September 3, 2010

End of the Week: 5 NFL Stories

As we approach the holiday weekend, I thought it only appropriate to do a quick-hit, rapid-fire run through the news stories hitting the wire as we race out the door to barbeques, college football tailgates and face-painting design meetings. Did I go too far?

Let’s run through five stories on the wire right now, starting with Friday’s announcement concerning Ben Roethlisberger.

1. Ben Roethlisberger Suspension Reduced

As expected, Roger Goodell met with Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and reduced his suspension from six games to four. As a result, Roethlisberger will return after the Steelers’ Week 5 Bye to face the Browns. I’d already built this information into my most recent quarterback rankings. Given his high level of production in two of the past three seasons, Roethlisberger definitely rates among the top QB2s for his nine-game run toward the fantasy playoffs. Fantasy owners who drafted Roethlisberger late with wishes and hopes of a reduction in the suspension time are smiling, as are owners of Hines Ward and Mike Wallace.

2. Montario Hardesty Lost for the Year

Cleveland fans and fantasy owners feared the worst when ninja running back candidate Montario Hardesty left Thursday’s exhibition finale against Chicago. On Friday, those fears were confirmed when it was revealed that he’d torn his left ACL and was placed on injured reserve. Jerome Harrison’s stock takes an immediate leap, and 2009 ninja James Davis pops back onto the radar.

3. Patrick Crayton Dealt to San Diego

Crayton escaped NFL hell (ie – the daily self-reflection of “what’s my role?”) when he was dealt from the Cowboys to the Chargers for a seventh-round pick. He immediately warrants consideration as a fourth wide receiver, as he’ll crack the rotation alongside Malcom Floyd and Legedu Naanee. Crayton has a chance to slide into the No. 2 role once he acclimates to the offense.

4. Byron Leftwich Injured

Leftwich left the Steelers’ preseason finale with a sprained knee, thereby opening the debate of whether veteran Charlie Batch or Dennis Dixon would get the starting nod for the first four games. We’ll await further word. For now, I’m looking for both to see time, and I’m not changing the ranking of the WRs.

5. LenDale White Achilles’

Alas, a rough season ended for LenDale White before it even began. He was dealt to Seattle on draft weekend, getting us (me, more appropriately) excited about his reunion with Pete Carroll. That short appearance ended with his release and the announcement of a four-game suspension. White signed with Denver and appeared to have a chance of posting some touches as part of a three-man attack. Alas, he ruptured his Achilles’ tendon and will miss the season.

I’d be on the horn with Derrick Ward and bring him in to kick the tires.