Trick or Treat?

Welcome to Red Red Ryan’s weekly “Trick or Treat” section, where I, Red Red Ryan, break down some of the performances from the previous week and tell you whether or not you are being tricked or if you can expect the same treat the rest of the way.

Joe Flacco: 24 year-old Joe Flacco had the best game in his young career last Sunday. He set career highs in attempts (43), yards (307), and touchdowns (3). The most important stat that leads me to believe you can expect top 15 fantasy QB numbers this year are those attempts. Joe attempted an average of 26 passes a game last year. Baltimore has said they are opening up the playbook and the entire field to Flacco, and that already shows in Week 1. This means more passes to the middle of the field to Todd Heap, opening up more big plays to the sideline. Heap already matched his high catch game from 2008, and had more receiving yards in Sunday’s game than any time last year. Baltimore has been more of a traditional running team in the past, but I think those days will stay there. Expect great numbers from the young QB the rest of the year.
Judgement: TREAT!

Julius Jones: First I will start off by saying it is always a treat to lineup against the Rams if you are an RB. The rams were 4th worst in the NFL last year in rush defense giving up 154 yards a game. Last year in week 3 at home at Quest Field Julius Jones ran for 140 yards and a TD, very close to his Week 1 total (117 and a TD). The 140 yard performance was Jones’s best game of the year in 2008 and I hate to say it, but his latest game against the softest defense in football might be his best of the 2009 season as well, at least until he plays against the Rams again in Week 12. I do expect Jones to have a better season this year than last. A new run scheme should help Jones and the Hawks offensive line stretch the field. But I believe he is still at best a #3 RB. Keep playing him in good match-ups, just like you should with most of your non-elite players.
Judgement: TRICK!

Tim Hightower: This was more of a difficult call for me. It is much tougher making a prediction for me on a young player, especially a young player with new offensive coordinators. Tim didn’t have a great day rushing the football, only 8 rushing attempts for 15 yards. However, he caught 12 balls for 121 yards. Before Sunday’s game against the 49ers Tim’s career high in receptions in a game were 6 and his previous high for receiving yards: 34. The Cardinals trailed for majority of the game and the 49ers played great defense forcing Kurt Warner to check the ball down to Hightower. I don’t see too many defenses shutting down Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin and I don’t see the Cardinals playing too much catch up this season. This means you have to rely on Tim running the football. Something he hasn’t been able to do on a consistent basis yet in his career averaging just 2.8 yards per carry, and oh yeah, they drafted a beast of a running back named Bennie Wells who averaged 4.1 yards per carry in his first NFL game. I don’t see Tim getting majority of the hand offs for too long. I see his role turning more into a Chestor Taylor type role, catching passes out of the backfield on third down and getting every 5th series to rest the teams real horse.
Judgement: TRICK!

Carson Palmer: This may surprise you. Carson Palmer is better than 247 yards 0 TD’s and 2 INT’s. It’s tough to only be able to throw the ball to one side of the field. That’s what happens when you play against Champ Bailey. Not only was Carson playing against one of the toughest cover corners in the game he was playing without his favorite target now playing in Seattle. Expect Carson to target big bodied Chris Henry more this week, to take over for TJ as a possession receiver. One big thing I take from Week 1’s game against the Broncos that shows me Carson is just a couple of games away from returning to his fantasy stud form are is his completion percentage. Carson’s 63.6 CMP% match his career mark of 63.7 CMP%. This tells me that Carson is just as efficient now against a difficult pass defense as has been throughout his career. Now what I see is that he is going to have to throw the ball a lot for Cincy to have a shot at winning games, those two things together make last week’s poor fantasy output a trick, he’ll be just fine.
Judgement: TRICK!

Santonio Holmes: Santonio is quickly becoming Big Ben’s favorite target. He may not need to be Ben’s #1 WR this year to still score lots of fantasy points, and make those that have believed in Holmes since coming out of “The Ohio State University” 4 years ago, look like a genius. I, being one of the aforementioned. The fact is Pittsburgh is having a difficult time rushing the football and have now lost one of the best defensive football players in the NFL.

More points given up + A bad rush offense = More passing plays
I hope you all could follow my math. This means good things for the sticky fingered Holmes. He has already proven he can be a big play guy, leading the NFL in yards per reception already once in his career. But in the last two games the Steelers have played, Holmes has been the most targeted receiver in both cases. Expect a career year and a top 12 WR at seasons end.
Judgement: TREAT!

