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Fantasy Football – Week 15 TE Rankings

December 17, 2009

Dallas Clark

Dallas Clark Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Ranks Preview by Andrew Thell

It’s been the Year of the Tight End in 2009. I can’t remember a time when fantasy owners had this many options, with seemingly more strong plays emerging by the week. Last week we talked about Fred Davis, who kept it going with 2 TDs and 50 yards in Oakland. He’s a big part of the improved passing game in Washington, and you shouldn’t hesitate to use him at home against the Giants this week unless you have another very strong option.

In the last month Jermichael Finley, who showed promise but dealt with myriad injuries for most of the season, has really stepped up his game. In the last four contests, all Packers wins, he’s put up 228 yards and 2 TDs on 24 receptions. He’s a big, athletic target that can make plays down the field and gain yardage after the catch. Aaron Rodgers is clearly comfortable going to him, and you should be too in a matchup at Polamalu-less Pittsburgh.

It seems absurd to have a TE with 9 TDs on the season ranked down at No. 10, but it just goes to show you how deep the field is this year – and how hit-or-miss Visanthe Shiancoe has been. Along with those scores have come 11 weeks with 4 receptions or less and just one week with more than 5. The Vikings simply have too many options to go to and the Carolina pass defense has been excellent this season (192 YPG, 13 TDs allowed, 19 INTs).

Bo Scaife has had 34 targets over the last 5 games, which is a big number for a TE. He’s not an exciting play, but is an option at home against beatable Miami linebackers and safeties… especially if Vince Young starts, as expected.

See also:
- Week 15 QB Ranks
- Week 15 RB Ranks
- Week 15 WR Ranks
- Week 15 DEF Ranks

1. Dallas Clark, Indianapolis Colts @ JAX
2. Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers @ PHI
3. Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles vs. SF
4. Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. CIN
5. Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys @ NO
6. Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers @ PIT
7. Tony Gonzalez, Atlanta Falcons @ NYJ
8. Fred Davis, Washington Redskins vs. NYG
9. Kellen Winslow, Tampa Bay Bucs @ SEA
10. Visanthe Shiancoe, Minnesota Vikings @ CAR
11. Greg Olsen, Chicago Bears @ BAL
12. Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. GB
13. Bo Scaife, Tennessee Titans vs. MIA
14. Jeremy Shockey, New Orleans Saints vs. DAL
15. John Carlson, Seattle Seahawks vs. TB
16. Kevin Boss, New York Giants @ WSH
17. Zach Miller, Oakland Raiders @ DEN
18. Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. ATL
19. Benjamin Watson, New England Patriots @ BUF
20. Todd Heap, Baltimore Ravens vs. CHI

No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Dec. 17, 2009 at 8:30am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Same Old, Same Old: Anthony Randolph’s Future Looks Great, Golden State’s Doesn’t

December 16, 2009

Anthony RandolphBy: Zachariah Blott

Imagine your team has a 20-year-old 7-footer who’s every bit as exciting on offense as Kevin Durant is inside the arc, rebounds like Garnett in his prime, and has shown the athleticism to guard all five positions like… Garnett. What do you do? Market him as the future of your franchise? Make sure he’s getting a ton of court experience? Build your team around his skills?

Well if you’re the Golden State Warriors, you trade him. Second-year forward Anthony Randolph is so obviously a superstar in the making, articles praising his upward trajectory and potential flooded the Internet before the season started. No matter: the youngster is in Don Nelson’s doghouse, barely playing 20 minutes a game, not starting, and is now just another piece waiting to be shipped out of Oakland.

Looking back on what’s turning out to have been a pretty decent 2008 NBA Draft (here’s some of the “no-names” from that draft: Danilo Gallinari, D.J. Augustin, Jason Thompson, Marreese Speights, Roy Hibbert, Ryan Anderson, Mario Chalmers, Chris Douglas-Roberts, and the undrafted Anthony Morrow), Randolph currently ranks behind only Brook Lopez and Derrick Rose as a worthy, potential cornerstone for a developing franchise. When it’s all said and done, it’s not hard to imagine Randolph as the top player from the class of ’08.

He put his Garnett-esque skillset on full display when he became a starter in the last month of the 2008-09 season, chalking up pers of 15 and 11, along with 1.6 blocks and 1.5 steals. He was active and exciting and made Golden State’s future look palatable. Randolph followed it up by working his tail off in the offseason and blowing up the Summer League. He was poised to have a true breakout season… then the Warriors happened.

