Re-Drafting the First Round of Fantasy Football after Week 3

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Published on : September 29, 2016

 

Hindsight is 20-20. If only we knew what we know now, back then. It would all be so different. If only we could go back in time and change things. This season saw a new trend from many fantasy football experts who suggested selecting wide receivers early and that the era of running backs first was over. I didn’t buy that and pushed for the classic RB heavy draft strategy. 3 games may not seem like much but when the playoffs start week 14 then 3 games is a huge chunk. Only time will tell who the real winners are.

 

So we’ve re-picked the first round based on the stats and info collected over the first 3 weeks. Here is your new top 12. All scoring is from ESPN standard fantasy leagues (non PPR). This is not the list of the top 12 scorers because that would be almost all QB’s and that’s not how people pick when you only start one quarterback.

 

1. RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

217 rush yards and 3 TDs. 169 receiving yards on 17 targets. Johnson is the most important piece of the Arizona Cardinals’ offense. If he stays healthy then he should be a top back for the whole year. If you had a chance to draft this guy and didn’t, then you suck.

 

2. RB DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans

 

When he left the Cowboys and tanked with the Eagles, many thought he was done. Well he is running hard in a system that feeds him the ball. He has 245 rushing yards and 1 TD plus 132 receiving yards and 2 TDs. That’s over 125 yards average of total offense per game.

 

3. RB LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

Easily one of the biggest surprises. For reference, LaGarrette was selected with the #99 pick in my very competitive and informed league. Blount’s 298 rush yards and 4 TDs top the NFL. He is a true fantasy diamond in the rough. Plus he has a great name.

 

4. WR Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions

Jones only has 2 TDs so far but his 408 receiving yards are over 100 yards higher than the next guy on the list. He has the best start, in terms of yards, for any Lions player ever. Including the late, great Calvin Johnson. People wondered how Detroit would replace Megatron and I think we have an answer.

 

5. RB Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons

 

Not the Atlanta ball carrier that most took early but he is the one to own so far as Coleman has outproduced Freeman 49 to 39 in overall fantasy points. On less touches I should add. Tevin’s 3 TDs in the last outing gave owners a monster stat line.

 

6. RB Matt Forte, New York Jets

Another familiar face in a new place. Age and years of heavy workload in Chicago scared most away from Forte. If you were smart or lucky enough to look past that then you found an RB1 somewhere in the mid rounds. AKA a total steal. 261 rush yards and 3 TDs with 67 receiving yards.

 

7. QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

The first quarterback on the new board. No one predicted this. Not even Matty Ice himself. He is currently the #1 overall scorer in fantasy with 70 huge points. That’s 23.3 points per game on average. That is epic in terms of production and consistency. All that with only one turnover.

 

8. WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

Only the second wideout on this revised list. Evans has been beastly with young QB Jameis Winston looking for him early and often. Mike Evans is 5th among WRs in yards at 301 but second in targets with 38 and has 3 TDs. No reason to see this pace slow at all. Evans is a must start each week.

 

9. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

Drew’s team is 0-3 but you wouldn’t know from his stats. He already has over a 1,000 yards passing which leads the league and is tied for the lead with 8 TDs. The Saints defense sucks and can’t stop anyone so Brees should be launching it down field plenty to play catch up. These numbers should continue to balloon.

 

10. RB Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers

With touchdowns in all 3 games (4 overall), Gordon, has become the steady force the Chargers have been searching for. This is what they hoped for when they drafted him. The most impressive stat for Melvin is that he hasn’t scored less than 13 points in any contest.

 

11. QB Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions

 

Very similar numbers to Brees and Ryan. Stafford has 985 passing yards, 7 TDs and 2 INTs. Matt is the 3rd overall in scoring and ahead of such superstars as Aaron Rodgers, Cam Newton and Andrew Luck. All who were taken way before the Lions QB. Look for Stafford to keep hooking up with Marvin Jones for big gains.

 

12. RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

Not a sexy pick but Hyde keeps rumbling along and picking up yards. 225 rushing and 4 TDs is nothing to sneeze at. Only 2 points in week 2 but sandwiched around performances of 2o and 24 points gets him the last spot of our round one re-draft.

 

 

See any patterns other than guys whose name starts with M? Most of these dudes were not considered first round talent. Shows what you know. Big names missing that dominated many draft boards are Antonio Brown, Rob Gronkowski, Odell Beckham Jr, Julio Jones, Ezekiel Elliot, Adrian Peterson (IR/RIP), Todd Gurley and Devonta Freeman. A special shout out to Steelers running back DeAngelo Williams who is the fourth highest scoring back in the league. I did not put him on the list as Le’Veon Bell is set to return and take his place, therefore he isn’t worth drafting in this new mock first round. But valiant effort so far. Cheers.

