Archive for August, 2009

NFL Preseason Week 3 Review – Part 2

Ravens 17, Panthers 13

 Joe Flacco showed a little of the game he had last year with a 247 yard, 1 touchdown performance, but it was Ray Rice’s 8 catches for 67 yards that stood out. Unfortunately, so did his 10 carries for 32 yards which wasn’t all that scintillating. Willis McGahee keeps hanging around and had a touchdown to go with his 6 carries for 16 yards. Jalen Parmele looked outstanding with his 4 carries for 68 yards but it’s hard to know where he’ll fit in here.

 

The two players who stood out to me for the Panthers were rookie running back Mike Goodson and Muhsin Muhammad. Goodson has had an outstanding preseason and if second year running back Jonathan Stewert can’t stay healthy, Goodson will get a shot and produce. Muhammad is a guy who is often overlooked because of his age, but there’s nobody else worth looking at in this wide receiver corps not named Steve Smith. Muhammad plays well and looks god for his age, continuing to defy his critics.

 

Jets 27, Giants 25 

Rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez looked much more comfortable against a solid Giants defense than he did against the Ravens. It’s not a shock – this is how he developed at USC last season. The play everyone has been talking about took place when Sanchez saw the Giants blitzing, scrambled out of the pocket and connected with Chansi Stuckey on a 31 yard pass – all while three defenders were breathing down his neck. Stuckey turned it into a TD and Sanchez took a step forward in his development.

Meanwhile, Thomas Jones is looking rough out there especially next to Leon Washington. I thought Jones had another season left in him. That may not be the case and Shonn Greene – when he returns and is healthy – might steal his job by the end of 2009.

 

On the other side of the field, the Giants really could use some wide receiver help, with just about every player thrown to dropping at least one pass. Steve Smith dropped an easy touchdown. Mario Manningham dropped several. On the plus side, David Carr found rookie Hakeem Nicks for a pair of touchdowns and you can’t imagine seeing Nicks with the second stringers again this preseason. Eli Manning could use the help, after all.
 

49ers 20, Cowboys 13

 

The story of the weekend was injured wide receiver Roy Williams who sat out with a shoulder injury which I believe happened when he leapt to catch a ball and ran into the low-hanging video board. Regardless, quarterback Tony Romo played well overall but struggled a bit, adding an interception to his 11/17, 125 yard effort. He could use more reps to get his timing down with his top wide receiver, so the Cowboys could use Williams back sooner than later.  The only other note was Tashard Choice stood out with the backups, compiling 55 yards on 8 carries.

 

The 49ers continue to improve overall, though Shaun Hill has a ways to go before he’s really solid at the quarterback spot. Rookie Nate Davis is someone I still say could be the future of the franchise and he looked very good, completing 10/15 for 132 yards. Davis also has some way to go before being ready for Prime Time, but could be an interesting developing player.

We’ve been talking about Glen Coffee at running back, but don’t forget fellow rookie Kory Sheets. Sheets looked solid with 11 carries for 42 yards a pair of touchdowns. The Niners will run a ton with Gore and likely Coffee. If Sheets continues to play hard, he’ll find a way to get a few carries in there and I think produce. If someone gets hurt, Sheets will get those carries.

 

Falcons 27, Chargers 24

 

Both teams looked ready for the season and the Chargers especially look like the far-and-away favorites to win the AFC West. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for a nice 185 yards and led scoring drives on two of his three possessions.  Rookie Gartrell Johnson put together a nice 77 total yards and journeyman Michael Bennett – of all people – had over 100 total yards, including 3 catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. 

LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates watched from the sidelines but that didn’t hurt this offense one bit.

 

On the other side of the field, second year quarterback Matt Ryan is still looking like he just picked up from where he left off last season. His 14/20, 140 yard effort included a 12 yard touchdown toss to Brian Finneran.

Running back Michael Turner also looked rock solid with 47 yards on 12 carries. The only downside was running back Jerious Norwood’s knee injury, though that is believed to be day-to-day and not serious according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

 

Seahawks 14, Chiefs 10

 

It just goes from bad to even more bad with the Chiefs. Sure, they lost the game but the bigger loss might be quarterback Matt Cassel. Cassel was lost almost right away, dragged down by Defensive Tackle Brandon Mebane from behind.

 

Profootballtalk.com and Yahoo Sports both report Cassel has a MCL injury and might miss Week 1.  Of course, the Chiefs aren’t forthcoming with the injury information but that’s not shocking – it’s another ‘New England satellite franchise’ so what do we expect? They’re like Starbucks – they are everywhere.

 

Matt Hasselbeck looked good for the Seahawks, completing 19/25 for 216 yards and two touchdowns, one to second year tight end John Carlson (5-68-1) and one to new addition TJ Houshmandzadeh (5-60-1).

With Edgerrin James not yet playing, Julius Jones took the Lion’s share of the carries and carried the rock fifteen times for 57 yards. The Seahawks say they will keep using him as the primary back, Edge or not, so until I see different, James’ impact is still an unknown quantity. 

Bears 27 Broncos 17

 

In the Battle of Egos, former Bronco and current Bears quarterback Jay Cutler seems to have one over on his old team. Cutler put together a nice little 15/21, 144 yard performance with a touchdown to Matt Forte to cap it off. Cutler pumped his fist in celebration after that touchdown so, call me crazy I think he wanted this one bad. Matt Forte looked good in limited action. While his yards per carry was low (2.33 after 9 carries for 21 yards) he scored twice, once on the ground and once in the air. He totaled four catches for 11 yards so it could be Cutler will utilize him more in the pass game than anticipated.

 If that’s the case, his fantasy stock might actually manage to rise past Maurice Jones-Drew and challenge Adrian Peterson. Hard to imagine he’ll have 60 catches again, but 40? Not far-fetched. 

