Andrew Luck fantasy outlook

Is Andrew out of fantasy Luck?

On Wednesday, Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck hit another setback. Colts General Manager Chris Ballard said that Luck is suffering from soreness in his surgically repaired shoulder. The soreness is so bad that he is receiving a cortisone shot.

“It’s natural, there’s going to be some pain and soreness when you’re rehabbing an injury,” Ballard said in a press conference on Wednesday. “And it’s been kinda coming along the whole time. It’s just one thing that hasn’t gone away. We’re going to shut it down and calm it down for now.”

He also did deny that they will put him on injured reserve but didn’t answer if he would return this season.

In fantasy, many who picked him hoped he could be part of the second half of the year. Now with the possibility of missing 2017, for those who haven’t cut Luck yet, it is time to do so now. And going forward, Luck should be no longer viewed as a must starter in fantasy.

Andrew Luck going forward

Andrew Luck hasn’t been all that lucky dealing with injuries. He has dealt with them since 2015 which started with a sprained shoulder. He suffered multiple injuries after the sprained shoulder including a lacerated kidney plus multiple muscle pulls in his abdomen in 2015, a frayed labrum in the preseason in 2016 and shoulder surgery in 2017.

Luck also suffered a concussion in 2016 in which he missed only one game. But the injuries since 2015 have been too many. And now with this setback, it’s hard to trust him going forward as your main quarterback in fantasy. However, he’s still Andrew Luck and we have seen what he’s done in the past.

Andrew Luck fantasy outlook

Andrew Luck (Photo by: colts.com)

Since his rookie season in 2012, Luck has ranked in the top 10 of quarterbacks four times out of six seasons and in the top five twice. He has been in the top 10 in passing yards three times and has been in the top five in passing touchdowns twice including the league leader in 2014 with 40.

He has proven consistent in fantasy but the injury problems have always been cause for concern. There’s no question he still can play through injuries as he has done before, but this injury has been nagging him since his surgery and has now suffered a serious setback.

Now I’m not saying he still isn’t a QB1 because he is. But he shouldn’t be an automatic QB1. With multiple injuries, he has been bitten with being injury prone. Now granted he played 15 games in 2016, but he has had some type of injury the past three years. There has to be some caution thinking about his health. But the talent level of Luck shouldn’t keep you away too much.

Jacoby Brissett Outlook

From this point on, Jacoby Brissett will remain the starter and will likely finish barring any injuries.

Andrew Luck fantasy outlook

Jacoby Brissett (Photo by sbnation.com)

Brissett has had a average 2017 season throwing for 1,209 passing yards, three touchdowns and three interceptions. He has also run for three touchdowns.

Since week 3, he has scored over 12 fantasy points. His best came in week 3 against the Browns with 29. This is in part to some success is his ability to run the ball himself. But we are now in the stretch and the three of the four defenses against the Colts are ranked in the top 10 against the quarterback.

Two of them are the best two in the league which are this week’s opponent the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Colts after that stretch still face some tough defenses including the Denver Broncos, the Buffalo Bills who rank third against quarterbacks and the Baltimore Ravens who are right behind him.

Brissett remains a low-end QB2 or likely remain in the wavier wire.

2018 outlook

Now it’s bad to think ahead at this point but, depending how he heals in the offseason, there should be caution when it comes to Luck. As mentioned he will probably not play in 2017 and will heal the shoulder for the 2018 season. He should remain a QB1 but have a quality backup depending how well his recovery is.

 

Featured image from kwbe.com.

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NFL Week 7 picks

Week 7 NFL picks against the spread

When taking point spreads into account, last week featured two of the biggest upsets in recent NFL history. Two double-digit underdogs won outright. My 6-8 record was okay, but not great. My season record now sits at 38-50-3.

The good news is the season is still fairly young. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing.

Thursday Night

Chiefs (-3) at Raiders – Do not read too much into Kansas City’s first loss last week. Pittsburgh is just a bad matchup for them. The Chiefs won both meetings with Oakland pretty convincingly last year. The Chiefs are better than last year and the Raiders are worse. Why would this meeting be any different? KC 24 Oak 13

Sunday

Cardinals at Rams (-3.5) (London) – Adrian Peterson’s Cardinals debut wildly exceeded expectations. It appears he will make this team much more dangerous going forward. However, the NFC is now wide open, and it can be argued that the Rams are the most complete team in the conference. They can hurt you on the ground and through the air. Additionally, their defensive front seven is as good as you will find anywhere. LAR 28 Ari 21

Ravens at Vikings (-5.5) – Both these defenses are really good. Both offenses make my head hurt at times. Despite quarterback chaos, Minnesota has been finding ways to win lately.

For Baltimore, Joe Flacco has four touchdowns and eight interceptions. Everything is dink and dunk. They have no vertical passing game to speak of. It is hard to win that way. Min 20 Bal 13   

Panthers (-3) at *Bears – With Mitch Trubisky now at quarterback, Chicago seems to have simplified the offense. They ran Jordan Howard until his legs just about fell off last week, but did so effectively. If that continues, Trubisky is capable of making a few big throws to win some games. The Bears may become the most underrated team in the league before long.

Carolina is weird. Just when it looks like they are back to the 2015 version, they lay an egg like they did last week against Philadelphia. I have no clue what to expect from them here. However, I suddenly really like what Chicago is doing. Chi 24 Car 20

NFL Week 7 picks

(Photo by NBC Sports)

Jaguars (-3) at *Colts – Leonard Fournette is unbelievable, and the Jacksonville defense is playing its guts out. Even so, until the Jags show they can win a game because of Blake Bortles rather than in spite of him, putting any faith in them makes me nervous. Ind 24 Jac 21

*Jets at Dolphins (-3) – The Dolphins offense is still sputtering. To their credit, they have managed to win in spite of that the last two weeks.  The problems persist though. Jay Cutler has not even thrown for 300 combined yards in those games. Miami is also facing the same defense that dismantled them just a few weeks ago. Also, the Jets are a pretty good football team. Playing New England to the wire last week should erase any lingering doubts about that. NYJ 20 Mia 17

Buccaneers at Bills (Pick em) – Jameis Winston is a question mark with a shoulder injury. So a pick ‘em line is all you are going to find until that gets clearer. As a whole though, the Bucs just do not seem ready for the big time. The roster may just be too young or lack leadership.

Either way, something is missing. In two road games this year, they have been dominated by Minnesota and Arizona. The Bills are on par with those teams and a decent home team in September and October. Buf 28 TB 21

Titans (-5.5) at Browns – Marcus Mariota may still not be fully healthy, but the Browns are just awful. It felt like the organization had made strides this offseason. Sadly for Cleveland fans, it is more of the same. Ten 21 Cle 10

Saints (-5.5) at Packers – This line has moved ten points since the Aaron Rodgers injury. If it turns out that Brett Hundley can play, the NFC North is still there for the taking. Despite that, having to score enough to keep up with Drew Brees and deal with a Saints defense that is suddenly getting sacks and turnovers is a tall order for your first full game as the starter. NO 34 GB 20.

