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FANTASY FOOTBALL WEEKLY FEATURES

Commentary From the Edge - Week 6
Kevin Ratterree
October 9, 2007

When you are winning in fantasy football, as in life, it seems to come so easy. And when you are losing, everything you touch turns to a chicken processing plant runoff.

I am 4-1 in one of my leagues. My team is semi-decimated by injury and has some serious underachievers. I’m not even sure how it is happening, but it seems the hand of fate is coaxing this perplexing team in the right direction. I won my game in week 4 by one point, on a last minute interception by the Pats defense
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In week 5 I was without Westbrook who along with Kitna had anchored my team through the storm the first month. But I had stashed Kenton Keith when it became apparent he was the handcuff to Addai. I paid 10% of my bidding budget for the season, and outbid the Addai owner a few weeks ago. In week 5 we met head to head. Him without Addai, me with Keith. It was the difference between a loss and a win. A potentially season changing turn of events.

You never know where the breaks you need are coming from. That example is pretty dramatic. You normally don’t see such pivotal decisions coming into play in such a measurable way.

I just had to mention it because I found it so ironic, and so incredibly lucky for me. There is that dirty word. Luck.

But how else can you explain it? I built a team around Westbrook and “stud” wide receivers. Harrison, Westbrook, Boldin all on the bench in week 5. Playing with a somewhat sad assortment of receivers including Bryant Johnson and Lee Evans. Yeah, I couldn’t even bench Evans the last 2 weeks because I can barely field a lineup of heathy bodies. It looked bleak going in.

And the topper was I finally bailed on Elam last week, and picked up, you guessed it, Kris Brown. Kickers may not matter much in the big picture. But a 25 point week from a waiver wire kicker? I almost feel guilty.

But it doesn’t matter how you get there.

For every Yellow Brick Road story like that there is s Nightmare on Elm Street, such as my humiliating beatdown in the Huddle Writers League. Deep in the basement. Out of contention. Just a sad and broken team. Fully deserving of mention just for the incredible pitifulness of it all. Leaving points on the bench like I’m gunning for a nice draft pick. I’m here to tell you I am bombing like Carrot Top in a redneck bar. I drafted Jacobs. I left him on the bench for Pittman, who I was playing for the injured Caddy this week. And it is just those kind of incredibly stupid and moronic decisions that creates losers.

Of course, I lost Pittman early in the game so I won’t have to worry about starting him by mistake again.

I got nothing with that team. It blew up and it ain’t coming back. Thanks for coming. I drafted Harrison , Evans, Jacobs, and Caddy. Burn. Bad combination. Down in flames. Fate kicked my ass like I was Carrot Top in a redneck bar……..oh, wait a minute, I already did that one. I guess I just like to think about Carrot Top getting his ass kicked in a redneck bar.

At least I drafted Favre. There is that.

I guess that is why we play 4 or 5 leagues. You figure one turd a year. Yeah, I can handle that. Just let me win one championship. Even if I don’t deserve it. Kenton Keith and Kris Brown. Waiver wire heroes. You need a few of those along the way. Especially in this, the “Year of the Injury.”

And the injuries do keep piling up. This week we lost Trent Green, and probably forever. Green is a gamer, and he is going to want to come back. But it is hard to imagine that will happen. The team is already out of playoff contention. Green needs to put an ice pack on his dome and go home while he can still tie his shoes without assistance.

From what I have read and heard, Cameron is not a big Cleo Lemon fan. So it would stand to reason that he may just leapfrog over Lemon and give John Beck some time in the saddle sooner rather than later. If you are in a dynasty league right now would probably be a good time to move on Beck if you are interested. Last week would have been better.

I saw a pre-game interview with both Warner and Leinart. Leinart felt like it would be easier to be benched than to have to suffer the slings and arrows of a shared quarterback situation. Be careful what you wish for in the future Matt.

