Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Week 3: Bump 'Em Down

Here's a Bump 'Em Down quickie for all you little sheep I'm about to count.


David Garrard (at Ind): There's something really likable about this guy. Not really sure what it is, but hey, I like having him on my fantasy teams. Unfortunately, he's stuck with O-line woes, wide receiver woes, coaching woes, running back woes. Woe is David. I like his match-up against the Colts compared to others, but from here on out, consider him bumped down (sigh). ETC prediction: 19/32. 230yds, 1TD, 1INT

Derek Anderson (@Bal): I've said it once and I'll say it again: the 2008 Browns are cursed. There is nothing good about this team. Promptly remove them from your fantasy rosters, and keep bumping down Anderson until Brady (Quinn) takes over. This match-up looks ugly. ETC prediction: 16/29, 180yds, 1TD, 2INT

Worth mentioning: JaMarcus Russell, Matt Schuab

Running Backs

Ricky Williams (@NE): You Ricky owners thought you were plenty clever, didn't you. Probably made some sort of pre-planned pot joke after you "stole" him in the seventh round. Probably thought he was going to start all season long too. Well, here's the hard truth: Ronnie Brown is significantly outplaying him, and the Fish are atrocious football team. Put that together with the fact that they're playing the Patriots mighty defense, and you've maybe got a solid 4th-string running back for your squad. ETC prediction: 12car, 34yds, 0TD, 0rec

Matt Forte (vs. TB): Talk to Micheal Turner owners about what Tampa Bay did to their Golden Boy last week. Couple that in with the fact that Kyle Orton looks significantly worse then last season, and that other teams are onto Forte's little tricks. This game should be one of those bumps along the road that rookie face. ETC prediction: 19car, 62yds, 0TD, 2rec, 10yds

Worth mentioning: Ryan Grant, Maurice Jones-Drew

Wide Recievers

T.J. Houshmandzadeh (@ NYG): Something isn't clicking in the Bengals passing game. Carson Palmer looks lost, and the receivers can't get open. They're up against a stingy Giants defense, and if the past two games are any indication of the future, Housh will continue to struggle to get the ball. The Bengals seems overly committed to the run, which does help his situation. Until he gets out of this funk, bump Housh down. ETC prediction: 5rec, 70yds, 0TD

Laveranues Coles (@ SD): Coles and Brett just can't see to get on the same page. It seems like Chansi Stuckey is becoming the favored #2 receiver in the Jets passing game, as Coles becomes more of a decoy than anything else. Granted, it's still early in the season. But if things don't improve, Coles will slide down faster than the stock market. ETC prediction: 3rec, 35yds, 0TD

Worth mentioning: Ted Ginn Jr., Braylon Edwards

Tight Ends

Jeremy Shockey (@ Den): Come on man. I bump you up last week, and you reward me nothing but two receptions and a fumble. This week should be marginally better, but obviously you are not the target we were hoping to fill Colston's shoes. ETC prediction: 4rec, 38yds

Worth mentioning: Kellen Winslow

Week 3: Bump 'Em Up


Jay Cutler (vs. NO): Once upon a time, Denver running backs were all the craze. It didn't matter if they started a full-back, a sixth-round pick, or a walk-on. Mike Shanahan himself could've rushed for 1000 yards. Oh, how the tides have turned. Jay Cutler (that dreamy bastard to your left) has pulled some Bank of America caliber hook-ups the past couple weeks, pleasing Cutler owners and Bronco WR owners alike. This week Cutler will have the opportunity exploit the Saints questionable secondary in front the obnoxiously loud home crowd. As long as the Denver defense continues to be terrible, Cutler will continue to air it out in order to keep up. This one should be obvious. ETC prediction: 24/35, 310yds, 3Td, 1INT

J.T O'Sullivan (vs. Det.): This one should be a bit less obvious. However, there's no need to worry: the Lions will allow any inexperienced quarterback to appear like a seasoned vet (see: Ryan, Matt). Even the former NFL Europe star O'Sullivan, who has played shockingly well in Mike Martz offense, should have a field day. (I mean, honestly, what goes though Matt Millen's bloated head? Is he self-aware of his own disaster? The Lions have become the most God-awful team in football under his reigns, yet continue to draft receivers. Enough is enough. I'm not even a Lions fan, but I pity the soil they walk on). Anyway, Martz and the Niners offense should be salivating for their one week of glory. Look for O'Sullivan to play with something to prove against his former team. ETC prediction: 21/33, 305yds, 2TD, 1INT

