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The Teixeira conundrum and Angelos conspiracy theory

Posted on 16 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Because this saga regarding Mark Teixeira and the Orioles and the Red Sox and the Nationals and the Angels has dragged on far too long it’s given me way too much time to think about it. And it’s really quite the mystery and little game from the media’s standpoint. And his uberagent Scott Boras just eats this up – when the media pits “offers” against each other with lots of zeroes. It’s gone so far that there were media people in the press box at the Ravens game with binoculars stalking down whether Tex was in the stadium and what sky box he might be in.

Yes, it’s gotten a little nutty and I have been entertained if not totally perplexed by the whole thing. There are still people in Baltimore (and many in the media who are being handsomely paid by Angelos via CBS Radio, MASN, The Sun, Orioles Hangout, Pressbox and others to be, ahem, “optimistic”) who honestly believe in their soul that the Orioles might actually be involved in a pennant race again sometime this century. For the record, as long as Angelos is alive and owns this team and continues to run it like he has for 15 years, I really don’t believe they’ll win. I believe it’s karma at this point. I would LOVE to be wrong, actually because this city is a morgue in the spring and summer compared to what the Ravens and hope bring us each Labor Day.

But as a fan and a Baltimorean what do you really want here?

There’s certainly a part of me that begs to have real baseball back in the Baltimore – the kind we see in October in the cities where it perpetually matters like New York, Boston, Chicago or in places like Philadephia or Detroit or even Denver where we’ve seen the game resurrected by a winning team. Or at least the mere chance to win.

Because I’m a little more removed and less emotionally involved in it on a daily basis (most of my energy to truly care has waned again), I honestly haven’t given a lot of thought to the Teixeira drama until the past week when all of a sudden it somehow miraculously seems like they have a shot to sign him. As recently as a month ago, general manager Andy McPhail was telling most people that it was extremely doubtful that the O’s would be involved in the Tex Sweepstakes at all. And that’s when most thought he’d get “about” $100 million.

Now, at the 13th hour and a week before Christmas it appears as though Angelos has gotten personally involved in the bidding war – same as he did in New York that day when he spent $173 million on the franchise that he has summarily destroyed on the field and in the community (but not in his pocketbook, thanks to Bud Selig getting a rectal examination and the threat of a whopper lawsuit on the Washington territorial rights issue).

It’s all become very clear to me. This mating call with Scott Boras has all of the fingerprints of Peter Angelos and his intense will to get Teixeira in a orange uniform on Opening Day. And it’s not much different than when Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti “strongly recommended” to Ozzie Newsome that Joe Flacco needed to be a Raven eight months ago. Turns out, Bisciotti has made several good calls in 2008.

It’s not like Ozzie to want to deal up in the draft and give up picks on draft day. And it’s not like Andy McPhail to want to pay a first baseman $150 million or more over seven years. It’s almost against everything in his baseball DNA. McPhail, who was told 18 months ago to slash the payroll and save (and or make) the team more money by promising the populace “young talent” and “working through the draft” and “obtaining lots of young arms” and “building through the farm” (all his words, not mine), clearly understands the team’s ongoing public relations nightmare and lack of passion within the fan base. There’s nothing about signing Mark Teixeira – short of the price tag — that is a bad play for the Orioles in a short term “win back the people of Baltimore” ploy. It’s a good ploy, mind you. It’s the best thing the franchise can possibly do to say: “We’re trying and we care as much as you do!” (Even though I think answering questions from real journalists would be a distant second place.)

They have millions of excess dollars that they’ve pocketed over the past few years via their obscene MASN deal. They finally have some useful, young talent on the field (Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Luke Scott, Jeremy Guthrie and potentially Matt Wieters) to build around. And let’s be honest – when will the team EVER get a chance to sign a superstar player who grew up in Baltimore and actually remembers the greatness of the Orioles that we all are wondering if we will ever experience as a community again?

Angelos NEEDS to get Teixeira in an orange jersey before Christmas. At least HE feels he needs to and at no point does McPhail even appear to factor into the equation. And, honestly, Angelos is probably right.  He needs something to “make a splash” and it’s not signing more minor league free agents in March. Bringing in Teixeira shows that they’re serious about trying to win. And it’s been a little while since we could say that.

But that’s the just the Orioles side of the story. Hometown boy comes home, gets huge payday and…

Well, there’s a few ways this could go:

1. He’ll come here and the pitching will suck and the team will suck and the Yankees and Red Sox fans will continue to own Camden Yards 20 times per year. (This is the most likely short-term scenario with or without Teixeira.)

2. He’ll be part of a return to mediocrity and the team might squeak out an 81-win season in the first few years and maybe play a game in August that matters in the wild card race.

3. He’ll be the cornerstone of a baseball renaissance in Baltimore that will return the Orioles to perennial 90-win seasons, greatness and Camden Yards and downtown and the city of Baltimore will become electric in the summer of 2010 and the city will love the team like they love the Ravens.

* This is all assuming that he comes here and hits .300, mashes 35 homers per year and drives in 120 RBIs each season in any scenario. If they pay him $20 million a year this is a baseline expectation.

But that’s just a few possibilities from the Orioles’ perspective of what result they’re ultimately getting as an organization for buying a player who they’re paying TWICE as much as they’ve ever paid in the history of the organization for anyone. What’s Mark Teixeira really going to mean to the only two bottom lines that matter: winning and selling tickets? (Of course even THAT doesn’t matter too much when their Mickey Mouse television network is earning $100 million per year by just turning the lights on via the tax base civicly funding MASN.)

But what if you’re Mark Teixeira? What’s in it for him, besides getting richer?

As I wrote four days ago he’s getting wealthier (he’s already made $35 million playing baseball and he’s only 29) no matter where he goes and I believe it’s ultimately about happiness, the ability to win and perhaps somewhere the ego of “getting paid as much as you can” or being the “highest paid” this or that.

The four suitors – if there really are four suitors, with Boras who the hell knows what the truth is? – all have situations that I’m sure Teixeira and his bride and family could find palatable after he cashes his paycheck each week for $400,000 until he’s 37 years old.

The Red Sox, to me, are the first place he should start if winning and playing in a “real” baseball environment matter to him. He got his first taste of the postseason this year (and hit .467 no less) and that should be all he needs to know about the difference between playing out the string in the boiling heat of Arlington and being involved in something akin to fun and what he remembers about being an Orioles fan when he was 16. If you are a man of integrity involved in any competitive industry or athletic pursuit, there’s NOTHING ON EARTH better than winning. If you’re not serious about WINNING, then why the hell are you playing? (Oh, that’s right. The money…)

It sounds like his experience in Anaheim didn’t completely win his heart despite the fact that he was a “rented hat” for two months there. (And he “inherited” a pennant race in Southern California. He didn’t “earn” it, by and large.) If a full stadium, a winning tradition, a great manager, a great owner, Rally Monkeys, pretty girls in the stands and unlimited sunshine (think of those dreadful April and September games when it’s 45 degrees on the east coast) didn’t win him over this year then I don’t know what the heck he’d want in a Major League Baseball career. This is an outstanding place to make $150 million for any human being. You could make a case that it’s a BETTER option than Boston, if you’re wired a certain way.

The Nationals is a weird, twisted concept to me. If he wants to be “home” then that’s Baltimore. If Tex wants to win, there’s not much tradition or reason to believe that the Nats will become the UCLA of the N.L. East. Yeah, you get to live in Annapolis and play in a pretty ballpark with low expectations, but that’s a lot different than going to a winning franchise like the Angels or the Red Sox. And it still ain’t home.

