Fantasy Focus: Week 6 Fantasy Football Analysis

The old man made it two weeks in a row, but at least it stayed in family again. Despite Red Red and Josh’s fantasy genius, neither has found a top spot in any one week this year. But I’m not settling for 2nd, getting the top spot three straight weeks to start the season felt a lot nicer than two straight 2nd place finishes. I’m out for the glory in Week 6. There are some more gross games that you’d like to stay away from this week (Rams/Redskins for one) and some great ones that fantasy should shine in. Here are the predictions for Week 6’s Fantasy Football action. Let the ghost of Drew Bledsoe in Patriot-ic red, white, and blue and his chubby 7th grader-like athleticism shine through with rapture, lead me back to the promise land you dopey Cougar!!!

Elite Starters: Guys picked early that I love this week…

1. DeAngelo Williams – It’s a shot in the dark, maybe, and Williams hasn’t been great this year, but Tampa calls…
2. Randy Moss – Tennessee Titans. Remember the Titans? Remember how they had a great secondary last year. Forget that.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew – He struggled last week, but in comes St. Louis to quell all problems.
4. Tom Brady – I’m starting to like anyone against the Titans secondary, but Tom has a special place in my heart.
5. Brandon Marshall – The big talented kid has seemingly figured it out, and that means bad things for San Diego.

Solid Starters: Guys picked in middle rounds that should outplay their ranking/draft position this week…

1. Matt Hasselbeck – Arizona really doesn’t let you run it, but they sure allow you to pass it. Matty can do that.
2. T.J. Housmandzadeh – If you like Matt this week, and I do, you have to like T.J.
3. Cedric Benson – This cat is running down hill. He put up a big number on Baltimore, Houston should fall like dominoes.
4. Brett Favre – A lot of people will be confused and sit Brett against Baltimore, should be one of this better throwing games.
5. Wes Welker – I think Welker has 10 or more catches for at least 100 yards this week. That’s 20 points and a great day.

Sleeper Starters: Guys ranked low, drafted low or not at all, but I still like them this week…

1. Nate Burleson – There was no reason for him to go undrafted in most leagues, he’s a weekly starter, this week should be great.
2. Donnie Avery – The kid is finally getting healthy and he can fly, Jacksonville struggles to stop even kiwi bird air attacks.
3. Rashard Mendenhall – I’ll ride this super sophomore until he lets me down, especially against the league’s worst run D.
4. Kyle Orton – The Chargers let opponents have their way, and Josh McDaniels likes to throw the rock. Good for Orton owners.
5. Eddie Royal – I love me some Eddie Royal this week against San Diego, especially since he saw 15 targets last week.

Sit ‘Em Son: I don’t care where they were drafted, I don’t like these guys starting this week…

1. Fred Jackson – It’s going to be tough for me to play Fred much, Lynch gets more carries and more receptions.
2. Vincent Jackson – An impossible guy to sit on most teams, but if you have other solid options, I think he struggles.
3. Julius Jones – Hopefully you listened to Red Red Ryan and traded him when he had value, AZ won’t allow much.
4. Santonio Holmes – Because why would the Steelers pass more than 20 times when they could run to victory easily?
5. Steve Slaton – In a non-ppr league, I think you sit Slaton. If it’s PPR, don’t expect a great day, but could be playable.

PS – Don’t play Dolphins, 49ers, Colts, and Cowboys in Week 6! Byes! Mind the gap!

Week 6 Fantasy Pre-Rankings


Michael Koenen has a special place in the hearts of everyone at – until he’s kicking field goals again, we’re not ranking the position ever… Get a 60 yarder Mikey!

Fantasy Football Week 3 Waiver Watch: Thing 1 and Thing 2

Welcome back for my next installment of Thing 1 and Thing 2. If you followed my advice last week you got comparable (and in some cases better) production from your lesser-owned fantasy players. The lone exception was due to Kellen Winslow’s breakout game and Robert Royal’s disappearing act. You can’t win them all I guess but four out of five ain’t bad. As the weeks go on it will get tougher and tougher to uncover those hidden gems so staying active on your league’s waiver wire early can really pay off as the season wears on. Who should you be paying attention to as week 3 approaches? … Let’s get after it.

Thing 1: A much-hyped rookie coming out of college, this kid has loads of talent but hasn’t looked ready for the NFL early in his career.  He is currently the sexier pick in a RBBC offensive scheme but his production has yet to match his 95% ownership in ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: A career backup that has had some injury troubles but has always done the most with the chances that have been given to him.  He is currently being overlooked as a fantasy contributor but his production on the field warrants much more consideration than his 38% ownership suggests.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Knowshon Moreno and Thing 2 is Correll Buckhalter.  The running back situation in Denver will likely be fluid all season long, but don’t miss out on the cheap production you can get from a guy like Buckhalter, especially early in the season.  Moreno will finish the season with more touches, but I think Buckhalter will score more TDs for the Broncos due to his big play ability and slightly larger build.

