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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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)

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)

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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Stack your money Sunday’s: Week 6

WEEK FIVE REVIEW (3-0) OVERALL: 12-3

Baltimore Ravens (+3) @ Oakland Raiders

Baltimore Ravens 30 Oakland Raiders 17

I’ll never understand E.J. Manuel being favored in an NFL football game, but anyways, this game was rather predictable. Ravens had no problem scoring early against a weak Raiders defense, as Baltimore scored 24 of their 30 points in the first half. Manuel did not turn the ball over, but only managed to throw for 159 yards, and completed half of his passes.

On the other hand, Joe Flacco was rather efficient, and let the running backs control most of the offense. Justin Tucker had a perfect day, notching three field goals, and went a perfect three for three on extra points. With this win, the Ravens are now tied with the Steelers for best record in the AFC North.

 

Seattle Seahawks (+1.5) @ Los Angeles Rams

Seattle Seahawks 16 Los Angeles Rams 10

The Rams were a Cooper Kupp catch away from beating Pete Carroll and the Seattle Seahawks. Luckily, had Kupp hauled in the last minute touchdown, the Seahawks still would have covered. Nonetheless, great win for Seattle, as they often struggle visiting the Rams.

The Seahawks defense came up big and made Jared Goff look like the rookie version of himself. Goff threw a pair of interceptions, and had a quarterback rating 48.9. He also had an abysmal completion percentage of 46.81.

Although Seattle now sits at a comfortable 3-2, the offense still has a lot of work to do. The Seahawks had a real hard time running the football against a weak Rams run defense, and Russell Wilson did not look great. The Rams had over 100 more total yards, so if it weren’t for their five turnovers, Seattle would have gotten blown out.

 

Green Bay Packers (+3) @ Dallas Cowboys

Green Bay Packers 35 Dallas Cowboys 31

For a second, it looked like Dallas was going to win this one, but then I realized if you give Aaron Rodgers a minute and a timeout, you might as well quit. Rodgers was absolutely sensational, throwing three touchdowns, with a quarterback rating of 122.9. The sneakiest, elite performance was Aaron Jones. A rookie from UTEP, Jones rushed for 125 yards and scored his second touchdown in as many weeks.

The unsung hero of last week, Aaron Jones (Lombardi Ave)

Dallas had more first downs, total yards, third downs converted, and more time with the football than Green Bay, but it’s hard to beat Aaron Rodgers when you turn the ball over three times. Through five weeks, Dallas already has tied their loss total from last season. Not to mention they have Ezekiel Elliot’s suspension starting next game.

 

WEEK 6 PICKS

Green Bay Packers (-3) @ Minnesota Vikings

PICK: PACKERS TO COVER

As you can tell, this is now the second week in a row betting on the Packers, hence, Aaron Rodgers is really good and I would trust him with my life. Listen, the guy is 12-6 in his career vs. Minnesota, and has a quarterback rating north of 112. He’s completing 68% of his passes in these games and has 39 touchdowns.

The Vikings barely squeaked by against the Bears, who started a rookie quarterback for the first time, and are one of the most injured teams in the league. Last year, Minnesota ranked third in fewest passing yards allowed. Today, they are 20th. However, they do defend the run well, so it will be interesting to see if they will be able to slow down Aaron Jones, who looks to be the next Ahman Green.

The Packers are forcing a bunch of turnovers, and sit fifth in the league in that department. Their offense also stays on the field. Green Bay is 27th in three and outs, and also are arguably the most efficient team when it comes to scoring in the red zone. The Pack are first in the league in points per red zone trip, as well as first in touchdowns per red zone trip.

Sam Bradford will not play this Sunday, so this game could be over in a hurry. Minnesota is firth worst in touchdowns per drive, and are currently punting on 50 percent of their drives. Look for Aaron Rodgers to throw all over this team, and for Case Keenum to struggle moving the chains for Minnesota.

 

Los Angeles Rams @ Jacksonville Jaguars (-2.5)

PICK: JAGUARS TO COVER

Betting for the Jaguars to cover just sounds like a fun time. Honestly though, Jacksonville is one of the big surprises of the year. They are fifth in scoring and are first in rushing. The Jags defense is insanely elite. That sounds crazy, but they are one of four teams in NFL history with 20+ sacks, 10+ interceptions and 4+ defensive touchdowns through five games in a season. The Jaguars have allowed the second fewest points in the league, rank first in turnovers in created, first in interceptions, and third in fewest passing yards allowed. Jacksonville also allows the fewest points per drive.

We saw what Jared Goff looks like against a good defense last week, so expect more of the same this week. Also, the Rams are allowing the sixth most rushing yards, and the most rushing touchdowns in the league. Jacksonville loves to run the football, as we saw last week against the Steelers. Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory combined for 222 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Bortles doesn’t look great, but the Jaguars are doing a wonderful job of masking his flaws. He is throwing less and they are winning more. In last week’s slaughtering off the Steelers, Bortles only threw a total of 14 passes. The Rams are 23rd in points allowed, and it is highly doubtful Jared Goff starts out 3-0 on the road. Have to believe in Post Marrone and the Jaguars squad to get another W.

 

Los Angeles Chargers @ Oakland Raiders (-3)

PICK: RAIDERS TO COVER

During our weekly podcast, the Raiders were a one-point favorite, and now that it is three, I am not even remotely worried. Derek Carr is playing, and his Raiders have won their last four matchups against the Chargers. The Raiders have lost three in a row, so this is essentially a must win. They cannot drop to 2-4 in a division with the Chiefs and Broncos.

Derek Carr and the Raiders look to remain hot against the Chargers (Raiders.com)

Because of Carr’s injury, Oakland will most likely run the ball a lot. This would make sense because the Chargers have allowed the most rushing yards in the league. They are literally allowing five yards per carry to opposing backs. LeGarrette Blount ran wild against them, so expect a big game from Marshawn Lynch.

With Carr healthy, this is a totally different team. Philip Rivers has already thrown five interceptions and their defense has not been great. Los Angeles is 25th in yards allowed per drive. They are allowing the fourth most points per drive and are the 31st rank defense in terms of time of possession per drive. The Chargers defense cannot get off the field, and will struggle mightily against Carr and the Raiders offense.

Featured image by Jacksonville.com

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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.

 

Feature Image is courtesy of www.nj.com

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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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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

           

Featured image from si.com

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Amari Cooper fantasy

What to do with Amari Cooper in fantasy football?

One of the biggest disappointments of the fantasy season has been Oakland Raiders wide receiver Amari Cooper. He started off the season great with 12 points in standard leagues and he was finally being targeted in the red zone, which is something fantasy owners have waited for since he entered the league.

Since that game, Cooper has put together a string of bad games, totaling eight receptions for 56 yards and no touchdowns. Now the question remains, what should owners do with Amari Cooper?

Keeping Cooper

Keeping Amari Cooper may be the move at this point in the season. With Derek Carr out for an extended amount of time, Cooper has to work with EJ Manuel at quarterback. It seems to this point that Manuel has developed a better connection with Michael Crabtree.

Cooper has been plagued by drops this season, and if Manuel doesn’t trust him as much as Jared Cook or Crabtree, he won’t look his way as much. After reading that, you may be wondering why I’m saying you should keep Cooper. Here’s why.

When Carr is back in action, he will have something to prove. The Raiders are 2-3 and are trailing the Chiefs by three games in the AFC West. They have the talent to fight for a wild-card spot and will have to utilize Cooper late in the season during fantasy playoffs. Jack Del Rio has also said he wants Cooper to get the ball more.

According to Del Rio, he saw Cooper get open five times in that game and he wants the ball in Cooper’s hands more often. Now if the Raiders want him to be more involved and Derek Carr is coming back soon then hold onto cooper and reap the potential rewards.

Dropping/Trading Cooper

Amari Cooper fantasy

Photo from https://athlonsports.com

I highly advise against dropping Amari Cooper in all leagues. Yes, I know he isn’t performing and there are players who are on waivers playing better than him, but he’s too good to drop. He’s got way too much talent and potential, so dropping him shouldn’t be an option for anyone. Trading him is a different story.

If you drafted cooper as your WR1, then it’s been a tough year. But there are a lot of players you can package with him if you’re looking to upgrade. Now that Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall are both hurt, some people are probably looking to get some known names to replace them. Packaging Cooper with a high end RB2 can get that stud RB/WR that your team is looking for.

Now I’m not sure of the state of everyone’s fantasy teams, but if I had Cooper, I’d hold onto him with the hope of a bounce-back second half of the year.

 

Feature Image by Greg Trott/Associated Press

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2017 NFL power rankings: week 6

When was the last time the NFL had three teams start 0-5? There are some really bad teams this season. There is also one amazing team that looks like they have everything you need to win a Super Bowl. That team has been ranked first in the NFL since the opening Thursday. As for the rest of the league, there are a ton of teams that have shown great flashes but have also looked like pretenders. It is still too early to tell who are contenders and who is not. As the season goes on these rankings will continue to fluctuate but as of now here are the 2017 NFL power rankings: week 6.

32. New York Giants (0-5)

Last week: 31 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Denver

The Giants are one of three winless teams in the NFL but their miserable rushing attack and now decimated receiving corp is the biggest reason they are dead last in these rankings. They were already struggling but the loss of Odell Beckham just kicked the Giants when they were down. There is little to no chance they win this week and it is beginning to look like the Giants may not win more than three games this year.

31. Cleveland Browns (0-5)

Last week: 32 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Houston

Cleveland fans have to be hurting even more than usual this week. DeShone Kizer got the nod from the start but has been benched and now the Browns don’t know who the starter will be moving forward. To make matters worse the Browns passed on DeShaun Watson and he is off to an unbelievable start. One smart writer said the Browns could not pass on Watson and this week they will get a first-hand look at what they missed out on.

30. San Francisco 49ers (0-5)

Last week: 29 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Washington

The 49ers need an offense and it shows weekly averaging just 17.8 points per game. The 49ers are going to give Washington a tougher game than people expect but it probably won’t be enough to win the game. San Francisco will win somewhere around two games this season so don’t expect them to move much more in the power rankings.

29. Los Angeles Chargers (1-4)

Last week: 28 (-1)

Next game: away vs. Oakland

Los Angeles finally got a win and it was on the road on the other coast. It wasn’t a pretty win but they got the job done. This week they head to Oakland who has underperformed greatly this season. It is another opportunity for the Chargers to get a win. In their division, they won’t make noise but in this crazy game, a win could keep them alive for a wild-card spot. It is unlikely they get a spot in the playoffs, but mathematically the Chargers still have a lot to play for.

28. Indianapolis Colts (2-3)

Last week: 30 (+2)

Next game:  away vs. Tennessee

The Colts are treading water until Andrew Luck gets back. If they are in the race of the AFC South when he returns the Colts can become a possible playoff team. Without Luck, they are averaging 19.4 points per game. When he returns he can raise that total by an entire touchdown, he’s that valuable. If they want to stay in the race for the playoffs they need to get a win against Tennessee and that seems unlikely.

27. Arizona Cardinals (2-3)

Last week: 22 (-5)

Next game: home vs. Tampa Bay

Do you ever just feel bad for Larry Fitzgerald? The guy does everything the right away and is a first ballot Hall of Famer but has rarely been on a good team. Arizona is totally lost on offense without David Johnson and they need to figure out the kinks soon because Johnson isn’t coming back anytime soon. At 2-3 they are far from out of it and only one game behind in their division. The trade for Adrian Peterson shows that they want to turn this season around and make a run.

26. New York Jets (3-2)

Last week: 26 (no change)

Next game: home vs. New England

The Jets are an organization that makes you scratch your head. With all the moves they made this offseason it clearly felt like a tank. Here we are though after five weeks and the Jets are 3-2 and in a three-way tie for first place in the AFC East. If the Jets were trying to tank they have done a horrible job. Since it has been so hard to see if the Jets are serious about being a good team, this week will prove who they really are as they take on the Patriots.

25. Chicago Bears (1-4)

Last week: 25 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Baltimore

The Bears have hope, which is about all they have. Mitchell Trubisky is showing signs but it is going to take some time for him to develop. Chicago is going to need to surround Trubisky with weapons to give him the opportunity to succeed. The Bears have a good defense it is just decimated by injury. This season won’t be a good one but hold your heads high Bear fans, the future looks solid.

24. Oakland Raiders (2-3)

Last week: 12 (-12)

Next game: home vs. Los Angeles Chargers

The Raiders were one of the teams that were expected to make a run in the AFC. They are struggling to live up to the hype. Marshawn Lynch was acquired to help the run game but the Raiders are only averaging 90.6 yards per game. The air attack is also abysmal averaging just 188.6 yards per game. The offense was supposed to be the dominant unit and it is average at best. The defense isn’t picking up the slack giving up 351.2 yards and 21.8 points per game. The Raiders look nothing like a Super Bowl contender.

23. Miami Dolphins (2-2)

Last week: 27 (+4)

Next game: away vs. Atlanta

Jay Cutler needs to go back into retirement. Cutler threw for 92 yards against the Titans and is averaging just 176.5 yards per game. The entire Miami offense is averaging just 231.2 yards per game. That is the worst mark in the NFL. With such a bad offense the Dolphins are going to struggle to win many more games this season. This week they face Atlanta who will be too much for the Dolphins to handle. Dolphin fans should enjoy this rank because it will get worse from here on out.

22. New Orleans Saints (2-2)

Last week: 23 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Detroit

Not much to say about the Saints after coming off of a bye is what this was going to say until the Saints traded Adrian Peterson. New Orleans loves rookie running back Alvin Kamara and will be moving away from the experiment with Peterson. Moving forward the Saints will still look to air the ball out behind Brees. If they can keep playing the way they have the two weeks before their bye then they may have a shot at the playoffs. It all depends on the defense and how they play.

 

21. Cincinnati Bengals (2-3)

Last week: 24 (+3)

Next game: Bye

Yes, the Bengals did get a huge win against the Bills. Some of you may get upset that they only moved up three spots but it is more due to the fact that the other teams are just better than them up to this point. If the Bengals continue to get in the win column they will demand more respect. As of now they still have an average Andy Dalton under center. Until he can prove he can be more than average than the Bengals will be average. This week they get a rest as they are on a bye.

20. Baltimore Ravens (3-2)

Last week: 20 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Chicago

Baltimore is hard to watch. Their offense does nothing exciting. The Ravens average just 288.8 yards per game resulting in just 18 points per game. It is somewhat miraculous that the Ravens are above .500 because their defense is giving up 19.4 which is more than they are scoring. If this trend continues then the Ravens will end up with a top 10 pick in the 2018 NFL draft.

19. Washington Redskins (2-2)

Last week: 17 (-2)

Next game: home vs. San Francisco

Washington had a bye week but still dropped two spots in the rankings. Similar to the Saints, other teams are just better teams at this point. It is still very early and a lot can change but the Redskins will struggle to make the playoffs. Losing Josh Norman is going to hurt the defense greatly. Until the Redskins can prove they are good against good opponents, and consistently, they will remain in the lower half of the rankings. THis week won’t help them as they face one of the worst teams in the league. They better win this game or they will look even worse.

18. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2)

Last week: 18 (no change)

Next game: away vs. Arizona

Tampa put up a heck of a fight against Tom Brady and the Patriots but they fell short of the win. Their biggest issue is the kicking game. If they can solve that problem then they can become a contender in the NFC. Another problem facing the Bucs is their extremely tough division. The Panthers look similar to the team that went to the Super Bowl and the Falcons are continuing to win games. This week they face Arizona who just acquired Adrian Peterson. It will be interesting to see the outcome of this one.

17. Houston Texans (2-3)

Last week: 15 (-2)

Next game: home vs. Cleveland

Houston just suffered two major blows on defense. They lost J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus to season-ending injuries. This could prove to be detrimental to their chances at making the playoffs. The defense was already struggling to stop offenses. Houston was giving up 26 points per game. Luckily, the Texans do have DeShaun Watson. Watson will now and forever be known as the “Houston Houdini”. He also ranks second in passing touchdowns even though he didn’t start until week two. Watson is now the only hope the Texans have as the defense has fallen. This week he is going to make the Browns regret the fact they didn’t draft him.

