Tag:Lions
Posted on: November 10, 2009 7:26 pm
Edited on: November 12, 2009 8:43 pm
 

Lions, and Packers, and Bears... Oh My!

The Viking Ship - Divisional Swagger

By: Christopher Torola

The Minnesota Vikings currently have the 2nd best record in the NFC as well as a 3 game lead on both the Packers and the Bears. This week the team squares off with last place divisional opponent, the Detroit Lions, who are a paltry 1-7.

When reading through the recent quotes from Vikings players, I heard both Visanthe Shiancoe and Bryant McKinnie use the term swagger. The more I think about it the funnier that seems, mostly because its true. This years Vikings squad has a certain swagger about them; and it was a 40-year old white boy with a silver beard that is responsible. 

This year Brett Favre has dominated opposing teams in the NFC North. In the 3 games against Detriot and the Pack, Favre had thrown 9 touchdown passes and 0 interceptions. That bodes well for this week at the dome against the Lions as well as in weeks 12 and 16 when he plays the Bears. With Favre mania in town teams may have to stop game planning so heavily against Adrian Peterson. I look to see a big increase in his numbers, starting this week. I wouldn't be surprised to see him as the NFL's leading rusher after facing the Bears in week 12.

Since there is not too much to say coming off a bye week and about to play the lowly Lions, lets look forward another Vikings victory and another step in the direction of a first round bye in the play offs.

Posted on: October 15, 2009 5:35 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2009 8:08 pm
 

Buy Low , Sell High - Fantasy Time.

Time to start making those trades!!!

By: Christopher Torola


Hello fellow fantasy football junkies. Right now is that magical time of year when you look at your roster and think one of a few things. Hopefully, "Wow! My roster is stacked, is it time to start looking at playoff match ups?". Then there are those thinking, "My team is so close, if I could just rearrange my talent a bit." And of course there are those of you thinking.... "If I don't put together a big winning streak... I'm done." Or maybe your like me and play in way too many leagues, so your facing all of the above.

No need to worry. I have decided to put together a list of some players that will make your team better as the year goes on, as well as a list of guys that you may want to sell high on. I'll go position by position, and list a few guys in each category.

Quarterbacks: Buy Low

- Matt Cassel is a great buy low option. He has increased his numbers week by week as he has regained his health. The Kansas City Chiefs defense is terrible so he is likely to still be throwing the ball late in games, Larry Johnson has proven ineffective this year, and he still has games against 7 bad teams, including the Bills and Browns during the 1st two rounds of most fantasy play-offs (weeks 14 and 15).

- Donovan McNabb is another that may be had for cheap. He was hurt yet again, but he seems to already be recovered from that. The Original Campbell's Chunky Soup Man has already had his bye, has 2 running backs that will catch the ball, and a couple talented young wide outs. He has put up his numbers against bad teams, but he still has plenty of those left, and just look what Kevin Colb was able to do with the Eagle's weapons when he was running the team. McNabb may play even better if he thinks he has to worry about losing his job.

Quarterbacks: Sell High

- Joe Flacco. Of the teams remaining on his schedule, at least 6 look to be tough match ups. His receiving core is old, and not that good anymore. Both Todd Heap and Derrik Mason tend to get banged up. A few of his touchdowns have come off passing plays to Willis McGahee in the redzone. You shouldn't expect that to keep up. As the season goes on Ray Rice should continue to mature and turn passing play calls into rushing ones.

- Tom Brady is an odd choice for sell high, as he has not been meeting expectations this year; however, if you act fast you may be able to trade him to someone who thinks that he is still knocking the rust off. I think that what you have seen from Brady so far, is what your going to get this year. Over the next 2 weeks he plays the Titans and the Buccaneers, but after that he has a bye followed by 5 straight quality passing defenses. If you can still find someone willing to pay top value for Brady.. cash in.

