Favorable Fantasy Matchups–Week 16

16 December, 2008 (20:12) | Fantasy Football, NFL | By: Grafton

This is incomplete, but here’s a list of some games to watch if you need to work the waiver wire this week:

Detroit vs. New Orleans

Neither team plays any defense, so Calvin Johnson, Kevin Smith, Drew Brees, Marques Colston, Pierre Thomas, and Lance Moore are all must-starts. Dan Orlovsky and Jeremy Shockey make for good potential sleepers.

St. Louis vs. San Francisco

If Frank Gore is back, he joins Steven Jackson as the only must starts in this game, but Torry Holt is pretty damn close, as is his former teammate, Isaac Bruce. Shaun Hill, Marc Bulger, and even Donnie Avery make good sleepers.

New England vs. Arizona

Did you see what Minnesota (and pretty much any other decent team) did to the Cardinal defense? Matt Cassel, Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker are all must-starts, and pretty much anybody else on the Patriots offense will make a good sleeper. If you managed to survive last week despite relying on some Cardinals stars, the results are mixed. Warner and his top receivers, Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin, make good starts. Everyone else however, I’d stay away from.

Week 15 Recap

15 December, 2008 (19:53) | NFL | By: Grafton

Photo Courtesy of jerseytees.com

Week 15 in the NFL means playoffs in fantasy circles, and what a week it was. Counting on the Cardinals? Tough break. Starting Jay Cutler? Sucks to be you. Thought TO or Witten was going to respond with a big game? Oops. Not quite.

The point is, this time of year is a strange one in fantasy football. All season long, rosters are generally made up of studs that were drafted and a timely pickup or two. These pickups are the hot fudge on the sundae, but the draft is your ice cream. It’s just a pile of sugar without a good draft.

Now, though, things are different. Joseph Addai, Brandon Jacobs, Plaxico Burress, and Frank Gore were all drafted in the first couple of rounds of most drafts, but where are they come playoff time? Injured. Larry Fitzgerald, Jay Cutler, Eddie Royal, LT, and Kurt Warner were all studs this season. This week starting them may have doomed your team, and starting two of them almost certainly did.

The point is that this time of year, it’s not always wise to “dance with who brung ya.” The goal is, as Herm Edwards, to win the game. This means putting in whoever you think will score the most points, and while it’s usually the high draft picks and big names, it isn’t always. There are weeks when you start Pierre Thomas over LenDale White, and when you start Tarvaris Jackson over Kurt Warner (okay, a bit of a stretch). Your higher draft picks are going to perform better over the course of a season, but the playoffs are isolated weeks, and you need to make lineup decisions based on your expectations of success for this week.

With that, Scrubs That Kicked Your Week 15 Ass:

QB-Tarvaris Jackson:163 passing yards, 4 touchdowns
WR-Dennis Northcutt:136 total yards, 1 touchdown
WR-Jerheme Urban:82 receiving yards, 1 touchdown
Flex-Pierre Thomas:146 total yards, 2 touchdowns
RB-Tashard Choice:143 total yards, 1 touchdown
RB-Cedric Benson:161 total yards
TE-David Martin: 66 receiving yards, 1 touchdown

If you saw Cedric Benson or Jerheme Urban coming: kudos, liar.

Later this week we’ll be back to prepare you for the upcoming week 16, the heart of Fantasy Football playoff time. Tomorrow I’ll be suggesting some good early-week pickups and early strategy advice, with rankings by position to follow. Keep up with all the latest news at www.myfantasyball.com

Giants at Cowboys: Live Blog

14 December, 2008 (17:58) | Dallas Cowboys, Live Blog, NFL, New York Giants | By: Grafton

7:55pm: Al Michaels says the over/under on TO getting the ball is 5 minutes and 15 seconds. I’m guessing he arrived at this number by figuring how long it’ll take Madden to beat the topic to death, and then adding 5 minutes and 15 seconds.

8:08: The Ravens got hosed. This is clearly setting things up for a Ravens win in Pittsburgh in the playoffs. Karma. I’m sure Ray Lewis won’t have anything interesting to say about this, so let’s not bother to ask.

8:16: I’m sure it’s been said before, but Faith Hill does not make me think about football. She makes me want to gouge my eyes out, which seems counterproductive to NBC. They should rethink this.

