Biggest Fantasy Busts of 2017

Written by :
Published on : December 14, 2017

 

 

If your fantasy team is still playing that means you made it deep into the playoffs. Congrats. The rest of us are back to the role of spectator. I made the postseason in one of my two leagues and was instantly bounced. It’s been a rough few months for me. But for once, this isn’t about BRUNO ARKADY TYSH. This is about fantasy football. So looking back at the regular season, we can see some interesting trends that may have lead to the doom of your team. These are the biggest fantasy busts of 2017 fantasy football season.

 

Mike Evans WR, Tampa Bay
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This was a top 10 pick in most leagues. Everyone was expecting huge things from him this year. But that production never really came. Not one game over 100 yards and only 4 touchdowns. He had a few great games but for your number one pick you need solid and excellent production and this wasn’t it. Evans also got himself suspended for one game during the year which is another strike against him.

 

Jordan Reed TE, Washington 

Pre-draft, Reed was just after names like Gronk and Kelce in the tight end department but nagging injuries have mostly kept Reed on the sideline. What’s worse is that it looked like Reed was just a step away from returning to his old form. He even teased owners with a 2 touchdown game mid season just to further trick everyone.

 

Eric Decker WR, Tennessee 
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Decker came to the Titans to be a top weapon for Marcus Mariota but the surehanded wideout never really carved out a consistent role. 1 touchdown and only 1 game with more than 4 catches is not even within the shadow of flex play. That’s the definition of a fantasy bust.

 

David Johnson RB, Arizona

It’s hard to get mad at a someone who got hurt but this was the guy and he got hurt in the middle of the first game. The consensus number 1 overall with a major injury right out of the gate. Ouch. Those owner’s odds of making the playoffs went way down immediately.

 

Odell Beckham Jr WR, New York Giants
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Speaking of injuries, we must talk about OBJ. Not all hurt players are busts but when the hype is so high and the player only plays a few games then that pushes it into bust territory. Sorry Odell. Who I took with my first round pick. In the league where I missed the playoffs.

 

Martavis Bryant WR, Pittsburgh

Bryant was supposed to be the number two behind Antonio Brown on a very high scoring offense. That also never really happened. And after a few games of low targets, Bryant seemed unhappy and asked to be traded, then retracted his comments. Also, this was paired with the rise of rookie, Juju Smith-Schuster, who was seeing more and more attention. After only a few weeks, Bryant went from starter to free agent on the waiver wire.

 

Matt Ryan QB, Atlanta
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Look, Ryan is an excellent QB but his stats last year made expectations maybe unrealistically high. But that’s the world of 24 hour news cycle. Matty Ice is currently the 16th highest scoring QB one year after being NFL MVP. That fall is enough of a drop that it lands in bustville. I also have Ryan in my other league, where I lost in the playoffs. Where Ryan got me 9.6 points in the first round.

 

New England D/ST

They are currently the 19th best unit which means not ownable in any format. The selection of a defense isn’t a huge deal but any time you miss on a draft pick is a blown opportunity and somebody drafted the Pats. Fantasy bust.

 

Jay Ajayi RB, Philadelphia
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The day one starter in Miami, had a rough first few weeks, then was traded to Philly’s crowded backfield and looked to be the first option but more mediocre play turned the situation into a time share. On the year, he has only scored 1 rushing TD with plenty of opportunities. Busty bust.

 

Jordan Mathews WR, Buffalo

The Bills moved on from Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods then added Mathews. The thought was Mathews would become the number one option but for many reasons that move never panned out. Womp womp.

 

Kelvin Benjamin WR, Buffalo
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Then the Bills traded for Benjamin, he became the new top receiving threat supplanting Mathews. But shaky QB play didn’t give Kelvin enough touches to truly make an impact. Another big name that didn’t live up to the potential.

 

Donte Moncrief WR, Indianapolis 

There was a time where Donte thrived playing along side T.Y. Hilton in an air attack lead by Andrew Luck. But with Luck out, the luck ran out for Moncrief. His big play ability all but dried up leaving him as a fantasy afterthought.

 

Jameis Winston QB, Tampa Bay
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As mentioned with Mike Evans, the Tampa Bay offense simply isn’t that good this year. Many hoped for much more and were greatly disappointed. 14 touchdowns and 8 interceptions just isn’t enough for a top QB. Better luck next year.

 

These dudes did not pan out and many fantasy owners are still reeling because of it. This all goes to prove a valuable lesson about fantasy football, each season there will be names that you know that fall off and new faces that step up. Championship squads navigate this razor’s edge. Time to start working on next year’s draft board.

 

Bust a move.

 

 


Review of HBO’s 2017 Hard Knocks

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2017

 

HBO’s Hard Knocks is the best lead into the NFL regular season there is. It’s leaps and bounds better than any preseason action. This year, the spotlight turned to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their young star QB, Jameis Winston. The season may be only five episodes but it’s a legit look behind the curtain of the intense drama of NFL training camp. All the cuts, all the fights and all the jokes. Get ready for a lot of cursing and more dancing than you’d expect.

 

The first and last takeaway is that DT Gerald McCoy is hilarious. Like Shaq level comedy. His jokes and personalty jump off the screen. Give this guy a movie already. Plus, he is obsessed with Game of Thrones and hearing his recaps of the episodes are brilliant. The cherry on top is that he helps carry his teammates’ pads at training camp. A chore normally reserved for the hazing of rookies. McCoy just believes in helping out. I’m swooning over here.

