Warriors versus Spurs Preview

The Golden State Warriors took a little while at the start of the season but finally found their championship form in a dominating win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.  The Warriors versus Spurs will be broadcast at 8pm on TNT. Play this game as part of Thursday GoW cross sports contest starting at 8pm ET.

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The San Antonio Spurs, who were swept in the Western Conference finals by the Warriors last spring and host the first rematch on Thursday, are not exactly at their best after dropping the last three games. They won their first four games behind power forward LaMarcus Aldridge but the absence of Kawhi Leonard (quad) and Tony Parker (quad) was apparent as the team averaged 91.7 points in three losses. Leonard, who was knocked out of the Western Conference finals in Game 1 when he sprained an ankle after landing on the foot of Golden State center Zaza Pachulia, has yet to play this season. The Warriors had yet to find their highest gear while dropping three of their first seven games but finally put it all together in a 141-113 trouncing at the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday.

ABOUT THE WARRIORS (5-3)

Golden State looked to be turning things around by following losses in two of the first three games with a three-game winning streak, but a 26-turnover performance at home in a loss to the Detroit Pistons on Sunday brought them back down to earth. The Warriors, who committed at least 16 turnovers in each of their first seven games, cut that number down to 12 against the Clippers.

ABOUT THE SPURS (4-3)

San Antonio is searching for scorers to take some of the pressure off Aldridge and may have found one in rookie shooting guard Brandon Paul, who came off the bench on Monday and delivered a season-high 18 points on 6-of-8 shooting in 30 minutes. Paul, 26, did not get off the bench in the first two games and totaled 18 points in the next four before getting an extended run against the Celtics. Kyle Anderson is starting in Leonard’s spot at small forward and is averaging 7.9 points on 42.3 percent shooting after going 2-of-8 from the floor against Boston.

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Posted in NBA

World Series Game 7 Recap

George Springer powered the Houston Astros to the franchise’s first World Series championship, crushing a two-run home run in the second inning Wednesday that gave his club a commanding lead on the way to a 5-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 7.

In a World Series that saw back-and-forth battles nearly every game, only the Astros got off and running in Game 7, and the Dodgers never recovered from Houston’s five-run outburst in the opening two innings.

The Astros won their first title in just their second World Series appearance, after falling short in 2005. The Dodgers have six titles but remain without a championship since 1988.

Springer, who was named the World Series MVP, tied a record for most home runs in one World Series with five, joining the New York Yankees’ Reggie Jackson (1977) and the Philadelphia Phillies’ Chase Utley (2009). He also became the first player to hit home runs in four consecutive games of the same World Series.

The blast also gave Springer a record eight extra-base hits in a single World Series. The Pittsburgh Pirates’ Willie Stargell (1979) previously held the record with seven.

Springer’s home run Wednesday chased Dodgers starter Yu Darvish after just 1 2/3 innings, as the Astros were productive inside of those five outs by the right-hander. Darvish gave up five runs (four earned) on three hits and a walk.

Darvish (0-2) recorded just 10 outs during his two World Series starts in Games 3 and 7.

The Astros got things going early when Springer doubled to lead off the game. He scored when first baseman Cody Bellinger could not hit Darvish on a throw to first base after a ground ball from Alex Bregman. The Astros made it 2-0 when Bregman stole third and scored on a groundout by Jose Altuve.

Just before Springer delivered his two-run blast, the Astros made it 3-0 when starting pitcher Lance McCullers grounded out to bring home a run. Springer then lifted a 3-2 fastball into the seats in center field.

Bellinger’s rough day was only starting with the errant throw. He also struck out in his first two at-bats to extend his consecutive strikeout streak to six plate appearances. He added a third strikeout to give him a record 29 whiffs in this postseason alone, breaking the record that the Yankees’ Aaron Judge held for all of 11 days.

McCullers delivered a scoreless 2 1/3 innings to open the game, but he was far from sharp, hitting four Dodgers batters, including Justin Turner twice. He was supported by four relievers out of the beleaguered Astros bullpen, although one of those relievers pressed into service was starter Charlie Morton.

The Astros’ bullpen entered with a 7.29 ERA after the first six games but had its day in Game 7, giving up just one run on three hits over the final 6 2/3 innings. Morton (1-0) earned the victory, giving up just one run on two hits with a walk and four strikeouts over the final four innings.

Pinch hitter Andre Ethier drove in the Dodgers’ only run on a sixth-inning single off Morton. It was Ethier’s Dodgers’ record 51st appearance in a postseason game.

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Posted in MLB

Thursday Games of the Week

Begin the football weekend with the College Football game between Stanford and Oregon State. Mix it with some NFL Thursday Night Football and you’ve got your Games of the Week. Check out both games preview below and come play FanPicks cross sports contest!!! >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Stanford Cardinals vs Oregon State Beavers

Following a much-needed week off, No. 20 Stanford aims for its fifth straight victory Thursday in Corvallis against a re-energized Oregon State team under interim coach Cory Hall. The game will start at 9pm ET and will be broadcast on ESPN.

The Beavers have dropped five in a row and will be hard-pressed to slow down Heisman Trophy hopeful Bryce Love. Love leads the nation in rushing at 198.1 yards per game and has 18 carries of 30 yards or more. He has a remarkable 1,387 rushing yards through seven games despite carrying only once in the second half of Stanford’s 49-7 rout of Oregon on October 14.

Stanford’s offensive line has gone four straight games without allowing a sack while creating opportunities for quarterback Keller Chryst, who turned in one of his best games of the season against Oregon, throwing for 181 yards and three touchdowns with one interception. The Cardinal are tied for first in the Pac-12 North but need to avoid a letdown against Oregon State, which headed into its off week after playing one of its most competitive games of the season in a 36-33 loss to Colorado.

STANFORD (5-2, 4-1 Pac-12)

Love ranks second nationally with 200.9 all-purpose yards per game to lead the Cardinal, who have averaged 295 rushing yards with 12 touchdowns during their four-game winning streak. Linebacker Curtis Robinson had a team-high seven tackles against Oregon but the Cardinal run defense struggled again as the Ducks rushed for 276 yards. The Cardinal have been stronger in the secondary where safety Justin Reid (five) and cornerback Quenton Meeks (two) have combined for seven interceptions.

OREGON STATE (1-6, 0-4 Pac-12)

Hall took over for Gary Andersen on October 8 and immediately placed a greater emphasis on the run game as Ryan Nall finished with 172 yards rushing and three touchdowns against Colorado. Junior wide receiver Seth Collins, who leads the team with 43.3 receiving yards per game, missed the contest because of an unspecified illness and could be out for the rest of the season. Senior linebacker Manase Hungalu has been a bright spot on defense with 59 total tackles, five for loss, 2.5 sacks, two interceptions and three quarterback hurries.

Miami Dolphins vs Baltimore Ravens

Journeyman Matt Moore is fresh off a brilliant comeback performance and now will serve as the starting quarterback when the Miami Dolphins visit the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday. You can catch that game at 8:25 pm on CBS.

Moore came off the bench after Jay Cutler suffered multiple cracked ribs on Sunday to rally Miami from a 14-point deficit and record a 31-28 victory over the New York Jets. He threw two touchdown passes during a 17-point fourth quarter and brings a more boisterous approach than the introverted Cutler, who could miss multiple contests. Miami has won three straight games, so it is experiencing better times than the Ravens, who have allowed an average of 27.6 points while losing four of their last five contests.

DOLPHINS (4-2)

Running back Jay Ajayi (442 yards) is saddled with a 3.5-yard average that is well below the 4.9 mark of last season’s breakthrough campaign, but he will have a shot at posting his third 100-yard performance of the year against a Baltimore squad that ranks last in the NFL in rushing defense (145.3 yards per game). Moore will try to pump life into a sagging offense that ranks 31st in scoring (15.3 points) and dead last in total offense (261.8 yards) as well as try to make a downfield threat out of receiver Jarvis Landry, who is averaging just 8.1 yards on 45 receptions. Defensive end Cameron Wake has recorded six sacks after posting 2.5 against the Jets, but the defense has made only two interceptions.

