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Cleveland Rocks!

What Beckham’s arrival means for his fantasy prospects

FANTASY IMPACT –

Odell Beckham, Jr.

Joins the Browns

By Chris Foster (@FootballNuke)

3/21/2019

As part of the New York Giants’ voluntary dismantling, general manager Dave Gettleman shipped one of the best wide receivers in the league off to Cleveland for a player, two picks and some free passes to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame.

Who is Odell Beckham Jr. and what does he bring to Cleveland?

Beckham is twenty-six years old entering his sixth year in the NFL. During those six years, Beckham failed to eclipse 1,000 yards only once. That was in 2017 when Odell spent most of the year on IR.  Last year, Beckham was only on the field for twelve games. He tallied 1,052 yards on 77 receptions and reached the end zone six times. Project those numbers over a sixteen-game season and those numbers look great (103/1,402/8). Beckham’s career yards per reception is 14.0 for his career. He averages 92.8 yards per game. He’s a supreme talent that can lead the league in most receiving statistical categories.

He’s also a bit of a diva – as most world-class wideouts are, and putting him together with a young, brash, quarterback could potentially be a powder keg.

Is Odell’s new quarterback – Baker Mayfield – capable of getting him the ball?

Baker Mayfield’s NFL story is still in its fledgling state, but so far, so good. Starting thirteen games in 2018, he threw for 3,725 yards and 27 touchdowns. Baker’s completion percentage last year was 63.8%, but his final two years at Oklahoma he had over a 70% completion rate. The accuracy is there. The arm strength is there. The talent is there. The bottom line is there is no reason to believe that Baker will struggle getting the ball to OBJ.

What does Mayfield’s protection look like?

The Browns shipped Kevin Zeitler to the Giants, but they still have a formidable line. Some well-known websites ranked the Browns line as one of the top-ten lines in the league at the end of last year. Carrying that through to this year, Mayfield should have plenty of time to run, throw or flex towards Hue Jackson. Mayfield will have time to run this offense which is good for Beckham.

What about Odell’s new coaches?

Freddie Kitchens is the new head coach. Taking over as the offensive coordinator last year and showed the ability to put his key players in position to win games. Kitchens’ offensive coordinator is Todd Monken – a guy who believes in running to setup the pass. If our historical view of the coaches holds true, the Browns are going to let Baker throw a lot. This is good news for Beckham.

Putting it all together – is Odell Beckham, Jr going to live up to his 2019 ADP?

At the time of this article, Beckham’s ADP is 1.12. That’s about where he was last year. While he certainly would have been a WR1 in New York, Beckham has a very good chance of being the overall number wide receiver in the league. Here is my top ten wideouts:

  1. DeAndre Hopkins

  2. Odell Beckham, Jr.

  3. Davante Adams

  4. Michael Thomas

  5. Tyreek Hill (pending allegations)

  6. Julio Jones

  7. JuJu Smith-Schuster

  8. Mike Evans

  9. Amari Cooper

  10. Antonio Brown

There you have it. Other than the guy who never drops a ball – DeAndre Hopkins – I would take OBJ in a dynasty draft as the number two wide receiver off the board every time. Beckham and his new team check all the boxes for me to identify an elite performer:

  1. Exceptional player

  2. Skilled quarterback with growth potential

  3. Top ten offensive line

  4. Coaching staff that wants to move the ball through the air

This could be a special year in Cleveland. It could in fact be a very special next decade in Cleveland - if all these guys can get along. Rise or fall, Odell Beckham will play a big part of the Cleveland Browns’ story for the foreseeable future.

2019 Fantasy Impact Projection – Odell Beckham, Jr.

Targets: 155

Receptions: 95

Yards: 1,475

Touchdowns: 13

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Antonio Brown to the Raiders

Is he still the WR1? If not where does he fall to?

FANTASY IMPACT –

Antonio Brown to the Raiders

By Chris Foster (@FootballNuke)

3/19/2019

Months of drama surrounding the best wide receiver in football recently culminated with the Pittsburgh Steelers dealing Antonio Brown to the Oakland/Las Vegas Raiders in exchange for a 3rd and 5th round pick. Congratulations to Mike Mayock and the Raiders on that win. I’m not here to analyze the trade, however. What I am here for is to look at the impact Brown will have as a fantasy asset and answer the question of where the former number one fantasy wideout should be ranked now. In order to do this, we must look at who Antonio Brown currently is, and examine the organization Brown is now a part of.

Who is Antonio Brown?

Widely considered to be the best wide receiver in the game, the thirty-one-year-old receiver is coming off another stellar season, playing fifteen games, amassing 104 receptions for 1,297 yards and leading the league with 15 touchdowns. Brown’s average yards per catch was 12.47. 

Is Antonio Brown slowing down?

AB’s productivity continues to be exceptional. Brown has put up 100+ catch seasons over the past six seasons. The lowest yardage output over that timespan was in 2016 when he finished with 1,284 yards in 15 games. Brown had almost the same numbers in 15 games this past year. Additionally, Brown is extremely reliable.  He hasn’t played fewer than 14 games in one season since 2012. Is Brown slowing down? Quite simply, there is no evidence to suggest that. 

Is Brown’s new quarterback Derek Carr capable of getting him the rock?

Derek Carr’s quarterbacking ability will draw opinions from all sides. Some say he’s a franchise QB. Others say he is barely above replacement level. Odds are he is probably somewhere in between. When trying to project his productivity, there are some not-so encouraging numbers.  For instance, the 28-year-old has only eclipsed 4,000 yards passing in one season (2018).  Second, Carr’s touchdown passes have declined over the past four years from 32 down to 19. Carr ranked 20th in the NFL last year in yards per attempt (7.3) and 26th in TD percentage (3.4).

Despite those numbers Carr posts a few stats that suggest he may be able to perform better. His completion percentage has increased over the past four seasons from 61.1% to 68.9%. That 68.9% was the 5th best percentage in the NFL last year. He also finished 6th in completions and 12th in passing yards. That is not a lot to be excited about. Carr’s stats suggest that for him to be more effective, he needs protection and time.

Is Carr going to have time to get the ball to Brown?

Carr was sacked fifty-one times in 2018 making him the third-most sacked QB in the league behind Deshaun Watson (65) and Dak Prescott (56). Unlike Watson and Prescott, Carr is not a scrambler, so he needs good protection to be effective. The Raiders practiced some addition by subtraction sending All-Pro Kelechi Osemele to the Jets a few weeks ago. They then added LT Trenton Brown, RT Denzell Good and G Jamar McGloster in free agency. I look for them to enhance the line via the draft as well. The quality of the line in 2019 should be improved with a solid left tackle watching Carr’s back, but by how much is anyone’s guess at this point. The thing to keep in mind is how the offensive line goes is how Carr will go. If Carr is doing well, the benefactor will be Antonio Brown.

What about Brown’s new coaches?

The Raiders’ offensive coordinator is Greg Olson. Looking at his coaching history, that is not an exciting prospect for fantasy football fans. In his eleven years as an OC, only one time has he led an offense that ranked higher than 18th in the league. His best year was with the 2006 St. Louis Rams where he led the offense to the number six overall ranking. That is the abnormality, however. In order, here are the rankings for all Olson-led offenses: 27, 6, 24, 28, 19, 21, 23, 32, 18, 23, 23. Anyone feel good about this? At this point, I’m wondering how Olson continues to get hired. He has, somehow, developed a reputation that has kept him in the league. If the offense struggles out of the gate, I wouldn’t be surprised to see a change during the season.  Ranking in the bottom third of the league is not going to work this year.

Putting it all together – is Antonio Brown going to live up to his 2019 ADP?

At the time of this article, Brown’s ADP is 2.09, dropping him almost exactly one round from last year. Brown is, however, still being drafted as a WR1. Here is the list of guys I currently have going ahead of him:

  1. DeAndre Hopkins

  2. Odell Beckham, Jr.

  3. Davante Adams

  4. Michael Thomas

  5. Tyreek Hill (pending allegations)

  6. Julio Jones

  7. JuJu Smith-Schuster

  8. Mike Evans

  9. Amari Cooper

  10. Antonio Brown

Brown will be worth that late-round second as long as Derek Carr can get him the ball. There are some risky pieces at play (Olson, the Raiders offensive line) that could put living up to that ADP in jeopardy, but for some reason I find myself believing in new GM Mike Mayock and his ability to land the right players for the Raiders offense to experience a resurgence.

2019 Fantasy Impact Projection – Antonio Brown

Targets: 130

Receptions: 89

Yards: 1,175

Touchdowns: 8

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Lev Bell to the Jets.

Can he dominate like he did before?

FANTASY IMPACT –

Le’Veon Bell to the Jets

By Dan Rosier (@theBleagueSays)

March 17, 2019

Back Row Show Bandits!

Here we are in the middle of the #FreeAgencyFrenzy, which is also the middle of #MarchMadness, which is also in the middle of the first half of the calendar year. Right now, we are in the middle of the offseason, as we are three months away from training camps. All of this is very timely because now marks the end of the Le’Veon Bell and Pittsburgh Steelers standoff - the saga has finally ended! The ‘he said, she said’ garbage is over. Both parties have hopefully moved onto bigger and better things. The inspiring James Conner story (and form) takes over as the lead back in Pittsburgh, and Jaylen Samuels flashed down the stretch to add value to his presence too.

Thank god.  

The cluster of running backs in the Jets locker room is now set. There is no more ‘But, but, but Isaiah Crowell has the opportunity and experience and…’, no, spare me that for another year, please. He’s not good. He was never good, that’s why he got cut. There was no value in jumping up or waiting for him. Fantasy owners should have avoided him like they did every other year. Bilal Powell is now gone after entering Free agency. They now have Bell, along with Elijah McGuire and Trenton Cannon who are both young, serviceable, guys who have flashed a little bit when called upon. Their place is established well behind the hot commodity that Le’Veon Bell is.

It was typical of a Le’Veon Bell-play as the news broke out. He took his time and released the information about where he was going on his terms, just like the entire 2018 season. I don’t begrudge a guy for sitting out a year to maximize his future contract - regardless of how much money he may or may not have lost. It sucks for fans of the sport that miss out seeing his brilliance every week but we know running backs have a short career-span. I don’t take the hits that he does weekly so I really shouldn’t tell him he’s wrong. If he had to do what is best for himself, then I don’t blame him at all. His teammates, I feel, are the only ones who can be aggrieved out of all of this - that’s it – no one else.

Where does that leave us in fantasy football going forward with Bell in the 2019 season?

Well, that’s a good question.

Bell has been THE guy in his team's backfield. ‘THE.’ Not ‘A.’ ‘THE.’ The Jets are paying him a lot of money to be THE guy in New York.

How much money?

Glad you asked… (courtesy of Spotrac.com):

“Le'Veon Bell signed a 4 year, $52,500,000 contract with the New York Jets, including an $8,000,000 signing bonus, $25,000,000 guaranteed, and an average annual salary of $13,125,000. In 2019, Bell will earn a base salary of $2,000,000, a signing bonus of $8,000,000 and a roster bonus of $4,500,000, while carrying a cap hit of $8,500,000 and a dead cap value of $25,000,000.”

The Jets do have an out in those 4 years if they go down that route. In 2021 Bell could be cut, carrying a $4,000,000 dead cap hit (and in 2022 taking a $2,000,000 dead cap hit). He is just behind Todd Gurley in terms of being the highest paid at his position. So that put as precisely as possible, is the financials. For dynasty folks, Bell should be a Jet for the next two years at a minimum before lack of performance could lead to him being cut. He will also be 29 years of age in two years. Breathe easy for now if you have him in dynasty - statistically, he is hitting his prime now off of a full year of rest.

There are several factors to look at when drafting Le’Veon Bell in 2019: his coach Adam Gase and his young quarterback Sam Darnold, along with the Jets’ offensive line and supporting cast.

Adam Gase:

Let’s check back into this aspect of potential Bell production. I am sensing Gase will heavily dictate Bell’s production level – more so than the Bell/Darnold combination.

In Adam Gase’s first year as an NFL offensive coordinator, he was lucky to have Peyton Manning as his quarterback, and 2013 was an incredibly historic year for ‘The Chief.’ Manning led the NFL with Attempts and Completions (659:450, giving a Completion Percentage of 68.28%), Pass Attempts Per Game (41.2) and Passing Touchdowns (55), and 5477 Total Passing Yards or one Touchdown for every 12.2 Completions for every 99.58 Yards. That is incredible for a guy who was in the twilight of his career. Peyton Manning won the NFL MVP in 2013. Was this a result of all of Adam Gase’s hard work and coaching prowess? No? Wasn’t it? Right…

Peyton Manning crushed the league in 4 Points Per Touchdown scoring no less with 414 points. That’s 56 points clear of Drew Brees who finished with the second most points in 2013. All that scoring in the air is crazy because in 2013 Knowshon Moreno, the Running back for the Broncos finished 21st overall amongst all scorers, and was the RB5 to boot with 241-1038-10 (att-yds-td) on the ground, accompanied by a 74-60-548-3 (tgts-rec-yds-td) stat line through the air. That’s a whopping 237 points (which would have been the RB6 this year) in Standard Scoring formats, a clear 267 in Half PPR (or the RB5 this year), and 297 points in full PPR (the RB6 this year). In that same year as a rookie, Le’Veon Bell was the RB15 with 219 points in full PPR scoring.

On the coattails of Manning, Gase started to make his name and it looked easy. He also had success in the following years amongst both positions too:

  • In 2014, Peyton Manning was the QB4 before retiring with 312.7 points, and C.J. Anderson was the RB10 with 211.3 points in full PPR. Le’Veon Bell was the RB1 with 370.5 that year - his second season as a pro.

  • In 2015 (as the Offensive coordinator in Chicago), Adam Gase had Jay Cutler as his quarterback, who did Jay Cutler things and generally stunk. However, Matt Forte finished as the RB8 with 192.7 in Half PPR. Bell had a down year and ended poorly, due to suspension and an injury which reduced his season to only playing six games.

  • In 2016, Adam Gase moved teams again and got his first head coaching job with the Miami Dolphins. Ryan Tannehill was his quarterback, and while playing 13 games only, Ryan Tannehill finished as the QB27. However, along a running back trend was Jay Ajayi who did ok with 201.8 points in Half PPR - which was good for the RB11 slot - while Bell produced and was the RB3 with 279.9 points.

  • In 2017, a mix of Matt Moore, Jay Cutler and a few other ringers under center, the Dolphins struggled. However, from Weeks 9-17 when he took over the starters role, Kenyan Drake was the RB8, with 122.8 points in Half PPR - Bell was the RB2 with 299.1 points over the whole season.

  • In 2018 with a mix of forgettable quarterbacks that did pretty much nothing (again), Kenyan Drake was somewhat of a shining light finishing as the RB17 in Half PPR with 179.7 points in a committee with an aged Frank Gore. Bell, as we know sat out the season

Adam Gase, unless he has had a first ballot Hall of Fame quarterback at his disposal has not had great production from that position. However, Gase with running backs - particularly those who can receive well - tend to thrive. I mentioned Knowshon Moreno previously, but Matt Forte in 13 games had 58 targets, 44 receptions, 389 yards and 3 TDs. This production somewhat mirrored Moreno’s 74-60-548-3 stat line from 2013; over a full 16 games, Forte would have plugged a 71-54-478-4 line that season.

What's incredible is the similarities between Le’Veon Bell, Moreno, and Forte. On average, in the receiving game alone, Bell accrues 79-62-532-1 in a season. Bell has only been over 300 carries once in his career and averages 245 attempts per game too - which is skewed due to the six-game season he had in 2015. Is it fair to say Bell may hit over 300 combined touches this season? I think it can happen.

Is high output for Bell going to be great for Sam Darnold? There are two ways to look at this. I have mentioned above Gase’s track record with final quarterback fantasy production, but what about Le’Veon Bell with Ben Roethlisberger? If you track Le’Veon Bell’s seasons, you can somewhat see where Ben Roethlisberger has finished well in fantasy football. Now, I know Roethlisberger has had a first-class squad at his disposal, but for the sake of simplifying please bear with me. How about this:  

  • In 2017, Le’Veon Bell was the RB2 (19.2 PPG), Ben Roethlisberger was the QB11 (17.4 PPG).

  • In 2016, Le’Veon Bell was the RB4 (23.3 PPG), Ben Roethlisberger was the *QB18 (18.0 PPG).

  • In 2014, Le’Veon Bell was the RB2 (20.5 PPG), Ben Roethlisberger was the QB5 (19.1 PPG).

  • In 2013, Le’Veon Bell (in his Rookie season) was the RB15 (15.2 PPG), Ben Roethlisberger was the QB11 (16.3 PPG).

* Roethlisberger missed two games in 2016; at his average of 18 PPG, he would be finished as the QB6.

Darnold had a mixed bag of results as a Rookie, which is to be expected. However, towards the end of the season, it looked like he had a lightbulb go off and he started to settle into a rhythm. Over the last four games of the season, Sam Darnold was the QB12 with 64.9 (16.22 PPG) points. What is more telling is the production of his running back Elijah McGuire who was the RB11 with 55.9 points (13.97 PPG) in Half PPR. McGuire over that four-game span went 15-11-126-1 in the receiving game alone which projects to 60-44-504-4 over a full 16-week season. Do those numbers seem kind of familiar? It’s slightly lower than Bell/Forte/Moreno production, and it was an option for Darnold. And now he gets, arguably, one of the best receiving running backs in the game at his disposal.

All of this has the needle pointing up, correct? Gase has good running back production especially in the receiving game. Darnold was starting to finish strong and found his receiving running back at the end of the season. Cool. Here’s the catch for me. Or perhaps two catches. Either way…

  1. The NY Jets Offensive Line struggles 

Pro Football Focus (Profootballfocus.com) had the Jets offensive Line as the 25th ranked unit at the end of the season. That doesn’t sound great. Considering that they were ranked behind the NY Giants, Houston Texans and the Jacksonville Jaguars - all of which had horrible front fives -and it seems that much worse. They did bring in former All-Pro Kelechi Osemele from Oakland to play at left guard which is something, and Kelvin Beachum, Brian Winters, and Brandon Shell are all returning. They were fine but it looks like the Jets could still make an upgrade by bringing in a center in free agency or the NFL Draft.

2. Adam Gase’s 2018 Miami Offenses ineffectiveness

Under Gase the Dolphins struggled in a few key metrics that I feel held them back. Miami ranked 31st overall in 3rd Down Conversion (30.1%). They had a 51.6% red zone percentage and were the 26th ranked offense of the league as well. They were 18th overall in rushing yards per game (which is not bad for our guy Le’Veon Bell), but were 20th in the league for rushing success with a 46% success rate at 4.6 YPA, but that dipped to 27th in the league when they trekked into the opposition red zone - which is scary because they ran the least amount of rushing plays in red zone with only 35 attempts at a dismal 3.2 YPA.   

Everything you see here about the Dolphins screams inconsistent and at best ‘less than average.’ That is what we saw from an Adam Gase-lead Offense last season, which, if you are a Bell owner, must be a concern. However, I think Bell is banking on his talent and on Darnold progressing from his rookie numbers being different in 2019. The Jets, dare I say it, are better set up as an offense this year than what the Dolphins were on offense in 2018.

2019 Projection

RUSHING:

Attempts: 281 / YPA: 4.4 / Yards: 1236.4 / TDS: 8

RECEIVING:

Targets: 85 / Receptions: 62 / YPR: 8.2 / 508.4 / TDS: 3

TOTAL:

Touches: 343 / Yards: 1744.8 / TDS: 11

Summary

Le’Veon Bell is arguably one of the best running backs in the league. He is a game-changer that developed a style that is hard to stop and is different in its approach. His use of directing his offensive line and his sudden burst of speed is unlike any other. I get the appeal of why anyone would want him if the price is right. For the Jets and Bell, it was. Bell holds the key to many of his teammates. He can be the primary focus on offense, ideally unlocking Quincy Enunwa, Robby Anderson, Jamison Crowder, and Chris Herndon while offering short-pass relief to Sam Darnold. Everyone around him by proxy should get better. I can see a world where Bell slips out of that first tier of running backs taken off the draft board, and I understand the reasons why. I have fewer reservations about Le’Veon Bell and his new team and situation than I do Todd Gurley - last year’s RB1 - who has unknown knee injuries and is continually ranked ahead of him. My projection above is extremely generous, but I have a feeling his talent will win out in the end, helping the New York Jets along the way to a shot at a wild card spot in the AFC in 2019. A lot must go right for all this to happen, but if someone can create something out of nothing - it will be Le’Veon Bell doing so.

And on that note, that will about do me for this week!

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster and Matthew Bruening’s (@SportsfanaticMB) this offseason. We have more great content coming your way, keep an eye out (or both eyes, whatever you prefer really) for that.

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week during that season too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

2019 NFL DRAFT COMBINE

The BackRowShow covers the best and the worst of the combine

The Patriots win!… Again. Who would of thought?

The Patriots win!… Again. Who would of thought?

GOOD, Bad and Ugly - Feb.12

Feb. 12

by @theBleagueSays

Back Row Bandits!

What an absolute brutal Super Bowl that was to finish the season!

All that, for that… Terrible!

But that’s ok. What you are here for - like all top fantasy football enthusiasts, you are searching for the information in the offseason to help you get ahead of the trends prior to when you league Draft Day kicks off to give you an advantage on your competitors.

The only way that this can’t help is if everyone in your league reads this right now. And in that case, that would be pretty unlucky… Anyways… Proper planning will prevent poor performance unless C.J. Anderson blew you away when you least expected it.

Yeah, brutal.

Well, it may have been OK unless Damien Williams happened… Ouch.

But it may have been salvageable unless Jamaal Williams was in a lineup opposite you too.

The reality is that if you got into the Fantasy Football Championships, all your hard work may have come down to a possible roll of the dice on waiver wire fodder that you probably didn’t put a bid or claim in for - and even if you did and were successful, did you actually have to moxie to slot them into your lineup? I mean, maybe?

So in that case, the less you remember about the 2018 season it’s quite possible for the better.

But while we reminisce on a resurgent end of the season for Robby Anderson and ‘what could have been’ for Keelan Cole; I would prefer to look forward to the future.

So in that case, my attention turns to the leagues current Free Agency with who is available and possible landing spots in a good old fashioned Good, Bad and Ugly. On this week's podcast (Episode 107 - download and listen to it - do it, now!), the guy's tee’d up some great landing places for some of this years out of contract players. So why not hop on board and throw in my two cents? Possibly because two cents can get you pretty much nothing. Which still works out because this amazing article comes to you free of charge so you're still coming out ahead!

That's right, we love you!

So, on with the show!

The Good

Adam Humpries and T.J. Yeldon

Adam Humphries:

My first instinct was to say Detroit.

I felt like Matt Stafford looked lost once Golden Tate was shipped off to Philadelphia, but Marvin Jones has been effective when they moved him into the slot at times. So whether they feel the need to go and get a guy like Humphries is an urgent thing or not is something we will find out sooner than later.

So it is with that said that I think the actual landing spot for Adam Humphries, funnily enough, is this year's Super Bowl Champions, the New England Patriots.

Insert ‘the Patriots love a white slot Wide Receiver jokes here’.

No, but all jokes aside, Julien Edelman is 32. Josh Gordon is still on the roster and probably going to be suspended if he even tries coming back to the league and Cordarelle Patterson, Phillip Dorsett and Chris Hogan are all Free Agents this offseason - and who knows what Rob Gronkowski does this offseason while he mulls retirement. So there’s that. And ‘that’ is a lot of work available for a guy like Humpries who at times went under the radar and finished as the WR28 Overall with the Buccaneers this year with a sneaky 105-76-816-5 TD season.

T.J. Yeldon:

So let the chatter about Le’Veon Bell ignite to anyone with cash flame on and let the Tevin Coleman to Philadelphia talk continually simmer this summer. Instead, I want to turn my attention to this guy.

Look, it has taken T.J. Yeldon a few years to ‘get it’ and he pretty much lost his job the second Fournette was drafted in the First Round by the Jaguars, but for what it’s worth for Yeldon, when given the chance to take the starting role this season he proverbially ran with it.

There was a 3-week span when Yeldon was the outright starter and in that time he was the RB8 Overall with an average of 15.33 points per game including one outing where he blew up in the Receiving game for 11-8-69-1 TD. T.J. Yeldon, as we know is extremely competent in the passing game and that with the right mind to utilize that. And a guy with the right mind also with a fresh start would be Bruce Arians in Tampa.

I like Bruce Arians. I like the Tampa Receivers but they lose Adam Humphries and quite possibly DeSean Jackson - so the opportunity for Targets, which Yeldon thrives for is greater. But their run-game is (put nicely) trash. Ronald Jones is not that guy and Payton Barber is just ‘a guy’, so for me, I would want a clean slate in that backfield and I would clear the group out and rebuild with Yeldon. They could still draft a rookie toward the end of the Draft - we have seen how that has worked out for some teams that waited on their Rookie Running Backs - and adding Yeldon could be a solid addition to a team looking to improve their squad.

The Bad

Devin Funchess and Mark Ingram

Devin Funchess:

Let the ‘Devin Funchess is really a Tight End’ fun begin!

Look I actually don’t mind Funchess, and part of the problem, for me is that Cam Newton isn’t that great of a passer. He’s fine. Just not great. Funnily, Newton had his best year in Completion Percentage, having above 60% for the first time since 2013. Part of that was who and where he was throwing it to. Shorter passes to Christian McCaffrey, D.J. Moore helped Newton out more and that became apparent as the season went on and his shoulder become worse for wear. Funchess, from a need standpoint, was from this angle on the outside looking in. So where can Funchess go?

My first instinct was Seattle.

In 2017, Seattle had Jimmy Graham as we know but one of the most efficient things about his game was how Russell Wilson found him in the Red Zone. Graham had a 61.5% successful play rate in this area and had 10 TDS off 16 Receptions (26 Targets) to boot. Funchess in a somewhat similar fashion with a 12-6-3 TD stat line this year when targetted in the Red Zone. Which to be fair was a slight drop off from his 2017 use in the Red Zone when he clocked a 16-6-5 TD season. In 2016, Funchess blew a lot of his opportunities in the Red Zone, but he did have 3 Receptions for 3 Touchdowns - which is something.

The problem for Funchess lays in the ‘what can he be’ range. If we are looking at his size, strength and 2017 season (110-63-840-8 TDS) then I’m not sure there would be holding back in recruiting him. If it is his career average 66-32-464-4 TDS a year he has averaged outside of his 2017 outlier then I’m not sure there would be many picking up the phone in a hurry. I get the Will Dissly calls, and I get the Ed Dickson reminders - all well and good. But I think he could be an interesting fit in that team...

…which means he is probably going to Buffalo with half the staff that was previously in Carolina (that drafted him) who are now Bills… plus the cash. They have some cash up there. If you end up in Buffalo you're going to want a lot of that.

Such is life...

Mark Ingram:

It is so much easier to predict a bad landing spot for a Running Back as opposed to a great one. A great landing spot is anywhere with money. Or a competent Offensive Line with a solid Quarterback with serviceable Receivers. Or all of the above! What we have seen this year from Mark Ingram is more of the same in a committee with Alvin Kamara which was good. It wasn't what it was in 2017, but seldom is it ever the same or better is it?. So where can an older Running Back who is decent in all aspects ply his trade?

My first instinct was Washington.

Adrian Peterson on the back of no pre-season walked into a starting job in Washington after Derrius Guice went down. Peterson finished with 1250 yards and 8 TDS. Their front five are generally when healthy, extremely solid and even when Josh Johnson ended up the starter after Colt McCoy and Alex Smith went down with injuries - he still flashed.

Mark Ingram could be that guy for the Redskins as Guice brings himself up to speed post ACL surgery last year and Chris Thompson can play his role. Ingram, on the back of one of his quietest seasons, is still only 29 years old and can be that grinder Washington can find an efficient use for Ingram in a potent rotation. It would suck for Fantasy - but would be great for the Redskins.

But like all things (like my first instinct), I am probably wrong - Mark Ingram will stay with the New Orleans Saints. So there’s that...

The Ugly

Kareem Hunt to the Cleveland Browns:

So today Ian Rappaport announces that the Cleveland Browns have signed Kareem Hunt (before his suspension has been dealt by the NFL) to a 1 year/$1 million deal. General Manager John Dorsey believes that Kareem Hunt has ‘checked the boxes’ and shown the ‘right attitude’ and deserves a ‘second chance’.

There is a lot to process here.

On a non-football note, yes, what he did was extremely wrong. Yes, everyone to some extent deserves a second chance and yes, it is because of football that he has. In any other profession, Hunt is probably being locked up for what he did. There can be no debating this. There was only one thing for Hunt to do - and hindsight is a beautiful thing - and that was to walk away and remove himself from that situation that was escalating in front of him. He should have known better. End of story.

But, on a football note, there is also a lot to process too:

If you're a Nick Chubb drafter or a Duke Johnson Jr truther you must be slightly nervous awaiting the outcome of Hunt’s suspension. But, I tend to agree with what @BarkBackRow initial reaction was - he’s is probably trade bait for a future pick and/or insurance for Chubb ‘just in case’ the unthinkable goes down (you know - Running Backs and injuries, right?) knowing that Hunt would be out presumably for a while he could come in fresh and help the Browns make a push up the ladder.
I get that John Dorsey drafted Kareem Hunt when he was in charge at Kansas and I get that this is a very precarious move to make. But from the Browns’ perspective; you have the contract to one of the best Running Backs to do it from the past few seasons and that, on the field in any capacity is possibly worth the risk and an advantage every week.

The Browns do have roughly $80 million in cap space up their sleeve, so hey, whats a million dollars for a potential league winner?

That’s all I have to say about it other than being a ballsy move that may pay off or blow up in their face. Not sure I or anyone else can be really enthusiastic about it until we know more about the suspension that Hunt gets. Until then...

Yikes.

And on that note, that will just about do me for this week!

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the past year that his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later! And to make life that much harder, we recruited the uber-talented Matthew Bruening (@SportsfanaticMB) this offseason to collaborate with, who after one week has jumped me in terms of quality already, So I’m dealing with that too...

