Tag Archives: DEF

The A

Matt Ryan (Matty Ice is what they call him) has proven to be a good dependable QB for the Falcons.  Coming into the league in 2008 to a team that was surrounded by controversy, Ryan has been poised and shown terrific leadership.  He has made steady improvements year after year and has now become a great Fantasy option.  I drafted him as one of my QBs last year and quickly traded him away for Carson Palmer(BIG MISTAKE).  While Palmer threw INT after INT, Matty was throwing TD after TD to his WRs.  Last season, Ryan passed for 3705 yards, 28 TDs and just 9 INTs.  Those are very good numbers.  He established a good rapport with Roddy White, but now he has Julio Jones who will make an immediate impact and help Ryan reach for Fantasy super stardom.  Right now, Ryan is in that second tier of Fantasy QBs, but with a year under his belt and new weapons, he is a must start every week.  Draft him with no hesitation.

Close your eyes and imagine getting to choose from an elite arsenal of weapons before going into battle.   Weapons that will ensure you crush you opponent.   This is what it’s like to be QB Matt Ryan on game day.  Matty Ice will have his usual reliable wide out Roddy White who finished his 6th NFL season with 1389 receiving yard and 10 TDs has established his playmaking ability with 381 yacs while often double teamed.  If for some reason Matt can’t get Roddy the ball (and trust me it isn’t often), he has another receiving option in 14 year superstar veteran TE Tony Gonzalez.  Last year Gonzalez caught the rock for 656 yards and 6TDs.  This year though? Oh this year, ATL got Matt one of the most exciting weapons in the draft: JULIO JONES!  Every NFL fan was secretly hoping Jones would magically fall to their team on Draft Day.  The Falcons had none of that! They traded up (albeit too much) and got their man!  At Alabama, Jones established himself as a physical receiver.  He had an impressive combine with crazy vertical jumps and a 4.39 40!  He’s going to be exciting to watch!

The main playmaker on the Falcon Def is Jonathan Abraham.  Last year with 13 sacks.  The team had a total of 29 sacks and 22 ints which is great for getting Fantasy Football points out of a defense.  The PROBLEM is that secondary.  Last year the Falcons went 13-3 with that secondary, forcing the team to get into a lot of shootouts.  Well if its a shootout you want, its a shoot out you will get playing Atlanta because that secondary will allow you to score.  I’d pick up the Falcon Def when a starting DEF has a bye week.

There is no question that the Falcons can pass the ball all over the field with Ryan, White, and the newly acquired Jones.  But make no mistake:  that’s a running team in the ATL.  Ever since Michael “The Burner” Turner came to the Falcons, he hasn’t stopped running, and last year was no different.  Last season, he rushed for 1371, 12 TDs and 4.1 yards per carry.  He was third in rushing, behind Arian Foster and Jamaal Charles, and tied for third for rushing TDs with Adrian Peterson.  Turner is a Fantasy STUD.  If I have one concern about Turner, it his TD production week to week.  He has a tendency of scoring multiple TDs in one game, but none in others.  For example, in 16 games played last season, he went scoreless in 8 of them.  That’s bad news when you count on TD production from your main RB.  Even with this annoyance, I maintain that Turner is a must start every week.  I do also think that if you draft Turner, you may want to keep an eye on rookie Jacquizz Rodgers from Oregon State, who can make an impact in his first year with the Falcons.  But for now, The Burner is the man in ATL.


The Houston Texans

What Fantasy Footballer doesn’t love Matt Schaub?  Maybe one who’s a fan of the Colts, Jags, or Titans–but that’s about it.  It’s obvious the man knows how to move the football.  For the second season in a row, he has over 4,000 passing yards (last season he had 4,370) and over 25 TDs (finishing last season with 32).  In terms of Fantasy Football, Schaub is right up there with Brees, Brady, P. Manning, Vick–He’s going to get you the numbers and he’s a every week starter.  Now the reason you don’t draft him before a Brees, Brady, Manning is because of his 32 sacks, 12 ints, and 9 fumbles.  Regardless of the mistakes, Schaub will get you the points to cover them up.  A top-tier QB Fantasy Football draft pick.

