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Volume 6, Issue 129 (Thursday, August 25th)


Tonight's update brought to you by: gamedayritual

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  • Hi Folks,

    It's here. I know that many leagues are drafting this weekend and we'll continue to ramp up our coverage to bring you everything you need to Dominate Your League. From Training Camp Updates, Drafting Software, to Fantasy Articles to the latest in Cheatsheets and up to the minute Stat Projections. We'll keep you covered. In fact, we just added 24 new detailed Player Spotlights today. Thanks to our Footballguy Maurile Tremblay for the help rounding up these stories tonight. Let's get to it.

    Joe Bryant

    SITE NEWS

    A. (Premium Subscription) New Draft Dominator Version K Ready
    You already know the Draft Dominator is the best software on the planet for Dominating Your Draft. Once again, it's updated with the latest tweaks and projections

    B. (Premium Subscription) Value Plays
    This may be the coolest feature we offer. We poll our Footballguys staff as they identify players you want to target who are undervalued as well as those you want to avoid who are overvalued.

    C. (Premium Subscription) Top 300 List

    D. (Premium Subscription) 24 (yes, 24) new Player Spotlights added

    E. Footballguys is Hiring Game Recap Writers
    One of the best in season features we offer are our Game Recaps. You can check out a sample Game Recap here http://apps.footballguys.com/04gamerecapsplayoffs4.cfm For every game we have writers watching every play and bringing you all that you need to know. Several of our current Staff Writers got their start as Game Recap writers and we're hiring a few more. If you're interested, pick a game this week and submit a sample game recap to our Cathy Fazio at Fazio@footballguys.com. We of course pay for the in season work you do. Good luck!

    F. (Premium Subscription) New Offensive Projections
    We've got the latest stat projections factoring current news like Correll Buckhalter's injury and Bubba Franks signing. Let the other guys in your league work with rankings that are six weeks old while you have current data.

    G. (Premium Subscription) New IDP Projections
    Get the latest stat projections for all the IDP players you need to know about.

    H. (Premium Subscription) New VBD Excel App Version N1Ready
    With new projections comes a new Value Based Drafting (VBD) App.


    INSIDE THIS ISSUE

    1. PHI - WR Owens Will Play On Friday
    2. MIA - RB Williams Appears Happy
    3. PHI - RB Buckhalter To Miss Season, Confirmed
    4. CHI - WR Bradley Earns First Team Reps
    5. CLE - With Suggs Out, RB Droughns To Start
    6. BAL - RB Lewis To Sit Out Again
    7. CAR - WR Muhammad Likes Go-To Status
    8. STL - WR Curtis Playing At A High Level
    9. PIT - RB Parker Drawing High Praise From HC Cowher
    10. MIN - C Birk To Schedule Surgery
    11. IND - WR Stokley To Return For Season Opener
    12. SF - WR Battle Grabs Attention
    13. DAL - K Cortez Takes Over Placekicking Duties
    14. MIN - No Front-Runner In Vikings Place Kicking Battle
    15. TEN - PK Jay Taylor Signed; Ola Kimrin Released
    16. IDP: DEN - CB Bailey Taking 17 Days Off
    17. IDP: WAS - LB Arrington, Team Settle 2003 Contract Dispute

    1. PHI - WR Owens Will Play On Friday

    Clipped from: Associated Press article by Rob Maaddi, 8/25/05

    Terrell Owens and Donovan McNabb now can give each other the silent treatment in a game. Owens and McNabb will play together for the first time since their public feud began when the Philadelphia Eagles host the Cincinnati Bengals on Friday night.

    Owens missed the first preseason game after he was sent home for a week following an argument with Eagles coach Andy Reid. He was held out of the second game because of a groin injury.

    "He feels pretty good. He's running around good. He hasn't had a lot of pain in there," Reid said Thursday.

    It'll be interesting to see if Owens and McNabb communicate on the field or along the sideline. The All-Pro receiver and the five-time Pro Bowl quarterback don't speak to each other. Owens started the friction in April when he took a shot at McNabb's performance in Philadelphia's Super Bowl loss to New England. He also called McNabb a "hypocrite" earlier this month.