Running Backs: Buy Low

- Pierre Thomas. Thomas was hurt to start the season and missed the first 2 games. Since he has been back he has averaged more fantasy points per start then Adrian Peterson. I know 2 games is a small sample size, but look at what he did the end of last year. Another interesting note is that as Thomas has preformed, Brees has cooled off. It seems the Saints will be willing to get a quick lead and then run the ball with Thomas. He is still being listed on the injury report and limited at practice... you should be able to get him for a song.

- Steven Jackson. Jackson has been running hard this season, but has been unable to find the endzone. That is the difference between Jackson being a decent #2 and a fantasy darling. With a return of Marc Bulger on the horizon, Jackson should see a little less of the 8 and 9 man fronts. He also has a great play-off schedule, that feature the Titans, Texans, and the Cardinals.

Running Backs: Sell High

- Willis McGahee. McGahee has seen a huge amount or red zone success this year, and the Ravens have a line built for running, but there just too many chefs in the kitchen. So far McGahee has seen almost all of the touchdowns, and that is unlikely to continue. Ray Rice is playing amazingly, and is the future of the team. If you can find someone to buy his NFL leading 7 TDs as anything more than an anomaly, trade with them quick.

- Rashard Mendenhall. He is coming off to very productive weeks, and there are a lot of people out there who think he is going to become the guy in Pittsburgh. It seem like almost the only people saying otherwise are the Steelers. This is a risky sell high, because if he does hold on to the starting job, he will put up good numbers... but I think a job share with Willie Parker is much more likely. If you can get good value for him, play it safe and deal him now.

Wide Receivers: Buy Low

- Roddy White. He is coming off a huge week, so it may already be too late to get him cheap. I am assuming the reason for the slow start was his hold out. He played very poorly the first 3 weeks, but as soon as the team had the bye week off, it seems as though Matt Ryan and WHite synced up, and should continue to put up solid numbers.

- Brandon Marshall. Here is another guy the secret may be out on already.He is coming off his 2 touchdown game against the Patriots, but get him if you can. He has posted better numbers each week this season, which makes sense after getting kicked out of practice this pre-season. Marshall may be turning into T.O. Jr, but with the attitude comes the talent.

- Braylon Edwards. Take a chance on him as a player with upside. Don't pay for his 2007 numbers, but look for better then his 2008. It is suppose to take a while for a wide out to make any impact on a new team, but Edwards caught a TD in his first game as a member of the Jets. He actually caught 2, but the refs blew a challenge and reversed the second.

Wide Receivers: Sell High

- Terrell Owens. T.O. isn't as much of a sell high, as an abandon ship. If you have him, you know how bad it is. There still might be someone in your league who hasn't got burnt by T.O. yet, find him and see what he will give you for him. Don't give him away for nothing, but if you can find someone who will give you a viable #3 or low end #2... it might be time to cut your losses. 

- Calvin Johnson. Thats right, Megatron. This has more to do with his and his QBs injuries then anything else. I will not be surprised if he misses more then just last week with his thigh and knee injuries. Mix that with the possibility that he will be going with either a banged up rookie or a washed out veteran throwing him the ball, and it may be time to move on him. I am still a big Calvin Johnson fan, but I don't think this is his year. You may want to try trade on his name for big value while you still can

Tight End: Buy Low

- Jason Witten. The talent is still there and the scores will come. As teams start to game plan against the Cowboys running game, we should start to see Witten sneaking past the line backers for 20 yards up the middle on a regular basis. Get him while owners are worried about the demise of Tony Romo and the Cowboys passing game.

Tight End: Sell High

- Heath Miller. Miller has traditionally been a hot starter, but tends to disappear as the year goes on. This could have a lot to do with Big Ben usually getting killed in the pocket, and the Steelers looking for extra blocking. As the Steeler look to build up their running game, Miller will become less and less of a factor in the passing game.

I hope this helps some of you out there. Feel free to throw out some more names, talk about the ones I suggested, or just call me an idiot. Feedback is fun!

Posted on: September 23, 2009 9:31 pm
Edited on: September 25, 2009 12:49 am
 

Running Back Showdown... Sort of.

The Viking Ship - Week 3: Time for a Challenge?

