Archive for October, 2008

Bet on It

Friday, October 31st, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week I went 6-6-2, bringing my season total to 58-53-5. It was especially annoying because I was 5-2-2 after the morning games, and that includes a ridiculous loss in the Falcons game because of a) a blown call b) no challenges left c) 20 seconds away from an automatic booth review and d) a 39-yard TD run by Brian Westbrook, who was just trying to run out the clock. But I digress. My best bet, the Dolphins, came through, leaving me with a 5-1-2 mark on the season. This week, I feel good taking the Bills, Ravens, Texans, Cardinals, Falcons and Colts, but that often doesn’t result in better success than the ones I’m unsure on. As for the best bet, Pittsburgh has struggled against the NFC so far this season, but they still rank as one of the top-three teams in the league and will be motivated playing in the spotlight after last week’s loss.

Jets +5.5 at Bills

Lions +13 at Bears

Jaguars -8 at Bengals

Ravens +1.5 at Browns

Buccaneers -9 at Chiefs

Texans +4.5 at Vikings

Cardinals -3 at Rams

Packers +5.5 at Titans

Dolphins +3 at Broncos

Cowboys +9 at Giants

Falcons -3 at Raiders

Eagles -7 at Seahawks

Patriots +6 at Colts

Steelers +1.5 (best bet) at Redskins

Week 9 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, October 30th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Kurt Warner
2. Matt Schaub
3. Jay Cutler

4. Kyle Orton
5. Peyton Manning
6. Chad Pennington
7. Eli Manning
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Ben Roethlisberger
10. Trent Edwards
11. David Garrard

12. Aaron Rodgers
13. Brett Favre
14. Matt Ryan
15. Gus Frerotte
16. Marc Bulger
17. Jeff Garcia
18. Matt Cassel
19. Jason Campbell
20. Joe Flacco

Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Brian Westbrook
3. Michael Turner
4. Matt Forte
5. Chris Johnson
6. Ronnie Brown
7. Steven Jackson (check status)
8. Marion Barber
9. Clinton Portis
10. Earnest Graham
11. Marshawn Lynch

12. Maurice Jones-Drew
13. Brandon Jacobs
14. Willis McGahee
15. Joseph Addai (check status)
16. Justin Fargas
17. Ryan Grant
18. Thomas Jones
19. Steve Slaton
20. Michael Pittman

21. Willie Parker (check status)
22. Jamal Lewis
23. Kevin Faulk
24. Tim Hightower
25. LenDale White
26. Cedric Benson
27. Edgerrin James
28. Mewelde Moore
29. Kolby Smith
30. Derrick Ward

Wide Receivers

1. Andre Johnson
2. Brandon Marshall
3. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Anquan Boldin

5. Reggie Wayne
6. Lee Evans
7. Roddy White
8. Plaxico Burress
9. Bernard Berrian
10. Greg Jennings
11. Calvin Johnson
12. Santana Moss (check status)
13. Jerricho Cotchery
14. Laveranues Coles

15. Hines Ward
16. Randy Moss
17. Santonio Holmes
18. Braylon Edwards
19. Kevin Walter
20. Eddie Royal
21. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
22. Terrell Owens
23. Antonio Bryant
24. Wes Welker
25. Matt Jones
26. DeSean Jackson
27. Donnie Avery
28. Steve Breaston
29. Ted Ginn
30. Devin Hester

Barometer

Wednesday, October 29th, 2008

Week 9 edition.

The Scoop

Tuesday, October 28th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

The Ravens had high praise for JaMarcus Russell after Sunday’s game, but I’m still not quite sure what to make of him. He gets little help from his receivers, but a 50.3 completion percentage is unacceptable. The jury remains out, and it’s definitely too soon to make a call, but I still say the organization blew it by passing on Calvin Johnson…The next time Darren McFadden takes the field, his toe better be 100 percent healed. Rushing back from this injury has done no good…Seriously, what happened to Mark Clayton? And the same could be said about Todd Heap too.

It’s too bad the Cardinals don’t have a defense, because their offense is good enough to win the Super Bowl. Kurt Warner is playing exceptionally well…When he and Jake Delhomme are both healthy, Steve Smith is basically the best fantasy receiver alive…Muhsin Muhammad’s drop in the end zone qualified as one of the worst so far this season…Step aside Edge, time to see what Timmy Hightower can do.

Chad Pennington looks like Jay Cutler compared to Brad Johnson’s arm strength. This Dallas team is in a lot of trouble if Tony Romo doesn’t come back at 100 percent…No matter how good of a job he does taking care of his body, it looks like Terrell Owens is losing the battle with age…Wade Phillips acted truly dumbfounded when reporters asked about a possible QB switch during his Monday presser, wondering why he would replace Johnson after a win. He just doesn’t get it.

Santana Moss and hamstring injuries don’t go well together. Hopefully it’s not serious, because leg injuries are Moss’ kryptonite…Is there any sane reason whatsoever for Detroit continuing to give Rudi Johnson more carries than Kevin Smith? Nice Gosder Cherilus draft pick, Matt Millen…Clinton Portis is on pace to finish the season with 374 carries, so while I’m not recommending trading him at all costs, be aware there’s a real chance he wears down over the second half of the season.

The Dolphins were nothing short of terrible tackling Sunday, but Joey Porter has been a force this season…Jason Peters has been one of the most disappointing players in football this year…The Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams split needs to be more 3:1 than 2:1…Miami hit a home run with the Jake Long pick, and there’s a real chance they did the same with Chad Henne. For someone who no longer looked useful as a head coach, Bill Parcells has sure been a valuable asset to the Dolphins…Looks like I was one year too soon jumping on the Lee Evans bandwagon…In case you weren’t invited, Ted Ginn had his coming out party Sunday, absolutely abusing a hobbled Terrence McGee. He’s actually been much more involved in the passing game over the last few weeks, making him an intriguing pick up. Chad Pennington isn’t an ideal fit for his deep speed (half of Pennington’s throws Sunday looked like they were shot mid-air), but Ginn looks like a playmaker. He’ll probably remain inconsistent, but he’s a sneaky play against the Broncos this week.