 

This order is sure to jumble itself in another 3 weeks of play. But the lesson is that #1 RB that gets a full workload is still the most valuable commodity in fantasy. The NFL is a throw first league and backs who snag a few catches a game, get 10-15 carries and goal line touches are worth their weight in gold. If you disagree, let me hear it in the comments.

 

Trade Bait.

 

 


The Titans should crowdsource their offensive playbook

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Published on : August 16, 2016

 

 

No one has ever accused Mike Mularkey of being an offensive mastermind. He has had some success as an offensive coordinator but only when his team was stacked with All Pros. As a head coach, his efforts have been middling at best and downright awful at worst. For some reason which I cannot comprehend, the Tennessee Titans made the decision to retain him as head coach following his stint as interim coach. He got that gig after the team relieved Ken Whisenhunt of his duties in November, 2015 and he’s one of the few interim head coaches that is getting the chance to continue on the job. But maybe the Titans would be better off letting the fans call the plays?

 

You may have heard about the Tennessee Titans first preseason game and how the team raised $20k for charity by auctioning off the right to call the first two offensive plays. It’s a pretty great idea and the fact that they were able to get $10k per play is great for the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the recipient of that charitable endeavor. While it may be a gimmick, I think the team may be on to something here. We’ve all been guilty of yelling at the television hoping the coach would hear you and realize that he doesn’t know shit and you should be running the team (I’m look at you, Jim Caldwell). Well, for the first time in history, this may have been true.

 

 

The first play called by one generous fan, was a pitch to the left in which DeMarco Murray went for 15 yards. A pretty solid first play of the game indeed. The second was a play-action pass that saw Marcus Mariota send the ball 31 yards for a completion to rookie Tajae Sharpe. That’s a combined 46 yards to open the game. To put that into perspective, the next three plays called by the coaching staff went for a combined 4 yards. And the next eight plays called by the staff combined for only 21 yards. Sure, they scored a touchdown on their third drive off of a 71 yard run (also to the left side) by DeMarco Murray, but that was a combination of the Chargers defense looking like shit on that play and DeMarco’s skills in the open field.

 

 

If the team wants to succeed, it’s pretty clear what they have to do. They need to crowdsource their entire offensive playbook. The team could set up an online poll for their fans to use during games and they can vote on what will be the next play call. The internet makes all of this possible. If American Idol can do it then the NFL sure can. It would be like if the Borg were playing Madden, but real life!

 

It’s pretty genius if you think about it. If it works out then the team succeeds and will endear themselves to the fans in a way like never before. It will give Titans fans a chance to be fully emersed in their team’s season in a way no other fans can. Also, Mularkey gets to piggyback on the success of the new hive mind offensive coordinator and almost certainly gets to keep the job that he doesn’t really deserve in the first place. This is a win-win for the players, coaches, fans and organization as a whole.

 

 “Do you really think the fans are smarter that us?” “Yes, yes I do.”

 

If it doesn’t work out then no big deal. Mike Mularkey can blame the failed experiment and probably gets another chance to make things right. I don’t really see why he wouldn’t do this. The fans as offensive coordinator can’t make the team any worse than it’s been for the last few seasons. The Titans went 3-13 and 2-14 over the last two years. Come on Tennessee, make the right coaching choice and promote your fans to be the new hive mind offensive coordinator. What you’re currently working with isn’t very good. Build off of those first two plays of the 2016 preseason and for the love of Christ, win some damn football games!

 

 


A Look Back at My “Ten Bold Predictions for the 2015 NFL Season”

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Published on : March 3, 2016

 

 

 

Back in mid-August, I wrote a piece giving ten bold predictions I expected we would all see happen during this past NFL season. In this article, (which can be found here) I mentioned all of the obvious predictions like, “Who will win the Super Bowl?”, “Who will win MVP?”, as well as some other more “out there” ideas. So with the Denver Broncos winning Super Bowl 50 about a month ago, (spoiler alert: I didn’t get that one right) and thus concluding the 2015 NFL season, I figured now would be a good time to check back into that crystal ball and see how my picks turned out.

 

1. Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title

Result: CORRECT

 

I got off to a good start here as AP led the NFL with 1,485 rushing yards, edging out Tampa Bay’s Doug Martin. While drafting him didn’t help me win my fantasy football team this year, I had a feeling Peterson would come back strong this year after being suspended for much of last season and he helped the Vikings earn their first playoff spot since 2009.

