The Bengals have been relatively quiet this offseason. That’s a good thing because for them it usually means arrests. They did add Antonio Bryant to give Ochocinco some help. The Bengals look to have plenty of weapons (figuratively not literally) on the offensive side of the ball.

Fantasy Playoff Schedule
: Moderate
The Bengals have one cupcake match-up against the Browns sandwiched between tilts with Pittsburgh on the road and San Diego at home. While the Week 14 & 16 match-ups aren’t juicy, you’ll probably roll with most of your top guns.

Five Star Fantasy Options

Cedric Benson – Benson followed up his impressive end to the 2008 season with a 1251 yard, 6 TD 2009 campaign. With Larry Johnson moving on to Washington, there is no clear threat to his carries.

Chad Ochocinco – I should technically call him Chad Cero Revis after getting shut down by Revis not once, but twice to close out the year. That said, he returned to form with a 72-1047-9 season. With Antonio Bryant on board, Ocho should get a little more breathing room.

Four Star Fantasy Options
Carson Palmer – Palmer had a nice TD-INT ratio (21-13), completion percentage (60.5) and passer rating (83.6). What he lacked was passing yardage. There were 17 QBs who threw for more yards than his 3094. The addition of Bryant and rookie TE Jermaine Gresham should help. He remains a low-end QB1 or a high-end QB2.

Three Star Fantasy Options
Antonio Bryant – Bryant’s 2009 season was pretty much a lost cause thanks to injuries and Tampa Bay’s ineptitude. He gets a new lease on life with the Bengals and should be a solid WR3 this year.

Bengals Defense/Special Teams - I don’t think their defense will be as stout as last year, but they do have some favorable match-ups (Browns twice, Bucs, Bills). They also face the Pats, Ravens twice, Falcons, Dolphins, Colts, Steelers, Chargers, Jets, and Saints. In other words, don’t use them as your #1 fantasy defense.

Two Star Fantasy Options

Jermaine Gresham – It usually takes rookie TEs some time to adjust, but Gresham should be able to make an impact sooner rather than later. He has great size and will help Palmer attack the middle of the field, as well as providing a red zone target.

One Star Fantasy Options

Andre Caldwell – Caldwell is a decent slot receiver, and has some value in PPR leagues, but has very little upside.

Click here for additional 2010 NFL Team Previews

Never a team to shy away from controversy, the Bengals are at it again. They have addressed a need at wide receiver by signing trouble WR Matt Jones to a one-year contract (click to read the Cincinnati Enquirer article).

Jones missed the final three games of the 2008 season when he was suspended for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. He was subsequently cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, and unable to catch on with a team…until now.

He had 65 catches for 761 yards in 12 games with the Jags in 2008, and 166 catches for 2153 yards and 15 TDs in his four-year career. He has the ability to slip in as the #2 WR opposite of Chad Johnson. Andre Caldwell is better suited as a slot receiver, which is where he’ll likely stay. Laveranues Coles, a disappointing free-agent signing last year will likely be released.

Many speculated that the Bengals would go with a WR in the first round of the upcoming NFL Draft. With the signing of Matt Jones, they can fill another need now.

Matt wasn’t the only troubled Jones the Bengals were looking at. Unfortunately the team also worked out Pacman Jones.

Dallas Cowboys Preview

28 August 2008

Guest Review by LEV of Crazy Colored Glasses

The Cowboys did something this offseason that few teams do. They stood pat. They addressed certain weaknesses and upgraded at other positions. But when you went 13-3 last season and sent 13 players to the Pro Bowl there is generally not a ton of room for improvement.

In my eyes the Cowboys best move of the off-season was not letting Offensive Coordinator/Assistant Head Coach Jason Garrett become the head coach of the Baltimore Ravens. He had a hand in guiding one of the most explosive Dallas Cowboys offenses in history. His mixture of run and pass and the way he effectively calls a game to play to his players hot hand were one of the main reasons for the Cowboys offensive success in ’07.

