Thursday, October 9, 2008

Week Six: Pull the Trigger. Double Duty!

Last week was a little difficult to predict favorable matchups for wide receivers. That being said, I hope that anyone reading this site (which I doubt there is but yet I continue to write diligently for the readers that cease to exist) had a computer malfunction last week after reading the running backs and quarterbacks. That being said, here is another attempt to inform you of the busts and the breakouts in the upcoming weekend.

Breakouts of the Week

Adrian Peterson, MIN: This is the week that A.P. really produces like a number two pick in the draft. He goes against the Lions who are miserable right now. The Saints were able to slow down Peterson, but the Lions do not have the skill nor the desire to do so. Detroit is ranked 30th against the run and Minnesota will jump out to an early lead, meaning more rushing plays than passing. He will run all over them and it will be a very entertaining weekend for Peterson owners. Tune in and enjoy the show.

Clinton Portis, WAS: Clinton Portis also has a favorable matchup and coming off of two 120+ yard performances made it too difficult to select just one start of the week. The Rams are as disfunctional as the Lions and both defenses continue to pleas fantasy football owners. Clinton Portis will rush for over 100 yards again and should find the endzone at least once against the awful Saint Louis Rams.


Start Em

Drew Brees, NO: After taking a beating from the Viking's defense, Brees looks to recover and rebound in week six. Brees faces a weak Oakland D ranked 21st in the league. Also, Hall had a very difficult time covering speedy receiver Eddie Royal, and New Orleans is known for their deep passing game. Combine the two and Brees should total three touchdowns and 300 yards in week six. Kyle Orton, CHI: If I would have told you at the beginning of the season that a Bear's quarterback would be a reliable fantasy quarterback, you probably would have just laughed. Kyle Orton passed Grossman on the depth chart and has thrown at least two touchdown passes in his last three games. Orton faces Atlanta in week six and should continue his hot streak. Atlanta is ranked 19th against the pass so look for Orton and the Bears to go up early via the air. Jay Cutler, DEN: Starting Cutler is usually a no-brainer and this week is no exception. After a mediocre start against Tampa Bay last week, Cutler will rebound against the Jaguars in week six. Fat Boy in Pittsburgh was able to throw for three touchdowns and over 300 yards last week, marking the first time Big Ben eclipsed the 200 yard mark in 2008. Cutler will have similar numbers, so look for Brandon Marshall to return to form as well.

Others to Consider Starting: David Garrard, JAC; Jason Campbell, WAS; Aaron Rodgers, GB

Sit Em

Brett Favre, NYJ: Coming off a bye week and a huge performance against Arizona, Favre will come back to earth this week against the Bengals. Thomas Jones and company will run all over the weak Cincinnati rush defense, leaving Brett Favre with fewer passing opportunities. Cincinnati is ranked 4th against the pass but 29th against the run. If you were the coach, what would you do? Exactly. Jon Kitna, DET: Detroit has been an absolute fantasy nightmare this season. Every player has been a bust in one aspect or another, so why even bother playing Kitna? Detroit faces a tough Viking's defense that held Drew Brees in check, forcing him to commit three turnovers. Bench Kitna in week six when he heads to Minnesota. J.T. O'Sullivan, SF: O,Sullivan faces Philly this weekend in a battle between the east coast and the west coast. O'Sullivan will be relatively quiet this week after watching Clinton Portis steamroll the Eagles' defense. Gore will get a lot of carries and although Isaac Bruse is emerging as a reliable fantasy option, O'Sullivan's numbers will take a hit in week six.

Others to Consider Sitting: Derek Anderson, CLE; Matt Hasselbeck, SEA

Running Backs

Start Em

Brandon Jacobs, NYG: The best news to hear in NFL football this year is that you are playing the Browns or the Rams, and New York is doing just that. Jacobs put a hurting on Seattle last week, rushing for 136 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He will have similar success against the 22nd ranked Browns assuming Ward does not take his carries away. Ryan Grant, GB: Surprise Surprise, Ryan Grant may actually have a productive week like all fantasy owners expected five weeks ago. The Packers face Seattle in week six in a game that could result in over 40 points scored by the cheeseheads. Jacobs made the Seahawks look silly and Grant has more speed and gets more carries. Grant is coming off of a solid week in Atlanta and it does not look like Green Bay has completely given up on Grant. Ronnie Brown, MIA: Welcome back Ronnie!!! After his coming out party against the Patriots, Ronnie Brown continues to lead the Miami Dolphins. Ranging from direct snaps to reversals, he is always in the mix and faces a Texans defense ranked 26th against the run. He will have a pretty good week for all owners, so start him in all leagues.

Others to Consider Starting: Matt Forte, CHI; Thomas Jones, NYJ; Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC

Sit Em

Michael Turner, ATL: As an owner, it hurts to admit it but Michael Turner cannot get it done against tough run defenses in the NFL. Turner faces Chicago in week six, making it a difficult matchup against one of the best linebackers in the NFL. Until Turner can prove he can run against tough defenses, bench him for a better option in week six. Rudi Johnson, DET: He was named the starter, then demoted, and now he faces one of the best rush defenses in the Minnesota Vikings. Minnesota made Deuce McAllister look pathetic, and Rudi Johnson is a very similar type runner. Detroit will get pummeled on the ground and the only way they stand a chance is through the air. Good Bye Detroit!!! Jamal Lewis, CLE: He scored his first touchdown last week against Cincinnati, but it is very unlike he will do so again in week six. The Browns face the New York Giants in week six. Facing the returning champions ranked sixth against the rush will make it difficult to establish a run game. This will be especially difficult considering the amount of points the Giants have been able to put up. I was a little hesitant to sit Lewis, but if you have other favorable matchups, put him on the pine.

Others to Consider Sitting: Joseph Addai, IND; Edgerrin James, ARI

Wide Receivers

Start Em

Bernard Berrian, MIN: The speedy receiver out of Fresno State has had three big weeks since Gus has taken over and his success should continue into week six. The Vikings face Detroit, which is all I need to say. This is the easiest prediction I have ever written. T.J. Houshmanzdadeh, CIN: Housh had another big week against Dallas and it appears that he is the only receiver recognized as a playmaker in Cincinnati. Johnson is terrible, Palmer relies on Housh in the passing game, and Cincinnati plays the Jets in week six. The Jets are ranked last against the pass, so the chances are even Cincinnati will be able to throw all over the place. Santana Moss, WAS: What a surprise Moss has been in 2008. Totaling 421 yards and three touchdowns, Moss has only scored under 10 points once this year, which was last week when he did not have a reception. Moss faces the Rams in week six, and there is nothing prettier than facing a team ranked 29th against the pass and 28th against the rush. This game will be a lopsided mess, which the Rams are becoming used to.

Others to Consider Starting: Greg Jennings, GB; Randy Moss, NE; Terrell Owens, DAL

Sit Em

Marvin Harrison, IND: This was supposed to be the year that Harrison went back to being Marvin Harrison. Then he shot someone, lost his route running ability, and took the back seat to Reggie Wayne. Now he is a number two receiver in an offense that is failing to get its grove back. To make things worse, the Colts face the number one pass defense and number one rush defense in week six. Harrison has been over 50 receiving yards only once this year and has only found the endzone once. Give Harrison a rest until a more favorable matchup comes along. Roy Williams, DET: Trade rumors, Calvin Johnson, a member of the Lions, all factors going against Roy Williams this season. Now he faces a tough defense in Minnesota, which will increase the likelihood of a trade. Do all fantasy owners a favor Roy and go to San Francisco. Isaac Bruce, SF: Speaking of San Francisco, Father Time has something to say and the message is he is not done in the NFL yet. Bruce, in his 15th season in the NFL, has come on strong as of late, but facing the Eagles' defense will not help build his momentum. The Eagles limited Jason Campbell to only 176 yards last week. Sit Bruce until week 8 when he faces the Seahawks.

Others to Consider Sitting: Laveranues Coles, NYJ; Bobby Engram, SEA

Tight Ends

Start Em

Owen Daniels, HOU:

Chris Cooley, WAS:

Visanthe Schiancoe, MIN:

Sit Em

Todd Heap:

Kellen Winslow, CLE: (swollen balls)

Dallas Clark, IND:

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Week Five: Pull The Trigger. The Barbershop Quartet

Breakout of the Week

Marion Barber, DAL: Barber had a dismal week against Washington, primarily because he was limited to eight carries in the entire game. This week, all the attention will be on Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson, but I have a feeling Marion Barber will have the most to say come post-game. Cincinnati is ranked 28th against the run so Phillips will take advantage of this statistic all day. This also means that Felix Jones will also benefit from this matchup. Although any Dallas offensive player is worth a start in week 5, Marion Barber should produce like the top five running back he is.


