Stack your money Sunday’s: Week 13

Week 12 Review (3-0) OVERALL: 24-10-2

Tennessee Titans (-3.5) @ Indianapolis Colts

Tennessee Titans 20 Indianapolis Colts 16

Late in the third quarter, it looked as if the Colts were going to continue their dominance against the Titans at home. Down 16-6, Marcus Mariota found Delanie Walker for a 2-yard touchdown to cut the lead to three. A Demarco Murray touchdown with under six minutes to play made it a four-point game. Luckily, Tennessee’s defense stepped up and prevented Indianapolis from getting anything going on offense.

It was an ugly win, but nonetheless, a cover is a cover. Mariota threw two interceptions and continued to look shaky, as his interception total is up to 12 on the year. They ran for 92 yards, including 79 from Derrick Henry, who looks like he deserves to be the lead back. Tennessee played solid red-zone defense, but that is expected against the Colts.

The Titans sit at 7-4, yet are getting outscored by 27 points for the season, including two blowout losses by 23+ points. Most of their wins are one possession games, and inconsistent play from Mariota makes it hard to buy into this team.

Chicago Bears @ Philadelphia Eagles (-13)

Philadelphia Eagles 31 Chicago Bears 3

Blount rushed for 97 yards in the win against Chicago. (SBNation)

At first, I was a tad skeptical of a spread this large, but then again, the Eagles are the most complete football team in the NFL. This game was over from the jump, as Carson Wentz threw three touchdowns in the first half. Philadelphia continued to excel in the run game, as they rushed for 176 yards on 33 carries, including 97 yards from LeGarrette Blount.

Speaking of the run, the Bears ran for a grand total of six yards on 14 carries. Mitch Trubisky continued to look like a rookie, throwing two interceptions and completed only 51.5 percent of his passes. His 38.3 quarterback rating was his worst of the season.

The Bears had the ball for less than 23 total minutes, and were 3-13 on third down conversion attempts. The Eagles had three times more first downs than Chicago. Simply put, Chicago was overmatched and looked the part.

Seattle Seahawks (-5.5) @ San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks 24 San Francisco 49ers 13

As banged up as they are, Seattle still has Russell Wilson, which means they will always have a shot. Wilson had a solid game, throwing for two touchdowns, while also picking up his third rushing touchdown of the season. He is carrying this team, and arguably the most valuable player in the sport. Without him, the Seahawks would be a disaster.

Although it is unfortunate C.J. Beathard was injured in the game, the 49ers fan got a glimpse of what the future could look like. Jimmy Garappolo went in late in the fourth quarter and threw 10-yard touchdown to Louis Murphy. Garappolo will start this week against Chicago, in hopes of picking up his first win as a Niner, and giving the fan base something to cheer about.

WEEK 13 PICKS

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Green Bay Packers (-2.5)

PICK: PACKERS TO COVER

Brett Hundley had a career game last week against the Steelers. The 24-year-old from UCLA threw three touchdowns, no interceptions, and had a quarterback rating of 134.3. While it hasn’t been all that pretty for Hundley and the Packers, who are 1-4 in their last five, this week should be a breeze.

Jameis Winston has returned to practice and will be playing on Sunday. Last year, Winston’s average kickoff temperature was right around 75 degrees. On Sunday, the temperature will be in the 40s, which is new to Jameis. Counting both his collegiate and professional careers, Winston has never played in anything under 45 degrees. The Bucs are also without starting center Ali Marpet, and right tackle Demar Dotson. Running back Doug Martin is still in the concussion protocol.

The Bucs are 23rd in both points and third down conversion percentage. Their run game has been a disaster all year, and they also have had incontinent kicking. Look for Hundley to have a solid game against a Tampa Bay defense that gives up 395.5 yards per game, and 6.1 yards per play, which both rank dead last in the NFL.

Carolina Panthers @ New Orleans Saints (-4.5)

PICK: SAINTS TO COVER

Although they lost last week to the Rams, the Saints remain one of the best football teams in the NFL. Both teams sit at 8-3, so this will be a battle for first place in the NFC South. It will be interesting to see if the stellar Panthers defense will have an answer for Alvin Kamara. Kamara, who looks to be the Offensive Rookie of the Year, is averaging 7.1 yards per carry, which is first in the NFL. He also has 55 receptions including at least five in six of the last eight games.

Front runner for Offensive Rookie of the Year, Alvin Kamara (SI.com)

Following a loss, Drew Brees is 52-32-2 ATS. Brees is having another impressive season, with 16 touchdowns to just five interceptions, and currently leads the league with a completion percentage of 71.3. The Saints have just one loss at home this year, which came all the way back in Week Two against New England. New Orleans has been excellent in the red zone, sitting fifth in the league in percentage of red zone opportunities ending with a touchdown.

Cam Newton continues to be one of the most inconsistent quarterbacks in the league. When the Panthers beat New England and Detroit, Newton threw for three touchdowns and over 300 yards in both contests. Last week against the New York Jets, Newton completed 39.3 percent of his passes, with no touchdowns and just 168 passing yards. Carolina’s offense currently ranks 20th in yards per play.

Pittsburgh Steelers (-4.5) @ Cincinnati Bengals

PICK: STEELERS TO COVER

The Steelers looked bad on National TV last week against the Packers, which means a big performance is looming in the air. According to SportsInsights.com, “Pittsburgh’s offense and defense both rank second in Adjusted Sack Rate. Cincy’s offense and defense both rank 26th in Adjusted Sack Rate.”

Le’Veon Bell should carve up this Bengals defense, who allow 126.6 rushing yards per game. In the last 16 games in which Pittsburgh has rushed for at least 100 yards, the Steelers are 15-1. During their Week Six matchup, Bell rushed for 134 yards. In the six games he has played against Cincinnati, the Steelers are 5-1. Over the course of Ben Roethlisberger’s career against the Bengals, he is 20-7.

Andy Dalton looks really bad this year, and has his Bengals sitting at 32nd in yards per game. Cincinnati only scores about 18 points per game, and are 29th in third down conversion percentage. Although last week they had a solid running game against the Browns, Cincinnati is still 31st in yards per rush. They can’t pass, or run, and their rush defense is among the worst in the league. Look for Pittsburgh to continue to dominate this inner-division rivalry.

