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Volume 6, Issue 139 (Sunday, September 4th)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
The Footballguys.com Stats Book

Last year, we put out the fattest book of stats the fantasy football industry had ever seen. You told us you liked it, so we're putting out a 2005 edition. It's 377 pages of nothing but stats. And not just your run-of-the-mill stats, either. The stats in this book are geared specifically to the fantasy football enthusiast. How many red zone targets did Chad Johnson have last year? What were Clinton Portis' numbers on 3rd-and-short? And tons more.

Web Address: http://www.footballguys.com/05buyfbgstatbook.htm

Hi Folks,

Again, our hearts, thoughts and prayers go out to our many friends along the Gulf Coast suffering from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina. It puts what we do with Fantasy Football into perspective. The Red Cross can definitely use your help. More info is here http://www.redcross.org/ or 1-800-HELP-NOW if you would like to help.

On to Football. The regular season is right around the corner. It doesn't seem like that long ago, but for the last 139 nights, we've been hammering out these updates for you and we'll keep it rolling for a few more days. Remember that these updates end once the regular starts. They'll be replaced by the tons more content that our Footballguys Premium Subscribers receive. If you'd like to keep this content rolling all season long, you can sign up at www.footballguys.com. Now let's get to the news. Thanks to our Mike Brown for the help in rounding up these stories tonight.

Joe Bryant


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. DEN - Rice Won't be #3 WR; May Retire
2. SF - TE Johnson May Miss Opener With Foot Injury
3. MIA - RB Gordon Cut
4. PHI - RB Gordon Claimed On Waivers
5. MIA - Dolphins Sign RB Chatman
6. NYJ - RB Martin May Carry Offensive Load Until Team Hits Stride
7. OAK - TE Johnson Released
8. BUF - Bills Decide To Keep WR Reed
9. NE - WR Terrell Cut
10. NYG - RB Barber Says He's Got a Lot Of Yards Left
11. SEA -WR Pathon Cut
12. PIT - WR Gibson Released
13. IDP: IND - LB Calmus Traded To Colts
14. IDP: GB - DT Hunt Cut
15. IDP: TB - T Deese Cut, LB Gooch Placed On IR
16. NFL - Keep Track Of Cuts

1. DEN - Rice Won't be #3 WR; May Retire

Clipped from: Denver Post article by Mike Klis 9/3/05

As he assumed more than feared, Jerry Rice was informed Saturday he would no longer be the Broncos' No. 3 receiver.

Either Darius Watts or Charlie Adams will become the top reserve to Broncos starting receivers Rod Smith and Ashley Lelie. That leaves Rice, the NFL's all-time leading receiver in virtually every significant category, competing with Todd Devoe for the No. 5 receiver spot, a role not even guaranteed to suit up on game day.

The news left Rice, who is a month shy of his 43rd birthday, again contemplating the biggest decision of his life: How much longer does he want to be a football player? Rice is home with his family in the Bay Area, where for the second time in five weeks he is seriously considering retiring from what has assuredly been a first-ballot, Hall of Fame career.

"The No. 3 receiver is where Jerry's focus has been in Denver, and the fact he won't be the No. 3 receiver has him thinking about what he wants to do," said Jim Steiner, Rice's agent.

Steiner added Rice will make his decision by the time the Broncos return to practice Monday in preparation for their season-opening game Sept. 11 at Miami.

Rice strongly hinted following the Broncos' final preseason game Friday he had likely played the last game of his 20-year career.

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

If this is indeed the last we've seen of Rice on the field, then we wish him well in whatever he chooses to do with his post-football career. While this news may not dominate fantasy headlines in 2005, we'd like to recognize the amazing career of one of the best fantasy performers of the past twenty years, and undoubtedly the greatest wide receiver of all-time.

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2. SF - TE Johnson May Miss Opener With Foot Injury

Clipped from: Mercury News article by Dennis Georgatos 9/4/05

A partially torn plantar fascia in Eric Johnson's right foot probably will keep the 49ers tight end out of the team's Sept. 11 opener.

