Tag Archives: football

Chicago Bears Make True Feelings on Justin Fields Crystal Clear

This offseason is going to be chock full of the hottest takes with many pundits set to suggest that the Chicago Bears use the first overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft (April 27) on a quarterback and move on from Justin Fields. In fact, former New York Jets general manager Mike Tanenbaum has already said he would do just that for Bryce Young of Alabama.

Sitting in the pole position of the annual selection process does come with its fair share of perks. Not the least of which is the ability to take the best passer in the class if need be.

And yet, there was Bears general manager Ryan Poles to all but shut the door on that.

“We’re going to do the same as we’ve always done we’re going to evaluate the draft class,” Poles asserted before hedging. “I would say this, I’d have to be absolutely blown away to make that type of decision.”

Ryan Poles Sends Strong Message On Justin Fields’ Future With Chicago Bears

Justin Fields ‘Did a Good Job…Has to Improve’

Some may hear that Poles is still on the fence about Feilds. But he could also be playing it close to the vest. The more teams that think he may take a quarterback, the higher the asking price for the pick.

Of course, that is not to say that the No. 1 pick will not be used to take Young or another quarterback in Will Levis of Kentucky or Fields’ fellow Ohio State alum C.J. Stroud. It just did not sound like the Bears are too keen on being the team that does it judging from Poles’ comments on the quarterback he inherited.

“I thought Justin did a good job,” Poles offered. “I thought we changed a lot we adapted, we tried to put him in a position to be successful. He showed the ability to be a playmaker, be impactful. He can change games quickly. Does he have room to grow? He does. He has to get better as a passer and I’m excited to see him take those steps as we move forward.”

Fields and the Bears set good and bad records this season both breaking the franchise single-season rushing record and producing its fewest passing yards since 2005.

The second-year passer and former 11th overall pick threw for 2242 yards with 17 passing touchdowns to 11 interceptions. As was evident on the field, his season can be split in half at the Bears’ Week 6 12-7 loss to the Washington Commanders.

Fields spoke of being “tired” of the offense getting close and not finishing.

He went from averaging 144 passing yards per game on 54.8% completion over the first six weeks with four touchdowns and five interceptions to 162 yards per game on 67% completion with 12 touchdowns and five interceptions over his next eight starts before the wheels fell off the offense in Week 17 against the Detroit Lions.

Signs of Justin Fields’ Growth

Even more encouraging for Poles and fans is that more than one-third of Fields interceptions came in two games. Two came in a Week 3 win over the Houston Texans and two more in the Week 13 loss to the Green Bay Packers.

Fields did not have any other multi-interception games, though fumbles remained an issue.

He led the league with 16 fumbles but he only lost two and had just five in the final eight weeks of the season despite sustained heavy use in the run game.

“I’m excited for the direction he’s going,” Poles said. He knows where he has to improve – I think he mentioned that the other day. So we’re excited about his development and where he goes next. He showed ability to be impactful with his legs, there’s flashes with his arm. Now, if we can put that together, I think we have something really good.”

How can Fields improve?

“Just for things to slow down mentally. And then, be able to react and anticipate quicker. Obviously, with that, we have to continue to build around him so that he can do that consistently as well.”

Ryan Poles Must Do His Part

The Bears spent less than any other team this season while carrying the fourth-largest dead cap hit. All of that has set them up to be major players in free agency if they so choose. They did send out a second-round pick for Chase Claypool whom Poles remains high on and Fields is giving them a reason to do whatever it takes to put even more weapons around him. That includes a front five that had just two members start more than 12 games.

Fields’ bad throw percentage dropped precipitously after Week 7 as his passing attempts rose, going from 4.0 bad throws in 19.9 pass attempts per game (20.1%) over the first eight weeks to 3.2 bad throws in 22.7 attempts(14.3%) across his final eight appearances.

That may be the best sign that his future is bright and that the game is indeed slowing down for him. But, as Poles stated, it is imperative that they put the proper pieces around him creating the proper environment for that to occur. And it doesn’t mean they will focus only on the offense in the draft or free agency.

The defense also allowed the most points in franchise history. This offseason was already critical to the organization’s success, potentially for the next decade if they do it properly.

Bears QB Justin Fields Gets Honest About Teammates

Week 15 ended just as the previous six have for the Chicago Bears (3-11). That is minus Week 14 when they had their bye, of course. They lost yet again. This time to a Philadelphia Eagles team that boasts the best record in the NFL on top of being the top-scoring offense in the league. The Bears, meanwhile, find themselves on the other end of the spectrum at 3-11 and rank 19th in scoring.

But the vibe in the locker room wouldn’t suggest a team that has seemingly become averse to victories after starting the season 2-1.

