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Caps Lose But Ravens Win

Posted on 08 December 2008 by Ed Frankovic

The Washington Capitals lost tonight on the ice and the Baltimore Ravens won but the football win was much more important as the Caps are still in good shape overall with a four point lead on the Carolina Hurricanes in the Southeast Division.

Since the Caps played first I’ll start with my thoughts on tonight’s 3-1 loss in Carolina.

The Caps controlled the puck and dominated this game outshooting the Hurricanes, 39-25, but they could not beat Carolina goalie Michael Leighton except for Nicklas Backstrom’s goal that came as a Washington five on three power play was expiring. Even Alexander Ovechkin could not work his magic tonight and he was stopped on a penalty shot by Leighton late in the second period (The Great #8 is now 0-5 on penalty shots in his career). This game was 1-1 with under five minutes to go but as has been the case alot this season, when Washington makes a mistake in its own end it is often ending up in the net, especially when Jose Theodore is in goal. Theodore’s recent problem has been with controlling rebounds. Sometimes it is because of his inability to see the shots but tonight he was struggling with some that he appeared to be seeing clearly. After his great game and shutout against Montreal last week I thought Jose was past these problems but they re-occurred this week. If Brent Johnson is healthy you will likely see alot of him in the upcoming weeks until Theodore gets his rebound problem under control.

Another problem for Washington was their horrible night on face-offs as they lost that battle handily, 34-20. Many of these losses were either at the start of power plays or after they iced the puck. In fact, one of Carolina’s goals came after a Caps face-off loss that was the result of a Washington icing.

The injury bug struck again with Eric Fehr not being able to play after suffering an upper body injury in Toronto on Saturday (Fehr is listed as day-to-day). As a result the Hershey highway was once again used as the Caps recalled forward Alexandre Giroux from the Bears. Giroux played 11:48 of ice time in Carolina. By the way, I complained about the officiating on Saturday in Toronto, and rightly so, but tonight I thought the calls went more the Caps way but again they could not take advantage of that or their mostly solid play. Give Leighton most of the credit for stopping the Caps on Sunday.

The big news of the night was the Ravens domination of the Washington Redskins on Sunday night football. Baltimore’s defense was outstanding and if not for two bad play calling and implementation issues on back to back Raven drives Washington would have been shutout. Why Ravens offensive coordinator Cam Cameron decided to throw on 3rd and 13 into the wind late in the third quarter up 17-0 is beyond me? That should have been a run and punt. Then on the next series, instead of running Le’Ron McClain the team decided to give the ball to Willis McGahee, who proceeded to put it on the carpet. This gave the Skins a short field and they closed to 17-10 and had all of us a bit nervous.

Luckily, Cameron finally went back to what has worked all year with a lead in the late stages: a steady does of McClain and the big #33 once again delivered. Joe Flacco did not have a good game but he did make a couple of big throws to Derrick Mason, the first of which came on the Ravens opening TD drive and the last of which was to #85 for the game clinching TD.

I am running out of patience with McGahee and I have no clue why the Baltimore Sun’s Mike Preston wants to defend this guy who makes too much money and is injury prone.

The Ravens are 9-4 and kudos to the players and coaches for a great season so far but things get really tough next week when the Pittsburgh Steelers, who flat out stole a game from Dallas today, come to M&T Bank Stadium for a 415pm showdown. As usual we can expect a physical game and the winners of this contest will likely be the teams that face both Baltimore and Pittsburgh in week 16. The Ravens have beaten the Steelers in Baltimore five years in a row. Let’s hope that continues but the offense will need to be better next week as they are facing the #1 ranked defense in the league in Pittsburgh. Baltimore has the #2 ranked defense.

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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 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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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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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 RBs

Posted on 19 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Here are the week 12 Fantasy Flavor Running Back Power Rankings. It’s getting tougher and tougher to find sleepers these days, and in this era of multi-dimensional backfields, it’s getting harder and harder to simply figure out who’ll get an adequate number of carries from week to week. There are more options to choose from based on more overall running backs getting touches, but finding good options isn’t always easy, we’ll do our best to help you sort it all out here.

