For returning readers, you’ll remember that I did some good work with my free picks in a late-inning relief role down the stretch last season. I started late, but only because I was doing so well on my own. And after all was written and published, the money was dealt out, I finished with a winning record – and some spending money. It wasn’t quite as easy as I thought it’d be, but a little research, some common sense, and a giant jock-strap can take you a long way! No, but honestly, this year I’m starting from the get go, and you’ll be allowed to follow me along my spending spree. I’ve been given $1000 (via a sweet deal) to see what I can make, so you’ll get up close and personal update of my personal gambling account. I’ll keep track like this.
Starting Account Total: $1000
At Risk: $500 to Win $466
Money Left: $500
Total W/L Last Week: (NA Until Week 2)
Season W/L Record: (NA Until Week 2)
You can also keep track of me on TWITTER @AlaskanArse. I’ll update my thoughts on games, my picks and fantasy alike.
I’ll list the amount I’m risking to win on each game, the spread (listed on whichever side I’m gambling), and a reason why- whichever way I bet. I’m also rounding up and down to the nearest dollar for winnings (EX: 91.91 = 92) to more easily keep track. So here’s to a good season, (raises glass of Alaskan Amber), Cheers! Here are my first five for Week 1.
Week 1 Picks
Carolina Panthers (+7) @ N.Y. Giants
(Risk $100 to Win $92)
I like the Panthers to play with the Giants. Among other more mathematical things, I just flat out like how the Panthers play under Matt Moore. He did solid things down the stretch last year, and while he might not be making all the big plays, he’s not making all teh mistakes either. The Giants were really bad down the stretch, and while everyone always gives them the benefit of the doubt, blaming last year on injuries, I see this as Tom Coughlin’s last season in NY, and he won’t be finishing with a winning record. 7-points? With Carolina’s run-game? Please.
San Francisco (-3) @ Seattle Seahawks
(Risk $100 to Win $95)
If there are some Seattle people with hope in this years’ team, I haven’t met them yet. I’m from the area, have a bunch of really good buddies within 100 miles of the Hawks’ home games, even have three close buddies with season tickets… Not one thinks the Hawks win more than 6 games… And they play the Rams, Cardinals, and 49ers – and have one of the easiest schedules in football. Yikes. Frank Gore seems to enjoy running through seagulls, and the 49ers defense looks like a tough match-up for anyone, let alone a Seattle team without an identity or an offensive line. This seems like a no-brainer.
Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Philadelphia Eagles
(Risk $100 to Win $95)
I don’t know what there isn’t to like about the Packers. This will be their second season in a 3-4, so they have to be better at most spots defensively – because with experience comes improvement. They don’t have Al Harris, so they lose a little there, but this is still a powerful defensive unit. Offensively, I don’t know if there’s a better group in football. Rodgers, Jennings, Driver, James Jones, Jordy Nelson, JerMichael Finley, Ryan Grant – SOLID. The Eagles have lots of questions – I don’t like gambling on questions.
Indianapolis Colts (-2.5) @ Houston Texans
(Risk $100 to Win $92)
The Colts are better than the Texans. At almost every position. QB – Yep. RB – Yep. OL- Yep. And defensively, the Colts always have solid players that fit perfectly in their scheme. And even star players, could you argue that Mario Williams is better than Dwight Freeney? Maybe, but you’d be wrong. Bob Sanders is also back, and my buddy Lucky Lester always talks about how great that guy is. So until he gets hurt, I think I’ll expect big things from the Colts’ defense.
Minnesota Vikings @ New Orleans Saints (-5)
(Risk $100 to Win $92)
The Vikings offensive line showed me something late last season, they aren’t as good as people claim they are. They weren’t all that good running the ball and they couldn’t even get close to keeping the Saints out of Brett Favre’s grill in the NFC Championship. I don’t know what’s changed except Favre lost his favorite target and hasn’t much football of late. I don’t even know if he’s all the way healed yet. I’ll take the Saints and a defense that looks better, and offense that looks as good as ever. At home, too. Thanks, free money!
Oh, I had to sneak a couple out, fight hard to come back, and I still just finished .500 with my opening week picks in the NCAAs. I was undefeated with my Pre-Season Week 4 NFL Picks, but I know that doesn’t mean much to you NCAA die-hards, so I’ll try to pick up the slack next week. So many bigs hammered the littles, and that didn’t always work out for me. As much as I hate to “TIE” I was wishin’ and hopin’ for a 7th win on Monday Night and it didn’t look good until Kellen Moore got the ball back with 2 minutes to go. Yahtzee! Here’s how the week went.
