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NFL Week 14 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 11, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 14 in the National Football League!

- Nice win for the Broncos on Thursday Night as they continue to play like the hottest team in the NFL. Only issue is their schedule is extremely weak, I wonder how much it will affect them come playoff time.

- Why don’t the Raiders just start Terrelle Pryor already? What do you have to lose at this point?

- I really have enjoyed how this St. Louis Rams team has played these last couple of weeks. If they can continue to finish this season strong they will become a nice threat in the NFC West next season. Only concern I continue to have with this team is whether or not Sam Bradford is the true answer at quarterback.

- Heartbreaking loss for the Bills in Week 14. I would assume the loss all but finishes any potential playoff hopes they had in 2012.

- Dallas has inserted themselves back into the NFC East with a big win against Cincinnati in Week 14. The Cowboys played a really good game against a really good team in the Bengals and they aren’t even the “media darlings” right now as Washington continues to get all the hype!

- Tough loss for the Bengals but they are thankfully still in the AFC Playoff race after the Steelers lose in Week 14. I really like this team’s chances when you have a decent QB with a big-time receiver. Cincy’s defense is also very underrated, don’t count this team out after a tough loss to Dallas.

- The Cleveland Browns have won three straight games and no it’s not the preseason.

- Where should this Chiefs team rebuild during the offseason? They nearly have a guaranteed top-3 pick in next year’s draft but I don’t think this is the QB class to draft someone in the 1st round.

- How about the Indianapolis Colts getting 9 wins this season!? Could they pull a 2009 New York Jets in the playoffs and do well while being led by a rookie QB? I’m starting to really like them as a sneaky playoff pick.

- If the Titans can give Jake Locker some solid weapons in the offseason this could be a surprising borderline playoff team in 2013. Despite some inconsistent troubles this team is definitely building in the right direction.

- Don’t count out the Minnesota Vikings just yet! Huge win for them against the Chicago Bears with their season on the line. The Bears were banged up but a-win-is-a-win and this will certainly help Minnesota’s confidence.

- The Chicago Bears are in trouble and making these final three games very interesting. Tough breaks like losing kicker Robbie Gould before the game begins is something you just cannot control. Lovie Smith could be looking for a job in the offseason should this continue.

- Nick Foles became a hero for the Eagles on Sunday vs. Tampa Bay and is doing what he can to end this season on a good note. I’m sure many Eagles fans weren’t happy with the win as the thought of Andy Reid staying another year could make their heads explode.

- A loss like this one for Tampa Bay could all but end any chance they have at making the playoffs this season. After being one of the hottest teams in the league a month ago they have had a rough stretch these last couple of weeks. Hopefully this young team uses it as a learning lesson.

- My sports fan intuition tells me that Washington will win the NFC East. Call me crazy but when you win games like the way Washington did versus Baltimore it becomes one of those “mean’t to be” situations.

- Baltimore cannot enter the AFC Playoffs playing the way they have in recent weeks. They have a huge game versus Denver in Week 15 and need a HUGE win to get back on track. If they can’t get the win then it could be leading to an early playoff exit this year.

- If Carolina needed a game to make it feel like their 2012 season wasn’t a complete “wash” then it was this game. Cam Newton looked like…well, let’s be honest…Cam Newton. It’ll be intriguing to see how they build off this big win for the rest of the season.

- Atlanta just cannot lose games like this if they want to avoid “can Atlanta finally get it done in the playoffs” discussions! Mind-boggling loss for a team that has looked really good in recent weeks. I wonder how much of Matt Ryan telling Carolina to “get off their field” in Week 4 helped motivate this loss.

- What’s more shocking: the Jets aren’t completely out of AFC Playoff discussions or that Mark Sanchez lasted the entire game as the QB?

- Jacksonville is a really bad team but I believe this would’ve been a completely different outcome had Cecil Shorts been healthy. Chad Henne did not have his deep threat available today on offense and the Jets secondary is pretty horrible.

- So is San Diego doing what they can to keep Norv Turner employed or are the Steelers just that bad? Talk about an outcome nobody saw coming.

- Pittsburgh does not deserve to be in the playoffs and at the end of the season I don’t think they will have that #6 spot. Shocking loss for a Steelers team that I thought was really starting to turn the corner after that big win versus Baltimore in Week 13. I believe the Bengals are a better team right now then the Pittsburgh Steelers when looking at potential #6 seed teams.

- San Francisco reestablishes itself as a top NFC team after a nice win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. I still think they are the best all-around team in the NFC but they are starting to show signs of being human.

- Miami has had a decent season thus far but they still have a lot to work on. I believe head coach Joe Philbin can turn this team around once he starts to get the right kind of guys in his offensive system. Look for Miami to continue focusing on some more WR threats for Ryan Tannehill heading into 2013.

- Talk about momentum. These are the type of games you want to play with just three games to go and you fighting for a playoff spot. Seattle could surprise us all as a strong playoff team should they make it this year.

- If you are Larry Fitzgerald there is no way you want to play for this team until they get you a decent Quarterback, right?

- New York continues to hold onto their slim lead in the NFC East after a dominating win against New Orleans in Week 14. The Giants are a baffling team lately as they play extremely well every other week it seems. They have a Week 15 matchup against Atlanta in what can give us a playoff glimpse into what both these teams can possess come January.

- What an embarrassing loss for the New Orleans Saints. Weeks ago it appeared they were making a miracle run at the playoffs and then once they got to .500 it all crumbled to pieces. It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the NOLA.

- Big win for the Green Bay Packers on Sunday Night as they can now clinch the NFC North with a victory over Chicago in Week 15. This team is starting to really put it together since their loss to New York back in Week 12. The running game is improving, the offensive line is getting better and the Packers are starting to get healthy…watch out.

- Detroit hasn’t beaten the Packers in Lambeau since 1991 and this is the 3rd straight game where the Lions had a lead of 10 points or more & lost. I really think there needs to be a coaching change in Detroit at the end of the season; this team should be playing much better then this.

- I hope Patriots fans have booked a trip to New Orleans right now. The Pats are looking like the most complete team in the AFC, if not the entire NFL right now. I cannot wait to watch them play San Francisco in Week 15.

- What happened to Houston!? They had a chance to make a very bold statement in the AFC and let the opportunity slip through their fingers. Horrible performance and hopefully this is a wake-up call for the Texans.

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

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 14 Pickups

December 04, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The Fantasy Football 2012 playoffs are here. Unless you are playing with the perfect lineup, you could always use a little help on the waiver wire. Even dynasty players looking on the outside could get a jump start and pick up some intriguing options for next year on this week’s wire.

