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.

 

 


Blackout Bruno’s NFL Picks for Super Bowl 51

Written by :
Published on : February 2, 2017

 

 

The stage is all set for Super Bowl 51. Once again, the New England Patriots will head back to the biggest game in football with the hopes of adding even more to their wall of fame. While the Atlanta Falcons are only in their second SB ever and they are seeking their first win. I went 1-1 in the Conference Championship games. I had the Packers beating the Falcons but I’ll gladly take the loss in my silly picks record if it means Aaron Rodgers’ season is over. So far in the playoffs, my record is 7-3. Only one guess left. Let’s blend a pitcher of margaritas and dive into the NFL’s premiere event. Here is my pick for the Super Bowl.

 

New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons

As I’ve done all year, the picks are about who I think is going to win, not who I like. Those two things rarely line up. I don’t dislike New England, in fact I like Tom Brady but I’m just so tired of seeing them win. I’m rooting for Atlanta all the way, I very much hope they win. It’s better for the game if some new teams bring home the Lombardi Trophy.

 

 

I loved the way the Falcons dismantled the Packers. They did it so soundly and completely, it was a work of art. Matt Ryan to Julio Jones seems like the most dangerous combo around. Plus the way running backs Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman both catch and run, allows Atlanta to keep drives moving. Which normally leads to lots of points. The Falcons are an indoor team and they will enjoy the dome in Houston and look to keep up their blistering pace on offense. On defense, they have played some solid bend don’t break football and seem to generate enough turnovers to close out games. This is looking like it could be an epic Super Bowl 51.

 

On the New England side of the conversation, it’s just hard to bet against them. They are so modular and they do exactly what they need to. Every time. In many ways, Matt Ryan and company have copied some of the way the Pats move the chains. The use of the versatile backs to spread out the defense to later attack down field. Nothing super revolutionary, but these are squads executing it perfectly. Looking at the offensive roster, I’d give the talent edge to Atlanta but that doesn’t mean anything because Tom Brady can beat you with anyone. He’ll make WR Chris Hogan look like a Hall of Famer if he needs to.

 

 

Looking head-to-head, it seems fairly evenly matched. And if that’s the case then I have to say Patriots. They have the experience, they know what it takes to win a Super Bowl and if they get the ball at the end of the game, look for some vintage Brady as he leads his troops down for the game-winning score.

Winner: New England

 

Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait for the big showdown in Houston but it always comes with just a hint of sadness. This is because I know the NFL season is over and football will go into hibernation until it’s time for the draft. So enjoy the Super Bowl and let’s pray it’s a close contest. Don’t forget the guacamole either.

 

Parade.

 

 


Roger Goodell has got to be pissed

Written by :
Published on : January 24, 2017

 

 

The New England Patriots are heading back to yet another Super Bowl. Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and their band of misfits will play the Matt Ryan-led Atlant Falcons on Sunday, February 5th in Super Bowl LI. By now, everyone outside of New England and the extended fanbase has to be tired of seeing this team play for the Lombardi trophy. I know I am. But there’s one person out there who has to be more sickened by this than anyone else. And that person is NFL commissioner, Roger Goodell.

 

When Goodell handed all-century QB, Tom Brady a four-game suspension for under-inflated footballs it was clear that Goodell had it out for Brady. A ridiculously heavy-handed punishment for such a seemingly minor infraction to be sure. The entire deflategate scandal also cost the Patriots their 2016 first round and 2017 fourth round draft picks, making it clear that Goodell’s witch hunt also extended to the franchise. If it’s true that Goodell had made a point of harming the New England Patriots as an organization – and it seems clear that it was his intention – then he has to be furious at the fact that they are headed for the Super Bowl, despite being without their best player for the first quarter of the season.

 

 

It must make Goodell even more furious to know how badly the Patriots and their fans want to embarrass him. The NFL commissioner made it a point to avoid viewing a Patriots’ game in person during the NFL playoffs, opting instead to attend two games in a row at the Georgia Dome. And the fans in New England took note. Multiple times during the Patriots 36-17 thrashing of the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship, the crowd in Foxborough called out the NFL commissioner by name with chants of “where’s Roger?” and “Roger,Roger.”

