The Winning Fantasy Football Team August 30, 2010Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: draft, fantasy football team, NFL
Yes, you heard it here first. This year’s winning team in the Viva La Football! league is Wisdom’s Warriorz! Check out my team:
QB: Matt Schaub, Hou
WR: Mike Sims-Walker, Jax
WR: Michael Crabtree, SF
WR: Dez Bryant, Dal
RB: Ray Rice, Bal
RB: Jamaal Charles, KC
TE: Brent Celek, Phi
K: Robbie Gould, Chi
D: Dallas Cowboys
QB: Carson Palmer, Cin
RB: Ahmad Bradshaw, NYG
RB: Montario Hardesty, Cle
RB/WR: Dexter McCluster, KC
WR: Steve Breaston, AZ
WR: Jerricho Cotchery, NYJ
What do you think? Am I destined for fantasy glory?
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.
2010 Fantasy Football Analysis – Wide Receivers August 19, 2010Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: 2010, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Calvin Johnson, fantasy football, Larry Fitgerald, Miles Austin, NFL, Randy Moss, Reggie Wayne, Roddy White, running backs, Simeon Rice
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There aren’t really any situations to avoid for receivers because you generally need at least three of them on a fantasy team and every NFL team has at least one that is worth being picked up. This list will be dedicated to the teams whose receivers you do not want to count on as a first or second option from week to week.
The Raiders’ top returning wide receiver, Chaz Schilens, has a total of only 591 yards and 4 touchdowns over the past two seasons. Couple that with the all-around awfulness of the team and you quickly realize there is no one here to rely on.
The Browns seem destined for the cellar this season and their top two receivers, Joshua Cribbs (135 yards and 1 TD in 2009) and Mohamed Massaquoi (624 yards and 3 TDs in 2009) will do little to help them climb out.
3. Tampa Bay
With an underperforming veteran (Maurice Stovall) and a rookie (Mike Williams) set to start, the Bucs will not be much of a force through the air in 2010.
4. St. Louis
Mediocre receivers (Laurent Robinson, Donnie Avery) and a rookie quarterback equal little airborne offensive firepower for the rams.
The Seahawks will begin the year with two past-their-prime targets (TJ Houshmandzadeh and Deion Branch) and an aging quarterback, so don’t look for much in the way of offensive production.
Five players/situations with potential – none of the following athletes made my top ten, but all of them could be there by the end of the year.
1. Chad Ochocinco/Terrell Owens, Cin
The Bengals swung for the fences this year in the offseason, picking up one ultra-talented potential headache in Owens to add to the one already in place in Ochocinco. If they can play well together, this could be a killer combination. If not, it could fail miserably.
2. Anguan Boldin, Bal
For years the Ravens have been a team built around their defense, keeping around only enough offensive firepower to win games. This season, though, with the additions of Boldin and Donte Stallworth, Baltimore seems ready to open things up a bit. Boldin could be a valuable addition to any team if that happens.
3. Marques Colston/Devery Henderson/Robert Meachem, NO
Though the Saints have a quarterback who puts up some of the best passing numbers in the NFL, the fantasy values of the receivers are lower than would normally be expected. Because this trio along with TE Jeremy Shockey are so talented, they tend to leech catches from each other and thus hurt the number of fantasy points scored. Colston is the obvious choice, but Meacher also put up excellent numbers in his second year as a pro and Henderson is no slouch either.
4. Percy Harvin, Min
With Brett Favre back in the saddle, Harvin could be set for a big 2010, but due to the fact that he will be a second option behind Simeon Rice, his value may be a bit lower. He’s definitely worth a pick, but not as a top choice.
5. Vincent Jackson, SD
Jackson is a lock for putting up good numbers, but due to his preseason holdout, it remains to be seen how effective or for that matter, present, he will be in the upcoming season.