Kyle Orton (12/16, 96 yards) didn’t look bad – he just didn’t look like Cutler. But he found Eddie Royal (5/44) often enough. Peyton Hillis continues to look good on the ground where he carried the ball 7 times for 27 yards and a touchdown as well as in the pass game where he caught a pair of balls for 21 yards.

Rookie Kenny McKinley (3/76) also looked good but his biggest problem (as I talked about with Frank Schwab of the Colorado Springs Gazette last on Wednesday’s Thundering Blurb show) is inconsistency. McKinley still has some work to do, but could emerge in a year or so as a real player, especially if Brandon Marshall stays petulant and ends up leaving Denver.

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Blurb Appearence on The Jets Blog Podcast

Hey folks -

Did an appearence with Brian Bassett of The Jets Blog today (actually Thursday night but it posted today). Check it out and check the site out for all your Jets needs!

Twitter Roundtable Vol. 4 The QBs Strike Back

Welcome to another edition of the Twitter Roundtable. As always, our group of Fantasy Experts discuss a topic of fantasy relevance to your league and season.
 
Today, we talk about Quarterbacks.
 
While many an owner is thinking about grabbing QB early, still others wait for their signal-caller. Which guy currently projected outside these twelve Quarterbacks has the best shot at making the top 8? Why?

Brady, Tom – NE
Brees, Drew – NO
Manning, Peyton – IND

McNabb, Donovan – PHI
Warner, Kurt – ARI
Rivers, Philip – SD
Rodgers, Aaron – GB
Palmer, Carson – CIN
Schaub, Matt – HOU
Romo, Tony – DAL
Cutler, Jay – CHI
Garrard, David – JAX
Orton, Kyle – DEN
 
 
Jared Feree – What’s Your Fantasy Podcast
Based on THAT list, two guys step out to me. 

1) Matt Hasselbeck – Hasselbeck, the last time he was healthy, finished top ten and he is gaining a great receiver in Houshmandzadeh.  He does still play in one of the weaker conferences in the NFC West.  I also think Carlson is a nice weapon and Deion Branch, when healthy, is a nice target as well.  I wouldn’t want to place any bets on Hassebeck finishing top 10, but wouldn’t be surprised if he wound up there. 

2) Matt Ryan – I like him to be close to top 10 and would prefer him over a guy like Garrard.  Roddy White is solid, Turner is solid, and the addition of Tony Gonzalez could add a few redzone passing TD’s.  While his overall numbers weren’t that impressive last season, he did finish top 15 as a rookie.

HONORABLE MENTION:
Brett Favre for obvious reasons, but I think he will move very close to the top 12 once he is in camp. 

 

 
Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com
From what I’ve seen, Matt Ryan is far more often considered among the top 12 than Orton or Garrard. I agree that Hasselbeck doesn’t have a long trip to get back into the top 12, although I also don’t trust him to make it through a full schedule. I really like Trent Edwards, though his success (or failure) will depend on how quickly a whole new line can jell. I’m not betting on him as a starter right away, but I’ll absolutely take a shot on him as a backup/spot starter with upside. Matt Cassel got sacked more than any other passer in the league last year and he still managed to have a pretty nice season.

Terrell Owens was awesome in his first seasons with Philly and Dallas (despite some new kid taking over at QB during that year with the Cowboys), and he seems to be saying and doing all the right things again in Buffalo.

Another really late sleeper is Jason Campbell, who has a more experienced line and is, by all accounts, determined to finally put it all together this year. He’s done a pretty good job avoiding interceptions as a starter overall, so the big question will be whether he has enough at receiver.

 
Ginny Loveless – Footballdiehards.com
With Falcon’s bruuuuutal schedule, there’s no way I’d put Matt Ryan on the list.

HHmmmm…. Matt Hasselbeck and Trent Edwards

MH: In the past, Hasselbeck has been a proven fantasy starter. So, knowing he can be in that role eases the assumption that he can do it again.  Last year was extremely subpar for him due not only to the injuries to his receivers, but his own injury which caused him to miss half the season. Hasselbeck has said himself that he is now completely recovered from his back woes and even Coach More is happy with his progress, so that’s always good to hear. 

Doing some quick math here, had he played all 16 games –all things being equal – he would have ended the season with about 2850 yards and 11 touchdowns.   While that’s pretty middle-of-the-pack stats, he should thrive this year as he gets to air it out to TJ Houshmandzadeh and John Carlson. Not to mention that if Nate Burleson and Deion Branch can stay healthy, things will be even easier for the 10-year vet.

TE: From what I’ve seen and read, Trent Edwards is a great decision maker who understands the offense and we should see an overall improvement of him at this position as he enters his third year.  But, it’s the addition of Terrell Owens to his receiving crew that makes me include him here. Lee Evans is great to have on the other side of the field, too. If Marshawn Lynch and the Bills’ running game keep steady, that should make things easier for him as well.

Between Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson…..whoever wins that job I would add to the list… There’s talent in Cleveland with Braylon Edwards and Brian Robiskie.  Quinn is one more year into being more mature and I think he can really start something good this year with Edwards. Braylon’s flub last year was a fluke and he will rebound. :::crossfingers:::

 
Parag Gheewala – Mockumentary
I like the Matt Hasslebeck pick, but I’ll stick my neck out and go with Ben Roethlisberger.  I have a feeling that Ben will have solid but unspectacular season.  His owners will be constantly looking for an upgrade because he’ll never quite be a difference maker each week.  Not many will try to trade for him because he won’t seem like an upgrade.  But at the end of the season, everyone will be shocked to see that Ben’s made it into the top 8 (barely).  Some of the better QBs will get hurt (Kurt Warner, I’m looking at you) and some will sit because their teams have clinched the playoffs.  The result is that one of the best NFL QBs will put together a top 8 fantasy football season. Since his ADP is outside of the top 12, he sounds like a nice backup QB to grab.
 
Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com
I’m definitely not a Braylon Edwards believer. I think that the numbers he has put up with various quarterbacks over four seasons indicate that he’s much closer to a 70-catch, 7-touchdown type of player at best than the blowed-up 2007 version. If he were a true, sure-fire No. 1 wideout, I have to think he either would have snapped out of the funk at some point last season or found the Giants willing to give up Steve Smith to bring him aboard this winter.
 
Roethlisberger is another player that I never end up drafting, because he has clearly shown that he can’t be counted on for big numbers. I’d like to think that the apparent emergence of Santonio Holmes will set Ben up to finally reach 20 TD passes for the second time in his career this year, but there was no good reason for him not to do so last year.

The potential for distraction in this new lawsuit that might involve sexual assault doesn’t help things either.

 
Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com
I don’t believe Holmes “playoff” emergence will amount to much this season. He is a good player, but I don’t think he’ll be consistent enough to counter Ben’s lack of consistency.

That said, Trent Edwards & Matt Hasselback are my two nominations. I’ve written an article on Edwards (that received due heat) trying to show that big numbers from him are not that far fetched. The guy didn’t play in two games last year as was crazy efficient in his 2nd Year.  I obviously expect that efficiency to go down as he tosses the ball deep more often but he just got one of the best redzone WRs in the NFL. His TDs should be on the rise.

 
Ginny Loveless – Footballdiehards.com
 
Some thoughts on Parag’s Big Ben take:
 
Parag: I’ll stick my neck out and go with Ben Roethlisberger.
Me: Big Ben has never been a relevant/dependable fantasy option.
Parag: His owners will be constantly looking for an upgrade.

Me:  Agreed.

 
Parag: He’ll never quite be a difference maker each week.

Me:Agreed.

Parag: Not many will try to trade for him because he won’t seem like an upgrade.

Me: Agreed.

Parag: But at the end of the season, everyone will be shocked to see that Ben’s made it into the top 8. Some of the better QBs will get hurt and some will sit because their teams have clinched the playoffs.

 
Me: If he gets into the top 8 based on injuries and starters sitting then he has not achieved anything.  It will still be the same subpar fantasy performance we expect from Big Ben, but he is moving up in the ranks out of default.  I’ll pass.

 
Matt Schauf – RapidDrafts.com
From the looks of things, Holmes’ Super Bowl performance has led to him rededicating this off-season. He’s added some bulk and just generally seems more focused on proving himself every time I see him quoted. I’m not penciling him in as a fantasy No. 1, but I do think it’s possible he finally reaches that level.
 
Andrew Garda – ThunderingBlurb.com
Actually Big Ben is reliable from the standpoint of, he doesn’t lose you matchups – though he won’t win you championships.

But I’d be shocked if he hit the top 10.

Echoing thoughts here: I think Hasselbeck and Edwards have shots, though Hass has to stay healthy (and his Oline needs to hang on one more year) and Edwards has to overcome three new starters on the line.

I’m going to throw a different wrinkle in there – Chad Pennington.

Granted this will be a VERY tough climb – the schedule he has is abusive and just looking at the AFC East alone shows teams that managed to get better than they were last year. And last year they didn’t exactly suck.

Still, Pennington had a great season in 2008 and not much changed offensively for the Phins this off-season. Ginn has a year more experience, the team picked up some rookie help, Ronnie Brown looks healthy and ready to go and Penny is coming off a season where he finished top 10 in many leagues.

The Wildcat didn’t hurt Pennington and won’t this year – and Pat White hasn’t done a thing to impact the QB position yet (though White is a guy who always looks worse in practice than in games).

Aside from the tough schedule Pennington needs to: stay healthy (rare), stay accurate (usually a strength) and stay upright (Dolphins were ranked 23rd in sacks allowing only 26). The Dolphins were a top 10 passing offense in 2008 (according to NFL.com) – if that holds it gives Pennington (the main man there) a strong chance to do the same in 2009.

If you grab him as part of a QBBC, you limit risk and still have the upside for a nice season.

 
Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com
I am going to go outside the box here and say Shaun Hill. Yes I said Shaun Hill, STOP LAUGHING.

I know that Alex Smith was getting talked up out of OTA’s but he will NOT beat out Hill to start. Okay that established, let’s take a closer look at Hill.

In the last 8 games of 2008 (his starts) he finished 8th in QB scoring, beating out Warner, Big Ben, McNabb, Ryan, and most definitely Brett Favre. He has a completion percentage of 64% in his 10 career starts. He averages 250 yds per start and has 18 Tds versus only 9 interceptions over that same period.

Now he has a 2nd year receiver in Josh Morgan who many feel is in a good position to break out. Morgan has good size and speed and should improve on his 2008 numbers.

He also has a great veteran in Isaac Bruce who had 61 receptions for 835 yards and 7 TDs in 2008. Many feel he won’t put up those numbers in 2009, but it is hard to count him out.

Now add in a receiver many felt was the best receiver, if not the best impact player, in this year’s draft, Michael Crabtree. Crabtree had over 3000 yards and 41 TDs in just two years in a high powered Texas Tech offense. He has good size, great hands and very good speed.  He is not your ordinary rookie and should give Hill a very nice red zone option.

Look for Hill to top 3000 yards and be very close to 25 TDs.

 
Ginny Loveless – FootballDiehards.com
RE: Jim – I am going to go outside the box here and say Shaun Hill. Yes I said Shaun Hill, STOP LAUGHING.

That’s it.  I want out of these Roundtable shenanigans.

 
Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com

Matt Schauf said: From the looks of things, Holmes’ Super Bowl performance has led to him rededicating this off-season. He’s added some bulk and just generally seems more focused on proving himself every time I see him quoted. I’m not penciling him in as a fantasy No. 1, but I do think it’s possible he finally reaches that level.

Me: I know this is a QB thread but I have to respond to this, lol.

