NFL Week 4 – Do you trust your Carolina Panthers?

By Dan Holzhauer

Jake Delhomme has quickly joined JaMarcus Russell and the benched Brady Quinn as QBs you don’t want within a mile of your fantasy team.  You can include Quinn’s replacement Derek Anderson, and his negative fantasy points, on that list, too.  But after Delhomme’s 5 INT, 1 fumble performance against Arizona in the playoffs, Jake went undrafted in most fantasy leagues.  But as many fantasy owners have quickly found out, Delhomme is wrecking their team from the waiver wire.  But could Carolina coach John Fox really be behind the plot to unravel your championship dreams?

Delhomme has thrown the Carolina offense out of whack and it’s effecting the production of Steve Smith and DeAngelo Williams.  Smith was a top 5 fantasy WR last year with over 1,400 receiving yards and 6 TDs, but he has struggled to be the #1 receiver that players drafted him as this year.  The veteran receiver has 190 yards and 0 TDs through the first three weeks.  He racked up 131 of those yards in one game.  So far this season, Smith’s QB has completed less than 60% of his passes for just 6.6 yards per reception.  Delhomme’s longest completion of the season was a 32 yard pass that went to TE Jeff King.

Smith was draped by two Cowboys defenders all Monday night in Dallas, and the 4 time pro-bowler was visibly angry on the sidelines.  He caught just 4 passes for 38 yards; none of which moved the chains.  Perhaps more importantly, the frustrated Smith broke off of a slant route in the 4th quarter that resulted in the second of Delhomme’s three turnovers.

But the most troubling of Delhomme’s statistics are his 91 pass attempts.  That’s a lot of passes for a QB that was benched before the end of the first game and has thrown 12 INTs in the last four games.  In comparison, DeAngelo Williams, who ran for over 1,500 yards and 18 TDs last year, has had just 41 carries.

Williams has totalled just 15 carries in the second half; even though the Panthers trailed by just one score in the second half of their last two games.  He has averaged just 4.4 yards per carry, but he has averaged 5.3 per carry in the first half.  Williams averaged 6.3 yards per carry in the first half Monday night, but coach John Fox gave Williams just 4 carries in the second half of a game they led 7-0.  Williams has managed to carry some of his fantasy weight with 264 total yards and two rushing TDs.  But the first half of Monday night’s game had the look of a breakout game for Williams, who had 44 yards on just seven carries against a defense that came in allowing 135.5 rushing yards per game.

After an 0-3 start, the Panthers are not where they expected to be for their bye week.  With any luck, coach Fox will find the offense that was 3rd in the NFL in rushing in 2008.  Fortunately, the fantasy gods have smiled upon the Carolina Panthers, as they can get healthy in weeks five and six against Washington and Tampa Bay, who are a combined 1-5.

With bye weeks upon us, your bench is as important as ever.  The Panthers, Eagles, Cardinals and Falcons will be watching week 4 at home.  Here are some pickups that may save your week:

Steve Smith, NYG WR:

Late in 2008, the Giants struggled to find a replacement for Plaxico Burress. Through the first three weeks of 2009, Eli Manning has spread his 59 completions over ten receivers.  The most consistent of those receivers has been ‘The Other’ Steve Smith.  Still underrated by many fantasy players, Smith is sixth in the league with 277 receiving yards.  Add in his two touchdowns, and 23 receptions for PPR leagues, and Smith has been a top 5 fantasty receiver.  With defenses under constant threat from Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw out of the backfield, look for Smith to continue bringing home big points for whoever grabs him off the wire.

Glen Coffee, SF RB

The rookie out of Alabama was not very impressive in his 25 carries against Minnesota.  But not many people have been able to run against the Vikings, whose defense led the league in 2008 with 76.9 rushing yards allowed per game.  According to the 49ers Twitter, Frank Gore is out with multiple strains of his right ankle. For now, Glen Coffee is the man in San Fran.  Coffee has a favorable matchup at home against the 0-3 Rams in week 4, and he should be in the starting lineup at least until the 49ers come back from their week 6 bye.

