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The Prognosticator – Week 3

 

Week 3


Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May it leave you with a certain sense of wonderment for the future of humankind.  We had a semi-rocky predicting week last week but fantasy wise we dominated.  I’m in 10 leagues and I think we won in all 10 of them.  Several of them we posted the high score of the week to boot.  Now THAT my friends, is a good Tuesday morning.

The landscape is starting to take shape as teams like the Browns are struggling and the unexpected 0-2 beginning for the Eagles has left more than one fantasy owner scratching his or her McNabbs.  Gannon no longer seems to rhyme with Cannon and certain beliefs many accepted as truths just two short weeks ago, have left more than a few of you wondering what is going on.  The temptation for all you 0-2 teams who thought they had the next can’t miss winning team is to cut bait.  In some cases I agree with you but in some cases you need to sit.  David Boston is an example of a player I try to cut bait on.  I have seen enough after two weeks to know he is once again a fantasy spoiler and not far down the road will be completely out of football.  Guys like Donovan McNabb, Amos Zereoue and Quincy Morgan you hold onto.  Those are guys you fish with, they’ll be fine.  In this weeks Progno I’ll try to take a special slant on guys that you should fish or cut bait on so you can answer once and for all whether you do or don’t have someone on your team.

There are a few teams that I am impressed with in the early going and would target players on these offenses in trades, just because these teams look to be here for the long haul.  The Progno is particularly fond of players on good teams and always factors that into a trade or waiver wire decision.  Every season we have some question mark middle ground teams that could be good, but could have just as easily stunk up the joint.  The teams that have impressed me the most so far are the Vikings, Redskins, Broncos and Seahawks.  All four, including the Broncos due to their dismantled defense, could have been real stinkers this season but the moves they made were the right ones.  I would not be looking forward to playing any one of those four teams.  The 49’ers have a potent offense but no defense to match and the Colts are an interesting group as their defense is playing a lot better under Tony Dungy and the offense is taking care of itself.  The Bills have also apparently made many of the right adjustments and they are a better team but they are not deep.  An injury or two to some key players like Sam Adams and they unravel quickly.  Something tells me this is going to be a fun season to watch as we witness the changing of the guard in a number of divisions.

The fantasy teams that took some of the bigger reaches in their draft are going to have the better seasons as more middle tier players than usual will float up to the top.  It will be a fun ride.

 

Team

Rushing

Passing

ARI

110

185

ATL

116

179

BAL

137

231

BUF

90

222

CIN

98

192

CLE

98

170

DEN

129

219

DET

84

200

GB

117

198

HOU

101

182

IND

109

219

JAX

107

192

KC

128

209

MIA

124

203

MIN

157

240

NE

109

177

NO

85

193

NYG

106

202

NYJ

116

216

OAK

112

196

PIT

111

217

SD

103

203

SEA

148

229

SF

112

184

STL

71

242

TB

127

233

TEN

134

193

WAS

117

245

Red – Hot Play

Yellow – Solid Play

White – Average Play

Grey – Run Away!


All times are Eastern

Wagers
Initial Bankroll: $500 Geoffrey Dollars.
Current Bankroll: $600 Geoffrey Dollars.
Last Week: We pushed on the 49’ers +3 against the Rams.  If numb skull goes down we win that bet but no, he just HAD to run out the clock and send it into overtime with the winning FG in their grasp.

For the third straight week we are going in against the Rams and taking Matt Hasselbeck and company -3 as the wager of the week, on our way to doubling our original $500.   

This Week: $110 to win $100 on the Seattle Seahawks -3.


Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions – Sunday 1:00pm

The Vikings have finally found balance in their offense and it is paying off big time.  The offensive line has been a big key to this success story.  Daunte Culpepper has been the architect of a finely tuned Moss and they have a running game that would make any coach proud.  There is no one to cut bait on here but I would fish for Onterrio Smith.  Moe Williams had a big game last week.  Couple that with Michael Bennett in the wings and that will help lower Onterrio’s worth.  Onterrio Smith should take over the starting role and never look back as soon as two weeks from now and in this offense, that will be a boon of statistics.  Look for the Vikings offense to dance on the grave of the Lions this week and if you don’t get Onterrio before this weekend, his price will be going up.

