After two weeks, Drew Brees is on pace to throw 72 touchdown passes while gaining one million yards (but is still second to Phillip Rivers in the yardage area). His QB Rating is 132.9, damn near perfect. However, it’s not Brees and his 9 touchdowns that has me amazed. It’s second year studs, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco that have me impressed. These guys haven’t heard of sophomore slump, both have their teams undefeated, and are tied for second in QB TDs behind Drew…. Three offensive coordinators were fired right before the season started, of the three, it looks like only the Chiefs little fella has had any effect, and that might be pushing it. See Buffalo is moving the ball and putting up points despite cutting their OC, Trent Edwards is Top 5 in passer rating and tied for 4th with four touchdowns thus far. Byron Leftwich has also tossed 4 touchdowns while Tampa’s running game has put up some solid totals as well. The Chiefs have been brutal, but it’s hard to see KC being much better with Bill Walsh calling plays…. Brett Favre has the highest completion percentage in the NFL, and has yet to toss an interception. So much for him being too much of a gunslinger, and starting off the season a little rusty after spending more time throwing to high school receivers than pro guys. It has to be nice handing the ball to Mr. Peterson…… The 2007 Draft class is beginning to look like a quarterback bust. So far, the best season has to be given to Tyler Thigpen for his performance down the stretch last year. Trent Edwards is probably the best player of the bunch, especially given that Tyler couldn’t beat out Brodie Croyle for the Chiefs #3 job. Maybe Troy Smith would be getting the nod if he had not gotten hurt before the 2008 season, but Joe Flacco has that job on lock down so we may never see. The two first round picks, Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell (not in that order) have been guys I’ve tried to like, but they are making it very difficult to do so…. Matthew Stafford is not ready to be an NFL quarterback. I don’t know how else to put it. I know his first name is Matt, and last year a guy named Matt was a first year stud, but it’s not that kind of copycat league. He throws the ball really hard, and will pull an amazing toss out of his ace here and there, but the kid has a guy named Calvin Johnson on his team, of course he’s going to look good now and again. The Lions have lost nearly 20 straight football games, I know they’re not going to win a lot this year, but they might want to get Culpepper in there so they have a chance to break that streak before it gets into the 30s…. Speaking of that class, it may not have been QB heavy (to say the least) but there are some absolute freaks of nature (from that group) taking the league by storm. Adrian Peterson, beast. Calvin Johnson, freak. Patrick Willis, machine. Darrell Revis, stud. And there’s more pro-bowlers from that group. It may be top heavy, but you could argue that those four guys are either the best but no lower than Top 5 at their positions….. Marc Bulger is brutal. Somebody tell me how Jeff Garcia can just get signed last week when Marc Bulger can have a starting gig and millions of dollars getting paid to him to do what he does. Brutal. If they lose 16, they need to get the nod for worst team of all time…. It’s hard to write a weekly fantasy re-cap without mentioning Mario Manningham, it’s not fair to you guys and it’s not fair to him. Manningham looked like a beast in college, but he looks frail in the NFL. But looks can be deceiving, because all you have to do is ask the Cowboys to understand how tough this guy is to tackle. Apparently Elly Manning knew something when he told everyone that he expected big things from mini-Mario. He’s fast enough to get open, runs good routes, and has shown fearlessness when catching the ball in traffic. Steve Smith has been solid, but I don’t expect this to be Mario’s only good week. And I don’t know if the Giants are going to have a mediocre receiving corps for long. A trio of Hakeem Nicks, Mario, and Smith – with Hixon as a 4 – that is going to be a good group….. Julius Jones in Week 1 or Julius Jones in Week 2? Somewhere inbetween. It’s tough to fault him completely for his 8 carry for 11 yard performance against the 49ers. The Hawks will start getting offensive linemen back this next week, and should get better as the season moves forward. That being said, they only play the Rams one more time – still, Jones will be alright….. Felix Jones is still averaging over 8 yards per carry, which is just disgusting. I know he only has 13 carries this season, and barely over 40 for his short career, but he might get real carry numbers next week, and here’s to hoping he continues to bust carry’s off for 8.9 per clip. He might be the only RB in the history of the NFL that averages more yards per run than he does per catch…. Brandon Jacobs, Darren McFadden, and Kevin Smith: 3 guys I thought would have big years, are all averaging less than 4 yards a carry through 2 games. Kevin Smith has had a tough time early, but Sunday’s 85 yard performance against a stout Vikings defense makes me think he’ll be just fine. Jacobs should start to see more running room with Elly and his receivers looking good enough for the girls he goes with. And McFadden, well, unless Russell starts showing defenses that he can complete more than half his passes, he’s going to struggle to find room. Still, if you’re paying a running back that much cake, get him the ball at least 20 times a game. Yeah, that’s 11, not 10, so sue me.
