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2016 EYE IN THE SKY NFL SCOUTING REPORTS

Once again in 2016 (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.


BUFFALO BILLS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


MIAMI DOLPHINS
12/7/2016

The 2016 Season is coming to a crossroads for the Miami Dolphins after getting their butts kicked by a relatively mediocre Baltimore Ravens team. Riding a six game winning streak the Fins were due to throw in a clunker. But, man, what a clunker it was. After managing to hang on for a win the week before versus the second worst team in the League Miami had actually crept into the final Playoff Spot. If you read my column last week you know I said that once the Dolphins get to a point they control their own destiny that’s usually the Kiss of Death.

Well, it was nice while it lasted, but we still get the feeling Playoffs are a little more than Fins Fans can hope for out of this team. At 7-5 the Dolphins have a pretty good chance to post a winning record, which they haven’t done in many years. That alone would be an accomplishment.

At this point the real question is whether or not Miami has the horses to go anywhere. They have a pretty good starting Offensive Line, but they can’t seem to stay on the field. And the Defensive Line is also pretty good, but their Linebackers and Secondary suck. We were critical of the trade that brought in CB Byron Maxwell and LB Kiko Alonso, but right now that’s essentially all Miami’s got back there.

I know I keep harping on the Front Office, particularly their talent evaluation, but to me this is really the biggest problem with the team. Their starters are pretty good, but somebody goes down and their replacements are nightmares. We just don’t see any brains at work there. Going into the Season everybody knew they needed Offensive Line and Cornerbacks and Linebackers. They drafted one Corner, one Tackle. No Linebackers. In addition they traded away a lot of late round picks to move up and draft two Receivers, when that was probably the only position on the team at which they were stocked. And their last selection was a Tight End who didn’t even make the cut. You gotta think it would’ve been a lot smarter to take a chance on a large O-Lineman or a Linebacker.

Looking forward the Fins are home to face Arizona this Sunday, then they travel to the New York and Buffalo to face the Jets and Bills, finish out the year at home versus the (Cow) Patties.

The Cardinals have under-achieved so far this Season, but as a team they remind me a lot of the Ravens. They’re both named after birds. They’ve got a pretty good Defense and a strong-armed vet at Quarterback. In addition, they will now be able to look at the tape of the Baltimore game. If I were the Dolphin Coaches I would expect a big dose of the same.

Now I know through the six game winning streak, Head Coach Adam Gase has gotten a lot of positive press, and the team’s two games over .500, which is an accomplishment, but I still get the impression this guy’s learning on the job, and they’ve made some real bonehead moves through the year. Moreover, we still have some reservations about whether or not Defensive Coordinator Vance Joseph can do his job at this level. We know these guys have had their share of personnel issues, but we should get a pretty good indication whether they got a brain in their head from the way they come out versus Arizona. If they’re not prepared for the same game plan the Ravens used against them it will not bode well for their long term prospects.

The Cardinals are currently ranked 11th in the NFL versus The Run, 30th versus the Pass, so (like the Baltimore game) it looks like QB Ryan Tannehill must make some plays for Miami to succeed. Brandon Albert and Laremy Tunsil started last week, but the Fins O-Line doesn’t look like it will get Center Mike Pouncy back anytime soon.

The real question is – was the six game winning streak the fluke? Or was it the clunker they threw in versus the Raven?

Still, facing the 11th ranked Rushing D is different than facing the First, so you have to hope RB Jay Ajayi will be able to generate a few more yards than he did versus Baltimore. Beyond that it’s going to be a question of whether or not QB Ryan Tannehill can make some plays.

Fantasy-wise, however, it’s tough to recommend starting anyone other than Ajayi on the Miami Offense. The Fins tend to spread the ball around, so it’s pretty much a crap shoot whether Jarvis Landry, Kenny Stills or Devante Parker will score much in the way of Fantasy Points.

Defensively, Miami must seriously rebound from last week’s shellacking at the hands of the Ravens. Joe Flacco completed 36 of 47 passes for 361 yards and 4 TDs. The Ravens exploited the middle of the Miami Defense, and the Fins D did not register a single sack. Obviously, a similar performance versus Carson Palmer and the Cardinals will undoubtedly result in another loss. But, like I said before, the important thing will be seeing whether or not the Miami Coaches are prepared for Arizona copying the Ravens game plan.

The Fins must still win two more games to finish with a winning record. After Arizona we get a tour of the AFC East, traveling to New York and Buffalo, then home versus New England. Miami’s already beat the Jets and Bills once this year. Regardless of what they can do against the Cardinals, how Fins Fans ultimately feel about this Season will be determined by how the Dolphins play versus the Jets and Bills. If Miami can sweep New York and/or Buffalo, Fins Fans will feel good about their team, for it will be that much less shit we have to eat from those classless, loud mouth fans of the Bills and Jets. The final week, at home against the (Cow) Patties, could be a different story. New England kicked their ass in Week Two with their Second and Third String QBs, but much will depend on whether or not the (Cow) Patties have anything to play for. If they’ve wrapped up home field advantage, they won’t be trying much.

Ultimately this Season has been another emotional roller coaster for Fins Fans. Like déjà vu, dude. We had a lot of hope prior to Week One and the Dolphins sucked. Then they got their act together and won six games in a row to hove into the Playoff Picture. Then they sucked again. Now we’ve got four games left. Miami can play well, possibly make the Playoffs. Or they can suck, rip the guts out of their Fans. Again. Or they can be mediocre (like déjà vu all over again) and wind up kissing their sister at 8-8.

In Miami, we’ve seen this movie before. We’re just wondering if the ending’s going to be any different.

Jimmy The Finger


NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


NEW YORK JETS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


BALTIMORE RAVENS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


CINCINNATI BENGALS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


CLEVELAND BROWNS
12/8/2016

Whew! Made it through the BYE week without a loss. That might be the only time this year we can begin without adding to the loss category. This week, the rematch with the Bengals. RG III is back. He has had one start in his last 29 games and HC Hue Jackson waited till late in the week to name him the starting quarterback even though he was cleared to play over a week ago. Hue expects some rust and that is understandable for such a seldom used quarterback. The other player movement of note is SS Derrick Kindred broke his ankle while working out and was placed on IR for the remainder of the season so he's OUT. Lets dive right in.