Fantasy Football Value: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Thank you, Dr. Seuss for the inspiration for this weekly fantasy column.  I was in trade negotiations in one of my dynasty leagues when I got to thinking about the (at times) sizable gap between perception and reality when it comes to NFL players and their production.  Nowhere is this schism more apparent than with the dreaded “injury-prone” label that gets tossed about every off-season around draft time.  Remember kids, it’s corner backs that are supposed to have a short memory, not successful fantasy players.  Nothing chaps my ass more than when a player gets slapped with the IP label simply because they got hurt at some point in their most recent season.  Tom Brady missed all of last season with a shredded knee and then hurt his AC joint this preseason when Albert Haynesworth landed none-too-gracefully on him.  Injury-prone? … probably not.  But Carson Palmer, he of the elbow vagitis last season and sprained ankle this preseason? … avoid at all costs because you can’t count on him to stay on the field.  This is what is referred to as a double standard, and if you can sift through the BS and come to terms with reality, your fantasy team stands to reap the considerable rewards when it comes to draft-day value.

Thing 1: A 27-year-old RB whose 2005-2008 yardage totals are 1139, 1284, 991 and 1170.  He has totaled 25 touchdowns during that span.  This player was injured in 2007 is currently being picked in the 3rd round of fantasy drafts.

Thing 2: A 28-year-old RB whose 2005-2008 yardage totals are 1420, 1716, 1480 and 804.  He has totaled 28 touchdowns during that span.  This player was injured in 2008 and is currently being picked in the 6th round of fantasy drafts.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Ronnie Brown and Thing 2 is Willie Parker

Thing 1: A 24-year-old TE who caught 54 passes for 574 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.  He will be catching passes from a new QB this season and is currently being picked in the 6th round of fantasy drafts.

Thing 2: A 25-year-old TE who caught 55 passes for 627 yards and 5 touchdowns last season.  He will be catching passes from a healthier QB this season and is currently being picked in the 9th round of fantasy drafts.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Greg Olsen and Thing 2 is John Carlson

Thing 1: A 27-year-old WR who has hauled in 171 passes over the past two seasons totaling 2584 yards and 13 touchdowns.  He was the favorite target of a rookie signal-caller last season and is currently being picked in the 2nd round of fantasy drafts.

Thing 2: A 35-year-old WR who has hauled in 183 passes over the past two seasons totaling 2124 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He was the favorite target of a rookie signal-caller last season and is currently being picked in the 8th round of fantasy drafts.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Roddy White and Thing 2 is Derek Mason

Thing 1: A 24-year-old QB that completed 61% of his passes and threw for 3440 yards and 16 touchdowns.  This player also ran for 104 yards and 1 touchdown and is currently being picked in the 6th round of fantasy drafts.

Thing 2: A 31-year-old QB that completed 63% of his passes and threw for 3620 yards and 15 touchdowns.  This player also ran for 322 yards and 2 touchdowns and is currently being picked in the 12th round of fantasy drafts.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Matt Ryan and Thing 2 is David Garrard

Thing 1: A 32-year-old QB that was banged up and missed nearly all of the 2008 season.  In the three years prior to that, his average season was 4148 yards passing and 33 touchdowns.  He is currently being picked in the 2nd round of fantasy drafts.

Thing 2: A 29-year-old QB that was banged up and missed nearly all of the 2008 season.  In the three years prior to that, his average season was 4001 yards passing and 29 touchdowns.  He is currently being picked in the 8th round of fantasy drafts.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Tom Brady and Thing 2 is Carson Palmer

Thing 1: A 26-year-old RB that has averaged 1155 rushing yards, 8 rushing TDs and 13.75 games/season over the last four years.  This player has played a full 16 games only once and is currently being picked in the 1st round of fantasy drafts.

Thing 2: A 31-year-old RB that has averaged 1244 rushing yards, 7 rushing TDs and 15.75 games/season over the last four years.  This player has played a full 16 games five times and is currently being picked in the 5th round of fantasy drafts.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Steven Jackson and Thing 2 is Thomas Jones

Dominate Your Draft: Fantasy Football Predictions from Josh

Better late than never, my fantasy predictions for the 2009 NFL season are here to ease your draft day anxieties.  There is a ton of value to be found in the mid-to-late rounds this year, especially at the running back position.  Wise owners will recognize the opportunity to load up on WR talent in the early rounds if they don’t find themselves in a position to grab one of the top three or four running backs.  Remember, fantasy championships are rarely won in the first few rounds of a draft, but they can definitely be lost.  Be a savvy owner this season and choose based upon value, not name recognition.  With that in mind, here are the true pearls of wisdom to guide you on your path to fantasy greatness … because anything worth doing is worth doing better than your friends.

1.  Carson Palmer will return to prominence as a top-tier fantasy QB.  I am predicting 4,000 yards passing and at least 25 TDs for the Bengals signal-caller.

