Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Week 3 NFL Power Rankings

As predictable as the NFL may seem, since the onset of the salary cap era, it has been anything but predictable. This season is no different; three 2008 division winners are currently winless, while the 2008 Super Bowl participants are both 1-2 and behind their respective division winners. This edition of Power Rankings will try to put the first three weeks into perspective by starting out with the worst teams so far and progressing to the best.
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Friday, September 25, 2009

Week 3 Fantasy Rankings Part 2: Running Backs

Here’s part two of our three part fantasy rankings. Today is tiered rankings for Running Backs. Tomorrow, will be Wide Receivers and Tight Ends rankings to gear you up for Sunday. It should be noted that these rankings are based on matchups this week and not overall player value.

Barry Sanders Division (Sorry Emmitt but Barry is best in my book. These are the guys that you can’t wait to watch on Sunday and you can’t wait to have starting in your fantasy lineup).

1. Adrian Peterson vs. San Francisco- What can you say about this guy, I just love watching him play.

2. Chris Johnson @ NYJ- Some people are down on him because of the matchup but I just don’t see it. The Jets are way better than Houston but they have yet to be tested by an elite runner this year either and there is probably one guy more exciting than this guy.

3. Maurice Jones-Drew @ Houston- After what Chris Johnson did to them last Sunday, I can’t really see him lower than this.

Tiki Barber (after he got rid of the fumble problem) Division (these guys will put up good weeks and you’ll be happy to have them).

4. Matt Forte @ Seatle- Like the matchup, Frank Gore had over 200 yards in the first half coming off a 30 yard rushing performance. This should be a great opportunity for Forte to bounce back.

5. Clinton Portis @ Detroit- I like the matchup a little but more than I like Portis but expect good things against Detroit.

6. DeAngelo Williams @ Dallas- This could be a big day for him as long as Jake doesn’t Delhomme all over this game.

7. Michael Turner @ NE- Fred Jackson did well week one against the Pats mainly on screen passes which Turner will not get too many of. I still see a pretty decent game out of him though.

8. Ryan Grant @ St. Louis- He is healthy and running hard so far. Plus, you have to love this soft matchup.

9. Brandon Jacobs @ Tampa Bay- Expect him to finally get on the board this week in against a defense hasn’t been the same since it said good bye to Monte.

10. Fred Jackson vs. NO- This might be a one sided affair but he still get’s used tremendously in the passing game. He is the all purpose back for one more week, enjoy it while you can and try to sell high.

11. Steve Slaton vs. Jacksonville- The passing game is too good to not open things up for him at some point. At the very least he should get some carries in mop up time because I see Houston winning big here.

12. Frank Gore @ Min- Was huge last week but now he has a much tougher matchup and is a tad on the gimpy side.

Steven Jackson Allstars Division (Guys who I would rank higher but their teams aren’t very good and there is a high likelihood they won’t score).

13. Ronnie Brown @ San Diego- I have him highest out of this group because of the way he played last week and my mild optimism that he finds the endzone. Watch out for Ricky though, he’ll once again take away a lot of carries.

14. Kevin Smith vs. Washington- Not an easy matchup but he should get his touches and his chances here.

15. Steven Jackson vs. Green Bay- He might run hard and he might run well here but his chances of scoring this week are about the same as my chances of scoring with a semi hot girl (So I guess you could say his chances are pretty bad but it could happen).

Priest Holmes Division (These guys are backups or number two guys on their team that may have the opportunity to step up this week).

16. Felix Jones vs. Car- Marion Barber might play this week but even if he does I like Felix a lot here.
17. Willis McGahee vs. Cle- Has been getting more work and more touchdowns than were expected. Cleveland has been shaky thus far against the run.
18. Darren Sproles vs. Mia- Looks like LT isn’t playing so Sproles should get a lot of touches. I think Miami will shut the running game down but Sproles could get lose on a screen or two.

Brian Westbrook Division (On the injury report every week and you have no idea what you are going to get from him).

19. Brian Westbrook vs. KC- See above about being on the injury report every week.

Deuce McAllister Division (These are the guys that are probably your number two running back that you have to start but aren’t too happy starting).