QUARTERBACK PLAY What can we expect from QB RG III? We have no idea. There were high expectations heading into the season as RG III looked 'ok' in the preseason and with weapons like, WR Terrelle Pryor on the upswing and first round rookie WR Corey Coleman making explosive big plays in camp and, before the season began, there was the outside shot that WR Josh Gordon would make a triumphant return. Add in that TE Gary Barnidge was coming off his finest season of his career and that RB Duke Johnson was coming on strong and that there was 'anticipated' better things expected from the offensive line but all went for naught as Griffin broke his shoulder in the final quarter of a bitter opening day loss. Bob was coached to slide and to not take chances but he seemed to forget as he head to the sidelines and his comeback was derailed. He desperately wants to prove himself and he 'possibly' could but big RED light no-start for QB RG III this week.

RUNNING BACK PLAY A week of rest should do RB Isaiah Crowell and RB Duke Johnson some good. The Bengals seemed genuinely concerned about the prospect of facing the Browns running backs and they have performed 'reasonably' well as of late. YELLOW light cautionary starts for both RB Isaiah Crowell and RB Duke Johnson.

RECEIVER PLAY WR Terrelle Pryor is a must start so big GREEN light start for TP. How else? TE Gary Barnidge has slipped recently as rookie TE Seth DeValve has earned playing time. Look for more of Seth DeValve this week but we can't green light either of them. Rookie WR Corey Coleman 'might' find some Baylor magic with RG III but he had not produced enough to warrant a start so RED light no-start for WR Corey Coleman. Another rookie to track is WR Rashard Higgins who has gotten some work in the slot recently and he has started to produce but not enough to green light.

IDP PLAY The top-two IDP players are LB Christian Kirksey and LB Jamie Collins. Kirksey has been an oasis in a desert-like season as he has stepped up to become one of the top IDP linebackers in the NFL. The Addition of Collins hasn't adversely impacted Kirksey. Collins has come right in and produced instant results. He has had some lapses but the Patriot PR machine is looking really desperate with these antics and should try to act with some class. Jamie Collins has looked great IMHO and fans and the media is screaming for Collins to be signed to an extension.

The team is run on analytics so we won't over spend but emotion plays a huge role in winning and the fan base play a huge role in creating and sustaining emotion. The fans deserve Jamie Collins and Terrelle Pryor extensions after suffering through this season without hope.

Aspettate fino alla prossima volta... Till next time, Ciao!

Bob Fergus


PITTSBURGH STEELERS
12/7/2016

The 7-5 Steelers beat the 8-4 Giants in Heinz Field by the score of 24-14. QB Eli Manning struggled with under 200 yards passing and a pair of interceptions. The Steelers defense continued the prowess they displayed on fourth down in Indianapolis the previous week stopping the Giants all three times they went for it instead of punting or trying a field goal. Next up is the 6-6 Bills in Buffalo. Last week the Bills playoff hopes all but evaporate when they blew a 21 point lead in Oakland and ultimately lost 38-24.

QB: The final stats for QB Ben Roethlisberger weren't spectacular last Sunday. He completed 24 of 36 passes for 289 yards, 2 touchdowns and an interception. Roethlisberger was red hot in the first half with 17 of his completions for 204 yards and a touchdown. A big lead and basically no offensive momentum for the Giants had the Steelers relying more on the running game in the second half. Roethlisberger remains an every week fantasy starter along with RB LeVeon Bell and WR Antonio Brown. The Bills 8th ranked passing defense is more a function of their 26th ranked rushing defense than anything else. The 16th ranked scoring defense is obviously not a problem. The Bills have actually lost 5 times when scoring 24 points or more, the most of any team this season. Something to watch is the weather. Wind and snow showers are in the forecast for Buffalo this weekend. The weather will probably not be bad enough to alter fantasy plans.

RB: All hail RB LeVeon Bell. He has dominated since returning from suspension. Bell gained 182 yards from scrimmage against the Giants, 118 yards on 29 carries and another 64 yards on 6 receptions. The only downside was his 3 game scoring streak came to an end. Bell exploded in the second half for 87 of his rushing yards, The Bills are a very nice matchup for him. The hope is that both RB DeAngelo Williams and WR Darius Heyward-Bey can return to the practice field this week at least on a limited basis. Williams is reportedly closer to a return than Heyward-Bey. Williams is only fantasy relevant as a handcuff to Bell, Heyward-Bey not at all.

WR: The fantasy day for WR Antonio Brown was saved by a touchdown. The Giants held him to only 54 yards on 6 catches. Brown beat CB Janoris Jenkins on a jump ball at the back of the end zone for his touchdown showing incredible body control to get his elbow in bounds. Brown is over 1000 yards receiving for the season, leading the league with 88 receptions and 11 receiving touchdowns. Matchup is meaningless for him, clearly the Bills do not pose a problem. WR Eli Rogers caught a single pass for 18 yards, his role being totally usurped by the tight ends. Roethlisberger's only interception was actually a pretty nice pass that Rogers seemed likely to catch before the ball was wrestled away by CB Eli Apple. Roethlisberger has consistently talked up Rogers, but the results have simply not been fantasy worthy. WR Sammie Coates remains unable to catch the ball.

TE: Sunday was the coming out party for TE Ladarius Green in Black and Gold. He had a career high 110 receiving yards and a touchdown on 6 catches. He seemed to be running free most of the day and had 3 receptions of 20 yards or more. A blown assignment left Green wide open for his score. TE Jesse James had an egregious drop on the opening drive on what should have been an easy third down conversion. He rebounded for 3 catches for 32 yards. The news here of course is Green. His big play upside is definitely intriguing, possibly a secret weapon for the fantasy playoffs.

K: On Saturday PK Chris Boswell suddenly appeared on the injury report with an abdominal strain. Former Texans and Giants PK Randy Bullock was signed. He ended up having to kick when Boswell was determined to not be ready during pregame warmups. Bullock was perfect on 3 field goals with a long of 44 yards and added an extra point. The Steelers failed on a 2-point conversion after their other touchdown. The expectation is Boswell will return against the Bills. Whether or not he can actually kick or not shouldn't really matter for fantasy owners. Lack of opportunities has plagued Boswell all season.

