NFL head coach hires

How to help and how not to help an NFL quarterback

The NFL world is simply waiting on the Super Bowl for the next week or so. After that game, Matt Patricia and Josh McDaniels are expected to take the head coaching jobs in Detroit and Indianapolis respectively. This will fill the remaining head coaching vacancies in the league.

Like every other year, many of the new coaches are inheriting murky quarterback situations. Thus, it is hard to predict how they will fare until the quarterback questions are answered.

However, two of the new head coaches inherit no quarterback questions whatsoever. The Lions and Titans have quarterbacks that have been reasonably successful in the NFL, but need to get to the next level and start winning playoff games on a consistent basis. One of these teams is about to make the right hire for that to happen, and the other has already made the wrong one.

The right hire: Matt Patricia

NFL head coach hires

photo: freep.com

Like McDaniels and Indianapolis, Patricia will have to fight against the dismal head coaching track record of Patriots assistants over the years, including McDaniels. The good news is Patricia inherits something that many other new head coaches would kill for, Matthew Stafford.

Stafford has never won anything important in this league, but he has also rarely, if ever, been the problem in Detroit. He has thrown almost twice as many touchdown passes as interceptions in his career and flirts with throwing for 5,000 yards every year. It is beyond debate that Stafford can play at a high level.

The problem in Detroit in recent years has been defense, discipline and situational football. This year, Detroit narrowly missed out on the playoffs, finishing at 9-7. They lost games when they scored 24, 26 and 38 points. One or two more defensive stops and the Lions could have done damage in the playoffs.

The now famous Aaron Rodgers Hail Mary clip below from the NFL’s YouTube channel is also worth revisiting. This was a December game dripping with playoff implications. A facemask penalty gave the Packers an untimed down for a prayer into the end zone. The Lions inexplicably had defenders in the middle of the field on the final play and lost because of it.

Fortunately for Lions fans, Patricia cut his teeth on defense and comes from New England, where discipline and situational football are taught as well as they have ever been. Regardless of whether Patricia keeps highly regarded offensive coordinator Jim Bob Cooter or not, Stafford will continue to produce.

All Patricia has to do for the Lions to become factors when the weather gets cold every year is correct the mistakes detailed in the previous two paragraphs. Stafford has the talent to get this franchise where it wants to go. Moreover, Patricia has the pedigree and the specific knowledge the Lions need to make everything around its franchise quarterback just a little bit better.

The wrong hire: Mike Vrabel

NFL head coach hires

Photo: oregonlive.com

Yes, Mike Mularkey won the Titans a playoff game. However, Marcus Mariota threw more interceptions than touchdown passes this year. So, moving on from Mularkey in the hopes of finding a head coach who can better help develop a 24-year-old quarterback is perfectly reasonable.

What makes absolutely no sense is hiring a first time NFL head coach that has only spent one year as an NFL coordinator to accomplish the above goal. It makes even less sense when you add in the fact that Mike Vrabel’s one year as a coordinator was spent overseeing a defense that gave up a league worst 436 total points this year.

Now there is more to being an NFL head coach than just developing a young quarterback, but you do not have to be a genius to figure out that Vrabel does not have the background or the proven track record to get the best out of Mariota.

Vrabel has to pick the right offensive coordinator. If he does, he has a puncher’s chance of not crashing and burning in Tennessee. However, Titans fans should be nervous about Vrabel picking the offensive coordinator. He has already said he wants to put his young quarterback in a Chip Kelly style offense. Chip Kelly’s offense was nothing short of a complete disaster in the NFL. Why anyone would want to explore that again is beyond me, even though Mariota played for Kelly at Oregon.

Tennessee and Detroit are both franchises that have a great deal of hope tied to their franchise quarterbacks under the age of 30. The difference is the Lions organization has been holding Stafford back for years now. Conversely, Mariota is holding back the entire Titans franchise at the moment. Those are both very delicate situations to be in. Detroit made the perfect hire for its situation, while Tennessee completely whiffed.

 

Featured image from bigplay.com 

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NFL divisional playoffs picks

NFL divisional playoffs preview and picks

We were fortunate enough to get four reasonably competitive games to kick off the NFL playoffs last week. You can check out last week’s picks here.

For this week’s divisional playoffs, games will be picked both straight up and against the spread. Outright upsets have an asterisk. All point spreads are from rtsports.com at the time of my writing.

Postseason record- 3-1

Postseason record against the spread- 2-2

Saturday

Falcons at Eagles – For the first time since the NFL adopted its current playoff format, a sixth seed is favorite over a home standing top seed. This is not without merit though. Without Carson Wentz, the Eagles are just another average to below-average football team. In the final two games of the regular season, Philadelphia’s offense accounted for a grand total of 13 points, and the team as a whole was pushed around for long stretches by the non-playoff bound Cowboys and Raiders.

The above paragraph is not a good recipe for taking on the Falcons at the moment. Atlanta needed to win as much as humanly possible late in the regular season to keep its playoff hopes alive. The sudden death nature of the NFL playoffs changed nothing for them last week. They have been in that situation for almost 2 months.

