Archive for October, 2007

Prediction Time

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

Check out my season preview over at NBA.com.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Peyton Manning only completed 46.7 percent of his passes Sunday, what a scrub…It’s now clear the whole RBBC situation in Indy had more to do with Joseph Addai’s shoulder injury than anything else. He’s officially back to being a top-3 fantasy player…Nice to see Reggie Wayne flash some downfield ability, it’s a pretty rare aspect of his game…DeAngelo Williams was one of the “busts” I got right entering the season…The Colts pass defense is the best in the league; can’t wait to see them match up with the Patriots.

Brian Griese didn’t just throw four picks Sunday, he threw three of them in the Lions’ end zone…Looks like Greg Olsen is going to be a star in this league…If you can’t start Cedric Benson at home against Detroit, you can’t start him anywhere, anytime, period…If you’re not yet treating Kevin Jones like a top-10 fantasy player, you’re missing the boat…I can’t explain it succinctly, but there’s something to this whole Super Bowl loser hangover thing.

Sure, interceptions are frequently mixed in, but Ben Roethlisberger makes some of the most impressive plays from the quarterback position week in and week out…I don’t care if you want to use injury as an excuse, Kenny Watson simply cannot lose the RB job to Rudi Johnson at this point…Santonio Holmes has a very bright future ahead of him. If I’m in a keeper league, I’d treat him like a top-10 WR commodity right now…All those magazines that had Chad Johnson ranked as a top-3 (or higher) fantasy WR entering the year simply weren’t dissecting the numbers – the fact T.J. Houshmandzadeh is getting all of the scores should come as a surprise to no one.

I’d be surprised if that wasn’t Cleo Lemon’s final start of the season…Brandon Jacobs is a better running back than I thought he was…Go ahead and treat Jesse Chatman like a top-12 fantasy RB from here on out…London didn’t exactly get a great representation of American football, to say the least.

The hardest thing to forecast in the NFL right now is which wide receiver in Minnesota is going to catch the TD from week to week…Adrian Peterson is going to be huge given a heavier workload, but that QB situation is god-awful…If you can sell-high with Donovan McNabb, I’d do it.

My man-passion for Derek Anderson is getting restraining order worthy…Don’t let Marc Bulger’s statistics fool you – this Cleveland secondary is the worst in the league…I get the feeling Steven Jackson’s injury issues are little more concerning than the team is letting on…If I were an NFL GM, I’d make Braylon Edwards the first wide receiver off the board if a draft were held today…There’s no doubt in my mind that Jerome Harrison is the best running back on the Browns’ roster.

If I’m counting on LaMont Jordan over the rest of the season, I’m terrified. Whether it be back issues or not, he simply doesn’t look the same as he did earlier this season. Justin Fargas is currently running better…The Titans passing game is a joke…Daunte Culpepper’s career is officially finished…LenDale White had the best game of his career Sunday, but Chris Henry has to be owned in all fantasy leagues at this point. He’s the team’s most explosive runner, and Tennessee is extremely run-heavy. He has some serious upside.

Might as well pick up Kellen Clemens to see what he can do…For what it’s worth, Jerricho Cotchery had easily his best game of the season the one time Clemens got the start, and if Laveranues Coles’ injury proves serious, his value would increase significantly…Nice to see Lee Evans get on the scoresheet, the guy is quite the downfield threat.

Ron Dayne isn’t a terrible guy to stash this week if you’re in a pinch. Ahman Green is done, and the impressive Adimchinobi Echemandu is dinged up as well. Dayne is a stiff, of course, but he could be in store for a heavy workload against a terrible Raiders run D this week…Vincent Jackson has officially lost all fantasy value…43 percent of Philip Rivers’ completions went for touchdowns last week.

The Jaguars are the anti-Bengals – a terrible collection of wide receivers and quarterback yet a very solid football team…Maurice Jones-Drew led all Jacksonville receivers with two catches Sunday.

I really don’t care about the Patriots running up the score – it’s funny if nothing else – but it sure was crazy to see them go for it on fourth down up 45-0 in the fourth quarter Sunday. They called a pass play to boot…The Patriots/Colts game is the biggest game in NFL history. It’s not just two undefeated teams this deep into the season, it features two historically good teams. The Colts are certainly better than last year’s Super Bowl version, and New England is going to shatter all offensive records before it’s said and done. The five-point spread is one of the craziest lines I’ve ever seen.

I’m not sure the Saints should get credit for that win Sunday, this 49ers team belongs on the JV…I guess Marques Colston isn’t the next Michael Clayton…Looks like the Seahawks knew what they were doing trading Darrell Jackson inside their division.

I own both Selvin Young and Travis Henry and wish Henry would just get suspended already…Brandon Marshall is legit…Brandon Stokley isn’t a bad play this week. He’s getting the targets and faces a terrible Detroit secondary…Pretty crazy ending to that Monday-nighter, but ESPN’s telecast is becoming increasingly unwatchable.

