The red-hot Saints host the Falcons for a primetime Thanksgiving rematch between division rivals

The New Orleans Saints needed overtime to fend off the Atlanta Falcons in a 43-37 shootout back in Week 3. But much has changed since Sept. 23, as the Saints get set to face the rival Falcons for the second time this season Thanksgiving night inside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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New Orleans (9-1) has parlayed a league-best 38 points per game into nine consecutive victories and the NFL’s longest winning streak. The Saints’ most recent conquests include ending the Rams’ perfect season with a 45-35 victory in Week 9, followed by blowout wins against the Bengals (51-14) and the defending Super Bowl champion Eagles (48-7).

Things have taken a turn for the worse for the Falcons (4-6), who have now dropped two games in a row after reeling off three consecutive wins. Their most recent defeat came in the form of a heartbreaking 22-19 home loss to the Cowboys on Sunday. Atlanta now finds itself in must-win mode, sitting in third place in the NFC South. The Falcons will likely need to run the table to have any chance of securing a playoff spot. That lofty endeavor begins on Thursday night, as the desperate Falcons attempt to spoil Thanksgiving for the red-hot Saints by exacting revenge with a huge upset victory.

The Falcons lead the all-time series against the Saints by a slight 52-47 margin. The Saints have won each of the last two games in the rivalry.

Atlanta at New Orleans

Kickoff: Thursday, Nov. 22 at 8:20 p.m. ET

TV: NBC

Spread: Saints -13

Three Things to Watch

1. A surging New Orleans pass defense

Matt Ryan led an all-out aerial assault against an easily exploitable Saints’ pass defense when these teams met back in Week 3. It resulted in a career-best outing for the former NFL MVP quarterback, who completed 74 percent of his passes for 374 yards with five touchdowns and zero interceptions. Rookie wide receiver Calvin Ridley also took advantage with a monster performance of his own (7 catches for 146 yards and 3 touchdowns).

While New Orleans still ranks just 27th in the NFL against the pass (280 ypg) heading into the Thanksgiving rematch, the Saints have been anything but vulnerable against opposing passing games of late. They have allowed just 154 passing yards per game and one TD pass over their last two games, tallying five interceptions and seven sacks in the process. Can the Saints keep it going against a high-powered passing attack that has already torched them once this season?

The Saints’ chief objective will be a difficult one — shut down the Matt Ryan to Julio Jones/Ridley connection. Jones leads the NFL with 1,158 receiving yards, and the elite wideout is currently in the midst of a streak that includes 100-plus yards in each of his last five contests, with a touchdown in three consecutive games. But Jones hasn’t had much luck finding the end zone against the Saints, registering just one touchdown catch in his last nine games against them. And Ridley may have trouble filling the void this time around after going relatively quiet since that breakout performance in Week 3.

2. Can the Falcons slow down the Saints offense?

They certainly didn’t accomplish that goal the first time, as New Orleans racked up 43 points and 534 yards against them. And much better defenses have tried and failed since that time. The good news is that the Atlanta defense, which allows 405 yards per game on average (29th in the NFL), could get a big boost on Thursday night if Pro Bowl linebacker Deion Jones is able to make his long-awaited return from injury. Jones has been particularly effective against the Saints in four career games, recording an impressive 38 tackles, five tackles for a loss and three interceptions. But even with Jones, it is still going to be a very tall order for the Falcons to contain the blazing Saints offense.

New Orleans has been virtually unstoppable on that side of the football over the last three weeks, averaging an NFL-best 514 yards and 48 points per game during that stretch. Drew Brees, who accounted for more than 400 yards and five touchdowns (2 rushing) in the Week 3 victory over the Falcons, continues to play at a nearly flawless level. And the same can be said for offensive standouts Michael Thomas (82 catches, 1,042 receiving yards, 8 TDs) and Alvin Kamara (1,185 all-purpose yards, 15 TDs). Mark Ingram, who was suspended for the first meeting, adds to an already difficult challenge for the Falcons’ defense this time around.

3. Atlanta run game vs. New Orleans’ run defense

Atlanta produced a season-low 48 rushing yards against the Saints in the first matchup, which was a big factor in the Falcons losing that game. They will most likely suffer the same fate if they fail to find some semblance of success with the run game on Thursday night. It will be paramount for Atlanta to control the clock and keep the Saints’ potent offense off the field as much as possible to have a chance.

