Tag Archives: Fantasy Football

No Eagles? No problem…The Pundit previews a few games worth watching

With no Eagles to watch on Sunday, I’ve been trying to decide what I will do with my day tomorrow. It would be a spectacular day to catch up on some laundry, do some cleaning around the house, take a trek to the Free Library, and cook a few meals for the upcoming week.

Riiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.

While that is what I probably should do, what I likely will do is watch football all day, flipping over to the Sixers at five. The one nice thing about not having the Eagles game on tomorrow is that I can frantically follow my fantasy players – a win tomorrow, and I clinch a playoff spot, baby! (Editor’s note: The Pundit enjoys long walks on the beach, fine dining, and fantasy football – which one doesn’t fit?)

There are some great storylines around the NFL tomorrow. I’m not going to bother with predictions, because that’s a truly fruitless endeavor this year, but I will highlight a few of the games worth paying attention to.

1:00 Kickoffs

Giants at Redskins – Hey, any NFC East clash is worth tuning in for. This one is probably more meaningful for the Redskins than it is for the Giants, as every week becomes vital for a Redskins team fighting for a playoff spot. Look for a grind-it-out, defense-oriented, old-school football game. Should be a good watch.

Saints at Bucs– The Saints are fighting for their playoff lives. I don’t think they’ll make it, but this would not only be a big win against a division foe, but would be a confidence victory against another playoff contender. Are the Bucs legit? Their defense seems to be, allowing only 16.4 points and 274.7 yards per game, good for for third and fourth in the NFL, respectively. Will their second ranked pass defense be able to slow down the Saints top ranked passing attack, or will Drew Brees light them up like he did the Packers? A game with big playoff implications.

Panthers at Packers– Is Carolina for real? Can Green Bay do enough down the stretch to win the division? Will Brett Favre prepare the huge crow dinner he’s been cooking this year for the Packers’ organization Cajun style? (Editor’s note: Oh c’mon, Aaron Rodgers has been pretty damn good this year). Really, this boils down to Green Bay’s defense: If they don’t pick up their game, Green Bay is shot. For Carolina to be considered a legitimate threat in the NFC, they need to win games like these. This one could go either way, though its always tough to go into Lambeau.

4:00 Kickoffs

Falcons at Chargers – Who cares if they’re only 4-7 – the Chargers can still win the AFC West! God, what a disappointment the Chargers have been this year. At the beginning of the year, if I told you the Falcons might make the playoffs and the Chargers likely wouldn’t even make .500, you would have told me to get off the crack. (Editor’s note: The first step is admitting you have a problem, Pundit). Matty Ice and the Falcons are a great story – no one is dogging them anymore, huh? (Editor’s note: Groan. You’re all bark and no bite, Pundit).

Broncos at Jets – The Broncos probably won’t win this game, but a victory here would all but seal up the division for them. Despite the fact that they would only be 7-5. The AFC West is a joke. The Jets aren’t. And it’s not just because of that guy playing quarterback – they stuff the running game, and do a good job of churning out yards on the ground themselves. But if they have a weakness, it’s against the pass, and if the Broncos have a strength, it’s throwing the ball. The Broncos could use a good win, and the Jets still have the Pats nipping at their ankles – should make for a pretty good contest.

Steelers at Patriots– Brady who? Alright, so maybe we’re not there yet, but Matt Cassel has been nice. That guy Belichick can coach a bit, can’t he? I don’t really know what to think about the Steelers – they play good defense, they have a pretty balanced offensive attack, and I think Ben Roethlisberger is the real deal. Yet, if I was playing them, they wouldn’t scare me. I might be totally off here, but I just don’t see them as an elite team this year. I think they’re very good, but not elite yet – the Patriots need this more, and I’d put my money on them taking care of business against the Steelers at home.