And finally, the Orioles. Maybe Peter Angelos just will up the ante (like he used to in the “old” days of Chris Sabo and Albert Belle and Brady Anderson and well, you know the rest if you’re reading this…) and offer “the most money” if that’s his thing. And maybe Teixeira really can be convinced – and I don’t mean by money, I mean REALLY convinced in his soul — that the Orioles can be saved and he can be part of saving them by coming here and fulfilling his childhood destiny to be the “Cal Ripken” of this generation. (Even I can get emotional writing that because ANY of us could put ourselves in Teixeira’s shoes and squirm a little with this decision if we’re being truly honest.)

One thing is for sure – if he signs here it’s not because it was truly his best option. If Mark Teixeira really does sign up to play with this sham of a franchise (and it’s Siberia for any real free agent this side of Miguel Tejada over the last decade and anyone from Mike Mussina through Brian Roberts would have nothing good to say to recommend it as a “career” choice) then he is to be roundly applauded and supported because he’s CLEARLY doing it because of his heart WAAAAY more than his head or his wallet. If Teixeira is at The Warehouse wearing a “Baltimore” road gray sweater later this week at a press conference (one that I’ll no doubt be banned from asking any legitimate questions) it’s because he really DOES want to save this moribund franchise and pitch in to make Orioles baseball and the city of Baltimore fun again on summer nights.

And what could possibly be bad about that? And this is the ONLY way Peter Angelos can be given the “hero” treatment by the fans who’ve unwittingly lined his pockets via MASN through all of this mess while the city has rotted and decayed on summer nights downtown. And we all know Peter “The King” longs to be loved and short of winning a World Series, this is the best he’s gonna do in this lifetime. He CAN’T buy a World Series. But he CAN buy Mark Teixeira! I can just hear him crowing on MASN sitting on a couch with Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski and in that goofy voice saying: “We… did what we needed to do… to restore the pride… to the Orioles!”

There’s only one hometown superstar of this generation. And Angelos has his sights on him. And he doesn’t like losing. (Witness his senseless feud with me and with WNST, people who truly LOVE the Orioles! It’s all about him “winning” — whatever that means? What good is it doing them to continue to be complete jerks in dealing with any legitimate media member who has questions about what is a publicly-funded, civic trust for profit that has gone awry? NO ONE wants the Orioles to be great more than WNST. Anyone who knows me knows that I believe that.)

So where does Angelos’ personal kryptonite, Scott Boras, fit into this equation? That’s really hard to say given his propensity to pit egotistical and wealthy baseball owners against each other in bidding wars that are silly farces when most are reviewed years later. Where is Tom Hicks now? (He gave up on ARod and Texeira, which is the Boras Daily Double!) Does Boras really have a say here with Tex or a dog in the hunt, other than his commission on the transaction? Only time will tell…

Here are a few random observations on Teixeira:

1.    I’ve never met Teixeira but I’ve never heard anything glowing about his marketability or personality. As a matter of fact, he routinely eschewed any “hometown” press coverage on his first visits back to Camden Yards as a big leaguer. It’s not like he’s got a foundation here or a civic cause here or has ever even “appeared” here doing any worthwhile community endeavor that I know about. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong here…but no one has ever called or written me with a story, picture, essay or ANYTHING involving Teixeira publicly or charitably in Baltimore.) If he walked through White Marsh Mall today for lunch I honestly don’t think anyone would recognize him. My point isn’t that he’s a “bad” guy. I don’t know a thing about him beyond what I’ve written about. But I do know he’s NOT Cal Ripken. No matter how much you pay him!

2.    He’s been traded TWICE so it’s not like any other franchise has found him  “irreplaceable.” Actually, it’s more like the opposite. I’m always skeptical when a team takes a player who has had Teixeira’s statistical prowess and decides, “Yeah, he’s OK but we’d rather have these OTHER player(s) instead in a trade.” That’s always a major red flag. The dude has raked at the plate. He’s a legitimate force offensively in the big leagues. And if he signs here, he’s on Team No. 4 and is only 29 years old and six years into his career. That really doesn’t sound like a “guy you build your franchise around” or break the bank for to me.

3.    Are the Orioles doing this to win or to sell tickets and get some mileage out of the marketability of a “Baltimore kid” in a “Baltimore uniform?” I’m really unsure of what Angelos’ intent is here. Sure, he’s a nice player and a good hitter but $20 million a year is a little obscene given the position he plays and the fact that I’m not sure there’s going to be a rush on season tickets because he’s an Oriole. That might be the case, but I’m skeptical that he’ll move the needle on ticket sales in any more than in a negligible way. Maybe the “we’re trying!” part of it will sell more goodwill than the actual numbers or W-L record Teixeira produces in the short term. As a matter of fact, I’m 100% sure Opening Day would be a “big deal” again this year (re: sellout) if they sign Teixeira on Thursday for $156 million. But is THAT worth $156 million?

4.    Bottom line: Couldn’t the Orioles spend that $20 million per year on pitching and truly have a better chance to win over the next 36 months? (I ask this rhetorically…I have no answer for this.)

Either way, Baltimore has a MUCH better chance to win if Teixeira comes than by having another Kevin Millar or Randy Milligan or David Segui or B.J. Surhoff playing first base. It’s certainly a major upgrade in that department. And it’s not my money. (Or maybe it IS our money with what these crooks are stealing via our Comcast bill every month and not utilizing on behalf of making the baseball team and the city better?)

It’s getting more and more interesting every day that this drags out. And it’ll be interesting to see the civic reaction and the Orioles’ reaction if he eschews his hometown team and leaves King Peter at the alter by signing with the Red Sox or the Nationals. Would that be unlike Scott Boras, pulling down the Emperor’s trousers with the ONE guy he HAD to get? And, no less, delivering him to Larry Lucchino up in Boston? Wouldn’t that be Boras’ “tea pah-tay.” (For a brief laugh, just click...)

We’re hearing that Angelos and the Orioles really think they’re going to get Teixeira. And that will make it all the more painful if they don’t get him. There’s a lot to digest here and a lot of risk. The Orioles just don’t offer $150 million to ANYONE. EVER! So, if this is legit, it’s a major foundational, tectonic shift.

The coolest part is that this is a major “Y” in the road for the franchise. One way or the other, Mark Teixeira is going to greatly affect Baltimore and its baseball future for years to come over the next week.

The Orioles always have the “fall back” position of painting Teixeira as a modern day Benedict Arnold if he “elects” to not sign in Baltimore after the Orioles made a “fair and reasonable market offer.” I can hear and see the somber McPhail at the podium now saying, “We did our best…We made him a generous offer and he elected to go to (City X).” Blah, blah, blah…

Keep the popcorn warm. This is getting good!

The Orioles have lit a spark just by “being involved.” (Hey, we’re TALKING and WRITING and THINKING about them during a week when the purple guys with helmets are playing for their playoff lives…)

But who’s zooming who and who is serious? And where will Teixeira sign? And for how much? And what wild stories are going to unearth afterward when the “truth” is told. One bride. Three bridesmaids.

I think King Peter wants the white dress.

But who the heck knows?

Pass the butter…

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THE COMPLETE ART MODELL PRIMER & FAQ REGARDING HIS HOF CANDIDACY

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Here is a primer on all things Canton, Pro Football Hall of Fame voting, the politics, the rules, the history and most importantly “Where Art Modell stands” in his lifelong quest to be bronzed and rightfully enshrined amongst the greats of the NFL game. You can also listen to Tuesday’s interviews with Peter King and Len Shapiro in our audio vault for more discussion about the reality of Art’s bid. Shapiro wrote a huge piece yesterday in The Washington Post pimping Modell’s candidacy and calling it a “travesty” that he’s not in Canton. It’s a must read!

(Incidentally, I’d love to link to a story in The Baltimore Sun regarding Modell’s candidacy, but once again our friends on Calvert Street are asleep at the wheel. Nice job of sticking up for your own, boys!)

This getting into the Hall of Fame business is more about politics and less about achievements these days if my research and the people I’ve chatted with who are in the room are really being honest.

