1. In Philadelphia, the team’s fans are growing increasingly frustrated with the turnover play of quarterback Michael Vick. With the Eagles having a Week 7 bye and head coach Andy Reid providing Vick with an lukewarm endorsement as his starting quarterback, speculation has mounted that Reid could make the switch to rookie 3rd round pick Nick Foles. However, there are several reasons why that is unlikely to happen. First off, Reid appears to have been put on notice by owner Jeffrey Lurie that he needs to make the playoffs in order to secure his job for the 2013 season. With the Eagles sitting at 3-3 and just one game back of the New York Giants in the NFC East, Philadelphia remains in contention to win the division crown and switching to a rookie quarterback does not give the team the best chance of securing a playoff spot. Second, Reid has no assurances that Foles is ready to take over in the starting lineup since he has yet to throw a pass in the NFL. Finally, while Vick’s turnovers have been the team’s biggest issue, not far behind is the play of the team’s offensive line, which is missing two starters in Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters and center Jason Kelce. If Vick continues to struggle, look for both he and Reid to be looking for new employers in 2013, making Foles a solid add in deep dynasty leagues.
2. If you are a Michael Turner owner, it might time to sell high on the Falcons starting running back. While he is coming off a poor performance in Week 6 against the Raiders (11 carries for 33 yards and a reception for six yards), a closer look reveals that Turner’s 15th ranking at running back is more than a tad misleading. The Falcons have their bye in Week 7 which will push Turner down the rankings but it is also worth noting that of his 67.4 fantasy points, 13.7 have come in the passing game and that trend is unlikely to continue. In addition, after having had 15 games with 20 or more carries over the past two seasons, Turner has yet to hit that mark in 2012. While the Falcons upcoming schedule is appealing, that doesn’t mean as much considering Turner’s lack of carries in the running game.
3. Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw has been the hottest running back in the league over the past two weeks, torching the Browns in Week 5 for 229 total yards and a touchdown and following that up with a 120 total yard, one touchdown performance against a stout 49ers defense. Of course, the injury prone Bradshaw has missed practice time this week with a foot injury. With Andre Brown just returning from a concussion and rookie 1st round pick David Wilson having displayed solid playmaking ability over the last two games with nine carries for 79 yards and a touchdown, the common assumption seems to be that Wilson is the back to own as Bradshaw’s handcuff. Not so fast. With Bradshaw missing practice, Brown took 1st team reps ahead of Wilson and would likely start in the event Bradshaw were to miss time.
4. In Oakland, it appears that the Raiders new management has begun the process of parting ways with starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain. Taken with the 8th pick in the 2010 draft, McClain was expected to become a dominant playmaker in the middle of the Raiders defense but that has failed to materialize. While McClain is a big hitter, he has had numerous off the field issues and has not proven to be a solid player in coverage. Rookie 4th round pick Miles Burris has taken over for McClain on obvious passing downs and the Raiders are not going to pay McClain his current salary ($9-million over the 2013 and 2014 seasons) to be a part time player.
5. Sticking with the Raiders, Carson Palmer has had a decent start to the season, throwing for 1,434 yards but just six touchdowns in Oakland’s first five games. That production has him as the 17th ranked quarterback on a FPts/G basis but better things might be on the horizon. Palmer played the first game of the season without Denarius Moore, was without Darrius Heyward-Bey for one game and part of another and Jacoby Ford, the team’s third wide receiver, was placed on season ending injured reserve without catching a single pass. In addition, running back Darren McFadden has struggled to adapt to the team’s new zone blocking scheme. However, the Raiders upcoming schedule is favorable with matchups against the Jaguars (21st ranked pass defense), Chiefs (12th), Buccaneers (31st), Ravens (22nd), Saints (28th), Bengals (15th) and Browns (30th). With both starting wide receivers in the lineup and a productive McFadden, Palmer’s prospects are looking up. Consider this a buying opportunity.
6. Super deep league flyer tip. The Chargers have announced they are going to sign former Ram Danario Alexander. Alexanader failed to make the St. Louis out of training camp due to a hamstring injury but he is exactly the type of big bodied, speed receiver that the Chargers like and that quarterback Philip Rivers likes to throw to. Given Robert Meachem’s lack of success in his first season in San Diego and Malcom Floyd’s inability to stay healthy, Alexander may end up seeing the field at some point in 2012. When healthy with the Rams, he was productive.
7. With the Ravens defense a hurting mess, it might be time to invest in quarterback Joe Flacco. Baltimore has clearly made the attempt to become a more dynamic offense in 2012 with middling success along the way. However, since the defense was clearly in decline even with linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb healthy, their absence will only make matters worse and should cause the offense to open up even more. Flacco was already on pace to finish the season with over 4,500 passing yards (which would be a career high) and 21 touchdowns so he could emerge as a low end QB1 if the defense continues to struggle as is expected.