Sunday, December 14, 2008

FDH Fantasy Newsletter: Volume I, Issue XV

Welcome to our 15th edition of the FDH Fantasy Newsletter, as we continue to bring you weekly fantasy sports updates in addition to our usual content on In case you missed it, here are the previous issues: Volume I, Issue I (September 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue II (September 13, 2008), Volume I, Issue III (September 19, 2008), Volume I, Issue IV (September 27, 2008), Volume I, Issue V (October 4, 2008), Volume I, Issue VI (October 11, 2008), Volume I, Issue VII (October 18, 2008), Volume I, Issue VIII (October 25, 2008), Volume I, Issue IX (November 1, 2008), Volume I, Issue X (November 8, 2008), Volume I, Issue XI (November 15, 2008), Volume I, Issue XII (November 21, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIII (November 30, 2008), Volume 1, Issue XIV (December 7, 2008)

In this week's edition:

^ NFL Week 15 game-by-game fantasy preview

^ Fantasy non-sport drafting: recap of our rock band supergroup draft

^ FDH New York Bureau Report

NFL Week 15

NOTE: Our advice, as it does on our FANTASYDRAFTHELP.COM INSIDER weekly program (Wednesdays, 9:00-9:30 PM EST as part of THE FDH LOUNGE on, is based on helping you determine which of your marginal starters are worth a play this week. Hopefully, your initial draft/auction efforts were successful, because frankly, “playing the matchups” is far from an exact science regardless of what you will be told by other advisory services claiming to possess a crystal ball. But our weekly game notes are designed to try to help you maximize the potential of your situation. We will post this preface to the notes every week to remind you of the context of our advice. Also, each of our game previews links to the page for that game on, with statistical information and a video preview of each game.

In addition, every week right here we will provide you a link to your ultimate Sunday morning last-minute news source: Google News. Although any updates from responsible news providers are very useful, pay particular attention to those who come from team beat reporters, because they are closest to the action.


Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Atlanta Falcons 1:00 p.m. Atlanta’s usuals of RB Turner and WR White are joined by QB Ryan as worthwhile plays. For Tampa, it’s worth taking advantage of the fact that the Atlanta D is more vulnerable through the air, so QB Garcia and WR Bryant stand out as good options.

Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens 4:15 p.m. Especially with the RB platoon, there really are no good Baltimore offensive options this week. RB Parker is not a great option for Pittsburgh in terms of the matchup, but you can’t bench him barring an injury relapse. WR Ward is a pretty good option in light of the possession passing game the Steelers will need to utilize to win this game.

Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers 4:15 p.m. On a short week for the Panthers, it’s not worth curtailing the Denver all-in recommendation (with Bell at RB). For Carolina, definitely stay with both RBs and the QB/WR1 combo.

Washington Redskins at Cincinnati Bengals 1:00 p.m. All-in for the Skins, just WR TJ Housh for the Bengals. It’s pretty simple.

Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans 1:00 p.m. For Tennessee, only the usual suspects (RB/RB/TE) are worth your while (if RB White goes) and the Texans have some options that you have to play but may not like much with the matchup (RB/WR1/WR2).

Detroit Lions at Indianapolis Colts 1:00 p.m. All-in for the Colts (with Rhodes at RB), just WR Johnson for the Lions. Did they clone the Washington/Cincy game this week?

Green Bay Packers at Jacksonville Jaguars 1:00 p.m. In the Dashed Hopes and Dreams Bowl, both Jax RBs should gash the Pack, but there isn’t anything else to get you excited with WR Jones doing his eight-ball suspension. For the Pack, you have to like the odds for QB Rodgers, RB Grant and both WRs.

San Diego Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs 1:00 p.m. These defenses couldn’t stop the FDH flag football team. All-in (if KC WR Bradley goes)!

San Francisco 49ers at Miami Dolphins 1:00 p.m. Two improving defenses, two fairly blah fantasy offenses – not much to like here. RB Brown is a gimme, RB Gore probably won’t go, both QBs are decent as well.

Buffalo Bills at N.Y. Jets 1:00 p.m. Stay all-in with your Jets in what has now become a desperation game after the meltdowns of the past two weeks. QB Edwards is a marginal play at best for the Bills despite a matchup he may be able to exploit; stay with the gimmes at RB and WR1.

Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams 1:00 p.m. Here it is – the game that proves matchups aren’t the end-all, be all! We’re not putting any stock in QB Wallace just yet, so go all-out with your Hawks and only in with gimmes RB Jackson and WR Holt here. QB Bulger and WR Avery could suffice if you’re desperate enough.

Minnesota Vikings at Arizona Cardinals 4:05 p.m. The Arizona default of “all-in except TE” remains in effect here, with only the gimme of RB Peterson and WR Berrian worth joining them for Minnesota.