Don Nelson’s bizarre mix-and-match system for selecting starting lineups has resulted in 12 different Golden State players starting at least one game, with Randolph starting a single contest. Anonymous sources cite maturity issues with the youngster, but this is the franchise that made Stephen Jackson its captain, and has Monta Ellis and Corey Maggette holding things down.

If the Warriors want to trade a player who can do almost everything, and who earns less than $2 million per year, I’m sure they can find at least 29 teams willing to talk.

No CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Dec. 16, 2009 at 1:00pm in NBA

Tracy McGrady’s Return But a Minor Subplot to Chase Budinger’s Arrival in Houston

December 15, 2009

Chase BudingerBy Brian Spencer

The stars seemed aligned for a dramatic return by Tracy McGrady.

Trevos Ariza, who’s replaced T-Mac as the Houston Rockets’ would-be superstar, was out of the lineup Tuesday night against the Detroit Pistons due to a one-game suspension. With an open roster spot to fill, a door the franchise had steadfastly held shut no matter how hard McGrady knocked suddenly opened. He didn’t start, but when he rose to his feet about 4 minutes into the game and approached the scorer’s table, the hometown crowd rose with him for a standing ovation.

It’d been over 10 months since the 30-year-old had stepped onto the court in a game that counts… but despite the stage being set for McGrady to gun down the Pistons–and the growing number of skeptics who say his career is donezo–his return was nothing more than, as Rockets color commentator Clyde Drexler so kindly put it, “a chance for him to get his feet wet.” He checked out for good at the end of the first quarter, with 3 points and 3 rebounds in 7:44 minutes of action.

There could still be memorable nights in McGrady’s future; this was, to be fair, a step in the right direction. But this wasn’t about him. He was a subplot, and a minor one at that. No, this mid-December win by the Rockets should be remembered as the night Chase Budinger established himself as a plus player who’s going to be in this league for a long, long time.

Making his first NBA start in his first NBA season, the Rockets’ 6-7 second-round pick, acquired in a draft-day deal with these Pistons, was phenomenal. Yes, he’s got a stroke on his jumper that’s sweeter than a baked sweet potato drizzled in butter and brown sugar, but this kid looks to be much more than your standard, run-of-the-mill spot-up shooter from three-point land who contributes little else. He scored, but he also rebounded, ran the floor, dove to the floor to scramble for loose balls, passed, flashed surprising athleticism. He played defense! In other words, he fit in just fine with this hard-nosed Rockets team that’s once again doing things few predicted they could.

It was a career night for the kid from Arizona, who was projected by some as a lottery pick but ended up falling all the way down to the Pistons with the 44th overall pick (he was swapped for a future second-rounder and cash). Budinger logged career-highs in minutes (40:16), rebounds (12), and assists (5) to go with his 16 points and first career double-double.

Now, Rockets fans already know Budinger oozes potential, as does ETB contributor Zachariah Blott. Budinger has scored at least 10 points off the bench in his first 22 NBA games, including a 19-point effort on December 2 against the Clippers. Red Nation knows they’ve scored another keeper from the wastelands of draft day’s second round. (Of the team’s top-five scorers, only Aaron Brooks is a first-round pick, and he was taken late at that.)

I’d read about Budinger some, but this was the first time I’d seen him for more than a few minutes here and there. When I say his shooting stroke is sweet, I mean he was hitting nothing but net on most of his shots. And when I say he ran the floor well and flaunted his considerable athletic ability… well, this beautiful alley-oop from Brooks says it all:

McGrady probably wasn’t going to get big minutes no matter what he did. He needs to be slowly nursed back into action, and it showed as he huffed and puffed his way to the bench. Still, Budinger made sure McGrady’s services weren’t needed more than minimally, if at all. T-Mac isn’t going to get minutes at the expense of Arizaa; it looks like he shouldn’t be getting them at the expense of Budinger either.

And now we see why “expendable” more aptly describes McGrady’s status in Houston than “needed.”

Chase Budinger Photo Credit: Icon SMI

4 CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 15, 2009 at 11:51pm in NBA

The Kids are Alright: New York Knicks

December 15, 2009

the knicksBy: Zachariah Blott

Next up in our ongoing “The Kids are Alright” series is those lovable New York Knickerbockers, who thanks to their 76er and Net cohorts in sub-mediocrity are actually holding down 3rd place in the Atlantic Division at 8-15. This despite no real concern with winning games this season: as regular ETB contributor Zachariah Blott details below, this team has both eyes on the summer of 2010.

