Saturday, October 25

Da Games: Early Sundayers (Beta)

In our attempt to provide every possible way for you to have more reason to kick yourself after a well researched fantasy loss, we antagonizingly analyze each and every weekend matchup. This week we test the new beast of a feature out. Give us feedback via commenting or email at
Am I the only one who thinks it's a lot worse than good to send a franchise that was just busted for steroids masking agents to represent our country in London, England? That is what Sherriff Goodell wants to put out for the world to see, a banged up Saints team full of guys who fail drug tests?
U. S. A.! U.S.A.!
It seems to be the theme of the year, disappointing representations. Romeo Crennel was not supposed to be on the hot seat this year. The New England Patriots weren't supposed to be leaning on a guy named Matt Cassel. Ryan Fitzpatrick was not supposed to be the face of the Bengals.
So I guess it's only fitting that the NFL would send two teams like San Diego and New Orleans to put on for America in the international sports scene. They are some of the few correct representations in American football, showing the world the let down that this league is all about.
And that's just one story line for a week eight full of intrigue. On to the early Sabbath day games.
Oakland Raiders @ Baltimore Ravens
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Joe Flacco, JaMarcus Russell
RB - Willis McGahee, Le'Ron McClain, Justin Fargas, Darren McFadden, Ray Rice, Michael Bush
WR - Derrick Mason, Javon Walker
TE - Todd Heap, Zach Miller
Key Stat
10—the Ravens have given up less than 10 fantasy points per game to both QBs and RBs (9 and 9.5, respectively).
Our Take
Tosten Burks—In a matchup of two young, developing quarterbacks, Baltimore's superior defense will be the difference maker. Hopefully you're not forced to have any Raiders in your starting lineup.
Alex KozoraTwo fairly inept offenses here; not much to note. As I said in my name-calling section, neither DMC nor Fargas are strong plays against a tough Ravens defense.
Zach FeinI feel bad for northern California and Maryland—this game will be a snooze fest. I'm starting one player in this game, Willis McGahee, and Baltimore's defense. Bench everyone else.
Arizona Cardinals @ Carolina Panthers
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Jake Delhomme, Kurt Warner
RB - Jonathan Stewart, DeAngelo Williams, Tim Hightower, Edgerrin James
WR - Steve Smith, Larry Fitzgerald, Muhsin Muhammad, Anquan Boldin
TE - none
Key Stat
4—Number of teams that have given up more fantasy points to opposing QBs than the Arizona Cardinals.
Our Take
Tosten Burks—Some interesting story lines for Arizona here: how much will Boldin play? What impact will he have? I don't think he'll get the touches to be up to the par of his previous production but he's still a decent start. And yes, Hightower is a better fantasy option than Edge.
Alex KozoraKurt Warner has Boldin back; both are starts. I like Jonathan Stewart this week. You know the Panthers want to keep the Cards potent offense off the field. To do so, they'll run the ball.
Zach FeinThis game should come down to the wire. Warner is a top-five QB and Delhomme top-10, and I'd rank the RBs Stewart, Edge, DeAngelo. Boldin should start, too, so don't play Breaston.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Dallas Cowboys
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Jeff Garcia, Brad Johnson
RB - Marion Barber, Earnest Graham, Warrick Dunn
WR - Terrell Owens, Antonio Bryant
TE - Jason Witten
Key Stat
25—he rank of the Dallas Cowboys defense against opposing WRs in fantasy points allowed.
Our Take
Tosten Burks—With the 'Boys being America's team, Wade Phillips has the pressure of that many more people on his shoulders. Which sucks, because his banged-up team will drop this one.
Alex KozoraIf Brad Johnson threw three INT's against the Rams defense, I can only imagine what'll happen against Monte Kiffin's Tampa 2. Expect a heavy dose of Marion Barber. The Barbarian isn't a bad play because of the number of carries he'll get, but the Bucs have a tough run defense.
Zach FeinLook for the Bucs to upset the Romo-less Cowboys this week. I wouldn't start any Cowboys receiver besides TO, and I really like Antonio Bryant this week against the bad Cowboys pass defense.
Washington Redskins @ Detroit Lions
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Jason Campbell
RB - Clinton Portis, Kevin Smith, Rudi Johnson
WR - Santana Moss, Calvin Johnson, Antwaan Randle El
TE - Chris Cooley
Key Stat
73—The total number of fantasy points allowed per game by the Lions to opposing QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs, the most in the NFL.
Our Take
Tosten Burks—Basically just put all your Washington guys in your lineup and watch your bingo card blackout. I think what I just said is a positive thing.
Alex KozoraWashington will roll, and so will their fantasy players. It'll be a good day for the Lions if Dan Orlovsky can avoid his own end zone.
Zach FeinStart all your Redskins—Portis, Campbell, Moss, and Cooley, and Randle El wouldn't be a bad sleeper. The only Lions player I'd start is Calvin Johnson, but I'm not too happy with his matchup either.
Buffalo Bills @ Miami Dolphins
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Trent Edwards, Chad Pennington
RB - Marshawn Lynch, Ronnie Brown, Ricky Williams
WR - Lee Evans, Josh Reed, Greg Camarillo
TE - Robert Royal, Anthony Fasano
Key Stat
14.3—Average points per game of Lee Evans in his past seven games against the Dolphins.
Our Take
Tosten Burks—The Bills pass defense is good, and every other aspect of both teams's D's is decent. This one will be a low scorer with solid production from Evans, Edwards, and Brown.
Alex KozoraShould be more of the same from the Bills. An efficient Trent Edwards and a heavy dose of the run game with Marshawn Lynch. Both are excellent plays this week. With the Wildcat exposed, I'm weary of Ronnie Brown and Chad Pennington.
Zach FeinStart Edwards in even eight-team leagues. I like Lynch more than Brown if you have both, and I wouldn't start any Dolphin besides Brown.
St. Louis Rams @ New England Patriots
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Matt Cassel, Marc Bulger
RB - Steven Jackson, Kevin Faulk, Benjarvus Green-Ellis
WR - Randy Moss, Wes Welker, Torry Holt
TE - Ben Watson
Key Stat
68.5—The amount of fantasy points allowed per game by the Rams to QBs, RBs, WRs and TEs, third-most in the league.
Our Take
Tosten Burks—I never thought I'd see the day when I got to call a guy named BenJarvus an impact player. But with Maroney and Morris both it, he could be a nice little sleeper. Cassel wouldn't be a horrible start either against a subpar Rams pass defense that will cease Haslett's winning streak as it gets torn up by Randy Moss.
Alex KozoraDonnie Avery is a sleeper. He has the raw ability to burn you, and he's facing a beat up Patriots' secondary. Matt Cassel is a good play while BenJarvus Green-Ellis (ain't that a mouthful) is an average play.
Zach FeinLook for BenJarvis Green-Ellis and Kevin Faulk to split the touches in the Patriots backfield as Sammy Morris ails his knee injury. I wouldn't start either one. I like Bulger more than Cassel, and I think Donnie Avery is a top-25 WR this week (but not higher than Torry Holt).
San Diego Chargers @ New Orleans Saints
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Philip Rivers, Drew Brees
RB - LaDainian Tomlinson, Deuce McCallister, Darren Sproles, Aaron Stecker
WR - Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Deverey Henderson, Malcom Floyd
TE - Jeremy Shockey, Antonio Gates
Key Stat
12.5—Points per game of Marques Colston since week eight of last year.
Our Take
Tosten Burks—In what I feel is the game with the most plotlines of any matchup, Colston and Shockey should come back to solid statlines, the top running backs on both sides should be good starts, Vincent Jackson should continue to produce, and backups Sproles and Stecker are both sleepers.
Alex Kozora—Still a fan of Vincent Jackson, but I'm an even bigger fan of the Saints' passing attack.
Zach FeinIn what I expect to be a very close matchup in London, Deuce McAllister should get the majority of the carries and should be a top-20 RB this week. Vincent Jackson is a nice play, but I obviously like Colston more.
Kansas City Chiefs @ New York Jets
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Brett Favre
RB - Thomas Jones, Leon Washington, Kolby Smith, Jamaal Charles
WR - Jerricho Cotchery, Laveraneus Coles, Dwayne Bowe, Chansi Stuckey
TE - Tony Gonzalez, Chris Baker
Key Stat
5.4—Difference of the PPG allowed by the worst defense against RBs (the Chiefs, at 33.5 PPG) and the second-worst (the Broncos, at 28.1 PPG).
Our Take
Tosten Burks—The Chiefs are really, really bad. Most Jets are solid plays and Gonzo is the only Kansas City guy worth even touching with a ten-foot pole as he goes up against the ninth-worst Jets pass defense.
Alex KozoraAll Jets that aren't tight ends are solid starts. I wouldn't touch anyone on the Chiefs' offense. They're going to find out that the dynamic duo of Tyler Thigpen and Kolby Smith isn't so dynamic.
Zach FeinThis one will be a 20-point blowout by the Jets. Start Favre, Thomas Jones, Coles, Cotchery...everyone on the Jets. I don't think Bowe is a top-25 WR this week, and if I had better options I'd bench him.
Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles
Fantasy Impact Players (in order of week 8 projected production)
QB - Donovan McNabb, Matt Ryan
RB - Brian Westbrook, Michael Turner, Jerious Norwood
WR - DeSean Jackson, Roddy White, Kevin Curtis
TE - L.J. Smith
Key Stat
16—Fantasy points per game of Donovan McNabb in his past 16 starts (excluding week 11 last year when he had 11 attempts).
Our Take
Tosten Burks—Brittle Brian Westbrook finally returns, and to a standing ovation. He'll dominate the decent-at-best Atlanta defense. Jackson is a must start and Curtis, who also returns from an injury this week, possibly warrants a roster spot. It'll be interesting to see who is really McNabb's top target now that he has his full arsenel.
Alex KozoraSit Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Westbrook is back and should make his presence known in a big way.
Zach FeinMcNabb is a must-start in all formats—he's a top-three QB this week. Similarly, Michael Turner and Roddy White are both top-10 at their respective postitions. We have real dogs, and we talk to strangers.

