Chad Pennington is out for the season and in comes the youngster Chad Henne to show everyone he’s better than he played in relief last week. Henne has a better arm and can throw the deep ball better than Chad, but will he play mistake free enough to keep the starting gig? Tyler Thigpen was sent to Miami to be Henne’s back-up, and I truly think that was the Dolphins’ intentions. I think Henne keeps the job and ends up helping out a guy like Ted Ginn Jr…. Darren McFadden fumbled the ball three times, doesn’t see the hole that well, and has 11 guys focused on trying to tackle him as soon as he gets the ball. I’m not saying dump McFadden, in fact, I think you could get the guy for next to nothing and he’s worth the risk, but I don’t think I’d start him unless you are desperate or he does some actual damage (though this week he has a pretty decent match-up if you want to gamble)…. Speaking of JaMarcus Russell, can a guy be any less confident throwing a football than he is? He can’t even seem to connect with Zach Miller anymore. After ending the season on a very high note, winning a couple games, completing a respectable percentage, and throwing 6-2 TD to INT, many thought Russell would take the next step. If the next step was all rotten and dropped off into a hot lava pit, that was right on the button….. Eli Manning has been very good. That’s hard for me to write down, but what more can I say? I thought teams would be able to stack up against the run, but you just can’t do that to Eli anymore. His receivers are better than anyone thought, and maybe he’s worth all that money the Giants invested into him after all. That makes me sick to my stomach, or maybe that’s just the burgers…… Jake Delhomme may be just about done, but I have to blame the play calling for the Panthers’ complete demise. DeAngelo Williams had 11 carries for the love of god. 11. And the Panthers were on top and or tied for quite some time. Not only did he not get the ball enough, but in 11 carries he totaled over 60 yards. That looks good to me. Seems like if you did a lot more of handing him the ball you’d win a game or two….. Aaron Rodgers has not looked good through the first three games. He still has decent fantasy numbers, but for the majority of game time he’s been overthrowing receivers, picking the wrong guy, and just flat out looking rusty. He’ll be fine, don’t worry, but how often does this kind of thing happen? A guy walks through the pre-season completing every pass he throws only to struggle out of the gates. It’s weird….. Game smarts: where have you gone? Seneca Wallace, special teams players, NFL coaches – I feel like the first three games have been an interview for new reality show titled “Dumb is the new Fun”. How can quarterbacks run out of bounds 6 yards behind the line of scrimmage when all you have to do is throw the ball into the freaking stands? How can a kick return guy run out of bounds only to sprint in front of his teammates on a rolling punt and be the first to touch it? How can Jim Mora call a 2 yard out to Julius Jones on 4th and 3 with 29 seconds to go? How can Chad Pennington run a QB sneak for a first down on 3rd and 1 with a minute left in the game when he needs a touchdown to score? These first few weeks have been crazy, but somebody needs to teach these guys some rules. Good lord!….. Matt Forte, ugh. 21 carries for 66 yards, against the Hawks? At least Jay Cutler checked it down to him a couple times, but this was supposed to be the game that Forte stepped up his production. Needless to say, that wasn’t really the case….. LenDale White might not be getting enough carries to be fantasy worthy, but Chris Johnson won’t hold up with 25 touches a game all season. As much as I love Chris’s game, White is going to get an opportunity, and he’s going to run with it. He’s run well despite limited looks. Keep your eye on the big guy….. How does Tampa bench Byron Leftwich? I know they are struggling and 0-3 and young and maybe want to see what one of their young guys can do, but Byron was only good through the first two weeks. The Giants were in his face every snap last Sunday, but Byron’s numbers were goo prior to that. I don’t think Josh Johnson will be as good as Lefty, and Josh Freeman is not ready either. Interesting move, not a good sign if you own Kellen Winslow, Antonio Bryant, or even a running back. Not good if you own Byron either.
This is where Lucky Lester breaks down NFL news (usually from the week that was and usually 10 newsworthy happenings) and how it effects fantasy football owners going forward. Let the games begin… Now! We can’t wait until Thursday!