My Nephew has me back giving some fantasy advice, he was nice enough to pay me nothing to work for another year, what a guy. But hey, I have fun doing it right? Shit, I only have to wear two pairs of glasses to see the damn screen, make 100 errors while hunting and pecking my way into oblivion, all the while trying not to listen to this voice in my head that keeps telling me to pick Barry Sanders in my upcoming draft – (I still do that with my last pick, what can I say, I’m hopeful for a comeback). So these are my predictions, I hope that’s not too quick of a transition for you, if it is just deal with it I guess. I’m old, but I’ve probably been playing fantasy football since you were an idea that your parents couldn’t even fathom – you know, when they still wore condoms and took birth control. So, I’ve been around for a while, won lots of fantasy championships, and learned from my mistakes as well. What has that taught me? That these predictions are more likely to be true than my nephews. That’s what. Why? Because I’ve only been wrong once, and that was when I thought I was wrong and was actually right. Here goes…
1. Matt Hasselbeck will be a Top 7 quarterback in 2009.
2. Either Chester Taylor or Jerious Norwood will be a Top 20 fantasy back this season. Choose wisely.
3. Matt Schaub will not play more than 12 games, but that’s okay, he’ll still throw 20 touchdowns.
4. The J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets will be a Top 5 fantasy defense.
5. Tom Brady will be the #1 fantasy quarterback.
6. Donovan McNabb will be Top 5.
7. Who will round out my QB top 7? Drew Brees and Philip Rivers and Tony Romo will be in there too. That leaves one spot left over, gotta have a flier in there somewhere – but I’m not going to predict that, 6 out of 7 ain’t bad.
8. The highest paid QB in the NFL finishes out of the Top 20 in fantasy QB rankings.
9. Even though I’ve had poops bigger than Darren Sproles and Leon Washington, both will finish amongst the Top 30 running backs in PPR leagues.
10. Thomas Jones won’t, Jamal Lewis won’t, Jonathan Stewart won’t either.
11. Knowshon Moreno will have at least five 100-yard games this season.
12. That will be more than Marion Barber.
13. This year’s DeAngelo Williams (surprise, out of nowhere back that is seemingly left for dead because of a high draft pick or “new” back taking his place? That would be Joseph Addai. He won’t be the #1 fantasy back like Williams was last year, but he’s getting drafted around 20 in most of my leagues, he’ll be a Top 10 guy.
14. Marshawn Lynch will be a Top 10 guy from Week 4 until Week 16 – do those week’s matter to anybody?
15. Not much of a stunner, but Adrian Peterson will lead the league in rushing yards, by a lot.
16. I’d rather have Ronnie Brown than Chris Johnson. Why? Ready… He’s going to have more fantasy points. But I like both guys.
17. Kevin Smith will be a top 10 fantasy running back.
18. Randy Moss will score more fantasy points that Larry Fitzgerald and Calvin Johnson.
19. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will catch more passes than anybody in the NFL.
20. Chad Johnson will show everybody that last year was a fluke, and that he’s still very inconsistent, but will be a Top 10 WR in the fantasy world.
21. If Terrell Owens is healthy for all 16 games, he will be a Top 5 fantasy receiver. I will guarantee he’s a top 10 guy regardless.
22. Anthony Gonzalez will have more fantasy points than Roy Williams.
23. Lance Moore will have at least 70 catches for 900 yards and 8 touchdowns. That might not be last years’ totals, but that’s still pretty damn good considering where you draft the guy.
24. John Carlson will be a Top 6 Tight End.
25. Joseph Addai > Darren McFadden > Pierre Thomas… That would be opposite of their draft rankings.
26. Felix Jones scores more fantasy points than Ray Rice.
27. Donnie Avery scores more fantasy points than Donald Driver.
28. The highest scoring rookie receiver this season? Hakeem Nicks.
29. Brandon Jacobs will score more fantasy points, in non PPR leagues, than any other RB in the NFL not named Adrian Peterson. He’s number one, or maybe number two….
30. In the games that Reggie Bush plays in (I’m guessing 12-14) he’ll be a Top 10 PPR RB. So he has GREAT draft value right now. *Currently ranked 31 by Espin the Magazine.