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Double Coverage

The feature everyone loved in the preseason, Double Coverage, is back. There have been many dynamic duos in history. Peyton Manning and Marvin Harrison. Batman and Robin. Peanut butter and jelly. And today, we bring you yet another great duo. Tosten and A-Koz will be giving our views on a player each week; one of us for him, and one of us against him. Today's topic: Who's the better quarterback in London? Philip Rivers or Drew Brees?
A-Koz: Start Brees

Philip Rivers over Drew Brees? That's harder to understand than this. Let's take a look at the numbers. In five of his seven games, Drew Brees has thrown for 300-plus yards. That was the case for Rivers just twice in seven games, including two games where he didn't even throw for 200 yards. Brees has thrown for at least 200 yards in every single game this season. Brees has attempted 30 or more passes in all his games this year. Rivers, on the other hand, just once. Brees has now had a full week of practice with Colston. That should shake of the rust the two had last week. Shockey's status looks a lot better than it did earlier this week, too. If that wasn't enough, the Chargers rank dead last in pass defense, giving up over 254 yards per game. Antonio Cromartie's status is up in the air and even if he does play, he won't be 100 percent. The choice is clear: Brees '08.

Tosten: Start Rivers
It's funny that you should toss out political parallels and analogies. That couldn't be more relevant to my main point. You see, as critics fall in love with Oliver Stone's W, fantasy owners have begun to despise Bush. The Reggie one. With a blown meniscus causing Number Five to most likely miss around four weeks, Brees loses 25 percent of his touchdown production and a shade under that mark of his yardage production this year. No amount of Colston can make that up this week against the Bolts in London. Rivers on the other hand has dropped three scores in four out of seven games this season. The number one fantasy quarterback will continue his top notch studliness in Wembley Stadium against the mediocre-at-best New Orleans Saints pass defense.
We don't have widow peaks.
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Friday, October 24