Of course, that is easier said than done, especially for an Atlanta run game that is averaging only 88.8 rushing yards per game (29th in the NFL) in the absence of star running back Devonta Freeman. That task is further compounded by a Saints run defense that allows only 77.9 rushing yards per game (No. 2 in the NFL). Atlanta running backs, Tevin Coleman and Ito Smith, will have their work cut out for them.

Final Analysis

The Falcons are one of the few teams that have been able to give the Saints a run for their money this season. However, it took a career-best performance from Matt Ryan to make that possible. And these two teams have gone in vastly different directions since Week 3. Even if Atlanta plays the best game it can possibly play on Thursday night, it’s unlikely that it will be enough to pull off the Thanksgiving upset against the surging Saints on the road. New Orleans is simply on a different level right now.

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Posted in NFL, Top Fantasy Picks

Preview: Giants at Falcons

Quarterback Matt Ryan and the Atlanta Falcons withstood a late comeback to end a three-game slide last weekend in what may have been a season-saving victory. That’s pretty much the same position the reeling New York Giants and the much-maligned Eli Manning find themselves in when they head to Atlanta to take on the Falcons on Monday Night Football.

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One season after finishing 3-13 and winding up with prize running back Saquon Barkley with the No. 2 pick in the NFL Draft, New York is off to a 1-5 start amid growing cries that Manning needs to be yanked from the starting lineup. “I know he’s the punching bag right now,” Giants co-owner John Mara told reporters earlier this week. “But a lot of guys need to play better when you’re 1-5.” Atlanta has plenty of issues of its own — namely injuries — but still has Ryan and favorite target Julio Jones, the subject of pregame hype with New York’s Odell Beckham Jr. on the opposite sideline. “In our league today, there are a handful of receivers who garner that special attention,” Falcons coach Dan Quinn said. “It just so happens that two of them are matched up this week. They are different players, but really effective in their own right.”

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Falcons -4. O/U: 54

ABOUT THE GIANTS (1-5): Barkley has lived up to his pre-draft hype, rushing for 130 yards and a touchdown and catching nine balls for 99 yards in a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Oct. 11. Barkley has a chance to make history against the Falcons and join Kansas City’s Kareem Hunt as the only players to pile up at least 100 yards from scrimmage in seven consecutive games to begin their career. Manning continues to have trouble connected with Beckham and has averaged 6.5 yards or fewer per pass attempt in four of six games. New York’s defense has allowed 27 points per game and is tied for last in the league with 7.0 sacks.

ABOUT THE FALCONS (2-4): Ryan is third in the NFL with 1,956 passing yards and has 12 touchdowns and zero interceptions over the past four games after throwing for 340 yards and three scores in last week’s win over Tampa Bay. Jones had 10 catches for 144 yards against the Buccaneers and is second in the league with 708 yards, but he has yet to find the end zone after scoring only three touchdowns in 2017. With Devanta Freeman going on injured reserve following groin surgery this week, Tevin Coleman and rookie Ito Smith will share the load in the backfield. Atlanta is 30th in total defense (417.2 yards) and 31 in points allowed (32.0).

EXTRA POINTS

1. Ryan has an NFL-best 1,432 yards and 128.2 passer rating since Week 3.

2. Giants TE Evan Engram is expected to return after sitting out the last three games.

3. Falcons DE Takk McKinley has 4.5 sacks in the last five games.

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Posted in NFL, Top Fantasy Picks

NFL 2018 Season Opener

Atlanta Falcons vs Philadelphia Eagles Preview

The Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles are the last two NFC Super Bowl representatives. The difference between them is the Falcons lost a historic comeback to the New England Patriots while the Eagles found a way to sneak past them.

Now, the defending champions of Super Bowl LII kick off the year on Thursday night with a Patriots-like target on their back. There are few who want to hit the bullseye more than the Falcons, the team who came the closest to stopping the Eagles’ scintillating playoff run with a heartbreaking 15-10 loss in Philadelphia in the Divisional Round. If Julio Jones catches a fourth-down pass with 1:05 remaining Nick Foles may never have become the NFL’s No. 1-selling jersey, surpassing even reigning MVP Tom Brady.

But the Eagles not only survived that game but thrived with their backup quarterback. That’s important because it’s Foles who will be called on to defeat the Falcons once again. Head coach Doug Pederson, initially dodging the question with increasingly testy language this week, announced starter Carson Wentz won’t have medical clearance yet from his torn ACL.

