Team-imposed suspension raises more red flags for Marshall's value

Fantasy football enthusiasts, it's time to be concerned about the value of Brandon Marshall.

The talented but troubled wide receiver has made his displeasure with the Broncos' new regime well known, expressing his desire for either a new contract or a trade. Earlier this week, he had what amounted to a childish temper tantrum in practice. During Wednesday's warmups, Marshall punted a ball away instead of handing it to a ball boy and then swatted down a pass thrown to him.

Those actions caused coach Josh McDaniels to hold him out of Thursday's practice and ultimately led to the Broncos suspending Marshall for conduct detrimental to the team. He will be suspended until Sept. 5 and remains eligible for the start of the regular season when the Broncos face the Cincinnati Bengals.

Regardless, this latest incident in the Marshall saga makes him even more of a risk in fantasy football.

Last week, Marshall worked strictly with the scout team in practice. In fact, he was forced to wear a red No. 84 scout-team jersey to simulate Seahawks wide receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh. The Broncos faced Seattle last weekend in their second preseason game.

That sort of treatment might be warranted in the eyes of McDaniels, who comes from the Bill Belichick coaching tree and has that "if you're not with me, you're against me" attitude. Reports have also indicated that Marshall still doesn't have a firm grasp of the new playbook, which is what McDaniels used as the reason the wideout was held out of the Seahawks game.

Marshall is clearly the most talented wideout on the team, not someone who should be running with the scouts. The veteran has averaged 103 receptions for 1,295 yards with 13 touchdowns over the last two seasons. Numbers like that have made Marshall a real superstar in fantasy circles.

Unfortunately, this current situation is getting uglier by the minute and making Marshall a risk in fantasy leagues.

Despite the fact that he was considered back to full strength in his return from offseason hip surgery, Marshall was also reportedly upset over what he feels was the team's incorrect diagnosis of the initial ailment. He also suffered an injured hamstring during the first weekend of training camp and wasn't able to return to practice until last week when he worked with the scout team.

Now that Marshall has been disciplined, he'll lose any chance to gain a positive rapport with his new quarterback, Kyle Orton, before the start of the regular season. Orton hasn't had much time at all to develop some level of chemistry with Marshall, who was supposed to be his favorite target in the pass attack.

At this rate, it could be Eddie Royal, not Marshall who becomes the main man and sees those all-important targets. It could also be Royal who warrants more consideration in drafts. The Virginia Tech product is coming off a strong rookie season, posting 91 receptions, 980 yards and five touchdowns.

Reports earlier in camp even suggested that Royal was being groomed to be an offensive centerpiece in McDaniels' scheme. If he fills a role similar to the one Wes Welker saw under McDaniels in New England, Royal could be in line for a season with 100-plus receptions.

That sort of scenario would make owners in PPR (point-per-reception) leagues drool.

When the smoke clears and the season starts, it looks like Marshall will remain in Denver. The team doesn't appear willing to grant his wish of a trade like it did with Jay Cutler; a move that still has Broncos fans and fantasy owners scratching their heads. When you consider that Marshall is in a contract year, it would seem to be in his best interests to put his pride on the sidelines and produce big numbers on the field.

Whether or not he does that remains to be seen. His recent actions would suggest otherwise.

As it stands, it's time to move Marshall down on your wide receiver rankings. In fact, owners should now consider the likes of Marques Colston, Chad Ochocinco and even Roy E. Williams (if his shoulder ailment isn't serious) ahead of him. Marshall should be seen as no more than a mid- to low-end No. 2 fantasy wideout and warrants no more than fifth- or sixth-round consideration.

News and notes

  • » Cowboys wide receiver Roy E. Williams suffered what is being called a "shoulder contusion" in Thursday's practice. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that the Cowboys are calling Williams day to day, though he is likely to miss the remainder of the preseason due to the injury. Barring setbacks, he should still be seen as a No. 2 fantasy receiver. However, this scare is a reminder that Williams' durability is a question mark.
  • » The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette is reporting that Steelers running back Willie Parker will likely miss Saturday's preseason game against the Buffalo Bills. In his absence, coach Mike Tomlin is expected to give Rashard Mendenhall the start. Mendenhall hasn't exactly drawn rave reviews in training camp, so Tomlin wants to get a long look at him. Parker's ailment isn't serious, though, and he remains the better fantasy option.
  • » Buccaneers running back Cadillac Williams was impressive in his first preseason action, rushing for 54 yards on eight carries in a 10-6 loss to the Dolphins. Williams, who has torn both of his patella tendons in the past two years, looks poised to earn a role in the backfield this season. That's bad news for the value of Derrick Ward, who could be smack dab in the middle of another committee situation with both Williams and Earnest Graham.
  • » Bengals wide receiver and sudden super sleeper Chris Henry caught two passes for 62 yards with one touchdown in Thursday night's preseason game against the Rams. He has now found the end zone in each of his three preseason games and could be pushing to start at split end opposite Chad Ochocinco with Laveranues Coles moving into the slot. Regardless, Henry's fantasy stock is on the rise in all leagues.
  • » Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb completed 21-of-36 passes for 244 yards with one touchdown and one interception in a preseason win over the Jaguars. However, the story of the night was the return of Michael Vick, who completed 4-of-4 passes for 19 yards and added one yard on one rushing attempt. Vick's presence shouldn't alter McNabb's draft value, but he will lose a few snaps per game as the Eagles look to use their new weapon.

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