Jerious Norwood has a couple of things going for him. Warrick Dunn is getting up there in age for a running back, and Michael “Ookie” Vick won’t be there to take away rushing yardage. With Joey Harrington at the helm, the Falcons will have to run a more traditional offense that will feature more rushing by the running backs. I think Norwood is going to be the guy that benefits the most.Last year Norwood rushed for 633 yards at a ridiculous 6.4 yards per carry. That’s a Tecmo Football yards per carry. He also had 102 yards receiving, which means he was good for 52.5 total yards per game last year. Unfortunately he only reached paydirt twice (on 78 & 69 yard runs).

Looking at his last month of work doesn’t really show he’s ready for a breakout season. He had a 107 yard game, a 32 yards game, he missed a game, had a 20 yard game, and a 63 yard game. To say he was inconsistent is an understatement. It’s going to take a leap of faith to carry Norwood as your 3rd or 4th receiver knowing that Warrick Dunn has ran for at least 1100 yards the past three years.

I think Norwood will be more involved in the passing game this year. With Harrington behind Center, they are going to need to dump some balls off. Plus, getting a burner like Norwood in space is just a good idea. I wouldn’t count on a lot of TDs from Norwood, but he should put up some good yardage numbers.

 

Prediction: 1200 total yards, 5 TDs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P. Losman
Vincent Jackson

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, NFL |

On to fantasy football talk. First of all, I am so happy that Larry Johnson, my Numero Uno Keeper has reached a deal with the Chiefs. I, along with other LJ owners, can breath a collective sigh of relief. Alright, enough small talk. Let’s talk about Vincent Jackson.

Vincent Jackson is a big target. He’s listed at 6’5″ and 241 lbs. He’s entering his third year, which is a magical number for receivers. He caught 27 passes last year, which isn’t great, but he took 6 of them to the house. That’s should get you attention.What really should get your attention though is how he finished the season. In his last four games he caught 14 (52% of his total) passes for 286 yards (63%), and 3 TDs (50%). That’s a mighty fine way to finish the year.

If you extrapolate Jackson’s numbers from his last four games you get 56 catches for 1144 yards and 12 TDs. With all the attention LT and Gates get I think he’ll come pretty close to those numbers.

 

Prediction: 64 receptions, 1100 yards, 9 TDs

Not that it means much, but he scored a TD in San Diego’s second preseason game.

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown
J.P. Losman

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, NFL |

Friday Tidbits 8/17/07

17 August 2007

Baseball lost a legend on Monday when Phil Rizzuto passed away. He’ll be missed. I know, I know he’s a lifetime Yankee, but he was such a great Ambassador of the game. Bobby Jenks tied a Major League record retiring 41 consecutive batters. His streak is still active. Bobby Cox broke the record for most ejections by a manager. Sweet. Paul Lo Duca landed on the DL. Nomar also landed on the DL. Darryl Strawberry is in some hot water with the government. They are seeking a half a million from him in unpaid taxes. Another former Major Leaguer is in trouble. Jose Offerman was charged with assault for hitting a pitcher and catcher with his bat. Assault and battery on the battery. Nice. Prince Fielder got suspended for three games. Jason Gi*mbi won’t face any discipline from Bud Selig since he cooperated with the Mitchell investigation and wrote checks to charities. I actually agree with this since he’s one of the only guys who’s seeds haven’t shrunk so much from the juice to actually fess up. Carlos Zambrano signed a contract extension with the Cubs for 5 years, $90 million. Cha-ching.

