• Hall of Fame Debate: Edgerrin James vs. Taylor/Dillon

    July 27, 2017 • Features, Front Page, History, OpinionComments (0)

    Hey remember when Fred Taylor went on a Twitter rampage earlier this month, expressing his disgust for not yet being selected for the Pro Football Hall of Fame?

    Quick refresher:

    There were a plethora of additional tweets he sent out, conversing with Jaguars and Fred Taylor fans regarding his HOF case if you’d like to check out his profile. But, yes, Taylor truly believes he should have already been inducted into the Hall.

    Corey Dillon is also pretty pissed off about not being in either.

    Here’s a brief quote of Dillon’s via Bengals Beat Podcast:

    “I am who I am. My numbers are what they are. I don‚Äôt know if I have to go on TV to politic this thing. It seems like that‚Äôs where this thing is going where you have to go and get a job on one of these networks. I don‚Äôt think that‚Äôs the right way of going about it. Somebody should be able to just sit there and look at these numbers and say, you know what, this guy is legit.

    I‚Äôm just bringing up this guy football-wise, nothing else, nothing whatsoever. You‚Äôve got O.J. Simpson in the Hall of Fame and my numbers are better than his. Why can‚Äôt I be there is my question? What validates him being there and I don‚Äôt. I‚Äôm not talking about his transgressions off the field, that‚Äôs on him. I look at this too, you played for the Broncos, okay? Any running back that got in that system, they were good. Tell me one running back that played there that didn‚Äôt have stats.‚ÄĚ

    First off, both of these guys had great careers. There’s no denying that.

    But, the Terrell Davis argument Dillon brought up, regarding his small sample size (seven NFL seasons) is completely irrelevant to Hall of Fame status. Gale Sayers played only seven seasons and is still known as one of the greatest to ever play.

    Not to mention Davis was forced to wait his turn…something that apparently Dillon and Taylor refuse to do.

    Davis, who will be inducted in August, had to wait until his 11th year of eligibility before getting the call. He’s been out of the league since ’01.

    Dillon has been out of the league since March ’07. It’s been about 10 years, but it takes five years before you’re even eligible. And Fred Taylor has only been out of the league since 2010. The pair of running backs may just have to wait their turn on this one.

    Edgerrin James hasn’t even been selected yet, and he has a much stronger HOF case than both Taylor and Dillon.

    Here’s a quick comparison between the three backs:

    Edgerrin James ‚ÄĒ 11 seasons with Colts, Cardinals, Seahawks (135 starts)
    12,246 rushing yards, 80 rushing touchdowns (4.0 YPC)
    12th on all-time rushing list
    4 Pro Bowl selections, 4 All-Pro selections

    Fred Taylor ‚ÄĒ 13 seasons with Jaguars (137 starts)
    11,695 rushing yards, 66 rushing touchdowns (4.6 YPC)
    17th on all-time rushing list
    1 Pro Bowl selection, 1 All-Pro selection

    Corey Dillon ‚ÄĒ 10 seasons with Bengals and Patriots (132 starts)
    11,241 rushing yards, 82 rushing touchdowns (4.3 YPC)
    20th on all-time rushing list
    4 Pro Bowl selections
    Super Bowl champion

    So sure, Fred and Corey, great careers. But I can’t see you getting in before James, who at least led the league in rushing (twice) during his career. Neither of you were even the best in the league during your respective careers.

    Case closed.

    Photo: Peter Brouillet/NFL Photo Library

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  • CFL: Winnipeg Improves to 3-2 with Week 6 Win

    July 27, 2017 • Canadian Football League, Front Page, Game RecapComments (0)

    Canadian Football League Week 6 (Thursday, July 27):

    Montreal Alouettes 40
    Winnipeg Blue Bombers 41

    Winnipeg opened CFL’s Week 6 action with a one-point victory over Montreal Thursday night, overcoming a 24-14 halftime deficit to improve to 3-2 on the season.

    Winnipeg starting quarterback Matt Nichols tossed for 358 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 34-of-43 passing. He also gained 22 of the team’s 80 yards on the ground.

    Jamaal Westerman led the way on defense, recording four tackles and two sacks, for Winnipeg. As a team, the Blue Bombers forced five total sacks against Montreal QB Darian Durant (27/35, 348 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT). Montreal managed 183 yards and a pair of touchdowns on the ground, but Winnipeg’s 27 second half points were enough to pull away with the slim victory.

