Welcome to the "Original" Dynasty Rankings Fantasy Football Blog

This blog was born out of a Dynasty Rankings thread originally begun in October, 2006 at the Footballguys.com message boards. The rankings in that thread and the ensuing wall-to-wall discussion of player values and dynasty league strategy took on a life of its own at over 275 pages and 700,000 page views. The result is what you see in the sidebar under "Updated Positional Rankings": a comprehensive ranking of dynasty league fantasy football players by position on a tiered, weighted scale. In the tradition of the original footballguys.com Dynasty Rankings thread, intelligent debate is welcome and encouraged.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Song of the Week: Beach Boys - Caroline, No [Pet Sounds] 1966

Have you ever noticed the disproportionate number of great songs invoking the name Caroline in the title? I've known just one Caroline my whole life and while she was a cool chick, it's the dearth of Carolines that speaks more to the puzzle here: how can so few Carolines inspire so much torch-carrying?

Exhibit A: Neil Diamond's 1969 hit Sweet Caroline forever immortilized in the bar scene from the movie Beautiful Girls, which parenthetically derived its inspiration from the bar scene with Frankie Vallie's Can't Take My Eyes off You in the classic 1978 movie The Deer Hunter. Sweet Caroline was a hit well before Beautiful Girls debuted of course, but the song has taken on a new life over the past ten years and is now the signature song of the Boston Red Sox, played at every home game. The pulp may be all sucked out for you now that it's hokey and overplayed, but there's no doubting Sweet Caroline's rightful standing as a legendary song.

Exhibit B: One of the better singer-songwriters of the past 10-15 years has been England's David Gray, who garnered long-deserved mainstream success with his terrific 1998 album, White Ladder. That album spawned hits such as Babylon, Sail Away, Please Forgive Me, Say Hello Wave Goodbye, and This Year's Love. Although Gray's 2002 album, A New Day at Midnight, didn't live up to White Ladder, there is one song that matches or exceeds his best hits: Caroline. Granted, it's not a huge mainstream hit like Sweet Caroline, but it's a terrific song and fairly well known on the college rock/indie rock scene. Unfortunately, no youtube clip exists, but I'm sure the industrious amoung you can download it with little problem whatsoever.

Exhibit C: Some hack blogger has, at various times in the past, attempted the monumental challenge of compiling a list of the greatest breakup songs in history. The Beach Boys' 1966 classic Caroline, No sits firmly within the Top 25 on that and many other top breakup songs lists. The song sets the tone for Pet Sounds, an album universally considered one of the best ever created, landing at #2 on Rolling Stone's all-time list, topping MOJO magazine's and New Musical Express' all-time greatest lists, chosen by TIME as one of the 100 best albums of all time, and one of 50 recordings chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. Brian Wilson, about whom none other than Bob Dylan once crowed, "That ear, I mean, Jesus, he's got to will that to the Smithsonian.", tabbed Caroline, No as his favorite song on the Pet Sounds album and "the prettiest ballad I've ever sung." High praise indeed.

The song was originally written as "Carol, I know," but, as luck would have it, Wilson misheard the phrase as "Caroline, No," and the rest is history. It comes in at an impressive #211 on Rolling Stone's list of the greatest songs of all-time.

Among those musicians paying homage to Caroline, No:

Another classic breakup song, Neil Young's Long May You Run, mentions the song in the lyrics.

Alt-Rock legends They Might Be Giants covered the song on their 2004 Indestructible Object EP.

Even more recently the Kaiser Chiefs referenced the song with their own Caroline, Yes on their breakthrough 2005 album, Employment. If you're unfamiliar with the Kaiser Chiefs, check out their kick-ass punk style I Predict a Riot from a couple of years ago. It sounds like it derives a lot of its inspiration from The Clash's own 1977 breakthrough single White Riot, but this one kicks more ass (though admittedly the Clash's speed and noise made a much larger impact on the music scene of the late 70s).

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Quote of the Day | January 31, 2008: Television as Travelogue

One last time from The Wire's David Simon, thanks to his interview with Nick Hornby:

Well, here’s a secret that I learned with Homicide and have held to: if you write something that is so credible that the insider will stay with you, then the outsider will follow as well. Homicide, The Corner, The Wire, Generation Kill—these are travelogues of a kind, allowing Average Reader/Viewer to go where he otherwise would not. He loves being immersed in a new, confusing, and possibly dangerous world that he will never see. He likes not knowing every bit of vernacular or idiom. He likes being trusted to acquire information on his terms, to make connections, to take the journey with only his intelligence to guide him.

Most smart people cannot watch most TV, because it has generally been a condescending medium, explaining everything immediately, offering no ambiguities, and using dialogue that simplifies and mitigates against the idiosyncratic ways in which people in different worlds actually communicate. It eventually requires that characters from different places talk the same way as the viewer. This, of course, sucks.

There are two ways of traveling. One is with a tour guide, who takes you to the crap everyone sees. You take a snapshot and move on, experiencing nothing beyond a crude visual and the retention of a few facts. The other way to travel requires more time—hence the need for this kind of viewing to be a long-form series or miniseries, in this bad metaphor—but if you stay in one place, say, if you put up your bag and go down to the local pub or shebeen and you play the fool a bit and make some friends and open yourself up to a new place and new time and new people, soon you have a sense of another world entirely.

We’re after this: Making television into that kind of travel, intellectually. Bringing those pieces of America that are obscured or ignored or otherwise segregated from the ordinary and effectively arguing their relevance and existence to ordinary Americans. Saying, in effect, This is part of the country you have made. This too is who we are and what we have built.

