Next Stop For Flacco In the Stars

By Eddie Mayrose

Ranking  quarterbacks for a Fantasy Football Draft isn’t exactly rocket science.   Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers are the top three, followed closely by Tom Brady and Matt Schaub.  Easy stuff, actually, and pretty much universal.  Rating the next five becomes a little dicey, however, as you’ll get very different opinions from Fantasy Football Owners as to which signal callers warrant these spots.  The vast differences of opinion create the potential for selections that will make or break a Fantasy Football Season.  For Professor Wagstaff’s money, the one man in that second five with the best chance of producing on the same level as the top tier is the Ravens’ Joe Flacco.

In 2008, Flacco, then a rookie out of Delaware, led the Ravens to the AFC Championship game; mostly by managing an offensive system that had been scaled down significantly in order to limit his mistakes.  The handcuffs came off last year and Flacco owners benefited from an increase in his production although, Baltimore’s less than stellar wideouts limited the bump in Fantasy points.

This season, however, Flacco could be directing an offensive juggernaut; something Ravens’ fans have never seen before, even during their Super Bowl season.  WR Mark Clayton, last year’s go-to guy, is now the third option after the acquisitions of Anquan Boldin and Donte’ Stallworth while RB Ray Rice has become a first rounder in most Fantasy Football drafts due to his status as the NFL’s best receiver out of the backfield.  With the supporting cast now at Flacco’s disposal, he need only to continue the improvement he’s already shown to be that middle round pick you’ll point to when recounting how you managed to win your league in 2010. Continue reading »

Gil Lock’s Take on the AFC and NFC Title Games

Things went better than expected last week for the star of Ryno Rife Sports Handicappers.  He may not have won any ryno-rife5money, but he did manage to break even on this season’s first venture into the world of pro football.  Gil, having assured us he’d confer with his wife, Jill, returns this week to give his two cents on who we might be watching two weeks from now in Super Bowl XLIV.

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Another Fantasy Football Owner Bites The Dust
The McGee Survivor League turned a little ugly, literally, this week as the beautiful owner of SF Col’s Guys, our lovely Horsefeathers4Colleen, was bounced by the sub par performance of her beloved Drew Brees.  Wagstaff’s pick as one of two main contenders for the title, Col’s Guys departure sent shock waves throughout the league.  Good news for the rest of us, however, as we no longer have to contend with Brees.  That also left us with just one pretty face; our token Minnesotan, Jen G.  Given up for dead last week before a Lazarus-like resurrection courtesy of an NFL scoring change, she took full advantage of her second life by running up the highest total of the week.  Her re-entry came at a cost, however, as our own Southside Johnny and his Fighting Armadillos took one in the shorts, instead.  It’s certainly been a rough two weeks for the Holmdel Division.  If you’re scoring at home, that’s three down, ten to go and Wagstaff, shockingly, still alive.

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Fantasy Football News and Notes
We all know how much Terrell Owens attitude can cause in the clubhouse.  We’ve seen it in San Fran, Philly and Dallas already.  And, given time, it’ll happen in Buffalo.  That said, shame on the Bills’ beat writers for trying to goad Owens into blasting the team’s game plan…Bad day in San Diego for the Professor’s favorite NFL’er, Chad Pennington, as he seriously injured his throwing shoulder for the third (and possibly last) time.  If his career is truly over, he’ll be remembered as a great teammate, leader and winner.  Say what you want about his soft-tossing style but give him his due.  When healthy, he always won, never more impressively than last year when he guided Miami to the biggest turnaround in league history… Can someone explain how San Francisco allowed any receivers to get behind them on that last play in Minnesota?…  As if things weren’t already bad enough in Oakland, assistant coach Randy Hanson has now detailed for authorities how his jaw was broken by head coach Tom Cable; something he previously denied…Mike Shanahan’s name has already begun to surface as a possible replacement for embattled Redskins’ coach, Jim Zorn…Tell me again how the Giants are going to regret not signing a big name replacement for Plaxico Burress… Looks like Fantasy Owners that drafted Michael Crabtree as a late round flier won’t be getting much in return this year as both sides refuse to budge in contract talks… With Dwight Freeney out 2-3 weeks, the Colts already shorthanded defense may face struggles it can’t overcome.

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Fantasy Football Stars- Love 49’ers TE Vernon Davis vs. St. Louis, especially after his 2 TD performance last week.  He’s become San Fran’s #1 option through the air; a far cry from being banished from the bench in coach Mike Singletary’s first game… Carson Palmer should be 3-0 but for the fluky, last play that gave Denver a win in Cincy in the opener.  Palmer is fresh off a victory over the Super Bowl champs and starting to click with his receivers.  Bad news for the atrocious Cleveland Browns… Giants’ RB Brandon Jacobs should have one of his best games of the season this week in KC.  The Chiefs can’t stop anyone.