NFL Barometer

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Here are this week’s Risers & Fallers. Tuesday Morning Quarterback still to come.

Fantasy Basketball Draft

Saturday, October 27th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

The following is my main league’s fantasy hoops draft that took place last week, rounds 1-10. One huge thing to remember here is that we don’t count free throw percentage or turnovers, so it’s unique in that aspect. Also, we use weighted categories, with points, rebounds and assists worth the most, blocks and steals in between and 3PT/FG% worth the least. Here are the results:

ROUND ONE

1. LeBron James
2. Kevin Garnett
3. Kobe Bryant
4. Shawn Marion
5. Gilbert Arenas
6. Josh Smith
7. Yao Ming
8. Dirk Nowitzki
9. Steve Nash
10. Dwight Howard

My Pick: Here are J-Smoove’s numbers from after the All-Star break last year: 18.9 ppg, 9.4 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.3 spg and 3.1 bpg. He’s 21 years old.

Best Pick: Not that any were bad picks, but I especially liked Steve Nash at No. 9 and Dwight Howard at No. 10. With our league specifics, Howard wouldn’t have been an unreasonable pick at No. 5. He’s already the NBA’s best rebounder.

Worst Pick: Hard to argue with any of these top-10.

ROUND TWO

11. Tim Duncan
12. Amare Stoudemire
13. Jason Kidd
14. Al Jefferson
15. Pau Gasol
16. Marcus Camby
17. Chris Paul
18. Chris Bosh
19. Andre Iguodala
20. Dwayne Wade

My Pick: I really wanted Kidd or Jefferson to fall to me, and the latter likely would have in most leagues, but instead, I went with Gasol. His assist numbers are terrific for someone center-eligible, but I’m not in love with the fact he’s already dealing with an ankle injury.

Best Pick: If Kidd can stay healthy, he’s officially become the most underrated fantasy player alive. The guy nearly averages a triple-double yet continuously falls into the second round.

Worst Pick: Since this isn’t a head-to-head league, I think Wade went a little too early here. He might miss the first six weeks and who knows how close to full strength he’ll be when he does return. Obviously, there’s an argument that he’s the No. 1 fantasy player when healthy, but there’s just too much risk here.

ROUND THREE

21. Paul Pierce
22. Jermaine O’Neal
23. Vince Carter
24. Deron Williams
25. Gerald Wallace
26. Emeka Okafor
27. Baron Davis
28. Carlos Boozer
29. Allen Iverson
30. Tracy McGrady

My Pick: I’m not thrilled with Okafor’s propensity to get injured, but I wanted two bigs early, and my center position is quite strong with Okafor and Gasol. Moreover, blocks is probably the scarcest category, and I’ve got three major contributors right off the bat. Sorry for the noise fellas, but I’ll be throwing a block party all year long – BYOB.
Best Pick: I like Deron Williams this round because there’s a precipitous drop at point guard after him, but I’ll pick Tracy McGrady here. He averaged a career-high in assists last season, and Rick Adelman’s newly installed offense should boost his stats. He’s a steal at No. 30.

Worst Pick: Considering Jermaine O’Neal’s ADP is 40, I’m going the injury-prone center here.

ROUND FOUR

31. Chauncey Billups
32. Joe Johnson
33. Carmelo Anthony
34. Jason Richardson
35. Lamar Odom
36. Rashard Lewis
37. Ray Allen
38. Caron Butler
39. Antawn Jamison
40. Michael Redd

My Pick: I always seem to end up with Odom every year, and I have no problem with getting him here, despite the concerns with his shoulder. I find it hard to believe there are 34 more valuable players than someone who averages 10.0 rpg, 5.0 apg with a steal and a 3PT.

Best Pick: Ray Allen isn’t as valuable in this format with 3PT devalued, but still, he slipped a bit too far.

Worst Pick: I really have no problem with any of these picks.

ROUND FIVE

41. Kevin Durant
42. Ron Artest
43. Josh Howard
44. Tyson Chandler
45. Corey Maggette
46. Mo Williams
47. Brandon Roy
48. Kevin Martin
49. Luol Deng
50. Andrei Kirilenko

My Pick: Ugh. I really wanted Durant, Artest and Maggette to fall to me but to no avail. I also almost took Roy, but his heel concerns made me ultimately pass. Mo Williams had an underrated season last year, but I wasn’t thrilled with this selection.

Best Pick: I think Durant is going to be huge, and the same goes for Maggette (although his FT prowess goes for naught in this league). Additionally, I expect a big bounce back year from AK-47, and I got greedy expecting him to fall even further like he has in so many other leagues. I had plenty of blockers on my team anyway, but Kirilenko is going to be the steal of many fantasy drafts this season.

Worst Pick: He was given a $52 million contract, but Williams went nearly undrafted in the 2003 NBA Draft, so there’s not a great pedigree here. I’m a little worried and always jump at the chance to be self-deprecating.

