Fantasy Focus: Week 17 Fantasy Football Rankings

If your into Week 17, you’re in the finals and your league is crazy for doing Week 17 finals – but there’s some hope! A- you likely are partaking in the winnings no matter what, and B- despite you having some guys that won’t be worth suiting up despite being awesome, I have a handful of guys ready to rock to the top spot despite low rankings. For the glory!!!

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

1. Ray Rice – The Raiders can’t handle the run and the Ravens need a win to get into the playoffs. Here, Ray, run…
2. Chris Johnson–  He’s going for 2000 yards on the season, and the all-time single season yards from scrimmage deal. And all this against the Hawks. You bet!
3. Jonathan Stewart – The Saints will end up resting guys and J-Stew will end up rocking the yardage.
4. Jay Cutler – Will the Bears let up and lose this week? I don’t think so, but either way, passing yards on they way!
5. Miles Austin– Tony has been throwing it great, and Miles has speed, great hands and his QB’s trust.

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

1. DeSean Jackson –The Cowboys’ worst nightmare, always a cut away from a long touchdown.
2. Carnell Williams– Caddy will come to play on Sunday, making it through a full season is reason to blow up!
3. Santonio Holmes – Like his teammate at WR, these two guys should do work in Miami.
4. Hines Ward – Should be good against the Dolphins leaky secondary.
5. Sydney Rice – The Giants secondary has been brutal, and Rice has been Favre’s go-to-guy.

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

1. Jerome Harrison –No reason to jump off his back, he’s been doing work for me!
2. Matt Forte – Almost a forgotten man, Forte should have a solid day against the Lions.
3. Arian Foster– Sure, he’s going up against a decent Patriots defensive front, but how long will they keep their starters in?
4. Quentin Ganther– Tough to want to start him after last week’s poo-pile, but I think he will be solid.
5. Devin Aromashadu– The kid has legit speed, and he goes to get the ball. Better yet, Jay likes to throw it to him.

Super Sleepers for Playoff Push…

1. Donald Brown – I think the rookie will get the lion’s share of the carries, good thing he’s playing Buffalo.
2. Sammy Morris – He seems to be the guy New England will use on Sunday – and he can pound away at yardage.
3. Shonn Greene –I see Greene taking over for Thomas Jones when the game is in the Jets’ hands, and that could be good.
4. Greg Camarillo – Should be good for at least 12 fantasy points this week vs. Pittsburgh.

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

1. Colts Starters– I’d be scared to start all the following starters for their teams, and I’m starting Tom Brady in one league despite my better judgment in not trusting Bill Belichick and Tom Brady.
2. Patriots Starters–
3. Bengals Starters –
4. Saints Starters –
5. Packers Starters–

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***Last week of the year, you might as well go down swinging!!! Good work to get this far!***


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

NFL Fantasy Focus Review: Week 2

One more week down in the NFL, one more fantasy title in the bag for me. That’s right folks, I fought off Red Red Ryan, his awkward red hair, and that allergy riddled red skin, and took home the top spot amongst the staff for the second straight week. If I ice the game for three weeks in a row, you can bet I’ll be talking hat trick once again. This is the review of my fantasy picks for Week 2, hope you enjoy the Fantasy Focus!

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

1. Michael Turner – Turner carried 28 times for a buck-0-five and a touchdown. But was just ok. C
2. Tom Brady – Tom was brutal this week, making me look like a rookie at this game. F
3. Marques Colston – 8 catches, 98 yards, 2 TDs, huge day. Those Eagles can’t guard big WRs. A+
4. Steve Smith – I told you week 1 was a fluke, Steve caught 8 balls for 131 yards in Week 2. B+
5. Brian Westbrook – Westbrook wasn’t as big a part of the offense as I thought. D

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

1. Eddie Royal – Eddie is killing me. I’m not giving up on him yet. F-
2. Ronnie Brown – 4th amongst backs, Ronnie had a huge day on the ground against the Colts. A+
3. Joe Flacco– His second straight multiple TD game of the season, but only 190 yards. B-
4. Joseph Addai – Addai was hurt by the Colts quick strike offense, getting only 6 carries and 31 yards. F
5. Leon Washington – Leon didn’t do much in a low scoring game. F

