Saturday, December 27, 2008

RB rankings for week 17

Thats it for now - I'm going to go collapse in bed and watch Dark Knight and drink some soup. I love colds, don't you? Maybe it's a perfect excuse to sit in bed and watch football all tomorrow!

You can email me if you wish and I will try to get back to you when I emerge from my coma!

Running backs
  1. Michael Turner
  2. Brian Westbrook
  3. DeAngelo Williams
  4. LaDainian Tomlinson
  5. Adrian Peterson
  6. Matt Forte
  7. Ryan Grant
  8. Thomas Jones
  9. Steven Jackson
  10. Tashard Choice
  11. Steve Slaton
  12. Kevin Smith
  13. Maurice Jones-Drew
  14. Maurice Morris
  15. Willie Parker
  16. Cedric Benson
  17. Sammy Morris
  18. Pierre Thomas/Deuce McAllister (Injury concerns for PT)
  19. Warrick Dunn
  20. Clinton Portis
  21. Ronnie Brown
  22. Larry Johnson
  23. LeRon McClain
  24. Marshawn Lynch
  25. Darren McFadden
  26. Tatum Bell
  27. Fred Jackson
  28. Frank Gore
  29. Cadillac Williams
  30. Derrick Ward
  31. Leon Washington
  32. Tim Hightower
  33. Jamal Lewis
  34. Chad Simpson
  35. Justin Fargas
  36. Jonathan Stewart
  37. Chester Taylor
  38. Ricky Williams
  39. Willis McGahee
  40. Mewelde Moore

WR Rankings for week 17

Here are the WRs - RBs in a little while.

Wide Receiver
  1. Steve Smith (CAR)
  2. Andre Johnson
  3. Marques Colston
  4. Roddy White
  5. Larry Fitzgerald
  6. Calvin Johnson
  7. Reggie Wayne
  8. Vincent Jackson
  9. Greg Jennings
  10. Brandon Marshall
  11. Derrick Mason
  12. Randy Moss
  13. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  14. DeSean Jackson
  15. Antonio Bryant
  16. Terrell Owens
  17. Wes Welker
  18. Eddie Royal
  19. Hines Ward
  20. Santana Moss
  21. Jerricho Cotchery
  22. Torry Holt
  23. Domenik Hixon
  24. Donald Driver
  25. Santonio Holmes
  26. Dwayne Bowe
  27. Anquan Boldin
  28. Lee Evans
  29. Bernard Berrian
  30. Kevin Walter
  31. Muhsin Muhammad
  32. Anthony Gonzalez
  33. Braylon Edwards
  34. Isaac Bruce
  35. Laveranues Coles
  36. Mark Clayton
  37. Dennis Northcutt
  38. Donnie Avery
  39. Davone Bess
  40. Deion Branch
  41. Devin Hester
  42. Steve Breaston
  43. Bobby Engram
  44. Justin Gage
  45. Bryant Johnson

QB rankings for Week 17

Due to this loverly cold I have, I'm getting this list out late and with no description. I will say that this a more a list of stable players than a list of guys I expect to go for 300+ yards and 4 TDs. I also think despite not changing the gameplan for Brees hitting Marino's record he will have to throw alot. With Pierre Thomas a little banged up, he'll need to. Rodgers will also be a stable start especially as the run game for the Pack hasn't been steller. Rivers, McNabb, Cutler - all have something to play for and can throw the ball, which seperates them from guys like Favre, Orton or Edwards who have struggled in the pass game or are just playing out the string.

Quarterbacks
  1. Drew Brees – Saints vs Panthers
  2. Aaron Rodgers - Packers vs Lions
  3. Philip Rivers - Chargers vs Broncos
  4. Donovan McNabb - Eagles vs Cowboys
  5. Jay Cutler - Broncos at Chargers
  6. Matt Schaub - Texans vs Bears
  7. Matt Ryan - Falcons vs Rams
  8. Chad Pennington - Dolphins at Jets
  9. Matt Cassel - Patriots at Bills
  10. Seneca Wallace - Seahawks at Cardinals
  11. Shaun Hill – 49rs vs Redskins
  12. Ben Roethlisberger - Steelers vs Browns
  13. Kurt Warner - Cardinals vs Seahawks
  14. Tony Romo - Cowboys at Eagles
  15. Jake Delhomme - Panthers at Saints
  16. Jeff Garcia - Bucs vs Raiders
  17. Tarvaris Jackson - Vikings vs Giants
  18. Tyler Thigpen - Chiefs at Bengals
  19. Joe Flacco - Ravens vs Jaguars
  20. Eli Manning - Giants at Vikings
  21. Kyle Orton - Bears at Texans
  22. Brett Favre - Jets vs Dolphins
  23. Ryan Fitzpatrick - Bengals vs Chiefs
  24. Trent Edwards - Bills vs Patriots
  25. Jason Campbell - Redskins at 49rs
  26. David Garrard - Jaguars at Ravens
  27. Dan Orlovsky - Lions at Packers
  28. Bruce Gradkowski - Browns at Steelers
  29. Peyton Manning - Colts vs Titans
  30. Marc Bulger - Rams at Falcons
  31. JaMarcus Russell - Raiders at Bucs
  32. Kerry Collins - Titans at Colts
  33. David Carr – Giants at Vikings

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Poinsettia Bowl Breakdown and Rankings News

Hey folks - the breakdown on College Football Insiders went up while I was Christmas shopping and dropping the Blurbmobile off at the service center for a severe case of electrical issues.


Here is the breakdown for the Poinsettia Bowl!


Also you may have noticed that there are no top positional rankings for week 16. That's because we will be talking about the season rankings on tomorrow's extended Thundering Blurb News Stampede. Starts at 9am PST/noon EST and goes 60 Minutes!

Stop by, won't you?

And Happy Holidays to those unable to make it - thanks for making us a part of your Fantasy Footbal lSeason!

Blurb finishes 8 out of 64 teams in Fantasy Sportswriter Association League

Hey folks

I've mentioned it a few times this August I joined the Fantasy Sportswriter Association's Experts League. The playoffs just wrapped up and I finished 8th in the playoffs (16 teams) which is also 8th overall out of 64 teams. These teams included people like Michael Fabiano of NFL.com, Stephania Bell and Chris Harris of ESPN as well as less known names like CBSSports.com's Jamey Eisenberg and George Winkler from the Sporting News.

We all got smoked by Sigmund Bloom of Footballguys.com. The man was on a mission, got out of the gates fast during the playoffs and never looked back. The playoffs were more 15 teams fighting for 2nd as Sig just went off. I am very happy for my Drive-Block co-host - he worked hard and it showed.

Still, amongst this illustrious group, to finish 8th is an achievement I am very proud of. I won my 16 team division and had a nice little run in the playoffs - which were not head to head but total overall points (regular season was head to head).

Not bad for a small indie site.

For those interested, here was the Blurb's team:
Donovan McNabb

QB






Matt Forte

RB






Le'Ron McClain

RB






Larry Fitzgerald

WR






Kevin Walter

WR






Terrell Owens

WR






Vincent Jackson

WR






Greg Olsen

TE






Joe Nedney

K






Arizona Cardinals

Def/ST






Joe Flacco

QB






Willie Parker

RB






Leon Washington

RB






LenDale White

RB






Chad Ocho Cinco

WR






Nate Washington

WR






Domenik Hixon

WR






Bo Scaife

TE






Matt Bryant

K






Buffalo Bills

Def/ST






Saturday, December 20, 2008

Bowl Previews at NFLDraftbible.com

Here are a couple of previews I did for the NFLDraftbible and College Football Insiders -

New Mexico Bowl - Colorado State vs Fresno State

Las Vegas Bowl - BYU vs Arizona

All that and much more great content for Bowl games, draft prospects and much more over at NFLDraftbible.com!

Friday, December 19, 2008

RB Rankings for Week 16

Like with the Wide Receivers, I added some backs to the list for Championship week.

I know I am not remotely alone in ranking Pierre Thomas as the number one back this week. I get that. But I have to agree with the group-think this week - and I swear have had Thomas in the top three for this week since Reggie Bush went down and even prior to that I thought he was due for a big game. Now the Brees/Saints will throw for sure. But Thomas is on fire the last two weeks and looked very good with a full load against the Bears. The pass game will keep the Lions honest and this should lock a job with the Saints for Thomas in 2009.

