Comprehensive Information - Rankings - Draft Guide - Cheatsheets - Newsletters & More Throughout the Year Since 1996
Order by phone: 702-568-7118
Once again in 2014 (come September), we are bringing you in-season NFL Team Reports from our "Eye in the Sky" correspondents. These reports represent a local point of view which isn't readily available on the web. We remind everyone, the views expressed within these reports contain speculation as well as fact. It's just another extra bonus from FFMastermind.com to keep all fantasy football fanatics well informed.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
The Miami Dolphins took care of business, beating the suddenly hapless Buffalo Bills 22-9 last Thursday. Miami is now 6-4 and in serious Playoff Contention. As Yogi said: “It’s like déjà vu all over again.” Fins Fans are not drinking the Kool-Aid quite yet. The Dolphins could’ve made the post-Season last year. With two games remaining in 2013 all they had to do was beat either the Bills or The Mets (I mean Jets) and they were in the Playoffs. Instead, they choked, got to watch the post-Season games from the comfort of their own living rooms.
Holding service versus Buffalo was important. Coming out of their Week 5 Bye Miami faced a make or break stretch of 7 games versus generally tough rivals. They’ve gone 4-2 though the first 6, which would normally sound pretty respectable if Fins Fans didn’t watch them drop two games they should’ve won versus Green Bay and Detroit.
Miami plays the Broncos this week in the cold, thin air of Denver and this will be a tough game to win. Actually, the forecast doesn’t sound bad – 43 degrees – though the wind at 20-30 mph could be a factor.
The question is whether the wind will help or hurt the Fins or the Broncos worse. Denver just dropped a shocker last week to the Rams, and it was great to see Peyton Manning look human and throw in a clunker, however it is likewise difficult to imagine him throwing in two clunkers in a row.
Fantasy-wise, don’t know what to tell you. Even when the Fins do good they don’t rack up a tone of Fantasy Points. A great game for QB Ryan Tannehill still sees him throwing for less than 300 yards, and the Miami Coaches seem determined to prevent RB Lamar Miller from ever posting decent numbers. They spread the ball around in the passing attack, so none of their receivers scores consistent fantasy points either.
As a result, if you have any Fins players on your Fantasy Roster it simply boils down to that old Dirty Harry thing: “Do you feel lucky?” (“Well… Do you – punk?”)
Jimmy The Finger
NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
NEW YORK JETS
The report for this week has not yet been released.
This scouting position is vacant. If you are interested in covering this team, please contact us. Thank you.
"We just felt, given all the circumstances rolled together, it was a move best for the Browns."--Browns HC Mike Pettine announcing the reason why the team cut RB Ben Tate
"I'm just excited to get out on the field with him on Wednesday and see how it plays out."--Browns QB Brian Hoyer anxiously anticipating the return of WR Josh Gordon to the team
"... he's a game-changer. He's a guy that with the ball in his hands, he can make plays. So we're anticipating that we're going to get a full dose of him this week."--Atlanta HC Mike Smith stating how he feels the Browns will use Gordon
One-in and one-out. Heeeee's baaaaack. Flash is back, WR Josh Gordon that is and his return couldn't come at a better time since the team has been decimated with injuries. LB Karlos Dansby was injured along with LB Jabaal Sheard and despite reports earlier in the week that their was hope for both and then reports came in that TE Jordan Cameron participated in practice Friday but now Jordan has been ruled OUT and Dansby is listed as DOUBTFUL and Sheard is listed as QUESTIONABLE. The fact that all three were not ruled OUT is positive and it was reported that TE Jordan Cameron was assured after visiting TWO neurologists that he faced no long-term issues from concussions so the fact he got that reassurance and participated in practice late in the week points to him possibly playing as soon as next week, finger's crossed. As noted RB Ben Tate was cut after complaining about his role in the offense. One un-named player reportedly said one month ago that Tate would not make it to the end of the season on the team so the locker room anticipated that move. Onto the numbers.
QUARTERBACK PLAY Setting records are good unless they are dubious records, unfortunately Browns QB Brian Hoyer set the all-time club record for incompletions in a game when he went 20 on 50 pass attempts for 330 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception.
When asked about the record Hoyer said, "I don't want to put that (sack) on my offensive linemen... ... a throwaway I don't see as a negative play... ...no game was ever lost on a throwaway." Fair point considering Brian only got sacked twice on a day when attempting 50 passes facing DE J.J. Watt and DE Jadevian Clowney. This week Hoyer gets Gordon back and he faces the league's worst pass defense in a weather controlled dome after throwing for 330 yards last week so we're giving a green light to QB Brian Hoyer this week.
"... I think its very difficult to be a one back running team. Especially the way that we'll use them as much as we will run."--Browns HC Mike Pettine noting he still plans to rotate running backs even with the cutting of RB Ben Tate
RUNNING BACKS As noted RB Ben Tate was cut opening the door for both RB Isaiah Crowell 14 carries for 61 yards 0 touchdowns and1 big fumble along with 2 receptions for 30 yards and the door is more than cracked for RB Terrance West 5 carries for 12 yards. Pettine had more to say about the work load for the running backs. "Tailback by committee, I think that insulates you from injury or from somebody having an off game where you can feed the hot hand. I think if you go into every game with two and then you could potentially still roll a third where there's some special teams value there. I think that, for us, would be the ideal scenario." Well he's got his two starters in the Crow and T-West AND he's also got his special team ace-in-the-hole RB Glenn Winston who was activated off the practice squad earlier in the year and should be considered a 'super sleeper' dynasty stash for next year. Its still a RBBC but the picture has gotten clearer so green light RB Isaiah Crowell this week and yellow cautionary light for RB Terrance West.
RECIEVER PLAY Analyst with NFL Media and former Brown WR Nate Burleson reported that WR Josh Gordon told him that he planned to lose 10-15 pounds and that he would 'tear this league up' once he came back. When asked about that Gordon said it may have been a misquote and he came in weighing around 240 and now he's down to his natural playing weight of 229 pounds. Browns beat writer Mary Kay Cabot tweeted that WR Travis Benjamin told her the Browns have the fastest receivers in the league now that Josh is back and he may be right. Against Houston WR Andrew Hawkins had a big game with 6 receptions for 97 yards and 1 touchdown and WR Taylor Gabriel had 5 receptions for 92 yards. With Gordon back expect Hawkins to slide to the slot with a hit to Gabriel's stats. Their has been talk of limiting Gordon's involvement but he should still be the bell cow of the receiving corps Sunday so green light start for WR Josh Gordon and we think the big beneficiary of Gordon's return will be WR Andrew Hawkins who should get single coverage so yellow cautionary start for the Hawk.
IDP REPORT Leading the way was CB Joe Haden who had 10 solos and 3 assists along with 1 pass defensed and 1 interception. Joe is back to his Pro Bowl form of last year. With the injury to Dansby LB Craig Robertson stepped-up with 4 solos and 7 assists. SS Donte Whitner had 5 solos and 5 assists and LB Christian Kirksey had 3 solos and 6 assists. It appears the work load will be divvied up between Robertson and Kirksey so neither is start worthy. This week the only IDP green light start we can provide is SS Donte Whitner.
One week ago the Browns were in first place and three games above .500, this week the 6-4 last place Browns face the 4-6 first place Falcons.
Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!
The 7-4 Steelers again kept a bad team in the game early on Monday night in Nashville and found themselves behind by 11 in the third quarter to the 2-8 Titans. Then something unexpected happened. The Steelers morphed into a mid-to-late 70s version of themselves and pounded the Titans into submission by running the ball between the tackles. The Titans ran a total of 6 offensive plays in a pair of three and out series after scoring with just under 4 minutes remaining in the third quarter. RB LeVeon Bell had a total of 18 touches in the final three drives, the first two ending in touchdowns and the third with QB Ben Roethlisberger taking a knee as time expired. The only teams yet to have a bye are the Steelers and 3-7-1 Panthers. Both get this weekend off before every team plays every week starting on Thanksgiving weekend. Owners of Bell and WR Antonio Brown will have to make other plans.