DEF/ST: S Sean Davis and LB Lawrence Timmons both had interceptions. The Timmons pick with the Steelers up 5-0 stopped a second quarter drive and along with the previous safety on an offensive holding penalty set the tone for the game. LB James Harrison and backup DE Ricardo Mathews had sacks. Both DE Javon Hargrave and Shamarko Thomas suffered concussions and are in the league protocol. Depth on the defensive line is an issue especially with DE Cam Heyward on IR so the return of Hargrave is obviously most important. The defense has been coming on somewhat of late. Rookies Davis, Hargrave and CB Artie Burns all starting and beginning to make a mark. They remain a wild, likely unnecessary gamble from a fantasy perspective.

Rick Moses


HOUSTON TEXANS
12/8/2016

The Texans had a tremendous following of Houston fans last Sunday in Green Bay. I was there in the snow with them. What we saw was typical 2016 Texan football in a classic Green Bay snowy December setting. The Texans held their own until the fourth quarter when they ran out of cornerbacks and time.
QB Brock Osweiler played so-so but impressed me when he would take off running for first downs. He was game. The coaches aren’t trusting him with any deep throws until garbage time. Brock will be in Indy this Sunday in a must win situation for both teams. Don’t start him until his play takes a dramatic turn for the good.
RB Lamar Miller had another bad outing. Lamar had a rib injury early, returned but couldn’t generate much. The OL did play well enough to keep the QB on his feet on most plays. They couldn’t open up many running lanes. I wouldn’t start Lamar this week in Indy.

Rookie WR Will Fuller had a decent outing. Everyone is wondering if WR DeAndre Hopkins will develop chemistry with the QB. Sure wasn’t last week. TE C.J. Fiedorowicz and TE Ryan Griffith continue to excel on the underneath patterns. Ryan had a TD reception on a beautiful stretch out in the end zone. Hopkins did catch a TD pass last week in semi-garbage time. If you have him you have to play him against Indy.

For the third week in a row the D played well enough to keep the Texans in the game into the fourth quarter. The wheels came off when CB Johnathan Joseph suffered ribs and a bruised lung injury. They replaced Joseph with a diminutive CB who was completely outmatched by WR Jordy Nelson…and cut by the HC Monday morning. Joseph probably won’t start this week; CB A.J. Bouye would be his replacement. DE Jadeveon Clowney missed last week and is barely practicing this week. The D desperately needs him.

Special team coverage under-performed in Green Bay. The punter and PK are adequate but they are not a threat to score.
The team didn’t give up. The Texans have great traveling fans that will be in Indy again this weekend. Sure would be nice to see the O score early and often and put the Division title away.

David Trojanowsky


INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
12/6/2016

Hey there Colts’ fans! Here are some observations from last night’s shockingly easy dismantling of the Jets in the Meadowlands, 41-10.

Yeah, we all saw this coming, right? Umm…anyone that says that is lying because there was no reason to believe that this game would be so one-sided; indeed, rarely has a 41-10 score so underestimated the dominance that one team showed. But before you get too wound up about glowing over the Colts, watching the game told a very different story. Yes the Colts were vastly outplaying the Jets on MNF but it was apparent that the Colts were not doing anything special. Rather, it was merely a case of the Jets sleepwalking through the rest of their pathetic season and doing it this time on national TV against a team with much to play for. The Colts were simply playing their own basic brand of mediocre football, but the lethargic Jets appeared to have given up the ghost on the 2016 season. It was a good night for fantasy owners of a few Colt players, but otherwise, it was an embarrassing exhibition of supposedly-professional football which told us nothing about the Colts for the rest of this season.

I will say that clearly QB Andrew Luck was on top of his game as he missed very few throws. He finished 22-28 for 279 and 4 TDs with no picks, and several of his incompletions were drops. Indeed, were it not for a couple of drops by Hilton and Moncrief, and a fumble by TE Jack Doyle on the 1 late in the 2nd quarter, he would have had 7 TDs as all three of those drives were squelched as a result. With one series as an exception, Luck was not pressured all night – which clearly shows that the Jets were running on fumes since he had been the most harassed quarterback in the league by far this season. Luck did add to his stat line with 26 rushing yards as well for a very solid game. Kudos also to RB Frank Gore who had another quietly solid game running out the clock in the second half, going 20-79 after a slow start and moving past Tony Dorsett into 8th place all time on the rushing list on a 19-yard scamper in the first half. This also kept him right on pace for the first 1000-yard Colt rushing season since 2007 (no one has even topped 850 yards since then!)

It is easy to look at the two stud receivers and see that they had great fantasy games. WR TY Hilton was seemingly uncovered all game and had 9-146 on 10 targets; the one miss was a drop of what should have been a 35 yard TD. WR Donte Moncrief did not get much action but was 4-26 on 6 targets and did score for the 6th time in 6 games played this year. He has scored in every game that he has played and leads the team in TD receptions despite missing half the season. But the crazy story of this game was TE Dwayne Allen logging THREE first half TDs on only 3 targets, and finishing with 4-74-3 stat line that certainly made some fantasy owners ecstatic. With all the tight end injuries and byes this week, I am sure he got more starts than usual around the country and probably changed some teams’ fantasy fortunes in ways unforeseen! He certainly cost me a game to an opponent that suddenly needed to replace Gronk (DARN YOU JOE!!)

The defense certainly put up solid numbers with only 10 points allowed and 3 INTs. However, they really did not look that good. They got very little pressure on the immobile Fitzpatrick or on the inexperienced Petty (one combined sack), the receivers had a ton of drops and miscommunications with the quarterbacks, and the picks were all gifts on terrible reads or throws. The early lead made the Jets one-dimensional and yet both guys (especially Petty) had guys running free all game and just did not hit them. It was nice to get the result as a fan, but watching the game did not give me any confidence about playing against a real opponent. I thought the Colts’ D-line especially looked very tentative and slow and clearly the impact of the many missing or gimpy starters (especially in the secondary) was evident.