 

Featured image by Bleacher Report

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Three players fantasy owners should drop

At this point in the NFL season, players have either matched/exceeded their preseason predictions or have fallen short. If they’ve in fact fallen short, fantasy owners are probably holding onto to the last little bit of hope that they may bounce back. But by this point, they’re just a waste of a roster spot. Here are three players fantasy owners should drop.

 

3. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)

Is it the end of the road for Big Ben. Big questions surrounded him when he threw for five interceptions against the Jaguars. He’s definitely picked up the pace in his last three games with a touchdown to interception ratio of 4:2. But is he even worthy of a fantasy start anymore?

In eight games of the 2017 NFL season, Big Ben hasn’t gained more than 17 fantasy points in one week. From weeks three through six, Roethlisberger got 11, 10, 2 and 12 fantasy points, not QB1 material. Especially when Ben Roethlisberger is stacked with arguably the best wide receiver corps in the league. Surprisingly those four weeks sum up Big Ben’s season quite nicely. He’s averaged a poor 12.3 fantasy points per game and has performed very poorly on the road, even against teams like Chicago and Cleveland. Two teams who haven’t performed well against the pass this year.

For the rest of the season, it isn’t looking too much better for Big Ben and fantasy owners. In four of the last eight games, Roethlisberger faces Baltimore, Houston, Cincinnati and Green Bay. Four teams that have performed well against the pass so far this season. Another one of his games comes against Cleveland, who held him to only 16 fantasy points in week one.

With the focus turned to the run game, Le’veon Bell is the man in Pittsburgh now, and Big Ben can officially be let go from fantasy rosters.

Three players fantasy owners should drop.

(Photo by:deadspin.com

2. Lagarrette Blount (Philadelphia Eagles)

It sure didn’t take long for Jay Ajayi to get comfortable in Philadelphia. In his debut, he had eight rushes for 77 yards and a touchdown, including his longest run of the season on a 46 yard touchdown. While that was going on, Blount rushed nine times for 37 yards. With a surplus of running backs on the roster, and now Ajayi who adds to that and looks like the new workhorse, Blount’s playing time in Philly may be cut down.

Last season Blount had over 1,000 yards rushing and 18 touchdowns for the Patriots. This one has been much more inconsistent. In nine games in 2017, Blount has 504 rushing yards and two touchdowns. He’s actually rushing better than he did last season, with his yards per attempt up .7 yards. The key part that’s missing is the touchdowns. A drop off from 18 touchdowns to two touchdowns loses many fantasy points for owners all around the nation. With Carson Wentz playing at an elite level, and two huge red zone threats in Zach Ertz and Alshon Jefferey, those touchdown numbers aren’t too likely to increase by many more in the rest of the season.

Blount has a decently tough schedule ahead of him for the rest of the year. He faces defenses like the Rams, the Seahawks, the Raiders and the Cowboys. With the addition of Jay Ajayi, the use of Wendall Smallwood and Corey Clement and the elite passing attack in Philadelphia, Blount is droppable in all leagues.

 

1. Terrelle Pryor Sr. (Washington)

What happened to Terrelle Pryor? Last season with the Browns and their putrid quarterback play, he had 1,007 yards and four touchdowns. In the offseason, he signed a one year deal with Washington to play under Kirk Cousins. This had the entire football world excited to see what the two could do together.

Ultimately we saw that Cousins and Pryor couldn’t do anything together. In eight games in 2017, Pryor has 24 receptions and one touchdown. Pretty bad for someone with the talent of a number one receiver in this league. It’s been clear that Pryor and Cousins haven’t been on the same page in 2017. They haven’t connected when Pryor has been open and that’s led to a decrease in the number of snaps that Pryor has played. Not only is he being benched for Josh Doctson, but recently he’s been nursing a bone bruise.

Along with his chemistry, his schedule for the rest of the season is intense. Pryor goes up against defenses like Minnesota, New Orleans, New York Giants, Los Angeles Chargers and Denver. This doesn’t bode well for Terrelle Pryor, and he is ready to be on the waivers in fantasy leagues.

 

Feature Image courtesy of USA TODAY Sports

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Top rookie quarterback seasons

Top rookie quarterback seasons of the 2000s

Although Deshaun Watson lost in a shootout to Russell Wilson and the Seattle Seahawks, the rookie quarterback from Clemson has been nothing short of spectacular for the Houston Texans. After a four-touchdown performance on Sunday, Watson now has the record for most touchdown passes in a player’s first seven NFL games with 19. We are only halfway through the season, and Watson already has the rookie record for most three-passing touchdown games in a season with four.

How was this man the third quarterback taken in the draft? How did the Browns not grab him first overall? More importantly, how was Tom Savage the original starter for the Texans? Nonetheless, Watson looks like a franchise quarterback, something that Houston has never seen before.

Will Watson finish his rookie season better than these standouts? Here, we have developed a list of rookie quarterbacks from the 2000s, who had stellar first seasons.

Ben Roethlisberger (2004)

13 starts: 13-0, 18 total TDs, 11 INTs, 66.4 comp. pct., 2,621 yards

It would be almost impossible for anyone to top what Big Ben did to start his professional career. Originally, Roethlisberger was the third quarterback on the depth chart, but the backup, Charlie Batch, went down with an injury in the preseason. Then Tommy Maddox suffered an injury in Week 2, giving the 11th overall pick from Miami (OH) a shot earlier than expected. After almost bringing the Steelers back in their Week 2 loss to Baltimore, Roethlisberger remained the starter for the rest of the season.

Big Ben wound up finishing the regular season with a 13-0 record as a starter. He helped end the New England Patriots record 21-game winning streak by throwing a pair of touchdowns and no turnovers in a 34-20 victory. The following game, Roethlisberger and the Steelers defeated the Philadelphia Eagles, who were 7-0 at the time. At the end of the season, Roethlisberger was unanimously selected as the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year.

Pittsburgh ended up losing to the Patriots, 41-27 in the AFC Championship Game. While Roethlisberger struggled and threw three interceptions, the Steelers had found their quarterback for years to come.