Read more »

Late Game Updates

14 December, 2008 (14:25) | Arizona Cardinals, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, Denver Broncos, Fantasy Football, Minnesota Vikings, NFL, New England Patriots, Oakland Raiders, Pittsburgh Steelers | By: Grafton

With only four games this afternoon, and one of them featuring the top two defenses in the NFL, I don’t expect a lot of action between 4 and 8pm EST.

Bernard Berrian puts the Vikings on the board with a punt return for a touchdown. As long as AP doesn’t go off, I’ll be happy.

Randy Moss and Kevin Faulk have helped Matt Cassel get off to a good start, each scoring a touchdown to give the Pats a 14-0 lead early.

Someone must’ve told the Cardinals they’re the Cardinals. Tarvaris Jackson has two touchdown passes, one to the aforementioned Berrian, and the Vikes are up 21-0.

Read more »

Live Blog Announcement: Cowboys Giants 8pm

14 December, 2008 (12:34) | NFL | By: Grafton

There once was a man from Dallas
Who acted like a Giant phallus
He said, “Throw it to me,
“I’m better than the T-E
“So screw Witten and love me some me”

In conclusion, I’ll be liveblogging the Giants / Cowboys game.

Early Game Updates

14 December, 2008 (11:19) | NFL | By: Grafton

Jets RB Thomas Jones has wasted no time getting on the board for the Jets with a short touchdown run just 3 minutes into the game. Where has this come from? Jones had the unenviable task of replacing Curtis Martin in NY, but seems to have filled the role nicely in much the same way–he’s a consummate professional and a great guy to have (both in the locker room and on a fantasy team).

Dolphins QB Chad Pennington is also on the board early against a suddenly mediocre (hey, it’s a step up for them) 49er squad. With no Frank Gore, if the Dolphins get another early score this one could get out of hand quickly, which is good news for Pennington / Ronnie Brown / Ricky Williams owners.

Dominic Rhodes has found the end zone as well, to the surprise of nobody. Update: Now he has two, the second giving the Colts the lead in the fourth quarter.

On the other hand, David Garrard has a passing touchdown. He’s making me look bad for saying he shouldn’t be played today, but I wouldn’t be counting on Dennis Northcutt to keep the Jags passing offense afloat (knock on wood…)

Read more »

Early Sunday Fantasy Prep: Live Update

14 December, 2008 (10:27) | NFL | By: Grafton

49ers RB Frank Gore will miss today’s game against the Dolphins with a sprained ankle. He’d been looking forward to his South Beach homecoming all season, so it’s a shame he won’t get to go in this one. Deshaun Foster will pick up the carries today, but he’s still Deshaun Foster. Gore owners should look to Dominic Rhodes, Derrick Ward, or Ahmad Bradshaw for a replacement today (in that order).

Jeff Garcia is the 3rd quarterback today against the Falcons, meaning Brian Griese will get the start. Griese threw it about 100 times in Chicago, so there’s no telling how productive Griese could be today. I know Atlanta is 23rd in the NFL against the pass, so this makes Griese an interesting option if you’re facing quarterback trouble this week.

Update: It’s now possible that both Griese and the other backup, Luke McCown, could see time today against the Falcons.

JP Losman will get another start for the Bills, with starting QB Trent Edwards inactive for today’s game against the Jets. This is only relevant if your league requires 2+ starting quarterbacks, I hope.

QB Matt Cassel will start today against the Raiders. I anticipate him having a huge day, with Randy Moss as the catalyst as he returns to Oakland.

RB Tashard Choice should get the lion’s share of the carries today against the Giants, even if RB Marion Barber III returns and plays. Barber is still affected by his injured pinky toe, and will see limited carries even if he does play. Choice wasn’t terribly impressive running the ball last week against the Steelers, but nobody is. His ability to catch passes out of the backfield means that 100 total yards and a score aren’t out of the question, making Choice a nice sleeper pick if you’re one of many owners affected by injuries in the backfield today.

Lions RB Kevin Smith is active today against the Colts, and could be the lone Lion to have a decent day today. The Colts struggle against the run without Bob Sanders, and guess who the Colts are without today? The Lions will try to control the ball and stay in the game against the Colts (especially with Culpepper out), and I anticipate Smith being a big part of that. He makes for another good sleeper if you’re desperate for backfield help.

