December 15, 2011

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NFL Fantasy Football Week 15

By: Rick Jarrell

How long can Tebow do this? The Broncos had no business winning that game, but for whatever reason, Marion Barber was compelled to run out of bounds to stop the clock, then suffer an odd fumble in overtime. Barber had a good game up until the last few minutes. Truly bizarre. A very entertaining game for how boring it actually was.

Other than that spectacle Sunday afternoon, I’m very bitter right now. The majority of my predictions were on point – Ray Rice, Reggie Bush, and the Jets defense came up big, but that wasn’t enough. My fantasy team managed to score a whopping 150 points, demolishing my opponent, but I missed the playoffs by a mere nine points. If only rotisserie leagues were the norm.

I’ll admit I’m less interested in predictions now, but I enjoy when they come through, so I’ll continue the next couple weeks.

Week 15 Predictions

Beanie Wells

Cleveland was able to hold Rashard Mendenhall in check Thursday night, to my astonishment, but that success will be short-lived. Division battles are also the most fierce battles, especially involving two heated rivals with a history. But the Browns have no beef with the Cardinals whatsoever, and Wells has come on strong this year as worthy of his first round selection years ago. He’ll be aided by the lack of quarterback consistency, playing with a game manager rather than a touchdown generator. Solid Sunday play.

Chris Johnson

For whatever reason, I’ve been on a running back kick the past few weeks, as well as anti-Colts. I can’t argue with what I see. Chris Johnson seems to have gotten his legs back after the lockout and holdout left him dormant too long, and the Colts are the Colts. Don’t think this needs further explanation. CJ all the way.

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Look for Chris Johnson to be the latest player to have a big day against the Indianapolis Colts defense.

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Michael Bush

Another running back? Yes. This time of year, teams develop obvious tendencies, and save from a few strange occurrences, things become more predictable. Detroit has had a poor run defense all season, but it will help that Ndamukong Suh is coming back from suspension. Bush has come on strong as a replacement for Darren McFadden, much to my excitement – I drafted him in the 10th round. If the Raiders make the playoffs, it’ll be because of Bush – and definitely NOT Carson Palmer, who in my mind, is the AFC’s Rex Grossman.

Tim Tebow

That’s right – he can’t throw a spiral, but he gets the job done so well he’s going to make the leap into fantasy stud this week. This is a perfect match up for him against a dismal New England defense. They can’t defend the pass, and aren’t much better against the run. Belichik is somewhat of a defensive guru, so he may be able to solve the Tebow conundrum, so don’t be shocked if this prediction falls flat. But also don’t be shocked if Tebow throws a couple bombs to Eric Decker.

This matchup will likely prove to be the game of the week, as well. The New England high powered offense versus the stalwart Denver defense – two worlds collide.

November 4, 2011

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NFL Predictions: Week 9 Fantasy Picks

By: Rick Jarrell

Was Drew Brees on the football field Sunday? Didn’t feel like it. Honestly, I’m not that surprised the Rams beat the Saints. There are no actual facts to back up this theory, but sometimes teams that blow up offensively one week don’t perform the next game. It happens in football, basketball, and baseball. Whether the team grows overconfident in their abilities and slacks off, is tired from the week before, or something else, I don’t know. It just seems to happen more often than it should.

Brandon Pettigrew was a disappointment, too. I had high expectations for him last week, and the entire season, but he just hasn’t performed. If you can’t capitalize in that high powered offense when the opposing secondary is focusing on Calvin Johnson, you’re not worth a starting spot on a fantasy team.

Detroit’s defense had a good game, though, thanks to Tebow performing like many of us expected. He’s a good guy, and you want him to win based on personality alone, but I’m worried he’s not a pro caliber quarterback.

Adrian Peterson performed, well, too, as he always does. But he didn’t blow the roof off, like you’d expect. Part of the problem was the Vikings went down early to the Panthers and had to throw more than they’d like. Still, Christian Ponder used a lot of check-down passes to Peterson, recording a TD on that end, too.

Not a bad week overall… on to Week 9 picks.

Matt Forte

Forte has been tearing it up this year, and will certainly be paid in the offseason (unless the Bears slap the Franchise Tag on him). Sunday he faces the Philadelphia Eagles, who I see as playing strong the rest of the season after they had the bye to get situated.