16. Dallas Cowboys (2-3)

Last week: 13 (-3)

Next game: Bye

Dallas suffered a heartbreaking loss to the Packers. Dak Prescott did what he was supposed to by leading his team down to take the lead with 1:13 left in the game. The problem was he left too much time for Aaron Rodgers. Dallas is struggling to run the ball to the same success they did last season. It was their formula for success because they controlled the clock and kept the defense off the field. Until they get their run game going they will be a middle of the pack team.

15. Tennessee Titans (2-3)

Last week: 16 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Indianapolis

Tennesse lost to Miami but without Marcus Mariota nobody expected them to win. Many predicted that the Titans would take a big leap and make the playoffs but they are struggling through the first five weeks. The biggest issue is the defense is giving up over 28 points per game. That number needs to come down drastically. This week they have the luxury of playing the Colts. Even if Mariota can’t go they should still win this game behind their ninth-ranked rushing attack.

14. Los Angeles Rams (3-2)

Last week: 9 (-5)

Next game: home vs. Jacksonville

The Rams fell victim to one of the most backward rules in the NFL but the fact of the matter is they still lost to the Seahawks. It is relatively early and it is still extremely possible for them to still have a great season. It is vital they defend their home field this week against the defense juggernaut Jaguars. If they win this game they have a chance to shoot back up in the rankings.

13. Minnesota Vikings (3-2)

Last week: 14 (+1)

Next game: home vs. Green Bay

Sam Bradford has an issue with his knee that seems like isn’t going away. If there is no structural damage and this much going wrong with his knee, his career could be in jeopardy. Case Keenum came in against Chicago and performed well. He has looked solid but is not a guy you want starting 16 games. Teddy Bridgewater should be ready to roll sooner rather than later. Wouldn’t be a phenomenal story if he came back and led the Vikings to the promised land? Until the quarterback situation in Minnesota is handled they will have to continue to rely on their talented defense and won’t be true contenders.

12. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-2)

Last week: 2 (-10)

Next game: away vs. Kansas City

Big Ben may have lost it, as he said himself. He is really struggling to ball this season. In fact, the entire Pittsburgh offense looks out of sync. Le’Veon Bell isn’t having the impact many were predicting and the Steelers are only one game above .500. Now they must go into Arrowhead and face the hottest team in the NFL. All signs point to the Steelers dropping this game and that is when they usually find a way to win. If they do they will vault back into the top five. If they lose, they won’t move much lower than they are now.

11. Seattle Seahawks (3-2)

Last week: 20 (+9)

Next game: Bye

Seattle got an impressive win against the Rams last week. It put them in the driver seat in the race for the NFC West crown. As has been the case for the last five years, the Seahawks are doing it with defense. Seattle is only giving up 17.4 points per game, which is fifth best in the NFL. As long as they keep playing great defense, the Seahawks have a chance to win every game they play. Russell Wilson will make just enough plays for the offense to do its part.

10. Jacksonville Jaguars (3-2)

Last week: 19 (+9)

Next game: home v. Los Angeles Rams

Who the hell are the real Jacksonville Jaguars? Are they the team that destroyed the Texans 29-7, the Ravens 44-7 and the Steelers 30-9? Or are they the team that lost to Tennessee three touchdowns and the Jets by three? The answer is both. Jacksonville has the best secondary in the NFL and the proof is in their pass defense that allows just 177.8 yards per game and has a league-leading 10 interceptions. Jacksonville is young and they need to continue running the ball. If they keep the ball out of Bortles’ hands they will continue to defy the odds and make it to the playoffs.

9. Buffalo Bills (3-2)

Last week: 6 (-3)

Next game: Bye

It wasn’t a joke when I said that Buffalo had a trap game in Cincinnati. Everyone was expecting a Bills win but they aren’t that team yet. The Bengals are a solid football team that wasn’t going to let an up and coming team like the Bills to just walk into their jungle and win Buffalo is still a good team though with a great defense. That defense will continue to carry them to a lot of wins and possibly a playoff berth.

8. Detroit Lions (3-2)

Last week: 4 (-4)

Next game: away vs. New Orleans

Detroit almost pulled off yet another comeback at home against the Panthers. Cam Newton put a stop to that though. Detroit is actually relying on their defense much more this season. The Lion’s offense ranks 29th in total yardage but managing to score a lot of points still. Detroit still has to prove they can be a great team for a 16 game season and this week they have a trap game in New Orleans. The Saints are favored by the bookkeepers in Vegas for a reason. Be wary Lion fans, they just may drop this game in New Orleans.

