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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 11 TEs

Posted on 13 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

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

 

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

 

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

 

Week 11 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings

 

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9 - 10

 

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

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Dallas Clark (12)

2. Tony Gonzalez (19)

3. Tony Scheffler (19)

4. Antonio Gates (23)

5. Anthony Fasano (30)

6. Bo Scaife (31)

7. Derek Fine (34)

8. Owen Daniels (37)

9. Kellen Winslow Jr. (38)

10. Mercedes Lewis (38)

11. Kevin Boss (40)

12. Jason Witten (41)

13. Daniel Graham (43)

14. Chris Cooley (44)

15. Dustin Keller (45)

16. Billy Miller (46)

17. John Carlson (46)

18.  Greg Olsen (51)

19. Alex Smith (51)

20. Jerramy Stevens (57)

21. Visanthe Schiancoe (59)

22. Tom Santi (60)

23. Zach Miller (63)

24. David Martin (66)

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

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

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

28. Vernon Davis (73)

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

30. Jerrame Tuman (75)

31. Justin Peele (76)

32. Dante Rosario (77)

33. Robert Royal (78)

34. Alge Crumpler (79)

35. Donald Lee (80)

36. Matt Spaeth (81)

37. Jeremy Shockey (86)

38. Desmond Clark (89)

39. John Gilmore (89)

40. Steve Heiden (92)

 

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

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 11 Fantasy QB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy RB Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy WR Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy D/ST Rankings and Previews

 

Week 11 Fantasy K Rankings and Previews

 

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Joe Can Do

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

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Just how good are the Ravens?

Posted on 10 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

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

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

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

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

Fair enough.

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

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

There is one thing we know for sure.

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

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

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

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

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

It’s officially “Festivus” season in Baltimore.

Break out the purple lights.

Break out the expectations of fun on Sundays.

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

The good news came in waves yesterday.

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

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

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

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

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

Next up: the World Champion New York Giants.

They had their hands full with Philadelphia last night.

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Road game at Houston “Ngata” problem…

Posted on 09 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

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

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

I doubt he could have been worse than Rosenfels.

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

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

Now…the fun and games are over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 10 TEs

Posted on 06 November 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

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

 

Week 10 Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings

 

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8 - 9

 

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

 

(last week’s rankings in parentheses)

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Dropped from Rankings: Billy Miller – NO

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

1. Tony Gonzalez (7)

2. Kevin Boss (19)

3. Owen Daniels (21)

4. Visanthe Schiancoe (22)

5. Antonio Gates (25)

6. Dallas Clark (26)

7. Derek Fine (26)

8. Anthony Fasano (28)

9. Kellen Winslow Jr. (30)

10. Mercedes Lewis (32)

11. Greg Olsen (35)

12. Billy Miller (35)

13. Zach Miller (39)

14. Tony Scheffler (41)

15. Jeremy Shockey (45)

16. Dante Rosario (48)

17. Bo Scaife (51)

18. David Martin (52)

19. John Carlson (53)

20. Steve Heiden (57)

21. Donald Lee (58)

22. LJ Smith (60)

23. Heath Miller (23)

24. Mark Campbell (61)

25. Michael Gaines (63)

26. Rober Royal (64)

27. Dustin Keller (66)

28. Jerrame Tuman (70)

29. Desmond Clark (71)

30. Daniel Graham (72)

31. Brent Celek (74)

32. Brad Cottam (75)

33. Justin Peele (76)

34. Tory Humphrey (76)

35. Alge Crumpler (77)

36. Vernon Davis (78)

37. Todd Heap (81)

38. Tom Santi (83)

39. Casey Fitzsimmons (87)

40. Delanie Walker (88)

 

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

 

Week 10 QB Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 RB Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 WR Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 D/ST Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

 

Week 10 K Power Ranks and Weekly Previews

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The afterglow of Cleveland

Posted on 03 November 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Talk about snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.

With just over a quarter remaining in yesterday’s key divisional AFC North matchup, the Ravens were 14 points down on the road, the Browns fans were coming to life with a chorus of “Hang on Sloopy” (don’t ask…just watch the video!) and the vultures were circling our black birds at Cleveland Stadium.

