Archive for September, 2006

Deep Thoughts

Friday, September 29th, 2006

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Ironic that Denny Green chose Warner after “sleeping on it,” after all, Leinart is the dreamy one…If any team truly deserves a mulligan, it’s last week’s Falcons…I know Shaun Alexander is known for his slow starts and all, but owning him this year hasn’t been easy…I still say the Ravens suck…Last 13 games played, one touchdown – I am Willis McGahee…John Kasay saved the Carolina Panthers’ season…Welcome back, Muhsin Muhammad…Seahawks vs. Bears decides the NFC No. 1 seed…Don’t be shocked if the Patriots upset the Bengals this week…What happened to Braylon Edwards and Javon Walker needing time to recover that speed?…Meet Andre Johnson – Fantasy superstar…Daunte Culpepper is one more stink bomb away from people chanting Joey Harrington’s name.

For such a disciplinarian, Tom Coughlin’s Giants might be the most undisciplined team in the league…Can someone please tell me how Chris Simms was cleared to return to the field Sunday?…During Mark Brunell’s NFL record 22 straight completions last week, only one traveled more than seven yards from scrimmage in the air…If your fantasy draft were held today, Tatum Bell looks like a first round pick…Although before last week’s 27 carries, his previous career-high for a game was 17…Larry Johnson is having such a disappointing season, if he continued his average yards from scrimmage from here on out, he’d break the NFL record.…Don’t get me wrong, I was as big a fan of Fox’s “Man vs. Beast” that you’ll ever find, but this is really stepping it up a notch.

Week 4 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, September 28th, 2006

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Peyton Manning
2. Carson Palmer
3. Donovan McNabb
4. Michael Vick
5. Tom Brady
6. Marc Bulger
7. Kurt Warner
8. Brett Favre
9. Drew Bledsoe
10. Jon Kitna
11. Jake Delhomme
12. Chad Pennington
13. Daunte Culpepper
14. Drew Brees
15. Matt Hasselbeck
16. Alex Smith
17. Charlie Frye
18. David Carr
19. Byron Leftwich
20. Rex Grossman
21. Andrew Walter
22. Steve McNair
23. Kerry Collins
24. Brad Johnson
25. J.P. Losman

Running Backs

1. Larry Johnson
2. Brian Westbrook
3. LaDainian Tomlinson
4. Ronnie Brown
5. Rudi Johnson
6. Warrick Dunn
7. Julius Jones
8. Frank Gore
9. Willis McGahee
10. Steven Jackson
11. Clinton Portis
12. Thomas Jones
13. Kevin Jones
14. Chester Taylor
15. Lamont Jordan
16. Ahman Green
17. Edgerrin James
18. Reggie Bush
19. DeShaun Foster
20. Deuce McAllister
21. Corey Dillon
22. Jamal Lewis
23. Fred Taylor
24. Maurice Morris
25. Laurence Maroney
26. Joseph Addai
27. Reuben Droughns
28. Dominic Rhodes
29. Marion Barber
30. Ron Dayne

Wide Receivers

1. Steve Smith
2. Torry Holt
3. Anquan Boldin
4. Larry Fitzgerald
5. Marvin Harrison
6. Chad Johnson
7. Donald Driver
8. Reggie Wayne
9. Chris Chambers
10. Roy Williams
11. Andre Johnson
12. Terrell Owens
13. Randy Moss
14. Laveranues Coles
15. Antonio Bryant
16. TJ Houshmandzadeh
17. Santana Moss
18. Darrell Jackson
19. Derrick Mason
20. Braylon Edwards
21. Muhsin Muhammad
22. Drew Bennett
23. Donte Stallworth
24. Terry Glenn
25. Marques Colston
26. Lee Evans
27. Joe Horn
28. Troy Williamson
29. Reggie Brown
30. Keyshawn Johnson
31. Doug Gabriel
32. Chris Henry
33. Eddie Kennison
34. Isaac Bruce
35. Greg Jennings

Weekly Bets

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

I don’t love any bets this week but I do like a Colts (-9) and Falcons (-7) 6.5-point teaser. First off, as long as the Colts continue to be favored by fewer than 10 points against inferior opponents, I will continue to tease them. They’re still the best (regular season) team in the NFL and should come through with a 13 or 14 win season. While the Falcons burned me big last week (bad karma betting against the Saints in their post-Katrina opener), I still feel confident that they will be angry enough to take down the Cardinals at home, especially with Arizona dealing with a quarterback controversy. The Chiefs (-7) are another team that might be worth teasing as Alex Smith at Arrowhead is just plain scary, especially with Gore at less than 100%.

IDP Update

Wednesday, September 27th, 2006

By Jeff Chudnofsky – Staff Writer

Three weeks into the 2006 season, no one should be surprised by Julius Peppers’ four sacks or the 28 tackles from Derrick Brooks. Performances from the elite defensive players are to be expected. While they fly under the radar, lesser known defensive players like Bart Scott are putting up big numbers for their IDP fantasy owners. (If you use Yahoo! for your IDP format, linebackers and defensive lineman are pooled into one position.) If you haven’t tried an IDP league yet, I recommend trying one out next year.
Here is the top ten at each position based on a combination of current stats and potential performances:

Defensive Line
1. Julius Peppers (Eighteen tackles with four sacks is great production through three weeks)
2. Aaron Kampman
3. Justin Smith
4. Shawn Merriman (Lights out)
5. Brian Young
6. Terrell Suggs
7. Trent Cole
8. Osi Umenyiora (Osi has only sacked the quarterback once this season, but keep in mind he played Peyton Manning, Donovan McNabb and Matt Hasselbeck)
9. Terrell Suggs
10. Robert Geathers

Linebackers
1. Bart Scott (Tied for NFL lead with five sacks)
2. Adalius Thomas
3. Keith Bulluck
4. London Fletcher (He is about as consistent as they come)
5. Derrick Brooks
6. Joey Porter
7. Ray Lewis
8. DeMeco Ryans (Leads NFL with 26 solo tackles)
9. Brian Urlacher
10. Jonathan Vilma

Defensive Backs
1. Kerry Rhodes (25 tackles, three sacks, int, three forced fumbles)
2. Jermaine Phillips
3. Antoine Winfield
4. Ronde Barber
5. Chris Hope (Leads all DBs with 31 combined tackles)
6. Michael Lewis
7. Adrian Wilson
8. Rashean Mathis
9. Ken Hamlin
10. Madieu Williams

Weekend Lessons

Monday, September 25th, 2006

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

What I learned from the weekend, in no particular order:

The Bengals are good and have three very talented receivers, which means Chad Johnson will no longer put up top-5 receiver numbers. Carson Palmer, on the other hand, is clearly the second best fantasy quarterback in the NFL. You gotta love Chris Henry celebrating the big win by puking out of Odell Thurman’s car while pulled over by police, bravo!

The Vikings are going to be tough all year, and Chester Taylor is going to be an absolute horse. Troy Williamson is emerging as a solid receiver, despite his all-too-frequent drops.

Now that Steve Smith is back, he is the best receiver, fantasy or otherwise, in football.

