Fantasy Football News

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

P. Woo's Position-by-Position Prospect Rankings: Part 1 (offensive skill players)

Written by: Patrick Woo


Finally, All-Out Blitz has taken the time to prepare prospect position rankings in preparation for April's NFL Draft. Ben doesn't follow enough college football to really be able to accurately rank the players, so I have come up with a list. Here's part one.

Quarterback
  1. Cam Newton, Auburn
  2. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
  3. Jake Locker, Washington
  4. Christian Ponder, Florida State
  5. Ryan Mallett, Arkansas
  6. Andy Dalton, TCU
  7. Colin Kaepernick, Nevada
  8. Ricky Stanzi, Iowa
  9. Greg McElroy, Alabama
  10. Pat Devlin, Delaware
  11. Nathan Enderle, Idaho
  12. Tyrod Taylor, Virginia Tech
  13. Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin
  14. Adam Weber, Minnesota
  15. Jerrod Johnson, Texas A&M
  16. TJ Yates, North Carolina
  17. Josh Portis, California (PA)
  18. Mitch Mustain, USC
  19. Ben Chappell, Indiana
  20. Ryan Colburn, Fresno State

Running Back
  1. Mark Ingram, Alabama
  2. Ryan Williams, Virginia Tech
  3. Mikel LeShoure, Illinois
  4. Kendall Hunter, Oklahoma State
  5. DeMarco Murray, Oklahoma
  6. Daniel Thomas, Kansas State
  7. Shane Vereen, California
  8. Jordan Todman, Connecticut
  9. Bilal Powell, Louisville
  10. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State
  11. Delone Carter, Syracuse
  12. Dion Lewis, Pittsburgh
  13. Jamie Harper, Clemson
  14. Taiwan Jones, Eastern Washington
  15. Noel Devine, West Virginia
  16. Evan Royster, Penn State
  17. John Clay, Wisconsin
  18. Stevan Ridley, LSU
  19. Derrick Locke, Kentucky
  20. Da’Rel Scott, Maryland

Fullback
  1. Owen Marecic, Stanford
  2. Henry Hynoski, Pittsburgh
  3. Stanley Havili, USC
  4. Charles Clay, Tulsa
  5. Anthony Sherman, Connecticut
  6. Shaun Chapas, Georgia
  7. Patrick DiMarco, South Carolina
  8. Robert Hughes, Notre Dame
  9. Ben Guidugli, Cincinnati
  10. Ryan Taylor, North Carolina

Tight End
  1. Kyle Rudolph, Notre Dame
  2. Luke Stocker, Tennessee
  3. DJ Williams, Arkansas
  4. Lance Kendricks, Wisconsin
  5. Virgil Green, Nevada
  6. Weslye Saunders, South Carolina
  7. Jordan Cameron, USC
  8. Rob Housler, Florida Atlantic
  9. Mike McNeill, Nebraska
  10. Cameron Graham, Louisville
  11. Julius Thomas, Portland State
  12. Charlie Gantt, Michigan State
  13. Zach Pianalto, North Carolina
  14. Allen Reisner, Iowa
  15. Andre Smith, Virginia Tech
  16. Schuylar Oordt, Northern Iowa
  17. Lee Smith, Marshall
  18. Kyle Adams, Purdue
  19. Stephen Skelkton, Fordham
  20. Tommy Gallarda, Boise State

Wide Receiver
  1. AJ Green, Georgia
  2. Julio Jones, Alabama
  3. Jon Baldwin, Pittsburgh
  4. Torrey Smith, Maryland
  5. Titus Young, Boise State
  6. Leonard Hankerson, Miami
  7. Jerrel Jernigan, Troy
  8. Greg Little, North Carolina
  9. DeAndre Brown, Southern Miss
  10. Randall Cobb, Kentucky
  11. Jeremy Kerley, TCU
  12. Austin Pettis, Boise State
  13. Cecil Shorts, Mount Union
  14. Tandon Doss, Indiana
  15. Terrence Toliver, LSU
  16. Armon Binns, Cincinnati
  17. Niles Paul, Nebraska
  18. Dwayne Harris, East Carolina
  19. Vincent Brown, San Diego State
  20. Greg Salas, Hawaii
Note: All Images found on Google. No Copyright infringement intended.

