Sleepers/Busts Week 2

17 09 2010

With week 1 in the books it’s time to either continue your roll, or to right the ship. Either way, it’s important to look at all your match-ups and decide who will have a stellar week, and who to have riding the pine. Some crazy things happened last week, including Arian Foster running all over the Colts, and Matt Forte looking like the Forte of a 2 years ago. One of the biggest surprises (especially for me, being a huge Eagles fan) was the resurgence of Michael Vick, who has actually just been named the week 1 starter. On a side note, I apologize to whoever listened to me and started Kevin Kolb, some things just don’t work out the way I’d like.  Well here are some week 2 predictions, and hopefully they will lead your fantasy team to a week 2 win.

Week 2 Quarterback Sleepers

Michael Vick (PHI) at Detroit- So I’m not sure Vick is such a sleeper right now, especially with him being talked about every time I flip on ESPN, but for the sake of fantasy football, I’d still consider him a sleeper. He is definitely not anyone’s #1 QB, but this week he should be.  He ran for over 100 yards and threw for 175 and a TD in one half of work against the Packers last week. This week he has gotten all the reps with the first team, and will be facing a Detroit Lions defense who allowed Jay Cutler to throw for nearly 400 yards! Vick will be playing to keep himself in that starting spot, and against a young and unproven Lions defense, I’m sure Vick will run and pass for a lot of yards and a few scores. If you think there is a QB controversy in Philly now, wait until Vick tears it up this week. Unless you have a top QB, throw Vick into your starting lineup.

Eli Manning (NYG) at Indianapolis- Eli looked very good at home against the Carolina Panthers this week, not the best test, but he did what he needed to do. He threw all over the Panthers, and he wasn’t even to blame for the interception problems, being that they bounced off his receivers’ hands. This week he has to go against the Colts, oh yeah and his brother too, so I’m sure Eli is going to be ready to rock. He will be facing a defense that is without their top secondary player in Bob Sanders, and will be focused on stopping the run after giving up 230+ yards on the ground last week. If the Giants are going to win Eli will have to produce, and I think he will. Look for Manning to look for Nicks in the endzone more, and to have another productive fantasy week.

Carson Palmer (CIN) vs Baltimore- I may seem crazy. I may be crazy. I am crazy, because I think that Palmer is going to have a pretty good week against this stingy Baltimore defense. They are still playing without their best defensive player in Ed Reed, and starting cornerback Dominique Foxworth, which you would have never realized this past week. So the question is: Is Baltimore’s defense that good, or is the Jets’ offense just that bad? I’m leaning towards the Jets’ offense being pretty bad. Mark Sanchez and company couldn’t find any flow at all (even running the ball), and couldn’t even score when given the ball on the Baltimore 11 by their defense. My point is that this will be a much tougher match-up for a banged up Baltimore secondary on the road, coming off of a short week. Don’t look for Palmer to light it up this week, but he should have decent enough numbers not to sit him for a sub-par option.

Other Notable Week 2 Sleepers: Jason Campbell (OAK) vs St. Louis, Donovan McNabb (WAS) vs Houston

Week 2 Quarterback Busts

Matt Schaubb (HOU) at Washington- This would certainly be a tough guy to sit if he is on your team, but if you have a solid backup this week, I would definitely recommend going with that option. Washington tied Tony Romo up all week last week, who did play with a disheveled offensive line, but Washington did their job. Look for Houston to have fun with their new toy, Arian Foster, unless he is ineffective. Bottom line, Houston has to go on the road and face a pretty good defense. Don’t depend on him for the bulk of your production this week.

Vince Young (TEN) vs Pittsburgh- I think Vince Young will have a pretty productive fantasy year, but I don’t think this is a game that will help his cause. I know he is playing at home, but I think this will be a hard fought game with a lot of defensive play. People seem to have forgotten that Ben Roethlisberger is just one person, and does not play on the defensive side of the ball, or run the ball, or catch the ball. The Steelers still have a really good team, and a very good defense, that didn’t allow a TD to an explosive Falcons offense last week. Look for a lot of running this week. Give Vince the week off.

Other Notable Week 2 Busts: Chad Henne (MIA) at Minnesota, Jay Cutler (CHI) at Dallas

Week 2 Running Back Sleepers

Brandon Jackson (GB) vs Buffalo- This I feel is the most obvious sleeper to point out this week, to the point where it may not be a sleeper, but I feel compelled to put him on the list. He is taking over for full time running back Ryan Grant who went down for the season this past week. This could ruin some teams losing Grant, but whoever has Jackson has gotten themselves a GREAT starter for this week, and probably the year. There is no other back in Green Bay that will cut into his carries too much aside from fullback John Kuhn in short yardage situations, which is a minor concern. This is a high powered offense, and other teams will probably focus on stopping the pass first. Against a bad run defense that allowed a rushing TD last week, look for Green Bay’s offense to get on track at home. Brandon Jackson is a MUST START in every fantasy league.

Joseph Addai (IND) vs New York Giants- The Giants did a good job of stopping the Williams and Stewart combo last week, but I think that had something to do with the poor passing offense of the Panthers posing no threat to an improved Giants secondary. The Giants focused on stopping the run last week, but I think they will be more worried about stopping Peyton this week, leaving Addai a lot of opportunities to gain some yards, and possibly score if in the redozone. I know Addai didn’t have a great week last week, but the Colts will to try and control this game at home, and give Addai plenty of touches on the way.

Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) at Indianapolis- Bradshaw looked good in the opener, running the ball 20 times for 76 yards and a TD. It was encouraging to see Bradshaw get 8 more rushes than Brandon Jacobs, and also better production and a score. This week we will see if the Colts run defense is really as bad as it looked against Houston, and the Colts will have to do it without Bob Sanders. I like Eli in this game (as you saw above), and I also like Bradshaw. This should be a high scoring game, so look for Bradshaw to get in the endzone again, and get more opportunities than Jacobs again. He is a solid #2 option and a fantastic at your flex spot.

Other Notable Week 2 Sleepers: Jonathan Stewart (CAR) vs Tampa Bay, Darren McFadden (OAK) vs St. Louis

Week 2 Running Back Busts

Cedric Benson (CIN) vs Baltimore- Benson didn’t have a very productive week against the Patriots, though he did score a late TD, and I wouldn’t be counting on him for a big week this week either. He has to face a very good Baltimore defense that boasts a very tough defensive line and linebackers who can plug up the run. The leading rusher for the Jets last week, who claims to have the #1 offensive line in football, was LT, who only went for 62 yards and no TDs against the Baltimore defense. Bernard Scott also looked pretty good running the ball for the Bengals last week, which could hurt Benson’s carries. Look for the Bengals to try and attack this injured Baltimore secondary, and for Benson to come out on the less productive side of things. Put him on the bench.

Javid Best (DET) vs Philadelphia- This is difficult for me putting Best on the bust list this week, but he is coming off a week where he couldn’t find any running room, averaging less than 2 yards/rush, despite scoring 2 TDs. With Matt Stafford sidelined this week, the defensive focus has to be on stopping the run, and forcing backup QB Shaun Hill try to beat them. Best could have one huge highlight reel run and my whole “bust” theory will be shot, but Philly has a very good running defense, so don’t look for Best to have 2 TDs like last week, or many yards for that matter.

Other Notable Week 2 Busts: Arian Foster (HOU) at Washington, Pierre Thomas (NOR) at San Francisco

Week 2 Wide Receiver Sleepers

Randy Moss (NE) at New York Jets- Now Moss is probably a must start in every league by all means, and this is normally not the kind of player that I would call a sleeper, but this week he is being put onto Revis Island, which I think will be more like Revis peninsula this week for a few reasons. The main reason is that he is having some hamstring problems that I don’t feel him or Rex Ryan are being totally up front about. This is a player who relies on his speed and quick moments, and a strained hammy is no way to start when covering one of the best receivers in the game. Another thing that may lead to Moss’s success is his frustration with his contract situation, and Tom Brady looking to support Moss by throwing him the ball and making him look good against a great defense. Over all, I think the Pats will be ready for the Jets this year, and want to embarrass them and prove a point. Look for Moss to win the round vs Revis, and give your team some solid fantasy production.

Donald Driver (GB) vs Buffalo- Green Bay is facing a bad Buffalo Bills team at home this week, and it should be a good way to get their offense on track after a shaky week in Philadelphia. Driver is often looked over by fantasy players because of his age, or maybe because he’s normally not a deep threat, but I’m here to tell you to look over him no more! He is one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets, especially in the redzone, and against a soft Buffalo Bills team I would say Driver is a good guy to suit up. He had a touchdown last week and 5 receptions, and this week should be much of the same. He’s a good #2 option or flex option this week.