Thing 1: This QBs upside is marginal but he does have a talented group of wide receivers and young, imaginative offensive mind calling the shots.  That said, his decision-making has always been a huge question mark and I am amazed that he is currently owned in 78% of ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: This QB came into the season undrafted in all but the deepest of leagues but is steadily making strides toward fantasy consideration.  He does turn the ball over more than he should but early in the season his yardage and TDs are more than making up for it.  He is currently owned in just 12% of leagues.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Kyle Orton and Thing 2 is Byron Leftwich.  Orton is the prototypical “game manager” and has the potential to post more consistent stat-lines than Leftwich, but the upside of the sluggish-armed Tampa QB is intriguing.  He has shown a good rapport with TE Kellen Winslow early in the year and a defense on the decline could have him playing a lot of catchup.  Ask Jay Cutler how that worked out for his fantasy stats last year.

Thing 1: This WR is an extremely gifted route-runner and has some of surest hands in the NFL.  Due to some off-season changes to his supporting cast, his early-season production has taken a major hit.  I still like the kid a lot, and he is becoming a good buy-low candidate, but he is currently owned in 90% of ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: This young WR has blazing speed and his big-play potential has caused his team to try and find more opportunities to get the ball in his hands.  A big jump in his ownership percentage this past week means owners are starting to take notice so this may be your last chance to go get him.  He is currently owned in 20% of leagues.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Eddie Royal and Thing 2 is Johnny Knox.  Royal’s loss this past off-season has been Knox’s gain in the form of Jay Cutler.  A strong-armed QB with decent accuracy, Cutler is able to fit the ball into tight spots for Knox to work those shallow crosses and sideline routes that made Royal a household name last year.  As their chemistry grows expect to see more of the speed merchant from Abilene Christian.

Thing 1: This physical WR uses his body extremely well to make tough catches in traffic.  He has a rookie signal-caller tossing him the rock and over the first two weeks of the season they have shown decent chemistry.  He has yet to get into the end zone, but this productive wideout is currently owned in 96% of ESPN leagues.

Thing 2: This second-year WR won a preseason battle for the #2 role on his team.  Although his play was inconsistent in his rookie season, he has shown flashes of big-play potential and has developed into a good route-runner.  He won’t produce as a fantasy starter every week, but there is value here and he is owned in just 12% of leagues.

Reality Check: Thing 1 is Jerricho Cotchery and Thing 2 is Chansi Stuckey.  I like what I have seen from Stuckey and his rookie QB thus far.  Mark Sanchez’s lightning-quick feet and superb vision mean he will be able to keep plays alive longer than his aging predecessor, allowing his receivers to work toward open space.  I think Stuckey has big-time sleeper potential in an offense that looks to be much more balanced than anyone thought heading into the season.

Trick or Treat?: Week 2 Fantasy Football Analysis

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

Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal:
Does a quarterback make the wide receivers? Or do the wide receivers make the quarterback? In my opinion the quarterback make the wide receiver, and that spells trouble for Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal. I’m not saying that they are bad receivers, I think they are elite receivers, however they have a terrible quarterback throwing them the ball. In 2008 with Jay Cutler locking in on them Marshall caught 104 passes for 1265 yards and 6 TD’s and Royal caught 91 passes for 980 yards and 5 TD’s. After two weeks in the 2009 season Marshall and Royal are on pace for less than half of their stats from 2008. Marshall is on pace for just 56 receptions and Royal for only 40. These numbers are very close to Devin Hester’s 51 receptions for 665 and 3 TD’s, who was Orton’s number 1 receiving target from 2008. Meanwhile in Chicago; Johnny Knox, Earl Bennett, and Devin Hester all have more receptions than Marshall and Royal. You are going to get what you’re getting, no trick here.
Verdict: Treat

Matt Forte:
Tough going so far in 2009 for second year running back Matt Forte. In Week 1 he rushed for 55 yards on 25 carries and for the first time in his career he went without a catch. Matt had a bit of a bounce back game in week 2 catching 5 passes for 33 yards while rushing 13 times for 29 yards. It was nice to see Forte getting some touches in the passing game after the Week 1 loss. I think we will see Lovie Smith’s influence by seeing more passes to their playmaker out of the backfield. As for Forte’s lack of rushing yards, I think we see a big change in the Week 3 match-up versus the Seahawks. I expect Forte to get back on track this week against a beat up and generally soft run defense, and carry that momentum with him for the rest of the season.
Verdict: Trick

Eli Manning:
Which quarterback has the 5th most passing yards in the NFL? That’s right, it’s Eli Manning. Thus far in 2009 Eli has sliced and diced his way through 2 top 7 passing defenses from the 2008 season. I know it’s early, and history shows he’s bound to have a 3 INT game in the next 2 weeks, but I just don’t think it’s going to happen this year. And now, I couldn’t find any crazy red headed stats to back me up, because the truth is he usually goes interception happy. But if you look at the Giants schedule coming up they play against some pretty bad pass defenses, and unless the “G-men” can get the ground game going Eli will be throwing early and often to his underrated group of young wide outs.
Verdict: Treat

Cedric Benson:
Woo Hoo!! Cedric Benson is 6th in the league in rushing. Nice middle round pick taking the last starting running back available. Time to get some return from Cedric while his value is at his highest. Yes, his highest. So far Cedric has rushed for 76 yards against the Broncos and 141 yards against the Packers. Both teams in the bottom 6 rush defense from a year ago. The real test will be over the next 7 weeks when he faces the Steelers and Ravens twice, with the Bears in between. I believe Benson is a #3 RB and should only be started in a good match up. So if you can sell high on him, and buy low on a guy like Steve Slaton, I think you will be better off at seasons end.
Verdict: Trick

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…

theRUNDOWN Review: Week 4

Week 4 wasn’t historic, these were my best picks? Damn! Well, it’s what I got. Brett Favre and Laveranues Coles would have been a nice combo, they went for 81 fantasy points together. My outing went like this… And 116 points ain’t too shabby.

