- The Season's Over -

The Passion of the Stan Van Gundy

October 31, 2009

Hearty hat tip to Skeets over at BDL

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 31, 2009 at 4:16pm in NBA

Fantasy Football – Week 8 WR Rankings

October 30, 2009

Miles Austin

Miles Austin Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By all indications, Miles Austin is here to stay. So who is responsible for the fact that it’s taken over four seasons to recognize he’s a weekly big-play threat? The bumbling coaching staff in Dallas, or Austin himself for not living up to his skills? It’s hard to say, but either way the error appears to have been corrected. Austin’s hands still leave something to be desired, but his explosive ability is special. He’s making Tony Romo’s numbers look better than Romo has been, and the quarterback realizes that and will continue to lean on him. 16 receptions, 421 yards and 4TDs over the last two contests make him a must-start and a member of the top ten on this list in a neutral matchup against the Seahawks.

You’re going to want to monitor the status of your stud wideout closely, Andre and Calvin Johnson owners. The Bills secondary has not been kind to WRs this season, but if Andre Johnson’s bruised lung (ouch) allows him to play you simply can’t bench him. Meanwhile, Calvin Johnson is improving but his status for Sunday remains very much up in the air. Calvin currently has to be considered the biggest early-round bust to this point and it would be a real shame to see him miss out on this dream matchup against the Rams at home. If he plays, though, Calvin joins Andre as a must-start option.

I’m convinced that nobody, anywhere, ever, starts Lee Evans when he actually plays well. Seriously, has there been a more frustrating receiver to own in fantasy over the last few seasons? If you have one, vent about it in the comments. All of that said, this week is a perfect situation for the Wisconsin product to post one of his signature, fantasy-season-saving performances. This Houston defense is weak deep and up the seams, meaning they give up massive plays. Fresh off making Vernon Davis look like the best tight end in the league, this secondary could cede huge production to speedster like Lee Evans.

Mario Manningham’s drops are irksome, and you can bet they don’t sit well with Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning. Meanwhile, rookie Hakeem Nicks has been extremely productive with his opportunities. The two can be on the field at the same time, but they really play the same receiver position and I’m projecting this is the week that Nicks overtakes Manningham for good.

I owe you an apology on the Michael Crabtree analysis apparently. I’m as shocked as anybody that he was able to play in 90% of the 49ers offensive snaps last week, and play well, en route to a reasonably productive fantasy line. It’s pretty absurd that he’s picked up the offense and trust of his coaching staff so quickly, but here Crabtree is a recommended start in our rankings just one game into his rookie campaign. Kudos to those of you brave few who kept the faith.

Sidney Rice is real, and he’s spectacular. We’ve been an advocate of the guy for long time (picking him as one of our breakout WRs this offseason) and it’s starting to pay off. As we have repeatedly stressed: he’s big, he’s super athletic, he has great hands and his ball skills in the air are phenomenal. Brett Favre has found his go-to receiver. Welcome to the top 15, Sidney. Here’s hoping you’re here to stay. We also have Rice’s teammate, Percy Harvin, somewhat aggressively ranked. That’s due in part to the assumption that your league rewards special-teams TDs. If not, bump him down a few pegs.

I’ve got a call for you this week: Kenny Britt. The Jags secondary is beat up and Britt can get down the field and make plays. Despite zero receptions against the Patriots last game Britt was still targeted and he remains a high-upside bye-week fill. I hesitate to recommend such a gamble, as is reflected in his low ranking, but I have a gut feeling the rookie puts up some fantasy points this week.

See also:
- Week 8 QB Rankings
- Week 8 RB Rankings
- Week 8 TE Rankings
- Week 8 DEF Rankings

1. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts vs. SF
2. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints vs. ATL
3. Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers vs. OAK
4. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons @ NO
5. Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos @ BAL
6. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans @ BUF (Check Status)
7. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. STL (Check Status)
8. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals vs. CAR
9. Mike Sims-Walker, Jacksonville Jaguars @ TEN
10. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
11. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG
12. Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings @ GB
13. Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals vs. CAR
14. Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
15. Donald Driver, Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
16. Steve Smith, New York Giants @ PHI

WR rankings 17 through 42, after the jump…

Read the rest of this article »

6 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 30, 2009 at 11:53am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 8 RB Rankings

October 30, 2009

Shonn Greene

Shonn Greene Photo Credit: Icon SMI

We’re on the Shonn Greene bandwagon here at ETB. We discussed the rookie third-round pick out of Iowa in the offseason as one of our eight breakout running back picks. In the offseason when you talk about breakout and sleeper candidates, you know it’s often going to take until midseason to see a return on the investment, but once the regular season arrives and you’re facing do-or-die on a weekly basis it’s easy to lose your perspective. In Shonn Greene’s case we knew it was going to take an injury to either Thomas Jones or Leon Washington in order for the rookie to get his chance, but that didn’t stop 90% of his owners from dropping Greene after zero production over the first month.