RAVENS (3-4)

Baltimore ranks 23rd in the NFL in scoring offense (18.8 points) and 28th in total offense (277.6 yards) while quarterback Joe Flacco has been an underwhelming performer with five touchdown tosses and eight interceptions. Cornerback Brandon Carr has recorded a club-leading three interceptions. Outside linebacker Terrell Suggs (team-best 4.5 sacks) is expected to play through a knee injury.

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Posted in CFB, NFL

MLB World Series Preview

The Los Angeles Dodgers took game number one over the Houston Astroes. Twenty-four hours later and we are back at it again for game two of the World Series. Select your fantasy draft picks from the MLB World Series Cross Sports Game. Finish off your remaining selections with some NBA action. A total of four games to choose from. Check out the Astros versus Dodgers preview along with with the NBA games below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Hoston Astros vs Los Angeles Dodgers

Justin Verlander is 4-0 during his stellar postseason run and looks to continue the success when the Houston Astros visit the Los Angeles Dodgers for Game 2 of the World Series on Wednesday (8:09 p.m. ET on FOX). Verlander will aim to help Houston knot the series after Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner guided the Dodgers to a 3-1 victory in Game 1. Kershaw allowed one run and three hits with 11 strikeouts over seven innings while Turner belted a tiebreaking two-run homer (his fourth of the postseason) in Tuesday’s victory.

Verlander was acquired from Detroit by the Astros to fortify their rotation, and now he’s a symbol of a franchise looking for its first World Series title in the wake of a damaging hurricane that ravaged Houston in August.

PITCHING MATCHUP

Astros RH Justin Verlander (4-0, 1.46 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Rich Hill (0-0, 3.00)

Verlander has a stellar 11-5 postseason record, but none of those victories occurred in the World Series, where he went 0-3 with a 7.20 ERA in three career starts for the Tigers. The 34-year-old’s arrival in Houston changed the complexion of the rotation, providing the team with a second ace alongside Dallas Keuchel as well as raising the stature of the organization.

Hill is 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA in six career postseason starts and is making his World Series debut. The 37-year-old is trying to keep the moment in perspective after his major-league career appeared to be finished in the summer of 2015, when he signed with the independent Long Island Ducks, but 26 of his 50 career regular-season victories have come since that stint.

San Antonio Spurs vs Miami Heat

The San Antonio Spurs have not yet needed MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard, who remains out while dealing with right quadriceps tendinopathy. The Spurs will try to stay undefeated when they kick off a four-game road trip by visiting the Miami Heat, who will be missing one of their stars as well, on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on ESPN).

San Antonio is relying more on LaMarcus Aldridge with Leonard out, and the veteran power forward is responding by averaging 24.3 points and 9.3 rebounds. Aldridge is also helping out on the defensive end and provided the highlight of Monday’s 101-97 win over the Raptors with a chase-down block of Toronto point guard Kyle Lowry as the Spurs held their third consecutive opponent under 100 points to start the season. Aldridge could have some extra room to work with down low on Wednesday with Heat center Hassan Whiteside expected to miss his third straight game with a bone bruise on his left knee.

Indiana Pacers vs Oklahoma City Thunder

Paul George faces his former organization for the first time since his acrimonious departure when the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET on FSN Indiana & FSN Oklahoma). George was a four-time All-Star in his seven seasons with the Pacers but requested a trade during the summer and now is teammates with Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City. Indiana acquired guard Victor Oladipo and post player Domantas Sabonis in the deal, and the former is thriving with back-to-back 28-point efforts – including 11-of-16 shooting in Tuesday’s 130-107 rout of Minnesota. The Pacers will be without center Myles Turner (concussion/neck) for the fourth straight game.

Memphis Grizzlies vs Dallas Mavericks

The Dallas Mavericks are the lone remaining winless team in the Western Conference and have the misfortune of going up against one of the few teams that remains undefeated when they host the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday in the first of a back-to-back, home-and-home set (8:30 p.m. ET on FS Southeast (Memphis) & FS Southwest (Dallas)). The Mavericks are being outscored by an average of 14.3 points and were crushed 133-103 at home by the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Monday.

Dallas, which travels to Memphis on Thursday for the start of a stretch with six of nine on the road, allowed 40 points in the first quarter and 68 in the second half on Monday. The Grizzlies showed off their defensive might by holding the explosive Houston Rockets to 14 fourth-quarter points in a 98-90 win on Monday and entered play Tuesday second in the NBA in opponent’s field-goal percentage at 39.6.

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Posted in MLB, NBA

MLB World Series Preview

The Houston Astros and the Los Angeles Dodgers will duke it out for baseball most valuable prize. It’s time for the World Series and it all starts tonight. Select your fantasy draft picks from the MLB World Series Cross Sports Game. Finish off your remaining selections with some NBA action. A total of three games to choose from. Check out the Astros versus Dodgers preview along with with the NBA games below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Houston Astros vs Los Angeles Dodgers

The Los Angeles Dodgers haven’t won a World Series since 1988, while the Houston Astros have never been crowned champions in their 56-season history. The teams begin their attempts to end their respective droughts when Los Angeles ace Clayton Kershaw pitches against Houston’s Dallas Keuchel in Game 1 of the World Series at Dodger Stadium (8:09 p.m. ET on FOX).

The Dodgers are in the World Series for the first time since their memorable 1988 slaying of the Oakland Athletics, a series best known for limping Kirk Gibson’s decisive Game 1 homer. The Astros lost to the Chicago White Sox in the 2005 World Series and this season’s 101-win squad knocked out the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees to reach the Series. The Dodgers, who won 104 regular-season games, rolled through the Arizona Diamondbacks and Chicago Cubs with standout third baseman Justin Turner excelling by going 12-for-31 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in the eight games.

PITCHING MATCHUP:

Astros LH Dallas Keuchel (2-1, 2.60 ERA) vs. Dodgers LH Clayton Kershaw (2-0, 3.63 ERA)

Keuchel has struck out 25 in 17 1/3 innings over three starts this October and is a solid 4-1 with a 2.59 ERA in six career postseason appearances (five starts). The 29-year-old former Cy Young Award winner scanned the Dodgers’ lineup and had no trouble anointing it as the best he’ll face all season.

Kershaw has served up six homers in three starts this postseason but his career ledger has improved to 6-7 with a 4.40 ERA in 21 appearances (17 starts). The 29-year-old three-time Cy Young winner is 3-2 with a 2.38 ERA in eight career starts against the Astros and has experienced struggles with Astros star second baseman Jose Altuve (6-for-15, four doubles).

New York Knicks vs Boston Celtics

The Boston Celtics finally earned their first win and then got three days off to figure out how to keep their emotions in check and move forward without Gordon Hayward. Kyrie Irving will be a little lighter in the wallet by the time the Celtics try to even their record against the visiting New York Knicks on Tuesday (7:30 p.m. ET on MSG (New York) & NBCSN Boston).  Irving had an altercation with a fan in the tunnel at halftime in Philadelphia and used a profanity, earning himself a $25,000 fine from the league. The Knicks have a young team and are still looking for their first win after squandering a 21-point lead in a 111-107 loss to the Detroit Pistons in the home opener on Saturday.

Indiana Pacers vs Minnesota Timberwolves

Andrew Wiggins is fresh off a dramatic game-winning shot and the 22-year-old shooting guard seeks to post his fourth consecutive 20-point outing to open the campaign when the Minnesota Timberwolves host the Indiana Pacers on Tuesday (8 p.m. ET on FSN Indiana & FSN Minnesota-Plus). Wiggins banked in a last-second shot from more than 30 feet out to give the Timberwolves a 115-113 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday. Wiggins, who is averaging 24.7 points, recently signed a five-year, $148 million extension and was prepared to take the decisive shot. Indiana is rebuilding after trading star forward Paul George to Oklahoma City. They are receiving strong play from guard Victor Oladipo (22.3 average), who was acquired in the trade. The Pacers will be without starting center Myles Turner (concussion, neck) for the third straight game.

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Posted in MLB, NBA

MNF Games of the Week

It’s the last chance game to put your NFL Week 7 bets in. Select your fantasy draft picks from Monday Night Football Cross Sports Game of the Week between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles. Finish off your remaining selections with some NBA action. A total of three games to choose from. Check out our Redskins versus Eagles preview along with all other Monday’s 8:30pm start time NBA games below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Washington Redskins vs Philadelphia Eagles

When the Philadelphia Eagles step onto the field for Monday’s prime-time clash against the visiting Washington Redskins (8:30 p.m. ET on ESPN), they will own the best record in the NFL and have a chance to take total control of the NFC East. The Eagles have ripped off four consecutive victories to open a two-game lead on the Redskins as they vie for a sweep of the season series.