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week during that season too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

QB Prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft

January 27, 2019

By Matt Bruening (@SportsFanaticMB)

It’s our favorite time of year especially for those in dynasty leagues. We have moved past the declare date for all incoming NFL prospects and have made it through the Shrine game as well. The Senior Bowl is about to finish wrapping up as well, followed by the NFL combine. While many people will tune in and pay close attention to the combine and all its happenings, for most of us it just helps confirm what we have already thought about most of these players. While it is still fairly early on in the process its always good to try and get a leg up on the competition, and see how players stock moves up and down throughout the process up until and after the NFL draft. For this article I will focus on all of the incoming quarterbacks. I will place them in tiers and breakdown their strengths and weaknesses moving toward the draft. These will be the first set of rankings for the quarterbacks, the next set will come before the draft after the combine and pro days. Lastly after the NFL draft is completed, I will release my final set of quarterback rankings for fantasy. Without wasting anymore time lets start breaking down the quarterbacks.

  1. Dwayne Haskins- The Ohio State

dwayne haskins.jpg

Height- 6’3

Weight- 220LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

RS-SO 14 373 533 70.0 4831 50 8 174.1

For starters I am a huge Ohio State fan so I have watched every snap that Haskins has taken this year. He is the clear one of this class even though he’s only been the starter for 14 games. Haskins has the prototypical size and arm for the NFL and will likely be the guy everyone is gunning for. The New York Giants will be hoping he falls to them at pick six, but I would say there is a high chance they will be jumped by another QB needy team.

Haskins has a talent for fitting the ball into tight windows, especially in the short and intermediate area. He has shown great pocket awareness avoiding rushers and moving up and around the pocket to bide time for his wide receivers. While he hasn’t had to be TOO mobile at times, he can get outside the pocket and run when needed. He does a good job working through his progressions and does a great job on anticipation throws.

Haskins biggest issue is accuracy on his deep throws. He also showed at times he needs to speed up his decision making. Throughout the season he struggled when get pressured at times to move and force the ball down the field or to a receiver who wasn’t open. He’ll be a great fit in an offense that has predetermined throws and decisions while he develops. If he can improve his accuracy, he could be an elite option at the position.

2. Kyler Murray- Oklahoma

(latimes.com)

(latimes.com)

Height- 5’10

Weight- 195LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

JR 14 260 377 69.0 4361 42 7 199.2 

Murray is an extremely interesting prospect and also a very concerning one. His height and weight will be the main questions throughout the process, and something that could truly determine his NFL fate. Many will be worried about his size as many, including myself.. believe he is shorter than what is listed above. In the entirety of the NFL very few quarterbacks have thrived being 6’0 foot or shorter. While two undersized QB’s have been thriving, Russell Wilson and Baker Mayfield, the latter which has had one year of success. Drew Brees is the for sure Hall of Famer of the undersized current crop of QB’s, and Wilson in my opinion is on his way there. All that being said that’s only three players at the position out of many that have tried. Murray will attempt to do something no one has ever been able to do. However, his skill set makes him intriguing because for many it seems like a realistic possibility.

While Murray will be praised for his legs and his ability to make big plays on the ground, he does use his legs smartly and doesn’t just run for the sake of running. His short and intermediate accuracy is top notch and he can accurately throw on the move. He is very sure handed and rarely turns the ball over. Extremely effective on RPO and creating plays that have been blown up.

Size and frame will be his biggest concerns, though he does fail to progress through all of his reads when pressured he tends to just go with the safest option even if a player is open downfield. When pressure is consistent, he will tend to bail out of the pocket more frequently and become more aggressive running the ball. Baseball is a legitimate option for him and he could leave football at the first sign of issues.

End of tier 1

______________________________________________________________________________

 

3. Daniel Jones- Duke

daniel jones.jpg

Height- 6’5

Weight- 220LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 12 270 430 62.8 2836 16 9 126.3

SO 13 257 453 56.7 2691 14 11 112.0

JR 11 237 392 60.5 2674 22 9 131.7

 

Daniel Jones has the typical size for an NFL quarterback and is someone who wasn’t high on many pundits’ radars until this year. His junior year was very comparable to his freshman year outside of the increase in touchdowns. Jones much like multiple guys in tier two, have many supporters and detractors. He is considered to be a very smart football mind and is also getting some recognition for working with the Manning family. His stock has dropped some due to his lack of high-end performance during Senior Bowl week. However, he’ll still likely to be no worse than the 4th quarterback off the board.

Jones is known much more for his legs and is one of the quarterbacks in the ACC with 2,500 passing yards and 500 rushing yards. He compliments his rushing ability with a strong arm that can sling the ball all over the field. Quick passing game schemes are his bread and butter and the quicker he can get rid of the ball the better he looks.

Outside of the quick passing game, Jones unfortunately struggled in all other aspects of the game. His deep ball was very inconsistent. He struggled at times to read defenses and move through progressions. Jones wasn’t particularly great when rushed and throwing on the run, and didn’t show well in anticipation throws. Jones does have the desired size and skill set for the NFL however, and his landing spot and oppurtunity could truly determine is NFL career.

 

4. Drew Lock- Missouri

Height- 6’3

Weight- 225LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 12 129 263 49.0 1332 4 8 90.5

SO 12 237 434 54.6 3399 23 10 133.3

JR 13 242 419 57.8 3964 44 13 165.7

SR 13 275 437 62.6 3498 28 8 147.7

 

Drew Lock is another prospect in the second tier that has some considerable upside, but many fear he won’t live up to that potential. He is a very physically gifted quarterback and his junior year showed us his upside. Lock is a player who could get into tier one of this class, especially if drafted by a team that will develop him just a bit more. Though he was a four-year player in college many including myself believe he still needs to develop a bit more.

Lock consistently shows good accuracy down the field and good touch on back shoulder throws and sideline throws. His arm strength is one of the best in the class and can throw the ball deep and fit it into tight windows as well. While Lock isn’t the fleetest of the group, in many cases he showed he can escape the pocket and create extra time. He also showed he can pick up some decent yardage when needed.

While Lock has shown good deep ball accuracy he struggles in the short game, and he needs to work on his touch passes in the short and intermediate area. He seems to struggle at times reading the field and tries to throw open receivers deep into double coverages. When under pressure he consistently showed he would rush decisions and, in many cases, would fumble or make bad throws.

5. Tyree Jackson- Buffalo

Height- 6’7

Weight- 245LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 10 165 311 53.1 1772 9 9 104.7

SO 8 143 237 60.3 2096 12 13 148.8

JR 14 225 407 55.3 3131 28 12 136.7

Tyree Jackson is one of my favorite prospects in the quarterback class. While many will bring up the fact that no QB prospect has succeed over 6’6 Jackson has the raw ability to. When I say raw, I mean raw ability, Jackson has some of the most unique talent in this class. Phenomenal arm strength the best in the class. He can move in and out of the pocket and make any throw needed. Jackson has only played one full season in college so his durability will likely be questioned as well. Out of everyone in this class Jackson needs the most time to develop. As I stated before he would be best suited to go to a team with an aging quarterback where he can sit for a couple years and then be promoted to the starting position.

Jacksons arm is by far his greatest asset. He can throw the ball while standing or on the run without much effort. At times can fling the ball 50-60 yards with what looks to be just the flick of a wrist. His pocket presence is outstanding. When being rushed he does a good job of moving up in the pocket to get off throws. He also uses his big frame to shrug off arm tackles and charging defenders as well. He has steadily shown improvement over his past season.

Jackson has yet to play a full season until this year. His biggest issue is accuracy. From missing wide-open receivers to over throwing them. Jackson will need to improve his accuracy immensely to be successful at the next level. Many including myself wish he would have returned for one more year of college and added another 12 games under his belt. However, he chose to come out this year and will likely need some time to develop more nuances of the quarterback position.

6. Brett Rypien- Boise State

brett rypien.jpg

Height- 6’2

Weight- 203LBS

Class Game Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 11 272 428 63.6 3350 20 8 141.0

SO 13 244 394 61.9 3646 24 8 155.7

JR 13 218 218 62.6 2877 16 6 143.8

SR 13 301 301 67.3 3705 30 7 156.0

Brett Rypien was one of the last prospects I was able to sit down and watch and he really started to blow me away. He has the ability some franchises will want regardless of his smaller size. Has played well over the past couple seasons and showed well in the Senior Bowl practices and game. Rypien is someone who will be coming into the rest of the draft process with a lot of hype. He is someone I could see over taking Jones as the top prospect in tier two, though not sure he has the skill set to jump into tier one.

Rypien has shown off his accuracy in many facets of the game and is one of his best assets. He does a great job delivering touch passes and fitting the ball into tight windows with velocity. He does a good job showing poise in the pocket and delivering a good ball knowing he’ll take a big hit. He does a good job working through progressions and can deliver an amazing deep ball fitting in between defenders. He can also use his legs to pick up first downs if needed but only uses it when he needs them.

Rypien will again be questioned for his size though as mentioned that stereotype maybe working its way out of the NFL. Struggles at times locking onto his better players and forcing them the ball trusting his arm strength a little bit too much. He doesn’t have the best arm strength in the class, and struggles to make some deep throws. Throws deep to the outside sometimes come up short. He also struggles under pressure he will move and make panicked decisions at times.

7. Will Grier- West Virginia

Height- 6’1

Weight- 214LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 6 105 160 65.6 1202 10 3 145.6

JR 11 250 388 64.4 3490 34 12 162.7

SR 11 266 397 67.0 3864 37 8 175.5

Will Grier is much like these other tier two prospects, you seem to either love him or hate him. Well I’ll start by saying I’m not in love with him but might be someday if he does certain things. Grier has many physical gifts and had his best year this past season his senior year. He had to sit out his sophomore year after he transferred from Florida due to an off the field issue that caused some issues between him and his coach. While having an interesting college career, the offense he plays in will draw many questions in his game moving onto the next level. His size will be questioned some as well along with his ability to play in and NFL style offense. However, we are seeing some NFL teams moving more toward college concepts which could help him.

Grier is very good delivering the ball on quick release routes. Great arm and can fit the ball in tight windows or holes in the defense. He is much more accurate in the short and intermediate parts of the field than on deep throws. He is very mobile and the pocket and can create yards outside the structure and throws are still accurate while on the move.

Grier struggles with the deep ball and his accuracy there needs some serious improvement. He also doesn’t have what is considered to be the NFL build. However, multiple quarterbacks of late have been kicking that stereotype so he has the chance to do the same. Much like Jones I think if he is able to get into an offense with a quick passing game, he will be able to thrive early on and work on the parts of his NFL game that might struggle.

End of tier 2

8. Gardner Minshew- Washington State

Height- 6’2

Weight- 215LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

SO 7 119 202 58.9 1347 8 4 124.0

JR 10 174 304 57.2 2140 16 7 129.1

SR 13 468 662 70.7 4776 38 9 147.5

Gardner Minshew has really risen up many draft boards since his phenomenal year at Washington State. He started out at East Carolina in the American Conference on a more run based team. He transferred out and was able to join Washington State and Mike Leach’s air raid offense. He performed admirably in it and has shot his stock up because of it. He has good size for an NFL quarterback but I would be hesitant to get to high on him. Most of his stats coming in his final year where he doubled all of his offensive stats, because his passing plays doubled as well. While Minshew is in tier three for now the rest of the draft process could see him move up.

Minshew has shown great poise in the pocket in his year at Washington State. He has good arm strength and can drive the ball with decent velocity in the short game. He does a very good job manipulating the pocket to allow him as much time as possible to throw the ball. He also can move outside of the pocket and deliver balls down the field when needed.

Minshew much like others in this class struggle with accuracy. While he does a decent job with some deep balls showing a good touch for those balls, he consistently struggles with short passes.  He tends to make erratic throws more often than not and doesn’t always make the smart throw.

9. Jarrett Stidham- Auburn

jarrett stidham.jpg

Height- 6’3

Weight- 215LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 10 75 109 68.8 1265 12 2 199.0

SO 14 246 370 66.5 3158 18 6 151.0

JR 13 224 369 60.7 2794 18 5 137.7

Jarrett Stidham was considered a top quarterback prospect coming off his sophomore year in 2017. As we entered the 2018 season many still had Stidham near the top of this class, but as the season played out, he slowly started dropping toward the bottom of everyone’s lists. He showed well through the Senior Bowl practices and might move up some list if he continues to remind us what he was in 2017.

Stidham has great ball placement and accuracy they are by far the best assets of his game. He throws a beautiful deep ball that is usually placed for the wide receivers to continue running under the ball. He also does a good job on back shoulder throws as well. Very good in the quick throwing game. He is also very adept at moving away from the pocket and throwing the ball accurately on the run as well.

Stidham’s biggest questions seem to come all from the football smarts side of things. Auburn runs a fairly rudimentary offense. It’s all about the quick throws and designed plays to get someone open quick. While he rarely misses guys in the short area he does struggle to throw deep out routes, most of the time missing his receivers and leaving the ball too often in the middle of the field. There were multiple late game situations where it seemed Stidham fell apart and would make multiple bad plays over and over again.

10. Ryan Finley- NC State

Height- 6’4

Weight- 210LBS

Class Games Cmp Att Pct Yards Td Int Rate

FR 4 12 27 44.4 161 2 1 111.6

SO 3 46 70 65.7 485 1 4 117.2

JR 13 243 402 60.4 3059 18 8 135.2

JR 13 311 478 65.1 3514 17 6 136.0

SR 13 326 484 67.4 3928 25 11 148.0

Ryan Finley started his career at Boise state before transferring to NC State. While some have fairly high opinions of Finley for me, he ranks as likely a career backup at the quarterback position. Being a season and by far the most seasoned starter of this class an NFL team might take a chance on him to be their starter, but I think he lacks a little bit too much to reach that height.

Finley doesn’t really thrive in any certain area. His best attribute would be his accuracy. He has more experience than most playing the position for five years. However, its also concerning considering he has played so long and still struggles in most of his game. When moving in the pocket and able to get his feet set, he can deliver a good ball.

Finley doesn’t have a strong arm and struggles to vertically stretch the field with the ball. He tends to lock onto one receiver at times and still force the ball to them even if they are covered. While he has good accuracy, he doesn’t do a good job driving the ball to his receivers.

Those are my top 10 quarterbacks in the 2019 NFL draft for fantasy as of right now. As we continue to move through the process those will continue to change and update. Check back on February 9th as I will release my running back ranks. I will be taking the extra time as I do feel there are close to 20 running backs in this draft that could end up with fantasy value. Continue to check out The Back Row Fantasy Show for all your fantasy football talk. Thank you for reading this article and of course if you have any questions or would like to debate me some on my ranks you can always find me on twitter @SportsfanaticMB enjoy the rest of your days, and remember the Super Bowl is almost here!

 

 

 

Conference ChamiponShip PLayer Rankings from @footballnuke via the fantasypros.com ranking engine

Sony Michel blew up the Chargers in the divisional playoff round. How will he fare against the Chiefs this week? (photo: NBC Sports)

Sony Michel blew up the Chargers in the divisional playoff round. How will he fare against the Chiefs this week? (photo: NBC Sports)

Good, Bad, Ugly

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

Jan. 19, 2019

By @theBleagueSays

Back Row Show Bandits!

It’s your soulmate @TheBLeagueSays here and I have a Good, Bad and Ugly Divisional Round recap for you!

Sort of...

But first, how did we go?

Divisional matchups:
* Chargers to win on the road vs the Patriots.

I watched the first quarter. Anybody that watched any more deserves a medal. The Patriots hit pay dirt on their first four drives and the Chargers were stuck behind the eight-ball from there.

Very, very incorrect.

* Chiefs to take care of business and stop the Colts.

For what feels like the first time in a long time, Andrew Luck could not get into a rhythm and the Chiefs Defense caused enough chaos without Eric Berry. The return of Sammy Watkins added to the Chiefs attack and outside of a fumble he made a difference. Plus, you know, Mahomes, Hill and Kelce being elite as always.

Very, very correct.

* Dallas to grind it out over the L.A. Rams for the upset of the year.

Very, very incorrect. Even though the score was close in the end, the L.A. Rams never looked bothered by anything Dallas tried. Aaron Donald was fantastic yet again.

* The Saints to dispose of Philadelphia by halftime.

Incorrect, although I had the right winner. The Eagles bolted to a 14-0 lead but provided little from there. But the Saints at home dragged them back and Michael Thomas took control of the game and stood out.

The Good
Running Backs… Damien Williams, Sony Michel, and C.J. Anderson take a bow!

When C.J. Anderson out produces Todd Gurley in a playoff game, and everyone sees it coming!

Liars. Stop it.

Anderson rolled up two Touchdowns and 123 yards against Dallas who boasted one of the best Run Defense units this season is a hell of a story. But we know that now as the Rams were giving Gurley a bit more rest on the back of some prior knee issues. Knowing that there is a two week break before the Super Bowl I would be surprised to see Gurley’s touches held back again. But if this is a late season 1-2 punch that allows Gurley to be more damaging then so be it, it may be a difference maker going forward for the Rams, which it may need to be... a bit of a teaser I know, more on this later on!

Damien Williams has had over 100 combined yards in 3 of the last 4 games and 4 Touchdowns in that time also, Williams was handed a new contract a few weeks ago and is paying the Chiefs faithful back in full for their trust in him. In nasty weather in Kansas last week, Williams had 129 and a Touchdown on the ground and went 6-5-25 in the Receiving game against a stout Colts Defense. The Patriots are middle-of-the-field in yards allowed to the Running Back and if the weather is as bad as it was last week then I could imagine he produces similar numbers.

Sony Michel showed up, and not in the Regular Fantasy season with a 24-129-3 TD week against the Chargers who had really established themselves as a great Run-Defense when Joey Bosa returned from injury. This was just a clinic put on by the Patriots, and Sony Michel was the teacher.

The Bad
The missing Rams Passing Game...

The Saints have allowed only 78 Yards Per Game to the Running Back this year and over the past 3 Weeks have dropped to 75 Yards Per Game allowed, with only 11 TDS given to the position as well. That to me is the tug-of-war that will determine this week's matchup: can Todd Gurley and C.J. Anderson get the better of the Saints Run Defense? If they can move the ball on the ground it will help if Jared Goff to get this Passing game moving forward again. And it needs to, here's why;

Jared Goff has had one game over the past 6 Weeks with over 300 Passing Yards; which is a bit of a shock considering that marker he crossed 7 times in his first 12 games this year. His completion percentage has only popped up over 60% twice in the last 6 weeks also, which is also a bit of a shocker; as he had under 60% only 4 times in the first 12 Weeks of the season too.
He has thrown for multiple Touchdowns only once in the last 6 Weeks and that was a four Touchdown haul against San Francisco. There has only been one other game in the past 6 Weeks where a Receiving Touchdown occurred, and that was to Robert Woods in Week 15.

Cooper Kupp was injured and put on the Injured Reserve in Week 11, after tearing his ACL in Week 10 against Seattle. Two of the three Rams losses came after that injury. Every Receiver around him averaged more Yards and the group itself scored more points prior to him getting hurt. The passing game was enhanced with Cooper Kupp and hasn’t been a threat since. Not rocket science, but it still needs to be acknowledged.

As for who is getting a run...

Over the last 6 Weeks (including Their Playoff game last week):

Brandin Cooks -

Targets: 39,
6.5 Average Per Game
Receptions: 25,
4.1 Average Per Game
Yards: 305,
50.83 Average Per Game.
*Over 16 games, Cooks averaged 75.25 Yards Per Game.
TDS: 2, both came in Week 16 vs San Francisco.

Robert Woods -

Targets: 48,
8 Average Per Game
Receptions: 33,
5.5 Average Per Game
Yards: 384,
64 Average Per Game.
*Over 16 games, Woods averaged 76.18 Yards Per Game.
TDS: 2, at Detroit and at Arizona; both teams are in the mid-range of allowing TDS to Wide Receivers.

Josh Reynolds -

Targets: 37,
6.1 Average Per Game
Receptions: 17,
2.8 Average Per Game
Yards: 243 Yards,
40.5 Average Per Game.
*Over 16 Games, Reynolds averaged roughly 25 Yards Per Game.
TDS: 2, both also came in Week 16 vs San Francisco.

Here’s what this is kind of saying:

* In their last 6 games, 4 of their 5 Total Touchdowns came from the Wide Receiver Group in one game, against their Division rival in a game that meant nothing against San Francisco. There has been barley any threat in the air since.
* The Group (Reynolds, Cooks and Woods) itself are averaging a combined 155.33 Yards Per Game in the Passing game over the past 6 Weeks. This is down from the 240.56 Yards Per Game the Rams were putting up prior to Cooper Kupps injury.
* Woods and Cooks have both dropped in average Yards Per Game.

So the two veteran Receivers have dropped off. None of the Receivers are scoring Touchdowns at least semi-regularly and Jared Goff is not throwing as much or as far as he has for some time now.

If the Saints get an early lead this could be over pretty quickly because I’m not sure the Rams can catch up.

Crazy, right?

The Ugly
Snow games...

Spare me...

I don’t care for games in adverse weather conditions, let alone conditions that can be as aggressive as we could see this weekend in Kansas. Imagine having this amazing high-powered Offense, slowed down because of an arctic blast? Imagine the Chiefs who have run riot all year stopped not because the Patriots are better, but because half their team gets frostbite before the second half kickoff.

‘But snow games are great to watch!’

Yes, sure they’re fun, I get it - I’m not an ogre, I too like fun. When that ‘fun’ game is between two teams who can’t make the Playoffs in Week 15. Hey at least in that scenario it can make a dead game interesting, and I can get behind that.

But to impact two teams to get into the Super Bowl?

No thanks... Just move the game to Dallas, or something else.

So, who have we got in the Conference Championships?

NFC: I have been riding the New Orleans Saints and I am going to stick to it. At home, and after the Eagles gave them a fright last week - I think is enough to make sure the Saints don’t make any mistakes and refocus.

New Orleans 33, L.A Rams 27

AFC: I am going to hedge my bets here. If its snowing, I’ll take Tom Brady and the Patriots. If it calms down and the weather doesn’t the game - then it’s the Chiefs and it won’t be close at all. The Patriots are a chance if the weather sucks, outside of that it’s the Chiefs all day!

Kansas 31, New England 20

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Will Dak lead the ‘Boys to victory over the Rams this weekend?

Will Dak lead the ‘Boys to victory over the Rams this weekend?

Good, Bad, Ugly - Playoffs Edition

January 9, 2019

By @theBleagueSays

Draw 4!

Back Row Show Bandits! It’s your hombre @TheBLeagueSays here and I have a Good,Bad and Ugly Wildcard recap for you!

But first, how did we go?

I have been riding the hot hand on the Chargers and Colts and they produced. I was neither here nor there on the Seattle/Dallas game but leant towards Seattle for one reason only and that was Russell Wilson, who finally looked like Russell Wilson when Sebastian Janikowski went down, only when it was all too late when he was forced to make plays. Philadelphia pulled a rabbit out of a hat and got lucky off a muffed Field Goal attempt to end the game. Neither team did enough to really make a solid case heading into the next round to convince me otherwise.

The Good
The Winners… Quarterback Matchups!

Phillip Rivers vs Tom Brady.
The oldest Quarterback Playoff matchup takes places as the L.A Chargers travel to Foxborough to take on the New England Patriots. The Chargers haven’t lost outside of L.A. this year and the Patriots haven’t lost at home either. Absolutely cannot wait for this.

Andrew Luck vs Pat Mahomes.

A firing Andrew Luck Colts team travels to Kansas City  to take on a devastating Chiefs Offense off the Bye. We all know how good Andy Reid-coached teams are after a week off, but the Colts are highly driven at the moment and will be hard to break down.

Jared Goff vs Dak Prescott.
The 2016 Round 1, Pick 1 Quarterback Jared Goff stands opposite a resurgent 2016 Round 4, Pick 135 Quarterback Dak Prescott. In a tale of two halves, through Weeks 1-9 Jared Goff was the QB3 Overall with 194.5 Fantasy Points and Prescott was dwindling as the QB21 with barely 127 Fantasy Points. However from Weeks 9-17, Dak Prescott was the QB6 with 173.5 Fantasy Points while Goff dropped back to the QB11 mark in that timespan with 145.1 Fantasy Points. The hot start that Goff had slowed down to becoming the QB7 with 310.3 Fantasy Points while Prescott climbed up to finish as the QB10 with 285.7, roughly 24 points behind Goff, after being nearly 70 points behind him halfway through the year. In the high-flying Offense that the Rams have versus the ground-and-pound, time strangling Offense that the Cowboys have. But, I ask you: who really had the better year in the end? I think we find out this weekend!

Nick Foles vs Drew Brees.
The BEST Quarterback in Philadelphia lead HIS team to victory in one of the unlikeliest of results. Nick Foles made a few clutch passes to Dallas Goedert and Golden Tate to get it done. Drew Brees will like being at home in the dome with Ted Ginn back to full health after the Saints had pretty much two weeks off. At times Allen Robinson and Mitch Trubisky combined to make the Eagles secondary look amateur, and the Bears complete lack of Tarik Cohen usage won’t be replicated the way that Alvin Kamara will get utilized. I know the drumbeat of ‘no one thought they would beat anyone with Nick Foles last year....’ is starting to pop up. That’s cute. Really it is. But the Saints won’t let this slip through their fingers again, this should be a fun game albeit one-sided.

The Bad
The Losers… Quarterbacks not being able to Quarterback

Trubisky, Watson, Jackson all floundered last week... each on of these guys made their Playoff debuts, and each one of them failed. At times they did things right but for the most part did little to move their squads into the next round. Watson and Jackson looked outclassed and seemed to be found out by their opposition. Trubisky still threw for 300 yards and looked ok. But 300-odd yards and only one Touchdown has me concerned enough to believe the execution in the red zone needs to improve for the Bears to take a forward step.

Russell Wilson was chained to the wheel... And it’s kind of funny, when the leash is loosened the guy is nearly unstoppable. And it took for a random injury to his Kicker for Seattle to trust Wilson to make plays. You know, because the guy is a playmaker? Russell Wilson is the NFL's version of teflon, nothing ever sticks to him and instead of letting him scramble eggs and open the field up, they persisted with the run and looked rotten. Against Dallas. The one of the best Run Defences in the league. They probably need to reassess this thought process....

The Ugly
Some stinkers… Nonexistent run-games…

Defenses ruled the roost this week. No team scored higher than 24 points and no combined score totaled higher than 46 points. To think that that could happen to Russell Wilson, Lamar Jackson and DeShaun Watson lead teams is kind of baffling.

There were only two players to total over 100 rushing yards last week. Marlon Mack dominated with a 24-148-1 day with a 6.8 YPC average. While Ezekiel Elliott smashed also for a 26-137-1 outing also. Outside of that....

DeShaun Watson had 76 yards rushing.
Lamar Jackson had 54 yards rushing.

Two of the top five running backs were quarterbacks, and the way that Chicago was travelling; had Mitch Trubisky not pulled up lame on a rushing attempt would possibly have cracked that top five also. But it's one thing to say such a thing, but another to recognize who did what;

Melvin Gordon - 40 yards (did get a little banged up did finish the game)

Jordan Howard - 35 yards
Austin Ekeler and Rashaad Penny - 29 yards
Gus Edwards - 23 yards
Darren Sproles - 21 yards
Wendell Smallwood - 20 yards
Chris Carson - 20 yards
Lamar Miller - 18 yards
Josh Adams - 1 yard
Tarik Cohen - 0 yards

There were no points scored in the fourth quarter in the Houston/Indianapolis game.
Seattle scored to ‘catch up’ to Dallas with maybe two minutes of the fourth quarter remaining.
The Ravens didn’t score a Touchdown until Lamar Jackson hit Michael Crabtree twice deep into the fourth quarter and the game was pretty much sealed up by that point.
The Eagles scored a Touchdown with one-minute remaining with a passing score to Golden Tate. There was also a passing score to Dallas Goedert in the third quarter.

No combined score over 46 points and it took most teams until late into the fourth quarter to figure out that ‘banging your head against a proverbial brick wall’ wasn’t working and by then, with being Philadelphia being the only exception, it was too late.

I guess they all have an early start on next season after being eliminated to watch more tape?

So, who have we got in the Divisional Round of the Playoffs? I see the Playoffs ending in a few different ways:

AFC -
Would I love to see a Colts team face the Patriots in the AFC Championship and stick it to Josh McDaniels for abandoning their ship? Yeah, I’d love it, but it won’t happen.
Let’s book in the final Chapter of the AFC West trilogy and complete the tiebreaker. Both teams have beaten each other away from home this year - so let’s book in a Kansas City Chiefs vs L.A. Chargers AFC Championship matchup:
* Chargers to win on the road vs the Patriots.
* Chiefs to take care of business and stop the Colts
.

NFC -

Can the Eagles ‘be special’ on the road one more time and set themselves up from another crack at the Holy Grail? I don’t think so. The Rams have felt like a team that has struggled, even though they haven’t but I’d be lying if I didn’t think they look the same since Cooper Kupp’s season finished due to injury. But I like a rematch from Week 13 that took place to happen again:
* Dallas to grind it out over the L.A. Rams for the upset of the year.
* The Saints to dispose of Philadelphia by halftime
.


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Pat Mahomes was our favorite pick for Offensive Player of the Year. He finished the season scoring the most fantasy points - EVER.

Pat Mahomes was our favorite pick for Offensive Player of the Year. He finished the season scoring the most fantasy points - EVER.

Good, Bad, Ugly - Playoff Edition

By @theBleagueSays

January 2, 2019

Back Row Show Bandits I have missed you! It’s your boi @TheBLeagueSays here and I have a real, real easy article for you to read this week. No, thank you, the pleasure as always is all mine!

This week your favorite local lads got together once again (in text form!) to discuss the upcoming 2018/19 NFL Finals, with some end of season award winners on the back of last week's podcast on this year’s #FantasyFootball award winners along with our Super Bowl predictions.

