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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 2
Kevin Ratterree
September 12, 2006

When I saw ESPN do the promo for an upcoming Dr. Phil segment on Sunday Countdown as I settled in for a new season, a little piece of me died.  In what universe does Dr. Phil have a place on a football pregame show?  Not mine, I'll tell you that.  Here is a crumb of information that the ESPN execs might take to heart.  I think I speak for men who watch football everywhere.  We do not want to see Dr. Phil.  We do not want to hear Dr. Phil.  Hell, we don't even want to know that Dr. Phil exists.  And let me stress this, especially on Sunday Morning.

Okay, we might enjoy seeing him get an atomic wedgie.  Or we might enjoy hearing his screams of pain as he is mauled by a 300 lb. linebacker.  And the linebacker screaming at his crumpled body, "IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU!"  But we damn sure don't want to listen to his feelings about feelings on a football show.  Our wives might want to hear it.  But if they do they can see it for an hour every day of the week on another channel that interferes in no way with our football viewing.   If my wife is watching Dr. Phil, and I walk into the room, I usually do an about face and busy myself until the offending image has left the TV screen.  But there he was, like a 3rd nipple on a nice rack.  Week one no less.  One of the most holiest of days for pro football.  ESPN plays the Dr. Phil card.  Clueless bastards.  Boy would I love to have a piece of the action from the controlled substance salesman that must have set up shop at the worldwide leader in sports.

ESPN has no idea who we are do they?

Note to Stuart Scott:  I used to pity you for sporting that wispy pseudo-mustache.  But now that I have seen you without that critical bit of face camo, I'm ready for you to grow it back any time.  You'll hear nothing more from me about it.  I promise.

While I am on the subject of annoying television types, let me take this opening salvo at Bryant Grumble.  After seeing his promo's recently on NFL Network. I cannot suppress the feeling of dread for his impending intrusion into my football universe.  I can't decide what I hate more.  The smug superior tone of his voice that in itself makes me want to empty my stomach into the nearest receptacle, and put my fist through sheetrock.  Or his insistence on making outlandish controversial comments with the sole intention of bringing about grossly unwarranted attention to himself.  He has already denounced the game that will be writing his paychecks. But I suspect he is so mind-numbingly egotistical that even if he believes the swill that drips from his grill, he probably thinks he can change the system from within.  At least, that's how he sleeps at night.
Unfortunately, the people that bring you football on a weekly basis are under the assumption you are interested in listening to washed up clueless hypocritical windbags, and we will endure yet more broadcast booth torture when mid-season rolls around.  I am not amused.  Bryant Grumble was on a morning show for a reason.  Most people would turn on the TV, and get ready for work while Grumble blabbered on in the background.  You heard him maybe 10 minutes muffled by the sound of toothbrush and comb, and that was that.  That was okay I suppose for some particularly tolerant individuals.  But a 3 hour football game?  That's an overdose of pompous I'm afraid I won't be able to stomach.

The good news is Joe Theismann finally has a legitimate shot at losing his status as announcer we would most like to see suffer a case of terminal laryngitis.

Now, on to NBC.  That opening song for Sunday Night Football is so absolutely putrid that it makes me long for the days of the Bay City Rollers and those phony K-Tel copycat hit records.  Those were some rank tunes but no more offensive than that NBC.  (New Brand of Crap)  NBC paid big bucks to get back a piece of the NFL pie, and this is how they introduce their new prize?  With a song that could have been better produced by a middle aged loser with a Midi and a six-pack in his mothers basement?  And the blond chick singing that piece of crap?  Was she supposed to get me hot?  Because I can get in my car and cruise the local trailer park Karaoke Bars and make that fantasy a reality.  All I need is couple of fake tattoo's and a pocket full of coke in a pair of jeans that haven't been washed for 2 weeks and I'm in.

A word to the football broadcasting entities.  As a general rule, if someone has been on daytime TV........ever, we football fans really don't want to see them.  Daytime TV personalities are for women.  Dr. Phil is for bored housewives.  Pink is for teenagers whom record companies have conditioned to push the bar and get a pellet of dung.  And Grumble is for Grumble's mirror.  Your gimmicks are only an annoyance and a blight on an otherwise great game.  Football does not need your off the mark, creatively uninspired crimes against gridiron humanity.  The game sells itself.  Take all that fluff and cram it up your T.O..

Sorry about that bit of ugliness.  Now, back to the game.  And more ugliness.

Let's review the performances of the NFC "elite" shall we?  Carolina Panthers.  Super Bowl favorites.  Blown up by the Falcons.  How about those Seahawks?  They needed a last second field goal to thwart the mighty Lions.  And the Cowboys got jacked up by the Jaguars as Bledsoe ran for his life.  Ladies and gentlemen, your NFC Champions?  Gak.

Edge James got an early lesson in what it's like to run behind the Arizona offensive line.  His day was filled with 2 yard runs immediately followed by crushing blows from the onslaught of defenders.  He will scrape together some numbers, but he is going to earn his paycheck this year like never before. 
None of my players had a season ending injury, but the co-winners of the pool are Steve Smith and Joe Jurevicius.  Joe J cracked his ribs before he ever put a point on the board.  I had him on 2 teams.  Not really depending on him.  So overall I'm pretty satisfied that if I had to lose one (and I knew I would), Jurevicius was relatively mild hit. Much softer than the Javon Walker blast last season.  Bullet has been dodged.........no death blow.....so far.  I am officially worried about Steve Smith though. 
As a Burleson owner I am just thrilled about the Branch trade.  That worked out pretty well for me.
Those who drafted Frank Gore in the 3rd round or later can stop doing cartwheels any time now.  The 'Niners don't play the Cardinals every week.  But he did look good didn't he?   At this point it would appear the correct draft strategy this year was RB/WR/Gore/WR.  Just as I suggested in my article on the Stud Wide Receiver theory.  After week one, I look like a genius.  Now I know what it must feel like to be Bryant Grumble.

