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.  

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 4.

Greatest Show on Surf.

The LA Rams were good last season.  This season they may be unstoppable.  Adding downfield threat Brandin Cooks has opened up the middle of the field for slot receiver Cooper Kupp as well as forcing teams to play Robert Woods one on one.  This team can throw, run and control the tempo.

This team has offensive talent throughout the roster.  The Vikings defense has not been the dominant force that it was in 2017 but they still were completely dominated an overmatched.  The only defense that can maybe slow them down would be the Jaguars but they won’t have to deal with them during the season.  Every player on this team is a must start in your fantasy lineup and its not even debatable.

Steelers will finish third in the AFC North.

The Steelers fell to 1-2-1 on Sunday night getting handled easily by division rival Baltimore.  The Steelers gave up 14 points right off the bat and never truly were able to overcome the deficit.  The Steelers defense is bad and it won’t get much relief for the next two weeks.  The Falcons come to town next week followed by a trip to Cincinnati.  Both of those games are tough matchups for a Steelers defense that has given up 26. 27, and 42 over the last three games.

It is realistic that the Steelers are going to be 1-4-1 before they get the relief of the Browns coming to Pittsburgh. The Steelers also need to make a decision on what to do with their disgruntled RB LeVeon Bell, it is causing a rift in the team.  They are in trouble and are very likely to not make the playoffs this season.

Patriots still own the Dolphins and the AFC East

Last week I wrote that I learned the Patriots may be in trouble.  They were beaten on the national stage by a team that had been dominated by Sam Darnold during the first week of the season.  Then the Patriots got exactly what they needed to turn themselves around a trip to Miami against their whipping boys the Miami Dolphins.

The Dolphins were a mirage of 3-0 that had people buying into the potential of them winning the division.  Bill Belichick and Tom Brady quickly reminded us that they are the class of the AFC East and they are an AP class while the Dolphins are trying to work their way out of entry level.  The Patriots will not have the returning Julian Edelman next week which will only make this team even more dangerous and it will open up the playbook for Gronk and Josh Gordon.  The Pats were also able to establish rookie Sonny Michel and the run game.  This team is dangerous and I quickly have learned that you never count out the Pats.  My bad.

Titans may be for real.

I have been a hater of the Tennessee Titans since the season started.  They don’t play the brand of football that grabs your attention.  But you cannot ignore what they have done over the last three weeks.  Wins over Houston, Philadelphia and Jacksonville put the Titans at 3-1, first place in the AFC South.  They have found themselves there despite inconsistent play on the offensive end.

Corey Davis and Marcus Mariota seemed to build a rapport with each other, Davis going for 9 catches 151 yards and a touchdown yesterday against a suspect Eagles secondary.  The Titans have found the mojo with their arial attack which can open up the run game for Derrick Henry.  With the victory over the Jags the Titans sit in the drivers seat for the division and could be a tough matchup for any AFC teams.

Weekly Picks- NFL, NCAAF

Pittsburgh Steelers -3.5 at Cleveland Browns

The Pittsburgh Steelers have a major problem but the Browns are not that problem.  Despite the absence of LeVeon Bell the Pittsburgh Steelers should be in a great place to cover on Sunday.  The lose of bell has moved the line to 3.5.  The Browns are improved with Tyrod Taylor, Jarvis Landry and a healthy Josh Gordon should allow them to put points on the board but the Steelers still have a dominate offense that will be able to pull this one out by a touchdown.  I think the Browns will win at least 6-7 games this season and surprise a lot of teams, but the Steelers offense feels like they have something to prove on Sunday and the Cleveland defense will not be ready for James Conner and Big Ben.

The Steelers are 13-4 ATS vs Cleveland over their last 17 games.  Cleveland has not one a season opener since 2004.

PicksSteelers -3.5 (Like the over at 44)

Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts -2.5

The return of Andrew Luck makes the Bengals and Colts makes this a much more interesting matchup then it would have been in 2017.  The Colts sitting at a 2.5 point favorite stills surprised us.  The Bengals may not be world beaters but they have veterans all through the offense and a defensive front that features studs Geno Atkins, Carlos Dunlap and Michael Johnson.

Luck hasn’t played in a year and that Colts line hasn’t gotten much better.  I can’t buy that Luck is ready to step in right away and look like the Pro Bowl player that he was right away.  Look for Luck to make some plays that reminds us of his greatness but he will have some first game jitters.

