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NFL Week 17 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 31, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 17 in the National Football League!

- Tampa Bay closes out the 2012 regular season with a nice win against a not-so-competitive Atlanta Falcons team in Week 17. I’ve said it all season long and it’s only fitting that I say it again, Tampa is a good team and one that people should look out for in 2013. Really like what they accomplished this season, would’ve loved to seen them compete for a playoff spot in the final weeks.

- Not the way Atlanta wanted to end the regular season I’m sure but now they can look towards the playoffs and hope that the defensive injuries they suffered on Sunday aren’t that bad. Not sure what to think of this Falcons team heading into the playoffs but I’ll tell you this much, they don’t look like a #1 seed team.

- Buffalo has the right pieces as we saw in their win against the Jets in Week 17 but they need to fix some of their weaknesses (quarterback & head coach) before they can be competitive in the AFC East next season. Tough year for a team many people liked as a “sneaky pick” in the AFC.

- Perfect way to end the Jets regular season and if you thought their regular season was a circus act, wait till the offseason takes place. I believe it was Terrell Owens who once said: “get your popcorn ready.” I know I will.

- Sure Baltimore “mailed it in” during the Week 17 game but I really liked what I saw from the Bengals. Cincinnati kept their momentum going for the playoffs and I hope it helps them in postseason play this season. Amazing that a 6th seed could be the favorite over the 3rd seed in the playoffs but it may be possible for the Bengals.

- While I understand you want to rest your starters and save them for the playoffs, not sure if I agree with treating it like a preseason game in Week 17 especially for the Ravens. Baltimore has been so inconsistent lately that they needed to keep that good momentum going from their big win against the Giants in Week 16 and they didn’t, could hurt them versus Indianapolis next week.

- All season long I said the Bears were the best “smoke and mirrors” team in the NFL. Their record showed they were an “elite” team but when they played against “elite” teams they would be outclassed. Sure they got 10 wins and sure they won games when it counted at the end but they won’t be seeing any games past Week 17. I really wonder how this team will look in 2013.

- The Detroit Lions should’ve never been a 4 win team this season and a top 5 draft pick franchise going into the 2013 NFL Draft. Detroit is a better caliber team then they possessed all season long and if Jim Schwartz can’t get it done with this talent then it’s time to let him go. It will be a very interesting offseason for this franchise heading into 2013.

- Tennessee beat Jacksonville in Week 17 and there defense scored 4 times on Sunday. Good way to end this horrible season for the Titans and I wonder what there direction will be heading into 2013. Will CJ2K be back? I think he should.

- Congrats Jacksonville, prepare yourselves for “TebowMania!”

- The best story of the 2012 NFL season was Chuck Pagano beating cancer and the Indianapolis Colts making it into the playoffs. This team clearly got motivated by their cancer battling head coach and rallied behind his spirit to play another game past Week 17. Indianapolis can be that “very dangerous Football team” starting next week.

- This is not the way you should be entering the playoffs. Houston entered Week 17 with the #1 seed and walked out as the #3 seed. Instead of having home-field advantage and having a week off, they now will be stumbling against the Bengals in the Wild Card round (again). I wonder if this team will ever be able to put it together when it matters the most.

- Extremely strong way for the Panthers to finish their season as they won 5 of their last 6 games, including 4 straight games and finished the season 7-9. It appeared that Cam Newton was a “late bloomer” this season as it took him some time to get back to the way he played his rookie season. Carolina is once again a team to look out for in 2013.

- Overall this is a very disappointing season for the New Orleans Saints. They entered the year with a ton of controversy due in-part to “bountygate,” but were still considered by many as a NFC “elite” team. Instead New Orleans struggled all season long, finished 7-9 and missed the playoffs. It was a very tough season for the NOLA.

- The most disappointing team in the 2012 NFL season may be the defending Super Bowl Champion, New York Football Giants. New York gets huge victories over San Francisco & Green Bay, was at one point 6-2 on the season and then finished the year 3-5 to miss the playoffs. The Giants looked like an “elite” team at multiple points in the season even to the extent that they were considered the best team in the NFL and now they will be watching the playoffs from home. They should be very thankful they share the same city with the New York Jets!

- What is there to say about the 2012 Philadelphia Eagles season that hasn’t already been said before? Tough year and it’s time to move on from this current era. How this franchise handles this offseason could be very telling for seasons to come in Philadelphia. Since the “dream team” moniker was self-given to them, the Eagles have gone 12-20 in both seasons, pretty sure that’s a nightmare Vince Young.

- Steelers get the win in Week 17 and mercifully end their 2012 regular season. This isn’t what Pittsburgh was hoping for and now there will be many offseason questions to deal with. Similar to their in-state rival Philadelphia Eagles, there will be a lot of changes this offseason that will dictate the future of this franchise for years to come.

- Cleveland has a lot to work on for sometime and I hope the next person to run this franchise can get them onto some winning ways. There is definitely talent to build on in Cleveland; it just comes down to what this franchise does to put around some potentially young franchise players.

- If you’ve read this blog throughout the season then you know I’ve been very leery of the Denver Broncos. Their lack of schedule strength bothered me when it comes to them playing in the playoffs but I’m starting to turn the corner on it not affecting them after all. The Broncos could very well be the AFC representation in Super Bowl 47 right now. A lot is “clicking” at the right time for Denver.

- Congrats to Kansas City on winning the #1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Now the real question is whether or not they draft Geno Smith to be their quarterback. Personally I think that could be a huge mistake but they have plenty of time to think that over now.

- At one point it looked like the Patriots would have to play in the Wild Card round as the three seed but now they can sit at home next week and rest up for the Divisional Round. A well rested Patriots team is of course, a very dangerous playoff team. It almost seems like it’s too good to be true that we could get Denver (Peyton) vs. New England (Brady) in the AFC Championship Game again.

- I’m sure this isn’t the way Miami wanted to end their season but I do think this team is headed into the right direction right now. A couple moves in the offseason could have them competing for Wild Card playoff spots next year.

- Thanks for the memories Norv Turner. I will miss writing about you and wondering if you will be fired…every…regular…season. I have been doing these blogs for Camel Clutch Blog now for (I believe to be) 4 seasons, so that tells you how I long I’ve speculated Norv would be let go.

- The Raiders have taken steps forward the last couple years and now they have taken, yet again, dramatic steps back. I don’t know when this franchise can be turned around because right now it really looks bleak.

- Congrats to the San Francisco 49ers on winning the NFC West and getting the #2 seed in the NFC. In my opinion this team is the #1 seed in the NFC and I really like their chances to make Super Bowl 47 this season. When you have a really good defense and an offense that keeps getting better, good things will happen.

- Dear Arizona Cardinals, you know what to do during the offseason. Go get yourself a quarterback, you know, a real quarterback or you will have a very upset franchise wide receiver named Larry Fitzgerald. Sincerely yours, common sense.

- The Seahawks get the victory but I’m not sure it’s the way they wanted to head into the playoffs. Seattle struggled for most of this game and didn’t look as dominant as they have been in recent weeks. The Seahawks will still be a tough team to beat come playoff time but I wonder if they are losing their “luster” a bit, it’s something to definitely keep an eye on next week versus Washington in the Wild Card round.

- The St. Louis Rams really ended this 2012 regular season very strong. They were competitive against really good teams in their division, San Francisco & Seattle (even getting a big win against the 49ers this year) and they are improving heading into 2013. The defense is young and very talented but their offense seems to be lacking at the moment. I really hope Sam Bradford can be “the guy” for this St. Louis team in 2013 because I really like what I am seeing from the Rams right now.

- What a miracle season for the Minnesota Vikings in 2012. Nobody and I mean NOBODY saw this team as a playoff team, let alone a playoff contender this year. If you were like me you probably saw them as the last-place team in the NFC North. Well now they take on Green Bay in the Wild Card round and have nothing to lose because they weren’t “supposed to be there.” Oh and dear NFL, don’t forget to give Adrian Peterson the NFL MVP award this season!

- I’m sure this isn’t the way Green Bay wanted to end their season but not getting a first-round bye may be what this team needs. In 2010 they had no first-round bye and won the Super Bowl. In 2011 they had a first-round bye and got crushed in the divisional round. The Packers will be healthy against the Vikings, know what they need to do to stop Minnesota and will thankfully be home in a playoff game. I still like the Packers as a “quiet” pick right now in the NFC.

- Add Washington to the list of Indianapolis and Minnesota as surprise teams making the playoffs in 2012. Weeks ago this team was “left for dead” by their own head coach and now they are the 2012 NFC East division champions. No telling what this team can do come playoff time because like the Vikings, they “weren’t supposed to be here.” It’s the playoffs and as we have learned the last two seasons, anyone can win the Super Bowl.

- It almost seems fitting that Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys end their season like this. I really wonder how this team will look on Week 1 in 2013. A lot of major changes could be coming the way of this Dallas Cowboys franchise.

- Many thanks to you the reader and of course Eric Gargiulo for allowing me to blog after every week throughout the 2012 NFL regular season. It’s a job I have enjoyed here since 2009 and am glad to have another regular season under my belt. Stay tuned for my Wild Card predictions blog later this week and my Wild Card round thoughts blog a week from today!

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JeffPeck979ESPN

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NFL Week 16 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 24, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 16 in the National Football League!

- Congrats to the Falcons on clinching the #1 seed in the NFC and having home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. Personally, I believe while it’s a tremendous feat, they may be the weakest #1 seed in the NFL playoffs in some time. Their passing offense is great but their run game and defense can be shaky depending on the week. Let’s see if the ATL can make me eat my words yet again this season.

- Congrats to Calvin Johnson on breaking Jerry Rice’s single-season receiving record! Can we now say that the “Madden Curse” is done?

- Quietly, the Green Bay Packers are continuing to emerge in the NFC. While it is the Titans, they kept the momentum going throughout this one. Things are getting interesting for the Pack…

- At least the Titans put 7 points on the board and weren’t shut out…right?