The “clear cut” guys – this year it figures to a slam dunk for Rod Woodson, Shannon Sharpe and Bruce Smith as inductees – are mere formalities in many ways. Wide receiver Cris Carter is a bit of a holdover from last year, and figures to be a major factor with his gaudy stats. So, for the sake of argument, let’s just make them automatic and play for the bottom of the card, which appears to be the remaining one or two inductees. No one needs to make any strong argument for the non-bubble guys. It’s always the fringe people or the overlooked people who create the emotional stirs and long, heated debates in the minds of the voting committee.

There are 43 men and 1 woman who vote for the inductees into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. There are 12 at-large members plus one representative from each of the 32 NFL cities/teams on the committee. Scott Garceau is Baltimore’s local rep. Mike Preston was formerly on the committee until 2004, when the Tribune Company decided to make it “against company policy” to vote on such committees because of “conflict of interest” concerns.

The 2009 list of 25 candidates will be pared down to 15 before Dec. 17th, when all 44 members must have their ballots and recommendations received. On Jan. 31, 2009 – the day before the Super Bowl – this group of 44 will enter the same room in Tampa and arguments will be given for all 15 candidates, plus the two senior committee nominees (this year it’s Claude Humphreys and Bob Hayes up for induction).

Let’s be straight: Virtually none of the candidates have anything left to “give the game” outside of Art Modell and Ralph Wilson, whose legacies and franchises live on in Baltimore, Cleveland and Buffalo. Paul Tagliabue is the only other “non player” on the current ballot of 25 names. All 22 of the others will be judged by their play on the field over the years, and virtually everyone on the HOF committee of 44 feels that “players” trump “contributors” when it comes time for voting. So, at best, Modell’s candidacy could be derailed by most anyone who actually stepped between the lines and played the game.

For the record, Tagliabue has many supporters among the 44, who all came in direct contact with His Commissionership many times over the last 20 years as he was the ultimate power broker in the sport for nearly a generation.

SO, HOW DOES ART MODELL GET INTO THE HALL OF FAME?

Good question. At this point, I believe it’s simply a matter of someone in our community (us?) making a stir and making it a viable, public outcry of support for Modell. Trust me, no one in Cleveland and not many amongst the 44 people in the room feel inclined to “jump on the table” for Art Modell. Other than Garceau, who is a staunch supporter of Modell (but who admits that having worked for the club as a play-by-play voice for a decade appears as a conflict of interest in that room), only Len Shapiro of The Washington Post has shown any partiality or inclination to grandstand on behalf of Modell. Another retired former voter and proponent of Modell is former USA Today columnist Gordon Forbes, who sends information to the current panel each year on behalf of Modell.

Here is the official “selection process” from the Pro Football Hall of Fame site.

I don’t think it’s as much about the facts of Modell’s contributions since 1961 to the NFL at this point. I think there’s some clear politicking – or lack thereof – going on. I’ve been told there are two major factors at play:

1. The move from Cleveland has created a “he’ll never get in because of that” mentality amongst some in the room and all of his other accomplishments have been diminished like Pete Rose’s sin of gambling on the game in baseball or Mark McGwire’s “not here to talk about the past” confession. For some, Modell is a lifelong pariah never to be recognized after “kicking the dog” on the cover of Sports Illustrated in Nov. 1995.

2. Over the years, some of Modell’s detractors have minimized his role and the legend of his involvement in the basic tenet of the merit of his candidacy: his role in the television negotiations and growth of the game with the networks and revenue. Time and the death of his contemporaries has definitely hindered Modell’s bid for Canton as much as anything because the very people who knew, felt, respected and lived through his many contributions are not the ones making a case for him at this point. Pete Rozelle, Wellington Mara, George Preston Marshall and Lamar Hunt are not here to be involved in the discussion although all of them no doubt believed in Modell’s Hall “worthiness.”

It’s now in the hands of the storytellers and some on the committee have heard conflicting reports as to whether Rozelle was the “smart one” and Modell was simply a guy who was the “No. 2” and simply got the credit of associating with the league. Of course, the mere fact that Modell came from a background of New York television in the late 1950’s would tell you that his network expertise was a key factor in the exponential growth of the league and its revenue during his tenure on the “television committee” for nearly 30 years.

From the Thanksgiving doubleheader to Monday Night Football, from winning an NFL Championship in Cleveland to winning a Super Bowl in Baltimore, from being involved at the game’s highest level since 1961 and being a massive part of shaping the sport for longer than most of us have been on the planet, Modell certainly deserves a better fate in Canton during the September of his life.

Certainly, most on the committee must believe that if Art is going to live long enough to see his own induction, the time is NOW for some action here in Baltimore.

We plan on creating some noise this week and hope that you’ll join our Facebook effort to help Art and raise awareness in Baltimore this week in anticipation of having a national audience here on Sunday night for the Redskins game.

WHO ARE THESE 44 GUYS ANYWAY AND HOW DID THEY GET ON SOMETHING AS IMPORTANT AS THE HALL OF FAME VOTING COMMITTEE?

Below is the list of the Hall of Fame voting committee, as selected by a board at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio:

Bernie Miklasz, Bob Gretz, Bob Oates, Charean Williams, Charles Chandler, Chick Ludwig, Clare Farnsworth, Cliff Christl, Dan Pompei, Dave Goldberg, David Climer, David Elfin, Don Pierson, Ed Bouchette, Edwin Pope, Frank Cooney, Howard Balzer, Ira Kaufman, Ira Miller, Jarrett Bell, Jeff Legwold, Jerry Green, Jerry Magee, Jim Trotter, John Clayton, John Czarnecki, John McClain, Kent Somers, Len Pasquarelli, Leonard Shapiro, Mark Gaughan, Mike Chappell, Mike O’Hara, Nancy Gay, Paul Domowitch, Paul Zimmerman, Peter Finney, Peter King, Rick Gosselin, Ron Borges, Sam Kouvaris,  Scott Garceau, Sid Hartman, Tony Grossi, Vinny DiTrani and Vito Stellino are the list of people.

Obviously, some of these names are more familiar than others. Some are frequent contributors to WNST. Some of them you know from television. And two of them – Miklasz and Stellino – were journalists here in Baltimore and covered the Colts leaving for Indianapolis. So, there’s plenty of perspective here on the NFL and plenty of expertise.

WHO ARE THE 25 NOMINEES ON THE CURRENT BALLOT?

Cris Carter Wide Receiver 1987-89 Philadelphia Eagles, 1990-2001 Minnesota Vikings, 2002 Miami Dolphins

Roger Craig Running Back 1983-1990 San Francisco 49ers, 1991 Los Angeles Raiders, 1992-93 Minnesota Vikings

Terrell Davis Running Back 1995-2001 Denver Broncos

Dermontti Dawson Center 1988-2000 Pittsburgh Steelers

Richard Dent Defensive End 1983-1993, 1995 Chicago Bears, 1994 San Francisco 49ers, 1996 Indianapolis Colts, 1997 Philadelphia Eagles

Chris Doleman, Defensive End-Linebacker 1985-1993, 1999 Minnesota Vikings, 1994-95 Atlanta Falcons, 1996-98 San Francisco 49ers

Kevin Greene, Linebacker-Defensive End 1985-1992 Los Angeles Rams, 1993-95 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1996, 1998-99 Carolina Panthers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers

Russ Grimm Guard 1981-1991 Washington Redskins

Ray Guy Punter 1973-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Charles Haley, Defensive End-Linebacker 1986-1991, 1999 San Francisco 49ers, 1992-96 Dallas Cowboys

Lester Hayes, Cornerback 1977-1986 Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders

Cortez Kennedy, Defensive Tackle 1990-2000 Seattle Seahawks

Bob Kuechenberg Guard 1970-1984 Miami Dolphins

Randall McDaniel Guard 1988-1999 Minnesota Vikings, 2000-2001 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Art Modell, Owner 1961-1995 Cleveland Browns, 1996-2003 Baltimore Ravens

John Randle, Defensive Tackle 1990-2000 Minnesota Vikings, 2001-03 Seattle Seahawks

Andre Reed Wide Receiver 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000 Washington Redskins

Shannon Sharpe, Tight End 1990-99, 2002-03 Denver Broncos, 2000-01 Baltimore Ravens

Bruce Smith, Defensive End 1985-1999 Buffalo Bills, 2000-03 Washington Redskins

Ken Stabler, Quarterback 1970-79 Oakland Raiders, 1980-81 Houston Oilers, 1982-84 New Orleans Saints

Paul Tagliabue Commissioner 1989-2006 National Football League

Steve Tasker, Special Teams-Wide Receiver 1985-86 Houston Oilers, 1986-1997 Buffalo Bills

Derrick Thomas Linebacker 1989-1999 Kansas City Chiefs

Ralph Wilson, Owner 1960-current Buffalo Bills

Rod Woodson, Cornerback-Saftey 1987-1996 Pittsburgh Steelers, 1997 San Francisco 49ers, 1998-2001 Baltimore Ravens, 2002-03 Oakland Raiders

HOW SIGNIFICANT IS TONY GROSSI OF THE CLEVELAND PLAIN DEALER?

Six years ago, when Modell’s candidacy had its best chance – while Art still owned the team and was fresh off of the Super Bowl XXXV victory – it was shot down in a legendary way when Tony Grossi, Cleveland’s representative and outspoken hater of all things Modell on behalf of the greater Cuyahoga and Northern Ohio area, gave an impassioned speech about how what Modell did to his hometown should forever forbid his enshrinement to Canton. This much is public record.

Now, what influence that actually had on the other committee members is debatable. My sources tell me that there are “anti” candidate guys all over the room. As an example, I have a feeling Scott Garceau, who was the reporter told by Tagliabue to “build a museum,” won’t be voting the former Sun King commish into bronzeness anytime soon on behalf of Baltimore’s  shoddy treatment in 1993.

Over the years, my mentor John Steadman lobbied against John Mackey’s induction. It’s just the way these things go. Some people have an axe to grind. Some just legitimately look at a candidate like punter Ray Guy and say: “I’m not putting a punter in the Hall of Fame.”

In the case of inducting Modell, there is obviously plenty of precedent given Al Davis and Lamar Hunt and other contemporaries have long been inside the walls of Canton. There are also several owners in the Hall of Fame who have moved franchises from one city to the next.

If these 44 people entrusted to “get this right” are going to hold a business decision (and one that many of them couldn’t possibly understand) against inducting Modell into the Hall of Fame when that business move made a community like ours whole is preposterous.

I will be writing more later in the week about Art’s specific contributions here in Baltimore since 1996.

Feel free to comment and please spread the word about our plans for Sunday night and the Baltimore fans’ ability to affect this vote and get Art rightfully inducted into Canton.

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 WRs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Despite a rough patch for the Cardinals, their vaunted receivers remain ranked #1 and #2 in the power rankings, as well as this week’s start rankings. The veterans have started to reclaim the receiver rankings over the last few weeks, as many of the rookies appear to be hitting that proverbial wall. We’ll be back tomorrow with your tight end, kicker and defense rankings, so check back then too.

 

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 14. 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 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Wide Receiver Power Rankings

 

WR Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10- 11 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Anquan Boldin (1) – AZ – 942 yds 11 TD

 

2. Larry Fitzgerald (3) – AZ – 1075 yds 8 TD

 

3. Greg Jennings (5) – GB – 1057 yds 7 TD

 

4. Calvin Johnson (2) – DET – 971 yds 8 TD

 

5. Steve Smith (4) – CAR – 958 yds 4 TD

 

6. Roddy White (6) – ATL – 1085 yds 6 TD

 

7. Bernard Berrian (13) – MIN – 795 yds 5 TD

 

8. Santana Moss (7) – WAS – 828 yds 5 TD

 

9. Andre Johnson (8) – HOU – 1146 yds 4 TD

 

10. Terrell Owens (12) – DAL – 816 yds 8 TD

 

11. Brandon Marshall (9) – DEN – 942 yds 4 TD

 

12. Randy Moss (11) – NE – 785 yds 8 TD

 

13. Lance Moore (14) – NO – 739 yds 8 TD

 

14. Eddie Royal (20) – DEN – 757 yds 5 TD

 

15. Reggie Wayne (10) – IND – 870 yds 5 TD

 

16. Vincent Jackson (16) – SD – 703 yds 5 TD

 

17. Kevin Walter (15) – HOU – 705 yds 7 TD

 

18. Lee Evans (NR) – BUF – 890 yds 3 TD

 

19. Hines Ward (18) – PIT – 755 yds 6 TD

 

20. DeSean Jackson (NR) – PHI – 775 yds 2 TD & 1 TYD rush

 

Dropped From Rankings: DeWayne Bowe – KC; Justin Gage – TEN

 

WRs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Lee Evans vs. MIA; Randy Moss & Wes Welker @ SEA; Laverneus Coles & Jehrrico Cotchery @ SF; Tory Holt & Donnie Avery @ AZ; Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison & Anthony Gonzalez vs. CIN; Roddy White @ NO; DeSean Jackson, Kevin Curtis & Hank Baskett @ NYG

 

WRs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: Roscoe Parrish & Josh Reed vs. MIA; Jabar Gaffney @ SEA; Chansi Stuckey @ SF; Derrick Stanley & Dane Looker @ AZ; Koren Robinson, Deion Branch & Bobby Engram vs. NE; Harry Douglass & Michael Jenkins @ NO; Matt Jones, Reggie Williams & Jerry Porter @ CHI; Justin Gage, Justin McCairens & Brandon Jones vs. CLE

 

WRs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Chad Johnson & TJ Houshmandzadeh @ IND; Braylon Edwards @ TEN; Terrell Owens & Roy Williams @ PIT; Santana Moss & Antoine Randle-El @ BAL; Andre Johnson & Kevin Walter @ GB; Chris Chambers & Vincent Jackson vs. OAK; Derrick Mason & Mark Clayton vs. WAS; Antonio Bryant & Ike Hilliard @ CAR; Steve Smith & Mushin Muhammad vs. TB; DeWayne Bowe & Mark Bradley @ DEN

 

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s my top 75 WRs 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 Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Anquan Boldin (15)

2. Larry Fitzgerald (17)

3. Roddy White (19)

4. Greg Jennings (25)

5. Bernard Berrian (25)

6. Randy Moss (26)

7. Calvin Johnson (28)

8. Steve Smith (34)

9. Reggie Wayne (35)

10. Lee Evans (37)

11. Brandon Marshall (44)

12. Lance Moore (44)

13. Santana Moss (45)

14. Andre Johnson (46)

15. Terrell Owens (50)

16. Eddie Royal (50)

17. DeSean Jackson (50)

18. Hines Ward (52)

19. Justin Gage (55)

20. Vincent Jackson (59)

21. Laverneus Coles (59)

22. Kevin Walter (62)

23. Wes Welker (62)

24. DeWayne Bowe (65)

25. Issac Bruce (67)

26. Antonio Bryant (69)

27. Marques Colston (72)

28. Matt Jones (74)

29. Steve Breaston (75)

30. Jehrrico Cotchery (75)

31. Derrick Mason (78)

32. TJ Houshmandzadeh (80)

33. Mark Clayton (81)

34. Donald Driver (83)

35. Braylon Edwards (89)

36. Santonio Holmes (90)

37. Donnie Avery (90)

38. Chris Chambers (95)

39. Anthony Gonzalez (95)

40. Mark Bradley (97)

41. DeVery Henderson (98)

42. Michael Jenkins (99)

43. Ted Ginn Jr. (100)

44. Malcolm Floyd (105)

45. Mushin Muhammad (106)

46. Nate Washington (108)

47. Kevin Curtis (108)

48. Amani Toomer (109)

49. Marvin Harrison (109)

50. Tory Holt (110)

51. Devin Hester (115)

52. Koren Robinson (118)

53. Hank Baskett (120)

54. Chad Johnson (128)

55. Jabar Gaffney (128)

56. Brandon Stokley (130)

57. Reggie Brown (130)

58. Antoine Randle-El (131)

59. Josh Reed (131)

60. Rasheid Davis (133)

61. Ashley Lelie (136)

62. Bryant Johnson (139)

63. Dane Looker (144)

64. Roy Williams (146)

65. Reggie Williams (146)

66. Brandon Lloyd (147)

67. Chansi Stuckey (147)

68. Mary Booker (149)

69. Ike Hilliard (153)

70. Bobby Wade (157)

71. Brandon Jones (159)

72. Harry Douglass (159)

73. Josh Morgan (159)

74. James Hardy (159)

75. Miles Austin (166)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

 

