Bets that should have won week 3

Giants beat the Buccaneers with a rookie QB. Took Tampa Bay

The matchup between Tampa Bay and New York was the definition of gambling  gone wrong. A rookie Quarterback on the road versus a well-rested Buccaneers team coming off of a huge upset victory over the Panthers. 

Jamies Winston came out firing, finding his number one target Mike Evans for 135 yards and three touchdowns in the first half! Tampa Bay took a 28- 10 lead into half time. This game was not only over but the -6 cover was a given.  No way a rookie Quarterback is going to lead a comeback victory on the road when their best player Saquon Barkley is no longer a part of the game plan. 

The Buccaneers then decided that it was time to be the Buccaneers.  Despite their dominance through the air Byron Leftwich decided it was time to lean on a non-existent run game.  Instead of relying on what was working they decided to go in the opposite direction.  Not many would agree with leaning your game plan on Jameis Winston, but it was working!

Daniel Jones went on to torch the Buccaneers along with our dreams of covering.  Jones became the first ever rookie quarterback to throw for 300 yards, touch owns and run for two touchdowns.  The media will play up Jones as a savior of New York Giants football. While he killed me this weekend, I will be fading him next week.  

Panthers win without Cam. Took Arizona +2.5

Kyler Murray and the Cardinals were at home, the Panthers were without their Quarterback.  Arizona was coming off of two large late game comebacks versus the Ravens and Lions.  The momentum of Arizona rightfully put them as the favorite.  The Cardinals were going to face Kyle Allen, an undrafted free agent out of Houston. 

The Cardinals fast paced offense was supposed to lead to big points, the pace worked against Arizona as Allen was able to pick them apart utilizing CMC and the ageless wonder Greg Olsen. Arizona has a strong future ahead of them but they let us down in week 3 and continue tough matchups in week 4. 

Seahawks lose at home to a backup QB. Took Seattle -4

I had two locks this week. The first of those being the Seahawks at home -4 versus the New Orleans Saints without Drew Brees.  This was a game that I though Vegas had lost its mind. The Seahawks were coming off of two victories in a row where they dominated on the offensive end.  Seattle was playing at home against a Quarterback that hadn’t played a full game in like two years.  

Seattle decided to pick this weekend to lay an egg.  Literally seems like Chris Carson believes the ball is an egg and it can only stay safe on the turf. New Orleans showed up on defense and special teams allowing Teddy Bridgewater to play the role of game manager.  New Orleans got a boost from their ancillary pieces, something they cannot rely on in the weeks to come.  

Seattle’s defense is not what I thought they would be when they picked up Jadaveon Clowney, continually giving up big plays.  Their offense makes for a great matchup for week 4 when they face the Cardinals.

Forget the Waiver Wire- Play your Bench

Injuries week one are going to open the door for multiple “handcuffs” and waiver wire pickups to make an impact in week two.  Injuries to Darrius Guice, Nick Foles, Tevin Coleman and Joe Mixon should leave other players with a chance to make impacts.  I am looking more toward the players that showed up bigger than expected the first week of the season.  Here are three players that are will continue to overplay their preseason fantasy value in week two. They are most likely owned in your league, put them in the lineup!

Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, Baltimore Ravens (32% ESPN) (30% Yahoo)

Speed plays in the NFL. Look at the breakouts of Alvin Kamara and Tyreke Hill over the past few seasons.  Marquise Brown showed off that speed in his first career NFL game. Catching his first pass for a 47-yard slant straight to the endzone.  Brown continued to dominate the field going for 147 total yards and adding another 40-yard touchdown reception.  

Marquise will get another favorable matchup in week 2 when the Ravens take on the Arizona Cardinals who just gave up 385 passing yards to the Detroit Lions in week one.  Danny Amendola put up huge numbers last week hauling in seven catches for 101 yards and a touchdown.  While Brown will have his ups and downs during his first season in the league he will have flashes of brilliance like he did Week 1.  Week 2 should be just as explosive. 

