Fantasy Clicks
By Paul Forrester
A message To You Rudi
Rudi Johnson: John Sommers II/Icon SMI

So Rudi Johnson expects to be shipped out of Cincinnati "any minute." But Bengals coach Marvin Lewis says any talk of trading the Bengals running back is just "a rumor." From our reading of that sort of talk, Rudi better have his bags packed, especially considering the Bengals already have moved on, starting Chris Perry and backing him with Kenny Watson, and have a gaping need at WR in the wake of Chad Johnson's shoulder injury. That all makes Johnson's preseason debut Thursday night (after recovering from a strained right hamstring) more of a tryout than a return atop the Bengals' depth chart. Here's hoping a deal gets done soon. The Bengals need it, any number of teams with thin backfields need it and fantasy owners really need it.

Star Time

Just when we thought Monta Ellis would be top three-round fantasy draft selection this fall, the Warriors new starting point guard suffered a severe ankle sprain, tearing a ligament and requiring his leg to be immobilized for six weeks. Estimates have Ellis back on the floor in 3-4 months. That will bump him down a round or three at least.

It's Never Too Late To Find A Sleeper

Anybody can get through the first 6-8 rounds of a draft simply by selecting players based off of last year's numbers. But more than a few fantasy crowns will be worn by those owners who unearth those late-round gems a year before they become early-round staples. Absent a grand roundtable discussion with all 32 NFL coaches, you couldn't do much better than consulting RotoExperts' roundtable about what players have impressed during training camp and who is destined to disappoint this season.

The Call Of The Scavenger

That shriek you hear late in many drafts is the familiar call of the vulture pick, the player selected in hopes that the starter in front of him on the depth chart loses his job to poor play or injury. Rob Warner at Fantasy Football Toolbox is too gracious to make the call, but he is kind enough to offer his opinions on a handful of some of the most promising "Heirs Apparent." The whole thing has me a little uneasy about that Willis McGahee pick right about now.

Hindsight Is 20-20
Jason Bay: Michael Tureski/Icon SMI

Almost a month has passed since the MLB trade deadline. How are the Angels faring with Mark Teixera? Or the Red Sox with Jason Bay? The results are promising, but the proof will be in the postseason, asserts Knox Bardeen at Fanball. ( And that's not all he asserts in analyzing the results so far for the teams and major players heating up the transaction wire last month.

Why It's Always Better To Draft In Person's Extra Mustard impresario Jimmy Traina participated in a fantasy draft with some of the sporting world's foremost bloggers. All went pretty much according to plan, until the later rounds when the team from Tailgating Ideas found itself adding journeymen quarterbacks at an alarming rate, all thanks to the AutoDraft list. Be warned, he who doesn't pick in person risks selecting Billy Volek in Round 10.

Ups, Downs, Ins And Outs

Few pieces of information are as important at a fantasy draft than an updated depth chart. The Sandlot Shrink, which has been providing the latest insights on waiver-wire pickups in the majors, also has the latest movements in the NFL with depth charts that are updated 365 days a year. That's right. When you're unwrapping presents Christmas morning, the Shrink will be determining who will be starting in the Panthers' backfield.

Much Ado About Nothing

New 49ers starter J.T. O'Sullivan has been sneaking into the late rounds of fantasy drafts based in part on his winning the job and, in part, on the hopes that new San Francisco offensive coordinator Mike Martz can make filet mignon out of hamburger. Well, Cold Hard Football Facts isn't having any of it, noting O'Sullivan's gag-worthy 48.2 passer rating. In other words, this season isn't shaping up any better than the last few by the Bay, and the reasons stretch back eight years, argues CHFF, when the team left the hands of Eddie DeBartolo Jr. Can anyone argue that? Celebrity Fantasy League

Ever dreamt of playing fantasy football against a Hall of Fame safety, Sports Illustrated football writer, Major League Baseball general manager, world-renowned swimsuit model, professional poker player or best-selling author -- to name a few?, in conjunction with Facebook, will welcome someone into its 2008 Celebrity Fantasy League where one lucky fan matches weekly wits, from Draft Day to the Fantasy Bowl, with Ronnie Lott, Peter King, Oakland A's GM Billy Beane, supermodel Brooklyn Decker, poker great Phil Gordon and Michael Lewis, author of the sabremetrician-friendly book, Moneyball. Time's running out, though, so click here and register today! As a consolation prize for the contest non-winners, you can create new leagues and develop newer rivals on the new SI/Facebook fantasy game.

Come One, Come All

At long last, has a fantasy football game, complete with all of the drafts, waiver wires, stats and analysis you need. Take the grand tour here and sign up a league. Heck, sign up two leagues if you want. We'll be waiting.

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