Tuesday, December 4, 2012

FAABulous: Fantasy Football Pick-ups Week 14

Andy Reid's squad is crumbling around him. (sports.yahoo.com)

FAABulous will recap the week of football activity and point fantasy owners where to spend their hard earned (not really) FAAB or waiver priority. Players will be owned in at most 50% of Yahoo! FFL. This is the one time where mo' money probably wouldn't mean mo' problems.

When Eagles' owner/CEO Jeffrey Lurie said at training camp that another 8-8 year wouldn't be acceptable for Andy Reid and his regime in Philadelphia, he could have never guessed those words would echo so much through the entire season. Those words have made tangible what was once just a whimsical dream of some ill-informed 94WIP caller; the call to fire Andy Reid.

Perhaps Lurie did not think of the implications of making such a statement at the time. Maybe he was optimistic that this Eagles team would finally be the one that gets that Super Bowl crown. A year removed from Vince Young's "Dream Team" nonsense and with a full training camp, they could focus on winning football games. But Lurie, who is more of a behind the scenes owner, let's his football people handle the football stuff, and will generally only address the media at the beginning and end of each season, doesn't seem like the kind of person to say anything off the cuff. When he put his long-time friend in the cross-hairs like that, he meant it, and I wouldn't be surprised if he shared those comments privately with Reid before giving the media and fans the only soundbite they'd need for this season.

Then again, he didn't exactly levy a death sentence to Big Red:

"Again, I am not going to make blanket statements. I really wanted to try to explain to you that 8-8 was unacceptable. Yeah, I guess if two thirds of the team is not playing [then] there are always exceptions. That was a really unacceptable outcome. I just want to reiterate that." - Jeffrey Lurie, August 30, 2012

While that hangs over the dreadful Eagles season, what has resulted, beyond the win-loss record is a complete mess of a team. At any point during the season, blame can be placed on virtually anyone who cashes a check from the Philadelphia Eagles. Early on, it was Reid's fault, then it was Michael Vick's fault, then Juan Castillo the Eagles defense couldn't stop anyone, injuries were mounting, draft picks weren't performing, and now the team is in complete disarray. Not only has Reid's squad failed to live up to expectations for the second straight year, they are going out like the Hindenburg.

This season hasn't just been bad, it's been a systemic failure. Across the board, in every facet of football things have gone wrong, and there is no "One" that will save this team.

The reason Lurie should follow through and relieve Reid of his coaching duties at the end of the season has nothing to do with his record, but more to do with the fact that Reid lorded over every aspect of this football team. He wanted and was placed in a position to have final say on personnel moves and after Joe Banner left last season, had full say on money being handed out in contracts. The system Reid built has collapsed around him.

As we continue towards the end of the season, it's almost been comical the moves that Reid has made to attempt to right the ship or find a quick fix to this ailing team.

Firing Juan Castillo has clearly backfired. The offensive line coach turned defensive coordinator did fairly well considering how ridiculous the first half of this sentence sounds. Reid elected to put his friend in that position, and when the team couldn't stop anyone on defense early in the season, Castillo was the first to go. Since then, under interim coach Todd Bowles, the defense has actually played much worse.

Next, Reid released Jason Babin, who led the Eagles in sacks last year and was a two time Pro Bowl selection. This wasn't terribly shocking as Babin has not been effective at all this year. Plus, removing him from the roster opened up playing time for Brandon Graham and Vinny Curry to see what they could offer the future of the franchise. Babin was also on the way out due to his paycheck and that Reid had finally conceited that the Wide-9 technique that Babin flourishes in (because all you do is rush the QB; run defense is overrated, bro) will also be going bye-bye.

This displeased d-line coach Jim Washburn who was a fan of Babin's and brought in by Reid to implement the Wide-9. Washburn was let go yesterday.

It has been complete chaos. A season filled with bad moves, and dealing with the results of years of mismanagement.

