THUNDERING BLURB » running back 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 The Thundering Blurb Show – 3/31/10 http://thunderingblurb.com/2010/04/the-thundering-blurb-show-33110/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2010/04/the-thundering-blurb-show-33110/#comments Thu, 01 Apr 2010 14:19:49 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=1087 It was all Matt Waldman all the time as we get the author of the Rookie Scouting Portfolio on the line for an entire hour to talk about the RSP (which conveniently drops 4/1).

We cover the three big offensive skill positions: quarterback, running back and wide receiver.

Some of the bullet points:

Quarterbacks

  • Matt’s a pretty big fan of Jonathan Crompton and has him ranked 5th.
  • Juice Williams is ranked 9th but is very boom or bust.
  • Tim Tebow isn’t even in Matt’s Top Ten. We expect lightning to strike Waldman down any second now.
  • Matt’s thoughts on some lesser covered QBs who might be worth a look late.

Running Back

  • Like me, Matt loves him some Toby Gerhart. We talk about why.
  • We also cover why he has CJ Spiller at 6. The answers will shock and horrify you (actually they probably won’t).
  • We talk about why he isn’t as high on Jonathan Dwyer as some.
  • We also touch on the prospects of late round possibility Deji Karim from S. Illinois and Anthony Dixon from Mississippi State.

Wide Receivers

  • We talk about how he’s a genius for ranking Damian Williams from USC as his #2 receiver.
  • What are Marty Gilyard’s prospects?
  • Will Jordan Shipley succeed at the next level?
  • We talk another dark horse prospect, this time as a wide receiver.

Matt’s great and I could do two hours chatting with him.

You can buy the Rookie Scouting Portfolio over at footballguys.com as of April 1st.

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Trendspotting: Maurice Jones-Drew http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/10/trendspotting-maurice-jones-drew/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/10/trendspotting-maurice-jones-drew/#comments Thu, 22 Oct 2009 17:31:19 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=757 I’ll be the first to admit that I had a bunch of concerns about Maurice Jones-Drew coming into this season. Most of those concerns – regarding his size, weight and their impact on his durability as well as the fact that he has never carried the ball as many times as the Jaguars want him to – are things which take a whole season to play out.
MJD is the Top Fantasy RB in many leagues

MJD is the Top Fantasy RB in many leagues

 
I felt he was still a top ten back. Six weeks in, he’s not only that but a top two back. He’s even the #1 back in many leagues.
 
However, while his overall numbers are very good his week to week numbers have fallen flat a few times.
 
A quick look at his overall games (credit to footballguys.com for supplying the stats) shows a few games where his owners might have struggled.
 
WK   OPP RSH YD TD TARG REC YD TD FPT  
1   IND 21 97 1 8 5 26 0 18.3  
2   ARI 13 66 0 7 4 17 0 8.3  
3   HOU 23 119 3 7 4 28 0 32.7  
4   TEN 6 14 1 3 3 26 0 10.0  
5   SEA 12 34 0 5 5 23 0 5.7  
6   STL 33 133 3 7 5 45 0 35.8  
TOT     108 463 8 37 26 165 0 110.8
 
Looking at the numbers I was struck by how inconsistent the production has been. His big games are big – very few backs have had games like that this season, much less more than one.
On the other hand, he’s had a few subpar games to alternate with those huge games.
 
What is going on with Jones-Drew? Is there a cause for concern? What is causing the yo-yoing production?
 
In this week’s Trendspotting, we look at the diminutive back and examine whether his owners need to sell high – or if the rest of us need to buy.
 
While I was working on the research for this, I did something a little different and threw out a post in the Footballguys forums to take the temperature of his owners and see what people felt might be going on if anything. You can check out response here, but I found very little worry for his prospects and some thoughts on the up and down production which mirrored what I was already thinking.
 
A few people are selling high(ish) and a few are looking to buy but overall his owners are patient and calm.
 
Good stuff there though and I encourage you to check it out.
 
And why shouldn’t his owners be patient. The overall picture in fantasy right now is one of struggling first round running backs.
 
Chris Johnson, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson, Steve Slaton – all are players taken in the first who have had issues in the first six weeks. We could add folks like Tom Brady and Randy Moss (Week 6 fireworks notwithstanding) as well. 
 
So it isn’t a reach to say that Jones-Drew has more than been worth his pick, along with the other survivor of the first round, Adrian Peterson. 
 
I took a look at the many leagues I am in (mostly PPR leagues, but some not) and Jones-Drew is the top back in many of them. You can’t be upset when so many other studs have fallen flat.
 
