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FR: Preseason injuries

Each year, the preseason is full of injuries big and small. In this post, we seek to compare the importance of injuries that will sideline players for the entire season. We’re focusing only on injuries that happened in the preseason and in training camps. We will update this post through the fourth preseason game, both with new injuries and with official news that hurt players will miss the season.

Ryan Williams, via revengeofthebirds.com

10 – CB Terrell Thomas, Giants – Thomas had a breakout season last year, his second as a starter. He had five interceptions, a whopping 21 passes defensed, and four forced fumbles. He had emerged as a top-tier starting cornerback, and was preparing to cash in on the free agent market after the season. But then he suffered a torn ACL in the second preseason game against the Bears. Losing Thomas is a huge blow to the Giants – especially since rookie corner Prince Amakamura has missed most of camp because of injury. The Giants are now thin at a key position, and they’ll be playing without the best playmaker in their defensive back seven.

10 (con’t) – Browns OLG Eric Steinbach – Steinbach, a long-time starter for both Ohio teams, suffered a back injury that he couldn’t come back from. That’s a blow for the Browns, who don’t have a ton of veteran leadership anywhere – or a solid option to replace Steinbach.

10 (con’t) – TE Tony Moeaki, Chiefs -Moeaki, who had a strong rookie season for the Chiefs, suffered a knee injury in the preseason finale and landed on injured reserve. It’s a huge loss for the Chiefs, who relied on Moeaki as a consistent receiving threat last season. There’s no one on the roster with anywhere near the level of skill Moeaki had.

9 – Redskins DE Jarvis Jenkins – Jenkins, a second-round pick this year, had earned a starting job on Washington’s rebuilt defensive line at left end. But his strong rookie push ended in the third preseason game against the Ravens when he tore his ACL. Jenkins will miss the season. It’s a huge blow to Washington, which doesn’t have a ton of depth at defensive end and certainly doesn’t have a player to step in and make the impact Jenkins was starting to make.

9 (con’t) – TE John Carlson, Seahawks – Carlson is a solid starter at tight end, but a shoulder injury will shelve him for the season. It’s a blow for the Seahawks, but they signed Zach Miller in the offseason, who is an upgrade over Carlson. Still, it’s a blow for a productive youngster approaching free agency to miss an entire season.

9 (con’t) – MLB Jonathan Goff, Giants – Goff emerged as a starter at middle linebacker in his third season in 2010 and had a solid year. That led some observers to expect a breakout contract year in 2011. Instead, like fellow free-agent-to-be Terrell Thomas, Goff will miss the entire season after an ACL injury suffered in practice leading up to Week 1. It’s a another body blow to a Giants defense that has sustained too many this offseason.

8 – Cardinals RB Ryan Williams – Williams, the Cardinals’ second-round pick, looked to be a challenger to Beanie Wells’ starting job. But in the second preseason game against the Packers, Williams ruptured his patella tendon. He will miss the season.

8 (con’t) – Lions RB Mikel Leshoure – Leshoure, the Lions’ second-round pick, was expected to be the inside threat to pair with Jahvid Best. But Leshoure tore his Achilles in training camp and will miss the season. That’s a huge blow for the Lions, who have playoff aspirations after years of struggles but who don’t have a ton of depth – especially at running back.

7 – Panthers DT Ron Edwards – A couple of days after we discussed how important Edwards was to the Panthers, he suffered a torn triceps that will cost him the season. It’s a big blow to the Panthers, who were counting on Edwards to upgrade a thin position.

7 (con’t) – Panthers OG Geoff Schwartz – Schwartz, expected to be a starter this year at right guard, has a hip problem that will cost him the season. That’s a blow for a Panthers team that looked to have some offensive line continuity this year after missing Jeff Otah all last season.

7 (con’t) – Chiefs ILB Brandon Siler – Siler tore his Achilles in practice after the second preseason game, and will miss the season. He was signed from San Diego to be a starter and key player against the run, so his injury is a big blow to the Chiefs.