By: Christopher Torola


Sure we have only seen 2 games, and Adrian Peterson looked human against the Lions, sorta... but the Vikings won the game and he is still on pace for what I am determined to call his historic 2,000 yard season. That being said, the 49ers have given up the 3rd fewest yards this season. Of course, neither of the Seahawks or the Cardinals have a back the caliber of Adrian Peterson... see Julius Jones and Tim Hightower.

Some things to watch this week.

- Frank Gore against the Vikings run defense. The Vikings have been a top defense when it comes to stopping the run for the past few years. Last week the Lions ran for a combined 129 yards, although a single rusher has not ran for over 100 yards since 2007. Last week Frank Gore ran for a ridiculous 207 yards. If the Vikings can hold down Frank Gore they should dominate this game, and they will most likely concentrate on stopping the run, making Shaun Hill, Vernon Davis, and Isaac Bruce step up to win the game.

- The Vikings Red-Zone offense vs. the Vikings coaching staff. I guess I shouldn't argue with the recent success, but when it is 1st and goal on the 5, just hand the ball off to Adrian Peterson until the refs signal touchdown. I am not a fan of watching the Vikings best player come out for a breather at the stripe while Chester Taylor attempts to finesse his way in or Favre tries to complete a bunch of 3 yard passes.

- Adrian Peterson vs. Patrick Willis. Willis is the reason that the 49ers are averaging about 50 yards a game given up on the ground, and he will be focusing his attention on Peterson this weekend. If I were a betting man, my money would be on Peterson. The Vikings are at home and will establish the run.

- The turnover battle. The 49ers have 3 interceptions and 3 force fumbles in just 2 games. Favre has yet to throw a pick as a Viking, but old habits die hard. All Day's biggest problem in his young career has been a case of fumbleitis. If the Vikings aren't careful, they could give San Francisco a few short fields to work with.

All things considered, I see the Vikings remaining undefeated, but I will admit that I am bias and will most likely not be predicting a Viking loss until they already have one under the belt on the season.

Posted on: September 17, 2009 7:45 pm
Edited on: September 17, 2009 8:05 pm
 

The Viking Ship - Week 2

The Viking Ship - Week 2: Just Don't Beat Yourself

By: Christopher Torola


Last year the Minnesota Vikings only beat one divisional opponent twice... the Detroit Lions

This appears to be an easy 2-0 to start the season for the Vikings; however, there should be some fear of a let down. The game is in Detroit and last year the Lions could have easily have been 2-0 against the Purple. In week 6 at the Metrodome they Vikings took the lead on a fourth quarter field goal near the end of the game, and were only in position to kick due to a controversial pass interference call.

Then in week 14 the Lions either shared or held the lead again until a 4th quarter TD pass to Visanthe Shiancoe. The two teams then traded field goals to give the Vikings a 4 point victory. 

In the two games last year the Vikings outscored the Lions by only a total of 6 points. That being said, I do not think the Lions will win. If the players take them as a serious opponent, the Vikings should crush the Motor-City-Kitties. If I am not mistaken, the Vikings are 11 1/2 point favorites this week, not that i endorse gambling. My biggest concern is that the Vikes will go into this game thinking that they won't have to work for the win.

Some this to watch... Starting with concerns.

- Brett Favre has yet to throw a pass 25 yards down field. He had one 21 yard completion to Percy Harvin. His only other deep attempt resulted in a pass interference call. The concern here is Favre's health, although it is more likey just a case of more time needed to get familiar with his receivers. If he still throws little in a game against the Lions defense that allowed 6 touchdown passes last week, there may be some cause for concern.

- Heath Farwell is on the injury report due to hamstring soreness. He has been limited in practice. This is not good news for a Vikings special team squad that set a record for Touchdowns allowed last year as well as giving up a punt return for a score last week. The Lions did record an 87 yard kick off return and a 43 yard punt return against the Saints last week, although neither resulted in a touch down. 

