Archive for September, 2008

The Scoop

Tuesday, September 30th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

If the Browns and Bengals can’t get their offenses going against each other, it’s officially going to be a long season for both. Brady Quinn must really not impress during practice, or he would’ve been in that football game Sunday…Chris Perry is about to fumble his way out of a job. Cedric Benson is horrible, but since all other backs are hurt, and Perry is injury-prone, I guess he’s worth a look in fantasy leagues. And bravo Cincy, at least the franchise no longer even hides the fact character means little to them. When is Rae Carruth due for parole?…The next time I hear someone make a joke using the name Houshmandzadeh, I’m going to defenestrate him…If you own Jamal Lewis and can get Steve Slaton for him, consider yourself lucky.

So that’s why I drafted Matt Schaub in so many leagues. Not a great sign for Houston that he got 7.7 YPA with zero sacks and turnovers yet still lost, but still, this offense should get on a roll with four upcoming home games against soft defenses. Especially once someone tells Andre Johnson the season has started…Maybe age and all that mileage has finally caught up to Fred Taylor, who has averaged just 3.6 YPC this season…I’m fully onboard the Steve Slaton hype machine.

Muhsin Muhammad has a lot more left in the tank than I expected, and his familiarity with Jake Delhomme and the Carolina offense has paid off. He’s also an exceptional blocker…Rookie quarterback and all, Roddy White is going to have another good season…Michael Turner has been about as boom-or-bust as you can get so far, with opponent the clear reason why. Part of the problem is that he offers nothing in the passing game, so tough run defenses are going to remain a problem. Still, he’s going to be just fine long-term.

This Denver defense isn’t just bad, it’s awful. The line couldn’t generate any pressure even after LT Branden Albert left an already suspect Chiefs O-line. That said, I’ll eat some crow regarding Larry Johnson, as that’s two straight big games…He may be a horrible blocker, but Tony Scheffler simply has to be targeted more than two times…Jay Cutler is on pace to throw for 5,100 yards, which would top Dan Marino’s all-time record (5,084 yards).

Of the 49ers’ NFL-high 19 sacks allowed, only three have come on third down. Mike Martz deserves plenty of the blame, but J.T. O’Sullivan often holds onto the ball far, far too long…When you consider his teammates, Drew Brees has a pretty good case as the league’s MVP right now. For someone who supposedly lacks arm strength, he sure does throw a pretty deep ball…Not sure Vernon Davis can even be treated like a top-15 fantasy tight end at this point…I for one wrote Deuce McAllister off for dead, but since Reggie Bush can’t run between the tackles and Pierre Thomas was only decent and struggled in short-yardage situations, it looks like McAllister is going to be given every opportunity to be fantasy relevant again. Don’t expect any explosiveness, but there figures to be plenty of scoring chances.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Jets and Cardinals combined for 91 points Sunday…I’m glad I avoided Thomas Jones like the plague in fantasy drafts, because if that’s all he can muster playing at home against Arizona and with the benefit of a big lead, there’s not much room for optimism…Brett Favre sure does know how to run a playaction…The Anquan Boldin hit was just brutal.

Part of the problem with choosing Aaron Rodgers over Brett Favre wasn’t just comparing the two of them, it was the real downgrade in depth. If Rodgers can’t return from this shoulder sprain, the team is in big trouble, especially with all those injuries on the defensive side…Jon Gruden, please get Earnest Graham more touches…Not sure what to make of Ryan Grant, as he wasn’t even on the injury report last week, so the hamstring issue can’t be blamed. The problem with him is that he doesn’t counter a poor YPC mark with any receptions. Still, he’s more of a buy-low than someone to panic about.

Will someone, anyone please try to explain to me why Brad Childress punted down 13 points with 2 minutes left, which just led to three straight kneel downs by Kerry Collins? He didn’t want to hurt the fragile psyche of Tarvaris Jackson? He didn’t want to win? He is an idiot?…One gets the feeling we’ll be seeing more Chris Johnson and less LenDale White as the season progresses…Adrian Peterson owners still need to have Chester Taylor for insurance, but it sure is nice to see how irrelevant he’s become.

The bye week couldn’t have come at a better time for Darren McFadden. Painkilling shots before the game only delay the recovery from turf toe injuries, and he was clearly hobbled while trying to fight through it. Tough break he suffered the injury while the opportunity was there with Justin Fargas sidelined…Chris Chambers’ 33 percent catch rate is embarrassing…The Al Davis news conference was absolutely fascinating. Must-see TV to be sure. Things we learned about Davis: he’s lucid, emotional, paranoid and quite possibly the scariest human being alive, especially in HD. I fear for Chris Mortensen’s life.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Marshawn Lynch, but Fred Jackson needs to see 10 touches a game…I can fully understand the new regime going back to Marc Bulger, and the INT returned for a TD (“pick-six” needs to stop) was egregious, but Trent Green’s 7.4 YPA and two sacks taken were an improvement. I’m just saying.

I’m shocked by how well this Redskins team has been playing. The secondary has been nothing short of fantastic…If anyone should be complaining Terrell Owens, it’s Marion Barber…Jason Campbell has been one of the most pleasant surprises of 2008…Another week, another upgrade. Only health stands in the way of Santana Moss finishing as a top-10 fantasy wide receiver this season.

Kyle Orton has been a popular add this week, but I don’t buy it…No matter what he makes, defensive coordinator Jim Johnson is underpaid…Forget the mistakes, Philadelphia hit a home run with the DeSean Jackson pick…Because he racks up tackles to go along with the sacks, Trent Cole is an IDP beast…David Akers remains accurate inside 40 yards, but he’s not beyond that. This is clear. If the ball is anywhere on the opponents’ 24-35 yard-line, the team should consider it four down territory.

What a sloppy, ugly game that was Monday night, although both defenses deserve credit. Especially Baltimore’s unit, which looks like the best in football. Those linebackers are out of control…Did everyone enjoy the Rashard Mendenhall era as much as I did?…Joe Flacco (pronounced multiple different ways by the crack MNF team) sure does look like a future star. I’m really surprised how good he looks so soon. This Ravens team is no joke…What was up with that overtime coin toss? The coin never flipped once!…And now, because the Steelers were my survivor pick this week, I’m off to go have a heart attack.

MLB Awards

Monday, September 29th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

NL MVP – Albert Pujols: A no-brainer. Of the four main awards given out, this one is the clearest call. His BA (.357) and OBP (.462) trailed only Chipper Jones, but Pujols had nearly 100 more at-bats and his .653 slugging percentage led the league by a wide margin. He also led the NL in adjusted OPS+, runs created and sported a ridiculous 54:104 K:BB ratio. He’s also the game’s best fielding first baseman and major league baseball’s best base runner. Ryan Howard’s 48 homers and 146 RBI can’t be completely ignored; his .320/.439/.589 line with RISP may have been somewhat of a fluke and unsustainable, but it also means he was more valuable this year than his .881 OPS indicates. Still, even Lance Berkman was a better hitter in 2008, so he’s my choice for runner-up. Pujols clearly deserves the hardware.