Now let’s get one thing real clear. I wouldn’t start half of these guys in my playoff matchups. However, there are some really nice options here for dynasty players that can start looking ahead to next year. Additionally there are some intriguing options that while they may not be needed on your team, you may want to consider grabbing them just to keep them away from your post season opponents.

Quarterbacks

Brandon Weeden, Cleveland Browns - Look I am not going to tell you to grab Weeden and start him over your starting QB that may have gotten you to the playoffs. What I will tell you that is Weeden has looked better lately and has some very tasty matchups left with the Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins, both great defenses for making your average QB look great. If you have the room on your bench you maybe you grab him just to keep him away from a potential opponent who is looking for a boost at QB.

Greg McElroy, New York Jets - This is more for you dynasty players out there than anyone else. McElroy could wind up as the starter next year on the Jets depending upon how he finishes the season. My hunch is that he will be pretty darn efficient thanks to a lot of teams sleeping on the Jets. If you are in a 12-16 team dynasty league maybe you grab him on the chance that he does some nice things with the Jets. Would I grab him and stick him in my starting my lineup in the playoffs? Heck no!

Wide Receivers

Mike Thomas, Detroit Lions - Just when you were ready to start using Ryan Broles in your lineup every week he leaves with an injury. Thomas stepped in this week and looked pretty good in his new role. Thomas is a good receiver who had some big moments in Jacksonville. Unfortunately consistent he is not. Thomas is the kind of player who will put up 75 yards and a TD one week and 5 yards and 0 TDs the next. But you have to love anyone who is the number-two receiving option in this offense. That alone lands him on the list.

Running Backs

Montell Owens, Jacksonville Jaguars - And then there was one. The Jaguars running back situation this season has gotten to be almost comical at this point. Injuries now dictate that Montell Owens will be the work horse for the Jags. All comedy aside, Owens is an intriguing option. This is not the same Jags team that stifled Rashad Jennings most of the season. This is an offense that has a passing threat which should open up some big time opportunities for Owens. I love the upside here but I’d probably hold him on my bench for a week just to see how he assimilates to a full work load.

Bilal Powell, New York Jets - Powell is another guy like his teammate McElroy who could be more someone you stash for the future in your dynasty league than someone you will count on in your playoffs. Powell has some really nice matchups coming up against some of the worst rushing defenses in the fantasy football. If Powell can make some plays there is a good possibility he returns to the Jets next season in an increased role. That could make him a nice pickup, especially since he plays in an offense that would like to run more. Dynasty owners could have a really nice steal coming into next season in Powell.

Tight Ends

Dallas Clark, Tampa Bay Buccaneers - Okay it is time to get back on board with Dallas Clark. That old S.O.B. has come back to life in recent weeks with three scores in his last four games. The downside with Clark is that he doesn’t get a lot of targets at all in the Bucs offense. The upside though is that he appears to have replaced Mike Williams as Josh Freeman’s go-to option in the red zone. Clark has some awesome matchups down the stretch against some pretty poor defenses. He has a real good chance to finish strong and help boost your playoff team.

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NFL Week 11 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

November 20, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 11 in the National Football League!

- Buffalo looked really good against Miami on Thursday Night, you got to feel bad for the Bills because had they played this way most of the season then they could’ve lived up to their potential.

- How disappointing has this Dolphins team been the last 3 weeks? One minute they look like a potential playoff team and the next they are backing out of any playoff possibilities. There has to be a big concern when it comes to Reggie Bush right now, I really don’t understand what has happened to him these last couple of weeks.

- Not sure if we learned anything about Atlanta this week being that they barely beat the Arizona Cardinals coming off of a loss. Atlanta is no doubt going to be a playoff team but how far they advance is up in the air right now.

- I really enjoyed Arizona at the start of the season and was really hoping they could give a team like San Francisco a run for their money in the NFC West but as we all know now, we were sadly mistaken.

- Once again the Cincinnati Bengals are quietly impressing people and moving up the standings in the AFC North. While I like what I see as of late they are still far away from making it back to the playoffs for the 2nd season in a row.

- I wonder who the Kansas City Chiefs will draft with one of their top 3 draft picks in the 2013 NFL Draft? And more importantly who will be their head coach to make those picks?

- Similar to the Cincinnati Bengals, the Dallas Cowboys have quietly become one of the hottest teams in the league in recent weeks. I’m starting to get the feeling that we could see another Week 17 where the NFC East could be decided between the Giants and Cowboys.

- Cleveland gave it a great shot, but once again they have a tough time closing out the lead against a NFC East team this season. I still like this team’s growth heading into 2013 and beyond.

- Green Bay gets a much needed tough win against the Detroit Lions in Week 11. It wasn’t the greatest game the Packers have played this season but a win is a win and they head into Week 12 with a chance to really tighten things up in the NFC North.

- I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t know how the Lions can bring Jim Schwartz back next season. This team is too good to be playing this bad, especially when the offense had their chances and never got in rhythm against Green Bay. If this continues on into 2013 then people will be questioning whether or not Matthew Stafford is “the guy” in Detroit as well.

- Houston still proves they are the best team in the AFC but they need to be blowing out teams like Jacksonville and not playing catch up all day into Overtime. It was a win for the Texans but not the prettiest of wins.

- Jacksonville is still horrible but I think they are onto something with Chad Henne actually starting at QB. Even if Gabbert is hurt the Jaguars need to start Henne from here on out.

- Of course the Jets win this week after everyone write’s them off! It may just be a Week 11 win to all of us but to the Jets organization it may have just save Rex Ryan’s job heading into 2013.

- Some weeks I like what the Rams are doing and then they have a week like this against the lowly New York Jets. Not sure what to think of this team right now, they could be a surprise team in 2013 if they get things together. Hopefully this young team is learning from these losses.

- RG III gets the “Captain” nod heading into this week and he lives up to that honor by going 14/15 for 200 yards and 4 touchdowns while running on 12 attempts for 84 yards. You read that right.

- Andy Reid doesn’t make it till the end of the season now, right? If Philly keeps having games like this I can’t see this franchise keeping Reid as the head coach. It clearly looks like this Eagles team has just given up on the 2012 season.

- Who has been my favorite team to watch the last 4-5 weeks? If you’ve been reading these blogs or listening to The Bower Show then you know it’s the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. This team is going to be a major “underdog threat” if they make the playoffs.

