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NFL Week 1: Fantasy Football Game of the Week

With Week One of the NFL season upon us, it is once again time for the Bruno Boys to pick a Game of the Week, with a fantasy football twist. Each week we will choose one NFL game that we feel will have a lot of impact on the fantasy football world.

This week we will head to Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers will host the Chicago Bears in a NFC North division battle. With the addition of Jay Cutler at quarterback in Chicago, this game will feature two of the best young quarterbacks in the NFL.

It also features some very good running backs and a couple of very nice receiving options. Boy, gone are the days when the NFC North (or NFC Central) was referred to as the “black and blue” division and featured fearsome defenses like the “Monsters of the Midway” and the “Purple People Eaters.” It is now becoming a hotbed for some of the better offensive stars in the game.

It all begins with the quarterbacks this week. In his first season as the Packers’ starting quarterback in 2008, Aaron Rodgers passed for 4,038 yards with 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He quickly became the leader of the Packers offense, and we look for him to continue to improve this season. Rodgers is a must-start QB1 in all formats this week and we have him as the No. 5-ranked quarterback this week.

Jay Cutler enters his first season in Chicago coming off a Pro-Bowl season in Denver last year when he had 4,526 passing yards with 25 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Cutler is also a must-start QB1 option this week as he is our No. 9-ranked quarterback.

Both the Bears and Packers also have prolific running backs on their teams. The Bears will feature second-year man Matt Forte, who had 1,715 total yards from scrimmage and 12 total touchdowns as a rookie in 2008. He is a RB1 option this week and he is our No. 10-ranked running back.

The Packers will feature Ryan Grant, who—after missing most of training camp in 2008—spent a good portion of the year dealing with nagging injuries. He still managed 1,203 yards rushing with five total touchdowns. Healthy, and with a full training camp under his belt, we expect Grant to improve on last season’s totals. Consider him a solid RB2 this week as we have him as the No. 15-ranked running back.

This game will also feature some very good receiving options. Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target will be Greg Jennings, who had 80 catches last season for 1,292 yards with nine touchdowns. He has improved on his reception and yardage totals in each of his first three seasons. Jennings is a must-start WR1 this week, and our No. 7-ranked wide receiver.

The Bears return both of their leading pass catchers from 2008, but neither were wide receivers. Jay Cutler’s top option in the passing game will likely be tight end Greg Olsen, who had 54 catches for 574 yards with five touchdowns in 2008. Olsen is heading into his third NFL season and could be in for his biggest statistical season yet. He is our No. 4-ranked tight end this week and will likely be a must-start on a weekly basis. The leading pass-catcher in terms of receptions last season was Matt Forte, who had 63.

The Bears and Packers both feature solid kickers in Robbie Gould and Mason Crosby respectively. Either kicker would be a worthy fantasy starter this week and they both ranked in the top-ten in our preseason rankings.

Both teams have respectable D/ST units, but in a game that should have a lot of points being scored, you may want to keep them on your bench if possible.

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2009 Minnesota Vikings Fantasy Football Preview

This article, and more previews, can be seen on Tab’s new fantasy football home, Top Fantasy Football.

Just like in Chicago, Minneapolis is selling jerseys for their new quarterback faster than they can put the letters and numbers on the jersey.

Both teams, and their cities, are excited about adding a quarterback with a big arm, but there are headaches from each quarterback’s past that both franchises have their public relations teams handling every day.

The similarities end there, though. Jay Cutler’s a nice, 25-year old quarterback with his entire career ahead of him still. Brett Favre is already one of the greatest of all time.

The addition of Favre is a fascinating issue to work through, both as a fan and as a fantasy owner. The implications of the two-year, $25 million contract on such a talented team could run ripple effects throughout a fantasy draft, both positively and negatively. For the Vikings, though, it’s up to Brad Childress and his staff to make everything work together to win games.


