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Week 4 Watch List

September 29, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are some players to keep an eye on this week. If they continue to perform, add them to your roster.

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ): His numbers are not jaw-dropping, but he is fairly consistent and plays on a team with a good defense and good running game. Which makes him a solid play if your starter is on bye or injured.

QB Chad Henne (MIA): Not sure how good he will be, but he is a starter now that QB Chad Pennington is done for the year, so give him some thought if you are desperate.

QB Josh Johnson (TB): It looks like QB Byron Leftwich has been benched. I doubt Johnson will do much, but you never know.

RB Jerome Harrison (CLE): I am a little disappointed that RB James Davis did not get more chances while RB Jamal Lewis was out with injury. Not sure if Harrison is the RB2 in CLE or if Davis is still dealing with injury issues of his own. Either way, as long as Lewis is slowed by injuries, keep an eye on both Harrison and Davis to see who gets the touches.

WR Keenan Burton (STL): I was big on WR Laurent Robinson, but now that he is on IR, someone else has to step up. And that guy could be Burton.

WR Mike Wallace (PIT): PIT cannot run the ball, so they will have to pass. And Wallace has looked pretty good as the third option. Keep an eye on him.

WR Andre Caldwell (CIN): I expected WR Chris Henry to be more productive, but he seems to be limited by injuries. Which has opened the door for Caldwell.

WR Chaz Schilens (OAK): He could play this week. Although with how poorly the fat caveman is throwing the ball, it might not matter. But keep an eye on him. He is tall and lanky, so maybe he can catch some of those errant passes.

TE Vernon Davis (SF): Davis had a big game against MIN and has done alright otherwise this year. Keep an eye on him and see if they continue to go to him in the red zone.

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Week 3 Injury Update

September 28, 2009 1 comment

Here are some key injury updates…

QB Chad Pennington (MIA): Pennington (shoulder) could be done for the year. QB Chad Henne will likely take over, and could be a decent QB2 against favorable matchups. But I would wait and see what he does.

QB Marc Bulger (STL): Bulger (shoulder) could miss some time. If he is out, QB Kyle Boller will start in his place. Boller actually looked alright against GB.

RB Frank Gore (SF): Gore (ankle) could miss a couple weeks. Go get RB Glenn Coffee now.

RB Kevin Smith (DET): It sounds like Smith (shoulder) should be okay, but if you own him, consider adding RB Maurice Morris.

RB Brian Westbrook (PHI): Westbrook (ankle) missed this week’s game with an ankle injury, and it is not clear when he will be back. Go get RB LeSean McCoy now.

RB Marion Barber (DAL): Barber (thigh) is inactive for the game tonight against CAR. Watch to see how DAL uses RB Felix Jones and RB Tashard Choice tonight, because Barber could miss another game or two.’

RB Jamal Lewis (CLE): Lewis was out this week. RB James Harrison got most of the carries in his absence, with RB James Davis getting some touches, as well. But neither really did much. And I would probably avoid any CLE players for the time being, given their woes on offense.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Parker (toe) is dealing with a minor case of turf toe, which is a notoriously annoying injury. If Parker misses any time, RB Rashard Mendenhall would get the start. Although he has not looked good and the PIT OL is marginal.

WR Wes Welker (NE): Welker missed his second game in a row. WR Julian Edelman played in his place but did not have another Welker-esque outing. Edelman could be worth a roster spot, though, if Welker misses any more time.

WR Laurent Robinson (STL): Robinson (ankle) is likely done for the year after breaking his lower leg. Which is too bad. He was having a great start to the season. I expect WR Keenan Burton to get some extra looks with Robinson out.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): Henry (thigh) has been battling a leg injury all year, which could explain why he has yet to explode onto the scene like I expected/predicted. Or maybe he is just not going to explode. Either way, while he is slowed by injury, WR Andre Caldwell seems to be getting some extra looks.

[Pre]Week 1 Watch List

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are some guys to keep an eye on as the season starts:

QB Mark Sanchez (NYJ): Will he follow in the footsteps of QB Matt Ryan and post respectable numbers? Or will he struggle and sit on the waiver wire all year?

QB Matt Stafford (DET): Stafford was (not surprisingly) named the starter over QB Daunte Culpepper. Although the DET OL is not great, Stafford does have WR Calvin Johnson to throw the ball to. But I suspect he will also throw the ball to the other team quite a few times.

