Biggest Fantasy Busts of 2017

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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.

 

 


Gridiron Killing Fields: Injuries have turned 2017 NFL season upside down

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Published on : November 16, 2017

 

 

Football is violent. It’s part of the allure of the game. A fast paced, highly charged game of gladiator chess where the players put their bodies through hell for the enjoyment of us all. It’s inevitable that these athletes will suffer injuries throughout the course of a grueling season. Every year, fans and players alike must deal with these injuries. The pain of injury and the hard work that goes into recovering from those injuries is something that fans can’t even imagine, but that doesn’t mean we don’t suffer too.

 

Some years are worse than others as far as injuries and 2017 has turned out to be one of, if not the most, gruesome for player injuries in the NFL on record. Players have been robbed of the opportunity to pursue their livelihood and fans have been robbed of the big plays and quality football that these players produce. These big injuries have flipped the league on it’s head and some of the most electrifying players in the NFL have been left on the sidelines. They have come early and often and left heads around the league spinning in an attempt to keep up as the body count rises. Let’s look at some of the big injuries this year.

 

The insurmountable losses

 

Aaron Rodgers
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Aaron Rodgers has once again proved himself to be the most valuable player in the NFL. Yet this year it wasn’t his actions on the field that proved that already accepted fact of life, but his (potentially) season ending collarbone injury. The subtraction of Rodgers from the Green Bay Packers changes the team in a way that can’t even begin to be described. Brett Hundley has shown some growth in his weeks as a starter in place of Rodgers, but unlike the discount double dick, Hundley, cannot single-handily mask the holes in the Packers roster. Because of that, the Packers, who still hold a winning record at this point of the season, are doomed.

 

Deshaun Watson

When the Houston Texans selected former Clemson standout and National Championship winning quarterback, Deshaun Watson, with the 12th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, I thought it was a very nice pick for a franchise that has never, in its existence, had a true star under center. Little did I (or anyone else) know that Watson would hit the ground running in such a fashion. Watson appeared in 7 games for the Texans and completed 61.8% of his passes for 1,699 yards, 19 touchdowns and 8 interceptions. He also ran the ball for another 269 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Texans were finally legit and and had found their QB of the future. Then a torn ACL in practice cut the legs out from under his rookie season and along with losses of JJ Watt and Whitney Mercilus, the Texans are looking at another lost season.

 

David Johnson and Carson Palmer

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When David Johnson went down with a broken wrist early in the Arizona Cardinals opening game loss to the Detroit Lions, it was clear that the Cardinals had a long road ahead of them. Johnson is among the best young running backs in football and an invaluable part of the Cardinals offensive attack, but luckily for the Cardinals they still had an offensive mastermind of a coach and an injury to your starting running back can be overcome. When Carson Palmer went down with a broken bone in his non-throwing arm during the 33-0 loss to the LA Rams in London, it was clear that the Cardinals had careened off that long road and gone over a cliff. Without the two best offensive players and the likes of Drew Stanton throwing the ball, it is a sad reality that Bruce Arians final year as head coach of the team will be a wasted one.

 

Ouch, that hurts

 

Odell Beckham Jr
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With Eli Manning still throwing the ball this offense was never going to light the world on fire. Manning is well past his prime and no wide receiver, even one of the same caliber as Beckham was going to change that. But OBJ went down with a season ending ankle injury in week 5 everyone knew the Giants were screwed. The G-Men are now 1-8 and destined for a top pick in the 2018 NFL draft, and perhaps a new head coach. OBJ can’t come back soon enough.

 

Ryan Tannehill

Ryan Tannehill leaves a whole lot to be desired as the starting quarterback of the Miami Dolphins but he is still a starting level quarterback and the best one in Miami by a longshot. When he was lost for the season before it even began, the team got desperate and went out and signed Jay Cutler out of the broadcast booth. He has since been about as good as one would expect. Cutler has helped lead the team to a 4-5 record and Dolphins fans are eagerly awaiting any and all news on Ryan Tannehill rehab from ACL surgery.