6 – Panthers WR David Gettis – Gettis, a second-year player who was on pace to start across from Steve Smith for the Panthers, tore his ACL and will miss the season. Gettis had a surprising rookie season with 37 catches for 508 yards and three TDs, so he will be missed. Now the Panthers need signee Legedu Naanee to emerge as a starter.

6 (con’t) – Cardinals CB Greg Toler – Toler, a third-year player, started 13 games for Arizona last year and was holding off Patrick Peterson for a starting job this year. But a torn left ACL suffered in the third preseason game will take Toler off the field this season. Now Peterson must be ready to start from Day 1, and the Cardinals also need to find some cornerback depth.

6 (con’t) – Jaguars RB Rashad Jennings – Jennings has proven to be a solid backup for Maurice Jones-Drew in Jacksonville, and Jones-Drew’s injury problems last year gave Jennings more of a role. But a knee injury will sideline Jennings for the year, leaving Deji Karim as the backup in Jacksonville.

5- Browns P Reggie Hodges – Hodges, who finally seized a full-time job in Cleveland last year (anda  former Crazy Kicker of the Week), suffered a torn Achilles during camp and will miss the season. The Browns brought in Richard McGee to fill in, but they’ll undoubtedly be checking the waiver wire to see if a veteran punter they like shakes free.

5 (con’t) – Giants DT Marvin Austin – Austin, a first-round level talent whom the Giants took in the second round after he missed the 2010 season due to NCAA rule violations, suffered a torn left pec and will miss the season. It’s a blow to the Giants, and now Austin will try to return from two years off the field – which won’t be an easy task.

5 (con’t) – Bills ILB Reggie Torbor – Torbor, who started seven games for the Bills last year, suffered a shoulder injury that will cost him the season. As a result, he’ll miss the season. The Bills signed Kirk Morrison to replace Torbor, which should be an upgrade, at least on running downs.

5 (con’t) – Browns RB Brandon Jackson – Jackson was one of Cleveland’s few free-agent signings this offseason. He was going to be a third-down back with receiving skills to supplement Peyton Hillis and Montario Hardesty. But a toe injury will cost the former Packer the season.

4 – Titans CB Ryan Mouton – Mouton, who has played cornerback and been a key special teams player, suffered a torn Achilles early in camp and will be out for the year. The 2009 third-round pick lost his returner job after several fumbles in 2009, but he was growing into a solid extra corner.

4 (con’t) – Steelers QB Byron Leftwich – Leftwich was in the running for the Steelers’ backup QB job, but he broke his left arm against the Falcons in the third preseason game and will miss the season. It’s not a huge blow for the Steelers, who still have Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch in reserve.

4 (con’t) – Panthers OG Garry Williams – Williams had a chance to emerge as a starter at right guard for the Panthers after Geoff Schwartz’s injury, but he suffered a broken leg against the Steelers in the preseason finale and will miss the season. Williams was on the way to a roster spot, and losing him at a position of need was a big blow for the Panthers.

4 (con’t) – Giants OLB Clint Sintim – Sintim, a former second-round pick, was trying to come back from an ACL injury last season. But he tore the patella tendon in the same right knee he injured last year in the preseason finale, and will miss the year. Sintim was Mathias Kiwanuka’s backup and a versatile player, so losing him is certainly a blow to Big Blue.

4 (con’t) – Bengals TE Bo Scaife – Scaife, a free-agent signee this year, was supposed to be a versatile companion to Jermaine Gresham at tight end. Scaife’s a better blocker than Gresham while still being an effective receiver, but the Bengals’ WR depth should allow them to work around Scaife’s season-ending shoulder injury.

4 (con’t) – Seahawks DT Jimmy Wilkerson – Wilkerson, who has bounced around the league, suffered a knee injury in the final preseason game. He will miss the season. Seattle claimed Landon Cohen (fellow Spartanburg High School alum!) to replace Wilkerson.

3 – Giants CB Brian Witherspoon – Witherspoon, a backup corner, was the third Giants corner (after Terrell Thomas and Bruce Johnson) to be lost for the season. The ex-Jaguar and Lion, who played one game last season, was having a good camp and had a good chance to not only make the team but contribute until he, like Thomas, tore his ACL against the Bears. It’s another loss at a position getting deeper and deeper each day.

