Friday, September 29, 2006

NFL Week Four notes

As we've been doing the last few weeks, we bring you the NFL Week Four analysis from Mike Vili, football contributor and our lead football analyst on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER on (seen Thursday nights from 8-10 PM EDT). Enjoy his thoughts:

Miami vs. Houston: Carr and Culpepper will light it up -- start your borderline contributors from both teams.

Detroit vs. St. Louis: This looks like another fantasy toss-up game where it's difficult to get a read on what could happen. Under the circumstances, it's hard to recommend any borderline starters like Ike Bruce.

New England vs. Cincinnati: Patriot receivers don't merit a play, but the entire Bengal roster does.

Jacksonville vs. Washington: Brunell defied the grim prognosis from this space last week, but it should be back to the dismal normal he has "enjoyed" this season. He's not a good fit for the Al Saunders offense.

Cleveland vs. Oakland: Kickers will prosper here -- the Browns don't have too many strong plays aside from KWII because Droughns is still banged up and Mo Carthon's game-planning is not, shall we say, focused. You have to start Lamont Jordan if you have him, and Randy Moss as well, but don't have crazy expectations.

Seattle vs. Chicago: No Shawn Alexander, two defenses that can clamp down -- this has the look of a close-to-the-vest game, but sometimes surprises happen in games without a star player (i.e. Pittsburgh-Miami Week One, which was forecast here).

Green Bay-Philadelphia: Start as many Packers and Eagles as you can. Philly may roll, but this looks like at least a 38-24 game.

Indianapolis-New York Jets: Most Colts are automatic every-week starters, but we'll also recommend more than your usual allotment of Jets this week.

San Diego-Baltimore: The total on this game is dropping, which may bode an even worse fantasy game than you might think.

Minnesota-Buffalo: Another fantasy football toss-up game -- err on the side of caution and only count on the "automatics," i.e. the two running backs.

Dallas-Tennessee: T.O. the drama queen may well come through, as he often does in the crises of his own making -- Big Tuna has to allow him to suit up first, however.

San Francisco-Kansas City: Fittingly, the "Joe Montana Bowl" will be a bigger shootout than most think.

New Orleans-Carolina: Buy Panthers and sell Saints starting right now.

Arizona-Atlanta: The Cards will be in a holding pattern until Leinart is promoted. The Falcons look much the same offensively as they have the past few years: excellent running game, suspect passing game.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Big announcement tonight!

Tune in at 8 PM EDT for THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER on -- we will have an announcement coming about future coverage. Want a hint? Well, we did talk in general terms about it last night on the PRO KARATE WEEKLY show on STC. Does that narrow it down a bit?

Here's the weekly lineup for the Big Show:

8 PM: Big announcement already hinted at on PKW.
8:10 PM: Postseason baseball mock draft with our FDH and STC analysts.
8:55 PM: NFL Week Four analysis with our football analyst Mike Vili.

Don't get left out of all of the great fantasy sports discussion tonight on STC!

EDIT: First version of this post said "NFL Week Three," not "NFL Week Four."

Friday, September 22, 2006

NFL Week Three thoughts

As usual, we're bringing you our thoughts from THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER show, heard Thursday nights from 8-10 PM EDT on Specifically, they're the Week 3 NFL notes from our football correspondant, Mike Vili. Enjoy!

New York Jets-Buffalo: The Jets' offense is pretty Sybil-like right now -- it's hard to justify recommending their starters, or for that matter, many Bills.

Cincinnati-Pittsburgh: It's tough to forecast the tempo of this game, because the Bengals should have all guns blazing, while Pittsburgh has hit a brick wall. Parker and Ward remain mandatory starters, of course, but beware any more marginal fantasy Steelers.

Jacksonville-Indianapolis: Another game with a difficult-to-predict tempo because of the defenses involved. The Vegas total has dropped substantially on this game, indicating that it may be less of a shootout than usual for the Colts. Don't go beyond the mandatory starters in this game.

Tennessee-Miami: The Dolphins and their fantasy players come back strong, while the Titans do not. Kerry Collins is done.

Washington-Houston: While the Skins should perform better against such weak competition, Mark Brunell is looking like he is not the man to run the Al Saunders offense, as we have noted the last few weeks.

Chicago-Minnesota: Keep riding the Bears' hot streak offensively full force and don't look for Brad Johnson to put up even his usual mediocre statistical performance.

