Patriots (5-1) vs Steelers (4-2)

What was shaping up as one of the marquee matchups of the season lost some of its luster when Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger suffered a torn meniscus last weekend. With Roethlisberger sidelined after undergoing surgery, the Steelers will host the New England Patriots in a matchup of division leaders on Sunday (Enter Contests).

The Patriots weathered a four-game suspension to quarterback Tom Brady, so they realize Pittsburgh still presents an imposing obstacle. They will be playing playing their third consecutive AFC North opponent, having dispatched Cincinnati and Cleveland by a combined 68-30 over the past two weeks. Likewise, the Steelers are facing a third straight team from the AFC East, following a rout of the New York Jets with a 30-15 loss at Miami last weekend.

ABOUT THE PATRIOTS

Sitting out the first month had no apparent negative effect on Brady, who has thrown for 782 yards with six touchdowns and zero interceptions while completing 76 percent of his passes in the first two games. He’s 6-2 against Pittsburgh with 22 scoring passes and three interceptions. Tight end Rob Gronkowski, hobbled by a hamstring injury that forced him to sit out two games, has come alive with a pair of 100-yard games since the return of Brady. He collected seven receptions for a career-high 162 yards and a touchdown in last week’s 35-17 win over Cincinnati. New England’s linebacker corps is riddled with injuries, although Dont’a Hightower was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week.

ABOUT THE STEELERS

Backup quarterback Landry Jones, who appeared in seven games last season and struggled in a start at Kansas City, will be surrounded by plenty of talent. Among them are star wideout Antonio Brown and do-everything running back Le’Veon Bell. Brown tied for the league lead with 136 receptions last season and has 376 catches from 2013-15, but he has failed to find the end zone in 11 games without Roethlisberger. He possess a touchdown catch in all three career meetings against New England. Bell is averaging 5.5 yards per carry and has 20 receptions in his three games since returning from suspension and will likely carry a heavy workload. Pittsburgh’s defense ranks 30th against the pass (293.7 yards per game). The Steelers have won seven in a row at home.

Posted in NFL

FANTASY FOOTBALL AFC NORTH REVIEW

FanPicks is proud to bring you this Fantasy Football AFC North Review. Come enjoy daily Fantasy sports news at Fanpicks.com during the NFL offseason.

Fantasy Football AFC North Review Standings

 

Fantasy Football AFC North Review

The AFC North saw Cincinnati and Pittsburgh enter the playoffs, this past year. Baltimore and especially Cleveland sunk in the bottom of the standing, with both team having to deal with more than football trouble.

  • Cincinnati Bengals (12-4)

It was more of the same for the Cincinnati Bengals. Making it through to the Wild Card round of the playoffs for the fifth straight year, but falling short a first playoff win in over 25 years. Even though they took the top spot in the AFC East, they’ve lost to their divisional rivals, Pittsburgh Steelers, in the first playoff game. Since taking over the team in 2003, Marvin Lewis racked up a 0-7 record in the post-season. He has the most playoffs losses among coaches that have never won a single post-season game. We can help but to feel for the guy.

  • Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6)

It was a battle for “Big Ben”, throughout the season. The Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback dealt with a sprained MCL early in the season, resulting him missing four games. The result was not too bad though, as the combo of Michael Vick and Landry Jones were 2-2. Antonio Brown proved once again why he is the best wide receiver in the league, collecting a total of 1,834 rushing yards and 10 TD’s against the best defensive oppositions.

  • Baltimore Ravens (5-11)

With so much expectation coming from countless predictors, with even some speculating a Super Bowl appearance, it was nothing more than a disappointment for the Baltimore Ravens. It’s been a season riddled with injuries for John Harbaughs team. No less than 22 of their players were placed under the injured reserve list. QB Joe Flacco, RB Justin Forsett and OLB Terrell Suggs were among those who left sometime during the season, due to injury, and never came back. It was the first time in eight years, under the coaching of Harbaugh that the Ravens suffered a losing season.

  • Cleveland Browns (3-13)

The Johnny Manziel experiment proved to be a complete failure. The one who was supposed to reinvigorate Cleveland with new life wasn’t able to keep his personal life in check and did little on the gridiron to warrant himself a franchise tag. The Browns finished tied with the Tennessee Titans for worst in the NFL. The team took no time to fire head coach Mike Pettine and GM Ray Farmer after the end of the season.

Posted in NFL

As Sunday’s second game creeps up on us, we will update you on today’s first game, and take a deeper look at the Pittsburgh Steelers vs Denver Broncos.

  • At 1 pm the Seattle Seahawks kicked off with Carolina to take on the Panthers in a clash of football titans. The two are going head-to-head to see who can earn a trip to the NFC Championship game next week.

