Tuesday - Apr 23, 2019

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The Prognosticator – Week 6

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of the Prognosticator.  May it rock the socks of your fantasy football world.  This week you find the progno a little down in the dumps after the Red Sox dropped the first two games of the series against the Evil Empire.  The loss of Curt Schilling for game five leaves a barb in my throat.  Would I rather be in the Yankees shoes today?  Yes.  Do I think the Sox can still pull this one out?  Sure I do.  Brandon or Bronson or whatever his name is Arroyo is as good as any 3rd starter in the league, the Yankees have a great deal of trouble hitting Tim Wakefield and Derek Lowe in the past, has been a big game pitcher.  Can the Red Sox head back to Yankee stadium up 3 games to 2?  You bet they can.  Will this series go 7 games?  Yes.  

Note that I’m fully aware that it is Bronson Arroyo but the announcer (was it Tim Carver?) seemed to think that it was Brandon Arroyo against Pedro Martinez in Game 2 and obviously, there are two things wrong with that.  I can not stand the obvious New York bias in the booth once again and the ridiculousness they spew inning to inning.  I now watch the series with the sound off, really I do.  I really don’t need to see every pitch on replay.  I saw it the first time and anyone who watches baseball has learned how to watch the plate, the catcher and the hitter to know where the ball was placed and where it was headed to.  Granted, it does take time and practice to be able to perceive balls and strikes but I still don’t need to see every swing played over and over again.  I also  don’t need some bouncing animated baseball every time Al Leiter is about to show us how to throw a knuckle curve.  This is baseball.  It’s bigger than President’s, it’s bigger than nations, it’s bigger than life.  

My wife, kids and I before Game 1, watched Field of Dreams with Kevin Costner.  We timed it so that the movie would end 5 minutes before the start of Game 1 and boy, was it powerful.  It planted firmly in your head how great this game was and is.  How rich with history and how every little boy and girl want to play it.  It’s not healthcare, terrorism, debates or a Philly cheese steak that makes this country tick, it’s baseball.  It’s the bond that ties and if you’re not watching you should, because for generations your parents, grandparents and earlier have argued the virtues of the New York Giants and the Boston Braves and the sluggers each team had and why they would win their series.  I coach my son’s baseball team and his grandfather passed onto me some books to help him with his pitching and hitting.  The books were written in the early 1950’s and the lesson’s haven’t changed one bit.  Pitching hasn’t changed, hitting hasn’t changed, fielding hasn’t changed, the game itself hasn’t changed.  How many sports can you say that about?  It’s dripping wet soaked with rich history and when you watch Mike Mussina pitch to Manny Ramirez or Roger Clemens to Albert Pujols, picture those guys in the 1920’s because the rivalries were just as heated, the competition just as fierce and that same pitch was thrown to a guy who could just as easily hit it out of the park to tie the game in the top of the 8th inning.  Baseball is called the nation’s past time for a reason, because it is.  Plug in and revel in something that is bigger than anything you could possibly imagine.

This weeks fantasy football projections:

Team

Rushing

Passing

Against

ATL

Hot

Average

SD

BUF

Frigid

Frigid

MIA

CAR

Average

Warm

PHI

CHI

Hot

Cold

WAS

CIN

Hot

Average

CLE

CLE

Frigid

Frigid

CIN

DAL

Hot

Average

PIT

DEN

Cold

Average

OAK

DET

Frigid

Average

GB

GB

Frigid

Hot

DET

HOU

Frigid

Hot

TEN

JAX

Frigid

Average

KC

KC

Hot

Cold

JAX

MIA

Average

Average

BUF

MIN

Hot

Hot

NO

NE

Hot

Average

SEA

NO

Average

Cold

MIN

NYJ

Hot

Average

SF

OAK

Frigid

Cold

DEN

PHI

Hot

Warm

CAR

PIT

Cold

Average

DAL

SD

Cold

Average

ATL

SEA

Hot

Average

NE

SF

Frigid

Warm

NYJ

STL

Frigid

Average

TB

TB

Hot

Average

STL

TEN

Average

Average

HOU

WAS

Frigid

Average

CHI

 


Washington Redskins at Chicago Bears Sunday 1:00pm

Is it really Joe Gibbs not getting it done?  Or is it owner Daniel Snyder?  Since Snyder took over the team the Redskins have done nothing but under perform.  Clinton Portis has certainly been a dud but he does have a soft schedule on the horizon and he should have a few decent games coming up.  Was he worth the 4th pick in your draft?  We’re still happy we didn’t have him in our Top 10 this season and we were the ONLY site to not.

