Saturday, October 31, 2009
Friday, October 30, 2009
I don't have much to offer in terms of terrible entertainment news/reactions/predictions so I'll leave that aspect alone this week. My over-arching fantasy themes for the week are: a) at what point does Miles Austin fail completely, b) is the Jamaal Charles gravy train really off and rolling, and c) how much "arm" does Alex Smith really have? Let's get on with it then. Purple always wins:
SUN, NOV 1
Houston at Buffalo - Houston is the better team, with the better coach and an actually discernible scheme. Steve Slaton will go bonkers this week. Marshawn Lynch will make some advancements, as well. Look for Lee Evans and perhaps Roscoe Parrish or the newly forgettable Fred Jackson to end up with better numbers than they should because Houston still has a defense that is willing to get burned. Matt Schaub seems like a dome guy to me. There is no research allowed in my predictions so I can't cross-check this but I'm expecting Houston's passing game to have bigger problems this week than even an Andre Johnson injury will justify. Owen Daniels will be OK but I'm not counting on anyone else involved in throwing the ball or catching the ball for the Titans.
Cleveland at Chicago - Cleveland coaches are starting to reprimand Cleveland fans. It always worries me when a team's players or coaches start worrying about the fans. It means the team, or at least that individual, is cracking up from the inside. And Cleveland is starting from a precarious place to begin with. The coaching staff on hand has done a poor job of preparing their players for the games they are going to play and Brady Quinn's career is probably irreparably harmed. I'm fine with that because I've never had any faith in him to begin with but a good organization should have gotten Eli Manning level production out of him (their physical skills and mental make-ups, from what I can tell watching them on TV, are similar). The Browns have turned him into an Andre Ware style has-been that never got a legitimate chance. I don't expect a Jim Plunkett style career re-birth/awakening. Brady's got money for life and will just ride off into the sunset. This game? Both coaches will be fired by the time next season rolls around but Lovie Smith is at least safe until next week. The Browns might as well cut their losses now. Mangini is a terrible fit for them. Well, let's give him a draft and see if he has a plan but I'm going to make a bold proclamation based on what I saw from him in New York (hubris) and what I've seen so far from him in Cleveland (even more hubris splayed on top of a flaming train wreck): Mangini has no idea what the fuck is good for a team as a whole. He is too busy jerking off to his own image in the mirror. He's got great tits, I'll give him that, but a man who is drawn in by tits alone is going to sleep with some very ugly women or turn out to be gay. Tits are window dressing and one needs to examine the full picture before making an assessment. Give Cutler a shot this week. His TDs should outnumber his turnovers and he'll get some yardage for you, at the very least. Jonny Knox and, um, the Bears other... receiver... Dammit, who's good on the Bears again? Matt Forte is a shit-bomb but this might be a good week for him. His lack of talent overwhelms my expectations for a good game even here. Greg Olsen might get some numbers for you. He went to Miami so he's a pretty good tight end. Watch Forte get hurt and Garrett Wolfe go the fuck off. That would be classic. If that happens avoid the urge to pick up Garrett Wolfe. He's an even bigger piece of shit RB than Matt Forte.
Seattle at Dallas - You know what? Julius Jones will probably be alright here. The Seahawks shouldn't throw a lot or they will get ambushed. The Cowboys are vulnerable to big plays but you have to be able to soften them up. If Jim Mora (a somewhat stupid coach) has paid attention to the Cowboys defense he will run 40 times and take the 250 yds of passing that are available to his team pending 30 or fewer pass attempts. I'm guessing Seattle will throw 40 times and paradoxically short-circuit Matt Hasselbeck's fantasy value in this game by exposing him to 10-15 hits and several turnovers. The Cowboys are a mystery to me. Romo should be fine and Witten is a safe play at TE. The kicker will be OK as far as kickers go (is it still Nick Folk there?) and one of the running backs will score a TD or two. But everything is a roulette with them. If Romo locks onto Miles Austin this game will go down in flames. Austin could get some big plays but Dallas should do the same thing that the Seahawks should do: run the ball a lot.
St. Louis at Detroit - I think St. Louis wins by way of attrition. Actually, the Rams stats do not match their talent on offense so this is a good chance at a correction for them. I'm going out on a limb and predicting decent to good numbers for Danny Amendola and Donnie Avery. Each one shocks me at how piss-poor their production has been so far but here is a great chance to even things out. Steven Jackson will rock it this week. Kevin Smith will do some good things for the Lions but I'm still unsure of MegaTron's health and the QB position for the Lions is a joke for now. I would like to add that I'm not a staunch believer in Matt Stafford's long-term potential. Mark Bulger might be good for one good fantasy game this year. If so, this is going to be that one.
