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Posted on: May 2, 2008 5:23 pm
 

Draft days

It's been busy here at the office. Next week, I have two feature stories due for our annual Fantasy magazine; one is written, the other is an easy write. It's chasing down people to get quotes for the stories that's the tough part, but hopefully next week rolls by without incident.

I spent part of my week this week, however, drafting. Yes, in April (technically it was April). Krause Publications held their annual expert's draft, which I got to be a part of. I always look forward to this draft because it features Fantasy luminaries (is that really a good word to describe us?) such as Greg Ambrosius, Adam Caplan, John Hansen and former co-worker, Michael Fabiano. In fact, all of us are in the same division! No doubt, it's going to be a tough league.

I can't divulge the complete results, only my results. I picked 4th in the odd rounds, 9th in the even rounds. We start 3 WRs and a FLEX on top of 2 RBs, 1 QB, 1 TE, etc. There are points per reception; the rest of the scoring is how you'd expect it. Here are the notables ...

ROUND 1: Brian Westbrook. Pretty standard after LaDainian Tomlinson, Adrian Peterson and Steven Jackson went off the board. And NOT in that order.

ROUND 2: Larry Fitzgerald. While the running backs weren't entirely thin, I didn't want to lose out on getting TWO good WRs. Fitzgerald's potential for 100 receptions played a big role. Maurice Jones-Drew was also a consideration.

ROUND 3: Wes Welker.
Really wanted Marques Colston here. Steve Smith, T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Braylon Edwards went right before my pick. I passed on Torry Holt.

ROUND 4: Derek Anderson. Running backs were still plentiful, so I was able to pass on them and pick one up in a few picks.

ROUND 5: Julius Jones. Loved getting him here. I expect him to go a full round higher in drafts come August. AND, he was the only RB drafted in the round, so the talent pool that I was staring at heading into this pick was still there for the most part for my next pick.

ROUND 6: Kevin Smith. Big risk-reward pick here, but I figure the Lions will put him in at some point as their starter. I know Tatum Bell can't do it. I picked him over Travis Henry -- big, big risk there. I would have preferred Jonathan Stewart here, but he went earlier in the round.

ROUND 7: Todd Heap. Risk-reward, but doing it with a TE in a Cam Cameron offense. Lock it up.

ROUND 8: Santana Moss. Another player I expect to post a nice season. I may be a former Miami Hurricane like Moss, and I like Moss a lot on a personal level, but I've always been able to pass on him in drafts before, figuring that he'd underperform. In Round 8, I cannot pass him up. I hope he goes off for 1,200 yards.

ROUND 9: Vikings DST. HUGE pick there that will either pay off in spades or flub like a party boat filled with ... nevermind. I secretly hoped this would start a DST run, but I was wayyy off (keep in mind, I did draft with guys who know that DSTs are more plentiful than Britney Spears paparazzi shots).

ROUND 10: Bryant Johnson. Lots of upside playing in Mike Martz's offense. Has the size to be a No. 1. Not much competition for him there. Niners will be behind a lot. Not bad for Round 10.

ROUND 11: Jake Delhomme. A guy everyone reading this should target to be their backup QB in 2008.

ROUND 12: Leon Washington. Another guy I'm stealing. Not only will he see 8-to-10 carries a game, but he'll be a gem if something happens to Thomas Jones. That O-line in New York should be much better this year.

ROUND 13: T.J. Duckett. Backing up Julius Jones, with some upside as a touchdown hog.

ROUND 14: Darren Sproles. Just in case ...

ROUND 15: Lorenzo Booker. Backing up Brian Westbrook.

ROUND 16: Nate Kaeding. The necessary evil of Fantasy Football -- placekickers. My goal is to draft ALL of my kickers with my final pick in every single draft I do between now and when I die.

You may comment on my team and draft strategy below. Would love to hear from you.
Posted on: April 28, 2008 5:24 pm
Edited on: April 29, 2008 12:06 pm
 

MAJOR FANTASY RANKINGS CHANGES UPDATE

My Monday morning got started with a THUD: My laptop, with all my precious information, barfed on me.

Looking at a potentially long day, I was able to get back on track with my laptop thanks to the tech group here at CBSSports. Mad props to Apple guru Seth Balsam.

After that, Jamey Eisenberg and I huddled in a conference meeting room and hashed out our post-draft rankings. That lasted a long time. The next time you're in a business meeting talking about financial logistics and TPS Reports, imagine being in that same room yapping about the NFL, the draft and Fantasy Football. That's what I did today.