AL MVP – Kevin Youkilis: Carlos Quentin or Milton Bradley would have taken this award, but both simply missed too many games this season. Like in 2006, there really isn’t anyone who jumps out here. Dustin Pedroia has been a nice player and all, but the guy’s OPS ranks 22nd just in the AL, and that number drops to .827 when he doesn’t have Fenway park helping him out. If you want to rate defensive importance highly, then Joe Mauer is the better pick. Or even Grady Sizemore.

NL Cy Young – Tim Lincecum: Johan Santana, Dan Haren and Cole Hamels are all excellent candidates, but the nod goes to The Freak. Lincecum walked the seventh most batters in the NL this season while also throwing the most wild pitches, but that’s far less hurtful when he combats it with an MLB-leading 265 strikeouts. In fact, his 10.51 K/9 IP mark was a full one punchout better than the second best mark. He also did an excellent job of limiting home runs, and although AT&T Park worked in his favor, he was pitching in front of a terrible defensive team. His FIP is 2.67; no other starter in the NL has one lower than 3.00. CC Sabathia has been the better pitcher since joining the NL, but this is a league given award, so there’s no way he was as valuable while throwing 100 fewer innings. As for Brandon Webb, it would be an absolute joke if he won, as he wasn’t even the best pitcher on his own team. In fact, Ricky Nolasco was a superior pitcher this year.

AL Cy Young – Roy Halladay: Narrowly, and I mean narrowly edging out Cliff Lee, who had a fantastic season as well. Halladay’s 1.053 WHIP and 5.28:1 K:BB ratio led all of baseball in 2008, and although Lee had a slightly better ERA (2.54 to 2.78), Halladay pitched 22.2 more innings, which is fairly substantial. Halladay did have the benefit of a good defense behind him, but pitching in the AL East is a much tougher task than the AL Central. In fact, he faced the Red Sox, the Yankees and the Rays a combined 16 times. Lee faced the Giants and Padres (once each) as often as he did the Yankees and Red Sox this season. As for Francisco Rodriguez, all hope for the future of society is lost if he finishes in the top-10.

NL ROY – Geovany Soto: Jair Jurrjens and Hiroki Kuroda had solid seasons on the mound, but this one came down to Soto and Joey Votto. In the end, Soto gets the nod because he put up similar numbers while playing catcher.

AL ROY – Evan Longoria: Alexei Ramirez was a worthy candidate, but Longoria takes home the trophy thanks to 60 extra-base hits in 448 at-bats. Honorable mention goes to Joey Devine, whose 0.59 ERA is the lowest in the history of major league baseball (minimum 40 innings). Good thing the Braves got three months of Mark Kotsay for him.

Bet on It

Friday, September 26th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week I went 7-9, which wasn’t unexpected since I had a difficult time making the picks. At least my best bet came through, bringing my season record there to 2-0-1. Overall, my record sits at 24-22-1. I normally go against road favorites but went with the Broncos, the Chargers and the Eagles this week, mainly because I see them as three of the best teams in the league.

Falcons +7 at Panthers – Although both of their victories have come at home against weak competition, there’s no doubting the Falcons are a much improved team this year. In fact, Michael Turner leads the NFL with 366 rushing yards, and John Abraham paces the league with six sacks, but this team will struggle in games they have to play from behind, which should happen Sunday. While the Falcons will go run-first, Carolina is allowing just 3.9 YPC on the year and has yet to allow a run of 20-plus yards. Expect a big game from Jonathan Stewart and the Panthers’ defense to harass Matt Ryan.

Broncos -10 at Chiefs – This is a sucker bet. I changed it to Denver at the last second and am regretting it. 94 percent of the public is siding with the Broncos, but it’s a division game on the road, and Damon Huard is a clear upgrade over Tyler Thigpen. Still, I’ll stand by the pick, despite Denver’s worrisome defense. Their offense is right on par with last year’s record-setting Patriots through three weeks.

49ers +5.5 at Saints – I’m not too worried about all the New Orleans receivers going down, and they will be focused coming off a loss. Reggie Bush has been targeted (32) the second most times in the league this season, including wide receivers. However, the 49ers are no joke; they have a net YPA of 3.6!

Cardinals +1 at Jets – Most are writing off the Cardinals as the same old squad they always are – great passing game but weak everywhere else. Actually, they have the 8th ranked defense and are well coached, so they look like a playoff team to me. The Jets, on the other hand, certainly do not. Still, this is one of those games where you go with feel, and New York probably wins it undeservingly because they are at home and need a victory more. Also, the decision by the Cardinals to stay on the east coast this week after losing in Washington last Sunday, creating a nine-day layover, was probably a mistake

Vikings +3 at Titans (best bet) – There might not be two more similar teams in the NFL, as both enter starting backup quarterbacks with dominant running games and terrific defenses. Still, that doesn’t make them equal. The Vikings may be more desperate than the undefeated Titans, but I can’t see their offense doing much of anything this week. Tennessee is holding opponents to a 45.7 QB rating with a 1:7 TD:INT ratio.

Packers +1 at Buccaneers – Green Bay has too much offensive firepower for the Bucs to hang here. The Packers have allowed the most YPC (5.7) of any team in football, so don’t expect another 67 pass attempts from Brian Griese. But Tampa Bay is due for a letdown, and Green Bay is one of the better teams in the NFC.

Texans +8 at Jaguars – The Texans will be playing their third straight road game to open the season, and they come in with an extremely disappointing 25th ranked offense. Part of the problem has been the red zone, where Houston has converted just 3-of-9 trips inside the 20 into touchdowns, ranking 28th in the league. Jacksonville should have continued success running the football, as Houston has allowed 4.5 YPC and a whopping five rushing scores over its first two games. Still, Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson are certainly capable of playing much better.

Browns +3.5 at Bengals – The Bengals played well last week, taking the defending Super Bowl champs into overtime. Still, they are currently 0-3, battling an equally desperate Cleveland squad that’s also yet to win. While Carson Palmer figures to improve after his rough start, the defense remains a big problem, as the unit has recorded an NFL-low one sack on the year. The defense continues to struggle, but no one expected the Browns to have the 30th ranked rushing offense and the 31st ranked passing attack, even if their schedule hasn’t done them any favors. However, in a matchup so close, do you really want to give points?

Chargers -8 at Raiders – Another road favorite and against a Raider team that’s played highly competitive football over the past two weeks to boot. But things could get ugly if JaMarcus Russell is asked to throw more than 20 times, and Darren McFadden is banged up. The Chargers offense is elite, with Philip Rivers emerging as an MVP candidate, so that looks like the likely scenario.

