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Volume 6, Issue 141 (Tuesday, September 6th)

Tonight's update brought to you by:
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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 almost here. It doesn't seem like that long ago, but for the last 141 nights, we've been hammering out these updates for you and we'll keep it rolling for just ONE MORE DAY. Remember that these updates end once the regular season starts. They'll be replaced by 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 Mark Wimer for the help in rounding up these stories tonight.

Joe Bryant


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. SEA - DC Ray Rhodes Hospitalized
2. WAS - RT Jansen Breaks Thumb, But Will Play
3. CAR - RB Davis' Contract Restructured In Case of Another Injury
4. MIN - WR Koren Robinson to Sign With Vikings
5. DAL - WR Price a Valuable #3
6. CHI - WR Gage Makes the Cut, To Start
7. CLE - QB Frye #2
8. GB - QB Favre Misses Practice, But Injury Isn't Considered Serious
9. KC - QB Green Will Play
10. SD - RB Tomlinson Wants Rushing Record
11. PIT - WR Morgan Signed, Lee Mays Released
12. NE IDP - LB Vrabel Ready to Play
13. NYJ IDP - Rookie to Start at SS
14. CIN IDP - DE Duane Clemons "No Comment" on Suspension

1. SEA - DC Ray Rhodes Hospitalized

Clipped from: Seattle Post-Intelligencer article by Danny O'Neil, 9/6/05

As a coach, Ray Rhodes is as ornery and intense as they come.

His hours are long, and his competitive drive so tireless that Rhodes' absence from practice Monday said a lot about how poorly he must have felt when he complained to team doctors Sunday and was taken to the hospital.

"Knowing Ray, they're having to tie him down to keep him from being here right now," said Grant Wistrom, defensive end.

Rhodes was kept in the hospital overnight Sunday. The nature of his illness was not disclosed.

"They are doing a series of tests over the next couple of days," coach Mike Holmgren said. "We hope there is nothing serious, but they are being very careful with him."

Holmgren was asked if Rhodes' situation was considered life-threatening.

"I don't think so, but we don't know," Holmgren said. "I'm waiting to hear from the doctors."

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

We hope that Mr. Rhodes will be able to return to the sidelines soon. From where we sit, the Seattle D is definitely better with Rhodes running the show - he'll be missed and we wish him a speedy recovery. Stay tuned…

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2. WAS - RT Jansen Breaks Thumb, But Will Play

Clipped from: Washington Post article by Nunyo Demasio, 9/6/05

Washington Redskins right tackle Jon Jansen suffered a small fracture at the base of his thumb late in practice yesterday. But the six-year veteran is expected to practice later this week -- the team is off today -- and play in the season opener Sunday against the Chicago Bears at FedEx Field. "Without a doubt he'll play with it," Bubba Tyer, the Redskins' director of sports medicine said.

Trainers will give Jansen a soft cast for the next few weeks to help the injury heal. "It's typical that as the weeks go by, the cast gets smaller," Tyer said.

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

We'll soon see how well Jansen can play through this injury - as he is a crucial part of the OL blocking for Clinton Portis, it's worth noting that Jansen is less-than-100% to open the season.

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3. CAR - RB Davis' Contract Restructured In Case of Another Injury

Clipped from: Charlotte Observer article by Pat Yasinkas, 9/6/05

Although all indications are that running back Stephen Davis is on target for a strong recovery from microfracture knee surgery, the Carolina Panthers have taken precautions to protect their salary cap if he ends up on the injured-reserve list.

The Panthers recently restructured Davis' contract to include a $1.25 million split salary. That salary would kick in only if Davis goes on injured reserve this season. If that were to happen, his salary-cap hit would be prorated off the $1.25 million salary. As long as he's healthy, though, Davis is to collect $2.2 million in base salary. That's $300,000 less than he was scheduled to make before the contract restructuring.

The Panthers helped make up the difference by including bonuses. The new contract drops Davis' salary-cap figure from $3.1 million to $2.9 million.

If healthy, Davis has the potential to dramatically increase his earnings. The new contract includes a provision from the old one, where he can earn up to an extra $3.75 million by meeting statistical incentives. Davis remains under contract through 2007 and the final two years of the deal were not touched.

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

It definitely looks like Stephen Davis will be part of the mix in Carolina this year - but he has 10 seasons on his legs. The Panthers are taking steps to prepare themselves if Davis ends up on IR, and that's something to note if you are invested in the Panthers' RB corps. If they're making plans for the worst with Davis, you probably should too.