RB James Davis (CLE): Davis is available in many leagues, and could get a significant amount of touches in CLE. RB Jamal Lewis will likely start the season at RB, but I expect Davis to get some carries and eventually take over.

RB Willie Parker (PIT): Allegedly, he is the starter, the full-time RB, and the goal line back. Does any of this matter? It could. FWP is on the downside of his career, but he is not quite done yet. The PIT OL is suspect, but they do like to run the ball. If FWP can stay healthy, he is a great value.

RB Michael Bush (OAK): Bush is a very talented RB, but is stuck in a RBBC in OAK with RB Darren McFadden and RB Justin Fargas. If Bush could get more touches, he could be productive. But we will have to wait and see how they use him.

RB Jamaal Charles (KC): Many expect a (slight) resurgence of RB Larry Johnson this season. Which could happen. But given his past, I am not all that confident. Which means Charles could be in a position to get some extra touches. Especially if KC is losing and has to throw the ball often.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): He caught a TD in each preseason game. I know it is only preseason, but I am excited about Henry. Let’s see what he can do when it counts.

WR Marko Mitchell (WAS): I wrote about this super-duper-hella-deep sleeper a week or so ago. And he has not shaken that status yet. But he could end up being productive, if the other WRs in WAS cannot get the job done. Keep an eye on him as the season goes along.

TE Anthony Fasano (MIA): Fasano had a solid year in 2008, and now he is no longer sharing time with TE David Martin, who was placed on IR. He could increase his yardage totals, although I would be surprised if he matched or exceeded last year’s TD total.

TE Jermichael Finley (GB): Finley was a focal point of the GB offense in the preseason. But he is still listed as the backup behind TE Donald Lee. Either way, the guy is super-talented and creates mismatches when he is in the game. So I expect GB will find ways to get him involved.

I don’t wanna say “I told you so”, but…

September 2, 2009 Leave a comment

… I have 14 random predictions for the upcoming season, and when they come true, I will definitely say “I told you so” — even though I do not want to. I will request, however, that you kindly refrain from pointing out all of the times I am wrong. Because, well, that would just be rude.

Also, just in case you missed them, here are my previous 17 Crazy Predictions.

Onto the nonsense…

1. RB Steven Jackson will have the most yards from scrimmage in 2009.

2. WR Randy Moss will have at least 15 TDs.

3. QB Brent Farve will have at least 15 INTs.

4. WR Chaz Schilens will outscore WR Devin Hester.

5. WR Braylon Edwards will have at least 1,000 yards and 7 TDs.

6. WR Terrell Owens will wear out his welcome in BUF.

7. RB Leon Washington will score more fantasy points than RB Thomas Jones.

8. QB Mike Vick will have a better passer rating than the Mouthbreather (QB Eli Manning).

9. RB Felix Jones will average more than 5.0 YPC.

10. RB Ray Rice will score more fantasy points than

11. TE Jermichael Finley will score at least 6 TDs for GB.

12. TE Visanthe Shiacnoe will be a top-10 TE.

13. WR Larry Fitzgerald will not score more TDs than WR Anquan Boldin.

14. WR Chris Henry will score more fantasy points than WR Roy Williams.

Preseason Wrapup

September 1, 2009 Leave a comment

Yeah, I know. There is still one week of the preseason left. But the starters rarely play any significant amount of time in the 4th preseason game. So now seems like as good a time as any to look back at the preseason and see what we learned.

So, with that in mind: I know it’s only preseason, but…

1. The Packers offense looks very good. I have said a few times already that I expect QB Aaron Rodgers to end the season as the top scoring player in fantasy (and to back this up, I picked him in two of my three leagues so far this year). Rodgers has looked very sharp in the preseason, completing 27 of 38 passes for 458 yards, with 6 TDs and no interceptions — and he did this in approximately 4 quarters of play. Which is, like, pretty good. Beyond Rodgers, though, there is RB Ryan Grant, who should get 300 carries and rebound from his poor 2008, WR Greg Jennings, who is a top-10 (and maybe even top-5) WR, WR Donald Driver, who is an undervalued WR3, and sleepers such as WR James Jones and TE Jermichael Finley, who could put up good numbers in an offense that should be in the top 5 in the league.

2. We have no idea what TO will do in Buffalo. TO looked like he could still play early during BUF’s 1st preseason game. But that is all we saw of him. He has missed the rest of the preseason with a mysterious toe injury. I have my own issues with TO — mostly related to the QB and OL in BUF — but there is no denying the guy’s talent. If you like to gamble, you can probably get a pretty good deal on him.

