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Fantasy Football Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups

November 12, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

At the beginning of the season I wrote a blog titled “Fantasy rules to live by.” If you asked me I would describe it as the Fantasy Football equivalent to Sun Tzu’s book “The Art of War.” The basic theme is don’t overreach, don’t overreact, and finally don’t overthink. It requires a bit of discipline and a lot of patience, but it always pays off, even if it doesn’t always look like it on paper. You might remember last week I was licking the wounds from the 3 game losing streak only to come back this week with the highest score of the season.

Even though I am in 4th place my team is the one that everyone is watching. My team is the one hitting its stride when it matters most. It’s hard to sit on your hands after back to back losses and not blow up your team for the “next big thing.” Most of us are in leagues of at least 10 people which means someone is going to make a mistake and if you wait long enough you can capitalize on it.

Enough about me, this blog is for you. The end is near with only 3 or 4 weeks left in the season. That means there are only 2 types of waiver watchers left out there. Those of you who are trying to make the playoffs and those of you who are already in the playoffs. One group is looking to for a boost while the other is just trying to keep the advantage. Either way the next 3 weeks are possibly the most important of the season.

Quarterback:

Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles- Sanchez makes the top spot for the second week in a row because he is still only 40% owned. Don’t expect that to be the case next week, in fact I don’t expect that 40% to last the next 24 hours. Sanchez is now playing in one of the most QB friendly offenses in the league and he is surrounded by more weapons than he can shake a stick at. Vegas is predicting this game to be a shootout and it will have to be if the Eagles are going to stand a chance. Chip Kelly is going to rely on Sanchez to put points up on that board. Even if you don’t believe in Sanchez, I think this season has proved that you can believe in Chip Kelly.

Josh McCown, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- In his 1st week back Bucs fans finally saw the McCown they thought had signed over the summer. His “almost tears” after last week’s tough loss I will chalk up to passion for the game. They have a favorable match-up this week against the Redskins. Evans has emerged as a legit threat that defenses have to account for who knows how to get into the end-zone. Jackson is still a top receiver in this league. If the running game can carry its part of the load I would look for McCown to score big numbers again this week.

Ryan Tannehill, Alex Smith, and Ryan Fitzpatrick should have honorable mention this week. All 3 have been good “replacement” players however they all have difficult matchups.

Running Back:

C.J. Anderson. Denver Broncos-   I expected Monte Ball to underachieve since week #1 which is why I didn’t draft him. He was slated to be the starter last year and lost out to Knowshon Moreno and then this year he was outplayed by Hillman. I don’t buy the injury excuse. Face it, Ball just isn’t the back we hoped he would be. Enter C.J. Anderson who had 163 yards from scrimmage with a touchdown. He averaged almost 7 yards per carry which is incredible. Not sure how long Hillman is out, but if you are looking for a fill in this week, I expect another big game out of Anderson.

Terrance West, Cleveland Browns- Here is another name that we have seen here before but I am thinking that this will be the last time. It appears that he has taken the lead back role away from Ben Tate who has underachieved as the Brown starter. If that trend continues West will be good for 10pts which is plenty if you looking for a one week boost. They are going up against a tough Houston defense but if he gets the carries I look for West to be a top 15 back this week.

Ryan Mathews, San Diego Chargers- I don’t think it has quite clicked with everyone that he is going to be taking his starting job back in an offense that needs a boost after a difficult loss. He is active in both the running and passing game and has the potential to score big points. He should be starting in all formats and is still readily available. Similar to Sanchez, once these waiver blogs and articles start hitting websites he isn’t going to last very long.

Wide Receivers:

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants- With all eyes on Ruben Randle it appears the Beckham has taken over the #1 receiver spot. Maybe not in targets or on the depth chart but statistically he is looking strong. Jennings is supposed to back this week and Giants showed they can move the ball on a tough defense after staying close for a while in Seattle. Jennings will give Beckham some single coverage opportunities and Manning will find him. 15 catches for 164 yards over the last 2 weeks are fantasy starter numbers. Keep your eye on this guy.

Cecil Shorts III, Jacksonville Jaguars- BYE WEEK ALERT! He is not playing this weekend which is the reason he is on this list. This guy was supposed to be the man this year, picked up and dropped multiple times because of high expectations that never worked out. Last week he finally stepped up. If that was a sign of things to come he is worth a stash. Remember with playoffs coming up you may need to rely on some “unproven” players to carry you to the end. Shorts might be a steal.

Preston Parker, New York Giants- The down side here is a rookie who has really only had one strong week. The upside is that it came in the form of 7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown against the Seahawks. That is an impressive resume. Manning will continue to throw so there is a good chance that Parker will continue to get passes in his direction. If he continues to haul them in he will be a trusted force to be reckoned with.

Tight End:

Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders- Seems like there is at least one “must have” player in each of the categories this week. I have posed this questions a few times this season but let’s try it again. How many weeks does a guy have to perform before we actually buy into him? 21 catches, 185 yards, and 3 touchdowns in 3 weeks. During his hot streak he is averaging 12 pts per week. That puts him in the top 3! One more note if you are not already buying. He did this against Cleveland, Seattle, and Denver.

Charles Clay, Miami Dolphins- Here is your run of the mill fantasy fill in. The Dolphins have been a decent team and Tannehill has proven to be able to get the ball to his receivers. He is getting 4-7 catches a week so there is always potential for a few points maybe a touchdown on a good day. They are playing the Bills which means short passes might be on the menu and Clay might see a little more action that he is used to.

Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- If you are like me you are asking yourself, who? I figured that we needed a little fresh meat this week and maybe this Jenkins character will be something special. Is it a coincidence that he pops up on the radar the same week McCown returns? Maybe. He is on the field about 85% of the snaps so again with that word “opportunity.” This is probably a stretch but there isn’t much out there for TE this week.

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 10

November 05, 2014 By: Category: WWE | Pro Wrestling

If you had told me that by this point in the season I would be licking my wounds from a 3 week losing streak I would have laughed in your face. A 3 game losing streak for me is about as improbable as the Arizona Cardinals having the best record in the NFL. Now I have to just wait for pigs to fly. One thing that I am happy about as I sit down to write this week’s waiver blog is that I see some of you have started taking the advice that I have been dishing out.

A lot of those repeat offenders have been scooped up which means maybe this week’s list will have a few fresh faces. Last week started off with a surprise as your truly gave a nod to Michael Vick. This week we will start off with another QB who has fallen completely out of the fantasy graces.

Quarterback:

Mark Sanchez, Philadelphia Eagles- Sanchez was borderline impressive in his season debut which started midway through the second quarter. 202 passing yards and 2 TD’s in less than 3 quarters while leading his team to victory, I think a little credit is due here. Foles is pretty much out the rest of the fantasy season and these are the moments where fantasy studs are made. Sanchez is not a great QB, but he has as strong running attack and more weapons than he has ever had. Chip Kelly is an innovator of offense and he will get the most out of Sanchez. Maybe you should too.

Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins- Let’s face it, there are few players in the NFL with the ability to be as dynamic as RG3. He has a run game and he has people to throw the ball to. If he can just stay on the field you are going to rack up points. That fact that he can and will run with the football raises his injury risk but it always raises his fantasy scoring ceiling. 251 yards with a touchdown isn’t a bad comeback start. Going into a bye week that will give him a little more time to rest, Griffin is going to get his chance.

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins- So not every name is going to be a new one. Tannehill is ranked 11th overall and not because of one good game. Week in and week out he has proven to be one the seasons most constant QB options. He isn’t a great QB, but he is getting the job done.   After laying the smack down on the Chargers for 288 yards and 3 TD’s he is headed to Detroit. I am thinking plenty more where that came from.

