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Caps Waste Holtby’s Strong 60 Minutes

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Caps Waste Holtby’s Strong 60 Minutes

Posted on 12 April 2012 by Ed Frankovic

Washington Capitals rookie goaltender Braden Holtby did everything right for 60 minutes in his NHL playoff debut. He played outstanding in the game’s first five minutes when the Boston Bruins were all over the Caps and he was the team’s best penalty killer during a six minute stretch of B’s power play time that started late in the opening frame and carried into period two. He stopped all 29 shots he faced in regulation and his puck moving ability helped his defense out all night.

Unfortunately for #70, overtime was not kind to him and Chris Kelly scored the game winning goal, and only tally for either club in this one, for the Bruins just 1:18 into the extra frame. It was a shot Holtby will likley want back, although it seemed that an out of position Dennis Wideman may have altered the shot’s trajectory with his stick. However, if not for Holtby this game isn’t tied going into the final frame.

There are lots of players to finger for the lack of scoring, but you have to start at the top. Alexander Ovechkin had seven hits, but when the Gr8 only gets one shot on net, the Capitals are simply not going to win very often. Ovechkin has to be better at getting pucks to the net. Shortly before Kelly scored the winner, Ovie had a chance coming down the left wing but instead of powerfully going to the cage and perhaps jamming one home he tried a fancy, through the legs type of move that led to a turnover. You are not going to win in the post season trying Harlem Globetrotters style plays and the Gr8 needs to realize that or this series will end quick, like many have predicted.

On the positive side of things, the Caps penalty killing was very good (Boston was 0 for 4) and the third period might be something Washington can build off of. The Capitals dominated that frame, had some traffic in front of Tim Thomas (17 saves), but didn’t have the hands around the cage to put a rebound by him. It was a super 20 minutes and the Caps did a lot of nice things.

At the end of the night, though, the Capitals needed more of the way they played in period three. Instead, they took some bad penalties, most notably Jay Beagle’s unnecessary four minute high sticking penalty (#83 hit David Krejci in the face), and when that happens your skill players have to sit while the grinders are forced to kill off the infraction. That leads to a lack of flow and Boston carried the play in period two as a result.

Overall Holtby did what his club asked him to do but the Capitals wasted a great goaltending effort. It was a performance in net that the Caps needed to capitalize on and they failed. Bottom line, when you get an effort like that in the cage, a team needs to find a way to steal a win. It will be interesting to see if #70 builds off of this or if he has a let down after such a fine outing.

So now Washington has the task of trying to win game two on Saturday in Beantown at 3pm (NBC). It isn’t a must win game, but a 2-0 hole against the defending champions would be difficult to climb out of, that is for sure. Ovechkin and company need to bring it on Saturday, employing the things that they did correctly in period three of game one, because if they don’t, and play more like the middle frame, this series will end rather quickly.

Notes:  Joel Ward was a presence in his limited time (9:21) and he actually had two shots on goal. #42 was a force on the boards and if he continues to play that way he’ll see more ice time…another place to put blame rests with the Caps power play. It managed just two shots in four minutes of advantage time. Washington had trouble getting in the zone and setting up. If they can get some goals on the power play then they have a good chance of winning the games and the series. The way it performed tonight, it is hard to expect that, though…the Caps won 32 of 65 draws (49%).

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Monday Bloody Monday: Ravens set to part ways with Heap, Mason, Gregg and McGahee

Posted on 25 July 2011 by WNST Staff

The action came fast and furious and with shocking force on Monday afternoon as the Ravens — via many sources, agents, players and media — are set to part ways with a bevy of big-name stars as the 2011 free agent period comes like a tsunami. Veterans Todd Heap, Derrick Mason, Kelly Gregg and Willis McGahee were all informed of the termination of their contracts almost immediately following the NFLPA ratification of the new collective bargaining agreement.

Several sources inside Owings Mills said that Heap and Mason will be offered a chance to return to the team at a lower salary. Gregg could also be offered a reduced role and a lower salary. Many other teams around the NFL are expected to release veterans in an attempt to lower their 2011 salaries and free up cap space.

It promises to be an unprecedented week of news, information and free agent signings.

For full, unfolding coverage you can always follow us in real time on Twitter @WNST.

WNST will have full coverage of all of the information and pending changes in Owings Mills all day Tuesday at WNST.net and AM 1570.

Ravens players are expected to start appearing the Owings Mills headquarters as early as 10 a.m. on Tuesday.

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First aid & Band aids don’t aid Ravens’ Festivus run

Posted on 30 November 2009 by Nestor Aparicio

As a card-carrying, eternal purple optimist, I suppose today is a day when my lavender heart gets tarnished. I’m going to do the unthinkable and be rational in my observation of where the Ravens are and where they could be heading between now and Jan. 3 in Oakland.

After seeing how this works over the last decade, since the Ravens really became a competitive squad in 1999, I think the NFL really boils to one thing – talent not withstanding – it’s injuries.

And this is why I think the Ravens are doomed this year, why they aren’t a good bet to make it through this minefield of games against the mostly lousy NFC North:

The most injured team in December loses. The healthiest team – with talent and key positions in tact – in January wins.

Right now, after watching them the past few weeks and after walking into the Ravens locker room last night, my veteran sportswriter eyeball test tells me that any purple Festivus miracle this year is a major, major uphill battle.

Part of why the team stinks right now is because they’re battered and bruised and the locker room looks like the walking wounded.

And it’s not just the devastating Terrell Suggs, Brendon Ayanbadejo and Fabian Washington injuries, it’s more about the walking wounded right now who are playing at far less than 90% and giving it all they have but just can’t perform at a Pro Bowl level with a variety of limiting injuries.

Let’s address the gimpy infirmary, not to mention the other aged players like Matt Birk, Trevor Pryce and Derrick Mason on the Ravens:

The three best players on the Ravens – and I’ll take any argument here – are Ray Lewis, Joe Flacco and Haloti Ngata. Right now, they are the “Purple Hearts,” if you will.

Let be honest – the NFL is all about speed. It’s the most significant attribute any player can have and it’s universal. Why do you think they spend so much time on 40-yard dashes at the combine every year? Speed kills. If you don’t have it, you don’t win.

Ray Lewis has a bad foot. Joe Flacco has a bad ankle. Haloti Ngata has a bad leg.

Lewis has shown it less in his gait than Flacco or Ngata (and the naked eye can tell from just watching them take normal walking steps in between plays what’s going on there) but he’s just as bad off from what we can tell and his several days of missing practice last week would tell you all you need to know. Lewis LIVES for practice. He loves it!