Johnson said Saturday that team doctors told him a recent MRI exam of the injury showed that there has been some improvement but that his recovery required more time.

"Pretty much, they don't think I'll be able to play this week," said Johnson, whose 82 receptions last season were the most ever by a 49ers tight end. The 49ers begin the season at Monster Park against the St. Louis Rams.

"They want to let it heal so it doesn't become a recurring thing," he added. "It looks like one or two more weeks for it to be fully healed and then I won't have to worry about it, rather than pushing it and being out maybe eight games later on."

Johnson, who missed all four exhibition games, suffered the injury about a week and a half into training camp. He said he was just running around in practice when he felt a pop in his foot followed by sharp pain.

On Tuesday, when the team reconvenes to prepare for the Rams, Johnson said he may test his foot on the outside chance the injury is healing faster than expected.

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

It's the same story every year with Johnson. Heading into the season, the main issue surrounding him is health. He's always had the skills, but the injuries kept piling up on him. Entering 2005, not much has changed. After a dynamite opening to last season, Johnson slowed down the stretch in the second half. Adding on top of that a lingering foot injury, and that is reason enough for us to drop him down in our rankings. Rather than spending a high pick on Johnson, shop around and look for other options to possibly be THIS year's Johnson who you can obtain much later (Chris Cooley, Jerramy Stevens, etc.)

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3. MIA - RB Gordon Cut

Clipped from: Associated Press article 9/3/05

Miami released running back Lamar Gordon, obtained for a third-round pick from the St. Louis Rams last season after Ricky Williams retired.

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

After opening last year as Miami's featured back, Gordon could never really get anything going. Due in part to offensive line play and also in part to an overall poor offense around him, Gordon was never able to secure a firm grasp on the job and run with it. As you'll see below, however, another team is already banking on Gordon being able to regain the form he showed at times.

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4. PHI - RB Gordon Claimed On Waivers

Clipped from AP article by Rob Maaddi 9/4/05

The Philadelphia Eagles filled their need for a big running back, claiming Lamar Gordon off waivers from the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.

Second-year pro Bruce Perry was released to make room for Gordon.

"Lamar is a big back with good speed and quickness," Eagles coach Andy Reid said. "He also has the ability to catch the ball, which will help him in this offense. He's a talented, young running back who should be a good complement to the rest of the backs on this team. We're looking forward to getting him into Philadelphia and onto the practice field this week."

The Eagles have been looking for a back with size since Correll Buckhalter went down with a season-ending knee injury for the third time in four years.

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

Well, it looks like Gordon is going to serve the 'Dorsey Levens' role with Philadelphia this season. It comes as no surprise that the Eagles made a move to add another back, as it is obvious that Andy Reid doesn't like to put too much of a workload on any one back. We don't feel this signing impacts Brian Westbrook all that much from what we had forecasted in the pre Buckhalter injury days. Unless of course you want to scare the Westbrook owner in your league that he'll lose goal line carries now. Rest assured, Westbrook will get his touches in one way or another. He would have lost a handful of carries anyway - at least now we know who'll be getting them.

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5. MIA - Dolphins Sign RB Chatman

Clipped from: Associated Press article 9/4/05

The Dolphins signed running back Jesse Chatman, who spent the past three years with the San Diego Chargers and was released July 26.

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

Out with the old, in with the new. Obviously, Chatman wasn't going to see significant carries in San Diego anytime soon. That said, it doesn't look as if he'll get much work in Miami, either (at least when Ricky Williams comes back). HC Nick Saban wants to ease rookie Ronnie Brown into the mix in the early going, however, so perhaps Chatman will see some more playing time the first few weeks. Of course, we don't recommend him as being roster-worthy anyway.

