Question 1. Asked by @2RudeRogers
Thinking about benching DeSean Jackson for Ramses Barden… Thoughts? #fantasyfootball
I hate to say it but that’s just crazy talk. Bradshaw is back so Ramses is now at best the 4th target on this passing game behind Cruz, Bennett and Bradshaw. He also carries zero value when Nicks is in the line up. The news that Nicks is doubtful means that Nicks’ owners should scoop him up but I still think your only using him when Nicks is a game-time decision and ends up being inactive. He would have to really prove to me he can be productive with Cruz and Nicks on the field before I considered him roster-able for non-Nicks owners. I don’t think there is much of any chance he is better than Manningham was this season and he only ever was a poor flex play. Jackson certainly has a good chance at being a low-scorer and maybe Barden DOES out score him but it’s still a bad bet and I’d be worried that Jackson blows up the one week I don’t play him. That’s kind of the price you pay for drafting a big play receiver, you’ve gotta start him every week.
Question 2. Asked by @plamorte
If Nicks and Garcon sit I have to pick 2 from Hankerson, Wright and Simpson.
I would rather play Barden than Hankerson to sub for Nicks because you can make up your mind when you have the status of Nicks. So go scoop him up if you can and drop Wright for him. Now that Britt is coming back, even though this week is in doubt, Wright’s value is dropping fast. I certainly have zero confidence in him this week on the road against the Texans. I am admittedly not a Hankerson fan either (I like Aldrick Robinson more than Hankerson) but I am a HUGE fan of the match-up against the Buccaneers who are the NFL’s worst pass defense thus far. It also helps that since the Skins are the 2nd worst pass defense as this could really devolve into a shoot out.
Question 3. Asked by @AOrton10
Do I start Jamaal Charles against the Chargers or LeSean McCoy against the Giants? #fantasyfootball
So it’s close but these are two clear-cut must start players. I have to say McCoy, with Vick struggling, the offense is all about McCoy and he is a LOT less risky. I am really concerned that it will be near impossible for you to pick the right guy every week. I am VERY curious who the other RB is that your playing and I am assuming there isn’t a flex spot open for Charles to play in? Assuming the other RB is a better option and there is no flex spot, you should trade one of these two guys to pick up a must-start, elite player at a different position.
|1.||Houston Texans||@ JAC|
Matt Hasselbeck, QB, TEN – Active
Matt Moore, QB, MIA – Active
Sam Bradford, QB, STL – Inactive
Chris Johnson, RB, TEN – Active
BenJarvus Green-Ellis, RB, NE – Active
James Starks, RB, GB – Active
Nate Washington, WR, TEN – Active
Devin Hester, WR, CHI – Active
Willis McGahee, RB, DEN – Active
Roy Helu, RB, WAS – Inactive
Andre Johnson, WR, HOU – Inactive
Vincent Jackson, WR, SD – Active
|1.||Stephen Gostkowski||Vs. DAL|
|2.||Mason Crosby||Vs. STL|
|3.||Neil Rackers||@ BAL|
|4.||Sebastian Janikowski||Vs. CLE|
|5.||Jason Hanson||Vs. STL|
|6.||Matt Bryant||Vs. CAR|
|7.||John Kasay||@ TB|
|8.||Billy Cundiff||Vs. HOU|
|9.||David Akers||@ DET|
|10.||Robbie Gould||Vs. MIN|
|11.||Dan Bailey||@ NE|
|12.||Rian Lindell||@ NYG|
|13.||Alex Henery||@ WAS|
|14.||Nick Folk||Vs. MIA|
|15.||Mike Nugent||Vs. IND|
|16.||Adam Vinatieri||@ CIN|
|17.||Josh Brown||@ GB|
|18.||Dan Carpenter||@ NYJ|
|19.||Shaun Suisham||vs. JAC|
|20.||Lawrence Tynes||Vs. BUF|
Every year I scour the internet and Twitter to compile a list of funny and relevant team names. This year there were a lot of them and I am happy to unveil them to you now! By the nature of the internet, some of the humor is quite crude… but most good jokes are anyways right?
