Fantasy Football News

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Top Five Off-Season Acquisitions

With most of the acquisitions already being completed and with team mini camps in full swing, it's time to look back at a crazy winter and spring full of bold moves made by desperate teams, as well as a few on the verge of taking the next step.


5. Joey Porter, LB, Cardinals: His production in tackles has gone down a bit over the years, but the 33-year old Porter, former Steeler and Dolphin, is a great pick-up for Arizona.   Porter signed a three-year contract with the team just two weeks after Karlos Dansby signed with Miami (what a coincidence, the two basically just flip-flopped).  Arizona lost a great coverage linebacker in Dansby but were able to pick up a solid pass-rusher in Porter.  Maybe a little more than what I would've paid for ($24.5 million; $17.5 million guaranteed), but if he plays up to his ability it will be well worth it in the end.

4. Julius Peppers, DE, Bears: He would be higher on this list, but I think the Bears are just paying way too much money for the coveted D-end ($91.5 million with $42 million guaranteed in the first three years), and because of that he may under-perform to many's standards.
3. Anquan Boldin, WR, Ravens: Last year Flacco lacked a strong receiving corps, with veteran Derrick Mason being his go-to guy.  Now, not only does Flacco have Mason back, but he also has Boldin and his play-making ability after the catch.  Because of Boldin, I think Baltimore is ready to take the next step.  The best part?  They locked him up for four years with only $10 million in guaranteed money.  Not a bad price for a top-10 wide-out.

2. Brandon Marshall, WR, Dolphins: Much like Baltimore, Miami had a young quarterback under center with limited weapons on the offensive side of the ball last season.  With Marshall now in the lineup, young quarterback Chad Henne now has a go-to primary receiver who, like Boldin, is fantastic after the catch and is bound to make big plays.  Marshall is locked up for four years too and only cost Miami two draft picks.

1. Donovan McNabb, QB, Redskins: The Jason Campbell era in Washington is finally over and the Skins are ready to start over with a brand new head coach (Mike Shanahan) and signal-caller (the 33-year old McNabb).  Despite his age, McNabb is a great fit to turn the Skins around.  He hasn't seemed to have lost much over the past couple of years and is motivated to get revenge on his former team, who he will be playing not once, but twice, each year.

Best FAs still out there:

*Brian Westbrook, RB
*Jamal Lewis, RB
*Brad Hoover, FB
*Terrell Owens, WR
*Muhsin Muhammad, WR
*Kevin Curtis, WR
*Flozell Adams, OT
*Orlando Pace, OT
*Chester Pitts, G
*Kevin Mawae, C
*Leonard Little, DE
*John Henderson, DT
*Derrick Burgess, OLB
*Clint Ingram, OLB
*Keith Bulluck, OLB
*Antonio Pierce, ILB
*Fred Smoot, CB
*Anthony Henry, CB
*Darren Sharper, S
*Gibril Wilson, S
*Tyrone Carter, S
*Shayne Graham, K

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Why It's Virtually Impossible to Correctly Project the Draft

We are now just a little under two hours away from the 75th draft in NFL history.

Every major news network, mainly ESPN and NFL Network of course, is making their last-minute predictions, projections and reporting more news with each passing minute.  This time of the year is always hectic with the beginning of the NBA and NHL playoffs, plus baseball is just getting in to the swing of things.  But, because it is America's Game, the National Football League always attracts the most attention on sports sites and in magazines.  Not to mention television.

Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay of ESPN and Peter King of Sports Illustrated are making last-minutes amends to their mock drafts as well.

But, like we have seen in the past, it is very tough to correctly predict, and do the actual drafting.  The media tends to over-analyze things.  One minute, you're at the top of the mountain (AKA draft boards), the next, you're pushed out of the way to make room for three to four more guys who happened to hit all fifty of their pass attempts in a rather laid back work-out.  Almost as if the guy is playing catch with his brother in the backyard.
Yes, that's right, I am looking at you, Sam Bradford.  All the scouts and analysts have fallen in love with the former Oklahoma Sooner quarterback despite his recent shoulder surgery.  Bradford had a solid workout in front of scouts and all of a sudden he's the next big thing.