Flacco just looks like a mess right now. He’s all heart, but it’s pretty clear he’s gimpy and he got rolled up on again last night. Planting, moving, having a busted play become a big gainer – all of that is questionable on any given play. It also looks like his throws are sailing because of these subtle adjustments he’s making on the fly with monsters trying to tear his head off.

Ngata, another one with a heart the size of his own giant girth, is only playing on select downs and is about as banged up as any guy I’ve seen in my years of doing this who is still going out there on Sundays. Kinda reminds me of the year Peter Boulware played with one arm. Defensive coordinator Greg Mattison is mixing up the units and keeping Kelly Gregg, Justin Bannan and Brendan McKinney fresh, but there’s a major difference between a healthy Ngata and the rest of these guys – especially if you’re talking about 60-70 snaps a game.

This, my friends, is bad for the purple business and the Ravens aren’t going very far for very long with the trio of Lewis, Flacco & Ngata on the hobble.

How long will it take them to heal? Will they heal in the midst of five more games, three more roadtrips and 15 more hours of the physical hell the NFL game wreaks on the framework of these massive bodies?

We’ll see. But I wouldn’t take odds that any of these injuries are going to miraculously heal. They’re nagging, prolonged bouts.

It’s not that I don’t think the Ravens are “good” enough. Properly assembled and with less injured personnel, I’d think they Ravens would be a division winner – and that’s just if they had a kicker who was NFL-caliber the first half of the season.

But right now, at 6-5 with trips still pending to Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Oakland, the road is fraught with more bumps and bruises.

Coach John Harbaugh will downplay all of this. These guys won’t even address their injuries when we ask them on Wednesday’s media day. That’s fine. They shouldn’t talk about it.

But any astute observer would tell you that the Ravens are among the most banged up teams in the league and all at key positions. And banged up teams don’t fare well in the cold having to go on the road. And this is before we address the obvious shortcomings this 6-5 unit has as a whole.

They’re weak on special teams returns and magic. They’ve been previously weak on kicking and the team missed another 54-yarder that could’ve won the game on Sunday night. The offense has been nothing special and the wide receivers have been MIA some weeks. The pass rush has been less than we’ve known it for a decade and don’t get me started on the secondary, which is also playing with spare parts now that Washington is on IR and Frank Walker and Chris Carr continue to get exposed in key situations.

Sure Ray Rice has been explosive. And there have been times, especially early in the year, when the offense looked like it was in sync and could dazzle us with 30 points every week. But that’s not what we’ve seen in large part since September.

If Bill Parcells coined the phrase, “You are what you are!” than the Ravens of 2009 are the embodiment of that expression. They’re 6-5.

I want to believe. I’m going to pick them to win every week. I’m going to travel to Green Bay with a bus full of purple zealots on Sunday and Monday. We’re going to root hard and hope for the best.

But this injury thing, for me, it’s unshakeable. The late-season, winning NFL teams are usually much, much healthier than the Ravens appear to be here on Dec. 1.

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Make Final Preparations for Patriots

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Live From Owings Mills: Ravens Make Final Preparations for Patriots

Posted on 02 October 2009 by Glenn Clark

4:30-Friday Injury Report:

RAVENS:
WR Derrick Mason-QUESTIONABLE-Illness
QB Troy Smith-QUESTIONABLE-Illness
LB Tavares Gooden-QUESTIONABLE-Head
LB Ray Lewis-PROBABLE-Head
LB Jarret Johnson-PROBABLE-Shoulder
LB Antwan Barnes-PROBABLE-Shoulder
DE Trevor Pryce-PROBABLE-Illness
TE Todd Heap-PROBABLE-Back
WR Kelley Washington-PROBABLE-Groin
DT Justin Bannan-PROBABLE-Knee

PATRIOTS:
LB Jerod Mayo-DOUBTFUL-Knee
WR Wes Welker-QUESTIONABLE-Knee
DT Vince Wilfork-QUESTIONABLE-Ankle
OT Nick Kaczur-QUESTIONABLE-Ankle
QB Tom Brady-PROBABLE-Shoulder
RB Laurence Maroney-PROBABLE-Thigh

2:06-Hear from John Harbaugh and my quick interview with Mark Clayton NOW in the Audio Vault at WNST.net

1:53-I cannot BEGIN to describe how loose the Ravens locker room was today. It felt as if the guys had NO IDEA they had a football game scheduled for Sunday. The players were involved with a game of dodgeball (using members of the media as targets), blasting loud music, and even flicked the lights on and off.

When I asked Mark Clayton to describe the atmosphere in a word, he used “chaotic.” I wouldn’t disagree.

The only interesting tidbit to come from John Harbaugh today was his confirmation that “there is a chance” John Beck could be the #2 quarterback on Sunday with Troy Smith having missed practice this week as he battles the flu bug. Troy was at the facility (and in the locker room) today, but wasn’t making much contact with anyone.

12:38-Troy Smith was not present again during the part of practice open to the media (and a credit to John Harbaugh for making sure Friday’s walkthroughs are on the field the farthest away from us), he has missed this week battling what we believe to be the flu bug. Without any practice this week, it is possible that Troy’s status COULD be affected. I wouldn’t be stunned to see him de-activated (listed as the #3 QB) and John Beck activated. This is pure speculation, especially until we see the injury report this afternoon.

11:49-The Ravens practice with VERY loud noise piped in whether they are home or away. Today they are piping in noise so the offense is adjusted for Sunday at Gillette Stadium. Next week, they will pipe in noise so that the defense knows how to communicate in front of the home fans at M&T Bank Stadium.

Quick practice note: Jarrett Johnson and LJ Smith were late arrivals, possibly getting treatment for their various ailments (shoulder and hamstring respectively). Tavares Gooden appeared to be walking with a SLIGHT limp during special teams practice.

10:58-Greetings from 1 Winning Drive, where the Ravens will put in their final day of preparation for their trip to New England Sunday. The only player who was missing from practice yesterday was Troy Smith, who has been battling the flu big that bothered Trevor Pryce and and Jared Gaither most recently. There’s no one else who appears to be of any concern when it comes to their status for Sunday in Foxborough.

The Ravens are clearly taking this flu bug seriously, as they have been bitten by it for weeks now. While players have not missed games, certainly they have missed valuable practice time.

To show you how seriously the Ravens are taking this flu battle, here is what greets you at the door out here at the facility….

g

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Caps News: Veterans Skate and Day 1 of Rookie Camp

Posted on 07 September 2009 by Ed Frankovic

There was quite a bit of activity for the Washington Capitals on Labor Day, the first official day of the 2009-10 season, at Kettler IcePlex in Ballston, Virginia. After the rookies were on the ice in the morning, which we will get to in a couple of paragraphs, 13 veteran skaters, rookie goalie Michal Neuvirth, and the Caps website producer, goalie Brett “Stretch” Leonhardt, took the rink over for some action. The skaters participating were Mike Green, Mike Knuble, Chris Clark, Matt Bradley, Brendan Morrison, Brooks Laich, Boyd Gordon, John Erskine, Shaone Morrisonn, Jeff Schultz, Dave Steckel, Brian Pothier and Jay Beagle.

