2012-13 NFL Season Preview for Fantasy Football: Chaos in Motion

With most of the fantasy football leagues already in tow with their drafts and the preseason games closed, it’s time to see how this season will fold.  Now onto my predictions for the NFL 2012-13 regular season:

  • Rookie Quarterbacks.  After the Wildcat, rookie quarterbacks are the new sensation in football.  With Detroit Lions’ Matthew Stafford and Cincinnati Bengals’ Andy Dalton both performing well, given their short tenure in the league, now it’s time for others to shine — and collapse under the burden of the NFL.  Washington RedskinsRobert Griffin III is a hot commodity to be sure, but you better count your eggs before your chickens in his case.  Otherwise, he might leave your basket half-empty.
  • Chaos, Chaos Everywhere.  With veterans already injured, like Minnesota Vikings’ Adrian Peterson, fantasy football players will be scrounging early and often.  Waiver wire will be the godsend and disaster for many, many people.  Whereas in earlier seasons, the waiver wire was fundamentally for backups and gamblers.  EVERYONE will be scrounging.
  • Indianapolis Colts Andrew Luck vs. The World.  Andrew Luck has high expectations on his shoulder in the Indianapolis Colts locker room.  He has almost the same quality weapons that now Denver BroncosPeyton Manning has, but will he live up to expectations?  He should get close and surpass Robert Griffin III.  Anything beyond that, I won’t risk.
  • Denver Broncos‘ Peyton Manning vs. New York Giants’ Eli Manning.  The Mannings have already done their commercial work.  I don’t think Peyton Manning won’t be driving his Buicks through any goal posts this season.  He should do a better-than-average job as quarterback for the Broncos.  He should be capped as a low-end QB1/high-end QB2.  Eli Manning should be capped as a high-end QB2.  Both will average each other out.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick and Nick Foles: The Jeff Garcia Effect.  You know how history repeats itself.  The Eagles will repeat history again.  Vick will get injured, and Foles will indeed take the Eagles at or near the playoffs with his leadership and ability.  Once the Eagles get into the playoffs (or near it), Vick will miraculously return and take the reins.  However, the wheels will fall of the Eagles truck — once again.
  • New York Jets’ Tebow Wildcats and His Jesus-Voltron.  Jets’ head coach Rex Ryan created a combustible quarterback situation.  How long do you think Tim Tebow will take a backseat in the Wildcat formation?  Hmmm, not too long, I think.  Once Mark Sanchez fails even slightly, Sanchez will be pulled.  If Ryan doesn’t pull him, the angry New York fans will.  The clock is ticking…

This is a short taste of what’s to come during the NFL 2012-13 regular season of fantasy football in my honest and blunt opinion.

The Philadelphia Eagles 2011-12 Season in Review: The Good, the Fads and the Ugly

With the Philadelphia Eagles impressive 34-10 win over the hapless Washington Redskins last Sunday, the game was essentially meaningless as the Eagles could not make the playoffs.  The Eagles end the regular season with 8-8 and third in the NFC East.  Meanwhile, the New York Giants won over their local AFC rival New York Jets 29-14 two weeks beforehand, and with the win, the Giants saved their head coach Tom Coughlin’s job once again.  The New York Giants upped one even further by winning the NFC East title over the Dallas Cowboys and securing the last coveted spot in the playoffs against the Atlanta Falcons. Sadly, the Philadelphia Eagles are left contemplating their 2011-12 regular season on their couches and chalkboards.

The Good

Running Back LeSean McCoy Goes to the Pro Bowl and One of the Leading Running Backs in the NFL. It was a matter of time before LeSean McCoy matures as a running back and dominates.  As said previously, he progressed faster than Brian Westbrook did with the Philadelphia Eagles as statistics showed from the last few seasons.  In this season, he surpassed former Philadelphia Eagles running back Steve Van Buren and the entire league this season with 20 total touchdowns.

Former Pro Bowl Kicker David Akers Leaves. When former Pro Bowler David Akers left for the San Francisco 49ers, there was a hole left in the Eagles special teams.  Coach Andy Reid resorted to rookie Alex Henery, and he has been a surprise as he ranks 5th in extra-points made.