Worth mentioning: Matt Cassel, Matt Ryan

Running Backs

Micheal Turner (vs. KC): Turner flopped against the Bucs D, much to the chagrine of owners who were throwing confetti in their living rooms after Week One. Fear not, Turner owners. His time has come once again. The Chiefs already-awful defense looks pretty banged up, hence the starting of two rookie corners. But it will be Turner who benefits the most. Trust me, the Chiefs aren't going to score much with Tyler Thigpen, and consequently, the Falcons aren't going to take too many risks with Matt Ryan. Insert Micheal Turner, who should run freely against the Chiefs pitiful defense. ETC prediction: 24att, 160yds, 2TD, 2rec, 8yds

Julius Jones (vs. STL): Maurice Morris is still out, along with basically the entire Seahawks receiveing core. Hence, Jones should continue to be a big part of this offense. I mean, who else are the Seahawks going to turn to? Olindo Mare? Shaun Alexander? Steve Largent? It's not a matter of talent here, it's a matter of sheer desperation. Plug in Jones and at least watch him touch the ball 25-30 times, something LJ owners can't even say these days. ETC prediction: 27att, 115yds, 1TD, 3rec, 15yds

Worth mentioning: Brandon Jackson, Sammy Morris

Wide Receivers

Robert Meachem (at. Den):
With Colston still out, the Saints should (not saying they will) turn to Meachem as their numer one guy. He caught a 19-yard TD last week, and has the most upside of the Saints WR's to take advantage of the Broncos generous defense. Being an unproven rookie and the fact that he was healthy scratch in Week One makes him a gamble. But he's a gamble I'm willing to take (see: Royal, Eddie). Bump up David Patten as well, who had 10 looks in week two. ETC Prediction: 5rec, 95yds, 1TD

Matt Jones (@Ind): Remember way back when the Colts vs. Jaguars game this w
eek was one of the most anticipated of the season? That was a blissful memory. Now it's an opportunity to see the Colts defense holds up with Bobby Sanders, who is now out for at least a few weeks. Enter Matt Jones, who when not having a love affair with Lady Snow has proven to be a favorite target of David Garrard. He's been working with fellow white-guy receiver Ricky Proehl to improve his cuts, which in fact he was able to do against Ten. and Buf. Now he just needs to improve his hands. If Jones can play at half his talent's capabilities, expect a decent game against the Sandersless Colts. ETC prediction: 6rec, 85yds, 1TD

Worth mentioning: Anthony Gonzalez, Jerricho Cotchery

Tight Ends

Randy McMichael (at Sea):
McMichael followed up a solid Week One with a dud against the Giants. But things should get better this week against the 'Hawks, who he burned twice last year. Also, with Bulger still getting knocked around (or as McMichael so eloquently put, "treated like a pinata"), poor Mike will be forced to dump it off to the big man more than usual. ETC prediction: 5rec, 65yds

Worth mentioning: John Carleson (apparently it's the cool thing to do)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Not Cool-ey

I just stumbled across Chris Cooley's blog. First of all, he apparently had a picture of himself nude on the blog for a few hours. Claims he didn't know about it, and couldn't take it down because it was during the game. Yeah, right. The picture has since been removed, and he wrote a little apology.

Watch out: if it means I will get more people to access this blog, I might pull the same thing.

But he also has fantasy advice. And it's hilarious. Please refer to the video of Fred Smoot and Santana Moss...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Week 2: Reactions and Distractions

First off, let's talk distractions. Sunday turned out to be one steaming, sticky day in the state of New Jersey. Realizing this was perhaps one of my last opportunities to go to the beach, I decided to out and get a tan, get sunburned, have the sunburn ache, put aloe on my sunburn, go to a networking event with a sunburn, be embarrassed about my my sunburn...

Anyways, I didn't get to watch a whole lot of live action football. I caught the Jets/Pats game, which us Jets deserved to lose, and the the Browns/Steelers game, which further proves that owning anyone on the Browns on your fantasy team was a big mistake. Another mistake: thinking it'd be a good idea to nationally television six Browns games.