The players did a number of drills, conducted a half ice scrimmage, and then finished with some skating sprints. Of note was the condition of Green, who appears to be in phenomenal shape. Green struggled down the stretch and into the playoffs last season with an illness and a bum shoulder but he showed no effects of any of that on Monday. #52 participated recently in August in a try out for the Canadian Olympic team, and although he might not make a squad that is predicted to capture the gold medal in Vancouver in February (that is what my sources tell me unless there is an injury or two), the camp clearly helped Green get ready to build on his monster 31 goal, 73 point (in just 68 games) 2008-09 season.

Now to the rookies, who hit the ice today for their opening session of training camp. Caps Coach Bruce Boudreau was eager to get things going and afterwards quickly summed up his mood and the tone for this camp.

“This is exciting, it is day one, but it is what we do, vacation is over…let’s get back to work.”

And work the team he did, putting them through some very tough suicides at the end of practice that apparently had some rookies struggling to finish. Boudreau felt this end of practice session was an opportunity to see where the younger players were conditioning wise.

“I think [the skate today at the end] is a good test, a good barometer. Every coach has some sort of barometer to see who has worked hard this summer and who took it easier than they should have. Most of our guys were really good with it and a couple of the guys who were late additions probably hadn’t skated as much – you could tell those guys from the guys who knew that they were coming to this camp,” said Boudreau.

As I mentioned in yesterday’s blog, this team has a lot of depth and Boudreau was anxious to talk about it and the impact he sees it having on training camp.

“We think we’ve got tremendous depth. We think the Hershey guys that won the [Calder] Cup last year are going to push these guys really hard. They’ve won the Cup and now they want to make the next step, the NHL. I’ve said this before if you look at the history of teams that won the Calder Cup they always have 4 or 5 guys playing in the NHL in the next year or year and a half, at least,” started the 2007-08 Jack Adams Award winner, “We’ve got 3 good goalies, 11 NHL caliber defensemen, a multitude of forwards who are ready to make the step and I think there are battles all over the ice, which will make for good stories everywhere.”

Boudreau was asked about goaltender Semyon Varlamov, who played very well last post season, and appears ready to challenge for the number one goalie job.

“I think he looked great. Neuvirth [who was out with the veterans in the afternoon] will be in tomorrow. We are just switching both goalies up each day to get them work since [rookie goalie Braden] Holtby is here as well,” said Boudreau on #40′s first day performance before the conversation turned a little bit light hearted, “you know, he speaks English now…I was really surprised, that is a testament to how bad he wants to be in North America to take the language and learn it as quick as he did. I know I couldn’t do it the other way around…when the goalies are smart it scares me,” finished a laughing Boudreau.

A big topic of conversation was Washington 2008 first round draft pick, John Carlson, who made the jump from the London Knights of the Ontario Hockey League to being a significant contributor on the Hershey team that won the Calder Cup in June. Carlson continues to impress with his play and professionalism at the young age of 19.

“You know he’ s worked hard because that was a pretty tough skate at the end and he was easily the one that lasted the longest, all the time. He’s ready to put a push on to make this club,” said Boudreau on Carlson, who if he does not make the Caps can go down to the AHL in Hershey and play instead of London since he was a United States Hockey League (USHL) draftee.

Corey Masisak of the Washington Times and I caught up with Carlson after practice and here are some of the things we discussed with him and his answers:

On the USA World Juniors Camp he attended in Lake Placid back in August:

Carlson – “It was good. I saw alot of old buddies so that was fun and we stayed at the Olympic training facility, which is a first class place so it was a good way to jump start my training being on the ice once or twice a day for nine or ten days. When I got back I had that base and could really start to work more. ”

On if he is more ready for training camp this year than last year:

Carlson – “I didn’t know what to expect and I still really don’t know what to expect but the experience I had in Hershey is going to make me feel a lot more comfortable with learning the systems. Every day I am just going to come in and do my best and try and make an impression and wherever I end up that is the right place for me. ”

Is he focused on making the Caps?:

Carlson – “Obviously when you come into camp your goal is to make the team and it has been a dream of mine to play in the NHL ever since I was 3. It would be a dream come true but I try not to think about that too much. I’m just worried about making an impression day by day.”

Who did he work out with during the summer to prepare for the season?:

Carlson – “Off ice I trained with Rob Schremp (Oilers), Sam Gagner (Oilers), some of the older guys from the [London] Knights this year in Matt Clark and Phil McRae, and when we got on the ice Andy McDonald (Blues), Corey Perry (Ducks), Brian Campbell (BlackHawks), and Drew Doughty (Kings).”

How is the US world junior team going to do this winter?:

Carlson – “They’ve got a good team, it was a good camp, and it was competitive.”

How did you feel about not getting picked for the US World Junior team last season?:

Carlson – “I was disappointed but when you play hockey that kind of stuff happens so I tried not to think about it and just focus on my season and maybe it was a good thing that I didn’t go there. Who knows?”

I also had a chance to catch up with 21 year old Michael Dubuc, who had 35 goals in 49 regular season games for the East Coast Hockey League (ECHL) Kelly Cup Champion South Carolina Stingrays. Dubuc impressed me at the July 2008 Caps Development Camp and performed well again in this year’s development camp scoring a lot of goals.

WNST: So is your goal to make the Hershey roster permanently this year?

Dubuc – “Of course, it has got to be, I got cut last year and I needed last year to learn a lot about my game to play at the next level and hopefully I learned a lot of stuff. I am still working on it and the coaches are here to help me work on those things. On my part I had to work hard in the summer to get stronger and faster on the ice. I am going to give it my all to make the Hershey roster this year.”

WNST: You missed some games last season, didn’t you?

“I got hurt twice last year, both times in practice, and it was really unlucky. I ran into a guy in practice and got a concussion one month before the playoffs so that is why I missed some games in the playoffs because I completely lost my game feeling. I played the last two games [of the ECHL finals] and to win a championship, to win the Kelly Cup, as a first year pro it was unbelievable and when we scored that empty net and you’ve been through the whole year with those guys and all of the hard practices you just feel the achievement and there is a smile on everyone’s faces and it is amazing.”

WNST: Is “natural goal scorer” an accurate description of you?