Done and Done. It only took my a million hunts and pecks to find the right keys to right this damn thing, and if you count my hourly wage, I’m going to have to win the lottery to get out of the red… blast. But at least I’ll get to rub it in when these are all right.
You know the gig, so I’ll get right to the questions and answers… Enjoy… Congrats to those playing this week.
David writes in, “A couple quickies, Browns or 49ers, Keller or Z Miller? I need to pick between those… Thanks!”
That’s a good questions, but I my first instinct is that I’d go with the 49ers and Zach Miller – Miller is just more consistent, and he doesn’t have to rely on Brett throwing good or throwing piss. However, the Seahawks are dead last in the NFL in passing yards given up and only 5 teams have given up more passing touchdowns than they have. Houston’s not much better but they are a little, they are in the middle of the pack as to yards allowed. The Jets love to throw the ball so even thought it’s stupid for them not to give the ball to Thomas Jones, they will likely try to get their yards through the air, even though it is snowy and cold in Seattle this week (believe me, I’m just an hour or so North and it’s snowy and windy here). So after thinking about it long and hard, the Hawks match-up has me swaying more toward Keller. I don’t know man, it’s so hard. I guess if you need a big day from him, go for Keller, he has 3 scores this season and has had more great games. But if you want a sure thing, Miller is your guy. Over the last 11 weeks he’s had less than 40 yards receiving just once. Once. THat’s crazy for a TE. But he only has one TD. I’d go SF over Cleveland because of a couple reasons, 1. They have better playmakers on their defense and instead of playing deflated (like the Browns), they have been playing inspired since Mike took over as head coach. Also, Marc Bulger is and always will be a sitting duck that throws picks. Also, if I’m taking one defense in the Browns game, it’s probably the Bengals. They’ve been way better against the run lately – they haven’t allowed a 100 yard rusher since Mewelde Moore in Week 7, and they’ve allowed just two all year. Crazy huh? And Dorsey can’t throw.
Johnson-ville from Jacksonville asks, “Would you start DeAngelo WIlliams, Joseph Addai, or Kevin Smith?”
JV, I’d go with Kevin Smith. I think he gets about 25 carries against the Saints this week, and I have a feeling that the Lions offensive line will be doing work against a Saints team that is basically already checked out. They’ve been eliminated. Bush is out. This should be a running game versus Drew Brees’ attempt to break the yardage record held by Dan Marino. I think Kevin Smith busts 100 yards and has a touchdown. I don’t think Addai or Williams will break the century mark in their respective match-ups.
Tim-e from Portland asks, “We have to decide our keepers in my work league before the last game in Week 17 – so I’m looking for some advice. I’m in a 12 team league where you have 1 QB, 2 RB, 3 WR, 1 FLEX, – It’s PPR, and you get bonuses for 100 yards at WR and RB, 50 yards at tight end, and 300 at QB – double bonus at 200, 100, and 450 – which four would you keep? DeAngelo Williams, Drew Brees, Brandon Jacobs, Steve Slaton, Chris Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Jason Witten – thanks in advance.”
Tiny Tim-E – Interesting scoring format, and I think it definitely changes things. It seems like Witten is a great option, even though I hate the idea of keeping a TE – the way I see it is this, he’s going to bust 100 yards often, and thus he’s going to get double bonus action a lot. That is a huge bonus and could win you weeks. Led by a TE? Probably not, but he is definitely a big time scorer for you. I also hate keeping QBs, so I probably wouldn’t keep Drew. He’s having a hell of a year, sure, but as you well know QBs don’t blow up year after year after year. Now Drew’s about as sure as it gets, but part of me wants to keep Slaton, Marshall, and Chris Johnson. But, since Drew is a solid 300 option against just anybody in the league and thus his bonus will be enforced often. So, that takes one away from Slaton, Marshall, and Chris Johnson. I like Slaton, but I think Johnson is the more explosive of the two, and I have to imagine that LenDale gets less and less in that offense. So, my final answer is Drew, Witten, Marshall, and Chris Johnson. I think Marshall is one of the best in the league, and as Cutler matures Marshall will only get better and better.
I’ve been doing some thinking and I see a five and five scenario taking place over the last 6 weeks of fantasy football. Five guys that will impress you, or play much better than they’ve played to start the season – and five guys that are going to tumble like that egg headed dumpty fellow. Last week for trades in those leagues in which the deadline hasn’t already passed – these are what my party invites look like. In no particular order, here are my lists.
