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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 11
Kevin Ratterree
November 14, 2006

You had to be rooting for McNair to drop the hammer on the franchise that locked the doors on him last summer.  And McNair did not disappoint.  It's little moments like that, that make life worth living.  Especially when you are forced to start McNair due to a Hasselbeck injury.

But Ray Lewis' views on the subject were a little too 1970's for me.  I've got news for you Ray Ray.  A-holes in business are color blind.  They will bend you over regardless of pigment, if they are so inclined.
  
McNair is one of football's true warriors.  Considering how much of his body, and future health he sold to the Titans, I think the least they owed him was maybe a short face to face conversation.  "Hey Steve, great to see you.  How is the family?  Great.  Listen I know Jeff wanted to tell you himself, but he is out of town right now, uh....well the truth is Steve, we've decided to go another direction.  We appreciate everything you have done for us, and we certainly do wish you luck with your next team."

And that's about it.  Or you can be a weasel and just put the guys stuff out on the curb, and pretend he fell off the face of the earth.  That isn't racist.  That's just low class.  Almost as low class as trying to racially exploit the situation to get some pub'.

In case you haven't noticed, since Billick started calling the plays, the Ravens are coming together offensively.  I started Mark Clayton in a couple of leagues last week and will have to think long and hard about benching him after his performance against the Titans.  The Ravens schedule coming up looks fantasy friendly, so if you have been stashing Clayton (as I have begged you to do) all indications are that his time to shine has arrived.  And this weeks match-up against a depleted Falcons defense looms as fantasy gold.  How sweet it is.

Meanwhile in Philadelphia, Reid turned over the play calling to Marty Morningwood and has turned the stud McNabb and his stable of receivers into geldings.
  
I got hung up pretty hard in the free agent receiver carousel last week.  I snagged Crayton on two teams, but didn't start him.  And as a bonus I did pick up and start Devery Henderson while some guy named Terrence Copper piled up points on the waiver wire.  Oh yeah, and I benched Cotchery to get Henderson in the lineup.  Funny, it seemed like an ingenious plan at the time.  No matter how long you play this game, it can still make you look like an idiot.

Shanahan made himself and the rest of us that keep Broncos running backs on our rosters look like idiots.........again.  The Rat apparently isn't happy with any of his running backs, and is using a dartboard in his office to determine playing time.  And as usual, he is taking down fantasy teams across the land with his sick running back fetish.  Some things never change.  Shanahan maintains a slim lead on Belichick for most hated head coach in fantasy football.

Just when we anointed Huard the starter for the Chiefs, we found out he had not been walking on water, but merely stepping on stones just beneath the surface.  He had no stones on Sunday.  After his Huard's 15-38 performance, Herm Edwards has been granted a "get out of jail free" card on the brewing quarterback controversy. 

I think we can declare a winner.  The correct answer in the "who do I take with my first overall pick" question is Ladainian Tomlinson.  LT2 is a one man wrecking crew carrying his team, and most fantasy teams that drafted him to weekly glory.  I don't have him on any of my teams, and he certainly does look like a huge boulder between me and a championship.  Non-Tomlinson owners can only hope that his week 14 matchup against the Broncos, or his week 16 game against the Seahawks might offer relief.

Willie Parker has been doing a pretty good job of dusting off fantasy teams in his path as well.  At this point he looks like one of the biggest draft day bargains outside of Marques Colston.

Chester Taylor was on the injury report last week with "general body soreness".  Right now might be a good time to remind you that I was one of the few people that wasn't buying into Chester Taylor back in the preseason.  And this "general body soreness" is exactly the scenario I was most worried about.  Durability. 

Taylor has put up some impressive numbers to this point.  He has been worth every bit where he was drafted in PPR leagues.  But I still feel that the crash and burn is inevitable.  And now is the time to sell.  The team just isn't that good, and now Taylor might be hitting the wall.  My gut is still telling me to tell you to dump Taylor now, while you can still get good value for him.  But then again, I benched Cotchery for Henderson, so I guess I don't blame you if you ignore this advice.