Denver at Baltimore - Uh, ummm, hmmm, ah, I want Baltimore to win. I sort of root for them and the Saints in the same way. Meaning I'd like them more if I perhaps lived in an area conducive to being a fan of theirs but I am in an area that doesn't entirely believe that either team actually exists. Baltimore's defense is falling apart due to age and coaching changes. The Broncos are congealing quite well so far this year. They are the Patriots Lite. I don't like the NFL because I don't feel the product delivered is consistently entertaining or even of high value on its own terms. Meaning, the NFL plays the worst brand of football available to the American public. The production values are high but I now understand how much a basketball fan from the 70's must have felt watching the NBA bog down under its own popularity in the 90's. Football is not played fundamentally well on the NFL-level and every second of the programming is an attempt to reach out to a non-traditional audience. I'm a believer that the NBA is being saved from its own worst impulses by coaches like Mike D'Antoni that took their teams and re-instilled strong fundamentals while playing up-tempo. The NFL needs a coach that is willing to tell his defense that they need to learn to tackle again because every single player in the NFL is constantly trying to blow up his opponent rather than focusing on wrapping up the ball-carrier and stripping the ball. That's it. That's what the NFL needs. Strong, fundamentally sound defensive football. It's more entertaining when the game is played well and truly talented players rise above the level of everyone else. There are very few players in the league today that make plays consistently. Adrian Peterson is god right now because he plays football well and he is strong and he is fast. You know who else is consistently awesome? Brandon Marshall. Look, the guy's an asshole who probably could justifiably spend some time in prison but the only positive contribution he can make to society as a whole right now is to play football in an entertaining way. Get it? I was getting around to this game in particular but needed to make that point here because the Baltimore Ravens defense is embodying for me right now what has gone wrong in the NFL. They get caught up in their own hype and forget how to tackle and end up giving up a big day to Cedric Benson. I firmly believe that Ced Benson is the biggest one-season fluke in the league since Christian Okoye. The Ravens helped build up this 16-game myth and now they deserve to lose. But I am not a firm believer in the propensity of the Broncos defenders, chief amongst them Champ Bailey, to maintain their desire and technique through the rigors of a full NFL season. I'll take Brandon Marshall in this game because he is the most-talented and thoroughly sound receiver in the game today when he is on the field. He is good in every aspect on a football field. I'll take Todd Heap in this game because he is a solid threat to score in this game. Either kicker could be a good play. I am not sticking my neck out on Kyle Orton but he could have a good game. I don't buy it with Joe Flacco yet and I probably never will. All the running backs in this game are a crap shoot because neither one of these teams is going to split up the rushing duties evenly or consistently from week to week. Why would I choose the Ravens to win? Because the NFL is making it's living these days on the fluky bullshit that passes for entertaining football and I happen to like Baltimore as a city better than I like Denver. Purely out of misplaced sentimentalism.
San Francisco at Indianapolis - No, I'm not picking the Niners. Indianapolis will lose at some point this year but I'll make my guess now that it will be an outdoor game played away from home. Alex Smith should be able to continue his work with Vernon Davis to some extent this week but he should probably start making a habit of looking towards Michael Crabtree right now. Because Crabtree is the key to a sustained passing attack for this team. He is the game changer. Davis is talented and plays well but he is a fringe guy in terms of impact. In a fantasy sense. Teams don't have to take him away to beat the 49ers. Frank Gore will struggle here, I think, so Alex Smith has to find Crabtree. Indy? If you've got any Indy players, you should know the drill by now. If you're sitting Peyton Manning at this point you'd better have Phillip Rivers and/or Drew Brees on your roster because no other QB is more reliable under any circumstances than Peyton Manning. If this Manning has a bad game this year, it's a one-week fluke. You aren't here to figure out which Colts to start. There is no borderline. You trust them or you don't and you've had them all year by now.
Miami at NY Jets - The Jest beat the Raiders last week. That's nice. Chad Henne has a stronger arm than Mark SanCHEZZZ and a better supporting cast. Ricky Williams, following the pattern of distribution that the Dolphins have followed for the last couple of years, will produce 9 yds rushing and about 16 yds receiving this week. Ronnie Brown will somehow be integral to the Dolphins win and help absolutely nobody win their fantasy week. The Dolphins will shut down the Jets running game and get some turnovers. The Dolphins and the Saints are doing their part to actually keep me entertained by pro football but it's an uphill battle.
NY Giants at Philadelphia - You know who cares about this game? Everybody in New Jersey. ESPN spent 30 minutes or so telling us this last year. I trust Brandon Jacobs, LeSean McCoy and Brent Celek in this game. I would not trust anybody else unless they are my only option. For instance, if my roster included Donovan McNabb and Eli Manning on the same team, I might start Alex Smith over either one of them. He's probably available and, even though one of these guys will have a better game than him, you don't know which of these two will be the victor. Oh, yeah, Steve Smith is pretty consistent. So play him every week. If you need me to tell you that you probably have missed every football reference in this column so far.
Jacksonville at Tennessee - Oh, good lord. The Titans have to become good again on some level, don't they? This sort of thing, going from 13-3 to 0-6 used to be allowed pre-merger but I'm stunned by the Titans this year. Albert Haynesworth might have needed them and they obviously needed him. His threats to kick linemen in the face when they are lying on the ground must somehow ring hollow in the Redskins locker room. Tennessee has apparently given up on blocking this year. I'm not serious. The run blocking is there. But Kerry Collins can't get rid of the ball fast enough and I'm not counting on Vince Young to do much better. But he will help them run the ball because the perception in the league is that he's still a threat to run. This may or may not be the actual case but the threat is still there. So VY will loosen things up Johnson & Doughboy. Jacksonville has MJD, David Garrard and Mike Sims-Walker. That should really be enough to win 10 games this year. It probably is not, though, because Mike Del Rio is even more overrated and below average as a coach than he was as a linebacker. Still, if you have those 3 guys go ahead and play them. I'm siding with Tennessee because they are overdue and coming off a bye week. Other than that they probably still have amnesia when it comes to playing good defense.