Reigning MVP Matt Ryan and the offense are not quite the juggernaut they were last year, but they are still very good. What has sparked Atlanta’s late-season run as much as anything is defense. The Falcons have not surrendered more than 24 points in a game since Week 11. This includes holding the top-ranked scoring offense to just 13 points last week. If all the offense has to do is score in the high 20s, this team is tough to beat.

Apart from winning a shootout with the lowly Giants, the Eagles offense has not gotten anywhere close to the high 20s with backup quarterbacks since the injury to Wentz. Philadelphia’s defense is pretty good and has stood on its head in recent weeks to keep the Eagles in games. Thus, this will not be a blowout.

However, one of these teams is quarterbacked by Matt Ryan and the other by Nick Foles. Sometimes, it is just that simple.

Winner: Atlanta

Good bet: Falcons (-3) Atl 21 Phi 13

Titans at Patriots – Tennessee did a great job of making a few plays to pull off the big upset in Kansas City last week. However, that result had more to do with Kansas City’s collapse. If New England has a double-digit lead, whoever is playing running back will get the ball a lot more than 11 or 12 times.

NFL divisional playoffs picks

Photo from USA Today

You can’t help but be impressed with the resilience and toughness of Tennessee. That roster is not good enough to get to this point on talent alone. Different guys have stepped up for them all year long. Last week, it was Marcus Mariota playing with his head on a swivel to complete a touchdown pass to himself and Derrick Henry rushing for 156 yards in the absence of backfield mate DeMarco Murray that made the difference.

However, the Titans lack the firepower to really make the Patriots nervous in a playoff game. At this point, nothing more can be said about the greatness of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. They are 25-9 in playoff games. Moreover, only three of those nine losses have been at home. Tennessee will keep this close for a while with solid fundamental football, but New England will pull away late.

Winner: New England

Good bet: Patriots (-13) NE 34 Ten 20

Sunday

Jaguars at Steelers – Vegas is showing great restraint by making the Steelers only a seven-point favorite here. With the way the Jacksonville passing offense has looked for the last month, a double-digit spread would have been perfectly reasonable.

However, the Jacksonville defense has shut down some very good offenses this year. The Jaguars went in to Pittsburgh early in the year and intercepted Ben Roethlisberger five times in a route.

Also, there is more than one way to look at the performance of Blake Bortles last week. It is easy to say he threw for just 87 yards and therefore was completely awful, or you can commend him for his 88 rushing yards and ability to make enough plays for his team to win, even though he did not play very well.

Not very many people have subscribed to the second school of thought leading up to this game, but I am one of them. With a great supporting cast around him, Bortles is fine. Other than one or two games, Jacksonville has had no problem scoring points this year. Almost every offense is going to get shut down at least once or twice a year, no matter who the quarterback is.

Jacksonville is too good to get blown out. Any team that leads the league in rushing offense, as well as several defensive categories, is capable of going anywhere and beating anyone. However, Roethlisberger getting Antonio Brown back will be the difference in this one. Even if Brown is not fully healthy, his presence alone gives the vaunted Jacksonville defense another thing to worry about on a loaded Steelers offense.

Winner: Pittsburgh

Good Bet: Jaguars (+7) Pit 27 Jac 24

Saints at Vikings – No team was more impressive than New Orleans last week. All year, the Saints had done most of their damage by running the ball with Mark Ingram and Alvin Kamara. Carolina held that duo to under 50 combined rushing yards. The Saints still managed to win. Drew Brees showed us all why he is going to the Hall of Fame someday.

NFL divisional playoffs picks

Photo from si.com

Unless there is a truly dominant team, whoever wins the Super Bowl has to find a way to win a game or two where its best stuff is not working. There is no dominant NFL team this year, and that is exactly what the Saints did last week.

This week, the task is a little bit tougher as New Orleans goes on the road to face another very stout defensive unit in Minnesota. The vast majority of Minnesota’s success this year has come from backups, castoffs and other spare parts. Mike Zimmer and his staff have done an incredible job of getting the most out of Case Keenum. Keenum has nearly doubled his career touchdown passes this season. However, much like the other NFC matchup this weekend, it is foolish not to take the established star quarterback over the journeyman in playoff football.

Winner: New Orleans

Good Bet: *Saints (+ 5.5) NO 27 Min 20

 

Featured image from chiefs.com

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Stack your money Sundays: Week 10

Week 9 Review (1-1-1) Overall: 16-9-2

Los Angeles Rams (-3.5) @ New York Giants

Los Angeles Rams 51 New York Giants 17

What a romping. Once New York gave up a 52-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-33, this game was over. The Rams continue to run the ball with ease, and had their second game of the season in which they did not turn the ball over. Jared Goff threw for over 300 yards, his first time eclipsing 300 passing yards since week one. This was also Goff’s first career four-touchdown game. Los Angeles’ offensive line continues to dominate, as they did not allow a sack.