Earlier this week we broke down the game as such…

“This game is going to have its fair share of scuffles and heavy hits. There won’t be much room out there for anyone, but with the apparent return of Marshwn Lynch, the Seahawks’ ground game just became one to keep an eye on. In a game like this Ted Ginn is the type of player who can hurt Seattle with his ability to take the top off the defense against this group of highly and sometimes over-aggressive defensive backs. That is IF he even plays. He says he will suit-up despite soreness in his knee (suffered vs Atlanta Week 16). Without him, Cam Newton could struggle to find open runners other than Greg Olsen in the short to intermediate spots, and a hot Russell Wilson may be just enough to squeeze by the regular season champs. ”

Update: Tyler Lockett has two touchdown receptions and Russell’s birds are fighting hard to claw their way back in this one. Super Cam has been contained, though efficient and the Panthers hold a fourth quarter 31-21 lead. Don’t miss this exciting ending to get you pumped for game two!!

  • At 4:40 pm the shorthanded Pittsburgh Steelers go to Mile High to visit Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. 

Antonio Brown has officially been ruled out with a concussion, no matter what Pacman Jones thought, DeAngelo Williams can’t play and Big Ben will be playing with torn muscles around his separated shoulder. This does not bode well for #SteelerNation, as Roethlisberger couldn’t muster up enough power to send the ball 10 yards in the air in the dramatic closing moments of last week’s Divisional Round instant classic in Cincinnati. Martavis Bryant and Markus Wheaton will do much of their work on screens, and while they do have the stuff to make some plays (especially Bryant)  the Broncos do possess two very good, physical CB’s in Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr.

Fitzgerald Toussaint could be a big contributor in this game, and he needs to be if the Steelers hope to have a chance. He had four catches for 60 yards vs the Bengals last week and checkdowns and screens will be the name of the game for Pittsburgh. Jordan Todman was a personal favorite of mine coming out of college (he was a monster), as his quick feet and burst allow him to rip off big chunks at a time. He could be worth a gamble if your looking to roll the dice.

CJ Anderson seems to be the popular name around DFS circles today, but Ronnie Hillman may be able to do some damage on with his speed against the aggressive Steeler front-seven. While Anderson is often more consistent inside the tackles, they are both legitimate options and a long touchdown run by Hillman could be the difference in how much money you make this week!

While Ben can’t throw because his shoulder’s are a mess, Peyton Manning just doesn’t have any juice left in his. Demaryius Thomas is one of the leagues premier wide receivers, but Emmanuel Sanders ripped his former team for 10 catches, 181 yards and a touchdown in Week 15. Play Sanders as his ability to find the seam could prove lethal to Pittsburgh.

 

Posted in NFL

NFL Divisional Round Value Picks

Quarterback

There are no locks at quarterback in the Divisional Round with strong pass defenses and questionable starts.  The weak link in pass defense for the weekend is Pittsburgh.  They have one of the weakest pass defenses in the league, and have only made it this far with their explosive offense (mostly just the Big Ben and Antonio Brown connection).

However, there are question marks on the other side of the ball as well.  Peyton Manning has won back his starting job this game but if things go south for him, an early substitution could be made.  I personally have faith in the sheriff, he wants to leave the league on a high note and with this favorable matchup, he may be one of the best picks this week.  He comes at a bargain too as the cheapest quarterback for the week (Landry Jones and Brock Osweiller come cheaper if either of them end up starting).  However, there is the possibility Roethlisberger plays minimal minutes and in the hands of Jones, the Steelers don’t stand a chance.  If this ends up being a blowout early it could mean a lot of carries for Anderson and Hilman and Mannings numbers paying the price.

Although Roethlisberger was able to deconstruct this defense last time around in the regular season, his health is in question and it is not guaranteed he will even start.  We have seen the huge numbers Big Ben can put up against any defense, but I don’t think this will be his week.

The next chance for a shootout is Packers and Cardinals.  Vegas has this one rated as the highest scoring with an Over Under of 50, -7 point win the Cardinals favor.  An argument could be made either way on this one.  Aaron Rodgers has been here before and knows what he needs to do.  Plus the Packers looked great last weekend against the Redskins.  However, the Cardinals are not the Redskins, and we have not seen the Packer’s perform very well this year against a sound defense.

The playoff experience of Rodgers is exactly what Palmer is missing.  He has played one playoff game in his career (two if you count the quarter he played before leaving the game with a shoulder injury).  My take on it, experience is overrated, football is football.  If this were the Super Bowl then experience may take a role, but in this round, I think Palmer will continue to perform as he has all season—Very Well.