Vince Young (2006)

13 starts: 8-5, 19 total TDs, 13 INTs, 552 rushing yards, 2,199 passing yards

Top rookie quarterback seasons

The comeback kid, Vince Young (Photo from NYDailyNews)

Unlike Roethlisberger, who played with an all-time great defense, Young joined a four-win Titans team after being selected third overall in the 2006 NFL Draft. After Kerry Collins was benched because of an 0-3 start, Young took over and excelled.

He went on to win eight of his thirteen games. Four of those eight wins were fourth-quarter comebacks, including the Titans 24-21 victory over Eli Manning and the Giants. After being down 21-0, Young rallied the troops and statistically had the best game of his career. He finished with 249 passing yards, two touchdowns, 69 rushing yards, and a passer rating of 107.9.

The following week against Eli’s brother Peyton, who had his Colts sitting at 10-1, Young led another come-from-behind win over Indianapolis. This was the first time in NFL history that a rookie quarterback led two 14-point or more comeback wins in the same season.

Due to a Philip Rivers injury, Young was named to the 2007 Pro Bowl. He would also go on to win the NFL Rookie of the Year.

Matt Ryan (2008) 

16 starts: 11-5, 17 total TDs, 11 INTs, 61.1 comp. pct., 3,440 passing yards

The year before Ryan was selected, Atlanta finished 4-12. As a rookie, Ryan led the Falcons to an 11-5 record, which was good enough for a spot in the playoffs.

His first NFL pass resulted in a 62-yard touchdown to Michael Jenkins. He went on to become the first Falcons rookie quarterback to throw for over 3,000 yards in a season. In the history of the NFL, only 12 quarterbacks have thrown for over 3,000 yards in their rookie season.

In his first playoff start, Ryan was up against Kurt Warner, who is 15 years older than Ryan. While Ryan threw a pair of touchdowns, the Falcons ultimately fell to Warner’s Cardinals 30-24. For his stellar regular season, Ryan was named AP NFL Rookie of the Year.

Cam Newton (2011)

16 starts: 6-10, 35 total TDs, 17 INTs, 60.0 comp. pct., 4,051 passing yards

Top rookie quarterback seasons

Super-Cam (Photo from IMG Academy)

Although Newton and the Carolina Panthers only managed to win six games, the Auburn star showed the world why he was the first overall pick in his draft class.

Right off the bat, he became the first rookie to throw for over 400 yards in his first career game. Newton also became the first rookie quarterback to throw for 4,000 yards.

“Superman” Cam was named the NFL Rookie of the Year, and was also an alternate, and later a member of the NFC Pro Bowl team.

 

 

Andrew Luck (2012)

16 starts: 11-5, 28 total TDs, 18 INTs, 4,374 passing yards

Just like Newton, Luck was selected first overall, and was immediately called on to start. The successor to Peyton Manning led the Colts into a Wild Card game, which they ended up losing to the Ravens.

During the season, Luck and the Colts upset Aaron Rodgers’ Packers on a game-winning touchdown pass, in which Luck found Reggie Wayne with 35 seconds left. In Week 9 against Miami, Luck threw for 433 yards, which became the new record for most yards in a game by a rookie quarterback. In a late December game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Luck broke the record for most passing yards in a season.

Russell Wilson (2012)

16 starts: 11-5, 30 total TDs, 10 INTs, 64.1 comp. pct., 3,118 passing yards, 489 rushing yards

Even after the addition of Matt Flynn, Russell Wilson was named the starting quarterback in August. Wilson helped the Seahawks reach 11 regular-season wins and earned his first playoff victory by defeating the Redskins 24-14 in come-from-behind fashion. In the divisional round, Wilson threw for 385 yards, but Seattle fell to Atlanta, 30-28.

Wilson finished the regular season with a passer rating of 100.0, which was good for fourth in the league. His 26 passing touchdowns tied Peyton Manning’s record for most touchdowns thrown by a rookie.

Robert Griffin III (2012)

15 starts: 9-6, 27 total TDs, 5 INTs, 65.6 comp. pct., 3,200 passing yards, 815 rushing yards

Top rookie quarterback seasons

RG3 had a miraculous rookie season. (Photo fromBleacher Report)

As a rookie, RG3 looked like the real deal. In his starting debut, Griffin threw for 320 yards and two touchdowns in a victory over the New Orleans Saints. He became the first rookie quarterback to be named NFC Offensive Player of the Week in a debut game. Griffin was also named September’s Offensive Rookie of the Month.

Following a bye week in November, the Redskins voted RG3 an offensive co-captain. After the nomination, in a game against the Eagles, Griffin became the first rookie in NFL history to throw for 200 yards, pass for four touchdowns, and rush for over 75 yards in a single game.

A lingering knee injury caused Griffin to slow down, and ultimately led to the end of the Redskins season, as Washington was defeated by Seattle in a Wild Card game. He would undergo surgery, and as we know, nothing was the same.

Still, Griffin was selected to the Pro Bowl, and also won the 2012 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award.

Dak Prescott (2016)

16 starts: 13-3, 29 total TDs, 4 INTs, 67.8 comp. pct, 3,667 passing yards, 104.9 quarterback rating

Tony Romo’s preseason injury changed Dallas forever. Romo now works for CBS, and Prescott is busy leading America’s team.

Last year, Prescott set the records for highest passer rating by a rookie quarterback (104.9) and highest touchdown to interception ratio (5.75:1). His 67.8 completion percentage was good for fourth in the league. Prescott was a major contributor to Dallas’ 11-game winning streak, spanning from Week 2-13.

The Cowboys won the NFC East, but were defeated by the Packers in the divisional round. In that loss to Green Bay, Prescott threw for 302 yards and had a quarterback rating of 103.2. His incredible season made him the obvious choice for NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. He edged out his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott, by seven votes.