Some of the Cleveland “faithful” had already begun to pile out onto the street to watch Bruce Springsteen perform before the Barack Obama rally, which was literally adjacent to the stadium (think as close as Oriole Park is to M&T Bank Stadium).

The Browns had our rookie quarterback on the run. Our beaten defense had been pushed around for 30 minutes – or as Terrell Suggs said: “We were getting our asses handed to us.” And staring at a two-touchdown deficit on the road in a hostile environment, it didn’t feel as though a comeback was in the offering.

Todd Heap hadn’t caught a pass. Willis McGahee was on the pine. The backend of the secondary, while not looking like Ike Booth and Donny Brady circa 1996 was still not Chris McAlister and Samari Rolle in their prime for sure.

But, as we learned in the locker room after the game, it was about that time that Ray Lewis came to the forefront on the sidelines and talked about playing a full 60 minutes of football. He talked about believing and not quitting. All of the stuff many may view as “rhetoric” when it doesn’t work was viewed as gospel once the Ravens came storming back to score 24 unanswered points during the final 16 minutes of the game.

And, lo and behold, the Ravens created their first miracle of the John Harbaugh administration and gave us our best memory of Cleveland yet, a stunning 37-27 victory on The Lake. (Well, it’s at least the the best memory in Cleveland since the Roberto Alomar homer back in 1996.)

While the real world is in a seemingly constant state of financial crisis and life isn’t a whole lot of fun for most of us from the gas pump to the checkbook, it’s stupid stuff like sports that can create a little bit of fun and a diversion from daily life. At least here in Baltimore with the fantasyland that sports provides us, it’s turning into a very good year for our football team, which makes for nice Monday mornings.

Hell, it makes for great WEEKS in my world, where everywhere I go and everything I do leads me into a conversation about football and the Ravens.

So, on a personal note, there’s nothing more gratifying than when the Ravens win.

It helps WNST morale. It helps the morale of the community. And it makes food taste a little better and the beer is, to quote Chuck Thompson, a little colder.

The Ravens are 5-3, headed off to play Houston in six days and apparently will draw the Sage Rosenfels quarterback card instead of Matt Schaub, who left the Texans’ game early yesterday.

Ray Lewis is playing like a man possessed, showing himself to be the veteran leader in his “walk” year that we’ve been wanting to see as fans.

It’s officially time to start talking about “Festivus.”

(Does John Harbaugh even know about this sacred football holiday?)

And then there are the three “rookies” who stepped to the podium after yesterday’s gritty, improbable win.

Ray Rice had as big of a day on the road when it mattered against a division rival as you can imagine a rookie having. (Although he’ll be hearing about getting knocked out of bounds short of the end zone a few times this week from teammates.)

Joe Flacco was almost flawless in his effort yesterday and continues to show poise, confidence and ability that are beyond his years.

And rookie coach John Harbaugh is starting to show results in the only place it really matters: the team is 5-3 and could be in first place by the end of the night.

Only time will tell if yesterday’s offense-defense bonding on the Lake will take root and this will be a playoff team (or maybe even a true contender for a Super Bowl title in this oddest of seasons).

The conversations here and around town will talk about the obvious problems: the lack of a bye week, the powerful NFC North teams looming during the holidays and tough games and the secondary will probably be a question mark until proven otherwise. There will be plenty of time to debate all of this, week to week, as the team continues to mature.

But yesterday was one for the books — a classic, an unexpected gem to begin the Festivus season. Not even being stuck in the Cleveland airport for three extra hours last night could wipe the smile off of my face.

As I walked to the subway after hearing about 25 minutes of Springsteen (as many of you know, one of my favorites), we strolled to Tower City Mall as Bruce broke out an acoustic version of “The Rising” and dedicated it to Barack Obama, who was about to take the stage.

Bruce could have just as easily sent that one out to the purple birds, who were trying to navigate the insane scene of 100,000 people on the square downtown en route to the airport for a “rising” of their own.

The rising to the top of the AFC North, creating even more separation from the whole state of Ohio.

The rain began to fall on the Cleveland night as the sun set before 5 p.m. for the beginning of a long, cold winter on Lake Erie.

The Ravens are 5-3. The Browns are 3-5.

Going in opposite directions once again.

The bad news?

