Saturday, October 31, 2009

Saturday Lineups!

I'll go ahead and post a couple of the teams I'm fielding this week as a way to offer advice.  If some of the choices seem questionable, I'll explain my reasoning.  Maybe my league is shallow on bye week replacement wide receivers or my star running back collapsed on the field last week.  Whatever it is, I'm taking the risks with all of you!

Team #1

QB: Kurt Warner
WR: Andre Johnson
WR: Lee Evans (After the past few weeks, it's clear that Evans can be a valuable player, as long as Trent Edwards is sidelined.)
WR: Calvin Johnson (Waiting on my bench to replace him in the event he is out with the knee injury is a receiver I highlighted in this week's Start or Sit column, San Diego's Malcolm Floyd.)
RB: Ronnie Brown
RB: Kevin Smith
TE: Visanthe Shiancoe
K: John Carney
DEF: Denver

Team #2

QB: Aaron Rodgers
WR: Brandon Marshall
WR: Mike Sims-Walker
WR: Lee Evans
RB: Matt Forte
RB: Beanie Wells (I'm playing one of the guys from my Start or Sit column mentioned above.  It's a 10-team league and lots of other teams have been covetous of waiver wire running backs, so I invested in Wells.)
TE: Brent Celek
K: John Carney
DEF: Green Bay

Expect a new couple of lineups from a couple different teams each week.  Being the fantasy football fanatic that I am, I've got quite a number of teams to pick from.  They will mostly come from Yahoo! standard leagues with lineups like those above.

Also, let me take a moment to plug this site!  I'm going to start having a column every day for my readers out there.  So check back every day for something new!  Also, always feel free to leave comments and give me feedback with what I'm doing.  If you all demand something, I'll do my best to make it happen!

Friday, October 30, 2009

The Friday Injury Lineup

Here's the latest weekly segment to hit my blog.  Every Friday I'll take a look at the injury reports and give you an analysis of what they could mean for you as a fantasy owner.

Andre Johnson (WR-HOU-chest): This injury may be one of the most significant this week and has many owners looking left and right for a strong replacement.  If Johnson does not play, expect Jacoby Jones and Kevin Walter to see an increase in targets, along with Steve Slaton increasing his role against Buffalo.  Chris Brown may be called upon more as well.  However, Johnson insists that he will be in the lineup come Sunday, and what this man wants, he will likely get.  Even if he is spitting up blood on the field.  Update: Johnson will definitely be active for Sunday's game.  Play him.

Calvin Johnson (WR-DET-knee): Again, a big bit of news for Johnson owners who have been waiting for his recovery.  After not participating in practice most of this week, it's certainly questionable whether he will see any snaps on Sunday, but there's always hope.  Check as vigorously as possible for both Andre and Calvin Johnson this weekend.  A feasible replacement could be Bryant Johnson or Dennis Northcutt, who will both benefit from Johnson's absence.  Update: Johnson practiced and should be out on the field against a vulnerable Rams defense.  Play him.

Matthew Stafford (QB-DET-knee): There seems to be a divide as to whether or not Stafford will play on Sunday.  I'm of the opinion that he probably won't against the Rams.  There's no reason for the rookie to be put out on the field with the possibility of him exacerbating the injury.  Even with the possible strong matchup play, don't play Stafford.

Trent Edwards (QB-BUF-head): Lee Evans owners should breath a sigh of relief, as Ryan Fitzpatrick should be starting for the Bills with Edwards on the sidelines.  Fitzpatrick definitely has better chemistry with Evans and it showed the past week.

Chicago's Defense: The list is pretty long, with starting linebacker Pisa Tinoisamoa already being declared out with a knee injury for this weekend's game.  Lance Briggs (LB) is still having shoulder troubles and Adewale Ogunleye (DE) has sat out at least part of this week with an ankle injury.  You still can't expect Cleveland to put up any numbers that are start-worthy, but stranger things have happened.

Matt Hasselbeck (QB-SEA-rib): Hasselbeck has had a litany of injuries to deal with in the past.  Don't consider starting baldie unless your only other quarterback options are Jake Delhomme, JaMarcus Russel and Derek Anderson.  I'm praying that's not the case for any poor soul out there.

Chad Clifton (T-GB-ankle) and Mark Tauscher (T-GB-knee): Both have been limited in practice.  The Vikings pass rush could cave in the pocket around Aaron Rodgers constantly during this match at Lambeau if the tackles are not at full health.  Rodgers himself has a foot injury and may not be able to dodge defenders too aptly.  Expect pressure on the pocket for Rodgers and think about replacing him with a stronger matchup play.

Jonathan Stewart (RB-CAR-achilles): With Stewart injured, Deangelo Williams and Jake Delhomme will see an increased workload, which is no good for the offense.  In the first segment on this week's podcast I discuss the Panthers' offensive woes.  Listen for more info.  In the meantime, you may want to reconsider starting Williams this week without Stewart to counterbalance the backfield.

DeSean Jackson (WR-PHI-foot) and Brian Westbrook (RB-PHI-concussion): These two starters of the Eagles offense have been held out of practice this week.  Jackson will be needed if Philly intends on beating the Giants, especially with Kevin Curtis declared out this week.  Westbrook may not be as necessary with LeSean McCoy waiting to take over.  The Eagles could have a tough week and their offense will certainly be hampered.  Prepare replacements.

Remember: If you like what you're reading, check out more below and subscribe to this blog and my podcast!  Also, check out the advertisers on the site.  Your clicking on and checking out their ads keeps the fuel coming for this blog!  In addition, leave comments below so I start getting a dialogue going with my readers.  After all, it's you guys who make this blog possible.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Weekly Podcast!

Every Thursday I'll be putting up a podcast dealing with 3 to 5 things, be them players, teams, or coaches, in the NFL that hold fantasy relevance or are just driving me nuts.  So check out The Mann Report every Thursday for a dose of football podcasting.

Click on the link below (just click where it says The Mann Report Podcast) to hear what I have to say about the Carolina Panthers' offense, Larry Johnson and his fantasy downfall, and what's currently wrong with the Washington Redskins.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 8

It's week 8 and the following teams have a bye: Cincinnati, Kansas City, New England, Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Washington.  You'll need to replace some strong quarterbacks in Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, and Big Ben Roethlisberger.  Also riding the pine this week are running backs Rashard Mendenhall and Cedric Benson, along with big receiving names Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Dwayne Bowe, Hines Ward, Santonio Holmes, Mike Wallace, Chad Ochocinco...well, the list is pretty deep this week with tight ends included as well.  You'll be looking for some strong alternatives, and I've got 'em for you.

Start 'Em!


Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. Cleveland

The Cleveland Browns have really only managed to stop Trent Edwards this year and obviously that's not really saying much.  With continuing morality issues, the Puppies of Ohio will suffer against the cannon-armed Cutler, who will take hefty advantage of the talent of Greg Olsen and speed of Devin Hester.  In addition, the Bears need a win lopsided victory to not end any possible bid they could have for the playoffs.  When the stakes are high, Cutler will surely toss an interception or two, but a three touchdown performance is more than possible, it's likely, as the Bears can no longer rely on the previously exceptional Matt Forte (though this game will likely help pad his stats as well).

The Line: 35 attempts, 23 completions, 257 yards passing, 3 passing touchdowns, 2 interceptions

David Garrard (JAC) vs. Tennessee

Garrard has not had a stellar season and no one is looking to send him to the Pro Bowl, but his week four performance against the Titans was certainly eye-opening for matchup plays.  If you're keeping Garrard on your bench, play him this week, then drop him in favor of Jamaal Charles or Beanie Wells.  He's not the most reliable quarterback this year, but he should repeat his performance against the worst pass defense in the league.  With Maurice Jones-Drew crushing across the turf, Garrard will be able to throw unhindered to his strong duo of Mike Sims-Walker and Torry Holt.  A rushing touchdown even seems plausible as well.