If I could describe the 2010 Texans Defense in just one word, that word would have to be ATROCIOUS!  Specifically the SECONDARY.  They couldn’t cover anybody.  I think my grandmother even scored on them.  Now, I do have to say that the offense did their job keeping the Texans in games.  Even the run defense did a decent job, ranking 13th in the league.  But against the pass, they were ranked dead last.  The secondary gave up an average of 267.5 yards through the air, with a total of 4280 yards.  The also gave up 33 passing TDs and managed a paltry 13 INTs.  They did garner a shutout against the Titans, but that was no big feat since they had so many QB problems, but other than that, the least amount of points they gave up was 17 against an anemic Jags offense.  The Texans gave up an average of 26.7 points per game.  ATROCIOUS!  The Texans did address their defensive needs through this years draft.  6 of their 8 picks were defensive including 3 defensive backs.  They also hired goofball Wade Phillips as the new Defensive Coordinator.  As GOOFY as Wade is, he is a decent defensive coach, and should be able to handle the pressure since he’s not running the whole show.  There is even talk about them going hard after Nnamdi Asomugha, but until that Magical, Mystical, Majestical day happens, STAY AWAY!

The running game in Houston is to be respected.  That’s due to one fast man: Arian Foster.  Last year (due to the injury of Ben Tate) Foster ran for 1616 yards and 16 TDs. Pleasantly surprising Texans fans and fantasy owners alike, he ran for an average of 101 yards a game.  The high-powered offense of the Texans will be on point.  They have made upgrades to the defense.  So hopefully the Texans won’t have to have a shoot out with teams every week, further opening their run game.  Foster is worth the draft pick.  The Texans will drive the ball and someone needs to hit that goal line–I think Foster will still be the man.  If there is a question about  Derrick Ward-forget about it! He’s really a non-factor with 315 yards and 1 TD

The Texans have a great offense.  They have a good QB, and a great running game, whoever ends up running the ball, and they have the best WR in the NFL:  Andre Johnson.  I had the good fortune of drafting Johnson with my first pick (I think drafting a receiver first is the best Fantasy draft strategy, but that will be addressed in another post).  Johnson was plagued last year with nagging injuries which caused him to miss three games, but he still was dominant with 1216 yards receiving and 8 TDs.  He even received the Michael Westbrook Award for beating  down Courtland “Big Red” Finnegan in the heat of battle(did you notice my Five Heartbeats reference).  There is one knock against Johnson.  For a receiver with his gifts and gridiron prowess, you would like to see him get into the end zone more often.  In his 8 year career, he’s never reached pay dirt double-digit times.  However, that could be due to an effective running game.  Even though he’s never led the league in TDs, he’s still a must have and a must start, because he’s the BEST.  Johnson does have some pretty decent receiving partners surrounding him.  Kevin Walter is a slightly above average wideout lined up on the other side.  Jacoby Jones also filled in nicely when Johnson was out.  Jones is also a decent return man.  Lastly TE Owen Daniels can stretch the field, but he’s had his own injury problems, missing some time last season.  His backup Joel Dreesen, who’s a big receiving target, filled in nicely for Daniels.  I do think that Daniels is a good option to draft for your TE spot, but keep your eye on Dreesen as well.  This season, I do anticipate a lot of passing, especially with a suspect defense, so draft the Texan receivers, but with the exception of Johnson, don’t draft them too early.  That can kill a Fantasy team.


The Pack

Super Bowl Hangover?  Don’t bet on it… We all know the story of how Green Bay limped into the Super Bowl and won.  This season, they will be back bigger and better!

Aaron Rogers, won the Pro Football Writers of America “Good Guy Award” awarded to the player that best helped the media do their job.  He will undoubtedly be a player in the talks of who best help Fantasy owners everywhere make it to the play offs or win the league championship.  He is a no brainer as a Fantasy QB (especially with upgraded protection) but let’s break down who else on the PACK you might wanna keep an eye on draft day:

Jermichael Finley started last season as a Top Five TE in all Fantasy league formats.  Those who drafted Finley were not disappointed at the start of the season, giving fantasy owners those often hard to obtain TE fantasy points.  But with a season ending injury in week 5, many owners were scrambling around trying to find another TE to fill Finley’s big cleats.  This season, look for Finley to pick up where he left off.  It’s sometimes hard to return back so quickly from a devastating knee injury, but as I’m writing this analysis–Finley is out running routes.  He recently twitted, ” Today was the first time since Week 5 that I caught a ball & ran routes. And my my my, I look good.”