20. Tim Hightower vs. Ind- Gotta love this matchup, too bad the Cardinals are a throw first offense.
21. Darren McFadden vs. Den- I’m Ron Burgendy?? Is what I think when I see Denver’s defense. Everything I know tells me they are terrible but they have been good against the run through two games.
22. Ray Rice vs. Cle- He should get his yards but probably the endzone might get cockblocked from him by Willis McGahee.
23. Thomas Jones vs. Ten- Iffy matchup and Leon Washington should continue to take carries away.
24. Cadillac Williams vs. NYG- I guess
25. Pierre Thomas @ Buf- He should be an honorary member of the Brian Westbrook division this week… check his status.
26. Willie Parker @ Cin- Can fast Willie bounce back, I am not too confident.
27. Cedric Benson vs. Pit- He should get all the carries so I guess he has that going for him and maybe he’ll get to caddy for the Dolly Lama some day.

Chester “Insert Your favorite Timeshare’s name here” Taylor Division (These are guys that are either stuck in time shares or handcuffs so they are borderline starts or flex plays at best).

28. Reggie Bush @ Buf- Haven’t really been keeping up with the Kardashians so I don’t have any good jokes.
29. Leon Washington vs Ten- Could be the Jets best offensive player but does he get enough touches against their good run defense.
30. Cadillac Williams vs. NYG- Insert joke about him being a car not as nice as a Cadillac here.
31. Ahmad Bradshaw @ TB- Definite upside but not really a safe play yet.
32. Donald Brown @ Ari- See Ahmad Bradshaw.
33. Knowshon Moreno@ Oak- See Donald Brown
34. Jonathan Stewart @ Dal- Can the Daily Show avoid getting Delhommed.

Samkon Gado Division (This is like fat girl at 2 am desperate, just go him and call it a night).
35. Larry Johnson @ Phi
36. Joseph Addai @ Ari
37. LeSean McCoy vs. KC- Keep up with Westbrook’s status.
38. Tashard Choice vs. Car- Sneaky play if Barber is out which he should be.
39. Derrick Ward vs. NYG
40. Correll Buckhalter @ Oak
41. Michael Bush vs. Den
42. Jamal Lewis @ Bal
43. Chris Wells vs. Ind
44. Ricky Williams @ SD

45. LenWhale White @ NYJ … sorry I meant LenDale, he just went on the tequila diet.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Week 3 Fantasy Rankings Part 1: Quarterbacks

Here’s part one of our three part fantasy rankings. Today is tiered rankings for Quarterbacks. Tomorrow, will be Running Backs. And Finally on Saturday we will release our Wide Receiver rankings to gear you up for Sunday. It should be noted that these rankings are based on matchups this week and not overall player value.

Dan Marino Division (These are the guys that you don’t even think of benching no matter what matchup but we’ll rank them for you anyway).

1. Drew Brees @Buffalo- he’s number one no matter what and Buffalo is a pretty tasty matchup. He should eat it right up.

2. Kurt Warner vs. Indianapolis- Chad Pennington was able to rip this defense to shreds with Ted Ginn as his go to guy. Warner should do just fine with Fitzgerald and Boldin.

3. Aaron Rodgers @St. Louis- Bounce back game for Rodgers… and yea, the Rams aren’t very good.

4. Peyton Manning @ Arizona- This one should be a shootout. Hopefully, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and the other guys will be enough like they were on Monday.

5. Philip Rivers vs. Miami- After over 400 yards against Baltimore, he should fair well against Miami’s porous secondary.

6. Tom Brady vs. Atlanta- He should rebound from a subpar week.

7. Tom Romo vs Carolina- Carolina has given up big games to McNabb and Matt Ryan so far. I just really like Romo this week. No Homo.

Vinny Testevedre Division (these guys will get the job done for your team, they just might throw that interception when you least expect it).

8. Eli Manning @ Tampa Bay- Tampa’s secondary isn’t very good. Eli has a big day and is a borderline Marino this week.

9. Matt Schaub vs. Jacksonville- I just think people are a little too high on him right now. Week one he is garbage, Week two, he is a stud, expect something in between.

10. Joe Flacco vs. Cleveland- Joe the Quarterback has a pretty good matchup here. Expect big things.

11. Matt Ryan @ NE- Matt’s first trip to face a Bill Bellicheck run defense in New England. He should do ok but temper expectations just a bit.