QB: The resurgence of the power running game limited the stats of QB Ben Roethlisberger. He completed 21 of 32 passes for 207 yards, a touchdown and an especially egregious interception in the end zone after a long drive near the end of the first draft.
RB: Bell exploded for 204 yards on 33 carries and a 5 yard touchdown where his reach of the ball to the end zone was upheld on review. He added 2 catches for 18 yards. Bell did almost all of his damage between the tackles. RB LaGarrette Blount did not get a touch and was not happy. He left the field early and was then cut on Tuesday. While the release was well earned his petulant, childish behavior did the Steelers no favors. There is no longer any depth behind Bell. Rookie third round RB Dri Archer has been a disappointment. Undrafted rookie RB Josh Harris was signed off the practice squad. No veteran is expected to be added.
WR: A touchdown catch made the night for WR Antonio Brown at least in non-PPR leagues. He had 9 catches albeit for only 91 yards. A pass in the end zone to WR Martavis Bryant was broken up. He was held without a big play catching only 2 passes for 11 yards, still better than WR Markus Wheaton with a single catch for 6 yards. WR Lance Moore added a reception for 15 yards. Thinking Bryant wouldn’t be hit-or-miss despite the hot start to his career was overly optimistic.
TE: Monday night provided a bit of a resurgence in the passing game for TE Heath Miller. He was second on the team in both catches with 5 and receiving yards with 71.
PK: Ho, hum. PK Shaun Suisham kicked a pair of field goals and 3 extra points without a miss. Nothing to see here….
DEF/ST: The only Steelers touchdown in the first three quarters was a pick 6 by CB William Gay. Otherwise the defense did not play particularly well. Gay was burned horribly biting on a fake during an 80 yards touchdown from QB Zach Mettenberger to former Steelers WR Nate Washington with 30 seconds remaining in the half a play after Roethlisberger was intercepted in the end zone. S Mike Mitchell and S Will Allen provided no deep help. The other Titans touchdown drives were of 67 and 77 yards. The defense could not get a sack or much pressure on the statuesque Mettenberger. LB Jarvis Jones on injured reserve designated to return after wrist surgery is not expected to be ready after the bye. CB Ike Taylor has not been cleared yet for full contact and NT Steve McLendon’s shoulder injury remains a concern. Only S Troy Polamalu and LB Ryan Shazier are definitely expected back after the bye. Polamalu despite not have a great season per say is desperately needed.
Did someone say play-offs? QB Ryan Mallett demonstrated last week in Cleveland that maybe he does have a future in Pro Football. He looked quick; he looked like he understood the system way more than anyone else on the field. The OL played its best game in a while; possibly because of the leadership and line calls made by the QB. I’ve been screaming for someone to step up and lead the OL, maybe it is the QB who’s suppose to do that.
RB Arian Foster didn’t play last week and probably won’t this week because of the groin injury. RB Alfred Blue set the Texans record for the number of carries in a game. He’s a zero in pass protection right now but he does know how to run. Expect more of the same this week.
Who would have guessed the TEs would be so productive last week? WR Andre Johnson, WR DeAndre Hopkins and WR Damaris Johnson looked like they were having fun again. A few weeks ago I thought Andre was losing it but he sure played well last week. It’s only a matter of time before Mallett and Hopkins develop some real chemistry.
DE Jadeveon Clowney, DE J.J. Watt and a make-shift LB corps played the best front seven game I’ve seen this year. CB Kareem Jackson will be out again this week nursing a knee injury; the young CBs are improving each week. Can the D play well again this week?
PK Randy Bullock is kicking well; I’d start him if he were on my team. Definitely play Blue if he’s on your roster. Play Mallet if you don’t have a better option. The TEs caught both of the TDs last week; playing the receivers might work also. Always start the Texans D.
Hey there Colts' fans! Here are my thoughts on this weekend's game as the 6-4 Colts try to get back on the right side of the ledger as they host the 2-8 Jacksonville Jaguars:
Injuries/roster: The big one is obviously the season-ending loss of leading RB Ahmad Bradshaw to a broken fibula. The team did not make a move to add any running backs ot the active roster, so as of now there are only two, although they did sign free agent RB Michael Hill to the practice squad yesterday. Hill led the nation in rushing as a senior at Division II Missouri Western State and has bounced around a few practice squads since then. The other potential loss which could be almost as bad (although maybe not this week) is the ankle sprain of TE Dwayne Allen. Allegedly it is not a high ankle sprain, but in either case, all insider accounts imply that he will be missing from action this weekend. On defense, starting CB Greg Toler is in the concussion protocol and has yet to practice this week, putting his week 12 status in jeopardy. On the positive side though, DE Art Jones (who has been in and out of the lineup all season with a bad ankle sprain) did participate fully in practice this week and is expected to give it a go on Sunday.
QB: With the injuries at running back and the weakness of the Jacksonville pass defense, I fully expect this to be an even higher volume week for QB Andrew Luck this week. They may even use the short pass to the backs and tight end, and the bubble screen and slant to the receivers as "long handoffs". Look for upwards of 40 pass attempts and a few long strikes (to which the Jaguars are very vulnerable). Not that you wouldn't start him anyway, but Luck should challenge for the top scorer of the week if he tosses enough TDs. I expect 330 yards and maybe three scores this week.
RB: With Bradshaw down and out, the lead role in the league's #1 offense falls to RB Trent Richardson. He has mostly been ineffective while touching the ball ~15 times each game, so I expect only a modest uptick in his touches this week. They will lean on him first, but I think they will also use 3rd stringer RB Boom Herron, who is a decisivie runner. However, this week T-Rich will get more snaps since he has been very good in pass protection and I expect them to throw a bunch this week. Nonetheless, it is hard to overlook the fact that the Jaguars have allowed over 20 fantasy PPG to runners this year, the worst in the NFL. I suspect that Richardson will be a solid #3 or flex with high #2 upside if the volume allows it, and that Herron makes an interesting flex that could total 50 combined yards this week.
WR: With the volume, I look for the receivers to be PPR stalwarts this week. WR Reggie Wayne has a huge history against the Jaguars, and his week 3 line of 4-60 is a low aberration as compared to his averages. I look for him to catch a bunch of short passes this week, making him a #2 in PPR formats. WR TY Hilton is the one I like this week as the Jaguars are very susceptible to the deep ball (Hilton got behind them twice in September) and they will get the young speedster back on track this week. Look for a long TD for T.Y. this week. The Jaguars usually get beat up by the secondary and tertiary targets because of the lack of backfield depth, and the week 3 tilt exposed this with WR Donte Moncrief getting a lot of targets and WR Hakeem Nicks scoring. I like Moncrief to get a longer look this week (and maybe even score) in the 3-wide base package they should run with Allen injured.
TE: I do not expect Allen to play, leaving TE Coby Fleener a great chance to build upon his career-best performance against the Patriots. When last these two teams met, Fleener led the team in targets and both he and Allen scored, so the tight end is clearly a way to attack this unit with this team. I don't suspect that 3rd stringer TE Jack Doyle will slide into Allen's role and routes, but he will see time as an excellent blocker. Fleener could be a low end #1 this week, and a solid #2
K: Adam Vinatieri has multiple FGs made in every game since week 1, is averaging 12 PPG and the Jaguars give up kicker fantasy points at a rate only exceeded by the Bears, giving up over 2 FGs/game. Oh by the way...he hasn't missed a single one of his 56 kicks yet in 2014. Need I say more? Play him!
D/ST: The Colts are a chic pickup off the waiver wire to face the Jaguars, who have allowed more fantasy points to opposing defenses than any other team, and by a wide margin. Their rookie quarterback is also leading the NFL in interceptions, and has been sacked more than any one else has...and the offense is 2nd worst in scoring. This looks on paper like a walkover for the defense, but I suspect that they may give up more points than average for the Jags this week, so keep that in mind if that is a big part of your league's scoring. They are an absolute solid play in most any scoring format though due to the likelihood of sacks and turnovers.