3 (con’t) – Broncos TE Richard Quinn – Quinn, a second-round pick in Josh McDaniels’ first draft in Denver, suffered an MCL injury early in the season, and Denver decided to put him on injured reserve. Quinn is a blocking tight end, but he looks to be getting caught up in the transition from McDaniels’ regime to the John Elway/John Fox group. Still, he once was a prospect, and losing his talent hurts.

3 (con’t) – Cardinals QB Max Hall – Hall, whom the Cardinals viewed as a potential future starter last year when he was an undrafted rookie, was waived injured after suffering a second injury to his non-throwing shoulder. After adding Kevin Kolb, the Cards only want to develop one young backup, and John Skelton is going to be the guy. Hall landed on injured reserve.

3 (con’t) – Broncos CB Syd’Quan Thompson – Thompson, a reserve cornerback for the Broncos, suffered a torn Achilles in the final preseason game. He will miss the season, taking away some of the Broncos’ secondary depth.

3 (con’t) Jets QB Greg McElroy – McElroy, a rookie, had played well as a No. 3 developmental quarterback until a thumb injury in the preseason finale shelved him. He’ll miss the season and more importantly the development he could have had as a rookie.

2 – Eagles DE Victor Abiamiri – Abiamiri suffered a ruptured Achilles and will miss the season. It’s the second straight season he’ll miss, after microfracture surgery on his knee sidelined him in 2010. Abiamiri, a 2007 second-round pick, had grown into a solid defensive end backup before his 2010 injury, but now his career has to be in question.

2 (con’t) – Steelers RB Baron Batch – Batch, a seventh-round rookie out of Texas Tech, was making a strong case for a roster spot before he tore his ACL in training camp. Now, he will miss the season.

2 (con’t) – Giants CB Bruce Johnson – Johnson, a third-year pro, suffered a torn Achilles early in camp and will miss the season. A knee injury cost him most of the 2010 season, but he had shown in 2009 that he’s a decent rotation cornerback. So it’s a loss for the Giants.

2 (con’t) – Vikings OG Scott Kooistra – Kooistra, a journeyman vet who was trying to win a job with Minnesota, suffered a serious neck injury in the second preseason game against the Seahawks. The injury could be career-ending.

1- 49ers TE Nate Byham – Byham, who developed immediately into a solid blocking tight end as a rookie last year, suffered a torn ACL early in camp and will miss the season. Byham was a sixth-round pick in 2010.

1 (con’t) – Saints OT Alex Barron – Barron, a first-round bust who was trying to win a job with the Saints, injured his knee in the preseason and will miss the season.

1 (con’t) – Bengals LB Roddrick Muckleroy – Muckelroy suffered a torn Achilles in the first week of Bengals camp and will miss the season. The 2010 fourth-round pick played 14 games as a rookie, mostly on special teams.

1 (con’t) – Panthers OG Zack Williams – Williams, a sixth-round pick, suffered a torn ACL and will miss his rookie season.

1 (con’t) – 49ers CB Curtis Holcomb – Holcomb, a seventh-round pick, suffered a torn Achilles early in training camp and will miss the season.

1 (con’t) – 49ers WR Dontavia Bogan – Bogan, an undrafted rookie, tore his ACL early in training camp.

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Jaguars/Giants thoughts

Each week, we focus on one game and share our thoughts on it, both from an on-field perspective and a fantasy football perspective. We already focused on the Thanksgiving Day games; now we turn our attention to the Giants’ 24-20 come-from-behind victory over the Jaguars.

The Jaguars, who had won three straight coming into the game, seemed to have this game under their control until a third-quarter interception gave the Giants new life. The win was huge for the Giants, who broke a two-game losing streak and some of the echoes of their recent late-season swoons, and it’s a big lost opportunity for the Jaguars as they try to unseat the Colts in the AFC South. After an extended look at the Jaguars, we don’t know if they’re a good team, but we’re certain they’re an above-average squad that has the potential to win nine games or more.