Stat Boy Saturday: ...---...! Strength of Schedule Adjustments

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 your 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 takes a close look at strength of schedule. The Morse code distress signal (...---...) is called an SOS. Yet when Morse code was around, SOS was not an acronym nor an abbreviation. In popular culture SOS is commonly referred to as "Save Our Ship," but that phrase was added later on. I, however, refer to SOS as strength of schedule, the topic of this article. Much was made in the preseason of the Steelers having the toughest schedule and Patriots having the easiest schedule, yet so far the Steelers' opponents are a combined 13-24 and the Pats' opponents are 15-24. So what, you say? The "so what" is that the Steelers' players haven't had as tough a schedule as they were expected, and same the with the Patriots. It's time to check out the strength of schedule stats so far in 2008— But not on the team level. I'm talking about individual players. Is Marion Barber playing easy or hard rushing defenses? Does Larry Fitzgerald have an advantage because he plays in a division with the Rams, Seahawks and 49ers, all of whom are in the bottom ten in terms of fantasy points allowed towards wideouts? I love normalizing stats. So I calculated each player's fantasy points per game—if the team he was playing was an average defense that gave up the average fantasy points to opposing players at that position. Say LT plays the Chiefs and scores 16 fantasy points. The Chiefs give up 30 fantasy points to RBs each game, and the average team gives up 15. So to normalize LT's stat line, multiply his output by 0.5. Capiche? Consider these adjusted points a player's real talent level. (FYI: I looked at the top 20 QBs, the top 40 RBs, the top 40 WRs plus four other intriguing names [Driver, Ocho Cinco, Torry Holt, and Anthony Gonzalez], and the top 12 TEs plus Kellen Winslow, Heath Miller, and Dallas Clark.)
SOS adjustments: Quarterback
Name Fan. Pts Adj. Pts Difference
T.Romo 18.0 19.6 1.61
D.Brees 17.5 18.2 0.68
A.Rodgers 18.8 17.5 -1.24
P.Rivers 17.5 17.4 -0.11
J.Cutler 17.2 16.9 -0.31
K.Warner 16.4 15.6 -0.86
D.McNabb 14.8 14.9 0.07
K.Orton 14.0 14.6 0.64
M.Schaub 16.2 14.4 -1.73
P.Manning 13.4 14.0 0.63
E.Manning 14.3 13.9 -0.47
J.Campbell 13.0 12.8 -0.12
D.Garrard 11.7 12.6 0.84
M.Ryan 10.9 12.3 1.45
B.Roethlisberger 12.0 12.0 0.04
C.Pennington 12.8 12.0 -0.79
B.Favre 14.3 11.8 -2.53
J.Delhomme 10.8 10.8 -0.03
T.Edwards 12.7 10.6 -2.02
J.T.O'Sullivan 11.4 10.2 -1.24
  • Tony Romo gets a 1.61-point boost in his points per game due to his playing the Eagles, Redskins, Browns, and Packers.
  • Aaron Rodgers' four 200-yard passing games have all come against teams in the bottom 11 in fantasy points allowed to QBs. With Tennessee, Minnesota, Chicago, and Carolina all coming in the next five weeks, I'd sell him high if I could.
  • Brett Favre has only two 200-yard games, against the Chargers and the Cardinals, who rank Nos. 5 and 6 respectively in fantasy points allowed to QBs. That said, I would keep him a few more weeks before I sell high (he plays the Chiefs and Rams in two of his next three games).
  • Matt Schaub has piled his stats on the Lions, Dolphins, and Jaguars, all of whom are in the bottom ten in fantasy points allowed to QBs.
SOS adjustments: Running Back
Name Fan. Pts Adj. Pts Difference
S.Jackson 16.8 20.2 3.46
C.Portis 18.7 20.1 1.41
M.Barber 17.2 17.5 0.24
B.Westbrook 16.3 17.4 1.11
M.Forte 15.7 17.3 1.63
F.Gore 15.4 17.0 1.54
R.Brown 14.9 15.7 0.87
A.Peterson 15.0 15.3 0.34
M.Moore 16.0 15.1 -0.86
R.Bush 13.7 14.4 0.73
B.Jacobs 15.0 14.2 -0.85
J.Lewis 10.4 13.9 3.49
C.Johnson 14.4 13.8 -0.56
S.Slaton 13.9 13.8 -0.15
M.Turner 16.1 13.1 -3.01
T.Jones 13.0 12.8 -0.21
M.Lynch 13.6 12.6 -0.98
L.Tomlinson 11.9 12.1 0.14
W.McGahee 10.4 12.0 1.69
E.Graham 11.7 11.8 0.14
W.Parker 14.8 11.8 -2.94
C.Buckhalter 10.8 11.8 0.98
M.Jones-Drew 13.1 11.7 -1.39
E.James 10.3 11.5 1.28
L.McLain 10.0 11.0 1.03
T.Hightower 9.2 10.4 1.22
L.White 13.4 10.2 -3.12
J.Stewart 9.4 10.2 0.78
L.Johnson 12.2 9.9 -2.23
J.Addai 9.7 9.9 0.17
J.Jones 10.4 9.7 -0.62
D.Williams 10.3 9.1 -1.11
M.Pittman 9.3 9.1 -0.17
W.Dunn 8.8 9.0 0.21
Ke.Smith 8.9 8.9 0.02
S.Morris 10.6 8.6 -2.01
F.Jones 9.1 8.2 -0.95
R.Grant 7.6 7.7 0.13
D.Ward 7.6 6.9 -0.69
D.McFadden 8.2 6.5 -1.74
  • Steven Jackson has played all of the NFC East plus the Bills (and the Seahawks), yet is still third in unadjusted fantasy points per game. I think he's the best RB going forward, unless...
  • Clinton Portis beats him. His schedule is pretty tough going forward, but as you can see above, he's done very well even with a hard schedule thus far.
  • Consider how tough Jamal Lewis' schedule has been: He's played the Ravens (1st in fantasy points allowed to RBs), the Steelers (2nd), the Giants (3rd), and the Redskins (5th), along with the Cowboys who are 16th. In his next six games he gets four teams in the bottom 13 of that stat.
  • Michael Turner has averaged 150 rushing yards per game against the Lions, Chiefs and Packers (average rank is eight-worst against RBs), and 50 yards against the Bears, Bucs, and Panthers (average rank is eight-best against RBs).
  • LenDale White has a 3.12 decrease, compared to Chris Johnson's 0.56 decrease, because White had a monster game against the Chiefs and barely played against the Ravens (three carries), so he didn't get a boost from the Ravens game like Johnson (18 carries) did.
SOS adjustments: Wide Receiver
Name Fan.Pts Adj.Pts Difference
A.Boldin 16.7 14.3 -2.37
A.Johnson 12.5 14.1 1.57
R.White 12.4 13.7 1.22
Calvin Johnson 12.9 13.2 0.38
L.Fitzgerald 14.1 13.1 -0.96
R.Wayne 12.2 12.4 0.19
B.Marshall 13.0 12.4 -0.58
G.Jennings 13.2 12.1 -1.14
B.Berrian 11.6 12.0 0.39
H.Ward 11.3 11.9 0.60
T.Owens 10.0 11.6 1.67
S.Smith 12.3 11.6 -0.68
S.Moss 12.6 11.4 -1.26
C.Chambers 10.5 11.3 0.80
L.Evans 11.7 10.4 -1.26
V.Jackson 9.4 10.2 0.77
D.Bowe 8.8 10.2 1.33
P.Burress 10.4 10.1 -0.29
R.Moss 10.2 9.8 -0.36
L.Coles 10.2 9.5 -0.60
D.Mason 8.0 9.3 1.36
D.Henderson 8.4 9.2 0.81
T.J.Houshmandzadeh 9.1 9.1 -0.03
E.Royal 8.5 8.9 0.38
I.Bruce 9.8 8.7 -1.15
M.Austin 8.2 8.6 0.45
K.Walter 7.9 8.1 0.21
S.Breaston 8.7 8.0 -0.65
M.Muhammad 8.4 7.9 -0.48
S.Holmes 7.0 7.7 0.73
M.Harrison 7.3 7.6 0.26
J.Cotchery 8.5 7.5 -0.97
P.Crayton 7.4 7.4 0.08
De.Jackson 8.2 7.3 -0.95
B.Edwards 7.1 7.3 0.15
W.Welker 7.5 7.0 -0.49
A.Bryant 7.8 6.8 -1.00
R.Williams 5.8 6.6 0.72
L.Moore 6.6 6.3 -0.25
Chad Johnson 5.5 6.3 0.77
D.Driver 6.4 5.8 -0.58
A.Randle El 6.0 5.7 -0.37
A.Gonzalez 5.5 5.6 0.13
T.Holt 5.4 5.0 -0.31
  • Aside from Anquan Boldin, no one else had a change of more than 1.7. I'm not sure why that is, though I'd guess that it has more to do with the volatility of wide receivers than the strength of schedule.
  • Speaking of Boldin, his decrease is mainly due to his 140-yard, three-touchdown game against the Dolphins, worst in the league against WRs.
  • It's interesting to see that Andre Johnson has an increase while Schaub has a decrease, but that is because Johnson had 130 yards against the best team against opposing WRs, the Colts.
  • Santana Moss has the second-biggest decrease in fantasy points, but don't sell him high—he has the Lions, Cowboys, Seahawks, and Giants in four of his next five games, and all of those teams are in the bottom 11 in fantasy points allowed to WRs.
SOS adjustments: Tight End
Name Fan.Pts Adj.Pts Difference
J.Witten 9.4 10.3 0.83
J.Carlson 6.4 9.4 2.96
O.Daniels 8.2 8.2 0.00
K.Winslow 4.9 7.5 2.61
A.Gates 7.8 7.0 -0.78
T.Scheffler 7.6 6.4 -1.14
B.Scaife 5.6 5.9 0.28
V.Shiancoe 5.8 5.8 0.08
T.Gonzalez 6.8 5.7 -1.10
A.Fasano 7.1 5.6 -1.48
C.Cooley 6.2 5.6 -0.69
G.Olsen 5.9 4.9 -1.03
Z.Miller 6.3 4.8 -1.56
Da.Clark 4.7 4.2 -0.52
H.Miller 4.1 3.6 -0.57
  • John Carlson averaged 6.7 fantasy points against the Bills, 49ers and Bucs; those three teams have given up an average of 2.7 fantasy points to TEs on the year, the reason Carlson is so high.
  • Winslow averaged 8.1 fantasy points against the Steelers and Cowboys, who have allowed opposing TEs to only score 3.3 fantasy points.
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Week 8 Name Calling