The offense returns all seven players who made the Pro Bowl last year (the team incredibly was able to keep every Pro Bowler from last year’s roster), and, scarily, I expect them to be better this year. Tony Romo showed he wasn’t a flash in the pan and is a top flight quarterback. One that can be mentioned in the upper echelon with the Mannings and Bradys. He has a tremendous offensive line (anchored by Flozell Adams, Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode) that gives him plenty of time and opens up holes for the new feature back, Marion Barber.

Barber gives the Boys a straight ahead banger. I’m sure Cowboy’s fans everywhere got sick and tired of seeing Julius Jones dance behind the line of scrimmage and get dropped for losses again and again. Thats the beauty of Barber: he rarely gets tackled behind the line of scrimmage. He also led the NFL in yards after first hit last season. The guy is a beast who loves to initiate contact and breaks more tackles than any other back in the league. When he tires or when the offense needs a change of pace, the Cowboys go to the bench and plug in lighting quick first round draft pick Felix Jones. I really think he will bring a different dimension to this team running, receiving and on special teams.

The rest of Romo’s weapons include Terrell Owens (who even at 35 continues to put up ridiculous numbers, one of the top three receivers in the league) and the emerging Jason Witten. As scary as it sounds I think Witten might have a better season this season than last. Opposite Owens is Patrick Crayton, who is playing this season with a lot to prove after having an awful game against the Giants in the Playoffs. He should bounce back nicely in his second full season as a starter. The rest of the receiving corps is high on potential but short on experience. The Cowboys are hoping Miles Austin and Sam Hurd can be counted on as solid 3rd and 4th receivers. Look for rookie Martellus Bennett to win the backup tight end spot over Tony Curtis. Bennett is a big physical receiver who is really starting to come into his own as a blocker. This is only important because Garrett loves to run lots of double tight end formations late in games.

Two other impact moves for the Cowboys were on the defensive side of the ball. They signed veteran Zach Thomas away from the Dolphins and will line him up next to Bradie James in the middle of their linebacking corps. True, Thomas is in the tale end of his career, but he is still a tackling machine and definitely be an upgrade over Akin Ayodele. The other big upgrade is in nickleback and return man Pacman..ahem… excuse me, Adam Jones. Although he has looked a bit rusty in the preseason (15 months away from the game will do that) I expect him to show the form he showed in his first two seasons as a Titan.  Expect a big season from Tank Johnson. With so much attention paid to the Cowboys speed rushers Demarcus Ware and Greg Ellis (plus the blossoming Anthony Spencer when Ellis needs a break) expect Johnson to cause havok up the middle. The Cowboys starting secondary is simply one of the best in the game. Newman and Henry are both big physical corners and Hamlin and Roy Williams are bangers at safety. Although Williams got picked on in the passing game last year he is still a devastating tackler who I think will have a bounce back season.

The Cowboys special teams were a mix of good and bad last year. On the good side, Nick Folk turned  out to be a rookie free agent gem last year. Mat McBriar ended the season with an over 47 yard average per punt. One of the best averages in the history of the NFL. Now onto the bad. The return game was deplorable. Everyone got a shot and nothing stuck last year. This year will be very different. Between Felix and Adam Jones the Cowboys should be well stocked in their return game.

With all that firepower on both sides of the ball I expect the Cowboys to be the Beasts of the NFC East. They will play with a chip on their shoulders reminiscent of the ’95 Cowboys who used the ’94 Playoff ouster by the 49ers as inspiration for the whole season. I see another 13–if not 14 wins–and a trip to the Super Bowl. I’m not crazy enough to say a Super Bowl win, but I think they’ll be in the big one.