I will give some kudos to the special teams though. PK Adam Vinatieri returned to his perfect ways drilling two FGs (the first from 53 yards) and all 5 PATs. P Pat McAfee only punted twice but pinned them deep, and was expertly forcing kickoff returns into a good coverage scheme. On that note – hats off to rookie gunner CB Christopher Milton who technically only got credit for one tackle but was easily the first guy downfield on every coverage unit and forced more than a few short returns and big tackles as a real difference maker in an unexpected way. His presence and impact on the unit was evident on every special teams play, so keep an eye on this guys for special teams recognition down the road.

That is all for now from the Crossroads of America. I will be back later in the week to preview the big showdown atop the AFC South as the Texans come to town, trying to clarify the 3-way logjam now created between the Titans and Colts and themselves. It should be a good one as each team controls their own destiny at this point in the season. Until then friends, remember to stay….COLTSTRONG!!

Chris Rito


JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


TENNESSEE TITANS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


DENVER BRONCOS
12/7/2016

Denver 20 Jacksonville 10

The playoff window for the Broncos in 2016 has started to close. Denver needs to step it up and get ready for a gruesome stretch of football in the season’s fourth quarter. They rounded out their third quarter against the Jaguars in Jacksonville with a 20-10 win. The Broncos needed this win against the Jaguars to secure the sixth seed in the AFC playoff race while relieing on rookie QB Paxton Lynch. Quick timing routes, underneath passes and play-fake bootlegs to get Lynch outside of the pocket were the passing game staples. Lynch also showed his mobility and scrambling ability. Denver's defense didn't get a sack, but it did get three takeaways, including a pick six by CB Bradley Roby. QB Paxton Lynch lacked consistency in his second start, completing 12 of 24 passes for 104 yards. He was sacked twice but threw no interceptions. Lynch led only one touchdown drive of 75-yards With RB Devontae Booker and RB Kapri Bibbs contributeing 53 rushing yards on the drive. But after Bibbs left the game with an ankle injury, the offense ground to a halt. The Broncos struggled on third downs, converting just one of 13, leading to P Riley Dixon punting 11 times. Dixon made the most of his work pinning the Jaguars inside their own 20-yard line on three separate occasions and recording a 46-yard average. In his first professional game, the elusive WR Kalif Raymond (5'9 160), finished with four punt returns for 40 yards, giving the Broncos offense good field position.

Box Score QB Paxton Lynch 12/24-104-0-0 RB Devontae Booker 18-35-1; 1/1-2-0 RB Kapri Bibbs 5-49-0 RB Juwan Thompson 2-5-0 WR Demaryius Thomas 6/10-61-0 WR Emmanuel Sanders 3/9-28-0; 1-4-0 WR Cody Latimer 1/1-10-0 TE Virgil Green 0/1-0-0 TE A.J. Derby 1/1-3-0 K Brandon McManus -PAT 2/2; FG 2/2 DST sacks 0, fumbles 1 int. 2

The Broncos claimed RB Justin Forsett (31), who already knows the playbook, off waivers and put RB Kapri Bibbs on IR. The Broncos' depth at running back is now a concern.

Denver @ Tennessee

The Broncos begin their fourth quarter of the season on the road at Tennessee who is in contention for an AFC South playoff spot. The Broncos must be careful against the young Titans team which has a knack of pulling off upsets and will be a difficult win. The Titans are favored by one at home. QB Marcus Mariota is the type of quarterback-extends plays and runs-that give the Broncos a fit. Add RB DeMarcus Murry and RB Derrick Henry and you have a team that rushes and scores more touchdowns than most of their opponets. TE Delanie Walker and WR Rashard Matthews are the main passing game threats with WR Tajae Sharpe and WR Kendall Wright in strong supporting roles. The Broncos counter with the best pass defense and fewer points allowed, but will need their takeaway advantage to counter their run defense struggles and poor rushing game. Tennessee is favored at home by one. Denver 21 Tennessee 20.

FANTASY OUTLOOK-PPR
QB Trevor Siemian may be worth 0-16 points QB Paxton Lynch may be worth 2-10 points RB Devontae Booker may be worth 9-11 points RB Justin Forsett may be worth 1-3 points. RB Juwan Thompson may be worth 0-4 points WR Demaryius Thomas may be worth 12-15 points WR Emmanuel Sanders may be worth 11-15 points WR Cody Latimer may be worth points WR Jordan Norwood may be worth 5-6 points WR Bennie Fowler may be worth 2-3 points WR Jordan Taylor may be worth 1-4 points TE Virgil Green may be worth 4-5 points TE A.J. Derby may be worth 2-5 points PK Brandon McManus may be worth 7-11 points
DST may be worth 6-12 points

Good luck this week!

Charles Rives


KANSAS CITY CHIEFS
12/8/2016

So, exactly how did the Chiefs win that week 13 game against Atlanta? Sure, RB Spencer Ware got things going with his 2 TDs on offense, but his 2nd quarter 3 yard scoring reception was the last offensive points the Chiefs would put up. That Ware TD knotted the contest at 13 and the end of the scoring from Alex Smith’s unit. Where did the final 16 points come from? Glad you asked. With 37 seconds left safety Eric Berry stole an errant Matt Ryan throw and housed it for a 37 yard 6-pointer. Early in the 3rd quarter KC lined up in punt formation, but Coach Reid dipped into a bag a tricks and caught the Falcons napping. Albert Wilson got the ball instead and raced 55 yards for a game-changing special teams TD. Atlanta answered with 2 scores of their own and retook the lead 28-27 at 4:32 of the 4th quarter. Then, playing NOT to lose, they went for a 2-point try looking to create a 3-poinjt lead and at least survive a late-game field goal effort by the Chiefs. Again, A Ryan to Berry connection was made as Berry picked off the ill-advised Ryan throw and raced the distance for a game-winning 2-point return. Just another ho-hum game for the Chiefs. As I’ve said on so many occasions, this team never does anything easy.

Game Balls:
C’mon! Eric Berry. 2 interceptions, one taken back for 6 and the other a game-winning 2-point bring back. Incredible! WR Albert Wilson made his ‘home-coming’ special with that special teams TD run and snaring all 4 of his targets for 48 yards; that’s 103 Yards From Scrimmage. TE Travis Kelce racked up 140 yards, his 3rd straight century game. ILBs Derrick Johnson and Ramik Wilson each had 9 solo stops.