Philadelphia won its first three games last season under rookie quarterback Carson Wentz before going into a tailspin, but the team seems better equipped to continue its success this time around. Washington, which won five straight in the series before dropping a 30-17 decision to the Eagles in the season opener, held on for a 26-24 victory over winless San Francisco last weekend after building an early 17-point lead. The Redskins’ only other loss was a 29-20 setback at then-unbeaten Kansas City, which also handed Philadelphia its only defeat.

Teams Breakdown

Quarterback Kirk Cousins had his worst performance in the season opener, but he is coming off a strong three-game stretch and leads the NFC with a 106.4 passer rating. Running back Rob Kelley is dealing with an ankle injury, which could mean the bulk of playing time will go to rookie Samaje Perine and Chris Thompson, who already has recorded two 100-yard receiving performances and made four catches for 52 yards and a touchdown in Week 1. With wideouts Terrelle Pryor and Jamison Crowder continuing to struggle, the tight-end tandem of Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis has combined for 29 catches. Linebacker Preston Smith has registered 4.5 of the team’s 15 sacks, including one in the season opener.

Wentz entered the weekend fifth in passing yards (1,584) with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions, and during the four-game winning streak has thrown nine scoring passes against only one pick. Moving to the slot has provided a boost for third-year wideout Nelson Agholor, who has recorded four catches and a TD reception in each of the last two games. However, Wentz’s top target is tight end Zach Ertz, who hauled in a pair of touchdown passes last week and has been a nemesis for the Redskins – evidenced by an eight-catch, 93-yard performance in Week 1. Philadelphia ranks No. 1 in the league against the run, allowing an average of 65.7 yards, but is surrendering a generous 273.5 passing yards.

Golden State Warriors vs Dallas Mavericks

The Golden State Warriors came into the season with almost unreal expectations and are having some trouble meeting them in the first week of the season. The Warriors will try to keep their cool and even their record when they visit the Dallas Mavericks on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET on NBCS-Bay Area (Golden State)).

Golden State stars Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant were both ejected in the final minute of Saturday’s 111-101 loss at Memphis after Curry – protesting a no-call on a drive to the basket – tossed his mouthpiece near a referee and Durant came to his defense. Curry and Durant are both off to strong starts offensively but Golden State is struggling on the defensive end and with turnovers.

The Mavericks are struggling out of the gate as well and are about to face their second straight title contender after falling 107-91 at Houston on Saturday.  Dallas isn’t expected to do much this season but does have some hope for the future in point guard Dennis Smith Jr., who collected 16 points and 10 assists in his NBA debut on Wednesday. Smith, who had left knee surgery in 2015, sat out the last two games with swelling in that knee, but the issue is not believed to be serious and he could return as soon as Monday. Yogi Ferrell started at point guard in the last two games and averaged 16.5 points and four assists.

Toronto Raptors vs San Antonio Spurs

The San Antonio Spurs played the first two games without former Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard but still had little trouble shutting down their opponents. The Spurs will try to make it three straight strong performances with Leonard sidelined when they host the Toronto Raptors on Monday (8:30 p.m. ET on NBATV).

San Antonio is leaning on power forward LaMarcus Aldridge in Leonard’s absence, and Aldridge delivered an average of 26.5 points and 10 rebounds in the first two contests while totaling four blocked shots. Aldridge helped hold the Minnesota Timberwolves to 43.5 percent from the floor in a win in the season opener and anchored an even better effort on Saturday, when his team held the Chicago Bulls to 37.8 percent from the field in an 87-77 triumph. The Spurs should have a much tougher time defending the Raptors, who exploded out of the gates with an average of 122.5 points in the first two games, capped by a 128-94 thrashing of the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday.

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Posted in NBA, NFL

NFL Games of the Week

Sunday’s lives for NFL Football and FanPicks has your fantasy football fix. Usually the Green Bay Packers are unstopable with quarterback Aaron Rodgers, but this Sunday Rodgers is out and the New Orleans Saints are in town. . With eight games in line, there will be no shortage of draft picks. Check out our Saints versus Packers preview along with all other 1pm games below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

New Orleans Saints vs Green Bay  Packers

Aaron Rodgers is sidelined with a broken collarbone, and that leaves all eyes on quarterback Brett Hundley when the Green Bay Packers host the New Orleans Saints on Sunday (1 p.m. ET on FOX). Hundley will be making his first career start and must upgrade his play after throwing three interceptions in relief of the injured Rodgers in last Sunday’s loss to Minnesota.

ABOUT THE SAINTS (3-2)

The Saints have rattled off three straight wins after an 0-2 start. Quarterback Drew Brees tossed his first two interceptions of the campaign and compiled a season-low 186 yards in last Sunday’s win over Detroit, but he has been superb this season with 1,321 yards and 10 touchdowns. Running back Mark Ingram (284 yards) started slowly but revved up his game against the Lions with a season-best 114 yards and his first two touchdowns of the season. The defense allows 23.2 points per game (21st in the NFL), but defensive end Cameron Jordan has registered five sacks as he looks to reach double digits for the third time in his career.

ABOUT THE PACKERS (4-2)

The chatter all week has been about Green Bay falling apart without Rodgers due to now having a novice at the helm. But Hundley has performed superbly in the preseason during his three years with the Packers, and he says the squad’s playoff aspirations shouldn’t take a hit with Rodgers lost for at least two months. Second-year inside linebacker Blake Martinez (team-best 48 tackles) has excelled, but the defense has struggled against the run as it is allowing 119.8 yards per game (24th in NFL).

New York Jets vs Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins have won two straight following back-to-back ugly defeats, including a 20-6 loss at New York. Miami pulled off an incredible comeback to win 20-17 at Atlanta last week after trailing 17-0 at halftime. The Jets had their unlikely three-game winning streak snapped with a 24-17 setback against New England last week. They squandered a 14-0 lead but were hurt when an apparent touchdown was ruled a fumble and a touchback on a controversial call.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs Buffalo Bills

Bucs quarterback Jameis Winston sustained a sprained AC joint in his throwing shoulder on a sack in last week’s loss at Arizona and appears headed for a game-time decision. Ryan Fitzpatrick came off the bench and rallied for the Bucs from a huge deficit last week in a 38-33 setback. Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has yet to throw for more than 224 yards in any game this season and posted a career-low yards per attempt in a 20-16 loss last time out at Cincinnati. Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, however, told reporters earlier in the week that Taylor retains his full confidence.

Jacksonville Jaguars vs Indianapolis Colts

With 1,209 yards passing, Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett has played fairly well in Andrew Luck’s stead, but the former Patriot backup has thrown just three touchdown passes on the season. The Colts have also coughed up three second-half leads and have fallen into last place in the division. Jacksonville hopes to have rookie sensation Leonard Fournette in the backfield for Sunday’s game. Fournette left last week’s 27-17 loss to the Rams in the second half after suffering a leg injury and he has missed two practices during the week.

Baltimore Ravens vs Minnesota Vikings

The Vikings seem to have found an answer to their injury woes at quarterback with Case Keenum excelling in place of Sam Bradford (knee), and Jerick McKinnon has put up big numbers in two games since rookie running back Dalvin Cook was lost for the season. Minnesota has the benefit of leaning on one of the league’s best defenses, which has been especially tough against the run. Baltimore is coming off a bad loss – 27-24 in overtime to visiting Chicago – and has plenty of problems on both sides of the ball. The teams are meeting for the first time since 2013.

Arizona Cardinals vs Los Angeles Rams

The 32-year-old running back Adrian Peterson, who was acquired from New Orleans for a draft pick on October 10, gave a huge boost to a Cardinals ground attack that was averaging a mere 51.8 yards per game and this week will be facing a run defense that ranks 29th in the league (139.5 yards). Los Angeles is coming off its third win in four games, a 27-17 victory at Jacksonville that featured a 103-yard touchdown return by Pharoh Cooper on the opening kickoff. The Rams have a rushing threat of their own in Todd Gurley, who is fourth in the NFL with 521 yards and tied for first with seven TDs – including three of the receiving variety. Both teams also can get things done through the air, as Arizona’s Carson Palmer (1,856) is second in the league in passing yards while Los Angeles’ Jared Goff (1,484) ranks seventh.

