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Tag:Eagles
Posted on: October 10, 2011 2:54 pm
 

The Eagles 2011 Season is Over

Only 5 weeks into the season, but the Eagles are finished with a record of 1-4.

Another week, another disappointing performance by the Eagles.  This time, the Eagles made a comeback attempt but still had a critical turnover that led to a 31-24 loss to the Bills

These are some reasons why the Eagles lost:

-The defense was unable to stop the run, put any pressure on Ryan Fitzpatrick or make any plays in the secondary.  The defense is loaded with "talent" and guys that have made plays in the past so there has to be an issue with Castillo and his schemes.  The one thing this group did well in the last few weeks was get to the quarterback and they couldn't even do that this week. The coaches have players in the wrong positions/scheme. That is the only explanation.

-Jason Avant had a great game statistically, catching 9 passes for 139 yards, but he made two terrible plays that cost the Eagles the game.  When a sure-handed guy like Avant can't hold on to the ball you know things just aren't going your way.

-Michael Vick doesn't deserve much of the blame for this one.  Of his 4 interceptions, only one was a truly terrible pass.  Vick is doing everything he can with what little time he is given and scrambling for his life when there is nothing open downfield.  He can't be blamed for tipped passes becoming interceptions and for the inept line in front of him. Watching the post game show, you can see that Vick hates to lose. The same can't be said about other players on the eagles sideline. There is not enough heart on that team. They need leaders in the locker room; they aren't responding to Andy Reid anymore!

-How about giving the ball to LeSean McCoy more often?  Only 15 touches for Shady, who still managed over 100 total yards. McCoy is one of the best backs in the NFL, but the Eagles don't use his skills enough. Look what Minnesota did this week...won the game by jumping on Adrian Peterson's back. I think McCoy is good enough to be the focus of the eagles offense.

-I'm so glad Juqua Parker was healthy enough to suit up this week so he could make a boneheaded play a the end of the game to seal the loss for the Eagles. That moron needs to be cut from the team. I don't care if they have to pay a penalty for cutting ties. Everyone fan watching the game knew they weren't going to snap the ball. How does a professional player make that kind of mental mistake?

-By my count, Jamar Chaney made the first play by a linebacker all season long when he picked off Fitzpatrick. The Eagles have the worst LBs in the entire NFL. Horrible (I blame this on Andy Reid and his lack of focus at that position)

At 1-4, this season is effectively over for the Eagles.  They might get a few wins and find themselves back in the NFC East title picture, but there isn't any reason to think that this team is going to start playing well.  This is a broken team that has talent but can't seem to put all of the pieces together. There is no leadership and no heart. 

Andy Reid has been a great coach in Philly, but it's time for a change in philosophy. Why wait until next year? The Eagles should cut ties right now and get first dibs on a new coach.

I can't root for this team anymore. I really hope they lose every single game for the rest of the year, so they are forced to make changes.
Posted on: October 21, 2010 8:35 am
 

Week 7 probabilities

One of the more intriguing matchups this weekend, and possibly the most puzzling prediction of the efficiency model all season, is the Patriots at Chargers. The Patriots come into Week 7 at 4-1, fresh off a dramatic win over the contending Ravens. The Chargers enter the weekend at 2-4, fresh off a loss to the rebuilding Rams. But somehow the model makes the Chargers heavy favorites over the Patriots  at 0.85 to 0.15.

In fact, the Chargers sit atop all other teams in the weekly rankings produced by the game probability model thanks to their passing efficiency on both sides of the ball. Philip Rivers and the rest of the offense are in a class by themselves, averaging 7.9 net yards per pass attempt. San Diego’s pass defense is also best in the league at 4.9 net yards per attempt. The Chargers’ running efficiencies on offense and defense are both better than average, as are their turnover rates.

So what is going on? How can a team that leads the league in efficiency (and in total yards) on both sides of the ball have only a 2-4 record to show for it? A big part of the answer is very clear: special-teams play. The Chargers have given up  three touchdowns on kicks and punts, and have had further difficulties on special teams.

