Saturday, September 20

Week 3 Name Calling

Name Calling Is Our Weekly Feature where we help you figure out which name to call for that flex position, #3 wideout spot, or any other lineup conundrum you may be faced with. Our goal is to help you decide on borderline starters by revealing who will hit pay dirt and who will implode. None of this "start Peyton Manning" or "sit Derek Hagan" nonsense. No loving, hating, flaming, or video gaming either. Just a bit of name calling is all. Often in a neatly sealed package delivered late Saturday Night when I finally get to it because, umm, I want it to be fresh and current for you on Sunday morning.
My journey to Cooperstown continues. My success percentage was bumped up to 42%, giving me a .420 average. Take that Ted Williams. I'm sorry if you started Damon Huard only to watch all your points go to some guy named Tyler Thigpen after Huard went down. Or if you slipped in Ronald Curry, who unfortunately wasn't the recipient of any one of JaMarcus Russell's six completed passes. Or Cotchery. Or Cassel. Or if you sat DeSean Jackson. I'm not sorry if you benched Isaac Bruce though. I did too, so don't come crying to me. But don't worry, San Francisco wide receivers will be taken off the ignore list.
Now for my crappy predictions for this week.
Who You Gonna Call
Michael Turner - I really hope you did not sell him high coming off his huge week two letdown. BT will be back to Burner Turner form against the Kansas City Chiefs. They surrendered 300 rushing yards to an Oakland team that had no passing attack. They knew what was coming and could not stop it. Turner has a big game coming for him.
Larry Johnson - He is still alive. His heart is still beating. I think. But I know that his mouth is still running. He wants more carries. I am hoping that translates to him being more motivated to make the most of the touches he does get than to him turning into a three-year-old. The Chiefs play the Falcons on Sunday, who gave up 164 rushing yards on only 28 carries to the Bucs last week, so at least you should play him based strictly on the matchup. [Ed's note: 68 of those yards came on one play, and 98 yards on 27 carries is a 3.56 YPC.]
Matt Hasselbeck - As hard as it is to start a quarterback tossing the pork to Keary Colbert and John Carlson, it is even harder to sit a quarterback playing St. Louis. Eli Manning and Donovan McNabb have combined to drop six touchdowns on the Rams so far this season. Despite the blatant bald, put him in your lineup in normal-sized leagues.
Michael Pittman - The knock against goal line backs like this are that you can't predict touchdowns, they are too inconsistent. I am predicting them this week. Clinton Portis found pay dirt twice against New Orleans last week. Both scares came at the goal line. He never busted a run bigger than 13 yards. Selvin Young won't be exploding for 50-yarders against the Saints, and Pittman will reap the benefits when Denver gets their offense down in the red zone. Solid flex option. [Ed's note: Until Mike Shanahan gives Anthony Aldridge the goal-line carries.]
On Speed Dial (Names you should always, always call, using discretion of course. I don't want idiots saying I told them to start some dude over LDT): RB's against Detroit, WR's against St. Louis, TE's against San Diego, QB's against Atlanta
Who You Not Gonna Call
Marion Barber III - Remember when I said you usually can not predict touchdowns? Well, you can predict not touchdowns. Or something. Barber had 63 yards Monday Night against Philly. Now the Cowboys are facing a Packers team that brought Kevin Smith back to Earth with a 40 yard performance. With no scores. Adrian Peterson had 100 and 1, which as crazy as it sounds are mediocre numbers for him, at Green Bay in week one. Barber doesn't have the yard output to make up for the touchdown deficiency I expect from him this week.
Earnest Graham - Graham didn't live up to the expectations people had for him week two against the Falcons after seeing Michael Turner tear Atlanta up the week before. His numbers have been inflated thus far by a 46 yard run week one and a 68 yarder last week. He's not a speed demon, but a downfield back, so I cannot expect him to do that very often. He scares me. Warrick Dunn is stealing more touches than people think, and making just as much if not more out of them than Graham has. Chicago ain't a cakewalk either; they have shut down Joseph Addai and contained the Panther Pals yardage-wise so far this season. Sit Graham in medium sized leagues.
Brett Favre - Ed Hochuli is not reffing the game and Chargers opponents have already gotten all their impossible leaping catches at the back of the end zone out of their system. Without those two factors, the Bolts have a shut down defense and are Super Bowl contenders. Plus Tony Kornheiser will repeatedly jinx Bretty Boy during the MNF broadcast by predicting 11 touchdowns and 932 yards, causing Favre to embarrassingly flop on national television. He is an average option at best, so I hope you don't have to depend on him this week.
Not On Speed Dial (Names you should always, always caller ID check and ignore, once again, using discretion of course. I don't want idiots saying I told them to sit Randy Moss) - RB's against Tennessee, Kyle Orton, Atlanta WR's, QB's against Pittsburgh