Tonight's Monday Night game (Eagles v. Cowboys)? Borderline epic. Certainly more epic then the Ohio State v. USC game. Do midwestern states have any football pride left? Honestly, it's like the South and West Coast have taken a straw and slurped up every drop of talent, enthusiasm, pride, etc. that happens to exist in that already unexciting region. So yeah, tonight's game should be a shootout.

After catching up on football matters this morning, and shedding a few tears for Lehman Brothers, I've brought to you the second annual Reactions and Distractions.

- Time to buy stock in the Arizona passing game. Kurt Warner and that quick release of his zipped it into his super-receivers all first-half, with both big boys driving for those extra yards after the catch. Three touchdown catches by Anquan Boldin should make him happier then he was a month ago, when he was demanding a trade. As one ESPN analyst has already pointed out, the Cardinals are suddenly the team to beat in the NFC West. Things should only get better, as the Cardinals played it cool and ran the ball in the second half against the outclassed Dolphins. Don't expect that in closer games. Paging Matt Lienhart... Matt... are you there... please, speak to me...

- Oh yeah, and please pick up Tim Hightower on the Cards. Edge hasn' played great, and Hightower is the future of that running game. He'll at least get TD's for the time being.

- Another rookie looking to take on a bigger load: Jonathon Stewart. He has outplayed Deangelo Williams since training camp, and busted it in for a couple TD's (and a tackle-breaking 24-yard rumble). He could turn out to be a decent RB2 for the rest of the season, but watch out: next week is against the run-stopping Vikings D.

- Aaron Rodgers looked agile and comfortable, even throwing outside the pocket. Is it too early to slot him as a top-ten quarterback for the rest of the season? I think not. He has a great sore of recievers and a solid offense line. He'll have some bumps down the road, but the Packers confidence in him during the off-season was certainly warranted.

- There's trouble brewing in Cincinnati. Bump down everyone on that team right now, including their defense.

- Brandon Marshall is the second coming of Terrell Owens (who also looked fantastic Monday night). With Jay Cutler looking like the real deal, B-Marsh could very well put up top-3 WR numbers from here on out. Shame on all those suckers who were scared away because of the suspension. I hope you're stuck with Braylon Edwards.

- Tiny little Darren Sproles looked tres speedy while LT sat on the bench. He's a must-add for any LT owners, leagues that award points for returns, or someone looking for trade bait.

- Meanwhile, husky Larry Johnson is pissed that he isn't getting carries. So are his fantasy owners. He's just not the same player anymore. Herm Edwards insists LJ will get more carries in the future, but with a 1.8 YPC, I don't see the point.

- So Matt Cassell isn't exactly the stud Tom Brady is, but he played relatively mistake-free football. He's not a great fantasy option, but don't go bumping down Moss and Welker too much. How about that badly underthrown bomb to Moss though? Hopefully he learned from it...

- I'm hungry. The only options I have are peanut butter, old grilled chicken, chips, and some soup. The soup sounds good. Cream of Broccoli... delicious

- That Seahawks tight end, John Carleson? What a beast. He'll put up good numbers as long as Seahawks have negative receivers. Poor Matt Hasselback though. This is not going to help the premature balding.

- The Mets are going to lead me to an early death.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Week Two: Bump 'Em Up


Aaron Rodgers (@ Det): Last week Rodgers looked poised and surprisingly Favre-esque against Minnesota's weak secondary. This week he'll have another defense, one that looks to be significantly worse, to pick apart. Grant's improving hamstring sure alleviate any concerns about the running game. Look for Rodgers to air it out a bit more. ETC Prediction: 20/29, 260yds, 2TD, 1INT

Ben Roethlisberger (@ Cle): The Browns secondary are looking to be the kids on the playground who perpetually get their lunch money stolen, atomic wedges, picked last, etc. This week's bully is Big Ben, who is battling a sore shoulder that doesn't appear to be anything serious. He'll have a better-than-average day, assuming Mike Tomlin doesn't get too conservative. ETC Prediction 21/33, 240yds, 3TD, 1INT

