Archive for category Tennessee Titans

Twitter Roundtable Vol. 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And now the question of the day.

 

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

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

 

Matt Schauf – RapidDraft.com:

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

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

 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com:

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

Andrew Garda – ThunderingBlurb.com:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Mark Gram – FF101 on Sportsradio1450.com:

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

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

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

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

 

Jeff Terfertiller – Footballguys.com:

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

 

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

 

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

 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com:

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

 

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

 

Parag Gheewala – Mockumentary:

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

 

Jared Ferree – What’s Your Fantasy Podcast:

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com:

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

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

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

 

Josh Torrey – FantasyDC.com:

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

 

Jim Day – FantasyFootballWhiz.com:

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

 

Steve Wyremski - retiredrookie.com:

Forte is my guy.

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

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

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

Forte’s big time overrated right now.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

LenDale White active

White will be playing against the Texans today – as always he is more of a TD threat than a yard threat and as always it shouldn’t affect Chris Johnson.

If you were starting Johnson, do so. White is a guy who will probably get a TD – and may again add some yards this week. He’s a flex or borderline RB2.

Thanksgiving Day Games – TENN @ DET

Happy Turkey Day to you all – I hope you are well on your way to Turkey and Mash potato goodness and ready for some football.

You can catch the up to date, latest info version on the Fantasy Sports Channel at BlogtalkRadio.com at 7:30amPST/10:30amEST tomorrow.

I’ll take your calls live and get you ready for Turkey Dinner. Here is the breakdown for the Titans and Lions as of Wednesday night.

TITANS
Kerry Collins
Collins has played well in his last three games with just 1 INT to 6 TDs and 762 yards. Collins even played relatively well and put up 243 yds against a tough Jets D. And did it when the Jets were owning the time of possession. He was only able to complete 50% of his throws, but the Jets did a great job of covering him. The Lions have given up 18TDs so far with only two interceptions. He faces a much better matchup this week and I expect this whole Titans team to bounce back and take some aggression out on the Lions. Problem is, the Titans will probably use this matchup to spark the run game again and see if they can get it rolling before the playoffs. He might put up good numbers but more than likely, he will not do all that much this Thanksgiving day and could be too much of a risk to play.

He’s a matchups guy and this might be one of those matchups to watch but again, the Lions rush D is even worse than the pass D, so your expectations are better served if they are low.

Chris Johnson
Johnson struggled again this past weekend, but you can’t totally blame him against the third best run D in the league. The once fearsome rookie has tailed off overall over the past three games two of which were against top 5 run defenses (Bears and Jets). But he hasn’t even been involved in the pass game of late either. The Titans have every chance to get the ground game back in gear against a terrible run defense. The Kitty Cats are averaging more than 170 yards on the ground with 18 Tds served on the side. This is the Titans chance to get their rookie rolling again. If they are to win in the playoffs, they need the run game going and the Lions are a great matchup. Johnson is a pretty safe start this Thursday.

Here’s the problem though – the line has stopped playing as well as it did earlier this season. This is a chance for the offensive line to get back on track as well. The inside line has had issues (and props to Footballguys.com’s Marc Faletti for pointing it out) and they need to get themselves together. It isn’t (shouldn’t be) something to worry about this week – but at some point they will need to get themselves going and re-establish the line dominance they had.

LenDale White
Complain the loudest and you get the most carries? Nope, but White may get some more anyway as the Lions are THAT good a matchup.He is a safe play as a flex – you cannot expect yards as well, not safely. He is a hail mary but if you are going to run him out, this is one you could do it in and the risk level is lower.

Justin Gage
He will go as Collins goes, but if its run heavy, he is shaky. He is a bigger guy than anyone on the Detroit secondary so he will get targets, but I would shy away with a lot of better matchups this weekend.

Bo Scaife
Your safest Titan through the air. He was targeted seven times against the Jets (though he only caught three balls) and will continue to get a lot of looks. As far as TE’s go, becoming more consistent and these days that’s all you can ask for at the TE spot.

LIONS
Duante Culpepper
Culpepper alternately looks great and then looks horrific. Last week vs the Bucs he started off great, hitting Calvin Johnson for a 15 yard TD, but ended ugly with just 121 yards and the one TD, with 2 INTs for good measure. And now, because fate is a harsh mistress, he faces a Titans D that has twice as many interceptions as they have given up TDs (16 INTs to 7 TDs). You’d have to be pretty ballsy, desperate or crazy to start him here. Sometimes I am all three of the above and I still won’t touch him this Thursday.

Kevin Smith
Smith is banged up and that’s a concern. He had a good day against a pretty tough Bucs D. With Rudi Johnson done you might be tempted as he will get the carries, but he will be hard pressed against a defense that is still very good against the run. Don’t expect a Thomas Jones or Leon Washington performance here. The Lions will not wear down the defense and control the clock like Gang Green did. Jones is too shaky for a start this week.

