NFL 2018: Five Things I was wrong about

Being wrong sucks, but admitting you were wrong is the sign of growth.  Here are the five things that I was completely wrong about before the start of the season.

Chicago Bears are the third best team in their own division.

When the Bears pulled off what could have been the steal of the century acquiring Khalil Mack from the Raiders I knew it was going to be an impactful move.  But with an offense that featured a second year QB that had not yet proven much on the NFL level and a new head coach that was transitioning his style I wasn’t sold on them as NFC North winners.

I was very wrong.  Matt Nagy has taken Trubisky and the Bears offense to a new level in 2018 while utilizing his Swiss army knife RB Tarik Cohen and many ancillary pieces.  This team is still built around their defense but the surprise for most teams will be Nagy’s offense in the playoffs.  Multiple targets that can step up at any time will be a headache for opposing defensive coordinators. 


Can’t believe I fell for Kirk Cousins.

Le’Veon Bell is going to play in 2018.

I was one of those guys that drafted Bell in his fantasy draft.  I am also one of those guys that refused to trade him despite great offers…actually turning down a trade of Michael Thomas and Andrew Luck. 

Bell stuck to his guns, as did the Steelers, sitting out the entire season.  James Conner and Jaylen Samuels filled in admirably for Bell, but the Steelers are most likely not making the playoffs and whether this was because of Bell or not I was still very wrong about his playing status. I’m not mad at Bell but it really sucked for my fantasy squad.

The Jaguars are a Superbowl favorite in the AFC.

I bought into Jacksonville and Blake Bortles. Shame on me.  Injuries have been a problem for the Jags, Leonard Fournette has a problem with staying healthy and without him this team just has not been able to put together a kind of consistent run. 

After defeating Patriots I thought that maybe I was right about the potential of this team and maybe Blake Bortles is actually good, when you are wrong, you are wrong.

I was wrong.


The Broncos may make the playoffs.

This was an in season change of opinion Phillip Lindsey came out of nowhere to become an elite level RB in the league. Two upset victories over the Chargers and the Steelers made me believe this team was going to make a real run in their division.  Then the real Case Keenum stood up. The one-dimensional offense of the Broncos became very obvious, Lindsey had to face stacked boxes with zero passing ability.  Von Miller and Bradley Chubb are both great players but a team with no real offense and terrible coaching never truly had a chance to succeed.

Baker Mayfield was the best Quarterback in the Draft.

Drafting Baker Mayfield #1 overall last season, seemed like another blunder from the Cleveland front office.  With standouts like Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen presumably ranked ahead of Mayfield it made no sense to go after the controversial Oklahoma QB. Mayfield was held back by the clueless Hue Jackson and when given the opportunity Mayfield immediately made his impact and began to turn around the sorry franchise. Mayfield is the leading candidate to win rookie of the year (in my opnion) and has proven me and all other doubters…cough Colin Cowherd… completely wrong.  Mayfield is a star and will be for a long time.

Take notice of Russell Wilson

Last night Russell Wilson was not great.  10/20 with no touchdowns and an interception are not MVP numbers, but to not consider him as a candidate is just wrong. Pat Mahomes and Drew Brees are throwing out numbers that you can only getting while playing Madden on easy.  They are flashy and dominate offenses, but are they the singular reason their teams are winning?  Not to the level of Russell Wilson.  

He’s set to post career-highs in touchdowns (39), yards per attempt, and passer rating, while only throwing it about 27 times per game. In a season when quarterbacks are shattering records for completion percentage and Patrick Mahomes is virtually a lock to go over 50 touchdowns, Wilson is doing it his own way while still keeping pace with some of those prolific scorers in the league. When the game was on the line last night Wilson made the play that changed the momentum, his 40-yard scramble that led to the 2-yard TD from Chris Carson was a thing of beauty in a game that was dominated by defense. 

The Seahawks have made wholesale changes to their offense.  Jimmy Graham, gone, Darrel Bevell gone, Doug Baldwin injured most of the season.  Wilson has found a way to make a star of Tyler Lockett and relevance to WR David Moore a former 7th round pick  and TE Nick Vannett. These are not premier players, they may not even see the field on most teams that are playoff relevant.  Wilson works with what is around him and makes them play to his level.  

Wilson has the third best passer rating on the road behind the  aforementioned Mahomes and the veteran slinger Phillip Rivers.  He has 21 touchdowns and 2 interceptions against the NFC this season.  He is the reason that the Seahawks are able to score, his ability to move and create allows the running game to develop as it has, becoming the #1 rushing attack in the NFL, averaging an astounding 153 yards per game.  Wilson will most likely not win the MVP but he is by far the single most important player on any playoff team.  

NFL Picks ATS Week 12

Didn’t have time to Podcast my picks this week so here they are.  Picks will be bolded. Season Record 87-67.

