August 03, 2009
Fantasy Clicks
By Jay Clemons
Houston, We Shouldn't Have A Problem
Matt Schaub: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

Stop me if you've heard this one before ... but the Houston Texans WILL make the playoffs this season. Guaranteed. No doubt about it. Lock it up ... and throw away the key!

On the surface, I can see where the above declaration reeks with stupidity -- since the franchise has never posted a winning record (in seven seasons) and still resides in the rough-and-tumble AFC South (the NFL's new Black & Blue division). But there's just too much seasoned talent at the skill positions and line trenches to fail this year. Plus, it doesn't hurt that Houston gets four games against the defensive Sisters of the Poor, otherwise known as the NFC West.

Here's another guarantee for the whiteboard at the offices: If you draft Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson and quarterback Matt Schaub (in the biz, it's known as "handcuffing"), you WILL make your fantasy-league playoffs! And if I'm wrong here, it's only because Schaub got hurt and you didn't draft a viable backup QB. Speaking of Schuab (3,043 passing yards, 15 TDs in '08) ... this could be a make-or-break campaign for the six-year veteran, who undoubtedly knows about the NFL's beaucoup QB draft Class of 2010 -- featuring Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow, Zac Robinson, Jake Locker and University of Texas star and All-American hero Colt McCoy.

Hmmm ... seems like a perfect time to gauge Schaub's fantasy potential, Revelations-style:

What He'll Like: Wide receiver Kevin Walter is a model of consistency in fantasyland. Based on his numbers from 2007-08, he's a virutal lock for 65 catches, 850 yards and six touchdowns this season, making him the perfect WR4 -- especially if you fancy go-for-broke receivers in the draft. Walter, in comparison, serves as bankable insurance, just in case you're planning to gamble your kids' college fund on Sidney Rice's meteoric rise from afterthought to fantasy superstar in Year 3.

What He'll Like, Part II: Without a doubt, Owen Daniels (70 catches, 862 yards) has the capacity to post top-5 numbers in receptions and yards. But he'll never make the transformation to "Elite Class Tight End" until he finds the end zone on a regular basis. The one feather in his cap: Schaub threw to Daniels 101 times in '08, a reasonable figure to duplicate over the next 5-7 years.

What He'll Love: With Eric Winston and '08 first-round pick Duane Brown bookending the Texans' underrated offensive line, Schaub will likely be given extra time (even if it's another half-second) to make better throws downfield. It also helps that Vonta Leach is a solid blocking fullback, when called upon.

What He'll Love, Part II: Running back Steve Slaton (1,659 total yards, 10 TDs in '08) may have the greatest setup in the league. As long as Andre Johnson's on the field, he'll never see eight defenders in the proverbial "box." As long as Walter keeps breaking free in the red zone, the defense will never sell out to stop the run. And as long as he's running upright for Houston, he'll have zero rushing competition between the 20s and inside the red zone. Cha-ching!

What He'll Love, Part III: Can you believe it took nine paragraphs to detail the brilliance of Andre Johnson? In standard-scoring leagues, he's the undisputed No. 2 receiver (behind Larry Fitzgerald). In Points Per Reception leagues, he's the unquestioned No. 1 wideout ... so much that I'll fight anyone for suggesting otherwise (kidding) ... unless you're not impressed with a guy who pulled down 115 catches last season -- including six games with 10-plus receptions. As for draft position, Johnson should never fall past the 15th pick in standard-scoring leagues.

What I'll Remember On Fantasy Draft Day: Schaub averaged 276 yards per game in 11 starts last season, but only racked up 15 touchdowns. IF he can stay healthy all year (and that's a big if) ... he's a lock for 4,600 yards and 24 TDs. Even better, he has three amazing matchups during the fantasy-playoff periods of Weeks 13 (vs. Seattle), 14 (@ St. Louis) and 15 (@ Miaim).

