Tag Archives: RB

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.

Ray and the Ravens!

The Ravens are a great source for Fantasy Football firepower.  The reason I say this is because they have success in ALL facets of the game.  They have a top-notch defense, a very capable offense that can move the ball in the air and on the ground , their special teams is on point, and they have an automatic kicker.  On top of all that, they added more weapons in this year’s draft to help us Fantasy ballers for the upcoming season…

“Take Ownership” of the offense is what Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome is expecting of QB Joe Flacco this year in Baltimore.  Last year, the Ravens brought in prominent, play-making receivers in Anquan Boldin and TJ Houshmandzadeh giving Flacco the tools he needed to be successful.  The 2010 season was Joe Cool’s best season yet with 26 TD and 10 Ints (2 fewer than in both 2008 and 2009).  This year the Ravens drafted even more weapons adding Torrey Smith and Tandon Doss to the mix.  If that’s not motivation enough to get the job done, Flacco is trying to get his contract extension handled this year.  So far the Ravens don’t see things the same way.  Joe’s been quoted as saying that he feels 3 years is enough time for the Ravens to make a decision.  I’m not sure if I agree, but to his credit, Flacco is the Ravens’ all time leader in passing yards, touchdown passes, completions and attempts.  The question is: is the success because of Flacco or the arsenal of weapons he’s been given?  I think this season, we will REALLY find out.  With that being said,  from a Fantasy Football standpoint: drafting Joe Flacco is a Fantasty Football DO!  Nothing like a chip on your shoulder to make you have your best season yet.

Joe may be Cool and he may be the best QB the Ravens have ever had, but this is a RUNNING team!  When you talk about Ravens RBs, you only need to mention one name, Ray Rice.  No question, a Top 10 Fantasy Football RB.  He can run and catch, two things you look for when drafting for RBs.  He was the #10 rusher last season with 1220 yards and he had 556 yards receiving, with a TD total of 6.  While that TD number is low (Rice was called on to block more in the early part of the season), but he saw the end zone quite often during the 2nd half of the season.  He also had to deal with Willis McGahee poaching some scores, but Rice was and will continue to be the man.  There is talk that McGahee is done in Bmore, further evidenced by the drafting of Anthony Allen from Georgia Tech.  Allen will not be a Fantasy factor this year.  Rice has proven to be that workhorse, every down back that you like in a Fantasy Football player.  Draft him with NO hesitation!

No shocker here: look for the #1 receiver to remain, Anquan Boldin.  In his first season as a Raven, Boldin had 64 catches for 837 yards, and 7 TDs.  I believe one huge benefit to the Ravens’ offense is that they have worked out a lot of the chemistry kinks.  This year they will be stronger for it!  Derrick Mason the solid, reliable wideout is going into his 6th year.  In 2010 he was the #2 receiver.  I think while he will still be solid and on the roster, Mason is not who is on your board Fantasy Football draft day. He will not produce the numbers he has in the past.  Now as for awesome rookies: Torrey Smith (University of MD: Stand Up) is the rookie WR drafted this offseason.  At 6’1, 204lbs, the Ravens will look to Smith to be the HUGE, PHYSICAL deep threat.  I think he will have a great rookie season…especially with an older Derrick Mason on the roster.  Another name to keep an eye out for is Tandon Doss.  According to Philip Taft, Contributing Writer for www.bleacherreport.com<http://www.bleacherreport.com/> “Tandon Doss was picked as a result of Ravens QB Joe Flacco, who was given a list of receivers to evaluate and picked Doss.”  When the QB picks you, I’m sure he’ll work on getting you the ball….if you make it through training camp!

The Ravens seem to be very comfortable at TE also.  Todd Heap is a very talented option, but has dealt with many injuries in his career.  Last year, he had a bit of a Fantasy awakening, with 599 yards and 5 TDs.  He averaged 15 yards a catch, which was the highest on the team.  But Heap did miss some time last year because of injuries.  There were no worries, Ed Dickson did a nice job filling for Heap during his absence.  Some even took advantage by plugging in Dickson for a couple of weeks.  Both players are worth keeping an eye on.

The Ravens D is still a force.    They may not be the force that they once were, but they still strike fear when opponents see them on the schedule.  The reason I think they are still a viable Fantasy D is they have what a lot of NFL defenses don’t have:  PLAYMAKERS!!  Ray Lewis still hits as hard as he did when he got drafted out of the U.  He may not have high sack totals, but he is a tackling fool.  He can also play the pass and come up with an occasional INT.  Ed Reed, if healthy, can be the best football player on the field.  Anytime he gets his hands on the ball, he is a threat to score:  from ANYWHERE.  Ray Ray may lack sacks, but his LB partner T Sizzle is a sack master!  Terrell Suggs lead the team with 11 sacks last year, showing that when he plays, he just does not care who he hits.  The secondary is serviceable, but don’t really scare anybody…well Reed is the exception to this of course.  Still the Ravens, in my opinion, got one of the best steals in the draft with CB Jimmy Smith, out of Colorado.  Smith fell in the draft because of some off the filed issues, but there is no better place for a young defensive rookie to be than in the same lockeroom with Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.  Oh, and dude can ball.  I predict he will be running back some INTs to the house this season. 