Name Calling is our almost-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. This week A-Koz fills in for Tosten Burks. Ready. Set. Sit? Or start? These are the questions we ask ourselves every week when trying to create the best starting lineup possible. It's no easy task, especially when half your team is either hurt or suspended. But enough about my crappy 2-5 team. This is all about you. Geez, give me a tie and call me a politician. Don't worry about me lying to you, though. You have enough on your plate; who are guys you should start and the ones you should sit? Who You Gonna Call Santana Moss/WR Washington: Moss has been a lot more consistent this season than in seasons' past, recording at least 75 yards in four of six games this year. He's also gotten to show off his speed, too, having a reception of at least 20 or more yards in four of six games. Now he gets to face the Lions who rank 31st in the league in pass defense. Their starting safety Dwight Smith has been ruled out for this game, leaving LaMarcus Hicks, a guy who has spent most of his days on the practice squad, man the last line of defense. Somewhere, the Redskins' offense smiles. Matt Cassel/QB New England: I gotta admit, I didn't have faith in the guy. Until last week. On center stage last Monday night, Cassel stepped up, making smart throws that lead to three touchdown passes. That performance has to be a huge boost to his confidence. And not only his, but Randy Moss', too, who caught two of Cassel's TD passes. Granted, the Rams defense has been tough as of late, but it certainly isn't one that'll keep anyone up at night. Trent Edwards/QB Buffalo: Matt Cassel not an option? No worries—pick up Trent Edwards at your local waiver wire. Edwards has been very efficient this season, tallying up a 70-percent completion percentage and an 8.0 YPA. Now he gets to face a Dolphins defense that is giving up over 235 yards per game. Excluding the Arizona game in which Edwards got hurt, he's averaging a little over 238 per. He likely isn't going to wow you, but he's consistent and relatively productive. 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, QB's against New York (Jets) Who You Not Gonna Call Matt Ryan/QB Atlanta: He's no ordinary rookie quarterback, but he's still a rookie. Let's take a stroll down memory lane to Week 2. Here is Ryan's stat line against Tampa Bay in Tampa. 13/33, 158 yards, 2 INT's Not exactly lighting up the stat sheet. Or the fantasy scoreboard. The Eagles' defense is just as tough as the Tampa 2; Philly will give you a lot of different looks in their blitzing scheme. Ben Roethlisberger was running for his life when the Steelers took on and lost to the Eagles. I don't expect Matty Ice to fare any better. Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden/RB Oakland: The results weren't good last week against the Jets' fourth-ranked run defense, and I wouldn't expect that to change this week. Justin Fargas couldn't even earn a 3 YPC while the Jets held McFadden to 39 yards. Up next are the Ravens, currently holding the title of best run defense. McFadden—Run DMC as they call him—won't be doing much of that this week. Neither will Justin "I need a nickname" Fargas. 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 [Ed's note: Not any more.], Atlanta WR's, QB's against Pittsburgh We answer any and all questions at
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Boldin returns, fantasy owners rejoice; What about Santonio Holmes?