Carolina Panthers vs Chicago Bears

The Bears haven’t asked too much of rookie quarterback Mitch Trubisky in his first two starts, as he has passed for only 241 yards with two touchdowns and one interception while primarily focusing on handing off to Jordan Howard. Leaning on the ground game might not be a viable option against the Panthers, who rank fifth in the NFL against the run and allow just 3.4 yards per carry. Carolina had a two-game winning streak snapped with a 28-23 loss to Philadelphia last week.

Tennessee Titans vs Cleveland Browns

Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer watched from the sidelines as Kevin Hogan threw three interceptions and is heading back out on the field ready to limit his own mistakes and hold himself accountable. Kizer is completing 50.9 percent of his passes and owns nine interceptions to go with just three touchdowns. Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota sat out a 16-10 loss at Miami on October 8 with a hamstring injury but returned on Monday with limited mobility and threw for 306 yards in the 36-22 victory over Indianapolis while working from the pocket.

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Posted in NFL

ACC Games of the Week

Saturday lives for College Football and FanPicks has your fantasy football fix. If you are a fan of the Big Ten conference, then you’re in luck because we got the Big Ten Games of the Weeks contest. Only Big Tens matchups are allowed. With 6 games in line, there will be no shortage of draft picks. Check out all of the Big Ten Saturday games preview below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Iowa Hawkeyes vs Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern looks to build on its first Big Ten win when it hosts Iowa on Saturday (Noon ET on ESPN2) The Wildcats kicked off conference play with losses to No. 5 Wisconsin (33-24) and second-ranked Penn State (31-7) before rebounding with a 37-21 road victory against Maryland, and they hope to notch back-to-back wins for the first time this season by knocking off the Hawkeyes for the second time in as many years.

The Hawkeyes hope to have ironed out a few wrinkles on offense during their bye week after beginning Big Ten play 1-2 for the first time since 2013. Iowa is averaging 24.7 points per game in conference action, but achieved its highest total of the season in the 45-16 win over Illinois on October 7 and looks to climb back into the race for first place in the West Division.

ABOUT IOWA (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten)

Nate Stanley threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns while Wadley rushed for 115 yards and a touchdown in the win over the Illini to finish with over 100 yards for the 12th time in his career. Running back James Butler practiced for the first time since suffering an elbow injury in the win against North Texas on Sept. 16, but likely needs another week to recuperate. Senior linebacker Josey Jewell continues to lead the defense and has 70 tackles, including 7.5 for loss, 2.5 sacks and an interception in six games.

ABOUT NORTHWESTERN (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten)

Senior running back Justin Jackson racked up a season-high 171 yards and two touchdowns in the win against Maryland to break the Wildcats’ all-time rushing record previously held by Damien Anderson (4,485). Jackson needs 38 more yards to move past Anthony Davis (4,676) into eighth place on the Big Ten’s career rushing list. Charlie Kuhbander was named the Big Ten’s Special Teams Player of the Week after becoming the first freshman in Northwestern history to kick three field goals in a single game.

Purdue Boilermakers vs Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Two improving teams with bowl aspirations must put this one in the win column to reach their goal when Purdue visits Rutgers for Big Ten matchup on Saturday afternoon (Noon ET on Big Ten Network). Purdue attempts to even its league record after playing No. 5 Wisconsin tough in a 17-9 loss last week and starts a stretch of four straight games against teams at .500 or worse while the Scarlet Knights are coming off an important victory at Illinois.

The Boilermakers lean on a defense that has forced 15 turnovers, including nine fumble recoveries (tied for second in the country), and has allowed just 20 total points in two road games – none in the second half. Rutgers rushed for 274 yards and rolled to a 35-24 victory over the Illini to snap a 16-game Big Ten losing streak last week.

ABOUT PURDUE (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten)

Coach Jeff Brohm told reporters he will keep using two quarterbacks even though sophomore Elijah Sindelar (52.9 completion percentage) has gotten most of the snaps of late while junior David Blough (68.9) did not attempt a pass last week. Sophomore running back Tario Fuller (foot) is expected to miss his fourth straight game after rushing for 261 yards in the first three contests. Senior linebacker Ja’Whaun Bentley had 12 of his team-high 46 tackles against Wisconsin and sophomore linebacker Markus Bailey boasts 41 (career-high 10 solo tackles last week) to go along with three sacks.

ABOUT RUTGERS (2-4, 1-2 Big Ten)

Junior Giovanni Rescigno replaced senior Kyle Bolin (three TD passes, six interceptions) at quarterback last week and threw for 89 yards while running for 41, but suffered an apparent knee injury and is considered day-to-day. Senior Gus Edwards rushed for a season-high 91 yards with two scores and freshman Raheem Blackshear gained 87 yards on just six carries, including a touchdown, against Illinois. Whoever is under center will be looking for top targets senior wide receiver Janarion Grant (15 catches, 162 yards, one TD) and junior tight end Jerome Washington (16, 141, one).

Maryland Terrapins vs Wisconsin Badgers

Top 10 teams seem to fall every weekend, but No. 5 Wisconsin just keeps rolling along on its way to the Big Ten championship game. The Badgers will try to stay undefeated and knock off another conference opponent when they host Maryland on Saturday (Noon ET on FOX).

Wisconsin, which does not have to face fellow top-10 teams Ohio State or Penn State in the regular season and gets No. 19 Michigan at home on Nov. 18, overcame three turnovers and leaned on the defense while fighting off Purdue 17-9 last week. The Terrapins have allowed 99 combined points in back-to-back losses to Ohio State and Northwestern and are surrendering an average of 36.5 points – 115th out of 130 FBS teams.

ABOUT MARYLAND (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten)

Terrapins running back Ty Johnson rushed for at least 124 yards in three of the first four games but was limited to 57 yards on 12 carries at Ohio State and slumped to a season-low 20 yards on 10 carries against Northwestern. The offensive star for Maryland is junior wide receiver D.J. Moore, who caught 12 passes for 210 yards and a pair of scores against the Wildcats to bring his total on the season to seven TDs.

ABOUT WISCONSIN (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten)

The Maryland defense is surrendering an average of 174.3 yards on the ground and this week has to go up against Badgers freshman star Jonathan Taylor, who is on the verge of a 1,000-yard season. Taylor upped his total to 986 yards with 219 on 30 carries last week – his third 200-plus game of the season – and scored at least one touchdown in each of the first six contests.

Indiana Hoosiers vs Michigan State Spartans

No. 19 Michigan State returns home Saturday looking to build on a pair of big road wins when it faces an Indiana squad still looking for its first victory in Big Ten play (3:30 p.m. ET on ABC). The Spartans have won three straight, including triumphs at Michigan and Minnesota the last two weeks, while the Hoosiers are coming off a tough overtime loss to the Wolverines and face their fourth straight nationally ranked conference foe.

Michigan State’s running game got a big boost last week with the re-emergence of junior LJ Scott, who recorded career highs in carries (25) and rushing yards (194) after sitting out the previous game with an undisclosed injury. The Spartans also are powered by one of the top defenses in the country, ranking in the nation’s top 10 in total defense (fifth, 263.8 yards per game) and rushing defense (eighth, 93.3). Indiana’s offense has been solid, with redshirt freshman Peyton Ramsey (815 passing yards, seven touchdowns) set for his third career start under center. Coach Tom Allen has been pleased with the play of the team’s defense, which has held its last two opponents (Charleston Southern and Michigan) under 100 yards passing.

ABOUT INDIANA (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten)

The feeling around the Hoosiers these days is one of confidence – despite the overtime loss to Michigan – because of the presence of Ramsey in the lineup. Indiana was down 10 points with less than four minutes to play against the Wolverines’ vaunted defense, but Ramsey was able to lead them to overtime and nearly a victory, even with a knee brace he had to put on in the second quarter after being injured. While senior Richard Lagow provides experience, as he led Indiana to a win over Michigan State last season, many around the program believe Ramsey provides the intangibles that can guide a good team to greatness.