Start Em

Philip Rivers, SD: Rivers had his first below average performance of the 2008 season against Oakland in week 4. The success of LT on the ground played an important role in limiting River's statistics last week. Rivers faces Miami in week 5, which should drastically increase his 2008 statistics from an already remarkable 1,024 yards and 10 touchdowns. Kurt Warner was able to throw for 361 yards and three touchdowns against Miami, so Rivers and company should have a productive week. Eli Manning, NYG: Fresh off of a bye week, Manning enters week 5 without the always deadly Burress. However, Manning led the Giants to a victory in week three without any productivity from Burress until overtime. Trent Edwards, BUF: Edwards continues to remain a consistent fantasy option. Although he does not post yardage statistics like Warner, Kitna, or any other low level passing quarterbacks, he also doesn't make as many mistakes. A solid running game in Buffalo allows Edwards to hit the little passes to move the chains and take big chances with Lee and Hardy. He faces Arizona in week 5 after they allowed Brett Favre to throw six touchdown passes against them. Edwards is a great start in all fantasy leagues.

Others to consider starting: Carson Palmer, CIN; Donovan McNabb, PHI

Sit Em

David Garrard, JAC: Garrard has been decent all year, but the Pittsburgh Steeler's defense has been great all year. In any sport, I will take the team that performs well over the one leader that performs well. Garrard has yet to throw over 250 yards or over one touchdown in any game this season. Pittsburgh is ranked 7th against the pass and only has allowed three passing touchdowns all season. Give Garrard a rest this week and start any viable option you have on your roster. Aaron Rodgers, GB: The only reason I have decided to place him here is because of the recent shoulder injury. The Packers are generally mum when it comes to disclosing injuries, so until he is declared ready to play, we will have little information. If he plays, Rodgers goes up against a mediocre Falcons defense at home. Monitor this situation and if Rodgers is cleared to play, you may want to start him this week. Kerry Collins, TEN: It is now apparent that no player will have a good week against the Baltimore Ravens. Although Tennessee is winning, it is the result of their defense and the running game. Kerry Collins will have another down week and this will be a defensive battle. Reserve Collins in all leagues.

Others to consider sitting: Matt Schaub, HOU; J.T O'Sullivan, SF;

Running Backs

Start Em

Matt Forte, CHI: Not only is Detroit a dirty city, it is also notorious for its terrible sports franchises (Red Wings and Pistons excluded). This year in the NFL is no exception. Detroit is ranked 32nd against the rush and will have trouble stopping Chicago's primary back out of Tulane University. Forte has had a great rookie campaign thus far and will continue to add to his statbook on Sunday. Start him in all leagues this week. Joseph Addai, IND: Fresh off of a bye week, Indy will look to regain the momentum offensively that they have been used to with Peyton Manning. Indy has been trying to commit more to the run to open up looks for Manning and what better way to accomplish this than against the 27th ranked rushing defense of the Houston Texans. Addai has scored at least once in his last two games and he will find the endzone again in week 5. Earnest Graham, TB: Another 60-yard scamper turned a decent week for Earnest Graham into a great performance in week 4. The lacks of carries until the fourth quarter concerned some owners, but Graham still finished with 20 carries for 111 yards and a touchdown. Earnest goes against Denver in week three and should be able to post similar numbers as Larry Johnson did in week 4 (198 yards and two touchdowns).

Others to consider starting: Edgerrin James, ARI; Reggie Bush, NO; Jonathan Stewart, CAR

Sit Em

Clinton Portis, WAS: Portis was able to reach the the 100 yard mark last week, but a tough Philly D and a balanced offensive attack will prevent him from doing so in week 5. Philly is ranked first against the rush, so it is difficult to imagine that he will have a field day. I am not suggesting that you sit Portis for any other running back, but if the options are available, this may be a down week for Portis. LenDale White, TEN: He has been a touchdown machine in the first four weeks (5 touchdowns) but has never rushed for more than 60 yards. Chris Johnson found the endzone twice last week which is a disaster for all White owners. Bench White this week and wait till the matchup is favorable to activate him again. Hopefully, you handcuffed him with Johnson! Selvin Young, DEN: Denver is a nightmare at running back when it comes to fantasy production. One week, Young could rush for 160 yards on 12 carries good for two touchdowns, only to lose his job the next week to the running back third on the depth chart. Denver has seen more running backs in the last 10 years than Brianna Banks has sex partners, due to Shannahan's fickle personality. Young faces Tampa Bay, who did an excellent job stuffing Ryan Grant in week 5.

Others to consider sitting: Deuce McAllister, NO; Julius Jones, SEA

Wide Receivers

Start Em

Calvin Johnson, DET: Johnson was a monster in the first two games of the season and should repeat the same numbers against Chicago this week. Chicago's run defense is superb, but the pass defense has left a lot to be desired. Chicago ranks 28th against the pass and Calvin has replaced Roy Williams as the primary receiver in Detroit. Larry Fitzgerald, ARI: Boldin almost left week 4 in a body bag, so it is safe to say that Fitz should get a lot more attention in week 5. Fitz has 415 yards and two touchdowns on the season, so he should continue to shine against the 4-0 Buffalo Bills. Man does that feel weird to say. Start Fitzgerald in week 5 because the 4-0 Bills made the Rams look like a passing team. Chris Chambers, SD: Teams in the past have just abused the Dolphins offensively. This will be a great week for Rivers to get back on track. Expect Chambers to find the endzone again this week. The Dolphins are ranked 25th against the pass so the Chargers should toss it all day in good old Miami.

Sit Em

Hines Ward, PIT: Hines has not done much since his explosive week 1 performance to justify starting him this week. Fat Boy in Pittsburgh cannot throw the ball for over 200 yards and is banged up from the abuse he has taken early on. Jacksonville's pass defense is rather weak, but Fat Boy never gets it done through the air when the running game is struggling. Willie Parker is out and Mendenhall is out for the year, so sit Ward this week until the running game is established in the Steel City. Randy Moss, NE: Owners at the beginning of the year were hoping that Moss would be able to repeat his 2007 numbers. Now all they are hoping for is an idiot to accept him in a trade package. The injury to Brady has crushed Moss' fantasy reputation and production across the board. Moss faces San Francisco in week 5, meaning Clement and Harris should be able to limit him in week 5. Derrick Mason, BAL: Mason has surprised some owners in 2008, serving as the leading receiver in Baltimore thus far. Baltimore faces a tough Tennessee defense in week 5, which should limit the production of Flacco and Mason.

Tight Ends

Start Em

Dallas Clark, IND:

Tony Gonzalez, KC:

Greg Olsen, CHI:

Sit Em

Chris Cooley, WAS:

Todd Heap, BAL:

Heath Miller, PIT:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Pull The Trigger? I won't be FRANK!!!

In fantasy football, it is all about the matchups. I would be a returning champ if I would have noticed that Earnst Graham went against a tough team with the division clinched and Clinton Portis went against a porous defense in week 15 of the 2007 season. That was a big "if" and as a result, I sit here writing as the second place finisher, or as some would say, first loser. Every week, I will analyze the matchups of different players to help you determine who is worth starting and who should join your reserves for an early bye week in fantasy land.

Breakout of the Week

Frank Gore, RB, SF: This is the week Frank Gore has been waiting for. He gets to play at home against the worst run defense in the NFL coming off of a huge division win against Seattle. Detroit has allowed an average of 221 yards per game in the first two weeks of the 2008 season. Gore has yet to reach the 100 yard mark this year, but he has spent some time in the endzone every week. In week three, look for Gore to eclipse the 100 yard mark and spend some more time in the endzone. Martz will want to stick it to his former employer, resulting in a lot of scoring regardless of the deficit. If Frank Gore does not explode in week three, I am trading in my San Fran fan card and selecting a new team.

