Thursday, January 27, 2011

AT FIRST GLANCE - NATIONAL LEAGUE EAST



AT FIRST GLANCE: National League (written by DeadheadBill)

part one: NL EAST

We're almost half way through the winter which can only mean one thing--time to start talkin' baseball!! With less then a month before pitchers and catchers report I thought it would be the perfect time to take an early peek at some contenders....and maybe some PRE-tenders!! So put down the pig skin and grab the rosen bag--here we go!

PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES

Best place to start is the 2010 NL East Champion Phillies. They made a big splash early when they added "former" Philly Cliff Lee(hard to say former since it seems he was just in red pin stripes not too long ago). We all can probably agree that the Phils have one of the best(if not THE best)pitching staffs in the league and the addition of Lee on top of 2010 Cy Young award winner Doc Holliday, former Astros ace Roy Oswalt and lefty Cole Hamels borderlines on cruel & unusual punishment for the rest of the division. But look a little deeper and there are a few holes that could be exploited if not fixed by opening day. The departure of Jason Werth leaves a gaping hole in an otherwise potent lineup. Top prospect Dominic Brown is the heir apparent, but after less then stellar 2010 & winter league performances he's far from a lock to be the answer in 2011. Ben Fransisco should also be in the outfield mix, but the throw in from the first Cliff lee deal still hasnt found steady at bats in Philly, but this season he could by default.


And there is also the age issue in left. Fan favorite Raul Ibanez will turn 39 during the season. Ibanez had one of the best stretches of his career in his first half season with the Phils, but since then he has redefined "streaky". Top that with the fact that not too many 38-39 year old position players are able to play 150 games in a season and it's pretty clear the Phils still have some work to do offensively.

The bullpen could be solid, but it will all depend on Brad Lidge. Ryan Madson has been terrific as a setup man but has struggled to shut the door. The other late inning option is Jose Contreras, but no doubt the Phils are hoping Lidge can return to the form he had back in 2008, or at least close to it!!

GRADE: A


ATLANTA BRAVES

One of the real winners this offseason has been Atlanta. The addition of Dan Uggla along with the anticipated emergence of Freddy Freeman have this franchise looking as good as it has since the 90's. There are some question marks of course, particularly in center field. With Martin Prado looking like the new starting left fielder and last years super rookie Jason Heyward entrenched in right the weak link appears to be Nate McClouth. If McClouth can return to the form he displayed in Pittsburg & make a run at a 20/20 season or better, the Braves could be in for a very solid season.

Pitching-wise Atlanta looks very good. There are questions regarding who will take over for Billy Wagner, but the young talented two-some of Johnny Venters and Craig Kimbrel should give them not only a solid closing option but also a bridge between the 7th inning and 9th. With some very solid role players in middle relief(George Sherril, Eric O'Flannery, Scott Linebrink & Peter Moylan) this is a bullpen that has some definite gas! Add that to a rotation that boasts Tommy Hanson, Tim Hudson, Derek Lowe, Jiar Jurrjens and most likely rookie Mike Minor, and things are looking pretty bright in the A-T-L!

GRADE A-


FLORIDA MARLINS

Another team that made some nice offseason moves, the Marlins are looking pretty decent despite paying less then half the amount of most MLB payrolls. Thought they did lose their most consistant power hitter in recent memory when dealing Uggla to division rival Atlanta, the emergence of Mike Stanton and Gaby Sanchez made it probably a necessary move in the long term. With 2010 All Stars Omar Infante and Hanley Ramirez up the middle and 2009 rookie of the year Chris Coughlin looking to be 100% healthy to start the season the Marlins have some of the necessary parts to build around. HOWEVER, there are some problems. Wes Helms is not the long term answer at 3rd and Logan Morrison should be an everyday player, which means either him or Coughlin might have to give center field a go since Stanton will be the man in right.

As for the Marlins pitching, it's alot like their hitting. Some very solid core pieces, but some issues as well. I am of the opinion Leo Nunez might not finish the season as closer, so barring a trade Clay Hensley might be a guy to keep on your radar. Unfortunately the bullpen is kind of a mess right now, but hopefully the combination of Josh Johnson, Ricky Nolasco, Anibal Sanchez and recently signed ex-Yankee Javi Vasquez will keep their innings to a minimum most nights.......

GRADE: B-


NEW YORK METS

As a Met fan it pains me to say this, but not much to talk about(new)this season. The recent addition of starting pitcher Chris Young from San Diego was a nice signing for a team in desperate need of pitching. Scott Hairston was also added, but will probably be more of a 4th outfielder depending on what happens between now and spring training. Nick Evans is also in that mix, but I would like to see an outfield consisting of Pagan, Bay & Beltran most games if the last two can stay healthy. Ike Davis is another bright spot to go along with David Wright and probable leadoff man Jose Reyes, IF he's not moved for a 2nd baseman. For some reason ex-GM Omar Minaya had settled on Luis Castillo for quite some time now as the teams starting 2nd baseman so hopefully that will change at some point this season.


