Why You Shouldn't Draft Defenses Until the Last Couple Rounds - Exhibit Z
It's not like this is something you don't already know, but this season the contrast between preseason ranking and performance is so stark, it's worth emphasizing:
The Top-5 Defenses in fantasy points per game are as follows:
4. New England
Here are some other notable ones:
9. New York Jets
16. Green Bay
26. San Francisco
It's only six games, and the Steelers have performed as advertised, but otherwise, it's been almost totally random.
A Good Problem to Have
The Eagles have already had one quarterback controversy when Kevin Kolb lost his job due to injury, and now they might have another as Kolb lit up the Falcons and 49ers the last two weeks. Kolb's slated to start this week in Tennessee, and with another good game could supplant Michael Vick. While there's no way for us to know what Andy Reid will decide once Vick returns, we do know that whoever it is should be good, and you want to start him. Consider that only Peyton Manning (103.4) has a higher QB rating than the Eagles' QBs (103.3), and only Philip Rivers (9.1) has averaged more yards per attempt (8.0). The Eagles are fourth in touchdown passes, tied for last in interceptions allowed (2) and seventh in yards. And that doesn't include Vick's 187 rushing yards.
A Bad Problem to Have
With David Garrard concussed and unlikely to practice early in the week, and Trent Edwards dealing with a sore thumb and also possibly out, the Jaguars signed Todd Bouman. Maurice Jones-Drew has always been able to perform well in spite of his environment, but this might be Steven Jackson circa 2008-09 where the TDs are hard to come by.
Odds to win the Super Bowl
Unlike last year when the Colts, Saints and Vikings got off to blazing starts and were the overwhelming favorites, this year, it's far more wide open. Here are the current odds:
New York Jets 6:1
Pittsburgh Steelers 7:1
Baltimore Ravens 8:1
Indianapolis Colts 9:1
New England Patriots 9:1
Notice anything strange about this? They're all AFC teams. Seems like a no-brainer to take a few NFC teams at a higher payout.
New Orleans Saints 11:1
Atlanta Falcons 14:1
Green Bay Packers 14::1
New York Giants 15:1
Minnesota Vikings 16:1
Philadephia Eagles 18:1
I like the Giants and Eagles best at those numbers.
One other interesting note: Remember in the preseason when the 49ers were -175 to win the division against the entire field? Now they're +400, behind the Rams +300, the Cardinals +160 and the Seahawks +130!
Just Doing His Job
There's been a dust-up about James Harrison's comments after KO'ing both Josh Cribbs and Mohamed Massaquoi Sunday. He said:
I don't want to injure anybody. There's a big difference between being hurt and being injured. You get hurt, you shake it off and come back the next series or the next game. I try to hurt people.
I have to agree with Harrison, who was subsequently fined $75,000 for his work. It's his job to make offensive players fear and dread coming into his area of the field, and anything he can say to create that impression further is good. As in poker, table image is important. But it's the league's job to fine and/or suspend him if he violates rules against helmet-to-helmet contact.
NFL's Super System
Rex Ryan is the Doyle Brunson of the NFL. In Super System Brunson talks about pounding and pounding on people with raises and re-raises to the point where he picks up a ton of uncontested pots. When someone does finally play back, Brunson usually has the worst of it, i.e., is an underdog, but he's won so many other pots that overall his strategy is profitable. And of course, he will draw out sometimes, too. Rex does the same thing, relentlessly blitzing, making the quarterback get rid of the ball too early, knocking him down and keeping him off balance and guessing. When teams do pick up the blitz or take shots down the field, they'll often succeed, but overall the relentless pressure will cause mistakes, break up the offense's rhythm and cause them to fall behind. As good as Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie are, they'll get beat in one-on-one situations sometimes, and Rex knows this. But overall, it's a winning strategy.
Things to Take Away from Week 6
Things to Watch for in Week 7
Beating the Book
Rams +2.5 at Buccaneers
The Rams were impressive at home last week, getting pressure on Philip Rivers all day, and moving the ball with some consistency. The Bucs meanwhile got blown out at home by the Saints. That's why the Bucs have to be the value this week - buy them low and sell St. Louis high. Moreover, the Rams have played far worse on the road so far this season. Back the Bucs.
Buccaneers 27 - 19
We lost with the Broncos last week to go 4-2 in this forum and 44-42-4 on the season. We were 10-7 in this forum last season, 131-122 overall. We were 12-5 in this forum in 2008. From 1999-2009 we've gone 1439-1262 (53.3%, not including ties).
The full article comes out on Thursday morning.
Surviving Week 7
I had the Giants last week in this space, though I eventually (and unwisely) switched the to Chargers in the full column based on the prospective payout. Here's what I'm looking at this week: