Archive for August, 2010

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Denver Chapter

Thursday, August 26th, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 26, 2010

Tebow or not Tebow?

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Josh McDaniels made it clear that he thinks Tim Tebow (pictured above post-’hazing’ – at least one reason to follow Lendale White on Twitter) can have an impact in the NFL.  Will it be this year? Should Tebow be on your draft board?  What about his teammates?  Will Batman and Robin convince Egghead that he didn’t discover Batman’s true identity?  Read on now – same blog-style, same blog-URL!

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

As long as McDaniels is at the helm in Denver, Broncos fans should expect he’ll be steering them into plenty of spring and summer storms.  The sophomore head coach made waves at the draft by taking Tim Tebow.  The Tebow pick came on the heels of McDaniels flipping Pro Bowl receiver Brandon Marshall overboard to wash up on the shores of Miami.  Somehow McDaniels still appears to have the ship headed in the right direction thanks to some defensive upgrades and his attempts to replace Marshall (first-round pick Demaryius Thomas and a handful of journeymen).

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Knowshon Moreno – RB

-        Moreno was part of one of the best touchdown celebrations in NCAA history.  Then he carried the ball 247 times for 947 yards and 7 touchdowns in his inaugural NFL season.  Despite rumblings of a weaker O-line, expect Moreno’s rookie stats to be the worst-case scenario if he can stay healthy in 2010 (monitor his preseason hamstring injury).

Brandon Marsha…Uh-oh…3, 2, 1….MCDANIELS!!!!!

LUKEWARM

Eddie Royal – WR

-        His highness burned many a fantasy owner in 2009.  Royal should bounce back in 2010 and his stats should fall somewhere between those brutal ’09 totals and the 91 grabs he had in his rookie season.  Fast Eddie gets a value boost in leagues that honour return yards.

Jabar Gaffney – WR

-        A part of one of the cloudiest WR situations in the NFL this preseason, as I write this Gaffney appears to be emerging as a prime candidate for Denver’s #1 job.  While the 29-year-old has only reached 50 catches twice in his 8-year career, his main competition for targets features a rookie with a foot injury (more on him below) and Gaffney shouldn’t have trouble developing a rapport with Kyle Orton.  PPR-leaguers, feel free to help Gaffney’s confidence with a late-round pick.

LEAVE’EM

Tim Tebow – QB

-        He’s this year’s Michael Vick, just younger and at the opposite end of the behaviour spectrum.  Was Vick fantasy-useful (not sure if the term is trademarked) last season?  No.  Are you going to draft a rookie who has to leapfrog two QBs for playing time and who will get limited chances in the Wildcat and around the goal-line?  No.

Demaryius Thomas – WR

-        You’d have to be pretty desperate/adventurous to use a mid to late-round pick on a rookie who may miss the season opener with a foot injury.

Kyle Orton – QB

-        He’s a game-manager.  He’ll have to have an amazing year just to crack the top-15 at his position.

Correll Buckhalter – RB

-        Finished last year just outside the top 150 – no sign of him bettering that in 2010 if Moreno’s on the field.

Brady Quinn – QB

-        Brought in to back up Orton and to embarrass linemen in the weight room.

O-LINE

As long as All-Pro tackle Ryan Clady doesn’t play anymore pick-up basketball (blew out his left knee in the spring) they should be fine.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

@  ARZ

@  OAK

vs. HOU

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

Since I really didn’t want to discuss the Broncos from the outset, I’ll close with a note about the blog in general.  This will be the final preview that will focus on one team.  If you’ve read them all – you’re now up to date on most, if not all, of the changes heading into the 2010 NFL season.  If you haven’t read them all – shame on you.  If you didn’t know Egghead was a villain in the Adam West Batman series – don’t worry it just means I’m getting older (by the way they did convince ole’ Egghead that Bruce Wayne wasn’t Batman).  Check back next week for a look at the remaining teams from a broader and less time-consuming perspective.

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  This year Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Detroit Polytechnic

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 24, 2010

More potential than meets the eye

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All systems are ‘go’ for Detroit’s “Megatron” Calvin Johnson.  First, click here (or here) to find a sick wallpaper that you’d never have time to create and that pays homage to a fantasy star.  Then continue reading to see who else to consider from Detroit’s up-and-coming offence.

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

For the first time in a long time Detroit will have the same head coach, the same offensive coordinator and the same defensive coordinator all returning for a 2nd straight year.  Still, when you post only 2 wins over 2 seasons, changes are a standard part of the offseason routine.  Steps were taken to improve Detroit’s putrid ‘D’, but they’ll still be a favorable matchup for any player occupying an offensive slot on your fantasy roster.  Unfortunately for Calvin Johnson (beast), Matthew (Matt just doesn’t sound right) Stafford, Nate Burleson (free agent signee), Tony Scheffler (trade acquisition) and Jahvid Best (first-round pick), they only get to face that defence on the practice field.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Calvin Johnson – WR

-        “I am Alpha and Omega!”  A line from Megatron in that second Transformers movie you watched just for Megan Fox, or a quote from football’s version of the robot in disguise?  No, Calvin didn’t say it, but it would be a fitting answer if he was asked about Detroit’s red zone options.  He really is their first and last target when they’re looking to score, just one of many reasons you can expect the world from Johnson this season.