MLB Opening Day Tomorrow: Less NFL Lockout Coverage?

With the baseball season starting up tomorrow, I have a feeling the major networks and internet sites (i.e. ESPN, CBS Sports, Fox Sports etc.) will be covering the NFL lockout issues less and less.

The NHL and NBA playoffs are approaching us, along with the NCAA men's and women's Final Four, as well.

Chad Ochocinco's MLS adventure seems to have been the big talk as of late, and aside from continued Labor Negotiations, NFL.com and other NFL sources have been scratching and clawing for any news at all.
What does this mean? Well, to me, I think it's time to bring a little bit of NFL draft coverage, considering that will take place at the end of April and we are now hitting the last two days of March. It's a good thing I have my good friend Patrick Woo to bring that coverage.

Woo, a freshman broadcast journalism major at Penn State University (University Park Campus), is an aspiring college football expert and follows it religiously. He's a Texas Longhorns fan, but covers all 120 CFB teams bias-free.

Coming to you shortly will be his position-by-position rankings, and he says more will come within the next month building up to the draft itself.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Why Players Union Should Leave NFL Hopefuls out of CBA/Lockout Situation

Despite more recent reports allegedly denying the original report that the Players' Union didn't contact the top draft hopefuls for April's 2011 NFL draft, I found it necessary to address this situation.

Less than a week ago there were several different sources saying that representatives from the NFLPA urged the top collegiate prospects, those who were expected to attend the draft and be taken in the first round, to boycott the draft and watch it at home on television.

Apparently they don't think it would be a good idea for these players to walk across the stage and shake Commissioner Roger Goodell's hand after his name is called.
I really only have one thing to say to this. I really am not taking a side in the NFL labor negotiations, I think both sides are equally to blame and that they should be able to work things out and end this lockout before the start of the season. But it isn't fair at all for these players to drag the soon-to-be-NFLers in to the situation before their name is even called.

Yes, yes, I understand that these guys are the league's future, and that they should understand exactly what is going on and side with the rest of the players. But it's incredibly selfish for the current NFL players to tell the young guys not to attend the draft. The current players obviously went through this same process several years ago and were able to attend the draft, hear his name called and walk across that stage to meet with Goodell before his picture was taken.

They got the entire draft experience, and it's an experience that these guys will never forget. It's the moment when they realize they finally made it to their destination, and reached the professional level. To take this experience away from these players--something they've worked their butts off for the last several months--would be the worst way possible to welcome these players in to the league.
If this ends up happening, which at this point it doesn't really appear as though all the players will boycott, then I will lose so much respect for the current players.

Former New England Patriot linebacker and current ESPN NFL Analyst Tedy Bruschi agreed with the other current players that they should boycott the draft, and hearing his comments on NFL Live nearly made me punch the television screen.

He says it's rookies' "duty" to skip the draft. Uh, no. I'm sorry, Tedy, but it certainly is not their duty. Their duty, ever since the college football season ended, is to prepare themselves for the draft with workouts, meetings and interviews, not to mention the Senior Bowl practice, game and NFL Combine back in February.

Not that I have much authority or say in this at all (I would love it if I did, though), but my message to rookies: ATTEND THE DRAFT IF YOU GET AN INVITE!

Photo credit
Patrick Peterson: Joe Robbins/Getty Images
Cam Newton: Joe Robbins/Getty Images

To Play or not to Play? That is the Million Dollar Question in Cincy

Amidst all of the lockout talks in the National Football League, the biggest question mark surrounding the 2011 season in Cincinnati isn't whether there will be a season or not. Rather, will Carson Palmer be suiting up in a uniform?

Fellow Bengal Chad Ochocinco (soon to be back to Chad Johnson) has made recent news by deciding to tryout for Sporting Kansas City--an MLS soccer team based in, of course, Kansas City, MO.

But, despite this recent publicity stunt by the All Pro receiver, the Carson Palmer situation continues to be the center of attention for Cincinnati and its fans.

Palmer has shown obvious frustration with the team and in particular the front office of the franchise. He has threatened to retire if the team does not choose to trade him. At this point it seems Palmer just wants to start winning games, this obviously isn't about money.
Bengals' owner Mike Brown has continually stated, and even reiterated it again as recently as yesterday, that the team does not plan to deal Palmer, no matter how badly he wants out.

