Scramble for the Ball's Parity Spectacular

by Bill Barnwell & Ian Dembsky

Bill: Ian and I got together on Sunday to watch a bit of the gridiron action, and what we found were a handful of fantastic plays interspersed with game after game of shambolic performances. For every Rob Bironas 60-yard miracle field goal that I was willing to bet my children's houses against, there were two Sebastian Janikowski missed chip-shot field goals. For every gorgeous move from Reggie Bush, there were three interceptions caused by balls hitting receivers in the chest and bouncing off their shoulder pads. For every Maurice Jones-Drew impersonation of Tommy Frazier, there were seemingly four consecutive turnovers going on in the Vikings-Bears game. For every Mathias Kiwanuka interception, there was a Mathias Kiwanuka fumble. Oops.

Ignoring Kiwanuka's attempt to become an aught-era Leon Lett, this week was full of performances from the top teams in each conference that should leave their fans and impartial observers with very little indications of their quality. Here's how the top ten teams, according to DVOA, did last week:

Chicago: Turned the ball over five times, but were saved by their defense and the brilliance of Devin Hester. Minnesota's defense is good, but they're not 107-yards-from-scrimmage good. Six weeks ago, Rex Grossman was an MVP candidate; now, Brian Griese seems like a palatable alternative. I don't think that Rex Grossman is a bad quarterback by any means, but would you have any faith in him not utterly destroying the Bears chances at least once in three games? Especially when they're against teams with defenses of this caliber?

San Diego: Had a decent, if not outstanding, performance against a pretty mediocre Buffalo team on the road. Did not cover, but I'll get to that.

Baltimore: Clearly knew that they'd already won Ian a jersey and didn't bother to show up against the Bengals on Thursday. I don't know that the Ravens area going to be able to run the ball in the playoffs, and if they can't, I don't think Steve McNair is going to be able to throw the ball around on most of the AFC teams he's likely to face. Well, except for the Colts. They can probably run on the Colts. And the Jets. But 61 yards on 17 carries? Jamal Lewis is toast. Not even tasty toast; he's the crumbs that get stuck in the toaster and get burnt over and over again. He needs to be cleaned out.

Dallas: Team of the Week. They went up to #1 in DVOA for a reason -- I was wrong two weeks ago when I said that they shouldn't be anointed as the best team in football. They were never second-best to the Giants all game; from the Kiwanuka fumble on, I never felt like the Giants were going to win. The Cowboys were always a step ahead of them. When the Giants scored to tie the game up, I looked over at Ian and said that they'd left too much time on the clock. He immediately scolded me for saying that. A minute of game time later, I was asking for the check.

Indianapolis: Well, they deserved a bit of bad luck. My nominee for Keep Choppin' Wood this week? Ben Utecht. His offensive pass interference penalty pushed the Colts back from the Tennesee 1-yard line to the 11, and the Colts kicked a field goal instead of scoring a touchdown. This, of course, set up the greatest moment of Rob Bironas' life, both that's passed and to come. I was yelling the same thing that Aaron was on the following kickoff; if the Colts had downed the kickoff upon catching the ball at the 40 instead of lateraling, they would've had a chance for a Hail Mary. Or, alternately, Adam Vinatieri would've been able to kick a 78-yard field goal to win the game. You doubt him? It was a clutch kick, fool, and we all know it's unpossible for Adam Vinatieri to miss clutch kicks.

New England: Played a miserable game against the Lions. If you watched the game without knowing anything else about the teams, you'd assume that the Lions were the division leaders and the Patriots were the bottom-feeders. There was something beautiful, though, about Josh McCown getting three passes thrown to him while Mike Williams was presumably working on motion capture for his role as the FOX Robot. McCown getting an offensive pass interference penalty, though, seemed unfair; after all, he's a quarterback! Shouldn't he have some leeway? It seems like it should be a sliding scale -- if Marvin Harrison does so much as touch a wide receiver, it should be ten yards, but McCown should be able to do anything short of employing a fire pit or exploding football technique. Also amusing was the New England papers feting Corey Dillon's nine-carry, 25-yard, three-TD day. You know, because not just anyone can run straight forward for three yards.

Jacksonville: David Garrard just wins, baby. Well, unless he loses. Aaron covered this very well in Audibles.

Philadelphia: Everybody's 6-6 now. They put on a good showing against Carolina, but they have to go to Dallas and to the Meadowlands in Weeks 15 and 16. Do you have any faith in them winning either of those games? Well, it depends upon how far the...

New York Giants have fallen. Here's my question. If Tom Coughlin's supposed to be the disciplined coach, how come the Giants are self-destructing for the second season in a row? This time around, they didn't even bother to wait for the playoffs. What really bothered me about the loss was the 42-yard pass to Witten that got the Cowboys into field goal range. If you watch the replay, you'll notice that a linebacker is chasing uselessly after Witten about 30 yards away from the line of scrimmage. How can that be possible? It's one thing to have him (I'll assume it's Antonio Pierce, since I don't have the tape in front of me) bump Witten, or play a zone 10 or 15 yards off the line. But to expect him to chase Witten downfield for eight, nine seconds? You deserve to lose. And to the guy in the Audibles thread who complained that we were criticizing Eli for a game where he had good stats? Watch that slant in the end zone that Aaron Glenn dropped ten times as penance.

Cincinnati: Their offense doesn't deserve this. If Cincinnati's defense could just be mediocre -- like last season -- they'd be a lock for a wild card spot. Instead, their defense is pretty much useless, and they're going to have to get lucky. I only got to see the fourth quarter of their game against the Ravens, but they looked good -- and if they can get into the playoffs, they have an offense that's going to be capable of simply outscoring anyone. I'm not saying they're going to win the Super Bowl -- they have no chance -- but I want to see Bengals-Chargers II and I know I'm not the only one.

Ian: Now we continue our review of teams' Over/Under predictions and how they're actually doing, this time for the NFC. The original articles can be found here and here.

San Francisco 49ers (o/u 5.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Under. Current Record: 5-7

Looks like we were both wrong on this one, as were a lot of the pundits coming into the season. With home games left against Green Bay and Arizona, getting that sixth win seems likely. Alex Smith hasn't become a top-tier quarterback yet, but he's so far ahead of where he was last season, the offense has risen to respectability. Of course, he's not the main reason why; he's simply stopped turning the ball over at alarming rates. No, the offensive surge is headed by star running back Frank Gore. The 49ers defense is getting better, and it's their key to victory at this point. If they can keep the game close, they can keep Gore involved, and the team has a much better chance of winning. Alex Smith isn't ready yet to win a shootout. Only in one of San Francisco's seven losses did their defense do a relatively decent job -- their recent 20-17 loss to St. Louis (where a late-game injury to Gore proved pivotal). In their other losses, they've given up 34, 38, 41, 48, 41, and 34 points. Ouch.