Brian Westbrook had been torching opposing defenses until last week, where he came back down to earth neither breaking 100 total yards nor scoring a touchdown. He also lacked carries - the prior two weeks he had carried the rock more than 20 times each and he should see that number of carries and touches this week. Washington's D has fallen to pieces and have allowed 361 yards on the ground over the last the weeks.

It's about time, but Steven Jackson says he is finally ready for a breakout game. Aside from mocking him for the fact that anyone's breakout game comes in week 16, much less a vet like Jackson - I think he's got something here and is primed for a really great day and is coming off a pretty darned good performance against Seattle. It's just in time for your Fantasy Championship and he should be worth that first round pick you spent if he can win you that trophy.

Despite being fourth on the list, Adrian Peterson is driven for a rushing title and he will put forth his usual great effort again this week against a rush defense that has allowed 120 yds per game and allowed 15 TDs during the season. They played well against Tampa Bay but overall have struggled against the run the last month or so. Peterson is a must start this week and should put forth a very good start for your Championship lineup.

For a little while in the beginning of the season, Thomas Jones looked to be on his way towards another disapppointing season - but lo, and the Favre got his head around the offense and the Mangini actually chose to run the ball - and now Jones is over 1100 yards and topping 13 touchdowns for the year. He's had a TD 7 of the last 8 games - 10 of them total in fact and faces a run defense ranked 21st in the league and allowing 13 rush TDs thus far. I think Jones will be asked to run the ball a lot in order to make sure the Jets control the clock in this must win game on their last trip west.

Running Backs
  1. Pierre Thomas, Saints vs. Lions
  2. Brian Westbrook, Eagles at Redskins
  3. Steven Jackson, Rams vs. 49ers
  4. Adrian Peterson, Vikings vs. Falcons
  5. Thomas Jones, Jets at Seahawks
  6. Marshawn Lynch, Bills at Broncos
  7. Michael Turner, Falcons at Vikings
  8. Steve Slaton, Texans at Raiders
  9. Matt Forte, Bears vs. Packers
  10. Clinton Portis, Redskins vs. Eagles
  11. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers at Buccaneers
  12. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins at Chiefs
  13. Tashard Choice, Cowboys vs. Ravens
  14. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers at Giants
  15. Brandon Jacobs, Giants vs. Panthers
  16. Kevin Smith, Lions vs. Saints
  17. Chris Johnson, Titans vs. Steelers
  18. Jamal Lewis, Browns vs. Bengals
  19. Larry Johnson, Chiefs vs. Dolphins
  20. Cedric Benson, Bengals at Browns
  21. Ricky Williams, Dolphins at Chiefs
  22. Darren McFadden, Raiders vs Texans
  23. Ryan Grant, Packers at Bears
  24. Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers vs. Chargers
  25. Le’Ron McClain, Ravens at Cowboys
  26. Sammy Morris, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  27. P.J. Pope, Broncos vs. Bills
  28. Maurice Morris, Seahawks vs. Jets
  29. DeShaun Foster, 49ers at Rams
  30. Willie Parker, Steelers at Titans
  31. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers at Giants
  32. Leon Washington, Jets at Seahawks
  33. J.J. Arrington, Cardinals at Patriots
  34. Chester Taylor, Vikings vs. Falcons
  35. Warrick Dunn, Buccaneers vs. Chargers
  36. Kevin Faulk, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  37. Justin Fargas, Raiders vs. Texans
  38. Tatum Bell, Broncos vs. Bills
  39. Tim Hightower, Cardinals at Patriots
  40. Mewelde Moore, Steelers at Titans
  41. LaMont Jordan, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  42. Ray Rice, Ravens at Cowboys
  43. LenDale White, Titans vs. Steelers
  44. Derrick Ward, Giants vs. Panthers

WR Rankings for Week 16

With the huge weekend, I expanded my last week of rankings (unless there is a huge outcry) so we're covered no matter what! So without further ado -

Steve Smith peaked at just the right time, huh? He's topped 100+ yards for 4 straight weeks and has scored in the last two games as well. He's on fire and even against tough defense like NY, he's a lock to your lineup. Delhomme may be on his way out, but he's finding Smith early and often (49 times in his last five games) and Smith is having success against even difficult matchups. Get him in and keep him in.

Megatron or Calvin Johnson as he is known as by some, can do a lot with a little. But last week he had a deluge of targets (16, 9 of which he caught) has scored 4 TDs over the last five games, with no less than 60 yards each game. The Saints are ranked 26th vs the pass although they have played better the last few weeks. Still Johnson should do well even with a meager amount of targets - and I think Orlovsky will continue to try and force him the ball and he'll get his chance again to have another big game.

Andre Johnson should continue to benefit from Matt Schaub's current hot streak. Johnson himself has been a tad streaky, but while he won't mount another 200+ yard game he should put up some great numbers nonetheless. Johnson thinks Nnamdi Asomugha will shadow him but Oakland doesn't usually do that. Still, even if it happens, Johnson is good enough to find room to move and catch plenty of balls as well.

Here we are again speaking of Greg Jennings who is STILL a guy that I never see/hear anyone talking about him. Maybe that's why I always feel like he's pretty underrated. As I think Rodgers is going to have a big day, you know Jennings will be his favorite target as always. He's automatic and been very stable as a fantasy WR and will be so again here in the Fantasy Championship.

While I do fully expect Michael Turner to be getting a ton of carries, Atlanta will need to pass on occasion to keep the defense honest. And Matt Ryan always looks for his top option, Roddy White. White should have no problem finding room to function against the 22nd ranked pass defense, though while they do not get too many interceptions, they also don't tend to allow many TDs (just 13 in 15 games). I do believe you'll see White in the end zone once though and he is sure to get good yards for you as well.

Wide Receivers
  1. Steve Smith, Panthers at Giants
  2. Calvin Johnson, Lions vs. Saints
  3. Andre Johnson, Texans at Raiders
  4. Greg Jennings, Packers at Bears
  5. Roddy White, Falcons at Vikings
  6. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals at Patriots
  7. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers vs. Chargers
  8. Marques Colston, Saints at Lions
  9. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs vs. Dolphins
  10. Vincent Jackson, Chargers at Buccaneers
  11. Brandon Marshall, Broncos vs. Bills
  12. Randy Moss, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  13. Wes Welker, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  14. Isaac Bruce, 49ers at Rams
  15. Lance Moore, Saints at Lions
  16. Braylon Edwards, Browns vs. Bengals
  17. Hines Ward, Steelers at Titans
  18. Lee Evans, Bills at Broncos
  19. Terrell Owens, Cowboys vs. Ravens
  20. Davone Bess, Dolphins at Chiefs
  21. Donald Driver, Packers at Bears
  22. Santana Moss, Redskins vs. Eagles
  23. Kevin Walter, Texans at Raiders
  24. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets at Seahawks
  25. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals at Browns
  26. DeSean Jackson, Eagles at Redskins
  27. Derrick Mason, Ravens at Cowboys
  28. Eddie Royal, Broncos vs. Bills
  29. Michael Jenkins, Falcons at Vikings
  30. Bernard Berrian, Vikings vs. Falcons
  31. Domenik Hixon, Giants vs. Panthers
  32. Santonio Holmes, Steelers at Titans
  33. Steve Breaston, Cardinals at Patriots
  34. Chad Johnson, Bengals at Browns
  35. Devin Hester, Bears vs. Packers
  36. Nate Washington, Steelers at Titans
  37. Steve Smith, Giants vs. Panthers
  38. Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers at Giants
  39. Deion Branch, Seahawks vs. Jets
  40. Donnie Avery, Rams vs. 49ers
  41. Torry Holt, Rams vs. 49ers
  42. Laveranues Coles, Jets at Seahawks
  43. Bryant Johnson, 49ers at Rams
  44. Bobby Wade Vikings at Falcons
  45. Amani Toomer Giants vs Panthers

QB Rankings for Week 16

Aaron Rodgers has been playing well despite the unfortunate inability of the team to win over the last month. You can argue whether Favre would have been better for the Pack or what Rodgers doesn't do or how he ain't favre - all that maters, like, NOT at all. Fact is, he has thrown for 1119 yards, 8 TDs over the last four games. He has thrown 6 INTs which is problematic in many leagues, but since a bad game against New Orleans in week 12. Still, this is a big game where they can punk the Bears and Rodgers is playing well the last few weeks. He will definitely get yards (the bears allow 230+ yards per game and 17 TDs) but this is a tough defense which is ranked third in the league in interceptions. I believe Rodgers will have a great yardage and TD day - but he may toss a bad decision out there as well.