As long as Tatum Bell receives the bulk of the carries in Denver, he’s going to be extremely valuable. That said, Shanahan can never leave well enough alone and will likely tinker with the backfield at some point down the line. Keep your fingers crossed and don’t give up if you’re a Mike Bell owner.

The Dolphins and Daunte C stink.

With a heavy heart I will now put a fork in Wali Lundy. I can’t believe it took me this long.

Brett Favre is back! Not really, but he is going to put up good numbers against weak secondaries and in blowout losses, which should come with some frequency.

Maurice Drew showed some serious talent and makes a great handcuff to Fragile Freddy. Every team should have a roster spot for the guy, regardless of whether or not they own Taylor.

The Cardinals continue to stink, as I expected, and the (dreamy) Matt Leinart Era could start sooner than expected. He should be a decent fantasy player with those weapons. That said, Boldin and Fitzgerald’s values will take a hit. Move them if you can get good value.

Good thing the Seahawks continued to play Shaun Alexander with a cracked foot in their nailbiter against New York.

Jeremy Shockey and Kellen Winslow are effing jerks.

I was speechless when the Patriots went for it on 4th and two late in the game last night. Absolutely moronic.

Frank Gore’s goal-line fumble was an absolutely devastating play as the 49ers lost both Gore and Vernon Davis on the play. That still doesn’t explain why no Niners were able to run down the lumbering Mike Patterson.

Down 21 points with 8 minutes left in the 4th quarter, the 49ers punted on 4th-and-long, effectively admitting defeat to the Eagles. I have never understood why teams always seem to do this. Why not go for it? You still have a chance (albeit incredibly slim) to win and by punting you are essentially giving up. Why is this so acceptable? I’m angry.

Deep Thoughts (not) by Jack Handey

Friday, September 22nd, 2006

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Shaun Alexander, tell me you didn’t take the money and get even more soft…Sorry Tom Brady owners, New England is officially a run-team this year…I knew it would happen eventually, but it’s only Week 3 and DeAngelo Williams, Laurence Maroney and Joseph Addai are all already more valuable than their veteran backfield mates…This Texas-style offense Atlanta is running should have been utilized years ago. The WCO couldn’t have been a worse fit for Vick. The fewer passes he throws and the more he runs, the better. And if he gets hurt, so what, Matt Schaub is the best backup QB in football…Something tells me Chad Johnson suffered a concussion last week…R.I.P. Edgerrin James, top-10 fantasy back…Jerious Norwood might be the fastest back in the NFL and would become a top-8 fantasy option if Warrick Dunn were to go down…Watched “Tupac: Resurrection” the other day. Was I the only one who didn’t realize he got his start as a member of “Digital Underground?”…The Ravens’ defense looks great, but Steve McNair and Jamal Lewis do not. This squad still looks like an 8-8 team to me…Word is Cadillac Williams is suffering from multiple herniated discs in his back, despite not being mentioned on this week’s injury report. Stashing Michael Pittman is a must for all Carnell owners…Maybe Cedric Benson just isn’t very good…Same goes for Jason Campbell, as he’d surely be starting by now if otherwise…The Cincinnati vs. Pittsburgh tilt is clearly the game of the week…

Hate to say I told you so, but I still don’t understand why so many fantasy publications had Reuben Droughns ranked so high entering the season…If you can get Joe Addai or even Tatum Bell for him, do it…Not sure which show is more ridiculous between “Nip/Tuck” and “Prison Break,” but I am sure I can’t stop watching them…Rookie WRs are usually best avoided, but Greg Jennings and Chad Jackson may prove differently this year…The Indy Colts look poised for another 14-2 year…I know a shoulder is more important than a knee to a QB and all, but it’s pretty clear the Dolphins made a franchise-crushing mistake in choosing Daunte Culpepper over Drew Brees…With that said, Ronnie Brown is still in store for a huge year…When the Vikings chose Troy Williamson over Mike Williams I chided them endlessly. With Williamson looking like a future star and Williams inactive every week, I couldn’t have been more wrong…Glad to see “Survivor” winner Danni thriving on ESPN’s “The Fantasy Show.” Boy does she really know her sports…If you caught Bill Belichick and Eric Mangini’s after game encounter, it’s safe to say they didn’t separate on amicable terms…Will someone please let Marc Bulger know the season has started…R.I.P. Nate Burleson…Chris Simms might be the shortest 6’4’’ person alive; is “tipped pass” a part of the Bucs’ playbook? First Ben Roethlisberger says he has broken toes when he really didn’t and now he’s telling Michelle Tafoya he has a 104-degree temperature when it was really 100.4. What next, Big Ben? You got in a severe motorcycle accident without wearing a helmet?!… “In the year 2000” is still Conan O’Brien’s best skit…Does Rex Grossman really have a 128.7 QB rating right now?…Since 1990, when the NFL went to a 12-team playoff format, just three teams have made the playoffs after an 0-3 start, something either Carolina or Tampa Bay will be after this weekend.

Week 3 Lineup Rankings

Wednesday, September 20th, 2006

By Jeff Chudnofsky – Staff Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Peyton Manning
2. Marc Bulger
3. Donovan McNabb
Although the Niners are tougher at home, look for McNabb to post 250-plus with a couple TD tosses.
4. Carson Palmer
5. Kurt Warner
6. Matt Hasselbeck
7. Eli Manning
8. Michael Vick
The Ron Mexico Experience never disappoints on MNF.
9. Daunte Culpepper
10. Tom Brady
11. Byron Leftwich
12. Drew Brees
13. Brett Favre
14. Ben Roethlisberger
Big Ben usually responds well after a poor performance.
15. Jake Plummer
16. Jon Kitna
17. David Carr
18. Rex Grossman
19. Alex Smith
20. Steve McNair

Running Backs

1. Shaun Alexander
2. Steven Jackson
I like SJax to eclipse 120 all-purpose yards and a score versus Arizona.
3. Ronnie Brown
4. Tiki Barber
5. Warrick Dunn
6. Edgerrin James
7. Rudi Johnson
8. Willis McGahee
9. Brian Westbrook (questionable)
Check on Westbrook’s status on Sunday, but he should be able to play.
10. Frank Gore
11. Willie Parker
12. Jamal Lewis
13. Clinton Portis
14. Carnell Williams
15. Corey Dillon
16. Thomas Jones
17. Chester Taylor
Thomas Jones and Taylor should have plenty of opportunities in what should be a run-and-punt fest. Twenty carries for each back is a near certainty.
18. Laurence Maroney
19. Fred Taylor
After a solid performance versus Pittsburgh, Taylor visits a porous Colts run defense.
20. Tatum Bell
21. Reggie Bush
22. Deuce McAllister
23. Kevin Jones
24. Ahman Green
25. Kevan Barlow
If you are riddled by injuries or bye week vacancies, now is a good time to see what Barlow can do for you.
26. DeShaun Foster
27. Joseph Addai
28. DeAngelo Williams
29. Reuben Droughns
30. Dominic Rhodes
31. Mike Bell
32. Jerious Norwood
If the Falcons are up big in the Big Easy, Norwood will rack up yardage in garbage time.
33. Chris Brown
34. Wali Lundy
35. Brandon Jacobs