Green Bay Packers (o/u 6.0)

Bill: Over, Ian: Under. Current Record: 4-8

Hard to say how this team will finish up. With a finishing schedule including San Francisco, Detroit, Minnesota, and Chicago (in Week 17, when the Bears will probably be resting their starters), just about anything is possible. Bill was right in that Minnesota and Detroit wouldn't prove much challenge to the Pack (Green Bay has beaten both of them on the road already), and they may help the Packers reach the Over. It's the rest of the league that's giving Green Bay trouble. Their only other wins came over Miami after Green Bay's bye week, and then at home against Arizona. Ironically, though I thought their biggest weakness would be the running game, that's been fairly effective. Ahman Green is on pace for over 1,000 yards rushing despite missing two games entirely. The team just hasn't been especially strong anywhere, and is having trouble finding ways to win.

Detroit Lions (o/u 7.0)

Bill: Over, Ian: Under. Current Record: 2-10

Hey, it's another team that's already clinched their Over/Under! Unfortunately for the Lions, it's the Under. I mentioned that for the Lions, they don't have an impact player on defense this side of Shaun Rogers. Well, following a four-game suspension for steroids, it looks like he'll miss the rest of the season due to a knee injury after having only played in six games. The offense has certainly showed flashes of greatness, with Mike Martz working hard to get his system going. Too bad the flashes have been quite brief. This team is headed nowhere, fast.

New Orleans Saints (o/u 7.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Under. Current Record: 8-4

Oh, we of little faith! As much as I wanted to believe the Saints would have a good season in storm-ravaged New Orleans, I couldn't bring myself to do it. Big mistake. Drew Brees has been phenomenal. Rookie Marques Colston has as well. Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush are providing that power/finesse combination that teams love to have. The offensive line has been surprisingly effective, but of course it helps that any blitzes can be met with dump-offs to the dangerous Reggie Bush with big play potential. The Saints have hit the Over with emphasis, and look to be on their way to a division title. This Sunday's New Orleans-Dallas match up will go a long way to establishing who is the NFC favorite.

St. Louis Rams (o/u 7.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Under. Current Record: 5-7

This Rams team has a long way to go to reach the Over. It looks unlikely thanks to a murderer's row of upcoming defenses, including Chicago at home and road games against Oakland and Minnesota. Their other game, a home game against Washington, is winnable, but can they win two of the remaining three games? A push for the season seems likely. Steven Jackson is churning out yards in both the passing and running games, but the rest of the team hasn't played well enough to reach a winning record. Of course, that doesn't prevent them from being in the hunt for the wild card.

Arizona Cardinals (o/u 8.0)

Bill: Over, Ian: Over. Current Record: 3-9

Well, when we're wrong, we're wrong. Not only have the Cardinals locked up the Under, I made the following bold and ill-conceived statement: "This is a playoff team." Oh well. What happened? Well, not to beat an over-used joke to death, but the Arizona Cardinals offensive line is who we thought they were -- terrible. Not even Edgerrin James can make them look good. Larry Fitzgerald's missed time due to injury was certainly a problem, but pretty much the whole season fell apart following one of the biggest meltdowns of all time, their primetime loss to the Bears. The future is starting to look bright with Matt Leinart getting his game together. As for the playoffs, well, there's always next season.

Atlanta Falcons (o/u 8.0)

Bill: Over, Ian: Under. Current Record: 6-6

Going into the season, I said that Atlanta's season rested on the development of Michael Vick's accuracy as a passer, as well as his receiver's ability to catch the ball. Three-quarters of the way through the season, the jury's still out. At times it's looked like it's all come together, while at times the passes are inaccurate, and the accurate ones are also dropped. The net effect is that the offense and defense both rate average, and thus this is an average team. How will they perform in their last four games, at Tampa and Philly and home against Dallas and Carolina? Who knows. One thing's for sure: The more this team hands off to Jerious Norwood, the better.

Minnesota Vikings (o/u 8.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Over. Current Record: 5-7

For starters, is it safe to say that Minnesota got the better end of the Steve Hutchinson/Nate Burleson swap with Seattle? Burleson has become a decent punt returner, but that's about it. Hutchinson has helped anchor a solid offensive line that's making Chester Taylor look very good. That being said, the problem for this team has surprisingly been the erratic play of Brad Johnson. It's partially due to the Vikings' lack of possession receivers, but Johnson simply has not gotten the job done. He's turning the ball over too often for the quarterback of a team that should be based on defense and the running game. With home games against Detroit and Green Bay, and road games against the Jets and Rams, avoiding the Under is still a possibility, but it's a long shot.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (o/u 8.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Over. Current Record: 3-9

This past weekend, I was watching the Bucs-Steelers game and rooting hard. I was rewarded, as Tampa inched closer to a top draft choice next season by continuing to look pitiful all over in a loss to the Steelers. Hard to blame their failures on the loss of Chris Simms to injury; Tampa deserved to lose him after the beating they let him take against Carolina. Cadillac has been having trouble finding daylight, Michael Clayton was dropping easy catches before going down with injury, and the defense just isn't as good as it used to be. I feel terrible for jinxing the team so badly by predicting a 10-win season. Lesson learned.

Philadelphia Eagles (o/u 8.5)

Bill: Over, Ian: Over. Current Record: 6-6

Well, despite Jeff Garcia taking over in Philly, this team is in the thick of the wild card chase. The Over is going to be hard to obtain, as they'd have to win three out of a tough closing schedule of road games at Washington, the Giants, and Dallas, followed by a home game against Atlanta. It's strange -- with McNabb at the helm, this team kept finding crazy ways to lose close games. Now, they get a crucial late interception to help beat the talented Carolina Panthers. A sign of things to come? Probably not, but who knows what to expect. Hard to know what to expect from the Redskins, Giants, or Falcons on a given week. Garcia's looked relatively comfortable running the show, but he's going to have to keep it going if the Eagles are to make the playoffs.

Chicago Bears (o/u 9.0)

Bill: Over, Ian: Over. Current Record: 10-2

As expected, the defense of the Bears continues to dominate. Unexpectedly, the offense has been a roller coaster of a ride, providing an aerial assault some weeks, while providing absolutely nothing on others. Of course, in the NFC North, half of a great football team is enough to win you a division title. With the Over already accomplished, all speculation now is on how far Lovie Smith will let Rex Grossman continue to lead the offense. If the past few weeks are any indication, it looks like it may be time for a switch.

New York Giants (o/u 9.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Over. Current Record: 6-6

It's a real shame -- injuries have absolutely decimated this roster. Losing Strahan and Umenyiora has really put a damper on their pass rush. Tiki Barber hasn't run quite as effectively since breaking his thumb. Amani Toomer was another key threat on the field; defenses haven't had to do much to contain David Tyree or Tim Carter. Of course, when talking about the Giants' successes, we have to bring up Eli Manning, who still only looks good for about five minutes of each game. He has to pick it up if the Giants are to salvage their season and make the playoffs. The Under is looking likely, but the way things are going, that doesn't mean they can't make the playoffs.

Washington Redskins (o/u 9.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Under. Current Record: 4-8

Turns out that Brunell's success last season was indeed a Mirage, and Jason Campbell time is upon us. He hasn't looked too bad, but it took the coaching staff too long to realize that Brunell was washed up, and now the Redskins are essentially looking ahead to next season. At least Clinton Portis will be well rested when next season begins.

