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Top 5 NFL Teams

AFC Top 5

1. New England Patriots

2. Baltimore Ravens

3. Indianopolis Colts

4. Tenesee Titans

5. New York Jets

Honorable Mention: Pittsburgh Steelers w/ Dixon, San Diego Chargers

Watch out for: Kansas City Cheifs

NFC Top 5

1. Green Bay Packers

2. New Orleans Saints

3. New York Giants

4. Minnesota Vikings

5. Philadelphia Eagles w/ Vick

Honorable Mention: Atlanta Falcons

Watch Out For: Seattle Seahawks

Biggest Week 1 Stock Movement

First off I would like to say,”Thank you” to Arian Foster and Hakeem Nicks.  Anyone who read my rankings or listened to my rants will return for some more after those two lived up to the hype I put on them preseason.  Here is a quick stock update on a few players.

Major Jump – guys who significantly improve their stock

Arian Foster RB (HOU) – I have preached him as a must pick in every draft preseason.  I pegged Foster as a low first round talent (#8 RB) and everyone thought I was crazy.  I could not have imagined a better week 1.  I may have been happier about Foster’s performance then I was about the G-Men this week, and that is saying a lot.

Hakeem Nicks WR (NYG) – Nicks was ranked as a better WR in my preseason rankings than Steve Smith, and he showed why in week 1.  His hands are not as reliable as Smith, but his talent is far superior.  Even after Hakeem’s drop led to an Eli interception, Manning did not give up on Nicks.  His presence as a great red zone target should lead to a very good season from the second year wideout.

Michael Vick QB (PHI) -It wasn’t even an entire game, but man Vick looked good Sunday.  To me the most impressive thing from Vick was his post-game interview.  He seemed very mature and composed.  I am not saying Vick deserves to be relied on as a QB1, but going into Sunday Mike was unowned in most leagues.  Once waivers clear, he will not be available in any competitive league.

Improvement – players whose stock must move up

Miles Austin WR (DAL) – After some doubted Austin’s ability to repeat his 2009 breakout year, the player who put up 1300 yards in only 12 starts continued to excel.  The O-line looked bad as we expected (nice work Alex Barron), but Austin continued to shine as Romo’s favorite target.  A good WR1.

Eli Manning QB (NYG) – The kid brother looked very good against the Panthers Sunday.  Each of his three interceptions should/could have been completions, so do not worry about that statistic.  The Giants seem to be moving toward a more pass heavy offense under the leadership of Eli and the talent of the WRs.  Solid QB1 moving forward.

Mark Clayton WR (STL) – After being traded to the Rams less than a week before the season started, the former Raven proved to be a valuable asset.  Clayton seemed to be Bradford’s favorite target with 10 receptions for 119 yards.  Clayton should be considered a WR3 with the ability to move to WR2 status if he can solidify his role as the Rams #1 wideout.

Drop-off – Players who see a drop in their stock

Mike Sims-Walker WR (JAX) – MSW was held without a catch in Week 1.  A goose egg never improves a player’s stock, especially when the supposed WR2 Mike Thomas gets six receptions for 89 yards.  Sims-Walker should not be dropped after one awful week (he was covered by The Champ Bailey), but he should be considered a WR4 moving forward.

Steve Smith WR (NYG) –  Smith remains a good possession receiver, and Eli’s safety valve, but no longer deserves fantasy WR2 status with the emergence of Nicks.  A good WR3

Matt Schaub QB (HOU) – With the eruption of Mt. Foster in Houston, the Texan offense may not be as pass happy going forward.  After leading the league in pass attempts in 2009, Schaub went 9 out of 17 on Sunday.  The Texans will not be forced to run in order to keep Peyton Manning off the field every week, but Coach Kubiak insisted that the running game will be a larger role in the offense moving forward.  Schaub will undoubtedly improve on his horrible week 1 performance, but this is not good news for the stock of Matt Schaub.

Jerome Harrison RB (CLE) – After Hardesty went out for the year, Harrison seemed like he may be in line for a workload similar to the end of 2009.  However Harrison only received 9 carries with Peyton Hillis getting an equal share.


Valuing players after Week 1

Fantasy players can be looked at like stocks on Wall Street.  Every player has a value, but no one knows the true value.  It is our job to predict how good these players will do going forward.  We do this by collecting information and data about these players. After Week 1, every player’s stock moves up or down.  This is the best time to take advantage of players who had one bad game.  It is also a good time to unload players who had one great week.  We must take advantage and sell high and buy low.

