Friday, September 24, 2010

Put it in Print: Week 3 Predictions

If you're going to say it, why not put it in print. Here is a snapshot of what's going on in my head heading into week 3.

Joe Flacco – QB Baltimore
Flacco has been a fantasy football disappointment in the first two games of the year. Expect a strong performance this week as the Ravens host the Cleveland Browns. Flacco has faced the New York Jets and Cincinnati Bengals to open the season, which is no easy task. The Browns will offer much less resistance in week three. Don’t dump Flacco on your bench quite yet.

Cincinnati Bengals defense
After getting destroyed by the New England Patriots in week one, the Bengals bounced back with a nice win against Baltimore in week two (4 interceptions by the defense). This week, Cincy faces a Carolina team that is looking to find its offense. The Panthers made a switch at QB and will start rookie Jimmy Clausen against the Bengals. I expect Clausen will look good at times, and awful more of the time. If you own the Bengals defense, get ready for a good afternoon in Carolina.

Kyle Orton – QB Denver
If the weather is nice in Denver, look for Orton to have a good performance in week 3. He faces an Indianapolis defense that has struggled to stop the run and could be susceptible to Denver’s play action. Orton has great command of Denver’s offense right now and with the addition of WR Demaryius Thomas to the line-up, the Broncos have a loaded fantasy football roster. Think about it, in most leagues you will find Thomas, Jabar Gaffney, Eddie Royal and Brandon Lloyd on a roster. Add Knowshon Moreno, Laurence Maroney, Correll Buckhalter and Orton to that list and there are eight relevant fantasy football players.

Beanie Wells – RB Arizona
There was some surprising news regarding Wells this week. Wells revealed that he had surgery on his knee to fix a torn meniscus. Wells appears ready to return to the Cardinals line-up soon, but don’t expect him to be a good option for at least a couple of weeks. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt hasn’t yet ruled Wells fit to play and expect the Cards to take it slow in bringing him back. Another factor in keeping Wells out longer is Tim Hightower is running okay right now. Wells will get his chance to reclaim that number one RB role, just not this week. Stay tuned.

Justin Forsett – RB Seattle
I’m probably the only fantasy football prognosticator (Note: I’m not an expert, fantasy football experts don’t exist) picking Forsett to have a good week this week. The Seattle RB faces a stout San Diego defense that ranks 10th against the run (206 yds. allowed in two games/56 yards of that total came on one run from Jamaal Charles). The reason I like Forsett is because of his ability to break long runs, similar to way Charles did in the first game against the Chargers. In Pete Carroll’s new offense, Forsett hasn’t had many opportunities put together a complete game. However, in limited action, Forsett has made the most of his carries. He’s averaging nearly six yards per carry and is the best RB option in Seattle. Carroll will eventually commit to Forsett carrying the load. To Carroll I say, why not start this week at home in front of the 12th man.

James Davis/Ryan Torain
I wanted to get on the record with both of these players now. I’ll start with Davis because he’s in the better situation of the two right now. The second year back finds himself one step closer to the field now that Jerome Harrison is likely out for week 3. Davis was a preseason star who has been buried on the Browns depth chart. Look for him to get some carries this week as a compliment to Peyton Hillis. The problem for Davis this week is he’s facing Baltimore’s defense. However, if Davis finds success against the Raven he may be on the field more this year. As for Torain, I’m taking more of a wait and see approach. Just activated from Washington’s practice squad, Torain brings a spark to the Redskins that Clinton Portis and Keiland Williams can’t provide. I’m not saying Torain is ready to supplant Portis, who’s questionable with a wrist injury in week 3, as the starter. Keep an eye on Torain’s workload as the weeks go on. He may be worth a roster spot, especially if you have Portis.

Brett Favre – QB Minnesota
Two straight losses will make you do crazy things in the NFL. Case in point, Favre lined up as a DB at practice this week. It turns out he did it to learn more about how his WRs run routes. As weird as it sounds, this drill — where Favre didn’t even throw a pass — might be the one that helps Favre connect with his WRs. Favre should be better this week and I expect him to get TD pass #500 this Sunday against the Lions (he has 498 TD passes currently).