Start Em

Drew Brees, NO: Brees is headed to Denver in week three and hopes for a rebound performance after week two. Denver allowed Phillip Rivers to pass for three touchdown passes and Jamarcus Russell for two. Allowing Russell to throw two touchdowns on you is about as degrading as losing an IQ test to Jessica Simpson. Brees is one of the best quarterbacks in the league and despite missing Colston, should have a huge week against 29th ranked Denver. Matt Cassel, NE: If he is going to prove to fans that he can be the leader in New England, this is the week it will happen. New England faces Miami on Sunday. Miami gave up 140 yards three touchdowns to Anquan Boldin alone in week two. If Boldin can shred the Miami defense, imagine what Moss will do. This type of physical domination should result in Cassel having his his first career day since his sophomore year of high school when he actually played. Jake Delhomme, CAR: Minnesota has been destroyed through the air in 2008. Aaron Rodgers made them look silly and Peyton Manning threw for over 200 yards in the second half. Delhomme will have his favorite target back in week three which will contribute to the increased production by Delhomme. Delhomme struggled last week against Chicago, but so did Manning in the season opener. Look for Delhomme to post decent numbers in week three.

Sit Em

Derek Anderson, CLE: Cleveland is a sloppy mess when it comes to offensive production. This will not change in week three. Baltimore is ranked in the top five in both rush defense and pass defense. Playing in Baltimore is difficult enough, but add the best pass defense in the league and Anderson could be seeing stars by the end of the day. In 2007, Anderson threw for 274 yards, zero touchdowns and one interception. Bench Anderson and wait until Cincinnati to activate him. Jason Campbell, WAS: Jason had a coming out party last week, connecting with Santana Moss for a score, capping off a 321 yard performance. This week, Campbell goes against a decent Cardinals defense that has improved over the year. Bench Campbell this week and wait until he can prove he is worthy of a start every week. Marc Bulger, STL: If he is unable to perform this week, he may be done for his career. Bulger has a great running game in Steven Jackson, a solid receiver in Holt, and a serviceable tight end in McMichael. However, his receiving corp lacks depth and this may cause a problem throughout the year. Until Bulger can prove he is back to his 2006 form, he is nothing more than a reserve in fantasy leagues.

Running Backs

Start Em

Michael Turner, ATL: He already proved that he can run the ball against a weak defense. Turner takes on the Kansas City Chiefs at home, a team that has allowed an average of 213 yards a week, qualifying them for second to last place in the league. He should have a field day as long as his ankle holds up. Brandon Jacobs, NY: Jacobs has gone over 90 yards in each of his first two contests. Running against a porous Cincinnati defense, Jacobs should find the endzone for the first time in 2008. In addition to a weak defense, Cincinnati's lack of scoring power will mean a quick lead by the Giants, followed by clock management through the running game. Jacobs will see over 20 carries, which is a good sign when you are averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Julius Jones, SEA: His breakout performance came last week, but don't be surprised if you see a similar type performance in week three. Seattle will entertain Saint Louis, which is a good thing when your opponent gives up an average of 491 total yards and 39.5 points per game. With Maurice Morris out, Jones will have a big week, so he should be a starter in all leagues.

Sit Em

Jamal Lewis, CLE: As an owner of Lewis, it is difficult for me to put him on this list. However, the matchup strength and past performance of the Brown's offense indicates serious trouble in week three. Lewis has yet to gain over 70 yards in a single game and will face the third best run defense in the Baltimore Ravens. He is nursing an ankle injury that caused some problems in week two. Some relief to Lewis owners is that Cincinnati is next in line on the schedule, so give him a break this week and prepare for Cincinnati. Earnst Graham, TB: Turner faces a tough Chicago defense in week three. With the exception of his 68 yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter last week, Graham was held to 48 yards on 14 carries. Graham is a solid #1/#2 running back, but if you have better options on your roster in week three, don't hesitate to let them produce. Willie Parker, PIT: Parker is off to a great start in 2008 and there is no denying that. However, he failed to find the endzone last week against the Cleveland Browns and faces the number one rush defense in the league. Pittsburgh will have to win Sunday's game through the air, so Parker's touches may be limited. Parker will continue to succeed throughout the year, but this week will not see the same return as week one and week two.

Wide Receiver

Start Em

Torry Holt, STL: Take back the long touchdown catch in week two and Holt has been terrible in 2008. Going up against the 28th ranked pass defense should cure his delayed start in 2008. This game will be a scoring shootout, and without Bruce to steal the spotlight, Holt should put up some big numbers. Start him in all leagues and enjoy his contributions while the matchups are favorable. Steve Smith, CAR: Unless he headbutts his teammates during pregame, Smith is scheduled to play in week three after serving a two game suspension. Smith is a speedy receiver who works well with Delhomme, so expect the two to start off right where they left off. Minnesota is ranked 24th in pass defense and has allowed over 250 yards passing each week. This should allow Smith to rack up the yards and hopefully find the endzone in week three. Santonio Holmes, PIT: Hines Ward has been the leading receiver for the last two weeks, but this should change in week three. Holmes' speed should allow him to get behind Dawkins and company. Romo was able to torches the Eagles for 311 passing yards and 3 touchdowns on Monday night. Although Fat Burger will not pass for that many yards, he may be able to find the endzone. Eddie Royal, DEN: The first time I saw this kid's name was in the endzone while Marshall was serving his one game suspension. The speculation was that his success would end once Marshall returned, but that doesn't seem to be the case. He caught the game winning touchdown in week two, signifying the amount of confidence Cutler has in him. He will continue to succeed, and if anything, the return of Marshall will help him adjust in the NFL. Starting him against 27th ranked New Orleans is advised in week three.

Sit Em

Braylon Edwards, CLE: Enough is enough when it comes to dropped passes. Edwards has more dropped passes than completed passes this season. Edwards made a bet with Michael Phelps that he would catch two touchdowns for every gold medal Michael won. Too bad the bet wasn't for dropped passes because he would be halfway there. Edwards is still a number one receiver, but going against the number one pass defense in week three will not help his confidence. Wait until he proves he can catch the ball to start him again. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, CIN: In terms of receivers, the AFC north has four of top fifteen receivers in the league. Apparently nobody told them that because all of them have failed to find the endzone. Housh goes against the Giants, ranked sixth against the pass, and Palmer has failed to throw for over 140 yards and has zero touchdowns and three interceptions in the past two weeks. I cannot believe I am saying this but bench Housh until Palmer can find his rhythm. Greg Lewis, PHI: Lewis is one of many targets in Philly but will start to see his opportunities decline with the return of Brown and Curtis. DeSean Jackson will continue to succeed due to his speed and route running ability, so he will likely be the number three once the Eagles are healthy. Pittsburgh is ranked 10th and should prevent McNabb from tossing the ball like Romo in week three. Ike Hillard, TB: With Galloway sidelined due to an ankle injury, Hilliard becomes the number one receiver in Tampa. This will allow Chicago to target Hillard and prevent the only real receiving threat from having a big day. He is nothing more than a reserve receiver and should be treated as such in week three.

Tight End

Start Em

Tony Scheffler, DEN v. NO
Vernon Davis, SF v. DET
John Carlson, SEA v. STL
Heath Miller, PIT v. PHI

Sit Em

LJ Smith, PHI v. PIT
Robert Royal, BUF v. OAK
Bo Scaife, TEN v. HOU
Owen Daniels, HOU v. TEN

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Winning on the Waiver Wire: Week Two

Perhaps more important than drafting a good squad is picking up the right players throughout the season on the waiver wire. Fantasy teams lucky enough to snag Ryan Grant, Earnest Graham, or Kevin Walter in 2007 know exactly what I am talking about. In fact, it is so important that ESPN dedicated a series of commercials to the waiver wire aspect. For those of you who have not seen them, you probably still do not know who the aforementioned players are, so don't bother contending this season. For the rest of you, here is a list of some names to avoid and some names to consider.


Tony Scheffler, TE, DEN: At the start of the season, Denver declared Nate Jackson as the starting tight end. However, they also claimed that Selvin Young would be the starter and look how profitable he has been for fantasy owners. The true reality of it all is that Selvin Young is anything but a starter and Nate Jackson has eleven yards in two games. Like I told you in Sleeper v. Creeper, Tony Scheffler will be one of the best sleeper tight ends, if not one of the best all around tight ends, in the NFL. Scheffler has two touchdowns and 136 yards in the first two games of the season. In addition to those stats, he has been targeted four times in the endzone and fell short of another touchdown by four yards. Scheffler is anything but a back up tight end, so you better add him in all leagues.

John Carlson, TE, SEA: Carlson was a rookie at the start of the season, so most fantasy owners avoided him. Since then, Seattle's top four receivers on the depth chart are out and Carlson has been the favorite target in Seattle. He has 130 yards in two games. Despite failing to score a touchdown in the first two weeks, Carlson has been very impressive and will continue to improve in Seattle. If Scheffler is not available, add Carlson immediately.