Now for the Top 10…
10. Calvin Johnson, Det
Johnson is, without a doubt, an immensely talented wide receiver, but in 2009 his numbers (984 yards, 5 TDs) took a dip with then-rookie QB Matthew Stafford. This season the Lions are still not a particularly good football team, but Stafford has a year under his belt and the draft addition of Jahvid Best should help to take some of the pressure off the passing game. I expect Johnson to bounce back this season and again show himself to be among the best in the league.
9. Brandon Marshall, Mia
An incredible talent with a penchant for injuries and bad personal decisions, Marshall is a bit of a wild card in 2010. If he can stay healthy and keep out of trouble, his first season in Miami could be a huge one. Marshall has caught over 100 balls in each of the past three seasons, and racked up over 3,700 yards and 23 touchdowns, making him one of the most consistent wideouts in the league. This could be his biggest year yet.
8. Reggie Wayne, Ind
The high-powered Colts offense thrives on its Peyton Manning-helmed passing attack and for the past few years Reggie Wayne has been on the receiving end of the vast majority of those balls. At age 31 Wayne shows little sign of slowing down, so there is no reason to think he will not pull in another great season similar to the last one (100 catches, 1,264 yards, 10 TDs).
6. Roddy White, Atl
Roddy White has been a consistently good receiver for the past few years, pulling in 80-90 catches per season for around 1,200 yards each time, but 2009 was the first time he caught double digit touchdown passes (11), QB Matt Ryan has another year of experience, so expect him to be a sharper passes and White will no doubt be one of the main recipients of his well-honed skill.
5. Randy Moss, NE
At 33, Moss isn’t getting any younger and his skills will no doubt soon take a bit of a dive, but his 1,264 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2009 have helped maintain his position as an elite receiver. With the great Tom Brady at QB and Wes Welker and Torry Holt to keep some of the heat off him, Moss should again shine for the Patriots.
4. Simeon Rice, Min
I’d bet there was probably nobody who wanted Brett Favre to come back in 2010 more than Rice. I mean, if you were a budding star receiver who would you rather catch passes from? The rocket arm of Brett Favre or that of Tavarius Jackson? Exactly. Rice put up over 1,300 yards and 8 touchdowns in 2009 and I expect nothing less than that in 2010.
3. Larry Fitzgerald, AZ
It remains to be seen whether or not Fitzgerald will be able to thrive without fellow receiver Anguan Boldin lined up across the field, able to take some of the heat off him. Even when sharing receptions with Boldin, Fitzgerald was able to grab 90-100 balls and score double-digit touchdowns each season, so without him Fitz’s role will grow even more important. One also must keep in mind the fact that the disappointing Matt Leinart will take over at QB this season, which could adversely affect his numbers and admittedly caused me to drop him from the second spot to the third.
2. Miles Austin, Dal
Austin emerged in 2009 as the Cowboys’ top receiving threat, garnering 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns, and this season he looks poised to best those numbers. The addition of rookie WR Dez Bryant gives the ‘Boys a viable second threat, which should help free Austin to flourish with QB Tony Romo. Believe me, Miles Austin will be the man in the big D this season.
1. Andre Johnson, Hou
Andre Johnson is the premier receiver working in the NFL today. He has caught over 100 passes and racked up more than 1,500 yards in each of the past two seasons while scoring a total of 17 touchdowns. QB Matt Schaub really came into his own in 2009 and I fully expect the Schaub-Johnson combination to be even bigger this season. Houston is a team ready to take a big step in 2010 and it all starts here with their best player. Look for him to deliver, big time.
2010 Fantasy Football Analysis – Running Backs August 17, 2010Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Chris Johnson, DeAngelo Williams, fantasy football, Frank Gore, Jamaal Charles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Michael Turner, NFL, Rashard Mendenhall, Ray Rice, running backs, Steven Jackson
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Last week we began our look at the upcoming Fantasy Football season by analyzing the most visible position, Quarterback. Today we will move forward with a discussion of the position often seen as the most important in a fantasy league, running back.