Cedric Benson – RB Cincinnati
Like most RBs in the league, Benson wants more carries. The Bengals should be able to feed him the ball often on Sunday against the Panthers. Benson got 23 carries last week against Baltimore’s defense and he gained 76 yards. That’s not a terrible outing against a very good Ravens defense. If Benson gets 23 carries this week, expect 100+ yards and at least a TD. With Jimmy Clausen taking over at QB for the Panthers, look for the Bengals to control this game. That will be good news for fantasy football owners who have Benson.

Brandon Jackson – RB Green Bay
Last week he was the hot pick-up of the week, now Jackson’s role in Green Bay’s offense is a mystery. The Packers came out this week and said Jackson is not a “carry the load” type of back. That tells me the team isn’t satisfied with him as a runner. Jackson will remain the Packers third down RB, but expect his role to diminish and he will lose carries to John Kuhn and Dimitri Nance. It’s bad news for all those fantasy football owners who spent a lot of their free agent budget to nab Jackson off the waiver wire.

Week 3: Fantasy Football Rankings -- QB, RB, WR/TE

With injuries starting to mount, there are some new names on the ranking's list this week. Meanwhile, Michael Vick is back in the top 10 this week, a pair of Denver Broncos make the list for the first time and find out which Oakland Raider is worthy of a top 10 ranking. Here are the week 3 rankings.

1. Tom Brady vs. Buffalo
2. Peyton Manning at Denver
3. Aaron Rodgers at Chicago
4. Drew Brees vs. Atlanta
5. Matt Schaub vs. Dallas
6. Tony Romo at Houston
7. Philip Rivers at Seattle
8. Michael Vick at Jacksonville
9. Donovan McNabb at St. Louis
10. Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland
11. Kyle Orton vs. Indianapolis
12. Jay Cutler vs. Green Bay
13. Brett Favre vs. Detroit
14. Eli Manning vs. Tennessee
15. Matt Ryan at New Orleans
16. Matt Hasselbeck vs. San Diego
17. Derek Anderson vs. Oakland
18. Bruce Gradkowski at Arizona
19. Sam Bradford vs. Washington
20. Matt Cassel vs. San Francisco

Running Backs
1. Adrian Peterson vs. Detroit
2. Chris Johnson at New York Giants
3. Ray Rice vs. Cleveland
4. Cedric Benson at Carolina
5. Rashard Mendenhall at Tampa Bay
6. Frank Gore at Kansas City
7. Arian Foster vs. Dallas
8. Darren McFadden at Arizona
9. Pierre Thomas vs. Atlanta
10. LeSean McCoy at Jacksonville
11. Steven Jackson vs. Washington
12. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Philadelphia
13. Correll Buckhalter vs. Indianapolis
14. Michael Turner at New Orleans
15. Clinton Portis at St. Louis
16. Tim Hightower vs. Oakland
17. DeAngelo Williams vs. Carolina
18. Mike Tolbert at Seattle
19. LaDainian Tomlinson at Miami
20. Joseph Addai at Denver
21. Jahvid Best at Minnesota
22. Matt Forte vs. Green Bay
23. Ahmad Bradshaw vs. Tennessee
24. Justin Forsett vs. San Diego
25. Fred Taylor vs. Buffalo
26. Shonn Greene at Miami
27. Jamaal Charles vs. San Francisco
28. Darren Sproles at Seattle
29. Ronnie Brown vs. New York Jets
30. Brandon Jackson at Chicago
31. Willis McGahee vs. Cleveland
32. Thomas Jones vs. San Francisco
33. Marion Barber at Houston
34. Peyton Hillis at Baltimore
35. Marshawn Lynch at New England
36. Donald Brown at Denver
37. Ricky Williams vs. New York Jets
38. Jason Snelling at New Orleans
39. Jonathan Stewart vs. Cincinnati
40. Laurence Maroney vs. Indianapolis