- The Carolina Panthers are the NFC version of the New York Jets thanks to what we presume is a locker room filled with issues right now. Thankfully Cam Newton doesn’t have a backup QB who is as popular/gets a lot of press like Tim Tebow does. Could the Jets trade Tebow to Carolina in the offseason? (I’m kidding, or am I?)

- Don’t look now but here comes the New Orleans Saints. I believe if this team can get past the Tampa Bay Buccaneers then there is no stopping them from making a playoff spot. Who would’ve thought you’d say that with 6 games to go this season?

- You would’ve figured that after all these years of losing the Raiders organization would be in better shape then they are but they are not. While Carson Palmer may be playing really well I wonder if it’s worth giving Terrelle Pryor a shot to just see how he can play as a starting QB. What do you have to lose at this point?

- No shock here: Denver gets the win over AFC West rival San Diego. While it’s a victory for the Broncos I would’ve liked to seen a little bit more overall dominance. For whatever reason it seems like this team loses steam come the 4th quarter, may be something to keep your eye on as the season wraps up.

- Unlike Andy Reid I still believe Norv Turner finishes the season out with the Chargers. What’s the point of firing him now after you keep him on after last season’s debacle? Also it appears this team hasn’t given up on Norv Turner yet, while Andy Reid’s Eagles certainly have.

- The New England Patriots reminded us all why they are still the New England Patriots in Week 11. Dear Bill and Tom, thanks for the reminder!

- Welcome to the NFL rookie! How’d that butt whoopin’ taste? Sure looks like we may have to pump our brakes on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts after that tough Week 11 loss now doesn’t?

- Baltimore’s victory over Pittsburgh was the stereotypical Ravens game during the “Joe Flacco era.” The Ravens come off a huge victory against Oakland and then follow it up by barely beating an injury depleted Steelers squad. This type of game is what constantly holds this team and Joe Flacco back from ever being those “Super Bowl contenders” so many fans/analysts believe they can be.

- There aren’t high hopes in Pittsburgh right now without “Big Ben” at QB. But what we saw Sunday Night is that despite their injuries the Steelers will give it everything they got to win the game. I wouldn’t be so quick to count this team out of the playoffs just yet.

- The San Francisco 49ers are the most complete team in the NFL, hands down. This is the team to beat in the NFL right now.

- Week-after-week I bash the Chicago Bears for not getting that “statement” or “battle tested” win. They had a huge opportunity to get that win against the 49ers and failed to do so in Week 11. I don’t believe this team to be “for real” until proven otherwise and I believe them to be nothing more then a “Super Bowl contender” at the present moment.

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

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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 Start Em Sit Em Week 9

November 01, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

A loud scream of fear came from out of nowhere! Do you hear the sounds of pure angst and fear, echoing through the air and piercing ears all around? It sounds as if the person was in pure terror and saw no end in sight. The shriek was heard all through the city, could it have been a monster? Could it be a damsel in distress? Children who were scared by something on a Halloween night? No, it was just me, crying about a rough Fantasy week after Frank Gore was kept quiet on Monday night. Yes a real bad week that watched me finish 1-3 in my 4 leagues. No Halloween needed for me that was as scary as it gets!

So to set the record straight and share a serious moment, I was just happy to survive with very little damage from Hurricane Sandy. While most of the East Coast was getting pounded with rain and wind and damage, Fantasy was on my mind, but on the back burner for sure. New York and New Jersey, and parts of my state Pennsylvania came out with bad results, electric lost, businesses closed, cars stranded etc. I want to hope and pray for all of you who have suffered and all of you who may have lost over the last few days. I found myself very blessed. Never lost power, no damage, and family and most friends safe and healthy! A sigh of relief for sure.

Now back to the games at hand. Sports are always a distraction from the every day world, and we need it to keep our minds busy. Well if you are an owner of a Fantasy team you know full well it is always about being busy, and your job never ends. So I am back with more advice to try and help you through week 9, which is the start of the second half of the NFL season.

Bye weeks are coming to an end soon, so this is the moment you can play your best possible line up. As far as pickups, well the wire is thin, so hopefully you can rely on the guys you have on your squad. With that it is time for another Start/Sit for week 9. Yep I heard the bash on Twitter how I said start Reggie Bush and not Doug Martin, but hey if anyone saw that coming from Martin, well then it is time for you to start writing articles, or maybe lottery number books? To help expand it this week, I will give more choices to Start or Sit and less of my chit chat as to why. Next week however, more chit chat. So for now enjoy this new format!

Quarterback

Start

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Oakland Raiders: He is a very hot hand right now. Over his last 4 starts, over 1,000 yards and 9 TDs. Good match up too.

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals: Averaging 3 TDs per week over his last 4. He is perfectly back to normal and a must start each week.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys: Just too good all around, especially at home. The match up doesn’t matter right now.

Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Just a hunch, but it is the second half of the season, which is usually Charger time.

Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: If this defense gets shredded at home, what can Brees do to them in New Orleans? Plenty!

Sit

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings at Seattle Seahawks: Seattle at home is far different than the road team. Ponder looked awful last week against a real bad pass defense. He should struggle here.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins: This defense is stepping up big time, and Luck has been decent at best the last 2 weeks.

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Jacksonville Jaguars: Still only 8 TDs this year, and not the same on the road, despite the good match up.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons: Prime time in Atlanta is usually QB disaster. They beat Peyton Manning, so Romo should be cake!

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills at Houston Texans: As good as Fitz can be against bad defenses, he is even worse against good ones. Look everywhere else.

Running Back

Start

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans: The Titans defense is Swiss cheese against the run, and Forte looks pretty healthy again. They need him.

LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints: This defense is so very bad, even Andy Reid can’t blow this one. Run McCoy early and often.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Heating up at the right time, and this defense can be had. DMC will get his share here.

Arian Foster, Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills: Fresh after a bye week and this brutal defense comes to town. Even Trick or Treat isn’t this easy.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins vs. Carolina Panthers: Should bounce back after a rough one last week. The rookie is still a top yardage back, and should find the end zone here.

Sit

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers defense is a bit banged up, but improving, and Bradshaw is getting beat up lately. Plus Andre Brown may steal goal line touches.

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns vs. Baltimore Ravens: He’s been hurting, but decent. However, Ravens need this game badly and should be aggressive.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: He is getting used less and less and Hillis is back to steal time. Chargers are decent against the run at home as well.

BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Denver Broncos: He is lost in this offense. The Broncos defense is improving every week, while Green-Ellis is averaging just 50 yards per week. Ouch!

Carolina Panthers RBs at Washington Redskins: As bad as a committee can be, this one is the worst. Use any of these guys out of 100% pure desperation.