 

2. The New England Patriots will finish 2nd in the AFC East

Result: WRONG

 

Well this took a quick turn. I think what makes this worse is I predicted Miami to win the division. Gross. Let me explain my rationale here though. At the time this article was published, Tom Brady was still set to be suspended for the first 4 games and I figured with Jimmy Garoppolo under center for those games, a 2-2 start was the best case scenario for the Patriots. If that were the case, New England finishes 10-6 instead of 12-4 and who knows what happens seeing as how the Jets also finished 10-6.

 

3. Ray Rice will be back in the NFL

Result: WRONG

 

I took a loss on this prediction as well and I still am a little bit surprised about it, especially once Greg Hardy put an NFL uniform back on. Now I fully understand the severity of what Ray Rice did and I don’t by any means condone it, but after being suspended for all of last season, I figured someone would be willing to take the chance and may have needed a veteran back. The Cowboys made the most sense to me when I made the prediction, fittingly, they wound up being the ones to sign Hardy.

 

4. Jameis Winston and Amari Cooper win NFC/AFC Offensive Rookie of the Year

Result: WRONG-ish 

 

So the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year Award went to Todd Gurley, and rightfully so as he finished third in the league in rushing yards. However, I feel like I should get half-credit or something because Jameis Winston won the Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year at the same NFL Honors Award Show. Amari Cooper had a solid rookie year with Oakland as well.

 

5. Leonard Williams and Landon Collins win AFC/NFC Denfensive Rookie of the Year

Result: WRONG

 

Kansas City corner Marcus Peters won this award by a landslide after leading the NFL with 8 interceptions and helping to make the Chief’s defense one of the best in the league. Leonard Williams was third in the voting, and according to Mel Kiper Jr should have won, so I guess I had someone in my corner.

 

6. The Carolina Panthers will have the biggest increase in wins from 2014

Result: CORRECT

 

By finishing 15-1, Carolina easily had the league’s best record as they narrowly missed perfection during the regular season. Following a dreadful, 7-8-1 record last year, (granted they still made the playoffs in an embarrassing NFC South) I figured at least 11 wins was very realistic for the Panthers. Instead, Cam decided to put up video game numbers and they won 15. Either way, a win for me.

 

7. The Dallas Cowboys will have the biggest drop off in wins from 2014

Result: CORRECT

 

I knew the loss of DeMarco Murray would hurt this team…well I guess the loss of Tony Romo and Dez Bryant for much of the season didn’t help either, but regardless, I knew this team wasn’t duplicating its 12-4 season from 2014. While I didn’t predict 4-12, the Cowboys still had the biggest drop off in the wins column.

 

8. Peyton Manning will retire following the 2015 season

Result: To be determined…

 

Despite Peyton’s best efforts, the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl last month after he had an absolutely miserable regular season. Easily his worst professional season, and one that even caused him to miss a stretch of games late due to injuries. Peyton came back just in time for the playoffs and looked rather pedestrian in the process. However, because of an absolutely dominating defense, Denver made it so Peyton could ride off into the sunset a now two-time Super Bowl champion. The question still remains as to whether he will take that ride or jump back into the saddle with another NFL team.

 

9. Aaron Rodgers will win MVP, again

Result: WRONG

 

After a 6-0 start to the season, the Packers fell flat after their bye week and never really turned it around. Aaron Rodgers never looked like himself. While his stats were nowhere near, say Peyton’s, they weren’t what we have come to expect from him. Again, a 31 touchdown, 8 interception season isn’t anything to sneeze at, but he had his lowest QB Rating since becoming a starter in Green Bay. Cam Newton wound up dabbin’ his way to the NFL MVP Award in what was a fantastic year for him.

 

10. The Green Bay Packers will defeat the Indianapolis Colts in Super Bowl 50

Result: WRONG

 

Ugh, this one is right up there with picking New England to lose the AFC East. First, allow me to defend myself a bit with my reasoning here. Jordy Nelson tore his ACL just days after this article was written, which certainly hurt Green Bay going forward. For Indianapolis, Andrew Luck missed most of the season as well, but frankly they were better off without him (record-wise) as Hasselbeck wound up winning 5 games for the Colts, while Luck finished 2-5 on the year.

 

Overall Record: 3 CORRECT, 5 WRONG, 1 WRONG-ish, (1 TBD)

 

So there you have it. Not the best showing, but with only 90% of precincts reporting (a little election pun for you), I still have a shot to steal one more if Peyton would just make up his damn mind. So help me out, Peyton. Grab a few of those Budweisers you were talking about after the big game, open another Papa John’s Pizzeria, and just enjoy what retirement has to offer: Growing thick beards, Wrangler commercials, and copper sleeves for aching joints. Hey, it’s working for Brett Favre.

