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The Young and Restless

Posted on 14 November 2008 by Brian Billick

As I prepared for my game this week between the New Orleans Saints and Kansas City Chiefs I had a chance to see first hand what the Chiefs are going through with their purging of their roster and building anew this franchise. Trading away their best defensive player (Jared Allen to the Minnesota Vikings) and loading up on draft choices this year you can clearly see the commitment the Chiefs have made to the future, and the growing pains they are experiencing at 1-8.

Seeing Herm Edwards and Carl Peterson put this plan in motion, I can’t help but think back to the 2002 season when Ozzie Newsome and I were faced with the same task.

As much as we as coaches would like to think otherwise, our jobs (particularly that of a head coach) are inexorably linked to the finances of any given situation. In 2000 the Baltimore Ravens reached the top of the professional football pyramid winning Super Bowl XXXV and then returning to the divisional round of the NFL playoffs in 2001. The price was unavoidable, however.

In 2002, the Ravens fielded the youngest team ever (19 rookies) in the history of the NFL. The decisions made in the preceding years to the “Cap Purge” of 02’ were all made with the consensus agreement that the team would have to be gutted after the 2001 season. With every signing leading up to the Super Bowl year General Manager Ozzie Newsome would make the obligatory observation, “Now we all know the piper has to be paid in 2002, right.” It was an acknowledgment by all involved that the expenditure “over the cap” had an unavoidable consequence in today’s NFL. That for every dollar “over the cap” you spend you will be devoid of those dollars in subsequent years.

At the heart of the Ravens’ Championship year were players like Shannon Sharpe, Priest Holmes, Rob Burnett, Duane Starks,Tony Siragusa, Qadry Ismail, Sam Adams. Jeff Mitchell, Jamie Sharper, Jermaine Lewis and even future Hall of Fame Rod Woodson would all be victims of the financial “balancing of the books” that every team must come to recon with.

It was only fitting that the cover of the 2002 Ravens’ Media Guide adorned the oil portraits of myself and Ozzie. Indeed, we where left with the task of rebuilding a championship team with our “financial” hands tied behind our backs. We did so in the only way left to a team in this situation and that is to draft and draft well.

Draftees like Jamal Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Todd Heap, Gary Baxter, Casey Rabach, Edgerton Hartwell, Ed Reed, Anthony Weaver, Dave Zastudil and Chester Taylor would team with holdovers Chris McAlister and future Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Jonathan Ogden to form an AFC North Division Championship team in 2003. They key was the franchise’s willingness to take the dramatic steps to “purge” their championship team of older and more expensive talent and replace it with younger more affordable players.

The problem lies in being a victim of your own success. When you draft well, even though the young player comes cheaper, they play themselves into the higher priced market that makes it increasingly tough to keep all of your good players. Ultimately, the successes of drafting Ed Reed, Todd Heap and Terrell Suggs then forced the Ravens to let go of Jamal Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Gary Baxter, Casey Rabach, Edgerton Hartwell, Anthony Weaver, Dave Zastudil and Chester Taylor. It has become a vicious cycle, in a reverse of nature, the “young eating their old.”

In training camp of the 2002 purge year Todd Heap had a humorous, but acute observation. We had long had a tradition on our team that the most veteran players got to sit in first class when we traveled. Typically that would be seven or eight players, usually with 10+ years in the league. Todd Heap, who was just entering his third year in the league, at our first OTA with this young group observed, “Coach, looks like I am going to be in first class this season.”

Having spent the day with Herm Edwards, it’s clear he is finding the same things I did in 2002. Though tough getting through the loses, it was one of the most enjoyable years I have had coaching. Working with and developing the young talent is what being a coach is all about. Herm will also find that by having to play so many young players you are going to learn a great deal more about them than you might otherwise have a chance to do. Next year when he looks at his roster and sees a bunch of 2nd and 3rd year players he will not have to worry about how they will play in their first starts. They will all have 10 to 16 games of playing experience.

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Friday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 14 November 2008 by Glenn Clark

Giants 27, Ravens 17

This WILL be a matchup problem for the Ravens; but they will not be consistently beat the way the Colts beat them. Plaxico Burress will ultimately make some big catches, which I imagine will be the difference. The Ravens have a chance to outscore the Giants (did I really just say that?), but doing so on the road will not be easy.

Maryland 23, North Carolina 13

The Terps will come out and get the lead early in this one; and will be able to put the pressure on the Heels’ offense. I think they can maintain that lead throughout and hold on.

Notre Dame 38, Navy 31

Relax Navy fans, they can’t take away last year’s win from you. But Niumatalolo isn’t quite ready to get his first win over the Irish.

Villanova 34, Towson 17

Sean Schaeffer’s stats will look allright though.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say…..

Best of Thursday’s WNST Blogs:

Joe Flacco says he went with O-Line to see Bond flick last night

Drew Forrester thinks Angelos ‘deserves credit’ for return of Baltimore

Nestor Aparicio celebrating return of Blast tonight in Dundalk

Casey Willett says H. Jackson has followed Flacco since pre-combine

Boy Haynie offers to EAT Maryland hat if Terps make Final Four like Vasquez eludes

Alex Thomas picks Giants 23-20

Chris Pika says Birds still reaching out to other areas in state despite returning Baltimore to uniforms

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens-Giants will be ‘backyard brawl’

The Official Site’s Dan Wilcox (yep) says Ravens will be ‘ready’ for Giants

The Official Site says Rex Ryan sees Giants’ running attack as ‘great challenge’

The Official Site announces community event Monday night

Giants Official Site’s Michael Eisen scouts Ravens-Giants

Giants Official Site’s Michael Eisen says Flacco ‘no ordinary rookie’

The Sun’s Ken Murray says Ravens ‘could be up’ for NFC East test

7 of 7 Sun writers pick Giants

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens need to dominate on ground, force turnovers, and get production from receiver not named Mason

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Figurs ‘filling void’ (like 1370!)

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens hope to be more successful vs. Eli than they were vs. Peyton

The Sun’s Kevin Van Valkenburg thinks Eli > Flacco, Bill Ordine thinks Flacco > Eli

The Sun’s Mike Preston says H. Jackson getting reputation for developing QB’s

The Sun’s Ray Frager says CBS giving Ravens love this weekend

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Reed had limited participation

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Giants’ Webster missed practice again

The Sun’s Mike Preston says FB Hedgecock important to Giants’ ability to run

The Examiner’s Ron Snyder says 3 Giants combine for more sacks than all of Ravens’ roster

The Examiner’s Steve DeClue credits Heap for tough blocking this season

Aaron Wilson says 52 knows only way to stop Jacobs is to ‘hit him full speed’

Aaron Wilson says ‘matchup problems’ caused by Giants’ Burress

New York Post’s Mike Puma says Butler ‘expects to play’ vs. Ravens

The AP’s Joe LaPointe says Giants have had secondary issues in recent weeks

New York Daily News’ Kristie Ackert says Giants’ ‘wary’ of Flacco

New York Daily News’ Vic Ziegel says Giants regularly coming up ‘big’ this season