As for pitching, the Mets are a mixed bag. If he can keep his temper in check, Francisco Rodriguez can be a top option at closer, which is evident by the fact he still holds the record for saves in a season, but the loss of Pedro Feliciano further depletes a bullpen that really couldnt afford it!! A rotation with Mike Pelfry, Jonathan Neise, knuckleballer R A Dickey and newly acquired Chris Young definitely wont strike fear in the East, but here's to hoping it's a work in progress.....

GRADE: C


WASHINGTON NATIONALS

It's hard to find a team with more long term potential then the Nats. With Steven Strausburg, Jordan Zimmerman & Bryce Harper they have three terrific young stars in the making. Although they did a poor job getting some value back for Adam Dunn, they did sign one of the top available outfielders in free agency: Jason Werth. He was a really good fit in Philly, but he will no doubt be expected to shoulder alot of the load offensively. He joins a roster full of young talent such as Ian Desmond & Danny Espinoza. Add that to veteran bats Ryan Zimmerman and Adam LaRoche and the Nats look like a team poised to take the next step. Though it might not happen in 2011, I expect Washington to find their way(finally!)into the playoffs sooner rather then later.

Their pitching will be the biggest obstacle this season with future ace Strausberg sidelined after Tommy John Surgery. This leaves a rotation that besides Jordan Zimmerman is full of aging veterans in different stages of decline. Besides Zimmerman, Livan Hernandez, Jason Marquis, John Lannen & Ross Detwiller or Tom Grozzelany are the arms the Nats will have to work with for now. The bullpen boasts some more young arms with Drew Storen looking to continue as their "closer of the future". Storen moved into the 9th inning after Matt Capps was sent to the Twins and did an admirable job down the stretch. Doug Slaton, Tyler Clippard and Sean Burnett round out an adequate, but not overly impressive bullpen.

GRADE: B-

***Stay tuned for part two, where I'll be taking a first glance at the NL Central.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

NFC Championship Preview

 
       Packers
        at the
        Bears








This Sunday, January 23rd, 2011, the Chicago Bear and Green Bay Packers will meet for the 181st time in their storied franchises history.  The Bears currently hold the season lead 92-83-5 in a series that has really been quite even throughout the years.  So why all the hype for this 1 measly game?  Easy – the stakes are the highest they have ever been.  One of these young QBs is going to be taking his team to the promised land, and have a chance to build his own legacy for his team.  The Bears are coming off what was practically a walk through win in the blustery snow and ice against the overmatched Seahawks.  The Packers are coming out of a blowout win against the top seeded Atlanta Falcons where the Packers defense was able to stifle one of the better offenses in the NFL for most of the game and in a game where Aaron Rodgers and the offense were clicking on all cylinders.  Now they will make the short trip back to Soldier Field, a place where they narrowly lost back in Week 3 in a game that saw the Packers commit a franchise record 18 penalties and were actually in position to win the game before a late game turnover led to Robbie Gould’s game winning field goal.  Both teams had best forget about their opponents production or lack there of from this game because things have changed with both of these teams. 
Let’s tackle the Bears first.  These Bears aren’t the Monsters of the Midway, but don’t take that to mean they don’t depend heavily on their Top 10 defense to keep them in games (their offense is ranked 30th in the NFL).  Matt Forte put together a strong season posting over 1600 all purpose yards.  There are 3 major keys to this game from the Chicago perspective.  #1 – Control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.  This is a 2 fold challenge.  The offensive line MUST keep Jay Cutler on his feet and keep a pocket around him.  This won’t be easy against the blitz crazy Dom Capers led defense of the Pack.  Capers is going to bring pressure from all kinds of different formation and will try to confuse the Bears as to where the pressure will come from.  If the Bears can contain Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson and keep them away from Cutler, that would be a HUGE accomplishment.  On the other side of the ball, they have to find a way to get a pass rush against Rodgers to force him into some early throws.  Normally I would put stopping the run into this mix, but let’s be honest, the Bears are VERY efficient at stopping the run and the Packers running game is anemic at best, so I don’t expect to see the Packers going to a run first offense this weekend, but if you give Aaron Rodgers all day in the pocket, they’ll run out 4 or 5 wide receivers and pick you apart all day long.  #2 – Win the turnover battle.  The Packers don’t tell the ball over a lot (Rodgers had only 11 picks in 15 starts) and as a team had only 6 fumbles this season (though some did come against the Bears).  Cutler can not play this game and throw caution to the wind.  The secondary of the Packers is too strong and too talented.  If Cutler unravels and has a few bad turnovers, he could put his team into a huge hole (ask Matt Ryan about hasty decisions and making bad decisions). #3 – Get the big special teams play.  This might be tougher than it sounds, but Devin Hester needs to have an impact on this game.  I fully expect the Packers to keep any and all punts away from him (Kickoffs are another story) but he needs to be the special playmaker he can be and flip the field position for his team. 

