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Yankees contact Cliff Lee’s agent

11.07.10 at 9:33 pm ET
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According to the Associated Press, the Yankees contacted the agent for left-handed pitcher Cliff Lee on Sunday to express interest in the hurler and to say that “they will be back in touch with an offer for the top pitcher on the market.”

The report cited a baseball official familiar with the conversation between New York and Darek Braunecker, Lee’s agent. Sunday was the first day for teams to contact free agents to express interest in them.

The Yankees nearly acquired Lee, the 2008 Cy Young winner, in exchange for a package of prospects headed by catcher Jesus Montero. But the Rangers swooped in when the left-hander was available in July and acquired Lee in exchange from the Mariners for first baseman Justin Smoak and others. Lee was a combined 12-9 with a 3.18 ERA for the Mariners and Rangers in 2010, and he ran his career postseason record to 7-0 with a 1.26 ERA through the American League Championship Series (when he and the Rangers beat the Yankees) before losing a pair of games in the World Series.

Lee is regarded as being in a class by himself in terms of available free-agent pitchers this offseason. He is expected to get a deal in excess of $100 million, with the Yankees and Rangers being viewed as the leading candidates to sign him.

Read More: cliff lee, Rumor Mill,

Austin Collie leaves game on stretcher after hit

11.07.10 at 7:12 pm ET
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Colts receiver Austin Collie was taken off the field on a stretcher after a hit from Eagles safety Kurt Coleman in the first half of the Colts game in Philadelphia. Collie lay motionless on the ground for several minutes before he was placed on the stretcher.

Collie was hit on the play by Quintin Mikell and Coleman. Mikell was called for a 15-yard penalty, but replays showed that Coleman’s hit was the one that made contact with Collie’s head. CBS reported that Collie suffered a concussion, and was sitting up and alert in the locker room.

Read More: Austin Collie, Kurt Coleman, Quintin Mikell, Rumor Mill

Early Fantasy Studs: Week 9

11.07.10 at 7:04 pm ET
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Rounding up the players who had big fantasy weeks in the early games:

BUSINESS AS USUAL

Brett Favre (QB Minnesota vs. Arizona): 36-for-47 attempts, 446 yards, two touchdowns, and two interceptions

It was a big day for Favre, but it took every single break for the Vikings to overcome the Cardinals in a 27-24 overtime win. As usual, Favre tossed two picks, but he also held on to the ball when it mattered down the stretch. Favre had a career-high passing yards en route to a 101.9 rating, giving coach Brad Childress a much-needed win.

Peyton Hillis (RB Cleveland vs. New England): 29 attempts, 184 yards rushing, two touchdowns

Hillis was a nightmare for the Patriots as he continued his breakout 2010 season. It was the first time this season a player ran for over 100 yards on the Patriots. That includes players such as Cedric Benson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Ronnie Brown, Ray Rice, and Adrian Peterson who all were unable to break the century mark against the Pats.

Philip Rivers (QB San Diego vs. Houston): 17-for-23 attempts, 295 yards, four touchdowns, one interception

Rivers found a new target (see below) and continued the torrid pace of the San Diego offense that leads the league in most offensive categories. The Chargers offensive success have been downplayed due to their early-season losses, but a big win in Houston could propel the Chargers towards another AFC West title.

Arian Foster (RB Houston vs. San Diego): 27 carries, 127 yards rushing, two touchdowns

Houston has relied heavily on Foster, especially with Andre Johnson‘€™s hampered ankle, and the running back has delivered this season. Foster continues his breakout season and fantasy owners who picked him up are benefiting from one of the best rushing attacks in the game.

Percy Harvin (WR Minnesota vs. Arizona): 9 receptions, 126 receiving yards

Harvin entered the game with plenty of storylines surrounding him. Reports had surfaced that the wide receiver nearly engaged in a physical fight with coach Childress and he entered the game with question marks on his health. Harvin delivered and had a solid performance in the absence of Randy Moss. If Harvin stays healthy, he will deliver in similar fashion as long as Brett Favre can still throw the ball downfield.

BREAKOUT PERFORMERS

Steve Johnson (WR Buffalo vs. Chicago): 11 receptions, 145 yards receiving

Johnson has emerged as Ryan Fitzpatrick‘€™s favorite target and managed to find open field against a tough Bears defense.  The Bills have lost eight straight games but Johnson has consistently produced. Johnson now has 41 receptions for 554 yards and six touchdowns, although he was unable to reach the end zone Sunday, snapping his five-game scoring streak.

