Posts Tagged ‘matt ryan’

I think…

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

1. I think … I’m glad I had RB Chris Johnson on my team in one league. But I am not so glad I had to play against him in another.

2. I think … RB Cedric Benson is shaping up to be a very nice RB2. He is tied with RB Michael Turner for the most carries in the league through 2 weeks.

3. I think … the GB offense has disappointed thus far. The OL is the problem. And it could have a major affect on QB Aaron Rodgers, RB Ryan Grant, and WR Greg Jennings if it does not improve.

4. I think … NYJ CB Darrelle Revis is very good. He held WR Andre Johnson to 4 catches for 35 yards in week 1 and WR Randy Moss to 4 catches for 24 yards in week 2. I might consider benching your WRs against him.

5. I think … RB Darren Sproles is not a great RB. But, damn, he is great when he gets the ball in space. He is worth starting every week, especially while RB LaDainian Tomlinson is hurt.

6. I think … RB Felix Jones could benefit greatly if RB Marion Barber misses any time due to his quad injury. But watch for RB Tashard Choice to get some touches, too.

7. I think … As (I) expected, WR Devin Hester is not a real WR. However, its a little surprising to see rookie WR Jonny Knox has become the leading WR in Chicago.

8. I think … I love the NFL. QB Jay Cutler throws 4 INTs and CHI loses go GB in week 1. Then CHI beats PIT in week 2, and GB loses to CIN. So tough early on to tell who is for real.

9. I think … QB Matt Ryan is the real deal. And TE Tony Gonzalez is his new best friend.

10. I think … I was wrong about WR Dominic Hixon. It looks like WR Mario Manningham and WR Steve Smith are going to lead the way. One or both might even be available in your league.


[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.

QB Rankings: Updated

August 20, 2009 1 comment

I have updated my QB Rankings. Here is my top 10:

1. Drew Brees (NO)
2. Tom Brady (NE)
3. Peyton Manning (IND)
4. Aaron Rodgers (GB)
5. Tony Romo (DAL)
6. Donovan McNabb (PHI)
7. Matt Ryan (ATL)
8. Kurt Warner (ARI)
9. Matt Schaub (HOU)
10. Philip Rivers (SD)

And here is the rest of the list

Should I draft Michael Turner?

August 19, 2009 Leave a comment

There is quite a debate over RB Michael Turner. Some think he should be the number one pick, while I have talked to others who think he should drop to the second round.

What do I think? Well, I think you should pick in somewhere in the middle of those two. And, at some point in the convoluted mess below, I explain why.

Turner blew up in 2008 with 1699 yards rushing and 17 TDs. And he returns in 2009 with an improved QB in second-year QB Matt Ryan, no major injury concerns, and relatively little wear on those tree-like legs (only 598 total carries in the NFL).

So, he should be one of the top RBs heading into 2009, right? Well, yes and no.

I think Turner will end up being a top 10 RB, but whether he will be a top 5 RB is questionable. I have Turner ranked as the 4th RB (behind RB Adrian Peterson, RB Matt Forte, and RB Maurice Jones-Drew). But to be entirely honest, I would rank RB Steven Jackson above him but for S-Jax’s injury issues. And I like RB Chris Johnson more, but I cannot rank him up there due to RB LenDale White‘s tendency to vulture his TDs. And I could go on. But my point is, Turner does present some risks. So, although I have him ranked 4th among RBs, there are definitely some issues to be aware of if you are considering taking him with your first round pick.

Many other fantasy experts cite the so-called “Curse of 370” — which basically says that any RB who has more than 370 carries in a given year is all but guaranteed to have a drop-off in (fantasy) production in the following season. In fact, only the aforementioned fantasy God LT has avoided the Curse of 370. In 2002, LT had 372 carries. But LT went on to score more fantasy points in 2003. But other than LT in 2002-2003, every other RB in the history of the NFL has done worse in the year following his 370-plus carries. (I have yet to see any analysis, however, on how many total carries the RB has in his career prior to the dropoff. LT was young when he had his 370-carry season, so it is not all that surprising that he kept going. Others were much older.)

So, we should expect a decline in production then, right? Well, yes and no. I am not usually one to argue with that kinda body of evidence. However, it is worth noting that Turner only had 228 carries before his arrival in ATL. And can we really believe that Turner is destined to fail while AP — who had 363 carries — is safe because he was 7 carries short of 370 in the regular season?

Hard to say. But a curse is a Curse, right? Well, yes and no.

I do expect Turner to see a decline in production. But it has very little to do with the Curse. I believe his production will decline for three very simple reasons: (1) His schedule is tougher, (2) ATL will limit his carries, and (3) QB Matt Ryan will be better.

(1) Fewer Carries: ATL will likely reduce Turner’s workload in 2009 in order to prolong his career. I am predicting they will give him the ball around 325 times. So, even if he averages 4.5 YPC again, he will gain less than 1500 rushing yards.