Carolina-Tampa Bay: This game should be low-scoring and one to avoid even for some usual fantasy starters like Carnell Williams (Rick Morris note: I have Carnell Williams and will keep him in my lineup this week, so this is a dissenting note. As I've often said, I think it's very hard to justify sitting high draft picks unless they are injured. I respect Mike's advice, though, so this is an unusual point of disagreement. I may do this from time to time when his advice is markedly different from my own).

Green Bay-Detroit: This should be a bounce-back game for your marginal Packer and Lion starters. While there are plenty of stay-away fantasy games this weekend, this isn't one of them.

Baltimore-Cleveland: Out of pure desperation, Cleveland should open it up some more and continue to move Kellen Winslow II into an every-week starting TE. If Reuben Droughns is healthy enough to play -- check the game-time decision -- he will bounce back a bit, even if just as a goal-line vulture after a pass play.

St. Louis-Arizona: There are many every-week starters on these two teams, but don't go beyond them and start the likes of Kevin Curtis and Isaac Bruce. This game won't be a mega-shootout.

New York Giants-Seattle: Our advice on the Giants was right through the first two weeks, but has run its course -- at least this week. Sit your marginal starters like Amani Toomer now.

Philadelphia-San Francisco: Who'd have thunk it at the beginning of the season? This game is a fantasy showcase! Start them all! And pay attention as Frank Gore and Antonio Bryant (at last!) are moving towards every-week starting status.

Denver-New England: Now you have more than the Bell Boys to fear with the Broncos -- the entire offense has the Jake Flu. It's not going to get any better this week.

Atlanta-New Orleans: The emotion will of course be through the roof, and makes this game almost impossible to analyze in a conventional sense. We favor both offenses, anticipating a wild shootout in the Dome, with many marginal fantasy starters on both teams having an impact.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Hockey draft tonight!

We've got a special edition of THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER tonight on at 7 PM EDT -- it's a joint edition of the show with our lead-in, NORTH COAST HOCKEY TONIGHT. The second annual hockey mock draft show comes on the air at 7 PM EDT and we want to thank two of our participants from, Ray Flowers and Scotty Wazz. At 8:55 PM EDT, we move into football, breaking down NFL Week Three action with our correspondant Mike Vili. Join us for another great night on STC!

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Deep thoughts on NFL Week 2

As we did last week, we'll post notes here from Mike Vili, our football analyst for, who appears with us each week during the football season to break down NFL action on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER on (airing from 8-10 PM EDT each Thursday night). Speaking of THE INSIDER, a special note here: we start one hour early this week for a special joint episode of the show and NORTHCOAST HOCKEY TONIGHT (the weekly hockey show hosted by Paul Teeple and yours truly). It's our annual hockey mock draft program, coming your way at 7 PM EDT.

On to the Week 2 action:

Cleveland-Cincinnati: This could be a shootout, including some surprising production for the Browns offense. Charlie Frye is so very hard to recommend right now as a starter, but if you're desperate, you could do worse than starting him here.

Houston-Indianapolis: Another shootout, and what is true of Charlie Frye is also true of David Carr -- if you're desperate, consider him.

New Orleans-Green Bay: Not a bounceback game for Brett Favre and the Packer offense, but it's a chance for Reggie Bush to advance from what he did last week. This looks like a mediocre fantasy game, though.

Detroit-Chicago: Very little to see here in fantasy production, as the Mike Martz offense continues to come along slowly due to tough matchups.

Oakland-Baltimore: Week 1 trends continue as Jamal Lewis will run strong and the Oakland offense will still be pathetic.

Tampa Bay-Atlanta: The Atlanta defense, which we touted before Week 1 on the fantasy show, will once again create havoc.

New York Giants-Philadelphia: In this shootout, play even your marginal starters like Amani Toomer. LJ Smith and Donte Stallworth are every-week starters until further notice.

Carolina-Minnesota: Brad Johnson will probably have one of his usual middling fantasy performances, and Chester Taylor could well keep his momentum going. The Carolina offense may not improve much with a hobbling Steve Smith again this week.

Buffalo-Miami: This is a very difficult game to forecast from a fantasy standpoint -- it probably computes to fairly average production all around.

Arizona-Seattle: A mega-shootout that will compel you to put your marginal starters like Bobby Engram in the game.

St. Louis-San Francisco: San Francisco starters are justifying another start -- monitor to see if Frank Gore and Company could be edging towards becoming every-week starters or whether they just got lucky in a Week 1 shootout.