The Line: 32 attempts, 25 completions, 285 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, 3 carries, 15 yards

Running Backs:

Beanie Wells (ARI) vs. Carolina

It's obvious now that Wells is the more talented part of the Arizona backfield and deserves more carries going forward.  This week, he and Hightower will split carries against Carolina's paltry run defense that ranks 26th in the league in yards against and the defense overall surrenders 24.2 points per game, 23rd in the league.  If Wells sees the same involvment as Hightower in the passing game, then it could be an even better outing for the rookie, who is part of an excellent crop of backs this year competing for the top jobs on their teams and rightfully so.  After last week's strong outing against the Giants, Wells should be getting much more attention from the coaching staff going forward, starting with this week.

The Line: 13 carries, 61 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 3 receptions, 10 yards

Kevin Smith (DET) vs. St. Louis

He's up against the St. Louis Rams, coming off of a bye week and Matthew Stafford won't be back just yet.  This is all good news for the second year rusher, who is an unsung workhorse amongst starting backs this year.  The last challenge he faced was the Steelers defense, which will mean that running amongst the Rams will seem like a much-needed joy ride.  In this week's "Clash of the Insignificants," Smith should thrive and be well-utilized against the team giving up the 6th most yards to opposing backfields and 3rd most points to their opposition.  Start Smith in most all formats and he will yield strong results.

The Line: 22 carries, 78 yards rushing, 2 rushing touchdowns

Wide Receivers:

Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs. Oakland

Floyd seems to be a well-kept secret for the Chargers.  He's only got nine receptions this season, but he's got 187 yards, giving him 20.8 average yards per catch.  Against the mediocre Raiders, he could see another couple of receptions for solid yards and there's no reason that once the game becomes a blowout that he won't grab a touchdown to boot.  The Oakland corners are a respectable bunch, but they will have trouble against the 6-foot-5 Floyd, whose size matches that of Brandon Marshall and Vincent Jackson.  Expect start-worthy numbers in 12+ team leagues.

The Line: 3 receptions, 64 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

Torry Holt (JAC) vs. Tennessee

Mike Sims-Walker has been the big story this year for Jacksonville, but Holt is still averaging 67.8 yards per game.  Against the Tennessee pass defense, just about anything is possible and Holt is sure to benefit against the team that is allowing the most yards per game through the air and the most points per game.  Even with a bye week to figure things out, the Titans won't be rebounding from their lackluster defensive performances anytime soon.  Holt is available in 38 percent of Yahoo! standard leagues, so if you own him, start and if you don't pick him up to fill in for this week.  It will be a worthwhile investment for week eight.

The Line: 7 receptions, 85 yards receiving

Tight End:

Brandon Pettigrew (DET) vs. St. Louis

This rookie tight end is definitely part of Detroit's future.  Like his teammate above, Pettigrew has the wonderful matchup against St. Louis and that is nothing but good great phenomenal for opposing offenses.  The young offense of the Lions is evolving together, with Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, Matthew Stafford and Pettigrew being a large part of that, though Stafford should continue to be sidelined this week, with the coaching staff being cautious and understandably so.  This week, if the Lions want to win, they should do their best to get the ball to Pettigrew more than a few times and Daunte Culpepper should do just that, so if you're looking for a strong matchup play to rock your flex slot or tight end zone in deeper formats, sweep this youngster up off of the waiver wire right away.

The Line: 6 receptions, 70 yards receiving, 1 receiving touchdown

Defense/Special Teams:

Arizona Cardinals vs. Carolina

Arizona's defense started strong against the run coming out of the gate, but they have come into their own against the pass in the past couple of weeks.  Assuming Jake Delhomme's starts for Carolina, a pick six is always possible for the Cardinals and a couple of interceptions almost seem certain.  With a strong run defense already in place, it's possible that the Panthers will yet again make the mistake of relying on Jake the Fake, giving ample opportunities for turnovers.

The Line: 14 points allowed, 3 interceptions, 2 sacks

Sit 'Em...


Matt Hasselbeck (SEA) vs. Arizona

We've seen him throw four touchdown passes one week and then goes 10-for-29 with one interception the following week against Arizona.  Obviously, times are tough for the 34 year old passer.  This week he's against the Cowboys, who are going to look to improve on their victory from last week.  The pressure will be on for Hasselbeck, whose offensive line is in shambles, much like the Rams offensive line last year.  Again the case concerns the absolute lack of reliability, which will be no good against the pass rush of DeMarcus Ware, who just received an extremely lucrative contract extension.  Hasselbeck may even leave the game with an injury after being pummeled over and over again.

The Line: 39 attempts, 20 completions, 192 yards passing, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions

Matt Ryan (ATL) vs. Dallas

If you see the Falcons' receiving corps flinch after each catch this week, you can blame it on the crushing hits of the Dallas secondary, who had some of the scarier legal hits in the past weeks against Atlanta last week.  This week, Ryan faces down the New York Giants, who allow the fewest yards per game and the second fewest yards per game through the air.  They aren't about to let another Drew Brees incident happen and will look to put a stop to Roddy White.  While Tony Gonzalez may prove mildly effective, it will have to be Michael Turner carrying much of the load if the Falcons want to win, leaving Ryan hanging.  Allow he is not the most turnover prone quarterback in the league, he still makes mistakes, and the Giants defense will be ready to take advantage of that fact.

The Line: 31 attempts, 18 completions, 202 yards passing, 1 passing touchdown, 1 interception

Running Backs:

Jamal Lewis (CLE) vs. Chicago

It's unlikely that you're starting Lewis, or even that you own him.  However, every week, a large enough number of owners take a risk on the Browns' running back.  He is absolutely unreliable in an offense that is incapable of getting any momentum.  It seems like every week, the Browns are getting picked on, but there is a strong reason why.  If you are one of the few who are considering playing Lewis, just drop him in favor of a player on a more productive offense.

The Line: 18 carries, 47 yards rushing, 1 reception, 6 yards receiving

Ryan Grant (GB) vs. Minnesota

Last week, Grant ran all over the Browns, one of the weakest defenses in the league.  This week, however, it will be a quarterbacking showdown and the Packers will have to rely on the arm of Aaron Rodgers to beat the Minnesota Vikings.  Grant's job will be clock management against a still-strong Vikings defense that may not be the best in the league, but is still more than capable of doing the job.  Grant will likely be tackled in the backfield a number of times and his yardage numbers will reflect the punishment.

The Line: 19 carries, 71 yards rushing

Wide Receivers:

Mario Manningham (NYG) vs. Philadelphia

Probably the most important factor towards benching Manningham this week has been Eli Manning's lackluster performances in the past two weeks.  He has just two touchdown passes and four interceptions over that period along with completing less than 50 percent of his passes.  Philadelphia has a strong secondary that is allowing the 9th fewest yards through the air.  Manningham's dropped touchdown pass last week will also cause Manning to look away from him and towards Hakeem Nicks.  Unless Manningham proves to be an unstoppable force against the secondary, expect him to post rather meager numbers this week.

The Line: 2 receptions, 34 yards receiving

Braylon Edwards (NYJ) vs. Miami

Though he is a talented receiver, Edwards has a lot going on off the field, including potential jail time courtesy of a minor assault charge.  This week the distraction won't help against a young, but talented, group of Miami corners.  Though they are giving up the 14th most passing yards per game, Miami showed their eagerness to get to the ball and Edwards' slippery hands could create a couple of interception chances.  Though always a potential end zone target, he is probably better replaced with a more reliable receiver.