The Lions don’t know which way their running game went and they have more holes than a championship golf course.  Look for the Lions to revert to their passing game early as their ground game will be ineffective and they will be behind early and often.  At least the new Ford F-150 looks like a nice machine because this Ford ain’t getting it done. 

Prediction: Vikings 30 – Lions 23  (Vikings -3.5)


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons – Sunday 1:00pm

*** Upset of the Week Award ***

Here I go again, sliding out on this barbed, thin, whittled down limb again.  The Bucs statistically are going to have a better day than the Falcons.  Look for positive gains on the ground from not only Michael Pittman but Thomas Jones, as they work him in a little more into the offense.  The Bucs will also get Keyshawn Johnson involved and he is on tap for a decent, not spectacular, but decent game.  The Falcons will be keeping it close so the Bucs will be playing 4 quarters of real football instead of all the garbage time we’ve been seeing in other games this season.  Start fishing for Thomas Jones as I think we all are starting to see that the only game Michael Pittman had in him was the Superbowl.

The Falcons have played two very solid football games in a row now with an odd nucleus of players.  In order, Doug Johnson, Alge Crumpler, Warrick Dunn and T.J. Duckett.  There aren’t too many offenses in the league that have their nucleus as the backup QB, TE and two RB’s.  Peerless Price wants the ball more but I’m not convinced he is either capable of being the man nor that it is the proper thing to do to stretch the offense more.  Keeping it compact and simple has translated into decent play for the Falcons.  By the way, you do not cut bait on Price.  His numbers are bound to go up when Michael Vick returns from injury.  

Atlanta keeps it simple and compact while catching the Bucs in a mini transition period.  One part of the Bucs game that hasn’t received much (any?) press is their ineffectiveness in the red zone.  Only Houston, Cincinnati and Dallas are worse with the Chargers right there too.  Not a cozy group to be affiliated with.  Slow and steady wins the race for the Falcons.

Prediction: Falcons 27 – Bucs 23  (Bucs -4)


Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals – Sunday 1:00pm

*** Low Score of the Week Award ***

The WR’s of the Steelers are dynamic, enigmatic and flat out great.  Those that were worried about the presence of Plaxico Burress for Hines Ward can stop now.  It’s time to start worrying about the presence of Hines Ward as he is a one man wrecking crew.  Great passing offense and if you scooped up Tommy Maddox late in your draft, continue to wear that toothless grin.  Amos Zereoue is a guy you go fishing for and if you have him, don’t let go.  Even if someone tries to peel him from your cold, gnurled, dead hands, don’t let go.  A quiet start for sure but that will change in a hurry.

The Bengals are likely in for a long season which doesn’t bode well for the long term prospects of this offense with the potential of a rookie QB starting games for them.  Till that time, Chad Johnson is spectacular.  No real fish or cut bait stories here.  It is interesting to watch the development of Peter Warrick in this offense as he is likely available in your waivers.  Rookie QB’s tend to gravitate to the TE and WR#2 when they first get started and since the Bengals don’t have a legitimate TE, with all apologies to Matt Schobel, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least if Peter Warrick checks in with a career season.

Look for an above average day for the Steelers as the Bengals have shown they can throw themselves at a passing offense and lay down something of a speed bump.  The Steelers defense can blitz and confuse so a lesser day all around for the Bengals.  Don’t look for another 240 yard combined receiving yard day from the Steeler deadly duo.

Prediction: Steelers 21 – Bengals 17  (Steelers -4.5)


NY Jets at New England Patriots – Sunday 1:00pm

The Jets desperately need a running game as Santana Moss and Wayne Chrebet just aren’t going to get it done.  How on earth could the Jets leave themselves in such a mess?  I understand they were supposed to have Chad Pennington but what a disaster story in the making as they migrate from a playoff team to some very bad junk.  It is time to seriously think about cutting bait on Curtis Martin after he beats up on the Patriots a little.  Something he just loves to do.  The Jets always play the Patriots tough and anyone putting a point spread on it, no matter what the situation, is nuts.  Jets vs. Patriots is always anyone’s game.