    Next for Montreal: vs. Toronto (Friday, August 11)
    Next for Winnipeg: at Ottawa (Friday, August 4)

    Photo: The Canadian Press

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  • Brown, Harrison Show up to Steelers Camp in Style

    July 27, 2017 • AFC, AFC North, Camp/Preseason, Front Page, Pittsburgh SteelersComments (0)

    Antonio Brown has been known for showing up to Steelers’ training camp every year in a stylish ride, but his veteran teammate James Harrison decided to join in on the fun this year.

    Today, the 39-year-old Harrison showed up to camp in a fire truck.

    Yes, a fire truck.

    Brown showed up this year in a 1931 Rolls-Royce. He even had a chauffeur driving him. Because obviously the best receiver in the National Football League isn’t going to be driving himself to training camp. Come on now.

    Business is boomin’ (as usual) up north at Steelers’ camp.

    Photo: Steelers’ official Instagram account

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  • Lineman John Urschel Hangs up Cleats at Age 26

    July 27, 2017 • AFC, AFC North, Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Breaking News, Front PageComments (0)

    With the recent CTE study results being released, 26-year-old Baltimore Ravens’ offensive lineman John Urschel has abruptly announced his retirement from the National Football League.

    The former Penn State standout played three seasons in the league, starting 13 games for the Ravens after being drafted with the 175th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.

    No worries, though. Urschel has a bright post-NFL life lined up for him.

    From his wikipedia page:

    Photo: Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

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  • Baltimore: Could 2017 be Danny Woodhead’s Best Season Yet?

    July 26, 2017 • AFC, AFC North, Baltimore Ravens, Features, Front PageComments (0)

    It’s a bold question to ask.

    Danny Woodhead, a 32-year-old running back coming off a torn ACL a season ago, signed a three-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens this off-season. Although he tore his ACL in Week 2 0f last year, he appears to be pretty confident that he can produce at a high-level this season.

    Now that the recent news of Kenneth Dixon’s season-ending knee injury has been publicized, it appears as though Woodhead will get the opportunity to see a hefty load of touches in Joe Flacco’s offense this season.

    He’ll join Lorenzo Taliaferro and Terrance West to form a three-headed monster in Baltimore’s backfield, but given his pass-catching ability (80 catches for San Diego in 2015), Woodhead is bound to see ample targets from Flacco out of the backfield.

    The 5’8″/200-pound running back has never seen more than 106 carries in a single season over his eight-year pro football career, but given Taliaferro has 82 total rushes over his three-year career Woodhead could easily become the No. 2 back behind West (193 carries, 774 yards, 5 TD in 2016).

    Honestly, I can easily see a healthy Woodhead, despite being 32, receiving 150+ carries out of the backfield in 2017. This would also mean he’d see plenty of targets thrown his way. Another 50+ catch season seems plausible for Woodhead as long as he stays healthy and turns into the No. 2 option behind West.

    Photo: Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

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  • Raudabaugh, Romain Earn AFL Weekly Awards

    July 19, 2017 • Arena Football League, Front Page, Philadelphia Soul, Press ReleaseComments (0)

    PHILADELPHIA ‚Äď The Arena Football League today announced that Soul QB Dan Raudabaugh (6‚Äô3, 230, Miami OH) has been awarded Offensive Player of the Game and Soul DB James Romain (5‚Äô11, 170, Delaware State) has been awarded Defensive Player of the Week for their performances against the Washington Valor last weekend.

    ‚ÄúBoth players had stellar games against the Valor,‚ÄĚ said Soul head coach, Clint Dolezel.¬† ‚ÄúThey are leaders on the field and continue to prove why they deserve to be in that position.¬† Dan and James will help lead our team to another championship victory.‚ÄĚ

    Against the Valor, the Soul quarterback completed 26-of-30 passes for 330 yards and nine touchdowns.  So far on the season, Raudabaugh has totaled 221-of-336 passes for 2,893 and 76 touchdowns.

    Romain tallied 6.0 total tackles, 1.0 tackle for a loss of two yards, two forced fumbles and an interception for 19 yards in Week 15.  He leads the Soul defense with 68.5 total tackles, four tackles for a loss of 10 yards, five interceptions for 58 yards, three forced fumbles and 20 pass break-ups on the season.

    The Soul will take on the Baltimore Brigade for the final time of the regular season on Saturday, July 29 at Royal Farms Arena.  Kick off is set for 1 p.m. and the game will be broadcast on TCN, Twitter and 97.5 The Fanatic.