If Palmer is serious about the retirement, then I don't believe the Bengals will have the Pro Bowl quarterback next season. But, if this is just an attempt to force a trade, then it appears as though he will remain a Bengal in 2011.

If you want my honest opinion on the entire situation, I do not think he will be dealt (or see a Palmer retirement for that matter) and Palmer will reluctantly be back in an orange and black uniform. But, this is obviously a situation to keep an eye on. If Palmer decides to retire before another team makes a move on Philadelphia's Kevin Kolb, should Cincinnati make a move? That is definitely worth a first round pick in my eyes.

The Eagles seemed hesitant to deal Kolb at first because they weren't receiving the right offers. But now that Sports Illustrated's Peter King broke the news of a team possibly offering Philadelphia a first round pick for the 26-year old, I really don't think Kolb will be an Eagle for much longer.

If this lockout ends sometime in the near future, we could see Kolb switch teams rather quickly. As for Palmer? He isn't going anywhere.

Photo: No copyright infringement intended

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Ben Heck's Article Hits Front Page of the Houston Chronicles' Website

Yes, that's right you heard it correctly.

My article entitled "Closing in on a Decade: Best Players in Houston Texans' History" was good enough to make an appearance on the Houston Chronicles' web page (Chron.com).

I decided to also publish the article on Bleacher Report, in which I have 46 articles published and close to 34,000 article reads. The article on B/R was entitled something a little different ("Houston Texans: The Top 10 Players in the Team's First Decade") but it was still the exact same article that I published here on my blog on February 26.

I received an e-mail from Bleacher Report's Content and Distribution Coordinator Jeff Kneis two days after it was published, notifying me that it made an appearance on the website, allowing my number of reads for the article to jump up to over 4,500, giving me a Silver Medal for it in the process.

In the e-mail he included a screenshot, so I added it to the end of this post so you can see for yourself (mine is the bottom left with the photo of Andre Johnson).
Up next: ESPN.com and CBSSPORTS.com!

Whatifsports.com's Game Rewind of the Day: Houston Oilers get another shot against Bills' in 1992 Wild Card Match-up

To help pass the time, each day I will be taking a game from the past and replaying it using Whatifsports.com's NFL Sim Matchup to generate a new end result.

I will play the game three different times, and share the results of the final, series-clinching game to show everyone the outcome of the matchup. This is obviously just something fun for me to do to pass the long, boring days of spring while still getting my football fix (the AFL and NFL draft in April is not enough to do me justice).

We all know the 1992 AFC Wild Card game between the Houston Oilers and Buffalo Bills, in Buffalo, as the greatest comeback in NFL history. Houston, led by Hall of Fame quarterback Warren Moon (36/50, 371 yards, 4 TDs, 2 INTs in game), went in to half-time with a 28-3 lead thanks to all four of Moon's passing touchdowns, which went to Haywood Jeffries (2), Webster Slaughter (1) and Curtis Duncan (1).
Coming out in to the third quarter, Houston's defense stepped up as well as defensive back Bubba McDowell picked off Buffalo quarterback Frank Reich and returned it 58 yards for a touchdown. The INT was Reich's only mistake of the game as he then threw three third quarter touchdown passes (two to Andre Reed, one to Don Beebe), and running back Kenneth Davis added a one-yard touchdown run.

Down just four, 35-31, at the end of the third quarter, Buffalo then went on to complete a comeback with Reich's fourth touchdown pass, which just so happened to be Andre Reed's third touchdown catch of the game. Houston managed to tie the game back up at 38, with a field goal from Al Del Greco, but heading in to overtime Buffalo had full possession of the game's momentum.

To cap off the greatest comeback in NFL postseason history, a game in which Buffalo had 35 unanswered points after trailing by 32, Reich set up kicker Steve Christie with a game-ending 32-yard field goal, which he drilled through the uprights.

Here is Moon's shot at redemption.

