- The Season's Over -

Fantasy Football: Preseason Stock Report

August 30, 2007

Jacobs’ Stock is Soaring

Playing fantasy sports and playing the stock market have a lot in common. In both, you’re always trying to buy low and sell high. The smart man always needs to keep his finger on the pulse of the market. You never want to pay market value or above, and getting in on the ground floor with a player can absolutely make your portfolio. Everybody is searching for that penny stock that could explode and make your year. This time of year there are wild swings in value that you need to capitalize on. Always remember though, preseason stats are generally meaningless but there are significant developments this time of year that you need to be aware of. With that in mind, ETB sorts through the recent news and takes a look at a few of the players who have seen the biggest gains and losses in their value over the last couple of weeks.

Big Gainers:

Vincent Jackson, WR, San Diego: I pegged Vincent as one of my two breakout WRs in our August 14th Prediction-O-Rama, and I’m feeling pretty good about it. He’s come out on fire so far and looks like Philip River’s obvious go-to WR (After Antonio Gates, of course). In his first two preseason games he caught three TDs and had 92 yards in the all-important third contest. His large frame and hands make Jackson an ideal red-zone threat.

James Jones, WR, Green Bay: Even before the Donald Driver injury (Below) James Jones stock was on the rise due to an extremely strong camp and preseason. Favre seems very comfortable with the young man and has looked to him often so far, much more than incumbent starter Greg Jennings. There has even been talk that Jones is poised to snag the starting job, an extremely lucrative fantasy commodity, from Jennings. He’s worth an add in all 12-team leagues right now.

Joseph Addai, RB, Indianapolis: Addai is poised for a huge season, one where I think he’ll flirt with 2,000 total yards and find pay dirt 12+ times. The fact that the Colts don’t have any reasonable options to divvy up the carries with is going to be big, and Peyton Manning seems to think the young man is going to be touching the ball 25+ times a game. Manning recently told the NFL Network, “This year Joseph Addai is ready to carry that load and be that one back starter and be able to come out whenever he wants to come out . . . He deserves that chance to be the featured back, to be in there on the goal-line drives, the red zone situations, the key two-minute drills . . . he’ll be on the field.” Owners have to love it. He’s now third overall on my cheat sheet.

Brandon Jacobs, RB, New York Giants: Once upon a time (Well, a month ago at least) Brandon Jacobs could be expected to fall into the early part of the third round. There was some concern that he wouldn’t be able to handle the workload and that the Giants had plans for a time share with Rueben Droughns. No longer. First word came out that Giants coordinator Kevin Gilbride was committed to giving Frankenstein “20 to 25″ carries a game. Then we heard that Jacobs was now running forties in the 4.4 range this year, even faster than his 4.5 range from the scouting combine. And before that, he had spent the offseason working with Eddie George on keeping low to the ground and staying healthy as a taller running back. Now this week we learned that Reuben Droughns will consistently be playing FB again instead of RB. We already knew Jacobs was the goal-line back and the man between the 20s. What else do you want?

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2 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 30, 2007 at 10:15pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football: Preseason Quick Hits

August 29, 2007

Bennett should be on your radar

- We implore you not to overlook Rams WR Drew Bennett. With a knee injury suffered last season still nagging him, formerly elite fantasy WR Torry Holt seems like a prime candidate to take a few steps down in production this year (which is a shame, because we’re fans). Isaac Bruce has looked fantastic in training camp, but turns 35 in November. Bennett is 6-5, has great hands, and is a legitimate WR3 on your fantasy roster even when Holt is active. If he’s out, the former Titans wideout is a fantastic WR3 and solid WR2, yet guys like Devin Hester, Ted Ginn Jr., and Amani Toomer are commonly taken ahead of him. That’s just silly.

- ETB has collectively completed six fantasy drafts at this point, and we’re still seeing people spend high mid-round picks on kickers and defenses. Don’t you make this mistake as well. Once again: after the Chicago, Baltimore, New England, and maybe San Diego D’s have come off the board, you’re better off either not drafting Defense until the last pick or not taking one at all. Despite preseason indications, there’s no way of knowing which team defenses are going to be the most fantasy friendly outside of The Big Three. You’re better off stocking up on running backs and wide receivers while you can, then adding, dropping, and plugging in defenses with favorable matchups during the season.