Trent Dilfer Division (These are guys that probably won’t win you the week but they won’t lose it for you either… good game managers).

12. Trent Edwards vs. NO- This one should be a shootout. Expect Edwards to air it our a lot.

13. Jason Campbell @ Detroit- This might be too tasty of a matchup to pass up on but you could have said the same thing about St. Louis last week and he left without a score.

14. Jay Cutler @ Sea- Everyone loves to hate him, I would hate to have to start him.

15. Ben Roesthlisberger @ Cin- Don’t love this matchup.Cincinnati isn’t the cupcake they were two years ago and Big Ben isn’t getting the time he needs from his line.

16. David Garrard @ Houston- If you’re in a 16 team league, this will be the worst starting quarterback this week.

Jake Delhomme Division (these guys may look ok, throw ok, even be ok, but when it comes down to it all your really getting is poop).

17. Carson Palmer vs. Pit – If you have other options, this defense is too good.
18. Brett Favre vs. SF- Just retire already.
19. Byron Leftwhich vs. NYG- Potential sneaky play because Tampa is so bad that they will throw a lot. If you have to start, do yourself a favor and don’t watch him.
20. Jake Delhomme @ Dal- He had to round out his own division. He is due for his smelliest poop game of the year.

Sports Mumbo Jumbo

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Are The Canes Back?

All I’ve heard on Miami sports talk radio is how Miami is back and Jacory Harris is the next Sean John Elway, Tan Marino, Throw-Rida, Jake Delhomie, Bro Montana and even Black Jesus (they are actually saying this). He might be all of these things but are the Canes really back? EHH…… Kind of. Let’s wait two weeks.

First of all, they beat two ranked opponents but what does that actually mean. Are Georgia Tech and Florida State two powerhouses like everyone thought they were just because they were ranked? Look at the Canes who were unranked to start the season. They are ranked 9th now so does that mean they weren’t good at the start of the season and now they are. I’m not trying to take anything away from these two wins but let’s not get carried away either. The NCAA should do away with preseason rankings to begin with and rank teams after 5 games. That way preseason perceptions and bias will have minimal effect on how teams are ranked and perceived. Miami’s offense looked great in their win over FSU but you have to remember that they were a dropped pass and mismanaged goal to go situation away from having lost to FSU in the first game of the season. If they lose that game we aren’t even having this discussion.

After viewing the Georgia Tech/ Miami game first hand, as impressed as I was with Jacory Harris and the Canes, I was equally unimpressed by the lackluster performance of the Yellow Jackets. Georgia Tech failed to pressure Black Jesus… I mean Jacory Harris and he was left with a perfect pocket and ample time to pick apart a subpar secondary. He had great touch and timing with his wide receivers but on most of his throws he had enormous spaces to throw into while being able to throw in rhythm. It must be noted that the 2009 Heisman winner… why do I keep slipping, I mean Jacory Harris has a great presence in the pocket so even though his offensive line played great, he makes them look even better. However, the one time he was pressured, I saw him make a bad throw across his body that could have easily been intercepted. I’m not saying he didn’t play great but let’s not jump to ridiculous conclusions like him being the Heisman front runner until he actually dismantles a formidable defense.

Also, while the defense did look great against Georgia Tech, they only had to focus on stopping one play. Yes, the triple option is ridiculous offense to plan for and defend but let’s not get carried away about the defenses ability to stop a one dimensional offense that they had over a week to prepare for. Just a little over a week earlier, everyone was doubting Miami’s secondary and their lackluster performance against FSU. Now everyone is talking championship.

In the end though, Jacory is the reason that Miami fans are excited and the Canes are this close to being back. As good as he has been, I’m pretty sure that Tim Tebow doesn’t wear Jacory Harris pajamas when he goes to sleep just yet. And as good as Jacory has been through two games any comparisons between him and Tebow are as premature as talking about the Cane’s title hopes before they beat Virginia Tech and Oklahoma these next two weeks. But after the Canes dominate these next two weeks then let the Tebow/ Jacory Harris, Florida/ Miami debate begin, Cane’s fans. I can’t wait.