QB: Aaron Rodgers vs. Bucs: Rodgers had some injury woes, but his 165 yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions got me a whopping 12 points – to make matters worse I too a hit on that game as well, as the Packers didn’t stand a chance with no running game to speak of and all those turnovers.

RB: Frank Gore vs. New Orleans: The 49ers were down, so Gore only rushed the ball 16 times – or was it because Mike Martz is a freak? Option two. Either way, Gore’s 82 rushing yards and 31 receiving yards got him 15 fantasy points, good for 13th amongst running backs.

RB: Marshawn Lynch vs. Car Ram-Rod: Yet another week where Lynch was outscored (in PPR leagues) by Fred Jackson. Jackson almost had as many yards *47-59, on 12 less carries (7-19) and he caught one more ball for 15 more yards than Lynch as well. Marshawn was 18th overall with 11 fantasy points.

WR: Brandon Marshall vs. Chiefs: Marshall continued his onslaught of NFL defenses, having a down day and still grabbing 7 balls for 77 yards and a touchdown – his fumble brought his total down to 18. Still, 16th overall on the day wasn’t great.

WR: Steve Smith vs. Atlanta: 6 catches, 96 yards and a touchdown for 21 points. Steve is back and he looks to benefit from Mushin’s presence along the outside.

TE: Tony Gonzalez vs. Denver: 3 grabs for 47 yards and a score, nice day for a TE, but how can I not go with Witten? He was 5th overall with 13 points.

K: Rian Lindell vs. Ram-Rod: 5th overall with 13 points, that’s like hitting the lottery! I’m off the snide!

D: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore: 8th overall with 13 fantasy points, not the shutdown performance I was expecting, maybe I didn’t give their injuries enough thought.


Kerry Collins: Collins had 199 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions – he did throw a lot, 35 times, but only completing 18 passes is never a good percentage. Collins, though he was a stretch, only got me 6 fantasy points. F

Trent Edwards: Trent was 12th overall making him a low end starting option on Sunday. His 200 yards 1 touchdown 1 pick performance gave him 13 points on the week. I’ll take a B for that one.

Carson Palmer: Didn’t start, didn’t play. He’s a write off.

Maurice Jones Drew: How can you go about life giving this kid 7 carries? I’m convinced the Jaguars are stupid. But hey, he had 6 fantasy points. Ugh. F

DeAngelo Williams: Williams had 7 fantasy points getting half the team’s carries. Jon Stewart is the better option. D

Selvin Young: If the Broncos gave him a chance he’d be solid. Denver was down all day to the Chiefs though, so Young only got 11 looks, he did gain 49 yards with those chances though. Silly Splinter. F

Bernard Berrian: 5 catches for 78 yards, no score, but this was a good day for Berrian owners – if you snuck him off the waiver wire, you are about to get a good return on that investment. B+

Jerry Porter: 1 catch 6 yards – full health? What were the Jaguars up to this week? F

Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson: Royal grabbed 9 balls for 104 yards (and a fumble) for 17 points – Jackson snagged 5 balls for 71 yards and a touchdown for 19 fantasy points – there were 14th and 19th overall respectively. A

Owen Daniels: Daniels had 7 catches for 87 yards to lead the Texans in receiving – he was 4th amongst TE’s. A

Buffalo: 3rd overall with 17 fantasy points, good day for the Bills, and they pulled out a win. There were bound to score a defensive touchdown against St. Louis, right? It was meant to be.

Papa’S Week 4 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)

LenDale White: 11 carries 13 yards, but the touchdown made him noteworthy i guess – still this was a good sit. Your welcome.

Ryan Grant: 15 carries for 20 yards. Your welcome.

Clinton Portis: Clinton carried the Redskins past the Cowboys, getting a couple huge first downs to put the game away and rolling for 121 yards on 21 carries. He managed 15 points on the day and was a solid option (13th overall). My bad.

Brandon Lloyd: 2 catches for 33 yards – your welcome.

Ask Papa Weimer: Week 3

Questions and Answers – let the evil genius do his dirty work!!!

Billiam from Southy writes, “Do you really think the Patriots have a chance to win the Super Bowl without Tom in attendance? I just can’t see the Colts doing much without Peyton, the Cowboys doing anything without Romo, and even the Steelers doing work against Pittsburgh – how can the Pats still have a chance?”

Well Billiam (Bill and Williams meshing in one is pure brilliance), I have a feeling Pats do indeed have a chance, and there is one reason why – Bill Belichick. The real Evil Genius has his work cut out for him, no doubt about that, but he can still game plan for anything, this is just considered an extreme challenge. I couldn’t think about a tougher way to win a Super Bowl, or a more awkward pre-season to lose your league MVP – but yes, I still like the Pats chances just about as much as anyone else in the AFC. It’s funny, there were a few seconds there where Cassel looked like he was getting cut, Gutierrez was easily outplaying him, and Matt was really struggling. When you add that to the fact that Cassel looked terrible in his only action last year, it seemed his time in New England was just about over. Then Matt Gutie was cut, Tom was hurt, and here Matt is, the team’s success unpredictably in his hands. I love it. Not as many points- not as many chances on the field -but I still like the Pats to win 11 or 12 and be a tough out in the playoffs.