Tags: David Simon, The Wire

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Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Super Bowl Week: Quarterback Rankings


[100] Peyton Manning IND 32.5
[98] Tom Brady NE 31.1
[92] Ben Roethlisberger PIT 26.5
[90] Carson Palmer CIN 28.7
[88] Drew Brees NO 29.6
[87] Tony Romo DAL 28.4

[76] Donovan McNabb PHI [T] 31.7
[72] Jay Cutler DEN 25.3
[69] Marc Bulger STL 31.4
[67] Matt Hasselbeck SEA 33.0

[60] Vince Young TEN 25.3
[59] Matt Schaub HOU 27.2
[59] David Garrard JAX 30.5
[58] Eli Manning NYG 27.6
[57] Derek Anderson CLE [R] 25.2
[54] #Philip Rivers SD 26.8
[53] Brett Favre GB 38.9
[45] Matt Leinart ARI 25.3

[30] Jason Campbell WAS 26.6
[28] JaMarcus Russell OAK 23.1
[25] Brady Quinn CLE 23.9
[22] Trent Edwards BUF 24.9
[21] Aaron Rodgers GB 24.8
[21] Drew Stanton DET 24.4
[20] #Jake Delhomme CAR 33.6

[15] Kevin Kolb PHI 24.0
[14] Kellen Clemens NYJ 25.3
[14] Daunte Culpepper OAK (U) 31.5
[13] Tarvaris Jackson MIN 25.4
[12] Kurt Warner ARI 37.3
[12] Jon Kitna DET 36.0
[11] #Alex Smith SF 24.3

[9] J.P. Losman BUF [T] 27.5
[8] Jeff Garcia TB 38.5
[7] Chad Pennington NYJ [T] 32.2
[7] Shaun Hill SF 28.7
[6] John Beck MIA 27.1
[4] Troy Smith BAL 24.2
[4] Byron Leftwich ATL [x] 28.6
[4] Luke McCown TB 27.2
[4] Brodie Croyle KC 25.5

[3] Rex Grossman CHI (U) 28.0
[3] Kyle Orton CHI 25.8
[3] Sage Rosenfels HOU 30.5
[3] Seneca Wallace SEA 28.1
[2] Brian Griese CHI [x] 33.5
[2] Quinn Gray JAX (U) 29.3
[2] Todd Collins WAS (U) 36.8
[2] Billy Volek SD (U) 32.4
[2] Damon Huard KC 35.2
[2] #Steve McNair BAL [x] 35.5
[2] #Trent Green MIA [x] 38.2
[2] Kyle Boller BAL 27.3
[2] Matt Moore CAR 24.1
[2] Charlie Whitehurst SD 26.1
[2] Josh McCown OAK (U) 29.2
[2] Chris Redman ATL 31.2

[1] Cleo Lemon MIA (U) 29.1
[1] Patrick Ramsey DEN 29.5
[1] A.J. Feeley PHI 31.3
[1] #Chris Simms TB [x] 28.0
[1] Gus Frerotte STL [x] 37.2
[1] Kerry Collins TEN (U) 35.7
[1] Matt Cassel NE 26.3
[1] Andrew Walter OAK 26.3
[1] Charlie Frye SEA 27.0
[1] #D.J. Shockley ATL 25.5
[1] *Michael Vick ATL [x] 28.2
[1] Joey Harrington ATL [x] 29.9
[1] Jim Sorgi IND 27.8
[1] Bruce Gradkowski TB 25.7
[1] Brooks Bollinger MIN 28.8
[1] J.T. O'Sullivan DET (U) 29.0
[1] Dan Orlovsky DET [R] 25.1
[1] Ryan Fitzpatrick CIN [R] 25.8
[1] Tim Rattay ARI (U) 31.5
[1] David Carr CAR [x] 29.1

2/2/08 - Flip-flopped Marc Bulger & Matt Hasselbeck
2/3/08 - Moved Eli Manning up again
2/4/08 - Moved Peyton Manning ahead of Tom Brady

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Super Bowl Week: Running Back Rankings


[100] Adrian Peterson® MIN 23.5
[98] Steven Jackson STL 25.1
[98] #LaDainian Tomlinson SD 29.2
[93] Brian Westbrook PHI 29.0
[92] Frank Gore SF 25.2
[91] Joseph Addai IND 25.3
[88] Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 23.4

[82] Marshawn Lynch® BUF 22.4
[77] Clinton Portis WAS 27.0
[76] Marion Barber III DAL [R] 25.3
[74] Reggie Bush NO 23.5
[73] #Ronnie Brown MIA 26.7
[73] #Larry Johnson KC 28.8
[71] Willis McGahee BAL 26.9
[68] Laurence Maroney NE 23.5
[68] Ryan Grant GB 25.7

[58] #Willie Parker PIT 27.8
[50] Jamal Lewis CLE (U) 29.0
[50] Michael Turner SD (U) 26.5
[46] Brandon Jacobs NYG 26.2
[45] DeAngelo Williams CAR 25.4
[42] Ernest Graham TB 28.7
[40] LenDale White TEN 23.7

[30] Selvin Young® DEN 24.9
[29] Jerious Norwood ATL 25.1
[27] Ahmad Bradshaw® NYG 22.5
[23] #Michael Bush® OAK 24.3
[22] #Kevin Jones DET 26.0
[21] Edgerrin James ARI [x] 30.1
[20] Travis Henry DEN [x] 29.8
[19] Thomas Jones NYJ 30.0
[19] Julius Jones DAL (U) 27.0
[18] Justin Fargas OAK (U) 28.6

[14] Rudi Johnson CIN [x] 28.9
[14] Chester Taylor MIN 29.0
[13] #Kenny Irons® CIN 25.0
[13] Fred Taylor JAX 32.6
[12] #Cedric Benson CHI 25.7
[11] #Derrick Ward NYG (U) 28.1
[10] #Deuce McAllister NO 29.7
[9] #Ahman Green HOU 31.5
[9] Kenny Watson CIN 30.6
[8] Ladell Betts WAS 29.0
[8] Lamont Jordan OAK [x] 29.8