We’re all stuck rooting for the Redskins tonight.

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The Fantasy Flavor Positional Power Rankings – Week 9 TEs

Posted on 30 October 2008 by Thyrl Nelson

Here are the Week 9 Fantasy Flavor Tight End Power Rankings. It’s the top 20 TEs based on what we’ve seen so far, and a look ahead at this week’s match ups. In addition to the power rankings, we’ve identified the best and worst match ups for week 9 and ranked the top 35 TEs in the order you should consider them this week.

TE Power Rankings Archive34567 - 8

Week 9 QB Rankings and Previews

Week 9 RB Rankings and Previews

Week 9 WR Rankings and Previews

Week 9 D/ST Rankings and Previews

Week 9 K Rankings and Previews

 

Fantasy Tight End Power Rankings Week 9

 

The power rankings are based on year to date performance and not a reflection of who to start this week, match up information for week 9 is listed below the rankings. Last weeks rankings are in parentheses.

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

2. Antonio Gates (2) – SD – 403 yds 4 TD

3. Tony Gonzalez (7) – KC – 369 yds 3 TD

4. Owen Daniels (3) – HOU – 395 yds 2 TD

5. Dallas Clark (15) – IND – 328 yds 2 TD

6. Anthony Fasano (9) – MIA – 251 yds 3 TD

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

8. Chris Cooley (5) – WAS – 451 yds 1 TD

9. Zach Miller (11) – OAK – 312 yds 1 TD

10. Visanthe Schiancoe (4) – MIN – 223 yds 3 TD

11. Greg Olsen (8) – CHI – 296 yds 2 TD  

12. John Carlson (12) – SEA – 214 yds 2 TD

13. Bo Scaife (10) – TEN – 318 yds 1 TD

14. Billy Miller (NR) – NO – 323 yds 0 TD  

15. Kellen Winslow (14) – CLE – 187 yds 1 TD

16. Mercedes Lewis (17) – JAX – 185 yds 2 TD

17. Kevin Boss (NR) – NYG – 118 yds 2 TD  

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

19. Alex Smith (16) – TB – 216 yds 2 TD

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

Dropped from Rankings: David Martin – MIA; Heath Miller – PIT; Donald Lee – GB

 

Here’s a look at who should be a little bit better or worse than normal based on this week’s match ups.

TEs Who Should Enjoy Their Week 9 Match Ups: John Carlson vs. PHI; Greg Olsen vs. DET; Zach Miller vs. ATL; Anthony Fasano @ DEN; Bo Scaife vs. GB; Donald Lee @ TEN; Robert Royal vs. NYJ

TEs Who Could Be Sleepers in Week 9: David Martin @ DEN; Justin Peele @ OAK; Alge Crumpler vs. GB; Reggie Kelly vs. JAX; Joe Klopfstein vs. AZ

TEs With Tough Week 9 Match Ups: Tony Scheffler vs. MIA; Alex Smith & Jerramy Stevens @ KC; Heath Miller @ WAS; Tony Gonzalez vs. TB; Kevin Boss vs. DAL; Jason Witten @ NYG; Dustin Keller @ BUF; Todd Haep @ CLE; Mercedes Lewis @ CIN; LJ Smith @ SEA; Chris Cooley vs. PIT

 

And finally our “Formulary Start Rankings” for week 9. They’re gotten using the secret Fantasy Flavor Formula, which is basically 2 parts players performance, one part defensive expectations against them and a fraction of my gut thrown in to account for injuries and anomallies. The formulary number is in parenthesis behind the player’s name, the lower the number, the better your player’s chances at a big day.