The Fads

Quarterback Micheal Vick Matures But Doesn’t Improve. The Michael Vick mystique had all but disappeared within Philadelphia.  His mediocrity has shown like he was with the Atlanta Falcons.  However, this time, he lacked the brashness of his youth.  In fact, with his overall quarterback rating of 82.9, he’s only slightly better than he was with the Atlanta Falcons with 2004 at a 78.1 quarterback rating. His 2011 quarterback rating obviously fails in comparison to his 2010 rating of 100.2. The Donovan McNabb Experiment with Michael Vick has been less than successful.

Tight End Brent Celek Gel with Michael Vick. One of the better tight ends in the league finally gels with Michael Vick.  However, this is a double-edged sword. Michael Vick has been mediocre this season compared to last season, and despite the increase in the number of targets per game, Brent Celek’s numbers has actually been worse than the previous season. Compared to last season, he has 200+ more yards, but he has the same number of touchdowns as he did last season when he should have had more.

Implementation of the Wide 9 Defense. The wide 9 defense hasn’t been entirely bad for the Philadelphia Eagles.  It was distorted by the Eagles turnovers.  In fact, the Philadelphia Eagles have nearly 1,000 less total yards gained by opponents and gained four positions to 8th this season in total defense.  Compared against the run last season, they are about comparable, ranking surprisingly at about 15th. This defensive formation has been astonishingly effective despite how it looks on the field.  Numbers don’t lie.

The Ugly 

Head Coach Andy Reid and Office Politics. Head coach Andy Reid has been on the hot seat this season as the team continuously lost despite having the talent on the roster.  The inconsistent offense, undisciplined defense and the coach hirings and firings ultimately bit Reid this season.

Juan Castillo’s Promotion to Defensive Coordinator. Juan Castillo, the defensive coordinator this season, has been on the hot seat as well.  With St. Louis Rams Steve Spagnulo looming on the horizon, Castillo may not be the defensive coordinator no longer.

Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson Goes Diva. DeSean Jackson still has been contending for a better contract all season.  However, this season, his numbers have not been that productive.  He has only 3 touchdowns to date compared to 6 last season, and he has less than 1,000 total receiving yards this season unlike the past two.  Whether he or the Philadelphia Eagles want to trade him in the off-season, that remains to be seen.  There’s no doubt he’s valuable to the Eagles franchise, but his attitude may sour the team.

Defense Lacks Discipline. Dealing with a new defensive coordinator in Juan Castillo was hard enough, but even harder, when the defensive coordinator doesn’t press discipline on the players.  Some of the Philadelphia Eagles defensive backs have been causing commotion on the field by hitting above the shoulder pads and after the tackle.  This is not the professional team that once was when Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook and David Akers were here.

Turnovers, Turnovers, Turnovers. The Philadelphia Eagles offense has been lackadaisical as the Eagles are ranked first in turnovers in the entire NFL.  Having the first in turnovers won’t win games, particularly when compounded with a porous run defense.

Cornerback Asante Samuel Unhappy as the Safety Position Crowds. With the acquisition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Nnamdi Asomugha, former New England Patriots cornerback Asante Samuel felt that it was three’s a crowd in the safety position. Compared to last season, he’s been a more effective tackler, but he hasn’t nearly had the number of interceptions.  And with the Eagles already considering selling him as trade bait, Samuel is definitely not happy here in Philadelphia.  It is anything but sunny.

Wait Until Next Season…

This season has not been one of the better seasons for the Philadelphia Eagles.  With Vince Young’s announcement the Philadelphia Eagles as the “Dream Team” to the media and general public, the hype fell flat, and it fell hard.  There has been some rumbling about changes in personnel position. Former St. Louis Rams head coach Steve Spagnulo has been mentioned as the Philadelphia Eagles’ replacement as defensive coordinator, but nothing has been decided yet.   There will be more media chatter once a decision has been made or not. Until then, Eagles fans, we will have to wait until next season, and perhaps the Eagles will return to playoff contention once again.

Philadelphia Eagles CEO Jeffrey Lurie: A View on His Pressing Conference

The Philadelphia Eagles fans have been calling for head coach Andy Reid‘s head over this past season like the past seasons, but this time, it was justified as the Eagles ended at .500 with an 8-8 record.  They demolished the hapless Washington Redskins in their last regular season game with a 34-10 win, but it was all for nought.  The New York Giants defeated the New York Jets the previous week with a score of 29-14 and sealed the NFC East title with their 31-14 win over the Dallas Cowboys.  The Jets win saved Giants head coach Tom Coughlin’s job and winning the NFC East title gave them an opportunity to enter the Super Bowl.