His shoulder appeared to be just fine, but he has yet to test it in game-day gear, much less a fast-paced NFL game.  Despite this fact, Bradford will most likely go No. 1 to the Rams, unless they decided to trade out of that spot.

When you consider past drafts, it is very tough to correctly predict which defensive prospects will make an impact at the next level as well.  Exhibit A: Courtney Brown.

Brown, after setting numerous records and winning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year in '99 with Penn State, became the 11th defensive lineman to be taken No. 1 overall in 2000.  Brown had a solid rookie season (70 tackles, 4.5 sacks), but his production and health took a major beating for the next six seasons.  Brown is now 32 years old and has been out of the game for nearly three years.
 Need more proof?  Here's a short list of other first round underachievers since the 2000 draft:

*Corey Simon (sixth overall in '00), DT with three different teams: Played just seven seasons averaging 27 tackles, 4.5 sacks per season.

*Rashard Anderson (23rd overall in '00), CB with Panthers: Played two NFL season in Carolina, recorded total of 54 tackles with just one interception.  Anderson was suspended by the NFL for a year for violating the league's substance abuse policy.  It was extended to the 2003 season.  Once reinstated, Carolina released him and he hasn't made a return since.

*Jamal Reynolds (10th overall in '01), DE with Packers: Played only three NFL seasons and never started a game.  In his 18 games played, Reynolds recorded just 12 tackles and three sacks.  The former Seminole was a huge disappointment in Lambeau.

*Ryan Sims (6th overall in '02), DT with Chiefs and Buccaneers: Unlike the previous guys on this list, Sims is still active and, in fact, started all 16 games with the Bucs last season.  But, considering he went sixth overall, I was expecting much more out of the former Tar Heel.  Sims is a role player when he should be an impact player.  Kansas City gave risked a lot to get him and he ended up underachieving big time.

*Wendall Bryant (12th overall in '02), DT with Cardinals: Oh hey, look at that, another defensive tackle bust.  Bryant started just nine NFL games, all in Arizona, and recorded 29 tackles with 1.5 sacks.  His last season was 2004.  Oh my, I don't think Kiper saw that one coming.

*Dewayne Robertson (fourth overall in '03), DT with Jets and Broncos: New York had big things planned with Robertson and, although he played well early on, he dropped off rather quickly to New York's dismay.  The result: Robertson didn't have a place to play last season.

*Marcus Tubbs (23rd overall in '04), DT with Seahawks: I am not gonna lie, I'm kinda getting tired of listing all these defensive tackles.  Let's just face it, it's too hard to pick out the best of a deep defensive tackle draft class.  They are always projected to go early, but more often then not they end up like Tubbs and are out of the league after three sub-par seasons.

*Adam "Pacman" Jones (sixth overall in '05), CB with Titans and Cowboys: Often times this is what happens when you draft a troublesome player.  Tennessee took a risk on him which did not pay off in the end.  After two seasons with the Titans and a one-season return (from suspension) with the Cowboys, Jones found himself on the outside looking in.

*David Pollack (17th overall in '05), LB with Bengals: Pollack's shortened career wasn't necessarily his fault.  After recording 4.5 sacks in his rookie campaign, Pollack hit several bumps in his road to NFL glory.  Ultimately these injuries caught up to him and he was forced to retire in 2006 after suffering a broken vertebrae.

*John McCargo (26th overall in '06), DT with Bills: Just one start in four seasons with the Bills?  Ouch.  McCargo has played a total of 39 games in the league, recording just 32 tackles and 2.5 sacks.  He's only 26 years of age, but he needs to get his career on track pretty soon here.

