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Stallworth Suspended Indefinitely

By: — June 23, 2009 @ 10:41 am
Filed under: Transactions

The NFL has suspended Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth after his plea bargain with Miami prosecutors for his role in the death of a married father of a 15-year old girl. Stallworth struck and killed Mario Reyes while driving under the influence early in the morning and plead guilty to DUI manslaughter last week. The plea agreement was heavily criticized because it called for only 30 days in jail as well as financial compensation for Reyes’ family, in addition to a lengthy period of probation, a lifetime driving suspension and two years of house arrest.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Stallworth indefinitely but indications are that Stallworth will face a lengthy suspension. Goodell used strong language throughout his press release, leaving little doubt where the league stands on these types of situations and that Stallworth’s punishment from the league will be severe.

Goodell commented that Stallworth’s actions were “inexcusable” and “caused irreparable harm to the victim and his family, your club, your fellow players and the NFL.” He also stated that Stallworth’s conduct “plainly violates the Personal Conduct and Substances of Abuse policies” and that “there is ample evidence to warrant significant discipline under both policies.” Finally, Goodell stated that “all NFL employees recognize that alcohol-related violations of the law will not be tolerated.”

The league has come down hard on repeat offenders of the league’s Personal Conduct policies. Former Cowboys cornerback Adam Jones received a six game suspension after receiving an indefinite suspension for his numerous legal issues. Bengals wide receiver Chris Henry faced an eight game ban for repeated violations of the law and Rams defensive end Leonard Little faced an eight-game ban after he struck and killed a Missouri woman while driving under the influence. Little was suspended in 1999 at a time when the league was more lenient regarding suspensions for violations of the law.

Based on Goodell’s efforts to strengthen the league Personal Conduct policies, his previous suspension decisions and Little’s eight-game suspension in 1999, a 12-game ban seems very likely with an outside chance that Stallworth is suspended for the entire 2009 season.

Fantasy Football Impact

It is worth noting that since Stallworth’s arrest, the Browns have signed free agent wide receivers David Patten and Mike Furrey and used 2nd round draft picks on Brian Robiskie and Mohamed Massaquoi. With Braylon Edwards clearly established as the team’s top wide receiver, standout returner Josh Cribbs occupying a roster spot at wide receiver and the Browns unlikely to give up on 2007 7th round pick Syndric Steptoe, Stallworth does not appear to be in the team’s plans for 2009.

In fact, it is likely that he remains on the team’s roster only because releasing him would result in a $7.6-million salary cap charge. With a salary of under $1-million for 2009, there is a strong possibility the team will pay a pro-rated portion of his salary for the year (and likely request he not attend at the team’s facilities) rather than release him. This exact scenario played out in the Falcons decision to retain Michael Vick on their roster for 2008. In addition, if the CBA is not extended and 2010 is an uncapped year, the team can release Stallworth in 2010 with no cap charge.

In essence, it appears the Browns have given up on Stallworth and if he plays in 2009, which seems unlikely, it will be with another team, requiring him to learn a team’s playbook in short order. If the Browns have given up on him, then you should too in your fantasy league.

Favre’s Fantasy Impact With The Vikings

By: — June 17, 2009 @ 11:00 am
Filed under: Forecast

After Brett Favre’s appearance on Joe Buck Live, there can be little doubt of his intentions regarding the 2009 season. During the course of his appearance on the show, Favre told Buck the following:

  • he plans on playing in 2009 provided his arm is healthy,
  • the Vikings are the only team he has had discussions with,
  • he has received advice from Vikings trainers on how to rehabilitate his arm,
  • he chose not to sign with the Vikings earlier and attend their organized team activities, and
  • the team is a perfect fit for him.

Based on that, it’s fair to conclude that the only thing that would prevent Favre from suiting up with the Vikings in 2009 would be if his bicep does not recover from his recent surgery.

Fantasy Football Impact

There are always two issues with acquiring a player for your fantasy league – production and value. Favre has generally been a solid fantasy performer and that was the case in 2008 with one important caveat. His 2008 production can be broken down into two categories – pre- and post-bicep injury.

