NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Epilogue, or A Fan’s Retrospective

Dear NFL,

Now it’s been two weeks since the lockout has officially been over for the NFL, and everything is seemingly falling into place as the players and head coaches go forward onto their regularly scheduled business.  Even the fantasy football leagues are promoting themselves across the internet, as if nothing happened.  But something did happen…the past few months while the millionaire players union and the billionaire team owners argued…

These past few months have been long and taxing to say the least.  As much as the NFL team owners and players may have compromised in their collective bargaining agreement, it may have exhausted much of the patience of some of their fanbase, including myself.  We all  have seen how much greed governs much of professional sports with the lockouts recently, as in the case of the current NBA lockout.  What goes around comes around as this collective bargaining agreement is stalled in the courts.

Trades have come fast and furious in the past couple of weeks as quarterbacks, wide receivers, cornerbacks and running backs have been traded onto other teams.  Official training camps have started, and the new players are learning the new gameplans in the works.  But for some fans, football has been tainted somewhat.  No longer is there the enthusiastic jump onto the fantasy football leagues across the internet.  Rather there lies a deep skepticism as they are feeding into the big green monster, the NFL…

But it will come to pass as all things do, like with the MLB and the NHL.  Skepticism by the fans ultimately brought out a better game, and hopefully, with this upcoming season, things will have changed.

Perhaps it will.

Perhaps not.

Sincerely,

A Football Fan and Philadelphia Eagles Fan

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+136, or The Beginning of the Beginning At Last

Better late than never…

The collective bargaining agreement has finally been agreed upon on yesterday, lockout day+136 or thereabouts, on both sides.  Even the Tom Brady, et. al union decertification case was put to rest as the NFLPA decided to unionize once again.  It happened with little drama, although it was quite lengthy.  Now both sides can be back to making money and playing football.  The multi-billion dollar industry will begin in early August as free agency, trades and mini-camps will begin.

It was a public relations scene as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith made their announcement of their 1o-year agreement to the media.  The terms of the new collective bargaining agreement came with some wins and some losses on both sides.  The team owners get 53 percent while the NFL players get 47 percent of all annual revenues going forward.  The team owners now must commit to spending near their salary cap limits.  On the other side, the players get safer practice sessions during the off-season, and the players now get five days off their bye week.  This should lead to better competition between the teams going foward as the players will be able to recover their injuries no matter how slight.  Those prone to injury like Philadelphia Eagles Michael Vick will see immediate benefit from this. The veteran players will also get their minimum salary increased.  Lastly, for the players, the rookie wage scale means that future rookies will have a significantly reduced salary going forward, no matter if their first or thirty-first.  The only factor that wasn’t decided entirely was the 18-game schedule.  It will be decided at a later date supposedly, but that remains to be seen once the mini-camps and the upcoming season begins.

This has been a long and testing time for the NFL fans, and more drama has already begun.  The Brett Favre drama has begun yet again, as it appears that he may have sights for the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, I believe it’s a nightmare wrapped within a pipe dream for most Eagles fans.  The draft boards can now begin to prepared for fantasy football fans, and if it’s anything like the previous season, fantasy football fans should be prepared for anything.

Philadelphia Eagles Wide Receiver DeSean Jackson: 2010 Year in Review and 2011 Outlook and Beyond

2010 Year in Review

Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson was fairly efficient and productive during the 2010 regular season despite the quarterback situation.  In 2010, he had a total of 1,047 yards on 47 receptions and 6 touchdowns for the season.  He was ranked 12th among wide receivers in total yardage, and tied for 29th in touchdowns among wideouts.  However, his prime achievement was that he led the league in average yardage per catch with 22.5.