Mike Sims-Walker, JAX WR:

The Jacksonville Jaguars do not have a ton of offensive weapons.  Maurice Jones-Drew leads the team in both carries and receptions.  But lost in the shuffle of the first three weeks of the season is Mike Sims-Walker. The young receiver out of Central Florida has caught 12 balls for 187 yards in the last two weeks after not making the stat sheet in week one.  Sims-Walker has the skill to be the team’s #1 receiver for the rest of the year.  The loss of QB Matt Hasselbeck has Seattle fans concerned, but fantasy players should not see much of a drop off with Seneca Wallace under center.

Pierre Garcon, IND WR:

With Anthony Gonzalez out for an unpredictable length of time with a knee injury, fantasy points are up for grabs on the Indy bench.  Peyton Manning still has his most trusted targets in veterans Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark, but he has found a playmaker in WR Pierre Garcon.   The second year receiver out of Mount Union College has grabbed a touchdown in each of the last two games, including the game winner in Miami on Monday Night Football.  Although Garcon has only caught seven passes, his touchdowns have gone for 48 and 53 yards.

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Filed under Dan Holzhauer, Fantasy Football, Football, Injury

NBA Eastern Conference Preview

By: Stanley Talouis

Depending on what team you root for, you’re either looking forward to the upcoming NBA season, or you’re just so entrenched into football season that you don’t really care. And if you’re from North Carolina, you’ve always got the Tar Heels. For the rest of you, here’s a breakdown of what you can look forward to for fantasy basketball, or just the NBA in general.

The Atlanta Hawks seem poised to make another run at the postseason. That said, there are a few questions fantasy owners will have to ponder. Will the Hawks trade Mike Bibby if Jeff Teague, the rookie from Wake Forest has an immediate impact? Will Al Horford put up the same numbers he did last year? Is this going to be the breakout year for Marvin Williams? Even if the Hawks keep Bibby for the whole season, don’t expect him to put up the same numbers he did last season. His assists may increase a bit but with Joe Johnson, Horford, and Jamal Crawford sharing the court, Bibby won’t be looked at to score. Since the Hawks didn’t do the conventional thing in drafting or signing another big man, Al Horford should take advantage and put up nearly a double double like he did last season. While I don’t think that Marvin Williams will ever live up to his draft hype, he’ll be a decent pickup for fantasy owners, provided he’s drafted late. Sleeper- Jeff Teague

The Boston Celtics will continue to be the Celtics. Unselfish, intense, and a 50-plus win team. That said, I wouldn’t personally draft anyone on that team except for Pierce and Rondo. KG is still trying to come back from that knee injury, and Ray Allen isn’t the same player he once was. Adding Rasheed Wallace makes sense from a team standpoint because they need someone to bolster that frontcourt, but he won’t make much of an impact for fantasy owners. Sleeper – Rasheed Wallace

The Charlotte Bobcats are another one of those teams that are hard to decipher for fantasy owners. Larry Brown can never really make up his mind about his lineup and the only go-to scorer on the team is Gerald Wallace, who I expect to be a middle round pick. Fantasy owners who liked Tyson Chandler’s production last season shouldn’t expect him to duplicate those numbers. Chandler benefited from playing with a borderline MVP in Chris Paul and the last time I checked, neither Ray Felton nor DJ Augustin was Chris Paul. Sleeper- DJ Augustin

The Chicago Bulls, like Charlotte, have a lot of different people that play their own roles. The offense runs through Derrick Rose with Luol Deng as his scoring option, and a lot of guys with question marks. Now that Ben Gordon is gone, this is Rose’s team, and his production should reflect that. Sleeper – Kirk Heinrich

Cleveland Cavaliers – Any fantasy owner that had Lebron James last season (like me) will tell you that LBJ can win you a league. King James will lead his team in points, assists, rebounds, and blocks… which is exactly what Bron-Bron did. Danny Ferry did a good job bringing in another option for Lebron in Danny Green. Plus, he’s a native New Yorker and I like that. Mo Williams should have another good season and may average close to 20 points a game again. Also Shaq and Leon Powe make this Cavs team very balanced to make Lebron happy. And a happy Lebron, is a productive Lebron. Sleeper- Danny Green