Believe me, it's not as fun as you might think. Jamey and I have a strict policy about how we must "defend or drop" players on our board. Like the NFL personnel people, we have to get up on the table and fight for who we believe in. For instance, I raised my voice and pounded the table for Jonathan Stewart, while Jamey fought hard for Laurence Maroney.

Ultimately, we decided on these rankings:

POSITIONAL: cbs.sportsline.com/fantasy/football
/rankings/


TOP 200: www.sportsline.com/fantasy/football
/rankings/top200


NOTE: We had problems posting the correct rankings on Monday. They should be fixed and ready for your eyeballs now.

Here's the thinking behind the changes in our rankings ...

QUARTERBACKS

Jason Campbell UP. The Redskins passer is in the right place at the right time, learning the West Coast Offense and landing not one, not two but THREE new targets in Devin Thomas, Malcolm Kelly and Fred Davis. While I don't expect any of the three to get more than 500 yards in '08, all three will be utilized and Campbell will be the one throwing to them. He'll also be throwing to Chris Cooley, Santana Moss, Clinton Portis and Antwaan Randle El. Talk about an embarrassment of riches. Campbell is now a low-end platoonable starting Fantasy option.

Trent Edwards UP. The addition of James Hardy should result in more touchdowns for Edwards, be it to him or Lee Evans. Hardy should open things up. We're expecting him to be a poor man's Marques Colston this season. He's nearly the exact same player (obviously with more notoriety).

Kyle Boller DOWN. See below.

Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco DEBUT. We're not expecting much from either rookie QB, and we don't think one has a better shot at playing any sooner than the other. That can change, of course, but for now they're both low-end No. 3 QBs.

RUNNING BACKS

Marshawn Lynch UP a smidge. We didn't like Larry Johnson getting Jamaal Charles in his backfield. That could cost him 5 reps a game. Lynch is healthier and has a better offensive line. We're just saying we'd take him over Johnson.

Laurence Maroney UP. This was a combo platter of Jamey defending Maroney, saying that he's expecting him to be used more to keep opposing defenses off balanced when rushing the Patriots, and the reality that if we were in a draft, we'd take him over guys like Rudi Johnson, LenDale White, etc. I love Maroney's ability, but I personally won't draft Maroney in any leagues this season because I can't pinpoint his role on a week to week basis. That will change once the season starts and I can see what he does and how the Pats use him.

Julius Jones UP. See above. We'd just take him and trust him in Seattle's offense over the running backs behind him (if you disagree, you should email us (dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com) or post in the message board ASAP).

Thomas Jones SKYROCKETS. The Jets didn't draft Darren McFadden (or any RB for that matter), and their offensive line has some real potential to be Cleveland-esque after adding Alan Faneca. The versatile Jones should rebound big-time from last year's low TD total. We like him a lot as a low-end No. 2 RB.

Darren McFadden DEBUTS. We went back and forth on McFadden until I realized something: Lane Kiffin was an offensive coach at USC when Reggie Bush was used as a multi-purpose back and dominated the NCAAs. Kiffin HAS to have designs on doing the same thing with McFadden. Expect rushing of course, but also receiving and even some passing. He's a solid top-end No. 3 Fantasy RB -- but don't draft him to be a No. 2 RB (someone else in your league might do that) ... unless you're positive McFadden will romp in Oakland. And if so, we should talk (dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com).

Willie Parker PLUMMETS. The addition of Rashard Mendenhall is a signal that the Steelers will not put a full workload in Willie Parker's basket this season, especially at the goal line. We like Parker for yardage, but no more than, say, 1,100. He's now a solid No. 3 Fantasy rusher, a far cry from the low-end No. 1 RB he was earlier this offseason!

Jonathan Stewart DEBUTS. My argument with Jamey was that the Panthers love the power run game and Stewart is a power rusher. DeAngelo Williams has long been a favorite of mine, but he had a hard time topping DeShaun Foster and will have virtually no shot at getting more reps than Stewart, especially at the goal line. Jamey agreed. I think Stewart is your rookie of the year, by the way.

DeAngelo Williams DOWN. See above. Still might be a nice low-end No. 3 Fantasy RB.

Cedric Benson DOWN. The Bears have designs on rookie Matt Forte being their starter. They love him. He's a bright kid who can do it all EXCEPT blaze down the field. He has good speed, not great speed. Benson has fair speed and few other intangibles, unless you count a broken ankle. Frankly, I wouldn't let my worst enemy draft Benson, but he doesn't play Fantasy Football. Benson is barely a starting option, while Forte is a massive sleeper.