Dallas Cowboys (o/u 9.5)

Bill: Over, Ian: Under. Current Record: 8-4

All the Cowboys need to do to hit the Over is win two of their last four games, including New Orleans, Philly, and Detroit at home, and Atlanta on the road. Far from a sure thing, but it certainly seems likely. Dallas is clicking in every facet of the game. Tony Romo has done an excellent job of keeping the chains moving. He's finding T.O. and Terry Glenn when he has time, but unlike Bledsoe is doing a good job of keeping things moving forwards with shorter passes to Jason Witten and the running backs when he doesn't. The defense is playing solid if unspectacular football. A very good offense and a solid defense is enough to put you near the top of the NFC this season, which is why Dallas is probably headed for the Over.

Carolina Panthers (o/u 10.0)

Bill: Under, Ian: Over. Current Record: 6-6

Can I take that one back? What's going on with this team? How can a team with so many talented players lose so many games? Certainly, the biggest factor has been the lackluster play of Jake Delhomme. Famous for late-game heroics, he's doing the opposite lately -- losing his team games. He's already got more interceptions and more fumbles than all of last season. His passer rating on third down is at the bottom of the league. He's certainly an intense competitor, but he needs to be more effective passing the ball if this team is to make the playoffs, much less the Super Bowl, as many people predicted before the season.

Seattle Seahawks (o/u 10.5)

Bill: Over, Ian: Under. Current Record: 8-4

Amazingly, this team has a decent chance to hit the Over, despite missing Shaun Alexander and Matt Hasselbeck for extended periods of time. A 3-1 record with remaining tilts against San Francisco, Arizona, San Diego, and Tampa Bay is certainly within reach -- especially with the offense clicking once again. The team passed a major hurdle by going into Denver and beating the Broncos (of course, it didn't hurt that Jay Cutler practically handed them the game with that awful heave-ho pick returned for a touchdown). A division title is almost assured at this point, but Seattle's fighting for a home game in the playoffs, and possibly a bye week. It looks like they'll get it.

Check out the Football Outsiders comics archive and Jason's wacky Gil Thorp blog.

Loser Leaguers of the Week

QB: Since we were watching the Bears-Vikings game at 1:00, Ian and I were closely monitoring Rex Grossman and Brad Johnson's attempt to outdo each other and become Losingest Loser of Week 13. Unfortunately for Johnson, the Vikings benched him for Brooks Bollinger and Tarvaris Jackson, which meant Grossman won out. And by won out, of course, I mean matched the low Loser League score of the 2006 NFL season by busting out a -5, which tied the mark previously held by ... Rex Grossman. If Rex Grossman were your girlfriend, he wouldn't just cheat on you with an ex-boyfriend, or some random guy when she was drunk. Instead, you'd be reading the paper and you'd see that she'd been arrested for attempting to set some sort of one-day carnal relation record and she would neglect to tell you. The point I'm trying to make? When Rex Grossman is bad, he's really bad. The sad part of the whole story is that Grossman could've achieved a -6 with a single less rushing yard (which, considering he had -9 on the day, wouldn't have been a tall order); sadly, my dream of a QB with a negative passing and rushing performance must wait for another day. Johnson? He joins Grossman at the -5 club (if Jay-Z owns the 40/40 club, the -5 club would probably be owned by Skee-Lo or the not-dead guy from Milli Vanilli); realistically, he played worse, but he only had three quarters to work with instead of four.

RB: A trio of NFC backs share the honors in what was a pretty decent weeks for running backs across the league. Cadillac Williams has made showing up in this part of the column a habit; Ian's beyond yelling at the Buccaneers at this point and now glorifies their ineptitude like it's an admirable trait. Julius Jones has no such excuse -- he's quietly lost his playing time to Marion Barber. Jones had 24 yards on 11 carries and after starting off the season with four good games in five, he hasn't averaged more than 3.8 yards a carry in a single game since then, and that high-water point was Indianapolis. Thomas Jones, also quietly, is having his second straight very solid season. Sunday was just an off day against a very good run defense.

WR: Long-time loser league favorite Travis Taylor paces the field this week with a very well-played two-catch, nine-yard performance -- you have to assume that he avoided that extra yard on his second catch solely to know that a zero would get him some pub this week. OK, maybe not. Many wide receivers checked in with a sole point behind him, including Javon Walker, Roscoe Parrish, Greg Jennings, Antwaan Randle El, Ashley Lelie, and Ike Hilliard. They all had worse numbers than Josh McCown.

K: We mentioned Sea Bass before, and his -4 this week (that's two extra points to the good, three missed field goals to the bad) brings back good times for me. A few years ago, there was a playoff game in my fantasy league that I'd lost -- my opponent was up several points and I had no players left. All that needed to happen was for Sebastian Janikowski to get hurt, the Raiders to get shut out, or any other permutation of performance that did not involve Janikowski losing several points for his team. Two missed field goals later, I was miraculously in the second round. The other owner quit fantasy football for good.

Keep Choppin' Wood Award

Bill wants to give this week's award to Ben Utecht, and with good reason. David Carr deserves honorable mention for leading his team to negative (!) passing yardage. Jake Delhomme giving away the Monday night game with an interception thrown on the Eagles 1-yard line was awful.

None of it was as bad as the play of Jay Cutler though. As mentioned before, under duress against Seattle, up 10-0 late in the first half, he simply lobbed up a target-less pass that ended up right in the hands of Seattle defender Darryl Tapp, who cruised into the end zone untouched to bring Seattle back into the game. It would only be a "bad pass" if his team was down late and they were desperate for offense. Up 10-0, however, it was completely inexcusable. His final numbers were respectable only because of a short, easy completion to Brandon Marshall, who did all the work on his 70-yard touchdown romp. Welcome to the NFL Jay, you're this week's Keep Choppin' Wood Award winner!

Jinxed Bets

Bill: (0-3 last week, 23-15-1 overall)

KANSAS CITY (-3) over Baltimore

Always love Kansas City at home, especially with a great secondary against a team that can't run the ball. Baltimore may be able to shut down the run, but their secondary can be beaten, as seen on the T.J. Houshmandzadeh touchdown last week (well, by a few people, at least).

Oakland (+10) over CINCINNATI

A risky bet, sure. But Oakland's defense is GREAT. And Cincinnati's defense isn't so great. This one will be close.

Chicago (-5.5) over ST. LOUIS

If St. Louis couldn't move the ball on Arizona...

Approaching Respectability Bets

Ian: (2-1 last week, 14-22-3 overall)

Tennessee (+1.5) over HOUSTON

This line makes me want to fly to Vegas and place a wager. The Texans are favored over the Titans??? Tennessee beat the Colts last week; meanwhile Houston had negative passing yards. I don't get it.

SAN DIEGO (-7.0) over Denver

I also don't trust Jay Cutler enough to think he has a chance on the road in San Diego. Merriman's back with a vengeance, and San Diego is now thinking about home field advantage through the playoffs. Sorry Denver fans, but I think the playoffs are out of reach.

Atlanta (-3.0) over TAMPA BAY

Better draft pick ... Better draft pick ... Better draft pick ...