[7] #Ricky Williams MIA [T] 31.3
[7] DeShaun Foster CAR [x] 28.6
[7] Chris Henry® TEN 23.3
[6] Pierre Thomas® NO 23.7
[6] Chris Brown TEN (U) 27.4
[6] Shaun Alexander SEA [x] 31.0
[6] Leon Washington NYJ 26.0
[5] #Cadillac Williams TB 26.4
[5] #Sammy Morris NE 31.5
[5] Lorenzo Booker® MIA 24.3
[5] Najeh Davenport PIT 29.6
[5] Dominic Rhodes OAK [x] 29.6

[4] Mewelde Moore MIN (U) 26.1
[4] Musa Smith BAL (U) 26.3
[4] Darren Sproles SD 25.3
[4] Adrian Peterson CHI 29.2
[4] Kenton Keith® IND 28.2
[3] Brandon Jackson® GB 22.9
[3] DeShawn Wynn® GB 24.9
[3] #Kolby Smith KC 23.8
[3] Tatum Bell DET (U) 27.5
[3] Vernand Morency GB [R] 28.6
[3] Andre Hall DEN 26.1
[3] #Chris Perry CIN 26.7
[3] J.J. Arrington ARI 25.6
[3] Fred Jackson BUF 27.6

[2] Ron Dayne HOU (U) 30.5
[2] Darius Walker® HOU 23.6
[2] Gary Russell® PIT 22.0
[2] Antonio Pittman® STL 22.7
[2] Michael Robinson SF 25.5
[2] Jerome Harrison CLE 25.5
[2] Jesse Chatman MIA (U) 29.0
[2] Maurice Morris SEA 28.8
[2] Michael Bennett TB (U) 30.0
[2] Correll Buckhalter PHI 29.9
[2] Tony Hunt® PHI 22.8
[2] Garrett Wolfe® CHI 24.1
[2] T.J. Duckett DET (U) 27.5
[2] Brian Leonard® STL 24.6
[2] Dwayne Wright® BUF 25.3

[1] LaBrandon Toefield JAX (U) 28.0
[1] Warrick Dunn ATL [x] 33.7
[1] Cory Ross BAL 26.0
[1] Jackie Battle ® KC 24.9
[1] Michael Pittman TB (U) 33.1
[1] Kevin Faulk NE 32.3
[1] Jason Snelling ATL 23.7
[1] Aaron Stecker NO (U) 32.8
[1] Reuben Droughns NYG [x] 30.0
[1] Maurice Hicks SF (U) 30.1
[1] Brian Calhoun DET 24.4
[1] Mike Bell DEN [T] 25.4
[1] Cecil Sapp DEN (U) 29.7
[1] #Ryan Moats PHI [x] 25.7
[1] Samkon Gado MIA [x] 25.8
[1] Leonard Weaver SEA [R] 26.0
[1] Jason Wright CLE 26.2

2/2/08 - Flip-flopped Steven Jackson & LaDainian Tomlinson
2/2/08 - Moved Larry Johnson up slightly; moved Ryan Grant down slightly; moved Rudi Johnson up slightly

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Super Bowl Week: Wide Receiver Rankings


[100] Randy Moss NE (U) 31.6
[99] Larry Fitzgerald ARI 25.0
[98] Andre Johnson HOU 27.2
[97] Reggie Wayne IND 29.8
[97] Steve Smith CAR 29.3
[96] Braylon Edwards CLE 25.5
[94] Marques Colston NO 25.3
[93] Chad Johnson CIN [T] 30.6

[88] Brandon Marshall DEN 24.5
[87] Calvin Johnson® DET 23.0
[86] Terrell Owens DAL 34.8
[86] Torry Holt STL 32.3
[86] Anquan Boldin ARI 27.9
[85] Roy Williams DET [T] 26.7

[79] Plaxico Burress NYG 31.1
[78] Dwayne Bowe® KC 24.0
[78] T.J. Houshmandzadeh CIN 30.9
[78] Lee Evans BUF 27.5
[76] Santonio Holmes PIT 24.5
[75] Greg Jennings GB 25.0
[71] Santana Moss WAS 29.3
[70] Hines Ward PIT 32.5
[70] #Marvin Harrison IND 36.0
[69] Jerricho Cotchery NYJ 26.3

[62] Roddy White ATL 26.8
[61] Wes Welker NE 27.3
[60] Donald Driver GB 33.6
[58] Anthony Gonzalez® IND 24.0
[57] Chris Chambers SD 30.1
[56] Bernard Berrian CHI (U) 27.7
[55] #Laveranues Coles NYJ 30.7
[52] Sidney Rice® MIN 22.0
[51] D.J. Hackett SEA (U) 27.1
[50] Vincent Jackson SD 25.7

[43] #Javon Walker DEN [T] 29.9
[42] Kevin Curtis PHI 30.2
[39] Darrell Jackson SF 29.8
[37] Mark Clayton BAL 26.2
[36] Chris Henry CIN 25.3
[34] Ronald Curry OAK 29.4
[33] Ted Ginn Jr.® MIA 23.4
[32] Nate Burleson SEA 27.0
[32] Donte Stallworth NE [x] 27.8

[24] Reggie Brown PHI 27.7
[24] James Jones® GB 24.5
[23] Laurent Robinson® ATL 23.4
[22] Reggie Williams JAX 25.4
[20] #Deion Branch SEA 29.2
[19] Jerry Porter OAK (U) 30.2
[19] Bryant Johnson ARI (U) 27.5
[18] Drew Bennett STL 30.0
[16] Matt Jones JAX [x] 25.4
[16] Demetrius Williams BAL 25.5
[15] Steve Smith® NYG 23.4

[12] Joey Galloway TB 36.8
[12] Bobby Engram SEA 35.7
[12] Derrick Mason BAL 34.6
[12] Patrick Crayton DAL 29.4
[11] Robert Meachem® NO 24.0
[10] Chad Jackson NE 23.5
[10] Devin Hester CHI 25.8
[9] Jacoby Jones® HOU 24.2
[9] Arnaz Battle SF 28.6
[7] Mark Bradley CHI 26.5
[7] Dwayne Jarrett® CAR 22.0
[7] Craig Davis® SD 22.9
[7] Koren Robinson GB 28.5