Kevin Smith DEBUTS. The Lions don't really have a reliable running back, and Smith has the body and ability to be a presence. Considering that the Lions are planning to become more run-oriented this year than in years past, Smith couldn't have landed in a better city. P.S. His main competition is Tatum Bell. Stop snickering, it's not nice.

Rashard Mendenhall DEBUTS. See Willie Parker. He could get five touchdowns.

Justin Fargas DOWN. See Darren McFadden. How can we possibly rely on Fargas for big yardage when McFadden will take a sizable role? I doubt this twosome will compare to Deuce McAllister and Reggie Bush 2006.

Selvin Young UP. Chris Brown DOWN. Minor changes. Just some corrections.

Felix Jones DEBUTS. High yardage, low touchdown expectation for Jones playing with TD-hog Marion Barber.

Matt Forte DEBUTS.
See Benson.

Chris Johnson DEBUTS. We like Johnson quite a bit but don't see him getting many touchdowns except on long runs. LenDale White will still get the TDs. While we hate what this does to Chris Henry, we are hopeful that Johnson will deliver some stunning highlights. He'll be a hyped pick in Fantasy drafts a la McFadden.

Ricky Williams UP. No more Lorenzo Booker in Miami.

Ray Rice, Steve Slaton DEBUT. Two rookies with speed and versatility who need injuries to get them regular playing time. Nice depth choices, but that's about it. We really wish Rice had landed in Detroit.

Kenton Keith DOWN. Mike Hart is coming for his gig. Shaun Alexander might be, too.

NOTABLE WIDE RECEIVERS

Steve Smith UP. The combo of the Bengals drafting some new WR talent and a correction involving Smith's stats made for this tweak.

Marvin Harrison UP. The Colts drafted no wide receivers in their first five rounds. They have to be expecting Harrison near 100 percent for the season.

Lee Evans UP. Evans' double-teams should slow down now that James Hardy is on the same sideline. We like Hardy a lot. More on him in a bit.

Roddy White DOWN. We now know that at some point this season, White will be catching passes from Matt Ryan. Adjust his stats accordingly.

Bobby Engram UP. Seattle, like Indy, didn't invest heavily in receivers. Engram is Hasselbeck's best receiver.

James Hardy DEBUTS. We like Hardy as a red-zone and third-down target for Buffalo in the mold of Marques Colston. His yardage might be decent, but we expect 5-6 touchdowns from him. He'll make life a little easier for his Bills' teammates, too.

DeSean Jackson DEBUTS. Philly loves speedy playmakers to catch in small space and break one. Jackson can do this. Expectations are moderate (550 yards, 3 TD) but he has lots of upside. McNabb also can still throw a nice deep ball, and Jackson can beat 11 defenders downfield.

Earl Bennett DEBUTS. The Bears lack receiving firepower, and Bennett has great hands to go with nice speed. Size is an issue, but so is Grossman throwing mid-range passes. Bennett should work best in the short-area. He's got some potential.

Again, if there's anything you disagree with, I invite you to comment below or email me at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com.

NOTE: We had problems posting the correct rankings on Monday. They should be fixed and ready for your eyeballs now.
Category: NFL
Posted on: April 26, 2008 10:06 pm
 

DAY 1 DRAFT WINNERS AND LOSERS

A wild, and very, very fast 2008 NFL Draft is 2/7ths of the way over, but we can already identify who the winners and losers are. Here's a quick roundup.

THE BIG WINNER: Jonathan Stewart, who will likely fall into a starting role as the physical, running downs RB in Carolina. He should also see goal-line carries, and he'll work behind a line featuring Jordan Gross and Jeff Otah at the tackles and Travelle Wharton at left guard. I think he's got the best shot at over 1,000 yards and seven TDs as a rookie RB.

OTHER WINNERS:

Jason Campbell, QB, WAS. Adding two big young receivers in Devin Thomas (good size, great speed) and Malcolm Kelly (great size, fair speed), not to mention TE Fred Davis (what are they gonna do with HIM?!), should put Campbell close to 3,750 yards or so passing. If these rookies can assimilate, I like Campbell in that platoon tier of Fantasy QBs. So much talent around him now, it's going to be hard for him not to complete 62 pct. of his passes.

Darren McFadden, RB, OAK. It's a borderline call. McFadden will get a lot of work by virtue of his high draft status and expensive contract. But between him, JaMarcus Russell, the rest of the RBs in Oakland and Javon Walker and Ronald Curry, the Raiders offense has a lot of speed and big-play ability. They'll be fun to watch. McFadden is no lock for any more than 6 TDs, though. He will NOT be this year's Adrian Peterson.