Well speaking of a good look, let’s talk about Fantasy Stud Greg Jennings.  You know him… he scored 12 TDs last year (2nd of all WRs in the league) and had 1,265 receiving yards…well TRUST he’ll be back!  The real issue is, which OTHER Green Bay wideout will make noise for Fantasy owners this year?  For years it was Donald Driver, and while he’s had some good seasons, at 36 years old  I think the best is in the past when it comes to Fantasy points.  James Jones, has not really stepped up with his play to be considered a heavy contender, in fact not really sure he’ll be a Packer this season (it’s a crowded roster)… I think you look to Jordy Nelson who stepped up big in the playoffs and the Superbowl last year.  Many were a bit surprised the Packers drafted  rookie WR Randall Cobb out of  Kentucky.  There are talks that Green Bay may have interest using him in WILD CAT ways, but of course Mike McCarthy is playing that down.  They have not been shy about saying he could play a big role in the return game.   Did you know that the Green Bay Packers have not had a kick off return for a TD since 2000?!?!   My guess is he will make his way into the pass offense…so stay tuned.

Also suffering a season ending injury was RB Ryan Grant.  Grant started off last year as top dog in the Packer backfield.  He had a great preseason and in Week 1, he was well on his way to being a Fantasy Stud.  Grant averaged 5.6 years a carry in that game and he even scampered for a 18 yard run.  Unfortunately, that was his last play for the season.  Grant has plans to come back this year, but he’ll be coming back to a crowded backfield, starting with rookie Alex Green out of Hawaii, being drafted in the 3rd round.  Green will get some looks this year, especially with Grant’s shaky health and the possible departure of Brandon Jackson, who did an OK job filling in for Grant last season.  Actually “OK” is being nice.  In 16 games, Jackson had 703 yards rushing and 4 total TDs.  Those numbers SUCK!  Other factors in the Green Bay backfield will be bruiser John Kuhn, who will definitely be a factor on short yardage and goal-line situations; and James Starks, who came on late last season and made his presence felt in the playoffs and the Super Bowl.  Remember his name!  Look for Starks to be a Fantasy Sleeper this up coming season.  I predict he will be competing with Green for the starting RB role in Green Bay.

You would think that a defense that has players with the names Matthews, Woodson, or Hawk would be a SCARY bunch.  Truth is, the Packers defense is scary–just not in Fantasy Football.  Clay Matthews, who was 4th in the league with 13.5 sacks, is a monster at LB.  Charles Woodson and his DB partners, corner Tramon Williams and safety Nick Collins, form one of the best secondaries in the NFL.  Add in LB AJ Hawk, NT BJ Raji (who remembers his entertaining interception TD return against the Bears in the NFC Championship), and DE Cullen Jenkins and you have a solid defense.  They also added a couple of late round defensive players in the draft.  BUT, they don’t SCORE.  The Packers D last year scored 2 regular season TDs off interceptions from Matthews and Woodson, AND they only pitched ONE SHUTOUT, that ugly 9-0 win over the Jets.  Also, on Special Teams, they have some good return guys in Williams and receivers Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson, but again, THEY DON’T SCORE!!  The Pack had ONE special teams TD last year, off a fumbled Cowboy kick return.  When it comes to the Green Bay Packer Def/ST, draft at your own risk.

 When it comes to kickers, you don’t realize how good one is until they start missing FGs.  Mason Crosby had been pretty consistent up until last year.  The two previous years he was AUTOMATIC.  But last year he missed a few.  He made 22 out of 28 FGs, 8 being 40-49 yards and 2 at 50+ yards.  That’s a 74.4%.  Still not bad and you definitely could do a lot worse.  Crosby can do it if you need him.  The Pack will move the ball very easily with that offensive firepower in the passing game, so look for Crosby to have plenty of scoring opportunities this year.

A team doesn’t win the Superbowl with out Playmakers on its team.  Ultimately, this is who we are recommending on Draft Day: Aaron Rogers,  Greg Jennings, and Jermichael Finley.  However, in those later rounds or when you need to cruise that waiver wire…check out Randall Cobb and James Starks.

Coming up, we take it to the Steel City and review what the Pittsburgh Steelers have to offer to Fantasy Football owners. 


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