Sunday Night

Bears at Vikings – Let’s play “Who wants to win the NFC North?” Contestant number one: You play tough run defense, run the ball well, and try desperately to keep your quarterback from having to make plays in the passing game. Contestant number two: you play tough run defense, run the ball well, and try desperately to keep your quarterback from having to make plays in the passing game. Can we just call this Matt Forte vs. Adrian Peterson and move on? And yet, the last time these two teams played, the score was 48-41. How the hell did that happen? A Vikings win gives them a big advantage over the Bears, who they already beat. (Actual Editor’s note: No, that’s incorrect. The Bears actually won the last game between these two, 48-41, and thus, a Bears win gives them a major advantage.) Still, it’s a divisional rivalry, and the Sixers will be over by the time it starts, so its worth a view, if for nothing else than to marvel at Adrian Peterson.

So there you have it. Some intriguing match-ups, and a lot of playoff shuffling will go on by the end of the day. So go ahead – see if you can do some lawn work. Try to rearrange the garage. See how much cleaning you get done. We both know that Sunday autopilot will kick in, and your ass will be on the couch, watching football.

Fight the urge if you must – you know it’s a fight you want to lose.

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The Pundit reaches out to Patriots fans

So, after one of the biggest Sundays in recent Philadelphia sports memory, I have chosen to write about the injury of Tom Brady? Listen: you watched the games. You know that the Eagles looked solid, and that while it was good that the Phillies took 2 of 3, a sweep would have been huuuuge. You are impressed with McNabb and DeSean and are trying to ignore the fact that the Rams are an absolutely terrible defensive team. You know you should be more excited about the Phillies, in the middle of a pennant push, but hey – football’s back. You’re a Philly fan; you know what you need to know about Sunday. So, I’m going a different route – I’m reaching out to a group of fans who are at a loss, who have just seen their Superbowl dreams go up in flames – New England Patriots fans.

If you don’t know by now (Editor’s note: And if you checked the links this morning, you know that even the Pope is aware of this), Tom Brady is done for the season. Cooked. Fin. I normally wouldn’t sympathize with New England fans. They fall in there with New York fans, D.C fans, Pittsburgh fans, Dallas fans and LA “fans.”

However, I am willing to ignore my normal stand of no compassion for New England/Boston fans because of their significant loss. I mean, not only did Patriots fans just lose their best player for the season, but they lost him in week one! They essentially lost any realistic Superbowl hopes at the very beginning of the season, a terribly anticlimactic and painful development for any NFL fan. Part of why we watch is because we hold out the hope that, however faint it may be, this could be our year. This could be the year we win it all. At some point, most fan bases realize their team doesn’t have a shot, but at least you get a couple of weeks to dream a bit.

And consider this – every year until Belichick and Brady retire, the Patriots will have to be considered a Superbowl threat. So it wasn’t as though Patriots fans had to realize the inevitable a bit earlier then they hoped; this Patriots team was still talented enough to win it all, and after the way last year ended for them, had a whole hell of a lot of motivation. Instead, many “experts” think they’ll now have to fight just to win their division. You know, the rugged AFC East, where the next best team is the Jets. Oh, that’s just painful.

So, with that in mind, I offer some tried and true Philadelphia coping mechanisms.

1. Give up all hope. Accept that your season has gone to hell. Now Pundit, I’m sure you are saying, that just sounds pessimistic. Maybe, but it goes deeper that that. If your team does start playing well again, it will be an awesome surprise. If they don’t, at least you were ready for the pain. It’s almost impossible to do this, but it will either keep you sane or make for a pleasantly exciting season.

2. Forget Tom Brady exists. Listen, Patriots fans, we know that Tom Brady was the love of your football lives. You’ll compare every quarterback you have ever had to him again. He’ll always be your first true love, we get it. But…think of it as though he’s taking an extended trip, like he’s going to Europe for a semester or something. You’re just on a break, that’s all. Whether its Matt Cassel or Chris Simms or Doug Flutie, they deserve a chance, they may be some fun, and this was how you met your love in the first place, wasn’t it?