And he wasted no time taking advantage of this second chance, sending his Oilers to the next round of the playoffs thanks to his 256 yards passing and two touchdowns. Just like the original matchup, the Oilers got off to a quick lead, leading 13-0 lead at the half. Moon's squad scored 13 more points in the second half as they knocked off the Bills 26-7.
On Buffalo's side of things, Frank Reich failed to really get anything going, throwing for just 168 yards and a touchdown on 18 for 32 passing. Kenneth Davis managed 91 yards rushing on 14 attempts, but failed to get in to the end zone, ending Buffalo's playoff run.

This outcome, of course, changes the course of history. After the comeback on that fateful day (January 3, 1993), Buffalo went on to manhandle its AFC counterparts en route to a Super Bowl appearance, defeating Pittsburgh 24-3 and Miami 29-10. The dominance was short-lived, however, as they fell to the NFC Champion Cowboys in the Super Bowl, 52-17.

Because of the change of history, I went on and simulated a Houston/Pittsburgh Divisional matchup, and Moon had another spectacular game with 238 yards and two touchdowns. Lorenzo White's 139 yards rushing paced a 30-13 upset of Pittsburgh.

Next up? Miami.

Yet again Houston came up big, although this wasn't quite as bad. The final score, 23-16, and the fact that Moon threw two INTs shows me that Houston had a little bit of trouble against Miami's defense. But, nonetheless, White ran for another 111 yards and a touchdown as Al Del Greco's three fourth quarter field goals paced the Houston comeback, who are now Super Bowl bound, facing the NFC champion Cowboys.

Much ado about nothing. In the end, the same outcome took place, Dallas had little trouble putting the Oilers away, with a 24-9 victory. It was Emmitt Smith's 124 yards and one touchdown that put the game out of reach in the third quarter. Nice try, Houston, but even on paper you weren't eligible to capture a Super Bowl championship in '92.

(Note on Photos: No copyright infringement intended)

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Person to Watch: Eight-year old Quarterback Sensation Daron Bryden and his Trick-shot Video

An eight-year old quarterback by the name of Daron Bryden, current starting QB for the Manchester Sentinels youth football team in Connecticut, has made recent news with his 30-second "trick-shot" video uploaded by his father, Craig.

Since it was uploaded in mid-February, the video has received over 36,000 views and he has made numerous appearances on ESPN and local news stations in his area.

In a sense, the eight-year old has already made a name for himself as a top quarterback in his pee wee league, and thanks to his personal quarterback coach Travis Meyer, who is a coach at Five Star Quarterback (camp used to train and coach young quarterbacks), Bryden has developed the needed footwork to be a successful.
Bryden started playing the game of football two years ago, according to his father, when he was looking for a sport for him to participate in. He quickly fell in love with the game, and Craig says (according to quotes I found online) he asked to practice more and more each day. Some days, playing football is all he wants to do.

Bryden's Sentinel teammate, 10-year old receiver Joseph Colon says he is one of the most accurate quarterbacks at that age, and that is clearly demonstrated in a couple of the videos uploaded to youtube.

Before too long, Bryden will be sought out by middle school teams, high school teams and, eventually Colleges and Universities. The recruiting may even start before he hits high school if he continues to improve his game over the next several years.

To follow Bryden and his training, you can check out his blog here on blogspot (http://daronqb.blogspot.com/), follow him on Twitter (@DaronQB), or check out the youtube channel that his parents set up to upload videos of his training and game action.

Keep up the good work, Daron!

Arena Football is BACK in action: AFL kick-off weekend

The fast-paced, high scoring Arena Football League is back in action as the 2011 regular season kicked off last night (Friday March 11) with a slate of three games. The night's action was headlined by last season's AFL Champion Spokane Shock.

The Shock, founded in 2006, allowed San Jose's three-time Arena Bowl-winning quarterback Mark Grieb to throw for 222 yards and six touchdowns (zero INTs). Full back Chad Cook added 21 yards and three touchdowns on the ground as the SaberCats put 76 points up on the scoreboard.

Spokane quarterback Kyle Rowley completed 30 passes for 364 yards and five touchdowns on 47 pass attempts, but his three interceptions were the downer for Spokane, whose offense managed just 48 points (which really isn't a whole lot for Arena League action).
The other two games involved the 2008 Arena Bowl champion Philadelphia Soul, and one of last season's newest teams, the Pittsburgh Power. The battle of PA ended up going in to overtime, with Philly's quarterback Justin Allgood's 300 yards and five touchdown passes--all to receiver Donovan Morgan, who also totaled 14 receptions for 189 yards by game's end--led the Soul's surging offense.

