Archive for November, 2007

Bet on It

Friday, November 30th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Last week, my hot stretch finally came to an end, posting a 7-9 record. I’m not going to get too down – if my bad weeks remain close to .500, I can’t complain. But hopefully we get back on track this week, although I’m already 0-1 after picking the Packers Thursday night. My overall season record stands at 91-76-9. Here are the Week 13 winners:

Packers +6.5 at Cowboys

Falcons +4.5 at Rams

Bills +5.5 at Redskins

Lions +3.5 at Vikings

Texans +3.5 at Titans

Jaguars +7 at Colts

Jets +1 at Dolphins

Chargers -5.5. at Chiefs

Seahawks +3 at Eagles

49ers +3 at Panthers

Browns +1 at Cardinals

Broncos -3.5 at Raiders

Buccaneers +3 at Saints

Giants -1.5 at Bears

Bengals +7 at Steelers

Patriots -20.5 at Ravens

Best Bet: Broncos

Comments: I try not to make a habit of picking road favorites, especially as a best bet, but such is the case this week. I’m buying low with the Broncos, coming off a disappointing loss in which they blew a late 14-point lead, while selling high on a Raider team that actually won a game last week. Justin Fargas could have a big day, but Mike Shanahan and company love sticking it to Al Davis, so expect the superior Broncos to run away with it.

Week 13 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady

2. Tony Romo
3. Brett Favre
4. Derek Anderson
5. Peyton Manning
6. Kurt Warner
7. Ben Roethlisberger
8. Jon Kitna
9. Carson Palmer

10. Matt Hasselbeck
11. Drew Brees
12. Jay Cutler
13. Eli Manning
14. Matt Schaub
15. Philip Rivers
16. Rex Grossman
17. David Garrard
18. Daunte Culpepper

19. A.J. Feeley
20. Vince Young
21. Jason Campbell
22. Gus Frerotte
23. Vinny Testaverde
24. Kellen Clemens
25. Joey Harrington

Running Backs

1. Brian Westbrook (check status)
2. LaDainian Tomlinson
3. Steven Jackson
4. Joseph Addai

5. Justin Fargas
6. Clinton Portis
7. Adrian Peterson (check status)
8. Willie Parker
9. Frank Gore
10. Reggie Bush
11. Selvin Young/Travis Henry
12. Jamal Lewis

13. Chester Taylor
14. Jesse Chatman (check status)
15. Ryan Grant
16. Marion Barber
17. Kolby Smith
18. Earnest Graham
19. LenDale White
20. Edgerrin James
21. Adrian Peterson (Chi)
22. Willis McGahee
23. Maurice Jones-Drew
24. Thomas Jones

25. DeShaun Foster
26. Kevin Jones
27. Maurice Morris
28. Rudi Johnson
29. Fred Jackson
30. Derrick Ward/Reuben Droughns
31. Warrick Dunn
32. Laurence Maroney
33. Fred Taylor
34. Ron Dayne/Ahman Green
35. Julius Jones
36. Chris Brown
37. Jerious Norwood
38. DeAngelo Williams
39. Kenny Watson (check status)
40. Ladell Betts

Wide Receivers

1. Terrell Owens
2. Randy Moss
3. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Braylon Edwards

5. Reggie Wayne
6. Marques Colston
7. Roy Williams
8. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
9. Chad Johnson
10. Greg Jennings
11. Andre Johnson
12. Hines Ward

13. Brandon Marshall
14. Wes Welker
15. Steve Smith
16. Torry Holt
17. Roddy White
18. Anquan Boldin
19. Bernard Berrian
20. Joey Galloway
21. Donald Driver
22. Deion Branch
23. Bobby Engram
24. Plaxico Burress (check status)
25. Calvin Johnson
26. Santonio Holmes (check status)

27. Laveranues Coles (check status)
28. Chris Henry
29. Derrick Mason
30. Santana Moss
31. Anthony Gonzalez
32. Lee Evans
33. Ronald Curry
34. Patrick Crayton
35. Kevin Curtis
36. Reggie Brown
37. Amani Toomer
38. Jerricho Cotchery (check status)
39. Javon Walker (check status)
40. Dwayne Bowe
41. Shaun McDonald
42. Chris Chambers
43. Donte’ Stallworth
44. Vincent Jackson
45. Isaac Bruce

NBA.Com Post

Wednesday, November 28th, 2007

How good are the Boston Celtics?

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, November 27th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Jon Kitna is not a very good quarterback. The 7.6 YPA is nice, but that’s likely more a product of the Mike Martz engineered offense (as is the 44 sacks taken). He’s just way too inaccurate, and this team is going nowhere until they improve the position…Brett Favre, on the other hand, is playing unbelievably. I could not have been more wrong regarding his prospects at this stage of his career…Anyone who wasn’t too consumed with Thanksgiving witnessed a mini coming out party by Calvin Johnson, who was finally being targeted like the No. 2 overall pick in last year’s draft. Maybe his back is finally starting to get healthy, but it’s fairly evident this is going to be a special player for years to come.

Marion Barber is terrific and a top-10 fantasy back in most formats, but it’s pretty telling that the 103 rushing yards this week marked his season-high. He needs to get the ball more often than only in the fourth quarter of games already won…There’s something to be said about beating teams you are supposed to, and the Cowboys have done that with ease this year time and again. Remember, they’ve only lost to the undefeated Patriots.

How bad was the timing on Atlanta’s part to deal Matt Schaub this offseason?…Roddy White would probably be a top-15 fantasy WR if he had a capable quarterback…Reggie Wayne has had a fine season, but he’s left an awful lot of yardage on the field with uncharacteristic drops over the last few games.

I refuse to accept the Panther loss ATS on my record, as the late week injury to Vinny Testaverde made all the difference. David Carr shouldn’t be starting for a college team right now, let alone an NFL one…This Saints run D is underrated.

Completing a remarkable 84.2 percent of his 38 pass attempts Sunday, Carson Palmer was downright impressive…Not sure why DeDe Dorsey got more carries than Kenny Watson, but I’ll always have a soft spot for Triple-D 2.0…It’s too bad most Rudi Johnson owners likely missed the playoffs, because Cincinnati’s schedule weeks 14-16 is ridiculously good.