Oakland at San Diego - A lot was made earlier when these two teams played about the fact that Oakland was still in the game late. Zach Miller is a threat to go wild on San Diego this week but other than that I'd be surprised if Oakland keeps it within 30 this time around. San Diego is a vastly superior team in terms of talent and they're terrible defense might actually bother to show up this week. Any Chargers on your team should be starting this week. Rivers could go for 400 yds if the coaches let him. They should because this team needs to put their foot to the throttle for the rest of the year. Norv Turner is not great with the rhythms of head coaching so I wouldn't be surprised to see a 24-0 halftime turn into a 30-17 finale. Except for the part where the Raiders score 17 points. That's always a little surprising.
Carolina at Arizona - I am praying for Arizona to give Beanie Wells 30 carries this week. I'm telling you right now, Cardinals coaches, this will result in 150 yd+ performance. Don't get nervous and start giving the ball to Hightower, he knows the schemes and all that but has no chance to be a gamebreaker (seriously, how has he not been converted to FB yet? He should be the second coming of Lorenzo Neal by now). Don't go on auto-pilot and throw 57 passes this week. It seems easy because Carolina is a bad pass-defense but don't do it. The future of your season and perhaps your franchise rests on the idea that Beanie Wells is a legitimate threat to take over a football game. We all know that Larry Fitzgerald and FSU's best QB since Charlie Ward are gamebreakers at receiver. Most of the NFL, if not all of its fans, probably realizes that Steve Breaston is the best Michigan product playing receiver in the league right now. What teams probably don't realize is that a) your line actually a good run-blocking unit and b) Matt Leinart will be just fine when Kurt Warner goes down to inevitable injury. Get the adrenaline out of Matt Leinart now so he doesn't fuck you up in a crucial situation later and get Beanie Wells a lot of work starting this week. I am not going to say the Cardinals will blow the Panthers out because I actually think more highly of the Panthers coaching staff (Jake Delhomme's oddly defensible presence as the starter notwithstanding) than the Cards staff but there is that potential in this game. Only start DeAngelo Williams and, yeah, I'm saying it, Steve Smith for the Panthers.
Minnesota at Green Bay - Favre will throw about 20 passes this week. If he throws another game winner I will puke. Brett Favre deserves no mention in the MVP debate. None. He's a final piece, not the center-piece. Is anybody reading this that can help get the word out? Remember 5 months ago when the Vikings seemed like a potential Super Bowl contender when they had Tarvaris Jackson listed as their starter? Brett Favre is an upgrade from that but so would be Brady Quinn and Jamarcus Russell. Tarvaris Jackson was drafted behind those guys and everyone that had him pegged as a 4th rounder or lower was right. The Vikings fucked up on that pick. Sidney Rice? That was justifiable. He's still no Randy Moss but he also isn't as much of an asshole as Randy Moss. Adrian Peterson deserves MVP votes. He's the guy making this offense work. A really great RB will always do that for you. I can't fathom that the Colts never won a Super Bowl with Edgerrin James and I hope AD does not suffer the same fate. The Vikings should trade for Kevin Kolb in the offseason. Aaron Rodgers is a legitimate MVP pick if the Packers end up with 11 or more wins. He's a good start this week. So are Donald Driver Greg Jennings, James Jefferson and Ryan Grant.
MON, NOV 2
Atlanta at New Orleans - Dangerous game for the Saints but I bet they come out fired up. Atlanta gave up some big plays to the Cowboys last week and the Saints play the same offense as the Cowboys but 4 years more advanced. Drew Brees is Tony Romo x3. And I count myself as a Romo defender. He needs some valium before big games but the Romo backlash is even dumber than the Romo deification was 2 years ago. He might be Danny White in the long run but Danny White was better than most people remember. And better than 90% of 1st rounders at QB. I'm taking Shockey, Colston, Pierre Thomas, and Meachem in this game. Matt Ryan is one of those guys that bothers me because I'm never sure when he will have a huge game but he's a threat every week. The Saints D has lived on turnovers more than 3 and outs so far this year. The Falcons don't turn the ball over much usually but their run game has been horrible this year. Keep Gonzalez, White and Ryan in your starting line-up but don't reach for any sleepers on this Falcons team. Not this week, at least.
Have fun, Happy Halloween and go see some scary movies this weekend. There have been some good ones this year.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
1.) Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State - I'm not joking and I'm not overstating things here. This guy is the best player in the country based on his on-field performance. He's a force of nature. I see a lot of comments on Heisman Pundit that his case is reminiscent of Marshall Faulk's case. Well, I'm ok with that. Marshall Faulk probably deserved 2 Heisman trophies. The problem with Mathews is that he plays on an unhyped team in games that usually start at midnight Eastern Standard Time.
2.) Case Keenum, QB, Houston - This candidate's lack of viability bothers me more than Mathews. Keenum has a fucking great arm and looks fairly polished to me. I've seen him compared to Andre Ware and David Klingle as a "system" quarterback but isn't it more fair to compare him to a QB from the same system? I've tried to get across how much I love the run & shoot offense and my memories of Ware and Klingler probably outstrip actual performance for both of them but let's be realistic. Case Keenum is like a better version of Kevin Kolb, the QB that directly preceded him at UH. If you watched Kolb play when Donovan McNabb got hurt, you can probably take that as a complement. Keenum looks amazing when I watch him. He hits every throw and he's pretty great at avoiding pressure. His yardage numbers were lower than normal last week but his team won easily.
