Hey everybody, I am back in the saddle again. A quick recap of the season and then on to my other great love. Football ended a couple of months ago with my own personal nightmare as a Super Bowl, Indianapolis versus Chicago, two quarterbacks neither of which I wanted to see win a Super Bowl. But, big Brother finally got his and now can go down in history as the best quarterback ever... no, I'm sure he will go down as the best football player in the history of the great game of... no, wait, he will go down as the best human being ever to grace this planet! So sayeth Archie and the disciples of Manning.
The Steelers didn't make the playoffs as defending champions and Bill Cowher stepped down as head coach. I kind of like this new guy, he brings the same kind of fire that Bill did and every interview I have seen or read of him so far he has handled himself amazingly well.
My fantasy teams did really well. The bombers, the team I was most unhappy with wound up making the playoffs and essentially breaking even, winning me back my entry fee. Sweeney, the team I was ecstatic over, did indeed continue to dominate the league, running away with the points title in making the playoffs, but not managing to win the Super Bowl. Still, out of the 17 weeks, we finished first place in points eight times. That combined with the end of season rewards made the team a great success. My keeper league team shocked everybody and actually won the Super Bowl! Finishing third overall in points. So, of my three fantasy teams, one Super Bowl, one overall points title and all three made the playoffs... time to start planning for next year
However, in the meantime I figure I can let you all know about some movies as I see them. I go to see a fair amount of movies, trying to see at least one every week in the theaters. Here's a quick rundown of movies I have seen in the theaters so far this year with recommendations and warnings.
Freedom writers: Hillary Swank stars in this "based on a true story" movie about inner-city kids learning how to express themselves. Sounds pretty formulaic and done over, but I enjoyed the movie. I would definitely pick this one up on DVD when it comes out
Rocky Balboa: so many people forget that the original Rocky was actually a great movie, won the Academy award that year in fact. The second movie wasn't bad either and it went downhill pretty rapidly after that. Rocky Balboa promised to bring a close to the story line with a feel that would be much more like the original Rocky. I had hoped this would be a good movie and I was not disappointed. I really, really liked this movie. Sly apparently remembered that the reason the first movie was so good was character development and actually focused on furthering the characters again rather than just trying to find the biggest, toughest bad guy and build up the fight. This is one I will own on DVD
Children of men: billed as "Blade Runner for the 21st-century"... it's not. I was disappointed in this movie, it fails to make you care about any of the characters and really gives you no definitive reason why you would either want or not want the characters to achieve or not achieve their goals. Not a terrible movie, great concept for a world and a good set up for the plot line, decent acting, but overall definitely falls short. You can probably wait until this one makes it to the premium channels, no need to rush out for the DVD.
Three: never heard of it? Neither had I, just saw it playing at the movie, and already seen everything else I was interested in figure I would give it a shot. Consider yourself lucky that you never heard of it. This is two hours of wasted time. If they still had mystery science theater 3000, this one would qualify even though it isn't science fiction, it's just that bad. Don't rent it, don't buy it, don't order it on pay-per-view, don't worry when it comes on the premium channels, at most, pick it up for a dollar when it is a used DVD and get together with your friends to laugh at this "tense mystery thriller"
300: the movie based on Frank Miller's graphic novel. This was a fun movie, in wasn't as intense or great as I had hoped it would be, is missing some kind of movie magic somewhere but I cannot put my finger on what it is that is missing. Don't go expecting any kind of historical drama or historically accurate action film, it's based on a graphic novel! It looks good, the action works and its worth seeing on the big-screen if it is still in theaters around your area. If not, definitely worth owning
Pan's labyrinth: a Spanish film set in World War II. This movie is NOT what I expected and NOT, I cannot stress this part enough, NOT for children! This movie is dark, beautiful and frequently downright brutal. Don't see it with the kids, but do see it. I prefer seeing foreign films with subtitles rather than dubbed English as I think it allows you to get more of a feeling the actors are trying to express by hearing their actual voices. This is one you will talk about after the movie is over. Probably not still in theaters in many places, but pick it up on DVD when it comes out
Zodiac: if you liked the 1970s movie Helter Skelter, you'll probably like this movie as well. It's not so much of a courtroom drama, more along the lines of "all the Presidents men" with most of the action following a newspaper tracking the murders of the zodiac killer from the late sixties through the mid-eighties. The movie is well done, nothing really outstanding, but nothing really wrong with it either. It's nearly three hours long, so you definitely get the documentary feel and if you're not familiar with the zodiac story, this is a enjoyable way to find out about one of the most elusive serial killers from the United States.
Ghost Rider: the movie based on the comic book. Nicolas Cage, for those of you who don't know, is a HUGE comic book fan. Even took his name, Nicolas Cage, from a comic book (see iron fist from PowerMan and iron fist). This is another really fun movie, especially if you like comic books, which I do. It's not great, there are a number of fairly lame plot holes, but overall it's just a fun movie. Probably worth a rental, not sure I will ever wind up owning this.
Reign over me: Adam Sandler tries his hand at serious acting and it comes off pretty OK. Don Cheadle is great in this movie and the soundtrack is fantastic, right up there with hi fidelity as great soundtracks. The story moves along nicely and Sandler is believable as a guy completely lost within himself after losing his family on September 11. The material does not make it a big-screen must, and will translate just as well to the small screen, but if you have some free time and are looking for a nice movie, it's worth paying the $8-$13 to see it in theaters
That's about everything I have seen in the theaters this year so far. I'm hoping to be able to give you all a little writeup every week during the off-season about a movie that is currently in the theaters and one that is on DVD, although it may not be a newly released DVD every week (gives me the chance to do a little writeup on some of my favorites ).
If anybody has any specific movies they are interested in seeing either in the theaters or on DVD, feel free to contact me and let me know. I get into the movies for free, so if I have the time I might be able to do a review on what ever you are interested in
last week I took a look at four players who had a wide variety of performances in the opening week. This week, I'm going to follow up on those players and add a couple more. I will try to keep updating players until a final decision is reached as far as panic and euphoria goes.
OK, I'm one-week away from officially pushing the panic button on Mr. Johnson. Fantasy owners have a lot tied up in this guy, so if you wound up with Larry on your team, it probably means you have a top five, if not a top three, pick and you just can't afford to have him not perform. But, there was very little sign of improvement between the first and second week. Kansas City has no receiving threats, no quarterback and their offensive line is a mess. If he doesn't find the end zone this week, I would be looking into trading Larry Johnson if I were you (unless you are in a dynasty league.
decision: I have my finger on the button
He had a better performance this week than the first and there were signs of improvement, so I'm backing away from the button on him. With a slow start most of your big running backs have had, it's still not inconceivable for Stephen to have an outstanding year. This coming week could show a lot one way or the other.
decision: I'm starting to breathe a little easier, but just a little!
As I pointed out, the man is fragile, and not like the exotic French lamps. there is already mounting injury concerns and he is a gametime decision in just the third week of the season. Mark my words, no way will he play 16 games this year and by the season's end, you'll have some decent but not outstanding numbers from Plexiglass.
final decision: no euphoria for you!
The rookie had another decent game with yardage but couldn't find the end zone for the second straight week. I'm thinking you've got a good shot at 10 touchdowns from him this season, but it's very likely he's going to fade in the second half like all rookie running backs, so figure that into your playoff plans
final decision: let him settle comfortably in as your second running back and be happy. If you're in a dynasty league, then you can be euphoric!
OK, anytime a player throws for six touchdowns in one game, you have to be euphoric if you have them on your team, right? In this case, yes, I believe you do.
The Cincinnati defense is looking terrible, and what does that mean for Carson? If the opposing team is scoring lots and lots of points, then Carson is going to have to throw lots and lots of touchdowns to try and keep his team in the game. He's got two of the best wide receivers and an extremely steady and consistent running back. There's nothing here not to like from a fantasy perspective.
Final decision: be happy and drink from the Horn of Plenty!
I know a lot of people were really high on him this season since he is in Denver. And, there's no denying, if you are a running back in Denver, you have a chance to break records. However, there's also no denying that Mike Shanahan borders on insane. He's just as likely to trade for Travis Henry to show how Henry can run for 2000 yd. in his offense as he is to trade for Henry and then intentionally not use him so that he can show how some rookie nobody can run for 2000 yd..
Right now at least, Henry is definitely getting the workload, he's piling up yards. But, in pretty much every league I am involved in, somebody spent a first or high second-round pick to get Henry. Yards alone are not going to win you a championship, and I know some people are already starting to panic having not seen Henry find paydirt in the first two weeks.
Decision: needs to see another week or two on this one, but there is always a reason to panic if you have a running back in Mike Shanahan's offense. Of course, there's always a reason to possibly be euphoric if you have a running back in Mike Shanahan's offense. I think we'll have a better idea of which one it is going to be shortly
So, I was a little out of it this weekend. Watched a game here and there, caught a couple of highlights. Do any of you know if anybody of any significance got hurt this weekend?
What?! What did you say?? Nate Burleson is out for the season?? Well, there goes the fantasy season for all of those Burleson owners! You just can’t replace a Burleson by snapping your fingers.
The truth is, that while a lot of stuff happened this weekend (Marion Barber already has injured ribs, Jacksonville has absolutely nobody on the offensive line remaining which is bad news for Mojo and Fred Taylor owners, Vince Young is out at least a couple of weeks, Burleson really is done for this season and LT has a pesky little toe problem that he insists is no problem at all, besides, it’s just a toe, how bad could it be :: cough :: Jack Lambert :: cough:: ) all of it is like a walk in the park compared to the Tom Brady injury.
Now, I’m never one to throw in the towel after one week. And, I have experienced firsthand the kick-to-the-gut like sensation that seems to linger for most of the season when you have lost your first choice in your fantasy draft for the year because of injury. This is incidentally very similar to the sensation experienced by actually being kicked in the gut, only it somehow lasts longer. But this one is hard to get over for anyone who drafted Brady..
In every draft I have been involved in this season, Tom Brady went in the first-round. High in the first round. That means that everybody who drafted Brady bypassed a top-of-the-line running back or wide receiver. Now, you have what should be a number two running back as your number one and no Brady. It’s true that this is a long season and a lot can happen. Then again, there are long seasons and there are LOOONG seasons.
Anyway, I didn’t draft Tom Brady in any of my half a dozen fantasy leagues this year, so let’s move on to some suggestions for the upcoming week and the all-important power rankings!
Quarterbacks that I love this week
Eli Manning: he will most certainly get his first touchdown pass this week and I would expect it to be followed by at least two more
Ben Roethlisberger: he only had one incompletion last week, and that was a throwaway to avoid a sack. He also only had to throw the ball 14 times and still got two touchdowns. I’m looking for at least another two and more yards with the same kind of accuracy this week
Quarterbacks that I am significantly less enthusiastic about
Drew Brees: I think the Washington defense is going to be all fired up for their home opener. Still, Drew is a top-level quarterback and you have to start him.
Matt Ryan: I am not ready to jump on the Matt Ryan express yet. You should not be rushing to get him into your starting lineup (unless your quarterback last week was Tom Brady)
Running backs who are ready to run
Ryan Grant: did you see Turner and Norwood last week against Detroit? Well, Green Bay is playing Detroit this week and while I don’t necessarily expect Turner numbers, Green Bay is a more balanced team than Atlanta and Grant should put out very good numbers
Clinton Portis: I have some questions about the New Orleans rush defense after that first game and Clinton looked pretty good even though he did not get into the end zone on opening day. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tops 100 and crosses the goal line twice
Running backs who are not going anywhere
Fred Taylor/Mojo: I mentioned this up above, and the truth of the matter is you can be the best running back on the planet, if you don’t have at least a serviceable offensive line, you are not going anywhere. For those who don’t pay super close attention, Jacksonville lost three of their starting offensive lineman on opening day, one for the season, one for two months and another one for at least a couple of weeks. They are playing Buffalo and Buffalo looks hungry.
Joseph Addai:you have to start him regardless, but you always get worried when the body part next to injury reads “head”” and the Minnesota Vikings defense still looks really good against the run.
Wide receivers who will tattoo “death from above” upon their opponents
Santonio Holmes: he was exceptionally quiet in the opening week, and Hines Ward is still a viable threat, but I’m thinking NBC Sunday night is going to be the coming-out party for Mr. Holmes
Plaxico Burress: OK, let’s get this out-of-the-way now, that way I can maybe stretch a little more in future articles. Until further notice, if you have any wide receiver or quarterback… or running back or tight end or kicker or defense going against St. Louis, start them.
Wide receivers who will be grounded
Hank Baskett: I feel compelled to put Hank down just because I’ve heard some people talking about him as if he’s going to be the breakout player of the century. He’s not, it was a big catch and it was against St. Louis. It should be a different story against Dallas this week
Eddie Royal: the rookie had a fantastic game on Monday night… against Oakland… without Brandon Marshall playing opposite. I do believe he’s going to have a decent season, but I expect a big drop off this week
And now onto the first LiveWorld League power rankings of the season!
1. size7 poopShooters. I had no choice in this matter, as long as this team was in any way competitive, the universe decreed that they would have to be ranked number one after the first week. Any owner with the genius, ingenuity, self-assurance and sheer audacity to name their OWN team size7 poopShooters must know what they’re doing. I mean, what does it even mean?! Size seven? Poop shooters? The imagery is staggering! And beyond all that, they have a really good team. Very solid at quarterback with Kitna and Cutler. Excellent running backs in Westbrook and Jacobs, really good possibility of Felix Jones contributing as well. And wide receivers were good last week with Hines Ward. The third wide receiver spot was a little weak but they have Brandon Marshall coming back this week. I will say that I think they should have been an even stronger team, but they made in my opinion a bad trade offer to Yours truly, giving up Willie Parker and Lee Evans in exchange for Calvin Johnson and Ray Rice. Johnson might very well be a monster this year, but Ray Rice was already cut from the Shooters roster, Evans I believe is a very solid number two receiver and Willie Parker was one of my favorite value picks before the season started and that looked pretty good in the first week.
2. The Flood. Traditionally I rank my teams as pessimistically as possible. It is frequently very difficult for people to give fair and unbiased judgments of their own teams, but I think that number two is about right. Come to think of it, maybe I should have made poopShooters number two, but I digress. The Flood look really solid right now with Big Ben at quarterback, Clinton and fast Willie at running back with what looks to be a rising star in Matt Forte in the flexed position. Wayne and Holmes should be an outstanding duo at wide receiver, and if Evans or Vincent Jackson can contribute from the number three spot, this team could be tough to beat. It’s true that there are a lot of Steelers on the roster, something which normally doesn’t happen with my teams, even though I am a big Steelers fan. All too frequently, when you have too many players from the same NFL team on your roster, it doesn’t work out for you… unless you happen to pick the right team in the right year, only time will tell.
3. Evil Midnight Bombers. They scored the most points in our league in the first week, but they only get the number three spot. Why? Well first, Baltimore is not going to score you 20 + points every week. Second, while Michael Turner is probably in for a good year, he still plays on Atlanta and he is not going to get you 34 points week in and week out. They do have pretty solid running backs in the aforementioned Turner, plus Addai is right at the top of the running back food chain and Thomas Jones is going to contribute throughout. However, they are fairly weak at quarterback with Hassleback, who has absolutely no receivers left, and Jason Campbell. The receivers will rely entirely upon Steve Smith when he gets back. If Smith has a good season, then he will have to carry the rest of the receivers because Patrick Crayton, DJ Hackett and Dwayne Bowe are not going to blow anybody away.
4. Damaged Denial. I almost had this team ranked number three. They have a pretty solid core with baby boy Manning as the quarterback, Frank Gore and Ryan Grant the anchors at running back and then Plax, Chambers and a potentially rising Star in Cotchery at wide receiver. The main problem looks like no strong options for the flexed position. Still, the core could be strong enough to make this team a contender again this season.
5. Twittering Witty Wombats. The league starts to tighten up at this point.. They have a good starting quarterback with Drew Brees, solid wide receivers in Marvin Harrison and Colston backing up a top-of-the-line receiver in Braylon Edwards and Marion Barber is definitely a number one running back, provided he can stay healthy. After that you are left with Ricky Williams and DeAngelo Williams fighting for the number two spot and no outstanding choice to start as the flex (note: this written before it was found out that Colston is out for up to six weeks)
6. Dreaded Mercenaries. This is a team that I think could really shoot up the rankings pretty quickly. They have what many consider a top level quarterback in Tony Romo, an extremely solid running back squad with AP leading the way, Edge and Ernest Graham are both great backups, then at wide receiver they have a top five player at the position in Fitzgerald and a number two guy in Laveraneues Coles who could have a fairly decent season with their new Hall of Fame quarterback. The main weak spot is that there is no good option for the number three wide receiver.
7. Team Jackie. The team could be in trouble, St. Louis just looks terrible and this team has the quarterback and Steven Jackson, as well as the kicker. Personally, I think Kurt Warner is a better way to go at quarterback, so we will see who gets the start in the second week. After that you’ve got Owens as the only standout player. Reggie Bush might be OK, and if he is, this team might not need to make too many moves to be competitive. But, they need to upgrade their second running back/flex position and hope that Santana Moss has a really good year because Welker was my number one pick for bust of the year at receiver, and losing Brady doesn’t help that.
