Archive for October, 2009

Week Eight Automatic/Don't Do It

Friday, 30 October, 2009

by Ted Cahill

This must be second chance week.

Alex Smith and Vince Young are back in as starters of their original NFL team. Usually first-round busts have to switch teams if they want their second chance, but Smith and Young have skipped that step.

Now we’ll see if either learned anything from their time on the bench or if they’re just as scary as the first time around.

Start

Steven Jackson, Rams at Detroit
For all the Jackson owners that are wondering why they drafted him, this is your week. The Lions’ defense should be no problem, even for Jackson who has struggled this year.

David Garrard, Jaguars at Tennessee
The Titans give up 311 passing yards per game. Now I know they’re coming off a bye and Garrard hasn’t thrown a touchdown on the road this season. I don’t care; you can send him out and not worry.

Darren Sproles, Chargers vs. Oakland
With LaDainian Tomlinson continuing to regress, Sproles becomes increasingly important in the offense. The Raiders give up 4.6 yards per carry and Sproles has scored 11 touchdowns in his last seven games against the Black and Silver.

Roddy White, Falcons at New Orleans
Normally White wouldn’t be anywhere near this list, he’s too much of a must start. But I want to make sure everyone realizes playing the Saints doesn’t change that. Matt Ryan probably won’t throw for 300 yards like he did the last time in the Super Dome, but White is still his favorite target.

Sit

Michael Crabtree, 49ers at Indianapolis
Like many of you, I picked Crabtree up last week and stuck him on the bench. But this isn’t the week to bring out the shiny new toy. The Colts give up 180 yards through the air and with Smith back in at quarterback, the 49ers will continue to try and run the ball down their throats.

Mark Sanchez, Jets vs. Dolphins
Don’t be fooled by the Dolphins poor pass defense. Yes they give up 234 yards through the air, but I’d be surprised if Sanchez really got the license to throw this week. There will be plenty of running in this game by both teams.

Jonathan Stewart, Panthers at Arizona
The Cardinals shut down the Giants strong rushing attack last week. The Bills did the same to the Panthers. Combine those facts and you get Stewart on the bench in the desert.

Ahmad Bradshaw, Giants at Philadelphia
If Bradshaw couldn’t do anything against Arizona, I don’t expect him to do anything in Philadelphia. The Eagles give up 3.6 yards per carry and will be stacking the box again this week.

Beating The Spread: Week Eight

Thursday, 29 October, 2009

By Zack Cimini
notjustagame23@gmail.com

Here’s a look at our spread choices for week eight. With half the lines being set around the three point mark and the other half double digit spreads, it’s set to be a difficult week for gamblers.