3. Chris Henry could be very good. I have had this kid on many of my fantasy teams in the past, only to end up disappointed by his inconsistency and apparent stupidity. But now it seems like he has things figured out. He caught a TD in each of the preseason games, and is a prime candidate to replace the production that went with WR TJ Houshmandzadeh to SEA. He is a great sleeper pick.

4. Brett Favre still has it. At least for a few more weeks. No one really doubted that Favre could still play. I think the real question is whether he can still play for 16 (or 19 or 20) weeks. I suspect he will look pretty sharp during the early portion of the season, but judgment day(s) will come later in the year when he is getting tired and beat up. Will he still have the desire? Will his body hold up? Who knows. But he does give the other offensive players in MIN a boost — at least in the short-term.

5. We have no idea what any of the rookie RBs will do. There is some great talent at RB in this year’s rookie class. Unfortunatley, we still do not know whether any of them will be productive. We finally got to see RB Beanie Wells last week against GB, and he looked good, but questions linger about his injury issues. Everyone was excited when RB Knowshon Moreno ended his holdout, but he only lasted half a game and then was injured. And we still have no idea how DEN plans to use him. RB Donald Brown was a popular sleeper pick, but IND does not seem like it has any plans to give up on RB Joseph Addai any time soon. RB LeSean McCoy finds himself in a similar position — if (when?) RB Brian Westbrook goes down, McCoy should blow up. But what if that does not happen? Enough people are predicting Westbrook’s demise that I am convinced it is not going to happen. RB Shonn Greene is also waiting behind an aging veteran. But we have no idea when or if he will see the field. In fact, out of all the rookie RBs, RB James Davis might have the best chance of seeing the field sooner rather than later. He is stuck behind an ineffective and aging RB Jamal Lewis, and there have been rumors that Lewis might not make the final roster. (But you know how rumors go…) Overall, I think Wells has the best chance to have a big fantasy season, but Brown and McCoy could blow up if injuries open the door. And keep an eye on Davis — he is a sleeper if I ever saw one.

6. The Seahawks could surprise some people. SEA was terrible last year. But that was mostly due to a rash of injuries. Although they still have some issues along the OL, and RB Julius Jones does not scare [m]any teams, their offense could be pretty good. QB Matt Hasselbeck is a sleeper at QB, WR TJ Houshmandzadeh is a very good value at WR, TE John Carlson is a great value at TE, and WR Deon Butler is a deep sleeper. Shoot, even Jones is the main ballcarrier, so he should put up solid yardage totals and can likely be picked very late in your draft.

7. Eli Manning is still a mouthbreather. Nothing has changed. Except now he has lost his favorite target at WR. Which means he will probably do a lot more mouthbreating and blaming his teammates when things do not go right.

8. The Raiders are one messed up franchise. There are guys in OAK with potential — RB Darren McFadden, RB Michael Bush, WR Chaz Schilens, TE Zach Miller — but can we really trust anyone in OAK to produce on a weekly basis? The team is so dysfunctional that it seems foolish to draft any of them. Which really makes me wonder why I took both Bush and Schilens in one of my recent drafts…

9. Brady and Moss could return to their 2007 form. The circus that is the Brady-to-Moss connection could be back. They make it look too easy. Way too easy. Which is why I made sure to grab Moss in a couple of my leagues. I expect him and Brady to put up huge numbers. And since Moss is going as the 3rd or 4th WR, he is a great value, because he could very well end up as the number 1 WR at the end of the year — especially since the other top WRs — WR Larry Fitzgerald, WR Andre Johnson, and WR Calvin Johnson — all have QB health/quality issues.

10. Fantasy football is fun. I am so glad the season is (almost) here. I have been thinking about this sh!t way too long. So I am happy that the season is right around the corner…

Stock Up

August 25, 2009 Leave a comment

It’s tough to predict much based on the preseason. Most top players only get a few series per game, and even then it is hard to tell much. But there are some players who look very sharp, and as a result, they see their fantasy draft stock rise. Here is a list of players who are looking very good and are moving up draft boards.

QB Aaron Rodgers (GB): Rodgers has looked very sharp in the preseason and I am confident that he will end the season as one of the top fantasy players. If he continues to look this sharp, it is going to be hard to keep him out of the top 3 QBs in the rankings.

