2017 fantasy football running back rankings: 30-21

Here’s a continuation of my fantasy football rankings, this list consists of running back rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season: 30-21.

30. Paul Perkins (New York Giants)- Paul Perkins enjoyed a nice rookie season rushing for 456 yards on 112 attempts behind Rashad Jennings. Now that Jennings is gone, and the Giants didn’t make a move in the offseason acquiring another running back, Perkins is the lead back for New York.

The Giants, however, ran the ball on 61 percent of their plays last season and added Brandon Marshall to their wide receiver corps this offseason, so they will mainly throw the ball. But because of the situation of the Giants backfield, I expect him to get more touchdowns and enjoy a better sophomore season.

2017 Fantasy Football running back rankings

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29. Theo Riddick (Detroit Lions)- The other half of the Lions backfield is Theo Riddick. Again, Riddick is primarily a receiving back, but he found success when Ameer Abdullah went down early in the season.

He rushed for 357 and had 371 receiving yards with a combined six touchdowns in only 10 games. Currently being drafted as the 36th running back, Riddick can be a huge steal for your team if he stays healthy,

28. Mike Gillislee (New England Patriots)- Gillislee is an interesting fantasy candidate this year. He is unproven as a starter, (only started one game last season) but found success backing up Lesean McCoy in Buffalo last year.

He rushed for 577 yards and eight touchdowns, gaining 116.7 fantasy points. Now Gillislee has an opportunity to be the lead back for the Patriots who turned 30-year-old LeGarette Blount into a fantasy monster. Draft Gillislee as an RB3 and don’t be surprised if he’s your number one by the end of the season.

27. Tevin Coleman (Atlanta Falcons)- The two-headed monster of Coleman and Devonta Freeman is a big reason for the success of the Atlanta Falcons offense. In 2016, Coleman rushed for 520 yards and eight touchdowns while he had 421 receiving yards and three touchdowns.

He isn’t the main back on the Falcons roster, but he is the best second running back in the NFL today. He is a must own, if you plan on taking Devonta Freeman, but if you don’t own Devonta, take Coleman anyway for trade bait or just enjoy him as a flex play.

2017 Fantasy Football running back rankings

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26. Eddie Lacy (Seattle Seahawks)- Feastmode has found a new home. When the Seahawks signed Lacy, it just made things more complicated to read in Seattle’s backfield. It is starting to look like Lacy will be the lead back in Seattle, but he’ll probably be on a short leash with C.J. Prosise and Thomas Rawls behind him.

Lacy found success early in his career with back-to-back 1,000-plus yard seasons, but he hasn’t eclipsed 800 yards since. Lacy is a high-risk, high-reward pick, so take him only if the price is right.

25. C.J. Anderson (Denver Broncos)- C.J. Anderson got bit by the injury bug last season, only playing in seven games. In the games he played in, however he found some success.

He rushed for 437 yards and four touchdowns in 2016. Jamaal Charles is in the mix now in Denver, but expect Anderson to still have lead back duties. If he stays healthy, he’ll have a nice season. He probably won’t be a number one because of the other running backs in the mix, but draft him as a low RB2 to a good RB3.

24. Joe Mixon (Cincinnati Bengals)- Joe Mixon has all the tools to be a complete and successful back in the NFL. That’s if, and only if, he stays out of trouble off the field. Mixon has been caught in a serious domestic violence incident in the past. However, he was once the number one running back recruit and has the opportunity in Cincinnati and the ability to be a great pro runner.

2017 Fantasy Football running back rankings

Joe Mixon (Photo by: cincinnati.com)

23. Frank Gore (Indianapolis Colts)- If anyone can beat father time, it’s Frank Gore. After finishing as the 12th-best fantasy running back in 2016, Gore is still looking fresh. He rushed for over 1,000 yards and four touchdowns, and also had four receiving touchdowns. Gore, however, is 34 years old and it could be his time for a down year. Draft Gore with caution.

22. Dalvin Cook (Minnesota Vikings)- The Vikings found their replacement for Adrian Peterson. Arguably the most talented running back coming out of the NFL Draft, Cook found himself in a position to succeed immediately.

After bulking up their offensive line by adding Mike Remmers and Riley Reiff, Dalvin Cook has almost nothing in his way, except for the fact that Minnesota gave Latavius Murray an offseason deal and he’ll be splitting carries. My one word of advice is to not jump too early on Dalvin Cook, but draft him for the right price.

21. Ty Montgomery (Green Bay Packers)- Montgomery switched from wide receiver to running back last season and found immediate success. Averaging 5.9 yards per carry, he also rushed for 457 yards. He is kind of like a swiss army knife for the Packers, because of how they still use him in the receiving game. Montgomery had 348 receiving yards last year while playing at both running back and receiver. Expect a bigger workload and continued success for Montgomery and the Packers this year.

 

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Under the Radar Fantasy Running Backs

Under the radar fantasy running backs to watch

This season there are fantasy running backs worth watching. These five running backs may not be the biggest names in the NFL, but they can be valuable assets for your team this upcoming season.

Jordan Howard, Chicago Bears

Under the Radar Fantasy Running Backs

Jordan Howard (Photo by: chicagobears.com)

The first running back that everyone should keep an eye on is Jordan Howard. When starter Jeremy Langford got hurt last season, Howard took the starting job and didn’t look back. Not only was he good, he was dominant.

As a rookie, Howard rushed for the second-most yards in 2016 with 1,313, behind another rookie in Ezekiel Elliot. Howard also finished second in yards per carry with a 5.2 average. Howard averaged 87.5 rushing yards per game that ranked third in the league and just outside the top 10 in attempts (252).