Dubuc – “It is, but everyone in Washington knows that so I have to work on other things. It is fun to score goals but if I work hard it will come. Like you said it is natural but I have to work hard on other things to make it as a hockey player at a higher level. I talked to Bruce [Boudreau] outside and he said ‘Just work hard, you know what you have to do. We know that you can score, keep doing that, but try to get better and keep working hard.’ That is what I am going to do this camp and then Hershey’s camp and hopefully I can get a spot in Hershey, that is what I worked hard for all summer.”

News and Notes: The Caps convention set for September 26th at National Harbor is completely sold out…2005 first round draft pick Joe Finley, who was recently switched from defense to forward, left practice early today. “He said something was going to be sore…which is too bad because he was looking really good. I’d rather have him healthy and ready to go for the rest of camp than ruin him by trying to show something on the first day and hurt a groin or hip flexor or something,” said Boudreau…The Coach has a new weekly blog at WashingtonCaps.com, titled Behind the Bench, “It is something I wanted to do. We did it in Manchester. Washington hockey is pretty hot right now so we want to keep it that way,” added Boudreau….For those of you who are concerned about Washington’s salary cap situation, the team does not have to be under the $56.8M figure until the first game of the season, which is Thursday, October 1st, in Boston. It is not clear where they stand right now but by my calculations they are slightly under, but the only guys who really know for sure are GM George McPhee and Assistant GM/team salary cap guru Don Fishman.

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2008 Ravens tribute: “Harmony Reigns”

Posted on 23 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

With only one week remaining in the regular season, the Ravens are on target to return to post-season play for the second time in three seasons.  The only thing standing in their way: a visit from downtrodden Jacksonville this Sunday at M&T Bank Stadium.

Get ready to celebrate.  There’s no way the Jags come here and beat the Ravens with everything on the line for Baltimore and nothing at stake for J’ville.  If, somehow, Jacksonville does win on Sunday, it goes down as the most disappointing defeat in Ravens history.  Period.  That Indy home playoff loss was a downer, but it WAS a playoff game and the team that beat the Ravens on January 13, 2007 went on to win the Super Bowl.  It wasn’t like a 5-10 team came limping in here ready to mail it in and suddenly found a win to pull the upset of all upsets to keep us out of the playoffs.  That’s the scenario the Jags face on Sunday.  I don’t see it happening.

So, when the Ravens win this Sunday and scoot in as the surprising 6th seed in the AFC, the reflective question of the day will be this: “How’d we do it?”

How did the Ravens go from 5-11 a year ago, with a locker room in complete disarray and a group of mouthy, disgruntled players, to an 11-5 team just 12 months later?

There are some easy answers and some complicated ones, but they all fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.

First off, last year’s team might have finished 5-11, but they weren’t really a 5-11 club.  They lost three games in memorable, completely unexpected (some would say “fluky”) fashion.  One of the losses came at home when Cleveland’s kicker booted a game-tying field goal that hit the goal-post and bounded onto the back stantion, where it promptly bounced forward and was ruled no good.  A review (of sorts) of the play resulted in a change of the call (rightfully) to “good” and the Browns went on to win in overtime.  A few weeks later, Baltimore beat then-undefeated New England except Rex Ryan called a time-out in the game’s final minute…just as the Ravens were stopping the Patriots and their winning streak on 4th down.  Moments later, after New England capitalized on 4th down opportunity #2, Tom Brady threw the game-winning TD and the Pats won a game they had already lost.  And in week #14, ultra-reliable Matt Stover missed a 43-yard field goal in overtime that would have given Baltimore a win at Miami.  

So, a 5-11 team really played more like an 8-8 team.  But 5-11 it was.

Also last year, injuries played havoc with Baltimore’s starting 22 and the depth of the team was fully exposed in the latter stages of the season.  At one point in 2007, 8 of their best players missed at least 20% of the campaign, some even more.  McAlister (knee), Ogden (toe), McNair (everything), Lewis (hand), Rolle (health), Heap (ankle), Pryce (hand) and Wilcox (toe) were all sidelined and their replacements were not only inadequate, but in some cases, liabilities.  Who can ever forget that Indianapolis home game?  Peyton Manning torched the Ravens’ depth-less secondary so much the Baltimore City fire marshal showed up at halftime and issued #18 a citation for outdoor burning.

This year’s team battled injuries early on, but their BEST players, with the exception of Rolle, McAlister and Kelly Gregg, have all played the entire schedule to date: Ray, Flacco, Ngata, Suggs, Reed, Mason (banged up but playing every game somehow…what a warrior), Gaither, Brown, Grubbs, Scott, Pryce…none of those guys have missed extensive time.  It helps when your best players are playing. This year, for the most part, the Ravens best players have been available.

And it also helps when the organization learns from its mistakes.  Depth (lack thereof) was a major reason for last year’s failure, but depth is a big reason why the ’08 version is winning.  When Dawan Landry went down in week #2 with a season ending spinal injury, safety Jim Leonhard stepped in and did the job and then some, earning the respect of everyone with his week-in, week-out hard-nosed style of play.  And when Rolle and McAlister both missed time, newcomer Fabian Washington stepped in admirably at cornerback and even the oft-criticized Frank Walker has been decent enough to warrant a respectful tip of the cap.  Kelly Gregg’s absence hasn’t been felt at all, thanks to a monster year from Ngata and a breakthrough campaign for erstwhile back-up Justin Bannan.  And the triple-threat at running back has given the team different looks and different strengths all season long.  

“Players play, coaches coach” – that’s the old adage.  And it’s true.  But, when dissecting this year’s success, you’d be unfair if you didn’t mention the off-season front office work of George Kokinis, Eric DeCosta and, of course, Ozzie Newsome.  Via the draft and free agency, those three added depth in the secondary and on the offensive and defensive lines.  

John Harbaugh came in a with no-nonsense style that ruffled a feathers at the outset, but as he settled down, so did the discontent.  Coodinators Cameron and Ryan are well respected by the players and they quietly mirror Harbaugh’s confidence that this roster of players is capable of winning big games right away – even with a first-year quarterback at the helm.

But the two main components that contribute to the ’08 Ravens success are the complicated pieces that complete the puzzle.  I’ll call them “Peace and Quiet” for lack of a better term. 

First, and most obviously, it’s at quarterback, where Joe Flacco (“Peace”) has done the unthinkable. He’s gone from leading a Division 1AA school to its post-season to leading an NFL team to the brink of its post-season — all within 12 months.  And he’s done it with a quiet, reserved, hardly-a-pulse manner that has made his teammates believe in him almost from day one in Westminster last summer. Kyle Boller NEVER had the faith of his entire team in five seasons.  Joe Flacco gained it all in about five weeks. 