The Patriots will rely on their defense to win this ball game for them.  LB Roosevelt Colvin is out and after losing Ted Johnson at LB, the Patriots are suddenly not looking as scary with their 3-4 defense.  Regardless, they aren’t expecting fireworks from the Jets and will keep this one low key.  The Patriots are getting it done the same old way, with a cast of characters.  Troy Brown has been disappointing so far but don’t cut bait yet.  He is still the best WR the team has and that will show over a season.  

Prediction: Patriots 27 – Jets 24  (Patriots -6.5)


Kansas City Chiefs at Houston Texans – Sunday 1:00pm

The Chiefs are looking like the Rams of old.  The Chiefs are a one man wrecking crew with Priest Holmes.  It is simply amazing to me that he can be so dominant in a football game.  For the Chiefs, it’s Priest and then a couple of other guys kind of pitching in.  If Trent Green got fantasy points for handoffs he’d be a gem!  Look for a little more action in the passing game this week but the spotlight stays on Priest Holmes.  If for some reason you bought into the Marc Boerigter hype, you can cut bait.

The Texans are a fun bunch to watch but aren’t going to win a string of games.  Their running game hasn’t had time to play since they’re always playing from behind.  David Carr has made a solid fantasy backup and his receivers, particularly rookie Andre Johnson have held their own.  If you can fish for Andre Johnson because he is on a bad team, do it.  He will only get better as the season goes on, he is the clear #1 and the Texans will be throwing a ton.  Andre Johnson is a mini Terrell Owens and that is a very good thing.

This may shock you but I’m taking the Chiefs in this one.  Not sure any point spread would matter. 

Prediction: Chiefs 27 – Texans 15  (Chiefs -8)


Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts – Sunday 1:00pm

It just isn’t a good sign when Fred Taylor is your only viable player.  The Jaguars have themselves in a bad hole on offense and can’t wait until Jimmy Smith gets back.  Look for Jimmy to put up solid numbers the second he gets back.  Fish if you can.  Matthew Hatchette and Jermaine Lewis are their top receivers?  You have got to be kidding me.  Smith and Taylor see all the action as soon as they’re both ready.  Jaguars under perform against this tighter Colts D.  It is really easy to game plan against them.  A guy on Fred Taylor at all times no matter what the play is.

The Colts are going to have a decent day in the air but their offense will sputter at times.  I have been touting the Jaguars D and there is a reason for that.  No, it’s not because they’re bad!  It’s because they’re capable and the more time they play together the better they will become.  Peyton Manning has been relatively quiet but it is a good sign for them that Edgerrin James is back as the workhorse running back.  Interesting to note how active rookie TE Dallas Clark has been.  He’s been more valuable to own than Reggie Wayne.  Reggie Wayne will have some big games as he has a lot of talent, the Colts just haven’t found the mismatch yet.  

The Colts are 2-0 but haven’t been winning pretty.  They’re still not a dominant style team yet.  Another nail biter but the same result.  Colts by a horse hair.

Prediction: Colts 25 – Jaguars 23  (Colts -7.5)


New Orleans Saints at Tennessee Titans – Sunday 1:00pm

A solid offensive out pouring from the Saints the past two.  They haven’t received a lot of headlines but they have been playing some solid football.  Joe Horn, Deuce McAllister, Donte Stallworth and Aaron Brooks have been solid performers.  You wouldn’t be able to fish for any of these players nor would you be thinking about cutting bait.  Enjoy the show.

The Titans are on again/off again and their running game is to blame.  They should be able to run but it has been a struggle for them.  Eddie George, I’m sorry to say, looks like a man with no gas left in the tank.  If you can cut bait on him, do so immediately.  Steve McNair and Derek Mason have barely been holding this team together.  When Mason goes down mid-season for his obligatory annual season ending injury, this team gets bad fast. 

The Saints defense has trouble stopping the run and it remains to be seen if the Titans can take advantage.  We’ll give the trench battle to the Titans as their lines are better on both sides of the ball and that will be enough to keep them in the hunt this week.

Prediction: Titans 24 – Saints 21  (No Line)


Saint Louis Rams at Seattle Seahawks – Sunday 4:05pm

*** RB of the Week Award: Shaun Alexander ***

I just do not buy into this Marc Bulger mojo business.  The Rams should have lost their game last week and would have, if not for a silly 49’er error.  They would be sitting at 0-2 after losing a game they were favored in and the world would be questioning, “What went wrong with the Rams?”  Instead, they get a lot of respect because Marc Bulger, the second coming, is the savior for this team.  Give it a rest already.  The Rams were falling apart at the end of last season and for all intensive purposes have continued that free fall this.  I don’t buy it.  Torry Holt has been magical this season, I do give them that, but not much more.

