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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.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Game Notes | Week 5: Bengals @ Cowboys

Three weeks ago I wrote the following on the FBG message boards in response to the question, "Are the Bengals done for the season?"

True story: I grew up in Cincinnati and have been playing in Dynasty Leagues for 10 years. I've never owned a Bengal in Dynasty, and only rarely in redraft (maybe Carl Pickens one year in the early 90s and Chris Perry as my RB4 in one league this season). I never wanted a Bengal in Dynasty because of what's about to happen again this season -- at a moment's notice the whole franchise can go down the rabbit hole. As long as Bengals owner NFL Legacy Case, Mike Brown, is running the show, the organization will constantly be in danger of getting caught in the ineptitude vortex.

Dave Shula was a joke of a head coach, but Marvin Lewis is now entering the same Dead Man Walking phase that Bruce Coslett and Dick LeBeau went through before they were finally put out of their misery. The head coach is up against it, his authority has been undermined, and even the players know it is hopeless in this franchise. This is the real reason why Chad Johnson was pushing so hard for a trade (and the same reason players like Pickens, Corey Dillon, and Takeo Spikes desperately tried to get out of Cincinnati). The writing has been on the wall for over a year now.
My anti-Bengals stance may have kept some useful players off my roster when Lewis came in and momentarily turned the momentum around for a couple of seasons. But the honeymoon is over, and the Bengals are back to being a hopeless cause. The offensive players will have some bright moments this season, but the weather vane is pointing towards a disastrous season.
I have a friend who used to work in talk radio in Cincinnati. He knows more about the Bengals than 99% of the fans on this board know about their homer teams. This friend has had Carson Palmer, Chad Johnson, and T.J. Houshmandzadeh on his Dynasty roster for the past three or four season. In the past month, he's traded off both Housh and Ocho Cinco . . . and I expect to see Palmer gone soon as he just dealt for Big Ben. I think this friend knows things. . .

This friend definitely knew things, and he shipped off Carson Palmer shortly thereafter. If you still have Bengal on your Dynasty roster, shame on you.

Palmer's first pass is wide of Reggie Kelly, off his hands, and into Greg Ellis' waiting mitts. Hahahaha. Bengals. . .

Housh makes a circus catch on the ground, but it's not enough for a first down.

Felix Jones gets the edge for 33 yards on a fourth down attempt. Damn. I knew I should have started him over Mewelde Moore. Playing it safe is not the way to go.

OK, finished with the Rotoworld updates, so I should be able to concentrate more on this game. Another Felix Jones carry gets the Cowboys into scoring position, but Barber fails to get it in. Third & goal from the four, and Romo has all day to throw. He predictably finds a wide open Jason Witten in the back of the end zone. The Bengals haven't been able to rush the passer since Mike Reid & Coy Bacon over 30 years ago. Yes, they've been awful for a long, long time.

Glenn Holt -- signs of life! A 50+ yard kickoff return to put the Bengals in better punting position this drive . . . unless they turn it over first. A Ced Benson sighting! Yeesh. The sad thing is he might be better than Chris Perry. Bengals fans can now resume throwing up in their mouths.

Benson six carries for 25 yards this drive. Meet your new Bengals lead running back. Did you sell high on Chris Perry after the final preseason game? That was a gimme.

Ben Utecht with what looked like a terrific catch at the one-yard line. Ooooh. Second foot out of bounds. That hurts.

OK, this game is boring. The Bengals can suck the life out of anything.

Third down conversion to a quick Antonio Chatman streaking across the middle. So where's Chris Henry? Chatman looks like the No. 3 WR to me.

Darryl Blackstock just pancaked Marion Barber. You don't see that often . . . Barber being pancaked, or a Bengals defender laying the wood. Nice strip by the Bengals on Romo's scramble.

Wow! Chris Perry explosive run up the middle for a touchdown. Called back due to Housh's ticky-tack holding call, but it's nice to know Perry has that in him. What was that?! Palmer has Chris Perry wide open, and he throws it about 10 yards over his head. He lost control of that ball. Elbow?