Five Situations to Avoid
1. New England
The Patriots may be the best team of the last decade, but their success was certainly not built around their adequate, but unspectacular, running game. They enter 2010 with another platoon of decent running backs that includes Laurence Maroney, 32 year old Fred Taylor, Sammy Morris, and Kevin “The Lesser” Faulk. The four backs will most likely split time, so none of them are worth a spot higher than a 3rd or 4th RB spot.
It pains me to watch one of the greatest running backs in Arkansas Razorback history struggle with an inept team and nagging injuries, but two seasons into his career, Darren McFadden is already looking like a has-been. This season the Raiders have ditched last year’s starter, Justin Fargas, leaving the reins to McFadden and Michael Bush, neither of which has exactly lit the bay area up. Avoid them unless you need a late draft back-up.
In 2009 there was probably no player more frustrating to fantasy owners than Matt Forte, who followed up a spectacular rookie season (1,238 yards, 12 TDs) with a mediocre-at-best sophomore run (929 yards, 4 TDs). Unless Forte makes a big comeback push this season, he will again struggle behind an average Bear offensive line.
4. Tampa Bay
Cadillac Williams was once a promising NFL star for the Buccaneers (1,178 yards and 6 TDs as a rookie in 2005), but soon his career turned into an injury-plagued mess (an average of 515 yards and 3 TDs, with a yards per rush below 4, over the next 4 seasons). With 30 year old Derrick Ward and Earnest Graham filling out the stable, don’t expect much from the Bucs’ running game.
The Seahawks brought in Leon Washington to push last season’s lackluster starting running back, Julius Jones, but behind a bad offensive line neither of them are destined to have a good year. On a positive note, second year player Justin Forsett played pretty well last season, but he is currently mired in the third spot on the depth chart.
Five players with potential – none of the following athletes made my top ten, but all ten have the potential to be there by the end of the year.
1. Shonn Greene, NYJ
Greene came on strong at the end of 2009 as the now-departed Thomas Jones’ back up and, given that the Jets have an excellent offensive line, many are predicting great things from him this season. While I certainly expect to see him improve, the increase in his numbers will depend greatly on the amount of time he will have to share with newly acquired veteran Ladanian Tomlinson.
2. Time Hightower/Beanie Wells, AZ
With few exceptions, running back stables are generally fantasy killers and Arizona displays one more instance in which talented backs cede carries to each other and decrease their personal statistics. Together Hightower and Wells racked up 1,391 rushing yards, 571 receiving yards, and 15 TDs – Pro Bowl numbers for a single back, but terribly frustrating when split between two.
3. Ryan Mathews, SD
Rookie running back Ryan Mathews has been given the unenviable task of picking up the mantle of one of the best running backs in a generation, Ladanian Tomlinson, but it is my feeling that he will shine behind the Chargers’ decent offensive line. If Mathews was not a rookie, I would probably have included him in my top ten, but as it is, you should seriously consider picking him up.
4. Felix Jones/Marion Barber, Dal
The Cowboys have yet another running back by committee situation, but according to sources, they seem convinced that Felix Jones will be their top choice in 2010. Adding the talented Tashard Choice to the mix complicates things even further and one can’t help but wonder how Dallas will distribute carries in a way that will pacify everyone.
5. Knowshon Moreno, Correl Buckhalter, Lendale White, Justin Fargas, Den
With the exception of second year player Moreno (who many thought underachieved as a rookie in 2009), the Broncos’ stable of running backs looks more like a retirement home for players who are past their prime. Though it remains to be seen how they will split carries between Moreno and the veterans, one thing is for certain: be wary when choosing a Denver back.
And now on to the top 10:
10. Steven Jackson, StL
You can’t help but feel bad for Steven Jackson. It must be tough to be one of the best backs in the league and to be stuck on the worst team, one that has won a grand total of six games in the past three seasons. Jackson is a great runner and an excellent receiver, but lacks the offensive line power to get into the end zone on a regular basis – he only scored 4 touchdowns in 2009 and hasn’t had double figure touchdowns since 2006. He is definitely a good draft choice in the first two rounds, particularly for his yardage totals.
