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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 5

October 01, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Well the first quarter of the season is officially over, how have you done so far? I am comfortably sitting at 3-1 alone in second place. I don’t have too much time so lets get to it. The options are getting slimmer and slimmer each week. I hope there is something here you can use on your way to you championship.

Quarterback:

Eli Manning, New York Giants- Ranked 6th in overall scoring Manning is quietly working his way back to fantasy relevance after multiple disappointing seasons. His 17.5 fantasy pts per game put him ahead of names like Brees, Stafford, and Brady. This week he is going up against an Atlanta team that loves to score points but also loves to give them up. This game should be a shoot-out.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs- After routing the Brady-lead Patriots on Monday night I don’t see how you can ignore Alex Smith any longer. The former #1 pick is putting together one of his strongest seasons and I am not even sure who he is throwing to. He is ranked 12th overall which means statistically he could be starting in most leagues yet he is only owned in 15% of them. He has 7 touchdowns and 3 interceptions. All 3 interceptions came in week 1 which means for the last 3 weeks he has been a top 5 quarterback.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens- Once again not a sexy pick but consistency is always the theme. Sure I could throw up Bridgewater or Boyles but if you are looking for a sure thing you have to consider Flacco. Another quarterback ranked in the top 12 (10th) that isn’t starting for anyone. If your drafted started was Brady, Newton, RG III, Foles or Wilson you would have been better off starting Smith over the first 4 weeks. That has to be worth something.

Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings- Speak of the devil. Here is the sexy pick of the week. How do ignore a guy who throws for over 300 yards and runs for almost 30 yards and touchdown. Even more impressive is that he was able to do it with a Vikings offense minus AP. Sure they were able to run for 200 yards which opens up the passing game, but Teddy could be this year’s Foles.

Running Back:

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings- Wow, multiple Vikings on the same waiver wire. Same thoughts for Bridgewater apply to McKinnon as well. How do you ignore a guy of runs for 135 on 18 carries? He didn’t find the endzone but he racked up massive yards. Available starting running backs are few and far between so if you have to take a shot, McKinnon will get more chances to prove what he can do.

Wide Recievers:

Eddie Royal, San Diego Chargers- Leading the Chargers in targets as well as touchdowns, Royal is the real deal and have become a must start in all leagues. He is a strong #2 receiver or flex option. With Gates and Allen receiving most of the defense attention and a lack of a running game, Royal will continue to see ball coming his way.

Rueben Randle, New York Giants- When your offense scores as much as the Giants did this week your players are going to get a little more attention. There were high hopes for Randle this season lining up opposite Victor Cruz. 89 yard on 8 catches are the numbers those of us who drafted him were hoping for. If this is Giants team that shows up the rest of the season picking up Randle will be a steal.

Devin Hester, Atlanta Falcons- Another interesting pick because he still gets the occasional punt or kickoff return. Falcons are planning to continue to use him as part of their weekly passing attack. With Douglas and White nursing injuries, Hester could be a nice bye week fill in.

Tight End:

Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs- Kelce is the go to TE for Alex Smith and he has shown in the last couple of weeks that they look for him in the redzone. The return of Jamal Charles will take more pressure off the passing game, opening up more opportunities. There are not to many good targets on this team and with Smith playing at a pro-bowl level I see Kelce continuing to get his piece of fantasy scoring pie.

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts- Luck is throwing the ball so much that Allen is always going to be a threat. He has respectively scored 12, 9, and 10pts is 3 games this season. If you can look passed his goose egg against Philly and pick him up you won’t be disappointed.

Larry Donnell, New York Giants- A guy who has been getting targets since week 1. In 4 games his catch totals read 5, 7, 6, 7 and 4 touchdowns. Yes, I know that 3 of those touchdowns happened on Thursday night but the upside is still there. If I had to use my waiver this week, I think Donnell is the best skill option on the board.

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NFL Week 4 Recap, 1st Quarter Quick Shot Analysis

September 30, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Recap from Questions and Predictions for Week 4

The Lions go full dud against the Jets during the game, Jets win. – WRONG – The Lions controlled much of this game from the start and Geno Smith continues to underwhelm as an NFL Quarterback. Sunday was Smith’s 20th start of his career and although his career record isn’t that bad (9 wins, 11 losses) his other statistics are below par for the course for what it takes. Smith has a career completion percentage of 58% and combines that with 16 touchdowns and 26 interceptions as a NFL QB. Jets fans are rumbling for Michael Vick to take over the show in New York. I don’t think Vick starts against the Chargers next week but will finish the game.

Ryan Tannehill is not benched and starts, Dolphins defeat the Raiders. – RIGHT – The thought that the Dolphins were honestly considering the benching of Ryan Tannehill befuddled me all last week. Thankfully the Dolphins did start Tannehill and he helped lead them to a thrashing of a helpless Raider team. – Side note – If London does get an American Football team I hope they get better choices than the Raiders or Jaguars.

Bold Prediction from Week 4: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win of the season. – RIGHT – I will reiterate from the last blog that the Steelers are notorious for playing down to their opponent’s talent. They did have the lead very late in the game but they let Mike Glennon and Louis Murphy (Murphy who was just picked up off the street this week mind you) drive down the field late and get the victory. The funny thing with the Steelers is that I don’t expect a double dud against the Jaguars next week. The Steelers always tend to perform better after one of these “wake up” games

Guaranteed Lock from Week 4: The Bears continue to bury the Packers this season with a win on Sunday.  – WRONG – Aaron Rodgers spoke to the media and the Green Bay fan base last week telling everyone to “relax”. Okay so everyone did as instructed and low and behold the Packers finally looked like the team everyone expected them to be to start the season. Winners from start to finish. Rodgers had 4 TD’s and Randall Cobb finally complemented Jordy Nelson for what seems to be the first time all season.

Tony 1st Quarter Stats: My prediction and guess record total through the first 4 games is 9-7. Specifically I have been 3-0 in my bold predictions and in my guaranteed locks I am 2-1.

Bold Prediction for Week 5: The Arizona Cardinals beat Peyton Manning and the Broncos. The Cardinals have a great defense and a very underrated secondary. I expect this game to unfold exactly like the Bronco/Seahawk rematch from 2 weeks ago. Low scoring, Arizona leads most of the time and Peyton makes a late push to no avail. The Cardinals go to 4-0.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 5: The Cincinnati Bengals remain undefeated by beating the New England Patriots. Listen folks, the Bengals are for real all over the field with defense, offense and special teams. Tom Brady had a rough time against this team last year in Cincinnati (even when it wasn’t raining) and although I expect a decent showing from the Patriots they just have been too shaky to me to have them give the Bengals their first loss.

Best 1st Quarter Team: Cincinnati Bengals (3-0). The Bengals are solid on offense, great on defense and are proven regular season winners (especially within their own division). I expect heavy pressure from the Ravens in the 2nd quarter of the season for the top spot in the AFC North.  Honorable mention for best team – San Diego Chargers (3-1).

Worst 1st Quarter Team: Jacksonville Jaguars (0-4). They are making strides with finally naming Blake Bortles the starter but their team has huge question marks with a very young wide receiving corps, weak backfield and defense. I don’t know if its talent, coaching or both but whatever it may be it’s just not working. Honorable mention for worst team– Oakland Raiders (0-4)

Surprise 1st Quarter team: Minnesota Vikings (2-2). This is a tough team. They lose arguably the best Running Back in football to off the field issues for the foreseeable future, lose their preseason starting Quarterback and still manage a .500 record? Hats off to the Vikings and best of luck for the rest of the season. Teddy Bridgewater really shined in his first started this past Sunday.  Honorable mention for surprise team: New Orleans Saints (1-3)

1st Quarter League MVP: DeMarco Murray, RB, Dallas Cowboys - Leads league in rushing yards (534), Rush TD’s (5) and carries per game (24.8)

Runner-up: Andrew Luck, QB, Indianapolis Colts (leads league in passing yards (1,305), pass TD’s (13) and tied for league lead in completions (115).