ABOUT MICHIGAN STATE (5-1, 3-0 Big Ten)

Even though Indiana has played very good pass defense the last two weeks, quarterback Brian Lewerke likely will be happy to see the Hoosiers because it will mean playing in some better weather. Lewerke hasn’t been able to get into a groove over the last two weeks, throwing for a total of 214 yards, and Michigan State has kept the ball on the ground because of rainy conditions in both Ann Arbor and Minneapolis. But Lewerke has a plethora of receivers from which to choose and is itching to throw the ball more, and the Spartans’ coaches likely will try to open it up to keep Indiana from stacking the line against the run.

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Illinois Illini

Minnesota and Illinois boast two of the youngest rosters in FBS, but while the former has given its fan base reason for hope by playing its Big Ten rivals close so far, the latter has not. The Golden Gophers attempt to end a three-game losing streak and give first-year coach P.J. Fleck his first conference win Saturday when they host the Fighting Illini (3:30 p.m. ET on Big Ten Network) in a battle of the only two winless teams during West Division action.

Fleck led his charges through an undefeated run in non-conference action before losing late to Maryland in the conference opener and giving up two touchdowns in the final 1:17 en route to a 14-point setback at Purdue two weeks ago. Minnesota continued to show its resolve in last week’s 30-27 defeat at No. 19 Michigan State, as the Gophers scored two late touchdowns to threaten the Spartans after trailing by as many as 17 midway through the fourth quarter. The same has not been true for Illinois, which is coming off a 35-24 home loss to a Rutgers team that had dropped its previous 16 straight Big Ten contests. The Illini have dropped six straight conference tilts by an average of 26 points and are 2-10 in Big Ten play overall under second-year head coach Lovie Smith.

ABOUT ILLINOIS (2-4, 0-3 Big Ten)

Ricky Smalling continues to be one of the few bright spots for the worst scoring offense in the conference (18.8 points), as he leads the league in yards per catch (19.4) while becoming the sixth player in program history to have a 100-yard receiving game as a true freshman last week after posting 111 yards. Sophomore quarterback Jeff George, Jr. threw for a career-high 308 passing yards against Rutgers and has the offense averaging 420 yards in his first two starts, but he has thrown at least two interceptions in all three games in which he has played. Smith announced leading rusher Mike Epstein will likely miss the rest of the season with a foot injury after the true freshman did not suit up last weekend.

ABOUT MINNESOTA (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten)

Sophomore receiver Tyler Johnson almost singlehandedly brought the Gophers back versus the Spartans, doubling his season total for receiving touchdowns with three fourth-quarter scores, allowing him to finish with a career-high eight catches for 106 yards. Fleck pulled struggling senior quarterback Conor Rhoda in the middle of the second quarter and replaced him with sophomore Demry Croft, who connected with Johnson on all three TD throws – the first of his career – and compiled 194 total yards. Although the duo was held to 51 rushing yards on 17 carries against Michigan State, junior running backs Rodney Smith (73.7) and Shannon Brooks (64.4) comprise one of the most productive running back tandems in the conference, ranking eighth and 14th in the Big Ten, respectively.

Michigan Wolverines vs Penn State Nittany Lions

No. 2 Penn State begins the most difficult portion of its schedule Saturday night when it hosts a Michigan team looking to prove it belongs among the Big Ten elites (7:30 p.m. ET on ABC). The 15th-ranked Wolverines are enduring a sluggish stretch that includes a home loss to Michigan State and an overtime win against East Division doormat Indiana, and they hope to hang around against a dominant Nittany Lions crew that’s coming off a bye week.

Penn State is coming off back-to-back routs of Indiana and Northwestern, but faces a daunting three-week run that also includes visits to No. 6 Ohio State and No. 19 Michigan State. The Nittany Lions have won 14 straight regular-season games since a 49-10 loss at Ann Arbor a year ago in which the Wolverines posted a 515-191 advantage in total yards – including 326-70 on the ground

ABOUT MICHIGAN (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten)

The Wolverines rank 11th in the Big Ten in passing offense and senior John O’Korn has struggled since taking over the starting job from the injured Wilton Speight. O’Korn has zero touchdowns, three interceptions and a completion percentage of 47.3 over the last two weeks. Michigan’s top three rushers – Ty Isaac, Karan Higdon and Chris Evans – combined for 211 yards and four TDs in last year’s rout of Penn State.

ABOUT PENN STATE (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten)

Stars like running back Saquon Barkley (Big Ten-leading 1,302 all-purpose yards) and quarterback Trace McSorley (Big Ten-leading 266.2 passing yards per game) get most of the headlines, but the Nittany Lions’ defense is gaining more credit with every week and tops the country with an average of nine points allowed. Linebacker Jason Cabinda leads the way with 40 tackles and defensive end Shaka Toney has three of the team’s 17 sacks and two of its nine forced fumbles.

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Posted in CFB

ACC Games of the Week

Saturday lives for College Football and FanPicks has your fantasy football fix. If you are a fan of the ACC conference, then you’re in luck because we got the ACC Games of the Weeks contest. Only ACC games are allowed.With 6 games on tap, there will be no shortage of draft picks. Check out all of the ACC Saturday games preview below and join the action for cash prize!!!   >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Louisville Cardinals vs Florida State Seminoles

Louisville announced its presence as a national championship contender in 2016 by annihilating then-No. 2 Florida State, but both teams find themselves struggling just to stay relevant in the Atlantic Division of the Atlantic Coast Conference just over 13 months later. A pair of recent powers hovering around the .500 mark hope to improve their recent fortunes Saturday when the Cardinals visit the Seminoles (Noon Et on  ESPN).

Eventual Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson accounted for five touchdowns as Louisville throttled Florida State 63-20 last September – a victory that marked the third of four straight games in which the Cardinals scored at least 59 points. While the offense has more than held up its end of the bargain this season despite not maintaining the same pace as last season’s team, the defense has not after giving up at least 520 total yards for the third time in 2017 in last weekend’s 45-42 home loss to Boston College.

The Seminoles avoided their first 1-4 start to a season since 1975 with a 17-10 triumph at Duke – their fourth consecutive contest decided by seven points or fewer. The Seminoles have yet to win outside the state of North Carolina, however, losing in Atlanta to No. 1 Alabama in the opener as well as at home versus North Carolina State and Miami (Fla.).

ABOUT LOUISVILLE (4-3, 1-3 ACC)

Jackson (3,221 career rushing yards) continues to set school records by the week, breaking Walter Peacock’s mark (3,204; 1972-75) for the most ever by a Cardinal; he also scored his 42nd career rushing touchdown, breaking Lenny Lyles’ mark of 41 from 1954-57. For only the second time in school history, the Cardinals had a pair of 100-yard receivers and 100-yard rushers in the same game last week, as Dez Fitzpatrick (127) and Jaylen Smith (118) each topped 100 yards receiving while Jackson (180) and Reggie Bonnafon (107) surpassed the century mark on the ground. Fitzpatrick’s seventh touchdown catch moved him into a tie with Arnold Jackson (1997) and Mario Urrutia (2005) for most receiving touchdowns in a season by a freshman.

ABOUT FLORIDA STATE (2-3, 2-2 ACC)

The Seminoles rank 121st in the country in scoring offense (18.2 points) and 110th in total offense (346.6 yards), but a new offensive line tweak seemed to spark them against Duke as left tackle Derrick Kelly moved to left guard while freshman Josh Ball took over at Kelly’s old spot. Florida State allowed a season-low two sacks while its 84th-ranked rushing attack (144.8) churned out a season-high 228 yards on the ground, including 115 from freshman Cam Akers. Auden Tate paces the team with 19 receptions, 312 yards and five touchdowns despite finishing with only three catches for 30 yards against Duke; he has scored one touchdown in every game this season – tied for the longest active streak in the nation.

Pittsburgh Panthers vs Duke Blue Devils

Teams in search of a much-needed win and better quarterback play meet Saturday when Pittsburgh meets Duke in an ACC Coastal Division matchup (12:20 p.m. ET on ACC Network). The Panthers have dropped five of six since an opening-week victory over FCS foe Youngstown State, while the Blue Devils have dropped three straight conference games after opening the season with four wins by a combined 101 points.

