Friday, September 08, 2006


Week 1 in the Dirty (NFC) South

You might be expecting, given the title of this post, a humorous preview of the NFC South which compares the teams and key players/coaches to Southern rappers. And that would be a hell of a preview. But I can't write it. You see, I'm not just Caucasian. No. I make the whitest person you know, or have ever seen, look like veritable gangster. I blind people with my whiteness. I'm not proud of it. But I'm just not capable of even faking street cred. And I have way too much respect for people like Sexy Results to even attempt their game.

Practically a Crip compared to Eirishis.

So why bring up the Dirty South? Because, hip hop aside, I can't think of a more appropriate moniker of this division. Drugs, crime, scandal and disease abound ... and that's just talking about the owners. Let's go to the tape:

Falcons - I can't think of anything funny to say about this team. They are terribly unexciting. They once again made a terrible trade to bring in an overrated wide receiver as the "solution" to Vick's passing problems. They ostensibly refuse to that they would in all likelihood be better off with Matt Schaub under center (though I feel bad for Mora here - he'd get KILLED for making the right move). They made a terrible trade to send T.J. Duckett to Washington, leaving them with no backfield complement to Warrick Dunn, whose durability and success for them has been directly related to the Falcons' using him on only 60% of offensive downs. Some say this means he'll score the touchdowns he missed in years past - I think it means his 31-year-old body will break down by Week 10. Oh, and their defense is nothing special.

That this team is not very good is particularly disappointing given that Arthur Blank, despite looking vaguely like the long lost Mario Brother, seems to be the perfect sports owner - legitimate fan of the team, cogniscent of its role in the community, willing to spend money but stay out of the way of his football people. Memo to Arthur - might be time to get your NASCAR driver to go apeshit and beat the everloving piss out of Vick for no reason.

Week 1 pick - Afflicted with a herp outbreak, they lose straight up and against the spread to the Panthers. (More on them in a second.)

Week 1 stud - Alge Crumpler, who will remain Vick's favorite target, a Top-5 fantasy tight end, and a captain of the All-Great Name team. Vick will have a decent game (he's been kryptonite to the Panthers the last four years), and Dunn will be healthy week one. But adjusted for position, Crumpler is the best bet.

Week 1 dud - The Falcons defense. A lot of people had them at least present on their draft board, but the Panthers offense will run (and pass) circles over them. Could even be the rare negative point week.

Oh, and when I said I had nothing funny about the Falcons ... well ... there is the obvious ...

"We don't want none of them Mexicans in this here Carolina." And I don't blame them.

Panthers - Clearly the cream (and clear) of the crop in the Dirty South, both in the real games and in fantasy as they are the only team that has a useful player at every position. Jake "Daylight come on Chris Berman's face" Delhomme is a solid choice at quarterback, but frankly, I don't get the talk about him being a Top-5 fantasy arm. After three years as starter, we know what to expect from him - about 275 yards, two touchdowns, one interception, and three games where he absolutely shits the bed. Unless he spent the offseason on the 'roids his line has been using the last couple years, I don't see him making the leap into the elite QB club.

At the other positions, I love the acquisitions of Keyshawn Johnson (partly for his own stats, partly for what he'll do for Steve Smith's) and DeAngelo Williams (who will be DeStarting running back by Week 5 thanks to DeShaun Foster's brittle legs). Their defense is still one of the five best in the league. And John Kasey is left footed, which is cool, I guess. Though I kinda wonder how he picked up trim at parties. "Hi, I'm John. Yeah, I make a lot of money ... actually, I use my feet ... yeah, they are kinda small, but they can do some amazing shit with balls ... "

(The facts that a) I'm from North Carolina and b) they had two cheerleaders who were arrested for doing blow off each other's racks, making fuck in a bathroom stall, and punching a woman in the face, had absolutely no impact in my rating the Panthers highly in this preview.)

Hall of Fame in so many ways.

Week 1 pick - A healthy dose of Valtrex as they whomp the Falcons at home.

Week 1 stud - Keyshawn. Tough pick here between him and Smith - it comes down to where the Falcons' safeties bite, because neither of these guys can be covered on their preferred routes (Smith on a hitch, Keyshawn on a slant) by solo corners. But Smith's got a bum hammy and is questionable for the game. My bet is he plays, but that Keyshawn pulls the better stats.

Week 1 dud - DeShaun Foster, who will be the most disappointing starting running back in fantasy football not playing for the Broncos until he inevitably gets hurt.

Bucs - On one hand, this should be a playoff team. They have solid, if not spectacular players at skill positions in Joey Galloway, Michael Clayton, and Cadillac Williams who will produce every week. They have a defense that, while not as spectacular as it once was, still produces turnovers and generally keeps opponents off the board. They have a good coach who knows what the fuck he is doing, and has minimized off the field issues, despite living in the strip club capital of the world.