3rd: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers (2nd in the league in rushing yards (378), 2nd in average yards per game (94.5) and currently 3rd in the league in reception yards as a RB (192)

1st Quarter Defensive MVP:  JJ Watt, DE, Houston Texans – 2 sacks, 1 interception, 1 defensive TD, 3 passes defensed and 1 fumble recovery)

Runner up: Andre Branch, DE, Jacksonville Jaguars – Tied for 4th in the league in sacks (3), Tied for 2nd in forced fumbles (2).

3rd: Kyle Fuller, DB, Chicago Bears – Tied for 1st in the league in interceptions (3), tied for 5th in passes defensed (4) and tied for 2nd in forced fumbles (2)  

Stats that will help you win money from your friends:

  • Oakland Raiders Rookie Quarterback, Derek Carr has started all 4 games for the Raiders this season and has only been sacked a total of 3 times (tied for least in the NFL with a minimum of 3 starts). Who’s the league leader? That would be Chad Henne who was sacked 16 times in roughly 3 games behind center for the Jacksonville Jaguars (before being benched for Blake Bortles).
  • Demarco Murray is the only Running Back to average OVER 100 yards rushing per game this season. The next closest is the Steelers’ Le’Veon Bell with a 5 rushing yard average.
  • The Cleveland Browns are the only team in the NFL to not have ANY offensive turnovers this season! That’s counting BOTH fumbles and interceptions. The Browns, Patriots, Cardinals and Panthers are the only teams that have yet to throw an interception. The team leading the NFL in total offensive turnovers? That’s a tie with the Atlanta Falcons and Tampa Bay Buccaneers both with 10 total.
  • Demarco Murray and Le’Veon Bell have dominated some of my statistics for the blog this week. Naturally that would lead you to believe that the Cowboys and the Steelers should be battling it out for 1st and 2nd in the league in rushing right? Well that’s partially The Cowboys check in as the league’s best rushing team (660 total yards) and the Steelers check in 3rd (575 total yards). Can you guess who’s second? That would be the New York Jets with 605 total team yards rushing.

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Fantasy Football Week 4 Sleepers

September 26, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Now that the bye weeks have officially arrived, it is time to identify some sleepers to target either from the waiver wire or your own bench. There are some interesting and unlikely options available that prevent your team from suffering the bye week blues.

Once again I try to go for the not-so obvious players here. I like to find the sleepers that have great matchups, a proven history, and are real bargains you can either find off of the waiver wire, your bench, or in the bargain bin of weekly fantasy games. So with that said here are a few guys that you won’t see at the top of anyone’s Start/Sit list and that is a good thing if you are looking for some sneaky plays.

For consistency purposes I will once again use the ESPN consensus FF rankings as my baseline.

Let’s take a look at how my projected sleepers panned out last week.

I think I did much better last week with my sleeper picks. Now I’ll be the first to admit my tight end recommendations sucked! But, if you listened to my sleepers you wound up using two guys that wound up fifth overall in points at their position. To put Ryan Fitzpatrick’s week into perspective, he finished ahead of Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and even Matt Ryan who had a monster game. Bradhsaw is a beast and is no longer a sleeper on anyone’s radar nor should he ever have been. Donald Brown certainly had the opportunity yet I think the Bills are a much better run defense than people give them credit for.

Geno Smith 18
Steve Smith 10
Donald Brown 8
Ryan Fitzpatrick 24 (Fifth overall)
DeSean Jackson 17 (Fifth overall)
Ahmad Bradshaw 13 (12th Overall)
Charles Clay 2
Zach Miller 1

Now that I have some accountability taken, let’s take a look at this week’s sleepers.

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills – As long as ESPN continues to bury Fitzpatrick I’ll continue to exploit him as a sleeper. Fitzpatrick is ranked 15th behind Alex Smith and Cam Newton this week. Blasphemy! What is the intangible to this game? Revenge! Fitzpatrick is playing his old team and I love revenge game sleepers (see DeSean Jackson last week). The Bills rank 21st against fantasy QBs (tied for 18th in TDs given up) and were lit up last week at home. They have given up 21, 14, and 18 points a game. I think the situation makes for a beautiful game by Fitzpatrick.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys – Romo is currently ranked #12 in the consensus rankings. Are you kidding me? I can’t think of a better matchup for Romo than the New Orleans Saints at home. The Saints defense is overrated, the Cowboys know Rob Ryan’s tendencies, and the Cowboys will have to score to keep up with New Orleans. Romo averages over 20 points a game against the Saints although to be fair his last game was a clunker in 2013 (the game before that he put up 36.8 points). The Saints are currently ranked 18th against fantasy QBs but have only given up 4 TDs in three games, shutting out the Vikings last week.

Running Backs

Chris Ivory, New York Jets – This is a gut call here. The Detroit Lions have a real good defense this year. I think the loss of Stephen Tulloch could change that. His totals have decreased weekly which bothered me but I do think there that had something to do with defenses and game situations. Calvin Johnson is hurt which means that the Lions could struggle in the air, thus could be a game where the Jets shove the run down their throats. I like Ivory a little bit on Sunday but much better than his 20 ranking.

Steven Jackson, Atlanta Falcons – I never thought the day would come where S Jax is a sleeper but it’s here. Jackson is ranked #23 which I think is way too low for the former standout RB. I am going on a few things here. One, player history. Jackson averages over 18 points per game against the Vikings. It was light years ago but Jackson even put up 40.6 points in one game. Two, I think the Falcons are going to roll over the Vikings. I think the Falcons are going to keep it on the ground and give Jax some work. Three, I think the Falcons will get some turnovers and start drives in great positions. Four, the Vikes have given up a TD to RBs in each of their last two games.

Wide Receivers

Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys – I am going for a real deep sleeper here. Williams had bust-out potential coming into this year’s draft and has been fairly consistent with the exception of a putrid week 2. I’d like to think that Romo has gotten some of his mojo back and the Cowboys will be airing it out a bit on Sunday. One thing you have to love is that the Saints do not play well on the road. On the road, the Saints have given up a TD in each game and come in ranked 25th overall against WRs. I look for Williams to have a game much better than his 29 ranking.

Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers – This is it Keenan Allen. This is the week you must deliver because the excuse of great defenses doesn’t hold water in week 4. The Chargers play a Jacksonville Jaguars team that is ranked 21st against WRs and ranked as the worst overall against fantasy QBs. Those numbers are a little deceiving as they had one good game and two real bad ones in my opinion. The Jags will be traveling across the country to San Diego to play a Chargers team that is red hot. Allen has been held down by some real good defenses but this week he gets a Jags team that was just torched in Indy for almost 400 yards and four TDs by Andrew Luck. Allen comes in at 17 this week and I think he puts up top ten numbers.

Stevie Johnson, San Francisco 49ers – I had high expectations coming into the season for Johnson. I actually took him with my last pick in the draft. It took a week but he is finally coming around. He has a juicy matchup this week against the overall 30th ranked team against fantasy WRs in the Philadelphia Eagles at home. Johnson put up double digits for the first time last week against an Arizona Cardinals team which isn’t that bad. The Eagles have done a terrific of job of sleeping on QBs early in games this season, thus giving up big numbers to WRs on a consistent basis. I see no reason why that changes this week and Johnson is exactly the kind of receiver that can burn Philly. I think Johnson also burns his 46th overall ranking this week right down to the ground.

Tight Ends

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers – Miller is the 13th ranked TE on this week’s ESPN board and I think that is way too low for this matchup. Miller has had a slow start and the Steelers offense has been inconsistent. But, the Steelers get a Tampa Bay team that is ranked 18th against TEs and 18th against QBs. Lance Moore is supposed to return to the lineup which take some coverage away from Miller and could open up some red zone opportunities. Call it a hunch but I see Miller having a nice day in Pittsburgh on Sunday.