After missing the past two games with multiple injuries to his face from this hit, Anquan Boldin is expected to return to action as the Cardinals take on the Panthers this week. "Q" broke both his sinus and jaw that required eight plates to be inserted into his face. Boldin may be somewhat limited since this is his first game back, but nonetheless, it's good news. Larry Fitzgerald's value will likely stay about the same. While he'll see less double coverage, he'll lose some targets. Steve Breaston's value goes down while Kurt Warner's stock continues to improve. One other piece of wide receiver news to pass along with you. Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes was caught with marijuana yesterday night. He is expected to be officially charged with possession soon. The Steelers have already deactivated him for this Sunday's game against the Giants, and it's safe to assume that he'll be suspended by the NFL. Holmes doesn't exactly have a clean rap sheet either; he had some troubles with the law coming out of college. I'd expect a suspension similar to that of Matt Jones: three games, if not more. With Holmes out, Nate Washington will fill in as the No. 2. He's a deep threat, but little else. Limas Sweed is worth a look in deep leagues, but shouldn't really be counted on. Remember, Matthew Berry won't answer the questions.
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Thursday, October 23

Straight Outta Mancavedom: Week 8 Mancrushes

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 (or in this week's case, late Saturday) 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 mancrushes for week eight. Tosten Burks Roy Williams, the safety, is out for a while. Cornerback Terence Newman has not practiced yet this week. Pacman, Pacman, Pacman—the Dallas secondary is torn up. The Tampa pass offense will ball up. Antonio Bryant, addressed here, should have an absolute field day. Like No. 1 WR numbers field day. Start him everywhere. Stat Guy So I hear J.T. O'Sullivan might lose his job to Shaun Hill. I also hear there's a new coach that will shake things up in San Francisco. Yet I still like O'Sullivan so much so that he's my mancrush of the week. You can look at the real life side of view—he's had a passer rating below 70 in each of the past four weeks—but I see that he's had eight touchdowns since week two, and he's playing the Seahawks this week. Which brings up my second point: the Seahawks are second-worst against opposing QBs in terms of fantasy points per game. And they haven't even played any great QBs either—Edwards, O'Sullivan, Bulger, Eli, Rodgers and Garcia. I'm calling 250 yards and two or three scores for O'Sullivan this week. A-Koz Can you have a bigger mancrush on a guy? I think not. I'll take a page out of Jon Kitna's book and guarantee that Clinton Portis has a near career day against the hapless Lions this week. Portis has been tearing it up all year long, including rushing for 100 or more yards in his past four games. Looking at the Lions defense—well, there isn't much to look at. They rank 31st in the league against the run, giving up over 160 yards per game. Washington is coming off of a bad loss to St. Louis two weeks ago and a narrow victory against a struggling Browns team, so you know they're looking to take out some of their anger on Detroit. Gage Arnold Anyone know who to contact for advertising on milk cartons? We talk to strangers.
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Wednesday, October 22