Well, the Leon Washington injury finally came and those of you who held on to your lottery ticket can start cashing in this week. As Brian described earlier in the week, the kid is in line for serious value going forward. The Jets rushing attack is plenty potent to support two strong options, and Greene is probably a better goal-line option than Jones. There’s huge upside here as well: Thomas Jones is on the wrong side of 30 and is a very real candidate to break down at some point. Greene’s brute running style complements the Jets perfectly, and he would be a borderline RB1 if that happened, but for now we’re ranking the kid as a RB3/Flex. Remember: patience is a virtue in this imaginary world of ours.

It’s amazing how fast perceptions can change. Ray Rice went from an excellent sleeper selection in mid-summer to overvalued on draft day before the season even started. Then Willis McGahee’s early-season vulturing turned Rice into an early season disappointment and just a few short weeks later Rice has to be considered one of the few matchup-proof, every-week plays in fantasy. What makes Ray Ray such a solid option is the fact that he can contribute at an elite level in both the running game and the passing game and his resilient running style makes him capable of scoring on any play. Denver is no cakewalk, but Rice will take advantage of every inch they give him.

See also:
- Week 8 QB Ranks
- Week 8 WR Ranks
- Week 8 TE Ranks
- Week 8 DEF Ranks

1. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings @ GB
2. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans vs. JAC
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars @ TEN
4. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens vs. DEN
5. Steve Slaton, Houston Texans @ BUF
6. Ronnie Brown, Miami Dolphins @ NYJ
7. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers @ IND
8. Matt Forte, Chicago Bears vs. CLE
9. Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons @ NO
10. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams @ DET
11. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts vs. SF
12. Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions vs. STL
13. Marion Barber, Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
14. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers @ ARZ
15. Marshawn Lynch, Buffalo Bills vs. HOU

Running back rankings 16 through 36, after the jump…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 30, 2009 at 8:23am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 8 TE Rankings

October 29, 2009

San Francisco 49er Vernon DavisIn the latest example of why you don’t draft a tight end early, none of the first three TEs off the board (Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez and Jason Witten) are currently among the top three in per-game scoring. In their place is the high-upside, athletically-gifted trio of Vernon Davis, Owen Daniels, and Dallas Clark – all of which made their way into our top five this week. Those of us who waited and grabbed a tight end like Heath Miller, Brent Celek or Jeremy Shockey late have also been rewarded with a top-ten option. Let’s not forget about this come draft season in 2010.

I had pegged Greg Olsen as a potential top-five tight end going into the season, but at this point I think ranking him inside the top ten in a cake home matchup against Cleveland is generous. Olsen is quietly coming around with 3 TDs in his last four games, but he’s really not getting open downfield like we expected and he’s yet to catch more than 5 passes in a game. There’s still time for him to rebound in the second half, but so far Olsen has been a bust.

Perusing the ranks, it strikes me that Donald Lee makes for an excellent sneaky play this week. Jermichael Finley is likely out, the Vikings can’t cover TEs for shit and with Jared Allen all up in his grill Aaron Rodgers is going to be dumping the ball off often. Add in the fact that Antoine Winfield should also be out again and the Minnesota secondary looks susceptible. I think Lee puts up a useful fantasy line with a potential score.

