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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 5
Kevin Ratterree
October 2, 2007

Well well, it seems Mr. Kitna has done it. He has convinced everybody on the Lions team including the much maligned defense that they don’t suck, and has upgraded Millen from idiot to moron. Commendable. Nicely done.

Kitna got a lot of pub when he answered a simple question on a local talk radio show last spring, telling the listening audience that the team should win at least 10 games. Once the jackals in the national press (and people like me) got a hold of it, they turned into a 10 win guarantee.

Kitna never guaranteed 10 wins. He expected to win 10 games. He thought his team should expect to win 10 games.

Then Kitna upped the ante by whispering about the 50 passing TD plateau. I’m pretty sure most people thought he was some sort of a wacko, talking such ridiculous talk. “Uh, yeah Jon, the Lions who have won less than 30 games in this century are suddenly going 10-6, and you are going to become the NFC’s version of Carson Palmer. Okay then. Could we get this guy a drug test?”

But here we are. The Lions are 3-1 and just shoved the once mighty Bears to the basement of the NFC North. Tossed them aside like rag dolls. This battered and beleaguered franchise that has had its head shoved in a toilet and given a third of a century’s worth of swirlies. Finally coming up for a breath of air.

He has 8 TDs so his dream of 50 is all but gone already. But he is on pace to throw 32 TDs and out gain most of the QBs in the league in yardage.

Kitna, the guy that has been traded, benched, discarded and left for dead way more times than I care to mention. Rising from the dead like a Phoenix. Surrounded with an arsenal of toys and an evil offensive genius, he is leading the league doormat out of the mortuary they have been hanging out in for the better part of our lifetimes. He will take a beating. He will play with a concussion. He will call upon Jesus to cure his concussion at halftime. And apparently Jesus is on his side. Because a lot of people figured it would be a cold day in hell when the Lions started a season 3-1, busting up last years NFC representative in the Super Bowl in the process.

Kitna is tough, confident, and he gives you everything he has every time he crosses the stripe. How can you not like Jon Kitna?

While we are on the subject of great bargain basement fantasy quarterbacks that I tried to get you to draft this season, how about Brett Favre? Come on, admit it. You thought he was toast, didn’t you? You let him fall to the 10th or 12th round of your fantasy draft. People chuckled when his name was called in live drafts two months ago. He is a top 10 fantasy quarterback at the age of 37. He wasn’t even sure if he was coming back last December. He has never missed a game, and I’m not sure he ever will. If you don’t like Favre, you just don’t like football.

But the biggest quarterback bargain of this fantasy season so far is Tony Romo. Dude is ripping it! Romo is the guy on target for 50 TDs. He has 11 passing and 2 rushing. Right on pace for 50 total. But don’t feel bad if you were afraid to buy into the hype and draft him. Jerry Jones gambled and decided to wait on wrapping Romo up with a contract extension. Right now I figure that decision is costing him a mil or two every week at the rate Romo is racking up stats. J.J., I think the saying goes “buy low - sell high.” A few days after the fumbled snap in the playoff game last season would have been a good time. The meter is running. You might want to put something together.

On the other side of the cosmos, fantasy owners that used and early draft pick on Drew Brees, Marc Bulger and McNabb are probably re-thinking that draft strategy. Man, what a stinkfest. But hey, even you wretched souls can take some comfort in the fact that guys like Harrison, T. Jones, MJD, Benson, Holt, Jacobs, Caddy, and McAllister were drafted before those guys in a lot of leagues. Which leads me to my next question: Why did I spend all that time researching before my drafts?

As if fantasy football wasn’t hard enough, now we have teams like the Cardinals re-introducing the ever popular Quarterback by Committee, with a Leinart, Warner tag team. Granted, as a Fitz and Boldin owner I am intrigued with the experiment. Their stats have gone up since Warner was implemented. But this has to be putting a haze on Leinart. Golden boy benched for grocery bagger. And Bagger leads the team to victory and outplays Golden Boy again. Leinart is not happy. You could see that on the sideline. He is a TV star, how can this happen to him? He is going to start trouble. But the coach doesn’t really care. Coach wants to win, and Golden Boy or nobody else gonna get in his way damn it! Cardinals are looking pretty good too. Should be interesting.

Kurt Warner: Again? How many lives does this guy have? He claims the magic is in the gloves. But what I really want to hear is what Brenda thinks about all of this.