 

 


The NFC Least

Written by :
Published on : December 27, 2015

 

 

Are you ready for another .500 division winner? Washington is now the the NFC East champ after beating the Eagles 38-24. Maybe an 8-8 Skins team can get the honor of getting destroyed by the Seahawks or Vikings as they host the wild card.

 

Currently, Washington is 8-7 with a 3-2 record in the division. Giants and Eagles both have 6 wins and Dallas brings up the rear at 4-10. Apparently, average is enough to secure a home field playoff game. This group gets coverage like no-other and I’m unfortunately adding to it. Or at minimum, trying to highlight that they shouldn’t always be featured on the big networks. No matter what. Below is a quick breakdown of the “powerhouse” NFC Least.

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

As a Dez Bryant fantasy owner, this year has been rough. I kept him on the bench while he got healthy, hoping him and Romo would tear up the second half of the season, just as many Dallas faithful prayed for. That never really worked out. Now, Kellen Moore, of Lions’ 3rd string QB fame, is starting under center. It’s a mess in Jerry World. Which college player with a checkered past will they draft next?

 

Philadelphia Eagles

 

In the 40-17 loss to the Cardinals, RB DeMarco Murray had only 2 attempts for 3 yards. That’s inexcusable. Philly is one of the most Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde teams we have. They either drop 40 or more often then not, get 40 dropped on them. Coach Chip Kelly may get pushed out of office. Everyone talks about the offense but it’s the defense that can’t stop anybody. Who cares how many plays you can run if you can’t tackle on the other side of the ball?

 

New York Giants

 

Even with WR Odell Beckham Jr playing amazing, this offense hasn’t been great. They are now out of the post-season hunt so OBJ’s suspension doesn’t really matter to anyone besides fantasy owners. Once again, we will hear whispers of coach Tom Coughlin maybe losing his job. Like we have heard for the last ten years. It should be fair to note that since Peyton is out, Eli should be more powerful. Kind of like a weird Highlander type situation. Eli absorbs all the Manning power. And if Peyton returns then Eli will drop off. Simple Archie-nomics. But even that magic can’t save the G-men now.

 

Washington Redskins

 

They aren’t great but…….DJax is back! Four TD’s in the last six games has added the spark this crew needs. They can kind of run the ball with either Alfred Morris or Matt Jones and their D has mostly held up. But QB Kirk Cousins is the reason this team still has life. He has limited his turnovers and started to build some nice chemistry with the likes of Reed, Garcon and Jackson. I don’t see this franchise making much of a run towards the Super Bowl but I don’t think anyone picked them to win the NFC East either. Also, they should change their name to something less offensive. Seriously.

Last question is, which wild card team is going to get the chance to beat the Skins? Because they will lose in the first round.

 

Please, prove me wrong.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Thanksgiving Day Edition

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Published on : November 28, 2015

 

 

After having a bye week last week, the Champ and Chump column returns for a festive edition to celebrate the best and worst performances from the holiday. While we all were filling our plates and stuffing our bellies, some athletes were filling the boxscores and stuffing their stat sheets while others imploded like the famous turkey from National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation. Hopefully we all found many things and people to be thankful for during the holiday, causing us to feel like a champ. But after passing out from a tryptophan overdose from the delicious turkey or entering a food coma by forcing one more piece of pumpkin pie down our throats, we too may have found ourselves feeling like a chump. Let’s take a look who takes home the prestigious honors for this holiday edition of Champ and Chump.

 

 

Champ: Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson

It was like the good ol’ days for Stafford and Johnson on Thanksgiving.

 

While the Detroit Lions’ season appears to be all but over, they earned themselves a 3-game winning streak when they routed the Philadelphia Eagles on Thanksgiving in Detroit 45-14, and are mathematically still in the playoff hunt, though it may require them to win out. However, with the way that quarterback Matthew Stafford played, maybe anything is possible. It was refreshing for Detroit fans to seemingly have their Lions turn back the clock to when the Stafford-Johnson connection was one of the most lethal combos in the National Football League. Stafford finished 27-38 for 337 yards and 5 touchdowns without turning the ball over. Calvin caught 8 of those balls for 93 yards but most importantly hauled in 3 touchdown passes while dominating the Eagles’ secondary. It could be too little too late for the Lions, but for this one day, they can feel like champions and for the last 50-some years, that’s the closest they have ever been to being one.

 

Honorable Mention:

Luke Kuechly- Kuechly picked off Tony Romo twice, returning one to the house for a touchdown to go along with 7 tackles, anchoring the stout Panther defense in a win over the Cowboys

Denzel Valentine- Notching his second triple-double of the season already, Valentine led the Michigan State Spartans to a victory over the Boston College Eagles finishing with 29 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists.