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 14 RBs

Posted on 03 December 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

If this week’s running back rankings prove anything, it’s that everyone had pretty much an equal shot on draft day at putting together a winner. In fact, it’s probably those who drafted in the top 5 in most leagues who are the ones disappointed. Regardless, the running back rankings are littered with guys who would have been available in the 5th round and beyond, even in the deepest of leagues. Furthermore, the top 20 has been changing up dramatically from week to week, so every week is a chance to catch lightning in a bottle.

 

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 14. 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 14 start rankings, that’s where you should look for help with your week 14 lineup decisions.

 

Week 14 Fantasy Running Back Power Rankings

 

RB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 891011 - 12 - 13

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Thomas Jones (4) – NYJ – 1088 yds 11 TD & 161 yds 2 TD rec

 

2. Michael Turner (1) – ATL – 1208 yds 13 TD

 

3. Brian Westbrook (11) – PHI – 657 yds 8 TD & 233 yds 4 TD rec

 

4. Matt Forte (3) – CHI – 1012 yds 6 TD & 358 yds 4 TD rec

 

5. Adrian Peterson (6) – MIN – 1311 yds 9 TD

 

6. DeAngelo Williams (10) – CAR – 955 yds 11 TD & 112 yds 2 TD rec

 

7. Brandon Jacobs (5) – NYG – 950 yds 12 TD

 

8. Clinton Portis (2) – WAS – 1228 yds 7 TD

 

9. Marion Barber (7) – DAL – 870 yds 7 TD & 366 yds 2 TD rec

 

10. Steve Slaton (16) – HOU – 904 yds 8 TD & 250 yds 1 TD rec

 

11. Reggie Bush (NR) – NO – 294 yds 2 TD & 298 yds 3 TD rec

 

12. Steven Jackson (NR) – ST.L – 619 yds 4 TD & 275 yds 0 TD rec

 

13. Chris Johnson (15) – TEN – 958 yds 7 TD & 227 yds 1 TD rec

 

14. Frank Gore (8) – SF – 926 yds 6 TD & 354 yds 1 TD rec

 

15. Marshawn Lynch (13) – BUF – 844 yds 7 TD & 283 yds 1 TD rec

 

16. LaDanian Tomlinson (12) – SD – 794 yds 6 TD & 371 yds 1 TD rec

 

17. Maurice Jones-Drew (9) – JAX – 552 yds 11 TD & 415 yds 0 TD rec

 

18. Ronnie Brown (14) – MIA – 690 yds 10 TD & 19 yds 1 TD pass

 

19. LenDale White (20) – TEN – 575 yds 13 TD

 

20. Larry Johnson (18) – KC – 657 yds 4 TD

 

Dropped From Rankings: Joseph Addai – IND; Willie Parker – PIT

 

RBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 14: Adrian Peterson @ DET; Larry Johnson @ DEN; Steve Slaton @ GB; LaDanian Tomlinson vs. OAK; Ryan Grant vs. HOU; Thomas Jones @ SF; Matt Forte vs. JAX

 

RBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 14 Match Ups: Peyton Hillis vs. KC; Chester Taylor @ DET; Tim Hightower vs. ST.L; Ryan Moats @ GB; Cedric Benson @ IND; Leon Washington @ SF

 

RBs With Tough Week 14 Match Ups: Clinton Portis @ BAL; Brian Westbrook @ NYG; DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Stewart vs. TB; Marion Barber @ PIT; Frank Gore vs. NYJ; Kevin Smith vs. MIN; Marshawn Lynch vs. MIA; Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward & Ahmad Bradshaw vs. PHI; Willie Parker & Mewelde Moore vs. DAL; Warrick Dunn & Cadillac Williams @ CAR

 

And here are the week 14 Fantasy RB start rankings; it’s my top 50 RBs 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 Thursday’s game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Thomas Jones (11)

2. Adrian Peterson (12)

3. Matt Forte (18)

4. Michael Turner (20)

5. Steve Slaton (27)

6. Reggie Bush (33)

7. Brian Westbrook (37)

8. LaDanian Tomlinson (38)

9. Brandon Jacobs (39) *keep an eye on his injury status

10. Steven Jackson (39)

11. Chris Johnson (40)

12. DeAngelo Williams (42)

13. Larry Johnson (44)

14. Peyton Hillis (45)

15. Marion Barber (47) *keep an eye on his injury status

16. Clinton Portis (48) *drop him 5 or 6 spots if he’s worse than probable

17. Maurice Jones-Drew (53)

18. Ronnie Brown (54)

19. Frank Gore (56)

20. Marshawn Lynch (56)

21. LenDale White (56)

22. Joseph Addai (57)

23. Tim Hightower (61)

24. Willie Parker (62) *keep an eye on his injury status

25. Jamal Lewis (67)

26. Kevin Faulk (70)

27. Ryan Grant (72)

28. Sammy Morris (74)

29. Darren McFadden (76) *switch him with Fargas if he’s worse then probable

30. Derrick Ward (77)

31. Leon Washington (77)

32. Mewelde Moore (80) *bump him to Parker’s spot if Parker can’t go

33. Kevin Smith (81)

34. Jerome Harrison (82)

35. Warrick Dunn (83)

36. Pierre Thomas (83)

37. Dominic Rhodes (83)

38. Willis McGahee (86) *if he’s playing

39. Chester Taylor (86)

40. LeRon McClain (88) *bump him 5 spots if McGahee doesn’t go

41. Ricky Williams (98)

42. Jerious Norwood (102)

43. Mike Tolbert (102)

44. Deuce McAllister (103)

45. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (104)

46. Jonathan Stewart (108)

47. Justin Fargas (108)

48. Tatum Bell (109)

49. Mike Karney (111)

50. Julius Jones (113)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 14 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 WR Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 14 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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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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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 13 WRs

Posted on 26 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The wide receiver rankings, like most of the rest of the positional rankings didn’t see a lot of change in week 13, aside from the return of a couple of old familiar names to the list. There have been a number of nice surprises at wide receiver this year, as there typically are, but as of now Lance Moore has officially unseated Eddie Royal as the out of nowhere superstar. We’ll see if he’s able to maintain that status as both Jeremy Shockey and Marques Colston look to be returning to form for the Saints.