- New Orleans gets to play spoiler against Dallas and can at least have a .500 record should they win next week. Nice to see the Saints giving it a shot and being competitive with nothing left to play for.

- What are the Cowboys doing!? They need to win these games and they are going through the same problem they always have this time of the year. Next week will be very interesting as the Cowboys will play for the NFC East division crown in Week 17 for the 2nd straight season.

- Congrats to the Indianapolis Colts on clinching a playoff berth this week. Better yet, Chuck Pagano will be returning to this playoff team very soon. Great story this year in the National Football League, I love that Chuck Pagano and the Colts are proving anyone can beat the odds.

- One more loss and the Chiefs clinch the #1 overall pick!

- Well at least Miami has a chance at a .500 season next week; they could be a sneaky pick in the NFC East next season.

- Buffalo needs to fire Chan Gailey at the end of the season.

- San Diego beats the New York Jets in Week 16; this is monumental because it could be Norv Turner’s last win as the Chargers head coach.

- So Tim Tebow gets flack for telling the coaching staff to not put him in the “Wildcat formation” after he was passed over for the 3rd string quarterback and people are complaining? Tebow has been a good solider for this Jets team all season long and when we look back on his tenure with this team the Jets could’ve really affected his NFL playing career based off of the way they handled him. He gets brought along basically to sell seats and not play, yet people have a problem with him removing himself from the “wildcat!?” C’mon man.

- Big win for the Redskins and they keep on rolling. It’s all on the line in Week 17 for them as they take on Dallas for the NFC East crown. The playoffs begin (and could end) next week for the ‘Skins.

- Fitting way for Andy Reid’s potentially last home game as the head coach of the Eagles to end like that.

- How about the Cincinnati Bengals this season? They force Roethlisberger to make a crucial interception in the final minute of the game, make a huge offensive play to set up the field goal and win it. That was a franchise achieving moment for the Bengals and their fans to knock out their rival Pittsburgh Steelers.

- I wonder if we could see any changes in the offseason to this Steelers team. They are getting older, the window is getting smaller and the coaches may not be gelling. Interesting times for this Steelers franchise and it could’ve been prevented had they won today.

- St. Louis is quietly ending their season very strong right now. This is another team that could enter 2013 as a surprise team in the NFC West. With the exception of Sam Bradford (the jury is still out on him), I like what is going in St. Louis.

- Tough to see the Tampa Bay Buccaneers continue to end their season like this. Really had high hopes for them at the midway point of the season.

- Carolina beats Oakland and this Panthers team continues to play well at the wrong point in the season. At least someone is probably keeping their job in Carolina, for now.

- Want to know how bad the Raiders are? Matt Leinart was the backup after Carson Palmer got hurt. How come they just didn’t bring Terrelle Pryor in to see what they got?

- A win-is-a-win but New England cannot be playing like this with less then two weeks to go until the playoffs. They played shaky against San Francisco last week and lost. They played shaky this week and almost lost. Hopefully it’s just a bad stretch for the Patriots so they can get it out of their system now and not in the Playoffs.

- If Jacksonville beat New England with Chad Henne as the Quarterback in Week 16 would that have saved him from the (rumored) incoming “TebowMania” next season?

- Minnesota needed this win and they got it. The Vikings are stepping up at the right time and didn’t need Adrian Peterson to pile on the rushing yards to do it. They win next week and they are in, it’s that simple.

- Houston is playing extremely sloppy at the wrong point in the season. It amazes me that they still have a chance at a First-Round bye next week.

- Denver is the only consistent team in the AFC right now and it’s coming at the right time with the playoffs nearing. I just hope that the Broncos weak schedule doesn’t come back to haunt them like it did for New England last season.

- Who saw the Cleveland Browns having 5 wins this season? They have a chance at 6 next week and amongst Browns fans that would be overachieving.

- Well they may have been struggling lately but they got a crucial win in Week 16 against Arizona. Lovie’s job as head coach is safe for at least this week; if they fail to beat Detroit in Week 17 or make the playoffs then it could be franchise-changing times in Chicago.

- Arizona really needs a quarterback and I don’t think Alex Smith or Mark Sanchez is the answer.

- All of us left the Ravens for “dead” and got proven wrong in Week 16. This is the type of win a team needs at this point in the season when they have been struggling and the Ravens got it. I still am not a huge believer in their playoffs chances but the win was really encouraging.

- I cannot believe there is a large probability that the Giants don’t make the playoffs this season. At times they have played like the best team in the league and in recent weeks they have been extremely inconsistent. The defending Super Bowl Champions need A LOT of things to happen next week, including for them to defeat Philadelphia of course, for them to make the playoffs.

- The Seattle Seahawks are proving to the NFL that they may just be the team to beat come January. What a huge win for the Seahawks against one of the best teams in the league, the San Francisco 49ers. This team is gaining momentum at the right time and we all know what that means come playoff time…

- Injuries and inconsistency in the last 6 quarters could be coming to haunt the Niners at the wrong time in the season. The fact that they may not have a first-round bye in the playoffs is extremely surprising and it’s possible that this team could be underachieving. Hopefully that changes once January hits.

For more NFL talk join Bower, Chris Johnson and myself Monday – Friday throughout the Football season on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, ESPN 1300 in New Haven and online at 979espn.com!

You can listen to Jeff on “The Bower Show” every Monday – Friday from 3pm – 7pm ET on 97.9 ESPN in Hartford, CT. You can listen online at www.979espn.com

You can follow Jeff on Twitter at www.twitter.com/JeffPeck979ESPN

“LIKE” 97.9 ESPN on Facebook: www.facebook.com/979espn

“LIKE” The Bower Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/bowershow

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 15

December 13, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

For every negative there is a positive. The age old question ” do you want the good news or the bad news? ” Is alive and kicking, especially when it comes to crucial fantasy decisions. Yes I got plenty of heat for telling all of you to go against Cam Newton last week. I honestly thought this Atlanta Falcons team was actually good enough, but instead Newton slammed them, and there in made me look quite awful.

However, I was also the guy getting the big thumbs up for telling all of you to bench Eagles RB Bryce Brown. Brown was man-handled by the Bucs excellent run defense. Sure, I always want to be perfect, but even perfect takes a day off, I mean we all need a day off, right?

As for me and my personal work I managed to get all 4 of my teams into the playoffs. 1 big playoff win already pulled off, and now time to do more damage with 2 big money league playoff games this week. There is no better feeling as an owner then to watch your Stat Tracker explode through the day. Mine started with Adrian Peterson and his 51 yard run at the same exact time Alfred Morris rambled for 29 yards. It’s moments like that when you know a good day is ahead. Some guys like Josh Freeman took a little longer to join in, but all in all a great day for ownership. Heck, without the trophy I have nothing, so stay tuned!

Well this is a biggie for Start/Sit as many of you will have your season come to a close, be it by championship, elimination or just the end. I hope all of you still have faith in The Shark to try and bring it home with a bang! I give it my all, and as I always say, these moves I give to you are the same I would give to myself. Would I steer you wrong? Well, if you were my opponent maybe, yes! Hey, more good news, I made it through this whole article without referring to Jim Mora and his “playoffs?” speech. Aren’t you proud of me! Alright enough fun, let’s get down to business.

Quarterback

Start

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints: The hot and cold Freeman is back on my start sheet, and heck I need him too. 420 yards and 3 TDs against them earlier this year is a nice point to base it on. The Saints play better at home, but this should be a busy passing day.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: In this same game Brees should bounce back. He was banged up by the Giants defense last week, but the Bucs defense he faces was shredded by Nick Foles and Philly last week, and remain one of the worst pass defenses in the league. Stick with Brees.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at San Diego Chargers: What has 2 thumbs and will never tell you to bench Cam Newton again this year? This guy! Even though it is December in San Diego, which is when the Chargers usually play their best football, it’s still worth starting Newton.

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers at Chicago Bears: The Bears defense looks different without Brian Urlacher, and Rodgers needs to be a leader as his team can pretty much lock up another division title with a win here.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens: In the past I used to be worried about Manning against the Ravens, but this year we have a depleted Ravens defense against a red hot Manning. Plus who is sitting him anyway? Not you!

Sit

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Last weeks struggles reminded me of why I backed off of Romeo, and this week it looks like he may be without his top target Dez Bryant. Pittsburgh can still bring the blitz despite being banged up in the secondary. I advise against it.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers: I hate to do this knowing how badly I need Brandon Marshall to be, well himself, but Cutler has been brutal in his last few outings against the Pack. Green Bay is hurting on defense, but they seem to have a thing with handling Cutler, who has 0 TDs in his last 2 against the cheeseheads.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills: The December chill of Buffalo, New York tends to change trends in even the hottest of fantasy players. Wilson had a slow week last week, but of course the defense did all the work. Plus this game here has a Marshawn Lynch “remember me Bills” revenge game written all over it. Wilson can handle the team, but most likely won’t be huge here.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens vs. Denver Broncos: Despite 3 TDs last week, the Ravens still did a head scratcher and fired Flacco’s play caller in Cam Cameron. How that solves a sinking offense coming into week 15 is beyond me? Enter with caution, or actually don’t enter at all.

Eli Manning, New York Giants at Atlanta Falcons: Manning’s trends has been cold, hot, cold, and now he is hot. I believe it is cold turn, and Atlanta is a tough place for visiting QB. Eli can just ask his brother that. He is too shaky to lock your hopes on.

Running Back

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks at Buffalo Bills: The Bills not only have a weak run defense, but this guy was the one they let get away. Seattle is on a roll, and so is Lynch. Hey T.O. forget getting that popcorn ready, better get the skittles ready!

Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: How sick of me to even think it, but last week he took 43 snaps to just 13 for David Thomas. He is also averaging 4.4 yards per carry in his last 4 games. He has improved, and is always an explosion waiting to happen. If you have him and are in a pinch, you have to go with him.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders: If Knowshon Moreno’s performance last week taught us anything it’s that the Raiders can be run on almost at will. Charles had a big 80 yard TD run and was red hot until the Chiefs decided they were afraid of not playing Peyton Hillis? It should be a nice week for Charles.