Overall: For the third straight game (and a ridiculous 7th time in the last two seasons), the Colts will face a team that is coming off of their bye week. The extra time to rest recuperate and prepare is not a trivial thing, and surely presents one advantage that the Jaguars will have coming into this one. Fortunately for the Colts, there are few other ways in which one can say that Jacksonville is on the same page as the Colts at this time. The disparity in talent, the motivation of an ugly and embarrassing loss, the need to win for playoff prospects and the home crowd all make this look on paper like it should be a blowout. However, the Jaguars always seem to play better in Indy than the games in Florida, so I am not calling for a blowout in this one. I do think that the game will eventually favor the boys in blue, but not by as wide a margin as many people think. Let's call it 34-20 in favor of the homestanding Colts.
That is all for this week from the Crossroads of America. Enjoy the games, and good luck to those of you needing a big win to clinch a playoff spot or for postseason positioning. Until next week, friends.....remain COLTSTRONG!!!
Denver 7 St. Louis 22
Denver's (7-3) 22-7 lose at St. Louis left them more battered than any other game in the past two years. They lost TE Julius Thomas (2-3-0), WR Emmanuel Sanders (5-102-1), and RB Montee Ball to injury as the Rams defeated the Broncos to keep them winless all-time in St. Louis. Quarterback Shaun Hill shredded the Broncos’ defense, their running backs ran between the tackles, and the defense played aggressive football (2 sacks), most of which was of the clean, line-up-and-attack variety but not unusually physical. For the second time in three weeks, QB Peyton Manning (34/54-389-1-2) was awful, the line play was poor, the defense didn't do enough, special teams sucked, and the entire team appeared uninspired and outcoached. Manning threw two interceptions for the third consecutive week, and his 354 net passing yards were largely wasted, leading to only one long touchdown but zero red zone trips. RB Montee Ball wasn't 100% and won’t be 100% for a lot longer. QB Peyton Manning overthrew so many passes he didn’t look like himself, (56 pass plays) and only nine runs -- all by CJ Anderson whose first carry didn’t come until there was 5:02 left in the first quarter, although Anderson has forced 14 missed tackles in only 38 touches this season. The offensive line missed too many blocks and the offense had way too many penalties again-a problem this team can’t seem to fix. Losing WR Emmanuel Sanders and TE Julius Thomas neutered the Broncos’ offense completely.
The Rams converted two third downs on their opening drive and kicked a 37 yard field goal for the early lead. Denver’s first two drives were fruitless, and on their second, they turned the ball over on downs. On first down, Shaun Hill stunned the Broncos with a 67 yard bomb to Kenny Britt, who beat CB Bradley Roby on a play where he thought he had safety help. After a trio of punts, Hill engineered another long drive late in the second quarter, but St. Louis settled for a 29 yard field goal and a 13-0 lead. The Broncos offense finally woke up momentarily when Manning hit WR Demaryius Thomas (7-103-0) for a pair of first downs, and then connected with Sanders for a 42 yard score on 3rd and 10. Denver went into halftime within 13-7, and receiving the second half kickoff, but Montee Ball (groin) and Julius Thomas (ankle) were done because of their injuries. WR Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) was lost on Denver’s first possession on an unnecessary roughness penalty and didn't return. The Broncos abandoned the rushing attack in the second half even though they were within striking distance of the Rams for almost the entire game. A special teams penalty set the Rams up near midfield late in the third quarter. St. Louis made it to the Denver four, but again settled for a field goal, and a 16-7 lead. On the next series, Manning was dropped for a sack before throwing an interception, giving up the ball at the Rams 47, which resulted in a 55 yard field goal. Denver’s first fourth-quarter drive went as far as the Rams 28, but Manning was sacked on fourth down. The defense forced a punt, but Peyton was intercepted on another poor throw, which led to a 53 yard field goal. Denver turned the ball over on downs to end the game. TE Jacob Tamme (4-31-0), WR Andre Caldwell (3-31-0) and WR Wes Welker (4-28-0) contributed 90 combined yards on their 11 catches. DE Derek Wolfe, DE DeMarcus Ware and LB Von Miller each had a sack.
MIAMI @ DENVER
Questions swirl regarding the health of Denver's offense and offensive players. Can the Broncos turn it around (quickly)? Their problem is they face three of the best pass-rushing teams in a row (Miami, KC & Buf.). More losses appear possible, starting with Miami (then @ KC, SD & Cin). Denver's offense is prone to negative plays (four per game) and the Dolphin's defense is disruptive like the Rams. Denver can't protect the A gap while Manning is having the first negative season of his career when blitzed (36th). Peyton has overcome plenty of lackluster line play over the years, but this year...? Denver has talented pass-rushers, but relying on only Ware and Miller for pressure isn't working with Miller in coverage too often. Denver is favored by 7 at Mile High where they remain undefeated. Miami 21 Denver 28
Julius Thomas (ankle) and Emmanuel Sanders (concussion) have not been ruled out for Sunday's game, but Montee Ball (groin) is likely to miss extended time
QB Peyton Manning remains a fantasy quarterback must start, even though he looks a little troubled and not just with his accuracy. His upside will depend on injured players.
RB CJ Anderson's pass catching ability out of the back field keeps him in your lineup as a borderline #2 with upside, especially in PPR leagues.
RB Juwan Thompson is strictly a handcuff for Anderson
RB Kapri Bibbs could be active, but his role is uncertain without another running back getting injured
WR Wes Welker stands to be the big winner if Sanders and Julius are out
WR Demaryious Thomas is an even more valuble must start due to the injuries
WR Emmanuel Sanders will have to pass the league concussion policy to play. He is a #3 with upside if he plays.
WR Andre Caldwell stands to play more if Sanders is out be is nothing special
WR Cody Latimer has the upside Caldwell doesn't
TE Jacob Tamme will have some value and will see several targets if Julius is out
TE Julius Thomas is day to day with an ankle injury (his history with ankle problems looms large). I don't think he will play, but he's a must start if he does
PK Brandon McManus will see little action unless the offense gets going and is unstartable
D/ST is a low end #1 defense against Miami.
"Win the Super Bowl or Bust"
KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
The five game win streak came to a crashing halt Thursday night. Worse than just losing the game was losing to the arch-rival Oakland Raiders. Exacerbating that open wound is the cold hard fact that the Chiefs were the first to fall victim to a Raider win in 2014.
The Raider win wasn’t the only first experienced Thursday night. Kansas City’s defense did not allow a TD by a running back all season, rushing or receiving... that is until a little used sophomore tailback named Latavius Murray ripped through the KC defense like a machete. Murray broke the RB shutout in the 1st quarter with an 11 yard score. He wasn’t done as Murray roasted Kansas City in the 2nd quarter for a 90-yard bolt for his 2nd endzone visit. Just like that, 2 rushing TDs added to that column. Murray left the game with a concussion shortly after his 90-yard scamper, but that damage was already done and in the books.
Neither Oakland nor Kansas City looked overly impressive with the football in their hands. Oh, as usual, Jamaal Charles was super, rushing for 80 yards on 19 carries and adding another 42 receiving, including a nifty, shifty 30-yard catch and go TD. TE Travis Kelce did his part with the targets sent his way, snagging 4 of 5 for 67 yards. The problem with Kelce is Coach Reid just doesn’t call his number enough.
Once again, as has been the case for several seasons, lack of threatening wideouts forces this offense into playing perfect football, and doing so in a conservative manner. KC lost one of the few speed options when AJ Jenkins injured his shoulder; he is now on IR and done for the season. Jenkins was nothing special this year, but he was at least a semi-threat. Add to that list of injured pass-catchers Junior Hemingway. To help out with the Jenkins situation Coach Reid brings in one of the NFL true ‘good guys’ in Jason Avant, recently released by Carolina. Avant is as slow as he is a good guy; he brings nothing to the table as a receiver on the field. The lone bright spot at wideout (and you have to squint really hard to see it) was the sharp after catch skills displayed by rookie Albert Wilson. This passing game needs a jolt of energy and that is exactly what Wilson brings. C’mon Coach! Let’s get Albert Wilson out there and into meaningful snaps.