Howard only scored six touchdowns, which ranked 20th in the NFL. Howard is on a team in which they have to come from behind which leads to passing situations on almost every down. This means that Howard doesn’t get the ball late in games to improve on some of his numbers.

Howard’s numbers will improve, especially in touchdowns. I also don’t expect Howard to have that sophomore slump. Howard will be a first round pick and could still rise to a top-five pick.

Jay Ajayi, Miami Dolphins

After Arian Foster retired early in the 2016 season, Ajayi had his chance to play and went all in. Three times did he have a 200-yard or more rushing game, including back-to-back weeks. Miami did rank 18th in rushing attempts, but in those attempts Ajayi ran the ball with intensity and purpose.

Ajayi’s 1,272 rushing yards ranked fourth among rushers in the league. Ajayi also ranked fifth in yards per game at 84.8, ninth in rushing attempts with 260, seventh in rushing yards per attempt (4.9) and just outside the top 10 in touchdowns with eight.

Although the Dolphins ranked 18th in rushing attempts, they did rank ninth in rushing yards which means Ajayi has an effective offensive line that should help deliver a repeat performance in 2017. Ajayi’s ADP (average draft position) is around the eighth to ninth running back picked, which means look for him second or third round.

Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars

The 6-foot-1, 235-pound bruiser known as Leonard Fournette will be the new man in the Jacksonville Jaguars backfield. Fournette is a running back who can punish defenses with power and get chunks of yardage with speed. He’s not the most agile running back, but when he has a running lane, he accelerates quickly and can hit a home run.

Fournette won’t give you many catches, that’s not his game. His backups T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory don’t pose any threat other than a carry here and there to give Fournette a blow. Yeldon will be the pass-catcher and Ivory is the same type of back Fournette is. Although the Jaguars ranked 17th or lower in every rushing category, Fourette should help those numbers because of the ability he has.

I see Fournette as a guy like Ezekiel Elliot. A physical, breaking tackles and hit the home run guy once in open space back. The Jaguars will use the fourth overall selection in this year’s NFL Draft to protect quarterback Blake Bortles from having to drop back 40 times a game. I would rate Fournette a high-end RB2 with the potential to be a solid RB1. He will be a second round pick in most fantasy drafts.

Joe Mixon, Cincinnati Bengals

under the radar fantasy running backs

Joe Mixon (Photo by: cincinnati.com)

The good part about the Cincinnati Bengals running game is that they have ranked top-ten in the NFL in both rushing attempts and red-zone carries in each of the past three seasons. However, the Bengals running game for yards and consistency has been dreadful ever since Jeremy Hill’s rookie season in 2014.

Hill has declined and has delivered fewer than 60 rushing yards per game. Hill doesn’t catch the ball either. Giovani Bernard is working back from a torn ACL and will mostly be used in the passing game.

Fans should be excited to see Joe Mixon from a fantasy perspective rather than his off-the-field issues. Mixon has the potential to be a better runner than Hill, and a solid pass-catcher like Bernard. I look at Mixon and I see a David Johnson or Le’Veon Bell type player who has great ability to run and catch the ball.

Hill will probably be the starter and end up getting a good number of touches. Mixon will eventually take over somewhere in the middle of the season but don’t count him out to take the job sooner. If he’s there by the fourth to fifth round he could be a steal as he has the potential to be a RB1 but will start likely as a RB3 if he is the backup.

Mike Gillislee, New England Patriots

My dark horse running back is Mike Gillislee of the New England Patriots. With the departure of LeGarrette Blount, the Patriots signed Rex Burkhead to a one-year contract and still have James White and Dion Lewis. What separates Gillislee from the others is that he can pound the ball between the tackles.

He will fill the shoes that Blount filled last year. He was LeSean McCoy’s backup in Buffalo last year and finished with only 101 carries but ran for 576 rushing yards and eight rushing touchdowns. His 5.7 yards per carry ranked first among all running backs with at least 100 carries.

The Bills didn’t have a great offensive line as it ranked 16th in run blocking but Gillislee’s 3.34 yards after contact per attempt was third best in the NFL. He was also a machine within the 10-yard line as seven of his eight touchdowns came from within that range.

We know Gillislee can be valuable for touchdowns, but be cautious because of the other running backs the Patriots have around him. Gillislee will get his touches as the Patriots ranked third in rushing attempts in 2016. Gillislee’s ADP right now is around the fourth to fifth round as a RB3 mostly because he enters as the starter.

 

Featured image from bigcatcountry.com

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Running back rankings for the 2017 Fantasy Football season: 40-31

People usually have their own draft strategies, but drafting two straight running backs is a common one. As I previously stated, it is the most coveted and important position in fantasy football. This list of running backs is important because of how scarce the position is. Here are the Running back rankings for the 2017 Fantasy Football season: 40-31.

40. James White (New England Patriots)- The Super Bowl hero, James White, has the opportunity to take a big step this year. After the departure of LeGarrette Blount, there is no clear number one running back for the New England Patriots. Primarily a receiving back, White recorded 551 receiving yards on only 60 receptions. White also quietly averaged 4.3 yards per carry. I’d like to put him higher on this list but because of the ample amount of running backs on the Patriots roster this is where he should be. Draft him in later rounds and wait for his time to breakout.

New England Patriots running back James White during a NFL football game against the Philadelphia Eagles at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass.Sunday, Dec. 6, 2015. (Winslow Townson/AP Images for Panini)

39. C.J. Prosise (Seattle Seahawks)– Another running back in a running back by committee situation, Prosise is a difficult player to rank. As the lead back on the Seahawks last year, Prosise rushed for 172 yards on only 30 attempts, averaging 5.7 yards per carry. The Seahawks also use him a lot in the passing game (208 receiving yards on only 17 receptions last season). After acquiring Eddie Lacy in the offseason, Prosise isn’t the lead back but given Lacy’s injury history and Prosise’s success as a number one back, if he gets his chance he’ll produce for you.

