TCU Horned Frogs vs. Wisconsin Badgers: Rose Bowl Post-Game Analysis

The TCU Horned Frogs has NCAA’s best defense against the balanced attack of the Wisconsin Badgers led by their quarterbacks Scott Tolzein and running back Montee Ball.  This did turn into one heck of a game.

Here’s my observations for this fantastic Rose Bowl game:

  • TCU’s quarterback Andy Dalton carried the team for much of the first half.  With his passing score to Bart Johnson mid-first quarter and his rushing touchdown late second quarter, he pretty much carried the team.  With only 32 total yards rushing by the half, TCU did not have much of a balanced attack.
  • On the other side, the Badgers played to their strengths, which was to establish a more balanced offense, with a focus on the run.  Badgers Montee Ball established himself early with an early 40-yard run in the first quarter.  Ball also ran an 18-yarder early in the second quarter.  He has kept the first-ranked TCU defense honest for much of the first half.
  • The Badgers led into the half with nearly 3 times the time of piossession and nearly 1oo more yards.
  • TCU’s Andy Dalton established a more balanced attack into the second half with passes to wide receiver Jimmy Young and running back Ed Wesley.  With that, they also established a rushing offense with Matthew Tucker and ultimately Luke Shivers for the 1-yard touchdown run for a 21-13 lead.
  • The duo of Jeremy Kerley and Jimmy Young for TCU helped Andy Dalton control the time of possession late into the fourth quarter, although using running backs would be much more effective way of managing the clock.
  • The balanced attack of the TCU and the Wisconsin offenses countered each other for much of this game. No one had established any significant momentum for this game after the second half.
  • Badgers running back John Clay pounded the TCU defense with two successive runs late in the fourth quarter of 14 and 30 yards.  Fantastic bit of running…
  • The onside kick to TCU’s Bart Johnson by the Badgers fundamentally sealed the game.
  • Badgers running back Monte Ball had spectacular day with 132 yards rushing and 1 touchdown for a close 21-19 game.

The Wisconsin Badgers offense almost mounted a comeback late in the fourth quarter with a loss of 21-19 to the TCU Horned Frogs.  But their running game simply could not do it alone.  The Badgers did not have the ability to stretch the field, and ultimately, that cost them the Rose Bowl.

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Fantasy Football Super Bowl: Don’t Second Guess Yourself

With this season drawing to close, this season has all been about matchups and distributed talent. Unfortunately, this season has been difficult to gauge the good players and bad ones.  It has been highly dependent on game-planning and matchups.  Teams such as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Buffalo Bills are wild cards in the fantasy playoffs. Buccaneers running back LeGarrette Blount has turned in somewhat surprising numbers, and Bills running back Fred Jackson as well.  Their respective quarterbacks, Josh Freeman and Ryan Fitzpatrick, have turned in respectable numbers but not elite numbers.

One should not attempt to second-guess oneself in the playoffs.  I have done so many times before, and I am warning you to mind yourself as you play this final game.  Playing mind games with yourself is not good, and believe in whatever system that you established this season, whether running back-heavy or wide receiver-heavy. Also, remember late in the season, you can still pick up waiver wire surprises, despite quite a few of them being third options or late bloomers.

Fantasy Football Playoffs: The Rule of Thirds

With this erratic NFL season where many teams are in playoff contention, besides playing matchups, one should also recognize the rule of thirds — that is, one big game by a player  is usually followed by average fantasy points afterwards, aside from kickers, defenses and a couple of running backs (notably Houston Texans Arian Foster and Cleveland Browns Peyton Hillis).  This has been that kind of season.  Buffalo Bills Fred Jackson and Oakland Raiders Darren McFadden suffered from this rule, where they both had phenomenal 30-plus point games followed by two busts before returning to their normal 15-18 point status.  If you’re into the playoffs, bear this in mind.  Lastly, note the transitions from teams that have lost their head coaches.  They have invigorated their teams with new strategies and tactics to win games.  No longer is creativity limited to New Orleans Sean Payton. This had led to surprisingly consistency in production from fantasy football players.  Best of luck in the playoffs!

New Orleans Saints Running Back Chris Ivory: Fantasy Football X-Factor

New Orleans Saints running back Chris Ivory has been surprisingly productive over the last three games against the Seattle Seahawks, Dallas Cowboys and Cincinnati Bengals.  He has scored two touchdowns in both games against the Cowboys and Bengals, and earned an average of 85 yards and an average of 15 touches per game in the last three games.  He has essentially become Reggie Bush was previously deemed to be when he was drafted in 2006.  Bush was expected to have this kind of rushing production, but he had evolved into more of a hybrid running back-wide receiver instead. Sean Payton endorses Ivory’s production and said he will continue to use him, even when Pierre Thomas returns.  Looking forward, Ivory has a favorable schedule ahead of him. He will face the Baltimore Ravens, the Atlanta Falcons and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  He should become a RB1 and no worse than a high-end RB2,  despite the running back committee.

Dual Running Backs in the 2010 NFL Season: The Strategies Behind the Timeshare

Over the last couple of seasons, the transition from a one running back set to a two running back set has come into full effect.  The use of the West Coast spread offense contributed to it, as well as the extended games and stunning numbers of injuries to running backs.  For this season, a high number of ankle injuries have sidelined  running backs. San Francisco 49ers Frank Gore being the most recent victim. Coming to the close of the regular season, the strategies have changed for the use of running backs in their respective formations.

One-back Set Variants

Power/Receiving

Minnesota VikingsAdrian Peterson is the best example of this.  He is more of a power back than speed, although he shares qualities of both.  He uses his power to break through and find holes and uses his speed once upon the flats.

