Fantasy Football Draft Strategies

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Published on : August 1, 2016

 

 

Thank God, football is coming back. And with it, comes the evil step brother known simply as fantasy. Many drafts are still weeks away but some crazy leagues do them at the start of training camp. So it’s not too early to start talking about it, even though my girlfriend would disagree. But for once, this isn’t about her. This is all about the fantasy football draft and how you should decide to pick players. I’m talking Winston Churchill war room level. The draft is one of the biggest determining factors to who wins the championship. Waiver wire is hugely important but if you select a top trio of QB, RB, WR and they all stay healthy and productive then your path to a trophy is much easier. The big question is, who do you take? And when?

 

If the draft scares you or you think this sounds like too much work then just set your team to auto-draft and sleep easy. We call these people “draft dodgers.” To be fair, I’ve had some pretty decent squads the few times I let the computer pick. My first team back in 2003 was auto drafted and I made the playoffs. Another year, I was hungover and a slept through the draft. Still made the playoffs. Damn, maybe the robots know more than me? Fuck that. I reject that theory. Let’s get to business.

 

1st pick

 

The old fantasy football draft rule was go running back, running back with your first two picks. This is still a viable route because the value of a solid RB is unmatched. Then we saw freak wide receivers and quarterbacks going in the top ten. Players like Aaron Rodgers and Calvin Johnson changed the game. These guys are fantasy studs. No question. But is it smart to use your first pick on a WR or a QB? I say no, because of the the drop off between the production of ball-carriers versus other positions is way out of balance.

 

That means a top QB may get 30 points in a week while a waiver QB may score 20. But when it comes to RB’s it will be a difference of 30 to 3. If you play in a 10+ team league then there just aren’t quality and consistent players available to add. You can find a serviceable QB while there will be zero starting RB’s. For example, last year, I used a combo of Kirk Cousins and Ryan Fitzpatrick (both claimed off the waiver wire) in the final weeks and playoffs. They equaled or out performed my highly drafted competition. I also won the championship. There will always be these type of finds.

 

So, your first pick should be a running back. You can never guess who will get hurt but try and draft someone with a decent o-line and hopefully, a short injury history.

 

2nd pick

 

With your second pick, go either a top pass-catcher (WR/TE) or another clear starting RB. If the back is in a timeshare situation then I go with the receiver who is most likely to either see higher volume and or lots of red zone targets.

 

Note: tight end is another role that has little middle class. Getting an every week starter is a blessing. One less slot to stress over. Just leave Gronk in the lineup until the bye.

 

3rd pick

So we have an elite running back, a big WR and we are back on the clock. I’d still go after a RB. There are lots of attractive QB’s and number two wideouts but they will mostly be there next round. Get that other bell cow now and then you can move to deep threats while everyone else is scrambling and buying high on guys who only see 10 carries a game.

 

4th round and beyond

So far we picked RB, WR, RB. Now get that TE. The top three names will be gone but there’s plenty talent left. If for some reason, all good the tight ends are drafted then grab another WR or your favorite of the remaining QB’s. These are the suggestions for next round anyways. After rounds 4 or 5, it’s hard to recommend position picks, mainly because we don’t know what the board will look like. The draft is all about finding value.

 

The one stat that would best explain this concept is the baseball metric WAR (Wins Above Replacement). WAR relates to a players performance against the average athlete. Keep that idea in mind when you are picking. Where are you finding the best values? And don’t fall into trends. If WR’s are going like hot cakes, don’t sell out your plan just to not be left out. Because after all those teams have receivers, they are going to start taking the other things you need. Stick to your guns.

 

The double down and handcuffing

 

No, I’m not talking about a wild weekend in Las Vegas, I mean the double down aka the double dip, which is drafting players on the same team. Like Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. So when Ben tosses a TD to Antonio, you get points from both players for one touchdown. It’s nice when it can happen but I try and not count on it. Don’t move up/change your draft plan just for a double down. The NFL season is crazy. Tons will get hurt, traded, arrested. Who knows. Diversity is key to a deep squad. Don’t bet the farm on Tony Romo playing all year with Dez Bryant.