38. Giovanni Bernard (Cincinnati Bengals)– Bernard has the ability to be a great fantasy player this year. He was on the field for 394 of his team’s offensive snaps last season in 10 games and expect that to continue. He isn’t a three down back but he is used in the passing game as one of Andy Dalton’s primary weapons (at least 39 receptions every season since he’s been in the league). Don’t expect any breakouts this year, especially rushing behind Joe Mixon and Jeremy Hill, but if you’re looking for consistency (8.5 standard fantasy PPG last year) then draft Bernard.

37. Kenneth Dixon (Baltimore Ravens)– Coming off of a decent rookie season, riddled by injuries, Dixon is an interesting fantasy candidate this season. After rushing for 382 yards in 12 games, Dixon can take the lead back role this year. He will miss the first four games because of PED use, so his draft stock is low right now. Draft Dixon as a steal late, and wait for him to get back on the field.

36. Jamaal Charles (Denver Broncos)– A former first round pick in most fantasy leagues, Jamaal Charles is definitely past his prime. That doesn’t mean he still can’t produce RB3 numbers however. After only playing in eight games over the past two seasons, there is always risk coming with the draft pick of Jamaal Charles. From 2012-2014, Charles had three straight 1,000+ rushing seasons. Yes we all know the Broncos running back situation is hard to decipher but for the price Charles is going at right now, currently the 40th running back taken off draft boards, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t take him.

35. Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)– Doug Martin is fantasy frustration at it’s finest. Another former first round fantasy pick has had success and has struggled over the course of his career. If he can stay healthy he will produce. In the two seasons where he’s played all 16 games he’s eclipsed 1400 yards both times. He will be missing the first four games of the season, but with the revamped Tampa Bay offense, when he gets back there’s no reason why he shouldn’t produce and succeed. Draft Martin but handcuff Jacquizz Rodgers for some certainty.


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34. Adrian Peterson (New Orleans Saints)– After a very successful tenure in Minnesota, Adrian Peterson and the Vikings have parted ways and “All Day” now finds himself in New Orleans. Only two years ago Peterson rushed for 1485 yards and 11 touchdowns, so obviously he still has some juice left in the tank. Typically AP would be higher on this list but because of how pass-heavy the Saints offense is and Mark Ingram still on the roster, I don’t see Peterson being much higher.

33. Duke Johnson (Cleveland Browns)– Another running back who is primarily a receiving back, Duke Johnson has found some nice success in the NFL. After having a combined 872 yards last season and with the revamped Browns offensive line, Johnson should enjoy another good season. The only problem with his fantasy game is the lack of touchdowns Johnson has, only three in his career. Plus playing behind the breakout star, Isaiah Crowell, Johnson is no more than a RB3.

32. Ameer Abdullah (Detroit Lions)– Ameer Abdullah plays a crucial role in the Lions offense. Last season the Lions ran the ball 396 times and threw it 604 times, and Abdullah is important in both of those departments. The main rusher on the team and the second receiving running back behind Theo Riddick, if Abdullah can stay healthy he will produce for the lions and your fantasy team.

31. Danny Woodhead (Baltimore Ravens)– Standing at 5-foot-9, 200 pounds, Woodhead has put together a nice career with the Jets, Patriots and Chargers. Woodhead has been a reliable receiving option out of the backfield for quarterbacks such as Philip Rivers and Tom Brady, and now he travels to Baltimore to play with Joe Flacco. The thing it comes down to with Woodhead is health. Two years ago, playing 16 games, Woodhead rushed for 336 yards, caught for 755 yards and had a total of nine touchdowns. The production is there if the health is so it is a risky pick, but it could pay off big time.

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Running back rankings for the 2017 Fantasy Football season: 50-41

Probably the most coveted position in fantasy football, we are in the era of the running back. If you had players like Le’veon Bell, David Johnson, or Ezekiel Elliot on your team last year, you were probably in the playoffs and maybe even won your championship. These rankings can help you win your league and avoid some bad choices in your draft. Here are the Running back rankings for the 2017 Fantasy Football season: 50-41.

50. Jeremy Hill (Cincinnati Bengals)

For the past couple of years, Jeremy Hill has always been the guy who’s supposed to have a great year. After his breakout season in 2014 with 1,124 yards and 9 touchdowns, he hasn’t been the same.

http://rotoviz.com/2016/03/jeremy-hill-fantasy-3/?hvid=57gwhW

The touchdowns have been there (11 in 2015 and 9 last season) but he hasn’t had a 1,000 yard rushing season since. With the addition of Joe Mixon, Giovanni Bernard coming back and the depleted offensive line, I would avoid Jeremy Hill in drafts this year.

49. Latavius Murray (Minnesota Vikings)

Before the draft, Latavius Murray joined the Minnesota Vikings and I was intrigued. Once Dalvin Cook was drafted, Murray’s stocked dropped and Cook became the front runner to start for the Vikings.

He hit the injury bug a little bit last year when he missed two games but he still recorded 788 yards and 12 touchdowns. He split carries last year behind a great offensive line and now he’ll be splitting carries behind a worse offensive line. Murray is a good RB3 but nothing more.

48. Derrick Henry (Tennesse Titans)

I really like Derrick Henry this year. In the last 5 games of the season, Henry ran for more than 40 yards 3 times on minimal carries. His workload will increase this year and given Demarco Murray’s injury history, I’d stash Henry on your bench and wait it out.

http://titansized.com/2017/03/21/derrick-henry-needs-a-new-role-in-the-tennessee-titans-offense/

47. Samaje Perine (Washington Redskins)

I absolutely love Perine this year. After rushing for over 1700 yards and 21 touchdowns at Oklahoma this past season, the Washington Redskins drafted Perine with the 114th overall pick.

