Baltimore Ravens vs Minnesota Vikings Football Pick

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Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Minnesota Vikings: This is one of the biggest games of the week, two teams that have played extremely well to start the season. The Ravens come in 3-2 (after losing in the final seconds to the Bengals a week after losing to the Patriots in New England) while Minnesota has walked through a relatively weak schedule all the way to 5-0 (Detroit, Cleveland, and St. Louis hardly belong in the NFL). And yes, the Brett Favre experiment seems to be working just fine. The decent teams Minnesota has faced kept things close, as Brett Favre needed his miracle toss with a second left to beat the 49ers, and Green Bay’s late rally fell short despite shutting down Adrian Peterson and that feared Viking rushing attack. The Ravens haven’t been as stingy on defense, and Joe Flacco has struggled a bit in the last two contests, but you’d have to say Baltimore is easily the Vikings’ toughest task yet. With that being what it is, I’m taking the Ravens here. The 49ers and Ravens are very similar teams, the difference being Baltimore should be healthier than San Fran was in their game against the Vikings. The 49ers should have won that game, and Baltimore should win this game. We’ll see if Should turns into a win this time.

2009 NFL Fantasy Football: Lucky Lester Shares his Predictions

Last year’s predictions had some big winners, a couple tough luck losers, not to mention a handful of “what the hell was I thinking” fortunes that I told all wrong. I won’t get them all right this year either, but I’d like to think my waterfall of fantasy fodder will get you on the right track for your drafts, seasonal trade value, and possibly even a date with that girl that works at Victoria Secret. The brunette. As goes, I’ll spout off some claim, maybe even a sentence explaining why I think this, and will review the whole thing later in the year to see how it all went. All four of the writers doing work on this site will do an article similar to this, and in the end we’ll see who is the sharpest beach ball of them all. Let the games begin!

1. When Maurice Jones-Drew straps up his helmet this season he’ll get 5-10 more touches per game. According to Josh Arsenault’s “Value of Opportunity” article that means big things for MJD. How big? Try 1800+ total yards and 14+ TDs for one of the game’s most explosive players.

2. Through one game last season, Nate Burleson was on pace to have 900+ yards and 80 catches. He’ll get close to that this season, despite being TJ Housh’s sidekick for the Seattle Seahawks. How close? Lets say 70 grabs and 900 yards, plus at least 6 touchdowns. Not a bad output for a guy rarely getting picked before Round 14, if at all.

3. Last year, Donnie Avery posted 53 receptions, 674 yards, and 3 scores for the Rams. He’ll double that last total, while finishing with at least 70 grabs and 850 yards.

4. Two of the following four quarterbacks will fail to play 12 games this year: Donovan McNabb, Brett Favre, Drew Brees, and Big Ben Roethlisberger. O-line questions, style of play observations, interesting coaching decisions, and some bad freaking luck will likely play a role.

5a. If Daunte Culpepper gets the job out of camp, he’ll throw more than 20 touchdowns in 2009.

5b. If Matthew Stafford gets the gig out of camp, he’ll throw for less than 15.

6. At least two of these guys will be in the top 5 in rushing yards this season: LaDainian Tomlinson, Steven Jackson, Frank Gore, and Ryan Grant.

7. There is a business like show business – it’s called professional sports.

8. The last time Tony Gonzalez had less than 73 catches was 2002 and that was the only time that happened in the last 10 years. He’ll have fewer catches this season.

9. Reggie Bush will end up having more fantasy points than Pierre Thomas, despite getting drafted after him in almost every single draft. Many forget that Reggie played in only 10 games (2 of which he barely played in) and he still finished with over 800 total yards and 6 TDs.

10. Matt Hasselbeck is moving up my rankings based on his strength and accuracy thus far in the pre-season. He’ll finish as a Top 10 fantasy quarterback this year.

11. Trent Edwards also has seen a boost. It’s just the pre-season, I know, but I see him being a Top 20 guy, easily.

12. When are people going to recognize Eddie Royal? This kid is going to be special. In his second season he’ll improve on his 91 catches, 980 yards, and five touchdowns. Yes, that means he’ll be even better without Cutler, folks.

13. Last year was amazing for DeAngelo Williams. First the Panthers draft Jon Stewart in the 1st round, then Williams turns into the best fantasy running back in the league. Not a fluke, the guy is a very smart runner. He won’t match his TDs from last season, but his rushing yardage will shoot over the 1500 yard mark once again.

14. Everybody and their mother thinks Ronnie Brown is overrated going into 2009 because “half his points came in one game, blah, blah, blah”. What a joke. The fat lady hasn’t even written a song for this kid yet, he’s going to tear it up in the AFC East this season. Halfway through his 7th game in 2007, Brown was just 9 yards short of 1000 from scrimmage with 5 touchdowns. He was the only offensive threat on the field and he was still rushing for over 5 yards per carry. He’s a beast. He’s fully healthy and more than a year removed from his knee injury. This will easily be his best season. I predict over 1400 yards from scrimmage and 12 touchdowns from the 27 year old with very few miles on his tires.

15. Speaking of the fat lady, these old guys aren’t dead yet: Each player, despite their avg. draft slot, will have solid years. Torry Holt (35th WR), Terrell Owens (12th WR), Clinton Portis (14th RB) (only 28 this season, but an OLD 28), and LT (7th RB) should all be good. At least 3 of the 4 will will finish above their average draft slot ranking.