Another Philly RB will miss time with an injury. Usually it’s Buckhalter, but this time Ryan Moats broke his ankle in a preseason game. New York Jets RB Thomas Jones injured his calf. Vince Young was held out of a preseason game for missing curfew. Lane Kiffin must have had some bad chili. He found himself at the hospital with a viral infection. I think he’s just sick of the Raiders. Houston signed Tyrone Poole. The Jets finally signed rookie CB Darrelle Revis. Only JaMarcus Russell is unsigned. First PacMoron wanted to be a fake wrestler. Now he wants to be a rapper…in a group called Posterboyz. Yeah, let’s be proud of your suspension. Green Bay cut Robert Ferguson. Last year I called him a sleeper. He’s a sleeper again this year, but he won’t wake up. New Englad signed DE Ty Warren to a five year extension. See they do pay the guys the feel aren’t replaceable. The Chiefs got nothing going on the ground again in their 2nd preseason game. Please pay Larry Johnson.

Pat Riley says he wants to coach for three more years. I wonder after that if he’ll take a few years off and knife another friend in the back when his team gets good again. Brevin Knight signed with the Clippers. I figured he’d be a good fit for Boston and their depleted roster. Golden State ended one of the worst contracts in NBA history when it bought out Adonal Foyle. Four men were charged with robbing Antoine Walker. Referee Tim Donaghy pleaded guilty to gambling charges. Detroit inked Jarvis Hayes. San Antonio signed Ime Udoka. Memphis traded with Washington for the rights to G Juan Carlos Navarro.

Rick Tocchet got two years probation for his gambling ring. I bet his wrists hurt after the slap on them he received. Mike Ricci is calling it a career after 16 seasons…Quitter. Just kidding, that’s a nice run. Former St. Louis Coach Mike Kitchen signed on as a Florida assistant. Chicago traded RW Radim Vrbata to Phoenix C Kevyn Adams. The Islanders signed D Andy Sutton for three years and C Josef Vasicek foe one year. Toronto’s Mark Bell pleaded No Contest to a Drunk Driving and Hit-and-Run Charges. He’ll spend 6 months in the cooler. Former Montreal VP and GM Sam Pollock passed away at the age of 81. New Jersey signed D Paul Martin to a three year, $11.5 million deal. He went to the same high school as my wife.

Game back on for Freshman Pitt QB Pat Bostick. He left the team for personal reasons, and now he’s back to compete for the starting gig. He won’t have WR Derek Kinder to throw to though. He’s out for the year after tearing his ACL. Arkansas lost WR Marcus Monk for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury. Houston OL Jerrod Butler passed out while lifting weights. Scary. I pass out at the thought of lifting weights. New Mexico State WR A.J. Harris rejoined the team after a resolution of his assualt charge. Duke reinstated LB Michael Tauiliili, who was arrested on DUI and gun possession charges. He will sit out the first game…ooooh. USC is losing some depth as RB Emmanuel Moody will transfer. He probably won’t even be missed as they are so stocked.

Texas Tech C Esmir Rizvic gained an additional half season of eligibility, after losing half a season to a broken eye socket. I’m surprised the tight (expletive) NCAA would approve that. Florida A & M fired stalker Mike Gillespie.

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.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL | Tagged: College Basketball, College Football, NCAA, NHL |

When you think J.P. Losman, admit it…you think Lossman or Loserman. He’s been the butt of jokes the last couple of years. I wouldn’t dream of picking Losman as the starting QB of my fantasy team, but believe it or not, he made great strides in his second year as starting QB. His first year as a starter he completed 49.6% of his passes. That is dreadful. Last year he completed 62.5%. He passed for 1340 yards in 9 games (8 starts – 167.5 per start) in 2005. He improved to 3051 (190.69 per start) in 2006. His TD-INT ratio improved from 8-8 to 19-4. His passer rating improved 20 points.

I believe he’s going to be called on even more in 2007 as they will be using a rookie running back. As I’ve mentioned before, I like to look at how a guy ended the year to predict how he’ll do. He had almost as many TDs in December (9) as he had the other months (10). He averaged 208.8 yards/month. The other months he averaged 182.45 yards/month. If you extrapolate his December numbers you get 3341 yards, 29 TDs and 19 INTs. I don’t think he’ll get quite that many TDs or INTs, however I do think he’ll be an adequate backup in most leagues.

