Tuesday - May 21, 2019

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The IceBox

Before I get started, I want to say a word of thanks to the entire Tampa Bay Buccaneers organization for an incredible experience last weekend.   I got to meet Bruce Allen, Jon Gruden, Monte Kiffin and Mike Alstott.   The A-Train handed me a commemorative football just as the game was kicking off. You could tell that he understood the significance of the tribute to my step son and the other fallen soldier, Michael Thomas, as he handed myself and a member of the Thomas family each a  ball, uniquely inscribed with the soldier’s name and commemorating the game to them and all our service men and women.


 

It didn’t hurt that the Bucs won the game, In fact it was icing on a very large and tasty cake.   Watching Earnest Graham slugging it out against a Cardinal defense that ranks 9th overall in the NFL was a bit disconcerting, knowing how thin we are at the RB position.   Michael Bennett looks good however, and if something happened to Graham, I think Bennett could shoulder the load. His biggest issue right now is learning the playbook.


 

So it’s halftime for the NFL season. Eight more weeks of regular season ball, and it’s been an interesting one so far.   For instance:


 



Detroit
is 6-2.  

Detroit
?   The home of Matt Millen and his obsession with spending first round picks on wide receivers?   I wonder if they tied him up and put him in a closet for the season, because this is the best Lions team I have seen in a very long time.   All those people who laughed at Jon Kitna when he predicted a minimum ten-win season are suddenly looking for a place to hide, lest someone pull out their articles deriding Kitna’s comments and beat them across the face with them.   While I wasn’t confident of his prediction I refused to say so. After all,

Detroit
got one of the best coaches in the NFL. Anyone who is a

Tampa
fan will tell you that players will go to, over or through any obstacle for Rod Marinelli. Last year he needed to weed out the incompetent and lazy players. Goodbye Mike Williams. See ya later Dre Bly. You have to buy into his system, and it starts with a lot of hard work and discipline. Bly isn’t so much lazy as he lacks discipline, and Marinelli won’t stand for that.


 

How about the Titans? At 6-2 Jeff Fisher has them playing well, and they have one of the best front seven in the game right now.   The Titans are ranked second in the NFL in total defense and first against the run.

Tennessee
is shutting down opposing running games like a virgin on prom night.   It just ain’t happening.   I knew Fisher would have this team back on track, but I wish Vince Young would have backed me on my early draft picks of him (usually between the 4th and 7th rounds). Instead the Titans have won in spite of him, while the much-maligned buffet king Lendale White, who leads the team with 613 yards rushing and five touchdowns, is on target for a 1000 yard season and leading the charge on offense.


 

Then there is the Green Bay Packers.   If they handed out a comeback of the year award for teams, the Packers would likely run away with it.   Ok, they can’t run, but they could jump on Brett Favre’s back and let him carry them, since he seems to be doing such a great job so far this season.   Favre, who last year threw for less than 20 touchdowns for the first time since 1993, is on track to best his personal record for passing yards in a season (4413 in 1995).   His 2406 yards through eight games is second only to the record-setting pace of Tom Brady and his 16 touchdowns could have him surpass 30 on the year for the first time since 2004. Favre has the Pack at 7-1 this season even though their ground game is a miserable 32nd in the league. Their revolving door of journeyman running backs have managed only 72.1 rushing yards per game. It is scary to think how good they would be if they only had a leg or two to run on.


 

During the preseason I touted Jeff Garcia as a potential Pro Bowl candidate, saying he would be a fantasy top ten quarterback this year.   He is hanging around right at that spot, better than preseason favorites like Marc Bulger, Jon Kitna and my own personal albatross, Philip Rivers.   With a schedule that includes two games against Atlanta as well as contests with San Francisco, New Orleans and Carolina, he could slide up a few notches before the season is over and is worth targeting if you are hurting at QB…like, say, you drafted Vince Young in the fourth round of the Fantasy Sharks Mako Three league.  


 

From the “Oh how the mighty have fallen” department. Ok, so they weren’t so mighty, but the St Louis Rams and Miami Dolphins face the real possibility of losing every game this season.   The Rams were expected to be in the hunt with Seattle and San Francisco for the NFC West this season, and considering how poorly both of those teams are playing this has to be an even more bitter pill to swallow if you are a Lambs fan. In their defense,

St Louis
has lost so many players I think the medical personnel traveling with the team might actually outnumber the players.


 

Don Shula’s comments about the Patriots sounds a lot like those of a bitter old man who is staring down the face of a 0-16 season.   While I’m not a big fan of Belichick this year, whose mockery of the NFL goes far beyond the score on the field each week, you have to give props to an organization that was willing to take a flier on Randy Moss and, just in case, added Donte Stallworth and Wes “White Lightning” Welker to the roster. Tom Brady has performed like a giddy child on Christmas morning, playing with all his toys while breaking few (Tommy, please don’t forget Benjamin Watson when he returns to health, he used to be your favorite).


 

If you were lucky enough to score Adrian Peterson (the Vikings version) then count yourself among the fortunate who didn’t have the first pick of the fantasy draft and are now saddled with Norv Turner’s version of LaDainian Tomlinson.   Hasn’t anyone figured out by now that Turner sucks as a head coach?   I never understood the firing of Marty Schottenheimer in the first place, but to hire a guy who has only three winning seasons in ten years as a head coach, and an overall record of 62-86-1 over that ten year span strikes me as damn near criminal.   Turner’s utilization of his offensive weapons has been flat out horrible. He lacks the discipline that Marty-ball brought to this talented team of under-achievers and it shows.   Of course the loss of Cam Cameron has to play a large part in the decline. Although the Dolphins are 0-fer this season, their RB stats have been nothing short of spectacular. Ronnie Brown powered many fantasy teams to dominating wins during the early part of the season, and Jesse Chatman looks like he’ll be able to pick up where Brown left off with little difficulty.   Maybe the Chargers should consider trying to woo Cameron back to

San Diego
and throw Turner back on the trash heap of recycled coaches that teams seem all too eager to hire.  


 

Does anyone remember Charlie Frye? Or that kid who fell out of the first round of the NFL draft, from Notre Dame…damn, I just can’t think of his name. You know who I’m talking about, right?


 

Didn’t think so


 


Ben Ice is a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers of


America

and card carrying member of the Shark tank.   He loves long walks on the beach, Adrian Peterson and auction-style fantasy drafts (because he refuses to pay $80 out of a $200 salary cap for LT, LJ or SA).   If you have any questions, comments or desire to trade AP for a battered and bruised LJ drop him a line at GoBucsBaby@yahoo.com.

About Fantasy Sharks

FantasySharks.com began in 2003, disseminating fantasy football content on the web for free. It is, or has been, home to some of the most talented and best known fantasy writers on the planet. Owned and operated by Tony Holm (5 time Fantasy Sports Writer Association Hall-of-Fame nominee,) Tony started writing fantasy content in 1993 for the only three fantasy football web sites in existence at the time.