Birds Of A Feather ... Mock Together

I recently partook in a free-flowing, lightning-fast experts' mock draft through Mock Draft Central. The entire production -- featuring fantasy shamans like Scott Engel, Jason Pliml, Todd Farino, Jason McCoy, Scott Swanay, Sean Haugh, Louis Tranquilli, etc. -- even merited exciting taunt-by-taunt, pick-by-pick coverage on Blog Tralk Radio. Here are Rounds 1-4 of the standard-scoring league draft (15 rounds, 2 RBs/3 WRs, 1 Flex start):

Round 1
1. RB Adrian Peterson, Vikings
2. RB Michael Turner, Falcons
3. RB Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars
4. RB Matt Forte, Bears
5. RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers
6. RB Frank Gore, 49ers
7. RB Chris Johnson, Titans
8. RB DeAngelo Williams, Panthers
9. WR Andre Johnson, Texans
10. RB Steve Slaton, Texans
11. RB Steven Jackson, Rams (my pick)
12. WR Randy Moss, Raiders

Round 2
13. QB Drew Brees, Saints
14. WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals (my pick)
15. WR Calvin Johnson, Lions
16. WR Reggie Wayne, Colts
17. RB Brandon Jacobs, Giants
18. WR Steve Smith, Panthers
19. WR Greg Jennings, Packers
20. RB Marion Barber, Cowboys
21. RB Clinton Portis, Redskins
22. WR Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
23. RB Brian Westbrook, Eagles
24. WR Roddy White, Falcons

Round 3
25. RB Ronnie Brown, Dolphins
26. WR Marques Colston, Saints
27. WR Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs
28. WR Terrell Owens, Bills
29. WR Wes Welker, Patriots
30. RB Ryan Grant, Packers
31. QB Tom Brady, Patriots
32. WR Brandon Marshall, Broncos
33. RB Pierre Thomas, Saints
34. RB Thomas Jones, Jets
35. RB Darren McFadden, Raiders (my pick)
36. RB Marshawn Lynch, Bills

Round 4
37. RB Joseph Addai, Colts
38. RB Kevin Smith, Lions (my pick)
39. WR Braylon Edwards, Browns
40. WR Vincent Jackson, Chargers
41. WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh, Seahawks
42. RB Larry Johnson, Chiefs
43. WR Roy Williams, Cowboys
44. QB Peyton Manning, Colts
45. WR Chad Ochocinco, Bengals
46. RB Knowshon Moreno, Broncos
47. RB Derrick Ward, Buccaneers
48. WR Anthony Gonzalez, Colts

Paradoxically Speaking

I cannot wait for the NFL preseason to start in six days ... and yet, I'll be bored silly by the first time NBC announcer Al Michaels utters one of his favorite three-dollar words: Alacrity.

I plan on visiting the Atlanta Falcons at training camp Tuesday (read: recon fact-finding mission) ... and yet, I won't bat an eye if Matt Ryan throws an interception during the 2-minute drill. He's no worse than the No. 8 quarterback.

I won't draft Eagles RB Brian Westbrook (ankle surgery) unless he plays well in two exhibition games ... and yet, I could care less if LaDainian Tomlinson gets limited reps, as a means to prevent any more nagging toe injuries. I'd draft him in a heartbeat at No. 8 overall.

Tony Romo and Roy Williams could hook up for six preseason touchdowns -- five more than Philip Rivers/Vincent Jackson ... and yet, I would take the Rivers-Jackson handcuff over Romo-Williams every day of the week in the regular season.

I plan on DVR'ing every single preseason game that's not on national TV (thanks to NFL Network) ... and yet, I'll never see one millisecond of any second half (since there is NOTHING to be gleaned, fantasy-wise, from exhibition garbage time).

Double Your Pleasure

Changing gears to football ... need a little hint as to which receiving tandem will rule the roost in 2009? The forward-thinking genuises at Rotoworld have painstakingly crunched the numbers, determining the 'winners' in the vital categories of Targets, Catches, Yards Receiving and Total TDs.

Targets: Larry Fitzgerald (160), Anquan Boldin (137) = 297 total
Catches: Wes Welker (103), Randy Moss (85) = 188 total
Receiving Yards: Larry Fitzgerald (1,455), Anquan Boldin (1,101) = 2,556 total
TDs: Fitzgerald (13), Boldin (10) = 23 total