Cowboys (-6) at *49ers – The Cowboys defense has been torched for over 30 points in each of its last two games. The 49ers string of close losses continued last week. Dallas just isn’t playing that well right now. The spark of rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard gets the 49ers over the hump and in the win column. SF 27 Dal 21

Bengals at Steelers (-5.5) – After winning in Kansas City last week, it appears reports of the Steelers demise were greatly exaggerated.  Force-feeding Le’Veon Bell is the formula for this team. They finally got back to that.

The Bengals have played much better since changing offensive coordinators. However, the Steelers are 27-9 against Cincinnati since 2000. It is foolish to ignore that. Pit 27 Cin 20  

NFL Week 7 picks

(Photo by behindthesteelcurtain.com)

*Broncos at Chargers (-1.5) – This line is shocking to me. Denver was humbled last week, and the Chargers are on a two-game winning streak.

Even so, outside of quarterback, the Broncos can at least match Los Angeles at every position. Denver is an easy team to figure out. If they run the ball effectively they win. If they do not, they lose. The Chargers rank dead last in rush defense.

Also, it was not a coincidence that the Chargers got their first wins on the road. Bronco fans always travel well. Thus, playing in a 27,000 seat soccer stadium in a market where the fans have yet to embrace the home team is once again a disadvantage for the Chargers. The Broncos have issues, but Vegas was too quick to bail on them here. Den 24 LAR 17

Seahawks (-5.5) at Giants – The Giants scored a big upset last week, but they are still a banged up mess. Coming off a big divisional win and a bye, Seattle appears to be finding its groove. The Giants defense is good enough to keep this relatively close. Big Blue managed to move the ball on a great defense last week, but lightning will not strike twice. Sea 20 NYG 13

Falcons at Patriots (-3.5) – The Patriots are still not clicking on all cylinders. They were fortunate to escape the Jets last week. Meanwhile, the Falcons are coming off consecutive home losses to Miami and Buffalo. Given that, it is hard to imagine them keeping it close on the road in New England. This is just not the same team as last year, particularly on offense. The Pats continue to win while being a work in progress. NE 31 Atl 20

Monday Night:

*Redskins at Eagles (-4.5) – The Eagles are very good and will remain a factor all year long. However, they are still a relatively young football team. Once the public starts singing a team’s praises, they become vulnerable to getting tripped up.

Also, the Redskins offense will trouble any defense it faces. They have taken much better care of the football after Philadelphia held them to 17 points in the season opener. Washington’s ground game has been better this year, but the passing game is their strength. That is Philadelphia’s defensive weakness. Was 23 Phi 17

 

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Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 7

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 7

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the number one priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself on studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 7 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-6

Overall: 45-45

Teams on byes: Detroit, Houston

Thursday Night

Kansas City Chiefs (5-1) @ Oakland Raiders (2-4):

Sunday Morning

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3) 20 @ Buffalo Bills (3-2) 23: This is one of the harder games to pick this week. Tampa Bay is underachieving while the Bills are overachieving. Buffalo is doing it with great defensive play giving up just 14.8 points per game, the best mark in the NFL. Tampa Bay is going to struggle offensively in this game. The Bills will defend home field to push themselves to four wins.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 7

(Photo Credit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cam_Newton)

Carolina Panthers (4-2) 34 @ Chicago Bears (2-4) 17: The Bears got a big road win but it happened against the Ravens making it seem less impressive. The Chicago defense is playing extremely well despite all their injuries. Stats do not tell the entire story of their defense. On the other side, Mitchell Trubisky still has a long way to go in his development. The Bears will continue to struggle through his development. Cam Newton will go into Chicago and keep the Panther train rolling toward the playoffs.

Baltimore Ravens (3-3) 10 @ Minnesota Vikings (4-2) 20: There is a chance this game sees less than 30 points total. Both teams are led by terrific defenses that don’t give up a lot of points. Minnesota is giving up 17.2 points while the Ravens are giving up 20.7. THe winner of this game will be determined by who has the better offense. Baltimore runs the ball well but Minnesota ranks third in stuffing the run allowing just 78.7 yards per game. The Vikings offense ranks 11th in total yards with 356 per game. Minnesota will make more plays on offense to win the game at home.

Tennessee Titans (3-3) 31 @ Cleveland Browns (0-5) 21: The Browns continue their quarterback carousel as the franchise remains a laughing stock. This week they get to face the Tennessee Titans who are battling to become the AFC South division leaders. The Titans are the fifth best rushing team in the league while the Browns actually excel in their rush defense. Marcus Mariota will be the difference as the Titans send the Browns to 0-6

New Orleans Saints (3-2) 38 @ Green Bay Packers (4-2) 28: The Packers are in trouble and everyone knows it. The offense will be left to Brett Hundley and the run game. Green Bay doesn’t have much of a run game at all and Hundley has very little experience to lean on. The defense can’t stop teams from throwing all over them allowing with all their injuries in the secondary. New Orleans has found their groove since starting 0-2. Drew Brees will throw for over 350 yards as he picks apart the Packers.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 7

(Photo Credit: http://nordic.businessinsider.com)

Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3) 23 @ Indianapolis Colts (2-4) 13: Leonard Fournette may not be fully healthy but it won’t matter. The Jaguars won’t need much offense to win this game. Jacksonville’s defense is the third best pass defense in the NFL allowing just 166 yards per game. Jacoby Brissett will struggle to complete passes on Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye. The Jags will get a ton of sacks and force at least three turnovers to keep pace in the race for the AFC South crown.

Arizona Cardinals (3-3) 27 @ Los Angeles Rams (4-2) 31: This will be one of the best games of the week as the Cardinals travel to Los Angeles. Adrian Peterson will be looking to continue last weeks hot start with his new team. It will be possible too as the Rams rank 29th in stopping the run giving up 139.5 yards per game. Los Angeles, on the other hand, has the highest scoring offense in the NFL. THe Rams are going to make the playoffs this year which is why they must win this game. Todd Gurley will outperform Adrian Peterson to lead his team to a big divisional win.

New York Jets (3-3) 20 @ Miami Dolphins (3-2) 13: Both the Dolphins and Jets are hard teams to figure out. They win games they shouldn’t and lose games everyone thinks they should win. They are two of the most inconsistent teams in the NFL. This will be the second matchup up and the Jets won the first meeting 20-6. This game will be more of the same. New York’s defense will stifle Jay Cutler and Jay Ajaya to sweep the Dolphins.

Saturday Afternoon

Dallas Cowboys (2-3) 34 @ San Francisco 49ers (0-6) 21: This is the perfect game for the Cowboys to spark a win streak. The 49ers are 0-6 and already looking forward to the next John Lynch draft class.  San Francisco only averages 18.8 points per game and it won’t be enough to keep up with the Cowboys offense. Ezekiel Elliot will have a huge day to open up the play action game for Dak Prescott.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks week 7

(Photo Credit: http://sports.gunaxin.com)

Seattle Seahawks (3-2) 16 @ New York Giants (1-5) 17: This is a huge trap game for the Seahawks. After their win against the Rams, many believe that Seattle is still a top team in the NFC and the favorites to win the west. The problems along the offensive line are not going away. Seattle also has to find a consistent running back that will be the workhorse. The Giants fought an insane amount of adversity to get an upset win against Denver. The defense finally dominated in a way that helped the offense. This is going to be a defensive battle that Eli finds a way to win.