It looks like BenJarvus Green-Ellis’ relevance will be short-lived, which is a shame. Fantastic name…Torry Holt has fallen off the planet. The warning signs were there, but no one could have predicted this type of decline…Donnie Avery, meanwhile, looks terrific. Remember when everyone went crazy when the Rams took him over Devin Thomas?

I’ll eat some crow regarding LaDainain Tomlinson, as he looked pretty good last week. The Chargers have a very easy schedule moving forward as well…The only thing less surprising than Ted Cottrell ruining a defense would be Tim McCarver stating the obvious. Seriously, why are two of the worst announcers in the business involved in the World Series?…San Diego sure does know how to draft quarterbacks, as Philip Rivers and Drew Brees have been fantastic this season.

Where did that come from Tyler Thigpen? The Jets’ secondary is bad, but that was still highly unexpected…Those Brett Favre interceptions were horrid. Simply brutal. He’s not playing very well right now, and that team is a fraud…It probably wouldn’t be the worst idea to get Leon Washington a few more touches each week…Larry Johnson is awfully tough when it comes to women. Seriously, your next transgression better involve a male, LJ…For some reason, I’m a big fan of the name Connor Barth.

Roddy White is officially a star. He’s been targeted on more of his team’s pass attempts than any player in football this season…Only health prevents Brian Westbrook from being the greatest fantasy asset alive…Michael Turner is the perfect back to have if you’re loaded with RB depth – he destroys bad defenses and is almost worthless against tough ones. He’s a must-start this week in Oakland…Matt Ryan continues to impress…Thanks for costing me a win ATS refs! What a blown call, looking even worse with no challenges available and only 22 seconds away from it being subject to booth review. Ugh.

Maybe now I’ll finally stop getting “should I pick up Matt Schaub” questions. This Texans offense has a lot of upside…Andre Johnson is on pace to finish the season with 128 catches and 1,765 yards. Some more touchdowns would be nice though…The attempted tackle on Kevin Walter’s second TD catch after he was already on the ground was an embarrassment. The Bengals are a joke.

Shaun Rogers was flat-out dominant Sunday, shutting down the Jaguars rushing attack. Put a fork in Fred Taylor, he’s done…Kellen Winslow isn’t a bad buy-low target right now…Nothing like a looming suspension to get motivated, as that was Matt Jones’ best game of his career…Braylon Edwards has been one of, if not the biggest healthy busts so far this season.

I find it hard to believe Pittsburgh wouldn’t be downgrading by switching back to Willie Parker…Playing without Santonio Holmes, or as Dick Stockton calls him, “San Antonio Holmes,” hurt, but a poor offensive line is a recipe for disaster against that Giants pass rush. Imagine if New York hadn’t constantly stalled in the red zone…Still, Pittsburgh remains the third best team in the league.

J.T. O’Sullivan was awful Sunday. Leading the league in sacks, interceptions and fumbles is quite an impressive trifecta…I guess the Mike Singletary/Vernon Davis situation is uncommon, but was it really that big of a deal?…Nice disappearing act, Josh Morgan…It’s not often a team that gets 1.4 YPC, while their opponent gets 5.2, wins 34-13.

LenDale White is on pace to finish the year with 747 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns. As a proud Chris Johnson owner, I loathe the fat man…Sitting at 3-4, don’t be shocked if the Colts finish 10-6 and in the playoffs. Tennessee is legit, but the team really could use even an average option at wide receiver. To win the Super Bowl, would you take the Titans/Giants/Steelers trio, or the field?

Bet on It

Friday, October 24th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week I went 11-3, bringing my season total to 52-47-3. Of course, my best week ATS also coincided with my first “best bet” loss, but that tally still sits at 4-1-2 on the year. It’s a tough act to follow, to be sure, but here are my Week 8 picks:

Raiders +7.5 at Ravens

Cardinals +4.5 at Panthers

Buccaneers +2 at Cowboys

Redskins -8 at Lions

Bills -1.5 at Dolphins (best bet)

Rams +7 at Patriots

Chargers -3.5 at Saints

Chiefs +13 at Jets

Falcons +9 at Eagles

Browns +7 at Jaguars

Bengals +10 at Texans

Giants +3 at Steelers

Seahawks +5 at 49ers

Colts +4 at Titans

Week 8 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Drew Brees
2. Matt Schaub
3. Philip Rivers

4. Peyton Manning
5. Donovan McNabb
6. Jake Delhomme
7. Kurt Warner
8. Brett Favre
9. Ben Roethlisberger
10. Eli Manning

11. J.T. O’Sullivan
12. Trent Edwards
13. David Garrard
14. Jason Campbell
15. Matt Cassel
16. Chad Pennington
17. Matt Ryan
18. Kerry Collins
19. Derek Anderson
20. Jeff Garcia

Running Backs

1. Brian Westbrook
2. Clinton Portis
3. Frank Gore
4. Marion Barber
5. Chris Johnson

6. Steve Slaton
7. Maurice Jones-Drew
8. Steven Jackson
9. Thomas Jones
10. Ronnie Brown
11. Marshawn Lynch
12. Willis McGahee
13. Brandon Jacobs
14. LaDainian Tomlinson

15. Michael Turner
16. Willie Parker
17. BenJarvus Green-Ellis
18. Jonathan Stewart
19. Dominic Rhodes
20. Jamal Lewis
21. Earnest Graham

22. LenDale White
23. Kevin Smith
24. DeAngelo Williams
25. Tim Hightower
26. Deuce McAllister
27. Kevin Faulk
28. Fred Taylor
29. Maurice Morris/Julius Jones
30. Justin Fargas/Darren McFadden

Wide Receivers

1. Andre Johnson
2. Steve Smith

3. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Calvin Johnson
6. Santana Moss
7. Lee Evans
8. Randy Moss
9. Anquan Boldin
10. Roddy White
11. Plaxico Burress (check status)
12. Marques Colston
13. Braylon Edwards
14. Vincent Jackson

15. DeSean Jackson
16. Santonio Holmes
17. Hines Ward
18. Jerricho Cotchery (check status)
19. Muhsin Muhammad
20. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
21. Terrell Owens
22. Wes Welker
23. Kevin Walter
24. Antonio Bryant
25. Dwayne Bowe
26. Josh Morgan
27. Lance Moore
28. Torry Holt
29. Matt Jones
30. Marvin Harrison

Barometer

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2008

Week 8 edition.