Predictions for the Super Bowl Finals and league MVP’s:

@BarkBackRow;
Super Bowl Final: Chicago vs Kansas City
Super Bowl Score: Chicago Win 34-30
Super Bowl MVP: Tarik Cohen
OPOY: Pat Mahomes
DPOY: Aaron Donald
OROY: Saquon Barkley
DROY: Darius Leonard

@ArmsBackRow;
Super Bowl Final: New Orleans vs L.A Chargers
Super Bowl Score: New Orleans Win 28-17
Super Bowl MVP: Michael Thomas
OPOY: Pat Mahomes
DPOY: Darius Leonard
OROY: Saquon Barkley
DROY: Leighton Van Der Esch

@KnitBackRow;
Super Bowl Final: Chicago vs L.A. Chargers
Super Bowl Score: Chicago Win 24-20
Super Bowl MVP: Khalil Mack
OPOY: Pat Mahomes
DPOY: Aaron Donald
OROY: Saquon Barkley
DROY: Darius Leonard

@FootballNuke;
Super Bowl Final: Baltimore vs L.A. Rams
Super Bowl Score: Baltimore Win 27-17
Super Bowl MVP: Lamar Jackson
OPOY: Christian McCaffrey
DPOY: Darius Leonard
OROY: Saquon Barkley
DROY: Roquan Smith

@TheBLeagueSays;
Super Bowl Final: New Orleans vs L.A. Chargers
Super Bowl Score: New Orleans Win 38 - 27
Super Bowl MVP: Alvin Kamara
OPOY: Pat Mahomes
DPOY: Aaron Donald
OROY: Saquon Barkley
DROY: Darius Leonard

@HucksBackRow;
Super Bowl Final: L.A. Rams vs New England
Super Bowl Score: L.A. Rams Win 31-27
Super Bowl MVP: Jared Goff
OPOY: Pat Mahomes
DPOY: Aaron Donald
OROY: Baker Mayfield
DROY: Derwin James

Along with a quick...

The Good

Gosh darn it, oh skippy! Andrew Luck has taken a 1-5 Colts team to a 10-6 record, who face a banged-up Houston Texans in the wildcard round.

Let’s rejoice in Luck recovering from injury and entering the top 5 of quarterbacks in fantasy football this year - a hell of an effort from a guy with a team buoyed by T.Y. Hilton, Eric Ebron and Marlon Mack. Had Pat Mahomes not had the year that he had, for me, Andrew Luck would, could and should be the NFL League MVP.

The Bad

I told you Carson Wentz is a fraud and that Nick Foles is THE best quarterback in Philadelphia...

Yes, I know it’s hard to say with a straight face but hypothetically - what if the Eagles are better with Foles and are only three wins away from another Super Bowl appearance? Would they really get rid of Nick Foles if that happened?! Could they really let him walk into free agency like that? Last year's Super Bowl-winning quarterback and MVP?

The logical answer is yes, there’s a huge chance he walks and finds a starter’s role in Denver, Miami or Jacksonville, but who then backs up Wentz? That’ll be two postseasons in a row he (Wentz) has missed while he has piggybacked off the success of his teammates.

You tell me, maybe I’m wrong. Foles has proved his worth yet again. The Eagles should pay the man and keep him there. Everyone has a price...
Find his!


The Ugly

Pittsburgh.

Of all teams to cherry pick this week I can’t tell you that I thought they would be the team to pick on at the beginning of the year.

The Le’Veon Bell / James Conner conversation played out. Conner statistically worked out better than Pittsburgh could have had hoped except they lacked...what's that thing called again...wins. Yeah, wins. All those cool stats mean absolutely nothing - to me - if the win column doesn't move upward. Le’Veon Bell teams won more games, it’s that simple.

That’s the end of that.

Then Antonio Brown coming out with ‘trade me’ tantrums for the second time this year while his quarterback downplays it?

Rubbish.

Ben Roethlisberger knows what he always has at his disposal. He knew Bell moving on would be fine because James Conner could be effective.
But to potentially lose Antonio Brown? Yeah, sure Juju Smith-Schuster has been phenomenal but who’s up after him? James Washington? Well Big Ben has already run him down this year just like he did with Martavis Bryant last season.
Ryan Switzer?
Darrius Heyward-Bey?
Eli Rogers?
Justin Hunter?
Jesse James?
That’s who Roethlisberger has left. He can’t afford to lose Antonio Brown.

He also can’t afford to lose this team which it always seems like he does - usually when he speaks his mind freely. We knew that at some point this team would face player changes. It came a little early with Le’Veon Bell not showing. Brown will be 31 when the 2019 season starts and is owed a fat stack of cash next season. Ben is getting older while the drumbeat for Mike Tomlin to get the sack starts to tap slightly (right or wrong) louder.

Yeah, they missed the playoffs for the first time in a long time. They’ve been blessed with good fortune. But the cracks are appearing, and that division is catching (if they haven’t already caught them) up.


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!


But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Can Melvin Gordon run wild on the Ravens?

Can Melvin Gordon run wild on the Ravens?

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 16

By @theBleagueSays

December 19, 2018

Back Row Show Bandits! Week 15 was a freaking nightmare and after seeing the results I think it's all best that we don’t wake up from it. While we take time off in this disaster coma, how did we do?

* CHARGERS AND CHIEFS - HERE WE GO!!! It’s time to decide the AFC West, I’ve been on the Chargers and Joey Bosa is back! Kansas City has stumbled of late - let’s see it! The Chiefs started amazingly well and with the Chargers having a 9-game losing streak at Arrowhead, you’d have thought it was over... but the Chargers had one of the best comebacks of the season on the back of some incredible Philip Rivers to Mike Williams connections.
* Two teams fighting to consolidate a playoff berth, Dallas is away to Indianapolis - can the Cowboys shut the door on the NFC East or can Andrew Luck and company keep the Texans and Titans within reach?; The Colts are for real. Well done to Indianapolis on a hard-fought win, by shutting out the red-hot Cowboys at home 23-0.
* The Patriots head to Pittsburgh in what is always a fun game. Who steps up? I think it’s a Julian Edelman game.; speaking of breaking a bad spell, finally the Steelers get the better of New England, and keep a tight grip on top of the AFC North. Edelman did well, but they were too few and far between to be more effective than he should have been.

THE GOOD
The Titans shut-out.

I get that the Giants had a ‘slim chance’ of making the playoffs, but without Odell Beckham Jr. the Titans took their shots and ground out a tough win in brutal conditions.

Derrick Henry got to work again with a brace of touchdowns, and Mariota was effective at best. It wasn’t great, but they’re in playoff football mode already, and those contests are rarely pretty.

The biggest thing to take out of this was the prior record that Tennessee had of 2-5 on the road. Wins like this away from home are important, and jockeying for a wildcard slot with two games to go at home remaining is vital when trying to win out against Washington and the Colts in what could be the ultimate tie-breaker in week 17 looming. But there is a chance that they could meet a familiar face in Houston in the first round of the Playoffs, where they got done 17-34 a few weeks ago.

Since that loss to Houston, the Titans have gone on a three game winning streak, and conceded 22, 9 and 0 points in those games.

This is possibly the most interesting division heading into the final few weeks.

 

THE BAD
The St Louis Rams..

I know. It’s a cheap shot.
I’m sorry.


Losing to Nick Foles (who hasn’t started or played a game in months) at home? Really? That’s terrible!

They’ve virtually given away the number 1 seed to the New Orleans Saints and need them to lose out (while they win out) to be a chance at the top seed which seems like a long-shot at this point. New Orleans owns the tie breaking head-to-head matchup in that incredible loss a few months back.

It was also the fourth time they were held under 30 points this season, and it was in a back-to-back loss that has people scratching their heads. Unless something goes horribly wrong, they should have a bye week coming up in the playoffs. I know that they’ve got a soft run in with Arizona and San Francisco. Hopefully they can rest a guy like Todd Gurley a little to keep him fresh for games that matter…

…which would absolutely suck for Fantasy Football.

Go and get John Kelly, now.


THE UGLY
Washington and Jacksonville...

Stop.

No really. Forfeit your last two games and save your fans the time, travel, money and heartbreak of supporting your shambles of Franchises.

Stop taking hard earned money from your fans and do them a favor by paying them to go and watch. It’s the least you should do.

What a joke.

 

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 16! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

* Hypothetically, as I've mentioned before the Cleveland Browns are still a shot at the playoffs. A win this week and some favorable results go their way - let’s see if this is still on the table provided that they can beat the banged-up Bengals.
* Must win games for the Colts and Titans before they meet in Week 17. Only one of them can be a shot at that last Wildcard spot, do either of them fail in Week 16?
* Saints. Steelers. The Saints can all but cement the number 1 seed in the NFC with a win this week and the Steelers need to keep winning because Baltimore just won’t go away and are a risk of missing the Playoffs. I have the Saints getting the chocolates this week, and the Steelers sweating results heading into Week 17.


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

RB Prospects for the 2019 NFL Draft

Feb.12, 2019

by Matt Bruening (@SportsFanaticMB)

It’s our favorite time of year especially for those in dynasty leagues. We have moved past the declare date for all incoming NFL prospects and have made it through the Shrine game as well. The Senior Bowl is about to finish wrapping up as well, followed by the NFL combine. While many people will tune in and pay close attention to the combine and all its happenings, for most of us it just helps confirm what we have already thought about most of these players. While it is still fairly early on in the process it’s always good to try and get a leg up on the competition, and see how players stock moves up and down throughout the process up until and after the NFL draft. For this article I will focus on all of the incoming running backs. I will place them in tiers and breakdown their strengths and weaknesses moving toward the draft. These will be the first set of rankings for the running backs, the next set will come before the draft after the combine and pro days. Lastly after the NFL draft is completed, I will release my final set of running back rankings for fantasy. Without wasting anymore time let’s start breaking down the running backs.

1. David Montgomery- Iowa State

Height- 5’11

Weight- 216 LBS 

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 12 109 563 5.2 2 13 129 9.9 0

SO 13 258 1146 4.4 11 36 296 8.2 0

JR 12 257 1216 4.7 13 22 157 7.1 0

David Montgomery epitomizes the NFL back of old. Stout tough runner who when you need four yards, takes the ball and gets you five while running some guys over. He doesn’t have great speed or a great receiver so many will have him lower in their ranks. For me he has been extremely consistent in college and one of the best runners in this class.

Montgomery is a tough physical runner. He is very patient waiting for holes to open and will hit them quickly. Incredible lateral runner and usually takes multiple defenders to bring him down. He can be very elusive especially in the open field. Continually moves his legs to eat up tough yards. When asked he does a good job running routes in the receiving game.

Montgomery does struggle with drops and catching the ball at times when used in the receiving game. On rare occasions he would get to antsy and try and bounce runs outside and lose yards. While he has great short area burst, he doesn’t have homerun speed. He will be caught from behind on most long runs. 

2. Darrell Henderson- Memphis

Height- 5’9

Weight- 200 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 87 482 5.5 5 20 237 11.9 3

SO 12 130 1154 8.9 9 24 226 9.4 2

JR 13 214 1909 8.9 22 19 295 15.5 3 

Darrell Henderson is one of the most intriguing prospects for me this year. He has continued to improve every year and completely blew everyone away with what he was able to do his junior year. What makes it more interesting is the fact that everyone knew he was going to be getting the ball, and was the focal point of the offense. Yet he was still able to have his best year in college. The more people look at his tape the more impressed they become, he will likely be a top back for most, especially if he has a great combine.

Henderson is a very gifted runner. He has shown great contact balance and has great burst and homerun speed. He showed how adept he is in the receiving game and looks primed to be a three down back in the NFL. He can be very elusive and when he can get into the open field is a threat to take to the house.

Henderson’s weakest trait is his pass protection. Which could limit some of his snaps at least early on in the NFL. He showed at times to try and make too much out of nothing and caused negative plays, instead of just taking what was given and “living to fight another down.” He has shown at times to move away from contact, which can be good for overall health but some will question his willingness to go up the gut and take on defenders.

 

 3. Rodney Anderson- Oklahoma

Height- 6’1

Weight- 219

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 2 1 5 5.0 0 0 0 0 0

SO 13 188 1161 6.2 13 17 281 16.5 5

JR 2 11 11 10.8 3 0 0 0 0 

Anderson is the clear-cut elite running back of this class for me. Many will think he is too high and that it is a reach to have him here due to his knee injuries. He has suffered two serious knee injuries now in college. While that can be scary entering the NFL with an “injury concern” he was by far one of the best backs in college two years ago, and was a Heisman front runner be it all for two games last year. In his sophomore year he showed us exactly how talented he his and was considered one of the best backs in college, if he participates in drills at the combine his stock should continue to rise.

Anderson has the ideal build for the prototype NFL back. One of the best in this class running behind his blockers, and when the hole is opened his burst is elite. He has incredible homerun speed and when is space is one of the deadliest running backs in this class. Consistently breaks through arm tackles and is extremely elusive.

Anderson struggles at time with his vision. Taking runs and bouncing them outside while holes are opening in front of him. While I personally think he has great burst through holes, some question it at the next level. His biggest concern is durability. He has suffered multiple season ending injuries, which many will wonder can he hold up at the next level?

4. Miles Sanders- Penn State

Height- 5’11

Weight- 215 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 25 184 7.4 1 2 24 12.0 1

SO 10 31 191 6.2 2 6 30 5.0 0

JR 13 220 1274 5.8 9 24 139 5.8 0 

Miles Sanders is my favorite prospect in this class and it may be hard for me to judge him fairly. He sat behind Saquon Barkley who was a pretty good prospect in his own right, for two years at Penn State. When he finally got the chance to be the starter, he flashed his brilliance in what he did in his junior year. He has some of the most exciting runs I’ve seen on tape and if he had been given a chance to be a multiple year starter, he may very easily be sitting as the number one is this class.

Sanders much like the other elite talent in this class does a good job being patient behind his offensive line. He makes great jump cuts and burst through holes. He is the most elusive back in this class for me. Quick feet an elite stutter step his hesitation moves and jump cuts put defenders on skates, and almost always wins one on one battles. Has top tier breakaway speed as well.

Sanders playing time will be questioned as he has only been the starter for one year. Though some could argue that’s good for his legs as well not having as much work on them. He didn’t have many games against top tier defensive players, and when he did, he struggled at times. He also tends to try and bounce runs to the outside more often then he should. He wasn’t used as much in the passing game as Saquon was the year before, so he has some questions about that part of his game as well coming into the NFL.

5. Joshua Jacobs- Alabama

Height- 5’10

Weight- 216 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 14 85 567 6.7 4 14 156 11.1 0

SO 11 45 284 6.2 1 14 168 12.0 2

JR 15 120 640 5.3 11 20 247 12.4 3

Joshua Jacobs maybe the one player who has risen his stock to astronomical value over the past few months. From a guy backing up Damien Harris to eclipsing him to now for many people the best back in this class. Many have compared him to Alvin Kamara and believe he has that upside as well. I personally haven’t quite jumped on that train. Jacobs really burst onto the scene in the back half of the 2018 season and definitely showed he’s better than Harris. I’m a little worried buying into his hype based on the fact that his biggest workload came in his junior year and he still wasn’t the feature back for most of the season. That said from what he put on tape, if he has a great combine and pro day, he will likely be one of the first backs drafted.

Jacobs has a good blend of power and speed. He has shown at times to be in the class of the elite backs in elusiveness. In what seems like almost every run he had he would make the first tackler miss, allowing him to eat up yards with his burst. Can make some incredible jump cuts and when in open space a threat to go to the house.

Jacobs strength may also be one of his biggest weaknesses, he seems to go looking for a hit at times to try and run through people. His aggressive play style could lead to injuries down the road. He shows lack of vision at times in the pocket and tends to try to often to cut to the outside. He also will need to improve on his pass blocking at the next level.

End of tier 1

6. Trayveon Williams- Texas A&M

Height- 5’9

Weight- 200 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 156 1057 6.8 8 19 91 4.8 0

SO 12 173 798 4.6 8 20 192 9.6 0

JR 13 271 1760 6.5 18 27 278 10.3 1

Trayveon Williams is quite an exciting prospect for me to evaluate. After having a productive freshman season, he didn’t quite live up to the billing in his sophomore year. However, he suffered an ankle injury very early in the season and never looked completely right. Fast forward to 2018 and his junior year and he was lights out. Vaulting him into the top of tier two for me. He has good size and speed and will be very interesting to watch throughout the process.

Williams may look slight of frame but he is well built. He has incredible burst and doesn’t need much room to get to the second level. Good vision and often quickly decides if he is going to bounce it to the outside. He has tremendous speed and usually will get to the outside and get upfield beating defenders, because of his speed. Has a ton of experience in the receiving game. He has even been split out at WR at times. He does a good job in pass protection as well.

Williams struggles to fight through tackles at times and more often than not is brought down by first contact. While he has shown he’s very good in the receiving game, he lacked to show me great potential there. He does a good job racking up yards but hasn’t scored many touchdowns. I think he has a chance to be an every down back but he’ll need to bulk up a little bit more, which I worry may slow him down some.

7. Devin Singletary- FAU

Height- 5’9

Weight- 200 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 12 152 1021 6.7 12 26 163 6.3 0

SO 14 301 1918 6.4 32 19 198 10.4 1

JR 12 261 1348 5.2 22 6 36 6.0 0

Devin Singletary sits near the top of what is an extremely deep tier two for me at running back. While Singletary is a good prospect, he has some flaws and many questions what he’ll be able to do against elite talent. He has still been extremely productive in his three-year college career. If he is able to show out during the Draft process he should be drafted in the middle rounds, and his landing spot could be key for his development.

Singletary rushes with a ton of power and does a great job leveraging that against oncoming defenders. When in the open field he does a good job keeping his feet moving does a good job planting his feet and moving to avoid contact. For the most part is patient and allows holes to develop but needs to run with a bit more urgency at times.

Singletary doesn’t have great burst or homerun speed. He will lose yards by getting caught from behind in the open field. He struggles in pass protection. Again, many will question his ability at the next level, indicating his stats and usage where a product of the Lane Kiffin offense than his talent.

8. Elijah Holyfield- Georgia

Height- 5’11

Weight- 215 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 3 6 29 4.8 0 1 19 19.0 0

SO 10 50 293 5.9 2 1 4 4.0 0

JR 14 159 1018 6.4 7 5 40 8.0 0 

Elijah Holyfield is another player in the tier two that has been boosting his stock throughout the season and made a name for himself. Stuck behind extremely talented backs his first two years, his junior year allowed him to flash some skill while splitting time with Swift. Holyfield is one of the prospects I could see jumping into tier one. However, his lack of work in the receiving game does worry me in translating to the next level. He all in all is my sleeper pick in this draft class.

Holyfield plays with great instinct’s and does a good job creating that space for himself with his patience. He doesn’t have much work on his legs for a seasoned veteran which is always good. He has surprising burst and while he won’t break many huge runs, he’ll get up and into the second level quick. He rarely loses yards on runs. He is not afraid to square up with defenders and make the business decision to run straight through them.

Holyfield lacks in the receiving game and is something he will have to improve on at the next level if he wants to be an every down back. He also doesn’t have the homerun speed factor and will get caught from behind on long runs.

9. Benny Snell- Kentucky

Height- 5’11

Weight- 223 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 186 1091 5.9 13 2 39 19.5 0

SO 13 262 1333 5.1 19 10 72 7.2 0

JR 13 289 1449 5.0 16 17 105 6.2 0

Benjamin Snell Jr. made a name for himself this year when racking up 1,400 yards and going off in big games. Snell was one of the biggest reasons Kentucky was so good throughout the year and had a chance to play for the SEC title game. While I will argue he had a much better season in his sophomore year, and probably should have gotten more recognition then. He’s here now and likely going to be a name we hear a lot in the NFL.

Snell is a strong physical runner that didn’t wear down regardless of the workload. He continually keeps his legs moving, which usually ends in multiple defenders draped on him as he continues to pick up a few more yards. He does a good job running with his pads low to initiate contact and get-tough yards. Can get to the outside and make big plays. He is also a good and willing pass blocker. He did see some work in the slot in the receiving game.

Snell lacks elite burst and speed. He is not very elusive and likely won’t win a 1v1 situation. While he was put in the slot at time still lacks a lot of receiving work in the college game, will need to improve on that in the NFL. Though he can be a physical runner he doesn’t really break many tackles. Doesn’t seem to posses the burst to get to the outside against athletic edge rushers.

10. Damien Harris- Alabama

Height- 5’11

Weight- 215 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 10 46 157 3.4 1 4 13 3.3 0

SO 15 146 1037 7.1 2 14 99 7.1 2

JR 14 135 1000 7.4 11 12 91 7.6 0

SR 15 150 876 5.8 9 22 204 9.3 0 

Damien Harris looked to be primed to be the best back at Alabama in 2017 and coming into the 2018 season. For most of 2018 that proved to be true. However, Joshua Jacobs showed up and slowly but surely started to drain the hype away from Harris and gave it to himself. Harris is still a good back. However, there is still a very serious stigma against Alabama backs (especially when it comes to fantasy.) When only Mark Ingram has been considered a success at the pro level. The good new for all you Harris fans, he projects to be more like Mark Ingram than any other Alabama back in the NFL.

Harris has great vision in the backfield and very quick feet. He rarely spends time in the backfield jumping into the 2nd level as quick as possible. He does a good job dropping his pads to move through the offensive line, does a good job taking on defenders and continually moving forward. Ball security is one of his best attributes and does a great job in the receiving game, some of the softest hands at the position. He can be very quick and shifty in small areas or short yardage situations.

Harris lacks top end burst and homerun speed. While he will take on defenders, he isn’t exactly known for being a tackle breaker. He isn’t very elusive which could cause problems at the next level. He also struggles as a pass blocker as well at the next level. Harris profiles for me more of a change of pace and receiving back in the NFL than a three down back.

11. Justice Hill- Oklahoma State

Height- 5’10

Weight- 190 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 206 1142 5.5 6 5 46 9.2 0

SO 13 268 1467 5.5 15 31 190 6.1 1

JR 10 158 930 5.9 9 13 68 5.1 0 

Justice Hill is getting a lot of comparisons to Trayveon Williams who is higher up in my ranks. My biggest difference between the two. Hill is a much better runner, while Williams is a much better receiver. While had success in his first two years rushing the ball that didn’t happen as much this year. However, he did miss three games due to an injury. Hill is an explosive weapon and has some of the most exciting runs that I was able to watch on tape. His size will be the biggest thing holding him back at the next level.

Hill possesses some elite level burst and quickness. His ability to recognize the hole and get through it to the second level is up there with the best in this class. His ability to burst upfield and get yards is incredible. He tends to lose linebackers with his great lateral running skills and has a nasty stiff arm, that would make guys like Vance McDonald proud.

Hill struggles some in the receiving game though mostly with drops. He is not a power runner and most of the time goes down with first contact, not a tackle breaker. He also does struggle at times in the open field to make defenders miss.

12. Bryce Love- Stanford

 

Height- 5’10

Weight- 202 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 14 29 225 7.8 2 15 250 16.7 1

SO 12 111 783 7.1 3 8 83 10.4 1

JR 13 263 2118 8.1 19 6 33 5.5 0

SR 10 166 739 4.5 6 20 99 5.0 0

Bryce love is often the forgotten man of this class. Suffering a torn ACL injury in his final game in college has unfortunately pushed him down boards and increased the injury prone narrative. While the first two years of his college career he sat behind Christian McCaffrey. He burst onto the scene his junior year, when many people believed he should have come out. He decided to go back to school and try and become the best back coming out this year. Injuries and inconsistent play dropped his stock significantly. He likely won’t be ready for the combine or pro day workouts. Where he gets drafted will be huge for Love and his future. However, we can’t forget how good he has looked throughout most of his career. 

Love has elite acceleration and top end speed. Does a good job in winning the corner eliminates angles with defenders with his homerun speed.  He does a good job breaking arm tackles and very good at using his burst to get to the second and third level. More elusive with his speed than using spin or cut moves. He is a decent and willing pass blocker.

Love lacks elite vision and lacks elite elusiveness. He tends to run a bit upright at times instead of lower to the ground. While he has top end speed, he tends to get bottled up a little more than many would like. Needs to work on his receiving skills to be a three down back in the NFL.

End of tier 2

Here are my tier three running backs. I will not do full breakdowns on these guys. I will wait to see the combine results and where they get drafted. I wanted to still put them on the list with their college career stats, as players to watch over the next coming months leading into the draft.

13. Mike Weber- The Ohio State

Height-5’10

Weight- 214

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 182 1096 6.0 9 23 91 4.0 0

SO 12 101 626 6.2 10 10 94 9.4 0

JR 13 172 954 5.5 5 21 112 5.3 1 

14. Devin Ozigbo- Nebraska

Height- 6’0

Weight- 235 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 8 38 209 5.5 1 5 62 12.4 0

SO 9 97 412 4.2 5 5 100 20.0 0

JR 10 129 493 3.8 3 16 123 7.7 0

SR 12 155 1082 7.0 12 23 203 8.8 0 

15. Myles Gaskin- Washington

Height- 5’10

Weight- 193 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 277 1302 5.7 14 6 19 3.2 0

SO 14 237 1373 5.8 10 19 137 7.2 1

JR 13 222 1380 6.2 21 19 232 12.2 3

SR 12 259 1268 4.9 12 21 77 3.7 1 

16. James Williams- Washington State

Height- 6’0

Weight- 205 LBS

Class Games Att Yards Avg Td Rec Yards Avg Td

FR 13 102 585 5.7 6 48 342 7.1 1

SO 13 92 395 4.3 1 71 482 6.8 3

JR 13 122 563 4.6 12 83 613 7.4 4 

Check back soon as I will have my top wide receiver ranks up, and man is it a loaded and fun class. They will be out before the combine. At which point I will continue to breakdown the second tiers of each position as we move closer to the drafts before we finalize our rookie ranks. If you want to discuss with me any of my ranks you can always hit me up on twitter @SportsfanaticMB and of course always check out The Back Row Fantasy Show throughout the offseason for all your dynasty needs.

Browns RB Nick Chubb could be a league winner. (Joshua Gunter / cleveland.com)

Browns RB Nick Chubb could be a league winner. (Joshua Gunter / cleveland.com)

Quick Hits

November 26, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week 12 is gone. We’re now staring down the final week of the fantasy football regular season for most owners. Hopefully you have secured your playoff spots. Maybe you even have a bye in the first week. In case you need this last week to make it in, here are some takes from week 12 that may help win that week 13 game.

James Conner – Conner struggled against Denver this week. For Pittsburgh, it was the JuJu Smith-Schuster show. Conner does have some tough matchups coming. Week 13 is against the Chargers, and for the playoffs Conner will see the @Raiders, Patriots and then the @Saints.  Conner can go off at any time, so he is a must start, but those road games are a reason to be concerned.

Christian McCaffrey – The dude has been crazy good, virtually every week. If you need a big game in week 13, you should feel good about your chances with McCaffrey as he takes on the hapless defense of the Buccaneers.  For the playoffs he is @Browns, then home against the Saints and Falcons. There are a couple good matchups there, so owners should feel good about McCaffrey’s chances to be a week-winner.

Melvin Gordon – Gordon looked great and he was well on his way to a monster week before leaving with a knee injury. Heads up for all those Austin Ekeler owners. Gordon may not be back for a week or more, possibly even out until the real playoffs. Ekeler automatically becomes a start. In week 13 the Chargers play @Steelers, then home against the Bengals, @Chiefs, the home against the Ravens. There’re some juicy fantasy matchups there - until championship week.

Kenyan Drake – Drake turned out a top five half-pt PPR RB performance this week with 32 yards rushing and a touchdown. Drake also had five catches for sixty-four yards and another touchdown. The bottom line is that Drake had an extremely efficient game only handling the ball thirteen times. The Dolphins are a low-scoring offense and Adam Gase does not want to rely on Drake to be “the guy”. Owners should be weary of starting Drake especially this week when the Dolphins host the Bills. After week 13 the Dolphins play the Patriots, then @Vikings, then home against the Jaguars. There is not a lot of fantasy goodness there.

David Moore – The Seattle wide receiver is likely benefitting from a less-than 100% Doug Baldwin, but the undrafted rookie is getting looks – deep looks – from Russell Wilson. Not only that, he’s making the catches. Moore finished with four catches for 103 yards and a touchdown this week. He’s a spot start but if you need a dart throw this week at home versus the 49ers, he may not be a bad call.

David Johnson – Johnson had a tough week with the Chargers, finishing as the twenty-fifth overall RB in half-point PPR. Things should get better for DJ though as he takes on @Packers, then home against the Lions, @Falcons then home against the Rams. DJ is on a bad team right now, but he’s got some tasty matchups coming.

Nick Chubb – the Browns players look liberated as they have increased their overall offensive output in the three weeks since their coaching change. Chubb’s week 12 was great (28/84/1;3/44/1). That was against the lowly Bengals though. Week 13 is @Texans, then home to the Panthers, @Broncos, then hosting the Bengals in week 16. If you make it to week 16 with Chubb, you have a great leg up on the game.

Josh Allen – Allen had the third best QB week in half-point PPR leagues. At home against the Jaguars. He hooked up with Robert Foster for a long TD, but it was his 99 yards rushing that had him finishing so high in rankings. Yes, Josh Allen outrushed Lamar Jackson. Can Allen be counted on going into the playoffs? NO.

Aaron Rodgers – Rodgers has a juicy week 13 matchup against the Cardinals, but what is wrong with the Packers? Rodgers performance against the Vikings in week 12 was disappointing. He finished as the twenty-second best QB. The Packers seem like they are a lost team this year. Maybe they are pressing because they know their almost out of the playoffs. As of this moment they have a 3% chance of making the 2018 playoffs. Can owners count on him heading into the playoffs? Week 13 is home against the Cardinals, then they host the Falcons. Those should both be great opportunities for Rodgers. Week 15 is @Bears, which does not look good followed by week 16 @Jets. Owners are going to have to start Rodgers most likely. If it were me, I’d rather stream someone than play him for the Bears game.

Amari Cooper – Cooper was the number one receiver this week. He had huge plays against a pretty pathetic Falcons secondary. Cooper’s arrival triggered something in Dallas, and he is showing his haters that he can play. They guy is a stud and Dak is going to keep feeding him.

Dak Prescott – Prescott had a good game through the air (see Amari Cooper) and he buffeted that with some rushing yards and a touchdown. The Cowboys seem to be rejuvenated since the arrival of Cooper. If Dak is going to keep this up, I’ll be happy to add him and play him.

Eric Ebron – With Jack Doyle potentially headed to the IR, it is full steam ahead for Eric Ebron. Just watch out for Mo Allie Cox.

Sony Michel – Michel returned from the bye and lit up the Jets with a twenty-one carry, 133-yard plus a score performance. Michel is looking good but as usual there is the threat that the Patriots decide not to use him in a given week. James White is there. Rex Burkhead is coming back. I like Michel’s matchups, but I will also be nervous plugging him into the lineup each week.