Marshall Thundering Herd (+28.5) @ #2 Ohio State Buckeyes (LOSS)
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (+14) @ South Carolina Gamecocks (LOSS)
#15 Pittsburgh Panthers @ Utah Utes (-2.5) (WIN)
#14 USC Trojans (-21) @ Hawaii Warriors (LOSS)
Arizona Wildcats (-14.5) @ Toledo Rockets (WIN)
Colorado Buffaloes @ Colorado State Rams (+12.5) (LOSS)
Purdue Boilermakers (+11.5) @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish (WIN)
Connecticut Huskies (+3) @ Michigan Wolverines (LOSS)
Washington State Cougars @ Oklahoma State Cowboys (-14) (WIN)
Washington Huskies (+3) @ BYU Cougars (LOSS)
#24 Oregon State Beavers @ #6 TCU Horned Frogs (-13) (LOSS)
#21 LSU Tigers (EVEN) @ #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (WIN)
Southern Methodist Mustangs (+14) @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (WIN)
#3 Boise State Broncos (-2.5) @ #10 Virginia Tech Hokies (+13.5) (WIN)
Marshall Thundering Herd (+28.5) @ #2 Ohio State Buckeyes: The Thundering Herd weren’t much of a match for Heisman hopeful Terrelle Pryor as the Buckeye passer through for just under 250 yards and 3 touchdowns, easily leading his Buckeyes to a big win. I guess I underestimated Pryor’s ability to throw the football. I thought they’d run it more, and the Herd would be solid there. But Pryor was throwing darts from the get go.
Southern Miss Golden Eagles (+14) @ South Carolina Gamecocks: (LOSS) The Gamecocks look pretty good, especially at quarterback. Defensively they didn’t look as lost as I thought they’d look without Norwood. This group will compete in a tough SEC.
#15 Pittsburgh Panthers @ Utah Utes (-2.5): (WINNER) The Utes were the better football team, and it was Pittsburgh that made it a game late with some big-time plays. When the Utes pulled it out an OT, it was a nice relief and something to be happy about on opening night, because lord knows the Trojans couldn’t even have stopped the freaking Seattle Mariners from scoring.
#14 USC Trojans (-21) @ Hawaii Warriors: (LOSS) Well, I expected the Trojans to score 40 points or so, I just surely didn’t expect them to give up 36 to Hawaii. The Warriors were better than I expected, but I learned on Thursday Night that the Trojans won’t be winning the Pac-10 Title.
Arizona Wildcats (-14.5) @ Toledo Rockets: (WINNER) “You can’t take one thing away from the Wildcats and be safe, which makes it tough for teams like Toledo to have an honest chance at pulling off the upset. Toledo lost a whole lot of umph from last season’s strong offensive team. Aaron Opelt, their QB with 4 years experience has graduated. With him went one of college football’s most dynamic receivers, Stephen Williams.” Well, the Wildcats couldn’t be stopped and the Rockets couldn’t get started. In all honestly, I didn’t expect my preview to be that extremely correct, but I’ll take it. 41-2 is a pretty easy win.
Colorado Buffaloes @ Colorado State Rams (+12.5) (LOSS): I thought the Rivalry would be close. I’m usually right as they usually are. The Rams just couldn’t put points on the board on Saturday.
Purdue Boilermakers (+11.5) @ Notre Dame Fighting Irish: (WINNER) The Irish got out to a big lead, looked really good, so good that I wrote this one off for dead and turned to another game I was having a hard time stomaching. But I’m watching the highlights and I notice that the Boilermakers fought back with 9 in the 4th quarter to lose by 11. Victory! Shoot, I’ll take it!
Connecticut Huskies (+3) @ Michigan Wolverines: (LOSS) Boy the Wolverines looked really good, namely their stud quarterback, but they weren’t bad other places either. Will they take the Big 10 title? No, but they might keep Rich-Rod employed. Still, the Huskies moved the ball throughout the game, they just made some big mistakes and didn’t capitalize when they got into Michigan territory.
Washington State Cougars @ Oklahoma State Cowboys (-14): (WINNER) “I am not too fond of the Cowboys. I think they will be a pretty mediocre team in the Big 12 this season, but that doesn’t mean they won’t destroy one of the worst “big college” division 1 programs in all of college football. The Washington State Cougars have been on a reverse roll over the years, and it doesn’t look like anything aside from a giant impenetrable cast-iron wall is going to stop them – and they seemingly get to hit a new wall every single week. I hope you took the free money on Tuesday, but if you didn’t -17 still looks like a money-maker.” Easiest bet all week. I was counting my money when I made the bet.