Not sure if this game was more about the Rams dominance or the Giants struggling. Ben McAdoo might lose his job, and Eli Manning will most likely be gone after next season. If the Giants continue their poor play, they will be in line for a top pick in next year’s draft, in which they could draft a future quarterback. No offense to Davis Webb, but I don’t see him as the future of this team.

Atlanta Falcons (-2) @ Carolina Panthers

Carolina Panthers 20 Atlanta Falcons 17

This is now two weeks in a row in which the Falcons have failed us. Atlanta is suffering from a serious Super Bowl hangover. A team that finished fifth in rushing yards a season ago, ran for a grand total of 53 yards against Carolina. The Falcons offense struggled on third down, and were unable to convert on all three of their fourth down conversion attempts.

MJ or Cam Newton? (SB Nation)

Cam Newton had a beautiful rushing touchdown in which he pulled off his inner MJ and dunked the ball as he crossed the goal line. However, this win was more about Carolina’s defense. They completely shut down the run, and now have the number one ranked defense in terms of yards allowed. They are allowing the fourth fewest points, second fewest rushing yards and sixth fewest passing yards. In other words, Carolina’s defense is elite.

Tennessee Titans (-3) @ Baltimore Ravens

Tennessee Titans 20 Baltimore Ravens 17

Our second push of the season. It really looked like the Titans had the cover in the bag until they gave up a last-minute touchdown, which cut their lead down to three. Going into this game, the Ravens were allowing over 130 yards on the ground, and all of a sudden, they limited the Titans, a powerful run team, to only 71 yards. Just shows how hard it is to predict some of these teams.

Solid win for Tennessee, as they move to 5-3 and are tied for first place in the AFC South. If they want to make some noise, the Titans defense needs to defend the pass better, and Mariota needs to step up his play.

WEEK 10 PICKS

Time to get back on track!

Minnesota Vikings (-1) @ Washington Redskins

PICK: VIKINGS TO COVER

WHY THE VIKINGS WILL SUCCEED

Case Keenum, average but efficient (Houston Chronicle)

  • Coming off a bye, extra week to prepare
  • Sixth in the league in third down conversions
  • Defense is legit: third fewest points per game allowed, fourth fewest yards, second fewest yards per play, second in opposing third down conversion percentage.
  • Allowing the fewest touchdowns per game, also rank third in opposing red zone scoring percentage on drives ending in a touchdown
  • Defend the run well, third fewest rushing yards allowed per game
  • Offense is efficient, seventh in completion percentage, fourth fewest turnovers.
  • Kai Forbath: 21/22 on FGA

WHY THE REDSKINS WILL STRUGGLE

  • 24th in opponent points per game
  • 19th in opposing third down conversions
  • Allow 4.2 yards per carry on the ground
  • Allow 6.7 yards per pass (20th in the NFL)

 

New England Patriots (-7.5) @ Denver Broncos

PICK: PATRIOTS TO COVER

WHY THE PATRIOTS WILL SUCCEED

  • Extra week to prepare because of bye
  • 12-5 under Belichick in game after a bye (Outscoring opponents 436-285 in those games)
  • seventh in points per game
  • third in the league in third down conversions
  • third in the league in yards per pass
  • fifth in completion percentage
  • Second fewest turnovers in the NFL

WHY THE BRONCOS WILL STRUGGLE

  • They don’t have a QB
  • Defense is 25th in points allowed per game
  • 22nd in points per game, 27th in completion percentage
  • 25th in yards
  • Second most turnovers in the league

 

New York Jets @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers (+2.5)

PICK: BUCCANEERS TO COVER

WHY THE BUCCANEERS WILL SUCCEED

  • Ryan Fitzpatrick has higher completion percentage, and higher QBR than Jameis Winston.
  • Tampa Bay ranks eighth in yards per play
  • second in passing yards per game
  • third fewest penalty yards per game

WHY THE JETS WILL STRUGGLE

  • 22nd in opponent yards per play
  • 24th in opponents yards per game
  • 30th in opponent touchdowns per game
  • 22nd in yards per game
  • Second most penalty yards per game

 

Featured image by ESPN.com

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Week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Report card

Week 9 was the first time all season I cashed when the week number was a multiple of 3. I know, why would anyone keep track of that? Well, when you lose badly on Week 3 and 6, you are highly aware of Week 9, 12, 15 moving forward.

Anyways, it was my best week of the year in terms of profit and picks. We nailed almost everything on the Suck My DFS Podcast and our picks for the Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Quarterback: 4/6

On our podcast, my three quarterbacks to build around were Russell Wilson, Alex Smith and Jared Goff. Now, I ended up not playing Alex Smith on my cash games and taking my co-host’s advice on Jacoby Brissett in my tournaments. I missed out on a great game from Goff, but still managed to have a good day as all three of these quarterbacks made value in cash games and probably helped you win a tournament.

On the other hand, Matt Ryan and Marcus Mariota managed to have good games and prove me wrong. However, Brock Osweiler was not good. It might seem cheap, but I saw tournament lineups on FanDuel with Osweiler so I’m counting it as a win.