Bills -8.5 at Rams – With a 31st ranked offense and a 32nd ranked defense, it doesn’t get worse than the Rams’ start to the season. But the Bills aren’t used to being prohibitive favorites, and St. Louis is about as desperate as a franchise can be. Trent Green can be nothing but an upgrade considering the way Marc Bulger has played since 2006, and 77 percent of the public is backing the Bills.

Redskins +11.5 at Cowboys – Dallas enters with the No. 1 rated offense in football, and they catch a break playing Washington without Jason Taylor (calf). Dating back to last year, Tony Romo has thrown an interception in 12 of his last 13 games. Still, all those big plays and his current 9.7 YPA mark more than make up for it. Dallas’ offense is far too much for Washington to handle, despite Jason Campbell’s modest signs of growth.

Eagles -3 at Bears – A run-first Bears team has a tough task facing an Eagles defense that has allowed an NFL-low 2.4 YPC and recorded an NFL-high 13 sacks on the season. Brian Westbrook (ankle) looks unlikely to play, which is a blow, but Donovan McNabb has been performing at such a high level, the offense will be fine. Expect a low scoring affair, with Philadelphia’s ability to create turnovers on defense the difference maker.

Ravens +7 at Steelers – Baltimore comes in with the No. 1 ranked defense, a solid ground game and with a perfect 2-0 record. However, rookie Joe Flacco will be making his first ever start on the road, and the 30th ranked passing offense may be asked to do more than usual, since Pittsburgh is capable of putting points on the board. In a battle featuring the league’s top-two rated defenses, expect a slugfest, but once Pittsburgh jumps out to a lead, Baltimore is in trouble.

Week 4 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, September 25th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Jay Cutler
2. Tony Romo
3. Drew Brees
4. Philip Rivers

5. J.T. O’Sullivan
6. Kurt Warner
7. Carson Palmer
8. Brett Favre
9. Donovan McNabb
10. Aaron Rodgers

11. Derek Anderson
12. Jake Delhomme
13. Trent Edwards
14. Ben Roethlisberger
15. Matt Schaub
16. Jason Campbell
17. Kerry Collins
18. David Garrard
19. Damon Huard
20. Brian Griese

Running Backs

1. Frank Gore
2. Marion Barber
3. LaDainian Tomlinson
4. Marshawn Lynch

5. Steven Jackson
6. Reggie Bush
7. Chris Perry
8. Adrian Peterson
9. Clinton Portis
10. Jonathan Stewart
11. Ryan Grant
12. Maurice Jones-Drew
13. Steve Slaton
14. Jamal Lewis
15. Michael Turner
16. Matt Forte

17. Thomas Jones
18. Earnest Graham
19. Larry Johnson
20. Correll Buckhalter
21. Darren McFadden
22. Rashard Mendenhall
23. Chris Johnson

24. Edgerrin James
25. Darren Sproles
26. Selvin Young
27. Fred Taylor
28. Willis McGahee
29. LenDale White
30. DeAngelo Williams

Wide Receivers

1. Brandon Marshall
2. Terrell Owens
3. Steve Smith
4. Larry Fitzgerald
5. Braylon Edwards
6. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
7. Andre Johnson
8. Anquan Boldin
9. Greg Jennings

10. Santana Moss
11. Jerricho Cotchery
12. Lee Evans
13. Chris Chambers
14. Dwayne Bowe
15. Antonio Bryant
16. Roddy White
17. Chad Johnson
18. Torry Holt
19. Laveranues Coles
20. Santonio Holmes
21. Hines Ward

22. DeSean Jackson
23. Vincent Jackson
24. Eddie Royal
25. Donald Driver
26. Bryant Johnson (check status)
27. Matt Jones
28. Patrick Crayton
29. Isaac Bruce
30. Bernard Berrian

Barometer

Wednesday, September 24th, 2008

Here are this week’s risers and fallers.

The Scoop

Tuesday, September 23rd, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Not sure if I’ve ever seen an uglier display of quarterback play than Tyler Thigpen on Sunday. Imagine Dwayne Bowe with even an average QB throwing to him…The Falcons’ rushing attack is legit, as Michael Turner and Jerious Norwood complement each other perfectly. Turner is a beast between the tackles, and he’s not opposed to carrying multiple defenders into the end zone. Norwood, meanwhile, is a solid receiver and literally every single one of his carries come outside the tackles…If I’m facing Atlanta, I’m doubling John Abraham…I’ve been known to be stubborn, but I’m now trying to aggressively sell Larry Johnson more than ever. He put up nice numbers Sunday, but most of those yards came on one play. Because of his horrible blocking skills, he’s a complete afterthought in the passing game.

The saga in Oakland has become positively soap opera worthy. And to think, Javon Walker actually offered to give all that money back, and the Raiders declined…Since Nnamdi Asomugha is by far the best cover corner in the NFL, why is he relegated to one side of the field? They can’t scheme around making sure he’s guarding the opponents’ best receiver?…There hasn’t been a better fourth quarter team than Buffalo this season.

With the hardest part of their schedule behind them, Chris Perry could be quite valuable from here on out. Of course, he’s also pretty likely to get hurt, so rostering Kenny Watson is also a must…I like Brandon Jacobs as much as the next guy, but it’s entirely possible he’s the third best running back on his own team. Derrick Ward is making it impossible not to keep him heavily involved. Jacobs isn’t looking like much of an RB2 right now…It’s pretty obvious what the problem with Chad Johnson is – he’s hurt. I wouldn’t buy-low here, especially with Chris Henry returning soon.

Ronnie Brown – wow. When I called him a buy-low last week, this is exactly what I expected. OK maybe not five touchdowns. Four, but not five. That formation may not be sustainable, but if Bill Belichick can’t make any adjustments throughout four quarters, maybe it’s going to be effective for a while…Something tells me Matt Cassel isn’t going to be New England’s quarterback over the course of this season. He made David Carr look like a downfield threat with that performance Sunday.

Welcome to fantasy relevance, Steve Slaton. Especially considering opponent, that was impressive. I still believe in Houston’s offense (told you I was stubborn), so there’s nice upside here…If anyone’s worried about Andre Johnson, go happily take him off their hands…LenDale White might finish the season with 20 touchdowns and a 3.0 YPC mark…I took Matt Schaub and/or Jay Cutler in every single one of my (far too many) leagues this year, so please Schaub, get your head out of your ass.

Yes, Antonio Bryant is a must-add in every format…Brian Griese attempted 67 passes on the road in Chicago and wasn’t sacked once?! That’s pretty remarkable on numerous levels…I loved the up and coming Brandon Lloyd back in his days in San Francisco, but I’d be surprised if Sunday’s game was a sign of big things to come.