ROUND SIX

51. Raymond Felton
52. Zach Randolph
53. Kirk Hinrich
54. LaMarcus Aldridge
55. Andre Miller
56. Ricky Davis
57. Rasheed Wallace
58. Ben Wallace
59. Tony Parker
60. Samuel Dalembert

My Pick: After waiting on the position, I’m glad I got two solid point guards, especially ones who won’t kill your FG%, something becoming increasingly rare.

Best Pick: Felton has major upside with Brevin Knight gone, but he’ll need to drastically improve his shooting to reach it. I’ll take Randolph here – I expect a big season with the move to the inferior East.

Worst Pick: This was 100 percent not the owner’s fault because the trade hadn’t occurred yet, but in hindsight, Ricky Davis went too high now that he’ll be sharing the ball in Miami. His value will really take a hit once Wade returns.

ROUND SEVEN

61. Andris Biedrins
62. Shaquille O’Neal
63. Andrea Bargnani
64. Mehmet Okur
65. T.J. Ford
66. Rudy Gay
67. Stephen Jackson
68. Ben Gordon
69. David West
70. Mike Miller

My Pick: I’ve hyped him up, so I might as well back it up.

Best Pick: Shaq O’Neal gets a big boost in this format, but he’s still on the decline and injury-prone. If T.J. Ford plays 80 games, he’ll go down as the best pick this round, and if Mike Miller produces the same stats as he did last season, then he’ll be a major steal here as well.

Worst Pick: None.

ROUND EIGHT

71. Stephon Marbury
72. Mike Bibby
73. Ruben Patterson
74. Rajon Rondo
75. Randy Foye
76. Jameer Nelson
77. Monta Ellis
78. Manu Ginobili
79. Leandro Barbosa
80. Danny Granger

My Pick: I took a stab here, but Foye’s role isn’t too established right now. The way I see it, Bassy Telfair has to be considered one of the weakest competitions in the league, right? Foye has to win that job.

Best Pick: Marbury has been falling too late in drafts, Rondo could lead the league in steals, but I especially liked the Ginobili and Granger picks.

Worst Pick: Bibby wasn’t hurt when that pick occurred, obviously, so you can’t fault that one. Ruben Patterson was probably the biggest surprise of the entire draft for me, but really, he’s a pretty underrated performer when he gets minutes, and there are opportunities in LA with no Elton Brand. Barbosa strikes me as a bust with Grant Hill joining the fold and an improved Boris Diaw this year.

ROUND NINE

81. Andrew Bogut
82. Devin Harris
83. Mike Conley Jr.
84. Jamaal Tinsley
85. Chris Wilcox
86. Al Harrington
87. Darko Milicic
88. Jason Terry
89. Chris Kaman
90. Brad Miller

My Pick: I really didn’t want to deal with Don Nelson’s lineup changes this season, but with Harrington center-eligible and early glowing reports from training camp, I had to pull the trigger.

Best Pick: This might sound surprising, but I’ll actually take Jamaal Tinsley as my favorite of the round. The new offensive freedom could do wonders for him; expect him to be among the league-leaders in dimes when he’s healthy enough to play.

Worst Pick: Considering Mike Conley Jr. has been named the team’s No. 3 point guard, he probably went a little too early. Darko!!!

ROUND TEN

91. Richard Hamilton
92. Richard Jefferson
93. Eddy Curry
94. Andres Nocioni
95. Raja Bell
96. Zydrunas Ilgauskas
97. Andrew Bynum
98. Boris Diaw
99. Tyrus Thomas
100. Tayshaun Prince

My Pick: A big help in threes, a category I felt I needed to specifically address.

Best Pick: Remember when Nocioni was going ahead of Luol Deng last year? I like Bynum and Thomas’ upside here the most.

Worst Pick: None.

My Final Roster

PG – Mo Williams
SG – Randy Foye
G – Andre Miller
G – Raja Bell
SF – Josh Smith
PF – Lamar Odom
F – Rudy Gay
F – Al Harrington
C – Pau Gasol
C – Emeka Okafor
Util – Jamal Crawford
Util – David Lee

Bench – Peja Stojakovic
Bench – Brevin Knight
Bench – Tony Allen
Bench – Bonzi Wells
Bench – Kwame Brown
Bench – Theo Ratliff

Bet on It

Friday, October 26th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Last week I went 11-3 ATS and 13-1 straight up, losing only the Eagles game in the final seconds. Apparently, even a blind squirrel finds a nut from time to time. I’d say odds are I never have as good of a week ever again, but it did bring my overall season record to a not-so-bad 49-46-8.

