Tag: Carolina Panthers
Preview: Panthers at Steelers
After beginning their winning streak versus one Keystone State representative, the Carolina Panthers bid for their fourth straight victory against another on Thursday when they invade Heinz Field to face the Pittsburgh Steelers. Cam Newton led three fourth-quarter touchdown drives to upend defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia on Oct. 21 before tossing two more scoring strikes in wins over Baltimore and Tampa Bay.
“Listen, we may not necessarily be the best team in the league, but we’re damn sure going to be the best team when we play. That’s all that matters,” Newton said. The 2015 NFL Most Valuable Player has thrown at least two touchdown passes in seven consecutive games, and he’d set a franchise record should he repeat the feat versus Pittsburgh. Steelers running back James Conner also can scribble his name among the franchise’s elite should he rush for 100-plus yards in his fifth consecutive game — joining Pro Football Hall of Famers Franco Harris and Jerome Bettis. The 23-year-old Conner has amassed a staggering 689 yards on 108 touches (88 carries, 20 receptions) over his last four games, including 163 yards (107 rushing, 56 receiving) in Pittsburgh’s 23-16 win over arch-rival Baltimore on Sunday.
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: Steelers -4. O/U: 51.5
ABOUT THE PANTHERS (6-2): The elusive Christian McCaffrey can give Conner a run for his money after totaling 157 scrimmage yards (79 rushing, 78 receiving) in Sunday’s 42-28 win over Tampa Bay. “He is an athletic, dynamic football player who just makes plays for us,” coach Ron Rivera said of the 22-year-old McCaffrey, who also found the end zone twice for the second week in a row after scoring one touchdown in his previous six games. Tight end Greg Olsen made a twisting one-handed catch versus the Buccaneers to reel in a scoring strike for the third straight outing. Star linebacker Luke Kuechly leads the team with 64 tackles in 2018 and had a club-best 14 in the last meeting with Pittsburgh, albeit in a 37-19 setback in September 2014.
ABOUT THE STEELERS (5-2-1): Ben Roethlisberger says he’s not a fan of Thursday games, and he let his listeners know why on his weekly radio show this week. “I’m sure the fans like (Thursday night games); they like seeing football as often as they can,” the 36-year-old Roethlisberger said. “Players? (Sighs) It’s like, ‘Oh here we go, short week, especially after a Baltimore game where you’re physically beat up.'” Roethlisberger has thrown seven touchdowns without an interception in his last two Thursday contests while Antonio Brown has reeled in three scoring strikes in each of his last two such tilts. The 30-year-old Brown has flourished during games on other days as well, collecting eight touchdowns in his last six games overall as well as finding the end zone on two occasions to go along with 10 catches in his last encounter with Carolina.
1. Pittsburgh WR JuJu Smith-Schuster leads the team in receptions (53), receiving yards (672) and 20-plus-yard catches (nine).
2. Rivera said he is optimistic that C Ryan Kalil (ankle) will play versus the Steelers despite failing to practice on Tuesday.
3. Pittsburgh lost its first-ever encounter with Carolina before winning the last five in the series.
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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.
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.
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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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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
NFL Free Agent Tracker
When the NFL Free Agency period begins at 4pm (est), these signings can become official. Until then, they are just agreements with no ink on paper due to league tampering laws.
Here we bring you the latest league news in our NFL Free Agent Tracker.
Olivier Vernon has signed a record breaking 5-year $85 million deal with the New York Giants($52.2M guaranteed). They have now signed Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins to improve their defense.
Bears sign T Bobby Massie to a 3-year contract. He comes from the Arizona Cardinals.
RT Mitchell Schwartz is leaving the Browns for the Chiefs.
Matt Forte will be dawning green next season, as he signs with the New York Jets to fill their need at RB.
Mohammed Sanu is off to Atlanta…to at least visit. Rumour is he will sign a 5-year $35M deal with the Falcons. They also locked up Matt Schaub to backup Matt Ryan.
Houston was just involved in a trio of moves, gaining two and losing one. The biggest of all..former Denver Broncos QB Brock Osweiler signs a 4-year deal worth $72 million.
Former Texan gaurd Brandon Brooks will head to Philly on 5-year $40M deal.
Another RB off the market, Lamar Miller will wear a Texans jersey next season, and the next 3 after that. Miller signs a 4-year deal worth $26M with Houston ($14M guaranteed at signing)
DL Damon “Snacks” Harrison will be playing in the same stadium next year but switching jerseys. The former Jet will be joining the NY Giants.