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Straight Outta The Man Cave: Week Three Man Crushes

Is there a better activity in the world than chilling down in the man cave discussing football and girls? Red blooded American males say it in unison, "No." Of course not. This is why every Thursday FFWWH will let you all in on our own couch talk about football. And girls. And football playing girls. The down side? Football playing girls don't matter in the type of fantasy football that this site is specifically about. So uhh, we kind of had to improvise and work with what we have. So, umm, this feature will be about our mancrushes. (Ya, ya, cue the "figures, he's from California" jokes, blah, blah) Moving on. Here's each of our respective man crushes for week 3. A-Koz
While he has struggled so far and I wasn't big on him entering the year, I really like Maurice Jones-Drew this week. Jacksonville needs to get back to their bread and butter, and that means a heavy dose of the running game. Though the loss of both their starting guards hurts, the Colts are without two key run-stoppers, DT Ed Johnson and safety Bob Sanders. Johnson's loss showed last week as Adrian Peterson racked up 130 yards on the Colts' defense. Look for MJD to bounce back this week, and if he does, that'd be the perfect time to deal him. Stat Boy
He’s playing a team that’s given up more than 200 yards per game on the ground this year, and almost 120 YPG last year. That’s right (Ed Note: Don't worry, I don't know why he said that either.)—Brandon Jacobs is my week two man crush. Jacobs has averaged more than 100 yards than this year (don’t forget, he was third last year in terms of rushing yards per game), and as Chris Berman says, this guy is going to be rumblin’, bumblin’, stumblin’ to a 100 more yards and a score this week against the lowly Bengals’ defense. Hey, I picked Kurt Warner last week, and he had 360 passing yards. (Ed Note: No one cares. Especially not morons who for some reason said to start Ryan Grant.) New Guy (Who Still Has Not Officially Been Christened Into This Brotherhood Yet Due To The Fact That His Couch Is Really Comfortable And Apparently Has Kept Him From Sitting In Front Of His Computer For 30 Minutes To Post At Least Once A Decade)
You would be crazy this week not to take Frank Gore. Gore is facing the Lions—do I even need to say anything else? The last time Gore went up against the Lions was in his 2006 breakout campaign where he torched them for over 100 yards and two scores, and I see nothing but the same in this matchup. With the passing game still working its way into the San Fran offense, I see Gore running all over the Lions as well as grabbing five-to-seven passes and turning in the best RB performance for week three. If you don't have this man on your roster now, you're probably too late, because his stock is already hotter than Rachel McAdams in a swimsuit. Tosten Burks Football Fun Toy For Week 3, Name Unknown (but really wanted): Photobucket
It took a hamstring injury and an Al Davis pulse check for it to happen—the hamstring injury was not sustained by Davis but by Justin Fargas just as an FYI for all you temporarily ecstatic Raiders fans—but I am finally jumping on the Darren McFadden bandwagon. Fargas is out for a period of time that ESPN's John Clayton so helpfully described as "a few weeks."
McFadden can run 40 yards in 4.33 seconds; think how much the fourth overall pick can do in 21 days. Enough to carry a fantasy team or two, especially this week at Buffalo. The Bills have been somewhat decent against the run thus far, but does the Jacksonville offensive line or Leonard Weaver really scare anyone? Let's see how Dick Jauron and company do against Kiffin's crew.
LL Cool J killed his brief performance at the VMA's. Count Run DMC in to do the same during week three.

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Stat Boy Saturday: Fantasy Rank vs Real Life Wins

