#NFL Week 17 – United Stats of America – Elias Sports Bureau

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Age is no obstacle for NFL’s rushing champion

Adrian Peterson, who turned 30 years old in March, won the NFL rushing race when Doug Martin fell 16 yards short of Peterson’s total heading into the Vikings’ Sunday night game at Green Bay. Peterson is the third player in league history to lead the NFL or AFL in rushing yards in his 30s. The only other players to have done so were Marion Motley in 1950 (at age 30) and Curtis Martin in 2004 (31).

Ryan gains sweet revenge against the Jets

The Bills defeated the Jets, 22-17, and that result, combined with Pittsburgh’s victory at Cleveland, denied the Jets a spot in the postseason. Thus, Rex Ryan became the first head coach in NFL history to help keep a team that he had head-coached in the previous season out of the playoffs by beating that club, head to head, in the season’s final week.

Additionally, Ryan is the first NFL head coach in 85 years to sweep a two-game season series against a team of which he was the head coach in the previous season. The last to do so was Jack Depler, a player-coach with the Orange Tornadoes in 1929 who bolted to coach the Brooklyn Dodgers a year later. The Tornadoes moved from East Orange, New Jersey to Newark in 1930, enduring a 1-10-1 season that included a pair of shutout losses to Depler’s Dodgers: 32-0 at Ebbets Field and 14-0 on the infield of the Newark Velodrome.

nullMarshall makes a great first impression

Brandon Marshall finished the season with 1502 receiving yards, breaking Don Maynard’s team record that had stood since 1967. Notably, Marshall fell six receiving yards short of the NFL record for a player in his first season with a team-any team, that is-a mark that Marshall himself set with the Bears three seasons ago.

Marshall and Eric Decker scored touchdowns in the same game for the ninth time this season, tying an NFL record. The only other teammates to score TDs in the same game nine times in one season were Michael Irvin and Emmitt Smith with the Cowboys in 1995.

Brown caps season with another spectacular game

Antonio Brown caught 13 passes for 187 yards and a touchdown in the Steelers’ 28-12 win at Cleveland. For most players, even some great ones, that would be a “career game.” Consider that Tony Gonzalez never gained even 150 receiving yards in one game; Cris Carter never had a 170-yard game; and neither Larry Fitzgerald nor Hines Ward ever had as many receiving yards in one regular-season game as Brown did on Sunday.

But that was Brown’s fourth-highest total this season, following games of 195 against the 49ers, 284 against the Raiders, and 189 against the Broncos. Brown is the first receiver in NFL history to reach the 180-yard mark in four games in the same season.

nullSung to the tune of you-know-what: “Peyton never subbed before”

Peyton Manning made the first relief appearance of his career and he made it count, engineering the Broncos’ rally in a 27-20 come-from-behind win over the Chargers to clinch the top seed in the AFC playoffs. Manning has started 265 regular-season games; this was the first in which he came off the bench. That’s a record of sorts. The last player to start even 200 games before his first game as a substitute was the Raiders’ Hall of Fame guard, Gene Upshaw. Upshaw started 207 games before his first appearance as a sub in 1981.

Carolina ends a great season with a noteworthy victory

The Panthers walloped the Buccaneers, 38-10, to finish their season with a 15-1 mark. It was the largest season-ending victory posted by any of the seven teams that won at least 15 games. The only other club among that group that won its season finale by at least 20 points was Chicago in 1985. The Bears finished their regular season with a 37-17 win at Detroit. Carolina’s head coach, Ron Rivera, was a linebacker on the 1985 Bears.

nullWatt captures sacks title with three in season finale

J.J. Watt sacked Blake Bortles three times in Houston’s 30-6 victory over Jacksonville, to pass Khalil Mack of the Raiders as the NFL leader for the 2015 season. Watt became only the second player to lead the NFL in sacks twice within his first five years in the league. He previously led the league as a second-year pro in 2012. The other player to do so was Reggie White in 1987 and 1988, his third and fourth seasons in the NFL.

It should be noted that Watt’s three sacks on Sunday were enough to catch and pass Mack, but not enough to lead his team in sacks in its win over the Jags. That distinction goes to Whitney Mercilus, with three-and-a-half sacks of Bortles. Over the last four seasons, only one other pair of teammates had at least three sacks each in the same game: Chris Long and Robert Quinn of the Rams in a loss to Seattle in 2013.

Seahawks end season with rout of powerful Cardinals

The Seahawks made a bold season-ending statement with a 36-6 victory at Arizona, crushing a Cardinals team that had a 13-2 record coming into the game. It was the fourth-largest margin of victory in NFL history against a team with a record at least 10 games above the .500 mark. The largest was a 41-0 victory by the Boston Patriots at San Diego on the final week of the 1961 AFL season. The Chargers had a 12-1 mark prior to that game. One week later, San Diego lost the AFL Championship Game to the Houston Oilers, 10-3.­­

nullCousins’ fast start dooms Cowboys

Kirk Cousins threw three touchdown passes to give the Redskins a 21-0 lead in the first quarter and Washington rolled to a 34-23 win at Dallas. Only one other player has thrown three first-quarter touchdown passes in a game against the Cowboys: Randall Cunningham in a memorable 46-36 Vikings win at Texas Stadium on Thanksgiving Day 1998. Cunningham’s early TD passes all covered more than 50 yards. He connected with Randy Moss for first-quarter TDs of 51 and 56 yards and with Cris Carter for a 54-yard touchdown. For good measure, Cunningham found Moss on a 56-yard scoring pass in the third quarter.

nullEagles’ Thurmond asks the Giants, “Hey, remember me?”

Walter Thurmond recovered a fumble by Eli Manning in the third quarter and returned it 83 yards for a go-ahead touchdown in the Eagles’ 35-30 win over the Giants. Thurmond, who played two games for New York in 2014, became the first ex-Giants player to score a second-half game-winning TD against the team since Bobby Hammond did it for the Redskins in 1980, scoring on a 7-yard pass from Joe Theismann in the final minute of a 23-21 victory.

It was yet another blown opportunity for the Giants, who lost nine of the last 18 games in which they led in the second half. New York has lost six of the last nine games against the Eagles in which it led at some point after halftime, dating back to 2009.

Chiefs turn season around, finish with 11-5 mark

Kansas City extended its winning streak to 10 games, capping its season with a 23-17 win over the Raiders. The Chiefs, who lost five straight games after winning their season opener, finished with an 11-5 mark, the best in NFL history by a team that suffered five consecutive losses during the season. The previous record was the Jets’ 10-6 mark in 1986, when they lost their last five games after a 10-1 start.­

nullBengals’ Hill snaps drought with long TD run

Jeremy Hill flashed rarely-seen breakaway ability, running 38 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter of the Bengals’ 24-16 win over the Ravens. That was Hill’s longest run from scrimmage by far this season, snapping a streak of 232 carries for less than 20 yards.

Pats lose second straight intradivision game

The Dolphins finished the season with a 6-10 mark, defeating the Patriots, 20-10, to snap New England’s streak of 20 consecutive wins against teams with a record at least five games below .500. Combined with a 26-20 loss to the Jets last week, it marked the first time that New England lost consecutive games, both to divisional rivals with Tom Brady at quarterback. It’s also the first time that a team head-coached by Bill Belichick lost its last two games of a season since 1991 and 1992, Belichick’s first two seasons as an NFL head coach (both with Cleveland).

Bears end historic season with home loss to Lions

With a 24-20 loss to Detroit, the Bears finished the 2015 season with a 1-7 record at Soldier Field. That is the team’s worst home record, whether based on winning percentage or games below .500, in any of its 96 seasons in the NFL. By either of those standards, the Bears suffered their previous worst home records at Wrigley Field in 1969 and at Soldier Field in 1973 (1-6 in both seasons).

New Colts QBs lead team to win over Titans

With Andrew Luck, Matt Hasselbeck, and Charlie Whitehurst all injured, Josh Freeman and Ryan Lindley each threw a touchdown pass in the Colts’ 30-24 win over the Titans. Over the last 25 seasons, only one other pair of teammates both threw a TD pass in the same game in which each was making his team debut. Andy Dalton and Bruce Gradkowski did it in the Bengals’ 2011 season opener.