Washington Huskies (+3) @ BYU Cougars: (LOSS) Polk played well. Jake Locker played all right. But again, the Huskies aren’t all that good in many places. The Cougars are well coached and they play smart football. The Heisman is gone for Jake, but the Huskies will still win some games this season.
#24 Oregon State Beavers @ #6 TCU Horned Frogs (-13) (LOSS): TCU did a good job shutting down the Beavers’ rushing attack early, and that helped them hang on late. This game was closer than I thought it would be, obviously, as I lost ATS. Blast.
#21 LSU Tigers (EVEN) @ #18 North Carolina Tar Heels (WINNER): The Tar Heels looked tough late, fighting tooth and cleat to get back in this one. But LSU’s downpour was too much early, and UNC was fighting more than just the Tigers – that always makes it tough. I was lucky to take the right side here.
Southern Methodist Mustangs (+14) @ Texas Tech Red Raiders (WINNER): Down 28-7 and then 35-14 midway through the 3rd quarter, I realized a 14 point difference was gonig to be tough for SMU to attain. Luckily for me they poured it on late, putting up 20 points in the last 23 minutes to get with-in a score. They were close to tying it up, but TT pulled it out. The 35-27 score was good enough for me, though!
#3 Boise State Broncos (-2.5) @ #10 Virginia Tech Hokies: What a game, folks. If you missed it, watch the highlights. You’ll see two really good teams going at it, taking turns dominating the game, first the Broncos punched the Hokies in the mouth, then the Hokies landed what looked to be the knock-out haymaker. But out of nowhere, Kellen Moore pulled his Broncos off the turf and shut the door with a straight left hand in what was easily one of the best opening week games I’ve seen in a long time. As a small consolation, they won by 3, covering by a half a point, bringing me to 7-7 on the week. That’ll have to do!!!
So here are my big bad bold predictions. There are some dandies down there, and I’m not bringing it light like Red Red Ryan, or even medium like Lucky Lester’s Black Jack predictions. Nope, I’m giving you one prediction for every single team in the NFL. If you like what you read, or even disagree with it to the point of needing to tell me I’m wrong, you can follow me on Twitter @AlaskanArse – I’ll be rocking it all season long! And the predictions begin…
NFC East (Backs and Nicks)
The Cowboys haven’t had a 1,000-yard rusher since Julius Jones in 2006 … I expect that to change this year when Felix Jones busts through for 1,200 yards on the ground and 8 TDs.
Steve Smith was a revelation for the G-Men last season but this year Hakeem Nicks will haul in 70+ passes for 1,100 yards and 10 TDs … Plaxico who?
If the offense runs through LeSean McCoy the Eagles will soar – unfortunately the burden will be heaped on first year starter Kevin Kolb and he will struggle to the tune of 20+ interceptions.
Donovan McNabb will have a stabilizing impact in D.C., but another aging vet will be responsible for any Redskins resurgence … I like Clinton Portis to notch 1,250 yards and 9 TDs.
NFC North (Wide Receiver’s Making Waves – err, Touchdowns)
This year’s Miles Austin resides in the Windy City … Devin Aromashodu will explode on the scene in 2010 with 70+ catches for 1,100 yards and 8 TDs.
Injuries and inexperience at QB stunted Calvin Johnson’s growth last year … expect Megatron to star in his own version of Revenge of the Fallen this season to the tune of 95 grabs, 1.400 yards and 13 TDs.
Sticking with the WR theme, forgotten man Greg Jennings is in for a major rebound in 2010. I like the physical Packer to post 80 catches for 1,300 yards and 11 TDs for Green Bay.
Percy Harvin come on down! – You’re the next contestant on The Time is Right … No Sidney Rice to start the year means the Vikes will depend on Harvin’s explosiveness … 1,500 total yards and 10 TDs.
NFC South (Matt Ice, A French Guy, A Rookie and a Two Headed Monster Walk Into a Bar)
Atlanta Falcons QB Matt Ryan will benefit from the stability a healthy Michael Turner brings the Falcon offense. I like the third year pro to turn some heads this year tossing for 3,500 yards and 26 TDs.
With respect to the Jets, there is not a better rushing attack anywhere in football. Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams will combine for 2,500 yards on the ground and 20 TDs in 2010.
