Posted on: November 11, 2008 2:43 pm

The future of the WR

When you think of wide receivers right now, you probably think of a few guys by the names of Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, Anquan Boldin, Brandon Marshall and Steve Smith.  Some of these guys are getting up there in the age category and undoubtedly won't be playing at a high level for much longer (relatively speaking).  As I watch college football these days, I'm starting to notice a few wide receivers that could truly stand out in the NFL as the elite in the future.  One of these guys are on my Alabama Crimson Tide, the other is on the #2 Texas Tech behemoth. You probably know who I'm talking about, but if not, their names are Julio Jones and Michael Crabtree.  Both are dynamic options for their wide receivers and both have made game winning plays when it counts in conferences that don't leave room for error.

Michael Crabtree is about as dynamic option to throw to that you can have at the college level.  His hands seem so good that it's almost unfair at times to have him on your team.  Not to take anything away from Texas Tech, but I don't think they would be where they are without this play-maker.  He took it on himself to make the winning catch against Texas, in double coverage, stayed in bounds, broke a tackle and made it into the end-zone.  This is something he has been doing all season long in an extremely tough conference, that is perhaps the best in college ball right now.  Texas Tech is not the team people expected to be in line for the national championship, but when you have a guy that can catch the ball no matter the situation, you're going to be able to make people look bad.  The reason I think this guy will be special in the NFL is simply because he has been so much better at his position than anyone else.  You normally don't hear people talking about wide-receivers the way they do about Crabtree.  Plus, in the NFL, he's going to have to defeat adversity all the time.  Considering Crabtree can make catches under pressure, when it counts, and in double coverage, he will be unusually great, if not elite at the next level.

Julio Jones is a freshman... I say that again, Julio Jones is a freshman.  During Saturdays game against the LSU Tigers, Jones showed everyone that he was definitely worth the consideration he got coming out of high school.  He took the entire game on his shoulders and won it for the Tide.  In fact, the catch that he made was very similar to the one Crabtree made, with tons of coverage, breaking a tackle and scrambling into the end zone.  For this reason, I actually think, when the time comes, Jones will be the more dynamic WR than Crabtree.  The guy has more time to develop, in a conference that is consistently one of the best.  He will also have time to work with at least two quarterbacks, which I think is essential for a player, in order to learn how different people throw the ball.  Jones is also huge... He will be able to get up and grab balls that Crabtree may have trouble with.  This guy, if he plays his cards right, could genuinely be the next Randy Moss or T.O.  Only time will tell, but in a year or two, he will definitely be the talk of the draft.
Posted on: November 3, 2008 1:56 pm

My Midway Fantasy Awards

Fantasy MvP RB:  Matt Forte

-Forte has been nothing if not consistent throughout the entire season as it pertains to fantasy scoring.  Personally, I've only sat him once and that was the one week he scored less than 10 points.  I have given him the MvP so far because he has not only done well for his owners but he has also surprised people by doing so.  Clinton Portis is a close runner-up but he was generally drafted in the first round and his success should have come as no surprise.

MvP WR: Anquan Boldin

-We all knew that Boldin is a great receiver but there was definitely a large question mark going into this season.  The Cardinals were lacking a starting quarterback going into the season and Larry Fitzgerald was there to potentially leach value from the younger Boldin.  Despite the week off due to the head injury, Boldin has put up not only consistent numbers, but has also had many a huge day over 20 points.  This has been a guy I haven't wanted to go against, considering I don't have a team with him on it.  That was my bad for sure.  Coming in close, for me, is Greg Jennings; the guy was a big gamble, considering he over achieved last year, but now he has shown he can do that job every week.

MvP QB: Kurt Warner

-I give Warner this honor because who saw this coming?  I certainly didn't and I can pretty much rest-assured that the guy was on most peoples benches at the beginning of the season, if he was drafted at all.  Since then he seems to put up more than 200 yards a game and multiple scores.  Warner's value is even higher because he came out at a time when he was needed most, as many top tier QBs went down because of injuries, or under-performed.  I am personally suffering huge because of Tony Romo, and that isn't nearly as bad as Tom Brady.  If you were lucky enough to have Warner as a back-up, you definitely didn't miss a step.  Kyle Orton was a close runner-up in his own right, but it seems like he might be out for awhile now as well.  That certainly decreases his value.

