Archive for September, 2008

Dead Man Walking – Kiffin OUT This Afternoon?

NFLN’s Adam Shefter is reporting that the Raiders have called a news conference for this afternoon. ESPN’s Chris Mortenson is reporting that Lane Kiffin will be fired there. When I return from my work out of the office today I am sure this will all be clear and make sense. Cause Mort’s been right every week on this, right?

In all seriousness the writing has been o nthe wall for weeks and interviewing folks while the guy you are replacing is still there is a sign that ESPN will be proven right on this. But with Crazy Al Davis, who knows?

Somehow Al will claim ‘insubordination’ and not pay Kiff and I hope Kiffin sues him because Davis has been about as classy as a fifty cent hooker on this one.

Fire the man or don’t but enough with making up lame lies to not have to pay him. Anyone who works for this franchise has been warned what a badly managed, run and cheap franchise it is. Good luck to the next sucker – I mean coach.

Extra News and Notes

Hey guys – a few notes I didn’t get to during the Thundering Blurb News Stampede but wanted to touch on here:

Bye Weeks: Cleveland Browns, NY Jets, Oakland Raiders, St. Louis Rams

Cleveland Browns
Romeo Crennel has said he nearly yanked Derek Anderson during the third quarter against the Bengals. Anderson probably bought himself a little more time – at least until after the bye – but just know that if you have Anderson as your guy, the clock is not just ticking. Sounds like it’s about to strike midnight for DA.

New England Patriots
The Boston Globe is reporting that Kevin O’Connell could get some playing time in Week 5 – or beyond. It’s not like Cassell is playing all that well, so it’s not a shock. I doubt many people are using Cassell as anything more than an emergency QB, but something to keep an eye on especially as it affects the rest of the the fantasy players on the team. Cassell does seem to be clicking more with Moss and Welker. More of a change now could throw that off.

Cincinnati Bengals
There is some speculation coming from the Cincinnati Enquirer that Carson Palmer’s elbow injury could be worse than the fatigue or mild inflammation we have thought it is. There are completely uncomfirmed reports via ProFootballTalk that it’s potentially surgery-requiring but until I hear that from someone else, all I will say is that this is something to watch out for. Without Palmer there, the fantasy value of this team dips even lower.

That’s all for now – catch you later with more news and injury updates!

Top Fantasy Studs of Week 4

Howdy – seems I made it back from the trip in one piece more or less. Of course, traveling on Sunday means catching up on Monday so that is what a lot of today will be. I have to wrap the Pac-10 up and process a ton of football I had to read about over the weekend. Also have multiple games recorded so I guess football Saturday and Sunday becomes football Monday. No complaints here!

I’ll touch on this during the Thundering Blurb News Stampede in a couple of hours, but Rams Head Coach Scott Linehan has been fired. No real shock there. Defensive Coordinator Jim Haslett will be interim coach. Kiffinwatch continues in Oakland. Will Al remember to fire him this week (the rumor being he wanted to last week and ‘never ot around to it’).

Here’s the top fantasy studs this week – as is often the case, some real surprises here and this week, lots of quarterbacks did exceptionally well. As that’s the case, I am breaking it out into positions this week. Top QB, WR, RB – you get the idea.

Quarterbacks:
Seems Brett Favre and his receivers got on the same page this week against a banged up Cards D. Warner was a heckuva play too, huh? Unless you get hurt by turnovers. Thatm he cost you a bit. Matt Schaub saved his job this week as well.

Brett Favre – 289 yards, 6 TDs, 1 INT
Matt Schaub – 307 yards, 3 TDs, 24 rushing yards
Drew Brees – 363 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INT
Tony Romo – 300 yards, 3 TDs, 1 INt, 7 rushing yards
Kurt Warner – 472 yards, 2 TDs, 3 INTs, 3 fumbles

David Garrard, Jay Cutler, Jake Delhomme, Kyle Orton and Jason Campbell get honorable mention.

Wide Receivers
Again, some pretty random names near the top here. Will Lance Moore repeat? Is Coles surging (he did lobby for more targets with the Jets staff)?