3. Take pride in being a Patriots fan. Philly fans have this down to a science – we overcome constant failure and disappointment by remembering that we’re Philly fans. Philly fans show up. Philly fans root and scream and continue to care, even if we know we’re probably sunk. No team is going to change the kind of fans we are – our teams may consistently fall short, but we are always real, passionate, and obsessive fans. It means something to call yourself a Philly fan – it’s a commitment you don’t back down from.

4. Remember that you still have Randy Moss. He’s the most entertaining receiver to watch in the history of the NFL. He makes catches that I couldn’t have imagined before I saw him make them. He’s absolutely awesome to watch. Every time Donovan McNabb gets hurt, Eagles fans everywhere say a quick prayer, thanking God for Brian Westbrook. In Randy you must trust.

5. Do everything you can to win your fantasy league. It’s a healthy outlet to channel your pain. Scour the waiver wire. Propose countless trades. Mix and match lineups. Buy NFL Sunday Ticket if it helps. The best part of fantasy football is how engaged you become with the rest of the NFL. So, if the Patriots sink, don’t fret – just fantasy. Trust me, it will help.

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Fantasy Football Forecast

Alright, so as previously mentioned, I did not want to do a full fantasy preview earlier because I didn’t want anyone in the league I’m in to steal my genius (Editor’s note: The Pundit needs to get out more). But, I figured I should devote at least one post to the sensation that is fantasy football. Thus, I have devised a list of my top 25 players, and have come up with a collection of names to look over for waiver wire deals, steals and trades. Make sure to have at least three of my top 25 on your team, even if it means bamboozling (Editor’s note: Who said booze?) that guy in your league who has no idea of how to draft players and is excited that he got Drew Brees in the first round. Give him Marvin Harrison or something. (Editor’s note: Can Harrison’s new nickname be Colt .88 Special?)

1. LaDainian Tomlinson

2. Brian Westbrook

3. Joseph Addai

4. Tom Brady

5. Adrian Peterson

(Why Addai over Brady and Peterson? Why Peterson at 5? Simple: Addai is the safest pick of the three. It’s unlikely that Brady can repeat his legendary season of last year, especially because losing Dante Stallworth will hurt their passing attack. And you already know the fears with AD: defenses stacking the box and his injury history. Is Peterson worth the risk considering he was only 5.3 fantasy points better than Addai last year? The Colts traditionally field fantasy studs; I see no reason why Addai should regress this year.)

6. Steven Jackson

7. Marion Barber

8. Randy Moss

(Barber over Moss, and a slew of other running backs? I don’t think Moss will put up the ridiculous numbers of a year ago; meanwhile, Barber was already a stud, and now he’s getting all of the reps. Running backs are normally more consistent than receivers, and I think Barber is going to have a big year – I almost put him ahead of Jackson, but with TO and Witten around, he’ll lose some touches.)

9. Tony Romo

10. Peyton Manning

(Three QB’s in the top 10? And Romo ahead of Manning? Football is changing. The days of the 400 carry workhorse are temporarily over. Many teams are platooning backs now and relying more heavily on their passing attacks. Romo is the real deal, and with TO and Witten, he has excellent options. Meanwhile, Manning will still produce, but Marvin Harrison isn’t the guy he once was, and the Colts offense doesn’t conjure up the same degree of fear in defenses it once did.)

11. Terrell Owens

12. Clinton Portis

13. Ryan Grant (New QB in town means he may shoulder a heavy workload – and boy was he good when he became the starter last year, totaling 158.1 fantasy points despite only 10 starts.)

14. Marshawn Lynch (The rushing yards are there – 1115 yards last year. Expect him to score more than 7 total touchdowns this season, and hopefully do better than 18 receptions for 184 yards).

15. Braylon Edwards

16. Reggie Wayne

(Comparing these two is fun. Edwards finished last season with 224.9 fantasy points, while Wayne finished with 211. Edwards was a touchdown machine, scoring 16 – Wayne is a yardage machine, amassing 1510 last season. The main difference? Edwards should benefit from having a dangerous second receiver added to the mix in Stallworth, while Wayne will lose some touches due to the return of Marvin Harrison. Stallworth may steal a touchdown or two from Edwards, but he will also make it more difficult to double the electrifying Edwards, which could lead to a higher yardage output than last year.)

