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In Shark Contrast

Week 1 was jam-packed with great games, injuries and interesting outcomes. And we just can’t wait to start debating how all of this will affect the next 16 weeks.

Plus, do not miss your chance to “sound off” and give us your “sound bites” on anything and everything from the past week and anything else on your mind at insharkcontrast@gmail.com for the chance to not only appear on the front page, but also snaffle away a great FantasySharks freebie!

IS IT TOO SOON TO PANIC IN PHILLY?


ELVINS

If you’re a Philadelphia fan then it’s never too early to panic! When it comes to fantasy football though, I think the late, great Douglas Adams said it best when he said, “Don’t Panic.”

Never a truer word spoken in jest.
 
Whilst true, there are some compelling reasons to be mindful of Philadelphia. I never liked LeSean McCoy this season. His only value was as a points per reception flex and that was me being generous. Irrational? I don’t think so. Sure, he can do all the outside stuff like Brian Westbrook, but like any one-trick pony it’s been seen before. Westbrook could at least convert the hard yards up the middle with just as much force as he could finesse his way through stragglers in coverage on the outside.
 
The loss of starting center Jamaal Jackson is huge. The offensive line was already looking surprisingly shaky even before his injury. Like in Pitsburgh with Dennis Dixon, having Michael Vick as a mobile quarterback is more beneficial for the offense than a pocket passer. If the running game is struggling, too? Well that’s another “aye” in favor of the mobile quarterback as it helps the rushing game. With Leonard Weaver also landing on Injured Reserve, the Eagles’ ability to both run (and more importantly protect) their quarterback is severely compromised.
 
The concussion to Stewart Bradley is hopefully nothing serious as the Eagles were woeful in his absence resorting to some truly desperate backups to attempt to cover for him.
 
For all that however, I’m not inclined to panic. I am in fact tempted to take a long, hard look at any owner who is flinching and try a buy-low on any of their offensive players. Defensive Coordinator Sean McDermott, who has coached at every defensive position for the Eagles and been mentored by the much missed Jim Johnson, will keep the offense in games close enough for either quarterback to win. David Akers, you’re my hero! Save Ferris.
 

BUKOWSKI

Philadelphia
fans need not panic. Unless of course, you are interested in making the playoffs, then you should be in full panic mode.  Like in all pro sports, teams will copy what is successful.  From the Bears’ ‘46’ defense to the 49ers’ ‘West Coast’ offense, if it works, other teams in the league will copy it. Hence the genesis of Philadelphia’s brilliant idea to trade Pro Bowl quarterback Donovan McNabb to the rival Washington Redskins.

Aaron Rodgers’ emergence as an elite quarterback for the Packers has everyone singing the praises of Green Bay Packers’ general manager Ted Thompson for dumping Brett Favre prior to the 2008 season and turning the reigns over to Rodgers. Just like Rodgers, Kevin Kolb was given the starting job after three years of riding the bench behind a future Hall of Famer. Yes, Favre will make it into the Hall of Fame.
 
But, the similarities are about to end there as Kolb is going to be in for a rude awakening once he gets healthy and back under center. That is if Eagles’ head coach Andy Reid doesn’t install Vick as the starter, should Vick impress while Kolb is recovering from a concussion suffered on opening day. Last year in the two games that Kolb started he threw for 718 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions versus New Orleans and Kansas City. Even though the Saints won the Super Bowl, they finished the 2009 season as the 26th ranked defense versus the pass, while the Chiefs finished 2009 as the 22nd ranked defense versus the pass. 

Despite all the optimism from last year, Kolb’s 2010 preseason left a lot to be desired as he failed to throw a touchdown pass while garnering a quarterback rating of 63.7. But, the most troubling stat is the fact that Kolb matriculated at the University of Houston. And why is that troubling? David Klingler and Andre Ware.  Both were first-round draft picks and both were busts. Kolb has a lot to overcome and if I were an Eagles’ fan, I’d be very worried.

JOE FLACCO
vs.
MATT RYAN

ELVINS

 
Look this one is always difficult because people confuse real life with fantasy. In real life I’d give Matt Ryan the edge, but for fantasy I like my quarterbacks to be in their third year under Cam Cameron. Previous third year Cameron proteges include Drew Brees and Philip Rivers. All in all, four quarterbacks that have worked with Cameron have ended up either in the Pro Bowl or the Super Bowl.
 
Cameron is also a Don Coryell disciple via Norv Turner. Couple his knowledge and love of the passing game with his track record of developing quarterbacks and I am still surprised that people to this day are insisting that the Ravens are a run-first team. No chance. More balanced at best, but Cameron is enamored of Flacco and has said it takes three years to get a full grasp on his offense and that they were installing the full playbook this year.
 
Would you take Flacco’s immense arm with a vertical passing game? Me too. I like Ryan a lot, but fantasy football, as I’ve said time and again, is about opportunity and ability. Ryan’s all-round ability is greater in my opinion, but Flacco’s opportunity to play to his strengths are just too much.

BUKOWSKI

This is a real easy one … Joe Flacco. The Ravens ranked 18th in total passing yards with 3,419 in 2009, while ranking tied for first (Miami) with 22 rushing touchdowns. The Ravens knew what they had to do and they did it, they went out and acquired wide receiver Anquan Boldin. And, when T.J. Houshmandzadeh became available right before the season the Ravens seized the opportunity to add another high-quality veteran to the mix. 

Here’s an interesting stat gleaned from ESPN: the Ravens are the only team in history to have three receivers with 500-plus receptions on the same roster (Boldin, Derrick Mason, Houshmandzadeh).
 
With his new weapons in tow, Flacco was able to pass for 248 yards in the Ravens’ season opener against the New York Jets. Who just happened to have led the NFL in passing defense by only giving up 2,459 yards in 2009? Granted, Flacco failed to throw for a touchdown, but that’s not surprising given that the Jets allowed only eight passing touchdowns in 2009.
 
What about Ryan, you ask? Well, if Week 1 was any indication, Ryan has zoned in on stud wide receiver Roddy White and will keep going his direction until defenses make him go elsewhere. Ryan targeted White 23 times in Week 1, while the next highest target total went to tight end  Tony Gonzalez who had five. Ryan threw for a respectable 252 yards in Week 1, but I just feel that Flacco is ready to take the next step in his development.

Plus, all that stuff that Elvins said.

CUTLER 2010 – IMPLOSION or EXPLOSION

ELVINS

 
Again, I think I find myself in the minority on this one. Still, “que sera” as they say! Mike Martz? Sure I’ve seen his record. Jay Cutler, yeah, I’ve seen his too … I’m just wondering if hope is amplifying expectations here as it’s the only logical answer I can come up with.
 
Firstly, I don’t think anyone would deny Lovie Smith (and indeed some members of the front office) are against the wall this season. A bad or tepid season would see a massive clearout in Chicago. This is a great franchise with an incredibly passionate fan base. One of the best in the league, but that can be just as big an albatross as it can be a boon. Expectations can kill.  

Secondly, we have in Mikes (Tice and Martz) a couple of very headstrong individuals that will spark. I’m sure it’ll all be creative and in god humor provided things go well. Should things go poorly, early? Martz is a master of manipulation and a number of quarterbacks have barely felt the knife between the blades until he twists it. The lengths he went to in order to get Kurt Warner out of St Louis are the stuff of legend, as are the quarterback shenanigans when he arrived in San Francisco.
 
Thirdly, I don’t think Cutler is going to as huge a fan of Martz at the end of the season as he is right now – especially when he is sacked as often as he is going to be. Martz quarterbacks are right up there for being sacked (circa top three, consistently). Five- and seven-step drops coupled with a drop in the number of available blockers make it a necessity. Martz quarterbacks get hurt. Badly. Warner still needs a glove as he cant grip as well due to the broken fingers, Marc Bulger is a walking injury note with a concussion history (like Jon Kitna – who wouldn’t even have been allowed back onto the field to rally against the Vikings after that hit) and J.T. O’Sullivan (The quarterback Martz wanted) led the league in fumbles despite being benched before the halfway point and was the most sacked quarterback at the time of his benching.

If you’ve read my thoughts on Martz going back to the end of last season in the tank, you know how exactly how I feel about him.
 
Cutler is a good quarterback, but he’s either going to blow up or break down, and for my money it’s a break down. I wish it were otherwise for the great fans in Chicago, but with so many egos (Cutler) included in such a risky (sacks & interceptions), high-octane offense, tempers will fray and that my friends will turn Cutler into jaded Cutler. Remember the pouts in Denver?
 
Prove me wrong, Jay. On this, I’d be happy to concede.

BUKOWSKI

EXPLOSION! The Mike Martz offense is a proven commodity and has already shown that it can rack up the yards. Albeit, against the worst passing defense of 2009, but you have to start somewhere. Cutler threw for 3,666 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2009 with an offense that had no clue. Add in Martz and Cutler favorite Devin Aromashodu and even if Cutler does throw another 26 interceptions in 2010 he’s a good bet to throw for 4,000-plus yards and 30-plus touchdowns.
 
As Elvins mentions up above, Cutler does have an ego, but in this case I believe this to be a good thing.  Cutler only cares about Cutler, and if he’s putting up numbers in this offense I really don’t think he’ll care if the team wins. Yeah, he’ll get all prima-donna if he gets sacked too much, but Cutler’s No. 1 is Cutler and I wouldn’t be surprised if he just started falling down as pass rushers approached. As long as he puts up his numbers he’ll remain committed to the cause.


What’s your take?

Now it’s your turn. We’d not only love to hear what you guys/gals have to say – good or bad – but we’ll even give you the platform for everyone else to see it too!

Below are eight questions – feel free to send us an opinion on any one of those, or indeed a completely different question or topic.

Each week the best response will not only be front and center but will snag a little “something-something” out of the FantasySharks swag bag (cap, mug, etc.) courtesy of yours truly.

  • Which team will trade for Vincent Jackson? Minnesota, Washington, St. Louis, Seattle or even someone else?
  • Is this the year Houston finally wins their division or is it another false dawn?
  • Will Dennis Dixon have a winning record by the time Ben Roethlisberger gets back under center?
  • Has Darren McFadden finally turned up for the NFL?
  • How does the injury to nose tackle Kris Jenkins affect the Jets’ defense?
  • Is Matt Forte legit this season?
  • How long can Derek Anderson survive under center for the Cardinals?
  • Which team will finish with the worst record in the league?
  • Did you think the Calvin Johnson catch was a touchdown?
  • Who will be the Offensive Rookie of the Year?

If you want to be up here next week, then drop us a line with your thoughts, opinions, musings, ravings, answers or questions to: insharkcontrast@gmail.com!

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