LUKEWARM

Matthew Stafford – QB

-        If Detroit’s going to take a step forward this season, Stafford will have to as well.  I can’t see him turning the ball over as much as he did in his rookie season.  With freakazoid Calvin Johnson at his disposal I can’t see how he’s being drafted after Sam Bradford.  I can see Stafford as a reliable #1 QB by season’s end, and the sophomore QB could be a great value in most drafts.

Nate Burleson – WR

-        Detroit wideouts not named Calvin Johnson combined to make 76 catches for 826 yards and 4 touchdowns in 2009.  A healthy Burleson could near these totals and therefore in PPR formats he should be considered in the late rounds.

Tony Scheffler – TE

-        Only gets the Lukewarm nod in PPR leagues as the TE position has a wealth of talent this year.

LEAVE’EM

Jahvid Best – RB

-        There is no question he’s the Best in Detroit’s backfield (literally and figuratively).  There is something to be said about the fact that the first-rounder may be one of few backs this season that will receive the majority of his team’s carries.  There is a concern that those carries won’t be as plentiful when the Lions are playing from behind.  There is no denying Best suffered two concussions in his final year at Cal.  There is a chance you’ll get good value for him in point-per-reception leagues.  There is still no way he should be going before LeSean McCoy, Jonathan Stewart or Ronnie Brown as he is in some drafts.

Brandon Pettigrew – TE

-        Don’t be fooled by the ’09 hype – Pettigrew’s a blocker now.

Kevin Smith – RB

-        Leaving Best off the list, so Smith definitely won’t be invited to the draft party.

O-LINE

Mediocre at best.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

vs. ATL

@  TB

@  MIA

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

Detroit’s defensive transformation isn’t quite complete, but many members of their offence pose a fantasy threat that shouldn’t be ignored.  (I’ll take this opportunity to mention Derrick Williams, a WR slated to return kicks again in 2010 and who could see more action out of the slot.)

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 22, 2010

SusBended

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No matter what, Big Ben will miss some of the 2010 fantasy season.  What fantasy effect, if any, will it have on him and on the other members of the black-and-gold?

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

Pittsburgh’s off-season screenplay may have gone something like this:

Roger Goodell – “Young Santonio Holmes, I need to see you in my office pronto.”

(Goodell suspends Holmes 4 games for violating the League’s Substance Abuse Policy)

(The Steelers ship Holmes to the New York Jets so he can fittingly appear in the HBO Series “Hard Knocks”)

Roger Goodell – “Benjamin Todd Roethlisberger, my office, NOW!”

(Goodell suspends Roethlisberger for 6 games for violating the League’s Personal Conduct Policy)

Roger Goodell – “Mr. Roethlisberger, please come to my office immediately.”

(Goodell shows Roethlisberger how you’re supposed to party in the NFL by booking a VIP Room at Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club)

Roger Goodell – “Young Ben Roethlisberger, be at the practice field on time, I’ll speak with you then”

(Goodell checks in on the Steelers’ QB at training camp)

Certainly, Roger Goodell doesn’t have a PA system that covers the entire United States, but if he did, only one of the above events would be fiction.  He’s yet to decide whether Roethlisberger will sit for 4 or 6 games, but when he does, it will bring to an end a very dramatic offseason in Steeler-land.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Rashard Mendenhall – RB

-        The 3rd year back should benefit the most from Roethlisberger’s absence.  Sure, the offence will lean more on the pass once Big Ben returns, but Mendenhall still made enough happen with his 242 attempts last season that you can’t help but expect good numbers throughout the year.  Another big plus is that he’s one of few backs in the league this year that will receive the full #1 workload.

Hines Ward – WR

-        Another of Fabro’s old foxes.  He’s played every game the past two seasons.  Ben’s absence means he’ll be closer to his ’08 line 81/1043/7 which made him the about the 60th best fantasy investment that year.  There are some risk-reward guys being taken around him (see Crabtree, Sims-Walker) but if consistency is what you’re after, Ward’s your guy.

LUKEWARM

Ben Roethlisberger – QB

-        It’s impossible to place a player who’s going to miss at least a quarter of the season under the Like heading, it’s just not done.  You’re taking a big risk if you draft a risky quarterback early and plan on having Roethlisberger to fall back on.  It will be difficult to predict where he’ll be drafted, so there’s no guarantee you’ll get him.  If you do end up drafting him, it will be for good value.  How he’ll cope with the loss of Holmes is really the only worry when it comes to Big Ben because he’s been successful behind bad lines in the past.