    "I think it's very important that we be able to get some work," McNabb said, hoping the two can get along well enough to lead the Eagles to a championship.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Owens sometimes talks and acts in a questionable manner off the field, but once he's in pads he's all business. He has too much pride to let an opposing cornerback cover him or prevent him from making a catch if Owens can help it. Whether or not Owens and McNabb get along socially, we believe Owens will bring is normal "A game" with him into the season. What is far less settled is how things will shake out at the WR position opposite Owens. With the injury to Todd Pinkston, Greg Lewis - who played well at the end of last season, particularly in the playoffs - will open the season as the starter. But rookie Reggie Brown, currently the No. 3 receiver, is breathing down Lewis' neck and work his way into the starting lineup before the season is over. He is a physically gifted WR who has shown flashes of talent in training camp.

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    2. MIA - RB Williams Appears Happy

    Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/25/05

    Marijuana's out, and so is military service, although President Bush is nice. Football is hard work but could become fun and leads to freedom. Shaving is vain, money's not a problem and that Mighty Mouse tattoo on the left arm stirs memories of walking Venice Beach with a girl at age 16.

    Ricky Williams may have set an NFL record Wednesday for most topics tackled in a 15-minute interview. He smiled frequently during his weekly media session, an indication that all is well in Williams' universe, which makes the Miami Dolphins happy.

    "I was sitting at home last night and thinking if there was anywhere in the world I'd rather be or anything I'd rather be doing," he said. "And the answer was there was nothing.

    "I've gotten to a point where I realize that happiness doesn't come from the outside. So whether I was back in California or had $10 million or whatever I was doing, it wouldn't make me any happier than I am now."

    Motivated at least partly by the need for a paycheck, the 2002 NFL rushing champion ended his one-year retirement and rejoined the Dolphins on July 25.

    Williams has rushed for only 56 yards in three exhibition games, and because he must sit out the first four regular-season games for violating the NFL substance abuse policy, it'll be nearly eight weeks before he plays when it counts. Maybe that's why few of the questions at his interview session involved football.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Not a lot of fantasy relevance here, except that Williams seems content enough that a second retirement sometime in the next few weeks seems rather unlikely. Some other tidbits from the interview: Williams no longer uses marijuana ("I can't do that anymore. I get tested twice a week."). He owes the Dolphins $8.6 million for breaching his contract by retiring last year, but doesn't know his financial situation. ("I have no idea. The way I live my life, if I have a place to stay and I have food on the table, I'm not broke.") He isn't having fun in training camp; the fun will come later. ("The fun is the result of hard work. If you work hard you get to the fun.")

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    3. PHI - RB Buckhalter To Miss Season, Confirmed

    Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/25/05

    A couple of framed jerseys sat on the floor inside Correll Buckhalter's locker, and a few others hung underneath a motivational quote typed on a white piece of paper.

    The Philadelphia Eagles' star-crossed running back won't be getting much use out of those jerseys and he'll certainly need more encouragement after having season-ending knee surgery for the third time in four years.

    Buckhalter, who missed nearly all of training camp, underwent surgery to repair a torn patella tendon in his right knee Tuesday. Last year, he had season-ending surgery on the same tendon after he injured it in a preseason game.

    "He's a great kid," Eagles coach Andy Reid said Wednesday. "He worked so hard in the offseason. He came back in phenomenal shape. We were looking forward to getting him back out there. He did some good things. For that to happen, your heart goes out to the guy."

    Buckhalter was injured in practice on Aug. 5, but initial MRI tests were inconclusive. Dr. James Andrews, the same surgeon who operated on Buckhalter's knee last year, performed the surgery Tuesday in Alabama.

    Rick Burkholder, the team's head athletic trainer, said Andrews called the injury "a freak thing."

    "We're going to rehab him like he's going to play again," Burkholder said.

    A fifth-year pro out of Nebraska, Buckhalter has been an asset when healthy but missed all of the 2002 season after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in the team's first minicamp.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    This is Buckhalter's third major injury, and it probably leaves his career in doubt. He will attempt to rehab the injury and come back and play again next year, but the road ahead will be tough going. Brian Westbrook remains the team's featured runner. Ryan Moats and Reno Mahe are now the primary backups. The Eagles could look to bring in a free agent RB; Dorsey Levens, Eddie George, Tyrone Wheatley and Troy Hambrick are all available.