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NFL Week 3 Recap and Week 4 Questions

September 24, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Week 3 recap, Week 4 questions

  • I have absolutely no clue what the deal is with the Dallas Cowboys. After an ultra-disappointing start to the season against the 49ers, the Cowboys trounced the Titans and then this past Sunday they spotted the Rams a 21 point lead before winning and moving to 2-1. Now all of a sudden the Cowboys head home to face a Saints team that one can argue is underperforming with the best of them this season. The Cowboys need to continue to give the ball to Demarco Murray. Murray is an above average back but there has been too many times when the offense gets pass happy and forgets about the simplest way to control a game. It’s not an unrealistic discussion that the Cowboys could be 3-1 after Sunday.
  • Let me just say that there are moral victories in sports for some, however, there are not moral victories if your name is Peyton Manning and/or you play for an elite team. I have read and talked to too many people since Sunday’s game “Oh, it was a moral victory for the Broncos’” “Oh they did better than the Superbowl!” “Oh, third time’s a charm!” Cut me a break. We are talking about the greatest regular season quarterback in NFL history and a Broncos’ team that is 28-7 in the regular season since Manning has taken over. Manning has now lost again to Seattle for the second time in 2014. It doesn’t matter that this game was in Seattle where the Seahawks are near unbeatable. Manning has now lost again to Seattle. Moral victories are for when your team is 0-15 and you’re facing the best team in the league and you only lose by 10 instead of 30 like you were supposed to. I also want to comment that it’s laughable to me that there are discussions currently about how the overtime rules should be changed again just because Peyton Manning didn’t get the ball in overtime. Denver’s defense looked pretty stellar in the 3rd and 4th quarter, couldn’t they hang on for one more drive?
  • The Jacksonville Jaguars are finally making the right decision and it only took 2 months to get there. After surprising a few folks (I honestly don’t know how this was a surprise) the Jaguars took Blake Bortles second overall in this year’s draft. With the spotlight on them, the Jaguars then foolishly announced during the preseason that Chad Henne was the starter and that Bortles would see no action this season at all. What were they thinking? The Jags have been good for all of 2 quarters this season (Leading 17-0 against Eagles in Week 1). Did they really think another season of Henne would be alright? Thankfully the Colts were obliterating the Jaguars bad enough that they reversed their poor decision and gave the ball to Bortles. Roughly 10 seconds after the game was completed, Bortles was named starter for the rest of the season. I’m not saying that this team would be 3-0 right now with Bortles as the quarterback but surely this offense would have been run better without Henne under center.

Questions for Week 4

Can the Detroit Lions make up their minds of what exactly they want to do every week? For the last few years, under Jim Schwartz, the Lions have been the most Jekyll and Hyde team in the NFL. They have adopted that same style of play under new Head Coach Jim Caldwell. One week it looks like Lions fans should book Superbowl tickets and the next week they should be preparing for the #1 pick in the draft. Week 1 this season saw the Lions destroy the Giants. Week 2 saw them lay the biggest dud of the week (arguably) against the Panthers and then Week 3 they beat Aaron Rodgers. That’s the same Aaron Rodgers who is lifetime 9-1 against them! If it doesn’t get more frustrating for the Lions, they head to New York to play the Jets who are the AFC version of the Lions! I don’t think either team will know what to do with the other one this coming Sunday.

My Guess: The Lions go full dud mode against the Jets during the game, Jets win.

Are the Dolphins really going to quit on Ryan Tannehill already? I felt the Dolphins made the right move in 2012 by drafting Ryan Tannehill at #8 overall. Tannehill was the 3rd quarterback taken that year in the top 10 (Luck #1, RG III #2) and he was supposed to provide an instant upgrade for the team. He hasn’t been that bad (16-19 W/L record, close to 8,000 career passing yards and more touchdowns than interceptions). When the Dolphins lost to the Chiefs this past Sunday, Head Coach Joe Philbin was asked if Tannehill would remain the starter and to my amazement he didn’t refute or try to dispel any controversy. Is Philbin going to really go with Matt Moore? Joe Philbin is all but finished with Miami after this year (the Dolphins looked awful off coming off the Jonathan Martin fiasco last season) unless there are great strides in the win department. Benching Tannehill might just speed up the process and make Philbin the first mid-season termination this year in the NFL.

My Guess: Tannehill is not benched and starts, Dolphins defeat the Raiders.

Bold Prediction for Week 4: The Tampa Bay Buccaneers upset the Pittsburgh Steelers for their first win of the season. The Steelers are notorious for playing down to their opponent’s talent. Sure they destroyed a good Carolina Panther team last Sunday but typically the Steelers always get into these ugly “trap” games with a lesser opponent and the result is always 50/50. Even if the Steelers do win, it’s more of an 18-15 slugfest kind of an ugly game instead of a landslide victory. I like the Buccaneers for the upset here. Plus, we are talking about a Steelers team that is depleted at linebacker and just signed retired veteran James Harrison to try and fill a void.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 4: The Bears continue to bury the Packers this season with a win on Sunday. Something’s not clicking for the Packers and I can’t figure out what it is. The have faced some very stingy rush defenses to start the year in Seattle, Detroit and the Jets. Facing these defenses has caused Eddie Lacy to not be able to return to his rookie year form yet. Don’t forget that the Packers were a giant comeback away from being 0-3. The universal “sexy” pick for the Superbowl this year is not looking so hot right now.

Recap from Questions and thoughts from Week 3

Doug Martin starts and plays the entire game Thursday but Bucs lose to Falcons and go to 0-3RIGHT AND WRONG – Doug Martin did not suit up for the game against the Falcons………and it wouldn’t have helped anyway. Buccaneers were humiliated on national TV losing 56-14 to the Falcons.

Texans win easily, move to 3-0. – WRONG – Oh boy. I made a case last week for the Texans to benefit from an easy schedule to start the season. Did someone send my piece to the Giants for that week? You can’t even use the Texans missing Arian Foster as an excuse (backup Alfred Blue rushed for a respectable 6 yard per carry average). The Giants had full control of that game from the opening kick to the end to get their first win and hand the Texans their first loss.

The Arizona Cardinals upset the 49ers to become 3-0 – RIGHTThe 49ers have been the worst 2nd half teams in the NFL this season. They have been outscored 52-3 in all second half play through 3 games. Blame referees all you want but this is horrendous offensive play for a team that simply isn’t playing up to their talent. And I know, I know, “The 49ers were 1-2 last year and made the playoffs”. Last year was last year and this defense is missing a lot of key components and the offense looks pedestrian at times. I’m starting to think that they will be in the middle of a huge mess by the time Navorro Bowman and Aldon Smith return.

Ravens over the Browns. —RIGHT — Although the Ravens did need a last second drive by Joe Flacco and a time expiring winning kick, the Browns still fell in defeat.

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 4

September 23, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Heading into week #4 is where most of us start to see our leagues taking shape and you have a pretty good idea how good your team is. With 3 weeks of statistical data to pull from we now can make roster changes and adjustments based on what we have seen as opposed to working on blind faith. Answers to some of the pre-season questions are starting to get answered. We can now say with confidence that Stephen Jackson is too old and Eddie Lacy looks a lot like Chris Johnson but not in a good way. The Saints defense isn’t going to be good and Bobby Rainey reminds us that you don’t have to be on a good team to score fantasy points.

I am sorry to say that if your team is really hurting you will not find much relief on the waiver wire this week. Even with all the injuries and suspensions we are seeing a serious lack of option in the skill positions. You will notice that this list will seem a bit redundant as there are still a few guys out there that I think should have been picked up. My hope is that they are still available because most of us had a strong draft and have not reached the desperation point. Remember, the players on this list are less than 60% owned, because I want you to know about guys that you have a chance of claiming. Let’s take a look at this week’s options.