Rams tackle Orlando Pace is out for the season with an injury.  One has to wonder if Bulger will be next.

The Chargers come from behind victory over the Bengals certainly was impressive.  Tomlinson is unstoppable.  Rivers is competent   And at 7-2 they might just be the class of the AFC.  I say that because if they played Indy, Tomlinson would run for 300 yards in the first half and the game would be over.

Just in case you were wondering, the Chargers are going to the Super Bowl.  And even as I am saying it I'm not sure I believe it.  I know deep in my heart that Shottenheimer will never win a Championship, because when it comes to crunch time you just know he will go conservative and choke.  But with Tomlinson ripping up defenses like a dude with no job on a Madden video game, it is hard to imagine that even Marty could screw this up.  I guess what I'm saying is the Chargers should go to the Super Bowl, but as a long time Chiefs fan and Martyball victim even I can't let myself believe this will happen.  But I wanted to get it on record just in case.

I always let you know where I stand.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

Ahhh, sweet respectability.  The record is 5-6 and we are finally on the right side of the ledger.  What a long strange trip it's been.  A brutal and embarrassing 3-0 start followed up with a glorious triumphant 2-6 run.  I am the Miami Dolphins of prognostication.  Last week I warned you of two points you needed to be aware of.  The Chiefs don't win in Miami.  And the Texans have the Jaguars number.  The crazy as hell trends continued, as does the Crazy as Hell hot streak.

Mike Vick has been the leading rusher on the team 3 times and the Falcons have lost each of those games, including the last two to the Lions and Browns both of whom shut down Warrick Dunn.  This week they travel to Baltimore to play the 7-2 Ravens, who themselves are just a bit stingy against the run.  The Falcons defense is decimated, and the Ravens offense is clicking.  McNair comes off a 343 yard performance against the 13th ranked Titans.  How do you think he will fare against the 30th ranked Falcons, racked with injuries?  I don't like the Falcons chances in this game at all, and while I am not wild about laying 4 points, I still think it is a pretty good bet.  I sense a thrashing.  My pick.  Falcons +4

Misery Index

10) Rams:  When you are late in the game, with a lead against your division rival, playing for the division, you might want to cash in on every scoring opportunity.  Linehan's decision to throw a 4th down pass to little used Joe Klopfenstein instead of kicking a field goal may well be the final flush for the Rams season.  That was one hell of a time to go Mike Martz on us Mr. Linehan.  The choices in that situation were, Steven Jackson or Jeff Wilkins.  Not Klopfenstein.  In the rain.  On the road.  Bonehead.

9) Falcons:  This season is typical Falcons, and typical Mike Vick.  Moments of brilliance followed by mind-numbing moments of buffoonery.  A few weeks ago they had the Super Bowl in their sights, now 5-4 and mucking it up with the rest of the NFC mediocrity.  The Falcons for all their weaknesses would still be a good team if only......if only....they would go get themselves a receiver that can catch the ball.  Ashley Lelie dropped a perfect pass in the end zone, and I hold that Bronco turd reject personally responsible for getting bounced out of the survivor pools.  My grandma could have caught that pass, and she's been dead for over a decade.  Much like the Falcons receiving corps.

8) Redskins:  Gibbs sees the season slipping away so he will roll the dice with a fresh quarterback.  It seems to be all the rage around the league, and it is working in many cases.  And at 3-6, you have nothing to lose     Portis is out for a month.  Jason Campbell, come on down.  Santana Moss owners are hoping for the best, but bracing for the worst.  A feeling all too familiar to the Redskin faithful. 

7) Raiders:  Once again the Raiders defied odds and actually played a competitive game against the Broncos, and led much of the way.  This defense is actually coming together.  If they can ever figure out how to score more than one touchdown a game, they might be on to something.  Don't hold your breath.