But on the other hand, they have a quarterback who, in addition to being the overwhelming favorite to be the next NFL quarterback to pull a Chessning, has never won a big game in his entire life and was once benched for Brian Fucking Griese. Gross, man! [No, seriously, come back, that's the only pun in the post.] The only thing that would make me more queasy about Chris Simms' ability to perform under pressure is if he cited Dick Vermeil as his hero.

Dude, you still can't come over. Not until that Simms kid breaks the ice for me.

Fortunately for fantasy players, that's not our concern. (Unless you have Simms. In which case you should shoot yourself.) The other guys will all still produce, even if the team spends all season dancing with Mediocrity. Who, by the way, looks really hot after a couple of beers.

Week 1 prediction - Ain't no fucking way I'm picking anyone to do poorly against the Baltimore Bird Shits. Bucs cover the spread and win at home.

Week 1 stud - The Bucs defense - I expect at least two sacks and two turnovers. Let's just say I'm not sold on the "Steve McNair can still get it done" theory, since, you know, he hasn't been functional in two years. But hey, at least the Poet Pussies have a not-at-all-demoralized Kyle Boller to lean back on.

Week 1 dud - Clayton. The glaring skill weakness of the Bucs is their lack of a receiving tight end. Without one, defenses don't even need to fake zone; they can simply pull a safety into the box and use a linebacker to spy the TE. That means that Clayton, their possession receiver, will be dealing with a clogged middle of the field most of the game, limiting his touches. Needless to say, I don't even know what I just said.

Saints - OK ... we need to clear one thing up before I can move forward with this. It's been a year. We all agree Katrina was a tragedy. We all agree that the government at all levels compeltely fucked up its response and that things are still pretty bad down there. We all agree that no one would mind if the Saints were good this year and brought smiles to peoples faces, but that sports aren't the most important thing in New Orleans right now. OK? We all agree? So we can go back to making fun of New Orleans like normal, right? Tit and bead jokes are cool? Good.

The only type of Mardi Gras flash safe for work.

OK, that little piece of business out of the way, the Saints are a mystery, dipped in batter and fried in a beignet. Drew Brees has proven that he is a pretty damn good NFL quarterback when he has three things - (1) a dual threat running back, (2) competent receivers, and (3) solid blocking. He has (1) in both Bush and Deuce. He still has (2) in Horn, though the Stallworth trade hurt. (3).......eek. If the Saints can even give three seconds a pass, he'll be a great backup quarterback and maybe even a starter. If they can't ... well, then he'll be calling David Carr for advice on painkillers. (Maybe while he's knocked out on morphine, they can remove that stupid ass birthmark from his right cheek.)

As for Bush ... honestly, I don't get why people were drafting him so high. Don't get me wrong, no one is higher on his talent and ceiling, but unless you're in a keeper league, is he seriously worth a 2nd round pick when he'll be learning the NFL game, playing against linebackers who can catch him, and splitting carries all year with a very good (when healthy) back? I think of him as the perfect W/R - a nice fifth option to rack up touchdowns with little expectation of major yardage. At least for the first couple of weeks, until he proves me to be a fucking idiot.

In truth, I don't think anyone knows what to expect from this team.

Week 1 pick - I'll be a homer and admit that I am, ever so temporarily, buying into the hype that the Browns have improved. I'll take the Poops to win at home, but the Saints with the points.

Week 1 stud - Deuce McAllister, who will make people regret not taking him earlier in their drafts. Bush may pick up more yardage this week, but Deuce will get the scores.

Week 1 dud - Joe Horn. How did he age so quickly? He went from being one of the top receivers in the league in 2004 to being on the Jerry Rice death watch by Week 8 last year. The Stallworth trade actually hurts his value, because he'll face tougher coverage.

Before signing off, my overall predictions:

Lesbians on Steroids - 12-4 and a bye week
Sailors in a Stripper Town - 9-7, just out of the playoffs.
Bayou Boy Scouts - 6-10, with hope for next year.
Dirty Birds of Mexico - 5-11, buying a Delta ticket away from ATL for either Mr. Mexico or Mr. Mora.

And with that, on to the games - just remember, next time some yokel at a bar complains about all the illegal immigrants using up our services, remind him that the only Mexico you know paid for his herpes test in straight cash, homies. Good night, and good luck.

Nice review. You are right about Tampa being home of strip clubs. I actually busted a nut once at a strip joint in tampa while getting a lap dance. I think I was wearing my spandex biker shorts at the time.

I take issue with the whole Falcons are better off with Schaub stuff though. Vick is definitely a below average passer, but he makes up for it with his running. The only way Schaub would make them a better team is if he were a top 5 QB himself. If he's just another decent Brad Johnson-esque QB then I don't think he makes them better.
If anyone goes this year, it's Mora. Vick's contract is un-eatable (inedible?) for the next few years.
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