NFL Week 4 Fantasy Mailbag

After 3 weeks into the season, it’s fun to see the rising Fantasy Football stars (and who you should be benching to send a message to your team).

Buffalo Bills backup RB Karlos Williams has scored a rushing touchdown every week so far, 3 total on the season. Starting running backs Jonathan Stewart, Justin Forsett and C.J. Anderson have all combined for 0.0…LeGarrette Blount matched Williams’ TD total in just the 2nd half against the Jaguars last week.

Do I seriously suggest you bench J-Stew, Forsett and Anderson?  If you have better options at running back, what have any of those 3 done to stop you? 



Maclin Touchdown

Can they make it two weeks in a row? Tune in to find out!

Quick Hits

  • Michael Vick starts tonight for the Pittsburgh, which I am *slow clapping* for because Steelers fans were so against him being on the team in the first place. Vick has a 2-1 record against the Ravens in his career, with 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, and averaging 211 pass yards per game. He’s not the scrambler and Madden video game dream that he used to be, but he doesn’t have to be with Antonio Brown capable of catching anything you throw up and Le’Veon Bell in the backfield. Both skill players help make Ben Roethlisberger a better quarterback. Vick becomes a decent option if you’re hard pressed at QB…especially with Le’Veon Skywalker doing his thing out there. 

(Insert “getting high” joke here)

  • Julio Jones was awarded the NFC’s Offensive Player of the Month for September, and rightfully so. He leads the league in receiving yards and has recorded the most receptions through 3 games (34) in NFL history. Jones is currently on pace for 181 catches, 2,346 yards and 21 touchdowns…It’s highly unlikely he’s actually record those numbers, but dammit, he’ll try.

Jones has missed some practice this week, but still a must start. He’s earned the rest.

  • Rant Time: If you have used the term “fire sale” regarding the Chicago Bears, STOP IT. If you continue to do so, I’ll be forced to reach through your laptop or mobile screen and slap you. Contrary to recent popular belief, the NFL is not Major League Baseball. Teams can’t eat money to trade away whoever they want to. The team taking a trade must absorb the contract of a player and it must fit within their cap space, unlike baseball where there is no cap. The Bears moved Jared Allen because he was owed bonus money to start the season. Nobody would have taken him if his $11.5 million bonus was actually base salary for the season…Regarding Matt Forte, a team would need $15 million in cap space to take on what’s remaining in his contract. Only the Jaguars, Titans, Raiders and Browns fit that bill and NONE of them are looking to make a playoff push by adding Forte. None of those teams would be willing to trade back resources to match his value either, especially when he is a free agent at year’s end. Stop worrying about that if you have him on your roster. End rant. 

Mail Time!

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I love…none of your options. If Derek Carr is out there, go get him. Especially for this week.

If I’m choosing among your options though, Ryan Fitzpatrick is oddly the most trustworthy. Brandon Weeden behind his offensive line and with his weapons has the higher upside against a bad New Orleans pass defense, but I feel better about The Beard in London against a reeling Miami secondary.

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If Davante Adams is out this weekend, Ty Montgomery becomes an excellent play this weekend…and would be by far the best of your options. If he’s still available, I would recommend getting Leonard Hankerson as Roddy White’s usage is quickly becoming non-existent.

For your flex, Ameer Abdullah is your guy…even against the Seattle defense. He’s the Lions best option out of the backfield and will get plenty of work, at least in dump off passes. Ravens new OC Marc Trestman apparently has no idea how to use Forsett, and Melvin Gordon has taken over as the true #1 back in San Diego over Woodhead.

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TY Hilton is healthy enough, and now an even better play against Jacksonville while Donte Moncrief helps stretch defenses more. Then I go with Jarvis Landry over Brandin Cooks, especially if you get return points. Darrelle Revis is dealing with a groin injury and becomes even less of a fear as he’s left slot receivers alone in recent weeks.

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If Arian Foster can go, he’s going going to get plenty of work doing so. Pay attention for the active/inactive list I put out on the Facebook page Sunday for his status. I’ll be making that a weekly tradition going forward…otherwise, go with Ryan Matthews.

Among your wide receivers, I can’t ignore James Jones any longer. He has 4 touchdowns in 3 games, and the Adams injury makes him all the more a priority play.

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Marshawn Lynch drove the country crazy on Sunday with his late entrance into the game against the Bears, and even more so when he left early. If he can go though, you have to start him. That’s why you drafted him. Otherwise, Abdullah is a nice play in the flex.

Among your WRs, Pierre Garcon sticks out going against a Philly defense, that he recorded 11 catches, 138 yards and a touchdown on in one game last year.

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I am going to echo my advice that I gave to Bucy…Start Foster if he’s active. Bill O’Brien is dying to use him. Just keep an eye out for the Facebook Page for the IN/OUT list prior to kickoff. Just have your backup ready to go.

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Gotta go with Derek Carr against the Bears. He’s been slinging it like a younger Rodgers as of late and the matchup is too good not to.

If Andre Ellington can go, start him. If not, then go with his backup….yes, that’s Chris Johnson.

Then Pierre Garcon, for the reasons I listed to Kirk earlier.

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For your long-term question (which I’m sure interests my readers), Yes, Derek Carr is the best option and I have been trying to drive that home since the question asked for this week’s mailbag. He’s the most talented of those options and the combo of Latavius Murray/Amari Cooper makes him even more dangerous.

With your Dolphins WR predicament, in a standard league you can’t put Rishard Matthews in the corner. He’s catching the most passes, despite Landry getting double digit targets each week. While I believe Landry is the better receiver. Matthews is scoring touchdowns, and you should play him until he stops…As noted earlier, Revis is nursing a groin injury. I anticipate Ryan Tannehill testing that plenty in London this weekend.