Darius Hayward-Bay/Lou Murphy (OAK) vs St. Louis- I’m taking a leap of faith with this pick, but I think it could pan out this week. No Oakland receiver has started in Fantasy Football since Randy Moss probably, and this could be the week that they take the stage once again. They are at home, against St. Louis, and don’t have Russell anymore. All of these factors could lead to improved receiver play, despite the awful showing in Tennessee this week. I think Oakland will put it behind them, and Jason Campbell could have a good week. I wasn’t sure about which of these receivers to pick, so I figure Steve Breaston and Larry Fitz both had good numbers against the Rams on the road last week, so why not pick both receivers? They are not as talented as Breaston and Fitz, but I don’t think it will matter much against the Rams. If you want to be gutsy and your other options aren’t looking good, throw one of these Oakland receivers in and cross your fingers.

Other Notable Week 2 Sleepers: Pierre Garcon (IND) vs New York Giants, Malcolm Floyd (SD) vs Jacksonville

Week 2 Wide Receiver Busts

Brandon Marshall (MIA) at Minnesota- I don’t know why I am so down on Marshall this season, because I think he is an awesome player, and I really like the Dolphins offense, but I just don’t think the 2 are a good match. Minnesota is playing at home this week on 10 days of rest, and they should look fresh, aside from that banged up receiving core. Miami will remain a run first team this week, especially against the ferocious pass rush of the Vikings. If you drafted Marshall high (which you probably did) then you probably would have to start him, but he will certainly have better weeks than this one.

Hines Ward (PIT) at Tennessee- Hines had a very productive week against Atlanta, something I didn’t expect, and something I don’t expect this week. He has to play on the road against the Titans, who rolled over the Oakland Raiders last week, and gave their receivers nothing buy headaches. I do think that Pittsburgh is a much better team than Oakland, and their passing game is better even with Dennis Dixon under center for the Steelers, so Hines Ward could have a good game against Tennessee, but it’s not likely. Playing on the road is going to be tough on the Steelers passing game, and both teams will be keeping this ball on the ground this week. Throw Hines on the pine.

Other Notable Week 2 Busts: Mike Sims-Walker (JAC) at San Diego, Calvin Johnson (DET) vs Philadelphia

Week 2 Tight End Sleepers

Vinsanthe Shiancoe (MIN) vs Miami- So I was not very high on Shiancoe at all in the pre-season, but the continuing health issues of the Minnesota receiving core have put Shiancoe in a position to be Favre’s number one target for a little while this year. He had 2 big catches last week, one of them for a TD, and with Percy Harvin’s playing status being up in the air, Shiancoe should be Favre’s favorite target this week. They are facing a Dolphins team that didn’t have to face a good offense last week, and will have to do so against a very rested team this week. Shiancoe is a must start. Maybe the Vikings should try to pull Jerry Rice out of retirement too.

Chris Cooley (WAS) vs Houston- Houston let up 433 yards to Peyton Manning at home last week, and this week they have to go on the road and face the Redskins. Donovan McNabb is certainly no Peyton Manning, but I think he will get the passing offense on track this week after a poor showing against the Cowboys in his Skins debut. Chris Cooley may be McNabb’s most reliable target this year, and I think he will slip under the radar this week and have a big game. Donovan has always gotten his TEs involved in the offense, and Cooley should be no exception this week.

Other Notable Week 2 Sleepers: Todd Heap (BAL) at Cincinnati

Week 2 Tight End Busts

Owen Daniels (HOU) at Washington- I guess I’m realizing that I just don’t like Houston against Washington this week, and I would play my fantasy team accordingly. Daniels didn’t do much in the pummeling of the Colts’ defense last week, and I don’t expect him to do much this week either. I do think they will have to pass the ball more this week, but I just don’t see Daniels having a very productive day on the road, against a pretty good Washington defense.

Other Notable Week 2 Busts: Dustin Keller (NYJ) vs New England

Week 2 Defense/ST Sleepers

Oakland vs St. Louis- Oakland will certainly be worth a start this week after a terrible defensive showing last week. They have the benefit of playing at home this week, and against a rookie quarterback. If their offense can give them a lead, and force St. Louis out of running the ball, I think Oakland could be a good start this week if you don’t have a stud defense.

Denver vs Seattle- Seattle may have caught lightening in a bottle last week, and I think I would bet on that. Denver is without their best defensive player for the year, Elvis Dumervil, but I think they have a good match-up this week at home against a Seattle team that played a good game at home last week. Last year Seattle was terrible on the road, so I would stick with that theory for now, and start the Denver D this week.

Week 2 Defense/ST Busts

New York Jets vs New England- The Jets defense looked great last week against a pretty solid Ravens offense, but coming off a short week and going up against Tom Brady and The Jedi on the sidelines, I like New England in this match. I think they are coming out with that same chip on their shoulder they had when they won 3 superbowls, and have something to prove against this Jets defense. Throw in the fact that the Jets lost DT Kris Jenkins for the year and Revis is playing with a slight tightness in his hamstring. I don’t love the Jets D in this one.

Well here are my tips for the week and I hope they work out for you. I didn’t put up any kickers because they are really a toss up. Look at Garrett Hartley last week! Good luck with this week, and make sure to go to for great fantasy football tips and insights. E-mail me at if you have any questions!


Who’s Real and Who’s Fake From Week 1

14 09 2010

Every year there are players who break through the mold early and come into the season as a surprise, either because they were unknown before, or they had a questionable year the previous year. It’s important for fantasy owners such as yourselves to play these breakout studs who you probably got in the later rounds! These are the players who will win you championships, the guys who you didn’t have to use a top pick on, but perform to be next year’s studs. So here are a few players that are the real deal. They shined in week 1 after there were questions about them in the offseason, and you should ride them out the rest of the year! (Note: Players who were supposed to perform well, ex. Tom Brady, Chris Johnson etc., were left out of this section.)

QB Jay Cutler (CHI)– Jay started off slow this week, but ended up with a top fantasy performance against the Detroit Lions. He had some help from running back Matt Forte who broke an 89 yard TD reception, and Jay finished with 372 yards and 2 TDs. Jay only threw 1 INT, which is a vast improvement over performance from last year, and had a lot of yards. Look for more of the same all season, with Jay not only throwing the ball a lot, but for a lot of yards and scores. They invested a lot in Cutler when they traded a plethora of draft picks for him, so look for him to remain the focal point of the offense, and to find success in hid 2nd year in Chi-town.

QB Michael Vick (PHI)– Vick will probably be one of the most added players in a lot of fantasy leagues this week after his incredible second half performance against Green Bay. Michael Vick started for 1 half and went for 103 yards on the ground (7 yards came in the first half), and threw for 175 yards and a TD. For only playing one half he looked pretty good, and with the uncertainty about Kevin Kolb’s concussion, plus his infective first half of play, Vick definitely has some upside, at least for a few weeks. Vick has a strong chance of playing this week against a Lions’ defense that surrendered 372 yards to Jay Cutler, and will certainly have trouble game planning for Vick. If he lights it up this week against the Lions, it will certainly be hard to put him on the bench, even if Kolb returns to full health. He is definitely worth adding for the time being, and if he starts for the Eagles this week, he is definitely worth starting for you too.

Other Notable Quarterbacks: Matt Hasselbeck (SEA), Eli Manning (NYG), Derek Anderson (ARI), Vince Young (TEN)

RB Arian Foster (HOU)– We have our first breakout player of the year, and I think it’s a player who is here for the long haul. I heard Arian Foster’s name over and over for breakout running back in the pre-season, and he showed me why in week 1. Houston took the Colts by surprise at home, not only with their performance, but also with their strategy. Houston, who was a pass driven offense last year, throwing the ball 37 times per game and passing for 290.9 yards per game, turned heavily to the run this week. They carried 42 times, 33 of those going to Foster, who went for 231 yards and 3 TDs. The Texans showed a lot of trust in Foster giving him the ball so many times, but he also earned their trust easily this week by dishing out a potential career best performance. He did have the benefit of playing with the lead the whole game, which is very beneficial for the run because Houston wanted to burn the clock and keep Manning off the field. Foster will definitely see the ball a lot this year, especially if he  can produce like he did this week, but certainly don’t expect this performance every week. Houston will definitely start throwing the ball more, taking away from Foster’s chances, but he has now become and every week starter easily.