Drew Brees will see a lot of hand offs to Pierre Thomas as Thomas stomps the Lions defense. But Brees is still Brees and this offense throws - a lot. And will do so against Detroit as well. He hasn't been throwing the ball with the torrid pace he had been earlier, but I think he is goignto comedarn close to that 300 yards this week. Yes, even with Thomas there, he will throw a ton. After all behind Thomas is a banged up McAllister there's a whole lot of nothing. Brees will throw - early often and endlessly.

Now that it doesn't matter anymore, WOOO those Texans can play. Err.... anyway, maybe this would have been different had Matt Schaub not been hurt, but he did and it isn't. The Raiders have been a little spotty coverage wise- oh they have Nnamdi Asomugha, but that's about it. Turns out Chris Johnson isn't as good as he looked two weeks ago. It's going to be hard to contain Andre Johnson, Owen Daniels and Kevin Walter and Schaub has been tearing it up the last few weeks. Against a reeling defense, Schaub should have a field day.

Now the next two have me concerned due to weather. If it comes in sideways, both these guys will find themselves throwing short passes and handing off the ball - or at least watching their passes go backwards. Matt Cassel has played very well and is finding both Wes Welker and Randy Moss plenty of times. The Cards secondary is opportunistic and could create a turnover but they may be hard pressed to stop him, only slowing him down on occasion. Kurt Warner may be in more trouble, but might also have to throw even more because he has no run game. We have hit Tim Hightower's ceiling at this point and we already know what JJ Arrington can do. And Edge seems done. Warner - even in brutal weather - might have to throw even if Belichick keeps the pressure on him as you imagine he is plotting to do right now. But enough wind could limit how often he can reach Fitzgerald and Breaston (Boldin is out). Still, the possibility that he can throw 40 times means he could have a very good yards day.

Quarterbacks
  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Bears
  2. Drew Brees, Saints at Lions
  3. Matt Schaub, Texans at Raiders
  4. Matt Cassel, Patriots vs. Cardinals
  5. Kurt Warner, Cardinals at Patriots
  6. Jay Cutler, Broncos vs. Bills
  7. Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs vs. Dolphins
  8. Philip Rivers, Chargers at Buccaneers
  9. Donovan McNabb, Eagles at Redskins
  10. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Titans
  11. Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Ravens
  12. Shaun Hill, 49ers at Rams
  13. Matt Ryan, Falcons at Vikings
  14. Seneca Wallace, Seahawks vs. Jets
  15. Tarvaris Jackson, Vikings vs. Falcons
  16. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers vs. Chargers
  17. Brett Favre, Jets at Seahawks
  18. Trent Edwards, Bills at Broncos
  19. Eli Manning, Giants vs. Panthers
  20. Jake Delhomme, Panthers at Giants
  21. Chad Pennington, Dolphins at Chiefs
  22. Kyle Orton, Bears vs. Packers
  23. Kerry Collins, Titans vs. Steelers
  24. Joe Flacco, Ravens at Cowboys
  25. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals at Browns
  26. Dan Orlovsky, Lions vs. Saints
  27. Jason Campbell, Redskins vs. Eagles
  28. Marc Bulger, Rams vs. 49ers
  29. JaMarcus Russell, Raiders vs. Texans
  30. Ken Dorsey, Browns vs. Bengals

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Thursday Game Breakdown - Colts at Jaguars (Jaguars breakdown)

David Garrard – A bad matchup to be sure, the Colts are only allowing 190 yds per game. Does it get worse? Yup – only a meager 5 TDs through the air while snagging 14 INTs – good enough for 9th best total in the league. Garrard has been up and down all seasojn – I wouldn’t want to throw him out there in my Championship week against this defense.

Maurice Jones-Drew – MJD is THE MAN now in the backfield and faces a nice matchup. The Colts allow 127+ yards a game on the ground and 16 Tds to date. Not only will MJD get a lot of carries, he’ll get some targets in the pass game as well. While he has under-produced for chunks of the season, I think this week he rolls off a very nice game.

Dennis Northcutt – Looks like he gets Garrard’s love with Matt Jones out. Can I trust him? Probably not, certainly not as more than a 4. As I expect a bad game from Garrard, you can’t depend on Northcutt all that much.

Reggie Williams – Williams consistently confuses the heck out of everybody and while he can put up the occasional big game I don’t think this is a matchup I would risk it.

Mike Walker – Nope – I want to see him play I think he has potential but it hasn’t been realized – or evident – since he hasn’t been on the field.

Marcedes Lewis – A shaky guy at best, not in the top 10 TEs this week, but if you are in a Hail Mary situation, you’re likely going to get maybe 20-40 yards and 3-5 catches. So not pretty, and barely passable.

Thursday Game Breakdown - Colts at Jaguars (Colts breakdown)

Peyton Manning – Jacksonville is ranked as the 14th team against the pass allowing only 208 yds per game, but actually have given up the 4th most TDs in the league with 22. Manning has had a pair of great games the last two weeks against Cinci and Detroit, both of which normally hurt QBs because they can be run on so effectively. However, the Colts love to throw the ball and will probably do it often enough to where Manning should be a solid start once again.

Dominic Rhodes - Rumor has once again told us that Addai will certainly, maybe almost for sure could be dressed for the game. Whee - I love certainty! I don’t think this hurts Rhodes all that much but it could hamper the overall numbers a tad. The Jags are ranked a mediocre 17th in the league allowing 110 plus yards in the ground and 11 TDs. Not great not bad. I think Rhodes could get the lions share of the carries – if the Colts might make the playoffs then perhaps a healthy Addai may be worth riding Rhodes for now. I think he could get some decent yards and he’s a better start without Addai than with. I expect TDs through the air, not on the ground though so shoot for yards with a Rhodes start.

Joseph Addai – Even if he can play, do you want to roll with him? Even when he has played, he’s been a streaky. He’s had some good games (week 12 and 11) but far more shaky games. Even if he does go, I don’t know how well he will play. I think you take your championship life in your hands if he is in your lineup.

Reggie Wayne – Wayne hasn’t been as outstanding as we had hoped he might be. He’ll have a few big games in a row and then sort of fade away. Three of the last four weeks have been less than good – he gets targets but until last week vs Detroit had actually been a rather bad play. However the Jags give up yards, as I mentioned with Manning, and a ton of TDs. I think you can expect one of his better games this week, rather than worry about a down week.

Anthony Gonzales – A bump up since Harrison doesn’t play so Gonzalez might be a decent 3 or 4. He’s a shaky 4 most weeks, but could get some work across from Wayne when the coverage shifts that way. Has some nice upside, but I'm not in love with him as a start this week.

Dallas Clark – Does the Pro Bowl snub get a big game from him? Do Manning and Dungy try to prove a point? I think Clark could be an excellent start this Thursday because I think the Colts were as shocked as we were that Gates made it when Clark was outplaying him the whole year. 142 and a touch like last week? Probably not. But a bunch of catches and 50 or so yards – with maybe an accompanying TD? I think it’s very possible.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Top WR Performances for Week 15

Andre Johnson 11/207/1 - Johnson continues to combine yards and TDs. The last three games have been a successful combo of both and while it's not an easy matchup against Oakland's secondary, clearly they can be beat. Johnson is a must start even if 200+ yards is a rare thing, he's on a roll and you should ride him to a win.


Steve Smith 9/174/1 - Smith is another one who is playing very well right now. He's amassed 100+ yards in four straight games and a TD in each of the last two. He faces a tough matchup in the Giants defense, but like Andre Johnson, you have to be playing him each week. He's too hot not too and has peaked at just the right time.


Calvin Johnson 9/110/1 - 1 fumble - Aside from a bad fumble, Megatron finally got both the targets AND the yards. He's had two games in a row with a TD as well. New Orleans' secondary can be beat and let's face it - in this gunfight, the Saints should come out blazing. It's hard to believe they'll get him that many catches again, but Johnson has been stellar all season long, with only a few true clunkers to his name. He's a guy who is too good to be contained by the defense in most games. And he's too good to to keep out of your fantasy lineup no matter what he faces.


