NFL Week 14 Fantasy Mailbag

If you made your Fantasy league’s playoffs…

Antonio nuts

CONGRATS!

If not, thanks for reading anyway. If people don’t send in questions, there is no Mailbag. So sincerely, thank you for making this fun for me every week to write up and try to help you get where you want to be.

December is the month that matters now, ask Russell Wilson. In December, Wilson is 13-2 as a starter which is the highest win percentage for a quarterback since 2000. All of a sudden the Seahawks look like a team nobody wants to play against and so do the Steelers. That’s who you have to be now as a Fantasy owner, and it doesn’t hurt having players from both squads either.

Quick Hits

  • Speaking of the Steelers, having any of their top 3 WRs for the last 2 weeks is not a bad thing. Sunday night was further proof Antonio Brown is the best weapon in the NFL right now (118 yards and 3 total touchdowns). Markus Wheaton is lighting things up, likely from your league’s waiver wire, with 19 targets, 12 catches, 251 yards and 3 touchdowns in that time. Then there’s Martavis Bryant, who has scored in 5 of the 7 games he’s played in since returning from suspension and injury. The trio faces a Bengals defense that is thin at cornerback with Leon Hall and Pacman Jones banged up, and is allowing more than a touchdown to opposing WRs per game.

  • Very quietly and unsuspectingly, Saints running back Mark Ingram was put on IR for the shoulder injury he was nursing the past two weeks. It seems as though the Saints are shelving him with nothing to play for, just in time for your playoffs. It’s the year of the backup running back though! CJ2K has given the reigns to DJ2K (David Johnson) in Arizona. DeAngelo Williams is doing his best Le’Veon Bell impression. And Thomas Rawls has a higher touchdown rate in the red zone (21.4%) then the league leader in touchdowns, Devonta Freeman (20%).Go snag Tim Hightower now, if you haven’t already, as he’s expected to get Ingram’s early down workload.

Rawls vs Vikings

  • If the Titans have anything going for them, besides a good shot at the #1 overall draft pick for a second year in a row, it’s Delanie Walker. Over the past 5 weeks, Walker has the most targets, catches and yards of any tight end in the game. He also faces a Jets defense this week that will be missing Revis Island and safety Calvin Pryor.

Delanie Walker TD

 

Mail Time!

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RB: Despite Giovani Bernard having more rush yards and 300 more receiving yards than Jeremy Hill, Hill is getting an actual starter’s workload with 20 more touches than Gio over the last 2 weeks. You should feel good going with him. Doug Martin has the New Orleans dumpster fire D this week. Now you’re left between Javorius Allen and Todd Gurley. Go with Buck. He’s averaging 123 yards per game since taking over for Justin Forsett. Meanwhile, Gurley is on the back of a milk carton and we can’t find him.

TE: Close call, but I would go with ASJ for matchup reasons. He played limited snaps last week but still managed to be the 2nd most targeted receiver by Jamies Winston.

 

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Even though I gave a ton of love to both Wilson and the Steelers to start this post, I’m going against them for this choice. Andy Dalton has 3+ touchdowns in half of the games he’s started this season and could be in for a total shootout with the Steelers this weekend. Considering what Russ was able to do against Pittsburgh, you should like ADalt even better.

 

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First reaction – Yikes.

*Taking a second to process*

Ronnie Hillman. CJ Anderson is playing on a bum ankle which opens up a lot more for Hillman against Oakland. As stated earlier, Gio’s usage doesn’t give me enough confidence to start him when I have other options.

 

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WR: I really don’t like the Bucs as much as I sound, but I hate the Saints defense way more. This is a great week for V-Jax because the Saints have given up 9 touchdowns to #2 WRs over the last 5 weeks.

FLEX: Going against one of the worst run defenses in the league, it’s a good week to play Shaun Draughn. I feel weird typing that, but Draughn has turned into the 49ers’ everything back and Cleveland has allowed at least 95 yards or a touchdown to RBs in 10 of the 12 games they’ve played this season.

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! 

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NFL Week 13 Fantasy Mailbag

Each Week 13 I like to remind Fantasy Football participants to thank their league commissioners for organizing everything…as long as they scheduled the playoffs to start next week and the championship to take place Week 16.