After running a 4.65 40 yard dash, scouts saw that he was a tough runner who could handle a big workload, which just may happen for him in Washington. The Redskins are trying to deal Matt Jones, and will use a Running back by committee, but Perine is that running back to own.

46. Jacquizz Rodgers (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

Rodgers in an interesting fantasy candidate this year. Doug Martin is suspended four games and Charles Sims coming off of a torn pectoral. Rodgers will be the lead back for the start of the season. When Rodgers got at least 15 carries a game last season, he always got more than 60 yards. I would draft Rodgers for the first four games while Martin is suspended and then keep him on your bench for the rest of the season.

45. Wendall Smallwood (Philadelphia Eagles)

Smallwood reminds me a lot of his teammate Darren Sproles. Last year Sproles had a career resurgence but I think this year Smallwood will fill his shoes. After averaging 4.05 yards a carry as the 3rd running back theres no reason why he shouldn’t be able to do that in a bigger workload as the consistent third town back. He won’t get you many touchdowns but the yards will be there.

44. LaGarrette Blount (Philadelphia Eagles)

Back to back Eagles running backs, just this time I’m talking about the workhorse back. After winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots, Blount rushed for 1,161 yards and 18 touchdowns. The free agent market for the aging running back was slim but i think the powerful runner still has something left in the tank. The Eagles ran the ball on 40% of their plays last season without a feature back. Now Doug Pederson has his running back and good things will come from it.

Legarrette Blount racked up 69 yards rushing and three touchdowns in Sunday’s loss to Seattle.

43. Terrence West (Baltimore Ravens)

After a nice year with the Ravens, rushing for 774 yards and 5 touchdowns, West should have a bit of a fall in 2017. With the addition of Danny Woodhead and the emergence of Kenneth Dixon, I don’t see West being anything special this season. Dixon is suspended however so West could be good for four games but after that I wouldn’t keep West on your team.

42. Matt Forte (New York Jets)

Running backs may be the only good thing that the New York Jets have on they team anymore. Forte and Bilal Powel provide a strong one-two punch but in this case, Forte is the worse choice of the two. A former first round pick in fantasy football, Forte is still a good running back, but with his age and his injury history (hasn’t played a full season since 2014), I’d stay away from him this year.

41. Jonathan Stewart (Carolina Panthers)

When the Panthers went 15-1 in 2015, Stewart had a great year, rushing for 989 yards and 6 touchdowns. Last year we saw his production decrease a little bit. With the poor play of Carolina’s offensive line, Stewart rushed for about 200 less yards. He did have 3 more touchdowns, but with the addition of Christian McCaffrey, I see his production decreasing even more. Add that to the fact that J-Stew hasn’t played a full season since 2011. Don’t take Stewart too early but if he’s there for the right price then snag him.

 

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Dak Prescott

NFL quarterbacks under the most pressure in 2017

In recent years, it has become increasingly obvious that quarterback is the most important position in NFL football. While the goal of leading the team to wins is the same for all 32 starters in the league, the circumstances and context under which they play are all very different. Here are some NFL quarterbacks under pressure to produce heading into the 2017 season.

Andy Dalton– Dalton’s impact on the Bengals franchise has been largely positive. Last year, he and the Bengals missed the playoffs for the first time in Dalton’s still relatively young career. He has thrown almost twice as many touchdowns as interceptions.

However, the reality is until he delivers this franchise a long-awaited playoff win, he will show up on any list like this. There is one additional detail that complicates Dalton’s situation for the upcoming season. Backup quarterback A.J. McCarron’s contract situation is murky, but he may be available via free agency after the 2017 season.

NFL quarterbacks under pressure

Photo: cincyjungle.com

The former Alabama signal caller has proven to be very capable when filling in for Dalton. He got closer than Dalton ever did to a playoff win two years ago against the Steelers. Several quarterback-needy teams would be interested should he become available.

As a native Cincinnatian, I can tell you that the Bengals’ resistance to making coach and player changes is the subject of a lot of comedy around town.

Even so, should Dalton and the team struggle again like they did last year, the threat of McCarron leaving may force Cincinnati into choosing one of the two quarterbacks. If Cincinnati gets off to a rough start, the coaching staff taking an extended look at McCarron as the starter is not unrealistic.

Jared Goff- You can pick whatever metric you want. The fact is Goff was flat-out atrocious when finally given the chance to start during his rookie season. While it is very true he did not have much talent around him, a completion percentage of under 55 and more interceptions than touchdowns speaks for itself.

NFL quarterbacks under pressure

Photo: turfshowtimes.com

In some cases, those numbers for a rookie quarterback on a bad team might not be too worrisome. However, virtually the entire front office and coaching regime that traded up to pick Goff first overall has been fired.

The new management has no attachment to Goff and is well aware that the Rams must show significant improvement in their second year back in Los Angeles. The franchise is struggling to become relevant again in the crowded Los Angeles sports scene.

With Wade Phillips now coordinating what was already a playoff-caliber defense, Goff must step up to the plate and at least be a serviceable quarterback this year.

Life is not always fair in the NFL. If Goff does not improve dramatically this year, he is likely headed down the path of guys like David Carr and JaMarcus Russell.

Goff still does not have much to work with on the offensive side of the ball. Running back Todd Gurley was neutralized last year because the Rams had no passing offense to speak of. The addition of young offensive guru Sean McVay as head coach is a wildcard. It will be up to him to turn this offense into something that looks like it belongs on an NFL field. It all starts and ends with Goff, one way or the other.