Laveranues Coles – 8/105 /3
Lance Moore – 7/101/2
Greg Jennings – 6/109/2
Muhsin Muhammad – 8/147/1
Anquan Boldin – 10/119/1 – 1 fumble

Boldin left the game near the end on a stretcher and was taken to a local hospital after a vicious collision with Jets Safety Kerry Rhodes. He had movement in his extremities and all tests were negative – he was released to go home with the team.

Kevin Walter, Santana Moss, DeSean Jackson and fellow Cards receievers Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston were also in the top 10.

Running Backs
Here’s where you will see more consistency as the RBs seem a little more familiar. Steve Slaton is becoming a pretty good weekly play right now as well.

Larry Johnson – 198 yards, 2 TDs, 5 catches, 1 Fumble
Steven Jackson – 188 yards, 1 TYD, 5 catches
Steve Slaton – 116 yards, 1 TD, 8 catches
LaDainian Tomlinson – 115 yards, 2 TDs, 2 catches
Adrian Peterson – 101 yards, 2 TDs, 4 catches, 1 fumble

Edgerrin James, Michael Bush, Chris Johnson, Earnest Graham and Clinton Portis danced to the top ten overall at the RB position.

As you can see, RB seems to be the most consistent position. Portis, Jackson, Peterson and Tomlinson (back again!) are all guysy ou can count on most weeks. The other positions seem much more fluid in terms of top performers. These RBs, you can start each week.

Will be back in a couple of hours with the news.

WR Rankings for Week 4

I fully expect the Jets to play tough in the secondary – and I fully expect Warner to light them up anyway. Warner – and with him, Boldin and Fitzgerald – will have very gooddays Sunday, much to my chagrin as a Jets fan. There is more than enough love to go around from Warner and I expect Fitz to get both the yards and TDs needed to be the top Fantasy Wideout this week. Fitz has been playing very well and this week he will be at his best.

Brandon Marshall may only be limited by how easy it is to run against the Chiefs. And run they will, but Marshall will get his targets and do what he has been doing every week – dominating. Did you know that he is 4th in the league in targets with 31 to Bush and Calvin Johnson’s 32 and Dwayne Bowe’s 34? Stunning when you realize he is catching many of them and he did it with one less game than they did.

Steve Smith is back to being active now and is facing a middle of the road pass defense in the Falcons. Remember Detroit torched them eventially in week one and they are still learning as they go to be a cohesive unit. Carolina’s line faltered last week both by allowing sacks and pressure and getting flagged often. They should step back up this week and Smith should find the end zone for his first TD against them. Expect better yards than last week as well.

Jake Steven asked me this morning on his 1230 ESPN show what I thought about TO’s non-involvement last weekend and whether I think it will affect him and the Cowboys long term. I think he has matured and like Randy Moss last year, he can smell that Super Bowl. He will play the team player and not make whining noises as long as they play well and win. I think Romo will look back his way this week and TO will get the targets he needs and be very productive against a team that can give the big play up, and being at home only fuels the Dallas offense (and TO) more.

Two Cardinals in the top five? Madness or brilliance? We’ll find out on Sunday but as I have preached for weeks, there are more than enough passes to go around. Boldin has played incredibly well – ever the professional despite his contract woes. He was very quiet last week (3/25/1) but I think Warner will throw a ton in this one and we’ll see both WRs do very well.

Dwayne Bowe (12) is a guy to watch – the most targeted receiver in the NFL, he just needs to hang onto the ball. I think he does this week with Damon Huard in charge and I think people are overlooking him. How banged up is Big Ben Roethlisberger? Banged up enough to downgrade Hines Ward (23) and keep Santonio Holmes (18) struggling. Especially against a tough Ravens D. I have Houshmandzadeh ranked 8th right now and Ocho-Cinco 21st. I know, he CAN break out but he’s a #3WR until he does. On of these guys go off this weekend – my bet is Housh. 85 will play well enough to be a value for you, but he won’t be back to top dog status yet. Chansi Stuckey sneaks in at 33 – a TD each week? Constant targets by Favre? I like him this week in a shootout…..