JJ Watt yell

By the end of the season, you’ve come too far to worry about players on teams who have their division clinched and will potentially be rested Week 17 to make a run in the playoffs. Right now, I would worry about the Patriots, Cardinals and even the Panthers (who could be undefeated still) doing exactly that.

Now for immediate concerns, you are…

A) all good and have clinched a playoff spot. Just playing for the best seeding possible.

B) fighting for a playoff spot. It’s already win or go home.

C) hoping to spoil things for anyone that (B) applies to. It’s about pride at this point.

There is a “D” but you don’t want to be that person. You know, the person who drafted a team and didn’t give enough of a shit to do any maintenance on their roster at all, even after paying dues for a cash league. I played against Jordy Nelson last week. That’s all you need to know.

Quick Hits

  • Perhaps the most exciting individual matchup this weekend will be Odell Beckham Jr. vs. Darrelle Revis. In the past, Revis Island had scared away fantasy owners from even considering starting a #1 WR against him, even quarterbacks at times. In recent weeks though, Revis has allowed big games to DeAndre Hopkins (5 catches, 118 yards, 2 TDs) and Allen Robinson (6-121). Meanwhile, Beckham has cracked 100+ yards in 4 straight weeks, and has done so 13 times in his last 20 games.

[Update] Jets Head Coach Todd Bowles was asked about Revis’s status this week and responded with “I don’t think so.”

ODB dive

 

  • Another team that could potentially clinch their division by Week 17 are the Minnesota Vikings. Big reason why, and the player they’d likely be resting, is Adrian Peterson. AP has 634 yards and 5 touchdowns in his last 5 games, is 72 yards off his 2012 pace when he recorded 2,097 yards, and faces a Seattle defense this week that allowed 117 total yards to DeAngelo Williams. He’ll be the Viking’s best chance against the Seahawks in a black and blue matchup.

AP TD

  • The funniest thing in football may in fact be the biggest difference for tonight’s matchup between the Lions and Packers…Jim Bob Cooter. The Lions have won 3 straight and now have a chance to sweep Green Bay. During that win streak, Matthew Stafford has thrown for 861 yards, no interceptions and 7 touchdowns (5 last week against Philly). Amazing how good Cooter, the OC (try not laughing), looks when his quarterback actually throws the ball to Calvin Johnson.

Stafford to Megatron

 

Mail Time!

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I don’t like Antonio Andrews, or any Titans RBs, at all but seeing Charcandrick West practicing with the Chiefs again leads me to believe Spencer Ware is going to lose a lot of touches. If West plays this week, go with the starters in Andrews and Shaun Draughn. I wouldn’t expect touchdowns out of either, unfortunately. If West doesn’t go, plug Ware in for Andrews.

 

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I understand the concern with Tom Brady, but haven’t we seen this story before? Without Gronk, Julian Edelman, and Danny Amendola, Brady threw 3 touchdowns against the best defense in the league. This week he plays the Eagles and could likely have Amendola back. Philly has given up 10 touchdowns in the last 2 week, and Brady has built a reputation for making something out of nothing (no-name receivers).

If you’re having strong enough doubts, this could be a great week for Ryan Fitzpatrick if he’s miraculously available on your waivers. Bryan Hoyer and Ryan Tannehill could be okay plays if you’re desperate.

 

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The James Starks thing has come and gone, as Eddie Lacy has woken up finally. Now it becomes a question of whether or not you believe in CJ Anderson or not…

If Anderson is going to keep coming back into our good graces, it would be against the Chargers. They have allowed double-digit rushing TDs and 1,800+ rush yards. My gut tells me the Broncos will ride the hot back, just like they should ride the hot quarterback. So start CJ.

For matchup reasons, I have to lean toward LaGarrette Blount over Latavius Murray. The Chiefs have only allowed one back to run for more than 71 yards and have given up 1 rushing touchdown since Week 5. Meanwhile, the Eagles look like they’ve quit on their coach.

 

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Similar to my reasoning to start Tom Brady and LeGarrette Blount, that’s why I like Scott Chandler this week. I picked him up in both my leagues (starting him in the one without Gary Barnidge), because Brady loves targeting his tight end. Last time Gronk missed significant time, Brady made Mike Hoomanawanui relevant.

