What a start to the season. Injuries, lack of touchdowns, general malaise and an atrocious start to the preview picks. About the only positive from Sunday is the Steeler win and drinking a 12% alcohol Belgian brew that made me pleasantly clumsy for a couple of hours. With the ado past us, on to the picks!
Iron City Pounders (0-1) at Lake Balboa Ladybugs (0-1)
This is actually a decent week to face Peyton Manning between offensive line injuries, Dallas Clark being out, his own knee issues, the Vikings' ability to control the clock with the running game in this one and my personal thought that Minnesota can actually win this game. On the other hand, no amount of predicted points are too high for Santonio against a banged-up Brown secondary that is spotty even when full healthy. I will again gurrrrrr-ONNNNN-tayyyyyyyy a touchdown for Holmes, but mainly because when I said he would last week, he didn't, and I'd like that to happen again.
Back to the first hand, Turner, Jones-Drew and Kevin Smith should struggle like Manning. Like somebody trying to stomach Kevin Smith dialogue about Star Wars. Like the Ladybugs trying to crack 50. Tampa's D is just SLIGHTLY better than Detroit's and Prince Toadstool is missing 4/5ths of his starting offensive lineup due to biceps, knee, biceps and gunshot injuries. Oh, and Smith faces a Green Bay defense than is stronger on defense than...um...Darth Vader...uh....holding the remote while watching Heroes.
The Ladybugs are missing Colston and DeSean Jackson just feels better as a flex play than a WR2. Addai has a very tough matchup against Minnesota (as we discussed), but I actually like Chester Taylor against a weak Indy run D, even though he's a backup. Yahoo thinks Seattle's DST will put 13 points, which...as bad as San Francisco is, are they actually predicting a defensive touchdown? McNabb and Jackson play Monday night, which puts me in one of my favorite situations, watching Monday Night Football knowing I can make up points. But the rest of the lineup puts me in my least favorite position, watching Monday Night Football knowing that late touchdown won't be enough.
The Pick: Picking myself to lose, but not to create a reverse jinx. I'm fully expecting to lose. Iron City Pounders 71 - Lake Balboa Ladybugs 65
Brookline Bucs (0-1) at The People's Elbow (1-0)
Last season, Tom Coughlin vowed to enjoy the NFL more, stop and smell the Gatorade now and again. The Giants proceeded to win the Super Bowl. Scoop Henry is taking a different approach. He won the Super Bowl last year and has decided to start hating the WVFL. Though at least Aaron Rodgers' dream matchup against Detroit saves Henry the agony of starting Derek Anderson against Picksburgh. Fred Taylor has the same linemen issues as Jones-Drew and Warrick Dunn seemingly was signed by Atlanta just so he could retire as a Falcon. After the season, I guess. This team could really use somebody like Selvin Young.
The Pick: After picking the Elbow to go 0-13 last week, it seems like this week I'm picking them to go 2-0. I do not have the courage of my convictions. The People's Elbow 77 - Brookline Bucs 68
Vanduhlay industries (0-1) at Newbomb Turk (0-1)
Second-most points in the league but tied for fewest wins in the league. Gnarly. But if VI can manage another 97 points this week, they should get up to .500. Hell, if they manage 67 points they should be able to get to .500.
So how much industrial output can we expect this week? Well, they have a nice mix of decent matchups and great ones. Brandon Jacobs is going to destroy St. Louis. Really, the only thing that can stop him is Tom Coughlin trying to spread the love at the goal line. (Spread The Love At The Goal Line is a highly underrated adult movie from 1981. Betamax copies still available on eBay.) If Dwayne Bowe can manage to not let the ball ping off his hands in the end zone, he should be able to pull an Eddie Royal on Oakland, and Fargas is a subtly great start against Kansas City. Figure that when bad offenses meet bad defenses, the bad offenses usually win out.
I'm sorry...what's this? Vanduhlay is benching Steven Jackson? They are benching their fifth overall pick just because he's facing the Giants? They're starting Jacobs, Fargas and Forte over their first pick? Few options here, folks. Either Vanduhlay is overthinking matchups, is so angry about losing last week that they want to prove a point, thinks you can rest starters in fantasy football or are willing to part with Steven Jackson in a deal that hasn't been so lopsided since the Louisiana Purchase. Offer Vanduhlay Bernard Berrian for Jackson and see which of the four options it is.
If Larry Johnson and Edgerrin James are ever going to do anything, this is the week. However, it is more likely that they are never going to do anything. Dante Rosario's foot injury makes it unlikely that he can pull away from Lance Briggs in coverage and Roy Williams is never as good as people think he will be. Plus, Tony Romo plays a much better defense this week. More bad times are in works for Newbomb Turk. Bad times like when they got that flat tire the other night. But in an odd coincidence, Tony Romo stopped to help them out. Chris Chambers, of course, saw TK stranded and kept driving.
The Pick: Vanduhlay wins so big that on Tuesday they'll capitalize the I in industries to celebrate. Vanuduhlay industries 102 - Newbomb Turk 71.