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Despite my appreciation for his wide receivers, Tannehill has taken a step back in his progress this year and I think it’s going to finally get Joe Philbin fired. If you’re looking for a spot start, roll with Carr against the Bears. If you are looking longterm, I trust Tyrod Taylor to sustain his production as a dual-threat quarterback. He’s proven himself through 3 games and against tough competition.

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend! 

NFL Week 3 Fantasy Mailbag

My favorite ongoing social media sports joke may in fact be the Andrew Luck “Civil War Era” Letters when things go wrong…

Andrew Luck Civil War

“My Dearest Abigail,

It is with much regret I must report our efforts to protect the homefront against the Jet brigade of New York were for nought. General Pagano was displeased with my inability to conquer the Isle of Revis. We lost our position upon the field on at least three occasions and despite the valiance of Private Moncrief, our company was forced into retreat. We will regroup and look to return to prominence as we move toward Nashville, led by the youthful Colonel Mariota.

Your beloved,


Be better, Andrew. 

Quick Hits

  • In better quarterback news, the Tom Brady Revenge Tour rolls after he completely destroyed what would probably be his toughest matchup all year. Brady dropped 3 touchdowns and 466 yards against Rex Ryan’s Bills defense in Buffalo. For the 15th time, an NFL record, the Patriots won after Brady throws 50+ passes. In perspective, Peyton Manning has 17 games throwing 50 or more passes and has a 4-13 record doing so. Hall of Famers Dan Marino and Warren Moon are tied for second in wins throwing that many passes…just 5 each. 

Brady vs Bills

  • If you drafted Le’Veon Bell and had him stashed until this week, it’s time to unleash the beast. In 15 of the 16 games he played in 2014, Bell recorded 100+ total yards and/or scored a touchdown. He also was the league’s 40th leading receiver in terms of yards, and had the most among all running backs. Ben Roethlisberger owners should really like that as well. Bell will lace’em up against a Rams defense that allowed 6.5 yards per carry to Washington rookie running back Matt Jones a week ago. Welcome back, Le’Veon. 

Bell Week 3

  • If you were on the “Odell Beckham Jr’s overrated” bandwagon, get the hell off it. ODB (as I refer to him) came back in a hurry last week against the Falcons, catching 7 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown that looked like he ran threw a Super Mario star. This weekend, Beckham lines up opposite from a Washington defense that gave up the most touchdowns to wide receivers a year ago (23). In his only game against them, ODB caught 12 passes for 143 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

Mail Time!

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The universe is testing you Jason, and I know…It’s not fair. This coming from someone who started Peyton Manning in Week 1 and Tony Romo in Week 2. The WR1 epidemic is awful and hamstrings are a bitch, but I’m hoping you either drafted well or went hard on your waiver wire. There are a few adds I would recommend if you haven’t yet though:

Travis Benjamin helped Johnny Football out a lot last weekend, recording 115 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 3 catches. Won’t light it up PPR wise, but he has that “go-up-and-get-it” ability that got Josh McCown paid after his stint in Chicago. If you get return points in your league, Benjamin becomes all the more attractive against the Raiders.

Michael Crabtree is averaging 12 targets per game after his first two starts in Raider black and silver. Not a great matchup going against Cleveland, but you would think Amari Cooper will draw the Joe Haden coverage more. Cooper getting the majority of opposing secondary attention helps Crabtree’s production, as does a healthy Derek Carr that will be playing more catchup in ballgames than not.

Leonard Hankerson is doing what many Roddy White and Julio Jones owners in the past have become familiar with from Harry Douglas. When either of the Top 2 Falcons WRs were injured (or going ghost like White has a tendency to do), Douglas was a PPR machine. Hankerson had 6 catches and a touchdown on 11 targets last week. The Dallas defense may sober his admirers this weekend, but he has two great matchups afterwards against Houston and Washington.

Nate Washington is a notorious spot-start guy in Fantasy and that may be the case here whether DeAndre Hopkins goes against Tampa or doesn’t. Ryan Mallett threw 58 passes a week ago and Washington is averaging over 18 yards per reception. Probably a sleeper play, but it makes a lot of sense if you’re desperate.

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There’s an interesting conundrum with Alfred Morris and Matt Jones in the backfield for Washington. The running attack appears to be their offense’s bread and butter and Jones became the flavor of the week out-carrying Morris last week 19-18. What’s worse for Morris is that Jones actually catches passes and was trusted more late in the game last week against the Rams…I would go with with Pierre Garcon based on the targets he gets on short yardage downs, Morris’s role being diminished, the Giants being competent against the run, and Duke Johnson still being the #2 man in Cleveland.

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Glad you were able to walk threw #1…I know you’re probably frustrated with the guys who are likely your Top 2 drafted RBs, but this may be the week to reap the benefits of taking them. Latavius Murray has a plumb rushing matchup against a Browns defense that let Dexter F’ing McCluster run for nearly 100 against them and has allowed 300+ rush yards in 2 weeks. The Raiders should be feeding Murray until he pukes…Because the Lions have no clue how to use obviously their best back in Ameer Abdullah, I lean toward Justin Forsett in your flex. He’s the second most targeted receiver for the Ravens and 2nd on the team in catches too going up against a Bengals defense that has allowed the most running back touchdown receptions so far in this young season.

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I would start Forsett exactly for reasons I listed above…and then I look to Dion Lewis. The Imitation Game that is Bill Belichick’s running back strategy may have been cracked. Even after a fumble (GASP), Lewis was still getting love in the Patriot’s offense. He has over 100 combo yards in each of his first two games, and at least 5 touches of 10 or more yards in both as well. Lamar Miller just isn’t getting enough usage for me to feel comfortable playing him yet, which is super unfortunate.

