Last Week's Question
week’s column, I solicited feedback from readers concerning
the best television show to watch for fantasy football information.
The question was primarily an excuse for me to write a review
of my own favorite football show, which happens to be NFL
Playbook on the NFL Network. I expected a few readers of
this column share my enthusiasm for that show, but it came as
a bit of a surprise to me to learn how contemptuous many fantasy
buffs apparently are of such shows.
Jeff was one of the many readers to provide a downright venomous
I can’t understand why anyone watches those
pointless football shows that you find on every other network
these days. All you get is a bunch of clichéd and misinformed
garbage flowing from the mouths of so-called analysts who never
in their lives knew anything about the game and from former players
who are completely out of touch with the current state of the
Hank’s response was similarly dismissive:
There’s only one kind of football show worth
watching: broadcasts of the games themselves. When I’m watching
games at my own house, I always turn the sound down because I
can’t stand to subject myself to the inane rambling of the
commentators, but in a bar or at someone else’s place, I
realize that I have to put up with their gibberish. I’m
willing to make that concession if it’s the only way to
watch a game, but if you think I’m going to let anyone talk
to me about football when there’s no actual football to
be watched, you’re flat crazy.
Mark wrote in with explicit directions for how FFers can get
some benefit from television. In his opinion, there is only one
Here is my guide for how to put television to use
fantasy-wise. My 7-step program is simple enough that even Mike
Tice could follow it.
Step 1: Record ESPN Countdown (I used to use a VCR; these
days I’m all about Tivo).
Step 2: At 12:30 or so EST, start fast forwarding through all
the garbage in the show for the updates from Chris Mortensen.
Step 3: Whenever Mortensen’s puffy white face appears,
hit play and listen carefully to what he has to say.
Step 4: As soon as Mortensen stops talking, hit fast forward
Step 5: Stay tuned for the final injury update from Mortensen
near the end of the show.
Step 6: At 12:55 or so, log on to your fantasy website to make
the final adjustments to your lineup.
Step 7: Watch the freakin’ games.
The most diplomatic response along these lines came from Mike,
This probably does not answer your question directly.
When I need info for fantasy football in timely fashion, I never
rely on the TV for the most up-to-date data. In less than a third
of the time it takes to watch even a half hour TV program supposedly
targeted to fantasy footballers, I can check out fftoday.com (your
web-site), CBSsportsline.com, and NFL.com—and then print
out whatever info is relevant, all before our Thursday night meetings.
It’s just that simple if I want to be informed about injuries,
who's starting, who's hot and who's not, etc.
Now, if you were to ask which of the pre-game TV programs is the
most "entertaining", I would vote for the Fox version
of NFL Sunday (whatever it's called), mainly because I like Terry
Bradshaw and Howie Long. Both have a kind of self-deprecating
sense of humor, in contrast to say Michael Irvin, whose ego gags
I’m serious when I say that the guy who ended with the observation
that Michael Irvin’s ego gags him sent in a “diplomatic”
response. Some of you folks are so angry at the ESPN crew that I
couldn’t even consider printing your responses. You know who
you are, and I recommend that you let go of your anger! (I want
to add, “Do you kiss your mother with that keyboard?”,
but that metaphor just doesn’t work—even if it is funny.)
Fortunately, there was one reader who wrote in to chime in on
the topic in the way that I had hoped. Tom responded to my review
of NFL Playbook with his own review of The Ultimate
Fantasy Football Show:
This one is an easy answer: The Ultimate Fantasy
Football Show on Fox Sports Net is the best show for fantasy football
purposes. Shows like NFL Matchup and NFL Playbook do give good
inside info on how blocking schemes work and matchups are exploited,
but The Ultimate Fantasy Football Show (with Erik Kramer, Warren
Moon, Andrew Siciliano, and Patrick O'Neal) provides exactly what
the average FFer wants. NFL Countdown is annoying, Fox Sports
pre-game doesn't even mention anything about fantasy football,
and CBS sports only does the bottom menu of their fantasy rankings
per position (rankings which don't really help one hour before
the kickoffs begin).
Here's why The Ultimate Fantasy Football Show is better than the
1) The projected stats for each main QB, RB, and WR (TE's too)
scroll on the side of the screen during the whole show.
2) They do the "Over/Under" for certain fantasy
players. For example, will Shaun Alexander go over or under
125 yards rushing against Arizona?
3) They answer email questions, such as “Do I play
Deion Branch or Santana Moss this week?” (as a week 9
4) The start and sit segment is always good. They pick
critical players in key matchups and see if they should be started
5) The “You Killed Me” segment is funny. They
pick a fantasy player that killed fantasy owners during the
previous week, and people email the show about their frustration
with that player.
I like the NFL Matchup and NFL Playbook shows since I like
to look at the X's and O's matchups (and they have their faults
too like you said), but most people that play fantasy football
couldn't care less about the blocking schemes, how David Carr
gets sacked 14 times a game, or why Edgerrin James is the MVP
so far this season. They only care about what players they should
play and why and what the projected stats are. Sure, Erik and
Warren get annoying when they jaw back and forth, but it's a
fun and informative show to watch for any fantasy football player,
whether they're brand new or they've been playing for 12 years
This Week's Question:
Does it seem to anyone else as if absolutely everybody playing
fantasy football has suddenly become way savvier all at once?