 

Handcuffing is when you draft the backup to a popular player. Just in case they get injured. I like this for one skill player per roster. Find that guy you would be screwed without and invest in their nightmare. Look, if your first round pick goes down and someone else scoops the backup then your team lost a huge asset and you handed it to your jerk friend. At least this way, no other franchise gains because of your loss.

 

Wrap up

Take backs early and often, then top pass catchers and more backs. Wait on the QB and stock up on depth. Standard formats see lineups with two RB and two WR with one TE and a FLEX (can be any RB, WR, TE) so it makes sense to address the biggest need. Yes to hand cuffing but no to the double down. And always beware of the celebrity trap. It tricks us, makes us take Russell Wilson too early or draft a defense in the 6th round. Stay strong and you can get through this.

 

Champs

 

 


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.

 

 


Keep Hope Alive: What the NFL’s Worst Teams Have to Feel Good About in 2016

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Published on : February 25, 2016

 

 

For many people, right now is as good as it get’s when it comes to football. In places like Cleveland, Detroit and Jacksonville, the offseason is time that is full of hope and possibilities. Last season’s pessimism is out and next season’s optimism is in. With the new league year and the start of free agency just weeks away, we thought we would talk about what some of the NFL’s worst teams in 2015 have to look forward to this year, besides the opportunity to blow it with their high draft picks.

 

Tennessee Titans: Marcus Mariota’s continued progression

 
I’m not going to lie. The outlook is pretty grim in Tennessee. They retained their interim head coach Mike Mularkey for the same position, and he didn’t exactly improve the team when he took over last year. They do still have last year’s number two overall pick playing quarterback, though. Marcus Mariota should continue to improve in spite of the lack of a coaching staff, and for that reason they should keep hope alive.

 

Cleveland BrownsThe New Regime

 

I know we’ve all heard this before, but it seems like the Cleveland Browns might finally be getting their heads out of their asses. The new director of football operations, Sashi Brown, went out and got the Hue Jackson, the former offensive coordinator in Cincinnati. Jackson was the guy pulling the strings behind the scenes of the league’s seventh-best scoring offense in 2015. It also looks like he will soon be putting an end to the Johnny Manziel fiasco, and for that we should all be thankful.

 

San Diego Chargers: Return of the injured

 

The Chargers got hit very hard by the injury bug last season. It was kind of ridiculous. Luckily, time heals all wounds and with an offseason to mend up, the San Diego Chargers can’t possibly do as bad as they did last year. The team placed a total of 17 players on injured-reserve last season, which directly led to their 4-12 finish. Many of those players will be back this year and that should lead to more wins.

 

Dallas Cowboys: Dez Bryant

 

He’s a little bit of a head case, but Dez Bryant is by far the best thing the Cowboys have going for them. He is a physical freak who can make plays all over the field. He was limited by injuries in 2015, but then again so was everyone else on the team. Look for him and a healthy Tony Romo to get back to their old play-making ways in 2016.

 

San Francisco 49ers: Chip Kelly’s antics

 
There’s a chance that Chip Kelly is able to come in and fix Colin Kaepernick, but I wouldn’t get too optimistic about that. The 49ers are lacking in quality talent all over the field and it will probably take a couple of years to right the ship. On the bright side, we get at least one more year of watching Chip Kelly roast the NFL media!

 
 
All of these teams had five wins or less last season. Most probably won’t improve enough to make a playoff run but with a little luck they could pass as watchable football teams. Be sure to keep and eye on them, if for no other reason than those I listed above.

 
 
 


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.

 

 


WWSHD: What Would Steve Harvey Do?

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Published on : December 23, 2015

 

 

This week, Comedian/Author Steve Harvey may have had the most horrendous gaffe in the history of live television. During a live recording of the Miss Universe Pageant, Harvey announced Ariadna Gutierrez of Colombia the winner of the contest. However, Harvey read the card incorrectly and had regrettably made a mistake. He then went on to announce the REAL winner, Miss Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach of the Philippines. As you can imagine social media has taken Harvey to task in memes and Vines.