RB Matt Forte (CHI)– Forte looked like the guy from 2 years ago this week, and it looks like he will continue to be that guy this year. He did have the benefit of playing at home against a bad defense in the Detroit Lions, but there were some good observations from the game that give Forte a lot of promise for the future. My favorite stat line is that he had 7 catches for 151 yards and 2 TDs, a stat line that could look this way a lot for Forte this year for a few reasons. He had one catch that went for and 89 yard TD, but it was good to see that he still had 6 more catches for 62 yards and another TD. Another reason I love Forte to stay a huge part of this passing game is because of his offensive coordinator, Mike Martz, who loves to involve his running backs in the passing offense (see Faulk, Marshall). Cutler also seems to have some trust in Forte, and with Cutler trying to keep the picks down, Forte will be a great safe option for him to get rid of the ball. Forte also ran the ball 17 times for 50 yards, not great numbers, but still a sign that he will see at least 15 to 25 carries a game and some catches. I say Forte could forget his hiccup from last year and become the back everyone thought he would be.

RB Darren McFadden (OAK)– Could Run DMC finally live up to his hype coming out of college? I am going to say yes after a fantastic week 1 from McFadden. Michael Bush was hurt this week, so McFadden was given the load, and he came through for them despite the loss. He ran the ball 18 times for 95 yards, and caught the ball 6 times for 55 yards and a TD in a bad performance from the Oakland offense, who only scored 13 points on the road at Tennessee. So if McFadden can put these kind of numbers up (6.25 yards/touch) in a bad offensive performance, imagine how he can do in a good one. The return of Michael Bush will hurt his touches, but I believe this offense will continue to improve with Jason Campbell under center, and McFadden has showed enough to get a lot of touches throughout the year. Also look for McFadden to continue to get receptions too with a QB like Campbell who likes to throw a lot of short, safe passes. McFadden is a definite flex starter, potential #2 running back if he can win the starting job while Bush is banged up.

Other Notable Running Backs: Javid Best (DET), Ronnie Brown (MIA)

WR Hakeem Nicks (NYG)– I am fairly certain Nicks is the new Plaxico in New York, which is great for fantasy owners. Eli was tossing it up there and letting Nicks go get it, especially in the redzone. He ended the day with 3 Tds, and potentially could have had more if the Giants would have kept the pressure on through the air in the 4th quarter. Nicks did let a ball go off his hands and end up an interception, but Eli kept his faith in him, targeting him 7 more times and getting some points from it. Look for Eli to continue to throw the ball to Nicks, especially when they are trying to score, but also look for Nicks to drop a few big balls throughout the season. If Nicks really is becoming Eli’s favorite redzone target, he is a must start every week. I say stick with him as an everyday starter for your team.

WR Wes Welker (NE)– Wes is back and looks as good as ever. He had 8 catches for 64 yards and 2 TDs. Tom Brady targets him more than anyone in that offense, and it has led Wes to be the most productive check-down receiver I have ever seen in fantasy football. As long as he is healthy he will continue to get 10+ targets per game(he had 11 this week), and he should also get plenty of TDs, seeing how New England loves to throw the ball all the time, especially around the goal line. Wes is a must start in every league, and is a potential superstar in PPR leagues.

Other Notable Receivers: Steve Breaston (ARI), Greg Jennings (GB)

There are also players every year who come out in the first few weeks and shine brightly for a game or 2, but amount to nothing. These are players who you have to avoid. You could waste a start on them simply because you see that they put up numbers in one game, and they are really just the beneficiary of one big play, or an injury giving them extra touches. If you invest too much in the following players your team could be in for a long year. They may have done great week 1, but I say don’t depend on these guys, and possibly even trade them while their value is high.

QB David Gerrard (JAC)– David Gerrard had a very good first game going against the Denver Broncos, throwing for 170 yards and 3 TDs in the win. Despite this good week, I don’t think that Gerrard will be able to make this happen every week for 2 reasons. My first reason is Maurice Jones-Drew. MJD is their #1 offensive weapon, and will be turned to for most of the production this year, both when it comes to driving down the field and scoring. My second reason is because Gerrard is not that great of a QB. He will be asked to manage games for the Jaguars, but he is not the passing threat that most of the other QBs in the NFL can be. He may have a couple more games like this one this year, but don’t look to him for any kind of consistent production. He’s a second tier backup at best.

Other Notable Quarterbacks: Josh Freeman (TB)

RB Tim Hightower (ARI)– Hightower was a great start this week because he had a great match-up against St. Louis, and the starting running back, Beanie Wells, didn’t play this week, leaving Hightower to shoulder the load. He did well, running the ball for 54 yards and 1 TD, and catching 4 balls for another 40 yards. This is a solid performance for Hightower, but don’t expect it much this year. When Wells returns to the lineup he will see the majority of the carries, and when head coach Ken Whisenhunt gets more comfortable with his starting QB, he will certainly want to throw the ball like Arizona did in the past. If you think that Hightower is an option from here on out you better think again. He’s a decent player to have on your bench if Wells stays banged up this year.

Other Notable Running Backs: Peyton Hillis (CLE), Cedric Benson (CIN)

WR Chad Ochocinco (CIN)– If you drafted Ochocinco this year you probably feel like a genius, but I’m here to rain on your parade. Chad had 12 catches for 159 yards and a TD. These are fantastic numbers, especially from a receiver who was in fantasy limbo for the past few years, but I don’t think these numbers will hold up every week. Ocho played against a very young Patriots defense, who played a soft defense late in the game, when Chad got the majority of his numbers. The Bengals got down very big, very early, and didn’t score a touchdown until late in the 3rd quarter down 31 to 3. Because the Bengals got down by so much, they ended up throwing the ball 50 times, which is way more than they would ideally prefer. Look for the Bengals to not get blown out like this anymore this season, and for Ocho to come back down to Earth the rest of the year. T.O. was targeted more early in the game, and I think he will hurt Ocho’s production in the future. If you have Chad you have to start him, but don’t expect him to put up big numbers consistently this year.

WR Austin Collie (IND)– Collie was Peyton Manning’s target of the week, which translated to 10 catches for 131 yards, a TD, and a very good fantasy performance. This is something that is seen a lot in every season, where a lesser known receiver turns it on and becomes the next big thing, and every fantasy owner hopes to get this guy, but everyone, Austin Collie is not this guy. Peyton had to throw the ball 57 times, being that he was down the entire game, something the Colts aren’t used to. Collie gained most of his yards on a 73 yard TD pass, but still he had 9 other catches for the remaining 58 yards, which is a good sign. My guess is that he was merely a beneficiary of the Colts throwing the ball so much, and will not get this many receptions in any more games this season. They will want to run to ball more in the future, being that Addai had a good average of 4.4 yards per carry, but only saw the ball 10 times. Peyton will continue to spread the ball out, and I think Reggie Wayne, Dallas Clark, and Pierre Garcon will all fall in line before Collie to see more targets in the future. Collie may be a good bench player, but he’s a reach to start any week on your fantasy team.

Other Notable Receivers: Nate Washington (TEN), Brandon Lloyd (DEN)

Check back tomorrow for an article on players you can’t give up on after a disapointing week 1, and Sleepers/Busts will be out on Friday! If you have any questions about your team I would love to answer them. Just e-mail me, Don Lafferty, at

How To Adjust Your Fantasy Strategy After Game 1

10 09 2010

I’m sure if you are reading this right now, you also caught some of the first game of the year on Thursday night. The New Orleans Saints beat the Minnesota Vikings 14 – 9 in a sloppy meeting in New Orleans. The Saints drove down the field with ease on the very first drive, and it appeared to be shaping up to be a long evening for the Vikings. After this though both offenses seemed to stall out, and the Vikings managed to kick a field goal and the Saints managed to miss one before 2 big throws at the end of the half to TE Vinsanthe Shiancoe ending up in a touchdown. The Vikings took a 9-7 lead into the 2nd half (they missed the extra point at the end of the half). In the second half the Saints turned to the run, putting the ball on the ground 22 times after running only 3 times in the first half. They ended up only averaging 3.2 yards/rush, but still controlled the ball and the clock, which ended up winning them the game. In the meantime, Saints kicker Garrett Hartley missed 2 field goal attempts and Vikings kicker Ryan Longwell missed an extra point attempt.

We all probably watched this grueling match, but what does it mean to fantasy football players? I think after watching this game there are a few things that we can infer about the rest of the week 1 match-ups:

#1. Teams will want to run the ball– The Saints may have thrown for more yards than the Vikings in this game, but they didn’t take control of the game until they ran the ball 22 times. Pierre Thomas ended up with 71 yards on 19 carries with a touchdown, and was the most productive running back or wide receiver in this game. Adrian Peterson only got the ball 19 times and ended up with 87 yards, averaging 4.6 yards/rush. This is a great rushing average, and I’m sure if the Vikings could go back in time, they would give him the ball at least 7 or 8 more times. Both teams’ passing games looked to be a little rusty, with receivers dropping several passes in this game, including a would-be touchdown to Robert Meachum that he couldn’t hold on to while he was falling down in the endzone.