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. Minnesota Vikings: The possible Steven Jackson farewell tour from St. Louis makes a stop in playoff elimination town. Yes, the Rams are still in a playoff hunt, and a win over the Vikings will better their chances. Also the Vikings did little to slow down the run last week. Jackson can give the Rams one last mighty push, so try it if you need it.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins at Cleveland Browns: In the last 3 weeks he has pushed for over 360 yards. While everyone talks Griffin, Luck and Wilson for Rookie Of The Year, everyone ignores a huge rookie campaign by Morris. If Griffin has problems with that injured knee, they will need him more than ever, and that’s big news for his owners.

Sit

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns at Washington Redskins: Doing decent, but it takes a lot to get digits from him. His yards per carry is down to 3.1, and it takes 25-30 touches per week to get him to about 15 points. He can get some, but eventually this overload may slow him.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers: He has had a nice season, but this defense is quite a challenge. Usually against big time defenses, mastermind Bill Belichick likes to use lots of different looks and packages, maybe to many to promise any Pats RB to have a huge day.

Mikel LeShoure, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: He is getting less touches as Joique Bell continues to run well. The Cards are still a decent front 7 on defense so it should be a heavy time share between these 2 backs. Don’t risk it this week.

Montell Owens, Jacksonville Jaguars at Miami Dolphins: He did nice work and is the last option the Jags have, but that is no reason to try and get fancy with your season on the line. Only if you are very desperate as the Dolphins play the run well.

Carolina Panthers RB at San Diego Chargers: Is there any backfield I hate more than this one? No! Is there any reason I can find to try them against this decent run defense? No! The end.

Wide Receiver

Start

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints: When he is on, he is really tough, and looks like a Mack truck out there. Killed the Saints for 7 catches and 216 yards plus a TD last meeting, and this one is a game that is meaning little for both. Expect loads of passing and a nice day for V Jax!

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. New York Giants: Had 11 targets last week, and scored a TD. His WR mate Roddy White is slowed by a knee injury so it is time for Jones to pick up the pace and earn his high draft stature. Yes, he is usually not as big at home, but it’s time to buck that trend. He could break out here.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions at Arizona Cardinals: After a brutal defeat last week, what makes us think the Cardinals have any desire left? So go with the monster against the weak! Mega is chasing history, so the ball will come his way plenty.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: Although I am not big on his QB, Austin could stand to be busy if Dez Bryant is in fact out. He did get 10 targets last week and the Cowboys seem to be united by the loss of a teammate. This could be Miles big week here, give it a look.

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers: This big 6 foot 5 inch target continues to get his looks, and get good work done. He had 2 TDs last week and another 11 targets is great news for D Alex owners. Roll with him.

Sit

Jeremy Maclin, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Forget the big week he had last week, the Bengals play much better defense than the Bucs. It was nice to see this guy get some glory last week though.

Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots vs. San Francisco 49ers: What? Did I tell you to sit 2 Patriots this week? Yep but they have so many weapons to choose from. Lloyd owners must have done a dance with his 7 catch, 98 yard and a TD performance last week, but that was the same as his output the previous 3 weeks combined. Minus the TD of course! Don’t be sucked in.

Eric Decker, Denver Broncos at Baltimore Ravens: Flip a coin. Heads is Thomas, tails is Decker. It’s heads, so go with Thomas I guess. Decker had his best week last week out of his last 4, but still just 1 TD in that time.

Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona Cardinals vs. Detroit Lions: Why? Because it’s easy that is why. If you’re using him, you probably aren’t in the playoffs anyway.

Tight End

As for TEs, if needed you play Jimmy Graham all day. Also roll with Aaron Hernandez, Martellus Bennett and in a sneak the Eagles Clay Harbor in place of Brent Celek.

Defenses I like this week:

Wow, come playoff time, not too many. I mean how many times can you get 41 points out of Seattle? Choose yours to the match up.

Well here we go owners. Remember that my annual award special, The Sharky’s is coming up soon. It has been a great year, and here is hoping for you to grab your glory! Best of luck all!

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 11

November 15, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Your hopes and dreams are coming near a conclusion. Are you a fantasy football playoff team? Are you a spoiler? Do you really have no idea what you are? Well very much all in a season’s work for many Fantasy owners. Week 11 brings (finally!) the end of bye weeks, some serious QB injury issues, and some tough match ups. The time is surely now to separate men from boys, and winners from losers.

As for me, another fantastic week last week had me finish at 4-0 in my leagues, and I am currently the top points guy in 3 of those 4, and in the last league, well just a TD from the lead. I am currently fielding a lusty record of 26-14, and while I am cruising with big points, no playoff spot is yet locked and nothing is safe. This week some key players will have the bye, guys like Adrian Peterson and the suddenly red-hot Chris Johnson to name a few. Also QBs like Ben Roethlisberger and Jay Cutler have concussion issues, which not only makes it tough for owners of them, but owners of their main WR targets and RBs. This is a challenging week, get that bench ready, and get ready for some Shark advice, and let’s try and get through this together.

It has been a good news and bad news year here with the start/sit/ Last week I showed a little lack of guts, which so isn’t me, and tweeted how I really should have advised against Doug Martin, but oh what hell would be raised, I mean he was sensational 2 straight weeks. Well the difference here, he played a real tough run defense. Alright so I have to go back to “stick with your stars” but remember, Doug Martin was not a huge production guy early. So I am back to going with the gut feeling. Yes, we all want to be right, but sometimes we need to venture out and swallow some pride to get there. So, take a read, and adjust accordingly, it’s go time people!

Quarterback

Start

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders vs. New Orleans Saints: Yes, I am at that point. However, with injuries and bye weeks playing a roll, Palmer looks like a great bet against a poor defense at home. In his last 3 weeks he has popped for 9 TDs and close to 1,000 yards. If you’re in that pinch, feel safe with Palmer here.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers: Break up the Lions! Despite a tough loss last week, this offense is playing much better, including Stafford who in his last 3 is averaging about 300 yards, and also has 6 TDs in those 3 weeks. When you play Aaron Rodgers, you have to pass often, and Stafford is improved, so use him.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals at Kansas City Chiefs: Don’t buy that hype you saw Monday night from the Chiefs defense. It was a trap game and the Steelers were just flat. Dalton and his Bengals need wins and they will come ready. 8 TDs in his last 3 looks good too. The Bengals can gain ground while the Steelers suffer with key injuries, so it’s a huge game for them right here.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: No I am not a Cam Newton supporter, but it is hard not to like him against Tampa and the leagues 32nd ranked pass defense. He has been a bit better of late, and should service well here if needed.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers: Oh so obvious! Yes, I know, but I deserve an easy one right? Just a few weeks back, on the road, he torched them for 309 yards and 3 TDs in a wild second half comeback. This time at home the Broncos should be more in control, and Manning will have another solid day. Yeah, like you’d bench him anyway.

Sit

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins pass defense is nothing special, but just on a hunch by the numbers on Fitz the last 4 weeks: 0 TDs 3 TDs, 0 TDs, 2 TDs. If you can follow the pattern next up is 0? Make sense? He is always hard to trust anyway, so try and do better.

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns at Dallas Cowboys: A few weeks back many of us were going after Weeden, and he was becoming a bye week darling. Since then he has gone 2 straight without a TD and awful QB ratings. On the road in this stadium against this rejuvenated defense won’t help that cause.

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Despite all of their troubles, the Eagles defense is still 10th in pass yards allowed. Griffin has slowed a bit of late throwing just 4 TD passes in 4 weeks. His team as a whole is been on the down swing, and the Eagles really need to save face against a team they usually do well against. May not be a total shut down, but I don’t see evidence that says he can go nuts either.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears: He has passed his concussion tests so he should play, but how well? The Bears defense has 19 INTs and are 5th in fewest yards allowed. This defense has to be extra good also if Jay Cutler is out, so expect a lot of hard times for Smith.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles at Washington Redskins: I am not so much afraid of a poor Redskins pass defense, but I would like to see what the rookie has before I bank on him. A lot of “experts say to grab him, fine get him if you want, but wait before throwing him in there.

Running Back

Start

CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: What is a Fantasy for Spiller owners? Well having Fred Jackson out of the Bills line up. While some are questioning, Spiller was jacking up huge numbers when being the go to guy, and still did well in a time share. Almost 7 yards per touch not good enough? It should be, and it will be. Spiller does it against any team, and this is a game he should be real busy in.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots vs. Indianapolis Colts: Ridley’s surprising season had a nice return over the last 2 weeks. He has scored in each and had over 100 yards in one and close in another. For the year a hefty 4.7 yards per carry, and enough help in that backfield to rest him and keep him strong. The Colts do little against the run, so despite Brady lighting it up regularly, Ridley should still get his here/

Steven Jackson, St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets: The Jets run defense is brutal and Jackson is coming off a nice game against the 49ers. Jackson runs better on the turf at home, so you can do much worse with some big backs on a bye week.

Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins at Buffalo Bills: Again? I have been ripped for recommending Bush lately, but if he can’t get off the skids against this defense, then he better find a new job. All fumbles aside, I predict a resurgent beast mode here.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Maybe head coach Romeo Crennel learned Monday that when Charles has the chance he does pretty good. 100 yards and a TD against the Steelers is a pretty good outing, and at home he should get more looks and find some success, if his team can stay in this one.

Sit

Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos vs. San Diego Chargers: The Chargers are tough to run on, and McGahee seems like he has dipped his hands in grease lately. A few more fumbles and we may be looking at a time share here. McGahee has done very little the last few weeks, so look elsewhere.

Carolina Panthers RBs vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Yes the pass defense stinks, but the Bucs make up for it with the number 1 run defense. Besides it’s not like we have any clue who the featured guy will be each week.

Alex Green, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: Wake me when this supposed sensation breaks out. 3.1 yards per carry and still no TDs since all of you gobbled him up when Cedric Benson went down. He is just a bad, bad option.

