Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator. May it be your North Star.
We’re back with the weekly progno. I toyed with letting this weekly article drift into the sunset this season and focus on the mountain of site running issues I have in front of me but after a number of posts in our forum and some reflection, it seemed the wrong thing to do to pull the plug on the progno. It’s been an Internet staple for over a decade and to just stop, seemed kinda weird to me. I’m slapping this together this week to get something out but will improve upon it next week. Thanks everyone for your support and kind words. The ONLY reason I write this is because of you.
Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears Sunday 1:00p
Roy Williams guarantees victory! And I do too! A thumping by the Bears as the Lions obviously think very highly of themselves and their 0-1 record with their fantasy stud caliber QB, Jon Kitna. That’s a joke by the way, no body actually start Kitna! The Lions running game will be pathetic but Roy Williams may actually have an average day, only start in a pinch. Till further notice, stay away from anyone playing the Bears.
I drafted the Bears D in just about any league I could get them in and paid handsomely for them in some leagues. Here’s the thing, they’re going to be the engine that makes my team’s go this season, the rest of my players just pimp my team.
Pay attention to the Bears running game as this week, Thomas Jones gets it going.
Bears 27 – Lions 17
Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens Sunday 1:00p
Is Oakland really that awful? Yes. This goes back to my argument that I’ve made year over year over year, ever since Randy Moss was drafted by the Vikings. That year the Vikings drafted Moss I stated, “No team will ever win with Randy Moss.” I went out on a limb way back then and said that for Randy Moss‘s entire career, whatever team he goes to, they will not win. It’s simply the structure of the NFL, salary cap and Randy Moss. Naturally, I lost a number of readers who dismissed me as a fool since he was the second coming.
Stay away from this train wreck until they prove something and that includes Lamont Jordan. A very old Progno rule is to NEVER draft a QB that is traded to another team as it takes more than a season for them to gel. Daunte Culpepper, Drew Brees, Aaron Brooks just to name a few, were all removed from my draft lists and they don’t belong on your team. If you messed up and drafted one, get rid of them if they have any value. The value plays are second year guys in a system. You know how miserable Chris Simms looked right? Get him now. Alex Smith another second year guy and shouldn’t be a big surprise if you follow basic progno philosophy.
The Ravens have a great defense but flew way under the radar this draft season. Why? I don’t really know but I was able to draft them as my BACKUP D in a number of leagues and smiled. Remember that Jamal Lewis guy? Hold onto your seat because Mr. Lewis is going to rumble this week and make you quite pleased you had the foresight to play him.
Ravens 37 – Raiders 9
Carolina Panthers at Minnesota Vikings Sunday 1:00p
Stick with the Panthers running game and De’Shaun Foster as he will have a good week. Stay away from the rest until Steve Smith returns. Steve? Where are you? Also, when Smith does return, do not expect production right away. I do not expect to see a good game out of Smith till Week 5 or 6 this year.
Panthers 27 – Vikings 24
New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers Sunday 1:00p
Blah. The Saints will be painfully average, as will the Packers. The Packers won’t look as ridiculous as last week but they won’t do much to change their current status as a door mat team. If you have better options, play them, but in a pinch you can play Reggie Bush, Deuce McAllister, Ahman Green, Donald Driver and Brett Favre. In a pinch mind you. Expect Deuce McAllister to run in a couple of TD’s which will make him a quiet solid play however.
Saints 30 – Packers 14
Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins Sunday 1:00p
I like Ronnie Brown in this contest most of all and recommend you get him in your lineup. The Dolphins will have an answer for Willis McGahee and will dare the Bills to try and pass on them. Not to worry, no big day in the air for the Bills but simply due to repetition, they’ll post an average day up top. I don’t expect a big day from Daunte Culpepper or his receivers.
