Dark horse candidates for the 2018 Heisman Trophy

The Heisman Trophy is awarded to the best player in college football but that doesn’t always mean they were the favorite to in the award heading into the season. Whether it is Jameis Winston or Johnny Manziel winning it as freshmen or RGIII winning at Baylor, the unknown names sometimes come out on top. Here are some of the players that can win the award with odds of 25/1 or worse:

Jarrett Stidham, QB, Auburn

Jarrett Stidham Auburn

Jarrett Stidham (Photo by al.com)

Current odds: 25/1

Stidham was actually on this same list last year but qualifies again because of the odds. In his first year at Auburn, after playing at Baylor and junior college, Stidham threw for 3,158 yards and 18 touchdowns. With him at quarterback, the Tigers were able to finish with a 10-4 record and made an appearance in the Peach Bowl.

Auburn has a typically tough schedule with Washington, LSU, Mississippi State, Georgia and Alabama on the docket. All these games will help him get the eyes of Heisman voters. He can start off the season as a frontrunner with solid games against Washington and LSU within the first three weeks of the season.

The schedule is tough, but if they can win eight games in the regular season, Stidham could be in contention for the award. If the defense can keep up with the offense, Stidham should be able to win enough games to help him get some consideration for postseason awards.

Rodney Anderson, RB, Oklahoma

Current Odds: 25/1

While Baker Mayfield got all the headlines last year, Anderson had a solid season as the starting running back for the Sooners. Anderson finished with 1,161 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns on 6.2 yards per carry. His running abilities helped Oklahoma get to the College Football Playoff and this year he will be the focal point of the offense.

The Big 12 may be down with Oklahoma State losing key players and TCU needing to take a step forward. They won’t have a lot of great games for Anderson to show off his skills, but they do play UCLA and Florida Atlantic along with their Big 12 schedule.

With the Big 12 not being the most competitive and their non-conference schedule, which features two decent, but not great, teams, Oklahoma could get through the season unscathed if they play at their best. They will need new starting quarterback Kyler Murray to really step up and produce, as well as their defense to play at an average level too.

A.J. Dillon, RB, Boston College

Current Odds: 25/1

Dillon made headlines on National Signing Day when he flipped his commitment from Michigan to sign with Boston College. In his freshman season he rushed for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns. The Eagles went 7-6 last season with Dillon and are hoping he can lead them to new heights this season.

The non-conference schedule features Notre Dame, which would be a good game to show out in. There is a stretch of games that could get Dillon a lot of attention featuring games against N.C. State, Louisville, Miami, Virginia Tech, Clemson and then Florida State.

While that is ample opportunity to make an impression, the downside is that Boston College may not have the talent to beat those teams. An unwritten rule of the Heisman Trophy is that the player winning the award has to play on a winning team and the Eagles will be lucky to get to 6-6.

Justin Herbert, QB, Oregon

Current Odds: 33/1

Oregon went 7-6 last year, but Herbert was only able to play eight games for the second consecutive season. When he stays healthy he has the ability to play well and be a star. He threw for 1,983 yards and 15 touchdowns, while only throwing five interceptions last season.

The Ducks’ schedule is pretty light so Herbert will have to make the most of the few big games he will play in. Games against Washington and Stanford will help decide the Pac-12 North. Games against Stanford and Arizona will pit Herbert against other Heisman contenders in Bryce Love and Khalil Tate respectively.

With the easier schedule, the Ducks should be able to win enough games to get Herbert the Heisman, if he puts up the stats. A key thing to note is that Herbert will have to deal with his third different coach in three years after Mark Helfrich was fired and Willie Taggart left for Florida State within the last two years.

D’Andre Swift, RB, Georgia

Current Odds: 33/1

D'Andre Swift Georgia

D’Andre Swift (Photo by zimbio.com)

Swift worked his way into getting carries as a freshman in a backfield that included Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. With limited touches, he was able to rush for 618 yards and three touchdowns on 7.8 yards per carry. He helped Georgia get to the National Championship as a freshman and now will see most of the workload at running back.

South Carolina, LSU, Florida and Auburn are all on the schedule this season enabling Swift to have some time on national television. They are also the frontrunners to win the SEC East, giving him another game to pad his stats and be in the spotlight.

Georgia lost a lot from their team last season but should be able to recover for another solid season. Their recruiting has been great and there aren’t many threats to their SEC East title. Ultimately, Georgia’s record shouldn’t hold Swift back from winning the Heisman.

Deondre Francois, QB, Florida State

Current Odds: 33/1

Florida State’s season went south as soon as Francois was lost for the season in the opener against Alabama. In 2018 Francois was able to throw for 3,350 yards and 20 touchdowns, while only throwing seven interceptions. This is especially impressive given that his offensive line was not good at all. During that season the Seminoles went 10-3 with a win over Michigan in the Orange Bowl.