Douglas from the O asks, “Do you think Jonathan Stewart has officially become the #1 guy in Carolina? I may be a little biased, having taken some classes with Jon last season, but he looks like the better runner and it seems like Carolina is going to him with the game on the line. Can I start him this week?”

You may be biased, but you hit this one right in the O. Except I wouldn’t start him this week, not against Minnesota. I also wouldn’t say he is the “official #1” – in fact, he’s the “official #2” – but very similar to Maurice Jones Drew the last couple years in Jacksonville, the #2 is a better option that the #1 and it seems like hardheadedness and veteran favortism are the only reasons the “backups” aren’t getting more looks. I can see why both Fred Taylor and DeAngelo are starting, don’t get me wrong, but I also see a lot of value and some dynamic ability from these back-ups. Hold on to your former classmate, I think his time will come, and he’ll be one hell of a start.

Rollie from Anchorage says, “How do you like you some Steve Smith this weekend? Would you start him over Eddie Royal and Dwayne Bowe?”

Rollie, you bet. I love me some Steve Smith, and while Eddie Royal looks like a great option, and Bowe doesn’t look like a bad ride either, Steve is probably pretty amped to help his team considering they went 2-0 without him, and he’s the best player in this bunch. As much as anyone, (besides maybe my nephew), I like Eddie Royal – but Steve Smith is what Royal can only hope to become. He’s a less polished version of Smith right now, and while he does play against New Orleans, it’s not like Minnesota’s secondary is solid either. Bowe goes up against the Falcons, a secondary that is also poor, but he has Tyler Thigpen throwing him the ball – could be decent for Dwayne, but he doesn’t have Jake Delhomme or Jay Cutler throwing him the ball, right? Go with Steve Rollie!

Five for Friday: Week 3

Here goes nothing…

  1. That whole thing about Calvin Johnson being a great receiver – yeah, it’s true. This kid is going to dominate yardage totals this season in the NFL. Brandon Marshall and his destructive ways are getting a lot of hype right now, and reasonably so, he caught about 20 balls in his first week of action. But this week Calvin Johnson goes up against the rickety 49ers defense and he’s going off. Nobody in the league can guard this beast of a receiver that has elite speed. Top 3 this year – and all of those guys that did risk it a little and reach for him – nice work.
  2. Steve Smith to pull a Brandon Marshall? It seems to perfect for Smith, right? Steve goes off against the Vikings in his past, and now, after punching his teammate in the face with a blind side shot, he comes back from a two game suspension and who does he see? Purple people eaters everywhere. I’ve been dying to get Smith in my lineup, and I have to believe that he’ll have a little something special for us in Week 3. Its not like they are running against the Vikes – that’s for sure.
  3. If you have a Bronco – start him. Okay, if you own Darrell Jackson, don’t start him, but the rest of these guys are fair game. That means Cutler, Royal, Young, Marshall, Scheffler, and maybe even Andre Hall. The Saints are a bad defense when healthy, and right now they look like the Seahawks receiving corps. Pretty soon they’ll be hiring ex-players that they kicked off their team years ago – aghem, Koren Robinson drop.
  4. Is it fair to say that I was wrong about Larry Johnson? I’m kind of interested as to why he isn’t getting touches for the pathetic Chiefs offense. I understand he had 10 carries for 22 yards last week, but really, who is a better option? And why would you take one of the best bruisers the league has and remove him from goal line packages? I’m beginning to think either LJ has lost his game (ala John Daily after the turn) or Herman Edwards and the Chiefs front office are just plain crazy. It’s hard not to start him if you got him, I mean he’s not really going up a defensive front that will scare you. Take one last chance on him, that’s my best advice.
  5. I’ve already used the Giants and Patriots (in reverse order) for my survival pool, and that’s why I’m going with the Bills this week. I know, they are the Bills, but this team has a little something. I’m trying to jinx myself here I guess, but I’ve never lost a survivor pool in my life. Mind that I’ve only played two seasons of no hit ball, but I am two for two. The Bills have a great match-up against a pretty soft Raiders group. That bodes well for them, especially in Buffalo. Both the Pats and Giants are solid options as well. What was my best survivor pick of all time you ask? (Or I want to tell you, either way) The Rams over the Saints last season. If you go back, you’ll see that the Rams were winless and playing a Saints team that had won a few in a row. The Rams win. I win. And even better, the two teams I beat picked the Saints. Nothing is better than winning a survivor pool taking a big underdog against the huge favorite your buddy just took.

Three for Thursday: Week 2

What Would I do for a Klondike Bar? How about a healthy offensive line!: More than a couple quarterbacks are pondering that exact question this week, and that should make you worry too. That’s right, the Jaguars, Seahawks, Vikings, and Colts are all down at least one key guy on their respective offensive lines. The Jags, Hawks, and Colts look to be really hurting, while it’s just Tarvaris Jackson’s blind-side hurting in Minnesota. This week, the Jags play the Bills, a tough defensive front, and their offensive fantasy players should all be downgraded because of it. The Vikings play the Colts, so play them at will. The Colts, in turn, play the Vikes, that can’t be a good match-up for Joseph Addai, and Peyton might have to throw a little quicker, but he’s still a nice play. The Hawks go up against the 49ers, and if there was ever a good time to play Julius Jones, it’s probably now, but he, by no means, is a safe bet – even against that defensive line in San Fran. I’m just saying, the health of the big guys (or lack there of) is a big reason for success (or lack there of). Keep that in mind when setting your lineups.