MvP TE: Jason Witten

-This wasn't even a race really.  Personally, I have Chris Cooley in a couple of leagues, mostly because he helped me out so much last year.  I can't complain because the guy has been fairly consistent but he hasn't had nearly as much fantasy impact as Witten.  Even with a broken rib the guy played, though he definitely shouldn't have as the Cowboys put up a miserable offensive showing.  Witten's value will rise even more when Tony Romo returns, but even with Brad Johnson out there, Witten has been a very reliable option.  What makes this more impressive is that he puts up numbers even with other weapons on the team like Terrell Owens and Roy Williams, not to mention Patrick Crayton and Marion Barber.  I am still looking for Dallas Clark to have a good second half of the season but I don't see this award changing.

The Overall MvP: Drew Brees

-I couldn't do this without mentioning Brees.  For those lucky enough to pick this guy up, they were rewarded with some serious fantasy points.  The guy doesn't seem to throw less than 3 TDs a game and has some serious weapons to throw to.  Now that Marques Colston is back, look for Brees to gain even more value.   It has seemed like no matter how many injuries this team takes, someone always steps in and makes big plays.  It's been a great year for Brees owners and I'm sad that I missed out on this one for sure.  I thought for sure this would be Tony Romo's year, and he was doing alright before the injury, but nothing compared to Brees.

Now for the ugly ---

Most Disappointing RB:  Joseph Addai

-This one was a close one between Addai and Justin Fargas, but I had to go with Addai.  No one saw Fargas coming last year, so I can't blame the guy for being a let down this year.  It was fairly predictable, and I think defenses have figured him out.  Addai on the other hand has nothing going for him right now.  He was one of those guys that was drafted early, and so he should be able to go out there and tear it up every week.  Instead, the only thing he is doing well is getting injured.  There are definitely some other RBs that have underachieved, but most have turned it around for the most part.  I can't fault Darren McFadden, because I saw this coming.  I also think that Ryan Grant will still be fairly productive in a RB2 role.  Larry Johnson is a close call too, but he would be fine if he'd stay out of trouble.

Most Disappointing WR:  T.O.

-This one is fairly easy for me, considering I expected huge things from T.O. and drafted him in the first round.  I was definitely let down after a few games.  It also hasn't helped that Romo has been out, but even before that his numbers were going down every week.  I had so much hope the first couple games too, but they were more of a flash in the pan before opposing defenses learned to cover him better.  I don't think the year is done for this guy, but he isn't a must-start every week now.  Other guys in this category are fellow teammate Roy Williams, Randy Moss, Donald Driver and slowly Brandon Marshall is looking the same way.

Most Disappointing QB:  Tom Brady

-This one is so easy and so I won't waste too much time on it.  He went down so early, and the guy was generally drafted exceptionally high.  I am not going to shed a tear either.  It was so hard to root for the guy last year as he led my team to victory week after week, but now I can laugh at others that wasted their first round pick.  If it weren't for Brady, I'd consider talking about guys like J.T. O'Sullivan, Carson Palmer and even Peyton Manning, although I think he'll have a better second half still.

Most Disappointing TE: Dallas Clark

This guy hasn't really done much considering how high a pick he was for most.  I think he should pick things up, he'll definitely end the season as a disappointment.  You can't blame him too much with how the Colts have played for most of the season, but he's still there.  Tony Gonzalez is in this category as well.

Overall Most Disappointing Player:  Can I just say that the entire Raiders team has been a huge disappointment.  They have way too many quality draft picks to be this awful.  Darren McFadden was no good even when he was healthy, Justin Fargas has slowed down and their QB situation is pitiful.  I would stay away from anyone on this team, and I'm sorry if you picked up any of these guys in the draft.
Posted on: October 20, 2008 12:17 pm

Bengals, Fantasy and Hines Ward

Okay, I don't want to spend too much time talking about my Bengals loss to the Steelers.  I just don't think they are worth the effort right now but a few things do need to be mentioned before moving on.  First of all, we lost Keith Rivers for the year to a jaw injury handed to him by Hines "I like men" Ward.  Chances are he will get fined for the hit because he did lead with his helmet, and he should.  It was a blind side block and that sort of thing can injure both the players.  At the same time, I think that the fact that Ward went through the rest of the game without the Bengals trying to hurt him shows how the Bengals aren't playing as a team and that they have no heart.  At least Cedric Benson went out there and laid out Troy Polamalu.