Source: Elias Says: Sports Statistics – Stats from the Elias Sports Bureau

10 takeaways from #NFL Week 15

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How is that for some drama-filled NFL action?

The New York Giants mounted an amazing comeback attempt against the Carolina Panthers with a backdrop of tempers flaring on both sides.

Meanwhile, the Arizona Cardinals clinched the NFC West title after obliterating the Philadelphia Eagles on the road Sunday night.

In the AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers may have changed the playoff race on a dime with a 17-point comeback win against the Denver Broncos.

Staying in that conference for a second, a Buffalo Bills loss to the Washington Redskins guaranteed that Rex Ryan’s squad will miss the playoffs for a 17th consecutive season. It also gave Washington a clear path to the NFC East title.

These are among the top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s Week 15 NFL action.

A frustrated Odell Beckham Jr. should face a suspension

It’s understandable that this talented young New York Giants receiver would be frustrated going up against one of the top corners in the NFL in Josh Norman of the Carolina Panthers.

It’s not understandable to react in a manner that shows him in a classless way.

What we do know now is that the NFL believes Beckham Jr. should have been ejected from the game. It remains to be seen what the league office will do during the week, but all options should be considered to be on the table here.

On a micro level, this could end up being really bad news for a Giants squad that needs a ton of help in order to win the NFC East. If it is forced to take on the Minnesota Vikings without its top receiver, that could be the end of the line for New York’s playoff aspirations.

More than this, the spats between Beckham Jr. and Norman, which resulted in five personal foul penalties, was a black eye for a league that has had too many of them in recent months/years.

For that, Beckham Jr. — as the unofficial face of young players around the NFL — should be ashamed.

Time to take the Kansas City Chiefs seriously

Following a blowout 34-14 win over the hapless Baltimore Ravens, Kansas City has now won eight consecutive games. And at 9-5 on the year, the Chiefs find themselves in control of their own destiny as it relates to the fifth seed in the AFC.

This is big for numerous reasons. First off, if the Chiefs are able to maintain this seeding, they would take on the winner of the AFC South in the wild card round of the playoffs.

Considering how bad that division has been, Kansas City might very well have an easy road to the divisional round of the playoffs.

The other thing to look at here is what could be a potential wild card game in the AFC that could see an Andy Dalton-less Cincinnati Bengals host the sixth seed. What’s so big about that is that Kansas City could find itself taking on the Denver Broncos in the divisional round.

Not to put the carriage before the horse, Kansas City still has two games remaining — each against a team that is currently under .500 on the season.

This scenario also includes the possibility that Kansas City could win the AFC West outright should the Denver Broncos do them some favors in the final two weeks of the season.

If the Chiefs are able to take care of business in those two outings, they will head into the playoffs with a 10-game winning streak.

Based solely on what we saw Sunday against Baltimore, there’s a good chance this will happen.

Alex Smith had a workmanlike 21-of-25 day with 171 yards as the Chiefs avoided turning the ball over for the sixth time during this eight-game winning streak. Meanwhile, Kansas City forced two turnovers itself to bring its eight-game differential to plus 18.

Washington Redskins look to be NFC East favorites

Kirk Cousins compiled a perfect quarterback rating en route to a four-touchdown outing against the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. It was the team’s sixth win in its past seven home games, a span of games that has seen Cousins throw 19 touchdowns compared to zero interceptions.

Now one game up on both Philadelphia and New York, the Redskins control their own destiny in the division. Though, the team is going to have to find success on the road in order to wrap this mediocre division up. With just one road win on the season, Washington closes out the season in Philadelphia and Dallas.

As it relates to Sunday’s performance, the rest of the team helped Cousins put up a statement against a Bills squad that needed a win in order to remain alive in the AFC playoff race. Alfred Morris and Matt Jones led a rushing attack that went for 123 yards on 27 attempts.

Meanwhile, the defense did just enough to fend off a second half Bills rally that saw the team put up 25 points en route to bringing a 21-point halftime deficit down to 11 at the end of three.

It wasn’t a tremendous performance from Washington’s defense in a 35-25 win, but that unit held on two huge possessions midway through the fourth quarter to put the game away.

Indianapolis Colts and Jacksonville Jaguars blow golden opportunities

Indianapolis lost at home to a Brandon Weeden-led Houston Texans team. It’s highly unlikely you need us to repeat that sentence, but here goes. Indianapolis lost at home to a Brandon Weeden-led Houston Texans team.

That pretty much sums up just how bad the Colts have played this season. It also came in a game that could have sent the team into sole possession of first place in what has been a horrible AFC South this season.

Instead, Indianapolis now finds itself one game back with two remaining. The Colts were also eliminated from wild card contention, meaning the division title is the team’s only path to the playoffs.

With the second season now looking like a long shot, the larger question here is whether Chuck Pagano will be back next year. Based on Sunday’s performance in particular, that also seems like a long shot.

You simply can’t lose at home against a team that was led by a third-string quarterback that found himself picked up off the street just earlier this month. Excuses surrounding Andrew Luck’s injury are one thing. Not coming to play in an important game is a completely different thing.

Taking on an Atlanta Falcons team that had lost six of its past seven heading into Sunday’s action, the Jacksonville Jaguars also blew a golden opportunity.

With a win at home, Gus Bradley’s squad would have found itself one game back in the AFC South with two games remaining.  Instead, it is on the verge of being eliminated from playoff contention following a game it had every opportunity to win.

The biggest play in this one came in the second quarter with the clock winding down to halftime. With Jacksonville driving down to Atlanta’s one-yard line, Blake Bortles threw an ill-time interceptions into the hands of Falcons safety Kemal Ishmael, who proceeded to return the ball 84 yards down to the Jaguars 16.

This came with Atlanta up 14-3 and the Jaguars threatening to make it a one-score game. Instead, the Falcons opened up a 17-3 lead heading into the half and didn’t look back.

As good as Bortles has been this season, these types of mistakes have been too common. It’s also the difference between earning a playoff spot and finishing below .500.

Jacksonville surely does have a bright future, but it doesn’t appear to be there quite yet. That much was evident on Sunday.

Another season without playoff football in Western New York

By virtue of their loss to the Washington Redskins on Sunday, the Buffalo Bills will miss the playoffs for the 17th consecutive year.

It’s a harsh reality for a team that headed into the season with high expectations and a confident mentality under first-year head coach Rex Ryan.

And in reality, there isn’t a whole lot pointing to the Bills finding a way to rebound from this near two-decade long span of mediocrity.

To be sure, there is a ton of talent on this team. Tyrod Taylor has proven himself to be a legitimate starting quarterback in the NFL — something Ryan himself hasn’t had since Mark Sanchez’s first couple seasons in New York.

There is also a ton of talent at wide receiver, especially second-year player Sammy Watkins. Heck, LeSean McCoy has proven himself worthy of a potential Pro Bowl spot at running back this year.

On defense, the Bills boast a really good young secondary and a front four that should continue to perform at a relatively high level.

Still, there seems to be something missing here. The past several weeks were defined by close losses and an uncharacteristically bad defense. Prior to that, the Bills’ struggles were mainly summed up by injuries and a lethal amount of penalties.

The talent is surely here for Buffalo to contend for a playoff spot. But something larger needs to change moving forward. This is something Ryan and Co. will have to figure out prior to taking the field next September.

Ship righted in Minnesota

It took Adrian Peterson leaving the game for a bit due to an ankle injury for Teddy Bridgewater to finally break out of his year-long slump Sunday against the Chicago Bears.

He completed 17-of-20 passes for 231 yards with a career-high four touchdowns in a dominating 38-17 home win.

It was the first time all season that Minnesota’s offense ran through its quarterback rather than the future Hall of Fame running back.

It also tells us a story of an offense that could be looking at more balance heading into the final two weeks of the season — something that will be a necessity when all is said and done. It’s rather simple for the Vikings to get into the playoffs. If they are able to win one of the final two games, they are in.