The Scoop

Tuesday, October 21st, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

I hate to brag, but then again, my good friend Bobby De Niro once told me never to name drop, so go figure. Anyway, my Week 7 consisted of going 11-3 against the spread and 9-0 in all of my fantasy leagues, making it so epic, I’d be remiss not to mention it. And I hate being remiss. Now, onto the notes:

First TBS misses the beginning of Game 6 of the ALCS, and now CBS misses more than half of the Bills/Chargers game? What decade is this again?…For someone who hadn’t been targeted once in the red zone this season, Lee Evans sure did look good on his goal-line score. Might want to continue looking his way there…I’m doing my very best biting my tongue regarding LaDainian Tomlinson, but let’s just say this decline hasn’t quite come as a shock. Folks, the writing was on the wall all along…Down six in the fourth quarter, Norv Turner elected to punt on fourth-and-one from the Buffalo 40. Now that’s exhibiting some confidence in your team!

I’ve grown tired of Jeremy Shockey’s act and inability to stay healthy. He’ll never be on my team again…This Saints team has one of the very best passing attacks in the league, but if you lack any ability to stop the opposing team, especially when outdoors, you simply won’t make the playoffs…I’d give Marques Colston a mulligan. He should be fine…Steve Smith is a bad, bad man…Devery Henderson’s 15.5 YPA is the highest in the league (minimum 30 targets)…NFC South teams are 14-1 at home this season, 3-9 on the road.

I didn’t have any action on it, but I’m guessing the Vikings/Bears game went “over”…Kyle Orton continues to impress. He and Greg Olsen are forming quite a duo. Orton looks like a borderline QB1 and a fine QB2, whereas Olsen has the potential to finish as a top-five fantasy tight end…The weird thing about Minnesota’s disappointing season is that their two main acquisitions, Bernard Berrian and Jared Allen, have actually been really good…Brad Childress is clueless, and he needs to go. Immediately.

Finding MeMo! How good is Mewelde Moore? He’s definitely earned himself a role in Pittsburgh’s offense even when Willie Parker returns. Good thing the team spent a first round pick on a running back when they already had a superior option in a backup role on its roster. All Moore has ever done is produce when given the opportunity…If anyone is still holding out hope for a Carson Palmer return this season, stop. He’s an IR placement waiting to happen…Hines Ward is having a fantastic season, and that block delivered on Keith Rivers was life-changing. Might want to keep your head on a swivel when facing the Steelers.

Think about all the underachieving teams this season: Dallas, New Orleans, Cleveland, Indianapolis, Minnesota, Seattle. The one common denominator? Poor defense. My point? The Titans aren’t undefeated by accident and are a serious contender, despite the lack of passing game…Call me crazy, but Larry Johnson seems like kind of a punk…Anyone who thinks LenDale White had a better game than Chris Johnson wasn’t watching. Johnson is the guy getting the carries when it counts, and if they start utilizing him more in the passing game, he’s a top-10 back. White, meanwhile, could still be looking at 15 touchdowns, although his 80-yard TD run says more about the Chiefs rush defense than it does him…Down 27-0 with less than five minutes left Sunday, Herm Edwards elected to kick a field goal. I got nothing, that act pretty much speaks for itself.

Willis McGahee and the Baltimore offensive line were impressive Sunday, dominating a Dolphins front seven that had been playing well, although the early Jason Ferguson injury forced Miami to change schemes and had a lot to do with it…John Harbaugh has been brilliant and fully deserves to be on the short list for Coach of the Year honors right now…Remember when Todd Heap was relevant? Me neither.

Mike Nolan cared and it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Also, GM Scot McCloughan has been a joke of a talent evaluator (last year’s draft class ranks as one of the worst ever, for any team). Still, Nolan needed to go, and I’ll call it right now; Mike Singletary is going to be one hell of a coach in this league. Hopefully, San Francisco gives him a legit opportunity for it to happen with them…The one rookie who is making an impact, however, is Josh Morgan, who looks like a potential star…With the game an 11-point spread, how sweet was the safety with the Giants up 10 late in the fourth quarter?

Steven Jackson had to be one of the most impressive players Sunday. He can still be a force…Looks like the Donnie Avery over Devin Thomas pick wasn’t so crazy, after all…I wanted to continue going off on Wade Phillips’ aww shucks attitude, but Mike Lombardi had an interesting take on Phillips’ approach so I’ll defer to him: “The Cowboys are not a technique based team.  They rely on their talent and their scheme to make plays, so when I read a coach saying he is worried about the execution of the team, it makes me wonder.  When you are scheme oriented, you never can get better during the season because each week is a new design and there is never a foundation.  The Cowboys need to become better at their fundamentals and their techniques and this can only happen in a reduction of the scheme and trying to make sure there is more attention to detail.  And details have never been the trademark of a Wade Phillips defense.”

I liked how “Zack and Miri Make a Porno” lost the second half of its title during the commercials Sunday. Made it sound like some sort of chick flick. Either way, let’s hope Kevin Smith got his mojo back. Speaking of commercials, if I see a “Cash4Gold.com” ad one more time, I’m going to gouge my eyes out.

Andre Johnson is the No. 1 fantasy WR, Owen Daniels is a top-five tight end, and Kevin Walter is a serviceable WR3….Ahman Green may hurt Steve Slaton’s value in the short-term, but he may also prevent him from hitting the rookie wall later on, and it’s not like there’s any chance Green remains healthy when it comes to crunch time…Just forget about Rudi Johnson. He doesn’t belong on any rosters right now…Calvin Johnson’s 154 yards on two catches is probably not a sustainable ratio, but expect more targets in the future. He made his 96-yard TD look positively easy.