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6. NYJ - RB Martin May Carry Offensive Load Until Team Hits Stride

Clipped from: Clipped from NJ.com article by Dave Hutchinson

With several question marks on offense, defense and special teams, the Jets will likely turn to veteran running back Curtis Martin to spark the offense until quarterback Chad Pennington gets up to speed with the new offense. Martin will also be asked to help eat up the clock and keep the defense off the field.

"Our passing game, we'll see," Jets coach Herman Edwards said. "I think it will improve as we play, but I think you've got to establish the run in this league."

Martin, 32, won his first NFL rushing crown last season with 1,697 yards and 12 touchdowns. He looked like a young pup in training camp and the preseason.

Admittedly, Pennington is still learning the nuances of Mike Heimerdinger's down-the-field offense and had an uneven preseason.

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

It makes a lot of sense to lean heavily on the running game in the early going while the offense gels. If the Jets happen to run an inordinate amount of times, it's likely that Derrick Blaylock would also see some meaningful carries. The Jets are primed for a Super Bowl run, so we wouldn't expect them to burn out Martin early on. It doesn't mean his workload will be reduced; just that we don't think they'll run him any more than usual. In essence, don't let this story affect your rankings for Martin.

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7. OAK - TE Johnson Released

Clipped from: Associated Press article 9/4/05

Tight ends Teyo Johnson and Rickey Dudley were among 20 players cut by the Oakland Raiders on Saturday, as the team got down to the 53-man limit.

Johnson, a second-round pick of the Raiders in 2003, had been in and out of Coach Norv Turner's doghouse since last year when he skipped offseason workouts to take part in an NFL-sponsored trip to China. Though Turner later said the two cleared the air, Johnson was relegated to a backup role throughout the preseason this year and barely played at all in Oakland's 13-6 win over New Orleans on Thursday.

"With every move, the thing you're trying to do is find the most complete players to fill our your entire roster," Turner said.

"Everyone involved in coaching Teyo worked hard to give him an opportunity to be successful," he added. "When you have a guy and you see the potential, you want to see that develop and come out. At times it did. It's just finding the consistency was the thing we were looking for."

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

Johnson never fully lived up to his immense potential in Oakland, much of it his own doing. Since last year, we had heard numerous positive reports about Johnson, but it appears he just wasn't able to put it all together. If he latches on somewhere else, he could have value down the line but not much for 2005. What this news does signify, however, is that Courtney Anderson is quite obviously the starter and go-to TE in Oakland this year. Consider him a solid TE2 with very high upside as a quality receiver.

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8. BUF - Bills Decide To Keep WR Reed

Clipped from: Rochester Democrat and Chronicle article by Lee Roth 9/4/05

With rookie sensation Roscoe Parrish sidelined for at least the first two games of the NFL season by a wrist injury, the Buffalo Bills have decided to pick up the slack with numbers at wide receiver.

At Saturday's final roster cut to 53 players, coach Mike Mularkey and his staff chose to keep seven wide receivers, bringing relief to veteran Josh Reed, who was in danger of being cut after a summer of dropped passes on top of a disappointing 2004 season.

Given the chance to re-establish himself, the 2002 second-round draft pick and former starter came through with a team-high six catches for 67 yards in Friday's preseason loss to Detroit.

"I had to go out there and leave it all on the field," said Reed, who overcame one drop in the game. "It has been (an intense) competition. There are a lot of guys who are hungry here, including myself. I'm sure it (was) a tough decision on the coaches."

Capturing the spots behind Eric Moulds, Lee Evans and Parrish were Reed, Sam Aiken, second-year pro Jonathan Smith and free agent George Wilson.

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

It's a mild surprise that the Bills decided to keep Reed, especially after his struggles. Coming out of LSU, the team thought he'd be able to fill the Peerless Price role with them. Unfortunately, Reed has played about as well with Buffalo as Price has with Atlanta. That's not good. When Roscoe Parrish gets healthy, expect Reed to see less and less playing time. His roster spot will be in constant jeopardy, and he likely will never become the receiver the Bills or fantasy players thought he'd be.

