Fantasy football stock watch

Fantasy football stock watch

By David Ferris
CSNChicago.com

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Matt Ryan, QB, Falcons: There are buzzy skill players all over the Atlanta offense (Julio Jones, Jacquizz Rogers), and by osmosis, that has to bump Ryan's draft stock up a few slots. And all signs point to Michael Turner receiving a smaller share of the workload this year, which should open up red-zone passing attempts. Maybe Ryan doesn't have enough upside to chase a 40-touchdown season, but something in the mid-30s is doable. The dome-heavy schedule doesn't hurt. Don't sleep on this team.

Josh Freeman, QB, Buccaneers: He dropped 20-30 pounds in the offseason and the coaching change came at the right time - last year's offense was toxic in every sense of the word. Freeman is going to have a ball throwing deep to Vincent Jackson (and short to super back Doug Martin), and third-year pro Mike Williams can't be as bad as he looked in 2011. Freeman doesn't have to be selected as your No. 1 quarterback, but he's a backup with upside. He'll throw in 300-400 rushing yards as a bonus.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals: A lot of roto players are sweating Fitzgerald's supporting cast, but if he could post 80-14-11-8 in this mess last year, what's the big worry? Kevin Kolb's spotty exhibition debut is a blessing in disguise - it increases the chance of John Skelton winning the QB gig, someone who will stand in the pocket and make intermediate and deep throws. You'll at least recoup your draft day investment on Fitzgerald, and there's plenty of room for profit.

Eric Decker, WR, Broncos: Everything is about precision and trust in the Peyton Manning offense; you have to be where he wants, when he wants you there. That's good news for Decker, the most polished route runner of the young Broncos receivers. Maybe raw but athletic Demaryius Thomas will eventually make beautiful music with Manning, but it looks like Manning and Decker have the early jump when it comes to building rapport.

Brandon Bolden, RB, Patriots: He's basically the new BenJarvus Green-Ellis in New England, a no-name back, absent of pedigree, who could sneak into the rotation. Bolden has the same body type as the Law Firm, and the Patriots don't seem to be head-over-heels for Stevan Ridley or Shane Vereen. Most of your league doesn't even know Bolden's name right now, and they might regret that a month from now. Earmark him for the final round in medium and deeper groups. 

Andrew Luck, QB, Colts: Everyone has flipped for Robert Griffin III and we're on board, too. But we also have to remember that Luck is more experienced and polished, and he might be under less pressure in Indianapolis as well. Look for a reliable rookie year right out of the chute, enough that veteran receiver Reggie Wayne becomes a target player as well.

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Ryan Mathews, RB, Chargers: Although he broke his collarbone on Thursday and will miss 4-6 weeks, the majority of the fantasy community isn't bailing on Mathews: most still see him as a Top 12 running back. That's good news for you; you'll make a profit by shorting this stock (again). Mathews has been hurt in every season dating back to his college days, and he's also had ball-security problems as a pro. And heck, why do you want to spend a premium pick on a high-attrition player who already has a major injury? Step to the side, let your opponents trip themselves up.

Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers: His best receiver (Mike Wallace) isn't happy, the offensive line is a mess, the offensive system is new, and there isn't a special talent on the outside after Wallace (though Antonio Brown is very good). Roethlisberger also brings on extra contact every year, since he'll hold the ball for an eternity on any snap, hoping to make a deep connection. That's a wonderful thing when it works, but it also leads to a bunch of nagging injuries - and Big Ben has already disclosed a rotator cuff issue. So many red flags here; go look at someone else. It's a deep position.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Giants: He's had a laundry list of surgeries on his feet and ankles, and the Giants spent a first-round pick on rookie David Wilson. It's not hard to connect the dots. As gallant as Bradshaw has been over the last few years, playing through pain, you can't cheat this sort of thing forever.

Shonn Greene, RB, Jets: The electric 2009 season (and playoffs) got everyone excited, but Greene hasn't been much of a pile mover since then, despite a better-than-average offensive line and a scheme committed to the running game. Last year's stat haul is probably the upside for Greene, and he's still a poor fit for work in the spread package and on third down. Look for a better upside back for your third or fourth option.

Brandon Marshall, WR, Bears: While he was a reception and yardage monster in the Denver days with Jay Cutler, the duo didn't do much with touchdowns - just 14 in 36 games together. And Marshall's allergy to the end zone continued in Miami, albeit the mediocre QBs there didn't help. Don't let preseason buzz and hype affect your Marshall projection: he'll probably get his 6-8 scores this year, but he's never been a dynamic option in the scoring area.

President Obama on Joe Maddon: 'Not a lot of coaches or managers who are as cool as this guy'

President Obama on Joe Maddon: 'Not a lot of coaches or managers who are as cool as this guy'

As one of the cooler presidents ever, President Obama knows cool when he sees it.

The president talked about numerous members of the Cubs during the team's visit to the White House on Monday, but he only offered the "cool" label to manager Joe Maddon, who most folks can agree is probably the coolest person to ever manage the Cubs.

"Let's face it, there are not a lot of coaches or managers who are as cool as this guy. Look how he looks right now," Obama said, pointing out Maddon's non-traditional suit. "That's cool."

The president also praised Maddon's unique style, with his themed road trips and visits from zoo animals, as well as his on-field prowess, throwing in a joke about something the skipper couldn't control during the World Series.

"He's got a lot tricks to motivate. But he's also a master of tactics and knows how to make the right move at the right time: when to pinch hit, when to pinch run, when to make it rain in Game 7 of the World Series. It was masterful."

Maybe President Obama really does admire Maddon's style. Or maybe he's just extending his bromance with Vice President Biden to other famous Joes.

Check out the video above for more from the president.

At Cubs' White House visit, President Obama touts Michelle Obama's Cubs fandom, shouts out Jose Cardenal

At Cubs' White House visit, President Obama touts Michelle Obama's Cubs fandom, shouts out Jose Cardenal

Unlike her husband, Michelle Obama hasn't made a big deal out of her baseball fandom over the past eight years.

But as President Obama mentioned while he honored the World Series champion Cubs on Monday at the White House, it turns out the First Lady is a pretty big Cubs fan and watching the Cubs win the World Series meant an awful lot to her.

"It is no secret that there's a certain South Side team that has my loyalty," the president said. "So I can't claim that I have the same visceral joy of some in this White House. But FLOTUS is a lifelong Cubs fan, and I will tell you ... in the eight years that I've been here, we've hosted at least 50 teams. Football, baseball, basketball, soccer, you name it. Michelle has never come to a single event celebrating a champion until today. She came and shook hands and met with every one of these members of the Cubs organization and told a story about what it meant for her to be able to see them win. She remembers coming home from school, and her dad would be watching a Cubs game, and the bond and the family, the meaning that the Cubs had for her in terms of connecting with her father and why it meant so much to her. And I almost choked up listening to it. And it spoke, I think, to how people feel about this organization and that it's been passed on generation after generation. It's more than just sports."

And one ex-Cub even got a special invite to the White House so the First Lady could meet her all-time favorite player. That was former pitcher Jose Cardenal, once famous for his large afro. According to President Obama, his wife used to try and wear her hat over her afro just like Cardenal did.

So while President Obama was presented with a lifetime pass to Wrigley Field, perhaps it's Michelle who will get more use out of it.

Check out more from the president in the video above.