Seyi Ajirotutu (WR San Diego vs. Houston): four receptions, 111 yards receiving, two touchdowns

Posing a problem for announcers ever, Ajirotutu could be Philip Rivers‘€™ next deep threat. Coming into the game, the former Fresco State receiver had only collected five receptions for 74 yards after making his season debut in Week 7 against New England. Ajirotutu scored on touchdowns of 55 and 28 yards in San Diego’€™s 29-23 win.

Nate Burleson (WR Detroit vs. New York Jets): seven receptions, 113 yards receiving, one touchdown

Burleson benefited from Matthew Stafford‘€™s big day against the Jets’€™ defense. Calvin Johnson had only one reception and Burleson was targeted eight times during the game.  It still seems that Johnson is the team’€™s main receiver but Burleson could benefit from the extra attention paid to ‘€œMegatron.’€

Read More: Arian Foster, brett favre, Fantasy, Nate Burleson

Channing Crowder calls out Le’Ron McClain

11.07.10 at 6:31 pm ET
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The Dolphins were understandably mad after losing 26-10 to the Ravens Sunday, but the target of their wrath wasn’t their own play, but the actions of Ravens running back Le’Ron McClain. According to Miami linebacker Channing Crowder, McClain spit in his face. Crowder called McClain “a punk,” with a few other colorful adjectives thrown in for effect.

Ravens wide receiver Derrick Mason responded that Crowder was a bad player and would be out of the league before Mason, who is 36 years old and almost retired this past offseason. Crowder had called Mason “old” during the week.

McClain denied spitting on Crowder, telling reporters, “Nah, I didn’€™t spit on him. That’€™s crazy. That’€™s not my game. I’€™m Le’€™Ron McClain, man. Le’€™Ron McClain don’€™t spit on another player. But I will block you. Four quarters. That’€™s a fact.”

Read More: Channing Crowder, Derrick Mason, LeRon McClain, Rumor Mill

Lions QB Matthew Stafford leaves game with shoulder injury

11.07.10 at 5:53 pm ET
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Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford watched from the sidelines as the Jets beat the Lions in overtime, 23-20. Stafford left the game in the fourth quarter with an apparent right shoulder injury. Stafford was tackled in the backfield while scrambling and fell hard on his shoulder. Stafford immediately ran off the field while pointing towards his shoulder.

The former first-round draft pick injured the same shoulder during the Lions’ opener and missed the next five games. Stafford was replaced by Drew Stanton, who finished the game while the Jets rallied for a big win on Sunday.

Stafford threw for 240 yards and two passing touchdowns during the game. He also scored on the ground, his first rushing touchdown of the season.

Read More: Detroit Lions, Drew Stanton, Matthew Stafford, Rumor Mill

Brett Favre’s career day rescues Vikings amid chaos

11.07.10 at 5:35 pm ET
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As reports swirled that Vikings coach Brad Childress was fighting with his players, Brett Favre thew for a career-high 446 yards and rallied Minnesota to a 27-24 overtime victory over the Cardinals. Trailing 24-10 with under four minutes to play, the Vikings scored two touchdowns, the second coming on a Favre pass to Visanthe Shiancoe with 27 seconds left in regulation.

Earlier, Vikings owner Zygi Wilf refused comment on Childress’s job status.

Read More: Brad Childress, brett favre, Rumor Mill, Zygi Wilf

Fantasy Update: Roddy White, Jonathan Stewart injured

11.07.10 at 5:14 pm ET
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Carolina running back Jonathan Stewart was tackled to the field and was tended to by medical officials while on the ground. Stewart took a big hit by Saints safety Darren Sharper and fumbled before he hit the ground. Stewart was carted off the field and he will not return after suffering a head injury early in the first half against New Orleans. The injury is significant with running back DeAngelo Williams already inactive with a sprained left foot. Mike Goodson is expected to take the majority of carries for the rest of the game. Stewart has not matched the production of his past two seasons this year with only 64 carries for 178 yards rushing and one touchdown.

Roddy White limped off the field near the end of the first quarter in Sunday’€™s game against Tampa Bay.  White was tackled by two defenders while he rolled over and needed assistance leaving the field. It appears to be an injury to his left knee, but White is up on the sidelines and will likely return. White has been a valuable player this year and has even been considered an MVP candidate so far in the season. White has 54 receptions for 747 yards and five touchdowns on the season, making him a valuable target for [former Boston College] quarterback Matt Ryan. White had two catches for 18 yards before leaving the field.