 

 

Although the world can be unforgiving, I am one to say give the man a break! It was a honest mistake that could happen to anyone. The situation got me thinking: what if Steve Harvey was involved in some of sports’ most controversial moments? What would Steve Harvey do?

 

 

1. University of Michigan Power Forward Chris Webber calls timeout (1993). Referee Steve Harvey grants team a timeout even though they don’t have any.

weber timeout

 

In this scenario, referee Harvey has the authority to force a timeout. This would be to the dismay of Duke University coach Mike Krzyzewski and his evil empire. The Wolverines would go on to win the championship and be cemented as one of the best basketball teams ever. The NCAA sanctions would still ban the Fab 5 from being affiliated with the school. However, maybe the relationship of the Fab 5 would remain intact 20 years later. A championship for the Wolverines would have changed the trajectory of all the careers of those famous players.

 

2. Last season playoff (2015) contest between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers. Dez Bryant goes up for catch on 4th down. Referee Steve Harvey rules the catch complete.

 

Bryant makes the catch and the Cowboys are in scoring position to win the game. A playoff game! Harvey has single-handedly changed the fortunes of “America’s Team.” The Cowboys go on to face the Seattle Seahawks as a favorite. From there they go on to face New England Patriots and with properly inflated balls, Tom Brady stands no chance against Dem Boys. The first championship for the Cowboys since Deion Sanders Jheri curl was still full of Soul Glo.

 

3. Ronda Rousey is KO’d in the second round by Holly Holm. Steve Harvey declares Rousey the winner by disqualification.

 

Holm is shaking hands and kissing babies until she hears the announcement. Rousey is still on the ground asking the referee “Why won’t you play duck duck goose with me?” In a sudden rage, Holm gives Harvey a roundhouse kick to the chin which forces his mustache into his nostrils. Meanwhile, Rousey is unaware that she has won. Instead, she is preoccupied making snow angels with her blood on the mat. Good work Steve.

 

4. Honorable Judge Harvey receives the ruling from the jury but instead finds O.J. Simpson guilty of first degree murder (1995).

 

The case had the country clearly divided. Whether it was race or socioeconomic status that caused the divide, there was tension with the pending outcome. The murders were done in such a vile and malicious fashion. If O.J. Simpson had been convicted then maybe it would have curtailed some of the heinous crimes committed by other athletes. Simpson getting away with murder (in some people’s eyes) set a poor precedent that if you hire a revered attorney then you can possibly evade the law.

 

5. Miami Hurricanes are on the cusp on winning a National Championship in 2003. Ohio State is near the goal line. It’s 4th and 3 and Buckeye QB Craig Krenzel passes into the end zone. The pass is incomplete. The game is over and the Hurricanes win their 35th straight game and second consecutive national championship.

 

Lead referee Harvey never throws a pass interference flag on cornerback Glenn Sharpe. This changes the direction of both franchises as Hurricane coach Larry Coker gets an extended stay with the program. Meanwhile, Buckeye coach Jim Tressel will have to reassess his program and answer to critics that deem him an underachiever. Harvey leaves the stadium unscathed and the Hurricane fans are forever indebted to him.

 

 

That’s the world according to Steve. Now let’s all watch some Family Feud then go suit shopping.

 

#SteveHarveysLifeMatters

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 4

Written by :
Published on : September 30, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

Ok, this is getting a little ridiculous. The degenerate in me thinks that it would almost be better to lose horribly than to keep coming up even-money with all of these NFL Picks Against the Spread, but I digress. The fact is that if you’ve been following my advice you are probably a little poorer than when you started. And we all know that means you aren’t going anywhere. Check out this weeks picks and let’s try to get it together.

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Ravens (-2.5) at Steelers: Steelers

I realize that the Vegas logic behind making the Steelers underdogs at home is that the Ravens are bound to get a win eventually. I just don’t think that it’s going to happen in Pittsburgh in a divisional matchup. I’ll take those 2.5 points and the Steelers to win.

 

Jets (-1.5) at Dolphins (in London): Jets

I thought for sure the Jets were going to win at home last week but I was wrong and they faltered against a mediocre Eagles squad. Next up, they travel to Wembley Stadium in London to play a Dolphins team that can’t seem to make it work. One of these teams is going to pull it together, and it’s the Jets.