Housekeeping and injury notes: WR Jeremy Maclin is getting in full practices and will play.
probable OLB Tamba Hali was confined to a limited role in practice but is likely to be available for Thursday's game against the Raiders. DE Kendall Reyes is nursing a knee injury but is expected to partake in Thursday's game against the Raiders. DT Dontari Poe is dealing with a back injury but is likely to participate in Thursday's game against the Raiders. CB Phillip Gaines missed the previous game with an injury to his knee but is likely to suit up against the Raiders on Thursday.

Thoughts on the game this week against long-time rivals, Oakland Raiders

The short work week brings challenges for the Chiefs, but the advantage is they are home in Arrowhead Stadium. The weather may play a role in this battle as temps are expected to be in the low 20s at kickoff and continue to dip throughout the game. The boys from California may not adapt well to the frigid field conditions and rock-solid football. Here is where Coach Reid’s conservative yet effective game style becomes an asset. The cold conditions call for short passing and a heavy dose of ground work. That is exactly how the Chiefs play in normal circumstances and there is little, if any, adjusting that needs to be done by the Chiefs on offense or defense. That is key on short prep weeks like this. The Raiders have to not only travel on a short week, but revamp their usual game plan to account for the cold and the potentially slick field. There is not much time to install a lot of new and creative options this week for Oakland coaches.

The Raiders are weak stopping the run and that is exactly how the Chiefs will attack Thursday night. Ware will be heavily involved as both a rusher and receiver. Top WR Jeremy Maclin is just making it back from a 3-game layoff with that stubborn groin injury. It is not likely Coach Reid will push Maclin much, considering Maclin’s delicate injury situation, the cold weather and with playoffs in mind. We’ll see more of WR Albert Wilson in week 14, brimming with confidence and momentum coming off his excellent all-around performance last week in Atlanta. It is tough to tackle when it’s cold and Wilson, along with Tyreek Hill, will get a share of short throws in order to YAC it up against the Raiders’ defenders. TE Travis Kelce is an unstoppable force and the Raiders may be missing solid DB Karl Joseph, a physical interior presence in their secondary. Our under-appreciated QB, Alex Smith, could turn in a multi-TD performance despite the close-to-the-vest game plan. Smith generated 14 TDs of his own in his last 6 games against the Raiders. He’s thrown 13 and run for another. It is not a huge reach to project 2 short scoring tosses from Smith and adding a 3rd on the ground. Can’t you just see Smith lining up the tribe at the Oakland 3, faking the ball to Ware going left and then right-side bootlegging his way into the endzone untouched, late in the game?

Nice way to cap off the big home win.

A quick run-down on IDP prospects for the Chiefs:
ILBs Derrick Johnson and Ramik Wilson are on fire. Both backers will see plenty of RB Latavius Murray. Johnson leads the tackles as he closes in on 7-9. Wilson hangs around 6 solos stops and adds a turnover to his week 14 docket. CB Marcus Peters will be busy wrapping up WR Michael Crabtree. QB Derek Carr is going to have trouble handling the football, between the cold and that bum finger on his throwing hand. He’ll keep it short as well, and Crabtree is the Raiders designated ‘short’ target. Peters will get a good tackle total and, if Carr challenges him enough times, a pick is inevitable. I wouldn’t count on much from OLB Justin Houston here. The Raiders field one of the league’s best o-lines. Carr has been sacked just 12 times the whole season.

Tyreek Hill is dangerous here. Again, the cold makes tackling difficult and if he takes in a punt with room, look out! Beware Cairo Santos for week 14. He’s been great with volume but he has also missed his share of boots. Santos missed and XP last week.

So, how are the Chiefs going to win this one? Alex Smith with 3 TDs? Really? Maybe I got it backwards and Alex Smith runs 2 in for 6 and tosses 1. Maybe Albert Wilson has his breakout game on offense, building on his week 13 momentum. Maybe Eric Berry scoops up a Clive Walford fumble and races for another defensive gem. However they get it done, it sure won’t be easy.

Hey Chiefs fans. Treat yourself to some great views, outlooks, thoughts and opinions about the KC team at ARROWHEADONE.COM. Ladner Morse, creator and Chief of the site, has assembled a unique and fresh group of writers that spin their own take on the team, front office, coaches, ownership and the fans themselves. . WWW.ARROWHEADONE.COM ... GET IN ON THE KC FUN!

John Cooney is a Senior Staff Writer for Fantasy Football Mastermind.

John Cooney


OAKLAND RAIDERS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
12/8/2016

Well, the San Diego Chargers lost again, falling 28-21 to the Tampa Bucs. This week, the Chargers head to Carolina to take on the 4-8 Carolina Panthers. This is another game that should be winnable for the Bolts, but with this team and their 4th quarter woes, one never can tell. This report will be a review of last week’s loss, as well as a preview of the upcoming Chargers at Panthers game.

QB: Against Tampa Bay, Chargers QB Philip Rivers was 15/26 for 225 yards, 2 TDs and 2 INTs. Carolina has the 30th ranked passing defense making Rivers a top 10 fantasy starter this week.

RB: Not only did RB Melvin Gordon carry 17 times for 84 yards and a TD, but he was actually the Chargers’ leading receiver, with 4 catches for 54 yards and no scores. Carolina’s run defense is 8th ranked, but Gordon is playing too well to even consider benching him. He’s a fantasy RB1 each week.

WR: While the Bolts’ receivers didn’t have a lot of receiving yards, there were a couple of TDs. Chargers receiver WR Dontrelle Inman is starting to show more consistency, catching 2 for 49 yards and a TD. WR Tyrell Williams also caught 2 for 47 yards and a TD. WR Travis Benjamin disappointed once again with only 2 catches for 24 yards and no TDs. This week, consider Williams a weak WR2 or strong WR3. Because Inman has been doing a bit more, let’s call him a weak WR3 and due to Benjamin’s recent disappearing act, a very weak WR3 or bench.

TE: Speaking of disappearing, the San Diego tight ends didn’t do much. TE Antonio Gates caught 4 for 37 yards and no TDs, while TE Hunter Henry caught only 1 for 14 yards. Gates is only 2 TDs short of the all-time NFL tight end scoring record, so I’d assume that Rivers will be looking for him. Henry has a lot of talent, but hasn’t been getting a lot of looks. Gates is a weak TE1 or better TE2, which Henry is a TE2.