Denver at Baltimore (-3) – Pick Baltimore
Both teams are coming off bye weeks so they should be well rested. The strengths of these two teams are still on the defensive side of the ball. With the extra week off the wear and tear of the first six games should allow the defenses to get back to their normal selves. The spread is set perfectly in this one, but the edge here goes to the Ravens quarterback over the Broncos. Flacco should be able to throw the ball with ease on a Broncos secondary that has had trouble at times this year.
Cleveland at Chicago(-13.5)- Pick Cleveland
Cleveland’s offense is so abysmal right now that linesmakers were forced into this double digit spread. Chicago though hasn’t been in sync much of the year offensively. Their second year star back Matt Forte has struggled each week, and Jay Cutler has been erratic throughout most games. Which fact will bend from the trends of the first seven weeks? The Bears offense developing consistency or the Browns generating anything.
Houston -3.5 at Buffalo- Pick Houston
This is the type of game that has kept Houston hovering around the .500 mark when seasons are over. They need this win to have a chance at one of the final wild card berths towards the end of the season. Buffalo is on a little win streak of their own, ever since Ryan Fitzpatrick entered the lineup. Weather could be a factor here, but Houston’s offense should prove to be too much for Buffalo.
Minnesota at Green Bay (-3)- Pick Green Bay
The first matchup Green Bay honestly looked like the better team. The Vikings home edge, defensive pressure on Rodgers, and turnovers were the keys to the Vikings first matchup. Just like any heated top divisional matchup teams will split the season series based on their home matchups.
San Francisco at Indianapolis (-13)- Pick San Francisco
San Francisco is on a bit of a slide, losing three of their last four games. They’ve made the switch at quarterback to insert Alex Smith and we believe it’s the right move. San Francisco should be able to balance their offense enough by running the football with Frank Gore and allowing Smith to pick up where he left off last week. With all of the injuries the Colts have offensively, especially at wide receiver, the 49ers should be able to halt some drives. Expect this game to be lower scoring than believed to be.
Miami at NY Jets -3.5- Pick Miami
Mark Sanchez still has to prove he can go four quarters since his production fell off from his quick start. We’re going to discount the Oakland game and see if he has it against Miami. Miami is playing well but falling just short in their games. This is a must win for them or their season spirals to 2-5.
Seattle at Dallas -9.5- Pick Dallas
A month ago people were throwing Romo under the bus left and right, now it’s as if those conversations never even happened. One of Romo’s most memorable bad moments came against the Seahawks on that botched field goal hold in the wild card round a few years ago. Dallas should jump out early on the Seahawks at home and make this a laugher.
Oakland at San Diego -16.5 – Pick San Diego
Until Oakland shows they can go a week without being blown out or shut out than money will continue to pour on the opposing teams. It’s becoming a circus in Oakland. Their defense has came too play most weeks, but any shocking upsets like their win over Philly shouldn’t happen again.
Jacksonville at Tennessee (-3)- Pick Jacksonville
The Jaguars stomped the Titans in a game at home in which the Titans were actually favored. David Garrard looked like a Pro Bowler in that game. We don’t see how the Titans can hold up this time either. The law of averages with a team this talented should have them winning sooner or later, but it looks like 0-7 is on the horizon.
Carolina at Arizona -10: Pick Arizona
Talk about a game that has you giddy as a gambler. This is the matchup game in which Delhomme has never recovered from his playoff performance of a year ago. So far this year he has been by far the worse quarterback and he’ll be hearing all week about going up against the Cardinals again. Arizona has shined lately and at home are even better. There’s no way they fall to 1-3 at home. Cardinals get this win with Matt Leinart playing by the 4th quarter.
NY Giants at Philadelphia: Pick Philadelphia
This is a pick em game and should be as even sided a game that’s been all year. Brian Westbrook will be a game time decision. If he plays the edge should go to Philadelphia which always kills the Giants with their screens and schemes with Westbrook.
Atlanta at New Orleans (-10): Pick Atlanta
Teams will now take a page from Miami’s playbook but complete it. They had the perfect game plan but let it all to waste in a span of the fourth quarter. Atlanta usually plays the Saints tough. It wouldn’t be too much of a surprise to see them pull this win out and end the Saints undefeated start.

Currently OTB: St. Louis and Detroit-
If you’re betting on this one anyways you need help.

Week Seven: Automatic/Don't Do It

Friday, 23 October, 2009

By Ted Cahill

I had hoped to provide some clarity on what’s happened with the Buffalo Bills this year, but my insider source came up with nothing this week.

Nothing, that is, except a declaration that the Sabers are “baller.”

That threw me for a loop, since I’m still trying to figure out when the NHL started its regular season.

But on with what I can help you with. Remember I’m not here to say start Tom Brady and sit Josh Johnson, you’re smarter than that.

Start

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers vs. Minnesota
The Vikings have already allowed two 300-yard passers this season, and Roethlisberger seems to be in line to become the third. Because, hey, if Joe Flacco can do it, Big Ben better be able to.

LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers at Kansas City
Tomlinson has proved that he’s still the feature back in San Diego. Sproles did nothing running the ball last week and failed in an especially crucial situation. This should be a big game for LT.

Panthers’ running backs vs. Buffalo
The Bills have allowed more than five yards per carry this season. With an already run heavy attack, feel free to start either DeAngelo Williams or Jonathan Stewart; or Mike Goodson for that matter.

Lance Moore, Saints at Miami
In case you missed it, New Orleans proved they were for real last week. The Dolphins’ defense is nothing compared to the Giants, who Moore had 78 yards and a touchdown against.

Sit

Sidney Rice, Vikings at Pittsburgh
The Steelers allow 201 passing yards per game, but this isn’t a great spot for Minnesota. Rice will likely draw a matchup with cornerback Ike Taylor, who has already shut down high-profile receivers this year. Rice is a hot pickup right now, but I wouldn’t put him in the starting lineup this week.

Donnie Avery, Rams vs. Indianapolis
Avery has two touchdowns in the past two weeks, but this is not his week. The Colts have allowed only two touchdown passes all year and opponents are averaging fewer than 200 yards per game through the air.

Donovan McNabb, Eagles at Washington
McNabb traditionally doesn’t do well against the Redskins, who have a tough pass defense this season. It’s hard to say that McNabb should be on the bench given Andy Reid’s propensity to throw the ball, but I’m thinking there are better quarterback options.

Ronnie Brown, Dolphins vs. New Orleans
Once again, the Saints are for real. That includes shutting down Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs last week. Miami figures to be behind and trying to throw the ball, like every other team that’s played the Saints so far. Unless you think Brown gets plenty of pass attempts out of the Wildcat, stay away.