2.  In his second season as a pro, Kevin Smith will make the jump from rookie sensation to fantasy stud.  I think he’ll pile up 1,500 yards from scrimmage with 40 grabs and 12 TDs.

3.  Chris Cooley will out-produce Tony Gonzalez and Antonio Gates.  This guy is just a good football player and there will be no shortage of targets with that receiving corps in DC.

4.  The Seahawks will recapture the NFC West crown on the strength of a huge season by a receiver not named TJ.  Nate Burleson will catch 70 balls for 1,000+ yards and 7 TDs.

5.  Matt Leinart will throw for more yards and account for more touchdowns than incumbent starter Kurt Warner.  Thanks to a suspect defense, the Cards will still miss the playoffs.

6.  Although technically the #3 WR in Cincy, Chris Henry will produce like a #2 fantasy wide receiver.  Expect 50-60 grabs with at least 8 of those going for TDs.

7.  A forgotten man in the Saints attack last season, Marques Colston will remind owners that he is a top fantasy WR.  90+ catches and 1,200 yards in the 4th round? … yes please!

8.  Hakeem Nicks has an outside shot to win ROY honors, and I think that he’ll come on strong as the season wears on.  Pencil him in for 850 yards and 6 TDs for the G-Men.

9.  Speakig of outstanding rooks, Mark Sanchez will get you 20 TDs and is a great late-round pick as a #2 QB.  Dynasty leaguers don’t wait too long on this kid, he’s going to be a good one.

10.  Willie Parker has fallen off the map in a lot of fantasy drafts but he’s a good bet to contribute 1,500 total yards this season with 8-10 touchdowns … tremendous value late.

11.  Speaking of forgotten men, Ryan Grant will rebound in a big way for Green Bay.  You can go receiver early and nab Grant and his 1,300 yards and 10 TDs later on.

12.  Steve Slaton is due for a sophomore slump.  He still carries nice value in PPR leagues, but not for where you’ll have to draft him to get him.  Don’t expect 16 healthy games, either.

13.  How many 300-carry backs can you find outside of the first round? … Value, thy name is Clinton Portis.  The Skins meal ticket is slipping in drafts, not production.  1,400 and 10 TDs.

14.  Vincent Jackson finished with 59 catches for 1,098 yards and 7 TDs and didn’t become the #1 WR in San Diego until mid-season.  He finishes with more of all three in 2009. Hop on board before it’s too late, this guy is a beast.

15.  This is finally the season to go get Vernon Davis.  Nothing like getting top-10 production from the 20th TE off the board.  I like Davis to reel in 50 balls for 700 yards and 5 TDs.

16.  Speaking of underrated tight ends, Visanthe Shiancoe was a pleasant surprise last season but is still receiving no love.  If he’s there late grab him and his considerable (8 TDs) upside.

17.  Starting RBs are overrated (at least when they have great backups) … let others spend top round picks on Gore, Jacobs and Williams then go get Coffee, Bradshaw and Stewart, each will approach 1,000 yards.

18.  That said, I am buying what the 49ers are selling.  If he stays healthy Frank Gore has a shot to be the top fantasy point-scorer.  2,000 total yards and 15 TDs is not out of the question.

19.  Knowshon Moreno could be great at some point, but not this year and not for this team.  The Broncos are a gong show and I wouldn’t count on anything more than 800 yards and 5 TDs.

20.  I love Jason Witten, but his numbers are due for a hit following TO’s departure.  Expect him to see plenty of double-teams unless Roy Williams can command some respect early.

21.  I rank my fantasy RBs with dreads in this order:  Steven Jackson, Marion Barber, Chris Johnson, Marshawn Lynch, Tim Hightower.  Close fades > Dreads.

22.  I rank this receiver with dreads above all the running backs mentioned previously.  Larry Fitzgerald is a sure thing and keeps getting better.  Hello 1,600 yards and 18 TDs

23.  Ray Rice has the potential to be a top-15 running back as early as this season, especially in PPR league.  I expect a Slatonesque 1,500 total yards and 10 TDs for the diminutive fireball.

24.  The Chargers D/ST will be a top-5 unit this season.  When you see the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders twice a year the odds are in your favor (getting Merriman back doesn’t hurt either).

25.  Leon Washington will be the best fantasy option in the Jets backfield.  What he lacks in goal-line looks he will make up for in reception and receiving yards.

26.  In his first season in the league, LeSean McCoy will get as many snaps as Brian Westbrook and will make the majority of the starts for the Eagles down the stretch.

