bell catch2

There are many dirty words said on a football field. Mothers are insulted, and sisters aren’t safe either. It’s meaningless drivel and bravado, of course, and usually all is made well with a handshake and/or shug directly after the clock hits triple zeros.

But of all the dirty words said every Sunday (or Monday and Thursday), none are dirtier than the filthiest fantasy football word: Lisfranc.

It’s downright petrifying, because the injury is just so damn unpredictable, particularly for running backs who are expected — no, required — to cut and juke and shift and turn one way while their body wants to go another. As we saw last year with Maurice Jones-Drew, even once the player in question feels healthy enough to practice, the injury can remain just enough to prohibit him from clearing that final hurdle, and return to game action.

And then we have Le’Veon Bell, who could be the anti-MJD, and therefore a draft day steal.

Since we can’t have easy things, nearly every year at the peak of fantasy draft season (now) a desirable and important player provides us with an injury that’s difficult to forecast. This year we have several, most notably to Bell and Rob Gronkowski.

But it’s Bell who’s prompting the shoulder shrugging right now, and he could make guys like me eat their delicious words. And you know, I’m fine with that. Really.

A week ago I stopped just short of telling you to avoid the Steelers’ backfield entirely in drafts. At the time (and still now), there was a chance Bell could miss at least six weeks with his foot injury, which would keep him out until Week 5 following Pittsburgh’s bye. Despite that possible lengthy absence he still has an ADP of 87.6, which is a discount for a featured back once he’s healthy, but a seventh-round pick in a standard 12-team league is awful hefty for a guy who could miss a quarter of the season. Worse, he could only be available to you for nine games in the fantasy regular season.

But since he’s young and he also drinks the tears of children, Bell has shed his walking boot already, just nine days after suffering the injury. That’s naturally led to a flood of hope for both fantasy owners who have already drafted Bell, and others with upcoming drafts who are staring at a Pittsburgh backfield filled with despair.

Oh, there’s also this…

 

Clearly risk remains, and there are no certainties with an injury of this nature. But at the very least, those of you who are inclined to embrace risk and see Bell’s current ADP as a discount rather than a misplaced grasp can have more draft day confidence in a quicker return, and maybe one that even beats the initial minimum six-week time frame.

Kids these days, man. They don’t break feet like the used to.

More notes, stray thoughts, and other such randomness

Vernon Davis has a new friend who tells him to burn things

After injuries to Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham depleted the depth chart, San Francisco has finally found a solution at wide receiver…

Brandon Marshall is displeased

You just never know when Brandon Marshall could start punting balls wherever the hell he pleases.

Marshall has had a chronic hip problem, one that’s required three surgeries with the most recent earlier this offseason. He’s fine and playing, and looking elite and stuff. But he still told the media locusts yesterday that he’s not quite at full health, which is frustrating.

Then the Scheft dropped this…

Quick Brandon, put your fire hose on full diva extinguishing blast.

Just like every circus-y side story in our 2013 NFL, this circled the sports panel yelling podiums for a few hours Wednesday, and it’s since fizzled. But if the Bears start, say, 0-2 and Marshall is only performing sort of OK, we’ll hear about it again every four minutes.

Please, save us Brandon.

Behold, the knuckle punt

Must be something in that heavenly San Francisco water, or maybe one too many fish tacos consumed around Fisherman’s Wharf. First Vernon Davis is getting all chummy with a murderous doll, and now punter Andy Lee is set to experiment with his knuckle punt in a game situation.

A meaningless game, but a game nonetheless. Lee, a four-time All-Pro, could soon be the NFL’s R.A. Dickey just with much less suck, as throughout training camp he’s been practicing a knuckle punt to be used in fair catch situations, and he may try it tonight during the 49ers’ preseason finale against San Diego. Catching a ball in traffic with the wind blowing and numerous bodies flying around you can be far more difficult than it appears. So now try that when said ball is moving wherever the hell is damn well pleases.