Edgerrin James’ longest run this year is 16 yards, making him the only back in the top 10 in rushing who doesn’t have a carry of at least 20 yards. Free Tim Hightower!…Santana Moss sure looks like a top-15 fantasy receiver to me…Down seven points with 2:33 left in the fourth quarter and at midfield Sunday, Ken Whisenhunt elected to punt on fourth-and-four, which was ridiculous to the point of offensive. Shockingly, they never got the ball back. What a joke.

After one week, Gus Frerotte was an upgrade, but it took a big defensive play to really turn that game around…Jonathan Stewart is going to score a lot of touchdowns this season…Bryant McKinnie can’t return soon enough…Steve Smith hasn’t been of much help over the first 23 percent of the fantasy regular season, but he’s going to make a major impact from here on out.

The Broncos’ major problems on defense is great news for Jay Cutler and Brandon Marshall owners…Considering the receiving corps, Drew Brees and Sean Payton deserve an awful lot of credit…Let me reiterate, if Ryan Torain is somehow available in your league, change that…Reggie Bush still struggles as a runner, but he sure can be effective as a receiver, making him much more valuable fantasywise than I expected…I haven’t purchased a jersey in probably 10 years, but Cutler is really making me think about changing that.

Despite Sunday’s disappearing act, I still want Bryant Johnson on my fantasy team…If Frank Gore can stay healthy, 2,200 scrimmage yards isn’t out of the question…Was that a Rudi Johnson sighting? And he looked good too. Kevin Smith owners beware…Year in and year out, Roy Williams continues to disappoint…I see absolutely no reason why J.T. O’Sullivan shouldn’t be treated like a top-10 fantasy QB right now…The Lions are 1-10 over their last 11 games, and Matt Millen is 31-84 since he took over as team president in 2001.

The Rams have now been outscored by a total of 116-29 in three games this year and are on pace to give up 619 points this season. The NFL record for points allowed in a season is 533 by the 1981 Baltimore Colts…I don’t want to bag on St. Louis too much, since they did help keep me alive in my survivor pool this week…Not sure Trent Green is the answer, but Marc Bulger was simply playing himself out of a job…Julius Jones owners: sell.

The Eagles blitzed about 85 percent of the time against Pittsburgh and have really impressed so far. That team shouldn’t be overlooked…Willie Parker’s injury is pretty rough after his hot start to the year, but it will be interesting to see what Rashard Mendenhall can do. He hasn’t received a single carry over the last two games yet is now the starter in Pittsburgh…I’m not sure if Ben Roethlisberger is extremely tough or a wuss, but he sure does get nicked up a lot.

Counting the preseason, the Browns are now 0-7. What a soft team. I’m ready to see what Brady Quinn can do. Stash him in fantasy leagues…Luckily, I wasn’t even about to let last year’s aberration by Jamal Lewis fool me…So is it safe to say John Harbaugh has been a massive upgrade from that preening schmo Brian Billick?..I’m still not worried about Braylon Edwards.

The Colts have given up 598 yards on the ground so far this season, which is an even worse pace than their record setting 2006 team, which of course means they must be Super Bowl favorites…Peyton Manning has thrown multiple interceptions in consecutive games for the first time since October of 2002…The Jaguars had the ball 26:01 in the second half. The Colts had it 3:59. Now that’s dominating time of possession…Anyone frustrated by Joseph Addai’s start to the season, remember, he has home matchups against Cincinnati and Detroit Weeks 14 and 15.

Will someone please explain to me how Tony Romo was not drafted? No team found him worthy of the 224 picks?…Felix Jones, who looks closer to 40 than he does 20, is pretty explosive. He’s a perfect complement to Marion Barber and gives Dallas yet another edge as the best team in football…As crucial as Terrell Owens is to the Cowboys offense, I’m not so sure Jason Witten isn’t equally as important…For those counting at home, Barber is on pace to score 27 touchdowns this season…Greg Jennings is very, very good.

Part of the reason I picked San Diego as a wild card and not the division winner was that I expected the defense to regress and LaDainian Tomlinson to decline. What I didn’t count on, however, was Philip Rivers to be one of the five best players in the league. The guy has, quite simply, transformed into a superstar. He’s unequivocally a top-five fantasy QB…This San Diego team is very, very dangerous…The Jets are not…Chris Chambers is on pace to finish with 32 receptions and 21 touchdowns this season…Tomlinson’s toe injury didn’t appear to be much of a bother Monday, and he’ll be plenty valuable getting a bunch of scoring opportunities in that offense, but this is someone who’s a shell of his former self. The burst is gone. Over his last 36 carries against soft defenses, he’s averaged 2.6 YPC. Darren Sproles, meanwhile, is a touchdown waiting to happen. This isn’t Reggie Bush, as Sproles is much stronger and can run between the tackles. He’s a major weapon.

Kudos to the Emmy’s for rightfully awarding “Mad Men” as TV’s best current show…The new season of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” premiered last week, and let me just say, it’s highly recommended…I find myself oddly hooked on HBO’s “True Blood.”…And now, I’m off to go listen to the new “TV on the Radio.”

Bet on It

Saturday, September 20th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

If I were laying real money down, I’d stay far away from this week, as it’s a slate I had a terribly difficult time with. I give Vegas a lot of credit, as they were right on with most of these lines. Taking 11 favorites has me sick to my stomach. A lot of interesting teaser options, though.

Chiefs +6 at Falcons

Cardinals +3 at Redskins

Texans +5 at Titans

Raiders +10 at Bills

Buccaneers +3 at Bears

Panthers +3.5 at Vikings

Bengals +14 at Giants

Dolphins +13 at Patriots

Saints +5.5 at Broncos

Lions +4 at 49ers

Rams +10 at Seahawks

Browns +2 at Ravens (best bet)

Steelers +3 at Eagles

Jaguars +5.5 at Colts

Cowboys -3 at Packers

Jets +10 at Chargers

Week 3 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, September 18th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Jay Cutler
2. Tony Romo
3. Drew Brees
4. Peyton Manning
5. Philip Rivers

6. Ben Roethlisberger
7. Donovan McNabb
8. J.T. O’Sullivan
9. Eli Manning
10. Aaron Rodgers
11. Kurt Warner

12. Jon Kitna
13. Matt Hasselbeck
14. Jake Delhomme
15. Brett Favre
16. Matt Schaub
17. Matt Cassell
18. Carson Palmer
19. Jason Campbell
20. David Garrard

Running Backs

1. Frank Gore
2. Marion Barber
3. Brian Westbrook
4. Adrian Peterson
5. LaDainian Tomlinson/Darren Sproles
6. Michael Turner
7. Clinton Portis
8. Marshawn Lynch
9. Brandon Jacobs

10. Chris Johnson
11. Darren McFadden
12. Willie Parker
13. Julius Jones
14. Ryan Grant
15. Joseph Addai
16. Sammy Morris
17. Steven Jackson
18. Matt Forte
19. Earnest Graham