 

One of the training camp stories is Riley Bullough, a linebacker from Michigan State. Riley is tough as nails and never shuts up. His heart and leadership is clear. The team honors him with the nickname “Joe Dirt”, mostly because of his long hair and overall WWE style. Riley has the perfect on-the-bubble story of trying to make the team. It’s dramatic and very satisfying.

 

 

Another roster hopeful is WR Bobo Wilson. Bobo has the advantage being former teammates with Jameis Winston back at Florida State. But he is no lock to win the job. Need to watch to fully enjoy the whole arc. Then there’s defense linemen, Chris Baker, who dances with the palm tree. And yes, it’s sexual.

 

Oh and then this one time, Gerald McCoy danced with this tiny little girl who was in the stands at one of the preseason games. It’s in episode four and it’s just the god damn best. Speaking of the best, the rookie show. Which is a part of training camp where all the rookies sing a song for the rest of the team. It’s like a sporting talent show. But if you stink, then they will boo you off stage. Doug Martin danced onto stage and swept the dude away with a broom.

 

Get to the stars already. It’s all about the wide receivers. Most notably, Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson (or D-Jax). They are so cute together. Like the Rock and Kevin Hart. One is real tall and charming, the other is short and charming. A classic comedy duo. Beyond the jokes, this tandem is going to kick ass this season. Jameis should rack up the yards with these two weapons. At the very least, you know some fantasy owners think so. I also drafted D-Jax.

 

 

Hard Knocks ends with the last cuts. AKA the big heartbreak. Head coach Dirk Koetter and his staff handle this meetings with class. A total change from last year with Jeff Fischer and the Rams, where Jeff treated the players like staff of a fast food restaurant.

 

HBO and NFL Films have done it again. They are straight Midas with this football stuff. I hope they make a video about me someday. Maybe when I run my own football team. Getting back on topic, the Bucs look good. Especially in slow mo. Unfortunately, the hurricane in Florida postponed Tampa Bay’s week 1 matchup against the Dolphins. Let’s see if all this hype pays off during the regular season.

 

Buc yeah.

 

 


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

Written by :
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.

 

 


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

 

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : September 23, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

I seem to be developing a pattern of mediocrity as far as it concerns these NFL Picks Against the Spread. It’s like I’m the Bengals or something. With an 8-8 record last week and a 15-16-1 record overall, I just haven’t been able to take that next step. That’s all going to change this week. Now that the identity of these  NFL teams is a little more clear, I’ve got this thing figured out and am sure that these picks are on the money. Sit back, put your feet up, and enjoy these winners.

 

Winning picks in italics

 

Redskins at Giants (-4)Giants

The Giants have now lost 2 games that they should have won and they are going to come out pissed as all hell. The Redskins on the other hand, are going to show that last week was a fluke. Eli goes off and the Giants get their first win, at home, in a big way.

 

Steelers (-1) at Rams: Rams

This is a tough one for me because it’s going to be Le’Veon Bell’s first game back with the Steelers, but I think the Rams defense is going to shine. The home field advantage is going to play a big part here and we are going to see a repeat of what St Louis did when Seattle came to town in week 1.

 

Chargers at Vikings (-2.5): Chargers

The Vikings were lucky to be playing a Lions team last week that seems to have no offensive line whatsoever. They will not be so lucky this week with Phillip Rivers & Co heading the land of 10,000 lakes. Rivers and Keenan Allen will get back on track and cover the spread in what will be a high scoring matchup.

 

Buccaneers at Texans (-6.5): Buccaneers

Can somebody please explain to me how the 0-2 Texans are a 6.5 point favorite? Don’t worry I’ll wait….. Exactly, it makes no sense. Vegas obviously knows something that we don’t (as usual) but regardless I’ll take Jameis and those points all day.

 

Eagles at Jets (-2.5): Jets

The Eagles are a mess. They can’t run the ball and Bradford looks like a fat, steaming pile of dog shit on the field. The Jets, however, look surprisingly good. And they’re at home. Jets FTW.

 

Saints at Panthers (-7.5): Saints

I know Drew Brees is probably about to miss this and perennial bum, Luke McCown, is likely to back him up, but 7.5-points in a division game? I’ve got to go with the Saints here and hope that Sean Payton can dial up some serious magic to keep this one somewhat close.

 

Jaguars at Patriots (-13.5): Jaguars

There’s no way I see the Jaguars having a chance at winning this game straight up, but they did beat the Patriots’ division rivals, the Dolphins, last week. The Pats will go up early and then let their older starters get some rest. That’s when Blake Bortles is going to get some garbage-time TDs and cover this ridiculous 13.5-point spread

 

Bengals at Ravens (-2.5): Ravens

The Bengals have looked damn good so far this season, and the poor Ravens are 0-2, including an embarrassing loss to the Raiders. But this is their home-opener and it happens to be against a division opponent. The Ravens are going to come out fired up and smack the Bengals back down to Earth.

 

Raiders at Browns (-3.5): Browns

The Raiders have some young talent, probably more so than the Browns, but they are on the road and they got lucky last week against the Ravens. This is going to be a real dumpster fire of a game and surely going to piss off both fan bases, but home field rules and Johnny Football gets the win.

 

Colts (-3.5) at Titans: Colts

Andrew Luck has got to get his shit together at some point, right? This is the perfect time to pull his head out of his own ass and lead the Colts to a big win.

 

Falcons (-1.5) at Cowboys: Falcons

If Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were on the field this pick would be different, but the Falcons have actually looked good this year. Brandon Weeden is going to fumble-fuck all over this game and get the Cowboys their first loss.