Mario Manningham scores for the Giants, via espn.com

On-field Perspective
*The Giants were playing without WRs Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, but they still got big plays in the passing game from Mario Manningham and Kevin Boss. Eli Manning has a knack for making big plays in the clutch, and his two second-half TD passes were another example of that. Manning isn’t always clockwork efficient, but he tends to make the right play in the clutch, which is a great trait for a quarterback.
*The Giants didn’t create a massive pass rush for most of the game, although Justin Tuck and rookie Jason Pierre-Paul made some big plays late when the Giants started blitzing heavily. Still, the lack of a consistent pass rush is a question mark, since the Giants’ strong suit is supposed to be its front four. That question mark looms even larger because, by and large, the Giants weren’t able to exploit a Jaguars line playing without both starting tackles.
*Jaguars QB David Garrard is not a consistent passer, but he remains a threat to make plays with his legs, as he did on his incredible second-quarter touchdown. Unfortunately for Jacksonville, Garrard’s consistency waned in the second half, as an errant throw led to a Mike Sims-Walker bobble, which led to a Terrell Thomas interception. Garrard finished just 20-of-35, and he may have suffered a wrist injury on the final drive.
*Jacksonville has a fairly deep receiving corps, but Sims-Walker is inconsistent, and Mike Thomas’ only breakaway play was brought back by a penalty. We wondered why the Jaguars claimed ex-49er Jason Hill on waivers, but given Hill’s size we wonder if they’re trying to replace or at least inspire Sims-Walker to play with more consistency and reliability. MSW had a three-drop game in this one, and that kind of effort from him is far too familiar for the Jags.
*While the Jaguars’ passing game wasn’t sterling, their running game was. Maurice Jones-Drew (21 carries, 113 yards) kept the Jags in front of the chains, and backup Rashad Jennings (7 carries, 53 yards) did a good job, especially in the first half. Both guys are assets.
*As for the Giants’ runners, Brandon Jacobs (14 carries, 87 yards) looked better in this game than we’ve seen him in a while. Still, Ahmad Bradshaw (49 rushing yards, 34 receiving yards) is the breakaway threat who can also move the chains for the Giants, and despite his fumbling issues, we believe he should be getting more carries.
*Antrel Rolle was one of the Giants’ high-profile defensive additions in the offseason, but he was unnoticeable against the run and in pass coverage in this game. He did make a couple of nice plays on the blitz, including one shared sack with Tuck, but the Giants need more out of Rolle given his high price tag.
*Ross Tucker praised Jaguars rookie DT Tyson Alualu’s play, but no other Jaguars defenders really popped off the screen. The most impressive was probably LB Justin Durant, who had seven tackles and two passes defensed and was the one Jaguar we saw winning plays.

Fantasy Football Perspective
*Despite this game, we don’t believe that Jacobs is anything more than a flex option going forward. His 87-yard performance is pretty much the apex of what you can expect from him yardage-wise given Bradshaw’s consistency.
*Garrard isn’t consistent enough to trust as a fantasy QB. He has the potential to have big games, but he’s also going to hang around in this area (162 passing yards, 41 rushing yards, rushing TD) too often to help you win.
*Manningham is a fantasy starter as long as Smith and/or Nicks is out. Right now, he’s the only Giant wideout you can trust in your lineup.

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Fantasy Football Applaud or a Fraud – Week 4

Each week, we dive into the stat sheets to see which weekly performers fantasy owners should applaud and which fantasy owners should write off as frauds. We’ve also included some key injury replacements in this post. You can read past applaud or a fraud analyses in the category listing. And if we’re changing a past recommendation, we’ll include it here as well. On we go…

Quarterbacks

Derek Anderson, Browns – Last week, we called Anderson a fraud – and who wouldn’t after his three-interception half. But Anderson injected at least a little life into the previously comatose Browns’ offense, and his numbers (269 yards, one passing TD and one rushing TD) look better on fantasy scoresheets than he looks on the field. Don’t go starting him, but Anderson is at least ownable in most leagues. This is applause at the volume of a third of a golf clap is, but it is a clap. Verdict: Applaud