-Calvin Johnson vs a young Viking secondary. Johnson is going to be a great receiver. He has yet to have a quality QB throwing to him, but has still put up amazing numbers. Look for the Vikings to try to contain him with a double team. If Johnson finds holes in the zone, he has the ability to put up big yards after the catch.

Now for the fun things to watch.

- Adrian Peterson. Currently on pace to rush for 2,880 yards this year, the NFL's 6th 2,000 yard rushing season is not out of the question. It will be fun to watch A.D. all year as he puts up monster numbers on his way to what may be a hictoric season, especially this week against a terrible Lion's defense. The list of backs to rush for 2,000 includes O.J. Simpson '73, Eric Dickerson '84, Barry Sanders '97, Terrell Davis '98, and Jamal Lewis in '03.

- Brett Favre and Percy Harvin. Up until this point it seems that Harvin is fast becoming one of Favre's favorite targets. This could make for an interesting year for the young wide receiver.

The match up between these two has reminded me a lot of another aging Vikings QB and rookie wide receiver. In 1998 the Vikings called back a retired Randall Cunningham to take control of a talented team, with a great offensive line (Jeff Christy, Todd Steussie, and now Hall of Famer Randall McDaniel all made the pro-bowl that year). They also drafted a talented wide receiver with a late first round draft pick who only fell to them because of a history of legal issues. Randy Moss went on to set the rookie record of 17 touchdowns that year.

While I don't see nearly as many touchdown passes due to the prolific running game of Adrian Peterson, I think we may see teams realizing they made a mistake when assessing Harvin's character issues (such as being stupid enough to smoke pot while knowing he was going to be drug tested at the combine). Maybe not to the degree that team's who passed on Randy Moss or Adrian Peterson because of injury history, but teams like the Radiers, 49ers, and Eagles who drafted wide outs before Harvin may end up wishing they hadn't done so. I am guessing that San Francisco (who has yet to sign Michael Crabtree) already wishes they hadn't.

- The Vikings defense against a rookie QB Matthew Stafford and poor offensive line. Going into the season Bleacher Report rates Detroit as the 32nd worst O-line out of 32 teams. This should be a good oppurtunity for the Vikings elite defensive line to score some sacks as well as forcing rookie QB Stafford into some bad throws. The Saints picked the Lions off 3 times and recorded one sack last weekend, and the Vikings should fair much better.

Here is to a great chance at beating the Lions to get to 2-0 this weekend... as long as the Vikings don't beat themselves.

Posted on: August 9, 2009 2:36 am
Edited on: August 9, 2009 3:35 pm
 

The Secret to winning your fantasy league!

So the one secret to winning is....

By: Christopher Torola

That there is no one secret that works. I have heard every publication or pair of knuckleheads on a podcast touting everything from "Draft the Opposite" to "The Magic Formula". They also claim to have mathematic proof and historical data to prove that their method works... the trouble though is that "Draft the Opposite" tells me to always draft wide receivers and quarterbacks ahead of running backs so you have the pick of the litter at those positions, and "The Magic Formula" was basically telling me that I have to take as many running backs as I can start with my first picks, since they score the most points. If they both have proof that their systems work the best, how can they be the complete opposite strategies?

So I have decided to put my strategy right here on this blog, and may even claim that it is the only sure fire way to win... why not? Everyone else is doing it. The trouble is, I like to look at drafts in many different ways.  You have to take into effect the different variables like, scoring system, league size, draft position, trends, possible injuries, the average barometric pressure and how they effect quarterback's passer ratings, and the other owner's temperament. Sadly, I don't actually have a system that will work with when taking all those variables into consideration... Instead, here is a list of some tips that have worked for me in the past.

- Watch for steep drops in talent on a given year and actually use tiers for the different positions. For example this year there seems to be a sharp drop in talent after both the first 4-5 running backs and the first 5-8 wide receivers. So if you are in a 12 team league, and you have the 12th and 13th picks in a snake draft, go ahead and take 2 WR or a WR and a QB.