7. Atlanta Falcons (3-1)

Last week: 11 (+4)

Next game: home vs. Miami

Atlanta was able to move up four spots because some of the teams that played looked rather putrid. The Falcons, however, are still a team with only one loss and couldn’t look bad coming off their bye. This week they get to face Jay Cutler and the Dolphins. They are fortunate to get such a weak opponent after two weeks of preparation. Atlanta should win easily but it won’t help them move further up in the power rankings.

6. New England Patriots (3-2)

Last week: 10 (+4)

Next game: away vs. New York Jets

10 weeks from now nobody will remember that the Patriots were 3-2 because they will probably still only have two or three losses. It is what the Patriots do. New England got a win on a short week thanks to shaky special teams play from the Bucs. Their reward is facing the Jets who, let’s face it, are playing way above their ability as of late. New England will win easily in New York and everyone will be praising how great the Patriots are.

5. Denver Broncos (3-1)

Last week: 8 (+3)

Next game: home vs. New York Giants

Denver is also coming off of a bye week and they too get to face an opponent whose season is already over. The Broncos get to play an offense that can’t run the ball and is decimated at wide receiver. The Giants may not score in this game. Denver is also going to run the ball down the Giant’s throats. This game can’t really help the Broncos too look good but getting upset can make them look really bad. There shouldn’t be much movement from Denver from this week to the next unless the teams above them lose.

4. Green Bay Packers (4-1)

Last week: 7 (+3)

Next game: away vs. Minnesota

It does not matter who the Packers put on the field, as long as they have Aaron Rodgers. The man is a football God who can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. Whether in the pocket or on the run he can place the ball anywhere it needs to be and when it matters most he elevates his game. Green Bay is the favorite to win the NFC North as long as Aaron Rodgers is suiting up. That also means the Packers are going to be a threat in the NFC playoffs. Green Bay looks good but only because of the baaaaad man Aaron Rodgers.

3. Carolina Panthers (4-1)

Last week: 5 (+2)

Next game: home vs. Philadelphia

Is Cam back or what? Man, it is fun to watch that man play at the top of his game. Two weeks ago many were writing Cam off as a good player. Some were even saying his M.V.P season was a fluke. That was foolish and I am happy to not be included in that group. Like him or not, the man is a baller. He went into New England and Detroit in back to back weeks and threw for over 300 yards. Oh, and he got two massive road wins. Carolina is a contender again and everyone should fear the Panthers because of Superman.

2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1)

Last week: 3 (+1)

Next game: away vs. Carolina

It was hard to pick who the second best team in the NFL was but the Eagles have slightly earned this spot in the power rankings. Everything seems to be clicking for Philly. Their defense forces turnovers and can get to the quarterback. Offensively they are pretty balanced ranking fifth in the NFL in rushing and eighth in passing. This week they have to travel to Carolina and face the red-hot Panthers. If they win on the road they will validate this ranking. If not they are still a top five to 10 team in the NFL.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (5-0)

Last week: 1 (no change)

Next game: home vs. Pittsburgh

It is starting to sound like a broken record but there shouldn’t be a surprise on who the best team in the NFL is. They are also the lone undefeated team remaining. Alex Smith is the front-runner for M.V.P because he is lighting it up. Kareem Hunt is the front-runner for rooking of the year as well. Kansas City has the highest scoring offense in the NFL averaging 32.8 points per game. Until someone beats the Chiefs there is no debate.

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Hagan's Haus 2017 week 4 NFL picks

Hagan’s Haus 2017 week 5 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 5 NFL picks.

Last week: 8-8

Overall: 32-31

Teams on byes: Atlanta Falcons, Denver Broncos, New Orleans Saints, Washington Redskins

Sunday Morning

Buffalo Bills (3-1) 23 @ Cincinnati Bengals (1-3) 21: This game is a trap game for the Bills. After a horrendous start to the season for the Bengals, they have looked much better over the last two weeks. Andy Dalton has been playing better and the defense is still really good. They could pull off this upset at home. Even though it is on the road the Bills are expected to win. They are a good rushing team averaging 112.8 yards per game. If they can impose their will on the ground in this game they will win.