Running Back:

I will let you know up front that I am not really excited about the RB options this week. Most of the value has already been scooped up so I shifting the focus a bit this week on the rest of the season. If your season is in doubt, a couple of these guys are a long shot to help you out.

Ryan Matthews, San Diego Chargers- I will give you a second to recover from your double take. That’s right ladies and gentleman Matthews is not only making his return but is available in over 50% of all leagues. I don’t need to get into stats as there were high hopes of the often injured RB after finally having some healthy games last season. Chargers are reeling from a huge loss this week. You are going to have to wait a week as he is going into the bye. However, I expect the training wheels to come off early as Mathews gets right into the mix. He is a bargain starter the rest of the way.

Bobby Rainey, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- We already know what Rainey can do when he dominates the carries like he did on Sunday. 87 yards on 18 carries, not too shabby and going forward I would expect more of the same. This team isn’t very good even though they possess some impressive offensive weapons. As long as he is getting the start Rainey is a solid #2 starter or a very good flex option.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings- Who knows what is going to happen here? I will be surprised if Peterson plays again this season, however it sounds like the Vikings don’t think he will be suspended. If that is the case and he suits up, this could mean the championship for you. If you have space, it is in your best interest to stash this former #1 fantasy pick.

Wide Receiver:

Josh Gordon, Cleveland Browns- Suspension is almost over (week 12) and unlike Peterson there are plans to get this guy onto the field. He is 58% owned which means he isn’t available is as many leagues as most of the guys on this post but he is worth picking up and stashing. Hoyer has been a reliable QB with limited options, I expect him to be even better with a talent like Gordon running routes.

Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers- How many weeks does this guy have to blow up before he is gone. Big Ben has been epic as of late and Bryant’s value has been boosted because of that. He has an astonishing 5 TD’s over the last 3 games and I don’t see any reason for that to stop. At this point I don’t think there is a bigger WR option than Bryant. 22% owned means he can be yours.

Greg Jennings, Minnesota Vikings- Bridgewater is getting better every week and it is no coincidence that we have seen Jennings begin to improve as well. His 23 targets over the last 3 weeks tells me that he is getting plenty of looks. It is his bye week so he won’t get you points right away but going forward especially in PPR, he is worth a hard look.

Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Clearly the #2 option for Bucs, Evans has proven that Keenan Allen isn’t the only rookie WR to have fantasy value. He leads his team in yards and touchdowns, and is tied with #1 receiver Vincent Jackson for catches but only has about half as many targets. This guy will not be available much longer and is proving to be a must start. Playing the Falcons this week only helps his case.

Tight End:

Mychal Rivera, Oakland Raiders- Not sure how I let this guy slip and not have him on this list last week. Same song second verse; targets, targets, targets! 14 catches on 16 targets over the last 2 weeks. You all know how I feel about consistency. Looks like he is earning the trust of his rookie QB which could pay big dividends the rest of the way. If this trend continues he should be starting in all leagues.

Owen Daniels, Baltimore Ravens- Do we need to cover targets again? If you a looking for a one week fill Daniels is a great pick-up. He is an average TE at best but Flacco gives him plenty of targets each week. Yawn, he isn’t exciting but he will get you through. The Titans are a favorable match-up, I predict he finds the endzone this week for his 4th TD of the season.

Chase Ford, Minnesota Vikings- Until this blog I had never even heard of this guy. With that being said he has posted back to back weeks with 5 catches for over 60 yards. Bridgewater is on the rise and he is taking his teammates with him. Similar to Rivera, if Ford continues to get looks he is going to be a must start. If you are in need of some long term help Ford deserves some consideration. Yes, another player going into his bye week but we are looking toward the future this week remember?

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Fantasy Football: Mark Sanchez Returns to the Waiver Wire

November 05, 2014 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

The Sanchize is back! Mark Sanchez has taken his familiar seat on the waiver wire after snagging the Philadelphia Eagles starting job. With only a few weeks to go Sanchez could bring you many rewards but what is the risk of rolling with the former Jets QB?

It’s a familiar theme every season. Mark Sanchez has a good game or two and he becomes the waiver wire darling of fantasy football experts around the globe. We have seen this show since 2009 but this time is different. While his colors are the same, the situation and team around him could be the missing pieces Sanchez has been looking for.

Let’s look at this realistically. You aren’t going to get a better QB off of the waiver wire this week. Your other choices are probably Josh McCown and maybe Michael Vick. Most of the good QBs are taken and there is a pretty good chance that you have a decent QB if you are in the playoff hunt. Do you really want to risk your fantasy season in Week 10 by making such a drastic change?

There are some good reasons to pick up Sanchez. He is in one of the most fantasy-friendly offenses for a QB in the NFL. Chip Kelly isn’t going to change anything for Mark Sanchez. Kelly produces the number five passing offense in the NFL. Sanchez has also never had this much talent around him, although he had a nice supporting cast his rookie season. He has never had the deep threats that the Eagles give him, and never had a receiver with the skills that Jeremy Maclin has. This situation is set up for Sanchez to succeed.

It is fun to pile one Sanchez but he had a ton of potential when he came into the NFL. He was young and I think his immaturity did him in (remember Sanchez eating hot dogs on the sidelines?). People are quick to forget that Sanchez was one game away from the Super Bowl his rookie season. I always thought the departures of Alan Faneca and Thomas Jones in Sanchez’s sophomore season really hurt him, specifically Faneca. The running game he was able to utilize was out of town and all of the pressure was on the passing game. A passing game mind you that featured selfish receivers and an offense that just never seemed to click.

There are also some good reasons not to take Sanchez. He is still new to this offense. He hasn’t had a full season in Chip’s offense and I think you are expecting a lot from a guy taking over a team in Week 10. He mentally breaks down quickly. When Sanchez is on, he is on but when he is off, he is really off. Sanchez has never been able to work himself out of a funk. His arm may not have the juice to take advantage of his new weapons.

Finally it should be noted that Sanchez has a really rough schedule when the playoffs begin. He will be playing teams weeks 12-15 that rank within the top 15 defenses against fantasy QBs. He has the Titans, Cowboys twice, and the Seahawks. You probably wouldn’t play many QBs outside of your top 8 against those defenses. So if you expect to make a savvy grab with Sanchez and use him for the playoffs, you better understand that the schedule is one of the worst against fantasy QBs at a time when you need a QB you can count on. The schedule alone would have me thinking twice about Sanchez.

Was Sanchez that bad or was he overcompensating for a weak offense in New York? We will find out shortly. Whether you should get Sanchez or not entirely depends upon your needs. If you are desperate or have a guy on a bye week, you may want to take a shot with him against Carolina. Just understand you are only going to get two fantasy QB-friendly defenses with him before you run into problems. Otherwise take your shot but I would proceed with much more caution than those proclaiming Sanchez as the second coming are willing to admit.

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NFL Week 17 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Congrats Jacksonville, prepare yourselves for “TebowMania!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL Week 16 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL Week 13 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 13 in the National Football League!

- Great win for the Atlanta Falcons in primetime as they improve to 11-1 on the season. I have been very critical of the Falcons ability against good teams all season and they proved in back-to-back weeks they can pull it off. Now they just need to show up come playoff time…

– Say what you will about the New Orleans Saints but they gave it a pretty valiant effort these last couple of weeks. It will take a miracle for them to be playoff bound in 2012 as they get their 7th loss of the season here in Week 13. I wonder if the “Sean Payton magic” will be able to get this team back where they typically are in 2013, obviously if Payton returns.