Cincinnati Bengals (2-3) 16 @ Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) 19: Pittsburgh is coming off their biggest win of the season. Nobody saw this coming, but the Steelers have an elite defense that is holding up the offense. Pittsburgh has the best pass defense in the NFL allowing just 153.3 yards per game. The also only give up 17 points per game which is in the top five of all NFL teams. Cincinnati is also a defensive juggernaut ranking second in scoring defense allowing 16.6 points per game. This will be a low scoring game and a dogfight. The “Killer B’s” will make one more play to win the game.

Denver Broncos (3-2) 20 @ Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) 27: The first meeting between these two teams came down to the final play of the game. Denver blocked a Younghoe Koo field goal attempt that would have sent the game to overtime had it been converted. The Chargers will be looking to win this time at home. Denver is coming off an embarrassing loss to the Giants. If this game comes down to special teams then the Chargers will lose. This time though, Melvin Gordon has over 150 total yards and leads the Chargers to a seven-point win.

Sunday Night

Atlanta Falcons (3-2) 31 @ New England Patriots (4-2) 34: It is the rematch everyone has been waiting for. Everyone knows the story, the Falcons blew a 28-3 lead to lose the Super Bowl. The blown leads aren’t going away either because last week the Falcons blew a 17-0 lead against Miami. The stigma is still there and the hangover is starting to show its teeth. New England is struggling defensively giving up 26.5 points per game. It will be a shootout but Tom Brady will lead the Patriots to a win.

Monday Night

Washington Redskins (3-2) 21 @ Philadelphia Eagles (5-1) 31: The Eagles may be the best team in the NFL. They play great two-way football and are a well-balanced team. Philly’s defense must defend the run well this week as the Redskins average 122.8 yards per game. These two teams met in week one and the Eagles won on the road 30-17. Expect something very similar in this game. Carson Wentz will be the player of the game.

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Jay Ajayi fantasy football

Was week 6 a fresh start for Jay Ajayi?

One of last season’s biggest surprises was Miami Dolphins running back Jay Ajayi. After the signing of Arian Foster, Ajayi was bumped down on the depth chart to RB2.

After Foster decided to retire, Ajayi became the lead back, and the “Jay Train” took off from there. Ajayi became the fouth player in NFL history to rush for at least 200 yards in three games. He finished the season with 1,272 yards, eight touchdowns and an impressive average of 4.9 yards per carry. The beginning of this season hasn’t had the same result, but was week 6 a fresh start for Jay Ajayi?

Rough start

Ajayi, along with the entire Dolphins offense, has struggled mightily to start the 2017 NFL season. In five games Ajayi has had 102 rushing attempts to go along with a mere 391 yards. That equates to 3.8 yards per carry, one yard down from last year. Jay Train has struggled against subpar rush defenses like the Tennessee Titans, New Orleans Saints and New York Jets. Surprisingly, the defenses Ajayi has found success against have been Atlanta and the Los Angeles Chargers.

When given a heavy workload, we’ve seen the production we expect from Ajayi, including 26 carries for 130 yards against the Falcons and 28 rushes for 122 yards against the Chargers. However, his workload is inconsistent. In the other three games of his season, Ajayi didn’t have a game better than 3.8 yards per carry. He is the focal point of the Dolphins offense. When he is used like that, then we see great production.

Some of his inconsistency has come from the poor play of quarterback Jay Cutler. Cutler has struggled like he did in his last years in Chicago, but this time it’s affecting not only his receivers, but Ajayi as well. This rough start has affected fantasy owners through the first quarter of the season, but things are looking up.

Bounce Back

Was week six a fresh start for Jay Ajayi?

Featured Image by athlonsports.com

Fantasy owners were probably annoyed that Ajayi didn’t get a touchdown to cap off his solid day, but things are on the up and up. In the second half of the season, we get to have Ajayi against the Patriots lackluster rush defense twice and the Jets defense another time. Ajayi struggled against the Jets the first time they played this season, but Miami will be looking for revenge especially as a playoff contender.

Again, when Ajayi gets the work he deserves, he succeeds. In two games with over 25 carries, Jay Ajayi has averaged 4.4 yards per carry and 5.0 yards per carry, numbers similar to last season. Now the Dolphins do have the sixth hardest schedule in the NFL, but after they saw the success they had running the ball and with Cutler continuing to struggle, the Dolphins should look to run the ball more and more. The one who can benefit from that is Jay Ajayi.

For fantasy owners who considered shopping Ajayi to try and bulk up the rest of their team, hold off on that. Pro Football Focus gave Ajayi a grade of 91.0 from a game with 130 rushing yards. It is good to note that 96 of his yards came after contact, so when the holes weren’t there, Ajayi made the most of his opportunity and took the Falcons for a ride. Look for Ajayi to continue his success and reap the rewards.

 

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week six DFS don'ts

Week six DFS don’ts: Report Card

An interesting trend is starting to develop. It seems as though every three weeks I’m due for a dip in DFS profitability. Thus far, I’ve only failed to profit in weeks three and six. Does that mean I should just not play in weeks nine, twelve and fifteen? Of course not, if there’s a Sunday slate, I’ll play it. Let’s wrap up week six DFS don’ts with the dreaded report card.

Quarterback: 1/3

As some of you might have noticed, no week six DFS don’ts piece about quarterbacks. Sorry about that, won’t happen again. Anyways, Tom Brady came up just short of doubling his value against the Jets and Kevin Hogan was a huge disappointment. Thankfully, Kirk Cousins redeemed me by finishing as the top fantasy quarterback this weekend.

Running Back: 4/6

Not a bad week at the running back position. Leonard Fournette and Mark Ingram were great for my cash game lineups. Unfortunately, the Denver Broncos didn’t show up and that cost me huge with C.J. Andersen. As far as my week six DFS don’ts at this position, Carlos Hyde proved me wrong. I’m glad to see he’s reestablished himself as the lead back even if it was at my expense. Both Ameer Abdullah and Elijah McGuire failed miserably to double their value.

Wide Receiver: 2/5

I don’t count players who end up being out, so, I’m not counting DeVante Parker as part of my report card. DeAndre Hopkins and Chris Hogan shockingly didn’t produce double their value. I know DeSean Jackson didn’t technically double his value; however, I’m counting this as a win since he still managed to produce with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Brandin Cooks came so close to proving me wrong, whereas Demaryius Thomas blew me away with 10 catches for over 130 yards.

Tight End: 1/4

Martellus Bennett was an easy pick. If you couldn’t tell a week ago, you can now. He doesn’t produce in this offense. Darren Fells, despite a lack of targets, still managed to produce. He’s officially supplanted Eric Ebron and is a viable DFS option moving forward. Ryan Griffin and AJ Derby were also bad calls despite great matchups.

Kicker: 2/2

At least I’m continuing to pick this position correctly. Aaron Rodgers injury aside, I didn’t like Mason Crosby going into this week. However, I loved Wil Lutz this week and he more than doubled his value.

Defense: 1/2

I will apologize for everyone who listened to the Suck My DFS Podcast and picked Denver as their defense. They were incredibly disappointing. Thankfully, Jacksonville laid an egg at home as I predicted.