 

Dalvin Cook and Sam Bradford

Sam Bradford was brought in last year after Teddy Bridgewater’s very serious knee injury, and he has played pretty well. But he hasn’t been able to stay on the field and Case Keenum has performed admirably in his absence. Now, more than a year later, Bridgewater’s return seems somewhat immenent and Bradford’s inability to stay on the field isn’t all that much of a concern. Much more of a concern is the injury to rookie running back, Dalvin Cook. Before he tore his ACL in the game against the Lions he was having a monster year. Luckily the Vikings defense is good enough keep them competing for the NFC North title.

 

Zach Miller
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The Chicago Bears passing game has been desperate for competent pass catchers all season. The Mike Glennon experiment failed miserably and now they have rookie Mitchel Trubisky throwing the ball. One of Trubisky’s only decent targets was tight end Zach Miller but then a gruesome injury ended his season and almost caused him to lose his leg entirely. The Bears offense is now all but doomed this season but the real tragedy is that Miller’s career may well be over. We wish him a speedy recovery.

 

Well, that’s unfortunate

 

Dont’a Hightower and Julian Edelmen

It’s the Patriots. They’ll survive.

 

Joe Thomas
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The Browns were never going to do anything this season and at this point they are in the running for an 0-16 record, but you never want to see a future hall of fame player go down with a serious injury. Especailly when he’s been so loyal to that city and been such an iron man. Prior to this tricep injury, Thomas had played a NFL-record 10,363 consecutive snaps, while playing through torn ligaments for a time and starting 167 straight games. Good on the Browns for giving him an extension even after the injury and making him the highest paid offensive linemen in the league.

 

Eric Berry

Eric Berry is, and should be, a fan favorite around the NFL. Even with Raiders fans. You can’t help but love this guy’s story and his courage as he beat cancer and came back to the NFL to regain his spot among the best safeties in pro football. That made it even more of a bummer when he ruptured his achilles tendon in week 1. He’s just 28-years-old so there’s no reason he can’t make a full recovery, but the Chiefs defense sure has missed him while he’s been gone.

 

It’s a long season, and we are only at week 11. There’s no telling how many more injuries will come before the Super Bowl. No doubt there will be some, but there has certainly already been enough to hold us all over until next here. Here’s to hoping that all of our favorite teams can make it through the rest of the year unscathed.

 

 


2017’s NFL Midseason Report

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Published on : November 8, 2017

 

 

In the immortal words of Bon Jovi: “we’re half way there“. The NFL season that is. Week 9 is in the books and the early playoff picture is starting to take shape. Already this year, we’ve seen some wild performances, brutal injuries and some interesting trades. Let’s take a few moments to do some inventory on what was happened so far. This is your 2017 NFL midseason report.

 

Everyone got hurt

There are always injuries in football, that is nothing new but the number of big profile players that have already gone down seems disproportionately high. So far this year we’ve seen major health issues for stars like: Aaron Rodgers, Odell Beckham Jr, JJ Watt, David Johnson, Julian Edelmen, Andrew Luck, Greg Olsen and Carson Palmer. That’s like one whole fantasy team. And speaking of fantasy, I owned rookie running back Dalvin Cook who was killing it for the Vikings and I until he tore something in his knee and was placed on IR. Bummers all around. By the way, this is by no means the full list of impact players who got hurt but simply the most notable ones.

 

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Wheeling and dealing

Jacoby Brissett left New England’s bench to start in Indy. Adrian Peterson moved from New Orleans crowded backfield to the feature spot in Arizona. Jimmy Garapollo dropped the Pat’s backup clipboard to take over in the San Fran rebuilding project. Wait, if both Brissett and Garapollo are gone then who will play if Brady gets hurt?

 

Then Kelvin Benjamin left Carolina and moved north to Buffalo. And Jay Ajayi departed Miami for Philly. Those guys both know their new stadiums are outdoors right? It’s about to get real cold. But all these moves are real hot.

 

Lions still give me heart issues

Detroit currently sits at 4-4 and have already had their bye week. They started 3-1 and then went 1-3. So it’s hard to say exactly how good this squad is. It’s easy to find positives and negatives on both sides. You hear that the Lions are 3-1 on the road, 2-0 in the division and they sound like they are playoff bound. Then you look at the awful rushing stats paired with the average-at-best pass rush and you think the season is going to be rough. So which is it?

 

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Who knows. The schedule lines up favorably but the Vikings are the current NFC north leaders (6-2) but Detroit beat them once already. A second win over Minnesota (on Thanksgiving!) would go a long way to setting the Lions up for a rare division crown. I can’t bring myself to predict the last 8 games but the schedule has some wins on it for sure. I pray it’s enough for a playoff ticket.