So I guess the Colts aren’t quite back on track…Nice to see Ryan Grant break 100 yards, but it’s clear the explosive runner we saw last year just isn’t the same. At least he’s finally moved into positive receiving yards for the season…Charles Woodson has really impressed.

The Raiders don’t have a great interior, but the Jets blocked well Sunday, and Thomas Jones looked rejuvenated, at least for one week…He’s alive! I seriously forgot for a second what “Walker” was on Oakland catching those passes Sunday…Jerricho Cotchery owners don’t get too down, as long as his injury isn’t significant. He was still targeted eight times in the loss and drew Nnamdi Asomugha in coverage for the most part. He’ll bounce back…Right before Jay Feely lined up for a 52-yard field goal attempt to tie the game at the end of regulation, I turned to my friend and said: “Tom Cable will call a timeout at the last second, Feely will miss the field goal and then later make it when it counts.” I wish I could say I’m clairvoyant, but that was very predictable. So what if it worked once or twice last year, it definitely backfires more often. Why give a kicker a practice shot?…No doubt, Darren McFadden has been a disappointment, but the fact remains he’s gotten 5.1 YPC and has plenty of skills as a receiver. If utilized better, there’s still a ton of upside. But don’t expect it this week, as Baltimore hasn’t allowed a 100-yard rusher in 25 games…I watch very little college football, yet before last year’s draft I called Vernon Gholston an obvious bust. How can I know this and not the Jets?

Brady Quinn’s not a bad guy to stash (again) right now, as Derek Anderson’s time as starter is nearing an end. He’s been pretty awful since the first half of last season ended…It’s not like Braylon Edwards has been much of a help. His hands are just brutal…Not much more can be said about Clinton Portis’ 2008 season; he’s been fantastic…Whether or not Kellen Winslow should have talked to the media is debatable, but one thing is for sure – Cleveland has a serious problem with staph infections. How can this “continuously continue” to happen?

I like baseball, don’t get me wrong, but I much prefer to watch football. But even with no fantasy players involved, nor a wager, I watched very little of the Bucs/Seahawks game Sunday night, as I was glued to Game 7 of the ALCS. Of course, it was horrible scheduling by NBC, but still, what an awesome ALCS that was, TBS’ broadcast notwithstanding. Congrats to the Rays, who will absolutely kill Vegas if they win one more series…Speaking of Vegas, Seneca Wallace’s late TD pass was one of the greatest backdoor covers in recent memory. Forget the 3.2 YPA, he came through in the clutch!…Maurice Morris is better than Julius Jones, this much I know.

Pop quiz, hot shot. Which defensive unit was/is better, the 2000/01 Ravens, or the 2008 Broncos?…Even when playing the best game of his life, Matt Cassel takes six sacks…If you’re counting touchdown totals at home, that’s Laurence Maroney 0, BenJarvus Green-Ellis 1…I loved Jay Cutler’s garbage stats more than anyone, but why did Mike Shanahan have his franchise still in the game down 34-0 and later 41-7 late in the fourth quarter while playing with an injured finger? He’s officially made one too many trips to the tanning salon.

Bet on It

Saturday, October 18th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week I went 6-8 to bring my season total to a disappointing 41-44-3. At least I won with my best bet again, as I remain undefeated there (4-0-2). For Week 7, I know I’m being a sucker taking the big road favorites (Steelers and Titans) yet I can’t seem to stop myself. The Ravens’ offense against an underrated Dolphins defense is a huge mismatch.

Chargers pick ’em at Bills

Saints +3 at Panthers

Vikings +3.5 at Bears

Steelers -10 at Bengals

Titans -8.5 at Chiefs

Ravens +3 at Dolphins (best bet)

49ers +11 at Giants

Cowboys -7 at Rams

Lions +9.5 at Texans

Colts -1.5 at Packers

Jets -3 at Raiders

Browns +7.5 at Redskins

Seahawks +11 at Buccaneers

Broncos +3 at Patriots

Week 7 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Drew Brees
2. Peyton Manning
3. Aaron Rodgers
4. Philip Rivers
5. Jay Cutler
6. Matt Schaub

7. Ben Roethlisberger
8. Eli Manning
9. Kyle Orton
10. Tony Romo (check status)
11. Jake Delhomme
12. Brett Favre
13. Jason Campbell
14. Derek Anderson
15. Trent Edwards

16. Matt Cassel
17. Jeff Garcia
18. Kerry Collins
19. J.T. O’Sullivan
20. Dan Orlovsky

Running Backs

1. Clinton Portis
2. Marion Barber
3. Reggie Bush (check status)
4. Chris Johnson
5. Brandon Jacobs
6. Steve Slaton
7. Frank Gore
8. Steven Jackson

9. Mewelde Moore
10. Marshawn Lynch
11. LaDainian Tomlinson
12. Adrian Peterson
13. Dominic Rhodes
14. Ryan Grant
15. Earnest Graham/Warrick Dunn
16. Thomas Jones
17. Michael Pittman
18. Ronnie Brown
19. Jamal Lewis
20. Matt Forte

21. Jonathan Stewart
22. LenDale White
23. Derrick Ward
24. Justin Fargas/Darren McFadden
25. Willis McGahee
26. Rudi Johnson/Kevin Smith
27. Sammy Morris
28. DeAngelo Williams
29. Julius Jones
30. Kolby Smith

Wide Receivers

1. Andre Johnson
2. Brandon Marshall
3. Greg Jennings
4. Reggie Wayne
5. Steve Smith
6. Plaxico Burress

7. Braylon Edwards
8. Calvin Johnson
9. Santana Moss
10. Santonio Holmes
11. Terrell Owens
12. Marques Colston
13. Lee Evans
14. Jerricho Cotchery
15. Hines Ward

16. Randy Moss
17. Chris Chambers (check status)
18. Kevin Walter
19. Marvin Harrison
20. Vincent Jackson
21. Laveranues Coles
22. Lance Moore
23. Muhsin Muhammad (check status)
24. Wes Welker
25. Dwayne Bowe
26. Bernard Berrian
27. Torry Holt
28. Devin Hester
29. Roy Williams
30. T.J. Houshmandzadeh (check status)