Michael Turner, Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals: Tell me you still trust a guy that had just 15 yards on 12 carries, against the Saints! Yeah keep looking.

Steelers RBs vs. Baltimore Ravens: No, the Ravens aren’t that tough anymore against the run, but we really have no idea how or why they use any of their backs, and with Byron Leftwich at QB, the Ravens will gladly stack the line to slow down the Steelers ground game.

Wide Receiver

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers: Bad knee, concussion, poor offense, Madden Curse, oh yeah and 19 catches for 336 yards and a TD over the last 2 weeks. Yeah, I would say he’s back. Roll with Mega-tron.

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots: Andrew Luck takes over for Peyton Manning in this long time rivalry. As for Wayne he is first in catches and second in yards this season. Now if he could get some TDs huh! He is still huge without, so use him.

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos: They may have finally found a down-field speed threat. 5 catches for 134 yards last week, including an 80 yard TD, and now had 8 for 195 in 2 weeks. Denver has a good defense, but they can’t cover everyone every down. This is a sweet sneak pick here.

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets: Ho hum. He came back from injury last week to a mere 11 catches and 102 yards. He is always an injury risk, but boy when he is on the field he sure does get it done.

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears at San Francisco 49ers: I know he may not have Cutler, and is playing a very tough defense, but the Bears have wised up, and do what they can to get him the ball. He is in the tops in the league in catches, yards and TDs and while many are looking around, he has been a quiet but deadly MVP type player. You just can’t bench him no matter what, he’s just too good right now.

Sit

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars at Houston Texans: Don’t laugh. Some people will be trying this. He’s been getting better, but please not in this one.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders: Sure, he has TDs in 2 straight, but in the last 3 games, the catches are 5,4 and 3. When Jimmy Graham is healthy he is usually option 1, and the Raiders don’t stop TEs well. You may need him, but don’t get too excited.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Cincinnati Bengals: 18 catches and 0 TDs in 4 weeks. Please tell me you aren’t using him.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns: Only 2 grabs last week, and now may be seeing some Joe Haden. Dez Bryant and Jason Witten have become the top 2 options, and Miles is doing average work of late.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers vs. Chicago Bears: Some nice work the last 2 weeks with 3 TDs, in fact it’s just good enough to earn him the match up with Charles Tillman. I feel Tillman has that advantage.

Tight End

Start

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders: When we hear the phrase “man-crush” do we all picture Drew Brees thinking about Jimmy Graham? I know I do. He’s had 20 catches and 4 TDs since returning healthy in 3 games. He is a beast.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs have a terrible pass defense, so someone has to go off here. Why not Olsen, who had his first 100 yard game of the season last week?

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. Cleveland Browns: 33 grabs in the last 3 weeks is crazy work. He also has added about 260 yards to it. He is a wonderful check valve for the otherwise brutal Tony Romo.

Sit

Jermichael Finley, Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions: If you’re still using him, please stop reading this.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins: Yes, he has 5 TDs this year, but 3 of them were against New England, so I guess not here? Maybe?

Dustin Keller, New York Jets at St. Louis Rams: They are still fairly stingy in letting up TDs, something Keller only has 1 of this year. This offense is a mess right now.

Defenses I like this week:

St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals

Defenses I don’t like:

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

So here is the juice for Week 11. Go out there and play your best, and we will see you all for Week 12!

I have now joined Twitter, so if you would like to ask any questions or need any advice feel free to reach out to my personal account, @JPshark71.

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9 Fantasy Football 2012 Second Half Trade Targets

November 08, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Struggling fantasy football players are entering into crunch time this week with the start of the must-win season. Now is the time to shake up your team with a trade and here are just a few struggling players you may want to target to turn your team around and start that comeback.

I am not a big fan of fantasy football trades. One of the biggest mistakes I made early on was over-trading. I have taken a much more conservative approach in recent years and it has made a huge difference. My top strategy is targeting players who are not performing up to expectations. Most of these players still have the skills but for whatever reasons, they aren’t living up to their ADP. In the right situation, you can easily take advantage of a frustrated owner by buying low and gambling that these ex-fantasy football studs will get their swagger back.

The key to all of this is buying low. Are you going to trade your first-round pick who is delivering for someone’s first-round pick that isn’t? Of course not, but if you can snag one of these first-round picks for a nifty package or a late rounder you can have yourself a killer team at just the right time in the season.

Now a few of these players have been mentioned in the biggest busts blog I did last week on the CCB. So why would I target these fantasy duds? These guys were duds due to their ADP and lack of production. Getting these guys on the cheap presents a whole new game for some of these fantasy disappointments. As always I am looking at potential here but there are reasons these guys under-performed in the early weeks and I believe that those issues will be solved in most cases going forward.

Check out these fantasy football studs that started out slow but for various reasons I think will turn it around and you should target as the trade deadline approaches. Remember. You don’t want to mortgage the farm but a desperate owner may give you these guys at bargain basement prices if you play your cards right.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants – Cruz started out slow but turned it up big time in the second quarter of the season. Fortunately for you he has crashed hard in recent weeks which could put him on the trading block. He has had back-to-back duds which could cause his owner to panic. Why should you trade for a guy that has only 90 yards and zero TDs in two weeks? One, he has a fantastic schedule down the stretch. Two, Eli Manning is going to break out of his slump. He always does. According to stats he has the fourth best WR schedule the rest of the way. Target him immediately!

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions – I have been trying to snag Stafford in several leagues in recent weeks with mixed success. Stafford was a first or second round pick going into the season but hasn’t been able to match the TDs he had last year. Those low TDs have somehow opened up Stafford to critics that have labeled him as a bust when in fact he has actually had decent numbers. Now is the perfect opportunity to target him after his worst statistical game of the season. He has some very generous matchups down the stretch. He does have the Falcons and Bears in the final two weeks but there is a good shot that the Bears at least sit their starters. I love his upside going forward and I think you’re going to get the best buy for your buck on him now, before he torches the Vikings this week.

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints – Graham is another guy I have been trying to target in leagues. Here is the deal on Graham. Graham isn’t having a bad season at all. The problem is that owners took him very high and have been paying for it since. They have a great TE but they are likely struggling in other areas, areas that you may have some flexibility with. Graham is back and healthy so he isn’t going to be easy to acquire. But if you can find the right owner struggling and you have the depth to give up to make the deal happen, you need to give it a shot and do your best to grab this guy.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans - Don’t look now but CJ2K is actually starting to put it together. He’s had double digit games the last four weeks, including 3 TDs in his last 3 games. I traded for him in one league and got him at an absolute bargain. Most Johnson owners are looking to deal him immediately and I’d capitalize on it if I were you. One or two weeks would have been a fluke but he is now consistent for four straight. He does have a bye week next week which for an owner, may give him or her even more incentive to deal now. I really like his upside going forward.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions – Megatron is generally regarded as one of if not the biggest bust of the fantasy football season. So why would you want to trade for him? It’s a mirage! Watch the Lions games and you’ll notice that Johnson is constantly being tackled down at the 1 or 2 yard line. Johnson won’t get stopped short every week! The injury is a concern but if he played through it last week I think he’ll be fine for the remainder of the season. Like I mentioned with Stafford, he has a great schedule down the stretch. If you can get him at a bargain, you need to run as fast as you can to your computer and make the proposal immediately.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers – One of the biggest sources of frustration early on this fantasy season has been Cam Newton. It really shouldn’t have been a surprise as Newton’s numbers started to slide last season but it would appear that Cam is starting to get it together. His numbers aren’t great but he has had double digit games the last three weeks. He has Denver, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, and Kansas City coming up which are all dream matchups for a quarterback. According to current stats he has the sixth best QB schedule the rest of the way. Was he as good as his effort in Washington? No but he also isn’t as bad as his effort against the Seahawks. I’ll take the guy in the middle with a couple of big games sprinkled in there.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons – I am a Julio owner and I’ll be honest with you, I’d part with him for the right price. As a savvy owner, I would only part with him for a monster deal but not all Julio owners are built the same. This whole home vs. away factor for Julio has been a source of frustration all season for owners, although he did post nice numbers last week at home. I love this guy and I think there is potential for this guy to tear it up as the season progresses. Unfortunately for his owners, some disappointing weeks may have put them into a win-now position. That is a great position for you to take advantage of. Target those Julio owners in trouble.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys – Here is a guy that I drafted late on two teams who is putting up either the best or second numbers on my team. Austin is extremely underrated as most fantasy players see Dez Bryant as fantasy gold for the Cowboys. This perception allowed Austin to drop in most drafts and will allow you to acquire on the cheap. Austin also happens to have the fifth best WR schedule down the stretch. He’s coming off his first game in weeks under double digits so now is the time to make your play for Austin.

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay Packers – Jordy owners are probably screaming as they read this about what a bust he has been for them and I get it. But, Jordy is going to come back. Once he comes back he is going to start putting up those numbers his owners hoped to see all season. He’s on a bye this week and will have a lot of rest before his next game. Now this is a gamble because you never know if the Packers are being coy or not with injuries here. The upside here is huge and you can probably snag him well below value at this point in the season. Other than the Bears in Week 16 he has some incredibly enticing matchups down the stretch. If you can’t budge Calvin Johnson’s owner, Jordy’s would be the next proposal I send out.

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Top 10 Fantasy Football 2012 Disappointments

November 02, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

We past the halfway point of the fantasy football season and it is time to start calling people out. Those people are the highly ranked preseason players who have turned into huge disappointments and those arrogant experts who told you to pick them.

For many of us, your fantasy football season is made or broken on draft day. It is almost impossible to recover from a busted first or second-round draft pick. Those other players you passed up have gone on to either live up or exceed expectations. Your opponents got stronger as your team turned into a big fat bust. It’s time to call out those disappointments who have given you weeks of frustration and a stressful fantasy football season.