The Line: 3 receptions, 39 yards receiving

Defense/Special Teams:

New York Jets vs. Miami

Miami's double-dragon running attack of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams will crush the Jets into submission, forcing them to put eight in the box and leaving a little room for Chad Henne to operate.  Though Henne may not post big numbers against the strong secondary, it won't be a big day for the defense.  They'll have to deal with the formidable Wildcat formation which will run circles around the suffering rushing defense of the Jets.

The Line: 27 points allowed, 1 interception

The Inve$tment Corner

Jamaal Charles (RB-KC)

Notable Matchups (Playoffs): Week 14 vs. Buffalo, Week 15 vs. Cleveland, Week 16 at Cincinnati

Larry Johnson has dug himself deep into a hole with his unnecessary tweeting and his 2.7 yards per carry average.  If the owners show their disdain for the old guy, Charles could be their man going forward.  At the very least, Johnson is no longer the future of the Chiefs and Charles will get more carries as the year goes on, as Johnson is slowly phased out.  Up against not-so-stellar run defenses during the fantasy playoffs, look the way of Charles as he proves himself to be the back that the Chiefs need for the second half of the season.  Matt Cassel seems to be working out a strong connection with Dwayne Bowe and the Chiefs in general will be looking to the future as the season goes on, working out who their starters may be next year.  If one of your normal starters gets injured or you are a Larry Johnson owner, pick Charles up now, before he breaks a big game and gets swept up off of your waiver wire.

Monday, October 26, 2009

We All Agree, It's the Year of the Quarterback

It's been a fantastic year for quarterbacks, both in reality and in the fantasy world.  Heck, my Monday post last week was about quarterbacks with 100+ passer ratings.  It has been pretty hard to draft poorly in this category, with so many lower draft picks worming their way into the top 10 quarterbacks this year.  Here are the top 10 quarterbacks (so far) this year, with their average draft pick (ADP) and their current overall ranking (Stats applicable in Yahoo! standard leagues).

1) Matt Schaub: ADP = 69, Rank = 2
2) Tom Brady: ADP = 23, Rank = 3
3) Ben Roethlisburger: ADP = 100, Rank = 4
4) Peyton Manning: ADP = 21, Rank = 5
5) Drew Brees: ADP = 15, Rank = 6
6) Aaron Rodgers: ADP = 38, Rank = 7
7) Carson Palmer: ADP = 76, Rank = 11
8) Phillip Rivers: ADP = 37, Rank = 14
9) Brett Favre: ADP = 150, Rank = 15
10) Joe Flacco: ADP = 143, Rank 16

Half of these names improved their position by at least 50 ranks.  It's been a remarkable year for quarterbacks, one that most people would have not predicted, but it's easy to agree on now.  If you're one of the lucky folks who got a great bargain on a quarterback in order to grab that strong running back or monumental receiver, congratulations, you have outdone those people who spent their first rounder on Drew Brees.  Which, in hindsight, still wasn't that poor of a choice.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Week 7 Sunday Happenings

First Matchups of Sunday:
Green Bay vs. Cleveland
San Francisco vs. Houston
San Diego vs. Kansas City
Indianapolis vs. St. Louis
New England vs. Tampa Bay
Minnesota vs. Pittsburgh

Second Matchups of Sunday:
Buffalo vs. Carolina
New York Jets vs. Oakland
Chicago vs. Cincinnati
Atlanta vs. Dallas
New Orleans vs. Miami

Final Sunday Matchup:
Arizona vs. New York Giants


  • Boldin's injury is the biggest concern this week.  With him not playing until late tonight, it's almost not worth the risk.  Have Breaston or Urban ready to go just in case.
  • Remember, Trent Edwards is out, but you weren't playing him anyways.
  • Jericho Cotchery is out for the Jets.  That is no good for the young Sanchez.
  • Check out this site for more injury updates.  Also, just take a peek at the listings for the Cleveland Browns.
First Matchups
  • IDP Update: In London, Josh Johnson throws an interception to Brandon Meriweather, who runs it back 39 yards for a touchdown.  They only way to not let Tom Brady score is to let the defense score I guess.  Update: On the Buc's next drive, Johnson throws another interception, again to Meriweather.
  • It's going to be a long day for the Vikings offense and an even longer day for Ol' Man Favre.
  • Is Derek Anderson really 5/5 with 55 yards in the first quarter?  Green Bay's defense needs to pick up the pressure evidently.
  • Donald Brown broke a huge 45 yard run to set up a Peyton Manning to Dallas Clark touchdown.  That game should get out of hand soon enough.
  • Brady is 5/5 with 65 yards and a touchdown.  The Patriots are up 14 points before the end of the first quarter.  This already looks like last week's game - painful.
  • The Steelers score the first touchdown put a notch on the scoreboard.  Heath Miller is called for offensive pass interference, bringing the touchdown pass to Santonio Holmes back.  They will have to settle for a field goal after a Vikings sack.
  • Steve Slaton has 6 carries for -1 yards and a touchdown.  Update: Slaton's involvement in the passing game yields his a 13-yard catch-and-run.
  • Spencer Havner, a rookie tight end/linebacker, takes a short pass to the right 45 yards down the sidelines for a touchdown.  No one in the fantasy world would have predicted something of that nature.  It was very Mike Vrabel, but from a much longer distance.
  • Did that really happen? Tom Brady is intercepted in the end zone on a pass to Randy Moss.  This just feels weird and uncomfortable.  Update: TWO!  Two interceptions against Brady.  What has happened?  I'm confused.
  • Houston recovers a fumbled punt in the red zone.  The 49ers need to get in a rhythm if they hope to stay in this game.
  • Kansas City makes a goal line stand against LaDainian Tomlinson, making his little tantrum last week when the ball was given to Darren Sproles at the goal line against Denver look pretty ridiculous.
  • That is why you start Adrian Peterson no matter what.  He's a beast who can break through for the touchdown.
  • Donald Driver takes a medium distance pass and makes it a 71-yard touchdown.  Many owners rejoice, others wonder what has happened to the normally useful Greg Jennings.
  • The Texans' star tight end, Owen Daniels, has five receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown.  Goodbye 49ers.  Just try to put up some statistics for anyone who started Gore and/or Crabtree.
  • IDP Update: Charles Woodson has a 13-yard interception return.
  • The Packers get a fortunate pass interference penalty in the end zone and Ryan Grant punches in the 1-yard touchdown run three plays later.
  • Mike Wallace is wide open two plays in a row and covers a total of 60 yards on two catches for the touchdown.  The Vikings clearly have a gap in their zone coverage that will need to change in the second half.  Big Ben's offensive line is giving him all day to throw the ball.
  • Dwayne Bowe may not be big on yards, but he has a touchdown.
  • Sidney Rice owners were one yard short of the touchdown on the brilliant throw by Favre and the excellent catch-and-run.
  • Sproles may be the back to play for San Diego.  His catch-and-run capabilities are just incredibly strong.
  • Vernon Davis has two touchdowns on the day.  Alex Smith taking over for Shaun Hill seems to be just what the Niners needed.  Michael Crabtree also benefits from this change.  He's looking pretty solid for his first professional game.
  • Randy Moss is sitting on the sidelines after being shaken up.  Not sure if he's going to be back in the game when the scoreboard is so lopsided.
  • Laurence Maroney gets a goal line touchdown.  His value increases further, especially if Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor stay sidelined with injuries in future weeks.
  • Josh Freeman has replaced Josh Johnson for Tampa Bay.  What does this mean for the fantasy future?  Possibly not much
  • Pittsburgh rocks in the red zone, forcing Favre to fumble and returning it 77 yards for a touchdown.
  • Donald Brown's injury does not bode well for people who started him in hopes of his usefulness when the game became a blowout.
  • Make it three touchdowns from Alex Smith to tight end Vernon Davis.  This changes the game entirely, especially for Frank Gore owners, who may be pounding their heads on their computers.
  • It's official, Steven Jackson is the ONLY offensive threat on the Rams.  He still has yet to find the end zone this year.  That may not change for a while.  The last two years, he had five touchdowns one year and seven touchdowns the other.  He is still overvalued in most leagues, but he is proving himself to be a player to have.
  • Ryan Grant is looking like the back he is supposed to be, but it's against the Cleveland Browns, who make anyone look good running against them.  He has 27 carries for 148 yards and a touchdown.
Second Matchups of Sunday
  •  JaMarcus Russell fumbles, it's recovered on the Raiders' one-yard line.  Four plays later, Thomas Jones punches in the touchdown.
  • It's a good day for Ricky Williams and the Wildcat formation.  The Saints defense may have met its match.  Ronnie Brown also has a touchdown.  The cat is going wild all over New Orleans, though the most important statistic may be the two interceptions against Drew Brees.
  • Carson Palmer is this week's Tom Brady.  He's killing and has spread four touchdowns out to four receivers.  Cedric Benson has over 100 yards to boot.  It's a blowout against the Bears.
  • Miles Austin is the best receiver on the Cowboys.  Roy Williams is vastly overrated.
  • The question in Cincinnati after the half will be "when do our starters come off the field?"
  • Tony Romo has two touchdowns before the half after a brilliant evasion of the blitzing linesmen and throwing it to the back of the end zone to an open Patrick Crayton.
  • Brad Gradowski has taken over for JaMarcus Russell.  It's not much of an improvement but he has yet to throw an interception.
  • Brees has yet to throw for a touchdown, but has a rushing score.
  • If you're wondering why the Panthers are losing to the Bills, it's really very simple.  They've thrown more than fifty percent of the time when they have a fantastic duel-back system in place with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart.  Those two should be in control of the ball, not Jake Delhomme.  Carolina should do some work on the Wildcat and employ Williams and Stewart the way that Williams and Brown are used for Miami.
  • IDP Update: Darren Sharper has a pick six for New Orleans.
  • Lee Evans scores for the second week in a row.  His stock should rise as T.O. stops being the focus of the passing game.
  • Carson Palmer has five, count 'em, five touchdowns on the day.  Two of them go to Chad Ochocinco who is having a stellar day.  Jay Cutler, on the other hand, has three interceptions and no touchdowns.
  • If you picked up Miles Austin, you're bathing in glory right now.  Now we must ask, sell high or keep him?  I'm voting to keep him.
  • Chicago needs to put the ball on the ground and hope Matt Forte can produce like Cedric Benson.
  • The other quarterback to have three interceptions today?  Drew Brees.  Today is weird in the quarterback world.
  • Benson seals his vengeance on the Bears with a goal line touchdown.
  • Thomas Jones was really good start today, but Shonn Greene was apparently a superb start, though no one really guessed it.
  • A few people today asked me if they should start Oakland's defense.  You NEVER start the Raiders in your defense/special teams slot.
  • DeAngelo Williams finds the end zone on a 15-yard touchdown run.  Carolina has let Delhomme throw 40 times today.  Why?  I still don't get it.  He has two interceptions on the day.
  • Patrick Crayton just returned a punt for a score.  He's definitely got a job in Dallas if he wants it, though Miles Austin is keeping his starting job.
  • Ricky Williams will be swept up from the waiver wire this week.  He has three touchdowns.  Can anyone still call the Wildcat a gimmick?
  • There's no figuring out the Saints' backfield.  Reggie Bush has the touchdown, Mike Bell has the most yards and Pierre Thomas has the most touches.
  • Tony Romo has three touchdowns and over a 140 passer rating.  It's safe to say that's it's a good day for a team that needed a win to prove their status.
  • It's down to the wire in Miami.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 7

