Friday, September 17, 2010

Put It In Print: Week 2 Predictions

If you're going to say it, why not put it in print. Throughout the week I have a tendency to throw out random NFL predictions to anyone who will listen. Fortunately, most of my friends are fantasy football owners. This post is a snapshot of what's going on in my head.

•The Jets are losing faith in Shonn Greene and now it’s in the young RBs head. Greene fumbled twice against Baltimore and was quickly replaced by LaDainian Tomlinson, who led the Jets with 62 yards rushing. It’s clear now that Greene should get used to splitting carries with LT for the entire season. Greene should no longer be considered a number one fantasy football RB.

•Percy Harvin was a wasted pick this year. He has missed more practices this season than he’s attended. Harvin is plagued by another injury, this time it's his hip. Harvin should get comfortable on your fantasy football bench, because he's not worth a spot in your starting line-up. There are other WRs out there who are better, and don’t require your attention every day of the week. Let Harvin find a new home. Visanthe Shiancoe is the only Vikings receiver I’d want on my team.

•The battle over who’s the best RB went to Chris Johnson in week one, but that will change in week two. Look for Adrian Peterson to get the ball a lot in the Vikings home opener against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Peterson said he wants the ball 40 to 50 times a game. He’ll take 20+ carries this week on his way to a monster week 2.

•Michael Vick is back in the starting QB role and the situation couldn’t be better. Vick, who looked sharp in relief of concussed Kevin Kolb last week against Green Bay, faces a Detroit defense that gave up 372 passing yards to Chicago’s Jay Cutler last week. Vick’s in line for a big game, feel good about starting him over more established QBs.

•Jerome Harrison is going to aggravate fantasy football owners all season. He looked like a great match-up in week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, only to get 9 carries for 52 yards. Sell this guy to an owner that doesn’t know any better.

•Mark Clayton impressed me during the preseason with the Baltimore Ravens. He was a good compliment to Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason. The TJ Houshmanzadeh deal makes no sense to me. I expect Clayton, who’s now catching passes from St. Louis Rams’ rookie Sam Bradford, to have a better year than Houshmanzadeh.

•If you think Darrelle Revis’ hamstring is bothering him, don’t buy it. My guess is it’s a ploy to get Tom Brady to throw his way on Sunday. Expect Revis to be locked on Randy Moss the entire game and shut him down. Unlike Joe Flacco in week one, Brady will take his shots against Revis, but that won’t last long. On the other side, Wes Welker will have a field day with Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson covering him. Welker is the Pats number one WR this year.

•If you think Arian Foster’s 231 yards week one performance was a fluke, think again. This guy is very capable of grabbing the rushing title this season. He plays in a great offensive system that mixes run and pass extremely well. If someone in your league is looking to sell Foster at his peak, make an offer because Foster will be a solid #1 RB all season long.

•When you drafted Malcom Floyd this season, you probably envisioned Vincent Jackson type numbers from him. I hate to tell you this, but Floyd is the number three receiving option in San Diego behind Antonio Gates and Legedu Naanee. Yes, Naanee will have a better fantasy football year than Floyd. Get Naanee if you still can.

•The ‘D’ is back in Kansas City. It wasn’t long ago that the Kansas City Chiefs were a highly sought after fantasy football defensive squad. They had Dante Hall returning kicks and an active secondary that could make plays. With the arrival of rookies Dexter McCulster, Javier Arenas and Eric Berry, it appears those days are back in KC. Feel good about having KC as a defensive option in your starting line-up.

•This is not breaking news, but Peyton Manning is in for a monster season. The Colts have issues on defense and running the ball, and that will lead to more Manning. What you expected from Manning, stats wise this season, you can up that by about 500-600 yards and 5-8 TDs. If the Colts make the playoffs, he’s MVP again because his numbers are going to be ridiculous.