Newsday’s Tom Rock says Burress ready to ‘break out’ again

Newsday’s Tom Rock says Blackburn versatile for Giants

Newark Star-Ledger’s Jenny Vrentas says focus on Burress has allowed Giants’ run game to open up

Newark Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo says Giants want to get pressure on Flacco

5 of 5 ESPN Sunday Countdown analysts pick Giants

8 of 8 ESPN Analysts pick Giants

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Ravens-Giants will be one of ‘more physical’ games this weekend

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens have history with Burress

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Cameron ‘bigger pickup’ than Flacco for Ravens

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens know they must give Giants ‘credit’

6 of 6 Fox Sports analysts pick Giants

SI.com’s “Dr. Z” takes Giants and points

SI’s Peter King picks Giants 16-13

Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer picks Giants 20-10

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

North Carolina Official Site’s Lauren Brownlow previews Heels-Terps

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says some fans find Byrd ‘outdated and small’

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says today’s practice open to students

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says ‘trends’ favor Terps tomorrow

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Da’Rel still wearing ‘no-contact’ jersey

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps looking to ‘rebound’ again

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Portis experiment still not over

The Examiner’s Sean Welsh says Terps need win over Carolina to stay alive in ACC title race

ESPN.com’s Bruce Feldman picks Terps 17-13

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Ralph keeping Terps ‘on point’ (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Mike Ashley says Terps, Heels ‘similar’ (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews tonight’s season tip with Bucknell

The Official Site says J. Williams officially inks with Terps

Bucknell Official Site previews Bison-Terps

Bucknell Official Site offers complete Bucknell-Maryland release (pdf)

The Sun’s Don Markus says Terps trying to avoid looking past early season non-conference foes

The Sun’s Don Markus says Greivis thinks Terps look like ‘Final Four team’

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says most think Terps’ recruiting class ‘solid’

The Examiner’s Sean Welsh says Booth thinks Mosley working ‘tail off’ to improve with Terps

The Examiner’s Dylan Waugh says Mosley WILL return from injury tonight

The AP says Terps have chance to ‘overachieve’

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:

ESPN.com names Toliver, Coleman All-American

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site says tomorrow’s game at M&T Bank Stadium sold out

The Sun’s Don Markus says Irish trying to ‘erase memory’ of last year’s loss to Navy

The Examiner’s Dave Carey says Notre Dame players taking emotions of last year’s loss into tomorrow’s Navy game

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Dobbs better on Saturdays than during practice

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says when Doyle has ball, good things happen

Go Mids’ David Ausiello says Dobbs ‘could see playing time’ tomorrow

Go Mids’ Chris Rohe breaks down Notre Dame

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says CBS College Sports to broadcast Navy-American

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Mids to be without Garcia due to hamstring injury

TOWSON BASKETBALL:

The Official Site says Tigers ink Philmore, Gumbs

UMBC BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews UMBC-Stevenson

COPPIN BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews exhibition contest with Cheyney

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

Carroll County Times’ Bob Blubaugh says Eers trying to maintain position at top of NEC

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Huff honored with Silver Slugger

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Birds expect to be ‘active’ in free agency

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says MacPhail will be ‘kicking tires’ of available superstars

The Sun offers list of free agents Orioles might have interest in

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Birds still undecided on Spring Training home

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Mets’ Heilman ‘makes sense’ for Birds

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says Birds denying interest in Ramirez

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec thought Birds would have signed Markakis by now

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec still thinks Roberts will be traded

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says players like new uniforms

ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark says Birds will be throwing dollars around

Sporting News’ Cal Ripken Jr. (same one) says Nicaraguan media provides strong turnout for press conference

BLAST:

The Examiner’s Sean Welsh says Wakefield still views Blast as ‘defending champs’ in new league

HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Stephen Kiehl says charges against St. Frances’ Karcher dropped

HORSE RACING:

The Sun’s Bill Ordine says no other horses in Laurel barn show signs of virus

Thoroughbred Times’ John Scheinman says Laurel horse tests positive for equine herpes

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Congratulations to SunTrust Athlete of the Morning Jaime Ramirez; who clinched the first state title for Tuscarora’s boys soccer team with his penalty kick. This was just the 5th year for Tuscarora soccer.

-I’ll say Maryland 82, Bucknell 68-but it will be closer than that. I’ll also say UMBC 106, Stevenson 62; Towson 68, Navy 64; LaSalle 77, Morgan State 71; and Mt. St. Mary’s 74, Loyola 72. But what do I know?

-It would be pretty special to see a picture of Mark Teixeira with Baltimore written across his chest.

Talk to you tonight at Maryland-Bucknell.

-G

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Thursday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 13 November 2008 by Glenn Clark

There were NOT 2,500 people at the Orioles’ rally yesterday.

There were NOT 700 people at the Orioles’ rally yesterday.

There MAY have been 700 people in the Gallery yesterday.

BUT……as everyone has said…..BALTIMORE is back.

This IS a win for Orioles fans, which is exciting, because there have been so few wins over the past few years for us.

But it won’t make a difference if two of the guys in attendance yesterday (Chris Waters and Brian Burres) are in the starting rotation come Opening Day.

It’s still a nice thing to see.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say………

Best of Wednesday’s WNST Blogs:

Casey Willett says 52 taking ‘hit or get hit’ approach to matchup with Giants

Casey Willett says Harbaugh, Flacco can tie record for best start by rookie QB, rookie Head Coach

Casey Willett says Ravens ‘not caught up in hype’ of playing defending Super Bowl champs

Drew Forrester says new uniforms much better than rally to introduce them

Drew Forrester talking about BALTIMORE because BALTIMORE is a big deal around here

Bob Haynie says need to put ‘quality players’ in new uniforms

Nestor Aparicio offers pictures of new uniforms

Bryan Powell says new uniforms won’t matter if team isn’t better

Alex Thomas thinks new hats ‘dreadful’

Ed Frankovic says Caps blast Canes

Check out our video of the Orioles’ uniform unveiling here

RAVENS:

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Mason ‘expects to be on the field’ Sunday

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says 52 Defensive Player of the Week

The Official Site says Harbaugh reports Mason ‘game-time decision’

The Official Site says Giants will still try to run the ball

The Official Site’s Lindsay Melvin says Heap, J. McClain involved in community this week

Giants Official Site’s Michael Eisen says Giants’ run offense vs. Ravens’ run defense will be ‘titanic struggle’

Giants Official Site’s Keith Karlsson says Giants have bad history vs. Ravens

Giants Official Site’s John Schmeelk says Giants’ offense can still improve

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Figurs will start if Mason can’t play

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Giants believe they can run, Ravens believe they can stop run

The Sun’s Edward Lee says groin injury kept Giants CB Webster out of practice

The Sun’s Mike Preston says W. Anderson emphatic about playing Sunday

The Sun’s Mike Preston says offensive success more about ‘scheming’ than talent

The Examiner’s Ron Snyder says 52 thinks Ngata ‘phenomenal’