It's week 7 and the following teams have a bye week: Baltimore, Denver, Detroit, Jacksonville, Seattle, Tennessee.  Time to find replacements for a whole slew of wideouts including Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, Calvin Johnson, Nate Burleson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, Mike Sims-Walker, Torry Holt, Derrick Mason, Mark Clayton and no one from the Titans (please tell me you're not playing a receiver from that tossing travesty). 

Start 'Em!


Carson Palmer (CIN) vs. Chicago

The last time these two teams met, Palmer threw three touchdown passes against a more dominating defense than the Bears have now.  However, Palmer has had mixed success against strong defenses, but has still managed at least one touchdown against each expect for the Denver Broncos.  The Bears will have to put a stop to the jilted Cedric Benson, who has been a huge producer this year and will look to show up his old team.  All the while, Palmer can use play action for big games with his strong receiving core led by the trash-talking Chad Ochocinco, who will draw a lot of attention for the Bears' secondary.  What happens when you watch No. 85 too closely?  Andre Caldwell explodes or Laveranues Coles sneaks away from coverage.  Be warned Bears, Palmer is the leader of an emotionally charged team that wants to prove something to everyone this year.

The Line: 34 attempts, 20 completions, 248 yards passing, 2 touchdowns, 1 interception, 2 carries, 3 yards rushing

Eli Manning (NYG) vs. Arizona

Last week, the Cardinals made Matt Hasselbeck look terrible, even with their then-last-ranked pass defense.  Coming up a slot to 31st in the league won't mean anything against a Manning brother looking to find glory after last week's humiliation against the Saints.  It will be tough-going for the Cardinals with Steve Smith and Mario Manningham hungering to produce against the vulnerable secondary.  Manning also has something that Hasselbeck did not - a reliable offensive line.  Though the Cardinals can bring the pressure, it won't be enough to stop this offense looking to bounce back in week seven.  Also, Brandon Jacobs should have an expanded role as a power back to get play action moving against the 1st ranked run defense in the league.  If the big man can make magic happen, Lil' Manning could see an ever better day than predicted.

The Line: 33 attempts, 22 completions, 237 yards passing, 2 touchdowns

Running Back:

Michael Bush (OAK) vs. New York Jets

Little breezes of change in the NFL jet-stream are heading towards Bush this week that make him a potential starter in 12-team formats this week.  The Raiders are coming off a surprising victory against the previously mighty Philadelphia Eagles and the Jets are fresh from a loss to the hodgepodge efforts of the Buffalo Bills.  The big story here benefitting Bush is the diminished Jets defensive line.  Rex Ryan's defense started the year in strong fashion, making the Jets look like a potential contender for a playoff bid until Pierre Thomas broke the defense's back in week four.  The now-sinking Jets need nothing short than their very own Captain Sully to resuscitate the injured front seven and land safely.  Until then, expect opposing running backs to poise a threat.  Bust takes advantage of the sinking rush defense that is now 21st in the league allowing 115.7 yards per game.  In addition, JaMarcus Russell is coming off a shockingly decent performance and the Jets will actually have to give consideration to defense packages to disrupt the quarterback.  To top it off, Bush won't be splitting carries with the injured Darren McFadden, though Justin Fargas is expected to get some touches.  Expect Bush's name to be called on in the red zone to avoid mistakes by Russell, making him a scoring threat this week.

The Line: 15 carries, 58 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown

Laurence Maroney (NE) vs. Tampa Bay

Maroney is bound to be the talk of the town with Sammy Morris and Fred Taylor both out with injuries.  It takes away some of the guesswork required to analyze the New England backfield.  While most people think of Tom Brady when it comes to the Patriots, there is another reason that they have been one of the top offenses for so many years.  They can run the ball.  That's the thing about such a robust offensive line - it makes the offense look really good.  Expect for Maroney to lose some touches to BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk, but he will be the featured back.  The other major factor here is the matchup.  Maroney is up against the breakable Tampa Bay defense that is allowing 171 yards per game to opposing running backs.  He could finally be the back he was supposed to be in the 2007 campaign.