 

Jaguars at Colts (-9.5): Jaguars

The Colts needed a wild comeback to get the win against the Titans. This week they take on the Jaguars in Indianapolis. The spread seems far too wide and I could even see the Jaguars winning outright. But with 9.5 points I’ll take the Jags all day.

 

Texans at Falcons (-6.5): Falcons

This pick is slightly borderline but I think the Texans QB play is the difference maker. No matter who it is, they just aren’t very good under center in Houston. The Falcons are going to continue to feed Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman and beat up on the Texans in Hot-lanta.

 

Panthers (-3) at Buccaneers: Buccaneers

Cam & Co are probably going to win in Tampa Bay, but after they let the lowly Saints hang around far too long last week at home, I see it being close. Jameis is going to start connecting with Mike Evans more often and that means that the Bucs have a chance to win and will cover the spread.

 

Giants at Bills (-5.5): Bills

How about them Buffalo Bills? They have been killing the game this year. The Giants have looked decent too despite two heartbreaking losses, but traveling to Buffalo does not bode well for them. The Bills win this game by 10 or more.

 

Raiders (-3) at Bears: Raiders

The Bears…. Woof. They suck and will keep on sucking. The Raiders might be one of the biggest surprises of the young NFL season. They will continue to trend upward, using the Monsters of the Midway as their next stepping stone.

 

Eagles (-3) at Redskins: Eagles

I guess the Redskins have looked better than I thought they would, but they still aren’t very good. The Eagles are going to start to hit their stride after picking up their first win and are going to run all over the ‘Skins.

 

Chiefs at Bengals (-3.5): Bengals

The  Chiefs will be coming off of a short week after getting murdered in Green Bay on Monday Night Football. Sadly for them, they are going to run right into the heel of AJ Green’s cleat. He and Andy Dalton have been on fire, and I’m not just referring to the latter’s hair. It’s going to be a blowout in Cincy.

 

Browns at Chargers (-7.5): Browns

The Browns were very disappointing in the home game against the Raiders last week. But then again, so were the Chargers, who got bitch-slapped up and down the field in Minnesota. The Chargers will win at home but it will be closer than the spread indicates. Take the Browns and those 7.5 points.

 

Packers (-8.5) at 49ers: Packers

Jesus Christ I hate the Packers, but take them. Always. No matter what the spread is.

 

Vikings at Broncos (-6.5): Vikings

Have the oddsmakers seen these two teams play the last few weeks? The Vikings will keep it much closer than this, even if they don’t win straight-up. Take AP, Teddy and those 6.5 points.

 

Rams at Cardinals (-6.5): Cardinals

Part of me wants to take the Rams here and believe that they are going to get back to their week 1 form. But the Cardinals are just too damn good, and they’re at home.

 

Cowboys at Saints (-4): Cowboys

The Cowboys are in a pickle until they get Dez and Tony back, but the Saints are just complete and utter garbage, especially on defense. Take the ‘Boys.

 

Lions at Seahawks (-9.5): Lions

The Lions are in huge trouble and their season is on life support. If they don’t win this one it will be time to start planning for 2016. I still think they lose, it’s just closer than most people think it will be.

 

Patriots and Titans: Both have off for their bye week.

 

 


Last week’s record: 7-9

 

Season Record: 22- 25-1

 

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinner and Sleepers: WR Edition

Written by :
Published on : September 3, 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 third installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the wide receiver 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

There’s going to be a lot of this going on with Antonio Brown.

 

Antonio Brown-  For the last two seasons, Antonio Brown has ranked in the top two in league for receiving yards (1,698 and 1,499) and was third in touchdown receptions last season (13). Coming into his 6th season in the league, he looks to build on his already strong relationship with quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger and improve on his stellar numbers from last season. He completes the Holy Trinity of Saints in Pittsburgh and like the other two, is going to have a huge season in 2015. Despite his rather small frame (5′ 10″, 186 lbs), he is able to win battles against larger defenders and is a threat all over the field, whether it be in space on a short bubble screen or catching the deep ball after blazing past opposing defenses. Saint Antonio is going to continue to prove this season that he is one of the best pass catchers in the league.