Aaron Wilson says young offensive line will be ‘tested’ by Giants’ strong pass rush

Aaron Wilson says Mason won’t practice this week

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Mason doesn’t think practice as crucial at this stage in his career as it was when he was younger

Washington Post’s Les Carpenter says Flacco giving Ravens ‘shot in arm’

New York Post’s Paul Schwartz says Manning has moved past dismal performance against Ravens in ‘04

New York Daily News’ Ralph Vacchiano says Giants’ Jacobs, Ravens’ Lewis ‘can’t wait’ for Sunday matchup

Newsday’s Tom Rock says 52, Jacobs have mutual admiration society

Newark Star-Ledger’s Jenny Vrentas says safety Butler limited in practice yesterday

Newark Star-Ledger’s Mike Garafolo says Ravens good at stopping things Giants do well

ESPN.com Page 2’s Gregg Easterbrook says Giants ‘smart’

ESPN.com’s James Walker doesn’t think Giants will try to win via ground

ESPN.com offers video of Scott on “PTI”

Fox Sports’ Peter Schrager picks Giants 23-20

SI.com’s “Dr. Z” has Ravens 12th in power rankings

Yahoo! Sports’ Jason Cole says Harbaugh has Ravens moving ‘high-tempo’

ORIOLES:

The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin says Orioles report changes to uniforms ‘originated’ with Angelos

The Sun’s Jeff Zrebiec says ‘estimated 2,500’ attend rally (maybe someone else should be doing the estimates)

The Sun’s David Steele says putting Baltimore back on road jerseys ‘uplifting to city’s soul’

The Sun’s Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec say Mora underwent surgery last week

The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says O. Salazar hitting almost .500 in Venezuela

The Examiner’s Jay Trucker says some Orioles fans disappointed cartoon bird didn’t return

The AP says new batting practice jerseys could be used in games

Washington Post’s Marc Carig says MacPhail expects Mora to be ready for Spring Training

Washington Post’s Marc Fisher thinks Birds’ uniform changes better than Nationals’

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph thinks Heels ‘improved’, Terps ‘healthier’ than ’07 game

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph often keeps assistants ‘on duty’ at bars to avoid incidents like Costa’s

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Navarre didn’t find adjustment back to DE difficult

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps much better at home than on road

The Diamondback’s Jeff Newman says even Bowl games don’t have ‘handle’ on ACC

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says C. Jackson, Campbell, Burley amongst those hurt when Heels beat Terps in ‘07

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Drummond getting work

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps, Heels each struggle to control ball

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell breaks down Heels

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Carolina’s Davis still deflecting Tennessee rumors

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says much of Evans’ rushing came on a few long plays

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Cosh ‘frustrated’ by timeout call at end of first half vs. Hokies

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Carolina beat writer Daly thinks would-be Terp Austin ‘solid, if not spectacular’

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps have more tickets sold for UNC game than last two home games

DC Examiner’s Rick Snider says Terps-Heels big deal in football instead of hoops this time

Raleigh News & Observer’s Robbi Pickeral says RB Houston ‘thunder’ to Draughn’s ‘lightning’

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich picks Heels 28-24

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says poor performance against Hokies prompted Terps to make D-Line changes

AccuScore projects Carolina to beat Maryland

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Blue moves to full-time defensive player (must subscribe)

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says NT Armstrong admits to being ‘starstruck’ vs. Hokies (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says trip to Maryland-Wake soccer game helped get J. Williams to College Park

The Examiner’s Sean Welsh says Gregory came back to Terps with ‘confidence’

Carroll County Times’ Josh Land says bigs have big chance to improve

Washington Post’s Matthew Rennie says Terps have 15-1 odds of winning ACC; 200-1 odds of winning national title

Washington Post’s Matthew Rennie says Terps not getting love nationally

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens thinks Terps 4th amongst DC-area teams (ouch)

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Bob Knight praises Gary

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Gary’s reality show will be called “Proving Ground”

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says J. Williams will sign this week (must subscribe)

TERRAPINS LACROSSE:

The Official Site breaks down players signed on Signing Day

NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Sun’s Don Markus says Vela trying to ‘live up’ to sack in last year’s Notre Dame game

The Examiner’s Dave Carey says watching Navy celebrate last year made Weis ‘sick’

The Examiner’s Gary Lambrecht says Niumatalolo has kept Navy’s train ‘moving’

The Examiner’s Tom Flynn remembers how Navy helped get Colts to Baltimore

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Bryant has been through ‘roller coaster’ season

College Football News’ Adam Nettina says Notre Dame fans view Navy’s ’07 win as ‘fluke’

Go Mids breaks down Mids, Irish (must subscribe)

NAVY BASKETBALL:

The Official Site offers promotional schedule for hoops season

Washington Times’ Harlan Goode says Mids have to replace Sprink’s production

TOWSON FOOTBALL:

Villanova Official Site previews Villanova-Towson

Villanova Official Site offers complete Cats-Cats release (pdf)

MORGAN BASKETBALL:

ESPN.com’s Joe Lunardi has Bears, Mt. St. Mary’s IN; Terps, UMBC OUT

LOYOLA BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews Friday’s season tip with Mt. St. Mary’s

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:

The Official Site previews Friday’s season tip with Loyola

MARINERS:

The Official Site says Mariners add two coaches to staff

HORSE RACING:

Thoroughbred Times says Lauren Barn under investigational hold order

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:

-Congratulations to SunTrust Athlete of the Morning Amelia Thomas; whose 13 kills lead Towson High’s volleyball team to a straight sets win over Damascus in the 3A semifinals yesterday in College Park. They’ll play Centennial Monday for the state title.

-If Peter Angelos had anything to do with the uniform changes; it really doesn’t do anything for me.

-Derrick Mason NEEDS to play Sunday. I believe he’ll be ready to go.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 11 TEs

Posted on 13 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The big news this week when it comes to tight ends is that on the back of one decent performance, Todd Heap has finally broken into the power rankings. He’ll have a tough time staying there though after a match up with a tough Giants defense on Sunday. Derek Fine still remains an interesting proposition, after being blanked last week. Since it’s pretty much hit or miss when it comes to tight ends outside of the top 5 from week to week, Fine could still be an intriguing start for this week, in a favorable match up.

 

Remember that we’re listing 3 separate areas of evaluation in each Positional Power Rankings blog. The power rankings, listed first, are a year to date assessment of the top 20 at each position. Under those, are listings advising who should be a little bit better or worse than usual, based on their match up this week. And finally, at the bottom of each blog is the formulary start rankings, which is gotten using the “Secret Fantasy Flavor Formula”. It’s two parts year to date performance, one part opponents’ defensive performance, with adjustments for injuries, anomalies, and playing time changes.

 

Remember, none of this is gospel. If it were that easy, it wouldn’t be fun to play the games. With that said, we’re very proud of our track record so far, and suggest that you use these and as many other resources as you can find, in order to formulate your own opinions. After all, it’s you who has to live with your lineup decisions

 

Week 11 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings

 

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10

 

Remember that the power rankings listed here are a reflection of year to date performance only, and not an inducement of who to start this week. Check the list at the bottom of the column for this week’s start rankings.