News From Ball Street

News From Ball Street is like news from Wall Street. It rhymes, see what we did there? Here we watch the stocks (ehh, ehh?) of players who are rising and falling, and decide whether you should target these shooting and sinking stars. Clever, I know. I used to have an old third cousin twice-removed from my uncle or something who always used to wake up every morning and say, "Another day, another dollar." Try telling that to stock brokers. Nowadays it's "Another day, another dollar," strikethrough text and all. The DOW dropped another 500 points Wednesday. Reportedly, our stock market continues to weaken because traders are worried that the global economy is weakening. Kind of like since everything sucks, so do we. Make sense? Yeah, I didn't think so. You should be in the mindset of finding the jewels among the crap. The bright spots among the darkness. The Seinfield reruns among crappy modern sitcoms. That's not to say that avoiding the Paris Hilton's My New Best Friend's out there is not important, because it is. You have to equally stay away from the pyrite. Through listening to the archaeologist. Stock Up Mewelde Moore/RB Pittsburgh—The 26 year old certainly has made the most out of his opportunities. Filling in for an injured Willie Parker and Rashard Mendenhall, Moore has proven himself to be a fully capable NFL starting running back, putting up 250 total yards and three touchdowns in his two starts. However, Parker will be back soon, very probably this week, and while Mewelde has definitely cemented himself as the third-down back and will surely continue to be highly involved in the Steelers offense, he's only a backup. Course of Action: Sell Houston Passing Game—Andre Johnson, who started off slow, has averaged 150 receiving yards over the past three weeks, including a 131 and one performance against the third-ranked Indianapolis pass defense. Matt Schaub has thrown for 646 yards in the two games since coming back from his injury. Owen Daniels is starting to show that he can consistently produce solid numbers. Get them all right now if you can. Course of Action: Buy Steven Jackson/RB St. Louis—Over the course of Jackson's past three games, he's had a week with 188 yards and a score, 111 yards and nothing, and 176 yards and three scores. In that middle game, he was without Orlando Pace. Pace is back. So is SJax. Course of Action: Buy (if you can) Stock Down Ronnie Brown/RB Miami—I sense that people never really believed in Brown. No one truly bought that a guy coming off an ACL injury could fly back to the top of the league so quickly and score eight touchdowns in four weeks. Now that he's had 77 total rushing yards in his past two games, swoop in and snag him from the doubtful owners. The only two defenses who have really shut him down are the Ravens and Jets, the best and fourth-best run defenses in the NFL, respectively. Course of Action: Buy Dwayne Bowe/WR Kansas City—Bowe has dropped three straight touchdown-less weeks with under 90 yards. Losing the top two quarterbacks, Brodie Croyle and Damon Huard, on an already weak depth chart to season ending injuries and having Tyler Thigpen or Quinn Gray as replacements does not help your cause. Get rid of him while you can. Course of Action: Sell Roy Williams/WR Dallas—I could plug any Cowboy in this hole. The entire franchise is rapidly losing value. But not in a "Crap, the Titanic is sinking" way—more like "It's the bottom of the ninth and the Yankees are down one with one on as Reggie Jackson comes to the plate." Just wait. It'll resurrect. Coming off a goose-egg weekend, Williams can be had on the cheap. When Romo returns next month, he'll be a stud again. Might as well get him when it's easy and stash him on the bench. Course of Action: Buy We talk to strangers.
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Tuesday, October 21

Kellen Winslow Suspended, LJ Next?

Suspensions are going around like a cold these days. Or like NFL fines. Unlike bye weeks, they're unexpected (unless you play in an IDP league and owned Pacman Jones—who didn't see that coming?) and can really shake up your lineup. Which players' wallets will be a little emptier this week? - As the title states, the Browns have suspended tight end Kellen Winslow for comments he made about how the Browns handled his time in the hospital. Winslow was quoted as saying that he "felt like a piece of meat." Winslow's suspension will last one game, this week in Jacksonville. Tally up another woe of the Browns' offense this season. And though the Jacksonville pass defense hasn't been the teams strength this season, it's been getting healthier with the return of Drayton Florence and Reggie Nelson possibly coming back. Steve Heiden will likely be Winslow's replacement, but he isn't a viable pickup in most leagues. - Reports are that Larry Johnson of the Chiefs is likely to be made inactive again by Kansas City if the NFL doesn't suspend him first. Bear in mind, though, that Chris Mortensen broke this story. The very same Chris Mortensen who broke this story last season. In other words, I'm not buying this as 100 percent correct. If you ask me, I think Mort's source is Pinocchio. However, this is a situation to monitor on the off-chance Mort's report is accurate. If Johnson doesn't play, Jamaal Charles or Kolby Smith will get the the start. Neither are good options though; the Chiefs' offense is just plain terrible and they will be going against a Jets defense that ranks fourth in the league in run defense. - One other little piece of suspension news to hand down to you. Matt Jones, wide receiver for Jacksonville, has been suspended three games for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy. Reggie Williams is likely to take over as the main target in Jones' absence. Mike Walker has upside, but a knee injury could cost him a golden opportunity. Got burning questions that you desperately need some random people you read online to answer? If so, drop us a line at
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Running the Wire