QB Tony Romo (DAL): Just in case you forgot, Romo is a very good QB. WR Terrell Owens certainly made him better, but Romo will still do very well even without TO. He has looked good so far and should play very well this year, despite the fact that DAL wants to focus on the running game more.

QB Matt Hasselbeck (SEA): After a miserable 2008 season marred by injuries all across the board, Hasselbeck has looked very sharp this year. Besides being healthy, Hasselbeck is now throwing to newly-acquired WR TJ Houshmandzadeh, a healthy (for now) WR Deion Branch, and impressive rookie WR Deon Butler. Plus, second-year TE John Carlson looks to build on a solid rookie campaign. I do not expect Hasselbeck to be among the top-scoring fantasy QBs, but he does present a very nice value in the later rounds as a backup who could post solid numbers in favorable matchups.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR): Count me among the skeptics. And by that, I mean I am not one who expects DeAngelo to continue his unreal performance to end 2008. However, I am reconsidering that position, because DeAngelo has looked very good this preseason, and RB Jonathan Stewart cannot seem to stay healthy, which is an issue he has dealt with since his college days in Oregon. If Stewart’s injury issues continue, DeAngelo’s stock goes way up. But even if he returns, I think we can expect DeAngelo to do quite well in 2009.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): Obviously, McFadden is not going to average 8.5 YPC all year. But that is what he is doing in the preseason. Which shows that he has big-play ability. I am still worried about him as a full-time RB, but OAK runs the ball enough and will use him out of the backfield as a receiver to allow him to post pretty solid fantasy numbers.

RB Ray Rice (BAL): Rice has been steadily rising up draft boards for awhile. Which kind of worries me. I liked him a lot more before when he was undervalued. I think the hype surrounding him now could push him high enough where he is borderline overvalued. Either way, his stock is going up, because he seems to be ready to handle the load in BAL. RB Willis McGahee will still get some carries, and LeRon McClain is always a threat to steal TDs. But Rice is the best all-around RB on the roster. And it was nice to see him get a 3-yard TD against NYJ. It was also nice to see him as the only RB to get carries with the 1st team offense.

RB Cedric Benson (CIN): I am aware of his past, but he seems to have found a new home in CIN. And, if nothing else, he is set to get a lot of touches in what should be a much-improved offense. He should be a solid RB3 and you can get him very late in most drafts.

RB Leon Washington (NYJ): This guy is extremely fast/quick and catches the ball very well out of the backfield. I think RB Thomas Jones is on the way out, but I am not convinced that RB Shonn Greene is the answer. Instead, I think NYJ will try to get Washington the ball more often and let him work in space.

RB Ryan Grant (GB): Grant teased us with a great finish in 2007, only to limp through 2008 with an injured hamstring after holding out all through camp. But Grant looks much quicker and faster this preseason, which makes me think he is ready to regain his late-2007 form. Plus, the GB offense looks very sharp and primed to score a ton of points. And you have to love a guy who is not part of a RBBC, even if he is not all that dynamic.

WR Troy Williamson (JAX): Thus far in his career, Williamson has been known mostly for not being able to catch the ball. But this preseason, he is actually becoming known for making catches. In fact, he leads all WRs in the preseason with 221 yards (on only 7 catches). He is still considered a very deep sleeper, but he could be worth a roster spot if he can keep, you know, catching the ball.

WR Laurent Robinson (STL): Speaking of reviving your career, Robinson has been playing well in STL. WR Donnie Avery is recovering from a foot injury, allowing Robinson some more reps. And Robinson has been taking advantage of the increased playing time. As with Williamson, Robinson is still a sleeper and is only worthy of a bench spot in deeper leagues. But keep an eye on him and see how STL uses him.

WR David Clowney (NYJ): Clowney might as well be called “Mr. August”. After leading the NFL in receiving yards during the preseason in 2008, Clowney has played very well again this year, scoring 2 TDs already. But it is worth noting that, after playing well in the 2008 preseason, he only had 1 catch for 26 yards in the regular season. His stock is certainly up due to his play, but do not get too excited. Especially with a rookie QB under center.

WR Chris Henry (CIN): Henry has finally (or so they say) cleaned up his act and is ready to play football. The guy is freakishly athletic and is a favorite target of QB Carson Palmer, which could work out very well for him if he can keep his head on straight. I think the CIN offense is very underrated, so Henry could end up posting some very solid numbers.