And without that distraction at quarterback and with the team in harmony both on and off the field, this year’s Ravens have been able to focus on playing football.  And good football, at that.

It’s been awfully “Quiet” this season.  Have you noticed how much bickering has gone on this year? Even when the team stumbled in October and dropped three straight, do you remember any public whining and moaning?  McAlister was involved in a fortnight of controversy with the coach over some misbehaving in Miami, but he suddenly suffered a season ending knee injury (*ahem*) that saved Harbaugh a tough mid-season talk.  And, other than Ed Reed dropping a “we don’t like the way Harbaugh talks down to us…” hint at mid-season, you heard no other negative whispers from the locker room.

No more complaints about the quarterback.  No crying about playing time.  No public campaigning for new contracts, extensions, etc.  No controversies, even on the occasion when results and fortune could have allowed for it.  

When the Ravens got pounded by the Giants in New York, they simply said, “we got beat by a better team today…” – Early in the year they lost a heartbreaker at home to the Titans when Tennessee orchestrated a late drive that was aided in large part by a phantom “blow to the head” call against Terrell Suggs…”we shouldn’t have been in that position…can’t let a good team like that stay in the game” was what the players said afterwards. – And last Sunday after losing to Pittsburgh in dramatic fashion with a goal-line TD call leaving everyone in America wondering about the effectiveness of instant-replay, the Ravens refused to bite: “we just have to go to Dallas and win a football game…we didn’t do the job on that last drive…can’t win many games if you don’t score touchdowns.”  No complaining this year.  No bellyaching about the referees, bad luck, bad coaching, etc.  

This team stayed positive all season long.

Looking for the BEST example of all?  Willis McGahee.  Essentially benched in the late stages of the season for lack of production, #23 took the chance to support his coach by saying, “If I were the coach, I’d bench me too…I’ve played like dog doo-doo.”  Gone are the days of hearing a guy chastising the coaching staff for not getting enough touches on the ball — McGahee took his demotion like a pro and put the team first. It’s been a while since I felt better about a player scoring a touchdown than I did on Saturday night when Willis broke off that 77-yard TD run.  He deserved that more than anyone else on the team.

The topper, though, has to be the unwavering championship play of Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs and Bart Scott. All three are seeking a new deal and all three are – for the most part – competing with one another for that big cash cow at season’s end.  If Ray gets all the money, Suggs and Scott might not. If Suggs cashes in, Ray and Scott might be looking at giving a purple discount or moving on to another team. Yet, there hasn’t been one – not one – moment where any of those three took the opportunity to bellow about a new deal either here or elsewhere.

It’s a happy house in Owings Mills these days.

The team has won.

The players have played hard.  Injured players have been replaced by guys performing at unexpected levels. And certain players have battled ailments to the extent that it almost looks unhealthy for them to be out there in the first place.

The Ravens have come together as men and played for one goal.

And their focus has been on winning football games.  Nothing else.

Playing time, personal friendships, money, feelings about the coach and his staff…it’s all been put on the side in exchange for trying to win.

It’s been their ’08 success formula.

Let’s hope it carries over for just one more Sunday.

Then everyone starts at 0-0 again and it’s suddenly a 4-game season.

And, based on what I’ve seen over the last four months, I like the Ravens chances in January.

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Who has the best Miller Lite Purple Palace?

Posted on 18 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

OK, we’re down to the nitty gritty in the “Miller Lite Purple Palace” contest. You can click here to see all of the palaces we’ve collected so far and the entries have been AWESOME! You could spend an hour here on WNST.net just looking at all of the cool submissions!

This weekend, we’re going to sift through all of the entries – and YES, you still have four days to get your entries in to us – and we’re going to select a “Final Three.” I’m going to be dropping by these folks’ places next week to shoot some holiday videos inside their palaces and making three “finalist” videos, which we’ll screen on wnsTV. Then, it’s all up to the votes…

We’ll have a winner in two weeks and those folks will be showered with WNST love – a visit from the WNST staff for some playoff football, a trip to Green Bay next year to see the purple take on Wisconsin’s cheeseheads and an autographed Kelly Gregg jersey to add to their purple palace.

Go look at the purple Festivus magic on the entry page and get those final entries in before Sunday!

Feel free to drop some comments about the contest and I’ll post them…any suggestions for a finalist?

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 13 TEs

Posted on 27 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Here are the week 13 fantasy tight end power rankings and weekly start rankings too. There are 3 games on the slate for today, so don’t forget to get your lineup changes in before you get locked out of the early games.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 13. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 13 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 13 lineup decisions.

 

Week 13 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings

 

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Tony Gonzalez (1) – KC – 696 yds 6 TD

 

2. Antonio Gates (2) – SD – 507 yds 6 TD

 

3. Kevin Boss (8) – NYG – 265 yds 5 TD

 

4. Tony Scheffler (3) – DEN – 363 yds 2 TD

 

5. Dallas Clark (6) – IND – 489 yds 3 TD

 

6. Jason Witten (5) – DAL – 594 yds 2 TD

 

7. Owen Daniels (7) – HOU – 583 yds 2 TD

 

8. Anthony Fasano (9) – MIA – 305 yds 3 TD

 

9. Kellen Winslow Jr. (4) – CLE – 413 yds 3 TD

 

10. Chris Cooley (10) – WAS – 630 yds 1 TD

 

11. Billy Miller (13) – NO – 424 yds 1 TD

 

12. Dustin Keller (12) – NYJ – 383 yds 3 TD

 

13. Bo Scaife (11) – TEN – 490 yds 2 TD

 

14. Jerramy Stevens (16) – TB – 267 yds 2 TD

 

15. Visanthe Schiancoe (15) – MIN – 353 yds 4 TD

 

16. Heath Miller (NR) – PIT – 284 yds 2 TD

 

17. John Carlson (17) – SEA – 351 yds 3 TD

 

18. Zach Miller (14) – OAK – 471 yds 1 TD

 

19. Martellus Bennett (20) – DAL – 207 yds 3 TD

 

20. Greg Olsen (18) – CHI – 391 yds 2 TD

 

Dropped From Rankings: Daniel Graham – DEN

 

TEs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 13: Tony Scheffler @ NYJ; Dustin Keller vs. DEN; Bo Scaife @ DET; Antonio Gates vs. ATL; Greg Olsen @ MIN; Mercedes Lewis @ HOU; Visanthe Schiancoe vs. CHI

 

TEs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 13 Match Ups: Justin Peele @ SD; Daniel Graham @ NYJ; Leonard Pope @ PHI; Dante Rosario @ GB

 

TEs With Tough Week 13 Match Ups: Chris Cooley vs. NYG; Billy Miller & Jeremy Shockey @ TB; John Carlson @ DAL; Kevin Boss @ WAS; Vernon Davis @ BUF; Kellen Winslow Jr. vs. IND

 

TEs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 13: Daniel Fells vs. MIA; Martellus Bennett vs. SEA; Reggie Kelly vs. BAL

 

And here are the week 13 Fantasy TE start rankings; it’s the top 35 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.