The Buccaneers will be retaining their star RB as Doug Martin will be staying in Tampa Bay on a 5 year contract worth $35.75M. Slightly more than Chris Ivory’s with the Jaguars.
The Falcons have finally landed one of their many targets as Alex Mack will be joining his former OC Kyle Shanahan in Atlanta on a 5-year deal worth $9.5M annually. The first two years are said to be fully guaranteed for the 30 year old 3x Pro-Bowl center.
WR Marvin Jones will do his best to replace Calvin Johnson’s production as the former Bengal will be signing with the Detroit Lions.
Antonio Gates has re-upped in San Diego on a 2-year deal. This should bring the legendary TE to his last playing days with the only team he’s ever played for. This probably means Ladarius Green is as good as gone.
Former 49er Alex Boone will be leaving San Francisco for the Vikings. The guard was heavily pursued by the Dolphins.
Travis Benjamin is going to be wearing a Chargers jersey next season, as the speedy former Browns breakout WR will sign in San Diego. Last year he tied for the league lead with 4 TD catches over 30+yards.
Janoris Jenkins is now the 7th highest paid CB in the league, and second only in guaranteed money to Darrelle Revis. He will be signing a 5 year pact with the New York Giants worth $62.5M ($29M/guaranteed).
Bengals hard-hitting safety George Iloka will be remaining in Cincy. It looks like a 5-year deal worth $30M. Word is he passed up more money elsewhere to remain in Cincinnati.
Chris Ivory landed in Jacksonville. Word is it’s a 5-year $32.5 million deal.
Another pass-rusher off the market. Bruce Irvin is heading to Oakland to join and the Raiders.
Ben Jones, the versatile interior lineman has signed with the Titans. A smart addition given the DeMarco Murray acquisition.
JPP will stay in New York on a 1-year deal.
Charles Johnson re-ups in Carolina.
Ben Watson to the Ravens on a 2-year contract.
Malik Jackson broke the bank by signing with the Jaguars. Huge money for a DL. 6 years, $90 million.
Mario Williams started the day off by making headlines when he signed in Miami on a two-year deal for $17 Million (up to $20M). The Dolphins are preparing to lose star rusher Olivier Vernon.
Thanks to Cam Newton and Von Miller’s dominance, the Carolina Panthers and Denver Broncos will be competing in San Francisco for the title of Super Bowl 50 Champion.
The NFL’s best offensive and the NFL’s most dominant defensive player (save your arguments for JJ Watt) propelled their respective teams to victory a couple of Sundays ago..and that’s an amazing thing.
That may seem obvious, as Cam Newton and Von Miller had historic days…but it’s truly amazing because the of the context of the entire situation. The league’s best players, obviously the best players on their star-studded teams played the best they have maybe ever, in the biggest games of their lives. Everything about the situation is at the pinnacle of sports. And in this day and age…it’s a beautiful thing to witness.
Finances, politics, ownership, coaching, injuries and off-field issues all seem to get in the way of just playing ball at your best, every opportunity you have. So to watch two young, hungry, passionate athletes like Cam Newton and Von Miller ball out…was awesome.
I enjoyed every minute of it and that is why I am looking more forward to this Super Bowl than I have in recent memory.
NFL Super Bowl Daily Fantasy Preview –
Denver Broncos vs Carolina Panthers
The biggest sports day of the year is arriving soon, Super Bowl 50, a matchup between the 15-1 Panthers and the 12-4 Broncos. The Panthers are the clear favorites with a nearly undefeated season and a huge blowout game against the Cardinals last week (49-15). However the Broncos have the return of their franchise Quarterback in his final season coming off a big win last weekend against none other than the defending world champions, all the makings for a cinderella upset in store. Here’s what you need to know if the daily fantasy world to win cash no matter the outcome in your NFL Daily Fantasy tournaments.
Well the quarterback decision is a no brainer. You have Cam Newton, who has consistently been the most valuable and consistent fantasy performer combining huge passing yards with rushing stats and rushing touchdowns—also the clear MVP favorite for this year. Then you have Peyton Manning, in his old age and his final season. The Bronco’s offense has been altered this year to limit his potential for big pass games and it has reflected in his fantasy value as he has consistently been at the bottom of the charts.
No brainer right? Peyton Manning.