Hagan's Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: CLIFF WELCH/ICON SMI/ICON SPORT MEDIA VIA GETTY IMAGES)

New York Jets (2-2) 24 @ Cleveland Browns (0-4) 27: The Jets are 2-2 and it is absolutely shocking. New York is one of the best ground teams in the NFL averaging 130.8 yards per game. Cleveland, on the other hand, has a top 10 rush defense. This is a clash of strengths and with Cleveland at home, and searching for its first win, they should win this game. It will be close and back and forth but DeShone Kizer will make a few plays to get the Browns their first win.

Carolina Panthers (3-1) 24 @ Detroit Lions (3-1) 20: Carolina versus Detroit is one of the best games in the NFL this week. Both teams are 3-1 and coming off of huge wins. The Lions only scored 14 points last week but held the Vikings to just seven. Detroit is only giving up 17.5 points per game which have helped them jump to 3-1. The Panthers are also giving up 17.5 points per game. Even though this game is in Detroit, Cam Newton finally got rolling last week and will be too much to handle in the Motor City.

San Francisco 49ers (0-4) 21 @ Indianapolis Colts (1-3) 27: There won’t be many viewers tuning into this matchup as the 49ers and Colts are a combined 1-7. This is one of the few games the 49ers have a true shot to win. For the 49ers to win this game, they will have to score more than the 16.5 they average on the season. San Francisco will also have to shut down the threat of Jacoby Brissett’s feet. That will be a tall task and the 49ers will fall short.

Tennessee Titans (2-2) 30 @ Miami Dolphins (1-2) 17: Tennessee must bounce back from a true spanking at the hands of Deshaun Watson and the Houston Texans. It is still up in the air if Marcus Mariota will be ready for this game. If he can’t go, the Dolphins will likely win this game despite their lackluster offense. Jay Cutler is proving what he has proven over his entire career. He is not a guy that will lead a team to the promised land. Mariota will find a way to play and get a big road win to keep pace with the Texans.

Hagan's Haus 2017 week 5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: James Lang-USA TODAY Sports)

Los Angeles Chargers (0-4) 19 @ New York Giants (0-4) 24: Unless they find a way to tie, the Chargers or Giants will finally get in the win column. Los Angeles has fallen short in their games due to special teams and an inability to protect the ball. The Giants are one-dimensional offensively and are not as stout as they were last season defensively. New York almost upset the Bucs last week and that momentum will help them get a win in this one.

Arizona Cardinals (2-2) 21 @ Philadelphia Eagles (3-1) 31: Arizona has been an average team at best this season and is not going to be a playoff team. Carson Palmer is having a solid year but the offense is only averaging 18.5 points per game while the defense is giving up 22.8 per game. The Cardinals do a good job defensively against the run and the Eagles’ strength offensively is running the ball. The Eagles are going to win this battle and therefore the game.

Jacksonville Jaguars (2-2) 17 @ Pittsburgh Steelers (3-1) 21: The Jaguars are a team still learning how to win. They are young and still have to fight through games with Blake Bortles under center. Jacksonville’s defense is balling, allowing the 10th fewest yards per game. It will be a good defensive matchup as the Steelers rank second in fewest yards allowed at 267 per game. With two top 10 defenses, winning this game will come down to who can make the big plays offensively. Pittsburgh has better playmakers and will pull out a win.

Sunday Afternoon

Baltimore Ravens (2-2) 13 @ Oakland Raiders (2-2) 17: The Raiders are going to struggle while Derek Carr sits with a back injury. Oakland must rely on their run game and defense to win them games. That doesn’t bode well for them because they don’t have a defense capable of locking down offenses in such a way that will win games. Fortunately for them, they play the Ravens this week who are a trashy offensive team. Baltimore only averages 15 points and 269.8 yards per game. They struggle against everyone and will have even more trouble flying across the country. The Raiders will win this game and keep their season alive despite losing Carr.