 

Everyone in New England wants to see Roger Goodell suffer through having to hand the Super Bowl trophy over to the Patriots. And rightfully so. After all, he did put that franchise and their fans through months of hell while dealing with such a stupid scandal. Even better, if Goodell does end up having to hand over the championship trophy to the Patriots there’s a good chance that he will have to hand over the MVP trophy to Tom Brady himself. Wouldn’t that be sweet? I can just see the look on his stupid face right now.

 

 

Honestly, I hope that the Atlanta Falcons are able to pull out the victory in Houston. Their offense is down right amazing and as I said before, we’re all tired of seeing New England win all the time. But that high-flying Atlanta offense has yet to see a real test in the playoffs. The Seattle team they played at home is awful when playing on the road and the Packers team that they dismantled in the NFC Championship was deeply flawed on defense. This will be a whole new ball game for the Falcons and it won’t be clear if they are up the task until the big game gets underway.

 

Should the expected come to pass and New England wins Super Bowl LI, we can all take solace in the fact that no one will be more upset about it than Roger Goodell. As much as people dislike Tom Brady, Bill Belichick and the Patriots, people dislike the commissioner more. So no matter who is rooting for who, we are all rooting to see Goodell squirm. And there’s a good chance that we will get to see it. The Patriots are going to the Super Bowl, and there’s no way Goodell can hide from that.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon Divisional Playoffs: Matt Ryan Finds Devonta Freeman For Huge Gain

Written by :
Published on : January 18, 2017

 

Welcome back to Roger Pretzel’s Haunted Dungeon. In this spooky sanctum, I’ve poured over all the replay tape to come up with my favorite NFL play of the week. Then it’s straight back to the projector to unspool a film you may have not been aware of…

 

The lights have dimmed, the knives are sharpened, and horrors lurk amongst the shadows.

 

Divisional Playoffs: Matt Ryan to Devonta Freeman For Huge Gain

Enough with the heartbreaker history spiel: it looks like the Falcons have finally become the real deal. And while it sounds a bit crazy, I’m actually favoring them over the Pack for Sunday’s NFC championship tilt. They’re Super Bowl worthy when the defense steps up and we all know what this offense can do…

 

Two times on this play Seattle’s defense ends up chasing ghosts with a blitz attempt in which Matt Ryan drops back expertly and releases the ball off a back-foot throw while under respectable pressure from three Seattle linemen. When I saw the play live, I thought “Matty Ice” had gotten lucky on an ugly throw, but seen in replay that ball looks downright gorgeous.

 

After the catch, Freeman loses Bobby Wagner and cuts, causing safety Steven Terrell to lose his footing. The Falcons star back resembles a steam locomotive off the rails as he careens downfield with a burned Seattle secondary in hot pursuit. It’s actually a bit impressive that Kam Chancellor and DeAndre Elliott were able to catch up to him and prevent the TD. Do Atlanta fans dare get their hopes up? That’s for them to decide, but this was certainly a decisive victory.

 

Divisional Playoffs: The Green Slime

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Director: Kinji Fukasaku
Released: 1968

 

In this tantalizingly titled offering, east meets west in a joint effort by Metro Goldwyn-Mayer and Japanese studio, The Toei Company. Directed by Kinji Fukasaku, who is best known today for The Hunger Games predictor Battle Royale (2000), and the Battles Without Honor and Humanity series, in which Yakuza gangsters fight it out down and dirty in a postwar Hiroshima. The film was shot with a predominantly Japanese crew and American and European cast.

 

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This unusual historical collaboration is nothing compared to how strange the picture is, however. While there’s plenty of corn to be had with the intended demographic solidly resting with the kiddie-matinee crowd, this is far from your average penny-pinching sci-fi cheapie. There’s lots of Japanese styled miniature special effects, some truly trippy extra-terrestrial habitats, and a whole gang of rubber-suited monsters.