Screwing League Mates Over By Stealing The Missing Pieces Of The Puzzle That They Need 101
According to this baseball sabermetrichemagician named Nate Silver who works for Baseball Prospectus and has become famous through his political poll predictive formulamajig blog that has been featured in big wig magazines, news services, and TV shows, Obama has a 93.4 percent chance of winning the election. McCain is all but done. Many of you I'm sure can relate. And when I say "many of you" I mean "frickin a, McCain's just like me." But as you can see, the 132-year-old hasn't given up. Neither should you. Keep scanning your wire, keep pulling trades, keep trashing the guy who drafted Tom Brady (if that's not you). You still have a 6.6 percent chance of winning your league! Gold Wire Pickups Antonio Bryant/WR Tampa Bay: Week seven seems like a surprise coming-out party for Bryant, but in reality, he had it coming. He is 10th in the league in targets, above names like Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, and Calvin Johnson. Jeff Garcia confirmed his role as Tampa's starting QB, mainly through dominating the Seahawks with successful connections to Antonio. All signs point to him being the number one option for the Bucs. Greg Camarillo/WR Miami: Chad Pennington continues to impress, and the main beneficiary has been Camarillo. He has had four or more catches in each of the past five weeks, and has clearly emerged as the go-to wide out in the Miami offense. His consistency makes him more than worthy for a bench spot in normal-sized leagues. Sammy Morris/RB New England: After absolutely brutalizing the Broncos on Monday Night Football during the first half (138 yards and a touchdown), Morris went down with what the Pats called a knee injury. The news on Tuesday is that Belichick calls him day-to-day and that he has been seen walking around without a limp. If he's good to go, Morris has the potential to be a solid #3 option with Maroney now on injured reserve and some guy named Benjarvus Green-Ellis being the only legitimate carry hawk. Copper Wire Pickups Javon Walker/WR Oakland: Apparently he has recovered from his Vegas beat down. Putting up 75 yards plus a touchdown on five catches, Walker showed the first flashes of better than badness from a Raider receiver all year. Expect increased production in the Oakland offense as the year progresses. Jeff Garcia/QB Tampa Bay: While Bryant looked great, Garcia looked at least decent. He dropped 310 yards and a score on the Seahawks defense, which in perspective is a lot worse than good so don't get too excited, and is a serviceable backup. Malcom Floyd/WR San Diego: He has had 60 yards and a touchdown in each of the past two weeks, mainly due to the absense of Chris Chambers. But Floyd is still a third-stringer when Chambers returns, which should be sometime in the next few weeks. He is decently ownable at the moment, possessing great red zone skills and athleticism; he has probably moved ahead of Buster Davis and Legedu Naanee on the depth chart for good, but will most likely go back to being mostly irrelevant in less than a month. Chicken Wire Pickups Maurice Morris/RB Seattle: Perusing the box scores, you will see Morris's name pop up as the most productive Seattle position player in Sunday's game against Tampa Bay. It's an illusion. His measly 68 total yards were not even a bright spot for the Seahawks' porous performance. Leave him in the free agent pool. Josh Morgan/WR San Francisco: Morgan's 86 yards and a touchdown make him a nice little... one-week wonder on a crappy team. Say no. Got burning questions that you desperately need some random people you read online to answer? We're not afraid to talk to strangers.

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Monday, October 20

Weekend Recap: Week 7

I'm an addict. And so are you. No, you won't have to share a room with Amy Winehouse or Pacman Jones. For that alone, I can say I'm grateful. We're fantasy football addicts. Aside from Texans fans, who else in their right mind would get excited when they see Matt Schaub connect with Kevin Walter? Who would toil through stat after stat in the offseason, trying to decide what running back you should put ahead one another? Who else would sit here and read this blog day after day? The answer to that is probably no one, but I digress. I'm not taking anything away from the game or the people who play it. I'll be the first person to get giddy when I see the words "red zone carries." But this game causes us to go to some crazy lengths sometimes. Without further ado, I'll satisfy your addiction. - My weekly Ryan-Fitzpatrick-spells-doom-for-Cincinnati point. Palmer is still out a few more weeks and quite possibly the rest of the year. T.J. Houshmandzadeh will get you receptions, but not much else these days. - Derek Anderson couldn't even come close to completing 40 percent of his passes this week against Washington. With rumors of the Browns turning down not one, but two first-round picks from Minnesota that would have sent Brady Quinn to the Vikings, you start to wonder how much confidence they have left in Anderson. - Clinton Portis has now had four straight 100-plus-yard rushing games. Without a doubt, this guy is a monster and I expect him to be the top back at the end of the season. - Kyle Orton is rapidly improving. With five touchdowns and zero—yeah, zero—interceptions the past three games, he's worth picking up off of waivers if you're in need of a QB. - Don't worry about Marques Colston's struggles this past week. A full week of practice with Drew Brees should do him wonders. - It seems like teams have started to figure out Miami's Wildcat formation. Bad news for Dolphins owners and fans alike. Seriously though, how long were you expecting it to last? - The Chiefs defense should be embarrassed. Nay, beyond embarrassed. There's no excuse possible to explain how you let LenDale White break off an 80-yard run. - In a non-fantasy story, Tyler Thigpen was Kansas City's leading rusher against the Titans. Hard to put things in bigger perspective than that.
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