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NFL Week 17 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Congrats Jacksonville, prepare yourselves for “TebowMania!”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL Week 16 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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

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

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

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NFL Week 14 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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NFL Week 13 Thoughts & Recap – Inside The Wheelhouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 12 Pickups

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

Fantasy Football owners in need of a starting running back or quarterback may be in a lot of luck this week. Searching for solid pickups on the waiver wire in Fantasy Football Week 12 is never easy, yet a few injuries have presented owners with some interesting options late in the season.

Quarterbacks

Chad Henne, Jacksonville Jaguars - Henne is coming off a career game but how much of this was the Texans sleeping on the Jaguars or is Henne really that good? Henne never impressed me in college and was somewhat of a bust in Miami. However, there is a chance that Mike Mularky could be the difference here and maybe, just maybe Henne has grasped this offense. I’d probably pick him up and wait a week just to see how consistent he is but he is certainly worth a shot after seeing what he did to arguably the best defense in the NFL.

Sam Bradford, St. Louis Rams - You are probably thinking that I have lost my mind but keep in mind a few things here. One, your options are limited anyway if you are looking at a QB right now. Two, he has a really great run of matchups down the stretch. Three, he has had double digit weeks every week going back to week 5 and that includes some big games against some decent defenses. That Tampa Bay matchup in Week 16 could be a real sneaky play if you are weak at QB entering your championship game.

Wide Receivers

Santana Moss, Washington Redskins - Moss has had 4 TDs in his last four games and yet he remains on the waiver wire in just about every league I am in. He doesn’t get much action but when he does, it usually results in a score. Whether Pierre Garcon is on the field or not, Moss will continue to be a go-to guy for RG III. Expect the Redskins to play spoiler down the stretch with Moss earning himself a few more scores as the season closes out. That said, he is certainly as boom or bust as it gets with a lot of boom lately. I know Blackmon is the hot name this week but I’d rather go with the consistent scorer than the guy who has had one great game all year.

Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars - Blackmon finally broke out this weekend with over 200 yards on the NFL’s best defense. Is this a fluke or is it for real? I am certainly not going to put him in my lineup over consistent starters this week but he is certainly worth a shot. I had him on a few teams coming into the season but dropped him after it became apparent that the Jags offense was every bit as terrible as it was last year. A backup QB usually doesn’t give a wide receiver like Blackmon that much of a boost but when your backup is replacing Blaine Gabbert, everyone gets a boost. Pick him up this week, see how he follows up this weekend, and start playing him next week if the ride continues.

Running Backs

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos - I’d probably say that your best bet on the waiver wire this week period is Hillman. Willis McGahee is out up to 8 weeks and Hillman is expected to get the lion’s share of the load during his absence. Hillman should get plenty of opportunities in that high impact offense making him my number one target on this week’s wire. I may wait a week before I start him just to see how they use him in Denver, but you won’t be able to snag him if you wait until next week.

Jalen Parmele, Jacksonville Jaguars - Parmele got the start Sunday in Houston and rushed for 80 yards on 24 carries. Maurice Jones-Drew is expected to return soon so Parmele certainly isn’t going to be anyone’s long term answer. However, the Jaguars get a very run-friendly Tennessee Titans defense this week. I may give him a shot in my 16-team league if I can get him (I am just decimated all over the place by injuries) although I still wouldn’t touch him anywhere else. In other words, temper your expectations, but grab him if you’re desperate.

Bryce Brown, Philadelphia Eagles - As a Philadelphia Eagles fan I can tell you that it is getting really ugly in Philadelphia. The starting QB is out, the coach is clueless, and now they are likely to miss their star running back next week. Brown has been hot and cold so I have no idea what you are going to get here. The only plus is that you have a coach that enjoys going against conventional wisdom in every situation. What would you expect the coach to do without his star RB? You’d expect more of a passing game. With Andy Reid, look for more runs against the Panthers than all season.

Tight Ends

Brandon Myers, Oakland Raiders - Myers continues to be a reliable target for Carson Palmer in the pass-heavy Oakland offense. He is coming off of double digit targets this past Sunday and a score. Myers will go up against one of the worst defenses against tight ends in the NFL in the Bengals. The Bengals have given up three TDs to TEs in their last four games. Look for Myers to make it five in five.

