NFL Draft

LA Rams acquire first overall pick from Titans

Talk about respect.

Making a trade for the first overall pick in the NFL Draft is usually the biggest news in the sports world. But, the Rams even held off announcing the move until they deemed fit.

What could possibly be more important than announcing Los Angeles had just acquired the first overall pick?

Well, Rams Head Coach Jeff Fisher was quoted as saying “the night belonged to Kobe”.

Respect.

Now that the cat’s out of the bag, let’s break down the momentous move.

laramstrade

The Titans received picks number 15 (1st), 43 (2nd), 45 (2nd), 76 (3rd), and 2017 1st and 3rd rounders. They already hold the 33rd overall pick (second pick in 2nd round), and 64th (first in 3rd round). The Rams received the first overall pick, pick 113 (4th), and 177 (6th).

The Titans now own six of the first 76 picks in the 2016 NFL Draft, enough ammo to rebuild any franchise let alone one with a few solid building blocks already in place. Namely, a (potential) franchise quarterback in Marcus Mariota.

We knew Tennessee wasn’t in love with consensus top pick OT Laremy Tunsil, but that wasn’t enough to pull the trigger just yet. New GM Jon Robinson played his cards just right, and optimized the return for a position he didn’t need to be in. Word is they like the next set of best available OL, and taking Tunsil at number one didn’t necessarily optimize their needs. The Titans and Jack Conklin apparently have mutual admiration, news that surfaced yesterday sparking trade talk among fans and media alike.

When asked if any NFL Head Coaches have made an impact on him through the draft process he responded with “One [NFL head coach] that’s really stood out to me is Mike Mularkey. I really liked him because I see a lot of similarities between him and [Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio]. That really intrigues me because that is somebody that I trust and thrived under.”

While there it’s no sure thing that the Titans draft an offensive-lineman, their strategy was spot on. More importantly than the 15th overall pick, is perhaps the three second-rounders they now own. The 2016 draft is the kind you want to own a plethora of early to mid-round picks. A number of potential stars will be plucked between numbers 32 and 98.

A young running back to groom behind Demarco Murray, a talented wide receiver to pair with the developing Dorial Green-Beckham, and an athletic tight-end are all needs on the offensive side of the ball. While a youth infusion is needed on defense, as their linebacking core and secondary could use a serious upgrade after letting a few veterans go via free agency.

The Rams logic was simple. Get a franchise quarterback, now!

I’ve heard whispers that projected number two overall pick Carson Wentz will now go one, but I think Cal’s Jeff Goff will be the man.

Goff was the consensus top QB all season long, and the only reason Wentz name has been glued to the Browns is because new Head Coach Hue Jackson is enamored by the North Dakota State QB. He’s a great fit in Cleveland, as the more steady, blue-collar type. If in fact, the Browns opt to select him at number two, he would become the highest-drafted non-FBS quarterback in NFL history.

In my opinion the hometown Goff is a perfect fit for the Rams, as his gunslinger style is made for the lovely people of California. The fans will be able to deal with his growing pains, and by handing the ball off to Todd Gurley the team can limit his responsibilities early-on.  A luxury the Cleveland Browns certainly do not possess.

No matter who goes where, the draft process has been especially exciting this year and it can only get better the closer we inch to draft day.

Posted in NFL

Top NFL Fantasy Value Quarterbacks – Russell Wilson

Fantasy Football

One of the trending topics that fantasy football managers are following is the contract developments with Seattle Seahawks starting quarterback Russell Wilson. There is no question the talented quarterback deserves a big payday with his rookie contract of $749,000 for 2015 ending at seasons end. Many backups in the league are earning more than Wilson but that’s the NFL these days following the lockout as the veterans made sure they got the bigger piece of the pie and forced rookies to earn a big payday on the field first.

In regards to Fantasy Football are the contract talks really relevant? In today’s media world in print, television and digital it is. These issues are remained unsolved it becomes a distraction for the player and could impact the relationship moving forward. With distraction comes an impact on player attitude and performance on the field. The starting quarterback works harder off the field in film study than any other athlete in the NFL. If not paid, will Wilson be motivated to put in that extra work off the field that separates the best from the rest in the league?

One of the biggest on the field issues for Russell Wilson is to forget the intercepted pass at the Patriots one yard line in the closing seconds of the Super Bowl in 2015. It cost the Seahawks a Super Bowl title. Ironically because Russell Wilson is well liked by the media it was head coach Pete Carroll who took the brunt of the criticism instead of where it belonged and that was on the shoulders of the Seahawks quarterback.

In the 2014 season the Seahawks continued with a solid running attack. By far the club was the best rushing team in the NFL a year ago by running for 169 yards per game and 5.2 yards per run average.

Russell Wilson in 2014 completed 63% of his passes with 20 touchdowns and seven interceptions. One of his best performances occurred in the NFC Championship Game where he willed the Seahawks back from a 16-0 halftime deficit to force the overtime period. Wilson completed a 35 yard touchdown pass to Jermaine Kearse early in overtime which sends the Seahawks into the Super Bowl. Wilson had a very poor first half and threw four interceptions for the game. Two huge touchdown drives in the final two minutes was an epic performance by the Seahawks quarterback.