– I’m sure many Buffalo Bills fans wondered where this team has been all season long and the funny thing about this Bills team is that they can’t be counted out completely just yet. They are 5-7 on the year and just sit outside the 6th seed in the AFC. Certainly that tells you how weak the AFC truly is this season.

– After two weeks of “Jaguar-Mania” they finally came back to Earth. Sorry Jacksonville, Chad Henne is decent but not your savior. I’m sure Alex Smith will be looking for a job next season…or will he.

– Seattle has been a pretty nice surprise all season long in the NFC. They pick up their 7th win on the season and get another hard fought win against a pretty good team in Chicago. Not a bad year when you beat Green Bay (technically), New England and Chicago in one season.

– I’ve been preaching this belief off-and-on the last couple of weeks: the Chicago Bears aren’t as good as their record shows. Believe me when I say that because they have trouble against good NFL teams. They need to turn that belief around before playoff time gets here.

– Green Bay looked like they were still hung over from the knockout punch they received last week from the Giants in the 1st half and then had shades of the Packers we have been used to the last couple of seasons in the 2nd half. It could be a good sign for Aaron Rodgers and company.

– How is Adrian Peterson not the NFL MVP favorite right now? I know Tom Brady and Peyton Manning have had good seasons but would the Vikings be where they are right now without him? 21 carries for 210 yards, enough said.

– The Colts are having a miracle season right now and if you don’t believe me watch Andrew Luck’s game-winning pass in Detroit. Indianapolis has been the best story in the NFL all season long, amazing stuff.

– Hello, can anyone hear me yet? Fire Jim Schwartz at the end of the season! He literally coached the Detroit Lions out of a win…AGAIN!

– Sure Houston plays in an easy division but they still need to get the easy wins as well. The Texans did just that and got their 11th win of the season. Home-field advantage is getting closer to their grasps.

– I may be in the minority on this one but I really enjoy what I see out of Jake Locker on a weekly basis. I really hope Tennessee continues to believe in the kid, he is definitely poised to potentially surprise his critics with his pla.

– Tough weekend for the Kansas City Chiefs, my thoughts & prayers go out to them, the families involved and of course the 3-month old who was left behind in this selfish tragedy. I know a win won’t completely heal this situation but I hope it was able to take their minds off of it for a little bit.

– The more I watch this team play the more I realize that Ron Rivera just isn’t the right fit there. The Panthers need a coach who will know how to properly utilize Cam Newton, imagine Chip Kelly of Oregon coaching this team next year…

– Whatever the St. Louis Rams do the rest of the NFL needs to follow because they have the ingredient on how to beat the 49ers. Watch both of these games!

– San Francisco loses but that doesn’t change my belief in Colin Kaepernick as the starter for this team. The 49ers still have the best chance in winning when he is on the field.

– New England is the best team in the AFC but suffer from a tough schedule and it’s going to be tougher in the coming weeks as they take on Houston in Week 14 & San Francisco in Week 15. These next two games will be very telling in regards to the Patriots chances come playoff time.

– Seriously Dolphins? You have a chance to make things interesting in the AFC playoff standings and you lose yet again when it matters the most? Granted its New England but c’mon make the AFC interesting!

– The Jets get a win in a historical snoozer. Bench Mark Sanchez, start Tim Tebow (if he’s healthy) and just have Greg McElroy ready to go if Tebow isn’t cutting it. You brought Tebow in there for a reason now just start him at QB!

– How does Larry Fitzgerald wake up every Sunday morning knowing that he is playing for this team and that these Quarterback’s are throwing to him?

– Believe me when I tell you this, the AFC may be a weak conference but the Denver Broncos are going to make the playoff seeds very interesting amongst the division leaders. This could get very fun, very quickly.

– Sadly it’s starting to look like maybe that “glimmer” on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this season is starting to wear off. Has been a fun year and I hope they can piece back together for the final weeks of the season.

– Back-to-back wins for the Cleveland Browns…it’s been a while since we could say that.

– Oakland is just plain awful. I’m starting to really wonder if the Raiders will just give Terrelle Pryor a shot to see what he’s got as a NFL QB. What do you have to lose at this point?

– Quietly the Cincinnati Bengals continue to make noise in the NFL as they have won their last 4 games. They sit just outside the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC playoff standings and are a dangerous team with just 4 games to go.

– 4-8 season = Fire Norv Turner. I wonder if San Diego would consider looking a potential replacement for Phillip Rivers cause I’m not sure if he is the right fit for the Chargers anymore either.

– Wow how lucky was the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 13? Great win for them and their playoff chances stay alive. I wonder if we will see a “Big Ben” return next week with the season starting to dwindle down.

– Tough loss for Baltimore as their inconsistency once again rears its ugly head. This team would be so good if they could just get it together. The loss now puts Baltimore as the #3 seed in the AFC and no longer facing a first-round bye, in-fact if the season ended today they would play Pittsburgh again.

– Good win for Dallas on Sunday Night, they still looked inconsistent against a weak Philadelphia Eagles team but a win is a win and they stay alive in the NFC Playoff picture.

– Philadelphia didn’t look terrible in their loss to Dallas on Sunday Night. In fact they looked pretty encouraging as the Eagles were able to make plays offensively, something they needed to see badly with a rookie QB and RB starting for them against the Cowboys. It’s still too little, too late but at least they continue to try and play spoiler in the NFC East.

– Huge win for Washington and now things have gotten very interesting in the NFC East. I have this strange feeling that the Giants may not be the NFC East representative when it’s all said and done.

- The Giants had their chance to capitalize on wins in back-to-back weeks and separate themselves from the NFC East. They failed to do so and now have created yet another typical end of the season for the Eli Manning led New York Giants. This is going to get fun with 4 games to go.

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!

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

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

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

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

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

Check out Jeff Peck’s wrestling podcast “The Still Real to Us show” which can be available at www.wheelhouseradio.com and www.wrestlechat.net

“LIKE” The Still Real to Us Show on Facebook: www.facebook.com/thestillrealtousshow

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 10

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

Welcome back owners. Here we are back for Week 10 of the NFL season, and wow, what a wild week we had for Week 9. Explosive days by many stars like Doug Martin, Adrian Peterson, Brandon Marshall and yes that Bears defense made some owners numbers boom! However some of us had to be on the losing end of those numbers. How about the days turned in by the Eli Mannings or Jamaal Charles? Well I fell prey to some of it, where in one league my whopping 166 points was still not enough to out do my opponent who posted a cool 173, topped by DeSean Jackson and only his second TD of the year! Hey, it happens.

Well back to the really good news where your good friend, The Shark had a really nice week. I am 3-1 in my 4 leagues and a cool season overall record of 22-14. Now while I am not perfect I am playing strong ball, and am in the top 3 in points in all 4 of those leagues. Yes, you can ignore my information, or you can read it and gain some success. I am here to hand out some recommendations, help you on your journey and try and help you towards a playoff position. It is a dog eat dog world out there friends, so you can’t expect to ask your friends who are in the same league for help now can you?

As Election Day came and went we saw our president re-elected and the country can now go back to normal. All the hype and argument over government can now take a back seat. We are back to Fantasy Football, the time is here as we are into the double digit weeks and the playoffs are coming really soon! I will keep up with the new format and give you 5 recommendations, which is more than my usual 3. Many of my picks had big weeks last week, so let’s see what I got for Week 10. As always good luck, the season is closing in to its end.

Quarterback

Start

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints: In a game that may light up the skies like July 4th, you can expect Ryan to do plenty. He does great indoors and has plenty of weapons. His 17 TDs are 4th best in the league. Big money week expected here.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Jaguars: Although being compared to Peyton Manning is hardly fair for anyone, Luck has been shining of late. In his last 3 weeks he has passed for close to 1,000 yards and has accounted for 5 total TD’s. The Jaguars post a very appealing match up.

Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The Steelers are finding a groove at the right time and this Monday Night match should favor them plenty. The Chiefs 17 TD passes allowed are the 4th most generous in the NFL, so get Ben out there, and watch offensive coordinator Todd Haley roast his former team.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Diego Chargers: Until further notice I am going to recommend Freeman. Last 4 weeks? Oh just 11 TDs to just 1 INT. The Chargers allow 238 yards per week and have surrendered 12 TDs. They also play the run decent, so we may not see another Doug Martin super show.

Tom Brady, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: I know I hate to go obvious, but this one is too good. After roasting them in Buffalo a few weeks back he now gets them at home. Brady is a constant starter, but you don’t ignore starts this good to print.

Sit

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens: Despite a real nice week by Palmer last week, this is not the place to try him again. The Ravens give up the fewest pass TDs and also have been tough in yards allowed. Also with Darren McFadden out, they lose a top decoy. Scary match here.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets at Seattle Seahawks: The Hawks are 4-0 at home, and flat out hard to beat there. Head coach Pete Carroll must be extra excited to see his former college QB turned NFL enigma this week. The Jets offense is horrid right now. Aaron Rodgers is a better start and he is on a bye.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys: Marcus Vick will be busy again on Twitter this week as he watches a decent Cowboy pass rush face the terrible Eagles offensive line. The Cowboys have done well against the pass allowing just 7 TDs, including holding Matt Ryan to 1 in Atlanta. Get ready Philly boo-birds, you will be busy again this week.

Eli Manning, New York Giants at Cincinnati Bengals: I hate to say it, but Manning has thrown just 2 TDs in 4 weeks! The man who they call the most clutch QB in the league is in trouble, then again find me a November when he isn’t. I know the Bengals aren’t great, but Eli is making me quiver right now.

Matt Cassel, Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers: The Steelers allow just 174 yards per game against the pass, so why trust one of the worst offenses here? You will be better served with guys like Russell Wilson, Ryan Fitzpatrick, and Alex Smith, all of which are most likely available.

Running Back

Start

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders: The defense that allowed Doug Martin to scamper for 251 yards last week will now have to face an even better back in Ray Rice. Get your ice packs ready, it could be a long day. The pass offense has been cold lately for the Ravens, so Rice should be real active.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions: Yes the Lions are improved, but not as much as Peterson is. He usually runs well against them and is coming off of a stellar game last week in which he ran for 182 yards and 2 TDs against a very good Seahawks defense. His nickname is All Day, and you will see that this week.

Reggie Bush, Miami Dolphins vs. Tennessee Titans: The Titans are allowing 4.4 yards per carry, one of the highest totals in the league, and Reggie looked like the Bush of old last week with ankle breaking moves and a nice TD. Come on Dolphins, this guy is your most talented player, use him and stop making me look foolish.

Frank Gore, San Francisco 49ers vs. St. Louis Rams: He usually handles them well, and is at home. Gore has had a better year than many expected and is in the top 10 in rushing, and has a whopping 5.5 yards per carry, against a Rams defense that allows 4.6 per. The Rams pass defense is actually decent, so expect some serious ground work here.

Stevan Ridley, New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills: The numbers are terrifying. The Bills are dead last in yards allowed at a crazy 5.7 yards per carry. While Tom Brady should do a lot, expect Ridley to also get his share. The Bills probably couldn’t stop a kicker if he ran the ball right now.

Sit

Ryan Matthews, San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: The Bucs remain stingy against the run, and Matthews is watching a bunch of wants was backs steal his carries. He is not near what many of us hoped when grabbing him within the first 3 rounds this year. Tough match up that you should avoid here.

Chris Johnson, Tennessee Titans at Miami Dolphins: No, I am not living under a rock, and I saw that Johnson’s has improved greatly over the last 4 weeks. My problem here is 2 things: A) The Dolphins are second best in the NFL with just 3.6 yards per carry allowed and B) For some unknown reason the Titans are going back to Jake Locker at QB. Locker is not Hasselback, so defenses can focus more on the run. Johnson will have a tough road this week.

Matt Forte, Chicago Bears vs. Houston Texans: A bit of a stretch here but numbers say it all. The Texans have not allowed a rushing TD all year and just 84 yards per game. While Forte runs hard and can wear teams down, the Bears may look to throw more, and also share the load with Michael Bush to try and soften this tough defense. It could be a long day for both backs, and many of you may need Forte, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers: I can’t see starting any Chief, even the best Chief. The Steelers defense has improved, and Peyton Hillis is stealing more and more time from Charles. Just not worth it here.

Fred Jackson, Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots: Despite 14 touches he could only get 36 yards last week, and the Patriots run defense has been tough. This Bills team will need to get more familiar with CJ Spiller if they hope to move forward. Jackson is always a decent option to catch some passes, but he looks to be slowing down of late.

Wide Receiver

Start

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. San Diego Chargers: You know he is begging for this game here. After years of turmoil and contract nonsense in San Diego, Jackson now gets a crack at his old mates. 4 TDs in the last 4 weeks is not bad either. He will need to be busier than his 4 catches in the last 2 weeks however, but I like his chances.

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints: Jones is the Atlanta Falcons WR luggage because he travels so very well. While Roddy White owns home, Jones does the road. 5 TDs this year, all on the road, and can easily make that number 7 with a pair this week. Next home game however, well that’s Roddy’s turn to shine.

A.J. Green, Cincinnati Bengals vs. New York Giants: Some teams have that guy you play no matter what, and Green is one of them. Over his last 4 games he has 5 TDs on 24 catches, and is becoming one of the best WR in all the league. Bank on a good game here from him.

Andre Johnson, Houston Texans at Chicago Bears: Rumor has it that Charles Tillman may not play due to the birth of his child, and that means Johnson will face a lesser CB. He has come back, quietly over the last 3 weeks in which we saw him grab 26 passes. He needs to find the end zone more to pay dividends for fantasy, and this may be his week. Running will be tough, so QB Matt Schaub will have to prove he can be a Super Bowl caliper QB here.

Eric Decker, Denver Broncos at Carolina Panthers: Once Peyton Manning starts to love a WR, you go with him. He’s got 6 TDs in the last 4 weeks with 22 catches for 261 yards. Decker is now the go to guy for TDs here, and he should be for you too.

Sit

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers vs. St Louis Rams: Many think he is a guy you roll with now, but this defense plays tough against WRs. Crabtree has never been real consistent and he has too many people to try and compete with for the ball here.

Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions: An ankle injury may force Harvin out of the week 10 game against the Lions, and even if it doesn’t he will be hard to trust.

Danny Amendola, St Louis Rams at San Francisco 49ers: Yes he will be back, and he is a guy to go to down the stretch, but not here against a very tough 49ers defense. I know that someone will have to score here, but let Amendola get his legs back before you jump on his bandwagon.

Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: Although the Eagles have been had of late, Bryant and his bad hip are scary here. He still only has 2 TDs this year and they came in one game. His iffy hands also make him a tough bet here.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers: I just figured I would finish the Chiefs hat trick here, go about your business.

Tight End

Start

Jason Witten, Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles: Becoming more and more involved and Jimmy Graham roasted this defense last week.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills at New England Patriots: Well the Bills will get some points at least, and Chandler got them for 2 TDs the last meeting.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers vs. Denver Broncos: If Cam Newton can remember how to complete some big time passes, this can be his go to guy. The Broncos defense has been decent but struggles against TEs of late. It’s a roll of the dice, but may pay off.

Sit

Dennis Pitta, Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders: Remember when Pitta was good, and the Ravens passed a lot? Me either.

Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Dallas Cowboys: He looks slow and isn’t making big catches right now. Keep him on the bench.

Defenses I like this week:

Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

San Francisco 49ers vs. St Louis Rams

Defenses I don’t like this week:

San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons

Waiver Wire: With some tough injuries and new faces coming in, here is your chance to grab a nice late season gem. Oh and cheers to the end of the bye week!

Marcel Reece, RB, Oakland Raiders: Although he has not carried the ball this year, he is very active in the passing game, and with Darren McFadden and Mike Goodsen expected to miss this week he is a nice flex play.

Taiwan Jones, RB, Oakland Raiders: Tough call as to who carries the load here, but Jones is the speed to Reece’s bull. He has barely played this season, but this guy may be in line for some playing time soon. What he does with it is any one’s guess.

Chris Ivory, RB, New Orleans Saints: A busy backfield but it lacks super talent. With Darren Sproles out with injury, Ivory finally got his shot and carried 10 times for 48 yards and a TD. He is a back with the best mix of speed, hands and power the Saints have.

Danario Alexander, WR, San Diego Chargers: Any option is needed here. He has more speed than Malcolm Floyd, and showed nice flashes in his first action last week.

Dallas Cowboys Defense: Not sure if they are free in your league, but if they are grab them against a generous Eagles offense.

Well here is Week 10 folks, go out there and make me proud!

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 for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

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NFL Week 4 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

October 02, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

peyton manningLet’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 4 in the National Football League!

– If you are considered to be a mediocre Quarterback in the NFL or one that may be underrated my best suggestion for you would be to announce you are an elite QB at the start of the season because you will start playing like one. Say what you want about Joe Flacco but he is playing like a top notch QB for the Ravens so far this season. In my opinion Flacco is that final “ingredient” to being a Super Bowl caliber team for the Ravens and if he plays like this for the rest of the season Ray Lewis may get that final chance at a ring.

- Sure Cleveland lost, no surprise there, but they looked impressive for a young team. I really like how this team was built in the offseason through the draft and while their record may not be all that great I continue to expect good things out of this team in a couple years.

– The Atlanta Falcons are 4-0 on the season and do so in the most improbable of fashions after driving to take the lead from the 1-yard line. Sometimes things like that happen when you know you are a team of destiny. We are a quarter of the way through the season but this Falcons team certainly is looking like a team of destiny at the moment.

– For the 2nd straight week we will be questioning the leadership skills and mindset of Cam Newton after a tough loss to Atlanta. How Cam Newton bounces back in his next game will really define what type of player we can expect him to be in his young career.

– Think the Patriots sent a message to the NFL after that win? The window isn’t closing and the Belichick/Brady era is still going strong.

– Not sure what to think of this Bills team yet. They have the potential but don’t execute it as well as I think they should. Wonder if Chan Gailey just isn’t the right coach for this potentially good team.

– No matter how you look at it the Minnesota Vikings are 3-1 to start the season. Let that settle in for a bit.

– Detroit is one of the most disappointing teams in the NFL this season (of course New Orleans is #1) and don’t look like the team that had the fight they had last year. Stafford needs to step as a leader for this Lions team because they are too good to be 1-3.

– I was a big fan of a bounce-back year for both the Chargers and Phillip Rivers and they looked great on both sides of the ball against a division rival. I liked Denver in the AFC West this season but won’t be surprised if San Diego surpasses them in the division. It’s also nice to see Rivers stepping up as a leader this season as well, his buddy Jay Cutler should take note.

– Kansas City looked good at times but very sloppy most of the time. Matt Cassel has never panned out to be that franchise saving Quarterback they thought he’d be when they first got him. I really believe it’s time for KC to start thinking elsewhere on the QB front no matter how well they do this season.

– Many people liked the Rams as a potential sleeper pick in the NFC…well after a Week 4 victory put them at 2-2 on the year we now see how they will fair against the Cards on Thursday. That will be a very interesting matchup.

– Does anyone else think karma could come back to haunt this Seahawks team all-season long now?

– The San Francisco 49ers went back out in Week 4 and proved they are still a heavy NFC favorite this season. The loss to Minnesota in Week 3 was one of the best things to happen to this team because it woke them up and showed they can be vulnerable at any given week.

– Mark Sanchez went 13-29 for 103 yards with 1 INT and 0 TD’s. It’s “Tebow Time” in New York because at this point…why not?

– Houston is looking very dominant this season on all fronts and this could be their year where the stars finally align themselves in the AFC. Really liking what I see from this team at every point of their game, very solid and dangerous team.

– The only good news for Tennessee this week: Chris Johnson ran for 141 yards. The bad news: they still lost.

– Think Peyton Manning was upset about everyone writing him off as being “old” after just one week? How about 30-38 for 338 yards and 3 TD’s as he led the Broncos over the Raiders? Broncos and Chargers starting to pull away from the pack in the AFC West can’t wait for those two teams to battle it out.

– Sure Miami pushed the Cardinals to the brink in Week 4 but I love what I am seeing out of the Cards this season. Ken Whisenhunt is one of the most underrated head coaches in the NFL and is proving that this team will test San Francisco this season. Amazing how the NFC West could end up being the most interesting division this season as it is two seasons removed from sending a 7-9 team to the playoffs!

– Got to give the Dolphins credit, they gave it their all against the Cardinals this week. That’s what makes the NFL the best sport in America because on any given Sunday any team can win. Oh and by the way, what was up with Brian Hartline!?

– Quietly the Cincinnati Bengals are 3-1 on the season and made it look very easy against the Jacksonville Jaguars. “Dalton to Green” is going to be said a lot by various commentators for a number of years in the NFL. This team is extremely fun to watch on any given week.

– Jacksonville is the worst team in the NFL. How does Maurice Jones-Drew only get 13 carries on the ground? Simple, horrible offense and not possessing the ball for very long, I was very hard on Blaine Gabbert last season and I will be this year until he improves. Maybe the Jaguars and Jets will swap starting Quarterbacks…*drops mic and walks away*

– Washington squeaks one out from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 4 and improves to a very surprising 2-2 on the year. After 4 weeks Robert Griffin III is everyone’s favorite story in the NFL, which I’m sure is making Tim Tebow very jealous, and when you watch him play you have to wonder if the Colts made the right decision to draft Luck over RGIII. While I believe both QB’s will be very good in their careers one will clearly be better then the other, too soon to tell but certainly a great story to watch for many years to come.

– I’ve come to really enjoy this Tampa Bay Buccaneers team this season because you watch them play and know they have the potential to be good at some point. Whether it’s later in this season or next, they will be a good team. Hopefully the franchise and the fans have the patience to watch this team really develop.

– Do the referee’s hate the Green Bay Packers or something? We nearly saw Lambeau Field go into riot mode after the refs made a horrible call on a clear Darren Sproles fumble. Thankfully for the Packers (and the refs) we witnessed Garrett Hartley missing a field goal and leading the Packers to their 3rd, I mean 2nd victory of the season.

– The New Orleans Saints are 0-4 on the season. They play San Diego next week and can potentially go 0-5. Is this karma, bad luck or a team that is nothing without Sean Payton? Heck, maybe its all 3!

– For the first time this season the Philadelphia Eagles played like a team that can be a serious NFC East threat this season. Despite being 3-1 the Eagles have not looked like nor played like a team that can really be a top team in the NFC East this season. That all changed after a very solid victory Sunday Night against the Giants and it’ll be interesting to see if they can build off of this win for weeks to come.