I could sit here and come up with at least 25 players off of the top of my head that have failed to meet preseason expectations. Instead, I narrowed it down to ten. I chose to focus on players that were ranked top 10 at their position, players you would have chosen with an early pick, players who have screwed you royally! I went back and based these projections off of the preseason rankings at FantasyPros.com standard scoring Expert Consensus Rankings, the largest collection of consensus expert rankings I have found anywhere on the Internet. This isn’t meant as a bash Fantasy Pros blog, but I thought that their rankings give the best overall vibe on a player coming into the season.

Stats and scoring are based on ESPN Fantasy Football standard scoring.

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans - Now I can tell you that I never bought into Johnson’s ADP value because why would you put that much stock into a wide receiver in a running offense. Yet a lot of experts did and predicted big things for Johnson. Johnson had a overall rank of 23 and was ranked as the fifth best fantasy WR coming into the season. Today Johnson is the 36th ranked wide receiver overall! Jeremy Kerley, Mike Williams, Andre Roberts, and Josh Gordon are having better seasons than him! If you have him you took him early and you have probably regretted it ever since.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears - Forte was a real tough player to assess coming into the season. The talent is there but there was always the fear of Michael Bush stealing goal line carries. I kept Forte in one league but have traded him since. Forte was ranked the 10th best player overall coming into the season. Today Forte is the 20th ranked Running Back! He was injured yes, but he only missed one full game. “Burners” like Michael Turner, Ahmad Bradshaw, and Shonn Greene are ranked ahead of Forte currently! Entering Week 9 he has had only two TDs on the season and three double-digit games.

Greg Jennings, Green Bay Packers - Jennings has been an injury headache going back to the preseason. I owned Jennings last season and he was phenomenal. Going into this season I had reservations, yet he was still ranked as the sixth overall wide receiver going into the season. Jennings has a whopping 12 points in eight weeks of play at this point. He’s missed a lot of time and may not return this season. I hate to indict guys who got injured but the writing was on the wall in preseason. Yet experts still pushed the Packer on fantasy owners ignoring the alarms. If you took him you are probably looking up at the standings unless you were savvy enough to grab some sleepers later in your draft.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers - Cam is an interesting player to assess. There were plenty of people (like yours truly) that had reservations about Cam coming into the season. His numbers started declining towards the end of the last season, yet there were plenty of experts that propped him up in the preseason. Cam was ranked as the number five QB going into the season, number 20 overall. Saying Cam has struggled this season would be the understatement of the year. He is currently ranked #13 behind guys like Alex Smith and Josh Freeman! If you own Cam you had to blow an early draft pick on him and unless you grabbed someone like RG III or Andrew Luck late, you are probably in big trouble.

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles - I own Shady in two leagues and I can tell you, that I am disappointed. I don’t think there is anyone who plays fantasy football that didn’t expect more from the Philadelphia Eagles offense. McCoy was ranked number three overall and as the number three RB going into the season. McCoy is ranked 13th in RBs going into Week 9 behind such studs like Shonn Greene and Alfred Morris. Andy Reid’s refusal to stick to a running game has burnt plenty of fantasy owners this season. He’s got respectable numbers but far less than what was expected from this fantasy stud.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles - Vick is another tough one to assess. Vick was not someone you likely took in your first or second round, but he was highly touted by experts coming into the season. Vick was ranked 6th among QBs coming into the season making him a bust at this point in the season. Vick is currently ranked 15th among QBs. Again he has respectable numbers for a guy you may have grabbed later, yet as a top 6 QB, he is a bust.

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions - Speaking of busts, meet your 2012 Madden Curse. Johnson has been arguably the biggest bust in all of fantasy football. Johnson was ranked as the number one wide receiver by fantasy experts on just about every website online. Coming into Week 9 he has only one, yep just one touchdown on the season! Some have blamed it on Matthew Stafford yet if you look at Stafford’s numbers (who is actually putting up better numbers than most people are giving him credit for), he is getting the yards. Johnson recently revealed an injury which may be the culprit. Regardless, he is hardly giving you the numbers you’d expect if you took him with your first draft pick.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders – I said that Megatron was arguably the biggest bust of the season and I say that because McFadden could also win that argument. Just about every fantasy expert in the world predicted gigantic numbers for Run DMC if he stayed healthy. Guess what? He is healthy and disappointing. He has two TDs on the season and only two 100+ games on the ground. These hardly the kind of numbers you’d expect from someone ranked 8th overall coming into the season.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans - Fool me once CJ2K shame on you, fool me twice shame on me. I was fortunate enough not to get bit by Johnson but that wasn’t for a lack of trying. I tried to draft him but he went way too early in every draft which turned out to be a blessing. The projected number 6 RB overall isn’t even in the top ten among RBs. If not for one mega game in Week 7 against Buffalo, Johnson would be an even bigger bust. Two touchdowns in eight weeks of play isn’t going to cut it. Facing some tough matchups down the stretch probably won’t turn around Johnson’s season. My hunch is that CJ2K isn’t even ranked among top 10 RBs in 2013 preseason projections or back with the Titans for that matter.

DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys - I never bought it! I remember sitting in one draft when a friend asked me about taking Murray in an early round. I told him not to do it yet he took him anyway and paid the price. Again, I hate to bash a guy due to injury but the warning signs were there. Murray has had a history of injuries going back to college which made me hesitant to pick him up. Also, like Cam Newton his numbers dwindled down the stretch last season yet experts loved him. I got the whole idea of Murray appealing because he isn’t a time share but other than a few good games against terrible defenses last season, I didn’t see it. Compound that with an awful offensive live spotlighted during the preseason, this guy had bust all over him. Looking at him when he was playing, he only had two double digit games and one touchdown. Those certainly are not numbers you’d expect from the projected number 11 fantasy player overall coming into the season.

Honorable Mention…
Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars
Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers
Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys
Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys
Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers

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Fantasy Football 2012 Second Half Make Or Break Players

October 31, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

With a half of the NFL season in the books it is time for fantasy owners to get serious and bear down for what lies ahead. Some of you may be in pretty good shape, riding a high and having a good record, sitting back and waiting for the playoffs. Some of you are in the middle, every win and every loss are critical, and with every one yard gain you cringe, every dropped pass makes you scream, oh and that share time with RBs? Yes just makes you want to cripple that rookie who is stealing your man’s time. Others, well you are playing spoiler and trying to take others down. No matter where you are on this food chain, it never hurts to have a little more advice.

The article is called “Make or Break” and it is just that easy. I will go through players that can make your season, and those who seem destined to break it. If you have the “Make” guys keep a close eye on them and prepare a spot in your line up for them every week. The “Break” guys, well it is pretty easy to understand. The reason it starts getting tough is the factors of: 1) As an NFL team struggles, they try and groom new players and test them out which hurts playing time for the regulars. 2) When NFL teams are playing really well, and lock up playoff spots, they tend to take it easy on the stars to avoid injury. These factors can be killers, so watch the waiver wire, know your bench, and get ready for a wild second half. This is your cheat sheet! Good luck everyone.

Here are some “Make” players:

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Over his first 4 games, Freeman had just 5 TDs and averaged under 200 yards, while the Bucs offense struggled. Over the last 4 however, big stuff! Freeman has over 1,000 yards and 9 TDs and the Buccaneers seem to feel safer with him throwing the ball. They run decent too, so a balance, included with Freeman throwing more often near the end zone is helping. He is suddenly looking like the guy from 2010 over the guy from last year. If you are tight at QB, Freeman is available in some leagues, he’s a good pick right now.

Danny Amendola, WR, St. Louis Rams: When we last saw Amendola on the field he was making dynamic catches in a game against the Cardinals, then an injury that some thought ended his year. However, zoom ahead a few weeks, and here is the little tough guy, practicing and ready for a comeback. The Rams will have a bye come week 9, and when they return they will have their top WR back. Before his injury he was averaging 6 catches and 80 yards, plus return yards and had 2 TDs. He will be active upon return, grab him or get ready to use him.

Jason Witten, TE, Dallas Cowboys: He looks to be back and healthy and with the way the Cowboys offense has struggled, he is back just in time. In week 8 he had 18 catches, yes 18 in a game against the New York Giants. Witten has always been a big catch numbers guy, and a nice red zone option. With lots of questions about who is the go to guy here, Witten is primed to snag that role.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, RB, Arizona Cardinals: If you are in a PPR league, and you need a good flex, watch the progress on Howling. He is the most versatile back on this team by far, and shows good explosiveness. Beanie Wells can return soon, but it should not hurt the time Howling spends on the field. He runs well, and should be getting more time as the Cardinals look for answers moving forward.

LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: He has been hurting many owners, the proof is in the numbers. However the fortune of McCoy may change very soon. Head coach Andy Reid is hinting at a change at QB, sending in the rookie Nick Foles over Michael Vick, which could and should mean many more carries and passes for McCoy. He had 2 TDs in week 8, and the Eagles realize the time has come to get him more involved. This week 9 match against a poor Saints defense should help kick start the offense.

Chris Johnson, RB, Tennessee Titans: Another guy that made owners cry over the first few weeks, Johnson has come on better the last few weeks. It seems with a veteran QB like Matt Hasselback running the offense teams can’t focus just on the run, and it helps Johnson find some space. He has rushed for close to 400 yards and has had 8 catches and 2 TDs as well over his last 3 games. Now is the time to use him, you could do a lot worse.

Eric Decker, WR, Denver Broncos: 5 TDs over his last 4 weeks is a telling sign that Peyton Manning has faith in Decker. We know they run well now, and have loads of guys who can play here, but Decker is looking like the guy that Manning trust with timing patterns and red zone catches. We know he is a good ball player, as he showed even with Tim Tebow at QB. So why not trust him with one of the all time best at QB? The other plus, he looks good in any match up as defenses have to focus on the ability of Thomas to go deep.

Miami Dolphins Defense: Usually the smart thing is to play to the match ups, but this defense has been special of late. Their 120 points allowed is third best in the league, and their 22 sacks is good for sixth. They swarm to the ball and play aggressive, and have been one of the better squads the last few weeks. As I said watch the match ups, but grab them and be ready to use them.