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4. MIN - WR Koren Robinson to Sign With Vikings - Not Facing Discipline

Clipped from Minneapolis Star Tribune article by Sean Jensen, 9/6/05

Vikings coach Mike Tice took a brief break from practice Monday afternoon to fantasize aloud.

"Can you imagine if we sign this kid?" Tice asked, standing in front of receiver Koren Robinson.

Fantasy is about to become reality for Tice; Robinson's agent, Alvin Keels, said his client has agreed in principle on a two-year contract with the Vikings.

"The deal hasn't been signed yet," Keels said Monday. "But we have an agreement in principle, and it looks like we'll have a deal by tomorrow."

As he watched practice Monday afternoon, Robinson said, "I would love to be a part of this team and play with Daunte Culpepper."

The completion of the contract would cap a frenetic three months for Robinson, the ninth selection overall in the 2001 NFL draft. Robinson has struggled with substance abuse; it cost him four games last season and his future with the Seattle Seahawks this summer.

After several telephone conversations, Tice invited Robinson to visit Winter Park on Monday, and he apparently signed off on Robinson's imminent signing.

"I think he's a young man who is going through some life challenges, and he certainly has admitted to his mistakes," Tice said. "I'm impressed that he's taken the right steps to fixing some things in his life that needed to be fixed."

Finally, Keels said, his client recognized his problem and voluntarily checked into an inpatient 12-step program of 30 days at the University of South Carolina. Robinson completed the program Aug. 28.

"He's had a rough few months, and he's really tackled his off-the-field issues and addressed them," Keels said. "Some of the things that happened to him will be valuable lessons for him. Football is what he's always loved, and he's excited to be able to play again.

"This is the first step of hopefully big things to come."

Robinson has a court date on Sept. 14 in Washington. Keels declined to address questions about Robinson's legal status, except to ensure that his client would not face another extended absence from the NFL.

"He's not facing any type of suspension," Keels said. "That's all I can say right now."

Keels said four other teams were interested in Robinson. But his client chose the Vikings for three main reasons.

"No. 1, he's going to be playing with one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL," Keels said. "No. 2, Minnesota is an organization that is very close, as far as winning. No. 3, it was important to link on with an organization that was going to be supportive of him."

To make room for Robinson, the Vikings might have to cut a player. Kelly Campbell is one possibility. He has missed most of the preseason with a quadriceps injury. Campbell, though, could return once he's fully healthy and ready to contribute.

"He's a good kid," cornerback Brian Williams said of Robinson, a teammate at North Carolina State. "I guess he got caught up in a bad situation, but everybody goes through hard times. Everyone knows he can play; that ain't the question.

"He's a bad dude. Going against him in college, I think he could be one of the best receivers in the league, if he worked at it.

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

How Robinson is somehow free from NFL sanctions (according to agent Alvin Keels) is interesting. However, the Vikings might be a good situation for him if he has cleaned up his act. We're taking a wait-and-see stance on this situation.

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5. DAL - WR Price a Valuable #3

Clipped from: Star-Telegram article by Jennifer Floyd Engel, 9/6/05

What signing Price does is provide the Cowboys with another way to hurt San Diego and anybody else making the choice to load up against Jones and take their chances with Drew Bledsoe and Co.

Because unlike in Atlanta -- from where Price was released a week ago for failing to live up to expectations -- he is just a guy in Dallas, trying to find a role in a Cowboys passing game that suddenly has Terry Glenn, Keyshawn Johnson, Patrick Crayton, Jason Witten, Jones and Price as possible targets for Bledsoe.

"Hopefully, we get out there and throw the ball to Peerless, throw the ball to Keyshawn, throw the ball to me, Witten, Crayton," Glenn said. "I hope everybody is just like, 'Who are they going to hit next?' That is what you want. And if we are able to get to that point, the sky is the limit for this offense. I really believe that."

What is funny is if you ask people around the NFL about the Cowboys' offense, the passing game is viewed as the wild card. Questions abound, especially with regards to Bledsoe.

Does he still have what it takes to win in the NFL?

"I do not agree with people saying his better days are behind him," Price said. "He's a great quarterback, and, if you protect him and give him time to throw it, he'll make plays."

He has firsthand knowledge, too, playing with Bledsoe in Buffalo in 2002, when he had 94 catches for 1,252 yards and nine touchdowns.