PK: San Diego PK Josh Lambo has a strong leg with average accuracy. Last week he missed a long FG, but hit on 3 extra points. Consider him a top 12 fantasy option this week.

DEF: I hate to sound like a broken record, but the Chargers feature an opportunistic defense that will force turnovers, create sacks and fumbles, but also give up big plays. They are strong against the run and so-so against the pass, albeit it with more than their share of interceptions. They make for a top 10 option against the Panthers.

That’s my report for this week. The Jekyll and Hyde Chargers certainly can beat Carolina, but will they? We’ll answer that question right here next week. Until my next report, Go Chargers!!!

Brad Willis


DALLAS COWBOYS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


NEW YORK GIANTS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


PHILADELPHIA EAGLES

The report for this week has not yet been released.


WASHINGTON REDSKINS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


CHICAGO BEARS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


DETROIT LIONS
12/8/2016

Lions report, week 14 preview
Bears at Lions

QB: I said last week I would expect Stafford to be around 300 yards with 2 TD passes against the Saints and I was pretty close. He ended up with 341 yards and 2 TD passes as his MVP candidacy rolls on. The Lions moved the ball with ease most of the day and scored on 7 of their first 8 possessions. Stafford torched the Bears twice last year but struggled against them in week 4. I think that was just an off day for the whole team for the most part, and I feel pretty good about Stafford this week. We’ll say he goes for 250 yards with 3 TD passes as the Lions find ways to get the ball in the end zone this week instead of kicking so many field goals. People have been pointing out that Stafford is Detroit’s second leading rusher on the year with 178 yards. I just pray that he doesn’t get hurt on one of those scrambles. Nothing really wows you statistically about the Chicago defense. They rank fairly high against the pass but only have 5 interceptions. They have a decent number of sacks as well.

RB: It appears the Lions are going to try to limit the between the tackles touches for RB Theo Riddick as he only had 4 carries on Sunday. RB Dwayne Washington had 7 carries for 21 yards but got hurt, which led to RB Zach Zenner getting 9 carries for 40 yards as the Lions actually had a 4th quarter lead to protect. Riddick did have 5 catches and scored a TD so it was a decent day depending on your scoring system. And even though you would never think of Riddick as a goal line back, the Lions still like to use him in the passing game near the goal line as they will go throw to him any time he is matched up with a linebacker, even near the goal line. The Lions really do not score many rushing TDs by the way. I mentioned last week that I suspected the roster spot of RB Justin Forsett was in jeopardy and he was waived on Saturday due to needs at other positions. Unfortunately for the Lions, Forsett was claimed by the Broncos, so with Washington getting hurt bringing Forsett back was not an option, so they turned to RB Joique Bell. For this week it is tough to project until we know the status of Washington, but Riddick is still the best option, followed by Zenner.

WR/TE: Nobody was really talking about WR Marvin Jones and his thigh injury last week but when the Lions promoted WR TJ Jones from the practice squad on Saturday that was a big clue that Marvin might miss the game on Sunday. It seemed like a game time decision to have Marvin inactive so I think he should be healthy enough to play this week. He is still on the injury report this week with that quad but he is listed as limited in practice. WR Golden Tate took advantage on Marvin’s absence and got to run some deeper routes and even scored on a 66 yard TD catch on his way to a huge 8-145 day. TE Eric Ebron is on the injury report this week with a knee but he is always battling nagging injuries. He went down on Sunday and I thought he might have messed up his back but he was right back in the game. Keep rolling with Tate this week.

K/DST: Don’t be fooled by the Lions scoring 28 points on Sunday. They had 5 field goals and 2 touchdowns, with a missed a 2 pt attempt on their unusual path to 28. That meant a huge fantasy day for PK Matt Prater as he went 5 for 5. As usual he is a great play this week at home against the Bears. The shocking story in New Orleans was the strong performance by the Lions defense as they held Drew Brees without a TD pass and picked him off three times. This was a statement win and the Lions defense is back on the fantasy radar as a streaming option against the Bears this week. I’m still a little skeptical, but the Bears are down to backups all over the place on offense so the Lions defense is worth a look. It helps when you have an efficient offense that can stay on the field for 36 or 37 minutes like they did against the Saints.

James Hintz


GREEN BAY PACKERS
12/6/2016

Review: Another Packer win – in the snow – at Lambeau. It doesn’t get much better than that. The Packer defense showed up again. But the snow and the injury to QB Aaron Rodgers did not do much for the Packer offense. The overall production and key performances were limited – in part – because of the snow. Key Packers who did not play include; RB Eddie Lacy (ankle), OG TJ Lang, and OC JC Tretter on offense – and LB Blake Martine and LB Kyle Fackrell on defense. LB Jack Ryan was back in the lineup. QB Aaron Rodgers completed 66.7% of his passes for 209 yards, 2 touchdowns, and no interceptions for a passer rating of 108.9. He had another 16 yards rushing for a total of 225 total yards. Rodgers was hot from the start of the game again. Only this time the opening drive ended in a fumble at the Texan 5 yard line. But there are other opportunities that he made good on. This was Rodgers 6th week of the season with a passer rating over 100. WR Jordy Nelson was targeted 10 times and had 8 receptions for 118 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Davante Adams was targeted 7 times and had 1 reception for 17 yards and no touchdowns. WR Randall Cobb was targeted 3 times and had 3 receptions for 19 yards and 1 touchdown. WR Ty Montgomery was targeted 3 times for 2 receptions and 16 yards. Tack on 40 yards with 6 carries and he had 56 total yards. As for the tight end position, TE Jarred Cook was targeted 4 times for 3 receptions and 19 yards and 1 touchdown. TE Richard Rodgers was targeted 2 times for 2 receptions and 16 yards. The running back committee, in addition to Montgomery, consisted of RB James Starks who had 4 carries for 1 yard, RB Christine Michael who had 9 carries for 19 yards, RB Aaron Ripkowski who had 3 carries for 14 yards and 1 touchdown, and an unlikely participant – WR Jeff Janis who had 1 carry for 19 yards. It was a group effort and they all combined for 26 carries and 109 yards and 1 touchdown. But group efforts such as this don’t provide much fantasy value. K Mason Crosby made all 3 extra points. He had no field goal attempts this week. The defense allowed 307 total net yards and 13 points. They also had 2 sacks, 6 tackles for loss, 5 hurries, 7 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovered. The Packer defense stays at 13th overall in the NFL – 17th against the pass, 9th against the run and 25th in keeping points off the board.