On the topic of head coaches, Andy Reid was on the hot seat this season as his team could not gel together until midway through the regular season.  The “Dream Team” could not power offensively through teams like in past seasons, and it hurt them.  Quarterback Michael Vick’s above-average performance this season with 18 touchdowns, 14 interceptions and an above-average quarterback rating of 84.9.  It was only slightly better than his 2004 season with the Atlanta Falcons.  Vince Young did only worse with 4 touchdowns, 9 interceptions and a depressing 60.8 quarterback rating.  Neither of them were salvaging Andy Reid’s head nor their offense.  Andy Reid is the NFL’s winningest head coach earning 136 total career victories through the 2011 season.  Reid may be a bit overdrawn at his coaches in important personnel positions — like Juan Castillo as defensive coordinator.  However, he does find gems in the rough on the field.  Running back LeSean McCoy is one of his hidden gems that came to fruition this season.

Concerning wide receiver DeSean Jackson, Lurie commented that he is a “terrific player,” and that he is.  But Jackson has also been toxic in the locker room.  Vince Young could relate as his problem with the Tennessee Titans former head coach Jeff Fisher.  There is no doubt the Eagles will attempt to keep DeSean Jackson.  How much money the front office is willing to separate to keep him is the question here.

One last note is that the front office will not be changed in any way.  At least, the   Philadelphia Eagles aren’t quite as desperate as the Jacksonville Jaguars nor as brain-dead as the Oakland Raiders.

Jeff Lurie didn’t say anything that wasn’t expected, given the failure of the Eagles this season.  He knows there is another season, but if Andy Reid ends up at .500 or less, Reid better prepare to pack up.  Lurie won’t have the patience, the money or the blindfold of Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder.

The 2011 Philadelphia Eagles Oddsbreaker: Super Bowl or Smoke and Mirrors?

Is this the year of the Super Bowl for the Philadelphia Eagles?

With all the media hype, it appears that the Philadelphia Eagles are already carrying the Vince Lombardi Trophy even before the season has formally begun.  I wouldn’t be so quick yet to place them on a mantle quite yet.  ESPN has already held the Philadelphia Eagles to placing third overall in this upcoming season, once said and done.  Luckily, they didn’t quite adorn Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick with garlands in his 2010 overall season performance.  His 2010 performance ranked him 18th for his performance last season with the Total Quarterback Rating (QBR) of 66.6.  He is comparable to Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, New Orleans Saints Drew Brees and Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger in their 2010 regular season performances.  Surprisingly, Vince Young, his backup now, had a higher Total Quarterback Rating than Michael Vick in his 2009 performance with the Tennessee Titans.  He is ranked 12th and has a QBR of 69.2.

With this in mind, Michael Vick unfortunately collapsed last season in the Wild Card game as he could not withstand the Packers perplexing defensive packages with Clay Matthews at the helm.  The Philadelphia Eagles lost to the Green Bay Packers 16-21.  He had 292 passing yards, a touchdown, an interception and a mediocre 79.9 quarterback rating.  On the bright side (sort of), he had a better performance against the Green Bay Packers in their loss of 20-27 at Lincoln Financial Field on September 12, 2010.  He had 175 passing yards, a touchdown and a 101.9 quarterback rating.  Then again, Vick was healthier at that time, and he had not yet undergone the punishing defenses later on, like the New York Giants, the Chicago Bears and the Dallas Cowboys.

This season, after their week 7 bye, the Philadelphia Eagles offense led by Michael Vick will be in one punishing gauntlet of defenses.  The Dallas Cowboys and the New York Giants defenses again rear their heads, and they will have the Washington Redskins right before their bye week.  Unfortunately, I don’t believe Michael Vick can pull off that dominating performance last November 15th, but he should still be capable of winning the game.  Washington Redskins quarterback Rex Grossman commented that his team may be a sleeper since their acquisitions of wideouts Dante Stallworth and Jabar Gaffney.  They have also acquired Tim Hightower, one of the running backs of the Arizona Cardinals.  However, that game will be highly dependent on which Rex Grossman decides to show up for that game.

After week 7, if Michael Vick (and maybe Vince Young), can survive the gauntlet of defenses, the Philadelphia Eagles will be in good playoff shape, as their last regular season game is against the Washington Redskins.  Again, like last season, I would expect that Eagles head coach Andy Reid rest his starters by first half of that game.  If Michael Vick is still in one piece, he would be resting after maybe a series or two.