Now onto what the Packers have to do to punch their ticket to Dallas.  There are 2 main things the Packers need to accomplish in order to win this game and really they go against the 3 things I mentioned the Bears need to do to win.  #1 and most important.  Create pressure and rattle Jay Cutler.  In their 2 earlier games they have sacked Cutler 9 times and forced 3 interceptions.  Green Bay has the #5 ranked defense in the NFL and while they are middle of the pack against the run, they are very talented against the pass.  They are tied with Pittsburgh for QB sacks this season and the sacks have come from 16 different defensive players though 14 have come from stud OLB Clay Matthews.  The #2 for the Packers to focus on, protect Aaron Rodgers and keep the offensive tempo at their pace.  Chicago does not want to get into a shootout with this potent offense.  Instead I suspect they will heavily relay on Matt Forte to control the clock for them.  The Packers needs to use their high flying offense to control the ball and put additional pressure on Cutler and the Bears by making them play from behind.  If Green Bay gets out to an early lead, it could be a long game for Bears fans.
By 10:00pm EST time on Sunday night we’ll have our Super Bowl matchup.  Will both #6 seeds still alive, it’s possible that we could have an all #6 seed Super Bowl.  However, that is not the way I am leaning for this weekends matchups.  Stay tuned for Wes' preview of the AFC Championship game but until then.....
My Predictions are :
Pittsburgh Steelers 24 --- New York Jets 17
Green Bay Packers 31 --- Chicago Bears 14

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Place Your Bets Divisional Championship Week

In the NFC we have Green Bay @ Chicago + 3.5

At this stage in the playoffs you have to have a good defense or an outstanding offense to stay alive. But the most important factor is your QB. In this game you have Aaron Rodgers vs Jay Cutler. With both defenses being close to equal, cold weather for two cold weather teams, and an even match up head to head this season, it has to come down to QB play which also usually is closely knit to turnovers.
Rodgers is the top 3-5 ranked QB in the NFL. Some would argue he is number 1. Jay Cutler is a top 5-10 QB when he is on his game, which is about 80% of the time. The problem is the other 20% he puts up numbers worse than Matt Moore and Jamarcus Russell. I think he will be somewhere in between that this week, but turnovers at costly times will haunt the Bears, and the Pack will win by a TD. I'll take the road favorite Green Bay and give the points.

AFC matchup surprisingly puts the New York Jets @ the Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5

Both teams are solid on both sides of the ball, but if it comes down to QB play, I'll take Big Ben in a big time game over almost anyone. The Steelers at home does matter. It is the epitome of a hostile environment. I don't see the Jets winning the game, but I did not see them beating New England either. Can they keep it to a FG game, thus winning the spread? That is the crucial question. I say no. The Steelers in the playoffs are a tough out. Take them at home to cover the 3.5.

Next week I will give a Super bowl preview and then the following week I will pick the big game which according to me will be Pack vs Pitt.!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

2010 WAIVER WIRE GOLD

1. Peyton Hillis RB Cleveland Browns - (1177 yds rushing, 61 receptions for 477yds , 11 rush TDs, 2 rec. TDs)
In 2010 drafts owners went sleeper in the middle to later middle rounds with Jerome Harrison and others would take Monterio Hardesty before Harrison basically over thinking the situation and believing everything they read from yahoo. Out of no where came the great white hope armed with massive guns and a nasty running attitude that allowed him to rack up stunning numbers in an offense that was putrid for most of the season. The Ravens defense...no problem, Peyton "Run to the" HillIs (my favorite Show nick name this year) ran for over 100 yards on them making believers out of everyone including me. I was shocked by Peyton's ability to contribute in the running and passing game...from Bronco vulture back to my fantasy wire add of the year...overnight. I have to add that Peyton did us no favors in the fantasy playoffs as he wore down from an entire season as the feature in Cleveland. I have no idea what to think of Hillis going into 2011...It is doubtful he catches as many balls in 2011, but should be the go to TD back in Cleveland going forward....Hardesty will be back from injury and thrown into the mix and Colt McCoy has already shown he is more willing to check down to the TE than he is Hillis (note Hillis' catches down the stretch too a major hit). So this may have been a one hit wonder, but count yourselves as a wire hawk supreme if you snagged Peyton Hillis in 2010. You probably will have to pay a heavy price for Hillis in 2011...just tread lightly.