 

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 Running Back Power Rankings

 

RB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 891011

 

(last week’s rankings are in parentheses)

 

1. Clinton Portis (1) – WAS – 1063 yds 7 TD

 

2. Brian Westbrook (3) – PHI – 508 yds 6 TD & 218 yds 2 TD rec

 

3. Frank Gore (9) – SF – 834 yds 6 TD & 325 yds 1 TD rec

 

4. Adrian Peterson (2) 0 MIN – 1100 yds 7 TD

 

5. Thomas Jones (4) – NYJ – 854 yds 9 TD & 119 yds 1 TD rec

 

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

 

7. Michael Turner (7) – ATL – 971 yds 9 TD

 

8. Marion Barber (8) – NYG – 779 yds 6 TD & 303 yds 2 TD rec

 

9. Matt Forte (5) – CHI – 777 yds 4 TD & 322 yds 3 TD rec

 

10. Steven Jackson (11) – ST.L – 525 yds 4 TD & 259 yds 0 TD rec

 

11. Maurice Jones-Drew (13) – JAX – 499 yds 11 TD & 280 yds 0 TD rec

 

12. Ronnie Brown (12) – MIA – 605 yds 9 TD & 19 yds 1 TD pass

 

13. Chris Johnson (10) – TEN – 787 yds 5 TD & 205 yds 1 TD rec

 

14. DeAngelo Williams (18) – CAR – 782 yds 6 TD & 89 yds 2 TD rec

 

15. LaDanian Tomlinson (14) – SD – 686 yds 5 TD & 294 yds 1 TD rec

 

16. Steve Slaton (15) – HOU – 701 yds 6 TD & 198 yds 1 TD rec

 

17. Willie Parker (NR) – PIT – 448 yds 4 TD

 

18. LenDale White (17) – TEN – 470 yds 11 TD

 

19. Marshawn Lynch (16) – BUF – 631 yds 6 TD & 257 yds 1 TD rec

 

20. Joseph Addai (NR) – 387 yds 5 TD & 100 yds 1 TD rec

 

Dropped from Rankings: Willis McGahee – BAL; Jamal Lewis – CLE

 

RBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 12: Marshawn Lynch @ KC; Matt Forte @ ST.L; Justin Fargas @ DEN; LaDanian Tomlinson vs. IND; Jamal Lewis vs. HOU; Reggie Bush & Deuce McAllister vs. GB; Marion Barber vs. SF; Willie Parker & Mewelde Moore vs. CIN

 

RBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based On Week 12 Match Ups: Warrick Dunn, Clifton Smith & Cadillac Williams @ DET; Greg Hillis, PJ Pope & Tatum Bell vs. OAK; Jerome Harrison vs. HOU; Pierre Thomas vs. GB; Darren McFadden @ DEN

 

RBs With Tough Week 12 Match Ups: Tim Hightower vs. NYG; Kevin Smith vs. TB; Cedric Benson @ PIT; Brian Westbrook @ BAL; LenDale White & Chris Johnson vs. NYJ; Michael Turner vs. CAR; TJ Duckett vs. WAS; Maurice Jones-Drew vs. MIN; Brandon Jacobs @ AZ

 

RBs You Might Want To Avoid In Week 12: Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk & BenJarvis Green-Ellis @ MIA; Edgerin James vs. NYG; Fred Taylor vs. MIN; Julius Jones & Maurice Morris vs. WAS

 

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

 

1. Clinton Portis (19)

2. Adrian Peterson (22)

3. Matt Forte (22)

4. Frank Gore (23)

5. Marion Barber (27)

6. Thomas Jones (28)

7. Reggie Bush (32)

8. Brian Westbrook (33)

9. Willie Parker (34)

10. Brandon Jacobs (35)

11. Marshawn Lynch (37)

12. LaDanian Tomlinson (38)

13. Michael Turner (43)

14. DeAngelo Williams (43)

15. Steve Slaton (45)

16. Maurice Jones-Drew (46)

17. Ronnie Brown (48)

18. Jamal Lewis (51)

19. Chris Johnson (56)

20. Larry Johnson (56)

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

22. Joseph Addai (65)

23. LenDale White (66)

24. Ryan Grant (69)

25. Darren McFadden (71)

26. Jonathan Stewart (73)

27. Warrick Dunn (74)

28. Sammy Morris (76)

29. Mewelde Moore (77)

30. Tim Hightower (78)

31. Kevin Smith (79)

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

33. Deuce McAllister (84)

34. Derrick Ward (85)

35. Ahman Green (85)

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

37. Jerome Harrison (87)

38. Peyton Hillis (89)

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

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

41. Dominic Rhodes (97)

42. Jerious Norwood (99)

43. Julius Jones (99)

44. Leon Washington (100)

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

46. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (104)