Cam Newton– Is he the MVP that ran rough shot over the league until running into the 2015 Broncos in Super Bowl 50? Or is he the inaccurate turnover machine that became a bit of a problem child late last season? 2017 is a big swing year for Cam Newton.

NFL quarterbacks under pressure

Photo: charlottestories.com

It should be noted that Newton had surgery to repair a partial rotator cuff tear following last season. Only he knows how much that affected him, but it certainly could not have helped matters.

The versatility of rookie running back Christian McCaffrey should be a big help to the charismatic signal caller. Improvement in the secondary will also be key to the Panthers ability to bounce back from last year’s hugely disappointing six-win campaign.

Much like every other quarterback on this list though, Newton will get all the credit or all blame. That is just the way it works in the NFL today.

Dak Prescott– Prescott was the inspiration for this article. The pressure on him for 2017 almost cannot be put into words. He is now the unquestioned starter for one of the most recognizable franchises in sports. His spectacular rookie season is perhaps the single biggest reason why borderline Hall of Famer Tony Romo is now a broadcaster.

We know the Ezekiel Elliott led running game and offensive line are fantastic, but Prescott in year two is a massive question mark. From Robert Griffin III to the option and wildcat offenses, we have seen so many things set the league on fire one year only to fade away the next. The defensive coaches in this league usually adapt over time.

Only time will tell if Prescott is different. For me, it is the most fascinating story of the upcoming season. There are two other factors to keep in mind for Prescott and the Cowboys. First, because of winning the division they will play a much tougher schedule than last year. Also, even in a year where he could seemingly do no wrong, Prescott was unable to get the Cowboys any closer to a Super Bowl than Romo ever did.

 

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Quarterback rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season: 10-1

Here’s the list you’ve all been waiting for… Quarterback Rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season: 10-1. This is the group of quarterbacks that most of you will have on your teams, especially if you’re in a 10-team league or an 8-team league. Many people have their own opinions concerning the top 3 quarterbacks that are on this list, but believe me if you can snag one of hose guys, don’t hesitate.
10. Jameis Winston (Tampa Bay Buccaneers)- Jameis is only going to get better. New targets such as OJ Howard, and Desean Jackson will team up with Mike Evans for the new look Tampa Bay offense this year. You might have to take him early, but Jameis is worth it.

(Photo: Don Juan Moore/Getty Images)

9. Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks)- Russell Wilson may be the most talented quarterback in the NFL. He just doesn’t have the wide receivers or offensive line to crack the top 5. Looking to run the ball more this season, the Seahawks brought in Eddie Lacy but didn’t do too much to address the problem at wideout. Other than Jimmy Graham and Doug Baldwin, Wilson is lacking targets. He’s never a risky pick so if you want to go safe go with Wilson.

8. Matthew Stafford (Detroit Lions)- Did Matt Stafford hit his peak last year? I sure think so. He’s a great player don’t get me wrong, and having Ameer Abdullah and Theo Riddick at full health will help, but I don’t see Stafford doing much better than last year. If you want to grab a elite level QB for the price of a second tier guy, Stafford is your man.

7. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)- I know what everyone is thinking, “Drew Brees deserves to be in the top 5!” Not this year. I can’t say anything bad about Brees except that he might hurt from the loss of Brandin Cooks. Michael Thomas will be great once again but it won’t be enough. I love Brees this year, I just believe that the other 6 quarterbacks will outplay him.

(http://sacrificefly.blogspot.com)

6. Matt Ryan (Atlanta Falcons)- Matt Ryan is an elite QB in the NFL. Mark my words because he will not be as good as he was last year. The dreaded super bowl hangover will haunt him and it will be hard to regain MVP status without Kyle Shanahan as his play caller. There’s nothing wrong with taking Matt Ryan this year, just don’t expect him to be a carbon copy of last year.

5. Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers)- Here is a prime example of a Super Bowl hangover. The combination of the big loss and the fact that he had to deal with a torn rotator cuff for the majority of the season, caused Cam to have the worst season of his career. Expect a bounce back year however. With new additions of Christian McCaffery and Curtis Samuel, the Panthers have the ability to have the most explosive offense in the NFL. The most important thing is if his offensive line can hold up.

4. Derek Carr (Oakland Raiders)- My way too early pick for MVP this year is Derek Carr. He’s young and hungry and looking for revenge from his early exit last year. Pair that with the receiving corps of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree and the addition of Marshawn Lynch, Carr is in for a huge year.

3. Andrew Luck (Indianapolis Colts)- Another player who could easily be number one on this list if he could stay healthy. Andrew Luck has the size, arm strength, and arm accuracy to be successful in the NFL. He just needs more targets. Get him those targets and he is my number one quarterback.

(Foxboro, MA, 01/18/15) New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady throws in the second quarter of the AFC Championship Game against the Indianapolis Colts at Gillette Stadium on Sunday, January 18, 2015. Staff Photo by Matt Stone

2. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)- This was by far the toughest decision I had to make. If you told me that Aaron Rodgers is the number one fantasy quarterback I’d have no problem with that, I just believe Brady is better. Rodgers has all the targets and a consistent offensive line, give him a legitimate running back and he’s my number one quarterback.

1. Tom Brady (New England Patriots)- Isn’t life just great for Tom Brady? Coming off his fifth super bowl win, he gets Brandin Cooks, Dwayne Allen and Rex Burkhead, all of whom will help out Brady immensely. Give the already best quarterback in the league a great offensive line and an influx of great receivers and running backs, he’s only going to get better.