Running Back: 4/6

I was struggling to predict the running back position all season. But finally, in the running back edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts, I came through. Devonta Freeman, C.J. Anderson and Alex Collins all failed to make value in a cash game, and I couldn’t be happier.

Conversely, Todd Gurley and Christian McCaffrey were great. Gurley was a staple in my tournament lineups.

Sadly, I whiffed on Mark Ingram while my co-host nailed it with Alvin Kamara. Thankfully, Gurley carried my lineups to victory.

Wide Receiver: 4/6

Mike Evans, Michael Thomas and Larry Fitzgerald all failed to make value. I’m not counting Jamison Crowder. He ended up not being active, so I won’t count that as a win or a loss.

Thank goodness for that Tyreek Hill play at the end of the first half! I haven’t sweated a game harder all year. While that play was great, Hill came up just short of doubling his value for cash purposes, so that’s a loss.

I don’t know if you heard, but T.Y. Hilton had a decent game, right? His price was too attractive this week and forced me to play him on all my tournament lineups. Russell Shepard ended up being a dud, but not a bad week as a whole though.

Tight End: 3/5

For my Week 9 DFS don’ts at the tight end position, I named Travis Kelce, Jimmy Graham and Ryan Griffin. Kelce had a great game and finished as the second highest scoring tight end on Sunday. Graham and Griffin both came up short.

On the podcast, I liked Evan Engram and Vernon Davis. Like Tyreek Hill, Davis came up less than a point short of making value in a cash game. I sadly played Jack Doyle instead of Engram. I couldn’t find a way to fit him in at that price despite really liking him.

Kicker: 1/3

This was my worst call of the season at this position. I totally missed on Brandon McManus, but I wasn’t going anywhere near that Denver offense. Mike Nugent came up very small, but he wasn’t needed. Cody Parkey didn’t make value, so that’s my only win at this position.

Defense: 2/3

Jacksonville was the chalk this past weekend, and I was happy to swallow it on all my lineups. Cincinnati wasn’t able to get it done against a running game without Leonard Fournette. And, if not for a touchdown, Houston’s defense would have failed to make value as well.

Overall Score: 18/29

I don’t know if I’ll have a week this good again, but I’ll take 62 percent correct. Hopefully Week 10 will be as good. Check out our latest piece on which kicker(s) and defense(s) to keep off your DFS lineups.

 

Featured image from Grizzly Bear Blues

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week 9 DFS don'ts

Week 9 DFS don’ts: Quarterback

If you are trying to cash in a large GPP or finish in the money in all of your cash games, you have to make value at the quarterback position. What do I mean? I mean your quarterback at an absolute minimum has to double his value. So, let’s examine which quarterbacks, beyond the obvious players like Carson Wentz and Andy Dalton, are not likely to double their value. Let’s find out which quarterbacks we need to keep off our lineups in the quarterback edition of Week 9 DFS don’ts.

Marcus Mariota: FanDuel Price $7,800

Despite Marcus Mariota being completely healthy, he’s not someone to consider this week. We traditionally love quarterbacks with rushing upside because they have a higher floor than most quarterbacks. Mariota absolutely fits that description, but it won’t be enough this week.

The Baltimore Ravens have been unbelievable against quarterbacks this season. They have only allowed one quarterback to throw for multiple touchdowns in a game. That quarterback was Blake Bortles, and that game took place in London. What I’m getting at is that performance was an outlier and not who the Ravens are. This defense has also held their past four opponents to under 200 net passing yards. This defense also has a top 10 corner, according to Pro Football Focus, with Jimmy Smith.

Matchup aside, Mariota will likely be without his tight end Delanie Walker, who is still dealing with a hamstring injury. The Ravens are also more susceptible on the ground than through the air. It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Titans try to pound DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry 10 to 15 times a piece.

As always, there are far superior players in Mariota’s price range this week if you don’t want to pay up at quarterback.

Matt Ryan: FanDuel Price $7,600

Matt Ryan’s 2017 performance goes beyond a normal regression to the mean. Of course it wasn’t realistic to expect a similar season, but this drop-off is startling.

week 9 DFS don'ts

The look on Matt Ryan’s face says it all and doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in me as a DFS player. (Photo from Sporting News)

This year, Ryan has just as many multi-interception games as he does multi-touchdown games. This past Sunday was the first time all season where Ryan threw for more than one touchdown and did not throw an interception. To his credit, he performed in unconventional conditions on the road. However, he doesn’t get to play the Jets this weekend.

For the same reasons Devonta Freeman is on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list, Ryan has a tough road matchup. Granted, Ryan has inexplicably been better on the road in terms of fantasy production, but it doesn’t happen for him this weekend. Yes, Julio Jones has performed well in this matchup, but those performances have come at home against the Panthers. Even if Jones has a monster game, it’s still possible that Matt Ryan doesn’t make value.

I can’t believe I’ve gone three paragraphs into Matt Ryan and haven’t complained about Steve Sarkisian yet. It’s actually because I don’t blame him for Ryan’s regression as much as I blame him for Freeman’s. It isn’t Sarkisian’s fault Matt Ryan is missing open receivers. However, it is his fault for not recognizing Ryan’s struggles and adjusting accordingly.