Wide Receiver

Start

Victor Cruz, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: If you like Salsa dancing, then you must love Giants games. He is the top WR for this team now.

Roddy White, Atlanta Falcons vs. Dallas Cowboys: Roddy scores at home, Julio on the road. The Falcons are home. He’s had 4 TDs at Atlanta so far for White.

Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: While you were sleeping on him: 14 catches, 232 yards and 3 TDs the last 3 weeks. He is a nice flex or WR2 right now.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers vs, Arizona Cardinals: 7 more catches last week, but 0 TDs. Teams will work harder to stop Randall Cobb, which means he should see lots of Pat Peterson. Jones is still worth a play.

Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks vs. Minnesota Vikings: Call it a hunch, but I think Rice will try really hard to be active against his old team. He is the best WR they have right now, so expect something here. Again this is just a hunch.

Sit

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers at New York Giants: Just not getting much done right now, and there are at least 3 or 4 TD options ahead of him in this offense.

Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins: He has come around the last 2 weeks with catches and yards, but still 0 TDs this year. The decline of Smith has to be shocking after last year’s rebirth.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs at San Diego Chargers: This is just a bad offense right now, and the QB mess is no help either. I generally like Bowe, but not here.

Torrey Smith, Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns: Only 9 catches the last 3 weeks is part of the proof how bad this pass offense has gotten. Flacco has fallen asleep on Fantasy owners of late.

Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: As good as Cruz has been, Nicks is like the anti-Cruz. Zero TDs and only 12 catches since returning from injury. He is just a tough option right now.

Tight End

Start

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: Usually on national TV we get a lot from Gates. He is still plenty good when he gets hot.

Owen Daniels, Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills: TDs in 3 of his last 4 and averaging 5 catches per week as well. Buffalo’s defense is usually generous.

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints vs. Philadelphia Eagles: Back from injury and right to the end zone last week. In the grand scheme of things he is their best option.

Sit

Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints: Just not doing anything special, even this bad match up makes me leery.

Marcedes Lewis, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Detroit Lions: He has clearly vanished from this offense and catching only about 2 per week.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers at Washington Redskins: Just another victim of this poor offense. Only 9 catches in his last 3 so no need to rush him out there.

Defenses I like this week:

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans

Defenses I don’t like this week:

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons

Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills

Here is my input for NFL Week 9. Read up and enjoy owners, and good luck with the second half of your season!

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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Fantasy Football Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

October 30, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The 2012 fantasy football season is slowly winding down. For some of you, playoffs are right around the corner. For others, you are on life support. Regardless, there are a few sneaky pickups on the waiver wire that could help your situation.

Week 9 presents one of the more interesting weeks on the waiver wire. There are some serious candidates out there that are worthy of a roster spot regardless of your situation. Even if you have clinched your spot, you never know what lies ahead over the next few weeks. That is why it is important to grab some depth while at the same time taking away a potential spoiler from your opponents.

Running Backs

Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts - I am not a big fan of Brown at all. I am done with all of the Colts running backs at this point. The situation there is just too unsettling to stick a Colts RB in your lineup at this point. However, Brown is the starter on paper and if you are absolutely desperate you may want to consider him. Deeper leaguers may not have a better choice.

Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams – Word on the street is that Steven Jackson is on the trading block and that there are several potential suitors. If S Jax is out, Richardson would become the starting RB in St. Louis. Keep in mind a few things though before you blow a spot on him. The offensive line stinks, the defense is suspect, and the Rams aren’t a good running team. In other words, Richardson is probably only worth a pickup in dynasty or keeper leagues.

Beanie Wells, Arizona Cardinals - Wells is on target to return in Week 12, just in time for the playoffs. I don’t know if people have given up on him or owners don’t know this because I see him floating around of waiver wires. He could be a sneaky pickup if you can get him now and stash him for the playoffs. Wells is streaky and if he returns with some fire, you could have yourself a heck of a starting RB at the most important time of the year.

Quarterbacks

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles - The door is slowly closing on the Michael Vick era. Vick himself told reporters that he believes his days are numbered as the Philadelphia Eagles starter this season. If so, you could have yourself a heck of a QB in Foles. The talent is there and if Foles can come in and light a spark under this offense, he could put up some serious numbers. Even if you don’t need a QB I’d consider grabbing him just to make sure your opponents can’t get him.

Matt Moore, Miami Dolphins - The jury is still out on how long Ryan Tannehill will be out so be careful with Moore. If Tannehill misses time, Moore could be a great pickup. Joe Philbin would love to air it out and he may do just that with Moore. Moore was solid last year as the Dolphins starter and I can’t imagine that he’s regressed. I like Moore a lot, especially if Tannehill misses significant time, especially if he starts the Tennessee game in two weeks.

Wide Receivers

Titus Young, Detroit Lions - How many times have we been down this road before with Young? I am almost willing to go down the road again. Maybe it is a different situation now that Nate Burleson is gone? We all know that Megatron is going to get the brunt of the attention from defenses. Young had a breakout this week. I need to see more before I am convinced but he certainly did enough to land him on my radar.

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars - Shorts has been on my radar but I just find it hard to buy into any wide receiver that is getting balls from Blaine Gabbert. Yet somehow Shorts has been able to put together some decent numbers the last few weeks. I look at Shorts as nothing more than a bye week or injury sub at this point. To be fair the guy has had back to back double digit weeks. Could this be due to MJD’s absence? Maybe and if so, he could find himself as a consistent part of the offense going forward.

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams - I am surprised as to how available Amendola is. He was on his way to a solid fantasy season before he got hurt. Amendola is on his way back and could pick right up where he left off depending upon his health. Of all players on the wire this week, I like him the best for immediate impact in PPR leagues only if you can grab him.

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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.

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NFL Week 7 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

October 23, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 7 in the National Football League!

- San Francisco edged out the Seahawks in a defensive battle proving that contrary to others beliefs, they are still the team to beat in the NFC West.

- I felt like despite the loss, Seattle proved they could hang with some of the best in the NFC. Seattle could’ve really made this into a game at different points but failed to convert at ample opportunities. It’s definitely a “learning loss” for Russell Wilson and Co.

- Welcome back Chris Johnson to the NFL. I look forward to most Fantasy owners starting him next week and for him to run upwards of 20 yards…for the entire game.

- Whatever happened to that amazing Buffalo Bills defense we were supposed to see this season? Chan Gailey just isn’t the guy for this team and the Bills organization needs to consider hiring a coach that can make this franchise believe they are the winners we know they can be.