16. Youth Movement? Not this year, not for rookies anyway. After 4 rookie running backs finished in the top 20 in total rushing yards last season (3 in the Top 10), no more than one rookie will match that mark this season (none in the Top 10).

17. Julius Jones is getting picked late. Probably even later than he was before Edgerrin James got swooped up by the Hawks. But Jones will still be the man in Seattle, and that zone blocking scheme should be a good one for his Irish style. He once had 1084 rushing yards for the Cowboys and 4 touchdowns. I’m saying he finishes with more yards and scores than he did during his best season with Dallas. In fact, I’m willing to suggest he has 8 touchdowns or more in 2009.

18. There are 25 running backs getting picked ahead of Darren McFadden. He out produces at least half of those guys, and makes it into the Top 12 this season. He’s moving up my board!

19. Brandon Jacobs finishes the season with more carries and yards than he ever has in his career. Oh, and he at least matches those 15 scores from a season ago. That offensive line is beastly.

20. What does Dallas do with all those TO targets this season? Roy Williams? Sure, Roy will get more targets, but a lot of those TO touches are going to Felix Jones. That means he’ll be much better than his average draft position. His ADP is 36, he’ll be top 20.

21. People are drafting Vincent Jackson as if he will get the same numbers he got last season. So, a couple picks ahead of that, you should grab him. He will have better totals across the board, catches, yardage, touchdowns.

22. Mark Sanchez (the rookie that was “not ready for the NFL” according to the “brilliant” Coach Carol at USC) will win at least 8 games as the Jets starting signal caller this season.

23. Steve Slaton will outscore every sophomore running back not named Matt Forte. That’s right, those in love with McFadden’s upside, Chris Johnson’s speed, Kevin Smith, and Jon Stewart’s all around tools, Slaton is the guy I see being a stud this season.

24. Tim Hightower will be a better fantasy back than Beanie Wells – especially in PPR leagues. Beanie can’t catch. Beanie gets hurt. Tim isn’t my fave, not at all, but his fantasy stats will be better than the Cardinals’ first round pick’s numbers.

25. The San Diego Chargers’ defense will once again be a Top 5 fantasy unit.

26. Anquan Boldin > Roddy White (fantasy points).

27. Derrick Ward, often drafted as the 37th RB overall. He’ll be at least 10 spots higher than that on the end-of-season running back rankings.

28. Mark Sanchez gets drafted ahead of Matt Hasselbeck in most fantasy leagues. I promise Matt will be better than Mark, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if Matt doubles Mark in touchdowns. Shoot, right it down.

29. Dallas Clark, Antonio Gates, and Jason Witten will all finish ahead of Tony Gonzalez in the TE rankings.

30. Anthony Gonzalez, Eddie Royal, along with Vincent and DeSean Jackson will all have more fantasy points than Braylon Edwards this season.

That’s it, as promised, I’m first: 3 more prediction sessions on the way before the season begins…

Ask Papa Weimer: Pre-Season #2

I’m back. More questions, seemingly better answers than before. This week we tackle auction drafts, the 1st Round wide receiver situation, and the “lack” of running backs – and even Brett Favre. It’s late and my knees are acting up, I’ll try my best not to take it out on the question askers. But that doesn’t mean all that BS about no question being a stupid question is true – there are tons of stupid questions – try me next week.

Graham “Big Worm” from Lower Columbia, WA asks, “What is your take on Brett Favre. The guy gets more coverage than an Anna Kournikova sex tape, which quite honestly chaps my ass, but if he can play he should play, right?” From a fantasy perspective should I dump Trent Edwards, my current back-up, and snatch up the old man?

You got it right on the button Big Worm. The way I see it is pretty simple. Brett Favre threw around retirement like he throws underhand backwards pitches to running backs. He wasn’t quite sure, but didn’t want the Packers relying on him being around so he called it quits, thinking that if he wanted to come back they would obviously welcome him with open arms. The trick was on him. The Packers decided to go with Aaron Rodgers (good move, because the youngster is legit) and did all they could to convince Favre to stay retired, even going as far as offering him money to do nothing. I’m not positive, but I bet that pissed Ol’ Brett off something fierce and it probably made him want to play even more. But the Packers didn’t want to face Brett, and trading him within their own division to help an opponent out made absolutely no sense to them. But Brett’s a competitor, so surely, right off the bat, he wanted to play against his former team and jam it right up their backside. Since he couldn’t, he toughed out a year in Jet-land, gave it all he had, ups and downs, just missed the playoffs, and thus retired again. Giving him exactly what he wanted, the Jets released his rights. That gave Favre the freedom to play wherever he wanted. Brett’s not the first guy to run right back to his old division and sign up with a rival. When let go, lots of guys take it personally, and some have even been known to give up some money for a couple chances a year at their old team. I think that’s freaking awesome. So now he’s in Minnesota and he’s going to give it his all to try and make the Vikings a championship level team. Will he? I’m not sure either way, but I’ll be watching, that’s for damn sure. Now a bunch of people are pissed that he retired and came back and retired and came back, but those people are stupid. Some people think it’s terrible that he went to the Packers’ rival. But it’s that same competitive spirit that made him as great a player as he is. So those people aren’t thinking past go either. Basically, I like it. If he wants to play, can play, and can get someone to pay him to do so, by all means, play until your shriveled up my man!!! As for all the coverage. Blah. I’m sick of it, and my TV is out. I can only imagine how you feel. Fantasy-wise, of course he’s going to have some value. That team is pretty stacked. Peterson is obviously a beast. Berrian has elite speed and Brett can get him the ball. Percy Harvin is dynamite. Even Shiancoe is a solid TE. That line will keep Brett standing. So all things look good except all those rushing attempts should keep him from big yardage. But he’ll still a decent back-up. However, I’d stick with Edwards. I know you don’t have much time, but Edwards is in that new hurry up, with lots of passing, two very good receivers, and some running backs that are solid catching out of the back-field. He’s very accurate, and you never know, this could be a big breakout year for him. But it’s close to a wash, so if you’re feeling one way, go with your gut. I have to listen to my gut, the thing is enormous.