20. Reggie Bush
21. Kevin Smith
22. LenDale White
23. Willis McGahee
24. Thomas Jones
25. Maurice Jones-Drew
26. Michael Bush
27. Jamal Lewis
28. Chris Perry
29. Selvin Young
30. Larry Johnson
31. Jonathan Stewart
32. Ronnie Brown
33. Chester Taylor
34. Tim Hightower
35. Steve Slaton

Wide Receivers

1. Brandon Marshall
2. Terrell Owens
3. Plaxico Burress
4. Calvin Johnson
5. Reggie Wayne
6. Steve Smith
7. Andre Johnson
8. Larry Fitzgerald
9. Greg Jennings
10. Anquan Boldin

11. Braylon Edwards
12. Randy Moss
13. Santonio Holmes
14. Chris Chambers
15. Santana Moss
16. Jerricho Cotchery
17. Roy Williams
18. Hines Ward
19. Roddy White
20. Lee Evans
21. Dwayne Bowe
22. Torry Holt
23. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
24. Chad Johnson
25. Wes Welker

26. Bryant Johnson
27. Eddie Royal
28. Anthony Gonzalez
29. Donald Driver
30. DeSean Jackson
31. Vincent Jackson
32. Marvin Harrison
33. Laveranues Coles
34. Amani Toomer
35. Patrick Crayton
36. Matt Jones
37. Koren Robinson
38. Isaac Bruce
39. Bernard Berrian
40. Derrick Mason

The Barometer

Wednesday, September 17th, 2008

Here’s this week’s edition.

The Scoop

Tuesday, September 16th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

This Titans defense is no joke. Cortland Finnegan is one of the league’s better players few know about…The Bengals have faced a seriously difficult early season schedule, but that can’t completely excuse such a disastrous line by Carson Palmer (49%, 4.5 YPA, 0:3 TD:INT ratio). Things will get better, but with two of the three upcoming games @NYG and @Dallas, it may not be for a while…Feel free to cut ties with Alge Crumpler, as there are plenty of more intriguing TE2 options.

No doubt about it, I got the Bills wrong this year – they look much better than I anticipated. It all starts with Trent Edwards, who looks like one of the NFL’s most improved players thus far…Of all the RB2s stashed on fantasy owners’ benches, it seems Fred Jackson is flying under the radar. He’s a big part of the team’s third down packages and would get the bulk of the work if Marshawn Lynch were to get injured…I’m not ready to give up on Jacksonville’s season, but the writing was on the wall for a disappointing 2008. Especially with all these injuries, they currently look like the worst team in their division…Matt Jones may yet become a useful NFL player after all…Fred Taylor is still a prime candidate to break down, but right now, Maurice Jones-Drew is almost unusable in fantasy leagues. He was previously able to get by on limited touches because he was so productive on a per play basis, but with a ravaged line on a declining team, he’s basically Tim Hightower.

I drafted Darren McFadden (often too high) in a bunch of leagues not because I didn’t like Justin Fargas as a RB, but because I doubted his ability to stay healthy and loved Tom Cable’s system. Anyone who saw Fargas’ injury Sunday won’t be expecting him back anytime soon. Of course, McFadden left with an injury of his own, and it was quite disappointing seeing him get caught from behind by a safety…Put a fork in Larry Johnson, he’s done. Meet the new Shaun Alexander, circa 2007. If you can get a Chris Johnson or Jonathan Stewart for LJ, consider yourself extremely lucky. Hell, at this point, Darren Sproles has more upside.

Peyton Manning’s knee injury is of definite concern – it takes him forever to get it loose and often prevents them from running their patented stretch plays on the ground. Still, let’s not write off the Colts just yet…I’m beginning to think Bernard Berrian may look a little overpaid at season’s end…Not having Dallas Clark in the lineup helped his stats Sunday, but Anthony Gonzalez looks like the far superior receiver than the current version of Marvin Harrison.

Well, that didn’t take long for Jonathan Stewart to gain more fantasy value than DeAngelo Williams. That’s a legit Bears’ front seven Stewart carved up Sunday…Jason McKie is quickly becoming Matt Forte owners’ worst nightmare…How about Greg Olsen losing a fumble on both of his two receptions? That’s not too good…Can’t wait to see what Carolina looks like with Steve Smith back in the lineup.

Jon Kitna can remain an effective fantasy QB either way, but those interceptions Sunday were brutal. It doesn’t matter that the OC changed, Detroit will have a similar philosophy because of the personnel. And that’s not good news for Kevin Smith owners…Greg Jennings is simply one of the best deep threats in the game. And in deeper leagues, rostering James Jones right now wouldn’t be a bad idea…If that’s the best Ryan Grant can do under his current condition, might as well rest him a week or two to get that hamstring healthy…The system helps for sure, but make no mistake, Aaron Rodgers is the real deal. Consider him a top-8 fantasy QB moving forward.

This Rams team is bad. Very, very bad. As in, the team has yet to run a single play in the red zone this season! Any Torry Holt owners should use this week’s miracle (lucky) 45-yard TD catch and shop him around like crazy. St. Louis is a must-start for opposing fantasy defenses…Brandon Jacobs is more likely to stay healthy if he’s continued to be used this way, and more touchdowns are sure to follow…Because of his activity in the passing game, Steven Jackson maintains fantasy value. However, it’s pretty limited surrounded by these teammates.

Who was that wearing #17 for Washington Sunday, and what did you do with Jason Campbell?…When healthy, Santana Moss is a very good wide receiver. He could be in store for a big bounce back year…The Giants are the only team in the NFL that doesn’t have a tight end with a catch this season…Whoever made the when to and when not to go for a two-point conversion chart is an idiot. And Jim Zorn got in line with the rest of the followers and mistakenly used it Sunday.

I understand they were playing from behind, but Mike Smith really abandoned the run prematurely Sunday…Roddy White owners, be patient. Good things are to come…If I own Earnest Graham, I might actually try selling high this week. He’s had back-to-back nice games, but both have been predicated by one huge gain, something that can’t be counted on. They’ve also come against soft defenses. Don’t get me wrong, I really like Graham as a player, but if Jon Gruden continues to give Warrick Dunn 45 percent of the carries, there’s just no way he can be a consistent RB2…Something tells me this Brian Griese era is not going to end well.

What a day for J.T. O’Sullivan. It’s hard not to commit a single turnover while taking eight sacks. Mike Martz’s magic has officially returned. A 9.9 YPA mark after two games suggests more TD passes to come. Right now, I’d much rather JTO than Matt Hasselbeck for fantasy purposes. I might even prefer him to Carson Palmer…Run, don’t walk to pick up Bryant Johnson if he’s somehow available on your waiver wire…Patrick Willis’ 86-yard interception return for a TD was a thing of beauty…Julius Jones is someone to be shopped this week. Sell.