 

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 Wide Receiver Power Rankings

 

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

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Anquan Boldin (1) – AZ – 879 yds 11 TD

 

2. Calvin Johnson (4) – DET – 905 yds 8 TD

 

3. Larry Fitzgerald (2) – AZ – 1010 yds 6 TD

 

4. Steve Smith (7) – CAR – 853 yds 4 TD

 

5. Greg Jennings (6) – GB – 966 yds 6 TD

 

6. Roddy White (6) – ATL – 973 yds 6 TD

 

7. Santana Moss (5) – WAS – 773 yds 5 TD

 

8. Andre Johnson (9) – HOU – 1071 yds 3 TD

 

9. Brandon Marshall (11) – DEN – 887 yds 4 TD

 

10. Reggie Wayne (10) – IND – 824 yds 5 TD

 

11. Randy Moss (NR) – NE – 770 yds 8 TD

 

12. Terrell Owens (NR) – DAL – 718 yds 7 TD

 

13. Bernard Berrian (8) – MIN – 673 yds 4 TD

 

14. Lance Moore (19) – NO – 724 yds 7 TD

 

15. Kevin Walter (17) – HOU – 667 yds 7 TD

 

16. Vincent Jackson (18) – SD – 703 yds 5 TD

 

17. DeWayne Bowe (16) – KC – 724 yds 6 TD

 

18. Hines Ward (14) – PIT – 718 yds 5 TD

 

19. Justin Gage (13) – TEN – 413 yds 4 TD

 

20. Eddie Royal (12) – DEN – 673 yds 4 TD

 

Dropped From Rankings: TJ Houshmandzadeh – CIN; Lee Evans – BUF

 

WRs Who Should Be Better Than In Week 13: Donnie Avery & Tory Holt vs. MIA; Lee Evans vs. SF; Terrell Owens & Roy Williams vs. SEA; Antonio Bryant & Ike Hilliard vs. NO; Reggie Wayne, Marvin Harrison & Anthony Gonzalez @ CLE; Bernard Berrian vs. CHI; Hines Ward & Santonio Holmes @ NE; Santana Moss & Antoine Randle-El vs. NYG; Justin Gage @ DET

 

WRs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 13 Match Ups: Derrick Stanley vs. MIA; Roscoe Parrish & Josh Reed vs. SF; Patrick Crayton vs. SEA; Kevin Curtis, DeSean Jackson & Hank Baskett vs. AZ; Sidney Rice & Bobby Wade vs. CHI; Nate Washington @ NE; Brandon Jones & Justin McCairens @ DET

 

WRs With Tough Week 13 Match Ups: Braylon Edwards vs. IND; Calvin Johnson vs. TEN; Randy Moss & Wes Welker vs. PIT; Steve Smith & Mushin Muhammad @ GB; Greg Jennings & Donald Driver vs. CAR; TJ Houshmandzadeh & Chad Johnson vs. BAL; Plaxico Burress & Amani Toomer @ WAS; Anquan Boldin, Larry Fitzgerald & Steve Breaston @ PHI; Lance Moore, DeVery Handerson & Marques Colston @ TB; DeWayne Bowe & Mark Bradley @ OAK

 

WRs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 13: Donte Stallworth vs. IND; Mike Furrey & Shaun MacDonald vs. TEN

 

And here are the week 13 Fantasy WR start rankings; it’s the top 75 wide receivers 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 Thursday’s games, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Roddy White (23)

2. Santana Moss (23)

3. Reggie Wayne (25)

4. Anquan Boldin (27)

5. Terrell Owens (27)

6. Larry Fitzgerald (31)

7. Andre Johnson (31)

8. Bernard Berrian (33)

9. Calvin Johnson (35)

10. Steve Smith (37)

11. Greg Jennings (38)

12. Brandon Marshall (39)

13. Hines Ward (44)

14. Lee Evans (44)

15. Vincent Jackson (45)

16. Kevin Walter (46)

17. Justin Gage (48)

18. Randy Moss (52)

19. Lance Moore (52)

20. DeSean Jackson (52)

21. DeWayne Bowe (57)

22. Eddie Royal (61)

23. Antonio Bryant (64)

24. Laverneus Coles (67)

25. Issac Bruce (68)

26. TJ Houshmandzadeh (71)

27. Chris Chambers (71)

28. Donnie Avery (73)

29. Jerricho Cotchery (75)

30. Derrick Mason (76)

31. Wes Welker (82)

32. Braylon Edwards (86)

33. Marques Colston (90)

34. Mushin Muhammad (91)

35. Anthony Gonzalez (91)

36. Plaxico Burress *keep an eye on his injury status

37. Santonio Holmes (96)

38. Mark Bradley (97) *keep an eye on his injury status

39. Ted Ginn Jr. (97)

40. Malcolm Floyd (97)

41. Donald Driver (98)

42. Steve Breaston (101)

43. DeVery Henderson (102)

44. Matt Jones (102)

45. Marvin Harrison (109)

46. Michael Jenkins (113)

47. Nate Washington (114)

48. Greg Camarillo (115)

49. Tory Holt (123)

50. Kevin Curtis (124)

51. Antoine Randle-El (125)

52. Patrick Crayton (127)

53. Brandon Lloyd (132)

54. Chad Johnson (132)

55. Hank Baskett (132)

56. Bryant Johnson (135)

57. Jabar Gafney (140)

58. Mark Clayton (142)

59. Reggie Brown (142)

60. Harry Douglas (143)

61. Amani Toomer (146) *bump 5 or 6 spots if Burress is inactive

62. Ike Hilliard (146)

63. Roy Williams (147)

64. Rasheid Davis (148)

65. Koren Robinson (148)

66. Josh Reed (152)

67. Ashley Lelie (157)

68. Sinorice Moss (158) *bump 3 or 4 spots of Burress is inactive

69. Devin Hester (158)

70. Bobby Wade (159)

71. Sidney Rice (161)

72. Marty Booker (166)

73. Brandon Jones (168)

74. Brandon Stokley (169)

75. Chansi Stuckey (171)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so check back tomorrow for the rest. And use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 13 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 RB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 13 RBs

Posted on 26 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The fantasy running back rankings only lost one player from the top 20 this week, and since it was Steven Jackson who has been teasing us with hopes that he’d play for the last several weeks, it was probably overdue. There was still a significant amount of movement within the top 20 though, as there seems to be every week with the RBs. We’ll try to do the best we can to keep you up to speed with who’s hot and who’s not as the season progresses.

 

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 Running Back Power Rankings

 

RB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 891011 - 12

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Michael Turner (7) – ATL – 1088 yds 13 TD

 

2. Clinton Portis (1) – WAS – 1206 yds 7 TD

 

3. Matt Forte (9) – CHI – 909 yds 6 TD & 336 yds 3 TD rec

 

4. Thomas Jones (5) – NYJ – 950 yds 9 TD & 140 yds 2 TD rec

 

5. Brandon Jacobs (6) – NYG – 879 yds 11 TD

 

6. Adrian Peterson (4) – MIN – 1180 yds 8 TD

 

7. Marion Barber (8) – DAL – 838 yds 6 TD & 353 yds 2 TD rec

 

8. Frank Gore (3) – SF – 860 yds 6 TD & 331 yds 1 TD rec

 

9. Maurice Jones-Drew (11) – JAX – 503 yds 11 TD & 393 yds 0 TD rec

 

10. DeAngelo Williams (14) – CAR – 883 yds 7 TD & 98 yds 2 TD rec

 

11. Brian Westbrook (2) – PHI – 547 yds 2 TD & 213 yds 2 TD rec

 

12. LaDanian Tomlinson (15) – SD – 770 yds 5 TD & 329 yds 1 TD rec

 

13. Marshawn Lynch (19) – BUF – 710 yds 7 TD & 282 yds 1 TD rec

 

14. Chris Johnson (13) – TEN – 833 yds 5 TD & 218 yds 1 TD rec

 

15. Ronnie Brown (12) –MIA – 642 yds 9 TD & 19 yds 1 TD passing

 

16. Steve Slaton (16) – HOU – 774 yds 6 TD & 198 yds 1 TD rec

 

17. Willie Parker (17) – PIT – 485 yds 4 TD

 

18. Larry Johnson (NR) – KC – 565 yds 3 TD

 