Antonio Bryant 8/108/1- Here he is again. Antonio FREAKING Bryant. I can say that with venom as he escorted me out of one set of playoffs last week. That aside he is hot right now and you should have him playing each week. Is he a bona fide WR1? Probably not - but two straight 100+ yard games and three straight with at least 1 TD? He's hot enough for at a #2 spot. And with confidence no less. Whoda thunk it after the relatively unspectacular season?


Dennis Northcutt 5/136/1 - Is Northcutt the new 'go-to guy' in Jacksonville with Matt Jones finally on time out? Well with Mike Walker pretty much a no show, Jerry Porter on IR and Reggie Williams the other option, he probably is. I can't feel good about recommending him as anything but a WR3 or 4 but he may be the type of late year player worth having in the lineup. But careful - Indy is ranked seventh against the pass with only 5 TDs allowed.

Randy Moss 5/136/1 - A pretty darn good game that normally would have had him near the top of this list - he's essentially tied for 5 on it anyway and I'd recommend him over Northcutt in a heartbeat - but you were already playing him each week right?


Best of the rest -

Hines Ward 8/107 - Ward has been spotty all season long and now is facing a pretty good Titans defense. He should get a lot of short work but don't expect a big game.

Vincent Jackson 6/97/1 - 1 fumble - Another solid game from a guy normally relegated to WR3 or 4 status who probably should be a #2 on many teams by now. Had a rough patch a few weeks back, but seems to have passed it.

Marques Colston 6/84/1 - Still not consistent but should be in the lineup most weeks. While Pierre Thomas may go buck wild on the toothless Lions, Brees is Brees and will throw the ball. I would start Colston as aWR3 or 2 with confidence. However I reserve the right to change my mind as we close on the weekend.

Reggie Wayne 7/104 - Should have another good game against JAX on Thursday. Yes he's been 'meh' this season. But he'll end strong for you in the Championships.


Top Fantasy QBs of Week 15

Matt Cassel 218/4/1 (18 yards rushing) - Cassel continues to play very well in Brady's stead and could turn it into cash on the field next season for another team. For your fantasy team he's still a matchups only guy - and note the lack of yards. If you only get 4 pts for TDs, that 4 TD day looks less impressive.

Philip Rivers 346/2/1 - 1 fumble - Rivers - who was robbed today of a Pro Bowl appearence by one of my Jets, The Brett - continues to play hard behidn a slipshod Oline with little or no support from the run game. Rivers has had a few bad games and faces a good Tampa Bay defense, so this weekend may be another down week for him.

Tarvaris Jackson 163/4 - Low yardage totals aren't new but 4 TDs are. Jackson hasn't been spectacular and he's not scaring secondaries to make Peterson's job easier but he has played decently the last few games. I wouldn't have him near my lineup the rest of the way though.

Peyton Manning 318/1 - Manning had a decent game, though short a TD or two. He continues to be a must start again, now that his team has gotten back on track. He should be a very good start against Jacksonville this Thursday.

David Garrard 238/2 (31 yds running) - Garrard has been wildly inconsistent this season (like the Jags whole team) and is running out of wide receievers. I can't say he's an auto-sit, but more often than not, he will be a very risky start.

Best of the rest -
Donovan McNabb 290/2/1 - McNabb is back to form - all it took was a benching. The matchup vs Washington looks shaky but he's on the rise while they are slipping.
Ryan Fitzpatrick 209/1 (29 rush yards, 1 rush TD) - Unexpected appearence by the Harvard QB - I don't expect to see it again. Still too many question marks on the team.
Tony Romo 244/2 - I don't know if I buy the love triangle between he, Witten and TO, but it's not like the drama actually affected him as far as I could see.
Tyler Thigpen 171/1/1 (40 rush yards 1 rush TD)
JaMarcus Russell 242/2/1 - Russell had one of those games you look at and say 'yeah maybe he CAN do it' but it's still not a situation I would trust this week. Maybe Russell will become the Qb the Raiders need him to be - but this team is not in the shape he needs them to be either.

Top RB Performances for Week 15

Pierre Thomas 146/1 & 1 rec TD - Thomas has had two very nice games in a row and has peaked just in time to carry you to the Fantasy Championship - where he will face Detroit in one of the better matchups in Week 16. Thomas is certainly earning that permanent gig in the backfield and could seal it up this weekend.


Dominic Rhodes 116/2 - Rhodes looked like he was going to be a good play this weekend even before Addai was deactivated. With the full load, Rhodes showed he made the right decision in heading back home to Indy after the poor choice to go to Oakland. Addai is still shaky and may miss the game this week against Jacksonville. Rhodes will be a decent flex at least even if Addai plays and would bump up if Addai is out again.


Michael Turner 182/1- Turner has long put to rest the concern that he was inconsitent and struggled against better run defenses. You had to start him even against Minnesota's stout defense - and with Pat Williams out the matchup actually looks much better than it did a few days ago.


Tashard Choice 143/1- I don't even know what to make of Tashard Choice. What do you do with him against Baltimore? He's already performed against two of the top run defenses in the league in Pittsburgh and the Giants - performed being Blurb code for BLEW UP. Do you trust him going into the your championship game? It's hard for me to say he is a must start, but he has played very well TWICE against two top 5 run defenses. Can you afford to sit him?


Steven Jackson 127/1 - SJax is back! Kinda. This week. He should have a second good game against the 49rs this comign weekend. He is getting the rock and as long as he stays healthy he should be ok for this weekend, even though Singletary has the San Fran defense working pretty well.

Best of the rest -

Maurice Jones-Drew 70/1 & 1 rec- MJD should play all right against Indy, but has been shaky in terms of yard production.

Kevin Faulk 111 & 1 rec - Faulk shows his owners why he is often a solid flex option.

Darren McFadden 114/1- Darren 'Boom or Bust' McFadden booms last week - may have a decent day against Houston but you never know with the Raiders and the running backs.

Sammy Morris 117/1 - How Faulk and Morris got in on the same list is pretty intriguing and in New England that's pretty rare.

Kevin Smith 119/1 - A pretty good day against the Colts - he might look ok again versus New Orleans if Detroit doesn't abandon the run.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

LenDale White active

White will be playing against the Texans today - as always he is more of a TD threat than a yard threat and as always it shouldn't affect Chris Johnson.

If you were starting Johnson, do so. White is a guy who will probably get a TD - and may again add some yards this week. He's a flex or borderline RB2.

Barber Limited, Witten and TO not speaking

ESPN aka TO-blow-up-central is reporting that Marion Barber will probably only play a limited role tonight. Which is a fat load of no help, really. He expects maybe a half out of Barber though if Barber plays, I think they'll run him into the ground. How he'll hold up is anyone's guess and hopefully you have other options.

Meanwhile after TO and Witten reportedly almost came to blows Friday, they are now not speaking to each other.

I am telling you, this is a huge worry for me. Sure, you don't have to like each other to succeed but it really seems that this locker-room is on the verge of meltdown and that could hurt the production. Maybe it won't, maybe it will. But it has to be a concern.

And you'd have to assume that if they miss the playoffs - heads will roll....

Frank Gore OUT

What we've all half expected has happened - The 49rs have declared Frank Gore OUT vs Miami. Expect a hodge-podge of RBs - DeShaun Foster, Michael Robinson and a little Thomas Clayton sprinkled in.

None of which is really starter worthy unless all heck has broken lose in your backfield.

NFLN says Matt Cassel will Start

NFLN's Adam Shefter is saying that Pats QB Matt Cassel is planning on playing today, after there was some question due to the death of his father.

It's always hard to gauge how something like this will affect someone - Cassel hasn't been practicing and the Oakland secondary can be good, though they played badly last week. Word is Asomougha will NOT shadow Randy Moss and CB CHris Johnson has been streaky. I have Cassel ranked pretty high - but always consider that we don't know how he will react after his father's death.

Garcia OUT, Griese will start

Jeff Garcia warmed up but the Bucs determined he wasn't able to go . Griese gets the start over Luke McCown, which wqs not the reported case earlier in the week.