Quarterback
: Brett Favre

2008 Numbers: 343-522 (65.7 percent)  3,472 yards  22 TDs  22 INTs

2009 Projections: 277-450 (61.5 percent)  3,100 yards  19 TDs  13 INTs

Thoughts:

This is a really, really tough situation to predict across the board for fantasy this season. The Vikings could go one of two directions: they could either get their money’s worth by letting Favre throw the ball 30-40 times a game with the talented receivers he has, or they could stay a running team with Adrian Peterson carrying the mail most of the offensive plays.

If the Vikings take the ball out of Peterson’s hands, they’re foolish. He’s their meal ticket, the bread winner of the franchise and should stay that way. Favre should be treated as the older, rented quarterback that he is and should be asked to, dare I say it, “manage the game” instead of being the headliner.

With Peterson in Minnesota, unless he gets hurt, the Vikings should continue pounding the ball all Sunday, every Sunday. That should bring Favre’s numbers back to the middle of the quarterback pool.

Considerations:

How healthy is Favre? Can he stay healthy? Will he be okay playing a supporting role to Peterson? Will the coaching staff be able to resist the temptation to let Favre be the Brett Favre fans have watched making plays for the last two decades? And can Favre avoid making the critical mistake?


Running Back
: Adrian Peterson

2008 Numbers: Rushing – 363 att  1,760 yards 4.8 yds/carry     Receiving – 21 rec  125 yards    10 total TDs

2009 Projections: Rushing – 340 att  1,700 yards  5.0 yds/carry     Receiving – 15 rec  100 yards    12 total TDs

Thoughts:

Cut and paste everything I said about Favre here. If the Vikings know what’s good for them, you shouldn’t see a drop off in Peterson’s production and he should continue to be among the top fantasy running backs in the game.

Based on the preseason, there hasn’t been an indication that Peterson shouldn’t be consistent with his historical averages. In fact, if anything you should see his yards per carry go up (from almost five?) because teams won’t be able to load up the box as much because of respect for Favre.

Considerations:

Remember to be fully aware of your league’s scoring when considering a running back as early as Peterson generally comes off the board (top five overall picks). Many leagues on ESPN and Yahoo are scoring receptions, but not rushing attempts.

If that’s the case, you will want to consider that when thinking about Peterson, who isn’t a factor in the passing game. He’ll get you yards, and he’ll get you touchdowns, but there might be points left on the table with another back if receptions score.

One other point to consider is that Peterson puts the ball on the ground; he coughed the ball up nine times last year, losing four of the fumbles.


Wide Receiver
: Bernard Berrian

2008 Numbers: 48 rec  964 yards   7 TDs

2009 Projections: 75 rec  1,050 yards   6 total TDs

Thoughts:

Berrian had a nice 2008 season, catching balls from Tavaris Jackson and Gus Frerotte. He averaged over 20 yards per reception and his seven quiet touchdowns were a surprising total for an offense that was so dominated by the running attack.

Because of Favre’s presense in Minnesota, Berrian should be a more significant factor on a weekly basis in the game plan. His reception total should go up, but, as I mentioned in my noted for Peterson, the respect for Favre’s arm will back up the secondary and there won’t be as much open turf around Berrian.

Considerations:

Favre has always been a big believer in tight ends in the red zone, and Percy Harvin’s athletic ability will make him a popular target as well. So while Berrian should see more of the ball and an increase in gross yardage, his touchdowns could decrease.


Tight End
: Visanthe Shiancoe  SLEEPER

2008 Numbers: 42 rec  596 yards  7 TDs

2009 Projections:  85 rec  850 yards  9 TDs

Thoughts:

Favre has always found his tight ends, and Shiancoe’s athletic ability should ake him just as popular. Shiancoe came on late in the season and put up nice numbers, putting up very similar stats to Chicago’s Greg Olsen. This year, just like Olsen, he should see a pleasant jump in his scoring and he should be a nice sleeper to get you catches and touchdowns with decent yards as well.