Jamison Crowder, New York Jets, (70% ESPN) (46% Yahoo)

Drafting Jamison Crowder always comes with its risk.  As a multi time Crowder drafter I have been bite quit a few times.  Like an addict though I just couldn’t get enough of the potential high that Crowder can bring.  Taking Crowder looks like it may pay off heading into week one.  Crowder found himself as the favorite target for Sam Darnold. catching 14 of 17 passes for 99 yards. While Crowder didn’t find the endzone he still brought tons of value especially in PPR leagues. 

The best part about Crowder is that he is still available in over 50% of leagues.  Crowder’s health during a full season is always up in the air. In week two the Jets will matchup with the Browns coming off of an embarrassing defeat against the Tennessee Titans 43-13.  Marcus Mariota was able to torch the Browns secondary, the Jets should have a similar chance to do that on Monday.  

Devin Singletary, Buffalo Bills, (70% ESPN) (71% Yahoo)

Singletary was listed at the top of the depth chart in Buffalo to begin the season.  Playing 70% of the snaps for the Bills in week one showed who was considered to be the #1 RB for Buffalo but his actual carries were limited to just four actual carries.  Singletary was able to gain 70 yards as well as bring in five catches. Singletary showed the bust-out potential he has, which will make him a featured back going into week 2. 

A matchup with the Giants defense is just what the doctor ordered for a potential impactful game. New York gave up 151 rushing yards to the Dallas Cowboys last week, they should not bring an impactful push against the run heavy Buffalo Bills.  Singletary will be the featured back and should have a very solid game ahead of him.  I’m looking for 100+ rushing yards and 50+ receiving yards.

NFC East- A Two Team Race

The NFL is giving social media dramatic gold over the last few months.  The Antonio Brown Saga, Zeke and Gordon’s holdouts and just Baker Mayfield being Baker Mayfield. While I love drama, I prefer to talk about the play of the field.   I am starting my NFL previews with the top-heavy NFC East.  

The Cowboys finished one game ahead of the Nick Foles lead Philadelphia Eagles last year.  A lot has changed for both teams heading into the 2019 season.  With Foles now taking his snaps in Jacksonville the Eagles are planning to lean solely on their injury prone Quarterback. The Cowboys have seen few actual changes, but they do have some bigger issues, that being the new contract for star running back Ezekiel Elliot as well as the new contract for the “franchise” quarterback Dak Prescott. 

Washington Redskins

The Redskins did the right thing, taking Dwayne Haskins with the number 15 pick in this year’s draft. Alex Smith will not be a part of the conversation any time soon, so they had to look towards the future. Haskins will compete for a job that most likely will be going to veteran Case Keenum, but the future looks bright along with the returning Derrius Guice.  

The Redskins will have a lot of offensive struggles this season. They have built a strong core for their defense with the pickup of Landon Collins.  Collins will sure up the secondary while fellow first round pick defensive end Montez Sweat, first team All-American from Mississippi State will sure up a defensive line that already features All-Rookie nose tackle Da’Ron Payne

Washington should be in full rebuild mode. Jay Gruden needs to make the youth movement happen in Washington.  It’s time to move on from Adrian Peterson and Case Keenum, if Washington focuses on the veterans rather than the future, they will not only suffer this year but for years to come. 

New York Giants

New York’s offseason was dysfunctional.  Moving on from Odell Beckham, Olivier Vernon, Landon Collins and drafting Daniel Jones were all questionable moves.  Filling in for Beckham was veteran Golden Tate who began his career as a Giant with a suspension.  

The Giants have last year’s offensive rookie of the year Saquon Barkley leading their offense, all they need is for Eli Manning to play mistake free football and to find a way to protect him to be successful. New York has to begin the rebuild.  They have the pieces to begin the rebuild but will be far from where they need to be.

Philadelphia Eagles

The Eagles are loaded offensively.  Re-Adding DeSean Jackson gives them a deep threat that will open up the middle for Zach Ertz and Dallas Goedert.  Philly quietly added even more depth to the running game with the additions of bruiser Jordan Howard and rookie Miles Sanders joining the litany of other running backs.  Fantasy owners will have inner turmoil, while Doug Pederson utilizes each running back to their strengths.  