Picks Bengals -2.5

Tampa Bay Buccaneers at New Orleans Saints -9.5

In two games against the Buccaneers last season, the Saints averaged 30.5 points per game, Drew Brees averaged 254 pass yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions, the running back corps averaged 121.5 rushing yards, and receivers caught 44 passes for 505 yards with three touchdowns. The Buccaneers have not made big improvements on the defensive end.  Why would they be able to stop the Saints in 2018??

Jameis Winston will be serving the first game of his 3 game suspension which means veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick will step in to try take down the great Drew Brees.  9.5 is a lot of points for the first game of the year, but when you have a veteran like Brees and dynamic players like Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas the Saints should control the the game on offense and the ball hawking defense should cause plenty of turnovers i

PicksSaints -9.5

Air Force at Florida Atlantic University -9

FAU was embarrassed in their opener versus Kyler Murray and the Oklahoma Sooners in week one.  Air Force is not Oklahoma.  It’s time for people to jump back on the Lane Train in week 2.

Florida Atlantic will come out throwing the ball early, jumping ahead and not looking back.  Air Force dominated a Stoney Brook but Stoney Brook is does not have the talent level of Florida Atlantic.  Being at home and most likely going to be very motivated I like Florida Atlantic to turn the table and blow out Air Force.

PicksFlorida Atlantic -9

Arkansas -14 at Colorado State

The Colorado State defense stinks.  Giving up 45 and 43 to Hawaii and Colorado.  They now are staring at an incoming SEC team in Arkansas.  Arkansas threw for 343 yards in game one against Eastern Illinois.  Colorado State has given up a 373 yards per game in the first two games of the season.

Arkansas will score and they will score and they will score.  That was not a typo.  I see Arkansas putting up a lot of points and silencing any potential home field advantage.  I would take Arkansas by 21 if it went that high.

PicksArkansas -14

James “Why Not” Pick of the Week

PicksHouston Texans +6.5

The Patriots gave up a lot of yards in 2017.  The Texans will have back their second year QB Deshaun Watson who was putting up MVP like numbers before his injury.  Watson is good and his receivers are good.  The Patriots historically have come out of the gates sluggish until Belicheck figures everything out.  Look for a high scoring game where the better defense makes a big play.  Houston has the better defense.  Houston may not only cover but I could see them knocking of the AFC Champs.

 

Biggest Fantasy Draft Questions?

Each year we set up for our drafts the same way.  Do as many mocks as we can fit in on a work day.  Debate with friends and co-workers about who is going to be the biggest sleepers or the most likely busts . It’s time for the top four questions going into your draft.

David Johnson or Antonio Brown at #4

This has been the question I have been asked multiple times by many different people.  After the top three (Elliot, Bell, Gurley) come off the board, who’s next?  ESPN has David Johnson actually ranked ahead of Ezekiel Elliot on their draft boards.  Johnson coming off a season ending injury last year was a unanimous top two pick going into that season.

Johnson has the ability to be the best runningback in the league when healthy but he also has a problem of lack of talent around him.  Sam Bradford is an injury machine and Josh Rosen is a rookie.  Two quarterbacks that give the opposing defense little to worry about.  Antonio Brown on the other hand is the unquestioned #1 wideout on any and all draft boards.  Brown is a part of a high level offense that will be putting up points throughout the season.  Going with Johnson is not going to put you in a bad position but Brown brings you a number one unquestioned top player on your roster.  David Johnson is great but he was only great for one season.  If you can’t get the best of the best at RB1 I say you go for the top receiver.

Who could be a late second round steal?

Getting the first few picks is fun but it also means you have a long wait for the next pick.  Who should you be keeping an eye on for a second rounder with 1st round talent. Davante Adams.

Davante Adams has become the #1 target for the best Quarterback in the league. With the decline of Randall Cobb, departure of Jordy Nelson and lack of overall running game Adams will be target number one for Aaron Rodgers.  Adams emergence into fantasy relevance relevance over the last two seasons has put him in a prime spot to top 3 receiver status.

Adams quietly grabbed 22 touchdowns over the past two seasons.  This season he could propel not only to double digit touchdowns but also break 1,000 yards for the first time in his career.

When do you take a Quarterback after the top 3 are gone? Who do you take?

So you didn’t get Russell Wilson, Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. What do you do?  You wait.  Players like Drew Brees are falling down draft boards faster than Ohio State’s reputation.  Projections are showing Brees being chosen as late as the 11th round. Brees has his issues with age and a movement of assets but to get him with your 11th selection is still a steal.