They are a team that has hope, thanks in large part to the man under center in Justin Fields.

After the game, he spoke about wanting to come back late. His team was down two scores despite suffering an apparent injury that sent him to the locker room for a key possession.

Justin Fields Gets Honest About Chicago Bears Teammates

Bears QB Sounds Off on Teammates

“It was important,” Fields said of returning to the game following what turned out to be cramps but still had the second-year passer limping to the sideline before going down to the ground. “Every time I get a chance to play, I’m going to want to be out there with my guys. I know they fight and, like I said before, they’re the only reason I play.”

Fields’ leadership has been a constant light at the end of the tunnel. Especially for the moribund Bears team even as they were at their lowest this year.

It was a postgame answer from Fields after a Week 6 loss that sparked an offensive turnaround.

And it is Fields who will determine just how well this Bears’ rebuild will turn out granted the front office does for him what Philadelphia Eagles general manager did for Jalen Hurts who was highly complimentary of Fields ahead of Sunday’s showdown.

Fields punctuated his sentiment if there were any doubts, saying, “I play for [my teammates] and God and really nobody else.”

It’s a very strong message from a player just finding his own way in this league.

Continue reading “Bears QB Justin Fields Gets Honest About Teammates” here!

MVP Frontrunner Sends Strong Message on Bears’ Justin Fields

Before this season began, we posed a hypothetical scenario. It saw the Chicago Bears emulating the 2021 Philadelphia Eagles and finding their way into the playoffs. Ahead of their Week 15 showdown, the Eagles are first in the NFC while the Bears were eliminated from the postseason before going into the bye last week.

Still, the Bears have followed much of the blueprint laid out by the Eagles last season. They turned their campaign around following a mini-bye after Week 7. Head coach Nick Siriani re-vamp the entire offense around dual-threat quarterback Jalen Hurts.

Chicago used a mini-bye after a Week 6 loss to the Washington Commanders to re-tool their offense around Justin Fields.

As comparisons between the two passers are sure to fly, remember how they got here.

Eagles Jalen Hurts Sends Strong Message on Bears Justin Fields

From Justin Fields to Jalen Hurts

“He’s always been a player that I’ve had a lot of respect for,” Hurts told reporters, “at Georgia, at Ohio State, coming into the Bears and doing what he’s been able to do in a short time…we have to be prepared for him.”

It is important to note that Hurts averaged 245 passing yards with 10 touchdowns to four interceptions through the first seven weeks last season adding another 51 yards per game and five scores on the ground. He averaged 178 passing yards and 52 rushing yards after Siriani’s schematic switch.

Hurts’ quarterback rating actually went down as a result.

Fields’ trend has been more noticeable in part because of where he was at the beginning of the season. He’s gone from 144 passing yards per game with four touchdowns to five picks and 47 rushing yards per game with a score through six weeks, to 171 passing yards per game with nine scores to five picks and 103 rushing yards per game with seven scores in his last six games.

Continue reading “Jalen Hurts Sends Strong Message on Justin Fields” here!

Week 15 Primetime Moneymakers: An AFL Throwback

Entering Week 15 we must remember that every NFL season is full of “flukey” moments, sure. But this year has stood out for its wackiness. From the lack of a training camp and then preseason to the expansion of rosters and rescheduling of games. Nothing is as it usually is in the NFL and that has made picking games especially difficult. We had no baseline and just when we started to get a handle on things, coaching staffs across the league have made their typical adjustments. We just have to get back one step ahead.

If you listen closely, you can hear the fantasy gods stomping a mudhole in our ticket from last week. 0-3 is obviously as bad as gets but to have the Browns blow it for us in the fashion they did was just brutal. So much so that many sportsbooks refunded bets or gave site credit to the many bettors who almost had it. Nonetheless, there is still money to be won and if anybody is going to win it, it should be us. Fingers crossed, sheesh!

A Classic AFL Clash Leads Week 15 Primetime Moneymakers

Los Angeles Chargers (4-9) at Las Vegas (7-6)

Spread: Raiders -3

O/U: 53

It’s been an interesting season for the Los Angeles Chargers (6-7 ATS). They’ve had seven games decided by one score (eight points or less). They’ve only won two of those games. Such is life with a rookie quarterback as Justin Herbert has thrown an interception in all but three of his starts. And if it weren’t for a late field goal against the implosion specialist Atlanta Falcons they would be in the midst of another three-game skid. It was much needed after they were shutout 45-0 by the New England Patriots at home a couple of weeks ago.

The Las Vegas Raiders (7-6 ATS) are having a successful inaugural season in Sin City. But they’ve gone 1-3 over the last month with a 46-3 loss on the road to the Atlanta Falcons sticking out. Their lone win was a 31-28 edging of the winless New York Jets. Kansas City bottled up Josh Jacobs who hurt his ankle the following week against Atlanta and the running game has subsequently failed to hit the 100-yard mark in a month. Rushing stats are usually an indicator of winning. For the Raiders it the other way around. If they won it’s likely because they ran.

Neither of these teams has been a safe bet these last four weeks. L.A. hadn’t covered since Week 3 before last week. Vegas hasn’t covered since Nov 22. The specter of a possible coaching change for the Chargers can manifest in any number of ways, such as their late-game rally in Week 14. Las Vegas won this matchup last time thanks to an overturned touchdown call. It’s hard to sweep an opponent but taking the Raiders (minus the points) still feels like the smart call given the Chargers propensity for late-game collapses. Also going over here just because.

Cleveland Browns (9-4) at New York Giants (5-8)

Spread: Giants +4.5

O/U: 45

Even with all the hype they received in the preseason, this matchup looked like a snoozer in the preseason. Now, the Cleveland Browns (5-8 ATS) are in a position to make the playoffs for the first time since 2002. Their harrowing defeat at the hands of the Baltimore Ravens last Monday night snapped a four-game winning streak. That streak included a 41-35 manhandling of the Tennessee Titans. Cleveland is third in the NFL in rushing and 25th in passing, but Baker Mayfield has completed over 66 percent of his passes for 935 yards with eight touchdowns to just one interception over the last three weeks.

The New York Giants (8-5 ATS) had a four-game winning streak ended last week too. Theirs was a 26-7 drubbing at the hands of the Arizona Cardinals but was due in no small part to quarterback Daniel Jones trying to play on a bad hamstring. That means Colt McCoy, who got the start and a win in Week 13, could be back under center. Still, their victory and defensive dominance over the Seattle Seahawks highlighted what has been a tremendous mid-season turnaround after they started the season 1-4.

Back-to-back big games are usually a recipe for a letdown the following week. Especially against a battered opponent. But the way the game ended last week can’t sit well with the Browns. It’s hard to see any way they let this team beat them. It has also been a safer bet to take the Giants to cover. But we cannot ignore Jones’ injury and what it does in a spot where New York would be an underdog regardless. Browns laying the points it is as the Giants have covered a spread of fewer than five points just once. We are also riding the under, but only if Jones sits.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-2) at Cincinnati Bengals (2-10-1)

Spread: Bengals +13

O/U: 40.5

For weeks many talking heads have been pointing out the fluke nature of the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-5 ATS) record. Over the last two weeks, the rest of us have seen that all bear out. Dropping back-to-back games is bad enough. But one of those came against a team from the feeble NFC East at Heinz Field. Last week’s loss to the Bills is more understandable except for Ben Roethlisberger and the offense’s struggles. Pittsburgh is still first in defense DVOA but they are dragging along the 20th-ranked offense. Perhaps they try to get the ground game going this week.

If we are being completely honest, this is the season the Cincinnati Bengals (7-6 ATS) needed as a franchise. Despite the season-ending knee injury, they appear to have their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow. Now, they’ll be able to keep putting top-tier talent around him thanks to having a putrid record. Cincinnati is 31st in total DVOA (30th in offense, 29th in defense) and 30th in scoring offense. They are 22nd in scoring defense, though, for whatever that’s worth. This one could get ugly and that would be totally acceptable.

They should bring relegation to the NFL should Pittsburgh lose this game. Beating up on weak teams then losing to the sneakily competitive Washington Football team is one thing. A loss to these Bengals would be catastrophic. Pittsburgh needs to get their offense back in order and this looks like a get-right spot. But 13 points is a big number. The Steelers haven’t had, let alone covered, a spread that large this season while the Bengals have lost by double-digits six times this year. Just two of those were by more than 12 points. Pittsburgh will win but by how much? The under might be the safest play.

All line information courtesy of Covers.com

Week 15 Waiver Wire: MMMBop…

Just two more weeks left for most of us entering Week 15. Hopefully, you were able to advance to the next round of your league’s fantasy football playoffs. If so, you’re likely just one win away from the championship that you have fought all season for. Nothing would be worse than to come all this way just to lose because you missed out on the savviest pick-ups available on the waiver wire.

You’re here so that doesn’t happen. And even though we are so late in the season there is still value to be had out there. One simply needs to know where to look. This week’s wire features an old dog learning new tricks, a rookie former-Raider, and an out-of-nowhere wide receiver. Now, let’s get you through this week and set up to bring home that coveted trophy.