Rob Gronkowski – Gronk was healthy this week and Brady went to him seven times. Gronk caught three of those passes and scored a TD. He was targeted in the end zone one other time, but Brady’s pass wasn’t quite there. Looking ahead the Patriots host the Vikings, @Dolphins, @Steelers and then home versus the Bills. Those are not great matchups for Gronk, but when healthy he has always been matchup proof. It will be tough not to roll him out the rest of the way.

Chris Conley – With no Sammy Watkins in the lineup, Conley is a decent start. There is always the spectre of Demarcus Robinson hanging around, but Conley played very well against the Rams. That must count for something.

Tyler Boyd – Will the loss of Andy Dalton derail Boyd’s impressive season? Jeff Driskel racked up two TDs in the second half against the Browns last week. One of which went to Boyd. Despite that, Driskel throwing to Boyd does not give a lot of hope for week 13 and 14 against the Broncos and Chargers. He does draw the Raiders and Browns in the last two weeks of the playoffs, so he may be startable then.

The conglomerate of Saints receivers that caught TD passes this week – in week 12 Brees tilted fantasy owners by throwing TD passes to a bunch of guys on the second and third levels of the depth chart. Going forward injuries aside, none of the guys that caught touchdowns should be trusted for season-long fantasy leagues. They might make for some good DFS GPP plays though.

The terrific two (teams on week twelve byes) – owners everywhere rejoice as the Rams and the Chiefs return from their bye weeks for week 13 to get ready for the playoff run. Mahomes, Goff, Gurley, Hunt, Cooks, Woods, Hill and Kelce are all elite players and are virtual must starts to be sure.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast!

 

DJ Moore showed up to the party in week 11.

DJ Moore showed up to the party in week 11.

Good, Bad and Ugly

Week 12

11/21/2018

by @theBleagueSays


Week 12 is here, and I am happy to help you look forward to this week's matchups. But before I crack into it, how did we do last week?

* Oh Hell Yeah! Kansas City Chiefs. L.A. Rams. Monday Night Football. This is it folks, the first potential Superbowl matchup between two teams, this looks like a couple of teams setup for the next five years to meet five times: Good lord it did not disappoint. The Rams take the cake this time with a 54-51 win at home before both teams go on their Week 12 bye. The Rams’ record moves to 10-1 and the Chiefs fall to 9-2.
* Can the Rams stop the run? They gave up nearly 300 Yards on the ground to Seattle, how will they stop Kareem Hunt: 70 Yards for Hunt on the ground but still did damage in the Receiving game. A massive improvement from the Rams run defense.... except for the 478 yards in the air they gave up to Pat Mahomes, but Mahomes is gunna Mahomes, right?
* Who takes over for Cooper Kupp and is Sammy Watkins able to get on the field this week: Josh Reynolds went 8-6-80-1 this week while Gerald Everett had 49 yards and 2 Touchdowns and Tyler Higbee had 63 yards as well. Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods did what they normally do and did it well.
* I have the Chiefs winning 37-31. How far off am I: I mean I was being conservative here.... 54-51 to the Rams... I’d say I was as close as anyone, right?

 

THE GOOD
The New Orleans Saints...

There is only so many ways to say how good the Saints are: great, fantastic, entertaining, devastating.... try on these two though: Superbowl bound.

Firstly I am here for the Tre’Quan Smith breakout game and secondly, I love the ‘thunder and lightning’ schtick that Alvin Kamara and Mark Ingram have back again. And if Drew Brees isn’t the MVP then I firmly believe there should be no more MVP voting. It’s over!


And those as individual efforts are great. But...

We know the game against the Rams a few weeks back would be a test and they took care of business.
We knew that the Eagles (although not what they were) would give them a challenge but the Saints dismantled them.

Now, New Orleans gets Atlanta on a 2-game losing streak and have a test out of Dallas shortly after... but their fantasy playoff schedule sees them at Tampa Bay, Carolina and home against Pittsburgh. Even if Carolina and Pittsburgh are jockeying within their conferences for playoff positioning the Saints are just about to seal a home playoff with Chicago the third best team in the NFC, and they are 3 games behind.

Now I've mentioned the Rams - who are tracking parallel with the Saints albeit for the tie breaker loss to New Orleans a few weeks back. The dividing factor is simple - defense. The Rams can’t stop at a red light right now let alone an NFL team as efficient as one lead by Drew Brees.

The Saints have a few tough matchups as I’ve mentioned that includes Dallas and Carolina on the road, but outside of that it seems to be a clear path to the number one seed. Whereas the Rams have a few tough matchups including an away meeting in Chicago in Week 14, followed by Philadelphia in Week 15 at home.

 

THE BAD
Chargers blow it, right on que...

“Hello darkness my old friend...
I've come to talk with you again...
Because a vision softly creeping...
Left it’s seeds while I was sleeping...
And the vision that was planted in my brain...
Still remains...
Within the sound of silence...”


There is a point within every season where this song must get played throughout every Chargers fans brain.

This time not off the boot of a kicker, well it kind of was; Michael Badgley did miss and extra point which would have mathematically had overtime happen, but still, the way Denver just walked down the field to set themselves up for a field goal and clinch the game was weak by the Chargers who of late had no problem closing games out.

Now it could be a ‘No Fly Zone’ deal with the Denver defense always getting to Phillip Rivers... but the guy had just over 400 yards on the day so it can’t be that.

Or maybe, just maybe it was that they kept Melvin Gordon under 70 yards Rushing for the day... maybe, but he had over 80 yards in the air instead...

It could be a ‘bogey team’ thing with Denver winning 12 out of the last 15 matchups... maybe it’s just groundhog day when they play each other?

Maybe it’s just a blip and the Chargers aren’t going to go into that midseason slumber, wake up from a nightmare and realize they lost a playoff spot to the Buffalo Bills again... yeah like that won’t happen again!

Maybe…

THE UGLY
Jacksonville has the same record as Buffalo...

There’s no freakin’ way in hell. There’s no Vegas bookie that would have accepted that bet.
There is no chance possible that at the start of the season that any scenario that involved Buffalo - a team in full rebuild mode - would have after 11 weeks the same record as the AFC Contender Jacksonville Jaguars...

Unless...

Leonard Fournette got injured, throwing their game plan out the window causing their defense to be on the field more, concede more and force Blake Bortles to chase a game each week happens. It did, and it fails most of the time, forcing their season to collapse....
I mean that is the only scenario that the Bills could see themselves with the same record as the Jaguars. But that would never happen, right?

Right...

The 3-7 Jaguars head to Buffalo this week to face the 3-7 Bills, who were on the bye in Week 11 after smashing the NY Jets the week prior.

I wish I was making that up...

And I wish I was making this up too…

 

I think Buffalo at home knocks off the former AFC contender Jacksonville Jaguars, who looked like a team that was melting down in front of us this week as their rival Pittsburgh got a last-second winner from Ben Roethlisberger and snatched the spirit from right out of their hearts. The talks of Jalen Ramsey trades on top of the ‘who is their next Quarterback in 2019’ conversations have started again, makes you think how long it will take before the Jaguars start to head in a different direction. There is no way that they aren’t in the hunt for a new playmaker, for me, Joe Flacco is the guy I would be targeting as he could be cut from the Ravens this offseason.

 

Just my two cents..

 

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 12!  Here is what I am looking for this time to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

* Divisional games in Thanksgiving - can the Bears separate themselves further from the pack and are the Cowboys for real?
* Seattle vs Carolina: who wants it more as the Wildcard slots heat up?
* Can the Titans catch up to the Texans after being blown out by the Colts?


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

henry.jpg

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 15

By @theBleagueSays

December 12, 2018

Back Row Show Bandits! I am back and as refreshingly sleep deprived as ever from my one-week hiatus and am ready to hit up Week 15 with you!

THE GOOD
It’s the #DefensesWinChampionshipsSZN...

It’s happening. The weather is getting colder. The passes are traveling shorter. The run game is starting to rack up the yards (Hey, Jordan Howard, ‘sup!), and turnovers are the ‘soup of the day’!

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the year when we say those magic words in December:

Defense wins Championships.

This week we saw the Chicago Bears wreck the high powered LA Rams and it wasn’t because of a Mitchell Trubisky master-class. The Bears defense shut down Todd Gurley. They pressured Jared Goff and Brandin Cooks and Robert Woods were under enough duress to the point where Josh Reynolds had 7 Targets and did nothing with them. Sean McVay can recall a lot of things, but I think this week is one he would want to forget...

... I am also aware that the Rams held the Bears to 15 points also. That doesn’t mean they can do the same thing that the Bears did, but it’s the first time this year the Rams have been kept under 23 points (Round 6 vs Denver). It’s their second loss of the year, but in that first loss to New Orleans they put up 35 points (in a dome) while conceding 45.

Which means by this theory...

Keep an eye on the Tennessee Titans.

Only four times this year have they had over 23 points dropped on them, and two of those games were in the first month of the year. They found their run game against a stout (and maybe a defeated) Jacksonville run defense and have 2 of their last 3 games at home.

They were handed heavy defeats to divisional rivals recently, but in week 17 the Titans get to take a parting shot (unless a Wildcard spot is secured) against the Colts at home leading into the playoffs. However, likely wins against the (although improved) NY Giants and Washington Redskins are coming. Chalk the Titans up to be a team that may cause some headaches in the playoffs on the back of a strong defense and a healthy Marcus Mariota.

 

THE BAD
The mighty hath fallen...

Pittsburgh, New England, L.A Rams, Houston - what are you doing?!

Four divisional leaders took a loss this week which feels odd to say out loud. While jockeying for the top position, they all stumbled. Houston is in a revitalized AFC South and has a friendly schedule ahead with the Jets, Eagles, and Jaguars while holding a 2-game lead over the Titans and Colts. The Texans are on the same number of wins as New England and could sneak the second spot in the AFC should Tom Brady and company stumble again. Speaking of the Patriots and Rams, both have already locked up their divisions so you would think it is cruise control moving forward towards a bye-week, but Pittsburgh is still only a win (and a draw, I know) ahead of Baltimore, and the Steelers have the Patriots this week followed by the Saints and a grudge match with the Bengals in Week 17. Nothing is locked up for the Steelers and losses like the one they managed this week against the Oakland Raiders are why we can officially write them off for the year.

However...

Baltimore has two winnable games with Tampa and Cleveland both at home with an away trip against the Chargers mixed in.

 

So… I’m feeling frisky! How about a bold call?

I have Baltimore winning out, and taking the AFC North.


THE UGLY
I can admit when I'm wrong...

I had the correct numbers for the Dallas Cowboys at least. So right off the bat - Dallas Cowboys faithful, I am sorry...
At the start of the year, I had the Cowboys slated for a generous 6-10 season with a coaching change imminent in the postseason. But here we are, the clear leaders of the NFC East are surging toward a potential 11-5 record (for me I think they fall to the Colts this week and stick a 10-6 record), along with key wins against... well... only the Saints?

Yes. Pump the brakes...

It’s an incredible thing to knock of Super Bowl contender New Orleans at home in a ground-and-pound game 13-10. Wins against Philadelphia, Washington, and New York rack up half of their win total and of the remaining 4 games that they have won, only 2 games have been won on the road (back-to-back weeks vs Philadelphia and Atlanta).

So the Cowboys are a team that plays well at home. I can’t see them beating any of the teams ahead of them (Rams, Saints or Bears) if they are on the road, and you are looking at Seattle (who have a win against Dallas already this year) and Minnesota who is getting their defense back on track towards the end of the season. I still think that Dallas is going to be that team that gets in and gets out in week one of the playoffs no matter who they face.

 

It’s cool to see this team show signs of life, it really is. This band-aid must stop covering the fact that Jason Garrett and Scott Linehan still need to go. Pressure needs to be continually applied to Dak Prescott (because he still looks suspect) and winning is likely going to hand half of these guys new deals. Which is probably the worst thing that could happen to this franchise.

 

Imagine 3 more years of this?

 

Let’s give Amari Cooper the keys to the city already and start firing some people. Enough is enough.

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to week 15 with you! Here is what I am looking for this time around to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

* CHARGERS AND CHIEFS HERE WE GO!!! It’s time to decide the AFC West, I’ve been on the Chargers, and Joey Bosa is back! Kansas City has kind of stumbled of late - let’s see who wants it more!
* Two teams fighting to consolidate a playoff berth. Dallas is away to Indianapolis - can the Cowboys shut the door on the NFC East or can Andrew Luck and company keep the Texans and Titans within reach?
* The Patriots head to Pittsburgh in what is always a fun game. Who steps up? I think it’s a Julian Edelman game.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Vikings limbo after the Dalvin Cook TD vs. Green Bay (Giphy.com)

Vikings limbo after the Dalvin Cook TD vs. Green Bay (Giphy.com)

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 13

November 27, 2018

by @theBleagueSays

Week 13 is here, and I am happy to help you look forward to this week's matchups. But before I crack into it, how did we do last week?

* Divisional Games in Thanksgiving - can the Bears separate themselves further from the pack and are the Cowboys for real?; Yeah they can and yeah they did - with Chase Daniels filling in for Mitch Trubisky who had a banged up shoulder, the Bears are now two games clear of Minnesota with games against New York Giants, Green Bay, and San Francisco in their last 5 games, a Vikings loss in that time will pretty much secure the North for Chicago - this week Minnesota heads to New England, so it’s possible the Bears are nearly secure at this point.
* Seattle vs Carolina: who wants it more?; Carolina has now gone three losses straight and now fall back into the pack, as Seattle comes up strong with a 30-27 win off the back of another Graham Gano blunder.
* Can the Titans catch up to the Texans after being blown out by the Colts?; Monday Night Football saw the Titans get rolled by the Houston Texans 34-17. who now have a 3-game lead at the top of the AFC South and looked dominant in doing so.

 

THE GOOD
Cleveland Rocks! Ohio!”

A few (short) months ago the Baker Mayfield hype train was in full motion, after subbing in for Tyrod Taylor when he went down to a concussion and led the Browns to a comeback win against the NY Jets. This, followed by a high octane loss away at Oakland and a gritty win against Baltimore saw the Browns on cloud 9 with their rookie quarterback.

But four losses on the trot, the firing of head coach Hue Jackson and offensive coordinator Todd Haley had pundits questioning the franchise as a whole, again. However, back-to-back wins against Atlanta and Cincinnati with averages of 31.5 points for and 18 points against would lead you to believe that the train is definitely back on the tracks. The beautiful thing about it was the 4 touchdown game that Mayfield had. Young stars Nick Chubb (1 Rushing and 1 Receiving TD), David Njoku and Antonio Callaway all hit pay dirt and they look like names that could well run the AFC North, along with Baker Mayfield, for years to come.

At 4-6-1 and two more divisional games to go against Cincinnati (1-win ahead) Baltimore (only two wins ahead) plus a matchup against Denver - who is only one win ahead - should the Browns get a win (a massive win and task at that) at Houston next week... is it possible that they... no surely not...I mean they’ll need help from Atlanta (home to Baltimore), Denver at Cincinnati and Miami, Indianapolis and Tennessee all have relatively tough matchups...surely the Cleveland Browns… no, they aren’t making a push for the playoffs? Are they?

No. Probably not but it sounds good to say right?

But considering the 0-16 2017 they had and the loss of two coaches mid-season isn’t this a massive step in the right direction? Is maybe finishing with 7-8 wins a big deal?

Yes. Yes, it is. And it’s great for this Franchise to be chasing the North like they are. The 2019 AFC North Champions? It could happen! 

THE BAD
But, but, but James Conner!

I’m not here to rattle the beehive, god forbid someone upsets a Steelers fan...

But… I’m just saying his performances since Le’Veon Bell decided to not return have not been what we come to expect. A fumble that possibly lost them the game this week, and dropping certain passes-for-touchdowns against Jacksonville the week before to ice the game off... it’s little things like that when the season relies on minimal mistakes. And at the business end of the season is that what you are banking on? Pittsburgh’s window with Ben Roethlisberger is closing. It’s dropped passes and fumbles at poor times of the game (if there is such a thing), that will ensure the Steelers don’t get past that AFC Championship again.

So...Have you heard this yet?

A lot of ‘The Bad’ isn't about James Conner or his performances (would you rather he play like Jordan Howard?) but there are those around who think it’s actually going to cost the Steelers a run at a Championship. You have to give the lad the benefit of the doubt, he has been really good this year. No. Conner has had a phenomenal year. James Conner has virtually come from nowhere to do a job that no one thought he could do as well as he has. The Steelers may have saved a boatload of cash in not paying Le’Veon Bell and the team seems to have rallied behind a guy with a hell of a story. 

Yep. Swerve. It’s more about the ‘he is going to cost them, crowd…’

You’ve ridden him this far, let’s see what is in store for him going forward:

The Steelers have a mixed bag of opponents coming up over the next month into the fantasy football playoffs, including Oakland (25.05 points per game conceded to the running back in the last four weeks), New England (17.30 points per game conceded to the running back in the last four weeks) and New Orleans in championship week (16.55 points per game to the running back in the last four weeks) who have been standouts over the course of the year as the 3rd top run defense in the league with an average of 13.76 points per game so far this season.

If you are a James Conner drafter, he got you this far. It could get bumpy. But he will be fine like you would hope considering that he is the 4th highest scoring Running Back for the year, at 4.6 Yards per Carry and 8.9 Yards Per Reception should be...

THE UGLY
You did what?!

You listened to an injured player?

And you allowed him to start?
And now he is hurt?
L.A. Chargers, what are you doing?

Melvin Gordon looks to have injured/sprained his MCL. Now heading into the game, Gordon was slapped with the questionable tag, to begin with having hamstring and knee issues leading into their matchup with Arizona. And wouldn’t you know it, in the violent game of football, Gordon gets hurt while the Chargers had a commanding lead over a team that was not putting up a stack of fight at all.

What was he doing in the game, to begin with? That definitely rules him out for this weeks matchup at Pittsburgh and likely the followup at home to Cincinnati. Your best hope is that he returns in Week 15 against the Chiefs and at that point, you are really hoping the Chargers can at least be the top Wildcard holder.

But for fantasy? The Steelers, Bengals, and Chiefs can give up big games to the Running Back and if you can, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson are must-adds everywhere. This is non-negotiable and must be a priority everywhere, whether you have Melvin Gordon or not.

I’ve spoken about it being handcuff season already. Go and get your handcuffs! We are one week out of (well most...) the fantasy playoffs, not having the backup running back to your stud at this point of the year is inexcusable...

...just like playing your stud running back in a game that was never in doubt, for a result that was never going to be questioned while threatening your shots at furthering your playoff hopes by not controlling their environment.

Chargers. What are you doing?!

 SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 13!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

* Can Carolina break a three-game losing streak?
* New Orleans at Dallas on Thursday night and both had a full week off, who steps up?
* Monday Night Football sees the (6-5) Washington at the (5-6) Philadelphia. With Carolina flailing and Minnesota at New England; who can take advantage and try and claim a Wildcard spot?


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 11

11/14/2018

By @theBleagueSays

Week 11 is here, and I am happy to help you look forward to this week's matchups. But before I crack into it, how did we do last week?

* If Peyton Barber (RB40) outperforms Adrian Peterson (RB11) this week: They both came out of this game with similar numbers. Peterson had 68 yards on the ground and 1 yard in the air. Barber had 61 yards on the ground and 5 yards in the air.
* Vance McDonald vs Jesse James - Carolina aren’t great against the Tight End and I want to see how Ben Roethlisberger distributes to them both: Vance McDonald had a clean 4-4-41-1 day and had 1-1-8-1 against Carolina. The bigger story out of this is the 2 TDs leaked by the Panthers to the tight end. They play Jacksonville this week, so it could be a James O’Shaughnessy week.
* Tyler Boyd is without A.J. Green this week, this could be a blowup game for him: The Saints locked down the Bengals, except for John Ross, I guess. Boyd was ok with a 4-3-65 week out. The Bengals are at Baltimore this week, so it’s probably going to look worse before it gets better.
* Marcus Mariota looked close to connecting for a score with Corey Davis last week against Dallas, I think they’ll connect against the Patriots like they did in the Playoffs last year where Davis went 8-5-63-2: Again, Mariota and Davis connected against the Patriots where Corey Davis smashed Stephon Gilmore all day, with a 10-7-125-1 stat line.

THE GOOD
Mitch Trubisky, again.

I’ve mentioned before two things about Mitch Trubisky and that was this;

1. They aligned him with talent.
2. They aligned him with Coaches who know how to utilize his skillset.

To drive this home; (attempts/yards/TDS:INT/Rushing Yards/Rushing TDS)

Player A:
505-341-4042-26:5/355/1


Player B:
515-337-4096-33:12/568/5

Yeah, so Player A is Alex Smith in Kansas for 2017. Smith was armed with all the Talent that Pat Mahomes has, sans Sammy Watkins, but had yards on the ground as well as over 500 Attempts.
Player B, which shouldn’t be a shock is Mitch Trubisky in 2018 and his 16-game trajectory.

Those numbers are extremely identical, as is the use. Alex Smith has often been told that he has underrated rushing ability and quietly so does Trubisky. The commonality is also Matt Nagy, who coached Alex Smith last year also when he finished as the QB4. But if it makes you feel even better about having Mitch Trubisky on your team take this into account also;
Mitch Trubisky is currently the QB7 (and only 74% owned on ESPN) after 10 Weeks. He is having to deal with more Quarterbacks available (DeShaun Watson, Pat Mahomes, Andrew Luck and even Baker Mayfield leading the Rookies - just to name a few) than what Smith did last year. Alex Smith is currently the QB23 (50% owned on ESPN). Trubisky has soft matchups over the rest of the season against Detroit at home (who he just torched for 5 TDS), the Giants, the Rams and the tasty San Francisco in Week 16 of the Fantasy Playoffs.

Go get him!

THE BAD
The Jets, hey, what’s up?! Matt Barkley did what?

I’ve mentioned before that I’ll never fact check anything Buffalo does for the rest of the year, but the Jets should be ashamed of themselves for allowing the Bills, who signed Matt Barkley through the week, to destroy them. Barkley, on what, his 8th different team for the year? He had himself an afternoon going for 232 Yards and 2 TDS while bringing life into LeSean McCoy who bagged himself a brace of TDs as well.

IF (and it’s a big if), the Jets are tanking and IF the Jets are resting Sam Darnold for the rest of the year, I don’t blame them. High draft picks, maybe patch up their O-Line and maybe, just maybe arm Darnold with LeVeon Bell, Devin Funchess and Jared Cook who are all free agents next offseason. I could imagine this is the talk going on within the Jets’ boardrooms and I don’t hate it. IF this is the end result, keep an eye on the Jets to hit free agency hard this offseason.

THE UGLY
Hue Jackson signed where?

To further the point of a team tilting, the Bengals called up their ex-boyfriend Hue Jackson after getting fired from Cleveland two weeks ago by offering him a bed and some warm soup. It’s not the most exciting or lucrative of offers but it’s better then moving back in with your brother, right? I think Hue Jackson should take a ‘gap year’, travel Europe, see some things and find his ‘inner Hue’. Because if you can’t love yourself, you can’t love at all and I can’t imagine this is what Jackson or the Bengals want for each other. It’s just pity love where misery loves company and it’s sad because my gut feeling is we are going to run into Hue Jackson at a wedding this offseason without a partner elbow deep in cake crying about how he blew his meal ticket Baker Mayfield and letting him away...

 

There are no more fish in the sea, Hue...


SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 11!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

* Oh Hell Yeah! Kansas City Chiefs. L.A. Rams. Monday Night Football. This is it folks, the first potential Super Bowl Matchup between the two teams, this looks like a couple of teams setup to meet five times in the next five years.
* Can the Rams stop the run? They gave up nearly 300 Yards on the ground to Seattle, how will they stop Kareem Hunt?
* Who takes over for Cooper Kupp and is Sammy Watkins able to get on the field this week?
* I have the Chiefs winning 37-31. How far off am I?

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Dalvin Cook courtesy of Vikings.com

Dalvin Cook courtesy of Vikings.com

Quick Hits

November 14, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week 10 is gone.  RIP.  For many fantasy teams, it spelled the official death knell, as their records went to 3-7, meaning they are almost certainly out of the playoff picture (if you are 3-7 now and you MAKE your playoffs, I want to know!). Heading into week 11, we have a lot of trends to look at:

James Conner – I have called it for more than two weeks now, so allow me to take a quick victory lap on James Conner. In an article from two weeks ago, I just didn’t see what Le’Veon Bell was going to gain by joining the Steelers in week 10. Anyways, the drama is over. Bell is out – still. Conner is in. As a guy that hung on to Conner almost everywhere I have him, I am pumped! By the way, if you play in Yahoo leagues, Jaylen Edwards is a RB/TE. If you are struggling for tight end play, it might be worth a look.

Kerryon Johnson – he’s getting the right combination of carries and catches to be a consistent RB1 now, even on a crappy Lions’ team. Repeat after me… I will not bench Kerryon. I will not bench Kerryon. I will not bench Kerryon.

Andrew Luck – I was wrong about Luck this year. I was a doubter about Luck and his shoulder being ready and able to hold up for the season. Obviously, the guy is remarkable. I drafted him – and dropped him – in a couple leagues. I am a moron.

David Johnson – oh man, thank you Byron Leftwitch! Thanks for freeing David Johnson! The dude is back to his old self getting about 30 touches per week.  The Cardinals are still not a good offense, and their run defense has serious problems, but I like what I am seeing for Johnson.

Andy Reid – Reid proved this week that the Chiefs can take a weekend off and still win the game. I watched this one live and it just felt like they were not trying as hard as they could have. And they won. Were they saving up or looking ahead a bit at showdown with the Rams? We’ll find out.

Tom Brady – yes – they had a bad game against the Titans. Brady struggled and the rest of the team went with him. The Patriots having these type of games actually makes me fear them more heading into the stretch run. These bad beats in the past serve to motivate that team and propel them into the playoffs. If Gronk comes back after the bye (please come back Gronk!), the Patriots will be full steam ahead, and no one will want to play them.

Dion Lewis – I liked him last week and he had a slightly down week 10. That was only due to touchdown sniping courtesy of Derek Henry. To reiterate – Henry is not good. Lewis is good. Keep playing Lewis.

Anthony Miller – I thought “Miller time” was coming soon, and last week it arrived. Miller had 122 yards receiving and a touchdown. Is his future predictable? In Chicago, it is not as predictable as fantasy owners would like. If it helps, he is more favorable than Taylor Gabriel now. Where that puts him in the Robinson/Cohen/Burton/Miller pecking order is hard to say.  He’s not an autostart, but you could easily wind up kicking yourself for not starting him.

Keenan Allen – in the second half of last season, Keenan Allen kicked his season into gear and wound up being a top wideout for the season. This year I think we are looking at a repeat performance. Allen had good number receiving last week and his targets were up. This is a good sign heading into a weak schedule for the Chargers.

Dak Prescott – he has not been good this season, and not having that number one receiver may have played a part in that. Last week against the Eagles, Prescott targeted Amari Cooper a lot, and he finally started to put some good fantasy numbers up. Cooper actually played well too, so that’s a win-win.

Matt Brieda – “the cyborg” rises up and plays after taking injury after injury. He looks great out there too. He looks fast. Keep playing him.

The three runningbacks – Carson, Davis and Penny. Who’s going to play? No one can be sure. If you want to go there and roll the dice, be my guest. I will stay well away for my part.

The forgotten four (teams on week ten byes) – the Ravens come back not knowing who will play quarterback for sure. They probably do know actually, but they won’t say. I still think that Lamar Jackson is going to be on the field a lot. The Vikings always seem to get a bye week just when they get hot. That makes me nervous because that hotness tends to fade with the week off. The Texans have a huge pass rush and the Redskins have an offensive line that has lost four starters. Play the Texans defense. The Broncos come back hoping to survive a Philip Rivers torching in L.A. Lindsey should be good and maybe this is the Courtland Sutton breakout? They are going to need points.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more tournament success in the past two weeks listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 

Nick Mullens looks to lead the 49ers to victory against the Giants this weekend.

Nick Mullens looks to lead the 49ers to victory against the Giants this weekend.

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 10

November 9, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

 Here. We. Go.

Week 10 is here, and I am happy to help you look forward to this week's matchups. But before I crack into it, how did we do last week?

* Guys who got traded (Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate): ‘DT’ had a relatively ok game for Houston going 3-3-61 after being traded by Denver and having to play against them that same weekend. Golden Tate had back-to-back Bye Weeks and suits up for the Eagles against Dallas this week in the Primetime Sunday Night game.
* Guys who have opportunities open due to players traded (Courtland Sutton and Kenny Golladay): both were quiet. Golladay went 4-3-46 in a blowout loss to the Vikings. Sutton went 5-3-56 against a tough Texans secondary unit.
* Can Doug Martin stay over 5.0 Yards Per Carry (5.54 YPC vs Indianapolis) 2 weeks in a row?: No, he could not. He nearly did though. He had 4.45 YPC against the 49ers off 11 carries, and that’s about as good as a win as you’ll get with Martin. The Raiders were being blown away and Martin’s usage dropped pretty quickly when the game got away from Oakland.
* Is DeVante Parker ‘a thing’ again after last week’s big effort: No. Don’t ever ask about Parker again. Ever. Again. No.

THE GOOD

The Chargers Sans Joey Bosa -

The Chargers hold the top Wildcard spot in the AFC with a 6-2 Record. Joey Bosa has been missing all season and the Chargers hope he comes back sooner than later. As long as they keep winning then I’d be surprised if we see him over the next month. More surprisingly the news of Hunter Henry possibly returning (should the Chargers get to the post-season) after tearing an ACL in May when the playoffs begin. The Chargers see Oakland this week then Denver at home in Week 11. They’ll keep Kansas City honest, but the sooner they clinch a playoff spot the better for Melvin Gordon, Phillip Rivers and Keenan Allen. This week they get Oakland, so chalk them up to 7-2 already.

Nick Mullens -

The feel-good hit of the season. Mullens, on the practice squad at the start of the week, got the call to start as the quarterback for the 49ers on a short week. He gashed Oakland like no one had expected. Good for him. But there is an even better chance he repeats his performance this week at home to the woeful NY Giants.

Good luck, kid. But I don’t think you’ll need it this week...