RunningBack

The other two matchups have the potential to go either way.  The top ranked matchup between Seattle and Carolina could be a high scoring shootout or a defensive battle, the only thing you can bet it won’t be is a blowout in either direction.  Marshawn Lynch is set to make his return this week (although that was the word last week as well).  With his questionable health and the matchup, I think you avoid Seattle running backs completely.  The same can be said about Jonathan Stewart,  although drastically different in running style, if Adrian Peterson can’t get any yardage against the Seahawks, I don’t expect anyone to.

Like I mentioned earlier, CJ Anderson should get plenty of carries.  I think he is the best pick of the weekend.  James White also should be a good value as well.  Tom Brady and the Patriots won’t make the same mistakes as the Texans last week.

Wide Receiver

The top picks at receiver should be Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders no matter who is playing at quarterback.  They will pay the price as well though if Denver gets ahead early and focuses on the running game.  Both of these receivers however have great synergy with both Manning and Osweiller and last time against the Steelers DT had 2 touchdowns while Sanders had well over 100 receiving yards and a touchdown.

The Cardinals receiver squad should be able to generate some good value this weekend as well.  In the playoffs it will be all Larry Fitzgerald who brings the experience that Palmer lacks.  In his 2008 playoff run he averaged 130 receiving yards per game in the 4 playoff games and had 7 receiving touchdowns.  That has to be on par with the most impressive individual postseason performance of all time.

 

Posted in NFL

NFL Weekend Recap

 

Kansas City Defense Dominates

 

The Chief’s started the game by sending a message with a 106 yard kickoff return touchdown and that would have been enough for the Chiefs to win the game without their offense ever needing to take the field.  Hoyer didn’t do much to make things difficult for the Chief throwing 4 interceptions, giving Kansas City’s defense a total of 34 fantasy points with the kickoff return touchdown, 4 interceptions, 1 fumble recovery, 3 sacks, and 0 points allowed.

 

Besides the Chiefs defense, there was not much other fantasy value from this game.  Travis Kelce had a big receiving game with 8 receptions for 128 receiving yards giving him 20.8 fantasy points.  Spencer Ware ran for 67 rushing yards and had a rushing touchdown giving him 12.7 fantasy points on the day.

 

 

Steelers win a scrappy game

 

This was an ugly game in terms of injuries.  At one time or another each Ben Roethlisberger, Antonio Brown, Jeremy Hill, Giovani Bernard, and AJ Green all left the field with no guarantee of returning.  Furthermore, it wasn’t the usual shootout type game we see with the Steelers.  However there were some areas where fantasy value could be found.

 

Jeremy Hill had 50 rushing yards, a rushing touchdown, 3 receptions, and 27 receiving yards totaling 16.7 fantasy points.  Fitzgerald Toussaint (filling the role at running back after the list of injured steelers running backs we’ve seen this year) had 58 rushing yards, 4 receptions, and 60 receiving yards totaling 15.8 fantasy points, despite his dirt cheap fantasy salary.  While far short of his normal value, Antonio Brown had 7 receptions for 119 receiving yards totaling 21.9 fantasy points.  Lastly, AJ Green snuck in a touchdown in the end, along with his 71 receiving yards and 5 receptions he totaled 18.1 fantasy points.

 

 

 

Cold weather halts offensive attacks

 

This game began with -6 degrees and -26 windchill up in Minneapolis.  It looked early like the Seahawks were out of their element with a scoreless first half.  However, the Vikings seemed equally hampered by the cold as they generated only 204 total offensive yards (Seattle had an equally unimpressive 239 total offensive yards).

 

As far as fantasy value, both quarterbacks had very abysmal games, rushing was very poor, and only Doug Baldwin put up relatively decent numbers 5 receptions for 42 yards and a touchdown (15.2 fantasy points).

 

 

 

Packers find their groove just in time

 

This season has been very disappointing for the Packers so far, barely making it to the playoffs.  However, they seem to be coming around just in time with the best offensive performance of the weekend.  Despite less total offensive yardage than the Redskins (GB 351 vs WSH 413), the Packers had a decisive victory.

 

For the Packers, fantasy value was spread out all over between Lacy, Starks, Jones, Adams, and Cobb with all of them scoring just over 10 fantasy points.  For the Skins however, it was all Jordan Reed and Chris Thompson as Jordan Reed had 9 receptions for 120 receiving yards a touchdown (28 fantasy points) and Chris Thompson had 25 rushing yards, 8 receptions, and 89 receiving yards for 19.4 fantasy points.  Kirk Cousins was by far the highest scorer at quarterback with 329 passing yards, 1 passing touchdown, and a rushing touchdown.  That brought Cousins total to 26 fantasy points.

Posted in NFL

NFL Wild Card Value Picks

Quarterback

With a small slate of games this weekend you’re quarterback choices are limited. So let’s run through the matchups. Houston and Kansas City has all the makings of a low scoring game. These are two defensive dominated teams and this matchup should be low scoring and slow paced, not places of high value for Fantasy NFL contests. Same can be said about Minnesota and Seattle. While Seattle’s offense is explosive, we saw what they did against the strong defensive front of the Cardinals last weekend, I’m saving my quarterback pick for an easier matchup.