The Eagles defense shut down Tony Romo and the Cowboys, but their offensive “forte” is the passing game, and with Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie patrolling the secondary off of a bye, it’s easy to see why the Cowboys offense stalled.

The Bears “forte,” though, is Forte. The Eagles’ frontline has not performed well this season. Look for the Bears to feed their workhorse back (and potentially Marion Barber if he plays) plenty.

There’s also a good chance Jay Cutler throws a few picks, but that’s always on the table.

Arian Foster / Ben Tate

I presume Foster will get the bulk of the carries now that he’s healthy, but you never know, so I include Tate here. The Browns have had a tough time stopping the run this year, as the secondary is responsible for keeping them in games. There’s a good chance both these guys score Sunday in Houston, and a decent chance the Texans eclipse 30 points.

Oakland Defense

I’m going to continue to pick on Tebow here, and say that Oakland will have a solid defensive game. Despite losing Asomugha in the offseason, the defense remains the strong suit of the team. Their defensive line is strong and will surely pressure Tebow like Detroit’s big line did last week.

Denver Defense

Staying in the same game, I’ll now pick on Carson Palmer. I’ll dismiss his three interception performance two weeks ago – he was only with the team for a few days, and had spent the entire season throwing to high school kids until he was traded from Cincinnati. But Palmer has not been the top tier quarterback he once was since he blew out his knee in the playoffs.

Last year he had a fairly solid fantasy season and qualified as a top ten quarterback. But I find it hard to believe, even with a bye week to catch up, that he’ll be able to hit the ground running for the Raiders. They’ll likely feed Darren McFadden and Michael Bush and limit Palmer’s impact. If Tebow manages to work some of his intangible magic and jump to a significant lead, and Palmer’s forced to perform, look for pick city.

October 12, 2011

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NFL Predictions: Week 6 Fantasy Picks

By: Rick Jarrell

Fantasy Football Predictions: Week 5 Recap

I’m not sure what’s going on with the New York Jets. They held up pretty well against the New England Patriots, only losing by nine points, but I’m surprised they didn’t run more. Sure the Patriots’ secondary is suspect, but slowing the game down and playing good defense was the Jets bread and butter. Super Bowl hopefuls I just don’t see.

Where I missed on Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, I hit on Alex Smith. The 49ers crushed the Tampa Bay Bucs 48-3, with Smith tossing 3 TD and 0 INT. The offensive explosion did not include Michael Crabtree, though, recording only a couple catches for 36 yards.

Oh and Nick Novak kicked five field goals. That’s a solid pick for a kicker, albeit lucky. But when your fantasy team begins to tank, you take what you can get.

Fantasy Football Predictions:  Week 6

Dallas & New England

It feels like a cop out to just select two offenses, but this match up has high scoring written all over it. Expect Tom Brady and his receivers to have a big game, as well as Tony Romo and his crew. Brady doesn’t discriminate when it comes to his receivers, so who knows who will be his favorite target for the week. If you’re looking to pick someone up, go after Aaron Hernandez, their second tight end who gets first tight end receptions, or Chad Ochocinco, who has disappointed fantasy owners so far, but has to score at least a few times this year, right?

Michael Bush

The Oakland Raiders face my Cleveland Browns this Sunday, which I fully expect to result in personal dismay. The Brownies can’t stop the run, and Darren McFadden has become the top tier player the Raiders expected him to be when he was drafted in the first round a few years ago.

But unless your league-mates have been in a cave, he’s not on your waiver wire. Chances are Michael Bush isn’t either, but I have him on many of my teams, and it’s always a toss-up whether he should play or not. This week he’s a good play in a likely blowout of the Browns. The Raiders will run the ball a ton, and Bush will get the goal line carries.

Ryan Grant

Speaking of the running game, the Green Bay Packers go up against one of the worst run defenses in the league in the St. Louis Rams. They’re also one of the worse defenses in general, so Aaron Rodgers should have a big day. But eventually they’ll pull out to a big league and run the clock down. Grant splits carries with James Starks, but Grant is technically the starter and incumbent, although he missed all last year due to injury.

For whatever reason, I’ve noticed Grant go undrafted and stay on the waiver wire in many leagues. He’s definitely not what he was two years ago, but he’s a good value play if you’re desperate for a running back.