 

49ers at Cardinals (-6.5): Cardinals

Has Carson Palmer ever even been injured? I mean seriously, he looks amazing out there. The 49ers are headed into a world of pain when they travel to Arizona this week. The Cardinals will get after them early and often, and run them right back to Santa Clara (They don’t actually play in San Francisco anymore).

 

Bears at Seahawks (-14.5): Bears

The Bears were already so bad and now Jimmy Clausen is set to start in Seattle this week. Fans in Chicago should be shitting themselves right about now. The Seahawks haven’t looked great but they are vastly superior to the Bears. That said, just like with the Pats-Jags game, I can’t see past that spread. Call me crazy, but I take those 14.5-points, Matt Forte and the Bears.

 

Bills at Dolphins (-3): Bills

When Ndamukong Suh was with the Lions he was my favorite player. When he left for the Dolphins I was sad but wished him the best. Now I would be lying if I said it didn’t please me just a bit to see that defense under-achieving. The Bills, however, are looking great on defense and seem to have the offense more figured out than I would have thought. I think they win straight up, but if you’re giving me 3, I’m gonna take it without thinking twice.

 

Broncos (-3) at Lions: Broncos

Until they show me otherwise, I give up on the Lions. After seeing what their o-line has looked like against the likes of the Chargers and Vikings, it make me sick to my stomach to think what Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware are going to do to sweet, handsome Matt Stafford. Get your 40 oz ready Lions fans, cuz we might be pouring out a little liquor for our dead quarterback on Monday.

 

Chiefs at Packers (-6.5): Packers

What can I even say about the Packers. It doesn’t matter who they play or how many people on their team get hurt, with Aaron Rodgers all they do is win. And they are at home? So long, Chiefs. The god damned Pack wins again.

 


Last week’s record: 8-8

 

Season record: 15-16-1

 


SBS NFL Picks Against the Spread: Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 17, 2015

 

 

Well, my week 1 for NFL Picks Against the Spread didn’t go quite as well as I had hoped. I came away with 7 wins, 8 losses and 1 push. Which is ok, but I strive for greatness and will use the lessons learned about teams to push up my win percentage this week. There are some nice divisional matchups coming up that are going to make it a little tricky. Surely, there will be some surprises and some upsets, but with a few big underdogs, I’m confident that I’ve got a full helping of winners here for you guys.

 

Winning picks in italics.

 

Broncos at Chiefs (-3): Chiefs

Both of these teams came away with wins last week. The Broncos won at home in underwhelming fashion and the Chiefs won on the road against a disappointing Texans squad. Arrowhead Stadium is one of the hardest places in the league for opposing teams to play, and with Manning’s arm looking about as weak as previously rumored, watch the Chiefs defense to get all over him.

 

Patriots (-1) at Bills: Patriots

Both the Bills and Pats were very strong last week, and the Bills defense neutralized a Colts offense that was one of the most explosive in the league last season. That said, the Patriots are going to continue to play angry and stick it to Roger Goodell, one win at a time. Even though it’s a divisional game and they are on the road in Buffalo, with the Bills only getting 1 point, the Patriots are the right pick.

  

Titans (-1) at Browns: Titans

How about that Marcus Mariota guy? He looked very, very good last week as he led the Titans to a week one win against the top pick of the draft in Tampa Bay. The Browns on the other hand, are looking like they will be as bad as I thought they were going to be. Mariota is going to pick that defense apart and get win number two in Cleveland by a wide margin.

 

Texans at Panthers (-3): Panthers

The Panthers didn’t look great last week, but still managed a 21-9 win on the road in Jacksonville. They welcome a Texans team that lost by 7 on their home field last week. I see the Panthers winning this one with some help from a couple of broken plays that Cam Newton extends with his legs.

 

Cardinals (-1.5) at Bears: Cardinals

The Bears put up a very good fight against the Packers and had a real chance to come away with a huge win last week. Then reality set in, of course. This week they welcome in a Cardinals team that beat the Saints last week, but lost their starting running back in the process. Carson Palmer looked pretty sharp in his first game back from injury and I think he will overcome the 1.5 points being given to the Bears, while passing the ball all over them. Cardinals win.

 

Chargers at Bengals (-3): Bengals

The Chargers had a huge second half last week to overcome a Lions first half 21-3 lead, and get a 33-28 win. While the Bengals destroyed the lowly Raiders for the entirety of the game. Both of these teams are good and will probably be battling each other for a wild-card berth this year. With the Bengals being at home, I think that gives them the advantage and they beat the spread.

 

Lions at Vikings (-3): Detroit

For one half of football, the Lions seemed like they could be one of the best teams in the league, then they were severely out-coached in the second half and lost. They now head to Minnesota and play a team that didn’t look for good for any sustained period against the 49ers. The Lions defense and offensive line will want to prove that they aren’t as bad as they looked in that second half last week.

 

Buccaneers at Saints (-10): Buccaneers

I think the Saints win this one at home straight up. I just can’t resist the urge to take the 10 points that the Bucs are getting here. I think Jameis has a much better game than last week and does enough to keep this one close.

 

Falcons at Giants (-2.5): Giants

The Giants should have won their game last week against the Cowboys, but they at least did enough to cover the spread. They are going to be heartbroken after that division loss last week and are going to come out strong at home against the Falcons. Look for them to win by a touchdown and for Odell Beckham Jr to have a few big plays.

 

49ers at Steelers (-6): 49ers

Neither of these teams looked all that great last week, but the Steelers defense still looks like a work in progress and they remain without Le’veon Bell for one more game. They win straight up but the 49ers keep it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Rams (-3.5) at Redskins: Rams

The Redskins are bad and are going to get murdered by Aaron Donald & Co as that Rams defense gets all over them. Enough said.