Paul the Perv writes, “I’m in an auction draft and I was wondering if there’s any plan of attack that you try in these kind of drafts? I’m brand new to them and I’m not sure if nominating a guy gives me a better or worse chance in getting him on my team. Any ideas?”

Why are all Paul’s pervs? Hopefully your last name is Pervis or something like that, or maybe you’re just cleverly named as a common man. Regardless, I have answers to your dilemma. I’ve found all auction drafts to be a little different, and have become a big fan of them over the last few years. What I’ve found works best is nominating high-hype guys early in the draft. Guys that you think are a little overrated and currently getting loved on by the public. Now usually what this will do is get your league-mates to overpay for these overvalued players, leaving you with good money to get good value. That’s always my goal. Now sometimes I do this and as it turns out, everyone believes me that a guy is overrated and I end up bidding on the guy because his new value is much better. I almost never cross a guy off my list, everyone has value, but my goal is to make people overpay so I can underpay. Guys like Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Drew Brees, and Larry Fitzgerald are all guys I’d love to have, but they are all getting overvalued. (Even my nephew ranks Forte #2, which I think is too high) So if it was up to me, I’d call their names early if I got the chance, and see if I can’t get people overpaying for services. Hope that helps Perv!

Too Tall Tom from Onalaska asks, “I know you’re a big running back guy in the first couple rounds, but every year is different, is it okay for me to go WR in the first couple rounds this year?”

Sure man, in fact, I think going WR as early as 6th overall isn’t too ridiculous this season. Once you get out of that top tier of running backs, there’s a lot of equality there. And while I don’t buy this whole “the receiver cupboard is bare” BS that seems to be milling around draft rooms, I do think that there is a quick drop-off from elite to good to worth a shot. There are seemingly hundreds of receivers worth a shot. There’s a lot of guys I’d consider good options. But there’s very few ELITE #1s out there. Not enough for everyone to have a couple, that’s for sure. With RBs, there’s a lot of guys that I would be fine starting, and I’m talking about guys you can get in rounds 3-8. So, I’ve had some drafts in which I went WR early, the earliest being the 6th. I had Steve Slaton as my next best RB available, but he wasn’t too far ahead of a lot of the solid backs left, so I went with Larry Fitz and his elite consistency and overall numbers. On the way back (it was a 10 team league, which are the ideal type of leagues to go WR early) I still got Steve Slaton. With my 3rd pick I grabbed Steve Smith, and with my 4th pick I went with Kevin Smith, another guy we like here within the fantasy staff. So I got two number 1 receivers, and two young running backs that had solid years and possess lots of upside. If I went RB with my first two picks, I wouldn’t be much better in my backfield, but I would be worse at WR. That’s the kind of thing you have to think about during the draft, where’s the value? Sure, I went WR a lot earlier than usual. But I got the guy I think is the best player at that position – at a position with fewer elite players. So yes, in short, sometimes it’s good to be different.

Noah, from “just outside the ark” thinks out loud, “All the things I read are saying that WR is shallow this year and RBs are deep, do you actually believe this?”

No, and yes. I don’t believe that either position is actually shallow, but in a way, both are kind of shallow in the “elite” category. In years’ past there are lots of guys getting 80% of their team’s carries, at least. This year, there are fewer of those type running backs. Fewer proven carry-horses. So that makes getting one of those main guys a bonus, if you can. At WR you have the same type of thing, lots of guys with lots of upside, but not so many guys that can get drafted without at lest a little question mark by their production. Now nothing is guaranteed. Vince Young could get pouty in Week 1, feel bad that people are booing him, and never start another game the rest of the year. But those crazy things being written off as just crazy, I think you can find great options all over the draft at any of these positions. Would I rather have Roddy White, Larry Fitz, and Andre Johnson than Dominik Hixon, Anthony Gonzalez, and Nate Burelson? You bet. But should all 6 guys be owned? Definitely. Could all 6 be starter worthy during the year? You bet. I actually think, that with all the “sharing is caring” going around the NFL, having specialty players do certain things, carry in certain situations, and having 3 and 4 WRs, this is actually one of the “deepest” seasons in fantasy football that I’ve ever researched and took part in. There are so many players at all the positions, even TE has a grip of valuable guys. I got Tim Hightower and Julius Jones as 4th and 5th running backs, in rounds 11 and 12, for a league I’m in. That’s two starters. Hightower is young and scores touchdowns, and even though Beanie Wells is there, he’s still starting. And Julius Jones is in a scheme that should use his running ability well, and he’s done well when getting 20 carries a game. So while they are not starters in terms of top fantasy backs, they are still two actual NFL starters that could produce for me this season. Don’t believe the hype, shallow and deep are very arbitrary, especially this year.

NFL Season Preview: Over/Under Regular Season Wins (Part II)

As promised, I’m back with my over/under predictions for the NFL Season. This time I take care of the middle-of-the-alphabet teams from the Packers to the Jets. I have their over/under total from and the total wins I project as well. Enjoy!