In a keeper-league, I’d still prefer Antonio Gates over Kellen Winslow because of durability, but it’s very, very close…I’ve slurped Braylon Edwards quite a bit this year, but he does drop too many balls still…Continuing our running conversation regarding starting a franchise, I’d make Matt Schaub a top-20 pick.

While in the minority, I’ve always viewed the Coen brothers as overrated. Not any more, as “No Country For Old Men” is a fantastic film and easily their best work. It’s on the short list of my best movies of the year and hysterical too. Probably one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in years. Javier Bardem gives one of the finest performances in the history of cinema.

I’d love to see what David Garrard could do with an above average wide receiver to throw to…Remember Matt Jones’ off-the-charts measurables at the combine? Shocking how that didn’t translate into becoming an effective NFL receiver.

During a midseason draft I did before Week 8 this year, Justin Fargas and Ryan Grant weren’t even drafted – just goes to show how ever-changing this league is…To say Brodie Croyle still has some work to do would be an understatement…The Raiders run D is truly atrocious, but Kolby Smith came through Sunday, showing good burst and shiftiness. He’s going to get all the work he can handle from here on out.

Eli Manning has eight interceptions the last two games versus Minnesota – six of them returned for TDs. Even more worrisome for Giants fans was his postgame interview, in which he proceeded to answer questions about his shoddy play with a gee-gosh, happy-go-lucky grin on his face…Tarvaris Jackson still can’t pass, but he is quite elusive…The Giants run D is very, very good…The opposite is true regarding Reuben Droughns…Chester Taylor is better than I thought he was.

Marc Bulger is one of the most injury-prone athletes in all of sports…How about that goal line stand by the Rams’ offense? It started with Gus Frerotte missing a wide open Isaac Bruce from five yards away and ended with him fumbling the snap. The Seahawks did everything they could to give that game away Sunday, but clearly, St. Louis is more interested in the upcoming draft position…I’d be shocked if Shaun Alexander gets another start this year.

The Redskins were minus-six on the turnover battle Sunday yet still almost beat the Bucs. Tampa Bay was outgained 316 yards to 15 during the second half, as the team failed to gain one single first down over the game’s final 30 minutes. It’s safe to say the Bucs need a healthy Jeff Garcia on offense.

Arizona’s run-first philosophy has officially been scrapped…Larry Fitzgerald will be worth an early second round fantasy pick next year…As far as skills go, Fran Gore is easily a top-5 running back in the NFL. It was only a matter of time before he busted out, although the offense has done about as good of a job as possible of slowing him down. Still, his proneness to injury will make him a risky first round fantasy pick next year…If he hadn’t been sacked, Kurt Warner would STILL probably be looking for the open receiver while standing in the end zone.

Imagine what Andre Hall would have done had he not suffered a high ankle sprain during his first carry of the game…There are two major criteria I look for in fantasy running backs – do they catch passes and are they fast? Travis Henry strikes out on both, and I seriously regret recommending him…How about a hand for Mike Bell – the guy gets his first carry since Week 3 and promptly fumbles. Cecil Sapp should be owned in all deep leagues..As if the Jay Cutler, Brandon Marshall, Javon Walker trio didn’t already have a bright enough future, Tony Scheffler looks like a possible future star at the tight end position. The Broncos are going to own the AFC West over the next decade…You hate to see any injury, but any Cedric Benson/Adrian Peterson owner couldn’t have been sad to see Benson carted away Sunday…Devin Hester is a pretty good special teams player.

Watching Ray Lewis try to guard Antonio Gates makes you remember how good he USED to be…Philip Rivers has quite possibly the worst mechanics in the NFL…The Chargers do an excellent job of blowing out bad teams while playing at home from time to time, but don’t let Sunday’s game fool you again into thinking this is a good football team.

So the Patriots are mortal, after all. Not sure what the team’s plan is regarding Laurence Maroney, but I am positive their lack of running game doesn’t hurt their chances of winning the Super Bowl…Wes Welker has an uncanny ability to get open finding the seam down the middle. He’s a legitimate top-10 fantasy WR with New England throwing it 55 times a game.

I tried to find something more exciting to do during the awful Monday night game – like doing laundry. What a joke that was…The fact Ben Roethlisberger completed 85.7 percent of his passes during those conditions is pretty impressive…Sure, the sod didn’t help, but I’m thinking Willie Parker is more banged up than he’s letting on…What a return by Ricky Williams!

Barometer

Monday, November 26th, 2007

Check out Week 12’s Risers & Fallers.

NL MVP?

Saturday, November 24th, 2007

After going a perfect 5-for-5, the voters swung and missed with the Jimmy Rollins MVP pick. While there wasn’t a particularly great choice – or even good choice for that matter – Rollins was clearly a misguided vote. Rollins had a fine season, but he was picked for all of the wrong (and archaic) reasons. He played great defense (although not quite Gold Glove quality) from the most important defensive position. However, the impressive 139 runs scored were more of a reflection of staying healthy (716 at-bats) and the lineup around him, as his .344 OBP wasn’t anything special. When you factor in his home ballpark, his .875 OPS is good, not great. In fact, it was only the 22nd best mark in the National League.

His excellent base stealing helped (87 percent success rate), but that really only adds 35 total bases to his resume and never advances another runner in the process. There’s clear value in being the first shortstop in the NL in 34 years to play in every game of a season, but there’s a legitimate argument he was only the third most valuable player on his own team (and own infield). Chase Utley missed time with injury, but he had a superior OPS by .101 and played even better defense from a middle infield position. There’s even an argument that Rollins was the fifth best player on his team, as Ryan Howard, Pat Burrell and Aaron Rowand all had higher OPSs, and Rowand is the game’s best defensive center fielder. Maybe defense makes up for the difference, but Hanley Ramirez was by far the better hitter from the SS position.

I’m not sure whom I would have voted for (probably Jake Peavy), but I do know that the person who finished with the 100th best on-base percentage in baseball probably doesn’t deserve the hardware.

