Michael Fabiano | Tags: Antonio Gates, Bill Belichick, Brandon LaFell, Cam Newton, David Gettis, Drew Brees, Josh McDaniels, Kenny Britt, Marshall Faulk, Mike Reinfeldt, Montario Hardesty, Pat Shurmur, Peyton Hillis, Philip Rivers, Randy Moss, Sam Bradford, Shaun Alexander, Steve Smith, Vincent Jackson
Here’s some fantasy takes on the NFL news of the day…
Chargers could target Steve Smith: Even in the midst of the NFL lockout, there are still reports of teams looking to improve either via free agency or trades once player movement is allowed. The latest involves the Chargers, who could make a push to acquire Smith if he becomes available. He has reportedly made it clear to the Panthers front office that he wants to be dealt, and the Bolts would be a nice fit. The team could have a need at wide receiver, especially if Vincent Jackson‘s franchise tag becomes nonexistent as part of a new CBA.
If Smith were to join the Chargers with Jackson still in the mix, his fantasy stock would increase — how could it not with the current quarterback situation in Carolina — but he would be hard pressed to produce the sort of numbers that made him a star earlier in his career. In the event that Jackson becomes a free agent, however, Smith’s stock would soar as one of the top options in the pass attack for Philip Rivers. And if the Bolts had a corps of receivers that included Jackson, Smith and Antonio Gates, well, you can only imagine how well that would bode for Rivers. On the flipside, Smith’s potential departure from the Panthers would increase the draft value of David Gettis and Brandon LaFell. But again, I wouldn’t get too excited about either of them in seasonal drafts with either a rookie in Cam Newton or second-year quarterback Jimmy Clausen under center.
Randy Moss won’t be back with Titans: During a conference call with season-ticket holders, Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said “I honestly don’t think we’ll try to re-sign him” when asked if Moss would be back with the team. While that’s good news for Kenny Britt, who I think could be the breakout fantasy wideout of 2011, it leaves one of the top receivers to ever play the game without a team. So where could Moss land and make an impact for fantasy owners? Well, my first thought is back in New England. He’s a huge fan of coach Bill Belichick and would fit right back into the offense. But if the Patriots aren’t interested, I’d like to see Moss end up in St. Louis. Sure, the Rams added a pair of wideouts in the NFL draft, but this team doesn’t have a surefire No. 1 receiver on its roster. Moss worked with offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels in New England, and Sam Bradford is one of the league’s brightest up-and-coming quarterbacks. Though at 34 he’s clearly past his prime, Moss would still be well worth a look in fantasy drafts wearing a Rams uniform in 2011.
Peyton Hillis doesn’t believe in curses: If you’re a fantasy football fan, you have probably heard about the Madden curse. Basically, the majority of players who have donned the cover of this popular video game have either sustained an injury or experienced a decrease in statistical success. But Hillis isn’t concerned about a so-called hex. “I could get hurt next year, but I don’t believe it has anything to do with the curse, Hillis told The New York Times. While some would argue that last year’s cover boy, Drew Brees, broke this curse, others could point out that he suffered an MCL injury during the season and also finished with a career-high 22 interceptions.
Fantasy owners should also keep in mind that the last two running backs to don the Madden cover, Shaun Alexander (2007) and Marshall Faulk (2003), were both victimized. And I think Hillis is the perfect candidate to continue the legend of this curse. He’s coming off a career year in 2010 that he’ll be hard pressed to duplicate this season (if ever again), especially with the return of Montario Hardesty to a backfield that could have a tandem look under new coach Pat Shurmur. So even though Hillis finished fourth in fantasy points at his position last season, I still wouldn’t draft him as more of a No. 2 runner in the majority of standard formats.