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Hardy, two-sport star, architect of Orange Crush dies at 87

Sun Aug 9 8:02pm ET

HIGHLANDS RANCH, Colo. (AP) Carroll Hardy, a multi-sport star best known as the only man ever to pinch hit for Ted Williams, died Sunday at age 87.

Hardy was also known as the football executive who helped assemble the ''Orange Crush'' defense in Denver during the 1970s.

The University of Colorado, where Hardy was a three-sport star, said he died of complications from dementia. He is survived by his wife and three children.

Hardy went on to play professional baseball and football after starring in track, baseball and football at Colorado from 1951-55.

CU athletic director Rick George called Hardy ''a true icon of the state. His list of accomplishments in his lifetime and the people he touched are really second to none. We have lost a great Buffalo.''

Hardy earned a record 10 letters altogether in the early 1950s. An All-American honorable mention in 1953 and '54, Hardy rushed for 1,999 career yards with a whopping 6.87-yard average per carry, which remains the best in school history among players with at least 60 carries.

Hardy led the nation in kickoff return average in 1952 and had six interceptions for the Buffaloes.

On the diamond, Hardy was CU's all-time career batting average leader (.392) with 118 hits in 301 at-bats with 15 homers, 80 RBIs, 107 runs scored and 45 stolen bases.

He once ran a 9.8 in the 100-yard dash on the indoor track.

Hardy was the 33rd overall pick in the 1955 NFL draft by the San Francisco 49ers. and averaged 28.2 yards a catch as a rookie with 12 receptions for 338 yards and four touchdowns.

Before reporting to the 49ers camp, Hardy signed with the Cleveland Indians and played on their A-league team in Reading, Pennsylvania. In 1956, he was hitting .365 in 21 games with the Indians' Triple-A team in Indianapolis when he was ordered to report to the U.S. Army.

He returned to the Indians after his two-year tour of military duty and his major league career spanned a decade from 1958-67 with stops in Cleveland, Boston, Houston and Minnesota.

Hardy was the only man ever to pinch hit for Red Sox icons Williams and Carl Yastrzemski.

''I'd like to have people remember me for hitting 400 home runs and a lifetime batting average of .305, but I didn't do that,'' Hardy once told the Denver Post. ''But it's not bad being remembered as the only man to ever pinch-hit for Ted Williams.''

Hardy's first major league homer was a three-run shot in the bottom of the 11th to beat the White Sox when he was sent to the plate in place of Roger Maris in 1958 when both were with the Indians.

Boston traded Hardy to the expansion Colt 45's in 1963 and he later joined the Twins, who sent him to their affiliate in Denver.

During his two-plus seasons with the Denver Bears, he began scouting part-time for the Denver Broncos in the offseason.

That led to a 24-year stint with the Broncos in various roles including assistant ticket manager, director of scouting, pro personnel director and assistant general manager.

He finished his major league career with a September call-up with the Twins in 1967, then turned his attention full-time to football.

Hardy was credited with helping to build Denver's ''Orange Crush'' defense that led to the Broncos' first Super Bowl appearance in 1977. That dominant defense included Randy Gradishar, Tom Jackson, Louis Wright, Lyle Alzado, Otis Armstrong and Barney Chavous.

Hardy also helped assemble the Broncos' 1986 and '87 Super Bowl teams before his retirement.

Hardy was born in 1933 in Sturgis, South Dakota. He is survived by his wife of nearly 64 years, Janice Mitchell, son Jay and daughters Jill and Lisa.

With the coronavirus pandemic, funeral services will be for family only, but a celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

Player Notes
DeVante Parker Sep 25 9:00pm ET

Miami Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker is clearly still not 100 percent healthy, but did play during the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. He caught all five of his targets for 69 yards in Week 3. He'll get 10 days to heal up before his matchup with the Seattle Seahawks next week. Seattle has been horrendous at stopping the pass attack this season. Parker should be a reliable WR2 for that one, assuming he's healthy.

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Mark Andrews Sep 25 8:50pm ET

Baltimore Ravens tight end Mark Andrews will look to get back on track in Week 3 against the Chiefs. After a strong start to the 2020 campaign, the 25-year-old caught only one pass against the Houston Texans on Sunday. While that performance certainly left a bad taste in the mouths of fantasy managers, Andrews should remain starting in all formats, especially since his ceiling is higher than most at his position.