From a fantasy perspective, I got hurt bad by this game.  Mewelde Moore decided to go on a tear and put up 33 points against me.  At the same time, Santonio Holmes missed a touchdown by a yard at the beginning of the game and didn't manage to do much of anything close to 33 points.  That's frustrating.  Not a good day fantasy wise for any of my teams outside of CBS sports.  I had Thomas Jones go for 150 yards on the ground but NO touchdowns.  I also had Steve Slaton do well, which made sure that my sitting of Jonathan Stewart and Matt Forte was worth it.  Not by much, but they both scored less than who I started.  My major problem was at WR.  I put T.O. out there despite my best judgment and he only managed 30 yards.  Then Jericho Cotchery decided to put up a donut as well.  I should have started Santana Moss but I was nervous and paid the price.  I am also extremely let down by all of my quarterbacks across my leagues, including Brett Favre who put up a whole 3 points, Derek Anderson who barely made himself known with 1 TD.  I still have Jay Cutler to go in another league, but I'm in a deep hole already, so I need Brandon Marshall and Cutler to have themselves a day against the Patriots.

Beyond all this, I'm excited about a later game Sunday against Houston.  I work in the early afternoon, so I should be able to catch most of the game.  I also have much better luck in fantasy if I'm around for more of the games.  We could beat Houston right?  Steve Slaton could definitely be a problem, and Matt Schaub seems to have turned it on...  Trouble.
Category: NFL
Posted on: October 14, 2008 12:22 pm

Bengals to Hell in a Handbasket.

So, our season is absolutely sunk at this point as Bengals fans.  It's been a rough couple of week. Fortunately I had to work last weekend so I got to miss the mess with Brett Favre and the Jets.  At least I played the match-up with Thomas Jones and that paid off (I still lost by one point... I have been getting seriously unlucky match-ups.  I almost lead the league in total points but I'm still 2-4.  I've had to put up more than 100 points each week in order to win and even lost one with with 102... F'n A.) So, having the Bengals being so awful, and having Carson Palmer with problems I thought it was appropriate that the Week 7 Mayhem Question regarded how you would change your team this week for the immediate and future.  Here was my response:

If I were the GM, I would bring in Daunte Culpepper to play the remainder of the season in place of Carson Palmer.  Palmer's injury is such that extended rest would do him well and rushing him back right now is pointless considering we have no chance at the playoffs.  We don't have a guy behind him that is worth anything, and Daunte will more than likely play his heart out for anyone who gives him another chance.

At the same time, I would get rid of Chris Perry and bring in Shaun Alexander.  In a RBBC running scheme, Alexander and Cedric Benson would make a solid one two punch, especially with Alexander being able to teach the younger Benson a thing or two.  Chris Perry is just too ineffective at the positive and coughs up the ball too much.  Having that veteran presence would be priceless.  Plus, again, Alexander would play his heart out for someone who gave him a chance.

Next, I would trade Chad Johnson for another first round draft pick.  This way we could get two quality starting players in the upcoming draft.  We might even be able to get a later round pick for him as well.  This is definitely a build for the future move and considering we need a better offensive line, more defense and possibly a future franchise QB, we'll need all the picks we can get.

There really isn't much we can do to salvage this year but salvaging the future is something we can start right now.  The main thing is keeping Carson healthy.  If he gets damaged much more we could lose him forever, effectively putting us in the same situation as the Falcons of last year.  So far they have gotten lucky with Matt Ryan and I don't think we'd pick up a QB in the draft that we could franchise out of the gate.  More than likely we'll need someone we can work with behind Carson Palmer the same we he apprenticed under John Kitna.

Beyond our immediate QB situation, as you can see, I think Chad Johnson is expendable.  More than likely he is trying to pull the football version of Manny Ramirez, and tanking himself to get traded.  At this point, getting rid of him is the best option for the team.  Not only would it get that plague of a mouth out of the locker-room, but we could start to bring up our "heralded" waste of draft picks at the WR position, in Jerome Simpson.  We need to give T.J. the shot as the #1 anyways because the guy has played well enough to warrant that. 