New England Patriots at Oakland Raiders 4:15 p.m. Go all-in except TE for the Patriots (yes, we’re actually recommending a RB for once, Morris in this case) and only RB McFadden and the situational start of TE Miller for Oaktown.

N.Y. Giants at Dallas Cowboys 8:15 p.m. All-in (but only if RB Barber is good to go and Ward at RB for the Giants).


Cleveland Browns at Philadelphia Eagles 8:30 p.m. There are no Browns right now worth anything fantasy-wise outside of WR Edwards and even that isn’t a very high-percentage pick without any consistency on his part or any kind of delivery system. The Eagles’ usual suspects at QB/RB/WR1 should be poised for very good games here.

Fantasy non-sport drafting: recap of our rock band supergroup draft

Courtesy of The FDH Lounge Multimedia Magazine, here’s a recap of the event we previewed in last week’s newsletter: our fantasy-style draft devoted to forming rock supergroups (written by FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris):

To mark the first edition of THE FDH LOUNGE on Wednesday nights on (7-10 PM EST, following a run of 39 shows previously on Sunday nights), The Dignitaries of The FDH Lounge convened to hold our "fantasy supergroup" draft this past Wednesday, December 10 (archives of FDH programming available here). Having previously dabbled in the application of fantasy sports competition outside the realm of sports (i.e. competing to draft the most attractive team of female celebrities and also drafting presidential candidates in our 2008 political league), we celebrated the occasion by competing to see who could compile the strongest rock band by utilizing a standard serpentine draft.

The ground rules were simple: all eight of the participants had to draft a guitarist, a drummer, a bass player and a front man -- with two additional "wild cards" that could fill any role. The only proviso would be that nobody could draft two musicians who had ever been in the same band together, since reuniting existing bands would be against the point and would basically constitute cheating -- since the challenge was to put together a cohesive band with talented strangers. Also, we limited this to rockers who are still alive.

We were fortunate to have some excellent judges for our event. For the first two rounds, we heard some commentary on our picks from Boston drummer Jeff Neal -- who also works in education and sports extensively and thus has other frames of reference in terms of the cohesiveness necessary for forming a unit such as this one. He had some great insights and we thank him for his contribution to the program.

We were also really lucky to have with us for the entire draft our official scoring judge and one heck of a fine musician and humanitarian, Pat Gesualdo. An outstanding drummer who has worked with a host of diverse musicians (how's this for a wide range: rockers from Deep Purple, Kiss and Quiet Riot and also the Metropolitan Opera!), he is also the force behind Drums and Disabilities -- a groundbreaking dedicated to helping young people fight learning disabilities through musical therapy. Pat's talent and dedication revealed him as the perfect person to score our event and slot our participants one through eight.

Before we get to the official participants in the event, we must first mention the fact that STN President Paul Belfi was disqualified on a technicality (which was gleefully unearthed by a close friend of his -- more on that later). Pat proclaimed that Paul's team actually would have won the event had he not been DQ'd, because he was super-enthused about the rhythm section of Joe Satriani on guitar and Billy Sheehan on bass. However, Paul's drummer, Carmine Appice and one of his wild cards, Jon Lord, played in the Ashton & Lord group back in 1974 (ah, the wonders of Google!). Paul was unaware of this, but the information was sprung on us after Paul had left for the evening (having left his final-round pick behind before he did so) and we were unable to reach him to get a replacement pick for either spot. Knowing Paul Belfi, he's already proclaiming his team the "uncrowned champion," and in fairness, that's pretty much what our scoring judge said.

8th PLACE, PAUL BELFI (picking 5th in the 1st round) : Joe Satriani (guitar), Billy Sheehan (bass), Ronnie James Dio (front man), Carmine Appice (drums), John Lord (wild card), Sammy Hagar (wild card)

On a personal level, I felt horrible for our lowest non-disqualified finisher. Matt Petrone, co-host of The On Tour Music Show on STN (Sundays,
6-8 PM EST) with his brother Anthony and also with Tony Mazur, wanted so badly to do well. He spent countless hours jotting down a vast multitude of band combinations (I know this because my jaw dropped when he showed me his stack of papers) and arguably prepped harder than anyone except Anthony. Matt is easily one of the nicest guys at the station and seeing his disappointment at the outcome was tough for me. But events of this nature are subjective indeed and he ended up on the wrong side of our judge with the combo he put together.

7th PLACE: MATT PETRONE (picking 3rd in the 1st round): Michael Anthony (bass), Brian May (guitar), Joe Perry (wild card), Michael Cartellone (drums), Dennis DeYoung (wild card), Joe Elliott (front man)

Our sixth-place finisher suffered for picking a team in the wrong genre for this judge! During the program, we learned that Pat was not very high on a lot of the transformational rock music of the early '90s, and the fact that I nicknamed On Tour co-host Tony Mazur's band "Team Flannel" should tell you all you need to know about his odds of success! That was a tough break as I personally liked the band and thought it would be one of the more cohesive ones since most if not all participants would be on the same stylistic page.