Matt Forte, RB, CHI. The versatile inside runner/outside receiver should push Cedric Benson hard for the starting RB job from day one. Benson's lackadaisical approach is going to cost him as Forte is a go-getter with a good head on his shoulders, and he can block! Forte might out-stat McFadden in 2008. Seriously. That's not any Chicago bias talking, either.

The Jaguars DST for sniping two really solid pass rushers in Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. It was either draft those two young guys or trade their No. 1 pick for Jason Taylor. Long term, they made a really, really good choice. Very savvy move by them.

The Jets DST for getting Vernon Gholston. They could lead the AFC in sacks this season.

The Saints DST for getting Sedrick Ellis. Brilliant trade up, and now they could also generate sacks with Ellis taking on two offensive linemen.

Keith Rivers will be this year's Patrick Willis in IDP leagues.

THE BIG LOSER: Willie Parker, who now must split his workload with not only rookie RB Rashard Mendenhall, but also Najeh Davenport and potentially Mewelde Moore. I listened to the Sirius NFL Radio broadcast of the draft, and coach Mike Tomlin was ECSTATIC over landing Mendenhall. I got a bad feeling that Parker's days as a Fantasy stud are over.

OTHER LOSERS:

LenDale White, RB, TEN. The Titans' drafting of Chris Johnson reeks of them looking at Combine totals and drooling, much like they did with Chris Henry last year. Henry doesn't fit into their plans (they should trade him to Detroit ASAP), but Johnson will not only be a 1,000-yard candidate, but he'll also help pad Vince Young's stats in the passing game. White has officially gone to a tandem, and while he'll still get TDs, his yardage totals are about to shrivel up.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, CAR. Now he's got to share with Stewart. The only way Williams will see a full workload is if Stewart gets hurt or he signs elsewhere when his rookie contract is up. What a waste of amazing talent, and a waste of a first-round pick by the Panthers. I'm not optimistic that Williams will have a solid Fantasy starting status this season.

Michael Turner, RB, ATL. The Falcons' drafting of Matt Ryan waved the flag on the 2008 season, and the move-up to draft Sam Baker was very suspect. Baker will be a good player, but I don't see him grading out at left tackle. Guard maybe. Turner is still without a good O-line and a pass game to take some pressure off him. He'll grind out 1,000 yards still, but won't be as dominant as he could have been elsewhere.

Cedric Benson, RB, CHI. As they say in Chicago: Sha na na na, na na na na, hey hey hey, gooooodbye (sorry it's late and I had a long day). Matt Forte is going to give Benson a big-time fight for the starting job. Benson is one dude I am not TOUCHING in Fantasy play this season.

Michael Bush, RB, OAK. McFadden's arrival means he's a long ways from being a premier running back. That broken leg is still costing him.
Fred Davis, TE, WAS. Thought he had 500-yard potential playing in an offense that wanted a nice tight end. Wound up in Washington watching Chris Cooley play in front of him. I like the player, hate the landing spot. Last time that happened was in '04 with Steven Jackson going to St. Louis. That turned out OK.

Willis McGahee, RB, BAL. Just a little bit, because the Ravens did not address the O-line and added Ray Rice to help McGahee in the run game, though I suspect both will be used at the same time. Rice is Cam Cameron's type of running back, though. I don't love this if I'm McGahee, but I am still expecting at least 1,300 total yards and 8 TDs.

I don't get Jerod Mayo at No. 10 overall. Sorry New England, you lost me. And the last time you lost me, you drafted a gem of a lineman in Logan Mankins, so obviously I'm a moron.
Category: NFL
Posted on: April 26, 2008 3:03 pm
Edited on: April 26, 2008 8:48 pm
 

2008 NFL Draft Blog - Day 1

8:46 p.m.: For all of my Round 2 analysis, click here: sportsline.com/nfl/story/10800033

It's been a wild day. The first round went by faster than an OT NFL game, and the second round was a hectic ride (and technically not over). The third round will be interesting after so many guys with late-second and third-round grades went already.

7:34 p.m.:
Love the Matt Forte pick by the Chicago Bears. Not only does he have nice speed and size, but he can also be a huge asset in the passing game. And, he's a very bright person that will play well in Chicago, especially when compared to the surly Cedric Benson. He doesn't have breakaway speed, and injuries are an issue, but he's a really polished pick for the Bears.

The other Round 2 pick I really like so far is James Hardy in Buffalo. Really great pick. Huge red-zone target. Reminds me of Marques Colston, but with better change-of-direction and a smidge more bulk. Trent Edwards' stock goes up with the pick.