Overall Score: 11/22

50% isn’t great, but, there doesn’t seem to be a correlation between who I pick and how much money I win. The weeks I’ve won the most money, I haven’t been great on individual player picks, and vice versa. The best thing about this game is that we can quickly move on to the next week. Come back tomorrow for which kicker and defense you should avoid in week seven.

 

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

The NFL has the least predictable league in the country. Even with the countless injuries to the game’s biggest stars, it is hard to determine who is good, who is average and who is going to be picking in the top 10. Unless you’re the Browns, Giants or 49ers, we know those teams flat out stink. Still, the Giants upset the Broncos proving that in the NFL, any given Sunday is a truly viable slogan. With all the craziness and unpredictability happening in the NFL this season, it is difficult to rank the teams. Nobody ever agrees with power rankings as it is so this week’s rankings may cause an even bigger stir. Here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 7 edition.

32. Cleveland Browns (0-6)

Last week: 31 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Tennessee

Cleveland got a first-hand look at DeShaun Watson last week. They are kicking themselves seeing a guy they passed on leading the NFL in touchdown passes as a rookie. Cleveland may never find a guy to succeed at quarterback for them, there has to be some kind of a curse. Per usual, the Browns are terrible and the number one overall pick is a realistic possibility. The only question is how will they mess it up when it comes time to make the pick?

31. San Francisco 49ers (0-6)

Last week: 30 (-1)

Next game: home vs. Dallas

The 49ers are struggling through their rebuild but there is still a lot to be optimistic about looking toward the future. Their defense is going to be elite because John Lynch will continue to build the defense in upcoming drafts. The offense needs to build around Carlos Hyde who can be a workhorse for this offense. Until Lynch has two or three more drafts the Niners are going to be bottom feeders. If done right the wait will be worth it.

30. New York Giants (1-5)

Last week: 30 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Seattle

New York finally got a win, surprisingly against the Denver Broncos. The defense played lights out forcing two interceptions, returning one of them for touchdowns. The Giants also only allowed the Broncos to score 10 points. This was the defense many were expecting to see in the beginning of the season. New York was able to run the ball successfully too, which took pressure off Eli Manning. It was an unexpected win but it doesn’t change their season much. The Giants will still end up with a top 10 pick.

29. Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)

Last week: 29

Next game: home vs. Denver

The Chargers are a few plays away from being 4-2 but until they find a way to win more games they will remain low in these power rankings. They got a big win against Oakland but the Raiders seem to be trending the wrong way. If they find a way to beat Denver they will earn a ton of respect but that is a big if.

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-4)

Last week: 28 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

The Colts blew a lead against the Titans to fall to 2-4. There is little the Colts are doing well this season and though it sounds like a broken record, they won’t go anywhere without Andrew Luck. The positive note is that despite their struggles they are only one game back from first place. If Luck can return soon they can still find a way to win the division but as of now, they look like a team that will be picking top five come April.

27. Baltimore Ravens (3-3)

Last week: 20 (-7)

Next game: away vs. Minnesota

The Ravens lost to Jacksonville 44-7 but this loss to the Bears is a season-low for them. Baltimore is only scoring 19 points per game and the offense can’t pass the ball. The Ravens rank 31st in passing yards per game with 159.7. Opposing teams can load the box to stop the run and fear nothing else. The deeper the Ravens go into the season, the harder it will be to run and get wins behind a defense that will be on the field often.

26. New York Jets (3-3)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Miami

The Jets are playing better than many could have predicted and exceeded all expectations. It looked like the tank was in, but they are somehow 3-3. Most of what the Jets do, they do is relatively average. They rank 13th in points allowed (21.7 per game), 15th in passing yards allowed (219.2 per game), 18th in rushing offense (105.2), 22nd in passing yards (213.5 per game) and 21st in total offense (318.7 yards per game). New York isn’t the laughing stock we predicted They are an average team but they still aren’t a playoff team either.

25. Chicago Bears (2-4)

2017 NFL power rankings

(Photo Credit: http://www.sportingnews.com)

Last week: 25 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Carolina

Chicago got a huge road win in Baltimore in Mitchell Trubisky’s first ever road start in his second career start. It wasn’t pretty but the Bears played solid defense and ran for 231 yards to make life easy for their rookie quarterback. This is the formula for success in Chicago. Following this model will notch the Bears a couple of wins but they won’t be a player this season. This week the host Carolina and shutting down Cam Newton will be difficult. A win is possible but very unlikely.

24. Oakland Raiders (2-4)

Last week: 24 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Kansas City

Who are these imposters that have been wearing Raider jerseys since week three? After an impressive 2-0 start the Raiders have lost four straight games and are falling into a dangerous zone in the NFL. If they don’t right the ship soon they will not make the playoffs. Last year’s prolific offense is missing in action and there needs to be a missing person report filed for Amari Cooper. Cooper has 18 receptions for 146 yards and one touchdown. If the offense doesn’t find their groove then this team has no shot.

23. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Last week: 21 (-3)

Next game: away vs. Pittsburgh

The Bengals are coming off a bye and their next task is the Pittsburgh Steelers who beat the last undefeated team in the NFL. Cincy is eighth in the NFL in time of possession and that is going to be key this week in their game. If they can keep the Pittsburgh offense off the field there will be less opportunity for the triple B’s to hurt them. A win against the Steelers on the road could propel the Bengals to new heights.

22. Miami Dolphins (3-2)

Last week: 23 (-1)

Next game: home vs. New York Jets

The Dolphins are one of the most confusing teams in the NFL. They open the season in week two after a hurricane to beat the Chargers 19-17. They then lose consecutive games scoring a total of six points and got shut out by the Saints. Everyone knows the Saints don’t have a defense capable of great things. After those two atrocious weeks, they win against Tennessee and on the road in Atlanta. It remains to be seen if the Dolphins are pretenders or contenders.

21. Green Bay Packers (4-2)

Last week: 4 (-17)

Next game: home vs. New Orleans

The Packers’ season is done, put a fork in them now. Aaron Rodgers covered up a lot of the Packers deficiencies with his greatness. Without Rodgers, the Packers wouldn’t have beaten Dallas or Cincinnati. Rodgers led epic comeback drives to win those games that very few men in this world could lead. That is the difference from 4-2 and 2-4 for Green Bay. Moving forward the running game and defense are going to need to step up. Green Bay only averages 88.3 yards per game on the ground. The defense ranks 14th in the NFL in total yards. It is unlikely the Packers improve in these areas well enough to keep the season alive.

20. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-3)

Last week: 18 (-2)

Next game: away vs. Buffalo

Tampa Bay had high expectations for this season but have fallen to 2-3 after their loss to Arizona. They couldn’t slow down Adrian Peterson who ran for 134 yards. This team will continue to struggle as long as they give up 403.4 yards per game. Their secondary deserves most of the blame for giving up 301.6 yards per game. They don’t have to worry about a dangerous passing attack against Buffalo but going into Buffalo is still going to be difficult.

19. Denver Broncos (3-2)

Last week: 5 (-14)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Denver looked horrendous against the winless New York Giants. They couldn’t stop the run against a team that had only been averaging 77.8 yards per game. The defense needs to get back to stopping the run to force teams into passing situations so that their deadly pass rush can be effectively. Offensively Trevor Siemian is proving to be an average quarterback. Denver needs to find someone who teams are scared of or they will continue to struggle offensively.

18. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-3)

Last week: 10 (-8)

Next game: away vs. Indianapolis

Jacksonville seems to be in the beginning stages of greatness. They are still learning how to win. The defense is on its way to becoming Super Bowl elite thanks to their awesome secondary. Jacksonville has the third ranked passing defense in the NFL giving up just 166 yards per game through the air. To become a truly dominant defense the front seven need to stop the run. That is their biggest issue as they give up 145.7 yards per game. They also need to continue feeding the beast in the backfield. If they do that they can find a way into the playoffs.

17. Arizona Cardinals (3-3)

2017 NFL power rankings: week 7

(Photo Credit:https://www.si.com)

Last week: 27 (+10)

Next game: away vs. Los Angeles Rams

It would be an understatement to say that Adrian Peterson sparked this team. He flat out ignited the offense and it led to a win against Tampa Bay who was a very popular pick to make the playoffs. Peterson had 27 carries in his first four games this season but got 26 this week for the Cardinals. He ran for 134 yards and two touchdowns as well. If he maintains this type of production he will end up in the M.V.P race. Let’s see if he can keep this up this week against the Rams weak run defense which ranks 29th in the league.

16. Washington Redskins (3-2)

Last week: 19 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Philadelphia

The Redskins are coming off a bye week and their next opponent is the red-hot Philadelphia Eagles. These two teams already met this season once in Washington and it didn’t go well for the Redskins. Philly won the game 30-17 by scoring 11 points in the fourth quarter. Washington is going to try and run the ball to control the clock and win this game but it is unlikely. The Redskins are not going to stay this high unless they find a way to win in Philadelphia.

15. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Last week: 8 (-7)

Next game: away vs. San Francisco

Some may think it is unfair for the Cowboys to fall so far after a bye week but there are reasons for it. First off, there are teams that had a chance to show they were better and some teams, like the Vikings, Saints and Rams, look like better teams. The second reason is that the Ezekiel Elliot drama is ongoing. They should still win against San Francisco but catching Philly is going to be a season long challenge.

14. Detroit Lions (3-3)

Last week: 8 (-8)

Next game: Bye

The Lions couldn’t ask for their bye at a better time. It is time for them to regroup. Detroit has a very good shot at winning the NFC North after the Vikings knocked out Aaron Rodgers for the season. The Lions have also already beaten the Vikings in Minnesota. After this break they need to come out firing. There are points where this defense looks great. There are also times the offense looks great but they need to get it all clicking together. Detroit can still prove to be a playoff team but they better end this losing streak after the bye week.

13. Tennessee Titans (3-3)

Last week: 15 (+2)

Next game: away vs. Cleveland

It took a while but the Titans finally started rolling in the second half against Indianapolis. Marcus Mariota shook off the rust to throw for over 300 yards. Mariota connected with Taiwan Taylor on a 53 yard touchdown with 5:29 remaining in the game to give the Titans the lead before Derek Henry sealed the game with a 72 yard touchdown run. This team got a big win before they head to Cleveland. This is the point in the season where they start the train towards the playoffs.

12. Atlanta Falcons (3-2)

Last week: 7 (-5)

Next game: away vs. New England

I tried to tell people Atlanta wouldn’t make the playoffs this season because of their epic collapse in the Super Bowl. At some point they were going to be in a situation where their palms would get sweaty and those horrible memories would creep back into the front of their mind. That happened when they got a 17-0 lead at home against Miami. The Falcons blew a 17-0 lead and lost 20-17. Now maybe they were looking ahead to their matchup against New England but either way the loss was painful. They can’t afford games like that solely due to the psychological effect it will have. Hopefully they don’t blow a huge lead in New England because if they do this team will never recover.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Last week: 11 (no change)

Next game: away vs. New York Giants

Seattle is also coming off a bye week and no matter what they did during that time, it isn’t going to fix their offensive line. Until that happens the Seahawks are a fringe top 10 team. The defense is still doing great things like only allowing 17.4 points per game which currently ranks sixth. The Legion of Boom is still the team’s identity. This week they face a Giants team coming off their first win of the season. It will be tough for Seattle to fly across the county and get a win despite the how bad the Giants are. They can’t take them lightly or they will lose and fall greatly in the rankings.

10. New Orleans Saints (3-2)

Last week: 22 (+12)

Next game: away vs. Green Bay

New Orleans is a completely different team than the one that started out 0-2. The defense has looked somewhat better but the offense seems to be rolling. Drew Brees is leading the offense to 29 points per game behind his 258.4 passing yards per game. This week they get to face Green Bay who’s secondary is decimated by injury. It should create a huge advantage for the Saints and they can continue their winning streak.

9. Houston Texans (3-3)

Last week: 17 (+8)

Next game: Bye

Deshaun Watson is slowly becoming a superstar. It is clear the man is going to be an electrifying player for years to come. Without him, this team would barely be competitive. The defense has suffered major injuries and is giving up 24.5 points per game. Watson is doing magical work with a bad offensive line. The Texans get a week off and once they return to playing they will be in the race for the AFC South crown.

8. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Last week: 9 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

Buffalo is coming off a bye and preparing to take on a Bucs team that cannot stop the run. Buffalo likes to run the ball but aren’t doing so as efficiently as they like averaging just 106.6 yards per game. This week LeSean McCoy will have a huge game. As the Bills try and control the clock the defense will have to defend for a fewer amount of plays making them fresher. They already have the number one scoring defense and with more rest, they could look even better. Buffalo is trending upwards and will fight for a playoff spot.

7. Los Angeles Rams (4-2)

Last week: 14 (+7)

Next game: home vs. Arizona

The Rams have the number one scoring offense in the NFL at 29.8 points per game. Todd Gurley is the engine of the offense and it is because of his play they have been successful on that side of the ball. Gurley has 521 yards on the ground and 245 yards receiving on the season. He puts a strain on opposing defenses, making the game easier for Jared Goff. Defensively, Wade Phillips has this team thriving in attacking the quarterback. Los Angeles is tied for second in the NFL in sacks. Next, they get Arizona in a divisional game. The Rams have the opportunity to stay ahead of the pack in the division if they can defend their home field.

6. Minnesota Vikings (4-2)

Last week: 13 (+7)

Next game: home vs. Baltimore

Minnesota just finds a way to keep the boat rowing. Despite constant injuries at the quarterback position, and other positions as well, the Vikings continue playing elite defense. Minnesota ranks fifth in points allowed per game (17.2), 14th in passing defense (216.8), third in rush defense (78.7) and fifth in total defense giving up 295.5 yards per game. With a defense this talented, the offense needs to just protect the ball and be average. Minnesota is doing more than that though averaging 356 yards per game which ranks 10th in the NFL. Now that Aaron Rodgers is out for the season the NFC North race is down to Minnesota and Detroit. The Vikings’ defense makes them the favorites to win it.