See also:
- Week 8 QB Rankings
- Week 8 RB Rankings
- Week 8 WR Ranks
- Week 8 DEF Rankings

1. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. OAK
2. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts vs. SF
3. Owen Daniels, Houston Texans @ BUF
4. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
5. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers @ IND
6. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons @ NO
7. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG
8. Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints vs. ATL
9. Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears vs. CLE
10. Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings @ GB
11. Donald Lee, Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
12. Tony Scheffler, Denver Broncos @ BAL
13. John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks @ DAL
14. Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders @ SD
15. Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens vs. DEN
16. Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. MIA
17. Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars @ TEN
18. Kevin Boss, New York Giants @ PHI
19. Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions vs. STL
20. Randy Mc Daniel Fells, St. Louis Rams @ DET

Vernon Davis photo credit: Icon SMI

3 CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 29, 2009 at 1:44pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 8 Defense Rankings

October 29, 2009

Quentin Jammer

Quentin Jammer Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Take well-educated gambles. Start high-reward, high-risk players from time to time over the safer, lower-upside option. Play the matchups. Play to win.

With that in mind, this week we’re going out on (somewhat of) a limb and naming the beleagured San Diego Chargers DEF as our top unit of the week, despite their overall poor fantasy resume so far this season. Heading into their home matchup this weekend against the Oakland Raiders, the Chargers DEF ranks 18th overall in ETB’s scoring format. They’ve allowed an average of 23.8 points per (21st in the NFL), and while they’re towards the head of the pack in total interceptions (7), Shawne Merriman and the once feared pass rush have recorded just 11 sacks; only the Chiefs, Texans, Jets, and Jaguars have less.

In other words, they’ve been mediocre at best… but the Raiders offense has been even worse.

The Raiders are one of two teams (the rack-less Rams being the other) averaging less than 10 points per game with 8.9. Puke. They can’t run the ball, and they certainly can’t pass the ball; their 128 yards per through the air ranks dead last in the NFL. Now, the Raiders’ best offensive performance thus far actually came in Week 1 against these Chargers when they scored 20 points and sort of had the look of a decent, improving offense. It was a mirage. Since then they’ve posted just 2 TDs and a small handful of FGs.

The Chargers offense is rolling. They’re at home. JaMarcus Russell, “the starting QB,” and Bruce Gradkowski, “the backup QB,” are both terrible and turnover-prone. Start the Chargers DEF with confidence.

See also:
- Week 8 QB Rankings
- Week 8 RB Rankings
- Week 8 WR Ranks
- Week 8 TE Rankings

1. San Diego Chargers vs. OAK
2. Chicago Bears vs. CLE
3. Arizona Cardinals vs. CAR
4. Minnesota Jared Allens @ GB
5. Indianapolis Colts vs. SF
6. Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
7. New Orleans Saints vs. ATL
8. Denver Broncos @ BAL
9. Baltimore Ravens vs. DEN
10. Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
11. Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG
12. New York Giants @ PHI
13. New York Jets vs. MIA
14. Miami Dolphins @ NYJ
15. Jacksonville Jaguars @ TEN

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 29, 2009 at 10:21am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 8 QB Rankings

October 28, 2009

Matt Schaub NFL LeaderQuick, which quarterbacks lead the NFL in passing touchdowns and passing yardage? If you answered Matt Schaub to both questions send us your address and your prize will be delivered in 5-6 business days. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems ridiculous how under-the-radar Schaub’s NFL-best season has been to this point. The man is averaging nearly 300 passing yards a game and has put up multiple TD tosses in five of his seven games. The Bills secondary is holding teams under 200 yards passing and boasts a solid ratio of 6 TDs allowed to 13 INTs, but I’m rolling with Schaub every week if I’ve got him.

He’s started forcing passes again, but Jay Cutler can still beat up on bad teams. This week the Cleveland Browns come in to town with a secondary that has only managed to pick off three passes on the season. It’s as safe a matchup as he’ll have until the Rams roll into Chicago in December.

Matt Schaub photo credit: Icon SMI

The Kurt Warner ranking looks low, but keep in mind the Carolina Panthers have the best pass defense in the league to this point. They’re the only team in the NFL not cede 1,000 yards through the air yet. And frankly, Warner just isn’t an inspiring fantasy play right now. The Cards passing game is much less vertical that it’s been in years past. Another low ranking on the board is Matt Ryan. The Falcons QB, who comes across like Kenneth Parcell in interviews and on his Yahoo! Profile, has not looked that sharp of late. We also don’t like this matchup, the probability of interceptions is far too high.

Hey gang, did you know that Brett Favre used to play in Green Bay? Me neither.