What about those down games? Well, first consider that in the above graph from FBG’s player page, eight and ten points are not tragic totals (and do not include PPR points). Disappointing? Perhaps. 
 
Looking closer though, Jones-Drew ran into things that may have shut down the production for many of the backs in the same situation.
 
As Sigmund Bloom points out in the thread, both the Arizona and Seattle games he was hamstrung by an early deficit. Looking at those two games, Jones-Drew got his usual amount of catches as well – between four and five which is right at his average so far. Against Arizona he still compiled a nice 83 yards total. 
 
While the Seattle game didn’t even have that going for it, there hasn’t been a back this year who didn’t put up lackluster points once.
 
Still, that game highlights one problem with Jones-Drew – or rather his situation. For whatever reason, the line has not been able to create enough room for him to run. It could be starting two rookies on the line, it could be an echo of the adversity the squad faced last season.
 
Is MJD dissmissing critics like he does these Bills?

Is MJD dismissing critics like he does these Bills?

Luckily, Jones-Drew has proven himself to be that special breed of back who can overcome weakness around him. In the tradition of LaDainian Tomlinson, Barry Sanders and Steven Jackson, Jones-Drew is a back who transcends situation. Now, that doesn’t mean I don’t have concerns (which we’ll touch on in a minute) but it does say that regardless of his team he will make positive yards most of the time.

 
One thing owners have to love is the propensity of the Jaguars to give him the rock in the red zone.
 
A quick look at the numbers show Jones-Drew has gotten more looks than ANYONE else on the team and by a huge margin. In fact, of 71 total red zone looks, Jones-Drew has been ‘the man’ on 30 of them. The next closest is quarterback David Garrard with 21. After that it is a huge dip to the surprising Mike Sims-Walker who has seven.
 
Of his eight touchdowns, all but one are short yardage/goal line scores. He can still break a long one on occasion (as evidenced by his 61 yards touchdown against the Texans in Week 3) but you know that the team will nearly always give him the rock in the red.
 
Mind you, so does the opposition. That’s true of many stud backs though, so really you’re looking for opportunity and Jones-Drew gets plenty of it.
 
You also have to like some of his upcoming schedule. The Titans aren’t scaring anyone, Kansas City, Buffalo, Texans and Colts can all be run on. The Jets are reeling – we’ll see how they are in a few weeks but they aren’t an immovable object, especially without NT Kris Jenkins.
 
They aren’t all easy match-ups but it’s not an awful schedule.
 
The only concern I have with Jones-Drew is no different than what I was worried about in August: can he hold up to the workload?
 
As much as he hasn’t carried the ball 30 times every game, he has already racked up 108 carries. His first three years the total number of carries were 197 (2008), 167 (2007) and 166 (2006). 
 
He’s already more than halfway to the most carries he has ever had in his NFL career. I’m not even adding the catches, which he should easily eclipse as well this season. 
 
Jones-Drew has never carried the ball as often as he will this season (barring injury). So my biggest concern remains, will he be able to keep it up all season.
 
The team is not forcing either Greg Jones or Rashard Jennings into the mix with great frequency. This is Jones-Drew’s team, it is not a running back by committee nor does it show any signs of becoming one.
 
It is a hard – and honestly very dicey – to try a predict injury. Many people do – I’m not one of them. But we have seen backs fade as a season goes. If Jones-Drew had carried the ball 250+ times at least once in college (as other slight backs have – most notably Barry Sanders who for some reason people love to point out to me was a smaller back who never had injury issues) I’d be less concerned.
 
He hasn’t though and any owner or analyst should at least be a little concerned as the season progresses if he continues on a pace to pass 300 carries (and probably 350 touches total including catches). He’s never done it before – that doesn’t mean he can’t and there is a first time for everything. There aren’t many things more season killing though than to have a stud back wear out as you hit the Fantasy Playoffs.
 
Am I saying sell high? Am I guaranteeing an injury or dip in production?
 
No, not at all. I wouldn’t sell Jones-Drew and if I ran across an owner who was looking to part ways, I would see what I could do to acquire him.
 
What I am saying is, prepare for the worst and hope for the best. If you own
Will MJD put the facepalm to his critics?

Will MJD put the facepalm to his critics?

Jones-Drew, make sure you have back-ups you would be comfortable rolling with into the playoffs. It’s not ground-breaking advice and further, it applies to just about any stud back.
 
