- DE Reggie Hayward, JAX - a broken left fibula ended his season,
placed on IR.
- MLB Brian Urlacher, CHI - a dislocated right wrist ended his
season, placed on IR.
- ILB Jerod Mayo, NE - no one is more secretive about injury
information than the Pats, but multiple sources are reporting
a severe MCL sprain in his right knee and that he'll miss several
weeks. Even Bill Belichick, when asked in his weekly conference
call with the press if it was a season-ending injury said, "I
don't think that's what it is".
- MLB Paul Posluszny, BUF - for the second time in his first
three seasons, Poz breaks his left forearm against the Pats
in the season opener (he also did it as a rookie in 2007); watch
for details on the severity, but he should miss at least a month.
- ILB Lawrence Timmons, PIT - was inactive, as expected on Thursday
night, with a high ankle sprain; status still in question for
- ILB Tavares Gooden, BAL - left the game in the third quarter
with a right knee sprain; early reports are it is not serious
and he's likely to play this week.
- OLB Pisa Tinoisamoa, CHI - suffered a sprained right PCL on
the first series on SNF; team is calling him day-to-day, but
the starting SLB could miss a few weeks.
- S Troy Polamalu, PIT - suffered a tear in his left MCL, but
will not need surgery; expected to miss 3-6 weeks while adding
to the Myth of the Madden Curse.
- S Bob Sanders, IND - was inactive, as expected, as he recovers
from offseason surgery on his right knee; still no timetable,
other than he's expected back before Week 6 (hence why he wasn't
placed on the PUP).
- S Atari Bigby, GB - suffered what is being called a knee sprain
and is expected to miss multiple weeks.
- S Chris Harris, CAR - aggravated a lingering left knee problem
in pregame warm-ups and was replaced by Quinton Teal as the
starting SS in the season opener. He is yet to practice this
week, so his status is up in the air for Week 2.
- Minnesota labor laws appear to have secured a reprieve for
all the players who were handed four-game suspensions for violating
the league's substance abuse policy related to the use of StarCaps
last year. After a federal appeals court upheld the lower court's
ruling of negating the suspension for the Vikings' interior
duo of Kevin
Williams and Pat
Williams, the league has announced they will "defer" the
suspensions of the Saints' end tandem of Charles
Grant and Will
Smith. Consider the matter closed, at least for this season.
- After not showing up and causing a stir about speculation
for his plans after being traded from New England, Richard
Seymour pretty much walked off the plane and racked up two
sacks on MNF as a terror up and down the line for the Raiders.
He started at RDE, but moved inside in the nickel and bumped
Kelly, confirming Trevor
Scott retains his pass rush specialist role, while Kelly's
value takes a hit. Greg
Ellis had no problem settling back in as a 4-3 end, notching
his first sack as a Raider.
- Back in New England, the Patriots did show more 4-3 sets,
Green and Vince
Wilfork inside, Ty
Warren at the anchor end, and, in a bit of a surprise, Tully
Banta-Cain at the right end, where he notched two sacks.
Burgess worked in frequently and got his first sack as a
- Jacksonville DE Derrick
Harvey appeared to be benched during the game with DT John
Henderson sliding over to DE and Quentin Groves replacing
Harvey in a tweener role as the Jaguars are showing some 3-4
looks this year. With the season-ending injury to Reggie Hayward,
Harvey's status seems more secure, but his struggles against
the run apparently have him in the doghouse. Groves gets a big
bump with Hayward done for the season.
- Cincinnati DE Antwan
Odom parlayed a career-high 8 sacks in 2007 in to a big
free agent deal with the Bengals, but an injury-plagued season
last year had him return to the underachieving role he's played
since the Titans took him in the second round in 2004 with visions
of getting the replacement to Jevon
Kearse (who ironically returned to Tennessee to replace
Odom last year). However, after a two-sack performance (and
another TFL) primarily against stud Denver OT Ryan Clady, Odom
looks like a solid waiver wire material.
- After an impressive preseason, I liked fourth-round pick Lawrence
Sidbury Jr. to emerge as a productive situational pass rusher.
While I still like Sidbury's potential, it was a fifth-round
pick from last year, Kroy
Biermann, who broke out in the season opener for Atlanta.
A standout on special teams, Biermann was worked in as the nickel
DE and should have earned more snaps with a two-sack performance.
Anderson remains the nominal starter at LDE and solid veteran
Davis is in the rotation, so Biermann's production will
be inconsistent. It may be a bit of a fluke, so I wouldn't reach
for him too much right now. Of greater note here is giving up
(if you haven't already) on hope for Anderson and lowering expectations
for Sidbury this year.
- I talked about Gary Guyton potential in last week's column
and now while Jerod Mayo is out, Guyton will be "The Man" for
New England. He'll be the MIKE when they show 4-3 looks and
call the plays, so he'll be on the field a lot.