Holmes spent a lot of time this last off-season adding strength too. He went through almost all practices in Training Camp with weighted gloves. I really felt it made a difference in terms of him snatching balls from the air. But my point was this, I’m not slighting Holmes. I’m just saying he wouldn’t be good enough to change how Ben plays football. To make Ben consistent, you’re going to need to sit him in the pocket & ask him to not take wild chances….that will lead to losing games. Ben will be erratic, he’ll have horrific fantasy games and you’ll regret drafting him when you’re playing against Brees, Brady or Manning.

All this btw? I’m a huge Steelers fan and own Big Ben as my Dynasty QB in a 16 Team League. So this is no anti-Ben bias.

 
Steve Wyremski – retiredrookie.com 
Sign me up for Matt Ryan and Trent Edwards to replace Orton.

Matt Ryan
I realize that he’s got a nasty schedule (or so it seems), but it’s very tough to give that a ton of weight at this point given the parity in the NFL and the fluctuation of top teams year after year.  Tony Gonzalez should help out big time freeing up the receivers and with a year under his belt he should be golden.  Come on…!  I’m a BC fan!

Trent Edwards
This is pretty simple for me taking a look at a simple fact.  Last year’s squad was Lee Evans, Josh Reed and Robert Royal.  Now, we’re looking at TO, Lee Evans and Shawn Nelson.  Talk about night and day.  Edwards is primed for a breakout season and the team should largely benefit from the presence of TO during his honeymoon season.  Besides, TO looks like his finally matured from watching his show on VH1.  Really.   

 
And that’s it for today’s discussion – thanks to everyone for taking part and for reading.
 
To find out more about the folks involved, please take a moment to read below:

 

Matt Schauf  (@mschauf63) You can now find his work as the lead football writer for PFS and SportsBuff.com or at RapidDraft.com, where he also provides the strategy for the “Hollywood” character in the industry’s first single-player fantasy football game. His IDP writing can also be found at SportingNews.com and in preview magazines for Sporting News, Rotoworld and Football Diehards.

 

Joshua Torrey (@jmtorrey) is a contributor to FantasyDC.com & is a fan of not just football but football strategy. Joshua enjoys breaking down game tape and team schemes to predict long term fantasy success.

 

Andrew Garda (@ThunderingBlurb) writes for a myriad of sites including FantasyPros911.com, BleacherReport.com and his own site, ThunderingBlurb.com. He also hosts his own weekly show The Thundering Blurb Football Show every Wednesday (10pm EST) on BlogTalkRadio.com.

 

Steve Wyremski’s (@retiredrookie) primary focus is to reach out to NFL and NCAA players for interviews in an effort to bring the players closer to fans.  Dynasty leagues are a huge focus of his, but general football strategy is his love.

 

Parag Gheewala (@vote4parag) is an average guy with a day job who loves fantasy football and is also the mastermind behind Mockumentary, which started as his Twitter commentary on the first Twitter Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

 

Jim Day (@Fantasytaz)  has been writing for FF sites since 2000 when he started with Xpertsports.com. Jim started Fantasy Football Whiz in 2007 just as a place to have some fun and conversation with fellow league mates and any other fantasy fanatic that wanted to talk FF.

 

Jared Ferree (@WYFShow ) hosts the “What’s Your Fantasy” radio show/podcast on Blogtalkradio’s Fantasy Sports Channel with Raymond Summerlin.  He is also a frequent contributor to www.lindyssports.com with both fantasy player rankings and general fantasy football articles. 

 

Ginny Loveless (@GBGinny) is a staff writer at Football Diehards and is part of the weekly fantasy football recap crew. This beer-drinking, brat-eating, cheesehead will give you her best tip at being successful in fantasy football: numbers don’t lie. Stick with the facts and you’ll do alright. However . . . a little luck never hurts.

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Twitter Roundtable Vol 3: Electric Boogaloo

300px-King_Arthur_and_the_Knights_of_the_Round_Table[1]BOLD PREDICTIONS

Welcome to another edition of the fabulous Twitter Roundtable, where we gather some of the best, brightest and most verbose Fantasy Experts on Twitter for a discussion of the events that will shape your Fantasy Season. 

Every year there is a guy who surprises us – either for very good or very bad reasons. 
 
Hopping out on that limb for fun – what is the one thing you are predicting (surprise, disappointment, undervalue, overvalue) which will shock and awe the folks back home?
 

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com: I’m not sure if it’ll shock anyone, but I think Knowshon Moreno will end 2009 as a top 10 PPR back.  
 
The things that tend to limit a rookie runner’s time on the field are opportunity and shortcomings in certain areas. Opportunity is clearly there for him in Denver. Correll Buckhalter is nothing more than a complement, one with big-time knee issues in his past. LaMont Jordan is a goal-line guy as seen late last year in New England. Moreno seems like one of the most well-rounded backs to come out of the draft in a while and will be hard for the Broncos to take off the field.
 

Mark Gram – FF101 on Sportsradio1450.com: One player who I feel will disappoint is Marion Barber (Dal). I’m hearing wild projections for MBIII that scare the living daylights out of me. 
 
While he is still a very capable runner, he has competition from 2 players, Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Both of these players are young, good-looking runners ready to make a name for themselves. 
 
Barber’s #’s dropped in yards, 885 last year compared to 975 in ‘07, ypc, 3.7 last year, 4.8 in ‘07, and in TD’s, 12 in ‘07 and 9 last season. 
 
Not only do I have concerns because of Jones and Choice, I also worry about Barber’s production as the season goes on. His running style is so powerful and bruising, that he wears down as the season progresses. And the numbers bear that out. 
 
I do believe he can still be productive, but temper your enthusiasm and expectations, especially if he’s your #1 guy. 
 
My surprise player heading into the ‘09 season is Michael Bush (Oak). Everyone is talking about Darren McFadden and how this is going to be his year. I’m sorry, I’m not buying it. 
 