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Tony Gonzalez (4) – KC – 544 yds 5 TD

 

2. Antonio Gates (2) – SD – 469 yds 6 TD

 

3. Dallas Clark (5) – IND – 415 yds 3 TD

 

4. Jason Witten (1) – DAL – 549 yds 2 TD

 

5. Kellen Winslow Jr. (11) – CLE – 362 yds 3 TD

 

6. Tony Scheffler (6) – DEN – 351 yds 2 TD

 

7. Owen Daniels (3) – HOU – 541 yds 2 TD

 

8. Kevin Boss (10) – NYG – 217 yds 4 TD

 

9. Chris Cooley (8) – WAS – 529 yds 1 TD

 

10. Anthony Fasano (10) – MIA – 305 yds 3 TD

 

11. Bo Scaife (16) – TEN – 422 yds 2 TD

 

12. Dustin Keller (NR) – NYJ – 254 yds 3 TD

 

13. Billy Miller (NR) – NO – 388 yds 0 TD

 

14. Visanthe Schiancoe (9) – MIN – 252 yds 4 TD

 

15. Mercedes Lewis (15) – JAX – 287 yds 2 TD

 

16. John Carlson (12) – SEA – 298 yds 2 TD

 

17. Zach Miller (13) – OAK – 363 yds 1 TD

 

18. Greg Olsen (14) – CHI – 346 yds 2 TD

 

19. Alex Smith (17) – TB – 228 yds 3 TD

 

20. Todd Heap (NR) – BAL – 195 yds 2 TD

 

Dropped from Rankings: LJ Smith – PHI; Jerramy Stevens – TB; David Martin – MIA

 

TEs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 11: Dallas Clark vs. HOU; Tony Scheffler @ ATL; Dante Rosario vs. DET; Mercedes Lewis vs. TEN; Bo Scaife @ JAX; Anthony Fasano vs. OAK

 

TEs Who Could Be Sleepers Based on Week 11 Match Ups: Matt Spaeth vs. SD; Justin Peele vs. DEN; Ben Watson vs. NYJ; Reggie Kelly & Ben Utecht vs. PHI; David Martin vs. OAK

 

TEs With Tough Week 11 Match Ups: Jason Witten @ WAS; Kellen Winslow Jr. @ BUF; Zach Miller @ MIA; Todd Heap @ NYG; Visanthe Schiancoe @ TB; Chris Cooley vs. DAL; LJ Smith @ CIN; Kevin Boss vs. BAL; Owen Daniels @ IND

 

TEs You Might Want to Avoid in Week 11: Joe Klopfstein @ SF; Brent Celek @ CIN

 

And here are the week 11 Fantasy TE start rankings; it’s the top 40 projected tight ends in the order that you should consider them this week. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for the game tonight, so keep checking back.

 

1. Dallas Clark (12)

2. Tony Gonzalez (19)

3. Tony Scheffler (19)

4. Antonio Gates (23)

5. Anthony Fasano (30)

6. Bo Scaife (31)

7. Derek Fine (34)

8. Owen Daniels (37)

9. Kellen Winslow Jr. (38)

10. Mercedes Lewis (38)

11. Kevin Boss (40)

12. Jason Witten (41)

13. Daniel Graham (43)

14. Chris Cooley (44)

15. Dustin Keller (45)

16. Billy Miller (46)

17. John Carlson (46)

18.  Greg Olsen (51)

19. Alex Smith (51)

20. Jerramy Stevens (57)

21. Visanthe Schiancoe (59)

22. Tom Santi (60)

23. Zach Miller (63)

24. David Martin (66)

25. Brent Celek (69) *bump him 5 to 7 spots if LJ Smith can’t go

26. Martellus Bennett (69) * bump him 3 to 5 spots if Jason Witten can’t go

27. Todd Heap (70) *bump him 8 to 10 spots if Derrick Mason can’t go

28. Vernon Davis (73)

29. LJ Smith (74) *switch him with Celek if he’s probable or better

30. Jerrame Tuman (75)

31. Justin Peele (76)

32. Dante Rosario (77)

33. Robert Royal (78)

34. Alge Crumpler (79)

35. Donald Lee (80)

36. Matt Spaeth (81)

37. Jeremy Shockey (86)

38. Desmond Clark (89)

39. John Gilmore (89)

40. Steve Heiden (92)

 

Use the links at the bottom of the page for all of the rest of this week’s rankings. As always, keep an eye on the injury report and make adjustments accordingly, or call in to the show on Saturday from 4-7. And most importantly, good luck this week.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 11 Fantasy QB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy RB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy WR Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy D/ST Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy K Rankings and Previews

 

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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 11 November 2008 by Glenn Clark

Your Tuesday Top 7……7-Steven Hauschka

If he can regularly deliver 50+ yard field goals; then the Ravens have another new element to their exciting offense. And the kickoffs are a weapon too.

6-Todd Heap

Not only did he have 5 catches for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns, but he also had one of his best blocking games of the year.

5-Terrell Suggs

It figures he would be having an impact season with a payday looming….

4-Joe Flacco

He can’t put passes where his receivers can get hurt; and he needs to learn how to take a sack. But his performances have been pretty special.

3-Ray Lewis

He controls the pace of the defense, and the pace of game play on the field. The stiff arm was a joy to watch as well.

2-Willis McGahee

McGahee is the difference for this team offensively. He is the only home run hitter on the field; and can control the pace offensively the way Ray can defensively.

1-Haloti Ngata

The guy ABSOLUTELY looked like the most dominant player on the field Sunday. It is a pleasure to watch him play. The INT; the hits on Rosenfels that caused INT’s, the blocking at the goal line…..it was all there.

Let’s see what everyone else has to say….

Best of Monday’s WNST Blogs:

Drew Forrester

thinks McGahee top Raven vs. Texans

Drew Forrester not a fan of new Orioles hats

Casey Willett says Harbaugh praises Coaches H. Jackson, Montgomery

Thyrl Nelson has Ravens 8th in power rankings

Nestor Aparicio wants more than just “Baltimore” from Orioles

Alex Thomas gives game ball to Ngata

Ken Zalis thinks Ravens 5th best team in NFL

RAVENS:The Official Site

 

says Harbaugh thought win ‘team victory’

The Official Site’s Scott Garceau says offense finally catching up to defense

The Official Site says Ravens made ‘numerous’ mistakes

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens averaging NFL high 33.5 points per game over last four weeks

Giants Official Site’s Michael Eisen says team knows Ravens ‘great challenge’ Sunday

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says offense has ‘tough tests’ in upcoming games

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens can start using ‘P’ word

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Ravens keeping both Stover, Hauschka

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Harbaugh ‘hopeful’ Mason will play SundayThe AP

says former Ravens WR Hunter sentenced to six months in prison

The Sun’s Edward Lee says Harbaugh expects W. Anderson to ‘fight like crazy’ to play Sunday