Looks like the Jets better not start printing those playoff tickets, after all. I’d still take the Pats and you can have the AFC East field…I’m so over you Larry Maroney. So very over you…So maybe Wes Welker can retain some value after all…Where are you, David Harris?

And on the eighth day, God created Jay Cutler…Philip Rivers sure looks like a top-10 fantasy QB to me…Got to give Mike Shanahan credit for having the guts to go for two there. Love it when a coach goes against the grain for once. In a game that featured 942 total yards of offense, the move made plenty of sense…Don’t worry San Diego, the Chargers will be just fine. They’ll make the playoffs…If I had the option to own any Bronco running back, Ryan Torain would be my first choice…I’m really trying hard not to say I told you so about LaDainian Tomlinson, but let’s just say I’d use my No. 1 waiver priority to acquire Darren Sproles this week.

Tim Hightower’s YPC is a bit misleading since so many of his carries come in short-yardage situations, but he’s the back to own in Arizona…Boy Ted Ginn sure has disappeared since the real bullets started to fly…I’d target Ronnie Brown as a buy-low guy right now…Ugh, my Miami ahead of Buffalo prediction looks horrible, but I’m feeling “pretty, pretty good” about my Cardinals as NFC West champs pick…Kurt Warner has 25 touchdown passes over his last 10 games. If the big three can somehow remain healthy, this offense is an absolute force, and because they finally have sound coaching, it’s a team with potential.

How weird was Ben Roethlisberger’s postgame interview Sunday night?…This Cleveland team isn’t making the playoffs or anything, but they have had quite a rough schedule so far. Expect another subpar offensive performance in Week 3, and then go target Braylon Edwards in trade talks…Like last year before the season-ending injury, Willie Parker is getting worked awfully hard…I loved Romeo Crennel’s mind-blowing choice to kick a field goal down seven with three minutes left because he gave me a win ATS, but it had to be one of the most illogical decisions ever made.

The Broncos/Chargers matchup was quite good, but the Cowboys/Eagles Monday nighter qualifies as early season favorite for barnburner of the year. As someone who picked Dallas in his survivor pool this week, I was sweating bullets…Jason Witten is an animal. He won’t let a little separated shoulder get in the way of playing football…Did anyone even notice Tony Kornheiser made a possibly insensitive comment until he apologized for it?…First Brian Westbrook willingly kneeled down at the 1-yard line last year, and now DeSean Jackson nullifies a would be 61-yard TD by prematurely celebrating. The Eagles have officially become fantasy football’s most aggravating team…That said, Philadelphia is legit. Donovan McNabb looks simply terrific. The one more year removed from knee surgery has made a huge difference…Marion Barber might score a few touchdowns this season…And now, I’m off to go pay Bruce Bochy a visit.

Podcast

Sunday, September 14th, 2008

Here’s this week’s version.

Bet on It

Friday, September 12th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week I went 10-6, including winning my “best bet,” so I’m 1-0 there. Most will say the opposite, but I typically find Week 1 the easiest slate of the year, so unsurprisingly, it got harder for me this week. Here are the Week 2 picks, now with comments.

Raiders +3.5 at Chiefs – Oakland looked awful on MNF and now travels during a short week. Still, they are better than what they showed Week 1, and if they can’t keep it close against KC after that embarrassment, this franchise is even worse than I thought.

Packers -3 at Lions – Another team traveling during a short week, Green Bay looks like the obvious play here. That’s why I’m buying low on the Lions, who aren’t nearly as bad as they appeared last week.

Titans +1 at Bengals – The Titans look like a sucker bet, but usually one or two of those come through each week. I’m not confident on this one.

Bears +3 at Panthers (best bet) – The Bears looked good last week, but I have a hard time viewing these two teams as equals. The Panthers have played better on the road than at home over the past few years, but their defense should have a big game Sunday.

Bills +5.5 at Jaguars – This is a tough one, and the fact the entire middle of the Jags’ O-line will be missing doesn’t help, but Buffalo could be in trouble if they get down early. 82 percent of the public is backing Buffalo, so give me Jacksonville.

Saints -1 at Redskins – Washington has 10 days to prepare, and New Orleans really loses something when playing outdoors. Still, this is a tough one.

Colts -2 at Vikings – Will the Colts really start 0-2?

Giants -9 at Rams – Looks like a huge mismatch on paper, but you’ve got to think the Rams play better coming off such a blowout loss. Plus, they dramatically improve at home. They should keep it relatively close.

49ers +7.5 at Seahawks – The Seahawks shouldn’t be favored by more than a TD to anyone right now.

Falcons +7.5 at Buccaneers – This doesn’t seem like that big of an overreaction to last week, does it? The Tampa 2 scheme could give Matt Ryan fits, but I’m not giving up more than a touchdown backing this pedestrian Bucs team.

Dolphins +7 at Cardinals – Miami really isn’t that bad.

Patriots +1.5 at Jets – The Patriots have won 20 consecutive regular season games, but because Tom Brady was lost for the season, the team is now 20/1 long shots to win the Super Bowl and underdogs to a Jets squad that finished 4-12 last year. Craziness. Surprisingly, the public is backing NE this week, but I’m not too confident in NYJ.

Chargers -1.5 at Broncos – Well, I entered the year considering Denver the better team. Even after last week, Vegas apparently considers SD the better team by 4.5 points. Back the Broncos.

Steelers -6.5 at Browns – The NFL did Cleveland no favors with their early season schedule.

Ravens +4.5 at Texans – I still believe in Houston.

Eagles +7 at Cowboys – This will be the last time the Cowboys aren’t double-digit favorites at home for a while.

Week 2 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Tony Romo
2. Peyton Manning
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Drew Brees
5. Jay Cutler

6. Kurt Warner
7. Derek Anderson
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Eli Manning
10. Aaron Rodgers
11. Matt Schaub
12. Brett Favre
13. David Garrard

14. Philip Rivers
15. Kerry Collins
16. Matt Cassell
17. Jon Kitna
18. Matt Hasselbeck
19. Jake Delhomme
20. Carson Palmer

Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Marion Barber
3. Brian Westbrook
4. LaDainian Tomlinson
5. Willie Parker
6. Brandon Jacobs
7. Frank Gore

8. Clinton Portis
9. Larry Johnson
10. Steven Jackson
11. Ryan Grant
12. Earnest Graham
13. Joseph Addai
14. Maurice Jones-Drew
15. Marshawn Lynch
16. Michael Turner
17. Thomas Jones
18. Jamal Lewis
19. Chris Johnson
20. Willis McGahee
21. Reggie Bush

22. LenDale White
23. Matt Forte
24. Ronnie Brown
25. Darren McFadden
26. Kevin Smith
27. Julius Jones
28. Laurence Maroney
29. Edgerrin James
30. Chris Perry
31. Selvin Young
32. Steve Slaton
33. DeAngelo Williams
34. Ricky Williams
35. Justin Fargas