8. San Hosers. This is another one of those middle teams then I think could move up. Palmer at quarterback is a real tossup this season. He has the talent, and he is surrounded by talent at the skill positions, but the team as a whole is in disarray already and the offensive line is questionable at best. They do have LT and a couple of young running backs who could produce in Kevin Smith and Selvin Young. They also have Jamal Lewis who can be a top performer if he can get and stay healthy. The top two receivers are Andre Johnson and Roy Williams, both of which could have great years, or could underperform again because of the overall skill level of their teams. Then, there is no good option for a third wide receiver and no other depth.
9. Team Fenix. They grabbed Favre a little early, but one thing you definitely get with Brett is a consistent starter. He is going to throw his interceptions, but he’s going to throw more touchdowns and he always starts. They came back and were able to get Randy Moss who is probably still the number one overall receiver even without Brady, provided the team doesn’t run into trouble winning games and he just gives up on the season. .Julius Jones should be able to get yards if nothing else up in Seattle especially now that Maurice Morris is injured. However, the rest of the running backs and receivers are not going to help this team score too many points.
10. The Bloodsuckers. This team is in a pretty bad way early on. I don’t believe Derek Anderson is the real deal in Cleveland, and they have Vince Young backing him up. Word out of Tennessee is that Vince might not want to play anymore and has taken up driving around town with a gun in his car, bullets strewn around the front seats. Larry Johnson is on such a bad team that he is going to be facing 8 man fronts all season long. Holt is on a worse team than Larry Johnson, but Boldin might be OK. Ronnie Brown might be able to get some points, but overall there’s not enough here right now to make this team into a contender
11. Pavlov’s Altoids. Last season this team took the risk of drafting two top-level quarterbacks in big Brother Manning and Donovan McNabb. They then proceeded to go through most of the season consistently starting the wrong one on any given week. This season? They drafted big Brother Manning and Donovan McNabb, starting Manning in the opening week. They have a solid running back in Lynch from Buffalo, and the superstar rookie Darren McFadden who may or may not be productive this season. After that it gets bad. Chad Ocho- Cinco leads the receiving corps. He has always gotten lots of yards, but his touchdown production has dropped consistently and he is injured. There are no other players on the team who have much of a chance of contributing anything consistently this season
12. .Cowering Code Monkeys. Tom Brady, Chris Henry (from Cincinnati), Bobby Engram. On top of that pile Deuce McAllister, Reggie Williams, Mojo and Bernard Berrian. The best player on this team might be Jason Witten, their tight end, and that’s not good. They have already dropped Tom Brady and replaced him with Cassel, and if Cassel turns out to be another Brady, this team might be able to rebound. I will be forced to kill myself rather than listen to another whole season of sports reporters talking about the genius that must have been involved in selecting the unknown Cassel (who has as many professional and Collegiate starts as I do by the way) in the seventh round four years ago to back up Brady, but the Code Monkeys would be able to rebound, so it all balances out.
And there you have it, the first week is in the books and what an opening week it was. If the next 16 weeks are anything like that, it’s going to be a season to remember.
Another week in the books. While I do my best to remain impartial when doing my fantasy writing, I do have to take one moment to comment on something from this past week.
Ha ha ha! Miami! Miami beat New England! They didn’t just beat them, they destroyed them. Humiliated them on New England home turf! The “genius” that is the New England head coach was unable to stop a college play that Miami ran over and over and over! Oh, New England can just plug in any player and make it work, Bill is THAT much of a genius, he just plucks players off of the street, puts them into his system and it’s as simple as that! :: wiping eyes :: please, please, whatever football gods exist out there in the universe, please give me a couple more of these gems during the season. Oh, and no more Steelers losses would also be good.
Ahem, anyway, let’s see what else happened in the NFL this past week. Larry Johnson made an appearance, Steven Jackson is still MIA, Brian Westbrook twisted his ankle but appears to be OK, big Brother Manning is now becoming a concern for everyone who drafted him high, the entire Cleveland/Michigan area remains winless with Cleveland, Cincinnati and Detroit enjoying a combined 0-9 record, St. Louis looks like they might have a difficult time winning a single game this season and Philip Rivers/ Jay Cutler are the two best quarterbacks in the NFL. Do I have all of that straight? You just have to love fantasy football. Well, love it or scratch your own eyes out, crying to the heavens “why?! Why I ask you, why!” while either every one of your top three draft choices gets injured or every forecast you made/read now looks like the scribbling of a three-year-old. I love it.
Let’s recap some of my suggestions from last week and see how I did.
I said Jay Cutler would be a good play. 21 out of 34, 264 yd., two touchdowns against one interception, not outstanding but still a good call. I also suggested… Derek Anderson? You are sure? Really? Derek Anderson? Well, I did say I didn’t like the guy, I did say I didn’t think he would be the quarterback much longer, and I said that if Derek Anderson was going to have any good games while he was still on your fantasy roster, it was going to be last week. Looks like Derek Anderson will not have any good games what he is still on your fantasy roster. That was clearly a bad call, so bad I’m going to give myself a double penalty and say that was worth two bad calls.
I warned against Carson Palmer and Matt Hassleback, even though he was going against St. Louis. Palmer played admirably against the Giants throwing for almost 300 yd. one touchdown and no interceptions. That’s not exactly an outstanding performance, but it isn’t terrible either, going with a push on this one. Matt on the other hand only managed one touchdown and couldn’t even get to 200 yd., again, this was against St. Louis! I have to say that was a good call
In running backs I said Brandon Jacobs would be a good play. This is a tricky one, because all that I said was I was betting he got his first touchdown against Cincinnati. He got the touchdown, but couldn’t even manage 50 yd. I have to go with a push even though the actual prediction was right. I also said I liked Frank Gore, saying I would not be surprised if he got around 150 yd. and two scores. He went over 150 combined yards and got one touchdown, that’s close enough for a good call.
I once again went out on a limb, saying Brian Westbrook owners might be in for a disappointment. One thing you see happening a lot when teams come off a short week is injuries, and Westbrook went out early against Pittsburgh without getting much yards and never returned. Major good call. I also said I would be surprised if Matt Forte had a good game. Well, color me surprised. He got a touchdown catch and over 150 yd. combined yardage. That’s another bad call.
In wide receivers, I liked Reggie Wayne and Randy Moss. I said a while ago, wide receiver can be the most erratic of the major fantasy scoring positions and that is definitely proving true. Neither of them scored a touchdown or really made any kind of impact, two bad calls.
In receivers that I warned against, I went with Anquan Boldin and although he had a touchdown, the warning was against expecting the same thing as two weeks ago, and he only had three catches total for minimal yards, so that’s a good call. I also gave the same warning against Santana Moss. He had a decent game, just under 80 yd. and a touchdown. Again, the warning was against expecting the same kind of thing he had done the week before, but for a receiver I think that was good enough to go with a push.
So, accounting for the double bad penalty, the results are five good, five bad and three push. Overall for the season, 12 good calls, 7 bad and 6 push. Considering that I am going with at least one risky call each week so far, I’m pretty happy with those numbers. Let’s see what I can do this week.
Quarterbacks who will resemble Bart Starr
I’m imposing the following restriction on myself. I am not going to go in favor or against the same player in back-to-back weeks. If not, it would get too easy to start suggesting the same players every week, such as J. Cutler again this week.
Philip Rivers. With LT having been limited, Philip has been picking up the slack. Even though they are only 1-2 as a team, Rivers seems to be scoring every week and I would expect another 2-3 touchdowns and plenty of yards against Oakland.
Brian Griese. Not a lot of people have him as their main quarterback. He threw for over 400 yd. last week, but was very erratic getting two touchdowns against three interceptions. He is going against Green Bay and Al Harris, who is a starter in the Green Bay secondary, has a ruptured spleen. Remember that thing I said a couple of weeks ago about you have to get concerned when the body part next to the injury reads “head”? The same thing goes for the word “ruptured” before any body part. Bottom line, Green Bay is going to be a little thin in the secondary and I think Brian will take advantage of it.
Quarterbacks who will resemble Bart Simpson
Gus Frerotte. He is the new starting quarterback in Minnesota and won his first game of the year last week. I’m thinking he faces a really tough week against what has been a dominating defense in Tennessee
Jason Campbell. That kid has been playing really decent football in Washington, I would almost classify him as being a steal for anybody who got him late. This week I think he is going to struggle against Dallas as they look to solidify their hold over the NFC East.
Running backs who will resemble Barry Sanders
Marshawn Lynch. Just because I warned against Matt Hassleback against St. Louis last week doesn’t mean I have abandoned my “start anybody against St. Louis” credo. I am betting Lynch has his biggest outing of the season so far.
Selvin Young. He has been having a good year for yardage, not outstanding though. But, he has been the best performer overall out of the Denver backfield and I’m betting he either gets in the end zone, tops 100 yd. or both against Kansas City this week.
Running backs who will resemble Barry Manilow
Steven Jackson. Why would anything change this week?.
Marion Barber. Another big-name running back. He has been running hard, relatively healthy and it’s a big game against Washington. So, taking a huge risk, but I think Felix Jones is going to get a chance to spell Barber a little this week and we will see Barber’s numbers go down.
Wide receivers who will resemble Cris Carter (the retired wide receiver from Philadelphia and Minnesota)
The easy choice would be Brandon Marshall, so I am going to bypass that and stretch on a couple
Steve Smith. He certainly looked a little rusty in his first game back this past week, but I’m betting he gets on the scoreboard against Atlanta at home.
Chad Ocho- Cinco. Here is a guy who has totally disappeared this season. His team is 0-3 but showed some signs of life against the Giants. They are playing Cleveland and the odds of this game being a tie game are probably higher than most games, but I still expect somebody to win and I think Chad gets to do some form of celebration this week.
Wide receivers who will resemble Chris Carter (the creator/writer of the X-Files)
Anybody from Baltimore. I really hope you have not been starting any receivers from Baltimore to begin with, but my prediction is nobody will score any touchdowns through the air for Baltimore this week… again.
Dwayne Bowe. Considering he plays for Kansas City, he has been having an okay year. I expect the Denver secondary to shut him down this week.
Now, let’s see how the power rankings shake out!
1. size7 poopShooters. (1) they had their own version of Miami versus New England this week as the number one ranked team loses to the number 12 ranked team. Still, they hold onto their number one ranking as they continue to score solid points and when I look at their lineup, I just see fewer weaknesses than any other team. The Westbrook injury could be a concern, but the early Word is that he’s going to be OK and they have Felix Jones ready to fill in for a week or two if necessary. It is still only three weeks into the season, but next week is the one quarter mark and right now I believe they are the team everybody is chasing.
2. Damaged Denial.(3) they continue moving up the rankings, settling at number two this week, but I’m not 100% certain how tight their grasp on the position is. They are gaining an awful lot of points out of the defensive team, and that’s not the kind of thing that you can sustain all year. Baby boy Manning and Frank Gore are extremely solid and Burress hasn’t quite exploded like he did last season, but there is still enough time and there’s no reason to think he won’t wind up carrying this team a couple of weeks. Right now though, they’ve moved up to number two in large part due to their defense
3. Dreaded Mercenaries. (4) they climb another spot in the rankings, but again a lot of it is based on their defensive points. There’s no doubt that they are a solid team. Romo at quarterback, AP at running back, Fitzgerald leading the way at wide receiver and a fairly strong supporting cast all the way around. It looks to me like every team from number two through number six is really close right now
4. The Flood. (2) is this the start of a major slide for the defending champs? They have lost two in a row, finished dead last in points this week and now there is word that Willie Parker is out indefinitely. They have what should be a great 1-2 punch at wide receiver, but neither Wayne nor Holmes are performing up to expectations. They have a decent combo at running back, but right now they are not looking as strong as they did at this time last week.
5. Evil Midnight Bombers.(6) apparently when you are flying a squadron of evil midnight bombers, there are a lot of altitude changes which are required. In the first three weeks of the season, they have finished first in points, last in points and then first in points again. The question is, where is that yo-yo going to stop? When a team is this erratic, it’s almost impossible to tell if they are going to score over 100 points each week, or finish in last. They still have some problems at quarterback, although Jason Campbell has been over performing. If Willis McGahee really does start performing like he did when he was with Buffalo, then they have a great threesome at running back. It’s going to be intriguing to see where this team ends up. They are definitely a contender, but are they going to climb to the top of the heap or continue bouncing dangerously up and down?
6. Twittering Witty Wombats. (5) they slip a spot in the rankings, but they are only one player away from making a move up, and that player is Braylon Edwards. He was my pick as best value selection at the wide receiver position and he has done nothing but struggle all season. If he can start playing as expected, then he could be the missing piece for this team. If he doesn’t, then they might find themselves around the middle of the pack for quite awhile
7. Team Fenix. (8) They continue creeping up the standings. If Randy Moss would do just half of what he was doing last season, this team might be able to pull it together and start threatening the top teams. They still have plenty of issues to be sure, no other big-time receivers other than Randy and no outstanding running backs, other than Julius Jones who has really started taking the lead in Seattle. They’ve got Brett at quarterback and right now they are scoring good points as a team. If they keep it up, they might break into the top half next week
8. The Bloodsuckers. (9) they climbed one more spot, but Ronnie Brown is not going to get you 41 points every week. They desperately need to find another quarterback. If Ronnie can return to pre-injury form, there is still a chance this team can be competitive, but there is a decent chance that if they don’t pick up another quarterback soon, they will have two quarterbacks on their roster neither of which are starting for the NFL team on which they play
9. Team Jackie. (7) there are some pretty good players on this team, but management has to take some notice. Jackie, if you are reading this, for the sake of keeping your team competitive, please, please set down Bulger and start Warner. In fact, drop Bulger altogether and get another as backup..Plus, Jonathan Stewart should be starting. Right now this team is 2-1, but they are missing out on valuable overall points. A couple of simple roster adjustments and this team can be competitive all the way to the playoffs. But, they can also drop.to the very bottom if the wrong players are in the lineup
10. San Hosers. (11) as I go over the power rankings, this ranking might be a little low, but they did move up the rankings and might move a little higher next week as well. LT scored twice, but is obviously still struggling. Andre Johnson and Roy Williams are both disappointing, but if either of them can pick it up, there is still plenty of time for this team to climb the ranks. There are still a lot of problems, nobody stepping up as the second running back, the aforementioned concerns over LT and so on. Overall though, there are signs of hope
11. .Cowering Code Monkeys.(12) They get out of the basement with a hardfought victory over the top team in the league. Philip Rivers has been a savior for this team. Mojo showed some signs of life this past week, and if he returns to his form of two years ago this team could make some noise. I’m not sure that is going to happen, but every long journey begins with a couple of steps, and this team took those first steps out of the depths of the league, so we will see if it is the start of that long journey or just an aberration.
12. Pavlov’s Altoids. (10) they fall to the bottom of the league mostly because of an almost total lack of contribution from their wide receivers. Big Brother Manning is bound to start producing some time you would think, and Donovan McNabb has been more on than off. The main problem is you can’t play both of them. Lynch and McFadden are fine in the running back position, but nobody is doing anything at wide receiver. All four of the teams in the bottom third of the power rankings have a lot of issues to overcome, but it’s still too early to count any of them out.
So, one of the most intriguing NFL seasons in recent memory continues. You would have to be some kind of fool to try and predict what is going to happen next week. Wait, scratch that. You have to be some kind of brave and honorable individual! Yeah, that sounds better, brave and honorable!
So, we are now officially one quarter of the way through the season. This is the time of the year where head coaches typically take a look back and evaluate their team’s performance thus far, and look forward to the next 25% of the schedule. So, we will do basically the same thing.
First, some general comments about the first fourth of the season so far. Crazy. Anybody who says that they knew Miami would beat New England, Kansas City would beat Denver, Buffalo and Tennessee would both be 4-0, Indianapolis would be 1-2 and two head coaches would both be fired before the midway point of the season is either lying, crazy, the modern-day incarnation of Nostradamus or some combination of the three. At least it looks like T. O. is starting to lose his mind again in Dallas this time, so that’s right about on schedule.
Now, let’s look at some of my predictions from last week and see how things are going for the season overall.
Things don’t start off so good as I went with Philip Rivers and Brian Griese as my favorite quarterbacks. This is a great example of the difference between NFL football and fantasy football. Both quarterbacks led their teams to victory, so in the NFL that is a success. However, neither one of them could top 200 yd. and they went a combined two touchdowns against five interceptions.. That is two bad calls right off the bat
Things get a little better as I warned against Gus Frerotte, who did not throw for a touchdown, but was responsible for a couple of turnovers, so that’s a good call. However, I also warned against Jason Campbell, who went over 200 yd. with two touchdowns and no interceptions. That, combined with me giving some bad quarterback advice during the week, adds up to another bad call
Things keep going downhill with the running backs, Lynch and Young were both on my good side, but neither got into the end zone nor did they top 100 yd., two more bad calls.