But things still don’t add up, so let’s look at turnover differential. Although the Chargers are better than average in interception rate, they pass so often that they actually have a turnover differential of -3. This certainly isn’t good, but even combined with their special-teams failures, it still doesn’t fully explain four losses for such a statistically dominant team. Something else is going on.

I think a big part of the Chargers’ 2-4 record is bad luck. Statisticians might call it sample error or randomness, but whatever you call it, it’s not going well for San Diego. I’m not talking about leprechauns or superstitions or the random bouncing of footballs. (Although the Chargers have lost 9 of 11 fumbles, and the league-wide rate is about 50 percent. Fumble recovery is a notoriously random event in football — just look at the shape of the ball.)

Rather, I’m talking about a concept I call “bunching.”

Let’s say there are two baseball teams, completely equal in ability, playing one game at a neutral site. Each team performs perfectly equally, both hitting exactly nine singles over nine innings. But let’s say one team gets all its singles in one inning, and the other has its singles spread out one per inning. The first team might win, 7-0. It’s an extreme example, but it illustrates an overlooked point about many sports. Successful plays are not enough. Consecutive successes are required to win.

In football, two equal teams could each have 12 first downs in a game. One team could have three drives of four consecutive first downs, each leading to a touchdown, and the rest of its drives could be three-and-outs. The other team could have 12 drives consisting of one first down followed by a punt. Both teams could have equal yards, first downs and efficiency stats, and yet one team could win, 21-0. It’s easy to imagine a game in which one team has many more first downs and yards, but still loses. Could something like this bunching effect be cursing the Chargers?

It’s a given that N.F.L. offenses tend to score in proportion to their yards gained. It’s actually an extremely tight correlation, and the best–fit estimate of a team’s points per game is to take just under 10 percent of its yards per game and subtract 10. For the Chargers, who lead the N.F.L. with 433 yards gained per game, we’d expect the offense to score about 32 points per game, but they’ve actually scored only 26.

A similar analysis for the Chargers’ defense, with the special-teams scores set aside, shows that it has  allowed almost 2 points more per game more than the yardage total implies. That’s a total difference of 8 points per game.

If we could magically add those 8 points onto the scoreboard for each game this season, the Chargers would have five wins, no losses and a tie. Of course, things aren’t that simple, and we can’t just add points after the fact. But it’s an exercise that illustrates just how random game outcomes can be, even in the N.F.L.

Here are your Week 7 game probabilities:

Win ChanceGAMEWin Chance0.45Cincinnati at Atlanta0.550.37Washington at Chicago0.630.40St. Louis at Tampa Bay0.600.49San Francisco at Carolina0.510.19Buffalo at Baltimore0.810.45Philadelphia at Tennessee0.550.14Jacksonville at Kansas City0.860.52Pittsburgh at Miami0.480.28Cleveland at New Orleans0.720.13Arizona at Seattle0.870.15New England at San Diego0.850.19Oakland at Denver0.810.26Minnesota at Green Bay0.740.53Giants at Dallas0.47
Posted on: October 1, 2010 3:19 pm
 

Vick v McNabb

Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles - It is Vick vs. McNabb as the skins visit the Eagles in this key NFL. This game will feature the return of Donovan McNabb, back home in front of the home fans as well as the continuing tale of Michael Vick’s rebirth in the City of Brotherly Love. Just a year ago, Vick and McNabb were stacked on Philadelphia’s depth chart as Vick attempted to resurrect his career. Now, they will be playing against each other on McNabb’s former stage.

 

The Eagles (2-1)  are giving 6 points to the Redskins (1-2) at home. Philadelphia has done well against

Washington, winning 12 of the past 18, including a sweep of the NFL Picks series last season.

 

Vick’s rise is nothing short of shocking, his play spectacular. In leading the Eagles to wins in his two starts, Vick has thrown for a combined 575 yards and 5 touchdown passes and 67 yards rushing and 1 touchdown. DeSean Jackson has been a big play receiver, averaging 24.5 yards per catch on 12 receptions while LeSean McCoy has gained 209 yards with a 6.1 average rush per carry. Tight end Brent Celek, on the other hand, has struggled getting involved in the new Vick-led offense after catching 96 passes in 2009. Celek might get have a difficult getting more looks, though, since Vick, though improved as a pocket passer, looks for big plays down the field, or scrambles for big gains.