The Line: 15 carries, 74 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 3 receptions, 20 yards receiving

Wide Receiver:

Pierre Garcon (IND) vs. St. Louis

If you're looking to replace any of your receiver this week, look no further than Pierre Garcon, one of the extremely talented receivers for the Colts.  With Anthony Gonzalez still banged up, Garcon should see some strong action this week against a defense that ranks 27th in the league against the pass.  Peyton Manning will be able to spread the ball to multiple talented receivers and Garcon will be a benefactor in what could be a ludicrous blowout in week seven.  If you're not playing him in your lineup, take a peak at Austin Collie.  Both receivers are under-owned and deserve attention, but this week looks good for Garcon.

The Line: 6 receptions, 59 yards receiving, 1 touchdown, 1 carry, 10 yards rushing

Lee Evans (BUF) vs. Carolina

Buffalo may not be the most effective offense in the league, but they are coming off an exciting win and are hoping to build on that success against a team that is ready for the emotional battle.  Though Carolina is ranked 2nd against the pass, they are 24th in points against and not all of those happen on the ground.  Matt Ryan carved Carolina apart for three touchdowns on only 220 yards passing in week two.  Trent Edwards is not big in the yardage department, but he will have to get the ball to Evans this week as T.O. is a fading star that Edwards will look away from more, giving the ball to a more deserving Evans who showed his ability to streak past secondaries last week.  If Buffalo can get some kind of rhythm going on the gournd, the perennial disappointment could slide into the end zone and see some solid numbers against a guessing defense.

The Line: 9 receptions, 84 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

Tight End:

Jermichael Finley (GB) vs. Cleveland

It looks like Finley is the go-to receiving tight end for sure in Green Bay and will continue to earn that distinction this week against a battered Cleveland team that is suffering from a bout of the flu.  With 15.3 yards per reception, Finley will cruise past the Puppies of Ohio and find big totals with Aaron Rodgers throwing unimpeded to his strong receiving core.  If pressured at all by the Browns, the dump to Finley will grow all the more popular for Rodgers and he will put even more distance between himself and Donald Lee on the receiving charts of Green Bay.  As an added bonus, Cleveland is giving up 24.7 points per game and 242 passing yards per game, making them 26th and 23rd in the league, respectively.

The Line: 5 receptions, 63 yards, 1 touchdown

Defense/Special Teams:

Atlanta vs. Dallas

The only two defenses that you're probably needing to find a replacement for this week are Denver and Baltimore, so you probably don't need a bye-week replacement, but if you do or you're looking to replace that lackluster unit you currently have, take a peak at Atlanta's defense.  Their 24th ranking in terms of overall yards against opponents is juxtaposed by their hefty 4th place ranking in points against.  Preventing scoring is what matters in fantasy football, so they are a strong force and an ample replacement this week against the Dallas Cowboys.

The Line: 17 points against, 1 interception, 1 forced fumble, 2 sacks

Surprise of the Week

Michael Crabtree (WR-SF) vs. Houston

Josh Morgan reported this week that Crabtree has taken his position as the No. 1 receiver for Mike Singletary's offense.  However, there are a number of things going against Crabtree in this game, the least of which it being his first start.  The Niners will probably be looking to their ground game to pummel the Texans into submission and may not need to look to the passing game in the red zone, which would likely be a great relief to most of the fans.  Frank Gore is back to being healthy and could rack up big points, but it is Crabtree who could be the quiet hero of the offense in his first outing.  Shaun Hill will want to test his fresh toy to stir up some gametime chemistry, so expect at least a few targets to the rookie.

The Line: 5 receptions, 61 yards receiving

Sit 'Em...


Brett Favre (MIN) vs. Pittsburgh

It has been a phenomenal start for the Grey Gunslinger and he is a huge part of the Vikings' success.  However, he is due for a bad game and Pittsburgh's defense, renewed with Troy Polamalu back in the lineup, is just the squad to hand it to him.  Really, the main concern is that there are definitely better options to field than Favre.  You just don't want to risk the matchup unless you don't have a better alternative.  Plus, the Steelers are looking to defend their title at home against a team that is looking like a championship contender this year and will shut down the rampant passing game rather efficiently to do so.

The Line: 27 attempts, 20 completions, 196 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Donovan McNabb (PHI) vs. Washington

Washington may be absolutely incapable of gaining any productivity on offense, their defense can be a formidable foe.  They are only allowing an average of 169 yards per game through the air and 16 points per game to their foes, making them 3rd and 5th in those respective categories.  McNabb is fresh off of a rough match against Oakland, one of the weakest defenses in the league.  The numbers may be deceiving, with Washington not facing particularly strong quarterbacks, but the fresh eyes for play calling could help this talented group.  Don't risk playing McNabb except in 14+ team formats.  DeAngelo Hall is a likely candidate to pick off the wild armed quarterback and Albert Haynesworth should keep the ground game limited as long as he can stay on the field uninjured.  Finally, with Brian Westbrook and LeSean McCoy biting at the bit after last week's lopsided pass/rush ratio.  Expect the running game to get going early and to be used eagerly.

The Line: 27 attempts, 17 completions, 204 yards passing, 1 passing touchdown, 2 interceptions

Running Back:

Clinton Portis (WAS) vs. Philadelphia

There's just no good reason to risk starting Portis.  The aging rusher is far past his prime and has an injury-plagued right leg (which is so bad that it is a joke to the head of the Redskins backfield).  With a new bingo play-caller in Washington, don't be surprised if Portis loses more touches than usual to LaDell Betts and possibly even Roc Cartwright.  The old man of those three can't outrun defensive backs and so the big runs are cut short of the goal line (as proven against the Chiefs).  Even when presented with strong matchups, he can't be leaned upon to produce a helpful stats line and this week he faces a defense that is much more capable than that of Kansas City.  While the 'Skins look to get their mojo back under new guidance, leave Portis on the bench or the trading block.

The Line: 12 carries, 36 yards rushing, 2 receptions, 11 yards receiving

Steven Jackson (STL) vs. Indianapolis

With no touchdowns this year, Jackson is looking in bad shape.  His yardage totals are strong, but the Colts can shut down the opposition, allowing the 2nd fewest points per game.  There's just no hope for the addled offense of the Rams and Jackson has to suffer along with it all.  Try Jonathon Stewart or another strong secondary back (Mike Bell and Reggie Bush of the Saints come to mind) to fill the spot.

The Line: 16 carries, 65 yards, 1 fumble, 4 receptions, 22 yards

Wide Receiver:

Antonio Bryant (TB) vs. New England

There will be two primary reasons to leave Bryant behind this week.  1) The weather in London will freeze him solid on the field.  2) The Patriots are going to cripple the Bucs' offense quickly and efficiently, which Josh Johnson won't be able to handle.  Expect Bryant to spend most of his time on the sidelines watching the offense of the Patriots stack up points.  You would be better off picking off a third string receiver on a stronger team from free agency or waiver wire than to play this wideout.

The Line: 2 receptions, 21 yards

Mohamed Mossaquoi (CLE) vs. Green Bay

It's a mess in Ohio.  The flu, the coach, the unhappy Josh Cribbs, the quarterback situation.  It all adds up to a rough outing for the Browns.  They aren't playing with the emotional gravitas that the turnaround story of the year, the Bengals, have going for themselves.  It's just crumbling in Cleveland, and without a solid quarterback in charge, the receivers will continue to suffer, especially against the prolific defense of Green Bay.  Being at home could help Mossaquoi, but not enough to make him a starter this week.