Since we're on the subject, here's my listing of the top-15 WR tandems this season:
1. Larry Fitzgerald/Anquan Boldin, Cardinals
2. Randy Moss/Wes Welker, Patriots
3. Andre Johnson/Kevin Walter, Texans
4. Lee Evans/Terrell Owens, Bills
5. Reggie Wayne/Anthony Gonzalez, Colts
6. Hines Ward/Santonio Holmes, Steelers
7. Marques Colston/Lance Moore, Saints
8. Vincent Jackson/Chris Chambers, Chargers
9. Brandon Marshall/Eddie Royal, Broncos
10. Chad Ochocinco/Laveranues Coles, Bengals
11. T.J. Houshmandzadeh/Deion Branch or Nate Burleson, Seahawks
12. Greg Jennings/Donald Driver or James Jones, Packers
13. Bernard Berrian/Sidney Rice, Vikings
14. Dwayne Bowe/Bobby Engram, Chiefs
15. Josh Morgan/Michael Crabtree, 49ers

The Power Of ADP

You have to love the people at Fantasy Football Calculator. The FFC is hard at work, trying to make mathematical sense of this year's top fantasy football prospects. In fact, this site represents the perfect one-stop shopping for mock drafts and the Average Draft Position tool (ADP) -- perhaps the best learning aid for NOT reaching during the August/September drafts. Speaking of ADP, here's a list of defenses/special teams likely earmarked for Rounds 8-14 (12-team leagues), if a draft were held today:

Pittsburgh Steelers -- Round 8, Pick 5
Baltimore Ravens -- Round 9, Pick 7
New York Giants -- Round 9, Pick 10
Minnesota Vikings -- Round 10, Pick 5
Chicago Bears -- Round 10, Pick 10
San Diego Chargers -- Round 10, Pick 10 (dead heat)
Philadelphia Eagles -- Round 11, Pick 3
New York Jets -- Round 11, Picks 8
Tennessee Titans -- Round 12, Pick 1
New England Patriots -- Round 13, Pick 2
Green Bay Packers -- Round 13, Pick 10
Dallas Cowboys -- Round 14, Pick 1
Washington Redskins -- Round 14, Pick 5
Jacksonville Jaguars -- Round 14, Pick 7
Miami Dolphins -- Round 14, Pick 9

With All Due Respect ...

... Who are these people from the above ADP taking a D/ST in Round 8? In my mind, there is zero justification for taking a defense or kicker earlier than the 11th round for 10-, 12-, 14- or 16-team leagues. Don't get me wrong here: Great defenses are valuable properties in fantasyland ... but with all the year-to-year turnover with NFL rosters, it's incredibly risky to invest a high pick on a unit that may only be marginally better than the 10th-ranked defense/special teams. What's more, you're passing on a golden chance to unearth a gem at running back or receiver. Case in point: In one of my Points Per Receptions leagues last year, while the other owners were falling over themselves to draft a defense, I landed then-Titans rookie RB Chris Johnson (43 catches, 1,488 total yards, 10 TDs) and 2008 Touchdown King DeAngelo Williams in Rounds 13 and 14, repsectively. Ka-boom!

Tweet Happens

The dynamic p.r. eggheads at Sports Illustrated are booking an army of fantasy writers on radio stations across the country to promote our fantasy football magazine; and as luck would have it, I've already gotten my fair share of radio run in the last week (WFNZ in Charlotte, N.C. and WCCO in Minneapolis, to name a few) ... which leads me to the following: Come Monday afternoon, I should own a Twitter account, freeing me up to update fantasy honks on future radio/TV interviews or simply offer my two cents on fantasy-related issues. On the flip side ... here are some preseason Tweets you most likely won't see come August:

Hall of Fame Game -- Aug. 9: "If Cris Carter showed up out of the blue at halftime wearing a yellow blazer, would anyone ask him to remove it?"

Week 1 -- St. Louis @ N.Y. Jets: "Who knew Mark Sanchez could run 15 plays out of the triple-option? USC really does a thorough job of preparing QBs for the pros!"

Week 2 -- Carolina @ Miami: "Yeah, I can understand why Dolphins part-owner Jimmy Buffett is performing at halftime. But why is he the opening act for Up With People?"

Week 3 -- Buffalo @ Pittsburgh: "Just when you thought you've seen it all ... Cliff Stoudt Day comes before Louis Lipps Day!"

Week 4 -- Baltimore @ Atlanta: "I wonder what'll make new Ravens QB Michael Vick more nervous -- the fact that he played in Atlanta for seven years ... or that the Falcons keep dropping 10 cornerbacks into coverage?"

We Interrupt Fantasy Clicks ...