And yet another one as Steven Jackson not only found the end zone but went over 100 yd.. There’s no way to make that sound like a bad game. However, I did warn against one of the top running backs in the league with Marion Barber. Even though the reason for the drop in numbers didn’t go exactly as I thought, going with a double good call as Barber’s numbers were way, way down.
Things get brighter looking over the wide receiver predictions. I said that I expected Steve Smith to get onto the scoreboard and Chad Johnson to be able to do some form of celebrating, both of them scored touchdowns this week, so that’s a couple of good calls.
I also made the fairly far-reaching warning against every receiver on Baltimore, predicting that none of them would score a touchdown. There was a touchdown reception, but it was a tight end. I would have gone with a double good call as once again every single receiver on Baltimore failed to get a touchdown, and that is what I warned about, but Derrick Mason went over 100 yd. receiving, so this is one good call.
I also expected Denver to shut down Dwayne Bowe. They did keep him out of the end zone, but he still managed 85 yd., which is respectable for a wide receiver. So, that is the only push of the week
So, another even week as I wind up with six good, six bad and one push. Overall for the season we have 18 good calls, 13 bad and 7 push. Still more good than bad, but that’s two weeks in a row of even results. Onto the next week!
Quarterbacks whose stocks are on the rise
Tony Romo. Really, Tony has not exploded the way some people were thinking he would. Not so far at least. This one would appear to be the easiest call, Dallas, at-home, against Cincinnati. If Tony does not throw at least two more touchdowns than he does interceptions and get somewhere in the neighborhood of 300 yd., then this will be a bad call.
Eli Manning. I picked him earlier in the season as a positive and he did well by me. I am going with him again at home against Seattle. Even though he will not have his top receiver, I’m still thinking baby boy Manning can put up some decent numbers.
Quarterbacks who are desperately in need of an economic bailout
Trent Edwards. This is more a warning against expecting Trent Edwards to turn into Brett Favre just because they are playing the same team in back-to-back weeks. I’m thinking Arizona corrects the problems that they had against the Jets and put forth a much better effort against Buffalo.. Edwards might wind up with a touchdown or two, but that’s about it.
Ben Roethlisberger. I really hope I am wrong on this one . Being a Steeler fan, I want my quarterback to do great. While the injuries at running back are a concern, what really has me worried is losing another offensive lineman for the season. They are coming off an overtime game on Monday night, going on the road to Jacksonville who still has a tough defense, and they are already banged up. This has all the makings of a disaster.
Running backs that use Bank of America
Ernest Graham. There’s a chance Kansas City has discovered a weakness in the Denver defense, and I’m thinking Tampa Bay will work on exploiting it again. Larry Johnson had a terrific day without anybody blocking, Graham may not be physically as good as Larry Johnson, but he has a better offensive line. I’m thinking Ernest gets into the end zone at least once and goes over 100 yd.
Adrian Peterson. So far in his short NFL career Adrian has been a pretty hit and miss kind of running back. Every so often he has a huge, breakout game, but every so often he almost disappears. I’m thinking Monday night in primetime we will see why he was a top three selection in most fantasy drafts.
Running backs that used Washington Mutual
Chris Johnson. The Tennessee rookie has been very impressive in his first four games. Baltimore is coming off a really tough loss in overtime on Monday night. While I believe they will be run down, the Baltimore defense is among the best in the league and they have a lot of pride. I think they take out their frustration over the Monday night loss and shut down Johnson.
Larry Johnson. He has shown some signs of life in the past couple of weeks, but Carolina has been tough against the run. I think Larry on the road this week looks more like he did during the first week than he did last week.
Wide receivers that will prosper and be successful
Calvin Johnson. Chicago has a very good defense. Detroit has a very good… well, nothing really. But, they finally got rid of Matt Millen and they are coming off of the bye week. It’s a divisional game and they’re playing at home. Calvin Johnson has all of the tools needed to be a dominant player in the NFL, I think he goes over 100 yd. and gets at least one score.
Terrell Owens. I believe that if Dallas struggles at all, you will see Owens begin the relentless tearing down of his team like he does everywhere he goes. But, ever since Jerry Jones took over Dallas, the team has not necessarily been known for its outstanding character traits or discipline. I can almost see the memo right now coming down to the coaching staff “keep T. O. happy” and for this week at least, against Cincinnati, that should not be too difficult.
Wide receivers that will be dismantled and sold off as scrap
Isaac Bruce. The old man has been rejuvenated in San Francisco, mostly thanks to the pass happy attack of Mike Martz. But, I think Mike was taking notes while watching game film of the Miami victory over New England and saw that most of the damage came on the ground. I think Isaac will have limited chances on Sunday and the New England secondary will keep him under wraps
Chris Chambers. Miami opened some eyes a couple of weeks ago, they totally shut down Randy Moss in New England and I think they will do the same thing to Chris Chambers in Miami.
And now onto the power rankings. Typically by the one quarter mark, you can get a fairly clear picture of who is in the top third of the league and who is in the bottom third. Everyone in the middle is still fighting in determining who is a contender and who is a pretender.
It’s also worth a reminder here that these power rankings are nothing more than my own opinion of the potential each team has for scoring. Whether a team wins or loses its individual games carries virtually no weight whatsoever with me when it comes to the power rankings. I have long held that the true measure of any fantasy football team is overall points scored, not head-to-head record, so just because a team might be 1-3 doesn’t mean that they couldn’t be in the top third of the league while a team at 3-1 might be in the bottom third.
I was once in a league, about 15 years ago, 12 teams, 21 players drafted on each team, nine players started each week, no free agency so whoever you drafted was your team for the season. Because of injuries and all sorts of unforeseen circumstances, my team finished dead last in overall points. 12th place in a 12 team league. What makes the story interesting? I also won the league Super Bowl that season. If you just get lucky enough to play the lowest scoring team each week, or unlucky enough to get the highest scoring team, the record of your team can be exactly the opposite of what you would expect. The true measure of a fantasy team is overall points over the course of the entire 17 weeks.
Enough with the minimally interesting anecdotal writings!
1. Dreaded Mercenaries. (3) well, this team made a statement this week and that statement was “we don’t need no stinking defense”. They lead the week in scoring and only get nine combined points from their defense and kicker. That’s a really strong showing, so they claim the number one spot as we pass the one quarter mark
2. Damaged Denial.(2) if not for the outstanding performance of the Mercenary team, Denial would have certainly claimed the top spot. Even with a number of their top performers out, they still managed to put up good numbers and remained undefeated. If they are able to get past next week with a similar performance, they will once again be challenging the number one team.
3. size7 poopShooters. (1) they dropped two spots and are out of first-place for the first time this season. They had a number of key players off this week, so this drop is as much because of the performance of Mercenaries and Denial as it is due to some unfortunate scheduling. Much like the Philadelphia Eagles, this team’s fate may depend on how quickly Brian Westbrook gets back onto the field and whether or not his ankle continues bothering him for the rest of the season
4. The Flood. (4) some prognosticators are listing this team.as one of the franchisees which need some help to catch up to the top teams in the league. However, even without their quarterback or receivers performing at the levels expected, they are still somehow in fourth place in overall points. If some of those players get on track, they can easily move back into the top three.
5. Team Fenix. (7) not only do they break into the top half, they jumped two spots into the top five! They continue scoring excellent points, this past week without Julius Jones or Brett Favre. They came to me on Saturday with their quarterback dilemma and I told them how high I was on Brian Griese. They seemed to be leaning towards Brett and I agreed that it was an extremely difficult decision. I kind of got the feeling that I may have swayed them because of my enthusiasm over Brian, but in the end it is always a personal decision and I’ve been clear that despite any advice, I believe you need to play your best players. Brett was their number one draft choice this season. Regardless, their roster has looked better and better each week and now they just need to keep on going
6. Evil Midnight Bombers.(5) they slide down another spot as Thomas Jones is starting to look like this season will be another disappointment and Willis in Baltimore is looking more and more like the fragile bust I thought he might be. They are still in the top half and they have shown that they are more than capable of putting up big numbers. However, they need to string together a couple of good weeks to regain their spot in the top third of the league
7. Twittering Witty Wombats. (6) they continue their slow descent down the rankings. If everything was based strictly on overall points, they would be even lower but Barber is not going to be so thoroughly shut down very often and overall I still think they have one of the more solid lineups in the league, it’s just that the top half of the league is outperforming them right now.
8. The Bloodsuckers. (8) they hold steady this week even though they put up some good points without an over-the-top performance from Ronnie Brown. I just could not justify dropping any of the teams above them any lower in the rankings. Still, the separation between the middle third and bottom third of the league is getting smaller based in large part on the performance of the Bloodsuckers in recent weeks
9. Cowering Code Monkeys.(11) They continue clawing their way up the standings. Some teams who lost a Brady in the first quarter of the season would have thrown in the towel, but to their credit the Monkeys keep on fighting. They still have a long way to go, but if nothing else they have shown that they are not giving up and sometimes that alone can be enough to raise a team up.
10. San Hosers. (10) They hold steady this week. LT looks to be on the right track, now if Andre and Roy would kick it into gear, they might have a chance. Until then though, they are stuck in the bottom third.
11. Team Jackie. (9) The question has to be asked:has this team completely given up? This week, they started Bulger who was benched and three other positions who were on the bye week. Shockingly they still won their game! But, I have inside info that the owner is going to make soime moves this week. I’ve said for a few weeks now, that with a little bit of management, this team has the players to compete. We’ll have to wait and see how committed the owner is from here on out.
12. Pavlov’s Altoids. (12) The question has to be asked:has this team completely given up? Woah! Déjà vu! The team is dead last in over all points and seems to be falling further behind each week. This week they started Big Brother Manning who was off and sat McNabb. Have they lost interest and are abandoning their team to flounder the rest of the season? Was it just a simple over sight? Can they possibly escape the devious trap that the Penguin has laid for them?! Have I been watching too much campy television? Tune in next week, same Bri time, same Bri channel!
And speaking of next week, I’m going to be away spending a week at Foxwoods Casino. So, my entry next week will be a bit abbreviated, but should still be up Tuesday night/Wednesday morning.
We are moving into quite the exciting time of the year, not just for football fans, but for the country in general. We’re coming up on what has to be one of the most historic presidential elections in the history of our nation. It doesn’t really matter what NFL team you root for, there’s some kind of excitement in the air (OK, except maybe for Cincinnati and Detroit fans).
And, it doesn’t really matter who you are voting for in the presidential election, it should still be a fantastic feeling knowing that you have the ability to go out and have your vote counted. Whether you’re voting for one of the two men who will almost certainly become president, or for one of the smaller third-party candidates who don’t really have any legitimate chance of winning this year, your vote still matters. It will either play some small role in the election of our president, or you will make the statement that what this country needs most is a more balanced playing field where more people have an actual shot. George Washington believed that the worst thing that could happen to our political system was the formation of political parties. I’m not sure if anybody could say he was wrong.
What does this all have to do with football you might ask? Well, not a whole lot, but you don’t get football and politics confused very often and it does let me mention that there’s going to be a political rally at a local club that my family owns this coming Thursday. I’m going to go mostly because the owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers himself, Dan Rooney and the man who made the immaculate reception, Franco Harris are both going to be in attendance! I’m not sure if they are allowing pictures or what the exact rules are going to be, but if I get a chance to take any good photos, I will upload them next week.
Now, let’s move back into how things are going in the world of football. Big Brother Manning did not throw a single touchdown pass for only the 22nd time in his entire career, Larry Johnson has completely lost his mind in Kansas City, one Roy Williams broke his arm in Dallas and is done for the season while another Roy Williams just got traded to Dallas, Seattle started a wide receiver at quarterback and nobody in the league can beat St. Louis anymore. Pretty status quo for this season. Let’s run through some of my predictions from last week and see how I did.
Quarterbacks that I thought were going to do well were Big Brother Manning and Chad Pennington. Who would have thought Chad Pennington would have been the better of the two? Manning was clearly a bad call, and while Pennington wasn’t terrible, he was still Pennington and that is bad enough, going with two bad calls.
Quarterbacks that I thought would perform poorly were Aaron Rodgers and Kerry Collins. The Green Bay quarterback had a great game, so that’s the third bad call in a row. However, even though the Tennessee quarterback led his team to another victory, he threw for no touchdowns and barely over 100 yd.. I get on the scoreboard with a good call!
Running backs that I favored were Willie Parker and Marion Barber. Even though I write this on Tuesday, and the guy who replaced Willie Parker (who stepped in a hole during practice on Wednesday) scored three touchdowns, still going to be hard on myself and give myself a bad call. There’s a possibility that in future predictions I might come back and adjust something if an injury later in the week changes things, then again I may just leave things as they are and try to predict things Nostradamus style. Barber scored a touchdown and went over 100 yd. though, so that’s a good call.
Running backs that I warned against were Thomas Jones and Reggie Bush Thomas Jones had a great day yardage wise, I’m in a masochistic mood, so even though I could probably go with a push, going to go with bad call. Reggie Bush wound up tearing something during a punt return, did not score and did not get much yardage, so that’s a good call.
Wide receivers that I suggested were Santana Moss and Andre Johnson. Santana had a very nice game, getting into the end zone as well as decent yardage. Even though Andre did not score a touchdown, he had a monster game yardage wise, so that is two good calls.
Then, I took a little bit of a risk by saying that NO receivers on either Tennessee or Kansas City would score any touchdowns. The only way I would get a double good call was if this happened, and what do you know, it did.
After you add it all up, I came on strong at the end and wind up with a 7-5 record for the week. 41-27-8 so far for the year. Let’s see if I can boost it up a little going into the halfway point.
Quarterbacks who believe the most important thing you can do this November 4 is cast your vote
Donovan McNabb. Coming off of a bye week, at home, against Atlanta. Westbrook might play but will not be 100%. Philadelphia needs this game. And to take it, McNabb will have to have a big day. He is not exactly the best quarterback under pressure, but I don’t think he will actually be feeling the pressure this Sunday and will have a good game.
Marc Bulger. holy cow! Weeks and weeks ago I said that any player you had against St. Louis you should start and that you should not start any St. Louis players until further notice. Well, this would be that further notice. St. Louis has rediscovered the art of playing football in the past couple of weeks. The quarterback has not had a breakout game yet, and he’s going against the “genius” in New England this week. This is a risky pick, but I’m going with it
Quarterbacks who believe the most important thing you can do this November 4 is sleep in
Whoever plays quarterback for Dallas. Brad Johnson looked awful. Like, so awful it was the kind of awful that made you a little sick. I think they’re going to try to rush Tony Romo back, but I don’t think that he has much backbone or tolerance for pain. I think that who ever starts is going to have a poor game.
Drew Brees. Definitely a risky pick. Drew has been a fantasy stud all season long. But, he is missing a number of weapons this week and the game is being played in England as in jolly old, not new. That’s enough for me to think this might be a less than stellar name for the star quarterback.
Running backs who will anxiously watch the Big Board fill in with red and blue colors on the night of November 4
Thomas Jones. He has had two straight weeks of very good performances, and he is going against Kansas City which was unable to stop a 285 lb. running back from running 80 yd. on one play last week.
Steve Slaton. The young running back has been having a quiet yet very good season in Houston. Cincinnati seems to be unable to stop anybody on the ground, so the youngster might have a breakout game this coming week
Running backs who will be angry that the next episode of the Biggest Loser has been preempted for some stupid political thing on the night of November 4
Michael Turner. Have you noticed the disparity between Michael Turner running at home and on the road? Take a look at the game statistics when you have a chance, it’s pretty amazing. Philadelphia still has a tough defense, so if the pattern holds true, Turner should have a tough time in Philadelphia.
Brandon Jacobs. The big guy has been fantastic all season for the Giants, but it’s usually the smaller, faster guy that gives the Steelers problems. Expect Jacobs to struggle this week
Wide receivers who clearly believe in democracy
Lee Evans. Trent Edwards seems to get stronger each week at quarterback, and Evans is his main target. I’m expecting a big game this week from him. I wouldn’t be surprised if Evans pulls down two
Calvin Johnson. I would love to go with either Andre Johnson or Santana Moss again, but I went with them last week. Detroit is really bad, let’s get that right out of the way. Calvin Johnson has literally everything you can ask for in a top wide receiver. He is tall, physically strong, usually the fastest guy on the field, has a vertical leap somewhere in the 3 ½ foot range and what scouts refer to as “soft hands” meaning that he usually catches everything thrown his way. The fact that Detroit drafted him with the second overall pick last season is virtually proof that God, the universe, or whatever powers you happen to believe in, really do have a sense of humor, and it can be a sick and twisted sense of humor sometimes. I think Calvin has a decent shot of showing just how good he is over the last half of the season, continuing to score even though he is realistically the only true weapon on Detroit.
Wide receivers who I suspect are secretly fascists!