 

Amusingly enough, the plot itself is somewhat similar to Alien (1979) with the titular menace becoming an unknown stowaway on an interstellar aircraft that grows and mutates into a horde of crimson-eyed Cyclops, with wildly waving tentacles that shoot lasers. Certainly a little different aesthetically from H.R. Giger’s sleek and horrific creature design, but just as malevolent.

 

Screen Shot 2017-01-16 at 6.57.26 PM copy

 

It should go without saying that the visuals and frenzied tone are The Green Slime’s real charms but the just-adequate acting and hoary old love triangle plot add just enough human interest to keep one engaged in the haggard Troy McClure-esque alpha males duking it out over the leading lady.

 

The manic balls-to-the-wall zaniness of the picture is also amplified by a groovy theme song courtesy of Richard Delvy, in a tune that’s equal parts, catchy, fun, and terrible.

 

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Dig that slimy trailer:

 

Your new favorite B-flick theme song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JkFalUlcWY

 

Full movie (cropped) here. DVDs available on Amazon.

 

 


Who are the 2015 Atlanta Falcons of this year?

Written by :
Published on : November 4, 2016

 

 

We all remember the 2015 Atlanta Falcons don’t we? They jumped out of the gates last season to start with a 5-0 record. They looked to be the class of the NFC South and of the conference overall. Hopes were high in Atlanta and it had people talking about them winning the division before the season had even hit its half way mark. They had a new head coach in former Seahawks defensive coordinator, Dan Quinn. And had as electrifying a quarterback/receiver combo as anyone in the league with Matt Ryan and Julio Jones. On the surface, they seemed to have everything it takes to win the conference and play for the Lombardi Trophy.

 

Then it all came crashing down.

 

After being undefeated through the first five weeks of the 2015 season, the Falcons would go on to finish 8-8 and 2nd in the NFC South to the Carolina Panthers, who would eventually go to the Super Bowl. They got exposed as being too one-dimensional on offense by relying solely on the talents of Ryan and Jones to carry the team. The defense was sub-par, despite it being the specialty of the head coach, and there just weren’t enough pieces to keep winning consistently.

 

This was how the second half of the 2015 season felt for the Atlanta Falcons.

 

In 2016, there are multiple teams that are sitting pretty at the half way point. The New England Patriots (7-1) are in a league of their own, as usual. In Dallas, the Cowboys (6-1) are riding a potent offensive attack led by two rookie of the year candidates. The reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos (6-2) are in good position thanks to their defense and running game (sound familiar?), despite having an untested QB at the helm. These teams are, for the most part, balanced and capable of winning on any given day. They are headed to the playoffs.

 

There are two other teams that have only two losses that aren’t doing things quite as convincingly though. The Oakland Raiders (6-2) and the Minnesota Vikings (5-2) are both deeply flawed teams that seem to be on the verge of getting exposed. Let’s take a look at both squads and see which of them is destined to be this year’s 2015 Atlanta Falcons by falling flat on their faces in the second half of the season.

 

Oakland Raiders

The Oakland Raiders sit at 6-2 almost completely on the back of their offense and their risk-taking head coach. They’ve had the good fortune of playing mostly middle of the pack teams (Saints, Titans, Ravens, Chargers, Buccaneers) and one bad team (Jaguars). They’ve beaten all of those squads. The surefire sign of a good football team is that they beat the teams they are supposed to beat. The two teams they’ve lost to are this year’s Falcons (5-3 and much improved over last year with one of the most prolific offenses in football) and the Kansas City Chiefs (5-2). Both of these teams pretty good so you can’t really fault them for dropping a couple to top competition.

 

In short, the Raiders are getting the job done, if not always in convincing fashion. It took a ballsy as hell 2-point conversion to win the game with 47 seconds on the clock instead of heading to overtime in New Orleans in week 1. Let us also not forget the 513 yard effort from QB Derek Carr and the equally ballsy touchdown pass on 4th down with 1:45 left to play in overtime. This likely helped the NFL avoid yet another tie game. The Raiders also committed an NFL-record 23 penalties for 200 yards. When you figure those two very unconvincing wins against two of the NFL’s worse teams and the rest of their wins came by an average of 7 points, it’s easy to see that this team has some issues.

