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With this in mind, who are some lesser-known RBs who might be worth rostering this off-season, with a chance to increase their value by Opening Day 2008?

Hmmm...prospecting season usually occurs during camp and pre-season, so you might not be able to get a feel for the next gem until the summer. Many of the guys who fall under this category have already been found out this year. i.e. Selvin Young, Ryan Grant, DeShawn Wynn, Derrick Ward, etc.

But off the top of my head, guys who could conceivably be on waiver wires and fit the criteria above:

J.J. Arrington -- Whisenhunt praised him this pre-season, and Edge is starting to lose some work.

Gary Russell -- Bruising back who could get a shot if FWP gets injured.

Pierre Thomas -- Beat out Antonio Pittman, could carve out a role alongside Bush.

Mewelde Moore -- Hasn't gotten the praise, but he has produced in the past.

Musa Smith -- Longshot, but it was just over a year ago that Billick called him a "RB of the Future."

Michael Robinson -- Another longshot, but he got a lot of buzz early last season.

I'd probably add Antonio Pittman to this list after seeing this blurb today from rotoworld:

"Antonio Pittman has taken over as the Rams' No. 2 tailback.

Pittman will serve as a rarely used change-of-pace back behind Steven Jackson, with Brian Leonard starting at fullback (really an H-back position) and spelling Jackson sometimes on third downs. If Jackson were ever to get injured again, Leonard and Pittman would likely split backfield duties evenly."

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F&L

how many years does TO have left?

Better Question. How many years will he be producing at the Elite level?

yea I would like to know some thoughts on him also, maybe tory holt too, they are a couple guys I am thinking about moving marshall for in the next couple weeks, maybe see if holt would move for a first rounder. Not sure what people think of these guys dynasty wise.Thinking my team has a pretty good shot the next couple years.

Love the thread and rankings F&L :lmao:

Thanks mozzy,

We talked a little bit about Torry Holt a week or two ago on page 21, post #1034. I don't think my stance has changed much there.

RE: one Terrell Owens. He's a unique dynasty player in that he's always worth more in-season than he is in the offseason. In-season, you want that guy who is going to produce like a WR1 on a weekly basis to anchor your lineup. We all want difference makers, and having T.O. on your roster makes a difference. During the offseason, you always consider that he's getting older, he's a relatively high risk for pulling some goofy stunt, and come on, he's T.O.! Who wants to deal with T.O.? Who wants that look-at-me "Leon" on their roster?

If you're asking "what's his value," I'd say his real value isn't much different in dynasty than it is in re-draft. We can line up charts and studies of WRs from the 70s, 80s & 90s who have fallen off a cliff around age 35, but T.O.'s situation is unique. NFL athletes keep themselves in much better shape now than they did 15-20 years ago, and who has kept himself in better shape than Terrell Owens? He's a physical freak, and I'm not sure the old "35" dynasty WR rule applies to him. On the other hand, his perceived value will go down once they stop playing games this winter. It will stay down in comparison to guys like Anquan Boldin, Lee Evans, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh this offseason, but the real value will probably stay the same as it ever was. Once the games start, he's generally worth as much as any other WR in the league.

My concern with T.O. has always been more about him playing the role of T.O. as opposed to getting up there in age. In some ways he's riskier than other top tier receivers. In other ways he's much less of a risk than just about any WR out there. The trick is to sell him off down the line right before he does start toeing the cliff...

Edited by Fear & Loathing
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Ok, running late this week...but that's OK because I think only playoff leaguers are finding this useful. And by my count, that means I'm the only one.

Through Week 10

2007 WORST PERSON IN FANTASY FOOTBALL AWARD :help:

Pre-Season: Jack Del Rio

Week 1: Cam Cameron

Week 2: Cam Cameron / Norv Turner

Week 3: Rex Grossman / Lovie Smith

Week 4: Brad Childress

Week 5: Travis Henry

Week 6: Adrian Peterson doubters / Shaun Alexander

Week 7: Cleo Lemon + Randall Gay = Ronnie Brown

Week 8: Anyone associated with the slopfest in Wembley Stadium / Out-of-their-minds Patriots bashers

Week 9: Abhorrent QB play around league as personified by David Carr

Week 10: LenDale White

THRU WEEK 10 POWER RANKINGS :popcorn:

AFC

1. New England Patriots, 9-0 / +208 / 100%**

2. Indianapolis Colts, 7-2 / +116 / 98.9%

3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-2 / +127 / 97.8%

4. San Diego Chargers, 5-4 / +25 / 54.1%

5. Tennessee Titans, 6-3 / +26 / 70.0%

6. Jacksonville Jaguars, 6-3 / +19 / 75.9%

7. Cleveland Browns, 5-4 / -9 / 32.8%

8. Buffalo Bills, 5-4 / -23 / 13.3%

TIE: Denver Broncos, 4-5 / -85 / 16.0%

The Bengals may be awfully frisky from here on out...but it's too late.

NFC

1. Dallas Cowboys, 8-1 / +101 / 99.9%

2. Green Bay Packers, 8-1 / +86 / 99.8%

3. Seattle Seahawks, 5-4 / +50 / 83.4%

4. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 5-4 / +20 / 90.3%

5. New York Giants 6-3 / +30 / 70.1%

6. Philadelphia Eagles, 4-5 / +9 / 13.8%

7. Detroit Lions, 6-3 / +5 / 34.1%

8. Arizona Cardinals, 4-5 / -7 / 35.0%

Tie: Washington Redskins, 5-4 / -16 / 28.2%

I would have left Chicago in as an underdog, but they blew their chance when they went back to Rex.

**Football Outsiders' Playoff Odds

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Football Outsiders Audibles at the Line Week 10:

J.P. Losman/Trent Edwards...again:

Mike Tanier: I am still undecided on J.P. Losman vs. Trent Edwards, and I know Losman brings the long bomb factor. But with Losman, it seems like the Bills have no drive capability. There’s no sequence to their offense, just a few bombs punctuated by punts. Today, they played down to the Dolphins and nearly lost. I feel like if Edwards were in there, they would have scored about 22 points on drives into field goal range.

Jay Cutler:

Doug Farrar: So far, my impression of Jay Cutler has been that this is a guy who’s going to have to be talked out his love of the deep ball in favor of work on shorter passes. He overthrew Brandon Marshall horribly in the second quarter, and Marshall didn’t have a Kansas City defender within 10 yards of him. He’s already had two balls batted down on shorter passes halfway through the second quarter. What I do like about him is his pocket presence — he doesn’t get happy feet, and he’ll run out of pressure. He can then throw accurately across his body, and that’s where the arm strength is valuable.

Mike Tanier: Cutler tends to overthrow some guys. I’ve seen him do a good job of checking down and taking what he’s given in other games.

Priest Holmes:

Doug Farrar: People are going to look at his stats and wonder what I’m smoking when I say what I’m about to say, but … Priest Holmes has great burst and wonderful escapability. He’s making some incredible cuts, making Denver defenders miss badly. He’s not going to put together world-beating numbers behind this line (dead last in Adjusted Line Yards by a sizeable margin), but it’s nice to see him looking that good for his first start in two years. Many of his three- or four-yard runs really should have been stuffs or losses.

Ned Macey: I didn’t watch this game, but I was surprised to read the positive comments about Priest. He averaged 3.3 against one of the worst run defenses in football. Did he actually look good despite the poor overall stats?

Bill Moore: I only saw one Priest Holmes run. It was third-and-2 from the 5, and he ran to the left end, mistakenly tried to cut back across the opposite side and then couldn’t get free. He lost 13 yards. It was a case of Holmes not being Holmes of a few years ago. Otherwise, looking at the PBP, it was lots of three- and four-yard runs. There were only three runs greater than six years, and two greater than 10 (both 11).

Doug Farrar: Yeah, he did. It was sporadic, and he had to do a lot himself because that line is so bad, but his burst and his ability to cut were surprising given the long layoff. There were times when he’d go into a mess of Denver defenders with nowhere to go, but he’d pull out a few extra yards with his own effort. Some of those three- or four-yard runs Bill was talking about should have been stuffs or losses.

Michael David Smith: I agree about Holmes. Other than that terrible play where he ran backwards, he was surprisingly good when you consider that the Chiefs’ offensive line is a disgrace.

Ryan Grant:

Doug Farrar: On Green Bay’s corresponding opening drive, their supposedly non-existent rushing attack put up 49 yards on Minnesota’s defense by running outside. Ryan Grant gets good yardage up the middle by way of a play-action draw on the second drive. They’re doing very well with little delays, getting a center and a guard on either the left or right Williams “brother” and bouncing off the edge. Green Bay with an integrated run game has to scare the rest of the NFC. Ryan Grant seems to fit the idea perfectly. The Vikings have averaged 70.4 rushing yards allowed per game, and Grant has 81 yards on 10 carries in the first quarter.

Aaron Schatz: The general theme of this game, I think, is that Green Bay showed how to run against the Vikings. They were running all kinds of draws, delays, misdirections, screen passes, and so forth. Those were successful. The regular runs were generally unsuccessful, except for a couple where the Packers had two double teams on the two Williamses, and one where the wide receivers were all really tight so Grant ended up running behind a whole host of blockers. Watching the first half of this game, I got the feeling that the Vikings linebackers may not be as good as they look in the numbers. If Grant could get past the defensive line, the linebackers weren’t so successful at taking on blocks and getting to Grant.

Saints/Reggie Bush Theory:

Vince Verhei: Here’s my theory on the collapse of the Saints: Last year, Reggie Bush was an unknown commodity, and teams were scared to death of him. So they always devoted their attention to him, leaving Colston and Henderson and company relatively unnoticed. Now, with a year’s worth of film, teams have realized that Bush is good, but he ain’t THAT good. They’ve also realized that the Saints running game went down with Deuce McAllister, and that if you cover the short routes, the offensive line can’t give Drew Brees enough time to find receivers deep downfield. I can’t explain why Brees is good for a handful of poor throws to open receivers, though.

Also, the Saints defensive backs are very, very bad.

Donovan McNabb:

That said, I still insist Donovan McNabb looks better each and every week. He still holds the ball too long and makes errant throws, but he is moving much better in the pocket. Washington is down some injured players, but that’s still a good defense, and they moved the ball decently. McNabb, by the way, is near the top 10 in DPAR with NO quality receivers, yet somehow he’s the problem. The defense, meanwhile is one of the ten worst in football. The arc on McNabb is perfect for how quarterback-focused people are since he was second in the MVP voting when he was not as good as he is now, when people think he should be benched.