My suggestion based on these things is to focus on your running backs this week. Most teams around the league are going to be more concerned with running the ball well, controlling the clock, and keeping the opposing offense off the field. It’s week 1 and it’s all about getting back the timing and flow of an offense, especially since most of the starters around the league did not participate in the final pre-season game. These factors will not help any passing offense, which is why I’m down on a lot of #2 receivers this week, and feel good about a lot of running backs who split carries. If you are in a flex league, definitely go with a running back over a receiver in the flex spot, unless you are stacked in the WR position.

Don’t be afraid to sit:

Hakeem Nicks (NYG), Pierre Garcon (IND), Any Jets receiver, Hines Ward (PIT), Mike Sims-Walker, Devin Hester and Devin Aromashodu (CHI), Nate Burleson (DET), Santana Moss (WAS), Derrick Mason or Anquan Boldin (BAL)

Don’t be afraid to start:

Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs (NYG), Knowshon Moreno (DEN), Joseph Addai (IND),  Jerome Harrison (CLE), Carnell Williams (TB), Ricky Williams and Ronnie Brown (MIA), C.J.Spiller (BUF), Tim Hightower (ARI), Justin Forcett (SEA), Darren McFadden (OAK), Felix Jones and Marian Barber (DAL)

#2. Kickers don’t matter– One of the top ranked kickers, Garrett Hartley, missed 2 field goals inside of a dome this week, and Ryan Longwell missed an extra point. Chances are if you made a mistake in your draft and took a kicker too early then you can’t fix it now, but don’t make a similar mistake during the season! Do not have a kicker on your bench ever, and when your kicker’s bye week comes along, don’t drop one of your bench players so you can hold onto your kicker. Kickers are not guaranteed to make every kick, and are also not guaranteed to get opportunities every week, so make sure you worry about every other position way before your kicker.

#3. Don’t be afraid to play an underdog– This is the beginning of the season, and everyone is undefeated. It’s a great feeling, but it won’t last long. Every year there is a surprise team, a letdown team, a breakout player, bust players, etc. As fantasy owners we all try to guess who these breakout and bust players are, and usually the bust players did well the year before, and the breakout players were either quiet last year or play for a team that was very bad. By the time most of these breakout players are discovered they have already had their breakout weeks while sitting on your bench. My point is that a fantasy owner shouldn’t be afraid to start players who play for bad teams, or who have good match-ups, and don’t be afraid to sit guys who may be on good teams, or have bad match-ups. Teams who were bad a year before are generally playing from behind, and also are usually not as concerned about taking some chances. These are two factors that benefit every fantasy player. For the past 7 years, one last place team has come back to win their division the following year. This goes to show that whatever happens last year doesn’t mean it will happen again this year, especially in fantasy football. Don’t let your breakout players blow up on your bench. Be a gutsy genius and good luck week 1.

Week 1 Sleepers and Busts

9 09 2010

Well my fellow fantasy football players, this is it. Week 1. It’s time to stop speculating about your team and put in your week 1 starters. As many fantasy football players should know, the stars on your team score you a lot of points, but it’s the sleepers and unexpected breakout players that make a winning fantasy team. I will give you 5 week 1 fantasy sleepers and busts for each position to hopefully put your team over the hump.

Quarterback Sleepers

Kyle Orten (DEN) at Jacksonville- Orten subtly had a pretty decent season last year, and is set up with a good week 1 match-up this year. He goes against a Jaguars team who was ranked 27th against the pass last year, and 18th against the run. I think head coach Josh McDaniels will keep this a balanced attack, but I think Orten will end up spreading the ball and provide a solid fantasy start. I don’t like that they are playing in Jacksonville against a team that would prefer to control the clock with the run, but this is still not a great Jaguars team. Give Orten the nod if you have uncertainty with your quarterback.

Alex Smith (SF) at Seattle- I’m taking Smith as a sleeper this week for the same reason that I took Orten, he has a favorable match-up, despite being on the road. Smith is going against the 3rd worst pass defense from last year, who will be starting a rookie safety in Earl Thomas. Thomas will be very good, but I’ll take the QB in this start. San Fran is going to have a great running attack, and should improve their passing game this year with Crabtree there for a full season and Vernon Davis coming into his own. San Fran should put up a lot of points and Smith should be the beneficiary.

Jay Cutler (CHI) vs Detroit- This is one of my favorite plays this week. Jay Cutler unveils Mike Martz’ new offense week 1 at home against Detroit, who had the worst passing defense last year. Cutler will be asked to put up a lot of points this week for two reasons, to erase doubts after last year’s awful INT filled year, and also because they are going against a Detroit team who will be able to score some points. The bears D allowed 29 passing TDs last year, and they are going against a team this week who has a young and improving offense. Look for this to be a shootout, and for Jay to be a great start this week.

Matthew Stafford (DET) at Chicago- You get the gist of why I like Stafford from reading the Cutler pick I assume. Stafford is going to play on an improving offense who has a terrible defense, which means he will be asked to put up a lot of points to win this year. This will be a difficult task for Stafford with his poor offensive line, but fantasy QBs don’t lose points for getting sacked, and I’ll take a INT or 2 if it means a bunch of passing and TDs. With explosive players like Calvin Johnson and Javid Best on this offense, I like Matt to get some points this week against the Bears.

Kevin Kolb (PHI) vs Green Bay- This is my #1 play at QB this week. Kolb didn’t look spectacular in the pre-season like his adversary Aaron Rodgers did, but I don’t think that will matter this week. He is at home against a team that is playing without 2 of the starting secondary this week. The Eagles will also most likely have to put up some serious points to keep up with the high powered offense of the Green Bay Packers. Andy Ried isn’t afraid to pass, so I say Kevin Kolb should be your starter unless you have Peyton, Brees or Rodgers on your team.

Quarterback Busts

Brett Favre (MIN) at New Orleans- I have to admit I am not a big Favre guy anymore before I say this, but I think Favre is going to be a big week 1 bust. He is playing on the road at the defending champs’ house, still nursing this ankle that has kept him away from this team in the off-season and most of pre-season. Favre is also playing without Sidney Rice, his favorite target from last year. Look for a stead dose of Adrian Peterson, and not to much offensive production from Favre.

Matt Ryan (ATL) at Pittsburgh- I really like Matt Ryan this year but I just have a bad feeling about him this week. I don’t think he will be terrible, but I don’t see him having the week that most fantasy owners want. He has to go into Pittsburgh, who will be trying to control the ball and run the clock without their starting QB, or their backup QB. They will keep it going to Rashard Mendenhall, and try to keep this Falcons offense off the field. Also I fear that the Falcons will want to do their fair share of running Michael Turner, leaving Matt Ryan with a tough match-up and not a ton of passes to throw.

Chadd Henne (MIA) at Buffalo- I normally wouldn’t put Henne as a bust because I don’t see Henne as a fantasy starter, but I feel I should put him here this week. Owners may see that they play Buffalo, and think that this would be a good time to start Henne against a very bad team, but I say stay away. The Dolphins will want to run the ball most of this game for a few reasons. One is because they are a great running team with 2 great RBs. Another reason is because the Bills’ pass defense was second only to the Jets last year, and they had the 30th ranked run defense. My last reason is simply that Henne is playing on the road. Look for the Dolphins to run the ball early and often, and put Henne on the bench.

Tony Romo (DAL) at Washington- Romo is a regular season monster, so I feel a little nervous making him a bust, but I think he is going to have a tough time this week. He is going into Washington, a re-energized team that now has Mike Shanahan and Donovan McNabb running it, a big improvement over the Zorn-Campbell combo. Washington had the 8th best pass D last season, and Dallas is a little shaky at the offensive line position. I think this will end up being more of a field position game than a shootout, and I think Romo’s numbers are going to suffer because of it.

Joe Flacco (BAL) at New York Jets- I think this game is an obvious concern for any owner who has Flacco as their #1 QB, since they have to go to New York and face their #1 ranked pass defense. The Jets got their best player back this week, Darelle Revis, who is the best shutdown corner in the league. This is a Monday night game in a new stadium, and I think the lights will be shining bright. It will be a difficult game for both offenses who are both going to want to control the line of scrimmage and the clock. Don’t look for Flacco to have a great week 1.

Running Back Sleepers

Jerome Harrison (CLE) at Tampa Bay- Harrison has a great match-up this week against Tampa Bay, who sported the worst run defense in the league last year. Harrison’s backup,  rookie running back Monterio Hardesy, went down with a severe injury at the end of pre-season, leaving Harrison to shoulder a significant amount of carries. Look for Harrison to get a lot of touches and be the focal point of the offense this week against a bad run defense.

