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.