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LAP Dance

By Jared Smola 1:16pm EDT 5/27/11
[caption id="attachment_595" align="alignnone" width="470" caption="DeMaurice Smith has officially lost his mind"][/caption] LAP Dance Leonard A. Pappano May 26, 2011 ** I used to think I was smart enough to know when the NFL and its players would come to a new CBA. The one thing I hadn't considered was the presence of irrational actors in this labor negotiation. Specifically, NFLPA head diva, DeMaurice Smith, who has proven to be the insatiable drama queen. He wastes no public opportunity to slam the owners over all issues - both real and imagined. His latest rant came at his commencement speech to graduates at the University of Maryland. "To anybody who thinks for one minute that passion is something that is cheap and futile, I have two words for them: You suck," Smith said to the group of parents and students. "And for anybody who would ever think that it is the wrong thing to do to care so much that you're willing to risk everything because it is right, reserve those two words for them." Mr. Smith apparently sees the current labor dispute as a civil rights issue. And he's willing to "risk everything" to prove a point to those who value wisdom and reason over passion. I'm still betting that behind closed doors, he isn't nearly as stupid as he sounds in public. But I could be wrong. ** Speaking about reason over passion - I didn't go crazy in my "Sneak Peek Ranking" of Saints rookie RB Mark Ingram. The truth is, however, I've got a man-crush on him. There's a crowded backfield in New Orleans, but this kid has the goods to break away from the pack by November. Ingram could carry a fantasy team through a playoff run. If he gets the bulk of the carries, he's a top-10 RB every week. ** While we're on the topic of Sneak Peek Rankings, here's a quick reminder that QBs, RBs, WRs, and TEs are now all up on the site. Come take a look at preliminary rankings from 4 members of the DS staff - along with some quick-hit analysis. And if you'd like to become a member for the 2011 season, just click right here to subscribe. ** Eagles TE Brent Celek was one of the most disappointing fantasy performers in 2010. After exploding for 971 yards and 8 TDs in 2009, he regressed to just 511 yards and 4 scores last year. With QB Michael Vick taking the reins of Philly's offense, Celek's role diminished. He was targeted just 80 times after seeing 112 looks in '09. But Pro Football Weekly is hearing that Vick and Celek have been working on their chemistry in offseason workouts. And the Eagles are scheming new ways to get the ball to Celek. I doubt that Celek will return to '09 levels this year, but he's definitely worth a shot at his current ADP of 17.08. ** Colts QB Peyton Manning revealed that he underwent neck surgery this past Monday. Manning called it a "minimally-invasive" procedure to address a disc-related problem. It was unrelated to the surgery he had back in March of 2010 to relieve pain caused by a pinched nerve. The perennial Pro Bowler returned just fine from that procedure and anticipates doing the same this time around. "There's plenty of time to recover," he said. Colts owner Jim Irsay says Manning's recovery is expected to take 8 weeks. That'd put him back at 100% by mid-July. And considering he's never missed an NFL start, I'm not too worried. Draftsharks.com will continue to update his rehab progress throughout the summer. ** Rams QB Sam Bradford has new OC Josh McDaniels' playbook and has organized team workouts for this week. Insider Tony Softli was in attendance and says Bradford's "timing and anticipation was very good, crisp and accurate." Good news that Bradford and his WRs are working on McDaniels' system. It's a pretty complicated scheme, but one that could pay big dividends for this passing game. ** There's thinking out of the box, and there there's "OMG!"... ESPN's Matthew Berry had Eagles QB Michael Vick ranked #1 overall in his sneak peek 2011 rankings he published back in January. According to Fantasy Football Calculator, Vick is being drafted #13 overall on average. My personal opinion - even #13 is too high. ** Chargers HC Norv Turner says that TE Antonio Gates is healthy again after struggling through a nasty case of plantar fascia last season. "I did get to see him during the two-day period that the lockout was lifted and he's excited that his rehab is going well," Turner said. Gates was on pace for a record-shattering season before suffering the injury last year. He racked up 663 yards and 9 scores in the season's first 8 games. Turner also confirmed that Gates will continue to be featured in San Diego's offense this year. "He's going to be our lead guy." It's tough to argue with Gates being the 1st TE off the board in fantasy drafts this summer. ** According to beat writer Jeff Legwold, the Broncos "see Knowshon Moreno as more of a situational player... His role in the [John] Fox era likely will be more of a 3rd-down player." Legwold is off his rocker here. Moreno is a former 1st-round pick with plenty of talent. Denver may add a RB to the roster once free-agency opens, but I'd be shocked if Moreno didn't play a major role in this backfield. ** If you're wondering about the list of candidates for the Draft Sharks First Round Bust pick, here's the 1st-round - again, according to FF Calculator. 1. Adrian Peterson 2. Arian Foster 3. Chris Johnson 4. Jamaal Charles 5. Ray Rice 6. Rashard Mendenhall 7. LeSean McCoy 8. Maurice Jones-Drew 9. Andre Johnson 10. Calvin Johnson 11 Roddy White 12. Michael Turner ** Cowboys WR Dez Bryant has reportedly been in attendance for all of the team's player-organized workouts since early-May. It's good news for a couple reasons. First, it'll keep him out of trouble. Bryant has been in the news for the wrong reasons a couple times this offseason, and some structure is good for the 22-year-old. That Bryant is working out is also a sign that he's recovered from the fractured fibula that prematurely ended his 2010 season. "The kid is working hard at his game," adviser David Wells said. "He's in better shape this year than last year. A lot stronger." Bryant's off-field antics are well-documented, but there's no questioning his dedication to the game. He could break out in a big way in 2011. ** If you're looking for a great vacation this summer - I gotta give a plug for Zion National Park in Utah. It's stunningly beautiful… lotsa great hikes… and I had a blast there last summer. I stayed at a house in Virgin (a few miles from Zion) that was gorgeous, relaxing and had a fantastic view of the scenery. Check out the pictures! The couple who owns the house - Carol and Scott Hill - said they would give any Draft Sharks person a 10% discount off rental of the home. The pictures don't lie - you'll love the house, and the park! If you're interested, you can contact Carol at 801-380-9192 or email her at carol_h77@yahoo.com. Oh, and if you're looking for a retirement home or a great place to live, the Hills have building lots for sale. ** Check this out if you're playing in an optimal lineup (aka Draft Masters) league: Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez combined for 1,109 yards and 15 TDs in 2010. A smart strategy might be to draft them back-to-back in the mid rounds. ** Rams WR Danario Alexander says his bum left knee has "improved significantly" this offseason. "I've been working out and training throughout this whole offseason to be 100% for the season," he said. "It's a lot better than it was during the season. Everything's coming back like it's supposed to." Alexander has undergone 5 separate operations on the knee, so he's the definition of a red-flag injury-risk. But he has the raw ability to emerge as the #1 WR on a team desperate for some play-making ability on the outside. "Watching him go through WR drills and just getting off the line, he looks much quicker, looks much faster, much more explosive than he did in the (2010) season," QB Sam Bradford said. Alexander is a classic risk-reward fantasy pick.

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