Sprinkle in significant injuries to Jason Peters, Michael Vick, LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, Jeremy Maclin, Todd Herremans, Jason Kelce, and Danny Watkins (meh, but he was a starting O-lineman) - and it's just one big pot of disaster soup.

Normally, this would lead to the inevitable downfall of any NFL head coach. But Andy, in an evil genius sort of way, has turned things into such a clusterfuck and has driven his bus over more people than a blind guy during an elementary school fire drill that with so much collateral damage and rubble to sift through, who can you really blame? Well, the answer is Reid, stupid, but things are in such disarray, if Reid's close friend Jeffrey Lurie can't see the forest for the trees and pin point that Reid was the crux for all of this, then it's not completely crazy that Lurie would let Reid clean house, accept a diminished GM role, which would go to Howie Roseman, and this season would be such a mess that Reid gets a mulligan.

I think that would be a less than likely scenario, but it isn't out of the question.

It would be a failure to not mention that before the season started, Reid endured the death of his son Garrett.  This is not an excuse for a season that's resulted after years of decisions, but still it is something that must weigh heavily on Reid. Garrett was trying to rehabilitate himself and overcome his drug addiction, but ultimately the drugs won out. Reid, Lurie, Roseman and the entire organization handled the situation extremely professionally. So much that this aspect of the season has largely been swept under the rug. Reid nor media nor fans want Garrett to serve as an excuse, but the impact of something like this can galvanize a team or distract it.This isn't the reason for how this season has went, but it is a part.

The thing Eagles fans have to acknowledge that Reid is a well above average NFL head coach. He's gotten a little too much power, and he's gone down a similar path to tarnish his reputation like his mentor Mike Holmgren has, but if Reid is fired and wants to coach next year, a team will hire him.

Whoever is coaching the Eagles next year, it will be a complete overhaul. Virtually a new team. I can't imagine any coach other than Reid keeping his job, and thanks to words written in contracts players like Vick, Nnamdi Asomugha, Trent Cole, along with the other free agents and low hanging fruit on the roster.

Oh, the humanity, indeed.

Playoffs are approaching; if not here already, so let's see if there are some players to save your sinking ship.

Home or away, Russell Wilson has shown he can get you fantasy points. (usatoday.com)
Russell Wilson, QB - SEA (23% owned) ARI

Wilson hasn't been a FAABulous selection yet. Can't believe it. Well, I can because he used to be an average at home, terrible on the road QB. Well, now he's the 37th ranked player in Yahoo! FF and his last two road games at Miami and at Chicago he's put up 20.76 and 26.82 points respectively. Better yet, he gets the Cardinals in Seattle this week. If you're looking for a QB, he's an easy add.

Vick Ballard, RB - IND (37%) TEN

The less than news worthy battle for running back supremacy, Ballard appears to be preferred over Donald Brown. It's always hit or miss whether Ballard will score, but you have to like being able to tie yourself to the Andrew Luck wagon. Two of the last three games are against Houston, but by Week 14, the Texans could be in cruise control.


Tony Scheffler, TE - DET (1%) @GB

FAABulous favorite Ryan Broyles broke his leg and is out for the year. Shame, especially after his Wes Welker comps started flying around. Former FAABulous un-favorite Titus Young is ruining his life somewhere, and it'll be hard to expect much out of new acquisition Mike Thomas. In spite of Brandon Pettigrew being ahead of Scheffler in the pecking order, his sure hands have made him a viable target for Matthew Stafford.


PENNY SAVED IS A PENNY EARNED

Greg McElroy, QB - NYJ (0%) @JAX

Come on, cuz. Good to see Mark Sanchez finally get benched during what was the worst game of the year, but the guy is on the hook for $8.5M next year. He's getting the gig back over the 'Bama alum.

THE 1%

James Casey, RB - HOU (1%) @NE

Looking ahead to Texans in chill mode, Casey is a player that always seems to be able to get a touchdown when he plays. He has 3 TDs this year in extremely limited play, and while he is more valuable as a TE than a RB, he could come into play during the playoff weeks if you need a phantom TD.

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