NBA Fantasy Draft: Sleeper Picks

Thursday, 22 October, 2009

By Chris Burrows

For big leagues that go deep into the annals of NBA rosters it’s important for fantasy owners to know who among the lesser will arise to the top especially considering the amount of movement that took place during the off-season. Here’s a look at the top fantasy sleepers for ’09-’10.

1. Anthony Morrow (SG, GSW) – The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Golden State Warriors coach Don Nelson is leaning towards starting Morrow whose preseason numbers are stunning to say the least (yes, preseason doesn’t count but in fantasy it does). Morrow pounded back 30 points against the Suns including four threes and a steal and then put up 32 points against the Clippers two days later with four assists and five rebounds in that outing. Last year Morrow led the league in 3-point percentage but expect him to lead in a lot of other categories this time if he can capture that starting spot ahead of Stephen Curry and Kelenna Azubuike.

2. Allen Iverson (SG/PG, MEM) – Yeah, he’s a big name player but he didn’t do a whole lot last season with the Pistons as many fantasy owners can unhappily recall. Now Iverson has a new home in Memphis and should settle into a more specialized role that can the potential to springboard his numbers–the Grizzlies will rely heavily on him to provide lots of steals and assists and, if all goes according to plan, he should see his FG percentage head northward under the watchful assistance of Mayo, Gay and company who will also benefit from Iverson’s experience on the boards.

3. Boris Diaw (PF, CHA) – The Bobcats will be hitching their hopes to Diaw this season whose move to Charlotte last year saw his numbers bloom. Diaw’s average rose to a career high 15.1 points, .8 steals and 5.9 rebounds as a frontcourt minute logger. This year he’ll be starting again and should be well fed by Raymond Felton as long as his ankle injury heals as quickly as the team is promising.

4. D.J. Augustin (PG, CHA) – Another preseason standout, Augustin sunk 5 three-pointers and had a 29 point outing against the Jazz. Last year as a rookie he contributed 17.8 points on average in his 12 starts and was high on the free throw charts. He will be a major offensive force for the Bobcats in the starting point guard role this season.

5. Tyreke Evans (PG/SG, SAC) – A flexible rookie shooter, it looks like Evans will be garnering a starting job in Sacramento this season. If his preseason numbers are any indication, Evans will be contributing plenty of triple doubles on the boards. He’s worth the risk.

6. Ronnie Brewer (SG, UTA) – Brewer continues to settle into the SG spot in Utah. It’s his fourth season there and his production should continue to rise with his minutes.

7. Aaron Brooks (PG, HOU) – He’ll be a major player in the offensive production of the Rockets this season (somebody has to) and with the changed face of the Houston team, this is his chance to rise to the top as a starter. He is already upping the ante in the preseason.

8. Al Jefferson (C, MIN) – He’s back. Draft him. Only included in this list because his 08-09 stats took a hit from his injury.

9. Jarrett Jack (G, TOR) – As long as his minutes don’t suffer under Jose Calderon, Jack will be a productive part of the high powered offense in Toronto alongside Turkoglu and Bosh. His averages of 1.1 steals, 4.1 assists and 13.1 points as a starter last season for the Pacers is nothing to scoff at.

10. Brandon Jennings (PG, MIL) – This rookie is certainly a risk but he’s giving veteran Luke Ridnour a run for the starting PG job in Milwaukee. If he straightens out some shot problems Jennings may be a top sleeper. Keep an eye on this one.

11. Tyrus Thomas (PF, CHI) – Thomas won’t be starting in Chicago (Joakim Noah still has that spot) but he will still see plenty of minutes and hopefully pick up where he left off in the last half of last season–on a breakout streak. He may well be the future of this position in Chicago if he keeps it up.

12. Brendan Haywood (C, WASH) – Haywood saw action in just 6 games last season because of a season-ending wrist injury. The vet should return to his starting center position in Washington where he last averaged over seven rebounds and 1.7 blocks per game.

Benson and Bengals Rewarding Fantasy Owners

Thursday, 22 October, 2009

By: Raymond Ayala

Cedric Benson is a name that college football fans are familiar with, but now NFL fans will start to follow him the same way. Benson was a two way star in high school, and was drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers. Benson turned down a pro-baseball contract, in order to play football. After accepting a scholarship to the University of Texas, Benson became a star. In 2005, the Chicago Bears with the 5th overall pick drafted Benson. The Bears were a playoff caliber team, and Benson was expected to be the final piece of the puzzle. After a lengthy holdout, Benson got a cold reception from his Bears’ teammates, mostly due to his cocky attitude. After a couple of big games, his attitude and immaturity eventually sent him packing out of Chicago. But now Benson has reemerged with the Cincinnati Bengals. His emergence has convinced me that Cedric Benson should be the comeback player of the year thus far.