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Among the two WRs, I lean toward Terrance Williams. After Romo went down last week, Williams looked like the Cowboys’ best offensive weapon. Brandon Weedon is pretty gross, but he will at least be held upright behind the Dallas OL. The Falcons secondary is also allowing the third highest passing percentage to quarterbacks so far this season…Now you can comfortably wait and see if Eddie Lacy can go Monday night against the Chiefs. If he does, you definitely start James Jones. If not, then there’s an argument to be had. The KC front 7 is better at rushing the quarterback than they are stopping the run, and James Starks would get plenty of work against them. Jones doesn’t get enough targets (just 7 in 2 games) for me to feel comfortable playing him over someone who is guaranteed touches. Go with Starks if he’s the #1 running back on Monday.

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I am assuming you meant John Brown and if so, you should start him. I know Larry Fitzgerald had a resurrection game, but consider who it was against. The 49ers are ripe for the taking when it comes to #1 WRs and John Brown has taken most of his reps in the X spot. Expect Carson Palmer to keep tossing bombs and for Brown to be at the end of quite a few…Now for your flex. The reasons above are why I don’t trust James Jones as much as many. Todd Gurley is finally ready to go and appears nowhere on the injury report. Gurley is part of a committee but I believe he has the highest ceiling among any of your options. If return points count in your league, go with Benjamin. He has the same number of targets as Jones, but more big play ability. If not, take a chance on Gurley. It’s early enough in the season where taking chances is fun and not terrifying.

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It’s #TyrodTime, my friend. We saw Drew Brees’s decline begin a year ago, and he overcompensated by throwing more than any quarterback in the league. Until he can do more than 1 TD and 1 INT in a game, can you trust him?…Let Taylor do his thing until the league figures him out.

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I won’t argue against Crowell in this situation. In a standard league, which I assume doesn’t count return yard points, James Jones does have a leg up on Travis Benjamin given the quarterbacks throwing to them. However if Vontae Davis is out this weekend for Indy, start Kendall Wright. As we saw last Monday, that Colts secondary is horrendous and it doesn’t get any better with Davis out. Marcus Mariota could potentially be having a field day this weekend.

Have more lineup questions? Feel free to ask on both Facebook and Twitter! Also, don’t hesitate to post any questions for next week’s Mailbag. Good luck this weekend! 

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Defenses and Kickers

The last two things on your mind in a Fantasy Football Draft are Defenses and Kickers, but they are still positions that will either put you over the top in a close game…or kill you. 

Aggressive Fantasy players rarely stick with the defenses and kickers that they drafted, always rotating for great matchups. If you grab a solid point producer though, that’s one less stress you need to deal with for your weekend.

Here are my Top 10 for both defenses and kickers. You know when you should be drafting them already, so I spared the recommendations this time. 


1. Philadelphia

Eagles D

2014: 28 Takeaways, 49 sacks, 1,405 Return, 11 TDs

Eagles defense won games for people by themselves last year. Seattle will get overdrafted because they are talked about the most, but they don’t really score much. Philly gets pointage and they’ve improved in the off-season by adding Kiko Alonso. Philly is also insane in special teams situations blocking kicks and returning.

2. Buffalo

Bills D

2014: 30 Takeaways, 54 sacks, 1,124 Return, 4 TDs

The Bills upgraded their already excellent D by hiring Rex Ryan. They don’t score a lot of TDs, but they do get to the quarterback a lot which forces turnovers and scoring chances.

3. Seattle

Seahawks D

2014: 24 Takeaways, 37 sacks, 1,072 return, 3 TDs

The Seahawks give you the best opportunities for shutouts and control the game by running a lot. They can pack on the INT and Sack points as long as they get the opportunity to…Oh and #LegionOfBoom

4. St. Louis

Rams D

2014: 25 Takeaways, 40 sacks, 1,581 return, 5 TDs

The Rams D-Line could be the best in football and with an unreliable offense, they get plenty of opportunities to reek havoc on opposing quarterbacks.

5. Kansas City

Chiefs D

2014: 14 Takeaways, 46 sacks, 2,035 return, 3 TDs

The Chiefs didn’t generate many takeaways last year, but they have the best return game and pass rusher (Justin Houston) in football. They also get one of the best safeties in the league back in Eric Berry, 

6. Houston

Texans D

2014: 34 Takeaways, 38 sacks, 630 return, 6 TDs

Houston is the anti-KC. They take the ball away and they score. Plus, they have JJ Watt.

7. Arizona

Cardinals D

2014: 25 Takeaways, 35 sacks, 684 return yards, 5 TDs

The Cardinals were very vulnerable to the pass last year, which is surprising when they have Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu in their secondary. That may be the bright side because they DO have Peterson and Mathieu, two of the league’s best athletes…and an excellent pass rush.

8. New England


2014: 25 Takeaways, 40 sacks, 1,124 return, 5 TDs

Patriots lost Revis but they always fill in their vacancies well. Very savvy pass rushers and special teams have a penchant for coming up big.

9. Baltimore

Ravens D

2014: 22 Takeaways, 49 sacks, 1,359 return, 3 TDs

The Baltimore D isn’t going to carry you like they used to, but they are very good for spot starts and getting sacks. Their divisional games are generally slugfests too that work in their favor.

10. Green Bay

Packers D

2014: 27 Takeaways, 41 sacks, 888 return, 6 TDs

The formula to GB’s success last season was getting out to a big lead early and then forcing opposing teams to throw and and be pressured into turnovers. I anticipate that to be a similar circumstance for them again this year, but they can give up a lot of points at times.