6) Titans:  At 2-7, they are right on pace for the season we expected them to have.  Crapola.  In true Misery Index fashion, they blew a big lead to the Ravens, and got picked apart by the discarded McNair  They had this one coming.

5) Bengals:  The loss to the Chargers was the final death knell for the Bengals lost season.  How do you blow a 21 point lead at home?  The Ravens are now 3 games up in the division, and the Bengals would have to nearly run the table to even sniff the playoffs.  But hey, on the bright side, the fantasy numbers were finally back to normal this week.  And being the selfish bastard that I am, that's enough for me.  Keep up the good work boys!

4) Vikings:  I have to say hat's off to the Vikings.  The Misery Index has been tough to crack this season.  But this 3 game losing streak in which you have exhibited some of the most putrid play of the season, and I salute you.  I mean come on now.  You just let Favre carvre you up in front of the home crowd.  And he is out there with old man Driver (who you could have signed through free agency, had the ownership had any intentions of winning) and a bunch of junior varsity kids.  And now the Packers are all over your ass in the standings.  Your 65 year old quarterback is spending his golden years running for his life, while 20 something's hunt him down like a caribou while the receivers are scrambling around trying to remember which route they are supposed to running.  Honestly, that receiver corps is more like a receiver corpse.  Your big money running back is experiencing "general body soreness" and figures to be a weekly resident of the hot tub and the injury report from here on out.  This is a team that can do 2 things.  Stop the run, and dump pass.  They just can't stop the pass.  And they have no downfield threat.  And that's just about it.  They aren't good enough on defense.  And they aren't good enough on offense.  They are trying to play small ball, but this is more of a big ball league.

3) Buccaneers:   If there is anything worse than having a pitiful team, it's having that pitiful team displayed for all to see on Monday Night Football.  On the bright side the rest of the division seems to be sliding down toward their level, so it is possible they will win another game this year.  Not likely, but possible. 

2) Lions:  Well, the Lions are just plain greedy.  Hogging all the Misery Index glory to themselves while most of the others took a week off.  Oh. they were so close to those 9 games they were supposed to win in a row.  Roy, you only missed by 8.  That's not too bad.  That's not too bad.  But you might want to just go back to predicting a win before every game.  At least that way you will only be wrong 4 out of 5 times, instead of each and every time.  Pick your spots there big guy.  Save all that trash talk for when you are pretty sure your team doesn't suck. And as long as Millen is in charge..........well, you know the rest.  Up next is a game in the desert against the Cardinals, where these two downtrodden teams will fight an epic battle for supremacy in the Misery Index.  And of course less importantly, that first overall pick in the draft, which we all know will be an under-achieving wide receiver.     

1) Cardinals:  Can there be any doubt about this?  Other teams have come and gone from the one win plateau.  But not the Cardinals.  Here they sit.  Alone in the basement of the Misery Index.  The worst record in the league.  And don't forget, that one win was a week one home win against the 49ers.  This is an impressive losing streak, and I salute the Cardinals for upholding their traditional position in the misery index despite all odds.  All the preseason pundits anointing the Cardinals.  The new running back.  The new quarterback.  The new stadium.  Man, it all just felt so right, didn't it.  This year it was really going to happen.  Nope.  Worst season yet.  And that is quite an accomplishment for this organization.  Denny Green axed his offensive coordinator, and the team has looked like crap ever since.  It was a knee-jerk reaction that cost the Cardinals (and their fantasy owners) big time.  At least when they were losing before, they were moving the ball down the field, and finding creative ways to lose.  Right now, they just plain suck.  And nobody wants to see that.  Meanwhile Edge has one eye on his YPC average, and the other on the standings, where his Colts are undefeated with the best record in the league.  Wouldn't it be a swift kick in the nuts if this was the year the Colts finally make it to the Superbowl.  And Joseph Addai runs for 183 yards and 3 touchdowns.  Superbowl MVP.  All the money in the world can't buy irony like that.