Let’s say this week Ronnie Brown blows up against Buffalo and puts up 150 Yds/2 TDs.  In the Preseason, Brown was thought of as a valuable player when healthy, but not a top 15 back because of his injury risk.  After going off against a weak Buffalo rush defense, ESPN and other sites decide that Ronnie Brown looked great and move him way up their lists.  All of a sudden Matt Berry raves about Ronnie Brown and places him on the love side in his “Love/Hate” article.  Now everyone thinks Brown is a great running back again and his average ranking has moved from the mid twenties to the top 10.  At that price, Brown is overvalued and should be traded at his inflated price.

In this example we jump to a conclusion too fast on Brown.  In the preseason we all knew Brown could be a great running back when healthy.  We also knew that his injury risk was higher than nearly any other back.  Just because Brown looked fast and healthy, the common fantasy owner thinks that Brown deserves to be bumped into the  top 10 RB.  Due to our short term memory in fantasy football, we forget that we already thought that Brown would do well to start the season but would later get injured.  Before we let the so-called “common fantasy football knowledge” effect our rankings, we must remember Brown’s preseason label of explosive when healthy, but very fragile.   So after his good week 1 we may move Brown up from 25th to 18th on our season long RB rankings, but  the key is to not overate Brown’s value due to one good week.

A player is not necessarily overrated if he has a good week 1.  For example, if Johnny Knox puts up 120 Yds/1 TD against Detroit this week and the common owner bumps his value from 35 to 25, I think that is still a good value to get Knox at.  When figuring out a player’s value we must take Week 1 into effect because it is by far the most important information we have.  However it is not the only info.  Our rankings should always be adjusting to the new information we get, but we should not overemphasize one week of play.

Check back after Sundays games for my list of players who are being over and undervalued.

QB rankings for Week 1

The season is finally here.  Now instead of analyzing yearly value for the draft, we have to start breaking down individual matchups.  There is nothing better than getting out of the gates with a Week 1 W.  So if you have any tough QB decisions for week 1, refer to these rankings.

The Elite

1.  Aaron Rodgers @ Philadelphia – One of the top tier QBs against a young, unproven Eagles defense.  This sounds like a recipe for success, and I am excited to have Rodgers at the helm in one of my two important leagues.  This should be a shootout to open the season at the “The Linc” and Rodgers should be the life of the party.

2. Peyton Manning @ Houston – Another top tier quarterback in a likely shootout.  Manning will be on a mission this year after losing the Superbowl in 2009.  He returns with an arsenal of weapons with Wayne, Garcon, Clark, Collie, A. Gonz, Addai, and D. Brown.  I am intrigued to see how changing the position of the referees could hinder Manning’s hurry-up offense, but they did drop the distance the officials must run from 15 to 12 yards. Manning will continue to be the on-field coach and torch the division rival Texan defense.

3. Drew Brees vs. Minnesota – Is it a coincidence that the top three fantasy QBs are a part of the three highest over/unders in week 1?  The Saints will look to debunk the rumors of a Superbowl hangover against their 2009 Conference Finals opponent.  The Vikings have a staunch defense, their one weakness being the secondary.  They allowed the tenth most passing touchdowns last year, so do not let the Vikings defense deter you.  Not like anyone would be benching Brees, no matter the opponent.  Start with condidence, and enjoy watching your field general at work on opening night.

The Upper Class

4. Tom Brady @ Cincinnati – I think Brady will have a great season this year.  Tom has a questionable defense and a bit of a chip on his shoulder after being written off due to the last two seasons.  That said he starts his season with a tough matchup against the Bengals defense.  Jonathon Joseph and Leon Hall make up the most underrated cornerback duo in the league.  The Bengals allowed the sixth least passing yards and the eighth least passing touchdowns in 2009.  Brady should still post decent numbers, but I would expect something along the lines of 275 yds/ 2 TDs.

5. Jay Cutler vs. Detroit – Martz and Co. get a chance at a coming out party at home against Detroit.  This will be a telling sign as to how successful the highly hyped Bears offense will be this year.  The Lions defense (especially their D-line) should be better with the signing of a few free agents, the drafting of Suh, and another year under the tutelage of HC Jim Schwartz.  Even if there is improvement, Detroit was dead last in passing yards and passing touchdowns allowed last year.  If Cutler does not put up numbers in week 1, everyone will be stamping this offense with the overrated tag.  My guess is he comes out firing.  300 yds/ 2TDs/1 INT

6. Matt Schaub vs. Indianapolis – Schaub was only marginally successful last year versus the Colts.  He posted good yardage numbers (311, 284), but posted only 3 touchdowns along with five turnovers between the two games.  Since Houston was introduced to the NFL in 2002, they have beaten the Colts only once out of sixteen attempts.  There is a hatred for the Colts in the Texans locker room, and I think the offense will put up good numbers in their season opener, at home, against their arch rival.  Pencil Schaub in for 300 yds/ 2 TDs/ 1 INT.