Hard to say what this means for Bryant, Dunn or Caddy. Griese turned the ball over a ton during the first go round. Will that hurt Bryant? Will the defense now just focus on the run game and shut it down? All concerns.

I wouldn't start Griese. I would be concerned Bryant will backslide. Dunn and Caddy will maybe get more work, but may face a stronger front.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Sam Bradford wins Heisman

As I said in my breakdown yesterday, all three finalists were outstanding this season but Sam Bradford stood out above the other two.

Nice speech, over-long ceremony, now we can get onto the field and settle this whole 'National Championship' nonsense.

Bradford is certainly a guy who might end up being a good NFL Pro if he continues to develop the way he has. As I said, he looks like he has all the tools.

RB ranking update

First off, thanks to listener/reader Ron Fowler who pointed out to me that Justin Fargas was not ranked on the RB list from last night. This is what happens when you finish things late at night with Robot Chicken in the background.

My apologies. I will re update it HOWEVER I'll just lay it out here for you - and add a rerank on Tashard Choice. I would move him back to about 32/33 - the whole alleged Owens/Witten near-fight has me worried the Cowboys are imploding and Romo might pass a ton to try and placate everyone with or without Barber in. So I'm not hot on Choice - I mean even less than I was before. I know he had a good week last week. I get it. Just really worried about him this week.

I would plug Fargas in at about 30. He's good for yards against a bend but don't break run defense but as the Pats have given up only 7 TDs (4 to Ronnie Brown in one day and three the whole rest of the season) you can't depend upon getting one tomorrow. So figure between 60-80 yards (maybe a little more if the Raiders stay close) - a TD or somethign would be gravy.

Thanks again Ronald - good looking out.

The 2008 Heisman Finalist Breakdown

Here are my thoughts on the three finalists for the 2008 Heisman Trophy. I think all three are excellent athletes and was very impressed with them over the course of this season. Texas Tech wide receiver Michael Crabtree and quarterback Graham Harrell were also two guys I thought highly of who did not make it - and there are several more players who were probably in the conversation, but did not make the cut. Here are my thoughts on the three finalists.

Tim Tebow – Florida

Tebow has been here before, a fact that could prevent him from winning as much as help. Voters are just as likely to give someone else a shot since Tebow already became the first sophomore to ever win the award. Only one other player has ever won a pair of Heismans – Archie Griffin, running back for THE Ohio State Buckeyes won back to back in 1974 and 1975. Tebow’s numbers aren’t as gaudy as McCoy or Bradford’s. 2515 yards and 28 TDs almost seem pedestrian next to their numbers. But while he may not throw often, he also rarely makes mistakes and has just a pair of interceptions to his name. Tebow is also dangerous with his feet, running for 564 yards this season and totaling 12 touchdowns on the ground. More than anything, voters have to be impressed with his leadership – after losing to unranked Ole Miss (at home no less), Tebow stepped up and took responsibility for the loss. "You have never seen any player in the entire country play as hard as I will play the rest of this season," Tebow said afterwards. "And you'll never see someone push the rest of the team as hard as I will push everybody the rest of this season, and you'll never see a team play harder than we will the rest of this season." And push he did, playing near flawless football the following nine games and capping the season with three touchdowns and 216 yards in the victory over then #1 Alabama. He did it all season long and did it against some of the top defenses in college football.

Sam Bradford – Oklahoma

His numbers speak for themselves – 4464 yards, 48 TDs and just 6 interceptions are nothing to sneeze at. Bradford only threw for less than 300 yards once, in week 1 and was the signal caller for the highest-scoring offense ever. Bradford has phenomenal arm strength, is smart behind center and is cool under pressure. He waits for his shot, then takes it and makes it count. He’s also a tough competitor, isn’t afraid to take a hit on the very rare occasion he has to, and isn’t afraid to hold the ball long enough for a receiver to get open. Bradford piled up stat after impressive stat with efficiency and poise, all the while leading his team to the top of the BCS rankings and into the National Championship game.

Colt McCoy - Texas

There are a fair amount of people who are still lamenting Texas’ absence in the Big 12 Championship game and that may factor into the voting here. It shouldn’t need to. McCoy’s actions on the field more than support his presence here. His 3445 yards and 32 TDs are impressive enough, as is his durability (holds a school record for games as a starter at 31) and his ability to perform in the clutch (led 9 second half comebacks resulting in wins). He outshot co-finalist Sam Bradford back in October (one of the nine comeback wins) but one of his biggest come-backs in my mind was in a deafeningly loud Jones SBC Stadium in Lubbock, Texas. After a difficult first half, the Longhorns trailed 19-0 and then trailed again in the third, 29-13. But McCoy led drive after drive, chipping away at the Texas Tech lead, capping an 11play, 80 yard drive with a 6 yard scramble to the five yard line, setting up a Vondrell McGee touchdown. While the Longhorns lost that game, Colt McCoy willed that drive and showcased everything he needed to become a Heisman finalist.

My thoughts –

I would not be surprised with any of the three walking away with the award. I think McCoy has the biggest hill to climb. He’s tough and a gamer, but he faced very few top defenses and missing out on that Big 12 Championship game was unfortunate, especially with voters getting an extra look at Bradford and Tebow. He proved himself very tough, running the ball a ton, at what seems like half of Tebow’s size. On the other hand, Tebow has been here before which is good and bad. I think history has shown that the voters like to see some new faces win and that makes it tough to predict the Gator quarterback winning. He’s faced the toughest defenses of the trio and put the team on his back when needed. Bradford seems to fill most of the bills of a Heisman winner – he piles up the stats while his team wins it’s way to the BCS Championship game. Like Tebow, he is a leader and like McCoy, he is cool in the pocket and has nasty stats. In my mind, Bradford is likely the front runner for this award at this time.

As I said, no name called from that podium Saturday night will surprise me (Unless Graham Harrell wins. Which would be kinda odd.) and looking at this season I think all three have made excellent cases for themselves. If I had a vote – I think Bradford would get it. I like both other QBs but I think the Sooner quarterback showed all the tools a well-rounded and successful athlete should have. His athleticism, ability, poise and accuracy all were on display throughout the season and I was very impressed every time I watched him. I never felt like he was out of a game – like I did with McCoy in the first half of that Texas Tech loss – and I always felt like I was watching a quarterback who excelled at his position.

Taking away nothing from the other two, I think Sam Bradford should be the Heisman Trophy winner for this season. I am excited to find out who the actual voters think should be the guy Saturday night.

Friday, December 12, 2008

RB Rankings for Week 15

Well as long as he's hot you've got to ride Brian Westbrook, especially against a defense like Cleveland's. Over the past three weeks, they've allowed over 400 yards - although to be fair, half that was to Tennessee last week. Still, this is a reeling defense and a red hot Westbrook and a firing on all cylinders McNabb should put up some very good points - through the air as well as on the ground.

Aside from the back-and-forth between Clinton Portis and Redskins coach Jon Zorn, Portis is a week healthier and has a fantastic matchup in Cinci. I think Zorn wil luse his best weapon both to grind the game away as well as make Portis happy. And Portis should have no problem against this run defense, or lack thereof.

Will LaDainianTomlinson ever get totally back on track? Not until next season when the Oline gets fixed perhaps, but the Chiefs are still a great place to get healthy - even if they have played better of late. They still give up 161 yards per game on average and have allowed 21 TDs so far. Now, LT didn't fare too well last time out (totalled over 100 yards but not by much and no TD) but he's a lot healthier and should top 100 yards with a TD.

You can't get DeAngelo Williams out of your lineup nor should you try. And don't worry about Jonathan Stewart - Williams will still get plenty of carries and there will be plenty of success to be had against the 36th rush defense in the league. The only hitch in the plan could be if the Broncs leap out to an early lead. But more than likely, the Panthers will grind out the clock in an attempt to keep the dynamic pass offense of Jay Cutler and friends off the field. Williams will be the work horse and we've seen way too much production from him lately to have him on your bench.

Adrian Peterson didn't light the Lions up the way we'd hoped he would and while the matchup doesn't get easier, he should still find plenty of success. With Tarvaris Jackson the likely QB, the Vikings will have to rely on him heavily and even against tough defenses, Peterson starts and gets yards.