The Scoop

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

I haven’t gone back and looked at the details, but I’d venture to guess Matt Ryan’s first six games of his NFL career are as impressive as any rookie QB ever. And to think about the Michael Vick and Bobby Petrino disasters. Is there a better young trio in the league than Ryan, Roddy White and Michael Turner?…It’s possible Devin Hester may turn into a viable wide receiver after all. There certainly is the opportunity…Lately an easy schedule has helped, but I’m very surprised with how competent Kyle Orton has been. I got this one wrong…It’s been beaten to death by now, but the decision to squib kick while up one point with six seconds left was indefensible. I’ve heard some argue it was the right call, just that the execution was the problem. I don’t buy it. I’ve seen that scenario lead to great field possession, one play and then a field goal 10 times as often as I’ve seen a team return a normal kickoff for a touchdown at the buzzer.

One of the most unpredictable stats of the 2008 season: Chad Pennington getting 8.0 YPA. And with that receiving corps. Over the last three games, he’s completed 78 percent of his passes…As a proud Ronnie Brown owner, I was none too pleased seeing Ricky Williams get essentially an even split of the carries Sunday. Luckily, Brown countered that with a productive day in the passing game, something the team needs to better utilize moving forward…Texans corner Fred Bennett led the NFL in YPA against last season. This year, he’s basically been benched. DBs remain one of the most fluctuating positions on the field. Unless you’re Nnamdi Asomugha, of course…It would be really tough to choose who’s the No. 1 fantasy WR right now, Andre Johnson or Brandon Marshall…Still not sure why everyone doesn’t consider Matt Schaub a clear QB1 moving forward.

It shouldn’t be underestimated just how well that Ravens secondary was playing before Peyton Manning shredded it to pieces Sunday. And as I see it, the news he had a second knee surgery is actually good, giving him a valid excuse for the slow start. It looks like a monster second half is in store…Joe Flacco, meanwhile, appears to be undergoing some growing pains. Shake it off kid, not everyone can be Matty Ryan…Well, I guess I prematurely wrote off Marvin Harrison. I’d still try to sell coming off that game…There’s still hope with that cushy playoff schedule, but after this year, I’m done with Joseph Addai as an early first round pick. Health is a skill he clearly doesn’t possess.

This Vikings team is a fraud. The defense has shown signs of improvement, but with a below average passing game and a clueless head coach, they’ll be watching the playoffs from home…I’m not going to kill him for it, but Dan Orlovsky’s safety was easily one of the funniest things I’ve ever seen on a football field. The fact Detroit lost by two points makes it that much better…Bernard Berrian has become a legit fantasy option…The trade of Roy Williams should boost Calvin Johnson’s value, as I’m always on the more targets outweighs more coverage side of the ledger, at least for the most part…It’s hard to have a more disappointing 111-yard rushing day than Adrian Peterson’s Week 6. It’s true the holes simply haven’t been there, but come on, at home against Detroit and just 4.4 YPC? His fumbling has become a real problem as well.

See, it was definitely Lane Kiffin’s fault. I loved hearing how he called JaMarcus Russell last week to go over the Saints game. That was cool…Is it possible to play any better than Drew Brees did Sunday? It’s doubtful…If that’s Deuce McAllister’s upside in perfect conditions, he can’t be used in fantasy leagues…New Orleans’ front seven has played fantastic run defense of late…Never in the history of football has there ever been someone so valuable with a 3.1 YPC mark than Reggie Bush in 2008. The No. 1 ranked running back in most fantasy leagues, Bush hasn’t had more than 31 rushing yards in any game since Week 3.

There were two plausible scenarios for Chris Perry this season: he’d miraculously stay healthy and be extremely productive, or more likely, he’d get hurt. Naturally, he’s stayed healthy and been about as unproductive as possible. The Bengals’ current best runner is Ryan Fitzpatrick…Who’s worse? Fitzpatrick or Tyler Thigpen? Quick, someone page Shane Falco.

I wouldn’t have drafted Warrick Dunn on a bet this year. How does a 33-year-old RB with more than 2,500 career carries average 5.1 YPC after getting just 3.2 last season? Unreal…Sticking with Tampa Bay, nice to see my boy B.J. Upton clobber five bombs in seven postseason games after hitting nine all season long. Where was that all year? He’s going to be a monster next season. But not quite as big as Evan Longoria, who looks like a clear top-15 fantasy pick in 2009.

After winning four straight games, including back-to-back victories in Dallas and in Philadelphia, the Redskins then lose at home to the winless Rams? Yes, this game of football can be hard to predict. That said, this truly was a fluke, as fumbles (NFL’s true equalizer) were mostly to blame. St. Louis’ offense remains a joke…There’s been a Shaun Alexander sighting! Don’t be the sucker rushing to go pick him up in your fantasy league…Richie wasn’t very “Incognito” during his egregious penalty that nearly ruined the upset of the year. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Despite missing Week 1, Brandon Marshall has 10 more targets (69) than any other receiver in the league. And they called me crazy when I made a bet this summer that Marshall would have the better fantasy season than Randy Moss…He’s been long gone in all my leagues, but it’s worth reiterating – go pick up Ryan Torain if available…I can’t wait to see what Maurice Jones-Drew will eventually do once he has that backfield all to himself…This Denver defense isn’t just bad, it’s atrocious.

Steve Breaston can clearly play, and Larry Fitzgerald may very well be the best receiver on the planet. Imagine trying to defend this passing attack once Anquan Boldin returns. Of course, even if there’s only three men in the box, Edgerrin James will muster 3.5 YPC…Ten games of Roy Williams for a first, third and sixth round pick? Really? He’s had exactly one season during his career where he’s met or exceeded expectations. I didn’t realize the passing game was an area of need. I’m sure Terrell Owens will enjoy fewer targets, and receiver is an easy position to transition from one team to another. Only not. Still, I can’t complain about some rare trade action in the NFL…Wade Phillips’ sideline antics have officially become full-on embarrassing. Dallas has plenty of talent, especially at the high-profile skill positions, but this team is soft and undisciplined. They need a coaching change fast…The word is often misused, but the fact Pacman Jones has been suspended indefinitely due to a fight with a security guard who was hired purely to help keep him in the league is, in fact, ironic. I’m not sure who’s crazier, Pacman, or George Brett (NSFW).

