THUNDERING BLURB » Kevin Smith 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. 2 http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/08/twitter-roundtable-vol-2/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/08/twitter-roundtable-vol-2/#comments Tue, 04 Aug 2009 14:22:46 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=542

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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The return of — CEDRIC BENSON??!?!? http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/the-return-of-cedric-benson/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/the-return-of-cedric-benson/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2008 13:47:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=174 Have gotten a few questions about Cedric Benson and whether or not he is worth a pickup and I just wanted to remind you guys that NOTHING is confirmed yet.

Whereas a news station in Austin is saying ‘Done Deal’, the Detroit Free Press is saying negotiations haven’t even started yet.

Benson would be an intriguing pickup for the Lions who don’t seem thrilled with Rudi Johnson but also don’t have a lot of quality RB depth anyway. He might be worth a spot on your bench if you aren’t cutting a performer – someone who is putting some points up. I believe his upside is limited due to attitude and work ethic, but let’s face it – Kevin Smith is a rookie and at some point they will want to spell him.

I have argued Smith might be better prepared for the length of the NFL season due to that huge number of carries last year at Central Florida. But the rookie is doing well, but not great (26 carries for 88 yards, 8 catches for 53 yards – and just 1 TD on the ground) and at some point they may want to chaneg things up a bit. I don’t think Smith is bad – and I KNOW Benson is no long term solution – but he may get carries.

But the fact is, this has NOT happened yet. I’ll let you know when I hear something different, but don’t jump the gun. If your waivers need to go in today, you may hesitate and that’s fine. It is unlikely Benson will be teh missing link in your Championship. The guy is bench depth, that’s pretty much it.

As far as the Lions (and Rudi Johnson are concerned) at least he’s not stealing stuff out of the locker room. Right Tatum?

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Thursday Stampede http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/thursday-stampede/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/thursday-stampede/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2008 13:27:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=101 Hey folks,

First off, I would like to apologize for the wacky end to last night’s show. Technical glitches threw me off and you can pair that with the chaos of the draft we were trying to do – anyway it was scattered.

We shall be distraction free and glitch free from here on out.

Onto the news and after the passing of Gene Upshaw, let’s start positive:

St. Louis Rams
Steven Jackson and the team have agreed in principal to a deal. That sigh of relief was 1,000 owners exhaling. Anyone who saw Jackson slip to them in the latter half of the 1st round could be looking at a huge bargain if the line holds up. Jackson should be productive anyway, but I’d rather he didn’t take the beating he did last year. That goes for Bulger too of course.

Arizona Cardinals
Well, here is an IDP note in part because I met the guy, was impressed with how he was approaching the off-season and wish him well. When I met Travis LaBoy here in Los Angeles late last winter, he hadn’t left Tennessee officially yet. He talked a lot about the health problems he had faced in seasons prior to 2007 and how his new approach to working out and staying healthy had paid off – no back problems for one thing. When he signed with teh Cards I thought he was a good addition to the D – and hoped he might have soem IDP value. Unfortunately, he is sitting behind Bertrand Berry and while LaBoy has been productive this preseason – 2 sacks and 4 tackles in the last preseason game – if he’s on a rotating spot on the Defensive Line, well that could limit his consistency and IDP value. If he comes into a chance to start full time I think he will be very productive so keep an ear out for him.

Chicago Bears
I’m not sure what – if anything – I should read into this bit of news. But the Chicago Sun Times is reporting Kevin Jones is no lock to make the team. My first thought is – well, as bad as portions of that team are, who is? Second though – the Bears have three RBs besides Jones, so if he is goign to stick with rookie Matt Forte, ‘the other’ Adrian Peterson and Garrett ‘no clever nickname’ Wolfe, he needs to put up some numbers. I think he will stick just because Wolfe and Peterson are not world beaters, Forte is unproven and could wear down even if he is successful and Jones does have talent. But it is interesting to note and is another warning to not count on any of these guys too much.