Quarterback:

Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins- It baffles me that this guys is only owned in about 30% of leagues. After scoring double digits on his second straight performance (427yds, 3TD’s, 1INT) I believe that the secret is out and Cousins is an immediate fantasy impact player. RGIII looks to be out several weeks and it is highly possible that Cousins will finish out the season. He could very well be this years Nick Foles.

Alex Smith, Kansas City Chiefs- Similar to Joe Flacco you know what you are going to get with Smith. Smith has quietly earned a reputation for being a safe QB who takes care of the football. Put the 3INT performance of week 1 in your rear view because everyone has their bad games. Like Cousin he is coming off back to back double digit scoring weeks and appears to have turned it around. There are not too many double digit picks on wiavers as reliable as Smith.

Geno Smith, New York Jets- Smith plays for a bad team with not a lot of options, yet he has still put up respectable fantasy numbers so far this season scoring double digits in all 3 weeks. At the very least I would put him on my watch list.

Running back:

Matt Asiata, Minnesota Vikings- Out first repeat offender earns the top spot on this list simple because he is the starter. I have said it over and over and over again, you need to have the ball to score and this guy will have the ball. Bobby Rainey showed last week that you can have a horrible performance for a horrible team and still rack up 105 total yards. Look for them to run the ball as they try to protect rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater.

Receivers/Tight Ends:

Kelvin Benjamin, Carolina Panthers- Currently ranked in the top 10, Benjamin is filling the void left by Steve Smith and doing it well. He currently has more fantasy points than Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant and AJ Green. Many times high scoring unknown receivers get their points from 1 or 2 huge plays but that isn’t the case with Benjamin. He is the real deal with 16 catches on 27 targets. This guy should be starting in your #2 spot or at the very least your flex.

Miles Austin, Cleveland Browns- Austin has quietly put together back to back scoring weeks. At one time Austin was a fantasy power house before injuries slowed him down in Dallas. He has 14 catches on 19 targets and he is the only Browns receiver to find the endzone twice this season. As we are approaching bye weeks, you may want to stash him on your bench.

Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns- You might be thinking that it is insane to have 2 Brown on this list who are not named Josh Gordon. I am still waiting for Hawkins to find the endzone. He has been very consistent through the first 3 weeks of the season and that is a good sign. He has yet to score double digits but he is getting the targets, it is only a matter of time.

Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens- Daniels had a nice week #2 with 5 catches and 2 scores. Those stats came while Dennis Pitta was on the field. With Pitta out the rest of the season the door is wide open for Daniel to become the new security blanket for Joe Flacco.

Nile Paul, Washington Redskins- If you are in the market for TE, Paul is still a good bet. He ranks in the top 5 for targets, catches, and yards. Top TE’s are hard to find and right now he is player better than most. His QB threw for over 400 yards in week 3, I expect Paul’s rise to continue.

Blake Bortles Or Teddy Bridgewater On the Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

September 23, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Fantasy Football’s week 4 waiver wire offers up yet another opportunity and dilemma. Two starting QBs will hit the wire this week and whether you have a QB on bye or need a boost, both are appealing. But which of these two rookies do you hedge your bets on?

The waiver wire is a funny thing. It’s easy to tell you to go out and get this guy because he is a starter. Yet what casual players don’t realize is that when you are investing a pick, a spot, or money on a player you are also giving up a pick, a spot, and bidding money on another. That is why you need to choose your wire picks carefully, especially when you have two guys available at the same position.

Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles could make your life easier or tougher depending upon how badly you need a QB. If you need one, you will be going after one of these two guys. If you don’t, you may take a shot if you want to gamble. I can’t see any scenario where you would take either of these two guys as a starter in a 10-man league. You may have no other choice in deeper leagues. So which do you grab?

Blake Bortles was the third pick in the draft and is regarded by many as a future star in the NFL. He has all of the tools to make for a great franchise QB for the Jacksonville Jaguars. Bortles has been named the starter the rest of the way by the Jags. There is absolutely zero threat to Bortles losing his job in Jacksonville barring an injury.

Teddy Bridgewater slipped a bit in the draft and fell to the Minnesota Vikings with the second pick in the draft. Bridgewater comes from a pro-style offense and is arguably more NFL-ready than Bortles. His mobility and footwork are fantastic and can be a killer if the Vikings utilize the read option. I don’t believe that Bridgewater’s job is as secure as Bortles once Cassel is back from injury.

Bortles has much better talent around him than Bridgwater does. Bortles has a highly underrated group of young wide receivers around him while Bridgewater has Cordarrelle Patterson and nothing else. I would argue that Bridgewater has a much better line yet neither team has any real threat of a running attack (assuming Adrian Peterson doesn’t return). The line in Jacksonville presents a rough situation for Bortles.

While I think Bortles is more talented than Bridgewater, I think Bridgewater is going to put up better fantasy stays. You could see already that Norv Turner has implemented a very run-friendly playbook for Bridgewater. Bridgewater immediately came in and was executing designed runs. My hunch is that Norv will employ a heavy playbook of runs and read options for Bridgewater throughout the season, allowing him the offseason to develop more into a pocket passer.

As far as the schedules go I think that Bridgewater has the easier schedule for the next eight weeks or so while Bortles schedule is a lot tougher throughout the season. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Those rough outings could turn into a lot of garbage time points for Bortles while Bridgewater puts up more conservative numbers.

Again I wouldn’t expect either guy to come in and turn around your fantasy woes. However, I love Bortles upside here. I think Bridgewater will have some big games but teams are going to wise up fast to his run propensity. Bortles on the other hand has a much better receiver corps and is bound to put up a ton of garbage time points this season. I’d highly recommend Bortles over Bridgewater if you are split between the two on the wire.

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The NFL Is A Mess

September 20, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

I am a huge NFL fan. I love the wonderful, graceful, and talented NFL players that lay their bodies on the line for my entertainment.  I love seeing these people show off their talents. I like to discuss what happened in the games with other people.  Sports, such as the NFL are supposed to be a fun way to escape from the world’s problems.  We fans are supposed to be able to hang out in front of our TVs, or go to a bar, and watch our favorite teams play.

In the past few weeks, though, the NFL has been taking body blows from the media, political figures, fans, special interest groups, and sponsors due to illegal off the field activities by various players. Lately, the NFL coverage by ESPN and other outlets has turned into CNN, MSNBC, or Fox News. Instead of discussion of the games, there’s discussion of off the field issues concerning a couple of high profile players.  We’re hearing about issues concerning former Ravens RB Ray Rice (Domestic Violence), Panthers DL Greg Hardy (Domestic Violence arrest), 49ers DL Ray McDonald (Domestic Violence arrest), and most recently,  Vikings RB Adrian Peterson (Child Abuse indictment). I am not going to regurgitate the details, as I am sure my readers are aware of them.

These events have embroiled Commissioner Roger Goodell in controversy over the questionable handling of the Rice case. The image of the NFL has taken a huge hit.  The Owners and coaching staffs have been thrown for a loop as well. There’s a ton of public pressure on these coaching staffs to sit these players (Peterson, Hardy) down.  The Vikings already lost a “limited” sponsor in Radisson Hotels.

As a long time NFL fan, I have to say that the sport is a mess. I remember when NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took office in 2006, he was going to “clean up the NFL,” as far as disciplining players, coaches, and teams. Goodell was going to hold people accountable. Goodell was going to make money for the 32 owners, who are his bosses.

Now I’m not going to get into everything that’s happened under Goodell’s reign, but I will say that Goodell certainly has made more money for the NFL, and for the owners.  I have to say that Goodell did that part of his job description well.  I do wonder, at what cost?   Has Goodell come down on player misconduct?  Sure. Has he been consistent in that area? That, my readers, has been debatable.

