As the CBA deadline of March 3rd approached, NFL teams were busy releasing players, signing players, giving out new contracts, and giving a few players some big fat juicy tenders just before the clock struck midnight. Most of the moves were pretty mild, but there were some that perked up my fantasy ears. Take a look-see:
Pierre Thomas: The Saints signed Thomas to a new 4 year/$12 million contract. This move is a bit of a surprise considering how effective Chris Ivory was in his absence last season. Ivory isn’t going anywhere and the fate of Reggie Bush is yet to be determined, but this signing suggests there will be plenty of carries for Pierre Thomas in 2011. 15-20 touches a game seems fair, which would make Thomas a solid RB2 option in all formats. He also averaged nearly 5 receptions a game when healthy last year, which puts him in the top tier of awesomeness among running backs in PPR leagues.
Michael Bush: The Raiders placed first and third round tenders on Bush. He isn’t going anywhere unless a team is willing to give up a lot to get him, but he’s already with the Raiders so this move is like a win-win for this organization. If you draft Darren McFadden you have to draft Michael Bush as well. Bush is a top-15 fantasy back when McFadden has his annual injury. Bush needs a starting gig somewhere else badly, but it doesn’t appear that’ll happen anytime soon.
Jeremy Shockey: Carolina signed Shockey to a one-year contract. The only optimism I have about this move is the fact that Rob Chudzinski is the Panthers offensive coordinator, and he and Shockey worked together in Shockey’s University of Miami days. Other than that, I don’t see much fantasy upside here. I’m leaving Shockey on waivers, but it’s not all his fault. I blame Jimmy Clausen.
Owen Daniels: I worry about his injury history, but evidently the Texans don’t. Houston wrapped Daniels’ ailing hamstring and knee injuries with tightly wound 4 year/$22 million bandages and suddenly Daniels feels a lot better. His 22 catches in the final four games of last year have me pretty optimistic about his role in this offense. So optimistic, in fact, that I currently have him ranked in my top 6 at his position heading into 2011.
Plaxico Burress: Burruss is scheduled to be released from prison on June 6. His agent Drew Rosenhaus says a few teams are interested in him, but Rosenhaus would also say that if his client were a turd salesman. Burress will be 34 years old when the season starts and may have another good season or two left in him, but I’d really only take a flier on him in a dynasty league if I had a disposable roster spot at this point.
Mike Thomas/Mike Sims-Walker: The Jaguars released Mike Sims-Walker. Mike Thomas now becomes the clear-cut #1 wide receiver in Jacksonville, but let’s not get crazy. Even with an expected increase in production, Thomas is still no better than a WR3 in fantasy. The name you need to know here is Jason Hill, who now climbs up to the #2 WR slot on the Jacksonville depth chart. Hill should produce, well, Mike Sims-Walker type numbers in 2011, making him a serviceable WR4 option in deep leagues.
A.J. Hawk: The Packers released Hawk on Wednesday, which may have brought a tear to your eye if you’re a Packers D/ST owner in dynasty leagues. Well, Green Bay signed him to a new 5-year deal the next day, so carry on my wayward son, and don’t you cry no more.
Bob Sanders: Sanders signed a 1-year deal with the Chargers on Thursday. He brings explosiveness and run-stopping ability to San Diego, but he also brings an “I Like to Not Play a Full Season” ability, which he excels at. He hasn’t played a full season his entire career. His fantasy impact for the Chargers D/ST would be high if he could stay on the field. That may be the biggest “if” in the league. Are there 4-game contracts or anything? No? Dammit.
There were a few more league moves here and there, but none that got my fantasy wheels turning like these. Now we just need the talking heads to get this CBA done so there’ll be more moves to discuss. It’ll get done. Have faith, Razzballers! Have faith!
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