Matt Cassel was back at practice on Monday, going through all the drills and looking relatively healthy in doing so. If you’re starting the youngster, who is pitching pigskin for an offense that scored just two touchdowns this pre-season, on a team that is going up against the Baltimore Ravens in Baltimore – then you have more to worry about than Cassel’s kneesies… LenDale White not only feels no regret from his terrible towel stomping escapades of yesteryear, he’d do it again, and he expects to. Luckily, we don’t have to wait too long for this to play out, as opening night sees Pittsburgh come to Tennessee for what promises to be a big one. On the matter of big and LenDale White, most would enter a fat joke here – but the young TD machine lost 20 pounds this off-season, and looks to have lost some of that baby fat that was holding his break-away speed back. He has looked better than Chris Johnson this pre-season – but that’s just the pre-season… Speaking of the Titans, Kenny Britt might be a guy to stash away for this week’s game. He’s not owned in most leagues, but the kid is a beast, no doubt about that, and I’m pretty sure he’s starting. If he shows well against the Steelers, I don’t think he’ll go back to the back-up role, and at the very least you could have nice trade bait. If it doesn’t work out this Thursday, just drop him and pick up that other 16th guy on your roster instead… This past weekend Tila Tequila (nice name for a tramp) called in a citizen’s arrest on Shawne Merriman for “choking her and holding her against her will”. Sounds bad, but the more I read the more I think this thing will blow-over, regardless of what actually happened. Now I’m almost always on the side of the accuser in these cases, usually to a fault, but this girl is a full blown gong show, and every poor ace-hole that accidentally ran across her stupid show, when they pushed the channel up button too fast, knows it. I’m not saying Shawne’s guilty or innocent, but he is guilty of dating one of the crazier funny-looking fake chicks in the universe. Miss Tequila had more than a couple Tequila shots prior to the incident and Merriman claims to have been “just keeping a friend safe…” All that being said, I would hate to be the Raiders’ offense this weekend. Shawne’s one bad-bad football man, and having charges brought against him by a crazy reality TV star probably won’t cool him off for Sunday’s action. I wouldn’t even want to practice against the guy this week… I’ve always been a huge fan of Sammie Stroughter since his early years at Oregon State. The former Beaver has gone through some tough times, and emerged as a stronger guy because of it. After getting picked late on day 2 of they ’09 NFl Draft, Stroughter has been strong in Bucs’ Camp, and has been recently named the #3 receiver in Tampa. Now I don’t think Tampa will throw much more than 45% of their offensive snaps, but for those deep dynasty league owners, this kid is legit… Matthew Stafford was named the starting quarterback, but I wouldn’t be stunned at all if Culpepper got the job back a few games into the season. Stafford has a strong arm, no doubt, and his touch isn’t bad, but I watch him play and I don’t think he’s ready. I’ll admit that he has a bright future, but after a couple weeks of struggling, and a couple weeks for Culpepper to be completely healthy, I think the job goes back to the ex-Viking… That being said, Brandon Petitgrew was also named the starter for the Lions, and he’ll be a solid option regardless of who stays at QB. BP came in with Stafford this year, and I’m sure their relationship is strong because of it. Pep loves throwing to TEs, and you know defenses will be most focused on Calvin Johnson and then Kevin Smith. As a 3rd option for a team that expects to be playing from behind, I like Petitgrew’s upside… Tim Hightower was named the starting RB in Arizona, and I don’t think that’s just a one-week gig. Many people will say that the Cardinals didn’t waste a 1st rounder on a RB to see him be a back-up, but that’s actually happened a lot. It’s not so long ago that the Cardinals were high on Hightower, and the guy put in work this off-season and looks faster and smarter with his cuts this pre-season. Beanie Wells will get touches, but he didn’t get drafted to take the starting job, he got drafted because he was the most talented player left on the board. No promises were given…. Eric Mangini is up to his old wiley ex-Patriot tricks again, not naming a starter to the public. Who cares, first of all – you shouldn’t. If you do, it must be because you are a Browns fan, or stuck with one of these guys as a back-up, and in that case you had to see some pre-season action, look at the way the team has reacted, the way the ball was moved with one guy or another, it’s pretty damn clear to me that Quinn is the guy in Cleveland…. Pierre Thomas didn’t practice Monday, and that means those that got Reggie Bush late have a very talented starting running back, that was amongst the league leaders before going down with an injury last season, going up against the vaunted Lions defense in Week 1. It has baffled me all summer/fall to see Bush going so late, especially in PPR leagues. Is he a chance? Sure, but a chance well worth taking. It seems his hype became too much to handle and the guy turned into fantasy owner poison. Put that on pizza and beer and your bound to cause a mass epidemic aimed toward fat guys 10x as deadly as swine flu.