The same goes for kickers–anyone remember who the “stud” kicker was last year? Robbie Gould, who probably wasn’t targeted in many preseason drafts in ’06. And the year before that? Neil Rackers, who dropped off last season. The point is that, yes, Adam Vinatieri is a pretty sure thing and so are a few other guys, but there’s a good chance that a major points contributor will be waiting on waivers. And, at the end of the day, there’s very little that separates most kickers. Don’t waste one of your valuable mid-round picks on this position.

- He was a popular sleeper pick for your ETB friends last season, but then-Patriots rookie Chad Jackson never got on track as he battled a series of injuries. With Donte Stallworth, Randy Moss, and Wes Welker joining the WR battalion this season, it now looks like the team is playing it safe with Jackson and that we’ll have to wait another year to see if he can develop into a fantasy-relevant wideout.

- Detroit Lions running back Kevin Jones will reportedly have his foot examined on Thursday to help determine whether or not the team should put him on the active roster or send him to the PUP (Physically Unable to Perform) list. Tom Kowalski has more on this developing story. If Jones isn’t ready to go for at least the first six weeks, Tatum Bell will get the “lion’s” share of carries and catches in the potentially explosive Lions offense.

Currently going in about the middle of the 11th round in Yahoo! drafts, Bell is an okay RB2 and great W/R play during Jones’ absence. Push him up your cheatsheet some and grab him anywhere after the 6th round; in ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza, he went 74th overall. As for Jones, he went one round later at 94th overall. It’s a bit of an investment, but anyone who takes Bell would be wise to draft KJ as well.

**UPDATE**

Kevin Jones has been removed from the PUP list and is now participating in team practice daily. He likely won’t play in week one, or be a factor in week two, but the removal from the PUP list likely means the Lions think Jones can contribute in weeks three through five. He’s worth making an offer for now, as he was a phenomenal RB3 and very strong RB2 in Mike Martz’s system when healthy last season.

- Clinton Portis has returned to the practice field. He’s still a major player on our Fantasy Football Pariahs list, however, and his backup, Ladell Betts, remains a running back we recommend targeting in the middle rounds. Book it: Betts will get more carries this season than Portis. And will notch more fantasy points.

The former LT backup might steal carries--or maybe the starting job--from Ronnie Brown

- Players we’ve become bullish on the past few weeks: WR Jerry Porter, QB J.P. Losman, WR Demetrius Williams, QB Alex Smith, WR Patrick Crayton, RB Jesse Chatman, WR Dwayne Bowe, RB LaMont Jordan, and WR Brandon Marshall (who Denver teammates have been calling “Baby T.O.” in camp, presumably because of his talent).

- There’s a few really painful (read: forced) attempts at humor throughout, but this analysis of a fantasy draft is probably still worth a read after the inevitable 1:30pm work boredom sets in.

- Potential rookie RB fantasy stallion Brandon Jackson gave owners (like me) a scare earlier this week when he suffered a mild concussion, but his chances of starting the team’s season opener have improved. That’s great news as we think at least one TD could be in the offing at home against Philadelphia.

- Keep your eye on second-year Eagles WR Jason Avant, who will start the season third on the depth chart behind Reggie Brown and Kevin Curtis. He’s got a lot of talent and has had an impressive camp, and could make some noise if either guy goes down and McNabb stays healthy.

- This is one of the biggest reasons why Vikings rookie RB Adrian Peterson is climbing his way up just about everybody’s draft board. There’s certainly reason to be excited, but temper your enthusiasm some as Chester Taylor, for now, is still the starter and not exactly a pushover.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Aug. 29, 2007 at 10:20am in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Panning for Gold: Back in the NBA’s Free Agency Summer of ’06

August 28, 2007

Ben failed to push Chicago over the top

Much of the analysis and grades you’ve been reading about the NBA’s free-agent action this summer are fool’s gold. Until these players who’ve changed homes have actually gotten on the court, it’s very difficult to evaluate and predict just how smart or foolish a given signing was (okay, it’s safe to say Orlando wildly overpaid for Rashard Lewis after essentially bidding against themselves).

Instead, ETB takes a momentary break from our NFL coverage to quickly look back at how some of the most noteworthy NBA free-agent acquisitions of 2006 worked out last year. We’re guessing there are probably more than a few cases of buyer’s remorse.