Now the big question is, can Warner carry the load as a full timer? You can really tell this guy is religious. He has been resurrected several times now. And the fact is he has looked pretty good in limited play this season. He alone has propped up the stats of Boldin and Fitz so far. But will he be as successful as he was out of the bullpen?

It does seem that Warner’s use of gloves has given him a boost in performance. With the gloves, he looks like a different QB. Warner is not without risk, given his hand health issues of the past, but owners of Boldin and Fitz should be in much better shape over the course of the next 2 months. Warner may help push you into the playoff weeks, but that is about the time Leinart will be ready to return. At that point one would assume that the Cardinals record will dictate whether Leinart gets his job back. The Cardinals look like they are going to hang in there, so I am going to look at it like Warner will be starting the rest of the year.

The really good news for the Cardinals is that the toughest looking part of their schedule is just about over. A very juicy looking schedule in the second half should produce good fantasy stats across the board.

Bad news for Leinart. Probably good news for just about everybody else.

More injury trouble in Carolina. Delhomme is done for the year and now it is up to the human tackle dummy, David Carr. Carr barely made it through the last game in one piece, so there is definitely a malfunction there. Steve Smith owners are gripping and rightfully so. There is a good chance he won’t have a quarterback for the rest of the season. Not a good year to be a Steve Smith owner. Add it to the great big list of disappointments.

Speaking of disappointments, Chad Pennington aside from having a passing range of 20 yards, also has the added bonus of throwing interceptions at an alarming rate. At 1-4 it looks like it might be time to pull the plug and see what Clemens can do. I’m not saying that will happen. At 1-4 the coach might just wait until Pennington gets injured again, (I mean how long can that take, really) or he might decide to try and salvage the season with a change at QB. Tough call. I think I like Cotchery and Coles better with a guy that can wing it, and can move out of the pocket to find them if necessary.

A few weeks ago I had a report card for Keyshawn Johnson on NFL Countown. I gave him a solid “meh”, but then I turned to ‘Countdown’ Sunday morning and witnessed Key roughing up Ditka.

At one point, Key apparently disagreed with something Ditka was saying, so he expressed that by grabbing Ditka’s handkerchief and stuffing it in his mouth while he was talking. You have to wonder if the players union put him up to that one.

Then after Ditka composed himself and the camera was on him again, Key grabbed his notes and moved them away on the desk. What next Key? Are you going to dip Bermans hair in an inkwell? Start passing notes on the set? Throw things at the director while his back is turned?

They have a little kid doing a segment on ESPN that is more mature than Key. And I agree with what the kid says more than I do Key. Looks like ESPN is moving to grab an ever expanding audience of children and morons. Glad I could be there for you ESPN. I turn on your show 50 minutes in, and that is what I see? Key playing school with Ditka? Impressive.

Later, Key shouted down Emmitt Smith while Emmitt was trying to put together a coherent sentence. Emmitt is having a hard enough time trying to fit in to a 5th chair on the set, which is too many, and struggling to come up with something remotely interesting to say. The last thing he needs is Key up in his face. Strike that, the last thing anybody needs is Key up in his face.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the Week

Well, I guess the first 5 weeks went about like I expected. Some nice hits, but lots of clunkers. The record is 3-2. Quite depressing. It’s the one step up, one step back school of thought. After 5 weeks, we have a base of numbers to work with. But with the constant player shakeups, I am having a hard time grabbing hold of anything right now. I am hitting some picks, but giving the wrong ones in this segment. But as you have seen in the past, I am streaky. We can reel off a nice run and right the ship. If I can’t get better than I am now though I will can this thing and leave with a winning record overall. We are in must lose territory!

I’m not playing it safe. No, I’m going out on the ledge. The Raiders go to the Chargers, fresh off their severe beating of Denver on the road. The Raiders, despite being 2-2 atop the AFC West are a 10 point underdog. Okay, I’m all with the Raiders being an underdog here. But ten points?