Worth mentioning: Eli Manning, Jay Cutler

Running Backs

Reggie Bush (@ Was): Throw in an injury to Marques Colston, mix it with an ailing Deuce McAllister, and sprinkle it with the Saints new and improved usage of Bush. What does that bake? Well, one delicious King Cake for Reggie Bush. Washington's defense got plowed by Brandon Jacobs in Week One, but will get wowed by Reggie Bush in week two. ETC Prediction: 18 carries, 75yds, 1 rushing TD, 8rec, 90yds, 1 receiving TD

Earnest Graham (vs. Atl): In Tampa, Brian Griese is starting over Jeff Garcia at quarterback this week, which sounds like a move taken straight from one of my Madden 2001 franchise teams. Griese's inexperience with the first team (at least this year) should give Graham a few extra carries. Plus, Atlanta's defense is nothing to write home about. Expect a lot of running on both sides in this one, but for Warrick Dunn to swipe a few too many carries. ETC Prediction: 19 carries, 85 yards, 2TD, 4rec, 30yds

Worth mentioning: Julius Jones, Sammy Morris

Wide Receivers

Randy Moss (at NYJ): Wait, bump him up? Oh yes. Bump him up high. And I'll tell you why. First off, Welker and Gaffney are limping around, so Moss should be targeted even more than usual. As a Jets fan, I can tell you first-hand the Jets secondary is fairly average, and will still cover Welker as if he's healthy. Plus, Moss and Cassell did hook-up for a sweet touchdown last week. But here's the real reason: while Brady is a legendary quarterback, he also a product of a great system. The Pats will adapt. I've seen Moss slip into the double-digits of other rankings this week, but he deserves to be top-3 material, at least for this match-up. ETC Prediction: 10rec, 130yds, TD

Bernard Berrian (vs. Ind): I still love the Vikings this year. Au contraire, the Colts just got embarrassed in that brand new stadium by the Bears. The Bears! Tavaris Jackson will air it out, and Berrian is the deep threat who will keep on pull 'em in. ETC Prediction: 6cec, 130yds, 1TD

Worth Mentioning: Courtney Taylor, Bryant Johnson

Tight End

Jeremy Shockey (@Was): Benefactor #2 of the Colston injury: Mr. Shockey. Brees loves to dump it off to the big guys underneath, and with Colston gone, he'll find himself a new favorite target. ETC Prediction: 6rec, 65yds, 1TD

Worth mentioning: John Carlson

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Rookie Running Back Analysis

Oh, first days of school. I remember being eight years old, and being completely disillusioned by the foreignness of my new suburban New Jersey elementary school. Why do they all have Ninja Turtle lunchboxes? Why can't I get my hair to look like that? Who are all these girls laughing at me? Why am I always picked last at touch football? Where is my Mom?

It was a traumatic period, and has effectively served as a metaphor the remainder of my years. I learned some invaluable lessons though: first impressions can mean a lot, and a good debut can mask faults down the line. In the realm of fantasy football, big debuts can also mean a lot of hype. This season featured a slew of rookie backs getting some serious duty on Day One. More rookies, in fact, then I can recall (if you know another season with more rookies, please inform me).

The emergence of so many rookies is a testament to the two-back system taking over the NFL. It's shifting the landscape of fantasy football as well: minus the top tier of backs, most good to great running backs will have someone stealing carries from them. So it creates a predicament for fantasy owners: am I willing to start a guy who is only to get me 10-15 carries? Is it worth a second round pick on a guy like Stewart of McFaddon, who might get 25 carries per-game down the line?

This season should be interesting to study, as more teams transition over to the two (and even three) back system. The division of carries should set new precendents amongst NFL coaches and fantasy owners alike, and more teams will rely on rookies than ever before.

So back to our running backs. Some look to join the popular crowds. Others were sent home early. Let us ponder together whether each is worthy of sustained success...

Matt Forte (Bears): He's not going to lead the NFL in rushing, but in one game, Matt Forte (left) solidified himself as the best weapon in the Bears offense. He has astonishing vision for a rookie: stopping momentarily, peaking around for a hole, and then smashing through it. If anything, he reminds me a bit of a young Deuce McAllister: a balance of burner and punisher. With that being said, the Bears should see more teams stacking the line as the Kyle Orton experiment will fail. The Colts defense simply did not show up, but upcoming games against Carolina, Tampa Bay, and Philly should pose a challenge. A rookie back shouldn't have to take that weekly beating, so don't be suprised to see Forte land on the injury list at some point. ETC Season Predicion: 1,050 yards rush yards, 10TD, 200 recieving yards, 1TD.