1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE


2014: 35/37 FG, 51 XP

What you generally want in your kicker is someone who doesn’t miss often, gets a lot of opportunities, and picks up plenty of XPs. The Patriots spend a lot of time in their opponents’ territory and that Gostkowski rarely misses.

2. Cody Parkey, PHI


2014: 32/36 FG, 54 XP

Similar to the Patriots, the Eagles get into their opponents’ territory plenty for Parkey to get attempts. It also helps that they score TDs on both offense and defense for him to pick up XPs

3. Steven Hauschka, SEA

Seattle Seahawks vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers; Steven Hauschka

2014: 31/37 FG, 41 XP

Hauschka has some of the best range in the league, his longest FG last year being from 58 yards out. His leg definitely shortens the field for the Seahawks.

4. Randy Bullock, HOU


2014: 30/35 FG, 40 XP

Bullock benefits from getting to play in a dome for most of his season without dealing with the elements. Not sure how many scoring chances the Texans will get with their quarterback and running back situations, but Bullock’s good.

5. Dan Carpenter, BUF


2014: 34/38 FG, 31 XP

Scuzzy Dan made the 2nd most FGs in the league last year, and will get a chance to kick plenty more if Buffalo commits to their run game. Scoring touchdowns may still be an issue without a viable quarterback in their system.

6. Matt Bryant, ATL


2014: 29/32 FG, 40 XP

Bryant is reliable. As long as the Falcons offense does their job this year, his attempts and extra points will certainly rise.

7. Adam Vinatieri, IND


2014: 30/31 FG, 50 XP

Vinatieri is SO OLD but still SO ACCURATE. The Colts should be scoring in the bunches again this season, and having a better RB in Gore will make Vinatieri an excellent pick for your team.

8. Justin Tucker, BAL

Photo: Shawn Hubbard

2014: 29/35 FG, 42 XP

Tucker admittedly plays Fantasy Football as well and is well aware that you depend on him each Sunday….and he is very dependable.

9. Blair Walsh, MIN


2014: 26/35 FG, 29 XP

So much of a kicker’s success is dependent on the offense putting him in a position to kick. Year 2 of Bridgewater and the return of Adrian Peterson should bode well for Blair Walsh getting more attempts.

10. Dan Bailey, DAL


2014: 25/29 FG, 56 XP

At the very least, you want your kicker to kick a lot of PATs. Bailey led the league in XPs last season and I don’t expect his attempts to waver too much this year. Cowboys Stadium has never been too bad to him either.

Do your rankings look different? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter


Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Tight Ends Cheat Sheet

#TBT Year in Review: 1992

In the year that Washington Nationals star Bryce Harper was born…

Bryce home run gif

  • President George H.W. Bush threw up on the Japanese Prime Minister on live television.
  • The Cold War was formally declared over.
  • The Winter Olympics were held in Albertville, France. 
  • Bill Clinton was elected the 42nd President of the United States.
  • Atari was officially discontinued. 

And in the worlds of Movies, Music, and Sports…



My Cousin Vinny, Encino Man, Sister Act, Home Alone 2, The Mighty Ducks, Honey I Blew Up the Kids, Beethoven, The Player, Singles, Captain Ron, Class Act, Mo’ Money, Revenge of the Nerds III, Boomerang, Toys, Housesitter, Mr. Baseball, White Men Can’t Jump, Ladybugs, The Muppet Christmas Carol AND…

Wayne’s World


Patriot Games, Basic Instinct, Under Siege, Alien 3, The Hand That Rocks the Cradle, Lethal Weapon 3, Raising Cain, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Batman Returns, Poison Ivy, Candy Man, Live Wire, Freejack, Rapid Fire, Bad Lieutenant, Passenger 57, AND…

Reservoir Dogs


Scent of a Woman, Glengarry Glen Ross, The Last of the Mohicans, A River Runs Through It, The Bodyguard, Juice, Lorenzo’s Oil, Far and Away, Malcolm X, The Crying Game, School Ties, Of Mice And Men, Stalin, Damage, Newsies, To Be The Best, Gladiator, Sinatra, Hoffa, Chaplin, Zebrahead, The Cutting Edge, Forever Young, AND…

A Few Good Men

The 65th Academy Awards

Best Actor

  • Clint Eastwood, Unforgiven
  • Stephen Rea, The Crying Game
  • Denzel Washington, Malcom X
  • Robert Downey Jr., Chaplin
  • Al Pacino, Scent of a Woman – Winner

Best Supporting Actor

  • Jaye Davidson, The Crying Game
  • Jack Nicholson, A Few Good Men
  • Al Pacino, Glengarry Glen Ross
  • David Paymer, Mr. Saturday Night
  • Gene Hackman, Unforgiven – Winner 

Best Actress

  • Catherine Deneuve, Indochine
  • Mary McDonnell, Passion Fish
  • Michelle Pfeiffer, Love Field
  • Susan Sarandon, Lorenzo’s Oil
  • Emma Thompson, Howards End – Winner

Best Supporting Actress

  • Vanessa Redgrave, Howards End
  • Miranda Richardson, Damage
  • Judy Davis, Husbands and Wives
  • Joan Plowright, Enchanted April
  • Marisa Tomei, My Cousin Vinny – Winner

Best Picture

  • The Crying Game
  • A Few Good Men
  • Howard’s End
  • Scent of a Woman
  • Unforgiven – Winner


Rock Albums

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Hip Hop Albums

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Pop Albums

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Billboard Year-End Top 25 of 1992