 

Dez Bryant- On a personal level, I find it very hard to call Dez Bryant a saint; his attitude and tendency to cause drama on the field and in the locker room are big turnoffs for me. That said, this guys is a unique talent, and after ranking in the top three in receiving touchdown for the last three seasons, including leading the league last year (16), his status as one of the best is secure. He caught 51 more passes than the next closest receiver on his team last season, and considering they didn’t add any special talents at the position this offseason, it’s hard to see that changing. Saint Dez’ physical ability are on a level that hasn’t been seen since Calvin Johnson was healthy, and he brings the hammer of God down upon any DB who is unfortunate enough to try to break down and tackle him in space. Add that to his ability to win contested catches in the air, and it’s easy to see why he is one of the best young talents in football.

 

Calvin Johnson- Saint Megatron has been getting slept-on hard this year in fantasy football and I just don’t understand it. This is a guy who missed three games last season, and was used exclusively as decoy in another two, yet he still managed to 1,077 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns. Now he has to have a chip on his shoulder after hearing all the talk of him being washed up at the ripe old age of thirty. This is the first time in a few seasons that the future hall of fame receiver will come into the season healthy, and from reports out of Lions’ training camp, it sounds like this saint still has plenty of miracles up his sleeve. Look for Saint Megatron to get back to his dominating ways and make jaw-dropping plays all year long. If there are doubters now, there will be plenty of true believers by the time January rolls around.

 

Sinners

Thinking about all those drops he had in college.

 

Devin Funchess-  I still can’t believe how much the Carolina Panthers paid to move up and draft Devin Funchess. I had high hopes for the tight end turned wide out when he was at Michigan, and although he did provide the occasional big play, he routinely dropped balls and hurt his team. Sure, he has some size (6′ 4″, 236 lbs), but he is not very fast and has hands of stone. He and the team would probably benefit from a move back to tight end, but that may not be feasible due to his lackluster run blocking. This sinner is bound to enrage the fanbase in Carolina more often than not, just as he did in Ann Arbor. While the loss of Kelvin Benjamin for the entire 2015 season makes it tempting to consider allowing this heathen to join the ranks of your team, but he is beyond salvation and should be cast out.

 

Sammy Watkins- I expected Sammy Watkins to be very good last year… if he got drafted into the right situation. It turned out that he wound up in Buffalo. True, the Bills are in a much better place than last season but Rex Ryan is now running the team and he is known for a few things; good defense, strong running game and poor quarterback play. I’m still not sold on the Bills’ newly named starting QB, Tyrod Taylor, who will likely be benched at some point before November. The addition of other offensive weapons in Charles Clay, Percy Harvin and LeSean McCoy, make sure there’s no chance Watkins sees anything near the 128 targets he saw last year (no receiver has ever gotten that many targets in a Rex Ryan offense). Lastly, he has become somewhat injury prone and has been in and out of practice this summer while recovering from hip surgery. Sammy Watkins is a sinner of circumstance, but a sinner nonetheless, and you should beware.

 

Dwayne Bowe- I don’t understand how this sinner keeps getting starting wide receiver jobs in the NFL. He hasn’t gained 1,000 receiving yards since 2011, and hasn’t had more than 5 receiving touchdowns since 2010. Last year he had ZERO receiving touchdowns (no wide receiver on the Chiefs had one) and as a reward he got $9 million in guaranteed money from the Browns. I know it seems like I’ve used this recurring segment to rag on the Browns players (except for Duke Johnson), but I feel a responsibility to warn fantasy football owners about just how bad this team is. Regardless of which sinner is throwing the ball to Bowe, you can expect him to continue his sinning ways and drag down your entire team.

 

Sleepers

Look for Kamar in an end zone near you in 2015.