Terrell Owens. It’s time for a meltdown, I can just feel it. One more bad game, a couple more dropped balls, one more loss… get your popcorn ready everybody, the T. O. soap opera should be starting anytime now
Anybody on Baltimore or Oakland. I’m only risking a single good/bad call on this one. You don’t have any reason to be starting any wide receivers on either of these teams anyway, but if you have been, stop. I’m predicting that there might be one touchdown through the air, any more than that combined and this is a bad call
1. The Flood. (2) Willie Parker did not return to the lineup as thought and they lost their game, but they make their first appearance at the number one spot because they just keep on scoring points. The difference between the top scoring team and the number two team has been shrinking the past few weeks and now the Mercenaries are first overall in scoring by one point, just ahead of the Flood. It’s virtually a tie between overall points scored, but right now it looks like the Flood has the slightly stronger of the two lineups
2. Dreaded Mercenaries. (1) they slide out of the top spot, but as I said it’s basically a tie at the top of the power rankings. They did not have Romo, and Fitzgerald was off, so I am thinking there’s going to be quite the battle at the top of the power rankings the next couple of weeks
3. size7 poopShooters. (4) that talk of a potential collapse may have been premature as the Shooters show they are ready to make the fight for the top spot a three-way battle! Westbrook says he is coming back this week, and the Shooters have to be keeping their fingers crossed that he is healthy and does not worsen an injury. With a 100% Westbrook.in the backfield, the separation between the first and third spots in the power rankings is about as slim as it can get
4. Damaged Denial.(3) voodoo! Voodoo I say! I have looked over the rosters, I have checked out the schedules and the only way I can explain Damaged Denial still being unbeaten is that they are a practitioner of voodoo. By all rights, they probably should slip a little further down the power rankings this week, as right now a couple of the teams below them might actually have more powerful Linups, but I’ve learned two things: first, it’s easier to fall quickly in the power rankings than it is to climb them, there are very rarely big movements once we get around the halfway point. Secondly, never mess around with voodoo! For now, they slide into the fourth spot, remain unbeaten and I am sure that they’re already crafting a wax figure in the visage of their next opponent.
5. Twittering Witty Wombats. (6) they follow their first victory of the season with their second victory of the season, and more importantly, they continue scoring decent points. Realistically, they could be only two or three games away from leading the league in overall scoring if they had exceptional weeks while the top teams stumbled. With the possible emergence of Steve Slaton they are looking good at running back, but there are still problems with their wide receivers..
6. Evil Midnight Bombers.(7) they get a big victory over the Flood and get back into the top half of the rankings. The fourth through eighth spots on the power rankings are nearly as tight as the top three. If Thomas Jones and Willis McGahee continue performing like they did this past week, then both of them will be able to pick up the slack until Joseph Addai returns. I don’t think Willis will, but Thomas might. Obviously, this team can beat anybody, and that makes them a real threat for the playoffs. But, I’m not sure if they can make it to the top in overall points.
7. Cowering Code Monkeys.(8) the Cinderella story continues as the Monkeys keep on scoring good points and win another game. Right now a playoff spot is theirs to lose and they are barely 100 points out of first-place in overall points. Of all the leagues I am in, this is the only team which drafted Tom Brady and is not only competitive, but an actual contender. If we were running a “best owner” rankings instead of our power rankings, the Monkeys would be at or near the top
8. Team Fenix. (5) they dropped three spots which seems really bad, but it was a slide I just could not stop. As I said earlier, the bulk of the league is extremely competitive and this slide was more a result of the three teams directly below them performing exceptionally well rather than an obvious weakness with their own roster. They did have a very rough week, but they are definitely still closer to number 5 than they are to number 11
9. San Hosers. (10) another good performance by the Hosers warrants their move up to number nine. Andre Johnson is a legitimate beast at wide receiver and Williams needs some time to get acclimated in Dallas. They still have LT and are right in the thick of the playoff hunt. I don’t think they are going to be able to get out of the bottom half of the power rankings, but nobody should make the mistake of overlooking this team
10. The Bloodsuckers. (9) Derek Anderson was not able to follow up his outstanding performance from a week ago and as mentioned earlier, Larry Johnson has literally lost his mind in Kansas City. Ronnie Brown was a great steal for some people this season, but he’s not going to be able to carry the entire team on his own. They are still a solid part of the elongated middle pack of the power rankings and have as good a shot at the playoffs as anybody, but this is another team that I don’t think will move out of the bottom half
11. Team Jackie. (11) they are now on a two-game losing streak, but still right in the middle of the battle for a playoff spot. But, they have made it a habit of starting players who are off, injured, or just not playing well. There’s no chance for them to move back into the top 10 of the power rankings and the playoffs could easily slip away
12. Pavlov’s Altoids. (12) OK, I am willing to start taking bets. I’m offering two separate lines. First, will the Altoids go winless? Right now current odds are running 3-2 that they wind up getting a victory somewhere. Second one is by secret ballot, how many points out of first-place will the Altoids windup, winner takes all. They are currently 321 points out of first-place, closest overall wins, in the event of a tie, who ever is closest without going over. Every team gets one guess and it has to be in before the end of the 10th week. Just submit your ballot to my live world e-mail: email@example.com
Next week will mark the halfway point of the season and I will once again review how everything has gone over the past four games and give a little recap of the first half of the season as well. Get out and vote, and submit those secret ballots
It’s the halfway point of the season! Depending upon where you are in your league, you are either really looking forward to the next nine weeks, or you’re thinking about giving ice hockey a second chance.
I’ve played a lot of fantasy football over the past two decades, and while every season is different, this season has been REALLY different. Looking back over the first half of the season we see that the scoring machine which was Tom Brady got to play less than 15 minutes of football this season. Big Brother Manning isn’t even in the top 10 of scoring at his position in many scoring systems. The new, hot thing at wide receiver, Braylon Edwards, cannot catch a ball to save his life and cannot be classified as anything other than a huge disappointment at the midway point. Reggie Wayne is suffering right along with his quarterback. The running back situation is a total mess. Your top five running backs could all be considered some level of disappointing. LT, AP, Addai and Frank Gore are all having subpar seasons. Only Brian Westbrook has been producing, and even he has missed or been limited in more than a couple of games.
The NFL proper has been just as crazy. Detroit and Cincinnati are both still looking for their first victory, but honestly that is not TOO much of a surprise. Still, having two teams that are winless this far into the season is a little strange. Indianapolis and San Diego both have losing records, and Indianapolis is four games out of first place because Tennessee is unbeaten! Although it seems that it should be statistically impossible, every team in the NFC East has a better than 500 record while in three of the other seven divisions 4-3 is good for at least a first-place tie.
On a side note, I have not been able to get my pictures uploaded onto my computer so far this week. They were not allowing you to take pictures with Franco Harris, Dan Rooney or the third guest speaker who was Robin Cole, but we did manage to get some great pictures of them by themselves, either onstage or at the table where they were signing autographs. We now have a banner with all three of their signatures. I will do my best to get them up before the next article. Now, let’s see how well I was able to navigate last week.
Quarterbacks who I liked were Donovan McNabb and Marc Bulger. I’m having a hard time judging this one, McNabb threw for just over 250 yd., ran for another 25, did not throw any interceptions, but also did not throw any touchdowns. He did however run in a touchdown. Bulger threw for over 300 yd. and a touchdown, but also threw an interception. Neither one is a bad performance, and in actuality both of them are fairly good. But, I think I am holding myself to a higher standard the further into the season we go, so while I could probably make sense that both of these would be good calls, I’m going to go with a double push.
Quarterbacks who I did not like were Drew Brees and whoever played quarterback for Dallas. Drew officially goes down as fantasy God for this season. It doesn’t matter if he has weapons, where he is playing, what the weather is like, he’s going to score regardless. This is a bad call. Brad Johnson did not make any mistakes and threw for a touchdown, but with a total of 122 yd. passing, that is a pretty bad performance, so this is a good call
Running backs who I thought might do well were Thomas Jones and Steve Slaton. This one is another tough call. Neither one went over 100 yd. but both scored a touchdown. Running backs have to be your touchdown makers, so while neither one of these are outstanding performances, I think that the two of them combined warrant more than a double push, so I’m going to go with one good call and a push to even things out.
Running backs who I thought might do poorly were Michael Turner and Brandon Jacobs. Turner contributed 58 total yards and no touchdowns while Jacobs accounted for 53 total yards and no touchdowns. That would almost be bad enough for one player, let alone two, so a double good call here.
Wide receivers who I suggested starting were Lee Evans and Calvin Johnson. Evans went over 100 yd. receiving which is always good for a receiver and Johnson pulled in a touchdown. I expected even more from Evans, so a push and a good call here.
Wide receivers who I suggested sitting were Terrell Owens and anybody on Baltimore or Oakland. Owens had less than 40 yd. total and no touchdowns, that’s a good call.. I was right on the money with the Baltimore/Oakland game with exactly one touchdown being thrown to a wide receiver, so that’s another good call
When you total it all up, it is 7-1-4, my best week so far! That brings my season total to a respectable 48-28-12. Let’s see how I can do this week.
Quarterbacks who remind me of Sir Francis Drake
Kurt Warner. The old man seems to throw a couple of touchdowns every week regardless of who he is going against. St. Louis has definitely been playing better ball since the change at head coach, but Arizona is officially in the playoff hunt now, so I think Warner should get at least two.
Jay Cutler. He has been in a bit of a slump recently, but I think that at home against Miami he can get things going again, as long as somebody is blocking Joey Porter
Quarterbacks who remind me of Roald Amundsen
Jason Campbell. I think that after the Steelers were held without a sack last week, they are going to go after the young kid with everything on Monday night. Campbell might surprise everybody, but I think he is going to face more pressure than he has up to this point in his short career.
Matt Schaub. Minnesota should be well rested and they’re playing at home. I imagine Minnesota is going to try to control the ball with AP, giving the Texans a limited number of opportunities. I would be shocked at another three touchdown performance from Matt.
Running backs who remind me of Sir Henry Morton Stanley
Matt Forte. Rookies usually wind up hitting the wall somewhere shortly after midseason. However, Chicago is coming off of their bye week and, oh yeah, they are at home against Detroit
Brandon Jacobs. I warned against him last week, and that worked out. If you saw the big guy on the sideline, he was not happy with being shut down.. It’s not like the Dallas defense is a pushover, but I think the big guy who runs angry is going to run angry and find the end zone at least once
Running backs who remind me of David Livingstone
Thomas Jones. Another reversal from last week. I think that on the road in Buffalo, his streak of successive games with a touchdown will come to an end
Anybody running the ball for Houston. Can you tell I really think Minnesota is going to win this game? Minnesota has a tough defense, especially against the run. If I think they are going to play the pass tough after coming off of their break, then you can probably guess what I think they’re going to do against the run
Wide receivers who remind me of Ernest Shackleton and his crew
Reggie Williams. Wanted to go a little off base here. He scored last week and is going against Cincinnati, I think he might very well get another
Larry Fitzgerald. His partner got all of the touchdowns this past week, but I think Larry will be the beneficiary of a weak St. Louis secondary this week
Wide receivers who remind me of the Robinson family
Anybody on Tampa Bay or Kansas City. Another double bet on this one, only way I get credit for two good calls is if there are no touchdowns to a wide receiver
Plenty of movement in the power rankings this week, so let’s take a look
1. The Flood. (1) it was a fairly low scoring week overall, and the Flood have managed to move into the number one spot in overall scoring as well as holding onto the number one spot in the power rankings. The roster has shown that anybody can step up on any given week as evidenced by the tight end being the leading scorer on their team this past week, saving what could have been a very disappointing performance and getting the point total for the week up to a respectable number. There are all kinds of questions though. How much longer before Willie Parker can contribute? Will Holmes get suspended? Their hold on the number one spot is far from secure
2. size7 poopShooters. (3) man, if that was what a limited Westbrook can do, then this team cannot wait to see him back at 100%. It’s not just Westbrook of course, even though they lost their game this past week, they are getting decent production from all of the important positions. Right now they are on the outside looking in as far as a playoff position goes, but the roster’s overall ability to score points is what the power rankings are all about, and right now I think the Shooters are about the strongest in the league
3. Dreaded Mercenaries. (2) the injury to Romo is definitely hurting the Mercenaries. They have lost three games in a row, and while they are still number two in overall points, if the rest of their roster does not pick it up soon, they may find themselves falling and not just in the power rankings, but in the official standings as well
4. Damaged Denial.(4) does anybody question my exclamation that the powers of voodoo are at the beck end call of this team? They remain unbeaten and showed that they are able to score points with the best of them. It is getting very tricky to accurately rank this team. Looking over their roster, it really does not seem that they should be scoring this many points, but you can’t argue with the fact that they are. It is very possible that I have underestimated a number of the players on their roster… then again… voodoo.
5. Twittering Witty Wombats. (5) they ran into the unstoppable force which is Damaged Denial, but hold onto the number five ranking as they still had a decent week as far as points go. This team might be up for the Broken Mirror award at the end of the season as the unluckiest team seeing as how no team has had more points scored against them so far this year
6. Cowering Code Monkeys.(7) I have spent a decent amount of time this past week coming up with some award names that I plan on giving out at the end of the season. These will be awards for things like unluckiest team, luckiest team, best/worst owner and so on. Right now the Monkeys are my favorite to win the award for best owner. If that happens, the award will forever be known as the Golden Monkey award. Now, there are only nine overall points scored separating the teams ranked six through eight on the power rankings, and the Monkeys have the lowest of those three, but it only seems natural that their climb continues, so they have to move up to number six.
7. San Hosers. (9) Roy did not take long to get going in Dallas, already getting his first touchdown. It seems like things might be starting to gel for this team. If LT was producing on the same level that he has in the past few years, this team might be ranked in the overall top three. As it is, they jump up the rankings a couple of spots and look to break into the top half next week.
8. Evil Midnight Bombers.(6) they drop a couple of spots, but this is another situation where it is more based on the performance of the teams below them. They’ve had to produce without Joseph Addai, and that has definitely affected their ranking. They keep on winning games, but they need Joseph to return to the lineup and produce as expected in order to move back up the rankings.
9. Team Fenix. (8) they slide down one more spot, but once again this is more a result of the performance of the teams around them. Everybody ranked sixth through ninth is extremely close in not only overall points, but in what I see as strength of lineup. It looks like at the halfway point, the league might be starting to shake out. I think that there are clearly your top four teams, then the Wombats trying to find their place, then six through nine followed by the Bloodsuckers trying to convince everybody they belong in the middle pack, and finally the cellar dwellers
10. The Bloodsuckers. (10) right now it is looking like they may have settled into the number 10 spot. The middle pack is starting to pull away a little bit as the Bloodsuckers have fallen at full 60 points behind Fenix. It seems like they may have staked a lot on Derek Anderson performing as he did in the early part of 2007, and that clearly has not happened. Combine that with the spectacular fall from grace of Larry Johnson, and it’s starting to look like the Bloodsuckers may have to look forward to next year. They are not out of it yet, at least as far as the playoffs go, but it’s starting to look like the sun may be rising on these creatures of the night
11. Team Jackie. (11) here is the thing.. They started two players who were not even playing last week and have had an open spot on their roster for several weeks now. Despite all of this, they managed to score exactly as many points as the number one ranked team this past week. How competitive might they have been? Shockingly, they are STILL right in the mix for a playoff spot. I don’t know about you, but that worries me. If this team somehow manages to make it into the playoffs, I would be willing to place a bet on them to win the championship game. If they have stayed alive so far, why would anybody count them out until they are officially eliminated?
12. Pavlov’s Altoids. (12) 0-8, 359 points out of first place, 38 points more than last week. 151 points behind their closest competition. ‘Nuff said.
Halloween is this weekend, and so is the time change for North America. With as strange as this season has been so far, I would suggest everyone throw salt over their left shoulder, don’t step on any cracks, enjoy the extra hour of sleep and partake in an extra candy bar or two! By the time the next article is up, we will have a new president and hundreds of thousands of children will be coming down from their sugar highs.
Going to keep this fairly brief today as most of my day will be spent watching one form of political coverage or another. If the polls are still open wherever you are when you are reading this, then stop reading this and get out and vote! Otherwise, I hope you were able to vote without too much difficulty and enjoy.
Let’s jump right into recapping how I did last week.
Quarterbacks that I liked were Kurt Warner and Jay Cutler. Cutler was subpar once again, so that’s a bad call. But, I said Warner would get at least two, he got those 2 and went over 300 yd., so that’s a good call.
Quarterbacks that I warned against were Jason Campbell and Matt Schaub. I was right on the money about the Steelers defense, Campbell was sacked seven times, threw his first two interceptions of the year and no touchdowns, that’s a really good call. Matt got hurt and was playing terribly before that with no scores and an interception, so another really good call.
I liked Matt Forte and Brandon Jacobs at running back. Matt went over 120 yd. while Jacobs went over 100 and scored a touchdown, that’s close enough for two good calls.
I did not like Thomas Jones or anybody running the ball for Houston. I predicted Jones would end his touchdown scoring streak, and I was wrong so that’s a bad call. However, only one guy ran the ball for Houston, he did not score a touchdown or go over 100 yd., so that’s a good call.