Chicago Bears -3 at Detroit Lions

Trubisky injury worries me.  The Kerryon Johnson injury worries me even more for Detroit.  The Lions were finally establishing a run game, they will now have to focus on the passing game which will be tough against the Bears pass rush.  Mack dominates and so do the Bears.

Washington Redskins +7.5 at Dallas Cowboys

The Redskins were not going to win this game because of Alex Smith.  Colt McCoy knows Jay Gruden’s system and the Redskins are to tough to get blown out be an offense that at times does not seem to understand that Zeke is the man. May even look at the ML.

Atlanta Falcons at New Orleans Saints -13

Saints are the hottest team in the league, getting a dream matchup versus a struggling Falcons defense.  Kamara and Ingram will feast on turkey day.  13 points is a lot but this Saints team is continually trying to make a statement that they are the best in the NFC and a demolition on national TV is the perfect time to do it.

Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Buffalo Bills

The Jaguars have to win this game and they have to crush a lesser team.  The Jags showed in the first half last week what this team was supposed to look like.  They will not have Big Ben on the other side to pull off a late comeback.  The Bills are tough but they don’t have the offense to put up anything against Jacksonville.

Cleveland Browns at Cincinnati Bengals -3

Bengals are desperate for a win.  They will not allow a rookie QB to beat them two weeks in row.  Bengals come out and dominate.  I like what the Browns have been doing with Nick Chubb and the reemergence of Duke Johnson but the Bengals are still a better team and they should prevail at home by at least a touchdown.

New England Patriots -10.5 at New York Jets

Jets may not have Darnold and they just got destroyed by the Buffalo Bills.  The Pats are also off a buy.  Should be fully healthy.  Thats all that needs to be said on this one.

New York Giants +7 at Philadelphia Eagles

The Giants have killed me this season.  The Eagles though enter this game with basically a practice squad secondary.  Look for Barkley and Beckham to dominate the Eagles secondary.  I have little hope for Eli to be dominate but this team is to strong offensively to ignore.  The Eagles can win this game but I think seven points is to much in a division game.

San Francisco 49ers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers -3

The Buc’s need to move on from Jameis but for now they are rollin with him.  The 49ers have a lot of heart and play hard but this Buccaneers team has to many weapons for the 49ers to hold them down.  The 49ers will not be able to keep up.  Bet Bucs and collect your money.

Seattle Seahawks +3 at Carolina Panthers

This game should be very fun to watch.  Two underrated QB’s in Cam Newton and Russell Wilson will battled for their playoff lives.  The Panthers have been a thorn in my side while making these picks while Seattle has been a great pick for me all year.  Seattle is underrated and will prove it on Sunday.  I like Seattle to win this game by at least a touchdown.

Oakland Raiders at Baltimore Ravens -12

The Ravens enter this game with a question mark at QB.  Either Lamar Jackson or Joe Flacco will lead them to the promise land though.  The Raiders showed life last week but that was against a Cardinals team that didn’t have much to play for.  The Ravens need this win and will get it by 14 easily.

Arizona Cardinals +13.5 at Los Angeles Chargers

I know the Cardinals lost to the Raiders last week but they have done a much better job of utilizing their best weapon David Johnson since Byron Leftwich took over play calling duties. The Cardinals will run the ball and keep Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon on the sideline.  Chargers will pull out the victory but a late touchdown in garbage time will kill the cover.

Pittsburgh Steelers -3 at Denver Broncos

Steelers are quietly one of the hottest teams in the NFL, winning 7 straight games. The Broncos love to cover spreads, just ask the Rams and the Chargers.  The Steelers though don’t need much to put up a lot of points.  Steelers with utilize their great offensive talent to jump out to an early lead.

Pittsburgh has been getting great pressure on the opposing QB’s leading the league in sacks right now. Case Keenum is going to have a long day.

Miami Dolphins at Indianapolis Colts -10

The announcement that Ryan Tannahill will play immediately took half a point off this spread.  That won’t make a difference against a Colts team that has figured out how to block for their star QB Anrew Luck.  After the beating the Colts gave the Dolphins, I don’t see any way that Miami sticks with them.

Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings -3

Its really hard to bet on Kirk Cousins over Aaron Rodgers.  It is however easy to bet against Mike McCarthy.  Two teams that both need wins, I am going with the home team. That is literally the only thing I can say about this game.

Tennesee Titans at Houston Texans Pick’em

Titans don’t know who their starting QB will be on Monday night.  Don’t really care, Houston will win at home.

Thanks for reading and Good Luck

Fantasy Football- Players we hate

The NFL season is half way over, which means that fantasy playoffs are right around the corner.  If you are a playoff team you probably avoided these players. Let’s list off the top five players we hate (that we drafted).

This list is based on guys that have been playing but not producing.  If they are injured I give them a pass.  If they are LeVeon Bell I refuse to speak his name out loud in public.

Derrick Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

Derrick Henry was suppose to have his coming out party in the playoffs last year.  Damn was I wrong.  The Titans left DeMarco Murray walk in the off season, which meant that Henry would be the guy right?? Nope Dion Lewis has taken over the bulk of the carries in the backfield.  Henry is averaging a staggering 3.3 yards per carry so far in 2018.