During the regular season, Jackson had erratic production at times, but his production improved as quarterback Michael Vick took the helm.  Earlier on, however, in the game against the Detroit Lions with quarterback Kevin Kolb at the helm, he had 135 yards, a touchdown and a stunning 33.8 average yards per catch.  In the following game, he also had a great game against the Jacksonville Jaguars with 153 total receiving yards, a touchdown and 30.6 average yards per catch.  The following three games were downers for him as Eagles running back LeSean McCoy took over as the primary offensive weapon.  Against the Indianapolis Colts, DeSean Jackson blossomed again with 109 receiving yards, a touchdown and 15.6 average receiving yards per catch and was one of the top performers of the game.  In the decimation of the Washington Redskins 59-28, he had 98 yards and a touchdown on two receptions and a stunning 49.0 average receiving yards per catch.  Again, he was one of the top performers of the game, and Jackson essentially set the tone for the rest of the game after his 88-yard catch in the opening of the first quarter.  Then the tides began to turn as defenses began to adjust to Michael Vick, and Jackson’s production went down tremendously until the Dallas Cowboys game.  Jackson rose to the occasion with 210 receiving yards and a touchdown and another stunning 52.5 average receiving yard per reception.  As quarterback Michael Vick began breaking down physically during the close of the season and other personal factors discussed next, DeSean Jackson’s production fell down as well.

2011 Outlook and Beyond

Compared to his 2009 season, DeSean Jackson was admirably comparable.  He was ranked 12th in total receiving yards during the 2009 regular season.  Additionally, he was tied for 10th was 9 total touchdowns and ranked second in average receiving yards with 18.6.  He did show remarkable improvement in average yardage per catch, but he fell somewhat in the number of touchdowns.

With the 2011 season perhaps coming, as the collective bargaining agreement is coming into its final development, DeSean Jackson’s contract has expired.  With the tantrum thrown after the Philadelphia Eagles loss to the Chicago Bears and his unwillingness to mesh with coach Andy Reid, whether DeSean Jackson will have contract extension after the lockout ends remains to be seen.  Potentially, the Eagles should, but they might not have enough to cover Michael Vick’s contract. Should Jackson be traded, the Philadelphia Eagles will lose a valuable cog in their potent offense.  Unfortunately, DeSean Jackson does have Drew Rosenhaus as an agent, and Jackson may become another Terrell Owens, loaded with talent but blinded by money.

2011 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Prospect

During the 2011 fantasy football season, wide receiver DeSean Jackson should be ranked a high-end WR2 to a solid WR1 if Jackson intends on staying with the Philadelphia Eagles.  However, the limitation is by his teammate Jeremy Maclin who may have become the primary wideout in the Eagles offensive scheme.  Perhaps a more severe limitation will be the second half of the Philadelphia Eagles schedule where the opponents become much more physical and potentially cause serious injury to Eagles star quarterback of the 2010 season, Michael Vick.  Finally, the final limitation may be another team.  Which team is an interesting question, but I imagine a pass-happy team like the Indianapolis Colts, San Diego Chargers or another can definitely benefit from a wide receiver like him.  Depending on the team, however, his production could fall into solid to high-end WR2 status which could hurt fantasy football players intending on drafting a solid wideout early.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Unprecedented Two Lockouts in the NFL and the NBA

After five days worth of discussion between the NFL and the NFLPA concerning their collective bargaining agreement and their lockout, the progress has recently regressed.  With NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NLFPA head DeMaurice Smith and U.S. Judge Magistrate Arthur Boylan and a few team owners including New York Giants John Mara, Kansas City Chiefs Clark Hunt, Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones and New England Patriots Robert Kraft, it appears that the divisive issue of the annual revenue, with the players taking 45 percent, has fallen as some team owners have resisted against that amount.  It comes as no surprise really as $9 billion is a lot of money to part with and divide among the NFL players and team owners.  Greed is what greed does.

In the NBA, their negotiations have apparently stalled as well.  NBA Commissioner David Stern said a lockout will go into effect after their present collective bargaining agreement expires Thursday at midnight. It would be their first lockout since 1998-99 season.  With their union head Billy Hunter, it appears that the NBA players union will not decertify, but at this junction, anything can happen.