1. “End of the Road” – Boyz II Men

2. “Baby Got Back” – Sir Mix-A-Lot

3. “Jump” – Kriss Kross

4. “Save the Best for Last” – Vanessa Williams

5. “Baby-Baby-Baby” – TLC

6. “Tears In Heaven” – Eric Clapton

7. “My Lovin (You’re Never Gonna Get It)” – En Vogue

8. “Under the Bridge” – Red Hot Chili Peppers

9. “All 4 Love” – Color Me Badd

10. “Just Another Day” – John Secada

11. “To Be With You” – Mr. Big

12. “I Love Your Smile” – Shanice

13. “I’m Too Sexy” – Right Said Fred

14. “Black or White” – Michael Jackson

15. “Achy Breaky Heart” – Billy Ray Cyrus

16. “I’ll Be There” – Mariah Carey

17. “November Rain” – Guns N’ Roses

18. “Life is a Highway” – Tom Cochrane

19. “Remember the Time” – Michael Jackson

20. “Finally” – CeCe Peniston

21. “This Used To Be My Playground” – Madonna

22. “Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough” – Patty Smyth

23. “Can’t Let Go” – Mariah Carey

24. “Jump Around” – House of Pain

25. “Diamonds and Pearls” – Prince and the New Power Generation



League Leaders


Average: Edgar Martinez (SEA) – .343

Hits: Kirby Puckett (MIN) – 210

Home Runs: Juan Gonzalez (TEX) – 43

RBI: Cecil Fielder (DET) – 124

OPS: Barry Bonds (PIT) – 1.080

Stolen Bases: Marquis Grissom (MON) – 78


Wins: Kevin Brown (TEX) & Jack Morris (TOR) – 21

ERA: Bill Swift (SF) – 2.08

Strikeouts: David Cone (NYM & TOR) – 261

Complete Games: Jack McDowell (CHW) – 13

Shutouts: Roger Clemens (BOS), Tom Glavine (ATL) & David Cone – 5

Saves: Dennis Eckersley (OAK) – 51


AL – Dennis Eckersley (OAK)

NL – Barry Bonds (PIT)

CY Young

AL – Dennis Eckersley (OAK)

NL – Greg Maddux (CHC)

Rookie of the Year

AL – Pat Litasch (MIL)

NL – Eric Karros (LAD) 

World Series: Toronto Blue Jays over Atlanta Braves (4-2)



Final Four:

(1) Duke, (6) Michigan, (4) Cincinnati and (2) Indiana

National Championship:

(1) Duke over (6) Michigan 71-51


League Leaders:

Points Per Game: Michael Jordan (CHI) – 30.1

Rebounds Per Game: Dennis Rodman (DET) – 18.7

Assists Per Game: John Stockton (UTAH) – 13.7

All-NBA Team:

Clyde Drexler (POR)

Michael Jordan (CHI)

Karl Malone (UTAH)

Chris Mullin (GS)

Davis Robinson (SA)

MVP: Michael Jordan (CHI)

Rookie of the Year: Larry Johnson (CHA)

NBA Finals: Chicago Bulls over Portland Trailblazers (4-2)



Heisman Trophy

Charlie Ward (Florida State) & Gino Toretta (Miami)

National Champion

Alabama over Miami 34-13 in the Sugar Bowl 


League Leaders

Passing Yards: Dan Marino (MIA) – 4,116

Passing Touchdowns: Steve Young (SF) – 25

Passer Rating: Steve Young (SF) – 107.0

Rushing Yards: Emmitt Smith (DAL) – 1,713

Rushing Touchdowns: Emmitt Smith (DAL) – 18

Receiving Yards: Sterling Sharpe (GB) – 1,461

Receiving Touchdowns: Sterling Sharpe (GB) – 13

Receptions: Sterling Sharpe (GB) – 108

AP MVP: Steve Young (SF)

Super Bowl: Dallas Cowboys over Buffalo Bills 52-17


League Leaders

Goals: Brett Hull (STL) – 70

Assists: Wayne Gretzky (LA) – 90

Points: Mario Lemieux (PIT) – 131

Hart Memorial Trophy: Mark Messier (NYR)

Stanley Cup: Pittsburgh over Chicago (4-0)

Did I miss anything? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

Checkout past #TBT Years in Review 






#NationalPuppyDay in Sports

No case of the Mondays here…

It’s #NationalPuppyDay!

I can’t be alone in greatly enjoying the cuteness overload on social media today. I have an epic thread of puppy photos being posted by friends on my own Facebook page. But I digress…

Let’s take a look at what sports clubs and outlets are posting from all over.

Starting with HANK…The Milwaukee Brewers Mascot Puppy…

Detroit Tigers

Chicago White Sox


San Francisco 49ers

SportsNet LA

Cincinnati Bengals

Golden State Warriors

Green Bay Packers

Georgetown Hoyas

Kansas City Chiefs


MLB GIFs (I heart this handle)

Calgary Flames

Arizona Diamondbacks

America’s Pregame on FOX Sports 1

Portland Winterhawks


Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Portland Trailblazers

Baltimore Ravens

Anaheim Ducks

New England Patriots

Seattle Mariners

Detroit Pistons

San Jose Sharks

NBC Sports Network

Butler University

Cleveland Browns

Minnesota Vikings

Washington Huskies

NFL Network

Breeders Cup

San Diego Chargers

San Antonio Spurs

Duquesne University

Buffalo Bills

Atlanta Braves

Orlando Magic

Cal University

University of Georgia

Penn State

Colorado Rockies

St. Louis Rams

Oakland Raiders

Arizona Cardinals

 Feel free to Tweet your own #NationalPuppyDay picks to me at @Mike_PiFF03 and maybe we’ll feature them in a followup post.

Fantasy Football Preview: AFC East

If there is one thing you can say about the AFC East, they know how to make headlines. Whether it’s bullying and abuse by teammates in Miami, Bon Jovi and Donald Trump vying for ownership in Buffalo, Rex Ryan saying something stupid in New York (but really New Jersey), or Tom Brady…being Tom Brady…it’s a division that gets people talking.