Matt Jones, WR, JAC: Drugs and night life aside, the kid is a pretty good receiver. At 6'6/218, he has the size of a tight end and the speed of a receiver. He has led all receivers in Jacksonville with receptions and has 130 yards on the season. Garrard continues to target him near the end zone, failing to capitalize on one opportunity and falling two yards short on another. Also, he has been targeted more than any other receiver currently on the wire. As long as the looks are there, expect good things in the future. Add him as a solid number three receiver, and if he starts to find the end zone, consider starting him.

Tim Hightower, RB, ARI: Do not jump on the bandwagon with this one until you consider all the upsides and downsides. The upside is that the Cardinals are giving him the pigskin on goal line situations. Another upside is that Edge is old and his carries may decrease over the long, arduous season. The downside is that he is only averaging nine carries a week at a dismal 2.1 yards per carry. This would result in under twenty yards a week, so unless he gets in the endzone, he will not be worthy of a start. In leagues that award little points on yards and heavy points for touchdowns, you should probably add him. If you are in a yardage league, wait until Edge is on the injury report to take a flyer on Hightower.

Eddie Royal, WR, DEN: Royal should have been unavailable on the wire since last Tuesday, but if he is still available, stop reading and pick him up. The rookie has 14 catches for 183 yards and two touchdowns in two games this season. Despite the return of Brandon Marshall, Royal caught the game winning touchdown and two-point conversion on Sunday. He is a small, speedy receiver which means he will be difficult to cover. In the season opener, he made DeAngelo Hall look like a bad episode of dancing with the stars. Unless he gets pummeled across the middle and suffers a setback, Royal will continue to produce for fantasy owners.

Avoid Them

Justin Gage, WR, TEN: The good news is that he is the number one receiver in Tennessee. The bad news is that either Kerry Collins or Vince Young will be throwing to him. I will let you choose what is better, depression or alcohol. The fact of the matter is that I would rather start a strong number two receiver over a number one receiver in a confused, erratic offense. In addition to the quarterback confusion, LenDale White and Chris Johnson are performing as expected in the backfield.

Michael Pittman, RB, DEN: The same reason for avoiding Hightower in yardage leagues applies to Pittman in Denver. Denver has a three running back system where each running back's workload varies depending on the week. Predicting who will start in Denver is about as easy as predicting what drug Amy Whinehouse will do over the weekend. You know that there are a lot of options and each one will be considered, but that is about it. Once Ryan Torain returns, this will complicate the mess even more. Pittman is a touchdown machine, but justifying a starting role is difficult to do at this point. Monitor him over the next week or two and then make your decision.

LaMont Jordan, RB, NE: I take back all my predictions about Lawrence Maroney. The injury suffered to Tom Brady hurt the entire squad, including the potential of the running game. With Cassel steering the ship, defenses will force him to throw the ball and focus on the run. If Cassel is unable to do so, this will cause problems for the running game all year long. In addition to a inexperienced quarterback, the Patriots have three running backs and will continue to divide the workload throughout the year. Even though I told you Belichick liked him, he doesn't take that into consideration when determining who will get the majority of the carries. Stay away from Jordan until the Patriots make up their mind.

Brandon Stokley, WR, DEN: The emergence of Eddie Royal will significantly affect the role Stokley will have in Denver for the 2008 season. Royal is expected to play opposite of Brandon Marshall, limiting Stokley's playing time to three receiver sets. Denver is dedicated to the air game, dedicating 50 plays on offense to the passing game on Sunday against San Diego. Stokley may see some action on a weekly basis, but his limited role in the offense suggests that he is not worthy of a starting position in fantasy lineups.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Top 20 and Then Some: Running Backs in The NFL

The following list provides fantasy owners with a look at the top 20 running backs in the NFL. The recent termination of Rudi Johnson and injuries to other backs are taken into consideration in this list. If you do not have any of these players on your fantasy team, it is very likely that you will be a disgruntled fantasy owner in 2008.

1. LaDainian Tomlinson, SD: Without question the best running back in the NFL, LT has led all running backs in total points for the past three seasons. Do not let his knee injury scare you into selecting another running back with the first pick. LT should go first in all fantasy drafts this season.

2. Adrian Peterson, MIN: The downside is that he has a terrible offense and he had 70 yards or less in seven games last season. The upside is that he is more comfortable in the offense, is the primary back in Minnesota, and will get more carries in 2008. AP will give LT a run for his money in 2008, so draft him as the second running back in all leagues.

3. Brian Westbrook, PHI: Westbrook finished 14th in the league with 90 receptions in 2007. Combine his receptions with his success in the backfield and he should have an extremely productive year in 2008. Look for Westbrook to amass 2,000 total yards and 13 touchdowns in 2008.

4. Steven Jackson, STL: The holdout is over and Jackson can now focus on being one of the best running backs in the NFC. A healthy Orlando Pace and Marc Bulgar will take some of the pressure off of his shoulders. An improvement in the passing game will open some holes for Jackson during the 2008 season.

5. Frank Gore, SF: He is on a terrible team with about as much controversy at quarterback as the dispute between Madonna and Alex Rodriguez. However, he was in a similar situation in 2006 and was able to accumulate 2,180 total yards and nine touchdowns. Mike Martz will kick start the San Francisco offense, so look for Gore to have another monster year in 2008.

6. Joseph Addai, IND: The argument can be made that he should be ranked higher than Gore and I would respect that argument. However, Addai is not the focal point of Indianapolis' offense, which Gore most certainly is in San Francisco. Also, Addai is a big runner who may get more touchdowns, but lacks the potential for 1,500 yards in a season. You will be happy with Gore or Addai, but relying on Addai will be the safe play in 2008.

7. Marion Barber, DAL: He was great in 2007 without even starting a single regular season game. Felix Jones will steal some carries, making the workload no heavier for Barber in 2008. He is a touchdown machine and will be a solid #1 back selected in the middle of round one in all drafts.

8. Marshawn Lynch, BUF: A lot of owners recognized his rookie campaign, totaling over 1,100 yards and seven touchdowns in only 13 games. Edwards is now at quarterback, Evans began to emerge as a reliable receiver towards the end of 2007, and the addition of James Hardy will help improve the passing game in Buffalo. Lynch should be just as impressive in 2008 as long as he can stay healthy and stop driving his car at night.

9. Clinton Portis, WAS: Another surprise performance in 2007, Portis proved to fantasy owners that there is still something left in the tank. He was able to stay healthy and his numbers reflected this. Although Portis is capable of producing like a first round pick, but I would advise grabbing Manning or Moss, leaving Portis to get injured on another roster. He is a low-end number one running back who should be drafted with a late pick in round one or early pick in round two.

10. Larry Johnson, KC: The experts predict that his numbers will be down due to a poor offense and a weak offensive line. I agree that he will not perform as well as he did in 2006, but the probability of LJ totaling 1,400 total yards and 10 total touchdowns is very high. Look to draft LJ somewhere in round two.

11. Jamal Lewis, CLE: His age will deter a lot of owners from taking early, but the youth of his offensive line and a high powered offense in Cleveland should not. Lewis became more of a threat out of the backfield, compiling more receiving yards in 2007 than any previous season other than 2002. This is a sign that he will continue to be a part of the receiving corp in Cleveland. Look for Lewis to produce like a number one back behind Joe Thomas and gang.

12. Earnest Graham, TB: If you were lucky enough to grab him off the wire in 2007, you understand the potential he has in 2008. He started in only ten games in 2007 and was able to accumulate 1,222 total yards and ten touchdowns. As long as he stays healthy, he will produce for your squad as a top number two fantasy back.

13. Brandon Jacobs, NYG: This is a high placement for Jacobs, but with the nagging hamstring injury to Grant, knee surgery on McGahee, and ankle sprain to Drew lands Jacobs atop of them. He is on a team with a solid offense, so as long as he remains healthy, his numbers will be up in 2008. He is a big back, so look for him to get into the end zone, but 50 yards scampers to the end zone will be very unlikely to occur.

14. Ryan Grant, GB: I loved him in the preseason, but my love for him in the regular season fell about as fast as my love for my girlfriend the first time she took a dump in front of me. He will get plenty of chances to prove he is the real deal, but Brandon Jackson will remind him that he has never been a bona fide starter. Draft him in round three and if you take him before, I feel bad for you.