Alex Smith... enough already! Smith chucked 2 TDs Thursday night; he now has 2 TDs thrown total over the last 3 games. His ‘strength’ is supposed to be his accuracy, but he’s completed under 60% 2 of his last 3 games. Anyone holding Smith on their rosters as a potential fill in for an injured starter, please know that what you saw last week is as good as it is going to get; and that wasn’t good.
The defense obviously failed to hold up their end of the bargain Thursday night, especially early on the ground. AS the 4th quarter dragged on it seemed the defense was gassed. Talented Raider RB/FB Marcel Reece hammered the Chiefs late in the game, rushing for 37 yards on 8 carries. His rugged rushes helped set up the game winning TD by WR James Jones. ILB Josh Mauga has played gallantly in place of fallen Derrick Johnson, but he is not a run stuffer and is looking a bit tattered around he edged. The single play that directly influenced the outcome was the dropped interception opportunity for safety Husain Abdullah. An ill-advised flag toss by Raider QB Derek Carr floated right to the hands of Abdullah, who promptly hot-potatoed the football off his hands and out of play. Several plays later Oakland’s James Jones has the game winner.
Abdullah surely shares the loss with quite a few of his teammates. Alex Smith was cold to start the game and took forever to heat up, the Chiefs’ have no wideouts who can turn the momentum with a single catch and the defense allowed big plays.
A clunker was bound to happen as we all can pretty much agree Coach Reid was getting by with smoke-n-mirrors. Maybe the loss to the Raiders, thanks in part to the obnoxiously conservative play calling, will force Coach to reassess his game day strategy. Maybe the injuries to 2 more receivers will allow rookie receiver Albert Wilson to see more snaps and passes his way.
Isn’t it about time Coach? The Chiefs now have ample time to get a few wrinkles ironed out and kind of re-set the depth charts. Let’s all keep an eye and ear open about the practice participation this week. The smoke n mirrors might be fading fast.
The Oakland Raiders return home to battle the division rival Kansas City Chiefs, and this time on the national stage for Thursday Night Football. The Raiders have yet to win thus far in the 2014 campaign, and finished out last year on a losing skid too. Its not pretty here in Raider Nation, as this past Sunday the San Diego Chargers, who don’t look that great themselves, were able to hold on and secure the win.
QB Derek Carr is averaging just over 5 yards per passing attempt, and that’s not a lot. Carr has cooled off some from just a few weeks ago when he was on the radar as a bye week fill-in or low-end starter. He still projects very well for the future, but for fantasy this season; not so much. He threw for a mere 172 yards with no touchdowns and two fumbles.
It’s hard to guess what direction the staff may take with the Raiders well out of playoff contention. On one hand, maybe its time to see what we see with some of the younger players on the team, players like RB Latavius Murray. He did get 4 carries this past Sunday, and that was enough to lead the team in rushing with 43 yards. Murray has looked pretty good in limited action for a few weeks now, and for those of us in keeper or dynasty leagues, he is worth a stash now. For a big back, he is quite quick and not one a defender would look forward to seeing with a full head of steam. There was not much else going in the run game; RB Darren McFadden has gone from a decent flex to a desperation play. Its tough to count on a running back from a team that is often behind. As for RB Maurice Jones-Drew, there is not much to see. MJD had his normal handful of carries for not many yards, this time 6.
This wide receiver corps is surely frustrating. Yes, it can be argued that there is the upside of youth and talent albeit possibly lacks the field stretcher that would lengthen the field. Yet for fantasy, week to week, forget it. The one guy we thought we could count on even a little, WR James Jones, came up small again too. There are just too many guys involved with no one or two commanding the football. Free agent acquisition, WR Kembrell Tompkins was the leader this go around, with his two grabs for 47 yards.
From the tight end position, TE Mychal Rivera is probably the guy for the foreseeable future, and on a day where many tight ends disappointed, Rivera was right there with the crowd with his 3 catch/40 yard day.
I wish we could flip the workload between K Sebastian Janikowski and P Marquette King. Again, not a good sign when your punter seems to the player who works the most for his paycheck. Seabass nailed his two attempts and has been as solid as he can be given his limited attempts.
The Raiders weren’t the only team playing somewhat flatly in this matchup. The San Diego Chargers who just a few weeks ago were on fire, are now mere embers. QB Phillip Rivers also had a sub 200-yard game. Rivers did get banged around a bit in this game, and it has since come out via the mouth of TE Antonio Gates that Rivers is battling a rib injury that Gates termed a "very severe rib injury".
The Chargers also saw the return of RB Ryan Matthews, whom the Raiders were able to contain and allowed him only 70 yards rushing.
Future hall of famer, S Charles Woodson perhaps said it best, "We did not get the win. It's all bad,"
The Chargers were only 4-for-15 themselves on third downs, so the Raiders did something right on defense. It was that kind of grind-it-out game for both teams, and Oakland just came out on the wrong end of it.
For this Thursday’s action, we will see another division rival we know all too well. For an NFL team, and all of the experience that HC Andy Reid brings from the Walsh coaching tree, the offense isn’t all that dynamic. QB Alex Smith doesn’t do much, partly by design. It seems like a heavy dose of running from RB Jamaal Charles and some of RB Knile Davis, and strong defensive play seems to be the plan. They did just use that same formula to defeat the defending Super Bowl Champion, Seattle Seahawks, so they must be doing something right.
Its easier said then done, but we can hope that their last meeting, when Charles had 5 touchdowns and ran roughshod over them, is still fresh in the minds of the Raiders defense and spurns them on a strong defensive effort.
The Raiders have now lost 16 games in a row, the equivalent of a full season of losses. That is very demoralizing, but I’m convinced the team will win a game this season, I’m just not sure this is the week.
But they’re going to try.
SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
The San Diego Chargers defeated the Oakland Raiders by the score of 13-6, snapping a San Diego 3 game losing streak and bringing the Bolts’ record to 6-4. While they won the game, the reality is that San Diego has been on a downward slide for 4 straight weeks. Can they break out of this funk at home against the Rams? This report will be a review of last week’s win, as well as a preview of the week 12 Rams at Chargers game.
QB: Word is that San Diego QB Philip Rivers has been playing hurt. Indeed, Rivers quarterback rating has dropped from 126ish over the first part of the season to 70s over the span of the last 4 games. Against the Raiders, Rivers was 22/34 for 193 yards and 1 TD. While the Rams aren’t fantastic, they did beat Denver last week. I think you should exercise caution with Rivers until we know that he’s well and playing better. I’d demote him to QB2 for now based on injury and poor recent play.
RB: After missing most of season to injury, RB Ryan Mathews returned and carried 16 times for 70 yards, generally looking relatively sharp. Mathews also had 1 catch for 5 yards. RB Branden Oliver carried 13 times for only 36 yards and had 1 reception for 3 yards. This week, Mathews makes a solid RB2 or flex while Oliver remains a risky play as long as Mathews is healthy and makes a weak flex, at best.
WR: Leading the receiving corps was WR Keenan Allen who caught 16 for 70 yards but did not score. WR Malcom Floyd caught 4 for 44 yards and 1 TD. WR Eddie Royal caught 2 for 27 yards. This week, I’d consider Allen a fantasy WR2, Floyd a WR3 and bench Royal due to lack of consistency.
TE: It was an off week for TE Antonio Gates, who only caught 3 for 32 and no TDs. However, Gates is having a very good season and should be started.
PK: Despite a rare miss, PK Nick Novak was 2/3 on GFs with an extra point. One of Novak’s 2 FGs was a nice 52 yarder. Novak is good enough to warrant weekly serious fantasy consideration.
DEF: The San Diego defense has been up and down this season. I spend happy hour this past Monday with most of the Chargers offensive line. As OT D.J. Fluker told me, “Hey, the Raiders might not have won any games, but they are a good team. They have some talent. Carr is a good quarterback”. So, holding the Raiders to only 6 points was a pretty solid effort. Consider the Chargers a slightly above average, but not fantastic, fantasy play this weekend.