I don’t doubt that the Philadelphia Eagles can make the playoffs and quite possibly clinch the NFC East with a regular season record of 11-5 or 10-6.  Again, if they face teams with stiffer defenses in the playoffs, the explosive Philadelphia Eagles offense implode, like last season.  The playoff curse might again catch up to the Philadelphia Eagles, particularly in the NFC conference playoff game.   This time, you can’t blame it on William Penn or Donovan McNabb.  It may as well rest on the shoulders of head coach Andy Reid.

Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Michael Vick: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

Last season, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick blossomed into an elite quarterback early, but as the Eagles offense was firing on all cylinders, the wheels gradually came off as defenses figured out how to exploit Michael Vick’s weaknesses.  Alas, we are in a brand new season with new players moving on.  Former Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins quarterback Donovan McNabb has moved onto bigger and better things with the Minnesota Vikings.  Former Philadelphia Eagles starter and backup Kevin Kolb has moved onto the Arizona Cardinals.  And current Philadelphia Eagles starting quarterback Michael Vick now has former Tennessee Titans quarterback Vince Young as his backup while one of his star wideouts DeSean Jackson is holding out for a better contract.  Then there’s the “Dream Team” media frenzy…

Rewind back to 2010, and Vick had 3,018 passing yards, 21 touchdowns, 6 interceptions and a stellar 100.2 quarterback rating. Michael Vick started strong with his games against the Detroit Lions and Jacksonville Jaguars.  In the Detroit Lions game, he had 284 passing yards, 2 touchdowns and a 108.0 quarterback rating.  The game after, with the Jacksonville Jaguars, he had yet another impressive showing with 291 passing yards, 3 touchdowns and a 119.2 quarterback rating.  However, that night on November 15th with the Washington Redskins was his most impressive showing.  He had 333 passing yards, 4 touchdowns and a 150.7 quarterback rating.  It was a short-lived parade as the New York Giants found a way to counter Michael Vick using ironically the Philadelphia Eagles defensive measures — constant blitzing and constant pressure.  He had 258 passing yards, no touchdowns and an average 83.0 quarterback rating in his game against the New York Giants.  Thereafter, the rest of the opposing teams caught on as the Dallas Cowboys perfected the New York Giants original formula, and the Minnesota Vikings defense had their variant on frustrating Michael Vick.  In the final regular season game against the Minnesota Vikings, he had 263 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception and a mediocre 74.1 quarterback rating.  Granted, at that time, the defenses were finally taking their toll on Michael Vick, and his physical frailty, more or less, put the tombstone on the Wild Card game against the Green Bay Packers.  Vick had 292 passing yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception and a meager 79.9 quarterback rating in that playoff game, and the Philadelphia Eagles were knocked out of playoff contention.

However, not to downplay how Micheal Vick played in 2010, he did rank fourth in quarterback rating overall with 100.2 behind Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.  His completion percentage of 62.6 ranked him 10th among quarterbacks during the 2010 regular season.

But that was then, and this is now…

2011 Outlook and Beyond

It’s funny how Fate likes to work.  Now Michael Vick has Vince Young as his backup with a one-year contract.  He was designated the franchise player before the lockout, and his contract still grants him one more season with the Philadelphia Eagles.  The questions of his health and his consistency will be pertinent this season, now more than ever.  If he can withstand the punishment after the Philadelphia Eagles bye and remain efficient and productive, he should be granted a long-term contract after this season ends.  He will be facing the Dallas Cowboys, the Chicago Bears, the New York Giants, the New England Patriots , the New York Jets and the Dallas Cowboys (again) after the bye week.  Some of these defenses are physical while the others are merely fast.  Since the templates still exist for stopping Micheal Vick, he might be in for a long season.

2011 Fantasy Football Quarterback Prospect

The new ESPN quarterback ratings system potentially puts Michael Vick as an elite quarterback.  However, I would not be so quick to put Michael Vick on a pedestal quite yet.  He has demonstrated significant improvement since his seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, but then again, he’s in a much more punishing division of the NFC East.  He should still be picked up early in the draft, expecting QB1 numbers early.  After the Eagles bye week, it will be punishing although there will be a couple of weeks of reprieve in between each gauntlet.  At that time, he could potentially fall into solid QB2 to low-end QB1 numbers, if he doesn’t suffer significant injuries.  I would heartily recommend handcuffing Vince Young as your backup, if you possibly can.  Vince Young, in my honest opinion, could be the better quarterback of the two as Vince Young may be the more intelligent quarterback whereas Michael Vick may be the more instinctive.