*Adam Carriker (13th overall in '07), DE with Rams: Carriker was just traded to the Redskins two days ago after sitting out the entire 2009 season due to injury.  With St. Louis, Carriker made 43 tackles and two sacks in 25 starts ('07 and '08).  At age 25, Carriker has plenty of time to turn his career around and I think he'll do just that in D.C.  But until then, he will have to deal with being on the disappointment list (no bust yet, though).

It's tough to pick guys out from the 2008 and '09 drafts considering they've only been in the league for two seasons at the most.  But if I was to create a list, these are the few guys that may be on it: Vernon Gholston (sixth overall by NYJ in '08), Kenny Phillips (31ss overall by NYG in '08), Tyson Jackson (3rd overall by KC in '09), B.J. Raji (9th overall by GB in '09).

What do you think, did I leave any out?  And who from this year's draft will be joining them?

Enjoy the draft!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Introducing...the "Greatest Team in NFL History" Bracket

That is correct, people.  I have decided to hold a "Greatest Team in NFL History Bracket" using the good ole Whatifsports.com simulator.  This happens to be the same simulator that I used to start the "Match-up of the Day" series.  That reminds me, I should probably get to stepping on that second installment of the series (it'll come eventually, I hope).

Much like the NCAA March Madness tournament every March and April, I shall hand pick a field of 64 teams and place them in four different regions (most likely just randomized).  I will seed each region 1-16 based on my opinion on which are the best.

I have decided that, since the math works out perfectly, there will be two past teams from each of the 32 current franchises.  I will do my best to spread the teams out when it comes to eras.

Stay tuned, the next time you hear from me about this tourney will be when I have all 64 teams picked out and seeded.  Then the real fun begins!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chances of a McNabb/T.O. Reuinion in DC

Believe it or not, there's word out there that newest Washington Redskin wants a reunion with troublesome wide receiver Terrell Owens.

What makes this so preposterous is the way the two Pro Bowlers ended their last relationship in Philly.  The two didn't seem to get along all that well.  There are several clips out there of these two professional athletes yelling at each other on Philadelphia's sidelines.

To tell you the truth, I think it's a huge risk signing just one of these guys to a contract.  Both are in their mid-to-upper 30s and have their best days behind them.  I think it's scary to think that they are both interested in playing with each other again.
 If I were Dan Snyder, I wouldn't care what either of them say.  Do not sign Owens, Snyder.  If you want to win this year, the smart move would be to stay away from Owens.  I haven't heard much reaction from Washington fans yet, but I don't care if they urge you as well.  Just don't do it.

Every other team that has signed Owens seems to have regretted it by the end of his stint with the team.  Why bring him in to Washington after seeing what him and McNabb did to the Eagles?  Owens' agent Drew Rosenhaus claimed, in an interview, that Owens and McNabb patched up their rough relationship and are now best buds again, but I really don't think anyone should trust what Owens says.

Moral of the story?  Don't listen to players, do what you think is best for the team and do not feel pressured by your franchise's quarterback.  I will say it again, a McNabb/Owens reunion would bring nothing but misery and, possibly even a divided locker room.

Rant over.

New York Jets: Early AFC Favorites

Today's breaking news in the football world isn't any sort of break in the Roethlisberger case.  Instead, it involves yet another New York Jet signing.

Future Hall of Fame defensive end/OLB Jason Taylor has become the newest Jet, signing a two-year deal within the past half hour.  Adam Schefter of ESPN was told Taylor could receive as much as $3.75 million in his first season with the team.

As a rookie head coach last season, former Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan took the Jets to the AFC Championship.  New York, led by rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez, fell 13 points shy of its first Super Bowl appearance 1968.
 Rex Ryan's defensive-oriented demeanor toughened the AFC's road to the Super Bowl.  After finishing the season with a 9-7 record, New York was awarded the first Wild Card spot (fifth seed), and was forced to play three road playoff games.  Ryan's top-ranked defense allowed New York to stroll through the first two weeks of the playoffs despite having the 17th-best scoring offense with an inexperienced rookie under center.

The organization has showed no signs of slowing down this off-season, willing to throw money around to bring in highly-praised players on both sides of the ball.