Brian Blum

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Monday Night Football – One Weird Game

The Dolphins and the Colts met Monday night in which was expected to be a fairly close game (the spread being only 3.5 points). The game proved to be a star studded event as all of the Dolphin’s new celebrity owners were on hand to witness this crazy game.

The game started off very unconventional as the first play from scrimmage resulted in a 80 yard TD to a TE. Dallas Clark broke free after realing in a ball from Peyton Manning and took it to the house. I can not remember the last time I saw a TE catch a ball for that long.
The Dolphins answered right back with a TD of their own after one of their many powerhouse drives, led by Ronnie Brown and the Wildcat offense.

The main story of the game had to be the dominance of Miami’s offense over the Colts. 45 minutes the Fins held the ball compared to just 15 for the Colts. That is ridiculous ball control to say the least.
However it proved to be a lopsided stat as Manning would need only under a combined 4 minutes to put up 2 TDs in the 4th Qtr. One drive of 32 seconds for 80 yards, the other 3 minutes 17 seconds for 79 yards.

The Dolphins completley botched a last attempt drive in which time management and Tedd Ginn’s hands were clear issues on all of the Fins Fan’s minds.

It was not the final Dolphins offsensive series that lost them the game and it was not Indy’s Offense either. The Dolphins D is 100% to blame for this loss. Maybe the Fins D were distracted by all the new celebrity owners on hand. Who knows?

Manning gets a ton of credit for the Colt’s success and he deserves it, but on this weird Monday night game he was not the reason for the win. He was the beneficiary of one of the biggest Defensive collapses in Monday Night Football history.

Eric Feld

Friday, September 18, 2009

Mike Shanahan- Where Are You?

Sometimes there are moves in the NFL that completely do not make sense. The biggest mind blowing decision in my mind this past football year was the decision for the Denver Broncos to let go of Mike Shanahan.

Here was a 2 time proven Super Bowl champion head coach that was let go over one of the biggest impossibilities in NFL history.

The Broncos held a commanding lead over the Chargers in the AFC West with 4 games to go. The only way the Broncos could miss out on the playoffs was for them to lose their final 4 games while San Diego won out. Long story short, after improbable onside kicks and last second come from behind victories from Phillip Rivers (KC game, where SD was trailing 21-3 in the 2nd half), the impossible happened and the Chargers went on to win the AFC West and the Broncos were left out of the playoffs. Does it make sense that if SD did not make an onside kick, Mike Shanahan would still be their head coach? I didn’t think so.

It is very similar to the situation that is brewing down in Columbus right now. The Buckeyes coach, Jim Tressel, a proven winner and national champion, is being put somewhat on the hot seat for his current repeated failures against top ranked teams. Both these coaches further prove that the coaching industry is not a very safe job to have. (Not that anything is these days) It’s a business where there is absolute no room for error, and are these realistic expectations? With pressure from fans and season ticket holders I understand the owners have to make it seem that they are trying to make a change when their team is going through a rough patch. But to fire proven coaches who can get the job done, does not seem like the best call to me.

The point is Mike Shanahan should never have been fired from Denver and should at the very least have some kind of coaching job in the NFL and not sipping Pina Coladas with nothing better to do. Trust me there are not too many coaches who are capable of winning 2 championships, even with John Elway and Terrell Davis.

Eric Feld

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

NFL Survivor League Advice

I know it is a little early in the week to decide this but I thought I would take a look at the games for the upcoming week to see who would be the best teams to pick for your survivor league (assuming you’re still in it).

In case you did not know what a Survivor league here is a little explanation. You are in a contest with other people and everybody picks team per week that they think will win. Sounds easy right, think again. Once you pick that team, (I.E. you picked New Orleans last week over the Lions) you cannot use this team again for the rest of the season. So when making week 2’s picks N.O would not be an option for you. If you picked Detroit, you are out of the contest. Last man standing, AKA the survivor, wins.

Back to the forecast now. There are three games that I think should result in wins for you. The first game I’m going to look at is Washington vs. St. Louis. St. Louis laid a nice goose egg last week against the Seahawks and looked even worse than the Lions. Being Washington’s first home game of the season and coming off a tough loss against NYG where they looked I think this is a no brainer.