Chris Johnson (Titans): Don't let Vince Young's injury fool you: the biggest news out of Tennesse was the tres speedy Chris Johnson. They gave Johnson the ball 15 times for 93 yards, and he caught three passes, including one dive for a touchdown. He's splitting carries with Lendale White, but for such skinny guy, consider that a good thing. White is a back you want to punch it through on a 3rd and 3. Johnson is someone you throw a screen to on 2 and 10 and burst down the line. This one-two punch will have to be relied on heavily now that Vince Young is out, although Kerry Collins is probably a better all-around passer. In training camp Johnson was hailed a sleeper Rookie of the Year canidate. Now you can remove the word "sleeper". ETC Prediction: 1,080 yards rushing yards 10 TD, 450 recieving yards, 4TD

Darren McFaddon (Raiders): He's still sitting behind Justin Fargas on the depth-chart, but expect that to last for only 3 to 4 more weeks as the Raiders don't look to be very competitive at this point. McFaddon lined up at reciever and even quarterback at one point, so he'll be used aplenty this year. McFaddon didn't amaze, but his time will come. And don't worry about the shoulder injury: Lane Kiffen said McFaddon would have returned if it wasn't a rout. ETC Predicion: 930 rush yards, 6TD, 330 rushing yards, 2TD

Kevin Smith (Lions): The Lions looked awful. Smith looked... not bad for a movie director slash muted mallrat. Had a nifty touchdown as well. Smith and Rudi Johnson should split carries throughout the year. Keep in mind the Lions offense will be playing catch-up all year... dishing it out to Calvin Johnson and Roy Williams more then running the ball. ETC Prediction: 760 rushings yards, 4TD, 280 recieving yards, 1TD

Jonathon Stewart (Panthers): Splitting carries with DeAngelo Williams, he racked up 53 yards on 10 carries. In my humble opinion, he will eventually go down as the most successful running back of this group, but for now, he should see his carries increase throughout the season He'll be a second round pick fantasy pick in 2009. ETC Prediction: 970 rushing yards, 7TD, 120 recieving yards, 1TD

Felix Jones (Cowboys): He racked up a touchdown against the Browns and a huge run that was brought back by penalty. But not every team is as bad as the Browns, and Barber isn't missing any more time with those bruised ribs (9 of Jones 10 carries came after Barber left in the third quarter). Wade Philips is mum on how he wants to use Jones, but don't expect much. ETC Prediction: 370 yards rushing, 2TD, 90 yards recieving, 1TD

Ray Rice (Ravens): Starting in replacement of Willis McGahee, the Rutgers star didn't sieze the opportunity. Doesn't help that he has a rookie quarterback. Doesn't help that his fumble was returned for a touchdown. Doesn't help that McGahee is looking to return soon. But don't count him out: Rice is a speed demon, and should prove himself a legit starter sometime down the line. Just not this year. ETC Prediction: 490 rushing yards, 2TD, 210 recieving yards, 0TD

Rashard Mendenhall (Steelers): Wait, wasn't Mendenhall supposed to be the next rookie to carry them to a Super Bowl, a la Big Ben? Ah, apparently not. Willie Parker had a terrific day against the Texans, while Mendenhall had only 28 yards on 10 carries. Plus. his status as a goal-line back appears to have vanished with all those preseason fumbles. The Steelers are looking to spread the offense this year, so a banger like Mendenhall isn't going to benefit. He's a Parker-injury away from being a stud. But until that happens... ETC Prediction: 480 rushing yards, 5TD, 120 recievings yards 0TD

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Week 1 Reactions and Distractions

Anyone try that new Pizza Hut pasta? It looks delicious. Too delicious. I doubt the authenticity of that commercial with all the beautiful people at the fancy restaurant getting "tricked" into eating Pizza Hut pasta. They are actors. Or maybe Pizza Hut just made this really good batch and had them eat that. Something doesn't seem right.