 

Featured image from Bleacher Report

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NFL Week 8

Stack your money Sundays: Week 8

Week 7 Review (2-0-1) OVERALL: 14-6-1

Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Buffalo Bills (-3)

Buffalo Bills 30 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27

Our first push of the year! Rex Ryan told the world that the Bills would blow out Tampa Bay, and through the first half and into the third, it appeared like this was a solid prediction. The Bills led 17-6 with under eight minutes to play in the third quarter. A pair of O.J. Howard touchdowns knotted the game at 20.

Mike Evans hauled in a 12-yard touchdown and all of a sudden, the Buccaneers led by seven with three minutes to go. Luckily, the Bills drove down the field and a touchdown by LeSean McCoy tied the game. A fumble by Tampa Bay led to a Steven Hauschka field goal, which iced the game for Buffalo.

Like imagined, the Bills ran wild, totalling 173 yards on 33 carries, and were extremely efficient on third down, converting 10 of 16 attempts in that category.

Kudos to Jameis Winston for keeping the Bucs in this game, as he threw for almost 400 yards and threw three touchdowns. Shout out to the Bills on their 4-2 start.

Arizona Cardinals @ Los Angeles Rams (-3.5)

Los Angeles Rams 33 Arizona Cardinals 0

NFL Week 8

Cooper Krupp had 4 receptions for 51 yards and one TD in the rout. (Photo from The Daily Courier)

The Cardinals never stood a chance in this one. Carson Palmer, who left the game due to an injury, might have participated in his last NFL game.

The Cardinals might as well throw in the towel now if Drew Stanton starts another game. He looked absolutely horrendous, as he completed only five passes for 66 yards, along with an interception. Adrian Peterson, who I said would not have another big game, rushed for a grand total of 21 yards on 11 carries. As a team, the Cardinals rushed for 25 yards.

The Rams just continue to dominate. Can we put Greg Zuerlein in the MVP discussion? Another four field goal day for the best kicker in the league. Todd Gurley rushed for 106 yards and added 48 more as a receiver.

While Jared Goff did not have great numbers, he still helped the Rams convert 13 of their 19 third down attempts. The second-year quarterback continues to impress.

Atlanta Falcons @ New England Patriots (-3.5)

New England Patriots 23 Atlanta Falcons 7

The Falcons are a completely different team than last year, and last Sunday night proved it.

On a field full of fog, Atlanta was no match for Tom Brady and the Patriots. You would have thought Matt Ryan would get his team fired up and quiet down the “28-3” chants, but then you remember that Ryan is just a pretty good quarterback who had one outstanding year.

It took the Falcons almost 56 minutes to finally score, as Julio Jones caught his first touchdown of the season. Neither team turned the ball over, but Atlanta only converted on two of their nine third down attempts. New England controlled the game, as they possessed the ball for almost 10 minutes more than Atlanta. The Falcons have now lost their last three games.

 

WEEK 8 PICKS

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Detroit Lions

PICK: STEELERS TO COVER

Besides Martavis Bryant being a total distraction, things are clicking in Pittsburgh. The Steelers defense has allowed the third fewest points and second fewest yards in the league.

Detroit prides themselves on passing the football, but it will be hard against this Pittsburgh D, who has allowed the fewest passing yards in the league. Le’Veon Bell is back and has rushed for 179 yards against the Chiefs and 134 more last week against Cincinnati.

NFL Week 8

JuJu on that beat! (Photo from The Big Lead)

Big Ben Roethlisberger is also playing better and is a perfect 3-0 against Detroit in his career. The narrative that Matthew Stafford only wins against bad teams is back again this year. Detroit beat a bad Cardinals team, a one-win Giants team and a Case Keenum led team. Their losses have come against the Panthers, Falcons and Saints, all solid teams with big-name quarterbacks.

Detroit’s defense is 28th in points allowed, and their offense is 25th in red zone scoring attempts. Pittsburgh loves to possess the football, as they rank third in time of possession and fourth in red zone attempts. The Steelers are clearly the better football team.

Atlanta Falcons (-6) @ New York Jets

PICK: FALCONS TO COVER

The Falcons are not playing well, and as stated before, have lost three straight. That is exactly why they are about to molly-whop the Jets. The media has been bashing them all week for being just an average team, led by an average quarterback. Matt Ryan shuts up the haters this week. I refuse to believe that the Falcons will lose to all four AFC East teams.

Even with their struggles, Atlanta is clearly the superior team. They are seventh in passing yards per game and fourth in yards per carry. The more Atlanta runs, the better off they will be, especially this week against the Jets, who are 28th in rushing yards allowed. The Falcons offense averages more plays than anyone, rank second in average time per drive and fifth in first downs per game.

No matter what their record says, the Jets are not a good team. Their offense is dead last in first downs, 22nd in passing yards and 30th in red zone attempts per game. New York’s defense is tied for the most passing touchdowns allowed and are currently 25th in yards allowed. Matt Ryan will have a huge game against this lackluster Jets team.

Oakland Raiders (+2.5) @ Buffalo Bills

PICK: RAIDERS TO COVER

Oakland is coming off a monster win against the Chiefs in which they picked up 32 first downs. Derek Carr looks healthy after his monster 417 yard, three touchdown performance last week.

Still, Oakland is 3-4 and needs to win games like this one on the road. Last year, Carr was 7-1 in opposing stadiums. In their matchup a season ago, Oakland beat the Bills by 14.

The Raiders rushing defense is improving. After allowing 95 yards or more in their first five games, the Raiders have shut down the run in the last two weeks. Marshawn Lynch is suspended, but it really doesn’t matter since he is not playing like the Marshawn that we are used to. Buffalo is 26th in passing yards allowed, so look for Carr to abuse this secondary.

Although Tyrod Taylor looks good, he will not win you big games. The Bills are 29th in passing yards and 26th in first downs. They run a ton, as they rank second in rushing attempts, but it is not effective. The Bills are currently 24th in yards per carry.

Expect Oakland to come out the gates and score early, as they rank in the top 10 in first quarter points. The Bills are dead last in this category, which means this game could be out of hand early.

 

Featured image by USA Today

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The Jacksonville Jaguars are for real

The Jacksonville Jaguars just beat the Pittsburgh Steelers by 21 points. Who would have known that a team that just lost to the New York Jets in overtime would turn around to knock off one of the preseason top contenders in the AFC.