Da Bears will run at the Redskins even though the word is out that is the wrong thing to do.  The Bears feel like proving a point and after an amazing start to his 2004 campaign, Thomas Jones has been waiting two weeks to show he is not as bad as his last outing.  Do not be afraid to start Thomas Jones even though it seems like a strange thing to do.

Look for a rocky day from the Redskins as they play a well prepared Bears team.

Prediction: Bears 20 – Redskins 13  


Seattle Seahawks at New England Patriots Sunday 1:00pm

Simply put, this is going to be a run off.  Shaun Alexander against Corey Dillon straight up with both having big days.  Look for Alexander’s numbers to edge Dillon’s ever so slightly but both teams are going to be handing the ball off a ton.  Keep in mind that Dillon is questionable and be sure to keep an eye on the situation as that is the pivot point in this contest.

This game is not going to be as easy for the Patriots as some are making it out to be.  Make no mistake about it, this is a show down of two of the upper echelon teams in football and it will show.  Edge to the AFC but I’ll throw this out there.  If Corey Dillon does not play, the Seahawks win this.

Prediction: Patriots 33 – Seahawks 30


Carolina Panthers at Philadelphia Eagles Sunday 1:00pm

The loss of DeShaun Foster is a big blow to the Panther offense.  He was the wildcard and playmaker and his absence will be deeply felt.  To compensate the Panthers are going to have to throw more than they want, with or without Stephen Davis.   What this translates into are some elevated numbers for Jake Delhomme, Mushin Muhammad and Keary Colbert starting this week.

The Eagles are the cream and they will float to the top.  Look for a great day from Brian Westbrook and a good day from both Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens.

Prediction: Eagles 24 – Panthers 20


San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets Sunday 1:00pm

The 49’ers had a good outing last week as they had an energizing boost with a last minute come back rally on the Cardinals.  Progno faithful were rewarded with Tim Rattay.  While most had a wait and see attitude with Rattay (and still do) we said start him.  We did in our leagues with tremendous results.  While he will not put up gargantuan numbers this week, look for numbers worthy of another start and you should strongly consider him.  Brandon Lloyd finally showed signs of life and we recommend you now acquire him as we have upped our rating from Market Perform to Buy. 

The Jets and Herm Edwards are simply finding ways to get it done and keep pace with the Patriots.  The Jets and Patriots square off next week and the Jets would like nothing more than to be neck and neck undefeated headed into the game, playing for the division.  Expect a big day from Curtis Martin as he gets it in high gear this Sunday very quickly.  Imagine with all the Patriots hype, the Jets holding onto the division after Week 7?  Heck, if Corey Dillon does not play for the Patriots, the Jets hold the top of the AFC East after Week 6.  Just how did that happen anyway? 

Prediction: Jets 33 – 49’ers 14


Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions Sunday 1:00pm

To think that the Packers can’t wait to get on the road is sheer lunacy but the Packers definitely need a break from Lambeau to get their head’s screwed back on straight.  I fear this may be a long season for the Green Bay Packers and Ahman Green owners with his lingering season long injury.  The good news is that Javon Walker owners will clearly benefit from this star burning out.

Mooch has his Lions playing well and while a lot of people seem to be calling Artose Pinner’s number this weekend I’m recommending you avoid the start.  If Roy Williams can go then that is where you want to look for numbers in this as the Packers secondary has been horrid and the Lions will be able to match up very well against them.

