Archive for July, 2010

Better Value CJ Spiller or Ryan Matthews?

Friday, 30 July, 2010

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

First round draft picks by position are often compared and linked to each other from day one to when the separation occurs between the two. It makes the value of a draft even better. Fantasy owners besides dynasty drafts are usually fairly hesitant on when to nab a rookie. Playing time and usual rookie woes can leave an average draft position of a player at a high variable. Nonetheless this years 2010 draft featured two backs taken that figure to be instant impact guys to their offense. CJ Spiller for the Buffalo Bills and Ryan Matthews of the San Diego Chargers.  This is a conundrum that we like to compare to Robert Edwards and Fred Taylor way back in 1998.  Two rookies that stormed on the scene and made all fantasy owners very happy. Can this happen again with Spiller and Matthews?

Both teams offenses are opposites on how they are going to get things done. Buffalo has more of a methodical approach which could bode well for Spiller. The pros with him are there should be plenty of games of twenty plus carries. The obvious cons are that the Bills tend to rank near the bottom of offensive production due to their glaring weakness at quarterback. Spiller could have a tough time with yards per carry and getting the most wanted points from fantasy owners in touchdowns.

A special talent as himself though should be able too boost this teams offensive presence. Owners worried about Fred Jackson shouldn’t be. No team invests that high of a draft pick to not give that investment every opportunity to earn the millions on his contract. If anything Jackson will compliment Spiller and the Bills need to sustain drives with long drawn out possessions.  Marshawn Lynch is still hanging around as well but we expect Buffalo to eventually seek some sort of trade and bolster their roster in a different area.

With Ryan Matthews he has to come in and fill the big shoes of future Hall of Famer Ladainian Tomlinson. Matthews will have to deal with a fiery quarterback that will be quick to give the rookie an earful. Pressure is definitely on him to not be the cog for an offense that has been prolific dating back to the Drew Brees days. Philip Rivers takes more of a burden off of maybe any running back backfield in the NFL. He stretches defenses as just as high as Peyton Manning and last season hooked up with Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates deep down the field at an alarming pace. Matthews might be one of those rookie backs that struggles to get consistent chunk yards, but evens that out by breaking off a burner.

So with that in mind will stick to the order that these two players were drafted. Many fantasy owners are going to feel more comfortable selecting Matthews over Spiller, but we do believe Spiller will outperform Matthews in yards and touchdowns. Buffalo is never going to stop running the football no matter the situation as they’ve proved the past five years.

Fred Jackson knows more than most as he has had a ton of garbage touchdowns and fourth quarter rushing yards over the past few seasons. San Diego on the other hand will turn the ball to Philip Rivers and let him throw ala Andy Reid’s play calls if they have too. Stick with Spiller folks.

Wideouts to Keep an Eye On

Monday, 26 July, 2010

By Vidur Malik

Around the league, talented wide receivers seem to keep on sprouting up year after year. Every team has multiple receivers who can have breakout games any given week. Because there are so many productive wide outs, there are bound to be players that can help your fantasy team who won’t be picked on draft day. If one of your players isn’t getting it done, you should be able to drop him for another receiver who can help your team. Picking up one of these players during the season off of waivers can boost your point totals, and gives you the opportunity to make a more educated decision, because you can make your choice based on how the player has performed during the season, which you can’t do in the off-season. Rookies who you want to keep an eye on before adding them to your team, number two or three wide outs who aren’t enough of a lock to use a draft pick on, or veterans who need to show that they have enough left in the tank are examples of receivers who are great for mid-season pickups. Here are five guys to look out for if you want to switch up your roster during the season:

Terrell Owens- Until T.O. signs with a team, picking him up off waivers is the only way you can have him on your squad. If he does participate in a training camp and settles down somewhere, he is still worth keeping an eye on. Last year was a down year for Owens, who had 829 receiving yards and five touchdowns, and even though he might not be a number one receiver anymore, there is nothing to suggest that he can’t get it done anymore. If he lands on a team and isn’t drafted in your league, he could be a valuable addition.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins- The addition of Brandon Marshall should open things up for other Dolphins receivers. Hartline should benefit from more looks with Marshall occupying defenses. Davone Bess had a solid year for the Dolphins last year, and he should see an improvement from his two touchdown catches last year. Bess is worth a late draft pick, so Hartline is a guy to look at during the season. He caught 31 passes last year for just over 500 yards and three touchdowns, and if he can take advantage of the opportunities he will get, he will be a smart addition to your team.