But that’s not the only Eagle banged up entering an NFL season opener where injuries are already playing a key role. Can Matt Ryan, fresh off a $30 million-per-year contract extension take advantage and earn the Falcons a crucial early tiebreaker in what’s expected to be a crowded NFC playoff race?

Series History: 34 meetings (Eagles lead 19-14-1)
Last Meeting: Eagles 15, Falcons 10 (2018 NFC Divisional Round)

Atlanta at Philadelphia

Kickoff: Thursday, Sept. 6 at 8:20 p.m. ET
TV: NBC
Spread: Eagles -2

Three Things to Watch

1. Can Foles reclaim the playoff magic he had back In January?

After a bizarre few days in which Doug Pederson, normally a mild-mannered guy with the media, lashed out over reporting Nick Foles was his starting quarterback the decision was made public Monday afternoon. Carson Wentz, despite looking great in preseason workouts, has not yet been cleared for contact as team doctors remain overly cautious about medical clearance.

That means Foles will be back in command. But which streaky QB will we see? He was brilliant during the playoffs last year, throwing for 971 yards, six touchdowns and just one interception in three games. That included a workmanlike 246 yards against the Falcons, a 75 percent completion rate and QB rating of 100.1 despite failing to throw for a touchdown.

Foles managed the game well, finding his footing against the Falcons in that second half. But up until that point, there was little reason to believe he’d rise to the occasion. Foles had some shaky games as a starter, throwing for just 481 yards in the final three-plus regular season games replacing Wentz. Aside from a four-TD, no-INT performance against the lowly Giants he was… forgettable.

That mediocrity cropped up during an ugly preseason. Foles failed to throw for a touchdown in two games’ worth of action, going 16 for 26 with two interceptions and an unsightly QB rating of 48.7. His picks against last year’s 0-16 Cleveland Browns resulted in a 5-0 loss in what may be the ugliest NFL preseason game nationally televised. The throws didn’t have zip, timing with the receivers was off and Foles looked nothing like a guy who pinned Tom Brady down on the mat just seven months earlier.

This version of Foles also has fewer offensive options to choose from. Top receiver Alshon Jeffery is injured and will not play. Running back LeGarrette Blount is no longer with the team. Last year’s promising rookie Mack Hollins is banged up. He’ll need to be more of a difference-maker.

But running back Jay Ajayi should keep the pressure off Foles and the defense on their toes, respecting the run. The team will likely rely on a lot of two-tight end sets with Pro Bowler Zach Ertz and rookie Dallas Goedert, one of the few preseason standouts for the Eagles on offense. There will be opportunities for Foles to throw the ball with time.

Can he deliver?

2. Rebuilding the Matt Ryan-Julio Jones connection

It was that near miss between Ryan and Jones that killed off the Falcons’ season. But that typified what became an off year for a duo that experienced a Super Bowl hangover. Ryan threw for just 20 touchdowns last year, his lowest total since his rookie season of 2008, and looked a step below the first team All-Pro that nearly won it all a year earlier. As for Jones, his numbers held up better but he found the end zone just three times. His longest catch was just 53 yards, a career low while his yards per catch ticked down slightly to 16.4.

But make no mistake, this duo remains the core of the Falcons. The team committed five years and $150 million to the 33-year-old Ryan this offseason, making him the NFL’s first $30 million man. They then tweaked Jones’ deal before training camp when his $14.25 million yearly salary had dropped him to ninth best at the wide receiver position. It’s clear this team will live or die with these two going forward.

They should thrive. Atlanta’s issues in the red zone last year were well known, scoring a TD just 49.2 percent of the time (ranking just 23rd in the NFL). Those numbers, to some degree are cyclical and should bounce back this year with more options. Wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, in particular, is one of the game’s better No. 2 receivers and is joined by rookie Calvin Ridley from Alabama. This group will relearn how to score.

“The thing is, we just have to take what people give us,” Jones said earlier this week. “We’re not going to force anything down there. We [have] a lot of new wrinkles in the red zone.”

Offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian says those tricks will be revealed as soon as this Thursday. I expect them to figure things out.

3. Defense, defense, defense

Jim Schwartz’s defensive unit will be asked to step up early this season with so many Eagles hurt. They looked outstanding late in the preseason, giving up a total of 14 points over the final two games against the Browns and Jets.