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9. NE - WR Terrell Released

Clipped from: AP article 9/4/05

The Patriots cut Terrell, who was signed in the offseason after being a disappointment in Chicago, which selected him with the eighth overall pick of the 2001 draft. His fate may have been decided when the team traded last week for wide receiver Andre' Davis from Cleveland.

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

Speaking of players not living up to expectations...Terrell had a great opportunity to make an impact with the Patriots, but obviously didn't do enough to warrant keeping him. Reports on Terrell were glowing last summer and he ended up flopping in the regular season. Of course, poor QB play could be blamed for part of his trouble. But playing in New England, it's tough to pin any blame on QB play for any shortcomings. It's just about time to call Terrell for what he is - a colossal bust.

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10. NYG - RB Barber Says He's Got a Lot Of Yards Left

Clipped from: New York Journal News article by Ernie Palladino 9/4/05

Something's changed about Tiki Barber.

Can't be the hair. Nope. He never had that to begin with.

The number? Nope. Still 21.

Ah. The other number. The age number.

He's hit 30, an age when everything seems to start heading downhill. Where, for most football players, there are more good years behind than ahead. It's an age when the feet start telling the brain that enough will soon be enough.

That time hasn't come for the 5-foot-10, 200-pound running back. Since 2000, when the Giants asked him to carry the bulk of the rushing load, he's recorded 1,000 yards every season except 2001. And last year, at age 29, was his best as he ran for a club-record 1,518 yards with 13 touchdowns.

Those feet were made for running. And they're not done yet, no matter the age.

"I know it's just a number, especially as long as my body feels young and strong and capable," Barber said. "I don't worry about age. I'm sure in two or three years it will catch up to me. I will be getting slower. But that hasn't happened yet."

That doesn't mean he hasn't made some concessions to age, knowing that coach Tom Coughlin will expect his feet to once again carry the Giants' ground game. Barber changed his workout from one centered around speed to one that emphasizes power. Former powerlifting champ Joe Carini puts him through regimens that include 1,000-pound leg presses, among other things.

As a result, Barber has become 15 percent stronger than he was last year. And that should allow his older body to better absorb the beatings his fleet feet often lead him to.

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

We wish the title said that Barber has a lot of yards AND touchdowns left. The fear of a touchdown drop-off is about the only thing preventing Barber from cracking most top-10 lists. Still, he has been providing excellent value in recent drafts if you expect him to even come close to last year's stats. Newcomer Brandon Jacobs is worrying some Barber owners because of the fear that he'll steal goal line carries, but we've heard for years that Barber was going to lose scoring chances (remember last year with the whole Ron Dayne situation?). Expect a slight drop-off in production from Barber, who is after all past that 30-year-old threshold. But it shouldn't be so severe as to warrant his statistics crumbling. He makes an excellent RB2 in any format.

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11. SEA - WR Pathon Released

Clipped from: Seattle Times article by Jose Miguel Romero 9/4/05

Veteran receiver Jerome Pathon, a former Washington Husky who signed a three-year contract in the offseason, had his contract terminated. So did another longtime NFL receiver, Bobby Shaw.

That means the Seahawks kept seven wide receivers - starters Darrell Jackson and Bobby Engram, special-teams standout Alex Bannister, punt returner Peter Warrick, Joe Jurevicius, D.J. Hackett and Jerheme Urban.

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

This isn't huge fantasy-worthy news, but Pathon could have seen some playing time if injuries hit hard. As it stands, he'll probably latch on somewhere because he provides a solid veteran presence on the field. He was one of the few Saints/Seahawks who actually managed to hold onto the ball when he was with each of those respective teams.

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12. PIT - WR Gibson Released

Clipped from: SportsNetwork article 9/4/05

The Pittsburgh Steelers reached the 53- player NFL roster limit on Saturday, when the team released a total of 12 players, including fourth-round draft choice Fred Gibson.