  1. Green Bay Packers (Over 8.5 wins -145) (11): I really like the Packers’ schedule. They need to be better defensively, but the offense in Green Bay is legit. I think they are the best team in this division, even with the Vikings signing Brett Favre recently. Green Bay has to win some of those close games they struggled with last year, they will run the ball more efficiently, and make fewer mistakes. Playing the NFC West helps, and a split in their AFC games seems reasonable too. I like GB in the playoffs this season.
  2. Houston Texans (Over 8.5 wins +125) (9): Is this the year the Texans finally make the playoffs? Maybe, but I have them coming up a game or two short. 8.5 definitely seems high for the Texans over/under, but maybe that’s because the books are starting to notice their improvement. Houston needs to stay healthy, but if they can do that, they have plenty of talent to make waves in the AFC South, even with Jacksonville improving upon last season’s failures. This is a very close play for me. 8-9 wins seems right on. But still, I like their heads up chances against most of the NFC West and the AFC East, so I’ll take the over.
  3. Indianapolis Colts (Under 10.5 wins -180) (8): Another close one, because a new coach could take a team either way, but I think the Colts struggle a little during their first year without Coach Dungy. This squad has lost a little of it’s luster, the offensive line is not deep, and they no longer have the option of  two #1 receivers. The Jaguars and Texans will be better this season, and Tennessee is solid. Indy does have the benefit of playing the NFC West, but I still like them to struggle this season. Moving away from the Cover 2 look with a bunch of players selected to play the Cover 2 seems tough. Bob Sanders is still hurting, and that doesn’t help. It’s just a feeling.
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars (Over 8.5 wins +130) (10): This team gets better defensively with one more season under the belt of a couple youngsters like Derrick Harvey, Justin Durant, and Reggie Nelson. Also, health along the offensive line is going to be huge for this squad. The addition of the best all around offensive lineman in the draft, Eugen Monroe, won’t hurt either. Torry Holt adds a nice piece for Garrard – a possibly aging, but still solid receiver he’s never really had. Maurice Jones-Drew will get more looks, that’s good too. The bottom line is this, the Jaguars are a good football team. They were decimated by injuries last season, and this year they are healthy and hungry. Good combo.
  5. Kansas City Chiefs (Under 6.5 -165) (5): This team will compete, I like that about them, but a very tough schedule early will make it tough for the Chiefs to build much momentum out of the gates. They will be lucky to win 2 games in their first 7. After their bye week, they play two teams they “could” beat, but they travel to Jacksonville and then Oakland in back to back games, that’s not usually a good thing. I see 6 games at the most, and I like this offense – but moving everything to a 3-4 might be tougher than it looks with this personal.
  6. Miami Dolphins (Over 7.5 +115) (9): The Dolphins were a huge surprise last season, winning the AFC East and garnering the division’s only playoff spot. Chad Pennington outshined the guy he was let go for, and took a playoff spot away from the 11 win Patriots. But still, nobody believes in the Dolphins. I wonder why. This was a team full of youth last season, and those young guys are now a year older. Ronnie Brown should be completely recovered from knee surgery, and he’s one of the more dynamic backs in the league when healthy. They still have Chad, who’s playing for a contract next season, and they resigned some key young defenders this off-season like Channing Crowder and Yeremiah Bell. Jason Taylor may not be the NFL Defensive Player of the year type guy, but he’s back with the Fins and he is still a force on the outside. This team got better. Will they get back in the playoffs? I’m not so sure about that, but they should get over the .500 mark despite a tough schedule (They draw the AFC and NFC South this season, both tough divisions).
  7. Minnesota Vikings (Over 9.5 -105) (10): Does the Brett Favre move jump the Vikings up in my book? Not really. I liked Sage Rosenfels in this offense as a guy that can sling it, so Brett’s addition doesn’t move me one way or another. However, I thought this was a 10-win team without the former Packer, and his presence on the field, being where he wants to be, that might be just enough to move this bet from close to good. The Lions will be better, and the Bears are decent, but I like the Vikings to finish 2nd or 1st in the NFC West. They have a solid defense and a running game that can maul anyone. Percy Harvin is an elite weapon as well. Another big help is EJ Henderson coming back and being healthy, he’s a very good linebacker. This team is much improved, and it’s not because of Brett’s return.
  8. New England Patriots (Under 11.5 wins +120) (11): This one is too close for me to wager on, but I think the Patriots will find 12 wins tough with a pretty darn tough schedule. Like I said already, the Bills and Dolphins both got better this off-season (though I don’t expect much from the Jets). Now, the Patriots did too (Tom Brady coming back), but they have a pretty tough schedule as well. Like the Fins, they go heads up against the AFC and NFC South. This is close though, and they do get an auto win against Denver (I just don’t see Belichick losing to McD), but if I had to go one way on this, I’d give a slight nod toward the under.
  9. New Orleans Saints (Over 8.5 wins -140) (9): I don’t like the Saints, but they’ll be better defensively this coming season. That should get them another win or two. Offensively, I actually think they’ll commit more to the run game, and that will help keep their defense off the field. Is Brees still going to throw the ball all over the field? You bet, but Pierre Thomas and Reggie Bush will share a backfield that should be pretty productive. They still have a questionable secondary, but there are very winable games out there and I think their luck shifts a bit this coming season.
  10. New York Giants (Over 9.5 wins -140) (11): This is probably the best team in a stacked division. Sure, the Giants don’t have Plaxico Burress, which leaves them without that precious number 1 receiver – and they lost Derrick Ward to the Bucs, but this team is still stacked with talent. Their offensive and defensive lines are elite. I don’t know if I could say any team has a better front line than the Giants. That will win them 10 games right there. They do have the worst highest paid QB in the league running their team, but he’s still a decent option. They play in a tougth division, but they are tough, and should manage double digit wins.
  11. New York Jets (Under 7.5 wins +115) (6): I see 6, maybe the Jets win 7, but I don’t see them getting 8. The Bills should be better this year, and the Dolphins are more talented as well. Kellen Clemens or rookie Mark Sanchez will be at QB, and neither will provide elite QB play this coming season. They have a very underrated offensive line, but I think they’ll lose a lot of close games. I like their new head coach, but I don’t see .500 this year for Ryan and his staff.