Wide receivers

  1. Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals at Jets
  2. Brandon Marshall, Broncos at Chiefs
  3. Steve Smith, Panthers vs. Falcons
  4. Terrell Owens, Cowboys vs. Redskins
  5. Anquan Boldin, Cardinals at Jets
  6. Lee Evans, Bills at Rams
  7. Greg Jennings, Packers at Buccaneers
  8. T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Bengals vs. Browns
  9. Chris Chambers, Chargers at Raiders
  10. Braylon Edwards, Browns at Bengals
  11. Andre Johnson, Texans at Jaguars
  12. Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs vs. Broncos
  13. Santana Moss, Redskins at Cowboys
  14. Jerricho Cotchery, Jets vs. Cardinals
  15. Donald Driver, Packers at Buccaneers
  16. Vincent Jackson, Chargers at Raiders
  17. Roddy White, Falcons at Panthers
  18. Santonio Holmes, Steelers vs. Ravens
  19. Torry Holt, Rams vs. Bills
  20. Laveranues Coles, Jets vs. Cardinals
  21. Chad Johnson, Bengals vs. Browns
  22. Isaac Bruce, 49ers at Saints
  23. Hines Ward, Steelers vs. Ravens
  24. DeSean Jackson, Eagles at Bears
  25. Eddie Royal, Broncos at Chiefs
  26. Bryant Johnson, 49ers at Saints
  27. Antonio Bryant, Buccaneers vs. Packers
  28. Bernard Berrian, Vikings at Titans
  29. Arnaz Battle, 49ers at Saints
  30. Patrick Crayton, Cowboys vs. Redskins
  31. Matt Jones, Jaguars vs. Texans
  32. Muhsin Muhammad, Panthers vs. Falcons
  33. Chansi Stuckey, Jets vs. Cardinals
  34. Robert Meachem, Saints vs. 49ers
  35. Antwaan Randle El, Redskins at Cowboys

Don’t Bench Peterson – RB Rankings for Week 4

I mentioned on the Daily News Stampede that we would talk about Adrian ‘Purple Jesus’ Peterson and then forgot with all the other news. I know the matchup is tough but -
DON’T. BENCH. PETERSON. Houston ran well against them last week (Slaton topped 100yds), Peterson is healthy and he can bust a huge run at any time. Don’t bench him UNLESS you have any of the six guys ahead of him – and even then run him as your #2. And just how the heck did you get one of those other backs anyway? (well, Reggie Bush I can see….)

Onto the rankings –

In many leagues, Reggie Bush has topped their rankings so far this year. PPR or not, the yardage totals he has put up have been impressive. This week he is the offense and Brees will throw to him a ton. Bush’s value is not as a between the tackles RB – in part because the Saints have not blocked for the run very well. The 49r defense is better than you think – but Bush is a threat to bust a long run on a screen pass and I think he will put up very good numbers as the Saints put up a lot of yards to try and win with a shaky defense.

On the other side of the field is Frank Gore – Gore has flourished again and reminded people just how good he is. The Saints are bad against the pass which means JT O’Sullivan & company will throw more than run BUT Gore, like Bush, can bust a big play at any time and Gore has been used in the pass game enough to give him good value even when they are not running as much. The Saints run D is also shaky (22nd in the league) so Gore is a great bet to play well this weekend.

Tomlinson looks healthy and that’s a good thing for his owners. The Raiders are middling against the run but have given up five ground TDs so far. Tomlinson was shaky last week save for the TD looks but will be closer to 100% and will put up good numbers and at least a TD against the Raiders. The Chargers will grab them by the throat and not let go – so even if Rivers throws effectively – and he will – LT will get his.

‘Dis Mah Son’ as Cecil calls him, has a prime matchup against the Rams this weekend and Lynch will take advantage of it. St Louis is dead last in defense and gives up 180+ yards a game on the ground. The only thing keeping him from maybe being first or second on this list is the insistence of Dick Jauron in using Fred Jackson to the extent he does. I expect great things from Lynch this week – or if you are a Rams fan – great and terrible things as he runs your team into the ground.