(2) Tougher Schedule: Based on traditional scoring (i.e. 10 yds = 1 pt, TD = 6 pts.), Turner scored  265 points in 2008. However, a closer examination of how he scored those points reveals that he piled up most of those points against some very weak defenses. In fact, Turner scored 198 of those points in 8 games. Which means he only scored 67 points in the other 8 games.

In the 8 games when Turner scored only 67 points (average = 8.4), he faced defenses with an average rush defense ranked 11.8. In the 8 games when Turner scored the other 198 points (average = 24.5), he faced teams with an average rush defense ranked 26.8. (Remember, there are only 32 teams… So those teams were pretty bad.) You do not have to look at these figures long before you realize that Turner piled up most of his fantasy points against very poor defenses.

Not only does this concern me because his 2009 schedule is tougher, but it also concerns me because Turner was very inconsistent, especially early in the season. In 4 of his first 8 games, he scored 5 or fewer points. In his second 8 games, however, Turner scored at least 10 points in each game, including 13 points against the #1 ranked MIN rush defense in week 16 (the championship game for many leagues). So at least he was putting up solid scores towards the end of the year. But the fact that he had so many stinker games is cause for concern. (For the sake of comparison, AP scored 5 or fewer points only 1 time in 2008.)

Overall, in 2008 Turner faced teams with an average rush defense rank of 19.3. And he only faced 4 teams — MIN (1st), PHI (4th), CHI (5th), and SD (11th) — that were ranked in the top half of the league in rush defense (although, as you can see, 3 were ranked in the top 5). In the 4 games against defenses ranked in the top half, Turner averaged 8.3 points. In the 3 games against teams in the top 5, Turner averaged 7.7 points.

However, Turner’s schedule in 2009 is much different. First, let me say that I realize defenses can change dramatically from year to year. But since we have no other way to measure them, I will look at last year’s stats and rankings. So, below is a chart (of sorts) that compares Turner’s 2008 schedule with his 2009 schedule:

Average Rank
2008 = 19.3
2009 = 13.6

Ranked in Top Half
2008 = 4
2009 = 9

Ranked in Top 10
2008 = 3
2009 = 6

Ranked in Top 5
2008 = 3
2009 = 2

Ranked in Bottom 10
2008 = 6
2009 = 0

Ranked in Bottom 5
2008 = 4
2009 = 0

The ones that stick out to me the most are the number of teams ranked in the Bottom 10 and Bottom 5 each year. In 2008, Turner faced 6 teams in the Bottom 10, 3 of which were in the Bottom 5. However, Turner does not face a single team that is ranked in the Bottom 10 in 2009. And Turner scored over half of his total points (137 / 265 = 52%) in these 6 games in 2008.

(3) QB Matt Ryan will be better. This goes right along with (1) above — If Ryan is better, ATL can give Turner fewer carries and rely on the passing game more. Ryan is quickly on his way to being a very good NFL QB. So I think ATL will open up the playbook for him a little more this year.

So, what does this all mean? Who knows. No one can predict the future. But I will say this: I think the Curse of 370 is overblown in this case. However, you can expect to see Turner get fewer carries, have a lower YPC average, and score fewer TDs in 2009.

Which means, curse or no curse, he will be less a less productive fantasy player. (Just in case you missed that.)

Please comment and let me know what you think…

17 Crazy Predictions

August 18, 2009 Leave a comment

Here are 17 crazy (and/or not so crazy) predictions for the 2009 fantasy season that I — um, predict — will come true.

Why 17, you ask? Because that is all I could think of…

1. QB Philip Rivers will not be among the top 10 fantasy QBs at the end of the year.

2. QB Matt Ryan will be.

3. WR Larry Fitzgerald will miss at least one game. (I believe in the Madden Curse.)

4. QB Kurt Warner will miss at least one game. (I believe in reality.)

5. RB Adrian Peterson will score at least 15 total TDs.

6. RB DeAngelo Williams will not score more than 15 total TDs.

7. Rookie RB James Davis will take over for RB Jamal Lewis by week 10.

8. The top 3 fantasy QBs will be QB Drew Brees, QB Tom Brady, and QB Aaron Rodgers.

9. RB Michael Turner will score less than 10 points in at least 4 games.

10. TE Vernon Davis will be a top-10 fantasy TE.

11. WR Randy Moss will be a top-5 fantasy WR.

12. At least 5 rookies will score more points fantasy than WR Percy Harvin.

13. RB Ryan Grant will finish as a top-10 fantasy RB.

14. The top scoring fantasy WR will be WR Andre Johnson.

15. RB Ray Rice will be the highest scoring fantasy RB in BAL.

16. RB LaDainian Tomlinson will finish as a top-10 fantasy RB.

17. WR Devin Hester will not have more than 800 yards receiving.

Who is No. 1?