47. Ricky Williams (106)

48. Chester Taylor (112)

49. Kevin Faulk (114)

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

 

All of the rankings will be up in time for you to get your Thursday’s 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 12 QB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 WR Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 TE Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 K Rankings and Previews

 

Week 12 D/ST Rankings and Previews

 

 

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Need For A Quality Win Still Defines Ravens Season

Posted on 17 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Even if you’re someone who believes in good losses or moral victories, which I’m not by the way, you wouldn’t make an argument that the Ravens’ 30-10 undressing at the hands of the Giants on Sunday was either. The offensive juggernaut that was the “New Look” Baltimore Ravens for the past few weeks came crashing back to earth in a most humiliating fashion, in what was likely the Ravens final visit ever to the Meadowlands.

 

If you’re looking for a bright side, well then you’d have to look pretty deep. But I’d say that if there’s a positive spin to be put on the season as a whole at this point, it’s that championship teams are usually dealing with adversity and working out their issues at this time of year. As close as the Patriots came last season, you just don’t see teams dominate a season in today’s NFL from start to finish.

 

Look no further than the team that dismantled the Ravens on Sunday. At this time last season, the Giants were floundering. Eli Manning was struggling to get his team into the end zone, Brandon Jacobs was unable to stay healthy for a prolonged stretch, and the Giants couldn’t seem to beat anyone at home. Those Giants did just enough to be in position for the playoffs, and then took matters into their own hands from there. Outside of the Giants locker room, few believed that their week 17 showdown with the Patriots was a Superbowl preview.

 

If having struggles to overcome midseason is the precursor to postseason success, then the Ravens have a lot to be happy about. Because as good as they’ve been at times during this season, the Ravens have demons to overcome and questions to be answered on every side of the ball. Ready or not, the Ravens have positioned themselves right into the middle of the AFC playoff picture, and injuries and inexperience will not be an excuse, should they play themselves back out of contention.

 

On offense, the line has been makeshift, yet remains one of the pleasant surprises and true bright spots of this young team. They’ve done a much better than expected job of protecting Joe Flacco, and opening lanes for their three-headed running attack. Flacco, the rookie QB, is progressing much more quickly than almost anyone would have expected. And the creativity in the running and passing games has brought new life to the Ravens offense and their downfield potential.

 

Todd Heap however, has been surprisingly all but non-existent in the passing game this season. And in a match up this week, that seemed to set the table for Heap to find his role in the passing game, the Ravens elected to lean on a one-armed Derrick Mason as their primary passing target, over an able-bodied Heap and Mark Clayton. And while Mason, the unsung hero Flacco’s rapid development, deserves to be commended for gutting it out through his shoulder injury, clearly his one-armed status was a hindrance, and probably cost his young QB an interception too. The single wing offense has been dangerous this season, but a single winged wide receiver is probably best left to heal on the sideline.

 

Speaking of healing on the sideline, it appears that Willis McGahee could benefit from a little bit of Derrick Mason’s heart. Whether McGahee’s inability to stay in the lineup is a result of rushing him back too quickly, or his body simply breaking down, or an inability for him to stay interested in playing for prolonged stretches, it has to be of major concern to the Ravens going forward. Even last season, McGahee was unavailable at the ends of close crucial losses to Buffalo and New England. LeRon McClain and Ray Rice have definitely been pleasant surprises to this point, but without a reliable McGahee down the stretch, Flacco will have his hands full with the defensive pressure that he’ll likely be seeing.