3.) Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame - I really would have liked it if he pulled off the upset against USC. It would've made everything else academic. He'd be the winner. He pulled them back and had them in position to win all on the strength of his arm. Then this motherfucker goes and makes three terrible reads and three terrible throws in a row to end the game. Jimmy, Jimmy, you need to come back next year because you need some polish. Especially if Notre Dame hires a really good coach this offseason. I like watching Clausen play and he's been this good but I can't put my heart behind him after he lost his composure when he needed it most.
4.) Terrence Cody, DT, Alabama - I'm keeping him on the list. I've been saying it all year. Just because he doesn't produce stats doesn't mean he's not the best player on the field 99% of the time he's out there. He plays a position that doesn't produce a lot of stats. And he does not play in a scheme like Ndamukong Suh where it's a possibility. Suh reminds me of Richard Seymour and Cody reminds me of Sam Adams. Pretty good players. I don't even know that one is over the other in NFL history and I could see the argument that Suh is more "projectable" to the league. But 'Bama's defense is better than Nebraska's and the fact that Ronaldo McClain and Javier Arenas are free to make all the plays they make, plus the fact that Alabama is a legitimate argument for #1 in the country puts Cody higher on my voting list. Blocked field goals are pretty equal.
5.) Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska - Okay, I give up. This goddamned motherfucker is the baddest fuck in the Big XII. Nobody can fuck with him. I don't want anything to do with hyping Nebraska but this dude kills. Too bad his team sucks. He should have gone somewhere else. Like Miami. Fuck this guy.
The rest of the bests:
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida - I am sick of him putting me to sleep every week. You're supposed to be the best. I want to believe it. Everyone is waiting to believe it. I don't believe it right now.
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas - Fuck you.
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech - I like him better as a player than Mark Ingram. And then Va Tech goes and shits themselves against Georgia Tech. Which leads us to...
John Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech - Good runner disappeared against Miami and then got hurt, in that order. He does not make me want to watch.
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson - I never know what to expect from this guy. He's good in big games and then disappears against bullshit teams. The "total yardage leader" mantle is kind of bullshit. If Ryan Mathews were returning kicks I have a feeling he could do pretty well there, too.
Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia - Why is he down here? I forgot to put him in the top 5. I would have put him 3rd and moved everyone else back accordingly if I hadn't spaced out. Devine is worth the time investment of watching a West Virginia game.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama - I like him. I do. But he is in a good position. He's a legit 1st rounder in the 2011 NFL Draft. His backup is a legit top 5 pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. And Julio Jones takes some pressure away from Ingram, too. Because teams have to watch Greg McElroy staring at Julio Jones all day long. Even on handoffs.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State - Because he leads the nation in passing efficiency? No, because he needs to be addressed again as the machine rolls around in his direction. Kellen Moore is good. He's not great. He's not irreplaceable and he doesn't belong in the discussion. But he's there.
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame - Again, move it along. He's good but not that good.
Demayrius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech - Best receiver in the country. Barely registers because his team only throws about 5 times per game.
Jacory Harris, QB, Miami - Jacory, you kill me. What's up with the INT's, you little fucker? You fucked up against Clemson and you goddam well know it. Get it together or The U is going to slip again. You know what I'd rather have than your accountability? 2 more wins.
I'm cutting out right here. I'm not linking to non-contender contenders. I should have put a link on Noel Devine but I am lazy and sick of thinking about this dumb shit.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
I keep wanting to write about the movie Antichrist but I'm not sure what I want to write. I don't hate it but I don't see why it needs such an outpouring of critical analyses, either. And, yet, I mean to add my trash to the pile. What I actually want to write about is the critical failure to actually reflect the subject. I wonder if everyone who's reviewed the movie saw the same movie I saw. I read a good deal about the film before I saw it, and I recognized scenes and motifs from the reviews and such but was fully unprepared for the narrative and the (surprisingly small) scope. Anyway, I'll deal with that in my head until I don't want to write about it anymore. Episode 1 of AdBear is way overdue on this site.
On to the college football. Time for my at least once a week rant against the bloodsuckers at the NCAA. If the NCAA or the conferences involved in the NCAA were in any way honestly concerned about the well-being/welfare of their member athletes these kids would either get a substantial bump in their stipends or there would be no games played from Monday morning until Thursday evening. Why? Because then the "student-athletes" that make the games profitable would either share in the profits or actually be able to attend class. And the Football Bowl Subdivision would have a real playoff. I am a strong proponent of levelling the football playing field so that all D1 schools are allowed into the tourney. The conferences could all have auto-bids and there would be a 64-team tournament starting in mid-December. The regular season would be capped at 11 games with an allowance for conference championship games (hello, Conference merger-mania!) so that no team could play more than 18 games in a year. This would produce substantially more revenue than the current model, despite what the naysayers would have you believe. It would also spread the wealth around (fuck you if you think Communism is evil - the work week should be shortened to 30 hours to alleviate unemployment, too) more evenly. If I ran the world...