 

It feels like we wait for football all year and then it comes and just flies by. It’s slipping away already, I can feel it. As the last weeks play out and the post season picture comes into focus, my hope is we see some new teams playing in the Super Bowl. Lions vs Chiefs anyone?

 

Glass half empty kind of guy.

 

 


The Fast and Fantasy: Tokyo Draft

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Published on : September 2, 2017

 

 

Welcome fantasy football fans and anyone else who wandered here. Currently, it’s NFL preseason, which means two things: real football is very close and many fantasy leagues are having their drafts. As we all know, the draft is a huge factor in determining success for the season. It’s the single biggest element in regard to who makes the playoffs. But this isn’t a draft guide, it’s a journal entry of a man who just went through the ringer. This is my 2017 fantasy football draft story.

 

I’m in two leagues. Which isn’t that wild. At my worst, I was in five. But that was way back in college. Crazy times. Back to 2017, The Prison League (12 team, non-ppr) where we base our team names on all football related run-ins with the law. In the last few years I’ve been:

  • Ray Lewis Killed a Guy
  • Larry “Choke out” Johnson
  • Titus “Twice in a day” Young
  • Don’t Jim and Drive Irsay
  • Bad Cellmate Phillips
  • Aqib “Shot myself” Talib
  • Jerry Sandusky’s Kids (current team)

 

The funny thing is, we never run out of new names. It’s like the players and coaches know about our group and get in trouble just to help out. Then, there is my new fantasy venture, the Dynasty League (10 team superflex, ppr, 5 year keeper). I’ve never done a keeper league before. But it is the closest you can get to running a real franchise so it should be fun. The two draft dates were one week apart, on consecutive Sundays.

 

 

The Dynasty draft came first. I met with my two buddies here in town and we face-timed with a crew back in Michigan. All 10 of us were connected via wifi from different places and devices. Pretty cool experience. Would still love to do a full on live draft with all owners in one place someday. The original plan was to pick the first 10 rounds (of 27) then do the rest over text. We had some convoluted way to determine draft order and I got the short end of the stick with the #9 pick. At least the last player gets to pick twice in the snake format. Needless to say, I was a little salty. My petty super villain brain started turning. What could I do to the rest of the league to show my displeasure?

 

My first idea was to slow everything down. Drag my feet whenever possible and make the whole process as little fun as could be. As outlined by the commissioner, each owner is entitled to 6 minutes for each pick during the draft. My plan was to use every second. Make it slow and painful. Make the others feel my anger. Your classic spite-based filibuster. This plan backfired because the draft took place at noon on the west coast and I had closed the restaurant the night before. That means I wasn’t home till 5am. So I was tired and hungover. Slowing down this marathon was going to kill me. I just didn’t have the intestinal fortitude for it. I am weak.

 

As the rounds continued, a new plan came to mind. Try and use the insane depth of the bench (16 spots) to create an imbalance. What I mean to say is, how can I exploit the numbers to invent an advantage? The idea was to waste 8 picks on the top defenses (D/ST) which would force owners with good rosters to potentially start a sub-par unit. The scoring is setup that defenses are some of the most likely units to post a negative score. What if you could make an opponent to start a shit D/ST and maybe even negate some of their own offense? That would be huge. Even if the other owners smelled the ruse and stocked up, then at worst everyone is back to even (in terms of this scheme).

 

 

I picked the Broncos, Chiefs and Cardinals in consecutive rounds. A few owners took the cue and grab one of the other top 10 defenses. My turn came back around while I was digging through my handwritten draft notes (in it’s own special notebook) and I discovered a number of quality players had gone undrafted. Gasp! How did no one take Darren Sproles? It’s PPR. That changed everything. Finding great talent, late in the draft is a REAL advantage. Not the joke defense short I was trying to manifest. It’s the most Wall Street thing I’ve ever done since I did blow in the bathroom of that trendy joint in American Psycho.

 

The Dynasty draft started Sunday then continued on a group text for the last few rounds. But there were so many damn rounds that it went all week. It went until the Prison League draft started the next Sunday. That’s just crazy. And kind of awful. For perspective, in that week, one owner welcomed two new members to his family. Their births were technically mid-draft. FYI, getting twins in the 21st round is a total steal.