The weakest pass defense of the weekend is by far the Steelers, but with the Bengals current quarterback situation, its hard to say anything for sure. In all likelihood AJ McCarron will be taking the field, but there is the small chance Andy Dalton will return for the game. Either way, they both should be able to provide great value with this matchup, just make sure you keep your eye on the injury report and you get the right one in.

Although the Bengals have a strong pass defense, it seems like nobody is able to stop Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown this year. I expect them to have a big game, but I also expect ownership to be very high on these two, so I’m playing the contrarian strategy and avoiding the Steelers stack.

Last we have Washington and Green Bay. This has all the makings for a classic shootout and I think there will be value on both sides of the ball. Aaron Rodgers has been very subpar this entire season, but he has been to the playoffs before and I think he will perform. Kirk Cousins on the other hand has been red hot and putting up big numbers, and that does not look to be stopping anytime soon. You’re probably going to find lower ownership with Rodgers so I’ll give him the edge in a tournament, but based on his performance this year, that may be a risky play.

Running Back

Our premium running backs for the week are Adrian Peterson, Deangelo Williams, Marshawn Lynch, Jeremy Hill, Characandrick West, and Eddie Lacy. As of now Williams looks to be out for this weekend so lets rule him out now (even if he were playing I don’t love the matchup). Marshawn Lynch will be returning but with the offensive efficiency of the Seahawks lately, its hard to say they will need to make much use of him so I am staying away from Beast mode as well. The Vikings may find it hard to pass against the dominating defense and will certainly run the ball a lot to Peterson, but he has not been as dominant this year as in years past and the Seahawks may shut him down. West as well is facing a tough defense, especially recently, so my recommendation is stay away from any Chiefs back.

So we are left with Hill and Lacy, both on the cheap end as far as premium running backs go. The way the Bengals use Hill and Bernard is very dependent on the matchup. They utilize Hill to run the ball up the middle while Bernard is valued more highly for his speed in screen passes and short drops. This matchup may be better for Bernard than Hill, and Bernard comes at a much cheaper price. Not a bad pick for this week. Lacy is the only premium back I like for this week. Like Hill, he could take a backseat position to Starks but I think Lacy has asserted himself as the primary back after early struggles in the season.

If you are looking for value at Running back however, there is a lot to be found. Starks and Bernard, as previously mentioned, will both only cost you less that $4000 on Fanpicks. Alfred Morris and Pierre Thomas both are a threat to accumulate fantasy value with their run and pass threat. The real value pick of the week is Jonathan Grimes, who put together a big game last weekend and comes at only $2700.

Wide Receiver

The same analysis on Quarterbacks applies to receivers as well. We want to stick with the good matchups: Steelers/Bengals and Packers/Redskins. Skipping out on Antonio Brown may just cost you a win, but I think there is more upside potential on fading Brown, especially for NFL Daily Fantasy Tournaments type contests. AJ Green should be able to put up some big numbers this week regardless of who gets the starting position at Quarterback.

I also like Desean Jackson or Pierre Garcon if you are looking to save a little money at the position. We know Cousins is going to throw the ball and we know he is going to throw it a lot. He may throw a couple interceptions but that doesn’t hurt his fantasy value too bad. It all just depends on which receiver can manage to get open between these two and Reed.

A good contrarian stack is Rodgers and either Cobb or Jones. They haven’t done much this year and are not on many people radar, but like I said before, the Packers know the playoffs. Cobb should get more targets but Jones is more of a long threat. The choice is up to you, I’m going Cobb.

Tight End

For me, the viable tight ends for this week are Jordan Reed and Tyler Eifert. While you can make the argument for Heath Miller and Richard Rodgers, I think you will find much more value with Eifert and Reed. Reed is an obvious pick as he has had some very big games lately and is arguably the top tight end in the league. However, that also means he is going to come with a high ownership level, bad news for a tournament play.

That’s why I’m going with Eifert. I can’t stress enough how weak Pittsburgh is against the pass as all of their games end up turning into a shootout. Eifert will especially benefit if Dalton returns this weekend as there is usually great synergy between the two.

Posted in NFL

Pittsburgh Steelers versus Cincinnati Bengals NFL Playoffs Fantasy Picks 1-9-2016

Game 2 from the AFC Wildcard playoffs will feature the Cincinnati Bengals at home to meet the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fantasy football draft GMs can tune to CBS TV on Saturday January 9th at 8:15PM Eastern Time to track the scoring results of their one day league real money NFL roster picks.