Football this Thursday! See you next Tuesday!!
History supports what I’m saying here, not always can the dynamic of two super personalities, amazing talents, wonderfully crafted names and/or awkwardly revealing spandex outfits, fit together like Steve Young and Jerry Rice, Marcus Allen and Bo Jackson, or even a more well-known duo, Batman and Robin (and even the last two heroes might find it tougher together nowadays)… In fact, if you look at the big picture, it becomes more and more evident that not every Super-Hero needs a Sidekick. In fact, most of the big name stars produce more box office fantasy potential all by themselves in their own little uniforms (As you can easily recognize that even Batman does his best movies sans his puffy feathered bird of a sidekick).
There are a few guys I’m looking at this year where a certain sidekick is digging into the main man’s cover-value, and even a couple more stars that are getting matched up with other stars – two superheroes do not always make a friendly team: Wolverine, Punisher, Spiderman, Captain America. You have to remember, when a team gets better, a fantasy player doesn’t always improve.
Scrappy Doo basically crushed a very good cartoon of young crime fighters. Scooby was doing a fine job begging for Scooby Snacks, being a scaredy dog, and being his pot-head friend’s best bud. All Scrappy did was come in and steal some of the spotlight, and since everyone loves a puppy, soon he was getting too much attention. Suddenly, the drop off happened and Scooby and his friends have never quite recovered.
And what about Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s pal, one of the only guys to know Supe’s identity – well, all he did was get his buddy into trouble at every turn. Did Superman ever need Jimmy? I think not.
Wolverine vs. Punisher? Spiderman fighting Captain America? It’s amazing that a couple guys looking for the same thing (in both instances) could get into such a fiasco with each other – but it happens.
These things happen in the “fantasy world” and they also happen in fantasy football. This season there are some sidekicks ready to help the team all the while stomping out some fantasy fire of their own teammates. And while most of these guys play for wins and losses instead of statistical superiority – the truth of the matter is… You and I don’t. Not in fantasy football anyway. So which gridiron heroes will have their value cut down to size by the Scrappy Doo’s, Jimmy Olsen’s, Wondergirl’s and Aqualad’s of the National Football League? Follow along closely…
Matt Cassel and Tyler Thigpen
This seems like the easiest one around. Matt Cassel found a new home with a new offensive genius taking over in Kansas City. But what about Thigpen? What about the guy that dominated down the stretch? What about Tyler Thigpen? If you look back at last season’s stats, you will see two new teammates ranked 2nd and 3rd amongst quarterbacks during last season’s second half. That’s right, you guessed it, Tyler Thigpen is number 2 and Matt Cassell was number 3. That Top 5 list looks like this… Drew Brees, Thigpen, Cassel, Peyton Manning, and Aaron Rodgers. So, while many people probably don’t even know who Tyler Thigpen is, as he was really only a super hero fantasy star to those that picked him up for a late run into the post season (yes, that was me in more than a couple instances), he was still a star. Thigpen was 3 points shy of Drew Brees during those 10 weeks, and Brees had a brilliant season. But Cassel has the job, and surely Thigpen will suffer most in this match up of free agent pick ups turned fantasy playoff super heroes of 2008 turned teammates of 2009. This season will mark the first time in history that this situation will ever have taken place. Two young quarterbacks with huge statistical seasons meet up on the same team the very next year. But it is what it is, and Matt Cassel will be crushing the fantasy relevance of his teammate, and higher rated fantasy performer of last year’s second half. The team has gotten better, but Thigpen has lost his way.