You can disregard this question if you only play in hard-core
leagues. I’m sure plenty of FFers only participate in leagues
in which their competitors have been on top of the developments
around the NFL for years. If you are such a person, you won’t
have any idea what I’m talking about. But I know that a
number of people, such as myself, participate in different leagues
against different kinds of owners with very different knowledge
bases. In the staff league for FFToday, for instance, it’s
really hard to find a decent running back at this point in the
season even if he comes out of nowhere. If I recall correctly,
Tony Fisher was taken well ahead of the time that he emerged as
a probable starter in Green Bay. Last week, I managed to snag
Jonathan Wells (who filled in for Domanick Davis) just minutes
before another owner picked up Vernand Morency. But when you’re
playing against other fantasy football writers, you expect to
be racing against time on every decision.
What puzzles me is that it seems as if the participants in my
more ordinary league have become worlds better at responding to
late-breaking news around the NFL this year. These aren’t
FF writers; they’re ordinary football fans—the same
fans who left Kurt Warner on the waiver wire for weeks after he
took over for Trent Green in St. Louis years ago. Now they’re
racing to snap up the Ernest Wilfords and Reggie Browns of the
NFL with lightning quickness. I guess that means my question is
two-fold. 1) Am I over-generalizing on my own experience here,
or do others perceive that roster decisions are generally being
made more quickly, more judiciously, and more frequently by the
majority of fantasy owners? 2) If others sense that such a phenomenon
is genuinely occurring, what should we attribute it to? Does it
have to do with the media catering more to the fantasy community?
the fact that popular hosting sites such as RTSports.com provide
players with instant updates just for logging in? the emergence
of hordes of purveyors of fantasy football information? the general
streamlining of fantasy football as it has switched from a paper
format (commissioners calculating points by studying printed box
scores) to a computerized format? Of course, if you think I’m
just imagining things, feel free to say so.
Although Matt occasionally makes mistakes (like anyone else who
tries to predict the outcome of NFL games), he’s more often
right than wrong. You also have to concede that the guy is not
afraid to go out on a limb. Just check out his number 1 pick this
Trap Game: Minnesota @ NY Giants:
The New York Giants have a three-game winning streak since losing
the overtime game in Dallas after their bye week. And while these
same Giants have been winning with defense of late, the Vikings
should be an ideal team to make the streak four in a row with
a team that is constantly having to deal with the media attention
about their off-the-field antics, the loss of their best player
in Dante Culpepper, and the stigma of being left for dead before
last week at 2-5. However, because of the Giants’ recent
success and the fact that their next four games are against conference
opponents (three against the Cowboys and Eagles), the Giants might
just be focused on the games coming up instead of this “easy”
game at home. Brad Johnson is a solid veteran quarterback who
has now won 60% of his starts, and it looks like Michael Bennett
is out of the doghouse and will start against a defense that earlier
this year gave up numerous 100-yard rushing days. This game will
be a lot closer than many think and just might slip away from
the G-Men if they don’t put the Vikes away early.
#3: Houston @ Indianapolis (7-1 Season):
If you haven’t used the Colts yet in your Survivor Pool,
this is the game. All signs point to the Colts going 9-0 with
Domanick Davis injured and a Houston defense that is giving up
yards and points to average teams rather easily. The combination
of the new Colts defense with the already powerful offense means
that this could be the first undefeated team since the ’72
Dolphins. Once they get into the playoffs, however, all bets are
#2: Chicago @ San Francisco (4-4):
If you didn’t use the Bears last week against the Saints,
you will get another chance this week against the 49ers, who surprised
the Bucs two weeks ago and played tough against the Giants until
late in the third quarter. The Bears defense is better than any
defense the 49ers have faced all season, and Cody Pickett will
have his hands full with the pass rush. The Bear rushing game
may have a little trouble against the front line of the 49ers,
and they may need to rely on Kyle Orton to Mushin Muhammad to
win this, but win it they should.
#1: Buffalo over Kansas City **Upset
The Bills are ranked second to last in defense against the run,
giving up 150 yards per game and a league worst 13 touchdowns.
However, against the pass, the Bills are a league best, allowing
only 156 yards per game and giving up only 6 touchdowns. Larry
Johnson should have a very good day up in New York as the featured
back, but Kelly Holcomb might just have a 400-yard game. He has
done it two times before while playing with the Cleveland Browns,
and he has publicly said that Eric Moulds is the best wide receiver
that he has played with. The Kansas City Chiefs are second to
last in the league, giving up 260 yards per game and 16 touchdowns
through the air. While the Bills will try and run McGahee and
control the clock, this just might become a shootout that results
in the home team pulling out a surprise victory.
For responses to this week's fantasy question or to share your
LMS picks, please email
me no later than 10 a.m. EST on Wednesdays during the football
Readers who want to have their fantasy questions answered live,
on the air, by Mike Davis are invited to tune into FFEXradio
on Friday afternoons at 5:00 p.m. EST. Archived
programs are also available.