Catching the Buzz: Wali World

Yahoo! Sports

Change is one constant in fantasy sports. Players get hot and cool down, get hurt and get well, and move in and out of roles. Fantasy owners are constantly reacting to these changes (or at least they should be). Let's take a look at the Buzz Index from the past three days and see which players are currently causing the most change in fantasy baseball and fantasy football, and take a deeper look at what the fuss is all about.

Buzz Index (Football) – Adds
Wali Lundy (Hou – RB) 63,890 adds
Vernand Morency (Hou – RB) 10,584 adds
"Both are going to play, but if the season started (today), Lundy would be the starter, and Morency would play." Texans coach Gary Kubiak's words appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Tuesday, igniting a firestorm of activity on the waiver wire and making Lundy the run-away leader for football Buzz Index activity. Incumbent Domanick Davis practiced for only the first two days of camp before a knee injury sidelined him, and he could be headed to the IR. According to Kubiak, Lundy and Morency have both "played hard, and they've done a good job overall." Neither played in the Texans' final preseason game on Thursday night, so in three games Lundy finished the preseason with 143 yards on 26 carries (5.5-yard average) and one touchdown, while Morency finished with 131 yards on 24 carries (5.5-yard average) with two touchdowns – both players also recorded six catches, Lundy for 52 yards and Morency for 39 yards.

Travis Henry (Ten – RB) 32,836 adds
Citing a source "close to the Titans," CBS Sportsline reported on Tuesday that Henry is expected to start for the Titans in week 1 of the regular season, and that "Chris Brown is listed as the No.1 running back in name only." The report also stated that the team source called out Henry's "dedication to offseason workouts and overall ability" as the main reasons as to why he would be the Week 1 starter. Thursday's The Tennessean reported to the contrary: "Chris Brown still stands as the No.1 running back, just as he did at the start of training camp," and running backs coach Sherman Smith said, "I evaluate [Brown] on what he does on the field and he's performed on the field." Fantasy owners are at least willing to take a chance on the potential that a starting running back on the waiver wire offers, even with these conflicting reports.

Kerry Collins (Ten – RB) 10,387 adds
Tennessee signed the 33-year-old Collins on Monday, immediately fueling speculation that Billy Volek is not long for a starting position and possibly not long for the Titans' roster. According to The Tennessean, Volek is believed to have asked to be traded, and that there were indications on Tuesday night that "he was being shopped around the league." Volek certainly didn't appear pleased by the signing, saying, "I guess they want a quarterback who is perfect in every throw and every read, and that is going to be hard to find." Collins figures to see his first action on Friday when the Titans play at Green Bay – Vince Young is expected to start the game, while "a disgruntled Volek might not even make the trip to Wisconsin."

Buzz Index (Football) – Drops
Greg Jones (Jac – RB) 24,969 drops
What was originally thought to be a knee sprain suffered in the Jaguars' preseason game on Saturday was confirmed as a torn ACL for Jones on Monday. Jones' 2006 season will now be spent in post-surgery rehabilitation, and many fantasy owners are left dropping who they considered the most valuable member of Jacksonville's backfield before the injury. Alvin Pearman, LaBrandon Toefield, and Maurice Jones-Drew will all now be jockeying for position on the depth chart behind Fred Taylor.

Domanick Davis (Hou – RB) 19,388 drops
"Texans' Davis in danger of being cut," was the Houston Chronicle headline that shook the fantasy football world on Tuesday. While it now appears that the Texans were never actually considering cutting Davis, it does appear that coach Gary Kubiak is leaning towards placing Davis on the IR if his knee has not shown significant improvement. A decision on Davis' status for the season could be arrived at as soon as Friday, as Kubiak is scheduled to meet with "Davis and everyone involved in the process." Davis himself is still unclear about the status of his knee, saying, "My goal is to play this season, but when, I just don't know."

Buzz Index (Baseball) – Adds
Delmon Young (TB – OF) 60,282 adds
The uber-prospect Young's first series in the major leagues produced a .727/.692/.1.182 line in three games. The highlights: a hit-by-pitch in his first at bat, three straight multi-hit games, eight hits in 11 total at bats, and the first home run of his career. Young's line in 86 games for Triple-A Durham before the call-up: .316/.341/.474, with eight home runs and 22 steals. Young is expected to get the majority of the starts for the Devil Rays in right field for the remainder of the season.