- With the season-ending injury to MLB Brian Urlacher and a
knee sprain to SLB Pisa Tinoisamoa, the Bears' LB corps is in
disarray. The team seems willing to give Hunter Hillenmeyer,
who lost his starting SLB job to Nick Roach last year, the first
shot to replace Urlacher in the middle this week. However, be
aware he's on a short leash and there are multiple contingency
plans in the works. On scenario involves bringing in former
Buc WLB Derrick Brooks, who failed to find a job in the preseason.
Now that the season is underway, veterans no longer require
contracts guaranteed for the year, so you should begin to see
homeless vets like Brooks swooped up. Brooks, who would be reunited
with Lovie Smith, and his agent wasted no time expressing excitement
at the opportunity, but the fact the Bears didn't pursue it
this week makes it long shot. If Brooks came to Chicago, he'd
likely take his familiar WLB role, moving Lance Briggs to the
middle. A sneaky possibility would be giving the versatile Jamar
Williams a starting role, either in the middle or at WLB, with
Briggs moving to the middle. The longest shot is probably the
Bears pursuing Zach Thomas who, like Brooks, is looking for
work. For now, look for Hillenmeyer to start at MLB, Briggs
to remain at WLB, and Roach to return to a starting role at
SLB until Tinoisamoa returns. With depth at LB and special teams
now a problem, the team added FA LB Tim Shaw this week.
- While we're on the topic of Derrick Brooks, the Boston Herald
suggested the Patriots may be interested in him with Mayo out.
We might as well not rule out the recently retired Tedy Bruschi
or yet another return of Junior Seau.
- LB Derrick
Johnson was bumped from a starting role at one of the ILB
spots in the Chiefs' new 3-4 in favor of Corey
Mays and Demorrio
Williams. Regardless, Johnson was the most productive ILB.
Don't drop Johnson, this may have been just a message, as Johnson
is more talented that the other two and, talent, if nothing
else, should get him out of the doghouse soon. Former first-round
Hali adjusted well to being an OLB and is particularly attractive
if your league still considers him eligible at DE.
- NYG LB Michael Boley returns from a one-game suspension, but
he is still recovering from hip surgery over the summer. Boley
will be eased in, but could pay dividends down the road.
- Carolina MLB Jon Beason looked fully recovered from his MCL
sprain while posting 4 tackles and grabbing a pick in the season
- As discussed in last week's column, Minnesota MLB E.J. Henderson
showed he's back from injury and has top 20 potential.
- It looks like Brandon
Chillar will cut in to reps for inside backers Nick
Barnett and A.J.
Hawk in Green Bay, as they ran a rotation among both spots.
On the outside, rookie Clay
Matthews played more than expected as the team used more
nickel defense against Jay Cutler.
- Seattle will be without SLB Leroy Hill for at least a month
with a groin injury. Will Herring, a fifth-round pick of the
Seahawks in 2007, replaces him.
- OLB Keith Ellison and Marcus Buggs, an undrafted free agent
out of Vanderbilt who was the back-up MIKE on the depth chart,
got the first shot replacing Paul Posluszny in the middle for
the Bills. Ellison was clearly the more impressive and could
get the first shot. OLB Kawika Mitchell has starting experience
in the middle and is a bit more stout than Ellison, but he's
been very productive in his current role.
- With Green Bay looking at not having Atari Bigby for a few
weeks, Aaron Rouse steps in at SS. Rouse has produced well at
both safety spots when given the opportunity and is a nice acquisition
if you need help at DB.
- Melvin Bullitt only produced 2 tackles filling in for Bob
Sanders at SS for the Colts, but he played well and is a solid
play for at least this month, as Sanders probably won't be back
- Don't Call it a Comeback: the Bengals' Roy L. Williams and
the Chiefs' Mike Brown both racked up nice fantasy games in
their new surroundings after long tenures that ended sourly
with their original team.
- Downgrade Kevin Payne and upgrade rookie Al Afalava and versatile
vet Danieal Manning in the Bears' safety rotation. Afalava replaced
Payne as the starting SS, while Payne moves to the nominal starter
at FS, getting replaced by Manning in many pass packages.
The complex and variable defensive schemes employed in the NFL
have made identifying the position of a player ambiguous, at best,
on some teams. If your league bases position eligibility solely
as listed on your stat provider’s website, it is a good
time to take stock of your roster and the waiver wire for players
who may be recognized at a more beneficial position based on your
scoring system. For example, in leagues where sacks are undervalued,
a player who is listed as a DE, but will be more often line up
as a LB, is likely to have more tackles and be more valuable,
even though he may rush the passer less.
More on Rookies
For more detail on the top new faces, check out my preseason
preview of IDP rookies