THE BAD

Detroit letting Matt Stafford get sacked 10 times -

Detroit’s O-Line has been one of the most improved units this season. But last week the Vikings taught them a few lessons. Now, I’ll accept that this may have been an anomaly on the year, but the Lions now face Chicago, who just so happen love to sack Quarterbacks and smash the Sacks stat line. Oh, and they get Khalil Mack back this week too!

Something to keep an eye on if you have Matt Stafford in your lineup this week.

Washington got ‘skinned -

I have been riding the Falcons hype train all offseason and they absolutely hammered Washington in the nation’s capitol last weekend. Kapri Bibbs did fine, but he should have as Atlanta gives up the most points to pass catching backs (which must be a skewed number considering they face Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara twice a year) so that was expected.

Does anyone really think Washington can challenge anyone with Josh Doctson, Alex Smith and Jordan Reed? Not the Jordan Reed from a few years ago, but this one? On top of the weak skill position performances, now they lose 60% of their O-Line due to injury. Is their best weapon Adrian Peterson is going to continually perform? I doubt it.  

People are going to jump on Alex Smith this week because of a matchup against Tampa Bay, whose defense just leaks fantasy points. I just don’t think Washington is that team who can keep up. I’m advising that you avoid them in a ‘trap’ game.

THE UGLY

Nate Picksixerman -

Legitimately, I think I could do a better job, and I used to be a soccer player. Let that sink in.

A guy who played a sport ridiculed for ‘faking’ and ‘cheating’ and not being ‘physical’ believes he can do the same if not a better job right now than a professional ‘football/athlete’ because he is just so, so, so bad.

Buffalo would be better off with Tim Tebow right now and the fact that they haven’t picked up the shows how bad that organization is right now.

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 10!  Here is what I have my eye on to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

* If Peyton Barber (RB40) outperforms Adrian Peterson (RB11) this week.
* Vance McDonald vs Jesse James - Carolina aren’t great against the Tight End and I want to see how Ben Roethlisberger distributes to them both.
* Tyler Boyd is without A.J. Green this week, this could be a blowup game for him.
* Marcus Mariota looked close to connecting for a score with Corey Davis last week against Dallas, I think they’ll connect against the Patriots like they did in the Playoffs last year where Davis went 8-5-63-2.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow.

Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

The ARRIVAL - Marquez Valdes-Scandling is the new WR2 in Green Bay.

The ARRIVAL - Marquez Valdes-Scandling is the new WR2 in Green Bay.

Quick Hits from Week 9

November 5, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week nine, aka the “byepocalypse” is finally over! Did your teams survive? This week in the NFL did have some great games though.  I, for one, will be re-watching the Rams vs. the Saints game with my NFL Game Pass.  That game was a fantasy football aficiando’s dream come true! We’re nine weeks into the season, here is what we know: 

James Conner – I am going to say it here and now – Conner is the starting back for the Steelers the rest of the season.  Even if Lev Bell comes back to the team (and I am skeptical of that), he is not going to take but a fraction of Conner’s workload. There are loads of team-related and statistical reasons to support this which are all over the Internet, so I won’t go into them here. The Lev Bell/Pittsburgh marriage is over. Bank on it. If you traded for Conner on the cheap – congratulations! If you held onto Conner, congratulations! I am going to bet that most of you that did either of these are now vying for the playoffs.

Alvin Kamara – serious question – the number one pick in fantasy redraft leagues next season – is it Gurley? Or is it Kamara? Karama is unreal. His production rate is unreal. The most unreal thing about it is, as long as Drew Brees is in New Orleans, Kamara’s production is not going to slow down.

Michael Thomas – what an explosive week Thomas had! He is a force to be reckoned with.

Josh Gordon – did we just see the Josh Gordon coming out party? Possibly. He had a great game, however there is something nagging me about his overall standing with the team. I feel like we are one or maybe two “Josh Gordon moments” away from him being punted from the team. I hope that does not happen, but I am still fearful of it.

Aaron Rodgers – unquestionably the most talented quarterback in the league, Rodgers is soon to have a new head coach. As a football fan, I hope the Packers’ next coach is someone fresh and inventive, like Sean McVay, Matt Nagy or Kyle Shanahan.  Rodgers deserves better.  As NFL fans, we deserve better.

Nick Mullens – he had a great game against an Oakland team who looks like they would rather be anywhere else that on a professional football field right now. Mullens does do an extensive amount of game preparation – that would be the opposite of former Raiders quarterback Jamarcus Russel (did you see the story on him this week about his coaches testing him on watching game tape? It’s right here.) Temper your excitement over Mullens, but do keep an eye on him if you are looking for a spot start the rest of the year.

Dion Lewis – might the Titans finally be figuring out how to use Lewis? His play is improving and his stats over the past two weeks are encouraging. Against New England next week and then against Indy the week after, he’s a definite flex play for me.

Anthony Miller – “Miller time” is coming soon.  His target share is going up and now Taylor Gabriel is injured.

Marquez Valdes-Scandling – Geronimo Allison’s time as the WR2 in Green Bay is gone, if it ever really existed. Valdes-Scandling is looking like a playmaker. I expect the more that he sees the field, the more that Aaron Rodgers will trust him. The target share is not quite at full-time WR2 status yet, but I think it is coming.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – the winner of the “Tampa Bay area Conner McGregor look-alike contest” is sure good at generating fantasy points. If you have him back on your rosters right now, I would suggest keeping another competent QB on the roster. This ride with Fitzy is only going to last if head coach Dirk Koetter thinks that Fitzpatrick gives him a better chance of keeping his job than Jameis Winston does. The moment that perception changes, Fitzpatrick’s status will change (that change could happen mid-game, which is the fantasy football owner’s nightmare scenario).

Joe Flacco, Michael Crabtree and John Brown – what started out so promising this season is now looking pathetic. Brown and Crabtree have gone quiet and it is because Flacco can’t get the ball to them anymore. Why that is, I do not know. The receivers appear to be in good health, which leads me to believe the problem lies with Flacco’s inconsistent play. In other works, the countdown to Lamar Jackson has begun.

The situation in Cleveland – with the departure of the head coach and offensive coordinator, it is hard to predict what to do with the fantasy assets in Cleveland for the rest of the year. For dynasty, this is a good thing and I am really interested to see whom they will bring in. Former Cardinals coach Bruce Arians expressed interest today. All I can say is please, please, PLEASE I hope that happens for real! That comment by Arians tells you that there is a great deal of talent in Cleveland. Short term, I do not know who you can really trust. Long-term, stock up. Keep an eye on whom they hire though.

Ito Smith – Tevin Coleman had a great week nine. Ito followed suit with a solid game of his own. He’s an asset to stash heading into the second half of the season.

Amari Cooper – Cooper looked solid tonight against the Tennessee defense. It might take a coaching change in Dallas (and I think there is one coming at year’s end) before we see just how good Cooper may - or may not - be.

Adam Thielen – he finally had a “bad” game and still caught a touchdown pass.

Courtland Sutton – the much-ballyhooed arrival of Sutton as a starter was a bit of a downer. My advice is to give it some time. Stash him on your bench if you can. If the owner that picked him up drops him, scoop him up and stash him. Things with Sutton will get better as the season goes on.

Deandre Hopkins – no matter who else the Texans put on the field with him, he is a top five start every week. If you can get him without giving up the ship, do it.

Keenan Allen – he’s been a disappointment of sorts to start the season and just like last year he is heating up. There might still be opportunity to trade for him, so grab him if you can. The second-half of the year is going to be a good one.

Russell Wilson – I am on life support with Wilson. I thought there was no way the Seahawks would go away from giving Wilson the number of passing attempts per game he is accustomed to.  Those attempts usually led a fair number of rushing attempts, which in turn led to his high fantasy point-scoring floor. That’s all gone now as the Seattle offense switched to a run-first – and second – and third – mode. It’s a sad deal really. The way this is heading, it makes me wonder how much Wilson will put up with before we start hearing about him leaving the northwest for another team.

The forgotten six (teams on week nine byes) – the Bengals will return without A.J. Green, which is going to alter their entire offense. Green is the guy that opposing defenses look to stop, so defenses will be able to put their focus on stopping Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon. Could it be John Ross time? The Colts are moving the ball through the air and now Marlon Mack is doing his best to look like the workhorse back most of us were hoping we had when we drafted him. Jacksonville is next up for them, which is not quite as scary now as it was even a couple weeks ago. The Jaguars for their part are about to get Leonard Fournette back. Will that right their careening season? Only if he’s healthy and they can give him the thirty carries per game that he needs. The Cardinals finally got rid of their lame offensive coordinator and suddenly Larry Fitzgerald came back to life. He took David Johnson along with him, too. There are still a lot of problems with that team, but at least there is some hope that a couple of fantasy draft picks might return some value in the second half of the season. The Eagles come off the bye with a win and a new receiver – Golden Tate. Tate will take targets away from Nelson Agholor, but Jeffrey and Ertz (of course) will be safe. I like Tate in this offense. The sad Giants will take on San Francisco in week ten. That bodes well for Saquon’s output. OBJ could see a boost too, if Eli Manning can channel some momentary competence.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more DFS tournament success listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

Halfway through the season, Todd Gurley leads the universe in fantasy PPG.

Halfway through the season, Todd Gurley leads the universe in fantasy PPG.

THE BACK ROW FANTASY SHOW MID Season RANKINGS

HOW ARE WE DOING SO FAR?

By @theBleagueSays

October 31, 2018

This is going to be a fun one!

I am going to take The Back Row Shows Rankings and see where we went right, wrong or fell completely off the radar. It’s a little different than my normal Good/Bad/Ugly article, but who wants normal?

Prior to getting started, I want to see how we did last week. Week 8 went quicker than Todd Haley’s run as an Offensive Coordinator for the Browns (Cleveland, what are you doing?!) as we look to power through into Week 9. So, what did we look for?

 

  • What does Amari Cooper do for Dallas in his first week?  Nothing, he had back-to-back bye weeks. He debuts this weekend.

  • Carlos Hyde take-two in Jacksonville; Hyde had 11 yards from 6 carries against a stud Eagles defense. I’m not too sure you want much more of Hyde prior to Fournette returning. You may have to sit tight this week and see how that plays out - which is possibly your best option if you have Hyde going forward - probably a good thing they have their bye this week.

  • Can Rob Gronkowski get his health right and play this week? Rob Gronkowski went 3-43 yards against Buffalo this week, which sounds worse than it is. Buffalo’s defense has played really well considering how often they get sent out to play each week. The Patriots get Green Bay this week. With ‘Gronk’ looking as healthy as he does, he should be fine moving forward.

  • Russell Wilson off the bye - what improvements can he make and do the rushing yards increase? Again, Seattle wanted to punch the ball on the ground, stopping Wilson from going to the air. Kind of. Russell Wilson had just about 250 air yards this week. Off 14 completions only, with 3 TDs. That’s a TD nearly every 5 passes, which is just not sustainable. His rushing yards stayed in and around under 20 yards - so I don't know if you can take that into consideration going forward when starting him because it’s just not happening. On the other hand, he’s scoring points so what do I know?

 

We are halfway through the season and some players have either missed a few games or had their bye when others haven’t, so bear with me. All rankings (where it matters) will be based on Half Point Per Reception scoring, that way Standard or Full PPR can divide or add where necessary - I'm not doing three loads of math - not on a Tuesday at least.

THE QUARTERBACKS- TOP 10

Who we got right: Sporadically we have all had a QB here or there sneak into the upper tier of the Top 10. I (@TheBLeagueSays) was high on Cam Newton (4th Overall) and Kirk Cousins (6th Overall) while @FootballNuke was all about Andrew Luck (2nd Overall) and Pat Mahomes (1st Overall) having both that high on his behalf was risky but incredible to call so far considering the amount of ‘unknown’ surrounding them this offseason.

Who we got wrong: So far we have all been relatively off the mark, as the calls for traditional leaders in Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, and/or Russell Wilson to finish high just hasn’t happened. Brady and Rodgers are sitting at 9th and 10th respectively while Wilson is sitting at 17th overall. However, all three have had unsettled squads. Think about Doug Baldwin missing most of the season and Wilson no longer rushing for yards. Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison in Green Bay have missed time, along with Rodgers due to injury. Want to pick a Patriot to play this week? Julian Edelman, Josh Gordon or Rob Gronkowski? All have chipped in but not as well as we would have liked. I’d expect all towards the next few weeks find some consistency, however, catching those ahead (in the rankings at least) may be hard to achieve.

Who we wish we could reconsider; Matt Ryan, 3rd overall, is playing as well as he ever (as well, if not better than his MVP season in 2016) has and is someone only @KnitBackRow had as his 10th QB off the board. Mitch Trubisky (8th Overall) has ‘Alex Smith 2017’ type numbers so far and is performing above what anyone anticipated. And considering Matt Nagy got that out of Smith last year we can legitimately wonder if these are ‘system’ type numbers Trubisky is putting up. Who is to say he can’t finish in the top 5-8 like Smith last year? None of us saw that coming.

Who can make a charge: Carson Wentz is the guy I would think can make big strides. Everyone has him in their top 10 and is currently sitting 20th overall. Wentz (while playing only 6 games), has averaged 298 yards per week since Week 3 when he debuted this season and the Eagles just traded for Golden Tate, who is a Yards After Catch machine. While the Eagles have a bye this week, I can imagine Carson Wentz makes an aggressive charge towards the top 10 by the end of the season.

THE RUNNING BACKS - TOP 10

Who we got right: All the usual suspects are there. Todd Gurley we thought would be where he is and our calls for Saquon Barkley doing well have been warranted despite seeing next to nothing out of him in the preseason or knowing if he could succeed while the Giants fail around him (they're failing and Barkley is crushing whether on the ground or in the air).

Who we got wrong: TJ Yeldon, James White, James Conner - so far, the backup Running Backs have dominated. Opportunity knocks, right? That doesn’t mean that Dalvin Cook, Sony Michel, Le'Veon Bell or Leonard Fournette wouldn’t be in their places if they were healthy right now (there's a huge chance they would be), but they’ve capitalized with their chances and only an injury or returning player could slow them down.

Who we wish we could reconsider: Ezekiel Elliott and Christian McCaffrey have been the names everyone has looked at this offseason and thought ‘this is the year they are set up to take over their team’s plays this year, it will all funnel through them’. It kind of has, but kind of hasn’t. Elliott is the 9th (113.9 points) and McCaffrey (110.3 points) 10th ranked RBs so far this season which feels lower than it sounds, however, they’ve accrued about 50% of what Todd Gurley has put up (224.6 points) this season so I’m not sure we can really talk about how great they may have been. Melvin Gordon (6th Overall) has had a crazy good year this so far who saw @BarkBackRow, @KnitBackRow and @TheBleagueSays all have Gordon 8th Overall, have had all the faith in him and placed their Top 10. He has done well even with Austin Ekeler being involved and could be a reason as to why Keenan Allen has done so poorly in the End Zone this year.

Who can make a charge: Adrian Peterson (11th Overall), David Johnson (12th Overall) and Joe Mixon (13th Overall) all have the tools and opportunities to move into the top 10 based on how they are being used anyway. Rookies Phillip Lindsay (14th Overall) and Kerryon Johnson (23rd Overall) are guys who can move up, with more trust and touches. As the year goes on, they can make a bigger impact for their teams.

THE WIDE RECEIVERS - TOP 20

Who we got right: We all quietly loved Davante Adams (as high as 4th (@FootballNuke) and as low as 9th overall (@ArmsBackRow)) who is currently sitting 4th Overall amongst Receivers. Without stating the obvious we all had DeAndre Hopkins within our Top 2 and he is sitting 3rd amongst all Receivers.

Who we got wrong: look if someone told you that Adam Thielen through 8 games would be the number 1 overall receiver, you’d have had a laugh about it. If someone told you that Emmanuel Sanders would be in the top 10, you’d have had a laugh about it. The same goes for Tyler Boyd (12th), DeSean Jackson (15th) and John Brown (16th) who have all excelled - but no one thought they could be in the top 20. We were all wrong on guys who had the right scenario and the volume to double-down with it. Keenan Allen we all had within our top 10 and he has been brutal for fantasy, as he currently sits as the 32nd overall receiver. Larry Fitzgerald (44th Overall), Allen Robinson (56th Overall) and Doug Baldwin (102nd Overall) have either bombed out, got hurt or not connected with their respective quarterbacks (or all of the above) and are looking to have a big second half of the season.

Or they got ‘Gruden’d’ like Amari Cooper (65th Overall) and traded away.

Who we wish we could reconsider: As I just mentioned, Doug Baldwin came into the season hurt and the Seahawks philosophy swing to running the ball more was quicker than anticipated - except for @ArmsBackRow, he was cautious of him this preseason and warned us all. He was the only one who kept him away from his top 20. Conversely, a guy like Tyreek Hill (2nd Overall) who we kind of liked but didn’t know how Pat Mahomes would pan out, kept us reserved; we probably shouldn’t have doubted Hill’s (or Mahomes’) talent.

Who can make a charge: Cooper Kupp was leading the Rams receivers in pretty much every metric prior to succumbing to an MCL sprain. Whilst missing 2.5 games since last playing, Kupp still sits at 20th overall and only a few spots behind Brandin Cooks (17th) and Robert Woods (11th). I would now bank on Kupp, provided he is healthy, to end up the Rams top receiver with a potential top 10 finish which is saying a lot considering that only @BarkBackRow had him in his top 20 alone (19th Overall). Alshon Jeffery (35th Overall) is someone who had missed a fair bit of the start of the season but since he has come back has bossed his opposition around. As mentioned previously about Carson Wentz making a charge in the second half of the year, for that to happen Alshon Jeffery needs to keep firing; only @FootballNuke (19th) and @KnitBackRow (17th) had him inside their Top 20 and that gamble looks to possibly pay off.

THE TIGHT ENDS - TOP 10

Who we got right: @ArmsBackRow (5th Overall) and @KnitBackRow (7th Overall) had George Kittle (currently 4th Overall) the highest amongst rankers and he hasn’t disappointed. What’s great for Kittle (maybe not so much for the 49ers) is that Jimmy Garoppolo is out with an ACL injury and he is aligned with college teammate C.J. Beathard. There is a definite connection there and while Pierre Garcon and Marquise Goodwin have struggled, Kittle has lead the 49ers team each week (maybe not statistically but you get my point) with some dominating performances. O.J. Howard (7th Overall) is someone we all wanted to succeed. But the contract extension for Cam Brate this offseason threw us all out as it seemed a confusing move for the Buccaneers to make. @FootballNuke (6th Overall) and @TheBLeagueSays (10th Overall) were highest on Howard to start the year, but everyone was extremely high on him - what’s best is that he finally has trust with Jameis Winston and when Ryan Fitzpatrick has played, has succeeded with him as well. That helps, because I don't know who will start at QB for Tampa on a week-to-week basis. Not sure they do either…

Who we got wrong: For starters, going forward please expect regression out of Eric Ebron (3rd Overall). God damn, I never thought I’d say that out loud... But none of us had Ebron in their Top 10 at the start of the season. But for context; Andrew Luck hit three separate tight ends this weekend for a touchdown against Oakland and that is who he likes to target in the end zone. Now that doesn’t mean that Ebron can’t keep contributing but I can't fathom a world where if Jack Doyle is healthy that Ebron keeps up his incredible pace. Ebron has made a point of proving everyone wrong this year and has looked great, so if he continues producing while the tight end position is the proverbial cluster, then who am I to doubt what Ebron can end up as? Evan Engram has been hurt and caught up in the shuffle of receivers in New York with Barkley having big games in the air too. What looks bad is that Eli and Engram missing on a few simple passes and do not look to be on the same page at all. Engram last year was criticized for a somewhat underwhelming completion percentage and that doesn’t look like it is improving. The volume is lacking too. It’s an overall bad scenario for Engram.

Who we wish we could reconsider: Jared Cook. Let’s say John Gruden per week has a receiver he is locked in on and flogged him with targets. Cook has had days where he has had more than 10 targets and dominated and less than 6 targets. When he gets less than seven targets, he is a ghost, whilst someone else like Amari Cooper or Jordy Nelson has had the lion's share and been the lead ‘guy’. Now Amari Cooper is out of the picture and so is Marshawn Lynch - I would think that Cook is now primarily the Raiders Red Zone / End Zone Target and that can only be a good thing for his production. Currently, Cook is 5th overall and unless Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Kyle Rudolph pull their thumbs out I honestly don’t think Cook finishes outside the top 5 for the rest of the season. No one had Cook in their top 10 at the start of the year.

Who can make a charge: I’ll keep this one short and sweet - if Rob Gronkowski is healthy, he is your starting tight end. I think the Patriots have had as much of a stop-start season as anyone due to the plethora of player turnaround that they have had. Edelman returned from injury/suspension and they traded for Josh Gordon whilst losing half their backfield has disrupted a lot of what they may have planned for Gronk. What’s scary is that by his (and our) standards he hasn’t been great this year and is still 8th overall as a tight end. Go figure.

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 9!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

 

  • Guys who got traded (Demaryius Thomas and Golden Tate).

  • Guys who have opportunities open due to players traded (Courtland Sutton and Kenny Golladay).

  • Can Doug Martin stay over 5.0 Yards Per Carry (5.54 YPC vs Indianapolis) 2 weeks in a row?

  • Is DeVante Parker ‘a thing’ again after last week’s big effort.

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans! Get around @hucksbackrow for his fantastic DFS plays of the week too!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

James Conner and Le’Veon Bell celebrate in 2017.

James Conner and Le’Veon Bell celebrate in 2017.

DON’T. DROP. JAMES CONNER.

October 23, 2018

By @FootballNuke

It’s Tuesday night, right before waiver Wednesday and I am pumped! Why you might ask? Well, someone in one of my leagues has dropped – I repeat – DROPPED – James Conner. When I saw this, my jaw hit the floor. Even in redraft leagues, I would not dream of dropping James Conner at this point. However, the mere fact that someone DID drop him got me thinking about why someone would do it. So I jotted down a few reasons why someone might drop him to attempt to understand the mindset.

Reasons to drop James Conner:

1)      Lev Bell will report to the Steelers soon.

2)      When Bell returns, he will be the bellcow.

3)      When Bell returns, James Conner’s value will be that of a handcuff only.

That’s pretty much the list, and it would be a very compelling list - if I actually believed it. I’ve given the reasons why an owner should drop James Conner. Here is my list of why owners should NOT drop him and why, if he is on the waiver wire in your league, you should scoop him up.

Reasons to hold onto James Conner (or add him):

1)      Lev Bell may be returning, but it is only because if he doesn’t return, he will not be eligible for free agency at the end of the year.

2)      Lev Bell has alienated himself in the locker room. His coach is not happy with him, the ownership is not happy and worst of all, his own teammates are not happy with him. Some even took to social media to roast him for not showing up. As great as Bell is, he still needs lineman that want to block for him. My guess is that they may not be thrilled to do that when Bell returns.

3)      Bell is a free agent at the end of the year. With Bell heading into free agency, what advantage do the Steelers get by playing Bell and benching Conner? True, Bell is the better player. A generational talent. Conner, however, is the future of the team. He has played well, average 21.33 Yahoo fantasy points per game in their standard scoring (.5 PPR) leagues. Bell would make the Steelers better than they are. However…

4)      What if Lev Bell continues the tack he is already on of not wanting to play until he has a contract? Bell only must report by week 10 to be eligible for free agency. That does not mean he has to play. Being happy with his performance, the Steelers could decide that they are quite happy to continue to play Conner. The Steelers could also decide that even though Bell has reported that they are not going to reward him by putting him on the field. Or, who’s to say Bell doesn’t fake an injury upon arrival that will keep him on the sideline? After all, he has reported which will make him a free agent. Playing would jeopardize his health and the potential payday.

When I add all of this up, I cannot fathom the Steelers electing to return Bell to the status of their primary runner. I think the remainder of this year we will continue to see James Conner play a significant role in the Steelers backfield each and every week, being at minimum a flex play, but at maximum, the must-start RB1 that he has been all year long.  So, if you have James Conner on your team, I urge you – don’t drop him. Unless you are in one of my leagues. 😊

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more tournament success in the past three weeks listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 

“AROG” leads the Pack into what should be a high-scoring showdown with the LA Rams this weekend.

“AROG” leads the Pack into what should be a high-scoring showdown with the LA Rams this weekend.

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 8

By @theBleagueSays

Just like this week’s opening to Week 8’s article, last week’s slate of games felt flat. Some of the games were seemingly going through the motions and another early morning London game is over (thank God). We now face another week of byes and bye-byes!

But before we get into it, how did we fare this week?

* Julio Jones Vs New York, Touchdown Watch 2018 - yeah that didn't happen again.  However, he clocked over 100 yards for the 4th time this season. Jones is a stud, but if you are still counting on him for TDs then your approach to Julio, Atlanta’s Offense and how he is utilized is off. Count on the yards and be happy moving forward that he isn’t Amari Cooper.

* Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette; where you at!? On the pine again. Fournette now sees Carlos Hyde who was added via a trade last week, and Latavius Murray went ham on the Jets, so Cook may lose work when he finally returns to health.

* Denver started 2-0 and fell to 2-4. Can they stop the skid against Arizona? And stop them they did. Von Miller called his shot and kept the Cardinals to 10 points, while the offense put up 45. Keenum struggled, as it was a run game that dominated along with Emmanuel Sanders who had another great week.


* Tight Ends vs Atlanta, who’s up next? Evan Engram on his return from an MCL injury, and the backup guys named Joe Schmo and Joe Bloggs contributed by having a pulse and having a skillset that involved putting a jersey the right way (which is a win if you’re a Giant at the moment) but that’s about it.

THE GOOD

Pittsburgh won without playing…


Only Pittsburgh without Le’Veon Bell and a shoddy defense can climb the hard-nosed AFC North without playing this week.

Baltimore was caught by Drew Brees who made history by beating all 32 teams in his career. Andy Dalton went from ‘red-rifle’ to ‘red-nosed’. Pat Mahomes and the Kansas defense held the Bengals, and it looked easy. Cleveland lost again, but more on that later...

All I know is that the Steelers are at home to Cleveland this week after a week off. This could be worse than it seems for Cleveland.

Washington won ahead...

I think Washington were equally big winners this week. A win against a division rival at home against (Dallas), while the Eagles and Giants both fell. This Alex Smith team is somehow getting by on the back of veteran stalwart Adrian Peterson. Jordan Reed looked like there were some (not many but some) signs of life and Michael Floyd started to pop up; someone to take note of in deeper leagues. With three targets, he could look to assert himself in a receiver group that is poor at best.

Houston playing catch up... But I’m impressed with the Colts...

Houston stole one, again, on the back of a massive defensive effort that destroyed Blake Bortles. DeAndre Hopkins looks like a machine no matter what and Deshaun Watson has started to show more of his old self again. It wasn’t pretty but considering he is playing with half a rib and a punctured lung he did ok. Against Jacksonville, I’m not sure that matters – it was enough. It feels like this division is up for grabs and no one really wants it. Out of all the teams to watch so far, the Colts look like the only team that is trying to play greater than who they have on their roster. With ringers at all positions, Eric Ebron of all people could end up a top 5 tight end by the end of the year - which says it all. They have T.Y. Hilton back and Jack Doyle will return soon enough. Marlon Mack has had decent back-to-back performances. The Colts have a rough schedule, but Andrew Luck could win them a week on his own. Let’s track them after their bye week and see if they can go on a run. If they can, it will put pressure on the Texans, Titans and Jaguars.

THE BAD

Running Back fallout...

Royce Freeman. Down. Marshawn Lynch. Down. Sony Michel. Down. Melvin Gordon. Down. Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette. Still Down. LeSean McCoy. Down. Devonta Freeman. Down. Bilal Powell. Down.

This is the world we are living in - where guys like Doug Martin and Trent Cannon are fellas we may need to plug in and play as the bye week sees another three teams take a breather.

Eat your Wheaties and say your prayers I guess, brothers and sisters. It could be a rough one this week.

Cinci-not-me...

“Prime time” Andy Dalton blew his chance under the bright lights again. A.J. Green looked good as always. It’s incredible how underappreciated he always seems to be. Joe Mixon and Tyler Boyd were kept extremely quiet. The Bengals get Tampa at home this week which should be a shoot-out. The story should be how Kansas City’s defense at home has been playing lights out. In a world where Janoris Jenkins could be traded for peanuts, and Patrick Peterson could also be grabbed for a hefty price; depending on how much the Chiefs want to take the next step - this could be necessary for Kansas City to look into if they are serious about contending with the Rams and Patriots.

THE UGLY

Blame Bortles...

He is who we thought he is. Blake Bortles isn't very good.

Yes, I know between weeks ‘I don't care’ to week ‘whenever’ he was a top twelve QB. That was last year when guys like Trevor Siemian were landing in the top five in random weeks. Without a run game, Bortles is exposed, which was exactly the moniker the Jaguars preached last year when they were nearly unstoppable.

Do you remember last year when the Jaguars coaching staff would have been happy if Blake Bortles never threw a ball? Who says that about their Quarterback?! The Jag’s coaches did. They knew then that he wasn’t very good. I think it is time to stop it with the “Bortles is a good Quarterback” argument.

Cleveland gunna Brown...

Another overtime performance? Check.
Another overtime loss. Check.
Another quality player traded away for peanuts. Check.
Another season likely lost. Check.

Look it’s easy to see the positive things that are taking place for the AFC North franchise - let’s not overlook the good that they have done. Baker Mayfield looks good. David Njoku is starting to look good. Jarvis Landry has been solid too, all the while their defense has been quietly achieving good things. They look a better team all around and that’s great for Football. No one wants to see another 0-16 team.

In a Division where Pittsburgh took the lead without playing a game, I actually feel bad for the players seeing their brass chop players of need like Carlos Hyde and Josh Gordon when it was the division was there to be won. The division or a potential Wild Card slot are still up for grabs, and they have been in every single game so far. It’s a shame.

They’re literally a few playmakers away from making an impact. Well they were anyway...

SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to week eight!  Here is what I am looking at for this to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

  • What does Amari Cooper do for Dallas in his first week?

  • Carlos Hyde take-two in Jacksonville.

  • Can Rob Gronkowski get his health right and play this week?

  • Russell Wilson off the bye - what improvements can he make and do the rushing yards increase?

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Saquon Barkley leaps Malcolm Jenkins.

Saquon Barkley leaps Malcolm Jenkins.

