Friday, October 06, 2006


Week 5 - The South Rises Again

A quick aside before getting to this week's picks - I've been gone the last two weeks on family business, visiting my grandfather in hospice care, then attending his funeral. Grandpa cheered for the Browns his entire life without liking them for even a day - all of them were overpaid bums who weren't worth their shit. Of course, given the Browns, he was absolutely right, but he taught me to cheer for them all the same. Thanks, Grandpa.

Back to business - some interesting developments in the NFC South since I last posted. Since most of the league, and everyone in the division by the Bucs, have played half their schedule, it's a good time to take stock of how the various ponies are performing at the track:

Derby Winners

Steve Smith and Keyshawn Johnson - In the two games since Smith came back, the two have combined for 350 yards receiving and two touchdowns. Expect that to continue. The reason these guys are so good for each other is that they are complementary rather than duplicate - Keyshawn is a possession receiver who is unafraid of the middle, Smith is a deep threat. Both are arguably the best at those respective roles in the league. Unless defenses want to live in the dime and slide safeties to double both of them, only the Bears and Ravens have secondaries good enough to deal with these guys on the field at the same time.

Falcons Defense - OK, so I was at least a little wrong about these guys. I'm not sold on them as a playoff defense, but they are certainly among the top 10 fantasy defenses this year. Playing against teams that they've established a good record for getting turnovers and sacks.


All of the division's quarterbacks - I had to create this category just for them. In our league, here is where the starters rank amongst quarterbacks:
I think Vick will drop (of course), and Delhomme will come up a bit ... but I think Brees' rating is about right. By the end of the season, the three of them will all be in the middle of the pack of fantasy QBs - good enough for each of them to start, but bad enough that any owner stuck with them should take shit for it.

Colts. The young kind, that don't choke.

Marques Colston - I love that I was right about this guy. (Can I mention again that he was a 7th round pick? From Hofstra?) I hate that I wrote about him before picking him up off waiver wires. As a result, my pet project is only on one of my three rosters. So I hope that all eight of you reading this appreciated the advice.

DeAngelo Williams - Hear me out on this one. I know he's only #38 amongst running backs right now. DeShaun Foster is #26 and is still the starter in Carolina. But we all know that Foster will get hurt eventually. And Williams has better numbers, in limited appearances, than Carnell Williams, Reuben Droughns, and Chris Brown, all of whom went in the first 30 picks of every draft. So trust me.

Out to Stud

Joe Horn - He's clearly been replaced by Colston as Brees' top option, and Devery Henderson is hot on his heels for the two spot. Joe helped win me a league championship once, but that was four years ago. Thanks for all the memories.

Deuce McAllister - His sad fantasy stats are the reason I'm low on the 3-1 Saints - not because they are low, but why they are low - he's only averaging 4.0 per carry and only one catch a game. If he were getting pushed by Reggie the Wunderkind, that would make more sense - but Bush hasn't look particularly polished as a running back, and has been more effective out of the slot than the backfield. This spells trouble for the Boy Scouts' rushing game in my eyes.

Warrick Dunn - He's only averaging 90 yards a game without a single touchdown, since rookie Jerious Norwood is getting all of the goal line carries. Plus, as the Saints showed on Monday night, you can bring the entire Atlanta offense to a hault by stuffing the box. Is he still valuable? Sure. Is this the last year that is true? Probably. I wouldn't start him against any decent run defense. But we salute him for being valuable in the past, and for being the only good human being to graduate from Tallahassee Community College and State Penitentiary.

Joey Galloway - Poor Joey. He's still valuable, but with no quarterback to throw him the ball, Gruden might as well send him to tilt windmills. Through three games, he's only averaging 56 yards a game, and has only one touchdown. Something tells me the Bruce Gradkowski era won't go much better for him.

Heading for the Glue Factory

Carnell Williams - 2.5 per carry. Less than 50 yards total offense per game. Wow. His stats have gotten so bad that GM sued to enjoin him from using the name 'Cadillac', claiming it was bringing their stock prices down. Worse, his stats have gotten so bad that I had to make that joke.


The Tampa Bay Offense - Just brutal.

Oh, right - the picks:

SAINTS (-6.5) over Bucs, Saints straight up

The spread worries me, but I can't imagine the Bucs scoring. At all. If your regular starting defense is on bye this week, now would be a good time to pick up the Saints.

Browns (+8.5) over PANTHERS, Panthers straight up

As justification, the spread is too big for a scrappy team like the Browns that have a nagging habit of staying in games, then blowing it. But in reality, this one's for Grandpa.

Reggie Bush won't even be the Saints' rookie of the year, much less the NFL ROY. Coltson has the size and hands to be a solid pro. What a steal.

Although I think Bush will continue to get better. The problem is that when he tries to take a handoff outside, he's not able to turn the corner like he did at SC. Plus you can tell that defenses are really keying on him- no one wants to get burned by the high priced rookie.

Im not sure who I would pick right now to win this division--probably Atlanta. But I won't be surprised if the Saints or Panthers win it.

Hope your grandpops lives long enough to see the Browns in the SuperBowl!
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