 

Ravens (-6) at Raiders: Raiders

The Raiders got a big scare when Derek Carr went down with a hand injury against the Bengals. He was back to fully practicing this week and should be good to go at home against the Ravens. If he wasn’t playing then the Ravens would be the easy pick, but with Carr and Amari Cooper on the field, I think the offense keeps it close enough to cover the spread.

 

Dolphins (-6) at Jaguars: Dolphins

There might be a point sometime soon when the Jaguars are decent, but they clearly aren’t there yet. The Dolphins defense and offense is going to continue to improve, especially against the Jags this week. Add to that the fact that there will probably be more Dolphins fans up in Jacksonville, and it should work out essentially like a home game for the ‘Fins. They are are going to beat them up and run them out of their own stadium.

 

Cowboys at Eagles (-5): Cowboys

The Cowboys had an inspiring comeback win against another division rival at home last week.  This week they travel to Philly to take on an Eagles team that was less than inspiring against the Falcons. This will be another NFC East slugfest that is decided by less than the 5-point spread being offered up by Vegas. Take the Cowboys

 

Seahawks at Packers (-3.5): Seahawks

The Seahawks aren’t getting any favors from the schedule makers by having to travel to St Louis week one and then into Green Bay for week two, but luckily for them, the Packers defense looked pretty awful last week. Look for Marshawn and the Seahawks to keep it very close, even if they don’t pull out the win.

 

Jets at Colts (-7): Jets

Don’t get me wrong, I think the Colts will win this one at home, but it’s another case of me not being able to look past the points being given by Vegas. The Jets looked pretty good against a bad team last week and with a defense that is supposed to be strong, I think it stays close enough for the Jets to be the pick here.

 


Last Week’s Record: 7-8-1

 

Season Record: 7-8-1

 


Champ and Chump of the Weekend

Written by :
Published on : September 16, 2015

 

Fans rejoiced this past weekend as the NFL kicked off its 2015 season. Add in a couple big college football tilts and the U.S. Open in New York, and it made for one jam packed weekend in sports. Week 1 in the NFL had some great story lines and some memorable moments. With that in mind, here’s my Champ and Chump of the weekend.

 

Champ: Marcus Mariota

13-16, 209 yards, 4 touchdowns, 0 turnovers. 95.7 QBR, 158.3 Passer Rating in a 42-14 victory over Tampa Bay

All he does is win.

 

In a much anticipated match up featuring the top two quarterbacks taken in the 2015 NFL draft, and the last two Heisman trophy winners, Marcus Mariota looked a lot more NFL ready than Jameis Winston, who threw a pick-six with his first throw. Many doubted Mariota coming into this season, fearing his style wouldn’t translate to the NFL, a trend that has been true with former Oregon quarterbacks in the past. Through one week, Mariota has silenced his critics for now, and the Jameis supporters have to hope that Winston’s career takes off much like the career of a former legend who also started his NFL career with a pick-six—Brett Favre.

 

Honorable Mention:

Michigan State football- Huge win over #7 Oregon avenging last year’s loss in Eugene

Novak Djokovic- Defeated Roger Federer for the US Open Championship, his 10th career major win

Zack Greinke- Pitched 8 scoreless innings vs Arizona to improve to 17-3 on the season, 1.61 ERA, 0.85 WHIP…truly remarkable season, could go down as one of the best seasons ever.

 

 

Chump: New York Giants

Rashad Jennings summing up how the Giants ended the game.

 

On a play that may be scrutinized as much as the Seattle Seahawks bonehead decision to throw the ball at the 1-yard line in last year’s Super Bowl, Eli Manning left many fans scratching their heads yesterday. The New York Giants were just about to shock the defending division champion Dallas Cowboys Sunday night when Eli Manning and company did the seemingly unthinkable. Up 23-20, the Giants had a 3rd and goal at the Cowboy’s 1-yard line with just over 90 seconds left. Out of timeouts, Dallas had no way of stopping the clock. The Giants had them on their heels, all they had to do was punch it in. Hell, they had two chances if they wanted.  Worst case scenario, they come up short on 3rd down and kick the field goal to go up 6 and leave Dallas with under a minute and no timeouts to drive for a touchdown. Another scenario, on a potential fourth down, if the Giants came up short, Dallas would have to go some 99 yards without any timeouts for a touchdown, or some 60 yards for a field goal try with like 45 seconds left. Instead, on 3rd and 1, Eli dropped back to throw, and threw the ball away avoiding the pressure, but ultimately also avoiding the 40 second runoff that may have helped win New York the game. To make matters worse, it has been reported Eli told running back Rashad Jennings to intentionally not score with the hopes of draining the clock. Well, the G-Men may not have won the game but they did win the award for chump of the week.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Adam “Pac Man” Jones- Flagged and fined for slamming Oakland Raider Amari Cooper’s head into his helmet

Florida football coach Jim McElwain- Childish tirade on the sidelines while berating a player

Detroit Lions/Offensive Coordinator Joe Lombardi- After leading 21-3 at San Diego, the Lions

gave up 30 unanswered points and lost 33-28. Calvin Johnson targeted just 4 times (2 catches)

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC South

Written by :
Published on : September 11, 2015

 

Ah the NFC South, the only division where you can make the playoffs without a winning record. It was a wacky scene last year, and I don’t see it getting any less wacky with a young Saints crew deep in reconstruction, a Falcons team with a potentially explosive offense (which they’ll need considering their defense), a tantalizingly improved Buccaneers gang, and a Panthers team flirting with a serious drop in production.