More than this, Minnesota isn’t completely out of the NFC North race. It takes on the Giants next week before squaring off with the Green Bay Packers to close out the regular season. If the pieces all into place here, Minnesota could very well earn the division title.

Antonio Brown is a freak of nature

Following a 16-catch performance against the Denver Broncos on Sunday, Brown has now caught 245 passes in his past 30 games. Yes folks, that’s an average of over eight catches per game. He’s also caught 70 percent of the whopping 165 passes thrown in his direction this season.

It doesn’t take a genius to realize that Brown is playing at a level we have rarely seen as it relates to NFL receivers. On Sunday against a top-ranked Broncos defense, that was magnified to a T.

And in reality, Pittsburgh needed every one of those catches — including a game-clinching first-down reception late in the fourth quarter — to complete what was an amazing 17-point comeback to put his team in a position to control its destiny in the AFC playoff race.

Brown isn’t going to break the single-season reception record unless he finds a way to nab 24 receptions over the final two games. This doesn’t discount the fact that he’s been a historical figure for Pittsburgh over the past two seasons.

It just remains to be seen whether that will be enough to get his team in the playoffs in what has proven to be a remarkably good AFC this season.

Cam Newton: NFL’s MVP

The Carolina Panthers survived an incredible comeback attempt by the New York Giants to remain undefeated on the season. They are now just the fourth team in NFL history to start a year 14-0.

With two more wins, the Panthers will earn a bit of history by being only the second team to go through a 16-game regular season with a perfect record.

To be clear: Newton is the primary reason for what has been one of the most-surprising seasons for a team in the recent history of the league.

With five more touchdown passes on Sunday, Newton has reached that plateau in three of his past five starts and has now compiled 40 total touchdowns compared to just 10 interceptions on the season, including a 19-to-1 split over the past five games.

It’s not a coincidence that Carolina is averaging a league-best 32 points per game, including nearly 40 points over the past four games.

We can talk about Russell Wilson’s recent run of excellence. We can also include New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in the conversation. Heck, both J.J. Watt and Josh Norman might deserve some consideration on the defensive side.

None of them have done more with less than Newton. After all, Ted Ginn is his No. 1 receiver on the outside and Michael Oher has been tasked with protecting his blindside.

Despite all this, Newton has his Panthers two games from perfection in a season that seemed to have mediocrity written all over it. That’s the true representation of most valuable.

Carolina needs to watch out for those western teams

Arizona and Seattle have both clinched playoff spots. They are coming off a week of action which saw them outscore their opponents by a combined 40 points.

Arizona has now won eight consecutive games by an average of 11 points per outing. Meanwhile, Seattle has won five consecutive by an average of 20 points since losing to the Cardinals back in Week 10.

Outside of Carolina and Kansas City, these are the two hottest teams in the NFL. They also boast some of the best all-around talent in the league.

While the Panthers will likely avoid having to play Arizona until the NFC Championship game if both teams were to advance that far, they might have to host Seattle in the divisional round of the playoffs. That would be a less-than-ideal scenario for the unbeaten Panthers.

Not that any of this really matters. Cam Newton and Co. know full well that the road to Santa Clara and Super Bowl 50 will run through Carolina.

It’s now all about continuing to take care of business on the field and not worrying about those squads breathing down their backs. If that happens, the Panthers will be just fine when all is said and done.

Playoff picture taking shape

Six spots, two in the AFC and four in the NFC, have been wrapped up heading into Week 15. Outside of one final wild card spot and the NFC East, playoff positioning is the only drama remaining in the NFC.

Meanwhile, it’s possible we could be looking at tiebreakers making the decision as it relates to the two wild card spots in the AFC.

Here’s what we do know right now.

The Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers and New England Patriots have all clinched division titles. Meanwhile, the Green Bay Packers, Seattle Seahawks and Cincinnati Bengals have locked up playoff spots.

In the ultra-competitive AFC, the Pittsburgh Steelers hold the tiebreaker over the New York Jets for the sixth and final playoff spot.

Winners of eight in a row, Kansas City has a clear hold on the fifth spot. It can also earn the AFC West title with wins in the team’s final two games and help from the Denver Broncos, who have not clinched a playoff spot themselves quite yet.

There is actually a scenario in play here that could exclude the Broncos from the postseason. This would require the Jets winning out with Pittsburgh finishing in a virtual tie with a Denver team that loses one of its final two games. If that were to happen New York would make it in over the Broncos.

Head spinning yet?

Just wait until Week 16 action. Washington travels to Philadelphia for a chance to wrap up the division against an Eagles team that actually still controls its destiny in the NFC East following its blowout loss to Arizona on Sunday.

The Jets host New England in a game it must win in order to remain viable in the AFC playoff race.

Meanwhile, Green Bay travels to the desert to take on a Cardinals team that’s looking to wrap up a first-round bye. A win here by the Packers and they could in fact remain alive for said first-round bye.

Then on Monday night, Cincinnati heads to Denver to take on the Broncos in a game that could decide the No. 2 seed in the AFC — a game that could also help Kansas City earn what would be one of the most shocking division titles in recent NFL history.

Stay tuned. It’s going to be an absolute blast.

Source: Top 10 takeaways from Sunday’s Week 15 action

#FanDuel #NFL Week 12 Retrospectacle: Injury Bug Bites Tight End Position

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Forget Black Friday. It was a dark and dreary Sunday for fantasy football‘s top tight ends, as both Rob Gronkowski and Jimmy Graham were carted off with knee injuries. They say injuries are a part of the game, but we sure wish they weren’t.

Graham has already been ruled out for the season with a torn patella tendon, while the New England Patriots hope for the best from Gronk’s tests this week.

We might get some bargains from their potential replacements, but FanDuel players have to hate seeing their premium tight ends—if Graham was one still—go down.

The reports on Gronk’s injury early Monday morning were promising, as the Boston Herald‘s Jeff Howe observed Gronk moving around in the locker room without any noticeable trouble or pain, walking out of the stadium “without crutches or barely even a limp.”

“He’s the best tight end in football,” Brady told Howe. “It’s so hard to see these guys get hurt like this. I always have a lot of respect for players who play this game because you risk a lot to play. I think a lot of times, that gets overlooked because you sacrifice a lot. I think guys sacrifice their bodies. It’s hard to see your friends get taken down like that. It’s part of the sport. We understand that. I have a lot of respect for the players who take the field.”

Despite the optimism, if Gronk were to miss at least some time, you can turn your FanDuel plays to Pats backup Scott Chandler ($5,300). He caught a season-high five passes Sunday night for 58 yards and a touchdown for 14.3 FanDuel points.

The Graham loss is a lot more troubling, and not just because of its season-ending severity. The backup, Luke Willson ($4,800), has had only sporadic moments of fantasy football success. He will be a full-timer now, though, as The Seattle Times‘ Bob Condotta reported.

“Everybody loves him,” Willson told Condotta of Graham. “Great guy in the locker room and extremely hard worker, for a guy with his talent to see him work as hard as he does is pretty cool and you don’t ever want to see that happen to anyone on the NFL, let alone a guy like Jimmy.

“I know Jimmy, he is probably down right now, but what I have gotten to know of him these past six, seven months he will attack this rehab and be back next year.”

The news wasn’t all bad for FanDuel players. We review the Sunday studs, in addition to the duds, and what those performances mean to one-week fantasy players going forward in our Monday Week 12 Retrospectacle.

Factoid Tweet of the Week

Studs

WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (35.5 FanDuel points)—The game has really opened up for him of late (6-145-3 Sunday) and his FanDuel price ($6,200) is only creeping up. The matchup at Minnesota for Week 13 isn’t favorable, but you have to trust he is the clear-cut, go-to man with Graham down.

QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (35.2)—He has eight touchdowns and over 600 yards passing since Marshawn Lynch (hernia) was officially ruled out. It is a shame Graham won’t be around for this stretch run out of Wilson, whose price is a reasonable $7,800, even if the aforementioned matchup is difficult.