The Line: 3 receptions, 39 yards

I've decided to add a new element to my sit and start column to encourage you all to check back each week called The Investment Corner.  Each week I will highlight any number of players who you may want to pick up off of the waiver wire to lead you to fantasy victory.  Often it will be a player who has a strong matchup grouping for the fantasy playoffs (usually weeks 14-16 in Yahoo! standard leagues), since that's what separates the wheat from the chaff after all.  I may not always give you the next DeAngelo Williams or Michael Turner, but these players should be solid choices and may just be worth keeping out of the hands of your opponents.

The Inve$tment Corner

Chad Henne (QB-MIA)

Notable Matchups:  Week 14 vs. Jacksonville, Week 15 vs. Tennessee, Week 16 vs. Houston (Playoffs)

The matchups really speak for themselves, especially the week 15 game against the Titans.  The Wildcat formation should continue its run, leaving Henne to enjoy the distracted defenses and able to air it out downfield to Ted Ginn, Jr.  He may not be a top 10 play all the time, but he's becoming a valuable part of the Dolphins offense.  Chances are he will stay on the wire for a good while longer, but keep your eye on him.  People may sweep him up prior to his week 10 matchup against Tampa Bay and the subsequent games against Carolina and Buffalo.  All of those teams are meager against the run and will have to focus their attention on the one-two punch of Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams, making Henne a feasible option if his quarterbacking continues in the right direction.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Flying High for the 100+ Club

Throwing for a passer rating of better than 100 with at least 25 attempts under the belt often spells victory for the quarterback's team.  This Sunday, the numbers did not lie.  It also proved that the best way to defeat a team with a 100 pointer throwing for them is to have a quarterback that throws for an even better 100+ rating - just ask Joe Flacco and the Baltimore Ravens.  Here's a list of the quarterbacks who threw for 100+ ratings with their game day stats from Sunday and their average passer rating for the season.

Name (Average Rating): Completions/Attempts, Yards, Touchdowns, Interceptions, Sacks, Fumbles, Rating

Ben Roethlisberger (104.5 avg rate): 23/35, 417 yds, 2 tds, 1 int, 3 sck, 1 fum, 113.6 rating

Matt Schaub (102.7 avg rate):28/40, 392 yds, 4 tds, 1 int, 2 sck, 124.2 rating

Joe Flacco (93.8 avg rate): 28/43, 385 yds, 2 tds, 3 sck, 109.2 rating

Tom Brady (99.0 avg rate): 29/34, 380 yds, 6 tds, 2 sck, 152.8 rating

Drew Brees (118.4 avg rate): 23/30, 369 yds, 4 tds, 156.8 rating

Aaron Rodgers (104.1 avg rate): 29/37, 358 yds, 2 tds, 1 int, 5 sck, 1 fum, 113.7 rating

Brett Favre (109.5 avg rate): 21/29, 278 yds, 3 tds, 3 sck, 136.9 rating

Kurt Warner (92.1 avg rate): 32/41, 276 yds, 2 tds, 1 int, 2 sck, 1 fum, 100.8 rating

What can be said about these quarterbacks?  They are always poised to produce heavily.  These quarterbacks know how to avoid mistakes and how to make big plays.  Check out their season numbers here.  The top ten to fifteen in passer rating are players that you need to give the start to, only subbing one out on bye weeks or if there is a really potent matchup to play.  The real surprise might be Favre's position at number three in passer rating rankings.  He has abandoned a bit of the "gunslinger" attitude under the guidance of Brad Childress.  This man is playing for a Super Bowl ring and may carry some owners to victory as long as he doesn't fade down the stretch.  He has a 12:2 touchdown to interception ratio.  The only person with a better ratio?  Drew Brees.  Yes, Favre is playing at that level.  The man wants to win.

Also, take a look at the touchdown totals.  This can be another heavy factor, along with yardage totals, that helps pick your starting quarterback.  Big touchdown numbers and big yardage totals mean the player can break for a big game, but the passer rating means consistency.  That number is part of a player you can rely on and who always deserves consideration for the starting slot.

In most leagues, you can only start one quarterback.  Let me speak from experience and say you can't just play the matchup all the time.  Play the consistent producer who has a quality offense surrounding.  Also, as Matt Hasselbeck can attest to, check out the offensive line.  If they can't create a good pocket for their man, their man is gonna have a tough time.  Pick your quarterback wisely.  Very wisely.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Week 6 (2009) Sunday Happenings

First Matchups of Sunday:
Houston vs. Cincinnati
Detroit vs. Green Bay
St. Louis vs. Jacksonville
Minnesota vs. Baltimore
New York Giants vs. New Orleans
Cleveland vs. Pittsburgh
Carolina vs. Tampa Bay
Kansas City vs. Washington

Second Matchups of Sunday:
Philadelphia vs. Oakland
Arizona vs. Seattle
Tennessee vs. New England
Buffalo vs. New York Jets