Ben Wallace, C, Chicago Bulls: Four-year, $60 million contracts tend to sway the minds of 32-year-old NBA athletes, no matter what the situation is. Convincing the four-time Defensive Player of the Year to pack his bags and move about 280 miles west was to be the move that finally pushed the Chicago Bulls over the top. GM Jim Paxson overpaid for Wallace’s services, but part of that exorbant sum of cash was spent towards not only strengthening his own club, but also significantly weakening the Bulls’ hated divisional rival in Detroit.

Then came the silly headband issue. And the power struggle with head coach Scott Skiles. And, of course, the weighty expectations that come with such a big contract and huge marketing blitz. Of course, most of the small stuff proved to be just that, and Wallace settled in after awhile and became a leader for the no-longer Baby Bulls.

Unfortunately for Chicago, by season’s end a few things failed to materialize: the team did not win their division (Detroit did, again), the team did not advance to the Conference or NBA Finals (they lost to Detroit in Round Two), and Wallace experienced a statistical decline in every major category–except assists–when compared to the 2005-06 season, when he had already begun showing signs of wear and seemed to have lost a step.

Something tells us that Wallace will not play three more seasons in Chicago, even though he’ll be awfully tough to trade at that pricetag. It’s not that he had an awful season, it’s just that he didn’t consistently provide the kind of defensive and energy boost the team expected. On top of that, he often seemed disinterested with sparring with his former teammates during their playoff series. On the year, Wallace averaged 6.4 points, 10.7 boards, 1.5 steals, and 2 blocks.

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No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Aug. 28, 2007 at 4:19pm in ETB Articles, NBA

The Miami Dolphins’ Super Bowl Zubaz Party

August 23, 2007

Thanks to Ryan McNeill–formerly of HoopsAddict.com and recently hired by HoopsWorld as their Toronto Raptors analyst–for the head’s up on one of the biggest Zubaz celebrations ever caught on film. Now this is something to be proud of, ‘Fins fans.

2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Aug. 23, 2007 at 8:53pm in NFL

ETB’s Fantasy Football Draft Analysis (13-16)

August 22, 2007

Robert Meachem

The final four rounds of the fantasy draft, when we find out which NFL team each participant has allegiance to (read: homer picks), and when the players Andrew and I would call “depressing” start coming off the board. When we say depressing, we mean it like when we think about them, their downward career spirals, and their failure to ever truly capitalize on their football talent, it makes us want to reach for a bottle, crank up a William Elliott Whitmore album and never leave the house again. For example, Sammy Morris and Kevan Barlow are depressing.

Though we wish it wasn’t true, all good things must come to end and the following thoughts on rounds 13, 14, 15, and 16 bring a close to the analysis of the draft for ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza. We hope these articles have helped you in managing your own fantasy team, and wish you the best of luck. Of course, our fantasy football coverage will be ongoing throughout the NFL preseason and season, and will include periodic news, notes, and trends from our league that will help you out in your league as well. Enough–here’s the last four (often painful) rounds.

Round 13

The Other Adrian Peterson: Solid Handcuff1. Robert Meachem – P**S****.com
2. Mike Bell – The Honda Accords
3. Anthony Gonzalez – Rushmore Calligraphy
4. Ronald Curry – twins15
5. Adrian Peterson – Skittlebrau
6. Eric Johnson – McLovin
7. Leon Washington – Fightin’ Snow Devils
8. Eric Parker – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
9. Dwayne Bowe – The Ghosts
10. Denver – Donaghy’s Don
11. Seattle – Coach Janky Spanky
12. J.P. Losman – Trevor Masters

-P**S****.com feels Robert Meachem can contribute now in an explosive offense that made a star out of 7th-round pick Marques Colston a year ago. Maybe so, because Meachem is pretty quick and has good hands, but he has just average size. Devery Henderson is no stranger to the injury report, so Meachem could be stepping in at any point. Still, this leaves P**S****.com with a bench of Meachem, fellow rookie Ted Ginn Jr. and Reggie Williams at WR. That will hurt when bye weeks and injuries start taking effect.