Until I see the Falcons establish a clear identity, I’m off them moving forward.

Brock Osweiler: FanDuel Price $6,000

Don’t get cute. I only have him listed because I have been talking to players who are seriously giving this some thought, as he would only need 12 points to make value in a cash game lineup.

Have we already forgotten how bad he was last year with the Texans? He’ll be making his first start, on the road, against a great front seven. Not to mention, the Eagles’ secondary is no longer the pushover that they were at the beginning of the season.

This is an absolute trap for DFS players. Do not fall for it. Osweiler joins Mariota and Ryan on the Week 9 DFS don’ts list.

 

Featured Image from Tennessee Titans

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

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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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2017 week 3 NFL picks

Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 3 NFL picks

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 3 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-8

season: 16-15

Thursday Night

Los Angeles Rams (1-1) 20 @ San Francisco 49ers (0-2) 14: The Rams look like a really good team this year, good enough to possibly win the division over the Seahawks. If they are to take the step towards becoming a playoff team, this is the type of game they must win. San Francisco will be in the lottery.

Jared Goff is still going to go through some growing pains. If they run the ball well enough and continue playing great defense, then they can succeed despite their young quarterback. The 49ers have improved defensively, but can’t make up for the lack of offense. The Rams will win this game, but it will be a defensive dogfight.

Sunday Morning

2017 week 3 NFL picks

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

Jacksonville Jaguars (1-1) 13 @ Baltimore Ravens (2-0) 16: Something tells me to pick Jacksonville in this game, but then I think about how Blake Bortles has to go against a defense that is destroying quarterbacks. Jacksonville will be in the game because of their stout defense, but will ultimately fall because of Bortles’ turnovers.

Baltimore will start the season 3-0, but still won’t be a contender in the big picture.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-0) 20 vs Minnesota Vikings (1-1) 24: This game hinges on the health of Sam Bradford for the Vikings. If Bradford plays, then Minnesota will win this game at home. That is a big if though. With or without Bradford, Minnesota will play stellar defense as usual.

Tampa Bay completely shut down a great Bears rushing attack last week, holding them to 20 yards. Repeating this against Minnesota would guarantee a win. They won’t shut down the Vikings the same way they did the Bears, and Sam Bradford takes the field to lead the Vikings to a big win at home.

Denver Broncos (2-0) 27 @ Buffalo Bills (1-1) 13: Does there have to be actual thought here? Can I just say Broncos will win? No, that is probably not a good idea.

So, the Broncos will win because their defense is going to annihilate the Bills offense. Once the Broncos stop the run, the Bills will have no answer. Tyrod Taylor will look completely lost and inevitably throw a pick-six. Denver’s offense will run up and down all over the Bills for over 200 yards.

Pittsburgh Steelers (2-0) 28 @ Chicago Bears (0-2) 10: This seems like a totally unfair matchup. The Bears resemble a baby cub more than an actual Bear. The defense has played lights out, but can only do so much with turnovers from the offense happening so often. Mike Glennon looks incapable of running an offense.

Pittsburgh, on the other hand, looks like they are in midseason form. The offense is starting to click and the defense looks hungry. This game will be over early and the steel curtain will remain untangled.

Atlanta Falcons (2-0) 34 @ Detroit Lions (2-0) 38: This is one of the most difficult games to pick this week. Both teams have looked shaky at points this season, but in the end have gotten the job done.

Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan are going to put on a show in Detroit. This game will likely be a shootout that comes down to the wire. The Lions have been known to be the kings of comebacks. Detroit wins this game because of their home-field advantage and a late drive by Stafford.

Cleveland Browns (0-2) 24 @ Indianapolis Colts (0-2) 17: This game could be one of the lowest-rated games in NFL history. What is there to really watch in this game if you aren’t a fan of either team? Yes DeShone Kizer is a rookie that can maybe give some excitement, but the offense still doesn’t look fluid. Defensively, there is nothing eye-popping or exciting either.

The Colts are completely boring without Andrew Luck. So boring I’d rather watch a middle school basketball game. The Browns have looked like the better team of the two, so far so what the heck, go dog pound.

2017 week 3 NFL picks

(Photo credit: http://biginf.com/)

Houston Texans (1-1) 13 @ New England Patriots (1-1) 26: Tom Brady is back! Or he just lit up the worst defense and secondary in the NFL. This week, Brady will get a real test by facing Houston. If Brady looks good this week, then he is a robot who will play in the NFL until he’s 90.

On the other side, rookie Deshaun Watson will have to try and beat a Bill Belichick defense. Good luck with that. That is the sole reason New England wins this game. Watson won’t be ready for the Patriots’ defense.

Miami Dolphins (1-0) 37 @ New York Jets (0-2) 18: Miami escaped with a victory last week. Now they get to face the worst team in the NFL. The Jets don’t do anything well and won’t win more than two games this season.

Jay Cutler is going to look like a prime Brett Favre in this one. Dolphins are going to New York to dominate the Jets.

New York Giants (0-2) 16 @ Philadelphia Eagles (1-1) 19: The Giants are in some serious trouble. Their offense looks pretty horrible with the worst rushing attack in all of football. The offensive line is arguably the worst in the league and the nucleus of their problems offensively. There isn’t much they can do to fix it either.

The Eagles are going to exploit that offensive line to stifle the Giants offense. Carson Wentz is going to have a tough time against the Giants’ defense, but will outperform Eli. That will be the difference in the end.

New Orleans Saints (0-2) 17 @ Carolina Panthers (2-0) 31: The current issue with the Panthers is their offense. Losing Greg Olsen doesn’t help Cam Newton out, but he is still shaking off the rust.

A game against New Orleans is the perfect time to gain confidence offensively. The Saints rank 31st in scoring defense, giving up 32.5 points per game. Drew Brees won’t be able to put up many points against this defense. Newton shakes off the rust and Christian McCaffrey has his coming out party.

Sunday Afternoon

2017 week 3 NFL picks

(Photo credit: Getty Images)

Seattle Seahawks (1-1) 20 @ Tennessee Titans (1-1) 24: Seattle has looked average at best thus far, mostly because of their offensive line that can’t block anything. Tennessee has an underrated defense that will take advantage of this weakness.

The Seahawks still have a very good defense, but it won’t stop Marcus Mariota and the rest of the Titan offense.

Cincinnati Bengals (0-2) 10 @ Green Bay Packers (1-1) 20: This could be the game that gets Andy Dalton benched and catches Marvin Lewis’ seat on fire.

The Bengals are playing like crap on offense, but the defense is only giving up 16.5 points per game. They also rank first in pass defense, giving up just 104.5 yards per game through the air. Aaron Rodgers will more than double that while leading the Packers to win.

Kansas City Chiefs (2-0) 24 @ Los Angeles Chargers (0-2) 21: The Chiefs look like the best team in the NFL. Their offense is rolling behind Alex Smith while the defense continues to be a force. The Chargers are two field goals away from possibly being 2-0. The first would have sent them to overtime while the second would have won the game.

Sometimes that is how the cookie crumbles. The cookie will continue to crumble that way for one more week at least. The Chiefs go into L.A. to push themselves to 3-0.

Sunday Night

Oakland Raiders (2-0) 34 @ Washington Redskins (1-1) 24: The Raiders are thriving thus far this season and haven’t even begun to tap into their potential. Their defense still hasn’t faced a quality offense that can make them prove themselves.

This week they get that chance. Washington ranks 15th in total offensive yards per game (324.5). Washington has been running the ball efficiently, but the passing game has been underwhelming. Expectations were high for Kirk Cousins heading into the season. Derek Carr is going to have a huge game in prime time. Oakland keeps up with Denver and Kansas City by getting to 3-0.

Monday Night

Dallas Cowboys (1-1) 27 @ Arizona Cardinals (1-1) 17: Dallas got embarrassed against Denver and will be looking to get that taste out of their mouth. The Cowboys are going to get back to running the ball well. Ezekiel Elliott will have over 20 carries for at least 125 yards.

Arizona won’t be able to keep pace with the Cowboys’ offense. Carson Palmer has lost it and can’t carry the offense without David Johnson. This will be a snoozefest of a Monday Night game.

 

Featured image from Sporting News 

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week three DFS don'ts

Week three DFS don’ts: Tight ends

As most DFS players know, tight end can be an incredibly volatile position. Sometimes the tight end lock of the week fails (I’m looking at you, Jimmy Graham). I can’t tell you which guys will score this week, but, I can tell you who to stay away from moving forward. Let’s see which tight ends end up on my week three DFS don’ts list.

Delanie Walker: FanDuel Price $6,500

Delanie Walker is a DFS darling. It’s clear he is Marcus Mariota’s safety net and the coaching staff is finding ways to get him more involved. Sadly, I don’t think he’ll reach ten points for the third week straight given his matchup.

The Jacksonville Jaguars have established themselves as a good pass defense. As a result, Walker only received four targets last week. That’s five less than in week one vs. the Oakland Raiders, but thankfully, he caught all four of those targets and turned them into 61 yards.

The Seattle Seahawks are similar to the Jaguars in terms of scheme. Both teams run a base 4-3 and their primary coverage strategy is cover 3.

Seattle is still more talented than Jacksonville from personnel perspective. The cover 3 scheme makes it hard for receivers to get behind the secondary. Therefore, Walker will have to do most of his damage in the short and intermediate parts of the field.

This will limit his yardage upside, and Seattle is perennially good at limiting yards after the catch. I don’t care about their performance against the San Francisco tight ends, as they are young and unproven.

However, I will consider their performance against Green Bay and Martellus Bennett. They held Bennett, a comparable talent to Walker, to three catches on six targets for 43 yards. Considering they did this against Aaron Rodgers on the road, I’m not optimistic about Delanie Walker this Sunday. Thus, he’s firmly on my week three DFS don’ts.

Coby Fleener: FanDuel Price $5,700

week three DFS don'ts: tight ends

Coby Fleener is one of the few tight ends to find the end zone in the first two games of the year (Courtesy of; Fox Sports).