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  • AFL: TB Storm Adds All-Arena Offensive Lineman

    July 19, 2017 • Arena Football League, Front PageComments (0)

    TAMPA BAY¬†‚Äď The Tampa Bay Storm has acquired All-Arena offensive lineman, Cornelius Lewis, announced vice president of football operations Jeff Gooch.

    ‚ÄúCornelius adds veteran leadership to the offensive line,‚ÄĚ said Gooch.¬† ‚ÄúAny time you have the ability to add a player of his caliber, you have to take the opportunity.¬† He will further stabilize our offensive line, helping our offensive output.‚ÄĚ

    Lewis (6-foot-5, 350 lbs., Tennessee State) enters his seventh season in the Arena Football League and first in a Storm uniform. The six-year veteran comes to the Storm after spending the 2016 season with the Jacksonville Sharks.  Lewis started on an offensive line, with current teammate Ray McNeil, that allowed just 10 total sacks in 2016, earning him a First Team All-Arena selection.

    A Jacksonville native, Lewis began his arena football career in 2011 with the Iowa Barnstormers.  He would spend the 2012 season in Iowa before joining the Sharks in 2013.  He began his professional career in 2009 as an undrafted rookie free agent with the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.

    Lewis played collegiately at Florida State before transferring to Tennessee State.  A standout offensive lineman for the Tigers, he earned All-Ohio Valley Conference honors in 2007 and 2008.

    Press release courtesy of

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  • Way-Too-Early Fantasy Football Rankings: WR Edition

    June 25, 2017 • Fantasy, Front Page, ListsComments (0)

    The next installment of my Way-Too-Early Fantasy¬†Football Rankings is on the wide receivers. Over the past few years, the demand for the receiver position has been on the rise, as Antonio Brown was the¬†consensus first overall pick last season to many, while many¬†other WRs were also selected in the first round, including Julio Jones, Odell Beckham, and A.J. Green. This season, WRs will give some spots up to running backs, but don’t think that the wideouts will give up too much ground.

    1) Antonio Brown

    2016: 106 Receptions, 1,284 Receiving Yards, 12 Receiving TDs = 201.30 FP (WR3) (15 Games Played) ( Standard Scoring)

    Analysis: Who else would be atop the WR position? He’s as consistent as they come and as explosive too. He’s basically a lock for top-five numbers at the position by season’s end and is accompanied by so many weapons in Pittsburgh that teams can’t just focus all their attention on Brown. And, if Ben Roethlisberger is able to play in all 16 games this year, Brown could have a season for the ages. Chalk Brown up for yet another 100+ catch, 1300+ yard, 10+ TD season. He is well worth a top four selection in fantasy drafts.

    2) Odell Beckham Jr.

    2016: 101 Receptions, 1,367 Receiving Yards, 10 Receiving TDs = 195.60 FP (WR4) (16 GP) 

    Analysis: Odell already holds an incredible amount of receiving records and he’s only in his fourth season as a pro. His athleticism is unmatched maybe in the entire league and is a threat to take it to the house whenever the ball is in his hands. He started off the 2016 season relatively slow with 1¬†TD¬†and averaging just 71 yards thru the first 5 games. However, he picked it up immediately with a 222 yard game vs. Baltimore and continuing to average 96 yards over the next 10 weeks with 9 TDs. Scoop him up in the middle of the first round and have a distinct advantage over your opponents.

    3) Julio Jones

    2016: 83 Receptions, 1,409 Receiving Yards, 6 Receiving TDs = 176.90 FP (WR6) (14 GP) 

    Analysis: There may not be a more intimidating receiver in the game based on measurables and ability than Julio Jones. He is 6’3, 220 lbs., runs a sub 4.4 40 yd. dash, and can outlaw anybody. All he needs to do is play all 16 games, and he could be the top fantasy wideout. However, it is troubling that his TD marks are somehow always lower than they should be when you consider how dominant he could be. That is the only thing keeping him from being the top receiver in the game. But if he can manage to put up 9+ TDs in 2017, you’re looking at the top receiver in fantasy ladies and gentleman.