Mark Clayton, Baltimore Ravens- Anquan Boldin and Derrick Mason will be reliable targets for quarterback Joe Flacco, and if Clayton can become another option, the Ravens offense will take off. Clayton caught 34 balls last year for 480 yards and two touchdowns, which were dips in production for him compared to previous seasons. With the addition of an All-pro wideout in Boldin, and expectations of a big year from Flacco, Clayton could be a guy who gets overlooked, but ends up having a good year.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos- The Broncos used their first-round draft pick on Thomas, a big receiver out of Georgia Tech. At 6’3” and 229 lbs., Thomas can get rough with defenders, and seems to have the physical ability to be a productive receiver. Because Brandon Marshall is gone and the quarterback situation in Denver isn’t wrapped up, it would be wise to keep Thomas on your radar early in the season. If he puts up good numbers consistently, he could be a great acquisition.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers- Jones had a solid rookie season in 2007, but had a down year in 2008 after suffering an injury. He came back with a productive 2009, with 440 receiving yards and five touchdowns on 32 catches, and is a player who can see a big jump in numbers this year. Greg Jennings and Donald Driver are locks to have good seasons, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers is a surefire elite NFL quarterback. Jones should get plenty of opportunities to become a consistent contributor to the Packers offense. If he isn’t drafted, he should be a very productive receiver for the owner who has the smarts to get him.

Will Hester Make A True Impact in 10’?

Tuesday, 20 July, 2010

By Vidur Malik

In Devin Hester’s first two years in the NFL, everyone was talking about him.

He was running back kickoffs and punts for scores on a weekly basis, and was on his way to crushing the record for most career return touchdowns.

At the height of the craziness, Hester made the switch to wide receiver, effectively eliminating himself as a threat in the return game. He recorded 11 return touchdowns in 2006 and 2007, but hasn’t had one since. As a result, no one is talking about him anymore, but if you’re looking for another wide receiver, that is a good thing, because it shows that he has settled down in his new position.

Since becoming a wideout, Hester’s stats have improved every year. Last year, he recorded 757 receiving yards with three touchdowns. His yards per catch average went down from 15.0 in 2007 to 13.3 in 2009, but that is a good sign because it shows that Hester is becoming more of an all-around wideout, and not just a home run threat. That means consistent production, and a steady stream of points for fantasy owners.

Besides Hester, the Bears have several receivers who could break out in 2010. Johnny Knox and Devin Aromashodu, who both had pretty solid numbers last year and are expected to improve this year, could round out the top three receiver spots alongside Hester. The number one spot should be up for grabs, but whether or not Hester becomes quarterback Jay Cutler’s go-to guy, he should continue to improve this year, because defenses will need to account for a wider assortment of weapons.

Hester will still be the Bears’ biggest deep-threat because of his speed, but if he can continue to show glimpses of becoming a possession receiver as well, he can separate himself from the rest of the pack and provide a target for Cutler all over the field. With tight end Greg Olsen roaming the middle of the field and making himself a red-zone target, the area between the 20’s can become Hester’s stomping grounds. He will need to improve upon his three touchdowns last year if he’s going to become the number one guy, but he is always a threat to score. Of course, simply being a threat won’t get you fantasy points, but Hester is worth a pick. He is the type of player who can burn a defensive back for a long score, or turn a short slant into a touchdown.

Hester and his fellow Bears wide receivers show signs of having breakout years, but because of Hester’s speed and his consistent improvement, he looks to have the most upside. Though his days as a return specialist are long gone, Hester has become an important part of the Bears offense. If he keeps improving his stats, it’s quite possible that he could be a 1,000 yard receiver soon, in which case he could become the talk of the NFL once again.