Wide Receivers

1. Terrell Owens
2. Reggie Wayne
3. Randy Moss
4. Plaxico Burress
5. Braylon Edwards
6. Andre Johnson
7. Larry Fitzgerald
8. Brandon Marshall
9. Santonio Holmes
10. Calvin Johnson
11. Greg Jennings
12. Anquan Boldin

13. Marvin Harrison
14. Roy Williams
15. Jerricho Cotchery
16. Torry Holt
17. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
18. Chad Johnson
19. Hines Ward
20. Chris Chambers
21. Dwayne Bowe
22. Lee Evans
23. Roddy White

24. Donald Driver
25. Santana Moss
25. Joey Galloway
26. Wes Welker
27. Patrick Crayton
28. Laveranues Coles
29. Vincent Jackson
30. DeSean Jackson
31. Eddie Royal
32. Ted Ginn
33. Anthony Gonzalez
34. Bryant Johnson
35. Courtney Taylor
36. Reggie Williams
37. Sidney Rice
38. Bernard Berrian
39. Ronald Curry
40. Derrick Mason

NFL Barometer

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

Check out Week 2’s edition.

The Scoop

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

For anyone hoping the postseason Eli Manning from last year would show up for 2008, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Inconsistent is his middle name…If Brandon Jacobs somehow stays healthy, he’ll easily finish as a top-10 fantasy back. Maybe top-5. His hands are a joke, though…Jason Campbell is not the answer at quarterback in Washington…A healthy Plaxico Burress who can actually practice this season is a scary thought. I wish I invested more in him during drafts this summer.

Carson Palmer wasn’t sacked over his last 89 pass attempts last year. He was sacked on his first two attempts during Week 1…He can’t be counted on to stay healthy, but I still like Chris Perry. Feel free to see if an owner is panicking after a poor game against a tough Baltimore D…If Ray Rice can only muster 2.9 YPC at home against Cincinnati while playing with a lead, his upside is far lower than I expected. I’d never heard of Le’Ron McClain before Sunday.

After round 1, I’d sure rather have Ronnie Brown than I would Ricky Williams. Go buy Brown while his value is still low…It appears Brett Favre’s still got it. What a great fourth down touchdown heave. New York actually benefited from Mike Nugent’s injury…Of all the random tight end explosions this week (Dante Rosario, Randy McMichael, Robert Royal), I like Anthony Fasano the most moving forward. With Tom Brady going down, the New York Bretts may just win this division after all.

Matt Cassell, whom my friend once repeatedly beat while foot racing on the streets of USC in the middle of the night back in our college days, is now the starting quarterback for a team that’s won 20 consecutive regular season games. Brady going down for the season 20 minutes into the year is pretty crazy…If you own Wes Welker and can get Lee Evans for him, do it…Brodie Croyle’s injury makes the Chiefs slightly better…Laurence Maroney owners have to be killing themselves right now. New England may have to run more with Brady out of the lineup, but it appears Sammy Morris is going to be a big part of that once again, including at the goal line. Ugh.

Steve Slaton is clearly the runner to own in Houston’s backfield…You can’t really be more efficient than Ben Roethlisberger was Sunday…Santonio Holmes will be fine…The best news regarding Willie Parker’s big day and future fantasy prospects? Rashard Mendenhall hasn’t impressed at all…Despite Week 1’s ugly performance, I still believe in the Texans having a good football team this year. Mario Williams is unblockable.

This Titans team is physical. Hopefully the concussed Albert Haynesworth won’t have to miss any time…I’m not sure how Kerry Collins will play as the starter, but it’s tough imagining him not being an upgrade over Vince Young. He’s a sneaky fantasy play Week 2 against the Bengals…Having drafted Chris Johnson in numerous leagues, I’m able to sleep much better at night. He looks like a top-20 fantasy back at minimum.

I can guarantee Matt Ryan won’t have a better game the rest of the year than he did during his first ever start, but he does look like a keeper…Maybe the same jersey and number clouds my judgment, but Kevin Smith reminds me a lot of Kevin Jones in his prime, and I mean that as a compliment…This Falcons O-line sure did improve in a hurry. Of course, playing Detroit will make a lot of teams look good…If Calvin Johnson isn’t a consensus second round pick in fantasy leagues next year, it’s because he’ll be going in round one…It wasn’t San Diego – Michael Turner is the real deal. What a combination of size, cutting ability and speed. He should be viewed as a top-10 fantasy back.

The fake field goal the Bills ran Sunday was the coolest play of the day. Hands down…Nate Burleson dropped a wide open pass in the end zone that I would have caught 10 times out of 10. The very next play he makes a diving catch for a score with a defender all over him – one I wouldn’t be able to make if given 100 tries. Too bad he’s now done for the year. Getting targeted so often in that offense, he was going to put up big numbers. Might as well pick up Courtney Taylor…With Maurice Morris hurt and nice upcoming matchups, if I own Julius Jones, I’m shopping him like crazy with those selling points. Dude’s a terrible running back…This year, Lee Evans might just be what I thought he’d be last year.

I’m as big a fan of “Seinfeld” as anyone, but these new Microsoft ads featuring Jerry and Bill Gates simply have to go.

Drew Brees easily looks like the No. 1 fantasy QB to own…Nice to see Pierre Thomas so heavily involved right out of the gate. Anyone who drafted Deuce McAllister was crazy…Reggie Bush can be a force in the passing game, and it’s possible Sean Payton utilizes him more effectively this year, but he still can’t run (3.6 YPC). Just make him a situational back and get it over with…Remember Marques Colston owners, he got off to a slow start last season too…If Jon Gruden continues to give Warrick Dunn similar touches to Earnest Graham, my TB last place prediction will look positively prophetic.

DeSean Jackson is awfully exciting, but see if someone is willing to treat him like a true WR2 right now…Be afraid Torry Holt owners. Be very afraid…Fun fact: The Eagles have the heaviest offensive line in the NFL…The angle the safety took while attempting to tackle Hank Baskett during his 90-yard TD catch was an embarrassment.

This Dallas team looks pretty unbeatable. Expect some through the roof point spreads to follow…Chalk Braylon Edwards down has someone who does need some preseason action, apparently…What exactly, was Romeo Crennel thinking kicking a field goal down 21 points with 10 minutes left playing an offense like Dallas? The answer? He wasn’t…If Jason Witten remains healthy, he’s going to be a monster. He’s definitely the No. 1 fantasy tight end…My boy Marion Barber proved both me right (he should be considered at minimum the No. 2 fantasy player overall) and his naysayers right (his physical style could lead to injuries). Still, like the Barbarian isn’t going to play through a little cartilage damage to the ribs? Please. Dude could score 30 touchdowns this season.