 

On defense, the numbers are there, although the numbers took a little hit on Sunday too. But the Ravens have allowed crucial drives to allow points at the ends of halves and games that raise doubts about their status as an elite defense, like others that we’ve seen here in the past. And that was before Brandon Jacobs and his band of merry men ran all over the Ravens on Sunday. The secondary has held together remarkably in the face of numerous injuries, but maybe Sunday gave a glimpse as to why. Maybe the defense’s need to lend help to the secondary in coverage is taking away from the pass rush, and now maybe the ability to stop the run as well.

 

Bart Scott and Trevor Pryce have been all but invisible at times so far and Ed Reed is clearly just a shell of the player that we’ve come to expect prowling this secondary. At this point in the season, Reed has just 2 games with more than 2 tackles; he has just one interception on the season and just 6 pass deflections through ten games. Say what you want about teams throwing away from him, but if that were the case, defending half the field would be easy for the rest of the secondary. Teams are throwing at the Ravens all over the field, even at Ed Reed, plus he’s been thrown off of tackle attempts by ball carriers more than I can ever recall seeing from Reed in the past.

 

The fact that players aren’t even looking to pitch their interceptions to him this season may be a subtle indication of where Reed is health-wise. His reputation may be all that is sustaining him at this point. I’m sure that offensive coordinators are still preparing as if this is the Ed Reed of old, but clearly he isn’t. For a while, I wanted to believe that Harbaugh was just being prudent with Reed, guarding him from injury. But if Ed Reed isn’t making big plays, then he’s not Ed Reed. And if he’s not healthy enough to be put into a position to make those plays, then he certainly doesn’t belong returning kicks.

 

Perhaps the biggest reasons of all for concern, and also the ones least likely to change anytime soon, have been some questionable coaching decisions by our rookie head coach. Believe me, I’m not on the “Fire Harbaugh” Bandwagon, or even a basher at this point. Clearly Harbaugh has taken control of the attitude of this locker room, and brought back a winning mentality that may not have been possible this quickly under the old regime. But if you thought that Brain Billick was a curious manager of the clock, then like me, you must have been scratching your head at a number of timeouts, punts on short fields, missed challenge opportunities and curious end game clock usage by Harbaugh so far.

 

Some of this could likely be chalked up to the learning curve of a rookie head coach. Some of it can also probably be linked to the lack of depth and/or talent provided to him at certain key positions. But like it or not, Harbaugh’s learning curve, like that of his young QB, is happening right in the middle of the playoff chase. And the fans are going to be no more forgiving to Harbaugh, or Flacco for that matter than they were to Boller once upon a time in similar circumstances. So far, Flacco seems to be handling it much better than his young coach.

 

We all looked at the schedule with dread before the season began, and we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that this team has performed well beyond reasonable expectations already. But the bar doesn’t go back down, and it’s been set pretty high at this point. Most expected the Ravens to win one game that it looked like they shouldn’t, and lose one the same way too. So far they’ve beaten what you’d call the “bad teams” that they’ve played, and came up short against the “good ones”. Close losses to Pittsburgh and Tennessee led most to believe that the Ravens could beat those types of teams, but so far, no luck.

 

The remaining schedule will provide them with lots more opportunities to pick up that elusive “quality win”. But if they want to contend for the playoffs, they’ll probably need to pick up a few. Quality wins would likely provide the confidence that this team needs to go into the playoffs with a head of steam. If the team is able to get back on track they’ll likely be better for having had to suffer this embarrassing defeat, but if they’re not, this will likely mark the beginning of the end for this season.

 

Next week provides Harbaugh and the Raven a fresh opportunity, back in a friendly environment to pick up that elusive quality win that would define the Ravens as true contenders. Given the decade of service that Harbaugh has in Andy Reid’s system, and his intricate knowledge of their strengths and tendencies, I’m looking at this week’s match up with the Eagles as a big test and a big opportunity for Harbaugh. With two teams of seemingly similar talent on the field, playing here in Baltimore next week, Harbaugh has a chance to coach his team to a win in this one. Doing it would go a long way toward burying the memory of yesterday’s massacre at the Meadowlands right where it belongs, right next to Jimmy Hoffa.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

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A Giant butt kicking today in New Jersey…

Posted on 16 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

In a game that truly was a tale of two halves, the Ravens were completely and physically humbled in the first half but rebounded to give a spirited second half account of themselves before losing to the Giants at the Meadowlands. 