Week 12 Lineup Rankings

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Tony Romo

3. Brett Favre
4. Peyton Manning
5. Derek Anderson
6. Matt Schaub
7. Matt Hasselbeck
8. Carson Palmer

9. Ben Roethlisberger
10. Kurt Warner
11. Jon Kitna
12. Vince Young
13. Eli Manning
14. Drew Brees
15. Jay Cutler
16. Marc Bulger

17. Rex Grossman
18. Donovan McNabb (check status)
19. David Garrard
20. Jeff Garcia
21. Daunte Culpepper
22. Kellen Clemens
23. Philip Rivers
24. Jason Campbell
25. Vinny Testaverde

Running Backs

1. Joseph Addai

2. Willie Parker
3. Steven Jackson
4. Reggie Bush
5. LaDainian Tomlinson
6. Brian Westbrook

7. Marion Barber
8. Willis McGahee
9. LenDale White
10. Maurice Jones-Drew
11. Earnest Graham
12. Ryan Grant (check status)
13. Maurice Morris
14. Edgerrin James
15. Kevin Jones
16. Kolby Smith
17. Andre Hall (?)
18. Jesse Chatman (check status)
19. Chester Taylor
20. Frank Gore
21. Jamal Lewis
22. Ron Dayne
23. Justin Fargas
24. Clinton Portis

25. Laurence Maroney
26. Kenny Watson
27. Thomas Jones
28. Rudi Johnson
29. Cedric Benson
30. DeShaun Foster (check status)
31. Warrick Dunn
32. Fred Taylor
33. Julius Jones
34. Derrick Ward/Reuben Droughns
35. Anthony Thomas
36. Adrian Peterson (Chi)
37. Chris Brown
38. Jerious Norwood
39. DeAngelo Williams
40. Brandon Jackson

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Terrell Owens

3. Andre Johnson
4. Braylon Edwards
5. Reggie Wayne
6. Larry Fitzgerald
7. Marques Colston
8. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
9. Roy Williams
10. D.J. Hackett
11. Chad Johnson
12. Greg Jennings

13. Plaxico Burress
14. Torry Holt
15. Wes Welker
16. Brandon Marshall
17. Bernard Berrian
18. Steve Smith
19. Donald Driver
20. Hines Ward
21. Anquan Boldin
22. Joey Galloway
23. Jerricho Cotchery
24. Chris Henry

25. Javon Walker (check status)
26. Bobby Engram
27. Derrick Mason
28. Lee Evans
29. Kevin Walter
30. Deion Branch
31. Ronald Curry
32. Shaun McDonald
33. Calvin Johnson
34. Chris Chambers
35. Kevin Curtis
36. Reggie Brown
37. Roddy White
38. Donte’ Stallworth
39. Dwayne Bowe
40. Santana Moss

Bet on It

Wednesday, November 21st, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

I went 9-6-1 last week to bring my overall season record to a sparkling 84-67-9. My picks are due earlier this week with the Thanksgiving games and all, but hopefully they won’t suffer as a result. Onto Week 12’s action:

Packers -3.5 at Lions

Jets +14 at Cowboys

Colts -12 at Falcons

Bills +7.5 at Jaguars

Texans +3.5 at Browns

Vikings +7.5 at Giants

Saints -3 at Panthers

Raiders +5.5 at Chiefs

Seahawks -3 at Rams

Titans -1 at Bengals

Redskins +3 at Buccaneers

49ers +10.5 at Cardinals

Broncos +1.5 at Bears

Ravens +9.5 at Chargers

Eagles +22 at Patriots

Dolphins +16 at Steelers

Best Bet: Cowboys

Comments: The Jets are coming off an emotional, overtime victory over the Steelers as big underdogs. They now travel during a short week to face one of the three best teams in the NFL. Dallas has both a potent offense and stout run defense, so Kellen Clemens is going to have to put up around 20 points to even think about covering this spread. Go ahead and sleep off that tryptophan, this game will be a blowout by halftime.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, November 20th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Byron Leftwich has the slowest delivery in the history of football. The Falcons quarterback of the future is currently not on their roster…Michael Pittman is a decent guy to stash in deeper fantasy leagues, especially in PPR ones. That said, Earnest Graham has really impressed as the starter, and the team hardly misses that Pinto, er, Cadillac.

With Derek Anderson’s rough patch of his schedule behind him, expect top-3 numbers from the fantasy quarterback from here on out…I guess I was a little premature proclaiming Mark Clayton’s resurgence. If he can’t be counted on at home against Cleveland, then he can’t be counted on, period…If Sunday Night Football doesn’t make a Browns contest one of their “flex games” this season, it’d be egregious.

Larry Fitzgerald is very, very good…Just when I think the Bengals can’t disappoint any more, they do…R.I.P. Rudi Johnson…Can you believe the Cardinals drafted Matt Leinart over Jay Cutler? OUCH…Edgerrin James may have the best remaining schedule of any fantasy running back, but I’d use that info trying to deal him before relying upon it.

You could probably make better use of that roster spot than holding onto DeAngelo Williams. Like picking up a backup kicker, or something…Despite appearing only on milk cartons over the past month, I actually expect Steve Smith to suit up and put up a big game this week. Vinny Testaverde has exhibited the ability to go downfield, and the matchup against the Saints is favorable.

I am severely jealous of anyone who has Andre Johnson on their fantasy team…Expect plenty more multiple TD games from Matt Schaub in the future, as the YPA is quite impressive. I’d actually view him as a top-10 QB right now…I’m as unimpressed by Ron Dayne as the next guy, but he makes for another fine start this week against the Browns…This Saints team is soft and can be completely ignored from here on out…Reggie Bush and Mario Williams both look like busts.

Joseph Addai is better than I gave him credit for. He’s not just a product of his environment but a shifty and elusive runner. He has to be seriously considered as the No. 1 overall fantasy pick next year…Yes, the Colts are suffering the consequences of all those injuries, but we’ve seen this before. Indy always jumps out to a terrific start to the season, then stumbles right around now, and at least last year, peaked at the right time. While I seriously doubt New England is going to lose this year, the Colts are still the second best team in the NFL. Their defense is very good, and Peyton Manning will rebound.