 

Washington  has been giving-up big plays on defense since blowing a 17-point second-half lead against Houston, and followed-up that meltdown with a 30-16 loss to the Rams. In that game, they allowed the Rams to pile-up 365 yards in total offense while possessing the ball for over 35 minutes. The Redskins have featured a decent pass rush, with 7 sacks, and have forced 4 turnovers, including a defensive touchdown, but they’ll need to improve their third down defense against the Eagles if they hope to have any chance. They also gave up plays of 42 and 30 yards to the Rams, and they’ll to avoid the big play against the Eagles, a team accustomed to making a splash on offense.

 

Posted on: September 24, 2010 9:14 am
 

Week 3 in the NFL

Can you believe that it's already week 3 in the NFL? If I told you that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers would be 2 - 0 and the Cowboys were going to be 0 - 2, you would have said that I'm crazy. The unpredictable season is always exciting.

Fans can be a fickle bunch, myself included. The collective mood varies week to week, quarter to quarter, possession to possession. This sentiment is amplified following a team's season opening performance. A win correlates into a franchise's followers booking their Super Bowl accommodations; a loss spirals supporters into panic. This is especially the case in Philadelphia. Another example: the New York Jets, who arrived with unparalleled hype and hoopla thanks to HBO's Hardknocks and proclamations from coach Rex Ryan. Yet after suffering a defeat to the Baltimore Ravens on Monday night, seemingly the entire football world wrote off Gang Green's title aspirations. Pigskin pundits blasted New York management for cutting ties with running back Thomas Jones, signing washed-up veterans, and welcoming the distraction of a reality series into training camp. Former star Joe Namath took issue with the team, stating the current Jets needed to "shut up and play." Ryan was crucified for his game plan, whose conservative nature seemed to contradict the coach's brash attitude and assertions. Keep in mind, New York lost by just ONE POINT. But in the NFL, there's a thin line between bliss and bitterness.

On to the game of the week:
The Atlanta Falcons were the recipients of similar vitriol after a Week 1 defeat to Dennis Dixon and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Falcons were expected to bounce back from a disappointing and injury plagued 2009, and competing against Dixon, a 3rd string quarterback, appeared to be just what the doctor ordered. Unfortunately for the Falcons, Troy Pomamalu and the Steeler defense had a different itinerary in mind, as Pittsburgh came out victorious in a 15-9 overtime slugfest. Soon after, Mike Smith's squad was showered with criticisms and condemnations. Would Matt Ryan fall short of his projected potential? Was Michael Turner's 2008 an aberration? After Roddy White, were there any viable weapons in the aerial arsenal? So on and so on...

A 41-7 drubbing of defending NFC West champion Arizona seemed to lay to rest doubts among the Dirty-Bird backers, if only for a week. Ryan threw for 225 yards and 3 touchdowns, with a QB rating of 117.3. The Burner rushed for 75 yards on just 9 carries before succumbing to an injury (although not feared to be serious). Receivers not named White accounted for 14 receptions on Sunday. In short, Atlanta looked like the playoff-contending team that many had forecasted.

In reality, the Falcons fate is somewhere between their two performances. The Pittsburgh D, after shutting down Chris Johnson and Vince Young in Week 2, looks to have reclaimed their tenacious tendencies that led them to a Super Bowl in 2008. Meanwhile, the Cardinals are doing their best Little Giants impersonation. Atlanta travels to the Big Easy this week to play the Saints, off to a 2-0 start in their title defense. I give the edge to New Orleans; prediction: 28-19.

But rest assured, no matter what the outcome, one fan base will be making January playoff plans while the other will willow in its own misery. At least until next week's game.