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Jordan Howard Sep 25 8:50pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Jordan Howard has been having trouble finding any room to run this season. He rushed three times for one yard and one touchdown in the Thursday night win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Howard has 16 carries for 12 yards on the season, but has three touchdowns as well. Myles Gaskin has become the clear lead back in Miami, so there is little reason to keep Howard rostered in 12-team leagues. He does have a three game touchdown streak, but that won't be enough value to warrant ownership in most leagues.

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Marquise Brown Sep 25 8:40pm ET

Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Marquise Brown will face his most formidable task of the season against the Chiefs in Week 3. Hollywood has compiled at least five catches in each of his first two games to go along with 143 yards. While Brown hasn't found the end zone yet during the 2020 campaign, he is always in line for a productive outing, especially with so many weapons on the offensive side of the ball opening things up for him. Fantasy managers should keep him starting for the Monday night showdown with Kansas City.

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Myles Gaskin Sep 25 8:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Myles Gaskin saw a heavy workload during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Gaskin rushed 22 times for 66 yards and caught five passes for 29 yards through the air. He has become the clear lead back in Miami, but Jordan Howard and Matt Breida will still get a few touches each game. Gaskin is quickly picking up steam in PPR formats. He'll get another favorable matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4.

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Matt Breida Sep 25 8:40pm ET

Miami Dolphins running back Matt Breida has been having issues finding any momentum through the first three weeks of the 2020 NFL season. He rushed three times for four yards during the Thursday night victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Breida has been horrendous this season and is a cut-candidate in most formats. Myles Gaskin has become the clear lead back in Miami. Breida will still get a few carries each week, but it won't be enough to have value in most formats.

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Ryan Fitzpatrick Sep 25 8:30pm ET

Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick put together another solid performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3. He completed 18 of 20 passing attempts for 160 yards and two touchdowns. He also rushed seven times for 38 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown as well. The Jaguars had no answers for Fitzpatrick through the first half, but were able to slow him down after halftime. He'll get another solid matchup against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 4. Seattle is struggling to slow down the passing game, so Fitzpatrick could be a possible streaming option again.

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New Orleans Saints Sep 25 7:20pm ET

The New Orleans Saints Defense faces a tough test against the Packers, the league's highest-scoring team heading into Week 3. New Orleans has racked up some good stats so far, including six sacks, two interceptions, two fumble recoveries and a defensive touchdown. Unfortunately, Green Bay hasn't been giving to defenses this year, as quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been sacked just once and has yet to throw an interception. When you consider that this game could become high-scoring, it makes the New Orleans defense less appealing for fantasy purposes. There are better starting options out there.

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Jared Cook Sep 25 7:00pm ET

New Orleans Saints tight end Jared Cook will square off with one of his former teams, the Packers, in Week 3. Cook ranks as the TE16 through two weeks of play and he was a bit disappointing in the first Saints game without Michael Thomas (ankle). Still, he's arguably the best pass-catcher this offense has besides Alvin Kamara, which should make fantasy managers feel better about starting him. Green Bay has been good against tight ends this year, though they haven't faced one who can stretch the field like Cook can. Plug him into lineups as a low-end TE1.

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Wil Lutz Sep 25 7:00pm ET

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Montez Sweat Sep 25 6:40pm ET

Washington Football Team defense will be in play again in Week 3 in a matchup with the Cleveland Browns. Washington has a high-floor as a defense thanks to a ferocious defensive line that features Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, and second-overall pick Chase Young. Washington put up eight sacks in Week 1 and should be able to put pressure on Baker Mayfield this week. Their secondary is certainly capable of getting picked apart so their upside is limited, but they are a fine starting option in this matchup.

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Emmanuel Sanders Sep 25 6:40pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders faces off with the Packers in Week 3. Sanders saw the second-highest number of snaps in Week 2 against the Raiders, but was third in wide receiver targets behind Tre'Quan Smith and Deonte Harris. This makes the veteran wideout hard to trust against Green Bay, despite the fact that they rank 22nd in fantasy points allowed to opposing wideouts. While both Sanders and Smith are obviously risky, Sanders is even more volatile right now considering he saw so few targets in Week 2. Sanders is in the WR4 range for Week 3.

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Antonio Gibson Sep 25 6:30pm ET

Washington Football Team running back Antonio Gibson led the team in carries in Week 2 and should continue his ascent up the fantasy football ranks in a good matchup in Cleveland. Gibson handled 13 carries in Week 2 and started over veteran Peyton Barber and pass-catching specialist J.D. McKissic. Gibson only has three receptions thus far in 2020 but should get more involved in the passing game as he gets more comfortable with the NFL game. Start the rookie as a high-upside RB2.

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Terry McLaurin Sep 25 6:20pm ET

Washington Football Team wide receiver Terry McLaurin has a tough matchup versus former Ohio State teammate Denzel Ward, but is still a WR1 for a matchup in Cleveland. McLaurin typically sees the opposing team's top corner, but the sophomore receiver has beaten good cornerbacks before as he went for 125 yards and a touchdown versus Patrick Peterson in Week 1. Washington has struggled on offense but they tend to force-feed McLaurin targets making him solid starter for fantasy managers.

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Logan Thomas Sep 25 6:10pm ET

Washington Football Team tight end Logan Thomas made four catches in each game so far this season and is a streamable tight end in a good matchup with Cleveland. Thomas hasn't eclipsed 40 yards in a game yet this season so he is a touchdown-dependent option in fantasy, but he has been getting a good amount of targets in an offense that lacks playmakers. Cleveland has given up a touchdown to tight ends in two-straight weeks so Thomas has a chance to pay off as a streamer in Week 3.

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Tre'Quan Smith Sep 25 6:10pm ET

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith could be a sneaky play in Week 3 against the Packers. In the first game without Michael Thomas (ankle), Smith played 53 snaps, compared to Emmanuel Sanders' 47, and caught five passes for 86 yards. He out-targeted Sanders seven to three. You can't feel entirely great about playing Smith, especially against a solid Packers' pass defense. Still, he has had a knack for finding the end zone in his career and saw the most targets of any pass-catcher not named Alvin Kamara. Smith is a sneaky play in all formats.

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Dwayne Haskins Sep 25 6:10pm ET

Washington Football Team quarterback Dwayne Haskins has played efficiently in 2020, but is not a quarterback to target in fantasy. Haskins is quickly earning the dreaded "game manager" tag as he has thrown for under 225 yards and exactly one touchdown, but no interceptions, through the team's first two games. The Browns are a solid matchup and Haskins could play well again, but fantasy managers should aim higher with their QB. In 2QB leagues Haskins can be considered a low-end starter, but he should be left on waivers in most leagues.

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Evan Engram Sep 25 6:00pm ET

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram has struggled thus far in 2020 and things won't get easier in Week 3 versus San Francisco. The 49ers won't be at full strength on defense after several injuries in Week 2, but they have still allowed the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends through two weeks. Engram has just eight catches for 74 scoreless yards this season as New York has struggled on the offensive side of the ball. Engram isn't the slam-dunk fantasy starter he was after the draft but remains a low-end TE1 for this matchup at a weak tight end position for fantasy.

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Darius Slayton Sep 25 5:50pm ET

New York Giants wide receiver Darius Slayton had a letdown game in Week 2 with just 33 yards after he exploded for 100-plus yards and a touchdown in Week 1. Slayton should be in a position to see more targets this week as Sterling Shepard (toe) was placed on Injured Reserve. New York has struggled to move the ball on offense but will catch a break this week facing a 49ers Defense decimated by injuries. Slayton should be in line for seven-plus targets giving him appeal as a WR3 in fantasy.

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Latavius Murray Sep 25 5:50pm ET

New Orleans Saints running back Latavius Murray gets a favorable matchup against the Packers in Week 3. Green Bay has surrendered the 11th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and has allowed a back to score in each of their two games so far. Murray saw far less touches in Week 2, though it can't be forgotten that he carried the ball 15 times in Week 1, against a much tougher Buccaneers' run defense. With Michael Thomas (ankle) ruled out, it's possible New Orleans opts for a run-heavy approach. If the veteran halfback sees at least 10 touches, he could do enough to return flex value in Week 3. The risk is the week-to-week uncertainty with his role and the fact that Kamara could gobble up all the backfield touches once again.

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