Sunday - Apr 21, 2019

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The Prognosticator

Welcome my fantasy brethren to another edition of The Prognosticator.  May it keep you up on a cold fall night with visions of popsicles dancing in your head.  The progno pretty much nailed the fantasy projections last week and while the projected outcomes weren’t as good, the fantasy advice was stellar!  Being completely objective of course.  This is going to be a tough week fantasy wise as there will be some lower scores and a lot of your games will be close.  We were expecting big scores last week with all the passing and for the NFL to right itself from the first two weeks of rushing and we got them.  I will say I enjoyed reading a column from a very reputable source this week that reported what a contrast Week 3 was and how this author had been waiting for this event to happen.  That’s the difference between us and them.  We told you Week 1 was going to fly in the face of the predictions that the NFL was going to be all passing due to rule changes and scheme changes.  We said forget all that, we’re going to open with some big rushing totals.  We then came back and said it wasn’t a fluke, Week 2 will be the same!  “Crazy” they said!  “Insane” they yelled!  OK, no one said anything but it makes me feel like I’m giving something good away.  Week 3 we said, “OK folks, the NFL will right itself this week” and guess what?  It did.  Eerie ain’t it! 

One important note of advice for week 4 is to not take your lineup lightly because of all the close scores.  If you were toying with picking up the Falcons D because you have the Giants D but then said, “Nah, it doesn’t matter that much.”  Go back and rethink that.  This will be the week you’ll want to make sure you scrap, claw, chew and fight for each and every point.  Make the small incremental improvements to get you past week 4 as those that do, will win.  To be helpful, let me nutshell the players you’ll want to have this week and if you do, you’re already very far ahead of the game and should be very pleased going into this week.

On the ground:

  1. Jamal Lewis
  2. Curtis Martin
  3. Warrick Dunn
  4. Duce Staley
  5. Aaron Stecker

In the air:

  1. Donovan McNabb/Terrell Owens
  2. Kurt Warner/Giants receiver du jour
  3. Marc Bulger/Torry Holt/Isaac Bruce
  4. Brett Favre/Javon Walker.  

With honorable mention to Tiki Barber as his combination of receiving and rushing will make him a strong play.  Do you not have any of these players?  Upgrade your TE, K, D, do whatever it takes.  You’re going to need it but keep in mind that your opponent will still need more than just one of these players to get it done.  If they have many of these players, then hope they don’t start them!   

Team

Rush

Pass

Against

ARI

Average

Average

NO

ATL

Hot

Frigid

CAR

BAL

Hot

Frigid

KC

BUF

Cold

Frigid

NE

CAR

Frigid

Warm

ATL

CHI

Warm

Average

PHI

CIN

Cold

Cold

PIT

CLE

Frigid

Frigid

WAS

DEN

Average

Average

TB

GB

Warm

Hot

NYG

HOU

Cold

Average

OAK

IND

Average

Warm

JAX

JAX

Cold

Average

IND

KC

Average

Average

BAL

MIA

Frigid

Average

NYJ

NE

Cold

Average

BUF

NO

Hot

Warm

ARI

NYG

Average

Hot

GB

NYJ

Hot

Frigid

MIA

OAK

Average

Average

HOU

PHI

Cold

Hot

CHI

PIT

Hot

Frigid

CIN

SD

Cold

Average

TEN

SF

Warm

Average

STL

STL

Frigid

Hot

SF

TB

Frigid

Frigid

DEN

TEN

Average

Average

SD

WAS

Average

Warm

CLE

 


Philadelphia Eagles at Chicago Bears Sunday 1:00pm

I have seen enough.  The Eagles are elite and with all due respect to the Seahawks who also appear to be legit, the Eagles at this stage appear to be Superbowl shoe-ins for the NFC.  There is one major difference between the Eagles and Seahawks however.  The Eagles are completely front loaded with talent and the Seahawks have front row talent with some very serious depth.  The Eagles are one injury away at multiple positions from having the wheels come flying off their cart whereas the Seahawks can absorb multiple losses and still field one of the best teams in the NFC.  If you were to offer me the team of my choice in the NFC, I’d have to take the Seahawks for the long haul and the team I think will be there at the end of Week 17.  The Eagles are better if their front line starters stay intact but what are the odds of that happening?  Given what we’ve seen in the NFL to date, it’s not bloody likely.  