Why you ask? You’re thinking like everyone else in the world and that’s not what wins Daily Fantasy cash drafts. Cam Newton probably will dominate and provide much more value than Manning. In that case you will be in trouble. But Cam Newton will also be 90 percent owned. Meaning if you pick him and he does well, you are still on par with 90 percent of your competitors. However, if Manning has a huge game and Newton is shut down by the Denver defense, then you are already ahead of 90 percent of your competitors and well on you way to making some money!
For the Panthers here we have Jonathan Stewart or Mike Tolbert and for the Broncos we have Ronnie Hillman and CJ Anderson. Here it may be smart to go with the crowd. You want to eye in on low ownership but you don’t need low ownership at every position, because even if the Peyton Manning scenario plays out but you have Fozzy Whitaker at running back with 0 points, that can lose you the tournament. I think you go with the crowd here and pick Jonathan Stewart and CJ Anderson.
CJ Anderson plays a lot like David Johnson and he managed to put up some big numbers last week against the Panthers. Stewart sometimes loses some of his value when Cam decides to run it in himself like last week, but with the limited options out there, he is a safe bet.
Receivers in this matchup are tough. Both these teams have a long list of receivers all of which have potential for a touchdown pass on any given day. With the Peyton Manning being your choice at quarterback, obviously you are going to want to stack him with his two all stars Thomas and Sanders (will also be high owned). After that you can go for Norwood for a lesser owned pick. He has the potential to put up some value, especially if things go in the Broncos direction. For the Panthers, don’t go Corey Brown, no way he gets lucky with another 86 yard touchdown pass. Ginn will likely be highly owned as well so you’re options left are Funchess and Cotchery who may just be able to fly under the radar against the Broncos defensive front.
Don’t fall into the trap here. I know Owen Daniels had a big game last week with 2 touchdowns, but he also only had 2 catches. Those 2 touchdowns were his only contribution to the game. He got 2 catches that just happened to be in the end zone and he will not do that again. Greg Olsen is the only option, he is a pivotal part of the Panther’s offense and is probably the second best tight end in the league, second to Gronk of course. Go for Olsen.
NFC Conference Championship Recap –
Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers
This game went just about exactly as expected, a blowout in favor of the Panthers. They roll onto the Super Bowl with a 49-15 win over the Cardinals. Furthermore, all of the fantasy leaders except for Gronk came from this game, mostly concentrated on Carolina as well.
Cam Newton led the list of quarterbacks and cemented the MVP with 335 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and 2 rushing touchdowns for a total of 39.1 fantasy points. Cam Newton was a must in any NFL Daily Cash Draft this weekend.
Corey Brown, Ted Ginn, and Greg Olsen were the receivers to stack with Newton. Corey Brown had 4 catches for 113 receiving yards and a touchdown totaling 24.3 fantasy points. Greg Olsen had 6 catches for 113 receiving yards totaling 20.3 fantasy points— still short of Gronk’s numbers. And Ginn had 2 catches for 52 yards as well as a 22 yard rush for a touchdown. Ginn ended the day with 15.4 fantasy points.
The Carolina defense was also a must totaling 24 fantasy points. They did this by allowing only 15 points (1 fantasy point), 4 interceptions (8 fantasy points), 1 touchdown (6 fantasy points), 3 fumble recoveries (6 fantasy points), and 3 sacks (3 fantasy points). Yes, that is a total of 7 forced turnovers by the Carolina defense.
The only redeemable part of the Cardinal’s offense was David Johnson, who led the list of running backs this weekend. He rushed for 60 yards and 1 touchdown as well as 9 receptions for 68 yards. This totaled 27.8 fantasy points.
Arizona Cardinals vs Carolina Panthers 1/24/16 Preview & Picks
- At 6:40 pm, the 15-1 Panthers will host the 13-3 Arizona Cardinals in a contest of two true powerhouses.
How can we not be excited? This will be the very first time two Heisman-winning quarterbacks face each other in an NFL playoff game. Cameron Newton, as he likes to be called from time-to-time won it along with a National Championship while at Auburn and the veteran Carson Palmer claimed his trophy while starring at USC over a decade ago.
Both Qbs have been monsters this season and have heavy MVP consideration. Newton may be the favorite as his brash style gets the media all giddy, but Palmer is the better thrower. His aerial distribution has been so impressive, as all four WRs have had moments in the sun.