Prediction: 3400 yards, 24 TDs, 16 INTs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett
Chris Brown

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, NFL |

Friday Tidbits 8/10/07

10 August 2007

Well, the Juice Watch is finally over. We feared this day would come, and it has. Barry B*nds hit home run #756. It’s amazing what steroids can do for you. ESPN showed a picture of Barry on Pittsburgh and on San Fran. I love seeing the Pittsburgh pictures because it’s so obvious what he did. Bud Selig wasn’t at the game, although he was there for 755.

Last weekend was a milestone weekend. Besides the cheater tying Hank Aaron, A-Rod became the fastest to 500, and more importantly Tom Glavine won his 300th game. Steady Eddie Guardado made his return to the Reds. Eric Byrnes signed a three year, $30 million extension with Arizona. Torii Hunter must have licked his chops. Red Sox signed scrubby Bobby Kielty. San Diego kicked David Wells to the curb. Toronto beaned A-Rod. Cl*mens answered, and got suspended 5 games. Pedro Martinez made a rehab start, but got rocked by the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Rick Ankiel made it back to the Bigs. This time as an Outfielder. He homered in his first game. The Phillies bought Russell Branyan from the Indians.

Brady Quinn finally struck a deal with the Browns. Joey Porter had his knee scoped. Carolina S Mike Minter retired. Chicago dealt Dante Wesley to New England. Priest Holmes made it clear that he’d take Larry Johnson’s job if he continues to hold out. He’ll be without LT Damion McIntosh for 4-6 weeks though. Mike Alstott is out for the year. He may retire. Chicago FB Obafemi Ayanbadejo will miss four games because of steroids. The Colts DT lost Booger McFarland for the year. Cleveland’s Willie McGinest will be out six weeks following back surgery. PacMoron appeared on a wrestling program. He’s a clown. The NFL preseason kicked off. Oh yeah.

Elton Brand blew out his Achilles. Jermaine O’Neal made it be known he wants to become a Laker and play with Kobe. The Celtics needed warm bodies after the mega trade with Minnesota so they signed goofball Scot Pollard and Eddie House. They’ve also called Reggie Miller to see if he’ll make a comeback. Allan Houston and Charles Oakley are also thinking comeback. New York C Randolph Morris was charged with reckless driving. Houston G Rafer Alston was charged with misdemeanor assault and public intoxication. Penny Hardaway signed with Miami.

Doug MacLean has put together a group to buy the Tampa Bay Lightning. Edmonton rejected an offer to be sold. LA signed LW Michael Cammalleri to a two year deal worth $6.7 million. Tampa Bay C Ryan Craig was awarded a one year $850K contract in arbitration. Jean-Sebastien Giguere won’t be getting jiggy with it for a while after his sports hernia surgery. Chicago Coach Denis Savard got a one year contract extension.

Tennessee suspended RB LaMarcus Coker indefinitely. Pitt QB Pat Bostick left the school for personal reasons. Florida RB Brandon James pleaded no contest to a drug possession charge. He got put on probation and will have to do some community service. Wisconsin suspended RB Lance Smith last month because he was facing battery and disorderly conduct charges. He was reinstated an hour before the first practice started. Real tough message you sent out Wisconsin. Washington WR Anthony Russo is out a month with a broken finger. Psycho punter Mitch Cozad was found guilty. Miami LB Glenn Cook and S Lovon Ponder are out with injuries.

Wake Forest assistant Dino Gaudio will replace Skip Prosser next year. Ball State named Billy Taylor their new Coach. Mack McCarthy has become the new coach at East Carolina.

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.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL | Tagged: College Basketball, College Football, NCAA, NHL |

Travis Henry has moved on to Denver’s greener pastures. LenDale White is a fat sweat who isn’t motivated. Chris Henry will get a chance to show something in the preseason. Rookies RBs typically struggle picking up blitzes. Although he was limited to 41 carries last year, I feel Chris Brown will lead the Titans in rushing this year.