“Get Off My Lawn”

July 23, 2009 Leave a comment

Inevitably, there are guys who are ranked highly before the draft who are all hype. Accordingly, here is a list of guys who I think are very overrated. I am not necessarily saying these guys will be terrible. Some of them will actually be very good. But I think they are overrated. Meaning it is highly probable that someone in your league will spend too much on them or draft them too high. And I have provided you with the names of some people who will likely produce about the same stats but have less hype.

QB Matt Ryan (ATL): The kid played well last year. He gave hope to the previously-hopeless Atlanta fans. But, if you look closely, his stats were pretty marginal. He threw for 3400 yards and 16 TDs, making him the 15th-ranked fantasy QB. Which means he would not even have been a weekly starter in a standard 12-team league. I think he will be better than that this year. But he will be on the fringe of being a weekly starter. And many experts have him ranked in the top-10 (ahead of guys like QB Matt Cassel and QB Donovan McNabb). Comparable Player:

QB Jay Cutler (CHI): Actually, many experts have him ranked about where I have him: As the 11th or 12th QB. But I had to include him on my list because I simply hate him. He is a mouth-breather with a bad attitude. And now he plays for the Bears. Who have no WRs. Cutler was great when he was throwing to WR Brandon Marshall, WR Eddie Royal, and TE Tony Scheffler. But he cannot replicate those numbers with guys like WR Devin Hester, WR Rashied Davis, and TE Greg Olsen. He will be a starter in most leagues, but do not expect him to post big numbers each week.

RB DeAngelo Williams (CAR): I have seen DeAngelo go very high in some mock drafts. And I simply do not understand why. Yes, I realize he was flat-out amazing in the second half of 2008. But he was very average in the first half. I just do not expect him to pick up where he left off. Beyond that, RB Jonathan Stewart is (allegedly) healthy and ready to carry more of the load. The Panthers do love to run the ball. But they also love to split carries — Even DeShaun Foster used to get a decent amount of touches. Bottom line: Anyone who expects Williams to get close to his from 2008 will be disappointed.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): I know, I know. By putting both Williams and MJD on this list, it seems like I am just being a contrarian. But hear me out. Everyone just assumes that the Jags are going to give MJD 300 carries in 2009 because they gave him a huge contract and RB Fred Taylor is gone. But I disagree. MJD will continue to split carries with second-year RB Chauncey Washington and/or rookie RB Rashad Jennings (both of whom you have probably never heard of, but they are better than you think). However, MJD is a very effective goal line RB and a great receiver out of the backfield. So he will get his touches. But I do not consider him a top-3 player this year.

UPDATE (07/30/09): It should be noted that recently, I — ahem — moved MJD up my RB rankings to the, um, Top 3. So, I suppose you can disregard that last sentence. Initially, I was not that excited about MJD. But the more I look at the other guys in the Top 5, the more I like him. Maybe its the beer talking. But (for now) I like him at the top of the draft. I would even consider taking him first overall.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK): I am simply not a big fan of McFadden. I know the Raiders like to run the ball. And Al Davis just loves guys like McFadden. But the reality is, he is not a great RB. His legs are too skinny. The only guys who can run upright like he does are RB Adrian Peterson and Eric Dickerson. Sorry, but McFadden is not either one of those guys. Plus, QB Jamarcus Russell is entering bust territory. Which does not help his cause. Beyond that, I think RB Michael Bush is a threat to steal most of the goal line carries, if not some other carries.

WR Antonio Bryant (TB): Bryant has the talent, but I am not sure if he will produce the same numbers as last year. One issue is the QB situation in Tampa. Basically, they are just not that good. And I have a feeling they will have more than one starter during the year. Which is never good for a WR. I think Bryant will have a decent season, but he will not approach last year’s totals.

WR Chad Ochocinco (CIN): Is this guy serious? He has become a caricature of himself, it seems. He has talent, no doubt. And he has QB Carson Palmer back this year. Which will obviously help. I just think this guy is way too distracted to perform at a high level. It would not surprise me, however, if he did come back and play well. I just think the risk is too high. Plus, I think WR Chris Henry is primed to blow up. Which will provide Palmer with another (less dramatic) target.

WR Devin Hester (CHI): Hester is still learning the WR position. Which is not a good thing. He is ultra-quick and super-fast. But those two qualities do not a receiver make. He will get 50 or 60 catches, and probably catch a few bombs from QB Jay Cutler for touchdowns. But he will also have a few games where he registers zero catches and zero yards. Because you have to get open to get passes thrown your way.