1. Anthony Fasano (18)

2. Zach Miller (19)

3. Owen Daniels (20)

4. Dallas Clark (23)

5. Greg Olsen (24)

6. John Carlson (25)

7. Tony Gonzalez (32)

8. Bo Scaife (32)

9. Jason Witten (34)

10. Visanthe Schiancoe (34)

11. Chris Cooley (37)

12. Tony Scheffler (41)

13. David Martin (44)

14. Kellen Winslow (45)

15. Mercedes Lewis (51)

16. LJ Smith (54)

17. Robert Royal (54)

18. Justin Peele (55)

19. Kevin Boss (57)

20. Donald Lee (57)

21. Jerrame Tuman (58)

22. Martellus Bennett (62)

23. Alge Crumpler (62)

24. Desmond Clark (62)

25. Alex Smith (64)

26. Jerramy Stevens (66)

27. Heath Miller (71)

28. Dustin Keller (71)

29. Tory Humphrey (71)

30. Tom Santi (73)

31. Daniel Graham (81)

32. Steve Heiden (81)

33. Brad Cottam (84)

34. Reggie Kelly (88)

35. Ben Patrick (88)

Check back tomorrow for the defense and kicker rankings and catch me on the Comcast Morning Show with Drew tomorrow around 9: 45. And of course you can catch the Fantasy Flavor on Saturday from 4-7 and as always, good luck this week.

Peace,

T

(thyrl@wnst.net)

Thyrl’s Mobtown Blog Pound 2.0

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Selig makes the right call in Philadelphia

Posted on 28 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Even the blind squirrel finds the nut eventually, my Mom once told me. And for once, Bud Selig and Major League Baseball did the right thing.

Calling the game when they did in its suspended fashion was absolutely the obvious choice in deciding this sticky weather situation.

Via the magic of the internet and the Comcast DVR, I’ve had quite an evening. My evening began at the Ravens team Halloween party to benefit Goodwill Industries at Dave & Buster’s at Arundel Mills Mall. My comrades Casey Willett and Ray Bachman joined me and we did a series of wnsTV interviews with Joe Flacco, Todd Heap, Jason Brown and Jameel McClain. It was a great party, raising over $100,00 for the charity and there were 15 Ravens players in the house, including co-host Mark Clayton, Haruki Nakamura, Adam Terry and a bunch of others.

I got home at 10 p.m. I had both the World Series and the Tennessee-Indianapolis game set on the DVR. I got caught up in the baseball game before we even left the bar and joined it in real time. By 10:30, it was raining pretty hard and anyone who was watching had to be asking the same question we were: “Why in the world are they playing? This is no way to settle a World Series title!”

So, they halted the game in a rain delay right after the Rays tied the game 2-2, and 45 minutes later (after we had started the Colts-Titans game on the DVR), we heard about the “suspended” status on MLB.com. We tried for a few minutes to get the info about the rules, the makeup time and date — ya know, the basic 411 and “what are they doing?” stuff. Ten seconds later, I’m listening to the Bud Selig press conference in real time on the internet as I watch the second quarter of the football game from Nashville. And this shapes up to be a pretty good game right now.

(Shh, don’t wreck it for me!! And don’t send me result-related texts in real time during a gamenight. I’m in delay probably 80% of the time.)

It’s a perfect sports world, being around and on the internet in 2008, right?

I’m pretty sure the game is over and I’m avoiding surfing the web because I’m now watching the second half of the Titans-Colts game in delay.

It’s midnight. One false move and “Titan win late” or “Colts pull out big road win” headline blare and it wrecks my whole night.

I have no idea who won and I might even turn it off and pick it up in progress for breakfast. In my living room, sometimes Monday Night Football often becomes Tuesday Morning Football. With coffee and cereal…

Certainly tonight has been memorable and Game 5 of the 2008 World Series has instantly become a fascinating “footnote” in baseball history.

The game is suspended. And they’ll pick it where they left off. And the darts will come from every direction.

Should they have even played past the fourth inning?

Should the Phillies be ahead or tied?

Does Bud Selig have the power to change the rules and decide anything he feels like deciding on short notice?

And they might not even play until Thursday night with the weather forecast ominous over the next 48 hours. Who knows?

But it’s gonna make for a good water cool talk.

Or a day’s worth of sports talk radio.

Hey I’m watching a great football game and we’ll pick the baseball tomorrow.

Or Wednesday.

A perfect sports night…

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Watching Moyer awakens old O’s memories

Posted on 25 October 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

The World Series has returned to Philadelphia for the first time in 15 years. The fans are bathed in red and the series is tied 1-1. To the mound tonight for the Fightin’ Phils: Jamie Moyer.

A blast from the past, and I suppose most fans don’t even associate him with the Orioles, but I remember his time in orange and black quite vividly.