With his lack of history though, it’s more critical than doing so for a guy like Peterson.
 
Otherwise though, if you’re an owner of Maurice Jones-Drew, it may be a slightly bumpy ride but it’s also one that could help you towards a championship.    
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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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Breaking Down the Jets Draft: Shonn Greene, Running Back http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/breaking-down-the-jets-draft-shonn-greene-running-back/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2009/04/breaking-down-the-jets-draft-shonn-greene-running-back/#comments Mon, 27 Apr 2009 06:07:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=432 With two big moves in the 2009 NFL Draft, the Jets showed they were worried about quality not quantity when it cam to draft strategy.

After trading up for Mark Sanchez in round 1, GM Mike Tannenbaum and Head Coach Rex Ryan decided to roll the dice again and bundle most of the rest of their 2009 picks in a bid to grab arguably the top remaining running back left on the board, Iowa Hawkeye Shonn Greene.

With many Jets fans wondering what is so special about Greene, here is my analysis of the newest Gang Green power running back and how he might fit in the new regime’s plans.

Ht: 5-10 (1/2) – Wt 227

Pluses
Greene is an incredibly powerful runner, who can not only show patience in waiting for a hole to develop and the vision to see it happening, but is very tough to bring down for the defense. When they do drag him down, he’ll get you that extra distance more by falling forward. He also gets stronger as the game goes on and doesn’t easily tire out.

Even though he is older than your average rookie (at 24), he actually doesn’t have much wear and tear on those legs. He doesn’t cough the ball up, is a very hard worker and a solid team player.

Minus
While he is a very good inside runner, he has problems getting outside and turning the corner. He’s not terribly fast and he won’t be winning any footraces against most defenders.

There are some doubts about his football IQ and while he shows patience waiting for a play to develop, he sometimes appears indecisive. As he missed some games with shoulder and knee injuries early in his career and has had ankle injuries during his college career.

How It Comes Together
Many feel this pick was a shot across Thomas Jones’ bow to end his holdout, but I don’t know that’s the case. Erik Boland put it best in his Jets Blog on Newsday – even if Jones wasn’t holding out, the guy is 31.

The classic thought on running backs is that 30 is the beginning of the end and while Jones has continued to play well, how much tread does he have left? Boland is right – they needed to get younger at the position and look towards the future.

If Jones holds out, the Jets bring Greene in and run him between the tackles while Leon Washington continues to work the outside. Greene can wear the defense down and then Washington can light them up.

If Jones doesn’t hold out, or if Greene struggles in camp, he can still rotate in on occasion and give Jones a breather throughout the season as he gets his NFL legs.

And when Jones is done, Greene can move into the backfield with a year of experience and get the hard yards.

Either way I think Greene has a very good chance to be the future power back in an offense that will be geared to the power run behind an offensive line that is built to succeed in the arena.

This will also take pressure off Mark Sanchez if he starts this year or Kellen Clemens if Sanchez gets a year holding a clipboard.

The biggest question is whether the Jets bypassed bigger needs with the trade (there were several solid defensive linemen they could have drafted at that spot or later if they didn’t trade up) or if they gave up too much to move up from their position in the third to the top of the round.

Time will tell. What is certain is the fact that the Jets saw an opportunity to jump up and grab at the brass ring not once but twice.

In what is considered an overall weak draft class, they decided that it wasn’t how many picks they had or how many rookies they could throw on the field, but instead the quality of those players and what they could mean for the franchise in the long term.

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Don’t overvalue Mewelde Moore http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/10/dont-overvalue-mewelde-moore/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/10/dont-overvalue-mewelde-moore/#comments Fri, 03 Oct 2008 16:54:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=208 Something Mr. Bloom and I disagreed on last night was the relative value of Mewelde Moore this week.

I felt – and still do – that Moore will be splitting carries this week and in a pretty tough matchup behind an inconsistent Oline, that spells flex spot and maybe not even that. Just saw this on Rotoworld though and it only makes me feel more confident Moore is a marginal play and that’s all this week:

Steelers RB Gary Russell, slated to be the top backup to Mewelde Moore, could receive significant work Sunday.
Said offensive coordinator Bruce Arians, “I wouldn’t mind giving it to him 20 times a game. I’ve been waiting a couple years to see what he can really do.” Keep in mind that doesn’t guarantee Russell 20 carries this week, but he should be the goal-line back. Najeh Davenport will play only in an emergency.

Now I don’t expect Russell to get 20 carries – but they are going to give him the rock a bunch. As another blurb on Rotoworld says, Tomlin is ready to go RBBC this week and you’ll probably see Moore more in passing downs than running downs.

