Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders Preview

The reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos are in a tight three-way battle for supremacy in the AFC West and will visit the surprising Oakland Raiders on Sunday (Enter Contest) in a showdown for first place in the division. The Raiders are 5-0 on the road en route to their 6-2 mark and enter a stretch of four consecutive home games.

Derek Carr threw for a staggering 513 yards and four touchdowns in a 30-24 win at Tampa Bay as Oakland kept pace with Denver atop the division. Carr is the third player in history to throw for at least 500 yards with four TDs and zero interceptions in a game.

While the Raiders are off to their best start since 2001 behind a potent offense, the Broncos continue to flex the defensive muscles that paved their path to the Super Bowl last season. Denver is tied with Buffalo for the NFL lead with 26 sacks while linebacker Von Miller is second with 8.5. Gary Kubiak’s team has dominated the series in recent seasons, winning eight consecutive matchups before Oakland ended the streak in the Mile High City last December.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (6-2)

Star cornerback Aqib Talib is in danger of missing his second straight game, flying to California on Thursday to get a second opinion on his ailing back. Denver has quality depth at the position as Bradley Roby stepped in for Talib and earned AFC Defensive Player of the Week honors after returning an interception for a touchdown in a 27-19 win at San Diego. Rookie running back Devontae Booker hurt his shoulder in his first start in place of an injury C.J. Anderson, but is expected to go against Oakland. Emmanuel Sanders and Demaryius Thomas are the top two targets for Trevor Siemian with 44 and 42 receptions, respectively. Thomas needs two receptions to become the fourth player in franchise history with 500.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (6-2)

Carr leads the AFC with 17 touchdown passes versus only three interceptions and is getting a lot of mileage from his wide receiver tandem of Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree. Cooper had 12 catches for 173 yards and a touchdown last week to boost his team-leading total to 52 receptions while Crabtree hauled in his NFL high-tying sixth touchdown catch. Defense has been a nightmare for the Raiders, who are ranked 31st in the league, surrendering a total of 410.4 total yards while being equally generous against the run and pass. Khalil Mack, who has five of Oakland’s 11 sacks, recorded five in the win at Denver last season.

Posted in NFL

Conference Championship Round Daily Fantasy Football Review

The Conference Championship round tasted bittersweet on multiple levels. As a fan of traditional Fantasy Football, Cam Newton’s 382 total yards and 4 touchdowns put the icing on his 2015 breakout cake, virtually guarantying SuperCam will be over drafted next season. I’ll be waiting on Quarterback once again next year, watching Cam, Russell Wilson and others being taken a round or two early, finding value in the later rounds.

The New England Patriots fan in me couldn’t help but notice the glaring weakness in both the running game and downfield passing game. James White did his best James White impression, looking good enough to contribute as a Daily Fantasy Football value player but requiring a big play or TD in order to help his team win in both an NFL and DFS matchup. White, who finished with a respectable 56 total yards and 5 receptions, allowed several downfield throws from Brady slip through his arms that may have changed the outcome for owners.

The NFL fan side of things couldn’t help but appreciate the drama of this season’s Peyton Manning journey coming to a head with a 2 touchdown, zero interception performance vs. his long time rival. Manning connected with the DFS value play of the day, Owen Daniels on both scores. Daniels presented owners with a cheap option at the TE position, enabling to spend up elsewhere.

As an avid DFS player and fan of sites like Fanpicks.com, Rob Gronkowski certainly returned value for me as the Chuck Norris of the NFL world hauled in 8 passes for 144 yards and a crucial touchdown late in the game. Gronk and Daily Fantasy Football fans have experienced a roller coaster relationship this season but he was without question the top Tight End going into the weekend and didn’t disappoint.

C.J. Anderson broke a 30 yard run in the second half which enabled him to slightly return value with his 90 total yards and 3 receptions. (Remember Ronnie Hillman?) Julian Edelman and Emmanuel Sanders both did just enough to not personally cost you your matchup but neither performed to the level DFS owners have come to expect. Edelman finished with 7 for 53 while Sanders hauled in 5 for 62.

The Greg Olsen and Cam stack has been a smart DFS play all year and this weekend it paid off yet again as Olsen came away with 6 receptions and 113 yards. The DFS tournament play of the week came in the form of, not former Arizona Cardinal Ted Ginn Jr. but of fellow wide out Corey Brown. Brown, aided by an 86 yarder, totaled 113 yards and a touchdown on 4 receptions.

Surprise Performances

Carson Palmer, QB, Arizona Cardinals

Palmer was absolutely dreadful on the day, reverting back to the player whom once upon a time was so easy to bet against. Palmer had the best season of his career in 2015 but for Arizona fans and DFS owners who placed faith in the quasi ginger, any positive memories we had disappeared like a fart in the wind as Palmer threw interception after interception, finishing with 4 in total.

David Johnson, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Johnson was widely considered to be a safe play this weekend due to volume but more than delivered on that label, especially in PPR formats. Johnson finished with 9 receptions and a touchdown to go along with his 128 total yards as he finished a clear number one at the RB position this weekend. The Panthers defense was enough of a threat to consider fading Johnson in tournaments but that strategy failed, miserably, just like our next group.

The Arizona Cardinals Wide Receivers

Terrible.