Coby Fleener was wildly popular last weekend. He projected as one of the most popular tight ends on FanDuel entering their contest against New England. If you were able to take advantage of him in DFS last week like me, then congratulations. But, it’s time to move off Fleener this week.

In a game where the Saints were trailing from the opening kick, Fleener was on the field for less than 50 percent of the snaps. That’s awful for a starting tight end in this pass-heavy offense. Currently, Fleener possesses a 12 percent target market share.

This on paper is not bad. However, it is likely to decrease as the Saints showed they are willing to play multiple running backs at the same time, instead of featuring a tight end.

There is potential for this trend to change. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye on Fleener’s usage at Carolina this weekend. But, there’s one other reason I’m off Fleener: his price increase.

I know, he’s scored touchdowns in each of his first two games. FanDuel is rightfully increasing his price. That doesn’t mean I have to play him. I like other players below that price who are getting more opportunities like Jack Doyle.

 

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Featured Image Courtesy of The Tennessean

NFL week two: Eight takeaways

1. New England looked great, but let’s pump the brakes

Tom Brady threw for 447 yards and three touchdowns, but did we forget who they played? That’s right, New Orleans. In the previous week, the Saints allowed 470 yards to the Minnesota Vikings, who are predominately relevant because of their defense.

This is a Saints team who, last year, finished second to last in total points allowed, and dead last in passing yards allowed. With that said, it is expected for Tom Brady and the New England offense to put up numbers.

Despite the big win however, New England is still banged up. Rob Gronkowski had to exit with a groin injury and Dont’a Hightower might be out another week or two. With Danny Amendola still sidelined, it was nice to see production from Chris Hogan and Philip Dorsett, but we will see how long these two can last as consistent playmakers. Especially when New England plays a legit defense.

2. Maybe the Titans will be as good as we thought?

NFL week two: eight takeaways

Derrick Henry could take over as the RB1 (Tennessee Titans)

Going into the season, people were high on Tennessee. For good reason of course, since they do have Marcus Mariota behind center.

Unfortunately, Mariota hasn’t looked great in his first two games of 2017. Through two games, Mariota has only thrown one touchdown, and has a quarterback rating of 78.7. In his previous two seasons, Mariota’s quarterback ratings were 91.5, and 95.6.

Still, the Titans put up 37 points. Granted it was against Jacksonville, but up until this point in his career, Blake Bortles had been undefeated against Tennessee when he plays at home.

A main reason for the big victory was Tennessee’s ability to run the football. They racked up 179 yards on the ground, mostly from Derrick Henry, who ran for 94 yards, on 6.57 yards per carry.  The Titans defense was also able to force three turnovers, which is a given against Bortles, but they still count. If Mariota can improve, this team could easily win the division.

3. The Panthers are 2-0, but they are overrated

What a blessing it is to start your season against the 49ers and the Bills. Look, the defense has been spectacular, only allowing six total points through two games, but Cam Newton and the offense looks pitiful. It’s understood that Newton is playing banged up, but maybe they need to check for a concussion, because this guy looks lost on the field.

If you watched the game, then you know that your grandmother would have completed the “would be” touchdown pass to Christian McCaffrey, instead of sailing it four feet over his head like Newton did.

Greg Olsen will also 6-8 weeks of the season due to his broken foot, so expect more mediocre play from Carolina’s offense. Carolina is only averaging 2.9 yards per carry is something to keep an eye on as well.

4. The Chiefs look really good

NFL week two: eight takeaways

Kareem Hunt’s debut was no fluke (Sporting News)

After two weeks, Kansas City looks like the best team in football. Not only did they smack the Patriots, but they also beat a good Eagles team. Alex Smith has five touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception, and Kareem Hunt might be able to sit out the rest of the year and still win Rookie of the Year.

In his first two career games, Hunt has 229 yards rushing, along with five total touchdowns. Kansas City is averaging 6.5 yards per carry, which is good for first in the NFL.

The pass rush looks great, as Chris Jones had three of their six sacks against Carson Wentz and the Eagles. If they can slow down the run, this team could be dangerous.

5. Thank God for the Honey Badger, but the Cardinals’ season is over

Without a clutch, game-sealing interception by Tyrann Mathieu, the Cardinals could easily be 0-2. With David Johnson scheduled to miss a serious amount of time, the Cardinals need all the luck they can get, and Mathieu helped them stay relevant for another week.

Carson Palmer has been just awful, with four interceptions and a QBR below 66, his career looks to be done. He turned it around late in the game, but that’s expected against a garbage Colts team. The Cardinals can’t run the ball, and for some reason, are having a hard time defending the pass, so kudos to Mathieu, but it is safe to already write off Arizona.

6. Jay Cutler and the Dolphins might be a perfect match

The Dolphins might be the most underrated team in football, and we might see the best version of Jay Cutler. Yes, it was only one game, but Cutler completed 72.7 percent of his passes, and had a QBR of 101.8.