Playing Notre Dame and Florida is as good as it gets for the nonconference schedule while playing Virginia Tech, Louisville, Miami and Clemson in conference should give him a chance to showcase his skills. The first game of the season against Virginia Tech can get him going on the right path for the Heisman, as they are a solid team, even though they lost a lot from their defense last season.

With a new coach in Taggart, Florida State will have to make adjustments for this season. They can win a lot of games but if they don’t fit into Taggart’s new system, they could lose as many as five or six games. Francois will need to help transition to the new coaching staff and lead the team to better results than last season to win the Heisman.

 

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Uzi placed second in the 2013 World Championships with Royal Club

Uzi’s professional history from 2013 to now – Part One – A Taste of Glory

Among the most-mentioned individuals on the “all-time best League of Legends players” list, Uzi has had a glaring issue. He has not really won anything since 2013. That year with Royal Club, Uzi won China’s Regional Finals to qualify for Worlds, where the team finished in second place. From then to now, Uzi has been involved in a five-year string of second place or lower finishes.

LPL Spring and Summer 2014

In 2014, Royal Club rebranded to Star Horn Royal Club for LPL Summer Split

Image from Wikipedia

Going into the 2014 LPL Spring Split, Royal Club had a tumultuous roster. Uzi was the only remaining member of the second-in-the-world group from 2013. GodLike, Lucky, Wh1t3zZ, and Tabe left, while Nct, Kmi, Ley and Rui joined. Uzi role-swapped to mid, as well. This amalgamation only lasted one game, with XJJ subbing in for Rui for weeks two through five.

Starting in week five, Royal Club switched the entire roster again. Uzi moved back to ADC, Nct moved to mid, and Bao and Yao joined as support and top. This updated roster was not able to gain more wins, though. Royal Club ended the regular season in sixth out of eight with a 3-3-8 record (32 percent game win rate).

Moving into summer, Royal Club revitalized. They re-branded to Star Horn Royal Club, bringing in a new suite of players around Uzi: Cola, inSec, corn and Zero. This roster finished the regular season third out of eight in a high-parity league, then went on to place third in playoffs. Star Horn Royal Club was a favorite to represent China at Worlds alongside Oh My God, the squad that beat SHRC in the summer semifinals.

Since Edward Gaming won the Spring and Summer Split playoffs, they automatically qualified for Worlds, while SHRC needed to defeat OMG, Invictus Gaming, and LGD in the Regional Qualifiers. And they did just that. Royal Club beat LGD once and OMG twice to reach EDG for a fight for the first seed. EDG took them down 2-1, but Uzi put on impressive performances to qualify to Worlds as the second seed from China.

Worlds 2014

Uzi and Star Horn Royal Club finished second at the 2014 World Championship

Image from LoL Esports Flickr

SHRC entered the 2014 World Championship rated as a top 10 team, with Uzi ranking fifth on Riot’s pre-Worlds top 20 players list. Crucially placed in Group B, alongside Team SoloMid, SK Gaming, and Taipei Assassins, Star Horn Royal Club breezed through the competition. While Korean teams topped groups A, C and D, Star Horn Royal finished the group stage with a 5-1 record. Uzi put on several carry performances using Tristana, Caitlyn, and his signature Lucian.

Moving into the bracket stage, SHRC was paired with Chinese rivals Edward Gaming for quarterfinals. Two of the most touted AD carries faced off in a five-game series, with Star Horn Royal coming out on top. Uzi and crew moved into semifinals to match up with the other remaining LPL team, OMG, where another legendary series ensued. Royal Club’s late-game fighting held out over OMG’s early game dominance, as they won in a back-and-forth 3-2. Uzi would move into his second Worlds finals in two years.

Royal Club went on to face a stalwart Samsung White. The number two seed from the LCK topped Group C over OMG, then took down TSM and Samsung Blue to reach the finals. Their series with SHRC ended in a dominant 3-1 victory, with the LPL team looking completely outclassed. Imp’s touted Twitch over-shadowed Uzi’s Tristana throughout the series.

2014 would go down as a solid year for Uzi and Royal Club. The organization grew from their rebuilding phase into Worlds finalists in the span of one year. Uzi was truly able to shine as the year went on, but Korean powerhouse teams, such as Samsung White and Blue, were still on another level. Little did Uzi know, this World Championship would be his second of many crushing second-place finishes throughout his career.

CREDITS

Keep your eye out for parts two, three and four, as they are released in the near future.