On the football field though, it’s been all Patriots. Since Bill Belichick took over in 2000, they have won the division 11 times (in 13 years). The rest of the division will try to prevent New England from winning their sixth straight division title in 2014, but we’re more concerned with who will make your fantasy team better.


Buffalo Bills

The Bills haven’t had a winning season since 2004 and they have finished 6-10 each of the last 3 seasons. Second year head coach Doug Marrone’s squad ranked 2nd in rushing last season, 2nd in defensive interceptions, and 4th against passing, but struggled mightily to put points on the board. The Bills hope to change that with their new receiver additions and keeping EJ Manuel healthy. Good luck, Buffalo.


QB EJ Manuel

11 TD/9 INT, 1,972 pass yards, 186 rush yards 2 rush TD in 2013 (10 games)

Many were surprised when the Bills chose EJ Manuel before any quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft. Going 16th overall, the Florida State quarterback was the ONLY one at his position selected in the first round. Those who followed Manuel in college weren’t surprised based on his combination of size, speed, and arm strength, but knee injuries and accuracy issues still plagued him in his rookie season. The Bills run a no-huddle offense (much like Philadelphia’s) that is dependent on the running game and quick hitting passes downfield. Manuel has two new talented receivers in rookie Sammy Watkins and former Buccaneer Mike Williams to make it work. Watkins and Williams have bigger catch radiuses that should help Manuel execute, as long as he stays healthy.

Recommendation: You hope a full offseason gave Manuel time to work on his accuracy but I’m more concerned with his knee injuries. He’ll have a chance to dispel that concern, but let him do that on the waiver wire. If you have a deep bench, MAYBE pick him in the last round.


RB CJ Spiller

933 rush yards, 2 TD / 33 rec, 185 rec yards, 0 TD in 2013

CJ Spiller led the league’s 2nd best running team in yardage but struggled to find the end zone. That has been the story for the 9th overall pick from 2010 in his Buffalo tenure. Being great between the 20’s doesn’t necessarily translate to points for a player, but sometimes does for someone else in the backfield (see Fred Jackson next down). Spiller, while still playing 15 games, also dealt with an ankle injury that could have been a cause for his drop in production from 2012 (1,244 rush yards, 6 TDs, 43 rec, 459 rec yards). He only had 5 less carries but averaged 4.6 yards per as opposed to 6.0. On top of the motivation for 2014 being a contract year, Spiller can benefit from the addition of Watkins to stretch the field and take pressure off the front for him to run on. Spiller also likes the Bills’ added running back depth of Bryce Brown and Anthony Dixon to ease his workload.

Recommendation: Have you learned your lesson yet, sports fans? Every year, Spiller’s potential gets him over-drafted in most leagues. DON’T DRAFT ON POTENTIAL. Spiller’s ceiling has always been high but how often has he reached that in 4 seasons? He is a solid RB2 for his value and should go in middle rounds.


RB Fred Jackson

890 rush yards, 9 TD / 47 rec, 387 rec yards 1 TD

The veteran running back out of Coe College goes into his 8th season with a new contract extension, which he signed right before training camp. Despite dealing with a knee injury, Jackson played in all 16 games and gained 1,277 yards from scrimmage, his 3rd best total of his career. Jackson’s 10 touchdowns made him Buffalo’s only real scoring threat in 2013. He’ll still split carries with Spiller but the extension shows that the Bills are committed to the 33-year old back and expect Jackson to be just as reliable.

Recommendation: Jackson is traditionally a solid waiver wire pickup for Fantasy owners. While his total production was better than Spiller’s last year, Spiller is still the #1 back. The potentially improved passing game is also more beneficial to Splitter. Jackson is better served to round out your draft.


WR Sammy Watkins

101 rec, 1,464 rec yards, 12 TD at Clemson in 2013*

The Bills went all in trading for Sammy Watkins. To select him 4th overall, Buffalo dealt their 9th overall pick in 2014 and their 1st and 4th round picks in 2015. Will Watkins be the difference that makes Marrone’s offense work? Since the NFL merger (the beginning of the Super Bowl era), just 12 rookie receivers have gained over 1,000 yards and only 5 scored 10+ touchdowns. If Manuel can lead him consistently, if defenses are zeroed in on Spiller, and if Mike Williams can draw coverage, Watkins can do it…That’s only 3 of the Ifs right there.

Recommendation: Watkins has the potential to be a very special player in the NFL. But again, DON’T DRAFT ON POTENTIAL. A lot of his success is going to depend on what his quarterback can do. If you have your heart set on Watkins, take him late. (Note: I drafted Alshon Jeffery with my last pick and we saw how that worked out, right?)

Waiver Watch:

RB Bryce Brown 

WR Mike Williams

WR Robert Woods

TE Scott Chandler


Miami Dolphins

Is there a seat hotter in the NFL than head coach Joe Philbin’s? Rex Ryan, maybe, but he has too much “cushion” to feel it. We’ve exhausted the bullying narrative enough and how irresponsible Philbin was handling it, so let’s focus on football. The Dolphins finished 8-8 last season and then replaced offensive coordinator Mike Sherman with Eagles QB coach Bill Lazor to improve the 7th worst scoring team in 2013. In order for the Dolphins to get better, they’ll probably want to keep their starting quarterback off his butt.