If that doesn’t convince you, Eric Ebron would be a sneaky pickup tonight as the Packers have allowed a touchdown to TEs in 4 straight matchups. The even sneakier move would be Cameron Brate against the Falcons with Austin Seferian-Jenkins still down.

 

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RB: If the Rams offense wasn’t a complete dumpster fire right now, I would say Todd Gurley is a no-brainer. But they are and that means he isn’t. Tony Romo going down means Darren McFadden is going to get all the checkdown passes he could dream of from Matt Cassel. I feel better about McFadden’s floor than Gurley’s ceiling this week.

QB: If Jay Cutler is available, go get him. The 49ers defense is a very different squad on the road than they are at home, allowing 35 points per game away from Levi’s Stadium.

 

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WR: TY Hilton and Eric Decker are easy picks for me. The Steelers are giving up the most catches and  2nd most yards to receivers, and Decker is a touchdown machine scoring in 8 of 10 games. I like what D-Jax has done since returning, but the Cowboys pass defense is brutal.

 

QB: I am going to go with my common theme for this post, trust the Cooter. I am going to use the Lions OC’s name for as long as I can, so deal with it. Stafford’s got a hot hand and Rivers has a bad matchup.

 

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I feel weird saying this, but I like Ryan Fitzpatrick a lot more this week. The Giants secondary is allowing 250+ yards and at least one touchdown to every QB they’ve faced. Meanwhile, I think the Packers are going to get Rodgers killed tonight…but he could always be “RODJAS!” again.

 

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We do have a “Thor” in our league. Otherwise, I recommend GREG, SON OF OLSEN!

Greg son of Olsen

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 12 Fantasy Mailbag

Due to Thanksgiving and 3 games tomorrow, we’ve moved the mailbag up a day to give you plenty of time to adjust. Speaking of adjusting, how many of you made the savvy move to pickup Thomas Rawls to plug-in after Marshawn Lynch was ruled out?

Marshawn and Rawls

Rawls may be 2 inches shorter than the man patting his head above, but he certainly plays a lot like him. He craves contact, never willingly runs out of bounds, and delivers punishment to defenders in all four quarters.

Rawls ran for 209 yards on Sunday against the 49ers, which were the 2nd most in franchise history, and added 46 more receiving with 2 touchdowns. In 3 of his 4 starts this season, Rawls has run for more than 100 yards and proved last Sunday he can be a factor in the pass game. Rawls is also leading the league with 6 yards per carry, and ranks 14th in total rush yards with 604 despite having fewer carries than anyone in the Top 25.

Quick Hits

  • While it may seem like Cam Newton gets a lot of love on here week-to-week, it’s because he’s always doing something deserving of it. After throwing 5 touchdown passes last weekend, Newton goes into his Thanksgiving matchup with the Dallas Cowboys tomorrow with the 2nd most total touchdowns in the league (26), just one behind Carson Palmer. Newton became the first player to record 100 TDs passing and 25 rushing in his first 5 seasons. The Cowboys have allowed the 3rd fewest pass yards and 4th fewest touchdowns through the air. If he can’t go through the air in “Jerry World” tomorrow, you can expect Newton to get his numbers on the ground…and some lucky fans will get memorable souvenirs.

 

  • DeAndre Hopkins is not only matchup-proof, after burning Darrelle Revis for a 61 yard touchdown last week, but apparently he’s also quarterback proof too. Even with his 3rd quarterback under center this season, TJ Yates, Hopkins was able to catch 5 passes for 118 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hopkins is now the 3rd youngest receiver to record 3,000 yards and 200 catches. The 23-year-old better leave some room tomorrow to eat up the Saints horrid secondary on Sunday.

DeAndre vs Revis

 

  • CJ2K is now CJ2.0 and that’s very okay. The last time the Arizona Cardinals went to the Super Bowl, they rode the 2nd coming of Edgerrin James. The 2015 Cardinals look destined for the NFC Championship at least, with Carson Palmer almost eclipsing Kurt Warner’s numbers from that season and Chris Johnson as the league’s 3rd leading rusher. Johnson is nowhere near as fast as used to be, but he has evolved similarly to how James did and faces a Niners defense that just gave up 255 total yards to Thomas Rawls. Last time Johnson played against San Francisco, he racked up 150 yards and 2 touchdowns earlier this season.