15. Maurice Jones-Drew, JAC: He hurt his ankle and he is splitting carries. This is terrible news but MJD will find a way to make it happen. Fred Taylor gets his AARP card in November, so once he takes the discount, his yards will go down just as much as the prices. Monitor MJD, if he is healthy, he will be better than most of the first round picks..

16. Willis McGahee, BAL: Knee surgery, old age, bad offense, all factors that are going against McGahee in 2008. I don't even know why he is on the list......yea I do. McGahee had over 1,400 is limited action as the primary back and Baltimore's offense will not get any better in 2008. They will continue to rely on McGahee to tote the rock, so as long as his knee holds up he will produce. Draft Ray Rice with a late round pick to secure your asset.

17. Michael Turner, ATL: He is just a back up, right?????? Wrong! Turner is now the starter in Atlanta and will be given a chance to prove his worth. He will be a solid running back if you give him a year to adjust to the offense and Matt Ryan. Take Turner with a pick in Rounds 4-6 and let him contribute to your fantasy squad.

18. Darren McFadden, OAK: If this list was based on individual talent, he would be much higher on the list. Taking into consideration that he is a backup and a rookie in the league justifies his placement at number 18. He is talented and will help fantasy owners, but it may take a few weeks to establish himself. If you have other options, leave McFadden as you third running back and start him once he bumps Fargas on the depth chart.

19. Julius Jones, SEA: The good news is that he is the starter and will see the majority of the carries in Seattle. The bad news is that he has not seen a goal line carry in the last two years and Holmgren loves to pass the pigskin, making it no coincidence that Favre was so successful under his reign. Jones will be most productive when Engram and Branch are out, but his numbers should decrease when they return and the passing game improves.

20. Laurence Maroney, NE: This is a difficult year to predict how the running game will be in New England. Coming off of a 50 touchdown performance in 2007, one would assume that defenses will be thinking pass. If this is the case, Maroney will have a huge year with New England. If defenses keep the running game in mind, Maroney may struggle, similar to his numbers during the 2007 season. In the last six games of 2007, Maroney accumulated a ridiculous 586 yards and seven touchdowns. If he can start where he left off, Maroney will be the steal of the draft, averaging a pick in fantasy drafts between round three and round five.

21. Chris Perry, CIN: The recent demotion of Rudi Johnson forced me to add a 21 to this list. Rudi Johnson is out and even though the Bengals are hurting on offense, Perry should thrive in Cincinnati. The only reason that Perry is not higher on the list is because he is unproven as a starter. I think he will succeed for the same reason I thought Johnson would succeed if he remained healthy (or present for that matter, see sleepers and creepers running backs), Cincinnati's offense is always on the field do to a porous defense. Take Perry in the middle rounds, securing him with Watson in the event of an injury.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Preseason Update: Breakdowns and Breakouts During the Preseason

The preseason is over and alas, the regular season kicks off in one day. What occurred over the past four weeks will have a huge impact on fantasy statistics in 2008. For instance, Ryan Torain will not be totting the rock in Denver and Rudi Johnson will only see himself on the playing field if he plays Madden 2009 with his pals, until Detroit sent Tatum packing and took a chance with Rudi. Here is a small list of players who were injured or had breakout performances in the preseason and may carryover to the regular season.


Ryan Torain, DEN- A broken elbow will keep him sidelined for the majority of the 2008 season. This time on the sideline will affect his rookie learning curve and allow Selvin Young to prove his worth, decreasing Torain's productivity in the late season.

Bobby Engram, SEA- Engram is predicted to miss two to five weeks of the regular season with a cracked shoulder. By this time, Burleson will be the number one man in Seattle and Branch may be easing his way back into the lineup. If this is the case, Engram's value as a fantasy receiver will plummet about as fast as the stock market.

Rudi Johnson, DET- Rudi was fired by the Bengals, only to sign a contract with the Detroit Lions, sending Tatum Bell home for the season to spend some time with his family. Just to get even, Tatum Bell stole his luggage as he was leaving the practice facility. You are probably wondering why I am talking about this stupid stuff so much. The answer is because his fantasy impact is not worth talking about right. Check back in a few weeks and if Kevin Smith succeeds, do not even bother checking back then.

Shawne Merriman, SD- He is ignoring for doctors and his mother, deciding to play the 2008 season and opt out of surgery. Assuming he gets injured, this will significantly affect the Charger's pass rush, which will in turn decrease their interceptions. If he is healthy, they will continue to flourish on the west coast.

Osi Umenyiora, NYG- Out for the year with an ACL tear and Strahan likes retirement too much to lend a helping hand. He had an impressive year in 2008 so the Giants will miss his presence on the line. The Giant's should drop in the defensive rankings and if you take them, make sure it is in a later round.

Breakout Performers

DeSean Jackson, PHI- Jackson is a big time sleeper in fantasy football this year. He showed signs of promise in the preseason, and injuries to Curtis and Brown should land him a starting spot in Philly. He caught 16 passes in the preseason, totalling 189 yards and going for six on a punt return. You will be satisfied taking him with a late round pick in all drafts.

Calvin Johnson, DET- Johnson finished the preseason with 9 grabs for 170 yards and one touchdown. He is opposite of Roy Williams, which means he will get the teams number two CB, which is always a plus when on offense. Johnson will have a great year in Detroit even with the departure of Mike Martz to San Francisco.

DeAngelo Williams, CAR- Williams rushed for 188 yards and three scores during the preseason. The most impressive thing is that he did this all while his starting job was in limbo. This strong performance should give him the nod on Sunday, but remember Jonathon Stewart will take some carries away. Williams averaged five yards per carry in 2007, so if he continues this trend, losing a few carries to Stewart would not be a big deal.

Rashard Mendenhall, PIT- Mendenhall is another rookie running back that earned a spot on a roster in 2008. He rushed for 222 yards in the preseason and Tomlin announced that he would serve as the short yardage back, which will increase his goal line carries if he stops fumbling the pigskin. If he fumbles early in the season, his role could be reduced, so keep an eye on this situation. Currently he is nothing more than a reserve, but if Parker suffers an injury, he will have an immediate impact.

Matt Schaub, HOU- Schaub completed 33 of 48 for 382 yards and three touchdowns, all while managing to throw zero interceptions. He will be a great sleeper candidate if Andre Johnson can stay healthy and Kevin Walter can maintain his high level of production. Owen Daniel will lend a helping hand and Slaton coming out of the backfield should increase Schaub's numbers in 2008.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Draft Implications: Play Em Again Rookie Biotch!

In fantasy as in Super Troopers, the Rookie will always have an impact on the squad. Whether he be a bust like Ryan Leaf or an integral part of the offense like Adrian Peterson, selecting a rookie on draft day must be done with care and precision. A pick too early could ruin your year, while a pick too late may force you to miss out on the steal of the draft. The following names are a few you should consider on draft day.

Darren McFadden, OAK: McFadden will have a lot to live up to if owners continue to think that he will produce like Adrian Peterson. In an offense with a weak passing game and a focus on the run, the running backs will get plenty of carries on Sunday. The only question is which running back will get them. Fargas entered the year as the starter but strong performances from Bush and McFadden will convince the Raiders that a running back committee may be the right way to go. If there is an injury to one of the backs, look for the others to improve significantly. Keep an eye on the running back situation and draft McFadden as a great sleeper with a pick in the middle-to-low rounds.

Chris Johnson, TEN: The speed of this kid is something you have to see in order to be convinced that he is the real deal in Tennessee. He provides a great change of speed that the Titans will be able to utilize out of the backfield. LenDale White will remain the starter in Tennessee, but there is a very good chance that Johnson will be able to eclipse 800 yards in his rookie season. Add in a few touchdowns and receptions and this will be one of the best rookie campaigns in 2008.

Matt Forte, CHI: The Bears are putting a lot of faith in Forte to help them re-emerge as a solid running threat in the NFL. The truth is the passing game is a joke, the lack of a deep threat will allow defenses to stack the box, and a low scoring offense in Chicago will force them to throw the ball late in the game, limiting the amount of touches for Forte. The addition of Kevin Jones will only hurt Forte if he is able to recover from an injury in 2007. Draft Forte with a late pick in all drafts and hope that he will be the sleeper that helps your team make it to the big show.