Browns -3 at Rams

Lions +5 at Bears

Colts -6.5 at Panthers

Dolphins +9.5 vs. Giants

Raiders +7.5 at Titans

Eagles -1 at Vikings

Steelers -3.5 at Bengals

Bills +3 at Jets

Texans +11.5 at Chargers

Jaguars +3.5 at Buccaneers

Saints -2.5 at 49ers

Redskins +16.5 at Patriots

Packers +3 at Broncos

Best Bet: Broncos

Comments: I struggled coming up with a “best bet” this week, but I’m going with Denver. Their weakness – run defense – is unlikely to be exploited by the NFL’s most anemic ground game, and their secondary remains one of the league’s elite. Jay Cutler looked like a new QB coming off the bye last week – let’s see if he can keep it going.

Week 8 Lineup Rankings

Friday, October 26th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Derek Anderson
4. Carson Palmer
5. Ben Roethlisberger
6. Eli Manning

7. Brian Griese
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Jon Kitna
10. Marc Bulger
11. Jay Cutler
12. Chad Pennington
13. Philip Rivers
14. Matt Schaub/Sage Rosenfels
15. Drew Brees

16. Brett Favre
17. Trent Edwards
18. Cleo Lemon
19. Jason Campbell
20. Vince Young
21. Alex Smith
22. Jeff Garcia
23. Daunte Culpepper

Running Backs

1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Adrian Peterson

3. Brandon Jacobs
4. Willie Parker
5. Frank Gore
6. Reggie Bush
7. Brian Westbrook
8. Joseph Addai
9. Marshawn Lynch

10. Steven Jackson
11. Jesse Chatman
12. LenDale White
13. Kevin Jones
14. Maurice Jones-Drew (check status)
15. Thomas Jones
16. Travis Henry (check status)
17. Laurence Maroney
18. LaMont Jordan
19. Clinton Portis
20. Cedric Benson
21. Kenny Watson

22. Kenton Keith
23. DeShawn Wynn
24. Jason Wright
25. Earnest Graham
26. DeAngelo Williams
27. Fred Taylor
28. Jerome Harrison
29. Ahman Green
30. Chester Taylor
31. DeShaun Foster (check status)

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Braylon Edwards
3. Plaxico Burress
4. Terrell Owens
5. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
6. Reggie Wayne

7. Steve Smith
8. Chad Johnson
9. Torry Holt
10. Laveranues Coles
11. Bernard Berrian
12. Kevin Curtis
13. Santonio Holmes
14. Lee Evans
15. Brandon Marshall
16. Wes Welker
17. Hines Ward
18. Marvin Harrison (check status)

19. Roy Williams
20. Donald Driver
21. Calvin Johnson
22. Jerricho Cotchery
23. Kevin Walter
24. Joey Galloway
25. Marques Colston
26. Donte’ Stallworth
27. Reggie Brown
28. Muhsin Muhammad
29. Chris Chambers
30. Ronald Curry
31. Greg Jennings

32. Marty Booker
33. Santana Moss
34. Isaac Bruce
35. Amani Toomer
36. Roydell Williams
37. Vincent Jackson
38. Antwaan Randle El

Mid-Season Fantasy Football

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Yesterday I competed in a mid-season fantasy football draft. It’s a “best-ball” league, so there’s no transactions after the draft. It was team quarterback and regular scoring (no PPR). Here are the results. With that in mind, I figured I’d unveil my new top-10s – this isn’t only a reflection of past events, it’s how I’d rank them from this point forward.

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Peyton Manning
3. Carson Palmer
4. Tony Romo
5. Derek Anderson
6. Jon Kitna
7. Matt Hasselbeck
8. Brett Favre
9. Eli Manning
10. Kurt Warner

Running Backs

1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Adrian Peterson
3. Joseph Addai
4. Willie Parker
5. Frank Gore
6. Reggie Bush
7. Marshawn Lynch
8. Kevin Jones
9. Brandon Jacobs
10. Marion Barber

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Braylon Edwards
3. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Plaxico Burress
6. Terrell Owens
7. Chad Johnson
8. Steve Smith
9. Larry Fitzgerald
10. Marvin Harrison

World Series Preview

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

A little tardy here, but I figured I’ve got to keep my momentum going. And by momentum I mean I got the Boston/Cleveland series right. The Rockies have won 21 of 22 and might have some homefield advantage considering the weather. Still, the big layover can’t help, and the Red Sox come out of the vastly superior league. They should and will be favored to win every single game of the series. No way this Colorado pitching staff keeps pitching over its head against this lineup, but they do have a terrific defense and strong bullpen. Still, I’d be surprised if the Rockies win a game and shocked if they win two.

Red Sox 4-0.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Anyone who was surprised the Ravens lost at Buffalo hasn’t seen the team play this year…Remember in the preseason when Dick Jauron was talking about a running back by committee?…For whatever reason, Lee Evans has been much more productive throughout his career (a three year sample) during the second half of seasons. Take a look at the secondaries he’s faced so far – he’s a good buy-low target.

Despite not being 100 percent, Kevin Jones currently looks like a top-10 fantasy back…How about the Lions throwing just 20 times Sunday? What smash-mouth football they are playing in Detroit…Calvin Johnson has scored a TD once every five touches this season…Earnest Graham might have had the most surprising/impressive game Sunday, displaying some nice open field runs to go along with hauling in 13 catches. He’s by far the more valuable back than Michael Bennett.