Mike Wallace – WR

-        Santonio Holmes left some big shoes to fill.  Wallace’s stock is on the rise and this offence will stay invested in the pass so he’ll have a chance to fill them.  The big ‘but’ for me is that he’s entering his sophomore year with these lofty expectations and he’ll be without the quarterback that made him the guy people are reaching to get in drafts for at least 4 weeks.

LEAVE’EM

Heath Miller – TE

-        Always seems to catch a touchdown the week he’s owned by my opponent.  Then he’ll disappear from the endzone for weeks at a time.  Point-per-receptioners should bump him up in their rankings as, even without Roethlisberger, he should easily exceed 50 grabs for a 4th straight year.

Byron Leftwich/Dennis Dixon – QB

-        The fact that the Steelers’ will be conservative/their skill level/the fact that both could see action during Big Ben’s suspension make them poor fantasy fill-ins if you do plan on drafting Roethlisberger.

Mewelde Moore – RB

-        Return-leaguers, Moore could enter into that mix but don’t bank on it as Stefan Logan is on the roster.  Moore and Willie Parker only saw a combined 160 touches last season.  Moore won’t be fantasy relevant even if he sees that many in two-thousand and 10 (sick of typing the year numerically)

O-LINE

Surprisingly, they weren’t one of this team’s strong points, even before losing Willie Colon to a torn achilles.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

vs. CIN

vs. NYJ

vs. CAR

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

As a Bengals fan it has been tough enough giving the Steelers any praise, but there’s still one key player that absolutely must be mentioned.  Troy Polamalu returns to cement Dick Lebeau’s unit as a top-10 fantasy defence once again. Defences have been given little to no pub in these blogs so here’s a quick note on how I go about drafting a defence.  I look at the co-ordinator, then the personnel (must have game-changers), then they’re strength of schedule.  If I like all three, they’re on my roster.  That’s just one method – to each his own when it comes to fantasy Ds (hence why I haven’t written too much about them).

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: West Philadelphia High

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 21, 2010

Eagle Eye Cherry

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Kevin Kolb enters 2010 as Philadelphia’s number one guy.  There’s no doubt he’ll never forget it.  Will fantasy owners remember it as a pleasurable experience, or will they look back on it as an awful awkward mess?

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

The highest profile trade of the offseason was the Eagles sending Donovan McNabb to the division rival Redskins.  Enough said there.  Moving on, Philly also waved goodbye to Brian Westbrook, and signed restricted free agent Mike Bell.  When the dust settled, Kevin Kolb and LeSean McCoy were left standing in the backfield of what could be a potent fantasy offence.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Brent Celek – TE

-        Plenty of pros when it comes to Celek.  He’s played 3 seasons in his career and hasn’t missed a game.  He started his own fantasy football league and invited Philly fans to join.  He won’t miss McNabb (Celek caught 8 balls for 104 yards in each of the two games where Kolb had 30 or more attempts in ’09).  One con might be that Celek believes cheesecake can stay edible if left in a car for a lengthy period.

DeSean Jackson – WR

-        Kolb can’t deliver as many deep looks but that shouldn’t affect one of the league’s most dynamic offensive players.

Kevin Kolb – QB

-        It’s important to clear this up right off the bat.  This year’s Kolb will not be the QB that posted a 15.3 rating after replacing McNabb during the infamous ‘Benching Game’ against Baltimore in 2008.  He will also not be the QB who posted a 120 rating while throwing for over 300 yards in a Week 3 victory over Kansas City last season.  Unfortunately, other than a lopsided loss to New Orleans last September, these are our only 2 memories of Kolb.  This lack of proof is really the only knock on Kolb heading into this campaign. Otherwise he’s in a great fantasy spot as the man at the helm of a west coast offence with several weapons.  Michael Vick is lurking, something it figures Vick would be good at doing, but this blogger’s not worried that Vick will heavily affect Kolb’s value.

LeSean McCoy – RB

-        Without checking, McCoy might be the only player in the NFL with four capital letters in his name (hyphenated names excluded).  While that neat factoid makes him incredibly unique, he also stands out as the only player in the NFL charged with replacing Brian Westbrook.  McCoy pretty much had the same task as a rookie last year, and posted numbers good enough to rank just outside the top 100.  Many expect a spike in his first full season as Philly’s #1 back, especially since his rushing attempts should increase due to Kolb being under centre.  If you can get him near pick #40, or just a bit higher in leagues that reward receptions, you’ll be happy with your return.

LUKEWARM

Jeremy Maclin – WR

-        Kolb should be solid, so there’s no reason to expect Maclin won’t build on the 55/762/4 line he posted as a rookie.  Don’t reach though, as the brotherly love may not be spread mutually amongst the many targets this offence possesses.

LEAVE’EM

Mike Bell – RB

-        Just because he was the goal-line guy in New Orleans doesn’t mean he’ll see painted dirt a ton in 2010.  8 different Eagles had rushing TDs in ’09.  The next time you see them in the red zone strap on the pads because Kolb could be calling your number.

