Tuesday, September 28, 2010

NFC North Review: Chicago Bears Grab Early Supremacy

By: Nick Grays, The Sports Bank Columnist

With a dramatic 20-17 win over the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears join the Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers as the only 3-0 teams in the NFL. You would be hard-pressed to find anyone who predicted those three teams to have a perfect start to the season. Nonetheless, the Bears have shown vast improvement from their 7-9 record in 2009. In fact, the team from Chi-Town last started 3-0 in 2006; a year in which the Bears started 7-0 and eventually played in the Super Bowl.

It all starts with the defense as the acquisition of Julius Peppers (pictured above) seems to be a great one. Anyone who watched the Monday Night game could see how big of a match-up problem Peppers was for the entire Packers’ offensive line. Half of the Packers’ franchise record-tying 17 penalties were directly or indirectly related to keeping Peppers away from Aaron Rodgers. Additionally, Brian Urlacher looks like he has returned to form with a game-high nine tackles (Lance Briggs also had nine) and the clutch strip of wideout James Jones late in the fourth quarter.

Before we jump to any conclusions, lets take a quick look at the status of each team in the NFC North:

Continue reading the article at The Sports Bank by clicking here!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Week Three Awards: As If Vick Needed Any More Media Coverage

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Pity Pot Winner: Harwood's Howitzers (pictured above twice)
Tim did it again! For the second week in a row, Harwood's Howitzers grabs a cool five dollars for scoring the lowest fantasy total. This time he managed a poor 52 points with horrible performances from just about everyone except Santana Moss (16 points). This comes after Tim received one of the highest projections of the week which means you can't blame the owner. Good luck next week.

MVP of the Week: Michael Vick (17/31 for 291 YDS and 3 TDs, 30 YDS rushing and 1 TD = 32 points)
This guy looks better than he did before the dogfighting incident. I never remember Michael Vick having the ability to make the pass like he has in the last couple of weeks. With his 30 yards on Sunday, Vick inched closer to second on the all-time rushing list among quarterbacks with 4,124 yards. Only Steve Young (4,239) and Randall Cunningham (4,928) have more yards. The true test is this upcoming weekend when the Eagles welcome in Donovan McNabb and the Redskins. If Vick goes out and has a bad game, it will be interesting to see how Andy Reid reacts to that. I think you have to stick with Vick until the end of the season barring an injury or any kind of lenghty struggle. From a fantasy perspective, Vick may be one of the MVPs of the season when taking into account he was picked up as a free agent in week two. An additional note, Vick has won three awards in this league (Week One Best Free Agent, Week Two Best Free Agent Pick-Up and Week Three MVP).

Honorable Mention:
Anquan Boldin (32 points), Adrian Peterson (31 points) and Peyton Manning (25 points)

Worst Performance of the Week: Buccaneers D/ST (38 PA and 2 INTs = -3 points)
A fantasy projection of 15 is making the ESPN experts look really bad right now. I'll help them out a little bit by saying no one knew Steelers QB Charlie Batch (17 points, pictured to the right) would look good as he did. At the same time, it's the Buccaneers and the Steelers, 15 points really? The Buccaneers had no answer for the Steelers at any point in the game, neither on the defensive or offensive side of the ball. Next week, the Bucs enjoy a much-needed bye week followed by a game in Cincinnati. Expect to spot this squad in the free agent pool.

Wasting Away (Best Bench Player):
Austin Collie (12 REC for 171 YDS and 2 TDs = 29 points)
It was only a matter of time before the second-coming of Wes Welker would emerge in the NFL. Austin Collie appears to be that man with the best quarterback in football throwing him the ball. I can't see anyway Collie is not a fantasy-worthy starter each and every week for the rest of the season. Moreover, if you play in a PPR (points per reception) league, Collie may be the goldmine to propel your fantasy team to great things. Collie has scored a TD in each of the first three games as well as recorded at least 10 receptions and 150 yards in two of the three games. How many of you knew that?

Best Free Agent Pick-Up: Peyton Hillis (180 total yards and 1 TD)
Hillis wasn't added this week, but two weeks ago in this league. Rory's investment is starting to pay off heavily as Hillis looked like a man-possessed against a scary Ravens defense. Ray Lewis and company are usually great at eliminating any kind of run game. However, Hillis served as a tank for the Browns and went for 144 yards on 22 carries. Back-up, James Davis only received 4 carries while James Harrison was ruled inactive for week three. That bodes well for Hillis who takes on the Cincinnati defense next week. Don't expect a huge week, but another double-digit performance is certainly possible.

Somebody Pick Me up (Best Free Agent): Lance Moore (6 REC for 149 YDS and 3 total TDs = 26 points)
Shock is the only way to decribe how no one had this guy on their roster (owned in only 2.3 % of ESPN fantasy leagues). Taking into account a broken Reggie Bush and slouching Robert Meachem, Moore shouldn't have been missed in week three. Nonetheless, Moore was fantastic on Sunday while grabbing six balls on seven targets. He also returned a punt for 72 yards and a score. With an upcoming match-up with the Carolina Panthers, Moore is surely going to be one of the most added players this upcoming Waiver-Wire Wednesday.

Hurts So Bad (Biggest Injury):
Steven Jackson (Groin Injury)
This is an injury to closely monitor as the loss of Jackson could be a huge loss for the Rams and any of his fantasy owners. Especially considering how Jackson was an undisputed first-round choice in most leagues. It doesn't help that groin injuries can be tricky and painful to come back from. Keep an eye on back-up Kenneth Darby who tallied 49 yards and a touchdown in Jackson's absence. This was sad to see after Jackson ripped off a large touchdown run earlier in the game. The Rams did win the game, but lost arguably their best player.

Let me know what you think about this week's awards. Were there any snubs or how do you feel about anything going on in the fantasy league or the NFL?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Week Three Monday Night Heroes!

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Sundays when the Packers don't play can be kind of boring. This was not the case this Sunday as I had the opportunity to watch some great games. I started out by watching the Tennessee Titans take out the New York Giants. The Titans definitely take advantage of having Chris Johnson as they gave him a game-high 32 touches. I followed that game up with the Denver Broncos vs. the Indianapolis Colts. Kyle Orton (pictured above) is no joke even though the Broncos fell to the Colts. The final game of the night was the best as the Jets and Dolphins went back and forth in a Sunday Night thriller. I didn't like seeing Braylon Edwards score a lengthy touchdown after receiving a DUI earlier this week. Keeping him out one quarter is not an appropriate punishment in my opinion. The next page in this week's fantasy chapter concludes tomorrow with the following Monday Night game:

Green Bay Packers @ Chicago Bears 7:30 PM (ESPN-HD)

1.) Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (1-1) vs. Team Grays (Nick Grays) (0-2)

Score: 85-63 Team Grays (22 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: WR Donald Driver (Team Szombatfalvy) and TE Jermichael Finley (Team Grays)
Reaction/Prediction: Philip Rivers (24 points) and Chris Johnson (24 points) were impressive, but now Mike must rely on Donald Driver (proj. of 4) to score 22 points more than Team Grays' Jermichael Finley (proj. of 13). I'm pretty sure that won't happen since Finley usually garners a significant amount of targets. Jamaal Charles (14 points) was electric with every touch; it won't be long until he's the guy getting more carries than Thomas Jones (15 points) who ended up with the rushing touchdown this weekend. Team Grays has to be somewhat worried about Ray Rice's (9 points) so-called knee sprain. Initial thoughts are that it's a minor injury, but you just never know. Team Grays should improve to 1-2 while Team Szombatfalvy falls into the same record.

2.) Harwood's Howitzers (Tim Harwood) (1-1) vs. Team Breiby (Chad Breiby) (2-0)

Score: 95-49 Team Breiby (46 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: RB Matt Forte (Harwood's Howitzers) and K Mason Crosby (Team Breiby)
Reaction/Prediction: Team Breiby produced another fantasy player with 30+ points for the third week in a row. This time it was the resilient Anquan Boldin (32 points) with eight receptions for 142 yards and three touchdowns. After receiving huge projections, it looks like Tim must once again root for his possible Monday Night Hero to have a horrible night in order to receive the pity pot. Unfortunately for Tim, Matt Forte (proj. of 18) is averaging 20 fantasy points in two games and most likely will have a good night against an up-and-down Packers defense. Just not good enough to be a Monday Night Hero; good start for Team Breiby at 3-0.