Jeff Fisher won’t do it, but Chris Henry looks like the best Titans’ running back – at least when the ball is in his hands (he still needs to learn the game’s nuances)…Not sure Ahman Green is even worth a roster spot at this point…Roydell Williams is a sneaky play right now, currently acting as the team’s No. 1 WR. However, this week he faces Nnamdi Asomugha, making him a must-sit…It’s Sage Rosenfels’ world, the rest of us are just paying rent.

I always preach waiting on the QB position in fantasy football, but even I admit Tom Brady is worth a first round pick right now…I’m not sure why the Patriots ever bother running the ball…I’m also not sure I’m ready to live in a world where Wes Welker is a top-10 fantasy WR, but it’s looking like I have no choice…Tough break for Ronnie Brown owners, as there was a pretty good argument that he was the No. 1 fantasy player this season. That said, Jesse Chatman has looked great in relief, and he has top-10 upside as his replacement.

Death. Taxes. Vernon Davis making a back-breaking drop…I keep wanting to write off Amani Toomer, yet he still remains relevant…If Brandon Jacobs can remain healthy – admittedly, a big if – he is going to have serious value over the rest of the season. The Giants’ offense is on a roll, and Tom Coughlin continuously gets his scheme to produce terrific running results. Reuben Droughns struggled in short-yardage situations last week, and Derrick Ward is getting phased out little by little. I treat Jacobs like a top-15 player right now.

According to Fox’s “K-Zone” – or whatever their variation is called – there is no such thing as a called strike.

Bobby Petrino needs to be fired. It’s bad enough wasting carries on Warrick Done, but he also made the worst decision so far in the 2007 NFL season Sunday; with the Falcons down 22-16 at mid-field and 1:58 left, he elected to punt on 4th and 13. A first down by the opposition means the game’s over either way, so field position is essentially irrelevant. Pathetic, way to show faith in your team. Almost as bad as the Indians’ third base coach giving Kenny Lofton the stop sign. Always better playing to win rather than not to lose…That wasn’t the only bone-headed coaching decision in the game, however, as Sean Payton had his own momentary lapse in judgment as well; with the score 20-16 and five minutes left, he elected to go for a 2-point conversion. I’m still trying to figure out what was to gain here – I know what the downside was (23-20). This type of math does not require a rocket scientist.

Clinton Portis is not the runner he once was…Santana Moss’ career has officially hit rock-bottom…Tim Rattay went 1-for-1 for 1 yard and 1 TD Sunday…This Redskins defense is better than most give them credit for.

If there were ever an example of how football is so much more than the skill position players, the Bengals are it…Ocho Quatro – T.J. Houshmandzadeh should probably be considered the second best fantasy WR right now…If Marvin Lewis goes back to feeding Rudi Johnson all the carries over Kenny Watson once he returns, I give up.

More evidence that coaches just don’t understand when (not) to go for the 2-point conversion: Kansas City going for 2 with 11:30 left in a 12-7 game. again, it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure out this isn’t a smart idea…Jared Allen has six sacks over the last three weeks and eight sacks in five games this season. This Chiefs defense is very good.

Adrian Peterson is the best back in the NFL right now…And Marion Barber isn’t too far behind…How high would Jason Witten go if a fantasy draft were held today? Third round?…I’m beginning to think Tarvaris Jackson might not be the answer at the quarterback position in Minnesota.

The Eagles and Bears looked exactly like what they are Sunday – two last place teams…OK, Chicago is .5 games ahead of Minny, but the point is, these teams have been huge disappointments and will continue to be so over the course of the season…I’d place the odds of Donovan McNabb returning to Philadelphia next season at 20 percent…I’m not exactly sure what you could get in a trade for Cedric Benson right now, but if you can make it a case of your favorite beer, I’m on board.

Words can’t describe how bad this Rams team looks. Forget all this Dolphins talk, St. Louis has by far a better chance of finishing winless, despite playing in the easier conference…I pegged Shaun Alexander as a bust entering the season, but I didn’t expect this big of a train-wreck. I probably wouldn’t even pick the guy up if he was dropped in my league. Two years removed from winning the MVP, Alexander currently looks like the NFL’s worst running back.

Someone get this man some Claritin – Willie Parker has officially become allergic to the end zone…As a fellow Travis Henry owner, I can’t wait to see what Selvin Young can do…Brandon Marshall should be viewed as a top-20 WR right now.

If I’m a Joseph Addai owner, I’m scared to death of Kenton Keith’s emergence. That running back situation looks like a full-blown timeshare…The Colts are the most underrated team in the NFL. Yes, you heard that right.

NFL Barometer

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Here’s this week’s Barometer. Monday Morning Quarterback will be a Tuesday version this week.

