May 31, 2010

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It's been all draft, all the time here for the last couple of months, but now we are ready to return to what's happening at the big kids' table. Frankly, it's getting weird out there in NFL Land. Mike Martz thinks its 1999 again, Al Davis is making movies like its 1967 again, and football apparently has a problem with performance enhancing drugs. Who knew? As always, there's fantasy fallout to the madness out there ...

Everything is perfect in Chicago

This is according to Bears offensive coordinator Mike Martz. The Mad Genius of Offense (1999-2004) is talking up his new charges in Chicago like they're the Greatest Show on Turf all over again. Martz's assessment of Ms. Congeniality, Jay Cutler: "What I've seen in him so far is he has no flaws. None. He has no ego ... it tickles me. He's bought in so completely.'' Thanks for the creepy image of Tickle-Me Martz dolls, now selling at online retailers in dark corners of the Internet. Cutler has talent in the right situation, and Martz will bring a bit of sizzle to the offense, but the dude is not a QB1 on the 2010 Bears.

The team did nothing to upgrade their offensive line, undoubtedly a weak link on an otherwise young and promising offensive unit. Cutler will have to run for his life again, and the odds of him throwing 20-plus interceptions once more are high. Then there's the wide receivers ... For all their potential, they're one of the least experienced WR corps in the league. Their alleged "big dog" is a guy that Martz is talking up as "an elite wide receiver," Devin Hester. All due respect to Hester, he needs to score far more than three TDs in a season (his career high) to be an elite WR. Like, six more, minimum. Hester has a shot to be a WR3 this season with a bit of luck. On the other hand, if you rely on Cutler as you're starting QB, you're playing Russian Roulette.

Sanity in Oakland

I've got a theory that Al Davis died a few months ago and his ghost from the AFL years is actually running the franchise, rockin' that proper pompadour. It's the only way to describe the outbreak of sanity in Oakland's offseason moves.

They had a great draft, avoiding workout warriors early in favor of solid players at positions of need. There was a deal that almost made up for giving up a 2011 first rounder for Richard Seymour, the trade of a 2012 fourth-rounder for QB Jason Campbell. And in a move that shocked everyone, Davis dumped The Big Mistake, Jamarcus Russell.

The hits are continuing during OTAs, with word that Michael Bush is splitting time with Darren McFadden at running back. This is good news for the fantasy values of both players, particularly Bush. With Justin Fargas gone, these two will now form a more predictable time-share arrangement. Look for Oakland to feature Bush on rushing downs, based on his bruising style and superior 4.8 yards per carry. McFadden will likely get more touches on second and third downs, in probable passing situations, where he can get the ball on the edge or in space.

Considering McFadden's ineffectiveness and inability to stay healthy, Bush could wind up getting more than his fair share of carries. It might be worth your while to burn a mid-round pick on Bush, because his potential meter is tacking toward red. Don't be surprised if he puts up RB2 numbers and helps win many fantasy leagues this year.

Revenge of the McDonald's wrapper

Back in 2008, Brandon Marshall slandered an innocent McDonald's wrapper, blaming it for tripping him up and putting his fist through a TV screen. The truth eventually came out that Marshall messed up his arm while rasslin' with family members. I doubt Ronald McDonald is the type to carry a grudge, but the clown probably can't help but crack a smile at Marshall's latest non-Value Meal-related injury woes. In the past few weeks, Marshall had surgical procedures on both hips. That makes for three hip surgeries in a little over a year. His abilities haven't diminished due to the injuries so far, but these things are bound to add up at some point. There are reports that Marshall won't be ready to go until the start of training camp. If that's the case, he'll have to fight an uphill battle to get in shape for the start of the season. His outlook was already diminishing with the move from serviceable signal-caller Kyle Orton to inexperienced Chad Henne. The news that he might not be in fighting form in time to get on the same page with Henne is even more troublesome. Drop Marshall down from the ranks of the elite to the WR2s, at least for '10.

Wait, NFL players use HGH?

The way the league and the Players Association portray it, HGH just isn't a problem, so why test for it? Of course, anyone with a pair of eyeballs can see some of these jacked-up freaks not getting popped for traditional steroids and figure out that something fishy is going on. Well, until we get some indictments, this is one case where "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" will continue. Santana Moss might have just blown this whole farce up, though. Moss was named in the government's case against Dr. Anthony Galea, which included the allegation that Galea injected seven professional athletes with HGH. That doesn't mean Moss took HGH; his current defense is that he has no knowledge of being injected with the substance. I guess he thought he got bit in the butt by a Mothra-sized mosquito in that doctor's office ... Anyway, the league hasn't said whether it's going to touch this one, and odds are that they'd like the incident to get swept under the rug. If Moss does get sanctioned, he would be a first time offender of the PED policy and miss four games. Obviously, the possibility of missing a quarter of the season puts a damper on Moss' already shaky fantasy value. Consider him no better than a WR3. In addition, a suspension would downgrade Donovan McNabb, who would then be dealing with an unproven starting duo of Devin Thomas and Malcolm Kelly.

Mike Gilbert is's Senior NFL Editor and a 2010 FSWA award winner. Need accurate and up-to-date daily and weekly MLB player rankings? Check out RotoExperts' Xclusive Edge Rankings.

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