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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 15 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

December 18, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Let’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 15 in the National Football League!

– Very solid win for the Cincinnati Bengals against the Philadelphia Eagles in the final Thursday Night game of the season. No game is an “easy win” for any team and the Bengals needed to get the “W” at any cost. Now they are in the driver seat of playoff positioning with just two weeks to go, a win against Pittsburgh could all but close the door for them to play past Week 17.

- Was hoping to see some more from Philadelphia against Cincinnati on Thursday, but I didn’t. The Eagles needed something encouraging as this season slowly comes to a close for Eagles fans. Amazing to see how far this franchise has fallen since the “dream team” comment.

– Talk about a “statement win.” This is the win Atlanta has been looking for all season long and it has come at the right time with just two weeks to go until the regular season closes out. Watch out for the Falcons, this could finally be their year.

– New York needs to stop play inconsistently and needs to stop now. The Giants are self-imploding and finding a way to back out of the playoff competition. New York entered Week 15 the 4th seed in the NFC playoffs and they walk out Week 15 as they 9th seed in the NFC Playoffs currently; rough loss for the defending Super Bowl Champions.

– Enter this season there were a lot of people out there who doubted the Green Bay Packers. They believe this would be the Bears season to capture the NFC North and it looked that way for most of the season. Since their loss to New York a couple weeks back the Packers have really turned it around by capturing the NFC North division and they are quietly emerging as a scary team entering the playoffs.

– Since Week 10 the Bears have gone 1-5 in their last 6 games. If they can’t make the playoffs with Arizona and Detroit on their schedule to close out 2012 then we can all say “good-bye” to Lovie Smith in Chicago.

– No RG III, no problem! Washington is now your new NFC East division leaders with two weeks to go and they made the right move to sit RGIII against a poor opponent in Cleveland. I will be shocked if Washington is not playing past Week 17 this year, I have really enjoyed watching this team grow in recent weeks.

– Does Nick Saban really want to return to Cleveland? Not sure if a loss like this entices a big-time College Football coach to leave his very cushioned job.

– The NFL needs to give Adrian Peterson the NFL MVP award. He is single-handily putting this team in playoff position with just two games to go. While Minnesota does sit in the 6th spot currently I will be very surprised if they can hold onto it. But then again, nothing should surprise us about this Vikings team.

– I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: I don’t think Sam Bradford is the answer in St. Louis.

– Miami beats Jacksonville in a meaningless game in December, nice to see who the best team in Florida is.

– Can this season end any quicker for Jaguar fans? This team looked so much fun to watch a couple weeks ago and then they reappeared to what they always were…

– Welcome back to the NFL, Drew Brees. Where was this type of play the last couple of weeks when they needed it?

– Very tough to see how poorly this Bucs team has collapsed in recent weeks. They were so much fun to watch and a very dangerous team if they continued to be in playoff contention. I just continue to hope they are building forward for next season.

– I’ve been very critical of the Denver Broncos not beating good teams this season. Technically the Broncos beat a playoff clinching team in the Baltimore Ravens but did they really come off like a team playing past Week 17? I’m still not completely sold on this Broncos squad, sorry Denver.

– How is it that the Baltimore Ravens are a playoff team this year? Amazing how quickly this team has fallen in the last month or so.

– Loved seeing the Houston Texans bounce back after that rough Monday Night showing against New England in Week 14. They are the AFC South division champions yet again and are in the driver seat for that 1st round bye in the AFC playoffs. Maybe that Monday Night loss to New England is what this young team needed to get them back to focus.

– Indianapolis could’ve made the AFC South very interesting with just two weeks to go but that won’t be the case now. If I’m the Colts I just focus on preparing myself for the playoffs in these last two games. Indy can be a very scary team if they play their cards right because they weren’t supposed to be a playoff team this season.

– Seattle is the most dangerous team entering the playoffs right now. I have no issues with them running up the score on their opponents because they should never back down from their competitive nature. That Week 16 game against San Francisco is going to be very fun to watch.

– Fire Chan Gailey and consider looking into another starting quarterback. Buffalo has potential; they just need the right people to tap into it before this current crop disbands.

– How did Arizona get the win against Detroit!? Are the Lions really that bad this season?

– Do you believe me now Detroit Lions fans? Fire Jim Schwartz.

– Where was this Panthers team at the start of this season? Another solid week for the Panthers and I’m sure they are hoping this is something they can build off of in 2013.

– Can’t you just fire Norv Turner and A.J. Smith now? I really wonder if the next person in-charge keeps Philip Rivers around in San Diego for much longer…

– Huge win for Dallas and this is exactly what they needed with two games to go. It’s a big victory that can carry this team for the final two games. While they may not be the “media darling” that the Washington Redskins are right now, do not sleep on the Cowboys.

– The Steelers have found a way to back out of the playoffs and now it doesn’t look so good for this team with 2 games to go. They need to beat Cincinnati in Week 16 or they can all but kiss their 2012 season goodbye, should be a very interesting game next week.

– Oakland wins 15-0, congrats on not being the worst team in the NFL this season.

– All Kansas City has to do the next two weeks is play worse then Jacksonville and the #1 overall pick is theirs! Been a while since I wrote something positive about Kansas City…then again, do you consider being the worst team in the league honors necessarily positive?

– So San Francisco beats New England in a matchup that many people believed (including me) put the best team in the NFC against the best team in the AFC. So does that mean the 49ers are the best team in the NFL? I think so.