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Images: LoL Esports Flickr

 

2018 fantasy football DEF/ST rankings

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. The rankings are for standard leagues. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Here are Joe’s defense and special teams rankings:

DEF/ST rankings: 1-10

1. Jacksonville Jaguars

The Jacksonville Jaguars were the only fantasy defense to reach 200 points in 2017, finishing with 203. They only had two games on the season without a turnover forced and in many games had multiple turnovers. Like any defense, they have their bad games, but those were offset with eleven games in double-digit scoring. With most of the defense back and good players on every level of the defense, the Jaguars should be the first defense selected in fantasy drafts.

2. Los Angeles Rams

The Rams ranked third last season but made some key offseason acquisitions to move up to the second spot here. Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib, both are great corners and should be able to shut down the opposition, if they can stay on the field and not get too heated. Ndamukong Suh joins Aaron Donald to provide two elite defensive linemen on the same team. While they are relatively weak at linebacker, defensive coordinator Wade Phillips should make the most of the great talent he has on the roster.

Joey Bosa Chargers

Joey Bosa (Photo by freep.com)

3. Los Angeles Chargers

There are two good defenses in Los Angeles. The Chargers were ranked fifth last season and clearly focused on adding to their defense via the draft this season. Derwin James will be an impact player at safety, while the other players will provide good depth. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa combine for good pass rushing, while the secondary of James, Jahleel Addae, Casey Hayward, Jason Verrett and Desmond King will make it tough to move the ball.

4. Philadelphia Eagles

They ranked fourth last year and added some key players, making the Eagles ready to go for 2018. Their defensive line rotation is so good that they simply can’t fit all of their good players on the field. They even added Michael Bennett to the fold this offseason. Philadelphia will love having Jordan Hicks back to help the linebackers after he suffered a season-ending injury last year. The secondary is good in its own right, but they really don’t have to keep their coverage too long with that pass-rush.

5. Baltimore Ravens

Baltimore finished second in fantasy points in 2017 but will likely see some regression in 2018. They won’t get as many games this season to have big outings. Last year they got 20 point outings against the Bengals, the Bears, the Dolphins, the Packers (without Aaron Rodgers) and the Browns. The teams they do play on that list this year should be better and they may not be so lucky with the rest of their schedule. Many of their players are on the back-ends of their careers including Terrell Suggs, Eric Weddle and Brandon Carr. They still have solid younger players, including star linebacker C.J. Mosley, but if the veterans’ play falters, the whole defense will take a slight step back.

6. Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings have a good defense but ranked 14th in fantasy scoring last season. They should bounce back to form this season though with the number of talented players on that side of the ball. Sheldon Richardson was added to the fold on the defensive line that already has some great players. He should help improve their run defense, with the talented pass rushers and secondary will make it hard to throw. They should be owned most weeks in fantasy this season.

7. Denver Broncos

While their defense wasn’t great last season, ranking 20th in the league, but there a couple of reasons to watch for some improvement this season. Bradley Chubb was selected with the Broncos’ first-round pick and should get some production in his rookie season. The signing of Case Keenum will help the defense in many ways, as they won’t have to face short fields after turnovers and three and outs.

8. Chicago Bears

They ranked ninth in fantasy points last year and should get better. Chicago drafted Roquan Smith, the linebacker out of Georgia, with their first-round pick. He is a three-down player and will make an impact immediately. Their young safeties, Adrian Amos and Eddie Jackson help to create turnovers and sometimes score. With a solid front seven and corners as well, the Bears should be a top 10 fantasy defense yet again.

9. Detroit Lions

The Lions were surprisingly good for a fantasy football defense last season, ranking sixth. They do have some holes on defense that were not adequately addressed in the offseason though, which means they likely will not have as successful of a season. What they do have is a solid player on the defensive line (Ziggy Ansah) and two in the secondary (Darius Slay and Glover Quin). Those players will need some more help but are a good start for 2018.

10. New Orleans Saints

While the Lions’ defense was surprisingly good, no one thought the Saints’ defense would be anywhere close to where they finished last year. They finished seventh in fantasy scoring and helped take some of the burden off of Drew Brees and the offense. With Marcus Williams and Marshon Lattimore having great rookie seasons, the secondary is a strength. Demario Davis can lead the linebacking core, while Cameron Jordan and Marcus Davenport can get after the passer.

DEF/ST rankings: 10-15

11. Pittsburgh Steelers

Pittsburgh may not have one of their best defenses but they were able to rank 11th last year. They do have to deal with the loss of Ryan Shazier, who had the scary injury against the Bengals in early December. Their inside linebackers will struggle, but they have good pass rushers and a solid defensive line. Drafting Terrell Edmunds helped fill a need at safety and the main corners stay the same from last season.

Bobby Wagner Seahawks,

Bobby Wagner (Photo by si.com)

12. Seattle Seahawks

The Seahawks will have a new look next season with the defense being far from the Legion of Boom just a few years back. They can still be solid fantasy play though. Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor return at the back end of the defense. Byron Maxwell and super sophomore Shaquill Griffin will man the corner positions and will also be decent. Bobby Wagner, K.J. Wright and Frank Clark need to lead the front end of the defense with Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett being gone.