When the 9ers go down, they go down in style. Like being outscored 23-0 in the fourth quarter Sunday. I’m beginning to think J.T. O’Sullivan has ball security issues…There’s been a Vernon Davis sighting! It’d probably result in a 50 percent catch rate (or worse), but it would be interesting to at least see a bunch of targets thrown his way…Andy Reid must have one of the worst short-term memories around. I really think he’d trot David Akers out there again when Philly is in 45-plus FG range. Or keep pounding up the middle during short-yardage situations when his line is ill suited for that. L.J. Smith simply can’t block…Speaking of Philadelphia, if Joe Torre was willing to bring in Jonathan Broxton in a tie game in the eighth inning, why not do so with a two-run lead? Just a brutal loss by the Dodgers. But pretty cool redemption by Shane Victorino, who I thought handled the whole bench clearing situation well.

Was it just me, or did Charlie Frye not look very good Sunday? Mike Holmgren came back for one more year of this?…I keep preaching patience with Ryan Grant, but that was certainly yet another highly disappointing effort…If Maurice Morris is available in your league, I’d stash him…Greg Jennings has gotten an eye-popping 12.6 YPA this season. Lee Evans has gotten 14.4 YPA, but that’s in nearly half the targets.

Have you read all those quotes from Laurence Maroney? Something is clearly going on there. Of course, Bill Belichick treats football like the JFK documents, so it’s unlikely we’ll ever find out the real “issues”…As a Vincent Jackson owner in numerous leagues, Chris Chambers’ ankle injury can’t heal slow enough…Call me crazy, but it looks like the Patriots are going to miss Tom Brady after all…Coaching is important in football – I’d say more so than any other sport by far – but you won’t see a bigger mismatch than Belichick versus Norv Turner, and San Diego once held a 30-3 lead before winning by 20. I’m just saying…Speaking of Turner, will you please get Darren Sproles more involved.

And to think, people were keeping a straight face while calling Eli the better Manning last week. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to overreact to one bad game and still expect a fine season from Eli, but let’s not get crazy here. He clearly has the far superior team surrounding him than Peyton…Welcome to 2008, Braylon Edwards…Do you realize Derrick Ward is averaging 7.4 YPC this season?! In fact, the Giants as a team are getting 6.1 YPC, which would be the highest average in NFL history over a single season.

Barometer

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

I can’t believe it’s already Week 7.

Baseball Mock Draft

Saturday, October 11th, 2008

I recently participated in a ridiculously early mock draft with some other well-known blogging folks. Here are the results. How did I do?

Bet on It

Thursday, October 9th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week my record ATS blew chunks, recording a 5-7-2 mark. Losing with the Texans (+3.5) was an absolute joke. I’m now 35-36-3 on the season, which I’m certainly not happy about. My “best bet” is 3-0-2. This week, I had the hardest time with the Raiders and Ravens, but this slate overall feels like one that will help me get back on track…The Cardinals are tough at home, and Tony Romo is good for at least one turnover…Minnesota and Washington aren’t suited well as big favorites, but Detroit and St. Louis are that bad…While they remain winless, the Bengals are competitive…Things are set up for a Bucs victory at home.

Bears -3 at Falcons

Raiders +8 at Saints

Panthers +1 at Buccaneers (best bet)

Rams +13.5 at Redskins

Bengals +6 at Jets

Lions +13 at Vikings

Dolphins +3 at Texans

Ravens +4.5 at Colts

Jaguars +3.5 at Broncos

Cowboys -5 at Cardinals

Eagles -5 at 49ers

Packers +2 at Seahawks

Patriots +5.5 at Chargers

Giants -8.5 at Browns

Barometer

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

Week 6 edition.

Week 6 Lineup Rankings

Wednesday, October 8th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

1. Tony Romo
2. Drew Brees
3. Jay Cutler
4. Aaron Rodgers
5. Kurt Warner

6. Brett Favre
7. Eli Manning
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Matt Schaub
10. Philip Rivers
11. Peyton Manning
12. Jason Campbell
13. David Garrard
14. Carson Palmer

15. Derek Anderson
16. Kyle Orton
17. Matt Hasselbeck
18. J.T. O’Sullivan
19. Jake Delhomme
20. Matt Cassel

Running Backs

1. Adrian Peterson
2. Clinton Portis
3. Marion Barber
4. Ronnie Brown

5. Correll Buckhalter
6. Reggie Bush
7. Frank Gore
8. Matt Forte
9. Steven Jackson
10. Brandon Jacobs
11. LaDainian Tomlinson
12. Steve Slaton
13. Michael Turner
14. Ryan Grant
15. Joseph Addai

16. Thomas Jones
17. Earnest Graham
18. Justin Fargas
19. Maurice Jones-Drew
20. Deuce McAllister
21. Jamal Lewis
22. Chris Perry
23. Jonathan Stewart
24. Le’Ron McClain
25. Willis McGahee
26. Michael Pittman
27. Julius Jones
28. Felix Jones
29. Tim Hightower
30. Edgerrin James

Wide Receivers

1. Brandon Marshall
2. Andre Johnson
3. Larry Fitzgerald
4. Terrell Owens
5. Greg Jennings
6. Plaxico Burress

7. Santana Moss
8. Calvin Johnson
9. Braylon Edwards
10. Steve Smith
11. Reggie Wayne
12. Jerricho Cotchery
13. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
14. Roddy White
15. Randy Moss

16. Steve Breaston
17. Laveranues Coles
18. Roy Williams
19. Reggie Brown
20. Lance Moore
21. Bernard Berrian
22. Bobby Engram
23. DeSean Jackson
24. Vincent Jackson
25. Wes Welker
26. Matt Jones
27. Antonio Bryant
28. Chad Johnson
29. Donald Driver
30. Kevin Walter
31. Muhsin Muhammad
32. Isaac Bruce
33. Marvin Harrison
34. Derrick Mason
35. Brandon Stokley

The Scoop

Monday, October 6th, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

The Titans’ win was impressive nevertheless, but not without the aid of some questionable officiating. The late roughing the passer call, which came on a false start penalty no less, was an absolute joke…In a game featuring the two best defenses in the league and with low YPA and YPC marks, it was interesting that zero sacks were recorded…Remember when Ray Rice was turning heads in the preseason? Wha happened?