These are my picks for the rest of the NFL:
Vikings over the Lions
Ravens over the Browns
Patriots over the Bills, aka the worst team in the NFL
Raiders over the Cardinals
Texans over the Cowboys...how bout dem cowboys? 0-3
Dolphins over the Jets
Steelers over the Buccaneers
Titans over the Giants
Bengals over the Panthers
Colts over the Broncos
49ers over the Chiefs
Eagles over the Jaguars
Redskins over the Rams
Packers over the Bears
Chargers over the Seahawks

Posted on: September 22, 2010 10:08 am
Edited on: September 22, 2010 10:08 am
 

To QB or not to QB - part 2

It came as a shock, but the Eagles temporarily pulled the plug on the Kevin Kolb Era after 10 passes, two quarters and an “exceptional” relief job by Michael Vick. At a strategically called news conference, head coach Andy Reid said he prefers starting Vick this week instead of Kolb, the quarterback the Eagles anointed their future, but was it really his decision?

“You’re talking about Michael Vick as one of the best quarterbacks right now in the NFL,” Reid said. “I didn’t expect, obviously, the accelerated play of Michael. I mean, he’s playing exceptional football right now. I think that’s obvious to everybody.”

Vick has completed 63.8 percent of his passes for 459 yards, three touchdowns, no interceptions and a 105.5 passer rating. In two games Vick has guided the Eagles to seven touchdowns in six quarters while Kolb has directed the offense to just a field goal after getting knocked out in the first half of the opener with a concussion.

In a win over the Lions last week Vick survived six sacks and made several plays evading a pass rush that Kolb wouldn’t have been able to escape. Kolb probably would have ran off the field crying. The offensive line was horrible. Reid said starting Vick had nothing to do with the line play or the health of Kolb, who has been cleared to practice.

What does Kolb think about this? Reid indicated that he didn’t like it. The Eagles announced before playing the Lions Sunday that Kolb would start next weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Vick also made it clear Kolb was the starter. “At the time, I told you what I believed,” Reid said. “Obviously I’m not like – any of us – able to predict the future.”

Reid said he watched film of Vick the past two days, spoke to general manager Howie Roseman and consulted team president Joe Banner and owner Jeffrey Lurie just to be sure they were all on the same page. A team source confirmed Reid’s reversal began when he second guessed his decision to stick with Kolb. Ultimately Reid said he made the decision. But there were immediate reports – denied by the Eagles – that upper management made the call.

“I think I had to make this decision,” Reid said. “I’ve had the full support of the front office. I counseled with Howie Roseman today and bounced some things off of him. But the first person I met with on this decision was Kevin Kolb. That’s the first person I talked to. And I met with him the last two days, and we shared thoughts. He’s a young quarterback that I think the sky’s the limit for. He’s just in a situation where he’s got an ex-superstar that now has regained his abilities. And it’s really that simple. Michael Vick is playing out of his mind right now and that’s a beautiful thing. What a lucky franchise and a lucky head coach I am to have two quarterbacks that I feel that way about. I mean it’s unbelievable.”

Unbelievable sums up the entire drama.

Team sources didn’t expect Reid to act impulsively after the Eagles spent much of their offseason transitioning to Kolb from quarterback Donovan McNabb, who was traded to the Washington Redskins. Reid is stubborn and resistant to change. By grooming Kolb the head coach made it clear he didn’t think Vick would develop into enough of a pocket quarterback to operate the offense effectively to win games. Vick apparently has made a believer of Reid.

Kolb couldn’t have seen this coming. Only Monday he said he trusted Reid, and that the coach always did what was best for the organization.

At every bend in the drama Tuesday, Reid publicly refused to second-guess himself even though it was obvious he had done just that. NFL sources suspect Reid really did get cold feet about playing Kolb this week and the following week, when the Birds host McNabb and the Redskins. I think the decision came from the GM and owner.

“Again, this is more about Michael Vick and his accelerated play,” Reid said. “He’s sitting there as possibly the hottest quarterback in the NFL at this time and deserves an opportunity to play. It also allows Kevin to continue as a young quarterback in the NFL, his maturation process, and, again, to become a franchise quarterback in the future.”

