The Noise has been seduced.
Unfortunately for me, it does not involve a "desperate" forty-something cougar with a salacious appetite for soft-bodied fantasy writer flesh – bless you Baron Davis.
Instead, my uncontrollable temptations have reached an obsessive, man-crush, man-lust, or, dare I say, man-tasy level for a 6-foot-4, 264-pound beastly Giants back composed of twisted steel and sex appeal.
His name: Brandon Jacobs.
My demented delirium for Jacobs has reached manic proportions for a variety of reasons. Not only equipped with a monstrous body that's comparable to Brian Urlacher, the man I call the "Football Frankenstein" runs a freakish 4.4 forty, is supplied with brute lower-body strength and exudes a bulldog demeanor when attacking the hole. When able to generate a full head of steam, Jacobs is a runaway battering ram that makes defenders cower in fear.
Man, I can't wait for his Fathead to hit the market.
Naysayers will continue to point to his susceptibility to injury due to his upright running style but, historically, a handful of oversized powerhouses – Christian Okoye and Eddie George come to mind – have emerged successful.
In fantasy terms, Jacobs is an ADP bottle-rocket. His lethal concoction of size, speed and power has not been ignored among pundits as he's climbed up draft boards from the late third to the mid-second round over the past month. In our recent Friends and Family draft Brandon Funston selected him with the 15th pick. And on Wednesday in the second annual Evans Blog League draft – comprised of readers just like you – B.J. went 13th.
So, why is the Noise insanely confident in Jacobs' abilities to turn a profit like Frank Gore did last year? Here are six reasons why the "Football Frankenstein" becomes an irrepressible top-12 RB mutant:
1. Tom Coughlin has emphasized that Jacobs will accumulate 20-25 carries per game. Extrapolate 20 carries over a 16-game slate based on his career 3.9 YPC average and you get 1,248 yards – that would've ranked eighth in the NFL last year.
2. His role as the featured goal-line back is unquestioned. He has totaled 16 touchdowns in 31 career games – 11-13 TDs seems like a foregone conclusion.
3. He has one of the most favorable fantasy playoff schedules matched against three defenses – Philadelphia, Washington and Buffalo – that collectively ranked in the bottom third of the league in rush D and allowed a whopping 138.2 ground yards per game in '06.
4. Although he has been underutilized as a receiver in the preseason, he has better hands than advertised and should catch 30 balls this season.
5. The aforementioned athletic gifts will help him rack an abundance of yards after contact. Don't be shocked if he averages between 4.1-4.5 YPC.
6. With rookie downfield weapon Steve Smith, second-year burner Sinorice Moss and lanky Plaxico Burress at his disposal, Eli Manning has a speedy arsenal that can stretch the field and keep defenses honest. This should assist Jacobs in ripping an abundance of big gainers.
Fearless Forecast: 1,318 rushing yards, 31 receptions, 232 receiving yards, 12 TD
Although Jacobs 57.3 Y! ADP is more indicative of novice auto-draft leaguers rather than those who don't play simpleton fantasy football; you better believe he'll be gone in standard late-season drafts sometime in Round 2.
As a "Bride of Frankenstein" – I own him in six of nine leagues – if Jacobs doesn't fulfill my mammoth predictions I will most certainly become a fantasy scientist gone mad.
Then again, my prognostications might already be evil genius.
THE SPINMEISTER THREE
Not only a great name for a polka band the Spinmeister combs through volumes of print each week to bring you the three most intriguing nuggets from the exhibition season.
Uno: The Port Authority
Story: Tendinitis-ridden Redskins runner Clinton Portis practiced fully for the first time in nearly a month on Tuesday and is expected to be ready for the season opener.
Spin: Amidst the news about the latest scandalous resignation in Washington was a small note in Tuesday's Washington Post that read: "He (Joe Gibbs) believes Portis is in good condition and should be more involved in practices going forward." After his first practice since July 30, Portis noted that he "felt pretty good … I basically participated in everything."
To embellish a classic Snoop lyric: Bow-wow-wow yippee-yo-yippee-yeah Portis is definitely back in the house!
Portis' approval rating rivals that of President Bush. His reoccurring knee tendinitis has caused his ADP to plummet from the mid-second to the late-third round (31.3 Y! ADP). But don't be imperceptive. Whispers from Redskins insiders have described the injury as "overblown." More than likely, Gibbs has simply exercised extreme caution to ensure his star back is at or near 100 percent for the start of the season.
Don't be obtuse to Portis' saliva-inducing potential. Still only 25, the flamboyant tugboat is a gifted, tough inside runner who showcases electric acceleration through the hole and on the corners.
Outside of his impressive physical skills, the peripherals for a banner campaign are favorable. The Redskins' acquisition of veteran guard Pete Kendall from the Jets bolsters an already formidable offensive line. Also, Washington has a laughable schedule with 10 games against rushing defenses that ranked well outside the top 10 last year. Finally, throw in Jason Campbell's continued maturation and Al Saunders' explosive ground philosophy and Portis has the foundations to be a wolf in sheep's clothing.
Sure, Ladell Betts is a must handcuff. And, yes, he'll likely wrestle away 8-12 carries per game and see an expanded role until Portis proves fully operable. But look at the situation positively. Betts will ease Portis' load, which should keep the cursed No. 26 healthy and more productive. If you recall, the Redskins ran the ball 30.6 times per game last season. Even if Betts carried the rock 10 times per game, Portis would finish with 1,351 rushing yards and 14 touchdowns over a 16-game slate based on his 4.1 YPC and 0.87 TD/G averages from last year. Convinced he'll miss time? Using the same averages over 12 games – not including the likely 200-plus receiving yards he could feasibly rack – Portis would finish with 1,013 rushing yards and 10 scores. That's an average of 13.4 PPG, which would've ranked 13th among backs last year.
Heady owners looking to steal Portis for a six-pack of Mickey's must act now. In recent Yahoo! Plus league trades he's commanded thrifty returns, swapped straight up for Carnell Williams, Ahman Green and Hines Ward. For those yet to draft, he's worth the risk in the late second round in 12-team drafts. Fearless Forecast (13 games): 1,118 rushing yards, 10 touchdowns, 24 receptions, 225 receiving yards.
Spin: When Driver writhed with pain on the unfrozen Lambeau turf, popular rookie sleeper James Jones became an instant waiver wire sensation. In fact, the J.J. hysteria so deeply infected Michael Gehlkin from the Friends and Family League that he formulated three different trade offers – all not quite desperate enough – to pry the youngster from my roster in a span of 15 minutes immediately after the injury occurred. If it were 2003, Anthony Thomas would've been irresistible.
Luckily for Driver, he escaped the devastating exhibition injury path of Trent Green, Greg Jones, and, more recently, Kenny Irons. Although currently immobile and wearing a protective boot, team physicians believe the four-time 1,000-yard receiver will be in uniform Week 1 versus the Philadelphia Eagles.
Several publications have expressed disdain for Driver this season, but I'm not convinced. Driver's lack of explosiveness and size has driven him to become one of the finest route-runners in the league – the primary reason why he's been a borderline top-10 receiver for three straight seasons. Many in the land of brats and cheddar have expressed concerns about the Pack's unexciting ground attack. However, I'm a firm believer Brandon Jackson will emerge a low-tiered No. 2 back. But, if he doesn't, Brett Favre could exceed his career-high 38.3 passing attempts per game from a season ago, which is fantastic news for Driver owners.
For now, continue to draft Driver (47.8 ADP) confidently in the fourth round of 12-team leagues. Last year he averaged 10.4 targets per game, the third-most in the NFL. And knowing that Favre will not keep his six-shooter in its holster, a 90-reception, 1,200-yard, 7-9 TD season is once again in the forecast.
As for juggernaut Rip Van Winkle James Jones, continue to snatch him off waivers in 12-team and deeper PPR formats. His effectiveness in short-to-intermediate routes and his lack of top-end speed is a clear indication he could be targeted often in abridged routes across the middle – even with a healthy Driver. I'm sticking to my 51 reception, 707 yard and four scores projection for Jones.
Tres: Hobbled Holt
Story: Perennial top-five fantasy receiver Torry Holt said his surgically repaired right knee is about "70-to-80 percent," primarily due to occasional swelling and soreness.
Spin: Blissful Holt owners will look dumber than Miss Teen South Carolina tripping through a perplexing question about maps by year's end.
Holt told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that he's "not recovering as quickly as he used to" and shockingly noted that he may not "ever heal all the way." Uh, oh. When a wide receiver confesses that his knee may be perpetually sore it equates to a DEFCON 1-nuclear-meltdown-prepare-for-Armageddon-oops-I-crapped-my-pants fantasy red-alert.
Holt, one of the most prolific producers in fantasy the past three seasons averaging a stout 96 catches, 1,297 yards and 10 TDs, could be a dreaded "game-time" decision headache for his owners this season. Historically durable, Holt, who has missed only two games in eight seasons, seems destined to pace the sidelines in street clothes at least a couple of times this year. Yes, he was the most targeted receiver in the league last year and, when healthy, his top-flight skills set is one of the best in the league, but there is no way you can build your receiving battery around him this year. At this point, it might be a reach for Holt to duplicate his career-worst 1,188 receiving yards from '06. Confide in Terrell Owens, Reggie Wayne or Larry Fitzgerald as your No. 1 and let someone else deal with the Holt frustration.
In the world of fantasy one man's trash is another man's treasure and in this case Drew Bennett is a sparkling gemstone. The Rams' marquee offseason acquisition, drafted on average around pick 105 or the 9th round in 12-team leagues, is a crisp route-runner with enough deceptive speed to gain consistent separation from defenders. A notable big-play receiver in his career with the Titans, he should excel in a Rams vertical offense that tallied 60 pass plays of 20 or more yards in '06, the second most in the NFL. Even if Holt doesn't miss time and operates at 75 percent, the 6-foot-5 Bennett is sure to be locked in the crosshairs often by Marc Bulger, especially in the red-zone. Remember, Isaac Bruce, the Rams current No. 2, is on the downside of his career. Those looking for a No. 3 receiver with enormous upside should pitch an offer or scour the waiver wire – he's available in 45 percent of Y! leagues – for the former college quarterback.
CHEAT SHEET BEAT
Similar to popular teeny-bopper tabloid Tiger Beat, the CSB gives pigskin-crazed fantasy followers the scoop on the volatile player market – and, OMG!, Justin Timberlake. Adjust your rankings accordingly.
|Cheat Sheet Jumpers|
|Vincent Jackson||$6.54||70.3, 5.8||32||+5|
|Lowdown: The irrational thoughts the San Diego Sequoyah fosters in Funston emulates my affections for Brandon Jacobs. The 6-foot-5, 240-pound Bolt is a lightning rod for touchdowns. His skyward height and superb leaping ability makes him a major mismatch for undersized defenders near the goal line. In three preseason games, Jackson has caught eight passes for 128 yards and three scores and has clearly been Philip Rivers' weapon of choice on long pass plays. As electric as his four-catch, 92-yard, two TD effort was against the Cardinals last week, keep in mind LT did not see action. With a late-fifth round ADP, Jackson's sleeper label should be rebuked, but keep in mind the Chargers have not yielded a 1,000-yard wide receiver since 2001 (Curtis Conway). The presence of LT and highly targeted tight end Antonio Gates will sequester Jackson's value somewhat. Anticipate Jackson to mimic David Boston's 2003 numbers in navy blue. Fearless Forecast: 62 receptions, 862 yards, 7 touchdowns.|
|J.T. O'Sullivan||$1.00||220+, 16+||32||+8|
|Lowdown: With a red-flushed face and ginger-streaked wig, O'Sullivan is the "Lucky Charms" Leprechaun in the flesh. O'Sullivan, a former member of the Frankfurt Galaxy from the now-defunct NFL Europa experiment, might be Kurt Warner revisited. The Lions backup has the physical tools to be a respected signal caller and boasts an accurate arm in short-to-intermediate passes – a prevalent feature in Martz's aerial offense. His inexperience will cause him to make mistakes at times, but his impressive 24-for-34, 232-yard, one-TD effort against the Colts last Saturday gave us a taste of his true potential. Jon Kitna has been bitten by back spasms, an injury that can flare up at a moment's notice, and if he's unable to start at any point this season, O'Sullivan could roar with the fearsome threesome of Roy Williams, Calvin Johnson and Mike Furrey. Deep leagues that require two quarterbacks should stash him now. Otherwise, those in more mainstream formats should be mindful of this promising hidden gem.|
|Rex Grossman||$1.10||158.9, 13.2||17||+4|
|Lowdown: Grossman must have been a dangerous egg parent in his high school home economics class. In the real football world, botched snaps from center are reprehensible, but as long as the stat sheet reads 212 yards, 2 TDs, INT – Grossman's last preseason performance versus San Francisco – all will be forgiven. The cloud of negativity that ominously hangs over the Windy City has misled the fantasy masses. Sure, Grossman will bedevil owners at times, but he was the 13th-best fantasy QB last season, finishing with 10 games of 15 or more fantasy points – one shy of Tom Brady. The addition of down-field speed demon Devin Hester and Jeremy Shockey-clone Greg Olsen to an already reputable battery of receivers only enhances Grossman's chances of posting fairly consistent No. 1 QB totals. The 22nd quarterback selected on average in Y! drafts, he'll be more valuable than Eli Manning, Jake Delhomme and Alex Smith come December. Fearless Forecast: 211 YPG, 24 PTD, 19 INT, 6 FL|
|Cheat Sheet Dumpers|
|Chris Brown||$1.55||136.4, 11.3||41||-3|
|Lowdown: The humdrum back battle in Nashville took a dreadful turn over the weekend when Jeff Fisher announced a running-back-by-committee (RBBC) will be instituted. Praise the friggin' fantasy lords. The platoon approach hurts Brown more than stumpy LenDale White. Compared to the Goodyear blimp, Brown is a better pass blocker and a more viable receiving threat who will likely be used exclusively on third downs. But his upright running style means the squattier White will be the primary goal-line back. Since both players are more delicate than a house of cards, it wouldn't be a shocker if rookie Chris Henry becomes the most valued Titans back by mid-season. Since this situation is murky, Brown and White will wither until at least Round 10 in 12-team drafts. Although the Titans have a fluffy schedule – they face nine teams that finished in the bottom half of the league in rush defense a year ago – either Tennessee tugboat should be viewed as nothing more than a bye-week filler or occasional flex play. Fearless Forecast (Brown): 151 carries, 619 yards, 22 receptions, 197 yards, 4 touchdowns|
|Chris Chambers||$9.25||68.4, 5.7||35||-3|
|Lowdown: Reported by NFL.com's Adam Schefter on Tuesday, the "Torture" Chambers has become the subject of several trade rumors. However, early on Wednesday the Miami Herald refuted Schefter's claim stating that it's "highly unlikely Chambers will wear anything other than a Dolphins jersey on September 9." No teams were disclosed in the original report, but if the once meaningful fantasy receiver were shopped, the asking price would probably be low due to his costly $7.3 million salary. Minnesota, Carolina and Tennessee have obvious weak links in their receiving corps and would seem like logical candidates in the event the Fins front office has a change of heart. A monumental disappointment last season averaging a mere 5.7 fantasy points per game in non-PPR leagues, Chambers could transcend inferiority if matched with a quarterback that has an affinity for long bombs. He is a marvelous downfield playmaker, but his inadequacies as a route runner will cause him to wallow in a stagnant Miami offense. Derek Hagan, known for finding soft spots in tight places, would benefit greatly if a deal were consummated. Given the flaccid state of the Fins offensive line, Hagan could be a very useful tool to Trent Green as a hot-route bailout – even with Chambers around. Fearless Forecast (Chambers in Miami): 64 receptions, 831 yards, 5 touchdowns|
|Michael Turner||$5.73||102.9, 8.5||44||-4|
|Lowdown: Turner will have difficulties igniting the afterburners in the coming weeks. "The Burner" suffered a high ankle sprain in his last preseason game and is expected to be given the always ambiguous "questionable" label for the Chargers opener against the Bears. For most backs a high ankle sprain can be damning, but because Turner is more of a North-South pounder it should limit him minimally. Outside of setback, Turner is undoubtedly the most overvalued back in yearly leagues. Why? LaDanian Tomlinson is the essence of durability, missing one measly game in six years. Sure, Turner's 6.3 YPC average from a year ago is eye-popping, but he's an untrustworthy flex play even in the deepest of leagues. Of course, if LT were bitten by injury his value would skyrocket, but Chris Brown, LenDale White, Warrick Dunn, Vernand Morency or Ron Dayne – all drafted well after Turner – are wiser selections. Unless you're an overly cautious LT owner or someone who plays in a keeper league – Turner is a free agent after this year – choose someone else in the middle rounds.|
Upset you don't have a forum to express your disdain for drafting Ronnie Brown? Do you question why on earth you're not a fantasy expert? This is the place for you to vent your thoughts, tirades and frustrations. Can you bring the noise?
I'm amused by how your wit compliments your fantasy knowledge. Thank you for the laugh. P.S. You're funnier than those buffoons on other prominent fantasy sites.
– Chris, Oakland, CA
Noise: But not nearly as attractive. If only I were graced with McLovin's flawless game and "Where's Waldo?" looks. Then I could lure the affections of comely fantasy fems.
Hey Brad, I'm a regular reader and I can honestly say that I never agree with you. Okay, rarely (I like Brandon Jacobs, too). I'm not going to go the route of other simpletons and attack your intelligence or credibility since you clearly know your football. But I have one major problem with your Peyton Manning bashing. Yeah, I get what you're saying about the likelihood of mid-late round RBs scoring in the top 20 at their position. What you failed to mention is the percentage of RBs taken in the first three rounds that failed to score in the top 20 during the same timeframe and the number of times Peyton has failed to score in the top five at his position. Post those numbers then try to make that point again. Don't give me that 3.1 PPG Jon Kitna discrepancy crap. What you're telling me is that last year, you would have been better off taking Edge, Cadillac, Jordan or any other first round RBs who sucked horribly and single-handedly killed fantasy teams than taking the best QB in football, fantasy or otherwise. Sorry, dude, but you're wrong on this one.
– The Dox, Maryville, TN
Noise: Since I'm all about pleasing the general fantasy populous, here are your precious let's-make-Evans-look-like-a-boob numbers. Digging through the archives, of the 104 backs selected on average in the first three rounds since 2001, 35 (5.8 backs/year), or 33.6 percent, failed to finish in the RB top 20. And yes, Manning has finished in the top-five at his position in six straight years. However, the RB research is a bit misleading because A) More RBs are selected in the first three rounds than at any other position and B) The obvious punishment backs endure labels them more injury susceptible and makes them riskier selections – your argument for supporting Manning.
This solidifies my justification to have at least five-to-six backs on roster at all times. Still, as discussed last week, owners in competitive leagues put themselves in a disadvantageous position when drafting Manning, depending on luck and/or excellent mid-round RB picks to generate fantasy success. Winning with Manning can be done in standard leagues, it's just not foolproof. Then again, nothing in fantasy is.
I'm not suggesting you can't win your league selecting Manning in Round 1. In fact, in leagues that score 6 points for all TDs, it's an adroit move. All I'm saying is that in standard scoring leagues (4 pts/passing TD) its smart money to grab two backs with durable, reputable track-records in the first three rounds before thinking QB. With the RB-heavy drafting philosophy so ingrained in the typical owner and since the disparity between QB tiers is minimal, it's rational to roll the dice with early-round proven backs.
Hey Brad, after reading your opinions on the reasons why fantasy players draft star QB Peyton manning, I'm going to have to strongly disagree. The reason Peyton is drafted in the first rounds of Y! drafts is not because people expect Peyton to recreate his record-breaking 2004 season, but rather because he's the most consistent player at the QB position. He has been the most valuable QB for countless seasons in a row. He is the Rudi Johnson of QBs and therefore holds much more value than Drew Brees and Carson Palmer.
– Conor, Princeton, NJ
Noise: Au contraire mon frere. Next to LT, the ultra-durable Rudi and ageless wonder Marvin Harrison, Manning may indeed be the most consistent fantasy producer in the game, but he has not been the "most valuable QB for countless seasons in a row." In fact, Manning has never finished first in fantasy points per game at his position. Yes, he's been a top-five finisher in each of his past six seasons ('01: 3rd, '02: 4th, '03: 2nd, '04: 2nd, '05: 3rd, '06: 2nd), but he's not worth reaching some 14-40 picks ahead of a Palmer, Brees, Brady, Bulger or even McNabb – each of whom have terrific odds of exceeding or matching Manning in overall per game production. Go ahead and throw his string of consecutive starts back in my face, but it seems senseless to take Manning in Round 1 in standard scoring formats when the difference between he and a Tony Romo (ADP: 69.5) or Jon Kitna (77.4) will probably net less than four points per game.
Brad, I just want to offer my advice to you and Andy Behrens. I think it's a shame that both of you are using your columns as a way to curry favor for your respected philosophies. I really wish you could just get along. It would be like Madden versus Parcells. You're both experts with different opinions, period. I hope this feud ends. Please film both of you shaking hands and giving each other encouraging words of wisdom and put it up on YouTube. Good luck to both of you. Hopefully you'll become a legend-god-guru like Brandon Funston soon … That man is genius!
Concerned and Hopeful, Big Spring, Texas
Noise: Wow, do you slobber on Funston's picture every night before you go to bed? Hey, I love the guy like a third cousin, twice removed, but calling Funston a "genius" is like saying Travis Henry doesn't have baby's mama drama. Now, if you want to call him a "genius" at "Lord of the Rings" trivia, that's a different story. Seriously. A little known fact about your "god" is that he has read the J.R.R. Tolkien novels thrice and has watched the movies an uncountable number of times. For Golem's sake, the dude probably has daydreams which involve Frodo, a Shaun Alexander cardboard cutout and a wooden staff. Creepy.
As for the Grizzly/Noise feud, there have been no haymakers thrown over Peterson. Because we're in the business of opinions we naturally agree to disagree on certain players and strategies. No matter if it's Behrens, Matt Buser or "Frodo" Funston, when outlandish statements are made I will fire off a counterargument. If they felt the same way about one of my pieces I would expect them to do the same. Educated cross-examinations benefit everyone and help readers ascertain their own opinions.
The next time the Y! fantasy brass get together jovial libations will flow. But it won't be on a day when Iowa and Illinois meet on the collegiate gridiron or hardwood. On those days, any person of a Squawkeye background (Behrens included) is my nemesis.
Brad, I just read your last posting and want to highlight this portion about Ronnie Brown: "Oh, and since I'm all about accountability, if his fantasy value exceeds Jacobs by year's end, I'll embarrassingly don a neon green Borat thong, paint the Dolphins logo on my chest and flamboyantly flaunt my lily white backside up and down South Beach." Wow, my hopes for Brown having a great year are unfathomable. I just might to eat my laptop if this actually happens. And I don't think that Brown having more value than Jacobs by season's end is completely out of the realm of possibility. Have fun in South Beach.
– Mike, Milwaukee, WI
In reply to your Brown Borat suit statement: That's one way to get on Sportscenter. Will it be a top ten play? Don't think so. Even though I have Jacobs in some leagues I hope he gets a year-ending injury in Week 1 so you have to do this. You're asking for people to extinguish the fire in Behrens' pants, I think you in a thong would do it.
– Daniel, Bendigo, Australia
Noise: The thought of me skipping on the white sands of South Beach in a thong gives a whole new meaning to shrimp on the barbie – right mate?
To clarify, I'm not going to make a complete jackass out of myself in front of hundreds of hard-bodied, beautiful women without a safety net. Because injuries are generally unpredictable, Brown and Jacobs must each play in at least 12 games for the bet to be valid. Fair enough?
As the good citizens of Buffalo nearly experienced last year when I made a similar embarrassing declaration about Willis McGahee, the people of Miami better be prepared for a blinding beam of white light. Come January, my pasty derriere will have been sunless for several weeks. A five-gallon bucket of bronzing gel may not be enough to dull the glare …
- Brandon Funston