Prediction: Lions 21 – Packers 17


San Diego Chargers at Atlanta Falcons Sunday 1:00pm

Warning: Tirade to follow.  If you need coffee, or a bathroom break, now would be the time.

By now you know it is no big surprise the progno likes the Chargers as we’ve been calling their number each and every week to the point that now everyone else is doing it.  Funny how if you read similar “predictor” type columns, you will see they are on the back end of their predictions instead of the front end.  What I mean by that is that they are reactionary and need a few weeks of “prove it to me” ball before they can jump on board so they don’t look dumb in public.  It is a very old rule in this business that many employ and the unwitting should know about it.  You see, other places will pick the favorites because you the reader expects the favorite to win.  If the favorite wins, everyone’s happy and they look great.  If the favorite loses, the author doesn’t get the blame from you the reader.  The favorite takes the blame because who expected them to lose?  Certainly not the author nor the reader.  This is a magic formula that many, many sports sites are employing and on top of it, making you pay for this favorite picking service.  They match up their picks and projections so that they look and feel good but have you ever thought why they look and feel good and would you blame them for having bad projections?  Of course not.  Why do you hear the annual claim about parity in the NFL and how it is so unpredictable?  It’s because the favorites aren’t winning nor are their darling picks making it big like they projected.  If the NFL is so unpredictable that simply means that someone isn’t predicting it right and they are not predicting it right because they rely on revenue from you, which means they have to match public opinion instead of giving you a service that is truly worth paying for.  I’ll wait while you go back and read that last sentence again, it is an important one to understand.

The Progno faithful know one thing about this column and why I think it is so much more valuable than the other trash out there.  We’re simply not afraid to call it like it is and look for the NEXT team to blow up and climb the mountain of good teams because that is where you will find some fantasy gems before everyone else.  Isn’t that what this is about?  Giving you guys to target BEFORE they get hot?  If you ask me, we’ve done a stellar job of that this season.  Better than anyone else in the business for one simple reason, we’re not afraid of looking bad.  We were laughed at for saying the Chargers and Giants were good teams.  We were laughed at for telling you to go get Kurt Warner, Vinnie Testaverde and Tim Rattay.  We were laughed at for saying Derek Mason was going to disappoint and heck, people even dismissed our projections because we didn’t have Clinton Portis in the top 10 and I am sure they haven’t returned to FantasySharks but the trade off is worth it to me.

We take a LOT of heat for our projections.  So much so that I sometimes want to fiddle with them to bring them more in line with day to day thinking so we look good.  I KNOW we lose traffic because our projections can sometimes look skewed and people think we’re idiots.  I’ve been told by many people that they love the site but our projections are awful and they make us look bad.  I know they do.  The thing is, the way we do our projections and the pride we take in them is not equaled anywhere in this hobby.  Not by a long shot.  When the dust settles each week, I’ll put our projections up against anyone because I know ours are best because of the way we do them and the philosophy behind them.  Our weekly projections are created by a group of EIGHT people.  Each person is responsible for a division and they are responsible for that same division year in and year out.  We have one guy who knows his stuff, purely dedicated to the same 4 teams each week and each season.  What comes out of that dedication and knowledge is something special.  So I don’t care if we have Clinton Portis as our 20th RB or Marshall Faulk as our 21st that week.  I KNOW the way we assemble our projections each week and each season, they are the absolute best way to do them and I trust them because when the dust settles, they aren’t perfect, but they’re better than ANYTHING you’ll find.  We have thousands of people who can attest to them and hold us personally responsible for winning their championships last season.  You don’t help accomplish championships or gain the type of following we’ve gained if the data you’re providing stinks.  Guys that contribute to this site told me our preseason projections were suspect but I wouldn’t bring them in line with the other sites because I truly believe what we provide here is special and it’s the crown jewel of fantasy football advice.  If it makes the difference between you winning and losing then we’ve hit the mark and we try to provide that difference in a number of ways.