 

The Prison League draft had its own issues. Mostly technical. The draft was 3pm Los Angeles time, so I set my alarm for 2:57pm. Woke up, after a dozen chirps from my iphone 4S, rolled out of bed and opened my computer. I try and launch the “Live Draft” window on ESPN’s Fantasy Football site. But I get some bullshit flash plug-in bullshit error message. I launch “Diet Draft” or whatever and login to see it’s my pick and there are 4 seconds left. AutoDraft has me taking Odell Beckham Jr. Good enough for me. Rough start but I’ll take OBJ all day at #7 overall. That overall draft went pretty well. A the Dynasty madness, it felt like smooth sailing. But everyone thinks they have a good team right after the draft. I believe the term is roster-bate or rosterbating.

 

I wish everyone a good season and for some reason, if someone slights you then try and get petty revenge. Or better yet just win the whole damn thing and then gloat like a teenager.

 

Make believe.

 

 


Putting the fun back in the NFL, one rule change at a time

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Published on : May 25, 2017

 

In an about-face from the way the league has been operating in recent years, the NFL has voted to give its players a chance to express themselves. The league has spent years stifling their players’ creative instincts by penalizing them for end zone celebrations. Instead of embracing something that fans and players both enjoy, the No Fun League has been throwing flags and even fining players for putting a little soul in the game, but it appears that Roger Goodell and the powers that be have seen the error of their ways.

 

At the spring league meeting, the owners voted to ease restrictions on touchdown celebrations and proponents of common sense everywhere rejoiced. What was it about dancing in the end zone or celebrating a touchdown that irked all these owners so bad in the first place? Maybe they were jealous of the dance moves, or maybe they are so far removed from our meager plebeian society that they forgot how normal, non-billionaires have fun and express joy. Either way, they are starting to get their heads out of their asses and come around on this one. I, for one, can’t wait to see some of the pent up celebrations that people have been sitting on during these dark days of prohibition.

 

The obvious winners in this decision are the fans. If football fans wanted to see a bunch of soulless robots they would watch baseball. Pigskin aficionados like the unpredictable nature of the game and want their favorite players to surprise them in new and exciting ways, and with the game being damn near a century old, it’s time to get creative. That’s where celebrations on big plays come in. The players still aren’t allowed to do anything that might be seen as taunting (throat slash), or anything sexually suggestive, but they are allowed to do group celebrations and to use the ball as a prop.

 

 

The players who will no longer have to risk being fined for getting excited are winners in this too. By extension the teams also win because they won’t have to endure ridiculous penalties when players inevitably celebrate regardless of the rules. Guys like Antonio Brown are excited to get the whole team in on the fun and we should be too. I imagine Odell Beckham Jr has a few things up his sleeve and I’m sure Cam Newton will hop on whatever dance trend is happening and then beat it to death.  

 

While the rule change is definitely a step in the right direction, I’m not sure that the NFL went far enough. There’s still a few annoying things, like that you reportedly still can’t dunk the ball through the uprights like Calvin Johnson used to (despite what the below video says). Also, the 40 second play clock starts immediately after a touchdown, meaning that teams could risk a delay of game if the TD scoring player isn’t quick about his celebration. Think of the wonderfully choreographed masterpieces that we will miss out on. For a little more explanation on what is, and what isn’t allowed, check out this informative video featuring former Detroit Lions TE and TD celebrations pro, Joe Fauria.  

 


I say let these guys go to town. Maybe they could even work on dance numbers with predetermined music. The crowd would love it and so would the players. These guys got soul and they need to share it with the world.

 

Let them dance.

 

 


Best Wide Receiver combos in the NFL

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Published on : March 21, 2017

 

 

There have been some big roster shake ups since the start of NFL free agency. Many new faces in new places. Every team is trying to get faster, younger and better but who really did improve? So, the question is: which team now has the premier wide receiver duo? Let’s take a second and look around the league to determine which franchise has the best WR’s going into the 2017 season. These are your top 8 wideout tandems.

 

#8 – Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns – Jacksonville Jaguars

Team Allen had a breakout campaign in 2015 but 2016 proved to be a bit rougher. It’s clear that both these guys have the talent to post monster numbers. The biggest factor here isn’t the WR’s but everyone else. The defense that never takes the ball away, the inconsistent QB and the often dreadful play-calling.