Defense

Carolina Panthers, Defense - After several disappointing weeks playing the Steelers defenses I decided to start playing defenses off the wire and it has made a huge difference. Look no further than the Carolina Panthers if you are looking for a solid wire play this week. The Panthers get the Philadelphia Eagles this week who have now given up back to back mid-high double digits to defenses. It isn’t going to get better as the Eagles will probably be playing without LeSean McCoy. Look for a big day from the Panthers defense in Philadelphia.

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Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 11

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

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

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

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

Quarterback

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Running Back

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Wide Receiver

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Tight End

Start

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

Defenses I like this week:

St. Louis Rams vs. New York Jets

Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers

Atlanta Falcons vs. Arizona Cardinals

Defenses I don’t like:

Indianapolis Colts at New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints at Oakland Raiders

Buffalo Bills vs. Miami Dolphins

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

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

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 10

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

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

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

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

Quarterback

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Running Back

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Wide Receiver

Start

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

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

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

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

Tight End

Start

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

Defenses I like this week:

Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders

Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo Bills

San Francisco 49ers vs. St Louis Rams

Defenses I don’t like this week:

San Diego Chargers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers

Minnesota Vikings vs. Detroit Lions

New Orleans Saints vs. Atlanta Falcons

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

Fantasy Football Week 9 Waiver Wire Pickups

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

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

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

Running Backs

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

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

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

Quarterbacks

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

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

Wide Receivers

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

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

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

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

Fantasy Football Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups

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

If you are in trouble at this point in the fantasy football season, you probably aren’t going to turn it around on the waiver wire. However if you are fighting for a playoff spot and have a stud on bye this week, you may be able to find some short term relief on the wire.

Now that the wire blogs are starting to shrink, I thought it would be fun to add some accountability to the waiver wire. If there is one thing I hate it is when a fantasy writer or talk show host will brag about their selections, yet completely ignoring their busts. I don’t want to be that guy. So let’s take a look back at last week’s blog and see how my waiver picks did this week.

Quarterbacks

Josh Freeman 420 yards, 3 TDS

John Skelton 262 yards, 1 TD

Running Backs

Felix Jones – 44 yards on the ground, 30 yards receiving

Montario Hardesty – 28 yards rushing

Vick Ballard – 84 yards rushing, 19 yards receiving

A few things here. Freeman shows you that you should start anyone against the New Orleans Saints. Their defense is that bad. My suggestion regarding Hardesty was only if Trent Richardson missed the game, he didn’t so you wouldn’t have played him. Thus I wouldn’t necessarily call him a bust. Skelton put up 10 in standard scoring leagues but I expected much better so I’d put that as a bust. Felix Jones pulled a Felix Jones. I expected big things against the Panthers, so thats a bust. Vick Ballard, had okay numbers so I wouldn’t call him a bust or a hit. I thought he’d get more carries, I was wrong.

Note: I personally picked up Mike Williams in a few leagues off the wire last week specifically to play against the Saints. Sans a brief second at the end in which I thought I had a brilliant waiver pickup, he was a bust.

Biggest Hit – Freeman

Biggest Bust – Jones

Hopefully I can bounce back this week and give you some bigger hits than busts. I think there are some great opportunities on the wire this week. Grab them if you need them!

Running Backs

Rashad Jennings, Jacksonville Jaguars - This is an easy one. Maurice Jones-Drew is hurt and you can immediately grab a starting RB in a run-heavy offense. Jennings has the talent as we saw Sunday and will now get the production. They face an Oakland Raiders team that has been diced by running backs this season. He could turn out to be the waiver wire MVP if MJD misses the rest of the season.

LaRod Stephens Howling, Arizona Cardinals - Here is another case where every fantasy football “analyst” and “expert” got it wrong. Everyone said William Powell was the clear starter yet Stephens-Holwing went off on Sunday. The Cards face a stellar 49ers running defense on Monday night. The 49ers aren’t impossible to run on as they have been diced the last few weeks. Take a shot if you need a starter or have a RB on bye as the 49ers are not the must-sit RB defense they once were.