Chad Hansen and Lynn Bowden Headline Week 15 Waiver Wire

Quarterback

Nick Mullens

San Francisco 49ers

This move is not for the faint of heart.There’s exists the chance of an in-game quarterback change. That’s because Nick Mullens is the QB30 on the season, in part because he’s only started seven games. He was the QB26 in Week 14 and has thrown at least one pick in all but two games he’s played this season, including multiple picks in three contests, with three fumbles to boot.

But just two weeks ago Mullens threw three touchdowns against the Buffalo Bills. He’s also thrown at least one touchdown in all but two games. He also gets the Dallas Cowboys in Week 15. They were allowing 34 points per game the three weeks prior to shutting down the battered Cincinnati Bengals. On the year, Dallas is 32nd in scoring defense. So even though San Francisco is just 20th in scoring offense (one slot above Dallas), they should still be able to put up points on a defense ranked 22nd in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

Baker Mayfield

Cleveland Browns

What a year the Cleveland Browns are having and Baker Mayfield is right in the thick of it. The QB20 on the season, Mayfield is coming off of back-to-back weekly finishes. Just a week removed from his QB4 performance against the Tennessee Titans, he was the QB2 for his work in a losing effort on Monday Night Football.

This isn’t a play for Week 15. Mayfield’s Browns head to New York to take on the Giants who will likely be without Daniel Jones. That means, in addition to facing a defense that ranks just 17th against the pass but ninth in scoring doesn’t shape up to be a big one for Mayfield. Instead, look to Week 16 against New York’s other team, the Jets, for your spot. They’re allowing the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks this season and are tied for second-most passing touchdowns allowed.

Running Back

Jeff Wilson

San Francisco 49ers

Starting another position in the Bay, we turn to the 49ers backfield and Jeff Wilson. He’s actually been on several waiver wire lists in recent weeks with all of the backs in San Fran missing time at one point or another. Wilson got his first real crack in Week 3 against the Giants. He took 12 carries for a whopping 15 yards but added 54 yards on three catches. What allowed him to finish that week as the RB10 were the two touchdowns, one through the air and one on the ground.

He’s only had one other useful week, that coming in Week 7 when he ran for 112 yards on 17 carries and had three rushing touchdowns against the New England Patriots. In Week 15, he draws a defense allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to running backs. The 9ers system is legendary for backs, but keep in mind that Dallas is one of three teams that has yet to allow a rushing touchdown this season.

Handcuffs

Just as with every recent installment, this is your weekly reminder that if you have a stud running back and that back has a clear, defined understudy, roster said understudy. We have seen all year the value of having the handcuff to some of the top backs. Mike Davis has been a fixture in lineups most of the season while we are getting more clarity of late in Baltimore and Los Angeles. This is also useful if you have the space on your bench, though it is less useful with just two weeks left in the majority of fantasy seasons.

Wide Receivers

Chad Hansen

Houston Texans

The story of Chad Hansen is one perseverance. The former fourth-round pick of the Jets bounced around the league for two years despite showing some promise as a rookie just to land in the perfect showcase situation. The Houston Texans were without Will Fuller (suspension) and Brandin Cooks (injury) on Sunday and Hansen caught seven balls for 56 yards against a stingy Chicago Bears secondary. That was his (relatively disappointing) encore to his five grab, 101-yard performance from a week earlier.

The 6-foot-2 Hansen is in a terrific spot. Fuller is done for the season and with the oft-injured Cooks dealing with multiple ailments, Hansen could stick through the end of the season. Keke Coutee is still around, and productive. But he is more of a deep-threat and player to get the ball to in space. Hansen is the big-bodied security blanket, an aspect of DeAndre Hopkins’ game that may have been underappreciated by former management.

Lynn Bowden

Miami Dolphins

Another chance to take advantage of dual eligibility! Rookie Lynn Bowden caught seven of nine passes thrown his way for 82 yards and even took a handoff, though that only netted two yards. That matters because Bowden is eligible as both a wide receiver and a running back in ESPN leagues. Everyone remembers the hubbub around Taysom Hill in his first start, some will remember how they avoided the issue entirely with Kendall Hinton. This though, being much more like Ty Montgomery a couple of years ago, is much more conventional.

Still, Miami takes on the New England Patriots in Week 15 with Bowden as one of the few healthy options for quarterback Tua Tagovailoa. DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki are both in danger of missing this contest (as is Jakeem Grant) which could open the door for the electric Bowden. New England is 28th in fantasy points allowed to wide receivers. There could be plenty of volume to offset any inefficiency though and that makes this intriguing. Well, that and the dual eligibility.