 

1. Antonio Gates (10)

2. Tony Scheffler (10)

3. Tony Gonzalez (21)

4. Owen Daniels (26)

5. Dallas Clark (28)

6. Bo Scaife (29)

7. Dustin Keller (30)

8. Anthony Fasano (30)

9. Kevin Boss (33)

10. Jason Witten (36)

11. Visanthe Schaincoe (40)

12. Kellen Winslow Jr. (43)

13. Heath Miller (43)

14. Daniel Graham (46)

15. Jerramy Stevens (48)

16. Greg Olsen (48)

17. Chris Cooley (51)

18. Billy Miller (51)

19. Mercedes Lewis (51)

20. Jerrame Tuman (55)

21. Zach Miller (57)

22. John Carlson (62)

23. Martellus Bennett (62)

24. LJ Smith (63)

25. Alex Smith (66)

26. David Martin (70)

27. Brent Celek (73)

28. Justin Peele (73)

29. Dante Rosario (76)

30. Vernon Davis (76)

31. Todd Heap (79)

32. Donald Lee (82)

33. Alge Crumpler (85)

34. Desmond Clark (86)

35. Benjamin Watson (90)

 

You can use the links at the bottom of the page to check out the rest of this week’s positional rankings. Have a great holiday, and good luck this week.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 13 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 WR Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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Week 12 Fantasy Start Rankings – Every Position

Posted on 20 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Just for the sake of making everything easier, I’ve decided to post the week 12 Fantasy Start Rankings for all 6 positions in one place. It’s the same start rankings that you can find on the bottoms of each of the Positional Power Rankings for week 12. You can locate those power rankings by using the links at the bottom of this page too.

 

Listed below are the formulary start rankings for each of the 6 positions, with their formulary number listed in parentheses next to them. The formulary rankings are gotten using the “secret fantasy flavor formula”, it’s basically 2 parts player performance, 1 part defensive expectations against them this week, with a few variables thrown in for injuries and anomalies.

 

As news becomes available over the course of the weekend, I’ll make notes here too, so keep checking back. And at the end of the day, trust your gut, and have fun. That’s why we play the games after all anyway. And good luck to you this week as the playoffs approach.

 

QUARTERBACKS

 

1. Peyton Manning (15) @SD

2. Aaron Rodgers (21) @ NO

3. Jay Cutler (22) vs. OAK

4. Tony Romo (22) vs. SF

5. Kurt Warner (29) vs. NYG

6. Shaun Hill (31) @ DAL

7. Brady Quinn (31) vs. HOU

8. Drew Brees (35) vs. GB

9. Eli Manning (36) @ AZ

10. Phillip Rivers (40) vs. IND

11. Matt Cassel (40) @ MIA

12. Kyle Orton (42) @ ST.L

13. Tyler Thigpen (43) vs. BUF

14. Gus Frerotte (43) @ JAX

15. Jeff Garcia (44) @ DET

16. Donavan McNabb (45) @ BAL

17. Jason Campbell (48) @ SEA

18. David Garrard (52) vs. MIN

19. Brett Favre (53) @ TEN

20. Chad Pennington (57) vs. NE

21. Sage Rosenfels (61) @ CLE

22. Kerry Collins (61) vs. NYJ

23. Matt Ryan (62) vs. CAR

24. Joe Flacco (64) vs. PHI

25. Jake Delhomme (68) @ ATL

26. Ben Roethlisberger (69) vs. CIN

27. JaMarcus Russell (70) @ DEN*about the same if it’s Walter or Tuisasopo

28. Trent Edwards (78) @ KC

29. Marc Bulger (78) vs. CHI

30. Ryan Fitzpatrick (81) @ PIT

31. Daunte Culpepper (86) vs. TB

32. Matt Hasselbeck (87) vs. WAS

 

 

RUNNINGBACKS

 

1. Clinton Portis (19) @ SEA

2. Adrian Peterson (22) @ JAX

3. Matt Forte (22) @ ST.L

4. Frank Gore (23) @ DAL

5. Marion Barber (27) vs. SF

6. Thomas Jones (28) @ TEN

7. Reggie Bush (32) vs. GB

8. Brian Westbrook (33) @ BAL

9. Willie Parker (34) vs. CIN

10. Brandon Jacobs (35) @ AZ *watch his injury status

11. Marshawn Lynch (37) @ KC

12. LaDanian Tomlinson (38) vs. IND

13. Michael Turner (43) vs. CAR

14. DeAngelo Williams (43) @ ATL

15. Steve Slaton (45) @ CLE

16. Maurice Jones-Drew (46) vs. MIN

17. Ronnie Brown (48) vs. NE

18. Jamal Lewis (51) vs. HOU

19. Chris Johnson (56) vs. NYJ

20. Larry Johnson (56) vs. BUF

21. Steven Jackson (60) vs. CHI *keep an eye on his status

22. Joseph Addai (65)@ SD

23. LenDale White (66) vs. NYJ

24. Ryan Grant (69) @ NO

25. Darren McFadden (71) @ DEN

26. Jonathan Stewart (73) @ ATL

27. Warrick Dunn (74) @ DET

28. Sammy Morris (76) @ MIA

29. Mewelde Moore (77) vs. CIN

30. Tim Hightower (78) vs. NYG

31. Kevin Smith (79) vs. TB

32. Willis McGahee (83) vs. PHI *keep an eye on his status

33. Deuce McAllister (84) vs. GB

34. Derrick Ward (85) @ AZ

35. Ahman Green (85) @ CLE

36. LeRon McClain (87) vs. PHI *bump 2 or 3 spots if McGahee can’t go

37. Jerome Harrison (87) vs. HOU

38. Peyton Hillis (89) vs. OAK

39. Justin Fargas (95)vs. DEN *bump 15 spots if McFadden can’t go

40. Ray Rice (97) vs. PHI *keep him here regardless of McGahee’s status

41. Dominic Rhodes (97) @ SD

42. Jerious Norwood (99) vs. CAR

43. Julius Jones (99) vs. WAS

44. Leon Washington (100) @ TEN

45. Antonio Pittman (102) vs. CHI *bump 8 to 10 spots if Steven Jackson can’t go

46. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (104) @ MIA

47. Ricky Williams (106) vs. NE

48. Chester Taylor (112) @ JAX

49. Kevin Faulk (114) @ MIA

50. Kenneth Darby (114) vs. CHI *bump 3 or 4 spots if Jackson can’t go

 

