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.

August 22, 2011

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Top Ten Fantasy Football Drafting Tips

By: Anson Whaley

The NFL lockout’s over and with the season about to begin, here are ten tips to keep in mind when drafting your fantasy football team.

10. Never take a Kicker or Defense until the Late Rounds: Kickers in high-scoring offenses will produce points for sure, but it’s much better to add another quality skilled NFL player in the sixth or seventh round than to burn that pick on an ‘idiot’ kicker (Thanks, Peyton – I’ll never forget that one). There are always several good options left in the free agency pool and while you don’t necessarily have to wait until your final pick, you should avoid drafting one in the middle rounds. The same can be said for defenses. You may even prefer to switch your defense from week to week to take advantage of good matchups (i.e. Playing against the Buffalo Bills’ offense = gold mine).

9. Don’t Draft Based on Last Year’s Stats: While it’s fine to use last year’s numbers as a guide, they can’t be relied upon solely for your analysis in drafting. Sometimes the losses of seemingly minor NFL players such as blocking fullbacks change teams drastically and could mean that running back you’ve been watching won’t be as successful.

8. Avoid Taking Too Many Players from One Team: Even if it means potentially passing on what may be a slightly better player, it’s a good idea to limit yourself to two players from one NFL team. The Packers may be a great team, but drafting Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Grant, and Greg Jennings is probably the worst idea since the Houston Astros 1980s rainbow-colored unis. Not only will you have to deal with a potential loss during Green Bay’s bye week, but anytime their offense stumbles during the season, it could mean another automatic defeat.

7. Draft Based on Your League: It’s always a good idea to draft personnel depending on the rules in your league, so make sure you’re paying attention to them. Someone like Reggie Bush who’s a dual threat out of the backfield is obviously more valuable in a point-per-reception league. Or if you’re in a league where accumulated yardage doesn’t count, you’ll want to target players with only high touchdown possibilities.

6. Target Several Players Immediately after Your Pick: This rule is especially true for online drafts that run on a timer. Your pick will come up sooner than you think and poor planning can result in a hurried, or even wasted, pick. Don’t turn into the Minnesota Vikings – be ready. Immediately after your selection, highlight at least five players you’d like to take next and use your time to rank them. There’s a good chance that one or even several will be taken by then, but by planning ahead of time, you can ensure that you’re ready when your team is on the clock.

5. Avoid Listening to Too Many ‘Experts’: I like Yahoo’s Brandon Funston and ESPN’s Mel Kiper’s just as much as the next guy, but the more analysts you listen to, the more confused you’ll get. These guys aren’t perfect and often have conflicting opinions. The best thing to do is to use them for compiling groups of players you like at each position and make the final pick based on your own knowledge. Just because Kiper isn’t follicly-challenged doesn’t mean that he’s always right.

4. Limit Rookie Draft Picks: Sure, there are plenty of NFL rookies that can impact your team positively. But for every Adrian Peterson there are five Michael Crabtrees. Facts are facts – most rookies won’t play as much as projected and even if they do, that doesn’t mean they’ll be successful. Not only is the speed of the NFL on another level, but first-year players have plenty to worry about. Trust me, Cam Newton is not the key to your fantasy football team reaching the playoffs.

3. Overvalue quarterbacks and tight ends: This is one rule that’s a bit debatable, but I’ve seen too many good teams destroyed by mediocre quarterbacks. Invest in a good one in the first two or three rounds and your team should be better for it. There are only a few elite ones (Tom Brady, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers, Ryan Leaf to name a few), so you’ll need to act fast. It’s also worth targeting the top tight ends in the early middle rounds since there aren’t many that are capable of finding the end zone regularly.

2. Stockpile skill players (WR, RB, QB): Many owners will make a mistake in thinking their team is fine because they’ve got capable starters at all positions, but you can never have enough skill players. For one thing, you’ll need to worry about injuries and bye weeks. Plus, they’re always good trade bait and you can move them for other needs you may have down the line. If your quarterback goes down, it will be much easier to strike a deal for someone’s quality backup. So instead of picking up the league’s best kicker in the seventh round, take a third running back or wide receiver.

1. Leave emotion at the door: Just as that was Brad Pitt’s first rule in poker in Ocean’s Eleven, it should be made so in fantasy football. You should never pick up or avoid a player based on how you feel about them or their team personally. If you’re a Steelers fan, make the sacrifice and you don’t pick up Tom Brady who happens to be on the board in the fourth round, you’ve made a huge mistake. And just because you have a Texas Longhorns Ricky Williams jersey in your closet, that doesn’t necessarily mean you should take him with your first pick. Or second, third, fourth, or …

Well, you get the picture.

August 9, 2011

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Players I Want On My Fantasy Team

By: Joe Williams

With the first NFL preseason game just a few days away, millions of people are getting ready for their fantasy football drafts. And millions more are wondering what is wrong with those people. People wonder what is wrong with me all the time. But when you bring home that fantasy football championship and the year-long bragging rights over your buddies that comes with it…it’s worth it.

It’s pretty obvious that you’d like to have Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and Andre Johnson on your fantasy team. You might get one or two of the best players in the NFL but how you fill out the rest of the roster is more important in your effort to build a winning team. Here are a few NFL players I will be looking to have on my fantasy team.

Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis

Last year Bradford finished the year with the 20th most fantasy points for NFL quarterbacks. He will play better in 2011. He’s going to have better weapons around him than he did last year. He’s also going to have Josh McDaniels. McDaniels left the Broncos in a bad way with several controversial decisions that he made, but he also helped Kyle Orton put up some big fantasy football numbers. He will do the same for Bradford.