QB Ryan Tannehill

24 TD/17 INT, 3,913 pass yards, 238 rush yards 1 TD in 2013.

The 2012 draft is always talked about as the one that produced Andrew Luck, Robert Griffen III, and Russell Wilson. Often overlooked is Ryan Tannehill, who was selected 8th overall out of Texas A&M. Tannehill also threw for more yards than any of the quarterbacks mentioned previously in 2013, and more touchdowns than both Luck and Griffen. Tannehill doubled his touchdown pass total from his rookie year, but was sacked more than anyone in the league (58) and by a lot. His new OC, Lazor, has brought the Chip Kelly system to Miami. That means faster tempo, quicker passes, and more athletic linemen to keep Tannehill protected. But it will really depend on the rest of his teammates buying into the new system.

Recommendation: Tannehill is a solid QB2 for your roster. He’s going very under the radar so you should be able to get him late.


RBs Knowshon Moreno & Lamar Miller

Moreno: 1,038 rush yards, 10 TD / 60 rec, 548 rec yards, 3 TD in 2013

Miller: 709 rush yards, 2 TD/ 26 rec, 170 rec yards

Knowshon Moreno BROKE OUT in 2013. In his 5th season, Moreno ranked 4th among running backs in rushing touchdowns (tied with Adrian Peterson) and accumulated 1,586 total yards from scrimmage. How much of that success, though, was thanks to Peyton Manning? The Broncos were the highest scoring team in the NFL, got in the end zone early and often, forced defenses into pass coverage, and then would hand it off to the running back for the rest of the way. Regardless, the Dolphins thought highly enough of Moreno to sign him in hopes he would improve a running game that ranked near the bottom in 2013. Many assumed Moreno was already penciled in as the starting running back. Not Lamar Miller.

Miller took the signing as a challenge and has proven so in offseason workouts and camp. Moreno has been dealing with a hamstring injury and Miller has seized the opportunity. The former Miami Hurricane rushed for 709 yards in his sophomore season last year, but sees himself putting up LeSean McCoy-like numbers in the new system…or is trying to shape his game that way. While Miller ran for more than 60 yards 8 times last season, he was held under 10 yards 4 times. McCoy never rushed for less than 38 in 2013.

Recommendation: People will overdraft for Moreno. Don’t be one of them. Competition at a position is great for a team, but not necessarily for Fantasy. Since Moreno has proven it, he can be an RB2 but keep an eye out for Miller for that “McCoy potential”. Draft him late.


WR Mike Wallace

73 rec, 930 rec yards, 5 TD in 2013

Mike Wallace was supposed to be the big free agent addition for the Dolphins last year. He may be poised to be better utilized in 2014. Wallace seems to have bought into Lazor’s system and is being moved all over the field to put him and the team in the best position to succeed, much like how DeSean Jackson was used by the Eagles in 2013. It will be interesting to see how that game planning will effect fellow receiver Brian Hartline, who had much of the same production as Wallace a year ago.

Recommendation: Will Wallace be Lazor’s D-Jax? He could, but don’t draft him high without knowing for sure. Pick Wallace in the mid-late rounds. He could at least be a strong flex.


TE Charles Clay

69 rec, 759 rec yards, 6 TD

The converted fullback emerged as a Top 10 tight end in 2013. Charles Clay was listed 2nd on the Dolphins depth chart before Dustin Keller’s preseason knee injury. Then he caught 10 passes for 163 yards in the first two weeks of the regular season and never looked back. Clay ranked 7th among TEs in receptions, 9th in yards, and 8th in touchdowns. Unfortunately Clay has missed most of the preseason due to a knee injury, but says he’ll be ready to go by the season opener.

Recommendation: After the top end scoring tight ends come off the board, there’s a significant drop off in fantasy scoring. You can wait till mid-late rounds to draft Clay.


Waiver Watch

WR Brian Hartline

RB/WR/KR Marcus Thigpen

TE Dion Simms


New England Patriots

Bill Belichick is looking for his 12th divisional championship in his Patriots tenure. Belichick has also NEVER cared about your fantasy stats. If you’ve ever had a Patriots running back on your team, you know this. The Patriots ranked 3rd in scoring last year, 7th in offensive yardage, and 8th in turnover ratio (+9). The production is there, but the question will be where it comes from.


QB Tom Brady

25 TD/11 INT, 4,343 pass yards in 2013

Tom Brady saw a decline in his numbers last season after throwing 34+ touchdowns each of the previous 3. The 37 year-old 9-time pro bowl quarterback was inconsistent week-to-week when it came to scoring for fantasy owners. Brady could go blank in the TD category against the Jets one week, and then throw 4 against the Steelers. Some blame Brady’s age and arm strength. Others blame the lack of talent and experience supporting him. Belichick’s commitment to the running game had a lot to do with it as well. In the final two weeks (your post season), fantasy owners had to look elsewhere for quarterbacks because all Brady was doing was handing off to his running backs. Brady could bounce back having a full year with his young receivers, and if Gronk and Amendola stay healthy…which is no sure thing. But one thing is; Brady still wins games. He had 5 comeback wins in the 4th quarter in 2014, 3 of which came in row weeks 11-13 (7 TD/2 INT, avg. 101.3 QB rating)

Recommendation: Brady is still a winner and a franchise quarterback, but he isn’t a top 5 Fantasy QB. Because there are so many questions of where the production will come from for New England this season, don’t take him until the Top 5 QBs come off the board.


RB Stevan Ridley

773 rush yards, 7 TD / 10 rec, 62 rec yards 0 TD

Stevan Ridley seemed to break out in 2012, running for 1,263 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also stood out as THE guy in the backfield getting 290 carries, nearly 100 more than Danny Woodhead, Shane Vereen, and Brandon Bolden combined. After issues securing the ball arose, Ridley saw his playing time, carries, and yardage split with LeGarrette Blount. Blount is now backing up Le’Veon Bell in Pittsburgh, but Ridley isn’t in the clear at all when it comes to the Patriots depth chart. He caught a case of the fumbles in the recent preseason game against the Eagles, and 4th round pick James White out of Wisconsin is showing potential of being an all-around starting back. That is the other knock on Ridley’s game. He isn’t a dependable pass catcher like White can be and like Vereen has been in the Patriots system. In limited action, Vereen caught 47 passes for 427 yards last season.