The Quarterback Carousel, Part 1: Trades, Trades Everywhere…The Fantasy Football Perspective

Matt Hasselbeck: From the Seattle Seahawks to the Tennessee Titans

With Matt Hasselbeck on a new team, he should have a chance to begin anew, but whether he will become productive as he once was remains to be seen as in 2005.  Back in 2005, with Shaun Alexander as his running back, Matt Hasselbeck was nearly at his most prolific with 3,459 yards passing, 24 touchdowns and an overall 98.2 quarterback rating.

Pros

With Matt Hasselbeck as a starter, he should have a chance to tutor Jake Locker.  Whether that is beneficial in the long-term that remains to be seen.  Pessimistically, Jake Locker could become the next A.J. Feeley as a result.  At least for this upcoming season, he will a strong running back in the name of Chris Johnson.  If Chris Johnson could once again become a running threat this season, it should open lanes to his receivers.  With Kenny Britt lacking control of himself off the field, it seems like Nate Washington will be the first to benefit.

Cons

Matt Hasselbeck hasn’t been his elite self in quite a while.  Since 2005, with the exception of the 2007 season, his quarterback rating has been on the decline.  It has dropped from 98.2 in the 2005 season  to 73.2 in the 2010 season. His touchdown production has fallen to nearly half since 2005 from 24 to 12 touchdowns.  Unfortunately, the number of interceptions have nearly doubled since 2005 from 9 interceptions during the height of his career to 17 interceptions last season.

Fantasy Football Perspective

Matt Hasselbeck still isn’t worth the gamble in my opinion.  He’s at best a low-end QB2, and his age will catch with him much faster than Brett Favre.  His durability — and his consistency — has been in question the past couple of seasons as well.

Donovan McNabb: From the Washington Redskins to the Minnesota Vikings

This is a bit of a gamble, but there’s an upside for the Leslie Frazier and his Minnesota Vikings team.  With rookie Christian Ponder still in the works, Donovan McNabb will have resources remarkably similar to the Philadelphia Eagles albeit more durable overall.  If Leslie Frazier can keep Donovan McNabb happy, he should become a productive contributor to the team.  But if Donovan McNabb is replaced mid-season due to inconsistencies, like last season with the Washington Redskins, it could spell turbulence for the Minnesota Vikings with Donovan McNabb’s childish behavior resurfacing.

Pros

Donovan McNabb has a shotgun of the arm, but he was most prolific with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2004.  He had 3,875 passing yards, 31 touchdowns and a 104.7 quarterback rating.  With dominant Adrian Peterson as his running back and his stable of potent wideouts, he and his teammates should have immediate benefits.  Wideouts Percy Harvin and Bernard Berrian should benefit.  However, with Donovan McNabb, there is always a catch…

Cons

Donovan McNabb has been a slow decline since 2004.  His touchdown production has nearly fell in half from 31 touchdowns to 14 touchdowns.  The number of the interceptions have nearly doubled  from 8 interceptions to 15 last season.  With his inconsistencies and erratic behavior on the field, I remain skeptical of him grooming any upcoming quarterbacks on the Minnesota Vikings roster.  In other words, actions speak far louder than words ever will.

Fantasy Football Perspective

On the Minnesota Vikings team, he could potentially return to his former productive self.  However, it will heavily depend on the chemistry between the coach and his teammates.  For now, he’s worth a solid QB2 with an upside.  Donovan McNabb is worth a gamble.

NFL and the NLFPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+104, or the Beginning of the Beginning

With the NFL-NFLPA lockout appearing to coming to a close, after Tuesday’s discussion in Boston, Massachusetts between the NFL team owners, Commissioner Roger Goodell, and the players trade association have finally negotiated a potential collective bargaining agreement.  This collective bargaining agreement has some stipulations like before.  Some of them are:

  • Players will get 48 percent of “all revenue” without the extra billion that was initially requested by the team owners.
  • The players’ share of the profits will never dip below 46.5 percent.
  • The NFL teams are required to spend a minimum of 90 to 93 percent of their respective salary caps.
  • New 16-game Thursday night television package beginning in 2012.
  • The owners will still get some expense credits for funding new stadiums.
  • NFL retirees will benefit from improved health care and pension benefits.
  • Lastly, the rookie wage scale is still pending.