The Detroit Pistons are an intriguing team because they went out and brought in the pieces they needed to reclaim their place at the top of the Eastern Conference. At the same time, those very pieces could make the Pistons a very potent offensive team. Richard Hamilton is a model of consistency and Rodney Stuckey should have one of those “I’m finally coming into my own” seasons. Throw in Ben Gordon and Charlie Villanueva with a little bit of Dajuan Summers, and you’ve got a recipe for fantasy success. Sleeper – Rodney Stuckey

When it comes to the Indiana Pacers and Danny Granger, there are only three necessary words. Poor. Man’s. Lebron. Danny Granger has the capability to lead his team in most categories and can be an integral part of any fantasy team. His numbers have increased every year since he was drafted and he may even come close to averaging 30 points a game. There aren’t too many other scoring options, so that helps too. Sleeper – AJ Price

Consider this the last hoorah for the Miami Heat. If this team doesn’t make a serious run at the playoffs, there’s a good chance Dwayne Wade is going to skip town when his contract is up. But fear not fantasy owners, Flash will put up his MVP-type numbers. Jermaine O’Neal won’t put up his career numbers, which is sad considering he’s only 30. Michael Beasley fresh out of rehab should be focused enough to have an increase in production but only time will tell. Wade will be a top five pick, and might even be enough to carry a team ala Lebron. Sleeper- Mario Chalmers

I’m apologizing ahead of time if you happen to be a Milwaukee Bucks fan. You’re asking yourself, “Why Stan? Why are you apologizing?” Well, the Bucks aren’t very good, they have no scoring threat along the perimeter and there isn’t one player worth drafting before the sixth round. The lone bright spot on the team is Brandon Jennings, and that, my friends, is a stretch. Michael Redd is coming off of knee surgery and there’s no indication that he’ll be the same player he once was. One thing to consider is that Redd is a jump shooter and without knees, it’ll be hard to jump. Joe Alexander

The New Jersey Nets’ Brook Lopez had a surprisingly good season for a rookie.big man. His production should definitely increase from his averages of 13 points and 8 rebounds a game. The Nets are still a team in transition getting ready for the Sweepstakes Summer of Lebron… as I like to call it. Alston could emerge as a statistical leader on this team, but he’ll struggle for playing time behind Devin Harris and Courtney Lee. As far as Harris goes, he’ll still put up his 20 points a game, and Lee’s value as a scoring option will increase. Sleeper – Sean Williams

I may be a little biased here, but the New York Knicks… who am I kidding? They’re so inconsistent, there’s no one worth drafting outside of David Lee. Lee was among the league leaders in double doubles and might consider showcasing himself for another team. He’s one of the hardest working players in the league and his point totals are going to show it. Wilson Chandler is another player with a similar skill set to a Danny Granger. He can shoot, he can get to the rim and he can finish when he gets there. Chandler averaged 14 points a game last season but over the last few months consistently scored 20 points or more. Sleeper- Eddy Curry… yeah I know, but he lost like 50 pounds.

The Orlando Magic took a step back when they let Hedo Turkoglu go to Toronto. They’ll have to try to replace him with an aging Vince Carter but I don’t think it’s going to work because Hedo’s versatility and the mismatches he caused made him a valuable asset. Vince Carter’s value will increase because of the double teams that Dwight Howard demands and Mickael Pietrus’ perimeter shooting. Sleeper – Matt Barnes

The Philadelphia 76ers have a new logo and new uniforms, but the same team. Jrue Holiday was pretty underwhelming at times at UCLA, and I have a feeling he’ll slip through the cracks in the NBA. The question to ponder is whether or not the Sixers will finally play at the slow pace they said they’d play at since before last season. If they do, Elton Brand should put up the same kind of numbers he put up in LA. If not, it should be another subpar season for the Sixers. Either way, Andre Igoudala should maintain an average of 20-25 points a game. Sleeper – Sean Singletary