July 30, 2009 Leave a comment

So… Your draft is probably right around the corner. And you are stressing, because you are not sure who you would take in the (unlikely) event that you get the number 1 overall pick. I have RB Adrian Peterson ranked number 1 overall. But you could make a case for some of the other top RBs. So, for your reading enjoyment, below is a debate (of sorts) over who should be the top pick in your 2009 fantasy draft.

Adrian Peterson (MIN): Some people are concerned about RB Michael Turner because he had 370-plus carries in 2008 (see below). However, those same people often neglect to mention that AP had 363 regular-season carries (plus another 20 in the playoffs). Do you really think those 7 carries saved AP from the so-called curse of 370? I don’t. But I also do not think there is too much cause for concern. Yes, AP is an injury risk. Yes, he does not get receiving yards. And yes, his QB situation is worrisome. But he is a stud. There is no one else in the NFL right now who is a better pure RB. He should challenge for the rushing title and hopefully finds the endzone a few more times in 2009.  Will he end up as the top-scoring fantasy RB in 2009? Nobody knows. But he is the safest pick at number 1.

Matt Forte (CHI): He surprised just about everyone as a rookie in 2008 as he finished 5th in scoring among RBs. Forte is an attractive option because he can run and catch, and there is nobody breathing down his neck for playing time. Plus, he is no longer a rookie, and now he has QB Jay Cutler in the backfield with him to keep defenses honest. I think Forte will continue to be a yardage-machine and should get into the endzone a few more times in 2009. But is he worth the number 1 overall pick? I certainly would not argue with anyone who took him number 1 overall. In fact, in my updated rankings, I have him ranked 2nd, behind AP.

Maurice Jones-Drew (JAX): Fantasy players everywhere have been waiting for RB Fred Taylor to leave so MJD could finally be the man in Jacksonville. He has an exciting skill set, and now that he is poised to get more touches, MJD is one of the most over-hyped players going into the 2009 season. But is it justified? He has never had more than 200 carries in a season. How many touches can we expect him to get in 2009? Will he be as effective in a full-time role? Should injuries be a concern? Also, even though Taylor is gone, do not forget about rookie RB Rashad Jennings and RB Chauncey Washington. The Jags would not have released Taylor if they were not confident in their other backups. Either way, he finished 10th among RBs in 2008, so you can assume he will improve on that in 2009. The question is, by how much? (Side note: Anyone else proud that I wrote that entire summary without using the word “diminutive”? Is there an unwritten rule somewhere that requires you to refer to him as “diminutive” at least once in every article? I get it. He’s short. And you know an infrequently-used word. Awesome. Get over it.)

Michael Turner (ATL): Some people are making a big deal out of the 376 regular-season carries that Turner had last year. But I am not buying into this theory, for a couple reasons: (1) Turner is young (he only had 228 carries coming into 2008); and (2) The Falcons should be a better team in 2009. However, I do not expect Tuner to match his 2008 numbers. The Falcons do want to decrease his workload, so look for RB Jerious Norwood to get more touches. And expect the Falcons to open up the offense a little as QB Matt Ryan gets more comfortable. So why do I have him ranked 4th when so many others have him 1st or 2nd? Reduced carries and a (much) tougher schedule. Last year, he put up over half his yards and TDs in 6 games against some of the worst rushing defenses in the NFL. This year, the Falcons replace those games with games against the NFC East and AFC East, most of whom have much stouter run defenses. Expect a decline in carries, yards, and TDs from Turner in 2009.

DeAngelo Williams (CAR): What a difference a year makes. At this time in 2008, most people were more worried about whether Williams was the top RB on his team, let alone in the league. The first-round selection of rookie RB Jonathan Stewart had everyone convinced that Williams had missed his opportunity to shine. And that appeared to be the case through the first half of the season. And then, something miraculous happened, and Williams put together one of the more impressive stretches in fantasy history, scoring 15 TDs in the second half of the season. Before you get too excited, though, remember that he only scored 3 TDs in the 8 games. So, which DeAngelo can we expect in 2009? I think it will be an average of the two. And I also think (a healthy) J-Stew will continue to get the ball, frustrating owners of both players who just want the Panthers to pick one RB. Could he pick up where he left off in 2008? Absolutely. But I would not want to bet the number 1 overall pick on it.

My Advice? Everyone has their opinion — and you should consider them all — but, if I had the top pick, I would have to decide betwen AP, Forte, and MJD. In the end, I think I would settle on AP, because he presents the least amount of risk. I would be very tempted to take Forte, though, given how well he performed as a rookie and the acquisition of Cutler. How well the Viking QBs perform and how the Bears use Cutler in the preseason could sway my opinion, though. In any event, the only player discussed above that I would avoid is Williams, because he presents too much of a risk. Inevitably, someone will get a great deal on Williams due to those risks, but with the top pick you have to play it safe.

“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.