But it was veteran receiver/defensive back/returner Mike Brown whom made the game-winning play to end the game in overtime.

Pittsburgh's Bernard Morris, 264 yards, five TDs, 3 INTs committed a costly turnover when his third INT of the game was returned 15 yards for a game-ending touchdown by the fan favorite Brown. Brown, whom the Soul decided to bring back to the team after he was acquired from San Jose on February 18. The final score ended up being 58-52 in Pittsburgh as the Power starts its season with an 0-1 record.

The not-quite-as-exciting matchup between the Tampa Bay Storm and New Orleans Voodoo took place last night as well. The two made for a "low-scoring" 46-40 affair with limited mistakes. The game, believe it or not, seemed to revolve around the ground game as the two squads combined for five rushing touchdowns and just three passing touchdowns (all thrown by New Orleans' Danny Wimprine).

Tampa Bay came out on top thanks to a 24-point second quarter, allowing them to squeeze out the six-point victory.

Week One action has continued today (the Dallas Vigilantes defeated the Kansas City Command, 53-46, earlier today; Jacksonville Sharks and Arizona Rattlers face-off at 9 P.M. E.T. tonight), and will go through Monday night, with a Chicago Rush/Milwaukee Mustangs matchup capping the seven-game opening weekend.

Stay tuned for more coverage of the Arena Football League while we await the end result of the NFL labor negotiations.

Photo Credit: SportsLogos.net

League Announces Lockout; Handful of Players File Lawsuits

Last night, at 12 A.M. ET, the NFL announced a lockout of the players following a decertification after the 5 P.M. collective bargaining agreement (CBA) deadline had passed.

The decertification would allow the players to file class-action anti-trust lawsuits against the NFL and potentially reverse a lockout in which the owners have placed. Leading the approximate 10 known plaintiffs are star quarterbacks Drew Brees, Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, all of whom have Super Bowl MVPs to their name.

The National Football League Players Association's (NFLPA) executive director spoke to the media shortly before yesterday's deadline, and he simply stated that he and the player representatives told the NFL and its owners that there "are still major differences (between the owners and players)."
Player representatives who also spoke out include Brees and Colts' veteran center Jeff Saturday. Both sides are obviously frustrated with the negotiations, and neither side really wants there to be a work stoppage.

At this point, money doesn't seem to be the issue here. The two sides simply need to agree on certain terms, and the players would like to see a 10-year business plan, rather than the five-year plan the owners originally offered the players.

Like Brees mentioned on his twitter account, it doesn't seem like the negotiations have anything to do with the players wanting more money:

"Not once have the players asked for more money during this negotiation. That is a FACT. I don't expect anyone to feel sorry for us ... Past players sacrificed a great deal to give us what we have now in the NFL, and we will not lay down for a second to give that up ... We have a responsibility and at some point you just have to stand up for what is right."

I agree fully with Brees, and as much as I hate to see all this happen, I think this is for the best. The negotiations shouldn't cut in to the season, or even training camp for that matter, so I'm not too worried about all of this. Both sides are working really hard on an agreement.

Note: If you would like to be fully updated on the labor negotiations I advise you create a twitter account. It's free and allows you to "follow" any celebrity/athlete/owner etc. that your little heart desires. This is where I've been getting quite a bit of my information, and it's an easy way to stay up to date.

Photo Credit
DeMaurice Smith: Getty Images

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Why Tiki Barber's Return to the Game is a Mistake

The big news around the league yesterday was nothing that happened during the negotiations between the NFL and NFLPA, but rather the fact that former New York Giants' All Pro running back Tiki Barber has announced he has filed his papers to un-retire and return to the game, according to Fox's Jay Glazer.

Tiki, 35, has been out of the game since he surprised everyone with a retirement announcement which took affect at the end of the 2006 season.

With a possible lockout looming, this news story is certainly a nice break from the negotiations but at the same time seems a bit ridiculous. Teams do not want a 30-plus year old running back on their roster, let alone a 35-year old who's been out of the league for four seasons.

Fact: only two running backs in the top 30 rushing yard totals from this past season were above the age of 30, and neither Ladainian Tomlinson (31) nor Thomas Jones (32) were the feature guys on their respective squads.
Obviously if he wants this return to be successful he will have to take a one-year deal and a very limited role, so it could work if he's very flexible and agrees to the terms he's given. But if he's going out of his way to make a comeback, you'd think that he actually wants to play football and not just be a mentor and/or "father figure" for the franchise's feature back.

Another obvious fact I would like to point out is that he will not be a New York Giant. First of all, after joining NBC's crew on "Football Night in America" he totally blasted his former coach, teammates and just the franchise in general. Second, they have already announced that they have released him.

Now that we have that out of that way, is anyone going to be willing to sign him to even a short-term deal? I no I wouldn't given his checkered past. He has shown he has a tendency to resort to his selfish self. If it isn't the fact he blasted the Giants' head coach and quarterback on-air, allegedly cheated on his wife with a 23-year old NBC intern (later dumped his pregnant wife for the intern) and was eventually let go by NBC after they decided not to renew his contract.

According to several reports Barber is near broke and that could very well be the reason he is looking to return to the game. Correction: That HAS to be the reason for his decision.

Any way you put it, I think I can speak for everyone when I say Barber's return to the game of football will end badly, if it even gets off the ground at all. You may have been a great running back during the prime of your career, Tiki, but lets face it, this won't work out in the end.

My advice to Tiki: try the UFL first.

Photo: No copyright infringement intended

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Saints "Huge" Addition: Why the Shaun Rogers Signing was Smartest Move of Off-season

The New Orleans Saints made a huge acquisition last night, literally
The addition of 340 pound defensive tackle Shaun Rogers, whom they signed to a one-year contract worth over $4 million, was a great way to start the off-season in ‘Nawlins.

This move, which has the potential to pay dividends by the time the 2011 season is in the books, seems to have gotten overlook by all of the hoopla we like to call the NFL draft.
Rogers, turning 32 in less than two weeks, is the opposite of taking a younger approach and improving via the draft, but it is a quick fix to a weakness in New Orleans. The running game--both the lack of production on the offensive side due to injuries, and the inability to stop it on defense--was the Saints' achilles heel in 2010. Excluding the turnovers of course, but that's a different story.
Lucky for New Orleans, its pass defense bailed the rest of the team out of tight situations, allowing the fourth-least passing yards per game, and just 13 touchdowns through the air all season (least amount in NFL).

If the Saints can bring back its 2010 defense, plus add a run-stopper with the size and ability of a healthy Shaun Rogers, just think of the possibilities for New Orleans. Of course an aging Darren Sharper isn't ideal for the pass defense, but if he can return to full health in 2011 there's no stopping this defense.

Rogers was the key factor in the run game for 10 seasons while playing in Detroit and Cleveland. The three-time Pro Bowler has recorded 37.5 sacks in 124 starts at tackle, meaning he's no slouch when it comes to bringing the quarterback to the ground, either.
Playing nose tackle for Cleveland’s 3-4 defensive scheme for the last three seasons, and defensive tackle in Detroit's 4-3 scheme for the seven seasons prior to that, Rogers has been well-prepared to play both NT and DT on the defensive line. He will likely be playing the latter of the two in Gregg Williams' 4-3 scheme with the Saints.

Recording 60 tackles as a tackle is unheard of in today's game, and Rogers did that not once but twice with Detroit and Cleveland. Not even Albert Haynesworth and Vince Wilfork came close to matching that feat in their prime as an interior lineman.
The one thing that scares me a bit with the big guy, is the fact that he started just one game in 2010, and missed five additional games in 2009. If Rogers can return to his 2008 form, Sean Payton will be one happy man. But whether he’s healthy in 2011 or not, Rogers is a low-risk, high-reward scenario and any team looking to improve on run stopping would love to have him in uniform.
Rogers’ former head coach, Romeo Crennel (in Cleveland), tried to add him to his defense in Kansas City, but the Chiefs failed to do so. To tell you the truth, I think it's a great thing that not only did Kansas City miss out on adding him, but just the fact that he's finally with a true contender.

No more cellar-dwelling for Rogers, meaning he should finally get a little more recognition for what he has done throughout his career in the league. And, of course that also means he will know what it feels like to actually win games while with New Orleans.

Photo: No copyright infringement intended