Ricky Williams (MIA) at Buffalo- I would put Ronnie Brown’s name up here but I consider him an automatic everyday starter as long as he is healthy. Fantasy owners are always concerned with their running backs splitting carries but this week you shouldn’t worry. Both of these Dolphin running backs should have fresh legs to start the season, and they will be put to use against last year’s 30th ranked rushing defense. Buffalo also had the second best pass defense last year, which will probably force Miami to go to the run. With Ronnie Brown playing his first game after coming off a serious injury, look for Ricky to get some carries. He could be a good #2 or flex option this week.

Javid Best (DET) at Chicago- I am a huge Best fan this week, and this year for that matter. I think this game with Chicago will be a high scoring affair, and Best is going to prove to be a big part of it. He has home-run ability, and it could come into play with a defense who let up a lot of points last year. Look for Best to be your #2 or flex player this week. As long as he’s healthy he should be in your starting lineup most of the year.

Arian Foster (HOU) vs Indianapolis- A lot of people are very high on Foster this year, who has found himself in a very favorable situation in Houston. Second round selection Ben Tate went down for the year, so Foster finds himself in the starting spot. He will be sharing carries with Steve Slaton, a once promising young talent who Houston seems to have given up on after a bad year. Indy had the 24th ranked rush defense last year, and I’m sure Houston will want to keep Peyton Manning off the field for as long as possible. Look for Foster to be a big part of the offensive scheme. The only concern is if the Texans get down early and have to throw the ball a lot, Foster will not get as many touches as they want.

Running Back Busts

Lesean McCoy (PHI) vs Green Bay- Lesean McCoy is being given the starting role and the bulk of the carries in Philly this year, but how many carries will there be in this game? Andy Reid has never been a big fan of running the ball, and I don’t think he will change his philosophy this week. Look for the Eagles to go through the air early and often, being that Green Bay is missing 2 starters in their secondary, and that this should be a high scoring game. McCoy may catch some passes out of the backfield, but I don’t think he will be a big factor in the offense this week. Sit him if you have a decent option to replace him.

Ryan Grant (GB) vs Philadelphia- I guess I don’t think this will be a good game for RBs, seeing as I have also picked McCoy as a bust this week. I think the Packers are going to come out looking to throw the ball down the field, doing most of their work through the air. During the pre-season Green Bay threw the ball a lot around the goal line which shows that they are putting this team in Rodgers’ hands. The Eagles also had the #9 rush defense last year, coupled with the probability of a lot of passing tells me that Grant will not produce like you hoped this week.

Michael Turner (ATL) at Pittsburgh- Turner is coming back from a season ending injury last year, and is going to face a Pittsburgh team that will be playing with a sense of urgency from day 1. They still have a very good rush defense, coming in at #3 last year, and the Falcons have to go on the road. I look for the Falcons to not run Turner into the ground in his first game back from injury, and for the Steelers defense to force Matt Ryan to beat them through the air rather than let Turner beat them on the ground. I understand that Turner is a must start every week, but just know that the rest of your team may have to step up if Turner can’t produce like a 1st round pick.

Pierre Thomas (NO) vs Minnesota- Every time I doubt Pierre Thomas he proves me wrong. I thinks it’s safe to say that Thomas is a bad start against the Vikings this week, who had the 2nd best rush defense last year. Thomas is also in a system that not only favors the pass, but spreads the ball out maybe more than anyone in the league. Thomas also has the disadvantage of sharing the backfield with Reggie Bush, who gets the majority of the passes out of the backfield. I think Thomas will be a pretty good start with different match-ups this season, but I don’t see him being a big part of this game. Sit him if you have a decent play with a bench RB.

Wide Receiver Sleepers

Johnny Knox (CHI) vs Detroit- Knox has looked great in the pre-season, has become the #1 receiver for the Bears, and a favorite target of Jay Cutler it seems. This week he goes against the worst pass defense from last year in the Detroit Lions, so look for him to have a good week. This could be a high scoring game for the Bears, so look for Knox to get a good amount of targets. I would start Knox as my #2 receiver this week, and he’s a definite start in a flex league.

Malcolm Floyd (SD) at Kansas City- I don’t know how Malcolm Floyd’s start % this week wasn’t higher than 27.4% on ESPN fantasy football. He is the #1 wide receiver on a high powered offense until the uncertain return of Vincent Jackson. Floyd has already caught a TD in the pre-season, and seems to fit into this offense very well. He will be given the opportunity to put up great numbers this week against a bad Chiefs defense, and I would say that he is a great start as your #2 receiver.

Laurent Robinson (STL) vs Arizona- If there is one player that has really impressed this pre-season, it’s rookie QB Sam Bradford who has been named the starter for the Rams. Unfortunately for the Rams they lost #1 receiver Donnie Avery for the season, but fortunately for Laurent Robinson owners, he will get more targets because of this. I think the Rams will not be shy to pass the ball, especially since they have nothing to lose. They are not trying to win the Superbowl, but just be competitive. Look for them to be gutsy this week against an Arizona defense that lost starting safety Antrel Rolle, and had the the 23rd ranked pass defense last year. I like Robinson to benefit this week from all of these factors, and I wouldn’t be afraid to start him if you have unfavorable match-ups with your other WRs.

Jeremy Maclin (PHI) vs Green Bay- The Packers are going to be without 2 starters in their secondary this week, on the road, against a Philadelphia team that loves to throw the ball. Green Bay will likely put their best corner on Desean Jackson, leaving Maclin to be matched up with the backups. Look for Maclin to seriously benefit from the attention the defense will pay to Jackson, and get a lot of catches, and potentially a score. A decent #2 option and a definite flex starter.

Wide Receiver Busts

Anquan Boldin (BAL) at New York Jets- As soon a Revis inked his deal, it was set in stone that Boldin would be considered a bad fantasy start week 1. Unless Revis has a slow step due to missing all of the pre-season, Boldin could get lost on Revis Island like many star receivers have before. The Ravens have so many other options with Ray Rice, Derrick Mason and the recent addition of T.J. Houshmadzadeh that they may just play it safe and stay away from Revis all together. I say if you have other options this week, sit Boldin on the road against the best corner in the league.

Brandon Marshall (MIA) at Buffalo- If you have Marshall on your team you have to start him, but I just don’t like him at all this week against the second ranked pass defense from last year. I think the fish will be running the ball all game long and will not be concerned with forcing the pass. Marshall could always use his tremendous talent to get in the endzone, but don’t look for him to put up #1 receiver numbers.

Steve Smith (NYG) vs Carolina- Smith is going against the 4th ranked pass defense from last year and I think that the Giants have plenty of other options on offense in this game. Receiver Hakeem Nicks and running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs can provide other weapons for Eli Manning with Smith drawing the Panthers’ best cover man. Smith will still manage his receptions, but it will be tough for him to do what he did last year. I say he is an OK #2 receiver.

Mike Sims-Walker (JAC) vs Denver- Sims-Walker had a few great games last year, and fortunately for this match-up they were all at home, but I don’t see a repeat this week. He has to go against the tough secondary of the Denver Broncos, and will probably be phased out of the offense by Champ Baily. Jacksonville will likely be trying to get Maurice Jones-Drew going on the ground anyway, and will not be concerned with passing the ball unless they get down big early. I would say put Sims-Walker on the bench and look for a better option.

Tight End Sleepers

Heath Miller (PIT) vs Atlanta- Atlanta had a very bad pass defense last year ranking 28th, and are playing against a 3rd string QB, Dennis Dixon, who will likely find his TE Miller to be his security blanket. Miller will be a big, sure-handed target for Dixon to throw to if he gets in trouble, and could be a good redzone option for Dixon. If you don’t have an elite TE, I would say give Miller the start.

Zach Miller (OAK) at Tennessee- Miller looked like one of the only promising pieces for the Oakland offense last year, and he should be one of the biggest beneficiaries from Jason Campbell coming in to run the offense. The Titans had the second worst pass defense last year, so I would say Miller is a solid start to produce a decent amount of yards, and if you are lucky, a TD.

Greg Olson (CHI) vs Detroit- I know I sound like a broken record putting all these Bears in as sleepers against Detroit, but I feel they are all great starts who may normally be bench players on your team. Olson is no different, being a target that Jay Cutler likes to throw to, and playing against a last ranked pass defense at home. I say make Olson your starter unless you have one of the top TEs in the league.

Tight End Busts

Jason Witten (DAL) at Washington- Witten only had 2 TDs last year as a result of the Cowboys spreading the ball around, and adding Dez Bryant to the system shouldn’t help Witten’s cause. He will still get his catches but can’t be counted on for explosive games. Witten has to go on the road this week to a tough division rival who had were tied with the Ravens for the 8th best pass defense last year. If Witten is on your team you probably have to start him but don’t look for him to put up numbers this week.