•There is one RB that is running away from the dreaded ‘running back by committee’ tag and he plays in a great offensive system. Ahmad Bradshaw has emerged as the go-to guy for the New York Giants. Look for his role to grow starting Sunday night against the Indianapolis Colts. Brandon Jacobs’ owners don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Week 2: Fantasy Football Rankings -- QB, RB, WR/TE

You will find some new names on the ranking's list this week. Injury has landed a new Green Bay Packer on the list, Michael Vick is a hot property once again and a St. Louis Rams WR is also in higher demand. Here are the week 2 rankings.

1. Peyton Manning vs. Ny Giants
2. Philip Rivers vs. Jacksonville
3. Aaron Rodgers vs. Buffalo Bills
4. Drew Brees at San Francisco
5. Michael Vick at Detroit Lions
6. Tom Brady at NY Jets
7. Tony Romo vs. Chicago
8. Joe Flacco at Cincinnati
9. Matt Schaub at Washington
10. Matt Ryan vs. Arizona
11. Donovan McNabb vs. Houston
12. Eli Manning at Indianapolis
13. Jay Cutler at Dallas
14. Brett Favre vs. Miami
15. Kyle Orton vs. Seattle
16. Jason Campbell vs. St. Louis
17. Carson Palmer vs. Baltimore
18. Matt Cassell at Cleveland
19. Derek Anderson at Atlanta
20. Vince Young vs. Pittsburgh

1. Adrian Peterson vs. Miami
2. Steven Jackson at Oakland
3. Frank Gore vs. New Orleans
4. Michael Turner vs. Arizona
5. DeAngelo Williams vs. Tampa Bay
6. Jamaal Charles at Cleveland
7. Chris Johnson vs. Pittsburgh
8. Maurice Jones-Drew at San Diego
9. Ray Rice at Cincinnati
10. Rashard Mendenhall at Tennessee
11. Ahmad Bradshaw at Indianapolis
12. Arian Foster at Washington
13. Brandon Jackson vs. Buffalo Bills
14. Ryan Mathews vs. Jacksonville
15. Darren McFadden vs. St. Louis
16. Pierre Thomas at San Francisco
17. LeSean McCoy at Detroit
18. Knowshon Moreno vs. Seattle
19. Shonn Greene vs. New England
20. Joseph Addai vs. NY Giants
21. Brandon Jacobs at Indianapolis
22. Matt Forte at Dallas
23. Tim Hightower at Atlanta
24. Jerome Harrison vs. Kansas City
25. Clinton Portis vs. Houston
26. Ronnie Brown vs. Minnesota
27. Cadallic Williams at Carolina
28. Marion Berber vs. Chicago
29. CJ Spiller at. Green Bay
30. Thomas Jones vs. Cleveland
31. Felix Jones vs. Chicago
32. Justin Forsett vs. Denver
33. Jonathan Stewart vs. Tampa Bay
34. LaDainian Tomlinson vs. New England
35. Peyton Hillis vs. Kansas City
36. Ricky Williams at Minnesota
37. Reggie Bush at San Francisco
38. Fred Taylor at NY Jets
39. Willis McGahee at Cincinnati
40. Chester Taylor at Dallas