It’s a huge NFC East matchup Sunday afternoon, but I don’t think Eli or McNabb are strong options this week. Both of these teams have top-10 pass defenses, but we give the edge to McNabb here. The Eagles blitz looks good and they have in turn been a little more opportunistic with the INTs. Meanwhile, the Giants haven’t looked impressive against any of the three decent passing teams they’ve faced. A lot of the Eagles game is based on the big play and they can put up a stinker when it doesn’t click, but I would still feel more comfortable with McNabb – especially because Eli just hasn’t been very impressive the past few games.

See also:
- Week 8 RB Rankings
- Week 8 WR Ranks
- Week 8 TE Ranks
- Week 8 DEF Rankings

1. Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. ATL
2. Peyton Manning, Indianapolis Colts vs. SF
3. Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. OAK
4. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. MIN
5. Matt Schaub, Houston Texans @ BUF
6. Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears vs. CLE
7. Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. SEA
8. Brett Favre, Minnesota Vikings @ GB
9. Donovan McNabb, Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYG
10. Kyle Orton, Denver Broncos @ BAL
11. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens vs. DEN
12. Eli Manning, New York Giants @ PHI
13. Kurt Warner, Arizona Cardinals vs. CAR
14. Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons @ NO
15. David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars @ TEN
16. Matt Hasselbeck, Seattle Seahawks @ DAL
17. Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. STL (Check Status)
18. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills vs. HOU
19. Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers @ IND
20. Marc Bulger, St. Louis Rams @ DET

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Oct. 28, 2009 at 4:51pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

The Cupboard Looks Baron for Davis in LA

October 28, 2009

Baron Davis

Baron Davis Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Baron Davis doesn’t look happy in Los Angeles. Or, at least, he doesn’t look thrilled about playing basketball for the Clippers.

The gregarious, easy-going Davis of the Golden State Warriors days seems to have been replaced by a disinterested, disillusioned, and distant player who’s succumbing to the general numbness that inevitably envelopes those who pull on a bright-red Clippers jersey. Suiting up for LA’s ugly duckling is like a slow suffocation, with each passing game dragging formerly talented players down, down, down, until they settle into a black abyss of indifference. The Clippers are where talent goes to die, a sad fact of NBA life we’ll further explore later this week.

For now though, Baron Davis. What a shame. Really. I like Baron, and I can’t necessarily blame him for jumping ship and signing that hefty five-year, $65 million deal the Clippers kindly threw at him last summer. It didn’t make any sense at the time for LA, and it still doesn’t… but it’s the Clippers. For Davis, it was an opportunity to cash in on the best 4-year stretch of a career that began back in 1999 with the Charlotte Hornets. That mostly successful run with the Warriors ended on a high note, with Davis playing in all 82 regular-season games for the first time and averaging 21.8 points (42% FG), 7.6 assists, 4.7 boards, 2.3 steals, and 2.1 triples per. You knew that wouldn’t last, but in the words of Bruce Springsteen, the Clippers were “blinded by the light.”

Davis made a business decision in signing with the Clippers. Nothing more, nothing less, though being closer to his family was also a factor. I’m not so naïve or callous to suggest he has no interest in reviving the franchise, or winning games, or making some noise in the playoffs. Of course he does. Still, it’s been painful watching him struggle through this culture of losing. Last season he came back down to earth both statistically (14.9 points, 37% FG, 7.7 assists, 3.7 boards, 1.7 steals, 1.5 triples per) and physically (he missed 17 games). What’s more, his energy looks like it’s been sapped like a hollow beehive.

During Tuesday’s season-opening 99-92 loss to the Lakers, Davis wore a defeated look on his face (the beard is looking killer though). He’s apparently already battling a foot injury, so maybe physical discomfort was responsible for the gloomy demeanor. Still, he wasn’t having any fun out there; if he was, he did a great job of disguising it. That has to be disconcerting for the 73 Clippers fans still left out there; after all, it’s only the first game of the season! His final tally in just under 28 minutes: 1-10 FG for 2 points, 8 assists, 2 steals, 1 block and 2 turnovers. He also had three of his shots blocked.

