By Justin Lester

The two players that helped the Red Sox beat the Orioles 6-5 were Kevin Youkilis and David Ortiz. Youkilis was 3 for 4 with a HR and 2 RBIs. David Ortiz was 2 for 4 with a HR and 2 RBIs. Youk’s HR put the Red Sox on top for good. These two Red Sox were fantasticcccccc!

We will now switch gears and critique the Diamondbacks vs. Mets. Arizona earned the victory 3 to 2 thanks to Doug Davis, who went 6 Innings. Justin Upton scored the go ahead run on a Wild Pitch by Sean Green. The Mets were not playing up to speed and their 2 runs could not get them the win. David Wright and Daniel Murphy hit HRs for the Mets in the loss.

Until we meet again its Justin loves sports!

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB |

Jonathan Steward running
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Jonathan Stewart had an amazing Rookie season, especially when you consider he wasn’t even the feature back.  He ran for 836 yards with 10 TDs.  If only DeAngelo Williams wasn’t ahead of him on the depth chart, we may be talking about a first round pick.  As it stands he is a backup fantasy back that will likely be taken in the 7th-10th round depending on format.  There is plenty of value for him though, especially as an RB3 and in TD-heavy leagues.  You can try to pair him with DeAngelo Williams, but that would require investing two early picks, much like the year when Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson went early.  I don’t expect DeAngelo to flounder like Priest nor J-Stew to dominate like LJ though. 

As I mentioned in DeAngelo’s profile, the Panthers have a tough fantasy playoff schedule.  They face New England, Minnesota, and the New York Giants, though his running style may be more effective against them.  Unfortunately one of the Saints games comes in Week 17, which doesn’t help most fantasy owners.  His easiest games appear to be Week 8 & 9 against Arizona and New Orleans.

Assuming he stays healthy, I expect J-Stew to compile 1150 total yards and 10 TDs.

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL |

760 Packers v Buccaneers
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I love Ryan Grant as an RB2, but he needs to find the end zone.  He had an impressive 1200 yard season, but scored just 4 rushing TDs, which matched Aaron Rodgers for the team high.  He also needs to bump that 3.9 yards per carry up over 4 and cut down on his three lost fumbles.  He is a gifted runner though and can catch the ball out of the backfield.  With no contract issues this offseason he should be able to get off to a better start than the 46.5 yards per game he averaged in the first four weeks.  It’s not often that a 1200 yard back has as much room for improvement, which is why I like Grant in ’09.

He starts the season off with Cincinnati, St. Louis, and Minnesota (possibly without the Williams Wall).  He goes on bye and then faces Detroit and Cleveland.  He has one more soft matchup against Detroit in Week 12, but you may be wise to move him before then.  He faces Baltimore in Week 13 and has a fantasy playoff schedule of the Bears (in Chicago), Pittsburgh, and Seattle.  Perfect Sell High candidate if you can find a taker.

Grant will likely go in the third round of fantasy drafts and should put up 1500 total yards and 8 TDs

Matt Holliday was traded to St. Louis.  He had four hits in his debut.  The Red Sox designated Mark Kotsay for assignment.  Ted Lilly, Erik Bedard, Brett Gardner, and Gary Sheffield went on the DL.  Rickey Henderson and Jim Rice were inducted into the Hall of Fame.  The Mets fired Tony Bernazard.  Josh Willingham hit 2 Grand Slams in one game.  Tim Lincecum struck out 15 Pirates.  Cleveland sent Ryan Garko to San Francisco for prospect Scott Barnes.  The Red Sox traded Mark Kotsay to the White Sox for Brian Anderson.  Mark Buehrle set a record with 45 consecutive retired batters.  The Pirates traded Jack Wilson and Ian Snell to Seattle for Ronny Cedeno, Jeff Clement, and prospects.  The Phillies traded prospects to Cleveland for Cliff Lee and Ben Francisco.  The NY Times is reporting that Manny and Big Papi tested positive for steroids in 2003.  Detroit sent OF Josh Anderson to Kansas City for cash considerations.  Reed Johnson (foot) will miss a month.  The Pirates sent Freddy Sanchez to San Francisco for prized prospect Tim Alderson.  Baltimore traded George Sherrill to the Dodgers for prospects.