As for our RB situation, anything we do right now is merely a temporary fix.  Either this draft or the next we will need to get ourself a first round guy.  It's too bad we missed out on last years class with guys like Steve Slaton, Matt Forte, Tim Hightower, et al.  Hopefully we'll get lucky and get someone along the lines of Forte that could work with Alexander and really get a solid running game going.  The veteran status of Alexander would be invaluable for a young guy. 

I guess that's all I've got right now... I am just looking to the future because there is nothing else to do with this team right now except wait for our first win...
Category: NFL
Posted on: September 27, 2008 12:28 pm

Nasty Thoughts - Bengals/Browns 09/27

With about a week behind us since the Bengals nearly beat the defending Superbowl champion New York Giants, we must consider what is to come tomorrow.  There has been a lot of talk around the league about the Browns and Bengals, none of which has been good.  In fact, last week ESPN did a segment begging Ohio sports to improve for their fans.  It's a tough life, but at least we can't be accused of being fair weather supporters.  Keeping in mind our near victory last week, let's run down the game from a fantasy football perspective.

Carson Palmer - Palmer should have an effective day here.  The Browns have been giving up points all over the field, both rushing and passing.  As long as the offensive line stays relatively intact, look for the aerial attack to emerge.  After seeing how the running game faired in over-time last week, I would also expect this to increase the passing game.  Look for Carson to throw early, and then open the running lanes later.  2 TDs, 250 yds, INT

T.J. Houshmanzadeh - Housh should have himself another solid day.  Coverages are still following Chad Johnson around like love-sick puppies.  Still,  I wouldn't expect him to be as effective as last week for the simple fact that the Browns will have seen that game and realize that they need to be more careful than the Giants.  This will open up the game for Antonio Chatman who will probably end the game with one of Carson's passing TDs.  TJ on the other hand 80 yds, 1 TD.

Chad Johnson - Chad will be closed off this game.  I wouldn't expect this to be the time that he breaks out.  I would wait until the Jets game for that to happen.  Still, he will be more effective than last week for the mere fact that the Browns are not remotely as good as the Giants.  60 Yds.

Chris Perry - If Carson Palmer and the Offensive line can get the passing game going early in the game, look for Chris Perry to find some holes in the second half.  If the Bengals are down on the other hand, I would expect the passing to continue and Perry won't get much work.  Still, the Browns aren't playing their best football, and we could see Perry break off some large chunks of yardage.  80 yds rushing, 20 yds receiving, 1 TD.

Bengals Defense - This is a great match-up for the defense of the Bengals.  Look for Leon Hall to get at least one pick off Derek Anderson.  The guy is trying to save his job and I just don't see him being able to play through all the pressure.  Brady Quinn should be in the game by half-time and if not, maybe Hall will get another interception.  Hopefully Jonathan Joseph will return to the secondary, making the Browns passing game that much less effective.  These two could really spell trouble for opposing passing attacks for the remainder of the season.  The big question for the day will be how well we defend against Jamal Lewis.  Although Lewis has been fairly quiet this season, I would expect him to have a good game against the Bengals over-all.  Keith Rivers and the rest of the defensive line have had their hands full but they will improve as the season continues.  The good thing about youth is that they learn quickly and back it up with strong play.

The Bengals will win this game decisively due to the lack of leadership on the Browns offense.  Plus, the Bengals have confidence in the fact that they almost took down the Giants last week.  The Browns on the other hand have no momentum going into this game.

Bengals 27, Browns 14
Posted on: September 3, 2008 12:06 am

From Ocho to Cinco - Bengals Thoughts

My Reds are in the garbage right now so I'm looking towards football season hardcore. This is a position I'm used to consider my beloved baseball team hasn't treated me to the playoffs in a long long time but it's still tough. Finally, relief is here on Thursday as the NFL regular season kicks off. I could care less who wins but, regardless, it's regular season football and I have fantasy football interests. Come Sunday, my Bengals start their season against the Baltimore Ravens.

As I'm sure everyone in Cincinnati is aware, the Bengals are a bit of a question mark this season. Even before Chad Ocho Cinco hurt himself in the pre-season, I didn't have high hopes for this team. Plus, with the addition of Chris Henry I am just perplexed. Coach Marvin Lewis was very clear in his distaste for Henry and the ownership went behind his back to add him again. That sort of action from the head office doesn't bode well for the cooperation of this team. That's just the behind the scenes situation.