Chester Taylor looked good.  I may have missed the boat on that one.  We'll see how he holds up physically.  But he sure looks the part so far.  One down, fifteen to go.

As for those of you bemoaning your teams performance in week one, and about to go on a trading binge, step away from the computer.  Put down the mouse.  Relax for a second.  Week one stats are stats for one week.  Not all your players are going to kick it every week.  There is a feeling out process in week one.  Scouting reports are sketchy.  Game plans are being put to the test.  We will have a much clearer picture by the end of week 3, and that is about the right time to start panicking if your team is still in the tank.  We all spent over a month deciding which guys we wanted to draft.  One week does not prove your theories right or wrong in most cases.

This is a fun time to be on fantasy site message boards.  The threads are lit up with people flaming the site providers for all of their "bad predictions."  These are the people that will never be winners in fantasy football.  Because they are either too impatient, or they are reactionary idiots that will trade key players after a bad first week, or they are people that let their fantasy service do their drafting for them because they are too lazy or creative enough to decide for themselves which players will score the most points.  Pathetic, whiney little losers that can't accept responsibility for their own failings.  Or rich, spoiled sissy boys that are used to having someone else do all their thinking.  In any case, the whine-fest is always amusing.  There are few things in a true fantasy players life more personal than their fantasy teams.  And if you punched in the pick, it's your baby.  Own the glory.  Own the defeat.   Step up with the big boys.  Shock the hell out of us and take responsibility for your own actions.

Patience people, patience.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

Okay great.  I start out 1-0.  I'm not happy about it.  But this is the crazy as hell pick of the week.  If you want a sure thing listen to Colin Cowherd and his college picks.  If you want to play it safe, listen to someone else.  But if you crave crazy as hell NFL picks, I'm here to give them to you.

The Seahawks come off a most unimpressive performance on the road.  And the Cardinals come off a somewhat impressive win over the 49ers.  The Seahawks host the Cardinals and are 7 point favorites.  History would suggest taking the 'Hawks, dropping the 7 and picking up your money Monday morning.  The Seahawks beat the Cards handily both at home and on the road last season, covering the spread each time.  But not so fast.  Seven points are a lot to give against an offense as high powered as the Cardinals.  Forget everything you have known about the Cardinals.  they can go toe to toe offensively with any team in the league.  And the Seattle offense is not exactly clicking on all cylinders.  I think the Cardinals have a shot at winning this game outright, so I would happily take them with a 7 spot.  My pick?  You guessed it.  Seahawks -7 

Misery Index

10) Texans:  Allowed 5 QB sacks in week one and facing another thrashing this week at the hands of the Colts.   I have a new nickname all defenses that play against the Texans.  Carr Crushers.
  
9) Broncos:  Maybe Jake Plummer is hearing Jay Cutler's footsteps.  Racked by the Rams?  This Super Bowl contender?  Plummer has sprung a leak in his last 2 outings, and if he lays another egg against the heavily underdog Chiefs next week, the whispers for Cutler will become screams.

8) Bills:  The mark of a winning team is figuring out a way to win when you aren't playing your best ball.  (ie. New England Patriots)  The mark of a losing team is to find a way to lose a game you should have won.
    
7) Panthers:  Being a preseason darling isn't sitting well with this team.  The Panthers look like they bought into their own press.  But apparently the Falcons didn't get the memo.  For a team touted as the most complete and deepest in the league, they sure did look lost without Steve Smith between the stripes.

6) Cowboys:  I must say I was quite surprised.  The offense looked out of synch much of the time, and "the player" looked out of breath much of the time.  Ohhhhhh, so that is what preseason is for.  Oh well, it's only one game.  There are 16 weeks left to work out those little kinks that should have been worked out over the last 5.
      
5) Chiefs:  A season opening loss at home.  Willie Roaf changed the number on his phone.  Larry Johnson found little room to roam.  Trent Green has an aching dome.  Up next is Denver’s opener at home.  Having Huard as a back-up I do not condone.

4)  Titans:  When you get jacked up at home against the weakest team on your schedule, you know you are in for a long season.  Jeff Fisher had a nice run, but it seems to me that he may be best served to pull a Herm Edwards and run away.  But first, a 10-16 week tour through hell.  Sit back and enjoy the ride.

3)  Buccaneers:  I kind of thought the Bucs might be in trouble against the Ravens, but shut out in their own house?  I would have bet the farm against it.  Good thing I don't have a farm.  Were the Ravens just that good, or were the Bucs just that bad?  Up next is a road game at Atlanta, and then a homey with the Panthers.  Going into the bye week at 0-3 looks entirely possible, and this is probably the easy part of their schedule.  They jettisoned Brian Griese, and anointed Simms as the next big thing.  And he opened the season with a giant brown missile. 

2) Browns:  ....and then Joe Jurevicius got injured in week one and.....yada yada yada......we ended up with a great draft pick again.

1) Packers:  It was even worse than we imagined.  Right about now Favre is wishing he could climb in Mr. Peabody's Way-Back Machine and go back to April, and request a trade.  That would have probably worked out better than holding the team hostage so he could come back for the honor of getting clobbered for several games in a row.   Now the drama becomes even more detrimental to the team.  At what point does Favre get steamrolled by the opposition, or at what point ( if ever) does the rookie head coach gather up enough stones to hand Favre a clipboard and give Rogers a shot at throwing some interceptions.