Of course, no negotiation, particularly in the NFL, could be complete without resistance of some kind, and in this case, from a few owners.  These owners appear to be from the AFC teams, and they apparently are unsatisfied with the original issues not covered from 2006.

But what does this mean for the NFL, the players and their fanbase?  To start off, the NFL gets a deeper cut of the profits from the players, but the expected revenue is expected to increase to $18 billion by 2016.  So both sides will get about $9 billion with this new contract potentially.  That’s a lot of cash, more than most of us will ever see in a lifetime, and NFLPA executive DeMaurice Smith was complaining about the 53 percent earlier.  For the team owners, now they are expected to spend 90 to 93 percent of their salary cap.  This could potentially mean more employment of players, but it could be at the expense of profits for the owners, particularly if there is a collapse in the locker room like last season.  Remember the Titans…and in the worst case scenario, the implosion of the Washington Redskins last season.  On the other hand, the NFL players receive more of the revenue, and the NFL retirees now have some degree of optimism that their injuries during the season will at least be assuaged.  An increased pension should help most retirees but not the spendthrifts.  Lastly, for the fans, with a collective bargaining agreement perhaps coming to a close, it could mean a full season within a month or so.  With the new Thursday television package being implemented in the future, it could mean more packed games within the season.  It could also mean more of the NFL Network, which could be an added value for those who have it.  Intriguingly, it could mean that the NFL players will play with lesser rest between games.  This could mean more significant injuries than ever before which the players originally and ironically wanted to stop.

In NFL news around Philadelphia, former Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb practiced with his former teammates in an informal workout.  Interestingly, McNabb hasn’t practiced with the Washington Redskins squad, but perhaps he has been shunned by the Redskins.  Then again, he is expected to be traded or released once this lockout has ended.  Where will he end up?  Anywhere Redskins coach Mike Shanahan is not.  The Arizona Cardinals seem like one of the more logical teams with him practicing there during previous off-seasons without this business melodrama.  However, even I am skeptical whether the Cardinals want Donovan McNabb to leave his legacy there with a younger and more easily groomed Kevin Kolb on the table.

We have heard some potentially good news already, but it should be tempered as the process will still be lengthy.  The National Labor Relations Board has yet to make their crucial decision that will cause a cascade of legal decisions down the road.

In the meantime, are you ready for even more NFL Network?

No?

Me either.

The Shortened 8: Top 10 Drafts for Fantasy Football Wide Receivers for 2011-12

With this potentially abbreviated season coming up, this is the list of potential fantasy football wide receivers for the upcoming season.  However, for now, it should be taken more of a guide, a speculative list for preparation of a draft.  Unlike running backs, wide receivers don’t decline much over time, but their value will and vary tremendously from season to season.  They may be the primary receiver one season and replaced the next.  Ask New York Giants Mario Manningham and Green Bay Packers Donald Driver.

Must-Haves

  • Philadelphia Eagles DeSean Jackson.  He is still in an explosive offense, and with a shortened season, he should be able to do well to be a solid WR1 to high-end WR1 in most games, if Michael Vick stays in the pocket — and healthy.
  • Indianapolis Colts Reggie Wayne.  If this indeed a shortened season, he should be considered a high-end WR2 wideout.  He should have big games occasionally, and his numbers overall should be sufficient enough for you to edge out the competition.  And potentially their quarterback Peyton Manning won’t have to throw to a crippled roster like last season.
  • Atlanta Falcons Roddy White.  If he can keep himself focused, he should be a WR1 going forward.  His major issue is his self-discipline on the field, not the talent surrounding him.
  • New England Patriots Deion Branch. He’s a solid WR2 in most instances who may have a bigger upswing than Wes Welker perhaps.  But the debate on which wide receiver of the Patriots is most useful is still on the books.
  • Detroit Lions Calvin Johnson.  He still has talent and speed left in his engine.  He should remain a mid to high-end WR2 in most games with moments of WR1 brilliance.  The return of Javhid Best as a healthy running back should help relieve some pressure mid-field.
  • Green Bay Packers Greg Jennings. This is the first season where he exploded as he took primary receiver duties.  He should continue exploding into the next couple of seasons at least, pending any serious injury.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Jeremy Maclin.  A high-end WR2 developing into a low-end WR1.  He’ll have his good days and his bad days, but he should pan out as a good addition to any roster.
  • New York Giants Hakeem Nicks. Same as Jeremy Maclin but for the New York Giants instead.  He’s also a tad more consistent.  He puts up excellent numbers despite having a QB2 behind him by name of Eli Manning.
  • Kansas City Chiefs Dwayne Bowe.  Whereas I am a bit less optimistic about Brandon Lloyd, I am quite optimistic that he should continue his progress from last season.  He has a talented quarterback by name of Matt Cassel with a substantive running back in Jamaal Charles.
  • Houston Texans Andre Johnson.  He and his quarterback do have talent.  With their running back Arian Foster behind them, they should have been better offensively than they produced last season.  However, Matt Schaub was a bit inconsistent last season, and it costed them.  If Texans quarterback Matt Schaub can keep his head in the game, Andre Johnson should easily rise above into the top three wideouts of 2011-12 season.