Jay Culter and Matt Forte
Both players became fantasy stars in 2008. Matt Forte did so in his rookie season for a Bears team that used him as their main weapon, finishing a win away from the playoffs. Forte was as consistent as fantasy stars get, putting up solid numbers week after week as the Bears gave him the ball early and often. Jay Cutler was Mike Shanahan’s little buddy, a coach in uniform, the son he always wanted. Jay got the green light to throw any ball he wanted any time, and while that made Cutler one of the best fantasy quarterbacks in football, it also ended Splinter’s long run as the head coach in Denver. That led to Josh McDaniels getting the reigns for the Broncos, which led to Cutler having a fit when McD wanted his former QB, which led to bagels being just another way to get cream cheese to your face, which led to Jay Cutler getting traded for 2 first round picks, a couple more picks, and a 6 pack of Chicago’s best brew. That dysfunctional set of circumstantial dominoes led to Jay Cutler and Matt Forte, two rising fantasy stars, to meet up in Chicago’s backfield. Well goodness me. But whose value is effected more? Well, I would imagine that both players have a slight hit in value, but both could see their efficiency ratings moving on up. Crazy how fantasy and actual football can be so different. Matt Forte is likely to see less 8 man fronts (if any), while Cutler is likely to see more open secondaries with defenses actually paying attention to the run game in his offense. But, Forte will get less carries, less catches, and likely less touchdowns in 2009. Jay Cutler will almost surely have less yardage, fewer touchdown passes, while continuing to throw interceptions this season with the Bears. But Forte will get more yards per carry while Cutler’s QB rating will likely rise. They may make a nice duo, two young guys with their entire comic book careers in front of them, but this year both will suffer in the fantsy realm, losing the numbers from their days as single stars.
Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White
After years of lacking a #1 receiver, the Falcons finally came through with the coming of age of Roddy White. And after years of stumbling around losing seasons without another true offensive threat, Tony Gonzalez was traded to a city of bright fantasy youngsters making a name for themselves in the NFC South. But who will be the star in this receiving situation? The young up and comer or the old school TE that can stake his claim as one of the best ever? Only I have the answer you’re looking for. Both should fail to match last year’s top notch numbers. Say what you want about Dwayne Bowe’s rise to stardom or Matt Ryan being better than the Chiefs’ no-name quarterback last season, but neither piece of information will convince me that Tony G is in a better fantasy situation than he was last season. Last year, Bowe was still just the 2nd fiddle in KC’s passing game, with the attention of opposing defenses collapsing around Tony. And he may be relatively unknown, but I already showed you that Tyler Thigpen was no joke going down the stretch, so stop belittling the guy. Plus, KC threw the ball a lot last year, which is how Tony got so much fantasy love. Likewise, Roddy White was the only real threat in the passing game last season, but the Falcons ran so dang much that defenses had to bite on the play action. Matt Ryan locked onto his number one guy, and reasonably so, White was a yardage gaining machine for the Falcons. Now both top flight receivers will see differences in 2009. Tony Gonzalez will find himself in an offense that runs the ball as much as they throw which should cut down on his chances to get anywhere close to last season’s targets. Not only that but Roddy White is one of the best young receivers in the league, one that 2nd year QB Matt Ryan made a living throwing to in 2008 – so a repeat of last year’s totals should be close to impossible. And for Roddy, you know the Falcons are still going to run a ton, and a great tight end is a quarterback’s best friend, and his notoriety as a receiving threat should have defenses paying more attention to him this season – so his targets will likely fall as well. The Falcons offense should be great, even better than last season’s surprising numbers, but these two super-heroes won’t win as often in fantasy circles.