 

Listen up you weisenheimer, the ball’s got some crass opinions to share…

 

New Orleans Saints:
 photo neworleanssaints_zpsi3uqpgml.jpg

 

I’ve got a lot of affection for the Saints, but the team has changed so drastically in such a short amount of time that they’re nearly unrecognizable. The Junior Galette debacle was a costly embarrassment, and I’m not fully convinced that C.J. Spiller will be successful even if he seems like a great fit in Nola’s offensive system. It’s not all bad news of course. Having a young team means that some guys are going to inevitably crawl out of the woodwork and become big playmakers. Drew Brees still has some great options to throw to: Marques Colston will remain a solid end-zone threat and will be perfect for those third-and-short surprise pass plays. I also love how Brandin Cooks has emerged as Drew’s go-to receiver. I expect great things from him this season.

 

From the coaching perspective, I think Sean Peyton is one of the best in the league, even if that signature visor makes him look like a white-boy rave DJ from the Wisconsin suburbs of the late 90’s. This is also going to be a terribly important season for Rob Ryan as defensive coordinator. All the wild, free flowing, blonde hair isn’t going to help him keep his job if the Saints defense crumbles under injuries and inexperience.

 

The crystal ball says:

Rebuilding. Rebuilding. Rebuilding. Even if a passel of these young players emerge as studs, it’s still going to take a bit of work getting everyone on the same page. Jimmy Graham’s loss is definitely going to hurt, as is the absence of some of the defensive vets (due to injury), like Jairus Byrd. The Saints don’t make the playoffs this year, but Rob Ryan keeps his job and lives to fight another day.

 

Atlanta Falcons:
 photo atlantafalcons_zpsnhsgpfyx.jpg

 

Deflategate was an interesting litmus test for a league that sometimes struggles with its successes in the face of scandal. I was a little shocked that more attention wasn’t paid to the story of the Atlanta Falcons pumping extra volume into their arena to mess with the other team. In my mind this is way more egregious than the PSI of a football in terms of actual game outcome, so I’m quite comfortable labeling the Falcons as cheaters right from the get-go.

 

What happened to Atlanta anyway? Seems like just a couple years ago they were poised to make a serious Super Bowl run. Certainly a decaying running game and the retirement of Tony Gonzalez were big factors, but this is also a team that’s had some defensive deficiencies for some time now. Maybe that changes with Vic Beasley starting the season as a rookie DE, but I’m not holding my breath. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones are definitely going to create some offensive fireworks together along with Roddy White thrown in for good measure, but like many other middling teams, there’s only so much you can hope for with this current group.

 

The crystal ball says:

Dan Quinn is coming into a tough situation as a first time head coach, and while I respect his WWE wrestler look, I don’t think we can expect a whole lot outta Hotlanta this season. On the plus side, it’s a very weak division with a once dominant Saints team regrouping. So the Falcons have a shot at doing well within the NFC South, but personally, I still like the Panthers for the division, making a wild card slot highly unlikely for the dirty birds. We’re going to see plenty of beautiful highlights from Matt Ryan and company in game recaps next to losing scores.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
 photo tampabaybuccaneers_zpsduqwerej.jpg

 

Lovie Smith is not to be trifled with even if he does have a habit of making willfully bad decisions and betting on the wrong horse. I like his reworking of the Bucs and with Jameis Winston we might finally have a team on our hands. Vincent Jackson is a mammoth-sized receiver, and the perfect type of guy for a talented young QB to pitch to. There is this nagging sense however that Mike Glennon wasn’t exactly the worst QB ever, so really how much better can Jameis Winston make this team?

 

As far as Winston is concerned, he could be golden in the NFL as long as he can keep his off-field extracurriculars in check. We’ve seen plenty of dudes who are prone to bad behavior wreck themselves in the NFL. Hell, guys who aren’t prone to bad behavior land in hot water too. The Winston pick was a hopeful gamble and I hope he keeps it together long enough to play. On the other side of the ball, Tampa Bay does have a pretty solid defense despite what last year’s stats might suggest. That D is only going to get better with the addition of George Johnson who had a great last season with the Lions. Like the Falcons, this is another club that has problems with the run game, but I’m not totally ready to give up on Doug Martin. Sure, he’s not going to light up your fantasy scoreboard, but I think the muscle hamster (worst nickname ever) can provide an adequate run game to bolster Winston’s arm.

 

The crystal ball says:

It’s so tempting to imagine the Buccaneers popping off. I do think they make some huge strides. Winston will behave, at least for his rookie year, but watch out for the offseason and the following one. I see steady improvement all around as Lovie Smith gets his hooks deeper in the team and Winston settles in. At first the crystal ball was telling me that the Bucs had a good chance to make the playoffs but then she admitted that she had been drinking too much white zin the night before. The Bucs have a good shot at a .500 season, and at this point, that’s almost as good as making the playoffs.

 

Carolina Panthers:
 photo caronlianpanthers_zps1ptd7kr7.jpg

 

No Kelvin Benjamin. Yeah, Aaron Rodgers can survive without Jordy Nelson, no sweat, but Cam Newton is going to have a really hard time without his number one receiver. Greg Olson can only catch so many; and how much can really be expected from Ted Ginn Jr. and Stephen Hill? There’s a lot of talk about the Panthers running the ball more, but if they don’t throw it enough that will prevent Cam from running, which is arguably his greatest asset. Look, Superman ain’t exactly known for his arm accuracy. I think Jonathan Stewart has some promise in the backfield, old as he is, and let’s not forget that Carolina has a strong defense. I can’t pronounce the dude’s name right but I can’t wait to see some of those big tackles Luke Kuechly is bound to make. Say it with me now… “Keek-Ly.”