Wide Receivers

1. Larry Fitzgerald
2. Torry Holt
3. Anquan Boldin
These big three will be productive in what should be another NFC West shootout.
4. Chad Johnson
5. Chris Chambers
6. Marvin Harrison
7. Plaxico Burress
8. Donald Driver
9. Reggie Wayne
10. Donte Stallworth
If he can produce for three straight games, then Stallworth has arrived.
11. Roy Williams
12. Darrell Jackson
13. Santana Moss
14. Antonio Bryant
Bryant faces one of the best secondaries in the NFL, but with Lito Sheppard (ankle) out and replacement Roderick Hood (heel) questionable, it’s a suddenly thin one.
15. Hines Ward
16. Laveranues Coles
17. Andre Johnson
18. Derrick Mason
19. Matt Jones
20. Lee Evans
21. Joey Galloway
22. TJ Houshmandzadeh (questionable)
23. Javon Walker
24. Drew Bennett
Young to Bennett will ring again in the fourth quarter versus Miami.
25. Joe Horn
26. Muhsin Muhammad
27. Marques Colston
After being targeted ten times last week, Colston appears to be a solid play and a great bye week replacement. In Yahoo! Leagues he’s even eligible as a TE, increasing his value greatly.
28. Reggie Brown
29. Troy Williamson
30. Jerricho Cotchery
31. Isaac Bruce
32. Reggie Williams
33. Chris Henry
34. Eric Moulds
35. Deion Branch
I am taking the wait and see approach with Branch.

The Wizard of Odds

Tuesday, September 19th, 2006

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

Here are some bets I like this week:

The Eagles were 6-point favorites at San Francisco. It’s now at 6.5
but is still a great game to tease. I would be shocked to see the
Eagles lose, as they’ll be extra motivated after Sunday’s embarrassing
loss.

Atlanta was favored by only 3 at New Orleans, and while it’s now up to
3.5, I see Atlanta winning this game easily. I know there will be a
lot of hoopla and emotion surrounding the return to the Superdome, but
that won’t cover up the fact that Atlanta is one of the best teams in
football and the Saints, despite their record, are still one of the
worst.

Movers and Shakers

Monday, September 18th, 2006

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

After two weeks of NFL action, trends have developed and players’ stocks have changed drastically from their preseason and draft day values. Of note. . .

Running Backs

Denver, New England and New Orleans all look like even backfield time shares, with all six players having decent value as a third running back or flex play most weeks. Reggie Bush looks like an every week starter, especially in points per receptions leagues, while Laurence Maroney is a Corey Dillon injury away from becoming a dominant fantasy force. After no carries week one, DeAngelo Williams may have already unseated DeShaun Foster in Carolina. He certainly has more fantasy value right now. Frank Gore is legit and, despite playing for the 49ers, is a borderline top ten back. Speaking of which, Joseph Addai should continue to see more touches in Indianapolis and post some impressive numbers. If you can still get him for a reasonable price, go for it. LT is looking like the clear-cut number one fantasy player right now, followed closely by Michael Turner.

Quarterbacks

Poor Drew Bledsoe and Jake Plummer. After week one, everyone seemed almost sure that neither guy would keep their starting job throughout the season, which to me seems a bit preposterous considering they both play for playoff caliber teams with Super Bowl aspirations. Still, we were subjected to countless pundits debating whether or not they should get the hook while ESPN.com asked readers which one would be benched first (‘neither’ wasn’t an option). While Bledsoe was able to keep the critics at bay with a solid Sunday night performance, Plummer was booed in an ugly win. If Plummer can be had for dirt cheap, I say go for it, as he should keep his job and post a couple of good fantasy performances this season. Peyton Manning should be rewarding owners who grabbed him in the second round with big performances all season, as he approaches his ridiculous 2004 numbers. Donovan McNabb is looking like the third best fantasy QB right now, supplanting Tom Brady, while Michael Vick is back with a vengeance and a likely 1,000 rushing yards this season, barring injury of course. Aaron Brooks is done for, and Daunte Culpepper is a middling fantasy option this year, at best.

Wide Receivers

Wide Receivers haven’t seen a huge shift in value one way or another. The soon-to-be overcrowded Seattle situation should put a damper on Darrell Jackson and Deion Branch’s numbers, rendering them each passable WR2 options. Go ahead and drop Nate Burleson. Donte Stallworth is looking like the real deal and should remain a top-20 WR throughout the season. Terry Glenn and Joey Galloway were both classic ‘bust’ picks this year, but both looked good on Sunday and should be able to approach their surprising totals from last year. TO has BO and is probably a second tier guy at this point, as I would put him behind the Colts’ wideouts. That said, if you like your chances of making your league’s playoffs and can get the guy for a discount, go for it.

The Raiders

I almost forgot to mention that the offensive ineptitude of the Raiders has been staggering, and Lamont Jordan and Randy Moss have seen their values take huge hits. I can’t encourage anyone to ‘buy low’ or even to ‘sell low’ on these guys, but I’ll go ahead and say I have them ranked in the high teens at their respective positions. Buy or sell accordingly.

On a sad note, I got crushed by a completely inferior team in the fantasy baseball playoffs after watching my squad come through with an OPS in the low 600s. Does anyone else think head-to-head fantasy baseball is ridiculous? Me too.

News & Notes

Saturday, September 16th, 2006
  • In the ninth inning last week, Julio Franco played third base for the first time since Oct. 2, 1982.
  • Give it up for the Nationals: 27 runs scored and still swept in a four-game series by the Rockies earlier this week.
  • By throwing out Orlando Hudson at second base Monday night, Alfonso Soriano became the first player in major league history to have 40 home runs, 30 stolen bases and 20 outfield assists in a season.
  • Matt Cain has allowed one or no runs in each of his last six starts. According to Elias Sports Bureau, the only other rookie in the last 50 years to do that was the Dodgers’ Fernando Valenzuela in 1981.
  • Rich Hill struck out 10 in a two-hit shutout Saturday against the Reds, giving the Cubs their first complete game of the year to avoid being the first team ever not to record a complete game in an entire season.
  • If you haven’t checked out television’s “The Wire,” I suggest you do so.

I dusted myself off after last week’s Sit/Start didn’t go so well. Remember, I’m attempting not to pick overly obvious names here:

START

Lee Evans – New England did a great job smothering Evans Week 1, but don’t forget about this third year breakout candidate. He’ll find the going much easier this week against a suspect secondary that none other than Chaz Batch picked apart last week.

Brett Favre – He throws most of his picks when he’s trailing, something Green Bay might not actually be faced with Sunday. While don’t look for the same 52-3 score as last year’s meeting, Favre should get his Sunday.

Darrell Jackson – While I am down on all Seattle receivers in general, word is Deion Branch will not be active this week, which means D-Jax has one fewer option taking away his looks. The matchup against Arizona is a great one.

