Rivers, Burress in the news

» Philip Rivers has made incredible progress in his recovery from surgery to repair the torn ACL in his right knee. He’s been able to run at full speed and even participated in full 11-on-11 practices earlier in the month. But while Rivers has never been a mobile quarterback, it still takes (on average) one full year before mental and physical confidence in a reconstructed knee is restored. He also faces the hardest schedule among quarterbacks in 2008, with 12 games against teams that finished in the top 10 against the pass last season. I see him as more of a No. 2 fantasy quarterback overall, but I might avoid him altogether based on his knee and the difficult nature of San Diego’s schedule.

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» Plaxico Burress refused to participate in the Giants’ mandatory minicamp this week because he wants a new contract. It might not be a coincidence that Burress’ agent is Drew Rosenhaus, who also represents Chad Johnson. It’s too soon to put up a red flag on Burress in terms of his fantasy value, however, because most players don’t make good on threats of long-term holdouts. In fact, Hines Ward, Shaun Alexander, Lance Briggs and now Johnson are a few of the names who have talked the holdout talk but didn’t walk the walk when it came time to missing time in the regular season.

» The state of the Seattle wide receivers is in limbo, as Deion Branch could miss the start of the regular season with an injured knee and Bobby Engram has threatened to hold out over contractual issues. Nate Burleson (50 receptions, 694 yards, 9 TDs in 2007) will be undervalued in drafts regardless of Branch and Engram, and Courtney Taylor could turn into a prominent option for the team this season. Reports indicate Taylor, not Ben Obomanu, has the inside track on the third spot on the depth chart until Branch’s status becomes more clear. Whatever the scenario, the winner of the Taylor vs. Obomanu battle could be a low-end sleeper candidate.

» The backfield situation in Denver currently includes Selvin Young, Michael Pittman and rookie Ryan Torain, but the forgotten player in this battle is Andre Hall. The Denver Post reports that Hall, not Pittman, finished the team’s recent minicamp second on the depth chart behind Young. I still think Pittman or Torain will be Young’s eventual fantasy handcuff (Torain might have the best chance to unseat Young as the starter), but this news shows how unpredictable Mike Shanahan can be with his backfield rotation. This is a situation fantasy footballers need to keep close tabs on right up until the last week of the preseason.

» Reports out of Kansas City suggest that Damon Huard has fallen to third on the Chiefs’ depth chart behind starter Brodie Croyle and Tyler Thigpen. What’s more, there have been rumors that head coach Herman Edwards could give Thigpen a chance to unseat Croyle if the Alabama product fails to make strides in 2008. While neither Croyle nor Thigpen warrants serious consideration in most fantasy drafts, the status of the team’s quarterback situation will have an affect on Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez. Aside from Larry Johnson, Bowe and Gonzalez are the two most valuable fantasy players on the team. Their values could be affected if Edwards makes a move at quarterback.

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