Summer League Begins

Wednesday, 7 July, 2010

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

The basketball summer league is underway. As they say the NBA keeps things rolling. A week after the finals concluded the NBA draft happened, and a week later the NBA summer league. It gives teams a chance to see the value of their players as well as fill potential roster holes with free agent rookies. Even if some of the free agents do not make their summer league squads they often get a formal invite to another teams training camp. It also gives teams with first round selections and second round picks a survey of potential bargaining for that athletes contract.

Over the next two and a half weeks we all know about the athletes that are supposed to stand out, who we all want to see is the under the radar athletes. Will keep you posted on who emerges but here is a look at a few players that have started off very well.

Lance Stephenson- Stephenson had more downs than ups while at Cincinnati but decided to jump the gun anyways as a freshman. Indiana will let him develop and try to see if he can play the point a bit. He doesn’t have the craftiness of a Tyreke Evans but he sees the floor fairly well. He’ll have to continually work on his perimeter shot to get decent playing time.

Patrick Ewing Jr- The son of the Magic’s assistant coach, Patrick Ewing, has been getting big time minutes and making use of them. The first two days of the summer league Ewing has been able to knock down shots and be one of the biggest factors of any player thus far. If he can keep it up he’ll find himself earning an invitation to someone’s training camp.

Daniel Orton-  Rumblings of Orton being the Kentucky player that was not near ready are starting to be seen vividly. He played limited action behind DeMarcus Cousins in Kentucky and still was a first round pick by Orlando. Hopefully for Orlando’s sake his 1 for 14 start in two days is just jittery bugs. He has had foul and turnover trouble and looks completely lost on the court. Sadly he could be spending his guaranteed contract years in the D-League with Hasheem Thabeet.

Luke Harangody- One of a few players who went undrafted that had your head shaking. Harangody played in one of the top if not best conferences in the country and was a force every season. Teams were not sure about his ability to transform a college skillset to the NBA. Maybe right now he has the edge of proving everybody wrong. Whatever it is he is making a name for himself.

Eric Maynor- Maynor isn’t lighting up stats thus far, but he is the best point guard in Orlando’s summer league. He has that natural knack of knowing how to run a team, and not over dribble. He penetrates the lane well and puts his wing players  in perfect spots on fast breaks. Maynor bounced around a bit being traded last year, but should find a solid backup role behind Russell Westbrook.

Gerald Henderson- He has strong athleticism and seems to have worked on his dribbling. That has allowed him to create better space for himself as a smallish two guard. Where he may be halted in stepping on the court for the Bobcats is his defense. He was burnt a few times on simple blow by moves that just aren’t going to be tolerated by an NBA coaching staff.

Jodie Meeks- With his torching scoring ability he’ll fill someone teams eleventh or last man roster spot. You have to give it to Meeks because he could easily be banking big money overseas right now. Instead he is going to try to continue to work on elevating his game and battling to make it in the NBA.

Devery Henderson’s Fantasy Value

Sunday, 4 July, 2010

By Vidur Malik

Drew Brees’ ability to spread the ball around to all his targets is great for the New Orleans Saints’ offense, but it can force fantasy owners to make some tough decisions. Unless you have the entire Saints offense on your team, you’re going to have to guess when to start or sit players based on who you think is going to be a target for Brees. I had this issue last season when I picked up Saints receiver Devery Henderson, but he should be able to start more this season, and be a number three receiver on your team.

With Henderson, Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, and Lance Moore, the Saints are loaded at the receiver spot. Jeremy Shockey is a receiving threat at tight end, and David Thomas has become another tight end option as well. Add in running backs Reggie Bush and Pierre Thomas, who can both catch the ball out of the backfield, and you’ve got a toss-up for who will be the main target on any given game day. Even with all the weapons around him, Henderson put up 804 receiving yards and two touchdowns last year. He did this despite another productive year from Colston, and a breakout season from Meachem, who didn’t record as many yards as Henderson, but did have nine touchdowns. When he is healthy, Colston is one of the NFL’s best receivers, and is the Saints’ number one option, but he has been injury-prone throughout his career. Meachem is probably the number two receiver. He had toe surgery during the off-season, but reports indicate that he should be able to participate in training camp. Henderson was also injured with a sports hernia in the off-season, and had surgery for it in May, but he should be good for training camp according to reports. If anyone else isn’t at full strength this year, Henderson is someone who can become a more reliable option.

