice on Monday with a bruised leg, after being injured in the team’s final preseason game last week.
With many league drafts already completed heading into the Labor Day weekend, many owners were holding their breath awaiting the status of MJD, who was a top-four fantasy pick in most drafts this summer.
Jones-Drew worked in full pads on Wednesday and did not show any problems running, cutting, or catching passes. Big things are expected of Jones-Drew this year, as the team released its all-time leading rusher, Fred Taylor, and turned the reigns over to Jones-Drew, who had 197 carries for 824 yards with 12 touchdowns while only starting three games in 2008.
He also added 62 receptions for 562 yards with two touchdowns and is a must-start RB1 in all formats this season. The Jaguars travel to Indianapolis to play the division-rival Colts Week One. Jones-Drew has four 100-yard rushing games and six touchdowns in six previous meeting with the Colts.
Quinn edges out Anderson for starting job in Cleveland
The Cleveland Plain Dealer is reporting that Brady Quinn has beat out Derek Anderson for the starting quarterback job for the Cleveland Browns. As expected by many, Quinn will get the start Week One as the Browns host the Minnesota Vikings. Quinn started three games in 2008 and was 1-2 as a starter before breaking his right index finger and missing the rest of the season.
Statistically, Quinn was the better passer in the preseason, completing 21-of-31 attempts for 225 yards with one touchdown and one interception, while Anderson completed 15-of-26 attempts with no touchdowns and two interceptions.
Even though Quinn has won the starting job in Cleveland, he shouldn’t be considered more than a low-end QB2 option heading into the Browns first game with the Vikings.
*THIS ARTICLE WRITTEN BY BRUNO BOY LARRY JOSEPH. FOR MORE FANTASY FOOTBALL INSIGHT AND ADVICE, CLICK THE LINK BELOW.*