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East Coast Offense: 2006 East Coast Offense-Week 1

Chris Liss

Chris Liss is RotoWire's Managing Editor and Host of RotoWIre Fantasy Sports Today on Sirius XM radio.

East Coast Offense

By Christopher Liss
RotoWire Managing Editor

Sorry for the goofy title - it's one of those things you come up with when you're pressed for time that in retrospect is either a stroke of genius or a just too stupid to be taken seriously. As long as you don't employ this method while naming your kid, I think it's okay to take five seconds to come up with something permanent.

Around the League

Let's get caught up quickly on the major developments of the last few days:

  • Domanick Davis out for the year.

    If you drafted Davis in the first two rounds, you should really beat yourself up over it. You knew his knee was a problem all summer, and when you called his name, you couldn't have been happy about it. It was one of those times where you felt you "had" to draft him because the value was there, but you didn't like it. Well, here's some news for you - you never have to draft anyone. If it doesn't smell right - pass. The first two rounds should be about safety, first and foremost - don't go speculating on injured players on bad teams in this situation.

    The fallout from this is that Wali Lundy gets the job in Davis' place. As my colleague, Mike Salfino pointed out, Lundy is a good bet to thrive in coach Gary Kubiak's zone blocking system because he's a "one-cut-and-go" type of runner in the mold of the successful Denver backs of the last few seasons. (Kubiak was Mike Shanahan's offensive coordinator with the Broncos). Lundy is only 5-11, 210, but that's the same size as Terrell Davis, and he should be well suited to Kubiak's system.

    If the unproven Lundy doesn't pan out, Vernand Morency and Ron Dayne are around. Morency has good athleticism, but he's more of a backfield dancer and therefore less suited to Kubiak's system, and Dayne, despite his bulk, is also slow to move straight ahead to the hole. It's why he was an ineffective short-yardage man for the Giants during his early years.

  • Doug Gabriel dealt to New England

    Given the dire state of the Patriots' receiving corps, it's odd that Oakland reportedly got only a fifth-round pick in return for the 6-2, 215-pound Gabriel who returns kicks and can do damage down the field. Gabriel averaged 15.8 yards per catch a year ago, and rather than replacing holdout Deion Branch, plays a lot more like the departed David Givens. The Patriots like to throw the ball deep on occasion, and if Gabriel can adjust to the new system fairly quickly, there's some upside here - even if Branch, who's merely a chain-moving possession guy, reports. Gabriel's presence could hurt rookie speedster Chad Jackson, who had a chance to win a starting job in camp, but missed too much time with a bad hamstring. Now, even if Jackson gets healthy, he could be blocked by Gabriel.

  • Ben Roethlisbeger has appendectomy

    It's always dangerous to Google suspected ailments you think you might have - (Chest pains, call 911 immediately - never mind that it will cost you $3000 in medical bills for what turns out to be bad indigestion and anxiety). But I searched for "appendectomy recovery time" and found out that people can resume normal activity four days after the procedure, but that it takes 4-to-6 weeks before they can do strenuous work. I'd say playing quarterback in the NFL constitutes strenuous work. The word in Pittsburgh is that Roethlisberger will definitely miss Thursday's game, but that he could return for Week 2 - given that it's a Monday night game 11 days later. Hines Ward had the same procedure done on him a couple years back, and he returned in two weeks, but wasn't 100 percent for several weeks after that. The bottom line is that Charlie Batch will take over for at least a week or two, and Ward, Willie Parker, Heath Miller et al. are likely to be less productive on account of it.

Below the Radar

Of course, all the Wali Lundys, Jerious Norwoods and even Troy Williamsons have likely been picked up in deeper leagues, but here are a few guys who might still be available that are worth keeping an eye on.

  • Ciatrick Fason, RB, Minnesota Vikings - Fason at the very least is likely to see the goal-line carries, and if Chester Taylor were to get hurt, Fason could be a full-time back who comes out only on third downs for Mewelde Moore. The Vikings added All-Pro guard Steve Hutchinson and All-Pro fullback Tony Richardson this offseason, so there should be some holes to run through in Minnesota.