How'd I do last week? I'm no better at picking games than I am at finding a job. If you are a creditor, and you are reading this, it was written in a library so leave me alone. I went 41-15 last week, which is actually my best week yet. There were some problem spots, though, as always. Miami, Virginia and Maryland all seemed like loserd to me and I was right in my hunches even if my shirt loyalties kept me on the wrong side in my picks. I knew something like that was coming from Clemson. Maybe Randy Shannon isn't a very good defensive coordinator. I hadn't really seriously considered that until this week. I read 'Cane Mutiny and remembered how good The U was from 2000 - 2002 and it made me sad. The book also made me sad because it's a crying shame I can't get published and drivel like this gets out there and seen. Why don't sports books actually have any information in them? I could have looked up the games for the Hurricanes over the last 25 years and recounted them just as easily as Bruce Feldman. He dug up the history of the program and then just glided. It's like he wrote the first few chapters right when he thought of it and then remembered he still had 185 pages to go when the deadline was 6 days away. Good grief. My other notable misses last week were Idaho (goodbye, bandwagon!), Texas Tech (Leach, you dog, you!) and Michigan State. I was right for 60 full minutes of game action about Michigan State beating Iowa. But the last play extended beyond the game clock's expiration. And that's when the winning TD was scored. Sparty sure is a choker. I'm at 150-65 for the year. That's a good record for a baseball team. Purple always wins:
North Carolina at No. 13 Virginia Tech - I'm tempted here. I'm really tempted here. I'm sticking with Ryan Williams but my gut tells me that the ACC is an absolute train wreck this year. And Virginia Tech losing this game would certainly justify that feeling. I'll feel better if I tune in and the score is very high for Va Tech and very low for Bitch Davis' boys. I still fucking hate Butch Davis. That book about Miami really dredged up some bad feelings towards him. And that motherfucker even had a chance to come back before Randy Shannon took the job! Fuck Butch Davis. I won't pick him again unless it's absolutely obvious that UNC will win the game. And I'll still root for him to lose.
No. 21 West Virginia at South Florida - I'm riding the hot hand on this one because I want Noel Devine in the Heisman race and South Florida has absolutely broken my heart the last two weeks. They's barely even showed up.
Nebraska at Baylor - If Ndamkuong Suh sacks Baylor 12 times in this game will there be anyone there to see it who isn't wearing a Nebraska sweatshirt and/or scouting for the NFL? No, there will not be anyone else there to watch it. Baylor might have fans but I doubt it.
Coastal Carolina at Clemson - Seriously, who is the asshole that thought we needed a 12 regular season game in college football? And why is it so hard to find a good database of college football stats? Even the NCAA's website is very tight with the info. I want to look at some old stats, goddammit!
San Jose State at No. 7 Boise State - Boise needs to score 100 to impress the voters enough to move them up. Otherwise the BCS thing is just not going to happen, which is very unfortunate for everybody because Boise St is an awesome team to watch. Espcially at home.
Georgia vs. No. 1 Florida* - Ahh, the world's biggest outdoor cocktail party! It's listed as a neutral site but I've noticed over the years that the neutral site is in the state of Florida. It's always seemed like more of a home game for Florida to me even if it is equidistant between the two campuses.
No. 19 Miami (FL) at Wake Forest - 'Canes really crappd out against Clemson. Where's the heart, Miami? The defense is looking mighty weak to me, so maybe Randy Shannon really will be gone after this year. Too bad, I really want him to be a great coach. Would he stay on as DC if they brought bak Jimmy Johnson?
Iowa State at Texas A&M - Mike Sherman wins two in a row? It's a little far-fetched but I like an alternate reality where I have actually cashed in on whatever talent I have and am not thinking about applying for food stamps. It's a similar place to the one that has Sherman as a winner.
Gee whiz. This is silly. Hopefully I will have a job by the next time this column rolls around.
Saturday, October 24, 2009
Friday, October 23, 2009
The last time the Comedy Corporation checked in with the NFL I made the absolute worst prediction in the history of picking games. I picked the Titans to pull off a huge upset and then they went out and lost 59-0. I've never seen a team lose 59-0 in the NFL. So, I missed that one. I got the Chiefs game correct, didn't I? Isn't that enough for you fans of entirely biased, uninformed and unresearched game predictions? I went 8-6 last week, which is surprising because I felt like I got every game wrong. I predicted the Eagles to smash the Raiders but forgot that Andy Reid refuses to run the football under any conditions. I don't feel too badly about that one because nobody really saw it coming. I mean, c'mon!, Jamarcus Russell completed more than half his passes. That is a statistial improbability that few people are willing to accout for. Wisdom of crowds, my dick. Ced Benson did finally look terrible and he's back to sniping with the Bears in the media, so maybe he is finally ready to get back to drunk driving his boat. Expunge this, Benson, I still remember it. Overly aggressive cops or not, you're still a dick. 8-6 is my comfort zone. In two weeks of this silly shit I'm 16-12. Goddamned awful. Purple wins, comments are encouraged (site tracker tells me somebody reads these things):
Green Bay at Cleveland - Derek Anderson got a lot of publicity for his 2 completion win a couple of weeks ago but, hot damn, he is terrible this year. Romeo Crennel is an offensive genius for getting this guy to the Pro Bowl two years ago. There is no way DA is better than Brady Quinn. I understand the need to save as much money as you can on your terrible QB's but it would probably help the Browns fan-base to know Anderson only starts because it's less expensive in the long run if they do it this way. Both of these guys will be 3rd string or worse in a different city next year. If you need to start any Browns on your fantasy team, I feel sorry for you. Green Bay has some safe starts this week. Donald Driver, Ryan Grant, Aaron Rodgers and Greg Jennings all have a shot at 300 yds this week depending on how the touches are divvied up.