Felix Jones, DAL: Get rid of one Jones and then bring in another. It will be interesting to see how the Cowboys plan on using Jones in the offense this year. Barber became a top eight running back when the announcement trading Julius Jones occurred. Since drafting Felix Jones, owners are now wondering how he will impact the fantasy value of Barber. In my opinion, Barber is still a top-eight running back and to think that a rookie will steal that many carries from a proven back such as Barber is ludicrous. Only draft Jones if you need some insurance for your starting running back Marion Barber.

DeSean Jackson, PHI: Jackson leads all Eagles in receptions with twelve receptions for 122 yards during the preseason. A recent injury that will sideline Curtis indefinitely also adds to the upside of DeSean Jackson. The Eagles will be forced to rely on the rookie more than original anticipated, so plan on drafting Jackson with a late round pick and hope he emerges as McNabb's favorite target.

James Hardy, BUF: Hardy provides the Bill's offense with a tall receiver having the ability to go up and get the ball. Opposite of Evans, Edwards will look for an easy target and it is difficult to make a bad throw when your target is 6-5/212. He will be a great change of pace receiver from Lee Evans out of Wisconsin and should succeed immediately in Buffalo. Snag Hardy with a late round pick in all drafts and let him go up and get the ball for your squad as a reserve until he can prove he deserves otherwise.

Matt Ryan, ATL: Mike Smith announced that he will start Matt Ryan in the next preseason game against Tennessee. This will be a great opportunity for all viewers to see the composure and skill of the rookie quarterback. The lack of offensive weapons in Atlanta will make it difficult for any Atlanta quarterback to become a fantasy starter, but monitoring him in his first preseason start may indicate his outlook for the future. Do not draft Matt Ryan and if he gets the nod as the starter and performs well, he will be waiting for you on the waiver wire with Chris Redmond and Joey Harrington.

Offseason Moves: Player Acquisitions

The most noteworthy acquisition of the 2007 season was Randy Moss to the New England Patriots. While contributing very little to the Oakland Raiders and my fantasy team in 2006, Moss was able to post 98 receptions for 1,493 yards and a record breaking 23 touchdowns in 2007. Owners who were able to sense the impact Moss would have in New England took him in the fifth round or later, leading a lot of teams to the championship. Although no player acquisition in 2008 will have the impact Moss did in 2007, it is important to recognize who went where and the impact it will have on their 2008 fantasy stats.


Brett Favre, NYJ: Father time is back and he is ready to give it a go for one more season. By now, I am a little skeptical about his return. Personally I believe that he loves the drama of faking retirement so much that he just keeps coming back. Regardless of what I believe, the guy can still throw the ball and New York will provide him with a solid line and capable receivers in Cotchery and Coles. Favre will be a low-end # 1, solid # 2 quarterback so keep an eye on him in the preseason and draft him accordingly.

Chad Pennington, MIA: This acquisition will have a very little, if any, impact on the Miami Dolphins. The departure of Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael leaves their receiving corp in a state of disarray. Throw in a season ending injury to their starting running back in 2007 and this offense wouldn't even be potent with Tom Brady running the show. Stay away from Pennington and any other Dolphin's quarterback this season.

Running back

Michael Turner, ATL: I already told you about his breakout performance in preseason week two. But that is only the preseason and to repeat his statistics would be like me retelling the story about how I beat my 12-year old brother in basketball. Atlanta is a great place for Turner for two reasons. He is entering the system with their "franchise" quarterback in Matt Ryan which makes him an excellent keeper candidate. As they develop and learn the offense together, we will start to see the type of reliance seen in Philly between McNabb and Westbrook. Second, the release of Horn and departure of Crumpler weakens the passing game, making it even harder for Ryan to establish himself in the passing game. The result will be a lot of dump off passes and a plethora of running plays called in by head coach Mike Smith.

Julius Jones, SEA: If you haven't heard, Seattle's receivers are more banged up than Britney Spears in 2007. Branch is rehabing due to a torn ACL in January and Engram cracked his shoulder, leaving Burleson to handle the #1 role in Seattle. Add in a rookie tight end and the air game may be a little sluggish to start the season. Seattle is in a weak conference defensively which will allow Jones to adjust to the system and carry the load in Seattle.

LaMont Jordan, NE: Belichick likes him and coming from a man that shows as much emotion as Barbara Walters, that is saying a lot. Belichick liked Sammy Morris and he took a lot of goal line reps from Maroney in 2007 before he was injured for the year. LaMont is a big back who will be used in goal line situations. However, he is worth no more than a reserve spot on your roster since he will get no more than 8-10 carries.

Wide Receivers

Bernard Berrian, MIN: His stats were not that impressive in Chicago, but then again he would have been better off throwing the ball, running after, and then trying to catch it as opposed to receiving the rock from Grossman or Orton. He is out of Chicago but the quarterback play did not improve in his favor. He will have to put up with Jackson and will be used as a deep threat to keep defenses honest, preventing them from stacking the box in preparation for "All Day". Keep an eye on Berrian and draft him as a #3/#4 receiver in all leagues.

Darrell Jackson, DEN: It will be difficult for Darrell the Disappointment to be a bigger bust than he was in San Francisco, but do not doubt an aging, injury-prone receiver. He will be a solid target while Marshall is serving his suspension, but once Marshall is back, expect Marshall and Scheffler to be the focal point of the passing attack in Denver. Jackson is a #4 receiver with sleeper potential as long as his ankle recovers by opening day.

Jerry Porter, JAX: Porter was supposed to shine in Oakland with the departure of Moss and he didn't. Now experts are saying he will shine with Garrard at QB and I am saying he won't. Jacksonville has not had a dominant receiver since Jimmy Smith was in his prime. Reggie Williams, Matt Jones, and others did not have the seasons they were expected to have in Jacksonville. With a hamstring injury contributing to the problems in Jacksonville, expect Porter to join the list of disappointments. Draft him as a #4 receiver and hope he finally has that breakout season.

Tight End

Alge Crumpler, TEN: Crumpler is now in Tennessee with a quarterback similar to Vick, so expect him to have a huge season in Tennessee. Crumpler is a huge sleeper candidate for 2008 so take him with a late round pick and let the other owners take Heap, Shockey, and Miller way to early in the draft.

The above list covers only free agents that have relocated. For a list of rookies that will impact the 2008 season, go to "Play Em Again Rookie Biotch" which will be posted on 08/20/2008.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Sleeper or Creeper: Players At Quarterback Who Will Make A Difference

In my experience with fantasy football, I have never had a successful season when my quarterback posted sub par stats. In 2007, teams lucky enough to grab Tom Brady or Tony Romo with a middle round pick probably walked into the playoffs. The absence of Jessica Simpson also would have landed a lot of owners in the champions seat. In 2008, a few names have the opportunity to make a significant fantasy impact across the league. If you miss out on the big five early on (Brady, Manning, Romo, Brees, and Palmer), look for these names in the later rounds and avoid the others that will have a down year.


Jay Cutler, DEN: The potential for this kid to shine in 2008 is vast. He has what he needs in a great number one receiver, a tight end on the rise, and a running system in Denver that always succeeds. Combine this with two years experience in the NFL and Cutler will be this year's Tony Romo. The three game suspension of Marshall will hurt Cutler's numbers, but Scheffler and Jackson will help fill the void. Look to draft Cutler in the middle-to-late rounds and begin walking into the playoffs just like Tony Romo owners did in 2007. At least you do not have to worry about Jessica Simpson screwing up your fantasy championship.

Matt Leinart, ARI: He has had two years to prove himself and continues to be replaced by a grocery bagger from the local supermarket. Leinart has the weapons in Arizona, now he just needs the time and patience to work with them. Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin will eclipse 1,000 yards this season and with receivers this deadly, it will be hard to pass on Leinart with a late round pick. Draft Warner with a very late round pick as insurance for Leinart. No matter who is throwing the rock, both of them should put up some numbers with such a deadly offense.

Jon Kitna, DET: The downside to Kitna is his age and failure to produce in Detroit as expected. The upside is he has one of the best receiving corps in the NFL, which will be utilized when trailing late in the game. Calvin Johnson will have his best year as an NFL receiver and since he is accompanied by Roy Williams, Kitna should have a great year in Detroit. Draft Kitna with a late round pick in all drafts.

Phillip Rivers, SD: The potential for a breakout season is most prevalent in San Diego. Chris Chambers is a great number one receiver who showed signs of promise during limited action in 2007. Vincent Jackson had a great playoff run, catching 18 passes for 300 yards and two touchdowns in three playoff games. And let's not forget the presence of Antonio Gates in the offense. With so many receiving options and LT in the flat out of the backfield, there is no way defenses will be able to cover so many options. Draft Rivers with a late round pick as a solid backup and once he starts producing, make him your starter in all leagues.