Larry Fitzgerald leads that group, though he’s been “old and washed-up” for a couple of years now…right. He was an animal on that 75-yard catch and run in OT last week and should get his fair share of chances again today. Josh Norman usually stays on his side and still has Michael Floyd, John Brown and occasionally J.J. Nelson to worry about.
Floyd was a beast himself, scoring a pair of touchdown last week. His size and speed will be VERY hard for guys like Cortland Finnegan or Robert McClain to handle. They are weak nickel backs at this point in their careers, and if Floyd played a full season he would have been among the league leaders at his position.
John Brown gets alot of hype for his flash, but his toughness is so impressive for a smaller receiver and he should eat up his matchup as well.
Rookie sensation RB David Johnson is a little banged up, but he is a tank and should pound out some hard yards against this stout Panthers D. As a former WR, his hands and ability in the open field make him a dangerous weapon, so watch for at least five targets with him coming out of the backfield as they will want to avoid that D-Line,
Tedd Ginn Jr has been fantastic all season for Carolina, but he has been dealing with a knee issue since Week 16 and a matchup with Patrick Peterson may be too much for the smaller Ginn to handle.
Greg Olsen always gets his fair share of targets from Cam Newton. The TE is probably how the Panthers want to attack this All-Star Cardinals D squad as their outside coverage will be tight. Five catches for just under 100 yards and a score is my guess.
Jonathan Stewart (foot, ankle) had himself a day last week against the Seahawks. 19 carries for 106 yards and two TDs versus that defense is no joke, but neither is this Cardinals front-seven. Stewart is pretty consistent and has that big-game ceiling.
Advice: This will be a hard fought game, but Michael Floyd is in line to be the X-factor with 120 yards and another pair of scores over various Panthers DBs. Larry Fitzgerald is Mr. Playoffs but he could see alot of Josh Norman which may limit his yardage. At RB even as a rookie, David Johnson has been my money man all season.
NFL Conference Championships Stacks
With only a two game slate, it is key to identify and pick the best stack of the weekend to have any chance of placing in a NFL Daily Fantasy Tournament. Its down to the favorites and when everyone has strong defenses, every stack has the potential for boom or bust. For that reason you need to pick based on ownership rather than projection.
Lets look at the stacks:
Palmer and Fitz:
Coming off a hot performance last week, I think this will be one of the highest owned stacks of the weekend. Don’t get me wrong, Larry Fitzgerald is one of the most clutch playoff performers, however and he has great synergy with Palmer right now. But he performed too well last week and I don’t think he will do that again. If he does then the Cardinals will move on to the Super Bowl but the Panthers are just too strong. However, many others people may agree that it is not a great matchup, which can bring the ownership down. My verdict: FADE.
Newton and Olsen:
The biggest indicator of a players ownership is their performance the previous week. People just love to make their picks on what is the most fresh in their mind, and whats fresh in their mind here is Newton’s disappointment last week— of course I mean fantasy wise… the Panthers had a great game against the Seahawks last week. While the potential MVP will never be lowly owned, I do think he will be lower than normal and the Newton Olsen connection has great upside potential. My verdict: PICK.
Brady and Gronk/Edelman:
You can go either way with this stack. Edelman will rack up the targets, receptions, and yardage a bit faster but Gronk is the superior red zone threat. They as well as Brady had a great game last weekend. However, they are facing a much stronger defense here. In terms of ownership, I expect them to be highly owned, and rightfully so with more playoff experience than any other team. I’m avoiding it however for a lower owned stack with a higher upside. My verdict: FADE.
Manning and Thomas/Sanders:
We have seen very little out of Peyton Manning this year. He has had good and bad game play performances but he has had all bad fantasy performances. Their team has adopted a different style of offense which has destroyed his ability to put up big numbers. Thomas and Sanders have had their moments with Oswieller running the offense, but not Manning. I think this will be the lowest owned stack of the week— which makes it the stack with the most potential profit. Usually you only want to stack with one receiver but in a week with such few options, I don’t mind tossing both of them in there to hedge you’re bets a little bit. You shouldn’t expect these players to put up big numbers but when you are picking based on ownership— in the slight chance they do, you may win big. My verdict: PICK.
NFL Divisional Round Weekend Recap
Kansas City at New England
With the return of Edelman and Gronkowski, the Patriots show that they are still a Super Bowl threat. Although the final score was 27-20, Patriots, they were far more in control of the game than that indicated. Brady had a solid day with 302 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, and a rushing touchdown, totaling 29 fantasy points on the day.