 

Kamar Aiken- Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of the former UDFA out of UCF; a couple weeks ago I hadn’t either. Breshad Perriman’s injury could be the best thing that ever happened to the speedy 4th year receiver, who is currently listed as a starter for the Ravens. With guru, Marc Trestman, running the offense in Baltimore, look for Aiken to get a good amount of balls thrown his way. He is a sleeper in the truest sense, and is barely being drafted in most leagues. If you can get him in the last few rounds or even better, as a free agent, you could be getting the biggest steal in your entire league.

 

Jeff Janis- The second year receiver out of Saginaw Valley didn’t see the field much in 2014, but with Jordy Nelson out for the season with a torn ACL, that’s going to change. You can believe that fans in Green Bay and around the league will be hearing this guy’s name much more often now. There’s nothing that an under-the-radar wide receiver should wish for more than the chance to have a future hall of fame QB throwing them the ball (just ask every no name who’s ever been lucky enough to land in New England). Aaron Rodgers is arguably the best in the game and he has the ability to make everyone around him better. Janis has already impressed in the preseason, and with Randall Cobb’s week 1 status in doubt, he could be a very busy man when the Packers head to play the lowly Bears in the Windy City. Look for big things out of Mr. Janis this year.

 

Markus Wheaton- The 3rd year receiver out of Oregon State was a bit of a disappointment last season after he only accumulated 644 yards and 2 touchdowns, but don’t give up on him just yet. The Steelers and their quarterback, Ben Roethlisberger, still believe in him, and you should too. The offense in the Steel City is going to be very good and with Martavis Bryant missing the first 4 games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, this could be the perfect time for Wheaton to fill the void and have his breakout. He will be going pretty late in most drafts, if at all, and with the way that the Steelers are going to be scoring points this season, there’s a very good chance the Wheaton puts up the numbers that I thought he would last year. Take him late and reap the rewards.

 

 

 


Ten Bold Predictions for the 2015 NFL Season

Written by :
Published on : August 14, 2015

 

 

 

“It’s the most wonderful time…of the year.” That’s right ladies and gentleman, cue that famous Andy Williams Christmas song, because football season is back, and I couldn’t be any more excited. We had our first taste this past weekend with the Hall of Fame game in Canton, and will get a few more weeks of preseason football to tide us over until the real hard hitting action begins. The 2014 season was fantastic, culminating with a Super Bowl for the ages. This year is shaping up to bring more of the same, and to get you started, here’s ten things bold predictions for the 2015 NFL season.

 

1. Adrian Peterson wins the rushing title

Adrian Peterson missed all but one game last season due to a near season long suspension, and the rumor is he looks like he hasn’t missed a beat. The Minnesota Vikings, led by rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, still managed to finish 7-9 without AP last year and I think he adds so much to a talented, albeit young, team. The danger of play action with Peterson will be an immense help to Bridgewater’s game, and I think AP is back with something to prove.

 

Adrian Peterson

 

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

Since winning the Super Bowl last year, the New England Patriots have remained in the headlines but not for hoisting the Lombardi Trophy or Rob Gronkowski’s partying. Instead, all the attention has been on Tom Brady and the Patriots for the infamous “Deflategate” scandal which has landed Brady a four game suspension to start the season. The Patriots have won the division 11 of the last 12 seasons and still may be the favorites even with Brady’s suspension. I think a 2-3 start is very possible and it takes 10-11 victories to win  that division this year. The Miami Dolphins are the last team to win the AFC East other than the Patriots, and I think they may do it again this year with a week 17 home win over the Pats. If not Miami, look for Buffalo Bills to challenge for the division title.

 

3. Ray Rice will be back in the NFL

Ray Rice was suspended all of last year for his role in a domestic violence incident with his fiancé and was cut by the Baltimore Ravens. It’s said he is perhaps too big of a distraction for any team to sign. Factor that with a poor 2013 season, and being nearly 30 years old, and many teams don’t feel he is worth the risk. However, one team that is no stranger to signing players with a checkered past, is the Dallas Cowboys. Dallas lost star running back DeMarco Murray to the rival Philadelphia Eagles this past off-season and are set to go with the oft-injured Darren McFadden. Behind him are Joseph Randle, Lance Dunbar and rookie Lache Seastrunk in what should be a running back by committee type attack. The Cowboys offense last year went through Murray and while the connection of Romo to Bryant is absolutely lethal, they’ll need a similar balance if they want to duplicate last year’s division title. A guy like Ray Rice may be just what Dallas needs, or Dallas may be just the type of team Ray Rice needs.

