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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 14
Kevin Ratterree
December 6, 2005
Chad Johnson fresh off the victory over division road hump Pittsburgh pulled the Superbowl guarantee routine in an interview.  You know what?  They have a punchers chance.  They have a prayer.  That's about it.  What does Johnson have to lose?  We've all but handed the Lombardi to the Colts.  Deservedly so.  The only team that can go toe to toe with them offensively is the Bengals.  The Bengals went into Pittsburgh looking like a team that expected to win.  And they did.  And I am loving it.  I'm an underdog kind of guy, and the Bungles were the ultimate underdog.  They won't beat the Colts if there is a re-match.  Not this year.  But I think we are in line for a run of AFC Championship games of epic offensive greatness.  Games for the ages.  Round one coming up.  You can bet that Chad Johnson believes what he is saying.
 
The Broncos had the chance to flick off the Chiefs and Chargers like a flea with a win at Arrowhead.  That didn't happen, and the AFC West is shaping up to be a typical slug it out battle to the death just like the good old days.  The Broncos have the easiest schedule going forward though and I will be surprised if they don't hold on.
 
There seemed to be a moratorium on yellow rain last weekend.  Fewer penalties than usual.  Even the Raiders.  It's a world gone mad.
 
Here is something interesting.  If you have been stashing Deshaun Foster all season I think it's time to dust him off and plug him in for a playoff run.  As I suspected John Fox was apparently just trying to survive the first half of the season with Davis, and unleash a relatively fresh Foster at the end.  That strategy has probably cost them at least one home playoff game, but we'll see how it pans out.  Foster could pull some playoff teams into the fantasy promised land if the trend continues.
 
The Vikings have miraculously focused on football, and have risen from the cesspool to contender.  An unlikely comeback in any division except the NFC North.  But being behind Chicago it seems unthinkable that they will qualify for the postseason.  One less sex cruise may have done the trick.
 
Mike Martz wants to come back, but I don't think they are lining up to greet him at the airport.  Mr. Whipple might suck just as bad but at least he isn't smug about it.
 
I found it quite enjoyable to watch NFL Sunday Countdown last Sunday.  Without Irvin on the set, I at no time felt compelled to hurl a brick through my television.  Not once was I forced to pick up the remote and change the channel or lower the volume in an attempt to keep my breakfast down.  Not once was any of the commentators arms grabbed.  No faces were spit in.  And the percentage of idiotic comments went down 80%.  A good day on ESPN.  Keep 'em coming.
 
Now that the regular season portion of fantasy football is over I thought I would grade my recommendations of touted players to avoid this year.  Here were my thoughts before the season:
 
Willis McGahee: .....I'm looking at a guy that could have a whole lot of downside picked this high (6th).  I'm not saying he isn't worth the chance, but I think there are less risky picks below McGahee and I'll be glad if I'm not put in a position of choosing him.....

Randy Moss: ......I hate to pee in the punchbowl, but this just might not play out the way everyone thinks.  If you must draft a Raider receiver try to get Curry in the 14th round and rake in the benefits when Moss pulls up lame after a 1-5 start and suspension for mooning the black hole.

Kerry Collins: (see above)

Tatum Bell:  He has the skills necessary to put up huge numbers.  And he could be a relative bargain on draft day lurking around the 3rd round.  But if you are pinning your dreams of glory on a running back whose fate is in the hands of "the rat", you are living dangerous indeed.
 
Ahman Green:  .........You might squeeze another good year out of Green, but I generally try to grab players on the way up rather than down.  Green is yet another player with virtually no upside but tons of downside.
 
Kurt Warner:  .....Bill Bidwell still believes in Santa Claus.  Why can't you?
 
Donte Stallworth:  .......apparently Stallworth for all his potential just will never be the many of us thought he might be.  He's a number 3 receiver, and not a very reliable one at that.
 
Lamont Jordan:  ..... I have the same kind of feeling about this guy as I did Kevan Barlow last year at this time.    
 
Michael Bennett:  ..........If you are gambling on Bennett to be your #1, you may be in for a long long season of discontent.
 
Culpepper & McNabb:  ......I think I might take a pass on Culpepper this season and shoot for a Bulger or maybe a Green a few rounds later.
 
Definitely a miss on Lamont Jordan, and Warner has been better than I expected, but otherwise I had a pretty good bead on players destined to disappoint.  80% Of course I'm no "fantasy guru" or anything, but who really is?  In any case the fact that I dragged this out points to shameless self serving propaganda.  Would I have dredged out this information if I had been wrong.  I would like to think that I would.  Ok, probably not.   That being said, I am awarding myself a gold star and pinning it to my refrigerator.  I may not know who will be good all the time.  But I have a real nose for junk.  And propaganda.
 