3.) Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (0-2) vs. Team Merrill (Seth Merill) (1-1)

Score: 87-58 Team McCarthy (19 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: QB Jay Cutler (Team Merrill)
Reaction/Prediction: Team Merrill's Cutler (proj. of 10) will have to score a ton to make up for lackluster performances from Michael Crabtree (3 points) and Mike Sims-Walker (3 points). On a positive note, DeSean Jackson (21 points) showed some effective chemistry with Michael Vick. Matt missed out on another breakout performance, this time from Mike Wallace (20 points). Matt will most likely forget about that though when he picks up his first win of the year because of clutch performances from Tom Brady (22 points), Michael Turner (18 points) and Darren McFadden (17 points). I think it's safe to say McFadden is a legitimate threat in the NFL and no bust by any means.

4.) Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (2-0) vs. Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman) (0-2)

Score: 87-72 Team Lee (FINAL)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: None
Reaction/Prediction: Team Lee was running away with this match-up until Louis Murphy (11 points) pulled Team Klitzman within 12 points with the Dolphins D/ST left to play the late game. However, the Jets put up enough points on the Dolphins to secure the win for Isaac and his Team Lee. On his side, Team Lee can credit the win to Reshard Mendenhall (20 points) and Drew Brees (22 points) who combined for 4 of Team Lee's 5 fantasy touchdowns on Sunday. Kari goes back to the drawing board with the top waiver-wire pick-up in the upcoming week. It will be interesting to see what positions she goes for as Team Klitzman is only a spark away from being a decent team. Kudos to Isaac for starting the year 3-0.

5.) Bobby's Bad-Asses (Robert Trader/John Rymaszewski) (0-2) vs. The Rippin and the Tearin (Rory Linton) (2-0)

Score: 118-111 The Rippin and the Tearin (FINAL)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: NONE
Reaction/Prediction: You have to feel bad for Robert and John. They scored over a 100 points and still couldn't pick up their first fantasy win. Meanwhile, Rory and his The Rippin and the Tearin broke the 100 point mark for the second consecutive week. Not only that, but Rory's Michael Vick (32 points) is establishing his self as 2010's hidden gem in real life and fantasy. Jahvid Best (3 points) came back to reality. However, Rory received great production from his other running back Peyton Hillis (23 points) who took advantage of Jerome Harrison's injury in Cleveland. Kyle Orton (22 points) and Brandon Lloyd (22 points) were the keys to success for Bobby's Bad-Asses; they just didn't have enough help from DeAngelo Williams (6 points) or Chad Ochocinco (3 points) to get the win. Rory joins Chad and Isaac with 3-0 records in the fantasy league.

6.) Vader Time (Joe Selbo) (1-1) vs. Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (2-0)

Score: 50-38 Vader Time (12 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: WR Greg Jennings (Vader Time), Packers D/ST (Vader Time) and QB Aaron Rodgers (Team Szmanda)
Reaction/Prediction: Here's a low-scoring affair. Vader Time's Carson Palmer (7 points) looked terrible against a mediocre Panthers team and Steven Jackson (11 points) was forced to leave the game with a groin injury. Meanwhile Team Szmanda has to feel bad for not starting Austin Collie (29 points) who looked liked Manning's best friend on Sunday. His other three receivers had only 17 points combined. Jason needs the Bears to put up a bunch of points on the Packers defense while Aaron Rodgers (proj. of 18) scores touchdowns that don't involve Jennings. That seems rather unlikely, so I expect Vader Time to improve to 2-1 while Team Szmanda gets hit with their first loss.

7.) Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (1-1) vs. Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (1-1)

Score: 118-89 Team Lowenberg (29 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: RB Brandon Jackson (Team Lowenberg) and K Robbie Gould (Team Grande)
Reaction/Prediction: My match-up of the week turned out to be not very close. Lowenberg received amazing days from Adrian Peterson (31 points) and Jeremy Maclin (20 points) en route to a sizable fantasy total. With Brandon Jackson (proj. of 9) left to deploy, Team Lowenberg probably has their eyes set on Team Breiby's single-game record of 124 points scored in Week One. On the flip side, Anthony shouldn't be distraught over his performance. The Steelers D/ST (18 points) is unstoppable and Ahmad Bradshaw (15 points) as well as Brandon Marshall (22 points) looked like fantasy studs. Robbie Gould (proj. of 8) should give him a 90+ week, but a 1-2 record as well.

Let me know how you thought the match-ups went this Sunday by commenting below! Follow Nick on twitter by clicking here.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Week Three Fantasy Predictions from Nick and Chad

Nick's Record: (5-9 overall, 2-5 in week two) (0-4 in points predictions) = 5 points
Chad's Record: (6-8 overall, 5-2 in week two) (0-4 in points predictions) = 6 points

1.) Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (1-1) vs. Team Grays (Nick Grays) (0-2)

Line: Team Szombatfalvy -2
Nick's Outlook: Alright, enough messing around, not only do I need to avoid going 0-3, I must do better than 2-5 on my fantasy picks. Chad did a great job of bouncing back from his horrific week one predictions. I'm sure I'll pick against myself sometime this season, I just don't see it happening here. I think Ray Rice (proj. of 11) will finally reach the end-zone versus Cleveland and call me optimistic, but I think newly acquired Jamaal Charles (proj. of 11) will emerge as a solid threat this weekend versus the 49ers. Mike and his Team Szombatfalvy will keep it close as Chris Johnson (proj. of 26) and Miles Austin (proj. of 23) have very favorable match-ups. The ceilings are high, however, I wouldn't be surprised if one of them goes for 30+. Other than those two studs, Mike is searching for some production by starting Jerome Harrison (proj. of 1) and Deion Branch (proj. of 9).
Nick's Prediction: Team Grays

Chad's Outlook: I’m always so skeptical when ESPN throws out a lofty prediction for any player. This week’s C.J. (pictured above) may actually hold up to his 26 projection against a terrible Giants run defense. The Colts are well known for having only a passing game and they posted 160+ rushing against them. Miles Austin is the number one receiver in the NFL and I don’t expect him to slow down this week against a terrible Texans pass defense. 15 point projection for the Bucs D? I don’t care if the Steelers start Hines Ward at QB, 15 is not going to happen for the Bucs defense. Week 1 Foster carried the Texans. Week 2 Schaub was the man. Week 3? Ray Rice seemed to have a slow start but accordingly he should have against the Jets and Cincy. Prepare for a boost this week though against Cleveland. I expect his 11 projection to be doubled. I think this match could easily go either way. I’ll give Grays his first win of the season for my second upset.
Chad's Prediction: Team Grays

2.) Harwood's Howitzers (Tim Harwood) (1-1) vs. Team Breiby (Chad Breiby) (2-0)

Line: Harwood's Howitzers -14
Nick's Outlook: Chad's destruction may end this week as Tim and his Harwood's Howitzers are favored despite the injured Reggie Bush being in the line-up. I'm not high on Tim starting Rashad Jennings (proj. of 4) in his place, but what else can he really do. What I do like about his team is Reggie Wayne (proj. of 21) against a soft Broncos' secondary containing a banged-up Champ Bailey as well as Favre and Shiancoe versus the fantasy friendly Lions. Chad faces a tough match-up as his best player, Peyton Manning (proj. of 21) must stay away from Wayne for his team to succeed. Unfortunately for Chad, Manning loves him some Wayne.
Nick's Prediction: Harwood's Howitzers

Chad's Outlook: It is really difficult to argue against Team Breiby that will start 5 players in the top 3 of their respective positions. It’s ironic that going into the season, Team Breiby seemed to have an edge in the receiver position (Boldin and Fitzgerald: 32 points this season), but has been let down and then compensated a great deal with what seemed to be a weak running game (McCoy and Foster, 96 points this season). On the other side of the ball, it’s really hard to argue against Harwood’s Favre connecting with his favorite target Shiancoe against a terrible Lions team at home for double points. With the Steelers QB problems, I see a 14 projection for Hines Ward a bit high. Even 18 for Forte seems a bit high against a decent Packers defense. Peterson steals the light from Favre and Team Breiby stays undefeated in my first upset of the week.
Chad's Prediction: Team Breiby

3.) Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (0-2) vs. Team Merrill (Seth Merill) (1-1)