Last year it seemed the one thing New York was lacking was veteran leadership.  They had the young, talented guys such as Sanchez, running back Shonn Greene and shutdown corner Darrelle Revis, but they didn't seem to have the guy who could push them the extra inch.

Yes, they did happen to have an all-hype head coach in Ryan, and they had a couple vocal locker room guys such as Bart Scott, but adding Jason Taylor, Santonio Holmes and Ladainian Tomlinson may have been what they were looking for.

There's a whole lot of talent in those three guys alone.  So I don't care if you are one to believe that just because you stack a team with talent doesn't mean you're going to win.  This is exactly why the Jets hired Rex as head coach last season, he has the ability to bring a team together and win games.  That's just what he did last year with Sanchez.

New York killed two birds with one stone with the Taylor signing.  Not only does he bring the leadership and will to win, but Jason is also one of the game's best pass rushers.  New York got to the quarterback just 32 times last season, good enough for 22nd in the league.  Taylor's presence, alone, could give the Jets around five or six more sacks.  If he plays to his ability, Taylor could put up double-digit sack totals.  Another great pick-up for the league's best defense was the signing of former San Diego Charger Antonio Cromartie to play opposite shut-down corner Darrelle Revis.

On the offensive side of the ball we should see a matured Mark Sanchez who just so happens to have a couple more weapons, plus plenty of protection (sacked just 30 times last season).  The addition of play-making wide-out Santonio Holmes will do wonders as a second option for Sanchez, despite the four game suspension.  Thomas Jones parted ways, but the team did manage to bring back Leon Washington and add All-Pro Ladainian Tomlinson, which gives probable starter Shonn Greene at least a mentor.

All these factors lead me to believe Rex Ryan's Jets will be, in the least, division winners in the East in 2010.  I mean, the Pats are certainly on a downturn and Buffalo and Miami still may have a couple of rebuilding seasons.

Early BOLD Prediction: Jets earn first division title since 2002 and make a second consecutive AFC Championship appearance.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Discussing Rumors Around the NFL

With just three days until the start of the 2010 draft, it is rumors-galore out there in the NFL world.  So I am here to discuss a couple of them that have been heading our way, whether I think they are true or not..

Clausen to Browns at No. 7?

New Cleveland Browns team president Mike Holmgren has been caught thinking about whether taking Jimmy Clausen with the seventh pick of the draft.  With Derek Anderson and Brady Quinn both gone this off-season and the recent signing of veteran Jake Delhomme, I say why not?  Delhomme was obviously just a temporary fix, considering the guy is already 35 years old.  It's unlikely that Sam Bradford will still be on the board at this point, so why not snag Clausen before another QB-needy team does?  Delhomme would, of course, mentor the young kid and Cleveland would then start Clausen when he's ready (or when Delhomme gets in trouble, whichever happens to come first).


LenDale White: Draft-day Trade?

Another report out there is that the Tennessee Titans may look to deal their goal-line back on draft-day, for the "right price" as they say.  What that price may be, who knows.  His stock surely fell after his 2009 campaign (222 rushing yards, 2 TDs), but there still may be a few teams out there looking for a bruising 240 pound running back to turn their team around.

Possible candidates:

Colts: Not sure how much longer Addai will be a Colt and it may take a while for Donald Brown to get accustomed to a bigger work load.

Bears: Chicago's Matt Forte had a huge dip in production from his rookie season in '08 to his second season last year.  There really isn't much depth there at running back either.

Bills: It's obvious Marshawn Lynch's days are numbered in Buffalo.  He may not even be a Bill by opening weekend.  Fred Jackson broke 1,000 rushing yards last season but with just five total rushing TDs in his three NFL seasons, Buffalo could use quite a bit of help at the goal-line without Lynch.

White shouldn't go for anything more than a fourth- or fifth-round pick, considering that's all Santonio Holmes went for, despite his knack for getting into trouble.  That price seems affordable for basically anyone.  Maybe he leaves, maybe he stays.  We will just have to sit and watch come draft-day.