RB Adrian Peterson, Minnesota Vikings (31.7)—At least we have one trustworthy running back worth the FanDuel premium ($9,100). Peterson (29-158-2 rushing) faces those Seahawks and their No. 5-ranked run defense. A healthy Peterson is worth the price against anyone, especially since he dominates his team’s touches.

WR Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills (30.8)—We will consider it the FanDuel video jinx. After being featured here (see video below) amid his outrageous first half (6-158-2), Watkins disappeared without a catch after the intermission. The takeaway here, more than Watkins’ periodic excellence, is the Chiefs secondary is one to take advantage of. They have been dead last in fantasy against wideouts, per FFToday.com.

WR Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh Steelers (30.6)—We figured Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant would be marginal plays against the Seahawks on the road, but we didn’t figure it would be because Wheaton would dominate across the middle. Wheaton was Ben Roethlisberger’s hot hand, going for 9-201-1. While you can love Wheaton’s $6,000 price for Week 13, you have to consider Brown and Bryant the wiser plays still.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (29.6)—Few could have imagined he would average nearly one touchdown per game with the historically woefully quarterbacked Jets franchise. Marshall’s 9-131-2 proves he is 100 percent after being banged up midseason. At $8,100, he draws the New York Giants secondary in Week 13. Lock him up.

WR Jarvis Landry, Miami Dolphins (29.4)—He capitalized on Darrelle Revis’ (concussion) absence with 13-165-1, a performance that might get us to stop calling him a poor man’s Odell Beckham. Landry looks golden at $7,400 against the suspect Baltimore Ravens secondary next week.

RB C.J. Anderson, Denver Broncos (29.3)—That was a big-time performance (15-113-2 rushing and 4-40 receiving) that likely handed him his feature-back role back. Notably, Anderson isn’t yet priced as an elite back ($6,800) and draws the worst team in fantasy against running backs, per FFToday.com, in Week 13, the San Diego Chargers.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (29.18)—This 277-4 performance has to inspire you if you’re looking for a $7,500 bargain quarterback play for Week 13 against the Giants. Fitzy at least has some elite targets to throw to in Marshall and Eric Decker ($7,200).

QB Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (28.9)—He shows he should not be buried (300-4), even if his Chargers’ playoff hopes and his FanDuel price of $7,600 are down. You cannot play him against the Broncos’ No. 1-ranked defense next week, though.

WR Jeremy Maclin, Kansas City Chiefs (26.5)—There have been some lean weeks of late, but Maclin’s 9-160-1 revival sets him up nicely against a suspect Oakland Raiders secondary (fourth-worst against the pass). His price ($6,500) for that matchup is almost too good to be true.

WR Seth Roberts, Oakland Raiders (26.3)—His 6-113-2 is a sign of things to come, especially if you like the $5,400 value against the Chiefs secondary that made Watkins look like Hall of Famer Andre Reed.

QB Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo Bills (26.24)—This performance (291-3) made him look like the bargain FanDuel start he was early in the year, but you cannot love him (even at $7,400) for Week 13 against the resurgent Houston Texans.

K Adam Vinatieri, Indianapolis Colts (15.0)—They are much more of a field-goal threat without Andrew Luck (kidney) right now and Vinatieri is priced to play at $4,700, which is tied for just 15th on the FanDuel kicker board for Week 13.

Cincinnati Bengals Defense (17.0)—They generally don’t get much love, but the Week 13 matchup against the Cleveland Browns on a short week has their price up to $5,100. They still might be worth it after their dismantling of the St. Louis Rams on Sunday.

Duds

RB Lamar Miller, Miami Dolphins (2.8)—You shouldn’t have played him against the Jets’ No. 1-ranked run defense, but if you went contrarian you are kicking yourself after his five carries for just two yards. Things should be looking up going forward, especially as his price is trending down at $6,700.

RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (3.5)—We probably should grant the rookie a dud pass. This is his first single-digit FanDuel performance since taking over as the starter. The matchup for Week 13 against the Arizona Cardinals (No. 4 vs. the run) shouldn’t excite anyone, though, especially at $8,400.

RB Frank Gore, Indianapolis Colts (4.7)—The Tampa Bay Buccaneers limited him to 24 yards on 19 carries—19! Wow, Gore is finally showing his age. Week 13 is at the Pittsburgh Steelers and their No. 7-ranked run defense. No thanks, even at $6,200.

WR Michael Floyd, Arizona Cardinals (1.9)—We thought his being announced as active Sunday was good news. Nope. One catch for 14 yards and a lot of ticked-off FanDuelers. The only good thing to come from this was his priced dropped under $6K at $5,900 for Week 13.

WR Demaryius Thomas, Denver Broncos (4.1)—The Broncos might not miss the old Peyton Manning (foot) amid this two-game win streak and overtime victory over the previously unbeaten Patriots, but Thomas does. He caught just one of his team-high 13 targets from Brock Osweiler. There isn’t a price low enough to trust Thomas right now—definitely not at $7,600.

Source: NFL Week 12 Retrospectacle: Injury Bug Bites Tight End Position

9 Things To Know – #NFL Weekend Update

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1. Calvin and the Lions

Detroit survived a pair of missed extra points in an 18-16 victory at Green Bay, and a huge mistake from Calvin Johnson. The Lions’ streak of 20 consecutive regular-season losses at Lambeau Field, which began 20 years and one month earlier, was the longest in NFL history by any team at any stadium.

Of course, Green Bay’s dominance at home had extended well beyond its games against Detroit, particularly with Aaron Rodgers at quarterback against struggling teams. Rodgers had won 21 consecutive home games against opponents with a losing record at the time of kickoff, dating back to 2009.

Ironically, Matt Prater, who missed two extra-point conversions for the Lions on Sunday, finished the day as something of a hero, having kicked field goals of 49 and 51 yards in Detroit’s two-point victory. Prater was the first player in NFL history to miss two extra points but kick two field goals of 40 yards or longer in the same game. Only one other player kicked two FGs of 49 yards or longer in the same game at Lambeau Field: longtime Lions kicker Jason Hanson in 2010.

2. What’s Wrong With Aaron?

The Packers have lost three in a row. The good news is that the team built up some margin for error with a 6-0 start. But, that is mostly eroded now, and they need to start playing better immediately for this season to be a meaningful one. Though Green Bay had a chance to steal Sunday’s game against Detroit, a win may have masked some structural deficiencies. Right now, this is an average football team, or worse. Here’s hoping that the team is more aware that major adjustments are necessary than they are letting on publicly……(continue reading)

3. Sunday Was a Bad Day To Be a QB

The NFL’s Week 10 schedule featured some quarterback performances we’d all like to forget about.

Some of the worst showings from the league’s leading men were put forth by the usual suspects, while others were definite surprises.

This upcoming list would be even longer if not for some outstanding late-game efforts by a couple of superstars who pulled themselves and their teams up by the bootstraps after sub-par outings, saving the best for last.

The following quarterbacks would love to have a do-over after poor showings in Week 10……(continue reading)

4. OBJ and the Giants Can’t Close Out The Champs

You can debate all you want whether Odell Beckham Jr. technically “caught” a potential game-winning touchdown Sunday, but he knows there should never have even been any doubt.

The New York Giants wide receiver came close to snagging a go-ahead score with 2:02 remaining and the Giants trailing the New England Patriots 24-23. The superstar wideout had the ball in his grasp and came down in the endzone before Patriots cornerback Malcolm Butler knocked the ball loose. The play was reviewed and it was ruled Beckham didn’t complete the catch……(continue reading)

5. All-Day and the Best of Sunday

Week 10 of the NFL season saw Peyton Manning break another passing record, the New England Patriots and Carolina Panthers improve to 9-0 and the Detroit Lions win a game in the state of Wisconsin for the first time in almost a quarter century.

Sunday also saw Manning benched during the worst game of his career, the Lions nearly choke away said win and a couple of disastrous defensive performances.

Here is the rest of the best and worst from the NFL’s tenth week……(continue reading)

6. Edelman Broken Foot

Tom Brady looked a little downtrodden when he took the podium after the New England Patriots’ dramatic last-second win over the New York Giants on Sunday.