The Sun’s Mike Preston says McAlister wanted to push surgery, doctors told him playing would ‘jeopardize career’

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Heap ‘never complained’ about not getting ball

The Sun’s Mike Preston says Ravens should continue using all RB’s

The Examiner’s Dave Carey gives highest praise to D-Line, LB’s

The Examiner’s Ron Snyder says players more ‘positive’ about Ravens’ direction

The Examiner’s Phil Macek says Ravens looking at ‘huge game’ with Giants

The Examiner’s Steve DeClue gives highest praise to D-Line, LB’s

Aaron Wilson says Ravens have ‘sprinted’ from Colts loss

Aaron Wilson says ‘too early’ for Harbaugh to determine Mason’s status for Sunday

The AP says things have changed dramatically for Ravens over last month

New York Post’s Paul Schwartz says Giants formidable run game faces Ravens’ formidable run D

New York Daily News’ Gary Myers says this Giants team could be better than ’86 Giants

Newark Star-Ledger’s Frank Della Femina says some in New York talking ‘repeat’

Newark Star-Ledger’s Jenny Vrentas says Giants can’t afford to keep fumbling

ESPN.com Page 2’s DJ Gallo says McGahee’s bye week frustrations misguided

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Clayton’s play good sign if Mason can’t go Sunday

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens ‘very well-conditioned football team’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says ‘settling’ QB position has made Ravens playoff contender

ESPN.com’s James Walker says 52, McGahee ‘hot’

CBS Sports’ Pete Prisco gives Ravens another “A”

Yahoo! Sports’ Michael Silver says Neal compares Flacco to hot high school sophomore

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:The Official Site

 

previews Maryland-Carolina

The Official Site offers complete Maryland-Carolina release (pdf)The Official Site

says Terps will play Florida State on ESPN

North Carolina Official Site says Heels will be without TE Pianalto Saturday

The Sun’s Matt Bracken says Porzel, O’Brien, Stinebaugh highlight big weekend for commits

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Davis talking up Terps

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps, Heels to kick off at 7:45

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Terps have slumping run defense, Heels have red hot run offense

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says MTSU over Maryland amongst most unlikely outcomes all season

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps will bring 0-3 record at night to Florida State game

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell breaks down Terps, Heels statistically

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps must run ball, stop run to beat Heels

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says tailgaters excited for Florida State at night

Raleigh News & Observer’s Robbi Pickeral says Davis thinking about Terps; not Tennessee job

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says UNC’s Houston getting tips from Va Tech’s Evans

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says defense must improve for Terps

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says Terps don’t have defense, offensive playmakers to match Noles, Hokies

SI’s Stewart Mandel has Terps headed to Boise

Terrapin Times’ Mark Clem says Kerr ‘looking forward’ to hitting campus in January (must subscribe)TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Don Markus

wonders how Vasquez will respond to benching

The Diamondback’s Mark Selig says Milbourne embracing captain role

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Neal featured prominently on media guide

ESPN.com Page 2’s Paul Lukas says new Under Armour jerseys ‘flashier’, not ‘better’

CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish thinks Terps on ‘bubble’

Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter says ’10 prospect Regan visiting this weekend (must subscribe)Terrapin Times’ Dan Painter

recaps New Jersey event (must subscribe)NAVY FOOTBALL:

The Official Site

previews Navy-Notre Dame

The Official Site offers complete Navy-Notre Dame release (pdf)The Official Site’s Bob Socci

says Bryant ‘tough as nails’

The Sun’s Don Markus says Weis will have ‘active’ role in Notre Dame offense

The Examiner’s Tom Flynn remembers when Navy, Notre Dame battled in Ireland

Annapolis Capital’s Bill Wagner says Dobbs tends to struggle in practice

Fox Sports’ Jason Whitlock says ‘there are rumors’ Weis will be fired if Irish lose to Mids

NAVY BASKETBALL:The Official Site

 

previews hoops season

TOWSON FOOTBALL:The Official Site

 

previews Towson-Villanova

MORGAN FOOTBALL:The Examiner’s Dave Carey

 

says Bears must win out to have any shot at MEAC title

UMBC BASKETBALL:The Official Site

 

says Coach Monroe to host show today

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens has UMBC, Morgan, Mt. St. Mary’s IN; Terps OUT

COPPIN BASKETBALL:The Sun

 

says Eagles building around MEAC star McKee

MT. ST. MARY’S BASKETBALL:The Sun’s Mike Klingaman

 

says Coach Brown trying to keep Eers ‘humble’ after Tourney run

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Atupems playing together for Eers

Frederick News-Post’s Stan Goldberg says Eers bring back 7 of top 8 scorers

HOPKINS BASKETBALL:The Sun

 

says Jays should continue good ‘trends’ from last season

ORIOLES:The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr.

 

says Matusz collecting strikeouts, giving up runs in Arizona

The Sun’s Dan Connolly says Matusz, Tillman get some love in Baseball America

The Examiner’s Jay Trucker says Palmer, Markakis, Guthrie, Sherrill will attend rally

MARINERS:The Official Site

 

says team hosting another tryout this weekend

BALTIMORE COLTS:Newsday’s Neil Best

 

says Gifford wondered whether last year’s Super Bowl ‘greater’ than ‘Greatest Game Ever Played’

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:-Congratulations to Suntrust Athlete of the Morning John Jenkins; who had the game winner for Lutheran in their 2-1 victory of Chapelgate in the C Conference title game. Congratulations also to Amy Chotikul and Christie Brown; who were both starters for the Boys’ team at Lutheran.

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

 

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Monday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Glenn Clark

It was a great win. It was a fun win. It was good to see Todd Heap step up, especially with Mason getting hurt. Haloti Ngata continues to amaze.Once again, we’ll play it week by week. If the Ravens beat or even hang close with the Giants next Sunday; they’re an AFC Championship contender. If they get blown out; they’re still a playoff contender.

But let’s take it week by week. And let’s get Joe Flacco to work on taking sacks. And not throwing the ball where his best receiver can get hurt!

Let’s see what everyone else has to say……..