– New England did not look like New England in the 1st half but bounced back pretty loudly in the 2nd half. It looked like it was the Patriots game to lose at one point in the 2nd half as they were dominating the 49ers throughout their comeback but it just wasn’t meant to be. This loss is something the Patriots needed to motivate them and keep them on their toes with just two games left in the season.

- Well at least Tennessee got to play spoiler at some point in their season…then again it was the New York Jets.

– As weird as it sounded that the Jets were in playoff contention going into the Monday Night game, it made a world of sense when they went out there and performed like that against Tennessee. The fact that this team had a shot at a playoff spot was a shame.
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 14 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 13 Pickups

November 27, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Fantasy Football week 13 presents some interesting pickups on the waiver wire. Injuries and a hot hand heat up the wire this week with a handful of players that could actually make a big difference to your lineup if you need to fill some holes en route to the championship.

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks – Pete Carroll has quietly opened up the offense for Wilson who has put up great numbers four weeks in a row. Wilson doesn’t throw for a lot of yards but he throws for TDs. Wilson has a mixed bag of matchups down the stretch including an intriguing game against the Chicago Bears this week. He then has the Arizona Cardinals, the Buffalo Bills, a 49ers team that you’d want to avoid, and a fantastic matchup in the final week against the Rams. If you are struggling at QB, Wilson could be the answer to your problems.

Running Backs

Knowshon Moreno, Denver Broncos – Don’t say you weren’t warned. John Elway and John Fox dropped Moreno’s name several times leading up to Sunday’s return. Moreno went from being a healthy scratch to the starting running back thanks to his pass protection skills. I don’t expect him to lose the job as he works better than any of the other available backs with Peyton Manning. He had over 100 total yards on Sunday and in that offense there is no reason to believe he can’t put up those kinds of numbers weekly.

David Wilson, New York Giants – Wilson has been on and off this waiver wire list more than just about anyone this season. Once again Wilson is back not due to his own abilities but because one of the backs in front of him is injured. It is clear that the Giants don’t trust Wilson just yet so I wouldn’t expect him to break out this week. However, he is just one spot away from a starter who has been plagued by injuries all season long.

Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles – Isn’t it amazing that the rookie had a better night behind the same garbage offensive line that top five running back LeSean McCoy has had troubles producing with all season? Temper your excitement with Brown. McCoy was out with a concussion and could be back this week. McCoy is not a guy that is going to lose his starting job to anyone. However, you could see a situation where Brown steals goal line carries and becomes a vulture. He is a gamble. He is all upside against the Cowboys if McCoy is out this week. If McCoy plays he may be worth nothing more than a stash play.

Wide Receivers

Mohamed Sanu, Cincinnati Bengals – I was this close to pulling the trigger and adding Sanu on Sunday. So close that I had him highlighted but didn’t click the mouse. That was a big mistake. This kid is a stud and the Bengals have finally found that second option they have been searching for over the last year and a half. As long as AJ Green continues to get double teamed Sanu will have opportunities. I would call it a fluke if it was only against the Raiders but he has had 4 TDs in three weeks. He has tremendous matchups down the stretch and could become a big key to your championship if you can snag him this week.

Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams – Givens certainly took advantage of his new role as Sam Bradford’s go-to guy this week and will continue to do so with Danny Amendola on the shelf. Keep in mind that Givens is not a guy you’d start if Amendola is healthy. So it is important to keep tabs on Amendola’s health during the week. Remember that Amendola was not scratched even though he was hurt. If Amendola is active and still hurt, Givens could be a sneaky play this week.

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Fantasy Football Waiver Wire Week 11 Pickups

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

Fantasy Football week 11 presents an unusually quality week on the waiver wire at this point in the season. A rash of concussions to quarterbacks has opened up multiple opportunities for players looking for a quick boost at arguably the most productive position in fantasy football.

This is certainly an odd week to say the least. Week 11 is generally a week you won’t find a lot of quality pickups on the waiver wire. If you are lucky you may find one starter due to injury but to find multiple starting quarterbacks at this late stage of the game is truly unique. Now keep in mind that concussions are a funny thing so there is a shot that none of these backup QBs see the field Sunday or Monday. Yet with the new emphasis on player safety I’d be shocked if any of the injured starters are cleared for action in a week.

Quarterbacks

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks – Wilson is your best bet of all available quarterbacks if you are looking for a QB you can ride the rest of the season. Pete Carroll is starting to open up the offense as Wilson has had multiple TDs now for three straight weeks. Unfortunately if you own Alex Smith, Michael Vick, or Jay Cutler you will have to look elsewhere as Wilson is on a bye week this week and those guys will likely be back in Week 12.

Nick Foles, Philadelphia Eagles – The good was that Foles threw a beautiful TD to Jeremy Maclin. The bad is that he turned over for a pick-six. As an Eagles fan I wasn’t impressed at all by Foles. He played like a backup behind a bad offensive line. However, the bright side is that he will be surrounded by some real weapons on offense. Additionally, he has a Washington Redskins defense that made Cam Newton look good two weeks ago. Of all backups he is probably your best bet on matchup alone.

Jason Campbell, Chicago Bears – Campbell is an intriguing QB. Before he suffered a season-ending injury last season he was playing pretty well in Oakland. He had a fairly average game Sunday night but he was playing an excellent defense. He’ll be playing another excellent defense on Sunday if he goes for Cutler. Like Foles he’ll still have some great weapons around him but the matchup should have you looking at Foles before Campbell.

Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers – Of all of the QBs that came off of the bench on Sunday, Kaepernick had the best fantasy day. What you have to love about Kaepernick is that he’ll be a goal line option if they get into the red zone. What you don’t like about Kaepernick is that he’ll be playing the best defense in the NFL on Sunday. Of everyone available I think Kaepernick’s running ability makes him the highest reward vs. high risk matchup.

Wide Receivers

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers – Alexander could be in for some big weeks as the season progresses. Alexander has firmly taken the starting spot once held by overrated free agent Robert Meachem. I am not as sold on Alexander as some. His numbers came on one big play. Was it a freak breakdown in the defense or is Alexander the real deal? The Broncos don’t give up those kinds of TDs but with Champ Bailey on Malcom Floyd, Alexander may be a sneaky play this week.

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville Jaguars – I have a real hard time putting anyone in my lineup that is receiving balls from Blaine Gabbert. There is some talk that Maurice Jones-Drew could be back this week which will certainly open up some passing opportunities. Even with Gabbert, Shorts has been productive up this past week. Unfortunately Shorts will have a terrible matchup against the Houston Texans on Sunday. Pick him up now otherwise look elsewhere if you are looking for Week 11 help.

Running Backs

Andre Brown, New York Giants – It’s time for stubborn Brown owners like me to face facts and start putting this kid in the lineup every week. Lucky for most of you Brown is readily available on the waiver wire although I am guessing that ends this week. Brown has been the only bright spot in a futile offense the last few weeks. He has a bye week this week so you won’t be able to use him right away. If you have the spot grab him now and start playing him every week when he returns to play the Packers.

Chris Ivory, New Orleans Saints – Sometimes you just have to wonder when you see breakout games like Ivory had as to why the Saints waited so long to involve him in the offense. I know he was hurt and I know he is an injury-risk but it was only an injury to Darren Sproles that pushed him back into the game plan. Sproles is expected back but I have to believe that Ivory earned himself sufficient playing time with his last two weeks of play. He’s a risky play because there are just way too many running backs to feed in New Orleans, but you may just have to take a shot and see where it goes over the next few weeks.

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 9

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

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

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

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

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

Quarterback

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Running Back

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Wide Receiver

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Tight End

Start

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

Defenses I like this week:

Denver Broncos at Cincinnati Bengals

Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals

Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans

Defenses I don’t like this week:

Philadelphia Eagles at New Orleans Saints

Dallas Cowboys at Atlanta Falcons

Houston Texans vs. Buffalo Bills

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

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

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NFL Week 7 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL Week 6 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

October 16, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Tom BradyLet’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 6 in the National Football League!

– Hey how about the Tennessee Titans shocking the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday Night in the closing seconds of the game? On “any given Sunday” anyone could win in the NFL and the Titans certainly proved that as they were the underdogs against the Steelers. In my opinion Matt Hasselbeck earned at least one more week as this team’s starting QB until Jake Locker is fully healthy.

– Pittsburgh…seriously? Every time I think the window isn’t closing on this team they go and do something like that on Thursday Night. This may be at best an 8-8 team if they continue to get hit with the injury bug.

- The Atlanta Falcons are on this incredible rollercoaster this season where they simply cannot lose. How many times have we watched their opponent drive down the field to take the lead or tie the game this season only for Atlanta to win the game in the end? This finally may be this team’s season after all.

– Oakland gave it a good shot but it just wasn’t meant to be. Many things still need to be fixed in Raider Nation but getting the big “W” this Sunday would’ve prevented that discussion at least for one week.

– Nice to see this current crop of Cleveland Browns getting their first win of the season. I’ll say it now and I’ll say it again; I really like the direction the Browns are headed in.

– Cincy, what are you doing to yourselves lately? They have a great opportunity to go under their radar again in the NFL and sneak into the playoffs only to botch it up in consecutive weeks. Maybe all that luck has finally run out for the Bengals.

– Speaking of teams going under the radar this season how about the Miami Dolphins? They get a pretty nice win over a young and hungry St. Louis Rams team to improve to 3-3 where they are now tied in the AFC East.

– I really believe the Rams are a better team then the one we saw play against the Dolphins on Sunday but that’s how the NFL rolls. I still like this team as a sleeper in the NFC playoffs at the season’s ends.

– Congrats to the New York Jets on prolonging another week of media craziness. Wait, what? They are playing New England next week? Oh, nevermind.

– While they played with a ton of emotion last week we learned that this week the Colts still have a lot to learn. Will be a good team soon enough but still lots to grow on in Indy.

– Detroit got their first loss in Week 6 last season and appeared to have finally woken up in Week 6 of this season. I’m still concerned by the way their offense played overall in the game but it’s a step in the right direction for a very underachieving team at the moment.

– What is going on with the Philadelphia Eagles!? Talk about inconsistency so far this season! Imagine if those one or two point wins were actually losses now…

– Baltimore is winning games against teams they should be heavily competing with like the Dallas Cowboys but it appears they may have lost their defensive captain and leader in the process in Ray Lewis. Great win but a bigger loss for the defensive unit.

– Remember when Dallas won that Week 1 kick-off game against the New York Football Giants?

– Still not really sure what to think of this Tampa Bay Buccaneers team. I’m under the impression that they are better then their record shows and help me agree with that theory after a nice win over the Chiefs in Week 6.

– Maybe the Kansas City Chiefs fans shouldn’t be cheering for Brady Quinn over Matt Cassel after all?

– Everyone’s favorite sleeper pick entering the 2012 season (except me) was the Buffalo Bills and now they are tied for 1st in the AFC East in Week 6…along with every other team in their division. They still got a good shot at that playoff berth but I believe still have an uphill climb this season to compete with the other AFC East teams.

– What has happened to the Arizona Cardinals? Were they just pretending to be that good the first four weeks of the season? Based off of their schedule they could’ve/should’ve been pulling away from the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC West.