 

 Can the Raiders survive on the strength of Derek Carr’s arm and the size of Jack Del Rio’s balls alone?

 

The most glaring issues are penalties, which reared its head in a big way in week 8, and the play of the defense. The Oakland Raiders are at the bottom, or near the bottom, in all categories that relate to both of those things. Coach Jack Del Rio has the offense all figured out. The Raiders can put up points with most teams in the league, but if they don’t get these other issues figured out then this team could very well end up like the 2015 Atlanta Falcons, on the outside of the playoffs looking in.

 

Luckily for fans of the team, both of these things can be corrected, especially the penalties. That’s simply coaching and practice. This team HAS to get more disciplined if they want this run to continue and it’s totally within the realm of possibility. A bit more tricky will be improving a defense which ranks at or near the bottom of the league in points allowed per game and yards allowed per game. But there is hope. The star of the defense, Khalil Mack, is finally starting to put it together. He posted a 2 sack, 7 tackle, 4 qb pressure, 1 forced fumble stat line in the week 8 win over the Bucs. The defense also allowed a season-low 270 yards. If this is the beginning of a trend then there is a good chance that the 2016 Oakland Raiders will not be the second-coming of the 2015 Atlanta Falcons.

 

Minnesota Vikings

The Minnesota Vikings were everyone’s favorite pick to win the NFC before the season began. Then the injuries started, most notably with Teddy Bridgewater’s dislocated knee in the preseason. An injury that has the future of the young QB’s career hanging in jeopardy. This injury forced them to trade for perennial NFL whipping boy, Sam Bradford, and at first the move seemed to have worked out pretty well. Through 6 games Bradford has, for the most part, played as good or better than at any point in his 6 year career. In combination with a defense that is first in the league in points allowed per game, it’s easy to see why this team had such high hopes before the season.

 

But the injuries just kept coming.

 

In September, the team was forced to place all-time great running back (and noted child abuser) Adrian Peterson on injured reserved. Losing the other cornerstone of the offense was a big hit, but it didn’t stop there. The offensive line has seen an endless amount of injuries including season-ending ones for tackles Matt Kalil and Andre Smith. With the rest of the offensive line battling their own injuries or underperforming in their roles, the running game has taken a serious hit. As a result the team is averaging an abysmal 2.7 yards per attempt on the ground and offensive coordinator, Norv Turner, was given his walking papers following week 8. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.

 

 A team can overcome the loss of one or two players, but when the entire offensive line goes down…

 

A month ago, the Vikings were owning every team they played and people were talking about them as a shoe-in to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl this year. In the last two weeks, they have been exposed by a solid Eagles defense and a poor Bears team. The team scored just 10 points in both of those matchups and Sam Bradford has been sacked a total of 11 times over both games. And we all know that if any quarterback in the league thrives under defensive pressure, it is definitely NOT Bradford.

 

With the problems that this team faces on offense, there is a good chance that they are in real trouble. And dangerously close to repeating what the Falcons did last year. The issues with the offensive line and running game aren’t going anywhere. Anytime a contender is forced to fire their offensive coordinator mid-season, there is ample reason to be worried. The team signed former pro bowl tackle-turned-revolving door, Jake Long, to try and stop the bleeding at the left tackle position and it has been a resounding failure. The defense is AMAZING but that might not be enough to win the division, let alone the conference.

 

Both of these teams have their issues, but for one of them those issues will not be resolved this year. That’s right, it is the 2016 Minnesota Vikings who will be this year’s Atlanta Falcons. The offensive line is paper thin and it is going to get Sam Bradford exposed for the fraud that he was during his first 4 weeks of play. He is not equipped to carry the offense by himself and because of that there’s a chance that these Minnesota Vikings will finish right around .500 and miss the playoffs. Just like the Falcons did last year.

