THUNDERING BLURB » fantasy analysis http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Fri, 22 Oct 2010 12:30:31 +0000 http://wordpress.org/?v=2.9.1 en hourly 1 Twitter Roundtable Vol. 4 The QBs Strike Back http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/08/twitter-roundtable-vol-4-the-qbs-strike-back/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/08/twitter-roundtable-vol-4-the-qbs-strike-back/#comments Wed, 12 Aug 2009 13:58:46 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=556 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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Quarterback Blurb Breakdown: Trent Edwards http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/quarterback-blurb-breakdown-trent-edwards/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/quarterback-blurb-breakdown-trent-edwards/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2009 15:22:43 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=524 Trent Edwards has new weapons to throw to - but will the offensive line hold up?

Trent Edwards has new weapons to throw to - but will the offensive line hold up?

Trent Edwards finds himself in a classic ‘put up or shut up’ situation this year.

The Bills went out and made some noise by signing Terrell Owens to a single year contract, giving fellow wide receiver Lee Evans someone who will draw coverage off of him and Edwards a second legitimate target.

Of course, the danger with T.O. is well known – calling him ‘QB-Killer’ wouldn’t be out of line. Still, he’s usually good for at least one season of production before an implosion and the Bills were wise in giving him just a year contract.

Plus, if you look at his history quarterbacks tend to do pretty well with him – at least the first year.

So Edwards could be in line for a nice bump in production.

On the downside, Edwards is losing Marshawn Lynch for three games. Fred Jackson looked very good last year and the team brought in Dominic Rhodes, so one hopes the run game won’t stumble too badly to open the season.

Rhodes hasn’t been spectacular the last few seasons and we only have part of a season to go on in terms of gauging Jackson’s production though, so it is a bit of an unknown factor.

More concerning is the offensive line.  There is a lot of disagreement as to how good a Left Tackle Jason Peters was, but the fact is, even a decent LT is at a premium and now Buffalo has three new guys filling in across the line.

It will be a worry up until the point we actually see them play and maybe even beyond. The AFC East will test them early and often and the defenses there will not be forgiving if the line shows itself to be weak.

Edwards himself could use the time a good offensive line would grant him. The longer he has, the better the chance he won’t check-down early and might throw the ball further down-field. Some of that is play-calling, but some of that is Edwards and if he’s going to take advantage of his new toys, he has to take a few more chances.

You know darn well T.O. will voice his displeasure if Edwards doesn’t throw to him, and if things start slow that’s going to be a concern.

So far in his career, Edwards hasn’t been a great Fantasy quarterback. He doesn’t throw for a ton of touchdowns (21 in 24 games, three of which were rushing scores) but let’s be honest here – Lee Evans can only do so much with every defensive back hanging onto his shoelaces while James Hardy, Josh Reed and Roscoe Parrish flounder around the field. T.O. can make a huge difference.

I want to see what happens in Training Camp. How will he click with his new weapon? Can the offensive line gel? Will the run game miss any beat?

If some of these questions are answered in Training Camp, Edwards could go from a decent backup to something much more.

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Quarterback Blurb Breakdown: Kyle Orton http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/quarterback-blurb-breakdown-kyle-orton/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/quarterback-blurb-breakdown-kyle-orton/#comments Sat, 18 Jul 2009 15:14:11 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=516 Can Kyle Orton make Denver fans forget Jay Cutler?

Can Kyle Orton make Denver fans forget Jay Cutler?

At first blush, you have to wonder what Denver was thinking here.

First the Broncos mishandle trying to trade for Matt Cassel, and then they completely screw up calming Cutler down.

Then they trade a franchise quarterback for a perennial backup.

Or did they?

Sure, Kyle Orton didn’t wow us back in 2005 when he stepped in to cover yet another glorious Rex Grossman setback and played well enough to not lose.

And sure, while he looked incredibly good in the first portion of the 2008 season, he hurt his ankle and then completely fell apart.

But a bad ankle can hurt any quarterback and shouldn’t diminish what he did when healthy.

So the question is: Which Orton is the one coming to Denver?