– If there was an “upset special” game that I liked going into this Week it would’ve been the Seahawks over the Patriots. Well I didn’t go with that instinct, simply because you don’t bet against the Patriots but the Seahawks still pulled it off. This team seems to play really well against good teams and really bad against bad teams. I wonder which Seahawks team shows up against San Francisco next week.

– The fact that New England has 3 losses at this point in the season is pretty alarming. They haven’t looked like that dominating Patriots team we are used to seeing but I’m not counting them out at all. I look for them to bounce back perfectly fine next week against the Jets; if not then the panic alarm shall be sounded.

– Where has this New York Football Giants team been this season? The defending Super Bowl Champions looked dominant in Week 6 against the San Francisco 49ers and the win should strike fear into many top NFC teams. That Week 15 matchup vs. the Falcons is starting to look pretty interesting…

– One of the best things for the 49ers last season was that they were the underdogs and that no one believed in them. Now they are the favorites and everyone believes in them as it makes it very hard for them to have that mindset that carried them last season. I’m very intrigued with their Thursday Night game against the Seattle Seahawks now.

– Would it be shocking if I told you that I’m starting to like the Washington Redskins as a Wild Card playoff team this season?

– The Vikings had the opportunity to go 5-1 on the season and failed to do so in a game that should’ve proven them to be for real. Instead we are left to the belief that the Vikings may be heading back down to the basement in the NFC North as the balance of power is starting shift back to where we are used to seeing it.

– Lets welcome back the Green Bay Packers to the NFL! It took them 6 weeks but the offense we are used to seeing from the Packers torched the very good Houston Texans defense this week. Aaron Rodgers threw for 6 touchdowns and Jordy Nelson finally broke out as the lead receiver the Packers needed. But it still begs the question, are the Pack really back?

– This was the test the Houston Texans needed to pass. While they were 5-0 on the season many people questioned how they would play against an elite team. They didn’t fair too well and now this team will have to live with that burden until they beat an elite NFL team this season.

– Are Eli and Peyton having some sort of “family rivalry” or something? The Broncos were struggling in the 1st half only to have that “Manning-like comeback” in the 2nd half to win the game. Great win for the Broncos and hopefully a step in the right direction for this great squad.

– The San Diego Chargers are without a doubt one of the most frustrating teams to watch this season. They could easily be either 6-0 or 0-6 on the season; they are very inconsistent as a team. I really wonder if Philip Rivers will ever be “that guy” we believe he could be in the NFL.

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/therealjeffpeck

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NFL Week 5 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

October 09, 2012 By: Category: NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Andrew LuckLet’s take a look back at some of the things that stood out from Week 5 in the National Football League!

– The St. Louis Rams are an underrated team at the moment. That defense looked absolutely fantastic against the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday Night and they are starting to make me into a believer of what they can accomplish this season. At this moment I like this team to be competitive in 2012 and really competing for the NFC West division title next season.

– Arizona: what happened to you? For the last 4 weeks of the season you have made all of us into believers in what you are trying to accomplish this season and then you play like that? The Cardinals looked like the way they did in preseason and not the way they looked the last four weeks. This Cardinals team will only be as successful as their offensive line allows them to be and if they can’t stop the Rams defensive line then how will they stop the dominant 49ers defensive line?

- I really have liked the way Miami has played in the last couple of weeks, makes you wonder where this team would be if it wasn’t for a couple overtime losses…

– This really could have been a good “statement victory” for the Bengals at they continue to fly under the radar so far this NFL season but it wasn’t meant to be. I wonder if this is the start of the predicted “real” Bengals team to come out.

– What isn’t there to say that’s already been said about this victory for the Colts? Indianapolis played on emotion and had the heart of a champion to get the “W.” Indy could go winless for the rest of the season and still consider this season a success after the Week 5 win.

– Green Bay is in trouble. The offense has looked depleted without Greg Jennings all season and the injury to Cedric Benson didn’t make it any better. This is currently a 2-3 team taking on a very good Houston team in Week 6, a record of 2-4 on the season is a good possibility at the moment.

– I know its Postseason Baseball season but did the Orioles and Royals have a game on Sunday? Baltimore wins 9-6!? What happened to elite QB Joe Flacco playing as such? A win is a win but the Ravens are very lucky heading into Week 6.

– Shame on the Chiefs fans for cheering a knocked out Matt Cassell. Sometimes fans take things way too seriously…

– Atlanta is 5-0 on the season and while they are looking like the best team in the NFL at this moment I have to wonder if they are better served as the hunter rather then the hunted.

– No RGIII heroics in Week 5 like I predicted there may be. Washington kept the game tight and you’d have to wonder if it would be a different story if he was healthy.

– How many Giants fans are breathing a sigh of relief after the Browns jumped out to a 14-0 lead? I know many Giants fans were worried but c’mon this is the Browns we are talking about!

– Cleveland is 0-5 on the season, no real surprise there. The only shock about this team has been the heart they are still playing with. I know I say this every week but I really like the future of this franchise and where it’s going.

– Pittsburgh is healthy (for the most part) and played like the Steelers team we remembered when they are a healthy squad. Sure they won with a last second field goal but it must feel nice to get back on the right foot; looks like there is still some light peering through that window after all.

– Do you really think Michael Vick is going to stay as the starting QB for the Eagles this season? Philadelphia is a .500 record away from becoming the New York Jets of the NFC with all their QB issues.

– Congrats to the Seattle Seahawks on making it another week without us being concerned about this team and questioning their personnel. It’s nice when a win can by you sometime…

– While on the other hand we are once again questioning Cam Newton. I think it’s safe to say that he is currently in a “sophomore slump” now, right?