There’s been a reason why I haven’t written an NFL blog since the season started. I am frustrated with how the NFL, from the 32 Owners to Roger Goodell, and especially the players are making an entire joke of what was once a very proud sport of which to be a fan.  As I said, guys such as Rice, Peterson, and Hardy are making the rest of the 2000 plus NFL players look like thugs, and I am seeing their respective owners trying to sweep their legal issues under the rug. It seems that the teams do the right thing, such as sitting the player down (Peterson and Hardy receive their salaries.) ONLY when enough public pressure (threat of lost money by sponsors) is put on them.

The excuse that the team owners, such as Vikings owners Zygi and Mark Wilf, and the NFL have drummed up is, “We’re trying to get it right.” I want to know what that expression means.  This is just my opinion, but it sounds like the NFL is having a hard time dealing with the fact that societal problems such as child abuse and domestic violence is at their doorstep. I also feel that the NFL as a whole doesn’t know what to do when it happens with one of their players. Goodell’s bungling, as well as the Ravens ‘ bungling of the Ray Rice case proves this.

As an American, I believe in the Constitution.  I am a believer in the Bill of Rights, Miranda Rights, all of it. However, from a public relations standpoint, in my opinion, it doesn’t look good to see a player, such as Adrian Peterson, who is indicted for child abuse, on the field. I know he’s innocent until proven guilty.  I just don’t think it makes sense for him to play.  He was deactivated for the Week 2 game against the New England Patriots. However, until pressure came from the Minnesota Governor, and Radisson Hotels (which suspended their endorsement deal) , then it dawned on the Vikings to put Peterson on the Exemption list, so Peterson could get paid and get through his legal problems.  Star DE Greg Hardy of the Panthers also met the same fate as well, as the Panthers had deactivated him Week 2, and weren’t sure about Week 3.

I don’t understand the rationale for allowing Peterson to play.  I’m a capitalist, but these owners have to have some moral compass. To defiantly give fans and the public the Stone Cold Salute (WWE HOFer Stone Cold Steve Austin would give the double bird as a taunt.) and attempt to put these players on the field just infuriates me. “Try to get it right?” How about some common sense?  I mean, when Anheuser-Busch and Pepsi made their statements, and Procter and Gamble withdrew support for a Breast Cancer Initiative, that’s when these NFL teams and the NFL finally got their acts together. Money talks.

I do want to say that Goodell is not entirely the blame.  The owners are not entirely the blame. Child abuse and domestic violence is a societal issue. These players, as well as the executives and owners come from all parts of society.  Society needs to take these issues seriously.  Society is supposed to change and develop new attitudes concerning domestic violence and child abuse.

I will give the NFL credit though. Calls to the National Domestic Violence Hotline increased 84% since the Ray Rice case.  The NFL has promoted women to positions concerning domestic violence.  A new domestic violence policy is in place. I applaud these moves, even though it feels like the NFL is closing the gate after the horse has run out.

The NFL is not going to solve the problems of society. However, I am hoping that possibly Roger Goodell got the message and from watching Goodell’s presser Friday, I am cautiously optimistic.  He said that there will be experts looking at how people are disciplined under the Personal Conduct Policy.  He said the NFL will be working with the National Domestic Violence Hotline and a National Sexual Assault Resource Center concerning domestic violence and child abuse. He said that the Personal Conduct needed to be reviewed and updated. I certainly hope that something changes for the better.

Even though I have a lot of skepticism, I hope the NFL can clean up its mess. I’m so tired of hearing these stories about yet another player arrested (most recently, Jonathan Dwyer of the AZ Cardinals for Domestic Violence) for these crimes. A few of these bad apples spoil the whole bunch.  The large majority of NFL players are stand up citizens.  I hope that we can hear more about them, and I hope we can hear more about the game we NFL fans love.

Fantasy Football Week 3 Sleepers

September 19, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

We are back for Week 3 and players are already starting to panic. One of the strangest weeks I can ever remember is finally put to rest and it is time to look ahead at this week’s sleepers and there are a few that should be on your radar.

Once again I try to go for the not-so obvious players here. I like to find the sleepers that have great matchups, a proven history, and are real bargains you can either find off of the waiver wire, your bench, or in the bargain bin of weekly fantasy games. So with that said here are a few guys that you won’t see at the top of anyone’s Start/Sit list and that is a good thing if you are looking for some sneaky plays.

For consistency purposes I will once again use the ESPN consensus FF rankings as my baseline.

Let’s take a look at how my projected sleepers panned out last week.

I could sit here and make excuses but I was fairly average on my predictions. I loved Josh McCown last week and he certainly lived up to expectations. Ryan Matthews left the game early but he was on pace to deliver a double-digit game, possibly on the higher end with the way the Chargers owned the Seahawks D. Allen Hurns got hurt and unfortunately dropped a big pass before he left the game. Unfortunately Fitzpatrick was the casualty of a great running game. As for Cooks, I should have known that the Saints are terrible on the road.

Chris Ivory 10
Ryan Matthews 5
Josh McCown 19
Ryan Fitzpatrick 13
Allen Hurns 1
Brandin Cooks 4
Jared Cook 4

Quarterbacks

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Houston Texans – I am going to go to the well with Fitzy one more week. Fitzpatrick is ranked #24 by the ESPN gurus which I think is a bit of an overreaction to last week. Here is what you need to know about the matchup. He plays the Giants and they stink! Their defense is ranked 18th against the QB but that is highly inflated thanks to the inept Drew Stanton. I do think the Giants offense is back and I think the Texans are going to need to throw to keep up. Plus, the Giants gave up 29 points to Matt Stafford in week 1. They aren’t that bad but they aren’t as good as the 6 they gave up against the Cards. I love Fitz to have 16+ this week in standard scoring leagues.

Geno Smith, New York Jets – Geno is a guy you really need to start looking at if you need QB help or play in a 2 QB league.  The guy is putting up consistent numbers and looks much better thus far after two weeks than he did last season. This week Geno comes in at #20 which I think is way too low. The Bears defense is not very good. They are ranked 22nd against QBs and have given up two big games to fairly average QBs in Kaepernick and Manuel. The Bears will also be playing on the road going cross country from playing in San Francisco last week to New York. The one thing that the Bears do have going for them is Jay Cutler and the Jets are going to need points to stay in this one. I look for a 17-20 point game out of Geno.

Running Backs

Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts – The 26th ranked RB deserves a lot more love this week. Bradshaw when healthy is a beast and guess what? He’s healthy! He is tearing it up and even as the number 2 RB he is putting up great numbers. He is ranked eighth among all RBs thus far. How in the world is he still ranked in the high 20s by experts? He is facing the 31st ranked team against the run in the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jags have a lot of work to do and there is a very good chance that the Colts will get up early and run for two quarters. It’s a division game so they won’t want to get cute. I love Bradshaw to put up top 10 or maybe even top 5 numbers this week.

Donald Brown, San Diego Chargers – Don Brown comes in at #33 on the consensus rankings list, a little low in my opinion. The Chargers looked great in week 2 and while week 1 was not as pretty, their running game was impressive. Quite honestly this offensive line has been one of the most underrated in the NFL in regards to run blocking going back to mid-last season. I love Brown behind this line and I think that the Bills are a great opponent for him. The Bills were lit up in Week 1 against Matt Forte yet played tight last week against the run. I think they are somewhere in the middle and I love Brown to put up about 60 yards and a TD which isn’t too shabby for #33.

Wide Receivers

DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins – Jackson comes in at a bargain with a 25 ranking by the ESPN boys. I think the revenge factor is being highly overlooked here. Plus, the Eagles defense is not very good…as usual. The Redskins will need to score to stay in the game and throwing is their only means of doing so. Jackson is bound to get at least 1 TD. Jackson always played well for the birds against rival opponents. The Eagles are now his rival, the Eagles players are still wondering why he isn’t in Eagle green, and I think Jackson takes advantage of the situation and goes off in a big way on Sunday.