 

Ray Rice

 

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

Say what you will about Jameis Winston’s struggles off the field in college, but the guy can flat out ball. His freshman season numbers were a lot better than his sophomore season, but he only lost one game between those two years. In Tampa, he will have the luxury of throwing to big targets like Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans, and play in possibly the weakest division in all of football. I think he performs well, and Tampa could find itself contending in the NFC South in just a year or two. In Oakland, the Raiders got possibly the most NFL ready player in the draft in wide receiver Amari Cooper. Raider quarterback Derek Carr had a really underrated rookie season last year finishing with 21 touchdowns and only 12 picks while throwing to some absolute duds at wide receiver. I think newly hired head coach Jack Del Rio is the right guy for the job. Expect big offensive numbers from both guys from the start.

 

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

The New York Jets have one of the best defensive lines in all of football and it got even better when they selected Leonard Williams in the first round of April’s NFL Draft. He is very versatile and can play on the end or the interior which is great for the Jets considering they are without Sheldon Richardson for at least four games due to suspension and could be facing more time off from another arrest a couple weeks ago. Williams will get plugged in right away and be pressuring quarterbacks all season long. Also on draft night, the New York Giants traded up seven spots to nab Safety Landon Collins from Alabama. He is said to have already impressed the Giants coaching staff with his leadership and work ethic. Odell Beckham Jr. became an instant success last year for the Giants and I think Collins will be a similar story this year.

 

Leonard Williams

 

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

The NFC South was by far the worst division in all of football last season with Carolina winning the division despite having a losing record of 7-8-1. This year, I expect the division to again be very weak, however Carolina’s relatively easy schedule allows them to win 11 games, a significant improvement from last season.

 

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

The Dallas Cowboys had a tough decision to make this past off-season when they had to choose between re-signing DeMarco Murray or Dez Bryant. Considering Murray’s injury riddled past and the short shelf life of running backs in today’s game, Dez Bryant probably was the correct decision. Unfortunately, Dallas did very little to replace DeMarco Murray and I think it will hurt their offense a ton this year. The offensive line is one of the best in football, but another 12-4 season with their current backfield seems very unlikely to me. I see Dallas as a 9-7 team this season.

 

Dez Bryant

 

8. Peyton Manning will retire following the 2015 season

After 18 seasons, 5 MVP awards, the NFL record for most touchdown passes and likely most passing yards, Peyton Manning will call it a career after this upcoming season, and what a career it was. His legacy will forever be somewhat debated because of only having one Super Bowl ring, but only a few quarterbacks at most will be ranked higher than him in the history of the game.

 

9. Aaron Rodgers will win MVP, again

For the third time in his career, and second year in a row, Aaron Rodgers will win the league’s Most Valuable Player award, and deservedly so. He is, in my opinion, the best quarterback in football and is incredibly efficient while having a nearly unbeatable record at home. Last season Rodgers finished with 38 touchdowns to only 5 interceptions. This year I expect much of the same as Rodgers still has Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Davante Adams to throw to, along with Eddie Lacy in the backfield.

 

Aaron Rodgers

 

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

Both Green Bay and Indianapolis lost in the conference championship games a year ago, but both with contrastingly different results. The Packers blew a 12-point with under three minutes left vs the Seattle Seahawks, and wound up losing in overtime after an improbable comeback by Seattle. Green Bay blew numerous opportunities to seal the game including allowing Seattle to recover an onside kick late in the fourth quarter. The Indianapolis Colts were blown out by the eventual Super Bowl champion New England Patriots, but not without controversy. It’s called “Deflategate” and you’re probably just as sick of hearing about it as I am. Unless of course you’re some New England slappy in denial that the legendary Bill Belichick or Tom Terrific would ever do such things to win a football game. This year I think both the Packers and the Colts take the next step and meet in the Super Bowl with MVP Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers winning in another great Super Bowl.

 


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