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers: His name is all the buzz in Fantasy Football, and it is clear as to why. Over his last 3 games Cobb has caught 20 passes for 220 yards and 3 TDs. He also does some stuff in the return game, and has blazing speed, which makes him a threat to always go all the way every time he touches the ball. Right now with Greg Jennings and Jordy Nelson banged up, and a lack of faith in other options, Cobb has become the best bet on a very good team.

Darren McFadden, RB, Oakland Raiders: His numbers early this year were brutal, but over the last 3 weeks he has run for close to 240 yards, which is more than half of his seasons total, also 11 catches and a TD, which also come close to half his totals. Let’s face it, he is a dynamic talent, but needs help to get rolling along. QB Carson Palmer has improved which of course helps McFadden. He is making progress, so run with him.

Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers: Over 100 yards in both of his games he started the last 2 weeks is a good start, and his competition is not only hurting physically, but hurting their chances of playing time. Another great stat is a lusty 5.2 yards per carry, on a team that loves to run the ball. Now he just needs to find the end zone, and he will be that mid-season pick up you dream of finding.

Darryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams: The Rams are still learning who they are, and Richardson may be a huge part of that new regime. As the trade deadline looms there are rumors of longtime RB Steven Jackson being traded, which may help him as well. Over his last 3 weeks he has rushed for 170 yards and also hauled in 10 catches, head coach Jeff Fisher likes this kid, and it may lead to the number 1 spot here.

Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings: The worries of too much work, and last years knee injury are well behind him, so now is the time for Peterson to be a leader for your Fantasy team. Long runs, hard runs, and catches have him very active, and with the Vikings still in the playoff hunt, they will need to lean hard on Peterson. He has even found the end zone the last 2 weeks. Looks like the Peterson of old is coming back!

Reggie Wayne, WR, Indianapolis Colts: Staggering numbers here. Over the last 4 weeks: 31 catches, over 460 yards as well. Sure, he only has 2 TDs this season, but in a PPR league Wayne has not slowed down, and while some still worry about going with him, it is a mistake to bench him. Wayne is still Wayne, whether he has Andrew Luck or Peyton Manning, as long as Curtis Painter isn’t coming back.

Owen Daniels, TE, Houston Texans: If you are in a league that require a tight end, then you have to roll with Daniels. After a slow start he has come on strong with 20 catches and 3 TDs over his last 4 games. We know Arian Foster gets the majority of touches, but Daniels has been real good and can make your team complete at TE.

Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins: Holy flex player! His numbers are not overwhelming, but over the last 4 games he has 4 TDs and gets some looks in this offense. They use him a lot in the slot, which is not usually his fit, but they are finding ways to get him the ball, and he makes the most out of his touches. You all may know that teams are usually short that one guy, Moss makes an excellent plug in for just that type of situation, and he should continue to be busy.

Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller, RBs, Buffalo Bills: The most reliable time share in the NFL, it is hard not to use either one of these guys. Both catch passes, and are used in Buffalo’s new short game, and both run well. Jackson runs with great power and Spiller great speed, and they are both double-digit scorers pretty much every week. The team as a whole may not be super, but these 2 backs sure are worth it.

Here are some Breaks:

Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions: With each passing week I hear phrases like “you can’t possibly bench Megatron”. Really? Maybe we should check again. Just 6 catches on 15 targets and under 40 yards in the last 2 weeks is awfully scary and he only has just 1 TD this year, and not thrown by Matthew Stafford. Sure for a while we could blame the bad offense, but last week they racked up yards and points and still not much from Mega. He is also playing with a bad knee, against the fabled Madden Curse, and poor confidence. Watch him carefully because he can shatter your team.

Michael Vick, QB, Philadelphia Eagles: The rumors are buzzing through Philly much like the winds of Hurricane Sandy that Vick may be headed to the bench. It would be a justified move as well as he leads the NFL in turnovers by a QB, and seems to have lost a step as far as running. He is not getting much, and the time may be here to use another QB. The Eagles are sure planning on it.

Reggie Bush, RB, Miami Dolphins: As a guy that owns Bush in every league this hurts to say, but his production has been limited. Suddenly he sees Daniel Thomas become the red zone guy and is getting less carries each week. Has it been justified? Not really. He still averages 4.5 yards per carry and has good hands. Last week he was productive, but seems to be losing favor in Miami. Grab Daniel Thomas if you can, he seems to be taking over.

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina Panthers: More owners seem to be benching him, and it is not the worst idea right now. He has just 1 total TD over the last 3 weeks, and only 8 total for the year, an average of 1 per week. He is losing confidence and is losing control of his team, which is loaded with too many RBs and not enough top flight WRs. Newton is trouble right now for your team.

Arizona Cardinals Defense: Remember in week 4, when everyone was running around trying to grab this defense? What happened? Well they were handled in week 8 by the 49ers and are not making big plays right now. Much of it can be blamed on a bad offense that limits the time they get to recover, and also teams have caught up to what they bring. Right now it is very uneventful, and you can do much better.

BenJarvis Green-Ellis, RB, Cincinnati Bengals: The last 4 weeks have not been kind to this “Law Firm”. Green-Ellis is averaging just 56 yards per game, hasn’t sniffed the end zone, and is averaging just 3.3 yards per carry. There was doubt coming into this season how he would fare as the primary back, and it looks as if he is slowing down. I realize it is hard right now in Fantasy land to find lots of good RB play, but this guy surely isn’t a good option.

Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants: Since his injury after week 2, Nicks has been eased back into this offense. Very eased I may add, with just 12 catches over his last 3 weeks, and he hasn’t gone over 50 yards in any contest. Victor Cruz owns this show now, and there is many options to work with. Nicks still gets started in plenty of leagues, but the time has come to wait for him to be more active before using him with any confidence.

Brian Hartline, WR, Miami Dolphins: I warned all of you that after his huge blow up game that it was time to sell. Since that monster 12 catch and 253 yard day with a TD against the Cardinals, Hartline has just 8 catches for 100 yards and no TDs in 3 games. He has never been a huge numbers guy, and for me I think that guys like Bess and Bush are better options for pass catches. Also the rumor that they may trade for Dwayne Bowe won’t help.

Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Now don’t get me wrong, I love Fitz, but for what you expect for him you are getting far less. His QBs are struggling, and for it he has just 1 TD over the last 4 weeks, and that came against the woeful Bills defense. He will get some, but the some he is getting isn’t good enough for what you expect, and the time to bench him may be here.

Jamaal Charles, RB, Kansas City Chiefs: If you have the option, you may think of trading him if someone will fall for it. Over the last 2 weeks he has just 44 yards on 17 carries, and with Peyton Hillis back, he may get used even less. When asked this past week about his 5 carry workload, head coach Romeo Crennel simply said “I’m not exactly sure.”We were rotating our backs in there. Hillis was back and he was able to get some carries. He was somewhat effective. When a guy’s effective, we kind of stay with him a little bit.” That sounds nothing like a guy who is confident in who he has. Hillis will steal carries and hurt Charles owners badly.

Martellus Bennett, TE, New York Giants: Where have you gone TD man? Early in the season Bennett was getting a TD per week and was active in this offense. Well times have changed, and he has not scored a TD since week 3 and his catch totals have been quite average. Bennett came here with the reputation as a blocking TE and he is starting to look more like one each week.

Kenny Britt, WR, Tennessee Titans: Enough already. Just 13 catches and 1 TD over the last 4 weeks is poor enough, and now word of yet another possible injury. Britt just hasn’t panned out to be what many thought he would be over the last few seasons, and now the time to not only bench him, but let him be free and use the roster spot for someone else.

Jacob Tamme, TE, Denver Broncos: When the season started many thought that Peyton Manning would go wild with Tamme being that he knew his styles from the days at Indy. Now he is just an extra, and not getting much. In the last 4 weeks he is averaging 4 catches and about 40 yards per game, and knows nothing about the end zone. He is not even the top TE on his own team anymore, so stop trying to force his will.

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: He looked like a logical answer to be the number 2 choice for the Bengals early this season, but since then has become average at best. Just 15 catches and under 150 yards over the last 4 weeks with 0 TDs is more than enough evidence to let you know it is time to stop reaching with this guy. The Bengals have 2 prime targets in Gresham and Green, if you don’t own either of them, lay off the Bengals.

Shonn Greene, RB, New York Jets: Hopefully you aren’t fooled by that 161 yard week he had a few weeks ago, because that game aside he has only 340 yards in his other 7, an average of under 50 yards per game. He had a TD and 6 catches last week, but this is a bad offense right now, and he has never been a big time back. Many of you drafted him fairly early, and want to stay faithful but it is so hard right now.

Greg Zuerlein, K, St. Louis Rams: Now I love “LegaTron” but he is lacking chances right now. In week 8 in London, head coach Jeff Fisher passed on 3 chances to kick field goals of around 50 yards due to how far behind his team was. The Rams are not moving the ball very well, and his chances are getting less and less. From a fantasy stand point he hasn’t gotten over double digits in several weeks. Yes, a kicker won’t make a huge difference, but things can get close enough where 5-10 points can really matter.

Antonio Brown, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers: Decoy much? Yes he got that big contract, but he done little to explode for Fantasy owners. He has just 1 TD this season, and over the past 4 weeks he has had an interesting pattern of catches of 4,7,4,7 and for the yardage under 50 or over 80. He is a decent PPR reach, but not a stellar WR1 or WR2 right now. He has to be killing some owners for sure.

Matt Schaub, QB, Houston Texans: He is still a good game manager, and a decent QB, but the Texans don’t lean on him near as much as they used too. Just 10 TDs in 7 games this season, which is better than just 1 per game, and his yardage has been pedestrian. It is a team that moves the ball with good defense and a nice running game, so the time to use Schaub will be limited as a bye week cover, which also are near the end. Keep him as a nice back up but don’t try and ride him to a Fantasy title.

Keep an eye on some names as the trade deadline looms:

Tim Tebow, QB, New York Jets: With his ability to run, and a decent arm he can be worth something to a team that really needs a working QB. He isn’t gold, but he can certainly challenge the numbers in Fantasy of some regulars if moved.