Wilson earns fantasy football points for mock draft participants with his legs. He was second on the club in rushing with 849 yards on 118 carries which worked out to an impressive 7.2 yards per carry. He had six rushing touchdowns and finished with eight rushes for greater than 20 yards which led the club.

The Seahawks run game greatly aids the clubs passing game. Marshawn Lynch appears happy as he enters training camp and is back in 2015. Lynch ran for 1306 yards on 280 yards as he averaged 4.7 yards per carry. He did not seem too upset that his name was not called in the closing seconds of the Super Bowl as he fully supported Pete Carroll’s play call.

One of the biggest catches in free agency came when the Seattle Seahawks signed talented tight end Jimmy Graham away from the New Orleans Saints. The 6’ 7” tight end was a favorite target of Drew Brees as he caught 85 passes in 2014 for 889 yards and ten touchdowns.

The receiving corps for the Seahawks entering camp will be Jermaine Kearse and Doug Baldwin. Kearse an undrafted player is in his fourth year with the club. He caught 38 passes during the regular season with 537 yards and a touchdown. Kearse was huge in the playoffs with seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns. He averaged nearly 30 yards per catch in the playoffs.

Doug Baldwin had 66 catches in 2014 with 825 yards but just three touchdowns. He had a good game in NFC Championship game by catching six passes for 106 yards.

The depth in the receiving position is rather thin. Chris Matthews, Ricardo Lockette, Tyler Lockett and Kevin Norwood will compete for playing time.

Russell Wilson 2015 Quarterback Fantasy Draft Pick:

Buy

Posted in NFL

Heading Into the 2015-16 NFL season, the following   Quarterbacks project to have high fantasy value

Fantasy FootballAs the 2015 NFL season approaches the best practice for fantasy football draft managers is to start their research early. Several teams go through coaching and roster turnover during the offseason and it is time to start to put the puzzle pieces together to look for the value at the quarterback position.

There are several factors to look for in this quest. Quarterbacks are value today because they underperformed for various reasons the past season. Often overlooked by many participating in mock drafts is how defenses help their starting quarterback by getting off the field. It is simple math. The more offensive downs a player has the more chances he has in scoring points for your league. It’s almost like analyzing playing minutes in the NBA and NHL. Bad defenses from 2014 who improve in 2015 will give their starting quarterback the ability to improve their draft value. The other reasons are more obvious like impact players signed through free agency, acquired through trades and draft.

Matt Ryan (Falcons): The Atlanta Falcons were the 32nd and worst defense in the NFL a season ago. They gave up nearly 400 yards per game and were a league worse 46.8% on third down. That is a defense that can’t get off the field. It keeps Matt Ryan on the sidelines and unable to put up fantasy points for roster managers. Dan Quinn takes over the head coaching duties for Atlanta in the upcoming 2015 season. Quinn was the defensive coordinator for Seattle and will look to improve on a league worst defense.

At Seattle Quinn managed the #1 defense in the NFL and got off the field 37.1% of the time on third down. He will improve the Falcons pass rush and third down stops. Roster wise Ryan has solid targets in the passing game in Julio Jones and Roddy White. The running game will improve with the addition of Tevin Coleman in the draft. Pass rusher Vic Beasley Jr. will be of great help to the defense. The Falcons were able to poach away from the Cowboys linebacker Justin Durant who had a very good year with Dallas last year. Defensive end Adrian Clayborn was acquired from Tampa Bay and will be of help to the Falcons defense.

1 Day Cash Draft BonusEli Manning (Giants): The New York Giants had the 29th worst defense in the league. Opposing teams were controlling the line of scrimmage with nearly five yards per carry on them on the ground. They improved defensively by drafting former Alabama safety Landon Collins with the first pick in Round 2 of the draft. Collins was pegged by many NFL draft pundits as the best safety coming out of college. Collins is outstanding against the pass, run and tackling in the open field. More importantly he can push down that nearly five yards per carry average on the ground the Giants allowed in 2014.

The Giants in the third round drafted a defensive end who can rush the passer in Owamagbe Odighizuwa from UCLA. Eli Manning is now in the second year of this new quick passing offense. It is less taxing on offensive lineman to block because they don’t have to hold onto blocks for a long time. A few seasons ago Manning did his old deep drops and long looks which took a toll on his offensive line as they were ravished by injuries. Manning has one of his big play threats back in Victor Cruz who missed most of last season due to injury. A big surprise for Big Blue was the development of rookie Odell Beckham who had 91 catches for 1305 yards and 12 touchdowns. Beckham really came on during the second half of the year and put up some big numbers in his final three games against the NFC East division. A huge addition to help Eli Manning in the passing game is running back Shane Vereen. He was acquired as a free agent from the Super Bowl New England Patriots team during the offseason. Vereen is quick when lined up as a running back to get to the outside. He is a huge weapon in the passing game and will be Manning’s safety valve with dump offs and quick screens.

2015 Fantasy Football QB Value Picks

1. Matt Ryan (Falcons)
2. Eli Manning (Giants)

Posted in NFL