Thomas Jones and Shonn Greene
This is definitely a case similar to Scrappy Doo’s fuse lighting to the dynamite under Scooby’s career. Thomas Jones had his best season as a pro. If anyone gained value from Brett’s arm last season it was Jones. Thomas finished 5th amongst running backs in non-ppr leagues, making him one of the best fantasy values of 2008. But in comes the younger cuter puppy hero drafted by the Jets. (Actually, Shonn Greene is a beast of a kid and as far as looks go Thomas may have the girls gushing after his bulging biceps, but you get the picture). Still, already Shonn is getting rave reviews in Jets camp, and with a new coach in town there’s no real loyalty to last season’s production. If Coach Ryan learned anything from his time in Baltimore it was that the best player plays no matter if he’s getting paid like Willis McGahee or Le’Ron McClain. That might be just the ignition Greene needs to up-end the 31 year old Thomas Jones’ career. This could definitely be a case of the sidekick back-up unproven option stealing too much of the star’s light, and slowly eating into that profile he worked so hard to build. Drop Thomas in your rankings, yes, but don’t completely ignore the guy. I’ve seen him falling way too far in Fantasy Drafts, and there’s a good chance he’s still a productive piece of the Jets rushing attack.
Chris Johnson and LenDale White
Last season it was Chris Johnson eating into White’s numbers, but this season the roles may be reversed. I’ve noticed Chris Johnson getting lots of fantasy love on draft days. But LenDale is now a much slimmer and still powerful version of himself. Everyone expected Chris Johnson to continue his growing percentage of carries from last season. After starting pretty equal, he was definitely the horse the Titans tried to ride down the stretch. But this season could be a lot more even than people are ready to believe. LenDale has always had a knack for the end-zone with very athletic feet for a big powerful back. Coming into camp in the best shape of his life, running faster than ever, and apparently buying into everything more than ever before makes him a sneaky thief to Johnson’s carries. When you add the often forgotten fact that LenDale is smack dab in the midst of a contract season, he has even more to play for, a future contract and a starting gig (if the Titans don’t want to pay the man his money). So before you draft Chris Johnson with all his speed and excitement and all that man-love you have for him – remember, there’s a big bad touchdown thieving guy from USC that not only has something to prove, but money to earn in 2009. Chris should still be a nice player in 2009, he’s a great young back, but expecting even more impressive numbers in 2009 might disappoint you this season.
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.
PAPA’S Week 1 SLEEPERS
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.
Okay, after a pretty mediocre Week 3, I’ve got out the big guns and am ready to use them for a huge week. This is where I keep the good stuff… Week 4’s runDOWN son!
QB: Aaron Rodgers vs. Bucs: I don’t think the Bucs secondary can keep up with Jennings, Jones, and Driver – maybe even Lee and Nelson get into the mix. Anyway, Brees threw all over the Bucs. So did Kyle Orton. I like my chances with Rodgers to do the same.
RB: Frank Gore vs. New Orleans: The yards per carry against the Saints defense is ridiculous. I know their secondary isn’t good either, but controlling the ball should be a point of emphasis for the Niners vs. the Rams in Week 4 – Gore is the man for that job.
RB: Marshawn Lynch vs. Car Ram-Rod: The Rams are brutal. Lynch and the Bills will out physical this pathetically weak Ram team. I like Lynch to rush for about 120 yards and score twice.
WR: Brandon Marshall vs. Chiefs: Because if there’s ever a team that can’t d-up Brandon Marshall, it’s the Kansas City Chiefs. The kid is a beast, and he will dominate the Chiefs.
WR: Steve Smith vs. Atlanta: It was premature to pick Steve as a top guy in his first week back – well, he should kill the Falcons secondary on way to a big home win this weekend.
TE: Tony Gonzalez vs. Denver: Gonzo should find lots of room against Denver – the Broncos have a weak secondary with their biggest problem area being safety, the same safeties guarding Gonzo on Sunday.
K: Rian Lindell vs. Ram-Rod: I’m sure I’ll look bad again here, but how can you not like the Bills kicker against this defense? (I know why, because I picked him to have a big day, that’s the best anti-pick you could have).
