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Volume 6, Issue 62 (Sunday, June 18th)

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Hi Folks,

Hope you had a great weekend and now you're ready to roll for the week. We are. We've got a killer new article on the site for you Sharks that have to go really deep into the player pool as we take a look at Deep Sleepers. And thanks to our Mike Brown for rounding up some of the NFL stories tonight. Let's get to it.

J


SITE NEWS

A. Deep Sleepers article posted
Successful FF players know that leagues are won and lost in the later rounds. It's the owner who can identify the late round value find that often makes the difference. We went deep with this article asking our staff guys and Message Board Gurus to identify some players they see as Deep Sleepers. If you're in a big league where every little edge counts, check this out. Regular Footballguys.com readers know that our message boards forums are the best Fantasy Football Boards on the net. >Here's a thread devoted to the Deep Sleeper article

B. Footballguys Magazines are in the HOUSE. Order here
The rollout date is almost here for the magazine. But there's still time to get your copy before the guys in your league can have their hands on it. Our Footballguys.com Strategy Guide magazine is a whopping 228 pages chock full of the meaty information Sharks want. It's not cliff notes summary stuff. It's the details that serious players crave as they look to dominate their leagues. We've got just 175 copies left that you can order online. As a way of saying thanks to you, we're charging just $7.99 for the magazine and that INCLUDES shipping via USPS Priority Mail. As you probably know, just the postage alone for Priority Mail is almost four bucks but it's our way of saying thanks.


INSIDE THIS ISSUE

1. NO - WR Hakim Agrees To One-Year Deal
2. NYJ - QB Pennington's Shoulder To Be Ready For Camp
3. CIN - QB Palmer Takes Charge
4. CLE - Browns Still Considering Adding a Veteran Quarterback
5. TEN - Off-Field Incident Could Put LT Hopkins On Sideline
6. IDP: KC - CB Battle Out For the Year
7. IDP: WAS - Injured CB Rogers Impresses Coaches
8. IDP: WAS - Redskins Sign S Dixon
9. IDP: MIA - DT Bowens May Not Retire

1. NO - WR Hakim Agrees To One-Year Deal

Clipped from New Orleans Times-Picayune article by Mike Triplett 6/19/05

The Saints have verbally agreed to a one-year contract with free-agent receiver Az-Zahir Hakim and plan to finalize the deal Monday or Tuesday, according to General Manager Mickey Loomis and Hakim's agent, Bruce Tollner.

The amount of money was not disclosed. But on Friday, Kansas City Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil indicated that the Saints offered Hakim a better deal than the Chiefs, who were offering close to the veteran minimum.

"It's a better opportunity," Tollner responded, when asked if Vermeil was accurate. "He had two good opportunities, and he felt like New Orleans was the best fit."

Hakim, 28, is expected to compete with second-year player Devery Henderson, among others, to be the Saints' third receiver. The Saints have been looking to add a veteran receiver for several weeks, having let Jerome Pathon go after last season.

Hakim had agreed to a contract with the Chiefs last week and even practiced with the team, but the deal fell through.

Hakim visited the Saints before going to Kansas City, and Tollner said Hakim "continued to evaluate his opportunities" last week.

Loomis said he assumed Hakim would sign with the Chiefs, but when the deal fell through, "he called us back and asked if we were still interested, and we said yes."

Loomis declined further comment on Hakim until the deal is completed. Hakim, who is at home in Southern California, was not available for comment.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Following up the story from last night. While Hakim and his agent may feel that New Orleans presented a better opportunity, we have to respectfully disagree. Hakim enjoyed really his only NFL success in the Rams' offensive system several years ago under current Chiefs head coach Dick Vermeil. As the #3 receiver on the Chiefs, Hakim would have had a legitimate shot at cracking the starting lineup and perhaps even being productive fantasy-wise. With the Saints, however, there are no guarantees that he'll even beat out young Devery Henderson for the #3 spot, as there have been positive reports on Henderson all off-season. What's more, Hakim has zero chance of starting over Joe Horn and Donte' Stallworth unless a significant injury strikes. Keep Hakim in mind just in case an injury DOES strike and you need some temporary help, but even if he makes it into the lineup regularly, we have a hard time believing he can be relied upon for consistent fantasy scoring.