- I’d say the New York Football Giants were lucky to beat the Washington Redskins in Week 7 but we know how that goes as the defending Super Bowl Champs play that type of “come-from-behind” victories ALL THE TIME. Good win but definitely foreshadowing into the future of what the NFC East will become.

- What is there to not say about RGIII? Guy is a gamer and going to be a huge thorn in the side of the Giants for years to come.

- New Orleans wins their 2nd game of the season after a call went their way. They don’t look as dominating and I don’t see them as a playoff team still but they are winning games. Thankfully for them they can still turn this around and get better for weeks to come.

- Tampa Bay is a frustrating team. Ton of potential but not completely capitalizing on it yet, at least these losses will help them plan for the future and hopefully learn from it.

- For the 2nd week in a row the Green Bay Packers are looking “normal” and Aaron Rodgers is setting the Fantasy Football world on fire. If they are playing this way without Greg Jennings, I can only imagine how they will play with Greg Jennings.

- The Rams never got going like they did against Arizona back on a Thursday Night game and I have to wonder if Sam Bradford will ever come into his own as a franchise QB still; lots to work on for St. Louis after a frustrating Week 7 loss.

- Congrats to Tony Romo and the Cowboys for avoiding this week’s “Monday Morning quarterback” headlines. This team still doesn’t have what it takes heading into Week 8 and I have to wonder if the relationship between Tony Romo & the Cowboys are coming to an end in the near-to-soon future. It may be time to move on after not playing up to the par Dallas sets them up to be every season.

- Cam Newton has zero confidence right now. Want to watch a Football star look at their career in the mirror with not a single ounce of positivity? Then watch Cam Newton’s post-game press conference after the Week 7 loss to Dallas. Not a good attitude to have for such a young player.

- Sure, we were worried about Houston after their tough Week 6 loss to Green Bay but they bounced back just fine. I really expect them to start pulling away from the rest of the AFC South in the coming weeks.

- Things aren’t looking too bright in Baltimore right now. I was wondering how they would handle all of their depleting injuries to their defense and that answer was not well. Joe Flacco needs to step up and lead this team if he ever wants to be a franchise defining quarterback in the NFL.

- Always great to see the Indianapolis Colts get the win due to everything going on with this organization. Even better news was that head coach Chuck Pagano left the hospital this weekend. Many Football fans are thinking of you right now Coach, stay strong!

- It’s a common trend here on the blog but I still love what Cleveland is doing despite all these losses. They haven’t been blown out like some weaker teams have been and they have stayed pretty competitive. Cleveland is making the right changes with their organization consistently as Mike Holmgren will also be out as President of Football Operations, good things will be coming to Cleveland in the future.

- The Minnesota Vikings are 5-2 heading into Week 7. I’m really intrigued to see how this squad will handle divisional play against Chicago and Green Bay this season. Do I believe them to be a playoff team due to their record? No, but if they are still competitive come Week 12 then I will take them seriously.

- Arizona is back-peddling out of all the good fortune and praise they received for the first 4-5 weeks of the season. I wonder how many jokes are still being made about this Cardinals team with the line: “they are who we thought they were…”

- Oakland comes back and wins the game as they prove they are NOT the worst team in the league. It’s a shame that this great game was on the same time Jets vs. Patriots was…

- Looks like that holdout finally caught up to MJD…Fantasy owners hold your breath (don’t worry I’m one of them in several leagues)!

- At one point it looked like New England was going to drop to 3-4 on the season heading into Week 8. That is something you never thought you’d see at the halfway point of the season during the Brady/Belichick era in New England. They continue to struggle against poor teams which make me wonder how they will handle some of the “elite” in the AFC this season.

- Lets face it; the Jets had low expectations going into Week 7. The fact they nearly beat their division rival would be an accomplishment for most teams but not for a team from New York. Mark Sanchez had his chance and he yet again, literally, dropped the ball.

- In a battle of disappointments the Pittsburgh Steelers get the win over the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday Night and while the window may be closing on this team they still have a very good chance to take over the AFC North at the moment. The AFC North is quite the crapshoot right now due in part to the Ravens injuries and despite not necessarily being a strong team, the Pittsburgh Steelers getting divisional wins such as this one will help their cause to at least make the playoffs in 2012.

- Cincy, what happened!? They were looking so good and then this losing streak has really set them back a ways. Clearly there is still a lot of room to grow in Cincinnati before we can put them up there with Baltimore and Pittsburgh.

- The Chicago Bears are starting to turn me into a believer but one that I will precede with caution towards. Their defense is incredibly solid and the best in Football right now, while their offense, at times, can be very inconsistent. If everything clicks together come January this is a team that could very well be representing the NFC in the Super Bowl.

- By far the biggest disappointment in 2012 has to be the Detroit Lions. This team was picked by many to start taking over the NFC North division starting this season and they are failing to live up to those expectations. You know things are getting bad when people are questioning the longevity of your #1 overall draft pick QB, Matthew Stafford.

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

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 7

October 18, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Welcome to week 7 of the NFL season, or as we like to say in fantasy land, pure hell! Yes, for some unknown reason, or perhaps for one big joke, the NFL has decided to play with our minds and put a whopping 6 teams on a bye.

Remember the good ol’ days, when each week would have 4 teams on a bye, and they were spread out nice and even, you struggled through 2 tough weeks and went back to business? Those are gone, and somehow the NFL came up with some 2,4,4,6 and so on bye week plan. Now I know the argument is “we all have bye weeks”, but we all know some teams have 4 guys off at once, it happens and it’s rough. The waiver wire is as thin as a nice cut of salami at a good Italian deli.

Yes, let’s go with that theory, a deli, so many different types of meat, but all trying to become just a sandwich. We have our running back meat, our wide receiver meat, and quarterbacks, and our goal is to make that perfect sandwich. Come on now, how many times do you go out and get the perfect sandwich though? There is always a fatty piece of meat, or some out of proportioned produce, but in the end it does the job, it fills you up, and for the most part you are satisfied. Treat your fantasy team like this too. Realize that we may have some rough patches, and a bad week, but stick with what you like if it works, don’t go and try and get fancy to be stuck with something you don’t enjoy! Make sense? Yeah it’s a ramble of a fantasy football owner, get used to it.