– I continue to give reasons why I believe the NFL is the best sport in the United States in this week’s blog. Last week the New York Football Giants looked like a serious Super Bowl contender after the knockout punch they gave to Carolina on Thursday night. This week they lose to the Eagles in primetime and are no longer the top team in the NFC East. As they say: “on any given Sunday…”

– This was going to be a game of two Quarterbacks on Monday Night and whoever became the victor was the one that would have a pass from being under the microscope for this week. That was Jay Cutler and the Bears improve to 3-1 on the season after an impressive Monday Night win. I’m not sure how this team will fair against division rivals but for the time being the Bears are looking like a potential playoff team again.

– Where was the Week 1 Dallas Cowboys team that we saw open the season? This is a team that is too inconsistent and I believe that will be the type of season they will have from here on out. Are they a playoff team? No not in my opinion but that can all change if Tony Romo becomes the MVP caliber Quarterback people have waited for him to be.

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 3

September 20, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

cam newtonIt can always come down to 1 point. Yes just one point. A reception or a thrust forward for a few more yards, yes you can turn a win into a loss so very easily and all you can do is sit back and watch. I came in last week bragging about my 4-0 start, and this week was all set to come back at 8-0, until a useless catch on Monday night. Oh well, still riding high at 7-1 and still top points guy in 3 of 4 leagues gives me a warm feeling.

In today’s game of Fantasy Football there seems to be so more close games and it seems that every week a lead turns into a thrilling hang on as the Monday night game concludes. Owners have gotten smarter and better as the players get more stats. It is hard for one to call themselves a “guru” or “genius” after two weeks, but heck I am game! Sure my brother sat on the couch and said “Damn, I should have started Dwayne Bowe” After I told him numerous times to do so, and he even said “I saw it in your article” Hey, I write for all of you, not just myself, pay attention sometimes. I already know who I want to start and sit, but this is for some of you who may not. Remember 1 point in today’s game can make such a difference. A win is a win, a loss is still a loss. As we all know the word “money league” gets thrown around a lot, so consider this your part-time job! You are an owner, act like it! Now someone clean my glasses!

It is time for another dose of Start Em’ and Sit Em’ for Fantasy Football fans, and I am here again for more medicine. You won’t hear JaMarcus Russell no matter how hard you beg. Also despite the word “Fantasy” we also won’t be seeing any photos of Michelle Trachtenberg. ( Well not this week anyway ) So read along and get ready for another wild week! Good luck everyone!

Quarterback

Start

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers vs. New York Giants:After a poor week 1, Newton came back and looked better against a poor Saints defense. Up for him next is a Giants team that has been pounded by Tony Romo and week 1 and didn’t look all that great last week against an average Josh Freeman. Newton will be busy and he should be on point in a Thursday game at home. He runs and passes for TDs so he can rack them up! Go with it.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Is there any problem in trying Romo again? Yep last week was a pure clunker, but the remedy may be in town. The Bucs defense was torched last week for 510 yards by Eli Manning in New York so I feel pretty good about the chances of Romo getting at least 300 and a few TDs.

Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts vs. Jacksonville Jaguars: I officially have no problem leaning towards rookie QBs. Last week Brandon Weeden, RG3 and Luck all had pretty good fantasy days, actually better than second year starters like Blaine Gabbart, Jake Locker and Christian Ponder. Luck and the Colts like to pass, and the run game is average at best. Against this Jags team, Luck can get over 300 yards and at least 2 TDs. No reason to not trust him if you need him here.

Sit

Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals vs Philadelphia Eagles: Even though he is at home, coming off a huge win and probably getting his first shot at his former team, the match up does not look good for Kolb. Joe Flacco could not do much with this Eagles defense, and that offense is way better than this one. The Eagles will challenge the Cardinals to run, and that isn’t showing much so far. Kolb will have to play from behind, and I don’t trust that at all.

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders vs Pittsburgh Steelers: This is becoming easy. If you couldn’t get juice from Palmer against the Dolphins, what makes us think different here? Yes he is at home, but that is still on this planet. Mark Sanchez looked lost last week, and he has a better feel that Palmer. Wait did I say earlier I wasn’t going to say JaMarcus Russell?

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets at Miami Dolphins: I just smell an upset, and that other Sanchez. One week he can look good, then suddenly he looks lost. I have an impossible time every getting giddy about Sanchez, and I beg of you all not to start him. It’s going to be a ground game for sure, and a long one for sure.

Running Back

Start

Michael Bush, Chicago Bears vs. St Louis Rams:With Matt Forte down and Jay Cutler, well being Jay Cutler again, the Bears will need to lean heavily on Bush. Last season while in Oakland, Bush carried the load when Darren McFadden went down, so he can handle it for sure. Also to be noted he was the goal line guy before Forte was hurt, now he really can get all that juice. A big week is in the cards for Bush.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints: The most popular question I have been asked this week is “What do I do with Jamaal Charles?” Well this should be his week, and a chance to make some big plays. The Saints are last in the league against the run, and are just terrible on defense. While the Saints should get win number 1 this week, it won’t be due to a lack of Charles doing lots of good things.

Ray Rice, Baltimore Ravens vs. New England Patriots: Rice is possibly the most talented back in the league, and the Ravens will have to go to him more to keep balanced. Last week in trying to win big with the pass the Ravens fell flat, so Rice should be more involved and the Patriots are not all that tough against the run. I expect a big bust out from Rice on prime time.

Sit

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers:The proof is in the putting and this 49ers defense may be better than last years. Now I love Peterson, and what he does on the field is hard not to love, however with a poor pass offense, and Peterson still dealing with a team hesitant to push him, this could be a long brutal day, all day.

Atlanta Falcons RBs at San Diego Chargers: Who is the best run defense in the NFL? Why that would be the Chargers. The Falcons have a great pass attack and are dealing with issues at RB. Michael Turner would love to get back at his old team here, but he has looked slow, and just got nailed on a DUI charge. Also Jaquizz Rodgers has not lived up to preseason hype yet. Stay with the aerial assault and avoid Falcon backs.

Andre Brown, New York Giants at Carolina Panthers: Why are we all so in love with him? No he won’t make my waiver wire segment this week. The Giants rushing game is far from great no matter who is in it, and they have more backs to use than just Brown. Also they are a team that passes well, even without Hakeem Nicks in the lineup. I will have to see him do something spectacular before I can put all my faith in him.

Wide Receiver

Start

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers:You could have rolled with either Giants WR and hit pay dirt last week, and Austin seems to be healthy and back to form. He had a TD last week, and can easily post one here at home. I like Austin for over 100 yards and at least 1 TD here. Even if Dez Bryant takes catches, he should be just fine.

AJ Green, Cincinnati Bengals at Washington Redskins: He had a nice week last week, and is turning into an elite NFL WR. Now as for the Redskins, well they had no answer for Danny Amendola last week, and Green is targeted as much as D.A. so he should be plenty busy. The Redskins also took some big blows on defense losing DT Adam Carriker and LB Brian Orakpo for the season which will crush their pass rush. If Andy Dalton has time he can find Green plenty.

Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos vs Houston Texans: Even though I think the Texans bring it better than the Falcons who gave Peyton Manning fits last week, Thomas is still his big time weapon. A TD in each week so far is nice, and they love to use him in the screen game as well as down field. Eric Decker seems to be the possession guy, but the end zone and deep guy is Thomas and he is doing it well right now.

Sit

Marquis Colston, New Orleans Saints vs Kansas City Chiefs:For some reason they have forgotten all about him, and even though the Chief secondary is weak right now, he still can’t be trusted. Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore and even Darren Sproles are getting way more action, and until Colston goes wild, you have to sit him.

Danny Amendola, St Louis Rams at Chicago Bears: I know he had a good week last week, but that was home, and the Redskins defense was all banged up. The Bears are coming back home after getting laid out by the Packers and are an angry team on a mission. The Rams pass attack is improved, but this is not the week to be proud with it.