 

He obviously doesn’t see it this way but I think this will be a great chance for Ron Rivera to show off his chops as head coach. “Riverboat Ron” is working in a division that will be up for grabs all season, and will likely be emboldened to make some risky player decisions based on that. He’s shown in the past that he has the balls to go for it on fourth and short, and he’s going to need all that chutzpah with a diminished offense and a quarterback just starting to show signs of decline.

 

The crystal ball says:

This is Carolina’s division to lose. The Falcons will do well statistically but aren’t a major contender. The Saints are sidelined in rebuilding, and the Bucs might just be nipping at their heels. My sweetly murky crystal ball still sees Carolina as the strongest group in the bunch mostly thanks to a stout defensive backbone and an offense that’s not afraid to be unorthodox. I think they make the playoffs and are once again promptly eliminated in the first round.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: AFC West

Written by :
Published on : September 5, 2015

 

This season’s AFC West promises a grueling divisional battle between a Broncos team that may be on the decline and a solidly improved Chiefs defense. Meanwhile, Oakland is looking for a new start with a potentially impressive QB/WR connection, and though you shouldn’t sleep on the San Diego Chargers, you know you will anyway.

 

Let yourself go as we gaze into this hazy quartz sphere…

 

Oakland Raiders:

 photo oaklandraiders copy_zpshxurehnc.jpg

 

Who do you like better as a second year quarterback in a hurting franchise, Blake Bortles or Derek Carr? It’s a trick question. They’re both promising, and they’ve both got a long way to go. I think Carr has the edge at the moment due to having Amari Cooper as a target. I try not to get too excited about any draft prospect before I see them in the regular season (which has been nearly impossible with Marcus Mariota and Jameis Winston on hand in the preseason), but with Cooper it’s hard not to think that the Raiders made a wise decision.

As far as the coaching switch-up goes, it’s tough to get too excited about Jack Del Rio. That said, it can’t get any worse than Dennis Allen’s attempt to bring Oakland back from the brink. The dude tried, and it just didn’t work. It does help to have a guy like Justin Tuck in the locker room though. Sure his production has declined pretty significantly from his glory days in New York, but you’ve got to imagine he’s worth the contract for his ability to mentor the younger guys.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

As with so many other teams on the lower rungs of the NFL’s ladder, this one has some new talent that it needs to mold properly in order to start winning. This is the definition of a building season, and the Raiders are once again destined to remain at the bottom of the AFC West, even if Del Rio’s strategies take hold. At least we get some new Khalil Mack highlights.

 

Denver Broncos:

 photo denverbroncos_zpsj9y7wmvl.jpg

 

The NFL’s eternal bridesmaids return this season with some elephant-in-the-room-questions regarding Peyton’s continued high level of production, his health, and his age. These are questions worth asking but I don’t see Manning losing much steam this season. He’ll remain a class-A quarterback, but what about next season? What about the season after that? There’s gonna come a day (sometime soon) when Manning’s going to have to hang up the cleats, giving up the game he loves in favor of pursuing his other passion: endorsements.

I’m also a little concerned about the departure of John Fox. I know Kubiak has a history with the franchise but it’s not like the Broncos exactly suffered under Fox’s reign. Sure, there was an embarrassing Super Bowl drubbing at the hands of the Seahawks, but I find it hard to give up on a top tier coach for one loss, even if it is in THE game. Hey, remember when Danny Trevathan dropped the ball before the end zone on a guaranteed pick-six against Baltimore in the 2013 season, resulting in an automatic touchback? I started paying attention to him after that mostly because of schadenfreude, but was soon impressed by how good a player he actually is. I love that defense in Denver. They’re as fun and dynamic as the offense is methodical and boring.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

A strong season will be marred by a few hiccups in adjusting to Kubiak’s return. It’s a strong possibility Denver doesn’t make the playoffs, which will cause that overly earnest fan-base to go apoplectic. This is a team currently in decline, even if that decline is almost imperceptibly gradual.

 

San Diego Chargers:

 photo sandiegochargers_zpsjys5xbok.jpg

 

The Chargers are a weird team because they’re sort of a non-factor when you look at the league as a whole. It’s strange because they aren’t a “bad” team, and they usually finish the season with an over .500 record, or something close to it. The Chargers are also a team for which that hoary old “any given Sunday” adage was invented for: it doesn’t matter how good you are, you can’t take the Chargers for granted. It’s not entirely surprising when they make the playoffs, and it’s even less so when they don’t, but something is missing here. For all of Phil Rivers’ manic facial expressions and gnashing of teeth, this is a team that seems to suffer strongest from a lack of heart. They’re the vanilla pudding of the NFL: good, but unremarkable.

Rivers is the rock here and his contract extension was much deserved, but it seems like he’s got an ever shrinking coterie of talented receivers to throw to, and all the while the running game has remained stagnant. Gates does a great job bucking body image norms (even in the position of tight end), but his age is going to lead to a drop in production that I think we’ve already seen a preview of. There’s a bad stereotypical comparison to make with the SoCal locale they play out of, with a relaxed and lackadaisical attitude. Obviously the players and coaching staff don’t feel that way, but looking in from the outside, it’s hard to believe that this is a club with a strong work ethic or culture.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

Rivers will be reliable as ever, but he can only do so much. The run game continues to struggle and the Chargers win just enough games to satisfy fans with another .500 or over season. Keep an eye on that defense though, they’re good and they may start to develop the kind of identity this team sorely needs.