Philly has fixed their secondary issues from last season by simply getting healthy. The addition of Malik Jackson from Jacksonville should help clog up the middle allowing the elite outside pass rushers force throws.  The Eagles should have advantages on both sides of the ball next year.  In the end the health of Carson Wentz will determine the success of the Eagles and the division.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas has built one of the best young defenses in the NFL.  DeMarcus Lawrence, Leighton Vander Esch and the newly extended Jaylon Smith made Dallas a defensive force that gave the LA Rams all they could handle in last year’s playoffs.  The Dallas D will be the backbone of the Cowboys team.  

Jason Garrett will have a few more weapons this year.  A full season of Amari Cooper, an emerging Michael Gallup and free agent Randall Cobb should make for an explosive passing game.  The contract issues with Ezekiel Elliott will be huge in determining what the Dallas offense is going to look like this season.  Rookie Tony Pollard has stepped up early in the preseason but potentially not having the best running back is obvious bad news.  The Cowboys will be forced to rely on Dak Prescott taking the next step in his progression as a player. 

Prediction

The NFC East is a two-team race.  The Cowboys and the Eagles will compete for superiority in the division while the Giants and the Redskins will be fighting for mediocrity.  Saquon Barkley and Dwayne Haskins will be fun players to watch progress but for those teams to be successful they will need above average play from players that are not ready to play at a championship level. 

Eventually it will come down to Carson Wentz versus Dak Prescott.  Wentz ultimately has more talent on the offensive end to make the plays down the stretch.  The inner locker room turmoil of the offseason will be too much to overcome for “America’s Team”

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. Dallas Cowboys
  3. Washington Redskins
  4. New York Giants

Three Fantasy Sleepers- Wide Receiver

Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Buccaneers have lost both Adam Humphries and DeSean Jackson in the offseason leaving a huge gap in the wide receiving core of the Buccaneers heading into the season. Godwin had a breakout campaign last season going for 59 catches, 842 yards and 7 touchdowns. Godwin will now step into a starter role for the Buccaneers who have shown an inability to run the ball as well as hold onto leads.  That means they are going to have to throw the ball.  

The Buccaneers have two obvious high valued receivers in Mike Evans and OJ Howard.  Godwin should be able to slip down in drafts; his current ADP is projecting him as a 5thround pick.  Most drafters will not look to him that high, he can be a steal on an up-tempo offense.  

Christian Kirk, Arizona Cardinals

I was a major believer in Christian Kirk last season, and he had moments where he proved me correct. Kirk will enter the season with a new QB at the helm and a new offensive game plan. Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury will lead to major production for most Cardinals offensive players.  We know Kingsbury will be pass happy with his offense, so Kyler Murray could easily put up north of 500 pass attempts in 2019. 

Kirk is currently projecting as a seventh-round pick. Overall his ranking is as high as the #32 pick in some drafts. In this new offense Kirk will have the chance to be a top receiver on teams especially in PPR.  

Tyrell Williams, Oakland Raiders

Williams has moved out of the shadow of Keenan Allen and entered the shadow of Antonio Brown. Taking over the number two receiver role in Oakland doesn’t sound like a big deal but the history of the second receiver behind Antonio Brown should be something to look in to.  Juju Smith-Schuster and company have built their careers on being the second option opening up the field for single coverage. 

Williams has only had over 100 targets one in his career. In 2016 getting over 100 targets led to major production with 69 catches, 1,059 yards and seven touchdowns.  The Raiders have to replace over 359 targets from last season, if Brown plays then obviously, he will get over 100 but Williams should be second.  The Raiders have a lot of inner turmoil, but Williams speed and upside should make him a target for later rounds.  You can easily get him with one of your last couple picks, he will have the potential be a huge player down the stretch of your fantasy season.

Five Backup Rb’s that could be Fantasy Relevant

Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons

Ito Smith had a nice 2018 season, filling for the injured Devonta Freeman.  Smith was still forced to play second fiddle to Tevin Coleman but was able to average 3.5 yards per carry and add four touchdowns, doing so with just 90 carries on the season. 