The Raiders have been terrible on the road, they have been terrible against the spread. But they are the first place team here, playing against another team that has not been good against the spread. The AFC West is not real good right now, and despite the Chargers beatdown of the Broncos last week, I’m not convinced they should be a 10 point favorite against anybody. Last year in this meeting the Raiders suffered a 7 point loss. The Chargers were better then. The Raiders were worse. This one just stinks to high heaven to me. Seems like the Chargers are overvalued and the Raiders, rested off a bye may be undervalued. I’ll take the 10 points and take my chances. Chargers -10.

Misery Index

10) Broncos: If you somehow ended up with the Broncos defense on your fantasy team, right now would probably be a good time to bail. They were on the short end of a legendary beatdown at home. Worst home loss since 1966. In other words, it was the worst beating they have taken at home in most of our lifetimes. A legendary horrific performance. Let’s put the Broncos in perspective. They won 2 games this season. Against the Raiders and Bills. Those were both last second victories. The team is a hair away from being 0-5 right now. In their last 8 home games they are 2-6. One of those wins was over the Raiders a few weeks ago with the field goal freeze, and the other was over the Bengals late last season with the botched extra point attempt.

Shanahan called Sunday’s loss vs. the Chargers the most embarrassing in his career. Getting your ass kicked at home by a Norv Turner coached team? Yeah, I would agree. Things are so bad in Denver, a group of fans put up a billboard telling Ricky Williams to bring his weed and come on up. In a related note, Travis Henry is taking a polygraph test this week to determine whether he smoked weed. Here’s hoping Henry has better luck with the polygraph tests than he has had with the DNA tests.

9) Vikings: The bye couldn’t have come at a better time for the Vikings. A 1-3 start was no real surprise considering the NCAA level quarterbacks and receivers the Vikings are going with. And it will be no surprise what happens over the next 5 weeks: Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia, San Diego, Green Bay. Yeah, this is probably the high point of the season right here.

8) Eagles: Westbrook is racked, McNabb is getting sacked, the defense is cracked, and every day Reid gets more stacked.

7) Bills: Well, it was a hell of a game against the Cowboys on Monday night. They outplayed them. They outwitted them. But they couldn’t outlast them. An unbelievable monumental choke job. They lost a game in which they forced 6 turnovers.  The odds of that happening are astronomical.  The very kind of thing that Misery Index champions are made of. Hang in there Bills!

6) Jets: Pennington has thrown 5 INTs in the last two games. The team is 1-4, and the Pennington death watch has officially begun.

5) 49ers: That 9-7 classic against the Ravens was probably the worst game of the season. One could overlook the team’s 86 yards per game rushing average, if the per game passing average wasn’t a league worst 117 yards per game.

4) Falcons: Joey Harrington earned himself some clipboard time late in the game, after an uninspiring 87 yard passing performance. Petrino, who was apparently in a compromised state of mind, trotted out Leftwich, playing behind a replacement left tackle that was getting beat all day. Leftwich (aka: The Statue) put up a 2/8, 28 yards, 1 sack, 1 interception performance. As revolting as that entirely predictable turn of events was, they now have a chance to repeat it in front of a horrified national audience on Monday Night Football. Oh the humanity.

3) Dolphins: Trent Green probably only had only one concussion in the “chances” bank. He used it to make an ill advised block on a huge defensive lineman, then while he was knocked cold the huge defensive lineman talked smack and taunted his lifeless body. Probably not the blaze of glory Green envisioned. The 0-5 Dolphins start however, was exactly what most had envisioned.

2) Saints: Every season there is at least one Super Bowl favorite that tanks. But the Saints have taken it to a new level. New Orleans may be the home of jazz, but this team is funked up.

1) Rams:  When the Arizona Cardinals come in and jack you up in the house they never got, it has to hurt. Rams, it looks like it is your turn to play the Cardinals old role as divisional doormat. And I’m not talking a nice doormat with the weaving, I’m about the cheap rubber doormat outside the peep show cinema.

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