Good, Bad and Ugly Week 7

 

October 16, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

 

In Week 6 we were living in the ‘upside-down world’ for a few hours. Results...oh boy - did results vary. Dallas destroyed Jacksonville and Washington narrowly escaped Carolina, let alone the to-and-fro between a Brock Osweiler-lead Miami over a previously dominant Chicago. The Jets showed why Sam Darnold is the future Quarterback “King of New York”, as the Giants look for answers to the struggles of Eli Manning. Baker Mayfield had a tough day at the office but not worse than Marcus Mariota. James Winston looked good in his return as a Starter although the loss has people calling for his head already. And while all that happened, Tom Brady and Drew Brees re-wrote the history books, adding more statistical brilliance to their incredible list of achievements.

But, how did we fair in Week 6?

 

Patrick Mahomes vs Tom Brady, we say yay!;

Mahomes: 36/23-352/4:2

Brady: 35/24-340/1:0/1 Rushing TD

We wanted a hell of a game and we got one. Mahomes last week against Jacksonville, and now against New England this week got off to a slow start. But he figured it out, and as soon as he did, he looked stunning. Forget the result, he was great again. Tom Brady did Tom Brady things. Julian Edelman came back for his first TD of the year and Josh Gordon lead the team in targets. Both of these facts are promising signs for TB12 and the rest of the Patriots offense.

 

The Rams Run Defense;

Broncos Running Backs Phillip Lindsay (66 yards), Royce Freeman (22 yards) and Devontae Booker (29 yards) had a combined 117 yards on the day in a game where snow was a factor. In these conditions the way they had been of late would make you think that the Broncos exploited the Rams in this part of the game. They didn’t. And if it wasn’t for an Emmanuel Sanders screw up for taunting we may have been looking at a different end to the game. The Broncos fell behind and couldn’t catch up. The Rams Run Defense held strong.

 

Doug Baldwin lives!;

Two factors make this a topic of debate.

1.    It was against Oakland and right now (sorry, Arms) the Raiders are telling the Giants to ‘hold my beer’ for being the worst team and earning that Number 1 overall 2019 Draft Pick.

  1. In the previous week, Russell Wilson completed 13 (13!!!!) total passes, Baldwin went 8-6-91 yards with over 15 yards per reception.

This week Seattle has the bye, but the next month Baldwin sees Detroit, both L.A. teams and then Green Bay. With another week off he should be feeling good for those contests. However, if you are concerned about his knee injury, he may be a trade high candidate in redraft formats.

 

Eric Ebron, we guessed?;

I mean, Andrew Luck loves him a Tight End and Ebron is his top dog right now. Eric Ebron had a nice day with a 7-4-71 yards-1 TD afternoon. The Colts see Buffalo and Oakland before a Week 9 Bye, I can’t help but think we are seeing Ebron catch himself into a new deal with the Colts to stay in 2019.

 

THE GOOD

Sony Michel, Adam Thielen

 

Sony Michel…

 

Sony Michel dropped in the NFL Rookie draft because of ‘bone-on-bone’ knee issues and no one saw the New England Patriots taking him 31st overall; that draft pick was as out of the blue as any selection this year. With the loss of Dion Lewis to Tennessee, and Rex Burkhead on the pine, Sony Michel’s entrance to the NFL couldn’t have come at a better time for the Patriots. Since Week 4, Michel has 4 TDS and 316 yards on the ground already, whilst we are still yet to really see him in a receiving role. James White dominates that facet of the backfield. It is no surprise that when Receivers start coming back to the team (like Edelman and Gordon), along with the presence of Rob Gronkowski, it is possible that Michel is an afterthought of opposing defensive coordinators. If that is the case then I would assume (in terms of fantasy points not play-style) that he could end up this year’s Alvin Kamara.

 

This year’s class of Running Backs was an extremely good but so far it is Saquon Barkley as the clear standout talent, and a bolter in Denver’s Phillip Lindsay as an Undrafted Free Agent. Michel has the chance to really cement himself in this class as a ‘bargain buy’ as he plummeted about 2 weeks out from the regular Fantasy Draft season.

 

Adam Thielen…

 

Six games of 100+ yards from the start of the season sees Adam Thielen as an absolute steal of this year’s redraft leagues. Having Kirk Cousins as his Quarterback may have helped his progression as a Receiver and having Stefon Diggs completely healthy and taking attention away from him helps too. Thielen has been sensational this year and he has answered critics who questioned whether last year’s monster Target haul was an anomaly. Yes, right now Thielen looks like nobody can touch him. It’s not like he is making a catch and going down. A stack of his work is coming after the catch too, so he is making good yards when he gets the chance to do so. He is having, quite simply, a phenomenal year.

 

Also, no player has had more receptions through six games than Adam Thielen in NFL history. That’s insane. Think about how the NFL is more of a passing league now more than ever and some of the slick Receivers we get to witness every week. Adam Thielen, the UDFA from Minnesota who had been cut, added to the Practice Squad and finally clawed his way up to first team relevance over the past few seasons, is currently the best Receiver in the league. That’s crazy. So crazy in fact that having one more 100+ yard games will put him tied for the all-time record of seven games. Next up, the Vikings head to New York to face the ever-improving Jets, who shut down most of what the Colts had to offer, outside of ‘our guy’ Eric Ebron.

 

My only concern is when Dalvin Cook finally (when is another story) returns healthy, if there could be a slight dip in Targets when he returns. The biggest compliment anyone can probably give Thielen right now is those two beautiful words: ‘matchup’ and ‘proof’.

 

THE BAD

The Jaguars Defense, DeShaun Watson

 

Jacksonville’s ‘Defense’...

 

70 points conceded in the last 2 games, and something doesn’t seem right in Jacksonville. Kansas City looks like they can light anyone up for 45 points in a given week, but when Dallas drops 40 on you? You’re kidding, right? Cole Beasley had over 100 yards and 2 TDs. You are kidding right? I don’t get it Jacksonville. You call your shots every week and don’t turn up? Time to figure out who you really are and what got you ‘this close’ to the dance last season - because it sure as hell wasn’t Blake Bortles - this team moves on their Defense shutting teams down and Leonard Fournette grinding teams down. No Fournette, no shut downs.

 

It’s cute when players (not just one, but many) call others out but getting torched and not owning it is flat out pathetic. This week the Jaguars are at home to a Divisional Rival - the Houston Texans. There they will face…

 

DeShaun Watson…

 

DeShaun Watson was unfairly thrown into the 5th round post-ACL surgery in redraft leagues. That’s obviously not his fault. That’s everyone else’s. Watson lit the world alight last year and set an incredible bar for himself to reach. Hopkins looked out-of-this-world (I mean he usually does but still) and even Will Fuller looked incredible. Even the run game got better with Watson being out there alone. But it’s not like they fixed a brutal Offensive Line for him in the offseason, so there’s nothing new there. And it’s not like he doesn’t have better players around him including Rookie Receiver Keke Coutee who’s looking fantastic. So what gives?

 

Everything about Watson should be great, but something doesn’t seem quite right. The yards are okay with 4 games over 300 yards, and 3 of those over 370 - which is something he only managed once last season in his last game of the year. He’s consistently getting over 40 rushing yards a game, something he has done 4 times this season. This year the Touchdowns have simply not happened which is crazy because in 1 less game he has more passing attempts and completions than last season. His completion percentage is slightly higher than last year. For me the obvious answer and it’s the 9:7 TD-INT ratio. In 7 games last year Watson had a 19:8 TD-INT ratio which showed how uber-efficient he was. Half the Touchdowns with the same about of Interceptions. Yep, that’s has to be it! That’s bad!

 

As Jacksonville have given up 70 points in the last 2 weeks and Watson has failed to put up the same effectiveness in the endzone as last year what do we think can make of this when they meet this week? In Watson’s first game last season he came on for Tom Savage who was indeed “savage” and went 24-12-102 yards-1:1 in a 7-29 loss. My gut feeling this week however is on another 12-9 field goal barn-burner settled in overtime! Who wins though? None of us by the looks of it...

 

THE UGLY

Eli Manning

 

Eli Manning…

 

There were a few ways this offseason was going to be played out for the Giants:

·         The Giants drafted a Quarterback at Number 2 overall.

·         The Giants traded back and grabbed Quinton Nelson or the best available Quarterback.

·         The Giants draft Saquon Barkley.

 

Now as you are all aware I am a NY Giants fan, and I love having Barkley on our team. The run game has been woeful for far too long and he has been a breath of fresh air after the hot-and-cold love that Odell Beckham exudes. Barkley says the right things, he plays the right way and loves being a Giant. What more could you ask for?

 

By the way it has turned out… A Quarterback is what they should have asked for.

 

My gut feeling is that Ben McAdoo signed his own death warrant by helping Eli Manning overtake his brother Peyton’s record of consecutive starts in the NFL, only to bench him for Geno Smith. He failed by not playing Davis Webb to find out that if what the Giants needed was on the roster. He benched Eli to find nothing out? Then what was the point of benching him in the first place? McAdoo obviously let everyone down.

 

The club failed by not addressing what has been glaringly obvious over the past handful of seasons and that is there is no one on the roster that could replace a 37-year-old veteran. Now, if that veteran was Brees, Brady or Rodgers I’d get it, however Green Bay traded for DeShawn Kizer and the Saints traded for Teddy Bridgewater, their franchises are actively improving their Quarterback room and they look stronger for it.. But Manning’s being out performed year in, year out by Rookies being drafted elsewhere that are greener than frog sh… my bad!

By drafting Barkley, the Giants regime gave everyone the illusion that by adding Nate Solder, and with an improved run game from conservative play caller Mike Shula, Manning’s deficiencies could be covered up for at least one more year. Dave Gettleman has let everyone down.

 

His star Receiver Odell Beckham Jr has failed him, by not having his back ALL the time. Not just some of the time or when things are going ok. ALL. THE. TIME. You can’t criticize the Quarterback if you are going to drop ‘sitters’ in the endzone. Now, I’ll be honest, how he behaves on the sidelines has never, not once bothered me - I could care less. I’m from a soccer background and a player’s antics are something I’m acquainted to. Ever seen Antonio Conte on the sidelines coaching? Google it and tell me that OBJ is worse. It’s an emotional game he’s an emotional kid, it is what it is. But not publicly with a 15 year, 2-time super bowl winner who we already know isn’t performing. You have to have his back because - and I appreciate that you were speaking what was on your mind - but keep it in house, how does that help? Speak your mind at 5-1, not 1-5. It’s a team effort to be this bad, not just one player. Beckham Jr, in this instance needed to be better than this. He has let his team down, again.

 

Manning has failed everyone, by not admitting that maybe, just maybe he is the problem and that his time is up. He does a hell of a job telling everyone ‘hey, that time it was my bad’, but to be honest at times it looks as if the game has just passed him by. The effort, the excuses. All of it. Denial is a hell of a drug and honesty is the only cure. He needs a quick dose of reality and needs to admit the same thing that everyone else can see and say...

 

‘It’s time’.

 

He’s done enough to allow himself to take a back seat to Kyle Lauletta and figure out how the direction this team needs to take this offseason, whether it be a Rookie, a Veteran, or both. Eli Manning has let himself down.

 

SUMMARY

 

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 7!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week’s fixtures:

 

  • Julio Jones Vs New York, Touchdown Watch 2018

  • Dalvin Cook and Leonard Fournette; where you at!?

  • Denver started 2-0 and fell to 2-4, can they stop the skid against Arizona on a short week?;

  • Tight Ends vs Atlanta, who’s up next?;

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

 

But most of all, Enjoy!

 

Odell Beckham, Jr. throws a 57 yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley during Sunday’s game at Carolina.

Odell Beckham, Jr. throws a 57 yard touchdown pass to Saquon Barkley during Sunday’s game at Carolina.

Good, Bad and Ugly

Week 6

By @theBleagueSays

                                                     
Week 5 was a weird one. Players failed, Odell Beckham Jr. ran his mouth but went bonkers (so it’s ok, right?), records were broken by some legends which I will touch on soon enough, and Buffalo Bill’d the Titans in another wash of a game similar to what the Titans dished up at Jacksonville a few weeks back. There is so much going on I can’t keep up half the time. However...

How did we fair in Week 5?

 

Mark Ingram; somewhere in the desert is Alvin Kamara’s body being circled by the vultures known as Markus del Ingramus (it’s Latin, I think). In his first game back Ingram hit up 16 carries and two receptions for 73 total yards and 2 TDs; while Alvin Kamara lost some touches, carries and yards as the game went on. He did play some Special Teams though, and that could be why Ingram saw more opportunities. It could also be the fact that Kamara has done it alone for the first four weeks and heading into the Bye Round this week, it could be the extended chance he needed to recharge if he and the Saints intend to keep moving forward with his volume in the upcoming weeks.

 

Julian Edelman; The Patriots saw the Colts on a short week, so how much planning to integrate Edelman into the full-blown repertoire could have been more conservative than we thought. Edelman went 9-7-57 yards and looked good in a lineup with the new faces of Josh Gordon and Sony Michel; he has already looked better than what Chris Hogan did after a month of opportunities. If you held onto Edelman, especially in PPR, then you have done well for yourself.

 

Top 10 Tight Ends; O.J. Howard and Trey Burton were on the Bye, and Will Dissly is now on season-ending Injured Reserve, there were seven active Tight Ends in the Top 10 this week. But Howard is struggling with a knee injury - look for Cam Brate to make a surge over the next month while Howard misses some time.

 

DJ Moore; Did little to prove and follow up to what Calvin Ridley had done recently, and the return of Curtis Samuel may eat into further production after popping up with four targets and a TD. Greg Olsen looks to be on the mend, and the idea that Targets will be flowing his way could slow down moving forward.

 

Colts RBBC; It’s Nyheim Hines’ world (this week), and we are just living in it. Jordan Wilkins isn’t a factor really, and unless Marlon Mack can make significant improvements to his game and health, it looks like we will see more dink than dunk for the young running back.

 

Seattle RBBC; Carson is getting the carries, Mike Davis the goal line work and Rashaad Penny is filling water bottles. You can start Carson, Flex Davis and pray for Penny.

 

THE GOOD

 

Legends are doing Legend things. The Top Dogs dominate...

 

Brady and Brees; I mean, what can we say?

 

Tom Brady threw the 500th Touchdown of his career (which puts him 39 TDS behind Peyton Manning) and during the matchup with the Colts Brady passed Vinny Testaverde’s record for throwing a pass to 71 different players for a Touchdown. That record of being the 71st player went to the enigmatic Josh Gordon, who as we know cost the Patriots a 5th Round pick a few weeks back in a trade from Cleveland scored his first for his new team. Beautiful!.

 

Is this the start of a beautiful partnership? It looks that way! As the weeks roll on and Gordon gets more acquainted with the team - alongside players he has never had the opportunity to have (when has he ever played next to an Edelman, Gronkowski or a Tom Brady?). Now, a team that was starting Cordarelle Patterson, Chris Hogan and Phillip Dorsett now see an upgrade to Josh Gordan and Julian Edelman. It feels like this is an understated topic of discussion this week, might have to do with their last game being on a Thursday night. But the one person who benefits most, again is Tom Brady. With only two running backs on their roster it could be more air than ground, and for Fantasy, that is fantastic.

 

Drew Brees went bonkers on Monday night at home to Washington. I don’t care for his stats on the game - he cost me a few wins alone this week in my matchups, so it’s needless to say he did alright. I was looking at a 4-1 record in my five leagues, and I ended up with a 2-3 because of him. But considering he broke some Hall of Fame worthy records in the process, I can let it slide this once.

 

This week Drew Brees broke the record for the most passing yards which is now set at 72,103 yards and counting. This record was previously held by Peyton Manning. In that one fleeting moment of when he broke the record, Brees hit Rookie and Dynasty favorite Tre’Quan Smith for a TD and New Orleans went berserk.

 

It’s a beautiful thing, these living legends and sure-fire, bonafide first ballot Hall of Famers are lining up week after week as we get to watch history and records fall as they still, defy age and excel. Ironically, in the years I’ve been playing Fantasy Football I’ve never had the luxury drafting a Brees or Brady. There’s always that one New England Patriot super-fan (like there is in every league, everywhere - you can’t shake them off) that ends up drafting Brady in the first round like the puppets that they are. As for Brees, it’s one of those things - he falls just before I’d pull the trigger on him and I end up waiting and land a Mariota, Palmer or Rivers, and figure it out from there.

 

Drink it in while you can!

 

Brown, Beckham Jr, and Hopkins;

 

You know what's crazy? I have heard the complaints about the ‘Big 3’ Receivers, and we are five weeks into the year only. And I get it. We are in a new world of high scoring due to more passes and yadda, yadda, yadda.

 

They are your studs! C’mon! Calm down! You should be happy you didn’t draft David Johnson or Leonard Fournette! Jeez!

 

Brown, Beckham Jr, and Hopkins are guys that were taken in the first round of most redraft leagues. And I get that league size and format could determine the accuracy of this but for the most part, it’s true. And it’s weird. It’s not like they are not making plays or not putting up ok numbers - it just seems to be over the past month, or so they haven’t been the focal point they usually are.

 

Bollocks.

 

Antonio Brown leads the league for Wide Receivers in Targets. Odell Beckham Jr. is third on that list. DeAndre Hopkins is fifth on that list.

 

So what’s the problem with that? Nothing. The points are there otherwise all three wouldn't be in the Top 10 amongst Wide Receivers in PPR scoring this year. So again, what’s the problem?

 

Is it the seeming lack of Touchdowns? I mean Brown has five scores for the year and is only one behind Calvin Ridley, Hopkins has 2, and Beckham Jr grabbed his first this week - I think this is the problem. Brown has done well considering there has been no Le’Veon Bell and Juju Smith-Schuster has evolved a little more since his Rookie season. Hopkins has been dealing with the emergence of Will Fuller, and Beckham Jr has, well, Eli Manning to deal with.

 

But last week? Brown (13-6-101-2 TDS), Beckham Jr (14-8-131-1 Rec TD-1 Pass TD), and Hopkins (13-9-151). It truly felt like the cream rose to the top in sync for the first time this year.

 

This week; Brown faces arch nemesis Cincinnati away from home. Beckham Jr. is at home to arch nemesis Philadelphia on a short week. Hopkins has Buffalo at home. There are matchups there to be exploited, and points are up for grabs.

 

And it feels weird plugging all these guys into ‘The Good’ section this week. They’re all great. But every now and again it feels like we need a reminder of that and Week 5 was a good slap in the face to those who may have questioned their production (as ignorant as that seems) so far this season.

 

Expect more of the same and enjoy watching them.

 

THE BAD

 

Tight Ends are tight…

 

Eric Ebron?

 

Ok so here is the thing about Tight Ends… They aren’t very good thing year. There are currently only two players that have more than 2 Touchdowns so far; Eric Ebron with 5 and Travis Kelce with 3. Now one of these makes sense, right? Travis Kelce is a scoring machine so to see him at the top of the pile makes absolute sense. But Ebron? In 2015 Ebron went 70-47-537 yards-5 TDS - in a full season - and currently, he is just about there, yards aside. He has the Touchdowns and 255 yards. Ok, so that year where he hit 537 yards was the lowest since his Rookie year, but at this pace, he is looking at 816 yards and 16 TDS. That’s not sustainable. So I would probably sell high on Ebron. Or, play him every week and see what he can spit up. But soon enough Jack Doyle will return and so will T.Y. Hilton. More mouths, fewer chances.

 

Lance Kendricks scored this week, how about you Jimmy?

 

Yeah, I’m not the biggest Jimmy Graham fan but even my ears pricked up when he opted to go to Green Bay rather than stay in Seattle or head back to New Orleans this offseason. But an average of 49 yards per game with only the one Touchdown (especially on a week where half the Receivers were missing this week vs. Detroit) you have to ask yourself what the hell is going on in Wisconsin. Yes, I know I’m kidding around when I bring up Lance Kendricks scoring this week and Graham didn’t, but I’m kind of not joking. That should be Jimmy Graham scoring; Every-Single-Time. Green Bay is currently holding a 2–2-1 record and I have to be honest with you in their only convincing win of the year (against Buffalo of all people) Jimmy Graham had 6-3-21 yards-1 TD. Now we all would like those yards to come up but the only time when he seems to be of use is when they are trailing. 96 yards against Minnesota in a game that went to overtime and this week he had 76 yards in a game where they were chasing a huge deficit that Detroit had jumped to from the start. We were warned by Green Bay’s poor history of using the Tight End, and we seemingly didn’t listen, did we! And for a 5th Round ADP Pick? This is unacceptable.

 

Jared Cook’d up what we expect...

 

I mean it was coming right?! But was it his fault? Amari Cooper has been inconsistent at best, and Jordy Nelson is as stop-start as anyone else in the league. Here is what we know; When Cook has 6 or fewer Targets, he is not that great which has happened three times with year, he’s had less than 50 yards in each game and zero Touchdowns in those games. The other two games? 12 or more Targets, over 100 yards each time and 2 Touchdowns. Now that’s quite amazing. However, Seattle this week is 25th for scoring against by the Tight Ends, and then Oakland has the Bye Round in Week 8. The Colts (13th) and San Francisco (8th) follow the Bye and Cook then sees the Chargers, who he put 20 total yards on this week. If you can get through the next two weeks, there should be some big weeks ahead.

 

Or, the way the position is going this year despite all logic, there may not be. You tell me...

 

THE UGLY

 

San Fran has 911 on speed dial, The Eagles are fraudulent, Adam Gase (again) - but in song form!

 

One last time for the boys out West…

 

I feel for San Francisco, C.J. Beathard held his own (kind of), and Marquise Goodwin missed another week also, but it was Matt Breida who played his role in this tele-series drama called ‘Next Man Down.’  San Francisco can’t catch a brea....poor choice of words, my bad!

 

The Bye Round is coming in 5 weeks, so survival is critical. And although the next two games at Green Bay and at home to the L.A Rams looms, there are three real competitive games at Arizona, followed by home games to Oakland and the New York Giants which follow before they get a badly needed week off.

 

However; George Kittle (offseason curiosity case) has flourished as the Top 3 Tight End in Standard Scoring and Top 4 Tight End in PPR. If there is a silver lining out of all of this - Kittle is the evolution of the position as some of the old guards starts to turn over.

 

Speaking of short and sweet, what a poor excuse for a ‘Defending Championship’ team…

 

I am going to be very clever right now, but it’s my article, and I’m going to be a jerk!

 

But...

 

Carson Wentz is tarnishing Nick Foles’ legacy. There, I said it!

 

Nick Foles destroyed Minnesota the last time they met. Carson Wentz did not. Nick Foles was 1-1 without Alshon Jeffrey. Carson Wentz is 0-2 with Alshon Jeffrey. MY New York Giants (who scored 31 points in a loss this week) went for over 25 points for the second time this year; something Carson Wentz has failed to do since his return in each of the last 3 weeks... I know its a small sample size, but Wentz is kind of killing the Eagles don’t you think?

 

Also, to all you Eagles fans, please get off the greasy poles (or at least shine them up!); the Super Bowl is over, and your city is as relevant as New Mexico once again…

 

Ok, ok jokes aside… I know its tongue-in-cheek and please take it as such - the Eagles are an extremely well-run Franchise and deserved all the success they had - last year - but it’s a new year, and that hangover is looking real right now. Yes, they are finding their feet again after a rough offseason and a few injuries - but with a Thursday night matchup looming I’m getting my shots in early just in case MY Giants get smoked and I gotta deal with the jabs, barbs, and retorts for 6 more weeks before they meet in Philadelphia in Week 12 to find any form of redemption.

 

Put bluntly. However, something isn’t quite right.

 

But it does take people time to feel like they can heal fully, move and recover after an injury like what Carson Wentz had gone through, and things may feel a little different without Frank Reich and John De Filippo coaching, which parted for greener pastures. Jay Ajayi is now on the Injured Reserve, and LeGarrette Blount is also in Detroit. For the champions of 2017, there does seem to be a bit of new car feel to it with Wentz behind the wheel.

 

The NFC East is a poor excuse for an advanced CFL Division right now, it is still wide open and the Eagles with a win this week can make a claim to be at the top of the pile. But a loss to the Giants followed by Carolina and Jacksonville - which is a home game in London, go figure - before their Bye Round could see them with a 2-6 record. This isn’t the start they had hoped for. But a win this week and it’s all up for grabs again.

 

Still, it’s a Divisional matchup this week, and I hope they choke - sorry, not sorry!

 

If Adam Gase were a nursery rhyme he would be Old Mother Hubbard - so let me spit some fire out here...;

 

Old Mother Gase he lived in a shoe, he had so many players he didn’t know what to do.

He brought in a Patriot, a Chief, and a Colt, but there’s a kid in his backfield who is as quick as Usain Bolt.

Hands soft as pillows he can catch like he has mitts,

We told you to give him a chance you tool, you nitwit.

Seven catches, 115 total yards, and a Touchdown is a PPR dream,

But instead of going with what now works you’ll go back to Gore and make us all scream!

‘Make It Stop, not again!’ ‘How do we get rid of you?!’

‘I’m an arsehole’ Gase grinned ‘but would rather Ben McAdoo?’

 

Well, would you? Because that's pretty much what’s left out there...

 

I’ll see myself out…

 

SUMMARY

 

I am looking forward to Week 6!  Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

 

  • Mahomes vs. Brady in New England! Oh hell yeah!

  • The Rams Run Defence has not looked that great, they play in Denver this week so all eyes on Royce Freeman and Phillip Lindsay.

  • Is Doug Baldwin alive?

  • Eric Ebron, I guess...

 

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

 

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

 

But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly    Week 5    By @theBleagueSays    Week 4 revealed the truth about a few things. And a quarter of the way through the season we have enough of a sample to know what trends have us moving in the right direction and what has us struggling. But before we get into that...   How did we fair in Week 4?   * We were looking for shootouts in New York and Atlanta. The Saints got the better of the Giants in a game that felt like it didn’t get out of second gear. The Giants missed  Evan Engram , and  Eli Manning  looked useless, while  Alvin Kamara  did what he does. Facing Kamara should scare the crap out of you if your opponent has him in their lineup.  * Cincinnati and Atlanta, however, was the cracking game we were searching for - both teams delivered massively. But for me, three things stood out; 1.  Matt Ryan  and  Andy Dalton  are underappreciated and are must-starts - no matter what. 2. Secondary Receivers  Tyler Boyd  and  Calvin Ridley  are also must starts - no matter what. 3. Mad respect for  Tyler Eifert . For a guy who has battled injuries his whole career. He finally looked right and had the yards and the score in this game before he fell to a scary snap of the leg. I sincerely hope he comes back from this. *  Chris Carson  was ruled out, but  Mike Davis  did exceptionally well in his place instead - and not their First Round Pick  Rashaad Penny  who was a healthy scratch. Some weird (let alone terrible) calls are being made by coaches and staff in Seattle at the moment. Players are unhappy and lashing out (more than usual, even for them) which has me believe that if there is a coach on the chopping block it may be Pete Carroll - watch this space.  *  Sony Michel  introduced himself with a solid performance that took place over division ‘leaders’ Miami with over 100 yards and a TD.  James White  was a standout also, and they look as good as any steady 1-2-Punch there is in the league. I understand the concern about starting both Michel and White, but please remember it was only last year when  Rex Burkhead  and  Dion Lewis  were must start Backs for New England and Fantasy Football last year. Play both and sleep great Sunday nights.    THE GOOD    New England, Tennessee and    C.J. Beathard   ;   The Patriots did what they regularly do at home against Miami (and that is win). The run game was solid;  Josh Gordon  got some minutes along with  Cordarelle Patterson  and  TDs - if the latter is happening, then something is going right. On top of all of this, in Week 5  Julian Edelman  returns. There is a slight ankle issue for  Rob Gronkowski  which should be ok moving forward. They play the Colts on Thursday night so keep an eye out for his progress late Wednesday, early Thursday.  A massive win for the Tennessee Titans at home vs. the Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia. And I get that a win is a win is a win. But up until this point in his career,  Corey Davis  was yet to score a regular season TD - and for him to get his first is excellent for that Offense. But for  Marcus Mariota  to lead a game-winning drive and hit Davis in overtime could be the platform they need to keep them (as individuals and as a team) trending in the right direction. Now the Titans are 3-1 and have won in a scrappy matchup away at Jacksonville followed by an overtime win against the former Champions. This should be a bigger storyline than we give it credit. They could be on to something...  I’ll keep this one short and sweet - it could be very easy for the 49ers to pack it up and aim for that 1.01 pick in next years draft after losing  Jerick McKinnon  and  Jimmy Garoppolo . It could be easy for players do not buy into the backup Quarterback but they did. And against a high scoring team in the Chargers, San Francisco got off to a hot start and nearly pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the year. In this light,  C.J. Beathard  looked a much better Quarterback than he did last year - he still has his flaws, don’t get me wrong - but he has done well enough for skilled position players to still be roster worthy for your team. The 49ers will win their share of games - and with the losses they’ve succumbed to that’s all we can ask of them right now.    THE BAD    Running Back duds,    Eli Manning    and Tampa Quarterbacks;    Dalvin Cook  was on a short week with a hamstring injury against the defensive front of the Rams was probably (in hindsight, right?) a bad play. But he was good to go and depending on the depth of your league or roster he may have been your best bet.  Unfortunately for  Leonard Fournette  owners who can’t quite say the same. From out of the starters blocks something hasn’t looked right with his health this year, and  TJ Yeldon  is hitting his stride (without pain, unlike Fournette). This could end up a bigger committee than anyone thought. Yes, Fournette is the bell-cow and Yeldon may have at times chipped in. But the timeshare gap could get smaller and may happen sooner than anyone thought imaginable.  I’m going to leave the  Jordan Howard  ‘dud game’ as a game script issue as opposed to Cook and Fournette where it was for health-based reasons.  Tarik Cohen  looked electric against a Buccaneers team that couldn’t stop him or  Mitch Trubisky . Do I expect this split to happen again in their next matchup after the Bye against Miami? After seeing what the Patriots did with White and Michel, I could imagine  Matt Nagy  plans out a game-plan to expose the Dolphins as Belichick did. That would be the smart money, right?  As your resident Giants fan, I need to say this once and once only:  Eli Manning . It’s time. The Giants head to Carolina coming off the Bye in Week 5 is not who you want to see this week, and  Evan Engram  is likely to miss another week. And when  Odell Beckham Jr  logs less than 6 yards per target - that explosive Offense looks more of a disappointment. This train looks to derail sooner than later by the looks of it.  We praise when we should. We critique when we should. For me, the smart play would have been to hang  Ryan Fitzpatrick  out to dry against a crazy Chicago Defense that was playing lights out. At this point (if it were me) I’d have kept Fitzpatrick out there. Winston, however, should have been chomping at the bit to get out there and prove a point. He looked like he couldn’t have cared less. I’ve been a fan of Winston’s talent, just not his attitude. He had the chance to make an impact and enforce a change - any change - and he flopped. It may be time to move on from him...except Koetter named him the starter heading into Week 6 already. This would be weird if it were anyone else but Tampa...    THE UGLY    Miami,    Earl Thomas    and the Steelers;   I mean, we didn’t think Miami could go four straight games winning let alone get the win in New England, did we? No? Good.  The bigger issue may be that of how  Adam Gase  is ‘using’  Kenyan Drake . When you are chasing a game and Drake has decent enough hands you would think this would have been a chance to get him touches. Instead, he has been out-touched by  Frank Gore  this season despite playing more snaps. To me that’s clearly a trust issue Gase has with Drake and put bluntly, I have no idea what to expect for Drake moving forward outside of benching him for now until he does something else...   Earl Thomas . What are you doing?! Every man, woman, child, and donkey knows how disgruntled you were at the start and during the season about either being traded or securing a new contract. Flipping your team and staff off after you clean broke your leg isn’t something I would think could help gain future employment.   Now you’re going to get further tagged with the ‘bad attitude’ label, and that’s hard to shake off. Good luck with that!  So, here is where co-host Chad Knittel is right; the Steelers should have paid  Le’Veon Bell  - they look not necessarily bad, just not that good without him. 1-2-1 is their first quarterly record while a division loss to Baltimore and a draw - A DRAW TO CLEVELAND - may hurt more at the end of the season than it does now, it’s the Bengals who own the North at the moment and are pumping out points of nowhere. Add to that their Defense, with Vontaze Burfict coming back and a 3-1 record in hand.  James Conner  looks to have stalled a little, and it is in games like last night, at home to the Ravens where Bell’s quality normally shines through, he shows his worth and can single-handedly win games on his own. And after seeing the Earl Thomas debacle end with an injury (yes, they are two separate issues/situations), I can only think this further confirms Bells smart decision to sit out. Forget the dollars and cents of it - we know how much he is losing it is clear that Bell doesn’t see it as the focal point of his stance. It’s now, more than ever a matter of principle. LA paid  Todd Gurley , and he is ‘their guy.’ The Giants paid  Odell Beckham Jr , and he is clearly ‘their guy’ like the Steelers have done so for  Ben Roethlisberger  and  Antonio Brown  in the past with that same love to be ‘their guy,’ which same respect wasn’t shared to someone who he, along with many, thought to be deserving.  Seattle wasn’t paying Earl Thomas more; they weren’t actively trading him (they might have, Kansas City were said to be a suitor, but that won’t be now) and look what's happened.  I have a couple of Bell shares this year, and I’m still sitting tight. I can’t think you’re being offered much and at this point - if he does come back - and if you are doing ok it could be the injection you need to win you your league.   SUMMARY    I am looking forward to Week 5! Here is what I am checking on to help paint a better picture:  *  Mark Ingram  and  Julian Edelman ’s returns from suspension and how they impact each teams usage.  * Where the hell are all the Tight Ends at? * Can  DJ Moore  take another step forward as  Calvin Ridley  has? * Colts and Seahawks Running Back Committees      And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly

Week 5

By @theBleagueSays


Week 4 revealed the truth about a few things. And a quarter of the way through the season we have enough of a sample to know what trends have us moving in the right direction and what has us struggling. But before we get into that...