CJ2K

 

Mail Time!

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Not that much of a dilemma for me at all. I take TJ Yeldon in a heart beat and that’s because I saw Spenser F’ing Ware pick up over 100 yards and 2 touchdowns in less than a half against the Chargers. Ameer Abdullah, James Starks, and Duke Johnson all picked up over 90 yards and a score against San Diego, and Yeldon is a better back than all of them. I don’t find the Seahawks to be as scary as they used to be, but I see the Steelers getting their points in the air more than on the ground.

 

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A nice segue here, but I’m leaning toward Philip Rivers this week against the Jaguars. 4 of the last 5 quarterbacks to face the Jags have thrown multiple TDs, and Rivers still has Stevie Johnson, Antonio Gates and Danny Woodhead to throw to. I mentioned that I’m not “as scared” of the Seahawks defense, but the Legion of Boom can still cause some problems for Big Ben. Go with Rivers simply for confidence in his matchup.

 

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I post these question in the order I get them, and the segue session continues…

TE: Rivers is going to chuck it this weekend against a much worse defense than the Chiefs and Gates is one of just 3 reliable options for him. Also consider how Delanie Walker broke 100 yards on 8 catches on the Jags defense last week.

Flex: Considering only Tyler Eifert and Rob Gronkowski have been successful against the Bills from the TE position, I would rather go with V-Jax. He came back last weekend and got a touchdown right away. If Mike Evans is drawing coverage from Vontae Davis, I anticipate Jameis Winston to keep things hot throwing to his #2 option in Jackson.

 

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3 Chargers questions in a row and I’m going to go 3/3 in Chargers answers. Andy Dalton is for the most part consistent, but the matchups favor Rivers this week. You’re also going to get a higher volume of throws from the King of the Bolo Ties.

 

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That’s a nice problem to have. 2 of the top 3 tight ends? While Greg (son of) Olsen is a much more consistent receiver, Tyler Eifert is leading all TEs in touchdowns and he’ll be Andy Dalton’s best chance to succeed against the Rams. Go with Eifert for the higher ceiling.

 

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QB: I may have taken Rivers over him earlier, but it wasn’t by a wide margin. I think there’s a lot to Ben Roethlisberger’s 379 yards and 3 touchdowns coming off the bench last we saw him. The fact that Blaine Gabbert had a decent game against the Seahawks last week makes me feel better about Big Ben than Derek Carr going against a Titans defense that hasn’t allowed more than 266 yards to anyone other than Drew Brees.

Flex: Just keep Rawls’n, baby.

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! 

2015-16 NBA Season Predictions

Tuesday night, a new NBA season tips off with 3 games featuring the league’s biggest stars. TNT will feature a doubleheader with the Cavaliers and. Bulls in Chicago (7 PM CT), then the Pelicans visiting Golden State for the Warriors’ banner raising ceremony (9:30 PM CT). Also facing off will be the Pistons and the social media savvy Atlanta Hawks. Sure it will all be going on before the World Series, but that’s what sports bars are for with multiple monitor setups.

A new season means new storylines and intrigue that only the NBA can produce. The defending champion Warriors are very much the same team, built to score plenty and defend as well as anyone. The Spurs Big-3 (Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobli, and Tony Parker) have one last ride (at least) in them with rising superstar Kawhi Leonard and newly added LaMarcus Aldridge. LeBron James and Kyrie Irving still rule the Eastern conference, but the Bulls are playing the Star Wars “rebel” role with a healthier Derrick Rose and new head coach Fred Hoiberg. Don’t forget Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have a new coach too…

There’s plenty of drama I could go on about and plan to cover for each team, but for now we’ll just make some predictions for who will be making the playoffs and who will be taking home hardware by the end of the 2015-16 season.