Steven Jackson, RB, St. Louis Rams: Being on this team the nickname “Battering Ram: was fitting, but a possible move could mean a nice stretch run for Jackson before he fades away into an aged once-was back. He can still play, but only a move to a contender can help his value now.

DeAngelo Williams, RB, Carolina Panthers: His big contract makes him hard to trade, but a change of scene is exactly what he may need to show signs of the back he was a few years ago. The in and out and not knowing when style he plays in Carolina hurts him a great deal, and the time to get out is now.

Dwayne Bowe, WR, Kansas City Chiefs: Loads of talent, and a real bad situation here. Bowe makes big catches, can get into the end zone and is a prime WR for any team. He is due for a new contract which will have him most likely out of KC next season anyway so now is the time to try and cash in on a trade if possible. Some teams fighting for a playoff spot could use him badly, and I see him as the most likely player to be traded.

Here is some news and updates for your fantasy team. Keep a watch on these guys and use them accordingly. The stretch run is here, and every win is crucial.
Good luck owners!

I have now joined Twitter, so if you would like to ask any questions or need any advice feel free to reach out to my personal account, @JPshark71.

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 8

October 25, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

We approach the half-way mark of the NFL season this week folks, how are things treating you? For me it has been a very typical season of tough choices, heart ache and some joy have helped me roll on to an 18-10 record in 4 Fantasy leagues! It has been tough of course, and it always seems that I have to sweat out each week up until the final whistle on Monday night. In fact I jumped up in the standings in one league when a late Lions TD lowered the points of the Bears defense and a team in that league ended with a loss by a half of a point. Just crazy!

As you all know, we are also approaching Halloween season, and we have seen some wild costumes in the NFL for sure. Last week we watched Josh Freeman wearing his Dan Marino costume, firing for over 400 yards and 3 TDs, which could of actually been 5 if not for a push out and a stop at the 1 yard line. Oh and how about the get up on that kid in Tennessee Chris Johnson, who did an excellent job impersonating Barry Sanders.

How about Jay Cutler on Monday night, wearing the costume of gladiator and playing through pain after a huge sack before the half? Granted he did nothing big by the numbers, but he held his team together, even looked like a leader in getting a key division win. The Baltimore Ravens? Yes a whole team in costume, looking more like the Cleveland Browns in getting thumped by the Houston Texans. See even NFL players can get into the spirit, scary huh? Well depending on what you did and who you chose it could be a pure nightmare! (Boo!)

Here in Week 8 I am going to ask, not beg, for you to read my insights. Last week I brought you plenty of good business. I had the Bills 1-2 punch of Jackson and Spiller, told you all to feel good about Josh Freeman, told you Owen Daniels was a fine play and so on. A 3-1 week for me is nothing to sneeze at. I am bringing the heat, and if the season ended today I would have a playoff spot in all 4 of my leagues. It is getting serious now, and the waiver wires are getting thinner. It is time for wins, and the losses can make you drop out of contention. You want the big money, the big record? Tune in each week to me and the news of the CCB. If not you will look like a guy who has lost his mind, or perhaps his head, it is Halloween soon after all. Headless Horseman anyone?

Quarterback

Start

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints: Some Manning owners are still hesitating, but that time is over. He looks very much like the Manning of old, with 14 TDs this season, including 6 in the last 2 weeks. This week the Saints come to town, a defense that could have 11 Jon Vilma’s and still not make a dent in anyone’s offense. This is an easy play here.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Atlanta Falcons: Very few coaches work the post-bye week magic quite like Andy Reid, and what better time to pull a rabbit out of a hat than this week. Last year Vick was excellent against his former club before an injury forced him out. The Falcons, while undefeated could be better on defense, and Vick will go all out here. I have told anyone who will listen that Philly ends the Falcons win streak, and Vick will need to lead that charge. He will, and you will profit!

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants: Please don’t hurt me, I know he has been brutal, but the last few weeks has shown improvement. The Giants seem to bring out the best in Romo, including a 3 TD effort in week 1 against the same G-Men. Not quite sure what it is about this defense that makes him spark, but in the last 4 meetings he has 12 TDs and averages over 300 yards.

Sit

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks: Being home may help, but this Lions offense is terrible of late. Outside of a miracle comeback against Philly, the Lions have posted just 13 points in the last 3 weeks. The Bears showed just how easy it can be to get to Stafford, and he looked sore after Monday’s game. Now one of the NFL’s top defenses by the numbers comes to town. Not looking pretty.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears: A new GM? That’s how the Panthers solve the problems with this offense? Cam Newton is becoming very average of late, and this tough defense won’t help. He has just 5 TD passes this season and his WR corp seems bored on the field. If you have another QB the time may be here to use him over Newton, he is killing teams right now.

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns vs. San Diego Chargers: I have been big on Weeden the last few weeks, but not real giddy about the match up this week. It is the midway point of the season, which is when the Chargers usually wake from hibernation and play better ball. Yes he has 6 TDs in his last 3, and has gone over 250 yards in each, but the Chargers defense is not that bad, and it is a game they need. I think you can do better this week.

Running Back

Start

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans vs. Indianapolis Colts: Here we go again. The guy we saw last week was that superstar who boldly went by CJ2K. He’s fast and shifty, making huge plays and getting it done. The Titans are a whole different team when Johnson takes over, so they will force him all over Indy, who has never been known as a good run defense team. Monitor him week to week, but go with him here.

Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins at New York Jets: Some people are on the fence about Bush and using him moving forward, but I am here to say it’s pure nonsense. Before an injury in his last game against the Jets, Bush was averaging 6.1 yards per carry, and the Jets run defense has been torched this season. Bush also catches passes at a clip of 3.5 grabs per week, so he is always active and has the speed to go all the way every time he touches the ball. He is rested and healthy, go with it!

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs vs. Oakland Raiders: Some of Charles’ best games have come against the Raiders, and coming off a bye week he is well rested and ready to roll. The Chiefs are keeping Brady Quinn at QB so he will need to use Charles to the fullest to give his team a chance to win. With an average of 80 rush yards and 3 catches per week means he’s working and now he needs more TDs. This week he should be good for maybe 2.

Sit

Jonathan Stewart, Carolina Panthers at Chicago Bears: The light work load issued to DeAngelo Williams might make Stewart owners giddy, and it may amount to something, but not so much here. I have a hard time trusting anyone on this offense against the Bears.

Steven Jackson/Darryl Richardson St. Louis Rams vs. New England Patriots: Despite Richardson’s improving work and it helping Jackson, this is not the week to try these guys. The Patriots are tough on the run, which means we will probably see lots of Sam Bradfords arm. If he can find enough receivers is a whole other story.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals vs. San Francisco 49ers: Yes he took the bull by the horns and was excellent last week, but here comes the ferocious 49ers defense to slow him down. The Cards have plenty of issues on the offensive line and a crazy situation at QB, so trying to endorse their running game is hard to do.

Wide Receiver

Start

Eric Decker/Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos vs. New Orleans Saints: If you used the big 2 from Tampa last week you did decent, so there is no holding back from starting either one of these guys this week. Peyton Manning is hot right now, and he likes to spread the ball between both of these WRs. Again, if you have both you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, but if you have one, use them.

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints at Denver Broncos: Yep I like this match up for both teams, and I like how well Colston has been playing lately. 5 TDs in his last 3 starts and he is catching at least 7 passes per. With Jimmy Graham out there is more action to be had, and Denver, while tough on defense will have a hard time stopping the red hot Colston.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: If you like Salsa dancing, you must love watching Cruz. Sure there is a contract issue looming, but hey if he plays well, someone will pay him, and of late he looks like a billionaire. He is doing possession as well as deep hitting receiving and is becoming a true superstar in the league. These games are always filled with yards, so expect Cruz to get plenty.

Sit

Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions vs. Seattle Seahawks: I don’t like the QB so how can I like his top option? Johnson is clearly in the Madden curse stage, having just 1 TD this season, no matter how hard they try and force the ball to him. Last week he was frustrated and roughed up by the Bears defense, and the Seahawks are similar in style. Each week I say how he is due to break out soon, but I am having a hard time guessing how soon. Stay away here.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Despite 6 TDs over his last 4 games, I am going against him. The Packers seem to love everyone but Jones, as yes he gets TDs but little else during the game. Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb are stepping up and it may be time for Jones to step out.

Mike Wallace, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Washington Redskins: He seems to have a sudden case of the dropsy’s, and it is helping Antonio Brown become more productive. Wallace has loads of talent, but a pre-season holdout seems to be taking it’s toll. There is little scary about the match up but a long view look worries me about Wallace.

Tight End

Start

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants: Coming on strong and getting back into the flow, Witten is worth a shot here. He is due for some end zone looks too, and Romo brings it against the Giants normally.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. Miami Dolphins: Keller got into the end zone last week, and seems back from a groin injury. Keller has always been a key part of this offense, and with the bang ups at WR he should be busy each week.

Sit

Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings: A few nice clutch catches last week should not have you all running to him. Clark has done very little this season, and the match up isn’t great. Sure keep an eye on his progress, but not here.

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys: A lot of print about this match up so far, but if you are still looking to use Bennett, you have not been watching lately.

Defenses I like this week:

San Diego Chargers at Cleveland Browns

Seattle Seahawks at Detroit Lions

Chicago Bears vs. Carolina Panthers

Defenses I don’t like this week

New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys

Atlanta Falcons at Philadelphia Eagles

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Minnesota Vikings

Waiver Wire: It is taking a lot of work to find anything big, but keep chipping at those rocks, you may still find some gold nuggets!

Rashard Jennings, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars: Did decent last week after an injury to Maurice Jones-Drew, and will fill the lead role for a week or 2 at least. This week is tricky, but you can use him if you need to.

Chris Cooley, TE, Washington Redskins: He may not be ready yet, but he has always been a guy who stays active. He is a good pass catcher, and he should come back and make some plays. If you have to have a TE in your league, grab him and hang on to him.