How did we fair in Week 4?

* We were looking for shootouts in New York and Atlanta. The Saints got the better of the Giants in a game that felt like it didn’t get out of second gear. The Giants missed Evan Engram, and Eli Manning looked useless, while Alvin Kamara did what he does. Facing Kamara should scare the crap out of you if your opponent has him in their lineup.

* Cincinnati and Atlanta, however, was the cracking game we were searching for - both teams delivered massively. But for me, three things stood out;
1. Matt Ryan and Andy Dalton are underappreciated and are must-starts - no matter what.
2. Secondary Receivers Tyler Boyd and Calvin Ridley are also must starts - no matter what.
3. Mad respect for Tyler Eifert. For a guy who has battled injuries his whole career. He finally looked right and had the yards and the score in this game before he fell to a scary snap of the leg. I sincerely hope he comes back from this.
* Chris Carson was ruled out, but Mike Davis did exceptionally well in his place instead - and not their First Round Pick Rashaad Penny who was a healthy scratch. Some weird (let alone terrible) calls are being made by coaches and staff in Seattle at the moment. Players are unhappy and lashing out (more than usual, even for them) which has me believe that if there is a coach on the chopping block it may be Pete Carroll - watch this space.

* Sony Michel introduced himself with a solid performance that took place over division ‘leaders’ Miami with over 100 yards and a TD. James White was a standout also, and they look as good as any steady 1-2-Punch there is in the league. I understand the concern about starting both Michel and White, but please remember it was only last year when Rex Burkhead and Dion Lewis were must start Backs for New England and Fantasy Football last year. Play both and sleep great Sunday nights.


THE GOOD

New England, Tennessee and C.J. Beathard;

The Patriots did what they regularly do at home against Miami (and that is win). The run game was solid; Josh Gordon got some minutes along with Cordarelle Patterson and

TDs - if the latter is happening, then something is going right. On top of all of this, in Week 5 Julian Edelman returns. There is a slight ankle issue for Rob Gronkowski which should be ok moving forward. They play the Colts on Thursday night so keep an eye out for his progress late Wednesday, early Thursday.

A massive win for the Tennessee Titans at home vs. the Super Bowl Champions Philadelphia. And I get that a win is a win is a win. But up until this point in his career, Corey Davis was yet to score a regular season TD - and for him to get his first is excellent for that Offense. But for Marcus Mariota to lead a game-winning drive and hit Davis in overtime could be the platform they need to keep them (as individuals and as a team) trending in the right direction. Now the Titans are 3-1 and have won in a scrappy matchup away at Jacksonville followed by an overtime win against the former Champions. This should be a bigger storyline than we give it credit. They could be on to something...

I’ll keep this one short and sweet - it could be very easy for the 49ers to pack it up and aim for that 1.01 pick in next years draft after losing Jerick McKinnon and Jimmy Garoppolo. It could be easy for players do not buy into the backup Quarterback but they did. And against a high scoring team in the Chargers, San Francisco got off to a hot start and nearly pulled off one of the bigger upsets of the year.
In this light, C.J. Beathard looked a much better Quarterback than he did last year - he still has his flaws, don’t get me wrong - but he has done well enough for skilled position players to still be roster worthy for your team. The 49ers will win their share of games - and with the losses they’ve succumbed to that’s all we can ask of them right now.


THE BAD

Running Back duds, Eli Manning and Tampa Quarterbacks;

Dalvin Cook was on a short week with a hamstring injury against the defensive front of the Rams was probably (in hindsight, right?) a bad play. But he was good to go and depending on the depth of your league or roster he may have been your best bet.

Unfortunately for Leonard Fournette owners who can’t quite say the same. From out of the starters blocks something hasn’t looked right with his health this year, and TJ Yeldon is hitting his stride (without pain, unlike Fournette). This could end up a bigger committee than anyone thought. Yes, Fournette is the bell-cow and Yeldon may have at times chipped in. But the timeshare gap could get smaller and may happen sooner than anyone thought imaginable.

I’m going to leave the Jordan Howard ‘dud game’ as a game script issue as opposed to Cook and Fournette where it was for health-based reasons. Tarik Cohen looked electric against a Buccaneers team that couldn’t stop him or Mitch Trubisky. Do I expect this split to happen again in their next matchup after the Bye against Miami? After seeing what the Patriots did with White and Michel, I could imagine Matt Nagy plans out a game-plan to expose the Dolphins as Belichick did. That would be the smart money, right?

As your resident Giants fan, I need to say this once and once only: Eli Manning. It’s time.
The Giants head to Carolina coming off the Bye in Week 5 is not who you want to see this week, and Evan Engram is likely to miss another week. And when Odell Beckham Jr logs less than 6 yards per target - that explosive Offense looks more of a disappointment. This train looks to derail sooner than later by the looks of it.

We praise when we should. We critique when we should. For me, the smart play would have been to hang Ryan Fitzpatrick out to dry against a crazy Chicago Defense that was playing lights out. At this point (if it were me) I’d have kept Fitzpatrick out there. Winston, however, should have been chomping at the bit to get out there and prove a point. He looked like he couldn’t have cared less.
I’ve been a fan of Winston’s talent, just not his attitude. He had the chance to make an impact and enforce a change - any change - and he flopped. It may be time to move on from him...except Koetter named him the starter heading into Week 6 already. This would be weird if it were anyone else but Tampa...


THE UGLY

Miami, Earl Thomas and the Steelers;

I mean, we didn’t think Miami could go four straight games winning let alone get the win in New England, did we? No? Good.

The bigger issue may be that of how Adam Gase is ‘using’ Kenyan Drake. When you are chasing a game and Drake has decent enough hands you would think this would have been a chance to get him touches. Instead, he has been out-touched by Frank Gore this season despite playing more snaps. To me that’s clearly a trust issue Gase has with Drake and put bluntly, I have no idea what to expect for Drake moving forward outside of benching him for now until he does something else...

Earl Thomas. What are you doing?! Every man, woman, child, and donkey knows how disgruntled you were at the start and during the season about either being traded or securing a new contract. Flipping your team and staff off after you clean broke your leg isn’t something I would think could help gain future employment.

Now you’re going to get further tagged with the ‘bad attitude’ label, and that’s hard to shake off. Good luck with that!

So, here is where co-host Chad Knittel is right; the Steelers should have paid Le’Veon Bell - they look not necessarily bad, just not that good without him. 1-2-1 is their first quarterly record while a division loss to Baltimore and a draw - A DRAW TO CLEVELAND - may hurt more at the end of the season than it does now, it’s the Bengals who own the North at the moment and are pumping out points of nowhere. Add to that their Defense, with Vontaze Burfict coming back and a 3-1 record in hand. James Conner looks to have stalled a little, and it is in games like last night, at home to the Ravens where Bell’s quality normally shines through, he shows his worth and can single-handedly win games on his own. And after seeing the Earl Thomas debacle end with an injury (yes, they are two separate issues/situations), I can only think this further confirms Bells smart decision to sit out. Forget the dollars and cents of it - we know how much he is losing it is clear that Bell doesn’t see it as the focal point of his stance. It’s now, more than ever a matter of principle. LA paid Todd Gurley, and he is ‘their guy.’ The Giants paid Odell Beckham Jr, and he is clearly ‘their guy’ like the Steelers have done so for Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown in the past with that same love to be ‘their guy,’ which same respect wasn’t shared to someone who he, along with many, thought to be deserving.
Seattle wasn’t paying Earl Thomas more; they weren’t actively trading him (they might have, Kansas City were said to be a suitor, but that won’t be now) and look what's happened.

I have a couple of Bell shares this year, and I’m still sitting tight. I can’t think you’re being offered much and at this point - if he does come back - and if you are doing ok it could be the injection you need to win you your league.

SUMMARY

I am looking forward to Week 5! Here is what I am checking on to help paint a better picture:

* Mark Ingram and Julian Edelman’s returns from suspension and how they impact each teams usage.
* Where the hell are all the Tight Ends at?
* Can DJ Moore take another step forward as Calvin Ridley has?
* Colts and Seahawks Running Back Committees


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for the better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!



Quick Hits from Week 4  Oct. 1, 2018  By @FootballNuke  What an unbelievable display of offensive firepower we saw in week 4! The Rams and Vikings kicked off the week with an offensive flurry, combining for 69 total points, with FIVE WR1-WR2 performances in one game!  For Real  –    Corey Davis  – with limited receiving targets available, Marcus Mariota was looking for Corey Davis – a lot. Davis responded by catching nine balls for 161 yards and a score. Very notable in itself, but the big takeaway is how his catches were not flukey – Davis looked like he belonged out there. The Eagle defense is not a bad defense, either. Stock up on Davis. Check your waiver wires. He’s available in a lot of Yahoo leagues, for example.   Sony Michel –  one week ago I said that Michel would be moving up the ranks. It was not too hard to see with the Burkhead injury. James White got some time and had himself a decent fantasy game. Michel was the main back and he looked great with 25 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Michel had lateral movement and speed burst. He looked like he belonged out there. If you own him in redraft you are likely to get offers for him. I’d suggest keeping him but certainly do not trade him for less than a low RB1/WR1. What do I mean? If someone offered me Juju Smith-Schuster for Michel, I might take that deal. If someone offered me Marshawn Lynch for Michel? Sorry, but no way.   John Brown –  wow! Are you serious, John Brown? There aren’t many receivers in the league that can do what Brown has done consistently with his receptions. The downside – Brown caught only three balls. The upside is that it was for 116 yards and a touchdown, an average of 38.7 yards per catch. Brown has a 22.5 yard per catch average so far this year and is clearly the best wide receiver option in Baltimore. The tight ends are the dominant receivers in Baltimore still, and they open things up for Brown in a big way. Brown was always good, just hampered by injuries likely encouraged by his sickle cell disease. The Ravens might have figured out the formula for keeping him healthy. Keep him outside, not over the middle. Encourage him to get out of bounds instead of taking a tackle at the sideline. Last but not least, run so fast that no one can catch you. Speaking of maximizing your touches...   Aaron Jones  – it didn’t take Jones long to surpass Jamaal Williams as the playmaker in the Green Bay backfield. Jones is more electric. He has the playmaking ability. Williams is just a solid backup who can pass block. If the Packers do not use him more, they are not making the smart choice. I have heard the excuse about Williams being a better pass blocker, but Aaron Rodgers is so good at eluding defenders even with his knee injury, he does not need the extra protection.   Tyler Boyd  – he isn’t a flash in the pan. He’s for real this year. Eleven catches, 100 yards and a touchdown in week 4. He has 26 catches for 349 yards and two scores in the first quarter of the season. At that pace he will have 104 catches, 1396 yards and eight touchdowns by year end. Is that possible? With the way teams are moving the ball this year, I can believe it is possible.    Keep ‘em -   Nick Chubb  – there are goal-line snipers, and then there is what Nick Chubb did this week. On only three carries, Chubb ran for 105 yards and two scores. A few weeks ago, he did not look like he was ready for the NFL. On Sunday, he looked good enough (in his limited work) to make Carlos Hyde owners nervous. I’m betting he will be one of the most added players this week on waiver Wednesday. If you are a Hyde owner, maybe see what you can get for him.   Mike Williams –  he was clearly not targeted very much this last week with Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams getting more looks. Do not lose heart though. He will be back. If Allen has injury problems, it is on for Williams.  Go get ‘em -   Corey Davis  – reminder to check your waiver wire. He’s out there in places.   Tarik Cohen  – Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that the game plan will determine how much play Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen get, so it might be difficult to pick spots with Cohen. With that said, if Cohen turns out performances like what we saw in week 4, it may become impossible for Nagy to not play Cohen regularly.   Julian Edleman  – it is possible that he might be on your waiver wire. Might not be a bad pickup now that the suspension is over.   Taylor Gabriel  – I think this is the guy on the Bears that will suffer the most from Nagy’s game scripts. Some weeks he might be the hot play and others you will wonder where he went.   Keekee Coutee  – DeShaun Watson looked Coutee’s way a lot during this high-flying scoring affair against the Colts. Coutee caught 11 balls (on 15 targets) for 109 yards. He didn’t reach the end zone, but the eleven catches got my attention. If Will Fuller is out, Coutee becomes very startable.  Trade ‘em   Amari Cooper  – Cooper finally cranked out a game. He’s good for a couple of these per year, but I am not fooled by it. Cooper is tradeable now. At least check-in with some trading partners to see what you can get for him this week.  Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.   Ryan Fitzpatrick  – RIP Ryan Fitzpatrick. The leash was always a short one. A bad half against a very good Bears defense was all Dirk Koetter needed to pull it. Jameis Winston will start after the bye week. Fitzy is droppable. Thanks Fitz. The first three weeks of this season were pretty awesome.  Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.  Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Huks’ DFS podcast. The guy was on fire last week!

Quick Hits from Week 4

Oct. 1, 2018

By @FootballNuke

What an unbelievable display of offensive firepower we saw in week 4! The Rams and Vikings kicked off the week with an offensive flurry, combining for 69 total points, with FIVE WR1-WR2 performances in one game!

For Real

Corey Davis – with limited receiving targets available, Marcus Mariota was looking for Corey Davis – a lot. Davis responded by catching nine balls for 161 yards and a score. Very notable in itself, but the big takeaway is how his catches were not flukey – Davis looked like he belonged out there. The Eagle defense is not a bad defense, either. Stock up on Davis. Check your waiver wires. He’s available in a lot of Yahoo leagues, for example.

Sony Michel – one week ago I said that Michel would be moving up the ranks. It was not too hard to see with the Burkhead injury. James White got some time and had himself a decent fantasy game. Michel was the main back and he looked great with 25 carries for 112 yards and a touchdown. Michel had lateral movement and speed burst. He looked like he belonged out there. If you own him in redraft you are likely to get offers for him. I’d suggest keeping him but certainly do not trade him for less than a low RB1/WR1. What do I mean? If someone offered me Juju Smith-Schuster for Michel, I might take that deal. If someone offered me Marshawn Lynch for Michel? Sorry, but no way.

John Brown – wow! Are you serious, John Brown? There aren’t many receivers in the league that can do what Brown has done consistently with his receptions. The downside – Brown caught only three balls. The upside is that it was for 116 yards and a touchdown, an average of 38.7 yards per catch. Brown has a 22.5 yard per catch average so far this year and is clearly the best wide receiver option in Baltimore. The tight ends are the dominant receivers in Baltimore still, and they open things up for Brown in a big way. Brown was always good, just hampered by injuries likely encouraged by his sickle cell disease. The Ravens might have figured out the formula for keeping him healthy. Keep him outside, not over the middle. Encourage him to get out of bounds instead of taking a tackle at the sideline. Last but not least, run so fast that no one can catch you. Speaking of maximizing your touches...

Aaron Jones – it didn’t take Jones long to surpass Jamaal Williams as the playmaker in the Green Bay backfield. Jones is more electric. He has the playmaking ability. Williams is just a solid backup who can pass block. If the Packers do not use him more, they are not making the smart choice. I have heard the excuse about Williams being a better pass blocker, but Aaron Rodgers is so good at eluding defenders even with his knee injury, he does not need the extra protection.

Tyler Boyd – he isn’t a flash in the pan. He’s for real this year. Eleven catches, 100 yards and a touchdown in week 4. He has 26 catches for 349 yards and two scores in the first quarter of the season. At that pace he will have 104 catches, 1396 yards and eight touchdowns by year end. Is that possible? With the way teams are moving the ball this year, I can believe it is possible.

Keep ‘em -

Nick Chubb – there are goal-line snipers, and then there is what Nick Chubb did this week. On only three carries, Chubb ran for 105 yards and two scores. A few weeks ago, he did not look like he was ready for the NFL. On Sunday, he looked good enough (in his limited work) to make Carlos Hyde owners nervous. I’m betting he will be one of the most added players this week on waiver Wednesday. If you are a Hyde owner, maybe see what you can get for him.

Mike Williams – he was clearly not targeted very much this last week with Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams getting more looks. Do not lose heart though. He will be back. If Allen has injury problems, it is on for Williams.

Go get ‘em -

Corey Davis – reminder to check your waiver wire. He’s out there in places.

Tarik Cohen – Bears head coach Matt Nagy said that the game plan will determine how much play Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen get, so it might be difficult to pick spots with Cohen. With that said, if Cohen turns out performances like what we saw in week 4, it may become impossible for Nagy to not play Cohen regularly.

Julian Edleman – it is possible that he might be on your waiver wire. Might not be a bad pickup now that the suspension is over.

Taylor Gabriel – I think this is the guy on the Bears that will suffer the most from Nagy’s game scripts. Some weeks he might be the hot play and others you will wonder where he went.

Keekee Coutee – DeShaun Watson looked Coutee’s way a lot during this high-flying scoring affair against the Colts. Coutee caught 11 balls (on 15 targets) for 109 yards. He didn’t reach the end zone, but the eleven catches got my attention. If Will Fuller is out, Coutee becomes very startable.

Trade ‘em

Amari Cooper – Cooper finally cranked out a game. He’s good for a couple of these per year, but I am not fooled by it. Cooper is tradeable now. At least check-in with some trading partners to see what you can get for him this week.

Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – RIP Ryan Fitzpatrick. The leash was always a short one. A bad half against a very good Bears defense was all Dirk Koetter needed to pull it. Jameis Winston will start after the bye week. Fitzy is droppable. Thanks Fitz. The first three weeks of this season were pretty awesome.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Huks’ DFS podcast. The guy was on fire last week!

Good, Bad and Ugly - Week 4   Sept. 26, 2018  By @theBleagueSays    Week 3. What the hell was that?!  Week 3 saw a lot of teams either play lights out and out if their freakin’ minds. Or they played with the lights out and off their freakin’ faces. At the end of the season we will come back and look at outliers and anomalies that were (like Chris Ivory being Buffalo’s top Receiver vs Minnesota of all things), then I’d heavily suggest that this is the week we look back at and reminisce about where we were right and where we went wrong.    But how did we fair in Week 3?   * On a season average of 4.22 YPC  Saquon Barkley  had an increase to 4.82 YPC against a stout Texans DST with a score this week which was made even better by his 5-5-35 line in the Receiving game also, which we can probably look to see increase with  Evan Engram  out for a short time with an MCL strain. The Giants looked sound with  Rhett Ellison  out on the field blocking some more which helped Barkley’s game significantly. A return home after two weeks on the road vs New Orleans this week - who only allowed 47 total yards and a TD to  Tevin Coleman  in a shootout - could be something to watch. * After Buffalo bombarded the Vikings this week,  Dan Bailey  was only needed to net a PAT, but on a short week vs the LA Rams then this could be a big week for Bailey in a high scoring game. *  Sam Darnold  had a tale of 2 halves but in the end he started to cough to ball up and struggled against the Browns - who got their first win in over 630 days. He has found his groove with  Quincy Enunwa  which in return has seen  Robby Anderson  hit the skids, I see a lot of people dropping him, but while he is still a deep threat I’m going sit tight on him a week longer in deeper leagues. * Surely going 400 yards and pushing the Steelers in a Prime-Time game gives  Ryan Fitzpatrick  another shot before Tampa’s Week 5 Bye Round.  Jameis Winston  is off suspension this week but I’d be surprised if the ‘bearded one’ isn’t given one more game. I’m not sure the Bucs faithful thought they would be remotely close to a 2-1 record and even (at worse case being 2-2) after the Bye I would assume that this is when I’d think Winston returns in Week 6. Another win though at 3-1? Could be a different story. * Wentz played like a returning QB from a major surgery would. Conservative and rusty and not having  Alshon Jeffrey ,  Jay Ajayi  or even  LeGarrette Blount  for the Eagles Offense; looked like it was a bit different to him from when he was last on the field. That may take a week or so to settle down but he moved well enough to give you confidence he will be fine. * Although a matchup with the red hot Miami Dolphins (how many times will we ever say that?!) at home this week, a confrontation with  Xavien Howard  is something if avoid if you are a  Josh Gordon  fantasy owner. However,  Julian Edelman  will soon return and having him inside to allow Gordon to do his thing, over the next month the Patriots have Kansas, Chicago and the Colts which could see some high scoring games. Sit tight. Be patient. His time is coming.    THE GOOD    Miami, Chicago, Buffalo  impressed;     Buffalo -  Let’s clear this up, Buffalo are not good. They were (this week) and they deserve all the credit and plaudits of a group who literally ripped the heart out of Minnesota in which should have been a layup for the Vikings. I’m actually happy for  Josh Allen , who probably saw more criticism than any of the Rookie QB’s in this draft class and has less talent around him to do so.  The undeafeated Dolphins -  How many times will we say that again?! They’ve done it without using their star recruit  Mike Gesicki . Or  Kenyan Drake  and  Frank Gore . They’ve done it with guys like  Albert Wilson  and  Jakeem Grant  with  Ryan Tannehill  leading the way.  Kenny Stills  is again a stud and proving better than his WR40 ADP once again.  Chicago -  No one prior to  Khalil Mack ’s arrival thought that the Bears would be on top of the NFC North. We expected improvement sure. But the Bears DST is willing them to win and bailing Mitch Trubisky out eniugh to a point where they could be 3-0. If the Offense can gel a little more however... Yikes! Chicago could end up being this year’s Jacksonville.    THE BAD    Patriots, Jaguars and Chargers stalling;    Jaguars -  Jacksonville proved last year that they could break teams - similar to what we are seeing itn of Chicago right now. But they seem to be missing something.  Leonard Fournette  has been a loss and maybe he is the cog that spins the Jaguars in the right direction.   LA Chargers -  The Chargers, preseason favorite for the AFC West look average. Out-played by better teams in the Chiefs and Rams, they look at best a wild card team right now. Injuries have hurt them on both sides of the ball but what’s new? Same old song but a different tune...  New England -  If you’re arrogant enough to believe you can get by with 3 part time receivers then you deserve to be lagging. The Patriot see  Julian Edelman  and  Josh Gordon  join the team over the next week and  Sony Michel  looks to build up to more touches with  Rex Burkhead  being placed on the IR list. An injection of a dynamic approach could be what ails them.   THE UGLY    Dallas, Houston, Oakland flopping;   Houston -  Small sample sizes kills teams.  Deshaun Watson  at the moment doesn’t look to be returning interest on his high draft capital and Hopkins is looking ok. That OL will be the death of Watson, and likely  Bill O’Brien . Don’t get me wrong, they’re not getting smoked, they’re in all the games they’ve played. But, I mean even Buffalo have a win...     Oakland -  ‘It’s hard to find a good pass rusher.’ That’s right. Good is hard to find. Good at times is inconsistent also. In the NFL ‘good’ is generally never good enough. What you had in  Khalil Mack  was elite and untouchable and you let him go. You deserve an 0-16 season  John Gruden . Go away. Jeez, I mean even Buffalo have a win...  Dallas -   Jason Garrett  is in denial about  Scott Linehan  which is also one of the most Dallas things ever. Ignorance is bliss though. I’ll call it right now, this is what will happen; They play Detroit at home this week and will score a TD in their first drive. Then they’ll absorb the clock in a low point scoring game. Elliott will rush for a TD in the last 7 minutes and they’ll hang on.  All is fixed right? Wrong. In Week 5 Dallas will find themselves in a shootout with another desperate team in Houston and there's a good shot they won't keep up. Rinse, wash, repeat. Then what? Garrett will go to the podium, ignore questions and band-aid problems with things like ‘the team did not execute’ and ‘we will have a better team performance next week’ and the ‘team believes in what we are doing so you should top pay again for your $300 a ticket and thank you, but hey here's a towel to waive’.  Well, they have the same amount of wins as Buffalo has and that’s a good thing right? Right? Right…    SUMMARY    I am absolutely looking forward to Week 4! Here is what I am looking for this week to paint a better picture heading into the Week 5 fixtures:  * A shootout in New York? Yep! Start your Saints and Giants! * A shootout in Atlanta again? Yep! Start your Falcons and Bengals! BONUS ROUND (hey thanks for playing!); can  Julio Jones  finally score a TD? *  Sony Michel  with no  Rex Burkhead ? Let’s see if his touches and targets increase! *  Josh Rosen  +  Christian Kirk  = Rookie Dynasty Orgasm. Can this be a couple we target going forward? *  Chris Carson  had 32 touches last week. Can that happen again and what happens to  Rashaad Penny .     And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly - Week 4

Sept. 26, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

Week 3. What the hell was that?!

Week 3 saw a lot of teams either play lights out and out if their freakin’ minds. Or they played with the lights out and off their freakin’ faces. At the end of the season we will come back and look at outliers and anomalies that were (like Chris Ivory being Buffalo’s top Receiver vs Minnesota of all things), then I’d heavily suggest that this is the week we look back at and reminisce about where we were right and where we went wrong.

But how did we fair in Week 3?

* On a season average of 4.22 YPC Saquon Barkley had an increase to 4.82 YPC against a stout Texans DST with a score this week which was made even better by his 5-5-35 line in the Receiving game also, which we can probably look to see increase with Evan Engram out for a short time with an MCL strain. The Giants looked sound with Rhett Ellison out on the field blocking some more which helped Barkley’s game significantly. A return home after two weeks on the road vs New Orleans this week - who only allowed 47 total yards and a TD to Tevin Coleman in a shootout - could be something to watch.
* After Buffalo bombarded the Vikings this week, Dan Bailey was only needed to net a PAT, but on a short week vs the LA Rams then this could be a big week for Bailey in a high scoring game.
* Sam Darnold had a tale of 2 halves but in the end he started to cough to ball up and struggled against the Browns - who got their first win in over 630 days. He has found his groove with Quincy Enunwa which in return has seen Robby Anderson hit the skids, I see a lot of people dropping him, but while he is still a deep threat I’m going sit tight on him a week longer in deeper leagues.
* Surely going 400 yards and pushing the Steelers in a Prime-Time game gives Ryan Fitzpatrick another shot before Tampa’s Week 5 Bye Round. Jameis Winston is off suspension this week but I’d be surprised if the ‘bearded one’ isn’t given one more game. I’m not sure the Bucs faithful thought they would be remotely close to a 2-1 record and even (at worse case being 2-2) after the Bye I would assume that this is when I’d think Winston returns in Week 6. Another win though at 3-1? Could be a different story.
* Wentz played like a returning QB from a major surgery would. Conservative and rusty and not having Alshon Jeffrey, Jay Ajayi or even LeGarrette Blount for the Eagles Offense; looked like it was a bit different to him from when he was last on the field. That may take a week or so to settle down but he moved well enough to give you confidence he will be fine.
* Although a matchup with the red hot Miami Dolphins (how many times will we ever say that?!) at home this week, a confrontation with Xavien Howard is something if avoid if you are a Josh Gordon fantasy owner. However, Julian Edelman will soon return and having him inside to allow Gordon to do his thing, over the next month the Patriots have Kansas, Chicago and the Colts which could see some high scoring games. Sit tight. Be patient. His time is coming.


