football news and perspective from the other sideline

Archive for April, 2012

My Fantasy Football Team (NFL)

MY FANTASY DREAM TEAM

Even though we’re in the midst of NHL playoffs, NBA pre-playoffs, MLB new season, I STILL LOVE FOOTBALL. This is my idea of a fantasy dream team:

QBDrew Brees (#9) New Orleans Saints….. Led the league in passing yards (5476), touchdown passes (46), pass completion % (71.2) and average yards per game (342.2). He had a passer rating of 110.6. Some might feel this is a risky pick because of the Sean Payton suspension and looming player suspensions. Provided that Brees’ contract situation gets resolved soon, I still think he will have a positive impact on the offense and player suspensions will in all likelihood involve only defensive players. Plan B: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers.

WR: Calvin Johnson (#81) Detroit Lions…… His nickname is Megatron for a reason. He led the league in receiving yards (1,681) and in average yards per game (105.1). He had 16 touchdowns on 96 carries, averaging 17.5 yards per catch. At 6’5″, he is a formidable deep ball threat, outjumping cornerbacks, safeties and most people.

WR: Larry Fitzgerald (#11) Arizona Cardinals….Okay, so this is my one sentimental pick. This is the type of pick that can be a Fantasy Football player’s worst nightmare: a star wide receiver with a not-so-great quarterback. Even with the sometimes shaky tandem of QBs Kevin Kolb and John Skelton, Fitz remained in the top 10 in most relevant receiver categories: 4th in receiving yards (1,411), 5th in avg yards per game (88.2), 8th in receptions with 80, and 9th in touchdowns (8). Besides, he’s a great guy and I’m going to gamble that Kevin Kolb will improve in 2012. I said it was based on sentimentality, okay.

RB: Maurice Jones-Drew (#32) Jacksonville Jaguars ….. He led the league in rushing yards (1,606) and avg yards per game (100.4). He had 8 touchdowns and averaged 4.7 yards per carry. QB Blaine Gabbert struggled in the passing game and MJD accounted for 43% of the offensive scoring. I see similar production this year even with the acquisition of WR Laurent Robinson from the Cowboys. But all this depends on whether MJD gets the contract extension he wants. And if he does not, how will it affect his play. (Note: I would love to pick Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings here, but his health status is unclear right now.)

RB: Arian Foster (#23) Houston Texans…. Proved last year that he wasn’t just a one-year wonder. Posted stellar numbers: 1,224 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns and 94.2 avg yards per game, averaging 4.2 yards per carry. A three-down featured back, Foster also produces fantasy points in receiving, being 2nd on the team only to WR Andre Johnson in receptions.

TE: Rob Gronkowski (#87) New England Patriots … He’s a beast. At 6’6, 265, he plows through secondaries like they were blades of grass. In just two short years, The Gronk has amassed several NFL tight end records (all set in 2011) including most receiving yards (1,327), most total touchdowns (18), and  most receiving touchdowns (17). He is also the first tight end in NFL history to lead the league in receiving touchdowns (17), topping WR Calvin Johnson who had 16. Look for more of the same from The Gronk in 2012 along with more of his trademark touchdown spike.

K: Rob Bironas (#2) Tennessee Titans ….. In general, kickers are not a bonanza of fantasy points. Bironas is a reliable option having made 29/32 FGs and 34/34 PATs. I might also opt for David Akers of the 49ers or Matt Bryant of the Falcons.

DEF: San Francisco 49ers …. After coming so close to a Super Bowl appearance, I think the 49ers will be hungry in 2012. They had the No. 1 run defense, allowing only 77.3 rushing yards per game. Most impressive was that they went 14 games before allowing a rushing touchdown and ended up only allowing 3 for the season.  Opposing teams averaged only 14.3 points against them which was 2nd in the league behind the Steelers who allowed 14.2. Essentially a young squad, I think the 49ers defense is only going to get better. No wonder they ask, “Who’s got it better than us?” Noooobody!!