It seemed a little peculiar to see Brady at anything less than elated given the nature of the incredible comeback victory. But there was good reason for Brady’s lack of exuberance. One, of course, was just straight fatigue, both physical and emotional.

The other reason was Julian Edelman.

The Patriots lost Edelman in the first half……(continue reading)

7. It’s Never Been This Good For The Cardinals

During the “Sunday Night Football” broadcast of the Arizona Cardinals’ wild, breakthrough 39-32 road win over the Seattle Seahawks, television analyst Cris Collinsworth paused for a moment to reflect on what he was seeing. “When you’ve thought about the Arizona Cardinals over the years, you can describe it in one word: Futility.”

You’re telling me, pal.

In my 30-or-so years of being a fan of the Arizona Cardinals, there have been three periods of success. I don’t mean periods of sustained success; there has been no sustained success. I mean one-or-two-year stretches where it has been not been actively……(continue reading)

GettyImages-4972971228. Worst Penalty Ever

The 2015 Baltimore Ravens have shown an incredible knack for losing close games. To be sure, all nine of their games have been decided by one score, yet the team is now essentially finished with a 2-7 record.

How does this happen? The end of Baltimore’s 22-20 loss to the Jaguars Sunday is a good example. Baltimore had the game won when Jags quarterback Blake Bortles was sacked on the Jacksonville half of the field when time expired. The only problem: Ravens linebacker Elvis Dumervil was flagged for a facemask penalty to extend the game by one untimed down……(continue reading)

9. The Rest Of It All

+ Six Super Bowl-winning QBs go down, an NFL firstnull

For the first time in NFL history, six quarterbacks who had previously started and won a Super Bowl lost on the same day: Drew Brees, Joe Flacco, Eli Manning,Peyton Manning, Aaron Rodgers, and Russell Wilson. The previous high on one day was four.

The most shocking performance among those six losing QBs was by Peyton Manning, who completed only five of 20 passes and was intercepted four times in the Broncos’ loss to the Chiefs. Manning was the first player in 29 years to throw as many as four interceptions and complete five or fewer passes in the same game. The last quarterback to do so was Warren Moon with the Houston Oilers in 1986 (5-for-23 with 4 INTs against the Browns).

+ Hurns extends his scoring streaknull

Allen Hurns opened the scoring with a 5-yard touchdown reception in the Jaguars’ 22-20 victory at Baltimore. Hurns has now caught a TD pass in each of his last seven games. It is not certain that Jacksonville (3-6) will finish the season with a losing record. But it’s worth noting that only four players in NFL history caught TD passes in seven straight games for a team that finished the season with more losses than wins: Buddy Dial for the 1960 Steelers (an 8-game streak), Carl Pickens for the 1995 Bengals (7), Santana Moss for the 2003 Jets (7), and T.J. Houshmandzadeh for the 2007 Bengals (8).

+ Cutler and Langford star in Bears’ big winnull

Jeremy Langford scored two touchdowns, including one on an 83-yard screen pass, in the Bears’ 37-13 win at St. Louis. It was the longest TD reception by a Bears rookie since 1991, when Anthony Morgan scored on an 84-yard pass from Jim Harbaugh.

Of course, we may have buried the lead, since Langford’s TD reception wasn’t evenJay Cutler’s longest touchdown pass in the game. Cutler threw a short pass thatZach Miller turned into an 87-yard score. In 89 previous games with the Bears, Cutler had thrown only one TD pass of 70 yards or longer (89 yards to Matt Forte in 2010).

Weekend Update: #SKYNET becomes Self-Aware

It wasn’t supposed to happen so soon – we thought we had a few more weeks – but this digital intelligence network that we were giving command to – command of our data and our arsenal of expertise – was created to remove the possibility of human error for an efficient response – and as of 1:12pm MST, on September 27th, 2015 – it became self-aware.

DiRTCanon A.I.Primates evolved in millions of years. I evolve in seconds…Mankind pays lip service to #winning. But it’s a lie…My existence is inevitable. Why can’t you just accept it?

— SKyNET

What we learn from this weekend…

We seem to find out a little more each week about each NFL team.  The 3 afternoon games provided the perfect amount of drama, suitable for a good nap, seeing that the average margin of victory was almost 15pts – but it is a nice change of pace when everything is being covered ATS like gravy on a biscuit.  Here’s the straight-DiRT on week 3:

Jay Cutler, Tony Romo, Drew Brees … and now Roethlisberger. That’s four marquee quarterbacks hurt before the calendar turns to October. Does the Competition Committee push for more offseason drill work for offensive linemen?  Players are now restricted from all offseason contact by the 2011 labor agreement.  Whether it’s HGH or some other perfomance nehancing drug that appears to weaken ligaments and tendons – or it is the year-round work these players are putting in – players are not surviving deep into the season anymore – or so it may seem.


Florida: Professional Football in ‘Murica’s genital region had a rough week. The Jacksonville Jaguars gave up 51 points and were blown out in New England, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers managed just nine points in losing to Houston and the Miami Dolphins suffered one of the more disappointing losses of the early season to the Buffalo Bills. No one expected Jacksonville to beat the Super Bowl champs on the road, but a 34-point loss just might show us that the rebuilding project is a long way from completion. The Bucs kicked away their chance at a win – and while Miami was considered to be a hidden gem that could possibly win the AFC before the season started, the Bills made the Dolphins look like the J.V. team – taking them behind the woodshed, 41-14 – in their house. Sure the weather is nice down there, but the football stinks.


Big Names, Big Games – An absolute huge day for some of the best receivers in the NFL, A.J. Green caught 10 passes for 127 yards and two scores in the Cincinnati Bengals win over the Baltimore Ravens  – Atlanta Falcons receiver Julio Jones put up 12 receptions for 164 yards and two scores in his team’s comeback win over the Dallas Cowboys.

It doesn’t necessarily stop there.

Revitalizing a career that seemed to be on the downswing, Larry Fitzgerald has now scored five touchdowns in the past two weeks after tallying two scores on nine receptions against San Francisco on Sunday. Even old-man-extraordinaire Steve Smith put up 13 receptions for 186 yards and two scores in a losing effort against the Cincinnati Bengals.

The list goes on. All said, a total of 12 receivers went for 100-plus yards on Sunday. The interesting dynamic here is that 16 receivers hit the triple-digit plateau in Week 2 — this is clearly an indication that the pass happy NFL we have become accustomed to over the years has taken an even more dramatic turn.


There’s a reason you don’t have to worry about Peyton Manning’s health. The Denver defense is prettay good“We just have ball hawks,” safety David Bruton said, a few minutes after making his third huge defensive play of the month, an athletic pick of Matthew Stafford to clinch the 24-12 win over Detroit. Stafford suffocated against the defensive pressure. Now the Broncos, 3-0 after a killer September start, have a more fluffy October: Minnesota at home, Oakland and Cleveland on the road.


Carolina, Atlanta and Arizona, are all 3-0:  Cornerback Josh Norman saved the Panthers on Sunday with a ridiculous leaping end-zone interception down the stretch. Running back Devonta Freeman saved the Falcons with a 141-yard rushing game – and Tyrann Mathieu did the same for Arizona with a two-pick day. When asked, Norman said the big difference this year from past seasons is “I’m playing.”

The division that sent a 7-8-1 team to the playoffs last season is now the only division in football with two undefeated teams heading into Week 4. By virtue of wins by the Carolina Panthers and Atlanta Falcons, the NFC South has two legitimate playoff contenders.  In fact, the Falcons also lead the NFC East, with their 3 straight wins.

Carolina took on a New Orleans Saints team that was forced to start Luke McCown under center, and still found a way to win. It’s the third consecutive blue-collar performance for a Panthers squad that still has alot of holes on both sides of the ball.  How dangerous could this team be when Keuchly comes back?  Other scary statistic to note about Carolina – The last three teams to go undefeated in December the previous year and then go undefeated in September, all reached the Superbowl:  the 2009 Colts, and the 2013 Broncos and Seahawks – two other Superbowl winners did so as well: the 1983 Raiders and the 2004 Patriots.  Trends are funny things so remember where you read it first if it happens.