Albert Haynesworth observation:

Bill Barnwell: It’s weird. We define offensive players by how great they are when they perform on the field, but it’s almost as if we define great defensive players by how their teams do when they’re not around (Bob Sanders being the first example that comes to mind). There’s something very strange about that.

Vince Verhei: That’s an interesting observation. At one point today I thought to myself, “I guess this locks up the defensive player of the year award for Haynesworth.” It is weird that a guy’s standing would increase because he missed a game.

Derek Anderson:

Ryan Wilson: Pittsburgh blitzed on a handful of plays in the first half with little success. Anderson was methodical, and killed the Steelers on third down. Worsening special teams play set up the second Browns touchdown, and a bad Roethlisberger pick deep in Pittsburgh’s zone made it 21-6 before the half. After the break, the Steelers dropped everybody into coverage, and when Anderson’s first read didn’t come open, he got happy feet, which seemed to result in some inaccurate throws, most of the shortish variety.

Terrell Owens:

Ned Macey: Last week, my theme was the defensive line is important. This week it is wide receiver. Terrell Owens first became a high quality wide receiver in 1997. Starting then, his quarterback has made the Pro Bowl every year except 1999, 2003, and 2005. That includes four separate quarterbacks under (counting this year) five different coaches. Randy Moss isn’t quite as impressive, but Brady will be his third different quarterback and fifth Pro Bowl selection in 10 years. Kerry Collins throwing to Moss ranked 11th in DPAR in 2005. What Brady is doing this year is obviously the clearest example.

The thing is that wide receivers were devalued by smart analysts because the model franchises earlier this decade were New England and Philadelphia, both of whom devalued it. It seems to me that the offensive experience of those teams and their exceptional quarterbacks shows that they undervalued wide receiver

.

Peyton Manning:

Aaron Schatz: Wow. Peyton Manning is melting down out there tonight. :popcorn:

Edited by Fear & Loathing
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Rudi's a guy who I haven't been high on in a long time. His ypc has always been a little low for comfort, and it dropped even lower last year. A sub-4.0 ypc by a long-time vet is always a huge warning flag for me. When they ypc goes, the only way to maintain value is through sheer number of carries, which always catches up to you sooner or later. It's a vicious cycle- lower ypc = more carries = more wear and tear = lower ypc = more carries. It's a tailspin that it's hard for RBs to recover from- just witness the demise of Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Jamal Lewis, Ahman Green, etc, etc, etc.

Rudi can fail?

OK, I've been giving some second thought to this Rudi Johnson situation because I'm beginning to think we may have been too quick to write him off.

Upon first glance of his stats since the 2nd half of last season, it's easy to chalk him up as a declining vet with a plummeting yards per carry and a loss of effectiveness. My inclination coming out of last season was that this was a RB whose high carry numbers of the past few season were catching up to him at age 28. There's no doubt Kenny Watson has been a more effective RB this season, but let's not forget that most of Watson's production came in one game against the fantasy manna known as the New York Jets.

And all that may well be true. Maybe the numbers tell the whole case here. But something to consider...

Rudi's decline began in the 2nd half of last season. I don't catch all of the Bengals' games now that I live in Georgia, but I still follow them fairly closely. I know that Rudi's decline has coincided with the upheaval along the Bengals offensive line. Levi Jones has been injured off and on for a year and a half. Perennial mauler Willie Anderson has been hurt most of this season. Guard Bobbie Williams was injured toward the end of last season. The Bengals also lost their long-time starting center, Rich Braham, early last season. The O-line, which was a real strength for a few years in Rudi's prime, has often been in flux since the middle of last season. I think this -- along with Rudi's nagging hamstring injury-- may be a significant factor in Rudi's declining production.

I'm not laying all of the blame on the O-line, but I do think it's been an overlooked factor compared to something like solely looking at declining YPC numbers as an indication of a RB about to hit the cliff. I have no doubt that he's past his prime, but I do have doubts about writing him off completely based on declining YPC numbers. I'm unnaturally intrigued by the rest of Rudi Johnson's season...

Edited by Fear & Loathing
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Rudi's a guy who I haven't been high on in a long time. His ypc has always been a little low for comfort, and it dropped even lower last year. A sub-4.0 ypc by a long-time vet is always a huge warning flag for me. When they ypc goes, the only way to maintain value is through sheer number of carries, which always catches up to you sooner or later. It's a vicious cycle- lower ypc = more carries = more wear and tear = lower ypc = more carries. It's a tailspin that it's hard for RBs to recover from- just witness the demise of Emmitt Smith, Eric Dickerson, Jamal Lewis, Ahman Green, etc, etc, etc.

Rudi can fail?

OK, I've been giving some second thought to this Rudi Johnson situation because I'm beginning to think we may have been too quick to write him off.

Upon first glance of his stats since the 2nd half of last season, it's easy to chalk him up as a declining vet with a plummeting yards per carry and a loss of effectiveness. My inclination coming out of last season was that this was a RB whose high carry numbers of the past few season were catching up to him at age 28. There's no doubt Kenny Watson has been a more effective RB this season, but let's not forget that most of Watson's production came in one game against the fantasy manna known as the New York Jets.

And all that may well be true. Maybe the numbers tell the whole case here. But something to consider...

Rudi's decline began in the 2nd half of last season. I don't catch all of the Bengals' games now that I live in Georgia, but I still follow them fairly closely. I know that Rudi's decline has coincided with the upheaval along the Bengals offensive line. Levi Jones has been injured off and on for a year and a half. Perennial mauler Willie Anderson has been hurt most of this season. Guard Bobbie Williams was injured toward the end of last season. The Bengals also lost their long-time starting center, Rich Braham, early last season. The O-line, which was a real strength for a few years in Rudi's prime, has often been in flux since the middle of last season. I think this -- along with Rudi's nagging hamstring injury-- may be a significant factor in Rudi's declining production.

I'm not laying all of the blame on the O-line, but I do think it's been an overlooked factor compared to something like solely looking at declining YPC numbers as an indication of a RB about to hit the cliff. I have no doubt that he's past his prime, but I do have doubts about writing him off completely based on declining YPC numbers. I'm unnaturally intrigued by the rest of Rudi Johnson's season...

That may be the case, but I honestly question whether Rudi was ever that good to begin with. Even if I only downgrade him slightly from where I had him before, he's still going to be waaaaay down my rankings.

I notice you like Football Outsiders, so let's let their stats do a little bit of talking. Currently, Kenny Watson ranks 6th in DVOA and 4th in Success Rate. Rudi Johnson, on the other hand, ranks 45th in DVOA (out of 45 runningbacks) and 42nd in success rate. Remember that DVOA adjusts for quality of opposition, already, so even if Watson feasted on the woeful Jets, that shouldn't matter.

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That may be the case, but I honestly question whether Rudi was ever that good to begin with. Even if I only downgrade him slightly from where I had him before, he's still going to be waaaaay down my rankings.I notice you like Football Outsiders, so let's let their stats do a little bit of talking. Currently, Kenny Watson ranks 6th in DVOA and 4th in Success Rate. Rudi Johnson, on the other hand, ranks 45th in DVOA (out of 45 runningbacks) and 42nd in success rate. Remember that DVOA adjusts for quality of opposition, already, so even if Watson feasted on the woeful Jets, that shouldn't matter.

I can assure you, Rudi was good to begin with. There's a reason he has the top two rushing seasons ever for a Bengals' RB. More than Corey Dillon, more than James Brooks, more than Pete Johnson. You can't just put any old RB back there to rush for 1450 yards for two straight seasons. I do like Football Outsiders as a tool to enhance evaluation. Let's face it, we can't watch all the games or follow each team as closely as our "home" team, so culling knowledge from a variety of sources is often our best bet. But, just as with baseball, it's not a *substitute* for watching the games and forming your own opinion. I appreciate what Football Outsiders bring to the table just as I do with Baseball Prospectus, but I'm far from a slavish devotee to their metrics. They often arrive at their evaluations through questioning of conventional wisdom, which is great. We shouldn't jump to our own conclusions without questioning them in turn...
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Hey F&L,

Who do you see as the best dynasty buy-lows? Specifically for teams out of the running this year, who would you target? I'm talking about guys like Ronnie Brown and Cadillac Williams.

Thanks for your help.

I really think the time to strike on Calvin Johnson and Vince Young is right now -- week 10 of 2007.

Johnson has been severely hampered by injuries for weeks, and he's just now getting back to full health. The Lions' defense and running game have improved, but they're going to need to rely on their passing game to stay in the playoff hunt with the tough schedule they have the rest of the way. I think Johnson makes a splash soon....very soon.

It's fair to question Vince Young's passing ability, but we saw in the 2nd half of last season that he's a true talent. Much like the lessons we learned with Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger, it makes sense to bet on QBs with special talent even when their offense and surrounding talent is holding down their production. A good deal of the blame for the Titans' embarrassingly poor passing game can surely be laid at Young's feet, but he's neck-and-neck with the Vikings for the worst gaggle of receiving options in the league. It won't stay that way forever, and he just may take off in the 2nd half of the season once again if he can start to roll off a couple of good games. He's simply not this bad, so he's due for a hot streak.

I'd also put Maroney in a buy now category even though the Patriots' appear to have some doubts about his role going forward. This one is more of a strict roll of the dice, but I think it's a worthwhile gamble if you can get him from a disillusioned Maroney owner looking to turn the page.

Todd Heap could be another one with the Ravens passing game looking even more futile than normal lately. As long as he's healthy, he's a true TE1 and easily a top 3 or 4 talent at the position.

Can DeAngelo Williams' value get lower? Something's goofy there. A first round pick averaging 5.0 ypc, and he can't even nudge DeShaun Foster much less push him aside. There almost has to be more to the story here....but if you really believe in Williams' talent, now is the time to strike.

Also, Steven Jackson. There's another thread floating around here where people (well, mainly Kelly'sHeroes) were insisting that Reggie Bush was a better investment going forward than Jackson. If you find somebody who believes that, I'd pounce on Steven Jackson right now.

Edit to add: Jeremy Shockey is a good bet to pick up his production the rest of the season, starting this week against the Cowboys. And it can't get any worse for Steve Smith, so he's an interesting roll of the dice if you're out of the playoff picture and looking towards next year.

Let's see...

Vince Young threw for a career high 257 yards and had 2 TDs called back due to holding penalties. But to be fair, he didn't look very comfortable in the pocket and was often inaccurate. Worse, the Titans' pedestrian receivers really struggle to get open. They just have a hard time gaining separation, and when they finally do, they're either running the wrong route or Young is throwing the ball into the ground. The other problem is that the Titans never open up their offense until they absolutely have to. It's hard to be successful passing the ball when the only time you do it is on 3rd and long.