With Favre's Future Still Uncertain, Vikes Re-Sign Jackson

The Minnesota Vikings organization seems to be in no rush to hear from future Hall of Fame quarterback Brett Favre on his future.  But we did find out today that the Vikes have not given up on Tarvaris Jackson, for now.

The restricted free agent signed his tender today, meaning the only Viking left to sign it is DE Ray Edwards who may ultimately hold out as we approach training camps this summer.

Jackson, in 33 games, has posted a career 77.9 rating with 21 TD passes and 18 interceptions.  Jackson has certainly shown some inconsistency, which is exactly what urged Childress to bring in Favre to begin with.  This may be Jackson's final chance to earn a starting spot.  Even if Favre does not return in 2010, don't expect Jackson to just be handed the starting job any time soon.  He will certainly have to prove he deserves it.

More rumor discussions headed your way...we're just getting started.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

A Special Tribute to...

When bored, sometimes I resort to hulu or youtube for entertainment.  So as I was watching a couple of youtube videos I came across some Brian Dawkins highlights.  Watching several B-Dawk videos has really made me miss his good ole days as a Philadelphia Eagles.

As a huge NFL fan, you got to admit that the early 2000s were enjoyable to watch with Brian Dawkins running around the field leading the Eagles to victory after victory.

The saying "you never really know what you have til it's gone" is certainly true in this case.  It doesn't matter what your is, everyone has to admit the Dawkins/McNabb/Westbrook days in Philly were great entertainment.  Dawkins is the definition of an NFL player, not to mention a fantastic motivator.  He even has one of the best nicknames in the game: Wolverine (he also goes by B-Dawk and Weapon-X).
At age 36, Dawkins' best days are behind certainly behind him.  But, that shouldn't stop him from running all over Invesco Field at Mile High making spectacular tackles and giving great pre-game speeches to his Denver teammates.  In his prime, the 8-time Pro Bowler was easily making 50-60 tackles a season and countless more highlight reels.

Here are some links to a few highlight/pump-up videos of his:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe5B8W8ZyR4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5JizfUAyL_4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WM8NbBFUR4k

McNabb and Westbrook, as of this off-season, are gone as well.  Head coach Andy Reid is going completely fresh: new QB (Kevin Kolb), fresh legs in the backfield (second-year running back LeSean McCoy) and a couple of less experienced safeties in the defensive backfield.  Could this new look bring similar results?

R.I.P. Eagles teams from c. early 2000s

Thursday, April 15, 2010

WIS Match-up of the Day: '00 Ravens v.s. '85 Bears

Using Whatifsports.com's simulator (http://whatifsports.com/locker/), I am introducing a new, hopefully daily, column.  Today's WIS Match-up of the Day will be between two past Super Bowl champions, and have arguably two of the best defensive units of all-time.  The 1985 Chicago Bears (and the Super Bowl Shuffle) and the 2000 Baltimore Ravens (and Ray Lewis' one-of-a-kind pregame dance)..

ENJOY!

The Place: LA Coliseum

Game Day Weather: 70 degrees, 0% precipitation, light wind

Offensive playbook: Favor run (both teams)

Game Action:

A majority of the scoring in this game happened in the fourth quarter, which is very uncharacteristic with two defenses of this caliber on the field.

Chicago's Hall of Fame running back, and today's player of the game, Walter Payton, opened the scoring up with a 17-yard catch and run late in the second quarter of play.  Kevin Butler's extra point made it a 7-0 game and was, again, the only score of the first half.

Both offensive units surprisingly played nearly mistake-free football.  Baltimore's two signal-callers--starter Trent Dilfer and Tony Banks--were rather inconsistent, completing just 13 of 30 pass attempts, but did not turn the ball over.  On the other side, Chicago's usually sub-par quarterback Jim McMahon managed to stay turnover-less as well.
Possible Hall of Fame kicker Matt Stover finally put Baltimore on the board with a 48-yard field goal early in the final quarter of play.  Baltimore took their first lead 12 minutes later when Obafemi Ayanbadejo squeezed in to the end zone from two yards out.