The Jaguars are a possession away from being 4-1 and as of Oct. 8, sit on top of the AFC South at 3-2.

The Jaguars have lost their number one wide receiver (Allen Robinson) and still have proven people wrong through the first five weeks of this season. Leonard Fournette has hit the ground running and is the front runner for Rookie of the Year.

Their offense hasn’t been spectacular but their defense has proven that they are here to stay. Is this the year for the Jaguars to get through the AFC South and make the playoffs?

Defense

Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jaguars defense, Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports.

In five games this season, the Jaguars have given up 83 points, which comes out to slightly under 17 points per game.

In those same five games, they have scored four defensive touchdowns. They are only allowing 147 yards per game through the air and have been getting timely turnovers to help the defense get off the field.

In total the Jaguars have generated 10 turnovers, and four of them have led to scores.

At the end of week five the Jaguars defense gave an elite quarterback absolute fits. Ben Roethlisberger completed 60 percent of his passes on his way to 312 yards, zero touchdowns and five interceptions, leaving his final QBR at 37.8.

They also managed to jumble up one of the league’s best running backs. Le’veon Bell finished with 15 carries for 41 yards, totally 3.1 yards per carry.

For a team defense in recent history has been a joke in the NFL, the Jacksonville Jaguars have come and long way.

Rushing game

Jacksonville Jaguars

Leonard Fournette. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images).

Now let’s talk about the guy who is putting the offense on his shoulders. Leonard Fournette has five rushing touchdowns in the first five games and has 466 yards in those games.

He is averaging over four yards per carry and has 13 catches for 128 receiving yards and a touchdown as well. Fournette has been extremely impressive thus far for the Jaguars. Many were asking questions about Blake Bortles and his production, and Leonard Fournette has lightened the work load.

Bortles is averaging under 200 yards passing but the key for the offense has been limiting mistakes. The offense doesn’t need to be spectacular when the defense has been this good. Sometimes the best thing for the offense is to punt it deep and let the defense do their thing.

With the defense playing so well, opposing offenses having to go 10+ plays on them is extremely difficult. If the Jaguars offense can limit mistakes and protect their defense, it makes it extremely difficult for opposing teams.

AFC South

The AFC South a month ago looked like it was going to be a dog fight. With Marcus Mariota banged up, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to take advantage.

With their rookie running back and strong defense leading the way, the Jags should be competing heavily for the AFC South title down the stretch. If they can minimize turnovers on offense and maximize them on defense they will be a tough team to stop.

Bold prediction: They finish at 12-4 and win the AFC South.

 

Featured Image from FootballSpot.com.

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Stack your Money Sunday’s: Week 5

Week Four Review (3-0) Overall: 9-3

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens

Pittsburgh Steelers 29 Baltimore Ravens 9

Like stated in the previous week, you can never rely too much on numbers. Big Ben was 2-7 in his career in Baltimore before this game. The Steelers were also coming off a loss to Mike Glennon and the Chicago Bears. All that did not matter.

In last week’s article, I stated that Le’Veon Bell was bound to have a big game. Bell rushed for 144 yards and two touchdowns, while also hauling in four catches for 42 yards. We also expected Joe Flacco to struggle, as he had a quarterback rating of 64.6 and threw a pair of interceptions.

Cincinnati Bengals (-3) @ Cleveland Browns

Cincinnati Bengals 31 Cleveland Browns 7

Andy Dalton moves to 10-3 in his career against Cleveland, and was practically flawless in this blowout. Dalton threw four touchdowns, and had a quarterback rating of 146. The Bengals had more time of possession, first downs, third downs converted and total yards. Usually when this happens, you win the game.

A.J. Green continued his success against Cleveland, hauling in one touchdown on five catches. DeShone Kizer continued his poor play, and does not look like a starter in this league. Maybe it is because he is on the Browns, but not a great start to his professional career.

New York Giants (+3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tampa Bay Buccaneers 25 New York Giants 23

Good teams win, great teams cover (SNY)

The Giants really have yet to win a game, but at least they covered. Shoutout to Nick Folk. Not only was he terrible on Thursday against New England, but he also missed an extra point and two field goals in this one.

Unlike his performance against the Pats, Jameis Winston played well in this one. He threw three touchdowns and only took one sack. The Giants possessed the ball more, converted more third downs and had more first downs than Tampa Bay, but somehow found a way to lose. Only one team in NFL history, the 1992 Chargers, has made the playoffs after starting 0-4, so maybe there’s a chance?

WEEK 5 PICKS

Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Oakland Raiders

PICK: RAVENS TO COVER

There is a super slim chance that Derek Carr suits up for Oakland, and Vegas still has the Raiders favored? You are telling me an E.J. Manuel led offense is favored in an NFL football game? This is absolutely insane. The Raiders are nothing without Carr.

Baltimore is coming off a tough home loss to Pittsburgh, so it’s hard to believe they would drop two straight, especially to a team starting a backup quarterback. Joe Flacco is struggling, but this guy won a Super Bowl. He may not be elite, but he has what it takes to cover in this situation. Flacco is 3-2 in his career vs Oakland.

As expected, Oakland’s defense has struggled. They can’t cause any turnovers, and are 22nd in yards allowed. Running backs are having no problem moving the ball against them, and this Baltimore team is top 10 in running. Look for Baltimore to have no issues moving the ball. By the way, in his one game against Baltimore, Manuel threw two picks and only completed 45 percent of his passes.

Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) @ Los Angeles Rams

PICK: SEAHAWKS TO COVER

The Rams have won last the last three meeting when playing Seattle at home. Russell Wilson is 1-4 in his career at STL/LA. This is just like the Steelers over the Ravens last week. Generally, Seattle plays poorly on the road vs Los Angeles, but this game just seems different.

Russell Wilson scoring with ease in a previous matchup vs Rams (CBS Sports)

Everybody loves the Rams, and you can essentially already pencil in Sean McVay for AP Coach of the Year, but I am not sold yet. They are still giving up a lot of yards on the ground, as they rank 30th in rushing yards allowed. Los Angeles has also given up seven rushing touchdowns. Seattle likes to pound the football, so this is a major advantage.

