“Attention Fantasy Football Shoppers…”

By Eddie Mayrose

To most Fantasy Football Owners, the key to a successful season is a stable of capable ball-carriers.  Given the amount of touches they receive, it’s a logical concept to spend early round picks on running backs.  In most Fantasy Football Drafts, they dominate the first round; often taking up the first five slots.  However, there is significant, year-to-year turnover on the list of elite backs, something owners don’t always take into account and the reason bargain hunting could lead to a championship.

Last season, many Fantasy Football Players were all smiles after landing Matt Forte and Marion Barber in the first two rounds.  That was likely the only happiness enjoyed by those owners as both of the supposed studs failed to fire.  Yet, discount rushers like Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles delivered top shelf numbers at a much lower price.

Heading into the season, there are two running backs that, because of the circumstances of their teams, are newcomers to the “Elite List”.  There are two others, in similar situations, who are not as highly regarded but could become productive members of your championship squad at a fraction of the cost.   Just remember to shoot the old Professor a thank you note as you celebrate your title. Continue reading »

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 »

By Eddie Mayrose

Wagstaff Eliminated From McGee Survivor League

It’s been two weeks since our beloved Professor was sent packing and he still hasn’t gotten over it.  The dreams he had Horsefeathers4of collecting the grand prize of Christmas booty have been dashed, by in-laws no less. The pain became worse when the elimination process spilled over to his birthday.  Then, the sweetest competitor left in the competition actually sought out some old classmates of the Prof and dished some more dirt.  It’s been quite a humbling experience.

The Staten Island Division has now been decimated while just one remains from the Holmdel and Long Island loops.  The Midwest Division is alive and well heading into the semi final round, each hoping to collect a Christmas gift from the rest of the league.  Good luck to all but, keep it down on the ferry, will ya, Jen?


Fantasy Football News and Notes


Thought it was very cool last week when Jacksonville RB Maurice Jones-Drew, after taking a knee on the one yard line in order to run down the clock in the fourth quarter, apologized to his Fantasy Football owners…RB Steve Slaton will be back in the Texans’ starting lineup on Monday night vs. Tennessee…Eagles RB Brian Westbrook will miss up to three weeks with his second concussion in a month.  If he has people that love him, however, he’ll sit the rest of the year…Denver QB Kyle Orton missed a lot of practice time with a sprained ankle and is doubtful for Sunday…Michael Turner, listed by the Falcons as doubtful for Sunday, probably won’t go…Washington RB Clinton Portis is still out with a concussion…Bengal RB Cedric Benson missed the entire week of practice with a hip injury and won’t play Sunday… A bum hip has Colts’ DE Dwight Freeney doubtful at Baltimore…Saints’ RB Reggie Bush is out with a knee injury…Troy Polamalu will not be in the Steelers’ secondary in Kansas City.

Fantasy Football Stars-

How often do the Texans get to show their stuff to a national audience?  That’ll happen Monday night and WR  Andre Johnson should take full advantage.  He and QB Matt Schaub are probably the deadliest passing duo in the league this side of Brady-Moss and not many know it.  Look for Johnson to make life miserable for the Tennessee defense.


Fantasy Football Stiffs -

Jets’ QB Mark Sanchez was the beneficiary of the team’s hot start and Tom Brady’s rust when Gang Green knocked off the Patriots in Week 2 at the Meadowlands.  That won’t happen today as a ticked off Patriots’ defense will be bringing schemes the rookie has never seen.  If you lose points for QB turnovers, you’ll want to sit Sanchez.


Fantasy Football Sleepers-

RB Larry Johnson was signed by the Bengals this week after a month of turmoil inn Kansas City caused by his insensitive remarks about gays cost him his job.  Desperate for a new start and working with fresh legs, he should pur up solid numbers as Cedric Benson’s replacement in Cincinnati.


Fantasy Football Slippers-

Broncos’ WR Brandon Marshall could see his numbers drop vs. San Diego if QB Kyle Orton can’t go.  Back-up QB Chris Simms does not have Orton’s arm and will likely work the underneath routes; costing Marshall and his owners valuable YDS and scoring opportunities.

by Professor Wagstaff

So, here we are. Week 1 for Fantasy Football Owners and the inaugural season for the members of The McGeeHorsefeathers4 Survivor League, a pressure cooker of a Fantasy Football League made up of Nieces, Nephews, In-Laws and Uncles; all vying for the bragging rights that will turn the family Christmas party into their very own championship locker room. In a brutal format that does not allow for trades or free agent pickups, the lowest scoring team of the fourteen that make up the league will be eliminated each week until only one is left standing. Or, simply put, don’t screw up your Fantasy Football Draft because you could be one and done. Advice that the good Professor should have followed in Round 6 when I got caught watching the Miami-Florida State game. I didn’t realize I was on the clock until after the computer auto picked Cincy TE Chase Coffman. Now, Wagstaff readers know I like the Bengals’ rookie but not that much. He was in my queue for a last round pick until he became my sixth. I spent the rest of the draft one player short as I scrambled to cover the mistake. It probably won’t matter anyway because, with two girls in the league, the guys don’t have a chance. The Fantasy Gods seem to love women and these two know what they’re doing; a double whammy. So, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Beanie Wells can get something done and hope that Reggie Bush, the player Coffman should have been, doesn’t light it up in New Orleans. Good luck to all.

Fantasy Football Studs

Have to love San Diego’s Philip Rivers against any divisional foe but especially the Raiders. With Tomlinson and Gates healthy, Rivers has too many weapons for the defenseless Raiders to handle… Think Carson Palmer is anxious to get back on the field for the Bengals? He couldn’t ask for a weaker secondary to face than Denver’s. Chris Henry had a great preseason, the former Chad Johnson seems motivated and Wagstaff has to hope that Chase Coffman has a big year… Pity the poor Lions, trying to rebuild and having to face Drew Brees on opening day. Look for 300+ YDS and 3 TD from the Saints’ QB.