The Saints will always spread the wealth but this is Pierre Thomas’ time to shine. The do-it-all back from Illinois will take the next step this season and finish with 1,000+ rushing yards and 10 TDs.
Everywhere you turn in Tampa you are surrounded by young talent on offense. QB Josh Freeman is still a year away but rookie WR Mike Williams will make a big splash with 900+ yards and 7 TDs.
NFC West (Poised for a Breakout Out West)
Beanie Wells flashed major ability in his rookie season. The departure of Kurt Warner means the training wheels come off this year in the desert – look for 1,100 yards and 11 TDs for the former Buckeye.
Sam Bradford is going to be a very good pro but for fantasy upside this season you want a cat named Danny Amendola. PPR owners can steal 80 catches, 900 yards and 5 TDs in the last round of their drafts.
Michael Crabtree is every bit the diva – long holdout in his rookie season, flashy personality that rubs teammates the wrong way, and legitimate talent. 16 games means 85 grabs, 1,000 yards and 8 TDs.
The Seahawks brass has been tight-lipped all preseason about their RB gig. Julius Jones is out of the picture and I think Justin Forsett is poised for a breakout … 1,500 total yards and 10 TDs wouldn’t shock me.
AFC East (Comeback Players and a Mean Green Running Machine)
If Trent Edwards has the tools to be a legitimate NFL quarterback, I think Chan Gailey is the coach to bring it out of him. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Edwards put up 3,500 yards passing and 20 TDs.
Ronnie Brown will stay healthy for a full 16 games … really that’s as bold as it gets. I’ll take it a step further though and say he’ll also compile 1,800 total yards and 12 TDs in the process.
The Patriots could be a wasteland this year in terms of fantasy outside of Tom Terrific and Randy Moss, but I’ll go out on a limb and say Laurence Maroney has a mini-resurgence and racks up 1,000 yards and 10 TDs.
You either believe Shonn Greene is overrated or underrated … I fall into the latter group. This beast of a ball-carrier will lead the NFL in rushing by going for more than 1,700 on the ground with 15 TDs.
AFC North (New Faces in New Places, and a New Bell-Cow in Pittsburgh)
The development of Joe Flacco means Anquan Boldin is poised for the best season of his career. The former Cardinal is a perfect fit for the Baltimore Ravens and will reach 100 catches and 1,400 yards.
In his rookie season, TE Jermaine Gresham will be a God-send for Carson Palmer. I like the former Sooner to burst onto the scene with 60 grabs for 800 yards and 6 TDs.
Colt McCoy will start more games this year than Jake Delhomme. In his half-season or so I think the youngster struggles to throw TDs (fewer than 10) but completes at a high percentage (better than 60%).
Big Ben’s early season absence will be a blessing in disguise for this club. The Steelers will return to their roots and pound Rashard Mendenhall at opponents more than 300 times this season to go with his 13 TDs.
AFC South (Injury Concerns and #2 Receivers Down South)
Matt Schaub is fragile, people. Sure he played 16 games last season and posted monster numbers, but in the two previous years he totalled only 22 games. He will miss time this year and struggle to reach 20 TDs.
It’s amazing the way the Colts are able to plug in pieces to keep their offensive machine humming along. Pierre Garcon is the next cog in the wheel and I like him to put up 1,100 yards receiving and 8 TDs this year.
MJD will again be a rock for the Jags but if you’re looking for value in PPR leagues don’t forget about WR Mike Thomas. The diminutive playmaker will draw comparisons to Steve Smith with his 80 grabs and 8 TDs.
Chris Johnson is electric but to me he has bust written all over him. A monstrous workload last season will take it’s toll on CJ, look for him to miss some time and struggle to reach 1,500 total yards.
AFC West (Don’t Ignore the Entire AFC West: Just Most Of It…)
You want no part of the Broncos from a fantasy perspective. No QB will throw for 3,500 yards, no RB will surpass 1,000 yards on the ground, and no WR will top 1,000 yards receiving … Avoid.
Jamaal Charles is a big play waiting to happen, but I am nothing if not skeptical of players coming off huge 8-10 game stretches. Charles isn’t capable of carrying the load, don’t expect more than 1,200 yards and 8 TDs.
Jason Campbell’s presence is an upgrade, but I don’t think that will translate into big things for the WR corps. On the other hand, TE Zach Miller could be poised for a huge year … think 75 catches, 1,000 yards and 8 TDs.
I am not typically one to drool over rookie RBs, but Ryan Matthews is going to be a stud. That said, he’s not opening his own holes and will take a pounding early in the year - 1,000 yards may be his limit this season.