– So is Chicago benefiting from a good schedule or actually being a good team? I believe that to be a toss up at the moment.

– Jacksonville lost 41-3. This is why they are the worst team in the NFL.

– The Minnesota Vikings are 4-1 heading into Week 6! This has to be the most surprising story of the season right? Even more so then the Packers and Saints decline?

– Congrats Chris Johnson Fantasy Football owners, you can now put CJ2K back on your bench!

– New England is back in the driver seat after falling to 1-2 a couple weeks ago. No surprise that they are climbing back atop the AFC throne. While some may think it’s happening there is no window “closing” in New England anytime soon.

– Denver had way too many missed opportunities to make this game in Week 5. The Broncos could’ve tied or made the score closer had they jumped at the opportunities presented to them. Hopefully this is a loss Denver can learn from.

– Not only does San Francisco have an incredible defense but their offense has looked pretty good the last two weeks. Remember when I said them losing to Minnesota was the best thing that could happen to them?

– I thought the Bills were supposed to be competitive this season. Talk about disappointment. Maybe Chan Gailey just isn’t the right coach for this team…

– Congrats to Drew Brees on surpassing Johnny Unitas in the all-time consecutive games with a passing TD streak and congrats to the Saints on getting their first win of the season in Week 5. Who would’ve thought that!?

– Should’ve, would’ve, could’ve. That’s the story of the San Diego Chargers and will be until this monkey gets off their back. Every time I think they are bouncing back they pull off a game like this.

– Houston improves to 5-0 on the season but didn’t do so in convincing fashion against a hurting Jets team. A win is a win but you have to question if it could be a sign of things to come for the Texans. By the way, Arian Foster is an absolute beast.

– You can’t say the Jets didn’t try but trying isn’t what the Jets need right now. It’s amazing that this team was in the AFC Championship Game two straight seasons and considered one of the best teams in the NFL.

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/therealjeffpeck

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

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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

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 5

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

Andy DaltonWell, some things just happen to Fantasy owners and there is not much anyone can do about it. How many of you got burned by Brandon Marshall’s meaningless TD Monday night that Dallas clearly quit on? (Me? No it sealed a win for me!) How many of you watched sadly as Tony Romo became an owners worst nightmare, or watched Dez Bryant give it the ol’ “who cares” try all night long? Well owners, we live and we learn, and we have the right to bench players accordingly, believe me Romo has already been benched and there will be more of that if I stay unhappy!

So after a 2-2 week for me in my leagues I now stand at 10-6 for the season. If this was the NFL I would probably have a playoff birth right? Well even though it is NFL players, Fantasy leagues are not that simple. I don’t have a losing record in any league yet, that’s good news, but it is also time to step up my game. There is money and pride as well as trophies involved, what person doesn’t like trophies!? (No Jenny McCarthy, you are not a trophy).

Well here we go with Week 5 and the segment where I tell you what to do with your line up. Some people complain and say “hey Shark, how come you never use my players?” Well there is a chance that either A) You have players that even a 2 year old would know to start or B) Your players are so bad, I can’t even bring them to a front here! Nah I kid, because I can. After all I am a cocky, arrogant Fantasy writer, I have nothing better to do (Twitter reference/mocking). Alright, alright, enough poking fun at people (Facebook reference, be kind to social media). Fantasy Football is no room for drama (MySpace reference, now I know I am done!). Wait, where was I now? Oh yes Start Em/ Sit Em for Week 5. As always, enjoy and good luck!

Quarterbacks

Start

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons at Washington Redskins: Yes I always say I hate doing the obvious, and Ryan is possibly the best fantasy QB going right now. Despite the obvious nature, this one gets extra special attention due to this stat: The Falcons are 14-0 when Ryan throws for 3 or more touchdowns. That’s important because Washington has one of the worst pass defenses in the league, so that stat should get to 15-0. Ryan should have a field day here.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals vs. Miami Dolphins: This should be an interesting game. Is Miami better than we thought or can Cincy handle their business? Well either way you should use Andy Dalton here. The Dolphins actually have a very good run defense, but if we all expect Cincy to win, this is how they will do it. Dalton has become a very reliable QB and guys like AJ Green are making his job easy.

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars: Yes, that Jay Cutler. Call him arrogant or rude, that’s fine by him. It always seems like when people are ready to toss him aside he plays well, and he, along with some good defense looked good Monday night in Dallas. The Jags are not very special on defense, so Cutler may be showing us more of good Jay. Bad Jay? Well he’s never too far behind.

Sit

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills at San Francisco 49ers: If you are like me chances are you made the move for one of the top TD guys in the league so far this year. However this is not the time or place for Fitzpatrick. Despite improved play, he did throw 4 INTs last week against the Pats, and the 49ers defense is much better than that. He is good, but not this week.

Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals at St. Louis Rams: Quick quiz kids! Who is 10th in the league in pass yards allowed? Who has allowed the least amount of passing TDs? Who is second in the league in INTs? If you answered the Rams defense to all 3 of these you would first be shocked, then be correct. The Rams under Jeff Fisher are quietly becoming a decent football team, especially at home. While Kolb has been real good, he is in for a challenge here. Not only do I love the Rams to win, I love the defense to do nice things.

Michael Vick, Philadelphia Eagles at Pittsburgh Steelers: James Harrison and Troy Polamalu figures to be back and this unit is fresh after a bye week. Philly is still winning with small miracles, so while Vick may have a decent day, I would choose another option for your team this week.