9. Frank Gore, SF
I’ve never been a big believer in Frank Gore as an elite fantasy running back, but after putting up some of the best numbers of his career in 2009 (over 1,500 total yards, 13 TDs), I may have to eat my words. The sudden departure of backup Glen Coffee will probably mean even more work for Gore, so if he can handle it, this could be his best season yet. The 49ers are a team on the rise and he will be a big part of their success.
8. DeAngelo Williams, Car
I generally advise people to stay away from running back by committee situations, but Carolina gets a special exemption in my book. Last season the Panthers fielded two 1,000 yard rushers in DeAngelo and Jonathan Stewart and I expect them to dominate again in 2010. DeAngelo is a special player who would have put up even bigger numbers last season if he had not missed three games for an injury. Over the past two seasons, he has accumulated more than 3,000 total yards and 27 touchdowns and at only age 27, he has a lot of miles left to go.
7. Rashard Mendenhall, Pit
In his second season, Mendenhall took over and solidified his starting role with the Steelers, racking up over 1,300 total yards and 8 touchdowns. In 2010, his main RB competition, former starter Willie Parker, is gone, as is the team’s top receiver and their starting quarterback (for the first six games). Thus, the team will be leaning heavily on Mendenhall to carry them through the first half of the season, so he should pick up a ton of touches. The team may be bad, but he’ll have decent stats.
6. Jamaal Charles, KC
Over the past decade, the Chiefs have developed a reputation for stellar running back play with greats like Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson, so fans waited with bated breath for the next elusive runner to appear on the gridiron. The wait is over. Jamaal Charles showed last year (over 1,400 total yards, 8 TDs, and a whopping 5.9 yards/rush average) that he is up to the challenge. I expect him to continue the trend in his third season and firmly place himself among the league’s elite.
5. Michael Turner, Atl
It is important that we remember that backs who have over 350 rushes in a season are always more prone to injury and lower numbers in the following years. This adage proved to be true again in 2009 when Turner’s numbers dipped from 2008 (376 rushes, 1,699 yards, 17 TDs in 16 games) to 2009 (178 rushes, 871 yards, 10 TDs in 11 games). This season he should bounce back to a level better than 2009, but I would not expect him to have as many touches as he did in 2008.
4. Adrian Peterson, Min
Peterson is one of the most sought after backs in fantasy football for a good reason. In his first three seasons in the NFL, the young back has accumulated over 5,300 total yards and 41 touchdowns and is a lock for 300+ carries in a season. The presence of Brett Favre is a major boon to his performance as well because it takes some of the weight off his shoulders. Rookie Tobey Gerhart may steal a few carries, but it will surely not be enough to make a large difference in Peterson’s performance.
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jax
Jones-Drew did an excellent job in his first season as the featured back for the Jaguars, picking up over 1,700 total yards and 16 TDs while carrying the team on his back. In 2010 I expect to see his elite numbers improve even more as he becomes more accustomed to his role as a number one running back. The overall improvement of Jacksonville will also play a major part in his continuing development as one of the best players in the NFL.
2. Ray Rice, Bal
Ray Rice came out strong in 2009 with over 2,000 yards of total offense and 8 touchdowns, numbers he accumulated despite the presence of Willis McGahee taking away many goal line carries. With a top notch offensive line and a greatly improved passing game to take some of the heat off him, I expect Rice to reach even greater heights in 2010, especially if he gets more looks on the goal line than last season.
1. Chris Johnson, Ten
I was a bit hesitant to place Johnson at the top of the list because, though he believes he will put up even better numbers than he did in 2009 (over 2,500 total yards and 16 TDs), history says that we will see a dip in performance. Regardless, based on last year’s dominance, Johnson is now the premier back in the NFL. Even with the expected decrease he could and probably should be the top rated back again in 2010. The Titans have one of the best offensive lines in the NFL and quarterback Vince Young is proving to be more reliable, which will only help Johnson as defenses key in on him from week one.
