Saturday, October 29, 2011

Watch Ivory

I haven't had time to post much here this week.

Busy with stuff--aren't we all

I was going to comment on the Patriots Rob Gronkowski and BiBi Jones photo, but it is old news now.

So, my sleeper play of for last week was the Raiders RB Michael Bush.

He did well, but not in the scenario I had envisioned. 

The Raiders looked awful, Darren McFadden got hurt early, and Bush became to go-to guy even in a blowout loss.

As a long-term sleeper pickup, I like Saints RB Chris Ivory who was activated by the team this week (was recovering from a foot injury).

Last year, the undrafted Ivory was inserted into the lineup after injuries, and was fantastic--finishing the season with over 700 yards rushing and five touchdowns. 

Seattle head coach Pete Carroll called Ivory "a freak" after watching him perform in a game last season. 

The Saints have one of the most explosive passing games in the NFL, yet coaches would love to run the ball well too.

And they have not excelled at that thus far.

With RBs Ingram hurt, Thomas still trying to find his old form after injuries, and Sproles more of a complimentary back, Ivory's value as lead runner has appeal.

Look for him to play sparingly this week, but watch for Ivory as the Saints search for a favorite in their run game.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Coach Fox and Tim Tebow

After listening to the Tim Tebow supporters and detractors, I have not heard one relevant question about his performance from last Sunday discussed:

After completing four of fourteen passes for a paltry forty-plus yards in over three quarters of playing time but with the game still close at 15-0, why did Coach John Fox not bench Tebow for Kyle Orton or Brady Quinn?

Orton is considered an NFL starter, and by some accounts, Quinn outplayed Tebow in training camp and the preseason, and was considered the team's backup quarterback.

So, why stay with Tebow in that game?

Here are two possibilities:

1) Loyalty

Coach Fox was loyal to Tebow and wanted him to start what he finished.  He and organization executives needed to evaluate Tebow on a full-game of work, and pulling him in the second half would not have allowed it. 

When Coach Fox called the shots for the Carolina Panthers, he stuck with embattled signal-caller Jake Delhomme longer than most everyone would have.

Fox had named Tebow the starter, and he was going to give him a full game to show his talents.


2) To Prove a Point

Coach Fox did not draft Tim Tebow.  He watches him struggle with a traditional passing game.  He does not see him as an NFL starting quarterback. 

But, he has to listen to very vocal Broncos and national supporters holler for Tebow to start at quarterback.  With the team's season looking bad, and the starter (Orton) being ineffective, Fox decided to settle the Tebow issue once and for all.

He would start Tebow.  Then, his deficiencies would be visible to all.  Coach Fox would not consider removing Tebow, if he performed poorly.  If Tebow played the entire game and failed (including leading the Broncos at the end), the pro-Tebow supporters would have been silenced.

The coach and team could then move forward with Orton or Quinn.

But, then Tebow rallied the team for a win--and solved nothing for organization administrators.


So which is it--did Coach Fox emphasize loyalty by giving Tebow a full game or did he expect the guy to fail so that they could move forward next season?

I tend to believe it was the latter.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Too Much

In the best-selling book MoneyBall, author Michael Lewis cites a telling quote from Oakland Athletics' General Manager Billy Beane (yes, for non-sport fans, as played by Brad Pitt in the movie-version):

"The day you say you have to do something, you're screwed.  Because you are going to make a bad deal.  You can always recover from the player you didn't sign.  You may never recover from the player that you signed at the wrong price."

I think Beane's observation accurately describes the Oakland Raiders this week.

With QB Jason Campbell injured and out indefinitely, Raiders management acquired QB Carson Palmer from the Bengals.

The asking price for the disgruntled Palmer before the apparently desperate Raiders contacted them was rumored to be a second round draft pick.

Quite a difference as compared to the first round draft pick, and another conditional draft pick (that could be a first-rounder as well)  the Raiders will lose in the trade.

So, acquiring Palmer may solidify a respectable Raiders team, and likely will send them into the playoffs.

But, would Oakland have been better off keeping those top picks and trading for unwanted game managers Kyle Orton or Donovan McNabb?    