Certainly you have to credit Orton for stepping in during the 2005 season and holding the fort. It’s a lot to ask of any rookie, especially a guy like Orton who was a fourth round draft pick – expected to have to no more than back up duties to incumbent Rex Grossman in his first year.

He wasn’t perfect, throwing just 9 touchdowns to 13 interceptions. But he was serviceable.

It’s odd, but the perception is often that Orton is very accurate, and that’s not necessarily a fact. On the surface, his TD/INT ratio is almost 50/50 (30/27 actually). Mind you, it’s not much data to go on – he’s only got 33 games to go on.

But he’s not a laser-accurate passer by any means.

The other assumption is that Orton lacks the arm strength to take advantage of his wide receiver corps. But in the same breath, many say that Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal automatically spell big numbers for Orton.

Once again, we don’t have a good measure of what Orton can do based on just two seasons, one of which was filled with a lingering injury.

Certainly Marshall, Royal and – to a lesser but no less important extent – Brandon Stokley and Tony Scheffler, all contributed to Jay Cutler’s success.

But I would make the argument that he made them as much as they made him, if not more.

The fact is, I think Orton will benefit from throwing to the group of targets he has in Denver. He’ll also benefit from having to throw more than in Chicago.

Denver hasn’t yet made enough strides for the defense to avoid struggling again this year and it’s possible the team will find themselves behind often enough to where Orton may have to come from behind.

The question is whether Orton has what it takes to come from behind and succeed. According to stats on footballguys.com, trailing the opposition last season, Orton threw for 1,002 yards but had a TD/INT ratio of 6 TDs to 7 INTs.

Again, some of that surely comes down to his wide receivers. Still, some of that is Orton and he’ll need to be able to be more accurate in Denver.

In the end, I’m not totally sure what we can expect from Orton and that’s a great deal of the problem. He’s been hot and cold, produced well and not at all, had few decent wide receivers, and was in an offense which favored the run because they didn’t trust their quarterbacks.

He’s done a bunch of different things in different situations but what he hasn’t been is around long.

We have very little to go on which is dependable.

In this Denver offense, it’s tempting to just plug Orton in and assume the same numbers JC had will emerge. By the same notion – given the not-always-impressive numbers previously put up – it’s easy to dismiss him.

The truth is likely somewhere in the middle. But the doubts I have place him a little further back right now in my rankings.

I can’t get too hot and bothered about Orton, even if he played well half of one season. He’s got the job, so no Training Camp battle. But until camp starts, we won’t see how he clicks with his receivers – the best of which might not even be there.

This gets worse not better if Marshall gets traded or holds out (right now, Marshall says he’ll be in camp and the Broncos say they will not trade him).  Again, nothing I can judge now.

So while I reserve the right to move him up later, in mid July, Orton is where he deserves to be on the list.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Larry Johnson http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/running-back-blurb-breakdown-larry-johnson/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/07/running-back-blurb-breakdown-larry-johnson/#comments Sat, 04 Jul 2009 03:57:48 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=454 Once upon a time, Larry Johnson was Fantasy relevant.

He still is – although perhaps as a cautionary tale of too much complaining, not enough production.

It’s too bad because we’ve seen some great production from him even in the last two, stunted years.

Maybe it was the immense number of carries in 2005 & 2006 (336 & 416 respectively).

Maybe it was the ineffectual regimes in Kansas City. Maybe it was the weight of his not-insubstantial ego.

Whatever the cause, he has been in trouble or hurt often after the last few years.

It didn’t help his numbers last year that he caught just 12 balls after several seasons of 30+ catches. It looks unlikely that the Chiefs will utilize him to catch out of the backfield much this season, although with All-World Tight End Tony Gonzalez has gone of to Atlanta.

So, it’s possible LJ could get a few more catches since Brad Cottam is rumored to be staying in to block a lot.

We’ve seen too much of a dip to think Johnson is ready to bounce back anytime soon. Especially with a shaky offensive line, an unproven quarterback (albeit coming of a tremendous year) throwing to a small number of offensive weapons and probably  less than desired as the defense struggles to stop opposing drives and get the offense reps.