Pittsburgh routed Duke 56-14 last season behind 237 yards passing and three touchdowns from current Buffalo Bills backup quarterback Nathan Peterman, but the Panthers have not received consistent play from either injured Max Browne or sophomore Ben DiNucci this season. The two have combined for just eight touchdown passes and 1,609 yards passing, opening the door for freshman Kenny Pickett to play in the second half of last week’s 35-17 loss to North Carolina State. During the Blue Devils’ season-opening four-game winning streak, sophomore Daniel Jones completed 62 percent of his passes for an average of 226 yards per game with five touchdowns against two interceptions. In the last three contests, the 6-5 signal-caller has completed just 48.3 percent of his passes for an average of 165 yards per game with one TD against three picks.

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (2-5, 0-3 ACC)

With Browne out for the season with a shoulder injury, DiNucci (55-of-97, 612 yards, three TDs, three interceptions) will remain the starter against the Blue Devils. The Panthers have rushed for a combined total of 433 yards in their last five games after breaking out for 363 yards in the first two games of the season.

ABOUT DUKE (4-3, 1-3 ACC)

With Jones struggling, the Blue Devils may want to use senior running back Shaun Wilson more, as the senior has averaged 5.4 yards per rush during the losing skid but has toted the ball on average less than 10 times per game. Sophomore defensive back Mark Gilbert leads the team with four interceptions – tied for fifth in FBS – and the team’s total of 12 is two more than they registered in the entire 2016 campaign and tied for second in FBS. The defense ranks 19th in FBS in total defense (313 yards per game), including 16th against the run (108).

Boston College Eagles vs Virginia Cavaliers

Virginia aims for its first five-game winning streak in 10 years when it hosts Boston College and surging running back A.J. Dillon in an ACC clash Saturday afternoon (12:30 p.m. ET on RSN). Dillon erupted for 272 yards and four touchdowns to lead the Eagles to a surprise 45-42 win at Louisville last week, posting the third-highest single-game total in program history and the most ever for a freshman.

He will take aim at a defense that is allowing 312.8 total yards per game – the third-fewest among ACC teams – and let up just 257 in last week’s 20-14 win at North Carolina. That result put the Cavaliers one win away from bowl eligibility for the first time since 2011. The Eagles are the only ACC team that Virginia has never beaten, having dropped each of the first five meetings, the last coming in 2010 at Boston College.

ABOUT BOSTON COLLEGE (3-4, 1-3 ACC)

Starting quarterback Anthony Brown completed 5-of-17 passes before being knocked out of the win at Louisville with a shoulder injury, and backup Darius Wade went 7-for-10 to help finish the upset. Dillon and junior Jon Hilliman have combined for 967 rushing yards and nine TDs for the league’s fifth-rated ground game.

ABOUT VIRGINIA (5-1, 2-0 ACC)

Benkert ranks second in the league behind Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson with 15 TD passes and he’s thrown just three interceptions in 248 attempts. He has plenty of targets, as three Cavaliers have at least 377 receiving yards and four TDs, led by junior running back Olamide Zaccheaus, who needs 32 yards to move into the top 20 all-time at Virginia. Safety Quin Blanding leads all active FBS players in career tackles (419) while Kiser ranks sixth (329) after the pair combined for 18 against North Carolina.

Syracuse Orange vs Miami Hurricanes

If Miami (Fla.) had any thoughts of looking past Syracuse, those surely disappeared last weekend. The seventh-ranked Hurricanes hope to avoid the upset at the hands of the visiting Orange when the ACC foes square off Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN).

Syracuse defeated No. 2 Clemson, the defending national champion, in its last outing behind three touchdown passes from Eric Dungey. Coach Dino Babers now hopes his team can re-focus in time to face the undefeated Hurricanes, who escaped last week’s date with Georgia Tech with a 25-24 triumph.

ABOUT SYRACUSE (4-3, 2-1 ACC)

The Orange are aiming to knock off consecutive top 10 opponents for the first time in school history behind Dungey, who ranks fifth in the nation in completions per game (26.9), and Steve Ishmael, who leads the nation in receptions (62). Ishmael has scored a touchdown in four straight games, although he is averaging 5.7 catches over the last three outings after averaging 11.3 catches in the first four contests. Dungey leads the team in rushing (386 yards) and has eight of the team’s 11 scores on the ground.

ABOUT MIAMI (5-0, 3-0 ACC)

The Hurricanes have won 10 games in a row dating back to last season, although last week’s win was a mini-miracle. Darrell Langham caught a fourth-down pass on a lucky bounce to keep the game alive before Michael Badgley kicked the decisive field goal with four seconds left. Travis Horner ran for a career-high 170 yards on 20 attempts and scored two touchdowns – one on the ground and one through the air.

North Carolina Tar Heels vs Virginia Tech Hogies

Teams heading in opposite directions meet Saturday when North Carolina visits No. 14 Virginia Tech during homecoming weekend (3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2). The Hokies are 5-1 with their lone loss against defending champion Clemson and coming off a bye week after dropping Boston College 23-10 on October 7, while the Tar Heels are trying to avoid a fifth consecutive loss in one season for the first time since 2006.

The Tar Heels have averaged just 12 points per outing during their skid after last week’s 20-14 defeat against Virginia, and their only win has come against FCS foe Old Dominion. Virginia Tech will have a decided advantage at the quarterback spot, as Josh Jackson leads all FBS freshmen with 1,700 passing yards and 13 touchdowns and is second in passer rating (158.2), while North Carolina will give LSU transfer Brandon Harris his second start of the season Saturday.

ABOUT NORTH CAROLINA (1-6, 0-4 ACC)

Harris replaced Chazz Surratt last week and completed only 7-of-18 passes for 46 yards with three interceptions. The offensive highlight last week was 5-9 freshman Michael Carter, who ran for a season-high 157 yards and two touchdowns, including 127 yards and both of his scores in the third quarter as the Tar Heels came back from a 10-0 halftime deficit. Jackson, whose TD passes are the most ever by a Virginia Tech freshman, needs 141 yards to overtake Michael Vick’s freshman record for passing yards (1,840 in 1999) and is looking forward to attacking a defense that is surrendering 31 points and 461 yards per contest.

ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (5-1, 1-1 ACC)

Jackson leads the ACC in passer rating (158.17), which is 13th in FBS, is third in the conference in total offense (309 yards per game) and fifth in passing yards per game (283.3). Wide receiver Cam Phillips, who ranks second in Tech history with 207 catches and third in receiving yards with 2,671, is hopeful to return after leaving the Boston College game with a foot sprain. Led by defensive backs Brandon Facyson, Greg Stroman and Adonis Alexander, opponents are completing just 44 percent of its passes for 387 yards with only one TD in three home games this season, and the defense is second in the ACC and seventh in FBS in scoring defense (13.7 points).

Wake Forest Demon Deacons vs Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets

Georgia Tech is two one-point losses away from being undefeated on the season, but the Yellow Jackets enter Saturday’s home contest with Wake Forest (7:30 p.m. ET on ESPNU) with no time to wonder what could have been. The Yellow Jackets face a Wake Forest team that threw a scare into Clemson before having its bye last week, and Georgia Tech’s remaining schedule features matchups with the No. 8-ranked Tigers, No. 14 Virginia Tech, Virginia and No. 3 Georgia.

The Demon Deacons started the season 4-0 before suffering a pair of losses to Clemson and Florida State, and begin a pivotal stretch in which Wake Forest plays three of its next four games on the road. Wake Forest quarterback John Wolford, who missed the Clemson game with a shoulder injury, and running back Cade Carney (rib) are expected back for Saturday.

ABOUT WAKE FOREST (4-2, 1-2 ACC)

Wolford has completed 63.2 percent of his passes this season with eight touchdowns and only one interception, while rushing for four touchdowns and 6.3 yards per carry. Redshirt freshman receiver Greg Dortch ranks second in the ACC and 19th nationally with 136 all-purpose yards per game, finishing with 156 yards against the Tigers. Wake Forest’s defense is surrendering only 16.7 points per game, third the conference and 12th in the country.

ABOUT GEORGIA TECH (3-2, 2-1 ACC)

The Yellow Jackets scored fewer than 28 points last week for the first time in nine games, but still lead the ACC and rank third in the nation in rushing yards per game (362). Quarterback TaQuon Marshall has combined for 14 touchdowns (nine rushing, five passing) and leads the team in rushing, but was held to just 18 yards against the Hurricanes. Georgia Tech has allowed opponents to convert third downs just 22.4 percent of the time, ranking second in the nation.

