(Sanchez was a good sleeper play on Sunday)
Forgive me for playing Nirvana’s “All Apologies” to the max level. But I can’t rid my shame. The guilt, dear God, the guilt.
Actually, that’s a lie, but it’s not for a lack of sorrow that some of my predicted “starts” didn’t pan out. After all, I tend to follow the advice that I give out. So, this week, fair friends, you were not alone.
Through those highs, and those terrible lows, I promise you that you were not alone.
While I may have led you (and you, and you) astray, if only a little bit, I still had enough tricks up my sleeve for the first week of fantasy action.
Enough to keep you listening to my fantasy advice, perhaps? Well, before I indulge myself and your fantasy hopes into another Fantasy Football: Start and Sit column, it’s only my duty to review my picks, and to fully explain why certain players failed to live up to my expectations, while also boosting my ego with my “correct” calls.
The Record: 9-5
Okay, so Brett Favre didn’t throw for 200+ yards and two touchdowns. My bad. In fact, he barely cracked 100, and only threw 21 passes.
But no interceptions and a score doesn’t make playing him a total loss. Still, as far as “starts” go, he was a dud.
And I apologize for Willie Parker. Boy, was that a blown call.
I truly did not believe he was that washed up, or that Tennessee’s run defense would show-up like that. Both of those comments could be overblown, but considering Mewelde Moore did pretty well overall, I’m placing most of the blame on Parker no loner living up to his “Fast Willie” nick-name.
If you followed my lead and played Greg Jennings (despite a nagging injury), Matt Hasselbeck, and Ray Rice, you were pleasantly surprised.
Rice topped 100 yards rushing, Hasselbeck threw three scores, and Jennings hauled in the game-winning touchdown and over 100 yards against the Bears on Sunday night.
You were probably feeling rather smart if you followed my “Sit” suggestions this week, as well.
Jay Cutler had a forgettable four-pick performance, Larry Johnson only managed 20 rushing yards against the Ravens, Kevin Curtis only had 26 yards against the Panthers, and sitting Pierre Thomas was a good choice.
If you went the extra mile and plugged Mike Bell into your line-up on a whim, kudos to you.
Jeremy Shockey and Mark Sanchez made me look smart, while Peyton Hillis and David Clowney did nothing to warrant a spot on the “look out for me” list.
The jury is still out on Darren McFadden for tonight, while Carnell Williams (originally a sit candidate) had over 90 yards rushing and a score. Still, with Derrick Ward splitting carries, he will continue to be a risky play.
All in all, it’s only Week One, but with a 9-5 record on my start-and-sit calls, the fantasy gods may soon be shining on you to listen to this advice.
Look for this week’s Fantasy Football: Start and Sit column on B/R, or go straight to www.theredzonereport.com for all of your fantasy advice and NFL news.
Posted by Kevin Roberts Date: Monday, September 14, 2009
Tags: brett favre, Carnell Williams, Darren McFadden, David Clowney, Derrick Ward, Fantasy Football, greg jennings, jay cutler, Kevin Curtis, Larry Johnson, mark sanchez, matt hasselbeck, Mike Bell, peyton hillis, Pierre Thomas, Ray Rice, Willie Parker
Things were looking a little rocky for Andy Reid and Donovan McNabb in the middle of 2008, but an infamous “benching” helped turn the tide, and the Eagles finished a win away from the Super Bowl.Make that five NFC championship appearances in the Reid/McNabb era and, can we say, counting?
The offense is definitely still there, leaving the only real question to be the defense that lost some key players, as well as 68-year old defensive coordinator Jim Johnson to cancer.
And with middle linebacker Stewart Bradley’s ACL tear, the Eagles defense is quickly unwinding.
5. Can Brent Celek Get It Done at Tight End?
Celek may never be as athletic and the underwhelming L.J. Smith was, but he could end up being as reliable as Chad Lewis was.
McNabb hasn’t had a reliable, sure-handed receiver at tight end in years, and Celek proved he can bring that to the table last year.
He’s faster and more athletic than given credit for, and he is also growing as a route runner while possessing great hands.
His stats are sure to be limited with so many quality options around him, but his value can’t be ignored.
Still, an upgrade could and probably will be made. You can up-sell Celek as much as you’d like, but if New England releases one of it’s four quality tight ends (and they will), you can bet Andy Reid will take notice.
4. Will Brian Westbrook Keep His Starting Job?
For some players, the saying “age is just a number” rings truer than for others.
With Brian Westbrook, that most certainly is the case.
Despite being 30 and on the shelf after ankle surgery, Westbrook is still defined as one of the more complete and versatile NFL weapons and a fantasy God.
Wetbrook IS the Eagles offense.
While LeSean McCoy will undoubtedly claim the starting role at some point withint the next two or three seasons, there’s no reason why the still dnyamic Westbrook shouldn’t be the full-fledged starter for all of 2009.
3. Will Jeremy Maclin Supplant Kevin Curtis For the No. 2 Receiver Spot?
After signing as a free agent and putting up solid numbers of over 1,000 yards and six touchdowns in 2007, Kevin Curtis missed half of 2008 with a hernia injury.
Needless to say, his two-year time in Philadelphia has received mixed reviews.
However, he’s back to full health, is still a sure-handed burner, and only sits second to second-year man DeSean Jackson.
Jeremy Maclin, on the other hand, is just as fast as Curtis, but he’s much bigger and stronger. He’s better suited to run deep routes and post routes, while Curtis is smaller and quicker, leaving him better suited for the slot.
In reality, while Maclin could end up “claiming” the two spot, the actual roles of the players probably won’t change.
2. Can the Defense Stay Elite?
The Eagles have experienced a summer of great loss on the defensive side. They’ve witnessed the passing of their legendary defensive coordinator, Jim Johnson, and have also seen veterans Brian Dawkins and Lito Sheppard leave.
While there remain questions at safety, the front line should remain constant with pressure on the quarterback, as well as stuffing the running lanes.
However, the recent loss of Stewart Bradley could shuffle the linebacking corps, which could potentially mean disaster for a defense without a true identity.
The talent is there. The rest hangs on some leaders stepping up, as well as the coaching.
People can hang on 2008′s stats all they want, but like it or not, this will be a different Philly defense in 2009.
There was only one Jim Johnson.
1. Does Michael Vick Catapult Them to the Top?
It improves them, without a doubt, but his presence alone doesn’t mean nearly as much as all of Philadelphia thinks it does.
Jay Cutler in Chicago means something.
Brett Favre being a Viking means something.
Michael Vick as a back-up quarterback and/or Wildcat specialty? Not quite as much.
He will undoubtedly serve an explosive and important role in the offense, but it’s not like the league hasn’t heard of the guy before.
There’s no guarantee that he’l be effective as strictly a runner or receiver, and whenever he is behind center, defenses will be on high alert.
Just worry about his suspension first, then break out the wine and dream of all the salivating highlight-reel possibilities. And I do emphasize possibilities.