Maurice Jones-Drew’s block on Shawne Merriman was the highlight of Week 11. Someone needs to get back on the juice…I’m actually going to flip-flop and predict the Broncos make the playoffs over the Chargers. The discrepancy in quarterback play is dramatic…While Jacksonville doesn’t appear like a good passing team, David Garrard is getting 7.7 YPA with an 8:0 TD:INT ratio…I don’t even like college football all that much, but Lou Holtz’s pep talks are one of the highlights of my week.

Sidney Rice completed 2-of-2 passes and got 47.0 YPA Sunday…LaMont Jordan is one of the bigger enigmas in the league…Since Chester Taylor ran for 164 yards against the Raiders’ front seven, I’m fairly confident Adrian Peterson’s Week 9 record-setting performance would have been short-lived had the rookie not suffered the knee injury…Ronald Curry has 538 receiving yards this season. He’s gained 47 percent of that total in two games.

Death. Taxes. Donovan McNabb getting hurt in mid-November…Can’t wait to hear the MNF guys talk about Ricky Williams’ return to the league during the telecast next week. It will be good stuff. And by that I mean the opposite…Brian Westbrook is one of the 15 best players in the NFL…I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Curb Your Enthusiasm’s” season finale last week, which Larry David absolutely hit out of the park. It’s my favorite show of all-time, and Season 6 has to go down as one of the three best of the show’s tenure.

Brandon Jacobs is both better than I thought he’d be as a lead back and even more injury-prone than I imagined…Mike Martz likes running the football about as much as Jerry Seinfeld likes being questioned if his show was canceled.

Thomas Jones became the first 100-yard rusher against Pittsburgh in 35 games Sunday. Jones has now been held out of the end zone in 12 straight games…Lost in everyone piling on the Colts is the revelation of a pretty mediocre Steelers team when playing on the road…If Barry Bonds spends 30 years in prison for lying to 23 people about putting a needle into his OWN body, then this world is even crazier than I gave it credit for. Nice to have Mark Geragos back in our lives, however.

In this his 12th year in the league, Terrell Owens ironically sports a career-best 17.7 yards per catch yet a career-worst 4.1 yards after the catch. You know what else is ironic? The fact Alanis Morissette’s song titled “ironic” features lyric after lyric that is nothing of the sorts…If Tony Romo ran for president, he’d have my vote…Speaking of Romo, was Bill Parcells even watching practices the last two years he was in Dallas? I understand the position is difficult to predict, but come on. Parcells seriously thought Drew Bledsoe was a better QB option? Parcells makes for a better Coors Light shill than he does head coach these days.

Coming from someone who went to the 49ers/Rams game Sunday, let me tell you, it’s a good thing the tailgate started at 9 am. Even terrific seats couldn’t make that game watchable…San Francisco actually played well defensively, but make no mistake, this is the worst team in the NFL…Mike Nolan’s decision to kick a 46-yard field goal down by 7 with 1:51 left and then attempt an onside kick made about as much sense as an episode of “John From Cincinnati”…I’m fairly confident I have better hands than Darrell Jackson.

D.J. Hackett is a must-start from here on out…Cedric Benson is a must-sit from here on out…All this Cardinals playoff talk is silly – the Seahawks own the NFC West…If someone dropped Shaun Alexander in my fantasy league, I’d be sure to rush to not pick him up.

I understand the point spread was insane for that Patriots/Bills game, but it’s more than evident this New England team is special. As in, best ever special. I’ve made a couple of bets getting even odds that they’ll go undefeated this season, and I’d take on more if there are any takers…If the 1972 Dolphins played this year’s Patriots, I think they’d be somewhere around 35-40 point underdogs.

For all of us Vince Young apologists – and I led the bandwagon entering the year – it was somewhat vindicating to see him play so well Monday night, and that was with a gimpy leg. Young struggles with accuracy, but the Titans receivers dropped at least 7-10 catchable balls, and I don’t understand why Young doesn’t run like that more often. With the rest of the running game in decline – LenDale White looks as big as a house – Young has rushed for 126 yards over the last two games. His fantasy owners don’t want to hear it, but he still possesses huge upside…I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s worth reiterating – Jay Cutler is a top-10 commodity in the National Football League. I highly doubt there are five other QBs in the history of the league who got 7.6 YPA through their first 15 career games. His arm strength is ridiculous…Brandon Marshall, AKA “Baby TO,” is an absolute beast. He’s the whole package: height, speed, strength, hands, blocking ability. With Cutler, Marshall and Javon Walker in town, the Broncos’ offensive future is one of the brightest in the league…Calling timeouts immediately before field goals is the silliest trend in the NFL today. Why give a kicker a practice shot?…Andre Hall has to be owned in all fantasy leagues right now, but Selvin Young is still the man in Denver’s backfield.

Barometer

Monday, November 19th, 2007

Here are this week’s Risers & Fallers.

Bet on It

Friday, November 16th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Last week I continued to impress, with a 9-5 ATS effort. Over the past month, I’m a ridiculous 37-18 ATS. Folks, I’m an unstoppable force. My overall season record is 75-61-8. If this keeps up, RotoScoop will be no more as I pack up and move to Vegas. But fear not my friends, as I have not been more pessimistic about a slate of games than I am for Week 11. You’ve heard the term strike while the iron is hot; I suggest you do the opposite with my picks this week. For better or worse, here are my Week 11 predictions:

Cardinals +3 at Bengals

Panthers +9.5 at Packers

Browns -2.5 at Ravens

Chiefs +14.5 at Colts

Dolphins +10 at Eagles

Saints pick ’em at Texans

Raiders +5 at Vikings

Chargers +3 at Jaguars

Buccaneers -3 at Falcons

Giants -2.5 at Lions

Steelers -9.5 at Jets

Redskins +10.5 at Cowboys

Rams -2.5 at 49ers

Bears +5.5 at Seahawks

Patriots -15.5 at Bills

Titans +2 at Broncos

Best Bet: Bengals

Comments: I’m not going to lie, I pretty much hate this week’s slate of games. I almost always like to go dog heavy yet somehow backed 11 favorites this week. The Bengals aren’t any good, but the Cardinals don’t travel well, and I’ll stick with my AFC over NFC running theme throughout the season.