Gronkowski led the league at tight end this weekend catching 2 touchdowns on 7 receptions for 83 yards. This brought his total to 25.3 fantasy points, back to his usual numbers after some disappointments throughout this season. Edelman also returned from injury with no hiccups as he caught 10 passes for 100 yards and a total of 23 fantasy points.
All the fantasy value however was centered around the Pats in this game, you weren’t going to win any NFL cash drafts this weekend by loading up on Chiefs players.
Green Bay at Arizona
This game had plenty of fantasy value to be found in both likely and unlikely places. The big surprise of this game was Jeff Janis for the Packers with a breakout performance of 7 receptions for 145 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns—36.5 fantasy points.
The Palmer and Fitzgerald stack also produced some serious numbers as Palmer threw for 349 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns for 27 fantasy points (after subtracting his 2 interceptions) and Fitz had 8 receptions for 176 yards and a touchdown—34.6 fantasy points.
Seattle at Carolina
This game lacked both the competitiveness and the low scoring defensive battle that was expected. Carolina went up big in the first half with Jonathan Stewart scoring 2 touchdowns and running for 106 rushing yards. Cam Newton had the lowest scores of the season however with only 161 passing yards and a touchdown giving him about 11 fantasy points.
Despite the loss, there was a lot of garbage time value to be found from the Seahawks as they tried to rally in the second half. Russell Wilson led the quarterback for the weekend with 366 passing yards and 3 passing touchdowns. The big receiver to pair him with was Jermaine Kearse as he caught 11 passes for 110 passing yards and 2 touchdowns— 37 fantasy points.
Pittsburgh at Denver
This game was lacking the competitiveness from the start with Antonio Brown ruled out and Big Ben questionable. Ben took the field however and found Martavis Bryant to fill that top receiver role as Bryant tallied 9 receptions for 154 receiving yards as well as 40 yards rushing—31.4 fantasy points.
Denver came out ahead in terms of the game but in the fantasy world, CJ Anderson was the only worthwhile pick for Denver. He ran for 72 yards, got a touchdown, and 2 receptions for 14 fantasy points to lead his team.
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.
NFL Divisional Round Stacks to look out for
Its hard to pick your stacks in the divisional round as almost all of the 8 teams remaining has a top 8 defense. The matchup in the divisional round are
Kansas City @ New England
Green Bay @ Arizona
Seattle @ Carolina
Pittsburgh @ Denver
The weak link as far as pass defenses goes is clearly Pittsburgh. The only reason they have made it this far is by relying on their offense with most of their games being very high scoring shootouts. Last time Denver played Pittsburgh this year Emmanuel Sanders caught 10 passes for 181 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown while Demaryius Thomas had 5 catches for 61 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. And this was with Brock Osweiller at quarterback and not Peyton Manning, who will be back and starting in their Divisional Playoff. Peyton, Sanders, and Thomas is the most predicable value stack of the weekend, which like always risks high ownership.
However, Denver still lost this game as Antonio Brown had a gigantic fantasy day with 16 catches for 189 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Pittsburgh has a lot of question marks with health going into this game with Deangelo Williams out, Big Ben questionable with a shoulder injury, and Antonio Brown with a concussion. Despite the strength of the Denver defense, if Ben and Brown are healthy going into this game, they always have the potential for huge fantasy value.
In my opinion, anything could happen with the Seattle Carolina game. This is a matchup of the two top ranked teams in the playoff and is one most would probably like to see wait until the Superbowl. While arguably the top 2 defenses, their offenses are just as explosive. A Wilson/Baldwin or Newton/Ginn(Questionable)/Olsen stack is a nice contrarian stack that may end up profitable in a NFL Daily fantasy tournament.
The Patriots and the Chiefs game should be a low scoring victory for the Patriots, although Tom Brady may put up some big numbers. However, it is always a crapshoot who to stack Brady with since he spreads the ball out so much (the same could be said about Rodgers or Manning this week). That leaves Carson Palmer, who may be able to have a big day considering Kirk Cousins was able to put up over 300 passing yards in their loss against the Packers in the wild card round.
The top stacks are Manning/Sanders, Newton/Olsen, Wilson/Baldwin, and Palmer/Fitzgerald. The edge in my mind goes to Palmer and Fitz but anything can happen in the playoffs, and Palmer has less experience here than many of the other Quarterbacks (Brady, Rodgers, Manning, Wilson, Roethlisberger)