- Over the past few seasons, for anyone wishing to maintain sanity it’s been a rule to just try and avoid the Denver backfield headache altogether if possible. Trying to conquer Mike Shenanigan’s random platoons has doomed many a fantasy team, but this year Travis Henry looks like “the guy,” and no such tomfoolery will be employed. If Henry falls, however, it’ll be back to Shenanigan’s old tricks, and Mike Bell will be fighting it out with Cecil Sapp . . . and whoever Mike wants to bring in off of the practice squad to impress us with his scouting talents. As such, neither Bell nor Sapp have much value at this point.

- Rushmore loves his Colts (and for fantasy purposes, who doesn’t?), and scoops up the reportedly hard-working rookie Anthony Gonzalez. We’ve seen slot receivers excel in Tom Moore’s offense before, and it looks like Manning has taken a liking to the rook and they’ve spent a lot of time together in the offseason. . . and that the ex-Buckeye has locked down a starting spot. Real nice upside pick here, because we’ve seen what the third receiver in Indianapolis can do before (See Brandon Stokley in 2004 with 10 TDs).

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3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell and Brian Spencer on Aug. 22, 2007 at 8:38pm in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

ETB’s Fantasy Football Draft Analysis (10-12)

August 21, 2007

Michael Turner: Top Handcuff?

The wheels officially come off in these rounds. People were desperate to find their backups at each position no matter what muscles were strained in their exaggerated reaching. Average defenses flew off the board with reckless abandon. Owners hoping to impress began busting out their increasingly improbable “sleepers,” each hoping to top the last. Conventional wisdom, mock drafts and cheat sheets were cast aside in the name of utter desperation, bedlam and ennui. And when the dust settled, we still had four more rounds to go.

Here’s our take on the chaotic, problematic, ill-conceived, poorly executed, stressful and boring tenth, eleventh and twelfth rounds of the draft in ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza. Enjoy.

Round 10

Jealousy is Ugly
1. Miami – Trevor Masters
2. DeShaun Foster – Coach Janky Spanky
3. LaMont Jordan – Donaghy’s Don
4. Jerry Porter – The Ghosts
5. Devin Hester – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
6. Pittsburgh – Fightin’ Snow Devils
7. Michael Turner – McLovin
8. Randy McMichael – Skittlebrau
9. Philadelphia – twins15
10. Vernand Morency – Rushmore Calligraphy
11. Muhsin Muhammad – The Honda Accords
12. Brandon Jones – P**S****.com

-Basically, unless you can land what you deem a top-5 defense there’s no point in drafting one. Brian believes that Miami will once again put up positive fantasy stats that should give him an edge versus weekly opponents, otherwise he would take a high-upside position player. It’s a judgment call. If you don’t think that, it’s a better plan to stockpile talent at WR and RB here, hope it ends up paying off and then just add/drop defenses weekly to play the matchups. Personally, I wouldn’t draft a D after Chicago, Baltimore, New England and San Diego this season. It’s all personal preference.

-DeShaun Foster is currently atop the depth chart for a traditionally solid rushing team, so he needs to get taken somewhere in here. He’s been unimpressive and dangerously close to losing his gig recently, but any starting RB is a valuable commodity this late- and he’s one DeAngelo Williams’ injury away from 6th-round value.

-LaMont Jordan was a first-round pick last season. As such, he single-handedly ruined seasons. It’s been a long year for the young man, but he’s saying all the right things about reclaiming his status as an elite RB. He’ll have every opportunity to do so while Dominic Rhodes serves a 4-game suspension to start the year. Maybe he does, likely he doesn’t, but we’re at the point when any potentially productive back will have his named called, and Jordan should be in the thick of it.

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4 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 21, 2007 at 11:11pm in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

ETB’s Fantasy Football Draft Analysis (7-9)

August 20, 2007

Ladell Betts could be the steal of the draft

Knowing I was about halfway through a draft in another league two weeks ago, Andrew texted me the following sage-like wisdom: “Don’t lose focus. This is when championships are won.” While that may indict us both as extreme fantasy-football nerds (you already knew this), his words ring true when it comes to the latter half of the draft’s middle rounds. The big names are gone, your top scoring threats have been locked up, and it’s all about building the bedrock of a title-contending team with solid depth players. It’s also a good time to target under-ranked players you’ve done due diligence on and think are in line for a breakout year.