Another week with our honorary stat boy, Zach Fein of Fein Sports. A contributor with as much stat muscle as anyone in the business. You may not understand what he's says and use it for you fantasy leagues, but if you're in the mood to be baffled and confused, then boy does he have you covered. Because life is one big spreadsheet. This week he deals with the connection between a player's fantasy ranking and his team's win total. Sorry, Marc Bulger owners. Sorry, Derek Anderson owners. And sorry, Carson Palmer owners. Can a quarterback on a bad team finish among the top-10 fantasy QBs? What about running backs, wide receivers, and tight ends, too? How often does a player on a below-.500 team finish in the top-10 and top-15 in his position? Those stats can be the difference of a Marc Bulger finishing in front of a David Garrard, a quarterback on a lousy team ahead of one playing for a playoff team. So without further ado, here are the stats. For each year from 2002-2007, the top-10 QBs and TEs, and the top-15 RBs and WRs, were compared with their team's win total. The table also shows how often a player made the playoffs (abbreviated as "P-Off" in the table). [Ed. Note: The 2002 tie between the Steelers and Falcons was counted as half a win and half a loss, as the NFL counts ties.]
Correlation of fantasy rank and team wins
position madeP-Off missP-Off %P-Off Avg.W Avg.L
Quarterback 33 27 55% 9.94 6.06
Running Back 42 48 47% 8.94 7.06
Wide Receiver 41 49 46% 8.85 7.15
Tight End 29 31 48% 8.99 7.01
Here are some more nuggets for each position: Quarterback
  • Only two players that finished inside the top-10 had a team record lower that 7-9: Jon Kitna in 2006 (team record: 3-13), and Daunte Culpepper in 2002 (6-10). Without those two, the average win total rises from 9.94 to 10.13.
  • From 2002-2007, there were 64 teams that went 6-10 or worse, out of the 192 teams in that period, or exactly one-third. Only two QBs finished with a record 6-10 or worse, or equal to 3% of those 64 teams. What does that mean? Don't expect any QB on a team worse than 7-9 to finish in the top 10.
Running Back
  • Of the 90 players to finish in the top-15, only 13 had a team win total of more than 14 or less than five. That means that 86% of all 90 running backs in the pool had a team win total between five and 13 wins. So sorry, Larry Johnson owners. And sorry, Steven Jackson owners.
Wide Receivers
  • Similar to the RB stat above, only 11 WRs of the 90 in the pool had a team win total of more than 13 or less than five. In other words, 88% of all WRs had a team win total of between five and 13 wins. So sorry, Dwayne Bowe owners. And sorry, Roddy White owners. (Here's to hoping you didn't think they were top-15 wide receivers in the first place, by the way.)
Tight Ends
  • Out of the 60 tight ends in the pool, 86% (52 out of 60) had a team win total higher than five. And 72% (43 out of 60) had a team win total greater than or equal to eight.
Conclusion The 300 QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs in the pool averaged 9.1 wins on the season. More than half of them (155) made the playoffs, good for 52%. The stats show that the better the team that player is on, the better the chance of him making the top-10 or top-15 for his position. Only 70 players out of the 300 in the pool had a team win total of less than eight, meaning that 77% of all players had a team record or .500 or better. On the other end of the spectrum, more than half of all players (152) had a team win total of ten or more.
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Tuesday, September 16