Donovan McNabb and Terrell Owens abuse a banged up Bears defense in all the areas that count when playing the Eagles.  Last week the Bears drew Randy Moss, this week it’s Terrell Owens, will the carnage never end?!?  On the Bears side of the ball, do not be afraid to start Thomas Jones as the line really likes blocking for this fantasy stud RB in the making.  If you’ve read this column since its inception, this author has long been a fan of Thomas Jones and The Progno has been around since long before Jones came out of school.  Vindication for all those years of looking like a dope!

Projection: Eagles 27 – Bears 17


Oakland Raiders at Houston Texans Sunday 1:00pm

As I start this paragraph I find it curious that I open with Kerry Collins as he too has long been a Progno favorite even when the chips were down and he looked like a dead end street.  Way back in Carolina I was impressed with his talent and ability, he then of course went through a down period where he shirked that talent and made some mistakes but Collins the QB I was impressed with.  When he finally came to the Giants I drafted him in the last round for every fantasy team I owned and he quickly became my starter.  For years you could still get Collins cheap in every draft even though he had numbers to support him being a legitimate top QB.  No one ever believed and the drafters everywhere were always waiting for the blow up.  For years I drafted Kerry Collins for a steal and for years I did well with him.  I have Collins in several of my leagues again and you watch, Kerry Collins will once again be a steal.  Thing is, even if he throws for 3,000 yards, you’ll be able to get him for a song and a dance in 2005.

Just as I give up on Tyrone Wheatley too.  I hate when that happens!  Wheatley went off the second I dropped his sorry behind but I still don’t think he’ll last.  Norv Turner is as stubborn as they come and yes, Wheatley will get plenty of opportunity, too much opportunity, but I have to believe not even they think he is the future.

Look for an average day on the ground and an average day in the air for the Raiders.  The stats in this contest will come from Houston QB David Carr.  You really have to like his progression this season.  I very much like David Carr but I have always said he is a Troy Aikman type fantasy player.  He will be a fantastic NFL player but a mediocre fantasy player for his career.  We’ll see if that holds up.  Texans win on the arm of David Carr.

Projection: Texans 21 – Raiders 20


Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns Sunday 1:00pm

The Redskins are giving up a league low average of 47 yards rushing on the ground.  That’s 47 yards folks and if you have a defense that can take away the running game, you have a good team by default.  The Redskins are starting off looking like a solid offering this season.  It didn’t take Marc Brunell long to get back into the saddle now did it?  Another QB I’ve touted is Patrick Ramsey and I will stand behind it.  He makes a lousy QB in Washington and I think he will be lousy for as long as he is there (which may not be for long.)  Just thinking out loud here but say the Buffalo Bills took Ramsey for cheap?  That to me is a perfect place for Patrick Ramsey to start his ProBowl career and bring a little luster back to that franchise.  Buffalo?  You listening?  Rod Gardner really perked up last week and look for that to continue.  The Redskins think they may have a little fire in their passing game with Rod Gardner and Laveranues Coles all of a sudden and they can beat the Browns corners almost effortlessly.

The Browns kicker looks attractive this week as Phil Dawson will score all the points for the Browns on Sunday.  Lee Suggs will finally be back but this is not the time for you to unfurl him.  Speaking of vindication, Jeff Garcia!  I could say I told you so but I’m way above such childish tom foolery.

I told you so!!  

Projection: Browns 15 – Redskins 14


Cincinnati Bengals at Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday 1:00pm

The Bengals are a good team but not a great one.  Rudi Johnson has had a tough time getting on track but we knew that didn’t we as we’ve been saying that the Bengals schedule was going to be brutal this year.  Do not expect Johnson to ever really get it going this season but next season, you will be able to get guys like Rudi Johnson and Carson Palmer cheaply in your draft and they will make solid values.  

The Steelers always have a strong nucleus and are never out of any game they are in.  The Bengals run defense has been almost non-existent and you should expect Duce Staley to run wild in this one as the Steelers win one the old fashioned way.