Baltimore signed Drew Bennett, who quickly retired.  Michael Vick got reinstated.  Charles Tillman will miss the start of camp following surgery.  Another guy said Marvin Harrison shot him.  I guess a return to the league isn’t in the cards.  Brett Favre told the Vikings he isn’t coming back.  Eagles Defensive Coordinator Jim Johnson lost his battle with cancer.  Kenechi Udeze retired following his bout with leukemia.

Andre Miller signed with Portland.  Toronto signed Rasho Nesterovich.  Drew Gooden signed with Dallas.  The Wolves sent Etan Thomas to Oklahoma City for Chucky Atkins and Damien Wilkins.  The Bobcats sent Emeka Okafor to the Hornets for Tyson Chandler.  Dallas signed Tim Thomas.  Indiana signed Earl Watson.  New Orleans signed Ike Diogu. Golden State sent Marco Belinelli to Toronto for Devean George.  Lamar Odom re-signed with the Lakers.

Carolina sent Patrick Eaves for Aaron Ward.  Boston signed Derek Morris.  Calgary sent Wayne Primeau to Toronto for Anton Stralman and Colin Stuart.  Tampa Bay bought out Vaclav Prospal’s contract.  Carolina did the same with Frantisek Kaberle.  Tony Amonte, John LeClair, Tom Barrassso, and the 1998 U.S. Women’s Hockey team were inducted into the Hall of Fame. 

Michigan kicked WR Justin Feagin off the team.  Texas TE Blaine Irby (knee) will miss the season. Dominique Davis is transferring from Boston College to Scott Community College.

Alberto Contador won the Tour de France.  Lance Armstrong finished third.

Nathan Green won the Candian Open.  Loren Roberts won the Senior British Open.  Ai Miyazato won the LPGA’s Evian Masters.  Rich Barcelo won the Nationwide’s Cox Classic.  Ricardo Gonzalez won the Scandinavain Masters.

Tony Stewart won the Sprint Cup race at the Brickyard.  Carl Edwards won the Nationwide race.

Robby Ginepri beat Sam Querrey to win the ATP Indianapolis Tennis Championships.  Nikolay Davydenko beat Paul-Henri Mathieu to win the ATP German Open.  Andrea Petkovic beat Ioana Raluca Olaru to win the WTA Gastein Ladies.  Dinara Safina beat Sara Errani to win the WTA Banka Koper Slovenia Open.

Boxer Vernon Forrest got shot to death.

That concludes the Tidbits. As always feel free to add any stories you liked this week in sports or discuss any of the stories I mentioned.  Be sure to check out my Links Page for some great sites.

Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

Last season the Cowboys gave up a hefty bounty to acquire Roy Williams from the Detroit Lions, putting huge expectations on him that he may be able to propel them to the next level.  For the entire season he had 36 catches and 430 yards, but after the deal he had just 19 catches for 198 yards and 1 TD in ten games.

That’s a huge disappointment, to say the least.  As we approach the 2009 season he enters as the team’s top receiving threat, with Terrell Owens being cut loose in the off season.

There’s a lot of pressure on Tony Romo to succeed, as many pointed to Owens as one of his major problems.  The feeling was that he felt obligated to consistently force the ball to TO, detracting from his performance and that of some of the other receivers.

While tight end Jason Witten may be the top receiver for the team, he already had 81 catches and 952 yards in 2008, exactly how much better could he potentially get?  The team is going to have to look to get the ball downfield, and Williams has proven in the past to be capable of doing so.  Let’s not forget his big 2006 campaign, when he had 82 catches for 1,310 yards.  That year he had 24 catches for 20+ yards.