So after a tricky week I found myself finishing 2-2, which gives me an overall season record of 16-8, and if the season ended today, would have plenty of playoff games to play. Sometimes it’s not about being perfect, but to be a little lucky. Seriously how many of you lost to a guy who started Shonn Greene? For that matter, how many of you benched him? Oh and Vincent Jackson? Yep I started him clearly because I had too, but how many of us start him every week? This is one of the stranger seasons I have ever been a part of, so some patience and creativity is needed. Don’t base every week on a bizarro world of huge Dez Bryant and Shonn Green games, go with your gut, and stick with your stud.

With all that behind us, it is time for Week 7′s edition of Start Em/Sit Em, my little advice column where I try and help with those burning questions. Yeah last week I said don’t dare play Shonn Greene, and I looked pretty silly, but my advice is normally better than worse. It is with this that I invite you to read along and adjust as needed, and as always, enjoy and good luck!

Quarterback

Start

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys at Carolina Panthers: I trash Romo, than I like him again. He does crazy things to me mentally. Last week he outplayed Joe Flacco, who I started in his place. Romo has good streaks, and also he has a showdown with the Giants to look forward too, and he always gets numbers there. So Romo looks like he is ready for that hot streak and this poor defense should help.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, vs. New Orleans Saints: Yes, I am endorsing Freeman, but with a few reasons. There is a lot of QBs on a bye this week, and last week Freeman passed for over 370 yards and had 3 TDs. What that shows is that he can get it done if trusted, and this week the Saints and their Swiss cheese secondary come to town. If the Freeman of 2010 is coming back, you will want to go with him. Here is the decider this week.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts vs. Cleveland Browns: Happy days finally came for the Browns after their first win last week, but now they travel to Indy, where the Colts are pretty good. Luck has found a nice comfort zone in Indy, and the Browns defense isn’t that tough that they can keep him down. Luck shows he can toss 2-3 TDs per game, so try him here in a bye week chance.

*Note I know you are all asking about the obvious, but you know you have to start Brady, Rodgers and Brees every week at this point. This is to help with those tougher decisions, don’t make me hold your hand!

Sit

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans: Flacco has come back to Earth, and his numbers over the last 3 weeks have been pedestrian at best. The Texans took a pounding last week at the hands of the Packers, and now the anger is running high. The Ravens are missing lots of key pieces on defense too, so there is a chance Houston grabs early momentum and makes this a game they control. Either way I am tired of trusting Flacco.

Alex Smith, San Francisco 49ers vs. Seattle Seahawks: This is a tough choice, but Seattle’s defense has been tough of late, and coming off of a win over Tom Brady has to help boost confidence. Last week Smith was held in check by the Giants, and the Seahawks being similar pressure and actually have a better secondary. The 49ers may result to more trick plays and more Colin Kaepernick, which is slowly going to effect Smith, and maybe bring us that Smith of old, yikes!

Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions at Chicago Bears: The last time we saw the Bears defense on a Monday night they were pounding on Dallas. Stafford finally broke out with a decent week last week, but that was against a Philly defense that is falling apart. The Bears are 4-1, and have a chance to make a real statement at home against the Lions, which could fare poorly for Stafford. He may play decent, but something huge is questionable.

Running Back

Start

Fred Jackson/CJ Spiller Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans: If you have both, no don’t start both, but if you have one or the other, you can still profit. Yes, they share carries, but both of them catch passes, and can make big plays. Last week in PPR leagues, Jackson posted about 16 points and Spiller 19. Those are good numbers for flex guys and/or RB2 and 3′s. Some day one of these guys will become the leader, but until then use a moment against a poor defense to use either.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: Slowly but surely we are getting more McFadden, and last week he caught some passes and rushed for 70 yards. The Raiders will have to get better through the air for him to be huge again, but his numbers are good enough to trust again. The Jaguars can be run on, so roll with McFadden this week.

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins: When healthy, he has the skills to be special, and he has looked real good the last few weeks. This is always a good match-up but the teams don’t discriminate against how they move the ball. Both run pretty good against each other, so Bradshaw should be busy again this week.

Sit

Shonn Greene, New York Jets at New England Patriots: Well, even Marshawn Lynch was kept in check by this defense, so let’s not get all geeked about Greene’s break out game last week. He still does very little in the pass game, and lacks that big explosive step. The Pats run defense should bring him back to Earth, in what should be a passing duel.

Pittsburgh’s RBs at Cincinnati Bengals: They all have an injury, they all can disappear at any second, and none of them are doing anything great. Who starts? Heck who knows. You can’t trust any of the 4 guys that carry the rock here, so wait until it figures itself out.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks at San Francisco 49ers: The 49ers defense may have struggled last week, but this week is different and they will let Russell Wilson try and beat them. Expect the 49ers to stack the line and focus on shutting down Lynch to make things hard on the Seahawks offense. Lynch is a beast, but with the box being stacked often here, he may have a real tough night.

Wide Receiver

Start

Brandon Marshall, Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions: Marshall had enough of the nonsense and is looking like a Pro Bowl WR again. He and QB Jay Cutler are getting that magic back, and Cutler even admitted that he is the kind of guy you just throw the ball at and trust. The Lions secondary will be very overmatched here, and Marshall should punch one in as well as possibly 100 and double-digit catches. I expect a huge one from him here.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers at St. Louis Rams: 6 TDs in 3 weeks? Is this the same James Jones? Well, yes it is, and he is doing a great job with Greg Jennings out. The Rams are stingy in pass TDs allowed, but there will be lots of focus on Jordy Nelson, and that should open some holes for Jones. Keep going with him until he fails.

AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Pittsburgh Steelers: In a few weeks you may not see Green’s name on here, because it is just to obvious. He is one of the best in the game, and not even a match up can scare me anymore. Next year’s draft will be filled with Green lovers, as this season should be set with Green starters.

Sit

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens: It has nothing to do with who he is playing, he just is not special right now. They try him early, can’t get him then they forget. Johnson has the talent, but his numbers are very humble lately. Enter with caution.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams vs. Green Bay Packers: Loads of people have been grabbing him from the waiver wire but he is still a tough sell. He still has not had a game over 100 yards in his career, and he rarely finds the end zone. He did have a good week last week, but the Packers defense is finding its way, so I can’t trust Gibson here.

Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers vs. Dallas Cowboys: Smith is having a season not like his normal, and the Cowboys are playing better at the corners. Cam Newton looks lost and confused at times this year, so Smith has become a tough start. Look elsewhere if you can.

Tight End

Start

Owen Daniels, Houston Texans vs. Baltimore Ravens: While Andre Johnson has been slowed, Daniels has been busy, and against the banged up Ravens he should have a good game.

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals: With the running game struggling, Miller looks like the best bet from inside the red zone. Miller does know how to get TDs so he may even get 2 here.