Next time I’ll preview the bottom of the alphabet, from Oakland to Washington.

Three for Thursday

1. Dominic Rhodes is a guy that I was considering picking up to start, even with Joseph Addai banged up a little bit and probable to start. Now that Addai is wilting away more and more as the week moves forward, I think Rhodes might be one of the best pick ups there is, especially in a PPR league. You’re talking about a guy that is basically a guarantee to catch five balls, and he’s going up against the Lions defensive front. Sign me up for that party, please.

2. I was asked on a Radio show if I would start Brett Favre against one of the weaker defensive secondaries in the league? It’s a tough call, but you should only do it if you are feeling lucky. After two terrible weeks against terrible defenses, you’d think Brett pulls his head out of his old man Ace and has a nice week – however, he could have another crapper like he did against the Niners last week. I would definitely rather start Tyler Thigpen, and I would consider Jeff Garcia. Not as much upside with Jeff, but Garcia doesn’t do much wrong, and look at the stats, since Graham went down he’s been a solid fantasy contributor.

3. Sam Bradford is my guy for the best quarterback in college football. No doubt about it, I also think he’ll be the best pro. However, Graham Harrell’s absence from the invitee list for the Heisman Trophy Awards Show is absurd. He has the same numbers as Colts and Sam and even Tim (except for all those rushing yards, but still). Him not getting invited makes me hate the idea of this trophy- you’re telling me that the best player in college football has to play for Texas, Florida, or Oklahoma. Sweet. What a joke.

10 for Tuesday

Okay, I just wanted to point some things out… 

1. It’s not always good for your X-Rays to be negative: That’s right – for example, Daunte Culpepper and JaMarcus Russell were two guys that should have been praying for their X-Rays to come back positive and bussed to the IR. Both of those guys are on teams that make life even more dangerous for them than normal NFL players. Some others that weren’t so lucky and might play again this year, Kellen Winslow, Jerome Harrison, and Steven Jackson has likely been hoping for weeks that one of his multiple ailments would find him a safe warm spot on the IR – no luck SteJack – but you do get the Seagulls later this week. Good luck!

2. The Seahawks receivers have started to get healthier, but only because the baton has been passed to the running backs in Denver. Tatum Bell – yes, that Tatum Bell – will be the starting and basically only running back this coming week when the Broncos do work against the Carolina Panthers in Carolina. It should be interesting, but then again, who in their right mind thought Peyton Hillis would be the guy rushing for 100 yards in Denver? Remember, he started at FB and LB earlier this season. Now that’s a man. 

3. The Cardinals clinched the NFC East – by default. Yep. 

4. I lost a fantasy playoff game this week by 6 points. Tony Romo started for me and threw 3 interceptions. My opponent had Pittsburgh’s defense. Thanks for all the memories Tony. 

5. Brett Favre had 137 passing yards against the 49ers, and that sucked – however, it was the Jets playcalling that really got me down. As Thomas Jones rushed for a 17 yard touchdown in the 3rd quarter, I began to think the Man-Idiot had figured it out. “We win if Thomas gets the rock.” I sweat it makes perfect sense. But at the end of the day, a team with two capable running backs (TJ and Leon Washington) decided to run the ball 12 times. 10 carries to TJ, 1 to Leon, and 1 to Brett – good idea. How’d that work out Man-Idiot? How do these guys keep jobs?

6. Shaun Hill had 285 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Jets – but how was that possible? I know – the 49ers ran the ball 33 times – and the Jets had to commit to stopping that. Take a damn not Mangina… 

7. Tim Hightower had 12 carries for 32 yards and a score. The answer to the Cards running back questions? I’m thinking no, not this season anyway. He was touted as the next great rookie after just breaking 100 yards against the Rams last time the Cards spanked St. Louis – but how have his numbers looked since then? Told you. 

8. Losing isn’t always a bad thing. Take the Hawks for example, that 21-13 lead they had going into the 4th quarter was a fat lie. Sure, the teams want to win, but fans – you should be rooting for them to compete until the end and then blow it. Do you want Michael Crabtree or do you want the Raiders to sign him? For Crab, and for the Hawks – the answer is “lose the rest of your games please!” – I feel for any guy that goes to Jail in Oakland. 

9. I said last week that you shouldn’t pay much attention to Joseph Addai going up against a bad run defense that doesn’t tackle well. I hope you listened – 10 rushes for 26 yards. If you started him anyway, please tell me how the outcome of your first fantasy playoff game went. 