More from the Kids are Alright Series:
- Sacramento Kings
- Oklahoma City Thunder
- Detroit Pistons
- Memphis Grizzlies
- Philadelphia 76ers

Why They’re Worth Watching:
The Knicks run – a lot. The Knicks shoot threes – a lot of threes. And guess what, their opponents do exactly the same thing. Nothing screams “something cool could happen at this game tonight” more than two teams running wild and letting loose from behind the arc for 48 minutes. There’s only one type of team many wives and girlfriends are willing to watch, and this is it.

Thanks to second-year head coach Mike D’Antoni, the guy who made the run and gun so fun for the Suns (not to be confused with this awesome 80′s punk band), the Knicks are sprinting out to the fourth-fastest pace in the league and attempting the second most bombs from downtown. (They have the second most threes attempted against them, as well.) In fact, New York actually ranks just ahead of Phoenix in both speed and three-point attempts, but the Suns are actually quite good at getting points out of their trips and connecting on the trifectas. That’s due to talent, not effort, which is where the true beauty of watching the Knicks comes from.

They’re just not a talented bunch, but they go at it at a circus pace with a circus style. You know how watching the Little League World Series is so much more satisfying than MLB because the odds of something good or bad happening are 50-50? That’s the Knicks. They could go 10-for-39 from deep in a crushing defeat, or they can hit 13-of-25 triples to go with 26 assists. You just don’t know because it’s still Isiah Thomas’s idea of talent playing a make-or-break system.

As far as individual talent goes, there are a few Knicks worth paying attention to. Second-year gunner Danilo Gallinari has hit a league-high 64 triples this year on 45% accuracy, and his power forward frame (6-10, 225) allows him to chuck them up with virtually any defender in his face. He’s very active on defense, so he’s able to make some positive things happen on that end as well.

Big man Al Harrington looks and plays like he should be as exciting as Kevin Durant, but instead he’s been mired in 16-20 ppg okay-ness for the last 5 years. Center David Lee has done well in his energy role for D’Antoni (18 ppg, 10 rpg) and is hoping for teams to throw the kind of money at him that they would at someone who put those numbers up in a conventional system – good luck with that, David. Rookie PG Toney Douglas looks like he has a place in this league, and GF Wilson Chandler, though wildly inconsistent, has talent and potential to spare.

The Knicks’ present and future after the break…

Read the rest of this article »

4 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Dec. 15, 2009 at 11:10am in ETB Articles, NBA

On the Joys of Rooting Both For and Against the Arizona Cardinals Tonight

December 14, 2009

Kurt Warner

Kurt Warner Photo Credit: Icon SMI

By Brian Spencer

Oh, the complicated webs we find ourselves entangled in during these waning weeks of the NFL season.

Everybody still in the hunt for their fantasy football championship has their own “unbelievable” story, and we’re no different. There’s plenty on the line tonight when the Arizona Cardinals take on the San Francisco 49ers, and I personally find myself in the awkward position of having to root for both a convincing Cardinals win and for the fearsome WR twosome of Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald to have relatively quiet nights (especially Fitzgerald). Here’s why:

- In one fantasy league, I hold a 20-point advantage over my opponent, who starts Larry Fitzgerald, for the right to advance to the semifinals. Two scores and the yardage that would accompany it would be enough to vanquish me; one score and under 100 yards, probably not.

- Not quite as nail-biting in ETB’s league, where I was forced to start Omar Ganther, Jason Snelling, and Ryan Moats as my three RBs and ended up posting a season-high in points with 155 (thank you, DeSean Jackson). It’ll take a monster effort from Boldin to make up his owner’s 40-point deficit, but stranger things have happened: last year, Boldin caught 7 passes for 140 yards and 3 TDs against the Miami Dolphins, so there’s some history here.

- Finally, we need the Cards to cover the 2 ½ point spread. If they do, we’ll (finally) win our weekly pick-em pool at Ye Olde Watering Hole by getting all seven of our picks correct, and be rewarded with a handsome prize of 1,000+ “points”. This would have happened some months ago if not for a stupid kicker.