Tight End

Dan Arnold

Arizona Cardinals

Remember how our motto for tight ends is “chance at falling in the end zone”? Good because Dan Arnold has three of them over the last two weeks. He’s the TE6 over that span with only four catches and 88 yards, just to give you an idea of the state of the position. He’s surprisingly the TE22 on the year, further evidence of the wasteland that is the tight end position.

Not only is Arnold hot and playing for an offense that has run the fourth-most plays (opportunity is king), but he draws the Eagles in Week 15. They are 24th in fantasy points allowed to tight ends and have allowed a tight end to catch a touchdown in each of the last two games. All of this bodes well given Arnold is, at best, fifth in the pecking order.

All rankings courtesy of FantasyPros.com

Triple Zeros: Brad Spielberger 2.0

Happy to have @PFF_Brad back on Triple Zeros! We recapped his last visit, he indulged my Riddick-Harbaugh-Bears talk, and so much more! Be sure to check out his latest piece for @PFF too (https://tinyurl.com/bradpff)!

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Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. DangeRuss

Week 14 Primetime Monemakers: Lights, Cam-era, Action

Don’t look now, or quote us on this, but it appears we are back to a regular schedule in Week 14 in the NFL. We’re talking complete with Thursday Night Football and all. Just a week after having two games played at non-traditional times due to positive COVID tests with the Baltimore Ravens delaying their matchup with the Pittsburgh Steelers from Thanksgiving night to the following Wednesday. Baltimore was the big mover. Others had positives along the way too though. It’s a position we saw the Tennessee Titans in earlier in the year, which also impacted Pittsburgh.

Last week was solid as we went 2-1. We ended up leaving the Baltimore-Dallas game alone. That was due to the uncertainty up until kickoff when they still had Dez Bryant test positive. In fact, the only thing that kept it from being great was the Washington Football Team upsetting the Pittsburgh Steelers. Our record sits at (an unacceptable) 11-15 even with the good week. But last week was just the start of our winning streak to close out the year. As always, there’s money to be made. If anyone is going to make it, it might as well be us.

Pats @ Rams Leads Week 14’s Primetime Moneymakers

New England Patriots (6-6) at Los Angeles Rams (8-4)

Spread: Rams -4.5

O/U: 44

Quiet as kept, the New England Patriots (6-6 ATS) have won two in a row and four of their last five. Cam Newton, averaging less than 200 passing yards per game, has cleaned up his act of late. He’s still well under 200 yards per and has thrown three touchdowns and just two interceptions. Major improvement after he threw seven interceptions but just two touchdowns over his first six games. His offense is 23rd in DVOA, per Football Outsiders. But it’s gone from averaging just over 19 points per game to more than 27 PPG in that same span. The defense, also 23rd in DVOA, has made a similarly positive switch. It’s gone from allowing 23 PPG to 17 PPG (the shutout helped).

Not to be outdone, the Los Angeles Rams (7-5 ATS) have won three of four since their bye. They’ve beaten Seattle, Tampa Bay, and Arizona in that span but did drop one to San Francisco. Still, they’re fourth in offense DVOA and fifth in defense DVOA. They’ve been mediocre scoring points, ranking just 17th despite them being third in yards. But their defense has been stingy, ranking fifth in points and second in yards allowed. Jared Goff has completed better than 73 percent of his passes. That’s a stretch of accuracy only outdone by his performance from Weeks 2 to 5. But he has thrown four touchdowns to four interceptions and has lost two fumbles in that time.

Both of these teams are 3-1 ATS the last four weeks, making this more complicated than it should be. They last met in Super Bowl LIII, a game the Patriots won 13-3. This one shapes up as another defensive showdown so the under is probably the most appealing play. The Rams are 4-1 at home but their (small) record against the Patriots doesn’t lend much confidence to backing them straight up. Can you talk yourself into taking the Pats given what we know about both teams over the last month? It’s tough, but take the Pats plus points. They’ve failed to cover a spread less than a touchdown just twice and haven’t lost to L.A. since 2001.

Pittsburgh Steelers (11-1) at Buffalo Bills (9-3)

Spread: Bills -2

O/U: 48.5

In a loss that was equal parts surprising and a long time coming, the Pittsburgh Steelers (8-4 ATS) fell to the Washington Football Team in Week 13. As Chase Young and Monte Sweat mused after the game though, Baltimore had exposed some things the week prior. Pittsburgh has also failed to hit the century mark as a team on the ground in six of the last seven games. They’ve failed to crack 50 yards as a team in four of them. That’s a large part of why their offense is 17th in offense DVOA. Their defense is still first in DVOA but they just gave up 273 passing yards to the Football Team, the most they’ve allowed all season.