Chris Chambers’ Week 1 was his career personified – catching just one of his six targets yet being productive with it (44-yard TD)…DeAngelo Williams and the Panthers’ offensive line sure do look improved this season…My favorite part of Dante Rosario’s huge Week 1? When Fox listed him as “Rosario Dawson” on their UPS Leaderboard…Sell LaDainian Tomlinson before it’s too late.

Over the second half of Sunday’s game, the Cardinals ran 45 plays compared to 15 by the 49ers. San Francisco completed just one pass in Arizona territory during that time. They committed five turnovers to the Cardinals’ zero. Ladies and gentlemen, the Mike Martz era!…Actually, the Cardinals were painstakingly conservative. It makes sense trying to limit Kurt Warner’s turnovers, but I didn’t appreciate it much as a Larry Fitzgerald holder…There’s a legitimate chance Frank Gore leads SF in receptions this year…As for JTO, he actually gave reason for optimism, completing 70 percent of his passes for a 9.8 YPA. Good thing the team picked Alex Smith over Aaron Rodgers.

You know when in “Fight Club” they choose whom they’d most want to fight in the world? Well, for me that would be Bruce Bochy (Sabean, you’re next). Even though I’d kick Bochy’s ass, it’d still be less harmful than what he’s doing to Tim Lincecum’s arm.

With a rusty Peyton Manning and no Jeff Saturday, the Colts sure looked sluggish. Still, I wouldn’t hit the panic button just yet. I’d rather be in Indy’s situation than I would New England’s…Over his last two games, Marvin Harrison has been responsible for two touchdowns – by Indy’s opponents…Looks like Matt Forte can play. I’d still consider Chicago an excellent matchup for opposing defenses, however…Joseph Addai left the game “banged up?” You’re kidding me. Next thing you’ll tell me is that water is wet and the sun will rise tomorrow. I would be crass and call him some form of a woman, but that would be a horrible insult to females everywhere.

Tarvaris Jackson can look good on some plays, and he’s the fastest QB in the league, but this passing game is worrisome. If it doesn’t improve, the team will once again be left out of the playoffs, let alone any lofty Super Bowl aspirations…My one complaint about the Packers/Vikings game was that the refs didn’t call enough penalties…Mark Brad Childress down as yet another head coach who is clueless as when (not) to go for the two-point conversion…Adrian Peterson is an absolute freak. Would love to see his numbers if he could somehow stay healthy all year.

Jay Cutler is officially rivaling Tim Lincecum as my main man-crush. Like I said before the season, there isn’t a player in football I’d rather own if starting a franchise right now. Glad I drafted him in so many leagues this year, because I refuse to take a QB before round 5. He’ll be a second/third round pick next year…R.I.P. Javon Walker…JaMarcus Russell was actually pretty solid, but it’s safe to say DeAngelo Hall can’t hold Nnamdi Asomugha’s jock…It’s also safe to say ESPN hit a new low with their announcing crew Monday, who made the old three stooges (Mike Patrick, Joe Theismann, Paul Maguire) broadcast team look competent, something I never thought I’d say. Mike Ditka: “It doesn’t matter where he was drafted. Look at this Chris Johnson kid. He was taken in the fourth round.” Truly atrocious.

The Super Bowl

Sunday, September 7th, 2008

I’ll go with the Colts over the Cowboys. Now let me know your predictions…

Podcast

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

More football talk on my weekly XM segment.

Bet on It

Thursday, September 4th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last year I finished 130-117 ATS, becoming the new “staff picks” champ over at RotoWire. Chris Liss has yet to get over it. Now back to prove it was no fluke, Week 1 seemed easy to pick, which means a poor start is almost surely likely. Seriously, loving all these home dogs.

Redskins +3.5 at Giants

Buccaneers +3.5 at Saints

Rams +7.5 at Eagles

Jets -3 at Dolphins

Chiefs +16.5 at Patriots

Texans +6.5 at Steelers

Bengals -1 at Ravens (best bet)

Lions -3 at Falcons

Seahawks pick ’em at Bills

Jaguars -3 at Titans

Cowboys -5.5 at Browns

Panthers +9.5 at Chargers

Cardinals -2.5 at 49ers

Bears +9.5 at Colts

Vikings +2.5 at Packers

Broncos -3 at Raiders

NFL Barometer

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

No longer on NFL.com, but now Yahoo. I think that means I’m moving up in the world. Anyway, here’s the Week 1 version.

Week 1 Lineup Rankings

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Tom Brady
2. Tony Romo
3. Ben Roethlisberger
4. Peyton Manning
5. Drew Brees

6. Kurt Warner
7. Derek Anderson
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Carson Palmer
10. Jay Cutler
11. Matt Hasselbeck
12. Matt Schaub
13. Eli Manning
14. Jon Kitna
15. Brett Favre

16. Aaron Rodgers
17. J.T. O’Sullivan
18. David Garrard
19. Jeff Garcia
20. Philip Rivers
21. Jake Delhomme
22. Marc Bulger

Running Backs

1. Brian Westbrook
2. LaDainian Tomlinson
3. Adrian Peterson
4. Marion Barber
5. Joseph Addai
6. Frank Gore

7. Marshawn Lynch
8. Steven Jackson
9. Brandon Jacobs
10. Laurence Maroney
11. Michael Turner
12. Willis McGahee/Ray Rice
13. Selvin Young
14. Willie Parker
15. Clinton Portis
16. Ryan Grant
17. Earnest Graham
18. Kevin Smith

19. Darren McFadden
20. Reggie Bush
21. Jamal Lewis
22. Larry Johnson
23. Thomas Jones
24. Maurice Jones-Drew
25. Ricky Williams
26. Chris Perry
27. LenDale White
28. Matt Forte
29. Edgerrin James
30. DeAngelo Williams
31. Maurice Morris

Wide Receivers

1. Randy Moss
2. Terrell Owens
3. Braylon Edwards
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Larry Fitzgerald
6. Andre Johnson

7. Calvin Johnson
8. Santonio Holmes
9. Anquan Boldin
10. Plaxico Burress
11. Marques Colston
12. Roddy White
13. Greg Jennings
14. Chad Johnson
15. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
16. Roy Williams
17. Jerricho Cotchery
18. Torry Holt
19. Wes Welker

20. Lee Evans
21. Marvin Harrison
22. Nate Burleson
23. Hines Ward
24. Patrick Crayton
25. Dwayne Bowe
26. Chris Chambers
27. Laveranues Coles
28. Santana Moss
29. Donald Driver
30. Joey Galloway

31. Vincent Jackson
32. Ted Ginn
33. Reggie Brown
34. Reggie Williams
35. Bryant Johnson
36. Donte Stallworth
37. Sidney Rice
38. Bernard Berrian
39. Ronald Curry
40. Derrick Mason