2010 Fantasy Football Analysis: Tight Ends/Defenses August 24, 2010Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: 2010, Antonio Gates, Baltimore, Brent Celek, Dallas Clark, defenses, fantasy football, Green Bay, Jason Witten, New Orleans, NFL, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, tight ends, Vernon Davis
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So far in our annual analysis of the upcoming Fantasy Football season we have looked at what are generally considered the most important fantasy positions: quarterback, running back, and wide receiver. Today we will quickly review two more selections: tight end and defense.
Situations to Avoid
1. Reggie Kelly, Cin
Cincinnati is a veritable dead zone for tight ends, with starter Kelly averaging just over 220 yards per season and scoring a total of one touchdown over the past three years.
2. Leonard Pope, KC
Once upon a time, Kansas City boasted the greatest tight end in pro football. Today they have Pope, who amassed only 174 yards and one touchdown in 2009.
3. Jeff King, Car
As King’s skills deteriorate with age, his numbers (total of 395 yards and 4 touchdowns in two seasons) have become a fantasy liability.
4. Ben Patrick, AZ
Arizona has never really utilized the tight end position in their offensive production, so I doubt we’ll see a huge increase in Patrick’s three season total of 30 receptions for 323 yards.
Top 5 Tight Ends
5. Jason Witten, Dal
Though Witten has proven himself to be one of the most productive tight ends in terms of yards (1,030 in 2009), his touchdown totals have left much to be desired, having only reached the end zone 2 times in 2009. If he can increase his end zone looks in 2010, his ranking should be higher.
4. Brent Celek, Phi
Celek took a huge step forward in his third season as a pro, garnering 971 yards and 8 touchdowns. I expect him to continue to produce excellent numbers in 2010 catching balls from new quarterback Kevin Kolb.
3. Dallas Clark, Ind
Clark is another player who broke through in a big way in 2009, picking up over 1,100 yards and 10 touchdowns – the best numbers of his career. While it would be difficult for him to reproduce production on the same scale in 2010, I expect him to again be among the elite.
2. Vernon Davis, SF
The 49ers are a team on the way up and the development of Vernon Davis has been a big part of their ascension. Davis put on an incredible display in 2009 with 965 yards and 13 touchdowns and I expect him to do similarly well this season.
1. Antonio Gates, SD
Over the past few seasons, Gates has asserted himself as the top choice among tight ends, taking over the spot that Tony Gonzalez held for so long. One aspect that sets him apart from the others is his consistency. You can be assured that Gates will pick up the requisite 900-1,000 yards and 8-10 touchdowns that he always does.
Situations to avoid:
There was a time when the Jaguars were year-in-and-year-out one of the strongest defensive squads in the league, but, judging from the last two seasons, the era has passed. In 2009 the Jags had a paltry 14 sacks for the entire season.
2. Kansas City
The Chiefs have been a consistent also-ran on defense and there is no reason to expect anything more than that in 2010. Their 26 turnovers and 22 sacks in 2009 solidified their spot on the bad side of mediocre.
The Raiders are awful all the way around and, in the same vein, their defense has been a model of consistency. They do have some strong players on their defensive front (Richard Seymour and John Henderson), but their sorry total of 19 turnovers in 2009 is enough to avoid them.
If you need a measure of how bad the Lions are, take a look at their defensive statistics. Over the past two seasons, they have allowed more than 30 points and nearly 400 yards per game, while only grabbing a two year total of 13 interceptions.
5. St. Louis
Using my fantasy measures, the Rams are one of the few teams that have gotten progressively worse over the past three seasons, bottoming out in 2009 with only 8 interceptions and 25 sacks.
Top 5 Defenses
The Steelers are loaded on defense again in 2010, with Pro Bowlers all over the place and excellent fantasy stats (an average of 29 turnovers and 49 sacks over the past two seasons). Look for more excellent numbers out of Polamalu’s crew this season.
Though the Ravens defensive stars continue to age, their production is among the elite. In 2010, they allowed only 16.3 points per game while grabbing 36 turnovers.
3. New Orleans
Last season’s Super Bowl champs put on a show in 2009, amassing 38 turnovers and 8 defensive touchdowns. Though it will be difficult for the Saints to replicate numbers like those in 2010, they should continue to be one of the best squads in the league.
The Eagles have established themselves as one of the best defensive teams over the past two seasons, with 36 turnovers and 44 sacks in 2009 alone. This season they should again prove themselves to be one of the best units around.
1. Green Bay
While their squad was very good in the years prior, the Packers defense leapt to the top of the heap in 2009 with an incredible performance (18.6 pts/game, 284 yds/game, 40 turnovers, 37 sacks, and 4 defensive touchdowns). Look for Green Bay to continue to excel on the gridiron in 2010.
2009 NFL Predictions – Part 2 September 9, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: 2009 predictions, Arizona, Atlanta, Carolina, Chicago, Dallas, Detroit, Green Bay, Minnesota, New Orleans, New York Giants, NFC, NFL, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Washington
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New York Giants 13-3
Green Bay 9-7
New Orleans 9-7
Tampa Bay 6-10
San Francisco 7-9
St. Louis 2-14
New York Giants – The 2007 Super Bowl champs failed in their bid to repeat last year despite tying Carolina for an NFC-best record of 12-4 during the regular season. They return Eli Manning, 2-time 1,000 yard rusher Brandon Jacobs, a top-notch defense, and one of the best offensive lines in the league. The Giants are almost a sure thing for the playoffs and an early favorite to play in their second Super Bowl in three years.
