Giants @ Cowboys – A Fantasy Perspective

September 18, 2009
The Cowboys have beaten the Giants 4 out of the last 5 meetings.  Well have to see if Dallas passing attack is for real or if the Giants front 7 can get to Romo first.

The Cowboys have beaten the Giants 4 out of the last 5 regular season meetings. We'll have to see if Dallas' passing attack is for real or if the Giants front 7 can get to Romo first.

Last week started another great NFL season and it offered everything we’ve been waiting 9 months to see.  We had blowouts, tight games, stunning individual performances and great team efforts.  The Broncos even gave us a thrilling end to a tight game, when Brandon Stokley came away with a tipped pass at the end to score the game winning TD.  The Jets introduced themselves as possible contenders, behind solid play from rookie Mark Sanchez and a stout defense.  This weekend promises to offer more excitement, so let’s take a look at one interesting game – from A Fantasy Perspective.

The Giants travel to Big D to open Jerry Jones behemoth of a stadium, this Sunday in Arlington.  Over/under on punts that hit the board: 1.5 for Jeff Feagles.  I’m almost certain that the Cowboys Mat McBriar is under strict orders from the man upstairs to avoid the massive scoreboard at all costs, punishable by death.  But the new stadium and 60 yard HD screen at Cowboys stadium isn’t the only reason to tune into this game, as it also offers some important fantasy insight as well.

Must Start:

Barber should be used to quite a bit, in an attempt to stifle the Giants pass rush.

Barber should be used quite a bit, in an attempt to stifle the Giants pass rush.

Marion Barber (RB) Dal – Barber was quite productive last week (14 car, 79 yds, 1 td, 5.6 yd/car) against Tampa Bay.  Talks of him sharing the ball with Felix Jones (six) and even Tashard Choice (two) are a bit overblown at the moment, as they were nothing near a committee last week.  Given how productive Barber was, it’s a great sign that he’s finally healthy.  This week, he faces a big time defense in New York.  Everyone knows about the Giants pass rush, which is why I think Barber is a good play.  He can grind out the tough yards between the tackles and Jason Garrett is going to have to slow the game down a bit to keep some of the pressure off of Tony Romo.  Not only is Barber a supreme goal line back, he can also catch the ball when Romo needs to check down due to pressure.

Roy Williams (WR) Dal – Roy Williams showed he can be the explosive receiver Jerry Jones gave up a ton in draft picks to get from Detroit last year.  He only caught 3 balls last week, but went for 86 yards and a score.  The New York secondary is not healthy at all; last week they started the day with only 6 defensive backs active.  You’ve got to know that besides Witten (who’s always a must-start in Romo land), Williams is going to be a very big target this week.  He can catch the underneath stuff, but he can also go over the top for the big play.  If Romo has time to throw, watch for him to look Williams way a lot this week.

Steve Smith (WR) NYG – He sure looked like New York’s number one last week.  He finished with 6 catches for 80 yards as Eli Manning’s security blanket.  He’s not afraid to go across the middle and always makes the tough catch for the Giants.  Eli’s obviously looking for him on third down, as Smith is playing a role similar to Welker’s in New England.  In PPC leagues, Smith should be owned and started in most leagues.  He’s not a big yardage guy, so in leagues that value that, he’s not what you’re looking for.

Worth a Shot:

Brandon Jacobs + Ahmad Bradhaw (RB) NYG – The Bucs were able to gash the Dallas defense for 174 yards last week by a combo platter featuring the oft-catastrophically injured Cadillac Williams and former Giant Derrick Ward.  The Giants duo is vastly more talented than Tampa Bay’s, so I’d consider starting both Jacobs and his change-of-pace, Ahmad Bradshaw.  Jacobs has had moderate success vs Dallas in his past three games against them (17 car/177 yd,/1 td, 14/54/1, 24/95/0) and is always a threat to score in any game that he’s healthy enough to play.  Bradshaw is the better play, as he had a big game last week and is a threat in the passing game.  When the ball is in his hands, he has the chance to make something special happen with his supreme speed.  He’s filling the role that Ward had in New York last year and he’s much more talented than Ward ever was.  I can see him seeing more time on the field this week as the Dallas defense hounds Eli all day.

Sure T.O. and Jessica Simpson are gone, but is all the drama in Big D?

Sure T.O. and Jessica Simpson are gone, but did all the drama in Big D go with them?

Tony Romo (QB) Dal – Not because he put up a career high last week against a Tampa Bay secondary in disarray, not because he’s “more comfortable” without T.O. on the team, and not because I think he’s a particularly good quarterback.  He’s not on all accounts.  The Giants pass rush is worth the hype (Osi + Tuck? Scary) but if Romo is upright long enough to throw the ball, I see Jason Garrett wanting to attack the beat-up Giants secondary.

