Griese's available, but not interesting

July, 14, 2009

• Well-traveled quarterback Brian Griese is again on the move, as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers released the veteran Monday, apparently at his own request. Griese actually started five games for the Buccaneers in 2008 in replacement of Jeff Garcia, and did make a fantasy impact in one of those weeks. I'm not sure how many fantasy owners had him active in Week 3 at Soldier Field, as he threw for 407 yards and two touchdowns, with three interceptions on 67 pass attempts in an overtime win against the Bears, but that represented nearly half of Griese's fantasy point total. Can he still play? Sure, he'll probably end up on an NFL team fighting for a backup spot, maybe even the Bears, one of his four former teams.

The reason Griese likely wanted out of Tampa had nothing to do with the hot summers. He wanted a chance to play. With Luke McCown and Byron Leftwich likely fighting for starting position on new coach Raheem Morris' team and Kansas State product Josh Freeman the team's future option, there isn't much room for anyone else. Josh Johnson, not to be confused with the Florida Marlins' hurler, is also on the team's depth chart. Now Griese is not joining them, but don't look for him to be out of work for long. He's not someone fantasy owners will want to draft, even if he does somehow end up as a starter, but depending on the situation, he could be someone used as a one-week fill-in. He did have one monster afternoon last season.

• Speaking of old veterans past their fantasy prime, the New York Jets released tight end Bubba Franks. His one year with the Jets produced all of six receptions in four starts, which certainly are not terrific numbers, but he did seem like a possible deep league sleeper since Dustin Keller was about all that stood between him and more targets. Remember, Chris Baker bolted for the Patriots. Regardless, the 31-year-old Franks is now free to latch on somewhere else. If the knee injury that cost him valuable time in the Jets' organized team activities is healed, he should find work. Then again, the last time he mattered in fantasy was 2004.

Cleveland Browns' wide receiver Donte' Stallworth was released from a Miami jail this week after serving a 24-day sentence for DUI manslaughter. Sticking to what matters for fantasy owners and not raising judgment, Stallworth is not likely to help a NFL team -- or fantasy one -- this season, as league commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him indefinitely.

• In case you missed it, Christopher Harris discussed the Derrick Mason retirement and what it means for what's left behind in the Baltimore Ravens wide receiver corps. I'd like to thank Mason for an underrated career. Sure, he was a lot more valuable in point-per-reception formats and generally not a touchdown scorer, but seven of the past eight seasons he ended up with more than 1,000 receiving yards and five times he recorded 80 or more catches. Consistency is valuable, too, especially when the player always seemed available in the 12th rounds of drafts.

• Then there's someone who refuses to walk away and retire. As of Tuesday, Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings were still teasing each other like a couple of eighth graders passing notes in study hall. He received a visit from the team's trainer to check on the progress of the Hall of Famer's right arm, and we should expect some announcement on the quarterback joining the Vikings sometime this month. Fantasy owners, oddly enough, don't seem at all tired of this situation. Despite ESPN Fantasy not ranking the interception-prone, weaponless Favre, he is being selected in ESPN average live drafts as the No. 21 quarterback, ahead of Mark Sanchez, Chad Pennington, Jake Delhomme and Jason Campbell, among others. Favre is owned in 46.5 percent of leagues. Hey, stranger things have happened than him potentially helping fantasy owners in 2009. You know what would be stranger? A summer without Favre rumors.

• Rest in peace, Steve McNair. It's probably not appropriate to discuss McNair's impact in fantasy football over the years, but let's just say the quarterback finished among the top 20 players in our game six times, including the 2003 season in which he shared NFL MVP honors with Peyton Manning. McNair should be remembered for more than just his statistics.

Eric Karabell | email

ESPN Senior Writer



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