Steve Smith, Baltimore Ravens – Smith comes in at #30 and I think he could put up top 15 numbers. Smith is quietly having a real nice season as a WR2/3 in Baltimore thus far. What I like here is what wide receivers have been able to do playing the other side of the field away from Joe Haden. Haden is likely to cover Torrey Smith which will leave a rookie CB on Smith. Smith could have a field day with this kid and the Ravens are going to want to keep the momentum of the Pittsburgh steamroll going. Smith is number three in targets among all WRs this season. The Ravens also have a few extra days to prepare. I love Smith thanks to all of the above.

Tight Ends

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins – Clay comes in at #15 which is fairly respectable although I think he could be a top eight this week. Clay gets a juicy matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs who are hardly the demolishing defense they were last year. The Chiefs are 27th against the TE and more importantly, have given up three TDs to tight ends already this season. Granted two went to Julius Thomas but Delanie Walker also nabbed one in Week 1. I think Clay is underrated and the Dolphins offense is struggling. With a shaky running back situation I think Tannehill looks to his tight end to exploit this favorable matchup.

Zach Miller, Seattle Seahawks – I am going to go real deep here on a sleeper play. Miller is the 23rd ranked tight end by ESPN experts this week. They may be right but there are some things going his way although to be fair this is a big reach. One and most importantly, is a terrible defense against tight ends. The Denver Broncos cannot stop tight ends. They have given up double digit points to TEs each week thus far, including a TD in week 1. The Seahawks need to get back on track and they need to take advantage of this matchup. Playing at home also bodes well for Miller.

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NFL Week 2 Recap and Week 3 Questions

September 17, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Major talking points from Week 2

  • The Pittsburgh Steelers defense is still frustrating to watch. By the end of the first half in Week 1 the Steelers were manhandling the Browns. Social media was running wild of a surprise 13-3 season and numerous theories on how much improved the offense and defense looked (finally). All was looking well……and then the second half happened. Although I am a proponent of “a win is a win”, that doesn’t fix the glaring issues this team had and still has this season. After holding on for a last second field goal victory in Week 1, it was a quick turnaround to play the Ravens on the road in Week 2. The opening drive ended prematurely with a turnover and the Ravens seemed to take over the game from there. The last six games the Steelers have played, four of them have produced opponent totals of over 100 yards rushing (two straight to start this season). The Steelers need a quick improvement with the rush defense before heading to Carolina to face the Panthers on Sunday night. If they can barely contain running backs this season, what’s going to happen when Cam Newton is under center?
  • Kirk Cousins has a chance to end former #2 overall selection Robert Griffin III’s career with the Redskins. Griffin left the game this past Sunday with a dislocated ankle. There is never a good time to be injured but for RGIII to have a potentially season altering injury this season, of all seasons, could change his career forever. RGIII has been one of the most criticized figures in DC and the NFL the past two years. Unconfirmed rumors from the preseason that mentioned new Head Coach Jay Gruden would have preferred to make Cousins the starter over Griffin in the first place all point to signs of RGIII’s time ending in Washington. The only thing that could possible give him another season was if Griffin showed significant improvement and promise this season. If Cousins can make this team salvageable and competitive every week then I can hear the discussions now; “How lucky were the Colts to take Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf and then take Andrew Luck over Robert Griffin III?”
  • The Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are not infallible. Last week I wrote about how impressive Seattle was in beating Green Bay and San Francisco simply made the Cowboys look like a collegiate team (somewhere between division 3 and 2). The Seahawks took an early lead on the Chargers Sunday on a play that should have been called back but that didn’t faze the Chargers. Antonio Gates looked like the Antonio Gates from 4-5 years ago (97 yards receiving, 3 TDs) and their defense was fast, physical and a constant in the Seahawks backfield. For San Francisco, they dominated the Bears in the first half and then….then…what? The Bears came all the way back to win in impressive fashion. Colin Kaepernick had 4 turnovers (1 fumble, 3 interceptions) and 49ers offense and defense clearly looked as a team that thought they had the Bears beat after a half and then clearly checked out. Despite impressive Week 1 victories, each team suffered equally impressive losses bring much of the NFL and myself back down to reality.

Questions for Week 3:

What’s the deal with Doug Martin? Doug Martin was one of the huge surprises in the NFL a few years ago. His rookie season he rushed for over 1400 yards and caught over 450. An injury plagued season last year left him with just a sliver over 500 total for both rushing and receiving and the first 2 games this year have left everyone wondering what’s left for him (early exit Week 1, DNP Week 2). Martin was supposed to be a huge reason for the Buccaneers to turn things around but mediocre to poor offensive play has lead the Bucs to a 0-2 start. Also, back-up Bobby Rainey has done a fine job when taking over for Martin. In a league that has proven the last few years that a viable Running Back can come from anywhere, Martin needs to concern himself with getting healthy and staying healthy. It won’t get any easier for the Bucs as they roll into Atlanta this week for Thursday night football.

My Guess: Doug Martin starts and plays the entire game Thursday but Bucs lose to Falcons and go to 0-3.

Can the Texans continue to capitalize off great scheduling to start the season? Houston is 2-0 with victories against Washington and Oakland in the first two weeks and now they head to face the New York Giants who have been a big disappointment to start the season. I didn’t expect the Giants to be world beaters here but just better than what they are currently showing on the field. Houston should easily win this game and go to 3-0 which is an amazing start to being 2-14 all of last season. Houston should get its first real test in Week 4 against a Bills team who is better than advertised. If Houston wins again New York and then defeats Buffalo, then I would think it’s safe to begin discussions on their legitimacy as a team. Kudos to the Texans if they can get an early 3-0 start due to scheduling. It will only get tougher from here as the season moves on.

My Guess: Texans win easily, move to 3-0.

Bold Prediction for Week 3: The Arizona Cardinals upset the 49ers to become 3-0 and the 49ers fall to 1-2. San Francisco will play better than against the Bears (preferably an entire 60 minutes) but in the end will fall short.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 3: Ravens over the Browns. I don’t see Cleveland making a comeback like they did against the Saints last week against the Ravens defense. Ravens 2-1, Browns 1-2.

Quick Recap from Predictions / Thoughts for last week

-Titans would move to 2-0 —- WRONG —– I made a comment in the previous article that Tony Romo played Week 1 like he had never played against a NFL defense. Jake Locker proceeded to do his best Tony Romo impression and then the same Titans defense that held Jamaal Charles to 19 yards rushing in Week 1 was absolutely gashed by Demarco Murray for 167. I also predicted only 1 turnover for Titans and they finished with 2 total (both Locker interceptions).

-Chiefs and Bears would fall to 0-2, Packers survive for 1-1 — RIGHT—WRONG—-RIGHT—- The Packers came out flat as possible against the Jets but made a nice comeback to get a home win (Green Bay has been near unbeatable in home openers the last 8 years with winning 7 including this past Sunday). The Chiefs put on a better performance than they did against the Titans in Week 1 and had a chance to tie the game late but in the end fell short and to 0-2. The Bears getting a win would be the most surprising to me here just because they were coming off the shocking loss to the Bills in Week 1, both Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall were not 100% and their first half against the 49ers was lackluster in every facet. They had a huge turnaround for the second half, terrorized Kaepernick and pulled out the come from behind win.

-Colts would be arguably the most surprising team to fall to 0-2—RIGHT & WRONG— the Colts did lose and fell to 0-2 but I am finding it hard to overlook the New Orleans Saints at 0-2 as my most surprising team. Losing a tough opening week divisional game to the Falcons can be understood as divisional games are the toughest games every year. But they really, really should have beaten Cleveland and they didn’t. Drew Brees had an abysmal first half and although they had the lead late in the game, for the 2nd week in a row the Saints defense gave up a huge play and they fell in defeat.

-Patriots easily handle Vikings for first win of season. —RIGHT—- the Patriots losing consecutive games is a proven rarity the last 10 years. Since the 2003 season the Patriots have only lost consecutive games four times. Even if Adrian Peterson was active for the game you might have seen a slight difference in point differential but not much. I was taking the Patriots all the way in a land slide regardless.