Best of Sunday’s WNST Blogs:

Nestor Aparicio

says Ravens ‘for real’

Casey Willett says Ravens face ‘huge test’ vs. Giants next week

Bob Haynie says 6-3 ‘ain’t a bad place to be’

Drew Forrester says Ravens can think they’re good enough to go to the Super Bowl

Drew Forrester doesn’t think anyone could have been worse than Rosenfels

Glenn Clark says Ryan keeping Flacco out of Rookie of the Year picture

RAVENS:The Official Site’s Mike Duffy

 

says Flacco throws for 2 TD’s in win

The Official Site’s Mike Duffy says Ravens come up with four picks to get 41-13The Official Site’s Kristen Deahl

says Ngata was ‘all over field’ for Ravens in win

Texans Official Site’s Brooke Bentley says Rosenfels accepts blame for 2nd half mistakes

Texans Official Site says Kubiak thought team ‘self destructed’

Texans Official Site’s Nick Schenck says Ravens scored 16 points off giveaways

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Flacco more ‘clutch’ than ‘rookie’ in win

The Sun’s Rick Maese says even keel locker room ‘refreshing’ after big win

The Sun’s David Steele says healthy McGahee gets 112 yards, 2 TD’s in win

The Sun’s David Steele gives highest praise to Flacco, LB’s

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley says Ravens have scored at least 27 in 4 straight games for first time in franchise history

The Sun’s Rick Maese says Heap finally gets involved with 5 catches, 58 yards, and 2 TD’s

The Sun’s Peter Schmuck says Ravens put together ‘most complete performance of year’

The Sun’s Jamison Hensley and David Steele say Ngata had ‘best overall game’ of any player on team

The AP says 52 collects 2 picks in win

Aaron Wilson says Ravens ‘brutal’, ‘relentless’, ‘physically dominant’, ‘instinctive’, ‘merciless’ in win

Aaron Wilson says Heap thought scoring first TD of season ‘great feeling’

Aaron Wilson says Mason returned from dislocated shoulder in 2nd half to catch 3 passes, 43 yards, 2 point conversion

Aaron Wilson gives QB’s, D-Line highest praise

Houston Chronicle’s Richard Justice says Kubiak critical of DC Smith after game

Houston Chronicle’s John McClain says Texans look ‘pathetic’ enough to finish 3-13

Houston Chronicle’s Dale Robertson says Rosenfels’ run at starter ‘couldn’t have got off to worse start’Houston Chronicle’s Megan Manfull

says defense accepts “flak” for Flacco performance

Houston Chronicle’s Megan Manfull and Dale Robertson say Suggs thinks Ravens kept Texans’ ‘heads under water’

ESPN.com’s John Clayton says Flacco ‘ahead of schedule’

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens would be amongst hottest AFC teams if not for Titans

ESPN.com’s James Walker says Ravens ‘proving to be legitimate threat’ in AFC

SI’s Peter King ‘can’t tell difference’ in 52 from age 28 to age 33

CBS Sports’ Clark Judge says Flacco extends no INT streak to 4 games

TERRAPINS FOOTBALL:The Sun’s Jeff Barker

 

says Terps out of first place, out of Top 25

The Sun’s Jeff Barker says Ralph relieved to play next two at home

The Diamondback’s Eric Detweiler says despite falling out of first; Terps still control destiny

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Terps have toughest schedule of teams fighting for division title

Washington Post’s Eric Prisbell says Ralph blames O-Line, Scott’s injury for rushing struggles Thursday night

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Terps 3-3 all-time at home vs. ranked Carolina teams

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says C. Jackson could be ‘most irreplaceable’ Terp

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says ‘confusion’ caused Terps to call timeout before 3rd and 18 at end of first half

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says Scott, C. Jackson ‘no worse for wear’ injury-wise

Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens says only one writer still voting for Terps

ESPN.com’s Mark Schlabach says Terps Charlotte-bound, Bruce Feldman thinks Terps headed to BoiseESPN.com’s Heather Dinich

drops Terps to 9th in power rankings

ESPN.com’s Heather Dinich says inconsistency not only problem for Terps

Terrapin Times’ Keith Cavanaugh says Terps get better injury news than thought after loss (must subscribe)TERRAPINS BASKETBALL:

The Sun’s Don Markus

says Dupree, Burney will ‘have to grow up fast’

The Sun’s Don Markus picks Terps 9th in ACC

The Diamondback’s Mark Selig says Terps want to be better vs. ‘lesser’ teams

The Diamondback’s Greg Schimmel not hailing Kim as ‘savior’ yet

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Gary thinks half of ACC deserves Tourney bid

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Mosley will return to practice today

Washington Post’s Steve Yanda says Gary thinks Milbourne becoming ‘leader’

TERRAPINS WOMEN’S BASKETBALL:The Diamondback’s Adi Joseph

 

says Liles has double double in exhibition win

Washington Times’ Mike Fratto says Terps must ‘replace stars’

NAVY FOOTBALL:Washington Times’ Patrick Stevens

 

says Mids likely to play BC or Virginia in EagleBank Bowl

ORIOLES:The Official Site’s Spencer Fordin

 

says Birds looking for ‘new identity’ in offseason

SWIMMING:The Examiner’s Jon Gallo

 

says Bowman, Phelps want to make Meadowbrook ‘world class facility’

SOME QUICK THOUGHTS:-Congratulations to SunTrust Athlete of the Morning Tony Johnson…..the Fallston RB who had 5 TD’s in the Cougars’ 35-14 victory over Rising Sun. Congratulations to our other nominees as well; including Poly RB John Marcus (2 TD’s in the 2nd half as Poly rallied from down 13-0 to beat City 16-13); Fallston Senior Derek Hyde (game winner as Fallston beat La Plata 1-0 in the state semifinals); his cousin Marissa Hyde (6 saves as Fallston’s girls’ team advanced to the state finals as well); and the VERY deserving Zack Kane (12th clean sheet of season as Perry Hall beat Magruder to advance to state finals).

Talk to you tomorrow.

-G

 

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Joe Can Do

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

It’s hard not to get caught up in this. For weeks I’ve been talking about the possibility of the Ravens ripping off four straight wins like they just have, and the potential for the schedule to pull the rug back out from under them just as quickly. For weeks I’ve been cautioning myself to not get too caught up in the euphoria of the Ravens and in particular their young franchise QB having success against the NFL’s lower echelon. And all along, I’ve been thinking that this is still an 8-win team at best, and simply not playoff bound, and there are still plenty of reasons to feel that way. But somewhere along the way, “Joe Can Do” and the new look Ravens offense has got me caught up in the very excitement I had set out to avoid.

 

Let’s face it, as Ravens fans we’ve been privileged to have seen a lot of spectacular things in the team’s very short history, but 134 points in 4 games can certainly have a mesmerizing effect on a team that’s been known for living on their defense, and still strikes fear in opponents first and foremost on that side of the ball. In fact, 134 points in 4 games is unprecedented in Ravens history. It’s never happened before. They were closest in 1996, with 130 over a 4 game stretch, from a team that we remember as dynamic offensively. They came close in 1999 and in 2000 too believe it or not, and again in 2003 behind Anthony Wright, but never quite 134.

 

Clearly this is where the price of poker goes up. The Dolphins, Browns, Raiders and Texans are ranked 11th, 16th, 21st and 30th respectively in scoring defense, in part due to the points that the Ravens put up on them, but also in part because they are simply mediocre to bad defenses. Upcoming, the Ravens will have to deal with a lot more upper echelon defenses, but on the bright side they likely won’t need 33 points per game to win.

 

There are still a number of reasons to be concerned. The Ravens’ all world run defense will likely force teams to go more pass heavy against them, and recently the team has shown that they’ll make you pay on the underneath stuff too. Sooner or later, teams will just sell out to attack the Ravens deep, and just do enough of the other stuff to keep them honest. The deep ball still looks to be a weakness for the team, and forcing teams to do it more often could force the defense to make adjustments, and put pressure on the offense to score more. 