Kerry Collins, Titans – Collins had a monster game against Jacksonville, but don’t buy it. For one, the Jags’ pass defense is sorry. For two, Collins lit up the Jags last year as well. And for three, if the Titans keep losing they’ll have to turn to Vince Young soon. So look at Collins’ 284-yard, one-TD day – and then pass on him. Verdict: A fraud

Matthew Stafford, Lions – Stafford, the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft, had his first really good fantasy day, throwing for 296 yards and a touchdown. But he hurt his knee later in the game, and with an MRI scheduled today, it’s just not the time to add Stafford to your fantasy roster. Verdict: A fraud

Running backs

Rashad Jennings, Jaguars – The rookie from Liberty, who is Maurice Jones-Drew’s primary backup, had 53 rushing yards on nine carries. But this is a garbage-time line dictated by game situation and not a sign that Jennings is getting more of a look in the offense. If you own MoJo, Jennings is worth a roster spot as injury insurance. Otherwise, he’s not roster worthy except in massive leagues (18 teams or more). Verdict: A fraud

Jerome Harrison, Browns – Last week, we told you that Harrison was a fraud, because we didn’t trust the Browns’ offense. But a couple of things have changed. First, rookie James Davis went on IR, which makes Harrison the only backup to Jamal Lewis. And the insertion of Derek Anderson into the starting lineup provided a little more offensive punch that opened up the running game a little. The results against Cincinnati were a surprising 121-yard game for Harrison. Harrison still isn’t a great starting option, but as long as Jamal Lewis is hurt, he’s now ownable. Verdict: Applaud

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers – With Willie Parker out, Mendenhall had a huge game against the Chargers Sunday night (165 rushing yards and two TD). Here’s why you should approach him with caution. First, Mendenhall has not yet shown the ability to be a fantasy contributor with limited touches. So when Parker’s in, Mendenhall needs to be out of your lineup. Secondly, the Chargers are terrible vs. interior running now with Jamal Williams out, and that was a perfect fit with what Mendenhall had to do. Mendenhall is definitely worth owning, but I would be slow to start him unless Parker is inactive again. Verdict: A fraud

Ryan Moats, Texans – Just as Rashad Jennings’ 53-yard performance was dictated by garbage time, Moats’ 53 yards was a result of the Texans’ easy win over the Raiders. Plus, the fact that it took Moats 15 carries to rush for 53 yards shows he’s not ownable, even if you are looking for Steve Slaton insurance. Verdict: A fraud

Knowshon Moreno, Broncos – Moreno scored the Broncos’ first touchdown vs. the Cowboys on a nine-yard catch and also had 65 rushing yards. But as we said in our Cowboys/Broncos thoughts post, the fact that Moreno has to share time with Buckhalter makes him a tough start for fantasy owners. Moreno is good enough to be a fantasy starter, but his offensive role right now limits his value. He’s a flex play at best. Remember that disclaimer as you hear this applause. Verdict: Applaud

Ray Rice, Ravens – Rice was a hot name before the season, but because he has yet to score a touchdown, you might wonder about starting him in fantasy leagues. His 103-yard performance against the Patriots should tell you enough to know that he is a top-2 fantasy running back except in touchdown-only leagues. Verdict: Applaud

Wide receivers

Kenny Britt, Titans – In the Titans’ blowout loss in Jacksonville, first-round pick Britt passed the century mark for the first time in his career with seven catches for 105 yards. Even with Nate Washington back, Britt is still getting plenty of chances in the Titans’ offense, and he now has 17 catches for 271 yards on the season. Britt isn’t a starting-caliber fantasy wideout, but he’s getting enough looks now to project as a 50-catch receiver, which is quite good for a rookie and adequate for fantasy owners in larger leagues (15 teams or more). So if you’re in one of those leagues, Britt is now a prospect for a claim. Verdict: Applaud