After doing some research, two lockouts in professional sports at the same time are unprecedented with the NFL and NBA collective bargaining agreements in limbo.  I believe this is sincerely disappointing to fans of professional football and basketball and sports in general.  With the U.S. economy still struggling, these lockouts could not have happened at a worst time.  Financially, either of these sports give the economy much-needed jolts with the selling of assorted merchandise, paraphernalia, tickets and foodstuffs.  In terms of morale, fans of these sports could enjoy cheering on their favorite teams and players, instead of dwelling on whether they’ll be able to pay their mortgage and utilities next week.  These are bitter times indeed…whether any sweetness will come out after the Fourth of July celebrations, it may be best to remain with tempered optimism as the issue of money isn’t so good right now for either professional sport.  Unfortunately, no amount of commotion of fans will speed up the process.

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 Defenses in 2011-12

With the alterations in staff this post-season, all this is based on pure speculation and estimating how the changes in staff would change the defense.  However, with preparation for a shortened season, drafting defenses will be difficult, much less to speculate.  With these defenses training much less than previous seasons, the offenses should benefit greatly.  However, don’t count defenses out quite yet.  Some may surprise, others will simply overcome.

Must-Haves

  • Chicago Bears.  They still have one of the most stifling defenses with Brian Urlacher at the helm.  And I don’t think Brian Urlacher will miss a beat this prolonged off-season.
  • New York Giants. Kind of goes without saying…
  • Green Bay Packers. Clay Matthews and a ground-and-pound defense.
  • Baltimore Ravens.  Still has lots of talent.
  • New York  Jets.  Rex Ryan’s defense is one of the best.
  • Pittsburgh Steelers.  It won’t astound you with amazing numbers, but it should be consistent from the beginning through the playoffs.
  • Oakland Raiders. But this is nothing more than a second-tier defense, but it will have first-tier moments.  This defense is better chosen as a roster reserve or a waiver wire pick for the playoffs generally. They have enough substance to pull you through the playoffs generally.
  • San Diego Chargers.
  • Minnesota Vikings.  Leslie Frazier inherited a solid defense.
  • Atlanta Falcons.  Like the Raiders but generally not fantasy football playoff quality.

Avoid

  • Miami Dolphins.
  • Tennessee Titans.  Although they performed well the beginning of last season, then after the first few games of the regular season, they buckled under locker room politics got in the way.  And with this prolonged off-season, there would be virtually no time for off-season chemistry for any sort of improvement.
  • Detroit Lions.  You’re better off betting on their offense than their defense.
  • Seattle Seahawks.  Although Pete Carroll has demonstrated he has a great offensive mind, less Marshawn Lynch, this defense hasn’t been noteworthy for quite a while.
  • Washington Redskins.  Their offense and defense are still in shambles.  And if Rex Grossman becomes Rex Grossman we all know from the Chicago Bears, the defense will be out on the field a lot — and become very tired.

Potential X-Factors

  • Carolina Panthers.  I think Eagles head coach Andy Reid might regret letting of Sean McDermott.  Even though this will be rebuilding season for the Panthers defense, they could potentially become dangerous over the next few seasons.  They might lack the physicality of a Bears defense, but they should turn out to be fast like the Ravens defense.  They could still be worth a flier this season though.
  • Philadelphia Eagles. Although they are always potentially good, they have become normalized themselves into a second-tier defense.  With coordinator Juan Castillo, I am a bit hesitant to endorse them beyond that — for now.
  • St. Louis Rams. They played well at home last season.  Now they just need to play well on the road…

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

This has been one of the most inconsistent years for NFL teams last season, but it has also shown that a balanced attack can lead to wins.  One of the portions of that attack is the rush.  Like every year, making one this early and the short life span of most running backs makes this list more of a wish list than an actual guideline to follow.  And with a shortened season, it should benefit most of these running backs although this list is early and should be taken with a grain of salt.  And well, Cleveland Browns running back Peyton Hillis has to contend with the Madden Curse, but more on that later…