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Roger Goodell Channels Wyatt Earp

Actually, Roger Goodell is not new, he’s been the NFL Commissioner since September 2006. But we certainly have witnessed some new and unprecedented rulings handed down by the Commish lately. Perhaps the boldest so far has been the one-year suspension given New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton for his role in the Saints’ bounty scheme. This week another NFL policy came to light regarding unruly fans. If you are ejected from an NFL game, you will have to pay $75 to take an online code-of-conduct test. And you must pass the test with a minimum score of 70% before you will be allowed at another game. It seems that the rules may vary by stadium, but a few teams like the Jets, Giants and Patriots have already begun enforcing the policy.

I really don’t know how much of a hand Goodell played in this policy, though I assume any NFL policy must be signed off by him. One thing I do know though, Goodell is starting to remind me of Wyatt Earp. Earp was a lawman in the Wild West and he had a somewhat dubious reputation. In dispensing justice, he often became a law onto himself. Much like Goodell and the NFL. While we applaud his efforts to ensure player safety and control unruly fans, we are also aware of the arbitrariness of some of his decisions. For instance, Goodell makes a ruling as in the case of the Saints suspensions and at the same time he is the one who hears the appeal. Not very likely that he will overrule himself folks. Goodell has a tough job. He has the unenviable task of trying to change a culture steeped in broken bones, blood and concussions. One hundred years ago, Wyatt Earp brought law to lawlessness sometimes in a lawless way. Will Goodell have success taming the NFL Wyatt Earp-style?

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell Meets with Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton To Discuss Stadium Issue

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Just days after the Minnesota legislature rejected the proposed $975 million stadium plan in committee, Roger Goodell and Pittsburgh Steelers president Art Rooney met with Gov. Mark Dayton and other lawmakers. After the meeting, Goodell said:

There were no implied threats or any threats at all. What we talked about is the importance of creating a solution….

I think the legislative leaders and the governor understand the time is now.

Here’s 4 reasons why Goodell’s non-threat is a threat

  1. The top dog of the NFL makes a special trip to meet with the top dog of the state of Minnesota days after a state legislature committee rejects a plan to build a new stadium. Just a friendly ‘how y’all doing’ visit? Don’t think so.
  2. Lawmakers interviewed after the meeting said Goodell made it clear that the time to act is now. This was summed up by Republican House Speaker Kurt Zellers who said, “This is a two-minute drill and things will have to be moving a bit more quickly.”
  3. Though Goodell never threatened that he would move the team to Los Angeles, references to the the city were brought up in the meeting. Basically the fact that the NFL and the city of L.A. want a franchise team there. And oh, by the way, the Vikings contractual obligations to the city of Minneapolis will be up in 2013.
  4. It is rumored that the private jet of Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf was spotted in Southern California today

So if it acts like a threat (special trip to Minnesota) and sounds like a threat (yes, L.A. is an option for the team) it’s a threat.

My Heart Belongs To The Bugatti Veyron 16.4

Bugatti Veyron

I tried to resist. But it happened anyway. I have fallen in love with a car. Not just any car of course, but the Bugatti Veyron 16.4. Unfortunately, the relationship is already doomed because for it to fall into my possession I need somewhere between $2 to $3 million dollars. This ensures that our love affair will be very one-sided. In the meantime, I will admire it from afar, dreaming about  its 1,200 horsepower/16-cylinder engine and 250mph capability. And it’s such a tease — able to accelerate to 60 mph in about 2 seconds and the sleek body design just whispers softly, “hold me.” Seriously, it’s a beautiful car made in France and according to wiki-answers, there are only 4 of them in the U.S. *Sigh*

Ray Rice — Pay Da Man

Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice is another key player that was franchised last month. And like QB Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints and RB Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears, Ray Rice has not signed his franchise tender and can not join his team in the voluntary offseason workouts that started this past Monday.  As the Ravens featured back, Rice is a key component in their offense. For the 2011 regular season, Rice rushed for 1,364 of the Raven’s 1,995 total rushing yards and had 15 of the 41 touchdowns (12 rushing/3 passing). His 1,364 rushing yards was 2nd in the league behind Jaguars’ RB Maurice Jones Drew who had 1,606. Rice has rushed for at least 1,200 yards and caught at least 60 passes in each of the past three seasons.