This is when the tight-end market starts drying up and the last viable options for starting quarterback disappear. You’ll also see a good number of reach picks and top-ranked defenses come off the board. Without further ado, a look at the seventh, eighth, and ninth rounds of ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza.

Round 7

Rivers is a solid starter this year

1. Joey Galloway – P**S****.com
2. Tatum Bell – The Honda Accords
3. Chris Chambers – Rushmore Calligraphy
4. Alge Crumpler – twins15
5. LenDale White – Skittlebrau
6. Jeremy Shockey – McLovin
7. Vince Young – Fightin’ Snow Devils
8. Warrick Dunn – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
9. Kevin Curtis – The Ghosts
10. Philip Rivers – Donaghy’s Don
11. Chester Taylor – Coach Janky Spanky
12. Chris Cooley – Trevor Masters

- Tampa Bay’s biggest downfield threat arrived in the NFL back in 1995… when I was a junior in high school. That’s 12 seasons of tread on those legs (11 if you exclude 2000, when he only played one game). Nevertheless, the 5-11 Galloway enters ’07 coming off two straight seasons of at least 60 receptions, 1,000 yards receiving, and 7 TDs. That he accomplished those numbers during a quarterback carousel that’s included guys named Simms and Rattay is quite impressive. Jeff Garcia looks to be the starter this year–no one’s really sure what that’ll mean yet, but I’d be surprised if Galloway puts up the kind of numbers he did the last two seasons. Not a bad value pick, but it’s a gamble, to be sure, with other players of more upside still on the board at WR.

- The season hasn’t started yet, and it is the Detroit Lions we’re talking about, but ETB aren’t the only ones who feel this team’s offense has big, big things on the horizon. The passing attack has the potential to be prolific (assuming the offensive line gels within a reasonable timeframe), which means the running game should benefit as well. Bell is a fantastic pick here with most of the surefire backs already off the board. With Kevin Jones still rehabbing his fractured foot, Bell should get most of the carries for at least the first few weeks of the season and will catch his fair share of passes, too. Tico Duckett working the goal line is a concern, and second-year squirt Brian Calhoun could be used on some third-down plays. And though I can’t confirm this as fact, my sources in Detroit say the team feels KJ will be ready for the start of the season. Either way, it’s hard to argue against this pick.

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2 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Aug. 20, 2007 at 11:19am in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

ETB’s Fantasy Football Draft Analysis (4-6)

August 18, 2007

Marshawn to Bust Out?

In rounds four through six, the obvious choices were all off the board and the positional runs began in earnest. Most owners were scrambling to draft the few remaining legitimate WR1 options while others targeted the premier WR2s, causing a major run. Additionally, every team still had at least one starting running back position to fill and there weren’t enough quality players to go around, forcing owners to invest in potentially devastating platoon situations. These were also the rounds where the always difficult to project rookie backs began flying off the shelves. After the inevitable Antonio Gates pick in round three, we see that position heat up here too- with nearly all of the attractive options gone by the end of round six. Finally, two owners proffered their opinions on the top two defenses and where they need to be drafted. This is where it starts getting interesting.

Here’s our take on the critical fourth, fifth and sixth rounds in the draft of ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza. Enjoy.

Round 4

Donald Driver: Health NUT1. Marques Colston – Trevor Masters
2. Randy Moss – Coach Janky Spanky
3. Deuce McAllister – Donaghy’s Don
4. Marshawn Lynch – The Ghosts
5. Andre Johnson – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
6. Javon Walker – Fightin’ Snow Devils
7. Lee Evans – McLovin
8. Donald Driver – Skittlebrau
9. Ahman Green – twins15
10. Carnell Williams – Rushmore Calligraphy
11. Jamal Lewis – The Honda Accords
12. Marion Barber III – P**S****.com

-Marques Colston came from nowhere last year (A 44th selection in the 7th round of the NFL draft) to put up the best rookie totals for a wide receiver since Michael Clayton (70 receptions for 1,038 yards and 8 TDs). Mr. Masters is obviously hoping Colston offers a far superior sophomore effort than Clayton did. While much of his value as a rookie was due to the erroneous TE label he enjoyed in fantasy leagues, finishing first at the position under our scoring format (see below), Colston was a monster no matter where you started him. Maurice Jones-Drew was the waiver-wire prize of the season, but Marques was no slouch either as the top wideout in an emerging New Orleans attack. Now that Joe Horn is out of town, he’s the unquestioned number one. This is around where he will go, but I would personally prefer a more proven WR at this stage of the draft precisely because of the bust potential Clayton proved breakout rookies to have.

