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Beating the Redskins in Baltimore…is anything better?

Posted on 08 December 2008 by Nestor Aparicio

Let’s start by stating the obvious: any win over the Washington Redskins is a great win, especially when you only get that opportunity every four years. With so much at stake after the Steelers wild comeback over Dallas (the tailgate was essentially a giant, frigid outdoor viewing party), it became more of a playoff game for the Ravens and they answered the bell on Sunday night with a resounding 24-10 win over their weaker rivals from the D.C. beltway.

Of course, the real playoff game comes this Sunday when the Steelers come to town for another huge game that will dictate whether the Ravens are “just” a playoff team or whether they’re built to win in January. A loss, and the playoffs are in peril and they’ll need to claw and scratch just to get in and go on the road for the month. A win over Pittsburgh here, and the Ravens can legitimately start talking about a first-round bye.

What a long, crazy, unexpected season this has been. Last night was an “instant classic,” a legendary memory, both good and bad. Beating the Redskins like dogs might be the most fun you can have as a Ravens fan but the sheer volume of burgundy and gold that made its way into our stadium was disgusting. And the weather was absolutely bone-chilling.

For those of you who didn’t attend, it was by far the coldest game in Ravens history, our own personal Ice Bowl. With the wind, it was brutal — so cold that the crowds started heading for the exits at halftime and some of us couldn’t blame them. It’s been almost three decades of waiting for the Redskins to return to Baltimore and I honestly didn’t enjoy the whipping as much as I thought I would just because I was a giant block of ice by the second quarter.

As I peered around at everyone in my section and the missing seats around the stadium, I think most people were thinking what I was: “Just get this game over with so I can go someplace warm!”

Lots of observations:

It’s pretty apparent what kind of amazing season Ed Reed is having. He’s a ballhawk, setting up quarterbacks, following their eyes and when the ball is thrown down the middle he is always in the right place. He is a tip-ball master. It’s uncanny, really. Let’s not forget that three months ago in Westminster there were organization-wide concerns that he’d never set foot on the field in 2008. The first six weeks of the season, he played with one arm and avoided contact on most plays. And after last night’s stellar game, many in the local media were talking MVP (or at least defensive MVP) accolades for No. 20.

Needless to say, virtually everyone in the locker room had something to say about Ed Reed here on wnsTV.

Ray Lewis played another “throwback” game last night. He was all over the field, sideline to sideline and was robbed of a fumble recovery on the sack of Jason Campbell that was whistled too soon. Had that call gone the Ravens’ way, the game might’ve been over much earlier given the momentum at that point.

Joe Flacco continues to impress anyone who watches this team. We keep waiting for the rookie mistakes, the confusion, the errors. Since the Indianapolis meltdown, the team is 7-1 and that must be credited to Flacco, who has truly been “Joe Cool.”

And the patchwork Ravens offensive line keeps changing parts but not outcomes. Flacco has managed to avoid major hits, even scrambling when needed and the line has been tenacious.

You gotta love the Ravens’ two midgets in the secondary, Corey Ivy and Jim Leonhard are truly unsung heroes on this 2008 team. They both made some big plays and vicious tackles against the Redskins, but if you ever meet them you’ll be shocked at how small they are. They’re truly “normal” sized guys and in my 13 years of going through the Ravens locker room there haven’t many like them. Maybe Jermaine Lewis and B.J. Sams would be in the club but not many more. Just amazing the heart these guys show being on the field with the giants. It’s inspirational, really, because you know they’ve been told all of their lives that they were too small to play in the NFL.

When the game got tight late in the 3rd quarter, the running back situation and atrophy became a factor and Le’Ron McClain once again emerged as a force late in the game. No one wants to tackle him in the 4th quarter when he’s running downhill. Willis McGahee and Ray Rice were both dinged up and their status will be a daily story in Owings Mills this week as the preparation for Pittsburgh week begins.

Overall, it’s been a dreamy kinda season. There’s no “tell all” explanation for why this team is 9-4 in a year when most “experts” in their own building would’ve been delighted with 8-8. And the notion that when the schedule came out in April we’d be sitting here with a chance for a first-round bye in January  as we put up holiday lights – well, it’s impressive and exciting for the whole city and anyone who is Ravens onlooker.

So out come the Festivus lights and the possibility of January fun!

We are still looking for entries to our “Miller Lite Purple Palace” promotion where you can win tickets to the Green Bay roadtrip next fall and a visit from the WNST crew if you have the coolest Ravens set up in your home.

A purple basement?

A dedicated room for all things Festivus, with autographs, pictures, memories?

A purple holiday set up under the tree? Or maybe the whole TREE is purple?

Maybe your friends or relatives need to know about the contest as well?

Send your pictures and/or your videos. We’re entering the final week of the contest. Click here for more details.

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Ravens one step closer to post-season play

Posted on 08 December 2008 by Drew Forrester

There were A LOT of demons exorcised on Sunday night at M&T Bank Stadium.

“Can’t win in the black jersey” – Check.

“Can’t win on national TV” – Check.

“Can’t beat a good team” – Check. Well, sort of. Based on that performance and their barely mediocre record, it’s hard to count the Redskins as a “good team”. But it’s worth rubbing it in a bit just to say, “Ravens beat a GOOD team…so take that, national media.”