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

1. Michael Bush – The Raiders are dealing with 8 in the box, Bush had 9 carries for 35 yards. Ugh. D
2. David Garrard – 9th overall, that’s more like it, I think Garrard will have a quietly solid year. A-
3. LenDale White – Chris Johnson put on a show, and White got just 6 carries for 25 yards, tough deal. F
4. Mike Bell– Mike looked good again, and despite getting hurt, put up 85 yards and a TD on 18 touches. A
5. Nate Burleson – Four catches for 46 yards, no scores. The Hawks looked lost when Matt went down. D+

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

1. Jay Cutler – Cutler played well, giving his team a chance even though they couldn’t run at all. F
2. Reggie Bush – 13 touches for 75 yards and a touchdown, better than I thought. D
3. Steven Jackson – 17 carries for 104, 4 grabs for 15 yards. Not bad, better than I expected, not great. C+
4. Julius Jones – He may have snuck in a short TD catch, but Julius had 11 yards on 8 carries. I was right. A
5. Patrick Crayton – 3 fantasy points in a PPR league. This one I got one right on the money. A

PS – If you started Wes Welker, it probably hurt you. I know I won a league because of it…

Week 2 Fantasy Rankings

Josh Arsenault		Ryan Kauffman		Papa Weimer		Lucky Lester


1.Drew Brees 2   	1.Drew Brees 2		1.Drew Brees 2		1.Tom Brady 28
2.Peyton Manning 7	2.Peyton Manning 7	2.Tom Brady 28    	2.Kurt Warner 9
3.Aaron Rodgers	14	3.Tom Brady 28     	3.Tony Romo 23    	3.Peyton Manning 7
4.Kurt Warner 9   	4.Kurt Warner 9		4.Matt Hasselbeck 31	4.Joe Flacco 17
5.Matt Schaub 1  	5.Aaron Rodgers 14	5.Kyle Orton 18		5.Drew Brees 2

1.Adrian Peterson 8	1.Adrian Peterson 8	1.Adrian Peterson 8	1.Michael Turner 15
2.Maurice Jones Drew 25	2.Chris Johnson 1	2.Michael Turner 15	2.Brian Westbrook 33
3.Brian Westbrook 33	3.Maurice Jones Drew 25	3.Darren McFadden 21	3.Adrian Peterson 8
4.Ronnie Brown 4	4.Clinton Portis 33	4.Maurice Jones Drew 25	4.Frank Gore 2
5.Clinton Portis 33	5.Brian Westbrook 33	5.Thomas Jones 41 	5.Chris Johnson 1


1.Greg Jennings	109	1.Reggie Wayne 54   	1.Larry Fitzgerald 27	1.Randy Moss 54
2.Larry Fitzgerald 27	2.Larry Fitzgerald 27	2.Reggie Wayne 54	2.Larry Fitzgerald 27
3.Reggie Wayne 54  	3.Randy Moss 54		3.Steve Smith 7   	3.Marques Colston 3
4.Andre Johnson 1	4.Roddy White 16	4.Jericho Cotchery 30	4.Andre Johnson 1
5.Steve Smith 7  	5.Greg Jennings 109	5.Calvin Johnson 16	5.Steve Smith 7


1.Jason Witten 8 	1.Jason Witten 8	1.Tony Gonzalez 3	1.Dallas Clark 1
2.Chris Cooley 6	2.Dallas Clark 1	2.John Carlson 13 	2.Jason Witten 8
3.Tony Gonzalez	3	3.John Carlson 13	3.Dallas Clark 1 	3.Zach Miller 49
4.Jeremy Shockey 18	4.Tony Gonzalez	3	4.Owen Daniels 4 	4.Kellen Winslow 2
5.Zach Miller 49  	5.Owen Daniels 4  	5.Jason Witten 8	5.Chris Cooley 6