Considerations:

Last year, Peterson was stuffed on six of 18 attempts inside their opponent’s 10 yard line. That should, in theory, make Shiancoe a popular red zone option. And Favre has historically looked for tight ends in the red zone, which builds the case for him to get more touchdowns. But fewer defenders in the box because of Favre, coupled with additional respect for Shiancoe’s abilities, should help Peterson get into the end zone more often.


Wide Receiver
: Percy Harvin

2008 Numbers: n/a – Rookie

2009 Projections: 35 rec  400 yards   1,300 return yards   3 total TDs

Thoughts:

Harvin projects as a Devin Hester Light, used in a number of formations and handling the ball in any number of ways to simply get him, with the ball, into space. He could develop into a dangerous punt and kickoff returner, and could probably be counted on more for special teams touchdowns in his rookie year than receiving touchdowns.

Considerations:

He’s a rookie, on a running offense. He’s also listed at 192 pounds, which I’ll believe when I’m the mayor of New York. Like Hester, it won’t be easy for the Vikings to find ways to get Harvin the ball, but they won’t have to because of Peterson. He’ll get what he can, but will always be a threat to take it to the house.


Running Back
: Chester Taylor

2008 Numbers: Rushing – 101 att  399 yards 4.0 yds/carry     Receiving – 45 rec  399 yards    6 total TDs

2009 Projections: Rushing – 125 att  440 yards  3.5 yds/carry     Receiving – 35 rec  440 yards    6 total TDs

Thoughts:

Taylor gets the hand-me-down yards from Peterson, but his versatility in the receiving game might make him a good late round pick in a deep league. The respect for Favre’s arm, and willingness to go deep, should raise Taylor’s yards per catch by pulling the secondary off the line of scrimmage.

Considerations:

He’s Adrian Peterson’s backup.


Defense/Special Teams

2008 Numbers: 20.8 ppg  45 sacks  12 INTs 0 Def TD   1,642 total return yards  1 return TDs

2009 Projections:  22.9 ppg  37 sacks  14 INTs  0 Def TDs   1,800 return yards  2 return TDs

Thoughts:

They have one of the best tackling corners in the game in Antoine Winfield and one of the best pass rushers in Jared Allen. They’ll continue to hold down opponents’ running games, and the addition of Harvin could get additional yardage and another touchdown on special teams this year.

Considerations:

The division around the Vikings improved. Jay Cutler is in Chicago, and he’s more mobile than Kyle Orton is in his best dreams. The sacks won’t come as easily, but the interceptions could increase. The upgraded talent might see opponents scoring more on the Vikings as well.

2009 Schedule

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Fantasy Football Profile: Brett Favre

Supposedly today is the day that we find out Brett Favre will join the Vikings.  If his shoulder holds up, he should still be able to produce.  He has some weapons to work with in WRs Bernard Berrian, Sidney Rice, Bobby Wade, and Percy Harvin, TE Visanthe Shiancoe, and RBs Adrian Peterson and Chester Taylor. 

The Vikings will have two new faces on their Offensive Line, but it still should be a solid unit anchored by Steve Hutchinson.  If Favre doesn’t try to force the issue, he could be a solid backup fantasy QB this year.

He faces Cincinnati, Carolina, and Chicago in the fantasy playoffs.  The Bears game is in Chicago so weather may be a factor.  His best matchups this year are Cleveland and Detroit in Weeks One & Two, St. Louis in Week Five, Detroit in Week 10, and Arizona in Week 13.

At this point in his career he is a fantasy backup so it may be wise to pair him with Jay Cutler, Aaron Rodgers (ironically), Dre Brees, or Philip Rivers who have byes in Week 5 or Eli Manning or Matt Schaub who have byes in Week 10.  Favre will be drafted in the later rounds. 

I’m not sure what kind of production to expect from  him.  I’m goign to low ball him initially at 3200 yards and 18 TDs.