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Posted in CFB

Thursday Fanpicks Games of the Week

Begin the football weekend with Thursday Night Football game between the Raiders and Chiefs. Mix it in with NCAA gridiron action between Memphis and Houston and you get the Games of the Week contest. Check out both games preview below and come play FanPicks cross sports contest!!! >>>Click here to join the game<<<

Oakland Raiders vs Kansas City Chiefs

The Oakland Raiders were a trendy preseason choice to wind up in the conference championship game, but they are in desperate need of a victory to keep from falling out of contention in the AFC West. Riding a four-game losing streak, the struggling Raiders face a daunting task when they host the division-leading Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday night (8:25 p.m. ET on CBS).

Oakland plugged a void this week with the signing of four-time All-Pro linebacker NaVorro Bowman, a tackling machine who moves across the Bay after he was released by the San Francisco 49ers on Friday.

Kansas City became the last team in the NFL to lose, dropping a 19-13 decision at home to Pittsburgh on Sunday, but it has won five in a row against the Raiders.

ABOUT THE CHIEFS (5-1)

Kansas City averaged nearly 33 points through its first five victories, but its offense was bottled up while its 27th-ranked run defense was shredded for 194 yards. Kareem Hunt rushed for a season-low 21 yards but had five receptions for 89 yards to become the first rookie in league history to amass at least 100 scrimmage yards in each of his team’s first six games. Multi-threat receiver Tyreek Hill injured his neck in Sunday’s game and it was feared he might have a concussion, but the team pronounced him good to go. Smith threw for 246 yards and a TD last week, failing to post a 100-plus passer rating for the first time.

ABOUT THE RAIDERS (2-4)

Derek Carr returned to the lineup after missing one game with a fractured bone in his back, but had another mediocre game and has four interceptions in his past three contests after tossing only six picks in the entire 2016 season. The vertical passing game has been a staple in Oakland since the franchise’s inception, but deep threat Amari Cooper has a combined nine receptions for 51 yards during the four-game skid. Marshawn Lynch has not provided the expect jolt to the ground game, rushing for two TDs and an averaging 42.8 yards rushing. Only three teams in the league have fewer than the Raiders’ 11 sacks.

Memphis Tigers vs Houston Cougars

A short week will only add to the drama when Memphis visits Houston on Thursday night( 8 p.m. ET on ESPN) for a key American Athletic Conference West Division game. The past three meetings have been decided by four points or fewer.

The Tigers can gain the upper hand in the division and become bowl eligible for the fourth straight season — a program first — with a win. Memphis quarterback Riley Ferguson has 10 touchdowns and no interceptions in his past two games while the Tigers have scored 100 points during that span.

The Cougars have won 11 straight conference home games, and six of the past seven against Memphis.

ABOUT MEMPHIS (5-1, 2-1 AAC)

Ferguson leads the conference with 1,814 passing yards and 19 touchdowns, including nine TD passes to Anthony Miller (45 catches, 606 yards). Darrell Henderson (542 rushing yards, three TDs) is averaging 8.1 yards per carry to lead the ground game while Tony Pollard (39.3 yards per return) has two kickoff returns for touchdowns this season. Sophomore Austin Hall leads the Tigers with 44 tackles and recorded three of the team’s five takeaways (two interceptions, fumble) in last week’s victory over Navy.

ABOUT HOUSTON (4-2, 2-1 AAC)

Quarterback Kyle Postma (805 yards, five interceptions, four touchdowns) has made three straight starts but had three turnovers in Saturday’s loss at Tulsa. Steven Dunbar (team-best 40 catches for 462 yards) is coming off his first 100-yard game of the season while Linell Bonner (37 catches, 344 yards, three TDs) had five catches for 44 yards in his return from a concussion. Matthew Adams and D’Juan Hines each have 57 tackles for a defense that has 10 sacks and 12 takeaways.

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Posted in CFB, NFL

Fantasy Hockey Preview Part 3

The puck dropped Tuesday night but it’s not too late to play home openers, as day 3 of NHL hockey is beginning. FanPicks has you covered with every game offered for one day fantasy hockey action. Get your entry in before 7pm on Friday. The Vegas Golden Knigths will be in action for the very first time and so should you. Enter NOW for for your chance to win real cash!

Toronto Maple Leafs

The progression of this team towards the next stage of its reconstruction, let’s face it, will pass above all by the experience stored by its many young players with great potential. The prospect of this team going beyond their 251 goals (5th place in the NHL in 2016-2017) is well-conceivable, considering what Auston Matthews, William Nylander, Mitch Marner, Jake Gardiner and Morgan Reilly can accomplish. Matthews can also flirt with the 50-goal mark after scoring 40 on his rookie season at just 19 years old.

Vancouver Canucks

The good news? The Vancouver Canucks have finally admitted it’s a rebuild. The bad news? It’s a rebuild, and it won’t happen fast. The biggest issue Vancouver has is simple: The Sedin brothers aren’t supposed to be first-line players anymore. They are, because the Canucks drafted so poorly for so long. And that’s why the Canucks are rebuilding.

Vegas Golden Knights

The vast majority of NHL expansion teams finishes at the bottom of the rankings during their inaugural season. Will it be the Golden Knights in 2017? It’s hard to say, but they have managed to set up a defensive unit that should hold its own, with Shea Theodore, Jason Garrison, Brayden McNabb, Nate Schmidt and Clayton Stoner along with goalie Marc-Andre Fleury.

Washington Capitals

The Capital are still led by Alex Ovechkin, who has seen his production decline in the last three years. After seasons of 53 and 50 goals, the captain of the Caps scored only 33 goals last year. Washington is betting on the return of T.J. Oshie in order to retain its offensive strike force. The team’s fourth scorer last season with 56 points signed an eight-year contract and $ 46 million to stay in Washington. They have also ensured the services of their centerman Evgeny Kuznetsov for a very long time. The latter signed an eight-year contract extension worth $ 62.4 million. He recorded 59 points in 82 games last year.

Winnipeg Jets

The Winnipeg Jets are one of two Canadian teams to have missed the playoffs last season. If they want to return to spring hockey for the first time since the 2014-2015 season, the Jets must hope that the outbreak of Mark Scheifele was not only ephemeral. Scheifele had a record season of 32 goals and 50 assists for a total of 82 points last year. Teammate Nikolaj Ehlers had an excellent second NHL season. After a 38-point production in 72 games in his rookie year, Ehlers concluded the final season with 64 points in 82 games.

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Posted in NHL

Fantasy Hockey Preview Part 2

The puck dropped Tuesday night but it’s not too late to play home openers, as day 2 of NHL hockey is beginning. FanPicks has you covered with every game offered for one day fantasy hockey action. Get your entry in before 7pm on Thursday. Come play now or check out the teams preview and go play after. Your call.

Montreal Canadiens

The brilliance of Carey Price and the excellent performance of Shea Weber in his Montreal debut gave the Canadiens some defensive hockey play last year. They’ve conceded only 198 goals to their opponents, the fourth lowest total of the league. The lack of offense, however, came to frustrate the plans of the organization after the series began. It was the dry break in the first round against the Rangers.

Nashville Predators

The Preds will again be able to bet on one of the best defensive brigades in the National League. Roman Josi has just inherited the position of captain, while PK Subban will start his second campaign with the Predators with his blue line companion during the last series, Mattias Ekholm. Only a shadow on the blue line is the loss of Ryan Ellis who will be out of the game for a period of four to six months in order to recover from a knee surgery.

New Jersey Devils

Even though they finished 27th in the NHL, the Devils got the first pick at the last NHL entry draft, which allowed them to get their hands on the Halifax Mooseheads sniper Nico Hischier. He made good impression at training camp, when he scored four goals in his first four preliminary games.

New York Islanders

The arrival of offensive forward Jordan Eberle from Edmonton could provide more support to the Isles franchise player John Tavares. However, there are concerns about Tavares contractual situation. The latter is in the final year of his contract and if he does not reach an agreement before the end of the campaign with the Islanders, he will become a free agent without compensation on July 1st. Ouch!