5. New England Patriots (4-2)

Last week: 6 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Atlanta

Don’t pay attention to New England and they will silently do what they always do. They will finish with 12 or more wins and be Super Bowl contenders. All paths to being a champion lead through the Patriots whether you’re in the AFC or NFC. This week they get another chance to play the Falcons in a Super Bowl rematch. The defense is really struggling ranking 30th or lower in points allowed, rush yards allowed, pass yards allowed and total yards allowed. It isn’t something to worry about because as proven in the past, the Patriots improve as the season progresses. They will be a top-five team for the rest of the season.

4. Carolina Panthers (4-2)

Last week: 3 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Chicago

The Panthers lost a tough game at home to the best team in the NFC. Carolina will use this as a learning experience to improve as a whole. They are in the top 10 in scoring defense giving up 20.3 points per game. This is helping the offense that is struggling to protect the ball. If the offense starts to protect the ball then the Panthers will become a scarier opponent. The Panthers should get an easy win this week in Chicago. If they lose this game then the panic may start on Carolina.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2)

Last week: 12 (+9)

Next game: home vs. Cincinnati

The Steelers are back after a huge road win in Arrowhead. Nobody is talking about it but the Pittsburgh defense is one of the best in the league right now. They give up just 17 points per game, fourth best in the NFL. The strength of the defense is the first ranked passing defense. The Steelers are only allowing 153.5 yards through the air. The offense will come around to complete this team as a true juggernaut.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (5-1)

Last week: 2 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Washington

The Eagles continue to roll on both sides of the ball. The offense has a prolific offense behind second-year quarterback Carson Wentz. Philly averages the third most yards in the NFL with 383.2 per game. The defense is also playing outstanding. They are the best run stuffing team allowing just 65.7 yards per game. If they continue dominating both sides of the ball then a Lombardi Trophy may be in the immediate future.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-1)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

There is no need to overact to the loss the Chiefs suffered this past week. They weren’t going to go undefeated and they lost to a team that will be contending for the Super Bowl. Kansas City also should have won that game. They have to get over the hump of beating the Steelers because there is a good chance they meet them in the playoffs. But again, no need to overreact, they still have a good defense and extremely explosive offense. The Chiefs are still the best team in the NFL.

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Fantasy football week 6: Three waiver wire targets

The Ezekiel Elliott suspension is official. Now fantasy owners have to make up for his loss this week and for the next six weeks. Plus the Cowboys, Bengals, Seahawks and Bills are on a bye this week so players like A.J. Green, LeSean McCoy, Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin and many more won’t be in your lineup. Here’s three players who you can pick up that will help you fill those voids in your lineup this week.

QB- Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)

Once again, Carson Palmer makes this list. If you didn’t pick him up last week, you may be thinking that you avoided a bullet, but that’s not true. Carson Palmer continued his consistent season with 15 points against a stout Eagles defense. After passing for 291 yards and one touchdown, Carson Palmer jumped up to 12th on the quarterback rankings in standard scoring. Now Tampa Bay travels to Arizona to take on Palmer and the Cardinals.

fantasy football week 6: three waiver wire targets

Carson Palmer (Photo by: azcardinals.com)

The Tampa Bay defense is a good defense, but their strength is their front seven. They haven’t performed like they would’ve wanted to so far this year, but the main playmakers are on the defensive line and linebacker positions. The Bucs’ secondary has given up an average of 19 fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks including 27 to Case Keenum in week three.

With the addition of Adrian Peterson and the always reliable Larry Fitzgerald, look for Carson Palmer to have a big week against the Buccaneers in week six.

RB- Adrian Peterson (Arizona Cardinals)

If you need to fill a spot left by Ezekiel Elliott, look Peterson’s way. The Cardinals have been looking for someone to replace the injured David Johnson and they think that AP can be the guy. “All Day” struggled to get into a groove with New Orleans, but that’s because of the limited touches he’s received in the first five weeks of the season.

Again, the Buccaneers travel to Arizona where Peterson faces what I said was a tough defense. The Cardinals want to get their running game going and it is necessary if they want to win more games this season. This starts with Adrian Peterson. He’ll be new to the playbook and it may be a week before he gets going in Arizona, but he’s worth the pickup until David Johnson is healthy again.

WR- Sterling Shepard (New York Giants)

Tough week for the Giants. They lost not only Odell Beckham Jr., but also recently acquired Brandon Marshall. Add the injury to Dwayne Harris to that list, and the Giants become very, very thin. Someone who has to step up for them is Sterling Shepard. The second year wide receiver also went down last game with an ankle injury but seems to be ok.

Now I usually wouldn’t advise picking up a wide receiver who is playing the Denver Broncos defense, but the volume will be there for Shepard. With the run game basically non-existent for New York, Eli Manning has to take the game into his own hands, and he seems excited to work with his new group of receivers. Shepard will be the clear number one for the Giants and we can all assume that Eli will be looking for him a lot on Sunday.

 

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Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

Hagan’s Haus 2017 NFL picks week 6

Welcome to Hagan’s Haus, where football is the only thing that matters. You won’t find me in a church on Sunday because football is my religion and the number one priority in my life. I am so excited that the NFL season is finally back in action! I pride myself in studying the game of football. We can’t get all our picks or predictions right, but I am going to leave it here in the open every week for everyone to see. In Hagan’s Haus, it’s all about bragging rights. 

Who is the best? Because winning is the only thing that matters. We don’t get points for second place. I challenge you to post comments on your weekly picks and compare them to mine. This isn’t about point spreads. I will give a score prediction, but winning is winning. Doesn’t matter if it’s by an inch or a mile. So try and beat me in picking NFL games. I promise you it won’t be easy, but it will be fun. Here are Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 6 NFL picks.

Last week: 5-8

Overall: 37-39

Teams on byes: Buffalo, Cincinnati, Dallas, Seattle

Thursday Night

Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) @ Carolina Panthers (4-1):

Sunday Morning

Miami Dolphins (2-2) 13 @ Atlanta Falcons (3-1) 28: The Dolphins are trending in the wrong direction and maybe people will finally see that Jay Cutler is no solution to a problem under center. Miami averages just 251.3 yards per game resulting in just 10.3 points per game. It is going to take three times as many points to beat Atlanta who is averaging 26 points per game themselves. Matt Ryan is going to thoroughly outperform Jay Cutler to push Atlanta to 4-1.

Detroit Lions (3-2) 35 @ New Orleans Saints (2-2) 37: Detroit is coming off a home loss to the Panthers in which the game wasn’t as close as the score was. The Lions looked really good in the first three weeks but haven’t looked as good in the last two games. The Saints, on the other hand, have a two-game win streak and are coming off of a bye. This game has the feeling of a shootout and Drew Brees is a hard man to outscore. The Saints are favored by five points. They won’t cover the spread, but they will win sending the Lions to .500.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

(Photo Credit: Matt Blewett/The Minnesota Sports Report)

Green Bay Packers (4-1) 20 @ Minnesota (3-2) 24: Very few football minds will be picking the Vikings in this game, but this is really a 50-50 game, especially in Minnesota. The Vikings have a defense that has, at times, caused fits for Aaron Rodgers. They have held Rodgers under 15 points in two of the last three matchups. The one thing that could be tough for the Vikings is scoring. Their offense is missing key pieces and interchanging quarterbacks like socks. The defense must dominate for Minnesota to have a chance. They will be dominant and get the upset at home.