Originally published at LestersLegends.com.

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Fantasy Football Notes: Minnesota Vikings

2008 was a solid year for the Minnesota Vikings as they posted a 10-6 record—good enough to win the NFC North. Possessing one of the better offensive lines in the game, the Vikings were able to latch onto star running back Adrian Peterson’s back as he along with their defense led them to the playoffs.

Unfortunately, the team could not ride that combination any further, as the Vikings lost in the first round of postseason action to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Despite being a young team on the offensive side of the ball and not having a consistent quarterback, the Vikings offense showed promise in 2008 and will most likely continue to improve going into next season.

With one of the better run games in the league, not to mention a solid defense and having the luxury of being in a division that sports the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears and the Green Bay Packers, this team is built to be competitive for the long haul.

 

KEY ADDITION

Sage Rosenfels (QB)—Despite having only 12 career starts in eight seasons, the Vikings brought it upon themselves to acquire quarterback Sage Rosenfels from the Houston Texans this off-season.

In trading for the quarterback, the team has made it clear that there will be a competition this offseason for the starting quarterback job between Rosenfels and Tarvaris Jackson.

Look for Rosenfels to get a fair shot at the starting gig, but in the long run, it should still be Jackson’s job to lose (that is of course if a guy by the name of Brett Favre doesn’t crash the party).

 

KEY DEPARTURE

Matt Birk (C)—Drafted in 1998, Matt Birk had been a staple to the Vikings offensive line at the center position ever since 2000. In fact, barring a little bit of injury mishaps in 2004/05, he had started every single game for the team.

His departure will be felt as his consistency and leadership is not something one can find everyday. It will be interesting to see how Birk’s departure will affect the Vikings rushing attack.

 

ROOKIE TO WATCH

Percy Harvin (WR)—While questions float around whether or not Percy Harvin has the maturity and character skills that it will take to become a top-flight wide receiver in the NFL, this former Florida Gator definitely has the skill set and ability to turn the Vikings offense into a locomotive.

His speed is going to force opposing defenses to pay attention to the passing game freeing up Adrian Peterson some in the backfield. Look for him to have a solid impact during his rookie season; however, that still may not translate into solid fantasy numbers.

 

BRUNO BOYS SPOTLIGHT

Tarvaris Jackson (QB)—Assuming Favre stays retired, Jackson, entering his fourth year in the league, will be given a shot at winning the quarterback position for the Vikings out of training camp.

While the Vikings have been hoping that Jackson would take the job and run with it, he has shown very little in the past few years to warrant much excitement. He does possess some electrifying skills, so if he can ever hone in on them, he could turn into the quarterback that they have lacked since the departure of Daunte Culpepper; however, that seems a bit away at this point.

Nevertheless, there is one thing to slightly get excited about. In his last four games last season, Jackson passed for eight touchdowns while only throwing one interception.

For more fantasy football insight and advice, click the link below…

Bruno Boys Fantasy Football

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Fantasy Football Info: Let’s Face It, Brett Favre Is a Viking

For all you Internet “trolls” out there, I’m sure you’re going to love to point out that I’m jumping the gun by saying that Brett Favre is a Viking.

But let’s face it, this guy is going to sign with Minnesota, and he will do it in the next week or so.

You might be wondering, when the heck did I become so sure he was going to sign? I’ll tell you.

It was when his doctor came out and said that Brett and the Vikings would make a good fit.

The reason I was 100 percent sold that Brett was signing after hearing that info was because Favre had been saying the whole time that him coming back would depend on whether or not his arm felt good.

Even last week, Vikings offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell personally worked with Brett.

Another reason I believe this is that Brett’s wife is rumored to be looking to buy a condo in the area. Let’s face it, Brett Favre is going to be a Viking.

Brett’s Impact on the Vikings

Once the Vikings officially sign Brett, he will become an instant help to this franchise’s (and fantasy football owners) chances to win a Super Bowl (sorry, Packer fans). With a legit quarterback that defenses have to respect and an arm that can get the ball down the field, the Vikings’ offense should run very well all season.