Fantasy Football Stars

Love the Texans’ and Saints’ DST as both will face rookie QBs. Four sacks each and a few INTs should be easy pickins’… With Terrell Owens in Buffalo, look for Dallas QB Tony Romo to rely heavily on TE Jason Witten in the season opener against a rebuilding Bucs’ squad with a lot of defensive problems…

Fantasy Football Sleepers

With a rookie QB facing a strong pass rush, the Jets’ will probably gear their passing game to a short, quick hitting style. Great news for owners of TE Dustin Keller… The Rams are undergoing a complete rebuild, especially on their D Line, which could make for a big afternoon for Seattle’s Julius Jones on Sunday… The Bills fired their O Coordinator during the preseason, cut a starting OT and will open vs. New England with three rookies on the O Line. Something tells me the Patriots D is licking its chops.

Fantasy Football Slippers

Injuries to QBs Kyle Orton and Chris Simms and the uncertain status of WR Brandon Marshall will result in a tough debut for Denver RB Knowshon Moreno, who may not even get the lion’s share of the carries… Not that Eli Manning isn’t a Wagstaff favorite, he is, but the Giants’ game plan this week will probably not be well suited for a big game from the QB… Cards’ WR Anquan Boldin has the Professor a little nervous. He’s got a bad hammy, is ticked about his contract and didn’t have a good preseason.

Fantasy Football Stiffs

You can blame Eric Mangini if you’re the owner of whoever starts at QB for the Browns this week. With Cleveland facing one of the top Defenses in the league, it was no time to let Brady Quinn and Derek Anderson twist in the wind. One of them will pay the price on Sunday… Still think that Matt Cassel’s success was a product of the talent surrounding him last year. He heads into the season with a trained knee that limits his mobility against the Baltimore Ravens; not a recipe for success… The Colts’ D will struggle this week vs. the Jags, especially with S Ed Sanders hobbled.

They’re the forgotten men; the filler picks at the end of any Fantasy Football Draft.  Tight Ends, Kickers and Defenses Horsefeathers4make up most of the final rounds with few exceptions.  The three or four elite TE on your draft list warrant mid round selections but, for the most part, its hard to pass on a productive WR or RB just to fill a required roster spot.  Defense/Special Teams is next in the pecking order with Kickers bringing up the rear.  Too many intangible factors determine the success or failure of these units to even consider taking any in the middle of the draft.  Don’t think so?  Ask anyone that drafted the highly rated Chargers last year before Shawn Merriman went down for the season.

Funny thing, though, championships are invariably won by the Fantasy Football Owner that pulls the winning ticket out of the hat: the kicker that becomes automatic from beyond fifty yards for an entire season, the tight end who suddenly finds himself with an aging QB coming out of retirement or the defense with the cornerback that starts returning every INT for six.  So, in order to put you in the best position to grab some of that good luck, take a look at the Wagstaff rankings.

Fantasy Draft Preview: Tight End

Studs

Tony Gonzalez was the Falcons’ biggest off season acquisiton and could be the last piece of the offensive puzzle in Atlanta.  He may not match the 96 REC and 10 TD he posted last year but the presence of Michael Turner and Roddy White should open things up enough for Gonzalez to remain at the top of the list… With the departure of Terrell Owens, Jason Witten becomes Tony Romo’s primary option in Dallas.

Stars

Dallas Clark sits on top of a lot of TE lists but not this one.  He’s too much of a possession receiver to bust into the upper echelon and doesn’t catch enough TD.  However, Peyton Manning makes him a valuable pick… Antonio Gates may be the best athlete at the position but is coming off an unproductive season due to injury.  The return of his own health as well as a productive La Dainian Tomlinson, should boost his stats back to their previous levels.

Sleepers

The Jets’ Dustin Keller had a stretch last year as Brett Favre’s favorite target before disappearing over the last month.  That probably won’t happen this year, as the Jets scale down their offense to accomodate rookie QB Mark Sanchez… Chase Coffman won’t even appear in some Fantasy Football rankings.  However, the Bengals’ rookie left Missouri as the all time receptions leader for TE.  If he wins the starting job in Cincy, expect a strong season.

Slippers

Denver’s Tony Scheffler registered just 3 TD last season with Jay Cutler under center.  Doesn’t seem like stardom is in the offing with Kyle Orton aboard… An uncertain QB situation in Oakland in addition to the Raiders’ home run passing philosophy make it difficult to foresee Zach Miller getting many touches

FANTASY FOOTBALL PICKS

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 12 Fantasy Tight Ends

  1. Tony Gonzalez
  2. Jason Witten
  3. Dustin Keller
  4. Dallas Clark
  5. Antonio Gates
  6. Chris Cooley
  7. Kellen Winslow
  8. Visante Shiancoe
  9. Owen Daniels
  10. John Carlson
  11. Heath Miller
  12. Chase Coffman

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 12 Fantasy Kickers

  1. Stephen Gostkowski
  2. Rob Bironas
  3. Neil Rackers
  4. Adam Vinatieri
  5. Mason Crosby
  6. Jason Elam
  7. Ryan Longwell
  8. Robbie Gould
  9. David Akers
  10. Nate Keading
  11. Matt Bryant
  12. Kris Brown

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 12 Fantasy Defense/Special Teams

  1. Vikings
  2. Giants
  3. Steelers
  4. Titans
  5. Jets
  6. Chargers
  7. Ravens
  8. Cowboys
  9. Eagles
  10. Patriots
  11. Dolphins
  12. Colts
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