Guys I’m Avoiding:

Dallas receivers not named Williams/Witten – Sure, Patrick Crayton and Miles Austin had big games last week, but it was against Tampa Bay.  Crayton was targeted 6 times to Austin’s 2, but Dallas doesn’t know who their number 2 is.  Crayton is atop the depth chart currently, but they really like Austin’s big-play ability.  While I love to gamble, I don’t like to risk fantasy points playing roulette on who might be the guy this week.

New York receivers not named Smith – I like Manningham, a lot.  But he saw only 4 targets, posting 3 receptions for 58 yards (30 came on one play he extended himself).  Hixon starts, but only saw 3 balls thrown his way in week one.  Hakeem Nicks looked real good, but he’s out with an ankle injury.  Just as in Dallas, I wouldn’t gamble on who might be number 2 in New York.

Eli Manning (QB) NYG – In their last 3 meetings, Manning hasn’t eclipsed even 200 yards per game.  He’s never been an accurate passer (last year was his career high at 60%) and the Giants aren’t volume passers.  That’s an equation for fantasy failure if you ask me.  He makes just as many mistakes as everyone else, but he doesn’t pass enough to make up for them.  While he was fine last week, this week he’ll face a good defense in a rabid atmosphere.  He’s easily flustered, so I’d make other arrangements this week.

As with most NFC East face-offs, this should be a good game.  These teams battle hard, and while Dallas has won 4 out of the last 5 regular season matchups, these games are always entertaining.  Division rivals, a little uncertainty at the wide receiver positions, punts hitting the scoreboard and drama queens at QB,  this game should be a good one.  Add Fox’s showcasing of the stadium and the flash and flair of a Jerry Jones event, I’m sure well be treated to something great.


NFL Rankings – The Way We See It

September 1, 2009

So it shall be said that the Blue Duck Rankings are in…Alex Berman and Andrew Connington weigh in and place our media credibility on the line.

AFC East

bermanad says:

New England Patriots
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins
New York Jets

With Brady back, the battle is for second place.  The Patriots look locked and loaded for another deep playoff run.  With T.O. in town and a young defense, the Bills could take a big step forward.  The Dolphins didn’t add enough talent to repeat their stunning turnaround of a year ago.  With a rookie QB and no receiver past Cotchery to throw to, the Jets are in for a long season.

andy3331 says:

New England Patriots
New York Jets
Buffalo Bills
Miami Dolphins

Tom Brady is back and the Patriots have seemingly improved on offense and defense since their 18-1 2007 campaign. The Jets are looking for Sanchez to bring some stability to their passing game and I believe he will be the spark they need to claim second place in a mediocre AFC East.  T.O. will look to take the Bills to the top, but the Bills still suck.  Look for Miami to take a big step backwards, with their gimmicks all well known they will have to rely on talent, and they have very little.

AFC West

bermanad says:

San Diego Chargers
Oakland Raiders
Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos

In this division, Phillip Rivers could play with his throwing arm tied behind his back and still get this team to the playoffs.  Oakland could step up and actually win a couple games this year, with McFadden ready to take over and an underrated defense ready to carry the load once again.  Kansas City, originally picked to finish second by me, makes me nervous with one of the worst O-lines in football protecting a QB with below average pocket presence.  The Broncos, already melting down before a regular season game has been played, are doomed to finish last in the division, possibly the conference.  Too bad they traded next year’s first round pick for CB Alphonso Smith, as it could have been used for McCoy or Bradford.

andy3331 says:

San Diego Chargers
Kansas City Chiefs
Denver Broncos
Oakland Raiders

Mr. Rivers has improved every year for the Chargers, and with a healthy defense, this team will once again be elite, and did I mention yet the rest of the division is terrible?  The Chiefs look revitalized with Matt Cassel under center, but there are still plenty of question marks on defense, the big one being can anyone make an impact?  The Broncos have had a
horrific off season, look for that to continue into the regular season.  Brandon Marshall is crying his way out of town like his girlfriend Jay Cutler, and they STILL don’t have a defense. Despite it being so obviously terrible last year there has been no improvement.  Raiders… you don’t really need me to explain how bad the raiders are right?