91 comments, Last at 10 Dec 2006, 8:46pm

#1 by throughthelook… (not verified) // Dec 06, 2006 - 11:43pm

First! in loser league

Points: 0

#2 by Justin Zeth (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:09am

Bill, after you go 0-3 this week, you really need to break the Catholic Match Girl jinx before it really messes you up bad.

Points: 0

#3 by Will Allen (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:12am

The Vikings actually have their home games against the Jets in week 15, and the Rams in week 17, and their road games this Sunday versus the Millens, and week 16 on the Thursday before Christmas at Lambeau. This is better for them because they nearly always play well at Lambeau, and the Pack can't win there this year for some reason, along with the fact that the Vikes have a much better chance to beat the Jets in Minny than they would in Jersey.

The games in Green Bay and Detroit are winnable, and if they pulled it off they likely could afford to suffer a loss to the Jets, and still not be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs going into Week 17, since they would then have a 7-4 conference record and a win over the Panthers, who could easily lose one of their next three. One of the playoff odds crunchers in this week's DVOA thread said his formula put the odds of the Vikings getting the last wild card spot at about 66%, if they beat the Lions, Packers and Rams, while losing to the Jets.

Now watch the Millens win on Sunday, and deprive me of my biggest preseason hope, that the Vikings would play a meaningful game in week 17.

Points: 0

#4 by J.R. (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:13am

Thanks to McNabb I have to start one of these QB's in the playoffs this week (wire not an option):

J.P. Losman @ NYJ
Jason Campbell vs Phi
Joey Harrington vs NE

Which one?

Points: 0

#5 by Kyle (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:20am

"to the guy in the Audibles thread who complained that we were criticizing Eli for a game where he had good stats? Watch that slant in the end zone that Aaron Glenn dropped ten times as penance."

Absurd. Absolutely absurd. Eli Manning throws two very bad passes in an overall clean, effective and moderately productive performance, and yet the entire focus of the Eli commentary is on the poor throws. Sure, lets take someone's two bad incompletions (emphasis on incompletion, for I have yet to find Tony Romo feel the wrath of throwing a ball through Gibril Wilson's hands) and ignore the other 60-70 offensive snaps!

While the "someone said" comment is not addressing me, I did say in the Audibles thread that you cannot possibly pick out one or two poor plays amidst many many more good plays and then judge his performance solely on the small amount of "bad". Its a case of framing the evidence so that it fits your opinion, rather than examining all the evidence and then forming a opinion. Like I said, jump on him when he plays poorly, but nitpicking of this magnitude demonstrates either an agenda or dislike. The vast majority of the time, this site achieves its goal of proper statistical analysis and intelligent, insightful commentary. Apparently this one instance doesn't fall into the vast majority.

Points: 0

#6 by Kyle (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:28am

Apologies for the double post, but Dr. Z's latest column slipped my mind until the second after I hit "submit". In his Dallas blurb, when discussing Tony Romo's subpar performance via a personal pass chart he keeps, he states his opinion of Eli's game: "Eli, against the Cowboys, had what I consider an excellent game. He had two BP (bad pass) marks and no picks". I wouldn't use the word excellent, for a team should score when they get within the 5, although that's an entirely different issue slash problem with the football team. Regardless, from Section 325, I personally saw 2 very bad throws and 1 or 2 bad throws out of 36 total attempts. Dr. Z counted 2 bad throws. The point here is to simply emphasize the fact that you cannot pass judgement based on the bad passes when they're such a small minority of pass attempts (2 of 36? 3 of 36?).

Points: 0

#7 by Devin McCullen (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:43am

Why are you guys hating on Skee-Lo? He gave us a fun little song.

I wish I was a little bit taller
I wish I was a baller
I wish I had a girl
If I did I would call her
I wish I had a rabbit in a hat

(That's all I remember)

Points: 0

#8 by JQM (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:18am

I mostly agree with posts 5 & 6. I don't think we need to make too much of Eli's good game, as I'm worried it will continue to be a rarity. Still, doesn't make sense to tear into him this week, as he didn't cost them the game. Save it for all of the other weeks when he does. I imagine it's partly just frustration on Bill's part, but the teeth-gnashing about Coughlin and the Cowboys game is more in line with the reactionary NY papers. The Giants were healthier and thus played their best game since the first Cowboy game. If they continue to play like Sunday, they'll be ok going into the playoffs. The worry should instead be that the Giants team that played Sunday won't show up 3 of the next 4 weeks.

Points: 0

#9 by Fourth (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:24am

"Better draft pick...better draft pick..."

As a Dolphins fan, I feel like I've been rooting for losses for the last 3 years, probably because most of the time I have been. After a 7th loss in the AFC, it's officially time to start rooting for losses again.

Point is, should the NFL have a draft lottery?

I say take the 12 worst teams and give them all an equal chance or slightly weighted lottery. Then the almost-playoff teams and playoff teams as usual.

NFL lottery: superfun, superexciting, superfair, and a superbowl for losers! (Plus, we could still pull for our teams to win!)

Points: 0

#10 by Becephalus (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:35am

Why oh why always everywhere with the NFC North jokes. For quite a while the AFC East and NFC West have been worse. This year the NFC West is just an embarassment in DVOA. The AFC South has also occasionally been worse. I mean I know DET is bad, but CHI GB and MIN seem to rotate 1.5 repectable teams between them if not 2.

Points: 0

#11 by Marko (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:41am

I'm not so sure the Bears will be resting starters in Week 17 even if they have home field advantage sewn up. They did that last year after they were locked in as the #2 seed, and then after a bye week, they came out flat and played poorly against Carolina in the playoffs. I think they will try to keep the starters sharp this year by playing them much more in the last game. This applies to the players who are healthy; they probably will rest players who are banged up.

One variable in this scenario also is the QB situation. If by week 17 Grossman is out and Griese is in at QB, their offense will be even less likely to rest starters, since Griese will need all the reps he can get with the starters on offense.

As for the Lions, has everyone heard about the planned protest by Lions fans at their last home game, Dec. 24 against the Bears? A group of angry Lions fans wants fans to walk out with 8 minutes left in the second quarter to protest William Clay Ford's refusal to fire Matt Millen. Click on my name for details. This follows last years "Orange Out," when fans attending a Lions home game against the Bengals were urged to wear orange, the Bengals' color, in protest of the refusal to fire Millen. Before that game against the Bengals, there also was a "Millen Man March."

Points: 0

#12 by the K (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:06am

Gentlemen. As we prepare for the stretch and the final week of the fantasy regular season (win I'm in, lose and I'm probably in anyway) I have a dilemma that I think a lot of owners would like to be able to call a problem. Who do I start opposite Steven Jackson, Reggie Bush or Deuce McAllister?

Points: 0

#13 by Bill Barnwell // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:29am

#5/#6 - I think you're reading too deep into my criticism, which isn't of Eli. It's of the guy who mentioned that we should just pay attention to the stats since Eli had a good day statistically. My point was that there was evidence that Eli still had a ways to go that wasn't statistical.

Points: 0

#14 by Kyle (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:12am

Re #13:
No worries, as I probably should've made it more clear that my comments were fueled by a string of criticism this week on Eli, in articles and in posts. Meaning I came off harsher than I intended.