2010 Fantasy Football Analysis – Quarterbacks August 12, 2010Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: Aaron Rodgers, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Drew Brees, fantasy football, Matt Ryan, Matt Schaub, NFL, Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers, quarterbacks, rankings, Tom Brady, Tony Romo
With the football season looming ever closer, it is time to take a look at one of my favorite pastimes over the past 15 years or so – fantasy football. Everyone knows that I’m a total nerd when it comes to statistics, so it follows that the intricate numbers of fantasy sports are right up my alley. Each year I’ve done an analysis for readers of this blog and 2010 will be no different, so today we begin with the most visible of positions – quarterback.
Five situations to avoid:
The Broncos currently have the woefully mediocre Kyle Orton listed as their starting quarterback, but directly behind him they have both an under-performing former first round draft pick (Brady Quinn) and the messiah from the swamp, Tim Tebow. My guess is that they will split time this season, thus rendering all of them useless in a fantasy league.
With Ben Roethlisberger suspended for the first six games of the season, the Steelers have turned to the scrap heap for a new leader, emerging with Byron Leftwich. I think that’s all you need to know.
I know it sounds like a broken record to say year after year that there is no Raider worth taking, but, again, thee is no need to waste a draft pick on Oakland – not even on new quarterback Jason Campbell, who proved to be rather competent during his time in Washington.
4. St. Louis
I know it is tempting to take the top draft pick of 2010, Sam Bradford, but take my advice and don’t do it. The Rams are excruciatingly bad and Bradford will be little more than an injury-prone tackling dummy.
5. Tampa Bay
Josh Freeman? Who the heck is Josh Freeman? If you ask that question too, avoid him at all costs.
Five players with potential – none of the following athletes made my top ten, but all ten have the potential to be there by the end of the year.
1. Joe Flacco, Bal
Flacco took great strides forward during his second year in the league and this season, with the addition of WR Anguan Boldin, he is poised to break through in an even bigger way. Not known for having a high-flying offense, it remains to be seen if Flacco’s numbers will greatly improve.
2. Jay Cutler, Chi
Cutler has few offensive weapons around him and the Bears’ offense is mediocre at best, so why should he be considered a possible fantasy winner? Four words: offensive coordinator Mike Martz. Martz was the guy behind the high-flying Rams offense of ten years ago, so, if nothing else, Cutler will have the opportunity to sling the ball around as much as he wants.
3. Donovan McNabb, Was
McNabb has proven himself to be a good fantasy option over the years, transforming himself from a running QB to an excellent drop-back passer without hardly missing a beat. This season marks his first in Washington and we’ll just say that he has his work cut out for him. Judging from history, though, he could be a steal.
4. Mark Sanchez, NYJ
Sanchez struggled through his rookie season in 2009, amassing 20 interceptions against only 12 touchdowns, but the Jets decided not to rest on their laurels during the offseason, choosing instead to bolster their receiving corps with Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards. So, there are plenty of good reasons to think of Sanchez at draft time.
5. Alex Smith, SF
Former number one draft pick Alex Smith finally showed up last season, proving his worth for the 49ers while putting up the best numbers of his career. This season he’ll have WR Michael Crabtree for the entire season, meaning that we should see even better things from him.
So, without further ado, here are my top QB picks for 2010.
Top Ten Quarterbacks
10. Carson Palmer, Cin
The sometimes fragile Palmers saw his numbers decline somewhat in 2009, causing everyone to wonder if the days of the high-octane Bengal offense were gone. Then came the offseason when they picked up 1,000 yard receiver Antonio Bryant and the generally great Terrell Owens, to team with Chad Ochocinco. With this many good targets Palmer is almost certain to have a good season.