Not Football Related
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first. The Eagles are my and most people’s favorites to win the NFC in 2011. This is largely due to the ABSURD amount of talent added in free agency over the past week, which includes Ronnie Brown, Cullen Jenkins, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (DRC), Nnamdi Asomugha and Jason Babin. Jenkins is a wall of a defensive tackle with a particular talent for getting his hands up into the passing lanes and batting down short passes (he holds the Green Bay Franchise record for this statistic in a single season by a D-lineman with 9 in the 2007 season). Rodgers-Cromartie is a very solid Cornerback that has been getting better each year since drafted 16th overall in 2008. He has made a name for himself by coming up with big plays in crucial situations, namely a 99 yard INT return for a touchdown against the Rams in his rookie season which secured the division title for the Cards. Jason Babin was also brought back to Philly this offseason through free agency off the heels of a 12.5 sack season in 2010. The least attractive addition to the roster for the Eagles is the most recent, Ronnie Brown. Don’t get me wrong, Brown makes the team better and will probably handle short yardage and goal line touches. But, with all the blockbuster players picked up on defense, its easy to barely acknowledge this one. Lastly, the biggest surprise acquisition for Andy Reid’s ball club was Nnamdi Asomugha. Asomugha is in most people’s eyes the 2nd best cornerback in the entire league. With three cornerbacks that are talented enough to be the top guy on any team in the league and a formidable pass rush the Eagles defense is, on paper, the best in the NFL for the upcoming 2011 season. It is difficult to see what could stand in the way of this team’s success apart from a slew of injuries.
If we set aside all the off-field issues and pretend that Britt would play in all 16 games, I would have him as a top 15 wide receiver this season. Now he will be facing some disciplinary actions and I expect him to see a four game suspension and have it reduced down to two. He was not likely to crack my top 20 at WR given Jake Locker looked to be the starting QB for this seasuon but now that Matthew Hasselbeck is in Tennessee, Britt has a QB that can accurately and reliably hit an open receiver. Last season, when Britt was on the field, he looked like a man among boys in what was otherwise a very pedestrian passing attack. Britt got hurt in week 8 and did not return until week 14, but despite missing all this time to injury, he still amassed 775 yards and 9 TDs. Most impressive to me was how much more successful the Titans were with him on the field. The first 7 games of the season were all played with Britt in the lineup and the Titans were sitting at 5-2. Starting the week that Britt got hurt, the Titans slid on a 6 game losing streak. This was more to do with poor QB play from Rusty Smith and Kerry Collins, but Britt is by far the best receiving threat the Titans have on their roster and defenses are forced to keep 8 in the box in an effort to contain Chris Johnson.
The Cards were in a tough spot this offseason. They wanted to do everything they could to make Larry Fitzgerald happy, so that he would not leave the team after the 2011 season. In order to do that, they needed to get him a QB. The draft did not provide this for them, but a trade with Philadelphia for Kevin Kolb did. He cost them Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a 2nd round pick, but you don’t often get a potential franchise QB cheap, so it was worth the risk. DRC was expendable after the drafting of Patrick Peterson and in the sub-par NFC West; the Cards are playoff contenders again.
I don’t think the Vikings are going to be in the running for the division title, but with Adrian Peterson carrying the load and a solid defense to keep the offense on the field, McNabb is able to prove that he was not the problem in Washington last season. Losing Sidney Rice hurts but with Roy Williams, Johnny Knox and Devin Hester at receiver, McNabb has a better receiving corp than many of his pro bowl seasons in Philly. Fantasy owners shouldn’t expect McNabb to be more than a QB2, but Vikings fans can be happy to have someone who can potentially take them back to the playoffs.