Crazy As Hell Pick of the Week:  Guys, I don't know what to say.  If you aren't onboard with this thing by now you will never be.  After yet another incorrect pick last week the Crazy pick is a stunning 2-7.  Maybe it's a fluke.  Maybe I have just tapped into some otherworld mind meld.  I have achieved the impossible goal of gaining my own confidence.  Whatever the case, I am red hot.  Last week I hit 3 two team parleys, a 2 team and a 5 (that's right-5) team teaser, and of course hauled in betting against my own pick of the Browns +2 1/2.  I did not miss.  Now I can pay the guy replacing my sewer line, and the family can expect the same level of crappy Christmas gifts they have become accustomed to.  Sometimes even in victory, there is sadness.  To every silver lining a cloud.  But I digress.  Getting back to last week, I asked you if the Ravens were really 8 points better than anybody, and we got our answer.  Hell no.  Of course. I like to pick games by taking them down to the core questions like that.  The question for this week is where oh where are there a good game to pick, and upon first glance I see some pretty tough numbers on the board once again.  At this point in the season everybody is at their best.  The oddsmakers have plenty enough data to hit the number, but so do we.  Let me give you a few games I will avoid this week.  Patriots -3.5 at Bills   Vikings-7 vs. Rams.  Here are 4 teams that I have absolutely no trust in, in these spots.  I could easily envision any of these teams winning in a blowout.  And I would feel just as confident in my bet if I flipped a coin instead of forcing myself to pick one.  That is not a situation that is favorable to a gamer.  I will avoid.  What we are looking for is a distinct advantage.
 
 There are basically 2 games that I really like at first glance and several that look interesting.  At this point of the year in particular I like to target clearly superior teams matched up against teams that really suck, and may have already or about to be ready to quit.  There are 2 beauties on the board this week.  The Browns are a 12 1/2 point underdog visiting the Bengals fresh off ripping the Steelers monkey off their backs.  We have all seen Carson and his gang of vipers putting up huge offensive numbers on some of the leagues best defenses in the last few weeks.  And here come the Browns.  Without Braylon.  But I'm not picking this game.  I'm just saying.......hmmmm.
 
Baltimore is a 14 point underdog at Denver.  The Broncos will be stinging from their yearly beating at Arrowhead, and looking to go psycho on a Ravens team that barely fended off the Texans at home last week.  Can you say 41-6?  That's what they will be saying Monday morning on Denvers front pages.  That being said, there is an old betting axiom that states only a fool lays 2 touchdowns in an NFL game.  But the Ravens have gone winless on the road this year and have gotten absolutely blasted in their latest road losses.  So much for old betting axioms.  Opportunities don't come along like this very often.  This is going to be truly gruesome.  Baltimore +14.

Misery Index

10) Steelers:  The Bengals forged their way into control of the division with a road win at Pittsburgh. Late in the game when the Steelers were trying to mount a defensive stand to give Ben a chance for a comeback, the TV camera panned into the crowd.  I saw a lot of terrible towels, but It looked like a majority of people in the section were sitting down with their mouths closed, with the terrible towel waving people's ass in their faces.  What's up with that?  It's the home team.  It's a critical game.  The division is up for grabs.  It's late.  How are you helping your team sitting on your numb ass?  Maybe they just saw the writing on the wall a few minutes before the rest.  There's a new sheriff in town.  Yup.
 
9)  Rams:  Give me a D.  Give me an I.  Give me an S.  Give me another S.  Give me an ARRAY.  What's that spell.  DISARRAY! Yeah!!!!
 
8)  Bills:  The Dolphins allowed the fantasy performance of the year to Lee Evans in the first half.  Not to be outdone the Bills allowed Chambers to better Evans in the second half, and drive a stake through their playoff hopes.  The Patriots can rest assured that 8-8 will be good enough to win the AFC East this year.  How the mighty have fallen.
 
7)  Raiders:  The AFC West is having a party, but as usual the Raiders got no RSVP.
 
6) Browns: Had the Jag's pinned down 14-0 at the half, then schlepped their way to a 20-14 loss.  Next up?  The Bengals on the road.  Ugliness.
 
5) Packers:  Could only muster a single touchdown with a loss at Chicago.  Meanwhile Favre sees yet another one of his offensive cogs go down with an injury.  Pretty soon it's going to be:  ...and Favre snaps the ball to Favre.  A fake end around to Favre, and Favre throws it long, and it's intercepted, and the runner is finally brought down by Favre.
 
4) Eagles:  Oh the pain.  Oh the pain.  When they fall, they fall hard.  Thud.  The schedule of a Champion will allow nothing less.  The distance between what they were and what they are was never more evident than Monday night.  For the first time this year Tim McGraw's putrid halftime bit was less putrid than the game. An embarrassing epitaph to a season lost.
 
3)  Lions:  I heard some pundits last week blabbering on about how this team would respond to the coaching change and upset the Vikings, blah blah blah.  Let's face it. This team is seriously flawed from top to bottom in almost every way.  The Arizona Cardinals have their shiite together more than this rag tag jalopy of a franchise.  Park this poor old wreck in the salvage yard, and buy a new car.  It's the Detroit way.
 
2) 49ers:  Okay, this team has put together 2 pretty good turds in a row so I am remanding my threat to yank them from the list.  When you can't beat the Cardinals on your own turf, this is where you belong alright.  They must want Reggie Bush bad.
 
1)  Texans:  Yet another "late lead lost" game.  The Texans are really pouring it on in the Misery Index competition.  The only thing that beats all out futility is to blow leads like a Yankee selling insurance out of the trunk of his car in the old South.  The Texans are finding a way to get it done.  We may have a BCS situation here though when the Texans face the 'Niners.  I mean even if  the Texans win that head to head game, can I really discount this legacy they have built up to this point?  We can only hope that the Texans lose that game outright and run away with it.  I'd hate to start a global controversy over this deal.