6:45 p.m.:
A lot of defense to end Round 1, but Fantasy owners should take note of Dustin Keller going to the Jets. He should add another 300-400 yards to Kellen Clemens' bottom line, and give the Jets a nice red-zone threat. I like the pick a lot.

5:50 p.m.:
Chris Johnson being taken by Tennessee was yet another surprise. Johnson has off-the-charts speed and excellent hands, and my guess is that the Titans, who have taken Combine heroes in the past, couldn't pass on his ability. Now they have the total package of a power runner in LenDale White and a speedster in Johnson. They should trade Chris Henry to a club that will use him, but in the meantime he'll end up being a backup.

5:42 p.m.:
Felix Jones landing in Dallas was one of the worst-kept secrets this offseason. The Cowboys like him a lot as a solid rusher who can complement Marion Barber, not to mention use him as leverage against Barber, who is a restricted free agent. I like the pick a lot.

Rashard Mendenhall is a puzzling pick for the Steelers, but it frees them up to use a two-RB system with him and Parker, killing Najeh Davenport's Fantasy value (Parker's too). Maybe this speaks to the rehab of Parker's broken leg as well. Fantasy fans, we just lost a top-15 Fantasy rusher. But on the flip side, THE TALENT POOL IS DEEPER THAN EVER!!!


5:28 p.m.:
Love the Aqib Talib pick for Tampa Bay, hate the Sam Baker pick for Atlanta. Baker didn't grade out to a first-round pick in a lot of analysts' minds, though I like him as a second-round type.

As for Talib, he's a physical corner who will fit in nicely with the Bucs in their Cover-2 scheme.

5:15 p.m.:
The Carolina Panthers just won the 2008 NFL Draft and the NFC South.

By trading back into Round 1 and landing OT Jeff Otah, they've re-planted their flag as a power-run offense that will complement their should-be impressive pass attack. Otah will give them bookend offensive tackles with Travelle Wharton at left guard. That's an incredibly talented and young O-line.

Now pair that with Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams running the ball, and Jake Delhomme hitting Steve Smith on deep routes and smoke screens, and you've got a very, very potent offense. One that rivals the Saints as the best in the division.

Jonathan Stewart just overtook Darren McFadden as the go-to Fantasy rookie RB in 2008 drafts. You read it here FIRST.

4:48 p.m.:
The Branden Albert pick is a nice one for Kansas City. The hope is that he can play tackle, but even if he's a guard there he'll really help out Larry Johnson's plight.

Chris Williams going to Chicago doesn't make much sense other than he was the only pure left tackle available, and the Bears cannot rely on John Tait to play on the left side any more. Williams will be able to take that left-side job while Tait moves to the right. It helps the Bears' line, but there are questions about Williams' toughness. I don't like the pick much for Cedric Benson's future.

4:38 p.m.:
The run on offensive linemen have begun -- the Broncos took LT Ryan Clady and the Bears took LT Chris Williams -- but nestled in between those behemoths is Jonathan Stewart, who will now share reps with DeAngelo Williams.

Stewart has a toe problem but should be fine. I like him a lot -- probably more than McFadden at this point -- because he'll get a sizable workload in Carolina and have a shot at being their goal-line running back. Moreover, the Panthers prefer a power runner and not a speedster (why did they ever draft DeAngelo Williams??).

So far, Fantasywise, Stewart is the winner with McFadden second. But there's been too many defenders taken to make that even a fair and balanced argument.


4:25 p.m.:
Still swamped, but with Ryan Clady getting drafted I get a breather.

McKelvin and Rivers will be impact defenders for the Bills and Bengals, respectively. I don't understand how the Patriots couldn't trade down and still get Jerrod Mayo.

More coming.

4:01 p.m.:
A lot going on ... I need an offensive lineman to get picked already!

OK, the Saints and Jets' defenses are already on the move on our rank lists with their additions. The Jets might have become the best rags-to-riches defensive story this offseason with the additions of Vernon Gholston, Calvin Pace and Kris Jenkins. Gholston and Pace together should be fun to watch. For the Saints, Ellis will enhance the stats of DEs Will Smith and Charles Grant.

As for Jacksonville jumping up to get Derrick Harvey ... guess they figured he was worth the draft pick moreso than Jason Taylor. Jacksonville was a team I recently dissected and realized they needed a pass rusher. Taylor would have been an option, but so is Harvey, and he'll be around a lot longer than Taylor. True, they're not in the same class, but Harvey is a solid, pure 4-3 pass rusher and he should really help out that Jacksonville defense.

Two trades in the first 10 picks ... one O-lineman, three offensive players in total. Hmmm, methinks this is still a defense-based league.