On the fantasy side of the ball, you can’t go wrong snatching up as many Cowboys as possible. Tony Romo is a Top 3 QB, maybe even the top QB if you’ re worried about the knees of Manning and/or Brady. Pencil him in for 4,000 yards and another 30 TD’s. Marion Barber should be a first round pick of any draft–1,300 yards and 15 touchdowns are very realistic for the Barbarian. With more playing time, I think he’ll be a weapon catching balls out of the backfield as well. Terrell Owens is always good for 1,300 yards and 10+ TD’s receiving. If he lasts longer than third receiver taken in any draft, I’d be surprised. Jason Witten is a top tier tight end. Right up there with Antonio Gates and Tony Gonzalez. Also, with age slowing down Gonzalez and injuries nagging Gates, I think Witten may be the finest Fantasy Tight End. Felix Jones and Patrick Crayton are also great late round value picks.  Jones especially. He could be a real sleeper. Nick Folk should get many  placekicking opportunities with this offense. Lots of extra points and chippy fieldgoals. The Cowboys defense was a Top 10 unit last year and I expect more of the same this year. Lots of pressure on the quarterback and lots of turnovers. They also play the offensively weak Ravens in week 16, which, as most Fantasy owners know, is usually championship weekend.

Very nice assessment LEV.  I too see another successful season for the Cowboys both in reality and in fantasy circles.  They very well could represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.  Their road got a little easier with the injuries the Giants (Osi) and the Eagles (Kevin Curtis) have had to deal with already.  Personally, I have the Saints going to the Big Game, but I wouldn’t be surprised in the least if the Boys make it back.  I too put Romo, MB3, T.O., and Witten on huge years and Crayton and Felix Jones on solid years. 

Since my wife will give birth to our second child any day now, I figured I’d post some oldies but goodies from my Sporting News vault.  This is a spoof so I hope nobody takes offense.

Well, we have a special treat for you today boys and girls. We are going to get a glimspe into Adam Pacman Jones’ new crib. Sure, you’ve seen his mansion and cars on MTV Cribs, but only on TSN Cribs can you get a picture of how he’s living today.

Security is an important part of Pacman’s crib. In fact you’ll notice his entire crib is surrounded by bars. You have to sign in and pass through security to enter the crib, and you’re only allowed access to designated parts of the crib. Only his roommate “Bubba” and his guards are allowed to enter the crib. He hasn’t been here long so you’ll notice there isn’t any decorations on the walls except for the postcard that Vince Young sent him that says “Nice knowing you”.

Pacman is adjusting to his new bed. He no longer has a need for his king size Sleep Number bed. He’s going old school with a twin size bunk bed. Since Bubba is much bigger than Pacman, he has chosen the bottom bunk. No silk sheets for Pacman on this bed. He has standard issue white sheets with an itchy gray blanket. One small pillow is all he has to work with.

Now on to the bathroom. Just steps away from the bed is a toilet, which is very convenient. There are no doors for the bathroom so he has to get used to going in public. No Charmin rolls here. Only the paper thin, virtually see-through toilet paper is provided. Next to the toilet is a sink where Pacman brushes his gold teeth. There is no mirror in the bathroom for safety reasons. No medicine cabinet either.

Now on to the dining room. The dining room is huge. It holds 2000 people. You grab a tray and make your way down the food line. The food is not gourmet, but occasionally it’s warm. Since the security is maximum, there are no forks and knives to use. Everything must be eaten with a spoon or your fingers. You only get one trip in the line so if you spill your food, you’re pretty screwed. There are no bottles of Cristal flowing. Alcohol is forbidden in Pacman’s crib.

Finally, we’ll take a tour of the yard. It is also fenced in with armed guards. There are tracking dogs in case someone gets “lost”. There are plenty of weights to work out with here. Often Pacman puts together a pick up football game. Pacman is always one captain, while Chris Henry is typically the other. If Pacman isn’t in the mood to lift or play football, he can always go the craft room and make license plates.

Well, it’s time for roll call. I better get out of here before the place goes on lockdown. Thanks for the interview Pacman. See you in 5-10 years pal.

Past Cribs
John Madden
Dick Vitale
Pete Rose
Tonya Harding

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