Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Texas High School football is out of control

60 million dollars for a high school football stadium.

I know that they love their football in Texas, and I know they take it pretty damned serious.  This is too much though. 

You can build an entire new school for less than that.  You have to love a state that fights to put creationism in science books and spends more on a football sstadium than most  places spend on their schools.

I love sports more than most, and as you know by reading this, football is pretty high on my list.  Let's not get our priorities out of wack.  When it comes down to it, monday morning is more important for most of those kids than friday night is.

Monday, August 23, 2010

2010 Pre-Season Fantasy Player Rankings

It is time for yet another exercise in futility.  I am going to join the ranks of those prognosticators and seers who put their reputation on the line to predict who the best Fantasy Football Players are going to be.  This is easy for me because I have no reputation to ruin.

Unlike some of my colleagues, I am not going to bother giving overall rankings because those rankings vary according the scoring settings of the leagues.  Rather, I am going to provide a list of players by Position.  The positions I am going to address are QB, RB, WR, TE, K, D/ST as that will fit with the arrangement of most leagues.

Here are a few points I will be taking into account.

1. I will include return duties when evaluating data.  This may skew a bit for those of you who do not include return yards or individual return TD's in your league.

2. I will take into account the schedule that the players are playing against.  I don't expect this to lead to any considerable changes at the tops of the lists, but may lead to some rearranging further down the list.

3. I will take into account the depth charts of the teams.  For Example, Thomas Jones and Jamaal Charles are both good backs, but because they are on the same team, neither of them will get the same credit that they would if they were a true lead back.

4. I am predicting the best point maker in FFL, not the best talent, or the best player. 

1. Aaron Rogers: Rogers exploded onto the scene last year, and was considered one of the best in the league despite playing behind a porous offensive line. With Brian Bulaga and time to heal, the offensive line should be much improved. With a stable of big, athletic receivers to throw to both on the outside and at tight end, look for Rodgers to absolutely light it up this year.

2. Brett Favre: Favre is a pain in the ass, and a prima donna, but he sure can play.  On top of that, he plays for a team that is loaded from top to bottom and plays in a relatively weak division.  Look for him to have another 4000 yards and 25+ touchdowns this year. 

3. Drew Brees: Without him, the Saints would be hard pressed to make the playoffs. With him, they win the whole thing. It's true enough that a whole lot of things had to go right for them, but Brees can flat out play. This is a passing offense, and he is the engine that makes it go.

4. Phillip Rivers: Ah yes, time for the man that they love to hate. They being everyone outside of San Diego. LT is gone, but the chargers are still loaded and this year they have none of the yearly Super Bowl pressure that has followed them the past few years. Look for Rivers to have his 3rd straight 4000+ yard system.

5. Peyton Manning: Hey, Peyton is still Peyton.  He has been the best QB in this league, statistically, for the majority of his career and if he lit up last year with backup receivers playing, there is no reason for us to expect him to be anything less than himself.  That said, he didn't get much help from the running game last year and he is everyone's focus.  He will get his, but I don't think he will be able to dominate quite like he has in some past years.  This is all relative with him dropping to #5 overall of course, which most QB's would love to reach.

6. Tony Romo: Romo rebounded nicely to have the best yardage year of his career last year. The Cowboys are loaded on offense, if Doug Free can play a serviceable left tackle. If Romo ends up running for his life, it's going to be a long season. After all, if Alex Barron cannot play tackle for the Rams, he can't play it for the Boys. Tony will be solid for fantasy, but if they can't protect with their base line, they will have to limit their skill position packages.

7. Tom Brady: Brady is Brady.  He still has Randy Moss, has Welker coming back, and added a weapon last year in Julian Edelman.  The Pats offense has a few questions up front, but in their quick hitting offense, that is less of an issue than it would be fro some teams, and their second stringers would start for some teams anyway. 

8. Matt Schaub: 4770 yards and 29 touchdowns.  As long as he has Andre Johnson on the outside, Schaub is going to have the potential to blow up every week.  There is a tough schedule on tap with out of division games against the entire NFC East, Baltimore, NY Jets, and the Chargers.  Those are some tough defenses to have to deal with so Schaub may be hard pressed to repeat last year.  Remember though, he had success last year with near to no running game.  If Arian Foster can give them a consistent running attack, the balance may be enough.

9. Donovan McNabb: If there is anyone out there who thinks Donovan can't do it anymore, they haven't been paying attention.  He does choke on occasion, but we aren't talking about Super Bowls, we are talking about FFL.  Some want to question his receiver corp, but until DeSean Jackson got to Philly, this would have been the best group of receivers he has ever had.  If they can gel, this is going to be a big year.  If they don't, it will still be above average.