Over the first 11 games of the season, Favre was averaging 15.2 points per game. His points per game were reduced dramatically over the season’s final five games of which only one was against a solid defense (Miami), going down to 9.8. In New York, Favre was surrounded by a solid offensive line, career seasons from the team’s two running backs (Thomas Jones and Leon Washington), two solid wide receivers in Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery and a solid rookie tight end in Dustin Keller.

With the Vikings, Favre would benefit from a solid offensive line, albeit one in transition at the centre and right tackle positions. The team also has fantasy football’s number one performer in Adrian Peterson and his solid backup, Chester Taylor. Bernard Berrian is a solid deep threat and tight end Visanthe Shiancoe is coming off a career season. In addition, Bobby Wade is a solid slot receiver plus Sidney Rice and rookie 1st round pick Percy Harvin have intriguing potential.

In summary, the Vikings are quite similar to the Jets on offense with a better pair of running backs and a group of wide receivers without the history of production of Coles and Cotchery but with decent upside.

That being said, the biggest issue with Favre is that he is always drafted before he should be or his auction cost is more than it should be. With one more year on his resume and no solid number two receiver, he ranks as a low end backup fantasy quarterback who has little chance of putting up top ten fantasy stats.

Broncos Marshall Reportedly Demands A Trade

By: — June 16, 2009 @ 1:16 pm
Filed under: Transactions

In a move that that should surprise no one, Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall has reportedly requested a trade. The talented wide receiver, who stands to earn $2 million in 2009, has been unhappy with his contract situation and took his issue up with team owner Pat Bowlen in a meeting and then packed up and headed out of Denver.

Marshall is obviously a key component in the Denver offense and he brings prototypical wide receiver ability to the team’s passing game. Big, strong and fast, Marshall has the physical ability to be a Hall of Fame wide receiver. Unfortunately, for all his physical ability, he brings very little to the table in terms of maturity and his mental capacity.

Basically, Marshall is asking the Broncos to reward him with a long term contract extension with average salaries of $10 to $12 million per year despite the fact that he is coming off hip surgery in March and refused to perform his rehabilitation in Denver, despite his numerous run-ins with the law, despite his questionable character and decision-making skills, despite his receiving a one-game suspension in 2008, despite the fact he has outstanding legal issues that could result in another, more lengthy suspension.

Or the team can let him play this year for $2 million, see if he continues to produce and stay out of trouble and then enter into negotiations on a long-term deal near the end of the season knowing that Marshall will be a restricted free agent, provided 2010 is an uncapped year. In this situation, leverage exists solely with the team and not the player.

Marshall clearly does not understand the business side of the NFL or he is getting very poor advice from his agents and advisers or some combination of the two. Nonetheless, he is attempting to force the team’s hand knowing that they caved in to the demands of quarterback Jay Cutler and may be unwilling to enter the season with an unhappy star wide receiver in a holdout situation. Plus, by going public, he reduced the team’s ability to receive fair value in a trade.

Add it all up and it’s another in a long line of puzzling and questionable decisions or actions on Marshall’s part.

Fantasy Football Impact

Marshall is the most talented player in the Broncos offense so his availability and production impact every skill position player on the team. Eddie Royal is not likely to be nearly as productive if he receives extra attention from opposing defensive backs. Ditto for tight end Tony Scheffler. The team’s running backs will face more eight man fronts if Marshall isn’t in the line-up and quarterback Kyle Orton will lose his best security blanket and deep ball threat. The team signed wide receiver Brandon Lloyd to provide depth at wide receiver and ostensibly help replace Marshall if he holds out or is traded but he’s never reached his potential and never will.

As for Marshall, unless this situation is resolved peacefully before training camp and his hip proves to be unhealthy, he has become a much more risky player in fantasy leagues. Although he is extremely talented and has the potential to be a top five wide receiver even with Orton at quarterback, the question marks are beginning to add up. At this point, with contract issues, injury issues and quarterback issues, he ranks as a number two wide receiver but with a big upside. Buyer beware.

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