On top of the drama with the Chicago Bears, Benson also battled alcoholism. The Bengals decided to give Benson another chance, and so far he was rewarded all those that took a chance on him. Benson has been humble ever since his time with the Bengals. A man who once thought alcohol had ended his playing career, has now resurrected it in the most unlikely of places. Everyone expected Benson to be the Bears golden ticket to the Super Bowl. Now he is the Bengals biggest secret weapon.

Coach Marvin Lewis has been rewarded with a quality running back that is capable of handling a big load. Even though Carson Palmer will always be the feature in the Cincinnati offense, Benson has quickly emerged as a great second option.

He has also rewarded fantasy football fans, with a great and late football pick. Benson was not even ranked in the top 20 by most fantasy experts and now he is a top five-fantasy football running back. Benson has already accumulated 531 rushing yards and four Touchdowns in only six games.

Will he continue at this pace? I think it will, because the Bengals are a legitimate playoff team, who will use Benson to sneak in with a Wild Card berth. While their division also has the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens vying for a playoff spot, but I expect the Steelers to fall in the end and not make the playoffs. The Ravens win the division and the Bengals win a Wild Card spot.

Right now there is a big group of Bengals that should already be taken in most fantasy leagues. Chad Ochocinco is letting his play do the talking this year and Carson Palmer has had his fair share of solid games. The Cincinnati defense has also collected points for fantasy owners thanks to the great play of Antwan Odom. Right now I would sit most Bengals, with the tough schedule they have coming up, except Ochocinco and Palmer. But keep an eye out during Weeks 11-13, when the Bengals face a slew of low-quality opponent.

Week Six Automatic/Don't Do It

Saturday, 17 October, 2009

By Ted Cahill

I might owe some people an apology.

No, this isn’t about the time I threw my friends under the bus or when I tell random people where they can stick it or the very important meetings I skipped last night to watch The Office and 30 Rock. No, this is about not believing.

In the first five weeks of the NFL season, I’ve used this space to tell the fantasy football world who to start and who to leave on the bench. But in between I’ve thrown in some rather snide comments about the Denver Broncos and Chad Henne. I’ve been upset with the Broncos since they fired Mike Shannahan and well, Henne went to Michigan.

But last weekend, they both made me take notice. The Broncos beat New England to remain undefeated and Henne led the Dolphins to a dramatic win against the Jets.

But enough with my mea culpa, on to Week Six.

Start

Pierre Thomas, Saints vs. Giants
You shouldn’t be afraid of the G-Men. New York is allowing 4.8 yards per rush and has been excellent in pass coverage. They haven’t faced a top-notch passer yet, but Thomas should have success and the Saints need him to.

Rashard Mendenhall, Steelers vs. Cleveland
I feel like I don’t have to tell you how awful the Browns’ run defense is. But I’ll throw a few numbers out anyway: 5.1 yards per carry allowed, two practices missed this week by Shaun Rogers.

Donnie Avery, Rams at Jacksonville
The Jaguars have had serious problems against the pass. St. Louis is normally a no-fly zone for me, but after Avery snagged a touchdown and 87 yards last week, I’m feeling better about his chances.

Matt Hasselbeck, Seahawks vs. Arizona
At home against a defense allowing more than 300 yards through the air, Hasselbeck is a great play. To top it off, he’s thrown seven touchdowns in 10 quarters this year. That rib injury seems to be in the past.

Sit

Carson Palmer, Bengals vs. Houston
Palmer is nursing a sore thumb and the Texans give up more than five yards per rush. Cincinnati is unlikely to call on Palmer to win this game for them; there are better options at quarterback this week.

Marques Colston, Saints vs. Giants
I respect the Giants pass defense, but not anywhere near enough to sit Drew Brees. But Colston is unlikely to get free downfield, and if he does, Brees probably won’t have time to find him.

Bills Offense at Jets
After last week’s atrocity at home against the Browns this should be a no-brainer. I wanted to take the time to point out just how awful the Bills were, but I really don’t have room to do that here.

Willis McGahee, Ravens at Minnesota
The timeshare of McGahee and Ray Rice seems to be reaching a natural end with Rice winning. Besides the Vikings can handle the run very well.

Matchup to Watch: Kyle Orton vs. Josh McDaniels
The Broncos have made me a believer and I’m starting to come around on Orton as well. I might even advise him as a starter, but until they start throwing the ball more I’ll be a little uncomfortable. Hopefully that changes this week against their division rival.