Visanthe Shiancoe (MIN) at New Orleans- Shiancoe caught a 11 TDs last year, great numbers for a TE, but I don’t see it this year. I think Favre’s production will suffer, and Shiancoe’s will go along with it. He may get some more looks with Sidney Rice out, but I don’t think Minnesota will be able to keep up with the New Orleans Saints.

Defense/Special Teams Sleepers

Miami at Buffalo- Buffalo had a bad offense last year, and they don’t look to be incredibly improved this year. They id draft C.J. Spiller who has showed some amazing talent, but if Miami can stop him this defense can shut this offense down.

Tampa Bay vs Cleveland- Cleveland didn’t have a great offense last year, and much won’t change this year. Tampa Bay plays at home against a team who has a quarterback with interception issues, and I could see the Bucs forcing a few turnovers, maybe even a defensive TD. They are not a great defense, but if you don’t have a top D they may not be a bad spot start.

Defensive/Special Teams Busts

Green Bay and Philadelphia at Philadelphia- I say both of these defenses have promise for the season but are both bad starts this week. Green Bay will be able to score a lot on this Philly defense that is starting a rookie Free Safety, Nate Allen, and had a lot of defensive problems last year. Green Bay will be without 2 defensive starters in their secondary, and this speedy Philly receiving core should take advantage of it. Look for little defense in this shootout.

Cincinnati at New England- Cincinnati had a good defense last year, and I think they will have a good showing this year, but this week 1 match-up on the road at New England is looking to be a tough one. Tom Brady is playing with something to prove again so watch out AFC. I think the Pats are going to roll week 1, and the Bengals D is going to fall victim.

I don’t feel right putting up kicker sleepers and busts because I feel like any kicker could have a good or bad week, just pick someone with an offense that can’t finish in the redzone. In any case, these are my sleeper plays for week 1 and if you use them I hope they work out for you. If you have any questions about who you want to sit or start feel free to e-mail me at Check back for week 2 sleepers and busts!

Battle for Parktown Place Power Ranks

4 09 2010

So this is the inaugural season for our Manday fantasy league and I must say, I am very excited. Now when we gather round PTP on Sundays we have a reason to talk shit to each other, and not just on the Eagles. I made these power rankings just for fun, and I’m sorry if you disagree with them. I have to admit when I looked at every team they are all closer than I had anticipated. Everyone ended up with a pretty decent team, and I’m sure this is going to be a 12 man dogfight this year. I gave positional grades for every team, based upon the quality and depth at the position, and also when the picks were taken.

#12. Team Baby Milk- Mark Edwards first year doing fantasy and Mark I hope you enjoy it. Mark’s team started off strong out of the gate, landing Randy Moss, Stephen Jackson, Marques Colsten and Dallas Clark, but a few hurricanes and black and milds later things got crazy. Mark’s only other 2 RBs are Thomas Jones and Michael Bush, and his team also sports 3 kickers, 3 quarterbacks (Favre, Stafford and Cassell) and 2 defenses. I hope it all works out for you Baby Milk, but it’s going to be tough without a few more good solid producers.

Sleeper: Matt Stafford              Bust: Brett Favre

QB: C+   RB: D  WR: A-  TE: A  D/ST: B

#11. Dan Todd- The man with 2 first names. Another guy who came out of the gates with 3…I guess 4 solid picks in Chris Johnson,  Phillip Rivers, Roddy White and Knowshon Moreno, but then started reaching with Lee Evans and Egan’s own Steve Slaton very early. His 4 first guys are going to have to carry this team with backups like Mewelde Moore, Eddie Royal, and Kenny Britt, I don’t now how well bye weeks are going to treat Dan Todd.

Sleeper: Vince Young               Bust: Knowshon Moreno

QB: A-   RB: C+   WR: B   TE: B+   D/ST: A

#10. Bird the White- I think John’s exact quote was, “I’m already bored out of my mind”. This came right about the turning point from the 3rd to 4th round. Needless to say John was on autopick, but it ended up working out alright for him. He selected Adrian Peterson with the first overall pick, some solid receivers in Marshall and Smith(NYG), and a good arm in Schaubb. This team has the building blocks to be very good, but it will depend on guys like Forte, Marshall and Witten to perform this year like they have done in the past. He also has to get decent production from his backups Dez Bryant, Derrick Mason, and Leon Washington, because he has 3 QBs, 3 TEs, and took the Jets D in the 7th, therefore his team is just stretched a little thin.

Sleeper: Matt Forte                  Bust: Brandon Marshall

QB: A-   RB: C-   WR: A-   TE: B+   D: A

#9. Baby J: Andrew J is going to hate me for this low ranking but it is what he got for taking all the guys he loves in this draft. He jumped up a round or 2 to get a few guys he had his heart set on, such as C.J. Spiller in the 4th, T.O. in the 5th, and Cadillac in the 7th. These are all guys with a lot of upside this year, but are all coming off years that have been a little lackluster, aside from Spiller who is a rookie. Andre Johnson is a great anchor for this team, but with no running backs who don’t split carries, it may be tough to get consistent production. Hopefully the Carson Palmer to Owens connection will pay off, but my thought is that Kevin Kolb and Palmer will start based upon their matchups. Hopefully the points couch can work for fantasy too.

Sleeper: Kevin Kolb                 Bust: Cadillac Williams

QB: B   RB: B-   WR: A-   TE: D   D/ST: B

#8. Private Mike- Mike got his hands on the superbowl winning QB in the first round, which was a great move, and probably Mike’s most solid acquisition. This team has a lot of question marks who could be great, or could fizzle. Will Miles Austin, Ricky Williams and Cedric Benson produce the way they did last year? Will Brandon Jacobs and Santana Moss have bounceback years? If these questions have favorable answers Mike’s team will be just fine, but if a few of these guys don’t work out I’m not sure this bench can pick up the slack.

Sleeper: Devin Aromashodu               Bust: Cedric Benson

QB: A   RB: C+   WR: B   TE: A   D/ST: B+

#7. Chichburg Lemonade- Chich had the 6th pick, and somehow Ray Rice fell to him! I think Turco’s passion for Peyton had something to do with that, so I guess everyone ended up happy. Chich has very talented players on his team in Rice, Fitzgerald, Charles and Welker, but will they all produce? Charles plays in the terrible KC, Welker is coming off a season ending injury, and Larry Fitz has lost his QB and a fellow receiver who helped pull coverage. Chich did get some other guys who can produce as role players in LT, Matt Ryan, Owen Daniels, Donald Brown and Mac 5. I think Chich has a pretty deep team that could keep him afloat all season.

Sleeper: Owen Daniels           Bust: Jamaal Charles

QB: B   RB: A-    WR: A-   TE: B+    D/ST: B-

#6. Steve “The Blackout Table Smashing Machine” Covely- Covely has had much practice drafting this year, this being his 4th league, and the practice showed in this draft. He managed to sneak Romo in the middle of the 3rd, a considerably low spot considering 6 QBs went in front of him, and he is probably considered a 2nd round talent in our league. He also has a solid lineup that features Gates at TE, Wayne and Ocho/Driver at receiver, and Turner, Foster and Forcett as his backs. With Mike Wallace and Big Ben, on his bench he has some depth as well. My only concerns for this team are Turner’s injury from last year, Foster being a rookie back thrown into a pass first offense, and the #2 receiver spot being a little weak.

Sleeper: Mike Wallace                 Bust: Chad Ochocinco

QB: A   RB: B+   WR: B   TE: A   D/ST: B+

#5. Bill the Kid- Billy boy is ready to rejoin the Manday crew, and is bringing a pretty good team with him. MJD, Ryan Grant, and Calvin Johnson were all great picks for the first 3 rounds(particularly getting Johnson in the 3rd, definite steal). He has great depth with Bradshaw, Hakeem Nicks, Sims-Walker, and Jerome Harrison. My only thing keeping Brett’s team from going any higher are that he has poor tight ends in Cooley and Zach Miller, and I don’t think they will be consistent in either offense they are in. He also put all his eggs in the Flacco basket by taking him and having no backup, which could be fatal if the former Blue Hen’s season doesn’t go as planned.

Sleeper: Michael Crabtree                 Bust: Mike Sims-Walker

QB: B   RB: A   WR: B+   TE: C-   D/ST: C

#4. The Barber Shop- The silent assassin. Ry Barber was the last to arrive and the first to leave, but he brought his computer and meant business.This team could be my favorite team from top to bottom. His first 13 picks were all guys who could have big breakout seasons, but some are bound to not work out, as is the nature of fantasy football. Barber drafted D. Williams, Brady, Boldin, Pierre Thomas, and my favorite pick who if healthy can be a top 3 RB, Ronnie Brown. Those 5 plus Tony G, and potential breakout players like Maclin, Meachum, and McFadden could make for a very dangerous team.