    4) Mike Evans

    2016: 96 Receptions, 1,321 Receiving Yards, 12 Receiving TDs = 208.10 FP (WR1) (16 GP) 

    Analysis: Evans has established himself as an elite wide receiver. He is unquestionably the fourth best receiver in fantasy and should be taken within the first eight picks in every draft this year. I like Evans a lot because I believe that Jameis Winston will continue to develop into a solid quarterback which should only allow Evans to continue his dominance. Also, Winston isn’t exactly trigger-shy as he has shown that he trusts Evans (sometimes to a fault) enough to throw it up to his big-bodied receiver amid heavy traffic. Evans should stay hover around his 2016 totals of 1300 yards and 12 TDs.

    5) A.J. Green

    2016: 66 Receptions, 964 Receiving Yards, 4 Receiving TDs = 120.40 FP (WR34) (10 GP) 

    Analysis: Green narrowly missed his sixth straight season with over 1,000 receiving yards by going 964 yards in an injury shortened season in 2016. And, for some reason Green wasn’t seen as having a great year despite having 964 yards and 4 TDs in 10 games. If projected out to a full 16 games, Green would’ve finished with 1,542 yards and 6 TDs for a total of 190 fantasy points, which would’ve been good for fifth at the position. It would’ve also given him the most receiving yards in the NFL. Not too shabby. And he’s falling into the second round in most drafts now. Take advantage!

    6) Jordy Nelson

    2016: 97 Receptions, 1,257 Receiving Yards, 14 Receiving TDs = 207.70 FP (WR2) (16 GP) 

    Analysis: He may be getting older but Jordy Nelson is still playing at elite form. Not only did he lead the league in TDs by two, but he also tallied the sixth most receiving yards, allowing him to finish as the second best fantasy wideout. And might I remind you that Nelson has actually played in 16 games in 6 of his 9 years as a pro, and only less than 12 once (in 2015 due to an ACL tear). As long as he has Aaron Rodgers slinging him the ball, Nelson should put up top-ten totals at the very least. Grab him in the second round and be satisfied that you could have gotten the top wideout in fantasy at a discounted price.

    7) Michael Thomas

    2016: 92 Receptions, 1,137 Receiving Yards, 9 Receiving TDs = 163.70 FP (WR9) (15 GP) 

    Analysis: For me, this is where the WR position takes a hit and drops a tier. All of the wideouts listed above have a good chance of being atop the position by year’s end, but these wideouts from here on out are a step below the top six. Nevertheless, Michael Thomas is a fantastic WR who can be counted on as a back-end WR1 or top-flight WR2. However, there is some risk here as he is in only his second season and plays for the Saints, a team known for spreading the wealth amongst several receivers and tight ends. But fortunately for Thomas, and fantasy fans, New Orleans’ top wideout from a year ago, Brandin Cooks, has left leaving his 117¬†targets. And those¬†aren’t just any targets. These targets are from the ultra-accurate Drew Brees. If Thomas garners just 30 of those targets, he would’ve ended with the same amount as Jordy Nelson last year with 152, good for sixth in the NFL.

    8) T.Y. Hilton

    2016: 91 Receptions, 1,448 Receiving Yards, 6 Receiving TDs = 182.80 FP (WR5) (16 GP) 

    Analysis: I debated whether or not I wanted Hilton at #8 or Dez. And honestly, I switched them a couple times, but¬†I’m sticking with 2016’s receiving yards king at this spot. Legitimately a threat on any play to score, Hilton can beat you on intermediate routes as well as flies down field where he can use his speed to take the top off of the defense. With Luck at the helm, Hilton has shown that he can put up numbers, as evidenced by his 1,448 yards last season. Another aspect of Hilton’s that I like is his big-play ability. Last year, he had five games of 115+ yards, including games with 174¬†and 171 yards. The only negative of his game though is his ceiling for TDs is around 8, as his career-high is 7.

    9) Dez Bryant

    2016: 50 Receptions, 796 Receiving Yards, 8 Receiving TDs = 130.00 FP (WR25) (13 GP) 

    Analysis: It seems as though Dez has been underperforming for the past two seasons. And I know Dez has been dealing with some injuries but it still feels like he hasn’t been playing like Dez of old. However, I still have him at #9 for the following. In the games in which he received at least 5 targets, he totaled either 100+ yards or a touchdown 7 times¬†(7/11). And, if you project his numbers over 16 games, he would’ve finished with 979 yards and just under 10 TDs, which would’ve placed him 11th among WRs in 2016…and that was him playing below his standards. Plus another year in which Dak¬†Prescott and Dez can get more familiar with each other and Dez could jump back into the top-five at the position. He probably has the greatest upside of those outside my top-six.