7. Phillip Rivers @ Kansas City – The Chargers offense has a lot of turnover from last year.  LT Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson are holding out due to contract disputes, and rookie Ryan Mathews has taken over for Tomlinson at running back.  The offense should still be fairly powerful with Antonio Gates, Malcolm Floyd, Legedu Naanee, and newly acquired Patrick Crayton running routes.  The Chiefs pass defense last year was a little below average (22nd Yds allowed, 20th TDs).  With Eric Berry at safety and Romeo Crennel now at DC, the defense stands to improve.  Arrowhead is notoriously one of the loudest stadiums to play at in the NFL, and opening day should not do anything to contradict the stadium’s image.  Rivers should be a solid quarterback this week, 250 Yds/2 TDs.

The Middle Class

8. Kevin Kolb vs. Green Bay – This should be a high scoring game, and I think Kolb can prove some of his doubters wrong right out of the gate.  We all know Andy Reid is a pass first, pass second kind of guy.  If the Eagles have any chance of winning (the spread is only Eagles +3), then Kolb will have to produce.  He has more variance than someone like Rivers, but his potential for a huge game is there.

9. Tony Romo @ Washington – This matchup is a big question mark.  Can the Cowboys over the hill offensive line protect Romo?  Will the Hayneworth drama effect the performance of the Redskins defense?  These questions don’t allow me to put Romo in the “Upper Class”, making him a below average QB1 start.

10. Carson Palmer @ New England – This will be the first chance to see how Palmer can control Batman and Robin.  The offense has talent and will be up against a young, albeit up and coming, Patriot defense.  Like Cutler, Palmer has a chance to prove that this much talked about offense is for real.

11. Brett Farve @ New Orleans – With Sidney Rice out, can Harvin, Berrian, and Camarillo be enough firepower for Farve?  I think the Vikings turn to Purple Jesus (AP) and the running game.  After missing most of training camp last year, Farve started his season slow passing for 110 yards vs the Browns and 155 yards vs the Lions.  Even with the ESPN hyped opening game, I don’t think Farve will produce fantastic numbers.  The potential is there, but he is definitely not a safe start.

The Lower Class

12. Eli Manning vs Carolina – The first regular season game in the beautiful new stadium.  The chance at a bit of redemption against the team who shut the door on the G-Men in last years horrific close to the season.  A shot to prove to the nation that the Jets may be the most talked about NY team, but not the most talented.  That said, Carolina has one of the better pass defenses in the league (2nd TDs, 4th Yds) and likes to run, run, run on offense.  That does not often equate to a high scoring affair.  A Big Blue win, but only mediocre numbers out of Eli.

13. Matt Ryan @ Pittsburgh – Another potential break out quarterback against a good defense.  The Steelers ranked middle of the pack last year in passing D, but with the return of Polamalu they should vault back into the top ten.  I think the Steelers will also try to slow the game down without Big Ben at quarterback.  Ryan may produce good numbers, but less likely than the men above him.

14. Kyle Orton @ Jacksonville – With Marshall now gone, the question remains who will Orton turn to for the most targets?  Jabar Gaffney and Eddie Royal stand as the favorites, and this should be a good week for them.  The Jaguars were ranked in the high twenties in passing yards and TDs allowed last year and have not done much to improve.  Orton is a sneaky choice if a manager needed a bye week or injury replacement, but lets hope not as its only week 1.

15. Joe Flacco vs. New York Jets – Flacco has the potential to step into the top tier of QBs this year, but this is not the week.  Even though I think the Jets are slightly over-hyped, it is not because of their defense.  This unit is phenomenal, and can shut down the best.  Revis is just coming back, but make no mistake he will still be good.  Add to the mix the Jets offseason pickups of Kyle Wilson and JT, plus a healthy Kris Jenkins, and losing Calvin Pace is not going to kill the Jets.  Flacco should be benched in week 1 if you own a solid backup QB.

16. Matt Stafford @ Chicago – Another offense with breakout potential.  The Lions acquired Jahvid Best, Nate Burleson, and Tony Scheffler in the offseason.  If Stafford can mature quickly he has the ability to put up some good numbers with his supporting cast.  Not to mention the Lion’s weak defense will force the offense to put up numbers in the passing game.  The Bears were middle of the road in passing yards allowed, but near the bottom in passing TDs allowed.  The addition of J Pep should help Chicago’s pass rush, but Stafford should still put up decent numbers.