Read More: Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Darren Sharper, Jonathan Stewart

Sunday Injury Updates: Panthers, Saints, Falcons

11.07.10 at 5:13 pm ET
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Carolina cannot get a break with injuries. The Panthers lost quarterback Matt Moore against the Saints on Sunday with a shoulder injury. Moore was sacked by Sedrick Ellis, bringing the quarterback down hard on his shoulder. Rookie Jimmy Clausen filled in for Moore and the return of Moore is questionable at this point in the game.

Running back Jonathan Stewart already left the game with a head injury and his return is questionable as well.

New Orleans also lost tight end Jeremy Shockey to a rib injury in the first half. Shockey caught a 7-yard pass from Drew Brees and was hit by Charles Godfrey. Shockey walked to the locker room under his own power and his current return is questionable. The touchdown reception was the 500th catch of Shockey’€™s nine-year NFL career. Shockey entered the game with 30 receptions for 307 yards and two touchdowns.

Atlanta center Todd McClure left the field in the second quarter of the Falcons’€™ game against Tampa Bay with a knee injury. McClure has made a franchise-record 136 consecutive starts for the Falcons over his 12-year tenure with the team. This comes after receiver Roddy White left the game with a right knee injury. White returned to the game after his injury briefly until he was taken to the locker room by a team doctor in the first half. However, White has returned back to the game and has three receptions for 27 yards.

Read More: Drew Brees, Jeremy Shockey, Jimmy Clausen, Jonathan Stewart

Fantasy Update: Colts vs. Eagles

11.07.10 at 5:13 pm ET
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Indianapolis placed former first-round pick Antonio Gonzalez on the injured reserve with another season-ending injury for the wide out. Gonzalez has a posterior cruciate ligament injury in his left knee, forcing him to finish the year on injured reserve for the second straight year. Reportedly, the receiver is not expected to need surgery after suffering the injury during Monday’€™s game against Houston.

The Colts have been especially unlucky with injuries this season, with running backs Joseph Addai and Mike Hart not making the trip to Philadelphia along with the loss of All-Pro tight end Dallas Clark. Donald Brown will start again for the Colts after rushing nine times for 16 yards and catching two balls for 13 yards against Houston last Monday. It seems that Brown will get more opportunities to carry the ball this week, and he will face an Eagles defense that ranks 18th in the NFL against the run, allowing 109.9 yards per game.

Philadelphia quarterback Michael Vick will return to the Eagles today after missing the last three games with a rib injury. Coach Andy Reid announced that Vick will start in place of Kevin Kolb, who started in Vick’€™s absence. Vick will also be wearing a Kevlar vest that is intended to prevent any further injury to his ribs in Sunday’€™s game. The Colts have fared well against the pass, allowing only 203.3 yards per game, ranking 7th in the NFL. However, Vick was on a tear before suffering his rib injury. Vick has thrown 96 passes without an interception, including six touchdowns and a 108.8 passer rating.

Vick will benefit with the return of DeSean Jackson, who will return for the first time since Oct. 24 after suffering a concussion. Jackson has caught 19 passes for 395 yards for three touchdowns and will be a big factor in the deep passing game of Philadelphia.

Read More: Antonio Gonzalez, DeSean Jackson, Donald Brown, joseph addai

Fantasy Update: Seahawks vs. Giants

11.07.10 at 5:12 pm ET
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Seattle will have a tough time against a tough Giants defense this week, especially with the loss of quarterback Matt Hasselbeck. Hasselbeck suffered a concussion in last week’€™s 33-3 loss to Oakland where he was sacked eight times. Charlie Whitehurst will make his first NFL start in his place, with questionable value for Seattle’€™s receivers this week including resurgent wide out Mike Williams. The Giants rank 2nd in passing defense, allowing only 177.9 yards per game, while they also host a ferocious pass rush that has knocked five opposing quarterbacks out of games this season, including 24 sacks.

Seattle offensive guard Ben Hamilton was also placed on injured reserve after suffering a serious concussion against Oakland. Hamilton has had a history of concussion issues, causing doctors to advise the season-ending decision.

Read More: Ben Hamilton, Matt Hasselbeck, New York Giants, Rumor Mill