At the fore-front we have injuries, most notably T.J. Houshmanzadeh. Beyond that, we dropped the ailing Rudi Johnson, even after off-season touting of his increased strength. The question becomes whether or not Chris Perry and Kenny Watson are capable of getting something going on the ground. At the same time, we need Carson Palmer to be able to get the ball to T.J. and Chad. We also need them to be healthy enough to even be on the field. This could all fall apart if our O-Line is as thin as it was in the pre-season. Nothing is going to happen if Carson is on the ground the whole season.

Another urgent question that will be answered is whether Keith Rivers is enough to turn the defense around. Can this team start to stop the run and can we cause some serious turn overs in the secondary like we did in 2005. If this team isn't scoring much on offense then we will need the guys on D to really step up and stay healthy.

Health is really the key to this season. If our guys can get healthy and stay healthy, then we have a good chance of competing for the division title. We also need to stay out of trouble, and keep the press for this team positive. The guys need to take the criticism of the past and focus that into their game play. If they can play as a team and stay positive, good things can happen. This is a division that is far more open than people think.

Posted on: July 7, 2008 11:04 am

From the Land of Cleves

So, I've been up in Cleveland because my g/f's family has been having problems and I've been helping them out.  This has left me fairly out of the loop with the Reds but apparently I should stay here.  The Reds went on a 4 game tear against the National which was definitely a much needed scenario.  Now the Reds are looking at being relatively close to the .500 mark again.  Last time I think I got my hopes up a little bit too much and I may have jinxed us.  I apologize for that.  Still, we have a tough road schedule ahead of us.  The Cubs have cooled off a bit lately but they are still the Cubs and the Brewers are looking to have one of the most deadly one two punches in baseball with Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia.  That's not going to prove to be easy at all.

Regardless, lets take some time to look at the positives.  This is a team that, for whatever reason, tends to win against teams with better records.  Plus, we are on a tear and if Busty can FINALLY do his job and motivate this team, we can stay on that tear and ride it all the way until they come home.  I mean, come on, just once Busty Faker, we need this team to stay focused.  That's what a coach does!  It's not too much to ask for you to do your job.  The rest of us get up and go to work every day.  I think you can do it. 

Plus, Jay Bruce is beginning to get back into form.  He isn't looking like an All-Star anymore BUT he is starting to get into a 2 hit a game groove.  I can live with that, especially when one of those hits is a dinger out of Wrigley field.  If only Keppinger could get his timing back we'd be good to go. 

When it comes down to it, we have some hope and we have something to look towards.  We may not be a contender but if we can get back to .500, inch by inch, at least we'd have something to celebrate. 

Posted on: June 26, 2008 10:46 pm

Are you KIDDING me?

I'm not gonna lie, I had some serious hopes for my Reds this season.  We finally looked like we had a few things worked out.  Last year the story was that we had decent offense but had awful starting and closing pitching.  In the off-season we acquired Francisco Cordero and Edison Volquez for Josh Hamilton.  Hamilton was going to be missed but he wasn't nearly as good last year as he is now so I thought it was a great idea.  Plus, we had some young guns like Cueto coming up to round things out.  Good news on the pitching front, and since I thought we had offense covered I was pumped.  A team that could contend?  NICE!  Plus, the word was that the Cards, Astros, Cubs and Pirates weren't going to be that great so we had an even better chance of running away with it and finally making the play offs...

Now we are nearing the all-star break and the Reds are 13 games behind the Cubs for the division title and well under .500.  It's not looking good for any form of a play off berth.  Plus, to make things worse, the Reds teased us with getting 2 games under .500.  We thought that with Bruce back we might have a chance at turning things around.  It was just a tease, like I said.  After that the team went on the road and we started going downhill.  Nothing seemed to work out.  We couldn't field, hit, pitch or run.  In fact, fundamental baseball was just not happening.  The question becomes, is it too late to make something out of this year or will the management finally start to make some moves towards next year.  Who will be traded and brought in before the all-star break, if anyone?  Personally, I'm holding out hope for a late season burst but I'll still be looking to next year for the real fireworks.
Category: MLB
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or