 

#7 – Jarvis Landry and DeVante Parker – Miami Dolphins

Another set of young guns that have the speed and hands to wreck opposing secondaries. Like the duo from Jacksonville, the Miami unit also suffers from up and down production from their signal caller. One could only imagine the numbers they would post with a Aaron Rodgers/Tom Brady type.

 

 

#6 – Golden Tate and Marvin Jones – Detroit Lions

It’s better to have two great receivers than one amazing one and average one. Just ask the Lions. The team always struggled to find a sidekick for Calvin Johnson, allowing defenses to zone in on him and limit his effectivness. The current Lions are much harder to defend because both Tate and Jones have the ability to be a force.

 

#5 – Bradin Cooks and Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

Cooks has yet to catch a pass from Brady but one can imagine how dangerous he will be playing for the champs. This also allows Edelman to move back to the number two spot where he is a better natural fit. Now, Cooks can handle the down field routes while Edelman takes the underneath.

 

#4 – Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb – Green Bay Packers

This team may have been the best receiving combo over the last few years. Injuries are the only thing capping their success. I despise throwing praise to any Packer players but these guys are legit. It will interesting to see how the passing game will work in 2017 with Davante Adams in the mix.

 

 

#3 – Alshon Jeffery and Jordan Matthews – Philadelphia Eagles

One of the only number 1 receivers to change squads this offseason. Jeffery will join Matthews in Philly. Both are big bodied guys who can do it all. Their youth and strength give them a huge upside. The real question is how it is all going to work. Seeing they are playing with a sophomore QB in Carson Wentz.

 

#2 – Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Jackson just signed with the Bucs and he brings agility and ball skills to wide out unit already featuring rising star, Mike Evans. This pairing is great because Jackson is small (5’10”) and Evans is big (6’5″). They are the new David and Goliath of football. Both will benefit playing along side each other, which makes me believe both are bound for huge seasons.

 

Djax bucs

 

#1 –  Odell Beckham Jr and Brandon Marshall – New York Giants

The top spot on the list. We all know how good OBJ is but the addition of Marshall is just nuts. Brandon Marshall has played the role of top option most of his career. Adding him will force defenses to pick their poison. Blanket both guys and the run game will kill you. The Giants just got a little bigger.

 

Over half the teams listed will feature a new wide receiver combo this year. So it’s hard to guess who will stay healthy and who will gel in a different offense but the on paper talent is clear as day. The pass-happy NFL is gearing up for another high-flying season and I can not wait. Did I leave out your favorite WR combo? Or do you think my order is crazy? Leave a comment.

 

Just give me the damn ball.

 

 


Is Odell Beckham Jr imploding?

Written by :
Published on : October 8, 2016

 

2016 hasn’t exactly been kind to Odell Beckham Jr. He was held to a career-low 23 yards on three catches this past Sunday. Sure, the Giants were playing the Vikings who happen to have what most would consider the best defense in the league, but still, someone with his level of talent should do a little better than that. Through four games he has amassed 303 yards and 22 receptions, but has yet to find the end zone. And his frustrations are beginning to boil over to the point that it is becoming a distraction to the team.

 

Odell Beckham Jr being vocal about his displeasure and making a scene isn’t necessarily something new. But when your own coach says in the media that you need to cut it out, then maybe it’s time to worry. For the last couple of seasons, most of us have brushed off Beckham’s antics by saying that he is just a passionate young player who is learning to control his emotions. Everyone loves passion in their players, right? When does that excuse not work anymore? I think we may have reached that point.

 

 

I’ll admit I enjoyed his fighting with Josh Norman last season. When two players don’t like each other, the competition is that much better. And seeing it turn physical like that appeals to some of my more baser instincts. But if I was a Giants fan I would have hated it. Especially after my talented young wide receiver drew three personal-fouls in that week 15 matchup last year. When Norman was signed by Washington this last offseason, you had to believe we were in for more fireworks. In their first meeting this season, the refs made sure to squash any funny business before it even began, warning the two that they would be ejected from the game without warning if they didn’t play nice.