 

 


NFL Quarter Season Awards

Written by :
Published on : October 4, 2016

 

 

The 2016 NFL season is a quarter of the way through. Some teams have started slowly, others have flashed brilliance, but all are looking to improve. Let’s glance around the league and hand out some hardware for standout performances both good and bad. These are your 2016 NFL Quarter Season Awards. Or the Quarties as the kids call em.

 

Rookie Award

For the youngbloods who have gone above and beyond their draft status expectations and helped their team in a major way. And the winners are-

 

NFC: QB Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

Many rooks have done well in the NFC this season but none more than Wentz. He is 66 of 102 in attempts for 64% completion percentage. 769 passing yards, 5 TD’s and ZERO turnovers. Beyond a taking a few unnecessary hits, he has played mistake free and has his Eagles 3-0 after their bye week. The future is bright in Philly.

 

AFC: QB Jacoby Brissett, New England Patriots

 

He’s only played a few games but this third round pick looked like a pro in his first start. Give Bill Belichick his credit for getting the kid ready but he played with poise and confidence. Oh yeah they beat a solid Houston Texans team 27-0. The Texans were undefeated before that. He lost his second start to the Bills but continues to grow plus there isn’t another AFC rookie that really deserves it.

 

Ageless Wonder Award

In football, 30 is considered old. That’s tough to type because I’m 31. But once you crack that milestone, father time really starts catching up. A few amazing athletes laugh in the face of time and keep kicking ass well past their management created expiration dates. This award is for them.

 

NFC: WR Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens

Steve is ancient in football years at 37 but through 4 games he leads the team in catches, yards and targets. His 281 receiving yards just edges out another oldie but goodie, Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals. Larry is only 33 and sits at 280 yards. It’s amazing these guys refuse to slow down. I hope Smith can keep up his pace and crack 1,000 yards on the year.

 

AFC: RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers

 

33-years-old and doing work. With Le’Veon Bell suspended (again) the first 3 games of the season, the starting running back job went to Williams. He made the most of his time racking up 258 rushing yards, 2 TD’s and zero fumbles in 3 full starts. That’s good for 86 yards a game. Not bad for over the hill. DeAngelo also managed a rushing TD in game 4 with Bell back in action.

 

MVP

This is the award for the best player in the league. Not the best player on the best team. But the single most elite performer playing the game.

 

NFC: QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

Matty Ice is killing it right now. Easily the best stats of any quarterback in the league. His 4 starts have seen him rack up crazy video game numbers. 1473 passing yards, 11 TD’s and only 2 INT’s. 368 yards per game is nice but it’s the over 70% completion percentage and few turnovers that have the Falcons flying high at 3-1 and first in the NFC South.

 

AFC: RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns

 

The team is 0-4 but at no fault of Crowell. He is running hard. His 394 rushing yards on only 61 attempts is good for 6.4 yards per carry. Which is epic. Crowell also has scored in 3 of 4 games. Maybe if the Browns want to win then they should feed Isaiah the ball. He hasn’t had more than 18 attempts in a game.

 

The Worst

Like the MVP but in reverse. The Anti-christ of playing well. The bottom of the barrel. Pray your name isn’t listed below.

 

NFC: WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions

Tate used to be a huge part of the Lions’ offense. He posted career years playing with Matt Stafford but is off to a dreadful start. He hasn’t topped 41 yards in any game and only has 14 catches and zero TD’s. He is on pace for 56 catches. For reference, he had 99 and 90 catches the last two years. And he is dropping the ball and running the wrong routes. What happened to this guy?

 

AFC: QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets

 

Fitz is only completing 55% of his passes and has 4 TD’s and 10 INT’s. There is nothing else to say about this. He should have never trimmed his beard.

 

The Best

This is for the best units in the league.

 

NFC: Minnesota Vikings Defense

The hands down, greatest D in the league. They average only 9.5 points allowed per game. They swarm on tackles and have playmakers at every level. This unit is the main reason the Vikings are 4-0. If they keep playing like this then a Super Bowl appearance doesn’t seem out of the question.

 

AFC: Denver Broncos Defense

This crew is giving up 16 points a game but is once again leading the way in the AFC West. This franchise is undefeated in 2016 trying prove they don’t need Peyton Manning to be dominate. It honestly doesn’t matter who is under center as long as Von Miller and company keep up their intensity.