... To announce the arrival of Sports Illustrated's fantasy football spectacular, available online and at magazine racks nationwide. This 168-page tome is chock-full of rankings, columns (two from yours truly), features, draft-day advice, in-season strategies, booms, busts and an experts' mock draft, enlisting an army of SI's award-winning fantasy and NFL writers (including Peter King). Last but not least, it boasts perhaps the coolest cover of any fantasy magazine you'll ever see!

Am I overselling it a little bit? Perhaps. But the early feedback I've gotten from my fantasy brethren suggests SI's first major foray into fantasy football will be an absolute triumph -- and that it could become an all-time best seller within the genre. (UPDATE: My well-placed moles have informed me that SI's fantasy mag is indeed the top seller to date ... sweeeeeet!)

Choose Your Quarterback
Matt Cassel: AP

My man-crush for Chiefs backup QB Tyler Thigpen notwithstanding, I still think starter-to-be Matt Cassel is the stronger fantasy play over Miami's Chad Pennington this season. At least ... I'm reasonably sure that's the case. After all, Pennington -- no matter the team or the supporting talent -- is an annual lead-pipe cinch for 3,600 yards and 18 TDs (solid, but hardly spectacular numbers) ... whereas Cassel led the Patriots to an 11-5 record in '08 and posted two games of 400 yards passing (a single-season feat shared by only a handful of QBs, including Dan Marino and Phil Simms). And when you compare the offensive aggression of head coaches Todd Haley (Cassel) and Tony Sparano (Pennington) ... well, this matchup has all the makings of a blowout.

Let's attack this matchup on a week-to-week basis:

Week 1 -- Pennington (@ Miami) over Cassel (@ Baltimore)
Week 2 -- Pennington (vs. Indianapolis) over Cassel (vs. Oakland)
Week 3 -- Cassel (@ Philadelphia) over Pennington (@ San Diego) -- virtual toss-up
Week 4 -- Pennington (vs. Buffalo) over Cassel (vs. N.Y. Giants)
Week 5 -- Cassel (vs. Dallas) over Pennington (vs. N.Y. Jets)
Week 6 -- Cassel (@ Washington) over Pennington (BYE)
Week 7 -- Pennington (vs. New Orleans) over Cassel (vs. San Diego)
Week 8 -- Pennington (@ N.Y. Jets) over Cassel (BYE)
Week 9 -- Cassel (@ Jacksonville) over Pennington (@ New England)
Week 10 -- Pennington (vs. Tampa Bay) over Cassel (@ Oakland)
Week 11 -- Pennington (@ Carolina) over Cassel (vs. Pittsburgh)
Week 12 -- Cassel (@ San Diego) over Pennington (@ Buffalo) -- a simple case of weather
Week 13 -- Cassel (vs. Denver) over Pennington (vs. New England)
Week 14 -- Cassel (vs. Buffalo) over Pennington (@ Jacksonville)
Week 15 -- Cassel (vs. Cleveland) over Pennington (@ Tennessee)
Week 16 -- Cassel (@ Cincinnati) over Pennington (Houston)
Week 17 -- Cassel (@ Denver) over Pennington (vs. Pittsburgh)

Verdict: Wow! Can you believe Cassel has three easy-cheesy home games during the fantasy playoff period of Weeks 13 (vs. Denver), 14 (vs. Buffalo) and 15 (vs. Cleveland)? And what about a potential Fantasy Super Bowl berth on the line, facing the enigmatic Bengals (albeit on the road)? Not only am I impressed with Cassel's 10-7 victory over Pennington -- with six straight triumphs to close the season -- I almost feel obligated to (quietly) move heaven and earth on Draft Day to get him as a value-added QB1 or picture-perfect QB2. But shhhhhhh, please don't spread the word of this uplifting revelation.

1st & 10, Do It Again ... Go, Go!