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 3

September 16, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

This week’s waiver list has the potential to be pretty long. So I am going to limit the list to players who are less than 60% owned on average. My goal is to give you a list each week of players who are most likely still available. No reason to tell you about Terrance West because at 90% owned it isn’t going to help you.

No animals were harmed while writing this blog

Quarterback:

If you are going into week #3 in desperate need of a starting QB, these guys will help get you through. The top five available QB are all from the same statistical tier. You could blindly throw a dart at the list and you would end up with the same amount of fantasy points no matter where it lands.

Geno Smith, New York Jets – Smith is at the top of this list because he can run. His 200 yards and 1 touchdown average so far this season isn’t enough to carry your team. However he is averaging almost 9 carries a game for 37 yards which means he is always a threat for a running TD in the redzone. Smith is only owned in about 6% of leagues so he is there if you need him.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens- Flacco is third on this list for the same reason that he is only 30% owned. There is something about Flacco that makes him forgettable. He doesn’t always put up huge numbers and he isn’t flashy with his feet. But if you are looking for someone to step in and start each week, he is the best option left. Once the running game gets cleaned up a bit I think he could take off. He has two good WR and a TE which gives this former Superbowl champion some options. Averaging over 250 yards and just over 1 touchdown a game. Flacco is your safest bet.

Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders- This is more of a stash and see pick-up. Like the rest of this list you are looking at 200 yards and 1 touchdown each week. What currently sticks out to me is that he has 3 touchdowns and no interceptions so far this season. It’s only been 2 games but for a rookie on a bad team with limited weapons there could be something here. He is still 98% available, so the secret is not out yet.

Running back:

Ahmad Bradshaw, Indianapolis Colts- This time let’s start with old reliable. For the second week in a row he has outplayed starter Trent Richardson. He is averaging 5 yards per carry and 5 catches per game so far. Richardson look a little better in week #2 but Bradshaw is involved in the passing game and if he can continue to earn the trust of Andrew Luck he is a threat to find the endzone every week.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- How to you ignore someone who runs for 144 yards in a game? If you said you don’t then you are correct. Do I think that Rainey is going to run for 144 yards every week, nope! Look, the Bucs are not a great team but they have enough receivers that the defense won’t be able to stack the box on every play which gives Rainey opportunity. If they stay away from “running back by committee” then Rainey is easily a RB#2 or a good flex option moving forward.

Knile Davis and Matt Asiata- Plain a simple, you are dealing with teams who rely on their running games and their starters are out. Without Charles, who is the next draft-able guy on the Chiefs? If you drafted AP first it is because there is no real passing game in Minnesota outside of Cordelle Patterson. So these guys should be picked up just because they will get a chance to run as long as the starters are out.

Wide Receiver:

If you are not in a PPR league grabbing a good WR off of waivers is really a crap shoot. Unless you are in a league like mine where someone dropped Wes Welker the same day news broke that he might be back, you may not have much to choose from. Continuing with my ground breaking philosophy that you need the ball to score, I am focusing on WR’s that are getting the ball.

Andrew Hawkins, Cleveland Browns- Who? Odds are this guy isn’t on your radar at all. I know that because he is only 15% owned. Since you don’t know who he is you probably don’t know that his 14 receptions so far this season are more than Brandon Marshall (13), Calvin Johnson (13) and Antonio Brown (12). I am not suggesting that he is WR#1 material but he is getting the same number of passes. Eventually he will find the endzone and with a possible Josh Gordon return, he could be a late season sleeper that might take you to the Championship.

Brian Quick, St. Louis Rams- Third year receiver out of Appalachian State has spent the last two seasons on the “sleeper” list. With only 30 catches combined during his sleeper seasons he has all been forgotten in the mess the Ram’s called a passing game. So with extreme caution I put him on here as my second choice for WR waiver pick-up. Like Hawkins he plays for a bad team, like Hawkins he is pretty much unknown, and like Hawkins he is tied for 3rd with 14 receptions. Is it possible that this two season Rip Van Winkle is finally waking up?

Markus Wheaton, Pittsburg Steelers- The clear #2 playing opposite one of the most targeted receives in the league. How is this guy not on more teams? He already has more catches and more yards than he did all of last season. Playing opposite Antonio Brown should help keep him in single coverage which means he will is going to continue to get looks. He has the lowest risk on this week’s list. He plays for a decent team that can run the ball and Big Ben isn’t too shabby at throwing the football either.

James Jones, Oakland Raiders- This guy lead the league in touchdowns in 2012 and he is coming off a season where he had over 800 yards receiving. An 800 yard season that saw the rise of Eddie Lacy and the Packers running game combined with collar bone injury that sidelined Rodgers for seven games. He is only owned in a baffling 28% of leagues but I think it’s because he plays for the Raiders and WR value is measured in yards and touchdowns. In case you didn’t see it, last week’s stat line read 9 catches for 112 yards and 2 touchdowns.

Tight End:

Nile Paul, Washington Redskins- I put no stock in unproven players after week #1 success, but when a guy puts up stats two weeks in a row I tend to take notice. TE is probably the shallowest position in fantasy football and getting a good one is pretty rare. However TE tend to be the favorite target of inexperienced QB’s because they are big and they are close, lower risk. RG III is down and Cousins will need a little security blanket as he leads the offense. 12 catches for 185 yards and touchdown in two games is pretty good. He is my main target this week to back up Graham. He will not be eligible for this list next week.

Larry Donnell, New York Giants- Another guy who is flying under the radar 1.4% I suspect because a lot of teams are rocking TE based on name recognition. I have not had a chance to see him play but his stat line is consistent with what I look for when trying to build my bench. 12 catches for 137 yards and a touchdown shows me that Eli is looking at him often.

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Knile Davis Or Donald Brown On The Fantasy Football Waiver Wire

September 16, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The plum of a weekly fantasy football waiver wire list is a starting running back. Starting RBs are hard to come by, yet unfortunate circumstances this season have already resulted in some nice opportunities. The big question now is with one pick or a limited budget, which RB do you grab?

This is one of the most opportunistic weeks I have seen on the wire in a while. Jason DuClos will be breaking down all of the hot pickups in a separate blog. I wanted to focus on one position and more specifically the two hot names in that spot, Knile Davis and Donald Brown.

Getting a starting running back on the waiver wire can make or break your season. If you passed up on RB depth for WRs, TEs, or QBs, chances are you need some help. It doesn’t matter if you own Jamaal Charles or Ryan Matthews, most of us can always use a boost in that spot. Week 3 presents a fascinating choice between two RBs that can start in the RB2 spot immediately. Unless your league decided to take a week off there is no chance you will get both. So which one do you grab?

Kansas City Chiefs’ star RB Jamaal Charles went down Sunday with what appears to be somewhat of a high ankle sprain. Charles’ timetable is a big guessing game right now with most experts some experts predicting that he could sit out up to 4-6 weeks. Knile Davis will step in and take that starting spot in Charles’ absence.

San Diego Chargers’ speedster Ryan Matthews went down Sunday with what is a reported MCL sprain. The frequently injured Matthews was carted off in a scene that looked like the end of his season. The good news is that Matthews’ injury is only expected to sideline him for 4-5 weeks although Matthews believes he can come back sooner. Former Indianapolis Colt Donald Brown is expected to slide into Matthews’ spot and get the bulk of the carries in his absence.

Let’s take a look at the timetables here. Matthews is probably out a minimum of four weeks with his injury. Charles could potentially be back as soon as this week although most believe that he is a sure-sit this week. Even if he does play it is guaranteed to be in a limited capacity. So if you are looking for a long-term investment neither are it. Brown is more than likely to play in his spot longer although when it all shakes out they both could be starting for four weeks.