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

Price isn't high on anybody's draft list, but he could be a nice waiver wire addition if an opportunity to play comes up in Dallas. File him in the back of your mind as a possibility for later in the season. Do not forget that in 2002, Price was the 7th best WR in the league with 9 TDs and 1252 receiving yards. And we all know who his QB was…

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6. CHI - WR Gage Makes the Cut, To Start

Clipped from: Chicago Sun Times article by Brad Biggs, 9/6/05

For a guy who had a hard time staying on the roster last year, Justin Gage is in good position.

Gage will start at wide receiver opposite Muhsin Muhammad on Sunday against the Washington Redskins, holding off a strong bid by rookie Mark Bradley for the job.

Banished last season to the bottom of the depth chart by ex- offensive coordinator Terry Shea, who had a preference for pint-sized performers like Daryl Jones, Gage has battled his way back. Despite making only three receptions in five preseason games, he maintained the job that was his when training camp opened.

''I'm excited about the opportunity to be in the mix of things and make things happen,'' said Gage, a sixth-round pick in 2003. ''I want to prove Terry Shea wrong.''

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

We'll soon see how well Gage can perform, but with a rookie QB slinging the ball around in Chicago, we're not excited about his prospects.

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7. CLE - QB Frye #2

Clipped from: Beacon Journal article by Patrick McManamon, 9/6/05

Charlie Frye's ascension continues: Browns coach Romeo Crennel on Monday named the rookie the backup quarterback.

``Charlie has stepped in and performed and done a nice job,'' Crennel said. ``At this point, he is ahead of Doug (Johnson).''

The role seemed to fit Frye like a pair of worn-in socks.

``It doesn't change my thinking at all,'' he said with a shrug. ``I still prepare the same way and do the same things I've been doing all training camp.''

His thinking might not change, but the stakes certainly have.

Frye now is one play away from being the Browns starter and one Trent Dilfer interception from being the object of the fans' affection.

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

Frye looks like a great dynasty league pick if you need a quarterback prospect. He isn't very attractive in redraft leagues, though.

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8. GB - QB Favre Misses Practice, But Ankle Injury Isn't Considered Serious

Clipped from: Journal-Sentinel article by Lori Nickel, 9/6/05

Favre is expected to extend his NFL record of 225 consecutive starts at quarterback for the season opener Sunday at Detroit.

"He's fine," said Packers coach Mike Sherman. "I was planning on resting him today anyway. With the ankle being slightly sprained the other day anyway it gave me another reason to (rest him). He'll be fine."

Sherman said Favre will practice Wednesday when the rest of the Packers return to work. Now that the regular season has begun, they are off every Tuesday.

Favre sprained the ankle when Tennessee defensive tackle Rien Long landed on it during a 29-yard pass play to wide receiver Robert Ferguson. Favre normally backpedals after his release but got tangled up on this play.

He left the game briefly, then returned to throw a touchdown pass, insisting that his offense gain some momentum heading into the regular season. The Packers averaged an NFL-low 10.2 points per game on offense in the pre-season.

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

Brett Favre has started every regular-season game for the Packers during the past 12 years. He'll be in there come Sunday.

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9. KC - QB Green Will Play

Clipped from: Kansas City Star article by Adam Teicher, 9/6/05

...quarterback Trent Green returned to practice and gave every indication he would be at full strength against the Jets.

Team portions of practice were closed to the news media, but coach Dick Vermeil said Green took most of his usual workload.

"He looked very good," Vermeil said. "Common sense would tell you that when you see your starting quarterback out there practicing after going through what he has gone through … it's a relief seeing him back on the field and having fun and throwing the ball for 50-yard strikes."

The Chiefs will issue their normal weekly injury report Wednesday. Vermeil said he didn't know how Green would be listed but indicated it wouldn't matter.

"He's going to play," Vermeil said.

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

It looks like Green owners can put him on their roster this week. It's good to see him up and playing so quickly.

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10. SD - RB Tomlinson Wants Rushing Record

Clipped from: North County Times article by Jay Paris, 9/6/05

The greatest runner in Chargers history wants to become the greatest single-season rusher in NFL history.

As the Chargers put another AFC West title in their crosshairs, Tomlinson doesn't split hairs on his goal, which isn't just grand, but two grand plus 106 ---- 2,106 yards, one more than Eric Dickerson's 21-year-old NFL rushing standard.

"I think it's realistic,'' said Tomlinson, whose quest for a record starts Sunday with the Chargers' season opener against the visiting Dallas Cowboys.