Speaking of tight ends, here's a top-20 listing for most first downs earned off receptions from 2008. These unsung heroes (for the most part) move the chains and set-up red-zone opportunities for stars like Adrian Peterson, Andre Johnson or Matt Forte. Each player, by the way, is worthy of your consideration on draft day:

1. Tony Gonzalez, Chiefs (now Falcons) -- 67 first downs
2. Jason Witten, Cowboys -- 50 first downs
3. Owen Daniels, Texans -- 46 first downs
4. Chris Cooley, Redskins -- 43 first downs
5. Dallas Clark, Colts -- 41
6. Antonio Gates, Chargers -- 39
7. John Carlson, Seahawks -- 36
8. Dustin Keller, Jets -- 32
9. Zach Miller, Raiders -- 32
10. Greg Olsen, Bears -- 31
11. Billy Miller, Saints -- 30
12. Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings -- 30
13. Jeremy Shockey, Saints -- 30
14. Heath Miller, Steelers -- 29
15. Bo Scaife, Titans -- 29
16. Tony Scheffler, Broncos -- 28
17. Anthony Fasano, Dolphins -- 26
18. Kellen Winslow, Browns (now Bucs) -- 25
19. Todd Heap, Ravens -- 23
20. Kevin Boss, Giants -- 21

Tiers Of A Clown -- Running Backs

Running backs are the driving forces behind efficient, ball-controlled attacks, but they weren't all created equal. To wit, the RB tier system for fantasy drafts:

Tier 1 (1,500 total yards and/or 12 TDs)
Michael Turner, Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte, Steven Jackson, Maurice Jones-Drew, Clinton Portis, LaDainian Tomlinson, Marion Barber, DeAngelo Williams, Chris Johnson, Brian Westbrook (a very shaky, post-surgery pick)

Tier 2 (1,300 total yards and/or 10 TDs)
Frank Gore, Steve Slaton, Brandon Jacobs, Larry Johnson, Ronnie Brown, Marshawn Lynch, Thomas Jones, Willie Parker, Ryan Grant, Kevin Smith, Reggie Bush, Darren McFadden

Tier 3 (1,100 total yards and/or 8 TDs)
Pierre Thomas, Willis McGahee, Felix Jones, Jonathan Stewart, Cedric Benson, Knowshon Moreno, Beanie Wells, Joseph Addai, Michael Bush, Derrick Ward, LenDale White, Earnest Graham, Darren Sproles, LeSean McCoy

Tier 4 (950 total yards and/or 6 TDs)
Jerome Harrison, Chester Taylor, Correll Buckhalter, Justin Fargas, Le'Ron McClain, Donald Brown, Andre Brown, Fred Jackson, Julius Jones, Tim Hightower, Rashard Mendenhall, Laurence Maroney, Ahmad Bradshaw, Jerious Norwood, Leon Washington

Tier 5 (800 total yards and/or 5 TDs)
Ricky Williams, Ladell Betts, Sammy Morris, LaMont Jordan, Ryan Torain, Maurice Morris, Shonn Greene, Antonio Pittman, Jamaal Charles, Tashard Choice, Warrick Dunn, Dominic Rhodes, Edgerrin James, Mewelde Moore, Kenny Watson, Brian Leonard, Glen Coffee, James Davis, Michael Robinson, Greg Jones, Brandon Jackson, Chauncey Washington

It's All About The Slot: #6

As much as I would love to have Adrian Peterson, Matt Forte or Steven Jackson on my fantasy roster, I would prefer the No. 6 overall pick over the No. 1 spot in deeper leagues. Given the remarkable depth at running back, wide receiver and tight end, I want time to "let the draft come to me." I need the exhilaration/anxiety of hedging my bets every 12-13 picks. And, for once, I crave a legitimate shot at owning either Larry Fitzgerald, Andre Johnson, Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss (not the NFL Network host) in the first two rounds! (deep sigh)

Of course, not everyone shares my mid-round hubris. But hath no fear or ambivalence ... because here's a great strategy for nailing your mixed-league draft when possessing the No. 6 pick:

Round 1, Pick 6: Motive -- Best overall player
1st option: WR Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals ... 2nd option: RB LaDainian Tomlinson, Chargers

Round 2, Pick 19 overall: Motive -- Best RB or WR available (a tad too early for QBs)
1st option: WR Calvin Johnson, Lions ... 2nd option: WR Reggie Wayne, Colts

Round 3, Pick 30: Motive -- Best RB available (ONLY QBs: Brees, Manning, Brady)
1st option: RB Ryan Grant, Packers ... 2nd option: RB Kevin Smith, Lions

Round 4, Pick 43 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB available
1st option: RB Darren McFadden, Raiders ... 2nd option: QB Aaron Rodgers, Packers

Round 5, Pick 54: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB (too much TE depth to reach here)
1st option: RB Larry Johnson, Chiefs ... 2nd option: RB Derrick Ward, Buccaneers