That’s my report for the week. I’d sure like to see San Diego snap out of it and kick some behind. But until they get back, one has to temper expectations. Until my next report, GO CHARGERS!!!
Here is an NFL riddle for you. How can your team be on a bye week, yet still win? For the Dallas Cowboys, the answer is by watching the division rival, New York Giants, Washington Redskins, and Philadelphia Eagles all soil the proverbial bed this past weekend.
The Cowboys are now tied with the Eagles for the NFC East lead, and 6th in the NFC playoff race if the season ended now. Dallas holds a one-game lead on the two teams chasing for the final wildcard spot, San Francisco and Seattle. Dallas owns the tie-breaker over Seattle if it should come to that, but loses the tie-breaker to San Francisco.
This week, the ‘Boys can get one step closer with a win over the division rival New York Giants. As Cowboy fans, we can all hope to see the bad version of QB Eli Manning again this week. 5 picks? That’s not Peyton-esque at all. In all fairness, QB Tony Romo has had a few interceptions in his time too, and the team will continue to lean heavily on league leading RB Demarco Murray, but Romo remains a top option this week. He seems to be over his recent injury too. "Tony seems to be feeling well," HC Jason Garrett said. "We feel like given the circumstances and how we’ve done things all year long it seems like the right thing to do right now to keep him in that same rhythm."
Its been said for a while now, how the Cowboys want to lessen Murrays workload, and bring in some more of RB Joseph Randle and RB Lance Dunbar, but that hasn’t come to pass yet. Why fix what isn’t broken? Murray says he feels great and is no worse for wear. Thus far, Demarco has 244 carries and a staggering 1233 total yards. Randle did have his best game against Jacksonville though, with 7 carries for 56 yards and a score.
Every stud wide receiver needs to preen his feathers once in a while, so not too much should be made about WR Dez Bryant and his recent comments about “testing his loyalty” Jerry Jones will do everything possible to give Dez the big contract he deserves. Against the Giants, Bryant is averaging 6 catches for 94 yards with these familiar foes. WR Terrance Williams has been a little quiet lately, but the Giants are down to one of this seasons original starting corners, so the opportunities may certainly be there. Similarly to the situation with Murray, will the staff make an effort to get WR Cole Beasley involved? The little speedster could well thrive like WR Julian Edelman does, with underneath slants. He could be a great chain mover.
The Giants may well “bring it” against the hated Cowboys, and TE Jason Witten may be called upon to block more than usual. The last few games though, Witten has come alive for patient fantasy owners, and is a good play. We should take a wait and see on TE Gavin Escobar.
The defense is rested and getting healthier. Rookie WR Odell Beckham is looking pretty good, and a handful to cover. A must will be to get pressure on Eli, early and often.
The bye week couldn't have come at a more opportune time for DT Tyrone Crawford. After suffering a strained MCL against the Cardinals, Crawford sat out the game against the Jaguars, and has rehabbing quite a bit.
"It was definitely more than my knee that I had to get healed up and everything," Crawford said. "Not everything is completely healed but it’s good enough where I can go out there and not put a horrible display out there."
Along with Crawford, my vote for comeback player of the year, LB Rolando McClain practiced today as well and is on track to play Sunday.
The Dallas Cowboys are rested and potentially dangerous as they finish out this stretch run. After playing the Giants Sunday, the team will host the Eagles in the Thanksgiving Day matchup. This is no time for a letdown or looking ahead. If they stick to the blueprint they have succeeded with this season, it is indeed looking good for Americas Team.
NEW YORK GIANTS
The Giants face the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday night at MetLife Stadium in a primetime battle. Big Blue is reeling after another tough loss last week and lock up with a well-rested Cowboys squad coming off their bye week. Due to injuries and poor play of late, the offensive line has been retooled this week with a new left guard and right tackle. Hopefully this translates to good success on ground and provides Eli some much needed pass protection. The G-Men have lost 5 games in a row and are seeing their dim playoff hopes slip away but a big home divisional win can galvanize them.
Here are the fantasy prognostications:
QB Eli Manning faces a Cowboys pass defense ranked 14th in the league allowing 240 yards per game. They have allowed 14 TD passes and an opposing passer rating of 89.3. They have 16 sacks and 10 interceptions. I anticipate a ball control type of short passing attack to keep the Dallas offense off the field. There might be a few big play shots downfield but I don’t think they want to get into a scoring contest with the Cowboys. Count on 225 yards with a couple of TD’s making him a #14-16 selection this week. He is a marginal starter that should only be used in larger leagues or in case of injury.
RB Rashad Jennings suffered no ill effects in his comeback last week and should be very active. He will be facing the 12th rated rushing defense in the league allowing 4.4 yards per carry, 9 rushing TD’s and 109 yards per game. Expect 20 touches resulting in 100 total yards and with a TD plunge making him a # 16-18 selection this week or a solid #2 runningback. RB Andre Williams will continue to serve as a change of pace back but is not worthy of fantasy consideration, mostly due to limited touches.
WR Odell Beckham Jr. should be stoked for this big divisional game. I think the G-Men will look to him a fair amount, especially since Dallas won’t be very familiar with him. Count on for 7 receptions for 85 yards and a TD making him a #18-20 selection this week. WR Rueben Randle will have 5 catches for 65 yards and can be considered a deep flex play if needed. WR Preston Parker cannot be trusted for consistent fantasy production.
TE Larry Donnell has been getting more looks of late and this trend won’t be changing. I think he will have a solid game racking up 5 catches for 60 yards and a TD making him a top 8 play this week.
The defense will be sorely tested by a dynamic Dallas offense. They face RB DeMarco Murray and the 2nd ranked rushing offense averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 153.2 yards per game. They go against the 17th rated pass offense averaging 234 yards per game. The quarterbacks have been sacked 19 times, thrown 8 interceptions with 20 TD’s while compiling a passer rating of 102.7. They are not fantasy worthy due to the tough home matchup and their injuries on defense.
PK Josh Brown is not getting consistent scoring opportunities so keep him on your fantasy bench.
Good luck to your teams!!!
Here is a recap of Week # 11:
QB Aaron Rodgers and the Packers took the Eagles to school Sunday at Lambeau Field, where the road to the Super Bowl could go through for the NFC. They humiliated an Eagles team thought to be legit, with Rodgers connecting with his receivers seemingly at will and the Packers piling up three return touchdowns as they blew the doors off the Eagles in a 53-20 win. The Eagles allowed their third-most points in team history and suffered their worst loss since a 35-point defeat to the Giants in the 2012 season finale. It’s the worst loss of the 26-game Chip Kelly era, exceeding the 32-point blowout in Denver last season by one point.
QB Mark Sanchez passed for 346 yards, completing 26 of 44 passes. He threw two touchdowns, but was picked off twice, fumbled 3 times and lost 2 and compiled an 80.3 passer rating. RB LeSean McCoy had 88 yards on 23 carries. WR Jeremy Maclin led the receivers with 9 catches for 93 yards and caught a 20 yard TD pass. Rookie WR Jordan Matthews continued to excel with 5 receptions for 107 yards and scored on a 10 yard TD reception. TE Zack Ertz and WR Riley Cooper each had 4 receptions. RB Darren Sproles only got to touch the ball 4 times. 2 rushing attempts for 21 yards and 2 receptions for 23 yards. This is a guy that the Eagles has to get more involved in the Offense!
Not too many bright spots on the Eagles defense, obviously. DE Fletcher Cox finished two hurries, three tackles, and two stops. He finished as Philadelphia's second best defender against the run, behind OLB Trent Cole. The secondary was torched by WR’s Jordy Nelson & Randall Cobb, who both had over 100 yards receiving and combined for 14 catches and 238 receiving yards. The last time that happened was 1998 against the 49’ers tandem of Jerry Rice & John Taylor. DC Bill Davis was simply outsmarted by the best of the best.