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    4. CHI - WR Bradley Earns First Team Reps

    Clipped from: ChicagoBears.com article by Larry Mayer, 8/25/05

    After watching receiver Mark Bradley tear through second and third team defenses, the Bears plan on giving the second-round pick some reps with the No. 1 offense in Friday night's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills.

    "I'm really excited about it," said Bradley, who leads NFL receivers this preseason with 12 receptions and 243 yards. "It's just another step to move forward. It's still early, so I just have to go out and keep doing what I've been doing these past preseason games."

    Bradley, the 39th overall selection in the draft, has averaged 20.2 yards per catch, has five receptions of at least 20 yards and has picked up a first down on 11 of his 12 grabs.

    The Oklahoma produced has excelled on offense while also averaging 20 yards on three kick returns and covering punts as one of the outside gunners.

    "He's a playmaker," said coach Lovie Smith. "He has a lot of ability. We've done quite a few things with him. He can do a lot. I am excited about seeing him grow in the different roles."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    The Bears could use another receiver to emerge as a quality starter opposite Muhsin Muhammad. Justin Gage and Bernard Berrian are the prime contenders for the second starting spot, but Bradley has been by far the most impressive WR in the preseason so far. Bradley would have to have another stellar performance to put himself in the running to start, but even if he opens the season in a backup role, he will probably earn more playing time as the season progresses. He has better athleticism than Gage or Berrian, and a bright long-term outlook in dynasty leagues. None of the Bears' WRs outside of Muhammad are likely to have any fantasy value this year, however.

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    5. CLE - With Suggs Out, RB Droughns To Start

    Clipped from: Cleveland Plain Dealer article by Mary Kay Cabot, 8/25/05

    Running back Lee Suggs confirmed Wednesday that he has a high ankle sprain and will miss at least the final two exhibition games.

    Depending on the severity of the sprain, players usually miss anywhere between two and six weeks. Suggs, who sprained his left ankle, is determined to try to make it back in time for the opener on Sept. 11 against the Bengals.

    "Yea, that's what we're working towards," he said. "They haven't really given me a timetable or anything, but of course I want to play in the season opener."

    The injury is reminiscent of last season, when Suggs was having an outstanding camp and then sustained a neck stinger in practice the week before the final exhibition game. He wound up missing the first three regular-season games.

    "It is kind of weird," he said. "I got hurt about the same time last year, but I can't do anything about it. Injuries happen, and when they do, you just have to do your best to come back from them."

    Suggs sustained the injury in practice last week when his foot got caught on the ground on a pass play, and then someone rolled over it. He sat out last week's game in Detroit. He started the first game against the Giants but only ran three times for 11 yards because of a penalty-marred first quarter.

    Asked if he showed enough in camp to solidify the starting job, Suggs said, "I don't feel like I did. I think it's going to set me a back a lot."

    Coach Romeo Crennel said it's still an open competition among Suggs, William Green and Reuben Droughns, and it all depends on when Suggs comes back.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    With Suggs out, Droughns will get the start Friday night against Carolina. None of the Browns' RBs have distanced themselves from the pack in training camp or in the first two preseason games. Suggs, Droughns, and William Green have all been somewhat comparable to each other. Missing the final two preseason games puts Suggs at a disadvantage, obviously, but if he can come back for the opening game or even the week two game, the injury may not cost him his starting job. Either way, though, this looks like it will be an RBBC situation for at least the first part of the season until one of the RBs really stands out from the others.

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    6. BAL - RB Lewis To Sit Out Again

    Clipped from: Baltimore Sun article by Jamison Hensley, 8/25/05

    Jamal Lewis will miss tomorrow's preseason game because of a bone spur in his left foot.

    Ravens officials said this latest injury is not related to the running back's right ankle, which was surgically repaired six months ago. Lewis recently estimated that his ankle was about 90 percent.

    Chester Taylor, who started the first two preseason games, will replace Lewis again.

    "I'm told that it's not serious and it's typical," coach Brian Billick said. "You come into camp under the circumstances he had to come in, and there is a difference between being in shape and being in football shape. That's something he is having to work through right now."

    Lewis didn't report to the Ravens until the second week of training camp because he had to complete his time at a halfway house as part of his federal drug plea agreement.

    He declined to comment yesterday but said Tuesday, "I guarantee you I'll be out there Sept. 11 [the regular-season opener]."