Crafton Tough Kids (1-0) at LetsGoPens (0-1)
Piece of business right up front. Carson Palmer sucks. Sure, it's like 65% Bengals and 35% him, but he still sucks. Actually, that's too harsh. It's like 99.95% Bengals. They're the Ivory soap of suck. Carson will be good one day if he's ever traded or the team is ever sold, but this Tuesday, he will suck. Albert Haynesworth is going to make people think Carson has some odd fetish where he can only get off with a huge black man laying on top of him. It will be ugly.
But! The rest of the Crafton Tough Kids are so tough that Carson can just kind of hang out in the background while everybody else drunkenly brawls. Then, when the cops show up with the wagon, he can just hang around in the shadows like he wasn't a part of it. Fitzgerald will definitely score a TD this week against Miami because Boldin won't, and either Ward or Miller are sure to get one as well. Cotchery could have a nice day against a weak Patriots secondary and as long as Marion the Barbarian isn't too hurt, he should find the end zone as well. So many touchdowns. I bet it's fun.
Marc Bulger is a colossally bad play against the Giants. And even that assessment I feel could be too gentle. Owens always plays well against Philadelphia even though T.O. has B.O. and Calvin Johnson should be okay, but McFadden is a little dinged up. Wouldn't it be something if this game came down to Ronnie Brown on the Pens against Ricky Williams on the Tough Kids? The answer is yes. Unfortunately, that probably won't happen.
The Pick: Crafton Tough Kids 83 - LetsGoPens 64
Purple Swirls (1-0) at St. A's Crusaders (1-0)
The only battle of unbeatens this week is the five-star WVFL Battle of the Week and it's going to be a close one. Although Chris Johnson seemingly has a delightful day coming up against the Bungles, LenDale WhiTe is still the starter and goal line back in Tennessee. Reggie Brown might not play for Philly this week, but he probably will play for the Swirls since Steve Smith is still suspended (punching) and Caulen seems loathe to dump Julius Jones for a fill-in receiver. Hey, it's his team. Ray Rice might have trouble against a decent Houston front line, especially since L. McClain actually got more Baltimore carries last week than Rice did. (Fun game: The first person to correct comment on what the L. stands for wins...a prize of some sort.) Houshmacinco is stuck in Cincinnati and David Garrard is also affected by the Jacksonville offensive line woes that have been mentioned in basically every preview to this point.
But it's not like the Crusaders are replacing question marks with exclamation points or anything. Even without Colston, Brees will be okay against Washington, but the drool-inducing matchup against Detroit could be short-circuited by Ryan Grant's sweet and tender hamstring. Matt Cassell and Wes Welker are both white as condensed milk, but that doesn't mean a pass from one will be caught by the other, and Santana Moss is collateral damage in the implosion that is Jason Campbell's seventh offensive system in seven years. As unbelievable as it sounds, this game could be decided by Brian Griese and Joey Galloway. Jesus. When Joey Galloway was a rookie, the only baby Bristol Palin had was made out of plastic and had painted-on hair.
The Pick: The winner of this low scorefest will be tied for first. Undeservedly so. St. A's Crusaders 68 - Purple Swirls 59
Deathfromabove (1-0) at Atlas Shruggz (0-1)
If the WVFL was Madden '09, Deathfromabove would be going from Rookie level last week to Junior High this week. After Matt Forte Sunday night, I am literally afraid of what Adrian Peterson will do to the Colts this week. Dallas Clark is out this week and it doesn't even matter. DFA could sit everybody but Burress and Peterson and still win in a romp. Let's just move on. I'm tired of talking about how easy it will be for DFA this week.
Instead, let's talk about how impossible it will be for Atlas Shruggz. It's a feat in itself for somebody who went 2-5 with picks last week to speak with any certainty, but...
I. AM. ABSOLUTELY. POSITIVE. THAT. ATLAS. SHRUGGZ. HAS. NO. CHANCE.
Was it Ayn Rand that committed suicide? No...wait...it was Virginia Woolf. Well, if Ayn was alive to see this, she would consider a bottle of whiskey, a Costco-sized bottle of aspirin and a warm bath.
The Pick: Deathfromabove 95 - Atlas Shruggz 48
Stringfellow Hawks (1-0) at Lowcountry All Stars (1-0)
Oh. Hmm. Turns out the Swirls/Crusaders tilt is not the only battle of the undefeateds this week. And the Hawks and All Stars had more points last week. Okay, this is the five-star WVFL Battle of Week (!) and that other one is relegated to four-star status. It's a shame The Bullet Train might miss this one with a stubby toe. Ah, I'm sure Darren Sproles won't miss a beat. Don't be distracted by my coughing. Entirely unrelated. Not indicating skepticism at all. And if McGahee is out, Parker moves to RB and Ginn goes to W/R. I'm...uh...sure Willie Parker has three more TDs in him this week.
Eli is going to light up St. Louis as much as he can, but after that, things get spotty. Lee Evans hasn't scored double digits in consecutive weeks maybe ever, but Lynch should be able to run on a Jacksonville defense that can only be called good if you use the qualifier "used to be". Bush should be split out almost as often as he's in the backfield and...oh, who are we kidding? There's no way this team is the highest-scoring squad in the WVFL two weeks in a row.
The Pick: Lowcountry All Stars 91 - Stringfellow Hawks - 83