Try to cheer up, Baron. Please. You still have a lot of fans out there. And hey, maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel this season after all: TNT’s Reggie Miller and Mike Fratello both went on the record last night in predicting your team is going to make the playoffs this year. No, really, they did.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 28, 2009 at 12:03pm in NBA

Five Permanent Fantasy Football Downgrades (for the Rest of the Season)

October 27, 2009

Larry Johnson

Larry Johnson Photo Credit: Icon SMI

See Also: Five Permanent Fantasy Football Upgrades

Downgrades

Larry Johnson, RB, Kansas City Chiefs – Two weeks ago we gave an unequivocal recommendation to out and out drop this broken-down pony from your fantasy roster. Not bench him. Not try to trade him. Drop him. And, yet, he’s still owned in 63% of Yahoo! leagues. Why? What are you waiting for? There’s no imminent fantasy renaissance in the cards here; in fact, by the time you read this he may have been released following his childish post-game Twitter tirade. Johnson’s ill-timed (and misdirected) rants would just be an excuse for the Chiefs to part with their former franchise player earlier than they would be anyway. There’s just nothing left to see here.

Earlier this week we named the NBA’s Most Depressing Players of 2009; Johnson would most certainly warrant top honors for a similar list for the NFL. Though seven games, Johnson is averaging a paltry 2.7 YPC, has failed to breach the 90 yards rushing mark in a given week, and has more fumbles lost (1) than touchdowns (0). He had a fantastic 2 ½-year fantasy run in the mid-00’s, but those days are but a fond memory.

Roy Williams, WR, Dallas Cowboys – Williams was considered a can’t-miss prospect coming out of Texas back in ’04… then the Detroit Lions drafted him, and somewhere along the way the franchises’ legacy of futility, the mounting losses, and the poor surrounding talent began to rub off on him. He’d make the most difficult catches and (repeatedly) drop the easy ones. He missed games. He underachieved. He was, finally and mercifully, traded to the Dallas Cowboys after 4 ½ so-so seasons with the Lions. Credit Detroit for cutting their loss while they still could and dumping off their overrated wideout on the unsuspecting, desperate Cowboys for a wealth of draft picks.

Nothing has changed so far for Williams in Dallas, where he was awarded a massive five-year, $45 million extension last year. Just to recap, Williams has crossed the 1,000 yard threshold just once in his five full NFL seasons (in 2006, when he caught 82 balls for 1,310 yards and 7 TDs). He’s never scored more than 8 TDs in a given season. In 10 games last year with the Cowboys, he caught a measly 19 passes for 198 yards and 1 TD. And, through the first five games of this season (he missed one due to injury), he has a ho-hum 12 for 230 and 1 TD, while his fellow Cowboys WR Miles Austin goes apeshit.

Yahoo!’s Michael Silver echoes what we’ve also been thinking for some time now: it’s time to admit that Roy Williams just isn’t a #1 receiver. And he’s nothing more than a weak flex play on your fantasy team, either.

Three more fantasy football downgrades after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 27, 2009 at 3:01pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

The Fallout of Blake Griffin’s Broken Kneecap

October 27, 2009

By: Zachariah Blott

Blake Griffin Injures Kneecap

The Clippers revealed Monday night that Blake Griffin, their franchise savior and first-overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft, broke his kneecap, probably from landing after a dunk in a preseason game last Friday. It’s expected to keep Griffin off the court for at least 6 weeks, which covers a span of 20 Clipper games. Here’s where it happened.

There are a few things this means for the league and its fans:

1 - Like Greg Oden a few years ago, we don’t get to see what the top pick is capable of for much longer than anticipated. Griffin played pretty well in the preseason—averaging 14 and 8—and clearly was improving as the regular season neared. Now we won’t see him until mid-December, and he probably won’t be at the same level he was at just last week for a while. When will we see the real Griffin? Who knows, but hopefully it’s sooner than how long it’s taking to see the real Oden.

2 - The Clippers are again unbearably bad. They weren’t real good even with Griffin, but now who do they have? Baron Davis, who loves to hang onto the ball, drive into traffic, and throw up bad shots (37% FG last year); he’ll now want to shoot more. At this point in his young career, many people love SG Eric Gordon’s ability to score (16.1 ppg as rookie, improved during season), but he could be overrated considering he doesn’t help teammates score (2.8-2.1 A/TO, worsened during season), or stop opponents from scoring. Centers Chris Kaman and Marcus Camby may actually be the two best Clippers behind Griffin, which can’t excite fans much. LA was 19-63 last year, which they’ll probably be on course to repeat by mid-December. Their slide will begin by going 0-4 before November, playing the Lakers, Suns, Jazz, and Mavericks in the first 5 days of the season. Ouch!