Chat Transcript

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

Check out my pearls of wisdom.

Bet on It

Saturday, October 20th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Last week I went 6-5-2 to put my season record at 38-43-8. I’m two games over .500 over the last three weeks, so while that’s nothing to write home about, I seem to be improving as the season moves along. That said, this is a pretty rough slate this week, and I feel like I went with a few sucker bets. Now, onto Week 7’s picks:

Cardinals +9 at Redskins

Falcons +9 at Saints

Ravens -3 at Bills

Patriots -16.5 at Dolphins

49ers +9.5 at Giants

Buccaneers +2 at Lions

Titans -1 at Texans

Chiefs +3 at Raiders

Jets +6 at Bengals

Vikings +9.5 at Cowboys

Bears +5 at Eagles

Rams +9 at Seahawks

Steelers -3.5 at Broncos

Colts -3 at Jaguars

Best Bet: Lions

Comments: Detroit is a terrible road team but solid when playing at home. They’ve had two weeks to prepare for a Bucs squad ill suited for playing on turf, and the return of Calvin Johnson and a heavier dose of Kevin Jones mean Tampa Bay will be forced to throw more than they typically like to, especially with such a stagnant running game. Back the Lions.

Fantasy Hoops Chat

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

In case any of you plebeians want some expert advice, I’ll be making myself available for questions via NBA.com via ESPN.com Friday from 1-2 p.m. EST.

Week 7 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Tony Romo
3. Carson Palmer
4. Peyton Manning

5. Jon Kitna
6. Eli Manning
7. Matt Hasselbeck
8. Drew Brees

9. Donovan McNabb
10. Jeff Garcia
11. Chad Pennington
12. Jason Campbell
13. David Garrard
14. Matt Schaub
15. Marc Bulger

16. Daunte Culpepper
17. Brian Griese
18. Ben Roethlisberger
19. Byron Leftwich
20. Jay Cutler
21. Damon Huard
22. Kyle Boller

Running Backs

1. Brian Westbrook
2. Reggie Bush
3. Ronnie Brown
4. Adrian Peterson
5. Willie Parker

6. Larry Johnson
7. Joseph Addai
8. Thomas Jones
9. LaMont Jordan (check status)
10. Clinton Portis
11. Frank Gore
12. Kevin Jones
13. Maurice Jones-Drew
14. Kevin Faulk
15. Shaun Alexander
16. LenDale White
17. Brandon Jacobs
18. Willis McGahee
19. Travis Henry
20. Edgerrin James

21. Cedric Benson
22. Brian Leonard
23. Kenny Watson
24. Marshawn Lynch
25. Earnest Graham
26. Rudi Johnson (check status)
27. Marion Barber
28. Fred Taylor
29. Ahman Green
30. Jerious Norwood
31. Warrick Dunn
32. Chester Taylor
33. Michael Bennett
34. Ladell Betts
35. Derrick Ward (check status)
36. Julius Jones
37. Leon Washington

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Terrell Owens
3. Plaxico Burress
4. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
5. Chad Johnson

6. Roy Williams
7. Joey Galloway
8. Laveranues Coles
9. Jerricho Cotchery
10. Reggie Wayne
11. Marvin Harrison
12. Larry Fitzgerald

13. Marques Colston
14. Anquan Boldin (check status)
15. Derrick Mason
16. Torry Holt
17. Ronald Curry
18. Bobby Engram
19. Calvin Johnson

20. Bernard Berrian
21. Kevin Curtis
22. Patrick Crayton
23. Reggie Brown
24. Javon Walker/Brandon Marshall
25. Hines Ward/Santonio Holmes
26. Roddy White
27. Dwayne Bowe
28. Wes Welker
29. Dont’ Stallworth
30. Nate Burleson
31. Lee Evans

32. Kevin Walter
33. Santana Moss (check status)
34. Antwaan Randle El
35. Darrell Jackson
36. Marty Booker
37. Shaun McDonald
38. Andre Davis
39. Dennis Northcutt
40. Ike Hilliard
41. Muhsin Muhammad
42. Isaac Bruce
43. Jerry Porter

Change Your League

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

My latest post over at NBA.com suggests you nix turnovers and FT percentage in your fantasy basketball league.

Barometer

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Check out this week’s Barometer.

Monday Morning Quarterback

Monday, October 15th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

The Ravens and Rams quarterbacks combined for a 0:6 TD:INT ratio with six sacks Sunday. Both running games got 2.5 YPC with two lost fumbles. Ugly stuff…If you can get 75 cents on the dollar for Torry Holt, do it…Mark Clayton is the new Michael Clayton.

Running back is the most fungible position in football, but it’s hard to understand how six teams passed on Adrian Peterson during the NFL Draft…Peterson’s Week 6 performance was one of the best ever, and he’s already a top-2 player at his position. The only reason he’s not the same for fantasy purposes is because of Brad Childress, who not only continues to give Chester Taylor more touches but is also putting him at unnecessary risk by having him return kickoffs.