Running Back

Start

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks at Carolina Panthers: You start the league’s leading rusher each week now. He has become a guy that does not sit, especially against a poor Panthers defense.

Alfred Morris, Washington Redskins vs Atlanta Falcons: Another guy who has to go every week. Atlanta is not very special on run defense, and Morris is scoring every week. Wow! Mike Shanahan may have to admit he has a true number 1 RB. Imagine that!

Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers at New Orleans Saints: Is it true that he is not the starter? It would appear that way, and Battle is a brute force coming out of a backfield. Last week he was excellent, and despite all the media hype that will surround Sunday night’s game in New Orleans, it still is not enough for this awful Saints defense to slow him down. Ryan Matthews will play, but Battle will get the goods!

Sit

BenJarvis Green Ellis, Cincinnati Bengals vs Miami Dolphins: Much like the Rams, you would be surprised to know the Dolphins have the best run defense in football. You won’t be surprised however to know I am never real big on the guy they call “The Law Firm”. It’s a passing team in Cincy, so stay away.

Willis McGahee, Denver Broncos at New England Patriots: It’s Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady once again, and that will be the focus here. McGahee had an excellent week last week, but this is a much better run defense, and when these 2 QBs meet, it’s usually about the passing game. He may do decent, but not for my taste.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers vs Philadelphia Eagles: If you are one of those people thinking “Yes, I save Mendenhall all year and now he is ready so I am starting him” you will be in trouble. Philly plays the run much better than they did last year, and Mendenhall should have some rust. Plus the Steelers have, what 10 RBs?

Wide Receiver

Start

James Jones, Green Bay Packers at Indianapolis Colts: This is his big chance to shine. Greg Jennings is banged up, Donald Driver is rarely on the field and Jones will get a prime chance here this week. What will he do? Make the most of it. The Colts will be playing with heavy hearts for their coach Chuck Pagano who is battling Leukemia, but that won’t be enough to stop Jones and the Packers.

Victor Cruz, New York Giants vs Cleveland Browns: Get on your Salsa dancing shoes. Cruz seems to be active again, and the Browns will be watching him do some serious dancing this week. It just feels like an “on” week for Eli.

Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans: The Titans defense look like they don’t even want to play at times and Harvin is electric. Yes Jerome Simpson will steal some targets, and Adrian Peterson will be running wild, but this is a match up hard to pass on.

Sit

New York Jets WR vs. Houston Texans: With Santonio Holmes out, this group is in trouble. Not like it’s a great squad anyway, but against a tough Texans defense, and a QB in trouble in Mark Sanchez, just avoid this, please!

Brandon Lloyd, New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos: Tom Brady is no dummy. He sees that his team can run better, and when he goes to Gronkowski and Welker he does so much better. Lloyd is a very good WR, but going vertical down after down is not really Brady like it was back in the Randy Moss days. The Broncos has a good secondary deep, so they will test the Linebackers most of the day.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins at Cincinnati Bengals: I am crushing the Hartline hype right here! This season he has had 2 pretty good weeks, and 2 awful weeks. Those weeks were in sequence, bad, good, bad, good. Okay so now it is an odd week, so it is time to vanish. Hartline has always been a good number 2 or 3, but all of a sudden, 1 huge week and they make him out to be Jerry Rice? I’m not buying it.

Tight End

Start

Rob Gronkowski, New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos: He was back last week to his old form, and it should continue here

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings vs Tennessee Titans: I liked Harvin, but also Rudolph as the Titans have been beaten badly by TEs this year.

Sit

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants vs Cleveland Browns: Just a hunch, but Dennis Pita did zero against them last week. Maybe the Browns have found a niche on defense?

Owen Daniels, Houston Texans at New York Jets: The Jets can do very little to stop the run right now, so we expect a ground game here. The Texans have plenty to use through the air anyway.

Defenses I like:

Houston Texans at New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers vs. Buffalo Bills

Chicago Bears at Jacksonville Jaguars

Defenses I don’t like:

Indianapolis Colts vs. Green Bay Packers

New Orleans Saints vs. San Diego Chargers

Washington Redskins vs. Atlanta Falcons

Waiver Wire: Come get a sampling of the free agents at the player buffet!

Jackie Battle, RB, San Diego Chargers: Getting the starting job and is actually a good start this week. He is a big tough runner with good hands. Ryan Matthews may be out of town if he stays fragile and guys like Battle step up.

Andre Roberts, WR, Arizona Cardinals: Could use more targets, but playing the opposite side of Larry Fitzgerald sure will get him some nice plays.

St Louis Rams Defense: Playing well, especially at home. Pass defense has done a solid job this year.

Bryce Brown, RB, Philadelphia Eagles: McCoy is one of the best in the league, however this guy is getting busier, and is very much fitting the Eagles mold. A “Shady” injury could be a nice coming out party for Brown.

Kevin Kolb, QB, Arizona Cardinals: I know I said to sit him this week, but he is getting good digits when he plays. Not a bad bench option right now.

Greg Zuerlein, K, St Louis Rams: A kicker? Yep! Get him if you can. Last week he buried kicks from 59 and 60 yards. He looks awfully good, and even if kickers don’t make a huge difference, it’s nice to have the few points.

I know you are all puzzled that my wire list has no Brian Hartline, and no Brandon Bolden. Yep, I am not sold on it. Bolden is in a system that passes and has plenty of runners keeping time there. Hartline, well you saw that earlier. Good luck in week 5 everybody, let’s grab some wins here.

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 4.