17. Willis McGahee

18. Maurice Jones-Drew

19. Larry Johnson

20. Frank Gore

21. Andre Johnson (This may seem a bit high for Mr. Johnson, but consider this: in only 9 games last year, Johnson posted 133.1 fantasy points. That’s an average of 14.8 points for game, meaning had he stayed healthy, Johnson likely would have been worth about 230 points last season. That would have been better than every receiver except for Mr. Moss. If he’s healthy, he’s a steal here – if not, he’ll still give you decent numbers when he’s on the field. 21 seemed like the right spot for him.)

22. T.J Houshmandzadeh

23. Drew Brees

24. Larry Fitzgerald

25. Marques Colston

Obviously, this list will be controversial, perhaps unorthodox, and certainly debatable. It is also pure gold (Editor’s note: Oh, that’s just arrogant). Again, be sure that you have at least three of these players on your team: QB-RB-WR, QB-RB-RB, or RB-RB-RB, which was how I went (Editor’s note: LT, Clinton Portis and Ryan Grant: not bad, Mr. Pundit). Now, on to my Golden Nuggets of Genius.

– Follow the Patriots carefully. Without Dante Stallworth, someone is going to step into the third receiver spot and get some looks. Conventional wisdom would suggest Jabar Gaffney, though don’t forget about Chad Jackson.

– I wouldn’t recommend drafting him, but if he gets a nice start, snag Aaron Rodgers quickly. The Packers offense thrived on short crossing patterns that allowed Greg Jennings and Donald Driver to gain yards after the catch. If he can manage the offense and avoid turnovers, Rodgers could be this year’s Derek Anderson.

– Be wary of drafting running backs from Denver and Tampa Bay, but seek them through the waiver wire later in the season. Mike Shanahan’s offense could move the ball with The Pundit at running back (Editor’s note: Speaking of fantasy…) and the Bucs added Warrick Dunn and Michael Bennett to their backfield this year. Remember, Earnest Graham started last year as a special teams player.

– Darren McFadden might not be this year’s Adrian Peterson, but he should be a solid player whom establishes himself as the Raiders’ guy. If one of your household name picks starts slow, try to dish him off for McFadden.

– I’m scared of Kurt Warner. I’m scared that if I don’t pick him up, he’ll have a big year. I’m scared if I do pick him up, he’ll be easy prey for defensive ends like he was in New York and will end up getting hurt. I’ll be watching closely.

– Someone has to catch the ball in Oakland. I say that someone will be Ronald Curry.

– Someone has to catch the ball in Miami. I say that someone will be Ted Ginn, Jr.

– Someone has to catch the ball in Chicago. I say that someone will be the other team’s defenders (Editor’s note: But don’t count out Greg Olsen).

– Devin Hester is a gamble pick – feel him out early in the season. He’ll likely be an inconsistent scorer, so if you’re going to play him, be sure to do your research on the opponent.

Alright, that’s enough fantasy for now. The real NFL preview is coming later in the week. Be sure to check the links in the morn.

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The Week in Review

After my Saturday hiatus, I have returned to wrap up the week. Let’s get to it, kids.

The No-Show of the week goes to Jimmy Rollins. In all sincerity, this is not an effort to pile on after the “frontrunning” debacle. Fact is, Jimmy batted 3-24 last week with no extra-base hits, no walks (he was hit by one pitch) and no RBI’s. He did score 3 runs, which is extremely frustrating in its own right, because when he gets on base, the Phils tend to knock him in – he sets the proverbial table. (Editor’s note: I can never remember where you put the damn fork). That, and a lead-off hitter should get on base more than 4 times in a week, plain and simple.