Kolb’s future, however, appears to be somewhere else.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 1:07 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 1:11 pm
 

To QB or not to QB- that's the question in Philly

Before anyone goes there, let me beat you to the punch: When Donovan McNabb was the QB, the Philly fans wanted Feely, Garcia, Kolb and even Vick. Now that Kolb is the QB, some fans are calling for Michael Vick. Are the Philly fans just plain crazy, or are they more intelligent than people give them credit for?

McNabb was a good QB, but he always managed to come up short. He wasn't good enough to elevate the team to the next level. The fans realized that McNabb wasn't the answer, so they rooted for guys like Jeff Garcia and A.J. Feely. Neither one of those guys was better than McNabb, but somehow they won games. The fans realized McNabb wasn't a great fit in our offense and we didn't need him to win games.

Eventually, Reid and the Eagles organization admitted that McNabb wasn't good enough, sending him down route 95 to the nation’s capitol. Enter Kevin Kolb, the Eagles 2nd round pick in 2007. Instead of having an open QB competition in training camp, Andy Reid handed Kolb the starting role. What did Kolb do to earn the starting spot?

While Kolb got reps with the first team, Vick threw passes to practice squad players and other guys who eventually got cut from the team. Playing with the first team, Kolb had a sub-par preseason and couldn't find the end zone in any of the four games. He didn't look good against the Packers, either. You could tell from the body language of DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin that they didn't believe in Kolb. Further, NFL analysts couldn't find anything that Kolb did well in the first half. The offense was stagnant with Kolb behind center. When Vick took over in the second half, the offense came to life; they nearly won the game.

Maybe a preseason and half of one football game isn't enough to judge Kolb, but maybe it is. Based on the evidence this year, the only thing we can confirm is that nobody knows if Kolb can play in the NFL. All we can do is trust what Reid tells us. Meanwhile, we have a backup quarterback who has been to multiple pro bowls, and has won games in the post season.

You have to wonder whether it's fair to say that Vick looked like his "old self" yesterday, because it's hard to remember when Vick was ever as poised a passer as he was against the Lions. He was 21 of 34 for 284 yards and 2 TDs with no turnovers. The numbers don't really even tell the story. How many times did he stand in and make a great throw on a play where he knew he was about to get blasted? He was accurate, he was calm under pressure, and generally looked fearless out there. I've never been a big fan of Vick as a QB, but there's really nothing to criticize. The guy played fantastic.

After 1.5 games, Vick has proven that he can win games for the Eagles. Kolb hasn't shown anything. Time will tell if Andy Reid is a genius, or if he is just being a stubborn moron. I hope he is right about Kolb, but I don't know how you can keep Vick on the sideline after what he has shown.


If Kolb loses the next 2 games, Reid better hand the keys over to Vick.
Posted on: September 15, 2010 6:13 pm
 

What are the rules of trash talk?

Wilfred Winkenbach created fantasy football. He set the rules for engagement. Check out this funny video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NX1ncpOXoDw
Posted on: December 28, 2009 10:12 am
 

Who can we trust?

The holidays are great, because you get to exchange gifts and get some time off from work. With that being said, the best part about this holiday was that I won the championship in both of my fantasy (money) leagues. Nothing is more satisfying that taking money from your friends.

After watching a few of the worst games over one weekend that I can remember in some time, and how it affected the fantasy football world, one thing kept coming to mind: who can we trust in fantasy? I pulled out a win in both of my championship games, but some of my money players weren’t so “money.” Seriously, no one should expect a professional in any vocation to work at peak efficiency 100% of the time, but for a league in which so many "pros" are making more money in one season than many of us will make over the 25-30 years, it would seem that consistency would not be so hard to find. Granted, most of us do not have to: worry about RBBC at our jobs (imagine for a second if lawyers or doctors "shared the load" at their jobs, for example, one lawyer was the opening argument and cross-examination specialist while another one strictly handled closing arguments), face the prospect of the media trying to pull apart your co-workers at every turn or concern ourselves with people at work whose sole purpose is to stop us from doing what we want to do, even if sometimes seems that way.

But getting back to the issue of trust, who makes your list of "trustworthy" players? I decided to investigate this a bit further. Just as in school where 70% is a passing score, winning about 70% of your games during a 13-week fantasy regular season will leave you with a 9-4 record (.692 winning %), which will almost always get you a playoff berth, if not a division title and first-round bye. Using that same rationale, I'm setting the bar at 70% consistency for all fantasy players (or players who are subpar less than 30% of the time) across the board.