D: Pittsburgh vs. Baltimore: Pittsburgh should shut down the Ravens offense in Pittsburgh. The Steelers are dominant at home, and the Ravens won’t be able to run the ball. Pass? Interceptions. Thanks for playing.
PAPA’S Week 1 SLEEPERS
Kerry Collins: This is a big sleeper, but Collins will have to throw a lot, some dump downs to Chris Johnson, and some deep balls to keep the Vikings honest. He could very well go for 200+ yards and throw 2 touchdowns. He could be a great fill in for Week 4 if you happen to have the Manning brothers dancing around on your team as 1 and 2.
Trent Edwards: You bet! Trent should have a brilliant day against the worst team in football.
Carson Palmer: He’ll have another startable week against the Browns. After one decent week, I’m willing to bet the Bengals offense is back for good.
Maurice Jones Drew: After two bad weeks, JD was a sleeper pick last week. I think you should start him again.
DeAngelo Williams: I like D-Lo’s chances against the Falcons this week. I think he’ll get more carries to start with and make the most of them.
Selvin Young: I think Young gets his highest number of carries so far this season. He’ll also have his highest yardage total and most fantasy points of the year.
Bernard Berrian: A tough match-up? You bet, but Berrian will be the only offensive hope the Vikings have against the TItans. Those Titans don’t allow rushing yards – not many passing yards either, but that seems to be the only way to get them.
Jerry Porter: Porter should be back to full health, and the Jaguars seem to need him. He could be a nice start in his first game action with the Jags, especially against the Texans secondary.
Eddie Royal and DeSean Jackson: After a down week for both guys, they have decent match-ups. The Eagles will have to throw against the Bears, and Jackson can get lost in that secondary. The Broncos should be able to do whatever they want against the Chiefs, and Royal should benefit.
Owen Daniels: Daniels should find open spaces in Jacksonville’s secondary, and Matt Schaub will be looking to get his sure hands tight end the ball more.
Buffalo: I like Denver in Week 4, a bad secondary, yes, but they’ll be taking some chances against the Chiefs, and those quick corners can jump some routes.
Papa’S Week 4 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)
LenDale White: He’ll get less carries than Chris Johnson this week – and the Vikings won’t be giving away yards like they’re free.
Ryan Grant: I really like Grant, and I’m sure he’ll be fine – but that will just have to wait until next week when they aren’t playing the Bucs.
Clinton Portis: Portis could be in for a rough one against the Cowboys. Dallas has a fine history of shutting down opposing backs. You probably don’t have a better option, but if you do, you might consider the switch.
Brandon Lloyd: The Eagles secondary is for real. Lloyd was a nice player last week, but don’t buy the hype, not this week anyway.
I figured I might as well put up a couple of my pre-season predictions that aren’t only looking good, but brilliant as of heading into Week 3. Without patting myself on the back any harder, here’s three big ones…
1. The first prediction I’m sharing is actually 2 predictions, and both look good. “Chris Johnson will lead the Titans in yards (receiving and rushing combined).” and “Chris Johnson is the NFL’s version of Usain Bolt.” Of course he is. I love sharing this one because my uncle and I fought hard on this one, so much so that he threw up a prediction that LenDale would lead the Titans in fantasy points. Newsflash pops, I was right about this kid. He’s too quick not to get the ball to, and check this out, he runs like a tough man. He’s already supposed to get more touches in Week 3. That doesn’t bode well for LenDale owners, and it surely doesn’t look good for your prediction or the poor Houston Texans defense they’ll be going up against. Yhatzee!
2. Yet another two predictions deep for this one… “Tom Brady won’t throw more than 35 touchdowns this season,” and even better yet, “(Two of Three) Peyton Manning, Brett Favre, and Tom Brady will miss at least one football game due to injuries.” You have to admit, it’s looking good. I’m not one to hope for injuries, but Brett is in a new system that has him thinking a bit more, plus the law of averages isn’t on his side (never hurt, really old – put it together). But I’m guessing Peyton is the guy that misses a game. His offensive line is struggling, and he doesn’t get his center back for a few weeks. I hope not, because even though I’m not the biggest fan of the guy, he’s a great football player for sure and I don’t want anyone to ever get hurt, but don’t be surprised if he gets dinged here in the next couple games. That would make this prediction 100% true.