And then those pesky receivers! I liked Larry Fitzgerald and Reggie Williams, no touchdowns and under 100 yd. combined, that’s a double bad call.
I went with a double bad against any receivers on Tampa Bay or Kansas City, while only two of the four touchdown passes went to wide receivers, that’s too many so this is a double bad call.
So, after a good start on quarterbacks and running backs, I missed every one of the wide receiver predictions to go 6-6 for the week, bringing me to 54-34-12 overall. Now, for the newest set of predictions.
Going to do something a little different this week. Looking over the schedule, I think this is going to be an extremely high-scoring week, possibly the highest overall scoring week this season. Because of that, I’m going to pick 4 players that I think are going to do very well, and set criteria for each one’s position. If they don’t meet that criteria, it is a bad call, if they do, it’s a good call, no room for pushes.
Quarterbacks who will either throw three touchdowns or two touchdowns while going over 300 yd.
Drew Brees. This is one guy who you just cannot set this season. I warned against him one week and he went crazy, they have a big game in Atlanta and it would appear that Drew is up to any task this season
Brett Favre. St. Louis going to the Jets just has the feel of an old-fashioned shootout. I make no promises about how many interceptions Brett may throw, but I expect copious amounts of yardage.
Jake Delhomme. Man was Oakland terrible last week! There’s a chance that Carolina will just wind up running all over Oakland, but I think there will be plenty of opportunities for Jake.
Philip Rivers. San Diego has to be getting desperate, they are 3-5 and LT just has not been able to play like LT all season. They are at home against Kansas City this week, so looking for a big game from Rivers
Running backs who will score at least two touchdowns or one touchdown while going over 100 yd.
Jamal Lewis. Cleveland is not very good and they are going with Brady Quinn this Thursday. They will want to protect the young quarterback by running the ball frequently, and Denver has shown that there are plenty of weaknesses in their defense. Seems like a good recipe for Lewis
Michael Turner. Remember that thing I said about Michael Turner playing at home versus playing on the road? He’s at home this week and New Orleans does not necessarily have the best run defense in the league.
Ronnie Brown. Miami finds itself right in the thick of things as we pass the midseason point. There is a sense of excitement and a lot of it is because of the running back duo. Ronnie has been a pleasant surprise for anybody who drafted him this season. They are at home against Seattle this week, which should mean more points.
Tim Hightower. He was anointed the new starter in Arizona last week and responded with a great game. He gets to play on Monday night this week, at home against San Francisco. I think he takes the opportunity and convinces the nation Arizona is for real.
Wide receivers who will get at least two touchdowns or go over 100 yd.
Steve Smith. The Carolina version of Steve Smith is probably salivating at the opportunity to go up against Oakland. I’m not sure if there’s anybody on Oakland who can cover Steve one-on-one, and they won’t be able to double cover anybody if they plan on trying to stop the run, so I think Steve is the obvious target for a good game.
Roddy White. He has established himself as the main go to guy for Matt Ryan. The New Orleans at Atlanta game just has all of the makings of a game where 60 + combined points might be scored. If so, Roddy will get his fair share
Laverneaus Coles. Every gunslinger needs his favorite target, and it looks like Coles and Brett are starting to develop some of that chemistry that was lacking in preseason and early on.
Antonio Gates. A first, well a first for me anyway. Antonio is a tight end, but he might as well be a wide receiver most of the time. Normally I would not include a tight end, but I think Antonio is going to be the most frequent target for Philip Rivers and should have a big game at home
And now on to the increasingly controversial and yet always accurate power rankings!
http://games.espn.go.com/ffl/standings?leagueId=293451 1. size7 poopShooters. (2) they were ranked number two last week, they played the number one ranked team and they beat them, so how could I not move them into the number one spot? Well, actually, there are couple of ways that might have happened, but none of them did. They are extremely thin on the bench and if Cutler would pick it up, they would have a solid hold on the number one spot. Their starting lineup is as dynamic as any team in the league, but can everybody stay healthy enough?
2. The Flood. (1) they lose the showdown of the top-ranked teams and fall into second place. It is still a big ball of dust trying to sort out the top of the power rankings. The Flood have plenty of questions regarding injuries, including their starting quarterback, but there is also good news on the roster with Tim Hightower now being the main guy in Arizona. They are far from securing a playoff spot, but right now they control their own destiny and are in the fight for overall points title
3. Damaged Denial.(4) oh great! I get to play the machine that they call Damaged Denial. The force of nature continues plowing through opponents regardless of previews, predictions or prognostications. Along the way, they’ve once again begun racking up points and reinserted themselves into the fight for overall points title. I believe that they are very close to mathematically locking up some sort of playoff berth and have to be the odds-on favorite to take the championship game if not the overall points title as well
4. Twittering Witty Wombats. (5) they score more points than anybody in the league this past week and scream to the world “we will not go quietly into the night! We intend to fight!”. Despite the horrific start, they still have a legitimate chance at the playoffs. There’s plenty of time left in the season for them to make a run, both record wise and in overall points. They showed this past week that it’s not all Drew for them. I’m not sure exactly what a Wombat on the war path looks like, but I’m thinking it’s best to stay out of their way.
5. Cowering Code Monkeys.(6) they keep on winning, keep on scoring and keep on moving up the rankings. A playoff spot is theirs to lose. They are on the very outskirts of the overall points title, but right now even that would not be out of the question..
6. Dreaded Mercenaries. (3) ouch! Last week had to be one of those weeks where the owner of the Mercenaries was asking herself “why do I play this game again?”. They are now in a true, all out dogfight for a playoff spot. They are still in extremely good shape as far as overall points go, but this team has not been able to recover from the injury to Romo. That, combined with a painful loss this last week and they find themselves dropping three spots
7. San Hosers. (7) not much movement in the bottom half of the power rankings this week. The Hosers are still poised to move into the top half of the rankings, and that can happen easily if LT comes back from his off week looking like the LT of past seasons..
8. Evil Midnight Bombers.(8) they hold steady this week as Addai returned to the lineup and looked fairly good. They’ve balanced out a little bit in their scoring when compared to the first few weeks of the season, but I’m sure they would rather have balanced out on the high end of things. Overall, I’m not sure if they can compete for the overall points title, but they can definitely earn a playoff spot and still have plenty of opportunities to move up the power rankings.
9. Team Fenix. (9) well, that wasn’t good. They only manage 50 total points and miss out on a great opportunity to take control of their playoff destiny. They need to rebound in a big way next week or all of their opportunities for this season might start to fadeaway
10. The Bloodsuckers. (10) they have a really good week scoring points, and you would think when compared with the week of the team directly ahead of them in the rankings, they would move up. But, the power rankings are not based on just one week. Still, that performance moved them a lot closer to number nine than I thought they were going to get the rest of the season. They still have as good of a shot at the playoffs as anybody, and better than some. They might even be able to move a few spots of the power rankings, but I would be surprised to see any kind of overall points run
11. Team Jackie. (11) well, they started two players on a bye and one player who is on injured reserve this week. They have lost their last four games and are now 4-5. Yes, that means that at one time they were 4-1. It’s not too late yet to make the playoffs, but it doesn’t look like this team has the passion required for that stretch run
12. Pavlov’s Altoids. (12) They win! . They win! . They win! . They win! They win a game! They only start 8 out of a possible 10 players, but they win! There are over 360 out of first place in points, but they win!
All in all, a very exciting week. Now I am off to watch a variety of news teams cover the election. Enjoy all!
It’s Thanksgiving week! Now, I love Thanksgiving. I mean, it’s an entire day devoted to eating, how can you not love that? And usually, there is so much food, it takes at least through the weekend to finish off the leftovers. On top of that, we get football! And nowadays we get three games on Thanksgiving, not just two like our fathers and grandfathers had to be content with. No measly two games for us! If that isn’t progress, I don’t know what is.
So, I would like to start this week off by listing some of the things I am thankful for both in the real world and in the world of fantasy football. I hope everybody takes the time to make their own list, and if you feel like it, go ahead and attach it as a comment here.
I’m going to save everybody a little bit of writing time by saying I am pretty sure all of us are thankful for our health. It’s a pretty rote answer, but that doesn’t make it any less true.
Another one that is pretty common, but even more so today, I am thankful for my job. With the economic climate the way it is, the fact that I still have a job that I enjoy doing, and I get paid to do it, is quite high on my list!
Finally for the most common reasons for giving thanks, family and friends. I have a fairly small immediate family, mother and father, two younger sisters, two nephews and a niece. No children of my own, oh yeah, no children of my own, thankful for that as well. I’ve also never been the kind of person who needs a whole bunch of people around him, so I have a pretty small, extremely tight group of friends, all of which I am thankful for.
I’m thankful for my best friend, Karen, who is also my attendant. I have muscular dystrophy and require help with a number of daily tasks, Karen helps me with all of those tasks as naturally as if I were doing them myself. She does so out of friendship, we were friends before she ever began assisting me and I can’t imagine what things would be like without her.
I am thankful that the Steelers are in first place in our division and that we are in control of our own destiny for the playoffs. I am thankful Ronnie Brown was available for me to pick up in the sixth round in so many leagues. I am thankful that all of my teams have been competitive this season, and while I will not make the playoffs in the LiveWorld league, I am thankful for every one of the points I have scored in this league. I am thankful that I am in good position to make the playoffs in my other three leagues, and in the running for points in all of them. I’m thankful for the patience I have learned over the course of the season watching Santonio Holmes consistently NOT score touchdowns. I am thankful for Matt Forte, Clinton Portis, the NFL network, Dan Rooney, Heinz field, Hines Ward (even though I do not own him in any of my leagues), James Harrison and all of the Pittsburgh linebackers, Big Ben, Merwelde Moore, Troy Polamalu and Mike Tomlin.
I am thankful that I did not have the first overall draft choice in any of my leagues and therefore was not tempted to draft Tomlinson this season. I am thankful for everybody who drafted Tom Brady in the first-round. I am thankful for touchdown only fantasy leagues, good trades, good single malt Scotch, people who THINK they can play Texas Hold’em and last but not least, everybody who has taken the time to read any of these blogs this season.
Now, let’s see if I have anything to be thankful for while reviewing how I did last week.
In quarterbacks I went with Big Brother Manning and Jay Cutler. Manning had over 250 total yards and two touchdowns, that should qualify as a good call/push combo. Cutler was a double bad call. Brevity, another reason to give thanks.
In running backs I went with Willie Parker and Warrick Dunn. I did warn against possible injury on Willie Parker, but I’m not going to take that out, so that’s a double bad call. Dunn had a touchdown and added 127 total yards, so that’s a double good call.
In receivers I went with T.O. and Reggie Wayne. Owens had a monster game, easily a double good call while Reggie was more than held in check, a double bad call.
That’s a total of 5-6-1, season total = 66-52-18. Time to get back to improving that record.
Going to go with good and bad selections this week and using the same criteria as last time except there will not be any doubles. We will use the same criteria for the bad selections as well, just reverse it.
Quarterbacks who will feast upon turducken.
Tony Romo. The golden boy, at-home, on Thanksgiving against Seattle, the announcers already can’t wait to give him player of the game.
Chad Pennington. I went with him earlier in the year and I think he burned me, but I’m going with him again this week against St. Louis
Quarterbacks who will try to make do with chicken
Donovan McNabb. Maybe Andy Reid really does know Donovan McNabb better than anybody else as he claims. As I’ve said before, Donovan has never struck me as a kind of guy who responds well to pressure (see the puking highlights from his Super Bowl). I think playing at home in front of the notoriously harsh Philadelphia fans (see the highlights of Santa Claus being pelted) is actually a detriment for him this week.
Matt Ryan. He has been playing a lot better than pretty much everybody predicted, but I think San Diego has a little bit of fight left in them and will be able to minimize his production
Running backs who will sop up the gravy.
Ronnie Brown. I gave thanks to him earlier, so I feel compelled to feature him here. Plus, you know, playing St. Louis
Chris Johnson. The rookie gets to play on Thanksgiving in his very first season, and he gets to do it against Detroit. Have you looked at Detroit’s schedule by the way? 0-16 is looking more possible.
Running backs who will just have a light salad with dressing on the side
Lendale White. This kid is an idiot. He’s got practically everything going for him, scoring touchdowns left and right, was unbeaten before last week, he has one game where he doesn’t get the ball a bunch (because he missed several practices), his team loses and what does he do? Starts crying and complaining and saying “I have no idea what was going on, I was paying attention. I don’t care”. I hope Jeff Fisher uses the national audience that they will have on Thanksgiving to set this kid down and not give him the spotlight. It’s a risky choice because they are going against Detroit, but I have faith the universe will make things right.
Anybody on Cincinnati. I am sure everybody in Cincinnati is giving thanks to Detroit for being the worst team in the NFL.
Wide receivers who see no reason in choosing between apple and pumpkin pie when you can have both
Wes Welker. I really hope I am wrong on this one as they are playing the Steelers, but the Pittsburgh secondary is pretty banged up and Wes is the kind of guy who finds the openings in the zone coverage.
Lee Evans. He has been having a decent but far from outstanding season, he might be able to have his first real breakout game of the year this week, at home against San Francisco.
Wide receiver who go with the fruit cup as desert
Randy Moss. He had a big game last week, most of that is because his quarterback had the time to go deep. I am hoping that they don’t have that much time against Pittsburgh.
TJ WhoseyourDaddy. The Cincinnati wide receiver has been the only guy on the team having a decent year, but he had a rough stretch with Pittsburgh last week and Baltimore this week. I would look for numbers similar to what he did against Pittsburgh rather than the rest of the year.
1. size7 poopShooters. (1) that firm hold on all of the major titles slipped some this week. It doesn’t take long in fantasy football for things to switch up. All of a sudden they only have a 20 point lead in overall scoring, there is no guarantee they’re going to make the playoffs and the number one spot in the power rankings looks a lot closer than it did just a few days ago.
2. Dreaded Mercenaries. (3) they get back on the winning track, but it’s too late for the playoffs now. However, their performance this week moves them up the power rankings and the overall points title is within sight.
3. Damaged Denial.(2) they used their voodoo magic to juxtapose the loss/tie results from last week, but there was nothing they could do to remain unbeaten this week. They are in the playoffs, but anybody who has ever read Harry Potter knows that eventually those dark powers catch up with you. Is that what is starting to happen now
4. Evil Midnight Bombers.(7) they go absolutely crazy with points this week, shooting up the power rankings as well as the overall scoring standings. They have also locked themselves into the playoffs. The playoffs might be coming around at just the perfect time as right now I believe that the lineup of the Bombers can compete with anybody
5. Twittering Witty Wombats. (4) fantasy football is a strange world, most players know that. This week the Wombats win their game, but dropped from third to fifth in overall points, slide down the power rankings and are still out of the playoffs. Based upon this year, I believe they should change their team name to the Twilight Zone Shatners next season
6. Team Fenix. (8) they burst into the top half of the power rankings, locking up a playoff spot and are now just a little over 100 points out of first-place overall in scoring. If they perform the same way they did this past week, there’s not many rosters which could defeat them a majority of the time
7. Cowering Code Monkeys.(5) they have a bit of a poor performance this past week, but they should be locked into the playoffs now. Still, they slide down the power rankings as they lose ground in the overall scoring department.
8. The Flood. (9) I believe the Flood are now officially eliminated from the playoffs, assuming I understand the tie breaking scenarios. If so, there will definitely be a new Super Bowl champion this season! The Flood lose their game, but move up the overall power rankings and are forth in overall points.
9. San Hosers. (6) well, I moved them up last week and they totally tank this week, so they drop back down. I believe there might still be a scenario where they miss out on the playoffs. Either way, they need to perform better than they did this past week if they have any hope of going far into the postseason
10. The Bloodsuckers. (10) they have another good week of scoring and keep their playoff hopes alive. I think they are too far behind to make any kind of legitimate run at the overall scoring title, so they have to hope things fall appropriately for them to get into the postseason. They might still move a couple of notches up the power rankings as well, but I think that the bottom four teams in the power rankings are almost officially eliminated from any hope of getting the number one spot
11. Team Jackie. (11) one of two teams to not yet break 1000 points
12. Pavlov’s Altoids. (12) 527 points out a first-place.
so, I go away on vacation for a couple of weeks and suddenly the NFL season starts??? Who planned that out?
Anyway, I've been preoccupied catching up on work related stuff (I know, ridiculous, right?) But I am indeed going to be doing the power rankings once again this season. This one is going to be a little more streamlined and to the point for this first week since it is already Saturday night, but the rest of the way through the season I plan on having these done sometime from Tuesday through Thursday.
I'm hoping we're able to get more discussion going this season. This area is open for anybody to respond to, post your own thoughts, your thoughts or comments about whatever I have to say, or why you disagree with something I might be thinking, or a prediction.
Last season I made predictions based on who would be the best and worst players in each position every week.. This season I think I'm going to do something a little different and try to pick a player or two each week who would normally not be your number one starter, but who I think might be in for a decent performance.
I haven't really had the time to study the schedule the first two weeks like I normally would, so these are going to be directly off the top of my head.