Sit

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Slowed by injury that may have him out this week scares me, especially with Marquis Colston becoming big in this offense again.

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins: Looks as if he is doing more blocking than making big catches over the last few weeks. With Bradshaw running well and all the WRs coming back, he is becoming lost here.

Defenses I like:

Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Defenses I don’t like:

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

St. Louis Rams vs. Green Bay Packers

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

Waiver Wire: Time to fill your line up with some bye week specials, some potential up and comers and some fillers.

Felix Jones, RB, Dallas Cowboys: A foot strain is never anything simple, so DeMarco Murray could be gone for a while. All Jones has to do is stay healthy, sounds easy doesn’t it? We shall see. If not there is always,

Patrick Tanner, RB, Dallas Cowboys: See above. Take a chance if you have the bench space.

Brandon Weeden, QB, Cleveland Browns: Really, when your team is struggling sometimes you have to take a “oh what the heck” approach. Cleveland is with Weeden, and he has averaged 250 yards and 2 TDs over the last 2 weeks. Bye week problem solved? Perhaps.

Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Should be more active with his ability to make huge plays. He has 2 very big TD catches this season, and can be a guy that will emerge here. A long shot, but if you need a WR he is as good as you may find available.

Josh Gordon, WR, Cleveland Browns: He is busier each week, and can score long TDs. Fun guy to watch and a good kid to root for.

Jermaine Gresham, TE, Cincinnati Bengals: I see him on lots of free agent lists, but he seems to be doing good things again. You can do worse at TE, or even worse at WR3 if you can use either or.

Here is the scoop for Week 7, get in on it and go out there and show your opposition who’s boss! Speaking of, get well Kevin Boss, and I use that reference because Boss’ day just past. Sue me, I was in a pinch.

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

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 6

October 11, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

reggie wayne fantasy footballWebster’s dictionary defines the word comeback as “return by a celebrity to some previously successful activity“. Rapper L.L. Cool J once sang to us ” Don’t call it a comeback, I’ve been here for years”. At times you will hear the word “comeback” described with words like miraculous or amazing. Comebacks, it’s what separates average from outstanding. Some are even filled with a little luck, or make that Andrew Luck ( sorry Packers fans ). It is one of the defining moments in a lifetime or sports career. We all root for a big comeback.

So let me get all of this straight for you. No, I am not a (huge) celebrity, I have been here for years, yes I may be amazing, and I am not Andrew Luck. However my comeback this week to go 4-0 in my 4 fantasy leagues was in fact outstanding. The universe was back in order, and I was beating opponents all over the fields of Yahoo and ESPN fantasy fields. 100 point wins, decisive blow outs and big days by many of my stars was quite the norm this past week. For the season, I now have a nice 14-6 record in my 4 leagues, and sitting pretty in all of them. I even became the top point guy in 2 of them. I even got props from my girlfriend on Twitter thanking me for helping her team to a 4-1 start. Do I get credit for her record too? Nah let’s not get too greedy here, it’s enough reward to just be great!

So here I am again, Week 6 and more Start Ems and Sit Ems from your beloved Shark. This week is going to be tough for many as big names like Drew Brees will be on a bye, and several starting RBs went down with injuries last week. Many teams are filled with red asterisks next to their players, which is the fantasy way of saying “this guy is in trouble”. I am here to try and shed some light on who you can rely on this week, and who to stay clear of. I also have added a twist. Instead of my usual Waiver Wire adds recommendations, I will take you to my “Recovery Room” and give you the scoop on the injured backs, and who could replace them and who will be your best bet to add. So as always read and enjoy, and good luck with Week 6, it is going to be a tough one, but you can do it! Make sure you “come back” for Week 7.

Quarterback

Start

Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals vs. Buffalo Bills: In sports you need to have a short memory, and if Kolb does he can be good here. We know his offensive line is in shambles, but it can’t be much worse than a Bills defense that has been roasted for 97 points in its last 2 games. Kolb has been decent and with Larry Fitzgerald and Andre Roberts stepping up he has weapons. Plus this team does very little in the run game, and injuries are making that worse. If you have a bye week QB, you could probably trust Kolb here.

Eli Manning, New York Giants at San Francisco 49ers: What? No I did not lose my mind. Last time Mr. Manning visited San Fran it was to drop 316 yards of passing and 2 TDs on a very good defense. He comes back off of a huge week and seems to be warming up again. You may want to think the 49ers are impossible to score against, but come on! Shutting out the Jets and holding the Bills to 3 points is not like moving mountains. In a week that is tough for QBs, take Manning here and go with it.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Detroit Lions: Again I test your faith, and again a guy with an iffy season so far gets the nod. The Eagles come back home where they are 2-0, and Reid has always coached well against the Lions. The Detroit defense is not doing much to stop anyone, and even watched the Titans nail them for 44 points. Vick has been sluggish this year, but this poor secondary and pass rush so far can be his remedy. I think Vick between running and passing can get you 3 TDs here.

Sit

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens: This guy loves to burn me, and coming off of a bye week he may have it a bit more together, but he is really hard to trust right now. His WRs are running bad routes, his run game has been off, and this blitz-happy Ravens defense should be able to get to him enough to make it a long day. Heck I benched him, so you should too, although he loves to make a fool out of me.

Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: This one should be easy. However with the bye weeks, and people in fantasy always trying to be smart, some will try this. Do not dare! I realize the Bucs pass defense is awful, but really, what is Quinn going to give you? This is his third team in 4 years and that is not an accident.

Robert Griffin 3rd, Washington Redskins vs. Minnesota Vikings: He may not play after suffering a concussion and if he does it is against a revamped Vikings defense that has been pretty good this year. Before his injury last week, Griffin was not lighting it up anyway, and he has come a bit back to Earth lately. If you need him I am sure you will play him, but I don’t like the idea of him trying to play nor what he can do here.

Running Back

Start

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns vs. Cincinnati Bengals: I have become a believer of this kid, and he made me look bad the 2 times I said to sit him. Trent has been finding the end zone and the Bengals have not been very special on rush defense, including 2 rush TDs allowed last week against the Dolphins. Richardson should get 100 plus a TD here, and he even gets active in the pass game. Use him!

Ryan Matthews, San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos: Fine, I have to clean some egg off of my face after bashing him last week, but Matthews is looking pretty good. The Broncos run defense had a hard time last week solving what the Patriots brought, and I like the Chargers attack better on the ground. Matthews appears to be back from his injury and finding the end zone as well as getting passes. Roll with it.

CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals: The split carry thing is getting boring, and yes the Bills have played a few tough run defenses, but now is the time for them to get it back. Not many have faith in Spiller or this offense in general right now, but it is my gut feeling that they will realize he needs the ball more for them to be successful. Both teams are desperate for big time plays, and I think Spiller turns in some of those juicy ones fantasy owners loved the first few weeks.

Sit

BenJarvis Green-Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns: He is just not doing anything great, and last week was banged up and was sitting down when Bernard Scott inured his knee. They threw him back in, and he clearly bored owners to sleep. He is what I expected, doing very little, and his team is much better throwing the ball. Speaking of which, did anyone see how badly the Browns secondary got roughed up last week? In other words, it will be passing time.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: At the beginning of the year, many including myself were big fans of Martin. Since then we have seen him get just 247 yards in 4 games, score just 1 TD and do less in the pass game than many had hoped. Last years big back LaGarrette Blount has been seeing some goal line action too, so Martin is starting to lose value.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks: I am a fan of what the Patriots are doing this year mixing running and passing and getting it done well. The thing I don’t like is visiting teams in Seattle. The Seahawks play good defense, and if New England gets it done on the ground it will be with all 4 options and it is hard to gauge which one can or will go off. Woodhead? Vereen? Bolden? Take your pick, it is pot luck right now.

Wide Receiver

Start

Antonio Brown, Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans: Last time Brown played on a Thursday night he went off, and teammate Mike Wallace looked off last week. Brown is quick and has good hands, and has been active the last few weeks in this offense. I expect a big night from him as the Titans try and do what they can to slow down Wallace and the running game.

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts at New York Jets: I am not worried about the chants of “no way they repeat this week” with Wayne. He has always been an excellent WR, and despite what Antonio Cromartie did last week to Andre Johnson, he won’t do it to Wayne. He has found a good comfort with QB Andrew Luck, and is one of the hottest pass catchers right now. You have to stick with him.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers at Houston Texans: Enough knocking Jones. Yes he caught only 4 passes last week, but 2 of those were for TDs and he has 4 in 2 weeks. The Texans showed last week they can be had a bit in the air, and the Packers should be throwing plenty this week to try and take this one. Even if Greg Jennings considers playing, Jones should be active. He has more stuff than Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb in my opinion.

Sit

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Has been absent from the end zone a lot this year, and the change in QB is not in his favor. He is one of those guys you hate not to use, but I would wait and see how this plays out,

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys at Baltimore Ravens: I have a really hard time trusting anyone in Dallas right now, and this guy leads the pack. He looks lost in his patterns, seems to be making poor efforts and is not getting big numbers. Miles Austin is the only trusting Cowboy right now, and soon enough Bryant may be a guy on the free agent wire in many leagues if this routine continues.

Oakland Raiders WRs at Atlanta Falcons: This corps has no one that stands out and this game in Atlanta won’t bring much either. Right now you have to stay away from this entire situation, including the QB.

Tight End

Start

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers vs. New York Giants: He is back in the mix and had 100+ yards last week. Still one of the most skilled TEs in the game so go with him in what should be a high scoring affair here.

Dustin Keller, New York Jets vs. Indianapolis Colts: He is expected back this week, and was the Jets top pass catcher the last 2 seasons. With all the injuries at WR they will be happy to have him back and he can be quite busy. If he is inured look for his teammate John Cumberland to be a good play here.

Sit

Brandon Pettigrew, Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have been decent against TEs so far this year, and Pettigrew has not lived up to expectations so far this year.

Anthony Fasano, Miami Dolphins vs. St. Louis Rams: The Rams defense has been pretty good against the pass this year, and they have good aggressive players at linebacker. Fasano does show up at times and does nice things when he does, but this won’t be that game.

Defenses I like:

Baltimore Ravens vs. Dallas Cowboys

Atlanta Falcons vs. Oakland Raiders

Pittsburgh Steelers at Tennessee Titans

Defense I don’t like:

Seattle Seahawks vs. New England Patriots

Detroit Lions at Philadelphia Eagles

Buffalo Bills at Arizona Cardinals

The Recovery Room: Welcome fans, Doctor Shark is here to give you the scoop on injured RBs and who you can lean on to take their place.

Cedric Benson, Green Bay Packers: Benson has been placed on IR with a foot injury but may be able to return come week 13. Who could benefit:

Alex Green: Green came in last week and had 55 yards on 9 carries. He is pretty athletic and looks decent in catching passes, but his pass blocking could hurt him here.

James Starks: Expected back from a toe injury, the former starter could get some work right away here. Starks is a power runner, but a guy who fell out of favor. He can redeem that with good play while his team is desperate.

John Kuhn: Yes I will even mention Kuhn. In leagues where TDs are king, or very deep leagues, he is a guy that may get a flier. Of the three backs he is most likely to get the ball inside the 5 yard line.

The safe pick for your waiver pick up right now would be Alex Green.

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals: Williams will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury.

William Powell: Powell has one carry this year, in which he gained 7 yards. He has not shown much, but people are running to him for help, in an offense that has been poor running the ball as it is.

LaRod Stephens-Howling: Coming back from an injury this week, he should see a lot of action. When he gets spot play he does a nice job and is good in pass catching as well as quick. He may not be a super RB, but as an all-around guy you could do worse.

Alfonso Smith: Has done little to impress, and is not a real fast back who can make his own holes. Stay away unless he grabs the lead and does something.

The safe pick for your waiver pick up right now would be LaRod Stephens-Howling

Donald Brown, Indianapolis Colts: Brown is expected to miss 2-3 weeks

Vick Ballard: Ballard was expected to cut into and maybe unseed Brown as the starter, but Brown had a pretty good preseason and has been decent this season. Ballard has seen most of the backup duty, so he seems to be the guy in line.

Delone Carter: Pretty much has fallen off the face of the Earth. A guy who some thought last year could play his way in has done little to show much value. He would need an injury above him to help his case.

Mewelde Moore: A guy who never gets much credit, but is a great pass catcher. His lack of pure speed and size keeps him from playing much. He should be back from injury and will be splashed in here, but not enough to start for you.

The safe pick for your waiver pick up right now is Vick Ballard

Other RBs to keep watch on: Shaun Draughn, Kansas City, Jahvid Best, Detroit, Bryce Brown, Philadelphia

One more guy to watch is St. Louis Rams WR Brandon Gibson. With Danny Amendola missing time and not being known for how long, Gibson stands to be pretty busy in the upcoming weeks.

Well friends and fans week 6 is set up for you. Let’s make it a good one!

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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