 

 

That’s it for the Quarties. Congratulations to the winners. Unless you won the Worst award. Better luck over the next weeks. Till then, champagne kisses and caviar cars.

 

Glitz.

 

 


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

Written by :
Published on : September 29, 2016

 

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

 

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

 

1. RB David Johnson, Arizona Cardinals

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

 

2. RB DeMarco Murray, Tennessee Titans

 

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

 

3. RB LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots

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

 

4. WR Marvin Jones, Detroit Lions

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

 

5. RB Tevin Coleman, Atlanta Falcons

 

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

 

6. RB Matt Forte, New York Jets

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

 

7. QB Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons

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

 

8. WR Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

 

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

 

9. QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints

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

 

10. RB Melvin Gordon, San Diego Chargers

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

 

11. QB Matt Stafford, Detroit Lions

 

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

 

12. RB Carlos Hyde, San Francisco 49ers

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

Trade Bait.

 

 


Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 3

Written by :
Published on : September 21, 2016

 

 

It’s only week 3 and already many big names have gone down with serious injuries. This is the biggest x-factor of fantasy football. Players on your team are going to get hurt. It happens. Champions scoop up their replacements and the next big thing off the waiver wire. So far, we’ve seen Keenan Allen, Jimmy Garoppolo, Danny Woodhead, Adrian Peterson, Robert Griffen III, Doug Martin, Ameer Abdullah, Josh McCown all get added to the injury report. Well, SBS is here to help. First, I’m going to assume you play in a good league and most of the notable players are already unavailable. Below are some free agent options (all less than 50% owned in ESPN standard leagues) to fill the holes in your fantasy roster.

 

QB

Carson Wentz, Philadelphie Eagles – The rookie isn’t totally lighting up the box score but he has been efficient moving the ball and has zero turnovers so far. Owned in 19.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets – Posted 14 and 20 points in his first two starts. Only 1 pick, plus Fitzpatrick has some solid options with Matt Forte, Eric Decker and Brandon Marshall (if he isn’t hurt). Owned in 33.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

RB

Fozzy Whittaker, Carolina Panthers – With Jonathan Stewart banged up, Fozzy got the start and put up 100 yards on 16 carries against the 49ers. Stewart’s hamstring may hold him a few weeks longer making Whittaker a must add. Owned in 1.1% of ESPN leagues

 

Jerick McKinnon, Minnesota Vikings – AP is going to miss some time and that opens the door for Jerick. Matt Asiata will also be in the mix but McKinnon is the back you want to add. Owned in 24.4% of ESPN leagues.

 

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins – Another replacement killer. Arian Foster is nursing a groin injury so it’s time to add his backup. Ajayi got some work at the end of last game but the Dolphins were behind and not running the ball much. Look for Jay to post a decent stat line in Cleveland. Owned in 46% of ESPN leagues.

 

TE

Kyle Rudolph, Minnesota Vikings – Sam Bradford is in and he is throwing. Rudolph found the end zone for the first time with Sam as QB. Look for this trend to continue as the pass game becomes the focus because of the AP injury. Owned in 32.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

 

Jacob Tamme, Atlanta Falcons – Matt Ryan is red hot and spreading the ball all around. And there is plenty to go around. Tamme has at least 5 catches in both the first two games and has made it to pay dirt once. Falcons will keep passing and Julio Jones keeps sucking up all the coverage. Jacob is a steal right now. Owned in 10.9% of ESPN leagues.

 

WR

Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys – Rookie QB Dak Prescott (owned in 44.3% of ESPN leaagues) has built a rapport with the wideout and looks for him often. He has been second on the team in targets two weeks running. That consistency makes him a legit plug-and-play option for those in need. Owned in 7.4% of ESPN leagues.

 

Kenny Britt, Los Angeles Rams – Britt has posted 67 yards and 94 yards in two games. He has yet to score a TD but he is LA’s best receiving threat in terms of fantasy. You could do a lot worse. Owned in 8.3% of ESPN leagues.