Running Back
  1. Brian Westbrook, Eagles vs. Browns
  2. Clinton Portis, Redskins at Bengals
  3. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers at Chiefs
  4. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers vs. Broncos
  5. Adrian Peterson, Vikings at Cardinals
  6. Michael Turner, Falcons vs. Buccaneers
  7. Dominic Rhodes, Colts vs. Lions
  8. Chris Johnson, Titans at Texans
  9. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars vs. Packers
  10. Thomas Jones, Jets vs. Bills
  11. Steven Jackson, Rams vs. Seahawks
  12. Ryan Grant, Packers at Jaguars
  13. Steve Slaton, Texans vs. Titans
  14. Marshawn Lynch, Bills at Jets
  15. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers vs. Broncos
  16. Derrick Ward, Giants at Cowboys
  17. Ronnie Brown, Dolphins vs. 49ers
  18. Kevin Smith, Lions at Colts
  19. Maurice Morris, Seahawks at Rams
  20. Marion Barber, Cowboys vs. Giants
  21. Warrick Dunn, Buccaneers at Falcons
  22. LenDale White, Titans at Texans
  23. Larry Johnson, Chiefs vs. Chargers
  24. Sammy Morris, Patriots at Raiders
  25. Ricky Williams, Dolphins vs. 49ers
  26. Jamal Lewis, Browns at Eagles
  27. Willie Parker, Steelers at Ravens
  28. Le’Ron McClain, Ravens vs. Steelers
  29. Tashard Choice, Cowboys vs. Giants
  30. Cedric Benson, Bengals vs. Redskins
  31. DeShaun Foster, 49ers at Dolphins
  32. Tatum Bell, Broncos at Panthers
  33. Cadillac Williams, Buccaneers at Falcons
  34. Kevin Faulk, Patriots at Raiders

WR Rankings for Week 15

Larry Fitzgerald has really come on for the last few weeks - Anquan Boldin will not continue to struggle but Fitzgerald has been THE MAN for the Cardinals the last few weeks and rock solid for the whole season. He should see a lot of work since the best way to beat the Vikings is through the air. And of the dynamic duo, Fitz is the hotter and I think he will get a ton of work from Warner.

It took a while to happen but Steve Smith finally started producing really nicely. The Broncos can get thrown against with or without Champ Bailey and Smith has made some great catches. Even though Delhomme is not a great start and has struggled, Smith has still been able to put up good points and will do so this week as well.

On the opposite sideline, Brandon Marshall will succeed, probably just because of the sheer volume of passes Cutler will heave at him. I don't expect Bell to do much save for keeping the defense honest and I think the Broncos will not rely on any of the collage of also rans and never was RBs they've collected. Marshall has the ability to overcome the defense and with Eddie Royal and tight end Tony Scheffler, he'll find some single coverage.

Greg Jennings, like Aaron Rodgers, puts up fantasy points even when the Packers lose. As Rodgers does well, Jennings does as well because Rodgers loves him some Jennings. He'll look at him pretty frequently and lucky for him, Jennings can catch anything thrown at him. Jennings is a reliable fantasy starter every week and again when the big fantasy names at WR get talked about, his name is not brought up often enough.

Roddy White faces a dangerous secondary in Tampa Bay who will harrass and attack both White and Matt Ryan. However, White has more than earned his auto-start in your lineup and while it's a bad matchup, he has seen those before and succeeded. Ryan struggled against this secondary in it's own house before. But he is more experiance and home, so expect a better game from him and a great game from White.

Wide Receiver
  1. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals vs. Vikings
  2. Steve Smith, Panthers vs. Broncos
  3. Brandon Marshall, Broncos at Panthers
  4. Greg Jennings, Packers at Jaguars
  5. Roddy White, Falcons vs. Buccaneers
  6. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs vs. Chargers
  7. Reggie Wayne, Colts vs. Lions
  8. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals vs. Vikings
  9. Calvin Johnson, Lions at Colts
  10. Randy Moss, Patriots at Raiders
  11. Terrell Owens, Cowboys vs. Giants
  12. Andre Johnson, Texans vs. Titans
  13. DeSean Jackson, Eagles vs. Browns
  14. Wes Welker, Patriots at Raiders
  15. Derrick Mason, Ravens vs. Steelers
  16. Lee Evans, Bills at Jets
  17. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets vs. Bills
  18. Vincent Jackson, Chargers at Chiefs
  19. Isaac Bruce, 49ers at Dolphins
  20. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers at Falcons
  21. Santana Moss, Redskins at Bengals
  22. Davone Bess, Dolphins vs. 49ers
  23. Deion Branch, Seahawks at Rams
  24. Eddie Royal, Broncos at Panthers
  25. Kevin Walter, Texans vs. Titans
  26. Donald Driver, Packers at Jaguars
  27. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals vs. Redskins
  28. Hines Ward, Steelers at Ravens
  29. Bernard Berrian, Vikings at Cardinals
  30. Marvin Harrison, Colts vs. Lions
  31. Braylon Edwards, Browns at Eagles
  32. Santonio Holmes, Steelers at Ravens
  33. Hank Baskett, Eagles vs. Browns
  34. Steve Breaston, Cardinals vs. Vikings
  35. Reggie Williams, Jaguars vs. Packers

QB Rankings for Week 15

Aaron Rodgers may be 'no Brett Favre' but that doesn't mean he's played badly for a first year starter. Last week he had 295 and a pair of TDs against the Texans in a loss, has been one of the hotter Fantasy QBs over the last three weeks and faces a middling defense which has given up 21 TDs this season. Even if he didn't put up big yards, he's likely to hit his WRs or Donald Lee for at least a few touchdowns.

Maybe Peyton Manning will suffer from a big case of Dominic Rhodes as the Lions attract good performances from opposing running backs but this is a team that throws the ball and I think Manning will do so regardless of how easy Rhodes finds it. The fact that it could be Rhodes and a host of nobodies could lead the team to throw in order to avoid running Rhodes into the ground.

If you are going to beat the Vikings you're going to have to throw. And if you're the Arizona Cardinals, possessing three outstanding wide receivers with Kurt Warner slinging the rock you were going to do that anyway. You may say 'Andrew, the Vikes held off the Lions' pass game last week....' Actually in all likelyhood you wouldn't get past the word 'Lions' - but even if you were to lose your mind and compare Warner with Culpepper, there are too many weapons to stop for the Vikes defense - an average defense overall. The biggest question is again, can the Cards' oline hold against yet another sack-machine defense.

The Chargers have had some real problems in the offensive line and occasionally Philip Rivers has lacked the time and weapons to suceed but Vincent Jackson has stepped up this season and I expect Tomlinson to have a good day and therefore keep the defense honest. Now, I don't expect a ton of points from the Wr core save for Jackson but I think Rivers will have a very good day against a defense that cannot generate a pass rush or turn over the ball. Rivers should have a nice little fantasy explosion for you Sunday.

Donovan McNabb continues to play well since Turkey Day and face a slowly bleeding to death Cleveland Browns. Now the Browns' defense has actually been playing like they still give a damn, but it's still not enough. And while Westbrook will have a good day, he'll get a ton of yards through the air anyway and that translates to some good yards for McNabb. They'll get the ball to Curtis, Brown and Jackson as well.

Back with more rankings in an hour or so....

Quarterback
  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Jaguars
  2. Peyton Manning, Colts vs. Lions
  3. Kurt Warner, Cardinals vs. Vikings
  4. Philip Rivers, Chargers at Chiefs
  5. Donovan McNabb, Eagles vs. Browns
  6. Matt Cassel, Patriots at Raiders
  7. Jay Cutler, Broncos at Panthers
  8. Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Giants
  9. Seneca Wallace, Seahawks at Rams
  10. Matt Ryan, Falcons vs. Buccaneers
  11. Tyler Thigpen, Chiefs vs. Chargers
  12. Shaun Hill, 49ers at Dolphins
  13. Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Titans
  14. Brett Favre, Jets vs. Bills
  15. Jason Campbell, Redskins at Bengals
  16. Jeff Garcia, Buccaneers at Falcons
  17. Kerry Collins, Titans at Texans
  18. Chad Pennington, Dolphins vs. 49ers
  19. Jake Delhomme, Panthers vs. Broncos
  20. Eli Manning, Giants at Cowboys
  21. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Ravens
  22. Tarvaris Jackson Vikings at Cardinals
  23. David Garrard, Jaguars vs. Packers
  24. J.P. Losman, Bills at Jets
  25. Marc Bulger, Rams vs. Seahawks
  26. Dan Orlovsky, Lions at Colts
  27. Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Steelers
  28. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Bengals vs. Redskins
  29. JaMarcus Russell, Raiders vs. Patriots
  30. Ken Dorsey, Browns at Eagles

No ESPNRadio today

I got bumped today so no ESPN Radio appearance - BUT the Daily News Stampede will carry on as per usual on the Fantasy Sports Channel at pm PST/Noon EST.