13. New England Patriots

New England never seems to have the greatest players on defense and still plays solidly. They finished 13th last season but no longer have Matt Patricia to run the defense. They did sign Adrian Clayborn and acquired Danny Shelton, so their line should be significantly better. Malcolm Butler was replaced by Jason McCourty at the corner position.

14. Kansas City Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes will start on offense, which should put the defense on the field a bit more than last season. Kendall Fuller was acquired via the Alex Smith trade and he is the only good corner on the roster. Eric Berry returns again at safety, just like Justin Houston at edge rusher. Houston isn’t the same player he once was but will have to produce. Derrick Nnadi was drafted to play nose tackle and shore up the run defense.

15. Washington Redskins

The Redskins seem to be drafting a lot of Alabama defensive players and it has worked. They were solid last year when Jonathan Allen played but were horrible against the run when he didn’t. With him healthy and Da’Ron Payne added to the fold, the Redskins run defense should be vastly improved. Ryan Kerrigan can get after the passer, while the secondary plays their typical zone defense that Josh Norman excels at.

 

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The 2019 NFL Draft to be hosted in Nashville

The NFL owners have voted to host the 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tennessee from April 25 through April 27.

Nashville’s bid was seen as the favorite to host the next draft and owners agreed on that on Wednesday.

Other cities considered were Las Vegas, Denver, Kansas City and Canton/Cleveland.

In 2018 the NFL Draft was hosted in Dallas, Texas, as the NFL has decided to switch up the host-city on a yearly basis after leaving New York City for the 2015 NFL Draft. In 2015 and 2016 it was hosted in Chicago, while in 2017 it was hosted in Philadelphia.

 

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2018 fantasy football composite rankings: K

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead.

Tiebreakers were decided by both Joe and Braxton.

For longer explanations, you can find their individual rankings here: Joe and Braxton.

Here are the composite kicker rankings:

Kicker Rankings: 1-10

1. Stephen Gostkowski- New England 

Joe’s rank: 1

Braxton’s rank: 2

2. Greg Zuerlein- Los Angeles Rams

Joe’s rank: 2

Braxton’s rank:1

3. Justin Tucker- Baltimore Ravens

Joe’s rank: 3

Braxton’s rank: 3

4. Matt Bryant- Atlanta Falcons

Joe’s rank: 4

Braxton’s rank: 5

5. Robbie Gould- San Francisco 49ers

Joe’s rank: 6

Braxton’s rank: 6

6. Chris Boswell- Pittsburgh Steelers

Joe’s rank: 7

Braxton’s rank: 7

7. Will Lutz- New Orleans Saints

Joe’s rank: 8

Braxton’s rank: 8

8. Harrison Butker- Kansas City Chiefs

Joe’s rank: 12

Braxton’s rank: 4

9. Matt Prater- Detroit Lions

Joe’s rank: 9

Braxton’s rank: 10

10. Jake Elliot- Philadelphia Eagles

Joe’s rank: 10

Braxton’s rank: 12

Kicker rankings: 10-15

11. Ryan Succop- Tennessee Titans

Joe’s rank: 13

Braxton’s rank: 9

12. Kai Forbath- Minnesota Vikings

Joe’s rank: 11

Braxton’s rank: 11

13. Adam Vinatieri- Indianapolis Colts

Joe’s rank: 14

Braxton’s rank: 13

14. Dan Bailey- Dallas Cowboys

Joe’s rank: 5

Braxton’s rank: N/A

15. Mason Crosby- Green Bay Packers

Joe’s rank: N/A

Braxton’s rank: 15

 

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2018 Heisman Trophy watch list

The spring football season is over and now fans can start gearing up for the regular season in a few months. As with every season, the Heisman Trophy is awarded to the game’s best player. With oddsmakers already putting out odds for the award, here are the top players to watch out for in the 2018 season.

Bryce Love, RB Stanford

Current odds: 5/1

Love wasn’t expected to go back to Palo Alto for his senior season after having a great season as a junior. Love rushed for 2,118 yards and 19 touchdowns and was an All-American. He was invited to the Heisman Trophy ceremony but ended up watching Baker Mayfield take home the award.

The production will be back for Love, who had over 100 rushing yards against multiple top 25 rushing defenses last season. He will have marquee matchups with Washington, Oregon, Notre Dame and USC. If he can put up big numbers against these teams on the big stage, Love can set himself up well to win the award.

Part of the award is playing on a good team and Stanford should be able to have a solid season. While tough games against the teams mentioned earlier, they should be able to win at least eight games and as many as 10 or 11 if they reach their potential.

Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin

Current odds: 13/2

No one was expecting Taylor to have as good of a freshman season as he did. Taylor rushed for 1,977 yards and 13 touchdowns while helping Wisconsin to a 13-1 record and an Orange Bowl win. He has a lot of his offense returning with him and should be poised for another big season.

The Wisconsin schedule is pretty light again, so Taylor will have to make the most of his opportunities. Games against Michigan and Penn State will be his big chances. Last year, against a tough Michigan defense, Taylor was able to rush for 132 yards, so tough competition doesn’t always slow him down.

Wisconsin should be heavily favored once again to win the Big Ten West, even if they drop the games against Michigan and Penn State. With another season that is similar in the stat line and the win column for Taylor, he could see himself hoisting the Heisman Trophy in December.

 

Khalil Tate, QB, Arizona

2018 Heisman Trophy watch list

Khalil Tate (Photo by ocregister.com)

Current odds: 14/1

Although he didn’t start the season as the starting quarterback for Arizona, Tate created some major buzz last season after taking over. He amassed over 3,000 total yards (1,591 passing and 1,411 rushing) in just 11 games played. His team didn’t have the best season, going 5-5 in games with him attempting over one pass, but he had a nice season nonetheless.

Arizona plays Houston and BYU outside of their conference schedule, making it tough. Tate won’t be on national television for a lot of games so will have to do well the few times he gets that opportunity. Games against USC and Oregon will be big games but if the team does well, he could have bigger games down the stretch.

The biggest question for Tate is if his team can be successful. Since they were only 5-5 with him in the lineup, he’ll have to prove he can lead his teams to victories this season. The Wildcats have a new head coach in Kevin Sumlin, which means Tate will have to get used to a new coach. He needs to go 8-4 while producing good stats to have a chance to win the Heisman.

Shea Patterson, QB, Michigan

Current odds: 16/1

Patterson has been cleared to play by the NCAA after transferring in from Ole Miss. He played seven games in Oxford last season before being lost for the season with a knee injury. In that short time frame, Patterson threw for 2,259 yards and 17 touchdowns on 63.8% passing.

The spotlight will be on Patterson from day one and he will have plenty of opportunities to show what he’s got. There are going to be four or five really big games that Michigan plays in this season: Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Michigan State, Penn State and Ohio State. He has mixed results against good competition with bad outings against Alabama and LSU, but a solid game against Auburn. If he wants to win the award he’ll need to cut out those bad games.

Michigan fans have been waiting for a true contending team for a while now. They should have it this season with so many key players coming back and Patterson transferring in to play quarterback. Making the College Football Playoff isn’t out of the question, but they’ll need to get hot against their tough schedule. If Patterson can lead Michigan to a good record and maybe a Big Ten Championship he will be right in the thick of the Heisman talk.

Tua Tagovailoa, QB, Alabama

2018 Heisman Trophy watch list

Tua Tagovailoa (Photo by golfdigest.com)

Current odds: 10/1

He still doesn’t have a start in his career but he played so well in the National Championship Game has him high on oddsmakers’ lists to win the Heisman. Realistically he still has to beat out Jalen Hurts for the job, even if he looks like the better player. He did see action in eight games, passing for 636 yards, 11 touchdowns and two interceptions.

Tagovailoa benefits from playing at Alabama, where they will be the talk of college football as long as Nick Saban is there. They have big games against Louisville, LSU, Mississippi State and Auburn. To beat teams like this, Tagovailoa will have to be at his best.

The schedule is a little tougher than last season but no one in their right mind would bet against Alabama right now. They should get a large number of wins and Tagovailoa will get a lot of credit being the quarterback. If his stats are decent he’s a threat to win the trophy.

Jake Fromm, QB, Georgia

Current odds: 10/1

Fromm was the backup when Jacob Eason went down with an injury and filled in without looking over his shoulder. He led them to the National Championship Game with 2,615 passing yards and 24 touchdowns on 62.2% passing. While his production will need to go up to win the award, he should improve in year two as Bulldogs’ quarterback.

He too will have many chances to help showcase why he should win the Heisman. The Bulldogs play LSU, Florida and Auburn, which should make it tough on Fromm. He did have limited production against the better teams on the schedule last season and only had one game with 300 yards passing total but he will be asked to do more with Sony Michel and Nick Chubb taking their talents to the NFL.

Georgia may not be able to make it back to the National Championship but should have a solid season. If they win the games they should and Fromm improves in year two, Georgia could have their first Heisman winner since Herschel Walker in 1982.

 

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Hunter Henry tears ACL, likely out for season

Los Angeles Chargers’ tight end Hunter Henry tore his ACL on Tuesday during the team’s OTAs according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

The injury occurred during a drill when he was running down the field. He was untouched, as it was a non-contact injury. A second opinion will be given on the injury on Wednesday.