Brandon LaFell, WR, Carolina Panthers: Not a great week for him, but they need someone to step up here. He has been getting more targets so it may amount to something.

Santana Moss, WR, Washington Redskins: 3 TDs in 3 weeks has been nice, and they have been looking his way when they need the big play. Moss is hard to trust normally, but he has been awfully good of late.

Philadelphia Eagles Defense: I see them getting dropped in many leagues, but with new coordinator Todd Bowles in charge they should bring more blitzes and more chances for turnovers. The Wide 9 was killing Philly, and that is gone. Could be a nice sneak pick.

So here is my stuff for Week 8, use it or lose it! Come on, use it! Thanks for reading and as always best of luck!

I have now joined Twitter, so if you would like to ask any questions or need any advice feel free to reach out to my personal account, @JPshark71.

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

The Sharkys 2011 Fantasy Football Awards

January 05, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Aaron RodgersAnother great season has come and gone Fantasy Football fans, and with it ends all the glory and possible heart-ache that we all suffered week in and week out. The hopes of a perfect draft in mid-August, and the dreams of the big trophy have all played out, so what was it like for you? Are you the bragger, and a hero? Are you the guy already working on the drawing boards for next year? Well whoever you may be, I hope we all had a great season and look forward to 2012!

It is with great pleasure that I bring you all my version of an “Awards Show” for Fantasy Football, with the 3rd annual “Sharky Awards”. For you who may be new to it, my nickname is “The Shark” and well, hence the very simple name of the award. I look back at the great players and some of the duds in which we choose to forget. No, these rankings are in no way official, so if you see something you may not like, feel free to comment at the end and share your thoughts!

As always, thank you to everyone who read, and followed us along this season at CamelClutchBlog.com, and hopefully the help I offered brought you some glory! Here is to a great season past, and wishing many great seasons to come. So sit back, read and relax and enjoy the 2011 Sharky Awards!

2011 Sharky for Most Valuable Player:

Nominees: Drew Brees, QB, Saints, Ray Rice, RB, Ravens, Aaron Rodgers, QB, Packers

The Winner: Aaron Rodgers, QB, Green Bay Packers

With no disrespect to the record breaking year Brees had, or the huge season Rice had, Rodgers was truly the best every week. With 48 TDs he had more than any other player in football and also had 4,643 passing yards and 257 rush yards. He helped lead the Packers to a 15-1 record, and put up all these great stats without even playing the last game. If all this is not enough for you, consider Rodgers threw just 6 INTs and completed a whopping 69 percent of his passes. Not too shabby!

Best Quarterback:

Nominees: Tom Brady, Patriots, Aaron Rodgers, Packers, Drew Brees, Saints

The Winner: Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

I know what you may think “how can the MVP be a QB but not the best QB?” Well in the realm of Fantasy, how many of you lost your championship when Rodgers was forced to sit out the last game? Brees did play all 16 games, and the fact that his team played more close games made his numbers come up big. He gets the nod for setting an NFL record for most passing yards in a season, and also dropped a total of 47 TDs, second only to Rodgers.

Best Running Back:

Nominees: Ray Rice, Ravens, LeSean McCoy, Eagles, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars

The Winner: Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens

For all of us who may have had him last year, and were a bit let down, Rice came out this year and played excellent football and helped the Ravens to a division championship. On a Fantasy level, Rice was huge with 76 receptions, and over 2,000 total yards from scrimmage and 15 total TDs. His 1,364 rushing yards were second to only Maurice Jones-Drew, and 76 catches second to only Darren Sproles as far as RBs were concerned. Rice had an amazing bounce back season, and owners thrived from it.

Best Wide Receiver:

Nominees: Wes Welker, Patriots, Calvin Johnson, Lions, Percy Harvin, Vikings

The Winner: Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions

The man they call “Mega-Tron” sure was huge this past season, and the Detroit Lions have found their way back to the NFL Playoffs. While Welker had more catches, with 122, Johnson still hauled in 96 passes, and 16 of them went for TDs. Only TE Rob Gronkowski of the Pats had more TDs, and Johnson was easily the most reliable player at WR this season. Hard to cover, you bet! Hard to not take in the first-round next year, you bet!

Best Tight End:

Nominees: Rob Gronkowski, Patriots, Jimmy Graham, Saints, Tony Gonzalez, Falcons

The Winner: Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots

Possibly the most dangerous all-around weapon on offense this year, Gronkowski, along with Jimmy Graham, re-invented the TE position. 90 catches, 1,327 yards and 17 TDs are no fluke, and at most points this season, he was by far QB Tom Brady’s favorite target. Coming from a long line of NFL family brothers, Rob is by far the best of the bunch, and the new leader of the TE pack in the NFL.

Best Defense/ Special Teams:

Nominees: 49ers, Bears, Ravens

The Winner: Chicago Bears

Yet again, the Bears defense managed to make the most of all its chances. 9 total TDs along with 33 sacks, 20 INTs, and 11 fumble recoveries made for a huge season for the Bears. Sadly some injuries on offense had left to a disappointing end, but this defense was stronger than ever.

Best Kicker:

Nominees: Sebasitan Janikowski, Raiders, Stephen Gostkowski, Patriots, David Akers, 49ers

The Winner: David Akers, San Francisco 49ers

Let go after a long run in Philadelphia, Akers did nothing to disappoint 49ers fans as well as fantasy owners this season. 44 FGs and 34 extra points, oh and also a TD pass in the final game of the season! (How many championships were decided by that nugget?) Akers was a guy who was easily doing double-digits each week, and a force in helping the 49ers get the number 2 seed in the NFC for this year’s playoffs.

Best Sleeper Pick:

Nominees: Darren Sproles, RB, Saints, Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers, Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals

The Winner: Darren Sproles, New Orleans Saints

At the end of the year, anyone who had Sproles on their roster and claimed they knew it all along, was clearly lying! In the 4 leagues I was in this season, Sproles was either not drafted at all, or taken near the end. He had one of the best seasons of any player in Fantasy for 2011 with 603 rush yards, 86 receptions for 710 yards, 1383 total return yards and 10 TDs. Yes, nobody expected the big things they got from Brown or Dalton, but Sproles quickly turned into an every week must start!

Rookie Of The Year:

Nominees: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals, A. J. Green, WR, Bengals, Cam Newton, QB, Panthers

The Winner: Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers

It was a good year for many rookies in the NFL, but none quite as good as Newton. 35 total TDs, and over 4700 total yards from scrimmage is a rookie season for the record books. Newton had his doubters coming into this season, and was compared to many QBs that fell flat when they made the big time. However, mid-way through the season, the waiver wire was exploding with Newton pick ups, and he finished in the top 5 in total Fantasy points for QBs in many leagues. If you want him next year, it may cost you a first-round pick.

Biggest Draft Day Bust:

Nominees: Peyton Hillis, RB, Browns, Chris Johnson, RB, Titans, DeSean Jackson, WR, Eagles

The Winner (I guess?): Chris Johnson, Titans

If you judge by the position in the draft Johnson would go, this one is easy. Hillis may have struggled, and had injuries, but Johnson was clearly slowed by a hold-out and lack of motivation early this season. Johnson finished with just 1,047 rush yards and only 4 TDs, which crushed many of you who thought taking him at the end of the first-round was quite a steal. Many question what he could have left, and the big contract may have gone right to his head, but I feel he comes back nicely next year. This season however, he will enjoy only a Sharky Award.

Best One Week Pick Up:

The Winner: Kevin Smith, RB, Detroit Lions

No nominees were needed here. Week 11 was some kind of “out of nowhere” performance by Smith. Although many may not have made the move, some had and for it they got 140 rush yards, 4 catches for 61 yards and 3 TDs. From that point he was hampered by injury and never had a week quite like that. Smith was sitting at home and not even on the roster a few weeks prior to this performance, which goes to show you that you always need to stay in shape as an athlete, and always keep your eyes peeled as a Fantasy owner.

The Sharky Award All First Team Second Team

QB: Aaron Rodgers QB: Drew Brees

RB: Ray Rice RB: Darren Sproles

RB: LeSean McCoy RB: Arian Foster

WR: Calvin Johnson WR: Percy Harvin

WR: Wes Welker WR: Roddy White

TE: Rob Gronkowski TE: Jimmy Graham

Flex: Maurice Jones-Drew Flex: Marshawn Lynch

Defense: Chicago Bears Defense: San Francisco 49ers

Kicker: David Akers Kicker: Sebastian Janikowski

The Sharky Award All Waiver Wire Team

QB: Cam Newton

RB: Darren Sproles

RB: DeMarco Murray

WR: Victor Cruz

WR: Jordy Nelson

TE: Brent Celek

Flex: Roy Helu

Defense: Detroit Lions

Kicker: Dan Bailey

Comeback Player Of The Year:

Steve Smith, WR, Carolina Panthers

Just when we thought Smith and his great Fantasy years were about to go away, he became a weekly starter again thanks to a new QB, a new scheme on offense and a new found desire to play. He ended 2011 with 79 catches for 1,394 yards and 7 TDs, and found his way back to the hearts of owners, and possibly into the first 5 rounds next year.

And finally the Sharky Awards 2011 Flashbacks of the Worst Moments:

Injuries to big names like Peyton Manning, Jamaal Charles, Andre Johnson, Matt Forte and Darren McFadden

Stevie Johnson and his horrible TD celebration

The Tyler Palko Experiment

Albert Haynesworth being Albert Haynesworth

Jason Garret icing his own kicker

Matt Leinart’s one half comeback

And some fond Fantasy farewells to former big time performers:

Donovan McNabb, Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, Clinton Portis

Thank you again everyone for an excellent 2011 season, and thanks for following along and reading and your support. Hope to see you all again in 2012!

If you’d like to hear anything else from me on topics or ideas I can be reached at [email protected]

Fantasy Football Almanac 2011: The Essential Fantasy Football Refererence Guide

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

Madden 12 video game

NFL America’s Game Super Bowl I-XL on DVD