Running the Wire

Screwing League Mates Over By Stealing The Missing Pieces Of The Puzzle That They Need 101
Another week of frantic panic for fantasy owners. Lose another Seattle WR? Who hasn't? They've been dropping like rumors of Lane Kiffin being fired. Your high draft pick still unable to put up the numbers in back-to-back week (*coughCarsonPalmerandJosephAddaicough*)? Here are a few guys that you can turn to in a pinch.
Gold Wire Pick Ups:
Isaac Bruce/WR 49ers: After a poor showing in Week 1, he came out of nowhere last week and posted some more than solid numbers. This week he gets the joy of going up against the Lions' defense. And if you haven't heard, the Lions' are terrible against the pass. The Packers lit it up against them last week with Aaron Rodgers throwing for three touchdowns. Josh Morgan hasn't really been a factor either. He doesn't seem to be a threat to cut into Bruce's playing time. He's currently available in over 40% of leagues.
Justin Gage/WR Titans: Vince Young out (for the time being), Kerry Collins in. When that happens, the Titans win. My rhyming skills are comparable to that of Dr. Seuss. Seriously though, Gage had a much more productive week with Collins under center. Granted, it was against the Bengals' defense, but Houston's isn't that much stronger. Gage is currently available in over 70% of leagues.
Michael Bush/RB Raiders: I'll repeat what I said in a previous article: Who needs to pass in Oakland? No one, that's who. Over 300 yards of running played a big role in getting Oakland the win last week against the Chiefs. Justin Fargas got hurt, giving Bush a chance to show what he can do. 90 yards and a touchdown later, I'm writing about him. It's currently unclear if and how much time Fargas will miss, but if he is out for any period of time, Bush is a guy to scoop up. He's only owned in a mere 6% of ESPN leagues.
Copper Wire Pick Ups:
Amani Toomer/WR Giants: Similar to Bruce, Toomer had a quiet week 1. He bounced back from that nicely in Week 2, putting up nearly 70 yards and a score against a pitiful Rams' defense. He gets to have a chance of a repeat performance this week as he matches up against a weak Bengals pass defense. This defense is even weaker with the losses of Dexter Jackson and possibly Jonathan Joseph for Week 3. Plaxico Burress is likely to be getting a lot of attention this week, and while I do expect him to have a good week, Toomer should have just as many opportunities. He's available in about 70% of leagues.
Koren Robinson/WR Seahawks: Hot off the press, Robinson was just signed by Seattle to help add depth after the Seahawks lost Logan Payne for the year and Seneca Wallace for possibly a month. You know things are bad when your QB/WR may no longer be an option. Robinson knows the offense a little bit, as he's an ex-Seahawk. That'll give him an advantage over Keary Colbert, for whom Seattle just traded. With Courtney Taylor's struggles so far this year, Robinson could get moved into the starting lineup. At the very least, he should be the #2. After a rough first two weeks, Seattle should be able to take its anger out on the Rams defense. Honestly, who couldn't beat up that defense? Robinson is only owned in .1% of leagues. I'd like to know who in the world stashed him on their bench before this week? Jerious Norwood/RB Falcons: Atlanta isn't too shabby against scrub teams (See: Week 1, Detriot) and they get another this week, as they play Kansas City—the same Chiefs defense that gave up over 300 yards last week to the Raiders. Funny, Atlanta rushed for over that mark against the Lions. Seeing how Atlanta could have a field day, Norwood could again see more playing time. He may wind up as the Michael Bush of this week. Chicken Wire Pick Ups
Brian Griese/QB Tampa Bay: Not too many other QB options out there, and Griese has again gotten the starting nod at QB this week. He gets a chance at revenge against his former team, the Bears. Not the greatest of pickups, but if you're desperate, you're desperate. Right now, he's owned in under 3% of leagues. LaMont Jordan/RB Patriots: Jordan ran well last week against the Jets. He was showing off that bruising style he had a few years ago before the Oakland debacle. Now with the Patriots, he's slowly starting to reinvent himself. Miami is the Pats next, I mean opponent. (Come on—Brady or not, the Pats are still a force to be reckoned with. And the Dolphins are still acting very "Miami-like".) I like Jordan over Morris mainly because Sammy is little more than a TD vulture, which can be unpredictable. Jordan has the opportunity for carries and yards. LaMont also has a good track record against Miami: In 2004, Jordan rushed for 115 yards and a score against the Dolphins, and in 2005, he rushed for nearly 100 yards and two scores. Jordan is owned in under 20% of leagues.

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Monday, September 15

Weekend Recap: Week 2

And oh what a week it was. Drama, controversy, and records—all in one game! (I'm talking about the Denver/San Diego game for those who are sitting at their computers with blank stares.) Who were this weeks studs and duds? Let's recap, shall we? - Eli Manning looked great Sunday. Much better than Week 1. Of course, this was against the Rams, so don't put too much stock into it. - The only Rams WR you should own is Torry Holt. He had 6 receptions; the rest of Rams' wide receivers? Just four. - David Garrard had three interceptions last year. He has three two weeks into this season. Looks like he isn't so dependable anymore. - Kerry Collins means good news for fantasy owners. He made a WR relevant (Justin Gage), something Vince Young could never do, and Chris Johnson rushed for over 100 yards. It looks like he could be the real deal. - Some thought Carson Palmer would struggle this year, but did anybody think he'd be this bad? 134 yards and 2 INT's Sunday. A whopping three fantasy points in two weeks. Palmer owners everywhere collectively ugh. - So much for Aaron Rodgers folding under the Brett Favre pressure. Even if it was against the Lions, he looked very impressive. Almost a little ... dare I say it ... Favre like? - In Oakland, who needs quarterbacks? Just run, run, run with Run DMC. (Oh yes, the pun was intended.) - Note to Kansas City: Take the Raiders approach. Seriously, why isn't LJ getting the ball more often? [Ed's Note: That LJ love isn't looking to great thus far, Alex.] - Although he's only played one game, Brandon Marshall is leading the league in receptions with 18. Don't expect an 18 catch performance every week, but he should be a big factor in Denver's passing attack. - Miami's pass defense is worse than terrible. Not that that is breaking news or anything. - Matt Cassel was solid in real life, but wasn't anything special for fantasy. Time share in New England? Laurence Maroney got hurt and missed a good chunk of the game, so Sammy Morris and LaMont Jordan jumped on the chance, rushing for a TD and 62 yards respectively.
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