Keep an eye on the falling Ben Roethlisberger and Pat Mahomes.  Two teams that have dynamic talent around them.  You can load up on high level RBs, WRs and backup tightends.  There is a perception that after the top three the quarterback situation stays the same but it is important to understand the teams style before just plugging in the middle tier players.  If you do plan to wait for a quarterback you need to make sure you add two of the middle tiers guys to play the matchup.

What rookie should I target?

Runningbacks are the obvious choice when looking for rookie fantasy value.  With the injury to Derrius Guice there is a new opening for rookie talent in your fantasy draft. Calvin Ridley of the Atlanta Falcons is a player that I plan to take late in drafts. Ridley is coming through as advertised as an ideal complement to Jones with reliable hands, strong routes against single coverage and a nose for the end zone.  Ridley will also have the chance to work against single coverage with Julio Jones and Mohammad Sanu attracting most of the attention.

Time to give up on Jameis?

Coming out of Florida State Jameis Winston was the clear choice for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.  A two sport athlete, excelling in baseball as well as football Jameis had everything physically a team wanted.  Standing a 6′ 3″  weighing 235LBS  he was the perfect size, he was mobile, agile, possessed great arm strength, had a Heisman Trophy and a National Championship.  The Buccaneers took Jameis with their #1 pick in the 2015 NFL draft.  They had the face of their franchise, the quarterback that was going to lead them for the next ten years.  As they prepare for the fourth year of Jameis Winston the Buc’s may need to rethink their plans.

Entering the NFL with a checkered past, Winston’s talented overshadowed any problems that may come up from drafting an accused rapist.  The Buccaneers wasted no time turning their organization over to Winston naming him the starters right away.  He flourished early dominating his opening season matchup with fellow first round quarterback selection Marcus Mariota, confirming that he was the right choice for the struggling franchise.  Winston set franchise rookie records in pass attempts, pass completions, passing yards, and passing touchdowns. Winston finished his rookie season with 4,042 passing yards, finishing 23 yards short of the franchise record set by Josh Freeman in 2012.  Tying the record for touchdowns in a game by a rookie (5) on November 22, 2015, against the Philadelphia Eagles, Winston had arrived. After Tom Brady declined playing in the pro bowl, Winston was chosen to take his place.

Following his rookie season big things were expected of Winston and the Buccaneers. Winston led the Buccaneers to their first winning season in 6 years after defeating the Carolina Panthers  in the regular season finale, during which he broke the franchise records for passing yards and passing touchdowns in a season and became the first quarterback in NFL history to start his career with consecutive seasons of 4,000 yards passing; however the Buccaneers were eliminated from playoff contention via a tie breaker with the Detroit Lions. He was ranked 57th by his peers on the NFL Top 100 of 2017. 

Entering the 2017 season it was not just Winston that had the high expectations but it was the team in whole.  The pressure seemed to bring out the worst in the team opening the season 2-6, immediately falling out of contention.  The poor start coupled with a Winston injury doomed the Buccaneers to a 5-11 season. While Winston’s numbers and play have shown flashes of brilliance the lack of development on the field has been noticable. After three years as an NFL starter, Jameis Winston is still hard to figure out. He has produced dazzling highlights coupled with maddening turnovers, finding open receivers long after plays have broken down, yet coughing up the ball when he should have taken sacks. While his development of the field has haulted, his maturity as a human being has yet again come into question.

As Tampa Bay enters the 2018 season they have been forced to deal with the new that Jameis Winston will miss the first three games due to an incident with an Uber driver in March of 2016.  The latest incident has raised the question of how much is to much from a public figure.  The face of a franchise cannot be a player that continues to show lack of maturity.

Feb. 22, 2017: During a talk to students at St. Petersburg’s Melrose Elementary School, Winston says that boys are supposed to be strong but ladies are “supposed to be silent, polite, gentle.”

This comment shows a false sense of understanding about how men and women are suppose to be treated in society.  The early excuses for Winston’s actions were that he was young and needed to grow up, but how much time can you give a person who is such a prolific person in your community.  When I took a trip to Tampa two years ago every street light and sign that had anything to do with the Buc’s featured Winston’s face.  He is Buccaneer football, but is that really what they want?

The fact of the matter is they have regressed as a team over the last three seasons,  In an NFL where quarterback play rules all, Winston has tons of trade value.   Still being young enough for a coach to think they can help with his turnover problem and a GM thinking they can fix his personality.  Winston could net the Buc’s a solid second round pick or better if a team really believes in him.  In a time of social consciousness in the NFL the Buccaneers have to make a decision that I am sure they do not want to, it is time to move on from Winston or continue to allow him to put their team at risk.