This analysis is only for the last two seasons and is simply looking for fantasy players who were subpar less than 30% of the time they took the field. Since the measuring sticks change each year, I cannot give a firm fantasy point average for each position, but rather the "subpar level" that each position recorded that season. I think you'll be surprised by the results.

1.      Aaron Rodgers

2.      Larry Fitzgerald

3.      Wes Welker

4.      Andre Johnson

5.      Dwayne Bowe

6.      Antonio Gates

7.      Tony Gonzalez

Meet your fantasy best friends, the players who over the last two seasons were there for you more often than anyone else. Consider the magnitude of this list for a minute if you would. At QB, you need your fantasy signal-caller to average 200 yards passing and two scores in seven of every 10 games. At RB, the averages are 60 yards and a score. At WR, five catches for 70 yards will do the trick and, at TE, five catches for 50 yards is just about enough. Further consider this list could have been reduced to five if you want to get technical and hold injuries or suspensions against a player. For example, Welker missed a few early games due to injury and Bowe just got done serving a four-game suspension. What's most surprising to me is the fact that not a single RB made the list. Believe it or not, last year's qualifiers were Matt Forte, LaDainian Tomlinson, Steve Slaton, Thomas Jones and Peyton Hillis. (Peyton Hillis, really?!?!?)

Perhaps I'm being a bit unfair at setting the cutoff at 30%. For those of you wanting to know, here is the list of additional players that would make the cut if I raised the bar to 35%:

1.      Drew Brees

2.      Peyton Manning

3.      LaDainian Tomlinson

4.      Adrian Peterson

5.      Chris Johnson

6.      Frank Gore

7.      Steve Smith (CAR)

8.      Vincent Jackson

9.      Brandon Marshall

10.  Dallas Clark

However, if we were to make the cutoff at 40%, we'd also be assuming that 8-5 (.615 winning %) always gets fantasy owners into the playoffs, which it does not. And we all know that somewhere along the way, at least of our opponents will make you their Super Bowl, which shrinks the margin of error even further. Granted, not all of your consistent players are going to hit rock bottom in the same week, so I understand this analysis is a bit lacking in some areas. With that said, it's becoming easier to see why the gap between the #1 team and #10 team is about three games in competitive leagues. We are dealing with a lot of mediocre fantasy players, some much more so than others.

How is this possible? After all, I'm certainly not calling Manning or Chris Johnson mediocre, am I? The answer is no. In psychology, students are often taught that “people are a product of their environment". The same statement applies here as well. Manning, for instance, can blame his knee rehab in 2008 and young WR corps in 2009 for being left off the first list. Johnson was being eased in last year during his rookie season and dealt with a more pass-heavy offensive approach from his offense before the bye in 2009. Steven Jackson's lack of a credible supporting cast recently has made him less consistent than he is capable of while players like Maurice Jones-Drew and Ray Rice are off both lists entirely due to their respective delays to "feature-back" status.

Looking ahead to 2010, you're going to see roughly 10-12 of the 17 aforementioned players go in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts next summer and rightfully so, barring the unforeseen. But some of these players (in particular Bowe, LT, Smith, Gates and Gonzalez) will all be seen as players coming off disappointing seasons and thus will see their stock drop. But should it?

Due to his age and shaky future with his current employer, LT will be a hard sell as anything more than a low-end RB2 next season. Outside of him, I think the other 16 names listed above are players that you definitely can "trust".  I'll project now that if you can kick off your draft with Gore (Round 1), Manning (Round 2), Welker (Round 3), Smith or Bowe (Round 4) and Gonzalez (Round 5) next summer, you will find that you have yourself an incredibly consistent and competent team. The point I want to make here is that in a game like fantasy football that has so many variables contributing to its outcome each week, the goal should be to land as many constants as possible. With 4-5 "constants" making up your nine-man starting lineup, you increase your margin for error significantly, which is a very good thing. Ultimately, the draft only puts you in position to succeed; in-season management takes your team to the playoffs and wins championships. But the path to fantasy success begins by locking up as many constants as you can early on, so you don't leave early-season points (and thus, wins) on the bench and easily identify your team's weaknesses before your competition takes advantage. When an owner can use the waiver wire as a way to supplement their bench as opposed to their starting lineup, then it is quite likely their team is in very good shape.

