Running Backs?  What Running Backs?

by Eddie Mayrose

Waggie and his partner, son Timothy, survived another week in the McGee Survivor League, actually turning in the highest total for the week, despite the gaping hole in their backfield that has been a problem all season.  Even their mainstay, Ahmad Bradshaw of the Giants, has been a problem. Even though he’s been piling up yardage, Brandon Jacobs gets all of the touches inside the 10 yard line.  Things are looking up, however, as the Professor and son woke up early on Tuesday and managed to beat the sleepy heads in their league to Chris Ivory of the Saints.  Fresh off a 150 yard game and likely to get most of the work with Pierre Thomas out, he’s a great acquisition for a team facing the joint bye weeks of Andre and Calvin Johnson.  It’ll be touch and go this weekend for Home Alone 2 but, if they survive, things are looking up the rest of the way.

Fantasy Football Studs

Love Philip Rivers this week in his matchup with the Patriots.  For that matter, Tom Brady deserves a stud ranking also as this game should be a shootout.  Rivers should feast on the Pats’ soft pass defense while Brady seems much more comfortable with Deion Branch than he did with Randy Moss. 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 »

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

It was a slippery slope in 2008 for owners who decided to grab a signal caller with the first pick of their Fantasy Horsefeathers4Football Draft.  Tom Brady didn’t make it out of the first quarter of the first game and Peyton Manning struggled early before settling into a productive yet un-Peyton like campaign.  Tony Romo, rated third on most boards, also failed to deliver equal value while Carson Palmer was terrible before going down for the season.  Drew Brees, an early second rounder, was the leagues most productive QB  while late draftees like Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub were super sleepers.  And who among us could’ve seen Matt Cassel coming down the road.  So, what did all of these surprises teach us?

Well, if nothing else, it’s probably not as good idea to grab a QB in the Top five of the first round.  Consider only the most elite options with your first pick and, if none fall to you, be patient enough to wait into the middle rounds.  Your squad is will be significantly better with a stud RB and a second tier QB than the other way around.  The trick is to separate the studs from the stiffs and then, as always, trust your judgment.  How to accomplish this tricky little feat?  Read on, my Fantasy Football brethren, as Waggie’s here to help.

Fantasy Football Draft Picks for QB

Studs

Will the Saints’ Drew Brees reach the 5,000 YDS mark in passing again?  Probably not.  But, 4,500 is likely, as is his 2 to 1 TD to INT ratio.  And, if Reggie Bush and Marques Colston can suit up for all 16 games, he’ll have a stronger arsenal… Sometimes, we Fantasy Football players get so caught up with our analysis that we can’t see the forest for the trees.  Such was the case last year, when Peyton Manning missed most of Indy’s  training camp.  We should have seen his sub par September coming but were blinded by the reputation.  Well, Peyton’s been in camp since Day 1 this year and his stats will reflect that.  Bank on a return to 4, 200 YDS and 35 TD… Remember how happy you were last year when New England’s Tom Brady fell to you in the first round?  That euphoria lasted about ten minutes into the season, as Brady went down with a knee.  Expect elite numbers from him this year as he and Randy Moss reunite but don’t buy into the “ahead of schedule” reports coming out of camp.  Keep in mind he had not one procedure but two; the second because his recovery from the first was going too slowly.

Stars

Have to love that San Diego’s Philip Rivers will spend almost half a season facing terrible defenses in the AFC West.  He’ll also have LaDainian Tomlinson at full strength from the get go.  4,000 YDS and 30 TD look like a lock… In Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers showed the league why the Pack let Brett Favre walk.  It had been four years since he’d done anything but hold a clipboard and he still posted 4,000 YDS and 28 TD while running for four more TD.  He’ll be even more comfortable this year, which will allow him to boost all of these numbers… Turns out, it didn’t take the Falcons all that long to recover from the Michael Vick debacle.  One draft was all it took, as Matt Ryan settled in as the Falcons’ starter and led them to the playoffs.  He had some help, of course, in Michael Turner and Roddy White and will get more for ’09 in TE Tony Gonzalez.  His 3,440 YDS and 16 TD will probably serve as career lows for this rising star.