19. Joseph Addai (20) – IND – 457 yds 5 TD & 131 yds 1 TD rec

 

20. LenDale White (18) – TEN – 469 yds 11 TD

 

Dropped From Rankings: Steven Jackson – ST.L

 

RBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 13: Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams @ ST.L; Thomas Jones vs. DEN; LenDale White & Chris Johnson @ DET; Larry Johnson @ OAK; DeAngelo Williams & Jonathan Stewart @ GB; Maurice Jones-Drew @ HOU; Marshawn Lynch vs. SF

 

RBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 13 Match Ups: Darren McFadden & Justin Fargas vs. KC; Patrick Cobbs @ ST.L; Leon Washington vs. DEN; Jamal Lewis & Jerome Harrison vs. IND; LeRon McClain & Ray Rice @ CIN

 

RBs With Tough Week 13 Match Ups: Clinton Portis & Ladell Betts vs. NYG; Peyton Hillis @ NYJ; Matt Forte @ MIN; Adrian Peterson & Chester Taylor vs. CHI; Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward & Ahmad Bradshaw @ WAS; Brian Westbrook vs. AZ

 

RBs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 13: Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk & BenJarvis Green-Ellis vs. PIT; Cedric Benson vs. BAL; Deuce McAllister & Pierre Thomas @ TB; Steven Jackson, Antonio Pittman & Kenneth Darby vs. MIA

 

And here are the week 13 Fantasy RB start rankings; it’s the top 50 running backs 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 Thursday’s games, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Thomas Jones (11)

2. Michael Turner (20)

3. Marion Barber (27)

4. Maurice Jones-Drew (30)

5. DeAngelo Williams (31)

6. Matt Forte (33)

7. Frank Gore (36)

8. Chris Johnson (36)

9. Ronnie Brown (36)

10. Clinton Portis (38) *keep an eye on his injury status

11. Brandon Jacobs (39) *keep an eye on his injury status

12. Marshawn Lynch (39)

13. Adrian Peterson (40)

14. LaDanian Tomlinson (40)

15. Larry Johnson (46)

16. LenDale White (48)

17. Brian Westbrook (49) *keep an eye on his injury status

18. Darren McFadden (49)

19. Steve Slaton (50)

20. Jamal Lewis (53)

21. Reggie Bush (55) *keep an eye on his injury status

22. Joseph Addai (55)

23. Steven Jackson (60) *keep an eye on his injury status

24. Willie Parker (60)

25. Kevin Smith (61)

26. Leon Washington (67)

27. Mewelde Moore (74)

28. Warrick Dunn (75)

29. Ryan Grant (76)

30. LeRon McClain (76) *drop 5 spots if McGahee starts

31. Ricky Williams (76)

32. Derrick Ward (78) *bump 5 spots if Jacobs doesn’t play

33. Willis McGahee (80) *keep an eye on his injury status

34. Tim Hightower (81)

35. Jonathan Stewart (83)

36. Dominic Rhodes (85)

37. Kevin Faulk (94)

38. Peyton Hillis (94)

39. Jerious Norwood (98)

40. Julius Jones (101)

41. Justin Fargas (101)

42. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (102)

43. Pierre Thomas (108) *bump 2 spots if Bush isn’t playing

44. Deuce McAllister *bump 5 to 7 spots if Bush isn’t playing

45. Chester Taylor (114)

46. Ahman Green (116)

47. Ray Rice (120) *bump 3 or 4 spots if McGahee is inactive

48. Michael Bush (121)

49. Fred Jackson (122)

50. Patrick Cobbs (124)

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday lineups in, so keep checking back. You can use the links below to check all of the other positions; they’ll be activated as they become available.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

 

Week 13 QB Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 WR Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 TE Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 K Rankings & Previews

 

Week 13 D/ST Rankings & Previews

 

 

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Ravens Rope-a-Dope Scores Another KO

Posted on 24 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Float like a butterfly,

Sting like a bee,

The Ravens could rope-dope,

The whole AFC.

 

John Harbaugh is just 11 games into his rookie campaign, and in addition to besting his friend and mentor Andy Reid on Sunday, it seems that his version of the Ravens may have also begun the process of cementing their identity.

 

On the surface, the Ravens are much like the team we have grown accustomed to seeing year in and year out here in Baltimore. They’re once again an absolutely dominant, and for lack of a better word, scary defensive unit. They try to overcome the unbalanced talent on the offensive side of the ball by managing the game, and really attacking teams on the ground. That is after all, and always has been, Ravens football.

 

Look a little deeper though and you’ll notice that this time around, the Ravens have some talent that they can work with at quarterback. The additions of Ray Rice and Lorenzo Neal, and the brilliant repositioning of LeRon McClain have added a new level of depth and dimension to the running attack. And the hybrid skill set of Troy Smith, Flacco’s ability to tuck and run, and Haloti Ngata opening up holes at the goal line have collectively breathed some excitement and respectability into the offense. And the bottom line shows it, at 7-4, the Ravens are tied for 5th in the AFC, and lead the AFC North in scoring. And did I mention that they have a quarterback?

 

The Ravens, under Flacco have already had an unprecedented 4 game stretch in which they piled up 134 points, and after a week 11 slip up against perhaps the best team in football, they came back with another 36 point effort on Sunday against what had previously been the league’s 8th ranked scoring defense. And speaking of defense, the Ravens’ D is quite obviously holding up their end of the scoring load too, but that’s par for the course when it comes to the Ravens.

 

Again on Sunday though, as is quite often the case in football, and sports in general for that matter, the score might not have told the whole story. At 10-7, the halftime score sure didn’t feel indicative of the Ravens effort to that point, largely due to the 100-yard kick return by Quentin Demps just before the half. But as has often been the case in Ravens victories this year, the game still seemed to be very much in the balance (despite the insertion of Kevin Kolb) until a late surge closed the deal.

 

There’s no doubt that the Ravens have had a lot of obstacles to overcome already this season, particularly when it comes to injuries. But perhaps because of those injuries, or perhaps as a result of the new look hybrid offensive packages, or possibly because of the success of the Giants last season using a similar formula, the 2008 Ravens appear committed to using as much of their active game day roster as is effectively possible. And in doing so, they’ve proven to be too much for teams to handle late in games.

 

Consecutive losses in weeks 4 and 5, in which the team was unable to hold on to second half leads, and saw their defense give games away on late drives gave reason to believe that this year’s Ravens might be just the opposite type of team. Their seeming inability to finish games was a major reason for concern under the new regime. Since then though the Ravens have turned their second half fortunes around and turned the endgame into their time to shine.

 

There were glimpses of it early too. In week 3 against Cleveland the Ravens trailed at halftime 10-7. And although they didn’t wait until nail biting time to take control, it was a 3 TD, third quarter explosion that put the game away for the Ravens.  Even in the heartbreaking loss to Pittsburgh in week 4, Flacco and his troops drove 76 improbable yards for the tying touchdown with just over 4 minutes to play.

 

After the tough losses to the Steelers and Titans, the Ravens have been lights out in the second half and particularly the 4th quarter. In their second meeting with Cleveland in week 9, the Ravens were down 27-13 until inside of the final minute and a half of the third quarter, before rallying for 24 straight points to finish the Browns off. The following week against Houston it was a 19-13 Ravens lead at the start of the final quarter, in which the Ravens managed 22 points to make it look like it was never in doubt.

 

I suppose you could view the efforts of the Browns, Texans, and Eagles and say that they simply quit down the stretch, having watched the games, it’d be tough to argue. But at this point, given that it’s been the trend in recent weeks, to dismiss it as teams giving up would do a disservice to the Ravens’ efforts. Over the last few weeks, the Ravens have quite simply outlasted teams, outworked them, and ultimately beaten them into submission.