 

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Quarterback rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season: 20-11

This wasn’t an easy list to come up with and this was probably the hardest part of writing it. The quarterback rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season numbers 20-11 mainly consist of the veterans and up and comers who aren’t quite ready to crack the top ten yet. These are the ideal quarterbacks that you would want to take if you like to wait to pick a QB, but the consistency does vary from player to player. This is arguably the most important group of quarterbacks for fantasy so read closely.

(Aug 11, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz (11) throws a pass against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the third quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports)

20. Joe Flacco (Baltimore Ravens)- Flacco is just frustrating. He’s got all the athletic ability to be great in this league but he plays a sloppy game and doesn’t have the greatest targets in the world. Danny Woodhead is a great pickup and will definitely help him out this year but unless you’re desperate, avoid Flacco.

19. Sam Bradford (Minnesota Vikings)- Don’t sleep on Sam Bradford, he’s a former number one overall pick and he is stacked with weapons this year and a brand new offensive line. He’ll get some help from players like Stefon Diggs, Adam Theilan, Michael Floyd, Kyle Rudolph, Dalvin Cook, and Latavius Murray. Need I say more? This Vikings offense could be scary this year.

18. Carson Wentz (Philadelphia Eagles)- Carson Wentz is the next great quarterback in the NFL, with weapons like Alshon Jeffery and Legarette Blount, Wentz is goning to be great, just not this year. He’s learning and that takes time so pass on Wentz in drafts this year but keep him on your radar.

17. Phillip Rivers (Los Angeles Chargers)- Rivers is the model of consistency in the NFL. He’s a good player and he has succeeded in the past but I think this is the turning point for Rivers. He’s 35 and his body can’t withstand the hits anymore. If he’s there for the right price, take him but don’t jump the gun on Phillip Rivers this year.

16. Ryan Tannehill (Miami Dolphins)- Tannehill had the best year of his career and I only expect him to get better. Adding new weapons like TE Julius Thomas will make him a better player. If you like him, I know I do, then take him late in your drafts, but just expect some hiccups along the way.

15. Eli Manning (New York Giants)- Let me just say that I am scared of the New York Giants. They have one of the best defenses in the league, and a 2x Super Bowl champion at QB…. who’s in for a big year. Bring him more targets like Brandon Marshall and Evan Engram and he will succeed, mark my words and take Eli when the time is right.

(http://muzul.com/style/eli-manning/)

14. Dak Prescott (Dallas Cowboys)- I’ll stay in the NFC East with this pick. Dak Prescott is a great NFL player, but I don’t think he deserves to be above other proven vets. You need constant reliable production out of your quarterback and I don’t believe that Dak Prescott will give that to you. If you’re the type of player to wait to pick a QB, Prescott may be your guy. Just don’t take him before the eighth round.

13. Kirk Cousins (Washington Redskins)- Kirk Cousins and Tyrelle Pryor? Yes please. Team him up with Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson and Jordan Reed, this Redskins offense looks dangerous. I’d like to put him higher on this list but if the injury prone receivers he works with go down, so does Cousins.

12. Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers)- If Big Ben stays healthy, he’s a top 10, maybe top five quarterback. But that’s a big if. He’s too risky for his ADP (Average draft position). The weapons pull me in but the injuries keep me away. Obviously if you’re at the point where you’re desperate for a quarterback, take Big Ben but don’t jump too early.

11. Marcus Mariota (Tennesse Titans)- I love Marcus Mariota. He’s one of the best redzone QB’s and is starting to develop some good chemistry with his targets like Delanie Walker, Demarco Murray, and Derrick Henry. Give him 2 more years and he’ll probably be in my top 5, just not yet. I’d fully advise taking Mariota this year.

 

Quarterbacks 32-21

Come back to see the top ten quarterbacks.

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Quarterback rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season: 32-21

In the NFL today, quarterbacks are easily the most important position on the field. With an elite quarterback, winning comes easily (just look at the Patriots). But in fantasy, the demand for the position just isn’t what it used to be. Today, we’ll take a look at my 2017 fantasy football quarterback rankings, starting with numbers 32-21.

These quarterback rankings are unlike the others you’ll find. They are based on a variety of things: athletic ability, arm accuracy, arm strength, strength of receivers and strength of offensive line.

Here’s the start to my early quarterback rankings for the 2017 fantasy football season.

32. Josh McCown (New York Jets)

What happened to the Josh McCown we saw four years ago? In 2013, McCown threw for 13 touchdowns and one interception with the Chicago Bears. Do I think that he still has the ability to put up decent numbers in the NFL? Yes, just not with the broken, receiver-less Jets.

31. Cody Kessler (Cleveland Browns)

I have hope for Cody Kessler or any starting quarterback for the Browns, as they have an improved offensive line and still have some decent weapons on the team. Kessler showed signs of improvement and potential last year, but doesn’t have enough experience to be higher on this list. Plus four fumbles in nine games. I’ll take my chances with a different quarterback in fantasy this year.

30. Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams)

I still believe that Jared Goff has the potential to be something great in the NFL, but is this year his year? I’m gonna have to say no. In an offense centered around young stud Todd Gurley, with minimal receiving help, Goff is just waiting for his time to come. I’m gonna say pass on Goff this year but keep him on your radar for the future.

29. Blake Bortles (Jacksonville Jaguars)

2017 fantasy football quarterback rankings

(Photo: USA Today)

I was big on Blake Bortles last year, but clearly things didn’t pan out. I know this is pretty low for a guy that finished in the top five for fantasy quarterbacks just two years ago, but I don’t believe what the Jaguars did this offseason is going to help Bortles. They brought in Leonard Fournette which makes me think they’re ready to go run-heavy, especially in the red zone. Be cautious with Bortles this year.