Austin Collie, Colts – Collie, a rookie out of Brigham Young, caught his first career touchdown against the Seahawks in the midst of a six-catch, 65-yard day. Collie and Pierre Garcon are filling the role opened by Anthony Gonzalez’ injury, although they play different spots. Garcon plays outside, while Collie is a specialist in the slot. Garcon (who had 71 yards receiving this week) is still the receiver that’s the best fill-in for your fantasy team, although Collie’s development is worth watching. Once Gonzalez returns, though, Collie will quickly pass Garcon in fantasy value this year. So if you’re in a larger league, it might be worth it to go ahead and grab Collie. This is very mild applause, but just in case, we’ll clap. Verdict: Applaud

T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks – Houshmandzadeh hadn’t done much in his first season in Seattle before grabbing eight catches for 103 yards against Indianapolis. Those numbers came in a blowout, which is always a warning sign for receivers. But it is now safe to say that Houshmandzadeh is healthy enough to contribute after some early season bumps and bruises. Still, T.J. isn’t the top-20 fantasy receiver he was expected to be before the season, and that means he’s not an automatic starter in your league. Don’t drop him, but don’t start him until we see a repeat of Sunday’s performance. Verdict: A fraud

Sam Hurd, Cowboys – The Cowboys’ receiving corps is painfully thin, and that means that different players will jump up with impressive numbers in a single game, as Hurd did with three catches for 62 yards against Denver. But it would be foolhardy to expect consistent returns like this from Hurd (or Patrick Crayton or Miles Austin, for that matter). Stay away. Verdict: A fraud

Brandon Marshall, Broncos – We talked in our Cowboys/Broncos post about why none of the Broncos’ receivers are the fantasy threats they were last year. Marshall is an elite talent who’s not getting elite opportunity, and that’s why he’s a marginal starter in most leagues at this point. It’s a shame, but we can’t recommend Marshall as much more than a flex play at this point. For most owners that drafted Marshall, that’s a disappointment. Verdict: A fraud

Mohammed Massaquoi, Browns – The out-of-nowhere fantasy performance Sunday came from Massaquoi, the rookie from Georgia who had eight catches for 148 yards. The second-round pick in April’s draft has good size and speed, but he had just two catches in the first three games of the season. Still, with Derek Anderson coming into the lineup, the Browns seemed to have a little more offensive punch, and it’s reasonable to think that Massaquoi could benefit from that. He’s worth a flier claim in larger leagues (12 teams or more) just to see what happens over the next few weeks. Verdict: Applaud

Hakeem Nicks, Giants – Nicks, who had been sidelined with a foot injury, returned and had a 54-yard touchdown catch vs. the Chiefs. But it was Nicks’ only catch of the game, and he’s still no better than the third-best Giants’ wideout. So while we should congratulate Nicks on a big play, fantasy owners shouldn’t pick him up. Verdict: A fraud

Mike Sims-Walker, Jaguars – Two weeks ago, we told you to claim Sims-Walker. After Sunday’s seven-catch, 91-yard, two-TD performance Sunday, we’re now telling you that he should start in leagues of 12 teams or more. He’s the No. 1 receiving option in Jacksonville. Verdict: Applaud

Steve Smith, Giants – Smith didn’t get a lot of preseason respect, and he ended up being outside the top 40 on many lists of wide receivers. But he’s clearly the best fantasy option among the Giants’ wide receivers, and his production Sunday  against the Chiefs (11 catches, 134 yards, 2 touchdowns) signaled his emergence as a legitimate fantasy starter. If you took a shot on Smith, congrats. You’re being rewarded with an every-week starter. Verdict: Applaud

Tight ends

Brandon Pettigrew, Lions – The only rookie tight end of note had a nice day agains the Bears, catching four passes for 64 yards. Pettigrew is a solid tight end who’s as good blocking as receiving, and he’ll be a big part of the Lions’ offense going forward. But there are so many good tight ends out there that we can’t recommend picking up Pettigrew in fantasy leagues. He’s not going to be a top-15 tight end this year. But if you’re in a league where you can keep several players, keep an eye on Pettigrew to see if he shows signs of becoming more of a force in 2010 and beyond. Verdict: A fraud

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