QB Matt Hasselbeck is inactive for today’s game, despite hopes earlier in the week that he’d be able to go today. Seneca Wallace will start in his place today, and will be facing the 24th ranked defense against the pass, the St. Louis Rams. With Deion Branch that finally healthy, Wallace could be poised for a good game. He’s definitely worthy of a starting spot in standard leagues today.

Correction: Hasselbeck is active, but as the third QB. There are rules in place that effectively prohibit the use of a 3rd QB, save in an emergency situation.

With WR Matt Jones suspended (finally!), putting WR Jerry Porter on the inactive list today makes the Jags passing game even more anemic. QB David Garrard gets taken down a notch and should not be playing on fantasy rosters. With this, though, RB Maurice Jones-Drew becomes the only offense in town (RB Fred Taylor is out for the season), and should have a big game today.

MyFantasyBall Fantasy Playoffs

12 December, 2008 (20:26) | Chicago Bears, Fantasy Football, General, NFL, New Orleans Saints | By: Grafton

Earlier this year I mentioned that the MFB team is competing in an expert’s fantasy league, and I’m proud to report that we have guided the team to the finals! As the #6 seed for the 2nd consecutive year, we pulled a first round upset over the #3 seed, and we were able to build on that and upset the #2 seed as well.

It’s amazing that we made is this far, especially considering the resources available to some of our larger competitors (including FOX Sports and Fantasy Football dot com). It’s even more amazing considering our gaffes during the offseason, which include only using a little over half of our league’s available salary cap. This week we’re facing the overwhelming favorites, FF Toolbox.

This is the live scoring page that I’ll be anxiously checking frequently on Sunday. They owe an early lead to QB Drew Brees’ quality game in Chicago on Thursday, but we’ve gotten this far on grit and moxie, there’s nothing saying we can’t pull out another one.

And next year maybe we’ll spend what our momma gave us.

Mr. Smith Goes to San Francisco, Then Forgets Where He Is

12 December, 2008 (20:09) | NFL, New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers | By: Grafton

Here’s a clip of the devastating hit put on Jets WR Brad Smith by 49ers LB Patrick Willis.

Welcome to Fantasy Relevancy…TATUM BELL!

9 December, 2008 (16:57) | Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Fantasy Football, General Stupidity, NFL, Should Have Seen This Coming | By: Grafton

Good work, Tatum. Earlier this season it looked as though your only contribution to the 2008 NFL Season would be your cunning acquisition of Rudi Johnson’s luggage. Now, though, with Denver down to their 8th string running back after Peyton Hillis’ injury, it looks like you’ll get a chance to be an every-down back for a couple of weeks.

Myth: The Broncos had to put 3 RBs on the IR to get Tatum Bell playing time.

Fact: The Broncos had to put 4 RBs on the IR to get Tatum Bell playing time.

These next few weeks will put coach Mike Shanahan’s revolving backfield to the test—if the teams’ 6th (at least) RB can put up decent numbers, then just about anyone can. Hell, who would have bet that Peyton Hillis would be a late season fantasy factor above his fellow RB rookies from Arkansas, Felix Jones and Darren McFadden? Bell will get some chances because, well, there’s nobody else. At least nobody has slipped on a McDonalds bag yet… 

Before you go grab Bell and put him in your lineup, consider that the Broncos all but have the AFC Weak, errr, AFC West, wrapped up. Why risk losing yet another back when you can air it out to your heart’s content and save him for the Wild-Card round? Bell should get some chances and be a decent flex option if you own one of several RBs who went down Sunday (Portis, Gore, Jacobs, Addai, and the aforementioned Hillis).

Honorable mention goes to Dominic Rhodes, who should get a chance to shine following another disappointing performance from the injury riddled Joseph Addai, after a 1.5 year hiatus in Oakland and as Addai’s backup. Now with two injuries (that the Colts admit to, at least), Addai should get some quality time with Jim Sorgi and the other clipboard kings, with the Colts having all but locked up a playoff spot of their own after a slow start. And facing the Lions this week, Rhodes could have a big game.

Also considered: Tashard Choice RB-Dal, Derrick Ward RB-NYG, Pierre Thomas RB-NOW, Steve Smith WR-NYG, Deion Branch WR-SEA, Tavaris Jackson QB-MIN

Johnson Accuses Bell In Luggage Theft [ESPN]

Broncos’ Brandon Marshall Claims He Was Hurt Slipping on a McDonald’s Wrapper [AOL Fanhouse]