Not saying he couldn’t bust a long one, but I wouldn’t count on production this week from him.

Just saying is all….

Rankings coming very soon.

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Rudi Johnson, Detroit Lion http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/rudi-johnson-detroit-lion/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/09/rudi-johnson-detroit-lion/#comments Mon, 01 Sep 2008 22:21:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=121 No sooner do I say it’s been slow when Detroit goes and signs Rudi Johnson to their roster.

This should spell the end of the Tatum Bell experience in Motown and Johnson should spell rookie Kevin Smith enough to have some potential bye-week upside, if not more. If Smith burns out (as rookies tend to) near the end of the season, RudiJ could have some nice value at the end of the year.

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Tuesday Morning Stampede http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/tuesday-morning-stampede-2/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/08/tuesday-morning-stampede-2/#comments Tue, 26 Aug 2008 13:40:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=105 Hey folks – just a short week away from the return of actual NFL football. College gets us started this weekend, then kickoff on Thursday between Washington and the NY Giants.

Here’s the morning look at the news -

Baltimore Ravens
Troy Smith has been vying for the starting QB job and looked like he might get it – until Tonsilitis derailed him. He didn’t start game three and hasn’t been practicing. The QB situation in Baltimore is bad and if there is any value at the WR position, this is making it hard to find. Mark Clayton is probably the guy to own here but who will throw him the ball. Smith is unproven, Flacco needs work and we all know Boller isn’t the clear answer, despite good play last year. If you have to take someone, Clayton is it.

We still don’t know what is going on with McGahee’s knee, by the way. Ray Rice is an exciting prospect but 1) what if McGahee comes back and 2) he could wear down late in the season. Don’t reach for Rice, but if he falls to you as your #3 back somewhere in the 5th – 8th, take him in smile.

Jacksonville Jaguars
MJD owners can breathe a sigh of relief (or sleep soundly at night or relax – whatever trite saying floats yoru boat) as HC Jack Del Rio says Jones-Drew’s ankle is only mildly sprained. Don’t expect to see him in the preseason finale at Washington, but then again, that’s standard procedure for most studs on most teams. I still like Fred Taylor as a guy to shoot for in the 5th-8th rounds. Taylor has something left in the tank and while you can never count on him for TDs, he’s great for yardage.

The WR core is still a shambles, though. Garrard will put up respectible numbers but who knows who is catching the ball. Porter has been hurt, Williams -despite last year- is unreliable, Troy Williamson still has hands of cement and most of the guys behind them havne’t stepped up. Matt Jones has played well and probably saved his job after the cocaine fiasco a month ago, but he’s burned us before, hasn’t he? I wouldn’t draft him.

San Diego Chargers
The Darren Sproles/Jacob Hester battle continues. After excelling at the goal line this preseason, Hester was stuffed 4 times last night, though he scored on a 5th attempt. Sproles had a huge night, carrying thw ball 13 times for 102 yards and a TD which was – you guessed it – short yardage. As we have said, if LT goes down (ok, I just got a chill typing that) these guys will likely split carries. One bad preseason game does not kille Hester after several very good games. Neither does it puff Sproles up too much. Sproles isn’t an every down back, his size and skill set don’t quite fit it. Could he step up? Sure. But Hester has played well enough to get a piece of the action. I like Hester as a late back-up for LT or a high upside pick. You know I hate handcuffing, but if you must, go Hester.

Seattle Seahawks
After 3 games, we still don’t know who is playing around Nate Burleson (who looked pretty darn good last night. This week, it was Jordan Kent who stepped up on the stat sheet, with 4 catches for 47 yards and a TD. Kent has been very productive, though he fits into the split end position Burleson occupies and is a bit raw. Courtney Taylor only had 3 catches for24 yards, but threw a gorgeous block during Burleson’s 68 yard TD. That’s the sort of thing coaches love to see, as it proves you can help the run game as well as catch balls. Burleson did some nice work after the catch there as well, but Taylor just annihilated a defender.

Maurice Morris looks to have crept ahead of Julius Jones on the depth chart here in Seattle – but expect a full blown RBBC, though both backs may have some value anyway. They may not be consistent, but then again, one may break out during the season. The run game has to get going here, so the issue will get forced during the early part of the season.