Big things are expected from Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham as they anchor what was the fourth-best defense in the league last season. The key will be how Schwartz chooses to play his linebackers with Nigel Bradham serving a one-game suspension. Kamu Grugier-Hill and Nate Gerry, bit players on last year’s Super Bowl run, will assume starting roles as the defense gets a little green. At least Jordan Hicks is returning from last year’s injury and will make an immediate impact.

The Falcons, meanwhile feel their defense is consistently underrated. Ninth in the league last year, they’re built on speed and swarm to the football under the leadership of linebacker Deion Jones. Named to his first Pro Bowl last year, Jones is ready to step up a level in 2018 and will pose a problem for an Eagles offensive line that was inconsistent at times in the preseason.

Final Analysis

On paper, the Eagles have regressed, particularly on offense with so many people hurt. The Falcons come in looking to prove themselves. Add in an ugly preseason in Philadelphia and you would think this game tilts the Falcons’ way.

And yet… head coach Pederson remains a wild card. His emotional outburst a few days ago was out of character but he very much has command of his locker room. His understanding on how to bring this team together, mixing in a solid work ethic with fun and team camaraderie lifted them far beyond their ability in 2017. He’s stressed repeatedly this summer they’ve earned nothing, starting at the bottom of the barrel and recognizing the target that lies on their back.

Add in a built-in special teams advantage known as 61-yard field goal kicker Jake Elliott, the home-field edge playing at Lincoln Financial Field and it feels like the Eagles will somehow find a way.

Posted in NFL, Top Fantasy Picks

Complete NFC South Preview

Here is a look at what you can expect from the Falcons, Saints, Panthers and Bucs this season…

New Orleans Saints

The Saints are the class of the NFC South and ready to compete with the Eagles, Vikings, Rams and Packers for NFC supremacy. The offense remains one of the most dynamic in the NFL, and the talented young defense should only be better with experience. The Saints face a brutal schedule and will do well to equal last year’s 11-5 record, but they’ll again be a factor in the NFC playoff race and are a solid sleeper pick to go all the way.

Atlanta Falcons

The Falcons are never the flashy arrival to the ball, but they stand to be one of the more competitive teams in the NFL this season. The addition of wide receiver Calvin Ridley to the offense could be a stroke of genius to get back to their high-scoring ways. Rookie Isaiah Oliver might be the final piece to what could be a dominant secondary, and the youth on the defensive line could give the team some extra push in the pass rush and run support. Still, offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian’s maturity into a capable play caller is the story to watch going forward and could be what separates a good Falcons team from a great one.

Carolina Panthers

The Panthers don’t look that much different on paper from the team that finished 15-1 in 2015 and made it to the Super Bowl. Many of the core players from that memorable squad remain. But it is fair for Panthers fans to wonder if the team is wasting QB Cam Newton and MLB Luke Kuechly prime years. Personnel holes and various injuries in the secondary, at wide receiver and in the offensive line have hamstrung much of the past two seasons — and Newton has never totally regained his NFL MVP form of 2015, either.

This team could go a long way, but a lot of things have to break right. Kuechly and Newton have to stay healthy and play at an elite level. Another legitimate receiving threat must emerge. The secondary has to be better. Running back Christian McCaffrey has to take another step forward.

If all of that happens, the Panthers could win it all. More likely, this is a team that will remain in the postseason picture in the increasingly difficult NFC South.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach Dirk Koetter and general manager Jason Licht are on the hot seat. Licht is well aware that his reshaped roster needs to produce. And he’s confident the right moves have been made.

“Last year, there’s no sugar-coating the disappointment,’’ he says of a season in which the Bucs were 3-7 in one-score games. “I feel like we were a much better team than our record suggested, and we’ve talked over and over about the close games that we were in and the ones that we couldn’t find a way to finish. I feel like we’ve added some really quality players that have been in those situations. Not that that’s always the answer, but I just love this locker room. I love the heartbeat of this locker room. I love the vibe, and I think we’re a lot closer than some people think. I think we have a chance to do something really good.”

Quarterback Jameis Winston needs to re-establish himself as a quarterback capable of getting his team to the postseason. The schedule is much tougher, especially in September. If the rebuilt defense is successful and running back Ronald Jones II restores balance to the offense, the Bucs will be contenders again in a tight division. If not, they could easily repeat their last-place finish.