Hagan's Haus 2017 week5 NFL picks

(Photo Credit: AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth)

Seattle Seahawks (2-2) 21 @ Los Angeles Rams (3-1) 31: The Rams are a legitimate contender in the NFC. Los Angeles has the highest scoring offense in the NFL averaging 35 points per game. They also have done well against the Seahawks in recent history winning four of the last six against Seattle. The Rams front seven is going to dominate the Seahawks offensive line to become the kings of the west.

Green Bay Packers (3-1) 31 @ Dallas Cowboys (2-2) 34: Two of the NFL’s most storied franchises clash in Dallas. These two met in the playoffs and Aaron Rodgers made one of the greatest throws ever to help the Packers get the win. Dallas is going to get some payback for that game. Look for Ezekiel Elliott to rush for over 150 and lead the Cowboys to a big home win.

Sunday Night

Kansas City Chiefs (4-0) 37 @ Houston Texans (2-2) 32: Kansas City is the only undefeated team remaining in the NFL. They have a difficult game this week in Houston. Deshaun Watson is the real deal and will be a tough gameplan. The key in this game is can the Texans shut down the Chiefs high powered offense. The answer to that is no. Houston gave up 36 to New England and the Chiefs offense is better. Kansas City will win this game and it will be a shootout.

Monday Night

Minnesota Vikings (2-2) 23 @ Chicago Bears (1-3) 17: Last season the Vikings went into Soldier Field on Halloween in another Monday Night game and got spanked. This will be the first start in the young career of Mitchell Trubisky. Facing a Mike Zimmer defense in your first start puts you behind the eight ball. The Bears are a much-improved team but won’t be ready for the Vikings. The Minnesota defense will dominate to lead the Vikings to a win.

 

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Fantasy football: Week five quarterbacks to pick up

If you owned and had high hopes for, Derek Carr this season, you just took a hit. Maybe you own Drew Brees or Matt Ryan and need to find a quick and effective fill in. If that’s the case, this list is for you. Here are three streaming options at quarterback in week five.

Case Keenum/Sam Bradford (Minnesota Vikings)

fantasy football: week five quarterbacks

billypenn.com

Usually I’m against taking a Vikings quarterback for fantasy reasons. They’re a team who usually stays in games with their defense and run game, while not relying heavily on the passing attack. Now they go up against a Chicago defense who has allowed 15.8 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

Sam Bradford looked sharp in the season opener, backing up his chemistry with Stefon Diggs. On track to return in week five, Sam Bradford could be big for the Vikings this week. An ineffective run game may help his case.

With Dalvin Cook out for the season and Latavius Murray still nursing an ankle injury that required surgery, the Vikings run game will not be as effective as it has been so far this season.

The Vikings may have to resort to more of a passing game against the Bears, and with weapons like Kyle Rudolph, Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen, whoever starts for the Vikings has the opportunity to put up big numbers and should be a solid streaming option at quarterback.

Deshaun Watson (Houston Texans)

Wow, what a game from rookie Deshaun Watson. I don’t think anyone expected him to go off against a good Titans defense like he did in week four. With 283 passing yards and five total touchdowns while leading the Texans to a franchise-record 57 points scored, Deshaun Watson was a top the player rankings last week.

Now the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs come into town looking to knock off the surging Texans. The Chiefs have been stout against opposing quarterbacks giving up only 14 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks.

I definitely think that Deshaun Watson is worth a start after coming off of the week he had, but this pickup is also for the future. In week six, the Browns travel to play the Texans and they’ve given up a whopping 21 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, including 27 to Jacoby Brissett.

Carson Palmer (Arizona Cardinals)

fantasy football: week five quarterbacks

azcardinals.co

Carson Palmer is an interesting fantasy quarterback. He isn’t the most consistent player but he still seems to put up 15+ fantasy points per week. The Cardinals travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles and their thin secondary. Palmer doesn’t have the greatest weapons but he can always rely on the age-less Larry Fitzgerald.

Palmer has a 5:5 touchdown to interception ratio so he does make a lot of mistakes, and he’s missing one of his top pass catchers in David Johnson. However, he has thrown for 300+ yards in each of his last three games and threw three of his five interceptions in the first game of the season.

The Eagles have allowed almost 17 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and are definitely a team that Carson Palmer can torch if put in your lineup this week.

 

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“From Our Haus to Yours”

Feature Image courtesy of (Photo by: chron.com)

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