3. “Frank Gore will eclipse 1,500 total yards, 70 receptions, and score 10+ touchdowns. ” There were a lot of people, “experts” out there ready to give Gore a busty title before the season even started. Not I. I knew that Gore was the quickest way for Mike Martz to score points, and if there’s ever been anything that guy likes to do it’s eat Popeye’s Chicken and score points. After two games, Mr. Gore has 157 rushing yards, 1 touchdown, and 9 catches for 93 receiving yards. Besides the touchdowns, which I think will come, he’s on pace (lets say he plays 14 games) to rush for 1,100 yards, catch 63 balls for 651 yards and score 7 times. That looks about right. He doesn’t have to play tough defenses and he is the man in San Fran. Roll on Mr. Gore!
Avoiding 0-2: It’s very common for a team to start 1-1, happens most of the time. Don’t be surprised if most teams are 1-1 headed into week 3. Taking that into account, expect solid games out of fantasy players in San Diego, Minnesota, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Houston, and Cleveland – all are looking to stay away from the 0-fer, and that is just more motivation to shine.
BEAST of Burden: That’s what Brandon Jacobs is going to be for the Rams tacklers this week in St. Louis. I’m pretty sure he goes around singing his version of the great Stones’ song like this, “I’ll always be your beast of burden, tackle me, your shoulders will be hurtin’ – never ever ever ever ever ever ever get in my waaaayyyyyy…” For a team that struggles to stop the run anyway, it will be frustrating to see a 270lb 6’4″ running back barreling down on you. Nobody likes that garbage. Expect a big game from Jacobs.
Re-Thinking it?: Holmgren left open a return to the NFL, but I don’t think that will help the Hawks much. It’s hard to play for a coach, give it all up for a guy, put yourself out there for a man that won’t be with you next year. He’s kind of a lame duck coach right now, and in response to my article I’m sure, he tried to give them something to play for. We’ll see how it works.
Load Carries Load: He’s definitely not the more talented back in Tennessee, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see LenDale White carry the load in Cincinnati when his Titans take on the Bengals. Cincinnati has a tough time tackling anyone, and a big load of a guy like White is a real test for them I’m sure. Both backs will get their looks, but like I said, everyone is giving the job to Chris Johnson right now, and I expect a nice fantasy day and more touches for White.
35-31?: Not the Vikings powerful defense? That’s right, I’m predicting 60+ points to be scored in Minnesota this weekend, and that’s not counting college games. The Vikings will run (and throw, you’ll see) while the Colts find spaces to fire the ball all over the field. Big game for Peyton in Week 2, and I also believe they’ll get the win to even out their record to 1-1.
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.
So what, I’m old and these damn computer things seem to get the best of me at every turn. I need glasses to watch the game, and sometimes I yell “fumble” while sitting all by myself on my big ass chair in my big ass living room on my big ass. Oh, and sometimes there was no fumble at all – forgot to mention that. In fact, I seem to forget from time to time as well. Screw it, all that jazz doesn’t even matter because when it comes to football I surely know my game. I’ve said some things that have been wrong, but that only accounts for 3 instances in my football existence. So, when asked to do my predictions I figured, what the hell. Sure, the nephew might be able to actually keep tabs on the things I predict now, but that just gives me one more chance to prove my football knowledge dominance in this family tree. Let the predictions begin with glory and rapture!!!
- Vince Young – Top 5 fantasy quarterback in leagues that award only 4 points for throwing touchdowns.
- LenDale – more fantasy points than Chris Johnson in every format, except maybe PPR – that will be a close race.
- Earnest Graham won’t get 20+ carries in more than 3 games this season – and that bites into his value.
- Deion Branch – best fantasy receiver in Seattle (total points).