Projection: Steelers 21 – Bengals 14


New York Giants at Green Bay Packers Sunday 1:00pm

We hopped all over the Giants passing game last week and enjoyed the statistics.  Guess what?  We are going back to the well and declaring Kurt Warner a must play this week.  In fact, Kurt Warner is going to end up being the QB steal of your draft and in some leagues, is still available in free agency.  Do not be the fool and leave him there.  It is no coincidence that receiving stats are being spread out all around the Giants.  You see this kind of broad statistical coverage when the QB is smoking hot and that’s what we have.  The Giants are a scrappy bunch.  Their defense is playing above their ability and playing very aggressively right now causing havoc and turnovers as a result.

The Packers are going to have a solid day and Ahman Green will be a focal point.  Look for the Packers to really see what they have in Javon Walker just in case he is for real.  The want to know now just exactly what they have.  The Progno drafted Javon Walker early in as many leagues as he could get him in because he is indeed very much for real.

Here comes another Giants upset special because the Packers just will not be able to put them away.

Projection: Giants 27 – Packers 24


New England Patriots at Buffalo Bills Sunday 1:00pm

For those that missed it or are here after a Google search for ‘fantasy’ and wondering where the porn is, the New England Patriots are the best team in football.  I’m glad we could educate you, back to your searching.  

The Patriots are going to have a tougher time than many may think and will have a very difficult time handling the Bills D.  The Bills have been playing, very quietly, some phenomenal defense and they will be very motivated to try and take down the world champs.  As a result, approach your Patriots players very cautiously this weekend and start them only if you have to.  Teams don’t like playing in Buffalo but it’s not for the reason most people think, the weather.  If you ask a player why they don’t like playing in Buffalo it’s because of the people.  They’re angry in Buffalo.  Stories from players about Buffalo are endless like fans throwing rocks at their bus or old ladies gesturing with their finger as they walk by.  You hear that Buffalo is a harsh place to play but not because of the snow.

The problem with the Bills is of course their inability to move the football in a positive direction.  The Bills faithful are calling for a personal bench for Drew Bledsoe even though there is no QB to replace him.  Pssssttt.. Patrick Ramsey Buffalo.  Against the Patriots D the Bills are in for a long day.

Prediction: Patriots 23 – Bills 13


Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday 1:00pm

Holy Colt!  Peyton Manning is a one man wrecking ball and it’s a shame he doesn’t have a defense to help him win.  The Jaguars have put together a dominating defense and they will stop many teams cold but no one, NO ONE can stop the Colts offense.  The Colts will score their points by passing the ball around to everyone.

The Jaguars haven’t been able to run the ball with Fred Taylor and according to my weekly calculations they will remain cold, there’s a little red flag I’m popping up on this though.  There is a very good chance that Fred Taylor could have a very good game here but I still lean against it.  I’ll give it a 40/60 chance of happening.  See, if the Colts get up fast on the Jaguars which is possible, the Jaguars will need to abandon the running game.  However, the Colts can be run on and if the Jaguars defense is up to the challenge and can hold the Colts close to the vest, Fred Taylor will get some licks in.  

The irony is that the Jaguars are built for success if and only if they have a strong running game.  They have a top notch RB that is being under utilized and a big piece to their success is recognizing that and force feeding Taylor the ball.  Whether the Jaguar coaching staff recognizes this is another question all together.  My gut tells me that Fred Taylor is in for a big second half of the season once someone upstairs says, “Hey, when did we get Fred Taylor?” and acquiring him now, will be a move that turns to gold for you.  

Prediction: Colts 30 – Jaguars 17


Atlanta Falcons at Carolina Panthers Sunday 4:05pm

If Michael Vick just had someone to throw to.  Oh if he did.  The Falcons simply can’t come back in a game if they had to and lucky for them they have a defense that has been aggressive and successful being so.  The Falcons will be all about getting the ball to Warrick Dunn and using his speed and elusiveness to skirt around the Panthers linebackers.  Note: Falcons and Jaguars Team Defenses are a solid pick up if you can get them.  They have a very light schedule coming up and will put up big numbers. 

DeShaun Foster has been given the ball and this will be a test for him.  If Foster can run against the Falcons front then I do not give the ball back to Stephen Davis because Foster just proved his meddle to me.  Look for the Panthers to have more success upstairs than on the ground as the Falcons secondary can soften up at times and look for Jake Delhomme to take advantage.  You read it here first two weeks ago that Keary Colbert will have success in this offense after Steve Smith went down.  You probably didn’t do much about it.  Feel free to do something about it.