Hope you sold Larry Johnson after his back-to-back big games, because that was ugly Sunday. If he’s that matchup dependent, then he’s simply not all that valuable, especially since it appears Damon Huard’s days as starter are coming to an end…Where did that come from, DeAngelo Williams? I’d still prefer Jonathan Stewart from here on out…There isn’t a more physical receiver in the league than Steve Smith.

I don’t care if they were the apparent savvy pick as home dogs, shame on me for taking the Lions ATS this week. One thing has become clear; of all the supposed bad teams in the NFL, Detroit and St. Louis are in a class of their own at the very bottom. There’s a legitimate chance the Lions finish 0-16…I still don’t view Kyle Orton as worth a roster spot in fantasy leagues, but he’s been an obvious upgrade over Rex Grossman…If offered a first round pick, of course Detroit should trade Roy Williams. Doubtful that offer comes rolling in, though.

Gutsy performance by Aaron Rodgers. The Packers were upset because of their defense, certainly not the offense…Ryan Grant wasn’t bad Sunday, but still, you can’t help but be left wanting more, especially considering the matchup. Meanwhile, nice to see Michael Turner perform well outside of Atlanta…I would call Greg Jennings a future star if not for the fact he already is one…John Abraham is a one man wrecking crew right now…Fears of Roddy White being unproductive because of a rookie signal caller can easily be put to bed now. White is the real deal.

Joseph Addai has been rather pedestrian, but it’s comforting seeing few other carries given to Dominic Rhodes. The touchdowns will come…So this is why I avoided Marvin Harrison like the plague at draft tables this year. The guy is toast. 9.6 yards-per-catch? Ouch. If Anthony Gonzalez is forced to miss much time, bump Dallas Clark way up. At least until his next injury…Want an IDP sleeper? Look no further than Freddy Keiaho…No one should have been panicking over Andre Johnson’s slow start in the first place, but it’s safe to go back to treating him as a top-5 WR from here on out…Never in my life have I seen a worse stretch of football than Sage Rosenfels during the last 3:36 of Sunday’s game. Up 10 with the ball and less than 4 minutes left, he decides to do a superman impression? I could go over the next two horrendous turnovers, but let’s just say Matt Schaub’s starting job is safe. Not that it ever should have been in question to begin with.

It’s time to reconsider our preconceptions about the Dolphins, as this current team should not be taken lightly. The defense is playing very, very well…It’s not all the “wildcat,” as Ronnie Brown looks extremely good running the football (although he never switches hands). It’s like the knee injury never happened. Ricky Williams, meanwhile, looks like nothing more than a complementary piece. Since the Dolphins get the 49ers at home Week 15 and then face the Chiefs in Kansas City Week 16, Brown has to be viewed as a top-10 fantasy back, at minimum, right now…If Chris Chambers’ injury proves serious, bump Vincent Jackson up, especially since Antonio Gates is hobbled as well…I’m really trying not to beat a dead horse, and Miami’s run D has been sneaky good all year long, but LaDainian Tomlinson is a shell of his former self.

The most impressive aspect of the Giants might be their depth. Lose Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora? No problem. Justin Tuck, Mathias Kiwanuka and Fred Robbins are Pro Bowl caliber replacements. Suspend Plaxico Burress? No sweat, Domenik Hixon can step in and go off for 100 yards in one half. There certainly wouldn’t be a drop off if the team lost its top-two running backs either. Now, if David Carr is ever pressed into action, that’s a whole different story…It’s safe to say Seattle does not enjoy playing on the east coast…I’m beginning to think Deion Branch is prone to injury.

Dale Sveum deserves to be fired immediately for his inexplicable decision to start Jeff Suppan in Game 4. At first I understood and could even applaud not wanting to start Yovani Gallardo on three days’ rest since he had pitched just twice since May 1 and the future was more important than one game, but the fact he was brought in as a reliever destroys that theory completely. Why in the hell wasn’t he starting in the first place? Gallardo may not have been dominant during his Game 1 start, but the defense was the real culprit, as all three runs were unearned. Moreover, he fanned seven over four innings during his final regular season start. He also dealt during his three inning relief appearance after replacing Suppan, who sported a positively Cy Young like 4.57 K/9 IP mark, 1.54 WHIP and 1.3:1 K:BB ratio this season.

Through five weeks, Jim Zorn is the coach of the year, hands down. After beating the Eagles in Philly on Sunday, without Shawn Springs and Jason Taylor to boot, the Redskins are 4-1 and are finished with all of their road games in the tough NFC East. They ran for 146 yards against the team that entered as the best run D in the NFL. Through 20 quarters, Washington has still yet to commit a turnover!…I’ve come to the conclusion Andy Reid is a fraud. I don’t care how great of a system Philly runs, it has to be more about his assistants and coordinators because no one so dumb as a tactician can be the brains behind the operation. Still, Zorn is the one who deserves a ton of credit, from the innovative Antwaan Randle-El touchdown pass (in which Reid wasted a timeout by calling for a replay when Randle-El was clearly behind the line of scrimmage) to the decision to kick an extra point twice in the second half when the idiotic “chart” called to go for two.

It’s Matt Prater’s world, the rest of us are just paying rent. Not only will Prater boot a 70-yard field goal some day, he’s a huge asset in the field position battle with all those touchbacks…I would continue to chastise Jon Gruden for playing Warrick Dunn so much, but the guy has really been playing well, so it’s tough to fault him…The Bucs have a collection of solid backup quarterbacks, but they are a starter away from being a real good team.