 

Kansas City Chiefs:

 photo kcchiefs_zps56nfs0dy.jpg

 

I love Andy Reid and I don’t care who knows it. I love his comeback with the Chiefs after leaving Philadelphia, bruised, broken, and disgraced. Along with Reid, we’ve got another guy with something to prove in QB Alex Smith. He was let go by the ‘Niners, despite playing quite well, in favor of a shinier new model (though I’m guessing plenty of 49ers fans would be happy to have Smith back over Kap at this point). Justin Houston turns an already great d-line into arguably the league’s most terrifying and amped up pass rush. While it’s certainly not the best look to call yourself “the LeBron James of the NFL,” Jamaal Charles’ point is well taken in that he is one of the NFL’s premier running backs. C’mon Jamaal, let’s not forget that LeBron’s favorite athlete is Calvin Johnson!

There are some potential concerns here with a lack of big play receivers, and Charles was hung up with some injuries last season. For a team that doesn’t throw many touchdowns, I’m curious to see if Maclin will be used as a deep threat option, modifying the Chiefs’ game-plan somewhat.

 

The crystal ball says:

 

I think the division goes to the Chiefs this year. It’s going to be a tooth and nail street fight with Denver, and it’s going to get nasty. Even if the Broncos do edge them out of divisional champ status, they definitely still make the playoffs in the wildcard spot. The defensive front continues to dominate and the offense grounds, pounds, and stays consistently productive.

 


Fantasy Football Saints, Sinners and Sleepers: QB Edition

Written by :
Published on : August 15, 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 first installment of Saints, Sinners and Sleepers will explore the quarterback 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

Number 12 will be giving opposing defenses trouble once again this season.

 

Aaron Rodgers– The best quarterback in the NFL is also your best option in fantasy football this year. He and Andrew Luck are just about neck and neck, but Rodgers is much more of a proven commodity. He has been slinging the pig skin with pinpoint accuracy for years now, and doesn’t look to be slowing down. Despite some nagging injuries last season he managed to throw for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns. He can make plays on the ground as well as through the air, and with a running game led by Eddie Lacy, he’ll have less pressure on him and more defenders in the box than in recent years, which should translate to some big play opportunities. He is a perhaps the biggest saint among QBs in the world of fantasy football and can do no wrong this year if he is your starting quarterback.

 

Andrew Luck- The football chucking ogre in Indy will be carrying his team once again this year and that means lots of yards through the air and touchdowns. In the last few seasons, the Colts have left a lot to be desired in the areas of running game and defense, and this year doesn’t seem to be any different. Hoping that an over the hill Frank Gore can resurrect the ground game seems like a long shot and they just didn’t add enough pieces to improve a bad defense. Once again, the Colts will be trying to hang 50 points a game and outscore their opponents. For owners charmed enough to land Luck this is great news and there’s no reason he can’t come close to the 4,791 passing yards and 40 touchdowns he racked up last season. He is still a very young saint with room to improve on his already very good numbers. If he is still available in the end of the first round then draft him.

 

Ben Roethlisberger- The Steel City has been fortunate to have Big Ben as their quarterback for the last decade. He has helped them win two Super Bowls, and is coming off of his best season yet, statistically speaking. His 67.1 completion percentage, 4,952 yards and 32 touchdowns were all high points in an already impressive career. Oh yeah, he also has arguably the best receiver in the game, Antonio Brown. These two are just hitting stride together and should be a potent combination for years to come.  If that wasn’t scary enough, Le’veon Bell will back after he serves his two game suspension and will have defenses stacking the box and leaving plenty of room for Ben to work miracles. The offense in Pittsburgh is going to score a ton of points, and if Ben Roethlisberger can stay healthy he will be a true saint as your fantasy football QB, helping you win it all.

 

Sinners

Expect more of this if Ej Manuel takes the field for the Bills.

 

Whoever starts in Buffalo- Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel or Tyrod Taylor; it’s all garbage. The three QBs combined for an astounding 1,263 yards, 8 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last season. Compound their collective ineptitude with new head coach, Rex Ryan, who is notorious for staunch defense, strong running game and terrible quarterback play, and you have a recipe for an awful passing attack. I don’t think this really warrants further explanation, but they are bound to live up to their reputations as bums. No matter who wins the starting job, they are sinners and should be banished to the depths of fantasy football hell. Should you be unfortunate (or stupid) enough to end up with them on your roster, don’t say you weren’t warned, and may God have mercy on your soul.

 

Whoever starts in Houston- When Arian Foster went down with a gruesome groin injury in the opening days of training camp, life got considerably harder for whichever QB comes out on top. The two guys vying for the starting job are Brian Hoyer and Ryan Mallett, and neither of them should have fans down in Houston very excited. Mallett passed for 400 yards, 2 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in three games with the Texans last year. Hoyer actually gave fans up in Cleveland a fleeting moment of hope last season, only to collapse in the second half of the season and finish with 3,326 yard, 12 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. Without their starting running back to keep opposing defenses occupied, you can be sure that both of these guys will see the field at some point, and will perform poorly when they do. DeAndre Hopkins can only do so much to cleanse these sinners and mask their deficiencies. Avoid them at all costs.