Sidney Rice, Seattle Seahawks vs Green Bay Packers: The Packers have some decent players in that secondary and Rice was weak last week against Dallas, despite a big Hawks win. Rice is a true enigma, and well with my luck could go off here. However I would like to see him play more consistently before I buy into him.

Tight End

Start

Brent Celek, Philadelphia Eagles at Arizona Cardinals:Last week’s 8 catch, 157 yard game is nothing new to Celek. He can put up big numbers, and the Eagles are once again faced with the possibility of not having WR Jeremy Maclin. As always, the Eagles offense will be busy, and Celek could very well have another big day and even see the end zone here.

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants at Carolina Panthers: WR Hakeem Nicks will miss the game, and Bennett is doing nice things. He has a TD in each week and is proving to be a good pass catcher and not just a blocker. As of now he is Manning’s second choice on most downs.

Sit

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings vs. San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers have good linebackers when it comes to pass protection, and although Rudolph has good hands, he does not have big time speed to get away. Last week they did let up a TE TD but that can be very random.

Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons: It is not certain he will play, and if he does he goes up against a Falcons defense with aggressive backs and linebackers. Last week Jacob Tamme did very little and he is a guy Peyton Manning always looks for. The Falcon defense is improving and QB Philip Rivers is working well with what he has besides Gates.

Defenses I like:

San Francisco 49ers at Minnesota Vikings

Pittsburgh Steelers at Oakland Raiders

Detroit Lions at Tennessee Titans

Defenses I don’t like:

Arizona Cardinals vs Philadelphia Eagles

Baltimore Ravens vs New England Patriots

Kansas City Chiefs at New Orleans Saints

Waiver Wire

Come and get some hot, fresh new players. It is never too early to do some patch work! Check these players out:

Daryl Richardson, RB, St. Louis Rams: While we all had no clue why Stephen Jackson was actually pulled from the game Sunday we did see that Richardson can carry the rock in the NFL. He looks really fast in space, and showed he can take a lick and keep coming. Jackson has a history of getting hurt, so if you have roster room, grab and hold onto this kid.

Jason Snelling, RB, Atlanta Falcons: Michael Turners DUI and lack of breaking speed may mean less carries for him and more for Snelling. The Falcons pass a lot, but if the running game can find itself, it may include more Snelling.

Andrew Hawkins, WR, Cincinnati Bengals: He has been busy the first 2 weeks of the season and right now is option 2 in the Bengals passing game. He came a long way, but seems to be fitting in well and if you are looking for help, could be a nice plug in.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB Buffalo Bills: The yardage numbers may not be big, but he does have 5 TDs in 2 weeks. With the rushing game improving with CJ Spiller on board, Fitz has room to work, and does not have to be the most important part of the offense right now. A more relaxed Fitzpatrick is a better Fitzpatrick.

Greg Little, WR, Cleveland Browns: Rookie QB Brandon Weeden showed signs of improvement last week and Little is by far the most talented WR on the team. They are also running the ball well which can lead to more time and room to throw. He ended 2011 strong, so he can be a guy worth trying here.

Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Teams are coming down hard on teammate Larry Fitzgerald which has led to 2 TDs in 2 weeks so far for Roberts. He may not be all of what Early Doucet or Michale Floyd should be, but he is getting the numbers.

Now let’s get out there name make me proud. Bring the heat in week 3 and as always good luck! See you all in week 4.

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.

Thanks again all for reading and good luck in week 3.

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 2

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

cj spillerThe time has come to call out all the big shots who actually get paid to do this stuff! Matthew Berry of ESPN, you think you want some of this? Yahoo Sports guys like Andy Behrens and Brandon Funston, you really think you can handle this? Fantasy Guru’s, RotoWorld, and on and on, you all want a piece of me? I am here to call all of you out.

Yes me, just a lone guy with no errand boys to do my research, no mega-million dollar studio or financial backing, just a man, a computer, and a little football knowledge, especially fantasy football. The Shark should be the buzz right now in the fantasy world and now you all have your chance to jump on the bandwagon!

“Who is this guy?”, “Why is this guy all into himself?”, you may all be asking. Well I will get right down to it. Week 1 of the NFL season saw me go a lusty 4-0 in my fantasy leagues, but not only that, I was the point leader in every league, including our league here at CamelClutchBlog.com. The pre-season promises I made all were falling into place. I told the world that Matt Ryan was going to be amazing, and he was.

I drafted Brandon Marshall in every league, and he was back to form. Reggie Bush? Yep I have lots of Reggie, and despite no TD’s, he was solid. You don’t trust Tony Romo? I sure did! Kevin Smith can’t get the job done? That’s fine I’ll give him a try. Stevan Ridley made an appearance, so did Malcolm Floyd. Ravens defense is too old? All is good, I rolled those dice. Oh everything went right, a sheer perfect week. All that was missing in “fantasy” was Sofia Vergara serving me dinner in a French Maid uniform. (A man can dream). The beauty or beast of it all is that you are only as good as the next week. As much as I’d like to think my bragging and confidence is a good thing, it can easily explode. No problem, it’s a long season.

Week 2 comes at us very fast, as we have a Thursday night game to deal with, so I have to come at you faster and more furious this week with Starts/Sits for your fantasy team. Injuries will have to be watched closer, and moves made faster. My advice to you as they say in the movies is to “stick with me kid”. The Shark is here with his Week 2 advice. Read, enjoy, and good luck in week 2. P.S. I contacted Berry and RotoWorld via Twitter, and have gotten no response on my challenge, no surprise there, I’d be scared of me too! Let’s look at the picks for this week:

Quarterback

Start

Peyton Manning, Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons: Don’t think he’s back? Thomas, Decker and the gang think he is after carving up the rough and tough Steelers defense, plus he gets to play this week in a dome, as he has for years. Also the loss of CB Grimes is huge for the Falcons defense. Manning and Ryan will have a big shootout here, so if you own Manning, you roll with him here.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears at Green Bay Packers: It’s easy to say Aaron Rodgers every week isn’t it? Cutler and his Bears have a huge chance on Thursday night to go up 2 games on the Pack if they can pull off this mild upset. The return of Brandon Marshall mixed with his trust in Earl Bennett has Cutler looking sharp and he could be looking at a great year. If you remember last week, Alex Smith and the 49ers had their way with this defense, so no reason not to trust Cutler for 2-3 TD’s and maybe as much as 300 yards.

Tony Romo, Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks: Do you believe in paybacks? Karma? Second Chances? If you do then you have to believe in Romo this week. Seattle is after all the scene of the crime where Romo botched that snap on a 19 yard field goal attempt in 2007 that cost Dallas a playoff game. He comes back to town with a loaded group of weapons, and confidence. The Seahawks defense was pegged as a tough defense, but not much of that was there against a pour Arizona team last week. I like Dallas’ pass game much better than its run game, so go with Romo.

Sit

Blane Gabbert, Jacksonville Jaguars vs Houston Texans: Yep, even I can be wrong, and I trashed Gabbert often, but last week he had good numbers and hung tough in Minnesota. This week he is home which can prove even better, but he will face a much better defense and a better team. Jacksonville will be a better team soon enough, but nothing about this match up looks all that enticing. If you just added him, that’s a fine move, but use it at the proper time.

Mark Sanchez, New York Jets at Pittsburgh Steelers: Another guy that I bashed but yet had a huge week last week. However this is not the Bills defense and he is not at home. The Steelers got roughed up by Peyton Manning last week, and that happens, but no way does Sanchez come back with the same performance. Also on that Jets sideline will be Tim Tebow. Why does that matter? Last time the Steelers saw Tebow, he was knocking them out of the playoffs, once again, paybacks baby!