Speaking of RBs -

Quick RB Notes
Mike Bush (OAK) may be getting some work at fullback – that’s usually a sign he will be left out in the carries deptartmen and is not going to have much value as a RB for you….. rookie Jamall Charles (KC) is back at practice but will not overtake Kolby Smith as Larry Johnson’s back-up. LJ is a guy who has been beat up the last few seasons, but his back-up is not really someone i will go out of my way to draft…. Seattle rookie full back and Blurb fave Justin Forsett fell back to earth after a good preseason. Last night he only got 9 yards on 4 carries, caught on pass and lost a fumble. He’s #3 here, though I still think down the road a few seasons, he may prove to be a guy who can start… I don’t buy the Rudi Johnson trade rumors out of ESPN. First off, Chris Mortenson (who I have all the respect in the world for) seems to have been off his game this year. Aside from the Favre story, we’ve seen him throw out some real hum-dingers (Miami trading Ronnie Brown anyone?). But beyond that, who is going to take Johnson and for what? He’s been hurt since the jump last season and we’ve yet to see him in preseason. And with Chris Perry being a walking injury time bomb, Kenny Irons gone and very little behind them (Kenny Watson and………?) can they afford to dump hinm? And for a ‘quality wide receiver’? They could use some shoring up at WR, but I don’t know who will be a guy they can get when Rudi is a big question mark and Shaun Alexander, Cedric Benson and others sit out there who might be cheaper and healthier. Of course, who really wants Benson? As I have said, between the injuries and the O-line questions, I have avoided the running backs here all Draft season and will continue to look elsewhere for my #2,s 3 or bench depth…. Speaking of Ronnie Brown, he and Ricky Williams are splitting reps in practice – exactly what we said would happen. Williams hasn’t proved he can still carry a whole season and Brown is still coming along from his injury. Both are good RB3s.

OK, folks – that’s it for now – will be back with more later!

Keep sending those draft questions to thunderingblurb@gmail.com – been responding to them since I got back Sunday night and will turn them around ASAP for you guys drafting up to the start of the season.

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Giants Run Game = Fantasy Death? http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/giants-run-game-fantasy-death/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/giants-run-game-fantasy-death/#comments Wed, 23 Jul 2008 21:57:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=32 According to an interview by Michael Eisen with Giants OC Kevin Gilbride over at Giants.com, if the various Giants running backs stay healthy (and in Bradshaw’s case, out of jail) he’d like to see everyone getting plenty of carries with whomever is being successful that game being the featured back.

In other words, one week Brandon Jacobs might be the bell-cow, next week Ahmad Bradshaw.

Or in Gilbride’s words -

Then depending on how certain defenses are playing us, which guy’s playing better that day, in other words, kind of who has the hot hand, who is playing the best, that is the guy that we would certainly feature that day.

So while from a Giants fan perspective, this might be good (keeping guys fresh and off the injured list are always a plus for defending Super Bowl champs), a Fantasy owner has to ask himself just how much this could drop Brandon Jacobs in their rankings.

As any owner of a Denver Broncos running back can tell you, week to week uncertainty at the running back position can be murder for a Fantasy Team.

This will bear a great deal of watching I think – the Giants have a solid roster of running backs and as Gilbride says, they compliment each other very well. It is entirely possible that if this does transition into a full Running Back by Committee, you may still get solid numbers out of whomever comprises it. But only if the committee stays relatively consistent.

If one week Jacobs is hot, then you start him the next and Ward gets smoking – well, you can see where that’s nothing but messy.

Right now, Footballguys has Jacobs ranked 31st overall for offensive players, 19th RB off the board (average staff ranking for a redraft non-PPR league). Antsports is a site that has tons of mock drafts – and if you rank serious mocks, they have Jacobs the 18th RB coming off the board on average in High Performance, flex/TE leagues. In both cases you are looking at Jacobs going before players like Ernest Graham, Willie Parker, Thomas Jones and then a host of rookies.

By the looks of it, Jacobs is also going in about the late 3rd round which is probably about right especially the backs around him like Graham and Parker who might have their share of questions as well.

However you might want to look another way if you’re feeliong gunshy. In the Mock Draft Forums over at Footballguys, I drafted Jacobs in a Pre-Draft Survivor League waaaaay back in March in the 3rd round (16 team, no trades, no waivers, Best Ball – or total points elimination – format). He backs up Marion Barber III and has Julius Jones, Ladell Betts and rookie Chris Johnson behind him. I feel ok with that still. But as with the ADP and Rankings I quote above, Thomas Jones is still sitting around at the time and given the questions Jacobs is now facing and the revamped Jets offensive line – he might have been (and still be) the better way to go.