Chris Warren and Jared Brownridge- Both in losing efforts, Warren ran for 276 yards and 4 touchdowns for the Texas Longhorns against the Texas Tech Red Raiders. Brownridge put up a John Wooden Classic tournament record 44 points against the Arizona Wildcats, but his Santa Clara Broncos fell in overtime.

 

 

Chump: Chip Kelly

More like “Chump” Kelly as of late.

 

The Philadelphia Eagles handed the keys to Chip Kelly to build a champion a few years back and now in his third season, the Eagles are yet to even win a playoff game. After going 10-6 in his first two years, Kelly changed the offense completely this year by acquiring Sam Bradford and dealing away Pro Bowl running back LeSean McCoy, who seemingly fit his offense well, before the team signed former Cowboy DeMarco Murray. So far the makeover has not been pretty as the Eagles lost their third straight and fell to 4-7 on the season. While the offense is hardly the only problem (the defense has given up 45+ points in consecutive weeks to average to below average opponents), it is supposed to be Kelly’s forte. While it has only been three seasons, and Kelly currently has a winning record with the Eagles, his scheme doesn’t seem to really translate to the NFL, and many people feel his job very well may be on the line. In a whacky year in college football with many big programs set to be looking for new coaches, I can’t help but feel like Chip returning to the PAC 12 and leading the Trojans in Southern Cal would be a perfect fit.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Tony Romo- Finished with just 106 yards and 0 touchdowns while throwing 3 picks (2 returned for touchdowns) in a loss to the Carolina Panthers before fracturing his collarbone, forcing him to miss the remainder of the season.

Darren McFadden and DeMarco Murray- With both their teams losing on Turkey day, neither running back was able to get anything going for their respective teams. McFadden finished the day with just 11 yards on 10 carries and Murray found a little more success reaching 30 yards on 14 carries.

Wichita State Shockers- The Shockers took the world by storm a couple years back when they entered the NCAA Tournament undefeated before falling in the 3rd round, and last year had just four losses during the regular season. Already this year, the Shockers find themselves at 2-3. They have finally outgrown that slipper and we may just have a new Cinderella story come March.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Week 2

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Published on : September 26, 2015

 

 

 

I’m a little late with my winners and losers of the champ and chump awards from this past weekend. But better late than never I suppose, and I used the extra time to nominate someone for an achievement from Tuesday even though it came after the weekend.  It’s my own article after all, so if you take issue with that then I’ll see you in the comments section! Without further adieu, here are my picks for champ and chump from this past weekend.

 

Champ: Jason Day

Won the BMW Championship on Sunday, becoming the #1 ranked player in the world.

Jason Day has been killing it recently.

 

About a month ago, I wrote a piece about how golf was in great hands with a young star like Jordan Spieth. In the article, I gave just a small nod to Jason Day as well by saying he also appeared to be ready for stardom, but apparently that compliment didn’t do him justice because since then, Day has been the one to take over the PGA Tour. By winning this past weekend’s event, Day has now won 4 out of his last 6 tournaments and is within striking distance this weekend to take home another prize. The winner of the Tour Championship this weekend ultimately could also decide the PGA Player of the Year award, an award that is likely up for grabs between Spieth and Day.

 

Honorable Mention:

Chicago Cub Starter Jake Arrieta- First pitcher in MLB to reach 20 wins this season. 2015 stats- 20-6, 1.88 ERA, 0.90 WHIP

LSU Running Back Leonard Fournette- Heisman hopeful ran for 228 yards and 3 touchdowns in a 45-21 thumping of Auburn.

Our very own Treasure Gutierrez- Perhaps less knowledgable than some of us here at ScoreBoredSports when it comes to football, but comes out and wins the week in NFL Staff Picks, going 9-7 here at the site, making the rest of us look like the Chumps.

 

 

Chump: DeMarco Murray

By far the coolest thing DeMarco has done this season.

 

DeMarco Murray was the catalyst behind the Cowboy’s season last year, rushing for over 1,800 yards. As he went, so did the rest of the offense. This past off-season, Murray decided to sign with the division rival Philadelphia Eagles and was expected to put up similar numbers in Chip Kelly’s high-powered offense. Through two games however, that has not been the case at all, as Murray was completely shut down against his former team. Murray finished with 2 just yards rushing and has just 11 yards for the season on 21 carries. How bad is his start to the 2015 season? Well, consider this, while it’s only been a couple games, last year Murray rushed for almost 2,000 yards, at this rate this season, he is projected to finish with just 88 yards.  Philadelphia is off to an 0-2 start and while Murray isn’t their only problem, averaging 0.5 yards per carry is definitely isn’t helping.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

NFL Survivor Pools- For thousands of leagues, (mine included) week 2 busted many survivor pools this past week. Upsets like Tampa over New Orleans, Oakland beating Baltimore and Jacksonville shocking Miami eliminated a lot of us before we even saw it coming. Damn you Drew Brees!