O-LINE

Middle of the pack even if they struggle, that’s a good thing.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

@  DAL

@  NYG

vs. MIN

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

The Eagles really didn’t consider that their fans might look at their website while at the office.  Exhibit A (following the first ad link takes you here – that’s a bathing suit?)  Nevertheless, Philly did consider their fans when turning to Kolb to start their rebuild.  We can only hope he doesn’t let them down.

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 20, 2010

Party like it’s 1999?

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Mike Martz will forever be linked to The Greatest Show on Turf.  The 2010 Chicago Bears will forever be linked to Mike Martz.  Using the stats put up by Martz’s role players in his first year with the Rams, let’s see how, in fantasy terms, this year’s Bears will stack up against the 1999 Super Bowl Champions.

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

The hiring of Martz was obviously big news, and it kind of overshadowed Chicago’s signing of Chester Taylor.  Both moves should not be overlooked by fantasy owners.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Johnny Knox – WR – ’99 Torry Holt – 52 Rec, 788 Yds, 6 TDs

-        In all likelihood Knox will exceed Holt’s rookie numbers for that reason, Holt was in his first year when Martz’s pass-happy offence was introduced.  Holt went on to post an 82/1635/6 line in 2000, so one can expect Knox’s 2010 season to fall somewhere in between.  Right now he’s being taken in the same round as the Braylon Edwards’ and Santonio Holmes’ of the world.  Give Knox the nod over those two this fantasy season, and hope for good weather in Chicago during the fantasy playoffs.

Chester Taylor* – RB – at least ½ of the ’99 Marshall Faulk receiving stats listed below

-        * = under the Like heading for PPR formats only

LUKEWARM

Devin Hester – WR – ’99 Isaac Bruce – 77 Rec, 1165 Yds, 12 TDs

-        He’s technically the number one, but obviously it’s not fair to compare little Devin Hester to former-119-catch man Isaac Bruce.  If Hester reaches double-digit TDs, fantasy owners who got him a round after Knox (where he’s going as I write this) will be more than ecstatic (probably won’t happen).  The former return specialist falls into the Lukewarm category because it’s difficult to ignore a number one receiver you can get after many number twos are already off the board.  While I’m sour on their quarterback, I wouldn’t be shocked if Knox and Hester ended up with nearly identical numbers (with Knox ideally holding the significant edge in return yards)

Matt Forte/Chester Taylor – RB – ’99 Marshall Faulk – 253 Att, 1381 Yds, 7 TDs

-        The more important numbers lie in ’99 Faulk’s contribution to the passing game.  Faulk posted 87 catches for 1048 yards and 5 scores.  Incredible, I know.  Even if the duo doesn’t match Faulk’s production, they only need to combine to produce 75% of it to garner 1000 total yards and 5 total majors each.  That type of production would slot them inside the top 100 in most leagues. Forte should only be drafted where he is being drafted in league’s that award a point per reception.  Taylor is a steal in those same leagues, especially if he’s going to get an equal share of the running back responsibilities.

LEAVE’EM

Jay Cutler – QB – ’99 Kurt Warner – 325/499, 4353 yds, 41 TDs, 13 INTs

-        In Cutler’s terms ’99 Warner’s attempts are probably about right, but his yards and TDs won’t come close (where he plays/set of receivers) and he’ll probably throw more picks. In the Rams’ first 3 years with Martz’s playbook in place, they never led the league in attempts.  In two of those seasons they didn’t even rank in the top 10 in passes attempted.  So let’s put to bed the myth that Cutler is going to throw more than every other QB this year just because Martz is calling the plays.  Even if that were the case, would you want a guy who led the league in interceptions last season to be throwing the ball even more.  Don’t overlook the fact that Cutler won’t be getting the greatest pass protection and that his receiving corps isn’t top flight by any means.  At least for his sake the Bears play 4 games in primetime this year, so he’ll have a shot at disproving the growing contention that he can’t hack it under the bright TV lights. (His first chance comes on Monday, September 27th at home to the Packers)

Greg Olsen – TE – ’99 Roland Williams (No offence, RW, but Who?) – 25 Rec, 226 Yds, 6 TDs

-        Reaching all of those totals would be a treat because a tight end in Martz’s scheme is like being Kevin in Home Alone. (Macaulay Culkin’s character)  Though I have the sinking feeling that now that I typed this Olsen will suddenly be used as a receiver and leave me chomping on my foot.

Devin Aromashodu/Earl Bennett – WR – ’99 Az-Zahir Hakim – 36 Rec, 677 Yds, 8 TDs

-        I didn’t even throw in Rashied Davis, but go ahead if you’d like to try and guess which of Chicago’s remaining receivers will fill out Az’s role. None are likely to post his yards even if they do haul in more than 30 balls.