These division rivals met twice during the regular season with each road team earning the victory. The most recent matchup came on December 13th at Cincinnati where Pittsburgh was able to earn a 33-20 victory. Both teams were able to move the football. Ben Roethlisberger connected on 30 of 39 passes for 282 yards and a pic. A.J. McCarron saw work in most of the game as Andy Dalton was sidelined with an injury early. McCarron completed 22 of 32 passes for 280 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. A.J. McCarron had a 66 yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green but he also threw a pick six to the Steelers. It appears that A.J. McCarron will get the start with Andy Dalton relegated to a backup role in this game.

The Steelers are a team that many of the AFC playoff participants did not want to see in the postseason. They caught a break with a Jets loss in Week 17 to get the last spot. Pittsburgh brings in the number three rated offense and passing attack into the playoffs. The Steelers are also fourth in the league in scoring offense as they push across 26.4 points per game. Over on the defensive side of the ball they give up lots of yards but sit 11th in scoring defense by giving up 19.9 points per contest. The Steelers could be without running back DeAngelo Williams who has been listed as questionable with a football injury suffered in the win at Cleveland.

Cincinnati has not had success in the post season in recent years. They are just 4-4 over the last half of the season as they have lost to their playoff opponents and beat up on the losing teams they faced in that span. Overall the Bengals are second in the league in scoring defense by allowing 17.4 points per game. With Dalton missing due to injury the Bengals have slipped to the middle of the league in many offensive categories.

Pittsburgh Steelers QB

Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben will be tossing against the 20th ranked passing defense in the Bengals that surrender 248 yards passing per game. Roethlisberger has hit 68% of his throws this season for 3938 yards with 21 touchdowns and 16 picks. He missed four games of the year due to injury and will be playing his fourth straight game since getting hurt. The Steelers signal caller has thrown for over 300 yards in six of his past eight games.

Pittsburgh Steelers RB

DeAngelo Williams

Williams has emerged as the Steelers leading running back with Le’veon Bell sidelined with injury. The veteran back has played in every game for the Steelers and had 907 yards rushing on 20 carries and 11 touchdowns. His 11 touchdowns were his second most in his career. DeAngelo Williams is rushing for 4.5 yards per carry.

Pittsburgh Steelers WR:

Antonio Brown

Brown led the Steelers receivers with 136 catches for 1834 yards with ten touchdowns. He is coming off a big game against the Browns last week with 13 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown.

Cincinnati Bengals QB

A.J. McCarron

The second year quarterback will be starting his fourth game for the Bengals. He saw no action in his rookie campaign. McCarron completed 66.4% of his passes for 854 yards with six touchdowns and two picks. In the win at home to Baltimore last week McCarron threw for 160 yards and two touchdowns.

Cincinnati Bengals RB

Jeremy Hill

It is tough to back Jeremy Hill as he is forced to share carries with Giovanni Bernard. Hill has 11 touchdowns on the year but only 794 yards on 223 carries for 3.6 yards per carry.

A.J. Green

Green leads the Bengals with 86 catches for 1297 yards with ten touchdowns. He is averaging 15.1 yards per catch on the campaign. Green has a touchdown reception in two straight and five of his past six games.

NFL Playoff Football Real Money Fantasy League Picks

QB: Ben Roethlisberger (Steelers)

WR: Antonio Brown (Steelers)

WR: A.J. Green (Bengals)

Posted in NFL

 

Fanpicks.com NFL Saturday  Playoff Game

Fantasy Football Picks

 

The NFL Playoffs kick off with game 2 featuring the Cincinnati Bengals against the Pittsburgh SteelersFanpicks.com is proud to announce its RotoPicker free to use tool, which allows you to create winning line ups and dominate your fantasy football competition.  Play the most exciting contest, including the newest $10K Grand Action and Point Spread contests only at Fanpicks.com the premiere daily fantasy football site.

 

NFL Saturday night playoffs continue with the a gridiron faceoff the Cincinnati Bengals who will host the Pittsburgh Steelers the game will be televised on CBS at primetime at 8:15PM EST.

 

Many opponents did not want to see let alone face the Pittsburgh Steelers might explosive offence.  Pittsburgh exerted the playoffs as a sixth seed following their loss to the Jets in week 17; but then beat Cincinnati 33-20 on road game on December 13th.  Ben Roethlisberger showed fin form in completing 30 out of the 39 passes for 282 yards.  The Steelers picked off an A.J. McCarron pass for a touchdown and field goal kicker Chris Boswell had four field goals. The Steelers suffered a major injury as running back DeAngelo Williams has been listed as questionable in this game with an ankle injury. The Steelers run game could be hampered but quarterback Ben Roethlisberger isn’t the type of quarterback the needs a running game. In fact his fantasy value soars when there is no one to hand the ball off to.