Here’s a fun example of what I get to see each week and this by no means is meant to single Steve out.  Rather, I respect the manner in how he approached us last week:

Email 1 from Steve:

Hey guys, appreciate your service, and when I have made comments about your lineup choices in the past you have been excellent about responding.  No response is necessary here, but recommending Josh McCown over Tom Brady just seems a bit ridiculous.  I know that you look outside the box, but benching one of the NFL’s top QBs, and fantasy football’s most underappreciated QB for a guy that hasn’t thrown a TD in 4 games this year, seems like the worst advice out there.  Of course I don’t have to follow it, and I won’t, but you also recommend Chris Simms over Joey Harrington, another case of benching a guy who averages multiple TDs per game for a new starter with no TDs.  That just doesn’t make much sense, especially considering that Detroit’s RB situation is pretty bad this week.  Just my humble opinion.  Good luck this week.

Regards,

Steve Ryan
GLFFL

Email 2 from Steve (3 days later):

Okay, so I sent you guys an email on Friday politely deriding you for your suggestions of starting McCown and Brees over Brady in two leagues I have in the Great Lakes Fantasy Football League.  I was civil, but thought that you were nuts for these choices.  Lo and behold, while Brady did have two TDs, he amassed an amazing total of only 76 passing yards.  McCown outscored Brady by 14, and Brees outscored him by 7.  Good call by you guys, and one that will lead me to pay a lot more attention to your prognostications moving forward.  Great job.

Regards,

Steve Ryan
GLFFL

Steve Ryan has guts and I appreciate that because we do too.  I’m not sure how else I can put this.  That’s the difference and I hope some of you see it.  Yes, we had Luke McCown ahead of Tom Brady last week.  Did it look really dumb from the outside?  Kinda.  Would anyone else do it?  No.  Did we think Brady was going to have a quiet day because he wouldn’t need to throw and good NFL QB’s are VERY different than good fantasy QB’s?  Yes.  Did we lay it out on the line for the abuse to roll in but refuse to waiver on our philosophy?  You bet.  

I even took a bet last week from a stranger who bet me that Tatum Bell would have a better week than Mike Alstott of all people as we were projecting Alstott to have a bigger week than Bell.  He bet me a subscription to FantasySharks.com or something like that and since we’re free, I accepted his challenge!  I have 100% complete faith in the guys that painstakingly create these projections for you every week and take it very seriously.  I’ve seen the individual spreadsheets they keep and data they mine.  Mike Alsott had 2 fantasy points, Tatum Bell had 0.  Sounds like I won’t have to pony up a free subscription to FantasySharks this week!

OK, I’ll reel this back in.  Let’s get back to some football!  As a reminder, I think this started off as the Chargers against the Falcons.  I hope.

This will come down to the running of the Falcons vs. the passing of the Chargers.  The Falcons will run Warrick Dunn and he is a must start.  Michael Vick will have a typical Michael Vick day.  He will pass a little, run quite a bit but somehow, make magic happen.  

The Chargers will use the arm of Drew Brees a little more and look for Reche Caldwell to get involved along with a lot of screens to LaDainian Tomlinson.  The one interesting component we will see,  is the competition between super stud TE’s Alge Crumpler and Antonio Gates.  Look for Gates to have the bigger day and a good one at that.

Prediction: Falcons 30 – Chargers 27


Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns Sunday 1:00pm

The battle of Ohio is waged this Sunday between two juggernaut teams both on the verge of making a run for the division and ultimately the Superbowl.  Oh wait, this is the Bengals/Browns game.  Whoops, wrong game.  Right, what a fiasco this will be.  The one guy to look out for here will be Rudi Johnson.  You know you have been playing him and been disappointed, you know you’re pretty ticked off at the draft position you selected him with because after all, he was high on the public’s draft list (21st RB on ours).  This is your big opportunity to trot him out there because he will perform very well for you this Sunday.  You have to simply enjoy the present Chad Johnson sent to the Browns secondary this week.  Pepto Bismol.  Now THAT is funny.

