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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 5
Kevin Ratterree
October 3, 2006

I am in mourning.  The end is near for internet gambling.  Congress passed a bill, and the president is expected to sign it this week.  The law makes it illegal for banks and credit card companies to do business with online gaming sites.  Well glory glory hallelujah, all our problems are solved now.  We can't protect our kids from online predators and congressmen, but by God we can stop Joe Blow from losing $25 on the Notre Dame game.  At least we have our priorities straight.

Our government slipped this measure in the back end of a Port Security bill on Saturday afternoon.  Saturday is the day that most B.S. bills get passed. Most Americans won't hear about it since many of us take a well deserved day off from the horror that has become the evening news.  So that's when the legislature does a lot of its dirty work.

According to some of the offending legislators, this is a morality issue.  They claim people's lives are being destroyed by internet gambling.  But as usual, our government is full of self serving crap.  Newsflash to the government:  People bent on self destruction will find a way.  You can't stop them with a stroke of a pen.  You can't legislate common sense and responsibility, especially when you yourself are so far removed from those concepts.

The local bookie business is the next cottage industry boom on the horizon.  People will place their bets through whatever means necessary.  But our government wants them to have to get in their car, and drive down to that seedy bar where "their man" hangs out to place bets.  No danger in that.  No untaxed money changing hands there.  No organized crime involved in any of that I suppose.  Out of the safety of your home, and back to the dirty back alleys with you, degenerate gambler.  Oh, and make sure you pay "your man" if you lose because those guys like to cut off body parts or dump you in the river if you don't make good.  Remember, the government is all about keeping you safe.

If you want to talk about morality, let's talk about the morality of state run lotteries.  They are legal, and a cash cow for our money squandering government.  Where is the morality in that?  Never mind the fact that the state run lotteries are the biggest rip-off in all of gambling.  The government has no morality issues with robbing the people that can least afford it, but they don't want online businesses horning in on their action.  It's not about morality.  Don't insult our intelligence.  As always, it's all about the money.

And the free lifetime flights to Vegas and luxury suites for those responsible for shutting down internet gambling are nice perks too, I'm sure.

Where is the morality in sanctioning a game that pays its players a total of 50 cents on the dollar.  That's right.  Only half of the money gambled on the lottery is paid back to the winners.  And the other half is wasted on pork barrel projects to fill the pockets of governmental cronies.  Our government sanctions a game that can best be described as the worst "sucker bet" in the history of gambling, yet wants to protect me from losing $50 on the Colts in the playoffs.  Sports bets are among the best bets because the house take is only 10%.  The government take in the lottery is 50%.  So you go ahead and tell that welfare mother dropping a hundred on scratch-offs with the money we gave her to feed her kids about how you are protecting her with this internet gambling bill.

Here's an idea for the powers that be.  Stop spending your days trying to figure out new ways to make our lives more miserable, squashing our personal freedoms, and killing free enterprise that you can't figure out a way to steal from.  Take a day off from all that crap and see if you can come up with a way to keep your members from molesting our children online.  Or maybe you can put your heads together and figure a way to balance the budget, or bring our boys home alive sometime this century.  Try to make yourselves useful, and keep your nose out of my PERSONAL computer. 

Jerkwads.

Sorry for that ugliness.  Had to be said.

Why don't I draft a defense early in my fantasy drafts?  Exhibit A.  The Carolina Panthers.  Exhibit B.  The New Orleans Saints.  It happens every single year.  They rise.  They fall.  We look like idiots by week 4.  Nearly impossible to predict.

Shaun Alexander thought he heard God tell him that his broken foot was healed, and S.A. announced this miracle to the world last week.  Unfortunately after further review by the x-ray machine it was discovered that the foot was still broke.  What Alexander did not realize is that September 27th is the equivalent of April Fools Day in heaven.  Good one God!

This may be the best Bears offense since....................uh, when exactly did they have an offense?  I know I had a lot more hair back then, or maybe I was swimming in placenta......I don't remember for sure.  It may have been a previous life altogether.

By the way, the Bears are going to the Superbowl.  I'm not sure I mean that, but I thought I'd get it on record just in case.  America can't get enough of a feel good story.

Monday Night Football's early game running back fumble-fest showed why back-ups are back-ups, and starters are starters.
The week one waiver wire wonders are still holding up quite well.  Cotchery, Berrian, and Colston are all in the top 12 among wide receivers in PPR leagues after 4 weeks, and show no signs of slowing down.  So far they look like one of the best bunch of waiver wire pick-ups I remember in a long time.

Mike Furrey officially stepped into the starting receiver job for the Lions and racked up the Rams in a big way Sunday.  He will be a popular waiver wire pick this week if everybody in your league slept on him last week.  As unstoppable as he seemed against the Rams, keep in mind that he was playing against his former team, he (and Martz) knew some of their tendencies and weaknesses, and may have had some extra motivation that my not be evident on a weekly basis.  That being said, the Lions offense is making big strides, and if Furrey hangs onto the job (and let's face it, who on that roster could take it from him?) he could put up some solid numbers for your team.  Definitely worth grabbing if he is available, but his best week was probably last week.