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Posted in NFL

NFL Season Preview

 2016 NFC South Fantasy Football Season Preview

With the NFL season kicking off in 4 weeks, the excitement is electrifying for this upcoming campaign and FanPicks will be previewing all eight divisions these upcoming days, continuing by the NFL’s NFC South. Take advantage of our MLB and NFL Cross Sports contests, unique in the fantasy industry but first enjoy this 2016 NFC South Fantasy Football Season Preview article brought you by Fanpicks.

 2016 NFC South Fantasy Football Season Preview

Atlanta Falcons

Just when Devonta Freeman looks like a good Fantasy pick, the Falcons schedule hits you like a ton of bricks. Four road games in the first six weeks include back-to-back games at Denver and at a rested Seattle team. They also play at Tampa on a short week and at Carolina in Week 16. Home games include the Chargers, Packers, Cardinals and Chiefs — not easy games. Freeman’s going to have to get a lot done in the passing game.

 

Key Additions:  C Alex Mack, DE Derrick Shelby, WR Mohamed Sanu

Key Losses: DT Paul Soliai, DE O’Brien Schofield, DE Kroy Biermann, G Chris Chester, WR Roddy White

 

Carolina Panthers

It’s a tougher slate than what they had in 2015 but it’s not a dangerous gauntlet. Maybe the biggest issue is that there’s no stretch where they can dominate offensively for five or six weeks at a time. Leading off at Denver, then taking on the Vikings in Week 3, then a showdown with the Cardinals in Week 8 is an example. Back-to-back West Coast games are brutal. Cam Newton should remain productive but don’t expect a year like the one he just had.

 

Key Additions: Di Paul Soliai, C Gino Gradkowski

Key Losses:  ED Jared Allen (Retired), WR Jerricho Cotchery, P Brad Nortman

 

New Orleans Saints

Drew Brees’ arm is going to fall off. The matchups are either sweet for the Saints passing game or will require the Saints to put up a ton of points to keep up. Then again, is that really different than normal? Check out this horrid six-game stretch starting in Week 6: at Carolina, at Kansas City, Seattle, at San Francisco, Denver and at Carolina on a Thursday. That stretch could be an eyesore for Mark Ingram.

 

Key Additions: TE Coby Fleener, LB James Laurinaitis, LB Nathan Stupar

Key Losses: WR Marques Colston, TE Ben Watson, CB Brandon Browner, HB Khiry Robinson, G Jahri Evans


 Tampa Bay Buccaneers

t’s a tough start for the Buccaneers — they play at Arizona, vs. Los Angeles, vs. Denver and at Carolina in Weeks 2 through 5. But after their Week 6 bye they have a lot of good-looking matchups including a potential foursome of shootouts in Weeks 13 through 16 (at San Diego, vs. New Orleans, at Dallas, at New Orleans). Draft the Bucs and be patient with them.

 

Key Additions:  ED Robert Ayers, G J.R. Sweezy, LB Daryl Smith, CB Brent Grimes, CB Josh Robinson

Key Losses: G Logan Mankins (retired), LB Bruce Carter, LB Danny Lansanah

 

Posted in NFL

NFC South

NFL Fantasy Draft Needs Preview

While the first wave of free agency is settling quietly, draft needs are clearer. Only a few days until the 2016 NFL Draft and the next 72 hours will be extremely busy strategically. With so many speculations going on in the league, FanPicks will be providing a special  draft contest for you starting on April 28th 2016. This NFL Fantasy Draft Needs preview is brought you by FanPicks.com.

Atlanta Falcons

With only 5 picks this draft, the Falcon’s priority should lie in getting more pass rush to pair up Vic Beasley off the edge. On top of that, their back end of their secondary could use a little help if their willing to get a safety. The question is however, how early in the draft would they make that movie? They need some kind of leader in defense to reminisce the last few years when they had some of the most talented linebacking corps in the league. They’ve been attempting to upgrade their offensive line aggressively but there’s still some room to improve in that sector.

Top 3 round picks: 17th and 50th, 81th selections.

Carolina Panthers

With Josh Norman gone and rescinding his franchise tag, this leaves a huge gap to fill at the cornerback position. Their GM is sure that their pass rush can make any cornerback look good, explaining his move on letting go Norman. They need to replace Charles Johnson in the long run at defensive end and will definitely try to get the best available player left at that position.