Jones is a topic for another column, but for now, watch this situation closely. While Jacobs was not going to be your #1 FF back and will still giveyou some good points in a RBBC, if it becomes a situation where we never know who will get the majority of the carries in any week, it could be best to just stay away.

Food for thought.

Feel free to throw questions and comments to thunderingblurb@gmail.com as well in the comments section.

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Non-Favre news (and some Favre news) http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/non-favre-news-and-some-favre-news/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/non-favre-news-and-some-favre-news/#comments Fri, 11 Jul 2008 21:20:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=24 I think I’ve vented my spleen here and on The Audible enough to keep the Favre stuff brief and move on.

So here is the Thundering Blurb Favre Take for the Day (patent pending)

He’s NOT getting an unconditional release. Not a chance. I posted in the Footballguys.com Shark Pool that the only thing worse (PR-wise) that the Packers could do in this situation is to allow him to go within the division. To not only allow him to play elsewhere, but see him TWICE next season. Heck no.

He’ll be activated, he’ll be traded. I am leaning towards Baltimore as it’s out of the division and conference, but Tampa makes sense too. Would love to see him as a Jet, but that’s not likely.

But no way in Football Hell he is being released to go where he pleases. If GB does that, then GM Ted Thompson is insane.

/Favre rant

FORMER BRONCOS RB TRAVIS HENRY REPORTEDLY TESTED POSITIVE FOR DRUG USE
Well, now we know why he was released. According to a report by the Denver Sports Insider (producer/reporter Josina Anderson from Fox31) Henry tested positive again for the dope just prior to his release from the Broncos. Shanny said ‘lack of committment’ in terms of the why when Henry was let go – but I disagree. Sounds like TOO MUCH committment to me. It’s a real shame, frankly, as Henry seems to have tremendous talent but can’t keep his head straight.

Starts to make you worry a little when Shanny is now defending Brandon Marshall, huh? Hopefully BMarshall can get HIS head on straight before he gets further into trouble.

Speaking of Drugs -

MATT JONES BUSTED FOR COCAINE POSSESSION
I won’t be shocked if Jones – who insiders have said already was on the bubble – is released by the end of the weekend. He was already a bust as a wide reciever, wasn’t playing consistently well and was just taking up space in Jacksonville. But according to the Orlando Sentinel now he compounded it by being pulled over while in possession of cocaine which, by the way, he reportedly tried to hide from the cops IN HIS HANDS. Nice.

KEVIN JONES DEPORTED TO TAMPA BAY – SAYS HE’S NOT FROM THERE
Apologies for the old Johnny Dangerously quote. But while Kevin Jones was reported to have a visit scheduled with the Tampa Bay Bucs earlier this week, Jones has now come out and said despite what was posted on the ESPN Blog Hashmarks that no, he is not going to Tampa yet. He says in an article with the Tampa Tribune that they haven’t called him, though he is still interested in playing there.

Remember a week or so ago how I said it was interesting that reports were focused on how much Jones wanted to play in Tampa but how telling it might be that Tampa wasn’t commenting? I’m not saying he won’t go to Tampa (he went to Pittsburgh earlier this week) but the fact that they haven’t responded yet. Tough market for the Free Agent running backs this off-season, no? Jones will find a home – I’m just dubious it will be Tampa.

—————————————————————————————————
Finally, I wanted to send you guys over to an article my fellow Draftnick and friend Josh Buchanan wrote – an interview with Ramses Barden, WR from Cal Poly. It’s posted on NFLDraftbible.com and they do some excellent work there. They are very high on Barden, so take a look. I’ll have my own interview with him in another week or so, but Josh is a great source. He knows his stuff. Check it out.

More later or tomorrow.

Quick warning – I will be traveling to Alaska on Monday – either I will have some guest posting or thes posts will be few and far between next week. But I will be back in full force on the 22nd and it’ll be postapalooza from there on out including some stuff from Cowboys Camp in Oxnard, California, which I will be covering for Denver radio station FM 104.3 The Fan. Or at least that’s my story and I am sticking to it.

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As Promised:The Lorenzo Booker interview http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/as-promisedthe-lorenzo-booker-interview/ http://thunderingblurb.com/2008/07/as-promisedthe-lorenzo-booker-interview/#comments Thu, 10 Jul 2008 05:08:00 +0000 admin http://thunderingblurb.com/?p=22 Here it is – hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed doing it.

Booker is a pretty awesome cat and I think he’ll really blow up in Philly.

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