    [[[[[[[[[[ OUR VIEW ]]]]]]]]]]

    Lewis guarantees that he'll play in the season opener, and we believe him. The question is how close he'll be to 100%. The bone spur may not be directly related to the ankle injury on the opposite foot, but sometimes one nagging injury can lead to others that are seemingly unrelated as a player overcompensates for the first. If Lewis stays healthy once the regular season starts he should live up to his current average draft position of number ten overall. But any concerns about his health may be enough to slide him down past a few of the other RBs who are in the same general tier - e.g., Corey Dillon, Kevin Jones, Julius Jones.

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    7. CAR - WR Muhammad Likes Go-To Status

    Clipped from: ChicagoSports.com article by KC Johnson, 8/25/05

    The "Moose" calls were audible during the Bears' Aug. 4 night practice at Soldier Field. As far as Muhsin Muhammad is concerned, the more, the merrier for Friday's home exhibition opener.

    But there's one thing Muhammad likes to be called other than his obvious nickname-a go-to receiver.

    After leading the NFL with 16 touchdown receptions and 1,405 yards last season and signing a $30 million free-agent contract in the off-season, Muhammad embraces the responsibility of being the go-to guy, the bail-out guy, the comfort-zone receiver.

    Whatever you want to call it, Muhammad wants the role. If he can add stability to a quarterback position that is searching for that quality, all the better. Three of Chad Hutchinson's five completions Saturday went to Muhammad.

    "I know that I'm going to have to catch some difficult balls and create some separation in order for Chad to be able to complete passes," he said. "Knowing that going into the season helps me because then I know what to expect. I know how to prepare for that. It makes my game easier."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    If you're searching for a silver lining in the Chicago QB troubles, consider this for Muhammad: One difference between the top-tier QBs and the bottom-tier QBs is that the latter often lock onto their primary target instead of seeing the whole field and spreading the ball around. The Bears have no established WR apart from Muhammad, so he will definitely be the primary target. Muhammad will still have to get open and catch the ball while often facing double coverage, but he has the talent to do so.

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    8. STL - WR Curtis Playing At A High Level

    Clipped from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch article by Bill Coats, 8/25/05

    As compliments go, coach Mike Martz laid a big one on Kevin Curtis this week when he lumped him in the same class with fellow Rams wide receivers Isaac Bruce and Torry Holt.

    "I think he's on a par with (them); I really do," Martz said. "I think those three are very comparable receivers. I think right now, he's at that level."

    Curtis, a third-year pro from Utah State, was having none of that.

    "I've done very little compared to those guys. I've got a lot to prove to be up in that status," he said. "It's a nice thought, though."

    Curtis has a point: Bruce and Holt - both four-time Pro Bowlers - have combined for 1,294 receptions, 19,909 yards and 119 touchdowns. Curtis' career totals are 36 catches, 434 yards and two touchdowns.

    Martz has a point, too: Curtis gained more yards (369) than any Rams wideout over the past four games of the 2004 season, and he's leading again this preseason.

    In two games, Curtis has seven catches for 142 yards and three touchdowns. Holt has caught five passes for 80 yards and a TD. Bruce has five receptions for 58 yards, with no scores.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Brandon Stokley showed last year that, in a prolific passing offense that often uses three- and four-receiver sets, a team's third receiver can have fantasy success. The Rams' passing offense should put up good numbers as a whole, the question is how much of the pie Curtis will be able to claim. He is probably a better pick in survivor-style leagues in which owners do not have to pick a starting lineup each week. Curtis will almost certainly have a few big games this year, but he probably won't be consistent enough to be considered an every-week fantasy starter. So in traditional leagues, owners will have to try to guess which weeks to start him and which weeks to keep him on the bench. Which probably won't be easy.

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    9. PIT - RB Parker Drawing High Praise From HC Cowher

    Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/25/05

    Their personality developed during the not-so-good days of the 1960s with John Henry Johnson, and carried into the Super Bowl era of the 1970s with Franco Harris. Barry Foster served as a brief transition to Jerome Bettis and, for a time last season, Duce Staley.

    Times and trends change in the NFL, but Pittsburgh's running game rarely does. The Steelers rely on power backs to gain yardage between the tackles, even if those runners' individual styles -- size with Bettis, power with Johnson, finesse with Harris -- aren't always the same.