Johnson still has some upside but is nowhere near the back who once occupied a lounging spot in the preseason top ten rankings.

The best you can do is draft him for depth and hope he can put in a performance for a few games like he did week 3 vs Atlanta (121yds, 1TD), week 4 vs Denver (198yds, 2TDs) or week 16 vs Miami (108yds, 1TD).

But good luck figuring out when to start him. Thanks, but I think I’ll pass, regardless of perceived value – even in the fifth or sixth rounds.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: DeAngelo Williams http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-deangelo-williams/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-deangelo-williams/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2009 02:08:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=474

DeAngelo Williams

How can I NOT have him earlier will be the cry – and it doesn’t matter where he ranks. If it isn’t top 3, it won’t matter. Some folks will be bent out of shape.

Those cries have a case – Williams finally exploded last season and Carolina Head Coach John Fox loves his veterans – usually to the point of benching a more talented rookie.

He might not even have to even make that choice this year as Williams seems to be poised for potentially another great season while second year RB Jonathan Stewart hasn’t stepped up yet to become lead back. And wow is that offensive line adept at opening holes for Panther backs to run through.

Yet even though the offense runs the ball a lot (504 attempts last season) will they duplicate the amount of carries from 2008 in 2009?

Stewart pitched in with 10 touchdowns and even while battling an early injury he played well last season. Rookie Mike Goodson might see some work too. As much as they do run there still should be plenty to go around but it also means they will need to spell Williams. How much? And if they don’t will he burn out after two heavy carry seasons?

Finally, we have to wonder: was what we saw last year the reality – or a one shot deal? Will he be able to repeat his 2008 performance? We’ve had one year wonders before – and many teams who grabbed them too early in the first regretted it later in the season.

I like Williams, don’t get me wrong. But I’m not sure I like him enough to take him with a top five pick like many are suggesting.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Matt Forte http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-matt-forte/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-matt-forte/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2009 01:48:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=473
Matt Forte
Another guy who people will argue should/could be in the top 3 but I can’t go there.

Yes, fantastic first year. And the offense looks like it is about to step it up. But that doesn’t mean Forte will get even better.

Why? Well, for several reasons. First of all, his YPC was a pedestrian 3.9 and he’ll need to improve that to continue to put up numbers, especially since his carries will probably drop as Cutler throws more than Orton did.

Speaking of Cutler – while his arm will open things up for the run game (even with mediocre wide receivers) a ton of Forte’s 63 receptions were checkdowns by the quarterback. Cutler doesn’t play that way – he much more often forces a throw down-field.

So I think it is hard to expect close to the receiving numbers He threw just 61 TARGETS to backs in 2008. Not receptions – TARGETS. (In fairness to the ‘numbers’ game – he threw at running backs 81 times in 2007.)

The Bears’ offensive line is not as good as Denver’s, his receivers aren’t close and the defense should keep it close. Still, they didn’t trade the house for Cutler to hand Forte the ball, regardless of the young RB’s talent.

Once again, this points to at least a slight dip in Forte’s production. I just don’t know how big it goes.

If the Bears defense cannot hold the line, it could be a big dip as Cutler throws to his less-than-stud receivers to come from behind. Or it could just be a little regression as the team transitions into a more passing team.

But until I see the offense in action – and by action I don’t mean t-shirts and shorts – I can’t say what it will look like. So I don’t want to invest a huge risk by grabbing him before some of the guys prior to him on the list.

He’ll land in the top 10. I just don’t expect a repeat of his top 3 ranking from 2008.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Maurice Jones-Drew http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-maurice-jones-drew/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-maurice-jones-drew/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2009 01:25:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=472
Maurice Jones-Drew
One of the most divisive backs in fantasy right now, Maurice Jones-Drew is a fantastic athlete whose strength and speed belies his size.

But questions still plague him.

He’s never carried the rock as the feature back, not even in college. And as much as he is tough, will he wear down if the Titans do use him as the bell cow? Or conversely, will they spell him a bunch with Greg Jones and Rashard Jennings?

MJD should put up nice numbers, especially in a PPR league but he’s going as the second – in some cases FIRST – Rb off the board in some drafts.