For running back, I think if you have Chester Taylor this would be a great chance to start him. There is every indication Minnesota will blow out Detroit. And that's the case, AP is going to get a break in the second half and Chester Taylor might be in for a higher than normal number of carries and a trip to the end zone.
Wide receiver: I know that everybody in Washington gave no reason to believe the wide receivers will be producing any numbers of consequence of this season, and while St. Louis might be able to shut down... well, OK, they probably can't shut down anybody, but I think Washington will try to get on top quick so Santana Moss should be a good start as a second wide receiver or flex position.
In future weeks I will probably also look for a standard starter on most teams who I think might be in for an off week, but for this time let's just start slow.
I also normally throw in a general comment about the NFL. Here it is this week: what is up with everybody's infatuation with Philip Rivers?? I mean, I'm slightly more impressed with him that I have been with Jay Cutler, and everybody knows how he performed last week. Sure, he had a decent season last year, but Phyllis has never really done anything, never really had a breakout year, and people are crazy about him. I somewhat understand the attraction from fantasy owners, he puts up decent numbers and is a young guy, and everybody loves "potential". What I don't understand is the everyday media who seems ready to appoint him the second coming of Joe Montana. The kid has never won anything of consequence and his first reaction to a bad performance or any kind of criticism by the media is to cry like a gigantic, hungry baby.
Anyway, onto the power rankings. Normally these will be more detailed than what follows. Remember, these have very little to do with your actual record or overall point total in our league. These are nothing more than my own personal opinion as to how "powerful" your team is, where your strengths may lie and what the weaknesses on your team are
1. Evil Midnight Bombers (1) – this was the only team I graded as A after our initial draft, and I still think they have the most powerful team in the league. They are strong at every position, maybe a little weak with their second wide receiver, but all of their players have the potential to score on any given week. Right now I think they will be the team that has the chance to separate themselves from the rest of the league
2. Team S (2) – they may not have performed particularly well in the first week, but they have AP and barring injury the guy might break a whole bunch of single-season records this year. If Pierre Thomas can get and stay healthy, they might wind up with the best running back duo in the league. Throw in Owens who has to score a fair number of points soon or later (barring the mental breakdown was usually doesn’t happen until his second season), Antonio Gates and the Steelers defense, and you have the potential for a lot of points. Obvious weak spot is the quarterback position
3. Team Eagles (3) – this one is a result of the performance one Mr. Drew Brees gave in the first week of the season combined with his overall schedule this year. Just like AP on the ground in Minnesota, Drew has the potential to break a lot of single-season records this year. Add to that the possibility of Darren Sproles becoming more or less of a starter in San Diego, and you already have a decent 1-2 punch. If Boldin can get his head on straight and stop talking about whatever “injury” he has from one week to the next, this team can certainly compete. Main weakness would be no solid second starter at either wide receiver or running back at this point in the season, although they do have a number of players who could emerge
4. MM of M (4) – the monkeys title is just too long for comfort, so they get an abbreviation. Despite that, they have what could turn out to be five of the strongest starters in the league with Gore, Addai, Benson, Calvin and Jason Witten. Right now the major flaw appears to be having banked on Carson Palmer being your main quarterback and now being stuck with Byron.
5. The Bloodsuckers (5) – big Brother Manning may not be the dominant force he once was in fantasy circles, but there are still not many quarterbacks who are going to outscore him this season. Plus, anytime you can put Randy Moss on the same team as big Brother Manning, you have the potential for a lot of points. Throw in Tony Gonzalez at tight end, and things are not looking too bad. Obviously points would be the running back where they don’t really have a legitimate number one starter.
6. Farva’s Shovelheads (6) – Rodgers to Jennings could be the battle cry for this team all season long. They also took a couple of risks at running back that might be paying off with Darren McFadden and Cadillac Williams. Their main weakness would be no solid option as a second wide receiver, and I’m not sure there is anyone ready to emerge into that role on their team right now.
7. Dreaded Mercenaries (7) – the success of this team might depend on the success of the Dallas Cowboys. Tony and Marion should be able to keep them in the hunt all season long. They have decent possibilities at wide receiver and my sleeper hit of the week in Chester Taylor, but St. Louis might compete with Detroit for worst team in the league this season, that’s not going to help Steven Jackson. They also have little to nothing in the Way of depth right now
8. Damages (8) – they have what could turn out to be the most dynamic wide receiving corps in the league with Fitzgerald, TJ Whoseyourmomma and Crayton. They have the consistent is not outstanding baby brother Manning at quarterback and a solid tight end and defense. The main question mark is running back. The potential is there, but a lot of things have to follow the place. This is a team I would my eye on.
9. Amateur Pharmacists (9) – this team has the possibility to explode on any given week. With Michael Turner, Ryan Grant, Colston and McClain threatening from the goal line, they are bound to have a couple of huge weeks. Main weakness is the quarterback position.
10. Legion of Doom (10) – a decent tandem with DeAngelo Williams at running back and Reggie Wayne at wide receiver. The main concerns for this team will be can Kurt Warner stay healthy and Will any of their rookie running backs emerge early enough to make a difference
11. Heavenly Rampagers (11) – there is the potential for this team to skyrocket up the charts. Ronnie Brown has shown the ability to score touchdowns and over 1000 yd., Will Miami allow that to happen? Everybody knows what Tom Brady can do, but his knee appears to still be bothering him. And, Percy Harvin could turn into a decent producer in his first year. White can certainly knock in touchdowns and Hightower is, for the time being, still the main guy in Arizona. If everything clicks, this team will be able to compete with anybody. If it doesn’t, they might wind up right around the spot in the power rankings at the end of the season
12. Mopar’s Marauders (12) – Thomas Jones is not going to score like he did last week every week, but then again Chris Johnson probably won’t be shut down every week like he was last week. The running backs will have to carry this team as there are significant questions at both quarterback and wide receiver
13. Team Falk (13) – this team is probably ranked too low as I look everything over, but it always takes a couple of weeks for everybody to fall into their proper place. Brett is going to get points in Minnesota, Roy Williams and Andre Johnson are great wide receivers, the question here is, is Tomlinson going to destroy this team?
14. Mr. Al Davis (14) – MoJo is going to score points, and Donald driver isn’t bad, but he’s hardly a number one receiver. I wouldn’t be surprised if Lewis winds up losing his job sometime this season, and while the rest of the receivers are decent, none of them are going to have huge seasons.the quarterback position should be consistent, but overall I think this team has some troubles ahead of them
15. Shelby Township (15) – Brandon Jacobs and Steve Slaton should manage to score some points, but after that there are huge questions at quarterback and wide receiver. The fate of this team might rest in the hands of the mentally unstable Branden Marshall
16. Gaul Village Asterix (16) – I know this team won their first game, and I may be completely wrong on this, but I think this team is in for trouble all season. I’m not sold on Philadelphia as a whole and I’m not sure Westbrook is going to be able to remain healthy. Kevin Smith might get points here and there, but he is on Detroit. And Edwards seems like he is trying to show that last year was for real and two years ago was the fluke, and not vice versa. I mean, Kyle Orton is the only quarterback on this team right now. That alone says trouble to me.
And there we have it, the first power rankings of the season! Overall, even though we have more teams this season, I think there is better balance overall from top to bottom and right now there isn’t anybody I would rule completely out. Good luck everybody!
OK, maybe overreact would be a better word.It’s the second week of the season and this is where a lot of fantasy teams and NFL teams alike start to get concerned, or overjoyed, with the first two weeks of their season.
In the NFL, teams like Tennessee and Carolina are starting to really worry about what this season may have in store for them (Tennessee will probably still make a run, Carolina maybe not so much).At the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got teams like the New York Jets and 49ers who are starting to think that maybe this season won’t be like all of the other seasons recently, maybe we really are returning to our past glory.
The same thing can happen in fantasy football circles.Anybody who owns Tomlinson worried right now?The Patriots were supposed to threaten the scoring mark that they set two seasons ago. Tom Brady and Randy Moss owners, nervous at all?Then again, how about all of you Drew Brees owners?Making room on your shelf for your championship trophy this season?
Having played fantasy football for over 20 seasons now, I’ve learned the same thing many head coaches strive to drill into their players: it’s a long season, don’t panic and don’t start getting measured for ring sizes.
Anybody who is 0-2, the temptation is to run out and grab every hot player off of the waiver wires ASAP and cut that deadweight from your team.Sometimes it works, but more often than not the guy you cut winds up being what you initially thought he was going to be, a decent fantasy player, and the guy who had a “breakout” game Sunday night disappears back into the shadows for the next 12 weeks.There is nothing more important in fantasy football than your draft.Waiver wire players can only do so much.
And just like in the real NFL, everybody that is 2-0 or leading their respective leagues in overall points needs to keep in mind that they are one play away from losing that stud running back, flashy wide receiver or golden armed quarterback.In many cases, the waiver wire can be of more use to a team that is doing well.While you might not find a dozen game changers on the waiver wire, you are going to find a couple of dozen decent backups.Your main guys are doing well, you’re in first place after all.But is Jemarcus Russell your backup quarterback?Sure, you might be very happy with Aaron Rodgers, but that doesn’t mean you should count on him being your main guy all season.This is the time to see if maybe you can grab a Sanchez or Stafford.
Whichever end of the spectrum you fall on, remember that it really is a long season.Last year our eventual league champion lost Tom Brady in the first few minutes of the season.A lot can happen, so don’t panic, don’t assume that you are set for the season, take your time when making roster moves and everything will be just fine… well, for the champion anyway, the rest of us are screwed.
Now, last week I went with a couple of players who are secondary type players that I thought were going to have good weeks.Another thing I have learned is that doing this sort of thing has become increasingly difficult in the NFL today.The Detroit Lions and St. Louis Rams?Really??Sure, they both still lost the game, but I don’t think anybody thought those two games were going to be as close as they were.So, I’m starting out 0-2.Realistically, I only hope to end up somewhere around 500 in these suggestions since every single one of them is going to be “against the grain” in one way or another.
So, who is going to do to be the surprise this week? I think I am going to go with a couple of night games this week.The obvious choice is Felix Jones.Barber has been surprising some people by still working out this week despite his leg injury.However, odds are he is going to be limited even if he does play, so expect to see Felix Jones get some significant points Monday night.
And on Sunday night, I’m thinking we see Chris “Beanie” Wells get into the end zone for the first time in his NFL career.
As for sure fire starters who I think might have difficulty this week.I know Chris Johnson owners are ecstatic after last week’s performance, but expect a big drop-off this week against a tough New York Jets defense at home.
And now for the ever popular and increasingly controversial power rankings!
1.Evil Midnight Bombers (1) – another decent performance by the Bombers, but nothing too outstanding.I’m not ready to knock them off of the number one spot though.I think we have been seeing what will be the standard performance out of the Bombers on an average basis, in other words, I don’t expect many sub 60 point weeks.I do however still believe that they have a roster that can and will explode from time to time.They may be forth in overall points right now in the league, but I still believe this is the strongest roster from top to bottom
2.MM of M (4) – the Monkeys campaigned for a higher ranking, I think they may have taken out some billboard space.However, campaigning gets you nothing in the power rankings!Performance on the other hand, does.I still think quarterback is their weak spot even though both of them performed adequately this past week (the outstanding coaching did cost them two points though, I’m just saying).This team will certainly be challenging for the number one spot if the quarterbacks continue performing well
3.Team Eagles (3) – yes, they are number one overall in points scored so far, but they hold steady at number three in the power rankings.There’s really not too much in the way of bad news for this team right now.Drew is a fantasy God, Tomlinson’s decline is a bonus for Darren, they have Willis who seems to be finding his stride once again in Baltimore, and they have a good set of wide receivers provided they are able to stay healthy.There is still a depth issue, but for this week the Eagles are solidly in the top three
4.Team S (2) – they have the number one player in fantasy football at the running back position, and last week I said that their obvious weak spot was quarterback.Well, I’m starting to wonder if maybe it isn’t a weak spot so much as a fatal flaw.Despite what appears to be a pretty decent roster, S hasn’t really been able to score much of anything the first two weeks.The injury to Pierre Thomas isn’t helping them either.They slide down two spots this week, but it might be the beginning of a big fall if the rest of the team doesn’t start supporting AP
5.Dreaded Mercenaries (7) – word from the West Coast is that the owner of the Mercenaries perceived their initial ranking as a bit of a slight, feeling that their debut performance warranted a higher ranking.Well, I still don’t have any faith in Jackson and now Barber is injured, although it doesn’t appear to be anything serious.However, even though they are remarkably thin at running back right now, they do appear to have sufficient depth then they may be able to sustain a higher level of scoring the next couple of weeks until Barber is back to 100%.If they can, they will continue climbing the power rankings next week.
6.The Bloodsuckers (5) – a slight drop in the rankings this week.Big Brother Manning showed that he doesn’t really need to have the ball for any length of time in order to score decent points.However, there is still no solid option at running back and they have to be getting a little nervous about Randy Moss.
7.Farva’s Shovelheads (6) – dropping down one spot this week is more of a result of the teams around them.Nothing has really changed, the chances that they took at running back still seem on course to pay off and they have a top-of-the-line quarterback, as starter anyway.I’m not sure if they have the roster to challenge the top three right now, but if the running backs continue to advance throughout the season, they might be able to take down anybody by the end of the season
8.Mopar’s Marauders (12) – Matt Ryan could wind up being the savior for this team! So far they have been able to alternate between the two main running backs having huge performances.Chris Johnson should wind up being more reliable than Thomas Jones, and they are playing against one another this week, so that’s going to be a big game for the Marauders.They have major problems at wide receiver, but if Ryan can be the number one guy, Cutler can be a decent backup and as long as the running backs can keep it up, this team has a chance to make some moves
9.Amateur Pharmacists (9) – the Pharmacists hold steady at number nine.Right now Michael Turner needs to pick it up.He was a top three pick in almost every league I was in this season, and with some more points out of him the Pharmacists would easily be a little higher on the rankings.They still have the potential to explode, but this isn’t the “potential rankings” it’s the power rankings, so until they show that they have not acquired a bunch of players who are going to have off years, they will continue hanging around the middle of the pack
10.Heavenly Rampagers (11) – a decent performance out of the Rampagers this week moves them up one spot.But, the main concern right now has to be Tom Brady.The owner of the Rampagers was looking for a big game out of Brady last week against the Jets.Instead, what everybody saw was at Patriot offensive line that continues having trouble giving Brady time and a quarterback that is clearly doing his best to put the knowledge of the damage that was done to his leg last season out of his head
11.Damages (8) – they dropped three spots, but that’s once again as much a result of the teams around them as their own performance.Very little has changed here as there are still significant questions at running back and the potential for the wide receivers to explode on any given week.Right now everybody from number 6 All The Way down to number 13 is relatively close in terms of their ability to compete.What the Damages need more than anything right now is to see Willie Parker return to his form of two seasons ago.Being a Steelers fan myself, I have to say I’m kind of pulling for that as well
12.Team Falk (13) – two weeks in and it’s looking more and more like Tomlinson might be the deciding factor for this team.They still have very explosive wide receivers, Brett is still going to get consistent points in Minnesota, but if Tomlinson can’t return to at least get the goal line carries then there could be trouble in this team competing down the stretch
13.Legion of Doom (10) – my own team is clearly out to drive me crazy this season.Warner bounced back last week, so if he continues to throw the ball that effectively and stay healthy, that’s one less concern.Wayne is going to get his points, and Williams has been consistent so far.However, no secondary receiver has stepped up and so far none of the rookie running backs have broken out.If both of these problems persist, it’s going to be a very difficult time.
14.Mr. Al Davis (14) – they holds steady at number 14 this week, but there are major concerns throughout the roster for this team, and after last week there might be some question about ownership as well seeing as how they started Welker when it was known before the game that he would not be playing..Driver showed that he still has some gas left in the tank, and Jones-Drew is a legitimate threat, but overall this team has a long way to go
15.Gaul Village Asterix (16) – oh, the wonders of fantasy football.The Asterix remain unbeaten even though they have scored the third fewest points in the league.There are still loads of questions, but there is some potential.Westbrook has always been a solid fantasy performer, and even though I’m not sold on him this season, I could be wrong.Kevin Smith would be a great addition, if he played for anybody except Detroit… and maybe St. Louis.This team might wind up being a perfect example of why people love, and hate, fantasy football.Right now, this team is in the running for the Super Bowl even though, according to the points, they shouldn’t be competing with anybody
16.Shelby Township (15) – ew.Steve Slaton cannot be high on a list of favorite people in Shelby Township right now.This team is 0-2 and they have major dilemmas at every position.Is Cassel really a franchise quarterback?Will Brandon Jacobs stay healthy?Was Slaton a flash in the pan last season?Is there any legitimate wide receiver on this team?As I said earlier, it’s a long season and a lot can happen, but if I was going to bet on one team not being able to compete this season, right now it would be this one
So, two weeks in and I’m sure there is a good mix of panic and confidence throughout the league.But there are another 15 weeks to score points and we are still 10 weeks away from the playoffs.Regardless what your emotional state is this week, keep on playing and have fun!