 

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

 

1. Santana Moss (11) @ SEA

2. Anquan Boldin (15) vs. NYG

3. Larry Fitzgerald (17) vs. NYG

4. Greg Jennings (20) @ NO

5. Andre Johnson (25) @ CLE

6. Bernard Berrian (27) @ JAX

7. Steve Smith (29) *CAR @ ATL

8. Calvin Johnson (32) vs. TB

9. Roddy White (34) vs. CAR

10. Reggie Wayne (34) @ SD

11. Hines Ward (38) vs. CIN

12. Kevin Walter (41) @ CLE

13. Brandon Marshall (45) vs. OAK

14. Justin Gage (45) vs. NYJ

15. Terrell Owens (48) vs. SF

16. Eddie Royal (49) vs. OAK

17. DeWayne Bowe (49) vs. BUF

18. Randy Moss (50) @ MIA

19. Lee Evans (56) @ KC

20. Antonio Bryant (59) @ DET

21. TJ Houshmandzadeh (60) @ PIT

22. Donnie Avery (63) vs. CHI

23. Lance Moore (67) vs. GB

24. Vincent Jackson (68) vs. IND

25. Wes Welker (68) @ MIA

26. DeSean Jackson (69) @ BAL

27. Plaxico Burress (74) @ AZ

28. Donald Driver (76) @ NO

29. Braylon Edwards (77) vs. HOU

30. Chris Chambers (80) vs. IND

31. Laverneus Coles (81) @ TEN

32. Jehrrico Cotchery (83) @ TEN

33. Matt Jones (84) vs. MIN

34. Mushin Muhammad (91) @ ATL

35. Derrick Mason (92) vs. PHI *watch his injury status

36. DeVery Henderson (95) vs. GB

37. Steve Breaston (95) vs. NYG

38. Issac Bruce (98) @ DAL

39. Brandon Lloyd (98) @ ATL

40. Mark Bradley (101) vs. BUF

41. Nate Washington (104) vs. CIN

42. Kevin Curtis (105) @ BAL

43. Ted Ginn Jr. (109) vs. NE

44. Sinorice Moss (110) @ AZ

45. Michael Jenkins (116) vs. CAR

46. Santonio Holmes (117) vs. CIN

47. Marvin Harrison (118) @ SD

48. Greg Camarillo (121) vs. NE

49. Malcolm Floyd (124) vs. IND

50. Ricky Williams (124) vs. NE

51. Antoine Randle-El (127) @ SEA

52. Anthony Gonzalez (128) @ SD

53. Rasheid Davis (132) @ ST.L

54. Tory Holt (133) vs. CHI

55. Bryant Johnson (134) @ DAL

56. Jabar Gafney (134) @ MIA

57. Hank Baskett (135) vs. BAL

58. Amani Toomer (136) @ AZ

59. Marques Colston (137) vs. GB

60. Chad Johnson (140) @ PIT *out insert Chris Henry here

61. Patrick Crayton (140) vs. SF

62. Devin Hester (144) @ ST.L

63. Koren Robinson (149) vs. WAS

64. Bobby Wade (151) @ JAX

65. Myles Austin (152) vs. SF  out

66. Sidney Rice (153) @ JAX

67. Marty Booker (156) @ ST.L

68. Deion Branch (157) vs. WAS

69. Ike Hilliard (161) @ DET

70. Reggie Brown (163) @ BAL

71. Chansi Stuckey (165) @ TEN

72. John Standeford (170) vs. TB

73. Brandon Stokley (171) vs. OAK

74. Mike Walker (174) @ DET

75. Steve Smith (174)*NYG @ AZ

 

 

TIGHT ENDS

 

1. Dallas Clark (13) @ SD

2. Kellen Winslow Jr. (15) vs. HOU

3. Tony Scheffler (20) vs. OAK

4. Bo Scaife (24) vs. NYJ

5. Antonio Gates (28) vs. IND

6. Owen Daniels (29) @ CLE

7. Tony Gonzalez (33) vs. BUF

8. Kevin Boss (34) @ AZ

9. Anthony Fasano (34) vs. NE

10. Dustin Keller (34) @ TEN

11. Zach Miller (34) @ DEN

12. Billy Miller (38) vs. GB

13. Jerramy Stevens (39) @ DET

14. Jason Witten (42) vs. SF

15. Visanthe Schiancoe (43) @ JAX

16. Chris Cooley (45) @ SEA

17. Greg Olsen (53) @ ST.L

18. Alex Smith (53) @ DET

19. Mercedes Lewis (55) vs. MIN

20. Todd Heap (55) vs. PHI

21. Tom Santi (61) @ SD

22. John Carlson (63) vs. WAS

23. Daniel Graham (64) @ CLE

24. LJ Smith (66) @ BAL

25. Derek Fine (69) @ KC

26. Steve Heiden (73) vs. HOU

27. Vernon Davis (76) @ DAL

28. Dante Rosario (78) @ ATL

29. Donald Lee (79) @ NO

30. Heath Miller (80) vs. CIN

31. Martellus Bennett (80) vs. SF

32. Brent Celek (80) @ BAL

33. David Martin (80) vs. NE

34. Alge Crumpler (80) vs. NYJ

35. Jeremy Shockey (82) vs. GB

 

 

KICKERS

 

1. Mason Crosby (16) @ NO

2. Garrett Hartley (16) vs. GB

3. Stephen Gostkowski (24) @ MIA

4. Matt Bryant (26) @ DET

5. Phil Dawson (29) vs. HOU

6. David Akers (30) @ BAL

7. Lawrence Tynes (32) @ AZ *no difference if it’s Carney

8. Rian Lindell (33) @ KC

9. Jason Elam (36) vs. CAR

10. Shaun Suisham (36) @ SEA

11. Nate Kaeding (39) vs. IND

12. Joe Nedney (41) @ DAL

13. Matt Prater (44) vs. CAR

14. Jay Feeley (46) @ TEN

15. Ryan Longwell (46) @ JAX

16. Robbie Gould (46) @ ST.L

17. Rob Bironas (47) vs. NYJ

18. Sebastian Janikowski (48) @ DEN

19. Josh Brown (50) vs. CHI

20. Neil Rackers (54) vs. NYG

21. Josh Scobee (58) vs. MIN

22. John Kasay (61) @ ATL

23. Jeff Reed (61) vs. CIN

24. Nick Folk (65) vs. SF

25. Jason Hanson (69) vs. TB

26. Connor Barth (69) vs. BUF

27. Matt Stover (71) vs. PHI

28. Olindo Mare (75) vs. WAS

29. Kris Brown (77) @ CLE

30. Adam Vinatieri (77) @ SD

31. Shayne Graham (79) @ PIT

32. Dan Carpenter (83) vs. NE

 