"Why not?'' said quarterback Drew Brees, when asked if Tomlinson can accomplish it. "If anybody can do it, it's him."

Tomlinson, whose rushing totals have dropped two straight years, needs to average 132 yards per game to eclipse Dickerson's record of 2,105 yards, set with the Los Angeles Rams in 1984.

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

Good Tomlinson owners everywhere hope that he can fulfill this desire - there's a reason he's being drafted in the top 3 picks in almost every fantasy football draft this year.

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11. PIT - WR Morgan Signed, Lee Mays Released

Clipped from: ESPN.com article by Len Pasquarelli, 9/6/05

Still trying to upgrade a wide receiver corps that was inconsistent through the preseason, the Pittsburgh Steelers on Tuesday signed free agent wide receiver Quincy Morgan, who was released Monday by the Dallas Cowboys.

Details of the one-year contract Morgan signed were not immediately available. To create a roster spot for Morgan, the Steelers released fourth-year wide receiver Lee Mays.

His struggles in Dallas aside, Morgan could provide the Steelers a quality No. 3 receiver, once he is able to assimilate the offense. The Steelers' starting wideouts are Hines Ward and Antwaan Randle El, but no one has yet stepped up and solidified the No. 3 spot.

Fifth-year veteran Cedrick Wilson, the team's only high-profile addition as a veteran free agent in the spring, struggled with drops in the preseason. The Pittsburgh coaches still feel the former San Francisco starter will come around, but were seeking an alternative.

Fourth-round draft choice Fred Gibson, who many felt would replace Plaxico Burress as a deep threat, was released.

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

Quincy Morgan is #3 in Pittsburgh - if an injury comes down the pike, he might become a starter. Keep his new home in mind if you need to make a waiver wire move later in the season.

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12. NE IDP - LB Vrabel Ready to Play

Clipped from: Boston Herald article by Michael Felger, 9/6/05

Mike Vrabel gave everyone a scare last month when he limped off the field in the preseason opener in Cincinnati with an ankle injury and didn't play the rest of camp.

But fear not. The Patriots' starting outside linebacker is back to full speed and yesterday declared himself fit and ready for the Raiders on opening night Thursday.

I feel good,'' Vrabel said. ``Ready to go.''

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

Vrabel was 75th among fantasy LB's last year in points per game, so he's a marginal fantasy player at best. However, he's an important player for the Patriots' D. It's good news for owners of the New England D that he's set to go entering the season.

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13. NYJ IDP - Rookie to Start at SS

Clipped from: New York Times article by David Picker, 9/6/05

Kerry Rhodes had impressed the Jets' coaching staff this summer with his feel for the football and by making big plays. But Rhodes, a strong safety, never started during the preseason and usually practiced with the second team.

So whether Rhodes would be named the starter for the season opener was anyone's best guess.

Coach Herman Edwards ended weeks of speculation Monday by naming Rhodes, a rookie, as a starter for Sunday's game at Kansas City.

"Coach told me that he wasn't going to give me the spot; I had to earn it," Rhodes said after practice. "He told me that it was my spot to lose, but he wanted me to play with the second team so I could get more experience."

Rhodes, who was drafted in the fourth round out of Louisville, had been competing for the job with Oliver Celestin, who played in the Jets' final eight regular-season games last season. He finished the preseason with a team-high three interceptions.

"He's a very, very instinctive guy," Edwards said of Rhodes, who is 6 feet 3 inches and 210 pounds. "He has the ability to make plays on the football. He's got a large body, can cover a lot of ground with his range. And so we'll see what happens on opening day."

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

Rhodes has the starting spot…for now. As coach Edwards indicated, we'll see what happens on opening day. However things work out that day, Rhodes would be a strong call in a dynasty league with IDPs.

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14. CIN IDP - DE Duane Clemons "No Comment" on Suspension

Clipped from: Cincinnati Enquirer article by Mark Curnutte, 9/6/05

Defensive end Duane Clemons participated in the Bengals' team-picture shoot Monday but declined comment about his four-game suspension. Clemons' second offense of the NFL's substance abuse policy brought about the four-game suspension without pay. With a base salary of $1.25 million this season, Clemons' suspension will cost him $293,750 - or four of his 17 game checks. Rookie end Jonathan Fanene likely made the 53-man roster in Clemons' place. Clemons has 12.5 of his 47.5 career sacks in two seasons with the Bengals.

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

If Clemons was in your plans for 2005, you'll have to make other arrangements for the first quarter of the season.

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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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