The Toronto Raptors will… I repeat… WILL underachieve once again this season. Jose Calderon will shoulder the load as the best guard on the team, unless you count Marcus Banks. The forward-heavy Raptors signed Hedo Turkoglu (forward), gave Andrea Bargnani (forward) a huge deal, and drafted, you guessed it… another forward in DeMar DeRozan. Bosh’s numbers won’t waver, and he’ll have some help in Hedo, whose value should stay the same because essentially, Bosh = Dwight. Sleeper – Marco Belinelli

The Washington Wizards look good on paper so I’ll crown them my Eastern Conference Paper Champions. They have good perimeter shooters in Mike Miller, Deshawn Stevenson and Randy Foye. They have a guy ready to make the leap to superstardom in Caron Butler, they have a young project in JaVale McGee, and a legitimate scoring threat in Gilbert Arenas despite his injury. I think Arenas is going to want to prove that he’s hasn’t lost a step and will try to put up the same kind of numbers he was able to put up a few seasons ago. Sleeper – Caron Butler

So there you have it. There’s a little preview of the upcoming NBA season for the Eastern Conference. If you have the first overall pick there isn’t anyone you should draft outside of Lebron James. If you don’t have the first overall pick, good luck to you. Lebron’s pretty good. Happy drafting.


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Filed under Basketball, Draft, Fantasy Basketball, Stanley Talouis

Fantasy Baseball Championship Week Cheat Sheet

By: Bryan Curley

There’s a chill in the air. Depending on where you live that may be fall weather rolling in, but that aside it can only mean one thing: Fantasy Baseball Championship Week. For those lucky enough to survive the grueling, five-month regular season, the first two plus weeks of the postseason, and the first week of the standard two-week championship matchup, congratulations. The chance to play for a title is an honor earned by only the best, and winning that elusive championship gives you more than you could ever desire (yeah, maybe that’s a bit much). This year I have the privilege of playing in two championship games, and my attention level could not be higher. If you want to win, yours should be too, and that’s why I’m here to help.

Unless you are in a keeper league, only elite players should have guaranteed roster spots right now, and your starting pitching staff should be a turnstile. Zack Greinke and Tim Lincecum appear to be our Cy Young winners (Timmy… watch out for Chris Carpenter), but after they have thrown their last pitches of the season, you should dump them for pitchers off free agency (if you’re in a total points league or a head-to-head league and in need of accruing wins and strikeouts) or hot bench bats to platoon struggling starters or Carl Crawford against a LHP (.267 AVG .699 OPS 2 HR 18 RBI 4 SB in 198 AB). So who are some potential platooners at each position? Let’s check it out. (Number in parentheses is rank at their position so far this season according to Yahoo!, the platform I choose).

C – Brian McCann (4), Matt Wieters (19)
Brian McCann has certainly had an up and down season. After April injury problems he rebounded to bat .394 in May, but from that point on his average fell each month down to .228 in August. September has seen an upswing as McCann is batting .299 on the month, but his .223 average against LHP leaves much to be desired. Even though he only faces one more southpaw for the rest of the season, it comes on Saturday, October 3, and there’s a good chance he won’t even play. No matter how September finishes, this has been a disappointing year for Matt Wieters, but the good news is his performance thus far means nothing to us! If he is still available (and in 40% of Yahoo! leagues he still is), snatch him up and start him from here on out, unless you have Joe Mauer, Victor Martinez, or Pablo Sandoval that is. His .354-3-13 September line puts him among the league’s best over that period.

1B – Mark Reynolds (5), Adam LaRoche (19)
The opposite of Wieters, Mark Reynolds has had a fantastic season, but his September numbers are just not good. His .200 average and .701 OPS are just pathetic. One of the major playoff pitfalls for fantasy owners is that they rely too much on the guys that got them there. If you have Reynolds, you’re probably in that boat. Jump ship. You’d think people would have caught on by now, but apparently they haven’t. Adam LaRoche is still only 52% owned despite putting up a career second-half line of .303-35-107 per 600 AB. That’s astounding, and it’s happening this year too (.332-13-41 so far). Start him, but not against LHP.