Dolphins 28 – Bills 24
Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons Sunday 1:00p
This is going to be an ugly, ugly game to watch. Both teams will try to establish the run to set up the pass and both won’t really be able to get the running game going. They’ll have some successes but I don’t see a big statistic out of this match up on either side of the ball. Stay away from both passing games, Warrick Dunn makes the lineup but don’t expect a repeat of Week 1. Check the status on Carnell Williams before inserting him in your lineup. Again, Carnell Williams makes a serviceable start but I hope you’re not relying on him as your #1 this week.
Falcons 20 – Buccaneers 17
New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles Sunday 1:00p
The Giants are a good football team. Better than the Eagles right now but the Eagles are also better than many were giving them credit for. On many of me teams I ended up with Matt Hasselbeck as my #1 and Donovan McNabb as my #2 which may explain the extra spring in my step this week. It’s amazing what can happen when the weight of Terrell Owens leaves a team. This is the same Randy Moss factor I was talking about earlier. A player like that isn’t worth $5 on your team, forget about the millions they make.
The Giants will have a tough go of it due to the Eagles improved D but will move the ball every other series. If you have to, play your Giants but don’t expect a monster from this game.
The Eagles will struggle most of the day, especially their running game. If Donovan McNabb can bring his occasional magic to the field then the Eagles have a chance, if not, it’s going to be a long day.
Giants 28 – Eagles 21
Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals Sunday 1:00p
The battle of Ohio! Geez .. you can have it. The Browns are still a team in transition with big problems on their O-Line and a QB still learning the ropes. This is not their year nor should you have ANY Browns on your team.
The Bengals won’t have to do too much to get by the Browns so expect them to keep the ball on the ground and run Rudi Johnson who makes a good start here. Things will be so easy on the ground that the Bengals won’t have to go up top too much which will limit the statistical output of Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson and T.J. Houshmawhatchamacallit.
Bengals 31 – Browns 17
Houston Texans at Indianapolis Colts Sunday 1:00p
To save you time, please send all ‘you’re a dork’ Email directly to me. The Texans are going to make a game of it with the Colts. In fact, this game will come down to the final possession and the team that kicks the final FG with time running out will walk away the victor. Since the Colts have Adam Vinatieri I give them the nod but expect a shocker in the Dome. The Texans are going to slice through the Colts D and no one is going to see it coming. They will be running the ball between the tackles, around the tackles, through the guards and in their face. I like the competitive situation the RB’s in Houston are in right now and that will pay handsomely. Who will be doing all this running? Well, everyone of course. Andre Johnson is also positioned nicely for a big game. Do not underestimate the Texans this year as they have some pieces, against the right teams, to do some damage.
The Colts running game, until it does something, is officially on the bench. Expect a big day from Peyton Manning, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne.
Colts 27 – Texans 24
St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers Sunday 4:05p
Gone are the days of Rams dominance over the 49’ers as the Rams are just a little worse and the 49’ers are just a little better. The Rams passing game will be on fire as Marc Bulger spreads the ball around to all his receivers. Torry Holt should be in line for a big one. I’m a little concerned with Steven Jackson in this. You play him of course but it won’t surprise me if he only gets around 75 yards.
The 49’ers are going to rush their new found uber back, Frank Gore up and down the field on the Rams. After this weekend, Frank Gore becomes a household name. It was so nice having Gore on all my fantasy teams – last year. I was a Gore believer last year, spouted his virtues to all that would listen in this column and touted him as a big time sleeper. Naturally, those comments were met with the standard jeers you hear and last season they were right. The potential was there, the 49’ers just had that silly Kevan Barlow experiment fouling everything up. This season, he’s the man.
Rams 23 – 49’ers 21
Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks Sunday 4:05p
I know you’ll find this surprising but the Cardinals are going to throw the ball – a lot. So much so that Edgerrin James primarily becomes a blocker in this one. Look for a huge day from your Cardinals receivers and Kurt Warner.