 

There was some minimal aggression between the two on field, but the worst of it was when OBJ picked up Josh Norman at one point. Not exactly must see tv. The real fun happened on the sidelines after what had already been a pretty solid game for Beckham. With the Giants down 2 but in the red zone and threatening to score, Eli Manning threw an untimely interception. Then Odell Beckham Jr reverted to what I can imagine his 4-year-old self was, throwing one of his biggest tantrums yet. There were tears. There was the flailing of limbs. There was yelling. There was one point where he assaulted the kickers’ practice net, only to have it retaliate and hit him in the fact. It was great. But not for the Giants.

 


OBJ has proven that he is even more immature than we thought, and he followed up his childish display of anger and frustration last week with his worst game ever on Monday Night Football this week. He got owned, and got another penalty after his frustrations with Vikings’ CB Xavier Rhodes boiled over. Now he comes out and claims that he “isn’t having fun anymore” playing football. Can you believe that? Someone isn’t having fun when things aren’t going their way at their job. What a shocker! This dude is ridiculous.

 

As if he wasn’t already ridiculous enough as it is, he then tried to play the victim in the media by insinuating that he might be unfairly scrutinized by the league and the refs. Maybe if he didn’t always fly off the handle and make a scene that wouldn’t be the case. Or maybe the high pressure situation of playing professional sports in New York is finally starting to get to him. Or maybe he is coming apart at the seams.

 

 

Whatever is happening, he had better get it figured out soon. Odell’s image has taken a big hit these last few weeks, and while that isn’t the most important thing, his underperformance only exacerbates it. He had better catch a couple touchdowns this week or the fans and media in New York might go full witch hunt on his ass. And if an Eli interception gets the water works going, he won’t be able to handle that.

 

 


Champ and Chump: Christmas Edition

Written by :
Published on : December 28, 2015

 

Ho, Ho, Ho. The Champ and Chump piece gets into the holiday spirit a bit this week by playing Santa and separating our naughty and nice lists, and yes we’ve definitely checked it at least twice. The bowl season is under way, the NFL is gearing up for playoff action and both the NBA and NCAA hoops are rolling along. So grab yourself some eggnog, some fig pudding, and sit back and enjoy this week’s Christmas edition of Champ and Chump.

 

Nice: Charles Woodson

 

He made just two tackles in a win over the Chargers on Thursday night, but after an amazing career, Woodson played his final home game for the Raiders and is sure to go down as one of the all-time greats. Coined “Mr Everything” during his days at the University of Michigan, Woodson won the Heisman trophy before being drafted by Oakland in 1998. He has been almost a perennial pro bowl corner and safety and went on to win a Super Bowl with the Green Bay Packers before returning to Oakland to finish out his career in the black and silver. A pleasure to watch on the field, and off it, Woodson has been a leader in the locker room and in the community. For everyone at SBS, we tip our caps to the great career of Charles Woodson.

 

Honorable Mention:

Draymond Green- 22 points, 15 rebounds and 7 assists in a win over Cleveland, and NBA Finals rematch that I’d love to see again.  

 

Jamauri Bogan- The running back from Western Michigan led the Broncos to a Popeye’s Bahamas Bowl win over Middle Tennessee State by toting the rock 19 times for 215 yards and 4 touchdowns.  

 

Kahlil Felder- Standing just 5’9″ doesn’t keep Felder from showcasing himself as one of the premier point guards in the country, even though he plays for a small school in Michigan, Oakland University. Felder helped Oakland take #1 Michigan State to overtime before losing a close game. Felder finished with 37 points and 9 assists against the Spartans. Expect to see Felder leading an NBA team in the near future.

 

 

Naughty: Odell Beckham Jr

 

Last Sunday, the New York Giants hosted the undefeated Carolina Panthers looking to put an end to their perfect season while keeping their own playoff hopes alive. All week leading up to the game, there was a lot of trash talk between cornerback Josh Norman of the Panthers and New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. It turned into a very physical matchup on the field that afternoon. Beckham has been accused of some extracurricular activity this season with punching, hitting the face mask area but has also been one of the best wide outs in football. This week he took it too far and was fortunate to avoid an ejection when he threw a headshot at Norman by leading helmet to helmet after the play. Beckham wound up being suspended this week and deservedly so. His actions were incredibly selfish and for a team desperate to win, he put himself and his own personal vendettas over the team’s needs. We can all talk about how he was provoked and taunted prior to and perhaps during the game but you’re in the NFL. Trash talk has been around these athletes since they played high school ball.