The Seahawks have been dominant and they didn’t even need their star WR to do it.  Koren Robinson won’t be missing any team meetings this week and will be on the field.  That spells trouble with a capital T for the Rams.  Darrell Jackson has been the deep threat and has responded well.  Look for Seattle to have their way with the Rams both in the air and on the ground as they emphasize their running game.  The world knows that running on the Rams is the easiest way to beat them and run the Seahawks will.  Alexander will be in for multiple TD’s.  

  
Prediction: Seahawks 34 – Rams 18  (Seahawks -3)


Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals – Sunday 4:05pm

The Packers will be fine once they get Donald Driver back, but that looks to be two weeks away.  They shouldn’t need him to get past the Cardinals however.  Ahman Green will see a lot of action in this against the under sized Cardinal line.  I have seen the recent Packers in this exact situation a number of times over the past few seasons and without fail, they will run Ahman Green into the ground and try to rest their WR group.  It seems Robert Ferguson is the better long term answer than Javon Walker if Ferguson can recuperate fast.

Anquan Boldin my friends.  I think fish.  Want to take a guess at which player in the NFL has been the target of the most passes through 2 weeks?  The answer is Anquan Boldin.  He is such a big part of their game plan it isn’t funny.  Sheer volume alone will give him decent numbers each week.  Emmitt who?  The Cardinals defense is the smallest in football and that is because money buys size in the NFL today.  No money?  Tiny defense.  Because the Cardinals are always behind we haven’t heard a peep out of Emmitt Smith but you know what?  He’s averaging 4.37 yards per carry this season which is solid production.   Too bad they are usually down by 17, 5 minutes into the game.

This week will be a little bit of a different story just because the Packers are going to run all day.  They really aren’t worried about winning the game because that will take care of itself.  It will give the Cardinals a little more time to run and keep it a little closer.

Prediction: Packers 24 – Cardinals 17  (Packers -7.5)


Cleveland Browns at San Francisco 49’ers – Sunday 4:15pm

Kelly Holcomb on the hot seat?  I would really like to hear from you Browns fans this week (tholm@fantasysharks.com) letting me know what you think of the QB situation.  It was the fans that were screaming for him, now what?  One of the names being bandied about this week is Quincy Morgan.  Everyone has been asking what they should do with him and many are dropping him like a hot potato.  Quincy Morgan I definitely fish for and he can be had for a song right now.  He is a talent and the woes of the Browns are due to a number of facets.  William Green is another.  He will heat up and that will help bring Quincy Morgan into the game, because whomever is QB at the time, will need him.  When Dennis Northcutt and Kevin Johnson are the top fantasy producers on this team, you know something is definitely wrong and Cleveland will game plan and modify the playbook to correct it.  You always make sure your plays help get the ball in the hands of guys that can win the game for you.

The 49’ers are a little banged up already and that isn’t a good thing.  Kevan Barlow has been phased in and has seen more action that Garrison Hearst but Hearst has shown he is still the better runner.  Either way, it’s a win-win for the 49’ers.  If I were Dennis Erickson I would continue to split time between them and I realize that is a very non-fantasy thing to say.  We despise the running back by committee.  There should be laws against such a thing but look for the 49’ers to emphasize their ground game a bit and just try to get healthy this week.

Prediction: 49’ers 27 – Browns 17  (49’ers -7)


NY Giants at Washington Redskins – Sunday 4:15pm

*** QB of the Week Award: Patrick Ramsey ***

QB of the week probably won’t happen but I’m jumping hard and fast on the Patrick Ramsey bandwagon.  Daunte Culpepper or Matt Hasselbeck make saner choices as QB of the week but Patrick Ramsey has a little something that you don’t see too often.  For those that missed it, Patrick Ramsey was fantasy QB of the week last week with some very big numbers.  Still smiling at the observation in Fantasy Index this season that “Holm was higher on Ramsey than any of the other experts.”  I feel like my boy is all grown up.  Boo Hoo!  I was high on him then, I am high on him now, and surprisingly, I’m not high right now.  Coles, Gardner, Betts and Canidate have lit this offense on fire and Patrick Ramsey is containing it like a nuclear fusion reaction.