AFC North

bermanad says:

Pittsburgh Steelers
Baltimore Ravens
Cincinatti Bengals
Cleveland Browns

The Steelers are still the class of the division and lost nothing from last year’s Super Bowl team.  I expect a step back from Flacco, as Mason’s a year older and the rest of the receivers are still the same.  With Palmer back and Ochocinco determined, the Bengals could surprise people with the easy schedule they have.  Cleveland has no clarity in the QB position and an untalented coach leading them.

andy3331 says:

Pittsburgh Steelers
Cincinnati Bengals
Baltimore Ravens
Cleveland Browns

The Steelers are the defending champs, and look to be the same grind-it-out in your face team that they were last year. The Cincinnati Bengals will look to surprise everyone with the return of their superstar quarterback.  The defense is still a big question mark but they showed signs of life last year.  As for the Ravens, well, I’m just not buying into what Joe Flacco brings to the table.  Ultimately it probably doesn’t matter, as long as he has a pulse and can hand the ball off, the run game and their incredible defense will carry them.  Eric Man-child in Cleveland was a terrible choice for the organization, and will bring them down to Raider level dysfunction as they compete for the worst record in the NFL.

AFC South

bermanad says:

Indianapolis Colts
Houston Texans-
Tennessee Titans
Jacksonville Jaguars

Despite all the changes, its “In Manning We Trust” for the Colts.  Houston is everyone’s breakout candidate (again) and with a young defense and blossoming offense, they look primed to take that next step (finally).  The Titans won’t win as many as last year, but it’ll be enough to compete for a playoff spot again.  Jacksonville is just not talented enough at the play making positions (QB, WR, CB) to contend with the division leaders.

andy3331 says:

Indianapolis Colts
Tennessee Titans
Houston Texans
Jacksonville Jaguars

Peyton Manning will look this year to remind everyone why he is considered one of the best quarterbacks in the game.  Indy also has a favorable schedule for Addai to show that he was worth all the buzz.  The Titans will make a living once again this year  off of that dominant defense, and talented combination at running back, it just won’t be enough to overtake the Colts again.  The Texans are hyped every year and like a scorned lover, I can’t buy back into them again this year, it’s for the best.  Jacksonville is also an annual let down, but this year, they just don’t seem talented enough.  Giving Gerrard that big contract could be one of the biggest mistakes this team has ever made, well other than playing in Jacksonville.

NFC East

bermanad says:

Philadelphia Eagles
New York Giants
Dallas Cowboys
Washington Redskins

McNabb, the league’s most sensitive QB has a loaded arsenal at his disposal, which he should ride to another division title.  If the defense repeats its recent dominant performances, the Giants should be right behind the Eagles all year long.  Dallas, minus anything resembling a leader on the team, will miss the playoffs and have their pick of the decorated free agent coaches in the offseason.  Despite the free agent additions, the Redskins didn’t add enough on the offensive side of the ball to improve their standing in one of the most competitive divisions in the game.

andy3331 says:

Philadelphia Eagles
Dallas Cowboys
New York Giants
Washington Redskins

The Iggles look like an absolute beast on paper.  If they can translate most of that onto the field they will run away with  this division and could steal the top seed in the NFC.  Just look out for the Mcnabb/Vick dynamic, I can’t be the only one that feels this storm brewing.  Roy Williams is the big question on the Cowgirls, with the departure of THE T.O. to Buffalo.
If Roy Williams is my teams biggest question I’m feeling pretty good as he is one of the top wide receivers in the game, look for the Cowgirls to destroy the teams they should beat and lose in pathetic fashion to teams that are closely matched.  The Giants are NOT a good team without Plaxico Burress.  This season will be a dose of reality, as your defense and your run game are not going to win you enough games in this division.  As for the Redskins, well, another year they enter with high hopes for Jason Campbell, and I have no doubts he will once again disappoint.  This isn’t the titanic, let go.

NFC West

bermanad says:

Seattle Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals
San Francisco 49ers
St. Louis Rams

An offseason of healing is exactly what the ‘Hawks needed to regain their spot atop the division.  Despite a surprising Super Bowl run, the Cards have to do more than air it out this year to return to the playoffs, they won’t.  Mike Singletary got his team to respond near the end of last year, and we’ll see if they can keep it up for an entire season.  The Rams are one of the least talented teams in football and should challenge the Broncos and Lions for league-worst records.

andy3331 says:

Seattle Seahawks
Arizona Cardinals
St. Louis Rams
San Francisco 49ers

Off in the land of the drab and dreary a healthy Matt Hasselbeck is poised to bring his team back to relevance.  This team was hurt badly last year by injuries and I expect a return to power this year.  The Cardinals however will be struck by the super bowl losers curse, and miss the playoffs this year.  The quarterback is a 38 year old bag boy, come on.  I’d love to rate them lower, I just can’t bring myself to rate them below the Rams and the 49ers, some of the worst National Football Leage teams ever fielded.  Is Bulger really as bad as he has seemed, or is it just the offensive line?  My bet is a little of both, and that will leave them just slightly above the 49ers, because, well let’s just say they are who we think they are.  That’s not a good thing.

