Taiwan Jones wins Raiders’ #2 running back job

Likely on the strength of his 50 yard effort on 10 carries in the Raiders’ 3rd preseason game, 2011 4th round pick Taiwan Jones has won the Raiders’ #2 running back job over Mike Goodson. This is notable, especially for fantasy purposes, because of how injury prone Darren McFadden is. Jones is not the power compliment to Darren McFadden that Michael Bush was (and frankly neither is Mike Goodson), so he’ll only be a pure backup as long as McFadden is healthy, even more proof that McFadden will be their everything back this season.

The problem is McFadden can’t stay healthy. He’s only once gone over 113 carries in a season in 4 years and never exceeded 223 carries. He’s also missed 3 games in all 4 seasons, for a total of 19 games missed in 4 seasons, including 9 last year. McFadden is a pretty sure bet to miss 3-4+ games again this season and in those 3-4 games, Jones, a similar style back, would likely get the bulk of the carries. A supremely athletic back, Jones makes for a nice late round sleeper, especially for Darren McFadden owners. As for Goodson, don’t bother with him. Even if McFadden gets hurt, he’ll only be a backup and in that case, the Raiders could easily sign a truer power back to compliment Jones.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Leodis McKelvin wins Bills’ nickel cornerback job

The Bills pretty much hosted a 4 way competition for the nickel cornerback job between Leodis McKelvin, Justin Rogers, Ron Brooks, and Terrence McGee. According to Head Coach Chan Gailey, the competition is officially over with McKelvin coming out as the victor. He will come in on 3-cornerback sets behind Stephon Gilmore and Aaron Williams. McKelvin, a bust as a 1st round pick in 2008, allowed 27 completions on 45 attempts (60.0%) for 455 yards (10.1 YPA), 3 touchdowns, and an interception, to go with 7 deflections and a penalty last season.

McKelvin started 6 games, was a backup for another 6 and missed 4 with injury. Maybe a move full time to the slot will be good for him and it’s encouraging that he beat out all those guys, but in limited action in his career, he’s allowed 10 of 12 for 90 yards and a touchdown on 90 career snaps on the slot. As for the other 3, only 2 will make the roster at most because teams almost never carry 6 cornerbacks.

Ron Brooks is likely save by virtue of his status as a 4th round pick rookie. Those guys are almost never cut before the season starts. Justin Rogers, meanwhile, will likely make the roster because he’s actually listed as the 1st first kick returner. The 2011 7th round pick, who had reportedly did have a good chance to win the slot job, averaged an impressive 28.7 yards per return with a long of 52 last season, albeit on jut 13 returns.

That leaves veteran Terrence McGee as the odd man out and, frankly, the writing has been on the wall for him for a while. He even recently expressed concern over his roster spot security, saying “I’m at the back of the line right now. There are guys way in front of me right now.” Heading into his age 32 season having missed 22 games in the last 3 seasons, McGee isn’t worth his 1.35 million dollar salary, even after restructuring earlier this offseason. The Bills will probably just eat their $350,000 signing bonus with him and make him a final cut.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Eagles’ Mike Patterson unlikely to play in 2012

Eagles’ Head Coach Andy Reid admitted that defensive tackle Mike Patterson will be out for a while and could miss the entire season, according to CSN Philly. The Eagles have placed him on the non-football injury list, which functions the same way as the PUP, meaning Patterson can be activated after week 6, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Patterson had surgery on his brain to remove a malformed vein (AVM) at the beginning of the offseason in January and while they expected him to be back by this point, it shouldn’t be surprising that he isn’t. This isn’t exactly something you can just rub some dirt on and go back out there and tough it out. Sadly, this could be a career threatening injury for the talented soon to be 29 year old.

The Eagles prepared themselves for this scenario by using a 1st round pick on Fletcher Cox. Cox could be the starter opposite Cullen Jenkins, but even if he isn’t, he’ll see a large role. The Eagles love rotation on the defensive line so Jenkins, Cox, Derek Landri, and Antonio Dixon will all see significant snaps. Even without Patterson, the Eagles are as stacked on the defensive line as any team in the league, but clearly this situation is bigger than football.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Seahawks’ Robert Turbin making a big impression as a rookie

The Seahawks are very impressed with 4th round pick Robert Turbin, as they should be. After all, he is 5th in preseason rushing yards, with 151 yards and a touchdown on 34 carries, including 93 yards on 14 carries against the Chiefs last week. In an interview with the Seattle Times, Head Coach Pete Carroll said about Turbin, “He’s a really good football player. I’m so happy with the draft pick. We went out to get a guy who could complement Marshawn and could give us good, hard-nosed running, and he’s shown exactly that.”

It sounds like Turbin not only is the clear #2 back in Seattle behind Marshawn Lynch, but that he’ll eat in Lynch’s workload more than backups Leon Washington and Justin Forsett did last year (they combined for 99 carries). This is consistent with what we’ve seen in the preseason as Turbin has been sprinkled in with the 1st team. On top of that, Turbin could see a couple starts because Lynch is not always the most reliable when it comes to injuries.

The Seahawks figure to be one of the most conservative teams in the league this year with a dual threat 3rd round rookie quarterback so there will be plenty of carries for Lynch and Turbin to go around. Wilson will also help open things up on the ground for them with his own running ability. Lynch is a low end RB1/high end RB2 and Turbin represents a very strong sleeper at his current ADP in the 13th round, especially for Lynch owners as a handcuff.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Falcons place Corey Peters on PUP

Corey Peters has missed about 3 months with a stress fracture in his foot and he’ll miss even more time, specifically, the first 6 weeks of the season as the Falcons have transferred him from the active/PUP to the reserve/PUP list. Peters, an important part of the Falcons’ defensive tackle rotation, was slightly below average as a pass rusher and slightly above average as a run stuffer last year, while leading the team in snaps played among defensive tackles (669, including playoffs). He had 3 sacks, 2 quarterback hits, and 13 quarterback pressures on 390 pass rush snaps, for a mediocre 4.6% rate.

He’ll cede snaps to Jonathan Babineaux and Vance Walker, but probably mostly to Peria Jerry. Jerry has been a bust as a 2009 1st round pick thus far in his career and might be on his last chance. He really struggled in limited action last year. This injury will also give either 7th round pick rookie Travian Robertson or undrafted rookie Micanor Regis a chance to not only make the roster, but possibly see action early in the season. If either of them impresses and Jerry can’t bounce back, Jerry could be gone in favor of one of the young guys. Peters’ injury does not sound like one that will make him a candidate for the IR.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Redskins cut Chris Cooley

Chris Cooley was the longest tenured Redskin and is their all-time leading receiver as a tight end, but all good things come to an end. The Redskins cut the 2004 3rd round pick, who has caught 428 passes for 4703 yards and 33 touchdowns over the course of 8 seasons for them. The writing appeared to be on the wall for Cooley all offseason as he missed most of last season with injury and only caught 8 passes. He lost his starting job to Fred Davis and was owed 3.85 million in salary and counted for 6.23 million against the cap (3rd highest on the team). Never one to be mistaken for a good blocker, Cooley’s explosiveness as a receiver is also mostly gone at this point in his career.

His only chance to make the roster was as an h-back/fullback type at a reduced rate, but Cooley was apparently not willing to take a pay cut because he still felt he could start somewhere in the league. Even only heading into his age 30 season, it’s unlikely someone would sign him to be a starter, especially at this stage of the offseason, but the Raiders, Bills, and Bears might all have significant roles for him, to name a few possibilities. The Panthers and Eagles are other possibilities if he’s fine with a more limited role. Both of those teams have shown interest in Jeremy Shockey, the other available big name veteran tight end.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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Cedric Benson really impressing Packers

According to multiple sources, Cedric Benson has really impressed the Packers since they signed him a couple weeks ago. These sources include the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, several scouts, the Packers’ official website, and even running backs coach Alex Van Pelt. Benson seems to have fully taken James Starks’ old job and will get the bulk of the running down carries, with Alex Green serving only as a passing down back and change of pace back.

James Starks, meanwhile, is on the roster bubble as he is currently suffering from turf toe and out indefinitely. The Packers may keep Brandon Saine, a less injury prone, albeit less talented back, as their 3rd back, assuming they decide to only keep 3 running backs. That’s a strong possibility because fullback John Kuhn can also play some running back on passing downs and short yardage plays.

As for Benson, he walks into a great situation. Because of how good the Packers’ passing game and offensive line is, Benson really just has to run through holes. Heading into his age 30 season, he not very explosive, but in the Packers’ system he could still be very productive. He’s also surprisingly durable considering how injury prone he was in his younger days. Benson has missed just 4 games over the past 3 years, despite one of the league’s highest usage rates over that time period, averaging 21.7 touches per game.

He’ll have a smaller role in Green Bay on a less run heavy offense with other backs behind him, but he should still have a solid season. In a weak year for running backs, Benson is a solid flex with RB2 potential depending on the matchup in standard leagues. He’s currently going in the 5th round on average, up from the 7th round on average just a week ago, but that might not be too high for him.

If you’re interested in doing a fantasy football league with me, here’s the link (no draft date set yet, currently standard, with the option to become PPR with group vote). http://msn.foxsports.com/fantasy/football/commissioner/Registration/Private.aspx?league=55086&password=FanSpot2

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