Tom Mastny (Cle – RP) 34,770 adds
Mastny has recorded four of the Indians' past five saves and many fantasy owners are assuming that more are to come. In his first 10.1 major league innings, the rookie has allowed only five hits (.143 opponent average), three walks, and one earned run while striking out 12 batters. Rafael Betancourt recorded the one other recent save on August 25 after Mastny has pitched the two previous consecutive days.

Esteban Loaiza (Oak – SP) 24,667 adds
Loaiza was having a dismal season before the month of August arrived. In six starts since August 1, he's gone 4-0 with a 1.48 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in 42.2 innings, walking just four batters while striking out 31. Loaiza hasn't allowed a run since the second inning of his start on August 13, a streak that has spanned 28.2 innings over four starts.

Adam LaRoche (Atl – 1B) 20,155 adds
LaRoche has been a regular among Buzz Index leaders for most of July and August because, frankly, he's been really good. He has an active nine-game hitting streak and has hit .375 (30 for 80) during the month of August. In four games from August 26 to August 30, all multi-hit games, LaRoche recorded 11 hits in 15 at bats (.733) with eight extra-base hits, four runs scored, and 10 runs batted in.

Nick Markakis (Bal – RP) 16,952 adds
Markakis is another guy that just keeps on hitting and keeps showing up among the Buzz Index leaders. He's hit safely in 25 of his past 30 games, including an active nine-game hitting streak. In 43 games since the All-Star game, Markakis has hit .354 (57 for 151) with 12 home runs, 34 runs batted in, and 32 runs scored. His most recent production, including nine home runs in the past 14 games, has resulted in a move to the No.3 spot in the Orioles' lineup.

Michael Cuddyer (Min – 1B, 2B, 3B, OF) 9,116 adds
Cuddyer has been picking it up offensively in recent weeks. In 16 games since August 13, Cuddyer has hit .381 (24 for 63) with four home runs, 19 runs batted in. and 10 runs scored. Pair that type of production with his positional versatility, and you've got a very attractive option for fantasy owners combing the wire.

Buzz Index (Baseball) – Drops
Mike Gonzalez (Pit – RP) 25,966 drops
The Pirates placed Gonzalez on the DL with left elbow tendonitis on Monday. While Gonzalez has said that he "definitely" expects to pitch again this season, the cellar-dwelling Pirates aren't likely to rush Gonzalez back, and various published reports are that Gonzo is more than likely done for the season. According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, even a best-case scenario for a return would be mid-September at the earliest.

Chris Duncan (StL – 1B, OF) 17,596 drops
Duncan's hot bat has cooled a bit, and many fantasy owners who plucked him off of the free agent list at some point since July 1 are starting to cut him loose. Since reaching a season-high batting average of .347 on August 22, Duncan has gone four for his last 18 (.222), lowering his average to .330. Duncan has also been relegated to pinch-hitting duties in two of the last six games as the Cardinals faced left-handed starting pitchers on both of those occasions.

Jeremy Sowers (Cle – SP) 12,629 drops
The rookie Sowers is expected to make, at most, one more start this season before being shut down. In 12 starts, he's gone 6-3 with a 3.42 ERA and 1.18 WHIP in 76.1 innings, but he's also pitched a career-high 173.2 innings between Triple-A and the majors this season.

Corey Patterson (Bal – OF) 12,215 drops
Patterson suffered a sprained right shoulder on August 29 and, according to The Baltimore Sun, is likely out until at least Monday. The injury was likely just the incentive that some fantasy owners needed to cut Patterson and his .247 (20 for 81) August average loose and look elsewhere for some offense.

Alex Rios (Tor – OF) 11,295 drops
Speaking of looking elsewhere for offense, Rios just hasn't been able to get anything going since returning from his month-long DL stint for an infection in his leg. He's hit just .200 (22 for 110) in 30 games since returning on July 28 with only five extra base hits, 13 runs batted in, and 10 runs scored. He's even been moved to the bottom of the Blue Jays' lineup as he tries to work his way out of his slump, but fantasy owners who benefited greatly from his huge start are starting to think that nothing much is likely to change over the season's final month.

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