Calvin Johnson apparently aggravated his back injury early in this past week's game and ended up with 3 catches for 37 yards. Word out of Detroit this week is that Martz intends to incorporate more fade passes into their weekly game plan to take advantage of Johnson's as well as Roy Williams' size/athleticism. I tried to trade for him last week, but the guy wanted Lee Evans, my 1st round pick, and Jamal Lewis. He ended up trading Calvin to another guy for Priest Holmes and two 1st round picks next season. I ended up dumping Jamal Lewis on him anyway.

I still feel like Maroney is a good buy low. For a pretty sizable disappointment, 4.7 YPC is certainly a silver lining.

Todd Heap re-injured his hamstring, which pretty much shoots his value for the rest of this season. But he's going to be a the top of my buy low list for the offseason.

DeAngelo Williams: I'll pass on Panthers RBs as long as John Fox is around.

Steven Jackson: still a better dynasty bet than Reggie Bush, he's due for a very nice 2nd half.

Jeremy Shockey: 12 for 129 and a TD :shock:

I'd add Maurice Jones-Drew and Hines Ward to this list. I covered the JAX/TEN game for Rotoworld last Sunday, and it was even more obvious than ever that MJD is the Jags' only offensive weapon. Taylor can still help out in the running game, but they're going to have to get MJD more involved the rest of the way if they're going to sew up a playoff berth. I believe last week's game was the first all season that he out-carried Fred Taylor, and I expect that trend to continue.

While people are jumping on the Santonio Holmes bandwagon (and rightly so), Hines Ward is really flying under the radar. Despite missing almost three full games with a sprained knee, Ward still leads the Steelers in receptions and remains Big Ben's go-to WR. He's a very solid WR2 almost every week, but he's not being valued as such.

Edited by Fear & Loathing
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Just moved V.Young in a package that essentially netted me Schaub (start 2 league). I'm feeling just fine about it.

And, I'm a subscriber to the "talent supercedes situation" mantra, but VY has continually put up a horrible completion percentage and yards per attempt, which is a serious indictment on his ability to grow as a passer (look up guys who have struggled in those areas for proof).

I took the guy in the 4th round of a dynasty start-up but I'm very much ready to say that he's not going to "revolutionize" the position.

Move him now while you can still work off last week's anomaly.

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The difference between VY and Brady/Roethlisberger is that the latter two had shown promises of being great passers before becoming great FF QBs. You can argue that VY has shown flashes of being a great QB, but he sure hasn't shown any flashes of being a great passer. The only way I see him becoming an elite FF QB is if he takes a great leap forward or somehow lands in a situation where he's throwing to a TO/Moss type.

I'd rather have Cutler at this point. He's flashed a lot more as a passer. That's what's important.

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Maybe with Antonio Pittman taking the #2 job, he should be bumped up a bit in the rankings. At only 21, the guy could have future value.

:thumbdown: He was bumped up. I wrote about him at the top of this page.
I didn't see you moved him up because he is still listed at 1 pt. :thumbdown:
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F&L and others: I have followed this thread periodically over the past season, but I am going to read it more often after what I just read on the last two pages. This is a very insightful, respectful thread (which can hardly be said for several others...) and a credit to this board.

Anyone who has contributed to this thread should be very proud of their actions, regardless of whether someone agrees with their opinion. It is extremely informative and well written IMO.

:goodposting:

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Maybe with Antonio Pittman taking the #2 job, he should be bumped up a bit in the rankings. At only 21, the guy could have future value.

:thumbup: He was bumped up. I wrote about him at the top of this page.
I didn't see you moved him up because he is still listed at 1 pt. :lmao:
Whoops. :confused: on me.I had copied & pasted him up to the 4-pt tier, but I forgot to delete him in the 1-pt tier. Two Antonio Pittmans. It's fixed. Sorry about that.
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The difference between VY and Brady/Roethlisberger is that the latter two had shown promises of being great passers before becoming great FF QBs. You can argue that VY has shown flashes of being a great QB, but he sure hasn't shown any flashes of being a great passer. The only way I see him becoming an elite FF QB is if he takes a great leap forward or somehow lands in a situation where he's throwing to a TO/Moss type. I'd rather have Cutler at this point. He's flashed a lot more as a passer. That's what's important.

You're probably right. I could live with the poor passing numbers in a conservative offense if he was putting up rushing numbers to the tune of last year's 2nd half numbers....TDs especially. He was one of the most productive fantasy QBs down the stretch last season, and I figured he could channel that effectiveness again this year. The talent is there. But you're certainly right about the difference between Brady/Roethlisberger and Vince Young.I still think he's better than he's shown this year. I like Schaub, and I'm not saying Valhallan made a mistake in that deal, but if he's seen as equivalent to Schaub in value, then I do think he remains a good buy low.
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F&L and others: I have followed this thread periodically over the past season, but I am going to read it more often after what I just read on the last two pages. This is a very insightful, respectful thread (which can hardly be said for several others...) and a credit to this board. Anyone who has contributed to this thread should be very proud of their actions, regardless of whether someone agrees with their opinion. It is extremely informative and well written IMO. :football:

Thanks cpstorm. Appreciate the feedback. As long as we all aim to be the Anti-Salisbury, I think we'll be alright. Edited by Fear & Loathing
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The difference between VY and Brady/Roethlisberger is that the latter two had shown promises of being great passers before becoming great FF QBs. You can argue that VY has shown flashes of being a great QB, but he sure hasn't shown any flashes of being a great passer. The only way I see him becoming an elite FF QB is if he takes a great leap forward or somehow lands in a situation where he's throwing to a TO/Moss type.

I'd rather have Cutler at this point. He's flashed a lot more as a passer. That's what's important.

As a Titans fan, we can only hope. That would be interesting.
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Rudi can fail?

OK, I've been giving some second thought to this Rudi Johnson situation because I'm beginning to think we may have been too quick to write him off.

Upon first glance of his stats since the 2nd half of last season, it's easy to chalk him up as a declining vet with a plummeting yards per carry and a loss of effectiveness. My inclination coming out of last season was that this was a RB whose high carry numbers of the past few season were catching up to him at age 28. There's no doubt Kenny Watson has been a more effective RB this season, but let's not forget that most of Watson's production came in one game against the fantasy manna known as the New York Jets.

And all that may well be true. Maybe the numbers tell the whole case here. But something to consider...

Rudi's decline began in the 2nd half of last season. I don't catch all of the Bengals' games now that I live in Georgia, but I still follow them fairly closely. I know that Rudi's decline has coincided with the upheaval along the Bengals offensive line. Levi Jones has been injured off and on for a year and a half. Perennial mauler Willie Anderson has been hurt most of this season. Guard Bobbie Williams was injured toward the end of last season. The Bengals also lost their long-time starting center, Rich Braham, early last season. The O-line, which was a real strength for a few years in Rudi's prime, has often been in flux since the middle of last season. I think this -- along with Rudi's nagging hamstring injury-- may be a significant factor in Rudi's declining production.

I'm not laying all of the blame on the O-line, but I do think it's been an overlooked factor compared to something like solely looking at declining YPC numbers as an indication of a RB about to hit the cliff. I have no doubt that he's past his prime, but I do have doubts about writing him off completely based on declining YPC numbers. I'm unnaturally intrigued by the rest of Rudi Johnson's season...

Misguided rationalization...

Rudi is either running hurt or running with a fork in his back.

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Football Outsiders Audibles at the Line Week 11:

Philip Rivers:

Mike Tanier: From what I saw of Rivers — which was only the last few minutes — his delivery is worse than usual (it was never exactly a clinic). He was shot-putting short passes, throwing with all arm and not a lot of legs or body. That will lead to all kinds of errant throws.

With all Norv’s flaws, I thought quarterback and receiver mechanics were the things he was going to fix. Maybe he looked at Rivers’ wacky delivery, said “this guy is no Troy Aikman or Trent Green,” and didn’t even try to make alterations. Or, he is trying to turn Rivers into Aikman instead of finding a way to deal with that elbows-and-knees style of his.

Aaron Schatz: The folks I was watching with, the feeling we got watching Rivers was that when he could set his feet and throw, he was getting the ball to the right place. That was primarily seam and in routes. But he can’t throw on the run at all, and he seems to have serious problems throwing passes to the outside. Man, what happened to this guy?

Sean McCormick: Rivers seems to be very sensitive to the pass rush. He makes a lot of throws while falling backwards.

Adam Vinatieri:

Michael David Smith: I love the loud cheer Colts fans gave Adam Vinatieri after he made a 27-yarder. They sounded like they were surprised he made it. No team has ever spent more for less on kickers than the Colts in the last few years.

Aaron Schatz: After Vinatieri missed those two field goals, all I could think about was just how nasty the third MDS “Seriously, do people understand that Vinatieri just isn’t that good anymore?” Fanhouse post was going to be. It’s us against the world, Mike. Us against the world.

Chiefs LB Derrick Johnson:

Ned Macey: If you’re looking for AFC linebackers for your Pro Bowl ballot, you could do a lot worse than Derrick Johnson. I’m charting a number of Chiefs games this year, and he’s everywhere. He’s a great blitzer, very good in run defense, and a pretty good cover linebacker. No basis for this statement, but I feel that outside linebackers in 4-3 defenses sometimes take a few years to emerge, but Johnson is definitely one of the better ones now.

Michael David Smith: Derrick Johnson is an incredibly talented linebacker, extremely fast. I sometimes look at him and think he relies too much on his speed, sometimes running around plays when he needs to run through them, but I have always liked him.

Derek Anderson discussion:

Bill Moore: Derek Anderson is really making things difficult for Phil Savage. Although his stats today were good, not great, he orchestrated both the game-tying drive with a great under-pressure throw to Braylon Edwards and then made a great throw on the game-winning drive to Kellen Winslow. All this against arch-enemy Baltimore.

However, Cleveland signed Brady Quinn, their first-round pick (albeit their second first-round pick), for 5 years and $20 million. Clearly, Quinn is supposed to be the Cleveland quarterback of the future. David Lewin’s system loves him, but there’s a decent chance he won’t play at all this year. Anderson is a restricted Free Agent following this season. I expect Cleveland will make a top tender offer, but I can’t imagine they can afford top dollar. Does anyone give up a first-rounder for him?

Doug Farrar: Depends on how Cleveland tags him. As much as Anderson’s proven, and as dismal as the quarterback situation is for so many NFL teams, I’d think there will be more than one team with interest.

Sean McCormick: No one is giving up two No. 1s for Anderson, and it’s unlikely that any team with a top ten pick will be willing to give it up for him. So you’re looking at a midlevel or upper-level team with a dubious quarterback situation and no recent draft pick on the bench. There aren’t that many teams that qualify.