Henry, the third-year player out of Arkansas, was set to start the year at tight end for the Chargers with Antonio Gates still being an unsigned free agent. He has 1,057 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns in his career.

The Chargers now have Virgil Green, who figures to take over as the lead tight end but will likely be looking to free agency to add another to the team before preseason play begins.

 

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Phoenix Suns 2018 NBA Draft profile

The NBA Draft is under a month away, which means NBA Draftmas is back. Each day the Game Haus will review a team’s past season, their team needs and targets. We will start off with the team that has the number one overall pick, the Phoenix Suns.

Summary

Devin Booker Dribbling for suns

Devin Booker (Photo by valleyofthesuns.com)

Phoenix had the worst record in the NBA at 21-61 this season and were able to win the 2018 NBA Draft Lottery. They are a long way from competing in the Western Conference but have some nice young pieces to build for the future.

The Suns have a star in Devin Booker, who averaged 24.9 points per game and also helped create for his teammates from the shooting guard position with 4.7 assists per game. With their next leading scorers being T.J. Warren (19.6 ppg) and Josh Jackson (13.1 ppg), they are set on the win for years to come.

This season the Suns traded away Eric Bledsoe and now need to replace him. They did trade for Elfrid Payton, but his career hasn’t come to fruition yet. With time he could be a solid starting point guard for the Suns, but he currently isn’t under contract for the 2018-2019 season, as their is a club option that needs to be picked up. Brandon Knight returns next season as the teams highest paid player. He can run the point and score in bunches when given the opportunity (proven in his 2015-16 campaign in Phoenix). Phoenix however still may want to improve the point guard position in this draft.

The interior play of the Suns has not been great, with a lot of aging veterans and young draft picks that haven’t worked out. That will be a place that is addressed again in the draft, it’s just a matter of when.

On defense, Phoenix had the worst unit in the league allowing 113.3 points per game. The only major stat where they ranked in the top half of the league as a team (between points allowed, points scored, rebounds and assists), was rebounds per game, in which they ranked 12th.

This team will not likely be a great contender next season but can be vastly improved in the draft.

Phoenix Suns Draft picks and needs

The Suns have four picks in the 2018 NBA Draft.

First round: No. 1, No. 16

Second round: No. 31, No. 59

If the Suns want to compete they need to improve their defense, point guard play and interior play. With the number of picks they have in this draft, Phoenix should be able to address the point guard and interior, although improving the defense could be a long process.

The draft will tell how they feel about Brandon Knight returning to the fold and Payton’s status as the team’s point guard. If they draft a big with their first pick, Knight and Payton will likely still be key parts of the team and its future. If they take a point guard, or rather a play-making player from Real Madrid who needs to have the ball in his hands to be successful, Knight and possibly Payton will likely be traded, as there will be limited minutes for one, if not both, of them.

Targets

Pick No. 1: DeAndre Ayton, C, Arizona

DeAndre Ayton Arizona screaming

DeAndre Ayton (Photo by zonazealots.com)

There is mounting buzz that this pick may be used in a trade to acquire Karl Anthony Towns. If that’s a possibility and not too much more is needed to give up to the Timberwolves, the Suns need to take the deal immediately. These profiles will not predict trades though.

Picking Ayton would immediately improve the interior play of the Suns. He physically dominated college competition with his scoring and rebounding. Ayton can also stretch the floor as he shot 34.3% from deep. Devin Booker has already mentioned that it would be cool to team up with Ayton. Those two could create a great one-two punch for the future. The starting lineup next season could look like this: Knight, Booker, T.J. Warren, Josh Jackson, DeAndre Ayton.

Pick No. 16: Anfernee Simons, PG, USA

Simons is able to go to the NBA Draft after playing a year at a prep school. This is an uncommon route and NBA teams will have to find out if taking the gamble of him not playing against good competition in college, or overseas, is worth it. He would have been one of the best point guards in the freshman class but now gets to take his chance in the pros.

The Suns can take the risk on a point guard like Simons with their second pick because they took Ayton with their first pick and have Knight returning. Simons could sit behind Knight or Payton (or even Tyler Ulis if need be) and learn while picking up spot minutes.

Pick No. 31: Grayson Allen, SG, Duke

Another way that the Suns can improve is their three-point shooting. They ranked last in the league in that category and need to have more shooters as threats so opposing defenses can’t pack in the defense, or just focus on Booker. Spreading the floor would also help take some pressure off of Ayton.

Allen has been the most polarizing figure in college basketball for the last four seasons with his spectacular play and his immaturity. He has tripped players, been a catalyst in a National Championship Duke team and has been a constant player covered in the media. He can play on or off ball but the most important thing is he can stretch the floor, hitting 38% of his shots from three-point range in his college career.