McMahon drove his Bears' offense down the field and, with under a minute to go, threw his second and final touchdown pass of the game to WR Willie Gault, a 38-yard connection.  The drive lasted seven plays and went for 66 yards before the score put Mike Ditka's Bears up 14-10.

Trent Dilfer failed to get a drive together, going just four plays before turning the ball over on downs.  Chicago kicker Kevin Butler sealed the win with a last-second 38-yard field goal.

BAL 10, CHI 17

Box Score: http://whatifsports.com/NFL/boxscore.asp?GameID=3275154&teamfee=-1&theme=-1

As expected, most of the stat categories were nearly identical.  Great game.  Come back tomorrow for the next 'WIS Match-up of the Day'

No Trouble from Marshall?

Pro Bowl wide-out Brandon Marshall, now a former Bronco, claims he will not be any trouble for the Miami Dolphins, who just signed him to a four-year extension after the acquisition.  The Dolphins gave him a record-setting deal, making him the highest-paid wide receiver.

Of course we all know of his long list of legal troubles, which just so happen to be slightly longer than his list of accomplishments.  But, Marshall claimed that he is very happy with his situation and wont be giving the organization any problems.

I would love to believe him, but it's just very hard to do considering we've already heard this from countless other multi-million dollar athletes.  I mean, he's making a boat-load more money, is now part of an organization with a bright future AND he's in one of the best cities for picking up the ladies (and relax on the beach, simultaneously).
 Sounds like a great life to me.

But then again, this happens a lot more than we might think: Professional athlete says he's happy, a couple weeks/months later he demands a trade and throws a fit.

If Miami's QB carousel settles down and Marshall is getting the ball enough to satisfy him, I see big things coming for this offense.  If that doesn't work out after a year or so, don't be surprised if Marshall starts to yelp.

I actually would like to believe that Miami is more happy about the pick-up than Marshall himself.  Getting a 6-foot-4, 229 pound wide receiver with great hands and legs as quick as his would make any general manager/head coach wet his pants.

Marshall has talent, there's no doubt about that.  On top of that, he's just 26 years old.  His best years are certainly ahead of him.

Miami may not be a contender this season, but with a motivated Brandon Marshall on the team things certainly are looking up for the people down south.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski)

Suspension for Big Ben?

It is still uncertain whether or not the Pittsburgh Steeler quarterback will be suspended to start the 2010 regular season, though all signs seem to be pointing in that direction.

The NFL has stated that the announcement is likely to be made after the draft at the earliest, and even the Rooney's seem to think a suspension is in place for their star quarterback.
The punishment seems inevitable at this point. Although there weren't any criminal charges against him, the memo Commissioner Goodell sent to teams last week is a clue of what's coming for the 6-foot-5, 240 pound signal caller. In the statement, Goodell said:

"The Policy makes clear that NFL and club personnel must do more than simply avoid criminal behavior. We must conduct ourselves in a way that 'is responsible, that promotes the values upon which the league is based, and is lawful."

Basically, what he is saying is that he doesn't care if you are found guilty of it or not, you're gonna be punished. Note to players: watch out for who you hang out with. People are going to be out to get you more than ever.

If nothing else, I think Goodell punishes Ben to show that he doesn't hand out special treatment to any certain player. Goodell has done a nice job at handling trouble-makers so far.

Big Ben gets a 2-4 game suspension to start the season. Put your money on it.

Welcome!

Well, to start, my name is Ben Heck and I am currently a High School senior at QACHS in Centreville, MD. I write articles for a few other sites (look in my bio for specifics) and I started this up just for the fun of it..which means I highly doubt anyone is really going to read this.

I am going to try and post several things a day, but I doubt that is actually going to happen. We'll see.

Thank you and enjoy!