Rankings up throughout the day, Heisman Article tomorrow morningish.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Deaf High School Football Player Makes His Own Noise

Every once in a while you read about someone who helps you put life in perspective - or at least keep it there.

This article in the LA Times is about one of those people - High School Senior running back Chris Loatman has been deaf since he was about 14 months old. But that hasn't stopped him from becoming a heck of a football player or leading his team to a Championship.

Click the link and check it out - pretty good stuff by writer Corina Knoll.

Heisman Finalists

As I mentioned on the show this morning, the finalists for this years Heisman are Florida's Tim Tebow, Texas Longhorn Colt McCoy and Oklahoma's Sam Bradford. Winner is announced Saturday night (I was kidding when I said 'it's not like they hand the award out this weekend' on the podcasts, but I appreciate the multiple emails correcting me. My sarcasm is weak apparently. :) ).

I will have my thoughts on this Saturday morning for your perusal but I think it's Bradford or Tebow who are the frontrunners. But who knows? Analysis forthcoming on Saturday!

Thursday Game Breakdown - Saints at Bears - Bears Breakdown

BEARS
Kyle Orton – Isn’t knocking it out of the park but has played all right since he came back from injury. This isn’t an awful matchup – the Saitns are 16th vs the pass, and have given up 20 TDs and only have 11 INTs. So he won’t turn the ball over (not really his problem most weeks) and will probably throw for @ 200 or so yards again. But he won’t blow your opponent away and unless this is your best matchup and QB, I would rather pass on him. But it depends on your alternatives and Orton won’t lose you the game which might be important.

Matt Forte – Why are you even wondering? START HIM. Lock him into your RB2 (maybe RB1 depending). The Saints give up 112 yds per game and have allowed 10 TDs on the ground. Oh and he catches – if Orton has a TD, it is likely Forte catches it. Should have an excellent day as he is involved even if they trail as he catches the ball well.

Chicago WRs – You can stick any one of them in, but Hester is getting the most targets of late. Has the best chance as a flex or WR3/4 but don’t hold your breath.

Greg Olson – Olson is very much up and down – there are more stable TEs – BUT do you own them. He can get some looks from Orton and is a risky play. Depends upon who else you have, but I’m not sold that he will add that much to your fantasy team.

Thursday Game Breakdown - Saints at Bears - Saints Breakdown

New Orleans @ Chicago

Saints

Drew Brees – The Bears run D is tougher, the pass D is ranked 28th with 15 TDs given up and an average of 234 yds a game. Now, they have 19 INTs, so you can expect a decent chance Brees turns a ball over but you can also assume that this is where the Saints attack the Bears and Brees will have success.

Reggie Bush – Bush faces a tough defense but the fact that he catches so many balls makes hi ma safer start. It ain’t great but as a RB 2 he should pile up enough yards to give you a good amount of points.

Pierre Thomas – he will get the carries but will he have success. I think as a flex, he might and if Brees is slinging the ball around as much as we think he will, Thomas will have some room on the ground. A shaky start but I think a safe enough one for a flex spot.

Deuce McAllister – McAllister missed practice yesterday due to a death in the family but should be in Chicago with the team tonight. That said, I don’t expect him to be a big part of the plan unless Thomas implodes. So he’s not a safe start tonight at all.

Marques Colston – Colston is starting to re-emerge as a consistent target (12 and 8 targets the last two games) but isn’t holding onto the ball. He should have a good chance in Chicago BUT he has fallen from WR1 status. At this point he should be a WR 2/3 – with huge upside, but potential low game as well.

Lance Moore- He’s NOT getting the targets he was – though still getting about 6 the last three weeks. The last two weeks he has caught less and DONE less than the weeks prior. He could be in for a good day as Brees will throw but with Colston, Bush, Shockey and others there perhaps he is fading back into the background. Might be a WR3, but a 4 or flex is safer.

Jeremy Shockey – Shockey has put in some decent catches the last few weeks but isn’t making a ton of noise. You gotta start him, probably and he’s more consistent than some others. But don’t expect fireworks.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Top Fantasy QBs of Week 14

Some new faces, some guys we've seen before. Some guys heating up....

Matt Schaub - 414yds, 2tds, 1 2pt, 1INT - I never, ever, thought he was going to have this good a game after his layoff. But he sure proved his doubters wrong and should have put to rest the 'Sage is a better QB' talk that has permeated the last month or so. Still mostly a matchup guy, a very good showing.

Matt Ryan - 315/1/1 12pt, 1 rush TD - Ryan has had a phenomenal year and you just have to like this kid if you happen to have drafted him in Dynasty. Or redraft. Or if you are the Falcons. Again, mostly a matchup guy but he has some places he might start for you in the next few weeks. Tampa has shown they can be thrown on and we know that's the easiest way to beat the VIkings. Depending on your bench he might have a shot at helping you win it all.

Jeff Garcia - 321/2 - Is Garcia starting to heat up? Some mediocre outings was starting to make folks think we would see Josh Johnson, but it's likely we'll have to wait until next year on that. Garcia faces Atlanta (OK) this week, San Diego next week for many Championship weeks (good!) and then Oakland (who knows? Might not matter for your league).

Seneca Wallace - 212/3 1 fumble, 47 rush yards - I wouldn't trust him as far as I could throw him and given my bad back this week, that wouldn't be far. OK, my back is fine, but still - Wallace is risky to start. He does face the Rams which is a great matchup this week, and then the Jets who could be fighting hard for their playoff lives ad can be thrown on. I wouldnt' want to start him but if you face injuries there might be worse matchup-wise.


Peyton Manning - 277/3 - Hey, a familiar face. Manning had a good game this week and is -and should be - a starter regardless of game. What will happen against Detroit this week? Will they run too much? Well, for sure Detroit cannot hang with them in the air, so I suspect Manning will get his regardless.

The Rest - That some of these guys are here and not above should tell you how out of control the top spots were this week....
Philip Rivers - 214/3 & 19 rushing yards - Rivers put on a nice display this week but that oline has him too up and down to be counted on very easily.
Jay Cutler - 286/2/1 & 16 rush yards - Cutler might actually have to throw more and he should be a decent start going forward with the upside of being even better than decent.
Aaron Rodgers - 295/2/1 - Rodgers was very close to being in the top 5 and continues to be a very good start going forward most of the time. Even weather didn't hurt him too much.
Shaun Hill - 285/2/1 - Is he going to be a good start from here on out? I can't believe that but either had an extraordinarily good game or the Jets looked extraordinarily bad. I am a Jets fan - guess where I fall on that one?
Drew Brees - 230/2 - Another sub 300 yard game?!?! THE SKY IS FALLING THE SKY IS FALLING! Seriously, Brees looked better Sunday than he did the week prior and is getting the weapons he needs back and healthy. The Saints need to win, so you know he will play hard and while he may not be cracking 300+ each week, he's always a pretty good start.

Top WR Performances for Week 14

Here's a list of guys who - for the most part - are VERY UNLIKELY to repeat top 5 success. But they had big weeks nonetheless and if you faced them, they could have contributed to your downfall. It's incredibly frustrating to have a great team, only to lose on a mediocre players one week fantasy binge and purge - but that's the game we both love and loathe.

Antonio Bryant - 9/200/2 - AKA Andrew's Fantasy Death Knell Special. Bryant played out of his mind last night and will not do this again. Don't get me wrong - he will play well - but he won't sniff a day like this again this year and maybe ever. Hope you had him in - he goes back to the WR3 or so he normally tops out as. A PHENOMENAL performance regardless. Games like this is why these lists get posted on Tuesday now. If you faced him, you had a very unpleasant surprise.