In fact, the game was very much in the balance until Derrick Mason failed to hold on to a Joe Flacco throw late in the 3rd quarter, resulting in a 50-yard interception return for a touchdown by New York’s Aaron Ross that sealed the Ravens’ fate.

If that play DOESN’T happen, who knows what the final 15 minutes would have looked like.

The first half beating was eerily similar to the one Rocky Balboa took from Clubber Lang in Rocky 3. Rocky got his rear end handed to him in that bout and so did the Ravens in the first half of today’s game.  It was ugly, plain and simple.  Brandon Jacobs ran over just about everyone in a white jersey during the first 30 minutes and Baltimore’s tackling was minor league.  And when Jacobs wasn’t running wild, New York receivers were taking advantage of a soft Ravens’ secondary en route to a 20-3 halftime lead that would have been worse had Eli Manning not thrown a ball right to Ray Lewis with 12 seconds left with the Giants on Baltimore’s 18-yard line.

Aided by a 7-minute drive early in the 3rd quarter, Baltimore got back in the game with a Flacco to Le’Ron McClain TD pass that gave the Ravens hope and sent their defense back on the field with a mission.  Five plays later, the Ravens got the ball back on their own 30 and the crowd started to get a bit antsy.  The rout was no longer a rout.

But as is the case in most games, one play altered the momentum at a critical time and that play, unfortunately, went against the Ravens.  On 2nd and 5 from their own 42, Flacco looked to his left and found Mason for what would have been a first down, but the ball deflected off of Mason and fell into the waiting arms of Ross, who ran uncontested into the end zone for the backbreaking score and a 27-10 lead.

From there, the teams meandered through a meaningless fourth quarter, although the Ravens mysteriously ran the ball throughout the final stanza while trailing by 20 points.  

All in all, it was a fairly poor performance from the Ravens, who looked listless against the run and simply couldn’t come all the way back from a first half thrashing that had Giants fans laughing in their seats while the team in blue ran roughshod over the vaunted Baltimore defense.

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 11 RBs

Posted on 12 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

The returns of Reggie Bush, and possibly Cadillac Williams and maybe even Tatum Bell could be a few of the highlights of this week’s running back rankings. The good thing about having Tatum Bell on your fantasy team is that you don’t have to worry about him stealing from the lockers of the rest of your team. With the majority of teams now using two or even three back schemes now, there’s pretty much always going to be value on the waiver wire. The key is finding it. We’ll do our best to help your prospecting efforts, or just to sort out those lineup decisions for week 11.

 

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

 

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

 

Week 11 Fantasy Running Back Power Rankings

 

RB Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8910

 

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

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

1. Clinton Portis (1) – WAS – 995 yds 7 TD

 

2. Adrian Peterson (7) – MIN – 1015 yds 7 TD

 

3. Brian Westbrook (2) – PHI – 448 yds 6 TD & 207 yds 2 TD rec

 

4. Thomas Jones (16) – NYJ – 750 yds 8 TD & 104 yds 1 TD rec

 

5. Matt Forte (3) – CHI – 713 yds 4 TD & 282 yds 3 TD

 

6. Brandon Jacobs (10) – NYG – 806 yds 9 TD

 

7. Michael Turner (8) – ATL – 890 yds 7 TD

 

8. Marion Barber (4) – DAL – 665 yds 5 TD & 264 yds 2 TD rec

 

9. Frank Gore (5) – SF – 728 yds 4 TD & 317 yds 1 TD

 

10. Chris Johnson (6) – TEN – 723 yds 5 TD & 179 yds 1 TD rec

 

11. Steven Jackson (9) – ST.L – 525 yds 4 TD

 

12. Ronnie Brown (12) – MIA – 504 yds 9 TD & 19 yds 1 TD passing

 

13. Maurice Jones-Drew (17) – JAX – 433 yds 9 TD & 253 yds 0 TD rec

 