Preview: This week the Packers play the Seattle Seahawks at Lambeau. It will be cold and it would be interesting to know if snow is expected. Statistically the Packer offense faces the NFL’s 8th ranked defense. But the Seahawks will be without one of their starting safeties. The Packer defense vs. a Seattle offense is about even. It is possible that the Packer offense stats are down some again. The Packer offense continues to score in the twenties – 21 last weekend. I would still not trust the Packer defense – they haven’t done well against Seattle in the past. RB Christine Michael got significant carries for the first time. Look for his role to increase and Starks role to decrease. Nelson and Adams remain the top two receivers, but maybe it is time for Cook play more of a role – as his first game this year with more than one reception might indicate. The offensive line could use starters OG TJ Lang and OC JC Tretter back – but I would not bet on it just yet. Statistically, here is key Packer player season stat totals and their (NFL ranking). QB Aaron Rodgers has 3283 yards (7th), 29 touchdowns (2nd), 64.5% completion percentage (16th), and passer rating of 99.1 (10th). He stands to finish the year with 4377 yards and 39 touchdowns passing and 401 yards with 4 touchdowns rushing. That would be a total of 4778 yards and 43 touchdowns. Rodgers is also on pace for 9 interceptions on the year. Rodgers is holding steady. WR Jordy Nelson has 69 receptions (9th), 872 yards (9th), and 10 touchdowns (2nd). He is on a pace to finish the season with 92 receptions, 1163 yards, and 13 touchdowns – he is also holding steady. WR Randall Cobb has 57 receptions (26th), 577 yards (44th), and 4 touchdowns (29th). He is on a pace to finish the season with 76 receptions, 789 yards, and 5 touchdowns. WR Davante Adams has 59 receptions (21st), 793 yards (21st), and 8 touchdowns (4th). He is on a pace to finish the season with 79 receptions, 1057 yards, and 11 touchdowns – he is holding steady. K Mason Crosby has 89 points, placing him 19th in the NFL. He is on a pace to finish with 119 points – which is down a little. This week I would start QB Aaron Rodgers, WR Davante Adams, and WR Jordy Nelson. Again, play TE Jarred Cook, WR Randall Cobb, or WR Ty Montgomery at your own risk. K Mason Crosby was accurate but did not get any field goal opportunities last weekend. Two wins in the books, four more to go. Green Bay ends the season with three straight games against division rivals. I will be back next week to review the Seahawk game and preview the Chicago game. Have a great weekend.

Mike Hankes


MINNESOTA VIKINGS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


ATLANTA FALCONS
12/7/2016

The Falcons dropped a heartbreaker at home this past week to the Chiefs, 29-28, on a game the swung on an interception return on a 2 point conversion. The loss dropped the Falcons to 7-5 and into a tie with the Bucs for first place in the NFC South. The Falcons were not their sharpest this day, but a lot of the that goes to the fact that the Chiefs are a really good team.
QB Matt Ryan - Ryan went 22-34 for 297 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception, that was returned for a pick 6 and another that doesn't show up in the stats during the final two point conversion. He was sacked just twice and added 23 yards rushing. Perhaps not his best day on the final week of the fantasy regular season, but still a solid day and this week should bring about better results.
RB Devonta Freeman & RB Tevin Coleman - Freeman had 15 carries for 56 yards, but found the end zone twice and added 4 catches for 49 yards. Coleman had 12 carries for 49 yards.
WR Julio Jones - Jones caught 7 of 9 targets for 113 yards. He again did not find the end zone and has only 5 touchdowns on the season. He was not in the game towards the end and we now know that is a result of turg toe. It continues to amaze me that he has as few scores as he does. WR Taylor Gabriel was the second leading receiver with 5 catches for 44 yards. WR Aldrick Robinson had the lone Falcons receiving touchdown.

Tight ends - TE Levine Toilolo had 1 catch for 42 yards and TE Austin Hooper was shutout and had only 1 target. Avoid the Falcons tight ends like the plague.
PK Matt Bryant - Bryant was 3-3 on field goals, including a franchise tying 59 yarder and added one extra point.

Falcons Defense - The Falcons allowed 389 yards of offense, really only 13 points to the Chiefs offense, got 1 sack and one turnover.

This week, the Falcons head to LA to play the Rams and rookie QB Jared Goff. The Rams are a bad team. They have pockets of good players, especially on defense, but overall the Falcons should have their way with this team.

I would start all the usual suspects. QB Matt Ryan, RB Devonta Freeman and WR Julio Jones. Keep an eye on Jones, however, as he is battling turf toe. We all know that Jones is a warrior and plays through injuries, but the Falcons might be wise to rest him a week against a team they should be able to beat without him. So monitor until kick-off on Sunday. I would not start anyone else. However, the defense is intriguing because of the rookie quarterback and just a terrible offense.....they should be able to pressure Goff into mistakes.

Falcons 27 Rams 10

Good luck this week!

Bryon Bonafede


CAROLINA PANTHERS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


ARIZONA CARDINALS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS

The report for this week has not yet been released.


SEATTLE SEAHAWKS
12/7/2016

Seattle showed up as expected on Sunday night, but the Panthers really did not seem to have any oomf. It is like they have mailed it in over their injuries. Losing ET is a huge hit to the ‘Hawks, but they will not be giving in.

QB- QB Russell Wilson was faced with a weak secondary and took advantage of them on the way to a big day despite the play of his tackles. It is just crazy to think that Wilson is able to throw for 277 yards against a strong defensive line when both his tackles were sitting ducks on pass blocking. The Packers are much worse on the front four than the Panthers, but then again so were the Bucs. Wilson’s biggest concern is the weather. The forecast is for ball control but Wilson can score in that game too. Wilson is a must start in anything but a white out. He will have receivers open all day.