Gibson, a 6-4, 196-pound wide receiver out of Georgia, is the highest Steelers draft pick not to make the opening day roster since fourth-round choice and wide receiver Danny Farmer in 2000. Gibson, who the team may attempt to sign to the practice squad, had three receptions for 22 yards during the preseason.

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

Somewhat surprising news here, as Gibson was talked about as hopefully filling the "Plaxico Burress" role over the next several seasons. The Steelers may want to sign him to the practice squad, but it is entirely possible that a tall receiver with solid skills will be in demand by other teams as well.

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13. IDP: IND - LB Calmus Traded To Colts

Clipped from: Associated Press article by Michael Marot 9/3/05

The Colts also sent an undisclosed future draft pick to the Titans for Calmus, who should add depth to a linebacking corps that lost Kendyll Pope earlier this week. Pope drew a one-year suspension from the NFL for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

"He's instinctive and very smart," said Mark Slough, Calmus' agent. "The Colts have got to be excited with adding Corey on the front line and then adding a guy like Calmus. They've helped themselves tremendously."

Calmus also brings NFL experience.

The Titans' third-round pick in 2002 won the starting job in 2003 and 2004, but lost it last year when he was hurt.

Calmus missed eight games in 2004 with a nerve injury in his back, then missed the last four with a hamstring injury, giving Brad Kassell an opportunity to unseat him. In 2003, a broken right leg cost Calmus the last four regular season games and two playoff games.

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

Calmus has been banged-up recently, and all but injured himself out of a job in Tennessee. In Indianapolis, he need only provide veteran leadership and quality depth to the LB corps for this trade to be considered a success in the Colts' eyes.

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14. IDP: GB - DT Hunt Cut

Clipped from: SportsNetwork article 9/4/05

The Packers executed a trade for St. Louis Rams linebacker Robert Thomas on Saturday, also releasing defensive tackle Cletidus Hunt and 17 other players in an effort to reduce its roster to the 53-man NFL maximum.

Of the players released by the Packers, by far the most significant was Hunt, who spent six years with Green Bay and started 44 of a possible 48 regular season games over the past three seasons. Hunt was bothered by tendonitis in both knees and his right shoulder during the preseason, and played poorly in the team's preseason finale against the Titans.

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

Hunt was expected to play a key role along the Green Bay defensive line this season, and his release is definitely noteworthy. The Packer defense is expected to be very porous this year, so his recovery from injuries must have been well behind for them to dump him when they are in need of quality players. He wasn't expected to be a huge fantasy contributor anyway, but he could definitely bolster someone's defensive line if he hooks up somewhere else soon (as we expect he will) and he proves he is fully recovered.

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15. IDP: TB - T Deese Cut, LB Gooch Placed On IR

Clipped from: St. Petersburg Times article by Rick Stroud 9/4/05

Tampa Bay kept 11 of 12 players from the 2005 draft class while releasing tackle Derrick Deese and placing linebacker Jeff Gooch on injured reserve with a torn calf muscle he suffered Aug. 27 in a preseason game at Miami.

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

Obviously, Tampa has decided to go with youth here. Gooch wasn't going to make much of an impact anyway defensively, as the defense is an area where Tampa is solid.

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16. NFL - Keep Track Of Cuts

Clipped from: Clipped from NFL.com article (updated)

It's the final round of cuts for many NFL organizations. Now that the preseason is complete and the players have been evaluated, the time has come to separate those worthy of a roster spot and those who aren't.

As teams part ways with their players, NFL.com will keep you posted with every roster cut for the Sept. 3 deadline when teams must have 53 players.

An (INJ) next to a player's name indicates that a player was waived after reaching an injury settlement.

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

Just a handy bookmark to keep track of who has been cut by each specific team. Not to mention that for you video game guys, it should come in very handy when trying to update your Madden 2006 rosters...

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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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