O-LINE

You want to pass the ball, you say?  With this o-line, many wish you luck, at least you’ll have a better time than if you tried to run.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

vs. NE

@  MIN

vs. NYJ

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

9 = The number of times the word Martz (including this time) appears in this entry

6 = The number of beer cans I would let Mike Ditka crush on my head

0 = The number of mentions the tight end gets in Wikipedia’s blurb about the The Greatest Show on Turf

2 = The number of fantasy playoff weeks the Bears will spend at Soldier Field in December

_ = The number of interceptions Jay Cutler throws this season, feel free to fill in the blank in the comments section

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Seattle Collegiate

Thursday, August 19th, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 19, 2010

Carroll’s Quest

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Pete Carroll’s the new coach’s name – energy’s his game.  It rhymes, but what does it mean for fantasy owners?

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

Grab your Starbucks, folks – summarizing the Seahawks’ off-season news could take all night.  The term ‘news’ is appropriate because there are several new faces from whom Seattle will expect a lot.  Pete Carroll replaces Jim Mora Jr. as coach and fills in for resigned President Tim Ruskell as Vice President of Football Operations.  So far, Russell Okung (left tackle) and Earl Thomas (free safety) represent the first two picks in a respectable draft from Carroll, and they’ll be relied on heavily right away.   Carroll’s fantasy-relevant selection was Golden Tate (an early nominee for this year’s all-name team) who will still play a part but won’t have as large a role as his previously mentioned fellow draftees.  One of Carroll’s summer moves was not as fantasy relevant – but I feel obligated to mention it – he traded for Chargers’ 3rd-stringer Charlie Whitehurst.  Simply put, this move leaves Seattle with a back-up QB who has never attempted an NFL pass, but who can capably lead the team Tai Chi sessions (here’s proof).

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Justin Forsett – RB

-        I couldn’t go two straight teams without having someone in the Like category.  Truth be told, there are plenty of signs that Forsett could be a nice addition to fantasy teams this season.  To this point, it looks like he’s challenging Julius Jones for the starting gig.  The great thing about Forsett is that whether he starts or not he’ll get enough touches weekly (41 catches in ’09 for you PPR chaps) to get something done.  In fact, I see him getting enough done that I like him better than guys like L.T., C.J. Spiller and Thomas Jones who are leaving draft boards about the same time.

John Carlson – TE

-        The last of the tight ends that appears to be guaranteed consistent targets, Carlson should easily exceed his career-high of 55 catches.  The later you can get him, the more I like him.

LUKEWARM

T.J. Houshmandzadeh – WR (championship…well, not necessarily)

-        Even as a Bengals fan, I want to like Housh, I really do.  And the reasons I’m not high on the 9th year wideout are really no fault of his own, but they’re reasons nonetheless.  There’s no guarantee his quarterback will play the full season.  His offensive line has improved on paper, but they’ve yet to prove their worth in a regular season game.  Finally, he only caught 3 touchdowns in his first year as a team’s primary target and for me that raises questions about his ability to be the only go-to guy on the field.  That said, I won’t mind if he proves me wrong.

Golden Tate – WR

-        First, a question:  If your name is Golden and you went to Notre Dame, shouldn’t you therefore be drafted/play for another team with gold helmets?  Like, shouldn’t Tate be a 49er or a Saint?  The truth is, any team would be excited to have Tate.  Seattle is expected to use him out of the slot as the youngster is most dangerous after the catch.  He’s not as dangerous a fantasy proposition as you’ll likely be able to grab him after pick #140 as a WR3 with some upside.  He could even see some work on special teams, but that’s a cloudy situation in Seattle, with Forsett, Leon Washington and Josh Wilson all having return experience.

LEAVE’EM

Matt Hasselbeck – QB

-        If (when) Hasselbeck gets injured his fantasy value (obviously) takes a hit.  Some might argue that injuries occur so often in the NFL that you can’t draft based solely on that possibility, so I’ll offer some other proof that you should steer clear of Hasselbeck in 2010.  Most importantly, there are looming questions heading into the season regarding the effectiveness of his offensive line, a poorly protected injury-prone quarterback isn’t one I want on my roster.  On top of that, we still don’t know if he’s going to get any support from his running game, so he could be looking into his new playbook for pass plays more often than he’d like.

Julius Jones – RB

-        Never liked him in Dallas, haven’t liked him here.  Even if he starts, Forsett stills offers more.

Leon Washington – RB

-        I’d take him before Jones, but that’s not saying much.  Return-league members keep an eye on whether Washington can work his way back from a compound leg fracture and into the return mix.

O-LINE

First-rounder Russell Okung adds something – but it’ll take more than that to vault them out of the o-line basement.  (Imagine if that were actually a place – how would you decorate it? What would happen down there?)

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

@  SF

vs. ATL

@  TB

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

Plenty of situations to monitor in Seattle this season, none more fascinating than Whitehurst’s salad (fitting that he plays/watches in the birthplace of grunge).  Your comments on ‘Hurst’s hair-do and all things Seahawk are welcome in comments.