New England Patriots (3-2) 45 @ New York Jets (3-2) 17: New York was supposed to be winless but instead find themselves with three wins. It is extremely surprising that they are in this position but the surprises end here. New England is going to make a massive statement in this game. They will go to New York and put up 40 points behind a 350-yard performance from the great Tom Brady. This will be a blowout.

San Francisco 49ers (0-5) 20 @ Washington Redskins (2-2) 24: Personally, I don’t think the Redskins are all that good of a team this season but are 2-2 and get a chance to play a winless team at home which favors Washington. There will be a heavy dose of running from Washington clash as the Redskins have the seventh-ranked rushing attack and the 49ers give up 116.6 yards per game. San Francisco won’t be able to stop them and Washington will control the clock. This will be a close game on the scoreboard but the Redskins will dominate.

Chicago Bears (1-4) 24 @ Baltimore Ravens (3-2) 21: Bears fans should be smiling after last week. Mitchell Trubisky didn’t set the world on fire but showed tons of potential. Over time he will develop into a solid NFL quarterback. This week he has to face a good, stingy Raven defense. On the other side, the Ravens offense is one of the worst in the league which gives the Bears a chance. Due to the Ravens woeful offense, the Bears have a chance to win. Chicago is going to fly to Baltimore and get an upset behind a big game from Trubisky.

Cleveland Browns (0-5) 24 @ Houston Texans (2-3) 34: This is a great opportunity for DeShaun Watson to step on the field against the Browns and make them miserable for not selecting him in the draft. Watson is second in the NFL in touchdown passes and has looked really good. Sometimes the accuracy isn’t there but that is tolerable with his playmaking ability. Watson has another four-touchdown performance to make Brown fans puke.

Sunday Afternoon

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2) 34 @ Arizona Cardinals (2-3) 38: Arizona made huge waves this week trading for Adrian Peterson but will it help them on the field? Probably not in his first game. He has to learn the offense and the Bucs only give up 87.3 yards per game. There will be a lot of passing in this game as both teams struggle to run the ball and both are good at stopping the run. Jameis Winston has a younger arm and a better supporting cast so the Bucs will go to Arizona and get a big road win.

Hagan's Haus 2017 NFL picks (week 6)

(Photo Credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Los Angeles Rams (3-2) 24 @ Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2) 21: This game isn’t getting a ton of publicity but will be one of the best games of the week. The Rams have the fifth-ranked passing attack and the Jaguars have the third-ranked rush defense. If Los Angeles comes into the game planning to run they will win the game. Jacksonville gives up 146.4 rush yards per game, the second-worst in the NFL. Todd Gurley will have a career game and lead the Rams to a victory.

Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2) 27 @ Kansas City (5-0) 31: The struggling Steelers are heading into Arrowhead to face the best team in the NFL. Big Ben said he may not have it anymore which means he will probably light it up to prove a point. Even if Big Ben does so, the Chiefs offense is just way too explosive to shut down. At some point, Kareem Hunt will hit a wall and have a bad game but it won’t be this week.

Los Angeles Chargers (1-4) 21 @ Oakland Raiders (2-3) 24: The site of the game may change with the crazy wildfires burning in California. That type of uncertainty can affect both teams.  It is still up in the air if Derek Carr will play but the Raiders should win regardless. They are the better team. Oakland will finally get their running game going as the Chargers have the worst rush defense in the league, allowing 161.2 yards per game.

Sunday Night

New York Giants (0-5) 0 @ Denver Broncos (3-1) 24: There is not much of a summary needed on why the Broncos will the game. Denver will run all over the Giants defense in a game that shouldn’t be televised nationally. They are coming off a bye and have had two weeks to prepare for a Giants offense that can’t run the ball and has lost their receiving threats. Denver may even pull off a shutout in this game so that will be the prediction. A shutout.

Monday Night

Indianapolis Colts (2-3) 17 @ Tennessee Titans (2-3) 28: This is a must-win for both teams in order to stay in the divisional and playoff races. The Colts are trying to fight through the season until Andrew Luck can return to lead them. The Titans need to keep pace with Houston and Jacksonville to fulfill their preseason expectations of being a playoff team. Marcus Mariota is expected to play which will be the difference in the game. Titans move to .500 to keep pace in the AFC South.

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week six DFS don'ts

Week six DFS don’ts: Wide receiver

My week five was one to forget in terms of my wide receiver predictions. Yes, there were obvious calls I could have made, but I wanted to take some risks. I’ll be doing the same this week. However, I’ll try to make these more calculated. Let’s find out which players are my wide receiver edition of week six DFS don’ts.

Brandin Cooks: FanDuel Price $7,900

This pains me to say because I love Brandin Cooks. I was so excited when I found out he was traded to New England. However, there are problems with Cooks that emerged in last Thursday’s game against the Buccaneers.

As we all know, Rob Gronkowski was inactive in last week’s game. With Gronk out, we saw a shift towards the pass catching running backs and Danny Amendola. Cooks did see a season-high in targets, but it still failed to reach double digits. It’s clear that Chris Hogan is the number one receiving option in this offense going forward.

Offensive role aside, Cooks does not have a favorable matchup this week. Yes, I know they are playing the Jets. However, I’m referring to Cooks’ individual matchup versus Morris Claiborne. Claiborne has been deployed in shadow coverage every week since week two. According to Pro Football Focus, Claiborne has only been targeted 14 times since week two, allowing nine total catches for 95 yards.

We also have a track record of teams choosing to shadow Cooks over Hogan. In week four, James Bradberry shadowed Brandin Cooks on over 65 percent of the snaps. Bradberry was targeted six times, only surrendering three catches for 38 yards. Teams clearly see Cooks as the most talented wide receiver and are choosing to focus on him as opposed to Hogan or Amendola. If you want DFS shares of the Patriots, pivot to another receiver this week.

Demaryius Thomas: Fanduel price $6,800

week six DFS don'ts: wide receiver

Will Demaryius Thomas find a way to reach the end zone for the first time all season against the tough Giants secondary? (Photo: Denver Post)

2017 has been so disappointing thus far for Demaryius Thomas. Denver allocated resources in the offseason to build the offensive line and support Trevor Siemian, and it hasn’t translated to production for Thomas.

Granted, he’s had a solid floor in terms of point production. However, he failed miserably in a great matchup versus Oakland in week four. Thomas was only able to turn five targets into one catch for 11 yards.

This week’s matchup does not bode well for Thomas, or any Denver wide receiver. While the Giants are depleted on offense, they still have one of the best secondaries in the league. Another strike against Thomas is the 12-point spread.

This kind of spread indicates that the game will be over in the third quarter, or even by halftime. Meaning, the Broncos will look to sit on their lead and fee C.J. Anderson against a below average run defense. Consider other options in Thomas’ price range, as his matchup and role have landed him on my week six DFS don’ts.

DeVante Parker: FanDuel Price $6,000

You can attribute Parker’s place on this list to Jay Cutler. It’s embarrassing how poorly he played against a bad Titans defense. How on earth does a starting NFL quarterback not throw for 100 yards in a game in which they play all four quarters? Cutler failed to complete 50 percent of his passes, including one interception. His overall body language was disheartening and his interest in the game looked minimal. I don’t think anyone on the Dolphins offense has a chance to produce as long as Cutler remains the quarterback.