 

DEFENSE / SPECIAL TEAMS

 

1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7) @ DET

2. Pittsburgh Steelers (16) vs. CIN

3. Chicago Bears (21) @ ST.L

4. Green Bay Packers (27) @ NO

5. Philadelphia Eagles (27) @ BAL

6. Tennessee Titans (30) vs. NYJ

7. New York Jets (36) @ TEN

8. New York Giants (37) @ AZ

9. Baltimore Ravens (42) vs. PHI

10. Miami Dolphins (42) vs. NE

11. Seattle Seahawks (42) vs. WAS

12. San Francisco 49ers (43) @ DAL

13. Dallas Cowboys (43) vs. SF

14. Jacksonville Jaguars (44) vs. MIN

15. Cleveland Browns (46) vs. HOU

16. Minnesota Vikings (48) @ JAX

17. Oakland Raiders (49) @ DEN

18. Atlanta Falcons (50) vs. CAR

19. Buffalo Bills (50) @ KC

20. Arizona Cardinals (51) vs. NYG

21. Carolina Panthers (52) @ ATL

22. Washington Redskins (58) @ SEA

23. Kansas City Chiefs (63) vs. BUF

24. New England Patriots (65) @ MIA

25. Cincinnati Bengals (67) @ PIT

26. Denver Broncos (67) vs. OAK

27. San Diego Chargers (68) vs. IND

28. New Orleans Saints (72) vs. GB

29. Indianapolis Colts (73) @ SD

30. Houston Texans (80) @ CLE

31. St. Louis Rams (81) vs. CHI

32. Detroit Lions (87) vs. TB

 

 

Week 12 Fantasy QB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 Fantasy RB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 Fantasy WR Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 Fantasy TE Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 Fantasy K Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 Fantasy D/ST Rankings and Previews

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 12 TEs

Posted on 20 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

When it comes to shuffling your lineup from week to week, tight end performance might be the toughest to predict. Unless you have a tight end who functions as a staple of his passing game, like Gates, Gonzalez or Witten, it may be safer just to stick with one guy that you believe in week in and week out. Even at this late stage in the season, Gates has just 6 TD to lead all tight ends, and no tight ends are over 600 yards yet this season. Nonetheless, here are this week’s tight end rankings, and match up previews.

 

Keep in mind that the power rankings, listed here, are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of your best options for week 12. Just below the power rankings are match up previews advising who should be better or worse than usual this week, based on their opponents. At the bottom, are the week 12 start rankings; that’s where you should look for help with your week 12 lineup decisions.

 

Week 12 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings

 

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Tony Gonzalez (1) – KC – 583 yds 5 TD

 

2. Antonio Gates (2) – SD – 479 yds 6 TD

 

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

 

4. Kellen Winslow Jr. (5) – CLE – 402 yds 3 TD

 

5. Jason Witten (4) – DAL – 583 yds 2 TD

 

6. Dallas Clark (3) – IND – 459 yds 3 TD

 

7. Owen Daniels (7) – HOU – 555 yds 2 TD

 

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

 

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

 

10. Chris Cooley (9) – WAS – 576 yds 1 TD

 

11. Bo Scaife (11) – TEN – 450 yds 2 TD

 

12. Dustin Keller (12) – NYJ – 341 yds 3 TD

 

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

 

14. Zach Miller (16) – OAK – 430 yds 1 TD

 

15. Visanthe Schiancoe (14) – MIN – 293 yds 4 TD

 

16. Jerramy Stevens (NR) – TB – 238 yds 1 TD

 

17. John Carlson (16) – SEA – 337 yds 2 TD

 

18. Greg Olsen (17) – CHI – 391 yds 2 TD

 

19. Daniel Graham (NR) – DEN – 202 yds 4 TD

 

20. Martellus Bennett (NR) – DAL – 206 yds 2 TD

 

Dropped from Rankings: Mercedes Lewis – JAX; Alex Smith – TB; Todd Heap – BAL

 

TEs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 12: Dallas Clark @ SD; Bo Scaife vs. NYJ; Zach Miller @ DEN; Kellen Winslow Jr. vs. HOU; Dante Rosario @ ATL; Dustin Keller @ TEN; Mercedes Lewis vs. MIN

 

TEs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 12 Match Ups: Todd Heap vs. PHI; Alex Smith & Jerramy Stevens @ DET; Joe Klopfstein vs. CHI

 

TEs With Tough Week 12 Match Ups: Jason Witten & Martellus Bennett vs. SF; Tony Gonzalez vs. BUF; John Carlson vs. WAS; Vernon Davis @ DAL; Chris Cooley @ SEA; Antonio Gates vs. IND; Heath Miller vs. CIN

 

TEs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 12: Leonard Pope vs. NYG; Benjamin Watson @ MIA; Casey Fitzsimmons vs. TB

 

And here are the week 12 Fantasy TE start rankings; it’s the projected top 35 TEs 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 Thursday night game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Dallas Clark (13)

2. Kellen Winslow Jr. (15)

3. Tony Scheffler (20)

4. Bo Scaife (24)

5. Antonio Gates (28)

6. Owen Daniels (29)

7. Tony Gonzalez (33)

8. Kevin Boss (34)

9. Anthony Fasano (34)

10. Dustin Keller (34)

11. Zach Miller (34)

12. Billy Miller (38)

13. Jerramy Stevens (39)

14. Jason Witten (42)

15. Visanthe Schiancoe (43)

16. Chris Cooley (45)

17. Greg Olsen (53)

18. Alex Smith (53)

19. Mercedes Lewis (55)

20. Todd Heap (55)

21. Tom Santi (61)

22. John Carlson (63)

23. Daniel Graham (64)

24. LJ Smith (66)

25. Derek Fine (69)

26. Steve Heiden (73)

27. Vernon Davis (76)

28. Dante Rosario (78)

29. Donald Lee (79)

30. Heath Miller (80)

31. Martellus Bennett (80)

32. Brent Celek (80)

33. David Martin (80)

34. Alge Crumpler (80)

35. Jeremy Shockey (82)

 

Use the links below to check out all of the other positional rankings, and I’ll try to consolidate all of this week’s start rankings into one blog, that I’ll update as injury information becomes available too. Remember to trust your gut and have fun, and as always, good luck this week.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 12 QB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 RB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 WR Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 K Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 D/ST Rankings and Previews

 

 

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