Wide Receivers/Tight Ends
1. Miles Austin at Houston
2. Andre Johnson vs. Dallas
3. Roddy White at New Orleans
4. DeSean Jackson at Jacksonville
5. Reggie Wayne at Denver
6. Wes Welker vs. Buffalo
7. Randy Moss vs. Buffalo
8. Anquan Boldin vs. Cleveland
9. Larry Fitzgerald vs. Oakland
10. Greg Jennings at Chicago
11. Calvin Johnson vs. Minnesota
12. Marques Colston vs. Atlanta
13. Santana Moss at St. Louis
14. Brandon Marshall vs. New York Jets
15. Jeremy Maclin at Jacksonville
16. Antonio Gates at Seattle
17. Dallas Clark at Denver
18. Austin Collie at Denver
19. Malcom Floyd at Seattle
20. Chad Ochocinco at Carolina
21. Demaryius Thomas vs. Indianapolis
22. Mark Clayton vs. Washington
23. Hakeem Nicks vs. Tennessee
24. Eddie Royal vs. Indianapolis
25. Donald Driver at Chicago
26. Louis Murphy at Arizona
27. Terrell Owens at Carolina
28. Johnny Knox vs. Green Bay
29. Dez Bryant at Houston
30. Jermichael Finley at Chicago
31. Nate Washington at New York Giants
32. Percy Harvin vs. Detroit
33. Kevin Walter vs. Dallas
34. Mike Sims-Walker vs. Philadelphia
35. Jacoby Jones vs. Dallas
36. Steve Smith (NY) vs. Tennessee
37. Steve Smith (Carolina) vs. Cincinnati
38. Visanthe Shiancoe vs. Detroit
39. Chris Cooley at St. Louis
40. Derrick Mason vs. Cleveland
41. Vernon Davis at Kansas City
42. Devin Hester vs. Green Bay
43. Braylon Edwards at Miami
44. Dwayne Bowe vs. San Francisco
45. Steve Breaston vs. Oakland
46. Aaron Hernandez vs. Buffalo
47. Mike Williams (TB) vs. Pittsburgh
48. Tony Gonzalez at New Orleans
49. Dustin Keller at Miami
50. Jason Whitten at Houston

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Week 3: Working the Waiver Wire

Injuries are starting to effect fantasy football rosters and then there are the players who just aren't living up to their preseason potential. If you have a player that fits in one of these two categories, take a look at some of the free agents that may be worth a roster spot in week three.

Demaryius Thomas – WR Denver
In his rookie debut, Thomas caught eight balls for 97 yards and a TD. It’s hard to call him a sleeper anymore and he is definitely worth a roster spot. Denver is a passing team this year and Thomas is their best red zone option.

Kevin Walter – WR Houston
Before the season, many people thought WR Jacoby Jones was the man to grab in Houston, after Andre Johnson of course. While Jones has been a good fantasy football WR, Walter has been better. Two TDs in two weeks should be enticing enough for owners to grab Walter.

Mike Tolbert – RB San Diego
With Ryan Mathews nursing a high ankle sprain, Tolbert is this week’s hot free agent pick-up. Tolbert is coming off a two TD game and looked solid in gaining 95 total yards. Given Tolbert’s success around the goal line, he will be a good fantasy football option even when Mathews is healthy.

Louis Murphy – WR Oakland
What intrigues me about Murphy is the change at QB for the Raiders. Bruce Gradkowski is now at the helm for Oakland and that change could be the spark the Raiders offense needs. Gradkowski and Murphy connected on a TD last week and really seemed to click. Gradkowski isn’t going to turn the Raiders into an offensive juggernaut, but he might just improve the value of Murphy.

John Kuhn – RB Green Bay
The Packers came out this week and said Brandon Jackson is not a “Carry the load” type of back. That is bad news for fantasy football owners who over bid for Jackson, but good news for John Kuhn owners. Some owners did target Kuhn last week after Grant went down for the year. If you’re desperate for a RB and Kuhn is available, take a chance on the big RB.

Aaron Hernandez – TE New England
If you’re in a TE mandatory league, Hernandez is an excellent option. Even if you’re not required to carry a TE on your roster, Hernandez is a good option going forward. In his second career game, Hernandez hauled in six balls for 103 yards. The rookie has quickly established chemistry with Tom Brady, which is a very good thing. Look for Hernandez to become even more involved with Kevin Faulk down for the year with a knee injury.

Keiland Williams – RB Washington
The RB who backs up Clinton Portis is always in demand. This week the Redskins cut ties with Larry Johnson meaning Williams is Portis’ primary back-up. Williams looked very good in the preseason, often times working with the first team offense. Feel good about grabbing Williams, especially if you have Portis.

Jason Snelling – RB Atlanta
After a strong finish to the 2009 season, I had a feeling Snelling would eventually have value. I had no idea he would score three TDs with a gimpy Michael Turner (groin injury) on the sidelines. Snelling will return to his role as a back-up this week, with Turner healthy enough to play. Snelling has proven his worth in Atlanta, and with Turner’s injury history Snelling is worth a roster spot. Grab him if you have Turner, or if you need a RB in a deeper league.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Week 2: Good calls, bad calls

If you checked out this blog last week, then you probably did okay this week in your fantasy football league. It was one of those good weeks where many of the predictions came true. It won’t happen every week, so help me celebrate a successful week two.