 

Danny Amendola, New England Patriots – Coming off a 4 catch, 50 yard and 2 touchdown game, Danny will be a popular add. The Pats throw the ball enough that this makes sense, no matter who the QB is. Only owned in 3.5% of ESPN leagues.

 

K

Cairo Santos, Kansas City Chiefs – 10 points in week one, 15 in week two and hasn’t missed a field goal yet. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 28% of ESPN leagues.

 

Nick Novak, Houston Texans – 11 points in week one, 13 in week two and he’s only missed one field goal. Look at your roster, is your kicker this good? Owned in 9% of ESPN leagues.

 

D/ST

Philadelphia Eagles – The Philly D has scored 14 fantasy points in both games. They haven’t allowed more than real 14 points in any game and already have 4 takeaways. Owned in 27% of ESPN leagues.

 

 

Pittsburgh Steelers – This unit hasn’t scored a ton of points but they been solid through two contests. Never giving up more than 16 points and averaging two turnovers won per game. Not too bad for a crew owned in merely 21.2% of ESPN leagues.

 

Need more help than that? Then you’re probably screwed. Check back soon for more waiver wire tips as we approach the dreaded dog days of the bye weeks.

 

Flex.

 

 


Overreaction: NFL Week 2

Written by :
Published on : September 20, 2016

 

 

Week 2 is over. The 2016 season is officially off and running. Some would say it’s still too early to know anything about the identity of teams but those people have obliviously never met me. Listen up while I spout off wild, speculative snap judgements on all 32 NFL teams after only two games completed.

 

– The Bills are 0-2 and their season is already over. It was fun while it lasted Buffalo. Maybe they should have let Rock Star Bon Jovi buy the team a few years back.Well, better luck next time. Living on Prayer.

 

– The Jets offense is great as long as Matt Forte stays healthy and keeps moving them down the field. Without him, this team is doomed to be a sub .500 unit.

 

– The league office still hates the Detroit Lions. The conspiracy continues. In the 15-16 loss to the Titans, the Honolulu Blue and Silver were flagged 17 times for 138 yards. None worse than the two fantom calls that negated TD’s on back-to-back plays. Those calls completely changed the landscape of the game.

 

 

– The Titans are now 1-1 but this crew showed me little to make me believe in them. They exploited a super injury-weakened Lions D and scored some late points but that seems more situational than skill. It was mostly just smart play calling. I’m obviously still salty about this but this team sucks plain and simple.

 

– The Panthers got back on track in week 2 with a solid performance against the 49ers. Cam had 4 TD’s with two going to Kelvin Benjamin. This offense is even better than last year because Benjamin is back. Panthers look bound for another deep playoff run.

 

– San Fransisco blew out the Rams last week and no one knew what to make of them, but hanging with Carolina tells me they are more complete than most think. They leave the bottom of the barrel of last campaign and join the blurry middle of the pack.

 

– The Cincinnati Bengals cannot beat the Steelers. They melted down in the playoffs last year and failed again at Heinz field this Sunday. Marvin Lewis needs to figure a way to slay this dragon or else they might never get Andy Dalton that postseason win.

 

– The Steelers are legit. They score bunches of points and this is all without star running back Le’Veon Bell. If Big Ben stays off IR than the steel city boys are eyeing another division crown and maybe a meeting with the Patriots in the conference finals.

 

 

– Speaking of the AFC North, the 0-2 Cleveland Browns still suck. What’s new? Week 3 may see the Browns start their third QB of the year. Ouch. This team is done. Go hang out with the Bills. Your year is over.

 

– Baltimore is 2-0, sounds great but they barely came back against Cleveland and squeaked by Buffalo week 1. Two close wins against the worst of the NFL does not inspire confidence.

 

– Washington is 0-2 after losses to Dallas and Pittsburgh. Kirk Cousins is playing on the Franchise Tag trying to prove he is worth a big contract. So far, he hasn’t shown that moxie of 2015. Things better turnaround quick or the D.C. area may have to start rebuilding, again.