1.Steelers 18		1.Vikings 4		1.Vikings 4		1.Steelers 18
2.Ravens 18		2.Steelers 18		2.Steelers 18		2.Packers 12
3.Vikings 4		3.Redskins 3		3.Ravens 18		3.Falcons 12
4.Seahawks 24		4.Patriots 16		4.Packers 12		4.Redskins 3
5.Falcons 12		5.Packers 12		5.Cowboys 31		5.Vikings 4


Kickers be damned, but here's the Week 2 Rankings:
1. Rian Lindell 2. Lawrence Tynes 3. Dan Carpenter 4. Nate Kaeding
Looking back at the week's action... For the second straight week, I had higher rated
players in my Top 5 lists than anybody else on the site. Josh took QBs, Ryan took the TEs
pretty easily, and I had running backs, receivers, and defenses taken care of. Ryan had lots
of second place finishes, but his terrible WR picks kept him in 2nd place, keeping me on
top. It feels good to win, always. Papa Weimer pretty much pooped the bed, but he's old and
basically needs help getting up at night to use the toilet, so that kind of thing is
expected now and again. Josh was the only writer that had the balls to take Matt Schaub,
plus he left Tom Brady off his Top 5, those two things gave him an easy win. We missed a lot
of good quarterbacks in Week 2, Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Byron Leftwich, and Eli
Manning finished 3-6 respectively - not one writer picked any one of those guys. As for RB,
nobody picked Darren Sproles, Marion Barber, Fred Jackson, or Willis McGahee - those guys
finished 3, 5, and tied for 6 on the week. Felix Jones and Carnell Williams also did work
rounding out the top 10. In the receiver area, I had numbers 1, 3, and 7 in my top 5, seeing
big games from Andre Johnson, Marques Colston, and Steve Smith. Plus, I didn't put Greg
Jennings in my Top 5 like Red Red Ryan and Josh, his 0 point night put them in a tough spot.
We left out Mario Manningham, who made a big name for himself with a great Sunday Night
performance. A couple more Top 10 guys that didn't get picked, Steve Smith (NYG), Vincent
Jackson, Mike Sims-Walker, Donald Driver, Ted ginn Jr., and DeSean Jackson. Jason Avant
and Johnny Knox also had big games out of nowhere.  Ryan took the TE list with 1, 3, 8, 4,
and 13 all making his Top 5. Brent Celek, Marcedez Lewis, and Kellen Davis all made the top
10, and none of us picked them. The Broncos and Cardinals finished atop the defensive
rankings, and went unpicked in any of our Top 5s. That's how it was, one more week for
Lucky Lester!!!

Keeping score for week 2! This is the positional breakdown based on Week 2's rankings:
Josh Arsenault		Ryan Kauffman		Papa Weimer		Lucky Lester

1.QBs 1         	1.QBs 2		        1.QBs 4  		1.QBs 3
2.RBs 3		        2.RBs 2	   	        2.RBs 4                 2.RBs 1
3.WRs 3		        3.WRs 4		        3.WRs 2         	3.WRs 1
4.TEs 4  		4.TEs 1          	4.TEs 2         	4.TEs 3
5.DST 3         	5.DST 2         	5.DST 4         	5.DST 1