2B – Ian Kinsler (6), Placido Polanco (15)
Ian Kinsler is having a very good season, aside from that hideous .250 average, but he is one of those players that managers need to be wary of. If, late in the week, you have a solid lead in HR and SB feel free to bench Kinsler, because his .227 average against RHP this season can only hurt you. Back to his old self, Placido Polcano is hitting .391 in September to raise his season average to .290. In fact, he has recorded two+ hits in 13 of 23 games this month.

3B – Chone Figgins (5), Casey McGehee (25)
Resisting the urge to pick Reynolds once again, I’ll turn your attention to Chone Figgins. This speedster specializes in hits, runs, stolen bases, and average, but this marks the second straight September in which he has seen more struggles than successes. In 24 games this month he only has 11 runs scored with a .250 average and only three stolen bases. Without production in those categories, you can no longer afford to take the hit in the power categories. Casey McGehee had a fast start when he was called up in late May. His June was among the best in the league, but his next two months were less than stellar. Owned in only 23% of leagues, he’s batting .337-4-24, so give him a shot.

SS – Jason Bartlett (4), Juan Uribe (23)
Let’s all give a round of applause to Jason Bartlett! This man had no business putting up the type of offensive season he did, and he’ll go down as one of the elite surprise players of 2009, but like Reynolds, his time as an everyday starter has drawn to a close. A .226-2-6 line in 23 September games offers you nothing. In fantasy baseball there’s no room for emotion. Say your thanks and send him packing. I waited and waited and waited for Stephen Drew to come around. He never did. After a brief two-week stint with Erick Aybar, I added Juan Uribe. Jackpot. This month he’s batting .371-7-20 in 24 games and has hit safely in 14 of his last 15. He’s propelled me to the finals, and he’ll help take you the rest of the way.

OF – Carl Crawford (3), Nick Markakis (23), Michael Cuddyer (20), Chris Coghlan (51), David Murphy (66)
I mentioned Carl Crawford in the opening, but I’ll state it again here. He can’t hit lefties, and you know what? He faces three over the last seven games (Mark Hendrickson on Monday, C.C. Sabathia on Friday, and Andy Pettitte on Saturday), and while he’s batting .287 this month, he has only five extra base hits and four stolen bases. In fact, after stealing 44 bases in 51 attempts in the first half (86%), he’s only swiped 15 in 24 attempts in the second half (63%). There are better options out there. This is simple and straightforward; Nick Markakis is batting .195 with a .486 OPS this month. There is no reason to play him. Despite being the 20th ranked OF and posting an impressive .277-30-83 line so far this season, Michael Cuddyer is still only 64% owned, and I guarantee he isn’t starting in all of those leagues. It’s too bad because he should be. His .290-8-24 September is comparable to Jason Bay‘s, and the Red Sox left fielder is starting everywhere. Almost as simple as benching Markakis is starting Chris Coghlan. He won’t give you much in the way of power (0 HR and 6 RBI in September), but he’s batting .379 in 232 AB since July. Only 7% owned, David Murphy is available almost everywhere. His .326-4-17 line this month is almost identical to Justin Upton‘s and just behind Matt Holliday‘s. Start with confidence.

Pitching help to come tomorrow!

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Filed under Baseball, Bryan Curley

NFL Week 3 RB Sit/Start

By: Rob Urban

Cedric Benson, CIN:

This former Bear back has found a new home in Cincy and tore up the Packers last week, taking advantage of Green Bay’s new 3-4 defense for 141 yards. However, this week the Bengals welcome the Steelers into Paul Brown Stadium and we might see a different story. I’m not totally sold on Benson just yet, sit him if you have another viable option.

Kevin Smith, DET:

While it’s hard to put any Lion in a starting position these days, look for Smith to have a big game this week against the Redskins. The Lion’s are starving for a win, and if they can avoid getting behind early, Smith could put up some numbers. With Matthew Stafford struggling early in the season, look for Detroit to do anything possible to avoid him putting up more INTs. Also, big Albert Haynesworth hasn’t looked like the guy they spent the big bucks on in the offseason, so we’ll see if Smith can get through the holes this week.

