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.

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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