I’m not real big on talking about kickers, but they do score Fantasy points too.  Billy Cundiff has been a consistent Fantasy kicker, so he is draftable (is that a word)?  Cundiff was 26 of 29 in field goals which is adequate.  The one thing you may have to worry about is there may not be a lot of opportunities, but with the consistent improvement of the Ravens O, that could change.  Another thing about Cundiff is that he doesn’t have a BIG leg, so you may not get those bonus points for kicks over 50 yds.  But like I said, he is draftable.

Taking it from one purple team to another we are headed to the Twin Cities to discuss what the Vikings can offer to your 2011 Fantasy Football roster…

Da Bears

 How many Fantasy Football hearts has Jay Cutler broken since becoming a Chicago Bear?  I’m raising my hand as one.  I drafted Cutler in his last year in Denver, and he quickly became my every week starter.  He had that big arm, dishing passes out to Marshall, Royal, and Schefler with ease.  Now that he’s in the Chi, he still has the big arm, but no offensive line and no decent receivers to pass the ball.  I drafted him again in his 1st year as a Bear, but I quickly dropped him by Week 3.  Cutler did complete passes…to the OTHER team.  He also became ONE with the turf.  Last year, there was a little improvement.  In fact, he did lead his team to the NFC Championship (which they lost with him “injured” on the sideline).  In 2010, he managed over 3200 passing yards and 24 total TDs.  He also cut down on his completions  to the other team.  Cutler still finished the season with a total of 16 INTs and 6 lost fumbles.  His protection was only slightly better, so his fondness of the turf deceased a bit.  This year, expect more of the same.  The Bears drafted a big OT Gabe Carimi, who measures 6’7″, 314lbs, so that could help.  However, that’s the only O Lineman drafted.  Additionally, there were no other offensive weapons for Cutler.  With the lockout still hovering over the league, who knows if the Bears will address those needs.  If you draft Cutler you’ve been warned. 

Chicago is another one of those teams that have fans biting their nails on Sunday, as they do not easily put points on the board.  One of the main reasons?: That O line!  Anytime your QB eats grass 58 times in one season, forget about fantasy football players lighting it up.  I can’t even count how many times I have hawked stat tracker waiting for the next time Matt Forte will be on the field…The Bears hardly keep the ball.  Matt Forte is a RB I personally have experience with on my fantasy roster.  While last year was his best year, he is still not my go to starter every week.  It really depends on who the Bears are playing. If their opponent has awesome linebackers, Forte is on my bench.  Problem with the Bears is, if they get down early, they cannot run the ball.  They rely on Cutler (sigh).  Last year,  this amazing  tandem of Matt Forte and Chester Taylor was really Forte on his own.  Last year Forte rushed for slightly over 1000 yards and 9 TDs, while Chester Taylor had 267 rushing yards and 3 TDs. 

I’m not at all impressed with the set of receivers in the Windy City.  Not one of them scares any defensive secondaries.  No Chicago Bear receiver had over 1000 yards last year.  No Chicago Bear receiver had more than 5 TDs last year.  See what I’m saying.  Not impressive at all.  Johnny Knox “emerged” as the go-to receiver last year for Cutler.  Knox was the top receiver with 960 receiving yards and 5 TDs.  He could improve on his numbers this year, but don’t waste a draft pick on him.  Earl Bennett was looked upon as someone who could become a favorite option for Cutler because of their history as teammates at Vanderbilt.  So far that well has been dry.  There was big buzz last year about Devin Aromashodu being a Fantasy sleeper.  However, he only had 149 yards and 0 TDs in 14 games.  I do believe that Devin Hester can ONE day be a good WR.  He is no doubt a dangerous return guy and he can bring that same speed and elusiveness as a wideout.  But he still not a viable Fantasy option as a WR.  Last year he had 475 receiving yards and 4 TDs on 41 receptions.  He maybe worth taking a chance on, but only because he’s a deadly return guy. I personally think the only pass catcher worth drafting is TE Greg Olson. He has, for the last two years, been the first option for Cutler, especially in the red zone.  He’s a big  target and the only reason he is not a Top Five TE is become he’s been in Chicago.  He has been in the top 5 for the last two seasons in targets.  This year, Cutler will continue to rely heavily on him.

Defense wins games, and so the Chicago Bears had a successful 2010-11 season.  Their defense had 34 sacks (mostly by Peppers and Idonjie with 8 each).  Not bad for those leagues that give you points for sacks (mine do)!  The most notable key area of opportunity for the Bears defense is scoring!  While last season they had 21 Ints, this defense rarely gets in the end zone.  Not really a plus for Fantasy Football scoring…

We all know and love that electric return guy DEVIN HESTER (gotta respect the man, he did play for the U after all)!  However, teams know and respect the return monster Hester is too!  Only a few dare devils kick the ball to him… so he doesn’t return ’em like he used to.  What the Bears always get in return is OUTSTANDING field position.  It’s actually funny to watch: Hester just stands back there when it’s time to punt and POOF, the Bears offense starts beyond the 20 yard line.  Talk about “Game Recognize Game”! Another element that’s awesome for the Bears and their fans, but not so much for Fantasy Football owners.

Up next, we are taking it to B’MORE and it’s alllllllll about the Ravens!

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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