10. The Ravens remind me a lot of the Steelers in Big Ben’s first season. They might not be 13-3, hell, they might not even make the playoffs – but this is a good defense and a young quarterback and a running game that might not be flashy, but gets the job done. I just think they might have a tough time if they do get into the playoffs. We’ll see.

Three for Thursday

1. Somebody in my “most expensive” league just traded Maurice Jones Drew to get the powerful entity known as Antwaan Randel El. Like any other college football fan of the 90’s, I have a certain appreciation for Mr. Randel El that, upon further review, trumps his actual value – so sure, I always see the former Hoosier, the former Steeler, on a fantasy roster. What I don’t see is, in a league where you keep two players, trading a guy as talented as Drew away for a possession receiver that has never been big enough to catch more than a couple touchdown passes. The reasoning behind this whacky trade, you ask: “I didn’t have a third receiver for Week 4.” Oh sweet mother of God. And, “I wasn’t using Jones Drew anyway.” – With Antonio Bryant, Jordy Nelson, Michael Clayton, Donnie Avery, Roscoe Parrish (AR-El 2), and others just playing dominoes on the free agent list, it seems like a ridiculous thing to trade a guy you picked in the first non-keeper round for a receiver that had one decent (not great) week. These kind of trades should be punishable. I see them every year, and they are frustrating. Especially when I don’t get in on them! Damn the man! 

2. Chris Perry’s value. I love what this kid is doing. He really looks good running the ball in Cincinnati – nobody has done that since Rudi was healthy. Perry has speed, vision, and he can catch passes. He hasn’t really played in three years, so you have to believe that he can only get better from here, plus he hasn’t been playing the easiest of defenses either (Baltimore, New York Giants, Tennessee). He plays Dallas next week, then Pittsburgh two weeks after that, but he won’t have a three game schedule tougher than the one he started the season with. If you can get Perry for cheap, and could use some running back help, go for the roses, sir. If he stays healthy, he’ll be a surprise Top 15 running back this season. That’s starter material. 

3. Old Quarterback Show: What do Kurt Warner, Brett Favre, Trent Green, Gus Frerotte, Jake Delhomme, Kerry Collins, Damon Huard, and Brian Griese have in common? Besides the fact that every one of their old asses is starting in Week 4, they are all very close to being grandpas. Okay, maybe not Grandpas, but closer to 40 than 30 usually isn’t the best thing in this league. But this is why they are all semi-successful at the very least, and starting over younger talents. Unlike the young quarterbacks that enter the league nowadays, these guys all got a chance to learn the game over time. They weren’t rushed into anything, hell, some didn’t even start their pro-careers in the National Football League. But they were taught the right way. They weren’t thrown into a sack-happy-frenzy like David Carr, and they weren’t dumbed down right off the bat like Kyle Boller, Tarvaris Jackson, or Matt Leinart. These guys learned their respective offenses, put in work on the sidelines, saw how it was supposed to be done, and now they’ve been doing it for a long, long time. Gotta love it.

Three for Thursday: Week 3

I figured I might as well put up a couple of my pre-season predictions that aren’t only looking good, but brilliant as of heading into Week 3. Without patting myself on the back any harder, here’s three big ones…

1. The first prediction I’m sharing is actually 2 predictions, and both look good. “Chris Johnson will lead the Titans in yards (receiving and rushing combined).” and “Chris Johnson is the NFL’s version of Usain Bolt.” Of course he is. I love sharing this one because my uncle and I fought hard on this one, so much so that he threw up a prediction that LenDale would lead the Titans in fantasy points. Newsflash pops, I was right about this kid. He’s too quick not to get the ball to, and check this out, he runs like a tough man. He’s already supposed to get more touches in Week 3. That doesn’t bode well for LenDale owners, and it surely doesn’t look good for your prediction or the poor Houston Texans defense they’ll be going up against. Yhatzee!

2. Yet another two predictions deep for this one… “Tom Brady won’t throw more than 35 touchdowns this season,” and even better yet, “(Two of Three) Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady will miss at least one football game due to injuries.” You have to admit, it’s looking good. I’m not one to hope for injuries, but Brett is in a new system that has him thinking a bit more, plus the law of averages isn’t on his side (never hurt, really old – put it together). But I’m guessing Peyton is the guy that misses a game. His offensive line is struggling, and he doesn’t get his center back for a few weeks. I hope not, because even though I’m not the biggest fan of the guy, he’s a great football player for sure and I don’t want anyone to ever get hurt, but don’t be surprised if he gets dinged here in the next couple games. That would make this prediction 100% true.

3. “Frank Gore will eclipse 1,500 total yards, 70 receptions, and score 10+ touchdowns. ” There were a lot of people, “experts” out there ready to give Gore a busty title before the season even started. Not I. I knew that Gore was the quickest way for Mike Martz to score points, and if there’s ever been anything that guy likes to do it’s eat Popeye’s Chicken and score points. After two games, Mr. Gore has 157 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, and 9 catches for 93 receiving yards. Besides the touchdowns, which I think will come, he’s on pace (lets say he plays 14 games) to rush for 1,100 yards, catch 63 balls for 651 yards and score 7 times. That looks about right. He doesn’t have to play tough defenses and he is the man in San Fran. Roll on Mr. Gore!