Top 3 round picks: 30th and 62nd, 93rd selections.

New Orleans Saints

New Orleans has had trouble stopping passing teams and despite 3rd round CB P.J. Williams being on the injured reserve list, they should try to find more talent for that position. They’ve had a track record of stockpiling picks but this year for the first time since 1997, will be trading down. As they tried to rebuild their base, they went from 9 picks in 2015 to only 6 picks this year to work with. Not only they need to strengthen defensively, but a big guy that could blow some holes for Mark Ingram and guard Drew Brees could put them back as threats in the league.

Top 3 round picks: 12th and 47th, 78th selections.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

The Bucks need to focus on defense since they just drafted one single defensive player the past 2 years. They should look for an athletic young replacement for Gosder Cherilus, something we may see in the first 2 or 3 rounds. Robert Ayers’s arrival may help at defensive end, but Tampa Bay could use more competition in the CB and Safety positions. Look out for them to really go full out on D this draft.

Top 3 round picks: 9th and 39th, 74th selections.

Posted in NFL

NFL Week 17 Stacks to look out for

Choosing your stack in week 17 is a difficult thing to do. Most playoff implications are already determined so a Cam Newton/Ted Ginn stack will not be beneficial, even against the Bucs. The other side is true as well, even against the Saints defense, Matt Ryan and Julio Jones may not bring full effort with nothing on the line.

Stafford and Johnson Stack

While Calvin Johnson has been very unproductive lately, catching only one pass in each week 14 and 15, he has since turned things around with 6 catches for 77 yards and a touchdown. While not huge fantasy value, this is a good sign going into week 17 against the Bears. While neither team has much to play for, Stafford and Johnson may be able to load up on the garbage time points.

Eli Manning and Odell Beckham

While the Giants don’t have anything on the line this week against the Eagles, Odell could be looking to have a big game after his week 16 suspension. The Eli Manning and Odell Beckham connection is one of the most dangerous in the NFL, and facing the Eagles poor secondary, they will connect for more than a couple long balls.

Kirk Cousins and Jordan Reed

After two consecutive high scoring weeks between these two, it may be too much to ask for another one. Reed has shown to be the Redskins top receiver scoring 4 touchdowns in the past 2 weeks. Although they have locked up their spot in the playoffs, they may come out strong against the Cowboys before starting to rest up starters.

Matt Ryan and Julio Jones

This stack is somewhat risky with both of these two showing poor performances as of late. After a strong start to the season, the Falcons seem to be falling apart. They however did upset the undefeated Panthers last week, moving in a positive direction for these two players. We all know how valuable this stack can be when they are both on their game. Plus, with the Saints secondary on pass coverage, Julio should not have much opposition.

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.

Posted in NFL

NFL Fantasy Draft News 12-26-2015

New York Giants versus Minnesota Vikings NFL Fantasy Preview 12-27-2015

The Sunday Night Football game will feature the Minnesota Vikings facing the New York Giants. NFL fantasy draft GMs can tune to NBC TV on Sunday December 27th to track the scoring results of their one day league real money picks.

When the Giants take the field on Sunday night they will know if they are still in the hunt for an NFC East division title. A Washington Redskins victory on Saturday will eliminate the Giants from the playoffs. Don’t get caught up too much on that. Under head coach Tom Coughlin the team has shown the professionalism to play hard even when games are meaningless. New York has a very good offense ranking sixth in the NFL in both scoring and passing offense. They throw for 270 yards and average 26.6 points per game. At issue for New York is they will be without their huge playmaker on offense as wide receiver Odell Beckham has been suspended for one game and will miss Sunday night’s game. The Giants are the worst defensive team in the NFL. They allow 308 yards passing per game which is 32nd and last in the league.

Minnesota has defended the pass very well ranking seventh in the league. With Odell Beckham gone and a bad running game for the Giants it could give the Vikings some looks to take on defense. Expect the Giants to spread the ball out to their receivers, tight ends and backs and it’s hard to make a case for the Vikings defense or any of the Giants offensive weapons.

Here are the Fantasy Football Picks

Teddy Bridgewater is going to pass against the worst defense in the NFL. He is coming off one of his best games of his two year career as he threw for 231 yards and four touchdowns in a win against the Bears. Two weeks ago at Arizona, it as Bridgewater throwing for a touchdown and 335 yards on the road against a very good defensive team.