Pick- Redskins

Another great pick is the Minnesota Vikings. This week they go to Detroit where if you saw the game from last week it does not look like they will be getting a win anytime soon with that defense. I know it was Drew Brees who carved them up through the air last week, but it will be Adrian “All Day” Peterson who makes Detroit pay this time.
Pick- Vikings

The final pick is Green Bay vs. Cincinnati. It looked like Carson Palmer is still not completely back from his injury and the offense looked pretty stagnant. The Packers are trying to rally and continue their success after a late minute TD pushed them ahead of the Chicago Bears. With the game being in GB it’s tough to go against the Packers.

Pick- Packers

Who do you guys think is a sure pick this weekend? Leave some comments and tell us your opinion.

Eric Feld

Baseball Picks For 9/15/09

Here are some picks for tonight’s games from SMJ’s Baseball Guru. Enjoy!

Phillies over Nationals Cliff lee struggled lately but you can’t ignore the Philly offense. Plus you never know when he could pitch a gem. Also, it’s the Nats, always a good idea to put your money on the other team.

Blue Jays over Yankees Two words – Roy Halladay. Yanks stink against him. No reason to think that will change. Let it ride on the Blue Jays.

Upset Special of the Night

Orioles over Rays

Yes they lost last night, but the Orioles just went through a brutal stretch of Texas, Boston and NY going .500 (4-4). The rays have struggled lately and that will continue tonight. Yes the Orioles stink, but so do the Rays. Stick with Baltimore tonight.

Let us know what you think!

- SMJ Baseball Guru

Monday, September 14, 2009

Monday Night Football Picks

This Monday night football fans are treated with two NFL games to kick off the first week of the season. Both games are sure to be easy betting picks and win a ton of money for anyone making wagers.

The first is Buffalo Bills vs. NE Patriots (-11)

I know there has been hype about the Bills this offseason with the acquisition of T.O. but it is all for nothing. The Patriots are getting back Tom and that’s all that needs to be said. Yeah, maybe Buffalo will put up a few more points then they would have without T.O. there but this will not make up for what the Pats will do to them tonight. I especially do not think Belichick will allow a close game as he has been preparing for this game since last January. With Belichick and Brady running the show, the Pats will cruise for a 20+ point victory over their rivals.

Final Pick - Take Pats -11

The second gimme game: SD Chargers (-10) vs. Oakland Raiders

Chargers are going to destroy the Raiders on national TV tonight. Jamarcus Russell could not be a bigger bust if he tried. All SD has to do is focus on Mcfadden and Oak’s run game and that should be the end of it. I know the Raiders added Seymour last week which is nice, but it will not come close to making up for what the Chargers are capable of both offensively and defensive. With stars such as Rivers, Merriman, and LT looking to light up the stage the Chargers will win by at least 14 points.

Final Pick - Take Chargers -10

Let me know if you guys think any differently.

Eric Feld

Top Performers In Week 1

This past week had some amazing performances from some amazing players. Drew Brees led the way with over 350 yards and 6 TDs in a victory over the Lions. Tom Brady did his best Tom Brady impression leading a dramatic come from behind win with a league leading 378 yards against the Buffalo Bills. And finally, Adrian “All Day” Peterson shredded the Cleveland Browns for 180 on the ground which was highlighted by his 65 yard TD run (his 3rd of the game), while adding 18 more through the air. Who do you guys think was the top performer in week 1?

Eric Feld

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Which freshman QB was more impressive this weekend

The display of freshman QBs was on this week as USC’s Matt Barkley and Michigan’s Tate Forcier each earned huge victories for their teams on Saturday.

Barkley struggled early on but played his butt off when it mattered the most. With his team trailing by 5 points with around 7 minutes left USC’s freshman QB led the Trojans 73 yards in 6 minutes for a game winning drive which was capped by a 3 yard Stafon Johnson TD. This team made the right decision going with Barkley as a starter, the next four years will be fun for the Trojans.

Forcier was not just one of the most unstoppable freshman I have ever seen but he was as dominant as any QB has been for their team in recent memory. His play making ability was reminiscent of Vince Young’s when he was with Texas or Michael Vick’s with Virginia Tech. Notre Dame really had no answer for him as he torched them for 240 passing yards and adding another 70 through the ground. But the stats don’t tell the whole story as Forcier had game changing play after play which included a 31 yard TD scramble on 4th down. He then orchestrated a final game winning drive with just about 2 minutes left and threw the winning TD with just seconds remaining.