What a Year for Rookies? Or what a first week?: It has often been said that rookies can’t be trusted unless they are running backs put into a great situation. Some have beaten that advice (Larry Fitz, even more so Anquan Boldin, Michael Clayton, Dwayne Bowe had a solid year, and a couple others for sure) but for the most part, there are more rookies with nice weeks than nice innagural seasons. Still, I can’t help but recognize the difference makers throughout this rookie class – and you should take notice as well. Guys not picked in the first round, players like Eddie Royal, DeSean Jackson, Kevin Smith, Matt Forte, John Carlson – and then 1st rounders like Stewart, Mendenhall, Chris Johnson, Darren McFadden, Felix Jones, Matt Ryan – these guys all seem pretty legit. Was week 1 just a coming out part for the rooks, and week 2 will be a blast of reality? It’s tough to say, but right now I’m going with the greatness of this class that was supposed to be void of solid receivers and high on super talents that hadn’t figured it out yet. Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson, among others, figured out how to rock week 1 like a champ.

The Great Wall of… CINCINNATI?: Don’t bet on it. The Titans look to be a team destined to have two 100+ yard rushers in the same week for the first time this year. Kerry Collins has the deep arm to keep the Bengals secondary honest, and even then, it’s not as if they can tackle. Good luck catching Chris Johnson, and even better luck trying to bring down the bulk that is LenDale White. This box score is going to look like a Navy football game – run, run, and then run some more. Maybe a better question is what are the Bengals going to do to fix their offense? Sign Shaunna Alexander… Oh great, that’s going to work wonders! Sigh.

Ten for Tuesday: Week 2

Yeah, Week 1 is officially in the books and I’ve got 10 big ones for Tuesday’s column. Some surprised, some disappointed, and then their were guys that had my jaw dropping – both good and bad. Read up and see who else I liked besides the stellar rookie wideout in Denver, Eddie Royal.