Sleepers

Houston’s Matt Schaub burst on to the scene in a big way last year, throwing for 3,000YDS and 15 TD in just 11 games.  A full season with Andre Johnson and Kevin Walter could easily add 1,200 YDS to that total and bump the TD up to 25…  In Cincy, Carson Palmer is coming back from an injury riddled season while dealing with the loss of T.J. Houshmandzadeh.  Laveranues Coles may fill that gap, leaving it to Palmer to reestablish the former Chad Johnson as a threat.  The bet here is that he does…    Miami’s Chad Pennington may not have the best fastball in the game but he’s a proven winner and one of the game’s most accurate passes.   Given that he’ll go in the last few rounds, if at all, a repeat of last year’s 19 TD and 3,600 YDS make him a steal.

Slippers

That I don’t believe Arizona’s Kurt Warner can sustain last year’s success is not the issue.  That he’ll be taken in a position that will likely require improvement over last year’s stats to justify the price is what should concern you…  Now we’ll find out just how much Terrell Owens had to do with  Tony Romo’s success in Dallas.  Even in a disapointing ’08 he had 3,400 YDS and 26 TD.  Romo is still a viable option at QB but don’t reach…  The move to Chicago’s Soldier Field, the lack of a proven receiver on the Bears’ roster will negatively impact  Jay Cutler, a QB who’ll go higher than he should based on reputation.

Stiffs

Even in a season that saw great team success, Tennessee’s Kerry Collins posted very pedestrian Fantasy numbers.  Don’t like his age or the fact that the Titans rely so heavily on the run…  With the Raiders’ organization in such disarray, we mwy never know if  JaMarcus Russell could have been a great QB.  The athleticism he showed at LSU says yes.  The talent surrounding him in Oakland says no…  Buffalo’s  Trent Edwards already had enough pressure on him coming off a sub par season in a tough division.  Then the Bills brought in Terrell Owens.  If Edwards has two bad games in a row, a good bet, Owens will be all over him and the wheels will come off.

Fantasy Football Picks

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 20 Quarterbacks

  1. Drew Brees
  2. Peyton Manning
  3. Tom Brady
  4. Philip Rivers
  5. Aaron Rodgers
  6. Matt Ryan
  7. Matt Schaub
  8. Tony Romo
  9. Donovan McNabb
  10. Kurt Warner
  11. Carson Palmer
  12. Jay Cutler
  13. Eli Manning
  14. Ben Roethlisberger
  15. Jake Delhomme
  16. Chad Pennington
  17. Jason Campbell
  18. Matt Hasselbeck
  19. Joe Flacco
  20. Shaun Hill

by Professor Wagstaff

While many Fantasy Football owners focus on the running backs position as the starting point for their roster, it’s a Horsefeathers4Wagstaff tenet to, instead, stockpile Wide Receivers at the top of the Fantasy Football draft.  The idea is to take advantage of the fact that many owners severely undervalue the position and by grabbing two WR as soon as possible, you create a huge talent gap between your squad and the first of your opponents to realize that the pool just got very thin.  Now, I wouldn’t recommend that you burn one of the top five picks on a wideout but, if you do find yourself in that position, take an elite back and use the next two picks at WR.  You’ll not only end up with two elite players but you’ll likely start a position run that nets you a RB that slips through the cracks. 

Fantasy Football Rankings for Wide Receiver:

Studs

Andre Johnson is the man here, as the Texans’ superstar carried Waggy’s Holy Shirts and Pants to a semifinal appearance all by himself last season.  220 catches over the last two seasons and an emerging QB in Matt Schaub make him the top guy on our list.   He’ll grab another 100 REC this year and set a career high in TD…  Arizona’s Larry Fitzgerald may be the most talented WR in the league but he’s got one drawback for Fantasy Owners that doesn’t exist for the others on this list: A star on the other side.  Fitzgerald’s career year was aided immensely by the prolonged absence of Anquan Boldin, who traditionally scores more TD.  Fitz will still be worth your first pick but his AVG and TD will likely drop…  Imagine what  Calvin Johnson could do if he wasn’t the focus of every team facing the Lions.  In a winless season, he managed 100 YDS in 11 games and scored 12 TD… With Tom Brady returning, Randy Moss should once again be the league’s best home run hitter.  Even though Mat Cassel did an incredible job guiding the Pats to the brink of the playoffs last year, he led a scaled down offense designed to limit mistakes, which hurt Moss owners.  In ’09′ however, chicks dig the long ball.