Henry also gives you nothing on the receiving end with eight catches the entire season! Henry is trending in the direction of fellow Alabama alumni Trent Richardson, I would look for him to be moved in the off season unless things change drastically. I hate you Derrick Henry!

LeSean McCoy, RB, Buffalo Bills

McCoy has had a great fantasy career, but currently I have the same amount of Touchdowns as he does this season.  It’s zero in case that wasn’t clear.  I know the Buffalo offense is a joke.  Nathan Peterman is the equivalent of a dumpster fire while on the field, but McCoy is still only averaging 3.1 yards per carry this season.  Chris Ivory has become more relevant out of the backfield.   I really don’t need to say much more than that.  I may not have drafted you in any leagues LeSean but I hate you for those who did.

Kenyan Drake, RB, Miami Dolphins, Kenny Stills, WR, Miami Dolphins

Drake has had his moments this season, especially when I have had to face him.  But overall he has been a bust this season.  The ageless Frank Gore has taken away carries from the 2017-18 fantasy surprise.  Miami has had their issues at Quarterback, starting Brock Osweiler (not sure that’s how you spell it but who cares).  The QB situation has caused problems for the Dolphins but they should still be able to utilize Drake out of the backfield in passing situations but for some reason they refuse to do it consistently.

I added Kenny Stills to this list because I am tired of hearing about his potential.  Stills disappears in games to the point where he literally gets no targets.

Kenyan and Kenny I hate you both equally.

Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Nelson had a great start to the season then the return of Alshon Jeffery made him basically disappear. Agholor had 8 Touchdowns last year, half way through the season he is sitting at one.  He has been so bad that literally the Eagles went out and found a replacement for him at the deadline, adding Golden Tate.

Has Agholor forgotten how to run a route?  Has Carson Wentz forgotten that he is on the team.  Why do you suck now Nelson?  I hate you!

 

 

What I learned from week 8

Jameis Winston is a what I thought he was.

I have been preaching this for the last two seasons, Jameis Winston is a talented player that will never be a winner. He is the definition of a loser as a player and a person.  When you choose a player #1 overall you are expecting to get a great talent that is going to progress into a potential Hall of Famer.  It doesn’t always work out that way but in this case he has been the exact opposite of what you are looking for. Winston has gotten worse year by year and continues to just hurl the ball all over the field whether or not it makes sense or not.

Ryan Fitzpatrick will take over in week nine for the Bucs and hopefully the organization realizes that if you are forced to put in Fitzmagic mid-way through a season the guy he is replacing is most likely not the answer to your organizations future.

My advice for Jameis is to drop the I from his name and go by James Winston and hope that most people don’t realize who he is.  Maybe then he will get a chance somewhere else.

Redskins are the class of the NFC East.

The NFC East was up for grabs and the Redskins have grabbed it a locked it away.  Alex Smith and Adrian Peterson have given them leadership on the offensive end while the defense has quietly been very underrated.

The most surprising aspect of Sunday’s matchup with the Giants was that Washington was only favored by 1.5 points! The final score was only 20-13 but the score didn’t show the true dominance of the Redskins.  The Cowboys and Giants are flashy, the Eagles are the champs, the Redskins are the best in in the NFC East.

The Saints are legit contenders.

The Saints are good.  They are very good.  Week 1 they were tricked by the Fitzmagic but since that lose they have won 6 in a row in impressive fashion. The return of Mark Ingram has given them another weapon to use along with Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas.  Drew Brees is known for spreading the ball around, whenever you think that you have them figured out they find a new star in the making.

The Saints have had three impressive wins versus winning teams the Ravens, Vikings and Redskins.  The Saints will continue to be tested as their schedule doesn’t get much easier down the stretch of the season. The are looking at matchups against the Rams, Eagles and Bengals over the next three weeks.  The Saints have the ability to run, throw and the defense has stepped up holding down the run.  I think they take down the LA Rams this week and the rest of the NFL realizes this team is for real.

The Steelers may not need L-Bell.

James Conner continues to roll along as the premier back for the Pittsburgh Steelers. Conner has the support of the locker room and the fans.  146 rushing yards, 66 receiving yards and  two touchdowns are LeVeon like numbers.  The Steelers have pulled off three straight victories including two in the division.  With the Ravens loss this weekend to Carolina they have been put right back in the driver’s seat of the AFC North.

So what happens if Bell returns from his hold out?  Does the team really play as hard for him?  If he is in shape and ready he can be a difference maker for them.  At this point how can they turn the backfield back over to Bell.  Conner has earned his playing time and the team is winning.  James Conner is for real and he wants to be there.  Trade Bell and get yourself something for him before it is to late.  Bell is great, but sometimes its time to cut the cord.  The time has come for the Steelers.  This is James Conner’s team.skysports-james-conner-nfl_4469320