Week 2 Fantasy Football News: Ten for Tuesday

After two weeks, Drew Brees is on pace to throw 72 touchdown passes while gaining one million yards (but is still second to Phillip Rivers in the yardage area). His QB Rating is 132.9, damn near perfect. However, it’s not Brees and his 9 touchdowns that has me amazed. It’s second year studs, Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco that have me impressed. These guys haven’t heard of sophomore slump, both have their teams undefeated, and are tied for second in QB TDs behind Drew….   Three offensive coordinators were fired right before the season started, of the three, it looks like only the Chiefs little fella has had any effect, and that might be pushing it. See Buffalo is moving the ball and putting up points despite cutting their OC, Trent Edwards is Top 5 in passer rating and tied for 4th with four touchdowns thus far. Byron Leftwich has also tossed 4 touchdowns while Tampa’s running game has put up some solid totals as well. The Chiefs have been brutal, but it’s hard to see KC being much better with Bill Walsh calling plays….    Brett Favre has the highest completion percentage in the NFL, and has yet to toss an interception. So much for him being too much of a gunslinger, and starting off the season a little rusty after spending more time throwing to high school receivers than pro guys. It has to be nice handing the ball to Mr. Peterson……  The 2007 Draft class is beginning to look like a quarterback bust. So far, the best season has to be given to Tyler Thigpen for his performance down the stretch last year. Trent Edwards is probably the best player of the bunch, especially given that Tyler couldn’t beat out Brodie Croyle for the Chiefs #3 job. Maybe Troy Smith would be getting the nod if he had not gotten hurt before the 2008 season, but Joe Flacco has that job on lock down so we may never see. The two first round picks, Brady Quinn and JaMarcus Russell (not in that order) have been guys I’ve tried to like, but they are making it very difficult to do so….    Matthew Stafford is not ready to be an NFL quarterback. I don’t know how else to put it. I know his first name is Matt, and last year a guy named Matt was a first year stud, but it’s not that kind of copycat league. He throws the ball really hard, and will pull an amazing toss out of his ace here and there, but the kid has a guy named Calvin Johnson on his team, of course he’s going to look good now and again. The Lions have lost nearly 20 straight football games, I know they’re not going to win a lot this year, but they might want to get Culpepper in there so they have a chance to break that streak before it gets into the 30s….   Speaking of that class, it may not have been QB heavy (to say the least) but there are some absolute freaks of nature (from that group) taking the league by storm. Adrian Peterson, beast. Calvin Johnson, freak. Patrick Willis, machine. Darrell Revis, stud. And there’s more pro-bowlers from that group. It may be top heavy, but you could argue that those four guys are either the best but no lower than Top 5 at their positions…..   Marc Bulger is brutal. Somebody tell me how Jeff Garcia can just get signed last week when Marc Bulger can have a starting gig and millions of dollars getting paid to him to do what he does. Brutal. If they lose 16, they need to get the nod for worst team of all time….    It’s hard to write a weekly fantasy re-cap without mentioning Mario Manningham, it’s not fair to you guys and it’s not fair to him. Manningham looked like a beast in college, but he looks frail in the NFL. But looks can be deceiving, because all you have to do is ask the Cowboys to understand how tough this guy is to tackle. Apparently Elly Manning knew something when he told everyone that he expected big things from mini-Mario. He’s fast enough to get open, runs good routes, and has shown fearlessness when catching the ball in traffic. Steve Smith has been solid, but I don’t expect this to be Mario’s only good week. And I don’t know if the Giants are going to have a mediocre receiving corps for long. A trio of Hakeem Nicks, Mario, and Smith – with Hixon as a 4 – that is going to be a good group…..   Julius Jones in Week 1 or Julius Jones in Week 2? Somewhere inbetween. It’s tough to fault him completely for his 8 carry for 11 yard performance against the 49ers. The Hawks will start getting offensive linemen back this next week, and should get better as the season moves forward. That being said, they only play the Rams one more time – still, Jones will be alright…..   Felix Jones is still averaging over 8 yards per carry, which is just disgusting. I know he only has 13 carries this season, and barely over 40 for his short career, but he might get real carry numbers next week, and here’s to hoping he continues to bust carry’s off for 8.9 per clip. He might be the only RB in the history of the NFL that averages more yards per run than he does per catch….   Brandon Jacobs, Darren McFadden, and Kevin Smith: 3 guys I thought would have big years, are all averaging less than 4 yards a carry through 2 games. Kevin Smith has had a tough time early, but Sunday’s 85 yard performance against a stout Vikings defense makes me think he’ll be just fine. Jacobs should start to see more running room with Elly and his receivers looking good enough for the girls he goes with. And McFadden, well, unless Russell starts showing defenses that he can complete more than half his passes, he’s going to struggle to find room. Still, if you’re paying a running back that much cake, get him the ball at least 20 times a game. Yeah, that’s 11, not 10, so sue me.