Cincinnati is a tough team to back in fantasy right now. They have a good defense but no way can their unit be considered against a very good Steelers offense. They have a backup in A.J. McCarron under center. The Bengals have a bad history in the playoffs. Cincinnati has a two running back system that takes value away from each one for fantasy draft GM’s.

Go with the proven money quarterback. Ben Roethlisberger has passed for over 300 yards in six of his past eight games. He has thrown for three touchdowns or greater in three of his past five games.

Play Ben Roethlisberger

Pittsburgh Steelers QB

Big Ben’s top target is Antonio Brown. He has caught 136 passes for 1834 yards with ten touchdowns. Everyone knows he is the main man yet he still gets open and delivers for fantasy draft rosters. He had 13 receptions for 187 yards and a touchdown at Cleveland in Week 17.

Play Antonio Brown

Pittsburgh Steelers WR

Posted in NFL

NFL Week 17 Recap

Pittsburgh Punches their Ticket

The Steelers earned their spot in the playoffs with their victory against the Browns this weekend. Their playoff hopes had less to do with beating the Browns however and more to do with the Jets losing against the Bills. Antonio Brown had his normal huge performance with 13 receptions, 187 receiving yards, and a receiving touchdown. Although he threw 2 interceptions, Big Ben still had a solid fantasy day with 349 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns (Antonio Brown, Marcus Wheaton, and Heath Miller). They lost running back Deangelo Williams early on in the game. If he is not healthy for the playoffs, Pittsburgh’s offensive game will be very one dimensional.

The Patriots Struggle

New England had already secured their spot in the playoffs and the division win, but this weekend they still had the AFC championship home field advantage on the line. They appeared to be putting in full effort for that goal with Brady taking the field. However, nothing seemed to be working in their offense. The offensive line provided Brady very little time to work with and lead receivers Amendola and Gronkowski caught only 2 passes each for minimal yardage. The lack of protection resulted in Brady leaving the game late and being replaced by Garoppolo. Things are not looking positive for the Pats going into the playoffs.

Houston Defense Dominates

JJ Watt is back and the Houston Defense is hitting their stride. They had a huge 8 sacks in their season leading fantasy performance (27 fantasy points). They had two interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a pick 6 while only allowing 6 points scored from the Ravens. Its a good time for them to be coming around too with their 9-7 record earning them the AFC South champions and a spot in the playoffs.

The Sheriff returns to the Field

This season has seemed to be a disaster for Peyton Manning. His body betrayed him in his final NFL season and when he was healthy enough to return, his job had been taken by Brock Osweiler. However, he had a chance to return to the field late in this week 17 game against the Chargers. He looked like his old self out there and potentially may have earned the starting spot in the playoffs. The Broncos have a week off which may be just what Peyton needs to be 100 percent ready to go.

Carolina Coasts it in

The Panthers didn’t have much of a problem getting the win over the Bucs. Their defense shut the Bucs to only 10 points while Cam Newton passed for almost 300 yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and ran a couple goal line touchdowns in himself. Carolina doesn’t seem to have any weaknesses going into the playoffs.

Seahawks take the top of the rankings

With a blowout victory this weekend over the top ranked Cardinals, the Seahawks are the top ranked team going into the playoffs. They have been getting better and better as the season goes and with the return of Marshawn Lynch for the playoffs, they seem unstoppable.

Posted in NFL

Wild Card Stacks to Look Out For

Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger

STAY AWAY FROM THIS STACK. At least for tournaments. This has been the most valuable stack all this year and in most likelihood, will be the best stack this weekend as well. But everybody is thinking that, and I expect the ownership on both of these players to be upwards of 50 percent. For those of you who aren’t DFS experts out there, high ownership is a bad thing. Think about it this way. If you stack the Steelers, just like all of your opponents, and they do well, then your still on the same level as 80 percent of your opponents and not guaranteed to win much money. However, if they have a bad game and you avoid that stack, they you are already ahead of 80 percent of your opponents and in the running to win some big money. So take my advice here, and avoid the Steelers if you are playing in a tournament type of contest.

Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed

This may be another highly owned stack, not quite as high as the steelers but Reed and Cousins have shown how dangerous they can be together with multiple games this season with 2 receiving touchdowns by Reed. The Skins are facing the struggling Packers as well. Cousins’ aggressive play gives him a very high fantasy upside.

Aaron Rodgers and James Jones/Randall Cobb/Richard Rodgers

Its hard to figure out who is going to be Aaron Rodgers’ favorite target each game. From week to week it can be any of the three, personally, I give the edge to James Jones since he always seems to get the long balls and red zone threats. Nobody is expecting much from Rodgers after a lackluster season so far but he has been here before, and he will show up for the playoffs. This is my favorite stack for the weekend, you just have to decide for yourself which receiver you think is going to get the targets.