I don’t Bush is going to be a 20-25 carry guy, but I think he’ll be productive while sharing carries with McFadden. I’m not concerned with the other Raider RB, Justin Fargas. I don’t see him factoring into the equation very much. 
 
If McFadden gets injured (a distinct possibilty), Bush will be an absolute steal!
 

Jeff Terfertiller – Footballguys.com: The guys I am watching for breaking out and breaking down are: 
 
Emerging: 
Leinart (yes I know he has struggled) – I cannot see Warner making it half the season.  New coordinator with Haley in KC.  Situation is ripe for Leinart with Boldin/Fitz. 
 
Laveraneus Coles – I see him having a huge role in Cincy, similar to Houshy’s role of the past.  I could really see Coles with 80+ catches, 900 yds and 8 TDs.   
 
Devin Thomas – He is the guy I am looking to buy in dynasty leagues.  He could emerge as the legit WR2 in Wash.  Much depends on Campbell, though. 
 
Felix Jones – Had a couple of huge games before being lost to injury. 
 
Michael Bush – Monster game against Tampa in week 17 gave indication he could be a nice sleeper 
 
Donnie Avery – He is the only WR on a team that will have to pass a ton.   
 
Celek – His huge game in the NFCC game makes me think he is destined for better days in Philly 
 
 
Declining: 
Seattle Passing game – Hasselbeck is getting older and injury-prone.  The OL is not strong.  Houshy and his low YPR should disappoint.  No running game.  The offense is a mess. 
 
Buff Passing game – Edwards needs a lot more pass attempts than he has gotten in order to satisfy Owens and Evans.  I think Owens still gets his, and Evans disappoints AGAIN.  Edwards has struggled down the stretch in the two seasons he has been in the league.  His slumps mirror Evans’. 
 

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com: Barber was easily on pace for his first 1,000-yard season before his Thanksgiving Day toe injury that basically ended his season (13 carries over the final four weeks). The per-carry average is a legit concern, I think, although the Dallas line really wasn’t very good last season. Felix Jones got his big average because he’s a dynamic outside runner who will break some long ones. Tashard Choice also put up bigger rushing averages, though, in that late-season span after Barber’s injury. If you look closely, though, he also produced at least one run of 20 or more yards in all but one of the five games in which he got double-digit carries. Take away his longest carry in each of those contests, and his per-carry average dips below 4 yards in every game but the Giants affair. 
 
What does that mean? Likely that both young backs are bigger threats to break off a long one than Barber. That shouldn’t really surprise anyone. He’s at his best in short-yardage situations because of the whole “runs angry” thing. That said, Barber has caught 44 and 52 passes in the past two seasons and tied for seventh in the league in 2007 with eight runs of at least 20 yards — that despite getting just 204 attempts. 
 
I think that if Dallas spells Barber as it should with the two younger guys, Barber could pretty easily match his 2007 numbers — perhaps even with a few more touchdowns now that Owens is gone.
 

Andrew Garda – Thundering Blurb:

Earlier Mark said, ‘One player who I feel will disappoint is Marion Barber (Dal). I’m hearing wild projections for MBIII that scare the living daylights out of me.’ 

I don’t know if you caught my tweet about it a while back but Barber went in an auction/dynasty/contract league I’m in as the most expensive player period. Limit is 500, he went for 140 – more than 1/5 of the cap. It was crazy. 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com: This may come off as more than a rant then predictions…. 
 
Knowshon Moreno is a Top 10 RB in PPR Leagues (I think this was already predicted by someone else) 
Larry Fitzgerald doesn’t make the Top 5 WRs in any format 
Tom Brady is THE Fantasy QB of the year 
The Jets DST achieves Top 5 status 
Brent Celek becomes a Top 10 TE for this year only 
Kurt Warner misses +8 Games this season 
The Ravens DST doesn’t crack the Top 7 
 
Okay. I’m done. I need to work on my DE IDP Rankings….
 

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com: I’ll buy the Jets’ defense from Week 5 on, but those first four games without Calvin Pace are going to be tough. 

Jeff Terfertiller – Footballguys.com: Josh, I can’t believe you and I are so much on the same page.  The only one I would question is Moreno, just because the Bronco defense.  I would add that I see Moss as WR1 to match Brady.  

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com: I think, barring injury, Moreno should be good for at least 1056 yards rushing this season. Let’s say he only manages to get 220 carries this year (I think he’ll get more like 250) behind maybe the league’s best offensive line. Denver averaged 4.8 yards per carry as a team last year, which is where I get the 1056 figure from. That average included a broad group of backs who might all have been less talented than Moreno. Among the group, Peyton Hillis and Selvin Young each went for 5 yards a rush, and Tatum Bell averaged 5.7. Give Moreno 5 yards per carry (which he could surpass), and he’s an 1100-yard back at just 220 carries. Just 10 backs reached 1100 last year. 
 
The two big variables are receptions and touchdowns. I have a hard time imagining Moreno catching fewer than 40 passes this year. Kevin Faulk grabbed 58 in a similarly crowded backfield as the Pats’ No. 3 receiver behind Moss and Welker last year under McDaniels — 47 the year before that. If Moreno gets at least 40 catches, it only takes 7.5 yards per to get him to 1400 total yards. 
 
As for touchdowns, Ryan Grant was the only guy to run for 1100 last year and not score at least eight times on the ground. Add another one or two receiving scores at least at that kind of work level 
 
Barring injury, I think Moreno will (conservatively) be good for about 1400 total yards, 40 receptions and 9 total touchdowns.
 

By the way, I do agree on Moss as this year’s No. 1 receiver. 

Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com: My bold prediction is that John Carlson will be a top 5 TE by year’s end. Carlson had a great rookie year with 55 receptions for 627 yards and 5 TDs. Most of this was done with Seneca Wallace at QB. When Hasselbeck did start, Carlson had 23 catches in 5 starts. Look for them to build on this bond in 2009. The running game is not very solid and outside of new arrival TJ Houshmandzadeh, there are not a lot of receiving options, at least none that can stay on the field for any length of time. Look for Carlson to break out and rival the top TE’s in the game. 
 