14. LaDanian Tomlinson (11) – SD – 629 yds 4 TD & 254 yds 1 TD rec

 

15. Steve Slaton (13) – HOU – 545 yds 5 TD & 198 yds 1 TD rec

 

16. Marshawn Lynch (15) – BUF – 512 yds 6 TD & 199 yds 0 TD rec

 

17. LenDale White (14) – TEN – 418 yds 11 TD

 

18. DeAngelo Williams (NR) – CAR – 662 yds 4 TD & 79 yds 2 TD rec.

 

19. Willis McGahee (NR) – BAL – 463 yds 5 TD

 

20. Jamal Lewis (19) – CLE – 593 yds 4 TD

 

Dropped from Rankings: Ernest Graham – TB; Tim Hightower – AZ

 

RBs Who Should Be Better Than Usual In Week 11: Reggie Bush & Deuce McAllister @ KC; Frank Gore vs. ST.L; Michael Turner vs. DEN; Ronnie Brown & Ricky Williams vs. OAK; DeAngelo Williams vs. DET; Joseph Addai vs. HOU; Steve Slaton @ IND; Steven Jackson @ SF; Brian Westbrook @ CIN

 

RBs Who Could Be Sleepers Based on Week 11 Match Ups: Dominic Rhodes vs. HOU; Ahman Green @ IND; Correll Buckhalter @ CIN; Antoino Pittman @ SF

 

RBs With Tough Week 11 Match Ups: Brandon Jacobs vs. BAL; Willis McGahee & LeRon McClain @ NYG; LaDanian Tomlinson @ PIT; Adrian Peterson @ TB; Marion Barber @ WAS; Thomas Jones @ NE; BenJarvis Green-Ellis vs. AZ; Ernest Graham vs. MIN

 

RBs You Might Want to Avoid in Week 11: Julius Jones vs. AZ; Kevin Smith @ CAR

 

And here are the week 11 Fantasy RB start rankings; it’s the top 50 projected 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 the Thursday night game, so keep checking back for the rest.

 

1. Brian Westbrook (16)

2. Reggie Bush (17)

3. Michael Turner (19)

4. Matt Forte (20)

5. Frank Gore (22)

6. Clinton Portis (23)

7. Ronnie Brown (32)

8. Adrian Peterson (33)

9. DeAngelo Williams (35)

10. Thomas Jones (36)

11. Chris Johnson (39)

12. Steven Jackson (41)

13. Marion Barber (45)

14. Brandon Jacobs (46)

15. Steve Slaton (47)

16. Marshawn Lynch (47)

17. Maurice Jones-Drew (50)

18. LenDale White (51)

19. Tim Hightower (52)

20. Willie Parker (53) *keep an eye on his injury status

21. Joseph Addai (60)

22. LaDanian Tomlinson (62)

23. Jamal Lewis (62)

24. Mewelde Moore (67) *put him in Parker’s spot if Parker can’t play

25. Ernest Graham (69)

26. Jerious Norwood (69)

27. Deuce McAllister (71)

28. Willis McGahee (73)

29. BenJarvis Green-Ellis (77)

30. Kevin Smith (78)

31. Dominic Rhodes (78)

32. Ricky Williams (78)

33. Ahman Green (79)

34. Julius Jones (80)

35. Kevin Faulk (83)

36. Cedric Benson (83)

37. Ryan Grant (89)

38. LeRon McClain (91)

39. Correll Buckhalter (92)

40. Derrick Ward (94)

41. Jonathan Stewart (95) *injury risk, watch his status

42. Edgerin James (97)

43. Tatum Bell (101) * bump him 5 spots or so if they name him the starter

44. Antonio Pittman (101)

45. Selvin Young (102) * injury risk, watch his status

47. Justin Fargas (102)

47. Patrick Cobbs (102)

48. Chester Taylor (107)

49. Leon Washington (110)

50. Ray Rice (111)

 

I’ll make sure to get all of the Positional Rankings out in time to help with your Thursday night lineup decisions. Use the links below for the other positions. If they’re not active yet, keep checking back.

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 11 Fantasy QB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy WR Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy TE Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy D/ST Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy K Rankings and Previews

 

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