 

Flacco has been getting the job done, largely despite the lack of a playmaker in his receiving corps, and depending on the prognosis on Derrick Mason, he may have to go forward without his best possession receiver for the foreseeable future. There are still big questions to be answered in the kicking game as Matt Stover is a risky proposition outside of 40 yards, and we’ve yet to see if Steven Hauschka has the accuracy to make it as an NFL kicker.

 

Ed Reed has been largely missing in action so far this season, which is understandable if the Ravens are using him differently because of his injuries, but if that’s the case, it’s really puzzling why they’d risk him on a punt return last week, especially when Jim Leonhard had been doing so well returning kicks.

 

And rookie coach John Harbaugh has taken a number of questionable timeouts, which haven’t been costly yet, but still have to be reason for concern. And I have no idea what is going on with the team’s red flag review process, but clearly that system needs a complete overhaul.

 

Still, the Ravens are a work in progress. That’s usually the ideal place for championship teams to be at this time of the season. We all know where the 2000 Ravens were at this point in their season, and although these are clearly not the 2000 Ravens, look where the Giants were at this time last season too. Even going into the playoffs, few outside of their own diehard fans, thought the Giants would have the juice to go all the way. The Colts in ’06 and Steelers in ’05 both had a number of stumbles down the stretch and were widely being overlooked at playoff time. As I said, despite all of the reasons to be cautious, it’s just tough to not get ahead of yourself with this team.

 

They do seem to be answering a new question and showing a new wrinkle every week. Bringing in a kickoff specialist and using him for a 54 yard field goal is evidence of that. Todd Heap has been slowly finding his way back into the offense in recent weeks and broke out in a big way on Sunday, and just in the nick of time too with Mason going down.

 

Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata are dominating the line of scrimmage, and have combined for more interceptions than any 2 active members of the secondary. And in the last two weeks, the Ravens have gotten away from the cute and tricky offensive plays that they’d used primarily to score in the earlier games, and showed that they can simply impose their will in a traditional straight ahead offensive scheme too.

 

I’m trying not to let my expectations get the best of me. There’s too much stacked against this team for it to be their year. Injuries, age in some cases, inexperience in others, the most difficult schedule they’ve probably ever had to deal with, and mostly the same old personnel on offense. There are too many glaring deficiencies, the young and banged up offensive line, the fact that Chris McAllister still leads the team in interceptions despite not playing in nearly half of the games. The fact that Suggs, Ngata, and Ray Lewis all have more interceptions than Reed, and Justin Bannan is tied with him.

 

There’s also the fact that Suggs still has scored more points than Todd Heap, who has been healthy all season so far. And now it looks like the team’s leading active receivers now have just 20 catches on the year too. And perhaps most of all there is the entire NFC East, Pittsburgh, Jacksonville and Cincinnati still standing between the Ravens and the playoffs.

 

Still though, even the most cynical among us have to be excited about the future of this club, and particularly this offense. Even the biggest of doubters would have to concede that with 4 home games left, the Ravens, always dangerous at M&T could have some fight left in them. The NFC East is looking more and more vulnerable with each passing week, and we all know what can happen when this defense gets on a roll.

 

If I had to pick today, I’d still put my guess at 9 wins, but a lot can certainly happen between now and the end of the season. The Ravens have at least proven that they have enough offense to meet the defense almost halfway, which is much closer than they’ve been in a long time. And the cold weather, which tends to favor a team that can run the ball and play defense is right around the corner.

 

The odds of a playoff berth still look slim to me, and the odds of a home playoff game look even longer. But it looks like an absolute certainty that this team will be playing meaningful football games well into December, which is more than most of us would have expected at the beginning of the 2008 campaign. And I’m guessing that playoff ticket orders will be out in the mail before long. And I’ll be laying out the money for them and hoping for the best. Maybe, just maybe, Joe Can Do.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

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Just how good are the Ravens?

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s not time to start printing playoff tickets just yet but if there’s any message that the Ravens sent to not only the Houston Texans but the NFL in general yesterday, it’s that this team is suddenly “for real.”

Any team that can go on the road and paste a team 41-13 in November to go to 6-3 must be taken seriously as a January threat.

Sure, it’s easy to say this: “Who have the Ravens beaten this year that matters?”

The answer: Cleveland twice, Oakland, Cincinnati, Miami and now Houston – combined record of 13-29.

Fair enough.

But the next seven weeks will work all of that out.

Are the Ravens a mediocre team that has bested a homely lot or an emerging playoff team waiting to break out and start beating some quality opponents?

There is one thing we know for sure.

With a date at the Meadowlands pending – and yes, we still have a handful of seats left on our “Miller Lite Purple Bus” to the swamps of Jersey this Sunday – the Ravens now control their own destiny in this chase for playoff football and a potential AFC North division crown.

It’s down to the Ravens and the Steelers in the AFC North and as tough as the purple schedule looks during the upcoming holiday season, it’s not any easier for yins’ donton either.

The Ravens have played nine games and have laid just one egg. They could easily be 8-1 with a little luck and some fourth quarter defense in the losses against Tennessee and Pittsburgh.

But I’m delighted with 6-3 and an emerging offense, stingy defense and the veteran play of Ray Lewis, Trevor Pryce and company leading the way for John Harbaugh’s troops. Yes, it’s been a VERY good year thus far, especially given the team’s modest expectations to be a .500 outfit.

There’s no crystal ball and no telling how the team will fare when the likes of the NFC East comes calling. But all of a sudden the upcoming matchups against Jacksonville and Pittsburgh at home don’t look so lopsided and quarterback Joe Flacco has looked less like a rookie than a veteran game manager and occasional long ball tosser who, combined with an effective three-headed backfield of Willis McGahee, Ray Rice and Le’Ron McClain, looks to be a factor in this run for January football.

It’s officially “Festivus” season in Baltimore.

Break out the purple lights.

Break out the expectations of fun on Sundays.

And by all means, enjoy this rarest of seasons – a November and holiday full of cheer, potential and hope for a playoff berth.

The good news came in waves yesterday.

The most significant developments happened on the offensive side of the ball, where Derrick Mason went down with a separated shoulder and Todd Heap got off the milk carton of the purple offense.

No doubt that No. 86 has heard the whispers of his pending demise and answered yesterday with his best game of the season.

Meanwhile, Ray Lewis turned in an effort with the impact he formerly had as a much younger man. Two interceptions, running sideline to sideline to once again hold an opposing offense’s star running back to less than 100 yards of rushing.

That makes 29 in a row, if my count is right.

Haloti Ngata’s interception at the goal line sparked a defensive effort that was classic Ravens defense but his contributions on every play should be earning him a grass skirt en route to Honolulu in early February. You’d be hard-pressed to find me a defensive tackle who is playing the game at a higher level right now as the defense continues to break the will of opposing running backs and frustrate and chase quarterbacks each Sunday.

Next up: the World Champion New York Giants.

They had their hands full with Philadelphia last night.