Fantasy Football Stiffs- Raiders QB JeMarcus Russell is fat, out of shape, confused and a victim of the disarray so much a part of Al Davis’ organization…  Al Davis doesn’t own the Buccaneers.  After that, the same adjectives apply to Byron Leftwich… We’ll save space here and list the Cleveland Browns as a unit.  From the head coach on down, this team is a train wreck whose players you can’t afford to use.  How do you like Mangini now, Cleveland?

Fantasy Football Sleepers- With Marion Barber and Felix Jones banged up, RB Tashard Choice becomes just that in Dallas.  He was very impressive in his Monday Night cameo… Minnesota WR Percy Harvin is becoming a regular on this list.  Not only has he quickly emerged as Brett Favre’s favorite target, he’s now added special teams prowess to his resume…  Since Peyton Manning lost Anthony Gonzalez as his second receiver, he’s made do, quite nicely, with WR Pierre Garcon, who’s had a long TD grab in each of the last two games.

Fantasy Football Slippers- One thing Cardinals’ RB Tim Hightower had going for him was that 1st round pick, Beanie Wells, was having trouble hanging on to the ball.  That is, until Hightower coughed it up himself last week.  Look for Arizona to use its bye week to make Wells a more viable part of the attack and take carries from Hightower… Bills’ WR Terrell Owens had no catches last week for the first time in 185 games.  That won’t happen Sunday in Miami but he and Trent Edwards are clearly not in sync… Lost in the euphoria of the Jets’ perfect record is the struggling RB Thomas Jones. In New York’s victory over Tennessee, he carried just 14 times for  20 yards.  Jones has struggled for most of the season, his strong second half vs. Houston the lone bright spot.

BYE WEEK- Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Philadelphia


Fantasy Football Survivors

Week Two saw the Shortbus Samurai Warriors run away from the rest of the McGee Survivor League in much the sameHorsefeathers4 way their RB, Chris Johnson, ran away from the Houston Texans.  Johnson was just what Dr. Pete ordered to stave off the elimination that was eventually suffered by the beautiful Jen G. who can turn the world on with her smile.  Unfortunately, she had a nothing day and was unable to make it all seem worthwhile.   It’s possible that she angered the gods of the Twin Cities in her failure to support the Twins superstar, Jason Kubel.  Well, it’s off to Roll-n-Roaster for Team Minnesota as the rest of the McGees head into Week Three.

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Fantasy Football’s Best Player

Don’t know if we need some kind of ceremony to mark a changing of the guard but Drew Brees is now, unquestionably, the best QB in the NFL.  After watching Tom Brady struggle for most of the Pats’ opener vs. Buffalo and then look totally flustered against the Jets, it’s obvious that he’s still shaking off the rust from last year. Brees now has 9 TD passes and more than 600 YDS through the first two weeks… So far, the Jets have been true to their word that they’ll get Leon Washington as many as 15 touches a game.  Not great news for Thomas Jones owners… Have to be concerned over what’s preventing Tony Romo and Roy Williams from getting on the same page in Dallas… Despite QB Kurt Warner’s sensational performance vs. Jacksonville, (24-26, 243 YDS, 2 TD), WR Anquan Boldin once again failed to establish himself.  Makes you wonder if his acrimonious contract negotiations have the Cards phasing him out of the offense as they prepare for life without him… You’d think that with two rookie WRs, TE Zach Miller would have significant value in the Raiders’ attack.  But, with QB JeMarcus Russell as likely to stink out the joint as not, even Miller is too risky a play…Don’t count RB Willis McGahee out of the Ravens’ game plan just yet. In Baltimore’s victory over San Diego, McGahee was the man at the goal line.

Week Three Projections

Fantasy Football Stars- Texans’ QB Matt Schaub lit up the Titans last week with 4 TD and 300 YDS. He’ll be facing a Jaguars’ DST that was shredded by Kurt Warner last week… Look for Giants’ WR Mario Manningham to be Eli Manning’s favorite target in Tampa off of his huge night in Dallas last week… Miami’s Ronnie Brown gave evidence on Monday night that he is one of the more underappreciated stars in the league with 136 YDS and 2 TD.  With the 0-2 Dolphins desperate for a win, they’ll put the ball in his hands.

Fantasy Football Stiffs- At first glance, Redskins QB Jason Campbell had a solid Week 2 vs. St. Louis.  However, when you realize he didn’t throw a TD pass against a terrible St. Louis squad, you have to worry about his production… Bucs’ WR Antonio Bryant missed last week’s game vs. Buffalo and his status is uncertain for this week’s game against the Giants.