For the NFL, the bye week is usually a welcome break. It gives teams a chance to rest their injured players, go over game plans and Scouting film and in general make whatever adjustments are necessary to either right a troubled season up to this point or continue the success. It doesn’t really matter when it happens in the season, whether you have the off week in the fourth week or the tenth, every NFL team looks forward to the break.
On the other hand, for the fantasy football player, the start of the bye weeks signals the beginning of the long road that truly determines what your season will wind up being. For the next seven weeks being aware of the schedule can be the main thing that make or break your team. Although I haven’t kept a record of it, I would be willing to wager that every year I have played fantasy football, somebody in some league at some point forgets that there is an off week coming up and starts at least one player who is not playing.
This kind of oversight can derail a previously successful season. In addition to that, there are between 4-6 teams who do not play on every off week. While it doesn’t happen nearly as frequently, I have seen many times were an owner starts multiple players who are not playing that week!
Now, I am not talking about the guy who is 0-9 after nine weeks and 300 points out of first place who has given up on the season and just isn’t playing anymore. Everybody loves those players by the way, trust me. I’m talking about the team that is 5-1 and fighting for first place in points. On more than one occasion I have seen a team in this position inadvertently start a couple of players who are not playing because of the off week, lose their game by three points and it is that extra loss that keeps them out of the playoffs.
On top of that, there is a definite psychological effect to this kind of oversight. An owner that is committed to winning in their league who makes this kind of mistake, oftentimes find themselves unable to get past those missing points, or those extra losses. In this kind of situation, there’s no one to blame but yourself. You can’t point to the unexpected injury that shut down your superstar in the second quarter and, thereby giving you less points than you expected. You can’t point to the spunky underdog team who, for no reason other than to annoy you, plays defense unlike anything they have played all season long and shut down the high scoring offense, of which you happen to have two players on. No, in this situation the points you have lost, and possibly the game that you have lost falls squarely on your own shoulders.
It’s easy to think, well, it was a mistake, nothing I can do about it now, have to move on. But believe me, if you are truly invested in playing the game, if a draft day feels to you the same way Christmas feels to a kid, then at the end of the season if you are not in the playoffs or competing for the lead in overall points, and you look back in the reason for this is that oversight you made in week five, you will curse yourself.
All that being said, there’s a remarkably easy way to avoid the situation. Check the NFL schedule! It only takes a couple of seconds and most league software even has the off weeks for all of your players right there on your team page. It’s a pretty easy way to avoid a situation that can cause the demise of your season, and in some situations, wreck the fun of the game for other players as well.
And speaking of wrecking the fun of the game, I’m starting to think the NFL, and I’m speaking of the NFL as a self-aware being here, is out just to screw with me this season. In my picks for sleepers last week, I went with Felix Jones and Chris Wells. What happens? Felix Jones looks awesome… right up to the point where he gets hurt. And, despite the fact Arizona is playing an extremely strong pass defense in Indianapolis, their main threat at running back, the explosive rookie Wells gets two carries all day long. What kind of coaching is that? In the words of the ESPN game day crew “ C’mon man!”
At the other end, I did say to expect a big drop off in the production from Chris Johnson. He still put up over 90 yd., but no touchdowns. Overall, I would say that qualifies as a significant drop.
That means that so far this season, I’m only 1-4. But, as I said before, anything over a 500 record I would be happy with, and it’s still a long season. So, what about this week?
For my secondary players, I’m sticking entirely with the State of California. Darren McFadden plays for Oakland, and that’s bad enough for most people to keep him on the bench. But, he is the one guy with any real talent on offense, and he’s going up against Houston who is dead last in the league against the run. Also, Glen Coffee looked dynamic in the preseason, and now she gets a chance to carry the load with Gore being out the next couple of weeks. I’m expecting both guys to perform well.
For my guaranteed starter who I expect to underperform, I am going with a gut feeling on this one. Brandon Jacobs has been consistent all season. And he is going up against Kansas City. Jacobs owners have every reason to expect good numbers this week. But, strange things always happen in Kansas City, I just have a feeling Brandon disappoints this week.
Not a whole lot of movement in the power rankings this week, but what there is is fairly significant!
1. Team Eagles (3) – the Eagles leapfrog into the number one spot. They have been leading the league in scoring since the start of this season, but this week they convinced me that it was time for a change at the top. They lost their first game in an upset, but what impressed me was that they still managed to score 91 points despite Drew Brees only managing four points! When you can still manage to score nearly 100 points when you’re number one guy doesn’t perform, then you have the kind of team that can win it all
2. MM of M (2) – the Monkeys stay at number two for another week, but you know, monkeys and number two have a long history. The main reason is the injury to Frank Gore. The word is that he is expected to return after their bye week. How well can the Monkeys survive without their main guy? As with the Eagles, if you are a truly powerful team, you can score even when you’re number one guy doesn’t. If the Monkeys can keep up this scoring pace without Frank, then I would expect them to be in a battle for the number one spot throughout the season
3. Evil Midnight Bombers (1) – the Bombers remained consistent in their scoring, but it’s been three weeks now and they haven’t had a real explosion. I still feel that might have the best roster from top to bottom in the league, but the question of whether or not they can actually perform or if it’s all potential is starting to creep into my mind
4. Dreaded Mercenaries (5) – they lose their first of the season in a heartbreaker, but they do enough to move up another spot. While their roster overall might not have scored points that would make you think they deserve to move up, it was some of the moves that they made that I feel warrant the move upward. Getting Choice into the lineup, knowing that they had to sit Barber shows that the ownership of the Mercenaries is on the ball and serious about winning
5. Team S (4) – they slide down another spot in the rankings and are dead last in overall points. They still have AP, and now Pierre Thomas seems to be getting back into the swing of things. But, Owens had zero catches last week, the first time in 185 games that has happened. And the quarterback issue is still looming large. They are still clinging to a top five spot, but they are building up some downward momentum that might be difficult to stop
6. The Bloodsuckers (6) – they lose their game but hold steady in the rankings. Big Brother Manning is clearly the driving force on this team. They made a couple of costly coaching decisions this past week, sitting Randy Moss and starting Maroney over Fred Taylor. That was the difference in their game. However, they still managed 92 points and have their eyes set on the top five
7. Farva’s Shovelheads (7) – they hold steady at number seven, but those chances that they took at running back which were looking so promising a couple of weeks ago are starting to become a bit of a concern. They still have one of the best fantasy quarterbacks around, but it appears that there are starting to be a number of question marks. Whether or not they are able to stay in the top half of the league is going to be decided on how well they are able to handle the off weeks
8. Amateur Pharmacists (9) – the Pharmacists climbed up one spot thanks mostly to the performances from Santana Moss and Matt Schaub. Michael Turner still is not scoring as it would be expected, and I don’t think Santana is going to score significant points on a regular basis. Still, if Schaub continues performing well, Michael Turner picks it up and Ryan Grant steps up, they have the ability to make a move towards the top five
9. Mopar’s Marauders (8) – the Marauders drop down one spot, but they are still right in the thick of things.. Chris Johnson is going to be the catalyst for this team all season long. Without Johnson, the Marauders are a team that would be in fairly big trouble. With him, they have the potential to outscore anybody.
10. Damages (11) – they climb back into the top 10, but this might be a tough week for them coming up. Fitzgerald is off and Parker is currently listed as doubtful. They have a couple of quarterbacks who are putting up consistently good, but not outstanding, numbers. But they need more support if they are going to make any kind of run this season
11. Heavenly Rampagers (10) – the Rampagers slide down another spot and they must be on the verge of pressing the panic button when it comes to Tom Brady. If Brady does not have a return to his form of two seasons ago, then I’m not sure this team is going to be able to compete.. Ronnie Brown is a very solid number two running back for your fantasy team, unfortunately he is the number one guy here. And Harvin has all sorts of potential, but there’s no guarantee how he is going to perform over the course of the entire season… Overall, I believe that as goes Brady, so goes the Rampagers
12. Team Falk (12) – they get a big victory in a tiebreaker situation, but unlike the team they beat, there are some warning signs here. It was pretty widely publicized that Tomlinson was not going to play last week, but they still had him in the starting lineup and it almost cost them. Now, this might have been a conscious decision. This is a very thin league, meaning that because of the rules and roster size, no team can have very much depth on the bench. It’s very possible that they were aware that Tomlinson was not playing, but given the choice of dropping one of their other players, and very probably losing them to another team, and starting somebody that they knew was not going to play, they went with the long-term vision. If that’s the case, then I expect this team will be able to work their way up the power rankings over the course of the season. If it was just an oversight, then they might not ever break into the top 10
13. Legion of Doom (13) – frustration, thy name is Beanie! The signs all seemed to indicate a big game for the rookie last week, and for reasons unknown to anyone, he got two carries. On top of that throw in the continuing struggles of Eddie Royal, and you have a perfect recipe for a slow start the season. It’s going to take at least one of the rookie running backs to start breaking out for this team to have any chance of making a move this season
14. Mr. Al Davis (14) – OK, who else thinks Al Davis is a vampire? An insane, blood starved vampire? I’m just throwing that out there. As far as this team goes though, there might be some hope still. They erupt for 111 points and Jones-Drew was a very big part of it. I’m still not sold on their roster, but if Jones-Drew can start scoring again and Driver can keep playing as he has been, then it is not out of the realm of possibilities for this team to make a run
15. Shelby Township (16) – they break out with 118 points this week and get out of the bottom spot. But let’s be honest, you’re not going to score 52 points out of your tight end/defensive team/kicker combination on a regular basis.. There are some reasons for hope though, Steve Slaton showed some signs of life last week, Branden Jacobs remains consistent and Branden Marshall got in the end zone, even though he was not starting it’s still a good sign. If everything falls into place, this team still might move into the top 10
16. Gaul Village Asterix (15) – do we have a new Team Voodoo?? The Asterix are next to last in overall points, and really don’t seem to have any individuals on their team who are capable of working out, and yet there are 3-0! Other than their record, there’s very little in the way of good news for this team. Word out of Philadelphia is that Westbrook is going to be splitting carries the rest of the season with McCoy, and Westbrook was their main threat. But, as is the way of fantasy football, even though they are at the bottom of the power rankings and next to last in overall points, right now their playoff hopes are much brighter than the majority of the league
And there you have it. We are now at the beginning of the real grind of the fantasy football season. How many of the currently powerful teams will not be able to maintain their current levels of performance? How many of the lower ranked teams will be able to take advantage? We will start finding out this week
If the NFL and fantasy football have anything in common, it is this: there are no guarantees.How your favorite NFL team did last season has as much to do with this season as the effect NASA shooting the moon will have on our tides… maybe less.
Take a look at Tennessee this season.Last season they had a record of 13-3, best in the NFL, the number one seed in the AFC.Going into the playoffs, every Tennessee fan had their eyes set on the Super Bowl and most of your analysts had them as favorites.Then, they lost in their first home playoff game.So much for the experts.
Then, during the off-season, they lost the middle of their defensive line, the disruptive force of nature which goes by the name Albert Haynesworth.They didn’t do a whole lot to replace this loss on defense, but everyone seemed quite happy with their acquisition of Nate Washington.Which leads me to a quick tangent, ever notice how many Pittsburgh Steelers receivers move on to other teams and do absolutely nothing?Burress might be the lone exception, and he’s in prison now.
Anyway, Tennessee is now off to a 0-4 start and I believe only one team has ever come back from 0-4 to make the playoffs (bonus points to the first person who posts what team that was.Double bonus points if they can truthfully say they didn’t have to google it).
Does one player like Albert Haynesworth make that big of a difference to a team?Every coach in the NFL will tell you, no, we can’t rely on one player to make that big of a difference and we can’t use the loss of that one player as an excuse.However, in reality the loss of one real difference maker can in fact make a difference, otherwise, why call them “difference makers” in the first place?
And, as is the case in many situations, what happens in the NFL has a direct result on what happens to your fantasy football team.The loss of Albert Haynesworth has a direct result on the fantasy performance of Lendale White.Most people think, but one is on defense, the other is on offense, what possible connection could there be?
The loss of Haynesworth has resulted in Tennessee falling behind earlier and more frequently in games.White is a grinding running back, normally used to wear down the opponent in the second half and close the door.That kind of running back doesn’t fit into the game plan as easily when your team is trailing.Now, is the loss of Haynesworth the only reason White is having a significantly less successful season this year when compared to last?No, I wouldn’t say that, but I do believe there is a definite effect that happens team wide in the NFL with the loss of a significant player, whether on offense or defense.Fantasy owners who can see these kinds of trends before their draft will already have a leg up on many of their opponents.
And, speaking of somewhat hidden trends, I’m starting to think it might be wise to keep your eye on who I am taking as a potential sleeper player each week and then avoiding them!Glen Coffee had a fairly decent game, but he couldn’t find the end zone and dropped a couple of passes which would have added to his overall total yardage.I’m going to give myself a push on that one.But, Darren McFadden gets injured early in the game and is now out for 2-4 weeks.However, Brandon Jacobs did not get into the end zone against Kansas City nor did he go over 100 yd., so that has to be a pretty good pick.So far, I am 2-5-1
This week for my secondary players like think should perform well, I’m going to try out the wide receivers. Braylon Edwards has been a disappointment since 2007, and he just got traded a couple of days ago.But, he will be playing on Monday night and I just cut him from another one of my teams, so I’m expecting a big game from him.Also, Chad Ochocinco is no longer considered a number one receiver in most fantasy football leagues, but he has been having a really decent season so far and even though they are playing a tough Baltimore defense, I think he does well and should be in your starting lineup.
For my guaranteed starter who I expect to struggle, I’m going to go with Tom Brady.I know he hasn’t been scoring as expected so far this season, but everybody still views him as one of the top two fantasy quarterbacks in the game today.But, they are going to Denver and Denver has just had a beastly defense so far.Depending upon who your backup quarterback is, I would seriously consider setting Brady
Onto the power rankings!
1.MM of M (2) – the Monkeys step up to the number one spot for the first time this season, and standing above all of the other teams shout out the immortal words of Denzel Washington “King Kong ain’t got (number two) on me!” even though 31 of their 108 points came from the defense, their overall roster still performed outstandingly, and that is without Frank Gore and Steve Smith (Carolina edition).Much like Donkey Kong, the Monkeys have stolen our girlfriend and stand at the very top of the tallest skyscraper hurling barrels at all of those beneath him in an attempt to stop a simple, hard-working plumber from rescuing his true love.(extra bonus points for anybody you can tell me the name of Mario’s girlfriend, double points if you can honestly say you did not google it)
2.Team Eagles (1) – the Eagles drop-down one spot, but they are still more than competitive.Drew has had a couple of slow weeks and is off this week, but, barring injury, he’s going to start scoring again sooner rather than later.The only real concern for this team right now is, what is the real personality of the running backs?Is Darren going to be given the chance for more playtime after his off week?And is Willis for real in Baltimore?
3.Evil Midnight Bombers (3) – the Bombers once again score somewhere in that 80-100 range, but this week it is not enough for them to win the game as they fall to their division rival, the heartless King Donkey Monkeys.There is a lot going on with this team.Matt Forte is starting to come around a little in Chicago, Philip Rivers continues to score excellent fantasy points while losing every big NFL game he plays in and now there is a bit of injury concern with Felix Jones and Hester both being unavailable this coming week.The Bombers hold on to number three, and while I still think they have the ability to get back to number one, I would know of no longer be surprised if they slip out of the top five
4.Dreaded Mercenaries (4) – they get back on the winning track but hold steady at number four.The main reason for this is all of the question marks in Dallas.Barber is a gamer, no doubt about that.But what is happening leading man Tony Romo?The All-Pro quarterback (who has never won a single big game) who always collapses in December is starting to play the same way in September and October.That’s not good news for Cowboys fans, and it’s definitely not good news for the Mercenaries
5.The Bloodsuckers (6) – last week they had their eyes set on the top five, this week that move into the top five with another good overall team performance.Big Brother Manning looks like he wants to move back into the number one fantasy quarterback spot.They are extremely solid at quarterback and wide receiver, but they’ve got some significant problems at running back with Fred Taylor being out indefinitely.Julius Jones is now their only remaining running back, so it will be interesting to see what kind of waiver wire moves that make.Or, could there potentially be a trade in the works with Donovan McNabb?