Let's get back to what makes even the NFL's best players "untrustworthy". Sometimes, the biggest obstacle can be the one group of people that fantasy owners SHOULD be able to count on - coaching. For as much good as the great coaches do for their teams, isn't it amazing how often even they forget their team's identity? If I can say that about the great coaches, what does it say about the average or poor ones? The answer to these types of questions usually can be answered in one of two ways: 1) the GM "hints" who should play and the head coach or coordinators don't feel they has the authority to go against him or 2) the coaching staff, as a whole, are poor talent evaluators who can easily be swayed by a box score or the public. One of my biggest never-to-be-answered questions is: what exactly goes on during an NFL practice? Of course I'm being a bit sarcastic, but I ask because I find it amazing how often players just seem to burst on the scene. Let's examine a few pertinent examples:

  • How is it possible that Miles Austin goes from a part-timer to a player who must be double-teamed in less than a month? Are we to believe that Austin merely flashed in practice, only to become option #1 the same week Roy Williams was sidelined? Of course not.

  • How does Jamaal Charles go from Larry Johnson's part-time sidekick to a poor man's version of Chris Johnson in half a season? Apparently, Johnson had built up so much good will with the new coaching staff that Todd Haley & Co. saw fit to give LJ 132 carries to Charles' 23 prior to the bye (and LJ's subsequent suspension and release). It should also be noted that in standard scoring PPR leagues, Charles somehow still managed to outscore Johnson in three of the Chiefs' first seven games.

  • How does Jerome Harrison post the third-highest rushing total in NFL history one game after getting benched after seven carries? Was Jamal Lewis capable of putting up this kind of performance this year? Not a chance. James Davis may have had a chance if he could have stayed healthy, but Cleveland wasted valuable time - in what we all knew was a rebuilding year - giving Lewis carries when it should have been using that time to figure out if Harrison or Joshua Cribbs were part of the solution in the backfield.

  • Lastly, how is it that Michael Bush has the each of the Raiders' last three 100-yard rushing performances and is often the least used of the three backs? With all three Raiders' RBs - Bush, Justin Fargas and Darren McFadden - all having recorded at least 90 carries this season, isn't it a bit odd that Bush is sporting a healthy 5.0 YPC while the other two backs are each under 4.0 YPC?

 

Some of you may have a few players YTP, before the championship is decided, but now is the time to start thinking about next FFB season. I already cashed in on both of my leagues, by winning the championships. I won, because I prepared for the draft, starting in April. This is how I won:


League 1:

QB: Matt Schaub

RB: Ray Rice

RB: Knowshon Moreno / LeSean McCoy / Donald Brown / Darren McFadden

WR: Andre Johnson

WR: Chad Ochocinco / Calvin Johnson / Pierre Garcon

TE: Vernon Davis / John Carlson

K: Lawrence Tynes

DEF: Jets / Chargers


League 2:

QB: Matt Schaub

RB: Chris Johnson

RB: Knowshon Moreno / Jamaal Charles / Jonathan Stewart / Darren McFadden

WR: Andre Johnson

WR: Vincent Jackson / Jericho Cotchery

TE: Dallas Clark

K: Nate Kaeding

DEF: Eagles / Saints


Most of the players on my roster were drafted. Some were FA pickups, but most were through the draft. The only trade that I made was in League 1: Hines Ward and Willis McGahee for Knowshon Moreno (in week 6). The main point that I’m trying to make is that you have to study the players and draft guys whom are consistent. Fantasy football doesn’t normally reward risky moves. Doing your homework should prevent you from drafting busts (like Darren McFadden). If you take a couple of busts in your draft, the other reliable players should be able to make up for the few stinkers.


Good luck in 2010, boys.  

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com