[5] Jason Hill® SF 23.6
[5] #Mike Walker® JAX 23.8
[5] Justin Gage TEN (U) 27.6
[5] #Roydell Williams TEN 27.5
[5] #Brandon Jones TEN 25.9
[4] Isaac Bruce STL [x] 35.8
[4] Derek Hagan MIA 24.0
[4] Devery Henderson NO (U) 26.5
[4] Drew Carter CAR (U) 27.0
[4] Brandon Stokley DEN 32.2
[4] Kevin Walter HOU 27.1
[4] Shaun McDonald DET 27.3
[4] Jabar Gaffney NE (U) 27.8
[4] Ben Obomanu SEA 24.8
[4] Jason Avant PHI 25.5

[3] Michael Clayton TB 26.1
[3] Troy Willliamson MIN [T] 25.4
[3] Sam Hurd DAL 23.5
[3] Johnnie Lee Higgins® OAK 25.0
[3] Aundrae Allison® MIN 22.4
[3] Amani Toomer NYG 34.0
[3] Antwaan Randle El WAS 29.1
[3] Joe Jurevicius CLE 33.7
[3] Marty Booker MIA [x] 32.1
[3] Nate Washington PIT 25.0
[3] Sinorice Moss NYG 24.7
[3] Michael Jenkins ATL 26.3
[3] David Patten NO (U) 34.1
[3] Hank Baskett PHI 26.0
[3] Brad Smith NYJ 24.8
[3] Ernest Wilford JAX (U) 29.6
[3] Devard Darling BAL [R] 26.4
[2] Muhsin Muhammad CHI [x] 35.4
[2] Lance Moore NO [R] 25.0
[2] Dennis Northcutt JAX 30.7
[2] #Maurice Stovall TB 23.5
[2] Bobby Wade MIN 27.5
[2] Andre' Davis HOU (U) 29.3
[2] Roscoe Parrish BUF 26.2
[2] Ike Hilliard TB 32.5
[2] Jeff Webb KC 26.7
[2] Mike Furrey DET 31.4
[2] #Terry Glenn DAL 34.2

1/31/08: Moved Nate Burleson & Ted Ginn up; moved Jerry Porter & Bryant Johnson up
1/31/08: Dropped Keary Colbert, Paul Williams, & Robert Ferguson
1/31/08: Moved Steve Smith (NYG) up; flip-flopped Chad Johnson & Marques Colston

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Super Bowl Week: Tight End Rankings


[100] #Antonio Gates SD 28.3
[95] Kellen Winslow II CLE 25.1
[93] Jason Witten DAL 26.4

[85] Chris Cooley WAS 26.2
[83] Tony Gonzalez KC 32.5
[77] Todd Heap BAL 28.5
[75] Vernon Davis SF 24.5
[74] Tony Scheffler DEN 25.5
[73] Dallas Clark IND 29.2

[66] Heath Miller PIT 25.9
[65] #Jeremy Shockey NYG 28.1
[63] Ben Watson NE 27.7
[61] Greg Olsen® CHI 23.5
[60] Owen Daniels HOU 25.8
[53] Donald Lee GB 28.0

[45] Zach Miller® OAK 22.7
[44] Alge Crumpler ATL 30.7
[37] L.J. Smith PHI (U) 28.4
[35] Marcedes Lewis JAX 24.3
[33] Alex Smith TB 26.3

[22] Ben Troupe TEN (U) 26.0
[18] Jeff King CAR 24.5
[17] Randy McMichael STL 29.2
[15] #Leonard Pope ARI 25.0
[13] Chris Baker NYJ 28.8
[12] Bo Scaife TEN 27.6
[10] Desmond Clark CHI 31.4

[7] Anthony Fasano DAL 24.5
[7] Kevin Boss NYG 24.7
[6] #Dave Thomas NE 25.2
[5] Joe Klopfenstein STL 24.8
[5] Daniel Graham DEN 29.8
[5] #Brent Celek PHI 23.7

[3] Jerramy Stevens TB (U) 28.8
[3] Eric Johnson NO (U) 29.0
[2] Visanthe Shiancoe MIN 28.3
[2] Ben Utecht IND 27.2
[1] Bryan Fletcher IND (U) 29.5
[1] Kris Wilson KC (U) 27.0
[1] Matt Spaeth® PIT 24.8
[1] Ben Patrick ARI 24.1
[1] Delanie Walker SF 24.1
[1] David Martin MIA 29.5
[1] Sean McHugh DET 26.3

1/31/08 - Moved Jerramy Stevens down after reading this article; moved Brent Celek down

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Super Bowl Week: Kicker Rankings


[25] Stephen Gostkowski NE 24
[24] Adam Vinatieri IND 35
[23] Nick Folk® DAL 24
[21] Mason Crosby® GB 24
[20] Nate Kaeding SD 26
[20] Shayne Graham CIN 30

[12] Josh Brown SEA (U) 29
[12] Josh Scobee JAX 26
[12] Rob Bironas TEN [R] 30
[11] Jeff Reed PIT 29
[11] Jason Elam DEN (U) 38
[10] Phil Dawson CLE 33

[8] Jeff Wilkins STL 36
[8] Robbie Gould CHI 25
[8] Neil Rackers ARI 32
[7] Mike Nugent NYJ 26
[6] Ryan Longwell MIN 34
[6] David Akers PHI 33
[5] Kris Brown HOU 31
[5] Matt Stover BAL 40

[3] Rian Lindell BUF 31
[3] Matt Bryant TB 33
[3] Jason Hanson DET 38
[3] Jay Feely MIA 32
[3] Lawrence Tynes NYG (U) 30
[2] John Kasay CAR 38
[2] Joe Nedney SF 35
[2] Sebastian Janikowski OAK 30
[2] Shaun Suisham WAS 26