Felix Jones has been great so far – everything the Cowboys have hoped for. Marion Barber has been even better. Barber has compiled very good totals his first three weeks and against a Redskins defense that is middle of the road vs the run and give over 100yds per game on the ground, Barber will continue his winning ways. Despite the fact that Washington has only given up a pair of touchdowns on the ground, I think Barber will find the end zone again this week. It will be a dogfight game – always is with NFC East teams – and Barber will step up to bat.

You will notice that #15 is a combined ranking for Westbrook and Buckhalter – as it’s a GTD I split the difference and ranked the position for the team. I think Buck will probably put up at the 15 rankings here – whereas Westy will probably do better if he gets the start. But with the doubt, I placed them a little farther back – also the run D in Chicago is tough, though in part because you can throw on them all day and that’s what McNabb will do. It may limit Buck a bit as Westbrook sees more passes than Buckhalter usually does. (Despite the nice catch and run last week)

Chris Johnson (16) is a tough play that I still say you might have to go with him due to upside and big play ability. Ryan Grant (14) is healthy and that’s great – should be very productive going forward as the oline is finally getting it’s game on. McFadden (26) has a toe owie still and that is worrying me since Kiffin says it is bothering him VERY much. I would rather be cautious if possible than see Mike Bush steal all my carries.

Running Backs

  1. Reggie Bush, Saints vs. 49ers
  2. Frank Gore, 49ers at Saints
  3. LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers at Raiders
  4. Marshawn Lynch, Bills at Rams
  5. Marion Barber, Cowboys vs. Redskins
  6. Clinton Portis, Redskins at Cowboys
  7. Adrian Peterson, Vikings at Titans
  8. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars vs. Texans
  9. Steven Jackson, Rams vs. Bills
  10. Matt Forte, Bears vs. Eagles
  11. Michael Turner, Falcons at Panthers
  12. Jamal Lewis, Browns at Bengals
  13. Larry Johnson, Chiefs vs. Broncos
  14. Ryan Grant, Packers at Buccaneers
  15. Brian Westbrook/Correll Buckhalter, Eagles at Bears
  16. Chris Johnson, Titans vs. Vikings
  17. Chris Perry, Bengals vs. Browns
  18. Felix Jones, Cowboys vs. Redskins
  19. Earnest Graham, Buccaneers vs. Packers
  20. Fred Taylor, Jaguars vs. Texans
  21. Thomas Jones, Jets vs. Cardinals
  22. Steve Slaton, Texans at Jaguars
  23. Edgerrin James, Cardinals at Jets
  24. Jonathan Stewart, Panthers vs. Falcons
  25. Selvin Young, Broncos at Chiefs
  26. Darren McFadden, Raiders vs. Chargers
  27. Pierre Thomas, Saints vs. 49ers
  28. Michael Pittman, Broncos at Chiefs
  29. Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers vs. Ravens
  30. DeAngelo Williams, Panthers vs. Falcons
  31. LenDale White, Titans vs. Vikings
  32. Fred Jackson, Bills at Rams
  33. Willis McGahee, Ravens at Steelers
  34. Tim Hightower, Cardinals at Jets
  35. Le’Ron McClain, Ravens at Steelers

QB Rankings for Week 4

Rodgers is on fire and Tampa Bay’s defense is giving up 230+ yards through the air and five touchdowns. They are pressuring the quarterback however, so Rodgers may get hit, But the Oline is playing relatively well and I think Green Bay’s depleted and banged up secondary will allow Tampa Bay to move the ball, and force Rodgers to do the same to stay ahead.

Romo is playing excellent ball, though he has one brain freeze a week. Still that won’t kill him – nor you – this week as he will continue to be be on fire this week. The ‘Skins are coughing up just under 200 yards a game through the air – expect Tony Romo to surpass that as the Cowboys don’t match averages – they surpass them. Washington has been good at pressuring the QB, but Dallas’ Oline is outstanding, so Romo will have plenty of time to toss the rock this week

I have been ranking Cutler high all year – mostly the #1 spot – and this week is no different. The Chiefs’ pass rush is almost nonexistant and so is there rush defense. In fact, here’s a case where the pass defense looks better statistically than it is. People don’t throw a lot because they can run all day – thus the Chiefs have decent pass defense numbers. Cutler will throw and hit Marshall and Sheffler (and Royal) for some yards. He’ll tear the D up through the air and I just don’t have him ranked higher as he won’t have to. Theonly limit on his yards is the fact that Shanny will run the ball as often as he can and grind the clock out.