Alex Smith and Jeremy Maclin

This stack could be valuable as the synergy between these two has been very solid as of late. Maclin seems to have taken over as Smith’s favorite receiver. However, facing the Houston defense may be a difficult task and it seems like the Chiefs have taken on a run first offense. You can guarantee the ownership will be lower on this stack than most other stacks so there is a high upside, but the matchup is not great. If you are entering multiple lineups, maybe throw this stack in one of them and roll the dice.

Posted in NFL

NFL Week 16 Review

Washington Shows up when it Counts

The Redskins won a “must-win” game against the Eagles on Saturday night locking up their playoff position. Kirk Cousins continues on his hot streak. He threw for 365 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns totaling 32.2 fantasy points. He connected with the weekend leading tight end, Jordan Reed 9 times for 129 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns for 36.9 fantasy points.

Big upsets around the League

This week saw losses from the top teams all over the league. These teams are already locks in the playoffs though so who knows if they were playing at the full level. The first loss was the Patriots overtime loss against the Jets. Brady played the whole game and produced very poor numbers: 231 passing yards, 1 passing touchdowns, and an interception for only 14.8 fantasy points. Fitzpatrick for the Jets provided some good fantasy value with 3 passing touchdowns (2 to Marshall and 1 to Decker), with 296 passing yards for 26.9 fantasy points.

The next big upset was the Falcons taking down the undefeated Panthers. Matt Ryan and Julio Jones got back in sync with Ryan totaling 306 passing yards and a touchdown (19.2 fantasy points) while Julio had 178 yards and a touchdown on 9 catches (35.8 fantasy points). Cam Newton threw for only 142 passing yards, no touchdowns.

Lastly, the Seahawks, who have been red hot over the past 4 weeks, fail to generate much offense against the Rams. Doug Baldwin, who totals 10 receiving touchdowns over the previous 4 weeks scored only 1 this weekend for 1 of 2 passing touchdowns by Wilson.

Johnny Football plays Running Back

Manziel put up the worst game of the weekend as far as passing stats but he helped save a little fantasy value by running the ball. While passing only 136 yards and 1 interception, he ran for 108 rushing yards on 11 attempts. This brought his total score to 17 fantasy points.

Megatron gets some attention

Calvin Johnson put up a decent game this week after catching only 1 pass in each of the previous 2 weeks. He caught 6 passes for 77 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. This made 19.7 fantasy points. Far from the 3 touchdown game he put up on Thanksgiving, but an improvement.

Brees and Bortles Shootout

The Jaguars and Saints had a high scoring shootout game, which is no surprise with those aggressive quarterbacks and weak secondaries. Although injured, Brees threw for 412 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns in the win, totaling 31.5 fantasy points. One was a long 71 yard touchdown pass to Cooks, giving him a 5 catch, 123 yard, 1 touchdown game (26.3 fantasy points)

Bortles was less effective throwing 2 interceptions, but with 368 passing yards and 4 passing touchdowns, he stayed close to Brees with 32 fantasy points.

Steelers finally stopped

Big Ben and Antonio Brown seemed unstoppable after putting up big numbers against the Broncos defense last weekend. They were finally stopped this weekend however by the likes of Baltimore. Roethlisberger only there for 215 yards and 2 interceptions, a measly 10.6 fantasy points. Brown had a touchdown get called back and ended the day with 7 receptions for 61 receiving yards and 13.1 fantasy points.

Cardinals and Vikings prove contenders

The Cardinals had a big 38 to 8 win over the Packers. Carson Palmer and the Cardinals prove to be serious contenders, especially with the other big teams showing poor results. There was no huge individual fantasy value in this game, only team contentions.

The Vikings won a blowout of their own winning 49 to 17 against the Giants. Minnesota was very effective running the ball with Peterson rushing 104 yards with a touchdown and McKinnon rushing 89 yards with 2 touchdowns.

Some Premium Receivers Deliver

Brandon Marshall caught 8 passes for 115 receiving yards and 2 receiving touchdowns. 31.5 fantasy points.

Deandre Hopkins caught 7 passes for 117 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown. 24.7 fantasy points.

Julio Jones caught 7 passes for 178 receiving yards and a touchdown. 35.8 fantasy points.

Allen Robinson caught 6 passes for 151 receiving yards and a touchdown. 30 fantasy points.

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Week 16 Value Picks

Quarterback

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The shootout of the weekend should be between Jacksonville and New Orleans, assuming Drew Brees is healthy enough to take the field after tearing his plantar last week (the same injury Peyton Manning is struggling with). These two quarterbacks love to throw the ball and their defenses love to let the ball be thrown. I give Bortles the fantasy edge though since the Saints defense is more flawed fundamentally and Bortles just loves to throw the ball way down the field.