6.Farva’s Shovelheads (7) – they moves up to number six, but there are certainly reasons for concern.McFadden is now out at least two weeks and didn’t guy named Greg Jennings used to play for Green Bay?Whatever happened to that guy?The good news is word out of Tampa Bay is that Cadillac is going to start receiving more playtime again.The bad news is he still on Tampa Bay.This team needs just one spot away from the top five, but that may be a difficult spot to move into
7.Team S (5) – in my opinion, one of the best albums of the nineties was The Downward Spiral by Nine Inch Nails.However, you don’t necessarily want a statistical representation of that album to be the legacy your team leaves on the league.Unfortunately, that appears to be exactly what is happening with Team S.This past week they started a quarterback who wasn’t playing even though they had a quarterback that was eligible on their bench.Sure, Jason Campbell isn’t MUCH of a quarterback, but he still got 12 points more than nobody.Would it have made a difference in the game?No.But, this team has arguably the number one player in all of fantasy football with AP and they are not scoring points.You start to see players who are not playing in the starting lineup and it brings up the question of how committed the ownership is to winning.The lyric “I… hurt myself today” comes to mind
8.Mopar’s Marauders (9) – the Marauders flip-flop with the Pharmacists and move right back into the top half of the league.They remain unbeaten, thanks in huge part to the performance of the San Francisco 49ers defense this past week.43 points?That’s just insane.Which brings me back to something I spoke about over a year ago, I’ve never really liked the scoring system in most fantasy football leagues.Anytime teams are routinely scoring over 100 points, I think there are too many bonus points being given out.I’m not sure that a 10 yd. gain is really worth one point.Does a running back getting 60 yd. for your team honestly equal a touchdown that a running back scores?It just doesn’t seem balanced.But, that’s a discussion for another time.Even with this is going system, your defense is not going to the 43 points every week.However, this team is still looking at moving up the rankings next week
9.Amateur Pharmacists (8) – the Pharmacists slide right back down into the number nine spot..They managed to score nearly 90 points without Michael Turner, and they have one of the hottest defenses in Denver.If Ryan Grant would get on track then this team could make some serious headway in the power rankings
10.Damages (10)– they managed to hold steady at number 10 without two of their major contributors contributing.This team has made some great acquisitions in free agency and right now I think that they may be my frontrunner for coach of the year as they seem to be squeezing every bit of points they can out of their lineup from week to week.It hasn’t been enough for too many victories thus far, and Baby brother Manning as a slight injury concern now.But, could there be a trade on the horizon?Damages currently have two decent quarterbacks, and there are plenty of teams in this league who could use one of them
11.Heavenly Rampagers (11) – Ronnie Brown does his best to prove to me that he is indeed a number one guy, but even with his performance he still is not the leading running back for this team this week.The good news for this team is the possible emergence of Rashard Mendenhall.Willie Parker is out again this week, so that means at least one more game with Rashard being the main guy.If he performs against Detroit anything along the lines of how he performed against San Diego, Parker may have a hard time finding his way back into the starting lineup.It also might be the beginning of a surge up the power rankings for the Heavenly Ranpagers
12.Legion of Doom (13) – my own team gets its first victory of the season and moves up one spot.However, 53 points came from the tight end/Defense/kicker combination, and as I said before, that’s just not going to happen on a regular basis.There are some signs of hope though, Donald Brown and Knowshon Moreno both seem to be getting more and more playing time every week.It’s possible there is still a chance for this season
13.Team Falk (12) – they lose their game and slide down one spot.More disturbing than that, the warning signs from last week seemed to have carried on as this week they start another player who was not playing.In this case, it’s even worse as it’s a kicker and it was his off week.Add to that the injury to Roy Williams and the overall trouble in Dallas and this team may be looking at the bottom three in the not-too-distant future
14.OffInThe Shower (15) –they go over 100 points again and climb up another spot.This might be the beginning of a climb all the way up into the top half.Steve Slaton seems like he might be starting to get on track and there are signs that Brandon Marshall might be starting to find some chemistry with his new quarterback.Add to that the outstanding performance of Steve Smith (New York Giants edition) recently and the consistent performance of Brandon Jacobs and this may be a team to keep an eye on.
15.Mr. Al Davis (14) – you know what I just realized?The team Mr. Al Davis doesn’t have a single Oakland Raider on his roster.You get knocked down a spot for that if nothing else!I think that this team is most likely going to remain in the bottom 25% of the power rankings throughout the season.Neither other quarterbacks are going to score points consistently, and Jones-Drew is really their only serious threat.However, they did win their game, so while I don’t see them moving too far up the power rankings or competing for overall points, the season is far from over
16.Gaul Village Asterix (16) – well, so much for a new Team Voodoo.They score more points than they have on any other week, so of course they suffer their first loss of the season.Even though this team is 3-1, I think that has been more a result of scheduling and luck than anything else.They are getting Westbrook back, so that’s something, but otherwise I just don’t see this team scoring more points than most of the other teams in this league on any given week
We are already 25% of the way through the NFL season.But, what that really means is that we still have 75% of the way to go!Are there some teams who are already dropping by the wayside?Can any of the 0-4 teams, either here or in the NFL, still make the playoffs?Your guess is as good as mine
There was a very interesting comment from the owner of the Mercenaries following last week’s blog that I wanted to talk about a little bit. The gist of it was that while she had a feeling about starting one of her backup players, she was convinced by the owner of the Monkeys that you “have to go with your main guys”. The result was that if she had started the backup, she would have won her game. This type of situation may be the single most reason fantasy football can be as much fun, or as horribly agonizing, as it is.
Let me start out by saying in this type of situation, I am 100% behind the Monkeys theory. Anybody who is new to fantasy football, one of the first things I tell them is you have to trust your draft. It’s really basic, and yes, things and circumstances do change throughout the season, but at the bottom line, you drafted that guy number one and that other guy in the second round and then this other guy in the third round for a reason. Sure, there will be unexpected injuries that force you to make a change, there will be changes in coaching or team personnel that adversely affect one of your players. But, 99% of the time, when you can’t make up your mind which player is the best to start in a particular position, it’s the guy you drafted higher, the guy you initially drafted with every intention of being your main guy.
Ah, yes, but that tantalizing 1%. The gut feeling. If the whole of fantasy football consisted of drafting a specific team and then starting that exactly every week it would be outstandingly boring. That 1% of the time when your gut says “I just think Big Brother Manning is going to struggle this week and I should start Matt Ryan instead” and Matt Ryan tosses three touchdowns while Big brother only gets one, that is a nearly euphoric sensation.
Now keep in mind, 99% of the time it’s going to be completely the opposite. You will study all of the statistics, you will know how bad of a defense St. Louis has. You’ll see that they are playing against Seattle, Julius Jones is bound to have a huge game! At the same time, you studied all available information about the San Francisco opponents and see that they are playing the New York Jets. The Jets, with their nearly impenetrable defense are almost certainly going to significantly slow down, if not completely shut out, Frank Gore. You convince yourself that this is the smart move and by Monday morning everybody will be talking about you as the most ingenious fantasy football owner that they have ever seen. And, you remain convinced of this right up until Frank Gore has two touchdowns at halftime and Julia Jones is busting out with 27 yd. on 13 carries.
And the logic versus gut dilemma can reach even further. It can affect your draft or the makeup of your roster through trades and free agency. Three years ago Tom Brady was considered a fantastic NFL quarterback, but was really only viewed as a second level option as far as fantasy quarterback. Randy Moss was viewed as being completely washed up. But, the two of them found themselves together in New England. There was no guarantee they were going to break every offensive record in the book. Some people looked at the statistics and said, big deal, Moss is a slacker and Brady plays in too conservative of an offense. Some people just had the feeling things were going to click. People who followed that instinct were exceptionally happy.
Last season there was a pretty popular belief that Adrian Peterson was going to suffer from a “sophomore slump”. There were even some fantasy football magazine’s that suggested it would be a better idea to take the aging Tomlinson higher than AP. The only reason for this would have to be a gut feeling by the person writing it. Of course, people who followed that instinct were exceptionally sad.
But, here is the rub: even though you are only going to be ecstatic with your decision of following your gut 1% of the time, it’s that 1% that separates the successful owner from the cellar dwellers.. If your gut tells you that the early-season struggles of Michael Turner is an indication of the entire season so you had best trade him while you still can, and you are right, you’re going to be competing in your league. However, if it turns out you are wrong and the Burner pours it on in the second half, you’re going to kick yourself for not believing in your guy and giving up on him too early.
If there was some kind of secret formula, some kind of mathematical equation you could use to decide when it was the 1% time to listen to your instincts, I would tell you. Actually, no, that’s a lie. I wouldn’t tell you. I would keep it to myself and use it to dominate every league I am in. As I am clearly not dominating this league, you can safely assume that no such formula exists.
And so, we all keep trying to figure out some way to know which cup of tea the Iocane powder is in, always hoping that we’re not facing an opponent who has spent the past several years building up an immunity to Iocane powder.
Looking back at last week, things may be picking up, or else I am just no longer trying to fight with my left hand. Braylon Edwards came through in the primetime lights with a huge game, so definitely a good call. I was on the fence about Chad Ochocinco. He put up over 90 yd., but didn’t get into the end zone. Then I heard that even though Cincinnati is 4-1, they were unable to sell out there home games this coming weekend and were going to get blacked out in the local area. That is until Chad purchased the remaining 1200 tickets, along with one of the sponsors Motorola, and will be giving those tickets away to make sure the game is not blacked out. That’s classy. So I’m going with two good calls. I also went with Brady, and he had an OK game once again, not terrible, not fantastic, so going to go with a push bringing my overall season record up to 4-5-1.
This week going to try out the running backs once again. Ryan Grant is really no longer considered a number one running back in most scoring formats, but I look for him to have a good day at home against Detroit. On the second one, I was torn, so actually going to go with three this week. If anybody has the motivation to get back and have a big day it is Willie Parker, I think he gets a chance against Cleveland. Also, something is telling me Larry Johnson gets a touchdown and some decent yards against Washington. As my guaranteed starter, going back to Monday night as I think Philip Rivers once again struggles in a big game under the bright lights
Onto the power rankings, with some significant fluctuations this week!
1. MM of M (1) – here is what is impressive about these worshipers of Curious George, they score 97 points this past week with Frank Gore appropriately on the bench and getting zero points from their kicker. They are still unbeaten and are ever so slightly trying to separate themselves from the pack in overall points, but as far as the power rankings go they are clearly number one
2. Dreaded Mercenaries (4) – they move up into the number two spot, but it’s not a solid hold. They have said that the Cowboys are not going to remain as prevalent on their roster, but how many good options are they going to have? There are some fast risers in the rankings right now, so the Mercenaries might be in trouble this coming week with Dallas on the bye
3. Mopar’s Marauders (8) – it was time for an adjustment in the rankings and the Marauders benefit by jumping five ranks! This team is showing that they are more than just Chris Johnson as they score 118 points even though Johnson only got three. Now, Miles Austin is not going to score you 37 points every week, but this team has been scoring high points fairly consistently. The next couple of weeks will show if this jump of five spots is an over adjustment, or if the Marauders really are a top three team
4. Evil Midnight Bombers (3) – the Bombers get past their toughest week bye wise with a victory by the skin of their teeth, thanks in large part to the apparent complete disinterest of their opponents. They only score 64, but go down just one spot as most of their top-level players were off. Still, the Bombers roster is not looking as formable as it once was. They are still securely in the top five and I expect them to return to form next week
5. Team Eagles (2) – there has to be some concern for the owner of Team Eagles. I would imagine that they are praying that Brees returns to dominance following his off week. They’re running backs totally disappeared last week and much of their success in the early part of the season was because of Willis McGahee. If he pulls a disappearing stunt, which he has done before in the past, then they may find it difficulty to reclaim their spot at number one
6. The Bloodsuckers (5) – they lose their game and drop-down one spot. This is one of two teams in the league that I think should pay special attention to the article Mark wrote on the ESPN site. They’ve got two top-level quarterbacks and no serious number one running back. There are a couple of teams with serious question marks at quarterback in this league, you can’t start Big Brother Manning and McNabb in the same week, and you desperately need a running back. There should be a blockbuster trade available if this team puts out some feelers
7. Amateur Pharmacists (9) – they climb a couple of spots up to number seven. With Michael Turner starting to produce and Schaub seemingly for real this season, they have the potential to beat any team. The fact that they’ve been doing so well with such little production from Ryan Grant is really a surprise to me. This team can certainly break into the top five if they start firing on all cylinders
8. Farva’s Shovelheads (6) – they had their bye week this week, and by that I mean Green Bay was off. They only managed 46 points and drop a couple of spots. But, they are still in the top half of the league and thankfully for them Green Bay only has one off week season. Still, there are lots of concerns at both wide receiver and running back and there are a number of teams in the bottom half of the league looking to move up
9. Damages (10) – they lose a hard fought game against the Monkeys, but they move up one spot in the rankings. There’s a lot of questions about the running backs on this team but I am now convinced their best move might be to open trade talks with a team looking for a quarterback. Damages have two quarterbacks, both of which are performing fairly well. The quality of running back they are going to be able to pickup through free agency is rather limited at this time, but a good trade could land a solid back which is exactly what this team really needs
10. Heavenly Rampagers (11) – does Ronnie Brown read this blog?? Ever since I said he was a great number two running back, he has been a monster in Miami! This team moves into the top 10 on the strength of their running backs. There are major concerns at wide receiver (it’s time to cut Galloway), but if Brady can at all begin resembling his 2007 incarnation, then anything would be possible for this team
11. Legion of Doom (12) – my team creeps a little closer to the top 10. Not much has changed here, there are some signs that at least one of the rookie running backs might be able to consistently performe this season. If that happens, I predict a Solomon Grundy like rampage through the power rankings. If it doesn’t, I predict a Solomon Grundy like report card.
12. Team Falk (13) – they score decent points and win their game, but this is the third week in a row where they start a player who is not playing. There’s a chance that this was a conscious decision and they just didn’t want to lose any of their other players in this situation. But three weeks in a row is somewhat disturbing. I have a feeling that they have NOT abandoned their team as they did set Williams who was injured, but it would be nice to see them start a complete roster at some point again
13. Mr. Al Davis (15) – 116 points and they only move up one spot? Well, here’s why: a staggering 54 of those 116 points came from Roddy White and Austin Collie, which is not going to happen regularly, perhaps not again this season. On top of that, they missed out on 32 points by starting the wrong quarterback. Jacksonville was traveling across the country, which is hard enough for top level quarterbacks to handle, David Garrard has had a couple of good games, but is far from a top-level quarterback. I imagine Mr. Al Davis was sick to the stomach watching his two quarterbacks play each other and knowing he started the wrong one
14. OffInThe Shower (14) – they win another game and hold steady at number 14, but it seems like the bottom half of the power rankings are, for the most part, showing that there may not be that much separation between number 5 and number 14. I’m not sure they have the quarterbacks necessary to make a serious run, but Marshall and Steve Smith (New York Giants edition) make for a serious 1-2 punch out of the wide receiver position. Word out of Houston is that they are committed to the running game, which should be good news for Slaton. If these guys can find a legitimate quarterback, there are some real possibilities here
15. Gaul Village Asterix (16) – they lose their second game in a row but move out of the basement based on the simple fact that they are still competing. They are making moves trying to get as many points as possible each week, their players just are not making it easy for them. However, they are still 3-2 and easily in the playoff chase. I believe overall points and top 10 of the power rankings are unlikely for this team, but if they continue trying and make the playoffs, history has shown anything can happen
16. Team S (7) – MISSING PERSON ALERT! The Commissioner may be taking a look at this team. This week they started two players who were off, had viable players who could have started in their place, and if even just one of them had been started instead, they would have won their game, pulling off a major upset and significantly changing the standings. At least for the moment they drop all the way to the bottom as they have every appearance of an abandoned team
So, entering our sixth week of play and we quite possibly may have lost our first team of the season. It’s always disappointing to me when I see a team that is struggling be abandoned so early in the season. A fantasy football league should be fun for everybody, it should be able to engage everybody regardless of individual team performance. People should play fantasy football because they want to have fun, not necessarily just because they want to win.
There is a story that I’ve told before which is relevant here once again. Other than this league I’m involved in three other long-standing leagues which are considered “professional” fantasy leagues in that there are a few thousand dollars at stake in each. Several years ago my team was dead last in points basically the entire season. By the seventh week it was clear, I was not going to be competing for any kind of prize as far as overall points. However, I knew that the integrity of the season relied on me continuing to play the game as if it was the first week of the season. I had to start viable lineups or else the teams I played later in the season would theoretically have an easy victory compared to the teams I played in the first couple of weeks. Remarkably, while my team continued scoring in the bottom third of the league every week, my opponents consistently scored less. By week 14 of the NFL season, my team had somehow snuck into the playoffs as a wildcard. By the end of our fantasy season, I was still dead last in points by a wide margin. I was also Super Bowl champion that season. There were many games where changes I made in the lineup resulted in an extra couple of points for me that week, and while it had no effect whatsoever for the overall point standings, those extra points gained a victory here and there, and without those I would not have had one of the most memorable seasons of my fantasy football career.
One other story that comes to mind was a season where I was running away with overall points, but struggling to make the playoffs. It came down to the last week of our regular-season and my opponent, who had no chance of winning any prizes that season, continued to make changes to their lineup. The result was them starting the New York Jets defense against Miami on a Monday night instead of their primary defense. With six seconds left in the game, Dan Marino throws a pass for no reason which is unbelievably intercepted. I lose my game by one point and do not make the playoffs. However, over 10 years later, both me and my opponent still talk about that game, which would have never happened had he abandoned his team because, from an individual perspective, he had nothing to play for.