The Buffalo Bills (7-5 ATS) started 4-0 but went 3-3 over their next six games, including a loss to Arizona right before the bye. They’ve gone 2-0 since returning with wins over the Chargers and 49ers so it’s hard to say if they’ve truly regained their form from earlier in the year. They are 3-2 against teams currently in the playoffs. But their last such win came back in Week 9 at home against the Seahawks, who have gone 2-2 since. Buffalo, is seventh in offense DVOA and 16th in defense DVOA. They’ve been reliant on the passing game, hitting 100 team rushing yards in just five games (90-plus in two others) despite the threat of Josh Allen. Defense is the opposite.

Buffalo is 4-0 ATS the last four weeks while Pittsburgh is in the midst of a 0-2 skid. And while the Steelers still the analytics darling defensively, the Bills passing game certainly passes the eye test. Of course, there is something to be said for your head coach calling you out to to the media for your effort. It’s very possible for the Steelers to come out clicking at a level we haven’t seen for weeks. That puts the over squarely in play in a matchup of top-10 scoring outfits. It’s been mostly unders in Steelers games this year but they haven’t faced many offenses like the Bills. However, the Bills haven’t seen many pass rushes like the Steelers. Pittsburgh plus the points.

Baltimore Ravens (7-5) at Cleveland Browns (9-3)

Spread: Browns +3

O/U: 47

This will be a good test of whether the Baltimore Ravens (6-6 ATS) really turned a corner last week or if they just beat up on a bad team in Dallas. Conventional wisdom might point to the latter being the case as they had lost three straight before that. But they were missing several key players due to injury and COVID issues so maybe the last month is just the side-effect of that. The defense is carrying the Ravens. It ranks seventh in DVOA while the offense ranks just 21st. Baltimore also has just one win against a playoff team all season; against the Colts back in Week 9. 

It’s a new day in Cleveland as the Browns (5-7 ATS) are will have a winning season for the first time since 2007. That’s amazing not only for that reason but also when considering how the talk around the team sounded just a few weeks ago when losses to the Steelers and Raiders had folks talking about the Browns beating up on weak teams. Flash forward and Cleveland’s current four-game streak seemed doomed for the same type of talk before they took the Titans to the woodshed in Week 13. Cleveland is 23rd in total DVOA making them the second-lowest ranked playoff team behind the Giants.

So which team would be beating up on a weaker opponent here? If it was in the preseason the easy answer would be the Ravens are the bully. But the last few weeks they’ve struggled to beat bad or similarly-struggling squads. That doesn’t bode well against a Browns squad that is feeling itself in the run-up to its first playoff appearance in over a decade. Cleveland has the worse record against the number. But a home dog against a questionable opponent seems too good pass on. The difference could be injuries along the defensive front for Baltimore. This game will be decided on the ground. That could also make the under attractive.

All line information courtesy of Covers.com.

2020 Fantasy Football Regular Season Awards

Finally, we are through the grueling fantasy football regular season. Well, not in leagues everywhere. But most of them for sure. If you were skilled enough (and had the right amount of luck) to make the playoffs, congratulations! Now the real, work begins.

But before we do that, we should take a look back at this season and recognize the players that got us where we are today. For some, that means appreciation. In regards to others, though, it will be a show of contempt for the disappointment.

Awards for 2020 Fantasy Football Standouts

Most Valuable Player

Kyler Murray

2020 has been a bit up-and-down for Kyler Murray; our preseason pick for league MVP. In his sophomore season, the diminutive passer has improved his completion percentage, touchdown rate, and is on pace to shatter his passing yardage total from last season. He’s even upped his rushing production.

What matters most for our purposes is that he went from 10th in overall fantasy scoring to first in a year. The QB5 with an ADP of 56 in the preseason, Murray gave you MVP-level production with an emphasis on the ‘value’.

We cannot do this without acknowledging the players who came closest to winning this. Patrick Mahomes, who missed out by five points, stands out as obvious, as would most any other top quarterback named. But of the four players to round out the top-10, none was a quarterback.

Alvin Kamara, Dalvin Cook, Tyreek Hill, and Davante Adams outscored the likes of Ryan Tannehill, Tom Brady, Lamar Jackson, and many others this year. Kamara has been without Drew Brees for the last three weeks while Cook and Adams both missed at least one game.

Bust of the Year

Saquon Barkley

Now the “winner” may be Saquon Barkley, but this one could have gone any number of ways. Some might consider Dak Prescott since he was the league’s leading passer when he went down in Week 5. Or maybe you say it’s his teammate, Ezekiel Elliott. He hasn’t missed a game but is the RB7 after being drafted as the RB3 with an ADP of third-overall. Or is it Christian McCaffrey?