- LeSean McCoy will be a better professional running back than Beanie Wells – and he will be something (draft him in leagues where that’s a part of it).
- Willis McGahee – 1200+ rushing yards for the Ravens.
- Edgerrin James will break the 1000-yard mark once again.
- My nephew thinks Calvin Johnson will be a Top 15 WR – he’ll be a Top 5 WR – my nephew will edit this article and I thank him for that.
- Matt Ryan – much better fantasy quarterback than Joe Flacco this season – but neither will bust the Top 20.
- Chad Pennington will bust the Top 20, and throw at least 20 touchdowns if he plays more than 12 games.
- Jerchio Cotchery – easily outscore Coles in New York.
- Selvin Young – the leading rusher in the NFL headed into Week 7.
- Kurt Warner will get hurt in the first four weeks, allowing Matt Leinart to take the starting job back and keep it for the duration of the season – the entitled little bastard.
- DeAngelo Williams gets 66% of the carries in Carolina and rush for 1000+ yards for the first time in his career.
- Dustin Keller – Top 10 fantasy tight end by seasons end.
- So will Greg Olsen.
- Nate Burleson – scores double digit touchdowns in Seattle again.
- Steve Slaton will lead the Texans backfield, and will approach 80 receptions.
- Marion Barber – best running back this season in fantasy land.
- Brain Westbrook won’t play more than 11 games – as much as I love the guy.
- Chris Perry – top 15 fantasy running back.
- Frank Gore – top 5 fantasy back.
- Randy Moss – catches less than 15 touchdowns, but still has a great season – more catches this year.
- Chad Johnson figures out that the Bengals don’t have a chance by Week 6 – that’s when he opts for season ending surgery – he gets traded in 2009.
- The SeaChickens don’t win the NFC West this year.
- Neither do the freaking Niners.
- LT scores in each of his first four games to start the season.
- Adrian Peterson won’t break the Top 5 running back list in 2008.
- Willie Parker revisits his 2006 form and finishes the year with 1300+ yards and 9 touchdowns or more. (nephew thinks this is crazy old man speak)
- Plaxico Burress – his best statistical season, don’t believe my nephew’s bad ju-ju.
- Steve Smith – will be the #2 in New York and catch 65 balls at least.
- Steve Smith – Carolina’s best weapon puts up 12 touchdowns and finishes in the Top 5 amongst per-game fantasy receiver.
- Brandon Marshall – does work in Denver, grabbing 100+ balls in 15 games.
- Rookie receiver James Hardy will lead all rookie receivers in touchdowns.
- Tony Scheffler – Top 5 TE.
- The Ravens will lose at least 12 games.
- Santana Moss – ready? – 1300+ yards, 9+ touchdowns, 80+ grabs – believe it.
- Ronald Curry finally meets my nephew’s expectations now that he hasn’t said anything about him recently – 1000+ yards and 6 or more scores in 08.
- Chris Henry – more touchdowns for the Bengals than Chad Johnson gets.
- Adam “Pacman” Jones never gets in trouble again – he also plays offense a little this season and scores at least 4 touchdowns.
- Jamal Lewis will be a great buy-low candidate after Week 3 – get him then and reap the benefits. (nephew thinks this is a great call)
- Ryan Grant is going to be a beast – 1400 yards and 14 touchdowns are not out of the question.
- Reggie Bush – 10+ total touchdowns this season, his highest total of his career.
- Deuce McAllister will lead the Saints in rushing yards -even on 3 bad knees.
- Maurice Jones Drew – 200+ carries for 1200+ yards and scores at least 14 times – and welcome to JD being a Top 5 fantasy pick for the next 4 years.
- Tarvaris Jackson – 20+ touchdowns for the Vikings. (interesting says the nephew)
- So does Jason Campbell, but not for the Vikings.
- Anquan Boldin catches more balls than Larry Fitzgerald.
- Marvin Harrison catches 80+ balls and scores between 8-12 times.
- Terrell Owens will lead all receivers in touchdowns – damn his black heart.