 

– The Cowboys got their first win with rookies Dak Prescott at QB and Ezikel Elliot at RB. This young team is lead by that great offensive line but I don’t see them going too far with all that inexperience running the show.

 

– Giants are looking good. I talked shit about them before but at 2-0 they are now the favorites to win the NFC East. The defense has played well and they have showed guts in two close contests.

 

 

– The Saints are winless. It feels like the same story every year with these guys. They can score lots of points and Drew Brees keeps it close but they can’t string the W’s together. No chance at the playoffs.

 

– The Miami Dolphins. A squad full of talent and names that never seems to be able to put it all together. Another slow start at 0-2 and Arian Foster is already dealing with health issues. Call the nurse, we have another dead team. Sorry not Sorry.

 

– The New England Patriots are undefeated and playing without Gronk or Brady. Their next two games are at home and untested rookie, Jacoby Brissett, may start at QB for the injured Jimmy Garoppolo. If the Pats are ever going to lose, it may be next week against Houston, but after that, they will probably run the table. As per usual.

 

– The Houston Texans will win the AFC South. They are 2-0 and the most complete team in the division. I’m sure JJ Watt can’t wait to introduce himself to Brissett on Thursday night.

 

– Kansas City Chiefs are a hard team to read. They beat the Chargers week 1 but lost to the Texans. They will hang around the Wild Card spot most of the year only to drop off at the end.

 

 

– The Los Angeles Rams are one of the worst teams in the league. It pains me to type that because they are now my second favorite. It’s a mystery how they beat Seattle but it was a 9-3 ugly affair. They should start planning their draft picks now.

 

– The Seahawks are 1-1 after that bizarre game with L.A. that saw injuries to Thomas Rawls, Tyler Lockett and Russell Wilson. Russ stayed in the game but was clearly ailing. Seattle will weather the storm and make a serious push for the playoffs.

 

– Arizona lost a close one with the Pats in week 1 and took their anger out on the Bucs in week 2. This is a solid team top to bottom. They will be hosting a postseason game. Hopefully Carson Palmer can last that long.

 

– Tampa Bay is 1-1. They have some nice pieces across the roster but don’t get too excited. They are not ready for prime time. Maybe they can finish second in the NFC South. No postseason though.

 

– Jacksonville Jaguars were a breakout pick from many talking heads in the sports world. I’ll admit they have many promising players but they still suck.

 

 

– San Diego Chargers are once again battling the injury bug. Already, key starters Keenan Allen and Danny Woodhead are done for the year. This trend will unfortunately continue because that’s what happens in San Diego.

 

– The Falcons sit at 1-1. Matty Ice leads an even attack that is more than effective but the lack of close out defense will limit Atlanta’s potential. No playoffs for you, one year.

 

– The Raiders have all the tools needed to make the postseason and they will finally punch their ticket this year. Move over Warriors, Oakland’s true love is going to the dance for the first time since 2002.

 

– The Colts can’t stop anybody so they will keep losing. They are 0-2 and have zero chance of winning their division.

 

– Broncos will be playing without DeMarcus Ware for a bit but it’s okay, that defense is still so nasty that they will be in every game. Look for Denver to have another serious playoff run.

 

 

– Green Bay is 1-1 after a win over the Jags and a loss to the rival Vikings. Jordy Nelson doesn’t look 100% and Eddie Lacy is still fat. I hope and pray the wheels fall off but they will probably turn it around all over the my Lions this Sunday.

 

– The Sam Bradford project is working in Minnesota. The Vikings beat the Packers which is all you need to do to win over the locals. The team is 2-0 but may have lost Adrian Peterson for extended time. I still see them in the hunt for a Wild Card birth.

 

– Carson Wentz looks good in two games. The Eagles are 2-0 and those monsters in Philly must be smiling. Just wait for some adversity and those cheers will turn to boos. The Eagles can’t keep this up.

 

– Bears are really bad. Jay Cutler is worse. And the schedule doesn’t get any easier. At least the Cubs are good.

 

Is it week 3 yet?

 

 


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.

 

 


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