Eastern Conference Playoffs

  1. Cleveland Cavaliers
  2. Chicago Bulls
  3. Washington Wizards
  4. Atlanta Hawks
  5. Toronto Raptors
  6. Boston Celtics
  7. Indiana Pacers
  8. Milwaukee Bucks

Eastern Conference Finals

Bulls vs Cavs

1. Cleveland Cavaliers vs 2. Chicago Bulls

Western Conference

  1. San Antonio Spurs
  2. Golden State Warriors
  3. Memphis Grizzlies
  4. Oklahoma City Thunder
  5. Los Angeles Clippers
  6. Houston Rockets
  7. New Orleans Pelicans
  8. Minnesota Timberwolves

Western Conference Finals

Spurs vs Grizz

1. San Antonio Spurs vs. 3. Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Finals

BASKET-BKN-BKO-NBA FINALS-GAME 5-SPURS HEAT

Spurs vs. Bulls (Spurs in 6)

Most Valuable Player

AD MVP

Anthony Davis (NO)

Defensive Player of the Year

Tony Allen DMVP

Tony Allen (MEM)

Rookie of the Year

Jahlil

Jahlil Okafor (PHI)

Coach of the Year

Billy Donovan

Billy Donovan (OKC)

Sixth Man of the Year

Taj

Taj Gibson (CHI)

Most Improved Player of the Year

NBA: OCT 23 Jazz at Clippers

Rudy Gobert (UTA)

ALL-NBA First Team

Stephen Curry (GS)

James Harden (HOU)

LeBron James (CLE) 

Anthony Davis (NO)

Marc Gasol (MEM)

Marc Gasol

All-NBA Second Team

Russell Westbrook (OKC)

Kevin Durant (OKC)

Kawhi Leonard (SA)

Blake Griffin (LAC)

Pau Gasol (CHI)

Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls

How do your predictions look? Let me know on Facebook and Twitter

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. 

Defenses

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

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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.

Kickers

1. Stephen Gostkowski, NE

Gostkowski

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

Parkey

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

Bullock

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

Carpenter

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

MBry

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

Vinatieri

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

Walsh

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

Bailey

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

Also…

Quarterbacks Cheat Sheet

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet

Tight Ends Cheat Sheet

Fantasy Cheat Sheet 2015: Quarterbacks

If you haven’t already, now would be a good time to start preparing for your upcoming Fantasy Football Draft. 

Whether you’re playing in Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS, or some other website, you don’t necessarily want to base your picks off of their pre-draft rankings. That’s why I write up a CHEAT SHEET with players I prefer, based on their production last season, their team’s recent acquisitions, schemes/sytems, and injuries. 

Here are my Top-20 quarterbacks and where I would prioritize drafting them round-by-round. 

1. Andrew Luck, IND

NFL: Baltimore Ravens at Indianapolis Colts

2014: 40 TD/ 16 INT, 4,761 yards

Throws the ball A LOT. Just added Andre Johnson and a legit running back in Frank Gore to keep defensive backs honest. 5 Good WRs, 2 decent TEs…Yeah. The Beard’s ceiling has been raised.

Pick: Late 1st, Early 2nd round

2. Aaron Rodgers, GB

Rodgers

2014: 38 TD / 5 INT, 4,381 yards

Doesn’t turn it over often and plays better down the stretch. Rodgers is missing his #1 receiver, but could make someone else into a star very quickly. Also scary in the red zone on the ground.

Pick: Late 1st, Early 2nd

3. Drew Brees, NO

Buffalo Bills v New Orleans Saints

2014: 33 TD / 17 INT, 4,952 yards

Brees can be great or he can kill you. If Brandin Cooks stays healthy, he’ll bounce back and tear it up. May not throw as many TDs but he’ll pick up plenty of yardage and completions. Led the league in both last year.

Pick: 3rd or 4th round

4. Tony Romo, DAL

Sports Day

2014: 34 TD / 9 INT, 3,705 yards

Expect Romo to throw it more with DeMarco Murray gone. Cowboys have the best offensive line in the league and give him plenty of time to find an open man, and has sure hands in Dez Bryant and Jason Witten.

Pick 4th Round

5. Peyton Manning, DEN

P Manning

2014: 39 TD / 15, 4,761 yards

I don’t believe Manning would have come back if he wasn’t healthy. He will still throw a ton. Plus Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are great after the catch.