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 4

September 27, 2012 By: Category: Fantasy Football, NFL | NCAA Football, Sports

Maurice Jones-Drew Fantasy StartWell, what comes around usually goes around. Just ask Reggie Bush as he will tell you about Darrelle Revis and his knee injury or you can ask The Shark about the ups and downs of Fantasy Football. The game that lives and breathes on being only as good as your last week has begun its downward spiral on me. Yes, injuries and poor performances have turned me from a 7-1 giant in 4 leagues, down to a 8-4 regular guy. Genius no more? Nah, I’ll be back, and luckily for all of you will continue to give you my top notch advice.

So the injury bug was striking many players last week, but these are the things we have to overcome. You get your shot at free agents, get a bench. and sometimes you just have to suck up a loss and regroup. Oh and not to mention the sudden countless thousands of people who claim that Golden Tate’s TD on Monday night cost them their game. Come on people, not that many teams have Tate, and if your games come down to 3 defensive points, you may not have deserved that win anyway. Again, suck it up Nancy, it’s time to be a big boy, and pull up your big boy pants. You and everyone you play are all in the same boat. Grab your oar and let’s go!

We now look ahead into Fantasy Football week 4. The regular referees are striking a deal and will return soon, so it may or may not help the offensive side of the ball. The league is full of parody and teams led by Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning are all 1-2, and the Arizona Cardinals are 3-0. Yes it is hard to predict what you might get, but the beauty of Fantasy Football is that if you have the right players and follow the right match-ups, big things can still happen. So with that lead in we will look at my Start Ems and Sit Ems for week 4. Yes even though I said to sit Andre Brown last week, you have to admit I have been pretty sharp so far this season. You can thank me later!

Quarterback

Start

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers vs. New Orleans Saints: This used to be elementary, but not so far this year. Rodgers has struggled and his numbers show it. While many were complaining about the TD that was or wasn’t Monday night, you have to realize that Rodgers should really have not had his team in that spot. Last year’s would not have at least. So why go with him here? Well he returns home, angry off that loss, and the perfect remedy to what ails him will be in town, the New Orleans Saints. The Saints defense is so bad it is as if they put out a new bounty that anyone who makes a tackle will be fined. Last week I guaranteed that Jamaal Charles would make a huge splash against them and I nailed it, so trust me here again. Rodgers will demolish this weak defense.

Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns: This was a tough call, but not because Flacco isn’t capable, but that this could be a big game for Ray Rice. Flacco is putting up real good numbers, and came off a huge Sunday night win against New England. The Browns defense looks pretty much like its old self so TDs should be no problem. Even if they can run well, Flacco still stands to put up 250 and a few TDs.

Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons vs. Carolina Panthers: Matt Ryan at home is just a whole amazing thing all his own, so the weak Panthers defense won’t do much to slow him down. Last week Eli Manning had his way with yards against them, but most of the TD’s were rushing. Ryan and the Falcons are a passing team, so they will move the ball well and he can easily throw 3 TDs. So far at home this year: 299 yards and 3 TD’s against a decent Denver defense. It should be smooth sailing.

Sit

Jay Cutler, Chicago Bears at Dallas Cowboys: As an avid Brandon Marshall owner, this hurts me to say, but Cutler is falling apart. The Cowboys have the second best pass rush in football, and are home and a big win can help them with the Eagles and Giants playing each other. Cutler is slipping despite having Brandon Marshall back and will need Matt Forte back soon to get back to normal. Until then, don’t get geeked about “slick”.

Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers at Atlanta Falcons: As I said earlier about Ryan goes the same for this defense. The Falcons are tough at home, and outside of doing decent against a bad Saints defense, Newton is struggling. Some say his heads not in it or his ego may have gotten the best of him. Either way the Falcons have managed to handle Phillip Rivers and Peyton Manning quite well over the last 2 weeks. That makes me worry here Newton owners.

Eli Manning, New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles: Despite an easy win last week, Manning had just one passing TD and 288 yards. The Eagles have played well against the Giants over the last few years, and despite last week’s beat-down still have a top 5 pass defense. Manning will get his and manage his team well, but huge stats don’t look all that easy. He has only 5 passing TD’s this year, although a return of Hakeem Nicks sure can help.

Running Back

Start

Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Cincinnati Bengals: Jones-Drew showed last week that he is back and that his off-season holdout has not slowed him down. This team goes as well as Jones-Drew can and with the Bengals struggling against the run they should look to load him up on touches this week. He may bust for a few TDs this week.

Mikel LeShoure, Detroit Lions vs. Minnesota Vikings: Oh how happy were the Lions last week. After a year off with an injury in 2011 and a 2 game suspension in 2012, LeShoure finally got on the field and it worked out real nice to the tune of 100 yards and a TD. The Vikings are better than most thought, but they are not a super team against the run. With QB Matthew Stafford hobbled, we may see more running from the Lions, which means big things here.

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle Seahawks at St. Louis Rams: Skittles has been pretty solid so far this year rushing for over 300 yards, and now he gets a fairly good match here with the Rams. Although QB Russell Wilson had 2 (or some will tell you 1 ) TD last week, this offense is really only as strong as Lynch. Teams have run well against the Rams, who actually play the pass much better. Expect Lynch to be very busy Sunday.

Sit

Trent Richardson, Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens: Sure, he had a huge week in week 2 and also found the end zone last week, but Richardson isn’t getting huge numbers yet. The Ravens still play tough on defense mixed in with a road Thursday game and it can be tough on the rookie. Yes he is improving and may get a little action here, but I think you can do better.