Fantasy Fun: Ten for Tuesday

I’ve decided to throw out some fantasy advice, free of charge. Every single week I’m going to put some good stuff out for you to mull over in your fantasy minds. The articles will be entitled, “Ten for Tuesday” “One for Wednesday” “Three for Thursday” and “Five for Friday”. Each article will dive into as many fantasy observations as the title insists – 10 on tuesday, 1 on wednesday, and so in and so forth. The observations could, can, and will be anything that crosses my mind as important information. My goal is to sift through the irrelative fantasy junk and give you a few important tidbits prior to Sunday’s roster deadlines – 19 tidbits in fact. Since it is Tuesday, I’m on the books for 10 – good luck.

1. Sitting AP in Week 1: Adrian Peterson goes up against a pretty tough Green Bay Packers defense, and while that won’t be reason to sit him (as you certainly drafted him with your first round pick), the fact that his starting pro-bowl offensive tackle is out with a 4-game suspension might give you a couple second thoughts if you have a couple running backs with better match-ups as your 3rd options (Thomas Jones against the Dolphins, Mike Turner against the Lions for example) you might want to take that shot. I know that most of you won’t, and I’m going to have a hard time doing it in the league I have AP in, but it’s something to consider. Remember there is no player too good for a bad week – and it’s not looking sunny for AP in Green Bay.

2. Running Men in Miami: It’s going to be a run fest in Miami this weekend when Brett Favre and the Jets come to the beach. A lot of people think Brett is going to bring instant passing totals to Jet games, but considering that both the Dolphins and Jets have terrible run-defenses, I can’t see either quarterback putting up much more than 200 yards through the air. Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Ricky Williams, and Ronnie Brown will all get their chances to shine, and 300+ yards rushing between the four of them won’t surprise me.

3. Welcome to the Barber Shop: Marion Barber is going to beast defenses all season long, and I don’t think he’ll waste time – he’s starting in Week 1. Sure, the Browns added Shaun Rogers and Corey Williams, but I still think Barber will rush for over 100 yards with a couple scores in Cleveland. We’ll see right away how much those huge off-season purchases do – will they change the entire defense? I doubt it, this unit in Cleveland is still sub-par.

4. Mr. Warner’s Neighborhood: It’s official, Kurt Warner has busted Matt Leinart’s bubble by plucking the starting job right out from under him. We heard all along that Warner and Leinart were on even playing ground, but nobody believed it until Kurt was named the starter. Now he goes up against a 49ers defense that he torched for 484 yards last time out. I’m not thinking he’s going for 484 again, but over 300 yards is very likely – so feel free to start him over guys you picked in the first 8 rounds of the draft – it’s not time to pretend you have a better starting option than the former MVP.

5. Earnest goes to New Orleans: Earnest went a lot of places in the 80s and 90s, but I never saw him throwing beads around the streets in New Orleans – this is a new Earnest and you can bet on him doing work against the Saints. I’m sure New Orleans will be better against the run this season, but they still won’t be good. Graham has a nice offensive line and while he’s gone under the radar a bit in the pre-season, he’s still a great option this week.

6. In Orton I Trust: Kyle Orton will outscore half of these quarterbacks in Week 1 – ready, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Eli Manning, David Garrard, Derrick Anderson, Trent Edwards, Jeff Garcia, and Drew Brees. He’ll have a good game against a Colts secondary that is beginning to look very suspect. Think I’m crazy? You just wait and see.

7. 100% of the time, almost Every Time: If LaDainian Tomlinson doesn’t score a touchdown in Week 1 of the regular season it will be just the second time in his career. That’s right, this scoring machine has visited the end-zone on opening day every single year but once. Can you say consistency? You bet. He has had ups and downs in yardage during week 1, but a running back (or any position) that scores is a guy you want to start. Craziness…

8. 4 INTS for Brady?: Last time Tom Brady played the Chiefs he tossed 4 interceptions in a 16-26 loss. That’s half as many picks as he threw all of last year. That was 2005, sure, but it certainly wasn’t vintage Brady. This week a banged up and likely to be rusty Tom goes up against the Chiefs for the first time since they bruised his ego with all those picks. Will he toss the same number in touchdowns? I’m not sold. Expect a few blunders from the million dollar man – but he’ll figure it out late and pull the Pats out with a win. Just don’t expect that huge vintage 2007 Brady performance.

9. Poor Man’s Reggie Bush?: Don’t buy that crappy scouting tip – Chris Johnson is a smart man’s Reggie Bush. This is why, the Titans didn’t have to spend 50 million bucks or a #2 overall pick on Chris, and he’s going to be better than Reggie. He’s faster and less afriad of contact. He hits the hole with a mission and can catch the ball too. Oh, and he’s faster. His game speed is just as fast as the 4.2 track speed insists. His pro career starts this week against a good Jaguars defense, but he’ll make someone look silly – just don’t miss out, you’ll surely miss a highlight.

10. Selvin Young VS Darren McFadden: Lets put it this way, the yards battle will go to Selvin while the fantasy point title will end in McFadden’s favor. Those that were expecting McFadden to stumble in his rookie campaign can either jump on his bandwagon or be exposed later in the season – he can really run. The Broncos still don’t have an apt defensive line, and that doesn’t bode well for them. What is nice is the fact that Oakland doesn’t have a run-defense either, and this battle of first year starting backs should be fun to watch. Young is a sophomore, but with the starter’s keys in his hands it will be fun to see what he does with them. I like both these guys as starting options in Week 1 with McFadden getting the nod because of his knack for finding the end-zone.