    10) Amari Cooper

    2016: 83 Receptions, 1,153 Receiving Yards, 5 Receiving TDs = 149.30 FP (WR12) (16 GP) 

    Analysis: And rounding out my top-ten is the young Amari Cooper. Narrowly beating out DeAndre Hopkins, Cooper plays on a better team, with a better QB, and with a better counterpart in Michael Crabtree who can take some attention away from Cooper. The beauty with Cooper is that is feels like he has so much more in the tank. After two almost identical seasons (72 receptions on 130 targets with 1,070 yards and 6 TDs in 2015 vs. 83 receptions on 132 targets with 1,153 yards and 5 TDs), there seems to be more meat left on the bone for Cooper who can, and should, be able to improve upon every one of those stats. With Derek Carr maturing into an elite QB, it should only elevate Cooper who has been hovering just outside the top-ten the past two seasons.

    Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

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  • Way-Too-Early Fantasy Football Rankings: RB Edition

    June 10, 2017 • Fantasy, Front Page, ListsComments (0)

    Moving on to the next segment of my Way-Too-Early Rankings for the 2017 season are the running backs. As everyone knows by now, this position is pretty much the make or break of your fantasy season as it seems like less and less RBs are workhorse backs that command a majority of their team’s rushes. So, you will see the four or five of the top backs go pretty early in your drafts, but never fear, for here is your cheat sheet for when your spot comes up in the draft.

    1) David Johnson

    2016: 293 Carries, 1,239 Rushing Yards, 16 Rushing TDs, 879 Receiving Yards, 4 Receiving TDs = 327.80 FP (RB1) (16 Games Played) ( Standard Scoring)

    Analysis:¬†David Johnson looked like a cheat code last year. Every game, he was a safe bet to net you double-digit fantasy points, and more often than not gave his owners over 20 fantasy points (20+ in¬†9 of 16 games). He is the ultimate RB in fantasy, able to run over and around defenders for rushing yards, catch the ball out of the backfield, and score touchdowns. Although he went down with an injury in the last game of the year, he’ll be back fully healthy for the season so don’t hesitate picking Johnson first overall this summer.

     2) Ezekiel Elliott

    2016: 322 Carries, 1,631 Rushing Yards, 15 Rushing TDs, 363 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 293.40 FP (RB2) (15 Games Played)

    Analysis: Well, he showed us. There were many fantasy enthusiasts, including me, who were wary of selecting a rookie running back in the first round last year, but Zeke proved us wrong, gashing out the most rushing yards in the league, while scoring 16 total times. Elliott was handed the rock 322 times! And I don’t think the Cowboys are going to shy away from giving him the ball anymore this year. If he stays healthy and gets anywhere near 322 carries, he’ll be well worth a top-3 overall pick in drafts.

    3) Le’Veon Bell

    2016: 261 Carries, 1,268 Rushing Yards, 7 Rushing TDs, 616 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs = 242.40 FP (RB4) (12 Games Played)

    Analysis: Bell might just be the most talented running back in the NFL right now (sorry David Johnson). He missed 4 games last year and still finished 4th among all RBs in fantasy. His usage in the potent Pittsburgh offense is crazy, and allows him to put up ridiculous numbers. However, the only thing keeping him from being first on this list is his health concerns. He has missed 14 games over the last two seasons (albeit between both injuries and suspension), leaving his owners needy at the RB position, and without their first round pick. But, Bell is such an incredible talent and gives you such a big advantage at the position, that not picking him in the top half of the first round is just silly. When he plays, he is the best fantasy RB in the game, period.

    4) LeSean McCoy

    2016: 234 Carries, 1,267 Rushing Yards, 13 Rushing TDs, 356 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 248.30 FP (RB3) (15 Games Played)

    Analysis: Honestly, I was shocked to see just how good McCoy actually did last season. The man averaged 5.4 yards per carry, better than that of David Johnson, Ezekiel Elliott, and everyone else but two players. And, those two players received more than 100 fewer carries than Shady. And when looking at his gaudy TD total (14), it may seem like he is ripe for a regression in that category, but don’t forget that goal-line vulture, Mike Gillislee, who scored 8 TDs himself in 2016, is now a Patriot. So, there can¬†actually be¬†more opportunities for McCoy to score in 2017. And just in case you were wondering, the next man up for the Bills at RB is Jonathon Williams, who had 27 carries last year.