PK Cody Parkey has now kicked 15 straight Field Goals hitting on both attempts of 33 yards. The Eagles punt coverage unit, so good all season, had an uncharacteristic breakdown, giving up a 75-yard punt return for a TD. RB Chris Polk had 88 yards on 4 Kick-off returns.
The Eagles (7-3) finish their slate against AFC South opponents, taking on the Tennessee Titans (2-8) at the Linc at 1pm on FOX. The Eagles are 3-0 so far against the AFC South.
PREVIEW FOR WEEK # 12:
After watching the Titans Monday Night’s game, “Pound the Rock”. McCoy should have a breakout game and Sproles should see more touches. Sanchez has got to control the Offense & curb the turnovers. Look for Maclin & Matthews to hit pay dirt again this week. It's never good to lose, of course, but the Eagles have a good opportunity to soon forget this loss when the lowly Tennessee Titans come to Philadelphia this Sunday. If the Eagles can find a way to rebound in Week 12, they'll be 8-3 heading into their first match-up against the Dallas Cowboys. This season is far from over. It's up to the Eagles to show they put Sunday's loss in the past, move forward, and get back to their winning ways.
That’s all for now from the BirdSeed.
Lions report, week 12 preview
Lions at Patriots
QB: After the offense was criticized for only scoring 6 points, offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi said they are cutting out 20% of the playbook, putting more focus on less plays. I have never really felt like QB Matthew Stafford struggles with the cerebral aspects of the position, but maybe this new offensive system is still challenging him mentally. I think the Lions are trying a little too hard to be a ball control/time of possession offense. There have been too many negative plays to sustain long drives and in a game like this where they are a clear underdog I would let Stafford come out slinging and take my chances. The offensive line is an ongoing concern with injuries and declining veterans and that has taken some of the air out of this offense. Stafford has not been putting up explosive fantasy numbers this year. The Lions have been competitive in their losses this year, but there is a chance this game could get out of hand and lead to some garbage time stats, but I don’t think you want to rely on that. It’s hard to get a good read on New England looking at their defensive numbers as they are middle of the pack in most categories. Let’s project Stafford for 275 yards and a TD this week.
RB: First of all let’s talk about injury situations. RB Joique Bell tweaked an ankle late in the game on Sunday. He should be fine to play on Sunday but he did sit out practice on Wednesday. RB Reggie Bush is back at practice this week. This looks like the return of the three way committee with Bell, Bush, and RB Theo Riddick. Bell ran hard last week and I think he will see about half of the touches this Sunday with Bush and Riddick sharing the other half. Bell makes for a decent #2 running back or flex play this week as I will project him for 80 total yards with a TD. Bush is a shaky play and Riddick is a desperation play. There is the theory that Bell is the better play in outdoor games with rough weather while Bush is better indoors on turf.
WR/TE: Much of the talk here is concerning how the Patriots will utilize Darrelle Revis. There is a thought that they will try to match Revis up with WR Golden Tate, leaving their bigger more physical corners to battle with WR Calvin Johnson. That approach makes sense to me, but regardless I have to believe there will be more of an effort to get the ball to Tate after he was targeted just twice last week. They will get him the ball on bubble screens if they have to, which would perhaps neutralize the coverage ability of Revis and force him to tackle the tough Tate who is great after the catch. There was talk about Johnson and his elbow after the game on Sunday but it’s fine. He did rest his ankle at Wednesday’s practice but he was back on Thursday. I think Calvin and Tate are both must starts this week even with the offense struggling. Last week TE Eric Ebron got involved, but it was short stuff in the flats. I would like to see him stretching the field and maybe getting up the seam.
K/DST: I would recommend benching the Lions defense this week solely due to the matchup as the Patriots are a machine offensively and they are especially tough at home. The focus for them this week is to avoid the slow start after going down 14-0 quickly last week. Maybe shutting Arizona out for the final three quarters will give them some momentum going into this game. The pass rush has to be better, especially with Brady knowing how to get the ball out so quick and decisively. I don’t really see New England trying to pound the ball with Jonas Gray like they did last week against the Colts. Detroit has the #1 ranked run defense for a reason. PK Matt Prater has done enough to make people forget about the dreadful kicking woes the Lions went through earlier in the season. If you want to use him as your fantasy kicker I wouldn’t argue with you.
I will review this game in my next report.
GREEN BAY PACKERS
Week 11 Review: Wow – two weeks with 50+ points and defense. Only two other teams have done that. QB Aaron Rodgers actually had an ‘off’ day as he completed only 22 of 36 passes (a 61.1% completion rate) for 341 yards and 3 touchdowns – all for a 120.3 passer rating. And again he had an early exit with about five minutes remaining in the 3rd quarter. WR Randall Cobb had 10 receptions for 129 yards. WR Jordy Nelson had 4 receptions for 109 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Davante Adams had 2 receptions for 13 yards and 1 touchdown. TE Andrew Quarless had 2 more receptions for 35 yards. TE Richard Rodgers had 1 reception for 19 yards. RB Eddie Lacy had a nice day with 69 yards on 10 carries (6.9 yards per carry) and one touchdown. Ten add another 45 yards on 3 receptions for 1 touchdown. That is a total of 114 yards and 2 touchdowns. RB James Starks had 9 yards on 8 carries - a 1.1 yards per carry average. Finally, RB John Kuhn had 3 yards on 1 carry. The starting offensive line was in tack for this game and played remarkably well. K Mason Crosby missed a 49 yard attempt but he made 2 others and added 5 extra points for a 11 point total. Another extra point attempt was blocked, and yet another was mishandled by the holder and Crosby never had a chance to kick it. The field was a little slick and both kickers had footing problems. That could account for the difficulties. The defense kept the adjustment of moving LB Clay Matthews around as one of the inside linebackers and then moving him to the outside on third downs. And again he was effective. It is true that the Packers surrendered 429 total yards, but 182 of those yards and 2 touchdowns came after the Packers started substituting liberally. So for the first half and most of the 3rd quarter the Packers gave up 247 yards and 6 points. Overall, the Packers gave up 109 yards to a team that loves to run and 320 yards passing to a team that had to pass to just have a chance. The defense also had 2 interceptions, had 3 sacks, had 8 tackles for loss, had 4 hits on the quarterback, 4 passes defended, and had 2 fumbles recovered. As if that were not enough this is the second weekend in a row the defense scored. An interception and a recovered fumble were both returned for a touchdown. Finally, CB Micah Hyde returned a punt for a touchdown. It was another good weekend to start the Packer defense.
Week 12 Preview: The Packers play the Minnesota Vikings in Minnesota – at the university football field. That in my opinion is important because until their new stadium is built, they will play in a open air facility that doesn’t hold nearly what the dome did and won’t be as noise. And if enough Packer fans show up, it could be almost a home game for Green Bay. This could be enough for the Packers to become the only team in NFL history to have three consecutive 50+ point games. However, there are reasons this hasn’t happened yet. While the Packers average 43.8 points per game at home, they only average 22.2 away from Lambeau – maybe that is one reason. Offensively the Vikings are near the bottom in every category except in rushing offense where they rank 11th. Defensively they are 37 yards better per game than the Packer defense. However, the present version of the Packer defense might be functionally better than the Vikings. My bet is that with the defensive help they have been getting Rodgers and the offense are very capable of a Lambeau type game. For significant Packer fantasy players things remain relatively steady for all of them. QB Aaron Rodgers is projected to have 4379 yards, 45 touchdowns, a completion rate of 66.8%, 5 interceptions, and a 118.4 passer rating. WR Randall Cobb is projected to have 86 catches for 1246 yards and 16 touchdowns. WR Jordy Nelson is projected to have 96 catches for 1597 yards and 14 touchdowns. WR Davante Adams is projected to have 43 catches for 458 yards and 5 touchdowns. TE Andrew Quarless is projected to have 30 catches for 288 yards and 5 touchdowns. RB Eddie Lacy is projected to have 206 carries for 874 yards rushing – 4.2 yards per carry – with 8 touchdowns. To that you can add 43 receptions for 515 yards and 3 touchdowns – for a total of 1389 yards and 11 touchdowns. K Mason Crosby is projected to have 131 points. He has had three double digit games in a row. He is very reliable.