2. Mike Vick, QB - Eagles -Was there a more exciting player in real or fantasy football this year? A large percentage of the teams that finished in the money in fantasy leagues had Mike Vick on their squad. I had Mike in alot of leagues and in every league I found him on the wire and added him after the Gbay game as a wait and see player. Along the way I found myself benching such early season favorites as Kyle Orton, A.Rodgers and others in favor of the monster that was Mike Vick. The 6 TD game I was down 53 points in one match up going into MNF and got over 60 from Mike making the add worth it just for that one fantasy game. Going into 2011 Vick is going to be highly valued because he is such a duel threat. I think he will probably be drafted higher than I am willing to take him in most leagues. I can see Mike going from anywhere around pick 5 of the first round to middle of the 2nd round depending on the league. One bit of advice, if you draft Vick get a good backup a few rounds later, someone you can run with for a few games because with all the excitement comes risk of injury...a very likely risk.

3. Mike Williams WR Tampa - 36 yds short of 1,000 and 11 TD's for this rook. I put him on this list because though many of us drafted this guy in the later rounds of late summer drafts just as many of the early leagues saw A.Benn and others go with Mike Will going completely undrafted. This guy was picked up early in most leagues where he wasn't drafted and man was he worth it. A real life number one receiver gave us a solid number 2 fantasy guy that played consistently all year long. In 2011 I like Mike Williams alot as a 3rd round pick which could actually be a steal considering he should grow in talent along with his up and coming QB Josh Freeman. Speaking of Freeman he has a claim to this list as well when many owners jumped off the Mark Sanchez weekly roller coaster and found a guy in Freeman that may not have been spectacular but rarely left you empty handed as a fantasy owner. Freeman is a solid keeper heading forward.

4. Kenny Britt - WR - Tenn. Titans - going into this year there were questions of health and work ethic with this guy and all he did was bust out like a monster on a team that had QB instability all year long. Britt had some huge games in 2010 and was one of my favorite adds this season. Going into the season the 2nd year pro had minimal value and only resided on a small amount of deeper fantasy rosters. Britt has man sized upside going into 2011 regardless of what QB is in Tennessee. I expect Kenny to be a late 2nd round ppr pick to possibly an early 4th round steal in many leagues...don't let this guy fall in your league or you will be sorry.

5. Continuing the trent at WR....1, 375 yards and 10 TD's - These stats worthy of Reggie Wayne or Randy Moss going into this season were actually put up by Brandon Lloyd WR Denver Broncos - Lloyd started out like a house of fire and just blew up on the fantasy scene as the week's passed by. PPR owners struck gold on the former 49er whose career had reached the point of being a bust in many scouts eyes. Bust no more Lloyd was a pass catching fool and a TD maker this season that should also be a nice pick going into 2011. Sure, if Tebow is under center the yards may not be as heavy but Lloyd is the man at WR in Denver and should be benefited greatly by a healthy Demaryius Thomas playing and improving at the opposite WR position. Alot of owners will steer away from Lloyd next season so I believe he could still be had much later than you'd think. Tebow and the new staff in Denver will scare some off...but not me..I will take Lloyd as my number 2 later than that alot of bigger WR names that won't have B.Lloyd's numbers.

My honorable mention list is loaded with plenty of great grabs as well: Jacob Tamme(was Dallas Clark incarnate), BenJarvus Green Ellis(in TD leagues BJE was the ticket) did his best Patriots Corey Dillon imitation and scored a ton of TD's for owners who snagged him early on this year. Stevie Johnson WR Bills was a frustrating player to own, but he rewarded those who got him early with a few monster games. This guy has alot of young Ocho-Cinco in him...ya gotta stick with him cause ya know the big game is coming...but he will also give ya some clunkers. LeGarrette Blount is a bruising back for the Bucs after falling out of favor in Tennessee. Blount is going to be a hammer in 2011. Owners could not drop Kareem Huggins fast enough to snatch up the future star RB of the young Buccaneers.

Wes
theShow

Place Your Bets Divisional Playoff Round

Hope you had an enjoyable weekend watching playoff football last weekend. If you follow my posts you know I had a 2-2 weekend with a huge miss on Indy in a route and a huge hit with Seattle over New Orleans. Hopefully you stayed in the black with those two off-setting!

Next up we have the Divisional playoff round where the AFC match-ups end up being inter-divisional match-ups and the teams will play for the third time with one emerging as the winner of the tie-breaker and going on to the AFC Championship Game.

Baltimore @ Pittsburgh -3.5

Games in this rivalry are always close and usually decided by 3 or 4 points. That is why we have the 3.5 spread. Very tricky move by Vegas. But for me, the extra .5 point swings me over to the Ravens side as I see this as a FG game. In a FG game that means the Ravens are the winner based on the spread. Not much else to go on here, the extra week and home field is nice for the Steelers, but Baltimore will keep it tight. Take the Ravens in a small play, take the points.