    5) Melvin Gordon

    2016: 254 Carries, 997 Rushing Yards, 10 Rushing TDs, 419 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs = 209.60 FP (RB8) (13 Games Played)

    Analysis: The love for Gordon stems from his insane volume. He played in only 13 games last year, yet still finished with the 10th most carries in the league. If he had played all 16 games, he would have had 312 carries, based on his averages up to that point, which¬†would have been good for second most in the league behind Zeke. And all this production was¬†because of his volume which was due much in part to Danny¬†Woodhead’s season-ending injury. And guess what, Woodhead is now out of the picture for good, as he left for Baltimore. Although he may not be the most efficient RB, Melvin Gordon can be trusted since he is pretty much the only RB who will get carries in a very good¬†Charger offense.

    6) Jordan Howard

    2016: 252 Carries, 1,313 Rushing Yards, 6 Rushing TDs, 298 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 201.10 FP (RB9) (15 Games Played)

    Analysis: This rookie seemed to come out of nowhere, only to churn out the second most rushing yards in the league. And while the Bears have lost most of their identity on offense from the departures of Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, Howard remains, and there is no question that this is his offense and backfield this year. The great thing about Howard is that he only had 6 rushing touchdowns last season, a very low number for 252 carries. I see this as a positive thing because it looks like Howard could be in for some positive regression. If he continues to get fed like last seasons, Howard should easily increase that TD total by 2 or 3. If that were to happen, he could move in to the top-5 at the position. Volume is king in fantasy football, and Jordan Howard should get a ton of volume.

    7) Devonta Freeman

    2016: 227 Carries, 1,079 Rushing Yards, 11 Rushing TDs, 462 Receiving Yards, 2 Receiving TDs = 230.10 FP (RB6) (16 Games Played)

    Analysis: A lot of people were down on Freeman coming off a year where he dazzled in 2015. However, Freeman quieted the critics by finishing as the RB6 in 2016 and becoming even more efficient as a runner. And yes, he now has backfield-mate Tevin Coleman taking snaps away from him, but if the Falcons are as potent on offense this year as they were the last, there is room for two fantasy-relevant backs in Atlanta. Plus, if Coleman were to go down with an injury (which is possible due to Coleman’s upright running style), Freeman would immediately catapult to the top of the RB position, as he has one of the highest ceilings in the league with the Atlanta backfield all to himself.

    8) DeMarco Murray

    2016: 293 Carries, 1,287 Rushing Yards, 9 Rushing TDs, 377 Receiving Yards, 3 Receiving TDs = 240.80 FP (RB5) (16 Games Played)

    Analysis: Murray turned out to be one of the biggest steals in drafts last year, going on to finish in the top-5 at the position despite being drafted in the fifth round or later. And owners better take notice¬†because the rejuvenated tailback¬†is on a¬†Titans team that many are pegging as a¬†young threat to contend in the AFC. And this team will have to rely on the legs of Murray. The¬†only threat to his numbers, and fantasy relevance, is the talented Derrick Henry out of Alabama. The behemoth of a runner received 110 carries last season with a very respectable 4.5 yards per attempt. So despite Murray’s great year, it would be foolish to think that the younger back, Henry, would not get an increase in carries after a successful rookie campaign, even if were just to give Murray extra breathers. Nevertheless, even if Murray’s carries were to go down, he has still been efficient enough in this offense to warrant a second or even first round pick.

    9) Jay Ajayi

    2016: 260 Carries, 1,272 Rushing Yards, 8 Rushing TDs, 151 Receiving Yards, 0 Receiving TDs = 188.30 FP (RB11) (15 Games Played)

    Analysis: Ajayi was an afterthought heading into last year, a back-up to the oft-injured, yet talented Arian Foster. Early in the year, Ajayi was even considered a hazard to the team and left back on a road trip. Things change quickly in the NFL however, as Ajayi was thrusted into the starting lineup, only to tear the league up. The guy had back-to-back 200+ yard games! His ceiling is ridiculous. However, he sometimes can have quiet games which is what is keeping him from ranking amongst the best in the game. However, there is no real threat to his volume this year and the Dolphins are going to want to control the ball more as they are trying to return to the playoffs. Plus, there is more room to grow for him in the receiving game which can only enhance his fantasy standing.