Jamal Lewis, CLE:

A lot of people picked this guy hoping for a glimpse of the back that he used to be. Unfortunately, we haven’t seen that yet, and Lewis sat out practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury. This, coupled with the fact that he goes against Ray Lewis and the tough Ravens D should be enough for you to consider benching Jamal.

Joseph Addai, IND:

Addai has a whopping 74 yards on the season, and faces a surprisingly tough Cardinals defense, which has allowed less than 60 rush yds. per game thus far. If you have a different RB to put in his place, or are considering Addai for a WR/RB position, leave him on your bench.

Matt Forte, CHI:

For those of you who picked Forte in the top 5, fear not! He is itching to have a breakout game after being stymied the first two games of the year. Some pondered if Lovie Smith should have relied more on Forte in the Bears’ week 1 loss in Green Bay, when he instead aired it out with Jay Cutler on his way to 4 interceptions. Lovie’s philosophy says that if the Bears can win with the run, they will do so. The Bears face a Seattle D that gave up 207 yards to Frank Gore last week, and Forte has the tools to do the same. One big scamper will have fantasy owners forgetting his mediocre performances of past weeks.

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One Man’s Plan To Save The Knicks

By: Stanley Talouis

Is it possible to concede a season before the preseason actually starts? Has that ever happened? As a Knicks fan, thats where I am. I don’t know if I can actually commit to this coming season. When I look around the league I see the Cavs trading for Shaq, the Lakers signing Ron Artest (a New York native, by the way) and then I see the biggest Knicks acquisition is bringing in Sun Yue, a 6’9″ Chinese point guard that played 13 minutes last season for the Lakers. Him and Darko Milicic should really make this team a factor. The Knicks whiffed on trading up for a quality guard like Ricky Rubio and ended up taking Jordan Hill and Toney Douglas. Great, another athletic forward from Arizona (remember Channing Frye?) and a combo guard (who we traded to LA for a second round pick and cash).

What is there to be excited about? The possibility of signing Lebron after this season? I haven’t been able to watch a competitive basketball team since 2000. I wish I could want the Knicks to tank the season to get the first overall pick and eventually take John Wall, but I can’t even do that. Not only does Utah have the Knicks first round pick but then there’s the lottery that wouldn’t even guarantee the Knicks getting the first overall pick. The one thing I can hold on to is that the Knicks have never lost 60 games in a season.

So, what do I propose? I think the Knicks have to find a way to get rid of Eddy Curry, and bring in a first round pick. They have to find a taker for Jared Jeffries and cut the rest of the dead weight. The Knicks payroll could be down to about $22 million, and they could make a play for Lebron and Wade. In all honesty, its not going to happen but I have to wish for these things in order to keep from going insane.

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Filed under Basketball, Stanley Talouis

Pressure of Players’ Poor Performances Proves Too Much For Ozzie

By: Joseph Ashe

The 2009 Chicago White Sox weren’t picked to do much this year, but if you were to ask their manager he’d say they are underachievers. Ozzie Guillen usually never throws his players under the bus. Actually he’s the type of manager that says “blame me and not the players.” This year was a little different though. The White Sox were overachieving and the division was bad enough where G.M. Kenny Williams made moves at the trade deadline that figured to put this team over the top. They added Jake Peavy, who was injured at the time but expected back by late August as well as a 26 year old, 2 time all star in Alex Rios by simply claiming him off waivers and paying him the rest of his contract. The Peavy addition never got a chance to play out because he was hit by a line drive in his throwing elbow during a minor league rehab start and since they acquired Alex Rios he is hitting .150 with two homers. These additions are the reason why Ozzie finally lost it. “The money is on the field but these guys don’t show up to play” Ozzie says. In the past you would never hear Ozzie throw his players under the bus but this year he took the blame all season for them until the end. He couldn’t take it anymore always blaming himself so he blamed the players. One thing is for certain; he was right. It was the players’ faults.