I haven’t even gotten to the revamped offensive line, though I think it will be healthy and capable this season. But they’ll be rolling out a pair of rookies and while some of that could be merely for depth, they really collapsed fast in 2008.

In their defense, you can’t have what they went through happen and not collapse. Once Richard Collier was shot and paralyzed, the fact they even pulled it together when they did is pretty gutty.

The passing attack appears to also be a big question mark at first glance. But Tory Holt alone is better than anyone on the roster last year, save the departed Matt Jones. And the two draft picks of Jake Dillard and Mike Thomas have looked good enough in tees and shorts to allow Dennis Northcutt to be traded.

Still, Garrard seemed to plateau last season and if he cannot get a little more going on, MJD might start finding his running lanes clogged.

While I think Jones-Drew has the talent, there are many questions I have about him. To many to take him earlier than where he is at five.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Steven Jackson http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-steven-jackson/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-steven-jackson/#comments Sat, 27 Jun 2009 01:18:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=471
Steven Jackson
I have decided that Jackson is the perfect Fantasy Football Illusion. We all treat him as if he’s a stud and yet he’s only been in the top 10 fantasy-wise once in his five year career.

So what exactly is keeping him ranked this high year after year? Well for starters he DOES produce well despite missing games and suffering through terrible offensive lines and injured QBs. He can catch the ball, break a big run and fight for hard yards.

But the risk is he has only finished a full season once – in 2006 which was the year he was a top fantasy player. That’s telling – but so is how much he’s been hurt.

He’s also facing another season with a questionable Oline and now has a very young and/or inexperienced wide receivers for a weakening Bulger to throw to.

Jackson once again is a back with a ton of potential – but will it be reached or is it merely an illusion we chase every season?

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Ladainian Tomlinson http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-ladainian-tomlinson/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-ladainian-tomlinson/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2009 02:25:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=470
CURVE BALL. Instead of the number three back, I pull out old LT2 who I think is NOT dead yet.

Here’s why:

Ladainian Tomlinson
I always love movies where some guy is counted out – be it in the boxing ring, a classroom, a board room – the comeback story is a favorite.

Maybe that’s why I’m higher on LT than many others. I think Tomlinson has another year – at least – in him and will put up solid numbers this year.

By all reports he’s healthy, so he won’t be starting the season banged up as he did last year. Now staying healthy – that’s the trick and at LT’s age, it might be no mean feat. Also a question is the play of the offensive line, which was borderline criminal last season and left LT, Darren Sproles and Phillip Rivers exposed to mad abuse.

That certainly didn’t help Tomlinson’s numbers.

A lack of a pure blocking fullback hurt as well. That also remains a question mark though Jacob Hester’s blocking improved as last season wore on.

Still I believe LT has at least one last hurrah in him and in fact will benefit in getting spelled for some carries by Sproles. He’s on the mat, bruised and battered by the pundits and I think the story ends with him getting up one last time and sending those pundits to the mat.

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Running Back Blurb Breakdown: Michael Turner http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-michael-turner/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/06/running-back-blurb-breakdown-michael-turner/#comments Fri, 26 Jun 2009 02:08:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=469

Michael Turner

Turner is a good news/bad news guy.

Good News: Tony Gonzalez is here to stretch the defense and add his skills for third downs.

Bad News: Tony Gonzalez is here to steal red zone TDs and third down yardage.

In other (potential) bad news, you also have to assume he won’t repeat the 377 carries which could dip his numbers. If they try to run him that often again, I would worry about burn-out and injury.

Some of that depends upon how he spent his off-season. If he got some rest while working to stay in shape, he should be good to go. But if he pushed too hard and didn’t give his body time to recover, last season may hurt him a bit.

Still in a non-ppr league, he’ll put up great numbers. He drops in a PPR league, though as he gets no catches. Don’t believe me? Last season he hit his career total – of 6.

He’s still a top back, but in point per reception leagues he won’t put up quite the numbers Jackson or a few other backs would.

But in standard scoring leagues, Turner is a solid bet to end up in the top five.

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