Week 11 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Tony Romo
3. Peyton Manning

4. Carson Palmer
5. Ben Roethlisberger
6. Brett Favre
7. Derek Anderson
8. Matt Hasselbeck
9. Kurt Warner
10. Donovan McNabb
11. Jon Kitna

12. Drew Brees
13. Matt Schaub
14. Marc Bulger
15. Eli Manning
16. Jeff Garcia

17. Kellen Clemens
18. Jay Cutler
19. Rex Grossman
20. Kyle Boller
21. Jason Campbell
22. Byron Leftwich
23. David Garrard
24. Daunte Culpepper
25. Vince Young

Running Backs

1. Joseph Addai
2. Brian Westbrook

3. Willie Parker
4. Steven Jackson
5. LaDainian Tomlinson
6. Chester Taylor
7. Reggie Bush
8. Willis McGahee
9. LenDale White
10. Frank Gore
11. Jesse Chatman
12. Kevin Jones
13. Brandon Jacobs
14. Edgerrin James
15. Maurice Jones-Drew
16. Ryan Grant
17. Earnest Graham
18. Laurence Maroney

19. Marion Barber
20. Clinton Portis
21. Selvin Young
22. Maurice Morris
23. Ahman Green/Ron Dayne
24. Thomas Jones
25. Priest Holmes
26. Kenny Watson
27. Rudi Johnson
28. Justin Fargas
29. Cedric Benson
30. Warrick Dunn
31. DeShaun Foster
32. Travis Henry
33. Fred Taylor
34. Jamal Lewis
35. Anthony Thomas/Dwayne Wright
36. Adrian Peterson (Chi)
37. Julius Jones
38. Jerious Norwood
39. Chris Brown
40. DeAngelo Williams

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Terrell Owens
3. Reggie Wayne

4. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
5. Larry Fitzgerald
6. Roy Williams
7. Braylon Edwards
8. Chad Johnson
9. Marques Colston
10. Andre Johnson
11. Plaxico Burress
12. Torry Holt
13. Joey Galloway
14. Wes Welker

15. Anquan Boldin
16. Hines Ward
17. Greg Jennings
18. Santonio Holmes
19. D.J. Hackett
20. Brandon Marshall
21. Mark Clayton
22. Laveranues Coles
23. Jerricho Cotchery
24. Bernard Berrian
25. Chris Henry
26. Derrick Mason
27. Donald Driver
28. Bobby Engram
29. Kevin Curtis
30. Reggie Brown

31. Lee Evans
32. Steve Smtih (check status)
33. Deion Branch
34. Roddy White
35. Donte’ Stallworth
36. Patrick Crayton
37. Calvin Johnson
38. Ronald Curry
39. Jerry Porter
40. Kevin Walter
41. Dwayne Bowe
42. Isaac Bruce
43. Chris Chambers
44. Antwaan Randle El
45. Craphonso Thorpe

Going For Two

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

By Robby Wellington – Staff Writer

Today I am coming off a long hiatus to talk about GOING FOR TWO!

Yesterday, Dalton brought up the issue of 2-point conversions and loyal RotoScoop reader, Chad, had the following to say:

“One last thing though Dalton…I’m not sure if you estimated those success rates on the Extra Pt vs. 2 point conversion, or if you pulled them from a stat somewhere…But obviously every team has a different success rate. But the expected value of those two is indeed pretty close.

Expected Value of Extra Pt. = 99*1 = .99
Expected Value of 2pt Conversion = .45*2 = .90
Difference in expected gain is only 9 hundredths of a point.

I actually use this example when tutoring my students in game theory. But I usually say, if the extra point is 96% likely (which I believe is the correct stat), what success rate at 2 point conversions would you need, to make attempting a 2pt Conversion every time to be feasible? The correct answer would be 48%. In the 1990s, the average across the league was indeed much less than 48%, but over the past two seasons it is more than 50% and has been climbing for the last few years. Obviously I understand the value of “nearly guaranteed points,” but as a statistician, I prefer the idea of maximizing total points scored over the game. At certain points in the game, there would be no reason to go for two, because the added bonus of the two point conversion may provide you no additional gain. The most obvious example would be a tie game in the fourth quarter. So in those cases, the statistics don’t apply, but in the first half, going for two seems like the better choice.

Also when down two touchdowns late in a game (10 mins or less left in 4th) YOU SHOULD ALWAYS go for two on the FIRST score. No matter what, you’ll need two touchdowns. If the attempt is no good, you can still tie on a second score with another 2pt attempt. If the 1st attempt is good, an extra point on the second score wins the game. Conversely, if you choose to kick the first time, you are committing to overtime at best. Unless some crazy coach wanted to go for two on the final score, to be faced with a win/lose scenario riding on a 2pt conversion.”

For the most part, I have to agree with Chad. First off, I have been talking about going for two when cutting a late deficit to eight points (i.e. scoring the first of two touchdowns to tie a game) for years now and am dumbfounded when no one ever does it (Check out this article for more; it looks like some bozo in Montana ripped off the idea).

This move is almost as critically underutilized as letting a team score a late touchdown to go down eight instead of letting them run out the clock, which is what Joe Gibbs presumably did on Sunday.

Back to two-point conversions, I do actually think teams should go for two a bit more than they currently do. Since the inception of the two point conversion in the NFL in 1994, conversion percentages have hovered in the mid to low 40s, with the number climbing up above 50% for the past two years as attempts have declined. Without getting too caught up in statistics (determining what counts as “statistically significant,” etc.), I’ll just go ahead and say that the NFL average conversion rate in a close game is probably slightly less than 48%, which is half the 96% success rate of PATs.

This means an average NFL team in an average situation against an average defense should kick the PAT.

However, there are two scenarios where I think teams should go for two. One is where they feel as if they have a 50% chance or better of converting, whether the offense is on a roll in the game, the defense is terrible, the Pats are playing (seriously, why hasn’t Belichick gone for two every time this year?!), Plaxico Burress is matched up on a 5’9” cornerback; basically any scenario when a team feels they have a better than average chance of converting. This is, of course, excluding obvious situations where a team is down one point, or seven points or three points later in a game.