Lee Evans is averaging a respectable 27.0 yards-per-catch this season, so it’s probably not a great idea to let him get behind the secondary…I know everyone generally considers Marshawn Lynch to be a special running back, but the fact of the matter is, his 3.6 YPC mark this season is unacceptable. And it’s just 3.9 for his career. And that’s with a strong passing game at his benefit. Since he gets so many touches and Buffalo has a soft fantasy playoff schedule (MIA, @NYJ, @DEN), he’s still a plenty valuable fantasy back. But Fred Jackson is the more explosive player…Jason Peters has been nothing short of awful since returning from his holdout…Tim Hightower is on pace to finish the season with 353 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns.

For someone whom I once considered a top-5 player in the league, Carson Palmer is awfully inaccurate. He missed Chris Perry twice Sunday on short routes that would have resulted in Perry walking into the end zone…Speaking of Perry, what a disappointment. When Cedric Benson is outplaying you, it might be time to hang up the cleats…To me, Jason Witten is one of the 25 most valuable properties in fantasy football…Patrick Crayton and Pacman Jones have stone-hands. Just brutal…There isn’t a bigger fan of Marion Barber than myself, but I must concede, Felix Jones can play and needs to see double-digit touches on a weekly basis.

I actually recommend dropping Laurence Maroney at this point. At least that way you’ll never have the temptation to start him again. There were moments during his rookie season I was convinced he was a future star, and that seemed only more likely as New England became such a force. Forget about it. He’s a bum…And so is Vernon Davis…Patrick Willis, on the other hand, most definitely is not.

Mike Tomlin is a breath of fresh air. He’s captivating during his press conferences, and he’s usually pretty straightforward when it comes to injuries. Listen, I can understand the benefits from not being forthcoming with every detail, and I take football far more seriously than anyone should, but this isn’t national security. Some coaches really could do well by not taking themselves so seriously…Is there a worse unit in the league than Jacksonville’s ground game? Now that’s a problem.

The Cubs didn’t lose because of a curse or because of choking, and forget the fact that postseason baseball is a complete crapshoot anyway with the disproportionately shrinking sample size; they lost because the Dodgers were the better team. Carlos Zambrano’s 6.20 K/9 IP mark this season ranked outside the top-50 among starting pitchers who qualified. He had absolutely no business whatsoever starting over Ted Lilly. Also, Rich Harden’s velocity has been way down for the past few weeks, so he was clearly hurting. Meanwhile, the Derek Lowe/Chad Billingsley tandem is underrated, and with that bullpen, I wouldn’t be surprised if Los Angeles won it all.

As much as I love Gina Carano, and believe me I do, Elite XC took a crushing blow when Kimbo Slice did his best Glass Joe impression Saturday night. I don’t care if he found out who his new opponent was five seconds before the fight, that was embarrassing.

Bet on It

Friday, October 3rd, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Last week I went 6-7, bringing my season record to 30-29-1. At least I’m 3-0-1 with my best bet. Still, this mediocrity ends this week. I may add comments later, but for now, here are my Week 5 picks.

Titans -3 at Ravens (best bet)

Seahawks +7.5 at Giants

Redskins +6 at Eagles

Chargers -7 at Dolphins

Bears -3.5 at Lions

Falcons +7 at Packers

Colts -3.5 at Texans

Chiefs +10 at Panthers

Buccaneers +3 at Broncos

Bills pick ’em at Cardinals

Patriots -3.5 at 49ers

Bengals +17 at Cowboys

Steelers +4 at Jaguars

Vikings +3.5 at Saints

Week 5 Lineup Rankings

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008

By Dalton Del Don

Quarterbacks

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

6. Kurt Warner
7. Matt Schaub
8. Donovan McNabb
9. Jake Delhomme
10. Ben Roethlisberger
11. Trent Edwards
12. Eli Manning

13. Matt Hasselbeck
14. Brian Griese
15. Aaron Rodgers
16. Jason Campbell
17. J.T. O’Sullivan
18. Kyle Orton
19. David Garrard
20. Jon Kitna

Running Backs

1. Marion Barber
2. Adrian Peterson
3. LaDainian Tomlinson

4. Joseph Addai 
5. Frank Gore
6. Steve Slaton
7. Marshawn Lynch
8. Ryan Grant
9. Earnest Graham
10. Matt Forte
11. Correll Buckhalter
12. Michael Turner
13. Ronnie Brown
14. Clinton Portis
15. Larry Johnson
16. Jonathan Stewart
17. Mewelde Moore
18. Brandon Jacobs
19. Reggie Bush

20. Laurence Maroney
21. Julius Jones
22. Maurice Jones-Drew
23. Chris Johnson
24. Chris Perry
25. Willis McGahee
26. Edgerrin James
27. Selvin Young
28. Rudi Johnson
29. Felix Jones
30. Deuce McAllister

Wide Receivers

1. Terrell Owens
2. Brandon Marshall
3. Reggie Wayne
4. Steve Smith
5. Larry Fitzgerald
6. Andre Johnson

7. Calvin Johnson 
8. Santana Moss
9. Greg Jennings
10. Lee Evans
11. Santonio Holmes
12. Roddy White
13. Antonio Bryant
14. Chris Chambers
15. Dwayne Bowe
16. DeSean Jackson
17. Randy Moss
18. Roy Williams

19. Hines Ward
20. Marvin Harrison
21. Lance Moore
22. Wes Welker
23. T.J. Houshmandzadeh
24. Amani Toomer
25. Anthony Gonzalez
26. Vincent Jackson
27. Eddie Royal
28. Kevin Walter
29. Muhsin Muhammad
30. Steve Breaston
31. Chad Johnson
32. Bernard Berrian
33. Patrick Crayton
34. Robert Meachem
35. Isaac Bruce
36. Donald Driver
37. Matt Jones
38. Deion Branch
39. Bobby Engram
40. Ike Hilliard

Barometer

Wednesday, October 1st, 2008

Week 5 edition.