Using the CBS average draft position or ADP: if you went with the top 2 RB's you would most like get 2 of  - Chris Johnson ADP 11, Marion Barber III ADP 17, or Brian Westbrook ADP 18.  With your next 2 picks, 36th and 37th, your QBs and WRs are the likes of Dwayne Bowe ADP 36, Kurt Warner ADP 37, Terrell Owens ADP 37, Wes Welker ADP 37, and Tony Romo ADP 39.

On the other hand, at 12th and 13th pick you can get WR and QBs like - Tom Brady ADP 12, Andre Johnson ADP 13, Randy Moss ADP 15, or Peyton Manning ADP 16. When it comes back around to picks 36 and 37 your available RBs are - Kevin Smith ADP 34, Larry Johnson ADP 40, Darren McFadden ADP 41 and Marshawn Lynch ADP 47.

Given these 2 options which team would you rather have after 4 picks? Team A - Marion Barber III, Brian Westbrook, Kurt Warner and Wes Welker or Team B - Andre Johnson, Peyton Manning, Larry Johnson and Darren McFadden? Need a hint? CBS projects Team A to score 847 total points and Team B to score 875 total points.

This works the same way for the running backs. If you have a top pick, you are going to want to take guys like Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, and Maurice Jones-Drew. Say your favorite guy is Tom Brady and you have the number 3 pick. You know he won't be there when it gets back to you, but Phillip Rivers and Aaron Rodgers will be. If you take Brady with the 3rd pick, your RBs that make it back to you are in the class of Ryan Grant and Ronnie Brown. The difference between Brady's projected fantasy points - 325 and Phillip Rivers - 318, is 7 on the year. The difference between Matt Forte, 196, and Ronnie Brown, 154, is 42 fantasy points.

- Avoid joining player runs. This goes back to the tiers and drops in talents, but if in the 5th round of a 10 team league some one right after you takes Jason Witten, and before it gets back to you Antonio Gates, Dallas Clark, Tony Gonzalez, and Greg Olsen are taken as well. You could take Chris Cooley with your 6th round pick to make sure you get one of the better tight ends, trouble with that, is Cooley should be able to go another round or two before you need to get him. Instead you could take Chad Ochocinco, Matt Schaub, Jay Cutler or Santonio Holmes.

- Don't be afraid to start runs. In the last example it was good to be the guy the grabbed Jason Witten, just don't do it too early or it won't become a run, just a bad pick. If it works you got the best player at the position and forced everyone else to follow suit. This will generally only work with TEs and the mid-level QBs.

- Pay attention to draft averages and spot some underrated talent. Pick a couple guys to watch that look to out perform their average draft positions and target them. An example could be Cedric Benson. His ADP is 73rd and he is set to run the ball in with for the Bengals, a team that just lost T.J. Houshmandzadeh and does not have a RB by committee. 

- Load up on proven commodities in the middle rounds. Its fun to pick guys who are about to break out, but it is hard to get it right. Knowshon Moreno and LenDale White are both being drafted around the 57th pick. It is true that Moreno could break out, but chances are better he won't. White on the other hand has been getting better year by year, and he was more than serviceable last year.

- Go Bill Belichick if you can get away with it. Anyone feel like trading draft picks? If you can find someone to take the 7th overall pick from you for their 2nd and 3rd round picks... go for it. Then see if you can trade one of your two 3rd round picks for a 4th and a 5th round pick. The way I see it, two 2nd rounders, a 3rd rounder, two 4th and 5th rounders are better then just one pick every round. Good luck pulling this off; however, its a good lesson to apply to auction leagues as well. Spread your money out on good wide outs and 2nd tier running backs, avoid the few huge dollar guys. Since I called it Belichicking, i guess you should also tape your competition doing mock drafts.

- Take chances in the later rounds. Ok you got all your starters drafted, even have a good back up QB, RB, and WR. Sure Isaac Bruce is still available, but why not take a rookie wide receiver. Bruce or a player like him would be o.k., but you will never want to start him, not even on a bye week. If you take a late chance you might end up with this years DeSean Jackson.

-Lastly, and most importantly, take your kicker with your last pick. Nothing more needs to be said about that.

 

 

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com