1. Tyler Thigpen: Yep, still on his bandwagon. For some reason, a really easy schedule and one more game with a bunch of yards and touchdowns wihtout interceptions keeps him high on my list. Until he has a couple bad weeks in a row, I’m riding with him. Against the Saints this week – you bet he’s starting over Brett Favre on my club.
2. Deion Branch: He can’t possibly get hurt again, can he? Alright he’s a shot in the dark, but in over 90% of Yahoo leagues, this guy is available – I’m sure it’s the same in most leagues and don’t forget, this is a guy that has really produced when he’s played over the last few years. Branch may not be a big touchdown guy, but he makes things happen and gets the ball a lot. With Matt Hasselbeck back for the remainder of the season, I like the chance Deion has of making good on some pre-season predictions some people on this site.
3. New York Jets Defense: I know it’s not “cool” to throw out a defense, but stop me when you see an offensive juggernaut remaining on the Jets schedule… New England, Tennessee, Denver (okay, but lots of mistakes), San Francisco, Buffalo, Seattle, Miami – something tells me they’re going to continue the great defensive season they’ve been putting together. Right now they are the 3rd ranked defense in fantasy, and they are owned in just over 60% of leagues. Come on folks. San Fran, Buffalo, and Seattle during the playoffs – you betcha!
4. Matt Forte: I’ve heard lots of stuff about Forte stumbling down the stretch because of all the carries he’s been getting – hogwash. Obviously those people haven’t looked at Matt’s schedule going forward. Not only has he been solid since the bye, and is the #1 PPR running back, but Matt has Green Bay (easy), St. Louis (easy), Jacksonville (easy), New Orleans (easy), and Green Bay (easy again) to play against with just Minnesota as his lone tough defense on his schedule. He also has Houston in Week 17, but most fantasy leagues are over by then. I like Matt going forward, that’s for sure.
5. Reggie Wayne: He sure hasn’t produced like a Top 3 receiver – but don’t you worry, Wayne’s remaining opponents have something in common – see if you can figure it out… Houston, San Diego, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Detroit, Jacksonville… (and a tough Week 17 against Tennessee, but I’m not counting that). So did you get what those teams have in common? If you selected an absolutely brutal secondary and defense altogether, you win a prize, hurry, get Wayne now before someone else sees his remaining schedule. He has 49 receptions for 700 yards and 5 touchdowns – I wouldn’t be surprised if he ends up with at least that much in his next 7 games…
Down in the Slumps
1. Frank Gore: I love this player and now that he’ll be getting normal running back carries with Samari Mike running the show, he’s never going to be a bad bet – however, after this great match-up against the Rams, Frank goes four straight weeks of tough defenses – Dallas, Buffalo, the Jets, and the Dolphins. He started nice, and has been a nice PPR guy, but Gore’s only rushed for one touchdown in his last 6 games.
2. Marion Barber: I think he’s one of the better running backs in the league – so I wouldn’t get rid of the guy, but if you do listen to your brain and not your heart, it might be time to move Marion. During the playoffs Marion goes heads up against Pittsburgh, the Giants, and the Ravens – good luck finding good weeks in that crap tornado.
3. Brandon Jacobs: I hope he doesn’t, because I would never want a guy to get hurt, but Jacobs is definitely a candidate to break down before the season is over. Anybody that watches him run knows the strain he goes through on a game to game basis, he makes car accidents happen. And while he is the one usually delivering the blow, he is still in a bunch of accidents. He has had his fair share of pains over the years, and while New York does a good job of limiting his touches (only 2 games over 20 carries, and just 21 and 22 respectively) he still takes a lot of body punishment. Not only that, but Baltimore, Arizona, Washington, Philadelphia, Dallas, Carolina, and Minnesota aren’t really the easy defenses one would hope to run against down the stretch. There’s not an easy match-up in that bunch.
4.T.J Houshmanzadeh: I would say Chad Johnson, but he hasn’t been too productive during the season anyway. T.J. has still been solid, but it doesn’t look good for him going forward. He had a bye last week, but that looks like his last easy go at it. Philly, Pittsburgh, Balitmore, Indianapolis, Washington, and Cleveland. The light at the end of the tunnel doesn’t come until maybe Cleveland and then KC in Week 17, but if you are depending on Housh over the next few weeks, you might not be playing that long. An no Carson Palmer most likely, not much grand about that.