9. Matt Ryan, Atl
With two years under his belt and great receiving targets in Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez, the young and talented Ryan should have an excellent 2010 and improve on the 22 TDs he threw for last time around. Look for good things from him in 2010 and great things in the future.
8. Tony Romo, Dal
Romo has been one of the most steady fantasy quarterback around over the past few years, posting 26 or more touchdowns in each of the last three seasons and breaking 4,000 yards in two of them. The emergence of Miles Austin as a top receiving threat and the first round draft choice of Dez Bryant means that Romo is destined for another big year.
7. Brett Favre, Min
The will-he-or-won’t-he Favre circus continued again this offseason before he finally squashed all rumors to the contrary and declared that he would again don the purple and gold of the Vikings. In 2009 the 40 year old Favre defied father time and threw for a spectacular 4,202 yards and 33 touchdowns with only 7 interceptions, leading Minnesota to the NFC Championship Game. This season, the team stayed intact for another go at a championship and, barring injury, Favre should again have great numbers.
6. Matt Schaub, Hou
In 2009 Matt Schaub finally showed himself to be one of the elite quarterbacks playing today, completing a league leading 396 passes for 4,770 yards. It doesn’t hurt to have one of the top receivers in the NFL (Andre Johnson) to toss the pigskin to either and expect the two of them to hook up many, many more times again in 2010.
5. Tom Brady, NE
With three Super Bowl championships under his belt and loads of individual accolades, Brady is one of the premier signal-callers of a generation. In 2007 and 2009 (he missed almost all of 08 due to injury), he threw for more than 9,000 yards and 78 touchdowns, and, barring injury, he should again put up excellent stats in the coming season. Randy Moss is aging but still effective and Wes Welker remains a pass-catching machine, so the weapons are in place for Brady to again position himself as one of the best in the league.
4. Philip Rivers, SD
While the departure of the great Ladanian Tomlinson would dismay many teams and players, it could be the best thing that ever happened to Rivers. If nothing else, this will cause the focus of the offense to switch from running to passing, meaning that his excellent numbers could improve even more. Over the past two seasons, Rivers has thrown for a total of more than 8,200 yards and 62 touchdowns and this season could be better than either of those.
3. Peyton Manning, Ind
Along with the aforementioned Tom Brady, Manning is a quintessential quarterback of an era. His consistency is unmatched, throwing for more than 4,000 yards in 10 of his 12 career seasons and never throwing for less than 26 touchdowns. Though he is now in his mid-30’s, Manning should still have a few elite seasons left in him and I expect him to light up the scoreboard numerous times again in 2010.
2. Drew Brees, NO
Brees is ten years into his excellent career, one in which he has earned a Super Bowl title and numerous awards, yet 2010 could be one of his greatest seasons yet. With a newly found championship swagger and a fantastic receiving corps lead by Marques Colston and Devery Henderson, Brees may even improve on the 4,388 yards and 34 touchdowns he racked up in 2009.
1. Aaron Rodgers, GB
It was a toss-up for the top spot between Rodgers and Brees, but I chose due to the fact that he his a few years younger than Brees (26 vs. 31), a good deal more mobile (316 rushing yards and 5 TDs in 2009), and he has most likely not hit his career ceiling. In 2009, Rodgers threw for 4,434 yards and 30 touchdowns, while only tossing 7 interceptions. 30 TDs vs. 7 Ints is a heck of a ratio and that accuracy is one of the main reasons why I’m choosing him as my number one choice in 2010.
Fantasy Football 2010 August 11, 2010Posted by Matt in fantasy football.
Tags: fantasy football, NFL
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I’ve created a fantasy football league and you are all invited to join. Let me know if you want to play.
Also, I will be doing my Fantasy Football guide and season predictions soon. Stay Tuned!
Super Bowl Preview February 5, 2010Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: Indianapolis Colts, New Orleans Saints, NFL, predictions, Super Bowl
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Sunday’s Super Bowl offers an intriguing matchup between two high-octane offensive teams – the underdog, and first time Super Bowl contender, from a city on the rebound and the favorite featuring one of the greatest quarterbacks to ever play the game.