That could be coming to an NFL field near you, according to Kyle Williams, the Niners punt returner who has attempted to catch the knuckle punt.

From CSN Bay Area:

“It’s just like a knuckleball in baseball. It’s floating up there, and it will change direction probably three or four times within the last 5 yards, 10 yards, and then it’s right there. It’s tough to deal with. It’s literally sideways, and then it just kind of shifts around,”

Ummm yeah, “tough” sounds like an accurate description. Personally, I would have gone with “it’s the work of the devil”, but that’s just me. The punt has been passed down through the sacred punter’s brotherhood, starting with originator Craig Hentrich, who showed it to Joe Nedney. Then Nedney shared his sorcery with Lee.

Lee added that the cool temperatures by the bay and frequent wind in San Fran will help his cause even more when he’s ready to haul his new club out of the bag in a game situation.

“In Candlestick, it’s pretty windy and the ball can move around. So when it comes off, you want it to move a little bit, but more like a slow, slow, real slow rotation that kind of moves around, and it can be harder for the returner to catch.” Lee said. “It can cause some fumbles. It can do some things like that, and sometimes when I hit the rugby punt it will come out a little slower rotation so it’s kind of that same idea except making it move maybe four rotations the whole time it’s in the air.”

So basically, it’ll be the football version of this

Boldly going

Among Matthew Berry’s annual preseason columns is his “bold predictions” entry. He defines a bold prediction as one that’s a reach in either direction, but it’s still possible. The purpose is to explore the furthest depths of the ceiling or floor of certain players, and prod this year’s lottery tickets who will either boom or bust, but nothing in between.

Perhaps the easiest one to agree with is the very first prediction involving new Cardinals quarterback Carson Palmer:

I say Carson Palmer, currently being drafted 22nd among quarterbacks, throws for over 4,500 yards and 25 touchdowns. You heard me. What I’m thinking: What’s Bruce Arians gonna do, run it? Exactly. They are going to throw, throw, throw. Palmer threw for over 4,000 yards last year with no wide receivers nearly as good as Larry Fitzgerald. I actually like Andre Roberts, Michael Floyd and Rob Housler from a skills standpoint as well, and think Roberts in particular is a very interesting deep flier this year.

You’ll say that Palmer is slow-footed, and therefore vulnerable behind a slightly improved but still overall crappy Cards offensive line that gave up 58 sacks last year (that’s especially true following the loss of Jonathan Cooper). Despite deficiencies in pretty much every other football thing they attempted, the Raiders’ offensive line was reliable in pass protection last year, as Palmer went down only 27 times (fifth best sacks allowed total in the league).

Fair enough, but even if we factor in an offensive line which could again merely hinder instead of halt, that should only limit already great production relative to Palmer’s draft position.

As Berry notes, Palmer is hovering around 20th overall at his position depending on what day you draft and what mood your leaguemates are in. More specifically, he’s being selected on average at 129th overall, midway through the 10th round. Last year he had his first +4,000-yard season since 2007, and he did it while throwing to Denarius Moore, rookie Rod Streater, and previous nobody Brandon Myers.

Now he has Larry Fitzgerald, and plenty of youth ready to blossom in first-round pick Michael Floyd, Andre Roberts, and Rob Housler, though he could be out for the first portion of the season with a high-ankle sprain. Palmer will also benefit from the many vertical lines drawn by Bruce Arians, and a defense that will generate more turnovers, and thus more scoring opportunities (Arizona finished second in interceptions last year with 22).

This is a fine place to take a plunge for you late-round quarterback types.

Because Texas

cowboys pig

Of course an unidentified Texas Walmart was the first to produce a commemorative team pig. And really, is there a good reason why the NFL hasn’t created a line of these for sale nationwide? No, no there isn’t.

But hey, PLEASE KEEP OFF and refrain from riding the giant pig. Thanks.

(via Sportress of Blogitude)