New York Jets @ New England -8.5

Man I hate this spread. I LOVE the Patriots to win as I have them and the Packers in the Superbowl. But I think the Jets will be motivated to prove that MNF beat down was an anomaly. I would not make this a big play either, but I cannot turn my back on New England here after the thrashing they laid on the Jets. The Patriots historically let there play do the talking when teams or coaches run their mouths during the week, and Rex Ryan has done playing of talking this week. I am going with New England to drub the Jets by double digits, thus covering the number. Take New England give the 8.5 points.

On the NFC side of things we have the upstart Seahawks who I still think should be the 6th seed and playing Atlanta this week. I agree that the division winner should get in, but they should re-seed the teams based on record not just seed based on division winners. BUT that being the case Seattle has the better match-up again this week.

Seattle @ Chicago -10
Once again I like the Hawks to cover in this game. They already won a game here this year, but it wasn't in January. Chicago is not the blow-out type of team. They pound the ball and loosen up the defense then hit long bombs to score quick. I think the Hawks hang around for two reasons, Jay Cutler and Matt Hasselback. Cutler will have one or two important turnovers and Hasselback brings veteran leadership at a vital stage for this young team. I like Seattle as my big play of the week, take the Hawks and the double digit points!

Final Game is: Green Bay @ Atlanta -2.5

I also like the winner in this one as a big play as well, so I have TWO locks of the week, both on the NFC side! I love Green Bay here. Atlanta is an incredibly balanced team and look to be well on there way to the Superbowl in the NFC as they separated themselves from the rest of the teams nicely this year. But Green Bay has had a lot of injuries this season and has played through them. The Falcons won the only meeting of the season between these two teams 20-17 on a 47 yard field goal by Matt Bryant with zero on the clock. It was a hotly contested game and should be very physical again this week. It will likely come down to who has the ball last again, so it is hard to predict which team that will be and if they can convert or miss on the last drive. Ryan vs Rodgers will be exciting. Clay Mathews is the X-factor and the reason I give the win to the Pack. Take the Packers plus the points.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2010 DRAFT HITS & MISSES


We all had our hits and misses in the 2010 draft. In this article we run down a few popular hits and misses from 2010 fantasy football drafts.






MISSES
1. Ryan Mathews RB SD Chargers - Picked by many managers in the first round or at the very latest at the turn of your drafts he was pumped up by the larger fantasy media people as being a lock, a young stud, a feature to carry your team. Well we all know how that worked out. Ryan did have 7 TDs this season, but 3 of those was in his last game...a meaningless game in week 17 when most fantasy leagues are setting keepers for next season. Mathews problem was that he could not stay healthy. I like his prospects for 2011, but I don't think anyone is going to be taking him in the first round again. We warned you here at SFS not to take him that early...rookie running backs simply cannot be the cornerstone of your team.
***note - I would have put Jahvid Best,Lions RB on this list, but he was not being taken as seriously as Mathews. Best was derailed with a bad toe injury that killed him all year. Another RB, CJ Spiller of the Bills was a monster bust as well, but is not on this list because he was not given ample opportunity in his rookie campaign.

2. Brandon Marshall, WR, Miami Dolphins - Hands down this guy is my bust of the year. Marshall was taken anywhere from early 2nd to late 3rd round in almost every draft I was in. He is a beast of a talent with unlimited potential, but fell victim to terrible QB play and little time to run routes thanks to Miami's bad offensive line....truly offensive! All that left us with this BMarsh stat line;
86 receptions - 1014 yards and 3 TD's. I think that owners could have stomached the 86 catches, but 3 TD's!? His stock will fall in 2011, but many owners won't let a talent like his fall very far.

3. Steve Smith - WR, NY Giants -Steve Smith was a PPR darling in 2009 with over 100 catches for the Gmen. Steve was a favorite of Eli Manning in '09 which had drafters salivating at the PPR gold that fell into many of our laps in the early middle rounds. Sadly Mr.Smith broke off a disappointing line that included 48 catches, only 9 games played, 529 yds and only 3 TDs. With the emergence of Hakeem Nicks, Smith's stock is pretty much set as a top end 70 catch guy with no more than a 6 TD projection going into next year in my opinion so adjust your rankings.

4. Randy Moss WR, Pats, Vikings and Titans - Statistically Randy was dreadful and could be labeled this years bust king, but I for one did not expect more than a middle round performance out of this guy anyway. That said, no one could predict Moss shrinking into a player that was not rosterable down the stretch of the 2010 season. He was player that you simply could not play in the deepest of leagues come playoff time. I don't know what to think of Randy going into 2011. I can't say that I wouldn't take him very late....but I put the emphasis on VERY.