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3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 18, 2007 at 11:51pm in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

ETB’s Fantasy Football Draft Analysis (1-3)

August 16, 2007

LaDainian: Crush, Kill, Destroy

Fantasy football trophies aren’t won in the first round as often as they are lost. True, the guy who lands LaDainian Tomlinson has the immediate edge (in this case, a gentleman who apparently runs a very dirty, very fictional website- and no, I won’t fill in the blanks). After he’s off the board though, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will have the second-greatest fantasy impact. At least ten players could conceivably finish second, and most of them will have fine seasons that give your team a chance to win. However, miff your first rounder and it’s extremely difficult to overcome. Last year I took Shaun Alexander in three leagues and Clinton Portis in one. It was a long season.

A bad second-round pick is far easier to overcome, so it’s often a time to swing for the fences for fantasy owners. Still, the bulk of successful fantasy squads will pick up an extremely solid, weekly contributor there- usually a top-flight WR or an upper-echelon RB. For those first two rounds, it’s mostly academic. We know who’s going to get taken and it’s just a question of the order in which it will happen. The third round of picks is where all hell starts to break loose: Should I be the first guy to take a TE? Can I afford to skip this QB run? Is this my last chance to lock up an elite WR? Do I need to reach for a mid-tier RB before they’re all gone?

The chaos (stress) begins in round three and will continue for the next hour and a half. ETB has your back, analyzing our draft while providing a blueprint for yours- and we throw in the suggested handcuffs at no additional cost (a $60 value). Today we take a look at how those first three rounds went in ETB’s First Annual Fantasy Football Extravaganza. In the next edition, rounds four through six.

Round 1

Gore Slipped1. LaDainian Tomlinson – P**S****.com
2. Steven Jackson – The Honda Accords
3. Peyton Manning – Rushmore Calligraphy
4. Larry Johnson – twins15
5. Joseph Addai – Skittlebrau
6. Brian Westbrook – McLovin
7. Shaun Alexander – Fightin’ Snow Devils
8. Willie Parker – JD – 2 Guys & A Mic
9. Frank Gore – The Ghosts
10. Rudi Johnson – Donaghy’s Don
11. Clinton Portis – Coach Janky Spanky
12. Reggie Bush – Trevor Masters

-LaDainian needs to go first overall in every league, that’s all there is to say. So why do I have a nagging feeling this is the year he gets hurt . . . Handcuff Michael Turner.

-I love the Steven Jackson pick here. He has a great shot to be the second best RB in fantasy this season, even if he sees fewer targets from Bulger. Drew Bennett and Randy McMichael are going to steal a couple of TDs in the red zone, but this offense is going to roll all season long and they’ll be riding S-Jax. Handcuff Brian Leonard.

-This one pretty much blew everybody’s mind. The draft-room defense was that Peyton scored the second most points in our scoring format last year, and he’s likely to do so this year. That’s not necessarily relevant though. First, each team is going to need to start three RBs every week and only one QB so there is significantly greater position scarcity in the backfield. Second, total points are not important. What’s important is how many more points a player will score versus an average weekly opponent. Of the top-ten scorers from a year ago, six were QBs in our format. That means you can wait and still get an extremely competitive QB. Handcuff Jim Sorgi . . . sorry, just kidding, I couldn’t resist.

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10 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Aug. 16, 2007 at 10:32pm in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Five Reasons Why Fantasy Football Sucks (But We’ll All Still Play Anyway)

August 15, 2007

Jesus Hates Your Fantasy Team

Fantasy football is a blast right now. New positional rankings are hitting the Web every day (some better than others) for you to weigh against your own projections. Everyone has their favorite sleeper picks, their players to avoid, their players to target in the draft’s later rounds. And, of course, draft day itself looms, an event no less sacred than watching your team compete in the Super Bowl.