 

Dishonorable Mention:

Donald Brown- While he did find the end zone once for San Diego, Brown could only muster 17 yards on 14 carries as the Chargers got nothing on the ground in a loss vs Oakland.  

 

New Orleans Pelicans- What happened to the Pelicans? An up-and-coming team, led by budding superstar Anthony Davis, made the playoffs last year. All of the sudden, they find themselves at 9-20 following a loss to Miami on Christmas. Eric Gordon and Tyreke Evans combined to shoot 7-26 with just 9 assists and 8 turnovers.  

 

Hayden Moore- Cincinnati Bearcats’ quarterback had a tough go of it on Christmas Eve in a blowout loss to San Diego State. Finishing with under 200 total yards on the night, Moore threw 3 interceptions and had one returned for six in a 42-7 beat down.

 

 


The NFC Least

Written by :
Published on : December 27, 2015

 

 

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

 

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

 

Dallas Cowboys

 

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

 

Philadelphia Eagles

 

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

 

New York Giants

 

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

 

Washington Redskins

 

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

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

 

Please, prove me wrong.

 

 


NFL QUICK HITS FOR THE UPCOMING 2015 SEASON

Written by :
Published on : September 6, 2015

 

 

 

 

 

We are single digit days away from NFL KICKOFF!!! This season will be phenomenal and it has several storylines worth exploring. Aided by a bevy of issues that have surfaced since the Super Bowl (the spike in retirements due to concussions, off field crimes, the un-ending deflategate saga), the league has been able to once again remain relevant during the offseason. But with the preseason over, it’s time to focus on 2015, and put the offseason drama behind us.

 

-Will this be the end of the Madden curse?

What curse?

 

Second year New York Giants receiver, Odell Beckham Jr, is the latest player to grace the cover of the famous Madden football game. While the notoriety and respect gained is quite an accomplishment for such a young player, the supposed curse that comes with it is worth noting. Former Rookie of the Year, quarterback Vince Young, graced the Madden cover following his Pro Bowl rookie season. The year he was placed on the cover, he injured his quadriceps twice. He became a backup to Kerry Collins and was never the same player that led the Texas Longhorns to a BCS Championship.

 

Let us not forget 2012 cover athlete, running back Peyton Hillis, whose rise to fame with the Cleveland Browns came when he moved from being a blocking fullback to a dual-threat running back. He amassed over 1,000 rushing and 500 receiving yards during the 2010 season and was expected to be the new mold of running back; a hybrid of physical between the tackles bruiser and agile pass catcher. The 2011 season (his season on the cover) was a bust for Hillis, as he only played 10 games and was limited to 500 rushing yards. He floundered around the league after that and now remains unsigned. Add the likes of quarterbacks Michael Vick and Daunte Culpepper, running back Dorsey Levens, and it is a cautionary tale of injuries that derail players post-Madden cover. Beware Beckham Jr, beware!

 

2,500 Rushing Yards for Adrian Peterson? Really?

Keep it… 2,500.

 

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson recently stated that he hopes to rush for over 2,500 yards in 2015. In a league that emphasizes the passing game, Peterson would have to be force-fed the ball at an unimaginable clip to achieve that feat. He has averaged around 24 rushing attempts per game over the course of his career. His career yards per attempt stands at 5 yards a carry. Peterson would have to carry the ball 500 times to amass 2,500 rushing yards. There is no way in hell he gets close to 400 carries, let alone 500! With that being said, he has rushed for 2,000 yards in 2012, when he averaged 6 yards a carry. If he can average 6 yards per carry for an entire season he would reach his goal with 416 carries. Does that still sound far-fetched? The powerful running back carried the ball 348 times just a few years ago. If we consider the fact he only played one game last season, Peterson will be a refreshed 30 year old athlete with a chip on his shoulder. He will be looking for redemption after sanctions stemming from a child abuse case where he brutally “whooped” his 4 year old child.

 

Year of the Rookie Wideouts: Part 2?

Can the rookies top last year’s class?