Dallas – Yeah, I know I’m a homer with this pick over the Eagles, but as a longtime Cowboy fan I can’t help myself. Terrell Owens is gone and the passing game will no doubt be hurt because of it, but the team atmosphere will probably improve a good deal. Dallas has a great defense and a very good running game which includes former Razorback star Felix Jones, so I’m doubly a fan now. They will battle Philly for a wild card spot, but give this one to my favorites.
Philadelphia – The verdict remains out on how large ex-con Michael Vick’s impact will be on a very good Eagle team. Will there be friction between he and longtime Philly quarterback Donovan McNabb? The Eagles also return one of the better defenses in the league as well as an elite offensive line, so there is no doubt that they will be in the hunt for a playoff spot.
Washington – The Redskins have seen better days and, despite their mediocre 8-8 record in 2008, I expect a dropoff in Jim Zorn’s second year as head coach. Quarterback Jason Campbell will never be better than average, his receivers are aging, and the defense is average at best. RB Clinton Portis will carry the team again but it won’t be enough for a winning record.
Minnesota – With a stellar defense and the best running back in the league today, many had the Vikings penciled in as early favorites soon after the 2008 season ended. Thus, the addition of future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre is icing on the cake. The Vikings are in a tough division and they will fight some tough battle against Chicago and Green Bay, but I expect them to come out on top in the end.
Chicago – Is there a front office in the NFL that brokered a better trade this offseason than Jay Cutler for Kyle Orton? Cutler proved himself to be among the best QBs in the league in Denver and he may be just what the Bears need to invigorate their stagnant offense. Second year RB Matt Forte will also put up some great numbers and the Bears return another excellent defense, led by perennial Pro Bowlers Brian Urlacher, Lance Briggs, and Tommie Harris. Chicago will battle Minnesota for the division this season, but, even if they do lose that, they should make the playoffs.
Green Bay – In his first season as a starter, QB Aaron Rodgers quickly moved up the ranks in the NFL to become one of the best young signal-callers in the league today. He, along with third year RB Ryan Grant and WR Gregg Jennings, anchor an offense that could be great for years to come. The Pack also return an excellent defense that should be able to hang with any team they face. Green Bay will definitely be in the hunt for either a spot as division champ or a wild card playoff berth, but they may be hurt by being in such a strong division.
Detroit – Ewww…. Once again, the Lions are awful, just awful. According to reports, many Lions players are unhappy with the decision to start top draft pick Matthew Stafford at quarterback from the beginning of the season and that’s never a good sign. Once again, Detroit will be in the fight for a number one draft pick.
Atlanta – The Falcons had a huge turnaround last season, going from a 4-12 record in 2007 to 11-5 with a playoff appearance in 2008. This season they look to continue their excellent play led by second year QB Matt Ryan and the elite play of RB Michael Turner. The addition of Tony Gonzalez, one of the best tight ends to ever play in the league, will only bolster their chances to win the division and skate into the postseason. The only problem I see for the Falcons is that their division is very tough and they may find themselves battling it out with Carolina and New Orleans for an elusive playoff spot.
Carolina – The Panthers broke through in a big way in 2008, putting together a 12-4 record before falling early in the playoffs. Their running game, led by former University of Memphis star DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, was among the best in the NFL and their defense was above average. The Panthers have a good shot at returning to the playoffs but, again, their tough division will take its toll on the team.
New Orleans – In three seasons, Sean Payton has amassed a yawn-inducing 25-23 record as the Saints’ head coach, despite having one of the top performing QBs in the league in Drew Brees. The emergence of RB Pierre Thomas in 2008 to displace the underachieving Reggie Bush is a major plus and their receiving corps is excellent. Their defense is below average, but serviceable. I expect New Orleans to fight for a playoff spot but to eventually fall due to their lack of elite defensive players.
Tampa Bay – First year coach Raheem Morris may have his work cut out for him this season with the Bucs, but at least the cupboard isn’t completely bare. WR Antonio Bryant finally broke through as a receiving threat in 2009 and TE Kellen Winslow is still among the league’s best at his position. The Tampa Bay defense may not have a lot of marquee players, but they are pretty good and should be competitive. This division will just be too tough for the Bucs this season, though, and I expect them to finish a few games under .500.
Arizona – Last year’s surprise Super Bowl runner-ups are back form more in 2009 and this time, for perhaps the first time ever, they actually carry with them the expectation of winning. I would be a little concerned about counting on the fragile and aging Kurt Warner at QB, but with the Cardinals’ selection of receiving targets, it seems as though anyone could play under center. The defense is decent, but that’s good enough to be perhaps the best in the weak NFC East. Due to their poor division, Arizona should make the playoffs by default.
San Francisco – The 49ers top draft pick, the still-unsigned Michael Crabtree, grabbed most of the headlines for the Frisco squad, but there are a few other good players to discuss – namely RB Frank Gore. Gore may not find the endzone as many times as some backs, but he is still a great back in his prime. The defense is poor, as is the offensive line, so don’t expect much from the 49ers in 2009.
Seattle – On the plus side, the Seahawks have an excellent veteran corps of receivers, led by former Bengal TJ Houshmandzadeh, Nate Burleson, and Deion Branch. Then there’s the rest of the team. If you are a Seattle fan, I suggest you learn to hold your nose.
St. Louis – There are plenty of bad teams in the NFL this season, but there may be nobody worse than the squad that will be fielded in St. Louis this year. Words can’t describe just how horrible this team is. They’ll be lucky to beat anybody.
Next: The Playoffs and the Super Bowl