SIT

Philip Rivers – I know, I know; Tennessee made Chad Pennington relevant again, and their secondary is no doubt putrid. Still, don’t underestimate Marty Ball. It’s easy to see why Rivers was restrained to just 11 throws last week with a big lead, but that same exact scenario looks likely in Week 2.

Ben Roethlisberger – While he’s fully expected to play Monday night, his matchup isn’t a good one, so give him a week to get back into the swing of things before you activate him.

Fred Taylor – While owners should only sit Fragile Fred in the form of a viable alternative, Taylor faces a tough task against Pittsburgh’s front-seven. Most owners will probably want to use Taylor while he’s healthy, however, and he is getting a full workload with no Greg Jones around.

Ladell Betts/Clinton Portis – I don’t expect Clinton Portis to suit up, but who knows? Either way, it’s a tough matchup, and a timeshare figures to ensue (if no Portis, then TJ Duckett will take some carries away from Betts this week).

Week 2 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, September 14th, 2006

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Peyton Manning
2. Carson Palmer
3. Marc Bulger
4. Matt Hasselbeck
5. Kurt Warner
6. Donovan McNabb
7. Tom Brady
8. Eli Manning
9. Drew Bledsoe
10. Jake Plummer
11. Daunte Culpepper
12. Jake Delhomme
13. Brett Favre
14. Drew Brees
15. Steve McNair
16. Michael Vick
17. Philip Rivers
18. Ben Roethlisberger
19. Brad Johnson
20. Chad Pennington
21. Charlie Frye
22. Alex Smith
23. Byron Leftwich
24. Chris Simms
25. David Carr

Running Backs

1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Shaun Alexander
3. Larry Johnson
4. Ronnie Brown
5. Rudi Johnson
6. Steven Jackson
7. Tiki Barber
8. Frank Gore
9. Brian Westbrook
* Left practice early Thursday with knee inflammation. While listed as probable, watch this situation closely.
10. Reggie Bush
11. Chester Taylor
12. Tatum Bell
13. Mike Bell
14. Willis McGahee
15. Ahman Green
16. Cadillac Williams
* Didn’t practice Thursday with a recurring back problem, monitor this situation.
17. DeShaun Foster
18. Edgerrin James
19. Julius Jones
20. Clinton Portis
21. Thomas Jones
22. Willie Parker
23. Warrick Dunn
24. Jamal Lewis
25. Lamont Jordan
26. Corey Dillon
27. Kevin Jones
28. Laurence Maroney
29. Fred Taylor
30. Reuben Droughns
31. Joseph Addai
32. Deuce McAllister
33. Wali Lundy
34. Kevan Barlow
35. Chris Brown

Wide Receivers

1. Torry Holt
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Anquan Boldin
4. Chad Johnson
5. Terrell Owens
6. Marvin Harrison
7. Reggie Wayne
8. Donald Driver
9. Chris Chambers
10. Plaxico Burress
11. Andre Johnson
12. Santana Moss
13. Lee Evans
14. Derrick Mason
15. Antonio Bryant
16. Roy Williams
17. Hines Ward
18. Laveranues Coles
19. Randy Moss
20. Joey Galloway
21. Javon Walker
22. Joe Horn
23. TJ Houshmandzadeh
24. Muhsin Muhammad
25. Darrell Jackson
26. Drew Bennett
27. Donte Stallworth
28. Rod Smith
29. Matt Jones
30. Keyshawn Johnson
31. Troy Williamson
32. Terry Glenn
33. Michael Clayton
34. Keenan McCardell
35. Marty Booker

The Wizard of Odds

Wednesday, September 13th, 2006

Bets of the week

Dalton Says:

No straight up bet jumps out at me, so I’ll suggest going with teasers this week. On a side note, my picks happen to be very similar to Robby’s this week:

1. Teasing 6.5 points w/ Seattle, New England, and Chicago.

2. While the payout isn’t big, I also like a Sweetheart teaser (+13 points) with Baltimore (+.5) v. Oakland, Indy (-1) v. Houston , Cincy (+2.5) v. Cleveland and Denver (+2) v. Kansas City.

Robby Says:

I like the following teaser bets in the following order. Mix and
match accordingly:

1. Seattle (-7) v. Arizona
2. New England (-6.5) @ NY Jets
3. Chicago (-9) v. Detroit (can be teased with the under of 32)
4. St. Louis (-3) @ San Francisco

Fantasy Baseball Playoffs and Some Thoughts

Tuesday, September 12th, 2006

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

With football season in full swing, it seems as if we’ve all but forgotten fantasy baseball. Well, today marked the first day of the playoffs in my head-to-head league, and I plan on micromanaging my squad until the bitter end. Assuming your league has no limit on transactions, only the very best players on your team should be untouchable. Borderline bats and starting pitchers should be jettisoned in favor of players that can help you that day. Are any middle relievers in line for a fluke save that day? Do any hitters on waivers have favorable matchups? Can you stay up until midnight to be the first player making the necessary roster changes for the next day? While such a heavy-handed strategy can’t reasonably be utilized throughout an entire season, there are no excuses not to employ it during playoff time. Leave it all out on the field.

And now, a few random thoughts:

R.I.P. NFL Primetime – I was on the verge of tears yesterday evening as I frantically looked for the familiar faces of Tom Jackson and Chris Berman on NFL Priiiiiiiimetime. No such luck. With Primetime now on Monday and featuring Ron Jaworski, Mike Ditka, Stu Scott and Stu Scott’s glass eye, I wonder why ESPN even bothered keeping the same name.

Speaking of Ditka, you’ve got to love listening to him condemn the Texans front office for not drafting Reggie Bush. He may be the only man in America unqualified to make such remarks. I kept waiting for Ditka to say how he would have given up every draft pick through 2020 to get Bush.

“ENOUGH! OVERFLOWING SOMEONE’S BEER IS BARBARIC!” – Oscar de la Hoya

Good thing I drafted both Nate Burleson and Reggie Brown. I’m still expecting big things from those guys.

Did anyone know that Peyton Manning and Eli Manning were brothers? I had no clue.

ESPN Monday Night Football. Opening night in our nation’s capital. The five-year anniversary of 9/11 with American flags everywhere. An intro segment featuring the Governator with T2esque special effects. Michelle Tafoya and Suzy Kolber looking smart in matching pantsuits. Hank Williams, Jr. doing his thing. TomKat on the field before the game. I love America!

There are a good 5-6 major motion pictures coming out this fall that I am eagerly anticipating, which is only 5-6 more than I was looking forward to this summer.

Not even Matthew “12th-man” McConaughey’s electrifying presence on the sidelines could help Texas against a clearly superior Ohio State team. I still think that USC and OSU are the top two teams in the country this year.

The Budweiser Select theme song makes me want to get up and dance. Now. Does anyone know where I can download it?

After last season’s silly slasher plot, I was hoping that Nip/Tuck would get back to basics this year when they instantly spring the “Christian is gay” subplot on us. Am I seriously supposed to believe that the most notoriously heterosexual character on television is gay? Please don’t make me look for a new role model F/X!