Mike Tanier: Anderson could get interest the way Matt Schaub generated interest: second-round pick territory. Or the Browns could keep Anderson around the way the Bengals kept Jon Kitna for an extra year when Carson Palmer was coming up.

Vince Verhei: This is a league with one team that has to play Vinny Testaverde, Matt Moore or David Carr, and another team that has to choose between Byron Leftwich and Joey Harrington. There are plenty of teams desperate to acquire a good quarterback. I think the state of Minnesota would be happy if the Vikings pulled a Ricky-Williams style trade for Anderson.

Ben Riley: I’m not sure that Derek Anderson isn’t worth two first-rounders. If Tim Ruskell can spend a first round pick to get Deion Branch, it’s not hard to imagine someone paying the steep price to get Anderson, who should go to the Pro Bowl this year.

Mike Tanier: Any general manager who gives up two number one picks for Anderson should be fired immediately. He would make Matt Millen look like Einstein.

Ned Macey: I hate to be Mr. Negativity, but Derek Anderson was below replacement level last season and 41st out of 45 eligible quarterbacks. The only worse quarterbacks played for Oakland or Tampa Bay. This year, he is completing only around 57 percent of his passes. Braylon Edwards has 10 touchdowns and is averaging 17.5 yards per completion. If I could have a healthy Edwards and Anderson, I’d gladly give up a first-rounder.

Also, Anderson is just killing bad pass defenses but has been pretty rotten against good ones. Anderson has played five top-10 DVOA pass defenses this season: Pittsburgh twice, New England, Seattle, and Oakland. In those five games, he has thrown seven touchdowns and seven interceptions, and only completed more than 51.2 percent of his passes against Seattle. In other games, he has thrown 13 touchdowns and three interceptions, only below 60 once — when he completed 55.6 percent against Baltimore and averaged more than 20 yards per completion. I suspect there are more than 20 quarterbacks in this league who could kill weak defenses with weapons such as Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow.

Stuart Fraser: In terms of supporting cast, Anderson has Edwards, Winslow, and a Cleveland offensive line that’s fifth in pass protection and eighth in run blocking (a combined rank beaten only by the Colts and Patriots). He has a solid possession reciever in Jurevicius. Realistically, if he’s an average to above-average quarterback, he should be lighting things up - how many other teams have Cleveland’s mix of offensive talent?

It feels really weird to have typed that. But seriously, New England, Dallas, Indianapolis (when they aren’t all injured), then who? Arizona, maybe, except that everyone is underperforming. Pittsburgh and Cincy have good skill position players but porous lines.

Bill Moore: I’m not suggesting that Anderson is a great quarterback, but rather that his good play this year has put the organization in a a tough spot financially. Clearly he’s not worth two number ones, but Cleveland needs to submit a tender to him worthy of two number ones. (anyone know the tender levels and their respective compensation?) Savage has to find a delicate balance of making Anderson an offer that sets the bar too high for someone else to take him, while managing the cap impact of paying what may well be your backup quarterback.

Sean McCormick: This is a deep quarterback class; Andre Woodson, Brian Brohm, Matt Ryan and Colt Brennan all figure to be first-rounders. I think most teams would rather take a crack at one of those guys than spend two first-rounders to get Anderson, who, as it was noted, is completing less than 60 percent of his passes with a terrific supporting cast of receivers. There will also be options like Chad Pennington or perhaps McNabb, who will be available as short-term veterans to mentor a younger player and who will be much cheaper to acquire. And there is the very legitimate possibility that Brady Quinn beats out Anderson in camp.

David Harris vs. Jonathan Vilma:

Sean McCormick: The change in the quality of the Jets defense since David Harris took over for Jonathan Vilma is palpable. He is able to hold his ground against a guard in the run game, which provides much less room for runners to bounce outside. He’s been a force on the pass rush as well — he sacked Ben Roethlisberger to end Pittsburgh’s first series, and he nearly had a second sack on the following series. Ben got free, but the play had broken down and he ended up chucking the ball downfield for an incompletion.

Seahawks New Passing-Heavy Offense:

Doug Farrar: I have to say, though, this pass-all-the-time thing is working for Seattle’s offense. Matt Hasselbeck is efficient enough to make it work as he zings short passes all over the place, and with Deion Branch back in the lineup, he’s got all his weapons. Wonderful work by 543-year-old right guard Chris Gray on Tommie Harris on the touchdown pass to D.J. Hackett. Blocked him right out of the play. Hasselbeck seems to be far more comfortable with this system, and with running back Maurice Morris in it. For those who haven’t seen Morris, think “Brian Westbrook Lite,” though he actually bears a striking physical resemblance to the guy who played Carlton in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.

I don’t want to try and read anyone’s thoughts, or try to put words in anyone’s mouth, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a slight sense of relief in Shaun Alexander’s inability to play due to injury. He’s not anywhere near the player he used to be, he doesn’t fit this new offensive game plan as well as Morris does, and Seattle would have a lot of ’splaining to do if he were healthy and on the bench. This is what happens when you have a superstar on a very steep decline.

Ben Riley: Let me be more blunt: The Seahawks offense is vastly improved with Shaun Alexander on the bench. Maurice Morris is more Brian Westbrook near beer, but it’s amazing how much easier it is to convert third-and-5s instead of third-and-11s. Also, fullback Leonard Weaver can actually catch passes in the flat, which is something Shaun forgot how to do three years ago. Oh, and D.J. Hackett is what KUBIAK thought he was: really good.

Vince Verhei: I’ve been saying for weeks that Seattle should go all short pass, all the time, and I still feel that way, but I did notice one flaw in that strategy today: It leads to a LOT of third downs. Fortunately, the game plan used a lot of play action and bootlegs to get guys open on third downs, Hasselbeck made good throws on third downs, and the receivers made catches on third downs. But when it basically takes two completions to pick up a first down, it forces the offense to execute over and over and over…

But as long as they do execute, it’s going to be tough to beat. The Seahawks’ radio guys were talking after the game about how teams had to be afraid to blitz Seattle, because Hasselbeck will read the defense, find the open receiver and make an accurate throw. Meanwhile, you can’t just rush four and sit back in a soft zone, because the receivers know how to find the seams, and Hasselbeck has the arm strength to pick zones apart. Teams that can get pressure with four rushers will give them a hard time, but everyone else will be in trouble.

I thought Jason Campbell looked pretty good Sunday....Aaron Schatz disagrees:

Aaron Schatz: The Lewin Career Forecast loved Jason Campbell because of his accuracy, but man, he was constantly throwing it behind guys today, ahead of them, one foot too high, whatever. That last drive, he had Santana Moss open in the end zone and overthrew him. Then he had wide-open space in front of him on third-and-10 — dude, SCRAMBLE and set up the fourth-and-short — and instead he throws slightly behind Antwaan Randle El instead of slightly in front of Antwaan Randle El. Terrence Newman, of course, was also slightly behind Randle El.

Frank Gore:

Poor Frank Gore is starting to dance in the backfield because the holes aren’t there, and the 49ers are desperate for a big play. Obviously, it is not working. The 49ers are trying everything to get him the ball “in space” which works as well as that plan ever does. The 49ers have not scored an offensive touchdown in over two games which is just embarrassing.

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F&L, little suprised to see Greg Jennings still so low, particularly still behind Driver. Jennings has more FF points than Driver this year despite missing the first two weeks of the season. Driver has only had two better weeks than Jennings since week 3, and Jennings also has more targets than Driver over the last six weeks. Of course this is all on top of the fact that Driver is nine years older than Jennings.

I know you dont like to make large adjustments to players based on a week or two(which i dont blame you for), but i cant imagine anyone who feels Driver is more valuable than Jennings in dynasty leagues at this point.

P.S. I cant believe you still have Harrison ranked ahead of Bowe and Holmes.

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I still feel like Maroney is a good buy low. For a pretty sizable disappointment, 4.7 YPC is certainly a silver lining.

:thumbdown:

Rotoworld's Gregg Rosenthal -- who is a huge Pats fan -- has thrown in the towel on Maroney for this season.

Time running out on Maroney

I missed the first quarter of the Patriots game Sunday night, which means I barely saw Laurence Maroney. Maroney played only 12 snaps against the Bills in a matchup that screamed breakout. And while Maroney finally scored a touchdown, it was the only carry of the night that he ran decisively. With another week of injury uncertainty followed by a Sunday night game, Maroney won't be a fantasy option in Week 12.

The fantasy playoffs will start soon thereafter, and Maroney is going to be difficult to trust unless things change dramatically. The Patriots have always leaned towards the pass, but their 2007 personnel dictates three-and-four receiver sets often until a defense can stop them. Maroney doesn't excel in the pass game, and he can't seem to stay healthy for long. That means more snaps for Kevin Faulk and HeathEvansKyleEckel.

I held out hope for as long as possible, but Maroney looks to be a very useful role player for the Patriots if all goes well. They just don't need more than 30 snaps from him a game. His fantasy owners do.

Edit to add -- the well connected David Yudkin had this to say about Maroney in another thread:

The story I have been told several times is that the plan all along this season was to increase Maroney's workload across the second half of the season to get him primed for a full time workload heading into the post season (using the premise that you need a good running game to win). Given Maroney's injuries and the Pats' success passing, I wonder where that leaves them now.

Further...

I poked around and am hearing that Faulk most likely had a concussion and we'll have to see how severe it was and if there are any lingering after effects. He may or may not be able to go this week, as concussions are tough to decipher.

Maroney appears to have only had a minor injury and with the team up 100 to 2 or whatever the score was they felt that there was no need to risk sending him back in and risk further injuries. I'm not 100% buying that that was the full reason he wasn't playing, but that's what I'm hearing. My guy openly questioned in Maroney is hurt, so there may be a lot more to this story (although speculative at best at this point).

So I suspect Maroney will be fine and may not even be on the injury report (and if he is he will likely be listed as probable).

That's the best I can offer for right now, although as I always I will monitor this throughout the week.

Fantasy wise, has there even been a Pats RB worth starting in any week this year? I know Morris did ok a few games, but overall I can't recall any single guy really making a fantasy impact. I mention this because people may want to latch on to Evans if Maroney and Faulk can't go or may be limited, but at this point we may have to conclude that no Pats RB is really worth playing (although I still hold out hope that Maroney will at some point be healthy enough and see the ball enough to do something).

Yudkin on Corey Dillon today:

The Pats don't appear interested in Dillon, and I doubt the current situatuation will get them to change their mind.

Saturday update from Rotoworld:

Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels says he's confident Laurence Maroney can handle a 25-carry load if asked to.