    10) Lamar Miller

    2016: 268 Carries, 1,073 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing TDs, 188 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TDs = 160.10 FP (RB18) (14 Games Played)

    Analysis:¬†This is where I feel the RB position drops off. There are a host of names that could easily have taken the 10th spot, such as Todd Gurley, Carlos Hyde, or even Leonard Fournette. However, I think Miller has the clearest path to cracking the top-10. First of all, he accumulated 268 carries in 14 games, a total that placed him sixth amongst all runners…and he missed two whole games. This means that if Miller actually played all 16 games (which he did in each of the last three seasons before 2016), he would’ve been given 306 carries, which would’ve been good for second in the entire league. Also, Miller scored only 5 TDs last season after scoring 8 TDs in each of the two seasons before. Thanks to the departure of Brock Osweiler, I would bet that the Texans will find themselves in more scoring situations in 2017 even if they have a rookie, Deshaun Watson, behind center.

    Photo: Otto Greule Jr./Getty Images

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  • Way-Too-Early Fantasy Football Rankings: QB Edition

    June 6, 2017 • Fantasy, Front Page, ListsComments (0)

    I get it, it’s June.

    But, like you (since you’re reading this post), I cannot wait for the 2017-2018 NFL season to start. So, that is why I present to you the first installment of my Way-Too-Early Fantasy Football Rankings. First up: QB Edition.

    1) Aaron Rodgers

    2016: 4,428 Passing Yards, 40 Passing TDs, 7 Interceptions, 369 Rushing Yards, 4 Rushing TDs = 380.02 FP (QB1) (16 Games Played) ( Standard Scoring)

    Analysis:¬†If there is anybody you would rather have commanding your fantasy football roster than Aaron Rodgers, let me know. Rodgers is an artist in the pocket, capable of making any throw on the gridiron. His ability to throw for so many touchdowns with so few interceptions is what makes him unparalleled at his position. Plus, having Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb,¬†Davante Adams, and¬†Martellus Bennett¬†doesn’t hurt.¬†As long as Rodgers plays all 16 games, he’ll be the top signal caller in fantasy.

    2) Tom Brady

    2016: 3,554 Passing Yards, 28 Passing TDs, 2 Interceptions, 64 Rushing Yards, 0 Rushing TDs = 258.56 (QB15) (12 GP)

    Analysis: The 28:2 TD-Interception ratio is a ridiculous figure and Brady will not repeat that. Regardless, even at his age, he is still an elite option at the QB position. Thanks to the acquisition of the speedy Brandin Cooks, Brady has even more weapons at his disposal to dismantle defenses. Look for Brady to continue posting remarkable numbers, somewhere in the range of 35 TDs and 10 interceptions with over 4,400 yards through the air.

    3) Drew Brees

    2016: 5,208 Passing Yards, 37 Passing TDs, 15 Interceptions, 20 Rushing yards, 2 Rushing TDs = 332.32 (QB3) (16 GP)

    Analysis: Brees just keeps on rolling. He had yet another 5,000+ yard season last year and doesn’t look like he’s slowing down any time soon. With the emergence of star wideout Michael Thomas, Brees heads into the season with a bonafide WR1, something he has yet to really have in New Orleans. I know Marques Colston and even Brandin Cooks were very good players, but besides Jimmy Graham, Brees hasn’t had a dominant pass-catcher…until now. So, the sky is the limit with Brees this year, at the ripe age of 38. I think he narrowly misses out on another 5,000-yard season with around 4,800 yards with 37¬†TDs.

    4) Andrew Luck

    2016: 4,240 Passing Yards, 31 Passing TDs, 13 Interceptions, 341 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing TDs = 307.70 (QB4) (15 GP)

    Analysis:¬†The talent has always been there for Luck, it’s just a matter of staying healthy for the Stanford product because¬†he can sling it with the best of them. Also, the Colts are stocked with talented pass-catchers with the likes of the¬†receiving yard king in TY Hilton and the talented red-zone threat,¬†Donte Moncrief. If Luck can put it all together this year, he has the talent to be the top fantasy fantasy QB. Huge ceiling¬†pick, with a bit of risk.

    5) Cam Newton

    2016: 3,509 Passing Yards, 19 Passing TDs, 14 Interceptions, 359 Rushing Yards, 5 Rushing TDs = 254.26 (QB17) (15 GP)

    Analysis: Oh how the mighty have fallen. Newton, a year ago was the near consensus top QB in fantasy due to his rocket arm and valuable legs. And, after finishing a very disappointing 17th among signal-callers, he finds himself in the middle of several early QB rankings. Coming in at number 5, he is somewhat high on my list compared to others, but I have confidence in the former MVP to rebound. With Greg Olsen, Kelvin Benjamin, Devin Funchess, and newcomer Christian McCaffrey, Newton should be able to put up top-5 fantasy numbers.