Other predictions:  
 
LT once again moves into the top 5 at RB 
Matt Cassel is a big bust in KC 
Roy Williams will not be worth his current ADP. He is not a #1 WR anymore. 
Tashard Choice will be the Cowboys starting RB.

 
Steve Wyremski – retiredrookie.com:

Bold predictions: 
 
1) Larry Johnson doesn’t last until midway through the 2009 season as the Chiefs starting RB.  
2) Thomas Jones doesn’t end the season as the Jets starting RB. 
3) Pierre Garcon has over 500 yards receiving and there’s talk at the end of the year if he’ll pass Gonzo for the #2 spot. 
4) Chris Henry finishes with the best receiving stats on the Bengals. 
5) Miles Austin has better receiving stats than Roy Williams to finish the year. 
6) Desean Wynn will be the starting RB in GB by the end of 2009 and Grant will be useless for FF playoffs.  I’ve never been a fan of grant and if Wynn didn’t have that injury two years ago he’d probably now be the starting RB in GB. 
7) Without Tony G, Bowe gets doubled and struggles to be top 15 WR in 2009.
 

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com: DeShawn Wynn never struck me as a feature back, even when he was the primary runner (because of injuries to others) in Green Bay. I think he’ll get more work than he did early last year, but I don’t see him as more than a complementary back. 

Parag Gheewala – Mockumentary:

Not sure if these are bold… 
1.  Marques Colston will be a top 5 WR. 
2.  Domenik Hixon will be the best fantasy WR on the NYG and a WR2. 
3.  Michael Turner is not in the top 10 WR. 
4.  Julius Jones – great value at RB. 
5.  Kellen Winslow returns to prominence (top 5 TE).
 
 

Jared Ferree – What’s Your Fantasy Podcast: I love all the LOVE for Knowshon Moreno.  Smart people who project rather than just reflect will see that Moreno could easily be a top 10 fantasy RB in PPR leagues.  Is he a guarantee, no, but I will take my chances on a very talented RB who is playing for a great offensive line in Denver, who is playing for a QB who checked down an awful lot to a less talented RB named Matt Forte last season.   
 
MJD will not finish in the top 10 fantasy RB unless you get points for being a huge disappointment.   
 
“Kurt Warner misses +8 Games this season” – Not sure where that is coming from at all.  Is he one of the older starting QB’s yeah, so are you predicting the same for Kerry Collins?  Either way, to counter this bold prediction, I will throw out this one. 
 
Kurt Warner will finish in the top 5 among fantasy QB! 
 
Larry Fitzgerald finishes no worse than 3rd among fantasy WRs in ANY format! 
 
Sorry to take shots at Josh, but maybe you can explain to me why you think Warner misses more than 8 games, and why Fitzgerald doesn’t crack the top 5??  I feel those are more, “Throw them out there, and if they hit I look like I knew something no one else knew” predictions rather than “Bold” Predictions.  Just my opinion though!
 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com: Umm. Warner has only started 16 full games in a season 3 Times. And NONE of them were back to back. Last year? Perfect 16 games. I’m not even including his age, he has always been susceptible to the injury bug. Maybe you’re not superstitious but you have the Madden Curse, the Super Bowl Loser curse, a change in OC, change in DC, Warner’s injury history and finally his age. Thanks but no thanks. I’ll pass on both Warner & Fitzgerald at their current ADP.  

Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com: 
You forgot the “SO THERE” at the end of it….
 

And so ends another edition of the TWITTER ROUNDTABLE! Thanks again for all who took part and we’ll be back with more very, very soon! 

Thanks to the cast from this go-round: 

Jeff Tefertiller (@Jeff Tefertiller) is a Footballguys.com staffer and USA Today BlogSquad member.  Most of all, he’s a football fan and spends a lot of time researching future articles when not spending time with the wife and two little ones.   

Matt Schauf  (@mschauf63) You can now find his work as the lead football writer for PFS and SportsBuff.com or at RapidDraft.com, where he also provides the strategy for the “Hollywood” character in the industry’s first single-player fantasy football game. His IDP writing can also be found at SportingNews.com and in preview magazines for Sporting News, Rotoworld and Football Diehards.

Joshua Torrey (@jmtorrey) is a contributor to FantasyDC.com & is a fan of not just football but football strategy. Joshua enjoys breaking down game tape and team schemes to predict long term fantasy success.

Andrew Garda (@ThunderingBlurb) writes for a myriad of sites including FantasyPros911.com, BleacherReport.com and his own site, ThunderingBlurb.com. He also hosts his own weekly show The Thundering Blurb Football Show every Wednesday (10pm EST) on BlogTalkRadio.com.

Mark Gram (@FF101) Along with Adam Stark and Eric Pedigo, Mark begins the 5th season of Fantasy Football 101 with a fantasy draft special on Aug 13th on www.sportsradio1450.com WFMB am. 

Steve Wyremski’s (@retiredrookie) primary focus is to reach out to NFL and NCAA players for interviews in an effort to bring the players closer to fans.  Dynasty leagues are a huge focus of his, but general football strategy is his love.

Parag Gheewala (@vote4parag) is an average guy with a day job who loves fantasy football and is also the mastermind behind Mockumentary, which started as his Twitter commentary on the first Twitter Fantasy Football Mock Draft.

Jim Day (@Fantasytaz)  has been writing for FF sites since 2000 when he started with Xpertsports.com. Jim started Fantasy Football Whiz in 2007 just as a place to have some fun and conversation with fellow league mates and any other fantasy fanatic that wanted to talk FF.

Jared Ferree (@WYFShow ) hosts the “What’s Your Fantasy” radio show/podcast on Blogtalkradio’s Fantasy Sports Channel with Raymond Summerlin.  He is also a frequent contributor to www.lindyssports.com with both fantasy player rankings and general fantasy football articles. 