Bad Calls:
Jahvid Best – RB Detroit
I was very high on Best entering the season. I had no idea that he would have the kind of impact he’s had less far. My bad call on Best this week was, I left him off my week top 40 RB rankings. So technically, I had 40 other RBs ahead of Best this week. I missed him completely and he had a huge week. You can bet I won’t miss Best again.

Randy Moss – WR New England
I thought Darrelle Revis’ hamstring injury was a ploy and he would shut Moss down. It turns out Revis was gimpy and unable to completely shut down Moss. Moss made a terrific one-handed catch for a long TD. I hope you kept Moss in your line-up (my opponent didn’t. Thanks for reading my blog).

Tim Hightower – RB Arizona
You won’t find this one on my blog, but on Twitter I told a fantasy football owner to consider Arian Foster over Hightower (sorry Justintime56). Hightower scored an 80-yard TD against the Atlanta Falcons. I have no read on Hightower. I advise you to never ask me about him again.

Good Calls:
Ahmad Bradshaw – RB New York Giants
I warned Brandon Jacobs’ owners his days may be numbered in New York, but man, I didn’t see this coming. The big RB went off Sunday night, accidently tossing his helmet into the stands in disgust. Bradshaw is the Giants best option going forward, look for him to continue to carry the load.

Kansas City Defense
I proclaimed the KC defense back, and in week two they held up their end of the bargain. I said the new Chiefs defense had “an active secondary that could make plays.” Wouldn’t you know it, Brandon Flowers intercepted a pass and returned it for a TD. Add Dexter McCulster, Javier Arenas and Eric Berry to the mix and KC is a pretty good defensive option in your starting line-up.

Mark Clayton – WR St. Louis
After a solid week one performance, I targeted free agent Clayton in my league. I hope you did too. Clayton finished week two with two TDs. As I predicted, Clayton is on pace to score more fantasy football points than TJ Houshmanzadeh, who replaced him in Baltimore. If Clayton’s still available in your league, stop wasting time and go get him.

Shonn Greene – RB NY Jets
I made the statement that Greene may have peaked as a RB. While I'm not ready to write his professional football obituary, I am looking pretty good on that call. Greene's running mate, LaDainian Tomlinson, is looking more like the Jets go-to RB. Tomlinson is averaging more than six yards per carry in the first two games and has outrushed Greene 138 yards to 70 yards (virtually same amount of carries: LT: 22, Greene: 20). Look to dump Greene to someone who doesn't know any better.

Percy Harvin - WR Minnesota
I have warned you about Harvin and his injury risk. If it's not his migraines (he missed another practice Wednesday because of a migraine), it's his hip; if it's not his hip, it's something else. This guy will keep frustrating you all season long. He's a long way from being a weekly fantasy football contributor and it might be time to cut ties, at least sit him on your bench. As for my other prediction about the Vikings receiving corps, Visanthe Shiancoe led the team in receiving for a second straight week. The big TE is the only Vikings receiver worth a look at this point. Bench Brett Favre too, if you haven't already.

Adrian Peterson vs. Chris Johnson
You had the feeling Peterson was due for a big game, and he certainly didn't disappoint. He out rushed Johnson (AP: 145 yards, 1 TD; CJ: 34 yards) and added five catches for 51 yards. Look for Peterson to have another big game this week against the Detroit Lions. And we should cut Johnson some slack, he did face a stout Pittsburgh defense. He should bounce back nicely with a game against the New York Giants. I give the week three (slight) advantage to Peterson again.

Michael Vick – QB Philadelphia
Most people picked Vick to have a solid game against the Detroit Lions, but few expected him to be named starter in week three. I'm not ready to call him an every week starter yet, but he's looking a lot like the Vick of old, and that's a good thing.

Jerome Harrison – RB Cleveland
After just nine carries for 52 yards in the first game, the Browns vowed to get Harrison the ball more. In week two Cleveland did just that, handing the ball to Harrison 16 times. Harrison responded by rushing for a dismal 33 yards. Now he's battling a thigh injury, expect less from Harrsion and more from Peyton Hillis.