THE GOOD

Miami, Chicago, Buffalo impressed;


Buffalo -

Let’s clear this up, Buffalo are not good. They were (this week) and they deserve all the credit and plaudits of a group who literally ripped the heart out of Minnesota in which should have been a layup for the Vikings. I’m actually happy for Josh Allen, who probably saw more criticism than any of the Rookie QB’s in this draft class and has less talent around him to do so.

The undeafeated Dolphins -

How many times will we say that again?! They’ve done it without using their star recruit Mike Gesicki. Or Kenyan Drake and Frank Gore. They’ve done it with guys like Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant with Ryan Tannehill leading the way. Kenny Stills is again a stud and proving better than his WR40 ADP once again.

Chicago -

No one prior to Khalil Mack’s arrival thought that the Bears would be on top of the NFC North. We expected improvement sure. But the Bears DST is willing them to win and bailing Mitch Trubisky out eniugh to a point where they could be 3-0. If the Offense can gel a little more however... Yikes! Chicago could end up being this year’s Jacksonville.


THE BAD

Patriots, Jaguars and Chargers stalling;


Jaguars -

Jacksonville proved last year that they could break teams - similar to what we are seeing itn of Chicago right now. But they seem to be missing something. Leonard Fournette has been a loss and maybe he is the cog that spins the Jaguars in the right direction.

LA Chargers -

The Chargers, preseason favorite for the AFC West look average. Out-played by better teams in the Chiefs and Rams, they look at best a wild card team right now. Injuries have hurt them on both sides of the ball but what’s new? Same old song but a different tune...

New England -

If you’re arrogant enough to believe you can get by with 3 part time receivers then you deserve to be lagging. The Patriot see Julian Edelman and Josh Gordon join the team over the next week and Sony Michel looks to build up to more touches with Rex Burkhead being placed on the IR list. An injection of a dynamic approach could be what ails them.

THE UGLY

Dallas, Houston, Oakland flopping;

Houston -

Small sample sizes kills teams. Deshaun Watson at the moment doesn’t look to be returning interest on his high draft capital and Hopkins is looking ok. That OL will be the death of Watson, and likely Bill O’Brien. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not getting smoked, they’re in all the games they’ve played. But, I mean even Buffalo have a win...


Oakland -
‘It’s hard to find a good pass rusher.’
That’s right. Good is hard to find. Good at times is inconsistent also. In the NFL ‘good’ is generally never good enough.
What you had in Khalil Mack was elite and untouchable and you let him go. You deserve an 0-16 season John Gruden. Go away. Jeez, I mean even Buffalo have a win...

Dallas -

Jason Garrett is in denial about Scott Linehan which is also one of the most Dallas things ever. Ignorance is bliss though. I’ll call it right now, this is what will happen; They play Detroit at home this week and will score a TD in their first drive. Then they’ll absorb the clock in a low point scoring game. Elliott will rush for a TD in the last 7 minutes and they’ll hang on.

All is fixed right? Wrong. In Week 5 Dallas will find themselves in a shootout with another desperate team in Houston and there's a good shot they won't keep up. Rinse, wash, repeat.
Then what? Garrett will go to the podium, ignore questions and band-aid problems with things like ‘the team did not execute’ and ‘we will have a better team performance next week’ and the ‘team believes in what we are doing so you should top pay again for your $300 a ticket and thank you, but hey here's a towel to waive’.

Well, they have the same amount of wins as Buffalo has and that’s a good thing right?
Right? Right…


SUMMARY

I am absolutely looking forward to Week 4! Here is what I am looking for this week to paint a better picture heading into the Week 5 fixtures:

* A shootout in New York? Yep! Start your Saints and Giants!
* A shootout in Atlanta again? Yep! Start your Falcons and Bengals! BONUS ROUND (hey thanks for playing!); can Julio Jones finally score a TD?
* Sony Michel with no Rex Burkhead? Let’s see if his touches and targets increase!
* Josh Rosen + Christian Kirk = Rookie Dynasty Orgasm. Can this be a couple we target going forward?
* Chris Carson had 32 touches last week. Can that happen again and what happens to Rashaad Penny.


And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!



Quick Hits from Week 3   Sept. 24, 2018  @FootballNuke  For the week 3 postmortem, I did some stacking. I stacked guys that are for real and should be in your lineup the rest of the season. I stacked some guys to keep, that aren’t quite reliable yet but are worthy of a flex spot in the right matchup. There is a stack of players to go get, and lastly some players to drop.  For Real  –    Pat Mahomes  – a lot of analysts thought the toughest part of Mahomes’ schedule would be the first four games of the year. Let that sink in….   Calvin Ridley  – What a coming out party for Ridley this week – 146 yards and three TDs! Ridley is the legit WR2 on the Falcons. The only question now is will he have better numbers than Julio at year-end?   Antonio Callaway  –  Baker Mayfield  threw to Callaway a LOT in the preseason. With the departure of  Josh Gordon , the path is clear for Callaway, who was one drop away from having a 100 yards and a touchdown. Landry will be the target monster the rest of the way. Callaway will be the high upside, week winner.   Kerryon Johnson  – The Lions are realizing they have their starting running back, and it is  not Legarrette Blount . Johnson looked great against the Patriots. The Lions need to keep feeding that beast.  Keep ‘em -   Rashaad Penny  – If you have the roster space, Penny is definitely a keeper. I know  Chris Carson  had 32 carries Sunday to Penny’s three, but Carson’s is injury prone. Keep Penny as the handcuff if you can. P.S. we just don’t know when the tables will turn on this situation… but they  will  turn.   Ryan Fitzpatrick  – The “magic” looked like it was lost in the first half of the game against the Steelers tonight, but Fitzy rallied and threw for another 400 yards. The Bucs can’t bench this guy for  Jameis Winston  in week five, can they?   Sony Michel  – He got the bulk of the backfield work in the Sunday night game against Detroit. He’s a first-round pick and I expect to see more opportunities for Michel as we get further into the season.  Go get ‘em -   Baker Mayfield  – this week we got to see the potential of the Browns offense with number one pick Baker Mayfield at the helm. The potential for great things is there.  Any Browns skill position player out on waivers such as:  Antonio Callaway, David Njoku, Rashaad Higgins . With the emergence of Mayfield, they are all fantasy relevant now.   Tyler Boyd  – if Boyd is still out there, go get him! Especially if you can drop John Ross to add him. Boyd is the clear WR2 in Cincinnati, and now  AJ Green  is injured.   Mike Williams  – Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! I’ve seen him on some waiver wires, too.  Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.   Ronald Jones II  – he is inactive for the third straight week in a backfield of average joes. That is not a good sign for the rookie. A dynasty hold if you have a roster of 25 or taxi squad. Otherwise, you can drop him.  With  Jimmy Garoppolo  out for the rest of the year, stock is down on the wide receivers in San Francisco. George Kittle might be the only one worth retaining.   Jamaal Williams  – he will probably still get more touches than  Aaron Jones . From what we have seen so far, Jones may outscore Williams week-to-week even with less touches. They could be kind of like Kamara (Jones) and Ingram (Williams), only in Green Bay, Ingram won’t be worthy of your roster.  Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating but the writing he puts out is top notch.  Lastly, a big shoutout to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. They are doing a great job!

Quick Hits from Week 3

Sept. 24, 2018

@FootballNuke

For the week 3 postmortem, I did some stacking. I stacked guys that are for real and should be in your lineup the rest of the season. I stacked some guys to keep, that aren’t quite reliable yet but are worthy of a flex spot in the right matchup. There is a stack of players to go get, and lastly some players to drop.

For Real

Pat Mahomes – a lot of analysts thought the toughest part of Mahomes’ schedule would be the first four games of the year. Let that sink in….

Calvin Ridley – What a coming out party for Ridley this week – 146 yards and three TDs! Ridley is the legit WR2 on the Falcons. The only question now is will he have better numbers than Julio at year-end?

Antonio CallawayBaker Mayfield threw to Callaway a LOT in the preseason. With the departure of Josh Gordon, the path is clear for Callaway, who was one drop away from having a 100 yards and a touchdown. Landry will be the target monster the rest of the way. Callaway will be the high upside, week winner.

Kerryon Johnson – The Lions are realizing they have their starting running back, and it is not Legarrette Blount. Johnson looked great against the Patriots. The Lions need to keep feeding that beast.

Keep ‘em -

Rashaad Penny – If you have the roster space, Penny is definitely a keeper. I know Chris Carson had 32 carries Sunday to Penny’s three, but Carson’s is injury prone. Keep Penny as the handcuff if you can. P.S. we just don’t know when the tables will turn on this situation… but they will turn.

Ryan Fitzpatrick – The “magic” looked like it was lost in the first half of the game against the Steelers tonight, but Fitzy rallied and threw for another 400 yards. The Bucs can’t bench this guy for Jameis Winston in week five, can they?

Sony Michel – He got the bulk of the backfield work in the Sunday night game against Detroit. He’s a first-round pick and I expect to see more opportunities for Michel as we get further into the season.

Go get ‘em -

Baker Mayfield – this week we got to see the potential of the Browns offense with number one pick Baker Mayfield at the helm. The potential for great things is there.

Any Browns skill position player out on waivers such as: Antonio Callaway, David Njoku, Rashaad Higgins. With the emergence of Mayfield, they are all fantasy relevant now.

Tyler Boyd – if Boyd is still out there, go get him! Especially if you can drop John Ross to add him. Boyd is the clear WR2 in Cincinnati, and now AJ Green is injured.

Mike Williams – Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! Attention! Mike Williams is the real thing! I’ve seen him on some waiver wires, too.

Drop ‘em – one of the things that you do not want to do as a fantasy owner is panic too early. There is a reason that you drafted the guys you did. To give up on them too early would be a mistake. With that said, there are a few guys that I think you can feel comfortable letting go of.

Ronald Jones II – he is inactive for the third straight week in a backfield of average joes. That is not a good sign for the rookie. A dynasty hold if you have a roster of 25 or taxi squad. Otherwise, you can drop him.

With Jimmy Garoppolo out for the rest of the year, stock is down on the wide receivers in San Francisco. George Kittle might be the only one worth retaining.

Jamaal Williams – he will probably still get more touches than Aaron Jones. From what we have seen so far, Jones may outscore Williams week-to-week even with less touches. They could be kind of like Kamara (Jones) and Ingram (Williams), only in Green Bay, Ingram won’t be worthy of your roster.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating but the writing he puts out is top notch.

Lastly, a big shoutout to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. They are doing a great job!

Good, Bad and Ugly – Week 3   Sept. 19, 2018   By @theBleagueSays   In Week 2 we saw a lot of teams settle down and get in their groove, and we also saw a few regress even more. Here is what I was looking for and what we learned:    Pittsburgh remains winless as the Cleveland Browns proved to be a thorn in theirs (and their own) side. While they gave  Drew Brees  a minor stroke vs. the Saints this week, Brees and  Michael Thomas  pulled it together to snatch victory away from the Browns. Along with Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders have all remained winless. Here’s the obligatory reminder that there is only an 11% chance of making the playoffs when starting off 0-2.    So it turns out  Phillip Lindsay  is not a flash in the pan. And if (like me) you reached for  Royce Freeman  then it may be a sit and wait approach for him to take the lead role. Lindsay has had stat lines of X + Y and at the moment has no reason to slow down.    I liked  Amari Cooper  last week going 10-10 and 116 yards - it could be better, Touchdowns are the next step - but it’s an improvement. A slow start for Oakland. But it looked better overall. Week 3 sees the Raiders at Miami, and Cooper   gets another good matchup. If he (and Derek Carr can build upon it) this could be great for everyone who got on board the Cooper hype this preseason.     Tom Brady  hit pay-dirt with  Chris Hogan  twice. But that could all change, The Patriots welcomed in the debut of  Sony Michel  and now former Brown in  Josh Gordon  (that sounds weird) into the organization as they gave up a 5th Round Pick to the Browns for his services - more on that later.    The tug of war in the NFC North continues - the Packers drew at home in another hard fought game with the Vikings. While the Bears dominated Seattle in primetime, Detroit underwhelmed and fell again. This division, if the Lions wake up, could go down to the last week and I feel like whoever can keep the healthiest could be the bigger winner in the long run.     Pat Mahomes  is legit, and the Chiefs with an appalling defense look like they could put 50 on anyone, anywhere, anytime. Mahomes is looking more and more the reason why the Chiefs jumped up for him and Hill, Kelce, Hunt, Conley, Sherman - and finally,  Sammy Watkins  are better for it.    So, on with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly...     THE GOOD      The Jaguars / Cowboys Defense / Ryan FitzMAGIC (no his name is not misspelled);     Jacksonville (I think) overcomes a major obstacle this week beating the Patriots who beat them in the AFC Championship last year. I know the stakes aren’t the same - but it matters. So many times we see the same teams fall to the same teams in the games that matter most - see Pittsburgh vs. New England playoff games. So to see the Jaguars, albeit at home, get the better of New England this time is a big deal. They also did it without star Running Back  Leonard Fournette . This game could mean nothing now, but at the business end of the season, it could be very relevant.    The Cowboys’ Defense is for real. And I, more than most being a Giants fan know this more than most - but if the Giants O-Line looks bad (shocker, I know), then the same can be said for the Seattle Seahawks who face the ‘Boys at home this weekend after getting destroyed by  Khalil Mack  and HIS Defense. Dallas is boring at times but like what they did to New York will be what they will be looking to replicate again - by grinding Seattle down, and the way to victory more likely than not will be on the ground through  Ezekiel Elliott  and keeping the opposition’s Offense moving backward.     Whah-Oh-Oh FitzMagic!  He’s done it again! The Buccaneers for the Super Bowl baby! Let’s go! For once, let’s overreact and enjoy the ride! Tampa is fun, dominant, putting up points and for Fantasy Football - that’s all we could ask for right?     THE BAD      Josh Gordon / Cleveland / New England;     So let’s quickly recap (what we know) and assess -    Friday night Josh Gordon is filming his documentary which Cleveland know about at their facility. During the filming of Gordon running routes, he feels a slight hamstring pull, two days before their matchup with New Orleans.  Saturday morning Gordon reports the issue to the Browns, and the Browns let the world know that they are cutting Gordon due to trust issues.  After realizing there is a market for Gordon - to which the cheapened greatly due to hastily making a bold decision - decide he is available to be traded.  Monday, the New England Patriots and Cleveland strike up a deal for Gordon; a 5th Round pick - provided Gordon can play ten games, should he not the pick is returned to the Patriots.     Cleveland;  one side of the coin I don’t blame them. If you are talking about turning a whole franchise around and that no-one is bigger than the team then I think that they did what they had to do - I don’t completely hate it even if I don’t agree entirely with it. If you are hellbent on setting a tone in the locker room and it is a message for the rest of the young team, then I understand. Josh Gordon is healthy in the mind which has always been his biggest knock falling to drug and alcohol addiction and was ready to start the season to contribute. So if that side of Gordon is ok then moving him on and opening up Callaway and Higgins and letting the 4-year circus Josh Gordon leads then this could be (in the long run) ideal.    On the other side of the coin, sometimes you have to get out of your own way. Josh Gordon can change a game in one play, and he is a difference maker. If it is a slight pull of the hamstring and he is going to play this week, why not maximize his play, and drive his value up then move on?  Odell Beckham ,  Antonio Brown ,  Robby Anderson ,  Rob Gronkowski  are all in the limelight, all controversial figures (characters if you will) and at times you have to let them do their thing. Results matter and for a team to not win a game in nearly two years to move on for a 5th Round Pick and lose a bonafide playmaker? It feels like if the end game was to move him on no matter what they shortchanged themselves again.     Josh Gordon;  here’s the thing, if you are getting on a plane to New Orleans for the Week 2 matchup and you are running routes for a documentary then you have shown, again, that your interests are more important than the teams. That’s a problem, and I would be surprised if  Bill Belichick  allows for that to happen at all. You finally, (and I get it, addiction doesn’t just go away - it’s confronting every day) seem to be on the upswing, the best way to repay a Franchise, who stuck by you through all of it - without any questions or doubts you will ever play the game - is by winning on the field. Instead, Gordon goes and puts a documentary first. That’s unacceptable. So either the people around you who thought this would be a good idea need questioning, or someone needs to pull this kids head in and put a ‘minder’ with him 24-7. None of this was a good idea, and the fact it happened is a joke.     New England;  this was always happening. Who else would capitalize on a teams misfortunes, take a broken player and turn them into a potential Super Bowl winner? You damn right they would, and you’re damn right they’ll try. The best possible situation out of all this is that Brady, Belichick, and Kraft can take Josh Gordon and put him - the athlete and human - on the right track.    Winning band-aids a lot of things and maybe it's the cure that can ail all parties.     THE UGLY      Vontae Davis;     I get it - you’re done - but for a full half of football you allowed teammates, no, BROTHERS of yours - who busted their asses off all offseason/preseason - who go through the same pain and commitment during a game to fail.    Walking out on a team? Who does that?    The Bills have a lot of new faces and a lot of young players and for a guy, as experienced like that to be not able to check himself and gut it out and bounce an hour later when the game is over is as disgraceful as it gets. Now I understand that this is something no-one saw coming, but what leader (player or coach) in that locker room also stood up and stopped him from walking out mid-game? Hell, let him sit there on the pine for the rest of the game. People pay big money to see their team and for a guy to ‘bounce’? I just went to the latest Giants / Cowboys game and if I knew Beckham Jr bounced at halftime because ‘he couldn’t take it anymore’ I would be banging doors to get my money back - preferably from his paycheck. What a joke.     SUMMARY     I am looking forward to Week 3! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:    Can  Saquon Barkley’s  Yards Per Carry improve?   Dan Bailey  - can he kick it? Yes, he can? Minnesota hopes at least...  There’s a big test for  Sam Darnold  this week vs. the Cleveland Browns of all people who have limited  Ben Roethlisberger  and  Drew Brees  in back to back weeks - in the prime time Thursday night matchup.  We get one more week of  Ryan Fitzpatrick  and how Tampa handles him and  Jameis Winston  in Week 4, before their Week 5 BYE Round.   Carson Wentz  - welcome back - let’s see how his health holds up and if the Eagles ease him in.  Josh Gordon - how the Patriots use him on limited preparation.    And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!  If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!    Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!    But most of all, Enjoy!

Good, Bad and Ugly – Week 3

Sept. 19, 2018

By @theBleagueSays

In Week 2 we saw a lot of teams settle down and get in their groove, and we also saw a few regress even more. Here is what I was looking for and what we learned:

Pittsburgh remains winless as the Cleveland Browns proved to be a thorn in theirs (and their own) side. While they gave Drew Brees a minor stroke vs. the Saints this week, Brees and Michael Thomas pulled it together to snatch victory away from the Browns. Along with Pittsburgh and the Cleveland Browns, the New York Giants, the Seattle Seahawks, the Detroit Lions, the Buffalo Bills, the Houston Texans the Arizona Cardinals and the Oakland Raiders have all remained winless. Here’s the obligatory reminder that there is only an 11% chance of making the playoffs when starting off 0-2.

So it turns out Phillip Lindsay is not a flash in the pan. And if (like me) you reached for Royce Freeman then it may be a sit and wait approach for him to take the lead role. Lindsay has had stat lines of X + Y and at the moment has no reason to slow down.

I liked Amari Cooper last week going 10-10 and 116 yards - it could be better, Touchdowns are the next step - but it’s an improvement. A slow start for Oakland. But it looked better overall. Week 3 sees the Raiders at Miami, and Cooper gets another good matchup. If he (and Derek Carr can build upon it) this could be great for everyone who got on board the Cooper hype this preseason.

Tom Brady hit pay-dirt with Chris Hogan twice. But that could all change, The Patriots welcomed in the debut of Sony Michel and now former Brown in Josh Gordon (that sounds weird) into the organization as they gave up a 5th Round Pick to the Browns for his services - more on that later.

The tug of war in the NFC North continues - the Packers drew at home in another hard fought game with the Vikings. While the Bears dominated Seattle in primetime, Detroit underwhelmed and fell again. This division, if the Lions wake up, could go down to the last week and I feel like whoever can keep the healthiest could be the bigger winner in the long run.

Pat Mahomes is legit, and the Chiefs with an appalling defense look like they could put 50 on anyone, anywhere, anytime. Mahomes is looking more and more the reason why the Chiefs jumped up for him and Hill, Kelce, Hunt, Conley, Sherman - and finally, Sammy Watkins are better for it.

So, on with the Good, the Bad and the Ugly...

THE GOOD

The Jaguars / Cowboys Defense / Ryan FitzMAGIC (no his name is not misspelled);

Jacksonville (I think) overcomes a major obstacle this week beating the Patriots who beat them in the AFC Championship last year. I know the stakes aren’t the same - but it matters. So many times we see the same teams fall to the same teams in the games that matter most - see Pittsburgh vs. New England playoff games. So to see the Jaguars, albeit at home, get the better of New England this time is a big deal. They also did it without star Running Back Leonard Fournette. This game could mean nothing now, but at the business end of the season, it could be very relevant.

The Cowboys’ Defense is for real. And I, more than most being a Giants fan know this more than most - but if the Giants O-Line looks bad (shocker, I know), then the same can be said for the Seattle Seahawks who face the ‘Boys at home this weekend after getting destroyed by Khalil Mack and HIS Defense. Dallas is boring at times but like what they did to New York will be what they will be looking to replicate again - by grinding Seattle down, and the way to victory more likely than not will be on the ground through Ezekiel Elliott and keeping the opposition’s Offense moving backward.

Whah-Oh-Oh FitzMagic! He’s done it again! The Buccaneers for the Super Bowl baby! Let’s go! For once, let’s overreact and enjoy the ride! Tampa is fun, dominant, putting up points and for Fantasy Football - that’s all we could ask for right?

THE BAD

Josh Gordon / Cleveland / New England;

So let’s quickly recap (what we know) and assess -

Friday night Josh Gordon is filming his documentary which Cleveland know about at their facility. During the filming of Gordon running routes, he feels a slight hamstring pull, two days before their matchup with New Orleans.

Saturday morning Gordon reports the issue to the Browns, and the Browns let the world know that they are cutting Gordon due to trust issues.

After realizing there is a market for Gordon - to which the cheapened greatly due to hastily making a bold decision - decide he is available to be traded.

Monday, the New England Patriots and Cleveland strike up a deal for Gordon; a 5th Round pick - provided Gordon can play ten games, should he not the pick is returned to the Patriots.

Cleveland; one side of the coin I don’t blame them. If you are talking about turning a whole franchise around and that no-one is bigger than the team then I think that they did what they had to do - I don’t completely hate it even if I don’t agree entirely with it. If you are hellbent on setting a tone in the locker room and it is a message for the rest of the young team, then I understand. Josh Gordon is healthy in the mind which has always been his biggest knock falling to drug and alcohol addiction and was ready to start the season to contribute. So if that side of Gordon is ok then moving him on and opening up Callaway and Higgins and letting the 4-year circus Josh Gordon leads then this could be (in the long run) ideal.

On the other side of the coin, sometimes you have to get out of your own way. Josh Gordon can change a game in one play, and he is a difference maker. If it is a slight pull of the hamstring and he is going to play this week, why not maximize his play, and drive his value up then move on? Odell Beckham, Antonio Brown, Robby Anderson, Rob Gronkowski are all in the limelight, all controversial figures (characters if you will) and at times you have to let them do their thing. Results matter and for a team to not win a game in nearly two years to move on for a 5th Round Pick and lose a bonafide playmaker? It feels like if the end game was to move him on no matter what they shortchanged themselves again.

Josh Gordon; here’s the thing, if you are getting on a plane to New Orleans for the Week 2 matchup and you are running routes for a documentary then you have shown, again, that your interests are more important than the teams. That’s a problem, and I would be surprised if Bill Belichick allows for that to happen at all. You finally, (and I get it, addiction doesn’t just go away - it’s confronting every day) seem to be on the upswing, the best way to repay a Franchise, who stuck by you through all of it - without any questions or doubts you will ever play the game - is by winning on the field. Instead, Gordon goes and puts a documentary first. That’s unacceptable. So either the people around you who thought this would be a good idea need questioning, or someone needs to pull this kids head in and put a ‘minder’ with him 24-7. None of this was a good idea, and the fact it happened is a joke.

New England; this was always happening. Who else would capitalize on a teams misfortunes, take a broken player and turn them into a potential Super Bowl winner? You damn right they would, and you’re damn right they’ll try. The best possible situation out of all this is that Brady, Belichick, and Kraft can take Josh Gordon and put him - the athlete and human - on the right track.

Winning band-aids a lot of things and maybe it's the cure that can ail all parties.

THE UGLY

Vontae Davis;

I get it - you’re done - but for a full half of football you allowed teammates, no, BROTHERS of yours - who busted their asses off all offseason/preseason - who go through the same pain and commitment during a game to fail.

Walking out on a team? Who does that?

The Bills have a lot of new faces and a lot of young players and for a guy, as experienced like that to be not able to check himself and gut it out and bounce an hour later when the game is over is as disgraceful as it gets. Now I understand that this is something no-one saw coming, but what leader (player or coach) in that locker room also stood up and stopped him from walking out mid-game? Hell, let him sit there on the pine for the rest of the game. People pay big money to see their team and for a guy to ‘bounce’? I just went to the latest Giants / Cowboys game and if I knew Beckham Jr bounced at halftime because ‘he couldn’t take it anymore’ I would be banging doors to get my money back - preferably from his paycheck. What a joke.

SUMMARY

I am looking forward to Week 3! Here is what I am looking for this to paint a better picture heading into this week's fixtures:

Can Saquon Barkley’s Yards Per Carry improve?

Dan Bailey - can he kick it? Yes, he can? Minnesota hopes at least...

There’s a big test for Sam Darnold this week vs. the Cleveland Browns of all people who have limited Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees in back to back weeks - in the prime time Thursday night matchup.

We get one more week of Ryan Fitzpatrick and how Tampa handles him and Jameis Winston in Week 4, before their Week 5 BYE Round.

Carson Wentz - welcome back - let’s see how his health holds up and if the Eagles ease him in.

Josh Gordon - how the Patriots use him on limited preparation.

And there you have it! Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this and connecting with us @TheBackRowShow. Check out (@FootballNuke) Chris Foster’s work - we have seen over the offseason period his work is much better than mine (we know this, and I am ok with that) so enjoy his work for better insight - then thank him later!

If you haven’t already also (which would be shocking considering you’re on their website), give @Barkbackrow, @Knitbackrow and @Armsbackrow a follow and interact as much as possible - we love our fans!

Don’t forget to subscribe to the podcast and leave a review, share with as many people as possible - Like and Retweet! Do the right thing, go on - I dare you!

But most of all, Enjoy!



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Quick Hits from Week 6

Oct. 16, 2018

By @FootballNuke

Week six of the NFL saw some record setting performances, another overtime game, and some things I never thought would happen again in the NFL, a.k.a. Brock Osweiler.   With six weeks down, we have a pretty good idea of who teams are. 

For Real

Tarik Cohen – he is too explosive for the Bears to not have him on the field.  When Cohen is on the field, he changes the game.  Nagy has to play him, even to Jordan Howard’s detriment.

Adam Thielen – yes, this one is obvious, but when a receiver has played six games and has over 100 yards receiving in each one of them, he deserves some recognition.

John Brown – who has the easiest strength of schedule for the remainder of the year for wide receivers? Baltimore.

Taylor Gabriel – seeing him perform with the Bears makes me wonder why the Falcons did not use him more.

Keep ‘em -

Corey Davis – if Marcus Mariota cannot improve, Davis will move to the drop section soon.  It is a shame because he is so talented. Receivers depend on their quarterback to get them the ball. In this case, I’m not sure Davis could depend on Mariota to drive him to the stadium.

Go get ‘em -

Marquise Goodwin – CJ Bethard starting looking Goodwin’s way, and what a game he had! That is great news for those who thought Goodwin was irrelevant after the loss of Jimmy G.

Baker Mayfield – If Baker is going to have a game, at home against Tampa Bay is going to be it.

Ito Smith – with Devonta Freeman hitting the injured reserve, Ito is a legit threat to put up numbers each week in a high-powered Falcons offense.

Trade ‘em

Amari Cooper – Twitter was on fire  with some reports that the Raiders are shopping Amari.  Talking strictly redraft here, this could be a great opportunity to deal Cooper away. If you are thinking that Cooper going to another team right now might improve his stats this year, that is not very likely. Wide receivers that change teams in the middle of the year are not very successful. It takes time for receivers to learn new playbooks. So if you are tired of riding that Amari rollercoaster, you have another opportunity to trade him.

Don’t overreact to ‘em

Albert Wilson – Wilson had a phenomenal game. The problem is they are hard to predict, and his quarterbacks are bad. Let this one breathe.

Brock Osweiler – Seriously? Just how desperate are you? Tannehill looks to be back soon anyway.

Cole Beasley – if you are in a PPR league, he might be worth a roster spot.

Tyrell Williams – Williams had a three catch, two touchdown game. He’s hard to predict like Wilson is, and he gets fewer looks with all the weaponry the Chargers have.

Drop ‘em – being so deep into the season, there are an increasing number of guys that I am close to being done with.  It’s depressing, but…

Jordan Howard – There were many who thought Howard would have a prominent place in the Bears offense this year.  I think even Matt Nagy did at one point.  While he might be important to Nagy (I’m not sure about that), Jordan is absent from the fantasy spectrum.

Mike Williams – this is a thin ice guy – he looked great and now Phillip Rivers is not getting him the ball.  I am not dropping him yet, but if this lack of targets continues it will be time to cut bait.

Chris Hogan – he might be a good spot player, but there is no reason to roster him.

Cameron Brate – he went hot, then cool in just a week! With OJ Howard playing, there is little hope for consistent performance from Brate.

Well there you have it, hopefully you found this helpful as you make your fantasy plans for this week. Drop me a line or hit me up on Twitter @FootballNuke. I’m always ready to talk some football. Thanks so much for checking the article out and for reading the great stuff created by my counterpart - @theBleagueSays. He’s self-deprecating and the writing he puts out is top-notch.

Lastly, a big shout out to Bark, Knit, and Arms from the Back Row Fantasy Show, which is the reason we’re all here! Make sure you check out the podcast. And, do not miss Brian Hucks’ DFS podcast. I have had more tournament success in the past two weeks listening to Hucks than I ever have before!

 

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