Sleeper: Ronnie Brown                   Bust: Pierre Thomas

QB: A-   RB: A-   WR: B-   TE: A   D/ST: B

#3. Ricco- Well he did it. He said he was going to do it but I thought he was kidding. Turco took Peyton Manning with the 4th pick in the draft. I think the only other person in the world to take Peyton that high would have to be Archie Manning. In any case, Turco got his man and a lot of other good players. Desean and Dwayne Bowe are both #1 receivers, Shonn Green, Addai and Marion the Barbarian are 3 very good RBs, and Jermichael Finley could be the best TE in football this year. Once Santonio Holmes comes back, Turco has a lot of quality players, and will get to use favorable matchups as long as his team stays healthy.

Sleeper: Mohammad Massaqui        Bust: Joseph Addai

QB: A   RB: B   WR: B+   TE: A+   D/ST: B+

#2. Whiskers- I hate to say it but I love Whiskers’ team. I do have to note that the reason I love it so much is because he took all the awesome players I have in our other fantasy league and he happened to pick before me in this draft. In any case, admiring and copying someone’s awesome draft isn’t illegal Dicklicous, so your team is ranked very high. Led by the best fantasy QB from last year, Aaron Rodgers, this team features 3 great up and coming RBs who are all being put in great positions to produce in Ryan Matthews, Lesean McCoy and Javid Best. He also has Greg Jennings and Malcolm Floyd, 2 receivers who are poised to be #1 receivers in high powered offenses. Throw in potential breakout players Pierre Garcon, Johnny Knox, and Jabar Gaffney, and I think you definitely have a winner. The only downfall to Whiskers’ team is that his TE position is weak with Vinsanthe Shiancoe. I am guessing he won’t have as good of a season as last year, merely because there are too many other weapons in that offense and Brett can’t possibly have the year he had last year.  F U Whiskers. (Note: players on my team in our other league: Aaron Rodgers, Javid Best, Ryan Matthews, Pierre Garcon, and Malcolm Floyd. You are welcome for the awesome draft strategy.)

Sleeper: Johnny Knox                    Bust: Lesean McCoy

QB: A+   RB: A   WR: B+   TE: C   D/ST: A

#1. The Commish- So I may be a bit biased ranking myself first, but who cares, these rankings are for fun and my team is awesome. I had the 12th pick in the draft and ended up with Rashard Mendenhall and Frank Gore with the 12th and 13th pick. Really? How do the # 5 and 9 backs both fall to #12? I think Turco’s Peyton Manning pick set the wheels in motion for me to get so lucky. So I have those 2 plus Beanie Wells and Felix Jones, so I’d say I have pretty awesome running backs. I took Cutler in the 6th round, pretty good for a guy who threw 27 TDs last year (more than his previous season with the Broncos), and Mike Martz coming in to take over the offense. I also got a premiere TE with Vernon Davis. My only weak position is WR, where I have Steve Smith(CAR) and Percy Harvin. The ace up my sleeve for the long haul is Vincent Jackson coming back hopefully sometime this season, making my team complete. If my top 3 RBs can produce, I think I will find myself in the chip this year.

Sleeper: Jay Cutler                        Bust: Steve Smith(CAR)

QB: B   RB: A+   WR: B-   TE: A   D/ST: B

Top 25 Running Backs (Non PPR)

2 09 2010

Tier 1

#1. Chris Johnson (TEN)- CJ is easily the unanimous #1 fantasy running back this year. After a season of more than 2500 total yards and 16 Tds he has to be the first pick. The only downside to Johnson is that the probability of repeating last year is slim. If he runs like he did last year and put up the same numbers I will be shocked. Teams will be planning for him this year, but he is still the best.

#2. Adrian Peterson (MIN)- AP is entering his 4th season with the Vikings, and AP has managed to stay a top fantasy player all three years, even with Brett Favre arriving last year and turning Minnesota into a pass happy offense. AP scored 18 touchdowns and ran for almost 1400 yards last year, and this year is going to be even more Peterson. Favre is playing banged up, and the receiving core is a bit hobbled coming into the season, so expect Brad Childress to turn back to the running game and AP.

Tier 2

#3. Maurice Jones-Drew (JAC)- This is a tough choice here between MJD and Ray Rice, but I feel MJD has earned this spot and will still produce in this spot. Jones-Drew has turned himself into a stat monster on a team with no other serious offensive threat, which is why I put him ahead of Rice. Jones-Drew is going into his 5th season, and is following up a season with 16 TDs and 1391 rushing yards. He will once again be the only stable player on an unpredictable Jacksonville team, provided that defenses don’t start putting 8 men in the box every play.

#4. Ray Rice (BAL)- The little big man from Rutgers falls at 4 in my rankings. He’s coming off a very good year in which he became the focal point of the running game, and actually the focal point of the offense alongside Joe Flacco. This year Rice will be given the load again, and I think he will carry it with ease. He has fresh legs and has proven to have the talent to produce in the NFL. My only concern for Rice is that he get enough touches to make a large statistical impact. With the addition of Anquan Boldin and the improvement of 3rd year QB Joe Flacco, the Ravens might not be using the RB as much as they have in the past, particularly in the redzone.

#5. Frank Gore (SF)- Frank Gore has a lot of work to do this year, and has a great opportunity to get it done. He plays for the favorite in the worst division in football(fifghting with the AFC West for that title), backup running back Glen Coffee retired out of no where, and the 49ers drafted 2 offensive linemen in the first round to bolster this already decent O line. All these factors mean that Frank Gore will get the majority of the carries behind a good offensive line, against some bad teams. That sounds like a running back who is poised to have an amazing season provided he can stay healthy and on the field.

#6. Michael Turner (ATL)- This year should be a different kind of year for Turner with the offense looking for more of a balanced attack. Turner’s first year with the Falcon he carried the ball 376 times, and last year he would have went over the 300 mark if not for a high ankle sprain that sidelined him for the end of the year. This year he will still get around 200 to 250 carries if he is healthy, and this will benefit him. He should stay fresh the whole season and his numbers will be great! He should have a lot of redzone opportunities.

Tier 3

#7. Rashard Mendenhall (PIT)- This 3rd year running back is going to be given a lot of responsibility (carries) with this team that is in such limbo with their quarterback situation. The Steelers threw the ball far more last year than in the past, but with Ben Rothlisberger sidelined for at least the first 4 games this year, the Pittsburg Steelers will probably turn to the “run first/play defense” ways of old. This is great for Mendenhall, who saw Willie Parker released and no one significant replace him this off-season. Rashard is going to try to be the stability of this team, and this will mean a lot of carries, and hopefully a lot of scores for this potential star running back.

#8. Ryan Grant (GNB)- I’m not a huge Grant fan, but I must admit that he deserves to be here in the rankings. He had 1253 yards and 11 touchdowns last year! That’s pretty awesome for a guy who comes from a pass first offense and coming off a few mediocre seasons. This year should be more of the same. The Packers pass offense looks great, but they are gonna need to keep it somewhat balanced so defenses can’t just focus on the pass. Ryan Grant will be running at defenses that aren’t looking for the run, and playing in a VERY potent offense. Look for him to have a lot of TDs even if his yards may decrease a little bit.

#9. Deangelo Williams (CAR)- Williams is a top fantasy talent who splits carries with Jonathan Stewart, another top fantasy talent. The running backs both ran for over 1100 yards this year, and incredible accomplishment, and Williams scored 7 Tds, Stewart 11. They will definitely split the carries again this year provided they stay healthy, which is fine with me after looking at their numbers. They will have fresher legs than the guys they are facing all game, and will both put up great numbers in a great running offense. If Williams can stay healthy, he should have the slight edge over Stewart, and slightly better numbers in a prolific running offense.

#10. Steven Jackson (STL)- Steven Jackson is a sad story if you ask me. If you put him on a successful offense he could possibly be the best running back in fantasy. Unfortunately he plays for the Rams, where they are developing a rookie QB while Jackson is in the prime of his career. He had 325 rushes last year, which ussually is a bad thing for a running back the follwoing year, but he still managed 1424 yards. He only crossed the goal line 4 times last year, not nearly enough for a premiere running back. In the past 3 years he has had 7, 8, and 4 TDs in each season respectively.  If their passing offense can show the slightest bit of promise this year hopefully Jackson will get a little room to run in the redzone, but I still can’t see myself picking him as my #1 RB if he can’t score TDs.