Pick: 4th Round

6. Russell Wilson, SEA

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

2014: 20 TD/7 INT, 3,475 yards

Doesn’t get a ton of passing points but makes up for it with rushing yards and TDs on the ground. Also just added Jimmy Graham, so passing points should go up.

Pick 4th Round

7. Ben Roethlisberger, PIT

Roethlisberger

2014: 32 TD / 9 INT, 4,952 yards

Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell definitely help Ben get his points. He’ll throw 5 TDs one day, but none another. 

Pick 5th Round

8. Matt Ryan, ATL

Ryan

2014: 28 TD / 14 INT, 4,694 yards

New coach and OC, super young RBs, and healthy Julio Jones and Roddy White…Matty Ice is going to let it fly. 

Pick: 5th Round

9. Eli Manning, NYG

New York Giants

2014: 30 TD / 14 INT, 4,410 yards

Eli doesn’t have an excuse not to produce big time in year two of Odell Beckham Jr and having a healthy Victror Cruz back. Rashad Jennings provides solid relief in the run game when he isn’t sidelined, and Tom Brady could tell Manning how good Shane Vereen is on passing downs. 

Pick 6th Round

10. Tom Brady, NE

AP PATRIOTS RAVENS FOOTBALL S FBN USA MD

2014: 33 TD / 9 INT, 4,109 yards

This obviously can change if his suspension goes away, but Brady can be your first pick after most of the Top 10 go. Next couple QBs can bridge you to after he returns and he’ll be a boss when he does.

Pick 6th Round or a few after you pick your first QB

11. Phillip Rivers, SD

NFL: New York Giants at San Diego Chargers

2014: 31 TD / 18 INT, 4,286 yards

First half of last year, was Top 3 among QBS. Rivers just got paid too, which should motivate him to earn his keep. He also gets Danny Woodhead back to throw to and Keenan Allen should be better as well.

Pick 7th Round and beyond

12. Matthew Stafford, DET

Stafford

2014: 22 TD / 12 INT, 4,247 yards

This really depends on how healthy Calvin Johnson is. Megatron at his best is devastating and would make Stafford an awesome backup or even starter. Golden Tate proved to help him out too in Johnson’s absence. Theo Riddick and Joique Bell are proven to be solid pass catchers out of the backfield too.

Pick 7th Round

13. Jay Cutler, CHI

Green Bay Packers v Chicago Bears

2014: 28 TD / 18 INT, 3,812 yards

Jay is poised for a bounce back year and not just because #CuttyDoesIt. Former Peyton Manning OC Adam Gase has emphasized utilizing Cutler’s strengths throwing on the run and play-action. He’ll be missing Kevin White for at least the first half of the season, but finally has a true slot receiver in Eddie Royal. Also expect Martellus Bennett to be big when spread out, like Julius Thomas in past years. 

Pick 8th Round and beyond

14. Ryan Tannehill, MIA

Ryan Tannehill

2014: 27 TD / 12 INT, 4,045 yards

Gets better every year. Added proven veteran receivers, Kenny Stills and Greg Jennings, who can also play in uptempo offenses. Jarvis Landry will be Tannehill’s best weapon to stretch the field though.

Pick 8th Round and beyond

15. Cam Newton, CAR

Newton

2014: 18 TD / 12 INT, 3,127 yards

Newton is sliding in most drafts after losing Kelvin Benjamin for the season to injury. Rookie Devin Funchess isn’t as depended on as advertised with veterans like Jericho Cotchery and Ted Gin Jr. in the mix, but can put up Benjamin-like production. Ability to run for TDs makes up for lack of passing points too. 

Pick 8th Round

16. Joe Flacco, BAL

Flacco

2014: 27 TD / 12 INT, 3,986 yards

Lost Torrey Smith and his replacement, Breshad Perriman, is questionable. Flacco will be throwing a lot though with Marc Trestman as OC. Could be either really good or really meh.