What about talent? Who is the better player? It’s a little unfair to say unequivocally that Davis is the better player, although most believe he is. We have a body of work on Donald Brown and I’ll be honest. It’s nothing special. The fact that the Colts let him walk knowing their RB situation is shaky tells me something. I have gone all-in on the Brown bandwagon before only to get burnt. He has upside and in that offense he should put up decent numbers. Yet it is hard to ignore the past. Davis put up two TDs in an offense that will feature the running back. Davis was an animal in college and while college and the pros are completely different, this was the SEC. Davis was not only a fantasy monster on Sunday but he also put up a 20-spot last season in Week 17 against the Chargers. Thus far all the kid has done is produced.

Let’s compare schedules over the next few weeks….
KC vs. Miami
NE vs. KC
KC vs. SF
Bye Week

SD vs. Buffalo
Jacksonville vs. SD
NYJ vs. SD
SD vs. Oakland

Neither one of these guys have a favorable schedule. I’d say that Davis’ schedule is much tougher than Brown’s. Davis is playing three of the best defenses after two weeks and is on a bye in week four. Brown doesn’t have it easy either but he certainly has it easier. Jacksonville and Oakland are two games you’d salivate to have if you were a Davis owner. Plus, Brown’s Bye Week isn’t until Week 10.

I’d say all things being equal you would have to roll with Davis. However, as much as I believe that Davis is a better player than Brown you can’t argue with the circumstances. Brown has an easier schedule, you are guaranteed to have him start for at least four weeks, and he has no bye week. Charles could be back in the next two weeks. While I believe he’d still be limited and Davis would get at least 10 touches a game, it’s a big crapshoot compared to a guy you know who will be the featured back.

As much as I hate to do it I say you have to grab Brown over Davis. All things being equal it’s not contest. Unfortunately they aren’t and at the end of the day you could wind up blowing your budget or waiver spot for a guy who may only give you a week or two. You could always grab him and hope that Charles struggles and misses more games down the stretch. Again you are doing a lot of wishful thinking here as opposed to going with the sure thing in regards to playing time.

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NFL Week 2 Discussion and Questions

September 13, 2014 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Coming off a very exciting NFL Week 1 for the 2014 season we saw some surprises, some disappointments and some things that were right on par to what many experts and barroom football guru’s thought what would happen.

To recap the major talking points coming out of Week 1:

  • Seattle looked better than advertised. At some points while watching their Week 1 drubbing of the Green Bay Packers I felt that I was watching them play directly following their Superbowl win. They looked dominant on offense and defense (stop me if you haven’t heard that one before) and Russell Wilson looked amazing. Marshawn Lynch continues to be a headache to bring down and the defense looked unstoppable even with arguably their best defense player never once having a ball thrown his way. So in a backwards way…..Richard Sherman did have a dominant game defensively?
  • The Dallas Cowboys are going to be bad…..real bad. Tony Romo looked like he has never seen an NFL defense before and the Cowboys defense was just as advertised….. BAD. The 49ers jumped out to a three touchdown lead within mere seconds and the game was never close. Frank Gore and Carlos Hyde destroyed the interior and no one on the Dallas defense could contain Colin Kaepernick in the slightest bit. Early signs show that this will be a long season for the Cowboys.
  • Peyton Manning was Peyton Manning. It was no surprise that at least visually the Broncos were back to normal after being dismantled during the Superbowl. The additions of Demarcus Ware, TJ Ward and Aqib Talib have brought credibility back to the defense and aside from a few drops on offense from newly acquired Emmanuel Sanders, the Broncos offense looked stellar (as expected). They were a little shaky against the Colts in the second half after dominating the entire first but ultimately got the win. I didn’t really expect them to blowout the Colts anyway!
  • The Carolina Panthers could be better than we all thought. News broke late Saturday that the Panthers were going to sit out an ailing Cam Newton (ribs) for their opening week game in Tampa Bay. Tampa, who are heavily expected to be the surprise playoff team in the NFC, barely looked different from the ever so short Greg Schiano era. For the Panthers, it seemed their charitable donations to the NFL this year included letting Steve Smith Sr. (Ravens), Brandon LaFell (Patriots) and Ted Ginn (Cardinals) pursue other teams in the league, so many people (myself included) expected disastrous results. For Tampa Bay they had an OK defense already and added former Titans Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner but could not contain former Pro Bowler Derek Anderson (2007- Browns) and the Panthers offense minus their most crucial piece. For much of the game, Josh McCown underwhelmed (I mean honestly, people were relishing this signing and equating it to Manning going to the Broncos). Despite a late push, Tampa was not good enough to topple the Panthers who were missing their best player.

Questions I have coming into Week 2:

Can the Titans continue their recent winning ways with a healthy Jake Locker?

It wasn’t winning last week against the Kansas City Chiefs that was real a shocker, it was that Kansas City was never in the game. The Titans scored the first touchdown and then slowly wore the Chiefs out. If you remember last season prior to the yearly tradition of Jake Locker being injured, the Titans were one bad play away (in Houston Week 2) from being a 4-0 football team. Ryan Fitzpatrick took over for Locker and the Titans fell apart in every aspect of the game. When Locker was healthy last season he was unusually accurate and the team had zero turnovers until their matchup with the Chiefs in 2013 Week 4. Tennessee picked up right where they left off last season with a healthy Locker. With Dallas looking abysmal in their Week 1 loss to the 49ers, Tennessee has a realistic chance to start this season 2-0.

My Guess: The Titans will commit less than 1 turnover in their matchup with the Cowboys and have the game in hand before the halfway point of the third quarter.

Can the Chiefs, Packers and/or Bears survive a 0-2 start?

There is a very realistic chance that one or possible all three of these teams drops to 0-2 on Sunday. The Packers will face a defensively tough Jets team and although they are not to be feared as the Seahawks defense which throttled them last week, they still need to be respected. Eddie Lacy looks as if he will be a go for Sunday but assuredly cannot be 100% healthy (concussion). I expect the Jets to run a similar offense to Seattle’s from Week 1. A heavy dosage of Chris Johnson and Chris Ivory and not relying on Geno Smith to win them the game could seal the deal for a Jets 2-0 season start.

The Chiefs can easily be argued as one of the big disappointments in Week 1. Heavy favorites against the Titans (in Kansas City) and coming off an 11-5 season, there were some high expectations for this team. However, the honest story about the Chiefs is that they blew an enormous lead against the Colts in their playoff matchup last season and did not improve in the player personnel department. The Chiefs suffered departures of Dexter McCluster (Titans), Branden Albert (Dolphins), Jon Asamoah and Tyson Jackson (both to the Falcons). The only viable weapon on offense is Jamaal Charles and in Week 1 he barely had a workload. A depleted receiving corps that is relying heavily on receivers that would be fighting for 4th string snaps also doesn’t make for any threat at all.

All offseason, every sports outlet raved over Jay Cutler and his “weapons”. Alshon Jeffrey and Brandon Marshall were going to each catch 2,000 yards receiving and Matt Forte would dominate the run. Okay, okay…maybe Marshall and Jeffrey weren’t expected to have that much production but the offense was beginning to have slight comparisons to that of the Patriots, Broncos and Packers. Although the offense seemingly did hold their own, the Bears defense was front and center as a glaring problem last week. They could not stop the run against Buffalo (Bills finished with 193 total yards rushing). Now the Bears face a Dolphins team that ran for 191 yards against the Patriots in Week 1.

My Guess: Chiefs, Bears both fall to 0-2, Packers ultimately get my vote of confidence due to game being in Green Bay.

Bold Prediction for Week 2: The Indianapolis Colts will fall to the Eagles on Monday night football in similar fashion to their loss to Denver from Week 1. The Eagles will come out and have a huge lead, Colts make a comeback but too late. The Colts a surprising 0-2 record to start the season.

Guaranteed Lock for Week 2: The New England Patriots do not fall to 0-2, they handle the Vikings easily (even if Adrian Peterson would have been active for the game.) I expect a heavy dosage of newly acquired TE Tim Wright and the defense to not collapse a second week in a row.

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