The Cardinals and the 49ers both made each other look significantly better than they really are. Edge James’ middling performance may very well be one of his best offensive outputs of the year. Same goes for Frank Gore’s standout performance.

Two-a-Days on MTV has supplanted Laguna Beach as the must-see quasi-reality show dealing with high schoolers. The off-field drama is boring and half-baked at best, but when the team chaplain implores the players to knock down their opponent, and the coach threatens to blackball the entire team from college scholarships after a disappointing loss, who cares.

Speaking of which, you have to love Nike Gridiron’s Briscoe Hawks ad campaign. Lee Corso gives an especially tour-de-force performance as the team’s mascot, and smart money is on Brian Urlacher taking head cheerleader Jillian Barberie under the bleachers at some point this season. However, my main concern is that the Hawks had to resort to a trick play as time expired just to eek out a 17-14 win against a significantly outmatched opponenet. This only reinforces my concerns that Michael Vick will never be able to lead a championship team. Bring on pocket-passer Matt Leinart!

Week 1 Review

Monday, September 11th, 2006

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

People shouldn’t overreact to week one action; after all, with so little preseason playing time by most of the sports’ stars, reality won’t even kick in for a few weeks (and thus, we are left with some truly ugly football, e.g. Seahawks/Lions). Also, matchups played a big role in the week one numbers. Nevertheless, let’s go over some movers and shakers after the opening weekend of football.

Moving Up

Ahman Green – The most impressive week one performance? Maybe, when you consider his team was shut out, their opponent was Chicago, and this was Green’s first game action since last October. He rushed for 110 yards on only 20 carries and added 22 more yards on the receiving end. With Dookie Davenport jettisoned, and Samkon Gado going for negative 7 yards on 2 carries, Green looks like a legit fantasy option moving forward.

Muhsin Muhammad – Another one of my week one “sit” misses, Muhammad abused Al Harris to the tune of six catches and 102 yards. Grossman/Griese will provide a much better Chicago passing attack this year compared to last.

Ben Watson – While 3 catches for 50 yards fell short of Watson’s high expectations, the fact Deion Branch was traded to Seattle means he’ll be New England’s No. 1 option in the passing game all year long.

Drew Bennett – Maybe Bennett will develop a similar rapport with Kerry Collins that he had with Billy Volek at the end of 2004. He was undervalued entering this weekend, but after 8 catches for 106 yards, he won’t be anymore.

Donte Stallworth – I wouldn’t go overboard here, but he could form a great combo with a healthy McNabb. Still, he makes for a good sell high candidate.

Donovan McNabb – He’s back. Consider him a top-5 fantasy QB.

Detroit Defense – No one would believe me now, but Detroit’s fantasy defense was squarely on my radar entering this year. After week one, they should now be on everyone’s. When healthy, they were sneakily good last year, and now with Rod Marinelli as head coach, don’t write off week one as a complete fluke.

Fred Taylor – While health is always the main issue with Fragile Fred, 125 total yards against Dallas’ D is a great start. The main criterion here, however, is Jacksonville’s lack of a viable No. 2 RB option. With all of those touches, Taylor will be valuable until injuries strike.

Matt Jones – He’s ready to step up and be a No. 1 WR.

Julius Jones – Not only did he rack up over 110 total yards and a score against a stout Jaguars defense, but most importantly of all, Marion Barber was rendered useless with just three touches on the day.

Frank Gore – Yes it was against an easy opponent, but Gore is for real, folks. He gets the tough yards Kevan Barlow couldn’t. Rarely does the first tackler take Gore down.

Antonio Bryant – Bryant not only went for over 110 yards receiving, but he also had a 50-yard TD catch negated by penalty. It’s clear Alex Smith has a favorite receiver, and it’s Bryant, who could easily turn out to be one of the better value picks made in fantasy drafts this year.

Brandon Jacobs – Unlike last year, Jacobs has transferred his preseason success into the regular season this time around. If Barber goes down, something at least mildly likely, Jacobs becomes a monster. Think Larry Johnson-lite from last year.

Moving Down

Chris Simms – While the Tampa system should still result in solid overall numbers from this laissez-faire QB, he looked pretty bad Sunday. Yes, Baltimore’s defense looks dominant again, but the chatter of Simms being soft is getting louder.

Reuben Droughns – If you can’t count on him while playing at home against the Saints, when can you?

Kerry Collins – I know he’s had limited time to learn the playbook and all, but completing only 44 percent of your passes is absolutely reprehensible.

Kevan Barlow – In case any of you got overly excited with the TD run, let me remind you that Kevan Barlow sucks.

Seattle Wide Receivers – While the offense is a potent one, and many of Alexander’s TDs from last year will turn into air strikes this season, Seattle basically has four solid options in the passing game now. In my mind, downgrade Nate Burleson, Bobby Engram, Darrell Jackson, and Deion Branch (although playing is better than sitting, a return to NE would have been ideal).

Edgerrin James – Sorry, but if he can only average 2.8 yards per carry against San Francisco, what’s that number going to look like against a real defense?

Dominic Rhodes – The good news is he had a 16/7 rush attempts advantage over Joseph Addai. The bad news is he only outgained Addai by three yards with those extra totes. While Rhodes may settle in as Indy’s goal-line back, that might be his only job, as he looks terrible to me.

Staying the Same

Carson Palmer – Don’t worry about his lackluster effort. While surprising against a suspect KC secondary, Palmer didn’t even have to throw the ball 20 times since Cincy built an early lead. He still completed over 68 percent of his passes.

Larry Johnson – While LJ had his 100-yard rushing game streak end, and now calls Damon Huard his QB, don’t go crazy or anything and trade LJ for anything less than you would have a week ago.

Jake Plummer – Plummer nearly threw half his INT total from last year in week one, and the media is calling for Jay Cutler. I say Plummer will be fine, and it was an impressive effort by Jim Haslett’s surprising defense. Plummer still makes for a fine QB2, especially when playing at home.

Kevin Jones – I’m stubbornly sticking to my stance that Jones is a stiff, but the 5 catches for 45 yards is a great sign for his fantasy owners. A back in Mike Martz’s offense needs adroit receiving ability.

Roy Williams – Don’t worry, he’ll be fine.

News & Notes

Saturday, September 9th, 2006
  • The Minnesota Twins are 69-0 this season when ahead after eight innings.
  • For the first time in more than three decades, there were seven shutouts in Tuesday’s schedule. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, it was the most shutouts on one day since there were a record eight on June 4, 1972, when 16 games were played.
  • Since the All-Star break, Brad Penny has a 6.46 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP over 62 2/3 innings.
  • Over his last five starts, Matt Cain is 4-0 and has yielded one run over 34 innings for a 0.26 ERA.
  • 0: The number of NFC West teams that have repeated as champions since the division was realigned in 2002.
  • 5: The current number of consecutive Super Bowl losers (Seahawks, Eagles, Panthers, Raiders, Rams) that have failed to reach .500 the following season.

  • A couple start/sit suggestions before kick off…

Start – Chris Henry – If TJ Houshmandzadeh doesn’t suit up, Henry makes for a fine WR3 and even WR2 option against a weak Kansas City secondary.