I don’t suggest taking him early at all. In fact, I think he should be your 5th RB. If you are in smaller leagues, maybe you just want to keep an eye on him on the the waiver wire. He has produced in the past (1214 total yards, 6 TDs in 11 games in ’04 & 1178 total yards & 7 TDs in 15 games in ’05), and given the opportunity, he’ll do so again.

You can’t really guestimate numbers based on last year, but he should come close to repeating his 2005 stats. He’ll have to have big plays to score TDs though because Henry and White will likely work the red zone.

Warning: The bust factor is high on this pick.

Prediction: 1000 total yards, 5 TDs

Previous Spotlights
D.J. Hackett

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, NFL |

Friday Tidbits 8/3/07

3 August 2007

Barry B*nds took his freak show on the road looking for #755 & 756. He’s still looking. Carlos Zambrano, my preseason Cy Young favorite, was the first to 14 wins. Ichiro became the third fastest to reach 1500 hits, trailing only Al Simmons and George Sisler. Kenny Rogers made his way back to the DL. Houston traded for Ty Wiggington for Dan Wheeler. Then they sent Morgan Ensberg down. Jose Cansec* has a new book coming out, and claims he has dirt on A-Rod in it. It will be dismissed because A-Rod is one of the guys who get a free pass from speculation, along with Roger Cl*mens, David Ortiz, Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols, and Ken Griffey, Jr. among others. I’m not saying I believe it per se, but I wouldn’t be surprised. How can you at this point? Atlanta won the Mark Teixeira Sweepstakes. They also got Octavio Dotel from KC. The Mets acquired Luis Castillo from the Twins. The Twins, especially Johan, Hunter, and Nathan are mad that they traded Luis and they didn’t bring in a bat. The Phils got Kyle Loshe from the Reds. Look out, I think he just gave up another home run. The Yanks got Wilson Betemit for Scott Proctor. Boston got Eric G*gne for Kason Gabbard. Carlos Beltran was put on the DL. His teammates blew Tom Glavine’s chance at win #300. Police found cocaine at Rod Beck’s house. The Cubbies moved into 1st place. Curt Schilling should be back this weekend. Minnesota cancelled a game due to a tragic bridge collapse. Very sad news. Jake Peavy reached 1000 K’s for his career. Florida’s Josh Johnson will have Tommy John surgery. Roger Cl*mens got bombed in the Bronx. He gave up 9 hits and 8 runs in 1-2/3 innings.

The Timberwolves finally traded Kevin Garnett. They received Al Jefferson, Theo Raliff and his expiring contract, Ryan Gomes, Gerald Green, Sebastian Telfair and his baggage, and two first round picks in exchange for the Big Ticket. Boston now has three of the best players in the league in KG, Ray Allen, and Paul Pierce. I’d say this is a deal that helps both teams. Smush Parker signed with Miami. What’s Kobe going to do without him? Eddy Curry was robbed at gunpoint. A few weeks ago it was Antoine Walker who was robbed in Chicago. The only funny thing about the Curry story is that the police chief’s name is John Madden. Minnesota made some quieter news by buying out Troy Hudson’s contract. What a move! Of course, it was McHale’s dumb move in the first place to sign him so I’m not giving him that much credit. The C’s signed Eddie House to a free agent deal. If you can hoop at all, head to Boston. They need bodies. Wizards F Andray Blatche got pinched trying to buy some booty from a cop. You’re in the NBA, you shouldn’t have to pay for it.