2. NYJ - QB Pennington's Shoulder To Be Ready For Training Camp

Clipped from Newsday article by Ken Berger 6/19/05

Chad Pennington cleared the air about his rehab progress yesterday, saying his surgically repaired right shoulder feels better than at any point during the past three seasons and that he will be ready for the start of training camp July 29.

"I think we're right on schedule," Pennington told Newsday at an autograph signing in Huntington, ending weeks of silence and rampant speculation about his progress. "I'm happy with how things have progressed. I don't think we've had any setbacks whatsoever. I just keep on moving forward. Every day and every week, I see improvement. Right now, I feel normal, I really do. I don't consider myself injured anymore."

Pennington confirmed that he began throwing about 10 days ago on the side after practices. Team officials have released only vague information about Pennington's rehab, which has been closed to the public and media. He started by lobbing the ball 20 to 25 yards and gradually has added velocity.

"Everything has been between 10 and 35 yards," said Pennington, who signed hundreds of autographs yesterday for $60 a pop - all righthanded, by the way.

When asked to rank his ability to throw on a scale of 1-10, Pennington said, "Six."

How often he practices in training camp and what he does will be determined by head trainer Dave Price. "He'll have to hold me back," said Pennington, saying he has no doubts about being ready for the season opener less than three months from today. ". . . Jet fans have seen me play with two major injuries. If I can play with a torn rotator cuff, I know I can play with a surgically repaired shoulder."

Pennington, who had surgery on his torn rotator cuff Feb. 8, said the shoulder feels "more compact and tighter" because years of throwing had loosened the joint and hampered his throwing motion.

"My shoulder feels better now than it ever has over the past three years," he said. " . . . It doesn't feel like there are any hitches in there, anything floating around or any clicks and pops."

The on-field work has Pennington soaring with optimism, quite a contrast with how he felt in the early stages of rehab. "It's such a difficult injury," he said. "It just totally breaks you down and you have to start over. The first two months, you don't even feel like an athlete. There are times in the rehab room when you feel like you're never going to climb out of the hole. Now you really start to see how that paid off."

Despite missing the on-field installation of coordinator Mike Heimerdinger's new offense, Pennington called this "probably the best offseason I've had since I've been a Jet as far as getting my body ready to play."

His goal is to lead the Jets' offense to a top-five ranking in scoring, with an average of at least 24 points per game.

"I think this offense will give me the opportunity to show people that I can throw down the field and that I'm not just an intermediate passer," Pennington said. ". . . As long as we have the football in our hands, we'll have a chance."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

We think it's great that Pennington has the arm strength to sign "hundreds" of autographs with his throwing arm. It's just that we're more concerned with him grading his throwing ability a six. Keep in mind, Pennington's right arm has never evoked images of Dan Marino, and a weak-armed QB coupled with an injury to that weak arm are not a good combination. The latter portions of the article mention how great Pennington feels, however. So the contradiction in progress (rating himself a six) coupled with him saying his "shoulder feels better than it ever has over the past three years", is certainly a bit confusing. We assume he means that even though he's feeling great, and feeling healthy, he still can't throw as he'd like. It's far too early to give a confident estimate as to what we think Pennington will do. Still, at this point with think Pennington makes a decent #2 quarterback. Keep in mind, however, that there will be a TON of news and updates on Pennington's status all throughout training camp and preseason. We'll hold off on making a significant call on Pennington - up or down - until we, too, see him throwing the ball and working in the new offense.


3. CIN - QB Palmer Takes Charge

Clipped from Cincinnati Enquirer article by Mark Curnutte 6/19/05

As Palmer prepares for his second season as a Bengals starter, head coach Marvin Lewis especially likes the quarterback's behavior after the offense leaves the huddle and before the ball is snapped.

"I think his ability to handle the changes we like to do at the line of scrimmage is big," Lewis said of Palmer.

"I think his maturity in not trying to score two touchdowns at once - I think we'll see this from him this year. I think he'll let go of a bad play and get to the next play a little quicker than a year ago."

Teammates and coaches have seen an evolution in Palmer's play and presence since he was injured Dec. 12 at New England.

Said QB Jon Kitna: "(Palmer) has taken the reins. 'It's my team.' Guys know he's unquestionably the No. 1 guy."

Asked if there were a defining moment in Palmer's development, Kitna said it might have taken place between the end of the season and the start of on-field work in May.

"I could tell he had devoured the offense," Kitna said.

On the field, especially during practice, Palmer said he is not trying just to beat the defense that he's facing; he's trying to see what Baltimore or Pittsburgh might do on certain downs and distances.

"I'm working on the little things," Palmer said. "I feel completely different. I really feel comfortable with everybody around me; I feel comfortable with the offense. I feel comfortable with what's going on defensively and what's going on against certain defenses. Having experience is everything."

"Now he's had a year under his belt, and you see him out there with the same calm mentality, but he's getting a lot more done," said third-year left guard Eric Steinbach, a close friend of Palmer's. "He's picking up defenses quicker, he's changing plays at the line better, more confidently. When he's playing better, the offense is going to do better."

Said tight end Reggie Kelly: "You can hear (Palmer's confidence) in his voice. You can see it in his body language and in his attitude. He is confident. He knows what everybody is doing."

Palmer showed improvement last season, too. In Games 1-7, his passer rating was 62.6. In his final six starts, before suffering a knee ligament strain midway through the game at New England, his rating was 96.9.

"He's doing all the right things, but we'll see when we start playing games again," offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski said. "He found a comfort level with the offense last year in those four or five games, and that shows itself out here now: The way he calls plays in the huddle, takes commands in the huddle, it's just a comfort level."

Johnson likes how Palmer rebounds quickly from a bad play, not getting down on himself and instead moving on to the next snap.

"That's a sign of a leader," Johnson said.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Wow. Hey, we know there are glowing reports about 99% of players in the summertime, but not many of those players are former first overall picks with a bounty of talent surrounding them. These aren't simply players propping up a teammate, either. These are significant compliments being thrown at Palmer from just about everyone on the Cincinnati offensive unit. One of Palmer's biggest problems last season was more mental than physical (i.e., making improper reads, forcing the ball into traffic), and he really cut down on a lot of those mistakes as the season wore on. Now we hear from various Bengals personnel that Palmer has made even more strides in the mental aspect of the game, and one can get quite excited at Palmer's 2005 prospects. We currently have Palmer projected to be the #15 quarterback, but we know what his upside is. If reports such as this one become the norm during the summer, you can bet we'll give Palmer a bump up the rankings.


4. CLE - Browns May Add QB Doug Johnson

Clipped from Cleveland Plain Dealer article by Tony Grossi 6/19/05

To assume (Trent) Dilfer will magically regain the form of his prime - 42 touchdowns vs. 26 interceptions in the 1997-98 seasons with Tampa Bay - is a stretch. He suffered two injuries in his last full-time stint as a starter.

So, the development of Harris, a second-year player claimed last season from Baltimore, and Frye, the third-round pick from Akron, will be monitored closely.

"The question is, do you want to go into the season with this much inexperience?" General Manager Phil Savage said. "It's something we have to explore."

It's possible the Browns will add a veteran quarterback to the training camp roster. If they do, Savage said it probably would be Doug Johnson, the former Atlanta Falcons backup. Johnson, 27, signed with Atlanta in 2000 as an undrafted free agent from Florida. He made 11 starts in four seasons, and then signed last year with Jacksonville. The Jaguars released him and Johnson finished the 2004 season mopping up the last two games for Tennessee.

Johnson worked out for the Browns earlier this month.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

We first told you about the Browns' desire to add a veteran signal-caller several weeks ago, and with this news, it appears we can finally attach a name to the story. We don't see any way the Browns go into the season with just Charlie Frye and Josh Harris as the backup quarterbacks. Knowing that Trent Dilfer has had problems staying healthy (oh yeah, and being effective), it would be wise for Cleveland to add another body to the QB stable. At this point, it would appear to be Johnson. But as we saw with the Az Hakim saga, nothing is set until the ink is dry on the contract. We'll let you know in the daily update if there are any new developments with the Cleveland QB situation, or you can check for any breaking news yourself by visiting our popular News Blogger.


5. TEN - Off-Field Incident Could Put LT Hopkins On Sidelines

Clipped from Tennessean article by Jim Wyatt 6/18/05

The Titans are expected to receive word from the league in the near future about whether left tackle Brad Hopkins will be suspended.

Hopkins offered a conditional guilty plea to charges of assault and domestic violence in April, and received a year's probation. The case could eventually be expunged from his record.

The Titans hope Hopkins is suspended for no more than one game. With the February release of Fred Miller, the Titans have committed to starting a younger tackle on the right side, so they'd like to have Hopkins anchoring the left at all times.

The Titans open the regular season Sept. 11 at Pittsburgh.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Not what owners of Titans skill players want to hear. The fact that Tennessee's offensive line is so atrocious to begin with is bad enough, but if one of its better linemen is forced to miss any action, that certainly cannot help things. Hopkins is not the player he once was, but his experience along the line is very important to a unit that will try and improve upon last season's performance. Should Hopkins be suspended for that Pittsburgh game, it might be a good idea to think twice about starting your Titans. Then again, you might want to just think twice about having any Titans to begin with.

Our Chris Smith did a fantastic, in-depth report on the status of each team's offensive line on 5/26. You can check it out here.


6. IDP: KC - CB Battle Out For the Year

Clipped from AP article 6/19/05

Kansas City Chiefs cornerback Julian Battle will miss the upcoming season with a torn left Achilles' tendon.

Battle, who was working with the starters because of Eric Warfield's legal problems, was injured during a minicamp practice Saturday.

"He's going to be operated on," Chiefs coach Dick Vermeil said. "He popped his Achilles' tendon, and he's lost for the year."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

The Chiefs expect Warfield to be suspension because of his off-field issues. Head coach Dick Vermeil has stated that if Warfield is indeed suspended, that Dexter McCleon will be promoted to start opposite Patrick Surtain. Then again, Ty Law is still out there and the Chiefs are one of the teams that had been mentioned as a potential suitor for Law. We'll keep you posted.


7. IDP: WAS - Injured CB Rogers Impresses Coaches

Clipped from Washington Post article by Jason La Canfora 6/19/05

Rookie cornerback Carlos Rogers, the ninth pick of the 2005 draft, was unable to participate in yesterday's minicamp session because of a sprained ankle, but he has already made a positive impression on the coaching staff.

Gregg Williams, assistant head coach-defense, said the coaches and trainers had to demand that Rogers not continue to practice with his injury, which he suffered working out on his own last month and aggravated on Friday. Rogers said he expects to practice today.

"He showed the vets a lot the last two days by practicing under physical duress," Williams said. "Today, we made him not practice. Now, I like the fact that I chose that he not practice. . . . Sometimes you've got guys that, 'Poor little old me, I have an owie today. I don't think I want to go.' It really doesn't go over very well with me and us in this profession."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Not a ton of fantasy relevance here, as this injury will likely be a blip on the radar within a few weeks. Still, it's good to know anytime a rookie is making a positive impression on the coaching staff. One thing you've got to wonder, though. We assume Gregg Williams was impressed with Rogers because he played through injury and demonstrated toughness. One can assume, then, that Williams likes tough guys. So what's he doing using the word "owie"?


8. IDP: WAS - Redskins Sign S Dixon

Clipped from Redskins.com article by Gary Fitzgerald 6/19/05

The Redskins have signed free agent safety Tony Dixon, the team announced on Saturday. Dixon worked out for team officials on Saturday following the team's mini-camp practice at Redskins Park.

Of his six career sacks, three came during the 2004 season. He also contributed on special teams, posting 49 tackles during his career.

Dixon has also been a special teams standout over his career. In 2003, he led the Cowboys with 20 special teams tackles.

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

Dixon won't compete for a starting job in Washington, as they already have Sean Taylor and Matt Bowen manning the deep defensive backfield. But he will contribute depth in the secondary and provide some experience on special teams.


9. IDP: MIA - DT Bowens May Not Retire

Clipped from Sun-Sentinel article by Alex Marvez 6/19/05

Tim Bowens' career might not be over after all.

Bowens was expected to retire after being released /failed physical by the Dolphins 10 days ago because of a back injury.

But agent Drew Rosenhaus said Bowens isn't going to immediately file such paperwork with the NFL and will consider playing for the Dolphins in 2006 if the defensive tackle feels better after some time away.

"If he came back, it would be with the Dolphins. That goes without saying," Rosenhaus said.

"I wouldn't be shocked if Tim really misses the game, and his back really improves, to see him back next year, but Mother Nature would have to cooperate a lot between now and then."

[ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ [ OUR VIEW ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ] ]

You know it's been a slow news day when it's news that someone may NOT retire. In any case, if Bowens does come back he says it would only be with Miami. While this could conceivably benefit Miami's overall defensive unit somewhat, Bowens isn't a player that will be counted on for much fantasy production in IDP leagues. And that's even assuming Mother Nature cooperates a lot.


That'll do it for today, Folks. Thanks for reading and have a great Monday.

J

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