Plaxico Burress and other old guys

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - It's a tough time to write about fantasy football, what with all this lockout talk going on.

We should be talking about free-agent signings and the upcoming NFL draft, but all we hear about is the CBA, $9 billion and the outrageous demands from both sides.

So, what we are left with is a bunch of old guys who are trying to make their presence felt around the league.

There's Plaxico Burress, who should be released from prison in early June, getting his name out there. Yesterday the Internet was abuzz with talk about the Rams' interest in the former 1,000-yard receiver.

The logic was that St. Louis desperately needs wide receiver help for sophomore quarterback Sam Bradford and that head coach Steve Spagnuolo had a connection from their New York Giants days.

The problem is threefold: 1) Why would the Rams, who have avoided players with off-the-field problems, want one now? 2) If they decided to change directions and go for a problem receiver, why would they choose a 33-year-old who couldn't grow along with their young quarterback? 3) Why go in that direction at all when this year's draft is flush with talented young receivers -- think A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Torrey Smith, Jonathan Baldwin, Leonard Hankerson, etc.

I see very few places where Burress could produce fantasy-worthy statistics.

Yesterday we also heard that Tiki Barber had signed papers to come out of retirement. His likely destination is Tampa Bay to play with his brother. His role on the team would probably be as a mentor for rising star LaGarrette Blount. Blount finished 2010 in highlight fashion, with 511 yards over the final five games. Barber's fantasy value? Zero.

Another rumor floating out in cyberspace was that former Eagles running back Brian Westbrook wanted to return to Philadelphia.

If true, Westbrook would certainly have to accept that the primary job belongs to LeSean McCoy, who produced very good numbers in his first full season as a starter. McCoy finished the 2010 season with 1,080 yards rushing and a league- leading 78 receptions for 592 yards. We're talking a top-15 running back, top-10 in PPR leagues.

Since Westbrook couldn't fill a third-down receiving role, his usefulness in Philadelphia would be primarily in a veteran leadership role and as a fantasy player would be a non-entity.

Tight end Jeremy Shockey, who was released by New Orleans last week, is another veteran who made a bit of news by signing with the Carolina Panthers. But Shockey will have limited fantasy value on a team with quarterback problems. At best, they will draft Auburn's Cam Newton, but starting a tight end with a rookie quarterback rarely yields big fantasy numbers.

The only "old guys" who have a legitimate chance for fantasy value are Chad Ochocinco and Terrell Owens. Both still have plenty of talent, but they seem more interested in a television career than playing football. Neither will play in Cincinnati for 2011, but given the right circumstances, could post solid numbers.

For them, like the rest of us, it's wait-and-see time. We will all have to be patient until the two parties settle their labor issues, before we can find out where they might play in 2011.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Steve Schwarz at

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