I would start QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Randall Cobb, WR Jordy Nelson, RB Eddie Lacy K Mason Crosby, and the Packer defense. Here is to another 50+ point performance. But whether they do it or not, next week I will be back to review the Vikings game and preview the game against the Patriots. At least the Packers get them in Green Bay.
Well last week’s lost to the Bears was pretty predictable. The Vikings simply do not beat the Bears in Chicago too often. If you ever want a cure for your football team, just play the Vikings!!
The Vikings host the Green Bay Packers this week and I fully expect a repeat of the last time they played each other.
This game should be pretty simple to talk about from a fantasy football perspective. Start every single Packer that you have and bench every single Viking that you have. My only concern is that the Packers might get out to such an early lead that most of their starters might not even get out of the locker room at halftime.
The Vikings did pick up RB Ben Tate who was released from the Browns earlier this week. RB Matt Asiata will probably miss this week’s game with a concussion and RB Jerrick McKinnon has a lower back injury. Again, I wouldn’t go anywhere near the Vikings backfield this weekend.
RB Adrian Peterson was officially suspended for the year but has appealed that ruling. His hearing is set for December 2nd and will be done by the same arbitrator that did WR Josh Gordon’s case so we will see how that goes.
So if it isn’t evident yet, I am picking the Packers to win this game and it won’t even close.
The Falcons return home after 2 road wins against the Bucs and Panthers and are in first place in the sad NFC South at 4-6. This week the face the 6-4 Browns and the return of WR Josh Gordon.
1. QB Matt Ryan – This will be an interesting test for the Falcons offensive line and Ryan as the Browns defense can be tough as they have shut down offenses like the Bengals and Steelers. I think we may not see the explosive big play Falcons offense again this season….temper expectations….250 yards with a score.
2. Falcons Running Backs – RB Antone Smith has been placed on IR removing one of the 4 Falcons running backs from getting touches…..the fact that the NFS South is so bad ends up to RB Davonta Freeman’s detriment as he continues to get limited touches compared to RB Steven Jackson. I just think that neither one of them is a consistent enough play to warrant being in your starting lineup.
3. WR Julio Jones – Jones is obviously not 100% and the state of the Falcons offensive line is not allowing Ryan the time to get the ball 20+ yards downfield to Jones….look for 6 catches for 70 yards.
4. WR Roddy White – White, on the other hand, has been playing solid for the past month and I expect that to continue. He might be matched up against a rookie and I like those odds for the veteran White. I’d look for 8 catches 90 yards with a score.
5. PK Matt Bryant – 3 more field goals and 2 extra points.
6. Defense – Browns QB Brian Hoyer can be forced into turnovers, but that means the Falcons have to get pressure on him. They have been better lately, but still the pass rush is very inconsistent. WR Josh Gordon returns for the Browns and you know they will try to work him in early and often. However, if the Falcons put too much into covering Gordon, I could see the Browns running game being successful against the Falcons front. I think you have better matchup plays this week like the Colts and Rams, even, but I wouldn’t kill you for playing the Falcons.
Browns 26 Falcons 23
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS
It wasn’t pretty. It wasn’t perfect. It was a win. An entire stadium full of Arizona Cardinal fans and Detroit Lions fans were waiting for that one big play to happen from the second quarter on to get the scores about even, but it never came. Both these defenses, after Detroit allowed 2 TDs in the first quarter on two very good pass plays from QB Drew Stanton to WR Michael Floyd, really settled in and were not allowing any offensive momentum whatsoever. Both defenses really did a great job in keeping the opposing offenses in check and off balance the rest of the game. Detroit came in as the best overall defense in the NFL and the 2nd best run defense and Arizona was the 3rd best run defense in the league. Detroit won that battle, but Arizona won the scoring defense as the Cardinals won the game 14-6 in a tough fought battle.
Cardinal fantasy star of the game were few and far between but let’s highlight a few:
QB Drew Stanton 21 of 32 for 306 2 TD 2 INTs. The two INTs were horrible throws. Drew needs to stop those! WR Michael Floyd 2 catches 54 2 TDs WR John Brown 5 catches for 69 yards
That’s it! The offense in this game was miserable on both ends.
So right now, the Arizona Cardinals have a 3 game lead on both Seattle and San Francisco with 6 games left. The Cardinals also have a tie breaker on San Francisco with a victory in over them at home. They have to split the series with Seattle and potentially defeat San Francisco in San Fran to gain total home field advantage without help. But that’s way down the road. This week the Cardinals need to focus on Seattle. The Las Vegas odds makers have already given the nod to Seattle with a +6.5 underdog status to the Arizona Cardinals.
This game will be a physical game. The Seahawks were not happy when Arizona beat them last year in Seattle and really want to take that home field advantage back. The Cardinals want to continue to prove themselves and put Seattle 4 games back with 5 left. To do that, the Cardinals will have to play much better on special teams and offense this week. Plus the defense will have to contend with “Beastmode” RB Marshawn Lynch and the running and scrambling ability of QB Russell Wilson. Each week we discuss the players who should be on your starting list. This week, I’m not sure I’d start ANYONE in this game. These two defenses just might tear the field up. Now that being said, there is ALWAYS someone that stars in the game.
NFC West: Seattle 3rd (6-4) Arizona 1st (9-1) note: 1 game away from the Cards win total from last year.
Points Scored: Seattle 26.0 Arizona 23.7 (14th)
Yards: Seattle 366.0 Arizona 333 (20th
Points Allowed: Seattle 21.5 (12th) Arizona 17.6 (3rd)
Yards Allowed: Seattle 306.1 (3rd) Arizona 343.7 (13th)
Rush Allowed: Seattle 90.8 (7th) Arizona 80.5 (3rd)
Pass Yards: Seattle 215.3 (3rd) Arizona 263.2 (29th)
Net Points: Seattle 45 Arizona 61
Home Record: Seattle 4-1
Away Record: Arizona 3-1
Points For: Seattle 260 Arizona 237
Points Against: Seattle 215 Arizona 176
Well, let’s just say they are both very good teams. Seattle should be able to throw on the Cardinals and the Cardinals should be able to run a bit more on Seattle. Seattle is a tough tough place to play and win. War ahead.
Cardinals I would start: WR Michael Floyd (?) RB Andre Ellington WR Larry Fitzgerald PK Chandler Catanzaro
Prediction? I am hoping the Cardinals win this game, but really, I won’t be shocked if Seattle takes the game by 3 points. I’m expecting a close battle. Hopefully QB Drew Stanton learned from his 2 interceptions this week. Keep the ball out of Seattle’s defense’ hands and that will be a huge boost to the Cardinals. This game will come down to a final score. Will it be the Cardinals or Seahawks? We’ll find out Sunday!
SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
The report for this week has not yet been released.
I am a trenches guy. I have always believed that wins and losses come from the lines. DT Brandon Mebane is a huge part of the running defense and his loss was directly related to RB Jamal Charles’s big day. Then C Max Unger went down. Unger will be out for most if not all of this critical stretch. Arguably, if Unger had not been injured Seattle could have had one if not two more touchdowns in this game. He is that important.
Now Seattle starts a string of games that will define their season with the 9-1 Cardinals visiting CLink as a touchdown underdog. Really the Cardinals can lose this game and still win the division, but the Seahawks must win both games against Arizona. Will the Cardinals come in ready to play championship football or will the Seahawks smack them down to reality?
Without Unger blocking for QB Russell Wilson it is hard to know how this game will play out. It seems like the Cardinals are stacked right to come into CLink and make Wilson beat them through the air. And the Cardinals have fantastic corners who will make Wilson pay if he is not on his game. Wilson has had a string of fairly weak games, but hidden in last week’s loss was a better effort by Wilson. The Cardinals will be geared up to stop running backs, but will they be ready to contain Wilson on the edge? The only way Seattle wins this game is by doing it on the shoulders of Wilson. If you own Wilson in your fantasy league, you must ask yourself whether you believe the 7 point spread in the Seahawks favor or not. If you believe it, then you have to start him. If not, then look for another option.