With all of this in mind, here’s tonight’s totally objective fantasy football forecast:

Arizona Cardinals

Kurt Warner: 23-30, 243 yards, 2 TDs, 0 INTs
Larry Fitzgerald: 6 catches, 64 yards, 0 TDs
Anquan Boldin: 6 catches, 75 yards, 1 TD
Steve Breaston: 7 catches, 94 yards, 1 TD
Beanie Wells: 25 carries for 149 yards, 4 TDs
Arizona DEF: 6 points allowed, 3 INTs, 4 sacks, 2 fumble recoveries

San Francisco 49ers

Alex Smith: 10-35, 94 yards, 0 TDs, 3 INTs
Frank Gore: 17 carries, 85 yards, 0 TDs
Vernon Davis: 4 catches, 25 yards, 0 TDs
Everybody Else: Not a fucking thing

Play well as a team tonight, Cardinals, but Fitzgerald and Boldin, please temper yourselves. Thank you.

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 14, 2009 at 3:13pm in NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Tracy McGrady May Finally Play Again

December 11, 2009

Tracy McGrady and YaoBy Zachariah Blott

The NBA just released All-Star Game voting results up to this point (ballots will be accepted until January 10), and most of the vote leaders make sense. Kobe, Carmelo, LeBron, Vince – a bunch of guys who are popular for scoring and always start this game. Then there’s this atrocity: Tracy McGrady is on pace to start in the Western backcourt.

Friendly reminder that McGrady hasn’t played in 9 months, and even then was on a clear downward trajectory toward late-career ineffectiveness (16 ppg, 4 rpg, 39% FG% in 2008-09). He keeps saying he’s ready to come back to the court, but the Rockets want nothing to do with him taking minutes away from Trevor Ariza, Aaron Brooks, Shane Battier, Kyle Landry, even Chase Budinger for that matter.

So while T-Mac’s ego and Houston doing-fine-without-him are at a stalemate, China may be able to get him back into an NBA-sanctioned event. That’s because David Stern has been kissing China’s ass ever since Yao Ming was the #1 pick in 2002 so that the league can make a bunch of moolah off their 1.3 billion citizens.

As part of that smooch, China gets to vote for starters in the All-Star Game. From a logical standpoint, this makes no sense, and I think most fans who understand that the Eastern and Western Conferences are named after coasts in America where the game is played (plus Toronto, which is just across the border) agree. So apparently the Chinese vote as a block, and that block’s name is Yao Ming’s Houston Rockets.

Tracy McGrady & Yao Photo Credit: Icon SMI

T-Mac, who is sort of a Rocket, leads all Western guards not named Bryant in votes. Brooks is 7th, ahead of Brandon Roy, Deron Williams, and Chauncey Billups. Rocket big men Ariza and Luis Scola are both in the top-8 of Western Conference vote totals for forwards (thankfully behind Carmelo, Dirk, Pau, and Durant). Obviously this is ridiculous, but it’s right in line with last year’s crapfest.

Last year, Shaquille O’Neal won co-MVP honors in the game after playing just under 11 minutes. 11 minutes! Sure he had 17 points and 5 rebounds in that time, but the game honor would have made more sense going to Chris Paul (14 pts, 14 assists, 7 rebounds, 3 steals) or Amar’e Stoudemire (19 and 6).

Also, why the hell did the NBA cave to LeBron and add Cleveland’s Mo Williams to the Eastern roster last year? Let’s see:

A) A point guard averaging 18 ppg and 4 apg has no business being in that game.
B) The East was in desperate need of bigs who don’t hang out on the perimeter (no offense to Danny Granger and Rashard Lewis).
C) Philadelphia’s Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller made much more sense if you had to add a guard.

And oh yeah, Allen Iverson started. Hopefully it never gets this bad.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

3 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Dec. 11, 2009 at 4:17pm in NBA

Advanced Basketball Statistics 101

December 11, 2009

Phoenix Suns Offense

Phoenix Suns Photo Credit: Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

By Zachariah Blott

Advanced statistics is one area that baseball is lightyears ahead of basketball. Bill James was a baseball fan who popularized sabermetrics, the analysis of baseball through objective evidence, back in the 80′s through his tome-like Historical Abstracts. Sabermetrics is named after SABR, the Society for American Baseball Research.

Since then, more meaningful statistics—like OPS and WHIP—have entered the public consciousness and appear on basic player stats pages, Michael Lewis’s well-read “Moneyball” (which is being made into a movie starring Brad Pitt) has shown millions how some clubs use sabermetrics to their advantage, and two pitchers who combined for 31 wins and 0 saves can win the 2009 Cy Young Awards without ruffling many feathers.