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Buffalo General

Tuesday, August 17th, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 17, 2010

The Gailey Grind

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Chan Gailey took the job nobody wanted in Buffalo.  While there’s no doubt his name won’t appear in the box score, fans like the one above (and fantasy owners) are wondering if ANY Bill will be there on a consistent basis.

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

Gailey’s an offensive coach with a run-first approach.  From Day 1 his focus has been on toughness.  That’s why it’s kind of ironic that 2 members of Gailey’s 3-man rushing attack (bad for fantasy), Fred Jackson (hand) and Marshawn Lynch (ankle) are likely lost for the preseason after his first game as their head coach.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Nobody fits here – unless the Cerberus in Buffalo’s backfield loses one of its heads – then at the very least Spiller or Jackson become a reliable fantasy contributor.

LUKEWARM

C.J. Spiller – RB

-        Knock, knock, C.J.?  Hey, rookie, it’s opportunity here.  Looks like you’ll be the backfield’s main man, at least for the exhibition games.  Just don’t go showing off too much, ok?  It looks like the fantasy folks were already starting to notice you, and your average draft position around 100 (one of the best things going for you, especially in PPR leagues) might climb if you tear up the turf at Rogers Centre and beyond.  Save the big plays you’re likely to make for the regular season, you’re more likely to get on more highlight shows that way.  Don’t worry, even without a good preseason you’ll still get considered in all fantasy formats despite the fact you’re a rookie with two other guys eating your touches.

Fred Jackson – RB

-        He’s the reason I just spent 15 minutes (didn’t have a timer so I ballparked it) reading about fractures of the fourth metacarpal.  You don’t have that kind of time so allow me to sum it up.  Basically, Jackson broke one of the bones in his right hand.  The healing time is 4 to 8 weeks.  None of the possible complications look serious (knock on wood).  The most interesting note was that rehab usually doesn’t start until 4 weeks after the injury.  On that timeline, Jackson wouldn’t even get to test out his hand until after week 1.  That said his target return date of the season opener seems a bit optimistic.  Still, professional athletes never heal the same as the layman, so it’s quite possible Jackson does suit up when the Bills host Miami on September 12th.  With the injury babble out of the way, how much action will Jackson see while he’s on the field this year?  The answer: enough to warrant a look after pick #110, where he’ll likely fall now that his status for week 1 is uncertain.

LEAVE’EM

Lee Evans – WR

-        He’s their number one.  He’s their number one without a number two to keep defences from keying on him. He’s their number one without a number two to keep defences from keying on him while a lower-tier quarterback tries to get him the ball.  He’s their number one without a number two to keep defences from keying on him while a lower-tier quarterback tries to get him the ball as said QB drops back behind a lower-tier offensive line…you get the point.

Marshawn Lynch – RB

-        Didn’t read a word before slotting Lynch here.  Now, he’s got an ankle injury that will likely cost him the rest of the preseason.  “Beast Mode” won’t be on display too often unless he finds himself in a different uniform.

Trent Edwards, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brian Brohm – QB

-        In case the bolded text above doesn’t say enough – “YOU DON’T WANT A BILLS QB!”

The rest of Buffalo’s receiving corps

-        This is me daring you to draft 3rd year pro Steve Johnson, who looks like he’ll be their WR2 in Week 1.

O-LINE

They’re striving for mediocrity in 2010, that’s not a good thing.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

vs. CLE

@  MIA

vs. NE

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

Despite this bleak fantasy outlook, there are still plenty of reasons to listen to Bills’ football on the radio this upcoming season.  That last sentence had nothing to do with the fact that this blog is featured on a website whose radio station carries Bills’ games.  Bills make me wanna _______. (perhaps you’d like to politely fill in the blank in the comments’ section below)

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Kansas City Quarter

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 14, 2010

Charles in Charge

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Like 1984 for Scott Baio (above – great hair), 2010 could be the year Jamaal Charles (not pictured) proves he can carry the ‘star’ moniker.

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

Many of the Chiefs’ moves (the hiring of Romeo Crennel, the addition of affordable vets) flew under the radar this off-season.  Then they added Charlie Weiss as their offensive co-ordinator and signed an interior running presence in Thomas Jones.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Jamaal Charles – RB

-        There’s no doubt Charles’ fantastic finish to the ’09 campaign has landed him on the map of nearly every fantasy owner.  The question remains, can he produce the same way he did over the final 8 weeks of 2010? His averages over that span – and while I did the math it’s still correct: 20 rush, 121 yds, 0.87 rush TDs and just under 3 catches a game. I’d take those fantasy numbers on my squad, wouldn’t you?  Yes, you would, especially from a running back who’s slipping to the 3rd round in 2010 drafts.  This seems like a long time to be discussing a Chiefs running back so I’ll close with 3 things you should hope for if you draft Charles this season:  Jones doesn’t take too many carries, Jamaal gets the odd goal-line touch, and he comes out of camp as the team’s primary kick returner (in leagues where return yards are rewarded)

LUKEWARM

Thomas Jones – RB

-        Sure, at 32 he’s considered an old fox (as Ryan Fabro would so articulately put it) but he’s only missed 3 games since ’03.  While Charlie Weiss will likely look to get everyone involved, it’s still tough to recommend Jones in anything but touchdown heavy leagues as his running style dictates that he’ll get the cheap TDs in goal-line situations and he won’t get enough carries to match his production from last year.  He’s listed as Lukewarm only if you can get him outside the top 100 once many of the pass-catching RB options are off the board.