If you are familiar with me, you know I am a big Bills fan. I might be just excited for my team here, but Buffalo made two very nice acquisitions this week in Free Agency. Unfortunately, Buffalo lost Paul Posluszny early in the Free Agency period to Jacksonville, but Pos is a better 4-3 middle linebacker than he is ILB in the 3-4 and since the Bills are still adjusting their personnel to suit the new scheme, this won’t likely hurt too bad. Especially after drafting Kelvin Sheppard and signing Nick Barnett, they should be okay at ILB. The Bills are also set up to take serious advantage of the new 3rd-QB rule, or lack there-of. Buffalo took an explosive playmaker from their division-rival New York Jets when they signed Brad Smith. Smith can now be placed at the 46th roster spot (3rd QB) and take snaps from under center. Previously, using your 3rd QB before the 4th quarter meant that your 1st and 2nd string QB’s could not re-enter the game. Buffalo needs excitement brought back to their football team badly and even the idea of CJ Spiller and Brad Smith in a Wildcat formation is pretty darn exciting. I expect Buffalo to remain a losing football team next season, especially since they are still in the AFC East, but look for a lot more big plays and fantasy points in 2011.
After Hasselbeck left town for Tennessee, Tavaris Jackson signed a deal to reunite him with his old offensive coordinator in Seattle. There will be some competition between Jackson and Charlie Whitehurst, but my guess is that his understanding of the offense and his relationship with fellow former Viking and newly acquired Seahawk Sidney Rice makes Jackson the heavy favorite to win the starting job. Throw in the addition of Zach Miller to the receiving corp for good measure and now Seattle might actually have an offense. Jackson has a lot of talent and play-making ability so if he was able to work on his down field accuracy and pocket-presence, he may be able to resurrect his career with this opportunity. In my eyes, it comes down to how consistent Marshawn Lynch can be to take the pressure off the passing game.
The Cardinals have no QB and Larry Fitzgerald has said that he will not stay in Arizona if they cannot take the QB position seriously this season and get him someone to throw him the ball. They opted not to draft a QB with the 5th overall pick, but instead they snatched up the safest and among the most talented players in this year’s draft. LSU’s Patrick Peterson was projected by a lot of analysts to go #1 overall to the Panthers earlier in the offseason, but he fell to Ken Whisenhut at #5. Peterson will be an impact player and shut-down cornerback in this league. He has the intangibles to be as good as Darrelle Revis or Nnamdi Asomugha, but it will be up to Ray Horton (Cardinals Defensive Coordinator) to groom him and get him to realize this potential. In the second round, the Cardinals continue to ignore the available QB talent (though it was pretty well picked over by this time) to take Ryan Williams, RB from Virginia Tech. I was surprised here as Williams was not a name I was very familiar with, and with Beanie Wells, Tim Hightower and LaRod Stephens-Howling all on the roster already… I did not expect to see another RB taken. There is no concealing that Wells was a disappointment, but Hightower still has some gas in the tank and Stephens-Howling is a playmaker who they like to have touch the ball around 5 times a game. And in the third round the Cards took TE Robert Housler, an athletic pass catcher that reminds me a little bit of Tony Moeaki. Housler has very good leaping ability to go with his reliable hands and considerable speed. It still all depends on which QB the Cards get from free agency, but Housler has a chance to make an impact in his rookie season. Taking a QB with their picks would have been a mistake and if the trades didn’t work in their favor, the Cards made a solid, disciplined decision to wait on taking a QB of the future. Solid draft for the Cards.
My Grade: B
St. Louis Rams
I expected St. Louis to take a RB and WR early in this draft. Sam Bradford progressed quickly and was very close to getting his team into the playoffs in his rookie campaign. The Rams do not have a #1 caliber WR and Steven Jackson is quickly running out of gas in the tank after many seasons carrying the entire Rams offense. Unfortunately for St. Louis, Julio Jones was long gone by the 14th pick and there was no reason to reach that far up on Mark Ingram, so the Rams took Robert Quinn from UNC. Quinn is a bit of a developmental prospect, but I expected him to be off the board by this pick as his 6’4’’ 265 lb frame and the potential he showed in college shows that he could be one of the elite pass rushers in the NFL before long. Initially he will be part of a rotation with Chris Long and James Hall, but after one or two seasons, I expect Quinn to surpass both of these guys in production. In round two, the Rams took TE Lance Kendricks from Wisconsin. Kendricks is 6’3’’ and also has more than enough speed to be an impact player in the passing game. Young QB’s tend to lean on their TE in a sticky situation so hopefully for Bradford, Kendricks is able to start Week 1. In rounds 3 and 4, the Rams finally address the WR need. They took Austin Pettis and Greg Salas consecutively, but neither guy is a #1 receiver. The Rams seem to have an army of slot receivers and no one capable of getting open against the opponent’s top cornerback. I like that the Rams didn’t reach for a player that shouldn’t have been drafted yet, but I would have liked to see them get involved in some of the trades going on to try and fill some of their bigger needs.