1. Roddy White vs. Arizona
2. Miles Austin vs. Dallas
3. Reggie Wayne vs. NY Giants
4. Wes Welker at NY Jets
5. Andre Johnson at Washington
6. Larry Fitzgerald at Atlanta
7. Greg Jennings vs. Buffalo
8. Marques Colston at San Francisco
9. Steve Smith (Car.) vs. Tampa Bay
10. Antonio Gates vs. Jacksonville
11. DeSean Jackson at Detroit
12. Anquan Boldin at Cincinnati
13. Hakeem Nicks at Indianapolis (nursing ankle injury)
14. Calvin Johnson vs. Philadelphia
15. Austin Collie vs. NY Giants
16. Randy Moss at NY Jets
17. Jeremy Maclin at Detroit
18. Brandon Marshall at Minnesota
19. Malcom Floyd vs. Jacksonville
20. Santana Moss vs. Houston
21. Dallas Clark vs. NY Giants
22. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Miami
23. Steve Smith (NY) at Indianapolis
24. Jermichael Finley vs. Buffalo
25. Dez Bryant vs. Chicago
26. Steve Breaston vs. Atlanta
27. Chad Ochocinco vs. Baltimore
28. Pierre Garcon vs. NY Giants
29. Mark Clayton at Oakland
30. Mike Williams (TB) at Carolina
31. Dwayne Bowe at Cleveland
32. Robert Meachem at San Francisco
33. Jabar Gaffney vs. Seattle
34. Legedu Naanee vs. Jacksonville
35. Devin Aromashodu at Dallas
36. Donald Driver vs. Buffalo
37. Hines Ward at Tennessee
38. Vernon Davis vs. New Orleans
39. Johnny Knox at Dallas
40. Mohamed Massaquoi vs. Kansas City
41. Michael Crabtree vs. New Orleans
42. Louis Murphy vs. St. Louis
43. Greg Camarillo vs. Miami
44. Zack Miller vs. St. Louis
45. Brent Celek at Detroit
46. Lee Evans vs. Green Bay
47. Sammie Stroughter at Carolina
48. Mike Williams (SEA) at Denver
49. Mike Wallace at Tennesee
50. Chris Cooley vs. Houston

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Working the Waiver Wire

It's extremely rare to go the entire fantasy football season with the team that you drafted. Working the waiver wire is one of the most important things you will do during the season. While most of the stars are already on rosters, a few prize free agents will emerge throughout the year. The biggest news from week one is the season-ending ankle injury to Ryan Grant. The injury leaves the Packers, and Grant owners, with a big hole to fill in their roster. If you're looking to freshen up your team, here are some guys that might do the trick.

Pick Up of the Week:
Brandon Jackson – RB Green Bay – With Ryan Grant out for the season with an ankle injury, Jackson sets into the starter role. When the Packers drafted Jackson in the third round four years ago, they thought they were drafting their starting RB. Jackson never panned out as the starter, but has become a serviceable 3rd down RB for Green Bay. While Jackson will be a household name in fantasy football circles, consider this, Jackson has never played in all 16 games during a season. My point, find out whom Jackson’s back-up will be and keep an eye on him (Packers just signed Dimitri Nance off the Atlanta Falcons practice squad and rookie James Starks is on the PUP list—back after week 6).

Mark Clayton – WR St. Louis – Lost in the Jackson extravaganza are some good WR options, starting with Clayton. With 16 targets in week one, Clayton looks to be settling into a role as Sam Bradford’s go to guy. Clayton is not going to be a fantasy football stud each week, but a #1 WR is worth a roster spot. Consider dropping someone like TJ Houshmandzadeh or Laurent Robinson.

Legedu Naanee – WR San Diego - With Vincent Jackson nowhere to be found, Naanee has emerged as a solid contributor to the Chargers offense. In a wet and nasty Monday night opener, Naanee hauled in 5 balls for 110 yards and a TD over 50 yards. With Malcom Floyd and Antonio Gates getting most of the defense’s attention, Naanee could be in for a big year. He has more upside than guys like Lee Evans and Bernard Berrian at this time.

Mike Williams – WR Seattle – Pete Carroll turned Williams into a star at USC, and he’s trying to do the same in the Emerald City. QB Matt Hasselbeck targeted Williams more than any other WR (6 targets), and Williams is by far the biggest red zone threat the Seahawks have. By into the early season hype and grab this #1 WR on the Seahawks.

Peyton Hillis – RB Cleveland – I’ve been on the Hillis bandwagon from early on in the football season. He is a different kind of runner for Cleveland, a hard-nosed RB who can be shifty. Hillis got 13 touches in Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, taking one in for a TD. Hillis will be used around the goal line and to wear down defenses. I like Hillis as a back-up RB, with the potential to start in deeper leagues.

Jermaine Gresham – TE Cincinnati – It’s hard starting a rookie on your fantasy football team, but sometimes a guy will enter the NFL and enter the mix right away. Gersham appears to be that type of player and he’s landed in a pretty good spot. The TE is sandwiched between Terrell Owens and Chad Ochocinco in Cincinnati’s line-up. In his pro debut, the rookie was targeted ten times by Carson Palmer, including one catch for a touchdown. Hold off for now, unless your league requires that you start a TE. He will be a good option going forward.