In hoops, however, the basic stats still rule what are supposed to be in-depth discussions. Points, rebounds, and assists are the end-all, be-all for many fans and analysts of the game. It’s so bad, All-Defensive Teams are usually made up of a) whoever lead the league in blocks, b) whoever lead the league in steals, and c) household names who average over 20 PPG and are considered good defenders. Rarely does the phenomenal defensive talent who doesn’t fill up the stat sheet in some area make the First Team (Shane Battier still has only made two Second Team lists [Ed. Shameful]).

As much as I love the aesthetic beauty of the game that first attracted me to basketball, I try to find and use meaningful statistics whenever I have a real conversation about what makes a team or a player good or bad. The basic stats do paint a fuzzy picture of what’s happening, but it’s some more advanced stats that add the details we should be looking for.

This article is meant as a primer to help basketball fans understand a little more deeply how to evaluate team and player performance. The first two stats, ORating and DRating, are the most necessary tools in evaluating how well a team scores and defends, and the Four Factors get into the nuts and bolts of what affects ORating and DRating. At the end of the article, I’ll list a few resources where you can find additional information about these numbers or the more advanced statistics that are out there.

Offensive Rating (ORating)

What it measures: How many points a team scores per 100 possessions

Formula: (Points scored * 100) / Possessions

Current NBA leader: Phoenix Suns, 114.5

League average: 106.7

A little more depth: ORating gets at the heart of the question: How good is this team’s offense? Whereas the Warriors average 108.8 PPG and the Trail Blazers only score 95.8, Portland actually has a better offense. Golden State runs the fast break all game and scores 106.5 points per 100 possessions, while Portland is content to walk it up the floor and score 109.1 per 100. ORating eliminates the pace at which a team plays, so that we can see how efficient they are at scoring.

If you’re curious how you can figure out the amount of possessions a team used in a game or season, here’s the common formula that estimates it pretty close: 0.96 * (Field Goal Attempts – Offensive Rebounds + Turnovers + (.44 * Free Throw Attempts))

Defensive Rating (DRating)

What it measures: How many points a team gives up per 100 possessions

Formula: (Points surrendered * 100) / Possessions

Current NBA leader: Boston Celtics, 99.1

League average: 106.7

A little more depth: Similar to ORating, DRating tells us how good a team’s defense is regardless of pace. Pacers’ opponents score 101.7 PPG, whereas the Pistons’ opponents only manage 94.9. However, because Indiana keeps things moving quickly and Detroit barely moves, guess who has a 104.5 DRating and who’s at 107.5. If you can’t follow what I’m getting at, it’s actually harder to score against the Pacers on a given possession.

The Four Factors to NBA success, after the jump …

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9 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Dec. 11, 2009 at 9:01am in ETB Articles, NBA

John Wall is Really Fast, Quick, Athletic, etc.

December 11, 2009

John Wall is Not the Top PickBy Zachariah Blott

Kentucky freshman PG John Wall will be the #1 overall selection in the 2010 NBA Draft. (who thinks so? here, here, here, here, here, here, you get the idea) And why not? He’s the fastest player in college basketball, he’s averaging 19 PPG and 7 APG through his first eight games, and he’s one of the key reasons Kentucky is currently a top-five team with victories over North Carolina and UConn.

He’s comic book dynamic and does well in the embarrassing-many-opponents department. In the showing-solid-basketball-skills-of-a-#1-pick department, however, there may be some problems.

For starters, he’s a point guard and is therefore expected to run the offense, which entails making good passes and taking care of the ball. Oddly, Wall’s only topped his assist average twice. How is that possible? He got 11 and 14 against two no-name schools. In addition, he plays on a fast breaking team with five 5-star recruits among their top-seven scorers, and the other two Wildcats who average over 1.8 PPG were 4-star recruits. Kentucky’s an absolutely loaded team that runs, so it’s a little surprising he’s only had two games with great assist totals.

John Wall photo credit: Icon SMI

As for taking care of the ball, he’s pretty poor. His 7 APG are paired with 4.8 TOs per game. Exactly opposite of his bottom-heavy assist distribution, he’s only done better than his turnover average twice (same two nobody opponents). In fact, his A-TO numbers in the other six games were 5-5, 6-6, 6-5, 5-5, 7-7, and 2-7. So when other teams lose by less than 29, he’s hardly a heady floor general. In fact, in the highlight video linked to above, Wall actually loses the ball completely in the #1 highlight.