Which brings us to the other factor in determining whether a team should go for two or not: the score and time of the game. Take Sunday’s Eagles vs. Redskins game. Let’s go ahead and assume that both team’s had the same chance of converting the two, and that this chance was slightly less than half their odds of converting a PAT. I still credit the Eagles with going for two but fault the Redskins for the same tactic. Why? Well, the Redskins went for the conversion in the first half, in an effort to go up seven points instead of six. That early in the game, it is virtually impossible to determine what is going to happen to the score later and an early lead of 6 points is certainly not the same as a 5 point advantage. In fact, the advantage of 7 points over 6 is no greater than that of 5 points over 6, right?

On the other hand, the Eagles went for two to tie the game late in the third quarter. Sure, they went down nine points in the fourth quarter, but they would have still been down eight and would have still had to get a conversion later in the game. The disadvantage on not converting and being down two was not nearly as great as the advantage of converting and tying the game relatively late in the contest.

Anyway, it is late now and people are carrying a full-on conversation in front of me, clearly oblivious of my blogging effort. But I promise to write something good soon, and it won’t be entirely theoretical. Thanks!

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, November 13th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

The Panthers offense produced zero touchdowns while playing at home against the Falcons Sunday. They are officially one of the best opponents to start your fantasy defense against…Mike Williams, Keary Colbert, Dwayne Jarrett, Steve Smith: It’s safe to say USC’s system is better than the wide receivers playing in it…Julius Peppers is having one of the most disappointing seasons in the NFL this year.

Effusive in my praise of Adrian Peterson last week, the bloggers curse has struck again. At least I prefaced it noting his previous injury history, but what a blow to fantasy owners. To be honest, I’ve never even heard of the “lateral collateral” ligament and was unaware one existed…Despite the explosive rookie’s presence, Chester Taylor has actually been pretty good this year and makes for a very serviceable play on a run-first team for the time being…Hard to believe the first 100-yard rusher allowed this season by Minnesota was to Ryan Grant.

My main man Kolby Smith was virtually non-existent Sunday, but Priest Holmes is about as boring as an episode of “Heroes.” Don’t be surprised if the 34-year-old gets hurt soon…Arrowhead is officially no longer a difficult place to play an NFL football game…Like Jerry Seinfeld promoting “Bee Movie,” Travis Henry just needs to go away – I’d much rather own Selvin Young at this point.

Instead of wasting everyone’s time talking about the Dolphins/Bills snoozefest, I’d like to take a moment of time to congratulate the MLB voters for actually getting it right this year. Dustin Pedroia over Delmon Young was an easy call, but that doesn’t make it any less surprising that the voters nailed it. Young “led” the American League in outs made, had a 127:26 K:BB ratio, and despite having a strong arm, is still a below average right fielder. Pedroia had him by .100 points of OPS, had a 42:47 K:BB ratio and played the more important defensive position very well…As for Ryan Braun over Troy Tulowitzki, both were very worthy choices. Still, Braun simply had to win this award, despite being the game’s worst defender. Tulo posted a .256/.327/.393 line when not hitting in Coors Field, while Braun led the league with a .634 slugging percentage, which was the highest by a rookie in major league history. The guy hit 34 home runs in 451 at-bats. Defense is important, no doubt, but you’d have to be crazy to think Tulowitzki contributed more wins to his team than Braun did to the Brewers.

So I guess that bye week did some good for this Rams offense. Steven Jackson can now be treated like a top-10, if not top-5 fantasy player, and it looks like Antonio Pittman is the backup to own, not Brian Leonard…Drew Bennett makes for a sneaky pickup in fantasy leagues right now. Isaac Bruce is dealing with a hamstring injury, and the entire St. Louis passing attack looks back on track. With a really good schedule coming up, Bennett – an excellent red zone target – should be a decent flex play…Sunday marked the Rams’ first touchdown scored on the road this season.

Despite giving up 28 points Sunday, make no mistake, this Steelers defense is legit…Willie Parker is on pace to total 1,748 yards this season. And score 3.5 touchdowns…Even in a game that sees him get just 3.5 YPA, Derek Anderson throws three scores…Like the film “American Gangster,” Ben Roethlisberger is very, very good.

I’m beginning to think even I could play quarterback for Jacksonville and have a decent chance at winning the right matchup…I could not have been more wrong regarding Vince Young this season. He’s really not even worth owning in deep leagues at this point…Maurice Jones-Drew is one of the five best running backs in the National Football League.

James Thrash’s TD catch was the first by a Washington wide receiver this season…I may be wrong, but it certainly looked like the Redskins let the Eagles score a rushing touchdown with 2:18 left Sunday, and bravo if that was the case. It definitely gave the team their best chance at winning…Memo to Andy Reid – even if it ties the score, you should not be trying a two-point conversion with 18 minutes left in the game. I’m no mathematician, but going for one point at a 99 percent success rate seems a little better than going for two points at a 45 percent success rate.

Chris Henry will almost certainly be out of the league within a year or two, but when on the field, he’s the most talented receiver in Cincinnati…Mark Clayton is a must-add in every fantasy league right now. A candidate to breakout in this his third year before the season began, he’s finally healthy and has an extremely favorable matchup against Cleveland this week…Although he may have this guy throwing to him.

Aveion Cason led the Lions in rushing Sunday with one carry for one yard…Tim Rattay is the new Mike Alstott – goal line vulture for TDs…I still have faith in Kevin Jones, but T.J. Duckett should probably be owned in all leagues right now…Good thing Dre Bly isn’t very good, because Tatum Bell is an absolute nothing at this point…One thing is clear, any game featuring the Lions will entail a whole lot of turnovers.

The Giants have the superior pass rush and maybe even running game, but the discrepancy between quarterbacks regarding Dallas and New York is significant…If I owned Jeremy Shockey, I’d be shopping him around following his big week – I see his future, and it involves hobbling to the sidelines with a leg injury…This Dallas defense doesn’t get enough credit.

If someone set the Raiders’ over/under for wins over the rest of the season at 0.5, I’d take the under…I’d rather Selvin Young than Cedric Benson for fantasy purposes from here on out…At this point, might as well see what JaMarcus Russell can do.