Play on Teddy Bridgewater

Minnesota Vikings QB

Carolina Panthers versus Atlanta Falcons NFL Real Money Fantasy Preview 12-27-2015

The Atlanta Falcons are clinging to their slim playoff hopes as the host the Carolina Panthers. Fantasy football draft managers can check out FOX TV at 1PM Eastern Time on Sunday December 27th the following the results of their DFS roster selections.

The Carolina Panthers are 14-0 and had to hold off some tough challenges by the New Orleans Saints and New York Giants in recent weeks. The Panthers defense allowed 35 points at New Orleans and 35 points at the New York Giants over their past two games. The Falcons are looking to get some revenge from an embarrassing 38-0 loss at Carolina. Atlanta has moved the football effectively this year by averaging 268 yards per game through the air ranking seventh best in the NFL.

Here are the Fantasy Football Picks

The Panthers have shown vulnerability in pass coverage allowing some big plays on the road for touchdowns and long gains. Julio Jones leads the Panthers with 118 catches for 1544 yards and will have a career high in both categories once the regular season ends. Jones is coming off a nice outing at Jacksonville last week with nine catches for 118 yards and a touchdown. He has seven receptions or greater in seven of his past eight games.

Play Julio Jones

Atlanta Falcons WR

Carolina tight end Greg Olsen continues to lead the Panthers with 71 catches for 1048 yard with seven touchdowns. He caught six balls for 79 yards and a touchdown last week at the Giants. He is the main man for Newton to go to in the red zone.

Play Greg Olsen

Carolina Panthers TE

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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.

Posted in NFL

NFL Fantasy Draft News 12-9-2015

 

Pittsburgh Steelers versus Cincinnati Bengals NFL Real Money Fantasy Preview 12-13-2015

 

A good one is scheduled from the AFC North division as the Cincinnati Bengals will be hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Fantasy football draft GM’s can tune to CBS TV on Sunday December 13th to track the results of the DFS roster picks.

 

The Pittsburgh Steelers are coming off an impressive offensive performance on Sunday night as they crushed the Indianapolis Colts last week by the score of 45-10. The team has scored 30 or greater points in four straight games. Their first meeting this year with the Bengals resulted in a 16-10 loss at home. Ben Roethlisberger threw for 262 yards and a touchdown but had three picks in defeat. On the other side Andy Dalton passed for 231 yards and a touchdown but had two interceptions. Each team was 1 of 3 inside the red zone. The Steelers have really improved their offensive play since. Scoring 30 points at Seattle on November 29th was impressive offensively but it was just unfortunate that the team gave up 39 points to the Seahawks.

 

Cincinnati has shown offensive spark as well by tallying 31 or greater points in three straight and four of their past five games. The lone exception came on a short week as they lost a 10-6 decision at Houston on a Thursday night game.

Here is the Fantasy Football Pick

 

Pittsburgh Steelers QB:

 

Ben Roethlisberger

Ben Roethlisberger is putting up some impressive numbers again. He has good chemistry with his receiving corps. They throw a lot since the team has not had the success running the football in recent seasons like the Bengals. Cincinnati is a bit more balanced on offense. But in fantasy you want to take advantage of the point potential out of players who play on teams that have a high ratio of pass versus run or vice versa when isolating a running back. Big Ben is hitting on 66% of his throws for 2707 yards with 15 touchdowns and 9 picks. Last week he had four touchdown passes against the Indianapolis Colts with 364 yards passing.

Atlanta Falcons versus Carolina Panthers NFL Fantasy Preview 12-13-2015

 

Two NFC South rivals meet from the NFL on Sunday as the Carolina Panthers are home to the Atlanta Falcons. DFS draft GM’s can tune to FOX on December 13th at 1PM Eastern Time to track the results of their one day fantasy league picks.

Here are the NFL Fantasy Picks for your Real Money League

 

Play Carolina Panthers defense

 

Carolina at a perfect 12-0 has already clinched the NFC South division and is looking to stay ahead of Arizona for home field throughout the NFC playoffs. The Atlanta Falcons enter play with a mark of 6-6 and is in the hunt for a wildcard berth. Carolina has been an outstanding defensive team. They rank 3rd in the league in total defense by allowing 314 yards per game. They are seventh against the pass and second against the run. After early season success the Atlanta offense has become stagnant. They have been held to under 20 points in two straight and three of their past four games. Look for the Carolina defense to tighten up after giving up some big plays to a dynamic New Orleans offense on the road last week.