Kirk Cousins could be a great value pick this weekend as well. He has been on fire lately and we see the weapons he has in Jordan Reed and DeSean Jackson (even Alfred Morris as well). Thats not even considering the fact that the Eagles secondary is great at making any quarterback look like Tom Brady out there.

Running Back

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As you can see from the above, there are not many great options at running back this week with the highest projected running back as Doug Martin (CHI @ TB) with only 20.6 projected points. You can spend the money at Running back if you wish and go with the likes of Doug Martin (CHI @ TB) and Matt Forte (CHI @ TB) in what should be a run off, or you can save your money for the higher value at the Receiver position and go for the bargain picks of Darren Sproles (WAS @ PHI), Tim Hightower (JAX @ NO), Christine Michael (STL @ SEA), or Ameer Abdullah (SF @ DET).

Wide Receiver

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The stack of the week should be Allen Robinson and Blake Bortles against the Saints. There is no denying that the Big Ben and Antonio Brown connection has been unstoppable this year, no matter what the matchup. He is going to cost you a pretty penny but fading Antonio Brown may just kill your chances of winning big, as it has plenty of weekends this year already.

Or you can go with Doug Baldwin who has scored over 10 touchdowns in the past 4 weeks. Can he keep this streak going against the Rams? I’m saying yes, not that he will score another 3 touchdowns, but he should be able to haul in 1 or 2 providing some good fantasy value. Seattle doesn’t seem to be stopping this charge until the season ends.

If you are trying to find a cheap value receiver to fill that last spot in your lineup with limited funds, you can look to Jeremy Maclin (CLE @ KC), John Brown (GB @ ARI), Michael Floyd (GB @ ARI), Willie Snead (JAX @ NO), Bradon Cooks (JAX @ NO), or Golden Tate (SF @ DET).

Tight End

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The tight end decision has been made easier in the previous couple weeks with Gronk out. Up until then the decision was go for Gronk, accept the 50+% ownership and $7000+ price tag and hope its his week, or choose from the list of alternative tight ends. The Gronk versus the field decision is back. This week it is easy though.

Gronk has not shown his dominance of previous years this season and is only projected about 1 point higher than the Saints‘ Benjamin Watson. The value picks here are Ebron and Kelce. Kelce has been stagnated slightly since his explosive start to the season and his salary reflects that decline. However, he has high end potential against the Browns, which is what you are going to need to win any big NFL Daily Fantasy Tournament. Ebron as well has shown brilliance at times this year and is getting more action lately with Calvin Johnson all of the sudden becoming obsolete in their offense. Ebron comes much cheaper than the other highly projected options and allows you to spend the cash where you want this week, with the receivers.

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NFL Week 16 Stacks to look out for

Blake Bortles and Allen Robinson

In terms of how he generates fantasy value, Bortles focuses on Quality over Quantity. By this I mean, he tends to only throw passes of 10 yards or more, and often far more. Looking at Jacksonville’s last game against the Falcons, he threw at least one 20+ yard pass to each of 5 different receivers. Robinson had a rare off game, only catching 3 passes for 57 yards, but he remains Bortles favorite target down the field. Jacksonville is facing the Saints, who although their pass defense has improved as of late, they still rank 3rd on the list of passing yards allowed with 278 passing yards per game.

Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown

If the Broncos can’t stop this dynamic duo, its hard to imagine anyone will be able to. Even against arguably the strongest defense in the NFL, Roethlisberger was able to total 380 passing yards, with Brown catching 16 passes for 189 yards and 2 touchdowns, leading the charts in week 15. Baltimore ranks 12th on the list of most passing yards allowed with 248 passing yards per game, compared to Denver who only allowed 188 passing yards per game (leading the NFL) going into week 15 where they were dominated by the Steelers.

Jimmy Clausen and Kamar Aiken

However, as strong as the Steelers’ offense is, they still are not a dominant team due to the weakness on the defensive side. They rank second in most passing yards allowed with 279 per game and if you are looking for a lower ownership, high risk stack, the Clausen and Aiken may be the stack for you. If you overlook the 2 interceptions Clausen threw last weekend, he put up some quality numbers (281 passing yards and 2 passing touchdowns) against a strong Chiefs defense. Aiken had 8 receptions for 73 receiving yards and a touchdown last week as well.

Kirk Cousins and DeSean Jackson

I probably don’t need to tell you how weak the Eagles secondary is and how disadvantaged they are to the long ball. Kirk Cousins should have a big game against the Eagles, my only debate here was which receiver to stack him with. Looking at the season as a whole, Jordan Reed is his favorite target but the Eagles’ weakness lies more in the secondary, which is where DeSean Jackson seems to dominate. Against the Bills last week he racked up 153 receiving yards on only 6 catches, averaging 25.5 yards per catch.

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