Jason Avant – WR Philadelphia – Avant was the best WR for Philadelphia on Sunday, and he worked well with Michael Vick. Avant had 4 catches for 41 yards, all coming in the second half with Kevin Kolb on the bench. As more teams focus on shutting down DeSean Jackson, look for Jeremy Maclin and Jason Avant become more involved in the offense. Avant is also a big target around the end zone. I’d wait on Avant at this point, but be ready to grab him if you need a WR.

Sneaky Pick of the Week:
Kenneth Darby – RB St. Louis – Darby is not going to steal carries from Steven Jackson, but with Jackson’s knee bothering him, Darby may be in play sooner than we think. Jackson had an MRI on his knee on Monday, which revealed no damage. But just the fact that Jackson is getting his knee looked at tells me something is bothering him. If you have a roster spot you can spare, sneak him on your team just in case. Darby will be a hot commodity if Jackson does go down.

Other notable pick-ups:
-Danny Amendola – WR St. Louis – If you’re in a PPR league, he’s worth a roster spot. Poor man’s Wes Welker (w/o Tom Brady).
-Greg Camarillo – WR Minnesota – The Vikings need to find a WR for Brett Favre. Camarillo is another PPR guy who is also a poor man’s Wes Welker (w/o Tom Brady).
-Laurence Maroney – RB Denver – Just traded to the Mile High City to be Knowshon Moreno’s back-up most likely. If you have Correll Buckhalter, look at swapping him for Maroney.
-Matt Hasselbeck/David Garrard/Vince Young – I lumped these guys together because they’re all similar fantasy players. They are good options if you drafted Alex Smith, Matthew Stafford or Mark Sanchez.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 1: Good calls, bad calls

I believe in positive reinforcement. I also believe in constructive criticism. When it comes to fantasy football, there is certainly room for both. As I stated in a previous post, choosing which players to start in week one is a complete crap shoot. Sure you have your no doubt starters (Chris Johnson, Adrian Peterson, Peyton Manning, etc.), but then there are the fringe starters. You know, the guys you start based on which ones have the more favorable match-ups (Lee Evans, Hines Ward, Jabar Gaffney, etc.). In week one I missed big on a few guys, but also hit big on some others. While I work on my free agent list (look for it here Tuesday), here's an early review of week one.

Bad Calls:
Hakeem Nicks – WR New York Giants
If you had Nicks on your bench, you weren’t alone. Nicks was going against a Carolina Panthers defense that gave up just four TDs through the air last year. Also, Nicks has been plagued by injuries in the past, and never emerged as a go-to guy for Eli Manning. On Sunday that changed. Nicks caught three TD passes, and appears ready to fill the shoes of Plaxico Burress. Nicks is a big target, perfect for the Giants red zone passing attack. Nicks is a must start WR right now. Don’t expect him to grab three TDs every game, but certainly expect a red zone target or two each game. I had Nicks ranked #43 among WRs in week one (one slot below Mike Sims-Walker, who was shutout in week one).

DeSean Jackson – WR Philadelphia
Jackson never got started on Sunday and was a non-factor in Philly’s loss to the Green Bay Packers. Perhaps the most concerning about Jackson’s 40 yards receiving is all his yards came with Michael Vick at quarterback. Most people expected Kevin Kolb to bolster Jackson’s fantasy stats (myself included), but after one game that is not the case. I'm convinced Jackson will get his numbers this year, but it could take more time than expected as Kolb settles in at QB. I had Jackson as the #4 ranked WR in week one.

David Garrad – QB Jacksonville Jaguars
On draft night I said I wouldn’t take Garrard if he was the only QB left and I still needed a QB. His three TDs has me re-thinking my stance on the Jags QB. Garrard is like a crafty old pitcher in baseball; he’s not flashy just effective. With Garrard you will never get the big yardage totals, but he will deliver the ball on the spot. Don’t expect three TD passes a week out of him, but as teams crowd the line to stop Maurice Jones-Drew, look for Garrard to exploit defenses. Garrard was on the outside of my top 20 QBs this week.