The Stud of the Week is a split between Usain Bolt and Cole Hamels. Bolt set three world records (100m, 200m, 4x100m relay), and did so with relative ease. He’s not only the fastest man in the world, he is, at least for now, the fastest man ever. That’s friggin’ impressive. Still, not only do I like to reserve this award for local guys, but also for, um, citizens of this country (Editor’s note: Patriotic…or prejudiced? Judge for yourselves, people). Thus, Hamels takes the second half of this award. In two starts this week, Hamels threw 15 innings, surrendering 12 hits but allowing only three runs with no walks and eight K’s. The Phillies won each of his starts.

The All-Encompassing Thought of the Week goes back out to the Olympics. With the games coming to a close, The Pundit can’t help but get a little bit weepy (Editor’s note: Is it really neccesary to admit that?). Sure, the US underachieved a bit in track and field, but hey, Bryan Clay won the decathlon, the event in which the winner is dubbed “The Greatest Athlete in the World.” That’s pretty cool. And the Redeem Team (Editor’s note: Everytime I hear that name, I envision a large line of elderly women at a grocery store, fumbling for their coupon books) straight-up handled their business, knocking off Spain 118-107 in a game that was exciting and often a bit too close for comfort. US basketball may never dominate the world the way that the Dream Team once did, but something certainly felt restored and in its rightful place as the Redeem Team had their Olympic Golds placed around their neck. China not only put on a great show, but showed up as well, dominating the Gold medal count. That being said, the US performed admirably and finished with the highest overall medal count. Hold your heads high, American Olympians – we are all proud of your performances and the manner in which you carried yourselves. You represented us well. We were treated to breathtaking performances, enthralling finishes and fascinating storylines (Editor’s note: God, this whole segment sounds soooooooooooooo corny and cliche…but I think its true), and I for one will miss them.  Wait, what’s that you say? You say its just about time for football season? Welp, see you in London, Olympics (Editor’s note: Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do).

The Painfully Specific Thought of the Week is an NFL ditty. (Editor’s note: A ditty? What the hell is a ditty?) Let’s take a quick look at the statistics put up by the Eagles opening day receiving corps in 2007, and compare them to Mr. Boldin.

Reggie Brown: 61 receptions for 780 yards and 4 touchdowns.

Hank Baskett: 16 receptions for 161 yards and 1 touchdown.

DeSean Jackson: Rookie

Jason Avant: 23 receptions for 267 yards and 2 touchdowns

Greg Lewis: 13 receptions for 265 yards and 3 touchdowns

Total: 113 receptions for 1473 yards and 10 touchdowns

Anquan Boldin: 71 receptions for 853 yards and 9 touchdowns. Oh, and he missed 4 games, so if he had stayed healthy, he would have likely finished with about 95 catches for 1150 yards and 13 touchdowns. They have a word for something like this…oh, right, upgrade. Yup, it was upgrade. (Editor’s note: I don’t think he’s going to let this one go).

The Moment of the Week goes to the kick return of Quintin Demps and the punt return of DeSean Jackson. It was really exciting to see the Eagles do something positive on special teams, and the return by Demps was just awesome. I wasn’t able to see it happen live, but Merrill Reese, as he always does, made it extremely exciting to listen to. Before the Demps return, he said something to the tune of “I would really like to see a kick return here.” A few seconds later, and Mr. Reese had his wish. Then, before the punt return, he again said “Hey, you know what? I’d like to see a punt return, too.” Mike Quick chided him, telling him to save some of his luck for the regular season, but it was too late – DeSean Jackson was already weaving his way to the endzone. This prompted Reese to jokingly exclaim, “I’d like to be six foot four!” The man always had golden pipes; who knew they were so damn lucky?

I won’t be doing links in the morning, as I have to get up earlier then usual for work, but they’ll be back on Tuesday. Make sure to check in tomorrow night for my Fantasy Football preview. I know its a bit late to bust this out, but I didn’t want to give away any of my Golden Nuggets of Genius (Editor’s note: cough) before I had my own draft. Since I know many of you probably already had your draft, I’ll bust out my top 25 and focus on sleepers I think you should pay attention to. Also, a full NFL preview is in the works – should be exciting. (Editor’s note: Why, I’m practically lactating with enthusiasm!)

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