    6) Russell Wilson

    2016: 4,219 Passing Yards, 21 Passing TDs, 11 Interceptions, 259 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD, 14 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 268.06 (QB11) (16 GP)

    Analysis: Wilson was somewhat underrated last year, as most saw his numbers as disappointing and considered his season a down year. But the guy still placed as the 11th best fantasy QB despite his lowest rushing totals in his career, which are sure to spike up back to his averages of over 500 rushing yards. Especially with the sneaky talented backfield of Thomas Rawls, CJ Procise, and Eddie Lacy, Wilson should have more room to operate and boost his numbers from a season ago. He should be able to get to 4,100 yards through the air and 24 touchdowns with another 500 yards on the ground and 3 scores.

    7) Matt Ryan

    2016: 4,944 Passing Yards, 38 Passing TDs, 7 Interceptions, 117 Rushing Yards, 0 Rushing TDs = 347.46 (QB2) (16 GP)

    Analysis: Ryan¬†had a spectacular year in 2016, posting career marks in completion percentage, yards, yards per attempt, touchdowns, QBR, and QB Rating, all with a career low in interceptions. However, I do not think Ryan’s numbers are repeatable this season, as evidenced by his ranking at number 7 on my list. Ryan has always been a roller coaster of a fantasy commodity, lacking the consistency to be an elite fantasy option. But, respect has to be given to the reigning MVP, but I wouldn’t reach to far for him in my draft. I see a solid season with around 4,600 yards and 31 TDs.

    8) Ben Roethlisberger

    2016: 3,819 Passing Yards, 29 Passing TDs, 13 Interceptions, 14 Rushing Yards, 1 Rushing TD = 252.16 (QB18) (14 GP)

    Analysis: There may not be a more polarizing QB option in fantasy this year. Roethlisberger no doubt has the arm and the weapons to deliver top-5 fantasy numbers, but the injuries always seem to pile up. However, with Antonio Brown, Le’Veon Bell, and Martavis¬†Bryant lining up next to him, Big Ben might be worth the gamble. If he plays all 16 games, which is a big “if,” Roethlisberger has as much upside as anyone at the position. But, there is always the chance of missed games, so you have to weigh the risks with this pick. Nevertheless, I see him posting around 4,400 yards and 30 TDs.

    9) Marcus Mariota

    2016: 3,426 Passing Yards, 26 Passing TDs, 9 Interceptions, 349 Rushing Yards, 2 Rushing TDs = 259.94 (QB13) (15 GP)

    Analysis: Mariota seemingly came out of nowhere last year, finishing 13th among all signal-callers despite a slow start (16.8 fantasy points or less in first four games), a bad end (combined 21.02 fantasy points¬†in final three games),¬†and missing a game. Especially with the addition of fifth overall pick, WR Corey Davis, Mariota might be thrusted into the elite echelon of QBs, as long as he stays just as efficient as he did in 2016. Don’t be surprised if Mariota finishes in the top-7 this year, because the Titans should hand the offense over to Mariota and trust the talented third year out of Oregon.

    10) Blake Bortles

    2016: 3,905 Passing Yards, 23 Passing TDs, 16 Interceptions, 359 Rushing Yards, 3 Rushing TDs, 20 Receiving Yards, 1 Receiving TD = 270.10 (QB9) (16 GP)

    Analysis: This may be my most surprising pick in my list, as Bortles seems to be violated and insulted by most everyone that knows football. But lucky for us, we care about fantasy football, a game in which Bortles is quite helpful in. After finishing 4th among QBs in 2015, Bortles fell a few spots to 9th, despite a season where he was supposedly one of the worst quarterbacks in the game. So,¬†I guess that means as long as Bortles plays a little better than his disastrous year last season, he¬†should do a little better in fantasy. Also, I think the Jaguars’ pick of Leonard Fournette will¬†pay huge dividends for Bortles and the team as a whole this year. I just read a stat on the other day which said that teams that pick a RB in the first five picks in the NFL draft since 2000 have increased their win totals the following year by an average of 5 wins. 5 wins! That’s a huge difference from one year to the next, and I¬†think that continues this year with the Jaguars. And if the Jaguars stay competitive in more games this year, then Bortles may return to a slightly above average quarterback.

    Photo: Tom Pennington/Getty Images

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