Parker’s health is also uncertain, as his status for Sunday’s game is questionable. Not all injuries are equal. Parker left the game with an ankle injury which can linger if not addressed immediately. If you really want to play Parker this week, keep checking practice reports and his official status as the week continues. Parker joins Thomas and Cooks on my week six DFS don’ts.

 

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NFL week 6 picks

NFL week 6 picks against the spread

It was another solid effort last week. I went 7-7 against the spread and called three outright upsets. My record for the year is now 32-42-3. My picks are bolded, outright upsets have an asterisk and all lines are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing. The beat goes on.

Thursday Night

Eagles at Panthers (-3) – What a way to kick off the week. Both teams are exceeding expectations. We could see this matchup again in January. These teams win by dominating up front on both sides of the ball and letting their franchise quarterbacks make plays.

This is a close call. The only logic I have is that Thursday night games are set up for the home teams to perform better. Car 28 Phi 24

Sunday

Bears at Ravens (-6) – Mitch Trubisky made some plays and kept Chicago in the game during his NFL debut. The Ravens’ offense still leaves a lot to be desired. Even so, any rookie quarterback going on the road to face the Baltimore defense is in deep trouble. Bal 24 Chi 13

Browns at Texans (-10) – So far, Deshaun Watson has not been special. I said it. His best performance was in a loss to New England. Last week, his offense was ran out of the stadium before Kansas City backed off in the fourth quarter. He also guided Houston to a dominant victory over a Titans team that faced Houston’s elite defense primarily with a backup quarterback.

NFL week 6 picks

Photo: express.co.uk

There is a difference between being special and just being better than anything the Texans franchise has ever had at quarterback. Don’t be fooled.

The Browns played their best half of football when Kevin Hogan finally replaced an ineffective DeShone Kizer last week. With Houston now missing several key pieces on defense, Hogan is set up to perform well again. The winless Browns will remain that way, but not by much. Hou 24 Cle 21

Lions at Saints (-6) – Despite their traditional late rally, Detroit was beaten soundly by Carolina last week. New Orleans comes in off a bye and with its defense playing pretty well for a change.

This game will be the true test to see if the Saints recent defensive uptick has staying power. If it does, the rest of the league is in trouble. Drew Brees at home is always a solid bet, especially if he gets any kind of help from the defense. NO 30 Det 20

Packers (-3.5) at Vikings – The Packers are rolling right now. Aaron Rodgers continues to amaze. For the Vikings, quarterback issues and the loss of rookie workhorse running back Dalvin Cook are making life on offense look really tough at the moment. Minnesota’s defense is good enough to keep this respectable, but it is tough to see how the offense can be productive enough to win this one. GB 27 Min 17

NFL week 6 picks

Photo: theringer.com

Patriots (-9.5) at Jets – One of these teams was predicted by many to go undefeated this year. The other was bound to go winless in the minds of a lot of folks. Yet, here they are battling for first place six weeks into the season. Sports are amazing.

Obviously, the reigning Super Bowl champions have more offensive firepower. However, every opponent has been able to find some level of offensive success against the Patriots defense this year. The Jets have a top ten rushing offense that should be able to do some damage here. Additionally, this game is always close, even when the Jets are playing for nothing but pride. They played New England to the wire late last year.

As they so often do, New England will find a way to win. However, with the Jets at home, anything over a touchdown in this matchup feels like easy money. NE 28 NYJ 20

Dolphins at Falcons (-11.5) – Miami got back on track last week. However, the outlook remains bleak for the Dolphins. Jay Cutler did not even throw for 100 yards last week. This week’s opponent is quarterbacked by Matt Ryan, not Matt Cassel and is going to put up a whole lot more than 10 points. At home, the Falcons have been held to 17 or fewer points just twice since November 2015.

Meanwhile, Miami has scored just 41 total points in four games this season. That includes a defensive touchdown from last week. With that kind of scoring, it is a miracle this team is .500 rather than winless. This game has the potential to be a blowout. Atl 35 Mia 13

49ers at Redskins (-10) – The winless 49ers have lost four consecutive games by three points or fewer. The Redskins’ offense is prolific and productive and coming off a bye. The 49ers will lose this one by a lot more than three points. A team from out west traveling east is often a component of a blowout as well. Was 31 SF 17

*Rams at Jaguars (-2.5) – Jacksonville’s defense might be the biggest surprise of the entire season to this point. However, in two of their three wins, Blake Bortles has failed to complete 15 passes. In the modern NFL, you cannot hide your quarterback to that extent and be a real threat. The Jags’ nice start is nothing more than a statistical anomaly for now.

Despite last week’s loss to division rival Seattle, the Rams are the much more complete football team here. This line shows you that even professional bookies overreact from time to time. LAR 24 Jac 14

Buccaneers (-2.5) at Cardinals – Anyone who tells you they know what is coming here is lying. Tampa Bay is a talented young football team that still makes a lot of silly mistakes and mental errors.

Arizona has the oldest roster in the league. After getting blown out by the Eagles last week, that roster looks ready to be put out to pasture. This is not 2009. Adrian Peterson will not change their fortunes. Tampa has more weapons to work with, but their two losses this year have been the kind that make a team tough to trust. I will nervously do so here. TB 23 Ari 17

*Steelers at Chiefs (-4.5) – This upset pick will probably raise some eyebrows. Often times though, when a team gets embarrassed like the Steelers did, they come back strong the next week.

Pittsburgh has been a model of stability for well over 30 years. Throw in the talent on the roster, and they have earned the benefit of the doubt for one more week. Moreover, Kansas City’s offense is off to an unbelievable start, but unless they are all-time great, they will come back down to earth very soon.

Even if this is not that week, Pittsburgh’s “Killer Bs” are more than capable of matching Kansas City in a shootout. Also, the Steelers are the far more desperate football team. Pit 34 KC 30    

*Chargers at Raiders (-4) – The Chargers finally finished a game and broke in to the win column last week. Oakland seems intent on rushing Derek Carr back from injury. After watching EJ Manuel last week, it is not hard to see why.

Even before the Carr injury, the Raiders’ offense had suddenly started to struggle in a big way. As long as Philip Rivers is around, the Chargers will always put up points. It is hard to have that same confidence in the Raiders right now. LAC 21 Oak 20

Giants at Broncos (-11.5) – Denver is fairly healthy and at home coming off a bye. The Broncos are a top 10 team in both rushing and stopping the run. The disastrous state of the Giants is well-documented. They are winless and their top three wide receivers are all down with injuries.

No one giving New York a chance here is understandable. However, the Giants still have a decent defense. Denver’s offense is pretty pedestrian. Blowouts are rare in the NFL, especially when the public expects them to happen. The Giants will keep this close, but ultimately find another way to lose. Den 22 NYG 14

Monday Night:

*Colts at Titans (-3) – With Marcus Mariota’s status still unclear, this is a tough game to find a line on at the moment. It will be another week of Jacoby Brissett at quarterback for the Colts. Brissett’s mobility helps hide the offensive line’s short comings and create something when nothing is there.

No matter who has been at quarterback for the Titans, they have struggled to score as of late. Indy’s offense is a bit more explosive and trustworthy at the moment. Ind 23 Ten 20

           

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