17. Donovan McNabb vs. Dallas – The first game for an entirely new regime in Washington.  Move over Jim Zorn and Jason Campbell, welcome Mike Shanahan and Donny Mac.  McNabb is not entirely healthy with his ankle, but I would not be surprised if he comes out throwing in an attempt to show the fans he is the new leader.

18.  Derek Anderson @ St. Louis – Starting the season off against the Rams will give Anderson a chance at being successful this year.  Anderson has talented receivers in Fitz, Breaston, and Doucet.  If he can control his accuracy he may be able to put up decent numbers.

19. Matt Cassell vs. San Diego – No one is giving Cassell much credit, but Kansas City has made advancements on offense.  With an in shape Dwayne Bowe, Chambers, McCluster, Charles, and T. Jones the offense has playmakers.  Now that Charlie Weis has come on board, Cassell will be in an offense he studied for several years in New England.  If the O-line can protect him, he may put up decent numbers this year.  San Diego’s defense is overrated, and Cassell has the chance to be serviceable this week.

20. Chad Henne @ Buffalo – Chad Henne liked the offseason addition of Brandon Marshall more than anyone.  For a young quarterback to have a talent like Marshall is very helpful.  Along with Davone Bess and Brian Hartline, Henne has potential.  I think the wildcat becomes even more of a change of pace in Miami this year as Henne takes over.  Buffalo however does have a tough pass defense, ranking second in the league last year.  Second year stud cornerback Jairus Byrd fully practiced Wednesday, and should play on Sunday.  Henne is an average QB2 this week.

Cheers to the first week of the season.  Let the games begin!

NFL Pre-Season Predictions

Here are the predictions for the upcoming NFL season from Mcshaft and Lungz

McShaft, Lungz


AFC East

1. New England (10-6), (11-5)

2. NY Jets – (9-7), (9-7)

3. Miami – (8-8), (8-8)

4. Bills (5- 11) (3-13)


AFC North

1. Baltimore (12-4), (11-5)

2. Cincinnati (10-6), (9-7)

3. Steelers (7-9), (7-9)

4. Cleveland (6-10), (4-12)

AFC South

1. Colts (13-3), (13-3)

2. Tennessee (9-7), (10-6)

3. Houston (8-8), (8-8)

4. Jacksonville (6-10), (6-10)

AFC West

1. San Diego (10-6), (13-3)

2. Oakland (9-7), (7-9)

3. Denver (8-8), (7-9)

4. Kansas City (7-9), (4-12)

NFC EAST

1. Giants (10-6), (8-8)

2.Cowboys (9-7), (11-5)

3. Eagles (8-8), (9-7)

4. Redskins (5-11), (6-10)

NFC North

1. Green Bay (12-4), (12-4)

2. Minnesota (10-6), (9-7)

3. Chicago (7-9), (8-8)

4. Lions (6-10), (6-10)

NFC South

1. New Orleans (10-6), (12-4)

2. Atlanta (8-8), (8-8)

3. Carolina (7-9), (9-7)

4. Tampa Bay (4-12), (3-13)

NFC West

San Francisco (11-5), (10-6)

2. Arizona (8-8), (8-8)

3. St Louis (5-12), (7-9)

4. Seattle (3-13), (3-12)

PLAYOFFS

AFC

McSHAFT

Wild Card

Bye Week: ColtsRavens

Patriots vs. Bengals: Patriots

Chargers vs. Jets: Jets

Divional

Colts vs. Jets: Colts

Ravens vs. Pats: Ravens

Conference

Colts vs. Ravens: Colts


LUNGZ

Wildcard

Bye: Colts, Chargers

Patriots vs. Jets: Patriots

Ravens vs. Titans: Titans

Divisional

Chargers vs. Patriots: Chargers

Titans vs Colts: Colts

Conference

Colts vs. Chargers: Colts


NFC

McSHAFT

Wild Card

Bye Week: Packers, 49ers

Giants vs Vikings: Giants

Saints vs Cowboys: Cowboys

Divisional

Packers vs Cowboys: Packers

49ers vs Giants: 49ers

Conference

Packers vs 49ers = Packers


LUNGZ

Wild Card

Bye Week: Saints, Packers

49ers vs. Eagles: Eagles

Cowboys vs. Panthers: Panthers

Divisional

Panthers vs. Saints: Saints

Birds vs. Packers = Packers

Conference

Saints vs. Packers = Packers

Super Bowl

McShaft:  Packers vs Colts: Packers

Lungz:  Packers vs Colts: Colts