Ndamukong Suh- This is perhaps unfair because it’s somewhat speculation, but the guy makes the headlines for the wrong reasons seemingly every week. The latest being some reports that Suh “freelances” plays on defense, ignoring his assignment for the plays that are called.

Jamaal Charles- He put up good stats against Denver on Thursday night, but had two critical fumbles. The last one returned 21 yards for the game winning touchdown with 27 seconds left.

 

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinners and Sleepers: RB Edition

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Published on : August 28, 2015

 

“Here we lay bare the souls of those who play the game for our entertainment. We praise the saints, condemn the sinners, and root out the sleepers who can help your fantasy football team stay on the righteous path.”

 

The second installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the running back position heading into the 2015 NFL season. These are the best of the best, the worst of the worst and some of the most underestimated in their field. The following players can help you gain entry into the pearly gates of a fantasy football championship, or send you to the seventh circle of a losing season. Heed the words you are about to read, and know that it is truth.

 

Saints

Look for Le’veon to be stiff arming and breaking ankles all season long.

 

Le’veon Bell- There’s that two game suspension to worry about but even that isn’t enough to knock the halo off of this saint’s head. He’s just that good. DeMarco Murray got all the hype last season but the they both averaged 4.7 yards per carry. Bell is going to be much fresher though, having rushed the ball 102 less times than the now Philadelphia Eagle, Murray. He is going to benefit considerably from defenses focusing on Antonio Brown, and he will make them pay for leaving the box to cover the deep part of the field. Look for him to keep improving and solidify his role as the best running back, fantasy or otherwise. The offense in Pittsburgh will be miraculous this season and it will be Saint Le’veon who leads them to the promised land and elevates all those around him.

 

Marshawn Lynch- After some speculation that he was thinking about hanging up his holy cleats, Saint Beastmode re-upped with the Seahawks this offseason. The heavens have smiled upon the Skittle loving running back in recent years and he has shown no signs of slowing down. He has started all 16 games in the last three seasons, and rushed for 13 touchdowns last year. There is a little bit of concern surrounding the interior of the Seahawks line due to the fact that they lost their starting center and left guard from last season, but don’t be surprised to see Marshawn making miracles happen all season long. The addition of big play threat, Jimmy Graham, will only make the offense scarier and leave opportunities for Lynch, as defenses try to defend against the deep ball.

 

Adrian Peterson- After the suspension and arrest last season for child abuse, it’s hard to consider Adrian Peterson a saint, but we must remember that this is solely related to this player’s performance in fantasy football. I condemn the acts of AP the person, but praise the deeds of AP the saintly football player. This man is going to come back and immediately put the fear of God into opposing defenses. Last time he had a chip on his shoulder (after he tore his ACL) he went on to rush for 2,097 yards and 12 touchdown. And this time its personal. Peterson believes that he was mistreated by both the league and the Vikings organization. He is hell bent on showing the world that he still belongs in the pantheon of great running backs, both past and present, and is most certainly still a number one running back in fantasy football.

 

Sinners

This duo is just bound to upset and disappoint Cowboys fans.

 

Darren McFadden- I don’t know how there are people out there who believe that this fantasy football sinner can still redeem himself. Sure, the Cowboys have a great offensive line, but not even they can cleanse this man. He just can’t play anymore, plain and simple. McFadden hasn’t averaged more than 3.4 yards per carry since 2011 and has had the second lowest yards per carry of any back over the last three seasons. The writing is on the wall for the former 1st round pick from Arkansas, and with him splitting reps with Joseph Randle this season there just isn’t any reason to believe that he can turn his career around and shake his status as a sinner.

 

Reggie Bush- As a Lions fan, I’ve had the chance to watch every game that Reggie Bush has appeared in over the last two seasons. In 2013 he was a breath of fresh air for the team up in Detroit, but in 2014 he couldn’t shake the injury bug and it seemed as if he had lost a little bit of the burst that made him a threat on the outside corner and in the passing game. The former Heisman Trophy winner and Super Bowl champion doesn’t seem to be durable enough to run between the tackles, as he did in Miami. With the deterioration of all of these skills, as well as his body, it’s hard to see how anyone could justify drafting this sinner. He has yet to appear in a preseason game which points to the questions about his durability, but either way, stay away from Mr Bush, lest he turn you into a sinner as well.