27.  I hate to say this, but I think Maurice Jones-Drew is actually being slightly over-valued in drafts.  The Jags offensive line is just that, but I still think MJD is good enough for 1,500 total yards and 12 total TDs.

28.  Nate Davis will make at least four starts for the 49ers this season and he will win at least three of those starts.  This kid from Ball State does everything well, winning most of all (Singletary needs winners, remember?).

29.  When drafting your running backs, avoid the muddy situations in Denver, New England, Tampa Bay and Cleveland … I don’t see a single 1,000 yard rusher in these backfields.

30.  I think a return to prominence is in the cards for Larry Johnson.  He is the most talented player on the Chiefs roster and has a favorable schedule … look for him to turn back the clock with 1,200 yards rushing and double-digit TDs.

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 5

7-5-1 heading into Monday Night, I locked down yet another winning week.

Tennessee Titans (-2.5)Baltimore Ravens: (WINNER) “The Ravens won’t be able to throw. Short rest against a super physical team after already being warn down – you bet I’ll be taking the Titans by a field goal – and I’ll love it all week long.” Well, I loved it all week long but it started to get more and more worrisome as Sunday began to eclipse – but in the end, that field goal I needed the Titans to cover came through as Tennessee had one more score at the end of the game to pull me up 3. Whew.

Seattle Seahawks (+9)New York Giants: (LOSER) Washington State sports = no thanks. I don’t know what’s happened to the Hawks, but they’ll need to do a lot more than beat some random bad team in the NFC to get my full confidence again – I should have known. Sorry for leading you astray on this butt kicking, the Hawks lost by a million it seemed like. 44-6 = one million in football speak.

Washington RedskinsPhiladelphia Eagles (-5): (LOSER) I think this one is close – and while the Redskins as a 5 point dog always seem to have good value, I will have to go with the home team eagles this week. Philly will shut down the rushing attack from Washington, and that will put a lot of pressure on Jason Campbell.” Okay, the Eagles did put some pressure on Campbell to start the game, but their run defense that had been stellar was torched by Clinton Portis. Portis was in full beast mode, showing hulk strength, busting tackles and basically carrying the Redskins to victory. The Eagles were up early and I was smiling, but Philly didn’t do anything offensively, and the Redskins took full advantage. Washington is really impressing me.

San Diego Chargers (-6)Miami Dolphins: (LOSER) “I seem to be the only “expert” taking the Chargers this weekend, and I can see why the Dolphins are looking like a good value at home – but I have a feeling the Chargers will get a lot out of their rushing attack this week, and I don’t think you see the Fin running backs doing work like they did last week. Tough call here, certainly, but at just under a touchdown I’ll take the road favorites here.” Soooo… Haha, apparently the “experts” slapped me around on this one. San Diego came out a little stale, and Miami showed a couple folks that their win over New England wasn’t as flukey as it seemed. Can Sparano and Parcells really give this bad of a team this much confidence? It seems like it. I was DEAD WRONG about this one, and even though I thought it’d be close, the Dolphins are just much more physical than I thought. I don’t think they’ll sleep on anyone else this season, but they’ll continue to be a tough out.

Chicago Bears (-3.5)Detroit Lions: (WINNER) 34-7… It doesn’t pay to be a Lion fan right now. And don’t get me wrong, it rarely has. The Bears embarrassed the Lions in all aspects of the game, making me look smart with my road favorite pick here.

Atlanta FalconsGreen Bay Packers (-7): (LOSER) Well, Aaron Rodgers played, had a pretty damn good game, and the Packers still go to 2-3 on the season, tallying up their 3rd loss in as many contests. It looks like these young teams with new coaches are doing something right these days – maybe a couple of these franchises (Miami, Atlanta, Washington) are turning the corner. I definitely like what I see from Matt Ryan and the young Falcons – going into Green Bay and man-handling the Packers up front is big step forward.

Indianapolis Colts (-3) @ Houston Texans: (WINNER) “This is a very tough one for me, but I don’t see Indy coming off a bye and losing to a Texans team to go 1-3 on the season. I’m talking pure will to win here.” What else could you call what happened on Sunday in Houston? Will to win. The Colts snuck out another one, and while they could easily be 0-4, they’re through the first quarter of the season at 2-2. Houston will get it together, but they’ll have a tough couple days thinking about this one getting away. I lucked out with this cover. Houston dominated the Colts for much of this game. 21 points in 4 minutes got me a one point win – you don’t want much of that business going on here, not unless heart failure is your ideal way to go.

Kansas City Chiefs @ Carolina Panthers (-9.5): (WINNER) “The Chiefs won’t be able to run on Carolina like they did on Denver. That ruins their chances at a victory right there.” Larry Johnson, the AFC’s leading rusher coming in, had 2 yards on 7 carries and the Panthers shutout the Chiefs in dominating fashion. Got this one right on the button.