  1. Thomas Brady: I’m not sure if his name is Thomas, but it sounded more formal. Now that he’s done for the year and the Patriots Championship dreams are crushed, I figure using the more somber title is more appropriate. Give your head a shake!!! Tom may be down and out, but the Patriots chances to win are still solid, just like yours. That’s right, just because of one injury it doesn’t mean that you’re down and out. First of all, the Patriots still have one of the best teams in the league, and now they’ll just have to do it with Matt instead of Tom. Trading the best quarterback in the league for a career back-up (yes, even in college Matt was a back-up) isn’t the best deal in the world, but there’s ways to win football games just like there’s ways for you to win at fantasy. Here are some guys that will manage as the season moves forward. Chad Pennington, Matt Ryan, JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, and Tarvaris Jackson (that’s right, they’ll all be decent). Some guys that could be great: Jake Delhomme and Matt Cassel. Matt still has two great receivers and an offense that is genius in what they do. Jake will get Steve Smith back and be even better than he was in Week 1. Don’t lose your marbles because you spent a 1st round pick on a guy that played half a quarter – that dream is dead, move forward, make it work and it will be just that much more refreshing.
  2. Eddie Royal is a Best!: No receiver looked quicker this weekend than Eddie Royal did. Not only did he look awesome, but he should have had another touchdown, but he lined up a foot too far back and some ref decided to be a stickler. So what. This kid is no one-day wonder, and he will do good things even as Brandon Marshall comes back. He’s a tireless worker and has the respect of everyone that means anything on that Bronco team. Don’t pass up the chance to get him if he’s still available.
  3. Chris Johnson: Told you. I’ve been saying it for a long time, and I figure now is the time where everyone believes me. Honestly, I’m not sure if he’ll do as well with Kerry Collins in, because now defenses don’t have to worry about Vince running, but he should still get more carries than LenDale White. Don’t trade the world for him, but if you can pick him up, or give some sad Brady owner a decent new starting quarterback to get him, I’d jump on it.
  4. And the Bush Growith: I missed on this prediction – that’s for sure. The Bucs had always held Bush to very little, but on Sunday Reggie showed us a little something. Hopefully that big performance and game winning touchdown gives the kid a little more confidence. I don’t know how a guy that gets to follow that Kim girl’s butt around can lack so much confidence, but he has rarely looked like a confident back. I’m not sure if this is a thing to come, but prior to the pre-season I was really high on Bush. I thought he’d score more touchdowns this season than any other year, and the way he was utilized on Sunday, I might have to go back to that prediction. Go Reggie! Go Kim!
  5. Mike Tuner for President: In just about every single draft I had I picked this guy. There were a lot of reasons for that, but 220 yards and 2 touchdowns on 20 touches wasn’t one of them. That’s right, even my lofty expectations weren’t that high. And now, now that I’ve seen what Turner can do in that new offensive scheme in Atlanta, I think he has a chance in 2008 to take the presidency. You won’t be able to get him – probably, but if you Steven Jackson owners know what’s good for you, you’ll try to trick an unsuspecting Turner owner into a great “value” trade. You Turner owners should ignore that stupid term and worse idea – but not everyone reads this article (unfortunately) so do what you can do.
  6. Seattle’s Raining Receivers: They are coming down like cats and dogs. First Branch at the end of last season. Then Engram. Now Burleson. Nate had a lot of upside coming in, and many fantasy owners, such as myself, were expecting big things from the talented wideout. So sad, so sorry, so long for that idea. Nate is out for the year. But this is the time to go get Deion Branch and maybe Engram too. You can probably stash them on your IR, if your league has one, and even then, it’s likely that both receivers have more value than some #5 and #6 receivers you have right now. They might play as early as Week 3, and probably by the Hawks 4th game of the season. Do work early and be happy later.
  7. Dallas Does Debbie – err, Cleveland: Okay, feel free to look back at my Five for Friday article to properly appreciate this prediction. The Cowboys looked brilliant where the Browns looked like, well, like everyone expected the Browns to be last season before they turned everything around. You know what, here’s a quote from my article on Friday, “The Cowboys are going to do what the Colts did to the Saints to start the ‘07 season, and many a people are going to be seen ripping out their hair because they put all their chips in the Brown doo-doo. Nobody likes brown doo-doo. But when this does happen, feel free to take advantage of those hair-rippers. Unlike you, most fantasy fans erupt prematurely like the apple pie kid. Week 1 and 2 are times where calm people build season-long dynasties.” There – now if you didn’t read that, then at least you get the gist of what’s important now (also known as W.I.N).
  8. Duddly Do Rights: The Eagles did everything right against the Rams. Defensively, but especially offensively, there was no team more wide open and efficient in what they did than Philly. The Eagles are known for their ability to lay an egg or two, from time to time, but they sure kicked the season off with a full-blown shellacking. Atlanta looked glorious against the Lions. It wasn’t only Mike Turner – it was everyone in Atlanta’s offense. Matt Ryan looks like the read deal, one of the best quarterback prospects in a while, Jerious Norwood looked good too, and so did that receiving corps. In the chances they got, this team flourished all over. You have to love that for a Falcons group that has gone through some turmoil in the recent past. Denver did work, too. Their best receiver might not have been the guy that had to sit this game out after all. Okay, too fast? Maybe. But Eddie Royal is the sure-thing #2 for a reason. He’ll be special when his career is over. And Jay Cutler is going to be a great one. Not a good one. Not a pro-bowler. He’s going to be an MVP type hall-of-famer by the time his career is over. Denver did a lot of good, and a lot of it was because of Jay.
  9. Duddly Do Wrongs: Cincinnati – to start with, everything. Carson looked bad, but the routes were shoddy, the defense was horrendous, and the offensive line had me thinking Carson was going to join Tom in an “out for the year” scenario. Marvin Lewis better get back to the drawing board before Bengals’ brass send it out in a box. Seattle – where or where have you gone? I know the receiving corps is depleted, but ask Donovan McNabb, is that any reason to leave your game in Seattle? The Hawks need to run the ball more and ask an injured Matt Hasselbeck to do less. The load rests on Julius Jones’ shoulders next week – I think he’ll step up. Houston – defensively, you are worrying me. You have solid linebackers, two great defensive linemen, and while that doesn’t mean your secondary is great, it does mean you shouldn’t give up 130+ yards to Willie Parker and crew. Show me something next week, but more importantly, don’t leave your game at home when you play on the road – that garbage is embarrassing. Still, Schaub is going to be good, and Andre Johnson will light up the airways with him.
  10. Trick Love the Kids: Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, and Ray Rice – There are other kids I like as well, but these three guys should run wild next week in their respective match-ups. Chris will torment a Bengals team that can’t tackle a slow 7th grader. Matt Forte will give the Panthers defense more yards than LT did last week, And Ray Rice will have more yards on less carries against the Texans. There it is, Ten for Tuesday. See you tomorrow!

NFL Free Picks REVIEW: Week 1

It all started very nicely with a Giants cover at home against the Skins – faltered a little in the morning games and then shot back up in the afternoon/night games to finish off the week. Overall the record looks decent after picking every game in Week 1 I finished at 10-6… People in “the business” might say that I’m riding a 6 game winning streak headed into Week 2 – I think that term is ridiculous, but check it out for yourself!

Washington RedskinsNew York Giants (-3): (7-16: WINNER!) “The Redskins could become a solid unit later in the season, but early on I still expect them to make mistakes with their new systems. Jim Zorn is a good coach, and Jason Campbell should flourish under his tutelage, but Zorn is no miracle worker and the Skins should still struggle to find consistency. Expect the Giants to grind one out to open the season,” – There were a couple things that I got right, surely, one being the game – which is nice, and the other being the plethora of mistakes the Redskins would make in their opening game under Jim Zorn. But I also said, “Jim Zorn is a good coach,” which is probably a stretch. What I should have said was, I think Zorn will be a very good coach. Because right now, he’s just a rookie, and he’s calling plays – so he’s really putting himself in a tough spot. But they’ll get better – I’m just happy I took the Giants in this one, and am even happier that James Thrash let a last minute touchdown slip through his fingers. Yhatzee!

Cincinnati Bengals (pk)Baltimore Ravens: (10-17: LOSS) “I really dislike both of these teams. I didn’t like either much to start with, but then I was basically forced to watch a couple of each team’s pre-season games. Gross. I would say that no team played worse than the Bengals during the pre-season, but I don’t think I could back that up if someone brought up the Ravens.” This one was pretty ugly, but that was because we had to watch the Bengals on offense and defense. I’ve never seen Carson Palmer look so bad in my entire life. I’ve seen that defense look this bad, however. I was wrong about the Bengals putting some points on the board, and I probably didn’t give the Ravens defense enough credit. Either that or the Bengals are really, really bad. I’ll decide which one later in the week. Remember, I warned you, I really didn’t like this game. If I’m not feeling good about a game, I will let you know in my picks section.