5. Shonn Greene RB NY Jets - This guy was a flat monster closing out the 2009 abusing opponents with great runs that usually led to him hitting the defender rather than him getting hit. I for one could not wait to see Rex pound this guy 25 times a game in 2010...in came LT and the questions about who will get the largest share of the carries. I for one thought a 50-50 split would happen eventually and once the weather got cold Rex Ryan would have Greene's hammering style on full display. Even as LT seemed to age in front of our eyes after a brilliant early season run...Greene never caught fire and ended up being a huge bust for owners who took him as their #2 RB. I don't see a great uptick in value for 2011 for Shonn unless the injury bug hits LT. I guess if you draft one you almost have to draft the other.

***Honorable mention - Ray Rice RB Baltimore - Catches down, TDs way way down. If you draft a RB in the early to mid-1st round, he simply has to get into the end zone. Ray Ray had a putrid 3 rushing TDs in the fantasy regular season and no receiving TD's til the fantasy playoffs where he also had two more rushing TDs. That's all well and good but if Ray was your main guy there is a strong probability that you weren't in the playoffs to enjoy it. Scale Ray's value back next year.....you can draft Ahmad Bradshaw and get basically the same stats. In PPR's Rice still carries a big stick with his ability to catch the ball. Ray's value will be interesting to watch and probably will drastically vary from draft to draft.

Let's hear some of our readers MISSES and what you think their draft value will be going forward...there are plenty of them out there.

HITS

1. Tom Brady, QB Pats. Tom was taken by many 2010 drafters somewhere in the late 2nd to late 3rd round somewhere around the same spot Tony Romo was taken. In his second year back from injury Tom was a flat assassin this season and showed that he just needed 1 more year coming off his knee injury to become the old Tom Brady. Just give this guy some short little unknown projects for WR's and his old flame Deion Branch and let him go to work. Tom's gonna win the MVP this year and in early 2011 probably the Super Bowl as well. In 2011 fantasy drafts Brady will most likely go mid to late first round in many leagues as A.Rodgers and Drew Brees did this past season. I value him as a mid to late 2nd round pick in 2011.

2. Arian Foster RB Texans - My fantasy MVP this year is Arian Foster. Picked as low as the 5th round in many drafts this season Arian was a flat monster in 2010. Late in the draft season many drafters started adjusting their value on Foster and drafting him abit higher, but no one saw the domination that Foster was about to unleash on opponents. Unlike some freak performances in the past by fantasy RBs this one is legit. Foster has a good QB and one of the best WR's in the game today to keep the pressure off him in 2011 and should again post really really good numbers. It doesn't hurt that the Texans have a notoriously bad defense which forces them to put up big numbers rather than just salting games away in the 4th quarter. Another great thing about Foster is that he catches the ball well so he is in the game in all situations. For all of the reasons listed above I rank Foster as my number 1 RB going into the 2011 season. As a pure talent I still like Adrian Peterson over Foster, but until the QB situation is straightened out in Minnesota, Foster is my #1.
Foster in 2010 - 1,616 yards and 16 TD's

3. Roddy White WR Falcons - Roddy White was money in 2010 and clearly the best WR in the league. With others having their game decline, BMarsh, Reggie Wayne, and others battling injuries all year long, Andre3000 and Megatron, Roddy did his thang to the tune of 115 receptions, 1,389 yds receiving and 10 TD's. The amazing part about White is that he did all that without a true no.2 WR to take any pressure off him. Every one knows White is getting the ball and he still gets open anyway. White's TD's numbers could and probably will go up in 2010 with the continued improvement in Matt Ryan's game. White is in a great situation on an improving team and potential star at the QB position. I expect White to be picked in the late first round much the same as Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Johnson were the previous two seasons. I caution against going this direction unless you are in a PPR and want that guaranteed monster at the top of your WR lineup. I would value him early 2nd round along side of guys like Calvin Johnson and Andre Johnson and the next guy I am about to talk about.

4. Dwayne Bowe WR Kansas City has always been a unique talent...sure he drops some balls here and there...he disappeared completely in 2009 and was written off by many critics. Dwayne was being valued as a comeback type of player by some in 2010 and others took a flyer on him late as WR depth dwindled late in drafts. I did not see this one coming and ended up with Bowe on none of my teams. Bowe was one of the hottest players in the 2010 fantasy football season and owners who drafted him are probably still bragging to their buddies and making fun of the guy who picked Brandon Marshall. Bowe had a mind boggling 15 td's in 2010. He is a big WR that can catch in traffic so his avg speed is not a problem....he is sort've in the mold of Marcus Coleston, but has alot less competition for balls with KC's rather pathetic depth at WR. Like Roddy White, he has no real competition for receptions and red zone looks so his value will be very high in 2011. You may not get 15 TD's again, but 10+ is very likely with Bowe playing on an up and coming Chiefs team.