Writers/readers on this site pick Eli apart when he plays poorly (deserved), plays decent (partially deserved but somewhat unnecessary), and plays great (whaaa?!). I completely agree that 24/36 does not tell the tale of his two horrendous decisions inside the 5, but the stats demonstrate Eli made sound decisions for the majority of the football game, which produced an accurate, effective and moderately productive day. If the other guy argued that Eli's statistical day is evidence he officially cured what ails him, then he's simply wrong. The game serves merely as evidence that he played well and, if he turns this into a trend (...why do not see this happening?), he'll be fine.

And just to put this out in the open as a way of venting, yes, part of my anger towards the negativity lodged in Eli's direction this week is the fact that Tony Romo can play a pretty bad football game and I'm still subjected to Tony Romo Fellatio Fest 2006 in every sort of sports media.

Points: 0

#15 by Jimmy Two Times (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 4:31am

J.R. (Post #4)

Yikes. I guess I'd go with Harrington, but it's kind of razor-thin. Current betting lines have the Dolphins scoring two touchdowns, and with Sammy Morris as their back I'd guess those will have to come through the air.

the K (Post #12)
I'm a bit confused by your question; I think you're asking whether to start Bush or Deuce, though I'm not sure why you mentioned Steven Jackson. Jackson is clearly the best of those 3 guys, even in a tough matchup week.

As for Deuce vs. Bush, I have to believe that Deuce is still the better start. Deuce still looks like the primary rusher, and Reggie the primary backfield receiving option. Now, against SF, with its terrible team speed, that's a formula for a Bush breakout; against Dallas, though, Reggie's outlook isn't quite as rosy. Deuce is the much more reliable bet.

I would say, though, that if you're an underdog you might want to consider starting Bush anyway. Deuce has no chance of putting up 30 points ever again. If the Hail Mary is what you need, then start Reggie. If you're looking for the most likely guy to score 12, though, then Deuce is the best bet.

Points: 0

#16 by Jimmy Two Times (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 4:40am

So, questions of my own:

Warrick Dunn or Deuce McAllister?

Bo Scaife or Heath Miller?

Jeff Reed or Martin Gramatica?

Right now I'm going with McAllister, Miller, and Gramatica, but I don't feel that great about it.

Points: 0

#17 by the K (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:12am

#14 Yup, sorry for not being clear. Jackson automatically starts and at the other position, it's Deuce or Bush. Was leaning twoards Deuce as I think I need more consistency than a home run, I've got a pretty solid team. Romo, Jackson, Deuce, Boldin, Chad Johnson, Vinatieri, Seahakws D are my starters.

For your choices in @15, you might not feel great about it, but if it makes you feel any better your choices are probably what I'd pick!

Points: 0

#18 by zip (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:13am


And a '64 Impala.

Points: 0

#19 by zip (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:17am


The AFC East plays the NFC North this year and is winning thus far 11-4. Therefore, the AFC East sucks less than the NFC North.

Points: 0

#20 by MCS (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:32am

Playoffs start this week. I have to find someone to start ooposite LJ in my backfield.

Ronnie Brown - Out
Laurence Maroney - Questionable
Morris - Minimal carries because of Alexander.

How likely is Maroney to play?

Points: 0

#21 by Goathead (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:47am

Kiwanuka needs a mention in keep chopping wood. Not only did he fumble, untouched, crossing the 40, but he had a wall of blockers in front of him (hence nobody to recover his fumble). Without the fumble the G's would have been at least on the Dallas 40, up one TD already, and with huge momentum. Instead the game is tied a few plays later.

Points: 0

#22 by DB (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:50am

RE 7 and 17 : I think you missed "wit' a bat" as in "Rabbit in a hat, wit' a bat, and a '64 Impala".

Points: 0

#23 by joel in providence (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:55am

anyone else think this season is missing something? like the complete lack of one or two truly complete teams that can dominate? that's why 2004 was so great... philly, pittsburgh and new england were all so friggin good and just off the charts in dvoa. this year there's just no alpha dog in the NFL.

Points: 0

#24 by Dash (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 9:58am

#4 - I think Campbell has a slight edge over Harrington

#12 - Deuce; I agree with the comments in #14

#16 - I agree: Deuce, Heath, & Gramatica

#20 - Is Ciatrick Fason available? If so, I'd suggest picking him up, dropping Morris, and starting him, since Taylor is doubtful against the Lions. The Patriots' injury list is a black hole of any good info. You'll have to wait until game time to find out, I'm sure. I lost Brown as well, and have Maroney, but I'm staying away from him this week (due to injury + MIA defense)

Points: 0

#25 by Trieu (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 10:14am

Just checked TiVo: It was indeed Antonio Pierce "covering" Jason Witten on that long pass play at the end of the Cowboys-Giants game. (Will Demps was the other guy in coverage.)

Points: 0

#26 by Schrodinger_cat (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 10:28am

First week of fantasy playoffs. I usually ride the horses that brought me, but Bulger's been very mediocre lately and is playing Chicago...should I start Leinart instead?

Points: 0

#27 by Tom S (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 10:29am

"... Not even tasty toast; he’s the crumbs that get stuck in the toaster and get burnt over and over again. He needs to be cleaned out."

Wow! The imagery is simply astounding. I am at a loss for words.

Points: 0

#28 by MCS (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 10:37am

Dash - I should have added that our wire closed 4 weeks ago. The only changes we can make are if a player goes on IR.

Points: 0

#29 by Adam B. (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 11:44am

16: Deuce, don't care, and Grammatica.

26: I don't believe in riding the horses; I think that loyalty is a distraction to clear thinking. This week, Leinart has the higher upside, and is the proper risk-accepting move.

With Ronnie Brown out and Westbrook, TO and DJax locks to start, who's my flex player this week:

Travis Henry @ HOU
Sammy Morris v NE
Santana Moss v PHI

Points: 0

#30 by Starshatterer (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:05pm

Becephalus (#10 )--

Why oh why always everywhere with the NFC North jokes. For quite a while the AFC East and NFC West have been worse.

If by "for quite a while" you mean "strictly during the 2005 season," then yes, the AFC East has been worse than the NFC North.

This season, in addition to the W-L margin Zip cites (#19 ), the AFC East blows away the NFC North in combined weighted DVOA (+4.3 vs -15.9). And for 2004 and earlier, the AFC East was pretty darn strong for quite a while.

Points: 0

#31 by Fnor (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:10pm

I just noticed there's a LL team named "He Dislike Me Strongly."

That person deserves to win. Every week. Forever.

Points: 0

#32 by Rich Conley (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:12pm

It seems to me, that with the similarity scores, you've got 2 recievers that support the theory that Chambers is the problem (Horn and Moulds) and 3 that say the QB is the problem. That doesnt seem convincing to me.

(although I agree)

Points: 0

#33 by MR (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:19pm

Educated observers of fantasy football:

D Brees or T Romo? Does your opinion change if Colston and/or Horn return to play?

J Addai, C Houston, or M Jones-Drew to team with Rudi?


Points: 0

#34 by Rich Conley (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:20pm

Bill, to reinforce what I just said, two of the other three bad recievers under bad QBs, are Jerry Rice, and Roy Williams.

I almost feel your numbers come to the exact opposite conclusion you're going for.