 

Last season, rookie wide receivers tore the league up. The five receivers selected in the 1st round of the 2014 Draft were led by Buffalo Bills’ Sammy Watkins, selected with the 4th pick. His 977 receiving yards on 65 receptions would make any GM proud. Then you have the special case of New York Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. Only playing in the final 12 contests, he gained 1,300 receiving yards, to go with 12 touchdowns. Tampa Bay Bucs’ wide receiver Mike Evans and Carolina Panthers’ receiver Kelvin Benjamin both had 1,000 yard seasons. With 5 other rookies gaining over 600 yards receiving, it validated the notion that the NFL is now a passing league. The 2015 Draft saw six receivers selected, headlined by Amari Cooper, formerly of the Alabama Crimson Tide and now with the Oakland Raiders. Can this new class of receivers with the likes of Indianapolis Colts’ Phillip Dorsett and Philadelphia Eagles’ Nelson Agholor maintain the momentum?

 

Peyton Manning will be Available for more Papa Johns Commercials after this Season.

Enjoy it while you can. It’s all pizza from here on out.

 

I think this will be the last season for Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. He is still a top level signal caller going into the season but unfortunately, this will be his swan song. Over the past two years he has regressed in arm strength. Manning has never been mistaken for having a rocket arm, but after neck surgery, he is extremely limited in that department. Having already passed Brett Favre for all time passing touchdowns, he will easily eclipse Favre for the all time passing yards record by mid-season. With the NFC stacked with perennial Super Bowl contenders in Green Bay and Seattle, the Broncos Super Bowl prospects are dwindling, even if they do make it through the AFC. The Broncos are no closer to winning the Super Bowl than they were two years ago when the Seattle Seahawks massacred them. Bow out gracefully Mr. Manning, Papa needs you.

 

What “D” word?

How NOT to hit in today’s NFL.

 

Can we please allow some real defense this year? The league has cracked down on helmet to helmet hits and thus has made defenders leery of tackling. Defenders often have to take time to adjust or contort their body so that they do not risk hitting the opposing players above the shoulders. This has caused a lack of excitement in the game. Moreover, the fines that players receive due to illegal hits is preposterous. The NFL is taking unnecessary precautions to ensure player safety. The league may be garnering all time highs in profits and viewership, but that does not negate the fact that a lack of good defense makes for lopsided contests. The referees have been conditioned to throw a flag whenever an offensive skill position player is hit near the chest or above or when a quarterback starts to complain. Maybe I’m old school but just let the men play the game! As evidenced by the rash of retirements this offseason, these players aren’t forced to play and are able to walk away when they want. If they want to risk their health for the love of the game and financial prosperity then let them.

 

Super Bowl or Bust.

Can Matthews and the Packer’s defense get it together?

 

Some teams have been at the poker table far too long. They have been watching other teams collect their money and leave. Instead of folding and just walking away, some teams have held pat, taking loss after loss until they are down to their last few chips. There are a few teams that are all-in for this season and if they do not advance in the playoffs they will retool or implode. The Green Bay Packers are one team I think may do a defensive overhaul if they can’t get over the hump this year. The team has to be pleased with their offensive talent led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers but the defense started the purge a few years ago. They have recently let go of defensive backs Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson, along with linebacker A.J. Hawk. The Julius Peppers Experiment must show promise this season in order for him to stay around, and the resurgence of linebacker Clay Matthews must continue, who just a few years ago had J.J. Watt-esque stock. The aforementioned Broncos have made all the requisite changes on defense to be a contender but may fall short due to the lack of strength in Manning’s arm. If he can’t deliver this season, I think President of Operations John Elway may be forced to let go of the 5 time NFL MVP. Other teams that could make changes are the Arizona Cardinals, San Francisco 49ers, and Cincinnati Bengals.

 

Another season is about to begin. I know the fans are ready. I hope the NFL is too.

 

 


Roger Pretzel’s Cloudy Crystal Ball: NFC East

Written by :
Published on : August 27, 2015

 

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

 

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

 

Dallas Cowboys:

 photo dallascowboys_zpsl1ytzif4.jpg

 

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

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

 

The crystal ball says:

 

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

 

New York Giants:

 photo newyorkgiants_zpsohv8rzx3.jpg

 

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

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

 

The crystal ball says:

 

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

 

Washington Redskins:

 photo washingtonredskins_zpsvrcgzusi.jpg

 

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

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

 

The crystal ball says:

 

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

 

Philadelphia Eagles:

 photo philadelphiaeagles_zpsckjzuez0.jpg

 

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

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

 

The crystal ball says:

 

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

 


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