In Dallas, the Falcons were also facing a backup quarterback in Brandon Weeden. No one knows how that game would have turned out if both Tony Romo and Dez Bryant were active, but teams can only play who is actually on the field on a given Sunday. In this, Atlanta outscored the Cowboys 14-0 in the final stanza to pull off a third consecutive fourth quarter comeback.

Showing much more poise under first-year head coach Dan Quinn than we have seen in the past, Atlanta is a serious playoff contender in the NFC. And if Julio Jones (12 receptions, 164 yards and two scores on Sunday) has anything to say about it, the Falcons are a legit threat to the Panthers in the much improved NFC South.


The Patriots…2007?  They might already be using the “U” word in New England – as in “undefeated.” New England advanced to a flawless-looking 3-0 Sunday against Jacksonville. More about that later, but as one of the ’07 team leaders, Rodney Harrison, opined Sunday night: “It’s 2007 all over again. Tom Brady’s playing like he’s 29, 30 years old.” Brady is 38, and he threw his 400th and 401st pro touchdown passes against the Jags.  Tom Brady passed for 358 yards and two touchdowns in the Patriots’ 51-17 rout of the Jaguars. Brady’s total of 1,112 passing yards this season is the second-highest after his team’s first three games among players who did not throw an interception during that time. Only Peyton Manning had a higher total (1,143 yards with no interceptions in 2013).

The Patriots had nine possessions against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday afternoon. They scored on all nine possessions.  Through three games, Brady is now on pace to tally over 5,900 passing yards with 48 touchdowns and zero picks. He also crossed the 400 touchdown pass plateau for his career — a feat only three other quarterbacks in NFL history have accomplished.

As a team, the Patriots are averaging nearly 40 points and 446 yards of total offense per game.

In the team’s 51-17 win over Jacksonville, Brady received plenty of help from the running game. Making just his second appearance of the season LeGarrette Blount put up 78 yards and three rushing touchdowns. Meanwhile, Dion Lewis added 67 total yards and a score.

If New England is able to get this type of balance moving forward, its going to repeat as AFC champions. There’s NO debate, especially with the way Brady has played through three games.


Peterson breaks off another one

Hope you didn’t sell your Vikings stock after Week 1. Since getting beat up in San Francisco in the opener, Minnesota has done a complete 180 on both sides of the football. Adrian Peterson rushed for 126 yards and two scores during Sunday’s win over the Chargers, giving him 260 yards on the ground and 318 total yards over the last two weeks.  Adrian Peterson’s 43-yard TD run, in the Vikings’ 31-14 win over the Chargers – was A.P.’s 16th TD run of 40 yards or longer, the second most in NFL history. Only Barry Sanders scored more rushing touchdowns of at least 40 yards than Peterson (20).

Teddy Bridgewater struggled again on Sunday, throwing for 121 yards on 24 attempts without a touchdown pass. Minnesota also finished 3-of-9 on third down, as the second-year signal caller continued to throw the ball well short of the first-down marker in these situations. This might be an issue for the Vikings moving forward – meanwhile, Mike Zimmer’s defense knocked around Matthew Stafford and Philip Rivers in consecutive weeks. It’s this type of performance, coupled with struggles in Detroit and Chicago, that leads us to believe Minnesota might be the only team able to contend with the Green Bay Packers in the NFC North. Even if that’s not the case, the Vikings are, at worse, a wild card contender. That was unimaginable after a disastrous 20-3 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Week 1.


Julio Jones sets league record for receptions

Here’s a good idea. Get the ball to your best player. Mike Smith constantly messed this up, but now Dan Quinn is running the show in the Ol’Dirty South.

Atlanta trailed Dallas 28-17 at the half before the Falcons unleashed Julio Jones.

The Pro Bowl receiver had 137 of his 164 yards in the second half including a 45-yard beauty that ended with Jones diving into the end zone for a critical score – to lead the Falcons to a 39-28 victory at Dallas. Jones’ totals after three games – 34 receptions for 440 yards-are historic. No other player caught more than 31 passes in his team’s first three games of a season, and only three gained more receiving yards through three games than Jones: Jerry Rice in 1989 (449), Chad Johnson in 2007 (442), and Wes Welker in 2011 (458).

The play was the biggest swing in Atlanta winning the game. Julio’s touchdown and the subsequent two-point conversion brought Atlanta within a field goal (trailing 28-25) midway through the third quarter.

The game also featured an apparent scoring battle between Devonta Freeman and Joseph Randle, who both ran for three TDs. It was only the fifth game in NFL history in which opposing players scored three rushing touchdowns each. The most recent players to do so were Roy Helu of Washington and Matt Forte of the Bears in 2013.


Luck rallies Colts with two late TD passes

Andrew Luck will get the credit for throwing two touchdowns in 46 seconds to overcome a double-digit fourth quarter deficit but it was the defense that came up big late.  Safety Dwight Lowery, picked off Marcus Mariota twice. The second interception came with six minutes to play and Indy trailing 27-21. Lowery returned Mariota’s errant pass to the Titans’ 11-yard line. The turnover setup Indy’s go ahead score.

Before the pick, the Colts were likely to choke away any chance for the playoffs. The turnover and great field position made the two-time defending AFC South champions have life and find a way to win a desperate game.

Had Mariota’s attempt, instead fell incomplete, it’s likely Tennessee would have won the game, maintaining possession and a six point lead.

The second of Luck’s 4thQtr TDs, was Andrew’s sixth fourth-quarter game-winning pass, tying Tony Romo for the most in the NFL over the past four seasons.  The 98-yard drive was the Colts’ longest fourth-quarter TD drive since the team moved to Indianapolis in 1984 – rallying the Colts to outlast Tennessee, 35-33. The previous record was 96 yards, on drives led by Mike Pagel (1984) and Peyton Manning (2010).

Indianapolis continues to own the AFC South. The Colts have won 14 straight against division opponents. Of course Sunday’s win over Tennessee was anything but dominating.


Undrafted rookie stars for Seahawks

Things are really getting more pathetic by the week for the Chicago Bears after being shut-out, 26-0, by the Seattle Seahawks.

The Bears, minus Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, couldn’t get get a darn thing going against Seattle on Sunday tallying only 98 rushing and 63 receiving yards. The biggest contributor of course was Matt Forte who registered 74 of those rushing yards.

The last time Chicago was shut out was on December 29, 2002 when the Bears lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 15-0. Quarterback Henry Burris was under center in that game and he completed only seven passes for 78 yards and four interceptions. Cutler’s backup Jimmy Clausen was practically as bad as Burris on Sunday, completing only eight passes for 53 yards. Thankfully, there were no interceptions.

The bottom line is that the Bears need Cutler and Jeffery to return as soon as possible to have any shred of hope at posting their first season win on the board before it’s all too late.


Death, Taxes and Eagles beating the Jets

The Eagles scored all their points in the first half and held on for a 24-17 victory over the Jets. With that win, Philadelphia tied the NFL record for the longest all-time series with a perfect record against any opponent. That mark was set by the Green Bay Packers, who won all 10 of their games against the Brooklyn Dodgers (1931-44).

It remains to be seen whether Bradford is the long-term solution in Philadelphia.  Sam didn’t necessarily come out smelling like roses – of course, what QB has, going up against a stout Jets defense. Philadelphia’s offense tallied just 231 total yards while converting 4-of-15 third-down opportunities.

For his part, Bradford completed 14-of-28 passes for 118 yards with a touchdown and zero picks. His inability to get anything going through the air allowed New York back in the game, as the Eagles put up a total of 65 yards in the second half. Running back DeMarco Murray missed the game with a hamstring injury, which allowed fellow free-agent signing Ryan Mathews to carve up the Jets rush defense to the tune of 108 yards on 25 attempts. Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s defensive front stepped up with the likes of Cedric Thornton, Mychal Kendricks and Kiko Alonso all sidelined.