RB- RB Marshawn Lynch is not just a Beast, he is one tough man. Those 124 yards last week were an act of will despite his body. He has nasty back spasms to the point where he felt he was unable to go into the locker room at halftime last week and instead sat it out stretching on the field. The Cards will be ready to limit Lynch. If there was ever a game that I would consider putting Lynch on the fantasy bench it would be this one. There are always issues with overthinking and benching a stud, but Lynch is just not likely to approach 100 yards this game.
Despite Lynch’s condition, RB Christine Michael and RB Robert Turbin barely touched the ball. The Seahawks seem to want Turbin to go if Lynch can’t, but Michael is clearly the better fantasy back. If Lynch is out Sunday morning, Michael becomes an interesting sleeper.
WR- WR Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse both saw 9 targets last week with Baldwin catching 6 for 45 yards and a touchdown and Kearse catching 5 for 54 yards. These guys are basically at pick’em for who is the number one receiver even though Kearse is probably on your waiver wire. I am playing Kearse again this week in my league. If Wilson shines, then someone has to catch the ball. Kearse has had some nice balls come his way, but it just has not worked out. If he had caught just 2 more in each of the last 3 games, everyone in the media would be talking about him.
TE- OT Garry Gilliam is taking many snaps from TE Luke Willson and TE Cooper Helfet because these guys just cannot block. Willson had a decent game against KC catching 3 of 3 targets and he is one of the most likely targets in the event that the running game is stopped up. He is a big longshot, but it would not be completely insane to start him this week.
Another week and another steady fantasy production for PK Steven Hauschka. Two more field goals and two more PATs. This could have been higher, obviously, since Seattle was pushing for that elusive final touchdown for most of the fourth quarter instead of potentially getting two field goals. I expect this game will bring higher numbers to Hauschka with a reduced amount of rushing yards. He is a must start.
Oh, those runs were painful. DT Brandon Mebane was sorely missed and KC showed us exactly how valuable he really is. Seattle has had more time to adjust personnel and continue to get healthier. LB Bobby Wagner will be back in the middle of the field and will go a long way towards plugging the hole where Mebane had been. But FS Earl Thomas deserves a shout out for stepping up in KC. He had 11 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and a pass defended. But that is really all that is going on here. There are only 13 sacks in the season none of which were at KC, and in KC there was not even a quarterback hit registered. Seattle is losing the line of scrimmage and that makes defensive fantasy points just that, a fantasy. So what will happen at home this weekend? LB Bobby Wagner returns to his perennial IDP form and should be started. He should have double digit tackles again this week. QB Drew Stanton threw for over 300 yards last week, but also had 2 picks. This week will be on the Legion of Boom to get picks and hold the yards down. I think they will do just that and they will be the key to the game. I would start this team D in your fantasy league.
Arizona comes into CLink with an amazing coach, but a quarterback who has averaged starting just a game a year over the last 8 years and has thrown 11 interceptions in his career vs. 10 touchdowns. Seattle has been beaten up and just plain beaten, but they are a championship team and Stanton is a journeyman quarterback, maybe the worst quarterback Seattle faces all year. That will be the difference.
What’s Next? Go ‘Hawks!
ST. LOUIS RAMS
AWESOME! The Rams play their best game of the season and upset the heavily favored Broncos 22-7. An unbelievable defensive performance stunned Peyton Manning and the return of QB Shaun Hill and an efficient offensive game plan allowed St. Louis to score enough points for the victory. St. Louis is on the road this week to take on the San Diego Chargers. With a 4-6 record, the Rams are a long shot to make the playoffs; however, as they showed against the Broncos, this team is capable of beating anyone. Let’s take a look at the week 11 Fantasy production with week twelve potential.
QB: QB Shaun Hill (20-220 and 1 touchdown) took over the starting spot from QB Austin Davis and did a great job of moving the chains and more importantly, taking care of the ball. Hill’s veteran leadership should give this offense a steady hand and as long as they do not turn the ball over, the Rams will be competitive. San Diego is ranked 6th against the pass allowing 222.4 yards per game. The Chargers have surrendered 17 touchdowns while collecting 4 interceptions and 17 sacks in ten games. Week 12 Recommendation: Hill will be on the road and Fisher likes to control the ball with the run so numbers similar to last week should be expected. I would be happy with 200+ yards and 1-2 touchdowns with no interceptions.
RB: RB Tre Mason (29-113 rushing and 1-1 receiving) had his best game of his rookie season and looked great doing it. Mason is the quickest and most elusive running back on the team and should be the bell cow for the rest of the season. RB Benny Cunningham (2-7 rushing and 4-31 receiving) was solid as the reserve and made some key receptions leading to first downs. RB Zac Stacy did not get on the field at all and is buried on the bench. San Diego is 12th in the league against the rush at 109.0 yards per game and has allowed only 6 rushing touchdowns in ten games. Week 12 Recommendation: The Ram’s rushing productivity against the Broncos was a big surprise and hopefully that success continues in San Diego. Tre is the lead back and should produce RB2 numbers similar to this past week with a possible touchdown.
WR: WR Kenny Britt (4-128 and 1 touchdown) was the receiving star of the game and could have had another touchdown if Hill’s first quarter 33-yard pass reception to Britt was better placed. WR Tavon Austin (2-11 rushing and 2-10 receiving) had another ho hum game and is still looking for his first touchdown of the season. Stedman Bailey (3-26) had his most receptions this season and should be more involved with Quick done for the season. WR Chris Givens did not have any receptions but played special teams. Week 12 Recommendation: Britt had a big game and appears to be Hill’s favorite target; however, he is no better than a WR3. Four receptions for 60-75 yards and maybe a touchdown would be Britt’s ceiling. Tavon always has potential for a breakout game like he did last season against the Colts, but I can’t recommend him for your lineup.
TE: TE Jared Cook (3-19) was consistent for St. Louis but not very productive for Fantasy teams. TE Lance Kendricks (2-5) chipped in with his usual receptions but did not score any touchdowns. TE Corey Harkey opened up holes for Tre Mason with his tremendous lead blocking. Week 12 Recommendation: Hill spreads the ball around and should rely on Cook often. I think Cook goes for 3-4 catches for 25-40 yards and maybe a touchdown.
K: PK Greg Zuerlein (5-5 field goals (22, 29, 37, 53, and 55 yards) and 1 extra point) was tremendous and won the NFC Offensive Player of the week award. It was a very surprising performance and I hope you started him at your own risk like I said last week. Week 12 Recommendation: It looks like the offense will sustain drives with Hill at quarterback hopefully the field goal attempts continue and Greg has another solid game.
DEF: The defense has been improving in recent weeks and played their best game of the season against the Broncos. LB James Laurinaitis (7 solo tackles, 4 assists, and 1 sack) and LB Alec Ogletree (10 solo tackles, 3 assist, and 1 interception) were outstanding and spearheaded the defense. DE Robert Quinn did not record a sack or tackle but was still very productive with batted balls and constant pressure on Manning. DT Aaron Donald (2 solo tackles, 1 assist, and 1 sack) got the sack set up by Quinn’s pressure. SS T.J. McDonald (4 solo tackles and 1 assist) and his defensive back teammates laid some vicious hits (one that took out Emmanuel Sanders) and made key plays including a victory clinching interception by CB Trumaine Johnson. Week 12 Recommendations: Laurinaits, Ogletree, and Quinn have playing very well recently and are every week IDP starters. McDonald is having a solid season and should be considered as an IDP especially in leagues requiring defensive backs. Donald should be considered in leagues that require defensive lineman.
The Rams should ride the improved defense and running game. Hopefully the momentum continues in San Diego and they can get a road win. I am off to San Fran with some buddies for Golden State hoops, Cal-Stanford football, the Niners game, and some delicious crab! Good luck to all as the playoffs are approaching. Love and Blessings to my Family. Miss you Pops. Aloha!