Calvin Johnson
Cortland Finnegan a worry? Yup. But Johnson is bigger, stronger and faster than Finnegan. Yes, Finnegan will get a pick – at least one – but how often have we seen his do well with few to no targets or catches. He is a top 5 WR even with the miniscule targets. He has scored a TD in 6 of his last 7 games and 7 of the eleven games he has played, including the one he was in for about a quarter before leaving with an injury. This guy is a beast and you should have him in – even in an atrocious matchup like this.

Shaun McDonald
Run away.

So that’s it – tons of potential value on the Titans sideline, but not much over on the Lions.

Friday Morning News Stampede

I’ll be posting my rankings at the big three (RB, QB, WR) and will probably touch on them during the News Stampede at Noon EST/9am PST. For now, a little light news to start our Friday off.

Also, a reminder I will be on The Jake Stevens Show ‘There It Is!’ on ESPN 1230 just after 7:30am PST/10:30am EST and you can catch it here or here.

Baltimore Ravens
According to the Baltimore Sun (which, if I recall, has been pushing for McGahee to leave the city all off season) the Ravens are preparing RB Ray Rice to start against the Bengals Sunday. We knew this, I think, and I still say with a rookie QB and an iffy O-line, he’s not the best play. Rice looks like he will be a solid play long term, but don’t get carried away. If he has the most upside of your backups, he might make an ok RB2. But I would rather not have to worry about how he will do in game 1 against 8 men in the box. Also, how much of a factor will McGahee be, if any?

Indianapolis Colts
Injured Center Jeff Saturday has decided against surgery (a common theme this NFL off-season, huh?), opting to rehab the torn right knee ligament and hoping to come back sooner than later. Certainly that would be good news for Manning and the Colts. It’s always a risk (see: Merriman, Shawne) but Saturday is an important presence along the offensive line and the sooner he gets back to snapping the ball, the better as far as Manning owners are concerned.

Seattle Seahawks
WR Deion Branch practiced in a limited fashion Thursday, though I think he is still a shaky bet to play Sunday. Even if he does, how effective will he be, having missed so much of the off-season? Yes, he’s a vet who knows the playbook, but timing is important for wide receivers and Branch hasn’t played consistently (really, at all) in a long time. Even if he’s in the Seahawk’s lineup, he shouldn’t be in yours. Not this week.

Tennessee Titans
WR Justin McCariens was back at practice yesterday after coming down with flu-like symptoms on Wednesday. He’s about the best bet in the WR core but I still wouldn’t throw him out there. In his favor is a familiarity with the offense from his first stint with the Titans and a veteran presence and experiance. Against him is the lack of any production since he left for the Jets and an overwhelming sense that he is past his prime – whatever THAT was. I still say the best receiving option here will end up being Chris Johnson. I suppose Alge Crumpler may put up some points, but I don’t want to have to count on it week 1.

That’s all for now folks – rankings scattered throughout today.

Camp News :crickets:

Real, real quiet this morning. So here are a few notes to start the day off. I’m sure it will pick up a little later.

Also, remember to join me for The Thundering Blurb live podcast at 9pmEST/6pmPST – I will be joined by Matt Waldman of FFToday and the excellent 2008 Rookie Scouting Portfolio.

We’ll chat about rookie impact, college players and I’m sure a certain quarterback from Mississippi….

Here are the few worthy notes so far this morning –

New York Giants
Several weeks ago, news broke that second year running back Ahmad Bradshaw was doing a 30-day stint in jail due to a violation of parole stemming from an incident back in college. That itself was enough of a worry, but now (as you would expect) the NFL is investigating whether Bradshaw has violated the League’s Personal Conduct policy. The Giants and Bradshaw are contending it does not (due to the initial incident taking place prior to his entry to the NFL). Given that the Giants are saying they will go with the ‘hot hand’ in games this year, this could be a good news/bad news situation.

Bad news is, Bradshaw – an electrifying runner who looked to be a big factor this year – may find himself hanging with Denver receiver Brandon Marshall on the sidelines for a few games. Good news? Well, it would narrow the competition down to Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward, increasing the value of both.

Honestly I think he won’t get suspended. But we’ll keep a watch on it.

Tennessee Titans
Rookie Chris Johnson continues to impress in camp – most notably today his blitz pick-up ability, which Vince Young is praising. What keeps a rookie RB on the bench most often? Correct – blocking. If Johnson keeps this up, not only will you see him a lot on 3rd downs, not only will you see him get more carries – but those carries might start eating into LenDale White’s numbers. Did I say LenDale White and eat in the same sentence? (that was for Cecil) Now word on Chris Henry at all, which bodes ill for the second year running back.

Also, Brandon Jones is working the slot as #3 receiver in camp. I am dubious how much value that will have for you Fantasy folks, but it might be worth watching. The folks ahead of him (a pair of Justins: Gage and McCariens) are not world beaters. While Jones needs to stay healthy in order to make ground up – and be more consistent – he could move up the ranks and have some value.

That’s all for now kids – more later as things pick up….