The Browns are going to have a difficult day mainly because head coach Butch Davis has no idea how to coach a professional football team.  He should try his hand at LaCrosse.  Run Lee Suggs Butch.  Run him 20+ times a game.  Have you seen the arms on that guy?  When Jeff Carcia says what the coach should be doing in the media, that is not a good sign about what is happening behind closed doors and signifies a team torn apart.  Stay away till they win a few games and get their confidence going.  When they do, there is some deep fantasy talent on this team.

Prediction: Bengals 17 – Browns 14


Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills Sunday 1:00pm

WAAAAAAHHHHHH! HAAAA HAAAA HAAA HA!  OHHHHHHHHHHHH!! HOOOOOO! HOOO HOOO HOO!  WEEEEEEEEEEE HEEE HEE HEE HEE!  HAAAAAAAAHHH!  HAAA HAA HAA HA!  OOOOOOOOOOOOOHHH! HOOOO HOOOO HOOO!  Dol EEEE phins at OHHHH HOOO HOO the Bi HEEE HEEE HEEE lls?  Oh now that is rich.

Look for a defensive struggle and two offenses with no idea which way they are supposed to run.  We may see the first Willis McGahee NFL start this weekend.  At least that is worth watching for a series or two.

Prediction: Dolphins 12 – Bills 10


Houston Texans at Tennessee Titans Sunday 1:00pm

Looking for a deep WR sleeper?  Derick Armstrong is your man.  Remember we were talking about Keary Colbert and Michael Clayton before they became waiver pickups.  Derick Armstrong is the next guy you’re about to start hearing the Progno tout.  Go ahead, pick him up now and look like a genius.  Armstrong has been very quietly poised to be a great WR and the Texans offense is really starting to gel.  With no help from Corey Bradford or Jabbar Gaffney, the Texans have given Derick Armstrong a chance and he ran with it with a 100+ yard game and a score.  With teams focusing on Andre Johnson, Derick Armstrong will take a lot of teams by surprise by overpowering their 2nd CB as Andre Johnson will always draw the top CB on each defense.  I know you’ve never heard of him, don’t be shy, jump in, the water is warm.

The Titans are better than folks are giving them credit for.  The Texans are playing well but the Titans will be able to move the ball with balance.  A dose of Chris Brown followed by a splash of Steve McNair and with solid balance, the Titans will win the game but fantasy points will be average across the board from all your Titans.

Prediction: Titans 27 – Texans 23


Kansas City Chiefs at Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday 1:00pm

Has the Jaguars defense been exposed?  The Chiefs are not a great fantasy team apart from Priest Holmes and obviously you are not contemplating sitting Holmes this weekend.  If you are, put down your team, back away slowly, and keep your hands where I can see them.

The Jaguars have reengineered their offense and the benefactor will be Byron Leftwich.  I know many have written him off as dead but expect better numbers from him the rest of the way due to the changes in their scheme.  If you have a 3rd QB on your roster, like 3 QB’s and have a Jeff Garcia, Drew Bledsoe type, feel free to dump them and pick up Byron Leftwich before he starts playing well.    

Prediction: Chiefs 21 – Jaguars 14


Denver Broncos at Oakland Raiders Sunday 4:15pm

Bronco nation is going to ride me like a cow spotted pony but the Raiders win this.  They most certainly hate to hear such a statement as there is no team hated more by a Broncos fan than the Raiders and in Oakland to boot.  Every Bronco fan will be glued to the set for this one as it is a battle of life and death.  

This is not going to be a pretty game and the Broncos new found running game with Reuben Droughns or Quentin Griffin is going to hit a barrier on Sunday.  By the way, let me continue to address the Bronco running game and state that neither Drougns nor Griffin are the answer.  Droughns is much better as a full back and I fully expect him to be Mike Anderson for the Broncos next year.  Griffin makes a great 3rd down back but not your steady Eddy.  Tatum Bell will get some time this season, particularly toward the end.  Ultimately, the Broncos would love to have Reuben Droughns at FB, Tatum Bell as the first and second down guy and Quentin Griffin in for 3rd downs.  Does that sharpen the Denver running game picture for you a little bit?  Look for the Broncos to surprise a little and throw more this weekend, particularly to the other country heard from, Ashley Lelie.

