Escape From New York
Talk about a match made in heaven -- Jeremy Shockey and New Orleans -- and I'm not even talking about the Bourbon Street nightlife.
In a flash, Shockey has gone from disgruntled blocking tight end with the Giants (who would've likely shared time with Kevin Boss) to southern-fried transplant with the pass-happy Saints -- courtesy of the teams' pre-training camp swap on Tuesday.
For reasons unknown, I've never owned Shockey or LaDainian Tomlinson in a fantasy league. But in light of new events, I would seriously consider grabbing Shockey -- in any one of my six planned leagues this fall -- as early as late 5th-round (in 10-team leagues) and no later than early 7th-round.
In New York, a healthy Shockey would've been a lock for 60-plus catches, 650 receiving yards and 5 TDs. In an injury-ravaged 2007 season, Shockey still finished 6th amongst tight ends in Targets (7.0), 7th in receiving yards (619) and 8th in receptions (57). But with the Saints and Drew Brees (who attempted an NFL-high 652 passes last year), Shockey can look forward to the high-ceiling projections (below).
Hit The Racks!
Here's a bite-sized nugget from George Sipple of the Detroit Free Press. (As luck would have it, George is one of the hyper-competitive owners in the "SI.com & Friends" fantasy baseball league.) He presents a listing of the best fantasy magazines on bookstore shelves right now. (Sports Illustrated traditionally mails out a thorough insert to its subscriber base in August.)
Did You Know That ...?
Twenty-four QBs completed at least 60 percent of their passes in 2007 (240 minimum attempts). Of the elite signal-callers, however, eight threw at least 15 interceptions. So much for the NFL being full of "game-managing QBs" who never take chances within their offenses. In a surprise to no one, Tom Brady was the NFL's most accurate thrower, completing 398-of-578 passes, a 68.9 percent clip.
Rock The Vote: Chad Or Housh?
As stated in Monday's Fantasy Clicks, I refuse to be sucked into the Chad Johnson vortex this year, even if he'll be at Bengals camp on time, sore ankle and all. Johnson has a remarkable knack for posting solid, if not superstar numbers, despite the occasional death blow in Buffalo, made-for-TV arguments with quarterback Carson Palmer, the occasional high-profile broken promise or an alleged brawl with his own coach during halftime of a crucial playoff game. But none of that matters to this concerned fantasy citizen. This is an election year, and I plan on throwing my full support behind Johnson's running mate, T.J. Houshmandzadeh -- the anti-Johnson.
Election jargon aside, Houshmandzadeh (112 catches for 1,143 yards and 12 TDs in 2007) has simply evolved into a better red-zone threat and a more palatable option on 3rd and long than Johnson, thus making him the better receiver.
Johnson will likely remain a shooting star for the Bengals, or whomever decides to trade for The Mouth That Roars after the 2008 season. But come Draft Day, when I have to choose between Johnson (who only scored in four games last year; granted three were multi-TD performances) or Houshmandzadeh (at least one TD in 10 games last year), I'm going to side with Palmer's new Old Faithful.
It's The Schedule, Stupid!
Fantasy Football Index recently unveiled its Scheduletron, ranking the teams (Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Minnesota) with the most brutal schedules. What's more, FFI even makes the argument the 2008 Steelers and Colts, respectively, have the most daunting schedules since 1993. Conversely, FFI also says the Patriots -- fresh off a 16-0 regular season -- might have lucked into the easiest schedule in NFL history. Interesting stuff.
Baseball Buy Or Sell
Switching the gears to baseball ... syndicated fantasy columnist David Ferris makes his pre-trade deadline pitch for Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano, A's pitching stud Gio Gonzalez and the White Sox' surprising ace, John Danks. But one prominent AL Central talent -- someone who hit for the cycle earlier this year -- fails to garner praise in this insightful piece.
This one hails from Bill Trocchi of SI.com. Can you name the most successful win-save combo in Major League Baseball history? (By 'win-save combo,' I mean the most prolific tandem of teammates -- one a starting pitcher getting the win and another, the closer, picking up the save in the same game.) If you're not too confused by that explanation, scroll down for the answer.
In Case Of Emergency ...
In search of a Tuesday spot starter for your fantasy lineup, one who will bring glory in Ks, ERA and WHIP -- if for just one night? Look no further than Jason Bergmann, officially the Nationals' No. 4 starter but easily D.C.'s hottest arm since mid-June. In his last six starts, Bergmann has allowed no more than two runs or three walks per outing. In that span, his K/BB ratio is also a promising 21-9. My reasons for selecting Bergmann are twofold: One, you never want to put your proverbial fantasy eggs in the basket of the Yankees' Darrell Rasner or the Mariners' R.A. Dickey -- two starters on the Tuesday docket. Two, Bergmann faces the Ray Durham-less Giants in cavernous AT&T Park.
Not to toot my own horn here, but my Monday pick in this space was Atlanta's Jorge Campillo, who threw a 2-hit, 6-strikeout gem in the Braves' shutout victory over the Marlins. Of course, I did choose Doug Davis on Friday ... and that pick was an absolute stinker. D'oh!
As cited in the Contra Costa Times, Bob Welch and Dennis Eckersley hold the major-league record for most win-save combos, with 57. But Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, currently Yankee teammates, are just two win-saves away from tying the mark.
I Cannot Leave Without Saying ...
... Can you believe the Cincinnati Bengals are once again on the Chris Henry bandwagon? According to a blog in the Enquirer, the team is mulling Henry's return -- now that his legal troubles are seemingly behind him. Now, granted, Henry has remarkably squeezed 17 touchdowns out of only 88 receptions in the last three seasons. But still, when will the vicious cycle end, for both parties?
Come One, Come All
At long last, SI.com has a fantasy football game, complete with all of the drafts, waiver wires, stats and analysis you need. Take the grand tour here and sign up a league. Heck, sign up two leagues if you want. We'll be waiting.
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