Avoid

  • Cincinatti Bengals Terrell Owens.  With him in limbo still, although he still has some talent left in him, I would potentially avoid him since he may backfire.
  • Tennessee Titans Randy Moss.  Yeah, him.
  • Tennessee Titans Kenny Britt.  Yeah, him too.
  • Carolina Panthers wide receivers.  With such a defensive-minded crew, in terms of coach Ron Rivera and defensive coordinator Sean McDermott, I expect more of a ground-and-pound attack going forward and low-scoring games by the Panthers. Think New York Jets, and you’ll get the picture.
  • Minnesota Vikings wide receivers.  Until they get their quarterback situation pressed out, they are a high-risk gamble.  I won’t deny that Percy Harvin or Sidney Rice aren’t talented, but with no one proficient as a quarterback to throw it to them, each game would be nothing more than wide receiver football drills.
  • Washington Redskins wide receivers.  I am still not willing to gamble with Rex Grossman as my quarterback with consistent production, even in a short season. Perhaps others might.

Potential X-Factors

  • Buffalo Bills Steve Johnson.  The Bills have still have a long way to go before they reach elite level, but they are slowly building the elements needed to become competitive at least.
  • Denver Broncos Brandon Lloyd.  Although he was first in yardage production last year, I won’t hold my breath to do it again with a shortened season, different coach and different quarterback.
  • Plaxico Burress.  I wouldn’t expect no higher than solid WR2 numbers from him.  He doesn’t have the talent of some of the younger receivers out on the field.  Minimally, he’s worth a bench seat on the roster and could be trade bait coming into the fantasy football playoffs, wherever Burress may land up.
  • Cincinnati Bengals Chad Ochocinco.   Before you bash me over the head with this wide receiver, bear in mind that he will have Terrell Owens out of his way this upcoming season. He could potentially put up WR1 numbers and minimally at least solid WR2 numbers.
  • Dallas Cowboys Miles Austin.  He has sufficient talent and skill himself.  Whether head coach Jason Garrett chooses to exploit that talent with Tony Romo potentially returning remains to be seen.  I also question whether Tony Romo will actually become a better quarterback when it counts — or otherwise implode again.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Williams.  I like how Tampa Bay has improved last season.  With running back LeGarrette Blount‘s athleticism and quarterback Josh Freeman’s consistency and accuracy, he could have a productive season.  Whether it’s WR1 numbers, I still remain skeptical.  He should be worth a WR2 with some upside to him.

The Shortened 8: Top 10 Drafts for Fantasy Football Quarterbacks for 2011-12

Unlike drafting running backs, where even the best generally decline the following season, fantasy football quarterbacks are often more consistent, despite changing their wide receivers, tight ends and other aspects of the offense.  It’s a broad generalization but fairly accurate.  Two issues stand in the way though even with a potentially shortened eight-game regular season: injuries and rookies.  However, with this abbreviated upcoming season, untested NFL rookies in the foreseeable future, aside from a non-resolution of the collective bargaining agreement, are perhaps the hindrance of most quarterbacks for creating a boom or bust season.

Must-Haves

  • Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick.  Although he had a spectacular season for most of last season, Michael Vick did suffer injuries early in the season and pushed through injuries in the close of the season.  However, with a shortened season, this should benefit him tremendously.  He should be capable of putting up QB1 statistics early, but coming into the fantasy football playoffs, I would definitely recommend having a pretty good backup.
  • New England Patriots Tom Brady. Goes without saying…
  • Indianapolis Colts Peyton Manning. Same although he’s been in decline comparatively to Tom Brady.  However, he is still an elite quarterback.
  • New Orleans Saints Drew Brees.  Same.
  • Green Bay Packers Aaron Rodgers.  He’s a solid QB1 with lots of talent behind him.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers Ben Roethlisberger. He’s a low to solid QB1.
  • Atlanta Falcons Matt Ryan.  With the talent behind him, it could be a matter of time before he’s about as good as Saints quarterback Drew Brees.  With the abbreviated season, he’s worth a high-end QB2.
  • Houston Texans Matt Schaub.
  • Baltimore Ravens Joe Flacco.  He’s always seemingly a  solid QB2 and worth a reserve, with use against the appropriate opponents he can fleece.
  • Kansas City Chiefs Matt Cassel.  He’s like Tom Brady-lite.  He needs a few more seasons under his belt as he gains experience and skills to match.