5. Willis McGahee: I don’t think it’s possible to like this guy in the first place, especially after screwing owners in Week 9 with a suit up but did not play fantasy score killer – but I have to like him even less moving forward, despite his 25 carry 112 yard 2 touchdown performance in Week 10 – he plays the Giants, the Eagles, the Bengals (you get one good match-up in Week 13), then the Reskins, Steelers, and Cowboys before going to Jacksonville in Week 17. It’s not looking good for him folks.
I thought I’d give you guys three match-ups that look bad or good, but should actually produce well (or poorly) this week. Basically, you think something but WATCH-OUT!!! It might be different than you’d expect.
1. Michael Turner hasn’t had good days against good rushing defenses, and a while back the Eagles were rated as the top run stuffing group in the business. And they’re still highly rated, but something I’ve recognized has given me new hope for starting Mike this week in Philly. The Eagles started off hot against the run, sure, but they gave up 145 yards to Clinton Portis, and 101 yards to Frank Gore. The Falcons commit to the run and Turner might be okay pounding the ball at Philly’s relatively undersized defense. We’ll see, but I wouldn’t sit Mike just because he’s playing the Guls.
2. You might think St. Louis is a good time to start Matt Cassel – don’t be so sure. The Rams haven’t had a great season, but they’ve won two straight games, and Leonard Little’s return makes them a lot better defensively. Now offenses will have to pay a lot of attention to him, and against an offense that has allowed plenty of sacks this year, and a quarterback that holds the ball a little too long, in a game the Pats are supposed to win – well, I kind of like Matt to have a bad game this week. Don’t get caught off guard.
3. Brandon Jacobs, a must start? I’m not sold. The Steelers did give up 67 yards to Le’Ron McClain, and he is the closest thing to what the Steelers will be facing with Jacobs, but Le”Ron is also the leading rusher against the Steelers this season. That’s right, not a single back has eclipsed the 67 yards gained by McClain. And it’s not like PIttsburgh has played bad backs. Steve Slaton has been good this year, he didn’t hit the 50 yard mark in Week 1 – Jamal Lewis was in the 30s in Week 2, Week 3 had Correll Buckhalter and the Eagels ground game get 43 yards – Week 4 was McClain’s 67 – Week 5 saw Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones Drew rush for 26 yards on 15 carries, and Week 6 saw Cedric Benson get 52 yards in a blowout. I know the Giants run the ball well, but I can’t see Jacobs being a stud this week – in fact, I would probably rather start Sammy Morris or even Cedric Benson. Scratch that last one, but you see what I’m getting at.
Avoiding 0-2: It’s very common for a team to start 1-1, happens most of the time. Don’t be surprised if most teams are 1-1 headed into week 3. Taking that into account, expect solid games out of fantasy players in San Diego, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Houston, and Cleveland – all are looking to stay away from the 0-fer, and that is just more motivation to shine.
BEAST of Burden: That’s what Brandon Jacobs is going to be for the Rams tacklers this week in St. Louis. I’m pretty sure he goes around singing his version of the great Stones’ song like this, “I’ll always be your beast of burden, tackle me, your shoulders will be hurtin’ – never ever ever ever ever ever ever get in my waaaayyyyyy…” For a team that struggles to stop the run anyway, it will be frustrating to see a 270lb 6’4″ running back barreling down on you. Nobody likes that garbage. Expect a big game from Jacobs.
Re-Thinking it?: Holmgren left open a return to the NFL, but I don’t think that will help the Hawks much. It’s hard to play for a coach, give it all up for a guy, put yourself out there for a man that won’t be with you next year. He’s kind of a lame duck coach right now, and in response to my article I’m sure, he tried to give them something to play for. We’ll see how it works.
Load Carries Load: He’s definitely not the more talented back in Tennessee, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see LenDale White carry the load in Cincinnati when his Titans take on the Bengals. Cincinnati has a tough time tackling anyone, and a big load of a guy like White is a real test for them I’m sure. Both backs will get their looks, but like I said, everyone is giving the job to Chris Johnson right now, and I expect a nice fantasy day and more touches for White.
35-31?: Not the Vikings powerful defense? That’s right, I’m predicting 60+ points to be scored in Minnesota this weekend, and that’s not counting college games. The Vikings will run (and throw, you’ll see) while the Colts find spaces to fire the ball all over the field. Big game for Peyton in Week 2, and I also believe they’ll get the win to even out their record to 1-1.