His scoring average is clearly impressive, but can he do more than make driving lay-ups against a bunch of players who will never play in the league? All of the draft sites point out he barely has a shot, and he’s connecting on less than one 3-pointer a game in college. Wall relies on his athleticism to do everything, so he ends up with a lot of fast-break dunks and free throws. One has to wonder, though, how that translates into the NBA where the talent disparity isn’t as extreme, especially on the defensive end.

Speaking of defense, Wall undoubtedly has the size (6-4, 195) and quickness to be a great defender. The statistical evidence for defense is often blurry, but plenty of opposing guards have scored well against the Wildcats in UK’s five close contests, and four of those teams lit it up big-time from behind the arc. Draft experts say things like “he is not very dedicated on that end,” and “he takes plays off and lets inferior players get by him,” so he may have some work to do.

His unbelievable athleticism and extra gear with the ball compare him favorably to recent college PG’s Derrick Rose, Mike Conley, Chris Paul and fellow Kentucky product Rajon Rondo. All four of these players as freshmen took much better care of the ball, however. Rose had a 4.7-2.7 A/TO rate with a high of 5 TO in his first eight games. Rondo had a 3.5-2.0 A/TO rate with a high of 3 TO. Conley sported a 6.1-2.2 A/TO rate with a high of 4 TO. Paul had a 5.9-2.6 A/TO rate with a high of 6 (which was in a 3OT thriller at #4 North Carolina).

Wall has plenty of time to improve his basketball IQ and become a player worthy of the top overall selection in the 2010 draft. If he continues to simply get by on quicks and headlines, though, we might have another Johnny Flynn—someone who makes a living at the free throw line, and that’s about it—in the works.

For my money, I like Georgia Tech’s Derrick Favors and Kansas’s Cole Aldrich at the top of the 2010 Draft, with Syracuse’s Wesley Johnson making it a solid trio if he adds some muscle and keeps shooting like he has been.

Zachariah Blott cannot recommend Rick Telander’s “Heaven Is A Playground” enough.

2 CommentsPosted by ETB Contributor on Dec. 11, 2009 at 1:15am in NBA

Fantasy Football – Week 14 WR Rankings

December 10, 2009

Boldin and Fitzgerald

Larry Fitzgerald & Anquan Boldin Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Ranks Preview by Andrew Thell

Roddy White has been limited in practice this week, but he’s going to suit up on Sunday. And you’re going to be starting him. The Saints duo of new corners looked good against the Pats two weeks ago, but the secondary took a big step back last week in allowing Jason Campbell to tear them up. What’s great about White is that the Matt Ryan situation hardly affects him. He and Chris Redman have a nice rapport dating back to the 2007 season when Redman was a big part of White’s late-season coming out party. Last week Redman targeted White a massive 20 times, resulting in 9 receptions for 104 yards and a TD (albeit with 0:00 on the clock).

In the same game you need Robert Meachem in your lineup. He’s shockingly emerged as the most reliable scorer in the Saints loaded offense with 7 TDs over the last five games. At training camp Meachem said Saints fans were finally going to see a first-round pick on the field this season. The last few weeks they have.

With news that Daunte Culpepper will start this week Calvin Johnson’s projection certainly takes a hit. Still, Pep can huck it and the Ravens corners are extremely beatable. I’m not benching Megatron.

**UPDATE: It appears Hester will sit out.** The Bears are optimistic that Devin Hester will be in Chicago’s lineup this week. I’m less optimistic about his chances of being in mine. Jay Cutler has been atrocious of late and he deserves plenty of blame, but the bottom line is that Hester just isn’t getting it done. 6 receptions the last three weeks, no touchdowns since Week 7 and just 3 TDs total on the season. You can do better, especially with the excellent Packers secondary in town.

We talked about Pierre Garcon’s emergence and recent consistency last week and he came out and made us look good, nabbing 6 receptions for 136 yards. He’s been on fire since the Colts’ Week 6 bye. The Denver defense is tough, but they do give up points to No. 2 WRs. Keep rolling with the hot hand.

Just a hunch, but I think Andre Johnson pushes around Seattle’s smallish secondary this week: 9 receptions, 146 yards, 2 TDs.