Blake Griffin Photo Credit: Icon SMI

3 - The Rookie of the Year race is now wide open. Whereas Griffin was a virtual lock for the award just last week, the rest of the field now has a chance. I don’t know what sort of stats he’ll put up once he returns, but they probably won’t be as good as they would have been had he started healthy right out of the gate, and he’ll now have 25 percent less time to display them. I think the Thunder’s James Harden, the Spurs’ DeJuan Blair, and the Warriors’ Stephen Curry have the best chance to win if Griffin doesn’t return on fire and obviously improve the Clippers.

Harden will score, Blair will do everything (but is sitting behind proven veterans), and Curry will have the chance to score. Sacramento’s Tyreke Evans could be in the mix as well since he will get points and some assists in the Kings’ starting lineup. Minnesota’s Jonny Flynn might have something to say about it, as well.

4 - This gives the Clippers a much better chance of securing a second-straight #1 pick. If they win the lottery again, LA could deep-six the career of another can’t-miss prospect, like uber-athletic PG John Wall (whose undoing is already sort of obvious: his eligibility to play at Kentucky is still up in the air, his half-court decisions are weak, and he relies on his athleticism for everything) or potential Chris Bosh clone Ed Davis (he’s too skinny and doesn’t really have a mid-range jumper, but the UNC sophomore truly could be the next Bosh).

5 - The Kings could move out of the Pacific Division cellar. Or not.

Zachariah Blott is a dish best served cold.

5 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Oct. 27, 2009 at 8:42am in NBA

Five Permanent Fantasy Football Upgrades (for the Rest of the Season)

October 27, 2009

Vernon Davis

Vernon Davis Photo Credit: Icon SMI

We’re now approaching the halfway point of the NFL and fantasy season; hard to believe, right? At this point, you should have made a few savvy waiver claims and dropped your dead weight. If you haven’t, or if your team is just hopeless, don’t give up–at the very least, check your roster once a week and plug in guys who are actually playing. Please. Nothing’s worse than a lame-duck fantasy owner who checks out early. But you know that and I know that, so I digress.

As you scanned your roster during these first 7 weeks, there were likely a number of nagging questions plaguing your logical thought process and reasoning, especially when it came to deciding who’d be “up” as your WR3, your RB2, or your flex play, and who’d be benched. With six to seven games in the bank, though, it’s time to take some of the mystery out of that weekly guesswork and make some well-informed decisions on who’s a relatively safe or risky play.

Remember: fantasy football is a total fucking crapshoot. The best play won’t necessarily turn out to be right play. That’s the nature of the beast. Start your best players with the most reasonable matchups and let those stupid footballs bounce where they may. Yes, there’s a little art to this thing, but there’s also a whole lotta luck (and black voodoo magic).

See Also: Five Permanent Fantasy Football Downgrades

Upgrades

Vernon Davis, TE, San Francisco 49ers – We’ve touted this stallion since the moment he entered the league, and every year he let us down. Until this year. Thank you, Vernon, for finally making us look good. Though he still hasn’t crossed the 100-yards receiving mark in a single game this season, the sixth-overall pick of the ’06 draft has hauled in 6 TD catches in the past 4 weeks, including three on Sunday from his born-again QB Alex Smith. You were probably sitting on Davis as a backup: now’s the time to either trade your “starter” or to sell (really) high on Davis. This guy is a major talent who seems to finally get it, and you’ll want him in your starting lineup from now on. (Just for the record, Andrew kind of called this.)

Cedric Benson, RB, Cincinnati Bengals – It’s not often you see running backs bloom like Benson has this late in their career after accomplishing very little for so long. You do realize that not only is the fifth-year back leading the league in rushing with 720 yards (4.4 YPC), he’s now just 28 yards away from establishing a new career high… with nine games to go. You were already starting him before that monster effort against his old Chicago Bears team on Sunday (37 carries, 189 yards, 1 TD), but now you finally feel comfortable plugging him in every week without thinking about “the old Cedric Benson” making an unwelcome return.

Friendly reminder that Benson’s average Yahoo! draft position was 109th overall, or towards the front of the 11th round, behind guys like Larry Johnson (below), LenDale White, and Derrick Ward. Don’t feel bad, I didn’t want anything to do with him either.

Don’t miss three more fantasy football upgrades after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Oct. 27, 2009 at 12:08am in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

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