[1] Martin Gramatica NO (U) 32
[1] #Olindo Mare NO [x] 35
[0] Justin Medlock® KC 24
[0] Morten Andersen ATL (U) 48
[0] Billy Cundiff KC 28
[0] Nick Novack KC 27
[0] John Carney KC (U) 44
[0] Dave Rayner SD 25
[0] Matt Prater DEN 24
[0] Josh Huston [UFA] 26

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Super Bowl Week: Defense Rankings


[25] Chargers SD
[23] Seahawks SEA
[22] Bears CHI
[20] Vikings MIN
[19] Patriots NE
[17] Steelers PIT

[13] Giants NYG
[13] Cowboys DAL
[12] Packers GB
[12] Titans TEN
[10] Buccaneers TB

[6] Jaguars JAX
[6] Texans HOU
[5] Ravens BAL
[4] Redskins WAS
[4] Colts IND
[3] 49ers SF
[3] Cardinals ARI
[3] Chiefs KC
[3] Eagles PHI

[2] Panthers CAR
[2] Bills BUF
[2] Broncos DEN
[2] Lions DET
[2] Saints NO
[1] Raiders OAK
[1] Browns CLE
[1] Dolphins MIA
[1] Falcons ATL
[1] Bengals CIN
[1] Jets NYJ
[1] Rams STL

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Quote of the Day | January 30, 2008: Keeping Your Options Open

One last time from Nick Hornby's 1995 novel High Fidelity:

"You used to care more about things like Solomon Burke than you do now," I tell her. "When I first met you, and I made you that tape, you were really enthused. You said---and I quote---'It was so good that it made you ashamed of your record collection.'"
"Shameless, wasn't I?"
"What does that mean?"
"Well, I fancied you. You were a DJ, and I thought you were groovy, and I didn't have a boyfriend, and I wanted one."
"So you weren't interested in the music at all?"
"Well, yes. A bit. And more so then than I am now. That's life, though, isn't it?"
"But you see . . . That's all there is of me. There isn't anything else. If you've lost interest in that you've lost interest in everything. What's the point of us?"
"You really believe that?"
"Yes. Look at me. Look at the flat. What else has it got, apart from records and CDs and tapes?"
"And do you like it that way?"
I shrug. "Not really."
"That's the point of us. You have potential. I'm here to bring it out."
"Potential as what?"
"As a human being. You have all the basic ingredients. You're really very likable, when you put your mind to it. You make people laugh, when you can be bothered, and you're kind, and when you decide you like someone then that person feels as though she's the center of the whole world, and that's a very sexy feeling. It's just that most of the time you can't be bothered."
"No," is all I can thing of to say.
"You just . . . you just don't do anything. You get lost in your head, and you sit around thinking instead of getting on with something, and most of the time you think rubbish. You always seem to miss what's really happening."
"This is the second Simply Red song on this tape. One's unforgivable. Two's a war crime. Can I fast-forward?" I fast-forward without waiting for a reply. I stop on some terrible post-Motown Diana Ross thing, and I groan. Laura plows on regardless.
"Do you know the expression, 'Time on his hands and himself on his mind'? That's you."
"So what should I be doing?"
"I don't know. Something. Working. Seeing people. Running a scout troop, or running a club even. Something more than waiting for life to change and keeping your options open. You'd keep your options open for the rest of your life, if you could. You'll be lying on your deathbead, dying of some smoking-related disease, and you'll be thinking, 'Well, at least I've kept my options open. At least I never ended up doing something I couldn't back out of.' And all the time you're keeping your options open, you're closing them off."

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Quote of the Day | January 29, 2008: David Simon from "The Wire"

More from the Nick Hornby interview with David Simon, this time on what motivates Simon as a writer:

But in terms of dialogue, vernacular, description, tone—I want a homicide detective, or a drug slinger, or a longshoreman, or a politician anywhere in America to sit up and say, Whoa, that’s how my day is. That’s my goal. It derives not from pride or ambition or any writerly vanity, but from fear. Absolute fear. Like many writers, I live every day with the vague nightmare that at some point, someone more knowledgeable than myself is going to sit up and pen a massive screed indicating exactly where my work is shallow and fraudulent and rooted in lame, half-assed assumptions.

I see myself labeled a writer, and I get good reviews, and I have the same doubts buried, latent, even after my successes. I suspect many, many writers feel this way. I think it is rooted in the absolute arrogance that comes with standing up at the community campfire and declaring, essentially, that we have the best story that ought to be told next and that people should fucking listen. Storytelling and storytellers are rooted in pay-attention-to-me onanism. Listen to this! I’m from Baltimore and I’ve got some shit you fucking need to see, people! Put down that CSI shit and pay some heed, motherfuckers! I’m gonna tell it best, and most authentic, and coolest...

I mean, presenting yourself as the village griot is done, for me, with no more writerly credential than a dozen years as a police reporter in Baltimore and a C-average bachelor’s degree in general studies from a large state university. On paper, why me? But I have a feeling every good writer, regardless of background, doubts his own voice just a little, and his own right to have that voice heard. It’s the simple effrontery of the thing. Who died and made me Storyteller?

Labels: David Simon, Wire, Nick Hornby

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Monday, January 28, 2008

Quote of the Day | January 28, 2008: Target Audience vs. Quality Writing

I was browsing my friend Brad Spieser's site, twinkilling.com, and came across a terrific article with Nick Hornby interviewing David Simon, the creator of the highly acclaimed HBO series The Wire.

A little history: Brad and I had planned on joining forces on a website for some time, and I was originally slated to contribute to twinkilling.com before school and site format veered me towards this blog instead.

As Brad and I talked, mostly idly, over the past couple of years, the one common thread running through all of our conversations was "f*ck the average reader, forget the lowest common denominator." Brad has a long history in Cincinnati sports talk radio and was constantly running up against the cretin mentality from hardened higher-ups in the business. Everybody -- everybody -- Brad worked with in the talk radio industry believed the only way to run a radio program was to pander to the dolts, stoke the angry callers, and kowtow to the lunchpail, sportsbar crowd. Whatever you do, don't confuse or alienate the rubes, hicks, yokels, bums, losers, and fools. P.T. Barnum knew a long time ago what the average listener craved: freaks, clowns, and wild animals. In other words, the same mentality FOX has had since the late 80s when they took television down the rabbit hole and forced the other stations to lower their standards to keep "up" with them in viewership.