    Willie Parker is changing all that.

    The Steelers have never had a running back as fast as Parker, a rookie free agent a year ago known as Fast Willie who ran for 102 yards against Buffalo last season in the only NFL game in which he has more than 10 carries.

    That speed creates problems not just for defenses geared toward stopping the straight-ahead bulk of Bettis and Staley, but for the Steelers' coaching staff, too. His production is forcing coach Bill Cowher and offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt to find ways to get him on the field in situations where he can use his speed to get outside.

    With Staley (knee surgery) not likely to return until sometime next month, Parker could find himself splitting time with Bettis when the season starts. Parker also is competing with holdover Verron Haynes to be the third-down back.

    "I think you're going to see a different age in terms of what the Steelers have been used to," Bettis said. "It's been a real power back, so to speak, throughout their history, and to have a guy who has the ability to hit a home run at any point on the field, that's pretty significant."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Regular readers know we've been hyping this guy since last year. If you haven't already, add Fast Willie Parker to your list of sleeper RBs. In deep leagues, he may be worth a late-round draft pick. In any league, he is worth keeping an eye on as a potential waiver-wire pickup in case he starts getting significant playing time. Unlike Staley or Bettis, Parker is a threat to go the distance from anywhere on the field. So while the Steelers plan to play a game of field position on the strength of their power running game, you may see Parker get a decent amount of action whenever the Steelers are behind and have to play catch-up. His speed makes him a big-play threat in a way that Bettis and Staley are not.

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    10. MIN - C Birk To Schedule Surgery

    Clipped from: ESPN.com article, 8/25/05

    Minnesota Vikings center Matt Birk plans to schedule surgery on his injured left hip, which could keep him out for three months, after the Vikings declined to guarantee his contract for 2006, the player's agent said Thursday.

    Birk had been cleared to play with painkilling injections but asked the Vikings to guarantee his nearly $4 million salary for 2006 in exchange for him taking a risk and playing with the pain.

    But the Vikings declined to do so, agent Joe Linta said.

    "They've turned down all our proposals," Linta told The Associated Press. "For Matt, it's probably the best thing. I just feel like the Vikings are making a big mistake. The risk is so minimal for them."

    Linta said he was essentially asking the Vikings to increase the injury protection clause in Birk's contract for 2006. NFL guidelines call for players to receive $250,000 if they cannot play because of a previous injury. Linta wanted the Vikings to increase that amount to equal his base salary, which will be about $4 million.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    This is a huge blow to the Vikings' offense, particularly to the running game. Their run-blocking from the first unit has not looked very good so far in the preseason, and starting RB Michael Bennett is the type of back who needs a hole to run through. Give him a crease, and he can explode into the secondary - but he won't create much on his own. Bump all the Viking RBs down a bit on this news. How it affects Culpepper and the receivers is less clear. Culpepper generally does a good job avoiding the rush; and if the running game is less effective, the run-pass ratio may decline, resulting in more pass attempts and targets for Culpepper and his receivers.

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    11. IND - WR Stokley To Return For Season Opener

    Clipped from: Colts.com article by John Oehser, 8/25/05

    Brandon Stokley is catching passes again.

    That's a good start, he said.

    When his return will be complete isn't known, but the Colts veteran wide receiver said Thursday his goal remains what it has been since sustaining a dislocated shoulder while preparing for the American Bowl in Tokyo, Japan, earlier this month:

    To return to play in the Colts' season-opener against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore on September 11.

    "That's my goal, if we keep going forward," Stokley said as the Colts (0-3 in the preseason) prepared to play the Denver Broncos in a preseason game at INVESCO Field at Mile High Stadium Saturday at 7 p.m. EST.

    "If we don't have any setbacks, that's my goal, to be there for that game."

    Stokley, who caught 68 passes for 1,077 yards and 10 touchdowns last season, caught passes Thursday, something he said he has done the last several days.

    "It felt good," Stokley said. "I've caught the ball the last few days, and it's feeling good. It's not too sore. Hopefully, we'll keep progressing."

    Asked if he believed he was on schedule, he said, "I do. I feel like the last three or four days we're really going forward. We haven't had any setbacks yet, so that's good.