With Coleman now in San Francisco Smith should be secured as he #2 behind Devonta Freeman.  The Falcons defense was an atrocity last season.  Constantly playing from behind forced Atlanta to abandon the run game.  Assuming they don’t have the same injury trouble of the defense Atlanta should have a chance to be a good team next season.  Which means they will commit to the run more.  Freeman, the usually durable and versitale back will give up some carries to Smith to avoid injury.  I like Smith’s chances to be a late round selection especially for Freeman handcuffs.

Carlos Hyde, Kansas City Chiefs

The great mystery of Carlos Hyde will continue in Kansas City.  Is Carlos Hyde a legit option as a RB1.  He will split time in KC to start the season behind last season’s end of the year darling Damien Williams.  Williams has never seen more then 13 carries in a game or more then 50 carries in a season. 

Chief running backs are always a target for me in any format as Andy Reid loves to punch it in on the goal line.  The arm of Patrick Mahomes also opens up the middle of the field and the check downs. Hyde has the talent to be a top back if Damien Williams can’t be consistent.

Darrell Henderson, Los Angeles Rams

This one is simple, there is word out that Todd Gurley may not be 100% going into the season. Henderson was a college star at Memphis rushing for 1,909 yards and 22 touchdowns in his final season.  Henderson’s transition to the NFL should be seamless in the Los Angeles system. Last season we saw how CJ Anderson got off his coach and was able to make an impact for the Rams. 

Todd Gurley is the obvious #1 back but if anything happens to Gurley, Henderson will be a steal for anyone that takes him. 

Chase Edmonds, Arizona Cardinals

Once upon a time there was a future star named David Johnson.  Johnson had a tough season; injuries and a rather odd game plan slowed the offense and the fantasy scoring in check.  Edmonds stepped in for the injured Johnson and showed that he can be productive.  With Kliff Kingsbury at the helm everyone on the field becomes fantasy relevant.  Edmonds is a handcuff to start the season but can quickly become a featured back as the season progresses.

David Montgomery, Chicago Bears

The Bears shocked many by moving workhorse back Jordan Howard in the offseason.  Presumably opening it up for their spread offseason and a large amount of Tarick Cohen.  While Cohen will be a must in a PPR format, a sleeper will be 3rdround draft picks out of Iowa State David Montgomery.  

It’s hard to believe that the Bears will just feature Cohen as a solo back. Mike Davis was signed in the offseason to be a bruiser back, but he has been around the block and not found his niche in the NFL and there is no reason to think he will in this system. Look at Montgomery late in case you are not a believer in Cohen.

Isaac Bruce should be in Canton

Isaac Bruce spent 16-years in the NFL as one of the most underrated players of his generation.  When Bruce retired not only was he arguably the best player in the history of the St. Louis Rams but was also second all-time in receiving yards (15,208 yards) behind only the great Jerry Rice. Bruce has been treated the same way as the city of St. Louis has been treated, like an afterthought.

Bruce seems to be penalized for a couple factors:

Bruce played on alongside another Hall of Fame hopeful Torry Holt

It is widely believed that Holt’s presence somehow made Bruce’s accomplishments less impressive. Holt however was drafted in 1999 a whole five years into Bruce’s career.  He was a complement to the greatness of Bruce.  Still, there is a group of people that believe Holt and Bruce are splitting votes.  This notion is absurd, while Holt is worthy of a finalist spot it was always clear who was the alpha dog in the pack of Rams receivers his whole career.

Bruce didn’t make the all-decade team. 

This one seems stupid to me, but I have seen comments about it.  Bruce was never really the best wideout of his time, being overshadowed by greats like Jerry Rice, Terrell Owens and Randy Moss.  If Bruce’s number had been from 1990 to 2000 he would have had a better chance of making one of these teams, but he was right in the middle of both of those time periods. 

The Greatest Show on Turf inflated his numbers.  