New York Jets (-3) Miami Dolphins: (20-14: WINNER!) Miami played better than I expected, and really had a chance down the stretch to tie it up, but only because the Jets squandered some opportunities. I’ll tell you what, I’m not believing the Jets as a top AFC team quite yet, even with a narrow week 1 win over the powerhouse Dolphins. I’ll take my win here, that’s for sure – because in any game a win is a win. Thomas Jones rushed for 100+ and scored a touchdown, showing me the improvement on New York’s offensive line.

Kansas City Chiefs (+17)New England Patriots: (10-17: WINNER!) The Chiefs ran the ball a lot and took a lot of time off the clock – but I must say that Tom Brady’s injury had to help the cause in this one. I may have been a loser if Tom stayed in, and I may have still lost had the Patriots not fumbled the ball all over the field. But my point is this, I won. Despite anything that happened, you have to look at the win-loss column when the games are done being played. The Patriots still won this game but I covered with ease. I’ll take a win however I can get it, right, have I made that clear enough? However, this game gives the Patriots great value down the stretch, in my humble opinion, so keep that in mind as the season moves on. I also like the Chiefs under Huard – I think he makes them a better bet when he’s under center.

Houston Texans (+7) @ Pittsburgh Steelers: (38-17: LOSS) “Maybe it’s because I’m an old offensive guard, but I have a feeling that Alan Fanneca’s absence will hurt the Steelers just as much as his place in New York will help the Jets. The one thing that has me questioning myself is the Texans on the road versus the Steelers at home. The Steelers only lost to the Jaguars in Pittsburgh last season, having their way with most other opponents. The Texans won just two games on the road, versus a bad Panthers team and an even worse Raiders team. They didn’t lose by less than 8 in any of their road losses. I’m not a lover of last years’ numbers, so I’m not changing my pick here – I’m just warning you readers.” Okay, a couple things about capping games. Really, you can find reasons to take either side of any game, it’s the side that makes the most sense to you that is important. Well, in most cases. In this case, I thought Fanneca’s absence would hurt the Steelers rushing attack – I was dead wrong about that because Willie Parker hasn’t looked better than he did on Sunday and Big Ben only had to throw 11 times all day. Also, I was right about the road woes the Texans go through and the confidence the Steelers have at home. I probably was excited about the Texans this season, and put too much weight in the absence of one guy in Pittsburgh. The Steelers sure looked good on opening night. And by the way, 38-17 and it wasn’t that close.

Jacksonville JaguarsTennessee Titans (+3): (7-16: WINNER!) “The Titans are a very tough defense that plays inspired at home. I know the Jaguars are solid, and they’ve looked very good in the pre-season compared to the Titans who have looked absent, but Tennessee as a 3 point dog at home against a beat up Jaguars offense? I can’t find any value in the Jaguars here, so the bet has to go with Tennessee.” What can I say, this game was close just like I knew it would be. And what else do you know, the Titans defense played out of their minds and looked brilliant against a beat up Jaguars offense. From time to time I like my style enough to give myself a back pat, this is one of those times.

Detroit Lions (-3) @ Atlanta Falcons: (21-34: LOSS) “This game isn’t going to be a blowout, but I don’t see the Falcons having enough secondary talent to keep the Lions receiving corps out of the end-zone. I like the Falcons more than most, and am not crazy about the Lions – I just don’t think this is a good match-up for Atlanta. The Falcons will find success on the ground, but Detroit will eventually realize that they can pick on the rookie quarterback a little bit – stack the box a lot – and end up winning this game by a touchdown or more.” Oh Detroit! The Lions probably would have got smoked either way, and maybe 9 Lions in the box doesn’t mean they can stop Michael Turner – I don’t even know if 11 would do it. The Falcons ran all over the Lions, and while the Falcons secondary wasn’t good enough to completely keep the Lions receivers out of the end-zone, they sure did a good enough job while getting 34 points from their offense. I liked the Falcons more than most, and I still do, I just dislike the Lions more than I did in the first place.

Seattle Seahawks (+1) Buffalo Bills: (10-17: LOSS) I expected the Seahawks to fly to Buffalo, play an entire football game, and possibly walk away with a win. Instead, the Husky’s got in Hawk uniforms, flew to Buffalo, were obviously frightened of the physicality involved, looked like a poor college team playing against a decent NFL team and the score reflects that. I’m not positive that’s what happened, but it’s my best guess. I watched most of this game and it didn’t look good for Hawk fans. This, and the upcoming Colts game, made me think – is it just me or do teams with retiring coaches struggle to find somebody to play for? Hmmm… It’s something to think about. Holmgren and Dungy are both most likely to coach for one more season –  both teams played terrible – coincidence?

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+3.5) @ New Orleans Saints: (20-24: LOSS) The Bucs missed some key opportunities and still had a chance late in this game. The score went back and forth and this one was very close. I still like the Bucs to be the better of the two teams, and I think play calling hurt the Bucs chances a bit in this one. Anytime you have a running back that carries the ball 10 times for 90+ yards in a close game, you should have probably given him the ball a few more times. I took a half point loss, but it didn’t feel quite so bad because I still finished strong in Week 1.