  • Cedric Cobbs, RB, Denver Broncos - The No. 3 running back in Denver had a good preseason, and in Mike Shanahan's system, virtually anyone who makes the final cut not only has a chance to take the job, but can also be a star. At 6-0, 225, Cobbs has more than enough bulk to handle the goal-line duties should Mike Bell fumble his way out of the job or get hurt.

  • Ron Dayne, RB, Houston Texans - Cut from the Broncos, but picked up by Kubiak in Houston, Dayne is currently No. 3 on the depth chart, but it's one of the more fluid depth charts in the league. Neither Wali Lundy or Vernand Morency has done anything that a bad fumble or an ineffective patch couldn't undo in a hurry.

  • Musa Smith, RB, Baltimore Ravens - Jamal Lewis was terrible last season, he's had two knee surgeries, and he's racked up a fair amount of mileage (1508 career carries) for a 27-year old back. Mike Anderson is 33, and could see some time at fullback, so Smith has a good chance to get the job if Lewis gets hurt or is woefully ineffective again. At 6-0, 232, Smith shouldn't have much trouble moving the pile near the goal line, either.

  • Roddy White, WR, Atlanta Falcons - Spare me the lecture about not drafting Falcons wide receivers - things always change in the NFL, and if you wait until after it happens, the value is already gone. Okay, I'll admit that the Falcons probably won't have fantasy-worthy receiver as long as Michael Vick is under center, but there are a few reasons to like White very late in your drafts - first off, he's got decent size and excellent deep speed. Downfield playmakers are always the types you look for late in your draft, as they have the best chance of exploding onto the scene. Vick is in his third season in the West Coast offense - maybe there will be a little development this year. Finally, were Vick to get hurt (a strong possibility given that he gets tackled more than any quarterback in the league), backup Matt Shaub is a good pocket passer who is likely to get White involved.

  • Tim Carter, WR, New York Giants - Carter's not really a consideration in any but the deepest of leagues, but here's what he has going for him: He's by far the fastest receiver on a team that likes to throw down the field. Offensive coordinator John Hufnagel likes to stretch defenses, and besides Plaxico Burress, the Giants lack a viable downfield target. A former second round pick, Carter has been plagued by injuries, but he had a tremendous preseason, and won the No. 3 WR job over Sinorice Moss, who had a bum quad. If anything happens to Burress, Carter could step in and fill the playmaker role.

Beating the Book

Ravens +3 at Buccaneers

Typically when a home team is favored by three points, Vegas is treating the teams as equal because three is roughly what the home field advantage is worth. This varies from venue to venue and year to year, of course - going into Invesco Field during a blizzard in December is typically worse than playing in San Diego in October, but on average, a three-point home favorite means equal teams. But are these teams equal? Last I checked the Bucs were a playoff team, returning a healthy Michael Clayton and a more experienced Chris Simms, while the Ravens won just six games last year. Sure, they upgraded at quarterback with Steve McNair, but McNair isn't what he was six years ago, and neither are Jamal or Ray Lewis. These don't look like even teams to me. Back the Bucs who win fairly easily.

Buccaneers 24 - 13

For the rest of this week's slate, check out Beating the Book

Surviving Week 1

The last thing anyone wants to do is pay an entry fee into a Survivor Pool and get bounced out Week 1. So I'm going with the Patriots at home against the Bills. Coach Bill Belichick has a tremendous record against young quarterbacks who get confused by his coverage schemes and throw too many interceptions. Combine that with Buffalo's poor offensive line, and it should be a long day for J.P. Losman. I realize some of you might want to "use up" the Cardinals this week against the Niners, but I wouldn't stake my life on the Cardinals at this point no matter who they were playing.

For the complete take on Survivor, strategies and rules, check out Surviving Week 1

One last word on the title - it's admittedly stupid, and I might change it next week for the RotoWire version. The article's also running on Yahoo! Sports, and the title makes a little more sense there because my bio says I'm from New York.

Article first appeared 9/6/06