Is it my imagination or is this league just whacked right now? I'm 3-1 in three different leagues, yet I feel extremely uneasy.

Every division winner from last year in the NFC is in last place. Last place teams are in first place. Its a mumbled up jumbled up mixed up world except the Colts n Patriots. Outside of a few constants, it is hard to predict how individual matchups will shake out, but even harder predicting where the fantasy stats will be. RBBCs, QBBCs, WRBCs TEBCs. And the injuries? Well if I weren’t afraid of injuring my eyes doing additional research for this column, and if I weren’t incredibly lazy, I would look up the stats and see if this season is worse for injuries than in years past. The turnover rate in fantasy lineups this year seems to be real high. Not just skill players, but those that make skill players possible, and players that try to stop the skill players. Teams just decimated with injuries. Everyone is asking why.

I hope that there is no chemical explanation for this injury plague, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t suspect it.

We all like our athletes bigger, stronger, faster. We want them to throw farther, hit harder, run faster, and get back on the field sooner. There is a price to be paid for all of that. The human body was only designed to hold so much muscle mass, only so much mass in general. And the human body, even when well padded, is only designed to take so much of an impact. I fear that science has afforded us the opportunity to find the tipping points.

Because of all the crazy stuff going on, you could have literally built a team from the waiver wire that would be competing right now. Check this out:

QB Derek Anderson
RB D.Ward
RB E Graham
WR S. McDonald
WR Bowe
WR Roddy White
WR Engram
TE D Lee
PK Folk
DF Lions

That waiver wire team would be averaging 140 points a week. Better than the teams I drafted. Unreal.

Something else unreal? The devaluation of the running back. In PPR leagues, there are only 6 running backs among the 30 top point scorers. There are only 14 running backs among the top 60 fantasy players, and 3 of those are 58, 59 and 60.

The top 30 is filled with 9 QBs and 11 WRs. And of course two TEs including Gates, who despite his team’s problems, remains a stud fantasy player. It is possible, just possible, that we will start to see WRs making more of a splash in the first round of next years fantasy drafts. The days of the stud running back are either dead, or on life support. At least until the winter winds begin to blow across the frozen tundra.

Madden Curse report: Tomlinson was the first choice and declined. He and the Chargers are 1-3, facing crushing defeat after defeat. Vince Young accepted the challenge. The Titans are 2-1, and Young seems to have settled in nicely with his scrappy band of offensive players. His future is so bright, he has to wear shades.

Tomlinson tried to dodge the curse, but the curse found him. Or maybe LTs problems are a result of another deadly curse known as the Head Coach: Norv Turner. Tough call.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

I cannot hide my shame, yada yada yada, I screwed up. The record is now 2-2. Moving sideways. Not good. Especially when after I had longer than 1 day to analyze my games, I ended up with 5 games on my radar, posted them on the message board, hit 4 of 5. But guess which one I had wrong? Yep, the CAHPOW. That hurts. But onward and downward.

I continue to get a few letters from people confused by the mystery of the Crazy as Hell Pick. Let me clarify once more time. The goal in this is to get the “worst” record possible. The Cahpow is two fold. You might think it is a crazy pick, and it is crazy because my “official” pick is the opposite of the case I make. I am hoping my official pick will be wrong. And once again let me mention that gambling is a fools parasite, and I would strongly advise against it. If only I didn’t love it so much. Keep in mind this is for entertainment purposes only. Back at it now.

The Packers are 4-0, the Bears are 1-3. The Bears travel to Green Bay this weekend coming off a nasty road loss to the Lions. While I’d love to go all “win one for the Gipper” here with the downtrodden Bears, I just don’t see it. Favre is in rare form. The Bears defense is a shambles. Green Bay’s defense is plenty capable of shutting down this weak attack. There is no way this game should be only a 3 point spread, despite the Packers recent run bad of games at home. The Bears will get plenty of action at plus 3 though. The Chicago betting crowd is a strong one. They will be on the wrong side of this one. Chicago is 0-5 ATS in their last 5. The Packers are 5-0 over the same time. Not a tough call. Favre will cavre up the Bears, and the Packers bandwagon will be full steam ahead, at you guessed it, 5-0. Book it Danno. Bears +3

Misery Index

10) Falcons: Finally sweet relief. And at the expense of my crazy as hell pick you dirty no good *&$%#. I hope you rot in $&%* you giant pile of $#!^& mother #&%@^$!!!! Sorry. Just had to get that out of my system.