No, it’s Barkley who lasted one full week before going down with just four touches in Week 2 against the Chicago Bears. Much was expected from the former second-overall pick. It’s the second year in a row he’s failed to come close to his ADP. Last year he was the first overall pick and finished as the RB17 (82nd overall). He was drafted second overall on average this season. Oof.

Rookie of the Year

Justins

Ok, so we’re breaking the rules a bit here and, no, that isn’t an error in the heading. Justin Herbert of the Los Angeles Chargers is the easy choice. A quarterback and the highest-scoring rookie in the NFL. But we don’t do ‘easy’ around here and so we have co-Rookies of the Year in Herbert and fellow-Justin, Justin Jefferson, wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings.

The latter has made a strong case for winning the award in real life too. Herbert’s case would be stronger with more winning and fewer critical turnovers. Still, he is the QB9 after going undrafted due to starting the year as a backup. Jefferson, drafted as the WR48 only to finish the regular schedule as the WR7. A tip of the cap, rooks.

Waiver Add of the Year

James Robinson

Herbert could have qualified for this award since he was a hot commodity on waiver wires after Tyrod Taylor was injured. But it’s another player that walks away with this esteemed distinction. The waiver wire is critical to any successful season and missing out on your preferred target is a different kind of pain. You probably didn’t have that problem with James Robinson.

After Jacksonville cut Leonard Fournette the discussion around this backfield was simple: Avoid. Most wrote that any potential production was negligible. Most of that was because without a preseason we didn’t know who the backup was or how they would perform. All Robinson did was finish the regular season eighth among non-quarterbacks and 20th overall in fantasy points. The undrafted rookie out of Illinois State is third in the NFL in rushing attempts and yards.

Comeback Player of the Year

Ben Roethlisberger

One of the beautifully weird things about fantasy football is how different the perception of a player may be compared to real life. Ben Roethlisberger is having a good season by most standards; over 66 percent completion and 27 touchdowns to just seven interceptions. But he’s just 12th in passing yards and his interception last week against the Washington Football Team proved to be costly.

Yet, after missing all but two games last year with an elbow injury, and contemplating retirement, Roethlisberger sits 16 overall in fantasy points and is the QB11 (better than his QB14 ADP). Imagine if he was operating a typical Steelers offense.

Most Improved Player

Davante Adams

Aaron Rodgers is an MVP candidate thanks in no small part to stellar wideout Davante Adams. The former Fresno State Bulldog is fourth in catches, sixth in yards, but is tied for first with 13 receiving touchdowns. Mind you, he’s missed two full games and part of a third this season. He missed four games last season and had 83 grabs for 997 yards and five scores.

All of those numbers, racked up in 12 games, are fewer than Adams has compiled through 10. Being in the second year of the offensive system has helped all of the Green Bay Packers and the connection between Rodgers and Adams appears stronger than ever. Adams was the WR32 and 87th player overall last year. He is 2020’s WR2 and 10th overall player through the regular season.

DST of the Year

Miami Dolphins

In real life, we acknowledge the best player on defense with the Defensive Player of the Year award. In most cases, fantasy football only has entire units. As such, we have to bestow this great honor to the Miami Dolphins. Yup, we’re breaking the rules again. It’s actually the Pittsburgh Steelers DST that leads the way in scoring.

With an ADP as the DST2, their production is only “mildly” impressive. Miami, however, was ranked dead last on average in the preseason. Now? They are ranked second. That’s a stunning turnaround from a unit that finished last season just as they were projected before this one.

All rankings and ADP information courtesy of Fantasypros.com

Triple Zeros: WTF, WFT?

Triple Zeros: WTF, WFT?

NFL

🏈Undefeated No Longer
🏈Gase Firing Folks

NBA

🏀Melo ‘7’ Again
🏀Bron Talks Kyrie
+More!
 
 

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Triple Zeros. This is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. his is content to help reach the green light. Tis is content to help reach the green light. Ths is content to help reach the green light. Thi is content to help reach the green light. DangeRuss

Week 14 Waiver Wire: Playoffs?!

We’re hitting the Week 14 waiver wire hard. You fancy yourself a contender, huh? Good because you should! Reaching the playoffs (playoffs?!) in fantasy football is so much harder than anything that isn’t real should ever be. That’s why the joy that comes from it is equally as strong. Weeks turned to months as your meticulously put together roster took you on an emotional rollercoaster just for a shot to take home the championship.

But you didn’t join your league just to make the playoffs (playoffs?!), no. You should have every intention of winning it all. We are through all the bye weeks so your teams should be at full strength. That doesn’t mean there aren’t holes on your roster, though, so we can’t just rest on our laurels. With the playoffs trimming the field considerably, we’ll be giving our top pick-up at each position each week and a quick take on one player you could stash. So, let’s build a champion.