Kevin Jones is also thriving in the Martz style offense.  Surprise!!  K.J. was a guy that fell far in many drafts this year, most people figured him for a bust his season, but is off to his best start ever.  He certainly looks to have been a big bargain up to this point, putting up first rounder numbers after being drafted late 2nd to early 4th.  Fantasy gold so far.

I can't tell you how sad I am that I was only able to draft Laurence Maroney in one of my leagues.  I should have grabbed him earlier.  Big mistake.  If you grabbed him in a keeper league you have to be feeling pretty good about your team long term.  Don't even think about trading this guy, and there will no doubt be many trying to pry him from you.  I can honestly say there is no player in the league I would trade him straight up for right now........well, in a keeper league anyway, and probably not in a re-draft league either.  Fantasy platinum.

The reports of the death of Isaac Bruce as a fantasy player were premature.  Drafted after the 10th round in many drafts (and also after teammate Kevin Curtis in many drafts)  Bruce is doing what the Rev' has always done.  Catching lots of balls and sitting among the top 15 WR's in PPR leagues.  Old does not equal useless.  Unless you are Al Davis.

Speaking of useless things, this is the week to trade away Lamont Jordan.  His value will not likely be any higher this season than it is right now.   The same can be said for Randy Moss.  This Raiders "team" will only get uglier and less motivated as the losses pile up.  Dump these guys like a bad burrito and flush twice.  And if you get lucky enough to pinch one of these turds, make sure to send a thank you note to the Browns for providing the Ex-Lax.

If you listen to ESPN radio at all, surely you must have heard the National Lampoon Sports Minute or So.  It's basically a 1 minute "comedy routine" based on events in the sports world.  Kind of like this column, except chock full of inferior writing and cornball one liners.  Anyway, this nimrod is currently running a bit about the season ending injury to Javon Kearse, where he says Kearse will be at home watching the playoffs ........ just like the rest of the Eagles.  And that is the punch line.  First of all, not funny.  Second.  Not true.  Both are kind of important in comedy from what I understand.

Listen here Lampoon boy.  A word of advice.  You may have talked some coke snorting ESPN bigwig into giving you minutes of airtime, or even if are paying for the privilege, so you might want to notch it up a bit.  The only thing worse than a bad joke, is a bad joke that you hear over and over again.  I guess maybe that bit was planned in the preseason, when many of the "so called" pundits were predicting doom for the Eagles.  But it sounds pretty damn stupid right now when the Eagles are 3-1 atop their division.  Get a clue you hack.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

The Jets gave the Colts all they could handle and I finally scored that crucial first loss of the season.  The record is now 3-1, and I can now show my face in public again.

I am really torn about which game to pick this week.  I would love to pick the Colts /Titans game with the seldom seen 19 point spread.  WHAT?  A 19 point spread in a pro game?  You have to be kidding me!  I have no problem laying 20 points on a college game.  But everybody that bets the NFL for any length of time knows that the unwritten rule is that you never give up 2 TD's plus.  The NFL is just too unpredictable.  That being said, the Colts are clearly one of the best teams in the league again, and the Titans may turn out to be a bad team of legendary proportion.  If there was ever a pro game that I would consider laying 19 on, this would probably be it.  It will be interesting to see how this line moves through the week.  That is if my online "source" doesn't pull the shades and lock the doors this week.  But I'm not going to pick that game, I just love the 19 point spread.  You don't see that very often.

The other game I am interested in is the always entertaining NFC East showdown at the Meadowlands with the Redskins and Giants.  This is a tale of 2 teams that have struggled out of the gate.  Redskins fans are giddy about their victory over the Jaguars, but I don't put much stock in it.  The Jags just ran through a gauntlet of tough games, and it is hard to put 4 good ones together in a row in the NFL.  Meanwhile the Redskins were a desperate winless team that needed a win to save their season.  The Giants come off a bye week and a similarly disappointing start at 1-2.  Both of these teams will probably view this game as a must-win.  And they are probably right.  A Redskins loss pushes them to 1-4 and ready for the undertaker.  A Giants loss at home in this spot would be devastating to the teams chances of a rebound.   This really is a must win game for both teams.  I think the Giants are a far superior team, rested and coming off a bye and at home, they should easily cover the 4 point spread.  My pick?  Redskins +4

Misery Index

10) Chiefs:  Okay so your beat the 49ers at home.....after a bye week.  Congratulations.  Now go beat a real team and we can talk about getting you out of here.

9) Texans:  Okay so you beat the Dolphins at home......barely.  Congratulations.  Now go beat a real team and we can talk about getting you out of here.