Prediction: Panthers 21 – Falcons 20


New Orleans Saints at Arizona Cardinals Sunday 4:05pm

This is a dangerous game because the Cardinals, much to their credit, have been playing everyone tough.  The Cardinals do not have a professional team but they have been scrappy and amazingly have kept many games close.  The Saints ran Aaron Stecker well last week and look for that to continue in a big way this week.  Stecker will be the story in this contest as he runs crazy on the Cardinals.  

The Cards will play scrappy and will get their digs in against a very average Saints Defense but there is no one of any fantasy value worth starting.  

Prediction: Saints 21 – Cardinals 20


Tennessee Titans at San Diego Chargers Sunday 4:15pm

Everyone expects Steve McNair to start on Sunday after spending two days in the hospital with a bruised sternum.  McNair has gone through the exact same injury before and he came back and did indeed play.  For some reason this smells just a little different to me and I think Volek will split time with McNair if not start outright and he will not be able to move the offense as effectively.  Chris Brown is special.  Those that were lucky enough to have him fall in their laps on draft day can thank their lucky stars and he is a must start from here on out without question.  

The Chargers are due.  I have been touting the Chargers as an improved team that has yet to truly show what they are capable of.  They have the best RB in football in LaDainian Tomlinson and currently lesser know personnel like Antonio Gates who are extremely capable.  This game revolves around Drew Brees and how capable he is on Sunday afternoon.

I’ll slide my neck into the very tight noose and pick the Chargers and Drew Brees to show why I’m right on this one.  

Prediction: Chargers 27 – Titans 17


Denver Broncos at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Sunday 4:15pm

Jake Plummer, Rod Smith and even Ashley Lelie are getting it done in Denver.  Quentin Griffin is about to lose his grip on the starting job in Denver as they issue in the reign of Tatum Bell till they trade him next year for a Defensive End.  The Bucs are known for their Defense but here’s a shocker, the Denver D is better.  

The Bucs get Michael Pittman back at just the right time and he will step right in and perform.  Pittman is not the kind of guy to need a few games for conditioning, as our guy Glenn Anderson said it best, “The guy has legs for arms” and that says it all.

The Bucs will have a very difficult time moving the ball period.  Avoid your Bucs this week but if you are desperate for a RB, Michael Pittman is worth a look.

Prediction: Broncos 17 – Buccaneers 13


New York Jets at Miami Dolphins Sunday 4:15pm

The Jets have started strong and there is no reason to think they won’t open up 3-0 this season against a very bad Miami team.  Curtis Martin will of course get his yards.

Leonard Henry?  Let’s get serious shall we?  What a mess, run very far away from this train wreck.  

Prediction: Jets 24 – Dolphins 13


St. Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers Sunday 8:30pm

The Rams are not all that good.  They sound like they should be good and they most certainly can pass the ball very well but they have trouble in many areas.  It all starts at the top and head coach Mike Martz is the first guy on the payroll that needs to go.  He needs to get over himself and since that will never happen, he needs to go into mirror sales where he can stare at his superior self all day long.

The 49’ers are back with Tim Rattay and that is going to pay dividends.  Rattay is another Progno deep grass kind of player that is way under the radar but one day very soon, Rattay is going to prove he firmly belongs in the NFL and will make you happy you have him.  Cedrick Wilson is in for a decent game as the matchup is too good to ignore and watch Kevan Barlow actually play well even though he is dinged.  The 49’ers are going to surprise the Rams and win this one.  

Prediction: 49’ers 20 – Rams 17


Kansas City Chiefs at Baltimore Ravens Monday 9:00pm

Yawn.  Is it me?  Or is this one B-O-R-I-N-G Monday Night game.  Yeah!  There goes Jamal Lewis up the middle again.  Oh, I think that was Jamal on a draw play.  Oh goodie, that was Jamal on a trap.  Holy crow Mabel!  Did you see that?  Jamal Lewis in a split back set just gained another 4.5 yards!  Woo Hoo!  Ain’t Monday Night grand?  Mabel!  MABEL!  Get back in here!  The Ravens just went to a wishbone before the Chiefs called timeout.  Don’t leave your seat!

Prediction: Ravens 24 – Chiefs 20

 

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