Line: Team McCarthy -12
Nick's Outlook: Team McCarthy took a huge blow when RB Knowshon Moreno was ruled out for Sunday's game with the Colts. If Moreno was able to start that game, McCarthy would have surely broken his streak of low-scoring games with Turner, McFadden and Moreno. Luckily he still has McFadden (proj. of 20) and Turner (14), however, each faces their own challenges as well. Turner left last week's game with an injury while McFadden must welcome back his competition Michael Bush this week. Regardless, I think Matt avoids the 0-3 record because Team Merrill's MJD (proj. of 15) and Sims-Walker (proj. of 13) won't go for double-digits on the same team. DeSean Jackson (proj. of 16) also plays in that game (talk about make-or-break fantasy game)!
Nick's Prediction: Team McCarthy

Chad's Outlook: The number 1 QB in the league, Jay Cutler (Rating: 121.2), will be tested on Monday night against Green Bay’s 3rd ranked pass defense and the league leader in sacks, Clay Matthews (6 sacks). Other than Cutler, Team Merrill has had a lot of let downs this season including MJD, Sims-Walker, Crabtree, and Greene. They have all combined for a whopping 34 points. Someone has to step up on that team because Cutler and Gates can’t win Merrill games all season. I like DeSean Jackson and almost any other Philly player ever since Vick became starter as defenses direct more attention toward him. For team McCarthy, Brady and McFadden will have big days looking at their opponents. Harvin should have his first big game of the year if he is migraine-less on Sunday. Team McCarthy has scored a league low 116 points through 2 losses, but rebounds this week and puts his first win in the books.
Chad's Prediction: Team McCarthy

4.) Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (2-0) vs. Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman) (0-2)

Line: Team Klitzman -3
Nick's Outlook: Kari, Kari, Kari, what will I do with you? Last week, she posted on one of those so-called social networks, "Looking for an entire new fantasy team." While very funny, I think she needs to get more serious and figure out where the problem is. The problem has been Joe Flacco (proj. of 6) against defenses such as the Jets and Bengals on the road. Don't fret, he can't get any worse and will turn it around versus Cleveland on Sunday. In regards to Team Lee, he's dealing with a running back problem; the Steelers offensive line has been terrible in paving the way for Reshard Mendenhall (proj. of 15) while Brandon Jacobs (proj. of 2) is going to have trouble finding carries. I think this match-up could go either way, but I'm leaning towards Team Klitzman, hope the pick doesn't burn me again.
Nick's Prediction: Team Klitzman

Chad's Outlook: Flacco’s 7 points this season has me thinking that Kari will start Alex Smith this week. It’s also great that she managed to pick up Tolbert (21 points last week), Mathews backup, in waivers because it looks like he will getting the start this week. Why does Lee’s Brees only have 31 points this season? I think a high scoring Falcons match for Brees at home this week will at least double his points on the season. Lee has some major running back issues. Brandon Jacobs has been a huge let down this season and I was about to suggest that he start someone else until I saw his replacements were Washington and Bush, who have combined for 2 points this season. I think Lee’s receiving corps and Brees will save him again this week as the undefeated stays undefeated and the defeated gets beat again.
Chad's Prediction: Team Lee

5.) Bobby's Bad-Asses (Robert Trader/John Rymaszewski) (0-2) vs. The Rippin and the Tearin (Rory Linton) (2-0)

Line: The Rippin and the Tearin -25
Nick's Outlook: Last week's breakout team in The Rippin and the Tearin is full of huge projections. None bigger than Randy Moss (proj. of 19) and Jahvid Best (proj. of 18). However, I believe both of them are too high and the spread for this match-up is too large. I really like the Broncos' pass-happy offense against the Colts and Chad Ocho-Cinco should have at least one touchdown against the Panthers. Call me crazy, but I'm taking Bobby's Bad-Asses in the biggest upset of the season thus far.
Nick's Prediction: Bobby's Bad-Asses (Upset Special)

Chad's Outlook: Three weeks ago I would have said Rory’s starting lineup is worthless. Looking at it now, it looks scary. I really wanted Vick on those waivers. I’m a huge Vick fan (Might even consider trading P. Manning to Rory for him if he throws in a little bonus player). Anyways, J. Best had a Foster breakout day last week, but I don’t see him posting 18 against a stout Williams Wall and Randy Moss is GOOD. The “Bad-Asses” will try out their newly acquired L.T. who is averaging 6.2 yards per carry this season. The BA’s should consider trying out B. Lloyd this week in exchange for a Berrian bust.
Chad's Prediction: The Rippin and the Tearin

6.) Vader Time (Joe Selbo) (1-1) vs. Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (2-0)

Line: Team Szmanda -16
Nick's Outlook: Team Szmanda quietly reached 2-0 mark and is ready to show what his fantasy team has to offer. Rodgers' projection of 18 should be no problem while Calvin Johnson (proj. of 12) will finally live up to his hype versus Minnesota. At the very least, he should get near double-digit targets while facing the Minnesota Vikings' stout rush defense. Meanwhile, Joe will need some some touchdowns out of Lee Evans (proj. of 4) and Steven Jackson (proj. of 12) to have a chance. Neither of them have reached the end-zone this season. Szmanda doesn't score a lot this week, but gets enough to win.
Nick's Prediction: Team Szmanda

Chad's Outlook: Team Szmanda shouldn’t get too cocky with his (2-0) record because he has had a league low 111 points scored against him this year. His number 1 overall pick in the draft, Rodgers, held up last week scoring 26 points, and this week shouldn’t be much different against Chicago’s 26th ranked pass defense. If Calvin Johnson would “hold onto the ball” this week, we could expect a decent game against a sub-par Vikings secondary. I really feel like Vader Time’s Carson Palmer is going to return to his Pro Bowl caliber play this season. He has two hall of fame receivers and a top back, Benson, running the ball. Carson shouldn’t have any excuses Sunday against Carolina. I’ve always liked Steven Jackson, but his situation reminds me of Barry Sanders’ problem. He has great talent hidden for so many years behind his appalling team. Maybe the 2010’ number one pick, Bradford, will give him a spark this season. I really wanted to get my hands on Jennings in the draft this year, but Joe got to him just before me. Jennings is outlandishly underrated in the NFL. I expect big numbers this week against Chicago. Team Szmanda is blindsided in my third upset of the week.
Chad's Prediction: Vader Time

7.) Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (1-1) vs. Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (1-1)

Line: Team Grande -16
Nick's Outlook: This is my match-up of the week; a couple of 1-1 teams with a lot of firepower in their line-ups. Anthony has some "Grande," projections this week. Get it, grande means large in spanish? Alright, nevermind, maybe it was kind of corny. Nonetheless, Anthony should expect big things from Andre Johnson (proj. of 22) and Brandon Marshall (proj. of 14), the two best receivers in the game in my book. On the other side, Team Lowenberg should expect big things from Adrian Peterson (proj. of 22) and Roddy White (proj. of 14) who already has more targets than some of my receivers will get all year long. In the end, I feel Anthony's eight players projected in double-digits will be way too much for Team Lowenberg to handle. Anthony does have a risk at QB, but just wait, Sam Bradford (proj. of 14) will surprise a lot of people this weekend.
Nick's Prediction: Team Grande

Chad's Outlook: Terrell Owens, Andre Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Dallas Clark, P. Thomas, and Steelers D. has Team Grande stacked. They all look good on paper, but haven’t produced much this season. With Favre having the slow start, the Vikings seem to be going back to A.D. on the ground like last week’s production. This week shouldn’t be any different against the Lions. Matt Ryan has tossed the ball R. White’s way 35 times in 2 games which leads me to believe he’s a great start against any defense. With Romo and Peterson accounting for at least 50 points this week, Team Lowenberg is my fourth upset of the week.
Chad's Prediction: Team Lowenberg

Point Predictions (Worth two points a piece)

Nick's Predictions: Lowest (Vader Time) and Highest (Team Grande)

Chad's Predictions: Lowest (Team Merill) and Highest (Team Lowenberg)

Let us know what you think about the predictions by commenting below!

#11 Wisconsin Finally Impresses in 70-3 Thrashing of Austin Peay

By: Nick Grays, The Sports Bank Columnist

Madison, WI -The #11 Wisconsin Badgers improved to 4-0 with a 70-3 thrashing of the Austin Peay Governors in front of 77,224 at Camp Randall Stadium. Unlike in their three previous games, the Badgers impressed on all fronts this Saturday. To no one ‘s surprise, the Badgers’ running game was downright dominant while accumulating 346 yards. Freshman running back James White (pictured above) led the way with 145 yards on 11 carries (a whopping 13.2 yards per carry) and four touchdowns. The Badgers’ defense was also a force to be reckoned with. After giving up 125 yards to Arizona State’s running back Deantre Lewis last week, the rush defense locked down the Governor’s run game while limiting them to only 42 yards on the ground, including a stifling eight yards in the first half.