Other notable bad calls:
-Kevin Kolb, QB Philadelphia – Could there be a QB controversy brewing already in Philly? Kolb was knocked out of Sunday’s game with a concussion and Michael Vick filled in nicely. Before getting hurt, Kolb struggled immensely, often times looking overwhelmed. I had Kolb as the #7 ranked QB in week one.
-Jerome Harrison, RB Cleveland – Many analysts expected he would run wild against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It turned out Peyton Hillis was the better option. I had Harrison ranked #7 RB option this week.
-Frank Gore, RB San Francisco – Almost everyone expected a big performance from Gore and the Niners against the Seattle Seahawks. Gore's 38 yard rushing is a big concern, and there are some serious problems that need solving in San Fran real fast. Gore was #3 on my RB list.
-Bernard Berrian, WR Minnesota – Favre needs a new go-to WR, and Berrian just isn’t it. One catch for 3 yards should land Berrian on your bench. I had him as the #36 WR in week one.
-Michael Crabtree, WR San Francisco – Starting to think he’s become a distraction in the Bay Area. His two catches for 12 yards is partly his fault, partly to blame on QB Alex Smith. I had Crabtree ranked #19 in week one.

Good calls:
Arian Foster, RB Houston
I have written plenty about Foster heading into the season, and he didn’t disappoint one bit. Foster’s 231 yards and 2 TDs against the Indianapolis Colts was a masterful performance to watch. I have had Foster higher on my draft board than most people (#34 overall). He is in for a big season and you should consider him a #1 RB for the rest of the season.

Jay Cutler, QB Chicago
Cutler still has a problem with turnovers, but he has no problem racking up the yards. With Mike Martz now running the Bears’ offense, it’s clear this is a pass first team. Cutler’s 372 yards and 2 TDs ranked near the top for fantasy points among QBs. Look for more of the same from Cutler as he settles into Martz’s offense. I had Cutler has the #8 ranked QB in week one.

CJ Spiller, RB Buffalo
There was a lot of hype surrounding Spiller heading into the regular season. He made one nice run and everyone was calling him legit. As he would quickly learn in week one, the regular season isn’t like the preseason. Spiller mustered just six yards on seven carries and eight yards on four catches. In fact, Spiller was third among Bills RBs in rushing (Fred Jackson: 19 yards, Marshawn Lynch: 13 yards). Spiller owners should prepare for a long season. I had Spiller ranked #65 overall preseason, much lower than most people.

Other notable good calls:
-Peyton Hillis, RB Cleveland
I have been screaming Hillis’ name ever since Montario Hardesty got hurt in Cleveland. Hillis is a tough runner that will get plenty of work this year for the Browns. I had Hillis ranked #40 among RBs in week one.
-Michael Turner, RB Atlanta
It was a pretty easy call to recognize that Turner would struggle against the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Falcons were on the road, playing against a Pittsburgh defense that needed to play big to win the game, and they did. Turner was a non-factor with just 42 yards on 19 carries. I had Turner ranked #20 among RBs in week one.
-Steven Jackson, RB St. Louis
Week one could be a microcosm of the entire season for Jackson. He rushed for 81 yards, and no TDs. I said it before, Jackson will get his yards, but TDs will remain elusive. I had Jackson as the #9 ranked RB preseason.
-Miles Austin, WR Dallas
I warned people that Austin’s breakout year last season wasn’t a fluke. In week one, he caught 10 balls for 147 yards and 1 TD. I had ranked as the #3 WR preseason behind Andre Johnson and Randy Moss.
-Chad Henne/Brandon Marshall, QB/WR Miami
The Dolphins passing game will not be as prolific this season as many people predicted. Henne never settled into a groove (188 yard, no TDs) and Marshall’s numbers (6 rec./53 yards) suffered because of it against the Buffalo Bills. Look for a lot of these types of games from Miami.