Must-Haves

  • Pittsburgh Steelers Rashard Mendenhall.  With Steelers coach Mike Tomlin at the helm, as long as he runs Mendenhall instead of relying on Ben Roethlisberger’s arm generally, Mendenhall should have another great season ahead of him.
  • Minnesota Vikings Adrian Peterson.  He is still a consistent part of this defense.  Since Brett Favre has retired, the new quarterback will be forced to rely on the run. Leslie Frazier should benefit him as he recognizes Peterson’s talent.
  • Tennessee Titans Chris Johnson.  He is still a Titan, but without Jeff Fisher, who knows how this will affect the running game? I am bit of a pessimist on him returning to form with a new coach at the helm.
  • Detroit Lions Javhid Best. Although prone to injury, a shortened season could potentially benefit this running back in terms of statistics and his career span.  He was a bust last season, but he should be able to produce RB1 numbers early this upcoming season.
  • Houston Texans Arian Foster.  The only consistent part of the Houston Texans offense last season seemingly.  He should still be capable of putting up RB1 numbers.
  • New York Giants Ahmad Bradshaw.  He’s great when he’s healthy, and with a shortened season, he should be capable of producing strong numbers into the regular season.
  • Atlanta Falcons Michael Turner.  He has matured into one great running back since leaving LaDanian Tomlinson‘s shadow.
  • St. Louis Rams Steven Jackson.  As long as he can still run, he can put up RB1 yardage but he’ll pan out with RB2 or less touchdowns for the most part.
  • Oakland Raiders Darren McFadden.  He does get inconsistent, but he’s grown into his running back shoes.  If he gets a full head of steam early on this upcoming season quickly, he should be considered a must-start easily.
  • Kansas City Chiefs Jamaal Charles.  He’s part of an offensive machine that’s quite productive.  And with his new contract last season, he should still be fighting for his starting position this upcoming season.

Avoid

  • Seattle Seahawks Marshawn Lynch.  Pick him only if you’re desperate.  He will never overcome his sluggishness and his talent.  Although the Seattle Seahawks went into the playoffs last season, it certainly wasn’t because of him.
  • Philadelphia Eagles Jerome Harrison.  Unless both Michael Vick and LeSean McCoy are injured, then you should pick him up.  Until then, he shouldn’t be an integral part of the Eagles offense in this upcoming season and into the future.

Potential X-Factors

  • Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy. Although an effective running back, he’s essentially the second running back with quarterback Michael Vick at the helm.  At best, he’s going to be low-end RB2.
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers LeGarrette Blount.  He has the power and athleticism.  Now he needs the experience…
  • Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis.  Can he escape the Madden Curse even with a shortened season?  I don’t know about that.  If he can remain healthy, he is still a must-start.  If he can’t, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
  • New England Patriots BenJarvus Green-Ellis. His stock will continue to rise on the New England Patriots.
  • Carolina Panthers Jonathan Stewart.  Although productive when healthy, I don’t know how the offense will change with a defensive-minded coach.  He could be phased out as the Panthers seek a power back instead.
  • Denver Broncos Knoshown Moreno. I like his versatility, but whether he can continue with John Fox, that remains to be seen.

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.

NFL and the NFLPA Lockout Countdown: Lockout Day+90, or the Secret Meeting II and Epic Silence

Another week gone, another week full of nothingness.  This is really sounding repetitive…and honestly, quite depressing.  The media and myself could be writing about the mini-camps, the draftees of the respective NFL teams and other things, but the NFL and the dissolved NFLPA are still at an impasse.  NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is still hopeful of a season, and NBC is hopeful for a Super Bowl to be held in Indianapolis.  At least, if there is indeed a Super Bowl, even with a shortened eight-game season, we won’t watch the Black Eyed Peas and their horrific techno-rave performance again.

According to an unknown source, who for sake of excitement and rhetoric we’ll call Deep Throat, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, NFLPA head DeMaurice Smith, Chief Magistrate Judge Arthur Boylan and assorted team owners and players were in a secret meeting last Tuesday  in a New York City hotel.  Again, nothing of any significance has happened between the collective bargaining agreement between the two gorups.  Perhaps they were talking about the release of former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress from prison.  Perhaps not.  The $9 billion industry of American football has been held in a stalemate for too long.  I am frustrated, like other fans of the game.  With great optimism, fantasy football promotions are hitting the web, but it’s far too early to count the chickens before they hatch.  Both sides are still awaiting the decision of the  National Labor Relations Board since it will directly impact all court decisions and labor negotations going forward.