 

Much like the Giants of last season and again this season, who seem to have been pressed into using more of the roster than they would have liked to, the Ravens are using that to their advantage. By shuffling guys in and out more frequently, and using their ball control offense to keep their defense fresh, they seem to be more willing and able to finish games, and bring their best efforts when the game is on the line. They are after all, all NFL players, and although the talent level is clearly varied, it seems that a fresh B- player against a fatigued A+ player can still create match up problems.

 

The Ravens will still have to figure out what they can do when teams are able to jump on them early like the Colts and Giants were able to do. If the Ravens could bring their 4th quarter game from start to finish, they’d be impossible to deal with. For now it seems that they’ll have to be content to play conservative, control the clock, keep the defense fresh, and stay in position to make a run in the fourth quarter. It would seem that they’ve found their profile. Until they can develop Joe Flacco into their “haymaker”, the Ravens may just have to lie on the ropes, finish every jab and let opponents punch themselves out.

 

Styles make fights, as they say, and the Ravens look to have found theirs. With the apparent lack of knockout power in the AFC this season, the Ravens may try to rope-a-dope their way back to the Superbowl.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

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Ravens take advantage of Philly miscues

Posted on 23 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

Was it me or did Andy Reid look like a coach who wants to be fired today?

Trailing 10-7, Reid hit the panic button and started the 3rd quarter by exchanging his Hall-of-Very-Good quarterback for a second year scrub who made Kyle Boller look like Tom Brady.  The end result was a 36-7 pasting applied by the Ravens, who certainly didn’t look the part in the first 30 minutes of play, only to rebound in the second half with an efficient performance by Joe Flacco and a ferocious defensive display capped off by an Ed Reed return for a TD on what had to be the worst play call of the century by the Eagles.

Philadelphia football fans can make plans for a January cruise or a golf vacation in the south…their football team will be home come playoff time.  That’s not a low blow — it’s just a fact.

The Ravens looked ripe for the taking early on today.

Philadelphia looked ripe for last place by the end of the day.

It was truly a game of two halves, as Baltimore stumbled and bumbled their way through the first two quarters, aided mainly by three turnovers and a disappearing act from Brian Westbrook, who vanished like a prop in a David Copperfield show.  At one point late in the second quarter, I openly wondered if either team could hang with the James Madison offense I saw ring up 58 easy points on Towson yesterday.  

In the second half, though, the Ravens offense appeared out of nowhere and when Reid caved in by benching Donovan McNabb and inserting Kevin Kolb, the rout was on.  

Reid even tried to challenge two plays that aren’t allowed by rule to be challenged.

What the hell…if your coaching decisions don’t work, you can always try to buffalo the referees.  As we’ve seen from time to time this year, they don’t know all the rules either.  

But nothing worked for Philadelphia today.

And the Ravens defense made them pay dearly.

Down 22-7 with 9 minutes to go in the game, the Eagles mounted their best drive of the day and took the ball down to the Baltimore one yard line with first and goal.  After a run produced no yards, the Eagles tried a pass, which Kolb promptly threw in the end zone to Ed Reed – who then avoided three arm-tackles and two other half-hearted efforts from would-be pursuers and #20 lugged into the end zone with the crushing blow and a 29-7 advantage.  Why throw a pass there?  On 2nd and 1?  I’m sure thousands and thousands of Philadelphia fans wondered the same thing at that very moment.  It was stupid.  And costly.

A Baltimore team that was humbled by a blow-out in the Meadowlands last Sunday took out a week’s worth of revenge on the Eagles, as nearly everyone got in on the act.  Flacco threw for 2 TD’s, Le’Ron McClain had a career day carrying the ball, Ed Reed had two picks and a TD and Dan Wilcox and Mark Clayton both collected their 2nd TD’s of the year.  And even Matt Stover – yes, the “washed up one” – showed he still has some ability left in his right leg with a pair of FG’s (42, 44) that will silence his detractors until he misses a 49-yarder next week in Cincinnati.

And John Harbaugh beat his former coach.

Actually, his former coach beat himself.

It will be fun in Baltimore this week as the Ravens prepare for a trip to Cincinnati.

It will be hell in Philadelphia.  

I’d rather it be that way than the other way around.

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A beautiful day: Ravens 36, Eagles 7

Posted on 23 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The Ravens used an opportunistic offense and myriad of breakdowns by the hapless visitors to pummel the Philadelphia Eagles at M&T Bank Stadium, 36-7 this afternoon.

Andy Reid’s benching of Donovan McNabb at halftime will surely be debated across three states and the calling for his head surely will begin for calling a pass play at the goal line early in the fourth quarter when the Eagles were about six inches from making it a one-score game.

Hard to say who was more quiet today at frigid M&T Bank Stadium today — the Eagles fans or the Ravens fans. It was a strange day of football all the way around.

The game was long and out-of-synch in its pacing and reminded me of what would be the beginning of the end of Brian Billick’s tenure here — the ugly game in Detroit two years ago.

Nothing the Eagles did went right. They got hosed on a couple of calls. Both of their quarterbacks threw hideous passes. The Ravens — and mainly Joe Flacco — stunk for most of the first half and the Eagles still couldn’t manage to score any points beyond the kickoff return, which clearly embarrassed John Harbaugh and his special teams sensibilities.

But feel free to roundly celebrate: the Ravens are 7-4 and looked quite impressive in the end in “playing four quarters” and out smash-mouthing their neighbors from Filthy.

It’s Thanksgiving and we have a lot to be thankful for football-wise in Baltimore because we can legitimately start talking playoffs with a chance to be 8-4 next Sunday with a strong effort in Cincinnati.

Where to begin?

Ed Reed ran a 108-yard interception back through traffic that seemed like the Stanford band. Ed Reed also got burned trying to lateral a ball to Samari Rolle in heavy traffic near the goal line. (Somewhere, Billick was still yelling at him!)

Dan Wilcox caught a TD pass after thinking he might not even play.

Jared Gaither played through the pain. Adam Terry left the game early with a concussion and the offensive line still kept coming back for more. At one point, Ben Grubbs left the game. And David Hale was spotted in there mixing it up quite a bit as well.

The Ravens continued to stop the Eagles rushing attack all day long, and seemed to welcome the benching of McNabb for Kevin Kolb, who was largely as ineffective as No. 5. His one drive of note to lead the team back into the game was nullfyed and reversed when Reed went the distance on one of the most amazing plays in Ravens history.

Le’Ron McClain continues to shine his own star as a fullback who has made a seamless transition into a big-time power back, rushing for 88 yards and one breakaway touchdown late in the game when most of the Eagles fans had put down their cheesesteaks and pretzels and headed back toward the Maryland House on I-95.

Mark Clayton was a factor in the game today and we’d love to see more of that. He also made fun of his own endzone celebration.

Jarret Johnson had a huge game and made a pick on McNabb that Harbaugh described as “one of the greatest plays I’ve ever seen.”

Matt Stover hit a long field goal when the team needed it.

And Jameel McClain registered his second safety of the season and he’s only been on the team for a few weeks.

Overall, the defense was awesome all day. They pitched a shutout that was only tainted by the kickoff return by Quinton Demps. (Kinda reminded me of another game against an NFC East team where the only score was a return for a touchdown on an otherwise perfect day. Of course, it was a little warmer on Jan. 28, 2001.)

I’ll be writing some more later and posting post-game video. It was largely an “homage” to Ed Reed and the kind of game he had today. (And at one point, he fell to his knees and was all but tackled to leave the field when he couldn’t lift his arm.)

Feel free to throw your comments in and we’ll launch them soon enough.

A great day to be a Ravens fan. The team is 7-4 and headed to Cincinnati. This was a huge win.

And the Eagles fans were strangely silent from whistle to whistle, slithering out of the stadium while the Ed Reed celebration commenced right around 4 p.m.

More to come…

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