My Grade: C+
San Francisco 49ers
San Francisco made the first eyebrow raising pick in the draft this year with the first round selection of DE Aldon Smith. Smith is an explosive pass rusher off the edge and once he adjusts to playing from a 2-point stance, he will prove to be a key part of Jim Harbaugh’s new defense. The 9ers do have questions at QB and DB, but I think they are going to re-sign Alex Smith for one more season, which allowed them to take a more developmental QB in the second round. That QB is Colin Kaepernick. Colin is a dual-threat, with the ability to take off and run as demonstrated from his “pistol” offense that he ran in Nevada. Kaepernick was one of my favorite QB prospects in this draft and was probably the only one that wasn’t selected too early by their new team. In round three, the 49ers took DB Chris Culliver from South Carolina. He is a bit of a ball-hawk and a versatile one at that. I expect Culliver to compete for time in nickel packages. Overall, the 49ers stayed true to their board and were able to do a good job addressing their biggest needs early in the draft. Very solid draft and a great start for new coach Jim Harbaugh.
My Grade: B+
Head Coach Pete Carroll tore this team down last season to rebuild it in his image. It proved to be a success as he took his team to a playoff win against the Saints despite being just 7-9 in the regular season. Russell Okung proved to be a great pick for the future and Carroll wanted to give him some support, so with his first two picks this year, he took James Carpenter (round 1) and John Moffitt (round 3). Carpenter is a VERY versatile player that can play at guard or tackle on either side of the ball. He will provide stability to the line in the event of injuries and will likely be a solid starting offensive lineman for years to come. Moffitt is a bit more of a developmental prospect, he probably will not see the field unless there are injury problems in his rookie season. Time will tell whether or not he has the tools to be a starter in this league, but he sure has some great young talent around him to develop with and learn from. This wasn’t a very sexy draft for the Seahawks, but the offensive line is crucial to sustained success in this league and soon there will be a new QB in Seattle that will need protecting.
My Grade: B-
With the NFL lockout looking as though it is about to end, it is about time to end my little vacation get this series finished! Given how much time has passed since the draft, I am going to run through these last two divisions quickly, but I am always available on twitter to talk about your teams’ newest players.
The Falcons are traditionally conservative in their draft strategy, but changed their ways this year by making a blockbuster trade to move to the 6th overall pick and draft Julio Jones. Jones BLEW UP the NFL Scouting Combine and did so on a broken foot. He is an explosive playmaker that will further help Matt Ryan develop into the franchise QB he has been playing like the past few seasons. Normally I say that the winners of draft-day trades are the teams that acquire picks, but I can not say that this time. The Falcons are on the verge of becoming a Championship team. Their regular season was VERY impressive last year and the only area of concern on offense for me was at WR2. Jones alleviates that concern immediately and could be the one peice of the puzzle that was missing for the Falcons. I can’t grade them too high when they paid so much, but I truly believe time will show this to be a great pick for the Falcons. In round three, the Falcons added Akeem Dent from Georgia. Dent has a fast motor that never quits and should be able to make an impact on special teams while he earns a spot in the starting lineup. Lastly, in round 5, Atlanta added a more traditional change-of-pace back with the selection of Jacquizz Rodgers. Rodgers has INCREDIBLE lateral movement which was on display at the scouting combine and I think is likely to return kicks as well as see the field in third down scenarios.