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NFL Week 3 Wide Receiver Injury Report

By: Dan Holzhauer

Week two’s morning fantasy surprise came out of New England when WR Wes Welker was declared inactive before their divisional matchup @ the NY Jets.  The shifty possession receiver was out with an undisclosed knee injury.  Welker had played in all 16 games each of the past four seasons.  Listed as questionable for week one, Welker went out and grabbed 12 catches for 93 yards in New England’s win over Buffalo.  The Boston Globe reports that Welker did not practice on Wednesday.  Coach Belichick’s Patriots are always tight-lipped about injuries, so expect Welker to again be a last minute decision.  All Welker owners need to have a replacement ready to go.  Rookie Julian Edelman picked up the receptions in week two, eight catches for 98 yards, after not playing in week one.

Eagles WR and Kick Returner DeSean Jackson spent the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints on the sideline icing his groin.  Prior to that point, Jackson had 101 receiving yards on four catches and an additional 15 yards rushing.  Jackson also scored his second TD of the season; his first came in week one on a 68-yard punt return.  The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Jackson sat out of Wednesday’s practice.  Kevin Kolb had a tough time in his first NFL start, throwing 2 INTs and finishing with a 71.6 QB rating, but the youngster out of the University of Houston also threw for 391 yards and 2 TDs.  With the Kansas City Chiefs coming to town and Jackson, Brian Westbrook (Ankle) and Kevin Curtis (Neck) guaranteed to be less than 100%, look for WRs Brent Celek and Jason Avant and RB LeSean McCoy to pick up a few extra points this weekend.

T.J. Houshmandzadeh was limited to four catches for 62 yards in week two against San Francisco.  Houshmandzadeh has been troubled by a back injury early in the season.  Houshmandzadeh sat out of practice on Wednesday along with quarterback Matt Hasselbeck (fractured rib).  Backup quarterback Seneca Wallace has a 75.8 QB rating in his 37 game career.  The Seahawks managed just ten points in week two, and they all came in the first half.  The Chicago Bears will bring their fifth ranked defense into town on Sunday.  Second year TE John Carlson leads the Seahawks in receptions, yards and touchdowns (tied), but the team needs WR Nate Burleson to step up.  The Seahawks are expecting help from WR Deion Branch, who is expected to be fully healthy for Sunday.

Long troubled Cincinnati Bengals WR Chris Henry hopes that he is done fighting legal charges, but this week he will be fighting an injury.  Henry was held out of practice Wednesday due to a thigh injury. Coming into the season, Henry was thought to be the Bengal’s #2 receiver behind Chad Ochocinco, but Henry has caught just two passes for 23 yards through week two.  Henry has played in both games but he trails teammates Ochocinco, Andre Caldwell, Cedric Benson, Brian Leonard, Laveranues Coles and Daniel Coats in receptions.  Henry is expected to play on Sunday against the Steelers, but don’t expect many points against a tough Steelers defense.

Another receiver watching practice from the sidelines on Wednesday was Domenick Hixon of the NY Giants.  Hixon is expected to play a big role in the Giants offense this year, but he has been limited to just two catches in the first two weeks.  Hixon left Sunday night’s game against the Cowboys in the first quarter after suffering a sprained knee while returning a punt.  The NY Daily News reports that coach Tom Coughlin considers Hixon “day-to-day.” Hixon’s teammate Mario Manningham had a stellar week two, catching ten passes for 150 yards, which included a spectacular juggling catch for a touchdown.  But Manningham has been limited in practice this week due to a shoulder injury.  Eli Manning loves Manning/ham connection so far this year, but look for “the other” Steve Smith to have the biggest game out of the Giants receiving core this week against the Buccaneers, whose defense ranks 31st in both points and yards against.

For the second week in a row things looked promising for Houston Texans WR Kevin Walter on Wednesday.  Coach Gary Kubiak told the Houston Chronicle that “it looks positive” for the team’s #2 receiver.  Things looked positive last Wednesday when Walter was able to participate fully in practice, but he aggravated the hamstring injury that kept him out of week one.  Walter was limited in practice the rest of week two and scratched from the lineup on Sunday. Receiver Andre Davis also sat out week two (concussion) and is still limited in practice.  Look for TE Owen Daniels and RB Steve Slaton to continue to catch the balls not scooped up by stud WR Andre Johnson.

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Filed under Dan Holzhauer, Football, Injury, Wide Receiver