Tampa Bay BuccaneersDenver Broncos (-3): (PUSH) “This one is very tough for me. I know the Bucs are one of the more underrated football teams in the game, and Denver’s explosion as an offensive masterpiece teaming with a terrible defensive front, has their value at an all time low – but I like the Broncos in a gut-feeling type situation.” Well, it was close, and the gut-feeling had some kind of feeling going on. In the end this low scoring affair ended with Splinter’s Broncos up 3 and pushing me to a tie.

Buffalo BillsArizona Cardinals (pk): (WINNER)  “I’m taking the Cardinals here, and with or without Anquan Boldin I’ll be sticking with it. I think the Bills are ready for a loss and I think the Cardinals (at home) are better than the Bills (on the road). The highs and lows will even out with a nice comfortable Cardinal win on Sunday.” Well, the highs and lows definitely evened out. It didn’t hurt that Trent Edwards went down early with a concussion, and even though Losman looked good throwing the ball a couple times, his turnover prone quarterbacking meant the end for Buffalo. Arizona played well, stuffing the run pretty good and constantly attacking on offense. All in all, I was right. Ha,

New England Patriots (-3)San Francisco 49ers: (WINNER)  “I’m not good for or against Mike Martz. Let’s make that clear. Over his years, where ever he goes, I have trouble reading his teams. That’s my precursor warning here. Another warning, most of the public (almost 70% at the books I watch) is rolling with the Patriots on this one, and some respectable “experts” are taking the 49ers as a good value to cover at home. So there you have it, you’ve been warned. Now here’s the kicker, I love the Patriots in this one. The 49ers aren’t good, and they don’t do what would help them most in this game, run the ball. A bunch of really competitive hard workers were made a laughing stock in Week 3 as the Patriots D got their aces handed to them by Ronnie Brown and company. That won’t go over well, and after two weeks to dwell on that kind of business I think the Pats come out and wallop the 49ers – I love them in Week 5. So, you’ve been warned and I’ve predicted an outcome that mocks experts and my Mike Martz struggle. If you’re with me on this one, you’re seeing the Pats winning by a couple touchdowns in San Francisco.” (YEP) – The 49ers had a chance if they gave Frank Gore about 15 more carries – as it turned out, they just threw the ball a lot and put up their fair share of turnovers. That will lose you any game against the Pats. Yay me, boo Mike Martz!

Cincinnati Bengals (+17.5)Dallas Cowboys: (WINNER) This one was close, once again proving that even bad teams in the NFL shouldn’t be underdogs by 17 points. Ridiculous. The Bengals were even tougher than the final score insists, as a late touchdown put the Cowboys up 9, and before that Carson Palmer and company were a two point conversion away from tying this thing late in the 4th. Good value, good win, this one made me a sure thing winner in Week 5.

Pittsburgh SteelersJacksonville Jaguars (-4): (LOSER) The final score was close, and Jacksonville was up one late in the game, but the Steelers really came out fired up for this one, out-toughing the Jaguars from the get go. Pittsburgh is an interesting team that I’m not reading real well, no question about that. Their run-defense played inspired football handing me my 6th loss on the week.

Minnesota Vikings (+3.5)New Orleans Saints: I won this game, and I have to say, despite losing the yardage battle, and feeling that I was going to lose the game all night, and watching Drew Brees pass at will, I was really happy when Martin Gramatica came in to put the Saints up three. That basically gives me a win. This was definitely and interesting one, and I’m not sure I picked the right side on this game, but I did come out on top, bringing me to 8-5-1 on the week, three more games over .500. I’ll take a win any way I can get it.