Pick No. 59: Kevin Hervey, PF, UT-Arlington

Hervey is an undersized power forward who is UT-Arlington’s most decorated player. He averaged at least 17 points in each of the last three seasons in college. To add to the points, he also averaged 8.0 rebounds per game during his career. His upside is limited but he can knock down the outside shot, hitting on around 34% of his threes the last two season.

 

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2018 fantasy football K rankings

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. The rankings are for standard leagues. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead. Here are Joe’s K rankings:

Kicker rankings: 1-10

1. Stephen Gostkowski- New England Patriots

Gostkowski ranked second last season and hit the second most PATs. He is still ridiculously accurate, making 37 of 40 field goals. The Patriots’ offense will likely take a small step back this season with the loss of Dion Lewis, Dany Amendola and Brandin Cooks, but will still give Gostkowski ample opportunities to hit field goals.

2. Greg Zuerlein- Los Angeles Rams

The Rams had a spectacular year and that includes Zuerlein. He hit 38 of 40 field goals and only missed one of the attempts deeper than 40 yards. With the Rams offense likely being figured out more as teams have a whole offseason to figure out how to stop it, he should see less opportunity. Being that he was the best fantasy kicker last year, his regression won’t leave him too low in the rankings. He also had back surgery earlier this offseason, which will be something to keep tabs on in the preseason.

Justin Tucker Kicking field goal

Justin Tuckert (Photo by fansided.com)

3. Justin Tucker- Baltimore Ravens

Although he finished third last year, Tucker just simply wasn’t given enough opportunities. Baltimore’s offense should improve slightly with their focus on selecting tight ends in the 2018 NFL Draft. Tucker missed three field goals last season but hit all of his extra points. With more opportunity, Tucker will pay off.

4. Matt Bryant- Atlanta Falcons

Bryant finished second last season, using his long field goals to bolster his scoring. He hit eight field goals of over 50 yards. He plays home games indoors, which helps his value as well. He slides down a spot because he won’t get the same amount of work from deep and he’s 42 years old.

5. Dan Bailey- Dallas Cowboys

A healthy Bailey is a must-own in fantasy. Last year he wasn’t healthy, but he should be back to form this season. He is lethally accurate and will likely be helping an offense that can move the ball, but will struggle with getting it in the end zone from time to time.

6. Robbie Gould- San Francisco 49ers

Gould got good work in last year with the third most attempts in the league. His PATs were relatively low and that should flip this season creating a little bit worse of a year for him. He is going to see the benefit of having Jimmy Garoppolo there though as he posted big weeks at the end of the season with Garoppolo at the helm.

7. Chris Boswell- Pittsburgh Steelers

He might not be one of the top-tier kickers in the NFL, but he should be coveted in fantasy because of the team he plays for. He hit 37 of 39 PATs and 35 of 38 field goals in 2016. His accuracy improved last year, but he could do better by converting all of his PATs. At points, he can be a boom or bust play, as the Steelers can score touchdowns without needing any field goals in some matchups.

8. Will Lutz- New Orleans Saints

Another kicker that befits a lot based on how productive his offense is, Lutz finished eighth in fantasy points last year. To go along with the good offense, he also gets to play in a dome for his home games, which is a nice luxury to have. He led the league in PATs and had six games of double-digit scoring.

9. Matt Prater- Detroit Lions

Prater still has a strong leg and connected on seven field goals of over 50 yards. Four of his seven makes from 50-yard range were in the first three weeks of the season and he really slowed down near the end of the season. That’s something to be cautious about in 2018, but he should have another solid season.

10. Jake Elliot- Philadelphia Eagles

The Jake Elliot story from 2017 is a unique one. He gets drafted by the Cincinnati Bengals, gets cut, misses week one, signs with the Eagles, finishes 14th among kickers for fantasy points among kickers and then wins the Super Bowl with the Eagles. What a year. With a full 16 games (he’ll need to stay healthy for this too) and a year of experience, Elliot should finish in the top 10.

Kicker rankings: 10-15

11. Kai Forbath-Minnesota Vikings

Will the Vikings’ offense be as explosive as last year? Who knows, but they do have Kirk Cousins now. The offense should be fine, but Cousins didn’t allow Redskins’ kicker Dustin Hopkins to have a game of double-digit scoring last year (Hopkins was injured for a chunk of games in the middle of the season). Forbath is at best a matchup play for next season.

12. Harrison Butker- Kansas City Chiefs

Butker took his opportunity with the Chiefs and ran with it last season. He benefitted from having a good offense, which may not be the case this season. That mostly rides on the shoulders of Pat Mahomes. He should still be a solid fantasy kicker but to get back up into the top ten, he will need help from the Chiefs offense.