#11. Ryan Matthews (SD)- I may be a little high on Matthews, but I feel reallllly good about him, as does every football analyst. He’s being thrown into the same offense LT became a hall of fame running back in, and he’s being thrown in as the feature back! They used a first round pick on him, and Norv Turner has already said that he wants him to have around 250 carries and around 40 catches. All of these touches going to a fresh set of legs on a high powered offense, who also faces the 4th easiest schedule, tells me that Matthews is going to put up some pretty awesome numbers. This is a guy who I believe could be a solid #1 fantasy RB this year.

#12. Shonn Green (NYJ)- I am a huge Shonn Green fan, and I am picking him to be a serious breakout running back this year. The Jets are a run first team with the best offensive line in football, and a quarterback who is definitely not ready to be the focal point of this offense. Shonn Green is going to get a lot of carries, even though he has to split them with Ladanian Tomlinson. The only concern of mine is that LT will get a lot of touches in the redzone, but Green is still going to be their number one there all year. I don’t think Green will end up with double-digit TDs, but he will certainly have opportunities to get them and eat up yards on the way.

Tier 4

#13. Cedric Benson (CIN)- What a great year Benson had lat year, smashing all of his previous years’ statistics. He had 1251 yards on 301 carries(concern), but only 6 TDs(concern #2). Cedric started off the year hot, but had a few midseason injuries that slowed him up a bit, and I’m not sure if he will be able to get back on that hot track this year. He has 2 receivers on his team who certainly want the ball, and after using a first round pick on Jermaine Gresham, a pass catching tight end, I don’t think Benson will see all the carries that he did last year. He should be a good #2 fantasy back, but don’t count on him to be your #1.

#14. Jonathan Stewart (CAR)- What an amazing running game the Carolina Panthers boast, to have 2 top 15 fantasy running backs for the third year in a row. Stewart and Williams will split the carries and if the formula comes out right, they will both have over 1000 yards, but where will the TDs fall? Stewart had 10 in his 1st year and 11 in his 2nd year, so I think Stewart will have between 9 and 12 this year. Barring an injury to Williams, Stewart will probably not have a 1500 yard 16 TD season, but he will defiantly give his same consistent production. Still always makes me nervous to have a guy who splits carries with such a talented back.

#15. Chris Wells (ARI)- Another running back who is poised to have a breakout year. Beanie Wells showed last year that he can run the ball in the NFL, and this year he will have to take up a serious role in this offense. He is the #1 running back on a team who has lost a star receiver in Anquan Boldin and a hall of fame quarterback in Kurt Warner. Now the Cards are having a QB crisis, and Larry Fitz is always going to be double teamed. This sounds like Wells is going to be turned to for a lot of offensive production, in both the yards and points categories. Arizona also has the easiest schedule this year, leaving Wells with nothing left to ask for but the season to start.

#16. Lesean McCoy (PHI)- McCoy is coming off a decent year in which the RB position was in transition this year. Westbrook is finally gone, and now there is no question as to who is the #1 player in the Eagles backfield this year. McCoy will be great in a PPR league, because the Eagles love to involve their RBs in the pass game, but they traditionally do not like to run the ball, even if it is successful. McCoy will have a great year if the Eagles don’t go crazy with their new toy Kevin Kolb, and run the ball while defenses worry about their speedy receivers. I’m not as high on McCoy as everyone else seems to be, and would say he is a decent #2 RB option for you, but most definitely not a #1.

#17. Jamaal Charles (KC)- Charles is a 3rd year back coming off a breakout season with the Chiefs, going over 1100 yards and having 8 TDs. He is extremely fast, can make catches out of the backfield, and is the definite #1 in KC. The only concerns I have for him are that he still plays for a bad team in Kansas City, and they also picked up Thomas Jones, who Charles will have to share carries with. Charles will be given the opportunities in Kansas City, but will the team be good enough for him to succeed?

#18. Joseph Addai (IND)- Joseph Addai is not a sexy pick at all. He doesn’t break long runs, he doesn’t get the ball 250 times a year, and he is in a definite pass first offense run by Peyton Manning. What he does have going for him though is that he does still get the ball around 200 times a year, and a lot ofthose times are around the goal line. In the past 3 years he has had 14, 7 and 15 touchdowns respectively. That’s better than the majority of the players that have been before him on this list, and I think you can expect a lot of the same this year. Peyton will get it to the goal line and Addai can punch it in. This productivity makes for a solid #2 or flex RB.

#19. Knowshon Moreno (DEN)- Knowshon was a phenom in college and he looked pretty good at times last year too. He had almost 1000 yards and 9 TDs under first year coach Josh McDaniels, and I think that Moreno will improve this year. The Broncos traded away their best offensive weapon to Miami in Brandon Marshall, and so it looks like their former first round pick will be turnedto be their new best offensive weapon. They drafted QB Tim Tebow and traded for Brady Quinn, leaving their QB position as a land of question marks this year, and I think they will look for stability running the ball. Knowshon should get a lot of carries this year, and will be given the opportunity to be the #1 offensive weapon. He will be a great #2 running back on your team, but a very weak #1.

#20. Javid Best (DET)- I wanted to put Best higher but couldn’t if I was being fair, but I love the rookie out of Cal. He has the speed and talent to be the rookie of the year, and I’ve often heard him compared to Chris Johnson. He has had a history of injury problems, but that is a risk with everyone playing this high contact position. Detroit doesn’t have a great offensive line, but I think Best is talented enough to overcome this and have a year filled with big plays and lots of promise. He may be a high risk player to pick, but my guess is he will also be high reward.

#21. Ronnie Brown (MIA)- I can’t believe I ranked Ronnie Brown this low. He is my most compelling running back story this year coming off a season ending injury. Before he went down last year he had 9 TDs in 9 games and 648 yards, while splitting carries with Ricky Williams the whole time. If he can stay healthy this year he can absolutely be a top 10 fantasy back in the run heavy Dolphin offense. The addition of Brandon Marshall should also help keep defenses from worrying solely about the run and spreading the defense out a bit. Getting Ronnie Brown in most leagues will be a steal wherever he is falling, which looks like anywhere between the 4th or 6th round. I say jump on him.

Tier 5

#22. Pierre Thomas (NOR)- I wish I could get on the Pierre train, but I just don’t like him. I never really have liked Thomas since he broke the scene a few years ago for a few reasons. The first is that he won’t run the ball more than 150 times in this offense. Secondly, he won’t catch many passes because Reggie Bush is still in New Orleans, and he is their pass catching threat out of the backfield. He has averaged about 5 yds/run the past 3 years, but this hasn’t changed Sean Payton’s offensive scheme yet, which leads me to believe that if his yards per carry go down, his carries will be reduced even more. Pierre has found the endzone the past 2 years, scoring 8 and 12 TDs. If he can keep finding the endzone, he will make for a decent #2 RB on your team.

#23. Matt Forte (CHI)- Forte was probably the most disappointing fantasy player last year, being drafted in the 1st round of most leagues, and certainly not performing that way. He played all 16 games, had 258 carries, and only 929 yards and 4 TDs. These numbers are very bad for your #1 back last year, but this year he may be undervalued. He had a bad season, but it was just 1 year, and he still has very fresh legs. I myself am a believer in this Bears offense with Mike Martz taking over as Offensive Coordinator, and Jay Cutler in his 2nd year with the team. With the addition of Chester Taylor to take some of the heavy workload from Forte (something that I think will HELP him this year), this offense is poised to be much better, and Forte can’t do as badly as he did last season.

#24. Felix Jones (DAL)- This Dallas RB situation is a strange one. This is a great running attack that averaged 5.9 yds/carry from Jones and 4.4 yds/carry from Barber, yet neither if these backs is in the top 20 for fantasy backs. The reason for this is probably that they are both a bit injury prone, and the Dallas offense wants to be a passing offense, even if it should be a running one. I like Jones more this year becasue I think he will get more than carries this year than last year’s 116, and I think they will lean on him more and Barber less with Marion going into his 7th year, and taking into consideration Barber’s aggressive running style. Jones will also make more big plays than Barber, but will not see the goal line carries Marion does.

#25. Ricky Williams (MIA)- Ricky came back with a vengeance last year, running for 13 TDs and over 1100 yards. Ricky did get a lot of extra carries once Brown went down for the year, but even while they split carries Ricky performed well. This year with Brown coming back from a serious injury, expect the carries to be split again with both backs getting a lot of carries in this run happy Miami offense. I don’t thin Ricky will make it over 1100 yards and 13 TDs again, but I still could see about 800 and 8.


30 08 2010

Hey Everyone, just posted up quarterbacks. I’ll put up the rest ASAP.