A 24-10 Ravens’ win on Sunday gives the boys in purple a 9-4 record and in complete control of their playoff destiny. With Pittsburgh coming in to Baltimore next Sunday, the Ravens are on the verge of taking control of the AFC North if they can dispose of the pesky Steelers. Still, no matter what happens on Sunday vs. Pittsburgh, Baltimore can advance into post-season play with two wins in their final three games.

Sunday’s triumph over Washington wasn’t nearly as close as the box score would indicate. The Ravens jumped out to a quick 14-0 lead thanks to a pair of defensive help-outs, both engineered by Ed Reed, who picked off a pass to set up the game’s first TD and moments later returned a fumble for the other score as the Redskins handed Baltimore a 14-point head start with the first quarter not even halfway over. You’re going to lose EVERY time when you do that – especially at M&T Bank Stadium.

Washington managed to close the gap to 17-10 in the 4th quarter after Willis McGahee coughed up a fumble and Corey Ivy lost his man in the end zone and the resulting TD throw to Antwan Randle El cut the gap to one-score with eleven minutes remaining.

Then, as has been the case for most of the season, Joe Flacco came through when it mattered most, lofting a TD pass to Derrick Mason with four minutes to go to finish out the scoring at 24-10.

The ONLY negative of the night – which sort of turned out to be a half-positive because they have to make the drive back “down south” with their tail between their legs – had to be the overwhelming number of Redskins fans who slithered their way into the stadium. The club level seats were PACKED with burgundy and gold — a sure sign that the “suits” in town only come out for the Fall and short-sleeve-shirt-games and then pawn off their seats when the weather turns nasty. What a disgrace it was to see upwards of 10,000 Washington fans in OUR stadium for a game that mattered that much. Say what you will about that DC fan base, but I don’t think 10,000 people in purple winter coats would have had access to FedEx Field had the game been in Landover tonight with both teams playing for their respective playoff lives.

One rival sent packing, another on the way next Sunday.

It’s going to be another fun week in Baltimore.

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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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Obama’s lucky Flacco didn’t run

Posted on 25 November 2008 by Drew Forrester

There’s a lot of football left and anything can happen.

Five games is an eternity in the NFL.  

Injuries…a missed call by the zebras…a bad match-up or two.

In the NFL, you can win three in a row in a heartbeat and lose three in a row just as quickly.

But this is a Ravens team that looks different than in years past.  Record wise, this team is clearly much better than last year’s squad that was beset with injuries and dictated a mini-coaching-mutiny from within when it was apparent by Thanksgiving that the season was a lost cause.  

I think this team is better than the one that went 13-3 in 2006, truth be told.

Reason?

They have a quarterback.

Steve McNair wasn’t chopped liver when he showed up here for the ’06 campaign but he became chopped something shortly thereafter.  Even when he was healthy, he looked like he was on his last legs.  Players would openly marvel at how McNair could literally sleep for 20 minutes an hour before kick-off.  And, while the players knew McNair was better than Kyle Boller, they also knew his stay in Baltimore would probably be short-lived. 

That’s not the case now.  Joe Flacco’s going to be here for a long time.  And the players know it.

Flacco’s meteoric rise hasn’t come as a total shock to the Ravens.  Even back in training camp, players watched him and remarked at how he *looked* like a pro quarterback.  Samari Rolle showed up a week or so into camp after the death of his father and was standing on the sidelines on his first day in Westminster. He watched Flacco play for about 10 minutes and looked around to a Ravens’ staffer and said, “#5, the rookie. We’re gonna play him, right?  I mean, we’re trying to win aren’t we?”  A very telling statement from a Pro Bowl defensive back who knows a thing or two about quarterbacks and their abilities.

It might have taken some players (and fans) longer than 10 minutes to buy into Flacco, but one thing for sure by now.  Everyone wants to invest him.

The standard line at Owings Mills these days is this:  ”Buy stock in Joe Flacco.”

Flacco’s emergence is reflected in the team’s 7-4 record and their rise in the ranks of the AFC, but his play has done much more than just put points on the board for the Ravens.  He’s all but squashed any thoughts – private or public – from players who think Troy Smith would be a better fit than Flacco for this Ravens team.  He’s also quieted a locker room that was well-known for hosting a group moaning session on regular occasions when the Quarterback Du Jour wasn’t getting the job done.  There are no more cryptic radio show comments from Ray Lewis, Terrell Suggs or Willis McGahee.  Flacco has shut everyone up, critics and teammates alike.  As we all know, it’s not easy to shut up the Ravens.  But Flacco has done just that.

And a quiet locker room can make a lot of noise on the field, where those sounds best belong.

#5 has made life pleasant again in Baltimore.  He’s a viable candidate for NFL Rookie of the Year and could very well lead his team to the playoffs in his inaugural campaign in the league — something few people expected, much less demanded.  And his play has also brought harmony to the locker room.  No more bickering, no more mid-season finger pointing and no more concerns about having to win games with a quarterback who is a liability.

For years, the Ravens have belonged to Ray Lewis.  

And, in perpetuity, #52 will always be the guy who built the Ravens’ house.

But it’s looking more and more like Joe Flacco is going to build an addition on to that house.

And when you build an addition, the first thing people say is, “Wow, your house sure looks better.”

That’s the story of the Ravens in 2008.  No matter what happens from here on in, their house looks a lot better with Joe Flacco at work. In fact, the house hasn’t looked this good in a long, long time.

I hope that new addition has room for a certain trophy named after a Hall of Fame NFL coach.

I think we’ll need the room one of these days in the not so distant future.

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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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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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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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