5. Terrell Owens WR Bengals - Many out there thought that TO was done...not because of declining skills, but more because he would be a cancer to any organization that brought him aboard. The Bengals took a chance on TO and reaped the rewards. Fantasy owners also reaped the rewards of a later round pick that ended up being a top 5 fantasy WR through much of the year. TO was a model citizen for the most part for the Bengals and though they didn't win alot of games, Owens won alot of respect around the league and made himself a whole lot of future money. This past year only one team signed up for his services...in 2011 the contenders will come a calling and TO will be making some jack and setting a nice example for Randy Moss along the way. Hey imagine that, shutting up and playing works. TO's 2011 value will depend on the team that picks him up, but I see no reason he won't approach 800 yds receiving and 8 TDs next season if he has a QB that can get him the ball. T.Owens 2010 - 72 rec. 982 yds and 9 TDs. If TO gets on the right team next year I would take him as my number 2 WR without question.

***Honorable mention - Ahmad Bradshaw RB Giants - One of my favorite picks from this years draft. The do it all back claimed his spot as the giants feature for most of this year and put up no.1 RB stats for much of the season. He will have a huge uptick in value in 2011 if he can stop fumbling the rock.

Let us know some of your fantasy football draft HITS. Give us the run down about where you drafted them and how they paid off for you.

WES
theshow





Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Place Your Bets Wild Card Weekend!

Alright so I got back on track last weekend going 3-1 with my only miss being once again by 1 pt.

That puts me at 17-12 vs the spread and 21-8 straight up for the regular season. Which is almost 60% Win percentage. Considering most handicappers target between 50 and 60 % I will take it! Here are my playoff picks for Wild Card weekend:

The final spreads are not in yet but I will give you the numbers as they are listed now, and if it changes that's on you!

New Orleans @ Seattle +10.5

I gave you Seattle last week as a home dog, and once again I like them in this game to cover. I believe New Orleans will win the game but a double digit playoff game with a home underdog is unheard of. It may be the first time in the history of the NFL in fact. Factor that in with the Saints taking the longest road trip they will take all year, and it is a really good spot for Seattle. These teams did meet in New Orleans on Week 11 and the Saints won 34-19. Home field is an issue so I say jump on the Hawks if you can get it for over 10.

New York Jets @ Indianapolis -2.5

Both teams have been involved in primarily close games every week. Indy has won 4 straight, 3 of those against their own divisional opponents. Rex Ryan likes to talk a lot, Peyton likes to do his talking on the field calling audibles and yelling out the plays in the huddle. Peyton has historically fried the Jets and teams like them who think they have a tremendous scheme and don't need to tailor it to any specific team. That plays into Peyton's hands as he is a guy who studies film. If the Jets do as they have continued to do each week and don't make changes, Peyton will kill them. That's what I see happening. The biggest blow-out of the weekend goes to Indy, who is off everyone's radar right now, just like the year they won the Superbowl. Take Indy regardless of the spread. This is my lock of the week.

Baltimore @ Kansas City +3

This is by far the game I have the least confidence in picking. Baltimore has experience and pedigree on the field and off. KC has it off the field in its coordinators. KC runs the ball and Baltimore is stout against the run. So it all comes down to that, can Baltimore stop the KC run game on the road at another stadium where home field is an advantage? I believe KC can. This will be a highly contested game back and forth and likely low scoring, but with KC getting 3 points at home, I have to take the Chiefs in this one.

Green Bay @ Philadelphia -2.5

These two teams played in week 1 when Kevin Kolb went down and Vick took over. So that game is nowhere close to an indication of how this week will go since so much has changed in particular on the Eagles side of the ball. Green Bay won that game which was at Philadelphia 27-20. What should be more telling is that these teams also played each others division. That doesn't help either as they were both 7-4 vs common opponents. Both high powered QB's were injured for a few games. So this one is quite an even match up. So it comes down to a gut feeling, and mine says Green Bay will have something to prove after last year's embarrassing defeat to Arizona. There defense in particular has something to prove. Vick has looked human in his last few starts and the GB Defense has been quite difficult. Philly has a soft defense and Aaron Rodgers is much like Peyton Manning, if you don't disguise or change what you are doing, you're in big trouble. I love Green Bay to upset the Eagles in this game. Take the points and the Pack.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Looking Back - Part 1

We here at Show Fantasy Sports are sad to see the 2010 fantasy football season go. It seems like just yesterday when I typed up our first blog article called Kicking Down the Door and I was gearing up for our first FFB season here at SFS. I wanted to take this time to look back at some of the things we said early on ...some right, some not so right...but here are some quotes and comments on some of the earlier hits and misses I wrote about in the preseason.

In August I wrote an article called 2010 Draft Don'ts...here are some excerpts.

My first Don't was a good one it said "Don't draft Brett Farve without a good backup plan" In other articles I wrote that Brett could no way repeat his 2009 stats and that his TD and INT ratio would only be around 2 to 1. no comments needed here.