Dwayne Bowe – WR

-        The Chiefs want him to be their number one receiver they just don’t want him to act like one.  Anyone who owned Bowe in 2009 knows of the drama between “D-Bowe” (a name that is now apparently off limits in K-C, Dwayne is what you call him – I guess Chief coaches and execs aren’t fans of the whole brevity thing) and now-sophomore-head coach Todd Haley.  All of that commotion resulted in key missed time for the talented wideout.  Since it doesn’t sound like they’ll be going any easier on Bowe in Kansas City this season, I’d say he’s at risk of being disciplined again this year.  Thus, a guy who put up #1 type numbers in ’08-’09, falls into the Lukewarm section and into the middle rounds of your draft, where you can probably get a guy who’s not at risk of being suspended by his own team.

LEAVE’EM

Matt Cassel – QB

-        Hopefully he just concentrates on being a good enough real-life quarterback to not hurt his running game.  Cassel would be asking a lot of himself if he tried to be a relevant #1 fantasy quarterback, or even if he tried to play like the QB earning the 3rd highest paycheck in the league (he is).  So Matt, let’s focus on not screwing up Jamaal Charles’ continued breakout, ok?  Thanks.

Chris Chambers – WR

-        Should be considered in deeper PPR formats, but I’m not setting my sights too high.

Dexter McCluster – WR

-        No, he’s not the new character in Toy Story 3, he’s the guy whose name is going to make you chuckle when you bring up the list of guys you’re intently monitoring for the first few weeks of 2010, especially in PPR formats.

O-LINE

Tried to make off-season adjustments to address their terrible ’09 pass protection.  Shouldn’t hurt the running game.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

@ SD

@ STL

vs. TEN

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

Even if I believed this was helping immensely I’d still like the Chiefs running game better than their passing game.  If Bowe had a more experienced QB working behind a better offensive line he’d be on my roster.  If you and I don’t have the same thing instantly come to mind when we think of the Kansas City Chiefs, this should help.  Glad we can share that, and before I go, I must admit that this article’s obvious title was merely an excuse to have a throwback photo of Scott Baio somewhere on THE FAN590 website.

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

FANTASY PREP SCHOOL: Juilliard

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 11, 2010

Casting Cast-offs

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With playoff expectations and a reality show looming – the Jets went out and got Santonio Holmes.  Oh, and this guy, too.

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

You could say that.  As I write this, Darrelle Revis is still holding New York hostage.  Sure, that’s enough drama for a regular city, but this is New York!  So, to make things interesting, the green-and-white cut Thomas Jones, brought in LaDainian Tomlinson and then topped it off by trading for off-field-issue- specialist (running out of ways to say troublemaker) Santonio Holmes.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Shonn Greene – RB

-        At first glance I hated Greene’s average draft position near 18.  Then I looked at the running backs after him on the list, and the players around him at that pick.  Those two factors immediately changed my mind.  You’ll be hard-pressed to find a running back in a more run-heavy offence, and that gets to go to work behind a better offensive line.  Greene appears to be the last of the good running backs that will get consistent chances.  Durability and the presence of LT are the only two flags that will keep me from grabbing Greene in the first round.

LUKEWARM

Santonio Holmes – WR

-        I’m Lukewarm on Holmes simply because he has been falling near the 8th round in drafts.  That’s a pretty good spot to get a receiver who you know the Jets’ will try to get involved after acquiring him in the offseason.  If you can carry Holmes’ deadweight for his 4-game suspension to start the season, you can expect at least 10 pretty good weeks from the 5th year receiver.

LEAVE’EM

LaDainian Tomlinson – RB

-        Victory?  Not for me…not with LT.  Having my two worst fantasy football seasons with Tomlinson on my roster prevents me from giving unbiased analysis.  Here are a couple of facts though:  Rex Ryan says LT’s the third down guy.  The former Charger eats Chunky soup.  He’s old and a jerk (see there’s the bias creeping in)

Braylon Edwards – WR

-        When you try to picture a guy and the lone images that come to mind are of him dropping balls, you don’t draft him.  When that same guy is being taken in the top 100, you’re glad you’re not the one drafting him.

Jerricho Cotchery – WR

-        Technically the Jets’ WR1, Cotchery is being ranked and selected behind Edwards and Holmes heading into 2010.  I’m not going to find out why. I’m just going to find a receiver in the later rounds in a more pass-oriented scheme with a more experienced quarterback.