28. Brian Hoyer (San Francisco 49ers)

I like Brian Hoyer this year, just in fantasy football. Under Kyle Shanahan, I actually think Hoyer can make some noise in this league, as he’s got some big targets like Vance McDonald and Pierre Garcon. I just don’t believe that a quarterback leading a team to probably around four wins can do well in fantasy.

27. Mike Glennon (Chicago Bears)

The Bears were a little risky giving Glennon this much money after only a few career starts. With some nice weapons at his disposal, like Jordan Howard, Victor Cruz and Kevin White, I’d suggest keeping Glennon on your radar and picking him up on a top tier quarterback’s bye week depending on the matchup.

26. Trevor Siemian (Denver Broncos)

If I had one word to describe Trevor Siemian, it would probably be mediocre. He’s an average quarterback who will throw for 250 yards, a touchdown and a pick per game, letting the dirty Broncos defense do their work. Draft another quarterback, but consider Siemian on bye weeks due to his copious amounts of targets.

25. Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo Bills)

I don’t really understand the big hype around Tyrod Taylor this year. How will Taylor succeed so well in a run-first system? Coming off his huge year, Lesean McCoy will continue to get a majority of the touches while in the red zone the Bills will use their newly signed fullbacks. I see Tyrod Taylor being nothing special again this year, so keep him off your team.

24. Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)

2017 fantasy football quarterback rankings

(Photo: cincinnativseveryone.com)

Alright, I’ll be the first to say it: Carson Palmer is no longer a top-tier quarterback in the NFL. Going into this season with arguably the best running back in the NFL, Bruce Arians will probably focus on the running game this year. To make a long story short, stay away from Carson Palmer.

23. Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)

I really want to put Watson higher on this list but how can I do that when he has never thrown an NFL pass? With weapons like Lamar Miller, Deandre Hopkins and Will Fuller IV, Watson is in the perfect position to succeed. Stash Watson on your team and wait for him to breakout midway through the season.

22. Andy Dalton (Cincinnati Bengals)

I believe Andy Dalton is a good quarterback in the NFL and can be great. This year won’t be his year though. He has two huge targets in A.J. Green and Tyler Eifert, but his offensive line took a hit this offseason. Losing two starters is hard to replace and I believe Dalton will feel the pressure this season and it will affect his numbers in a negative way.

21. Alex Smith (Kansas City Chiefs)

Smith is the go to guy if your quarterback is on his bye week and you want to know you’ll get at least 12 points out of your fill-in. He’s not flashy and he doesn’t make big plays, but he’s safe with the ball and he makes the right decisions. If you want to wait to pick a quarterback late in your draft, Alex Smith is your guy.

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Cincinnati Bengals 2017 NFL Draft Profile

The ninth day of TGH Draftmas brings us to the Cincinnati Bengals’ draft profile.

Summary

The Bengals finished 6-9-1 last season, snapping a streak of five consecutive playoff appearances for the Bengals. This also marks the first time the team has missed the playoffs in the Andy Dalton era.  Fans are hoping this down year was due to injuries to stars like Tyler Eifert and A.J. Green, as well as the suspension of Vontez Burfict. However the disappointing season seems to have been more likely caused by decline after the loss of key free agents the previous offseason.

Cincinnati has had a quiet offseason so far as has been the trend in recent years. The coaching staff remains largely intact and the team has focused on trying to resign their own free agents as usual. Unfortunately, this trend of focusing on retaining their own players and signing veterans to team-friendly deals has backfired this offseason. The offensive line has been left in shambles with the departures of left tackle Andrew Whitworth and right guard Kevin Zeitler. The Bengals attempted to stop the bleeding with the signing of former right tackle Andre Smith, who is a marginal starter at best in this point of his career.

The only silver linings for the Bengals’ free agency were the resigning of Dre Kirkpatrick and the signing of Cardinals’ linebacker Kevin Minter. Resigning Dre Kirkpatrick was an absolute priority and he will return to lead a young secondary after finally putting together a strong season in 2016. The signing of Kevin Minter allowed the Bengals to finally part ways with Rey Maualuga and will help anchor the middle of the defense after the former 2nd round pick had a strong year for the Cardinals last year.

The Bengals have been one of the biggest losers of the offseason thus far. However the team has always made building through the draft a priority, a strategy that had seemed to work quite well until this year.

 

PICKS AND NEEDS

 The Bengals have 11 picks in the 2017 draft. Four of these picks are compensatory picks coming from the losses in last year’s free agency. With 11 picks the Bengals have some flexibility to move up or trade down. The Bengals have never been a team known to make moves on draft day and usually take the conservative route.

First Round: (1) No. 9

Second Round: (1) No. 41

Third Round: (1) No. 73

Fourth Round: (2) No. 116, No. 138

Fifth Round: (2) No. 153, No. 176

Sixth Round: (2) No. 193, No. 217

Seventh Round: (2) No. 227, No. 251

The Bengals will try to use these picks to help shore up a team who has lost a couple key players in the last two years and try to make another playoff run. I see the Bengals using a lot of their picks in the trenches this year, focusing on strengthening the offensive and defensive lines, with a receiver or safety taken at some point in the mid rounds.

Offensive Needs:

Offensive Tackles- The Bengals lost the anchor of their line with Whitworth’s departure. This need will probably not be addressed early on with a weak tackle class. The Bengals also signed Andre Smith and will probably give Cedric Ogbuehi and Jake Fisher one more year to figure things out after being their 2015 1st and 2nd round picks.

Right Guard– Kevin Zeitler left another huge hole on the line and will be hard to replace. Pro Football Focus has reported that Andre Smith could be moving to guard. This would fill the need, but it is to early to tell if he won’t be needed more at tackle.

Center– Russell Bodine has been one of the worst starting centers in the NFL over the last few seasons. With other good lineman no longer there to help him, an upgrade is needed to protect Andy Dalton.