DeShaun Foster – While most Foster owners probably plan on using him every week while healthy, his matchup against Atlanta week 1 is especially enticing. In two games against them last year, Foster gained 345 total yards and three TDs, with a 7.05 yards per carry clip.

Nate Burleson – With Darrell Jackson reportedly only set to play 25 snaps, Burleson looks like Seattle’s No. 1 WR option this week. He’ll exploit Detroit’s secondary and be worth inserting into your lineup.

Sit – Muhsin Muhammad – While the matchup against Green Bay looks good on the surface, realize the one thing the Packers do have going for them is Al Harris, one of the best cover corners in the game. Not only that, Harris typically stays with the opposing team’s No. 1 wideout throughout the game, so expect Muhammad to be blanketed Sunday.

Ahman Green – Green says he’s ready for the full load, but remember he’s barely played a snap since last October. Factor in Chicago’s stingy D, and Green is someone to avoid this week.

Steve Smith – It’s looking more and more like he’s going to be a no-go Sunday. Even if he does dress, he’ll be playing on not one but two bad hamstrings. The Panthers would be better off resting Smith and looking toward the rest of the season.

Balt/TB – Save for Caddy Williams, I wouldn’t feel comfortable starting any offensive player in this game.

Bet On It

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

With all the hoopla surrounding fantasy drafts and first week starting rankings, I nearly forgot my first love as a pro football fan, which along with Madden ’96, consumed me throughout my formative and fragile year as a 110-pound high school freshman. I am talking about, of course, the noble art of simple football betting. Walking around with a little ‘docket’ pad where I could keep track of all my $5 and $10 wagers, I was pretty legit and had a successful season, culminated by winning multiple bets against Jeff when the Jaguars upset his favorite team (when they were good that is) the Bills, in Jim Kelly’s last game in Buffalo. But enough reminiscing. Since this is the first week of the NFL season, I’m going to touch on a few issues before making some picks.

Now all serious gamblers usually make their wagers right when the spreads come out, as there are always a couple that are off but quickly adjust after the pro gamers take advantage. Dalton, for example, is a degener. . .umm, serious gambler and saw that Philadelphia was a meager 4 point favorite over Houston. The spread is now at 5.5. Similarly, I liked Pittsburgh, even with Charlie Batch, as a 1 point dog at home against the Dolphins. Now the Steelers are 1 point favorites.

In terms of straight bets this week, I like the Colts at -3.5. I stubbornly continue to believe that the Colts are the best team in football and think that they’ll be able to win by better than a field goal at New York. I also like the Bengals at +1.5 to beat the Chiefs.

Some of my favorite bets to make, and bets that I know Dalton almost makes exclusively, are teasers. For those of you who don’t know, teasers are essentially parlays where you receive additional points in exchange for lowered odds. For example, if you pick two teams (or over/unders) you can choose to add 6, 6.5 or 7 points to their spread. You have to bet 110 to win 100 if you’re teasing 6 points, 120 to win 100 for 6.5 and 130 to win 100 for 7. Three-bet teasers pay +180, +160 and +140 and -110 for 6, 6.5, 7 and 10 points respectively while four-bet teasers pay +300, +250, +200 and -110 for 6, 6.5, 7 and 13 points respectively. Simple, right?

Now, I have two general strategies when teasing bets. One is taking a low-scoring team and the under, which benefits from their style of play. For example, the Bears should be able to clamp down on the Packers, winning a low scoring game. I would tease the Bears and the under 6.5 points each, meaning that as long as the Bears don’t lose by 4 or more points and under 42 total points are scored, I win the bet. When teasing over/unders, I always tease very low-scoring games. 6 points is far more significant in a Steelers/Bears game than a Patriots/Colts game, yet it costs the same.

The second strategy is picking a couple of favorites in the -6 to -9 range who I feel a veritable lock to win their games and tease them down to the point where it becomes a pick ’em. The Patriots, Cardinals, Eagles and Seahawks all fit that bill this week. However, I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see the Eagles and Seahawks lose road games, while I just can’t see the Pats or Cardinals losing to the lowly Bills or Niners. I’ll tease NE and Zona 6.5, down to -2.5 and -1 respectively. Let the games begin!

PS – I almost forgot, on Bodog, some lines are -105/-115 or even 100/-120 instead of the usual -110 on both sides. However, these discrepancies are not taken into consideration in teasers (they are in parlays). While minute, this presents a minor arbitrage to take advantage of, or at least consider, when placing teaser bets.

Dalton’s Picks

While Robby covered the bases, I’d like to add a bit as well. There are some futures bets I find especially enticing, namely the over/under on teams regular season wins. My absolute favorite is Green Bay UNDER 6 1/2 wins. Some others I like include: Baltimore UNDER 8 wins at +140, Cincinnati OVER 9 wins, and Philadelphia OVER 8 1/2 wins.

As for week one, using the Cardinals, Eagles and Patriots in a 7-point teaser seems like the way to go.

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Week 1 Rankings

Thursday, September 7th, 2006

Robby’s Rankings

Fantasy football is all about matchups. No good team starts the same lineup every week, as there will be an incredible amount of fluctuation from week to week based on opponent. That said, week one is always wacky and is the hardest week of the season to predict both team and individual results. But I’ll give it a shot. . .

Quarterbacks

I like eight quarterbacks this week; after that it’s a real crapshoot. Jon Kitna is my sneaky start of the week, playing at home in a dome and throwing a lot in the second half.

1. Peyton Manning
2. Kurt Warner
2. Carson Palmer
3. Tom Brady
4. Matt Hasselbeck
5. Donovan McNabb
6. Marc Bulger
7. Jake Plummer
8. Eli Manning
9. Aaron Brooks
10. Jon Kitna
11. Trent Green
12. Drew Bledsoe
13. Philip Rivers
14. Byron Leftwich
15. Jake Delhomme
16. Mark Brunell
17. David Carr
18. Michael Vick
19. Chris Simms
20. JP Losman

Running Backs

These rankings are based on a standard scoring system with 0.5 points awarded for receptions (think of it as a compromise). Edge James, Reuben Droughns and Thomas Jones should outperform their usual weekly output. I’ve omitted Clinton Portis and Ladell Betts from the list, although it now looks like Portis will play. I’d rank him in the low 20s. I’m also leaving Laurence Maroney out of the top-30 by a hair due to his knee injury, as I doubt he’ll get much of a workload.

1-3. “The Big Three”
4. Edgerrin James
5. Rudi Johnson
6. Tiki Barber
7. Lamont Jordan
8. Steven Jackson
9. Willie Parker
10. Brian Westbrook
11. Ronnie Brown
12. Reuben Droughns
13. Thomas Jones
14. Frank Gore
15. Julius Jones
16. Fred Taylor
17. DeShaun Foster
18. Kevin Jones
19. Willis McGahee
20. Chester Taylor
21. Corey Dillon
22. Dominic Rhodes
23. Wali Lundy
24. Warrick Dunn
25. Jamal Lewis
26. Chris Brown
27. Reggie Bush
28. Tatum Bell
29. Mike Bell
30. Kevan Barlow
31. Joseph Addai

Wide Receivers

I’m anticipating big debuts by Nate Burleson and Javon Walker. I’ve omitted Steve Smith pending further news of the hamstring but would pencil him in around No. 20 right now.