Buffalo Bills
Rookie James Hardy is again out with a hamstring injury. He looked ok in his first preseason game, was a non-factor in his second and looks to miss his 3rd. I thought he could be productive thsi year, but it looks like he will struggle as many WRs do their rookei season. (psst. You. Yeah, youin the football jersey. Keep an eye on his fellow rookie Steven Jackson. He might make a case for himself sometime this season. You don’t have to draft him – he’ll be on the waiver wire. Just keep an eye out. The bills still need a threat opposite Lee Evans….) Fellow rookie Leodis McKelvin has made some noise but hasn’t passed Jabari Greer on the depth chart yet, not surprising in many respects. His impact will be limited for soem time in IDP leagues and probably come mostly in the return game.

Carolina Panthers
Dwayne Jarrett is busy muddying the WR position in Carolina. The Rock Hill Herald reports that he has been playing well enough to push DJ Hackett for the #3 role, one which will be a starting spot while Steve Smith is serving his 2 game team imposed suspension. Hackett has all the talent in the world but can’t stay healthy and this preseason is a perfect example of it. Jarrett stumbled and bumbled through his time at WR so far – both on the field and off of it – but he’s healthy, playing ok and Hackett is hurt. I have Hackett in oneDynasty league and I am starting to think about other uses for that roster spot. Redraft, I just don’t know if he will do anything this year. Keep watch, but he not be worth the early season roster spot.

Cincinnati Bengals
TJ Houshmandzadeh will miss Saturday’s preseason game – his third straight. Lewis is reportedly not happy but after the team forced Chris Henry on him again, who would be? He wants to get Housh involved and get him some snaps but doesn’t want to hurry him along and aggravate the injury. Between Chad Johnson, Rudi Johnson and TJ, this starting offense is a *M*A*S*H* unit. And the mopey Alan Alda produced ones near the end, not the wacky early ones. Both Ocho Cinco has slipped in drafts to where in some cases he has been available as a #2 WR. Johnson’s ADP is about mid 3rd and Housh is right there with him, late 2nd, early 3rd. Their health remains an issue but I still say the Henry signing was more about the WRs behind them then their status.

Detroit Lions
Finally, rookie RB Kevin Smith is still practicing with the first team. While the jury is still out on the Lions O-line, running game and Smith’s ability to carry the load for a season, this is no shock – he only had to beat Tatum Bell. If there is one guy you want in front of you on the depth chart at the RB position, it’s Bell. It almost guarentees you a shot at the starting job, no matter who you are. Don’t overvalue Smith but he is a starter and that is very valuable. As a #2/flex/bye week filler he coudl be outstanding.

That’s all for now. A reminder that the Blurb will be off the next few days while I am away. Overview of the weekend games will be done on Monday. Tune in to the Drvie Block tonight at 10pm EST/7pm PST and join myself (for hour 1) and Cecil Lammey and Sigmund Bloom of Footballguys.com for more great discussion and tips on how to decimate your league this season.

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Afternoon Camp news http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/afternoon-camp-news/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/afternoon-camp-news/#comments Thu, 07 Aug 2008 22:36:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=79 We’ll get right into it this afternoon -

New York Jets
As expected, the Jets cut Chad Pennington. As much as he wasn’t the long term answer there, he had been trying to cope with the questioning for a long time and seemed to handle it with class. Miami is a destination being tossed around – Parcells drafted Pennington after all and wouldn’t it be interesting if the QB who changed teams and went on to punk his old team in this whole mess ended up being The Chad?

Or they could get stomped by Favre and the Jets too.

Cincinnati Bengals
Rudi Johnson, who started camp like a house of fire, is now going to miss Monday’s preseason opener due to a sore hammy. Ordinarily I would write that off as veteran privileged expect for 2 things – 1) He took all season last year for a hamstring recovery and 2) he’s starting to miss a lot of Training Camp work. Chalk it up to more question marks for the back who used to be a solid and consistent top 10 pick every Fantasy season. I still think he will have a big season, but I am beginning to be concerned.