Fantasy Football Value: Thing 1 and Thing 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

theRUNDOWN: Week 17

What is theRUNDOWN? I pick my best team of the week, some nice plays with a few reasons to back up my picks. I’ll list a few sleepers and some guys I wouldn’t play unless I had nobody else, we call these splinter butts because of their need to be benched – this is the last week of the year, and quite possibly the last Rundown ever – only because I figure there might be a better way to go about my weekly fantasy predictions -anyway, without further a due, this is theRUNDOWN for Week 17.

QB: Phillip Rivers vs. Denver: Because this is Philip Rivers’ team now, and they will need him to continue his huge season to get into the playoffs. Not only that, but this guy somehow got snubbed by not making the Pro-Bowl, and he’s out to show everyone the mistake they made.

RB: Kevin Smith vs. Green Bay: The Packers lost yet another game that they should have won when they took an OT shot to the face last week against the Bears. The Packers can’t stop the run, and I know Kevin is getting the ball 23-30 times this week. That’s more than I can say about most running backs – with playing time in question, I’ll take this solid young back that’s gotten better as the season matured.

RB: Michael Turner vs. St. Louis: The Falcons have to go into their game against the Rams with hopes of a first round bye. That means Turner pounding the Rams into submission, and that’s a good thing for Mike Turner owners. I think he’ll have a huge Week 17.

FLEX: Pierre Thomas vs. Carolina: It’s a tough match-up for Thomas, but in this PPR format and in a game that should be close, he’s going to get around 20 carries and 5-8 catches – that makes for a good game from this ultra-talented back.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald vs. Seattle: This guy is a beast for Seattle’s little corners to match-up with, and I think the Cardinals come out winging it around against the Hawks. Fitzy is one of the most consistent receivers in the league, and in a game where Arizona needs to find their mojo, I see Kurt looking under the Larry Fitz rock.

WR: Terrell Owens vs. Philadelphia: He hasn’t had a real big week in a while, but I think TO gets back to wrecking the Eagles with a huge game against his former team. TO is a gong-show, no doubt about that, but he’s a gong-show with amazing ability, the ability he loves to torment the Eagles with.

TE: Tony Gonzalez vs. Cincinnati: I’m not giving up on Tony – he’s legit, against Cincinnati he looks like the best play around.

K: Robbie Gould vs. Houston: Dome games and kickers are a nice combo, and the Bears offense is just bad enough to move a little bit and get in FG range before being halted.

D: Pittsburgh vs. Cleveland: I just see Ken Dorsey causing more problems for the Browns offense, and the Steelers turnover causing defense will be at it again, starters or not.


Tyler Thigpen: I like this match-up, especially if you get more points for a quarterback rushing touchdown. Thigpen gets 40-50 yards a week, and it most leagues that’s just like a free touchdown. He’s a great start this week against the Bungles.
Jason Campbell: With the last game here, and the pressure off, maybe Zorn will take the reigns off as they say. Let the kid throw the ball down field!
Joe Flacco: I like the kid this week against the Jags, what’s not to like?
Larry Johnson: I’m thinking that LJ gets more carries this week than he has over the last few weeks, and I think he does some nice work against the Bengals.
Fred Jackson: I don’t think Lynch plays, and that makes Jackson a great start. Fred does a lot of things well, catching the ball too, and he should get lots of touches against the Patriot, and that’s a good thing against a run defense that isn’t great.
Jon Stewart: I think Stewart gets the Lion’s share of the carries this week as Williams gets a little bit of a rest. I think Stewart has a BIG game.
Chad Johnson: Chad hasn’t had a big game all year – that’s too rare for this game breaker, even if Ryan Fitz is his QB – I like him to have his highest yardage output of the season against the Chieftains.
Mewelde Moore: He’s been better than Fast Willie, so much so that I think Parker gets the axe headed into next season. Moore will get a lot of carries this week, and that’s good for him.
Mark Bradley: You bet! The former Bear is back in action, and I’m willing to bet that he has a big game in his second game back from injury. Thigpen loves him. Anytime Mark’s on the field, Tyler has seemed to have big games.
Greg Olsen: How about the Bears knowing what’s good for them and getting the ball to this playmaker? I see them doing that in the final week.
Atlanta Falcons: Bye week #2 seed on the line, St. Louis in their way, I see big plays and a big day from Atlanta.