Ten for Tuesday: Week 4

  1. Aint no business like upset business: Just when the NFL was getting nice and predictable, I get home from my city league flag football game and the Giants, Patriots, and Bills are all losing to the Bengals, Dolphins, and Raiders. The Dolphins are the only team that ended up winning, but boy o boy, this weekend has shown me that anything is possible in the NFL. That being said, I still like the Pats to play well, the Dolphins to win less than 6 games, and the Raiders to do the stupidest thing ever next time they lose by a big margin, fire the only sane guy making decisions in Oakland.
  2. On that note, Al Davis is a freak, idiot, moron, team killer, cheap, useless, wretch of a man that needs someone to fire his own ass. There it is, I said it. The guy is lost in his hair gel and I’m sick of his ridiculous antics. He wants to fire Lane Kiffin. Unfortunately for him, Lane is a good coach. Hmmm…. Tough deal for Al. So what will he do? I know, he’ll wait for the Raiders to play like crap and then try to fire him. And his stubborn ass will try not to pay Lane, too, like Kiffin’s cheap NFL coach salary is a tough hit for this dope. I officially hate the Raiders, and it’s all because of the moron calling the shots from his stupid box seats. Hate.
  3. Michael Turner is still a beast. He may have not gone off for 220 yards, but who cares right, The Burner busted off three touchdowns and is showing everyone why I “reached” for him in almost every league I play in. I just hope he can do work against decent defenses – we’ll see.
  4. Speaking of going off, how about this Ronnie Brown guy? Ronnie is way too talented to be a back-up for long, just ask that Dolphin staff. Last week the Fins had Ronnie basically run their offense – and he didn’t do too bad either. Brown accounted for 5 touchdowns, rushing in four times and tossing one just to even things out a bit. That’s not even the most impressive part, he did everything left handed – amazing. Ronnie showed last season that he can be a special player. His offensive line is better, and if he keeps getting 20 carries he’s a steal for all of those guys that just traded Antwaan Randel El to get him. (that’s me – and by the way, Ronnie is left handed)
  5. Lost in the mucky muck – if you waited this long to pick up Deion Branch and Bobby Engram it might be too late. However, there’s a chance that everyone is lost in the seasonal muck and Branch and Engram have slipped through some muddy fingers. If that’s the case you might want to turn in your “sleepers” and get some proven guys that are coming back to an offense that desperately needs them. Run!
  6. Thank Goodness for meaningless fantasy points: Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers – who knew it would be these two former teammates cashing in for fantasy owners everywhere with nothing on the line. Rodgers turned some late game passing into 290 yards and a rushing touchdown for a pretty solid day, while Brett threw 2 of his 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter of a game they had very little chance to succeed. Does that make a players numbers skewed? I don’t know – tough call. I know that a bunch of points is better than a little, no matter how you look at it. Bad fantasy teams can have good fantasy air attacks, that’s for sure, ask the Cardinals of yesteryear.
  7. Maurice Jones Drew is awesome. That’s right, if you’ve ever listened to an interview, watched him do all that he does during a game, paid any attention to this little mighty mouse whatsoever, you have to love the kid. The Jaguars were 0-2. They went to the film, went to their roster, and said, “We should probably get the best player on the field the ball a little more, it might open up some things for us.” Uh, yeah. Fred Taylor is legit, but Jones Drew’s effort and rushing style is infectious. All of a sudden the Jaguars believed in their chances and they got it done on the road in Indy. Lets hope, for JD’s sake and his owners’ fantasy hopes, that they don’t forget who gives them the best chance to get Ws.
  8. Carson Palmer is back? I don’t know for sure, but I’m going with yes. He sure looked loss over the past few weeks, counting the pre-season. But his confidence was back against a very good pass rush from New York. He didn’t get Ocho Cinco the ball very often, but he did throw some nice passes and seemed to have figured himself out a bit yesterday. Good stuff. I recently got a trade offer giving me Santana Moss and Palmer for Tony Romo. I turned it down, but I might be regretting that. I still think Romo is in line for one of the best fantasy seasons among all quarterbacks, but that combo might have been good for me. If you trust that Carson turned the corner, go for the gusto, if you are still weary, hold off on his value.
  9. Vikings/Titans = Frerote/Collins? Crazy. The Titans are 3-0 and Collins is doing enough to keep defenses at least a little bit honest. The Vikings won their first game this last week, and that was Frerote’s first game action this year. Do these guys really give their teams a better chance to win than Tarvaris Jackson and Vince Young? Right now it looks like yes is the answer. It should be interesting to see if either quarterback does well this coming Sunday. Neither defense allows much on the ground, so if the Titans or Vikes want to win, the pressure will be on the back-ups shoulders.
  10. Chris Collinsworth: Okay, I played Madden ’09. Why, of all freaking annoying terrible people would the Madden group put Chris Collinsworth’s stupid voice all over a pretty good game? I have to play the thing on mute – I’m dead serious. Chris has passed up even the horrendous Bill Walton as the worst announcer this side of that dumb broad that gabbed on and on during diving in the olympics. I don’t care if he was a receiver with some talent, he’s a brutal football announcer and I’d rather listen to crickets chirp.

Ask Papa Weimer: Last Pre-Season Questions

Here it is, one more question and answer section from you guys to me – there were three pretty solid email questions that I thought would be good to share – these are them.

David-Bill-Bob from America writes, “What do you think of Ted Ginn as a possible receiver option this season? What about Robert Meachem, James Hardy, Devin Hester, and Sidney Rice? Can you rate that foursome?”