Points: 0

#35 by andrewm (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:27pm

the criticism of Eli for the almost-interception on the goal-line - you've said it a number of times, but if you look at the play, it was Plaxico's fault for a poorly run route. He should have screened the db from the ball with his body, and it would have been a td.

No biggie, and given his recent suckiness it's strange to defend Eli, but them's the facts as I saw 'em.

Points: 0

#36 by Bill Barnwell // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:39pm


If they were Jerry Rice and Roy Williams in their prime, that would be one thing.

Instead, it's the very end of Jerry Rice's career and Roy Williams' rookie season.

Points: 0

#37 by Dash (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:39pm

MCS - I'd roll the dice with Maroney then, and just hope questionable means "we're trying to make you not game plan for him", instead of him really being that hurt. I don't think Morris will do much of anything now.

#26 - Go with Leinart - I think Bulger will have a tough time doing anything vs. CHI

#29 - Moss, with Henry a close second

#33 - Romo seems to be more boom or bust. I'd go with Brees just because as much as I wish it weren't true, I think the Saints will be passing from behind Sunday. I'd go with Jones-Drew against Indy for your 2nd RB, due to matchups.

I need a RB2 (to pair with Gore since R. Brown's out) out of: M. Barber (vs. NO), Addai (at JAX), Maroney (at MIA), Sammy Morris (vs. NE), or C. Fason (at DET). I'm leaning towards Barber, but debating Fason or Addai. Any thoughts?

Points: 0

#38 by Disco Stu (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:41pm

Re 33- I have the same connundrum (quandary?) and I'm going with Brees-Romo had a bad game vs NYG and maybe defenses are getting a read on him...

curious to know what others thinkg here

Points: 0

#39 by Schrodinger_cat (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:42pm

#37: I'm going with Barber this week.

Points: 0

#40 by doktarr (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 12:56pm

Playoff time, and my top seeded team looks extremely shaky, thanks to bad matchups for my stud QB/RB combo that has carried me so far.

At TE: Desmond Clark @STL, or Cooley vs. PHI? I switched from using Clark to using Cooley primarily at the midpoint of the season, but the matchups here have me considering switching back for one game.

Start three of these four wideouts:
Kennison vs. Baltimore
Branch @Arizona
Devery Henderson @Dallas
Antonio Bryant vs. GB

I think Branch is a no-brainer to start, but I can argue all three of the others. I could also pick up Marty Booker (vs. NE) or Mark Clayton (@KC). Yeah, it's a pretty deep league.

Points: 0

#41 by Fourth (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:14pm

Go with Booker, NE doesn't cover #2's.

Points: 0

#42 by MJK (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:15pm

Re Maroney:

The hit last week that injured him didn't look bad--he got up, but then signaled that he wanted to be taken out. He never returned. Word on the sideline was that he had "the wind knocked out of him" and his return was "probable" but he never returned.

Apparently, he's been practicing this week, and going full speed at practices, and has told reporters that he feels fine. However, he's "Questionable" and the Pats injury report indicates that he's missed at least a portion of practice. Some newspapers are reporting that he had a concussion, but that's just speculation. The injury report says the injury is to his back.

Looks to me like he's a little dinged up, but can play. Still, I would be careful about starting him. The Pats have four other completely healthy backs on the roster (Dillon, Faulk, Evans, and now Pass is off the PUP), all of whom know the system well and have had decent production in the past, so my guess is that if Maroney is suffering any ill effects at all, Belichick is likely to use him sparingly if at all to avoid risking aggravating his injuries right before the playoffs. I certainly don't expect to see him back there returnign kicks (unless Faulk gets hurt) which is where he's been most productive so far this year.

Points: 0

#43 by Eddo (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:18pm

40: In my opinion, Bryant is your strongest WR option against that terrible Packer defense. I agree that Booker might also be a decent one-week pickup, as the rest of your WR matchups leave a lot to be desired.

Points: 0

#44 by Justanothersteve (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 1:38pm

#9 - Good idea on the draft lottery. They could televise it during the Pro Bowl half time, thereby giving NFL fans east of Hawaii at least one reason to watch the game (at least until the lottery is settled).

Points: 0

#45 by CaffeineMan (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:16pm

Down to the wire in fantasy. Gotta have my picks in by 7PM EST. Need a second WR. My first one is Santana Moss. The choices:

Bernard Berrian @STL
Derrick Mason @KC
Reche Caldwell @MIA
Braylon Edwards @PIT

Ordinarily I'd go Caldwell, as Brady is starting to lean on him a bit, but it's at Miami.

Berrian would be attractive against STL's pass defense if not for the Grossman factor. Plus, STL's run defense is bad as well, so there may be no need for CHI to go long.

Edwards has been inconsistent, although DVOA says PIT is bad against #1 WR's. And who knows about the QB situation.

Mason is going against KC, which does not have a good pass defense, but they're listed as #1 against #1 WR's.


Points: 0

#46 by Becephalus (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:23pm

19 I was talking over the last 4 or 5 years. Years during which very few held it against the Pats that their division was worst or second worst in the league. ANd the NFC West has been the worst almost every year since I started paying attetion. Yes the NFC North is usually 4-6 which is regretable, but it is almost never 8 and isn't 8 this year. Yet stil it is always the butt of jokes.

Points: 0

#47 by Rick (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:32pm

Should I consider starting Marcel Shipp ahead of Warrick Dunn or Rudi Johnson?

Is Marques Colston finally coming back this week?

Should I be tempted to start Garrard over Brady?

Points: 0

#48 by MCS (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:34pm

Dash - Interesting question. I'd probably go Addai over Fason. Jax has more to prepare for with trying to c
contain all the Indy weapons.

I think Barber trumps 'em both though.

Doktarr - I have the exact same dilemma. Right now I trustr Campbell more than I trust Grossman.

Points: 0

#49 by MCS (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:38pm

sorry for the typos

Points: 0

#50 by Becephalus (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 2:50pm


AE 3 1 1 (7t)
AN 7 8 (2t) 3
AS 5 (4t) 4 5
AW 2 2 (2t) (1t)
NE 4 (4t)(5t) (1t)
NN 8 (4t) 7 6
NS 1 (4t)(5t) 4
NW 6 3 8 (7t)

Going by wins which granted is a horrible stat to use, but I could not find the old DVOA numbers. It looks like I was wrong about the AFC East by this measure. It also looks like I was wrong and maybe the NFC North deserves the dersion. Perhaps I am letting the 95-01 years cloud my judgement. OH well I guess I will try not to complin about this anymore.

I think mainly my annoyance arose during the 03 and 05 seasons when the division really was clearly not the worst, and people still trotted out the same things. Of course this year, when the NN still gets jokes while the NW is perhaps the worst division ever according to DVOA. I would love to see an article comparing the divisions total DVOA since the realignment (2001).

Points: 0

#51 by Pacifist Viking (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:06pm

"a handful of fantastic plays interspersed with game after game of shambolic performances."

This has been my experience all year. It's led to some boring and unpleasant games. Consistency seems to be a real problem for a lot of teams this year. Every week I'll look forward to a particular game, then find it very dull watching.