Knowshon Moreno, RB, Denver

If you drafted Moreno in the last couple seasons, you might think his name is Knowshow Moreno because he has been disappointing. The departure of McDaniels is almost as good for Moreno and it is for Bradford. John Fox is taking over in Denver and he likes to run the ball. A lot. The Broncos made a play for DeAngelo Williams but ended up settling for Willis McGahee. Another plus for Moreno. His touches will go up and so will his production.

Chad Ochocinco, WR, New England

He was a great player in Cincinnati but was known mostly for his crazy and entertaining antics on and off the field. He was stuck on a team that was going nowhere and wanted out of town. He finally gets his wish with a trade to play with Tom Brady and the Patriots. Sound familiar? Randy Moss was in a similar situation in Oakland before going to New England and putting up some of the best receiving numbers ever. Ochocinco may not score 23 TD’s like Moss did in his first year with Brady throwing to him, but he will get more than the four he scored last season.

Owen Daniels, TE, Houston

I’m giving him one more shot. I keep drafting him and he keeps getting hurt. Every season I think he’s going to put up big numbers. Just like everyone thinks the Texans are going to make that jump to a contender. If they don’t come through this season, I’m off the bandwagon. But if you don’t get one of the big-name tight ends, Daniels has the potential to put up some big numbers in the explosive Houston offense.

Daniel Thomas, RB, Miami

Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams are out. Reggie Bush and Thomas are in. Bush is the big name addition in Miami but he has never been the able to handle the workload of a starting running back. Thomas will get plenty of carries and more importantly, look for him to get the ball in the red zone.

February 4, 2011

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Piecing Together Ochocinco’s Day, According to His Tweets

By: Lionel

A condensed version of Chad Ochocinco’s February 3, according to his tweets:

Chad, in a Dallas hotel for the Super Bowl, begins his day with a top-of-the-morning photo and some good-natured cussing for his fans.  He’s a laid-back guy, so he flashes the “hang loose” sign.

Via @ochocinco twitpic

He next asks Adrian Battles if he’s ready for the Super Bowl

…and then stops for a photo-op with Dan Patrick and Darrelle Revis.

Via @ochocinco twitpic

Next up: Pants shopping at North Park Mall.

To save time between try-ons, he shops the mall in his underpants.

Via @ochocinco twitpic

Then it’s back to the hotel for some meditation, followed by game planning for the night’s Madden Bowl.

While at the hotel, Chad watches Paranormal Activity 2.

After the movie is over, it’s time for Madden Bowl, which proves to be a tale of extremes.

EXTREME HAPPINESS:  Chad teams up with Patrick Willis to win Madden Bowl!

EXTREME DISAPPOINTMENT:  Reggie Bush lets Chad know that he may have won Madden Bowl, but he still hasn’t won a Super Bowl.

Composing himself for the moment, Chad collects a ridiculously large Madden Bowl trophy.  For today, at least, it’s a happy ending.

Via @ochocinco twitpic

Follow Chad for yourself on Twitter (@ochocinco).

July 16, 2010

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Fantasy Football

By: MoJo

Fantasy Football season is here.  Being a part the most bizarre and greatest fantasy football league in the world can be crazy.  I need to be ready to draft in less than 24 hours from now.  This is not a phony mock draft, this is the real deal, the draft to start the season.  Yes, we draft before NFL training camps open.  What makes our league so great?  Well, for starters just about every aspect of the league has been customized.  Each franchise protects 4 players.  Well not always, as roster spots are available to be traded for picks.  Current year picks or for future picks (2 years out is the max that can be traded).  If you end the year with only 3 viable keepers and can’t acquire a decent 4th, you can sell your spot for picks.  This is common for teams in a rebuilding mode.  The team trading for the spot ends up with 5 players kept (which can be a big advantage heading into the season).  I’ll run through my team as an example.  I ended last season with the following: Tony Romo, Ben Roethlisberger, Chris Johnson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Reggie Bush, Marques Colston, Hines Ward, Percy Harvin and M Wallace as my main cast.  I cut-down to my 4 keepers of Romo, Johnson, Jones-Drew and Colston.  I was unable to trade any of my other guys for extra picks so they will be put into this year’s draft bucket.  The draft is made of all unprotected players (cut players) and all entering rookies.  We have one draft for all the available players.

The draft order for the first four rounds is based on the previous season’s rankings. The Fathead Dry-Erase Fantasy Football Draft board is going to be a major help this year.  The worse team picks first in all 4 rounds.  This gives the worst team the best opportunity to improve for the long haul.  They have first shot at the best incoming rookie.  The champ picks last in all 4 rounds.  Rounds 5, 7 and 9 are drawn randomly from cards.  Rounds 6, 8 and 10 are the reverse order of 5, 7 and 9.  What else makes us unique, we do not play for money, but instead opted for a 5’ tall trophy and bragging rights.  Our scoring system is insanely rare as well – customized to our liking.  We also have 20 years of history maintained:  Franchise records, owner’s records, fantasy player records annually, playoff records by owner, by franchise, etc.  About 50% of ownership is founding members.  We’ve had a team of the decade for the 90s and 2000s.  We also have a Winter’s meeting annually to discuss all things fantasy (rules changes, revise the scoring system, schedule, realignment, etc).  The beauty of the keeper league is that fantasy players can get associated with your franchise for their career.  The keeper league aspect lets you keep momentum, good players you were able to acquire, build history and adds a sense of pride around your franchise.  Looking forward to another draft, any advice on sleepers for this year?