 

Isaiah Crowell- Last year people were high on the undrafted rookie out out of Alabama State after he rushed for 2 touchdowns in week 1, but this is an entire team of sinners that should be banished to the fires of Hades. The Browns are a mess and in the Cleveland’s two preseason losses, Crowell has rushed for a sinful 20 total yards. To be honest, I don’t see many players at any position on the Browns roster that are worth drafting this year in fantasy football. The only possible exception, Duke Johnson, has a good amount of hype (we’ll get to that later), but has yet to see any preseason action. Either way, this offense is not going to be very good, especially when you consider that defenses have nothing to fear in the passing game. Because of that, the run game is going to struggle even more with sinners like Crowell getting carries. I think there’s a strong chance he stays on the sideline until he can atone for his poor play.

 

Sleepers

Tre will be getting his groove on in the end zone a lot this season.

 

Tre Mason- All the hype in St Louis this season revolves around 1st round draft pick Todd Gurley, but former SEC Offensive Player of the Year and last year’s 3rd round draft pick, Tre Mason should not be forgotten. In 12 games last season he rushed for 4.3 yards per carry in an offense that ranked near the bottom of the league. If Gurley’s left knee isn’t ready to go by the beginning of the year, it’s easy to see Mason making his mark on the ground in St Louis and hanging onto a large share of the total carries for the Rams. He will probably be available in the later rounds of most drafts and will be a definite steal for anyone with the foresight to draft him. Plus his dad is Maseo from De La Soul, which is totally badass.

 

Ryan Matthews- Hopes for Philadelphia’s running game were high when they signed Ryan Matthews early in the offseason. Then they also went and signed DeMarco Murray, making the backfield very scary, while simultaneously turning Matthews into a bit of an afterthought. Make no mistake though, Matthews will see the field early and often come game time, and with Murray’s injury history, there’s a strong chance that Matthews starts a few games this year. He has averaged at least 4.3 yards per carry in four out of his five seasons as a pro and will benefit from the downhill running style that is typical in Kelly’s high flying offense. If he falls to you in mid-to-late rounds, you would do well to draft him.

 

Duke Johnson- I already talked about the young man out of Miami (Fl) when telling people to avoid the evil doer Isaiah Crowell in the Sinners section above. He was much talked about coming into April/May’s NFL Draft and to tell you the truth, I’m pretty surprised that he dropped all the way to the 3rd round. He averaged 6.7 yards per carry during his career with the Hurricanes, which is pretty damn impressive. With the running backs in front of him looking pretty awful during the preseason and two quarterbacks who have looked the same, odds are that the ball is going to be in the explosive running back’s hands more often than not. If he continues to fly under the radar, then you should grab him late.

 

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC East

Written by :
Published on : August 27, 2015

 

There is no other division in the NFL in which the specter of injury looms so heavily over every team. Dallas has its brilliant but weary O-line protecting a fragile veteran QB, Philadelphia has built a winning crew that can sustain injury up to a point, the Giants are looking to rebound after two seasons of a seriously depleted squad, and Washington has brought a curse upon itself for not changing its unfortunate and offensive image.

 

Sweet crystal ball: murky and jumbled though your whispers may be, illuminate our way!

 

Dallas Cowboys:

 photo dallascowboys_zpsl1ytzif4.jpg

 

There was a brief period of time where I didn’t totally hate the Cowboys. I moved away from general knee-jerk disdain and grew to recognize their brilliant offensive line. I also realized that Tony Romo is a solid, likable, and hardworking quarterback, and even thought that Jerry Jones’s desperate ramblings became amusing, endearing even. Then along came Dez Bryant. The dude is by far my least favorite NFL superstar. He’s the epitome of a diva and I hate his whininess towards referees, as well as his frequent fights with coaches and teammates. I will never deny that he is a fantastic talent, but as a human personality, I’m just kind of grossed out by his ego and sense of entitlement. He is Calvin Johnson’s evil twin, no doubt about it.

So here we are in 2015 and I think that Jerry Jones knows in his wizened coal-black heart that last year was the ‘boys best chance at making a run for the title in a long time, and the best chance they’ll get for quite a while. Romo is good for another couple of seasons as long as he stays healthy, but that surgically repaired back is one hell of a sword of Damocles hanging over the entire organization. That previously mentioned O-line is the key to keeping things regular, but even they’re starting to show signs of wear and tear. Should they falter, this will prove very problematic for Darren McFadden.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The crystal ball likes Dez much more than I do, predicting a stellar season for a big time receiver in his prime. Romo will hold down the fort, thanks to that crucial offensive line that will suffer only minor injuries, and remain more or less intact through the season. Darren McFadden will show promise at first and then eventually disappoint. Dallas has a shot at the wildcard spot but she’s still a leaky boat holding herself above the surface in a division that is returning to its highly competitive ways.