Maroney's season high is 20 carries, which he had in Week 1. McDaniels also believes Maroney is durable despite his array of injuries the past two years. The Pats' game plan changes week to week, but Sunday night vs. Philly would be as good a time as any for him to see a large workload.

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Calvin Johnson apparently aggravated his back injury early in this past week's game and ended up with 3 catches for 37 yards. Word out of Detroit this week is that Martz intends to incorporate more fade passes into their weekly game plan to take advantage of Johnson's as well as Roy Williams' size/athleticism.

The Detroit News is addressing the elephant in the Detroit Lions' living room: why is the uniquely talented Calvin Johnson being used less than Shaun McDonald and Mike Furrey?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Lions: Notebook

Johnson's role is a question

Prize rookie didn't see ball much in Sunday's loss and was ignored during crunch time.

Mike O'Hara / The Detroit News

ALLEN PARK -- The way Calvin Johnson has been used -- and not used -- in the Lions' offense gives the impression that a giant-sized receiving threat is hiding in plain sight.

Every play Johnson has made in the first 10 games of his rookie season shows the enormous potential that caused the Lions to draft him second overall. And it also raises the question of why he hasn't been put in position to make more plays.

Johnson has 24 catches for 402 yards and three touchdowns. He scored a fourth touchdown on a 32-yard run on an end-around in which he displayed an amazing assortment of physical skills -- speed, power and agility.

Johnson is an imposing physical force at 6-foot-5 and 239 pounds. He was timed in 4.35 seconds in the 40-yard dash and had a recorded vertical jump of 42.5 inches.

Johnson was more decoy than dominator in Sunday's 16-10 loss to the Giants at Ford Field. He caught three passes for 45 yards. One catch was a leaping grab over two defenders in the end zone. Johnson caught the only three passes thrown to him.

On the final two possessions, when the Lions needed a touchdown to win, Johnson and Roy Williams -- the team's leading receiver with 55 catches for the season -- did not have a pass thrown to them.

Quarterback Jon Kitna threw five passes to Shaun McDonald and two to Kevin Jones on the last two series. The last drive ended when a ball deflected off McDonald's hands for a game-clinching interception by Giants cornerback Sam Madison.

Coach Rod Marinelli offered an explanation of the Lions' pass distribution Monday. Johnson played 35 of the Lions' 57 offensive plays -- 46 pass plays and 11 runs -- Marinelli said.

"And he was in seven of the last eight plays," Marinelli said. "Coverage sometimes dictates certain things. That's why the inside guys have a lot of receptions.

"He and Roy got nice, big plays at one time, those guys (Giants defensive backs) biting the cheese, those safeties. It opened up a lot of other things inside. You've just got to catch it."

McDonald had seven catches for 113 yards. Kitna threw 15 passes in McDonald's direction. Williams caught six of the 11 passes thrown to him. Mike Furrey had five catches.

In most formations, Furrey and McDonald play the inside slot position, with Williams and Johnson on the outside to utilize their height. Williams is 6-3. Furrey is listed at 6-0 and McDonald at 5-10. However, McDonald's official height at the NFL 2003 Combine testing was 5-8 1/2 -- almost nine inches shorter than Johnson.

Why isn't Johnson being used more? And why not force the ball to him at times and let him take it away from smaller defenders?

Lingering effects of a back injury sustained in the third game at Philadelphia are one factor, Marinelli said. The Lions' offensive scheme is another.

"I don't know if that's what you want to do, is force," Marinelli said. "Just by his presence, he opens up some stuff. We said that when we drafted him. We had some great matchups.

"We've got four really good receivers, and the throws were all balanced. It's a team concept in terms of what we're doing."

The Lions missed connecting on two throws in the fourth quarter. Kitna had to roll to his left to avoid the rush and was late making a long throw into the end zone to McDonald. Giants safety James Butler had time to react and got over to make the interception.

Williams got open on a coverage breakdown. There was no defender within 12 yards, but there was a mixup on the pattern, and Williams couldn't get to the ball.

Johnson hasn't said anything about his role, which is typical of most rookies.

"Whatever the coach calls -- I just play," Johnson said after Sunday's game.

Kitna alluded to Johnson's back injury as a factor that has limited his role.

"Calvin hasn't been healthy since the Philadelphia game," Kitna said. "If Calvin was 100 percent healthy, he'd be more involved."

You can reach Mike O'Hara at (313) 982-3810 or mike.ohara@detnews.com.

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Through Week 11

2007 WORST PERSON IN FANTASY FOOTBALL AWARD :P

Pre-Season: Jack Del Rio

Week 1: Cam Cameron

Week 2: Cam Cameron / Norv Turner

Week 3: Rex Grossman / Lovie Smith

Week 4: Brad Childress

Week 5: Travis Henry

Week 6: Adrian Peterson doubters / Shaun Alexander

Week 7: Cleo Lemon + Randall Gay = Ronnie Brown

Week 8: Anyone associated with the slopfest in Wembley Stadium / Out-of-their-minds Patriots bashers

Week 9: Abhorrent QB play around league as personified by David Carr

Week 10: LenDale White

Week 11: 49er Fallguy/Offense Killer, Jim Hostler

THRU WEEK 11 POWER RANKINGS :football:

AFC

1. New England Patriots, 10-0 / +254 / 100%**

2. Indianapolis Colts, 8-2 / +119 / 99.0%

3. Pittsburgh Steelers, 7-3 / +124 / 93.3%

4. Jacksonville Jaguars, 7-3 / +26 / 89.1%

5. San Diego Chargers, 5-5 / +20 / 66.8%

6. Denver Broncos, 5-5 / -71 / 32.1%

7. Cleveland Browns, 6-4 / -6 / 56.9%

8. Tennessee Titans, 6-4 / +12 / 39.0%

NFC

1. Dallas Cowboys, 9-1 / +106 / 99.9%

2. Green Bay Packers, 9-1 / +100 / 99.9%

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 6-4 / +44 / 97.5%

4. Seattle Seahawks, 6-4 / +57 / 81.1%

5. New York Giants 7-3 / +36 / 85.6%

6. Arizona Cardinals, 5-5 / +1 / 54.0%

7. Philadelphia Eagles, 5-5 / +19 / 18.1%

8. Washington Redskins, 5-5 / -21 / 25.0%

Tie: Detroit Lions, 6-4 / -1 / 13.8%

**Football Outsiders' Playoff Odds

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F&L, little suprised to see Greg Jennings still so low, particularly still behind Driver. Jennings has more FF points than Driver this year despite missing the first two weeks of the season. Driver has only had two better weeks than Jennings since week 3, and Jennings also has more targets than Driver over the last six weeks. Of course this is all on top of the fact that Driver is nine years older than Jennings.

I know you dont like to make large adjustments to players based on a week or two(which i dont blame you for), but i cant imagine anyone who feels Driver is more valuable than Jennings in dynasty leagues at this point.

P.S. I cant believe you still have Harrison ranked ahead of Bowe and Holmes.

I doubt I'm the only one who is not ready to put perennial top WRs Marvin Harrison & Donald Driver out to pasture just yet. For good or bad, I don't see myself completely defrocking last year's #1 WR & #5 WR at least until the season is over, at which point we can stand back and take an honest look at where their value stands.

A couple relevant points to shed light on these specific rankings:

Greg Jennings has scored a TD in six of his eight games this season, which is outstanding. He scored three TDs total last season. I've yet to get a feel for whether Jennings owns a skill for scoring TDs or whether this year's production is more a result of randomness through 10 weeks. My gut tells me Driver will outscore him the rest of way, and Jennings' TD streak will cool off pretty significantly. So far this season, Driver has 20 more receptions than Jennings. Is Driver still Favre's go-to WR? I don't know. I'm not sure Favre has a go-to WR anymore. I have dropped Driver over the past few weeks because Favre simply has many more options this year than he's had the past couple of seasons where he's only had eyes for Driver. I'm sure I'll be revisiting the GB wide receiver rankings on a weekly basis the rest of the way.

I'm pretty sure D-Bo would be several spots higher if not for the probability that his QB will hold his value down for the foreseeable future. I have zero faith in Brodie Croyle.

Edit to add: I tried to come back and look at this from a different angle. I gun for the title every year, and I haven't had the misfortune of being sidetracked by injuries or trades/draft picks backfiring on me in awhile. So my priorities are going to be much different than a rebuilding team or even a teetering .500 team. If I was rebuilding right now, I would definitely prefer Greg Jennings to Donald Driver....though I think I would still place a higher value on Driver in this sense: I would make a contending team pay more than Greg Jennings for Driver if they wanted him. I think if I was hovering around .500, I would also prefer Jennings. So I can certainly see how situation affects value perception on Driver vs. Jennings.

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F&L,

Curious what your thoughts are on Earnest Graham. He seems to be still pretty low in your rankings and not moving up despite putting up several solid weeks so far. Think he's just a flash in the pan? Loses value with Pittman back? Not gonna be the starter come next year with Caddy still in town?

I'm wondering if this is a guy to try and acquire or someone to look to sell if you owned him.

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F&L,

Curious what your thoughts are on Earnest Graham. He seems to be still pretty low in your rankings and not moving up despite putting up several solid weeks so far. Think he's just a flash in the pan? Loses value with Pittman back? Not gonna be the starter come next year with Caddy still in town?

I'm wondering if this is a guy to try and acquire or someone to look to sell if you owned him.

I've actually been moving him up steadily on a weekly basis, so he's come a long way. I have Graham right around DeShaun Foster, Justin Fargas, Maurice Morris, and Jesse Chatman. In other words, I see him as a temporary patch as opposed to a future workhorse. I've never given much consideration to him as a guy who has a future as the starter in Tampa Bay, but after some more in-depth thinking, this is how I would break it down:

The Positives:

Since Caddy went down, Graham has been more productive than Caddy has been in two years. Production should matter, and even if Graham was seen as a replacement level/special teams player before, he's earned some consideration for a larger role by producing for the offense. The Bucs' ground game has been better the past month than it's been in some time.

Graham was being used at the goal-line occasionally even before Caddy went down, and he's shown some legit receiving ability. He may not be an ultra-talented RB, but he doesn't have any obvious skill weaknesses where you'd be looking to take parts of his job away from him. Pittman will take over 3rd down duties, but that's more about Michael Pittman than Ernest Graham.

The Negatives:

I don't see the Bucs going into next season with Graham as their starting RB. I think he makes for great depth, and he's a perfect role player (somebody like Sammy Morris that the Patriots would appreciate more than most teams). If Caddy gets healthy, he's sure to muddle the picture in some fashion. I don't see Caddy becoming the full-time back next season, but the presence of Caddy, Pittman, and possibly another back brought in via draft or free agency could certainly mess with Graham's window of opportunity.

