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Commentary From the Edge - Week 3
Kevin Ratterree
September 19, 2006

Oh no.  Now the Bears have an offense.  Stop the presses, and change the lines.  They absolutely look like a Super Bowl favorite so far.  And if the Grossman show doesn't turn out to be an mirage?  Yikes!  Did we see that coming?  You might want to grab a Bear for your fantasy team this year if you still can. I can't believe I just said that....................and meant it.  I grabbed Berrian easily in two of my leagues last week, but he and Grossman and Clark will all have believers this week, and will likely be snatched up in all large and many smaller leagues.   Go ahead.  We won't laugh.

Last week was crucial for waiver wire pick-ups, if Sunday's games were any indication.  Cotchery, Colston, and Berrian were all popular waiver wire picks, and owners that plucked them were treated to instant validation as all exceeded their surprising week one production.  It seems many times these week one wonders come back to earth in week two, but this years crop at the top went 2-2 .  Congratulations if you were savvy enough to take a shot on one of these guys, and even more so if you actually plugged them into your starting lineup.

And if you drafted one of those guys in the last rounds?  Spend the week nailing your league-mates that laughed or had a puzzled look on their face when you picked some guy named Jericho Cotchery.  "Oh, the Jets 3rd string receiver?  Uh yeah, good luck with that dude!"  They were so smug a few weeks ago.  Now it is your turn to inflict your pain.  Just in case he flames out after week 3, you need to get in your shots while the getting is good.

Who woke up Amani Toomer?

The Antonio Gates situation does not look good.  He is still the most solid play at the position, but until the game plan expands he just isn't going to get enough opportunities to be a huge play most weeks.  Looks like drafters may have overpaid, as he looks only slightly better than the rest of the field.  The glory days are over for the time being anyway.  And I am a Gates owner, so I am allowed to make "outlandish" statements like that.

So you benched Galloway after he got shut out in week one, huh?  Gotta love that fantasy football Gotcha!

If you have Wali Lundy on your roster, you probably wish you had benched him after week one.  Looks like that may be the safe play from here on out.  The last thing you need is a player that gets no touches, on a team that can't run the ball in the first place.  The schedule gets easier, but the Lundy train appears derailed.  Much like Shanahan, we have no clue what Kubiak is thinking.

Well, the fantasy football world is yet to be rocked with that season ending injury we all pray won't happen.  But the Steve Smith and Houshmandzadeh injuries are pecking away at my teams chances like buzzards at the eyeballs of casino cheats dumped in the desert.  It is much more of a slow painful death, rather than the shocking but merciful sudden loss of a season ender.  Tough call as to which I hate worse.

On the bright side let me pimp Frank Gore some more.  If you wanted to play it cool last week, and make sure about Gore before you blasted your league for letting you steal him back in the draft, carry on.  You could have drafted him in the first round, and still come out smelling like a rose.  Absolutely the most influential player drafted (or passed over) this season.  Here's hoping you were in the right side of that one.  Some people in early drafts got him embarrassingly cheap. 

I told you last week not to panic if your studs were week one duds.  If the disaster continued through week 2 you can now call it a trend.  You may begin to worry, and start planning an alternative solution.  Waiver wire picks are crucial in the first few weeks.  You aren't likely to find someone to replace that stud running back you thought you had, but this week you should be looking ahead to bailing on some guys if next week is no better.  I am going to suggest that you consider bailing on all Raiders including Lamont Jordan.  You won't likely get anything much in trade, but maybe you can find someone with as big a turd as yours and just trade turds.  At least the other guys turd doesn't play for the Raiders.

Here is a short list of the guys I do not think are going to pull out of the tailspin:  Culpepper, C. Benson, C. Brown, Droughns, -ALL RAIDERS-, Lee Evans, Burleson, Bradford, Gates, and possibly C. Williams.  ( I would like to see how Caddy does against a lesser defense before I get too depressed, but if he tanks against an easy defense his trade value will take an even bigger hit than it already has)  I'm not telling you to necessarily trade or drop these guys.  But it seems clear all were over-rated in this years fantasy drafts.  If they have a good game next week I would be looking to move them.  Not exactly ground shaking information, but if you are reading this column you have come to expect little in the way of useful information anyway.  And I would hate to disappoint you.

Crazy as Hell Pick of the week

I'm 2-0 after last weeks fiasco.  And most people with common sense would probably consider just trashing this segment of the column, and try something different.  Maybe like just picking a winner straight up for the survival contests. But I'm not one of those people.  I'm no quitter.  I have 15 weeks left to embarrass myself in a public forum, and I say let God's will be done. 

I hate to pick a game with the same team two weeks in a row.  Especially when I was wrong the first week.  But I just call 'em like I see 'em, and there is a situation that I think is pretty favorable in this game.  The 1-1 Cardinals are back in their new digs this week for a match-up with the 1-1 Rams.  The Cards are 4 1/2 point home favorites.  That seems like a pretty steep hill to climb, and the betting public will likely jump on the Rams with the points.  The Arizona defense appears improved, but so does the Rams.  Unfortunately for the Rams the offensive line is crumbling before their very eyes, and looks like it might be shaky going into this road contest.  The Cardinals beat the 49ers in week one.  And the 49ers beat the Rams in week two.  Therefore if you approach this game as an aptitude test, you say the Cardinals will beat the Rams in week 3.  It is amazing how rarely that really works in the NFL, but I'm going there again.  The clincher for me is that the Rams will be taking their second west coast road trip in a row, and that has me thinking the Cards lay the wood to the jet lagged Rams.  My pick?  Rams +4 1/2.

Misery Index

10)  Lions:  I had Roy Williams starting in the Huddle Writers League this week.  My team stunk and only scored 105 points,  but I was so close to scoring 200 points it's not even funny.  But seriously, when you have Mike Martz for your OC you get out the umbrella and wait for the points to start raining down.  No fireworks after 2 games and the second digit on the scoreboard hasn't fired yet.  If you just watched the game, you would never know that anything has changed here. Except fans aren't burning Harrington in effigy.  

9)  Redskins:  I'm not sure why this team isn't ranked higher, but with a logjam of 0-2 teams, the ones I had low expectations for before the season started just don't impress me as much.  Do you think Daniel Snyder called Tom Cruise for comfort after the thumping Sunday night?  And if so, did the subject of what each other was wearing come up?

8)  Browns:  Ya know, every week of every season I have to think of something to say about the Browns, and it really gets old.  They aren't particularly odd or funny.  They don't invite ridicule.  They don't make ridiculous victory guarantees against teams they know will crush them.  It's hard to get it up to bash a team that is so consistently pathetic and snake bit.  But I do have an idea for the marketing department, who by now must be clamoring for ways to excite the fan base and divert their attention away from the product on the field.    My idea is for the concept of next years Team Guide.  On the cover it says in bold type:  The Cleveland could be worse!  And below that you have a picture of Al Davis in his jump suit and old lady sunglasses holding a player report upside down.

7)  Dolphins:  I tried to stop the Dolphin fans from drinking the Culpepper kool-aid.  I begged,  I pleaded.  Culpepper has been far worse than I imagined, and I imagined he would be pretty damn bad.  What's worse is the rest of the team aside from Ronnie Brown looks just as putrid as Culpepper.  Dolphins fans are already looking at that Harrington guy in the bullpen, and wondering how much worse could he be?  Who could have imagined a couple of seasons ago, that Dolphin fans (and fantasy players) could actually long for the glory days of Jay Fiedler.

6)  Chiefs:  I suppose this was predictable.  The Bengals in week one.  At the Broncos in week 2.  That had 0-2 written all over it.  If Green doesn't come back, this team has 4-12 written all over it.  Larry Johnson owners are not suicidal, but many have been caught casting furtive glances toward Tomlinson.

5)  Panthers:  Well, I uttered the words Carolina Panthers / Superbowl Champions.  That was the kiss of death.  That explains most of it.  Steve Smith explains the rest.  He is apparently, absolutely the difference between this team winning and losing.  Panther fans can only hope that getting punked on that fake field goal, and starting out 0-2 was the low point of the season.  But this team has some bad mojo going right now.   When your first "must win" game comes in week 3, that is usually not the path of a champion.   

4)  Packers:  This is a tough call.  They probably shouldn't be this "high" on the list.  I mean they did have a lead in Sunday's game for quite a while there.  That is something.  Treasure those moments Packer fans.  Treasure them. 

3)  Titans:  I really thought the Titans had a chance to be the worst team in the league this year, and I must say they have not let me down yet.  Two games.  Two losses.  Some trash time TD's thrown in for mercy to the unlucky fantasy players unfortunate enough to have to play one of these guys.  Kerry Collins is just a mess.  I haven't seen stat lines like that since the painful last days of Jeff George and Ryan Leaf.  Please Titans, I am begging you, put this guy out of his misery once and for all.  But then again, why am I wasting my breath.  When you have an owner that really knows nothing about the game, twisting the head coaches arm behind his back until he says "Vince Young", disaster is already set in stone.  Collins is just a whipping boy thrown to the wolves while Vince Young tries to cram the 2 years of NFL tenure he needs into a half a season.  Young is going to be rushed onto the field too soon, and there is a very good chance that his career could be ruined as a result.  But other than that, everything is fine in Tennessee.

2)  Buccaneers:  Well this certainly isn't turning out like it was supposed to.  The Buccaneers went to sleep as division champs last January and woke up this years NFC version of the Texans.  It is hard to believe just over two short weeks ago, there was such optimism.  Now replaced with the bitter harsh reality.  This team blows like a jet engine.  So far, they aren't even as good as the 1976 Buccaneers.  And that team pulled most of those players off the garbage pile of the NFL.  But I believe that ragtag collection of misfits could give this bunch of losers a run for their money, even at their advanced age.  Three points in two games?  What the hell is this?  It looks like scrimmage against the J.V.  Gruden spent the 5 minutes the Buc's had the ball staring at Chris Simms with an expression on his face that suggested he was questioning whether Simms had actually ever read the playbook.  Cadillac Williams is in an all out duel with Lamont Jordan for fantasy bust of the year.  And this team is running like a gas engine loaded with diesel.  Might I suggest:  Succaneers 

1)  Raiders:  Really, to be perfectly honest the Raiders belong in a special category.  Oh sure, they have outscored the Buc's by a point or two.  But this is the team I'm hitching my wagon to this year.  There is real potential for that magical kind of season only dreamed about in the Misery Index.  We might have that perfect storm to create a team of legendary loser status.  I hate to get excited about a team this early in the season, but the Raiders have the best chance to run the table as any team we have seen in the last decade.  They have a bye week and then a dangerous game against Cleveland.  They get past that, and they are Misery Index glory bound.  I should just disqualify this team from the Misery Index competition right now, so we can keep it interesting for the rest of the season.  Because they are going to run away with it.  Season ticket holders are going to find out what the baby-faced new guy in prison must feel like after "shower time".