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Twitter Roundtable Vol. 2

roundtableWelcome to the second edition of the Twitter Fantasy Football Roundtable. As is the case last time, a bunch of Fantasy writers who met on Twitter have gathered together to debate and discuss a current topic – today’s group consists of:

Matt Schauf  (@mschauf63) started writing about football for the expansive audience of metropolitan Oneonta, N.Y., back in 2002. After a couple of years of catering to his three readers there, he got picked up by ProFantasySports.com to be an IDP specialist. Soon after, Matt became the lead football writer for PFS and SportsBuff.com. You can now find his work there or at RapidDraft.com, where he also provides the strategy for the “Hollywood” character in the industry’s first single-player fantasy football game. His IDP writing can also be found at SportingNews.com and in preview magazines for Sporting News, Rotoworld and Football Diehards. In addition, Matt runs the industry news site FantasySportsBusiness.com, which was named best new site of 2008 by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association.

Joshua Torrey (@jmtorrey) is an Electrical/Computer Engineer working out of Austin, TX. A die hard Steelers fan & fan of not just football but football strategy, Joshua enjoys breaking down game tape and team schemes to predict long term fantasy success. He is also a contributor to FantasyDC.com. He has 5 tattoos, showered yesterday and is eating meatloaf for lunch.

Andrew Garda (@ThunderingBlurb ) has been writing about football for the last eight years, covering everything from Fantasy to College to the NFL. He’s written for such sites as Draftguys.com and BleacherReport.com, but for the last year and a half has also had his own site at ThunderingBlurb.com. He’s also been podcasting since before they had a name for it and despite that making him feel quite old, continues his own weekly show The Thundering Blurb Football Show every Wednesday (10pm EST) on BlogTalkRadio.com.

Mark Gram (@FF101) Along with Adam Stark and Eric Pedigo, Mark begins the 5th season of Fantasy Football 101 with a fantasy draft special on Aug 13th on www.sportsradio1450.com WFMB am.

 Jim Day (@Fantasytaz) is a retired Biotech Engineer who has been playing Fantasy Football since 1992. Seriously addicted, Jim plays in about 30 Fantasy leagues a year, with most of these being large roster IDP Dynasty leagues. He has been writing for FF sites since 2000 when he started with Xpertsports.com. Jim started Fantasy Football Whiz in 2007 just as a place to have some fun and conversation with fellow league mates and any other fantasy fanatic that wanted to talk FF. It’s a small site, but is growing every year. Besides The Whiz, he also owns and acts as head engineer for Ultimate Recording, a 96 track, fully digital recording studio (im’s other love).

Steve Wyremski (@retiredrookie) is a CPA working in NYC.  He’s a big time New York Jets and Boston College (alum) fan and has been playing fantasy football since 1996.  His primary focus is to reach out to NFL and NCAA players for interviews in an effort to bring the players closer to fans.  Dynasty leagues are a huge focus of his, but general football strategy is his love.

Parag Gheewala (@vote4parag) is an average guy with a day job who loves fantasy football and is also the mastermind behind Mockumentary, which started as his Twitter commentary on the first Twitter Fantasy Football Mock Draft. It quickly lead to Top 10 Fantasy Football Tweeter status. Parag loves the interactive and instant nature of Twitter, but the blog allows him to provide more in-depth comments when needed. Follow him on Twitter and via Mockumentary.

Jared Ferree (@WYFShow ) hosts the “What’s Your Fantasy” radio show/podcast on Blogtalkradio’s Fantasy Sports Channel with Raymond Summerlin.  He is also a frequent contributor to www.lindyssports.com with both fantasy player rankings and general fantasy football articles. 

And now the question of the day.

 

Last year saw a pretty much unprecedented amount of rookie running backs who turned in stud performances: Steve Slaton, Matt Forte, Chris Johnson were the class of the class – and all things being equal Kevin Smith looked pretty darned good as well.

Which of these guys is most likely to see a dip in numbers their second year and why?

 

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com:

Steve Slaton topped out at 248 carries in college and twice carried fewer than 215 times in his three seasons. The Texans know that they have to be careful about overworking him — as evidenced when they basically sat him (four carries) for the Baltimore game last year. He can’t average 22 carries like he did over the final six weeks of 2008. If more short-yardage carries go the way of Chris Brown and/or Ryan Moats, it’ll chip away at the nine rushing scores Slaton had last year.

That said, I think all of these players belong in the first two rounds of any draft (unless you have some funky scoring system).

 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com:

I think all of them stand a very likely chance to see a drop in Fantasy production this year. But I agree with Matt, Steve Slaton is one of the ones that stand a better chance. His small frame is what people were holding against him and Slaton proved us all wrong for one year.

 

But this is the NFL & Slaton is seeing more looks and hits from big time NFL linebackers, injury concerns my come up this year. Injuries can wreck Fantasy seasons and Slaton owners need to understand that one healthy season does not translate into a healthy career.

The other player I see being brought low is Chris Johnson. The kid is a blazer but he really is a one trick pony. Willie Parker lit up the league his first couple seasons as NFL Defenses still were not prepared for such potent speed rush attacks. LenDale White helps Chris Johnson in that opposing Defenses have less time to sub in a better defense for the battering ram that is White or the roadrunner that is Johnson.

 

Both Titan RBs saw great production increases last year, but if the Titans do start to favor Johnson, he could be in for a long season. My prediction is that the Titans will keep things balanced and Johnson will see some TDs lost to a better passing attack (not by much granted) and White.

 

Andrew Garda – ThunderingBlurb.com:

Everybody already knows I consider Forte a guy who will slip in year two. But as I’m merely pointing out that I expect him to dip a bit (and remain a top 10 back) I’m not sure I would characterize it as a sophomore slump & I don’t know it will be the biggest.