Russell Wilson always gets better and better as the season goes on, and in Jared Goff’s only game vs. Seattle, he completed only 52 percent of his passes for a measly 135 yards. The Legion of Boom will not let Goff get going, and Seattle will have no problem covering in this matchup.

Green Bay Packers (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys

PICK: PACKERS TO COVER

Las Vegas is really giving Aaron Rodgers three points against the team he destroyed in the postseason a year ago? The most talented quarterback of all time, Rodgers has played exceptionally well against the Cowboys. In eight career games, Rodgers has 13 touchdowns and only two interceptions.

Although Green Bay’s defense is nothing special, they are somehow sixth in the league in terms of fewest yards allowed, and fifth in fewest passing yards. The Cowboys defense has been pretty weak, allowing opposing quarterbacks to throw all over them. Dallas ranks 27th in passing touchdowns allowed, and 26th in first downs allowed. Keep in mind they are playing Aaron Rodgers this week, who already has 10 passing touchdowns.

This Dallas offense is not what it was a season ago. Last year, Cowboys were fourth in first downs, and first in rushing attempts. Today, they rank 20th in first downs, and 22nd in rushing attempts. Dak is proving to be an average game manager at best. He is 14th in passing yards, and 18th in quarterback rating. Vegas absolutely has this one wrong.

 

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Deshaun Watson fantasy

Don’t believe the Deshaun Watson fantasy hype

The name Deshaun Watson related to fantasy has been synonymous. After nearly pulling off an upset victory in week 3 against the New England Patriots with 301 passing yards, 41 rush yards and a couple touchdowns, he did even more in week 4.

Watson threw four touchdown passes and ran for another against the Tennessee Titans. He had over 300 total yards for the second consecutive week. He is now ranked fifth among fantasy quarterbacks. The impressive thing about this is he didn’t start week 1.

I will say he becomes a top-10 fantasy quarterback from this point on. However, don’t get too comfortable.

The Hype is real

After his decent performance in week 2 against the Cincinnati Bengals, he has followed up with two great performances.

Against Tennessee last week, he was in the driver seat. He hit a 35-yard pass between two defenders to Bruce Ellington after stepping up in the pocket, a play that set up a Lamar Miller read-option rushing touchdown. Then he got his first scoring touchdown on a dart to DeAndre Hopkins, and it didn’t stop there.

Deshaun Watson fantasy

Deshaun Watson (Photo by: chron.com)

He threw to Will Fuller V, who was a second option, for a 16-yard score. Then he had a rushing touchdown and had a 31-14 lead in the first half.

Watson then poured it on in the second half, connecting with Fuller on a fade route from 10 yards out. Then lobbed a red-zone flare pass to Miller for six more. He has done things that rookies usually struggle with. He has had some miscues, but has dominated the past two games.

He had two great weeks in fantasy. Why he has had this hype is because top quarterbacks have struggled. Quarterbacks like Matt Ryan, Ben Roethlisberger and Cam Newton haven’t had the start they were hoping for, and Andrew Luck hasn’t even played yet. This has made fantasy owners desperate, especially those who had Luck and had a struggling backup quarterback.

Watson was a playmaker in college and has adapted to the pros quickly using his arm and his legs. He has also made the Texans one of the most exciting teams to watch.

But heres Why I Don’t believe in the hype

Do I think Watson can be a good NFL quarterback? I do. What he has done on the field early in his career has surprised me, especially against the Patriots. You can’t take that away from him, and I give credit where it’s due.

However, here are the numbers for the defenses he played the last two weeks. They rank 32nd and 28th in terms of yards allowed per game through the air. They are also the only two teams that have already allowed double-digit passing touchdowns.

Deshaun Watson fantasy

Watson (Photo by: si.com)

Again, I’m not taking away what he did or his talent, but Newton struggled the first three weeks and torched the Patriots last week. Alex Smith isn’t known for his fantasy numbers and had a career day against them in week 1. Derek Carr and Russell Wilson had their best fantasy days against the Titans.

Numbers don’t lie. Quarterbacks against these two defenses are must starts every week.

The next test for Watson is next week against the Kansas City Chiefs. Even though they rank near the bottom in passing defense in fantasy, they are right now the best team in the league. They have been know for their defense. If Watson can play like he has against this defense, then my opinion will change.

How to handle Watson this point on

Right now, I don’t view him as a must start every week. As I said, if he plays well against the Chiefs, he could be depending your quarterback options. He’s gonna be a streamable option in the right matchups.

Deshaun Watson fantasy

Watson (Photo by: chron.com)

He has the Chiefs, who are 25th in passing yards per game and the Cleveland Browns (23rd) before his bye. After his bye week, he has some tough matchups. He plays Seattle (fourth), Indianapolis (29th), the Los Angeles Rams (13th), Arizona (12th), Baltimore (16th) and then Tennessee, where he dominated. The problem with some of these games is that two of these eight opponents are in the top-10 in rushing defense.

If these teams stop the run, Watson could be pressured to throw the ball and could make rookie mistakes. Carson Wentz is a good example from last year. He was great in his first three games, but was up and down the rest of the year. That’s how I see Watson from this point.

A lot could change after this week, but play Watson in favorable matchups. He’s home for the Chiefs, which could give him confidence. With how the Chiefs are playing, I might bench him this week. His performance the last two weeks could give you reason to start him.

Do I think Watson could have a good game? I do. I think he could have a solid game. I do think he will have his moments though where he will make mistakes and will continue to throughout the game with the Chiefs pressuring him to throw the ball.

 

Featured image from chron.com.

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Stack your money Sundays: Week 4

Week three review (1-2) overall: 6-3

Atlanta Falcons (-3) @ Detroit Lions

Final: Atlanta Falcons 30, Detroit Lions 26

Wow, this one was lucky. Golden Tate appeared to have won the game when Matthew Stafford hit him with eight seconds left. After the scoring review, it was clear that Tate was actually stopped short of the goal line and because of a mandatory 10-second runoff, the game was over.

Matt Ryan had three interceptions and was very fortunate to squeak out of Detroit with a victory. The Falcons did a good job of defending the run, as well as stopping the Lions on third down. Detroit only converted three of their 13 third down attempts.