Fantasy Football Sleepers- If Seattle QB Matt Hasselbeck can’t go, look for the Seahawks to rely on RB Julius Jones with Seneca Wallace under center… It looks like Brett Favre has found his favorite receiver and it’s Percy Harvin. The Vikings’ rookie has a TD in each of his first two games…

Fantasy Football Slippers- New England’s Wes Welker pops up on this list based on the uncertainty of his injury status. Given Bellichick’s history of not disclosing injuries, (How surprised were you that Welker was out last week?), you can’t take a chance with Welker until game time…Don’t get sucked in by Eagles QB Kevin Kolb.  His 391 YDS vs. New Orleans was a nice surprise filling in for Donovan McNabb but two things should make you stay away. First, Donovan McNabb could return any time and, second, the Saints were up by so much throughout the game, Kolb threw way more than expected…Tampa Bay QB Byron Leftwich has had two solid weeks against Buffalo and Dallas but now must face the Giants; whose defense is a significant step above both.

by Professor Wagstaff

Wagstaff Still Alive (Barely)

The first week of the McGee Survivor League went almost Horsefeathers4precisely as the Professor expected as both girls, Team Minnesota and S.F. Col’s Guys finished atop the point standings by wide margins. The only prediction that went awry was that I actually survived the first week; much to my surprise. I did, however, manage to finish in the bottom three as my own “Wide Receivers before Running Backs” draft strategy blew up in my face. Could someone in Houston please inform Andre Johnson that the season has actually started? We said good bye to Team Lunz, as our nephew and cousin, Jim, failed to get out of the starting blocks. One down, twelve to go.

No Defense for the Defense

It was an interesting Week 1 as far as DST’s were concerned. No sooner than four teams considered to have solid defenses lost one of their top players for a large chunk, if not all, of the season. Troy Palumalo (Steelers) and Jerod Mayo (Patriots) could each be out for as long as six weeks with knee injuries while Brian Urlacher (Bears/wrist) and Joe Blow (Jaguars/knee) have been lost for the season. Keep them in mind as you set your lineup this weekend.

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Fantasy Football Stars

Based on how well the Bucs ran the ball against the Cowboys last weekend, RB Brandon Jacobs should have a big night in Dallas; especially with Eli Manning still adjusting to life without Plaxico Burress… Atlanta’s RB Michael Turner should start to justify that #2 pick you spent to get him with a big game against a weak Panthers’ D Line… Speaking of weak lines, the Rams may own the worst in the league on each side of the ball. That’s why we love Skins’ RB Clinton Portis to run all over them and the Redskins’ DST to completely dominate.

Fantasy Football Stiffs

Could things be worse for QB Jay Cutler? His Chicago debut was marred by four INT in a loss to Green Bay, and now he faces the Super Bowl champs in the home opener. If the Steelers shut down the run, (when don’t they?), Cutler could be good for another couple of picks… If Jake Delhomme doesn’t have a solid first half against Atlanta, the Panthers’ QB may find himself on the bench. Based on their performance vs. Miami, the Falcons don’t figure to allow DeAngelo Williams a lot of freedom, putting even more pressure on Delhomme to come up big… If you hadn’t figured they’d be here based on our Stars report, we give you the Rams’ DST… A solid Vikings’ defense and the Lions propensity for falling behind make RB Kevin Smith a huge risk this week.

Fantasy Football Sleepers

Last year, the Cardinals allowed more TD passes than they threw and were a disaster on the road. That’s why the Professor moved QB David Garrard into his starting lineup this week… With the Jets shooting their mouths off this week, you have to figure they’ll focus a lot of their attention on New England’s Randy Moss; which should allow WR Wes Welker to have a big game… The Vikings should have no trouble throwing the ball against the Lions, who allowed 6 TD passes vs. Drew Brees in New Orleans last week. Look for TE Visanthe Shiancoe to reel in a TD from Brett Favre among his 8 REC… All of a sudden, the Ravens seem to have taken the shackles off of QB Joe Flacco, who threw for 300 YDS last Sunday. He’ll have another big game vs. San Diego…

Fantasy Football Slippers-

Bears’ RB Matt Forte will struggle vs. the Steelers; especially if Jay Cutler turns in another stinker… Have to be worried about Chargers’ QB Philip Rivers. He may be without LaDainian Tomlinson and two of his offensive linemen with the vaunted Ravens’ defense coming to town… I know you used a pretty high pick on Rams’ RB Stephen Jackson but it may be time to move him. The Rams look terrible, especially the O Line, and Jackson will struggle all year… Did you pick up Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez this week? Good. Now, wait at least another week to put him in your lineup as Pats’ coach Bill Bellichick will make life difficult for the rookie on Sunday.

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