My Grade: B-
Oh Carolina… The Panthers were in a tough spot with the first pick in the draft. They took Cam Newton to be the new QB of the future despite how risky it was. Newton’s talent is matched only by his potential, but he is as unproven as a Heisman winner and National Champion can be after his brief career at Auburn. The problem is, that despite all this potential, Newton fits the prototype that scares a lot of people: mobile, inexperienced and accuracy issues. On the flip side, he wins. Enough said, really. He won an NCAA National Championship with Auburn AND the NJCAA National Football Championship at Blinn College the year before. I for one do not think that Newton will be able to translate his game to the NFL, but i’m sure he’ll make enough plays that it will be fun to watch! Also, with two picks in round three, the Panthers took two interior defensive lineman (Terrell McClain and Sione Fua) to help bolster their 23rd ranked rush defense. The success of this draft will be entirely dependent on whether or not Newton is a success and since my gut tells me he will not, I cannot grade them well. Sorry Panthers fans, I hope I am wrong.
My Grade: D
New Orleans Saints
The Saints made great strides in this draft. They surprised me by selecting Cameron Jordan with the 24th overall pick, but only because they didn’t select Mark Ingram, who they traded back into the first round for. Jordan is a VERY talented and physically gifted defensive end and should prove very valuable to Gregg Williams, who loves to blitz from the second and third level. Ingram is what the Saints needed most of all, a punishing interior rusher. Pierre Thomas was as close as they had and he missed the vast majority of the regular season last year, leaving Chris Ivory to carry the load with Reggie Bush. Ingram is also quite a good pass blocker and should prove to be a key addition for a team more than talented enough to make another Super Bowl run. In round three, the Saints took Martez Wilson to help Gregg Williams with his blitzing schemes. Wilson is a versatile player that can lineup either inside or outside and could very well see the field in his rookie season as a pass rusher on third downs.
My Grade: B+
Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are an exciting, young team with a lot of pieces in place already. They were a surprising 10-win team last year and there is a lot of pressure for them to continue their winning ways. The biggest need for Tampa was a pass-rusher at defensive end. They sure got that as they took Adrian Clayborn and Da’Quan Bowers with their first and second round picks. Bowers was a first round talent that slid due to his knee injury. It is a pretty serious one and will likely keep Bowers from having a very long career in this league. With that said, there was not a more talented DE in this year’s draft class and Bowers should make an impact on the field starting in his first game. I am not a huge fan of taking back to back players at the same position, but since when is the ability to rush the passer from both sides a bad thing!? In the third round, Raheem Morris decided to stay on the defensive side of the ball and took Mason Foster to play LB. Foster isn’t the biggest guy on the field and he isn’t the fastest, but he has great instincts and is pretty quick for the position he plays. Foster reminds me a lot of Jon Beason, so if they get lucky, the Buccs will have a long term starting linebacker.
My Grade: C+
The Bears were the surprise NFC North Champions last season, even with the Super Bowl Champions in their division. They played exceptionally on defense and even found a balance between the rushing and passing attacks on offense during last regular season. Unfortunately for Bears fans, they were not able to overcome their mediocre at best offensive line in the playoffs, but this made it clear where their first pick should go. With the 29th overall pick, the Bears took Gabe Carimi from Wisconsin to anchor their line for years to come. Carimi is a prototypical right tackle, but might spend a little time playing at guard on this line next season unless the Bears go after any interior lineman in free agency. I also think that he would do well on the left side after he develops as an NFL athlete, but ideally there will be another tackle added to the roster next year that can play the left side. In round two with the 53rd overall pick, Chicago selected Stephen Paea who set the Scouting Combine record on the bench press. He is a bit of a developmental prospect with raw athleticism, but he will excel as a one gap run stopper in the middle of the defensive line in the future. His incredible strength will translate to this role in the Bears’ defense that loves to blitz up the middle. Paea will eat up at least two blockers and should allow pressure by the linebackers through the middle. In round three, the Bears took DB Chris Conte from California. Conte is an incredibly versatile defensive back that filled in at just about every spot during his time in college before transitioning to safety in his final season. He will make an immediate impact on special teams and with the veterans on defense to help him develop, he will find a spot somewhere in the starting lineup before too long. I would have liked to see the Bears take an interior offensive lineman that would allow Carimi to play at right tackle, but Paea will be an impact player and clearly the Bears were confident in his abilities. Also, they opted not to take a playmaker at WR. I am not jumping for joy at this draft, but I think they should be running the ball more anyways and there is plenty of free agent talent available at receiver, so all hope is not lost.