There is an idea that Bruce was a product of a great offense and not an elite receiver.  The greatness of the 1999 Ram’s offense is obvious, but he had already established himself as an elite receiver.  Isaac’s most productive season came in 1995 with the likes of Mark Rypien and Chris Miller throwing him the ball.  He followed that up with a great 1996 season where the Rams featured the likes of Tony Banks and Steve Walsh.  It was his precise route running and durability that inflated his numbers not an offensive game plan.

Why He should be in.

Selected in the second round of the of the 1994 draft by the Rams, Bruce began his accent to stardom in his second season catching 119 passes, scoring 13 TDs. Continuing his domination in 1996 leading the league in yards with 1338. During his 10-season peak phase, from 1995 through 2004, Bruce led the NFL in receiving yards, was No. 1 in catches of 25+ yards, was third in average yards per game, was third in receiving first downs, ranked fourth in total receptions, fifth in touchdowns and had the most yards at the point of the catch. Bruce was the definition of consistency for the Rams proving his abilities week in and week out.

By the numbers:

6th all time in receiving yards: 15,208

13th in receptions: 1,024

42 career 100+ yard games

4-time Pro-Bowler

Bruce’s story is simple, he has been plagued by the fact that no matter what he will always be connected with the city that the NFL doesn’t want. The support from fans will have to come from the city that has felt abandoned by the league.  It’s important for the fans of the St. Louis area to remember that even though the team and the league have left, Isaac Bruce has not. Bruce still runs his foundation out of the city of St. Louis and he still supports the city in any way that he can. It’s time for the city to do its part to bring him the accolades that he deserves.  We can never forget his iconic moment in Super Bowl XXXIV, Bruce grabbed six receptions for 162 yards (third most in Super Bowl history) and one touchdown. The touchdown was a 73-yard reception that proved to be the game winner with 1:54 remaining in contest.  He is a St. Louis sports icon and deserves to be in Canton.

The Super Bowl: A St. Louis Natives Perspective

Despite the controversy of calls and rules and insanity of the NFC and AFC Championship games, the fact is that we are two weeks away from one of the biggest events in sports.  The Super Bowl is upon us! That would usually excite me, but this year I have a tough decision to make.  As native St. Louisan I have to deal with two teams that have plagued my football life.  Which way should I go? 

First of all, I love football. I grew up watching the greatest show on turf, Faulk, Warner, Holt, Proehl, Hakim and of course the great Isaac Bruce were a show that could capture the attention of the young fans as well as the older fans.  They were a look into the future of the industry, icons to any kid from St. Louis that owned a football. They were stolen from me by a corrupt system that saw my city dragged through the mud so that an owner could move a team to a place that already features about 100 professional teams.  A lot of today’s Rams roster doesn’t understand my heartache over a lost franchise.  They are LA Rams, they have taken on the persona of their young coach and ran with it.  Cocky, arrogant, flashy and talented.  They really do remind of the team that caught my attention so many years ago. But I am bitter, and I am sad that as much as I want to hold on to that memory and tell myself this is my team, they are not.  They are the Los Angeles Rams.  While I can support the success of the players I feel that by supporting this team I would be supporting the corruption that is the NFL.

Now the Patriots.  Most of St. Louis’s hatred before the Rams moved was squarely on the shoulders of the New England Patriots.  The infamous taping of the run through in Super Bowl 36 has tainted a resume that should be historically great.  Even worse it was against my beloved (at the time) St. Louis Rams.  They were blatantly cheating, and no one seemed to really care.  The NFL seemed more worried about deflated footballs then they did the image of a team clearly doing something illegal.  The Patriots have established themselves as the Yankees of football, a cult following that is loved by primarily just their fanbase. Mutually hated by everyone. 

My hate for both of these teams is equally mutual. When Super Bowl Sunday does come, I will be forced to pick a team because what is the point of watching a game if there is no really rooting interest.  After much debate internally, I have decided that the greatness of Tom Brady will overshadow my view of the organization.  I will cheer for him and him alone to succeed over a team that on paper should have the advantage at almost every position other than Quarterback.  The Rams have become an organization that makes me sick to my stomach.  Rooting for them is rooting for Stan Kroenke, no matter what your allegiance is. 

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.