He's already lost some value with Pittman back, and he's going to have to keep putting up numbers the rest of this year on 1st & 2nd downs to even get a shot to carry a chunk of the load in the future. I covered the Bucs game Sunday, and though Graham ran hard, he didn't do squat until the game was out of hand. He's not a dynamically talented RB, so he's going to have to hit the endzone consistently to retain value. I'm not confident that he can do enough to keep the job through the offseason.

If I had him, and somebody else came after him, I'd definitely sell him for a reasonable return. If injuries had forced me to use him as a starter, I'd probably hang onto him while I needed him and risk losing all value once this season ended. Final verdict: unless you need him as a starter, he's a SELL.

Wed. evening Rotoworld update:

Michael Pittman (ankle) missed Buccaneers practice Wednesday, and coach Jon Gruden said afterwards he fears Pittman may be lost for the year.

Pittman admitted after last Sunday's game that he probably should've taken another week to rest his lower leg injury. It's now clear that he re-aggravated the injury, possibly severely. Pittman's locker was reportedly cleared out Wednesday, signaling his placement on injured reserve could be imminent. Earnest Graham would see a huge boost in fantasy value if so.

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Anybody got a scouting report on new Chiefs RB, Jackie Battle?

From Rotoworld this afternoon:

Chiefs signed RB Jackie Battle to their practice squad and promoted FB Gilbert Harris to the active roster.

Battle, a big back with good speed, could become a factor in Kansas City's amazingly thin backfield by season's end. He'll need time to learn coordinator Mike Solari's offense before becoming the next Samkon Gado.

Previous News from Rotoworld:

Aug. 27 -- Cowboys waived/injured RB Jackie Battle.

The physical freak and local product from Houston sustained an ankle/foot injury in camp. He could be of interest on a practice squad elsewhere.

May 31 -- Undrafted rookie running back Jackie Battle will likely have to show value on special teams to make the Cowboys' roster over Tyson Thompson.

Battle's skills are similar to those of Marion Barber III, as a big back with good explosiveness. Thompson can return kicks but is coming off an injury.

Apr. 30 -- Cowboys signed Houston RB Jackie Battle to a three-year contract.

Battle, who dabbled at fullback for the Cougars, is a straight-line runner in the Marion Barber mold. He's big and showed great speed at his Pro Day and could be an option in short yardage if anything happens to Barber.

NFLdraftscout.com:

03/28/07 -

Jackie Battle kept telling anyone who would listen that he was fast. Not fast for a fullback, which is where NFL scouts were projecting the 6-2, 245-pound specimen to play. No, Battle kept saying that despite his size, he was fast. Running back fast. Problem is, nobody was listening. They are now. Battle opened a lot of eyes — and ears — with his performance at Friday's pro day, turning in consistent 4.4s in his 40-yard dash (one scout even had him at 4.35, and Battle once was timed at 4.33 by Cougars staff). "Yeah, it was pretty satisfying," said Battle, who also had a 41-inch vertical jump, bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times, long jumped 10 feet, 11 inches, ran the 60-yard shuttle in 10.79 seconds (one of the few in the nation to go sub-11 seconds) and did the three-cone drill in 6.51 seconds. Because of his pro day show, Battle moved onto the NFL's list of "next 10 running backs," behind the top 10 prospects. - Houston Chronicle

Scout.com:

Part-time starter the past two years totaling career numbers of 184/943/15 carrying the ball as a senior. Junior totals included 408-yards rushing and five scores.

Pos:

Nice-sized short-yardage runner best between tackles. Finds the running lanes, works runs on the inside and falls forward when tackled. Keeps his feet moving on contact and strong ball carrier who picks up the tough yardage. Displays vision as a ball carrier or blocker.

Neg:

Straight-line runner who does not have the speed to get around the corner. Average hands out of the backfield. Not decisive nor elusive.

Rookiepedia.com:

* 4.38 and 4.42 40 yard dash.

* 41" vertical jump

* 10-foot-11 broad jump

* 4.11 short shuttle

* 6.51 three-cone drill

* 19 bench press reps.

Impressed scouts with his receiving ability.

Played at the East West Shrine Game … Shed 20 pounds in the offseason in 2006 to transform himself from a fullback / short yardage specialist to an every down back … Rushed for 124 yards and 3 TDs in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl … Named MVP for Houston in the Hawaii Bowl .... Is improving as a lead blocker … Is in training in order to try and run a fast time at the Houston Pro Day … Scored 15 TDs in 2006 … Carried 17 times for just 57 yards against Southern Miss, but did power up the middle for a 6 yard TD … Also converted twice on 4th and short up the middle … Fumbled once, although he recovered himself and was stuffed at the goalline on the last play of the first half as Houston were unable to get another play off … Chris Berman will undoubtedly call him Jackie Battle-of-who-could-care-less … Pro Day numbers have vaulted him into first day consideration

Jackie broke the single season rushing touchdown record (15), and the career rushing touchdown record (31) for the University of Houston. Able to amass 943 yards rushing in a pass oriented offense while sharing backfield duties.

And I think you'll all be happy to hear that Bob from NASA loves Jackie Battle:

I was Jack's neighbor when he was a kid, he was friends with my son. He was such a good kid, bigger than the rest of the kids but looked out for all of them. I cant say enough about his character from age 5 to about 12. His stats in a passing scheme at U of H were great. His pro try outs outshined all the top prospects in size, speed, agility, broad jump and vertical jump were just crazy first round stats.

This is not just a biased opinion. He is not a secret anymore!!!!!

Bob, NASA Employee

Yahoo Sports:

The Good: A huge, powerfully-built tailback who had his best season as a senior. He is a very effective inside runner who consistently breaks tackles. He is one of the better goal-line runners available this year.

The Bad: He is basically a one-cut runner, and his lack of top speed makes it difficult to get to the corner. His lack of well-developed receiving skills will limit his playing time. His decision-making is inconsistent as a runner, and he has put the ball on the ground at times.

Outlook: Has the overall ability to fill a few roles. His production late in his college career gives him a chance to be selected on the second day of the draft. He must prove he can withstand the pounding in the NFL, and must also improve his ball security. He needs to find a niche on coverage and return units. Probable late round selection.

Jackie Battle's college stats from nfldraftrivals.com.

And leaving no stone unturned, Jackie Battle

.
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Anybody got a scouting report on new Chiefs RB, Jackie Battle?

From Rotoworld this afternoon:

Chiefs signed RB Jackie Battle to their practice squad and promoted FB Gilbert Harris to the active roster.

Battle, a big back with good speed, could become a factor in Kansas City's amazingly thin backfield by season's end. He'll need time to learn coordinator Mike Solari's offense before becoming the next Samkon Gado.

Previous News from Rotoworld:

Aug. 27 -- Cowboys waived/injured RB Jackie Battle.

The physical freak and local product from Houston sustained an ankle/foot injury in camp. He could be of interest on a practice squad elsewhere.

May 31 -- Undrafted rookie running back Jackie Battle will likely have to show value on special teams to make the Cowboys' roster over Tyson Thompson.

Battle's skills are similar to those of Marion Barber III, as a big back with good explosiveness. Thompson can return kicks but is coming off an injury.

Apr. 30 -- Cowboys signed Houston RB Jackie Battle to a three-year contract.

Battle, who dabbled at fullback for the Cougars, is a straight-line runner in the Marion Barber mold. He's big and showed great speed at his Pro Day and could be an option in short yardage if anything happens to Barber.

NFLdraftscout.com:

03/28/07 -

Jackie Battle kept telling anyone who would listen that he was fast. Not fast for a fullback, which is where NFL scouts were projecting the 6-2, 245-pound specimen to play. No, Battle kept saying that despite his size, he was fast. Running back fast. Problem is, nobody was listening. They are now. Battle opened a lot of eyes — and ears — with his performance at Friday's pro day, turning in consistent 4.4s in his 40-yard dash (one scout even had him at 4.35, and Battle once was timed at 4.33 by Cougars staff). "Yeah, it was pretty satisfying," said Battle, who also had a 41-inch vertical jump, bench-pressed 225 pounds 19 times, long jumped 10 feet, 11 inches, ran the 60-yard shuttle in 10.79 seconds (one of the few in the nation to go sub-11 seconds) and did the three-cone drill in 6.51 seconds. Because of his pro day show, Battle moved onto the NFL's list of "next 10 running backs," behind the top 10 prospects. - Houston Chronicle

Scout.com:

Part-time starter the past two years totaling career numbers of 184/943/15 carrying the ball as a senior. Junior totals included 408-yards rushing and five scores.

Pos:

Nice-sized short-yardage runner best between tackles. Finds the running lanes, works runs on the inside and falls forward when tackled. Keeps his feet moving on contact and strong ball carrier who picks up the tough yardage. Displays vision as a ball carrier or blocker.

Neg:

Straight-line runner who does not have the speed to get around the corner. Average hands out of the backfield. Not decisive nor elusive.

Rookiepedia.com:

* 4.38 and 4.42 40 yard dash.

* 41" vertical jump

* 10-foot-11 broad jump

* 4.11 short shuttle

* 6.51 three-cone drill

* 19 bench press reps.

Impressed scouts with his receiving ability.

Played at the East West Shrine Game … Shed 20 pounds in the offseason in 2006 to transform himself from a fullback / short yardage specialist to an every down back … Rushed for 124 yards and 3 TDs in the 2003 Hawaii Bowl … Named MVP for Houston in the Hawaii Bowl .... Is improving as a lead blocker … Is in training in order to try and run a fast time at the Houston Pro Day … Scored 15 TDs in 2006 … Carried 17 times for just 57 yards against Southern Miss, but did power up the middle for a 6 yard TD … Also converted twice on 4th and short up the middle … Fumbled once, although he recovered himself and was stuffed at the goalline on the last play of the first half as Houston were unable to get another play off … Chris Berman will undoubtedly call him Jackie Battle-of-who-could-care-less … Pro Day numbers have vaulted him into first day consideration

Jackie broke the single season rushing touchdown record (15), and the career rushing touchdown record (31) for the University of Houston. Able to amass 943 yards rushing in a pass oriented offense while sharing backfield duties.

And I think you'll all be happy to hear that Bob from NASA loves Jackie Battle:

I was Jack's neighbor when he was a kid, he was friends with my son. He was such a good kid, bigger than the rest of the kids but looked out for all of them. I cant say enough about his character from age 5 to about 12. His stats in a passing scheme at U of H were great. His pro try outs outshined all the top prospects in size, speed, agility, broad jump and vertical jump were just crazy first round stats.

This is not just a biased opinion. He is not a secret anymore!!!!!