Where we went wrong 

Miami Dolphins (-6) @ New York Jets

Final: New York Jets 20 Miami Dolphins 6

This game was a clear example of how past numbers cannot tell the whole story. Going into this game, the Jets were the worst ranked defense. They were also 28th in passing yards and 28th in first downs. New York ranked dead last in rushing yards allowed, so it seemed like Jay Ajayi would run all over this team, and Cutler would have no problem moving the ball, right?

Ajayi rushed 11 times for 16 yards. The Dolphins racked up a total of 225 yards. Cutler was sacked twice, and they converted one third down in 12 attempts. Not to mention Miami went 0/3 on fourth down as well. Josh McCown decided to complete 78 percent of his passes and did not turn the ball over. Good for the Jets, who people thought would fail to win a single game this year.

Oakland Raiders (-3) @ Washington Redskins

Washington Redskins 27 Oakland Raiders 10

Stack money Sundays: week 4

Redskins D held Lynch to just 18 yards. (YouTube)

After not turning the ball over through the first two games, Oakland had three turnovers, including two interceptions from Derek Carr. The Raiders were only able to muster off 128 yards of offense, while the Redskins had 472. Marshawn Lynch had only 18 yards rushing, and the offense failed to convert once on third down. That’s right, Oakland was 0/11 on third down conversions.

Oakland played bad, but the Redskins defense is no joke. They have allowed the fifth fewest total yards, second fewest rushing yards, and are fourth in the NFL in takeaways. If Kirk Cousins can play how he did last Monday, then the Redskins could seriously win the NFC East.

 

Week 4 picks

Pittsburgh Steelers (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens

PICK: STEELERS TO COVER

Both of these teams are coming off disappointing losses. Baltimore just went into London and got demolished by the Jags, and the Steelers took an L to Mike Glennon and the Chicago Bears. Yes, the Steelers are not that good on the road, and I understand that Ben Roethlisberger is 2-7 in his career against Baltimore, but like stated before, numbers can’t tell the full story. The Steelers are just a flat out better team than Baltimore. The Ravens are last in total yards, and Joe Flacco looks horrible, so bad that Ryan Mallett got some snaps last week.

Le’Veon Bell is bound to have a big game. The holdout has clearly effected his play, but after three games, Bell should be ready to breakout. Last time these two teams squared off, Bell ran for 122 yards. Look for Flacco to continue to struggle and the Steelers to get back on track.

Cincinnati Benglas (-3) @ Cleveland Browns

PICK: BENGALS TO COVER

This is the battle of 0-3 teams. In all honesty, the Bengals should have beaten Aaron Rodgers and the Packers last week, but for some odd reason, Cincinnati could not get in the red zone during the entire second half.

Andy Dalton is 9-3 in his career against Cleveland, including 3-0 in his last three games at FirstEnergy Stadium. Dalton looks to be back on track after completing 77 percent of his passes against Green Bay. A.J. Green had a monster 10-catch, 111-yard performance, which was beautiful for fantasy owners. Green will continue his nice play as he has owned Cleveland in the past. In the last two games against the Browns, Green has a pair of touchdowns and 297 receiving yards.

DeShone Kizer is not the answer at quarterback for Cleveland. This was evident after his three-interception game against the Colts. How do you only complete 46 percent of your passes against Indianapolis? Anyways, the Browns are first in turnovers and will not be able to defend Dalton and the Benglas.

New York Giants (+3) @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers

PICK: GIANTS TO COVER

Stack money Sundays: week 4

Eli Manning has never lost to Tampa Bay (Sportige.com)

There is no chance the Giants start 0-4 after many people thought they would win the NFC East and possibly reach the Super Bowl. While those two feats seem unlikely, they will at least beat Tampa Bay. In the final half against Philadelphia, it was clear Eli and the offense remembered how to play football.

Odell Beckham Jr. is back and he is clearly unstoppable. He had two amazing touchdowns last week and one legendary celebration. In his only game against Tampa Bay, OBJ had nine catches for 105 yards.

Eli is 4-0 in his career vs. the Bucs, including 2-0 in Tampa. Jameis Winston is still growing and is not consistent enough to be trusted. His three interceptions last week against Minnesota show that he still has a lot of work to do.

Eli will have a nice game, the Giants defense will be all over Winston, and OBJ will entertain the crowd with at least one cool celebration.

 

 

Featured image by CincyJungle

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week three DFS Dont's

Week One DFS Dont’s: Report Card

With the first Sunday in the books, it’s time to review week one and my predictions. I’ll be reviewing my picks from last week’s DFS Dont’s article series, as well as the picks I made on the Suck My DFS Podcast. Picks aside, I started off the year right by finishing in the money in all 36 of my FanDuel contests. Without further adieu, here is the report card edition of my week one DFS Dont’s.

Quarterback: 1/5

Last week, I stated that Ben Roethlisberger and Matt Stafford should stay off your DFS lineups. I was feeling great about my Stafford prediction after the first quarter, but that feeling quickly subsided. Stafford finished with 28.08 points. Roethlisberger didn’t set the world on fire, but I’ll chalk his 16.72 points up as a loss for me.

On the Suck My DFS Podcast, I chose three quarterbacks I liked in cash games and GPP’s: Russell Wilson, Carson Wentz and Brian Hoyer. Both Wilson and Hoyer scored single digit points. On the bright side, Wilson didn’t cost me in my cash games. Thankfully, Carson Wentz paid dividends on his $7,100 price tag, as he scored 19.88 points.

I ended up playing three quarterbacks in my cash lineups: Russell Wilson, Derek Carr and Carson Wentz. I couldn’t find a good combination for my GPP contests, so I decided to pull my money out this week and just play cash games. I’m not regretting that decision.

Running Back: 3/6

In my running back DFS Dont’s piece, I advised that you stay away from Ezekiel Elliott, Leonard Fournette and Marshawn Lynch. I had know idea the Jacksonville Jaguars would dominate the Houston Texans in such dramatic fashion. I look forward to cashing in on Fournette in the future as he scored 19.9 points in his debut. Elliott’s $8,700 price tag isn’t usually worth 16.5 points; however, I’ll mark it as a loss since that’s much better than how David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell produced. I told you to stay away from Lynch until we know exactly how his workload will look, hopefully you did, as he scored a whopping 9.7 points.