3:37 p.m.:
Glenn Dorsey to the Chiefs is a big surprise, but only because Dorsey was still available. As Pat Kirwan so eloquently said on Sirius Radio, Herman Edwards has his Warren Sapp on the defensive line. Dorsey is a strong-like-bull run stuffer that should help the Chiefs' run defense from Day 1.

Not nearly as many trades so far as I thought, a possible side-effect of the 10-minute time limit. OR, there are trades coming a la the NBA ... we'll see ...

3:34 p.m.:
Darren McFadden is off to Oakland. I'm a little disappointed that he's not a Jet because that team is ready for a running back to come in and do well, but the Raiders are still a nice spot. He'll be sharing the ball, but as I noted earlier, the Raiders can probably find a way to use multiple rushers effectively.


3:18 p.m.:
Matt Ryan is going to the Falcons. Picked third overall. I don't love this pick very much for Fantasy purposes, but for the Falcons, it's a nice move that sets the tone for the offense for the next several seasons. The difference between Ryan and Glenn Dorsey is that Ryan won't make the impact right away that Dorsey would have. Dorsey would have been a PERFECT fit for that defense. Ryan will be fine for that offense, but not until 2009. Fantasy owners can dismiss Ryan at this juncture.

Now the draft is going to get REALLY interesting ... Oakland's pick has suddenly become very, very attractive.

3:10 p.m.:
The Rams' card is in ... and it's Chris Long.

Great addition for St. Louis. He'll team with Adam Carriker to dominate the left side of offensive lines for awhile, and the NFC West is a little light in that category outside of Seattle. This won't add much Fantasy value to the Rams DST (could be 6-7 more sacks in 2008), but neither would have Glenn Dorsey.



3:04 p.m.:
To no one's surprise, Jake Long goes No. 1 overall. Long will be tried at left tackle and should be fine there. Long will not only help the run game thanks to his expected blocking help (the Dolphins' left side will look like Long, Justin Smiley and center Reagan Mauia), but he'll also make Miami's pass attack a little bit better. That should help Josh McCown a smidge in '08.

Now things will get mildly interesting ...



3:00 p.m.:
Welcome to our live coverage of the 2008 NFL Draft.

You can find live updates on each pick's impact in Fantasy play by clicking here: www.sportsline.com/fantasy/football


You can email me here: dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com. Drop me a line and we'll schmooze about Fantasy.

I am writing from my home in Ft. Lauderdale, loaded with lots of soft beverages and a hi-def TV. The Fantasy Wife is on the couch with The Fantasy Daughter. The Fantasy Son is out playing -- big shout-out to the Smith family for letting my son wreck their house.
Category: NFL
Posted on: April 26, 2008 10:44 am
Edited on: April 26, 2008 1:11 pm
 

2008 NFL Draft Blog -- PREGAME!

1:03 p.m.: Here are the latest headlines from the NFL draft

ESPN is reporting that Chris Long will go second to the Rams, Glenn Dorsey third to the Falcons, and Darren McFadden fourth to the Raiders.

The selections by St. Louis and Atlanta pass muster, but the Raiders' decision to take McFadden seems odd. For starters, they re-signed RB Justin Fargas earlier this offseason. It wasn't a break-the-bank deal, but it was enough to put a significant number in the Raiders' financial books. And, they also have Dominic Rhodes and Michael Bush on the roster. Finally, adding a playmaker on defense like Vernon Gholston or Sedrick Ellis also seems to make more sense since the club stunk against the run last season, and were actually solid running the ball.

On one hand, the Raiders might be setting up another last minute "smoke screen" to bait the Jets into giving up their 2nd-round pick for McFadden. If that's what the Raiders are doing, it should work.

On the other hand, you've got to think about what kind of offense Oakland will have if they truly put McFadden into the mix. Might they get as creative as the Saints in 2006 and find ways to maximize using multiple running backs? Justin Fargas and Michael Bush both have excellent hands, and McFadden doesn't exactly have poor hands. Why not some plays with McFadden in the backfield and Fargas/Bush lined up in the slot, or vice versa? And, if that's what they do, what will that do to Javon Walker's coverage once the running backs get established?

AND, what will that do for JaMarcus Russell, not only in terms of his cumulative stats, but the lack of constant pass-rush pressure he'll face?

IF Oakland goes through with it and takes McFadden, they'll have some serious potential to be loaded on BOTH sides of the ball for several years. It will stink for McFadden's Fantasy value, though.

More to come.




11:00 a.m.: Greetings from El Casa De Richard (Ricardo?)

Just got a phone call from my buddy BK.