Of course, America produces that mentality just as naturally as it produces McDonalds and Wall Street, but to Brad's everlasting credit he refused to sell his soul to the devil on the one thing in life about which he's passionate, sports talk radio. He knew what good radio sounded like because he grew up listening to Tony Kornheiser and Howard Stern, and he knew the people he was working for had no idea how to put out good radio even if they somehow stumbled upon the right direction.

Doing something and doing it well regardless of salary or opportunity has been the bedrock of philosophy in every sports related pie-in-the-sky contrivance Brad and I have discussed over the years. If your name is associated with the product, how could you come to the conclusion that the P.T. Barnum audience is more important than putting out the quality work you know you can produce? The world naturally hardens us as we get older, but it's important to save a meager portion of that cherub scorn we once possessed in plentitude for those few worthwhile battles we do choose to fight against the old guard "lost in the difficulty of betterness."

It's with that background that Brad came across the terrificly in-depth Hornby/Simon interview, a thrillingly reassuring find. Here's that golden quote from the creator/writer/producer of the best show on television:

My standard for verisimilitude is simple and I came to it when I started to write prose narrative: fuck the average reader. I was always told to write for the average reader in my newspaper life. The average reader, as they meant it, was some suburban white subscriber with two-point-whatever kids and three-point-whatever cars and a dog and a cat and lawn furniture. He knows nothing and he needs everything explained to him right away, so that exposition becomes this incredible, story-killing burden. Fuck him. Fuck him to hell.

Tags: David Simon, The Wire

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Quote of the Day | January 27, 2008: What Really Matters

More from Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, on what really matters at the onset of a potentially serious relationship:

A while back, when Dick and Barry and I agreed that what really matters is what you like, not what you are like, Barry proposed the idea of a questionnaire for prospective partners, a two- or three-page multiple-choice document that covered all the music/film/TV/book bases. It was intended a) to dispense with awkward conversations, and b) to prevent a chap from leaping into bed with someone who might, at a later date, turn out to have every Julio Iglesias record ever made.

It amused us at the time, although Barry, being Barry, went one stage further: he compiled the questionnaire and presented it to some poor woman he was interested in, and she hit him with it. But there was an important and essential truth contained in the idea, and the truth was that these things matter, and it's no good pretending that any relationship has a future if your record collections disagree violently, or if your favorite films wouldn't even speak to each other if they met at a party.

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Saturday, January 26, 2008

Quote of the Day | January 26, 2008: Kick It off with a Corker

I sat down with my laptop today with the intention of creating a compilation song list (or mix tape, if you prefer) for my 50-55 minute daily drive to school. The last list I compiled has stuck around as the default playlist on my mp3 player for a couple of months, but the pulp is just about sucked completed out by now.

The problem is I couldn't find the right table setter for the first song today. Compilation song lists are like batting orders. You need a lead-off batter to set the tone and grab the attention right off the bat -- an instigator. Your two-hole song's most important role is bridging the gap to the MVP candidate on the list, the third song in the order. Two hole has to be solid, so failure is unacceptable. Clean-up, on the other hand, is just the opposite. It's all risk, home run or strikeout, the Adam Dunn of songs. Swing for the fences with a wild card song and hope you hit it out of the park.

Unfortunately, I never found my table setter, so I put the list off for another day. Nick Hornby would understand. Here's a passage from Hornby's 1995 novel-turned-movie High Fidelity:

I spent hours putting that cassette together. To me, making a tape is like writing a letter---there's a lot of erasing and rethinking and starting again, and I wanted it to be a good one. . . .

A good compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do. You've got to kick it off with a corker, to hold the attention (I started with "Got to Get You off My Mind," but then realized that she might not get any further than track one, side one if I delivered what she wanted straightaway, so I buried it in the middle of side two), and then you've got to up it a notch, or cool it a notch, and you can't have white music and black music together, unless the white music sounds like black music, and you can't have two tracks by the same artist side by side, unless you've done the whole thing in pairs, and . . . oh, there are loads of rules.

Anyway, I worked and worked at this one, and I've still got a couple of early demons knocking around the flat, prototype tapes I changed my mind about when I was checking them through.

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2008 Off-Season Running Back Landscape

**Updated 3/11/08



[68] Laurence Maroney NE 23.5 - 1st & 2nd down / Goal-line?

[4] #Sammy Morris NE 31.5 - RBBC / Short yardage / Goal-line?

[1] Kevin Faulk NE 32.3 - 3rd down

[0] Heath Evans NE 29.6 - Short Yardage

[0] Kyle Eckel NE 26.7 - Garbage Time

Outlook: Unlikely to draft Darren McFadden with the 49ers’ first round pick, expect more of the same from the Pats backfield in ’08. Maroney performed just fine in goal-line work late in the season, so it will be interesting to see if he continues to lose important work to a healthy Sammy Morris.


[84] Marshawn Lynch BUF 22.4 - Full-time

[2] Fred Jackson BUF 27.6 - Change-up

[1] Dwayne Wright BUF 25.3 - Back-up

Outlook: All set here. New OC Schonert announces intention to use Lynch as an every-down back.


[22] Thomas Jones NYJ 30.0 - RBBC?

[7] Leon Washington NYJ 26.0 - Change of pace / Passing game

[2] Jesse Chatman NYJ 29.0 - Back-up

Outlook: Will McFadden be too tempting to pass up? If they don't go RB in the draft, Jones could get a nice boost in value as the Jets have revamped their O-Line


[73] #Ronnie Brown MIA 26.7 - Not 100%

[7] Ricky Williams MIA 31.3 - Brown insurance

[4] Lorenzo Booker MIA 24.3 - Change up

[0] Patrick Cobbs MIA 25.6 - Special Teams?