New York Rangers

The least we can say is that the New York Rangers will have a new faces this season at every positions. The biggest change comes in defence. The Rangers were able to carry one of the biggest catch in the free agent market by signing defender Kevin Shattenkirk for four seasons and $26.6 million.

Ottawa Senators

Team captain Erik Karlsson’s availability for the start of the season remains the focus of attention at the Senators’ camp. One certainty is that his faithful blue line partner, Marc Methot, will not be there. Methot was claimed by the Vegas Golden Knights in the expansion draft being traded to the Dallas Stars.

Philadelphia Flyers

For an organization that finished 11th in the Eastern Association with 88 points, the Philadelphia Flyers had a great deal of luck in the lottery for the last NHL entry draft. The draw allowed them to select second and their pick was Nolan Patrick. The Brandon Wheat Kings star will have to stay away from injuries if he wants to lend a hand as quickly as possible to his new team. He only played 33 games last season in the WHL, but he still scored 46 points.

Pittsburgh Penguins

The Pittsburgh Penguins have accomplished a great feat by winning a second consecutive Stanley Cup. They are now are facing an equally challenging task; to get their hands on the cup for the third time in as many seasons. Such a feat has not occurred since the New York Islanders success era, when they lifted the Stanley Cup four consecutive times from 1980 to 1983.

San Jose Sharks

For the first time in 21 years, the Sharks will begin a season without the presence of longtime team winger Patrick Marleau who has chosen to pursue his career in Toronto by accepting their two-season offer and $ 18.75 million. The team, however has ensured to keep defender Marc-Édouard Vlasic (8 years / $ 56M) and goaltender Martin Jones (6 years / $ 34.5 million) for long-terms deals. They also brought back for (at least) another season veteran center Joe Thornton, after much speculation that he was going to join Marleau with the Leafs.

St. Louis Blues

There is no doubt that the Blues main offensive weapon this season will be Russian sniper Vladimir Tarasenko. He finished on top of his team’s scoring last season, scoring 39 goals and 36 assists for a total of 75 points. He has been the leader of his team in terms of points during the last three campaigns.

Tampa Bay Lightning

The return of undisputed leader of the team, Steven Stamkos, is obviously not unrelated to this growing enthusiasm for the Floridian club. The No. 91 was running at full speed last season before seeing another of his campaigns being stopped dry by an injury after only 17 games this time. While Vladislav Namestnikov will have the mandate to complete the explosive duo of Stamkos and Nikita Kucherov at the beginning of the year, the three other trios will be well balanced, with the likes of Alex Killorn, Tyler Johnson, Brayden Point, Ondrej Palat, Ryan Callahan and Yanni Gourde, among others.

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Fantasy Hockey Preview Part 1

Hockey is back and FanPicks has you covered with every game offered for one day fantasy games action. It all starts Wednesday at 7pm. Come play now or check out the teams preview and go play after. Your call.

Anaheim Ducks

The first season of the Ducks under Randy Carlyle’s orders was satisfactory, even though the Californian team ended up two wins short of competing in the Stanley Cup final. Guided by veterans Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Ryan Kesler, but also by a young and very talented defensive brigade, they had 46 wins and conceded the lowest total of goals in the West, 200 (for an average of 2,43 goals allowed per game).

Arizona Coyotes

It’s the end of an era in the desert, with the departure – forced by senior management, some will say – of the longtime Coyotes captain Shane Doan. After 21 seasons and 1540 games, all with the organization that picked him up in 1995, number 19 will shine through his absence on October 7th.

Boston Bruins

The first trio of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak took charge of the team last season and there is no reason to think that the next campaign will be different. Now that he has a long-term contract in his pocket (six seasons and $ 40 million), Pastrnak can focus on what he does best since his arrival in the league, score some goals.

Buffalo Sabres

The future of the Sabres goes through Jack Eichel. If it was not already obvious since his first time skating with the team, let’s not forget that head coach Dan Bylsma was fired just 24 hours after newspapers in Buffalo reported last April that the talented center player could no longer play for him. He also just signed a lucrative 8 year contract on Tuesday.

Calgary Flames

At 45 years-old, the legendary Jaromir Jagr found a new home in Calgary. He’ll be shedding some of his expertise on the young offensive core of Johnny Gaudreau, Sean Monahan, Sam Bennett and Matthew Tkatchuk, who will all have to carry this team. In defense, the Flames got Travis Hamonic from the New York Islanders. He’ll complete one of the most balanced top-4 with Mark Giordano, Dougie Hamilton and T.J. Brodie.

Carolina Hurricanes

Forward player Sebastian Aho had a more than respectable campaign with the ‘Canes. The second-round pick in 2015 collected 49 points, including 24 goals in 82 games. His role should be even more central this season offensively. On defense, Noah Hanifin continues to progress. At only 20 years-old, he took part in 81 games with his team, recording four goals and 25 assists.

Chicago Blackhawks

The Stanley Cup champions in 2010, 2013 and 2015 had just been eliminated for a second consecutive season in the first qualifying round, this time through a sweep, courtesy of the Nashville Predators. The team needed to get back to it’s old success, so they brought back Patrick Sharp and Brandon Saad. Both were important elements in the Hawks Stanley Cup success.

Colorado Avalanche

Not much good can be said about last season for the Avalanche. In his first full season in the league, Mikko Rantanen was one of the only positive elements within the organization. The team’s first-round pick in 2015 reached the 20-goal plateau to conclude the season with 38 points. For his part, striker Nathan MacKinnon was limited to a 53-point crop in 82 games over the past season. A dark cloud is still hanging over the head of Matt Duchene, who has been part of trade rumors for too long.

Columbus Blue Jackets

After enjoying their first season of 100 points in the history of the organization, the Columbus Blue Jackets have taken the means to try and repeat the feat in a most competitive division through the NHL. They’ve acquired 2016 Calder trophy winner Artemi Panarin. The Russian was impressive in his first two campaigns in the league with totals of 77 and 74 points.

Dallas Stars

The Stars added their biggest asset behind the bench, with Ken Hitchcock taking the reigns of the team. He’ll lead one of the best offensive pair in the league with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn. The addition of forwards Alexander Radulov and Martin Hanzal looks to be two promising inclusion to the team.

Detroit Red Wing

All good things has an end. The Red Wing saw their longest active playoffs appearance snap last season. A new era must now begin. Team captain Henrik Zetterberg is now 36 years old and can’t carry this team forever. More than ever, he will need the contribution from rising stars Dylan Larkin and Anthony Mantha.

Edmonton Oilers

What a reward the Oilers have offered to their supporters after a decade of miserable results! In their first appearance in the playoffs since 2006, they have come close to reaching the association final with a young, talented and uncompromising team. The team has settled two of its most pressing issues during the summer, by lending long and lucrative contracts to its two offensive super stars, Connor McDavid(8 years / $ 100 million) and Leon Draisaitl (8-year / 68 million). A new winger was found for McDavid by acquiring Ryan Strome of the New York Islanders against another forward player who did not meet expectations, Jordan Eberle.

Florida Panthers

Several new faces will make their entry to the Panthers squad. Many have little (or no) experience in the NHL, including Russians Evgeny Dadonov and Denis Malgin. Dadonov was a great star in the KHL, with the St. Petersburg SKA, and he’s expected to start the year by completing the first line with Aleskander Barkov and Jonathan Huberdeau.

Los Angeles Kings

It was a rough year for the Kings last season. They saw goalie Jonathan Quick go down with injury early in the season and miss most of it. Los Angeles hopes that he can stay healthy this year. The lack of aggressive dynamism was particularly damaging for the Kings, who scored only 201 goals, 24 fewer than the previous year. Few changes were made to remedy this shortcoming, except for the return of Michael Cammalleri, who had started his professional career with the organization. Captain Anze Kopitar did not deliver the goods and must offer more in terms of points production. His 12 goals in 76 games are not worthy of the talent he has. The “Big Three” made up of defencemen Drew Doughty, Jake Muzzin and Alec Martinez is always excellent, but the rest of the defensive brigade contains question marks and little experience in the NHL .

Minnesota Wilds

The Wilds success was not unrelated to the performance of goalkeeper Devan Dubnyk. The 31-year-old has signed a personal best 40 wins in 65 games last year. He also had a goals-against-average of 2.25 and an EFR of .923.

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Posted in NHL