13. Ryan Succop- Tennessee Titans

Succop finished 11th last season but is too feast or famine to finish in the top 10. Five of his first seven games last season he scored in the double digits. The other two weeks he scored two and five points. After week seven he had six weeks of no double-digit scoring and then finished out the year with three more good outings, netting double digits. Concisely put, only play him on a matchup basis.

Adam Vinatieri running out of tunnel

Adam Vinatieri (Photo by colts.com)

14. Adam Vinatieri- Indianapolis Colts

Yes, Vinatieri is back for another season. He finished 16th last season but should see added production if Andrew Luck can stay healthy. Although he is aging, he still hit five of six field goals from over 50 yards last season. He has the leg, the accuracy, the offense (pending Luck) and the indoor stadium to make it another successful year.

15. Graham Gano- Carolina Panthers

Gano rebounded from his bad 2016 season to have a solid 2017 season in which he scored 121 points. He did miss three extra points, but only missed one field goal. With the Panthers adding to their offense the last few offseasons, Gano should get some consistent work.

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2018 fantasy football composite rankings: TE

The NFL Draft is now over and the next big event for football fans is likely their very own fantasy football drafts. The Game Haus will have rankings by both Joe DiTullio and Braxton Angle, as well as composite rankings, coming out over the coming weeks. These will be adjusted when the season gets closer, but it’s never too early to look ahead.

Tiebreakers were decided by both Joe and Braxton.

For longer explanations, you can find their individual rankings here: Joe and Braxton.

Here are the composite tight end rankings:

Tight End Rankings: 1-10

1. Rob Gronkowski- New England Patriots

Braxton’s rank: 1

Joe’s rank: 1

2. Zach Ertz- Philadelphia Eagles

Braxton’s rank: 2

Joe’s rank: 2

3. Travis Kelce- Kansas City Chiefs

Braxton’s rank: 3

Joe’s rank: 4

4. Greg Olsen- Carolina Panthers

Braxton’s rank: 5

Joe’s rank: 4

5. Evan Engram- New York Giants

Braxton’s rank: 4

Joe’s rank: 6

6. Hunter Henry- Los Angeles Chargers

Braxton’s rank: 6

Joe’s rank: 5

7. Delanie Walker- Tennessee Titans

Braxton’s rank: 7

Joe’s rank: 9

8. Kyle Rudolph- Minnesota Vikings

Braxton’s rank: 8

Joe’s rank: 8

9. Jimmy Graham- Green Bay Packers

Braxton’s rank: 10

Joe’s rank: 7

10. Jordan Reed- Washington Redskins

Braxton’s rank: 12

Joe’s rank: 11

Tight End Rankings: 11-20

11. Jack Doyle- Indianapolis Colts

Braxton’s rank: 16

Joe’s rank: 10

12. Trey Burton- Chicago Bears

Braxton’s rank: 11

Joe’s rank: 15

13. Tyler Eifert- Cincinnati Bengals

Braxton’s rank: 14

Joe’s rank: 12

14. Benjamin Watson- New Orleans Saints

Braxton’s rank: 13

Joe’s rank: 14

15. O.J. Howard- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Braxton’s rank: 9

Joe’s rank: 19

16. Charles Clay- Buffalo Bills

Braxton’s rank: 18

Joe’s rank: 13

17. Jared Cook- Oakland Raiders

Braxton’s rank: 20

Joe’s rank: 16

18. David Njoku- Cleveland Browns

Braxton’s rank: 15

Joe’s rank: 21

19. Austin Seferian-Jenkins- Jacksonville Jaguars

Braxton’s rank: 19

Joe’s rank: 24

20. George Kittle- San Francisco 49ers

Braxton’s rank: 23

Joe’s rank: 20

Tight End Rankings: 21-30

21. Cameron Brate- Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Braxton’s rank: 26

Joe’s rank: 17

22. Hayden Hurst- Baltimore Ravens

Braxton’s rank: 17

Joe’s rank: 26

23. Austin Hooper- Atlanta Falcons

Braxton’s rank: 27

Joe’s rank: 18

24. Eric Ebron- Indianapolis Colts

Braxton’s rank: 22

Joe’s rank: 23

25. Mike Gesicki- Miami Dolphins

Braxton’s rank: 21

Joe’s rank: 22

26. Dalton Schultz- Dallas Cowboys

Braxton’s rank: 24

Joe’s rank: 27

27. Ricky Seals-Jones- Arizona Cardinals

Braxton’s rank: 28

Joe’s rank: 28

28. Gerald Everett- Los Angeles Rams

Braxton’s rank: 30

Joe’s rank: 30

29. Vance McDonald- Pittsburgh Steelers

Braxton’s rank: N/A

Joe’s rank: 22

30. Tyler Kroft- Cincinnati Bengals

Braxton’s rank: 30

Joe’s rank: N/A

 

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