Tennessee-San Diego: Phillip Rivers may not break through this week, but it is coming. The Titans will do nothing.

New England-New York Jets: Another fairly middling fantasy game -- don't start any Jets or any Patriots WRs.

Kansas City-Denver: Another game to stay away from marginal fantasy starters.

Washington-Dallas: A much better "real game" than fantasy matchup. Mark Brunell is showing early signs of being ill-suited for the Al Saunders offense, so don't put too much hope in him or the WRs.

Pittsburgh-Jacksonville: The kickers are the must-plays in this game.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

If it's Thursday night, it's time to talk fantasy sports!

The FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER show Thursday night from 8-10 PM EDT on will be jam-packed with fantasy sports analysis as usual:

8 PM: We will begin by reminding the audience of our fundraiser for the Carol Morris Scholarship Fund at Bowling Green State University this Saturday night at the Euclid Sports Plan in Euclid, Ohio: Northcoast Showdown, a huge MMA show sponsored by our friends at Pro Karate Weekly and This is a chance for sports fans to come enjoy some top-flight MMA action and to support a good cause at the same time.

8:10 PM: We continue getting you ready for next week's hockey mock draft (NOTE: Special start time of 7 PM EDT as the entire draft will be a joint version of North Coast Hockey Tonight and the fantasy show). We'll go over changes to the updated draft board and the overvalued/undervalued list for the 2006-2007 season in terms of how other major touts are evaluating the field. Need we even remind you that these features are available at

8:25 PM: Our weekly "Roto Rebuttal" segment takes place, with a short caveat at the outset. Stay tuned for this one.

8:40 PM: We bring our football correspondant Mike Vili back into the mix to break down NFL Week Two along with my co-host Jason Jones and myself. If you need to be reminded about his insights, check out his Week One advice. We'll evaluate all 16 NFL games until we reach the show's conclusion at 10 PM EDT.

In case this hasn't been said enough, and I suspect it hasn't, thank you to all of you who have broadened our listening (and viewing) audience each week, who have provided our brand with such tremendous readership in the first six months since spinning off from Pat Luft's great site, and who have provided such great feedback to me on my fantasy mailbag segments on STC's THE MORNING AFTER program. Jason and myself are laying out a very exciting 12-month period on paper right now and it should include massive growth in a number of areas. We appreciate the support of all of you as we work to bring you fantasy coverage that we know is like no other.

Monday, September 11, 2006

It's a cliche, but it's true anyway -- never forget

A non-fantasy message today, as it should be.

Never forget what happened five years ago today. Go here to refresh your memory. Yes, it's depressing, but that's exactly the point. It's supposed to be depressing, and our collective amnesia about it is not a sign of health, it's a sign of denial. So many of us said at the time that we would never forget -- and so few of us have not. And yes, complaining about necessary security procedures does constitute forgetting.

Everyone has a story about what they were doing that day, and mine is somewhat unusual, although certainly not as much as some. I was coming down the stretch of a book project with my former "fantasy draft help brand" associate Nathan Noy, with a final deadline of September 15 for our book. I ate dinner at my parents' house (a short drive from where I live) on Sunday, September 9 and was complaining about how jammed up I was. Nathan, while possessed of some brilliant business skills, had put me on a suicidally short timeline to finish editing his work. My dad told me he thought I'd have to take a day off from work (the company in question being a media organization for whom I do business reporting). I replied that I knew I wouldn't be able to take off on Monday but that I would put in for Tuesday.

I did a fair amount of editing and rewriting on Monday night, and stayed up fairly late watching the Monday Night Football game and working. My alarm went off somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 AM on Tuesday morning -- it was a radio alarm set to a local sports talk station. Knowing that I had the day off, and still feeling tired, I hit the snooze bar. When the radio went off 9 minutes later, the sports talk that had originally awoken me was nowhere to be found. For some reason, Peter Jennings was on my radio and talking about some kind of trouble at the World Trade Center.

Baffled, I stumbled into my living room, flipped on one of the cable news channels, and stared in horrified awe at a split screen showing attacks in New York and Washington. I had slept through the initial plane crashes in New York and the reporters and anchors were already beginning to make some rough sense out of what happened. I remember also dim rumors on TV that day about a car bomb near the State Department building and other nuggets being sorted out in real time by a news industry that had never confronted anything quite like this.