Outlook: A lot of bodies with none of them a sure thing under the new regime. This could be somewhat of a Ricky / Booker tandem until Ronnie Brown is ready to go.



[58] Willie Parker PIT 27.8 - 1st & 2nd down / No goal-line, 3rd down work?

[4] Najeh Davenport PIT 29.6 - Short-yardage / 3rd down?

[3] Mewelde Moore PIT 26.1 - 3rd down? / Return Game

[1] Gary Russell PIT 22.0 - Back-up

Outlook: Serious concerns about Parker's role in the passing game as well as short-yardage/red zone work. Moore is easily the best receiving back in this crew, though Davenport is an asset in the passing game as well.


[52] Jamal Lewis CLE 29.0 - Full-time

[2] Jerome Harrison CLE 25.5 - 3rd down?

[0] Jason Wright CLE 26.2 - Back-up

Outlook: Lewis re-signed to a very reasonable deal and likely to be a tremendous value again in '08 after hitting the juvenation machine last offseason. A true back-up could be on the draft shopping list


[20] Rudi Johnson CIN [x] 28.9 - RBBC? / Cut?

[9] [#]Kenny Irons CIN 25.0 - Back-up / 100%?

[4] Kenny Watson CIN 30.6 - RBBC? / Back-up?

[4] #Chris Perry CIN 26.7 - Back-up? / Cut?

[0] DeDe Dorsey CIN 24.1 - Back-up?

Outlook: Likely scenario is Rudi / Watson to open the season with Kenny Irons joining in as the season progresses. Rumors of Shaun Alexander suiting up in stripes if axed by Seattle, and you can't rule out another 2nd or 3rd round RB in the draft


[72] Willis McGahee BAL 26.9 - Full-time

[3] Musa Smith BAL (U) 26.3 - Free Agent

[1] Cory Ross BAL 26.0 - Special Teams

Outlook: McGahee has plenty of job security, but how poor will the offense be? Will Musa Smith be re-signed, or will the Ravens look for a back-up in the draft?



[90] Joseph Addai IND 25.3 - Full-time

[3] Kenton Keith IND 28.2 - Back-up? / Replaced in the draft?

[0] Clifton Dawson IND 24.8 - Garbage Time

Outlook: Colts likely to look to the draft to upgrade on Keith for a more reliable Addai crutch.


[89] Maurice Jones-Drew JAX 23.4 - All short-yardage & passing game work, but larger role?

[10] Fred Taylor JAX 32.6 - RBBC

[1] Greg Jones JAX 27.4 - Fullback

Outlook: Toefield is gone and Taylor will be 33-years-old, so a mid-to-late round draft pick makes sense. Will MJD see his role begin to increase?


[34] LenDale White TEN 23.7 - 1st & 2nd down

[4] Chris Henry TEN 23.3 - Replaced as 3rd down back? / Still in the team's plans?

Outlook: Henry is a huge question mark. BakeSale White likely showed enough to keep the Titans from shopping for a dominant starter, but RB help is continually being pursued.


[7] Ahman Green HOU 31.5 - 1st & 2nd down until injured

[2] Darius Walker HOU 23.6 - 3rd down?

Outlook: Green will be back, but will Dayne? This situation screams high draft pick, and Jonathan Stewart would be a perfect fit



[97] LaDainian Tomlinson SD 29.2 - Full-time

[4] Darren Sproles SD 25.3 - Back-up

[0] Andrew Pinnock SD 28.5 - Bench

Outlook: Turner is gone, leaving return-ace Sproles to man the back-up role. A mid-to-late round pick seems likely.


[23] Selvin Young DEN 24.9 - RBBC

[21] Travis Henry DEN 29.8 - RBBC / Short-yardage

[2] Andre Hall DEN 26.1 - Back-up

[1] Mike Bell DEN 25.4 - Cut? / Fullback?

[1] Cecil Sapp DEN (U) 29.7 - Free Agent

Outlook: A true RBBC. Henry takes a paycut to stay on as the power back / inside runner while Selvin Young will steal 10-15 touches per week on outside runs and passing game work. There's very little long-term value in Denver these days as the next big thing is clearly not on the current roster.


[75] Larry Johnson KC 28.8 - Full-time

[3] Kolby Smith KC 23.8 - Back-up

[1] Jackie Battle KC 24.9 - Back-up

Outlook: LJ should be healthy with Kolby Smith set as his back-up. Major questions: who quarterbacks the Chiefs to open '08, and can they improve the O-line play?


[30] Justin Fargas OAK 28.6 - Starter . . . for now

[24] Michael Bush OAK 24.3 - Backup / RBBC?

[7] Lamont Jordan OAK [x] 29.8 - Cut?

[4] Dominic Rhodes OAK 29.6 - Back-up

[0] Adimchenobe Echemandu OAK 27.8 - Back-up

Outlook: Fargas re-signed, which helps both his and Michael Bush's dynasty value. Fargas' value is mostly tied up in the '08 season, while Bush's value is more speculative and long-term, especially now that Rhodes has restructured. Jordan still likely to be cut, but he's hanging around



[77] Marion Barber III DAL [R] 25.3 - Starter / Timeshare?

Outlook: The Cowboys don't see Barber as a carry-the-load workhorse, and Jerry Jones supposedly has a "surprise" in mind for his backfield partner. Draft-day scenarios have the Cowboys selecting a RB like Felix Jones or Jamaal Charles, which would let some of the air out of Barber's dynasty value.


[45] Brandon Jacobs NYG 26.2 - 1st & 2nd down

[31] Ahmad Bradshaw NYG 22.5 - Back-up / RBBC?

[11] Derrick Ward NYG (U?) 28.1 - Free Agent

[1] Reuben Droughns NYG [x] 30.0 - Cut?