Pick 9th round and beyond

17. Teddy Bridgewater, MIN

Bridgewater

2014: 14 TD / 12 INT 2,919 yards

The Vikings are a run heavy team, without question. Teddy has looked excellent in preseason though, and he has Mike Wallace and Charles Johnson to throw to. The training wheels are off in year two and you can expect Kyle Rudolph to provide a nice security blanket in the Norv Turner system

Pick 10th Round and beyond

18. Andy Dalton, CIN

Dalton

2014: 19 TD / 17 INT, 3,398 yards

Dalton’s last season was thrown off with AJ Green getting injured. The Bengals added Denarius Moore to go with Marvin Jones and Sanu. Don’t bank on him but he’s a nice backup with nice options.

Pick 11th Round and beyond

Colin Kaepernick, SF

Kaepernick

2014: 19 TD / 10 INT, 2,369 yards

The 49ers could potentially be the worst team in the NFL, but Kaepernick can still take over a game in desperate times. He still has Anquan Boldin, plus Torrey Smith and Reggie Bush who are both helpful in the passing. Kaepernick does run better than anyone on the team too. The defense will be awful so he’ll have to score plenty to stay in games.

Pick 11th Round and beyond

20. Derek Carr, OAK

Carr

2014: 21 TD / 12 INT, 3,270 yards

Carr showed flashes of the quarterback the Raiders need him to be last season. Drafting Amari Cooper helps along with a receiving group that also includes Michael Crabtree, Kenbrell Thompkins and Andre Holmes

Pick 12th Round and beyond

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

Also…

Running Backs Cheat Sheet

Wide Receivers Cheat Sheet 

Tight Ends Cheat Sheet

Defenses & Kickers Cheat Sheet

President Obama’s Birthday and All His Sportiness

The 44th President of the United States LOVES his sports. He is an unapologetic Chicago White Sox fan. He fills out March Madness brackets for both Men and Women’s tournaments on SportsCenter each year. He also has no problem mixing it up on the White House basketball court.

Air Obama

So on his 54th birthday, lets put the partisan blah blah blah on the back-burner and appreciate something we all enjoy…Sports.

March Madness

Presidential Bracket

I look forward to the President’s annual segment on ESPN where he joins the rest of the nation in the Madness. Since he was elected, President Obama is interviewed by college basketball reporter Andy Katz from the White House to talk out each of his picks. Last year he took regular season undefeated favorite Kentucky to win it all (like many of you did) over Nova, and was obviously incorrect as Duke beat Wisconsin in the National Championship.

President Obama finished in ESPN’s 72.9 percentile in 2014 and was most successful in 2011 with a bracket in the 87.4%. Both years, UConn won the National Championship and he didn’t pick them. The President did choose a National Champion for his first year in office, North Carolina in 2009.

ESPN isn’t the only network who gets to share air-time with the Commander in Chief as one of CBS’s best color analysts, Clark Kellogg, took him on in a game of HORSE…err POTUS.

I don’t even want to know what would’ve happen if the President got skunked.

He Loves His Chicago Teams

President Chicago Teams

Despite referring to his White Sox’s home stadium as “Kaminskey Field” early in his first term, the President has never wavered as a Chicago die hard. When the Bulls re-signed All-Star Jimmy Butler to a longterm deal, he was on it…

(Props to my old teammate Matt Rodewald for getting that tweet picked up)

Before the Blackhawks hit the ice for Game 6, President Obama was leading the chants from Twitter…

And wore his lucky hockey sweater while doing so.

While touring Cooperstown a year ago, the President asked to try on the White Sox World Series ring.

Screen Shot 2015-08-04 at 2.35.07 PM

…and then donated the Sox jacket he wore to throw out the first pitch at the 2009 All-Star Game to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The President even hosted a White House visit for the Super Bowl winning 1985 Bears team, because they never got the chance to do so before. 

President and Ditka

(Ironic that it was Mike Ditka handing the President his jersey since he also wanted to run against him for a Senate seat in 2004)

The ’85 Bears and the Blackhawks may be the only Chicago teams that the President has hosted at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but he always seems to get a quick shoutout in for his favorite squads when he hosts other teams.

White House Host with the Most

We all remember the drama surrounding Red Sox DH David Ortiz’s selfie with the President and the handful of athletes who make a thing out of not going to visit the White House, despite it being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity (looking at you, Tim Thomas)…

But damn, do those photo ops turn out great.

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