My Grade: C+
Many people are very big on this year’s draft for the Lions, but I am not one of them. They added some great players to their team, but ignored their biggest need in the secondary. Prince Amukamara fell past Houston and seemed to be a lock for Detroit who continues to lose games because they cannot contain the big play. I will admit that I had Fairley higher on my draft board than Prince, but it was because of how well Fairley fits into Tennessee’s defensive scheme and how big of a reach it was for them to take Locker 8th overall. Fairley along with Suh at DT will give the Lions a VERY stout run defense and will obviously make the pass rush more effective, but this is not enough for a secondary that was average at best last season statistically. There were two picks in the second round for Detroit and both were spent on offensive skill positions. First the Lions selected Titus Young from Boise State. Young is just 5’1’’ 174 lbs, but he has the speed to be a very impactful deep threat as well as return man. He is so fast he makes it very difficult for teams to not provide safety help to the corner that is covering him and with Calvin Johnson on the other side of the field, one of these guys will be in man-coverage more often that opposing defenses would like. The second pick in round two for the Lions was spent on Mikel Leshoure who is much better between the tackles than Jahvid Best, who is almost certain to serve as a 3rd down / change of pace back from here on out. Passing on Amukamara was a mistake, but they made considerable improvements to their team and stayed true to their draft board. They won’t get an A from me, but I don’t hate their choices.
My Grade: B+
Green Bay Packers
The Super Bowl Champion Packers had needs on both sides of the line as well as WR and DB. They were able to address these concerns for the most part in this draft, by selecting someone at each of these positions in the first four rounds with defensive lineman being the only exception. In the first round, they took Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State. This isn’t a pick that is going to excite too many fans, but he has the versatility to play anywhere on the line, but would ideally be a great RT of the future for the Packers opposite Chad Clifton. In round two the Packers took Randall Cobb from Kentucky, who is a speedy playmaker that could fill in for James Jones, who is looking to enter free agency after his fourth season. In round three the Packers made what was, to me, a puzzling selection with RB Alex Green from Hawaii. Green is a big, punishing runner with great hands out of the backfield. To me, the Packers are a passing team with Ryan Grant at RB and James Starks as a change of pace back. If I was coaching the Packers, Green would just be a goal line back at best… but don’t be surprised if he has a much larger role than this starting in his rookie season. I am not sure how much better they got with this draft, but they filled gaps that will be opened by departing free agents and added depth along both offensive and defensive line. And after all, they were Super Bowl Champions last year, so they will certainly still be able compete for a chance to repeat next season.
My Grade: B
The Vikings only had two selections in the first three rounds this season and with their first round pick, they made the second most questionable selection in this year’s draft by taking Christian Ponder 12th overall. Ponder has a lot of the intangibles that you want to see in a franchise QB and came from a pro-style offense. It will take the Vikes a little time to adjust their personnel and playbook to suit the quick timing attack that suits Ponder’s strengths, but with great risk comes great reward… so only time will tell how good this pick was. He might be in over his head if he has to start week 1, especially considering the lockout, but there is certainly a nice running back at his disposal to help him move the ball down the field. In round two the Vikes took the draft’s top Tight End, Kyle Rudolph from Notre Dame. Rudolph is likely to assume a primarily blocking role and for good reason, he might as well be a tackle… judging by the size of him. I would have thought the Vikes would look to add a possession receiver or grab an impact player on defense with this pick, but having a TE tandem like Rudolph and Shiancoe can provide one hell of a crutch for a young QB. Minnesota’s saving grace was that they were able to address areas where they lacked depth with their 6 picks in rounds 6 and 7. With reaching for Ponder AND ignoring positions of need to take Kyle Rudolph, I can’t grade Minnesota well, but if Ponder becomes a successful NFL QB, I’ll be happy to have been wrong!
My Grade: C