"Dude, it's the greatest day of the offseason!" he yelled.

Believe it or not, BK is off to a Draft party in Miami with several pals. They're gonna hang out and watch the draft action this afternoon. I'm pretty sure a keg will be involved.

"Normally, this is the best day of the year for me," said BK, a former University of Miami student. "But since my Giants won the Super Bowl, it's the second-best day of the year."

Hope you're as pumped as he is. We'll be here all day breaking down the actions around the NFL ... all for the sole purpose of giving you a HUGE head start on how the 2008 Fantasy season will shake out.

We'll be talking a mix of Fantasy and Draft all day, and frankly the two go together like PB and J.

The rumors I've been reading so far this morning are that there are a flurry of trades to be expected. The Chiefs and Patriots appear to be major players in the first round, as will Philadelphia. We'll see.

Veterans on the move today: Jeremy Shockey, Lito Sheppard and possibly ... Roy Williams and Chad Johnson. It would not surprise me one bit if this morning the Bengals called the Falcons, Raiders, Jets and Patriots and asked if they had any interest in Johnson. Not necessarily for a swap of firsts, mind you ... I think Cincy might try to land two top 10 picks to salvage its defense.

More to come ... please post comments below or email me at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com. You can also see my mock draft below.
Category: NFL
Posted on: April 25, 2008 10:18 am
 

Draft madness this weekend


If there was ever a weekend between February and July for Fantasy owners to wake up and come out of hibernation, this weekend is it -- NFL DRAFT WEEKEND.

By this time Monday, over 250 men will infiltrate the NFL, and at least 85 percent of them will be on final rosters come September. The reality is that nearly every one of them will carry a measure of Fantasy value, whether it's Darren McFadden or Art Carmody.

So we're all over this like the contents of a hair-spray bottle on Mel Kiper's coif. Here's what we're cookin' up here in Fantasy-land for this weekend:

ALREADY ON SITE:
My mock draft, done in 19 minutes, 30 seconds. If you like boring mocks with no trades and no surprises, don't read it.

SATURDAY: I'll be posting Fantasy thoughts and analysis in real-time here in this very blog. I'll also be doing our very own player updates on the site AND I'll also be doing live commentary of the second-round picks for the main media site on CBSSports.com.

SUNDAY: See Saturday, except I'm only doing third round coverage for the media site. Fantasy blog updates and player updates will be sporadic starting in Round 4.

MONDAY: We'll post videos of the draft winners and losers as well as fresh content beefing up the rookie class and what the initial expectations are for them.

GET IN ON THE DRAFT: When a draft selection rives you nuts, or gets you pumped, chime in either in our CBSSports.com community or via email (did I mention we'll be posting emails?) at dmfantasyfootball@cbs.com.

See ya Saturday.

Category: NFL
Posted on: April 23, 2008 4:46 pm
 

How to write a mock draft in 20 minutes

One of the first discussions I had with my managing editor, Peter Madden, was the irrelevance of an NFL Mock Draft on a Fantasy site.

"The NFL Draft process only has Fantasy relevance once the players are taken," my boss told me (or he told me something like that. I can't remember it was three years ago. I can't remember what my kid's name is but I can tell you anything you want to know about Quentin Griffin).

So doing a mock draft was taboo in the Fantasy department ... until today.

For some reason, Peter is in an amazing mood. Short of winning the lottery or hearing great news about his beloved Boston Red Sox, something must have struck him because he gave me permission to do a mock draft. And without me pestering him, either!

"But if it takes you more than 20 minutes, I'm burying your links," he said. Or something to that effect. I can't remember, it was three hours ago.

So I'm not going to waste any more time. Here's what's on my mind.

The 20-minute clock starts ... NOW!

1. Miami - Jake Long
Duh.

2. St. Louis - Glenn Dorsey
Best defensive player available.

3. Kansas City (trade w/ Atlanta) - Chris Long
I love this. The ol' Raiders Hall of Famer's son comes to the arch-rival to play in the spot made open by Jared Allen's departure. Chiefs fans will LOVE seeing Howie wearing a Chiefs hat in Radio City Music Hall.

4. Oakland - Vernon Gholston
Darren McFadden is an option, but Gholston is the cherry on top of a much improved defense.

5. Atlanta (trade w/ Kansas City) - Matt Ryan
Figure the Falcons get a second-round pick in addition to the quarterback they would have taken at 3 anyway.

6. New York Jets - Darren McFadden
Finally, a rookie RB whose hype will (almost) match where he gets drafted in Fantasy leagues.

7. New England - Leodis McKelvin
Pats need some youth on defense; McKelvin can play as a cornerback under Belichick's tutelage and work on special teams.