 

New York Giants:

 photo newyorkgiants_zpsohv8rzx3.jpg

 

I think it’s pretty easy to get hyperbolic over New York’s potential this season, but I’m afraid that’s more from what’s expected of them than actual evidence. Sure, Eli’s too good to keep playing so poorly, and it’s easy to write off the last two seasons because of the mass of injuries sustained by Big Blue, but that’s also the lazy approach. Like many, when it comes to analyzing the Giants, I want to have my cake and eat it too. Yes, I think a healthier team will win more games, but I’m still dubious that this is a club that’s going to sweep back into the division.

I’m not particularly concerned about the stories surrounding Eli Manning’s contract, but regardless of what he purportedly wants, the fans and coaching staff need to see his ratio of INT’s to TD’s drop precipitously. He’s certainly proved it can go either way. I also didn’t like how Jason Pierre-Paul dealt with his team following that unfortunate sparkler accident. It looks like he’ll be returning to the Giants, and will play before the first half of the season is out, but his cagey statements from the hospital and seeming lack of interest to meet with the team’s officials had me seriously doubting his return to New York, or anywhere. At least JPP can rest assured that he won’t go down in history as the NY Giant guilty of the stupidest unnecessary injury of all time…

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Eli will bring his pick numbers down to below Andy Dalton levels, which will be considered a victory. There will be lots and lots of speculation as to whether or not Tom Coughlin keeps his job. He will, while chomping angrily on his gum the whole time. Jason Pierre-Paul will come back. He’ll do fine. Odell Beckham Jr. and Victor Cruz will be frustrated with the heavy coverage they receive from defenses that aren’t particularly scared of the run game. The Giants improve, making them a viable threat, but not as much as expected. THEN things will get crazy with Eli’s contract!

 

Washington Redskins:

 photo washingtonredskins_zpsvrcgzusi.jpg

 

It’s pretty obvious to me that the central cause of the Washington’s woes over the last few years have been due to a longstanding Native American curse brought on by owner Dan Snyder’s absolute refusal to change the franchise’s name and image in the face of good taste or common decency. RGIII is constantly nursing a bum knee or sitting concussed on the bench; relegated to selling sandwiches alongside a once obese pedophile. Now, Niles Paul and Junior Galette are out for the whole damn season. It doesn’t seem fair, and it shouldn’t be… Unless you remember that this team is named after a derogatory term coined during the genocide of an entire population. Feel free to write Dan Snyder a letter telling him how you feel.

Thanks to the curse, we’re left with an extremely weak offensive line supporting a glass-jawed QB. However, the defensive line is really interesting, and I think it’s the best thing the ‘skins have got going for them. There’s a good pass rush to be had there, and a good defense overall if the secondary can hold up. I don’t care if it’s Kirk Cousins or Colt McCoy, but either of these dudes will fare better than Griffin.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

More deserved suffering for a team with a shamefully behind-the-times character. RGIII will continue to fail and the Redskins will focus more on a mediocre ground game because of it. Fans can expect some joy through the defense, and some excitement when either of the backup QBs start airing it out to DeSean Jackson, the most electric offensive weapon this team has.

 

Philadelphia Eagles:

 photo philadelphiaeagles_zpsckjzuez0.jpg

 

Chip Kelly is the closest thing the NFL has to a mad scientist. He’s a singular coach in that his megalomaniacal vision for his club’s success is less predicated upon individual player performance and more so on the crazy scheme in his head. I mean that as a compliment. The Foles/Bradford trade wasn’t about Foles’ merits or deficiencies on the field; it was about Sam Bradford working better in Kelly’s vision.

So Bradford and Murray are going to be the experiment and the gamble. Both are players that fit with Chip Kelly’s Eagles (trademark registered), but both are also injury prone. Unlike other teams in the NFC East, Philadelphia has a deeper bench. Mark Sanchez works well in this offense and Ryan Matthews and Darren Sproles can certainly help take some of the pressure off of Murray. All the meticulously planned and thought out offense in the world can’t cover a weak defense that ranked near the bottom of the league last season. If things looked as exciting for the Eagles on the other side of the ball then they would be a true Super Bowl contender.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

The ball likes the Eagles this year, and thinks they’re the frontrunner to win the division, thanks in part to a cushy schedule. The mad scientist has the offense that he wants and I think it’ll come through for him. The defense will improve incrementally but there’s going to be plenty of shootouts to keep Bradford’s throwing arm in shape. Finally, I’m proud of myself for having made it this far without making a single Tim Tebow joke.

 


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