Round 6, Pick 67 overall: Motive -- Best RB/WR/QB/TE available
1st option: RB Willie Parker, Steelers ... 2nd option: WR Lee Evans, Bills

Round 7, Pick 78 overall: Motive -- Best QB/WR/RB/TE (last chance to land a great QB1)
1st option: QB Matt Ryan, Falcons ... 2nd option: QB Jay Cutler, Bears

Round 8, Pick 91 overall: Motive -- Best WR/RB/QB/TE available
1st option: WR Michael Crabtree, 49ers ... 2nd option: TE John Carlson, Seahawks

Round 9, Pick 102 overall: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR/QB (perfect spot for TE1 or QB2)
1st option: TE Owen Daniels, Texans ... 2nd option: TE Zach Miller, Raiders

Round 10, Pick 115: Motive -- Best QB/RB/WR available (you can never have enough RB depth)
1st option: QB Matt Cassel, Chiefs ... 2nd option: WR Justin Gage, Titans

Round 11, Pick 126: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE available (DO NOT even think about a D/ST here)
1st option: RB Jamaal Charles, Chiefs ... 2nd option: RB Shonn Greene, Jets

Round 12, Pick 139: Motive -- Best WR/TE/RB available
1st option: WR Earl Bennett, Bears ... 2nd option: WR Nate Washington, Titans

Round 13, Pick 150: Motive -- Best RB/WR/TE/QB available
1st option: RB Michael Bush, Raiders ... 2nd option: TE Brent Celek, Eagles

Round 14, Pick 163: Motive -- Best TE/RB/WR (you have permission to draft a kicker)
1st option: TE Brandon Pettigrew, Lions ... 2nd option: PK Nate Kaeding, Chargers

Round 15, Pick 174: Motive -- Best kicker or defense
1st option: PK Ryan Longwell, Vikings ... 2nd option: D/ST Philadelphia Eagles

Round 16, Pick 187: Motive -- Best defense or kicker
1st option: D/ST New York Jets ... 2nd option: PK Matt Prater, Broncos

The 25 & Over Club

Kickers may be the red-headed step-children of fantasy football; but, like it or not, they're still a vital part of the game (and championships). So, if you're playing in a league that rewards kickers three points for field goals 21-39 yards, four points for FGs 40-49 yards and five points for 50-plus-yard FGs ... here's something to consider:'s projections for every kicker who'll make at least 25 field goals. Noticeably absent here is Chargers kicker Nate Kaeding, who's earmarked for only 23 field goals -- which can ONLY mean an avalanche of red-zone touchdowns for LaDainian Tomlinson or Philip Rivers.

Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots -- 29 field goals
Jason Elam, Falcons -- 29 field goals
Mason Crosby, Packers -- 28 field goals
Rob Bironas, Titans -- 28 field goals
David Akers, Eagles -- 28
Robbie Gould, Bears -- 27
Josh Brown, Rams -- 27
Matt Bryant, Buccaneers -- 26
Shayne Graham, Bengals -- 26
Adam Vinatieri, Colts -- 25
Dan Carpenter, Dolphins -- 25
Jeff Reed, Steelers -- 25
Rian Lindell, Bills -- 25
Olindo Mare, Seahawks -- 25
Shaun Suisham, Redskins -- 25

The Bye Week Conundrum

Come August, let's pretend you have the No. 2 overall pick in a 10-team, standard-scoring league ... and subsequently, the No. 19 pick on the turnaround. And let's say you're primed to grab Falcons RB Michael Turner in Round 1 and Cardinals WR Anquan Boldin in Round 2. Sounds like a great plan ... until you realize both Turner and Boldin share the same bye period, Week 4. Would you be comfortable with having two elite talents sitting out the same week, or would you prefer to miss their fantasy goodness in staggered weeks? This is a debate we'll tackle in future football Clicks; in the meantime, here's the 2009 bye schedule, along with the impacted fantasy stars:

Week 4: Cardinals (Fitzgerald, Boldin, Warner, Wells, Urban, Breaston, Hightower, Pope), Falcons (Turner, Ryan, White, Jenkins, Norwood, Gonzalez), Panthers (Williams, Stewart, Delhomme, Muhammad, Smith, Dawson, Jarrett), Eagles (McNabb, Westbrook, McCoy, Jackson, Maclin, Curtis, Avant, Celek)