Mark Sanchez – QB

-        Sanchez ranked 25th in the league last year with 364 attempts.  As a result, the former Trojan ranked in the lower third of fantasy QBs in ’09.  Holmes provides a new outlet for the sophomore signal caller, but Brian Schottenheimer won’t be opening up this offence enough for Sanchez to vault up the rankings.

Dustin Keller – TE

-        There wasn’t a lot to go around even before Holmes was in the picture.  Now it’s a crowded Thanksgiving photo, except the tight end’s not in it because in the Jets’ family he’s the cousin that everyone treats politely but they only have room for at the kids’ table.

O-LINE

Arguably the best in the league.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

vs. MIA

@  PIT

@  CHI

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

While you can’t base your draft selections solely on a team’s fantasy playoff schedule, I have to admit the breakdowns above were influenced greatly by the fact that the Jets will be spending their December in the cold.  This doesn’t bode well for a passing game I wasn’t high on from the beginning.  It may bode well for a defence that has the potential to be the best in our fantasy game.  Hopefully you get to draft knowing whether New York was able to sign Darrelle Revis.  Without the league’s #1 corner, their stock falls significantly, while the ratings for their HBO/NFL Films reality series “Hard Knocks” would likely rise if the Revis saga continues past Week 1 of the regular season.

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

From the desk of Zach Cosby – August 10, 2010

Marshall Matters

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It appears Brandon Marshall has his demons doing jumping jacks for the time being, which will only help bolster his superstar status in 2010.

OFFSEASON PANDEMONIUM?

The Big Tuna made one of the biggest splashes of the off-season by adding the lone weapon his offence needed in Brandon Marshall.  Not only that, he gave the talented wideout 24 million guaranteed reasons to grow up in 2010.

LIKE’EM (header not inspired by Facebook)

Brandon Marshall – WR

-        He didn’t get a one-hour special, he didn’t even really get to decide – but Brandon Marshall will still be taking his talents to Miami in 2010.  His offseason hip surgery seems to be a non-issue, so everything about this situation screams 100 catches and double- digit TDs.  All of the Henne-hype has me believing the young QB will be better than Leinart, and as a result, has me ranking Marshall ahead of Larry Fitzgerald.

Ronnie Brown – RB

-        WILDCAT!  It’s still going to be one of your favourite things to shout this season.  Especially if you selected Brown for good value in the late 3rd or early 4th round of your draft (in deep leagues) while others left him on the board because of his injury history.  As the first back in a run-heavy offence who’s playing for a contract, I think you’ll like what Brown can do for you this campaign.

LUKEWARM

Chad Henne – QB

-        Reading 2010 Fantasy Previews on Henne is like listening to your girlfriend’s Mom pump up the guy from down the street she’d rather see her date.  But unlike Mrs. (insert gf’s surname here), the pundits may have a point.  Henne’s surrounded by all of the ingredients that make for a good fantasy quarterback:  A solid running game, a strong line and a top-flight receiver.  There’s very good chance that Henne could end up with numbers that match those of Joe Flacco (brilliantly analyzed here), but as in Flacco’s case, I’m wondering if there are enough scores to go around.

Ricky Williams – RB

-        Will he feel any pressure from carrying the name of the team’s newest part-owners?  All joking aside, finding a running back that consistently gets opportunities like Ricky does (averaged 12 carries weeks 1 through 5 in ’09 with Ronnie as the starter) might be difficult around pick #80.  You wish he caught more balls but the Wildcat factor doesn’t hurt.

Davone Bess – WR

-        Don’t mess with the Bess because the Bess don’t mess…around in the slot.  No indication he won’t easily exceed 50 catches (excellent PPR plug-in last year)

LEAVE’EM

Anthony Fasano – TE

-        If tight end wasn’t so deep he’d be more significant.  Talk of the coaches wanting to get him more targets, so keep your eye on him, especially as a bye week option.

Brian Hartline – WR

-        Defences won’t care who’s lining up opposite Marshall…nor should you

Greg Camarillo – WR

-        See Hartline above

O-LINE

In short, Jake Long’s presence means this line shouldn’t harm fantasy numbers.

PLAYOFF DOCKET (aka Weeks 14-16…aka Winning time)

@ NYJ

vs. BUF

vs. DET

FINAL THOUGHT (no, I don’t think I’m Jerry Springer)

I’ll leave you with one final suggestion regarding the Dolphins – keep an eye out for stuff like this (from an ’08 training camp preview) from Tony Sparano this season (if there was that much there in ’08, how has he not gotten more coverage)

DISCLAIMER:  Yes, despite a fairly respectable fantasy reputation, Zach Cosby managed to go 0 and 13 in one of his Fantasy Football Leagues last season.  You read right, 0 and 13, winless.  Once defeated and broken, he has now vowed to do everything in his power to prevent history from repeating itself.  This year’s improvement (at least one win) begins with draft preparation.  Check back on a regular basis as Cosby fixes his fantasy focus (points for alliteration) on the boatload of changes/issues/arrests that torpedoed the NFL this offseason.

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