I agree with Josh that Chris Johnson is a prime candidate for a stumble. My biggest worry is that he is going into the season with no real passing offense. While that didn’t seem hamper him much last year, defenses weren’t as prepared for the speed he brought to the table.

Take a close look at his last few games – he struggled (but scored) on the ground against Pittsburgh and Baltimore. He caught just two catches for a measly 1 yard versus the Steelers. But he also struggled terribly against Houston.

If you let the Ravens game go as he was hurt and left the match, but look at the other two you’ll note that in both cases, teams pinned him against the line, allowed him no cutback lanes and generally hit him early and often.

It didn’t help that Collins was off his already unimpressive game.

If a team like Houston (ranked 23rd vs the run in 2008) can figure this out, more than likely others will too. It’s especially worrisome since it happened late in the season and was replicated by Pittsburgh.

And look at that early schedule – Steelers, Jets, Jags (twice), Pats – it’s not pretty.

Let’s also not forget LenDale White stealing short yardage work, though if it balances like last year that won’t hurt too much.

I like Johnson, but I think this year a season’s worth of tape along with the mediocre pass game may hurt him more than people expect.

 

Mark Gram – FF101 on Sportsradio1450.com:

I had a tough time deciding between C. Johnson and S. Slaton. While I Johnson coming back to the pack just a little, I feel that Slaton will be the guy whose numbers may drop the most.

Good points have already been made as to why Slaton may struggle a bit this season. First, the NFL is not stupid; Slaton will not sneak up on opponents this year. Defenses will be prepared.

Second, as Matt mentioned, the Texans aren’t going to give him the workload that he had last season. With C. Brown and R. Moats as the backups, I think Slaton will see fewer touches at the goal-line.

He’s still a fine option in fantasy drafts, but I’m going into my drafts not expecting the same #’s as last year.

 

Jeff Terfertiller – Footballguys.com:

I see Slaton and Johnson having a decent chance of wearing down.  Both are “smaller” and there is talk of both having a big role this season.  Hard to believe the Titans will give Johnson too many carries. 

 

With White being used to close out games in 2008, he saw extended action as the Titans led many games.  What happens if more games are close?  Will the Titans give Johnson 20-25 touches per game? 

 

Also, what happens if Collins is hurt or ineffective?  I think last year was a perfect storm of good fortune for Tenn.  In Houston, this is the year for Slaton to prove he can handle the load.  If he has two great seasons, he vaults to a perennial Top 5 pick. 

 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com:

Andrew said ‘I like Johnson, but I think this year a season’s worth of tape along with the mediocre pass game may hurt him more than people expect.’

 

I like Chris Johnson in the 2nd Round. But I don’t think I will ever get a chance to even sniff at him.

 

Parag Gheewala – Mockumentary:

I like all three RBs and don’t foresee a major stumble out of any of them.  I expect Forte’s numbers to decrease from last year because of fewer targets and carries, but he’s good enough not to bust.  Until I see signs that Slaton can’t handle the load, I’ll believe what I saw last year.  Same goes for Johnson – I think he’s got elite skills.  Slaton and Johnson are great values.

 

Jared Ferree – What’s Your Fantasy Podcast:

One thing that really annoys me about Matt Forte is that I feel people are over valuing him based on the value he represented last season.  Forte went undrafted in some leagues and if you did draft him, you probably picked him up very late.  So based on what he did last season, he was a tremendous value and has people all in a tizzy about him.  The guy did less with 300+ carries than anyone I have ever seen, 3.9 YPC, and 8 rushing TDs, are you serious? 

 

His value was in the passing game and I don’t think that was planned it was due to Kyle Orton looking to check down.  Cutler thinks he can hit a guy with 2 DB’s draped on his back and if there is one thing I can guarantee in fantasy football this season, it is that Matt Forte won’t come close to his reception totals last season. 

 

If you watched some of the games that Forte played in last season, there were times he sat out for a long stretch and then got brought in at the one yard line and got a TD, and his stat line was decent.  He was average at best running the ball and better than people thought catching the ball.  I think he doesn’t carry more than 265 times, and doesn’t catch over 40 balls.  That means his production drops quite a bit. 

 

I don’t predict injuries, so I am assuming Slaton stays healthy and Johnson is a threat to go deep every time he touches the ball, so to me, this one is easy, if you take Forte top 5, you will be disappointed, because I don’t think he is a top 10 fantasy back this season. 

 

Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com:

I have to agree with Jared on this one, I think Forte falls the furthest. That being said, I think all of these kids (outside of Kevin Smith) will remain top 10 at the position. I just don’t think Forte come out on top of this group.

Hate to reiterate what has already been said, but it has been said that his touches will go down partly due to a healthy Kevin Jones looking quicker than he has in the last couple of years according to Chicago beat writers and also the fact that Cutler will look to throw the ball further downfield more often.

Ultimately though I think these things help Forte and allow him to remain fresher longer into the season and maybe even extend his career some, I’m just not sure I see top five in his future in 2009.

 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com:

While Kevin Jones might be healthy with the pads off, I don’t expect Jones to make it 2 weeks without getting injured. I think the other Adrian Peterson will steal more carries from Forte & is the handcuff to own.

 

Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com:

I am not a fan of Handcuffs and don’t draft that way, so I really don’t care who takes his carries, just that they will be taken.

 

Steve Wyremski - retiredrookie.com:

Forte is my guy.

Chicago was a game managing team last year with a ton of dump offs and clock management.  Add a gun slinger and I see two changes:

1) Less dump off passes to the RB;
2) More tossing the ball around.

This all equals fewer opportunities for Forte.  Let’s face it… Forte was the Bears offense last season.  While the addition of one of the best young QuarterBacks in the league may help keep the safety out of the box, he’s not going to see the same number of touches.  The Bears are also more likely to get a second RB involved this season based on recent news out of Chicago.

Forte’s big time overrated right now.

 

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