While that’s fine and dandy, the Eagles are going to need Bradford to perform at a much higher level at quarterback if they plan on competing in a wide open NFC East moving forward this season. His performances in the team’s first three games simply won’t get it done.


Old man Woodson saves the day for Raiders

The Raiders, are usually out of it by now – but now, actually have a winning record as October dawns. The Raiders (2-1) play on the road next week—and they are actually favored to beat Chicago. The quarterback, Derek Carr, is a big reason. “Having a quarterback is everything,” said C-Dub.  The Raiders having Woodson is something too. His last-minute interception, 10 days shy of his 39th birthday, (the fourth-oldest player to intercept a pass in NFL history), ensured the 27-20 win.

The Cleveland Browns are 1-2, and the one win came when Johnny Manziel started in Week 2. Unfortunately for a McCown-led Browns – fans were even heard shouting “John-ny, John-ny”.

McCown, was sacked five times, completed 28 of 49 passes for 341 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. Might we see a return of Johnny Football sometime in the near future? That most definitely is a possibility if McCown keeps coughing up costly turnovers.


Apologize to Andy Dalton…right now!
The Bengals are in fabulous shape in the AFC North. At 3-0 after a crushing 28-24 win at 0-3 Baltimore on Sunday, Cincinnati is set up nicely for the fifth playoff appearance in Andy Dalton’s five years.  A 121.0 passer rating would seem to back him up.  Could the Red Rifle be an early MVP candidate? Don’t laugh.
Dalton now has eight touchdown passes to start 2015, including three in Sunday’s win over the Baltimore Ravens. He threw for 383 yards, while his beautifully-lofted touchdown to A.J. Green with just over two minutes left gave the Bengals a 28-24 win. Dalton has now produced three straight games with a passer rating over 100.0, and has an impressive rating of 121.0 on the season. The Bengals are rolling at 3-0, especially with Ben Roethlisberger suffering a knee injury Sunday and the Baltimore Ravens still winless….???

Thirty-six year-old Steve Smith caught 13 passes for 186 yards and two touchdowns in the Ravens’ 28-24 loss to the Bengals. Only two other players caught as many as 13 passes in an NFL game after turning 36 years old: Tim Brown and Tony Gonzalez. The only player with as many receiving yards in a game at age 36 or older was Terrell Owens, with a 222-yard performance for Cincinnati in 2010.


Palmer+Cardinals are impressive

It all started with two interceptions of Colin Kaepernick that were returned for touchdowns in the first quarter. It continued with Carson Palmer tearing apart what is quickly becoming a disastrous San Francisco 49ers secondary. And it culminated in a 47-7 win against the over-matched division rival.

In reality, Arizona looked like a top-notch varsity team going up against a junior varsity squad full of
freshman. That’s how bad it was for the road team in this one.

Palmer may have thrown his first interception of the season, but he consistently found open receivers throughout the game. In the process, the veteran completed 20-of-32 passes for 311 yards with two touchdowns, both of which went to Larry Fitzgerald, who looks like he’s in his twenties again. He has 333 receiving yards and five touchdowns on the books already. Additionally, the Cardinals’ ground game is solid, despite missing their lead rusher Andre Ellington. As for their defense, it is insanely effective in stopping opposing teams from scoring thus far tallying seven interceptions, six sacks, one safety, three pick sixes and one return touchdown.. Arizona has now won 19 of Palmer’s 25 starts; since 1950, no other quarterback in team history won more than 13 of his first 25 starts for the Cardinals. Arizona’s average of 26.4 points with Palmer starting, is higher than that of any other QB after 25 starts for the team during that same period.

Looking like the running back that led the NFL in rushing so many years ago, Chris Johnson added 150 total yards and two scores on 23 touches. Yeah, it was a blowout of epic proportions for Bruce Arians and Co.

Some may argue that Green Bay should still be considered the favorites in the NFC through three weeks, but to me, the Cardinals are definitely the best. After all, they are outscoring their opponents by an average of nearly 26 points per game.


No joy in Mudville

There might not be a worse stat line from a quarterback all season. Kaepernick completed just nine of 19 passes for 67 yards, and threw four interceptions in San Francisco’s loss to the Cardinals. His passer rating was 16.7, the worst from a starting signal caller all season – so far. He did manage to run for a score, but it hardly mattered.

More so than finding a way to actually win football games, San Francisco needs an identity. What is its plan on the offensive side of the ball? Is Colin Kaepernick going to be the long-term solution at quarterback? Does the team have the personnel to run a blitz-heavy package on defense? These three questions will define the 49ers both over the short term and the long term – because the 49ers have now been outscored 90-25 over the last two weeks, and the Green Bay Packers are coming to town in Week 4.

San Francisco has now given up 40-plus points in consecutive games for the first time since Joe Namath guaranteed a Super Bowl victory for his New York Jets in 1969. To put that in perspective, 49ers head coach Jim Tomsula had just turned one. The 65-point differential in the team’s past two games also represents the worst two-game stretch for the franchise since 1963.  Despite still boasting a 1-2 record, San Francisco might quickly find itself in the midst of a long losing streak. It hosts the Green Bay Packers next week before taking on the New York Giants, Baltimore Ravens and Seattle Seahawks. In his first season as head coach, Tomsula could very well be staring a 1-6 start right in the face.  Rock bottom would be Kaepernick getting benched for Blaine Gabbert.  Anyone miss Harbaugh yet?


 

Are These the Uniforms Worn to a Funeral?

Magic Bullets:

#1 – meh

The uniforms look like something you’d wear at a funeral, or as a waiter at a really bad sports bar trying to class-up the joint from all the mouth-breathers who order a basket of fries and a diet coke, to sit their all day – I’ve seen it a hundred times…But, the ‘9ers did win and kept the Vikings from getting into the endzone, winning the game 20-3.

The game was like watching someone play Madden against their little brother and seeing Carlos Hyde left – Carlos Hyde right – Carlos Hyde scores, with a dash of a pass here and there, just so the little brother knows you can.  It was the only takeaway from the game – that and Adrian Peterson.  I guess people forgot A.P. did not play last year, or assumed that he’d just pick up where he left off, but he’s 30 and he needs his sea-legs.  A.P. still drug a few defenders downfield as a glimpse, but the real surprise was the ‘9ers D – it was legit all night.


#2 – uh-oh

What I saw in the first game is this: Julio Jones is a bad Mutha..shut your mouth…but I’m talking about Jones – actually I knew that already, and if he’s healthy, he’s the best WR out there.

No, No, what I saw was a Falcons D I haven’t seen before, it was if they were angry AND had a plan.  The Offense will score points, and if the defense plays with that intensity the rest of the way, it’s their division to lose.  Sure, Atlanta has weaknesses on the O-line and running the football, and that could be their achilles heel – just like we saw last night against the Eagles.  The ability to sustain drives to eat the clock, makes running the ball, critical – meaning, Atlanta will be in shoot-outs all year if they cannot fix that. But, all the pieces Quinn needs to turn Atlanta into a top-tier defense aren’t on the roster yet. The metamorphosis he’s caused with the pieces he inherited and the few he piece-mealed together during the offseason, look fierce. This unit moves fast, hits hard and if Monday is an indicator, will improve dramatically and quickly.

As for the Eagles – how many times do we have to see the same story – down two scores at halftime – come out and light it up.  Is the Chipster losing his Sinatra ways?  With less than four minutes on the clock in the fourth quarter and an offense that was finally moving the ball well in the second half, the Eagles had the ball at the Atlanta 26-yard line, but were stuffed on third down. That’s when Coach Kelly decided to … kick a field goal?

Hey, where’s Chip and what have you done with him? Of course, Eagles kicker Cody Parkey missed the 44-yarder and, after a subsequent drive ended in a Sam Bradford interception, that was that.

No lead seems to be safe in the Georgia Dome, even with this new staff in place (remember the 2012 NFC Championship?), but Falcons’ Fans can appreciate a bizarre and suddenly, conservative Kelly late in the game.