See also:
- Week 14 QB Rankings
- Week 14 RB Rankings
- Week 14 TE Rankings
- Week 14 DEF Rankings

1. Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals @ SF
2. Andre Johnson, Houston Texans vs. SEA
3. Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts vs. DEN
4. Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints @ ATL
5. Wes Welker, New England Patriots vs. CAR
6. Randy Moss, New England Patriots vs. CAR
7. Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions @ BAL
8. Sidney Rice, Minnesota Vikings vs. CIN
9. Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons vs. NO
10. Chad Ochocinco, Cincinnati Bengals @ MIN
11. Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. SD
12. Anquan Boldin, Arizona Cardinals @ SF
13. Santonio Holmes, Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE
14. Brandon Marshall, Denver Broncos @ IND
15. Vincent Jackson, San Diego Chargers @ DAL
16. DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles @ NYG

WR rankings 17 through 46, after the jump…

Read the rest of this article »

No CommentsPosted by Brian Spencer on Dec. 10, 2009 at 1:26pm in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

Fantasy Football – Week 14 RB Rankings

December 10, 2009

Joseph Addai

Joseph Addai Photo Credit: Icon SMI

Ranks Preview by Andrew Thell

Joseph Addai is not having a good year. Frankly, he’s playing badly. On the season Addai is averaging just 3.7 yards a carry and 6.3 yards per reception, both of which are quite poor. That may come as a shock to his fantasy owners, though. After all, he’s put up the fifth-most fantasy points among running backs in ETB’s scoring format. And if he can keep rolling like that, fantasy owners won’t care about the paltry per-touch averages. Addai’s production has been a product of his sheer volume of opportunities on a great offense. He’s among the NFL leaders in red-zone opportunities, he’s caught 43 passes, and he’s even tossed a TD. As long as he keeps getting so many opportunities and holds off the more talented (yet apparently injury-prone) Donald Brown, he’s a great option in fantasy – even if he’s the second-best RB on his real-life team.

I know Jerome Harrison busted out for 97 total yards, 7 receptions and 2 TDs last week – but do you really want to be counting on a Cleveland Brown to advance in the fantasy playoffs? I mean, if you’re desperate you have to, but keep in mind this offense is putting up just 12.1 points a game. That’s not a big pie you’re carving a slice of, even if the Pittsburgh defense looks like a completely different animal sans Troy Polamalu, who could be donezo for the season.

Owners of Michael Turner will want to monitor Atlanta Falcons news closely in the coming days. We don’t think he’ll play and haven’t ranked him, but apparently the Falcons are more optimistic. If he does play Turner is worth a start against a sagging New Orleans rush defense. If he doesn’t play neither Jason Snelling nor Jerious Norwood are strong options with Chris Redman under center. Then again, there’s a chance Matt Ryan plays this week – if injured offensive linemen Sam Baker and Harvey Dahl suit up. It’s all very confusing and mired in contingencies. Unless definitive news breaks soon I think owners are best off just leaving all Falcons out of the starting lineup, except for Roddy White and Tony Gonzo.

The Ravens have only given up 6 rushing TDs to running backs on the season and are coming off a performance in Lambeau in which they held Ryan Grant to just 41 rushing yards on 18 carries (2.3 YPC) despite trailing all night. The Lions are going to be playing from behind, and I’m sitting Kevin Smith this week if I can help it.

See also:
- Week 14 QB Ranks
- Week 14 WR Ranks
- Week 14 TE Ranks
- Week 14 DEF Ranks

1. Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans vs. STL
2. Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens vs. DET
3. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. MIA
4. Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers @ CLE
5. Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams @ TEN
6. Thomas Jones, New York Jets @ TB
7. Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings vs. CIN
8. Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers vs. ARZ
9. Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. BUF
10. Joseph Addai, Indianapolis Colts vs. DEN
11. Ricky Williams, Miami Dolphins @ JAC
12. Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills @ KC
13. Cedric Benson, Cincinatti Bengals @ MIN
14. DeAngelo Williams, Carolina Panthers @ NE (Check Status)
15. Pierre Thomas, New Orleans Saints @ ATL
16. Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos @ IND

Running back rankings 17 through 40, after the jump…

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No CommentsPosted by Andrew Thell on Dec. 10, 2009 at 8:36am in Fantasy Rankings, NFL, NFL Fantasy News

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