Oh yes, lots of upside here. Not very much sure-thing here, but who loves to play a game you’re sure to win? Not me – I’m all about the upside. Forget the Bobby Engrams and the Derrick Masons, I’ll wait longer and dance with the young-guns. I think Ted Ginn could be a great player in the Dolphins passing attack, but I doubt he’ll score many touchdowns. The thing that’s good about his situation is that Pennington throws short a lot and Ted is fast enough to get some separation early. As for the rest of the guys, Devin Hester is my favorite – he’s a touchdown waiting to happen, and even if he gets 60 catches this season, he’ll probably take 10 of them to the house. Robert Meachem could be the best of the bunch, but I wasn’t a huge fan of the kid coming out of college. He looked solid in the pre-season, and what a weapon he could be if Drew Brees finds a liking for throwing to him against single coverage. Sidney Rice is a nice sleeper – it’s said that T-Jackson is more accurate than ever, and with Berrian opposite Rice, Sindney should get lots of single coverage. I don’t know if the Vikes will throw enough to make Rice a solid start week in and week out, but the kid can go up and get the ball, which might be good for 6-9 scores as defenses will focus on the run. James Hardy was my favorite receiver in the draft and I think he has a bright future, but he’s just a rookie and the speed of the game might hamper him early. Keep an eye on him though, when he figures it out he’ll be a threat. I’d rank them like this… Ginn Jr. – Devin Hester – Robert Meachem – Sidney Rice – James Hardy.

Tim from Floresville, Texas writes, “The people in my league think I am crazy for trading Chad Johnson for Bernard Berrian. What do you think?? I only picked up Chad to trade him, his inconsistencies and the fact that Cinci has the 2nd toughest schedule against the pass this season made me trade him away.”

Tim, I think BB is a good receiver, but he’s not Chad Johnson. I fully understand taking Chad so you can trade him later, but I still don’t think you got the best value you could have by grabbing BB in a trade for him. If all you wanted was BB, you could have just drafted him instead of Chad. You likely would have gotten a better RB where you got Chad, and you still could have got BB later. You say Berrian didn’t have anyone throwing him the ball last year, but in reality, Tarvaris Jackson isn’t even as prolific through the air as Rex Grossman is. I like Jackson’s upside, but even if Chad has a down year and Berrian plays really well, I thikn the best you can hope for here is a push. Even against tough passing defenses, the Bengals still ahve Carson Palmer and TJ Housmandzadeh to help take the pressure off Chad. Maybe the Bengals just crash and tumble, and maybe Chad is hurt and out longer than expected – and maybe Jackson shows maturity and tosses 20 touchdowns. I don’t know, but that just seems like a lot of maybes to hope for. I have BB in a few leagues, and I would definitely trade him straight up for Chad in every one of them. But no, I don’t think you’re crazy, I think you’re courageous. There’s nothing better in fantasy football than making a trade that everyone thinks you are stupid for and coming out on top because of it. That means you were right and everyone else was wrong. That’s the best. You definitely did your research, and I’m rooting for you. Also, Chad isn’t consistent, that’s true. Over the last couple seasons, he’ll help you win 3 or 4 weeks and kill you for the other 10. With a lot of single coverage, because of Peterson, BB could end up being a lot more consistent that Chad. Good luck!

T.J. in Alabama says, “Papa, you have any sweet predictions this season? Last year you told me that Randy was going to blow up and Larry Fitz was going to lead the league – both had huge years for me and I’m back for more. Any secret advice?”

Like Chef once said, “You’ve got to find the clitoris.” That might not help in this particular situation, but it does allow older men (like myself) to pleasure younger women, which in turn gives hope to mankind. Alright, alright, I was planning on a little, “This is how I see it” article next week, but here’s a little preview, T.J., you impatient bastard!

Larry Johnson will be a Top 5 running back this year, making him an absolute steal at the end of Round 1 where he’s getting drafted.

Drew Brees will throw more touchdown passes (I’m thinking 36) than any other quarterback in the NFL this season. That’s right, while I’m not a huge fan of Jeremiah Shocker, he will take that much pressure off of Drew because of the constant attention opposing defenses will have to pay him. I don’t think Shockey’s touchdown totals will improve all that much (he’s bound to drop as many TDs as he catches – so probably 6-7 scores for him) but Reggie Bush, Colston, and Meachem will all set their season high touchdown marks this year. Brees as well.

Ricky Williams will have more fantasy points than Edgerrin James – this is no knock on James, because Ricky will outscore three of the following high-round picks… LenDale White, Earnest Graham, Ronnie Brown, Julius Jones, and Willie Parker.