I know it sounds like a broken record and everyone else has jumped off but Kerry Collins isn’t done yet.  I am giving up on Jerry Porter this season however.  Porter is a progno favorite and mark my words, he is valuable in a keeper but especially in a Dynasty league as one year soon he will be a stud WR and will blossom into a Rod Smith type guy for this career.  For you fantasy football newbies, Rod Smith has had some incredibly big fantasy seasons throughout his career and so will Jerry Porter.

Prediction: Raiders 17 – Broncos 14


Pittsburgh Steelers at Dallas Cowboys Sunday 4:15pm

The Steelers are playing good fundamental football and that will see them through.  I was shocked by the drubbing the Giants handed Parcells last week and that sour apple taste will continue this week for the Cowboys.  The players of note in this will be Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress as neither have big days, but both have serviceable fantasy starts.  

The Cowboys are going to want to establish a running game and may die trying.  They desperately want to control the clock in this and will run Eddie George a lot between the pipes.  Eddie will get a lot of tough yards on Sunday.  Dark horse receiver is Antonio Bryant this week as he will get some yards in garbage time to pad his stats to decent levels.

Prediction: Steelers 24 – Cowboys 20


Minnesota Vikings at New Orleans Saints Sunday 8:30pm

I’ll admit that this game is a little cloudy to me.  The cloudiest of the bunch.  I rattled the crystal ball and it looked like Santa’s Village with little fake snow falling and I don’t know what that means.  One thing I do know is that the Vikings will be running and throwing a lot to everyone at will.  This is another huge game for Daunte Culpepper and anyone else he brings along for the ride.

The mystery for me is how this will shake out for the Saints because my gut and my head are giving me two different answers.  Conventional wisdom (and my head) states that the Saints will be throwing a lot playing catch up/keep pace ball and the very porous Viking secondary will let it happen.  Start Aaron Brooks, Joe Horn and Dante Stallworth and forget about it, money in the bankMy gut is telling me something different all together and in times of crisis, I always go with my gut.  It is what keeps my happiest after all.  MMmmmmm .. Lasagna.  

My gut tells me that with Deuce McAlister back in the mix the Saints are going to try an old ploy that other teams used to try against the unstoppable Rams of old.  Try to keep the opposing offense off the field by controlling the clock and running the ball.  The Saints know they won’t win in a shoot out as the Vikings have better weapons, but if they can keep it close, they will have a chance in the 4th quarter to win it.  That is why I’m running contrary to public opinion and saying that Deuce McAlister is in for the biggest day for the Saints and not the receiving team.  

But boy oh boy could this bust hard on me.  All it will take is a turnover or a couple of quick strikes by the Vikings for the Saints to have to abandon the game control plan.  Tough call.

Prediction: Vikings 24 – Saints 23


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at St. Louis Rams Monday 9:00pm

I had to guffaw as I saw Brian Griese get snatched up across fantasy nation this week.  But Tony!?!  Did you see his completion percentage?  His numbers?  The opportunity?  Yes I did.  I saw that in Denver for years, in Miami and now in Tampa Bay.  Welcome to the enigma that is Brian Griese.  Griese is good for maybe another game, two max, before he busts hard on you.  Leave him be or better yet, trade him if you can.  Getting anything for Brian Griese in a trade will be the coup of the century.  Look for the Bucs to challenge the soft middle of the Rams and punish them there with Michael Pittman.  Have fun with Pittman this week.

The Rams of course pass the ball, a lot.  That is what they do and it is what you should expect.  The Bucs however still can play some stout defense and this is no easy task for the Rams.  You play your Rams of course but expect average to above average numbers from the lot of them.  Still, they’ll have enough fire to get it done on Monday night especially with the prospect of blowing the division wide open with the Seahawks playing the Patriots the day before.   

Prediction: Rams 20 – Buccaneers 17

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.