Ryan Williams, Arizona Cardinals vs. Miami Dolphins: Let’s not get all excited over what we saw last week. Sure Beanie Wells is out and that means Williams will carry the load, but the Dolphins have been tough against the run, and the Cardinals are more of a pass team. The Dolphins will run it plenty to try and slow the game down, so it will be to the Cardinals advantage to go air here.

Shonn Greene, New York Jets vs. San Francisco 49ers: He is about to lose his starting job to Bilal Powell, and a visit from the 49ers won’t help his cause. He just isn’t making big plays and does very little in the passing game. There are so many better options to have than Greene, so find them and use them.

Wide Receiver

Start

Percy Harvin, Minnesota Vikings at Detroit Lions: He will get his points and the Lions defense has been brutal so far this year. After being lit up last week by the Titans anything is a go, and the Vikings do have a few weapons to throw at them. Harvin gets carries, catches and returns so every week he is active and valuable. Use him here.

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys vs. Chicago Bears: While I am nervous about trusting Tony Romo, I have to say that when he does get anything done it has been with Austin. He looks to be back to form of getting 100 yard games and is finding the end zone again. With Jason Witten slowed and Dez Bryant not getting much done, it is becoming clear who the number 1 guy is here again.

Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. Washington Redskins: The on again/off again love of Jackson is about to go back to love, at least I think so. Washington has struggled against the pass, and last week A.J. Green made mince meat out of them. Jackson will be home, and ready to get back into the groove. It is hard to trust QB Josh Freeman, but you almost have to give it a go here.

Sit

Marques Colston, New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers: If you are still playing him you probably know this already, but let me give it to you again. Colston is slow with a foot injury, and the Packers come in with the best pass defense by the numbers in the league. Colston has become forgotten in this offense as his 10 catches so far and 0 TD’s will tell you. Not only sit him, it may be time to cut him loose.

Denarius Moore, Oakland Raiders at Denver Broncos: He is the top target now with injuries riddling this WR corps, but that also means he will see lots of Champ Bailey, and that still means something. Oakland has improved on offense, but they seem to do it with short plays that explode into big ones, not straight up big ones. Moore is a decent WR, but I am not crazy about his matchup here.

Kenny Britt, Tennessee Titans at Houston Texans: The Texans rough and tough pass defense will be in action against an enigma in Jake Locker and his top WR Britt. Locker is finding success with his TE’s and has a few WRs to try and use. Keep him out of your lineup for this week anyway.

Tight End

Start

Vernon Davis, San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets: The Jets defense is hurting and Davis is a beast. While the 49ers have loads of weapons, this seems to be their most active TD option. “Can’t play with them, can’t win with them” seems pretty far behind him, ay Mike Singletary?

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals at Jacksonville Jaguars: He scored last week and the passing game is getting more active. I liked Gresham coming into this season and he is healthy. His score last week should lead to plenty more.

Sit

Fred Davis, Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: For some reason he is just really inactive in this offense. Davis can’t be trusted, even if by chance you would be in a league that started 2 TE’s or heck even 3.

Martellus Bennett, New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles: The Eagles have gotten faster and more athletic at Linebacker, so I believe that Bennett’s TD streak will end at 3. He does not get lots of passes, just big passes when they count, so you can’t rely on big time totals here.

Defenses I like:

Baltimore Ravens vs. Cleveland Browns

Houston Texans vs. Tennessee Titans

Arizona Cardinals vs. Miami Dolphins

Defenses I don’t like:

Buffalo Bills vs. New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints at Green Bay Packers

Washington Redskins at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Waiver Wire: It is time to start repairing your banged up roster and also take advantage of brutal match ups this week

David Thomas, RB, Miami Dolphins: With Reggie Bush uncertain with a bruised knee, Thomas will be the next option. He scored last week, and had 69 rush yards. He will need to protect the ball better.

Tashard Choice, RB, Buffalo Bills: CJ Spiller will most likely be out this week and maybe next, and Fred Jackson still isn’t at 100 percent. Even when Spiller was healthy, Choice was getting goal line tries. Not a bad play if he is the only healthy option.

Josh Freeman, QB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Sneaky play this week against a bad Redskins defense. If you need a bye week filler, this can be a good pick up. He is free in many leagues. You could do a lot worse.

Ryan Grant, RB, Washington Redskins. It’s a Mike Shanahan team, so anything can happen at RB. Roy Helu is out and Evan Royster will be down too. He will be thrown into action soon, and any Shanahan RB is always one play away from vanishing. Get that Alfred Morris?

Cecil Shorts, WR, Jacksonville Jaguars: How many 80 yard, game winning TDs can he catch without become more of a player? We will know soon.

Kevin Walter, WR, Houston Texans: The Wire looks light at WR, but Walter is a decent reach. With teams piling up coverage on Andre Johnson, Walter is the best option as an alterante, and his targets have improved each week, including a TD last week.

Bilal Powell, RB, New York Jets: As I mentioned earlier, Greene just is not getting it done, and Powell, although rough, can get yards and he is a better option in the pass game. He played well last week against a good Dolphins run defense.

LaRod Stephens Howling, RB, Arizona Cardinals: Ryan Williams gets the lead role, but Howling catches passes well and plays in the return game. If Williams goes down, he is the main man suddenly, and I think that can bode well for him.

Jacoby Jones, WR, Baltimore Ravens: Anquan Boldin has become a slower possession WR and Torrey Smith is the vertical guy. Jones is getting busier and also returns punts. He may have finally found a home where he can get more snaps and make them pay off.

Alright, here are the goods for week 4. I wish all of you luck and look forward to coming back with week 5 news. Don’t forget that I will have my bi-weekly “Stock Report” coming up as well. Thanks!

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 4.

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