Posted in NFL

AFC Conference Championship Recap –

New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos

 

The defending Super Bowl champs came to Denver this weekend with almost a full receiving staff after being hampered by injuries early in the year. However, their run game was severely lacking after losing main starters Dion Lewis and Legarette Blount early in the year. Denver, with arguably the strongest pass defense in the league, was ready for this passing front of the Patriots and were able to shut down the attack.

 

Tom Brady had a very uncharacteristic poor QBR of only 22 going 27/56 and throwing 2 interceptions. He managed 310 passing yards and a passing touchdown, generating decent fantasy value of 17 fantasy points. However, in a two game slate like this weekend, if you are going to win your daily fantasy tournament, you have to make all the right picks, and Tom Brady did not have a spot on that winning lineup.

 

However, that doesn’t mean all the Pats should have been avoided. Rob Gronkowski led the list of tight ends for the week with 8 receptions for 144 receiving yards and a receiving touchdown (a key touchdown late in the game). This brought his fantasy point total to 31.4 fantasy points.

 

He was not the only tight end to put up big numbers. On the other side of the ball, Owen Daniels caught 2 passes for 33 yards and 2 touchdowns. Although his total was only 17.3 fantasy points, he costs you far less than Gronk, actually delivering more value.

Posted in NFL

New England Patriots vs Denver Broncos 1/24/16 Preview & Picks

  • At 3:05 pm, Tom Brady and his New England Patriots will face-off with Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. 

Tom Brady is one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all-time. Peyton Manning is one of the greatest, if not the greatest quarterback of all-time. Tom Brady is in the running for 2015 league MVP. Peyton Manning is starting for the second consecutive week after taking the job back from Brock Osweiler. My Point? The Patriots will go as far as Brady takes them. The Broncos will go as far as their defense takes them.

While I don’t expect Julian Edelman or Brandon LaFell to beat those long, rangy Denver CBs over the top, Edelman has the potential to catch a ton of short, underneath passes. He’s definitely a WR1,  as Brady could easily target him 12+ times in such an important game. Something along the lines of 10 catches for 110 yards and a TD could be what you’re looking at in return of the high price tag. It would be a surprise to me if LaFell can muster up anything DFS relevant in his matchup against Harris Jr. (though battling an injury) and Talib.

Danny Amendola working the slot has a much better shot at putting up a big game than the Patriots official #2 wideout. Though he only caught two balls on three targets last week and has been limited in practice due to a knee injury all week, he provides the same kind of quick twitch inside ability as Edelman does, which is how you want to attack this stout defense.

Finally, the man you all want to hear about: Rob Grrrrronkowski. Gronk could have a MONSTER game here. With the ferocious pass-rushing ability that the Broncos possess, Bill Belichick will want to feature his star TE up the seam to take the pressure off Tom Brady. There is no better way to keep the linebackers at home than to force them to drop into coverage because the Gronk is just destroying you. Maybe he won’t have monster yardage, but I’m banking on two TDs on Sunday.

Steven Jackson definitely won’t be a DFS factor, so James White is the Pats back to own. His pass-caching ability on swings, screens and checkdowns will also be instrumental in slowing down Demarcus Ware, Von Miller and co. He should have his fair share of chances to make plays.

 

On the home team’s side, the Sheriff Peyton Manning will need to execute flawlessly to lead his Broncos to the Super Bowl contest. Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will need to bust out some major YAC’s to spearhead this attack, while CJ Anderson and Ronnie Hillman churn out chunks on the ground.

Demaryius Thomas will face a big matchup with Patriots CB Logan Ryan. Ryan shut him down in Week 12, with three pass breakups and as Brock Osweiler went 1-of-8 for 36 yards when targeting Thomas. He is a big target and constant red-zone threat, but isn’t always the dominant factor you’re looking for.

Sanders most likely will be face-to-face with Super Bowl hero Malcolm Butler on Sunday. The very same Butler that he beat deep in November when he piled up 113 yards. His work in tight and quickness allow him to get separation against a tight Patriots D, and he works hard to run after the catch and eat up yardage.

CJ Anderson and Hillman are always a toss up, but Anderson had his best game of the year against New England with 113 yards of his own and two TDs. The run game can be inconsistent, but the Broncos need it to be on point on Sunday.

Advice: Brady, Gronkowski, Sanders, Edelman, and Anderson should be the top performers. Of course that comes with a hefty price tag, so discounts like James White could be the key to your DFS victory.

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.

 

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NFL We Build Champions Roster – Week 12

This week the stack of ‪Russell Wilson‬ and ‪‎Doug Baldwin‬ were the most valuable picks. Those two combined for 3 passing touchdowns out of Russell Wilson’s total 5 passing touchdowns. There were several other multiple touchdown performances this week including ‪Adrian Peterson‬’s 2 rushing touchdowns, ‪CJ Anderson‬’s 2 rushing touchdowns, and‪ Brandon Marshall‬’s 2 receiving touchdowns. Receivers ‪Wheaton‬,‪ Landry‬, and ‪Thomas‬ only scored 1 touchdown each, but were able to create huge ‪‎fantasy value‬ with receptions and receiving yards. One very important factor to consider is the PPR (point per reception) scoring system such as the one used by Fanpicks.

Fantasy Football

 

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