Points: 0

#52 by Starshatterer (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:08pm

Becephalus (#46 )--

I was talking over the last 4 or 5 years. Years during which very few held it against the Pats that their division was worst or second worst in the league.

Since 2002, when the NFL entered its current alignment, here's the combined DVOA of the AFC East compared to the NFC North (simply adding the "Total DVOA" from the various years):

Year AFC East NFC North
2002 +39.9 -56.2
2003 +22.0 -12.9
2004 +77.9 -34.1
2005 -33.8 -37.1 we were both wrong. At no point was the AFC East weaker than the NFC North. You were wrong to claim they were "over the last 4 or 5 years," and I was to even grant them 2005 as an exception.

Funny how last year, everyone talked about how woeful the AFC "Least" was, but DVOA says that the NFC North was even worse.

Points: 0

#53 by B (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:15pm

41: The Dolphin whom the Patriots can't cover is Welker.

Points: 0

#54 by Kal (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:16pm

I think the difference is who the AFC East was playing - they primarily play other AFC teams, so if they're bad they look even worse against the stronger AFC. Against the NFC, well, it's not as horrifyingly bad.

The NFC North is where my Bears are, but they've looked horrible both on and off the field. Between Favre's stupidity of retirement, the Lions ineptitude everywhere, the Vikings getting rid of Culpepper, their idiot coach and their idiot players, and the Bears having success in spite of historically bad QB performance...well, they're no AFC East. At least the AFC East has had 2 superbowl winning teams in the last 4 years.

Points: 0

#55 by MJK (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:40pm

I think part of the problem with the AFC East is that over the last few years, the AFC East teams have tended to start poorly and finish strong (possibly related to the fact that 3 of the 4 of them play outdoors in cold weather conditions). Everyone makes their judgements about a division by about week 8 at the latest, and then tend to pay less attention when a team comes on strong late, especially if their playoff chances are slim or gone. For example, this year, Miami, Buffalo, and (to a lesser degree) the Jets all started very poorly, and so everyone decided that the Pats would walk to a division crown and that the AFC East was bad. In the last few weeks, they've all come on stronger--Buffalo is playing good teams to the wire, the Jets are in good position for a wildcard, and even Miami was starting to re-surge until last week. But no one noticed.

Points: 0

#56 by morganja (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 3:41pm

Am I missing something here? New Orleans is 24th DVOA against the pass, Dallas 7nth. Romo has better DVOA than Brees. Both are reltively better against the run. Shouldn't these DVOA stats predict that Romo will have a better day?

Points: 0

#57 by Luz (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 4:15pm

Burleson has become a decent punt returner, but that’s about it

i'm suprised that you'd be brave enough to brush off the contributions of a decent punt returner when so many steelers fans frequent this site...

Points: 0

#58 by Will Allen (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 4:30pm

I like Romo a lot, but one has to recognize that there is a lot more data to have confidence regarding Brees' consistency, as opposed to The Saviour of Dallas. If Brees recovered well from injury, everybody knew he was a relably good qb, whereas Romo is still in the stage of the career where defensive coordinators are probing for weaknesses to be exploited. Toss in that Reggie Bush may be on the verge of consistently making some spectacular plays, and Brees may well outperform Romo, even given the differences in defenses.

Points: 0

#59 by Gil (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 5:08pm

Tatum Bell v SD or Cedric Houston v. BUF?

Points: 0

#60 by Becephalus (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 5:15pm

52 How does the NFC west do during that span? :)

Points: 0

#61 by BadgerT1000 (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 6:12pm

The Packers running game was nonexistent in games 9, 10, and 11 (Minnesota/New England, Seattle) averaging about 40 yards per game. The yards by Green against the Jets were in garbage time as New York already was up by a kajillion points before the Packer offense did anything. My guess is that the Jets defense just MAY have eased up a bit.

The running game has been a non-factor in a majority of games this season.

Points: 0

#62 by esmooths (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 8:24pm

Ok, fantasy advice needed for playoffs week 1:

Which QBs (need 2)?:
T. Green v. Balt
D. Carr v. Tenn
J. Kitna v. Min
J. Losman @ Jets

My current choices are Green and Carr, but Green's matchup scares me and Carr last week did too.

Would it be worth sticking with?

Points: 0

#63 by Eli (not verified) // Dec 07, 2006 - 11:55pm

too busy studying for finals to put much thought into this, so all help would be much appreciated--any advice? i need 2 wr, 2 rbs and 1 flex from the following:

larry fitzgerald vs. sea;
marvin harrison vs. jax;
donald driver vs. san fran;
marty booker vs. pats (would pick him up for this matchup);
frank gore vs. packers;
cedric houston vs. buffalo

any thoughts?

Points: 0

#64 by DschAf (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 12:37am

All I have to say is 1.3. How does that not even get an honorable mention for the Keep Choppin’ Wood Award?

Points: 0

#65 by Smartmonies (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 1:37am

TAKE THE CARDINALS +3.5 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Points: 0

#66 by Darth Goofy (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 11:04am

FF question, 1pt for 10 yards passing and rushing, 6pts for tds:

Start 1 from:
Rex Grossman
John Kitna
Trent Green

Start 1 from:
Joseph Addai
Tatum Bell
Willis McGahee

I am thinking about starting Kitna, as his is the only opponent that doesn't scare me and starting McGahee for the same reason... although I am considering Addai... because all he does is win games...

Points: 0

#67 by Darth Goofy (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 11:18am

RE #33:

I'd start Brees regardless and M Jones-Drew. All Brees does is win games and M Jones-Drew is going against the Colts... always a good RB situation.

Points: 0

#68 by chris clark (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 12:45pm

re 55:

Yes, starting strong and finishing weak gets a conference better press than vice versa, but it is still hard on fans. The AFC West has done that this year, and it's really tough watching 2 teams that looked wildcard bound self-destruct. Curiously, they aren't even notoriously bad cold weather teams. I'm still hoping for at least 1 wild-card from the AFC West, but am not confident about it at all.

Points: 0

#69 by asg (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 2:56pm

OK, here we go -- my running back dilemma spectacular. In addition to LT, who do I start: Dillon, Gore, or Barber III?

Points: 0

#70 by asg (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 2:59pm

33: Brees and MJD.

47: No, no, and no.

63: Don't bother getting Booker. Start the other 5 guys on your list.

66: Kitna and Addai.

Points: 0

#71 by jonnyblazin (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 3:03pm

Its playoffs time and I'm conflicted.

Gore vs GB
Jones-Drew vs IND

Normally I'd never bench LJ, but both Gore and Jones-Drew are going against defenses that are oh so soft.


Romo vs NO
Hasselbeck vs ARZ

I fear the Seahawks will jump out to a big lead against the Cards, and just pound it down their throats on the ground, limiting Hasses opportunities.

Points: 0

#72 by Nick (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 3:16pm

First week of fantasy playoffs, need help with a flex decision...

Cotchery v. BUF
C. Houston v. BUF
Antonio Bryant v. GB

Thanks alot. I apprecaite any help.

Points: 0

#73 by asg (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 3:50pm

71: I'd go with LJ and MJD. Gore is good but he's only got a few touchdowns on the year. I'd also go with Romo.

72: Cotchery, probably. Normally the rule is to start RBs at flex whenever possible since they have more touches, but Cotchery's been pretty reliable this year.

Points: 0

#74 by Adam B. (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 5:51pm

66: Any good free agents out there? Otherwise, Johnny Kit.
71: Sit MoJo. Taylor might get the TDs. NEVER SIT LJ. And go with Romo.
72: Crotchety has been hot, but Houston's even better.

And I'm still not sure:
With Ronnie Brown out and Westbrook, TO and DJax locks to start, who’s my flex player this week:

Travis Henry @ HOU
Sammy Morris v NE
Santana Moss v PHI

(And is this a "if you just need 10, use Henry, but if I need a chance at 20, take Moss?")

Points: 0

#75 by Nick (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 6:23pm

73 and 74 - thanks for the help.

74 - I would almost definitely go with Henry. Not bad but not a great matchup. Lendale White should be inactive or not playing much Sunday. Morris has a tough go and the fins could likely be playing from behind alot and throwing the ball. Boom or bust with Moss.

Points: 0

#76 by Athelas (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 7:12pm

Tom Casale of just said on espnbostonradio that he believes someone in the Patriots told Mike Reiss that Maroney is NOT PLAYING this Sunday--FWIW

Points: 0

#77 by cjfarls (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 9:02pm

OKay, RB question - pick 2:
Dunn @ TB
Norwood @ TB
Benson @ StL
Dillon @ Mia
Caddy vs. Atlanta

Points: 0

#78 by cjfarls (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 9:05pm

Re 71: I'd go LJ & Gore
Re 74: I'd go Henry - but if you need 20 take the dice roll on Moss

Points: 0

#79 by thad (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 9:10pm

"but unlike Bledsoe is doing a good job of keeping things moving forwards with shorter passes to Jason Witten and the running backs when he doesn’t."

For whatever reason, Dallas just does not throw to the rb's.
All year: 23 catches, 11 FD's
since first Giants game 14 catches, 7 fd's

As opposed to the Saints: 124 catches 45 FD's.

Points: 0

#80 by thad (not verified) // Dec 08, 2006 - 9:12pm

here is everyone, sorted by receptions

Position Name # Rec Yds / Rec 1st Dn Rec's
New Orleans 124 7.7 45
Philadelphia 101 8.2 35
Saint Louis 97 8.7 34
Washington 95 8 36
Green Bay 93 7.4 32
Minnesota 88 8.3 33
Detroit 80 8.1 30
Tampa Bay 76 6.7 18
Houston 73 5.7 17
San Francisco 71 7.2 23
Carolina 69 7.7 17
New England 65 8.7 29
San Diego 64 8.6 24
Pittsburgh 63 7.5 22
New York (N) 59 9.5 25
Indianapolis 58 7.7 18
Jacksonville 57 9.6 20
Baltimore 55 6.2 14
Chicago 52 4.9 9
Arizona 52 7 18
Denver 49 5.8 13
Miami 45 8.4 15
Cleveland 43 7.6 14
Kansas City 42 10.9 21
Atlanta 42 7.3 18
Cincinnati 41 5.8 10
Seattle 40 5.4 7
Buffalo 40 6.8 9
Tennessee 35 5.2 6
Oakland 34 8.4 13
New York (A) 32 6.9 8
Dallas 23 12.1 11

Points: 0

#81 by Compucrazy (not verified) // Dec 09, 2006 - 3:57am

Playoff question. I'm already feeling stupid as I sat Willie Parker this week for the Playoffs. (Though to be fair my other backs are Frank Gore and LT).
Now I need receiver help. which of three of these guys should I start? Roy Williams, Plaxico Burress, Torry Holt(who until last week felt off a cliff) Donald Driver and Jason Witten. Which three do i start?

Points: 0

#82 by Saint Bernard (not verified) // Dec 09, 2006 - 10:40am

#81: I'd go for Williams, Burress and Holt. Conventional wisdom would probably be Driver over Holt, but SF have been good against whoever Walt Harris matches up with recently, and with Spencer likely out, he'll probably be on Driver. Plus Chicago are worst against #1 WRs, according to DVOA.

My own question is on RBs. I have LDT in one slot, but who do you think is the best bet out of Kevin Jones vs MIN, Ladell Betts vs PHI and DeAngelo Williams vs NYG?

Points: 0

#83 by Nick (not verified) // Dec 09, 2006 - 5:13pm

82 - I would go with Ladell. Jones should be effective catching passes out of the backfield but will have a rough go on the ground. Deangelo is tough to call because Foster is back. Philly can be smoked on the ground.

Points: 0

#84 by hector (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 1:44am

72, I think Houston has to be your play, unless we get late word that Mangini has reshuffled the deck again. You can run inside on this small Buffalo front, and that's Houston's game.

Points: 0

#85 by Sid (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 6:41am

first game of playoffs, need some help.

QB (2): Rex Grossman (at StL), Philip Rivers (Den), Jay Cutler (at SD), Jeff Garcia @Was)
RB (3): Justin Fargas (@Cin), Leon Washington (Buf), Wali Lundy (Ten), Shaun Alexander (@Ari), Willis McGahee (@Jets), Deuce McAllister (@Dal)
WR (4): Chad Johnson (Oak), Steve Smith (Giants), Devery Henderson (@Dal), Lee Evans (@Jets), Isaac Bruce (Chi), Eric Parkerer (Den)*,
TE (1): Chris Cooley (Phi), LJ Smith (@Was)
W/R: one of the RBs or WRs not chosen above

*Basically SD's only healthy WR.

and that's basically it, aside a choice at IDP.


Points: 0

#86 by nick (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 12:07pm


qb. Garcia.
rb. Alexander, Deuce, McGahee if playing and active.
wr. chad, steve smith, devery henderson, lee evans
te. hard to say, both good - probably cooley.
w/r. i think i would go with fargas.

Points: 0

#87 by Sid (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 12:23pm

I think McGahee will play, but he may be limited.

thanks for the help. Anyone else?

Points: 0

#88 by asg (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 1:57pm

So what should it be: Gore, Dillon, or Barber III? Pick 1.

Points: 0

#89 by Sid (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 1:58pm


Points: 0

#90 by asg (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 1:59pm

87: I agree with nick's picks; I'd start Rivers at QB2 and Cooley at TE.

Points: 0

#91 by Sid (not verified) // Dec 10, 2006 - 8:46pm

sorry, it was too late when you posted. I ended up doing this:

QB (2): Philip Rivers (Den), Jeff Garcia @Was)
RB (3): Shaun Alexander (@Ari), Willis McGahee (@Jets), Deuce McAllister (@Dal)
WR (4): Chad Johnson (Oak), Steve Smith (Giants), Devery Henderson (@Dal), Lee Evans (@Jets)

TE (1) LJ Smith (@Was)
W/R: Eric Parker (Den)

I was mostly pleased with the results. S.Smith, Parker, and Alexander didn't do much for me though.

Points: 0

Save 10%
& Support NO
Support Football Outsiders' independent media and NO NO. Use promo code WRITERS to save 10% on any FO+ membership and give half the cost of your membership to tip NO.