St. Louis Rams (+8.5) @ Philadelphia Eagles: (3-38: LOSS) “What can I say? I really like the Rams as a huge dog in Philly.”  What can I say? I watched this game a little and immediately felt like an idiot. The Rams hurt my feelings and I will forever use voodoo and witch doctor magic spells to torment coaches and players from now until my dying day. No, but honestly, the Rams looked worse than any other team in the league. I can’t imagine they are this bad, nor do I believe that the Eagles are this good – but the Eagles are better than I gave them credit for, and the Rams don’t look like a team, they look like Dorothy’s worse nightmare – the Tin Man, Lion, and Scarecrow all mashed into one mindless, heartless, courageless unit. Discouraging to say the least.

Dallas Cowboys (-3.5) @ Cleveland Browns: (28-10: WINNER!) “I don’t know if I’m willing to buy the Cowboys as this season’s Super Bowl favorite, but I will tell you that I’m ready to purchase the Browns as this year’s big disappointment. I liken the Browns to New Orleans last year – and this game is going to be a tough one for them.” I’m not sure if the Browns will lose four straight to start the year or continue to look as dejected as New Orleans was to start their 2007 campaign – but this was a very similar start for the Browns. I’m not fortune teller, but I can see a comparison when it jumps out in front of me – this one looks obvious. Winner, winner, chicken dinner.

Carolina Panthers (+10)San Diego Chargers: (26-24: WINNER!) “I kind of like Carolina to put up a battle in this one. The Panthers defense is the unit that looks good to me. Peppers will be better after a down season and Jon Beason is going to be one heck of a linebacker in this league. Look for the Panthers to stay within single digits and give an overhyped Chargers team a run for their money on opening day. Plus, the Panthers are always solid value as a dog,” History was on my side in this one. The Panthers may have been pretty lucky to get the win (I liken Rosario’s catch to Dwight Clark’s catch, he just pulled it out of the sky) but this cover was never in doubt. The tandem of Williams and Stewart looked and played more efficient than LT and the Charger’s rushing attack, and Jake Delhomme was the old, accurate quarterback that he always is when healthy. The Panthers won a big one as a road dog – weird.

Arizona Cardinals (-2.5)San Francisco 49ers: (23-13: WINNER!) This game was pretty ugly, but one things stuck out to me – Frank Gore is really good. The Cardinals were all over this guy and he still had one hell of a game. He should be something in this offense, because he just had a very nice game against an underrated Cardinals defense. Still, the 49ers couldn’t pull off the upset, and Arizona managed the game will without forcing anything. That’s a good way to win against a bad team. I didn’t expect Kurt and company to play so smart – but I’ll take it.

Chicago Bears (+10.5)Indianapolis Colts: (7-16: WINNER!) “The Colts defense looked bad during the pre-season, really bad, and while that doesn’t always mean the world is falling, I can’t see it as a good sign of things to come. I think Kyle Orton is a relatively mistake free quarterback and that bodes well for the Bears covering as big dogs. I think Chicago will actually run the ball pretty effectively against the Colts, even though the Bears don’t have a stellar offensive line. Manning will be slow to come back, and despite what he wants you to believe, he’s not 100%.” Well alright! Some times you cap a game, garner some nice predictions, and look like you’ve done this before (See Titans/Jaguars). And other times you look like a complete moron (see Eagles/Rams). But this isn’t either of those times, this is one of those times where you look like a damned fortune teller. Believe it or not I don’t time travel and I know nothing sure about the future. But I did drop a dime deep pass on this game. I may have been the only one expecting the Bears to run all over the Colts and have Indy look silly. But sometimes it’s nice to be different, and when you call it you call it. I take the bumps, lumps, and bruises – so now I’ll take the cake and eat it. All of it.

Minnesota VikingsGreen Bay Packers (-2):(7-16: WINNER!) “Aaron Rodgers is better than anyone is giving him credit for, but on this team he won’t have to be. Aaron won’t take all the big chances that Brett took, and while he won’t be as flashy or tally up the numbers like #4, he will give the Packers a great chance to win each time he takes the field. Don’t give up on the Packers just because Brett is wearing a different color green.” You have to admit, I am right about Rodgers. He was 18-22 on the night and looks like a kid that really knows the game. He’ll throw a minimal amount of interceptions and keep his team in the game. He can make all the throws – don’t confuse him for Chad Pennington or Kyle Orton. He’s got something, and I like it. The Vikings didn’t game plan very well for this one. If they run the ball more, the might have won this game. Still, they had a chance. But it wasn’t as close as the score. The Packers left a lot of points on the field, so feel free to ride them early. They’ll probably be a good bet in the beginning of the season here.

Denver Broncos (-1)Oakland Raiders: (7-16: WINNER!) This was easier than I thought. The Broncos dominated this game like the Eagles dominated the Rams, like the Cowboys smashed the Browns. Denver looked good and the only guy looking better than Jay Cutler last night was his starting rookie receiver, Eddie Royal. This kid is my new favorite player. He’s as quick as any receiver in the league and he’s fearless. Virginia Tech didn’t use him because they didn’t have the quarterback – but Denver does, and watch him blow this league up from the get go.

10-6 – Not a bad start for the good guys!