Shout Out to Jim Mora Sr in the Week 14 Waiver Wire

Quarterback

Sam Darnold

New York Jets

No, this is not ideal nor a suggestion that would be made under normal circumstances. This is instead a break-glass-in-case-of-emergency option for those still waiting on the return of Drew Brees and/or those who stream quarterbacks. If you fall into either category, Sam Darnold might be the guy for you. Darnold took advantage of a porous Las Vegas Raiders secondary to be Week 13’s QB10 through Sunday.

The squishy matchups continue for Darnold in Week 14 as he draws the Seattle Seahawks. They’ve allowed the second-most fantasy points to quarterbacks and are stout against the run. Seattle’s secondary is so bad they let Carson Wentz put up a performance worthy of being the QB7 in Week 12. Wentz was benched this week for a second-round rookie. Darnold doesn’t have anyone breathing down his neck (yet)  and this matchup should offer him plenty of chances to rack up points.

Jalen Hurts

Philadelphia Eagles

In perhaps the most anticipated benching of the season, the Philadelphia Eagles sent 2016 first-round pick Wentz, who leads the NFL with 15 interceptions, to the bench. Jalen Hurts came in and threw a pretty looking touchdown to Greg Ward. He also only completed 41 percent of his passes and threw a pick so proceed with caution. Philly also takes on the Saints in Week 14. They’re third in fantasy points per game.

Running Back

Peyton Barber

Washington Football Team

It’s been quite some time since Peyton Barber was a useful fantasy asset. He had 57 yards on 11 carries in Week 12, but he hasn’t scored double-digit fantasy points since Week 1 when he scored 2 touchdowns on 17 carries that netted just 29 yards. Washington Football Team leading rusher Antonio Gibson was forced out of their big win against the Pittsburgh Steelers with a toe injury putting Barber right back on the fantasy radar.

Staying true to form, he only managed 23 yards on 14 carries so you know what to expect should Gibson sit in Week 14. Washington also heads West to take on the San Francisco 49ers who are fourth against the run and have allowed just six rushing touchdowns. Still, if the Football Team can get into scoring position, Barber is as good of a bet as any to take it in.

Ty Johnson

New York Jets

No, there isn’t a concerted effort to get Jets on this list. The war of attrition is just such that we are taking the “next man up” approach to our fantasy rosters as they do in real life. Ty Johnson is where those things intersect. La’Mical Perine is on IR and Frank Gore left their Week 13 contest with a concussion. Johnson stepped up with 104 yards on 22 carries and scored a touchdown. He also caught two passes for 13 yards. The still-winless Jets face the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14. They’ve been good against the run but just let Wayne Gallman run for 135 yards.

Wide Receiver

T.Y. Hilton

Indianapolis Colts

Are we finally witnessing a strong connection between T.Y. Hilton and Philip Rivers? The diminutive Indianapolis Colts wide receiver is the WR6 in Week 13 and has caught 12 of 16 targets for 191 yards and two touchdowns over the last two weeks. He had 194 yards on 19 catches (33 targets) and no scores in his six previous games combined. As Philip Rivers continues to play better (eight touchdowns over his last four games after 10 over the first eight), Hilton can deliver too.

Sunday’s big day came against the Houston Texans who rank 21st against the pass. The good news is he’ll see the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 14 and they rank 24th against the pass and are allowing the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers. Indianapolis would prefer to be a run-first outfit and the Raiders are susceptible there. But the trends show Hilton on the rise.

Keke Coutee

Houston Texans

Speaking of the Texans, they played their first game post-suspension of Will Fuller and had an unexpected (though not surprising) player step up in his absence. Keke Coutee (WR13) caught eight balls for 141 yards against the Colts which isn’t a cakewalk. With a matchup against the Chicago Bears on deck, Coutee could be in for another big game. The Bears are reeling and Deshaun Watson could look to show out on a team that passed on him in the draft for Mitchell Trubisky.

Tight End

Cole Kmet

Chicago Bears

And speaking of the Bears, Cole Kmet was the TE7 in Week 13 catching five passes for 37 yards and a touchdown. The embattled rookie tight end caught just his second touchdown of the season, had more than one catch for just the third time and had double-digit yards for just the fourth time this season. All of that is disappointing for such a high draft pick but the Bears are searching, desperately, for answers and Kmet is a part of the future.

Houston isn’t the best matchup but they aren’t one to run from either. With folks in the organization fighting for their jobs, look for anything that can be construed as a positive in the last few weeks. Having Kmet turn out to be a quality player would certainly qualify. That might not save any jobs but he could definitely provide a boost to your fantasy team.