1. Torry Holt
2. Chad Johnson
3. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Anquan Boldin
5. TO
6. Randy Moss
7. Roy Williams
8. Marvin Harrison
9. Reggie Wayne
10. Santana Moss
11. Chris Chambers
12. TJ Houshmandzadeh
13. Plaxico Burress
14. Andre Johnson
15. Nate Burleson
16. Javon Walker
17. Antonio Bryant
18. Hines Ward
19. Lee Evans
20. Derrick Mason
21. Joey Galloway
22. Donald Driver
23. Reggie Brown
24. Darrell Jackson
25. Drew Bennett
26. Mushin Muhammed
27. Laveranues Coles
28. Eddie Kennison
29. Terry Glenn
30. Joe Horn
31. Michael Clayton
32. Matt Jones
33. Roddy White
34. Rod Smith
35. Alvis Whitted

Jeff’s Rankings

Quarterbacks

1. Carson Palmer

This is a no-brainer, as CP has shown no ill-effects from his offseason knee surgery. The Bengals will employ a three-set as their base formation in what should be a high scoring affair.

2. Peyton Manning
3. Kurt Warner
4. Donovan McNabb
5. Tom Brady
6. Matt Hasselbeck

Rod Marinelli will gear his team to stop Shaun Alexander. Although stopping Alexander will be tough, the Detroit defense will key in on #37 often, leaving passing lanes open for Hasselbeck. I like the Seattle signal caller for 240 yards and a couple scores.

7. Marc Bulger
8. Eli Manning
9. Aaron Brooks
10. Jake Plummer

The Rams will have their hands full trying to stop the run, while Plummer will execute on numerous bootlegs to Rod Smith and Javon Walker. The St. Louis secondary is subpar to say the least, and Plummer will be good for 230 yards passing, 30 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.

11. Trent Green
12. Drew Bledsoe
13. Jon Kitna
14. Philip Rivers
15. Michael Vick
16. Byron Leftwich
17. Jake Delhomme

With Steve Smith’s status in limbo, I do not like Delhomme’s chances against a revamped Atlanta defense. This game should be a defensive affair, and if Steve Smith is subpar or missing in action, then Delhomme is obviously a poor start.

18. Mark Brunell
19. J.P. Losman
20. Alex Smith

Running Backs

1. Shaun Alexander
2. LaDainian Tomlinson
3. Larry Johnson
4. Rudi Johnson
5. Reuben Droughns

My sleeper of the week should have success against the NFL’s poorest tackling team. I like Droughns to rush for at least 100 yards with 20 yards through the air.

6. Tiki Barber
7. Thomas Jones
8. Edgerrin James
9. LaMont Jordan
10. Willie Parker
11. Brian Westbrook
12. Corey Dillon

Without Laurence Maroney around to steal his thunder, Dillon should hover around 90 yards with at least one score.

13. Steven Jackson
14. Frank Gore
15. Ronnie Brown

It should be tough sledding Thursday night as the Champs will rally around their defense.

16. Tatum Bell
17. Fred Taylor
18. Julius Jones
19. Willis McGahee
20. DeShaun Foster
21. Reggie Bush

Although Romeo Crennell has some tricks up his sleeve, Bush will likely turn a couple swing passes for big yardage. Cleveland LB Andra Davis will have his work cut out for him.

22. Warrick Dunn
23. Jamal Lewis
24. Chester Taylor
25. Mike Bell
26. Kevin Jones

The Lions will be forced to abandon the run at some point in the second half, while Julian Peterson and Co. will bottle up Jones in the first half.

27. Joseph Addai
28. Chris Brown
29. Wali Lundy
30. Dominic Rhodes

Wide Receivers

I too excluded Steve Smith for now. Like Robby, I consider him as a middle tier player if he suits up.

1. Chad Johnson
2. Larry Fitzgerald
3. Anquan Boldin

The Cards’ receivers will have continued success versus the ‘Niners in 2006.

4. Randy Moss
5. Torry Holt
6. Terrell Owens

Owens claims that he’ll be ready for Sunday, and when it comes to matters on the field, I’ll take his word for it.

7. Marvin Harrison
8. Reggie Wayne
9. Roy Williams
10. Chris Chambers
11. Santana Moss
12. T.J. Houshmanzadeh

Housh is currently listed as questionable, so check his status on Sunday morning.

13. Plaxico Burress
14. Javon Walker
15. Andre Johnson
16. Lee Evans
17. Hines Ward
18. Antonio Bryant
19. Donald Driver
20. Nate Burleson

Burleson will be relied on has the Seahawks’ number one option through the air, as D-Jax won’t be at 100 percent if he plays. Six catches for 80 yards is not out of the question.

21. Matt Jones
22. Reggie Brown
23. Derrick Mason
24. Terry Glenn
25. Drew Bennett
26. Eddie Kennison
27. Chris Henry

Cincy will toy with multiple WR sets, and if Houshmanzadeh is ailing, Henry will come up huge against the Chiefs. With or without Housh in the lineup, I like Henry to produce 60 yards and a score.

28. Joey Galloway
29. Joe Horn
30. Rod Smith
31. Keenan McCardell
32. Laveranues Coles
33. Muhsin Muhammed
34. Michael Clayton
35. Roddy White

NFL Predictions

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Dalton’s Outlook

AFC EAST
1. New England Patriots 11-5
2. *Miami Dolphins 10-6
3. New York Jets 5-11
4. Buffalo Bills 4-12

AFC NORTH
1. Cincinnati Bengals 11-5
2. *Pittsburgh Steelers 10-6
3. Baltimore Ravens 7-9
4. Cleveland Browns 6-10

AFC SOUTH
1. Indianapolis Colts 12-4
2. Jacksonville Jaguars 8-8
3. Houston Texans 5-11
4. Tennessee Titans 4-12

AFC WEST
1. Denver Broncos 11-5
2. Kansas City Chiefs 9-7
3. San Diego Chargers 9-7
4. Oakland Raiders 5-11

NFC EAST
1. Philadelphia Eagles 11-5
2. *Dallas Cowboys 10-6
3. *New York Giants 10-6
4. Washington Redskins 6-10

NFC NORTH
1. Chicago Bears 10-6
2. Detroit Lions 7-9
3. Minnesota Vikings 7-9
4. Green Bay Packers 4-12

NFC SOUTH
1. Carolina Panthers11-5
2. Atlanta Falcons 9-7
3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9-7
4. New Orleans Saints 5-11

NFC WEST
1. Seattle Seahawks 11-5
2. Arizona Cardinals 8-8
3. St. Louis Rams 7-9
4. San Francisco 49ers 4-12