He’s not going to be a stud in the red zone.  He’s never had more than 8 TD catches in a season, with only 30 in his five-year career.  While the catches and yards are going to rebound, don’t look for the TD to be enough to carry him to the elite levels.

The other big issue is his ability to stay on the field.  Only once as he played in all 16 games, certainly limiting his potential to post the monster numbers expected from the seventh overall pick in the 2004 draft.

As for what I would expect from him this season:

Receiving: 71 catches, 1,075 yards, 7 TD

Those numbers would make him a solid #2 option in all formats.  I don’t see him as being one of the elite, but with a full training camp to adjust to the offense he should be able to get worked in and flourish as the top receiver in the system (albeit, potentially the second option).

He said it himself, quoted on CBS as saying, “If I’m coached to do it the right way, I can do it. Just tell me what to do and I can do it, coach. Because, once again, I am a coachable wide receiver who does what he’s coached to do.”

While he wouldn’t be my top choice to have as my second WR, he certainly is a player that I’d feel comfortable owning.

What about you?  How do you see Williams performing this season?  Could he emerge as one of the elite?

Marion Barber cutting
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Marion the Barbarian.  MB3.  Mr. Barber.  Whatever you want to call him, the guy is one of the toughest running RBs in the league.  His stiff arm is a thing of beauty.  His running style can work against him though as he was limited in the second half last year.  He will share the workload this year with Felix Jones and Tashard Choice.  Jones brings the speed element and Choice is another good change of pace back that excelled a the end of last season.  Barber will be used early to establish the run, in short yardage situations, and to close out games.  That’s when he’s at his best. Having a stable of good, young RBs is great for an NFL team, but it does hinder their fantasy value.  He is great at catching the ball out of the backfield, which helps though.  Barber is still a good RB1 and a great RB2.  He just won’t go in the top ten like he has in the past couple of years.

Playing in the NFC East makes Barber’s schedule difficult.  However, he does face Denver and Kansas City in Weeks 4 & 5, as well as Oakland in Week 12.  His fantasy playoffs schedule is San Diego, New Orleans, and Washington.  He is fortunate to play the Eagles in Week 17. 

I expect a big year from Barber with 1200 total yards, 40 receptions, and 12 TDs.

The coals are white hot as Major League Baseball is prepared to get roasted once again.  We’ve already consumed the Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Sammy Sosa, A-Rod, and Manny Ramirez.  It’s time for the next helping of the game’s biggest stars. 

First, you can go back for seconds with Manny Ramirez as the New York Times reported that ManRam was one of the 104 players who tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003.  As you know Manny was suspended earlier this season for 50 games for testing positive for a banned substance.  This new development should not come as a shock.

His partner in crime though, David Ortiz aka Big Papi, is a different story.  Though his performance since arriving in Boston merit some suspicion, he had not been linked to PEDs, perhaps because of his jovial personality.  His numbers can somewhat be contributed to getting a chance to play every day (which he didn’t do for the Twins) and getting protection from Manny Ramirez, one of the most feared hitters in the game.  However, it appears there was more to the story than just opportunity and protection. 

It’s a sad day for me.  I have suspected Big Papi, but quietly.  He is my son’s favorite player.  At five years old he won’t understand that Papi did something wrong.  I will wait until he’s older and then let him know.  I can tell him that it wasn’t just Papi.  It was a league-wide problem.  The players took shortcuts for fame and fortune.  Now they have to pay for it.  Hopefully I can spin this nightmare into a positive. 

I ask the players who tested positive to step up and declare that they were on the list.  Instead of slowing peeling away this Band-Aid in such a painful manner, let’s expose them now in one quick motion.  Give the players a week to come out on their own, then go public with it.  It’s pretty clear that the big names are going to come out eventually.  Let’s just get it over with so we can move on.

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