Jeremy Kerley, New York Jets - It’s really tough to get a handle on this Jets offense. The good news is that the wide receivers actually have a favorable schedule down the stretch. The bad news is that you can’t really figure out whether to go with Hill or Curley. I like Curley and he had a big game against the New England Patriots Sunday. Was it the poor Pats pass defense or is Curley breaking out? They face a pretty underrated Miami Dolphins defense Sunday so proceed with caution this week.

Jonathon Dwyer, Pittsburgh Steelers - The word out of Pittsburgh is that Mendenhall could miss another week. That is good enough of a reason to me to pick up Dwyer. Obviously you aren’t going to start him if Mendenhall plays. Dwyer gets a Washington Redskins team that just gave up two rushing TDs to the New York Giants. The Steelers want to run more and as long as Dwyer can produce, he’ll get the carries. I like him a lot if he gets the start next week.

Quarterbacks

Christian Ponder, Minnesota Vikings - Ponder probably isn’t available in larger leagues, but I see him on some wires in 10 team leagues. Ponder is another guy you pick up and play the matchup. If you’re QB is on a bye this week, I would highly recommend grabbing Ponder. I made the same recommendation last week about Josh Freeman and guess what? He went off. The Vikings face a Buccanners defense that has been carved up by QBs this season. It’s a great matchup and it could be a big night Thursday for Ponder.

Carson Palmer, Oakland Raiders - I had Palmer listed as a sleeper before the season and well he has been rather disappointing. He hasn’t been as horrible as some make him out to be, but he is definitely a matchup only guy right now and he has a great one this week. He has a Kansas City defense that has been shredded this season by QBs. If you have someone on a bye week or need some help, Palmer could be a nice pickup. If the Chiefs aren’t enticing enough he has the Buccaneers defense the week after.

Wide Receivers

Donnie Avery, Indianapolis Colts - Avery has been on and off the waiver wire list this season. I’ll put him back on this week and this week only. He has a great matchup this week against a Tennessee Titans that have been sliced and diced by less talented receivers this season. There are a lot of good receivers on a bye week this week so chances are, you have a need. I’d take a flyer on him and exploit the matchup.

Chris Givens, St. Louis Rams - I am not as hot on Givens as some but his last few week’s of production definitely deserves a look. He doesn’t catch many balls (seven in his last three games) but he puts up the yardage. He has had two straight weeks of 8 point games in standard scoring leagues. He’s not someone I’d start every week but he may be someone you pick up and stash or use for one week during a bye. He is playing against a New England Patriots defense this week that was just carved up by Mark Sanchez. You could do worse but I am not ready to give him a full endorsement.

Tight Ends

Dustin Keller, New York Jets – Keller is another rough one to get a handle on. He has always had the potential and fantasy experts have expected big things out of him up until this year. He had a TD Sunday but again was this a bad Pats defense or is something brewing with Keller and Sanchez? I would be real hesitant to pick him up and plug him in but he may be someone you keep on the bench and play against favorable TE matchups.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers - The Chicago Bears are generally a defense you sit your players against but not when you have tight ends. The Bears have been lit up by tight ends this season. Keep in mind that Cam Newton lit up the Bears last season, although Newton is a much different player this season. The bottom line here is it is all matchup and I would be surprised if the Panthers didn’t exploit it with Olsen.

Fantasy Football Almanac 2012: The Essential Fantasy Football Reference Guide

Madden 13 video game on all consoles

Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Dominate Your Draft

NFL Jerseys on Amazon.com

Fantasy Football Start Em Sit Em Week 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

Quarterback

Start

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

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

Running Back

Start

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

Wide Receiver

Start

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

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

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

Sit

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

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

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

Tight End

Start

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

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

Sit

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

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

Defenses I like:

Minnesota Vikings vs. Arizona Cardinals

Buffalo Bills vs. Tennessee Titans

New England Patriots vs. New York Jets

Defenses I don’t like:

Washington Redskins at New York Giants

St. Louis Rams vs. Green Bay Packers

Cleveland Browns at Indianapolis Colts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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