Wisconsin’s 70 points is a single game school record for the most points in the modern era dating back to 1946. The win also extends the Badgers’ regular-season non-conference winning streak to 28 consectutive games and marks the seventh consectutive season the Badgers enter Big Ten play undefeated.

Continue reading the article at The Sports Bank!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Debut on The Sports Bank!

Check out my preview of the Badgers upcoming game with Austin Peay by clicking on the following link:

#11 Badgers Take On Austin Peay in One Final Tune-Up

I'm proud to announce my partnership with TheSportsBank.net in an attempt to help cover Midwest Sports!

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Much of The Sports Bank’s content is prominently featured on Fox Sports’ homepage, distributed through the Yardbarker Network.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Trade #2: LT Straight Up For Charles

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

As most of you know, John and Robert who own Bobby's Bad-Asses have been pushing for trades like crazy since the injuries of Ryan Grant and Kevin Kolb. On Tuesday Night, they offered me a trade that I couldn't possibly turn down. They offered RB Jamaal Charles (pictured on the left) straight up for RB LaDainian Tomlinson (pictured on the right). Here's my breakdown of the deal:

Nick's Perspective: I'll start out by saying this was a hard deal for me to make because I have a legitimate man-crush on Tomlinson. Ever since he was a rookie back in 2000, I've secretly coveted his skills and talent. True story, I used to have 40 different LT rookie cards. At the same time, I do not like the New York Jets and actually targeted Charles in the draft. I'm well aware of the Chiefs' hesitant use of Charles through two games (22 carries), but Tomlinson had just as many on the season. Plus, ESPN Fantasy Expert Triston Cockcraft has Charles as his #13-ranked fantasy running back compared to Tomlinson's #37 ranking.

John and Robert's Perspective: One of these owners obviously has a crush on LT just like me. With the injury of Ryan Grant, I'm guessing they are looking for a spark in their running game, partly due to the lackluster play of DeAngelo Williams and Charles up to this point. Additionally, Tomlinson has looked much better than starting running back Shonn Greene; I'm not sure you can say the same about Charles and Thomas Jones (they've looked comparable).

Advantage: This one is hard to say and will be most likely figured out in the next few weeks. I think Charles has much more upside because he has top-ten running back talent while Tomlinson is fighting off old age and proving he still has something in the tank. Moreover, Charles will play against more so-called bad teams this season (look at week 8 and beyond) while Tomlinson battles in a stacked AFC East. At the same time, Tomlinson plays for a much better team. Nevertheless, I have to think I received the better deal because I wouldn't have executed the trade otherwise.

What do you think about this transaction? Will Thomas Jones or Shonn Greene ruin both of these guys' fantasy years or will it all work out in the end? Let me know by commenting below!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Week Two Awards: Jahvid really was the "Best"

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Pity Pot Winner: Harwood's Howitzers (Tim Harwood, pictured above)
Tim wasn't able to use his Harry Potter-like looks to influence his fantasy team this week as Harwood's Howitzers only managed a measly 51 points. The first person he can thank is Team Klitzman's Frank Gore for adding 28 points for her team on Monday Night. Even though the 49ers lost a heart breaker at home, Gore ensured Tim would win the $5 award as Team Klitzman put together 63 points. After that, Tim can thank a lot of his fantasy members. How bout we start with Brett Favre (1 point) who was absolutely horrible against a Dolphins defense who will get a little pub later in this article. Hines Ward's zero points and the Patriots D/ST -1 points didn't help anything either. I said it before the fantasy season; Harwood's Howitzers was primed for a roller coaster ride. This was a perfect example after he went over a 100 points in week one.

MVP of the Week: Jahvid Best (232 total yards, 3 TDs = 40 points)
Just short of Arian Foster's week one total of 41 points, Best had a great weekend even though the Lions fell to the Eagles to start another season 0-2. Most surprising was Best's 154 yards receiving and a league's third best 14 targets (only Andre Johnson and Miles Austin had more targets at 17 and 15 respectively). Best hasn't been very impressive in the ground game, but still finds his way to the end zone as the rookie already has five touchdowns on the season. That bodes well for his fantasy owners because Best should be the primary option regardless of Kevin Smith returning or not. Don't worry Calvin Johnson owners, you would think defenses would start to scheme against Best which will help the stud receiver's fantasy value.

Honorable Mention: Jason Snelling (35 points), LeSean McCoy (30 points), Matt Schaub (29 points), Steelers D/ST (28 points) and Frank Gore (28 points)

Worst Performance of the Week: Brandon Jacobs (4 carries for 8 yards = 0 points)
It would have been easy for me to pick on Vince Young (-3 points) and give him this award, but Brandon Jacobs' situation is much more bizarre. The team has obviously chosen to side with Ahmad Bradshaw (8 points) as he received 17 carries compared to Jacobs' four. In the second half of the Colts' thrashing of the Giants, Jacobs was angry and ended up accidentally throwing his helmet into the stands. Breaking news as of today is that Jacobs intends to approach Giants' management and seek a trade. I think that's the right choice after putting the Giants into this awkward situation. Green Bay would love to have Jacobs if they can't get Marshawn Lynch.

Wasting Away (Best Bench Player): RB Jason Snelling (186 total yards, 3 TDs = 35 points)
Can't really blame Matt and his Team McCarthy for this one, how did he know Michael Turner would leave the game with a groin injury? This is the second week in a row that Matt has won this award as Darren McFadden went for 20+ on the bench versus the St. Louis Rams in week one. Fortunately, Matt didn't miss out on McFadden's 14 points this week (DMAC is back!). Even though Snelling shredded an Arizona Cardinals defense on Sunday, at least Matt has the treat of having Turner and Snelling in case anything happens. Oh, the beauty of handcuffs.

Best Free Agent Pick-Up: Michael Vick (21/34, 284 yards, 2 TDs and 37 yards rushing = 22 points)
Why am I not surprised that the Best Free Agent from Week One was the Best Free Agent Pick-Up for Week Two. Oh yeah, they played the Detroit Lions who are some people's favorite fantasy team because of the truckload of points they give up. This award actually goes to Robert and John who own Bobby's Bad-Asses for picking up Vick. However, they shipped him to Rory's The Rippin and the Tearin a few days before Sunday's match-up. It will be interesting to see how things unfold next week against the Jacksonville Jaguars. I think Kolb will be the starter and play very well, eliminating any chance of quarterback controversy for now. The big test will come in week four when the Eagles take on Donovan McNabb and the Redskins.

Somebody Pick Me Up (Best Free Agent): Dolphins D/ST (3 INTs, 1 FR and 1 TD = 21 points)
Considering the defense was projected at -4 points and went off for 21 is pretty crazy in itself. Not only did Vontae Davis and company make Brett Favre look really old, they stuffed Adrian Peterson on fourth down from the one-yard line in a critical part of the game. With a match-up against the New York Jets' offense which is not very scary, I think their worth a pick-up. Against the Bills and Vikings, they have scored more fantasy points (30) than they've allowed to opponents on the field (20).

Hurts So Bad (Biggest Injury): Darelle Revis (Hamstring Injury)
I know we don't have an IDP league, but this injury still plays a huge role in our fantasy league. No longer be scared to start your number one receiver against the Jets if Revis is out. It's quite ironic if Revis misses any significant time because of the ridiculous holdout at the beginning of the season. A team and a player should be able to come to a compromise. The Jets D/ST certainly takes a hit with Revis out.

Let me know what you think about this week's awards. Were there any snubs or how do you feel about anything going on in the fantasy league or the NFL?

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Week Two Monday Night Heroes!