Recommendation: Whoever is in the backfield for Tom Brady in the red zone has a great chance of scoring. The theme though may be Men at Work’s “Who Can It Be Now?” If you intend to draft Ridley, make him your flex with RB2 potential. White may be someone worth looking at to close out your draft.


WR Julian Edelman

105 rec 1,056 rec yards, 6 TD, 374 return yards in 2013

If one thing is clear going into the 2014 season, I think it’s that Julian Edelman is Tom Brady’s guy. With the departure of Wes Welker, Edelman reaped all the benefits playing in all 16 games and ranking 4th in receptions among receivers. With rookies Kenbrell Thompkins and Aaron Dobson unable to catch the ball early on and Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski injured, Edelman HAD to be the guy. His returning skills also add a dynamic that set him apart as a Fantasy option. With the addition of former Panthers WR Brandon LaFell and the returns of Gronk and Amendola, Edelman may see less targets, but can you depend on the latter two to stay healthy?

Recommendation: While I don’t think Edelman is as polished a receiver or as dependable as Welker, I do think he is Brady’s security blanket…especially in quick hitting no-huddle drives. Edelman may not be the big time scoring threat, but he will get the catches in between the 20’s. He’s graduated from a waiver wire watch to a WR2 for your roster.


TE Rob Gronkowski

39 rec, 4 TD, 592 yards in 2013 (7 games played)

Rob Gronkowski started playing in full team drills for the first time this week after undergoing surgery for a torn ACL January 9th. Gronkowski had been held out of contact drills until now, but plans to play in all 16 games this season. The last time Gronk played a full season (2011,) he led the league in touchdown receptions with 17. Before 2013, he recorded at least 10 touchdowns in each season of his career. Even when Gronk was limited to 11 games in 2012, he scored 11 touchdowns. When right, Gronk is one of the best red zone options in the game. That, plus his injury history, should make anyone cautiously optimistic in 2014.

Recommendation: The injury history does scare me with Gronkowski but then I look at those 2011 numbers. I don’t think he’s going to go for 1,300 yards again but Gronk is a viable option after Jimmy Graham, Vernon Davis, and Julius Thomas. Just be sure you draft a solid backup for him.


Waiver Watch:

RB James White

RB Shane Vereen

WR Danny Amendola

WR Brandon LaFell

WR Kenbrell Thompkins

TE Michael Hoomanwanui


New York Jets

Before the two tenants of MetLife Stadium meet for their annual preseason game, rookie running back Andre Williams told New York writers, “I think the Giants are the real New York team.” You wouldn’t think a head coach going into his 6th season would take the comments of another team’s newly drafted 4th round pick to heart, but of course Ryan did. “Last time I saw him he was getting smoked by Clemson,” Ryan responded. “I have a funny feeling he’s going to get some Riddells [helmets] on him.” Almost as thin as Ryan’s skin was the Jets offense last season that ranked nearly last in scoring.


QB Geno Smith

12 TD/21 INT, 3,046 pass yards, 366 rush yards, 6 rush TDs in 2013

Geno Smith didn’t have the smoothest rookie season starting all 16 games in 2013. He did, however, win the final 3 to get the Jets to .500 for the season. Smith did so by utilizing his mobility, averaging 6 yards per carry and scoring 3 touchdowns on the ground in the last quarter of the season. Smith looks to improve his passing game still after throwing multiple interceptions in 7 games last season. Michael Vick was brought in for competition and for having history with Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg (formerly of Philadelphia), but Smith seems to have locked down the starting role for New York.

Recommendation: I don’t expect Geno Smith to be drafted in most leagues, but keep an eye on his progress during his sophomore season. If QBs starting going down, Smith could be in demand.


RB Chris Johnson

1,077 rush yards, 6 TD / 42 rec, 345 rec yards, 4 TD in 2013

After 6 seasons with the Tennessee Titans, Chris Johnson needed a change in scenery. The 3-time pro bowler and one time 2,000 yard rusher joins a running back group that ranked 6th on the ground last season. He blames the decline in his production on the way he was handled the last two seasons saying the Titans offense was “too predictable.” Johnson, who has home run ability, won’t be doing all the heavy lifting in New York as they do plan to use a running back-by-committee strategy. The hot back out of Johnson, Chris Ivory, and Bilal Powell will be the one who plays more in Mornhinweg’s system.

Recommendation: The committee strategy is an annoying one for fantasy owners. Johnson is the back with some hardware and game changing ability, so he should be the first of the Jets RBs to go…but not until late.


WR Eric Decker

87 rec, 1,288 yards, 11 TD in 2013

There is no doubt Eric Decker’s best seasons had something to do with Peyton Manning being his quarterback. His production nearly doubled when he started hearing “Omaha!” at the line of scrimmage, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t a talented receiver. The Jets signed Decker to be their #1 option for Geno Smith to throw to, but he has dealt with injuries during camp that have kept him out of practice. Decker is confident he’ll be fine for the season health-wise, but two questions linger. Will his new young quarterback be able to get him the ball? And will the other receivers draw double coverage away from him like his teammates in Denver did?

Recommendation: I really don’t have a lot of faith in the Jets’ passing game. And as mentioned prior, there was a much more talented corps in Denver that helped Decker get open. He is still the best option downfield for Smith, and is more valuable to be drafted in later rounds, low end WR2/Flex option.

Waiver Watch:

QB Michael Vick

RB Chris Ivory

RB Bilal Powell

WR David Nelson

TE Jeff Cumberland