No doubt, the player in my mind that will benefit most from this move in fantasy football will be Adrian Peterson.

While Adrian didn’t have the best fantasy season for a running back last year, he did have one heck of a season for being on a team with no respectable quarterback. True, Peterson did only have 10 touchdowns (that is low for a runner this good) but he will improve on those numbers this coming year.

Heck even Thomas Jones had 15 touchdowns last season with Brett, so you know Adrian should be a lock for more production.

Beyond helping out Peterson, Favre will also be an instant boost for receivers like Bernard Berrian and Sidney Rice, as they both finally have a quality quarterback to work with. Look for both of these receivers to enjoy not only better receiving and touchdown totals but to have very strong yard per catch averages.

Tight end Visanthe Shiancoe will probably benefit most by having Brett when the Vikings are in the red zone. Brett loves to find his tight ends for touchdowns when he is inside the 20-yard line.

As far as the Vikings’ defense, they will also see a bump in production. With a good quarterback running the offense, they will be on the field for fewer minutes every game.

The reason for that is because when you have a great running game and a good passing game, your team tends to win the time of possession battle most weeks in the NFL.

With long, time-consuming drives by the offense, the defense will be fresh and ready to attack the opposing teams’ offense with more energy.

The one player that may be hurt a little bit by Brett’s arrival (other than Sage Rosenfels) is the Vikings’ kicker, Ryan Longwell. The reason for this is that with Brett they should now convert more drives into touchdowns rather than field goals. This means instead of fantasy football owners receiving three points, they will only receive one.

Also, when Longwell does receive his field goals, chances are they will not come from long distances. If you’re in a fantasy football league that gives points for distance, then this will hurt his value as well.

Fantasy Football Information for Brett Favre

While Brett will help just about everyone on the team be better fantasy players, Favre himself is probably only worth a backup spot in many leagues. The main reason for this is that the Vikings should still be a run first team and they have a very good defense.

With the ability to run and the defense not allowing many points, Brett will probably be handing the football off in many third and fourth quarters, as the Vikings look to drain the clock and win the game.

That being said, I do still expect Brett to have a few big fantasy scoring days throughout the season as he will feel the “itch” to throw every now and then.

On a Personal Note

I still remember going to the NFC Championship game in January of 1998 when the Packers beat my San Francisco 49ers to go to the Super Bowl (they lost to the Broncos).

While I was disappointed that the 49ers lost, I still remember those dumb cheesehead fans laughing at the 49er fans and dancing on the hollowed grounds of Candlestick Park.

I say all that to say this now: I am glad that Brett is going to be a Viking. I hope this signing crushes your dreams of all those great moments when your precious Favre was in Green Bay.

Go ahead and take those Favre pics off the walls at your restaurants and cry some tears.

I’m not a Vikings fan but…GO VIKINGS GO!

Sean E. Douglas: fantasy-info.com

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Fanntasy Football Running Back Breakdown: Adrian Peterson

So while I said I wouldn’t be doing this numerically, I’d be hard pressed to start anywhere than with this guy.

Adrian Peterson

What’s not to like about Peterson? Good runner, great offensive line, decent WRs. All he needs is a few more TDs.

He has few minuses—And now it looks like Brett Favre will be throwing the ball, in which case suddenly Peterson gets someone who can keep the defenses from stacking against the run.

Even Taylor isn’t too much of a threat for AP.

Safe and dependable, you know Peterson will finish in the top 5 every year. He needs to work on his fumble issues, and on occasion, Childress has almost appeared to underuse him – but honestly, these are minor details.

Even a few carries to rookie receiver Percy Harvin won’t hurt Peterson all that much. Aside from injury—and you can’t predict that with real confidence—Peterson is the bottom line, safest running back in your fantasy draft.

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