RB- RB Thomas Rawls finally looks like himself. And just in time too. With bad weather forecasted in Green Bay, Rawls should see lots of action. His 106 yards and 2 TDs last week should be about what he gets again this week.

WR- WR Doug Baldwin and WR Tyler Lockett would be must starts against Green Bay on a sunny day. They each went over 60 yards receiving last week and Lockett added 75 yards rushing. Lockett is finally healthy and fully dangerous. He moves up to #1 fantasy WR in my book despite Baldwin being the #1 on the field.

TE- TE Jimmy Graham was still 6 of 9 for 63 yards and a touchdown last week. Green Bay’s linebackers will be more of a challenge for him, but I think he still scores this week. Start him if you got him.

K- PK Steven Hauschka scored 4 field goals and 4 XP. He is not likely to repeat that this week, but he remains a top 10 kicker.

D- FS Earl Thomas will be missed and FS Steven Terrell will be targeted by QB Aaron Rodgers. He had only one bad play last week, but that cost the ‘Hawks a shutout. MLB Bobby Wagner had another double digit tackle game adding up to 127 on the year and on track for 169 for the season. Those are monster numbers and he must be your IDP pick week to week. Even without ET and against Rodgers, the Seattle D is a good start this week.

Prediction
Seattle: 23
Packers 10

Go Hawks!

Rick Watts


LOS ANGELES RAMS
12/7/2016

PATSIES! The Rams were sacrificial lambs as they get blown out 26-10 in New England and allow Pat’s quarterback Tom Brady to earn his 201st career victory which is number one all time. Rookie QB Jared Goff and the entire offense were manhandled throughout the game, which was dominated by the Patriots more than the score indicates. The Rams are out of the playoff again and yet HC Jeff Fisher was given a contract extension; what a joke! Los Angeles hosts the Atlanta Falcons this week so a ninth defeat is very possible. Here are the stats from the Pats game and Fantasy advice for you in week fourteen.

QB: QB Jared Goff (14-32 for 161 yards with 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions) was under constant pressure and both interceptions came from tips. The first pick was totally Lance Kendrick’s fault as the ball hit him right in the hands and he botched it. The second int came when a defensive player hit Jared’s arm as he was releasing the ball. Jared has shown glimpses of talent but he still needs to improve a lot for this offense to succeed. QB Case Keenum rode the pine and QB Sean Mannion was inactive. Atlanta is ranked 32nd against the pass allowing 280.8 yards a game. The Falcons have given up 26 passing touchdowns while recording 25 sacks and 7 interceptions in twelve games. Week fourteen recommendation: Goff has a chance to put up some good numbers against the last ranked passing defense but with Fantasy seasons coming to an end I would hope that you have better options at quarterback. Wait until the 2017 season for Goff to become fantasy relevant (hopefully).

RB: RB Todd Gurley (11-38 rushing and 2-9 receiving) hit rock bottom with his lease productive game of the year. It has been very frustrating to see the Rams abandon the run game and even worse, almost totally ignore their best offensive player in the passing game. RB Bennie Cunningham (1-(-1) rushing) was also invisible except for his kick returns. Atlanta is ranked 15th against the rush allowing 100.8 yards per game. The Falcons have surrendered 11 rushing touchdowns in twelve games. Week fourteen recommendation: The Falcons have given up some yards and touchdowns on the ground so hopefully Gurley gets the touches he deserves and rewards his faithful Fantasy Owners with a productive day. I am predicting Todd’s first 100-yard game of the year and at least one rushing touchdown. He could even surprise with a receiving touchdown.

WR: WR Tavon Austin was inactive and unfortunately, his absence was hardly missed. WR Kenny Britt (2-67 and 1 touchdown) had some bad drops and only salvaged his day with a fluke bomb that then led to the touchdown. WR Brian Quick (5-48) had his best day of the season with Austin out. Week fourteen recommendation: The New England weather wreaked havoc on the Los Angeles receivers as they had trouble holding on to the football all game. Hopefully the warm California weather helps them catch the ball this week. Tavon is still questionable so hold off on him. Britt should hopefully bounce back and have a good game. I think Britt performs like a low end WR2.

TE: TE Lance Kendricks (2-13) continued to show shaky hands with a bad miss that resulted in an interception. TE Tyler Higbee (2-16) is starting to get more involved in the offense and should continue to get more targets in the last four games. Week fourteen recommendation: Kendricks disappointed in week 13 but Goff looks for him a lot so he could produce like a low end TE2. Higbee, like Goff, should be relevant in 2017.

K: PK Greg Zuerlein (1-1 field goal (44) and 1-1 extra point) made his kicks and has had a decent year considering last year’s disaster and this year’s offensive woes. Week fourteen recommendation: The offense might be able to move the ball against the Falcons so Greg could be busy this week. I would take a chance on him unless you have an established starter on your roster.

DEF: The defense did a decent job against the Patriots but not nearly good enough to put the team in a position to win. LB Alec Ogletree (4 solo tackles and 10 assists) was busy as usual but LB Mark Barron (1 solo tackle and 4 assists) was surprisingly quiet against the Pats. DT Aaron Donald (2 solo tackles and 1 assist) was active but was not able to get to Brady. DE Robert Quinn was inactive with a concussion. Atlanta’s offense is ranked 3rd in passing (302.0 yards per game) and 9th in rushing (110.0 yards per game). The Falcons have thrown 7 interceptions and allowed 29 sacks in twelve games. Week fourteen recommendation: The defense faces another potent offense this week but Falcon quarterback Matt Ryan has been sacked quite a bit so hopefully Quinn returns to action and teams with Donald to sack Ryan multiple times. I would play Ogletree, Barron, and Donald as IDP starters and I would start Quinn if he is active and you are required to play defensive linemen.
HC Jeff Fisher got a contract extension but it has been reported that the extension does not guarantee his return in 2017. The Rams are playing for pride (and some their jobs) in the next four games so hopefully they show some heart. I think the Rams actually play well this week and upset the Falcons. Like the Rams my Fantasy teams are out of the playoffs. I wish your Fantasy teams the best in your playoffs. Love and blessings to my family. Miss you Pops! Aloha!

Layton Pang




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