Papa’S Week 17 Splinter-Butts (bench him, son)
Peyton Manning: If he plays, he won’t play long, the Colts are one of the few teams in football that can’t better or worsen their position this week, and Tony Dungy is a guy that believes in resting his stars before the playoffs.
Marshawn Lynch: What do the Bills gain by playing Lynch? Nothing is the answer, except further risk of a lingering ailment.
Jamal Lewis: No thank you. What an impossible season schedule for Jamal.

Fantasy Super Bowl: And Quotes from the Sofa

Well, the fantasy Superbowls (in most leagues) came and went, and those of you that picked up Dominic Rhodes and started him, those folks that kept going with DeAngelo Williams against a tough Giants defense, the guys that said hell yes to the Tarvaris Jacksons, Tyler Thigpens, and Isaac Bruces – good on ya! Those of you that hung your chances on the maybe injured souls of Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, they both did magic tricks – Ward with yardage and Jacobs with touchdowns. Even those that had to choose between LeRon McClain and Willis – no matter what, your choice worked out. But those that rested their Championship dreams on recently added new faces like Deshaun Foster, Deion Branch, Caddy Williams, Dan Orlovsky or old fantasy studs like Marion Barber, Joseph Addai, Kurt Warner, and Willie Parker – I feel for you. I really, really do. Who knew Addai would suit up and not play? Not me – that’s for sure. I would have started Rhodes in one league, and I would have sat Addai in another. But life, and fantasy, they are both full of these choices. For those that won, let this be a celebration. For those that lost, let this brighten your snowy, sunless days. Here are some quotes from the sofa that caught my attention…

During the morning game…

“Why are they making me watch this? It’s 47-0!!! I hate cable TV!!!”

“If I see another damn infomercial I’m going to punch Martin Gramatica in the mouth, then Tony Harding that knee of his brother’s.”

During the Jets Game…

“I bet Laveranues Coles would have caught that ball if Chad Pennington would have thrown it.”

“Maybe they should have kept Chad Pennington, or maybe they should trade Chad for Brett in the offseason.” (Thanks FOX)

“Do you think Man-jina realizes that his team has won every game that Thomas Jones carries the ball more than 20 times?”

“Do you think Man-jina is trying to lose this game, his job, and his wife?”

“If you aren’t sure that your kicker can make a 50 yarder, but then he gets a free trial run and busts one through the uprights that would be good from 60+, is it fair to say that you should get fired for then deciding to punt?”

During the Broncos game…

“Hahahaha – now they have to play a Chargers team playing their best football all year, in San Diego. Awesome. I bet Splinter is going to put his Ninja Turtles through so much Ninja training.”

During the Eagles game…

“Are Andy Reid and Eric Man-jina going to the same psychiatrist?”

“Playing not to lose is like playing the prevent with 4 minutes left in the game while you’re up 2.”

“If the Eagles score right there, do you think they go for the tie… you know, in overtime?”

During the Night Game…

Q: “True or False: When Eli Manning makes that face after a bad pass he looks like you stole his lunch box, ate everything in it, crapped in his napkin, put it back in his designated lunch box area. And then he returned after a three day fast, only to sit down, open up the box, and find the crap in the napkin… And then he ate it because he was so hungry…???” A: “I’m going to go with true.”

Q: “If Brandon Jacobs fought Mike Ditka, who would win?” – A “Ooooo, tough one, did Jacobs sign with the Bears as a free agent?”

“If I would have started JaMarcus Russell, Tashard Choice, Dominic Rhodes, and Johnnie Lee Higgins over Kurt Warner, LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Slaton, and Andre Johnson – I would have won.”

“Does Tom Coughlin look like an evil smurf?”

“If you mute the TV while Chris Collinsworth is talking, everything feels better.”
“How do you know when he’s done talking?”
“You have to guess, but it’s better to just be safe and wait until the game’s over or until you change the channel.”