THUNDERING BLURB » Matt Forte http://thunderingblurb.com ANDREW GARDA'S ENDLESS TAKES ON NFL AND COLLEGE FOOTBALL Tue, 10 Aug 2010 03:40:44 +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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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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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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Wednesday Morning Stampede http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/wednesday-morning-stampede/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/wednesday-morning-stampede/#comments Wed, 06 Aug 2008 14:21:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=73 So FAVREWATCH 2008 is far from over, but we knew that would be the case.

All that and some running back news below for the Morning Stampede…

Green Bay Packers
As was reported yesterday, Favre is probably close to being traded and soon. Both the Jets and Bucs are allegedly interested – the Tampa Tribune says Favre will be a Buc be days end, with Brian Griese heading to Wisconsin to back up Aaron Rodgers (which as I wrote last night, only made sense). Not so fast says Jay Glazer of FoxSports – the NY Jets have offered a much better trade package. Apparently, Favre currently prefers the Bucs, though he is talking to the Jets, and supposedly feels that the Packers are asking too much from the Bucs just because they are a NFC team.

I think this will clear up by Friday, maybe before, but it continues to be somewhat ugly between the Pack and their once favored son.

Both the Bucs and Jets would be good, not great fits, for Favre and neither is a Super Bowl contender though the Bucs seem closer on the surface. Favre may help them make a run while he merely makes the Jets an 8-8 team with Wild Card aspirations. That’s not a slam on Favre – the Jets are just farther away. But you never know.

Either team would put Favre back on the Fantasy radar and make him – at the very least – a #2 QB.

Chicago Bears
Kevin Jones is definitely healing well and while he might still open the season on the PUP list, he is supposedly running close to full speed. He’s been in pads, though sporting a heavy knee brace. It’s the brace that reminds you he is still coming back from a nagging injury and is a guy who the Bears probably picked up more for later in the season. Jones could be a pick during the last half or third of your draft, but you shouldn’t draft him for anything but bench depth. Matt Forte is still the starter and will be for some time, barring him struggling mightily.

San Francisco 49rs
Frank Gore could have a huge season if he is involved in the pass game the way I (and others) suspect he might, yet I still see him slipping late in the 1st round of drafts. Gore has worked hard to get into better shape, including dropping wieght. With the concerns for just about every running back pick after #3 (Westbrook or Peterson, depending on who you ask), Gore is someone to look at closely and consider for your #1 back.

Most of the 49rs have a long way to go to prove themselves fantasy worthy and Gore could still face 8 man fronts if Martz’s offense struggles. But Gore has faced them before and done well. Dropping the weight and getting into better shape will hopefully keep him healthier and get rid of nagging injuries that have plagued him for his career.

Pittsburgh Steelers
Just when we thought Fast Willie Parker had lost his goal line touches for good with the drafting of Rashard Mendenhall – not so fast. According to HC Mike Tomlin (by way of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette ), Parker is once again under consideration for goal line duties. Now, I need to look into this but this may be a sign Mendenhall is struggling a little in camp. I’ll see what I can find out. Parker will get you the yards – but his touchdowns were completely absent last year and it killed his owners. If he can get even a few more goal line touches, it would really help his value to you. I have been, and still do, assume that the rookie Mendenhall will get a ton of short yardage looks, including in the red zone. Parker hasn’t got the size for it and concern still is he might wear down. But he has been effective on occasion and could be again if the offensive line is back on it’s game. That was the biggest problem last year – the Ol-ine struggled as much as he did.

He’s your rock solid RB2 – with a ton of upside if this plays out.

That’s all for now – more later.

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More NFLDraftbible videos http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/more-nfldraftbible-videos/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/more-nfldraftbible-videos/#comments Fri, 01 Aug 2008 20:29:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=62 One about rookie Matt Forte and one general report covering rookies Jordan Dizon, Chris Long and Dan Conner.

They are also available, along with many more videos at NFLDraftbible.com’s front page.

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