Wide Receiver– Tyler Boyd showed a few flashes in his rookie year, but Brandon Lafell should not be a starter. Also it could not hurt to have more depth in case A.J. Green goes down again.

Defensive Needs:

Defensive End: The Bengals need another pass rusher to pair with Carlos Dunlap. Michael Johnson is a shell of the player he was before leaving for Tampa Bay.

Safety: The loss of Reggie Nelson could be felt last year as the have some problems on the back end

Defensive Tackle: Andrew Billings could be a good player coming back from an injury that caused him to miss his entire rookie year. However a little depth is still needed with the departure of Domata Peko.

 

Targets and Thoughts:

 Assuming there are no trades, these are the players the Bengals should target in the first three rounds of the 2017 NFL draft.

 

First Round Pick 9: Taco Charlton DE, Michigan

Taco Charlton is a very talented defensive end with great size and athleticism that many scouts see as a top ten talent. Many scouts have even compared him to the Bengals’ Carlos Dunlap, so who better to be across from for the next few years. I debated between Charlton and Tennessee defensive end Derek Barnett for this pick, but chose Charlton ultimately due to his better size.

Second Round Pick 41: Forrest Lamp OG/C, Western Kentucky

There is a good chance Lamp could slip into the second round, especially if the Falcons don’t take him a 31 overall. Lamp played left tackle in college, but projects as a guard or center in the NFL due to his lack of size. Lamp had great performances at both the Senior Bowl and the Combine, showing power at the point of attack and good feet in pass protection. His versatility would also good for a team that has many question marks going into the season on the offensive line. If Lamp is gone, Dan Feeney a guard from Indiana would also be good choice to fill a big need at this juncture.

Third Round Pick No. 73: Josh Jones S, NC State

Josh Jones is the type of big safety the Bengals need to pair with George Iloka. Jones comes in at 6’1” and runs a blazing 4.41 40 time. Strong safety is his natural position and would be a natural complement to Iloka at free safety.

Conclusion:

The Bengals should have a win now mentality when it comes to this draft and will select players that address immediate needs. The Bengals hope this years draft will help propel them back into the playoffs. However, after the loses of many veterans and leaders on both sides of the ball over the last two seasons, has the window of opportunity for the Bengals already closed?

 

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You can read all of the previous days of Draftmas below!

Draftmas Day 7: Los Angeles Chargers

Draftmas Day 8: Carolina Panthers

Silverdome

Motor City Memories: So Long Silverdome

It was announced earlier this week that the Pontiac Silverdome would be demolished later this year. The former home of the Detroit Lions and Pistons has not had a major sports tenant since 2001. Time marches on and business is business. However, it is always a bit sad to see these sports and entertainment landmarks go.

Before it meets the dynamite, here is a look back at some memories from the former jewel of the Motor City.

The Birth of “The Bad Boys”

Bad boys Pistons

Photo: nba.com

The Pistons called the Silverdome home from 1978-1988. The franchise never won much of anything prior to the hiring of Chuck Daly as head coach in 1983.

 

Daly had some players to work with. The shining star among them was Isiah Thomas. Bill Laimbeer and Vinnie Johnson were also there. Rick Mahorn, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, John Salley and Adrian Dantley soon followed through the draft and trades. Their physical brand of basketball and defense earned them the nickname “The Bad Boys.” They were never afraid to trash talk or commit a hard foul.

The Silverdome played host as the Pistons reached their inaugural Eastern Conference Finals in 1987 and the NBA Finals a year later. They would lose in seven games to Pat Riley’s Lakers.

The Pistons moved to their current home, The Palace of Auburn Hills, following the 1988 season. They christened that building by winning back-to-back NBA championships. The Palace may have seen the culmination of a mini dynasty, but the seeds were planted at the Silverdome.

Super Bowl XVI

Super Bowl XVI

Photo: 49ers.com

The most important pro football game ever played in the Silverdome, given the infamous history of the Lions, was Super Bowl XVI. The San Francisco 49ers, lead by Bill Walsh and Joe Montana, held off a late rally by the Cincinnati Bengals to win 26-21.

The NFC title game is more remembered because of “The Catch.” However, if the 49ers don’t win it all, that moment is diminished significantly. This Super Bowl was the true beginning of the 49ers’ 80s dynasty and the first of four Super Bowls for the Montana/Walsh combo.

           

The Career of Barry Sanders

The Lions called the Silverdome home from 1975-2001. The building saw just a single playoff win. However, the one thing Lions fans could always hang their hat on was Barry Sanders.

Sanders played home games in the Silverdome for his entire career. Sanders ranks third all-time in rushing yards and also made ten trips to the Pro Bowl. The home fans saw Sanders rush for 184 yards two days after Christmas in 1997 to cap off one of only seven 2000-yard rushing seasons in NFL history.

Sanders had so many breathtaking runs at the Silverdome that it is hard to pick just one. So, enjoy the montage below from the NFL’s YouTube channel.

 

WrestleMania III 

WrestleMania 3

Photo: pintrest.com

While pro wrestling stretches the definition of the word “sport,” you cannot talk about the Silverdome without talking about WrestleMania III.  The 1987 version of WWE’s biggest annual event packed the Silverdome with over 93,000 fans. It was an indoor sporting event attendance record that stood until 2010.

Most were there to see Hulk Hogan battle Andre the Giant in the main event. Hogan’s slam of the 520 pound mammoth is one of the most iconic moments in the history of American pop culture. At the time, wrestling was as mainstream as it has ever been. For many of today’s millennials, the Silverdome is forever known as where Hulk slammed Andre.

If buildings could talk, the Silverdome would have quite a tale to tell.

 

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