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins: Serious? Yep! I know the Dolphins don’t have much, but neither does this Raiders offense. This team is only as good as Darren McFadden makes it, and with a bunch of “who’s” at WR and no solid TE’s the Raiders are in total disarray already. Their only TD last week came as time ran out, by an undrafted WR. Oakland used a lot of draft picks on Palmer, he needs to prove to be something and quick!

Running Back

Start

CJ Spiller, Buffalo Bills vs. Kansas City Chiefs: The injury to Fred Jackson opens the door for a guy who has the stuff to be a fantasy stud. 161 yards rushing last week and a TD, mixed in with being one of the best fantasy backs in the last 4 weeks of last season is a lot to get excited about. The Chiefs are banged up on defense as well. Spiller makes the Bills offense better, and it should show this week.

Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts: Every expert, fantasy owner, heck even his own coach had little faith in Peterson last week, but I am here to tell you, he is the real deal again. 2 big TD’s last week against the Jags and he was able to handle 17 carries. This week he will be indoors, and the Colts run defense is usually nothing special. Peterson is showing that the knee is not about to slow him down, and it should not be a concern for fantasy owners as long as he stays healthy in the weekly injury reports.

Darren McFadden, Oakland Raiders at Miami Dolphins: Not crazy about Oakland’s QB situation, but that has nothing to do with McFadden. He was plenty busy last week, and that should continue to be the case as long as he is healthy. The Dolphins gave up a pair of rushing TD’s last week, and if the Raiders are going to hang in this game DMC will have to front the load. Do it!

Sit

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers: It may have been the bad weather, or the start of something special as the Bucs defense was brilliant last week against Carolina, especially on the ground. DT Gerald McCoy is suddenly coming into his own and they look tough up front. Bradshaw had a nice week 1 against Dallas, but I feel the passing game will need to do more to get the Giants back on track. Bradshaw may be able to punch one in here, but I don’t expect him to be huge.

Kevin Smith, Detroit Lions at San Francisco 49ers: Another guy who had a big week last week, but I have a hard time trusting running backs against the 49ers. The defense in San Fran looked tough last week in Green Bay, and Detroit will have to use the air to come out in this one. I like Smith, and if he is healthy you go with him, with the right match up. This is not that match up!

The San Diego Chargers backfield vs. Tennessee Titans: I know they got ripped up by Stevan Ridley last week, but it is hard to know how to measure what can happen against the Patriots offense. The Chargers have 4 different guys carrying the load, and none look all that special. Until Ryan Matthews comes back and gets into the groove I advise you avoid this mess at all cost. Hey, here is an idea, try playing Chris Johnson, what too soon?

Wide Receiver

Start

Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons vs. Denver Broncos: I like the new Broncos defense with Champ Bailey and Tracy Porter, but this week they will have their hands full. The Falcons have the weapons, and Jones is many people’s option to be the next great WR. What better way for him to really come out than on a Monday night? Roddy White still draws the attention, Gonzalez can still get it done, and they are creative in the backfield. It is hard to know who to focus on if you are a defense, so if you give this guy room, he can/will kill you! He had 2 TD’s last week and possibly 2 more this week.

Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills: The Bills secondary was toasted last week by a rookie WR and a “who is that guy” WR led by Mark Sanchez. This week a real big time WR comes to town in Dwayne Bowe, so the young Bills secondary may have its hands full. Matt Cassel is not a top fantasy QB, but even he can find an upside here. Bowe needs to prove his worth with a new contract looming next year.

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis Colts vs. Minnesota Vikings: New QB same Reggie Wayne it would seem. After a slow start he had a big week last week, and now Wayne and Indy face a Vikings defense who at home last week had a hard time with an average Jags pass offense. Luck will have some growing pains, but he has to get 2 TD’s here I would think, and Wayne is due for one, and some more big yards. Wayne remains a factor as a WR2 or an emergency flex option.

Sit

DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles vs. Baltimore Ravens: If you ask me, the Eagles most reliable WR is Jeremy Maclin, and there is a good chance he won’t play this Sunday. I know Jackson is explosive and can do lots of good things, but to have him as the one main guy against a quality defense and CB Webb does not look great on paper. The Ravens will throw everything at Michael Vick, so he will have a hard time making the plays. Jackson is hard to trust right now.

Pierre Garcon, Washington Redskins at St Louis Rams: Alright, it’s hunch time. With Cortland Finnegan being the main CB in St. Louis I think Garcon will have his hands full, not to mention that the Rams for some reason usually play the Redskins tough. RG3 showed he has QB skills, but Garcon did get banged up so he may be slowed, and there is at least a bit of game film now for the Rams to watch. Also the Redskins showed they can run the ball, so and all out air attack may not be needed.

Kevin Ogletree, Dallas Cowboys at Seattle Seahawks: I can’t believe I have to write this, but after seeing how many people bought into that week 1 effort I feel it is my duty. This team does still have Miles Austin and Dez Bryant and Jason Witten as well as DeMarco Murray. Ogletree is a nice number 3 WR for the Cowboys, and Romo likes his 3’s, but this guy won’t have 2 TD, 100+ yard games often, so you should not be relying on him as a WR1 or even WR2 in your leagues. If he does it a few more times, well then paint me red!

Tight End

Start

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans Saints at Carolina Panthers: Sound easy? Well it should. Graham may be the best TE in football and is also the busiest target in a very pass happy offense. The Panthers have good linebackers who may slow him down, but you can’t really keep Graham down.

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers vs. Detroit Lions: Still the most talented of the bunch here in San Fran, and he made good things happen last week. The Lions defense is a little tougher than Green Bay’s but Davis is a guy to be dealt with.

Sit

Heath Miller, Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets: The Jets have good play at linebacker so Miller is not a sure bet even though they like him in close.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns: He looked sluggish Monday night after missing most of the preseason. I would like to see him have a big game or 2 before I trust him.

Defenses I like:

New England Patriots vs. Arizona Cardinals

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. New York Jets

Cincinnati Bengals vs. Cleveland Browns

Defenses I don’t like:

Denver Broncos at Atlanta Falcons

Kansas City Chiefs at Buffalo Bills

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts

Waiver Wire:

I have some nice pickups for you this week. Come and get them while they last!

Randall Cobb, WR, Green Bay Packers: Greg Jennings may be out this week, and Cobb returns kicks and also has improved as a receiver. Cobb could stand to get busier in a high power offense like this.

Alfred Morris, RB, Washington Redskins: Shanahan likes the hot hand, and Morris was very hot last week. He is a talented back, not blessed with speed but has shifty moves, good hands and runs strong. As long as he stays healthy, it is his job to lose.

Stephen Hill, WR, New York Jets: I said it back in my NFL Draft Preview, Hill has the skills to be the best rookie in this class and can be a factor in the NFL. He has good size and speed, and he put up 2 TD’s last week. He has plenty of upside so grab him and dump that guy you are clinging to that you grabbed in the 15th round.

Marcedes Lewis, TE, Jacksonville Jaguars: A guy who was always on the brink of big things, Lewis was active last week and looks like a good target for young QB Blaine Gabbert. For TE leagues only, but a nice pick up/

Nate Kaeding, K, San Diego Chargers: Last year’s broken leg on the opening kickoff made many forget, but I am here to tell you to get Kaeding. He had a good game this past week, and is still one of the more accurate kickers in football.

So we are ready for week 2. I hope that my success can continue and I can help you all make your team a little better!

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.

Thanks again all for reading and good luck in week 2.

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com