Phillip Rivers is heading to Oakland to visit a Raiders team that is just a huge mess, organizationally speaking. And don’t think that doesn’t affect performance on the field. They played better the last two weeks than they did against Denver in week 1, but still give up 200+ yards per game and have allowed four TDs so far. Like Cutler and Rodgers, Rivers has gone off the last few weeks and the Chargers need to beat the Raiders to stay afloat in the division. They will come out hard and while the corners in Oakland can play tough, they can be beat – especially DeAngelo Hall, who has had more than one lapse this season. Rivers could be limited by a big game from LaDainian Tomlinson, but wil lstill put up very good points.

Drew Brees is losing weapons by the bucketload – first Colston, now Shockey and perhaps David Patten. And yet, the ball gets moved through the air. If they could run block, he’d have a ceiling, but since they struggle there, Brees will air it out. The Saints are tough against the pass – only an average of 160 yards a game through the air. But Bush always breaks a long one on a screen and I think they will have problems containing him. Finally, the Saints secondary can be thrown on – at some point Brees may find himself playing catchup and this may degenerate into a shootout.

On the short end of the scale – Derek Anderson (19) may have a better than average game but one mistake and he could be yanked. Matt Schaub (18) is facing a resurgent Jags defense and is himself under scrutiny and could get the hook. Damon Huard (14) may only be a game manager but he can move the ball well and will make Dwayne Bowe and Tony Gonzalez owners happy. Avoid Trent Green (23) this week – the oline is the problem there and I worry Green may not make it out of the game. Injury woes and a bad team equals a nonstart in my world.

Quarterbacks

  1. Aaron Rodgers, Packers at Buccaneers
  2. Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Redskins
  3. Jay Cutler, Broncos at Chiefs
  4. Philip Rivers, Chargers at Raiders
  5. Drew Brees, Saints vs. 49ers
  6. Kurt Warner, Cardinals at Jets
  7. Donovan McNabb, Eagles at Bears
  8. J.T. O’Sullivan, 49ers at Saints
  9. Carson Palmer, Bengals vs. Browns
  10. Trent Edwards, Bills at Rams
  11. Jason Campbell, Redskins at Cowboys
  12. Jake Delhomme, Panthers vs. Falcons
  13. David Garrard, Jaguars vs. Texans
  14. Damon Huard, Chiefs vs. Broncos
  15. Brett Favre, Jets vs. Cardinals
  16. Brian Griese, Buccaneers vs. Packers
  17. Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Ravens
  18. Matt Schaub, Texans at Jaguars
  19. Derek Anderson, Browns at Bengals
  20. Kerry Collins, Titans vs. Vikings
  21. Matt Ryan, Falcons at Panthers
  22. Gus Frerotte, Vikings at Titans
  23. Trent Green, Rams vs. Bills
  24. Kyle Orton, Bears vs. Eagles
  25. JaMarcus Russell, Raiders vs. Chargers
  26. Joe Flacco, Ravens at Steelers

TE Rankings Week 4

Witten has not scored TDs this season, but is getting both targets and catches. I think he breaks through to the end zone this week and continues his solid play otherwise. Antonio Gates is finally his old self and I think he gets his groove going against a Raiders team which will keep Rivers hopping, but not enough to shut the offense down. Winslow Jr will see a ton of action whether Anderson gets yanked or not and he is a good bet to get red zone looks as well. Damon Huard + starting Qb = Happy Gonzo. Gonzalez gets a godo Qb who can throw the ball and will look to the vet a lot this weekend. Finally, I think this will be a Sheffler UP game – streaky though he is, he hooks up often with Cutler on the road (they are road roomies) and they are away this week.