With the 2nd Don't I urged readers not to take LT, early on mistake..later on...well no one won a fantasy league using LT this year (as for me I traded him about mid year realizing the fantasy stat lines couldn't continue) and in the 2nd part of that Don't called New Faces in New Places I warned against drafting D.McNabb...He was in such a good situation in Philly...the thing in Washington wasn't going to work out.

In another article I wrote just days latter called What If ...well this one is money in the bank, remember this one from August?

"What if
Ryan Matthews is not the stud the experts say he'll be? How many times have we all seen a rookie RB look mediocre or bust all together. Sure the learning curve is alot less for a running back, but this guy is going in the top 10 in almost every draft I have been in. This guy maybe God in cleats for all I know...but what I do know is if the cornerstone of my teams RB's is a rookie...that's an uneasy feeling. I consider myself a man of faith, but if you take this guy that early then you have more faith than I do."
*** Note - Ryan Matthews will be a ton better next year...he will come in more physically and mentally prepared, Over all I warned you guys about taking rookie running backs. In this years draft you could have completely ignored rookies and won your league with no problem. I did not always take my own advice. In many leagues I was sucked in by CJ Spiller's stellar preseason and I also reached on Jahvid Best in alot of leagues. I like Best and Matthews alot for 2011...Spiller...well I am not sure what kind of opportunities he will have if FreddyJax remains the feature there in Buffalo.

In early league polls we saw Ryan Matthews chosen as the best rookie RB and Mike Williams Tampa chosen as the best rookie WR(nicely done) and our SB picks via the poll was Dallas vs the Colts...with the Saints and Chargers also receiving a fair amount of votes.

I made an early bad call on Devin Thomas saying he would be a breakout guy for Washington only to end up in Shanny's giant, mansion sized doghouse then later be cut from the team...ahhh can't hit on them all.

In our next article we will be looking back at some drafts I reviewed in the preseason and we will point out some of the nicer picks that we saw along with some of the duds that killed us all year long. In more upcoming articles get your chilled glass ready for a cold, smooth and frothy look back at our fantasy award winners for 2010 and a look forward to draft rankings for 2011.

WES
theShow

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Place Your Bets Week 17

14-11, 18-7. That is my overall record vs the spread and straight up respectively. But the number that hurts is the 0-4 I put up last week. So this last week of the regular season I will try and do better, as well as keeping it simple, no editorial, just the picks vs the number.

St.Louis @ Seattle +3
Winner is in the playoffs. Home field advantage is significant at Seattle. Only good teams beat them at home, St.Louis is not that good. As a home dog, I like Seattle.

Dallas @ Philadelphia even

This is probably the most lopsided spread on the board and is mainly based on Philly's short week and pitiful performance. But I like the Eagles as they are at home with something to play for and an even spread.

Miami @ New England -4
Take New England at home where they are unbeaten.

New York Giants @ Washington +4

The Skins showed they are still motivated last week with a nice win at Jacksonville who had the playoffs on their mind. Same thing here with the Giants. Redskins keep this close and make it a FG game, which wither way means the Skins are the money pick.

I will predict all the playoff games so stay close by this blog until the Superbowl!

Week 17 Writer's Sleeper Challenge

Here we go...the last week of our sleeper challenge and it's anyone's ball game going into the last week...can't believe the season has went so quickly! Next season we are going to do some sort of challenge to get readers very involved..thanks to the writer's for being involved in the challenge this year..not sure what we will win...I guess bragging rights. To the picks....

DeadheadBill's Picks
Jerome Simpson WR Cincy(2% owned) and Corell Buckhalter RB Den(4% owned).

Ryan's Picks

I am in need of a big week after really laying eggs the past 3 or 4 weeks -

Demaryius Thomas - WR - DEN - Young wideout looking to make a late season impact to show something to the owner and to display his talents for the would be coaching staff. I like for him to connect with the other 1st round pick in Denver for the tune of 6 catches for 81 yards and a score.

Emmanuel Sanders - WR - PIT - Another young rookie wideout looking to make a name for himself going into next season. Sanders would love to be the true #3 option behind Ward and Wallace. Pittsburgh still has something to fight for this week(#2 seed) so look for their offense to be clicking on all cylinders. 5 Catches for 112 yards and 1 TD

Show's Picks = going with an Eagles theme this week.

Riley Cooper WR Eagles 0% owned in Yahoo Leagues - Abit of a stretch here, but I have been reaching all year so why stop now!

Jerome Harrison RB Eagles (13% owned in Yahoo Leagues) - Lesean McCoy's backup should get some run along side a pretty good backup QB in Kevin Kolb allowing Harrison some looks at the goal line. If Owen Schmitt doesn't steal the red zone carries Harrison could be in for a nice day.