Stars

The arrivals of Matt Ryan and Michael Turner made a new man of Roddy White as he became Atlanta’s go-to receiver in their unexpected playoff season.  The only thing holding him back was a meager TD total of 7.  As Ryan improves, look for White to top the 88 REC and 1,382 YDS he delivered in ’08… Despite missing 4 games, Anquan Boldin still managed 89 REC and 11 TD.  He’s, once again, looking for a new contract and could find himself taking a back seat to Fitzgerald as the Cards’ shift the focus of their offense to the guy who’s staying.  He’s worth a 2nd or 3rd rounder, just don’t reach… With Marvin Harrison finally out of the picture, Reggie Wayne will get Peyton Manning’s undivided attention.  Considering how well he’s done while sharing it, Wayne is looking at a career year…  Steve Smith was suspended by the Panthers for the first two games of last season then made geniuses of all the Fantasy owners willing to wait for him.  He had over 1,400 YDS on 78 REC.  The only concern here is that his TD total (6) declined for the 4th straight season.

Sleepers

Michael Crabtree was such a great college receiver that Matt Millen would have drafted him were he still the man in Detroit.  As it is, Crabtree brings his incredible skills to San Fran, where he’ll probably team with Josh Morgan to form a terrific young tandem… Good news, bad news for Jericho Cotchery of the Jets. The departure of Laveraneus Coles means that he becomes the big gun but the absence of an established QB could hinder the process.  Bet on Mark Sanchez and take a flier on Cotchery as your third receiver…  Houston’s Kevin Walter is entering his contract year, (we love that), is playing with a QB on the verge of stardom and has defenses focusing on teammate Andre Johnson.  A repeat of last year’s stellar 60 REC, 900 YDS and 8 TD at the cost of a late round pick will make any Fantasy player smile.

Slippers

Has Terrell Owens finally run out of teams willing to put up with his nonsense?  Buffalo is this year’s desperate suitor, acquiring TO in the offseason.  The Bills will likely struggle in the AFC  East, he won’t like sharing the ball with Lee Evans and QB Trent Edwards is nowhere near established enough to command Owens’ respect.  Look for a Thanksgiving meltdown…  Braylon Edwards didn’t make it to the third round of most drafts last year and cost his owners dearly.  A season long case of the drops led to off season trade rumors that never became reality.  Now, he’s back in Cleveland with the same uncertain QB situation and a new coach.  Be careful.

Stiffs

At the end of most drafts, an owner looking to fill his roster inevitably sees a recognizable name and figures there’s no harm in taking the guy.  That’s how Seattle’s Nate Burleson ends up on most fantasy teams.  Don’t let it be yours… Michael Crabtree spells the end of the line for Frisco’s  Isaac Bruce who will be a third down option at best…  Chris Chambers was supposed to find the fountain of youth in San Diego last year.  Instead, he found just 33 REC and 5 TD’s.  Cross Chris off your list.

Professor Wagstaff’s Top 25 Fantasy Football Picks for WR:

  1. Andre Johnson
  2. Larry Fitzgerald
  3. Calvin Johnson
  4. Randy Moss
  5. Roddy White
  6. Anquan Boldin
  7. Reggie Wayne
  8. Greg Jennings
  9. Steve Smith
  10. Marques Colston
  11. Roy Williams
  12. Wes Welker
  13. Dwayne Bowe
  14. Brandon Marshall
  15. Vince Jackson
  16. Braylon Edwards
  17. Michael Crabtree
  18. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
  19. Antonio Bryant
  20. Santonio Holmes
  21. Jericho Cotchery
  22. Terrell Owens
  23. Laveraneus Coles
  24. Hines Ward
  25. Kevin Walter
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