    "The next step, I guess, is to get out there and get some action as far as practice. That's hopefully next week sometime."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    As the third WR in an offense that regularly uses three WRs, Stokley is a big part of the Colts' offense. He will not be as consistent as Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne, but he will have several huge games if opposing defenses try to cover Stokley with a safety. We expect Stokley's overall numbers to decline quite a bit this year. They were inflated last year by a lot of big plays - long catches and runs - that can't be counted on to happen again. Nonetheless, he is more valuable as a fantasy player than most NFL team's second WRs - a testament to the Colts' ability to spread the ball around and take advantage of whatever mismatches present themselves.

    Back to Top

    12. SF - WR Battle Grabs Attention

    Clipped from: San Francisco Chronicle article by Glenn Dickey, 8/25/05

    Arnaz Battle went to Notre Dame hoping to become the next Joe Montana. Now, Jerry Rice is a better role model.

    "When I went to Notre Dame, I was so excited about following great quarterbacks like Joe Montana and Rick Mirer," Battle said Wednesday at the 49ers' camp in Santa Clara. Plus, I felt proud to be the first African American quarterback at Notre Dame."

    After three years, though, Notre Dame coach Bob Davie decided to switch Battle to wide receiver. "The offensive coordinator didn't like it because he'd worked so hard on making me a quarterback," said Battle, who wore Montana's college No. 3 while at Notre Dame. "I wasn't sure, but with my athletic skills, it was a good move for me."

    Davie didn't get a chance to take advantage of his decision because Battle got injured and missed what would have been his senior year. He got a medical redshirt and, by the time Battle returned, Davie had been replaced by Tyrone Willingham.

    "Coach Willingham put in the West Coast offense, and that really helped me," Battle said.

    Liking his athleticism, the 49ers took him as a sixth-round draft pick in 2003, and he played eight games before a toe injury ended his season. Last year, he showed his versatility by catching eight passes for 143 yards, returning 13 kickoffs for 257 yards and 31 punts for 266 yards, while also being a key special-teams player.

    One play got everybody's attention: a 71-yard punt return for a touchdown against Arizona.

    This year, coach Mike Nolan would prefer to use Battle exclusively at flanker, where Rice lined up, to utilize his athletic ability. "He has some very special skills," Nolan said. "He has the ability to change directions quickly and go up for the ball."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Battle is another player you should be adding to your sleeper list. The 49ers are pretty lean at WR, but somebody from the group will emerge as a playmaker and it could be Battle. He is currently lining up opposite Brandon Lloyd with the starting unit, and he has made a number of impressive grabs during training camp.

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    13. DAL - K Cortez Takes Over Placekicking Duties

    Clipped from: ESPN.com News Services article, 8/25/05

    Starting kicker Billy Cundiff, who was injured during practice Saturday, and second-year offensive lineman Jacob Rogers, projected as the team's starting right tackle at the outset of training camp were cut.

    Cundiff, 25, is a talented kicker, both strong-legged and accurate, but team officials decided they could not afford to retain him on the roster for the four to six weeks that it might take him to recover. The problem was initially diagnosed as a hip flexor injury, but Cundiff actually suffered quadriceps damage and faces at least a month of rehabilitation.

    For now, the Cowboys will go with kicker Jose Cortez, a journeyman who is with his fifth different team.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Cundiff was not high on most people's kicker lists anyway, but now he is undraftable. Cortez becomes the Cowboys kicker for now. He should be decent and more importantly, dirt cheap.

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    14. MIN - No Front-Runner In Vikings Place Kicking Battle

    Clipped from: Associated Press article, 8/25/05

    Minnesota Vikings coach Mike Tice said the kicking competition between Aaron Elling and Paul Edinger is so close that he has no idea which player will make the roster.

    "I'm totally baffled," Tice said Wednesday. "Honestly."

    Elling was believed to have the initial edge because he is the incumbent and showed the stronger leg early in training camp.

    But Edinger, who was signed in the offseason from Chicago, has improved in his kickoffs while exhibiting impressive accuracy on field goals to push the race to a dead heat.

    "I think (Edinger's) kickoffs have gotten significantly better. He seems to be doing this," Tice said, as he made a gesture with his hand denoting steady improvement.