Week 5: Bears (Cutler, Forte, Peterson, Bennett, Hester, Olsen), Packers (Rodgers, Grant, Wynn, Jennings, Driver, Jones, Lee), Saints (Brees, Bush, Thomas, Colston, Moore, Henderson, Meachem, Shockey, Miller), Chargers (Rivers, Tomlinson, Sproles, Jackson, Chambers, Floyd, Gates, Davis)

Week 6: Cowboys (Romo, Barber, Jones, Choice, Williams, Hurd, Crayton, Witten, Bennett), Colts (Manning, Addai, Brown, Wayne, Gonzalez, Collie, Clark), Dolphins (Pennington, Brown, Williams, Camarillo, Ginn, Bess, Fasano), 49ers (Hill, Crabtree, Gore, Robinson, Coffee, Bruce, Davis, Morgan)

Week 7: Ravens (Flacco, McGahee, McClain, Rice, Mason, Clayton, Heap), Broncos (Orton/Simms, Marshall, Royal, Stokley, Scheffler, Moreno, Buckhalter, Jordan, Hillis, Torain), Lions (Culpepper/Stafford, Smith, Johnson, Johnson, Curry, Pettigrew), Jaguars (Garrard, Jones-Drew, Washington, Northcutt, Holt, Lewis, Dillard, Walker, Williamson), Seahawks (Hasselbeck, Jones, Duckett, Burleson, Branch, Houshmandzadeh, Payne, Carlson), Titans (Collins/Young, Johnson, White, Gage, Thorpe, Washington, Scaife)

Week 8: Bengals (Palmer, Benson, Johnson, Leonard, Dorsey, Ochocinco, Simpson, Crosby, Urrutia), Chiefs (Cassel/Thigpen, Johnson, Charles, Cottam, Bowe, Engram, Bradley), Patriots (Brady, Taylor, Maroney, Morris, Moss, Welker, Galloway, Smith), Steelers (Roethlisberger, Parker, Mendenhall, Ward, Sweed, Holmes, Miller), Buccaneers (Johnson/Griese/Leftwich, Graham, Ward, Williams, Winslow, Clayton, Bryant), Redskins (Campbell, Portis, Betts, Moss, Cooley, Thomas, Kelly, Randle El)

Week 9: Bills (Edwards, Lynch, Jackson, Rhodes, Owens, Evans, Hardy, Reed, Parrish), Browns (Quinn, Anderson, Lewis, Edwards, Robiskie, Heiden, Royal, Harrison, Furrey, Cribbs), Rams (Bulger, Jackson, Avery, Burton, Robinson, Klopfenstein, Darby, Pittman, McMichael), Vikings (Rosenfels, Peterson, Harvin, Taylor, Berrian, Rice, Shiancoe), Raiders (Russell, McFadden, Fargas, Bush, Heyward-Bey, Walker, Schilens, Miller), Jets (Clemens, Washington, Jones, Greene, Stuckey, Cotchery, Keller, Clowney)

Week 10: Texans (Schaub, Johnson, Walter, Slaton, Daniels, Green), Giants (Manning, Hixon, Hicks, Boss, Jacobs, Bradshaw, Toomer)

Radio Daze

What can I say? Outside of my lovely bride-to-be, family, friends, work and reruns of Family Guy, fantasy football IS my life from July-December. If I'm not re-reading one of the 12 fantasy magazines that engulf my coffee table this time of year, or mindfully watching old DVR'd broadcasts of Fantasy Fix (starring John Hansen and Scott Ferrall) ... I can probably be found listening to (or downloading) one of the hundreds of fantasy-related podcasts on the Web. In fact, here are my top 5 favorite football-specific podcasts/radio shows (excluding this shameless plug for my own show on Blog Talk Radio, "Your Fantasy, Our Reality," with colleague Jeff Ritter from 4-5 p.m. EST every Monday):

1. Sirius Radio -- "Sirius Fantasy Football" with John Hansen and Adam Caplan
2. ESPN -- "Fantasy Focus" with Matthew Berry and Nate Ravitz
3. -- "Fantasy Football" with Dave Richard and Jamey Eisneberg
4. KFAN in Minneapolis -- "Fantasy Football Weekly" with Paul Charchian
5. -- "Fantasy Sports Podcast" with Adam Craig and Danny Goldin

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