Bob, NASA Employee

Yahoo Sports:

The Good: A huge, powerfully-built tailback who had his best season as a senior. He is a very effective inside runner who consistently breaks tackles. He is one of the better goal-line runners available this year.

The Bad: He is basically a one-cut runner, and his lack of top speed makes it difficult to get to the corner. His lack of well-developed receiving skills will limit his playing time. His decision-making is inconsistent as a runner, and he has put the ball on the ground at times.

Outlook: Has the overall ability to fill a few roles. His production late in his college career gives him a chance to be selected on the second day of the draft. He must prove he can withstand the pounding in the NFL, and must also improve his ball security. He needs to find a niche on coverage and return units. Probable late round selection.

Jackie Battle's college stats from nfldraftrivals.com.

And leaving no stone unturned, Jackie Battle

.
Strange that a guy with this much size and speed got no real chance? Why would Chris Henry get drafted pretty high and get given an opportunity to start when he did nothing in college and this guy, who also had a solid showing on the measurables, got nothing?
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F&L, you might want to take another look at Jason Campbell. He's ~#15 right now and still hasn't played 20 games. And he's done that playing for a team that's a bit unsettled in terms of its O philosophy. Finally, IMO it looks like the penny's starting to drop for him. I think he's closer to 14-16 than 21st.

And thanks again for the fantastic resource.

Edited by wdcrob
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F&L, you might want to take another look at Jason Campbell. He's ~#15 right now and still hasn't played 20 games. And he's done that playing for a team that's a bit unsettled in terms of its O philosophy. Finally, IMO it looks like the penny's starting to drop for him. I think he's closer to 14-16 than 21st.And thanks again for the fantastic resource.

Thanks wdcrob,I've already moved Campbell up this week following his game against the Cowboys. I'm just not a huge Jason Campbell fan....I know others are, but I just don't see it. I think he'll be a better NFL QB than fantasy. I don't see Campbell as a guy who has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy QB.Oh, and he's ~#15 right now because he just came off his career game. Two weeks ago, he was buried coming off of three straight god-awful performances.
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F&L, you might want to take another look at Jason Campbell. He's ~#15 right now and still hasn't played 20 games. And he's done that playing for a team that's a bit unsettled in terms of its O philosophy. Finally, IMO it looks like the penny's starting to drop for him. I think he's closer to 14-16 than 21st.And thanks again for the fantastic resource.

Thanks wdcrob,I've already moved Campbell up this week following his game against the Cowboys. I'm just not a huge Jason Campbell fan....I know others are, but I just don't see it. I think he'll be a better NFL QB than fantasy. I don't see Campbell as a guy who has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy QB.Oh, and he's ~#15 right now because he just came off his career game. Two weeks ago, he was buried coming off of three straight god-awful performances.
Well, you claim to be a win now kind of guy, yet you have him buried behind Leinart.I think Campbell's upside is limited - top 10 is possible, top 5 probably isn't. However, his downside is limited as well. His basement is probably around QB20 - that's pretty much how better NFL than fantasy QB's work, right? I suppose Troy Aikman might be a good model here> once the Cowboys were better than a 0.500 team, Aikman never failed to finish worse than QB19 for 9 straight seasons, despite only three seasons with 16 games.I think a top 15 argument for Campbell is plausible. Edited by moleculo
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F&L, you might want to take another look at Jason Campbell. He's ~#15 right now and still hasn't played 20 games. And he's done that playing for a team that's a bit unsettled in terms of its O philosophy. Finally, IMO it looks like the penny's starting to drop for him. I think he's closer to 14-16 than 21st.And thanks again for the fantastic resource.

Thanks wdcrob,I've already moved Campbell up this week following his game against the Cowboys. I'm just not a huge Jason Campbell fan....I know others are, but I just don't see it. I think he'll be a better NFL QB than fantasy. I don't see Campbell as a guy who has the potential to be a top 10 fantasy QB.Oh, and he's ~#15 right now because he just came off his career game. Two weeks ago, he was buried coming off of three straight god-awful performances.
Well, you claim to be a win now kind of guy, yet you have him buried behind Leinart.I think Campbell's upside is limited - top 10 is possible, top 5 probably isn't. However, his downside is limited as well. His basement is probably around QB20 - that's pretty much how better NFL than fantasy QB's work, right? I suppose Troy Aikman might be a good model here> once the Cowboys were better than a 0.500 team, Aikman never failed to finish worse than QB19 for 9 straight seasons, despite only three seasons with 16 games.I think a top 15 argument for Campbell is plausible.
I am a win-now kind of guy. What that has to do with Jason Campbell is beyond me. Who is winning on a weekly basis by starting Jason Campbell? You're losing on a weekly basis if he's your starter. If he's going to be stashed behind your starter as he should be, I'd much prefer Leinart in that role as I believe Leinart is going to have a much better NFL and fantasy career than Campbell.I'm not interested in a QB with QB20 basement. That was the same argument people were making for Rex Grossman going into this season. "Well, he's young and he finished 15-20 in fantasy leagues last season." What good is 15-20? I want the guy with the Top 10 upside. A top 15 ranking is certainly plausible. I just wouldn't rank him there because I don't see him as a guy that will ever evolve into an every week fantasy advantage. I do believe Leinart will evolve into an every week fantasy advantage at some point. Where was all the Campbell love three weeks ago when he was horrendous? A couple good weeks, and everybody's out of the woodwork.
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I've liked Campbell since the start of the season, so nothing new here.

In his last seven starts he's put up 20+ four times. And one of the other three was vs the Pats.

All in all I think he's having a good first season as a starter, and is ahead of Cutler, Leinart, Schaub, Young and Rivers through Week 11.

YMMV, but there's a case for him as a mid- to low end QB1, with a basement as a solid QB2 for lots of years. As always, time will tell.

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....and is ahead of Cutler, Leinart, Schaub, Young and Rivers through Week 11.

I would much rather have any of those guys than Campbell. In fact, you would have to add a lot to Campbell to get me to give up Young, Cutler, Leinart or Schaub. Rivers? I don't know what to make of him right now, but I still wouldn't sell him for Campbell.I think all of those guys have the upside to finish in the Top 10 of fantasy QBs in the future. I wouldn't put Campbell in the same category. And again, I've never cared about "basements". Why would I care what a guy on my bench will do at his worst? I'm only interested in what he can do at his best. You bring guys up through your minors because of their high ceiling not their middling basement. But like you said, time will tell.
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Campbell is much more valuable in a larger (14 teams or more) league or a 2-QB league. In those formats his lesser ceiiling, but better likelihood of attaining say, QB 15 makes him a much better value proposition.

If you're starting 24 QB's every week, Campbell moves up the charts nicely, as the "solid QB2 for years" becomes a starting spot.

We need to take this thread at face value regarding F&L's league, and adjust as it fits our own leagues.

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Rotoworld's Gregg Rosenthal thinks Ryan Grant could stick as the Packers starting RB going into next season:

The way Ryan Grant is playing, I don't think the Packers are going to invest an early draft pick at running back in April.

I've been impressed every time I've seen Grant play, and he continues to show off maturing parts of his game. Some from Thursday ...

1. Toughness: On a short week, coming off an injury, Grant took practically every snap for the Packers.

2. Big-play ability: While he doesn't have great long speed, it was impressive to see Grant get to the second level throughout the second half against Detroit. He has great vision and cut-back ability and instinctively found holes in the Detroit defense. For a guy with a reputation as a straight-ahead runner, he got a nice boost from playing on turf.

3. Receiving: Grant pass blocked well against the Lions, and caught six passes for 31 yards. He has 19 catches in five games where he carried the load, and is averaging over 110 total yards-per-game over that stretch.

Grant faces a difficult test against the Cowboys next week, but he's earned a spot in the top-20 fantasy backs every week. With a great schedule throughout the fantasy playoffs, he'll probably be closer to the top-ten in December. Keeper league owners and the Packers may have stumbled into a guy that is going to help them into 2008 and beyond.

Edited by Fear & Loathing
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....and is ahead of Cutler, Leinart, Schaub, Young and Rivers through Week 11.

I would much rather have any of those guys than Campbell. In fact, you would have to add a lot to Campbell to get me to give up Young, Cutler, Leinart or Schaub. Rivers? I don't know what to make of him right now, but I still wouldn't sell him for Campbell.I think all of those guys have the upside to finish in the Top 10 of fantasy QBs in the future. I wouldn't put Campbell in the same category. And again, I've never cared about "basements". Why would I care what a guy on my bench will do at his worst? I'm only interested in what he can do at his best. You bring guys up through your minors because of their high ceiling not their middling basement. But like you said, time will tell.
Bingo. I'd rather have a QB with a 20% chance to become a perennial top-10 guy and an 80% chance to become Ryan Leaf than a QB with a 100% chance to finish every single season for the rest of his career as QB15.
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F&L,

I'm wondering what you think Welker's ceiling is and at which point you would move him up into the top of the second tier, or maybe even tier 1. He has been outperforming many of the players ranked above him so far.

I'm also curious to hear your thoughts on Sidney Rice. I have him as a keeper in one league and I'm wondering what your thoughts are on his short and longterm potential.

TIA and keep up the good work. :rolleyes:

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....and is ahead of Cutler, Leinart, Schaub, Young and Rivers through Week 11.

I would much rather have any of those guys than Campbell. In fact, you would have to add a lot to Campbell to get me to give up Young, Cutler, Leinart or Schaub. Rivers? I don't know what to make of him right now, but I still wouldn't sell him for Campbell.I think all of those guys have the upside to finish in the Top 10 of fantasy QBs in the future. I wouldn't put Campbell in the same category. And again, I've never cared about "basements". Why would I care what a guy on my bench will do at his worst? I'm only interested in what he can do at his best. You bring guys up through your minors because of their high ceiling not their middling basement. But like you said, time will tell.
Bingo. I'd rather have a QB with a 20% chance to become a perennial top-10 guy and an 80% chance to become Ryan Leaf than a QB with a 100% chance to finish every single season for the rest of his career as QB15.
That's my philosophy in a nutshell. Swing for the fences...It's another reason why having a strong, balanced nucleus is so essential in dynasty leagues. If you have, say, a foundation of Tom Brady, Steven Jackson, and Larry Fitzgerald, then you can afford to go high-risk in rounding out those positions. Having Fitzgerald as a ballast allows you to go out and spend for a guy like Terrell Owens without being overly concerned about his age. Having Tom Brady as your franchise QB allows you to back him up with an injured mystery like Matt Leinart. That balanced nucleus will always allow to you to compete for the title this year without the high risk of cratering down the road. It also allows you to trade your late 1st rounder every year for key pennant race acquisitions. Edited by Fear & Loathing
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F&L,

I'm wondering what you think Welker's ceiling is and at which point you would move him up into the top of the second tier, or maybe even tier 1. He has been outperforming many of the players ranked above him so far.