6th PLACE, TONY MAZUR (picking 8th in the 1st round): Chris Cornell (front man), Jerry Cantrell (guitar), Taylor Hawkins (drums), Robert DeLeo (bass), Kevin Martin (wild card), Joey Santiago (wild card)

We announced the results on the program just as we're doing here, from last to first. When we got to this spot and learned who was in fifth place, I observed that Pat must have had everyone pretty jammed up on his scorecard at this point, because we knew from previous comments how much respect Pat had for this band as it was coming together. The co-host of Pro Wrestling Insider on STN, Buck Woodward, put together a group with several highly respected individual pieces. Also, Buck was the one to drop a dime on Paul (his PWI co-host) for the rules violation. That was priceless!

5th PLACE, BUCK WOODWARD (picking 1st in the 1st round): Les Claypool (bass), Kirk Hammett (guitar), Dave Grohl (wild card), Chad Smith (drums), Trent Rezner (wild card), Rob Halford (front man)

The fourth-place finisher, FDH Senior Editor Jason Jones, took a lot of ribbing throughout the draft for taking Bootsy Collins on bass. Many of us wondered how he was supposed to fit together with the rest of his rock band (including shredding guitar player Herman Lee, guitar ace Zakk Wylde and earnest front man Chester Bennington). My favorite question that anyone posed to him was how Lee was going to do on a speed-metal cover of "Groove is in the Heart." Nevertheless, Jason earned a lot of respect from our judge for the talent level of the band, even if questions about cohesion might have kept it from coming in higher.

4th PLACE, JASON JONES (picking 7th in the 1st round): Zakk Wylde (wild card), Bootsy Collins (bass), Herman Lee (guitar), Chester Bennington (front man), Joey Jordison (drums), Scruffy Wallace (wild card)

The only member of the On Tour triad yet to be mentioned, Anthony Petrone, finished third. It's worth noting that the initial idea for the draft belonged to Anthony and he was instrumental in booking the judges and helping to publicize the show, so we thank him for that. He might have had the most versatile band, but at the end of the day it had a strong classic rock vibe to it and that might have limited him a bit on the judge's scorecard.

3rd PLACE, ANTHONY PETRONE (picking 2nd in the 1st round): Tom Scholz (wild card), Jack Blades (bass), Peter Frampton (guitar), Roger Taylor (drums), Joe Walsh (wild card), Steve Perry (front man)

Whenever we do a fantasy draft outside the realm of sports, it's always interesting to see how the FDH management duo of Jason Jones and myself will fare. We have the skill set and organizational wherewithal that we bring from our fantasy sports background, but not the level of knowledge about the individual field necessarily. I'm pleased that Jason finished respectably and that I came in second ahead of so many people so deeply immersed in music. My strategy was the exact opposite of Matt's: where he certainly risked overthinking with his insane preparation, I entered with a rough list of "players" at each position and figured I'd compose the team on the fly as we went along by trying to match up musicians based on the evolving "feel" of the band. I aimed for the "pro's pro" type of musician above the merely famous and that strategy worked very well. This is also the kind of band I could "mark out for," inasmuch as one of my musical heroes (Geddy Lee, bassist from my favorite band Rush) is in it, as is a member of one of my co-second favorite band (Scott Weiland from Stone Temple Pilots). If I'd managed to get anyone from
Linkin Park, my whole top three would have been represented! I likened my Weiland pick to Plex Burress in fantasy football: high risk, high reward. My final round wild card pick of Donald Fagen was prefaced by a note that he might not be used on every song with this band, but that he'd be able to come in and really add to some tunes or maybe even be the centerpiece of some instrumentals. Because I'm really intrigued by thought processes, I questioned Pat after he announced his picks about several key selections that those of us made; I asked if this one in particular helped or hurt me. Pat said that it helped me, so I ended up rallying to finish as high as I did in what was clearly a close field at the top.