San Diego at Kansas City - Norv Turner hasn't gotten enough credit lately for ruining a perfectly good title contender. The Chargers will never win a Super Bowl with Norv as the head coach. I do't mean this ironically - they probably would have won one with Marty if he hadn't been fired following a 14-2 record. Sports owners and GMs are very bad at looking at the outcomes of their personnel decisions. It's fine that they would fire Schottenheimer if they had, say, Bill Cowher to replace him. But the Chargers fired Marty knowing full well that Nov Turner would be the next guy. Is it worse to go to the AFC championship regularly with a good chance of choking or would you rather go 9-7 until things get really bad and you go 4-12? I'll take Marty Ball, thank you very much. Vincent Jackson is a good play here and so is Phillip Rivers. Ladainian and Darren Sproles should be at least decent. Antonio Gates is an auto-start and the Chargers D might be decent this week. Matt Cassell is an emergency option and Dwayne Bowe should be his normal productive self, with some potential for a massive game.
Indianapolis at St. Louis - Something crazy will happen this week. Maybe the Rams will injure every Colt and win by forfeit despite trailing 48-0 in the 1st quarter. Everything about fantasy football is based on guessing, though, and I'm guessing that every Colts starter comes out with at least respectable production. I wonder if Bulger is finally healthy for the first time in about 40 games. Maybe he and Donnie Avery can expose an overrated Colts D. I'm not counting on it, fwiw.
Minnesota at Pittsburgh - I think this game is going to be underwhelming in its fantasy world implications. Adrian Peterson will have blah numbers, Rashard Mendenhall will lose some carries and dilute his value,Willie Parker will be terrible but get carries, Brett Favre and Ben Rapelisberger will each throw over 40 passes for less than 300 yds and the final score will be something like 17-13. Boring as hell. Bernard Berrian is worth a start this week with Percy Harvin potentially sitting. I thought about writing up the Steelers #2 WR but I can't remember his name. He's my sleeper for the week, though. He's got a really bland name if you're going to go looking for him.
New England at Tampa Bay - Road warriors spctacular this week. Might be just as bad a game as the Pats game last week. I keep wanting Josh Johnsons to become good but he might need another year and a consistent O-line. KII is an automatic start and has probably earned some kind of cutesy Bill Simmons title like "most hated athlete that actually plays his sport incredibly well while being called over-rated but simultaneously actually being under-rated." KII is one of the top 5 TE's in the league, at least as a pass catcher, and if he's on the field he will be productive. He has an injury history but it is mostly of the non-football related variety and I will defend him on the staph battle with the Browns until the day I forget it happened. What do you do with the Pats? Start Brady, Moss and Welker (is he hurt or anything?) and forget everything else because there is no way to predict who the 3rd WR or the feature RB will be from week to week. Someone other than the big names will be great this week but you could pick from any of about 12 guys and it's just a matter of dumb luck whether you will get it right or not. Pats defense should be a great play this week - lots of sacks and turnovers.
San Francisco at Houston - I might just be picking Houston because I haven't picked a home team yet and these two are pretty close in talent level. Frank Gore might have his best game of the year and Michael Crabtree will have a fluky good game in his debut. Vernon Davis should be a great play and Shawn Hill will be a good emergency start this week. Texans players? Tougher to say because the 49ers are coming off the bye week. Stick with Andre Johnson and Owen Daniels, start Steve Slaton because if you have 3 RBs that are better than him you are in a league full of dummies who need a break or they will quit. Matt Schaub? I don't trust him. Play him if you must. I don't seem very convinced by my pick of Houston to win.
Buffalo at Carolina - If DIck Jauron doesn't get fired in the next few weeks, bet on the Bills to be in City of Industry within 4 years. Nobody in this game is worthy of name dropping except for the two Panthers RB's. Start both of them.
NY Jets at Oakland - Dirty Sanchez is no better at QB than Jamarcus Russell. He might deserve to start for the Browns. The Raiders have a decent line, Russell needs to throw the ball more quickly. Thomas Jones will be a good play in this game and one of the Raiders TE's or WR's will get a ton of yds, mostly on one or two huge plays against the idiotic blitz schemes that the Jets employ. One good CB and one good FS is not enough talent on a defense to pretend that the DL and LB's are even average. The Jets suck just as bad as the Raiders. You won't hear that anywhere else until after the season when the Jets are 5-11 and the Raiders are 6-10 (and maybe not even then) but you should know it this week before the Jets turn it over 3 times and lose 24-16.
Atlanta at Dallas - The Falcons are a rarity among NFL teams in that they are well-coached. That will be enough to win against the bozos in silver & blue. The Cowboys are more talented than the Falcons but Matt Ryan is the better QB and Mike Smith is the better head coach. Rody White will go berserk in this game. Tony Romo will lock onto Miles Austin even before the snap and will ruin every chance the Cowboys have to win. Tony Gonzalez will wreck shit this week. Michael Turner, Marion Barber, Tashard Choice and (depending if he plays or not) Felix Jones are all a little bit iffy in this game. They all might do OK but you're facing a bad matchup if you have to count on any of them.
Chicago at Cincinnati - Antwan Odom's injury is just the convenient excuse the Bengals need to go on a 6 or 7 game losing streak. Look, if their own fans don't believe in them who should we who will never watch them? On the fantasy side, Carson Palmer should be better than he is and so should the #85. Ced Benson is going to remain a fluke in my mind if he runs for 150+ yds every game until 2046. Johnny Knox looks like the best pickup on the Bears and Kyle Orton's ghost should be OK at QB with the lessened pressure from the Bengals D-line. Matt Forte is killing me and I don't expect anything from him anymore. Let that be a lesson to me: If I didn't think anything of a player last year but he gets an offseason of hype in the offseason, I should just stick with my original assessment and draft a great WR when I have the chance. Reggie Wayne for Matt Forte sounds like a steal on my end.