9) Vikings: Look, when you come into the season with Tarvaris Jackson as your QB, you have really set the bar low. I mean, it is hard for me to sit here and rip on a team this bad that has actually won a game. But if I don’t put them in here the Falcons fans will get cranked and we can’t have that. If the Vikings are serious about winning, they should just give the ball to Peterson 35 times a game until he smashes headfirst into the rookie wall around week 10. Then hope they can survive with Taylor, Moore, and half of Peterson the rest of the way. Other than that, what you have seen is what you are going to get.

8) Jets: You let the Bills jack you up? Come on man. I mean really. A rookie freaking quarterback? You let him complete more than 2 passes to Evans? I think this probably tells us what we need to know. On the bright side, they did finally remember that they have Leon Washington if they need him, so that gives me a reason to live.

7) Bengals: I don’t quite know how to put this. Um….oh yeah. The defense stinks like a fat biker chick in the desert, 7 days into a beer and meth bender. And I was talking about the original starters from week one. The guys they have out there now are even worse. This is a team capable of losing to anybody, and it appears they are working toward that goal.

6) Eagles: I think Sunday night was one of the most brutal displays I have ever seen in a football game. Fittingly Rocky-esque was McNabb’s performance as a punchy old fighter taking a beating. As his inexperienced offensive line replacements shouted “‘ole!”, while McNabb hobbled around on his battered knee, wishing he could still run away from the onslaught of defenders that were violating him with nearly every snap. Just brutal. The bye week came a week too late. The humiliated (and sore) McNabb (and the rest of the demoralized team) will have two weeks to stew in that vat of whoop-ass before they get to take the field again. Hanging by a thread, and Chunky Soup isn’t curing what is wrong here.

5) Saints: Maybe a bye week will cure all their problems. Maybe the first 3 weeks was a mirage. Maybe I will sprout wings and fly over the Superdome with a paper bag over my head singing ,”I’m a Bayou Doodly Dandy.”

4) Bears: To be perfectly fair, Griese drew a bad hand in his first game. Isn’t that something, you wait on the bench and wait for the cuckoo head coach to realize what seems obvious. He finally does. Just so happens to be when the team is ate up with injuries. Yeah, Griese probably isn’t the guy you want throwing the ball 50 times. Just like Grossman. Try a running game. Oh. I forgot. You don’t have one. One of those will come in handy unless you can convince Martz to come over to your side. What a sad but typical fall from grace for the Super Bowl victim. I guess you just can’t come back from that. Without Devon Hester, this team is the Dolphins.

3) Chargers: A home game against the Chiefs is probably a game you want to win this season. Norv Turner managed to make Herm Edwards look like Vince Lombardi. My apologies for mentioning Lombardi in the same sentence with Turner and Edwards. Lets take the gloves off. The owner knew when he sided with the GM to overthrow Marty that there was little upside and tons of downside with that move. What these guys don’t seem to know that one of the keys to making it to the playoffs is to have a coaching staff that knows their division. I’m just guessing here, but I think Marty probably knew the division better than anybody. And I doubt he would have let that game get away against the Chiefs. That one was a dagger. You can’t lose that game if you are serious about going to the playoffs. Tomlinson is suicidal and so are his fantasy owners that watched him get 6 carries in the second half against the Chiefs. The defense is in shambles, the offense is lost, and Norv Turner has a million dollars in his bank account compliments of two of the dumbest guys in the game.

2) Dolphins: Lets examine the turn of events here: Dolphins sign Culpepper over Brees because they were worried about Brees’ health. Brees leads the Saints to the NFC Championship game, Culpepper gets benched for Harrington when it becomes clear Culpepper and his knee aren’t right. After the season Culpepper gets released. Dolphins sign Trent Green. Culpepper comes back with the Raiders and lays a beat down on the Dolphins. You couldn’t have scripted it any better than that. Dolphins, I think you played that one just right.

1) Rams: I can’t decide which was more putrid, the Rams against the Cowboys or Tony Kornheiser’s rendition of a Bon Jovi song before Monday Night Football. Probably the Rams, but it was close.

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