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

From a fantasy perspective, I'm not sure I can be happy. However, from a football perspective, it was a good day. Aaron Rodgers looked great in a 34-7 thrashing of the Bills while the guy he replaced in Green Bay threw three interceptions en route to the Vikings' 0-2 start. Additionally, my upset of the week became reality when the Chicago Bears went into Dallas and upset the Cowboys by the score of 27-20. I'm also willing to admit that I was wrong about Jahvid Best (pictured above) because his 40 fantasy points was no fluke in a crazy game in Detroit. Enough ranting, here are my reactions to each and every match-up as well as possible Monday Night Heroes for the following Monday Night Game:

New Orleans Saints @ San Francisco 49ers 7:30 PM (ESPN-HD)

Team Grays (Nick Grays) (0-1) vs. Team Breiby (Chad Breiby) (1-0)

Score: 115-71 Team Breiby (FINAL)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: None
Reaction/Prediction: I'm not really sure what to say here, but I need to say something. The Eagles-Lions game really messed up the fantasy world this weekend. LeSean McCoy's well-deserved 30 fantasy points basically burried me. If Team Breiby has someone eclipse 30 points every week, he'll go undefeated. Matt Schaub's 29 points and 497 yards is encouraging for Team Grays. Team Breiby's strength, the running game, remains a problem for Team Grays as the team was outscored 57-21. I obviously picked the wrong wide receivers as Mark Clayton (15 points) and Malcolm Floyd (14 points) both reached the end-zone. Chad looks good going into week three with a 2-0 record while I'll be on the search for a running back to improve my 0-2 record.

Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman) (0-1) vs. Team Merrill (Seth Merrill) (0-1)

Score: 79-35 Team Merrill (44 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: RB Frank Gore (Team Klitzman), WR Michael Crabtree (Team Merrill) and K Garrett Hartley (Team Merill)
Reaction/Prediction: Ouch, this was a tough match-up to watch. Team Klitzman's output as well as Team Grays' disappointing play contributed to a bad day in the Grays' home. Look on the bright side, Kari is definitely a candidate for the $5 award known as "The Pity Pot." Team Merrill has to be happy because QB Jay Cutler (23 points) and offensive coordinator Mike Martz look like a match in Chicago. Kari has to have quite the opposite feelings about her QB Joe Flacco (2 points) who threw four interceptions versus the Bengals. If Flacco and the Ravens cannot turn around the offense next week against the Browns, there may be a problem. Even though there are possible Monday Night Heroes in this one, I can't see the lead changing hands. Kari will be looking for a big night from Gore, but at the same time would like to have the lowest score if she's going to lose anyways. Crabtree and Hartley should secure a great bounce-back win for Seth and his Team Merrill.

The Rippin and the Tearin (Rory Linton) (1-0) vs. Harwood's Howitzers (Tim Harwood) (1-0)

Score: 116-42 The Rippin and the Tearin (74 point lead, WOW)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: WR Marques Colston (The Rippin and the Tearin) and RB Reggie Bush (Harwood's Howitzers)
Reaction/Prediction: Give it up for Rory who had an unbelievable Sunday. Not only did Jahvid Best (40 points) break-out like he's playing Dance-Dance Revolution, but Michael Vick (22 points) pleased and Matt Ryan (19 points) looked mighty good against the Cardinals while sitting on Rory's bench. Rory made all the right moves this week while Harwood's Howitzers cannot do much except feel like his opponent last week. Favre's three interceptions have to hurt as well as Hines Ward's zero-spot for a Harwood's Howitzers team that put up a 108 points last week. Once again, the Monday Night Heroes do not really matter except for the fact that Tim is in the hunt for the Pity Pot. Rory looks dangerous with a 2-0 start.

Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (1-0) vs. Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (0-1)

Score: 83-56 Team Szmanda (27 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: TE Vernon Davis (Team Szmanda) and Saints D/ST (Team McCarthy)
Reaction/Prediction: Aaron Rodgers (26 points) finally backed up Jason's first overall pick of the quarterback. Particularly in the third quarter when Rodgers scampered for a nine-yard score. Meanwhile, Team McCarthy struggled despite good days from his running backs Darren McFadden (14 points) and Knowshon Moreno (17 points). McFadden looks like that sleeper pick I thought he was last season; it will be interesting to see what happens when Michael Bush returns from his broken thumb. To make matters worse, this is the second week in a row that Team McCarthy had to watch a benched running back go over 20 points. This time it was Jason Snelling (35 points) who entered the game for Michael Turner who left with a groin injury. Turner's injury doesn't seem to be serious seeing he could have re-entered the game, however, the fact he did not return is serious (Snelling or Turner)? Vernon Davis should be able to secure a nice 2-0 start for Team Szmanda while Team McCarthy starts to think about who to start next week.

Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (1-0) vs. Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (1-0)

Score: 66-66 (TIE)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: RB Pierre Thomas (Team Grande) and QB Drew Brees (Team Lee)
Reaction/Prediction: My match-up of the week didn't turn out quite like I thought it would. Vince Young (-3 points) was downright horrific and was benched in favor of the 37 year-old Kerry Collins. Not only that, Anthony had to watch his QB get killed by a Steelers D/ST (24 points) who sat on his bench. On the other side, Isaac reaped the benefits of four interceptions and two fumble recoveries from the Chargers D/ST, yielding 18 points. Other than that, there was nothing spectaculer to take home for Team Lee. With Thomas and Brees set to deploy Monday Night, this makes for a real interesting storyline tomorrow. Check this out; Team Grande's Pierre Thomas and Team Lee's Drew Brees both have projections of 17. This is almost too close to call, so I'll stick with my initial pick and take Anthony and Team Grande to win behind the Monday Night Hero Pierre Thomas.

Vader Time (Joe Selbo) (0-1) vs. Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (1-0)

Score: 75-66 Vader Time (9 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: TE Jeremy Shockey (Vader Time) and WR Josh Morgan (Team Szombatfalvy)
Reaction/Prediction: Joe didn't have any huge performances on Sunday, but received just enough from his role players to bounce back in style. Eddie Royal (12 points) and Tim Hightower (17 points) are particularly interesting because fantasy analysts didn't know what to expect from these guys going into the season. Szombatfalvy hasn't lost yet, but basically needs a miracle from WR Josh Morgan (proj. of 6) who managed only three catches for 36 yards last week in Seattle. Miles Austin (14 points) continues to impress, but James Harrison (4 points) and Chris Johnson (3 points) were lost this week while playing for Team Szombatfalvy. Vader Time's Jeremy Shockey should be doing the victory dance on Monday Night!

Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (0-1) vs. Bobby's Bad-Asses (Robert Trader/John Rymaszewski) (0-1)

Score: 95-68 Team Lowenberg (FINAL)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: None
Reaction/Prediction: Lowenberg's Adrian Peterson (24 points) was a beast on the ground, but couldn't score when it counted for the Vikings as they lost to the Dolphins. Luckily for Lowenberg, that didn't matter for his fantasy team. Roddy White (13 points) had another good day and the Bengals D/ST (13 points) went from the worst defense in football to one of the better ones this week. Bobby's Bad-Asses didn't have the week they hoped for, but received a great game from newly acquired Kyle Orton (20 points). I guess Rory was right when he said the trade worked out for everyone, at least for this week. Robert and John have to be kicking theirselves after viewing Jacoby Jones (11 points), Dustin Keller (17 points) and Donald Brown (13 points) all reach double-digits on the bench. Lowenberg gets back to .500 at 1-1 while Robert and John will look to the waiver wire once again at 0-2.

Let me know how you thought the match-ups went this Sunday by commenting below!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Week Two Fantasy Predictions from Nick and Chad

Nick's Record: (3-4 overall) (0-2 in points predictions) = 3 points
Chad's Record: (1-6 overall) (0-2 in points predictions) = 1 point

Team Grays (Nick Grays) (0-1) vs. Team Breiby (Chad Breiby) (1-0)

Line: Team Breiby -6
Nick's Outlook:
Much like other teams who dropped their first game this season, I do not want to go 0-2. I think Team Grays' Matt Schaub (proj. of 17) will have a much better week than Breiby's Week One Fantasy MVP Arian Foster (proj. of 15) because the Texans will want to re-establish their offense as the passing offense that it truly is. Other than that, this match-up is fairly even, I think I own a slight edge in the running game while Chad has slightly better wide receivers. This one should come down to the wire. It's going to be hard to pick against myself and I certainly will not do it here. Grays wins by 10+ due to a multiple touchdown game from one of his wide receivers and the re-emergence of Ray Rice.
Nick's Prediction:
Team Grays

Chad's Outlook:
This is a fairly evenly matched game this week. I really like Jermichael Finley (pictured above) on Team Grays with Ryan Grant out. Aaron Rodgers will be going through the air more. Arian Foster won’t be posting up 41 points, but I like his guaranteed 30+ carries. I can’t pick myself to lose two weeks in a row.
Chad's Prediction:
Team Breiby

Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman) (0-1) vs. Team Merrill (Seth Merrill) (0-1)

Line: Even
Nick's Outlook:
It's not often when you find the line to be exactly even. However, when you look at the projections, they seem about right for both teams. Kari has some injuries with TE Kellen Winslow and WR Hakeem Nicks to worry about while Seth hopes RB Shonn Greene can bounce back from his two fumbles on Monday Night. There's just a feeling about this game that it will come down to Monday Night. With Team Klitzman's Frank Gore taking on Team Merrill's Garrett Hartley/Michael Crabtree, I'll take Kari and Gore to pick up their first win of the season.
Nick's Prediction:
Team Klitzman

Chad's Outlook: Im not convinced Shonn Greene will be receiving anymore than the 5 carries he had last week. I think the Jets feel out L.T. a bit more this week. I think Crabtree has another disappointing performance against the stingy saints secondary despite being Sharperless (Darren Sharper). I think Flacco produces plenty more than 9 points against a Bengals defense that layed down for Brady last week.
Chad's Prediction: Team Klitzman

The Rippin and the Tearin (Rory Linton) (1-0) vs. Harwood's Howitzers (Tim Harwood) (1-0)

Line: Harwood's Howitzers -23

Nick's Outlook: Here's a match-up between unexpected winners in week one (even though I did pick Tim as my upset special last week). Harwood's Howitzers have a 23 point cushion which should be even higher in my opinion. How can Matt Forte be projected at only 8 after ripping off 30 fantasy points in week one. I know the Dallas Cowboys' defense is good, but not that good. I like Rory's deploy of Michael Vick, however, his running game may hurt on Sunday. Cedric Benson faces off against a Ravens' team which shut down the Jets' running game and Javhid Best managed a meager 20 yards on 14 carries last week. Tim's team has the talent to make an early run this season, expect him to win again, this time as the favorite!
Nick's Prediction: Harwood's Howitzers
Chad's Outlook:
I predict Vick will produce at least 30 points this week. Not because I'm a big Vick fan, but because he plays the Detroit Lions. I don’t like Forte’s matchup. Even though Brett Favre will probably rip it up, I expect Rory to make an upset.
Chad's Prediction: The Rippin and the Tearin (Upset Special)

Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (1-0) vs. Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (0-1)

Line: Team Szmanda -15

Nick's Outlook: Here's a tricky match-up in my opinion. Team McCarthy owns a couple of guys who I have no idea why they were projected so low; Jermaine Gresham (proj. of 1) and Mike Wallace (proj. of 6). How is Gresham who received 10 targets in week one not going to get some looks against a Ravens defense who will be pressuring Carson Palmer all day? At the same time, I don't understand why Wallace doesn't get the love that other deep threats get in the NFL, he's at least good enough for a double-digit projection even though he may not get it. Aaron Rodgers looks so good from a fantasy perspective this week while Tom Brady not so much. I'm really torn by this match-up, but I think I'm still leaning towards an upset here.
Nick's Prediction:
Team McCarthy (Upset Special)

Chad's Outlook:
Obviously Rodgers’ stock has gone way up with the loss of Grant and I think 20 points is a little low. Percy Harvin will bounce back this week and show Favre he can step up. I don’t think the Saints defense can overcome the deficit on Monday night for McCarthy.
Chad's Prediction: Team Szmanda

Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (1-0) vs. Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (1-0)

Line: Team Grande -16

Nick's Outlook: Here's my match-up of the week. It doesn't get better than two undefeated teams meeting for a good ol' slobberknocker. Not only that, but the match-up contains a couple of interesting story lines to watch. Which New York Giants RB will dash the Colts' terrible run defense; Grande's Ahmad Brashaw or Lee's Brandon Jacobs? Moreover, how will the Saints score their points on Monday Night; through the air with Lee's Drew Brees or on the ground via Grande's Pierre Thomas? I'm not sure it's possible for me to pick against Team Grande this week because Bradshaw looks like the obvious and better pick versus the Colts and seven projected double-digit players is not too shabby.
Nick's Prediction:
Team Grande

Chad's Outlook:
Grande has some really nice matchups this week. Andre Johnson vs. Washington, Marshall vs. a terrible Viking secondary, Bradshaw vs. a colts defense that gave up 41 points last week against the run. Lee has Brees, but that wont be enough this week. Grande wins in the battle of unbeaten.
Chad's Prediction: Team Grande

Vader Time (Joe Selbo) (0-1) vs. Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (1-0)

Line: Team Szombatfalvy -3
Nick's Outlook: Here's another one of those basically even match-ups. Just look at these guys receivers to attest to that. At first glance, I like Szombatfalvy's team because of Chris Johnson (proj. of 22), but with more thought, he's facing a smart and dynamic Steelers' defense which should know how to scheme against the speedy Johnson. Joe needs to cross his fingers on Carson Palmer versus the Ravens, but I think the rest of the team should break out in a big way this week, especially Steven Jackson and Greg Jennings who have very favorable match-ups this week.
Nick's Prediction:
Vader Time

Chad's Outlook:
Team Selbo must be pretty upset about that pounding he endured last week against a ruthless Team Breiby. Do you think Joe will want Lee Evens to post up Tds vs his Green Bay Defense? If so this will make him rethink: Lee’s first TD will be worth 0 points to his team. Second TD will be worth 3 points. I think Johnson slows down a bit this week for Szom and Team Selbo pulls off a mini upset.
Chad's Prediction: Vader Time

Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (0-1) vs. Bobby's Bad-Asses (Robert Trader/John Rymaszewski) (0-1)

Line: Team Lowenberg -22
Nick's Outlook: I'll start out by saying Team Lowenberg is stacked this week, letting Brandon Jackson drop to him in the waiver wire was not a good idea. I don't think Jackson is valuable as his projection of 15 suggests, but Adrian Peterson and Roddy White are. White's 23 targets last week was nuts, can you say "Go-To Receiver." I like Bobby's Bad-Asses trade to acquire and start Kyle Orton, but I'm not very high on Brandon Lloyd or Jacoby Jones as starting wide-outs necessarily. Starting Tony Moeaki at tight-end is also a bit of a risk, but that's what you need to do in fantasy. However, I feel the risk will be too much as Robert and John's team falls by single-digit points. Don't worry, this team will be no walk-over at 0-2 in Week 3.
Nick's Prediction:
Team Lowenberg.

Chad's Outlook:
AP has a big week this week to show that he is still a top back in the league. I really like Roddy White’s matchup against the Cards. Team Lowenberg gives me good evidence this week as to why I picked him as best draft.
Chad's Prediction: Team Lowenberg

Point Predictions (Worth two points a piece)

Nick's Prediction: I'm going with the winner of my match-up of the week, Team Grande! I think his seven projected double-digit performances will come close to happening and not only that, Vince Young is a serious threat this season and should surpass his lowly projection of 7 against the Steelers. As for the lowest score, I think Team Szombatfalvy will struggle this week when Chris Johnson fails to be the horse this weekend.
Highest Score (Team Grande) and Lowest Score (Team Szombatfalvy)

Chad's Prediction:
Highest Score (Team Grande) and Lowest Score (Team McCarthy)

Let us know what you think about the predictions by commenting below!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Vick Goes From Free Agent to Traded in a Matter of Days!

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Possibly the highest sought fantasy player behind Brandon Jackson was Michael Vick on the waiver wire this week. With an injury to starting quarterback Kevin Kolb, Bobby's Bad Asses (Robert Trader and John Rymaszewski) made a smart move in acquiring the former three-time Pro Bowler with the Atlanta Falcons who coincidentally serves as the back-up in Philadelphia to Kolb. It didn't take long for Robert and John to ship the new member of their team to The Rippin and the Tearin (Rory Linton) in return for QB Kyle Orton and WR Brandon Lloyd. Here's what I think of the deal:

Robert and John's Perspective: A great move! I feel Kyle Orton is highly underrated as a fantasy quarterback. With Kolb's injury and the uncertainty of Chad Henne, Bobby's Bad Asses have upgraded at the QB position. Orton put forth 14 fantasy points on 33 pass attempts in week one and loves to spread the ball around in Josh McDaniel's pass-first offense. WR Brandon Lloyd is a bonus, even though I still like Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal to be better options in the long run. Don't forget the status of the Broncos' running game either; the acquisition of Laurence Maroney is a perfect example of the lack of confidence they have in Knowshon Moreno and Corell Buckhalter going forward in the season. For a fantasy team plagued with huge injuries (Kevin Kolb and Ryan Grant) in week one, owners Robert and John have taken a step in the right direction.