With the franchise tag, Rice would receive $7.7 million for one year. And of course, down here on earth, we all wonder what’s the problem with that? Your average Joe would be happy to sign any tag that would net $7.7 million for the year. We wouldn’t even squawk if they dropped the .7.   But consider this, the market rate for the services of a quality veteran running back in the NFL is far greater than $7.7 million. Arian Foster, running back for the Houston Texans, recently signed a five-year deal for $43.5 million with $20.75 million guaranteed. And at the start of the 2011 season, Tennessee Titans running back Chris Johnson was given an extension on his rookie contract. Price tag — $53 million with $30 million guaranteed covering him through the 2016 season. The going rate for a top tier running back has been set and Ray Rice is a top tier running back.

C’mon man, Pay the man!

Matt Forte — Pay The Man

Running back Matt Forte is not feeling the love in Chicago. A month ago he took to Twitter to express his unhappiness after the Bears signed RB free agent Michael Bush to a 4-year deal to the tune of $14 million with $7 million guaranteed. The Bush deal was done after the Bears had placed the franchise tag on Forte which right now is good for one year and worth a little over $7.5 million. On Twitter, Forte wrote:

There’s only so many times a man that has done everything he’s been asked to do can be disrespected! Guess the GOOD GUYS do finish last…

for the record I’m not mad at the signing of another running back. This is 4th time that’s happened. I embrace competition as well as help

But as for not taking care of ur own and undervaluing a player under his market value is another story! #twitterrant”

I think he has the right to be disappointed. In 4 years with the Bears, Forte has been one of the most productive backs, both in rushing and receiving. He has total rushing yards of 4,233 and 21 touchdowns and has 223 receptions for 1,985 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Forte has helped bolster the Bears’ shaky receiving corps while also producing as the featured back. When a team delays giving one its star players a long-term deal and signs an outsider to one, it leads to a situation like the Eagles had with DeSean Jackson last season. Jackson played much of the season uninspired, presumably due to not getting an extended contract. The Eagles had signed or re-signed several players to sweet deals much like the Bears have done this offseason. Since the beginning of free agency on March 5, the Bears have traded for WR Brandon Marshall and also picked up QB Jason Campbell, LB Blake Costanzo and WR Eric Weems.  They have re-signed QB Josh McCown, TE Kellen Davis, DE Israel Idonije, DB Tim Jenings and S Craig Steltz.

Forte missed the last four games of the season last year with an minor MCL injury. Some say the Bears will use this to justify not giving him an extended contract. But every player in the NFL knows they are just one play, one hit, one sharp cut away from a season-ending, or worse, a career-ending injury. And before that injury, Forte had started every game for three years. C’mon, Pay Da Man.

Drew Brees Fans to Saints: Pay Da Man

Last month, the New Orleans Saints slapped the franchise tag on quarterback Drew Brees and right away it was clear that Brees was unhappy with not being signed to a long-term deal. Understandable — he led the league in just about every measurable QB category this past season: 5,476 passing yards, averaging 342 yards per game with 46 touchdowns/14 interceptions and had a completion percentage of 71.2.  His passer rating of 110.6 was 2nd behind Aaron Rodgers’ 122.5.  Brees’ 5,476 yards also broke Dan Marino’s record for most passing yards in a single season. Marino’s record of 5,084 had stood since 1984. Added to Brees’ record is a Super Bowl win in 2009 and two subsequent playoff runs in 2010 and 2011. Even though Saints owner Tom Benson said today that they are close to a deal with Brees, these phenomenal stats have most people wondering why the Saints haven’t already re-signed the free agent QB to a long-term deal.

To date, Drew Brees has not signed his franchise tender and with voluntary training and conditioning programs starting Monday, he would not be able to attend until he is under contract. Because of the recent Saints’ suspension for their bounty for hits policy, it is imperative to have some continuity in leadership for the team which Brees definitely brings.

Sign the man — Pay the man — C’mon man!

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Drew Brees image used under CC Lic 2.0 via wikipedia.com

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