Lucky's List: Predictor's Paradise

There are a few guys in this business that actually throw themselves out there for everyone else to see. I don’t always agree with these guys, but overall they are thoroughly entertaining and, at the very least, accept a little responsibility for their predictions. They don’t just throw out guys like Brandon Marshall and Marshawn Lynch as sleepers – they say things that have everyone in the game second guessing them, saying “no way”, and writing them hate mail that insists they are crazy. But I love it. I love when guys feel something and then put it out before the season begins. On the other hand, I hate when guys claim “I was saying that in the pre-season” without anything to back it up.

Well, as the season moves forward in fantasy football, I’m hoping to quote this article now and again to prove my predictions true. As crazy as some may seem, here they are for all to see. That’s right – 50 big ones for you, you, you, and you. Read my list, check it twice, some of it’s naughty but most of it’s nice…

50 Predictions that Have a GOOD Chance of Coming True

  1. Ricky Williams will have more fantasy points than Ronnie Brown.
  2. Ronnie Brown will still have 1000+ total yards from scrimmage.
  3. Brett Favre will throw multiple touchdowns in each of his first three games.
  4. Shaunna Alexander and Michael Strahan will start a boy-band named, “The Gap-Tooth Goons”
  5. Darren McFadden will rush for over 1100 yards and be a top 15 fantasy running back.
  6. Rashard Mendenhall will rack up more fantasy points than Willie Parker – neither will be Top 15 backs.
  7. Josh Morgan will finish the season with more fantasy points than Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey put together – thank you Mike Martz.
  8. Despite the recent DeSean Jackson hype, Eddie Royal will lead all rookie receivers in the fantasy realm.
  9. If they play the same amount of games (no injuries), Michael Turner will have more rushing yards than LaDainian Tomlinson in 2008.
  10. Tom Brady won’t throw more than 35 touchdowns this season.
  11. Calvin Johnson will eclipse these numbers, 80 catches – 1200 yards – 10 touchdowns (ps: pick him).
  12. Chris Simms will be a starter before the season is over – somewhere not in Tampa.
  13. Devin Hester will score double digit touchdowns for the Bears.
  14. Kyle Orton will be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback in Week 1 against the Colts.
  15. Marion Barber will be a Top 3 fantasy running back.
  16. Steve Smith will have at least 3 multi-touchdown games, eclipse 1100 yards, and easily get into the double digit touchdown category.
  17. Deion Branch will play in at least 12 games and finish in the Top 30 amongst fantasy receivers.
  18. Chris Perry (if you can risk picking the walking wounded) is a great late round pick. He’ll have 1300+ yards from scrimmage and score 7+ touchdowns.
  19. Drew Brees will lead the league in touchdown passes.
  20. (Two of Three) Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady will miss at least one football game due to injuries.
  21. Thomas Jones will prove to be a better fantasy player than Willie Parker, Reggie Bush, Willis McGahee, and Brandon Jacobs.
  22. Jericho Cotchery will be a Top 14 fantasy receiver.
  23. Antonio Gates will be the top scoring fantasy tight end – don’t believe the bad hype.
  24. Phillip Rivers will throw more touchdown passes than Eli Manning (less interceptions too).
  25. Chris Johnson will lead the Titans in yards (receiving and rushing combined).
  26. Chris Johnson is the NFL’s version of Usain Bolt.
  27. One of the following 6 teams will make the playoffs – Dolphins, Raiders, Bears, Falcons, Cardinals, Rams.
  28. Frank Gore will eclipse 1,500 total yards, 70 receptions, and score 10+ touchdowns.
  29. Kurt Warner will be a Top 10 fantasy quarterback.
  30. Maurice Morris will be a better fantasy back than Julius Jones.
  31. Larry Johnson will rush for 1,300+ yards and score 12+ touchdowns.
  32. Plaxico Burress will play in less than 11 games.
  33. The Giants will finish the season under .500.
  34. Chris Taylor will lead the Houston Texans in rushing yards and scores.
  35. Anthony Gonzalez will have a similar year (give or take a few fantasy points) to Brandon Stokely a few years ago when he played with the Colts – 1077 yards, 68 catches, 10 touchdowns.
  36. During the fantasy playoffs (week’s 14-16) Adrian Peterson (Vikings) will have more yards and touchdowns than any other running back.
  37. The Patriots will win 13 games during the regular season.
  38. Ryan Torrain will start at least 5 games for the Broncos later this season.
  39. Chad Johnson will lead the NFL in receiving yards despite his shoulder ouchy.
  40. Vince Young will throw more touchdowns than interceptions.
  41. Lee Evans will score 10+ touchdowns.
  42. Bernard Berrien will have his best receiving totals of his career – yards, catches, and touchdowns.
  43. Wes Welker won’t match last season’s totals, he’ll eclipse them – (yards and touchdowns for sure).
  44. Ben Watson will be a Top 12 tight end.
  45. Four rookie running backs will rush for over 1000 yards (I’m thinking Darren McFadden, Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, and Kevin Smith – but keep your eye on Ryan Torrain, Jonathan Stewart, and Rashard Mendenhall.
  46. The Eagles will not have a 1000 yard receiver – but they’ll still win 10 games.
  47. Donovan McNabb will be a Top 5 fantasy quarterback.
  48. Jake Delhomme will finish in the Top 8 amongst QBs.
  49. Leon Washington will score at least 6 touchdowns while having at least 3 games with 100+ yards (receiving and rushing combined)
  50. Barrack Obama will become president in one of the most lopsided elections in recent history.

There you have it, dig it, disagree with it, recognize it – just get ready for me to gloat when prediction becomes truth – I’ll keep tabs so you don’t have to!