New Orleans at Miami - This should be the most fun game of the year. I'm not saying it will be the most fun, just that it should be the most fun. Nothing ever works right in the NFL. If you've got any Saints on your team other than Reggie Bush you should probably play them every week until further notice. Ronnie Brown could be a great play and is probably an auto-start anyway but I'd stay away from Ricky this week. The Saints defense should get some turnovers from the Dolphins and might even sack Henne a few times. Who else plays for the Dolphins?
Arizona at NY Giants - I guess Sunday night is the bigger game now but this definitely seems like it should have been a MNF game. The Cards D is not that good and the Giants always seem overrated to me. Larry Fitzgerald and Steve Breaston should be safe plays. I don't count out Anquan Boldin because he's a tough motherfucker but he might not even play so don't count on him either. Eli Manning should put up some yards but has the potential to suck just as badly as he did last week. Brandon Jacobs should be fine but I wouldn't start a Cardinals RB this week. Kurt Warner might throw it 60 times if he can get it off without getting hit too much. The Giants should win no matter what because they are at home and the Cardinals are just a little sloppier, it seems.
Philadelphia at Washington - Woohoo. How could anyone look forward to this? The Redskins have been totally sold out by their owner and might as well just quit right now. The Eagles ran the most stubborn, idiotic offensive gameplan of the year last week. If Philly throws 46 times this week they will keep this terrible 'Skins team in the game just like they did last week for the Raiders. The wild card here is that I don't know how much the Redskins are going to care. They might roll over and make everyone on Philly look like a star. They might try to win and make Andy Reid look like a buffoon again. I'm not going to watch this dreck and I don't trust a single player in the game. Chris Cooley should be good for 150 yds and 2 TDs this week but there is no way to have solid info on what Sherm Lewis is going to do with the play calls. I'm not counting on anything here.
Big tumblers this week? Mt. Cody didn't eat up much space last Saturday and I'm not even going to write him up this week. Nice for me to preach about consistency, huh? Rolando McLain was okay but didn't have a great game last week. Because, you know, Cody and the line were merely decent laast week instead of dominating. Jimmy Clausen looked great bringing Notre Dame back, and definitely solidified his candidacy in my mind, but he also rushed his last three passes when he had a chance to tie the game. They should have gotten it to overtime and if Clausen is the best player in the country, he should have made a play in that situation. So he's not even second this week. I admit I'm giving Tim Tebow a huge pass in this whole process. No way has he looked like the best player in the country. Soft tosser McCoy still doesn't look that good to me. I thought he was legit when I watched him last year. This year he looks like Doug Flutie's body and athleticism with Bernie Kosar's arm. Bernie Kosar was once in a televised QB competition where the longest throw he could make was 19 yards. That's as far as he could throw it. Colt McCoy remids me of that. Except that Bernie also couldn't run to save his life and he was 6'5" or so. McCoy is about 6' and can run.
I have been on record as being a lover of defensive candidates. I might have to bite the bullet and drop all my non-Suh contenders. Nobody else looked like a great player last week and Suh is only a consideration for me because he gets a ton of hype. He's good, don't get me wrong, but I always hate the Heisman candidates that don't really strike me as future All-Pro's in the NFL. Suh strikes me as overrated in college and the pros. That doesn't mean all pospects are Heisman candidates, though. Jimmy Graham looks like the surest bet of any pass-catcher in college ball right now but he doesn't make a lot of plays because he is in his first year of football in 4 years. Suh and Cody might be back on the list next week, or even some other new defensive discovery. Also absent this week is Brandon Spikes. Is he seriously hurt? UF is a little fucked if he's out. Maybe moreso than if Tebow misses a game or two. I don't waste time writing about injured guys as Heisman candidates until the end of the season. So Spikes is off the list until further review.
Who is on the list? This is it:
1) Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State - My favorite new show of the fall leads the country in rushing. I was surprised to find out he doesn't lead the nation in 20+ yd rushes because it seems like he's good for at least 10 on every play. He averaged over 10 yards per carry last week and went over 200 yds again but nobody cared about it because A) he's supposed to do that every week and B) he plays after everyone, including West Coasters, has bgone to sleep. Also, the game wasn't available anywhere that I could find. I've seen plenty of Mathews this year, though, so don't worry. I have a pretty good idea of what I missed.
2) Case Keenum, QB, Houston - I was watching Houston play last week and something occurred to me that I don't think I'd realized before. Case Keenum might be the best pro prospect of any QB in the country. Seriously. Tony Pike is brittle. Jimmy Clausen is a hot-head. Tim Tebow has the worst footwork this side of Jamarcus Russell (no more capitalized "M" for the time being). Ryan Mallett needs to play another year and Sam Bradford is an over-rated product of Oklahoma's system. Case Keenum makes throws through zone coverage in perfect time with his receivers and with real force. He's a prototype size and he's quick with his release. He also plays against generally lousy teams but I think I like what I've seen. This might be my new Andre Ware. I spent 6 years hoping Ware could get in the right situation to become a star and now I'll hope the same for Keenum. I don't know how teams in the league feel about him. He might be a top 10-kind of guy already. I think Dallas might be a good situation for him. He can take over for Romo in the 2011 season and have a solid supporting cast while whatever new coaching staff is in Dallas by then puts together the next generation of over-hyped Cowboys players.
3) Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame - I can't be bothered to go back and look this up but I think this might actually be the same spot I had him in lasat week. So much for falling. I've written enough about this guy.
4) Noel Devine, RB, West Virginia - If for some reason the NFL decided to have a skills competition between Devine and Mathews at next year's scouting combine I would DVR that shit. I like Devine a little better from an entertainment standpoint and he's definitely playing against tougher opponents most weeks and yeat, still, I rate Mathews as a better player. Devine didn't have a great game last week but I think I've figured out why the story arc has lead me to where I am: West Virginia doesn't rely on Noel Devine nearly as much as they should. He doesn't get the ball enough to be the real heart of the team the way he should be. It's too bad because he is the most enjoyable player in college football since... um, Percy Harvin. Last year. So not that long ago. But Devine has totally lived up to his high school-days YouTube hype as far as I'm concerned.
5) Tim Tebow, QB, Florida - The power of Christ compels you! Since I just mentioned Percy above let me point this out: two years ago, before I realized how much work Tebow needs to do to become a legit NFL passer, I argued (lightly) with my friend Jackson that Percy Harvin was the real reason Florida was so good on offense. It occurred to me last week, as Florida slogged out an unimpressive and officially questionable win, that I was absolutely correct. I have Tebow on here out of habit. I though he should have won last year because I had taken the same pills as everyone else and Percy missed time in a few games. Tebow should have won his second Heisman last year and it's starting to look like he will win it this year instead. But he should get credited as a fullback this year because he barely ever throws the goddamned fucking ball. And it annoys me no end. Percy Harvin was the reason Florida's offense looked so good the last three years. And Tim Tebow doesn't trust his receivers nearly enough. Seriously, he has no obvious rapport with any of the guys on the field this year except for the white guy and the tight end. That's another reason Tebow will not be very good in the league. Unless he gets drafted by Minnesota and gets to throw to Percy Harvin all the time. So why is Tebow on my list? I feel compelled to put him on here. And I would honestly still give him a vote. I think you get five votes when you vote for Heisman, don't you?
The rest of the bests:
Jacory Harris, QB, Miami - I feel traitorous putting him this low. He had a really great game last week, too. Against UCF, though. And he did throw 2 INTs against FAMU. He is legitimately the "franchise" in Miami right now and if Miami wins out there's a good chance I'll be screaming for Jacory by the end of the year.
Ryan Williams, RB, Virginia Tech - Love the player, hate the game. Virginia Tech choked to death against Georgia Tech last week. It was entirely a defensive letdown and Williams shouldn't be penalized for that. Still, I'm disappointed in all the Hokies right now. For shame, Hokies, for shame.
Mark Ingram, RB, Alabama - I'm fine with the growing sentiment that an Alabama player has to be in the running for the Heisman because look at how fucking good that team is, would ya? But Mark Ingram is getting carried away on overstated hype. 'Bama's O-Line play has been spectacular and I don't get the feeling The Tide would lose any steam if Ingram goes out. Trent Richardson is just as good. Ingram gets most of the carries so he gets most of the yards. I'm not even arguing that Ingram isn't a great player. He is a great player. He just isn't the best player on his team, in his conference, or in the country.
Kellen Moore, QB, Boise State - Here's another beneficiary of a team needing a Heisman rep. Good quarterback, great situation, doesn't ever make me think, "I am watching the best player in the country."
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame - This guy's name is a joke, right? I like the numbers he puts up and he does make some pretty good plays every week but I'm pretty sure Notre Dame would be fucked in the asshole very roughly if for some reasone Jimmy Clausen has to miss any time at all. On the other hand, if Michael Floyd hadn't gotten injured he would have probably made the Top 5.
Chris Owusu, WR, Stanford - The next Joe Cribbs!
Dion Lewis, RB, Pitt - I don't watch Pitt very closely when they're on and I never see this kid do much when I'm watching but he's got a run-away freight train of hype around him and he puts up some really good numbers. So I'll have to pay closer attention to boost him up by much.
Ricky Dobbs, QB, Navy - Best option QB since Tommy Frazier. No bullshitting either. I really believe it. Go Middies!
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford & Jacquizz Rodgers, RB, Oregon State - Let me clarify here on Jacquizz: I haven't actually watched him at all this year. I will, alright? I just haven't gotten around to it. I will see him this week, hopefully tearing up the USC defense again, but in the interest of journalistic integrity I have to give full disclosure. I've seen him before but not this year. Toby Fucking Gerhart is on here for the same reason Jacquizz is on here. They both score tons of TDs. That is all.
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech - He looks like the second coming of Calvin Johnson but I wonder if it's just because nobody bothers to cover him. How can you ever expect a pass play from Georgia Tech? He deserves a mention, though, because he is like a nightmare presence lurking for anybody playing against Georgia Tech.
This list expanded this week. And I'm just cutting myself off now because I don't want to include any more admissions that I haven't seen some people play (like that WR from Bowling Green - your numbers suck in a really intertesting way) and I am going out of my way not to include and defensive players this week. I don't mind all the oddball candidates but I don't want Tebow to win it this year unless he does some really awesome stuff from now on.