AFC WILD CARD
Bengals over Steelers
Dolphins over Broncos

NFC WILD CARD
Eagles over Giants
Bears over Cowboys

AFC DIVISONAL ROUND
Bengals over Patriots
Colts over Dolphins

NFC DIVISIONAL ROUND
Panthers over Eagles
Seahawks over Bears

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Colts over Bengals

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Seahawks over Panthers

SUPER BOWL
Colts over Seahawks

NFL MVP
Carson Palmer

Offensive Player of the Year
Donovan McNabb

Defensive Player of the Year
Osi Umenyiora

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Reggie Bush

Defensive Rookie of the Year
AJ Hawk

Comeback Player of the Year
Daunte Culpepper

Jeff’s Outlook

AFC EAST
1. New England 11-5
2. *Miami 10-6
3. Buffalo 6-10
4. Jets 3-13

AFC NORTH
1. Bengals 11-5
2. *Ravens 9-7
3. Steelers 9-7
4. Browns 4-12

AFC SOUTH
1. Colts 12-4
2. Jaguars 8-8
3. Texans 5-11
4. Titans 5-11

AFC WEST
1. Broncos 12-4
2. Chiefs 9-7
3. Raiders 8-8
4. Chargers 7-9

NFC EAST
1. Giants 10-6
2. *Cowboys 9-7
3. Eagles 8-8
4. Redskins 8-8

NFC NORTH
1. Bears 10-6
2. Vikings 8-8
3. Packers 5-11
4. Lions 5-11

NFC SOUTH
1. Panthers 11-5
2. *Falcons 9-7
3. Buccaneers 8-8
4. Saints 5-11

NFC WEST
1. Seahawks 12-4
2. Rams 8-8
3. Cardinals 7-9
4. 49ers 4-12

AFC WILD CARD
Patriots 27, Ravens 14
Bengals 31, Dolphins 21

NFC WILD CARD
Bears 17, Falcons 14
Giants 28, Cowboys 23

AFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
Colts 27, Patriots 24
Bengals 34, Broncos 28

NFC DIVISIONAL PLAYOFFS
Seahawks 30, Giants 17
Panthers 20, Bears 3

AFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Colts 33, Bengals 27

NFC CHAMPIONSHIP
Panthers 23, Seahawks 20

SUPER BOWL XLI
Colts 31, Panthers 29

NFL MVP
Peyton Manning

Offensive Player of the Year
Shaun Alexander

Defensive Player of the Year
Julius Peppers

Offensive Rookie of the Year
Reggie Bush

Defensive Rookie of the Year
Michael Huff

Comeback Player of the Year
Kellen Winslow Jr.

News & Notes

Sunday, September 3rd, 2006
  • The Elias Sports Bureau reports that Dan Uggla is just the fourth player in the last 50 years to record 20 home runs and 75 RBI in his debut season in the majors.
  • The Tampa Bay Devil Rays are 2-20 on the road since the All-Star break.
  • Chris Young still hasn’t lost a road game since June 25, 2005. He’s 6-0 in 12 road starts this season and 9-0 over his last 21 starts away from home.
  • Noah Lowry has a 10-0 record and 2.33 ERA for the month of August in his four-year career.
  • The Twins are 23-2 in Johan Santana’s last 25 starts.
  • Miami RB Sammy Morris was reportedly suspended for taking Sudafed.
  • The Cardinals’ pitching staff could post the highest ERA in history for a team that finishes first. It’s 4.56. The record belongs to the 1997 Giants, who won their division despite a 4.39 ERA. The Giants were champs despite allowing more runs than they scored.
  • Opponents have stolen 36 of 37 bases with Freddy Garcia on the mound this season.

  • Cleveland’s Kevin Kouzmanoff hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw as a major leaguer Saturday night.
  • The Florida Marlins’ record is 68-68. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that means they’re the first team since the 1899 Louisville Colonels to return to .500 after falling 20 games below that mark earlier in the season.
  • Despite ranking third in the majors in runs and fifth in league run differential (plus-67), the Indians are just 65-70. According to Baseball Prospectus’ adjusted standings, the Tribe should have about 11 more wins given their secondary indicators.
  • Make sure Anthony Reyes isn’t available in your league, and if he is, give him a look if you could use the innings. While he didn’t overly impress his first time in the rotation, after Sunday’s performance he’s now thrown over 19 straight scoreless innings counting his Triple-A stats. He’s in the Cardinals’ rotation for good now with Mark Mulder on the shelf and possesses a real solid repertoire. He could be a difference maker for your team.
  • Check in later this week for our preview of the NFL season, as we’ll predict how each division will play out this year. We’ll also give you a few over/under team wins bets that look enticing for this season.

Updated Tight End Rankings

Saturday, September 2nd, 2006

Dalton’s Tight End Rankings

1. Antonio Gates

I wouldn’t overly concern myself about Philip Rivers. Sure, he’ll make mistakes common with first year starters that will hurt the Chargers, but that doesn’t mean he won’t target Gates 150 times.

2. Todd Heap
3. Jeremy Shockey
4. Tony Gonzalez

Not much separation in this group. Steve McNair loves his tight ends, and Heap has a great shot at being the second most productive TE in the league this year.

5. Ben Watson
6. Chris Cooley
7. Heath Miller
8. Alge Crumpler
9. L.J. Smith
10. Jason Witten
11. Randy McMichael

Watson’s draft stock has risen about as much as any other player this preseason. If Deion Branch truly sits out, he’s the Pats’ No. 1 receiver. I bumped Crumpler down some because of his lack of receptions, but if your league is not PPR, then feel free to move him up a couple slots.

12. Ben Troupe
13. Alex Smith
14. Kellen Winslow
15. Dallas Clark

These all make fine TE2s.

Robby’s Tight End Rankings

The way I see it there are four ways to draft tight ends this year. . .

1. Antonio Gates

Take Gates with a late third/early fourth round pick.

2. Jeremy Shockey
3. Tony Gonzalez
4. Todd Heap

Take whichever one of these guys falls the furthest in the sixth round or so (it should be Heap).

5. Alge Crumpler
6. Randy McMichael
7. Chris Cooley
8. Jason Witten
9. Heath Miller
10. L.J. Smith
11. Ben Watson

Wait on this group and get a quality guy late in the draft.

12. Vernon Davis
13. Kellen “Warrior” Winslow
14. Ben Troupe
15. Alex Smith

Grab two of these guys at the end of the draft and hope one turns into a star.

Jeff’s Tight End Rankings

Tier Gates
1. Antonio Gates
‘Nuff said.

Tier Two
2. Todd Heap
3. Jeremy Shockey
4. Tony Gonzalez

If he can stay healthy, Heap will be a monster this season.

Tier Three
5. Chris Cooley
6. Jason Witten
7. Alge Crumpler
8. Heath Miller
9. Randy McMichael
10. Ben Watson

I am becoming a Ben Watson believer. If Deion Branch does not suit up for the Pats in ’06, pencil Watson in as Brady’s new favorite receiver (next to Sirius Satellite Radio, of course).

Tier Four
11. L.J. Smith
12. Kellen Winslow II
13. Vernon Davis
14. Jermaine Wiggins

While serviceable, I wouldn’t want one of these guys as my starting tight end.