If you’ve already drafted, your team is undoubtedly looking stacked. At every position. Your roster has a nice balance of proven veterans who’re still productive, younger guys ready for a breakout season, and rookies bound to make an immediate fantasy impact. Yep, things are going to be different this season–you’re not going to miss the playoffs. You’ll never be forced to start any players that would be considered a reach. You’ve planned and schemed and strategized for nothing less than victory.

Well, we at ETB are here to call bullshit.

Fantasy football is messy. Any serious participant spends wastes a lot of time and effort on it, and more often than not, it’s all for naught. Only one team out of 10 or 12 emerges victorious at the end of the day, right? Let’s just be honest with ourselves: fantasy football sucks. It sucks. It’s awful, it’s cruel, it spits in your face more than it pats you on the back. The sooner we all accept the following truths, the more enjoyable these next few months are going to be.

1. Ligaments Can Tear, Bones Can Break, Seasons Can End
Wow–you actually lucked into the second-overall pick this year. Good job. And it’s about time, really, because for the last four years, in all three of your leagues, you’ve always been stuck near the end of the draft order, getting handcuffed to just a so-so #1 RB. You deserved better. Knowing exactly who you’re going to take makes it so much easier, doesn’t it?

Anchored by a stud running back and some picks you deemed “savvy” in the middle rounds, you’re primed for your very first league championship. With your draft done and two preseason games left, the waiting game is almost too much to bear. You tune into the third game of the exhibition season–traditionally the last time most starters see the field until the regular season begins–to watch your back in action. His first carry goes for 15 yards as he bowls over two weak defenders. Then his QB checks down to him on a swing pass that breaks for 35; yep, you’re going to ride this stallion all the way to first place.

That is, until, Bonehead Coach inserts your stud for one more series “to make sure he breaks a sweat.” Your first-overall pick suffers a season-ending tear to the anterior cruciate ligament–both of ‘em. Panicked, sweating, heart racing, you rush to the computer: Internet is down again. D’oh! By the time it’s back up 2 hours later, his replacement, a rookie taken in the third round who has been described as “electrifying,” has been snapped up. And wouldn’t you know it, your #2 WR just suffered a broken ankle in another game, too, which means Muhsin Muhammad has become your every-week starter.

Now, despite your best-laid plans, you’ve been rendered helpless, like Cissy Yost trying to keep Tina away from Shaunie. No matter what you do, no matter how well you think you drafted, a small twist of fate–or should we say a small twist of the knee, ankle, or arm–could derail your fantasy season on any given Sunday.

2. There’s No Prize for Second Place
Feeling invigorated after a dominating win over your co-worker–the one who clips their fingernails at their desk and wears pleated khaki pants every day–you start the week off like any respectable, serious fantasy player does: by scouring the waiver wire first thing Tuesday morning. Better yet, you’re bypassing that whole process because you’ve already queued everyone in your Watch List.

You drop that fill-in defense from last week and grab another D with a favorable matchup on Sunday. Then, you scoop up the highly touted backup for that first-round RB who succumbed to injury late Monday night. Fan-tastic work.

All week, you’re so on top of all the latest injury reports and matchups to exploit. You stay up late Thursday night crunching projections, looks, catches, past performances, etc for all your players. Come Sunday morning, you tune into ESPN’s four-hour long pregames show and suffer through “Mort” and “Boomer” and another puff piece about “Bill Belichick.”

The games start, your lineup is set–and all that hard, hard work pays off. Your starting running backs combine for 3 TDs and 275 yards rushing. All of your receivers exceed 100 yards receiving. You even get a whole lot of production from your tight end–you have the most dynamic tight end in the league, actually–and your flex players put up starter numbers. That defense you picked up only allows 8 points and gets a few picks.

You did it. You scored more points than anyone in the league this week… except for, wait, your head-to-head opponent, the guy who’s never played fantasy football, hasn’t made any roster moves, and who everyone laughed at for drafting Donovan McNabb in the first round. Well, he and McNabb just beat you after the QB threw for 428 yards and 5 TDs, and after every other guy who hasn’t done shit all season recorded their only good effort of the year.

Congratulations: you just wasted your entire week and have absolutely nothing to show for it. There’s always next week.

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1 CommentPosted by Brian Spencer on Aug. 15, 2007 at 9:55pm in ETB Articles, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

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