2nd PLACE, RICK MORRIS (picking 4th in the 1st round): Geddy Lee (bass), Steve Smith (drums), Steve Vai (guitar), Eric Johnson (wild card), Scott Weiland (front man), Donald Fagen (wild card)

Going into the draft, I proclaimed FDH Entertainment Editor Samantha Jones the favorite (Anthony saw my constant refrain that Samm was the person to beat as "working the ref" and planting in Pat's head that she was the best. If it worked out that way, it worked out that way, although it was just my honest opinion and one that was proven true by how she scored. From a personal ego standpoint, I'd have rather have won. To be perfectly honest, from my FDH Managing Partner "bidness" standpoint, I'm glad for the credibility boost of our Entertainment Editor winning!). Anyone who knows her or has heard her on The Lounge is aware of her deep knowledge of, and deep affection for, good rock music. It was a source of humor for all of us that husband Jason generally has the upper hand on her in fantasy sports drafts -- because he is the super-obsessed and super-prepared one -- but that we were clearly battling on HER turf this time. Her final margin of victory over me came in the last round, with a move I clearly anticipated -- pulling something obscure and impressive out of her tucchus, in this case violin ace Lucia Micarelli. Some participants, such as Anthony, questioned the cohesiveness of her band, especially with a front man with a cut-and-dried identity such as Steven Tyler. But in the end, she impressed the judge with her team and she took advantage of Paul's faux pas to emerge as our first champion.

1st PLACE, SAMANTHA JONES (picking 6th in the 1st round): Flea (bass), Neil Peart (drums), Tom Morello (guitar), Mike Shinoda (wild card), Steven Tyler (front man), Lucia Micarelli (wild card)

We're planning, tentatively for April, an alternate version of this draft -- devoted entirely to musicians who have passed on to that great mosh pit in the sky. The off-air buzz on Wednesday night centered around Randy Rhodes as the first overall pick. We shall see. But what is known for sure after this event is that the wonderful idea that Anthony Petrone hatched worked even better than we thought it would. Keep looking for more creative ideas of this sort from your content producers at The FDH Lounge.

FDH New York Bureau Report

By Steve Cirvello

NYB's Sneaky Starts Week #15

QB: Shawn Hill (SF at MIA)

RB: Sammy Morris (NWE at OAK)

WR: Malcolm Floyd (SD at KC)

TE: John Carlson (SEA at STL)

K: Rian Lindell (BUF at NYJ)

DEF: ATL (vs. TAM)

RED ALERT (player coming off injury who could have fantasy impact):

MARION BARBER - RB: Barber is currently listed as a game-time decision for the Cowboys' home game against the Giants on Sunday Night. The thought here is with a playoff berth hanging in the balance, Barber would have to be in a significant amount of pain not to play. Dallas was a decimated and embarrassed team when they left the Meadowlands in Week 9, and with the T.O.-Romo-Witten saga in the media this week, they'll want to prove to the Giants and everyone else that they belong in the postseason, and they'll need Barber at least at 85-90% full strength to do that.

LOOKEY HERE (team with favorable fantasy schedule the next three weeks):


Week #15: at STL

Week #16: vs NYJ

Week #17: at ARZ

At 2-11, one might think that the only thing the Seahawks have left to play for is their position in April's Draft. But they've got one other thing to play for - coach Mike Holmgren will be stepping down at the end of the season to make way for Jim Mora Jr., and they'll want to send him out on a high note. Even with Senaca Wallace at QB, their three remaining games are very winnable. Their game against the Jets will be Holmgren's last home game as coach, and New York is 0-3 on the west coast this year. The season finale at Arizona may see the Cards rest some key starters with the NFC West already locked up, giving Seattle a rare chance to run the score up on someone else for a change.

The Ricky-O Trio (three questions for FDH Managing Partner Rick Morris):

1 - For the Redskins to make the playoffs, which key offensive player is going to have to carry the load for them on the fantasy statsheet?

If you had to narrow it to one player, you’d have to focus on WR Santana Moss, the quintessential fantasy tease. As a fairly diminutive player, perhaps he’s not capable of more consistent game-in, game-out production, but he ends every year with numbers unworthy of his raw explosive potential. At 876 yards and five touchdowns heading into Week 15, he’s putting up disappointing numbers again. His fantasy owners – and the Redskins – need much more.

2 - With Peyton Hillis lost for the season, would you still give any Denver RB a start given their history in putting up strong fantasy numbers at the position?

Absolutely. RB Young is still banged up, but RB Bell knows the patented Bronco run-blocking schemes inside and out and I suspect that you or I could run for 1,000 yards behind that line. Bell is not a top-shelf option right now, but you could certainly do worse.

3 - Which undervalued WR's do you see breaking out during the fantasy playoffs this year?

Torry Holt has had the worst year of his career, but two of his remaining three games are against pathetic division opponents, so yay opportunity! In Plex Burress’ absence, Steve Smith might already be the steadiest option in the Giant passing game. Dom Hixon is the explosive X-factor in their offense, a potential Burress-without-the-drama. The Titans won’t make the Super Bowl without a better passing game (especially once they work at establishing a running game against Pittsburgh), so Justin Gage and his 18.1 yards-per-catch average are going to get more looks down the stretch. Perversely, Braylon Edwards only seems to play well when expectations for him are low – and they are non-existent at the moment, so the fact that he’s also the most talented scrap heap option at the moment makes him intriguing at the least.


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