I'm also curious to hear your thoughts on Sidney Rice. I have him as a keeper in one league and I'm wondering what your thoughts are on his short and longterm potential.

TIA and keep up the good work. :rolleyes:

Thanks, War Ensemble.

I've been high on Welker since the Pats paid a relatively steep price to get him, and he's really the only productive Pats' WR with a solid commitment beyond this season. IIRC, Moss and Stallworth are basically on one year contracts.

Wes Welker has been a Top 10 fantasy WR this year, so I'd say this is his ceiling. He's not going into the first tier unless he keeps this up well into next season. Second tier? Possibly, if he keeps it up the rest of this season.

I've seen Brandon Stokley comparisons/concerns in dynasty league discussion, but I'm not sure that's a valid comparison. Welker is a better possession WR, and he's less of an injury risk. But it does bring up a legit question for dynasty leaguers: how stable is the value of a slot WR from year-to-year? For me, I need to see Welker do this for more than one season before I have him leapfrogging guys with far superior talent as well as histories of being productive.

Re: Welker outperforming many of the players I have ranked above him. Take, for example, Shaun McDonald vs. Calvin Johnson. It's not a perfect analogy by any means, but who would you rather have on your roster for the next few years? McDonald has outperformed Johnson so far this year, but I think it's safe to assume we'd all prefer Johnson by a wide margin in dynasty leagues.

And let's be honest: Tom Brady isn't going to play this well ever again. He's a helluva QB -- possibly the best ever when it's all said and done -- but he's not going to put up 50+ TDs and a 130 QB rating next year. This Patriots passing game is an anomaly. You can't count on all constituent parts to reprise their 2007 production into the future.

Re: Sidney Rice. He's extremely young and athletic with great size for a redzone weapon, but he doesn't have a QB who can get him the ball. I think he has a lot of potential, so patience is advised if you have the roster room to stash him. He's had a couple of impressive games this season where it looked like he could get on a nice roll, but putrid QB play and the hamstring injury have kept him down. If the Vikings can haul in someone like a Chad Pennington or Derek Anderson this offseason, it may allow Rice to show off his talents next season.

Edited by Fear & Loathing
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And let's be honest: Tom Brady isn't going to play this well ever again. He's a helluva QB -- possibly the best ever when it's all said and done -- but he's not going to put up 50+ TDs and a 130 QB rating next year. This Patriots passing game is an anomaly. You can't count on all constituent parts to reprise their 2007 production into the future.

This is the key. When I compare Welker to Stokley, I'm not talking about talent (although I have become a huge Brandon Stokley fan- that guy is a machine in the slot), I'm talking about happening to finally crack the top 10 (okay, top 11) in a season where his QB puts up the best QB season in the history of the NFL.
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F&L,

Curious what your thoughts are on Earnest Graham. He seems to be still pretty low in your rankings and not moving up despite putting up several solid weeks so far. Think he's just a flash in the pan? Loses value with Pittman back? Not gonna be the starter come next year with Caddy still in town?

I'm wondering if this is a guy to try and acquire or someone to look to sell if you owned him.

I've actually been moving him up steadily on a weekly basis, so he's come a long way. I have Graham right around DeShaun Foster, Justin Fargas, Maurice Morris, and Jesse Chatman. In other words, I see him as a temporary patch as opposed to a future workhorse. I've never given much consideration to him as a guy who has a future as the starter in Tampa Bay, but after some more in-depth thinking, this is how I would break it down:

The Positives:

Since Caddy went down, Graham has been more productive than Caddy has been in two years. Production should matter, and even if Graham was seen as a replacement level/special teams player before, he's earned some consideration for a larger role by producing for the offense. The Bucs' ground game has been better the past month than it's been in some time.

Graham was being used at the goal-line occasionally even before Caddy went down, and he's shown some legit receiving ability. He may not be an ultra-talented RB, but he doesn't have any obvious skill weaknesses where you'd be looking to take parts of his job away from him. Pittman will take over 3rd down duties, but that's more about Michael Pittman than Ernest Graham.

The Negatives:

I don't see the Bucs going into next season with Graham as their starting RB. I think he makes for great depth, and he's a perfect role player (somebody like Sammy Morris that the Patriots would appreciate more than most teams). If Caddy gets healthy, he's sure to muddle the picture in some fashion. I don't see Caddy becoming the full-time back next season, but the presence of Caddy, Pittman, and possibly another back brought in via draft or free agency could certainly mess with Graham's window of opportunity.

He's already lost some value with Pittman back, and he's going to have to keep putting up numbers the rest of this year on 1st & 2nd downs to even get a shot to carry a chunk of the load in the future. I covered the Bucs game Sunday, and though Graham ran hard, he didn't do squat until the game was out of hand. He's not a dynamically talented RB, so he's going to have to hit the endzone consistently to retain value. I'm not confident that he can do enough to keep the job through the offseason.

If I had him, and somebody else came after him, I'd definitely sell him for a reasonable return. If injuries had forced me to use him as a starter, I'd probably hang onto him while I needed him and risk losing all value once this season ended. Final verdict: unless you need him as a starter, he's a SELL.

Wed. evening Rotoworld update:

Michael Pittman (ankle) missed Buccaneers practice Wednesday, and coach Jon Gruden said afterwards he fears Pittman may be lost for the year.

Pittman admitted after last Sunday's game that he probably should've taken another week to rest his lower leg injury. It's now clear that he re-aggravated the injury, possibly severely. Pittman's locker was reportedly cleared out Wednesday, signaling his placement on injured reserve could be imminent. Earnest Graham would see a huge boost in fantasy value if so.

Saturday night update: Gruden calls Earnest Graham "the real deal."

When you factor in the yards he's gained as a pass catcher, Graham is producing more than 100 all-purpose yards per game the last four games.

Those numbers figure to improve as Graham's field vision improves. If that happens, Michael Bennett may have a hard time getting back on the field and Michael Pittman may once again have a hard time getting into games.

"He's been good for us as a runner, as receiver and as a guy that we've relied on," Bucs coach Jon Gruden said. "What he's done the last four or five games speaks for itself. He's the real deal."

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F & L, great thread I check the updates all the time. I know it is only a kicker but why do you have K. Brown (Hou.) ranked so low? Now that Houston has an offense he has plenty of FG chances and has only missed 2 FG while making 21, proved he can make the long ones, age of 30 should not matter.

Like I stated it's only a kicker but if you are going through the trouble of ranking them I guess we can debate them :lmao: .

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Joseph Addai at #5. RU kidding? For his age, talent and studly offense he is in I'd rank him at #2 and #3 at worst. I'd personally rather have him over LT b/c LT has taken a pounding and is approaching the dreaded 30 mark.

1. I am not kidding.2. I would not rather have Addai than Tomlinson. Edited by Fear & Loathing
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F & L, great thread I check the updates all the time. I know it is only a kicker but why do you have K. Brown (Hou.) ranked so low? Now that Houston has an offense he has plenty of FG chances and has only missed 2 FG while making 21, proved he can make the long ones, age of 30 should not matter.Like I stated it's only a kicker but if you are going through the trouble of ranking them I guess we can debate them :thumbup: .

Thanks, dmac37. I don't have any problem with somebody questioning a kicker.My problem with Kris Brown starts with this: do the first 10 games of a kicker's season have any bearing on what will happen the next six games of his season? If a kicker gets an inordinately high number of FG attempts early in the season, does it stand to reason that he'll continue to get a high number of FG attempts throughout the season? I'm not sure what the answer is to those questions, but I do know that Kris Brown has been possibly the most unreliable full-time kicker in the NFL over the past six seasons. Janikowski's been worse the past three seasons, but Brown had topped 80% on field goals just one time since 2001 going into this season:2001: 68.2%2002: 70.8%2003: 81.8%2004: 70.8%2005: 76.5%2006: 76.0%Eighty percent is pretty much the standard for NFL kickers these days. In most cases, teams start to look for a replacement if you can't regularly knock down 80%. Check Kris Brown's accuracy versus other kickers. If he's turned a corner on accuracy, and continues to get a lot of FG opportunities, and the Texans offense continues to score, then I could see counting on him. Personally, I'd look elsewhere for a kicker.
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Joseph Addai at #5. RU kidding? For his age, talent and studly offense he is in I'd rank him at #2 and #3 at worst. I'd personally rather have him over LT b/c LT has taken a pounding and is approaching the dreaded 30 mark.

Addai is a very talented back, but a huge chunk of his stats can be attributed to the Colts offensive system (see James, Edgerrin)... and offensive systems don't last forever (see Johnson, Larry). In another offense other than the Colts machine, Addai would be a top-10 back, but one of the nothing-special variety (see Parker, Willie or McGahee, Willis). In Dynasty, you're better off ranking on talent than opportunity, and talent-wise, I just don't see much difference between Addai or FWP. Addai gets ranked ahead of Parker because his system is CURRENTLY better, but not much higher. I definitely don't know how you could justify putting him ahead of anyone ahead of him (Peterson's a stud, Tomlinson's the best fantasy RB in the game even if he does only have 2-3 stud years left, Westbrook is the most underrated RB in the league, and SJax is almost as young as Addai is). If anyone in tier 1 is ranked too low, I think it's Westbrook.
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Joseph Addai at #5. RU kidding? For his age, talent and studly offense he is in I'd rank him at #2 and #3 at worst. I'd personally rather have him over LT b/c LT has taken a pounding and is approaching the dreaded 30 mark.

Addai is a very talented back, but a huge chunk of his stats can be attributed to the Colts offensive system (see James, Edgerrin)... and offensive systems don't last forever (see Johnson, Larry). In another offense other than the Colts machine, Addai would be a top-10 back, but one of the nothing-special variety (see Parker, Willie or McGahee, Willis). In Dynasty, you're better off ranking on talent than opportunity, and talent-wise, I just don't see much difference between Addai or FWP. Addai gets ranked ahead of Parker because his system is CURRENTLY better, but not much higher. I definitely don't know how you could justify putting him ahead of anyone ahead of him (Peterson's a stud, Tomlinson's the best fantasy RB in the game even if he does only have 2-3 stud years left, Westbrook is the most underrated RB in the league, and SJax is almost as young as Addai is). If anyone in tier 1 is ranked too low, I think it's Westbrook.
:rolleyes: I agree with everything you just said here. And no doubt Westbrook is vastly underrated still in fantasy football circles, but I don't see any way around docking him just a little bit of value for the injury risk.
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