NFC North

bermanad says:

Green Bay Packers
Minnesota Vikings
Chicago Bears
Detroit Lions

Rodgers will follow his impressive debut with a dominant second year A.F. (after Favre).  Minnesota will ride Adrian Peterson as far as he can take them, which is a wild-card birth.  Although they have their best QB in decades, Cutler can’t play defense for an aging and oft-injured unit.  In Detroit, Jesus Christ could play under center and not win more than three games on this embarrassing squad.

andy3331 says:

Green Bay Packers
Chicago Bears
Minnesota Vikings
Detroit Lions

The pack is back and in a big way.  Aaron Rodgers looks like the real deal.  With a solid WR corp, an equally solid running back in Ryan Grant, and a completely rejuvenated defense, this is the team to beat in the NFC.  It pains me to rate the Bears as the second best team in the North.  Jay Cutler is not a leader, and ultimately I believe he will lead the Bears to another 5 years of mediocrity.  He is however, a breath of fresh air for a team that has not had a “real” quarterback for quite some time.  The Vikings and Brett Favre kept us on the edge of our seats all off season wondering if Brett would come out of retirement and surprised us all when he decided he would in fact join the Vikings… he did join them right?
No one was surprised to see Favre wearing the purple, but I still see them struggling to win the big games, as Brett Favre has a tendency to throw those way (literally, get it?),  The Lions are rebuilding, sorry, try again next year.

NFC  South

bermanad says:

New Orleans Saints
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Brees puts up another MVP-caliber season and carries the Saints to a division title.  Emerging QB + Star RB + Star WR + Star WR = enough to earn a wild-card and challenge for the Division.  Carolina is going to run the ball, but they need to be able to defend the ball to stand a chance.  Tampa Bay has undergone wholesale changes throughout the organization and are not expected to challenge anyone this year.

andy3331 says:

New Orleans Saints
Atlanta Falcons
Carolina Panthers
Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Saints offense is second best in the league, and that will be enough to win quite a few games, even with the mediocre defense.  Matt Ryan is the real deal in Atlanta and with Turner the burner to hand it too look for another solid year in A town.  The verdict is out on the panthers and Bucs, both teams have promise, but neither looks poised to break through
this year.  Both need some time to re align their rosters before they will make a push for this division again.

Playoffs (We’re talking about the playoffs here)

AFC Seeds

bermanad says:

1. New England Patriots
2. Pittsburgh Steelers
3. San Diego Chargers
4. Indianapolis Colts
5. Baltimore Ravens
6. Houston Texans

andy3331 says:

1. New England Patriots
2. Indianapolis Colts
3. Pittsburgh Steelers
4. San Diego Chargers
5. Cincinnati Bengals
6. Tennessee Titans

NFC Seeds

bermanad says:
1. Philadelphia Eagles
2. Green Bay Packers
3. New Orleans Saints
4. Seattle Seahawks
5. New York Giants
6. Minnesota Vikings

andy3331 says:

1. Green Bay Packers
2. Seattle Seahawks
3. Philadelphia Eagles
4. New Orleans Saints
5. Chicago Bears
6. Atlanta Falcons

Playoff Rounds

bermanad says:

AFC Wildcard: Chargers vs Texans – Chargers
AFC Wildcard: Ravens vs Colts – Ravens

NFC Wildcard: Saints vs Vikings – Saints
NFC Wildcard: Giants vs Seahawks – Giants

AFC Divisional: Patriots vs Ravens – Patriots
AFC Divisional: Chargers vs Steelers – Steelers

NFC Divisional: Giants vs Eagles – Eagles
NFC Divisional: Packers vs Saints – Packers

AFC Championship: Steelers vs Patriots – Patriots

NFC Championship: Packers vs Eagles – Packers

Superbowl: Patriots vs Packers – Patriots

andy3331 says:

AFC Wildcard: Steelers vs Titans  – Steelers
AFC Wildcard: Chargers vs Bengals – Chargers

NFC Wildcard: Eagles vs Falcons – Falcons
NFC Wildcard: Sants vs Bears – Saints

AFC Divisional: Patriots vs Chargers – Patriots
AFC Divisional: Colts vs Steelers – Colts

NFC Divisional: Packers vs Falcons – Packers
NFC Divisional: Seahawks vs Saints – Saints

AFC Championship: Patriots vs Colts – Patriots

NFC Championship: Packers vs Saints – Saints

Superbowl:  Patriots vs Saints – Patriots

I know, it’s painful to see the two of us both picking the Patriots, but we are looking at the same team from 2007 and even more improvement.  The odds are in our favor.  Feel free to comment with your thoughts.  I look forward to hearing from the delusional Giants fans the most.