Rory's Perspective: I'm not so sure about the trade from Rory's side. I wouldn't go as far to say it's a bad trade, but a big risk indeed. You can tell Rory is a poker player because he's pushed all his chips in the middle at this point. Vick does benefit from a wonderful match-up against the Lions this weekend. However, he's merely a temporary option in Philadelphia. When Kolb recovers from his minor concussion, there's no debate he will return as the Eagles' starting quarterback. Additionally, Rory has shipped a quality back-up in Orton and must depend more heavily on Matt Ryan. Let's say hypothetically, Ryan gets hurt or very possibly under performs, it leaves Rory with a serious QB problem three or four weeks down the road. In a 14 team league, grabbing a free agent QB is not an easy thing to do. Enjoy Vick while you can because it won't take long until he's a wildcat option again.

Advantage: Robert and John in the long-term with Rory slightly in the short-term (maybe two weeks)

What do you think? Let the league know by commenting below!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

#11 Badgers Have A Lot to Prove on Saturday vs. ASU

By: Nick Grays

With two games in the books, the Badgers have yet to live up to their potential as one of the top teams in the country. Opening the season at UNLV, the Badgers left the first half with only a 17-14 lead despite holding the Rebels to a mere 12 total yards while racking up 279 of their own. The Badgers were granted another chance to show off their talent by welcoming in San Jose St. for their home opener at Camp Randall. However, they failed to impress against a less talented team once again when they were forced to fight off a late-rally attempt from the Spartans. Freshman wide-out Chandler Jones who weighs in at a whopping 165 lbs. embarrassed the Badgers secondary by grabbing eight balls for a game-high 113 yards, including a 37 yard touchdown which made the famous top ten on Sportscenter.

Fortunately for the Badgers, they play in a major conference and will have many more chances to prove why their #11 ranking fits. Their next opportunity looms right around the corner against a dynamic Arizona State team which features a high-powered offense and better-than-average defense. Arizona State comes into the match-up 2-0 after defeating Portland State and Northern Arizona by a combined 66 points.

If you're the kind of person that likes history, the numbers don't bode well for the Badgers. In Wisconsin's only two previous meetings with Arizona State, the Sun Devils are 2-0 with an average winning margin of 37 points (42-16 in 1967, 55-7 in 1968). Moreover, the Sun Devils' Head Coach Dennis Erickson is also 2-0 against Wisconsin while coaching at Wyoming and Miami. To make matters worse, Arizona State boasts a formidable 14-5 record versus Big Ten opponents while the Badgers have struggled with a 17-25-1 record against Pac-10 schools.

If the Badgers look to improve their record against Pac-10 opponents, one thing is for sure, they need to hold onto the ball. Through two games, Wisconsin has turned the ball over four times. The Badgers have particularly been bad in the red zone where they have committed four fumbles this season, two of them being recovered by the opposing team. Quarterback Scott Tolzien hasn't helped the situation by throwing two costly interceptions, one of which was returned for a touchdown in the UNLV game. Coach Brett Bilema made it well known during his weekly press conference that Tolzien will improve.

Bilema recalled telling Tolzien, "You're so smart, you know the reads, you know the reactions, you know people's abilities, you don't have to press, you just have to let the game come to you."

As far as the defense goes, the Badgers' secondary have a daunting task in front of them. Not only must they find out how to stop an offense that's scored 13 of their 15 scoring drives in less than three minutes, they go up against a familiar face in Steven Threet. In 2008, Threet was a standout quarterback for the Michigan Wolverines who helped deliver a 27-25 win over the Badgers. Bilema hasn't forgotten about the Michigan transfer.

"Well, he's 1-0 against us. Obviously he was a quarterback in Michigan when we lost our lead there a couple years back. He's got a lot of talent. He's very tough to bring down. You can tell he's a good competitor. He seems to have good composure relatively early in his career there at Arizona State. All the reasons he was recruited to Michigan, all the reasons he's at Arizona State, he's a good quarterback," said Bilema.

On a positive note, the Badgers have arguably the best running game in the nation. The combination of a beastly offensive line and running backs John Clay, Montee Ball and James White give the Badgers a chance to stay in any game with any opponent. As a squad, the Badgers currently rank 17th in the nation with 245 yards rushing per game. Clay is the only active player in the NCAA to rush for 100+ yards and a touchdown in eight straight games. Look for that number to reach nine when the Badgers continue to work the ground game and win a barn-burner in Madison this weekend.

Nick's Prediction: Wisconsin 40 Arizona State 34

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Week One Awards: Surprises Everywhere

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

Pity Pot Winner: Team Merill (Seth Merill, pictured above)
For those of you not familiar with the award, $5 is given to the owner of a team who manages to put up the lowest fantasy score of the week. This will occur for the first seven weeks until the $5 is given to the highest fantasy score of the week for the last ten weeks (known as the baller pot)! Seth's Team Merrill put up a discouraging 48 points despite having one of the highest projections going into the week. Antonio Gates attempted to be a Monday Night Hero, but fell quite a ways short. Gates' 76 yards and a touchdown (13 fantasy points) was not enough as Team Merrill fell much like the Chargers did on Monday night. Maybe you can use the $5 to find out why Shonn Greene only managed one point for the Jets while LaDainian Tomlinson had seven.

MVP of the Week: RB Arian Foster (238 total yards and 3 touchdowns = 41 points)
This was a no-brainer, Foster's 41 points was nuts. It makes you wonder what running-back the Colts must deal with next week. Get ready for a high projection for Ahmad Bradshaw as the Giants hit the road in Indianapolis. However, I'm sure the Colts will spend the week working on their rush defense, but I digress. Back to Foster who also hits the road with the Texans as they go to Washington D.C. to take on a Redskins team that dismantled the Cowboys. I expect Matt Schaub and Andre Johnson to have an increased roll this Sunday while Foster comes back down to reality. Kudos to Chad for using a draft-pick on Foster, he's no longer in the sleeper class, he's moved up from those ranks.

Honorable Mention:
WR Hakeem Nicks (25 points), RB Matt Forte (30 points), Peyton Manning (29 points)

Worst Performance of the Week:
Bengals D/ST (38 points allowed = -7 points)
Ouch, these guys were hard to watch this weekend. Not only did the Patriots shred them for 38 points, they let Tom Brady (with his golden locks coming out the back of the helmet) throw for 258 yards and three touchdowns on Sunday. For a defense which takes pride in shutting down the passing game, the Bengals looked lost out on the field. Next week doesn't get any easier as the Bengals welcome in the Baltimore Ravens who will be looking for some offense after being held to ten points by the New York Jets. Team Lowenberg devastating loss to the Harwood's Howitzers wasn't helped by the Bengals D/ST, it was quite the opposite, they inflicted more damage.

Best Free Agent Pick-Up: Cardinals D/ST (16 points)
With the Texans' defense playing the Colts, I decided to pick up the Cardinals' defense who had a projection of 12 and am I glad I did that. The Cardinals gave rookie QB Sam Bradford all he could handle as they recorded three interceptions, picked up a fumble and blocked a field goal all while holding the Rams to 13 points in a win. Not sure what to do with them at the moment; I'm inclined to shift back to the Texans as the Cardinals face a tough test in Atlanta this upcoming week.

Somebody Pick Me Up (Best Free Agent): QB Michael Vick (21 Points)
When did this guy get his speed back, that's what I want to know? Vick looked like he did three years ago while running for 103 yards and throwing for 175 more to go along with a passing touchdown against the Packers. Most of this occurred after starting QB Kevin Kolb left the game with a concussion (Vick was serving as primarily the third-down QB). Should Vick be picked up, I say why not in our league? I would be shocked if Kolb actually plays this weekend and Vick against the Detroit Lions could be an attractive option.

Hurts So Bad (Biggest Injury): QB Matthew Stafford
Chicago Bears' defensive end Julius Peppers layed the smackdown on young Matty Stafford, effectively sepearting his shoulder and causing last season's number one pick to miss 6-8 weeks. In a fantasy league, he's at best a back-up quarterback. Now, he's even less than that, hit the waiver wire Harwood's Howitzers!

Let me know what you think about this week's awards. Were there any snubs or how do you feel about Week One's headlines?