    Elling, on the other hand, has impressed Tice with his consistency and his ability to shrug off a missed kick.

    "Aaron seems to have settled down," Tice said. "This year, he'd miss a kick, he goes back and hits the next kick. That's a sign of maturity."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    The Vikings have the potential to put up a lot of points, so whoever wins this job will probably be roster-worthy - that is, one of the top 12 fantasy kickers.

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    15. TEN - PK Jay Taylor Signed; Ola Kimrin Released

    Clipped from: Nashville City Paper article by Terry McCormick, 8/25/05

    The Titans signed former Tampa Bay kicker Jay Taylor Wednesday and released Ola Kimrin. Taylor will now complete with Rob Bironas, though further exploration of the waiver wire and free agent market remains likely.

    "It's a good opportunity," Taylor said. "There aren't too many teams that are unsure of what may happen at this position. I'm grateful to be in this spot."

    Taylor joined the Bucs after Martin Gramatica was injured. He was 4-of-5 on field goals and 11-of-11 on PATs.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Like Billy Cundiff, Kimrin was not high on many kicker lists anyway, but now he is undraftable.

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    16. IDP: DEN - CB Bailey Taking 17 Days Off

    Clipped from: Denver Post article by Bill Williamson, 8/25/05

    The Broncos have decided star cornerback Champ Bailey will spend the next 17 days dedicated to rehabilitating a pesky hamstring injury.

    Coach Mike Shanahan said Wednesday in all likelihood Bailey will miss the team's final two preseason games in hopes of being ready for the regular- season opener against Miami at Dolphins Stadium on Sept. 11.

    Bailey, who didn't play in the Broncos' first two preseason games, has twice aggravated the injury. He hasn't fully participated in practice since the first full week of training camp.

    Rookie cornerback Darrent Williams, who started the first two preseason games, is expected to continue to spell Bailey.

    It's no surprise Bailey is being shelved for the preseason. He clearly won't be pushed to play Saturday night against the Indianapolis Colts at Invesco Field at Mile High. Also, Shanahan doesn't usually play his starters in the final preseason game, which is Sept. 2 at Arizona.

    "We just want him to get better and ready for the regular season," Shanahan said. "I have no worries. He'll be ready."

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Bailey hasn't missed a game since entering the league in 1999. He'll be ready for the season opener, so don't let the fact that he'll sit out the final two preseason games affect your rankings.

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    17. IDP: WAS - LB Arrington, Team Settle 2003 Contract Dispute

    Clipped from: ESPN.com article by Len Pasquarelli, 8/25/05

    Nearly a year and a half of acrimony between the Washington Redskins and star linebacker LaVar Arrington has ended with a settlement of the contract dispute in which the three-time Pro Bowl defender insisted that the team shorted him by $6.5 million in the eight-year extension he signed in December 2003.

    The settlement, which culminated weeks of intense bargaining that was ratcheted up over the past few days, is expected to become official Thursday. The deal was essentially completed on Wednesday when Arrington's attorney, Steve Brown, was able to have some key sticking points removed from the settlement language.

    Under terms of the settlement, Arrington is likely to see half the disputed $6.5 million. The deal allows Arrington to void the contract, which is scheduled to run through the 2011 season, as early as 2007 if he is named twice to the Pro Bowl. Making the Pro Bowl twice over the next four years would permit Arrington to then void the remainder of the deal.

    If such a void is triggered, and Arrington opts to become a free agent, the Redskins can "buy back" the voided years with a $3.25 million bonus.

    The dispute began shortly after Arrington signed an eight-year, $68 million extension late in the 2003 season. Arrington and agent Carl Poston subsequently charged that a bonus of $6.5 million for 2006, which they said had been agreed upon, was omitted from the final draft of the contract that the star linebacker signed. Poston acknowledged that he had not read the final contract.

    [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

    Arrington can be a defensive force when he is healthy, but staying healthy has been a big problem for him recently. He also finds himself out of position more frequently than he should, and he can be a liability in pass coverage. While still considered a top-tier linebacker by the average NFL fan, keen fantasy owners in IDP leagues do not consider him to be anywhere near the same class as studs like Ray Lewis, Donnie Edwards, Keith Bullock, or Brian Urlacher.

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    That'll do it for today, Folks. Have a great day and we'll see you tomorrow with the update.

    J

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