Sunday Night Game:
Chicago vs. Atlanta

Pregame Notes
  • Troy Polamalu will be back in the lineup for the Steelers.  Just put away bench drop all of your Browns players.  NOW.  Also, in Pittsburgh news, Rashard Mendenhall will be getting the start over Willie Parker.
  • Chris Cooley is a pottery fanatic.  Not really applicable news, but he says it explains his soft hands.  For detail-oriented owners, monitor Cooley's pottery-making.  If it ceases, should his value drop?
  • Calvin Johnson is listed as doubtful.  Bank on either A) him not playing or B) him not posting substantial numbers.  Adjust your roster accordingly.  Update: He will be active for the game.
  • Matthew Stafford is the third-stringer today.
  • Weather can always be factor, but don't buy too much into the rain bringing the game to the ground.  Some top QBs are going to play amazing in rain or shine.  Wet fields can hurt corners.
First Matchups:
  • Adrian Peterson's first carry goes for 26 yards.  You just can't bench this beast.
  • Portis fumbles and turns it over on the Redskins' first possesion.  That's what you get for not practicing enough.  Vrabel doing his thing.
  • Vikings' first drive was about as perfect as it gets.  Favre 3-for-3, 36 yards and a 19-yard touchdown to Visanthe Shiancoe.
  • Aaron Rodgers and James Jones hook up for a 47-yard touchdown.  Greg Jennings and Donald Driver owners wish it had gone their way.
  • Scoring is coming on fast this week.  Marc Bulger is perfect on the opening drive, going 5-for-5, 70 yards, capped with a 17-yard touchdown to Donnie Avery.
  • The trend of scoring continues with Cadillac Williams hauling tail for a 20-yard run and score.
  • Giants stop Saints in the red zone, staving off a touchdown.  Saints go for it on 4th and 1 and get the touchdown from Mike Bell.  Pierre Thomas owners are unhappy.
  • Andre Johnson apparently is recession proof, taking a reception from Schaub for 59 yards.  The touchdown bid is prevented by Cincinnati, however, forcing Schaub to throw it away.  They then block the field goal.  Their playing with fire under their feet.
  • Another Rodgers touchdown, but to John Kuhn.  That doesn't really help anyone outside of Rodgers owners.  However, that's two TDs in under ten minutes.  We know where this game is going.
  • Torry Holt could break it big today.  His first catch goes for 41 yards, setting up Maurice Jones-Drew's TD run.
  • If you happened to choose Bernard Berrian to start this week, you chose right.  His 4-yard touchdown pass from Favre is making this game look rather one-sided.
  • Giants are up for "Best Challenge of the Day," bringing back a Drew Brees to Marques Colston touchdown to the 1-yard line.  Next play, Brees throws the TD to Jeremy Shockey.
  • Bengal's Antwan Odom injured during the Matt Schaub touchdown pass to tight end Owen Daniels.  This isn't good for Cincinnati's morale.
  • Annnnnnd that's why Troy Polamalu's presence matters.  He intercepts the pass by Joshua Cribbs intended for Chansi Stuckey in the red zone.  He can read any play.
  • DeAngelo Williams is looking more like last season's DeAngelo Williams.  He has a 20-yard touchdown run.
  • Cedric Benson is proving that he deserved to be a first-round draft pick.
  • Heath Miller has a touchdown on the day.  The Steelers look good against a pathetic Browns team.
  • Brees has a second TD already.  It's a beautiful 26-yarder to Robert Meachem.  The Giants do get to celebrate a blocked extra point attempt, but that's all they get to celebrate.
  • Steve Slaton looks, well, good.  He turns a short pass from Schaub into a 38-yard touchdown.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw further increases his value as a RB2 and flex play with a 10-yard touchdown run against the Saints.  At what point does he eclipse Jacobs on the position ranks?
  • Cribbs deserves an extension from the Browns.  He just picked up his third kickoff return for a touchdown against the Steelers.  This comes after a 52-yard catch-and-run touchdown for Hines Ward.
  • Brees is putting on a clinic called "How to Disect the Top-Ranked Defense."  It's pretty nasty.  The Giants are going to need to regain their confidence if they intend on overcoming a 17-point deficit.
  • At halftime, the Chiefs are up 3-0.  The Redskins can't even compete against one of the league's worst defenses.  Jim Zorn should be sweating buckets puddles baby pools lakes.  The fans won't stand for it much longer.  St. Louis is up in their game against Jacksonville 10-6.  It's a weird day.
  • Reggie Bush has a touchdown after an Eli Manning fumble.  Pierre Thomas has yet to see a goal line carry.  That doesn't bode well for those of us who started Thomas.
First Matchups - Second Half
  • The Redskins have brought out Todd Collins.  He chucks the ball downfield to Santana Moss for 42 yards on his first pass.  Ladell Betts also appears to be taking over for Portis.  Apparently he is off with an ankle injury.  His return is questionable.  Update: Portis comes back in and runs the ball 78 yards.  Guess that injury isn't really bothering him anymore.
  • Sometime gave a heck of a pep talk to Derek Anderson.  He finally gets a touchdown.  It's a 1-yard pass to the fullback Lawerence Vickers.
  • Mendenhall finally gets a touchdown against the weak Detroit defense.  However, it is Hines Ward who is the real belle of the ball still.
  • The duo of Williams and Jonathan Stewart is marching all over Tampa Bay and each has a touchdown.
  • Matt Schaub is killing the Bengals secondary.  It's a surprise to me just as much as it is to the Bengals.  Steve Slaton is along for the ride.  Same goes for Owen Daniels.
  • Mason Crosby owners are quickly racking up the field goal points.
  • Marques Colston is have a HUGE day with 147 yards and a touchdown in three quarters of play.  Brees can do no wrong.
  • Two touchdowns for tight end Shiancoe.  The Vikings look like the real deal with Favre at the helm.
  • The Jaguars offense is a tight knit group.  MJD, Holt and Sims-Walker are taking care of business in the second half.  Garrard has 256 yards, no touchdowns and one interception.  He'll probably add a touchdown before the game ends.  Both touchdowns for the Jags right now belong to MJD.
  • Jake Delhomme is a danger to his own team.  He just threw a pick six.
  • DeAngelo Williams has 30 carries for 152 yards and 2 touchdowns.  It's an impressive day for the back averaging 5.0 yards per carry.
  • MJD has three TDs in a tight game with St. Louis.  His goal line work has been impressive.
  • Congratulations Redskins.  You gave another winless team their first victory.  You're sort of the like the really depressing Santa Claus for other teams.
  • Brett Favre does it better than...well...most anyone.  A huge pass to Sidney Rice sets them up to win the game.
  • Overtime for Jags and Rams.  Update: Jacksonville takes it in overtime.
  • Baltimore and Minnesota are easily playing the most exciting football today.  It's on the final drive with the Ravens in possession and down two points.
Second Matchups:
  •  Arizona gets the kickoff back after scoring against the Seahawks.  Seattle has yet to take the field.
  • Stephen Gostowski misses the 39-yard field goal on the Patriots' opening drive.
  • There's no hope of figuring out New England's running back situation.  Laurance Maroney just broke a 45-yard run for a touchdown.
  • The Raiders...are...winning...against the Eagles?  JaMarcus Russel throws one to Zach Miller who runs it for an extra 70 yards and a touchdown.
  • Trent Edwards is injured after being sacked by the Jets defense.  Update: Concussion.  Out for the game.
  • Tom Brady and Randy Moss hook up for a 40-yard touchdown.  Update: They connect a second time, this time a 28-yard touchdown.  Brady is simply having an incredible first half.  Some quarterbacks will never manage his current stats over an entire game.
  • Thomas Jones is killing the Bills front seven and has broken two runs for 60+ yards.
  • Wow.  The Patriots have scored 45 unanswered points.  In the first half.  It's time for the Titans to throw in Vince Young.  This game is lost.  Tom Brady is unstoppable.  Welker and Moss both have two touchdowns.  Laurence Maroney and Kevin Faulk each have one of their own.  It's starting to just be painful to watch.
  • Hasselbeck can't compete with the pass defense of the Cardinals.  Wait, that doesn't sound right.  Arizona is making mince-meat of the Seahawks' passing game, which no one really expected.
  • Lee Evans finally looks productive and T.O. is having trouble with the rubber pellets in the turf.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Who's Hot and Who's Not for Week 6

Each week I'll try to post some must-starts, some must-sits and the surprises we should have in store.  Take 'em, leave 'em, trash-talk 'em.  It's your choice.  I'll also keep track of my accuracy by position and overall.  I'll be working with Yahoo! standard league points to define my success.  I'm not trying to pick completely obvious starts or sits, so some of these may seem a little questionable, but that's half the fun.  On average, I'll look at two quarterbacks, two running backs, two or three wide receivers, one tight end, and one team defense.

Start 'Em!


Mark Sanchez (NYJ) vs. Buffalo

Buffalo's statistic of allowing only 185.6 yards passing per game is awfully deceptive considering Derek Anderson's two completion performance last week in that embarassing debacle.  Look for Sanchez to continue taking advantage of his new toy in Braylon Edwards.  In addition, it looks likely that he could slip away on a couple of runs if need be, especially if his new receiver helps further in stretching the field.  The ground game for the Jets may take over at points considering the Bills' inability to contain the run, though Sanchez will create a few big plays.

The Line: 28 attempts, 19 completions, 198 yards passing, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 4 carries, 13 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown

Tom Brady (NE) vs. Tennessee

Look for football's fantasy king from 2007 to take back some of his old glory.  Of course, it seems surprising that Brady would ever be called into question, but his six touchdowns on the season aren't really awe-inspiring by any means.  The Titans, however, are simply pathetic against the pass and sometimes it takes just that to rebuild a quarterback's confidence.  On the other hand, the run stopping abilities of Tennessee will keep the Patriots doing what they do best, throwing the ball all over the place.  So much attention has been placed on Brady lately, especially his new tendency to overthrow the deep routes, that you can expect him to make some changes this week, coming in big fantasy numbers.

The Line: 40 attempts, 31 completions, 276 yards passing, 3 passing touchdowns

Running Backs:

Matt Forte (CHI) vs. Atlanta

Matt Forte as a rookie was a grand investment for fantasy owners last year, but he hasn't lived up to his first-round selection this year.  Atlanta is allowing 127 yards per game rushing and Forte will take advantage of this not-so-prolific run defense.  The run will help set up play action and the Bears offense will find its groove this week as Jay Cutler continues tossing the pigskin with confidence.  Forte will greatly benefit from this with his involvement in the passing game and a stretched field thanks to the emergence of Johnny Knox will prevent Atlanta from putting eight in the box.