Loud-mouthed schnook half-time update: T.O. has one catch, Ocho Cinco = bupkis.

Ocho Stinko: one target, zero receptions early in the third quarter. I'm not sure what the problem is, but Antonio Chatman is being featured more than Ocho Cinco. Great catch by Chris Perry for the diving first down. Palmer and Stinko not on the same page. Palmer expects a skinny post, and Cinco goes to the sideline . . . lucky it wasn't picked. Next pass goes right back to 85 on a curl for his first reception.

Oooh. Palmer lofts one to Perry in the endzone, and Perry almost makes a one-handed Morgan St. style circus catch. Palmer responds by finding Housh wide open for a 18-yard touchdown. That's some spotty zone defense. Nice drive the Bengals to make it a 17-14 ball game, and the Cowboys are playing in a fog right now.

Crayton wide open. How does he drop that ball? Defense making Cowboys try to beat them with underneath throws. Simms says rhythm just isn't there down the field. Bengals starting to get some pressure too. Cowboys offense starting to look as out of sync as they did in last year's playoff loss to the Giants.

Benson's drive, and he goes nowhere on his first two carries. Chatman again on 3rd down, but he can't shake loose.

Marion Barber has the ball punched loose, and he's lucky that Hotel Adams falls on it. Felix Jones on the pitch. The Cowboys really have to use Jones more on the edges. He's dynamite. Romo playaction pass, and Bengals rookie Keith Rivers makes an acrobatic leaping interception with a 40-yard return. Who says linebackers can't catch?

Palmer to Ocho Cinco, and the momentum squarely rests with the Bengals as we head to the fourth quarter.

Chris Henry makes an appearance on third & long, but Palmer gets pressured. The Bengals will settle for a FG attempt and a one-point game. And Bengals respond with a surprise on-side kick . . . which they recover! Awesome call. Now can they move the ball? Nice timing pass to Ocho Cinco for a first down. 43 2nd half receiving yards after a goose egg in the first. Perry fumbles! His NFL leading 5th cough-up of the season. That's a coach killer. A ballsy on-side kick works out, and then Perry fails to keep his elbow to the body in traffic. Perry averaging a fumble a game on the season.

Romo finds T.O. streaking wide open across the middle, and his after the catch ability takes over -- 57 yards to the house. That fumble is going to cost the Bengals the game. What a momentum swing. One play, and the whole game looks different.

Glenn Holt tripped up after a 60-yard kickoff return, and he's down with a possible head injury? Palmer finds Housh wide open once again for a touchdown. There's nobody in the neighborhood. Simms says one side playing zone and the other side playing man-to-man. Bengals will go for two for the tie. Keith Davis knocks it away from Utecht for a failed two-pointer.

Key third and short here for the Cowboys. Romo scrambles for it. Felix Jones in, and you know it's going to be a pitch to the outside . . . and there it goes. Bengals stopping inside power runs, but have struggled on the outside. Felix Jones on the counter, picks up 18 yards with a 15-yard facemask penalty tacked on. A couple of Barber runs, and Romo finds old reliable Witten for a big first down reception. Cowboys doing an excellent job of milking the clock, and now they force the Bengals to take an ill-advised timeout.

Big 3rd & 11 here. If the Cowboys convert, it's over. If they fail, Folk will kick a FG for a 5-point lead with over a minute left. Oh, wow! Through Miles Austin's hands, off his finger tips, and right into the waiting arms of Patrick Crayton. I guess Crayton makes up for his earlier drop. That's some amazing luck for the Cowboys.

Palmer dragged down from behind by DeMarcus Ware who saves his consecutive games with a sack streak at 8. Bengals have given up 13 sacks this year after 17 all of last season. Palmer to Housh over the middle. Bengals passing game showing signs of life in the second half with improved timing. Palmer sacked by Ratliff, his 3rd of the season.

Cowboys take over on downs. Game over. Dallas escapes.

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