 

Carolina Panthers TE:

 

Greg Olsen

 

With the injuries to the Panthers receiving corps during training camp it was tight end Greg Olsen now leading the team with 62 catches for 917 yards and six touchdowns. He is averaging a career best 14.8 yards per catch on the year. The option run game the Panthers run has frozen linebackers giving Olsen space to operate in the passing game.

 

 

Posted in NFL

Atlanta Falcons versus New Orleans Saints Thursday Night Football Fantasy League Picks 10-15-2015

Thursday Night Football has two rivals from the NFC South going head to head as the New Orleans Saints will host the Atlanta Falcons. NFL fantasy football draft GM’s can tune to CBS TV on October 15th at 8:30PM Eastern Time to follow the scoring results of their roster picks.

Many had pegged the Falcons to be a turnaround team with the head coaching change during the offseason. Atlanta is now 5-0 after they got past the Washington Redskins at home in overtime on Sunday afternoon. The win came from their defense as Robert Alford intercepted a Kirk Cousins pass and returned it 59 yards for the overtime game winning touchdown. The Falcons moved the football last week with 408 total yards with 176 coming from their ground game. Atlanta did a good job defensively last week against the good Washington run game by limiting the Redskins to just 51 yards rushing on their 24 attempts for just about two yards a carry. On the season the Atlanta Falcons are third in the league in scoring offense as they produce 32 points per game on the season. The Falcons are the top rush defense in the NFL and sit in the middle of the league in scoring defense by giving up 22.4 points per game on the season.

The New Orleans Saints were pegged as a team on the decline by many industry pundits. So far the critics have been right about this team as they enter this home date with a 1-4 record. Their only win came at home in overtime to a Dallas Cowboys team without their starting quarterback Tony Romo and top playmaker in the passing game in Dez Bryant. They traveled to Philadelphia last week and were routed 39-17 in a game where they turned it over four times. The Saints defense was ripped by the Eagles offense for 519 yards with 186 yards rushing by Philadelphia. On the year the Saints are the worst defense in the NFL by surrendering an average of 409 yards per game to their opponents. New Orleans still hasn’t been able to get a run game to support their passing game. The Saints rush for 85 yards a game which is 29th in the league.

Atlanta Falcons QB:

Matt Ryan

The veteran quarterback has hit on 65% of his throws this year with six touchdowns and four picks. He had his worst game of the year against a good defensive team in Washington and completed 57% of his throws for 254 yards with no touchdowns and two picks. A check of the odds for this game and we see an over under line of 51 points which is high for a Thursday night game with little rest and prep time. Still the oddsmakers think this will be a high scoring game so Ryan could provide value on one day fantasy leagues.

Atlanta Falcons RB:

Devonta Freeman

There were some whispers that rookie Tevin Coleman would take away carries from Freeman. Devonta Freeman had his best game of the year last week with 153 yards rushing on 27 carries and a touchdown. Prior to that performance he had nearly five yards a carry in the home win to Houston.

Atlanta Falcons WR:

Julio Jones

Health has always been an issue for the Falcons star wide out. He leads the team with 43 catches for 545 yards and four touchdowns. Jones is without touchdown reception the past two games.

New Orleans Saints QB:

Drew Brees

Brees has hit on 66% of his throws this year for 1304 yards with six touchdowns and three picks. He threw for 335 yards and two touchdowns last week in the loss to Philadelphia.

New Orleans Saints RB:

Mark Ingram

The veteran back leads New Orleans with 68 rushes for 261 yards and two touchdowns. He has yet to rush for 100 yards this season with his high just 77 yards. Ingram is running for just 3.8 yards a carry.

New Orleans Saints WR:

Willie Snead

Seeing his first year on the field Snead leads the Saints with 22 catches for 381 yards and a touchdown. He caught six balls last week against the Eagles for 141 yards.

NFL Thursday Night Football Cash League Fantasy Picks

QB: Matt Ryan (Falcons)

RB: Devonta Freeman (Falcons)

WR: Julio Jones (Falcons), Willie Snead (Saints)

TE: Benjamin Watson (Saints)

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