Derek Anderson has top-10 fantasy QB written all over him – he plays for a team with a terrible defense and running game and has two terrific receivers at his side. Plus, he’s playing very well and shouldn’t have to worry about Brady Quinn as long as Cleveland remains somewhat alive in the playoff picture…Braylon Edwards has to be treated like a top-5 fantasy WR right now…Ronnie Brown is on pace to gain 2,352 yards this season.

It’s time to start benching your fantasy QB when facing the Redskins. Washington had allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks before facing Green Bay, when the team held Brett Favre to just 188 yards with a 0:2 TD:INT ratio…It’s safe to say few have had worse days than Santana Moss did Sunday, as the wideout recorded zero catches and lost a fumble that resulted in a defensive touchdown.

Maurice Jones-Tru: Nice to see MJD finally really break out, and one would think increased touches should follow. He’s simply a threat to go the distance every time he touches the ball…Over the last three weeks, Kevin Walter has been targeted 7, 10 and 15 times, respectively. For as long as Andre Johnson is sidelined, Walter is a viable flex option.

The defense isn’t any good either, but the Bengals have major offensive line problems…Not only is Kenny Watson outplaying Rudi Johnson all things being equal, but Watson is a much better fit for a team seemingly constantly in hurry up/catch up mode…If I own T.J. Houshmandzadeh, there’s no way I’d trade him for Chad Johnson…With a strong defense and an improving passing game, one would think Larry Johnson can build off his strong effort Sunday. However, it also might not be a bad time to shop him around.

Take away one early pass to Kevin Curtis, who did most of the work himself thanks in large part to embarrassing tackling by the Jets, and Donovan McNabb’s day looks pretty bad once again. There’s something wrong here…Still, it was nice to see Reggie Brown rise from the dead…Kevin Curtis has tallied 77 percent of his yardage total this season in two of the five games he’s played in…Chad Pennington has a 4:1 TD:INT ratio at home and a 2:5 TD:INT ratio when playing on the road this season.

Jeff Garcia still hasn’t thrown a pick this season, but the only way he’ll be fantasy relevant is if the team’s ground game continues to struggle, something entirely possible if Sunday was any indication…Pounce on Mewelde Moore if a deal gets struck before Tuesday’s deadline…The Madden Curse strikes again? Vince Young has been awfully disappointing this season, and now he’s hurt.

The Cardinals very quickly went from having two options at quarterback to none, with apologies to Tim Rattay of course…Might as well stick with Vinny Testaverde over David Carr, right?

I don’t know what I was thinking taking the Cowboys and the points Sunday, what a mismatch that was, home underdog be damned…Tom Brady is on pace for a 56:5 TD:INT ratio this season…Do you realize that Randy Moss has just nine fewer TD catches than Terrell Owens during his career, despite being more than three years younger and basically wasting the last two years in Oakland.

I’d recommend any fantasy defense going up against Daunte Culpepper, who simply holds onto the ball far too long…LaDainian Tomlinson is going to be OK, folks.

Not sure what to make of the fact Drew Brees looked good yet Marques Colston was virtually non-existent…If Reggie Bush stays healthy, he’s a top 5-10 fantasy player…Put a fork in Shaun Alexander, he’s done. I’ve gotten plenty wrong this season, but Alexander (and Rudi Johnson) wasn’t one of them. I highly doubt any other fantasy magazine had Alexander lower than 11th, which is where I placed him in the RotoWire Fantasy Football mag…Alexander’s demise is Matt Hasselbeck’s gain, as the system continues to put up big numbers despite lacking big named receivers. He has a very good schedule from this point forward.

And now, it’s back to listening (and obsessing over) the new Radiohead. If you haven’t downloaded “In Rainbows,” you need to seriously look yourself in the mirror. After all, Radiohead’s innovative approach allows you to choose how much you want to pay for the album, literally changing the free market (and the world) in the process.

Bet on It

Friday, October 12th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Last week I went 6-7-1 to bring my overall season record to 32-38-6. My boy Chris Liss is an outrageous 21-6 ATS over the last two weeks, putting me to absolute shame to the point I no longer go outdoors. I need a strong bounce back week, but this slate of games doesn’t exactly have me confident. Nevertheless, here are the Week 6 winners:

Bengals -3 at Chiefs

Texans +6.5 at Jaguars

Dolphins +4.5 at Browns

Vikings +5.5 at Bears

Eagles -3 at Jets

Rams +9.5 at Ravens

Titans +3 at Buccaneers

Redskins +3 at Packers

Panthers +4 at Cardinals

Patriots -6 at Cowboys

Raiders +10 at Chargers

Saints +6.5 at Seahawks

Giants -3.5 at Falcons

Best Bet: Titans

Comments: The Tennessee pick as my best bet is one of those spreads that jumps out at you for being too obvious, but I just can’t help myself. Jeff Fisher is 4-0 against the Bucs and 13-1 versus the NFC South during his career and is coaching a team that has won five straight road games. Back the Titans.