8. New Orleans (trade w/ Baltimore) - Sedrick Ellis
The Ravens move down, pick up a 2 and stick it to the Bengals. Ellis fills a huge need (literally) for the Saints.

9. Cincinnati - Keith Rivers
Drafted a year too late, Rivers will help shore up the Bengals' suddenly plentiful LB corps.

10. Baltimore (trade w/ New Orleans) - Branden Albert
The Ravens need depth and talent along the O-line. Albert fits the bill.

11. Buffalo - Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Bills defense adds more speed, more energy. And now they're formidable.

12. Denver - Ryan Clady
See Baltimore at 10. Clady won't have to change his allegiance -- he's still a Bronco!

13. Detroit (trade w/ Carolina) - Rashard Mendenhall
Fearing that the Bears take Mendenhall, the Lions move up to get their guy. They would also settle for Derrick Harvey.

14. Arizona (trade w/ Chicago) - Derrick Harvey
They need a DE of the future and don't want anyone else to get it.

15. Carolina (trade w/ Detroit) - Jonathan Stewart
The perfect compliment to DeAngelo Williams

16. Chicago (trade w/ Arizona) - Jeff Otah
As much as I think Otah is overrated, the Bears cannot ignore O-line needs.

17. Kansas City - Brian Brohm
Makes too much sense. The Chiefs now have added key players to both sides of the football.

18. Houston - Mike Jenkins
So tempted to give them a RB, but the youthful cornerback helps their defense.

19. Eagles - Devin Thomas
I don't like any of the WRs going this early, but Thomas can help out some now and realy develop into a No. 1 WR later.

Clock's running out on me ...

20. San Francisco (trade w/ Tampa Bay) - Gosder Cherilus
21. Washington Redskins - Philip Merling
22. Dallas - Limas Sweed
23. Pittsburgh - Jerod Mayo
24. Tennessee - Kentwan Balmer
25. N.Y. Giants (trade w/ Seattle involving Shockey) -  Kenny Phillips
26. Jacksonville - Calais Campbell
27. San Diego - Chris Williams
28. Dallas - Felix Jones
29. Tampa Bay (trade w/ San Fran) - DeSean Jackson
30. Green Bay - Dustin Keller
31. Seattle (trade w/ New York) - James Hardy

... with 30 seconds to spare!!
Category: NFL
Tags: mock draft
 
Posted on: April 18, 2008 4:36 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2008 4:37 pm
 

The Fantasy Job: Now Hiring

When people meet me, they usually have two questions:

"How the heck did you get that job?!"

and

"Are you guys hiring?"

I can answer the first question easily: I fell backwards into it.

The second answer usually is no.

But not today. We're hiring.

The folks who market our Fantasy products are looking for someone who (1) loves Fantasy (2) wants a career in marketing (3) has some marketing experience, preferably search engine marketing and/or optimization and (4) lives in or is willing to relocate to South Florida (sorry, without assistance).

If you meet that criteria, we’d love to get your resume.<o:p></o:p>

To be considered, click here. Any resumes emailed to me will die in a grease fire.



The NFL released their "strength of schedule" for the 2008 season. Fantasy owners flock to this to see who got the "easiest" schedule.

And if you buy into that sack of propaganda, I'd like to play in a Fantasy league with you.

For starters, anyone who plays Miami, St. Louis, Atlanta or Oakland in 2008 is going to have a "favorable" schedule based on those teams' horrid 2007 final stats. However, both teams have upgraded and are expected to be better than top-of-the-draft worthy, especially Oakland (gasp!).

What *I* recommend you do is look at which teams are EXPECTED to stink this season, then check out the NFL schedules. That's a much, much more reliable way to decipher the sked and see what it means for your Fantasy team.

What's that? You don't want to do all that? You think someone should do it for you?

I'm on the case. But just to whet your appetite, here are six non-playoff teams from 2007 and what I expect from them in '08:

CHICAGO: BAD OFFENSE, DEFENSE SUFFERS ALONG WITH THEM.
KANSAS CITY: DOWNWARD SPIRAL. ANOTHER TOP-5 PICK IN 2008.
N.Y. Jets: IF THEY DRAFT WELL, THEY MIGHT FINISH 2ND IN AFC EAST AND 8-8.
ARIZONA: WILL BE MUCH IMPROVED. POSSIBLE PLAYOFF TEAM.
HOUSTON: VERY COMPETITIVE, ESPECIALLY OUT OF CONFERENCE.
CLEVELAND: MY PRESEASON AFC CHAMPIONS.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com