It doesn’t always work this way, but Reggie Wayne is a good example of why I always prefer receivers who are the only game in town. The guy was targeted 19 times Sunday, more than making up for the extra coverage slid his way with no Marvin Harrison around…Yes, his name is Craphonso Thorpe…It’s past time to start worrying about Philip Rivers’ long-term outlook…The Colts allowed two special team touchdowns, and Peyton Manning threw six interceptions, yet still should have won. There’s zero cause for concern in Indy.

Matt Hasselbeck looks like a surgeon at times and should be treated like a top-5 fantasy QB with Seattle’s pass-happy ways and improved health from his receivers. I value D.J. Hackett as a top-20 fantasy WR right now…Maurice Morris didn’t really impress Monday night, but he’s still an upgrade over Shaun Alexander…The numbers don’t jump out at you, but that was probably the best Frank Gore looked all season – that week off may have done his body some good…The Patriots traded the 28th overall pick last year for Randy Moss and a likely top-3 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft. That ranks as a top-5 trade in the history of sports.

Barometer

Monday, November 12th, 2007

Check out this week’s edition of Risers & Fallers.

Bet on It

Saturday, November 10th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

For the second time in three weeks, I went 11-3 ATS last week. It’s not bragging if it’s true, right? In all seriousness, I’m pretty excited about it, although I haven’t really been making much money off the lucky streak. Since this is the first time I’ve picked against the spread on every single game for a full season, it’s likely beginner’s luck, and I’d be pretty happy with a .500 performance from here on out. My overall season record is 66-56-8. Onto the Week 10 picks:

Bills -2.5 at Dolphins

Browns +10 at Steelers

Broncos +3 at Chiefs

Jaguars +4.5 at Titans

Vikings +6 at Packers

Eagles +2.5 at Redskins

Rams +12 at Saints

Falcons +4 at Panthers

Bengals +4 at Ravens

Bears -3 at Raiders

Cowboys -1.5 at Giants

Lions +1 at Cardinals

Colts -3.5 at Chargers

49ers +10 at Seahawks

Best Bet: Seahawks

Comments: The Seahawks are nothing special, but the 49ers might be the worst team in the league, and Seattle is still a tough place to play. With the possibility of Shaun Alexander sitting out, expect an improved ground game as well. Back Seattle.

Week 10 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Quarterbacks

1. Peyton Manning
2. Tony Romo
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Drew Brees
5. Derek Anderson
6. Matt Hasselbeck
7. Carson Palmer
8. Brett Favre
9. Jon Kitna
10. Kurt Warner

11. Eli Manning
12. Donovan McNabb
13. Marc Bulger
14. Jay Cutler (check status)
15. J.P. Losman
16. Brian Griese
17. Philip Rivers

18. Jason Campbell
19. Cleo Lemon
20. Damon Huard
21. Vince Young
22. Steve McNair
23. Vinny Testaverde
24. Joey Harrington
25. Alex Smith

Running Backs

1. Joseph Addai
2. Adrian Peterson
3. LaDainian Tomlinson

4. Willie Parker
5. Reggie Bush
6. Brian Westbrook
7. Willis McGahee
8. Marshawn Lynch
9. Jesse Chatman
10. Kevin Jones

11. Edgerrin James
12. Clinton Portis
13. LenDale White
14. Steven Jackson
15. Marion Barber
16. Brandon Jacobs
17. Justin Fargas
18. Travis Henry
19. Maurice Jones-Drew

20. Maurice Morris (if Shaun Alexander sits)
21. Priest Holmes
22. Frank Gore/Michael Robinson
23. Cedric Benson
24. DeShaun Foster
25. Kenny Watson
26. Jamal Lewis
27. Kolby Smith
28. Adrian Peterson (Chi)
29. Warrick Dunn
30. Fred Taylor
31. Ryan Grant/Brandon Jackson
32. Julius Jones
33. Jerious Norwood

Wide Receivers

1. Terrell Owens
2. Reggie Wayne
3. Plaxico Burress
4. Braylon Edwards
5. Lee Evans
6. Marques Colston
7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh

8. Roy Williams
9. Larry Fitzgerald
10. Anquan Boldin
11. Chad Johnson (check status)
12. Greg Jennings
13. Brandon Marshall
14. Steve Smith
15. Santonio Holmes
16. Hines Ward
17. Torry Holt
18. Bobby Engram
19. Derrick Mason
20. Donald Driver
21. D.J. Hackett

22. Kevin Curtis
23. Chris Chambers
24. Calvin Johnson
25. Patrick Crayton
26. Marvin Harrison (check status)
27. Roddy White
28. Bernard Berrian
29. Chris Henry
30. Reggie Brown
31. Dwayne Bowe
32. Antwaan Randle El
33. David Patten
34. James Jones
35. Ronald Curry
36. Mark Clayton
37. Jerry Porter
38. Brandon Stokley
39. Vincent Jackson
40. Marty Booker

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

Tuesday, November 6th, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

After a 3.9 YPA effort Sunday, Alex Smith has gotten 5.9 YPA with a 19:31 TD:INT ratio during his career. It often takes time for quarterbacks to learn the position, but there’s not much to be optimistic about here. He should have became a scientist or something…San Francisco has very little to cheer about these days, but at least the team hit a home run with the Patrick Willis pick, and Vernon Davis does resemble a future superstar…I have no idea who the Seahawks got in return for Darrell Jackson, but I do know they won that trade…Can’t wait to see what Roddy White will do with a quarterback willing to go downfield. Byron Leftwich isn’t very good, but he will help White’s stats, that’s for sure.

It’s long past time to start considering this Bengals team as a doormat…Lost in the Adrian Peterson hoopla is a terrific rookie season by Marshawn Lynch, who ripped off a couple of sick runs Sunday. He’ll be a first round fantasy pick next season…If loving Lee Evans is wrong, then I don’t want to be right…Kenny Watson simply has to be on the field more than Rudi Johnson.

This Broncos team is baaaad – it’s entirely possible that they have both the worst pass defense (8.5 YPA last in league, 15 TD passes allowed) and run defense (161.5 YPG last in league) in the NFL…I expected more from Roy Williams this season…And yes, Shaun Rogers’ TD was one of the coolest plays so far this year.