Predictions? Maybe Guesses (It Aint Easy Pickin Fantasy)

By: Chad Breiby, Owner of Team Breiby

If there is only one valid conclusion that came from opening weekend, it’s that predicting fantasy football is a very difficult task (Especially on opening weekend). To put this in perspective, Nick and I combined for 4 correct picks out of 14 (3 being credited to Nick). I was 1-6, while Nick was 3-4.

-My season favorite, Team Lowenberg, gets a beating by the team who I thought had the worst draft (Team Harwood).
-Nick’s pick for pity pot prediction was actually the high score of the week (Team Breiby).
-Nick’s pick for Stud of the week was actually the lowest score( Team Merrill).
-Nick even predicted that his Ray Rice and Malcolm Floyd (combined projection of 36) could overcome The Jets defense (projection of 2) and a 9 point lead from Rory. Forget the 9 point lead, The Jets Defense beat out his two players straight up, 12-6.
-Arian Foster who (projected 14) pulls out 41. Ray Rice (23 projection) has 5. Michael Vick (projection 0) has 24. Adrian Peterson (projection 25) has 9. Andre Johnson (Projected 23) has 3.

I’m confident someone who doesn’t know a thing about football could have picked better than my 1-6. ESPN analysts seem to make some bad projections. Fantasy Football is very difficult to predict.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Week One Monday Night Heroes!

By: Nick Grays, League Commissioner

What a day! I don't know what to be more surprised by: Arian Foster's (pictured above) 41 point fantasy day, Michael Vick almost leading the Eagles to victory, the Texans' upset of the Colts, Calvin Johnson's game-winning catch being ruled incomplete or the return of Wes Welker and his two touchdowns on the day. Nonetheless, I'm ecstatic to say Sundays are back. For those of you not familiar with my "Monday Night Heroes," installment on Sunday nights, here's the deal: I take a look at each match-up and react/predict what will happen during the Monday Night Football Game. After the Monday Night Game, stay tuned to the blog for the Weekly Fantasy Awards. Enough talking, here are the possible Monday Night Heroes for the following Monday Night Games:

Baltimore Ravens (0-0) @ New York Jets (0-0) 6:00 PM (ESPN-HD)
San Diego Chargers (0-0) @ Kansas City Chiefs (0-0) 9:15 PM (ESPN-HD)

*Scores are subject to change

The Rippin and the Tearin (Rory Linton) (0-0) vs. Team Grays (Nick Grays) (0-0)

Score: 62 to 53 The Rippin and the Tearin (9 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: D/ST Jets (The Rippin and the Tearin), RB Ray Rice (Team Grays) and WR Malcolm Floyd (Team Grays)/RB LaDainian Tomlinson (Team Grays)
Reaction/Prediction: This fantasy match-up seemed reminiscent of the Bears-Lions game, a lot of mediocre football. With only one player in double-digits on each team, Team Grays seems to have the inside edge with offensive powers Rice and Floyd set to take the field on Monday Night. Rory needs a miracle from the Jets defense/special teams to hold onto his small lead. It's not impossible because the Jets could contain Nick's Rice, however, Rory still needs to hope the ball stays away from Floyd in Kansas City. On a positive note, Rory won't be the low-scorer this week. Rice and Floyd should emerge as Monday Night Heroes for Team Grays this week.

Team Merrill (Seth Merill) (0-0) vs. Team Szmanda (Jason Szmanda) (0-0)

Score: 58 to 34 Team Szmanda (24 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: RB Shonn Greene (Team Merrill), TE Antonio Gates (Team Merill) and RB Darren Sproles (Team Szmanda)/RB Thomas Jones (Team Szmanda)
Reaction/Prediction: Here's a match-up with a couple of implications. If Greene and/or Gates have a good night, they could lead Team Merrill to a victory. However, if their not able to do this, Seth could benefit from a low-low score to win the pity pot ($5). In order to do this, he must end with less than Team McCarthy's 51 points. Jason has to choose between Sproles and Jones (thus the slash above) to try to hold onto the lead. In the end, I think Greene and Gates are good enough to make it close, but Sproles or Jones will do just enough to conserve the huge upset for Team Szmanda. Seth cannot be happy with his receiving corps who combined for only four points.

Team Klitzman (Kari Klitzman) (0-0) vs. Team Grande (Anthony Grande) (0-0)

79.5 to 54 Team Grande (25.5 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: RB Ryan Mathews (Team Klitzman), WR Dwayne Bowe (Team Klitzman)/WR Derrick Mason (Team Klitzman), K Nate Kaeding (Team Klitzman)
Reaction/Prediction: Who's Arian Foster? Team Klitzman had a breakout sophomore of her own in Hakeem Nicks. The second-year receiver out of North Carolina caught four balls for 75 yards, three of them being touchdowns. His 25 fantasy points on the day puts Kari in an interesting situation. She has an army of fantasy options on Monday Night while Team Grande must hope his half-a-point is a sign. Wouldn't it be something if Kari could only muster a total of 79 points. Don't get too excited Anthony, Kari should have no problems with a couple of number-one options in Mathews and Bowe plus the number-one rated kicker Kaeding. Despite the predicted loss, Grande appears to have some depth on the bench and a fairly consistent team.

Team Breiby (Chad Breiby) (0-0) vs. Vader Time (Joe Selbo) (0-0)

Score: 113 to 75 Team Breiby (38 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: WR Anquan Boldin (Team Breiby)/ WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh (Team Breiby)
Reaction/Prediction: If Chad can take anything from this fantasy-explosion, it's to be grateful for what he has. Because if you take a look at the bench, it's pretty bare. That means Chad must do some searching or hope Foster and Manning can carry the team each and every week. Nonetheless, Foster's franchise-record 231 yards and Manning's 433 yards through the air is "pretty sick" as Chad would say. Joe will put his head down and take the lick this week. My advice would be to avoid watching Boldin or Houshmandzadeh do the victory dance on Monday Night.

Harwood's Howitzers (Tim Harwood) (0-0) vs. Team Lowenberg (Nick Lowenberg) (0-0)

Score: 108 to 66 Harwood's Howitzers (42 point WIN)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: None
Reaction/Prediction: Not to brag or anything, but this was my upset pick of the week. Tim benefited from the resurrection of Matt Forte in Chicago. Forte looked like Marshall Faulk from Mike Martz' "Greatest Show on Turf," by catching seven balls for 151 yards and two touchdowns while also rushing 17 times for 50 yards. Forte's touchdown catches went for 28 and 89 yards respectively. Tim can also dance for joy after winning his first game and already breaking Chad's bold prediction of a winless season for Harwood's Howitzers. Not only that, Tim layed the beatdown on Chad's favorite team. Team Lowenberg has lost some of his mojo from last season, maybe it was due to not changing the team name?

Team McCarthy (Matt McCarthy) (0-0) vs. Team Szombatfalvy (Mike Szombatfalvy) (0-0)

76 to 51 Team Szombatfalvy (25 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: QB Philip Rivers (Team Szombatfalvy)
Reaction/Prediction: Team Szombatfalvy has clinched the first win of the season unless Philip Rivers throws twenty interceptions on Monday Night. Unfortunately for Matt and his Team McCarthy, that ain't gonna happen. All Matt can do is root for Team Merrill to score more than 51 points, so he can snatch the pity pot and $5 award this week. Mike's Chris Johnson continued where he left off last year by rushing for 142 yards and two scores.

Team Lee (Isaac Lee) (0-0) vs. Bobby's Bad-Asses (Robert Trader/John Rymaszewski) (0-0)

91 to 52 Team Lee (39 point lead)
Possible Monday Night Heroes: D/ST Chargers (Team Lee), RB Jamaal Charles (Bobby's Bad-Asses)/WR Patrick Crayton (Bobby's Bad-Asses) and TE Dustin Keller (Bobby's Bad-Asses)
Reaction/Prediction: The "Best Draft," award seems about right for Team Lee as he received double-digit performances from five starters and two bench players. Bobby's Bad-Asses needs a Foster-esque night from Jamaal Charles and something decent from Keller in an attempt to catch the little Asian. Issac looks like a genius after drafting come-back players Steve Smith and Wes Welker who combined for three scores on Sunday. Meanwhile, Robert and John may have to get together to talk over their quarterback plans after this match-up. Kevin Kolb was knocked out with a concussion and Chad Henne was not very impressive as predicted.

Let me know what you think by commenting below!