I was in a daze the entire day, calling equally bewildered friends and family. I spent part of the day at my parents' house and tried to take some time to edit the book material. My mother was serving as my backup editor, proofreading my writing and helping me with Nathan's where necessary. She made notes on the copy when I was done with it, and to this day, I marvel at everything that she caught and I missed. I am normally a very meticulous editor, but that day, with that cloud hanging over all of us, I missed so many errors. And she, while equally shook up, managed to focus and catch those errors for me when I needed her to do that. I don't know how she did it.

It's the defining event of our lifetimes, the true before-after line that we all have etched in our heads. I hope and pray that we can summon the strength of the World War II generation and face down this enemy that wishes to destroy us. We will be tested again in our country, perhaps far worse (although I certainly hope not) and I hope that we will be up to the challenge.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Week 1 nuggets from Mike Vili on our NFL beat

On THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER show on (Thursday nights from 8-10 EDT), we are bringing you analysis from football analyst Mike Vili. And here, on the blog, we will deliver his observations about each matchup in the NFL each week. We will link to the CBS Sportsline previews for each game -- warning: we are unsure if these links will still be valid after the games take place.

On the Miami-Pittsburgh tilt, Mike did correctly note that sometimes games that are projected to be closer to the vest because of an injured quarterback are sometimes surprisingly wide-open. He is 1-for-1 so far!

Denver-St. Louis: A high-scoring affair that will especially benefit Bronco wide receivers. Beware the Bell-Bell situation at running back right now if you have the option of benching them both.

New York Jets-Tennessee: Jet players look to be marginally more valuable in this game, but do not go out of your way to start anyone.

Buffalo-New England: This may be a surprisingly high-scoring game, especially with the transitional state of the Patriot defense.

Baltimore-Tampa Bay: This matchup of the underachieving Claytons will be an early indicator of whether Jamal Lewis can come back strong and whether Chris Simms can break out this year.

Cincinnati-Kansas City: Play your marginal Bengal and Chief starters here along with the automatic ones, because this will be a track meet.

Seattle-Detroit: Much like the previous one, play your marginal Seahawk starters such as Bobby Engram.

Atlanta-Carolina: A better "real" game than a fantasy one, with two very good defenses here. The Falcon "D" was much improved in the offseason.

Philadelphia-Houston: Again, not a compelling "real" game, but one in which David Carr may do surprisingly well.

New Orleans-Cleveland: Another game that will not be a huge fantasy matchup, as Reggie Bush takes on an improved and underrated Brown defense.

Dallas-Jacksonville: A game in which the kickers will do very well.

Chicago-Green Bay: Brett Favre has been undervalued on many fantasy boards this year, but he is a bad pick to start against this awesome defense.

San Francisco-Arizona: There are few marginal Cardinal starters, but throw them in against Frisco, and give thought to a few Niners like Frank Gore and Antonio Bryant as well.

Indianapolis-New York Giants: Play your marginal Colts and Giants starters in this shootout.

Minnesota-Washington: A poor fantasy matchup, but one likely to yield the usual 2 TDs from Brad Johnson if you are willing to take a modest sure thing.

San Diego-Oakland: Phillip Rivers, who should have a very nice year, could struggle here, while Aaron Brooks may have one of his few good games of the year in this rivalry game at home in prime time.

Enjoy Week One. It's great to have the NFL back!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Your NFL in-season coverage -- right here!

We've got you covered on THE FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER on this Thursday night from 8-10 PM EDT:

8 PM: We go over our newly updated hoops and hockey draft boards, available on the Mothership.

8:20 PM: We look at our newly posted NFL and NHL season predictions.

8:40 PM: contributor Mike Vili joins us for a game-by-game breakdown of NFL Week 1. We will dissect each NFL game each week on the show this season, as we have for the last two seasons.

May we remind you also of Northcoast Showdown, a huge MMA show in Euclid, Ohio on Saturday, September 16 at 7 PM EDT. We'll be operating a 50-50 raffle to benefit the Carol Morris Scholarship Fund at Bowling Green State University. Be there!

One more event to announce! Senior Editor Rick Morris will be MC'ing the NHL Alumni matchup of Philly vs. Boston at the Brooklyn Recreation Center in Brooklyn, Ohio this Saturday, September 9 at 1:30 PM EDT. Proceeds go to the Brooklyn Youth Hockey program -- more details here.