New Orleans Saints
Drew Brees has proven himself to be one of the better QBs in the league over the past few years throwing to Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston, and their running game, led by Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, is effective. The Saints’ defense, led by Jonathan vilma, is decent, but not spectacular. The city of New Orleans, which is still rebuilding after the devastation of Katrina, has rallied around their underdog team and that support may be enough to push them over the top.
Peyton Manning is one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL and a win on Sunday may push him into the top spot. He no longer has Marvin Harrison to loft balls to, but that didn’t stop him from putting up great numbers once again. The defense is good, but the condition of Dwight Freeney is a major concern. If he is able to play near full strength, it may propel the Colts to victory. Indy has the advantage of having won the championship in recent years (2007), so they are accustomed to the media attention in a way that the Saints are not.
If Dwight Freeney is not able to perform near his normal level, the Colts will have trouble stopping the Saints. I expect both quarterbacks to play well in a high-scoring, entertaining shoot-out, but in the end, my prediction is:
New Orleans 31 – Indianapolis 27
What do you think?
Freedom and Consequences October 15, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL, politics.
Tags: capitalism, Conservatives, free market, NFL, politics, race, Rush Limbaugh, St. Louis Rams
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As I’m sure most if not all of you have seen, one of the more dominant news stories this week has revolved around Rush Limbaugh’s attempt to become a part owner of the St. Louis Rams NFL team. After a public outcry against his inclusion, the right-wing talk show host was dropped from the group seeking to buy the team, but the story was carried through several news cycles and prompted many on either side of the fence to speak out.
Something that may surprise you about this though, is that I, as someone who is very liberal politically and is a big football fan, am actually torn by this issue.
First of all, I’m bothered by the fact that, despite the fact that we live in a capitalist nation, many think that he should not be allowed to spend his personal money on this business enterprise. My initial thought is that this just seems un-American to block a citizen’s freedom in this manner. It may be true that he has regularly shown great contempt for those whose skin color is darker than his own and that the NFL is 2/3 African-American, but should that be a deciding factor in whether or not he is allowed to spend his finances freely? I have a hard time with those who say that he should not be permitted to use his personal money as he wishes.
On the other hand, Limbaugh seems to think that words (at least his words) do not have consequences. Rather than acknowledging that a reaction to his vitriol may be leading the opposition, he seems to be blaming it all on some liberal conspiracy to squelch conservative voices. This is despite the fact that most NFL owners are decidedly conservative and left-thinking people are not calling for their ousters.
Of course, the best solution to this current situation would have been for the purchasing group to have weighed the consequences and to have never included Limbaugh in the first place, which would have avoided this circus altogether.
In the end, this matter merely gives credence to Limbaugh and his followers, who lie awake at night fearing a liberal conspiracy to raise their taxes, take away their guns and force them into gay marriages. It raises his notoriety and bolsters his audience while Rush laughs all the way to the bank.
2009 NFL Predictions – Road to the Super Bowl September 10, 2009Posted by Matt in NFL.
Tags: 2009 predictions, NFL, playoffs, San Diego Chargers, Super Bowl
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To begin, here are the predicted seeds:
3. New England
4. San Diego
5. Houston (WC)
6. Baltimore (WC)
1. New York Giants
5. Chicago (WC)
6. Dallas (WC)
AFC Wild Card
San Diego def. Baltimore
New England def. Houston
NFC Wild Card
Arizona def. Dallas
Chicago def. Atlanta
San Diego def. Tennessee
New England def. Pittsburgh
New York Giants def. Arizona
Chicago def. Minnesota
San Diego def. New England
Chicago def. New York Giants
Super Bowl XLIV
San Diego def. Chicago
So, there you go. Write it down, call your bookie, do whatever you need to do and watch out for those Chargers.
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