The NFL lost a legend Monday with the passing of Bill Walsh. Calvin Johnson signed with Detroit. Arizona signed Levi Brown. Adrian Peterson signed a mega deal with the Vikings. The Skins signed LaRon Landry. SF signed Patrick Willis. Only JeMarcus Russell, Darrelle Revis, Brady Quinn, Dwayne Bowe, and Jon Beason are left. Imagine that. Kansas City hasn’t signed rookie WR Dwayne Bowe. They are the same cheapskates who aren’t willing to pay Larry Johnson. That sucks. Buffalo traded Darwin Walker to Chicago for a 5th round pick. Tim Couch signed with Jacksonville..stop laughing. Michael Vick aka Ron Mexico aka Ookie’s co-defendant Tony Taylor pleaded guilty. Gulp. The Patriots lost DB Chad Scott for the year because of a knee injury. Jacksonville lost C Brad Meester for two months with a broken foot. Frank Gore will miss the preseason with a broken hand. Daunte Culpepper signed with the Raiders. I think he thought Moss was still there. Look out, Culpepper just got sacked again. Michael Strahan and the Giants have a mini-drama going…Yawn.

Buffalo signed Derek Roy to a six year, $24 million contact. They also inked Nathan Paetsch to a 3 year deal. Montreal signed RW Michael Ryder to a one year deal worth $2.95 million. The Rangers signed Marcel Hossa to a one year deal. Zach Parise signed a four year, $12.5 million deal with New Jersey. Sean Avery and the Rangers went to arbitration. They pretty much split the difference with Avery getting $1.9 million next year. Edmonton signed Dustin Penner away from Anaheim for $21.25 million.

Oklahoma State LB Alex Odiari was arrested for having a fake ID. A college kid in the bar underage. That sickens me. Oh wait, I used to do it all the time. Boise State Ian Johnson married cheerleader Chrissy Popadics last weekend. You’ll remember he proposed to her after he scored to win the Fiesta Bowl. Texas LB Sergio Kindle was arrested on DWI charges. Brigham Young extended Coach Bronco Mendenhall through 2011. Bronco is such a bad (expletive) name. Speaking of names, Oklahoma will have names on the back of their jerseys again.

Washington State signed Coach Tony Bennett to a seven year deal. New Mexico State kicked F Tyrone Nelson to the curb for robbing a pizza man. Tulsa Coach Doug Wojcik got two years added to his deal. UNLV Coach Lon Kruger had successful bypass surgery. Six of them in fact.

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.

 | Posted by | Categories: MLB, NBA, NFL | Tagged: College Basketball, College Football, NCAA, NHL |

Last year I predicted and tracked players that I thought would be surprises or disappointments. I was moderately succesful. I did well with Reggie Brown, Philip Rivers, Mark Clayton, and Chester Taylor in the surprise department. In the disappointment compartment is where I really made my reputation. I successfully predicted a disappointing year for Trent Green, Tiki Barber, Santana Moss, Sinsinnati’s Defense, and to some extent Jason Witten.

First up is D.J. Hackett. It is his fourth year in the league and his 3rd year he’ll get playing time. He played in 13 games in 2005 catching 28 passes for 400 yards and 2 touchdowns. Last year he played in 15 games and catch 45 passes for 610 yards and 4 TDs. Darrell Jackson is taking his drops down the Pacific Coast to San Francisco meaning D.J. is likely going to be a starter.

One of the ways I like to judge players is how they finished. Let’s take a look at his December numbers. D.J. caught 20 passes (44% of his receptions) in December for 304 yards (50%) and 2 TDs (50%). in five games. That’s an average of 4 passes for 61 yards and 0.4 TDs. If you project that out to 16 games you get 64 passes, 976 yards, and 6 TDs. Obviously those numbers aren’t worthy of a #2 WR on a fantasy team, but they wouldn’t be too bad for a 4th WR (possibly 3rd in deep leagues). I think D.J. does a little better than my extrapolation though.

Plus, on MNF he was the best at catching fish at the fish market in Seattle.

Prediction: 80 receptions, 1100 yards, 8 TDs

Agree? Disagree? Let me know your thoughts. Thanks for reading.

 | Posted by | Categories: Fantasy Football, NFL | Tagged: Fantasy Football, NFL |

Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties