• Fantasy Frenzy: Vince Young poised for another big game

    Plaxico Burress, center, eludes several Broncos in a recent game for the Jets. Burress found the end zone last week against Buffalo and could do the same Sunday against Washington.
    Plaxico Burress, center, eludes several Broncos in a recent game for the Jets. Burress found the end zone last week against Buffalo and could do the same Sunday against Washington.

    Week 13 of the fantasy season is upon us, and it is getting down to crunch time in the playoff races. Here are a few tips for who to start and who to sit this weekend.

    Start:
    1. Vince Young, Philadelphia Eagles — With Mike Vick injured, Young got his second start of the season last week and played well in a loss to the Patriots, passing for 400 yards and a touchdown — good for 22 points in standard ESPN leagues. Vick is out once again this Thursday, so the Longhorn legend will once again be under center. Expect him to put up top-10 numbers this week against a Seattle defense ranked 20th against the pass.

    2. Toby Gerhart, Minnesota Vikings — Adrian Peterson is a fixture in every fantasy lineup, but unfortunately for his owners, he has been hampered by an ankle sprain of late. This injury gives the opportunity for others to step up though, and former Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart would like to fill that role. Gerhart got his first opportunity last week against Atlanta, and while he didn’t perform well, with only 44 yards on 17 carries, he still managed to have 11 fantasy points, thanks to a touchdown. The Vikings take on Denver this week, and Gerhart is well worth a start in your lineup, as it will be a grind-it-out game with the Broncos, who allow 120 yards on the ground per contest.

    3. Plaxico Burress, New York Jets — Burress has quietly put up an impressive season in his first year back in the league after serving a two-year prison sentence. He has 34 receptions, 479 yards, and seven touchdowns thus far, with many of those catches coming in the red zone. His 6-foot-5 frame makes him a load to contain down there, and the Jets target him often. Expect more of the same this weekend against a Redskins team that loads up to stop the run.

    Sit:

    1. Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings — While his teammate Gerhart is a smart play this Sunday, owners should stay away from the rookie quarterback at all costs. Ponder has been off and on all season, with a 54-percent completion percentage and an equal number of touchdowns and interceptions (6). This week Ponder faces Denver, who has had one of the hottest pass defenses in the league the last three weeks, allowing only two touchdowns in that span while causing three turnovers and scoring one touchdown.

    2. Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants — The Giants’ season is essentially on the line this week as they face a date with the undefeated Packers after getting shredded by New Orleans on Monday Night Football. The combo of Jacobs and Bradshaw might not get too many carries, as New York might have to throw a lot to keep up with Green Bay’s high-octane attack.

    Printed on Thursday, December 1, 2011 as: Young poised for big game against Seahawks

  • Fantasy Frenzy: Week 12

    Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown runs through a tackle against the Panthers on Sunday. Brown has been a lone bright spot for the Colts of late, as he rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown this weekend.
    Indianapolis Colts running back Donald Brown runs through a tackle against the Panthers on Sunday. Brown has been a lone bright spot for the Colts of late, as he rushed for 80 yards and a touchdown this weekend.

    It was a long week of football, with games spanning from Turkey Day to Monday night, so let’s examine who helped and who hurt your fantasy squad during the holidays.

    Hot:

    1. Kyle Orton, Kansas City Chiefs — Orton may not have played this week, but he still manages to be hot, thanks to another terrible start by Tyler Palko, who struggled in second appearance replacing Matt Cassel. Palko threw for only 167 yards and, to make matters worse, tossed three interceptions. Orton — who was waived by Denver and picked up by Kansas City — should benefit from this and will most likely step into the starting role this weekend for the Chiefs to provide a steadying hand.

    2. Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts — The Colts have been bad this season, no doubt about it. But Brown, once considered a first-round bust, has been one of the few bright spots for them in the last few weeks. With normal starter Joseph Addai hampered with injuries, Brown has seen an increased workload. And he has taken advantage. On Sunday, he ran for 80 yards and a touchdown. Brown might be worth a look if you’re short on running backs going into the home stretch.

    Not:

    1. Phillip Rivers, San Diego Chargers — So much for being an elite quarterback. Rivers has struggled all year and because of it, the Chargers are off to a terrible start at 4-7, which only becomes worse when you consider the talent on the roster. But that talent can’t overcome Rivers’ poor play. He has been a pick machine this season, leading the NFL with 17. This weekend, he just couldn’t manage to jump start the offense against the Broncos throwing for only 188 yards in a loss. It’s to suggest this considering his past production, but if you have a decent option behind Rivers, it might be a good idea to sit him for a while until he turns it around.

    2. Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks — Rice is one of the most talented players in football, but he has two things working against him that make him a risky play in fantasy. First, he plays for a team with Tarvaris Jackson at quarterback. Second, he can’t seem to stay on the field, as he was lost yet again to injury this week. Rice has been a rough play all season for fantasy owners and if you can package him away in a trade in your run to the playoffs, you might want to consider it.

  • Stat Guy: Where Tucker’s kick ranks in school history

    Justin Tucker kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal on Thursday against the Aggies. Tucker’s kick is one of many in Texas football history that has led to historical wins
    Justin Tucker kicked a 40-yard game-winning field goal on Thursday against the Aggies. Tucker’s kick is one of many in Texas football history that has led to historical wins

    On Thanksgiving night, Texas kicker Justin Tucker added his name to Longhorn football lore with a career-defining kick that sent Texas A&M packing to the Southeastern Conference with one final loss. Let’s take a look at where Tucker’s field goal ranks amongst other crucial kicks in the Mack Brown Era.

    No. 5: The Ryan Bailey Show:

    In 2006, Texas headed into Lincoln, Nebraska to take on the Cornhuskers. With heavy snow blanketing the field, the Longhorns faced a 19-20 deficit. With starting kicker Greg Johnson 2-for-4 on the day, head coach Mack Brown sent walk-on kicker Ryan Bailey into the game to attempt a 22-yard field goal; Bailey sent the ball through the uprights, won the game and secured his job as the Texas placekicker. The next season, Bailey kicked a 40-yard game-winner at Oklahoma State that capped off a 24-point comeback in the fourth quarter.

    No. 4: Stockton saves Ricky’s day:

    And to think, Ricky Williams’ record-setting day in 1998 nearly ended in a loss. After the Heisman Trophy winner broke Tony Dorsett’s NCAA rushing record with a 60-yard touchdown in the first quarter against Texas A&M, the Longhorns found themselves down 23-24 with five seconds left. Kicker Kris Stockton, who had already missed attempts of 50 and 28 yards, came out to try a 24-yard field goal. The kick was true, Texas won 26-24 and Ricky’s day was made perfect.

    No. 3: Mangum shoots Texas past Michigan:

    In 2004, the one-loss Longhorns headed into the Rose Bowl against the Michigan Wolverines. Behind quarterback Vince Young’s five-touchdown performance — a preview of what was to come in 2005 — the game ultimately came down to the leg of senior kicker Dusty Mangum. With time running out, Mangum kicked a 37-yard field goal — which seemed to be deflected at the line of scrimmage — to defeat the Wolverines 38-37. It was Mangum’s first field goal attempt of the game and proved to be the most important play.

    No. 2: So long, Aggies:

    The aforementioned Tucker kick, which came after Case McCoy scrambled 25 yards to put Texas in field goal position. For Tucker, who played high school football at Austin Westlake, the 40-yarder becomes the highlight of his collegiate career. And for the Longhorns, it was the perfect way to end the last scheduled game of the storied rivalry.

    No.1: One second left:

    In 2009, Texas found itself down 10-12 against the Cornhuskers in the Big 12 Championship game. In a game dominated by Nebraska defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh, Longhorn kicker Hunter Lawrence stole the show, kicking a 46-yard field goal with one second left to beat the Cornhuskers, 13-12. The kick sent Texas to the National Championship, leading many to call it the most important kick in Texas football history.

    Printed on Tuesday, November 29, 2011 as: Kickers clutch in comebacks throughout Texas' history

  • Texas has to stop the run, deal with Kyle Field

    This coming Thursday will mark the final chapter of the historic Lone Star Showdown between the Longhorns and Aggies. While Texas has the upper hand in the rivalry with 75 wins over Texas A&M’s 37, the Aggies have given the Longhorns fits in recent years.

    Since 2009, the A&M has averaged 36.5 points against the Longhorn defense, almost twice as many points allowed on average since 2002 (18.7). With the Texas A&M offense posing a greater threat with its battalion of talented receivers and backs, there’s no doubt the Aggies can put up some points. Lets take a look at — what else? — the stats.

    Last Thanksgiving, Texas A&M marched into Austin and narrowly defeated Texas, 24-17. Aggie running back Cyrus Gray exploded for 223 yards on the ground with two touchdowns, including what turned out to be a game-clinching 48-yarder in the third quarter. Texas running back Cody Johnson performed well, carrying the ball 14 times for 107 yards, but couldn’t find the end zone. The Aggies rushed for 238 yards, which amounted to 70 percent greater than the Longhorns’ team total of 140.

    Texas A&M also won the turnover battle, only coughing the ball up twice to Texas’ four. The Aggies sealed the game with a fourth-quarter pick of quarterback Garrett Gilbert by outside linebacker Von Miller.

    Skip back a year. In 2009, the Longhorns traveled to College Station, with national title hopes at stake. Texas was met with a 532-yard offensive showcase by Texas A&M quarterback Jerrod Johnson and company. Luckily for Texas, its own quarterback Colt McCoy came ready to play as well, passing for 304 yards and four touchdowns, along with 175 yards rushing. The Longhorns escaped College Station with a 49-39 victory.

    There’s a reason why teams struggle at Kyle Field, the site of this year’s game: It’s loud, compact and, quite frankly, very intimidating. You’d expect it to be even louder this Thursday for the last Longhorn-Aggie go-around.

    Printed on Tuesday, November 22, 2011 as:Aggies offense, home turf has given Horns fits recently

  • Fantasy Frenzy: Week 11

    Fresh off his three month “retirement,” Carson Palmer has returned to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 5-4 record so far this season.
    Fresh off his three month “retirement,” Carson Palmer has returned to lead the Oakland Raiders to a 5-4 record so far this season.

    It’s week 11 and the start of the home stretch of your fantasy season, so here is some advice on who to start and who to sit.

    Start:

    1. Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders — Palmer had a bit of a rough start in his first two games in Oakland, but last week against San Diego he came through and led the team to an important division win. His numbers were good. He threw for 299 yards and two touchdowns against a tough Chargers defense. This week Palmer goes against the fourth-worst passing defense in the league Minnesota, making Palmer a smart start or wavier pickup.

    2. Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins — Don’t look now but the Dolphins are playing well, winning two of their last three, and Reggie Bush is a big part of that. He has seen lots of touches in both the running and passing game, and has scored three touchdowns. This week the Dolphins face the Bills, who have a poor rush defense, giving up 169 yards on the ground to Dallas plus passing yards to backs out of the backfield their last time out. So Bush has an excellent matchup this week.

    Sit:

    1. Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles — The Eagles are reeling and have started off the season 3-6, despite the expectations they accrued in the offseason. On top of that, Vick has a pair of broken ribs to deal with this week, which is painful for any position and especially tough for a quarterback. Don’t expect much from Vick this week — if anything at all — because he might not even play.

    2. Tim Tebow, Denver Broncos — The list this week has its share of high profile and overly discussed players on it, but none of the previous three have Tebow level hype. Tebow has performed well in his time as a starter going 3-1, while being an above average fantasy player as well. But this week he comes up against the Jets defense, a much stiffer test than any of the other opponent he has seen thus far. He only completed two passes against Kansas City last week, and going up against a stellar Jets secondary, he might not even get one. Sit him this week.

Pages