The Seahawks have started on a bad foot and that will continue here. They’ll be able to right the ship but they have some work to do to get back on top of the AFC world. A slow start for the Seahawks as they don’t look as dominant as the predictors were predicting.
Although we’ll start hearing the Cardinals are a legitimate playoff team after Week 2 discussions, let’s hold off just a second before anointing them Superbowl contenders.
Cardinals 24 – Seahawks 23
New England Patriots at New York Jets Sunday 4:15p
The Patriots do blow out teams but intra-divisional foes (like the Bills last week) can cause some trouble. Keep in mind that the Patriots have been so dominant for so long that everyone in the division is built to beat the Patriots. The Patriots have arguably the best tandem in football right now in the backfield with Laurence Maroney and Corey Dillon. Expect that new greased skid to perform so well that you’d be smart to have either in as a RB#3 or a flex. Tom Brady‘s value goes down with such a dominant backfield. Trade him while you can.
The Jets will have success up top against the Patriots and Chad Pennington will suddenly be a viable fantasy commodity. Boy am I glad I scooped him up on a couple of my QB starved teams as he is one of those players that can make a team this year.
Start Tom Brady or Chad Pennington this week? That’s easy – Pennington.
Patriots 23 – Jets 19
Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos Sunday 4:15p
Blood Bath!! Chiefs/Broncos games always are and although the Chiefs are without Trent Green that just means the Chiefs offense shifts to a short ball (hello Tony Gonzalez), running offense.
Larry Johnson puts to rest a couple of fears though he won’t be dominant like last season.
The Broncos will also emphasize their running game and trying not to put themselves in a position to turn the ball over. It will be a solid day of smash mouth football.
Broncos get the nod as they’re home but the Chiefs will come to play and will perform.
Broncos 24 – Chiefs 20
Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers Sunday 4:15p
I don’t like the Titans on the ground this week against a Chargers D that may be starting to bloom. I’ve been watching the Chargers D over the past few season start to blossom and I think we’re in the early blooming stages. Not a bad D to stash away on your bench. In general, I’d shy away from your Titans this week.
The Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson and he will be the focal point of their offense. Look for an average day in the air for the Chargers and Philip Rivers continues class on the field.
Chargers 23 – Titans 17
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys Sunday 8:15p
The Redskins stumbled a little in Week 1, as did the Cowboys. The Redskins say that Clinton Portis will not dress for this one but keep a close eye on whether he makes the trip or not as that could be smoke and mirrors. If available, the Redskins will feature two things in this game. The Clinton Portis hammer and the T.J. Duckett mallet and both will have success as the Redskins will play clock control football for 4 straight quarters. You will find many teams trying to slow the pace down when they play the Cowboys to take Terrell Owens out of the game. The teams that can’t play clock control with a pounding running game will have trouble with the Cowboy’s, the teams that can, like the Jaguars and the Redskins are going to have success. Keeping away from the Cowboy’s D-Backs is also a strategy that will pay dividends.
The Cowboys won’t do anything special and the calls for Drew Bledsoe’s head will get louder. I know the Cowboys have been a lot of people’s Cinderella pick to represent the NFC but you won’t hear that from me. They have Terrell Owens and that is just enough of a distraction to sink your team. The Cowboys won’t be bad on Sunday, they just won’t be very good either and while I’d probably play T.O., I’d only play Julius Jones if I had to.
Redskins 33 – Cowboys 17
Pittsburgh Steelers at Jacksonville Jaguars Monday 8:30p
This is going to be a great Monday night match-up. The Steelers are going to run Willie Parker till the mills close and the Jaguars are going to do a little bit of everything. The Steelers D is a stout one and I’m not fond of the Jaguars running game this week.
The Jaguars will get it done with balance making no one a lineup lock and the Steelers will run Willie Parker who is a lineup lock. In the end, the Steelers will be just a little too much to get taken out by the Jaguars on Monday Night.
Steelers 30 – Jaguars 28