Does trading so much of your future for a veteran QB who has never quite looked like the superstar he was prior to suffering that a serious knee injury a few years ago make long-term sense?

I say "no", but time will tell.

The Bengals' management is sure smiling though.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Who is Whining Louder?

Who is whining louder this morning: Redskins fans after a difficult loss to a reeling Eagles team or the saps that started Rex Grossman as a fill-in quarterback for the week's fantasy football games?

 I would argue it is me and the other fantasy players who watched Grossman star in one of the worst QB-performances of the season--resulting in an unreal -2 points for our teams.

I am thinking Grossman will be the most frequently cut player in fantasy football today and tomorrow as the Skins welcome the QB John Beck era.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

On Tim Tebow

It was announced yesterday that Broncos John Fox named Tim Tebow as the starting quarterback for the team's next game.

Tebow goes from the best job in professional football--that of the "backup" quarterback who is beloved by fans based only on expectations--to perhaps the most difficult: the starting signal caller.

From an outsider's perspective, it seems that Broncos management did not want Tebow. 

He was a first round pick by the previous administration, and multiple reports had Tebow as the third string quarterback as the season started.

Scouts dislike his accuracy.

He is perceived as a more dangerous runner than thrower.

And, Tebow is simply not "their guy."

I consider it reasonable to believe that Broncos management, tired of Denver fans demanding to see Tebow, inserted the young QB into the second half of last week's game so that he could fail.

Behind by two scores, against a top-ranked defense, and starting from inside his own ten-yard line, management expected Tebow to finish the game completing something like 6 out of 18 passes for 55 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions.

But, instead Tebow injected energy into the Broncos.

He rallied them for two touchdown drives--throwing for one and running another across the goal line himself.

The crowd went wild. 

Tebow's teammates were pumped.

And even though Denver lost, the Broncos management now had no choice but to name Tebow the starter.

Though they seem less than excited about the prospect.

So in two weeks, Tebow gets his opportunity to lead the Broncos against the Dolphins from the start of the game.

And what is even better for Tebow--playing the Dolphins game is certainly winnable game.

Now, you may want to stash Tebow on your fantasy team and wait and see.  

Friday, October 7, 2011

Parker on the Rise

I did enjoy watching my Bucs on Monday.  Since I live in the Northeast, I rarely get to see them.

I was reading one of the fantasy writers (forgot which one) who also watched the game, and he stated that Bucs WR Preston Parker is now a legit third receiving option for fantasy football players.

I am not so sure about that.  Parker has posted some good numbers, and has a good relationship with QB Josh Freeman, but I think he may be just benefiting from WR Mike Williams drawing all the defensive attention.

So, I short-term I am not that high on Parker. 

But, long-term is a different story.  The Bucs plan on having Freeman for the next forever and his current favorite go-to guy on third down is Parker. 

Freeman is in trouble look for Parker.

Bucs need a first down, Freeman throws to Parker.

Brady to Welker combinations take time. 

Freeman to Parker could be something special in the future.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sleeper of the Week: Installment I

Since I am short-handed at RB this week, I was considering my options with the available players in the waiver pool.

I signed Dexter McCluster and plan to use the WR/RB for the Chiefs as my flex starter.

With star RB Jaamal Charles done for the season, the Chiefs wanting to spread the ball around, and McCluster showing flashes of greatness, I expect him to get more than 12 touches per game.

McCluster's situation reminds me of how Peyton Hillis developed last year: versatile and productive players, on teams that want to run the ball, and both with key injuries at the RB position.

Now, McCluster's small frame certainly does not translate into a Hillis 30-carry game, but having a serviceable veteran QB in Cassel can only help prevent defenses from keying on Chiefs' runners.

Plus, last week as the Chiefs rallied and just fell short of defeating the Chargers, McCluster's rushing was a key component of the team's second-half charge.  His over 6 yards per carry should force Chiefs' coaches to involve Dexter more in the offense.

I am looking for a base of 8 fantasy points, and hoping he sneaks in a touchdown--finishing the game of against the Vikings with a double-digit total.

We will see.


Post Game Update:  This is where someone shouts "Don't quit your day job" and I just shake my noggin.  Dexter finished with less than four fantasy points on the day.