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Road game at Houston “Ngata” problem…

Posted on 09 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

Texans’ QB Sage Rosenfels threw high and wide enough on Sunday afternoon to easily qualify for a spot in the Orioles starting rotation.  

At one point in the 4th quarter, I assumed Houston would go with Matt Schaub…crutches and all.

I doubt he could have been worse than Rosenfels.

Baltimore’s playoff drive shifted into high gear on Sunday with a 41-13 whipping of the Houston Texans, boosted by an efficient offense, a 2-TD day from Todd Heap and a relentless defensive line that stopped the run, intercepted a pass and made life miserable for the Texans offense.

It got so out of hand late in the game that the Ravens decided to run up the score by letting Troy Smith throw a touchdown pass.

Now…the fun and games are over.

Next week, the Ravens go back to playing Division I teams when they travel to the Meadowlands to take on the defending Super Bowl Champions.

Eli Manning won’t throw four picks next Sunday, you can bet on that.

And the Ravens secondary will have to step up in class next Sunday or today’s score – 41-13 – might be next week’s score…but the other way around.

Lost in today’s laugher was another effective performance from Joe Flacco, who went 15-23 for 185 yards and 2 TD’s.  He hasn’t thrown an interception since week #5 in Indianapolis.  Sage Rosenfels threw two in two series’ today.  Yes, Flacco has come along nicely, I’d say.  And Willis McGahee carried the ball 25 times for 112 yards…a reasonable indication that he’s working himself back to 100%.  Finally, Todd Heap showed his detractors that the ball actually does still stick to his hands as #86 caught 5 passes for 58 yards and a couple of scores.  

It was a good day all around for the Ravens, who have now won four straight games.  

Even when the other team stinks it up like the Texans did, there are always plenty of good things to take from a win.

Flacco seemingly outplays the other team’s QB every week.  Baltimore’s running game is powerful, speedy and very unpredictable.  Don’t look now, but guys like Mark Clayton and Yamon Figurs are actually contributing on the receiving end of things.  Shock of all shocks — Todd Heap’s NOT washed up after all, huh?  (those of you who have been saying that just take your medicine like a man and get another beer…).

These kinds of wins are fun.  You make light of the other team’s quarterback, you giggle at the trick plays and you joke about how we’re now the team with the potent offense and the opponent has the guy behind center who can’t complete a pass to his own team.  

Just remember, starting next Sunday, it’s back to the big leagues for the Ravens.

Next week, we’ll see if the fairy tale continues — or does a trip to the Big Apple put a temporary halt to Baltimore’s playoff push?

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 10 TEs

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Here are the Week 10 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings, and just in time to make sure that you’re armed for tonight’s game. As usual when it comes to tight ends, it’s pretty much hit or miss anyway once you get outside of the top 4 or 5 guys. In addition to the power ranks, we’ve also ranked out the top 40 tight ends for this week in the order that you should consider them.

 

Week 10 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings

 

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9

 

Remember that the power rankings listed here are a reflection of year to date performance only, and not an inducement of who to start this week. Check the list at the bottom of the column for this week’s start rankings.

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Jason Witten (1) – DAL – 549 yds 2 TD

 

2. Antonio Gates (2) – SD – 403 yds 5 TD

 

3. Owen Daniels (4) – HOU – 528 yds 2 TD

 

4. Tony Gonzalez (3) – KC – 431 yds 3 TD

 

5. Dallas Clark (5) – IND – 391 yds 2 TD

 

6. Tony Scheffler (7) – DEN – 259 yds 2 TD

 

7. Anthony Fasano (6) – MIA – 288 yds 3 TD

 

8. Chris Cooley (8) – WAS – 529 yds 1 TD

 

9. Visanthe Schiancoe (10) – MIN – 248 yds 4 TD

 

10. Kevin Boss (17) – NYG – 148 yds 3 TD

 

11. Kellen Winslow Jr. (15) – CLE – 251 yds 1 TD

 

12. John Carlson (12) – SEA – 244 yds 2 TD

 

13. Zach Miller (9) – OAK – 321 yds 1 TD

 

14. Greg Olsen (11) – CHI – 306 yds 2 TD

 

15. Mercedes Lewis (16) – JAX – 223 yds 2 TD

 

16. Bo Scaife (13) – TEN – 344 yds 1 TD

 

17. Alex Smith (19) – TB – 228 yds 3 TD

 

18. LJ Smith (18) – PHI – 106 yds 2 TD

 

19. Jerramy Stevens (20) – TB – 154 yds 1 TD

 

20. David Martin (NR) – MIA – 253 yds 1 TD

 

Dropped from Rankings: Billy Miller – NO

 

TEs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 10: Tony Gonzalez @ SD; Mercedes Lewis @ DET; Kellen Winslow Jr. vs. DEN; Jeremy Shockey @ ATL; Visanthe Schiancoe vs. GB; Greg Olsen vs. TEN; Donald Lee @ MIN

 

TEs Who Could Be Sleepers Based on Week 10 Match Ups: Dante Rosario @ OAK; Michael Gaines vs. JAX; Justin Peele vs. NO

 

TEs With Tough Week 10 Match Ups: John Carlson @ MIA; LJ Smith vs. NYG; Antonio Gates vs. KC; Dustin Keller vs. ST.L; Bo Scaife @ CHI

 

TEs You Might Want to Avoid in Week 10: Benjamin Watson vs. BUF; Tony Scheffler @ CLE; Ben Patrick vs. SF

 

And here are the week 10 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s this week’s top 75 wide receivers in the order that you should consider them. They were gotten using the Fantasy Flavor secret formula, and have their formulary numbers in parentheses, the lower the better. We’ll get all of the positional rankings out to you in time for tonight’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Tony Gonzalez (7)

2. Kevin Boss (19)

3. Owen Daniels (21)

4. Visanthe Schiancoe (22)

5. Antonio Gates (25)

6. Dallas Clark (26)

7. Derek Fine (26)

8. Anthony Fasano (28)

9. Kellen Winslow Jr. (30)

10. Mercedes Lewis (32)

11. Greg Olsen (35)

12. Billy Miller (35)

13. Zach Miller (39)

14. Tony Scheffler (41)

15. Jeremy Shockey (45)

16. Dante Rosario (48)

17. Bo Scaife (51)

18. David Martin (52)

19. John Carlson (53)

20. Steve Heiden (57)

21. Donald Lee (58)

22. LJ Smith (60)

23. Heath Miller (23)

24. Mark Campbell (61)

25. Michael Gaines (63)

26. Rober Royal (64)

27. Dustin Keller (66)

28. Jerrame Tuman (70)

29. Desmond Clark (71)

30. Daniel Graham (72)

31. Brent Celek (74)

32. Brad Cottam (75)

33. Justin Peele (76)

34. Tory Humphrey (76)

35. Alge Crumpler (77)

36. Vernon Davis (78)

37. Todd Heap (81)

38. Tom Santi (83)

39. Casey Fitzsimmons (87)

40. Delanie Walker (88)

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 10 QB Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 RB Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 WR Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 D/ST Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 K Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

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