- Well, of course the big takeover of today doesn't include the U.S. economy but rather the New England Patriots quarterback situation. In a borderline tragic (and I hate throwing around the word "tragic") injury, megastud Tom Brady looks to be hanging up his cleats for the rest of the season with some sort of ambiguous leg injury. Tomorrow is the MRI, so right now it's all just educated speculation. But it's looking like bad times are ahead for all involved: New England, Old England, Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Jabor Gaffney, Bill Bellichik's fragile pysche, the city of Boston, the thousands of fantasy owners who drafted him, Brady's kid (who might be tricked into thinking he has a normal dad), all those frontrunning morons who only own one replica Tom Brady jersey, and of course, Tom Brady himself.

Just think: in he last two games, the Patriots are a .500 team. In one game, they lose the Super Bowl to a bunch of sad-sack blue runts in heartbreaking fashion. In the next, they lose their best player in the first friggin' quarter. Dark days indeed for the New England region. Ah, this is truly soap operatic. Okay, onto happier things.

- How about Micheal Turner? In yesterday's column I told you to bump him up (see below). Who knew it would turn out to be 220 yards and 2TDs (not including one called back on a questionable penalty call)? Let's not go too crazy, but he has a solid shot to be a top-5 runner in the league this year. That offense is running through him, and with Matt Ryan looking reasonably comfortable, should help Turner be a dominant force. For those of you who snagged him as your RB2, I salute you.

- More success stories from Bump 'Em Up column veterans Brett Favre and Thomas Jones. Favre claimed to only know 75% of the Jets playbook, but that was enough to get him by the pitiful Dolphins. Granted, one of those TD's might as well have been thrown with his eyes closed, but also there were plenty of dropped passes (Coles needs to wake up). Meanwhile Jones utilized those open holes the revamped offensive line so kindly made for him, and looked much more elusive then last year.

- Ronnie Brown looked much better then Ricky Williams

- Speaking of Browns, I don't want any Browns on my fantasy team. When fans boo their own team, their own coach, and then empty the stadium in the fourth quarter, it doesn't say much about how much faith they have in their team. QB controversy only a couple weeks away...

- How many times does he have to tell ya'll: Donovan McNabb doesn't need receivers.

- The St. Louis blues are here to stay. Ugly ugly ugly.

- Kurt Warner didn't rack up the yardage, but as far as time of possession goes, he was an all-pro. Two Arizona drives took up 11 minutes in the third quarter, and one drive in the fourth lasted for an aching 10 minutes. Just goes to show you: mistake free football wins games. And changes channels. Poor Frank Gore and J.T. O'Sullivan played well, but didn't have enough time on the field to put up any real decent numbers.

- Anyone else excited about that new Coen Brothers movie, Burn After Reading? With Brad Pitt and George Clooney and John Malkovich? The commercials look good, and man, I haven't been to the movies in at least six months. I'm serious. I'm just not a spend-8-dollars-to-see-a-movie-type-guy. But there's just something about this one that gets me all jittery inside. It also sems like the type of movie you could bring a girl to, and it might falsely imply that you are witty and know a few things about movies. And books. And burning. How perfect.

- I'm sure most of you witnessed the ending to the Chargers/Panthers game. Jake Delhomme zipped it into the hands of scrub Dante Rosario for the touchdown, annnnnd the crowd goes wild. Fantasy repercussions? Well, Jake can handle himself without Steve Smith, thank you very much. But still not enough to warrant a fantasy start. So don't get your panties all in a wad down there in Carolina. Meanwhile, Philip Rivers looked calm and confident in that near comeback in the second-half. Honestly, I think this loss should fire up a team that still has a very legitimate shot at the Super Bowl. Expect them to rev up the engines against the Broncos next week.

- The Bungals have returned. Chris Perry, though he took most of the carries, looked miserable thanks in part to very confused-looking offensive line. That same O-line ruined Carson Palmer's afternoon as well. And who is this Ocho-Cinco guy?

- Joe Flacco held it down. Mad props.

- If Chris Johnson (left) is still available in your league, then for the love of God, change that.

- Gotta love how the Sainst used Reggie Bush. On the flank. As a tailback. Returning kicks. This kid is not your average running back. As long as the Saints continue to realize this, Bush will shoot up the rankings. And avoid the Bust of the Decade rally cry for another year.

- Hey Matt Forte! My attention returns to you and your applause-worth first game. Yes, I applaud you. Clap clap clap clap.

And on that note... good-night.