Detroit Lions
Kevin Smith is slated to get around 10 carries in the Lions game against the Giants. This will be a tough test for the 3rd rounder and we’ll get a real sense of what he can and can’t do – and whether he will blaze past Tatum Bell – very quickly over the next few weeks. Even if he doesn’t win the job outright, we all know Bell’s propensity for choking in the RB 1 spot. So Smith will get his chance by mid-season. Bank on it.

Miami Dolphins
Ronnie Brown may not play in Saturday’s preseason opener as he is still healing from his ACL injury. He is practicing twice a day, so more than likely they just want to be careful, more than he’s not ready. He’ll be back in it soon, as HC Tony Sparano says ‘it’s mostly mental’. With ACL injuries for any player – but especially running backs – trusting that limb again to support your weight can be tough. Brown should be good to go by Week 1 and is great as a RB2 with the upside of a #1. Remember, this cat was on fire the beginning of last year until his injury. We know he could play at a high level before – now he just needs to prove he still can. High upside on the guy whose ADP is the end of the third.

More later – and don’t forget to drop on by the Drive Block tonight – 7pm PST/10pm EST.

See ya then!

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Training Camp Updates http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/training-camp-updates/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/training-camp-updates/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2008 17:30:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=61 A little later than I have been trying to achieve, but here ’tis.

Carolina Panthers
So I blinked and missed that receiver Steve Smith had gotten into a fight with cornerback Ken Lucas. Apparently at one point Lucas one on one knee when Smith punched him in the face.

Damn.

Lucas left the field with a face injury and Smith is not in camp today, though that was apparently planned anyway. His agent says he (Smith) realizes he made a big mistake. No word on Lucas’ state right now. I like to see fire in players in Training Camp but damn…..

Detroit Lions
Tatum Bell is out today due to ‘personal reasons’ (insert your own joke here – it’s too easy) and so Kevin Smith is running with the first team today. This isn’t a shock, that he’s #2 in front of Brian Calhoun. With only the inconsistent Bell to beat, he should have a significant amoutn of carries from the get-go in Week 1. A lot of people dislike the 450 carries last year in Central Florida and worry he may burn out. But as he is IN NO WAY anything more than a #2 or 3 on your Fantasy Team, you should be able to ride him early and if he keeps it up all season, then you have some nice bonus points.

Look the guy is going – on average – about 30-35th RB off the board. Every pick in the first three rounds will not be running backs. You can easily pick up a solid #2 and Smith for the upside. Personally I am not too worried about his legs this year anymore than any other rookie back (they tend to wear down over a Pro campaign – it’s rare one doesn’t) so it shouldn’t be a shock if he does. But think about this- maybe Smith, having toted the rock so many times last year – will not wear down. Maybe he has already got the fortitude worked up. Food for thought.

Miami Dolphins
This doesn’t shock me – nor should it you – but quarterback John Beck is still struggling. According to this blurb on Rotoworld a local writer has dubbed him ‘Checkdown’ as that’s his favorite play. (For what it’s worth, Brady Quinn in Cleveland is having the same problem – not with the name, but the lack of down the field aggressiveness.) I said it during the 2007 draft, revisited it during this year’s draft and will say it here again for the cheap seats – this is why Tedd Ginn Jr was a bad pick. You went for a special teams player with upside as a receiver instead of the position of need, quarterback. Now as I pointed out, Quinn (who was sitting there to be picked) is having similiar problems, but Quinn and John Beck are not similiar quarterbacks and not of the same value.

And this is why Bill Parcells got brought in to fix this disaster. Bedk is worthless on your fantasy roster. He will continue to struggle and I think find himself in danger of losing his gig within the next two years, if that. Again, should be no revelation, especially if you have heard me spout on this before.

Washington Redskins
A day late and a dollar short, I now have a guy to watch that better fits Cecil’s question during the Drive Block last night. According to the Washington Post, Colt Brennan will start the second half of Sunday’s Hall of Fame game tilt with the Indianapolis Colts. Brennan is recovering from off-season surgery on his hip (and a severe Draft stock tumble) but is supposed to be ready to go. he’s years away from being a factor but i am curious to see what he can do, now that he’s healthy and had a chance to get acquainted with the offense.

That’s all for now folks – back later with an afternoon review!

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