Donovan McNabb, PHI: McNabb did last the whole year without suffering a serious injury after going down in the 2006 season. However, he was only able to throw for 19 touchdowns and 3,324 yards in 14 games. The absence of a bona fide number one receiver in Philly makes it difficult for McNabb to reestablish himself as an elite fantasy quarterback. Let another owner draft McNabb early, only to realize the disappointment shortly after the selection. Unless Jackson, Curtis, and Brown can establish a solid passing game, McNabb will not be worth selecting with an early pick. This is a big "unless" so spend a later pick on one of the aforementioned quarterbacks.

Jeff Garcia, TB: I am a big 49ers fans so I hate to admit when one of our own has peaked. But for the sake of all readers, I have to face reality and leave my personal biases to the side. The receivers in Tampa are either old or have disappointed fantasy owners in the past. Tom Brady threw more touchdown passes in three games than Garcia did in 13, not to mention almost double the yards on the season. Do not draft Garcia unless it is an autopilot pick in the last round to serve as your backup.

Tarvaris Jackson, MIN: Knee injury or not, Tarvaris Jackson will not serve as a reliable quarterback in 2008. The acquisition of Bernard Berrian and the presence of Adrian Peterson will help the young quarterback, but nothing will turn him into a reliable starter in 2008. Only draft Jackson if you are desperate for a backup.

Any Baltimore QB: Just like the song, as soon as one QB takes a step forward in the quarterback race, they take two steps back the next day. The receivers in Baltimore are weak and until the receivers and quarterback learn to play together, the air attack will struggle in Baltimore. Cam Cameron will focus on the run, which means even more struggles through the air in the 2008 season.

Preseason Update: Breakouts And Breakdowns From Week 2

The second week of preseason has come and gone, requiring an in depth look at the injuries and breakout performances from the weekend. As I mentioned in the first preseason article, a repetition of high performances will warrant your attention, even if the performance occurred during the preseason. Some of the players you will recognize from the first article, others will be new to the list. Continue to monitor these players to determine if they deserve a spot on your roster come week one.


Jonathan Stewart; CAR, RB: Perhaps more injured than his toe is his expectation that he will be the starter for the Panthers at the start of the 2008 season. After missing the first preseason game, Stewart ran for three yards on four carries in the second preseason game. While Stewart has failed to perform, DeAngelo Williams has capitalized on every opportunity he has been given, averaging 5.1 yards per carry and scoring two touchdowns. Look for Williams to replace Stewart as the starter, barring any setbacks during the remainder of the preseason of course.

Chad Johnson; CIN, WR: CJ injured his should after landing awkwardly on it during the second preseason game against the Lions. This injury is the latest for the already injured Cincinnati offense. Chad Johnson loves to be on the injury report, so unless the team indicates that the shoulder injury is serious, continue to view him as a low-end #1 option. Look for Chad Johnson to establish himself as the #1 receiver in Cincy after being outperformed by Housh in 2007.

Rudi Johnson; CIN, RB: Deja vu or what? Last season we saw Rudi Johnson miss a lot of time, only to come back during a game and average below ten carries. This made it very difficult for owners even if he was handcuffed with his backup. This type of injury generally does not improve over the course of the season, so monitor the injury status of Johnson before drafting him as a #2 running back. The last thing fantasy owners want to see is a running back on the injury report week in and week out.

Tarvaris Jackson; MIN, QB: Jackson recently sprained his MCL, adding to a plethora of injuries he has suffered while in the NFL. Injured or not, Jackson is a terrible fantasy option and if you planned on using him as your #1 in 2008, you can also plan on having the worst record in your league. Save him for the lone Vikings fan in your league and snag a better option with a late round selection.

Breakout Performances

Calvin Johnson; DET, WR: Calvin put on a clinic in week two of the preseason, catching every pass attempted by John Kitna, resulting in three catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Calvin is a great number two option in Detroit and may lead the team in receiving yards. Roy Williams and Calvin Johnson serve as one of the best receiver tandems in the league. Look for both of them to benefit from the presence of the other and have a great campaign in 2008.

Brandon Marshall; DEN, WR: Marshall caught six passes for 59 yards, including a three yard score against the Cowboys. Although he is a great receiver, he is to stubborn to keep his mouth shut and avoid suspension. Marshall will be one of the best receivers in the league after he returns from his three game suspension, assuming his appeal is unsuccessful. Marshall is a great #1 fantasy receiver and should be drafted as a top 10 receiver. If you take him early, be sure to draft reserves with favorable matchups to fill the void while he serves his suspension.

Matt Schaub; HOU, QB: A perennial trip to the injury report from Andre Johnson and the lack of another option at receiver has prevented Matt Schaub from becoming a #1 quarterback. The emergence of Kevin Walter and Owen Daniel might allow Schaub to produce the way he is expected. Matt Schaub was 14/16 for 187 yards and two touchdown scores. Walter and Daniel will help Schaub emerge as a great sleeper option in 2008.

Ray Rice; BAL, RB: There is a new rookie in town looking to make an impact this year and the name is not McFadden or Johnson. After the knee injury to McGahee, Rice has excelled in every area of the game. The second preseason game for Rice resulted in eight carries for 77 yards, three receptions for 17 yards and a rushing touchdown. If McGahee struggles after the procedure as he did while in Buffalo, look for Rice to have a significant impact among fantasy rookies. The only problem now is finding a way to convince my league that I didn't mean to pick McGahee in the second round. Looks like I am stuck so I am grabbing Rice while he is still on the wire!

Michael Turner; ATL, RB: I am aware that Turner has speed and I am aware that he has instinct, but 113 yards on four carries against one of the better defenses in the league is ridiculous. The man did it in San Diego but everyone assumed that his success was the product of other defenses thinking pass since LT was out, leaving Turner space to run. Not the case. Although Atlanta will be playing from behind a lot this year, Turner should succeed as the main man in Atlanta. Give the "Burner" a chance and draft him somewhere in rounds three or four this summer.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

New Faces, Different Places: Where Have All The Coaches Gone?

Just as important as drafting a player based on offensive strength and team strength is drafting a player based on team personnel. Offensive juggernauts such as Mike Martz and Tom Moore have led their offenses to many successful seasons in the air and on the ground. Team success invariably leads to individual success, meaning a successful fantasy season for your squad. The following is a look at some of the most influential offensive coaches who relocated during the year.

Jim Zorn, WAS, Head Coach: Zorn was a quarterback in the league, served as a quarterback coach for 12 years, and although now the head coach, will continue to focus on quarterbacks in Washington. Although Portis will remain the workhorse, Cooley and Moss will see their reps increase when Zorn is in charge. Paying attention to quarterbacks does not stop after 12 years just because you are on a new team, so look for Washington to go through the air, benefiting Cooley, Moss, and Portis. With an injury prone running back like Clinton Portis, the best way to monitor his workload is to go through the air, which they will do in 2008.

Mike Martz; SF, Offensive Coordinator: Although he was fired in the offseason, his unemployment lasted about as long as Ryan Leaf's tenure in the NFL. Alive and well in San Francisco, Mike Martz will bring the same offensive prowess that he provided in St. Louis and Detroit. Stating that the primary focus would be Frank Gore, Martz was also impressed with the ability of Vernon Davis. Although it will not be difficult to make SF better offensively then they were in 2007, his play calling and offensive schemes should benefit everyone in San Francisco.

Cam Cameron; BAL, Offensive Coordinator: After waking up from his nightmare known as the 2007 Miami Dolphins, Cameron looks to improve the offense in Baltimore with the assistance of head coach John Harbaugh. Under Cameron, Ronnie Brown enjoyed a lot of success before hurting his knee as the primary back in Miami. Cameron will have a similar effect in Baltimore and the combination of poor quarterback play will increase the productivity of McGahee. Assuming the knee injury is improved, look for McGahee or Rice to enjoy plenty of carries in 2008.