Tough call between the two, but I think I have to give the nod with Barkley. Matt Barkley’s performance is a little more impressive as Ohio State’s defense is much more talented then Notre Dame and doing what he did on a primetime game with the whole nation watching in only his 2nd game is quite the accomplishment.

What do you guys think?

Eric Feld

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Top Fantasy Football WR Sleepers

A few weeks ago I wrote an article on who would be the top WR this year in the league. The article was basically between Andre Johnson and Larry Fitzgerald and who would I rather have on my fantasy team. Well one of the comments left by a reader asked me besides the obvious top ranked WRs who else should he be thinking of drafting.

I thought about it for a while and here is what I came up with…….
Every year the NFL has them. Guys come out of absolutely nowhere to make huge impacts on your fantasy team. Last year the top WR sleeper award went to Eddie Royal, as he literally busted out of nowhere to grab 91 balls for 980 yards and 5 TDs. Not too shabby for a rookie who went undrafted in basically every fantasy league last year.

This year I feel there are 3 gems that while they may not go undrafted and they do have better name recognition then Royal did last year, they are still not looked upon as top WR options.

1. Devon Hester- The speed, the agility, the playmaking ability, it’s all there for this guy. The one thing he has been missing is a QB. Well he has certainly found that in Jay Cutler, and if we learned anything from his time in Denver, Cutler loves to throw it down the field. This will result in tons of huge of plays for Hester and he will be amongst the league leaders in yards and TDs when all is said and done.

2. Vincent Jackson- It may be kind of hard to say he is a sleeper. As the fantasy world began drafting in late July/early August, Jackson was a consensus 6-7th round pick. Comparable to the likes of a Bernard Berian or Desean Jackson. Both good players, but if you are banking on those guys carrying your team, you got a long year coming. The fantasy world has woken up, with the most recent drafts V.J. is being selected usually by mid to late 4th round. The reason is that he has become Phillip River’s go to guy. It’s no longer Gates, every big play down the field the Chargers have had all preseason has been to Vincent Jackson. He definitely has the ability to carry your team as a true No. 1 WR. All these reasons are why he will end up being a top 5 to 10 WR by the year’s end.

3. Chris Henry- “The next Randy Moss” as Carson Palmer put it. This guy has all the tools to be a pro bowl WR as long as he is staying out of trouble and staying on the field. You have to believe with the departure of T.J. Houshmandzadeh, this will open the door for Henry. Even with the addition of Coles, Palmer will definitely look to Henry before him as there is already an established relationship between the two.

Let me know if you guys have any other suggestions?

Eric Feld

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

What to expect from Brandon Marshall

Baby T.O is at it again. The center of attention, limelight craving, primadonna WR, otherwise known as Brandon Marshall is the center of the latest Denver Broncos controversy. After being a distraction all during the off season in which he has openly demanded a trade, the Broncos finally had enough and sent Marshall packing for the rest of preseason. However, first year coach, Josh Daniels, has stated after the suspension that he acknowledges how great Marshall is and how the Broncos do want him back for their season opener.

Marshall is one of the NFL’s most talented WRs and any team would be lucky to have talent like him on their team. However, most teams would be just as lucky to avoid his constant distractions.

Besides the Broncos, probably the most anticipated recipients of the Marshall’s status are fantasy owners. The biggest question looming in the fantasy world right now is where do you take Marshall in the draft? Is it worth the risk of having a potential 100+rec. / 1000+ yard / 10+ TD caliber WR who could end up not playing one down? In most fantasy formats the standard starting lineup is 1 QB 2 RB 2 WR 1 TE. I would say that before you take this mega risk, at least have on your team 2 solid RBs , 1 WR and even a good to great QB. Thus, I would probably value Marshall’s stock as a low end No. 2 WR picking him somewhere in the late 4th/early 5th round range. Also, when drafting Marshall you should draft with the mind set that if you are going to take him you should probably have a decent backup available to select in the next pick or two.

Where would you guys draft him?

Eric Feld