Outlook: Bradshaw is looking like a value killer for Jacobs though it remains to be seen how that timeshare will shake out in the next couple of years. Giants trying to re-sign Ward for depth, and it's getting to be late in the game for him to find a better opportunity


[76] Clinton Portis WAS 27.0 - Full-time

[7] Ladell Betts WAS 29.0 - Insurance

[0] Mike Sellers WAS 33.1 - Fullback

Outlook: Will the offensive skew more towards the pass now that Zorn is here and Gibbs is gone? New regime sees Betts as the clear backup to Portis though there have been rumblings about using both in the backfield together.


[93] Brian Westbrook PHI 29.0 - Full-time

[2] Tony Hunt PHI 22.8 - Backup / Short-yardage?

[1] Correll Buckhalter PHI 29.9 - Backup / Cut?

[1] Ryan Moats PHI [x] 25.7 - Cut?

Outlook: Westbrook will continue to dominate the offense; Hunt has to pick up his pass protection skills to get off the bench. Buckhalter and/or Moats could be cut.



[68] Ryan Grant GB 25.7 - Full-time

[4] Brandon Jackson GB 22.9 - 3rd down? / Back-up

[3] DeShawn Wynn GB 24.9 - Back-up

[2] Vernand Morency GB [R] 28.6 - RFA / Gone?

Outlook: How will Favre's retirement affect the Packers' offensive production? Grant is the starter with very good job security, and the rest are back-ups. Morency could find 3rd down work in free agency.


[100] Adrian Peterson MIN 23.5 - 1st & 2nd down

[12] Chester Taylor MIN 29.0 - 3rd down

[1] Maurice Hicks MIN 30.1 - Return game / back-up

Outlook: One-two punch of ADP & Chester Taylor in the Vikes' heavy rushing attack, with ADP seeing most of the work. I'm not generally a believer in the "handcuff" strategy, but Chester Taylor is a must for ADP owners . . . similar to LT2 & Turner in '06 & '07


[30] #Kevin Jones DET 26.0 - Injured / RBBC?

[4] Tatum Bell DET 27.5 - RBBC? / Back-up?

[1] Brian Calhoun DET 24.4 - Change of pace?

[0] Aveion Cason DET 29.2 - Emergency use

Outlook: Kevin Jones should never be relied upon again, and the Lions know this. Bell re-signed and could get committee, but the Lions are not done shopping for RBs yet


[9] #Cedric Benson CHI 25.7 - RBBC? / Back-up?

[3] Adrian Peterson CHI 29.2 - 3rd down / Back-up

[1] Garrett Wolfe CHI 24.1 - Change-up

Outlook: Natural landing spot for Illinois' star Rashard Mendenhall as both Lovie Smith and GM Angelo have put Benson on notice that he will have competition next season. The offensive line could still use some tinkering as well.



[37] Ernest Graham TB 28.7 - Full-time / RBBC?

[5] [#]Cadillac Williams TB 26.4 - Injured? / PUP?

[2] Warrick Dunn TB 33.7 - 3rd down?

[2] Michael Bennett TB 30.0 - Backup

Outlook: Graham will enter '08 as the starter with Caddy a giant question mark to play at all, much less return at full strength anytime in the near future. Dunn is ostensibly being brought in as the 3rd down back despite the fact that he's a hindrance in the passing game at this point in his career . . . good news for Graham.


[74] Reggie Bush NO 23.5 - RBBC

[11] Pierre Thomas NO 23.7 - Back-up

[8] #Deuce McAllister NO 29.7 - RBBC / Cut?

[1] Aaron Stecker NO 32.8 - Back-up

Outlook: Should be the same cast of characters again in ’08 though it's looking more and more possible that Deuce could be cut, in which case Pierre Thomas would see a significant jump in value.


[54] DeAngelo Williams CAR 25.4 - Starter / Goal-line carries?

[1] LaBrandon Toefield CAR 28.0 - Short-yardage

Outlook: DeAngelo Williams sees a major role increase, but questions persist about short-yardage and blitz pickup. Is Toefield the power back partner, or will the Panthers seek an upgrade early in the draft?


[53] Michael Turner ATL 26.5 - 1st & 2nd down

[13] Jerious Norwood ATL 25.1 - Change of pace

[1] Jason Snellilng ATL 23.7 - Back-up

Outlook: Turner signed to lead Mularkey's power running game and should total 250-270 carries with complement Norwood as an explosive change of pace weapon.



[33] Julius Jones SEA 27.0 - 1st & 2nd down

[4] Shaun Alexander SEA [x] 31.0 - Cut?

[2] T.J. Duckett SEA 27.5 - Short-yardage

[2] Maurice Morris SEA 28.8 - Back-up

Outlook: Barring an early round draft pick, it looks like a committee led by Julius Jones with a splash of Maurice Morris on 3rd down and T.J. Duckett in short-yardage. Despite the protestations to the contrary, Alexander is still likely to be cut


[20] Edgerrin James ARI 30.1 - RBBC / Cut?

[2] J.J. Arrington ARI 25.6 - 3rd down

[1] Marcel Shipp ARI 30.1 - Backup?

Outlook: After seeing his 3rd down and goal-line work taken away from him last season, the Cards will look for Edge's successor in the draft this season. Will Fitzgerald's re-signing lead to the Cards to cut costs with Edge?


[91] Frank Gore SF 25.2 - Full-time

[4] DeShaun Foster SF 28.6 - Back-up

[1] Michael Robinson SF 25.5 - Back-up

[1] Thomas Clayton SF 24.4 - Back-up

Outlook: Martz' hire as OC means Gore's value goes up in PPR leagues and should be good news for the entire offense in 2008. Foster signed a meager contract and looks much more like a strict backup as opposed to a threat to Gore's production.


[98] Steven Jackson STL 25.1 - Full-time

[2] Antonio Pittman STL 22.7 - Back-up

[1] Brian Leonard STL 24.6 - Back-up / Fullback

Outlook: All set here. Rams intend to build their offense around Steven Jackson going forward.

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