I have no idea which Giants showed up last week against Dallas except I do note they weren’t the real Giants.  Kerry Collins’ timing was off and he threw a lot of balls in places that even Marvin Harrison couldn’t have caught.  The ball was wet as it was raining and their young offensive line didn’t gel till the second half but still.  

No real fish or cut bait stories on either of these teams.  You should be happy if you have Amani Toomer as he is looked at often and it looks like he is in for a big year.  The Tiki and Toomer show will take precedence this week and they will play the Redskins tough.

Prediction: Giants 24 – Redskins 23  (No Line)


Baltimore Ravens at San Diego Chargers – Sunday 4:15pm

Exhale.  The Ravens D came to play last week and dominated for four quarters.  That is handy since I own them in just about every league I drafted in.  Quick!  Who is the #2 WR on the Ravens?  Gotcha didn’t I?  If you figure it out, let me know.  Obviously, Jamal Lewis is so the man in this offense it’s not funny.  Maybe this week he gets to 300 yards in a game?  He’s only averaging 182 yards a game which puts him on pace for 2,912 yards.  Not sure why I’m giggling right now.  Look for Jamal Lewis to continue his rumbling ways and for Travis Taylor and Todd Heap to get a little more involved this week.

The Chargers have a lot of question marks.  David Boston is a full blown, bonafide, bustarooni.  Cut bait.  With Ladainian Tomlinson, the Chargers got burned with David Boston and they’re going to struggle to replace him. LT was OK last year because their D was better.  Now with no #1 WR and no D, the Chargers are going to be out of more games than in which means less numbers for LT.  He is still a solid option but for me he drops from potential #1 to outside of my top 5.  You fish for Eric Parker though.  All he has done is produce when asked and he will continue to.

Ravens have Jamal Lewis and a stout D, the Chargers have LaDainian Tomlinson.  Advantage Baltimore.

Prediction: Ravens 24 – Chargers 20  (Ravens -1)


Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins – Sunday 8:30pm

Travis Henry has been a fantasy machine this season and there is no reason to expect he won’t be week in and week out.  Eric Moulds and Drew Bledsoe will of course play up to a very high level of play.  Looks like losing Peerless Price actually helped Moulds put up bigger numbers.  Look for the Bills to struggle a little on the ground against Miami.  Not a lot of yards for Henry but the TD’s make up for it again.  

The Dolphins are a three headed monster.  Ricky Williams, Chris Chambers and yes, Jay Fiedler.  Jay Fiedler never gets any respect in the draft and is always drafted far below his ultimate fantasy worth.  Fiedler is off to a solid start this season as he is probably the #2 QB in your scoring system to date.  Scary huh?

The Dolphins like to generate a passing game from the success of their running game so look for them to try to establish Ricky early and have success doing it.  I understand the Bills are improved but the Dolphins are still the better team.

Prediction: Dolphins 27 – Bills 21  (Dolphins -3)


Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos – Monday 9:00pm

*** High Score of the Week Award ***

If it weren’t for Charlie Garner the Raiders would be a pathetic lot.  The thing is, teams just do not self destruct so completely in such a short amount of time.  What we’re seeing is the early death throws of this team but they will still have a solid season when all is said and done.  Do not cut bait on your Raiders quite yet.  Jerry Rice and Rich Gannon especially have been disappointing but that will change.  It goes to show how much they miss a guy like Jerry Porter.  His long term value went up a tick after seeing how this offense runs without him.  Look for the Raiders to struggle at times on Monday night but show signs of coming out of their funk.

The Broncos of course will run Clinton Portis and Rod Smith is poised for a decent evening.  What I will be looking for is how the Broncos work in Ashley Lelie, so far a veritable wasteland with 2 whole catches for the year.  The Broncos have yet to get a second WR involved in their game plan because running the ball has been so effective.

This will be a blood bath, make no mistake about it, the Raiders vs. Broncos always turns into a gang fight and on Monday night to boot.  Broncos win by a flared nostril.

Prediction: Broncos 28 – Raiders 27  (No Line)

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