The Line: 21 carries, 97 yards rushing, 1 rushing touchdown, 4 receptions, 28 yards receiving

Jonathan Stewart (CAR) vs. Tampa Bay

There's been a lot of hooplah surrounding DeAngelo Williams in the matchup against Tampa Bay.  Last year, the duo of Williams and Stewart racked up a franchise record of 299 yards on the ground.  Carolina can't trust Jake the Fake to lead their offense but Williams can't do it alone, as evidenced by the first weeks of the season.  The Panthers achieved their first victory when they gave more carries to Stewart and it was Stewart who crossed the goal line.  His ten carries for 39 yards (3.9 ypc) far outpaced Williams' 2.2 yards per carry.  Things should go back to normal after Stewart proves himself against the weak Bucs defense inside the red zone.  Don't expect big yardage, just expect him to push the pile and score, while Williams runs the long distances.

The Line: 12 carries, 42 yards, 2 touchdowns

Wide Receivers:

T.J. Houshmandzadeh

The Housh will again prove a boon to those of you who had faith in this import.  He's becoming an integral part of the passing offense.  He won't necessarily boast the two touchdowns of last week, but against an Arizona defense that is the worst in the league against the pass.  Expect Matt Hasselbeck's return to continue to bolster the Seahawks offense and Houshmandzadeh to benefit through his increased level of comfort with his quarterback.

The Line: 9 receptions, 84 yards receiving, 1 touchdown

Santana Moss

Kansas City's defense is just plain bad.  There's nothing good to be said, other than that opposing offenses tend to look pretty good against them.  This week the benefactor will be Moss.  His downfield work will suit Jason Campbell's arm just fine and his ability to simply outpace secondaries will mean the potential for a long score is high.  When Campbell isn't dumping the ball off to Chris Cooley in the short and middle ranges, he'll look deep for Moss, with big yardage gains in store.

The Line: 7 receptions, 104 yards, 1 touchdown

Tight End:

Chris Cooley (WAS) vs. Kansas City

It's going to be a good day for one of Campbell's other favorite targets, his star tight end.  Cooley will be on the receiving end of the majority of whatever isn't thrown in the direction of Moss.  Another touchdown seems in order for this reliable tight end whose number is cooled rather frequently in the passing game.  The Chiefs also need to exercise caution with Clinton Portis after last week's game, so the line may be stacked against the run, leaving the play action opportunties for Cooley across the middle and in the slot to grow abundant.

The Line: 8 receptions, 76 yards, 1 touchdown


Cincinnati vs. Houston

Without Steve Slaton being a real threat and with the incredible corner coverage smothering Andre Johnson, the Bengals are poised for a sharp fantasy outing.  They may not be a first choice defense after giving up so many points to the Cleveland Browns recently, but expect them to be a strong sub for a poor matchup or bye week replacement.  An interception or two seems likely as Schaub will have to start taking risks to get the ball to Johnson, his greatest playmaker.

The Line: 17 points allowed, 2 interceptions, 2 sacks, 1 forced fumble

Risk of the Week

Kevin Smith (DET) vs. Green Bay

Smith is truly the workhorse of the Detroit offense and should be a consistent fantasy producer this year but Green Bay is a tough defense.  However, their numbers aren't as strong as their reputation.  The Lions and Packers actually have similar base lines, especially in rushing yards allowed.  The Pack is giving up 112.2 yards per game to opposing rushers.  This number could be easy to exploit by a healthy Smith who could be the biggest offensive threat for the Lions with Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson coming off of hefty injuries.  He may not give Detroit a win, but the Lions aren't suffering as much as they were last year, so expect an offensive pulse to be there for the Kitty-Cats.

The Line: 24 carries, 87 yards, 1 touchdown

Sit 'Em...


Drew Brees (NO) vs. New York Giants

In this matchup of the titans, these teams will have to try to exploit each other's weaknesses.  With the Giants only allowing 104.8 passing yards per game to opposing quarterbacks, it is likely that the Saints will look to their steamrolling ground game to get the job done.  Brees will certainly do better than most quarterbacks against the Giants, but if you have another solid matchup option, bench Brees in favor of your backup.  Pierre Thomas will be working the rush in strong fashion like he did against the Jets.  Expect Brees to set up touchdowns more than get touchdowns.

The Line: 29 attempts, 19 completions, 170 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 1 interception

Matt Schaub (HOU) vs. Cincinnati

Coming into this season, the Bengals were expected to be their porous selves, allowing offenses to march all over them.  However, like the Broncos of this year, their defense has made a strong turnaround and will continue to find their swagger against the Texans.  The shutting down of number one wideouts will continue with Andre Johnson as wild as that seems and Schaub will have to rely on Owen Daniels and Jacoby Jones, who will feel the pressure as well.  Though Cincinnati allows decent yardage totals to quarterbacks, they will be effective in the red zone and expect at least two picks against Schaub.

The Line: 32 attempts, 17 completions, 198 yards passing, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions

Running Backs:

Ray Rice (BAL) vs. Minnesota

Rice may be emerging as the premiere back for the Ravens, but the Vikings are more than adept at shutting down the opposition on the ground.  A smaller back like Rice will show some productivity in the passing game, but the trenches will prove too much and his total yards will be far from the century mark.  Expect Joe Flacco to take command of the offense and for him to exploit some of the air game weaknesses in the Vikings defense who are allowing an average of 224.6 yards per game to quarterbacks.  Also, this will be the week that Willis McGahee poaches another touchdown and sees more productivity as the stronger of the two rushers.

The Line: 14 carries, 35 yards rushing, 5 receptions, 32 yards receiving

Julius Jones (SEA) vs. Arizona

Matt Hasselbeck is back as the offensive commander in Seattle and Arizona has the worst pass defense in the league.  There's no reason for the Seahawks to not go to the air in what will be a shootout between veteran quarterbacks.  Jones will see limited usage and nothing within the red zone will be handed his way.  No one will run on the goal line after the Cardinals' stand against Chris Brown and the Texans.

The Line: 12 carries, 29 yards, 1 reception, 12 yards

Wide Receivers:

Andre Johnson (HOU) vs. Cincinnati

It's been a pattern for the Bengals defense to shut down No. 1 wideouts this year and Johnson will be the latest to succumb to this astounding feat.  The Bengals will be hard-pressed to make this accomplishment happen against the receiver who is best poised to knock down all barriers (as evidenced by his 17 yard catch-and-run touchdown last week).  However, a merely human number line seems very possible.

The Line: 5 receptions, 52 yards

Johnny Knox (CHI) vs. Atlanta

With Forte running wild, 'da Bears will not rely as much on the passing game to support their offense, even with Jay Cutler under center.  Knox will be drawing more attention as he becomes a larger part of the air game.  Devin Hester will likely be the Bears receiver to play this week, with his speed being put to better use with Cutler's arm.  Knox won't necessarily be an afterthought, but he just won't post wantable numbers.

The Line: 3 receptions, 38 yards

Tight End:

Zach Miller (OAK) vs. Philadelphia

In a decent world, a good tight end like Miller would be able to put up numbers no matter which team he was starting for, but the Raiders are the exception.  The miserable franchise still has JaMarcus Russell starting for them and troubles for Tom Cable are only a distraction that further inhibits any forward progress.  Miller is just falling behind because of his team and the Eagles defense is not to be messed with, especially by such a weak team.

The Line: 1 reception, 7 yards