Adrian Peterson extreemists are right, there will be at least one back that outscores LaDainian Tomlinson this season, but they are also wrong, because it won’t be AP – Marion Barber will lead all running backs in fantasy points this season.

And last but not least, Randy Moss won’t come close to his record touchdown catches of last year, but Wes Welker will score more fantasy points this year than he did last year – both are still great options to have.

Keep the questions coming, and stay tuned, I’ll be here all season! (hopefully the ticker keeps tickin’)

Tear Jerkers – Pre-Season Edition

It doesn’t need to be the regular season to make an old man cry. Pre-season flaps, mishandled snaps, contract mishaps and even the clap – there are many things that go on prior to the start of the season than can get an old man like me to well up like a little baby. Okay, you’ve got me, I don’t cry about jack, but there are a lot of things that piss me off. What things? you ask? Well, lets throw a couple out there.

Mike Martz: This son of a bum “offensive genius” gathers a following every single damn year. I thought it was just the last couple years, but with a move to San Francisco and yet another gaggle of blind boobs meandering behind his “brilliance”, recently has become every single damn year. Well, hopefully this hack of a football mind will be forced to chew off the football foot he always jams in his chewer. There’s not one guy that mishandles the feel of a game more than Martz. Go for it on 4th and 6 from the 30? Check. Deep drops with poor offensive lines and no help on elite ends? You bet. Mind games with every damn player on the team? Hey, why not? Turn San Francisco into an offensive juggernaut? Get the hell out of here. I’m not sure if it’s Martz or his faithful followers, but this whole situation makes me want to donkey punch his googly face.

Willis McGahee: Sure, maybe I have a little invested in this moron in my dynasty league, but that aside, is there a guy that tries harder to turn his employer off? There’s going to be a day in sports where guys like this finally can’t find jobs. It may not come soon, but those that won’t buy into the team aspect of team sports will eventually have to go back to school or just find a gutter to lay in. McGahee is the best back in the NFL, just ask him. But now, he might not even be the best back on his team. Rookie stud Ray Rice is turning on the heat in camp, and Willis isn’t healthy enough to show us what he has in the tank. If McGahee ever truly figures it out he might just be a great keeper. For now, he’s just keeping the starting spot warm for Ray.

Tarvaris Jackson: SLIDE!!! Get down! Hurry! Nope, knee injury. Luckily it’s not bad, but TJ, it’s the pre-season, don’t try to be better than the girls you go with. You are going to impress people this season, if, and only if, you can stay healthy.

Steven Jackson: This could go to the Rams as well, but right now it seems like Jackson wants to be the highest paid running back in the league. Even Mrs. Buttersworth is pissed about that. I don’t know where guys that aren’t the best in the league demanding to get paid like they are LT became so popular, but it should stop. For the sake of the Rams, it should stop. For the sake of the game, it should stop. For the sake of those billionaire owners, it should – continue. Jackson is a damn good ball player, but he’s not the best anything in this league. He should get a new contract, and he’s young enough to play one out, but these two sides need to figure it out.

Reggie Bush: Can you please carry the ball for more than 4 yards a touch? Just once during the pre-season so I can believe in you. Ready for this? The best move the Houston Texans have ever made was taking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush. Believe it. Reggie, I still believe, but you are making it desperately frustrating to drink your cool-aid.

Vince Young: Please complete more than 25% of your passes during the next pre-season game. I think so much of you. I tell people all the time how you are going to be one of the best quarterbacks in your loaded class. So far, Jay Cutler is getting the nod and he looks like he’s asleep all the damn time. Do your thing, stop forcing me to pull out my own nose hairs.

Carson Palmer: I used to think you were the best quarterback in the NFL. You look mediocre at best and I’m hoping it’s just the pre-season. That high-flying act that you and Chad and T.J. were supposed to be has seized to exist. I need more from you. You need consistency. Right now you are breaking my balls.

Marc Bulger: Where have you gone or who was that accurate game manager that put up so many points a couple years ago? I need an answer here. Are you the 50% interception passer that you were last season and now into the pre-season? Or are you the guy that tossed all those touchdowns and kicked Kurt Warner out of a job? Right now I’m baffled. You look terrible. Torry Holt is still wide open, you just can’t get it to him. Do you need Steven Jackson that bad?

DeSean Jackson: You’re making me cry tears of joy right now. You know why? You look like you could be the guy. McNabb needs you really bad. I’d love to see him get a #1 target and your speed could turn you into the guy. Jerry Rice believes in you. McNabb believes in you. I believe in you. I’m pretty sure Yao Ming digs your lightning style. Don’t turn my happy tears into sad rage – keep on doin’ what you’re doin’!