10. Eli Manning: Little brother Eli is ready for a nice season.  He has a big arm, a short memory, and his own reputation, good and bad.  More importantly, he has a stable of receivers who are hungry and will go out and make plays for him.  The Giants are weak at a few spots, but the passing game is not one of them.  They better run the ball tough, otherwise, Eli and the offensive line in front of him are going to be steamrolled by the aggressive pass rushers in this division.

11. Ben Roethlisburger:  He has lost himself a lot of fans outside of Pittsburgh this off-season, and cost himself a month of the season.  That said, Big Ben is a monster in fantasy and is going to be the focus of the Pittsburgh attack.  Missing a month will hurt, but if you can get him with a good second to carry the first month, it will be a big win.  A bigger question for me is how much losing Santonio is going to hurt.

12. Kevin Kolb: Kolb is the great unknown, but all reports he looks like he is ready to go.  The Philly offense is deadly to everyone except the Cowboys, and Kolb is supposed to be the prototype for this offense.  He looked good in limited time last year, and DeSean Jackson can hide a lot of sins statistically.  Time to step up.

13. Matt Ryan: Matty Ice has a bit of a sophomore slump, but the Falcons are looking to make moves this year.  His yardage was a bit lower than some of the guys on this list, but his TD/Int % was just fine.  Look for him to take another step forward this year.

14. Joe Flacco: Flacco was handed the reins last year and put up nice numbers.  To make it even better, he did that without a legit group of receivers.  With Anquan Boldin and Dante Stallworth coming to town, that is no longer the case.  That is assuming that they can both stay on the field, which has been a challenge at times for both. 

15. Carson Palmer: Carson is past his prime by a bit, but he has one of the best receivers sets, talent-wise, in recent history.  Even past the starters, there is great depth and youth with Jordan Shipley looking like he wants the starting slot receiver spot.  Gresham should be starting sooner rather than later at TE too.  All Carson has to do is distribute, and he has shown flashes of what he used to be in the pre-season.  If it all works out, this ranking may be low.

16. Kyle Orton: Just asking, did you know that he threw for 3800 yards last year?  Basically, Orton's stats were on par with McNabb's.  Not bad for a guy who doesn't have the arm to start in this league.  Now personally, I hope Denver goes O-fer, but that's per bias.  A better question is whether Demaryius Thomas can play from day one.  If he can't, the Donkeys have issues in the passing game.  I am a fan of Eddie Royal, but he didn't get much love last year.  If Orton can't lean on Royal or Stokely, this rating may drop like a stone.

17. Jay Cutler: This spot will be wrong at the end of the year.   It will likely be wrong by a lot.  The question is, up or down?  All the right noise is coming out of Bears camp, but Cutler is not the kind of QB that Mike Martz usually works with.  The question is, was that because this kind of arm is rare, or because it doesn't fit the offense?  We'll see. 

18. Alex Smith: Smith took over the starting spot in week 7 last year and played very solid ball for 2/3 of a season.  If you pro-rate, you are looking at 3400 yards and 26 TD's.  And, he is mobile.  This is an up and coming team, and the more time that Smith spends throwing to Crabtree, Vernon Davis, and Ted Ginn, the more explosive they are going to get.  Yes, you read that right, I have not given up on Ted Ginn yet.  He is still dangerous with the ball in his hands, and I think he will make a very good #2 to pair with Crabtree.

19. Jason Campbell: Jason Campbell got drafted after working at the helm of a power rushing attack with a play action game.  Does that sound like Raider football to anyone else, or is it just me?  Campbell will not go to the pro bowl, but if he puts up last year's numbers (3618 yards, 20 TD's, 15 Int's), the Raiders will be in the hunt for a playoff spot.  After all, let us not forget what division they are playing in, and the defense that they will be bringing to bare. 

20. Mark Sanchez: He had some rough moments as a rookie, but if you take out his 2 best, and 2 worst games, you get some interesting numbers.  11 TDs  11 Ints.  You combine that with how he played in the playoffs, and you feel a whole lot better about Sanchez's rookie season.  I mean, maybe it's just me, but the kid looked like he had it figured out in the playoffs.  Now, let's take a look at his receivers.  Jerricho Cotchery, Braylan Edwards, and Santonio Holmes?  I think that's a crime in some states.  Big, fast, and athletic.  And 2 of them even have really good hands.   Yeah, this is going to be a big step forward for the kid.  Look for him to improve as the a season goes.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Just because I am a Twins fan.

I would like to congratulate Jim Thome on reaching back and delivering a full on pimp slap to the White Sox last night.

Yeah, just curious, you guys still thinking he couldn't hack it in the Big Leagues anymore?