Though he only caught two touchdowns last year, he is a big play threat who can stretch the field. He equaled his regular season touchdown total in the postseason, with a touchdown in the Saints’ victories over the Cardinals and the Vikings. He didn’t catch a touchdown in the Saints’ Super Bowl win, but he did have a game-high seven receptions, which tied him with Colston and Colts tight end Dallas Clark in that category. His production in the regular season and playoffs indicates that he is a player who can be counted on. The criticism he took earlier for dropping passes seems to be gone now, and if he gets close to the 15.8 yards per catch average he had last year, he can get fantasy points even if he doesn’t catch as many touchdowns as other Saints receivers. If he can team up with Brees on a few more big plays this year, he can record 800+ receiving yards, and get more touchdowns. Though he may not be the go-to guy every week for the Saints, Henderson can score at any time, and will be a helpful addition to a fantasy team.

Defensive Rankings 6/30/2010

Thursday, 1 July, 2010

 

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Lopsided wins in fantasy football usually come from one of two places. Running backs having career days, or defenses just playing stout wrecking havoc and scoring multiple touchdowns. Points add up quick in terms of defensive fantasy points. Defensive coordinators preach and teach extra drills now on stripping the football. Last year the football seemed to touch the ground more than the norm.

It’s not good enough just to pounce on the ball either. Defenses turn into a rugby style attack once they have possession. They’re freelancing running for daylight and patient at the same time waiting for a block or two to free them for six. If snatching running backs so quickly is the main tactic in fantasy football drafts, than why do owners still neglect to draft a sure fire defense? If you end up with a semi decent and inconsistent defense you might as well subtract double digit points from your squad. Make up points of that magnitude are not easy. So do yourself a favor and get at least a top eight defense.

1. Baltimore Ravens- Comparable to the Boston Celtics of the NBA. Aged and predicted too slide a bit. Their front seven is lethal and with Ed Reed still in the fold their ball hawking style will not diminish.

2. New York Jets- Rex Ryan’s team is geared for a good season. It all starts of the defensive side of the ball where they have unquestionably the best corner in the game. When offenses can’t even throw to one side of the field that just perpetuates the aggressiveness that Ryan has to work with.

3. San Francisco 49ers- Not many people were able to watch this west coast team due to the fact that they were not prime time friendly. Things are changing upward for the 49ers who have built up the best young defense in the NFL. Giving up the big play may happen from time to time, but they’re as loaded as can be.

4. Dallas Cowboys- For a team that’s always been super talented on both sides of the ball it baffles us that they experience such let downs. Jerry Jones has stayed very quiet as Ed Werder has not reported a thing. That’s extremely awkward. Maybe Dallas is keeping things internal for a change and going to play up to their personnel standards.

5. Cincinnati Bengals- Often times last season the spotlight was shined on Chad Johnson and Cedric Benson. They both had productive years but the main reason Cincinnati was competitive and made the post season was because of their defense. Can they keep that going forward?

6. Minnesota Vikings

7. Green Bay Packers

8. Philadelphia Eagles

9. New Orleans Saints

10. Houston Texans

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

12. Miami Dolphins

13. Chicago Bears

14. Cleveland Browns

15. Denver Broncos

16. New England Patriots

17. San Diego Chargers

18. New York Giants

19. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

20. Indianapolis Colts

21. Atlanta Falcons

22. Kansas City Chiefs

23. Arizona Cardinals

24. Buffalo Bills

25. Washington Redskins

26. Seattle Seahawks

27. Tennessee Titans

28. Detroit Lions

29. Jacksonville Jaguars

30. Oakland Raiders

31. Carolina Panthers

32. St. Louis Rams