Brandon Marshall - 11/91/2 - A great performance by a guy who is often sniffing the top 5 or so in fantasy leagues. Marshall came up big for Cutler multiple times and will be looked upon often to make up for yet another RB injury in the backfield. Could the Rb troubles allow secondaries to double him? Probably not as Royal, Scheffler and other players make teams pay when they do that.

Steve Smith - 9/117/1 - Here is the game we have been hoping to see more of from Steve Smith but has been missing because of the great running game. Smith blew up last night and while Bryant had a monster day, here's a guy who is more consistent and solid than Bryant has ever been. Looking at the numbers you can be blinded by Bryant's big day, but Smith did very well by his owners too.

Kevin Walter - 6/146/1 - Probably the best flex play any owner has at this point, Walter continues to add good yard totals with touchdowns. Schaub played very well (far better than I expected) in his return and Walter didn't miss a beat either.

Wes Welker - 12/134 & 1 2pt conv - Already a PPR monster, Welker had a good day even in standard scoring. A TD would have been nice, but his totals show you why he is always a play.


Best of the rest -
Roddy White - 10/164 - No TDs is a bummer but White continues to be a valid fantasy force. he should do somethign nice for Matt Ryan and Mike Turner.
Vincent Jackson - 5/148/1 - If only he could do this more consistently. Still a good WR3 or 4 most weeks.
Deion Branch - 4/88/2 - Was this because he faced his old team or is he finally healthy and ready to roll? I think somewhere in between. How much does Wallace like him is question 2.
Larry Fitzgerald - 6/73/1 - Boldin had another quiet day while Fitz got yards and TD again. Start him - always.
Calvin Johnson - 3/84/1 - I really wish he would get more than three catches, ever. Just think of what he could do if he had a team that could do that?

Monday, December 8, 2008

Top Fantasy RBs of Week 14

Brian Westbrook 203/1 rush td/1rec td - Westbrook has re-emerged as a top back just in time for lead you to the fantasy promised lands - if you rolled with him this week. Westy looks like he has gotten more energy than he had in the weeks before his outburst against Arizona and so does McNabb, If they can both keep it together, Westbrook may have just heated up right when you need him most.

DeAngelo Williams 192/2 - Williams continues to be a monster fantasy starter for you and will continue to be so, no matter who he is facing. The use of Stewart may seem a tad alarming but Williams will still be the workhorse and still continue his work as your bell cow.

Jonathan Stewart 115/2 - What changed between now and the last few weeks? Is Stewart suddenly about to be thrust into a major roll in the offense? It's almost impossible to say. So much so, that you'd better be damned sure - or damned desperate - before you trot him out as anything more than a flex during your playoff run.

Chris Johnson 166/1 - The rookie continues to have excellent value again, now that he is back on track post-Lion game. I believe he's perfect for a lock in your RB2 for sure here on out.

Pierre Thomas 109/1 rush td/1 rec td - is Thomas the real deal? It sure seems like it. He has a lot to prove and a job to lose and it looks like Payton trusts him to do the job. He definitely has the look of a late year breakout and again, great timing here.

The rest -
Darren Sproles 64/2 rec TD - A big day on some garbage work and not reliable enough to start with confidence....
Reggie Bush 106/1 rec TD - Bush should be a pretty consistent start from here on out and Thomas will morel ikely help him than hurt him as it gives him a companion threat in the backfield.
Tashard Choice 166 yards - I can't trust him but he looked better than I ever expected. Certainly worth a watch - but dangerous to trust. Was it just a one time bust of points?
Ryan Grant 112/1 - Just not consistent enough but a good flex play depending upon matchup.
Maurice Jones-Drew 102/1 rec td - MJD put up some good numbers and looked pretty good - but that offense is terrifying right now.

College Football Top 25 review - Week 15

A little late - and the Bowl dance cards are all filled out but here it is nonetheless. We'll have coverage of the majors as we hit the end of the year. But for now, we wrap up the final non-Bowl week of the 2008 NCAA College Football season.

#4 Florida 31, #1 Alabama 20
In a hard fought and see-sawing match, Gator quarterback Tim Tebow threw a trio of touchdown passes and secured a spot for Florida in the National Championship game. It was a slugfest the whole way and both teams earned every yard. But in the end, Tebow showed why he's on the cusp of another Heisman Trophy with a gutsy, poised performance.

#2 Oklahoma 62, #20 Missouri 21
The Sooners romped all over the Tigers as they locked down their spot in the BCS Championship game and won the Big 12 in the process. Oklahoma quarterback Sam Bradford put in another example of why, like Tebow, he is in the thick of the Heisman race, throwing for 384 yards and a pair of touchdowns. The Sooners rolled the opposition, totaling 627 yards.

#5 USC 28, UCLA 7
USC only dropped one game, and an early one at that. But a weak Pac-10 conference prevented them from making up any real ground and a final game against an entirely overmatched UCLA team didn't help matters. USC had little troubl with their crosstown rivals - Mark Sanchez threw for 269 yards, two touchdowns and an INT, while Joe McKnight led the ground attack with 99 yards and a 12 yard touchdown run. They will meet Penn State in the Rose Bowl, the fourth time in a row they have headed to the game. They also won their seventh consecutive BCS bid, completed their seventh straight 11-win season and and won their seventh Pac-10 Championship in a row.

#12 Ball State 24, Buffalo 42
Ball State just couldn't hang onto the ball last Friday, as they fell to unranked Buffalo and losing the MAC Championship. Five turnovers spelled doom for the Cardinals, all of which in some way shape or form came from quarterback Nate Davis. Buffalo scored after each of the fumbles and those turnovers overshadowed Davis' otherwise solid stats (351 yards and a touchdown). The Bulls ended Ball State's perfect season and became Bowl eligible for the first time since they joined the majors in 1999. The school had previously been invited to the Tangerine Bowl in 1958 but turned it down since their African-American players would not have been allowed to play. That team will travel to Toronto for the International Bowl with the current team.

#13 Cincinnati 29, Hawaii 24
The Bearcats had to surge late to overcome an upset in Hawaii, rallying with 19 points in the 4th quarter in a hard-fought battle in Aloha Stadium.

#25 Virginia Tech 30, #17 Boston College 12
Virginia Tech was able to turn turnovers into points and that was all the difference as they beat the Eagles, won the ACC Championship and locked themselves into an Orange Bowl appearence. BC has beaten the Hokies twice in the last two regular seasons but VT has now won it's second ACC title in a row (a first in the ACC) and their third in the five years they have been in the conference.

#23 Pittsburgh 34, UCONN 10
The Pitt Panthers are headed to the Sun Bowl o nthe strength of their first 9 win season since 1982. Running back LeSean McCoy turned in another good performance with 95 yards and a touchdown.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Sunday News Updates!

Brian Westbrook is playing and starting against the Giants. Even against a tough matchup, after 9 days rest you should get him in, though if you have a very solid RB1, I would move him to 2 or flex.

Matt Schaub
is active and starting today against the Packers. I wouldn't want to start him this week but if you have him and Culpepper or Marc Bulger - you might feel you have to. But rust and the GB secondary could make him a bad start.

Reggie Bush is also active and starting and a much better start against Atlanta. He played well last week and I expect him to roll along nicely as a lower end RB1 or a rock solid RB2.

Kellen Winslow is out as expected.

Detroit WR Shaun McDonald is out and that leaves Keary Colbert opposite Calvin Johnson. That isn't great but not much worse than usual, unfortunately.

Willis McGahee is reportedly struggling with migraines. I know more than a few people who have this issue and it can be completely dibilitating. It could explain some of these streaks where he doesn't play but is dressed. But it's really just one more thing with this guy.

Steven Jackson reportedly wants "everyone to know" he is returning from a torn quad muscle, not a strain. Which makes him a little more dicey than I like but also explains why he took so long to fully get back on the field.

John Carney will be kicking today.

Clinton Portis is active and playing but his injuries and the matchup make me nervous.

Tashard Choice starts in place of Barber. Great to watch for Dynasty purposes but he should be nowehere near your lineup against the Steelers.

Dwayne Bowe gets overrated Dre Bly in coverage today. Might be a better day than I expected. Champ Bailey is out which could be good news for Bowe, Gonzo and Thigpen this week.

That's all for now - back if anything major breaks!