Avoid

  • Minnesota Vikings quarterbacks.
  • Arizona Cardinals quarterbacks.
  • Cincinnati Bengals quarterbacks.
  • Carolina Panthers quarterbacks.

Potential X-Factors

  • Philadelphia Eagles Kevin Kolb.  He does have potential, but he needs a team and a coach that will stand by him as he learns and adjusts to whatever system is thrown his way.
  • Washington Redskins Donovan McNabb.  This former Pro Bowler could have signs of life.  Or not.  He’s worth a flier at least. Or not.
  • Washington Redskins Rex Grossman.  Even though he had admirable statistics when he took over during the last three games of last season, I don’t think he’s quite proven himself quite yet.  He could return to the erratic Rex Grossman of old, which he demonstrated against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers Josh Freeman.  Although his team improved significantly with him at the helm, he should be a QB2 going forward.
  • Buffalo Bills Ryan Fitzpatrick.  He did show moments of brilliance last season, but he requires more consistency going forward.  He’s worth a flier.
  • St. Louis Rams Sam Bradford.  He’s been quite a spark to the team.  Now he needs to develop good and consistent quarterbacking skills…

This is a very early list of fantasy football quarterbacks to draft when there is no upcoming season in view quite yet.  However, this list should help some plan ahead although this list is very speculative.  This list, as well as the upcoming lists of running backs, wide receivers and defenses will undergo revision (perhaps) as a resolution of the work stoppage comes into view.  With the third secret meeting to date between the NFL and the players trade association, it does bring some optimism, but it should be tempered as the cogs of the legal system still have to resolve themselves.

Philadelphia’s Donovan McNabb and Jayson Werth in Washington: Something Borrowed, Something Failed

Washington, D.C. The Nation’s Capital but with sports teams, it seems to begin with a capital “F” for Failure.  Last year, it began with the acquisition of Donovan McNabb from the Philadelphia Eagles to become the Washington Redskins starting quarterback for the 2010 season.  This ultimately led to Donovan McNabb’s final departure after the Redskins collapse at FedEx Field in November 15 as Eagles quarterback Michael Vick dominated the entire Redskins team throughout the game.  Ultimately, his erratic gameplay from this game and the rest throughout the season finally forced coach Mike Shanahan‘s hand, and he was released.  While Donovan McNabb was with the Philadelphia Eagles for 11 seasons, he maintained an average 85.7 quarterback rating.  Yet in a single season with the Redskins, his rating plummeted to a 77.1 quarterback rating, significantly below his career average with the Philadelphia Eagles and his last season with them at 92.9.

Now another Washington team has bought another Philadelphia sports player, Jayson Werth.  But Werth has not been the acquisition that Washington Nationals has hoped.  Presently, he has a .226 batting average and a .322 on-base percentage.  This is only his second worst season batting average and on-base percentage so far, with his worst being .208 and .262 respectively in 2003 with the Toronto Blue Jays.  Compared to his four seasons with the Philadelphia Phillies, he had a .284 batting average and .382 on-base percentage overall.  On the Washington Nationals roster, Jayson Werth has the 10th best batting average, but he does lead the team in home runs presently with 4. Admittedly, Jayson Werth is contributing to the Washington Nationals and has been getting significantly better batting third in Washington’s lineup.  However, his seven-year, $126 million contract may be too much for his less than stellar contributions previously. Unlike with Donovan McNabb and the Washington Redskins, Werth has not been a complete bust with the Washington Nationals although his production early this baseball season did raise eyebrows.

With free agency, Philadelphia sports fans have to wonder if another Washington team might acquire another sports player, and that player turn into a bust or close to one.   Maybe someone on the Philadelphia Flyers join the Washington Capitals.  Maybe someone from the Philadelphia Union join DC United. Perhaps for Washington’s sake, it would be better if nothing occurs at all.