8) 49ers:  After a relatively respectable start to the season, the 'Niners ran into the buzz-saw that is Arrowhead stadium.  Lots of people, even here in Chiefs country thought the 49ers could keep this game close, and I suspect a majority of people thought they might actually put a score on the board.  But in the end, the offense that had looked like it was headed in the right direction turned back into a pumpkin.  And the 'Niners are back in their now traditional place among the misfits of the NFL.  The good news is that they play the Raiders next.  The bad news is that if they blow chunks in that one, they will rise to the "bottom" of the Misery Index...........again.      

7) Seahawks:  Well, that settles that.  The high flying 'Hawks were 3 1/2 point underdogs at Chicago.  And that seemed reasonable.  I mean the Seahawks were the preseason favorite of many pundits to represent the NFC in the Superbowl.  They would be able to hang with the Bears even without Alexander, right?  Nope.  Not even close.  Hasselbeck got the rag-doll treatment, and the 'Hawks were blown up, along with their illusions about being the NFC's elite team.  Holmgren's face turned red in the first quarter. It never faded.  Which is more than can be said for the team.  Maybe Alexander just means that much.  Or maybe the team just had "one of those days."  But at this early point in the season it is hard to imagine the road to the Superbowl routing anywhere but through Chicago, and that thought can't be too comforting to the Seahawk's after the ass kicking the Bears administered Sunday night.. 

6) Lions:  Well Lion fans, I have propped up this team all I can, but the Index is calling them.  Their miserable 0-4 start cannot be ignored any more.  Hopefully this team can hold out and keep losing long enough to prompt the ownership to dump Matt Millen, and that in itself would be a victory for the organization.  Millen must feel safe though, as sources tell me that he is already combing the college ranks for his next first round wide receiver bust.

5) Dolphins:  I think we all may have given the Dolphins a pass on their 1-2 start.  I mean a loss to Pittsburgh, okay.  A loss on the road at Buffalo, okay.  But I think we all started to smell the stench when they barely survived the Titans in week 3.  And now a loss to the Texans.  All the pundits, including myself figured the Dolphins would be 3-1 right now due to their "easy" schedule.  But there can be no doubt now.  This team stinks like a 7 day old corpse in a sauna.  What you are seeing and smelling is not an illusion.  Take a quick look at their schedule again, knowing what you know now, and you will come the same conclusion as me.  This team will be lucky to win 3 more games.  And I am being generous.  In Nick Saban's press conference he seemed delusional and possibly in a state of denial.  He cited his teams "tremendous comeback."  No Mr. Saban.  Being down 17-6 and closing to within 2 points of a previously winless team is not a tremendous comeback.  And the fact that you needed a "tremendous comeback" against the Texans in the first place speaks volumes.  He also noted that his team did a "great job of stopping the run."   Yes, that was quite an impressive feat considering the Texans are averaging about 2 yards a carry this season, and Ron Dayne is the one toting the rock.  

4) Buccaneers:  The bye week blues.  Is there anything worse than a bye week after an 0-3 start.  Plenty of time to stew in the cesspool that has become your season.  Of course when you are giving a crash course to a rookie quarterback, you don't have much time to stew.  Gruden and the coaching staff spent the last week trying to cram a years worth of experience into the rook's head.  But unless there is a miracle somewhere inside the Gradkowski kid,  we're headed for the rocks Cap'n. 

3) Cardinals:  And that is what they look like with Leinart under center.  They still sucked and I still suck for getting sucked in again.  My first instincts about this team were right.  They are still an offensive line away from competing.  They will eventually win some games.  They will score some points.  Edge James will rush 400 times for 800 yards.  But they are going nowhere until they get some big ugly's that can ball, or at least not fold like a dollar store lawn chair.   Gods speed Mr. Leinart.  You are going to need it.

2) Titans:  And that is what they look like with Vince Young under center.  Taken to the woodshed, volume 1.  And they are an instantly legendary 19 point underdog this week at Indy.   Titans faithful can at least take solace in the fact that with the Raiders in the league to share the burden.  The Titans seem to be well aware of their situation, especially Albert Haynesworth who has adopted the motto:  If you can't beat 'em. stomp on their head with spikes on.  Note to Haynesworth:  When they do that head stomping crap on wrestling, it is fake.  Not advisable for use out here in the real world.  This was a scary borderline psychotic event with possibly dangerous consequences.  Keep this kind of crap up, and we'll be over-run with soccer fans.

1) Raiders:  The Raiders passed their toughest test yet, losing at home to a winless team.  Two weeks to prepare for the hapless Browns just wasn't enough.  At least the Raiders got to feel good about themselves for 30 minutes of clock time.  They built up a 21-3 lead, but much like the Raiders commitment to excellence, it was just a mirage.  On the bright side, Randy Moss actually caught a touchdown pass.  And even more amazing he caught a pass in the middle of the field in traffic.  I nearly fell out of my chair.  But late in the game, with his team needing to move the chains it was typical Randy.  Unwilling to play physical and allowing the defender to out-muscle him for position on a pass to the sideline.  Moss got boxed out and seemed disinterested with the whole process.  Randy seems to have his finger on the pulse of Raider Nation.