Championship Series Preview

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Colorado Rockies vs. Arizona Diamondbacks

Comments: At this point, this has become pretty much an exercise in futility. At least I got one division series right. Anyway, the NLCS features two NL West teams who could not be more surprising still playing baseball in mid-October. The Rockies have won 17 of their last 18 games, but the time off may have stunted that momentum somewhat. The Diamondbacks, who have some of the worst home crowd support in all of baseball, at least have the Brandon Webb factor – although Webb was 0-3 with a 6.47 ERA in his five previous starts against the Rockies until clinching a playoff birth by beating Colorado the last time he faced them. Arizona had the worst batting average (.250) in the National League this year, but thanks to 32 one-run victories, now find themselves four wins from playing in the World Series. In fact, not one single hitter has even an .850 OPS for Arizona, unless you count pitcher Micah Owings (1.033 OPS). The Rockies continue to play terrific defense and have an underrated bullpen. Still, the D-Backs take the pennant.

DIAMONDBACKS 4-3

Cleveland Indians vs. Boston Red Sox

Comments: This has the makings to be one of the best championship series in years, and it starts with the game of the year Friday (Josh Beckett vs. C.C. Sabathia). The likely first and second place finishers for this year’s Cy Young face off with patient lineups behind them. Beckett has a tremendous postseason track record, but Game 2 starter Curt Schilling’s is even better. Still, he’ll face Fausto Carmona, who may have turned in the season’s best pitching performance during Game 2 of the ALDS. The lack of strikeouts from Carmona this season tempered my expectations moving forward, but after watching that gem, I’ll be recommending him next year. That 96 MPH sinker is unhittable. Still, the Sox play superior defense, and despite Dice-K’s struggles, also have a slightly deeper rotation and better back end to the bullpen. Additionally, their offense also gets the edge, especially with a now healthy Manny Ramirez in the middle of the order. Boston moves on.

RED SOX 4-3.

Week 6 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Carson Palmer
3. Donovan McNabb
4. Tony Romo

5. Brett Favre
6. Vince Young
7. Eli Manning
8. Matt Hasselbeck
9. Kurt Warner
10. David Garrard
11. Derek Anderson
12. Philip Rivers

13. Drew Brees
14. Damon Huard
15. Daunte Culpepper
16. Brian Griese
17. Jeff Garcia
18. Steve McNair
19. Jason Campbell
20. Matt Schaub
21. Joey Harrington
22. Chad Pennington

23. Cleo Lemon
24. Gus Frerotte
25. Minny QB
26. Carolina QB

Running Backs

1. LaDainian Tomlinson
2. Ronnie Brown
3. Brian Westbrook
4. Larry Johnson

5. Reggie Bush
6. Edgerrin James
7. Willis McGahee
8. Brandon Jacobs
9. Kenny Watson (assuming Rudi Johnson sits)
10. Clinton Portis
11. LaMont Jordan (check status)
12. Shaun Alexander
13. Maurice Jones-Drew

14. Laurence Maroney/Sammy Morris
15. DeShaun Foster
16. Adrian Peterson
17. Thomas Jones
18. Cedric Benson
19. Marion Barber
20. LenDale White
21. Jason Wright (assuming Jamal Lewis sits)
22. Earnest Graham
23. Fred Taylor

24. DeShawn Wynn
25. Brian Leonard
26. Ahman Green (check status)
27. Warrick Dunn
28. Ladell Betts
29. Jerious Norwood
30. Derrick Ward (check status)
31. Julius Jones
32. DeAngelo Williams
33. Chester Taylor
34. Brandon Jackson (check status)
35. Chris Brown
36. Leon Washington
37. Michael Turner
38. Ron Dayne
39. Musa Smith
40. Justin Fargas

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Terrell Owens
3. Larry Fitzgerald (assuming Anquan Boldin sits)
4. Plaxico Burress

5. Chad Johnson
6. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
7. Braylon Edwards
8. Steve Smith

9. Derrick Mason (check status)
10. Dwayne Bowe
11. Bernard Berrian (check status)
12. Chris Chambers
13. Torry Holt
14. Donald Driver
15. Marques Colston
16. Laveranues Coles
17. Jerricho Cotchery
18. Ronald Curry
19. Vincent Jackson (check status)

20. Greg Jennings
21. Santana Moss (check status)
22. Andre Davis
23. Bobby Engram
24. Joey Galloway
25. Roddy White
26. Reggie Brown
27. Kevin Curtis
28. Dennis Northcutt

29. Jerry Porter
30. Patrick Crayton
31. Donte’ Stallworth
32. Wes Welker
33. Nate Burleson
34. Bryant Johnson
35. Marty Booker
36. Muhsin Muhammad
37. James Jones
38. Ike Hilliard
39. Drew Bennett
40. Brandon Jones