On the podcast, I gushed over LeSean McCoy and Todd Gurley. They scored 18.4 and 18.1 points each. Sadly, I also loved Bilal Powell, who produced a disappointing single digit performance. Once again, I lucked out with my Powell prediction since I didn’t partake in any GPP contests in week one.

Wide Receiver: 1/5

My week one DFS Dont’s at this position included Dez Bryant, Golden Tate and Jarvis Landry. I was dead on about Bryant and his personal match up against Janoris Jenkins, as he scored a disappointing 5.3 points. However, I was totally wrong about Golden Tate. He, unlike Dez, found a way to overcome a tough match up and produced 16.4 points. Jarvis Landry had an unexpected bye, so I won’t be counting that prediction at all.

In my podcast picks, I pounded the table on AJ Green, Doug Baldwin and Martavis Bryant. I was wrong on all three as they severely under produced.

Tight End: 3/5

Eric Ebron was awful, so that gives me a mark in the win column. Yet again, my other prediction was set to play in the rescheduled Miami vs Tampa Bay game, so throw out O.J. Howard this week.

The tight ends I liked were Delanie Walker, Zach Ertz, Jack Dolye and Zach Miller. Walker and Ertz finished in the top six among tight ends in week one. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough volume for Doyle or Miller to get a chance to be productive or else they would have hit as well. I’ll take the two losses on Doyle and Miller.

Kicker: 2/2

It’s pretty straight forward, stop paying up for kickers. The position is way too dependent on coaching decisions, weather and offensive competency. Nine kickers scored double digit points in week one, and Justin Tucker was not one of them.

On the other hand, my podcast pick clicked, Ryan Succop. It wasn’t rocket science. Here’s the criteria for which I pick my kicker. Is he less than $4,800? Is he at home? Is he favored? Is the weather good? Succop met all of these requirements.

Defense: 2/4

In my first ever DFS Dont’s piece, I made the case not to play the Pittsburgh or Buffalo defense. Neither one of them paid off like most had hoped, but, neither imploded like I had hoped. Given your defense starts with 10 points, I’ll say I was wrong about the Steelers, since they scored 12, and was right about the Bills, since they only scored nine.

We crushed our defensive picks to click. Both Will and I were all in on Los Angeles in week one and they did not disappoint. On the other hand, I offered the Arizona defense as a potential GPP pivot from the Rams, and they only scored eight points.

Week One DFS Dont’s Report Card: 12/27

On a percentage basis, I was not good. I only connected on 44% of my picks in week one. By my standards, and at almost any academic institution, 44% is a failure. Now, no one gets 100% of their predictions right, but, I need to operate in the 60-70 percentile to feel like it was a good week. You can check out all of my week one DFS Dont’s articles here. We’ll start with week two tomorrow as we break down what kicker and defenses you should avoid.

 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

 

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week one DFS Dont's

Week One DFS Dont’s: Quarterback

The hardest position to play in sports is surprisingly one of the easiest positions to pick in DFS. Sure, you could pay up for Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers and lock in 20 points. Or, you could go with cheaper options like a Philip Rivers or Jameis Winston and distribute that salary elsewhere. Let’s examine who you should leave off your lineup in our quarterback addition of week one DFS Dont’s.

Ben Roethlisberger: FanDuel Price $8,200

Yes, you’re about to read another piece about Ben Roethlisberger’s home/road splits. It’s real people, this trend dates all the way back to the 2014 season.

week one DFS Dont's: quarterback

As you can see, his regression has been incremental over time. Each year the dropoff gets more disparaging and therefore cannot be discounted. Now, do not take these stats as gospel. Roethlisberger could easily torch the Browns this weekend, but he won’t be doing it on my roster.

The large spread in favor of Pittsburgh is a great indicator of running back production. Meaning, if you choose to roster him, Roethlisberger may only produce for 2.5 or three quarters if they blow out the Browns. I don’t know about you, but I’m not playing the third-most expensive quarterback on the main slate who has a history of mediocre play on the road.

Apart from his road issues, Roethlisberger is perennially one of the highest injury risks at his position. He routinely misses games at this stage of his career. I’m not saying don’t ever play him on the road, but don’t play him at his current price. If you really want to pay up at quarterback, take Aaron Rodgers for $100 more, or, Russell Wilson for $200 less. Like most players, Roethlisberger’s price and circumstances land him on my week one DFS Dont’s.

Matt Stafford: Fandule Price $7,600

If you’ve been reading this series regularly, you know I hate the Lions this week. It’s more about their matchup than the individual player. I generally like Stafford. He plays on a team with no discernible run game and has above average receivers. However, the Arizona Cardinals defense is not one to take lightly.

week one DFS Dont's: quarterback

I don’t like to put too much stock in what a team or unit did last year. But, when that unit returns almost their entire starting unit, I do. Here’s what I don’t like, the Cardinals were incredibly stingy in yards allowed. Detroit uses their pass game to run the ball. Stafford throws short, precise passes as a substitute for a 3-yard run. Obviously, that will limit the amount of sack opportunities for this defense. Conversely, if they refuse to stretch the field, it won’t matter if they record sacks. They’ll simply make the Lions punt after three 3-yard passes.

Looking beyond Stafford, where do the Lions have an offensive advantage? Patrick Peterson vs. Marvin Jones, I’ll take Peterson. Tyrann Matheiu vs. Golden Tate in the slot, I’ll take Mathieu. Deone Buchanon vs. Eric Ebron, give me Buchanon. Maybe they have an edge with Theo Riddick out of the backfield, but, that means short precise passes. They won’t be able to stretch the field. Thus, Stafford joins Roethlisberger on my week one DFS Dont’s.

 

Like what you read? Tune into the Suck My DFS Podcast this Friday and find out who TGH fantasy experts will be playing in their DFS lineups this week. You can find the link to our podcast on the Podcast page.

 

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