Tight ends

  1. Jason Witten, Cowboys vs. Redskins
  2. Antonio Gates, Chargers at Raiders
  3. Kellen Winslow, Browns at Bengals
  4. Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs vs. Broncos
  5. Tony Scheffler, Broncos at Chiefs
  6. Chris Cooley, Redskins at Cowboys
  7. Owen Daniels, Texans at Jaguars
  8. Desmond Clark, Bears vs. Eagles
  9. Randy McMichael, Rams vs. Bills
  10. L.J. Smith, Eagles at Bears
  11. Jerramy Stevens, Buccaneers vs. Packers
  12. Heath Miller, Steelers vs. Ravens
  13. Greg Olsen, Bears vs. Eagles
  14. Bo Scaife, Titans vs. Vikings
  15. Alge Crumpler, Titans vs. Vikings
  16. Donald Lee, Packers at Buccaneers
  17. Billy Miller, Saints vs. 49ers
  18. Vernon Davis, 49ers at Saints
  19. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings at Titans
  20. Dante Rosario, Panthers vs. Falcons
  21. Robert Royal, Bills at Rams
  22. Dustin Keller, Jets vs. Cardinals
  23. Zach Miller, Raiders vs. Chargers
  24. Todd Heap, Ravens at Steelers
  25. Marcedes Lewis, Jaguars vs. Texans

USC – Oregon State Preview & more!

Just had another article posted at NFLDraftbible which should also post at CollegeFootballInsiders.com sometime today. It breaks down the USC – Oregon State game tonight on ESPN. The Pac-10 preview will be submitted and post today/tomorrow – am editing it right now.

Wanted to also thank everyone for stopping in at the Thundering Blurb Fantasy Football Podcast and contributing to a great chat room once again. Very much enjoy the back and forth with you guys – if you haven’t come by the chat room give it a try. Great bunch of folks there. On the other hand, let me know if there is too much of it and you need something else on the show – I am here to serve and take the lead from what you guys need.

Also wanted to thank Jeff Ellis from NFLRants and Raves for stopping by. Always enjoyable to talk football with him and I am sure we’ll do it again some time.

Rankings will start tonight – probably with tight ends, then QBs. RBs and WRs I will try to hold off until tomorrow as there is a lot of news to track and I want to drop them as close to my departure tomorrow afternoon as possible.

Also will be working on the Top 5 RB forward article, based on strength of schedule. Probably will appear next week. That’s a chatroom suggested article – if you have something you want my take on, you can always ask eithe rduring a show or email me at thunderingblurb(a)gmail.com and I’ll see what I can do.

Like I said – I am here to serve. Just let me know what you need to know.

Friday through Monday Scheduling Change

Hi folks!

Just a little heads up – this weekend will be a little odd for the Blurb. I will be traveling for a family function so the schedule for the weekend – which admittedly is always fairly loose – will be very different.

The Daily Stampede and my appearance on 1230 ESPN will go as normal. But I will try to frontload a ton of the rankings Thursday night and Friday morning as I will be traveling all Friday afternoon.

The College Top 25 review will more than likely happen very late Sunday, possibly Monday after I return. In all likelyhood, my ability to be updating prior to gametime for Sunday will also be hampered. I will do what I can for game time decisions, but unfortunately my access to internet could be very limited.

So all the college stuff will get done Monday – if I can do it at all. I will be unable to watch most of the games so I will just do my best to cover it.

Any lineup questions you have would be better served if they came to me early – before Friday afternoon. Again I just don’t know how bad my access will be this weekend. I will endeavor to update as I can and return emails, but while my trip will be brief, it will be very busy as well.

Just a little heads up this morning as I begin to prepare to be gone. It was pretty unavoidable and I hope that you guys will bear with me for this. I have one other trip in October, but that will be longer and my ability to continue this work in our normal manner will be much easier.

FYI Bye Week Teams

Forgot to post this earlier – so keep these guys in mind – TON of teams off this week…

Week 4 – Detroit, Indy, Miami, New England, NY Giants, Seattle