Dan Henning; MIA, Offensive Coordinator: Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will both benefit from Dan Henning in Miami. A conservative play caller, Henning will look to control the game through a strong ground attack, which is consistent with tools he has in Miami. Depending on how Ronnie Brown recovers, Miami should have a solid running game with the addition of rookie Jake Long and free agent Justin Smiley. The quarterback situation is a mess so let the new coach develop the one strong point in Miami....the running game. Look for Henning to improve the offense that went 1-15 in 2007 and take Brown and Williams if you are able to snag the two together.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Preseason Update: Injuries And Updates From Week 1

Nothing is worse in fantasy football than learning a player you drafted before the regular season received a substantial injury that will require that player to miss some of the regular season. Fortunately, aside from injuries, the preseason also helps you determine what players may breakout during the year. Although a breakout performance may be nothing more than a average day against another team's third-string defense, consistently repeating such performances may indicate they deserve a spot on your roster. I am not saying that you should lay it all on the line to get these players, but I am saying you should pay attention to them to see if their high performance continues. The following is a list of the big injuries and breakouts that every fantasy owner should know about from preseason week one.


Willis McGahee, BAL, RB: McGahee will undergo arthroscopic surgery to repair his knee and should miss the remainder of the preseason. The bad news everyone knows is that McGahee has a history of knee problems since the national championship game against Ohio State. The bad news most owners do not know is that he had this same procedure in the past, followed by a decline in production during that season with the Bills. If you have McGahee, look into picking up Ray Rice if this continues to give McGahee trouble.

Bobby Engram, SEA, WR: Engram is expected to miss 6-8 weeks with a cracked shoulder. This is not a set timetable for his return, but while he is out you can expect that Nate Burleson and John Carlson will receive a lot more attention on offense. This could be good or bad depending on the performance of Matt Hasselback with such limited options on offense.

Steve Smith, CAR, WR: After going UFC style on his own teammate, the opposition decided to return the favor. Smith received a concussion in the preseason opener after catching a pass good for 19 yards. Although the concussion will not force him to miss any time, this is another thing the team is concerned with in the preseason, in addition to fighting his own teammate and facing a suspension for his actions.

Ryan Torain, DEN, RB: I predicted he would be a sleeper in Denver and his recent injury assures he will be "sleeping" somewhere. Torain broke a bone in his elbow, which will force him to miss three months after undergoing surgery. If he is able to make it back in the middle of the season, monitor the runningback situation in Denver and look to snag Torain off the waiver wire.

Breakout Performances

DeAngelo Williams, CAR, RB: Williams took advantage of every opportunity he was given in the first preseason game. After Jonathan Stewart was forced to miss the first game due to an injury to his toe, Williams carried the ball nine times for 55 yards, adding two touchdowns in the effort. This is a very positive sign for Carolina, meaning Williams will get many more options to prove he should still be the starter during the regular season.

Aaron Rodgers, GB, QB: It is amazing how quickly a franchise can forget a man who threw for 61,655 yards and 442 touchdowns in 16 seasons! It is also amazing how quickly they will remember him if Rodgers can't follow up his performance in the first preseason game with a similar performance. Rodgers went 9/15 for 117 yards, connecting with James Jones for a 30-yard score and setting up a field goal in the first quarter. Although this was the Bengals, Rodgers showed some signs that he did learn something from the great Brett Favre. Monitor this situation and if he continues to play well, Rodgers may be a solid #2 quarterback worthy of a late round pick in fantasy drafts.

Calvin Johnson, DET, WR: Roy Williams has played in every regular season game one time in his career, missing at least four games in every other year. With that being said, Williams and Johnson make a good 1-2 punch at the receiver position. After posting 78 yards on 4 catches in his first preseason game, look for Johnson to continue to shine in 2008. With the inconsistent health of Williams, Johnson may find himself in the #1 receiver position in Detroit during the year.

Ben Utecht, CIN, TE: Hidden in the shadows of Dallas Clark while in Indy, Ben Utecht is now in a high powered offense with another great quarterback in control. Utecht scored a touchdown on four catches good for 34 yards in the preseason opener against Green Bay. With the departure of Chris Henry, look for Utecht to establish himself as the third passing options in Cincinnati's pass friendly offense.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Sleeper or Creeper: Players At Tight End Who Will Make A Difference

The position of tight end has evolved from primarily a blocking position to an additional wide receiver. Most recently, there has been such a focus on using the tight end as a passing option that NFL teams have drafted college basketball players. Not only did they draft college basketball players, but one such player, Antonio Gates, has been among the leagues best tight ends since 2004. The emergence of reliable tight ends in the league also created the need for a reliable tight end on your fantasy team. After the big five are gone (Witten, Gates, Winslow, Cooley, and Gonzalez), waiting till the late rounds to draft a tight end may still leave you some viable options.


1. Greg Olsen, CHI: The departure of Bernard Berrian to Minnesota and Muhsin Muhammad to Carolina combined with a decline in production from Desmond Clark in 2007 makes Greg Olsen a great sleeper candidate in 2008. Olsen started showing signs of promise as a rookie in 2007, grabbing 39 passes for 391 yards and two touchdowns. Although the Bears have tailored their offense to include a two tight end set, look for Olsen to benefit the most from this offensive scheme. With quarterback play as poor as it is in Chicago, Olsen should benefit from quick passes with the athleticism to turn them into big plays. Draft Olsen with a middle to late round pick in all leagues.

2. Alge Crumpler, TEN: The presence of a speedy quarterback in Atlanta allowed Crumpler to shine in 2005 and 2006. Combining for 1,650 yards and 13 touchdowns in those two seasons, the presence of a mobile Vince Young in Tennessee should have the same impact on his fantasy numbers this season. Look for the two to mesh together in 2008 and plan on spending a late pick on Crumpler in all drafts this summer.

3. Vernon Davis, SF: I know what you are thinking... "Hasn't he been predicted to be a sleeper in the last two seasons, only to be a bust?" The answer is yes, but 2008 will be a little different due to Mike Martz. Nothing is pretty in San Francisco. The quarterback race is now between three players, one of which sounds better as the title of an Irish bar as opposed to a starting quarterback, their wide receivers are more washed up than Madonna, and they scored over 21 points only one time in 2007! However, Mike Martz has been an offensive genius in both Detroit and St. Louis and continues to be impressed by Vernon Davis. Look for Davis to get more opportunities in 2008 and snag him with a middle round pick in all leagues.

4. Tony Scheffler, DEN: A foot injury in the offseason will deter a lot of fantasy owners from taking Scheffler as their starting tight end in the middle rounds. Do not be the owner to make this same mistake. In his last seven games of the 2007 season, Scheffler had 29 receptions for 360 yards and 3 touchdowns. Compare his numbers with the league leading tight end in the last seven games and the result is a difference of 11 fantasy points. I am not trying to compare Scheffler to Witten, but his numbers should not be ignored going into 2008. Factor in a suspension for the leading receiver in Denver and Scheffler's stock goes up in 2008.

5. John Carlson, SEA: The recent injury to Bobby Engram has increased the fantasy value of John Carlson, the rookie tight end out of Notre Dame. In his first preseason action, he was able to bring in two passes for 21 yards. With Branch out for most of the season and Engram expected to miss eight weeks, Carlson could be a nice option when teams start to double Burleson, leaving the big man with a few more opportunities to make big plays.


1. Desmond Clark, CHI: Although Ron Turner has stated he intends to use a two tight end set, the emergence of Greg Olsen lowers the value of Desmond Clark in Chicago. Despite an impressive outing in 2006, Clark is now 31 years old and saw a decrease in his production in 2007. Although you may still want to draft him in the event of an injury to Olsen, Clark is no better than a #2 TE, not worthy of a pick in most leagues.

2. Donald Lee, GB: Donald Lee had an impressive year with the cheeseheads in 2007. The downside is that in the last seven games, Lee only averaged two receptions a game, totaling 158 yards. Also, Lee will have to adjust to a new quarterback in Aaron Rodgers. Combine this with a solid receiving core in Greg Jennings, Donald Driver, and James Jones and Lee may not be much of a factor in 2008. Draft Lee with a late round pick as a reserve and monitor how he adjusts to Aaron Rodgers.

3. Visanthe Shiancoe, MIN: The inconsistency of Jackson and a number of dropped touchdown passes in 2007 makes Shiancoe a risky pick in 2008. Although it appears the dropped passes are behind him, Jackson is not. Do not draft Shiancoe and if his play improves, he will be on the waiver wire to pick up during the season.

4. David Martin, MIA: The acquisition of Anthony Fasano from Dallas has had a considerable impact on the fantasy value of any TE in Miami. Martin has been taking reps with the second team, indicating that Fasano will likely be the starting TE on a team that has no proven wide receivers. While this may help the value of Fasano, Martin should no longer be drafted in any league.