 

Whoever starts in Cleveland- This committee thing is becoming a common theme for the QB sinners, but hear me out. Gone are Brian Hoyer, a troubled but talented Josh Gordon and pass-catching TE Jordan Cameron, and in their place are Josh McCown, Brian Hartline and Dwayne Bowe. None of these names are scaring anyone and the fact of the matter is that Josh McCown and his competition, Johnny Manziel, combined for 2,381 yards, 11 touchdowns and 16 interceptions last year (Manziel contributed zero touchdowns to that total). Neither of these guys have ever given the indication that they were any good at the pro level. If you draft either of these sinners you are either desperate or crazy, and guaranteed to a fantasy football season full of pain and despair.

 

Sleepers

The number 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft will be putting up some numbers this year.

 

Jameis Winston- It’s never all that smart to put your faith in a rookie QB in fantasy football, but you could do a lot worse than former Heisman winner and national champion, Jameis Winston. Having two stud wide receivers, in Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson, to help ease the transition to the big leagues doesn’t hurt either. There will be interceptions for sure, but look for Winston’s talent to shine through often. Leading to good numbers in his first season under center in Tampa Bay.

 

Matt Stafford- It’s hard to consider Matt Stafford a sleeper at this point considering the fact that he has put up some very big numbers at times. Passing yards have always been fairly easy for Mr. Stafford but he has been inconsistent and had issues with interceptions at various points throughout his career. That changed last year with the arrival of head coach Jim Caldwell, and Stafford threw the fewest interceptions in any of his seasons as a full time starter. Stafford was much more careful than in years past and even seemed to be going against his gunslinger instincts. As a result, touchdowns were down along with interceptions. Look for Caldwell to give his young QB a longer leash and allow him to sling the ball downfield to the bevy of weapons at his disposal this year.

 

Derek Carr- The young quarterback in Oakland did an admirable job in his debut season for a Raiders team that was not very good, passing for 3,270 yards and 21 touchdowns. With the addition of Amari Cooper, look for Derek Carr to improve vastly over the course of the 2015 season. Cooper is a game changer and will be an easy target for Carr, and I see them connecting for at least 12 touchdowns this season. Opposing secondaries will learn very quickly that they must key in on the rookie wide receiver out of Alabama, leaving Carr plenty of opportunities to spread the ball around, and build on a strong rookie campaign.

 


FANTASY FOOTBALL: Impact Rookies

Written by :
Published on : July 25, 2015

 

Fantasy football is right around the corner, and with that the possibility of being crowned champion of your league. The pride and glory that come along with reaching the mountaintop and beating your friends and enemies at the game of fantasy football is something that not every one gets to experience, but if you’ve done it you know how thrilling it can be. Aside from the possible monetary benefits of winning, the year long bragging rights are more than enough to make every team owner want to field the best team possible. Nothing beats rubbing your victory in other people’s faces.

 

One of the more challenging parts of choosing which players are going to make the roster of your fantasy team every year is deciding which rookies to select in the draft, and which to shy away from. It’s always a difficult choice because it is impossible to know just how their college game is going to transfer to the big leagues. With that said, I’ve compiled a list of some rookies that are sure to have a positive impact in fantasy football this year.

 

Jameis Winston

 

It only seemed right to include the number one overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft as the first impact rookie. It’s obvious that he has an attitude and maturity problem and there’s a good chance that will come back to haunt him on the field at some point, but the fact is that this kid can straight up play football. He will start from day one and with the skill position players that he has around him in Mike Evans, Vincent Jackson and Austin Seferian-Jenkins he is sure to throw for some touchdowns this year.

 

Now don’t get me wrong, he is still a rookie quarterback and will surely have his struggles and interceptions, but he will be playing and will certainly put up numbers. It would be stupid to pencil him in as your starter but he could be a very good backup to have on your bench for the bye-week or should your starter go down with an injury.

 

Marcus Mariota

 

Mariota was selected just behind Winston at number two in this year’s draft and the main reason for his being on this list is somewhat similar to that of Winston. Simply put, he will be on the field from the get go this year, and as a quarterback that means he will have an impact. Unlike Winston, his supporting cast is not all that good, which means he is going to be doing a lot more of the work with his feet.

Where Winston has the edge as a passer, Mariota is far more athletic running the ball. He is going to improvise his way to success this year, especially since the offensive line down in Tennessee is probably going to have pass rushers collapsing the pocket for their rookie quarterback more often than not. Similar to Winston, he will be a good backup QB this year in case the worst happens to your starter.

 

Amari Cooper

 

Taken number four overall by the Oakland Raiders, Amari Cooper was the first wide receiver taken in the draft this year, and for good reason. He was a Heisman Trophy finalist last year and finished his three-year career at Alabama with 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns. He is going to benefit from playing with Derek Carr, who broke franchise rookie records for passing attempts and completion percentage last year.

 

Considering the Raiders best options at running back seem to be Latavius Murray and the corpse of Trent Richardson, it’s safe to say they are going to be chucking the ball in the air just as much as last year. Having Amari Cooper as your number two wide receiver seems like a pretty safe bet this year.

 

Ameer Abdullah

 

Ameer Abdullah was selected in the second round by the Lions this year after using their first round pick on offensive guard Laken Tomlinson, who will surely help Abdullah flourish this year by paving the way in front of the shifty running back.  He put up a gaudy 4,588 rushing yards and 39 touchdowns during his four years at Nebraska and while his receiving numbers weren’t very high, that seems to have been an issue with the offense they ran, not his skill set.

 

The Lions still have Joique Bell on the team which means that Abdullah will be sharing the spotlight, but Bell is also coming off of a couple of offseason surgeries that will seemingly give Abdullah the chance to make his mark in training camp. I would watch how he does in camp but Ameer Abdullah should be a very viable option at running back in the 2015 fantasy football season.

 

 

 

 

 


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