I met Jamie Moyer at the Huggins-Stengel Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. during the spring training of 1993. I wrote an extensive blog about my experience there last year but it was an incredible adventure covering those Orioles teams. One of my favorite experiences as a professional even after all of these years.

Moyer was a super astute student of the game, a likeable guy who a young Mike Mussina and others like Todd Frohwirth and Mark Williamson liked to talk strategy and “real pitching” with. He was a borderline major-leaguer at that point, who had bounced around three organizations and didn’t pitch in the big leagues in 1992 (he spent the whole summer in AAA Toledo after six years in the big leagues)

He was a long shot to make the team coming out of Florida. He was a non-roster invitee and basically an afterthought. That was a season when Ben McDonald, Fernando Valenzuela, Rick Sutcliffe, Arthur Rhodes and Mussina were the starting staff.

It was 1993 and he was basically “washed up.”

Well, you know the rest of the story.

He made the team (and I think he might’ve had some coffee in Rochester that spring as well). He was a back of the rotation starter, who was wily mixing speeds and location like a Scott McGregor and used his smarts like a Mike Flanagan to get guys out. In three seasons of the Orioles’ heyday for attendance and overall interest after Camden Yards’ opening, he went 25-22 on some forgettable on-the-field teams sandwiched around the 1994 strike. He was on the field the night Cal Ripken broke Lou Gerhig’s streak.

Moyer was a good guy, a real professional. His wife, Karen, is former Notre Dame coach Digger Phelps’ daughter. Phelps was omnipresent around the team during those years, always making time to do my radio show and talk college basketball with me. Moyer’s wife was outgoing, friendly and loved sports. She even asked me for “GET NASTY” shirt and swore she wore it when she ran every day.

When he left the Orioles before the 1996 season, Moyer had made less than $3 million playing baseball for a decade.

He signed in Boston, was dealt to Seattle and went on to win 145 games in 10 seasons there as a franchise pitcher.

Moyer is still pitching in the World Series at the age of 46. He’s doing it in his hometown. He’s pitched 22 seasons and won 246 games but has never pitched in a World Series game after three other trips to the postseason. It’s the greatest night of his professional life and he’s made almost $60 million more dollars after being all but out of baseball 15 years ago, right around the last time his hometown Phillies were last playing October baseball.

The game started a little late, the fans are pretty stewed up in Filthy.

I hope Jamie Moyer pitches a classic.

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Coach Harbaugh speaks on Chris McAlister’s status and Terrell Suggs comments

Posted on 24 October 2008 by caseywillett

Here are some news and notes as it relates to Ravens on Friday:

-Chris McAlister took 11 reps on Wednesday and has not practiced the last two days. So do not look for him to start on Sunday.

-Derrick Mason missed the last two days of practice with a severe headache. Mason attended meetings this morning but did not practice.

-Coach Harbaugh said that all of the talk about Terrell Suggs, Troy Smith, and Chris McAlister, has not been a distraction for the team. Some of the guys have joked with Suggs about it, but that is about as far as is it goes.

-Terrell Suggs and Coach Harbaugh have discussed his statement about Troy Smith should be the starting quarterback and that it is a non issue and he takes Suggs at his word when he said he just thought they both should play.

Here is the statement released by Terrell Suggs about the statements that he made about the bounty:

I’ve got to set the record straight about what I said about so-called bounties. I tried to explain this on Wednesday, but it keeps coming back up.

“We, the players, don’t pay each other to take another player out of the game. And you know coaches don’t do that. As I said before, we prepare to stop the other team’s best players every week. Those are the players who can beat you with big plays. For example, we’ve focused all this week on stopping the Raiders’ running backs. We’ve focused on them in practice and in meetings. They are marked men by our defense – we have to know where they are on every play, and we can’t let them get rolling on Sunday.

“When I did the radio show in Atlanta, that’s what I meant and I thought that’s what I said. I did repeat the word bounty early in the interview after the guy asking me the question used the word. That was a mistake. I misspoke, and I’m sorry for that.

“I hope that clears this up.”

- Jim Leonhard  took some reps as the backup holder for Matt Stover. He is doing this because he would be the guy if something was to happen to Sam Koch. This is because Todd Bouman will be the 3rd string emergency quarterback.

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