Speed/Receiving

The Denver Broncos Knoshown Moreno is the best example of this.  Due to nature of the spread offense implemented by the Broncos, Knoshown does not receive much in terms of carries, but he’s an equal threat as a receiver. The Philadelphia Eagles LeSean McCoy also falls in this category.

Two Running Back Set – Long Yardage and Goal Line Set Variants

Power First, Speed Second

The New York Giants Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw is the most current example of this.  Whether Bradshaw can recover his starting job by the end of the season after his case of fumbles, it remains to be seen.

Speed First, Power Second

Kansas City Chiefs Jamaal Charles and Thomas Jones are the best examples of this currently.

Speed Set Duo

Detroit Lions running backs originally consisted of Javhid Best and Kevin Smith, and these two did demonstrate the use of this set, until they both fell to injury.  This is not a frequent set used in the NFL, but somewhat often in college football. 

Heavy Set Duo

This pairing of the Chicago Bears Cedric Benson and Thomas Jones was the last example of this, when Rex Grossman was under the helm.  Not too many NFL teams implement this due to the change to West Coast offense and the quick pacing in professional football.  However, in college football, the Navy Midshipmen are the best example of this, and they have been relatively successful in doing so.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers Running Back LeGarrette Blount: Fantasy Football X-Factor

I think we may have this season’s Jerome Harrison, but he’s a bit faster.   He has the potential to be one of the elite backs in a massive field of excellent running backs.  But one crazy season at a time…

LeGarrette Blount had an extraordinary run on the Arizona Cardinals on 22 touchdowns with 120 yards rushing and 2 touchdowns.  The most spectacular run had to be the hurdler at 2:10 in the 4th quarter.  He has great potential in the NFL, but for fantasy football, he should be treated as a RB2 at best or RB3/flex at worst.  He’s got athleticism and speed, much like Detroit Lions running back Javhid Best.  For now, since he’s splitting time with Cadillac Williams, it is best to view him as a RB2 with lots of upside.

Fantasy Football Running Back Quick Picks for Week 8

Must-Starts until they have a severe injury or otherwise told not to.  Otherwise known as The Big Five:

Here’s a quick review of all the other running backs for week 8 of the NFL regular season:

Ryan Torain (Washington Redskins vs. Detroit Lions): RB2, with potential to be RB1 against this defense.

Javhid Best (Detroit vs. Washington): Low-end RB2. Realistically, he’s a RB3 with the way he’s been performing as of late.  However, don’t give up on this running back, yet.

Fred Jackson (Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs):  Tougher sledding than before. RB3/flex option at best. Waiver wire fodder at worst.

Jamaal Charles/Thomas Jones  (Kansas City vs. Buffalo): RB1s. If they can’t get you touchdowns in this matchup, they sure as heck will gain you yardage.

Knowshown Moreno (Denver Broncos vs. San Francisco 49ers): RB2 for now. Now that Denver has a running game, it might help other facets of Denver.

Frank Gore (San Francisco vs. Denver): RB1. If Darren McFadden with a hurt hamstring can burn Denver, a healthy Frank Gore can do much better.

Ronnie Brown/Ricky Williams (Miami Dolphins vs. Cincinatti Bengals): Low-end RB2, until the Dolphins get their act together.

Cedric Benson (Cincinnati vs. Miami): Low-end RB2, with this inconsistent offense.

Brandon Jackson (Green Bay Packers vs. New York Jets): RB3 or flex at best.  Keep him on the waiver wire for this matchup.

Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers vs. St. Louis Rams): RB2.

Steven Jackson (St. Louis vs. Carolina): Potential RB1; realistically still an RB2. He’s got the will to do it.

Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Dallas Cowboys): Solid RB2/High-end RB3.

Felix Jones/Marion Barber (Dallas vs. Jacksonville): RB3s.

Cadillac Williams (Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Arizona Cardinals): Waiver wire fodder.

Tim Hightower/Beanie Wells (Arizona vs. Tampa Bay): Both RB1s, but Hightower gets the starting nod.

Ryan Mathews (San Diego Chargers vs. Tennessee Titans): Low-end RB2/solid RB3 at best. Good luck and best wishes.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (New England Patriots vs. Minnesota Vikings): Some tough sledding, but a potential low-end RB1.

Marshawn Lynch/Justin Forsett (Seattle Seahawks vs. Oakland Raiders): Low-end RB2s for now.

Darren McFadden (Oakland vs. Seattle): High-end RB1.  He’s running pissed, and he’s motivated. A volatile combination in a running back.

Chris Ivory (New Orleans Saints vs. Pittsburgh Steelers): Low-end RB2. With Drew Brees acting up, Ivory is going to have a target on his chest.

Joseph Addai/Mike Hart (Indianapolis Colts vs. Houston Texans): Low-end RB2 right now. Not against this defense, but as much as Peyton Manning may be desperate to re-establish himself as the best quarterback in the NFL, particularly against their rival.

Fantasy Football X-Factor: Marshawn Lynch of the Seattle Seahawks

Marshawn Lynch seems to have taken with the Seattle Seahawks as the starting running back.  Fantasy-wise, he seems to be a solid to low-end RB2.  Justin Forsett is still the better running back of the two, averaging 4.6 yards per carry and having broke two 20+ yard runs already. Marshawn Lynch seem to be in better environment that actually complements him. If Matt Hasselback continues his upward trend, Forsett and Lynch should have more breathing room. Marshawn Lynch should remain a solid RB2 for now, but he has potential to be a RB1.  Justin Forsett owners should be aware that Forsett is more productive, and can possibly become the starter ahead of Marshawn Lynch within a few weeks.