Jay Ajayi showed that last year was no fluke, rushing for 122 yards. Jarvis Landry led Miami with 13 catches, and the Fins defense held Melvin Gordon to 13 yards on nine attempts. Watch out for Miami.

7. The Raiders are dope

The Raiders home opener was everything you could have hoped for. In a 45-25 win over the Jets, we saw Marshawn Lynch dancing, Michael Crabtree with three touchdowns and Derek Carr looking like a real MVP. Carr has yet to commit a turnover and the Raiders are fifth in the league in rushing.

The defense, who at times, holds this team back, has already recovered two fumbles and is doing a decent job of defending the run. If the defense gets better, the Raiders could be looking at an easy route to home field advantage.

8. Cowboys in trouble?

NFL week two: eight takeaways

Has Dak been exposed? (FanSided)

As someone who does not think Dak Prescott is a franchise quarterback, Sunday’s performance was beautiful to watch. Without Ezekiel Elliott, Dak is nothing. Elliott was held to eight yards on nine attempts, which caused Prescott to actually have to make plays. This resulted in a pair of interceptions.

Denver’s D is top notch, but the Cowboys should be concerned. If the run game is not there, this team is unable to produce, especially with a washed up Dez Bryant. Yeah, he caught a touchdown, but with all those targets, he should have been much better.

 

 

Featured image by Washington Post

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Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Five quarterbacks I love for fantasy week 1

Week 1 is here and everyone is excited for the NFL season and fantasy football. Now it’s time to figure out who to start and who to sit.

Looking at all the matchups and analysis from fantasy football experts, I’ve decided to give the five quarterbacks I love for week 1.

Marcus Mariota (TEN) vs Oakland Raiders

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Marcus Mariota (Photo by:dailymail.co.uk)

The Titans and Raiders might be the highest scoring game in week 1. Tennessee’s defense ranked 30th in passing defense and Oakland finished 24th. Marcus Mariota struggled last year against Oakland, throwing for 214 yards with 2 interceptions and a fumble along with 22 rushing yards.

However, this Titans team is different than last year. They have new additions at receiver with Eric Decker and fifth-overall pick Corey Davis, along with Rishard Matthews and tight end Delanie Walker to compliment their run game.

Mariota can thrive in this matchup as a runner. The Raiders’ defense tied for most rushing touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks last season.

Derek Carr (OAK) vs Tennessee Titans

Five Quarterbacks love Fantasy Week 1

Derek Carr (Photo by: bleacherreport.com)

As I mentioned with Mariota, you have to like Derek Carr as well in this matchup. Carr also struggled fantasy wise in this matchup last year, throwing for 249 yards with one touchdown and one interception.

Both teams have questionable secondaries and both teams have solid offenses. The Titans were awful against the pass, allowing 269 yards per game last year

Carr has weapons and is coming off a good 2016 campaign and back from injury. He should thrive in this week 1 matchup.

Ben Roethlisberger (PIT) vs Cleveland Browns

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Ben Roethlisberger (Photo by:deadspin.com)

Some people say this is obvious. In all seriousness, The Browns’ defense allowed the most fantasy points per game to quarterbacks last year (19.4 points per game in standard scoring). They also ranked 21st in pass defense.

Roethlisberger had a decent game in his only start against Cleveland with 167 passing yards. That game was dominated by Le’Veon Bell on the ground. To top that, Roethlisberger has Antonio Brown and Bell back after his holdout with contract issues. Martavis Bryant also returns after his year-long suspension.

Roethlisberger and the Steelers offense should start out hot against the Browns.

Sam Bradford (MIN) vs New Orleans Saints

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Sam Bradford (Photo by:billypenn.com)

When we look at 2016 for Sam Bradford, his season was up and down. However, he finished with the highest completion percentage (71.6 percent) and 15th highest in passing yards per game (258 yards). That’s remarkable, especially being traded days before the opening week last year with little preparation.

But back to his matchup the New Orleans Saints. He faces the worst passing defense a year ago, which allowed 274 passing yards per game. It’s a no brainer to look at him if you have quarterback issues.

Now that Bradford won’t have distractions with being traded and is now used to the playbook, expect Bradford to have top-10 potential in week 1.

Carson Palmer (ARI) vs Detroit Lions

Five Fantasy Quarterbacks love Week 1

Carson Palmer (Photo by: azcardinals.com)

After a dominating 2015 campaign, Carson Palmer struggled in 2016. Once viewed as a QB1, he’s now regarded as a QB2. But for week 1 Palmer is a good QB1.

Detroit’s pass rush is a big question mark with Ziggy Ansah just now beginning to practice and have no one truly dangerous playing alongside him.

This helps Palmer. Last year’s touchdown-per-attempt rate when pressured last season was just 2.7 percent, yet that leapt to 4.7 percent in a clean pocket. That is a rate well ahead of the league average (4.2).

The Lions also really only have one good cornerback with Darius Slay, which opens the deep ball on favorable matchups. Palmer was third in air yards per attempt last season, a stat that supports big-play upside. The Cardinals offense is poised for a strong showing this week.

 

Featured image from fantasypros.com

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