I’m writing an open apology to Brett Favre, who I had completely written off entering the year. Sure, he’s still mistake-prone, but the 38-year-old is making some of the most impressive deep throws week in and week out…Greg Jennings is a top-15 WR for fantasy purposes…Looks like Larry Johnson is the latest 370-plus carries victim. I predict this injury is much more serious than the team is letting on…I’m saying it now, Kolby Smith is going to have serious fantasy value over the rest of the season…It’s becoming tiresome, but I’m going to bring up these ridiculous coaching decisions until sanity prevails: the Chiefs went for a 2-point conversion up 20-16 with 5:18 left in the fourth quarter Sunday. Someone, please make it stop.

I hate coming across as this generation is better than the past, but Adrian Peterson right now looks like the best running back in the history of the league. Sure, there are plenty of areas in his game he can improve on (blocking, receiving, fumbling), but this guy is virtually unstoppable in the open field. He might literally be both the fastest and strongest RB I’ve ever seen. His strength cannot be underestimated. Durability is something that can’t be overlooked at this stage, but Peterson is the most valuable fantasy commodity right now…Philip Rivers is maddeningly inconsistent.

Looking at their cupcake schedule, I wasn’t willing to fully consider the Saints as “back.” I was wrong and they are. Since I picked them as NFC Super Bowl representatives before the season started, I’m pleasantly surprised too. In a watered down conference, they are very much in the thick of it…When Quinn Gray and Reggie Williams are burning you for an 80-yard score, it’s time to look in the mirror, Jason David.

Not playing alongside Laveranues Coles helped, but I really think Jerricho Cotchery can have serious fantasy value with Kellen Clemens at the helm…Nice to see Clinton Portis has something left in the tank, but I’d be shopping him like crazy this week…One of the most impressive stat lines of Week 9 had to be David Harris for the Jets, who recorded 24 tackles (20 solo) Sunday. Sure, he was able to do so because he was playing on a defense allowing first down after first down, but it’s an impressive number nevertheless.

Playing in Tampa Bay is one of the toughest places to score points right now…Earnest Graham is pretty good, and the team hardly missed a beat with the Carnell Williams injury. That said, stashing Michael Pittman is a pretty good idea, especially in PPR leagues…Remember when everyone was burning their FAAB on Michael Bennett? Good times.

It’s ironic, but the worst thing for this Titans franchise long-term might be all of this winning going on now. This team has zero upside come playoff time with the way the aerial attack is set up. It’s a shame too, because the defense is a top-3 unit in all of football…If I’m an NFL GM, I’m starting Jeff George at quarterback before I do David Carr again…LenDale White is the new Eddie George – terrible YPC yet terrific fantasy player.

Matt Hasselbeck should be considered a top 5-8 fantasy QB from here on out. Seattle has no running game, an easy upcoming schedule and Deion Branch and D.J. Hackett back in the lineup…If you can trade Shaun Alexander for Selvin Young or Kolby Smith, I’d do it…I want to have Derek Anderson’s children…This Browns team is easily the most fun to watch in the NFL.

The Patriots/Colts game was good, not great. You just got the feeling neither team played even close to their potential, especially on the offensive side of the ball…Fully aware the Colts have the best pass defense in the league, I didn’t like the Pats going more run-heavy than usual, as that’s not their game…Randy Moss is the best receiver in the NFL…There’s not a better cut-back runner than Joseph Addai right now…If these two teams played five times at the RCA Dome, I’d expect the Colts to win three of them. The only problem is, with the loss Sunday, the next time these two will meet will almost certainly be in Foxborough. I’ll go ahead and place the odds of New England going undefeated this season at 75 percent.

Justin Fargas, AKA Huggy Bear Jr., has to be owned in all fantasy leagues and above any other Oakland RB. This team’s run blocking is actually pretty good – Tom Cable is no joke…I got tickets for the upcoming Colts/Raiders game before the season started, and it’s safe to say I may end up watching a game that won’t be a nail-biter. There might be a slight discrepancy in QB talent there…Question: What is a pork burrito from “Chipotle,” a six-pack of Newcastle, or a copy of Radiohead’s “In Rainbows.” Answer: Things I’d trade Ahman Green for.

The only people who consider the Eagles anything but a bad football team haven’t watched them play this season…I’d place the odds of Donovan McNabb wearing an Eagles jersey next season at five percent…Why o why do I pass on Brian Westbrook every year? He’s easily a top-5 RB right now…If I could have the Cowboys and you can have the field to win the NFC, that’s a bet I’d be willing to make. Although Green Bay’s defense is for real.

It’s very clear that there are a big-three in the NFL right now, and the Steelers belong in that group…Steve McNair is currently one of the three worst quarterbacks in the league…Mobility might not be the right word, but Ben Roethlisberger has tremendous footwork and pocket presence. His ability to slide both inside and outside the pocket is second to none, and he’s easily one of the five most important players in the NFL today…If you own Hines Ward in your fantasy league and looked at the box score this morning, you were dumbfounded.

NFL Barometer

Monday, November 5th, 2007

Check out this week’s edition of Risers & Fallers. Pretty crazy weekend of football; the Colts/Pats game was good, not great, and plenty of injuries occurred. I went 10-3 ATS, which I’m happy about, but Jamal Lewis stealing four touchdowns from my main man Derek Anderson gave me the opposite feeling. Tuesday Morning Quarterback to follow.

Bet on It

Saturday, November 3rd, 2007

By Dalton Del Don – Senior Writer

Last week I went 6-7, bringing my season record to 55-53-8. Here are Week 9’s winners:

Panthers +4 at Titans

Bengals -1 at Bills

Broncos +3 at Lions

Packers +1.5 at Chiefs

Jaguars +3 at Saints

Chargers -7 at Vikings

49ers +3 at Falcons

Redskins -3.5 at Jets

Cardinals +3.5 at Buccaneers

Seahawks +1 at Browns

Texans +3 at Raiders

Patriots -5.5 at Colts

Cowboys -3 at Eagles

Ravens +9.5 at Steelers

Best Bet: Browns

Comments: The Browns and Seahawks seem like even teams to me, with both being far better at home. So why is this game essentially a pick ’em? Cleveland’s defense is bad, but the offense is top-5 good… Regarding the Colts/Pats game, that is hands down the most disrespectful line I’ve ever seen.