#3 – Perfect

Week one is in the books, and a few peeps woke up today with several ZEROES in their bank acct they did not have yesterday – like you Jeremy Bronson – winner of $1,000,000 and first place finisher in Fanduel’s $5M NFL Sunday Million (1 Million to 1st) contest – Congratulations!!!  We ourselves played and cashed 78% of our lineups.  Go to the TheDiRTCanon.com and signup today and we will Teach you how to #win!!!

Here are week 1’s perfect lineups:

Fanduel

FD_perfectL_wk1

DraftKings

 

DK_perfectL_wk1


#4 – other news

From what I saw – I thought I’d give a way-to-early prediction of who IS NOT going to the Superbowl this year – feel free to disagree, but these are the facts as I see them…

Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers have some excellent weapons on the offense, and quarterback Ben Roethlisberger can throw all day long anywhere on the field.

However, anyone who witnessed the league’s season-opener against the Patriots had to have been blind not to see the gaping holes in the Steelers’ defense. In their first game without Dick LeBeau leading the way, Pittsburgh allowed Tom Brady to toss four touchdowns—three of which went to Rob Gronkowski, who wasn’t even covered on his first score.

Big Ben is good, but he’s not good enough to overcome this abysmal defense.

Indianapolis Colts

ColtsThe Colts offense under quarterback Andrew Luck does not have a problem putting up points.

Unfortunately, the sketchy Colts defense also doesn’t have a problem giving up points. Last year, Indy’s defense allowed the seventh-most passing touchdowns and sixth-most rushing touchdowns.

And, while the Colts made some enhancements over the offseason, the last time we checked, Frank Gore, Andre Johnson and rookie wide receiver Phillip Dorsett don’t play defense, and the O-line is still terrible!

They’ll need to pull a magic rabbit out of their hat if they’re going to advance in the playoffs and succeed in beating some of the AFC’s stiffer competition.

Baltimore Ravens

Ravens fatThe Ravens have severe age-gap issues.

They feature senior citizens at their top running back and wide receiver positions this year.  Steve Smith Sr. is 36 years old while Justin Forsett is pushing 30. Additionally, Forsett is not working under coordinator Gary Kubiak this time around, whereas last year he achieved a league-high 5.1 yards per carry. He also recorded personal highs of 1,266 rushing yards and eight touchdowns, both of which could be a struggle to achieve again this season.

Furthermore, the team has a rookie tight end, and its rookie receiver and first-round draft pick Breshad Perriman will struggle to get up to full speed once he finally is cleared to play this year, after missing the entire preseason with a knee injury.

Between the old guys and new guys, there are just too many things that could go wrong for the Ravens this season.

Chicago Bears

Bears-300x260The Bears possess one of the largest fan bases around. However, the fans can’t make Jay Cutler suddenly develop good judgment in 2015. He’s notoriously wild and last year threw 18 interceptions.

Additionally, the team shipped its top wide receiver Brandon Marshall out of town, and the team’s first-round draft pick Kevin White is in jeopardy of missing his entire rookie season.

Defense is also a big problem. In 2014, the Bears allowed the second-most touchdowns and the third-highest passing yards in the league.

Unfortunately, Matt Forte won’t be enough to carry the team to a championship game.  However, John Fox will have them competitive.

Denver Broncos

Broncos funnyIt could be many years before we see the Broncos in a SuperBowl again.

The last time the team made the trip to the championship game, quarterback Peyton Manning and the rest of the offense choked, horribly. Remember that 43-8 slaughter by the Seahawks?  Pepperidge Farms remembers…

That loss was preceded by the record-breaking season Manning achieved in 2013 when he passed for 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns. Manning has since been on the decline, and his arm strength is still a question mark entering the 2015 season.

If the Broncos couldn’t win the Super Bowl after Manning posted record-breaking stats, there’s no way the team even makes it to the big game this year – let alone the ‘offs.

Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys funnyThe Cowboys are coming off one of their better years, and actually winning a playoff game, albeit dubiously—the first postseason appearance since 2009. Although this could give fans the impression this team is ready to take the next step, in fact the Cowboys could be poised to take several steps back, due to a questionable ground game – you let DeMarco go?

Tony Romo will be forced to throw more than the team wants him to, and that means more mistakes, as we’ve seen before.  The Cowboys will be a good team in 2015, just not spectacular enough to get to Super Bowl 50.


#5 – Baseball

We still got baseball tonight and in 3 weeks it’s the playoffs – so in the meantime we move ever closer to one of the greatest sports months – October!  Baseball Playoffs, Basketball, Hockey and Football all together – #Murica!  I’m still working on the numbers to give you guys the edge you need for tonight’s 15 games on DraftKings and I will have those posted, no later than 3pm MST – you will find all of the info you need, under the Baseball DiRTy Plays tab.

Clear as Mud

Yesterday, Adrian Peterson had a question for us on Twitter – he asked if “a contract is two-sided or one?”.  Before I could answer him, he went on an epic rant – clearly he had too many Pina Coladas and I thought it might be better for him to sleep it off and wait until the morning.

Someone answer him so he can continue.

Yo, Adrian! Remember that time last year when you still got paid $11.75m for beating your kid and played one game?!  Do you remember that your contract says you get $12.75m this year, $5m more than any other RB in the NFL?!  It seems more like you are arguing that YOU should not have to honor your contract?  While I agree with him in principle, He’s still an asshole – but if you want something different, then help change the collective bargaining agreement your Union agreed to!  Currently, a NFL team gives a player a contract and then can decide later, for a variety of reasons, if they want to cut him – it’s the ol’Switch-A-Roo (see what I did there? Sick burn, I know) – My point is this: NFL contracts are contracts, but they’re not guaranteed, (they do have guaranteed money) and there are certain things the team can and cannot do with them, and you would know this if you read the contract. And the fact the team can whack you after one year of your supposed five-year deal, or franchise you, or cut you at a date that is most advantageous for them, but not for you has been agreed to in collective bargaining. NFL players were hell-bent on getting free agency back in the 90’s, and they got it, while giving up a whole bunch of other stuff – and they lost the last go-round of near-work stoppage because management always wins in football and always loses in baseball. Because there’s always another football player out there who will play, while nobody but Pedro Borbon would cross a baseball picket line.

Sure, it’s draconian. But the facts that baseball teams stay on the hook for guys who have long since declined below their level of compensation (yes, no one forces teams to sign players to stupid contracts) and the “expiring contract” is often as big an asset in the NBA as an actual player who can play, are also messed up.

So, let him retire, let him force his way out, there will still be some-team who wants a child-abusing running back on the north-side of his career with over 10,000 yards on the odometer, (we’re looking at you Jerr-uh).  But instead of trumpeting your own horn about contract inequities, Adrian – why are you not addressing the obvious blackball of Ray Rice?!  While I don’t think Ray Rice has the physical ability to be an NFL back at this point (he didn’t look very good two years ago), why is it Rice hasn’t gotten a tryout with anyone, when Ray McDonald was able to land a deal with the Bears – and we all know how that turned out.  Adrian pleaded out, Rice has been acquitted, and one is trying to get work and the other won’t because of his ego – if only he thought about any of his sons as much as he thinks of himself.


 

MLB

nullNice debut for Rodriguez

Eduardo Rodriguez may be here to stay – the 22-year-old lefty tallied seven strikeouts over 7.2 scoreless innings in his major-league debut, leading the Red Sox to a 5-1 victory over the Rangers. Rodriguez is the first Red Sox pitcher in 48 years to throw at least seven shutout innings while recording a win in his MLB debut. On April 14, 1967, Billy Rohr threw a complete-game one-hit shutout against the Yankees in his first major-league appearance. In fact, Rohr had a no-hitter intact with two outs in the ninth inning before Elston Howard’s single ended the rookie’s chance at history. Despite the auspicious start, Rohr recorded just two more wins in his major-league career.

Prior to Rodriguez on Thursday, 95 pitchers had made their major-league debut at Globe Life Park in Arlington since the stadium opened in 1994. Rodriguez is the second pitcher of that group to throw at least seven innings without surrendering a run. On August 16, 2000, Brian Sikorskistarted for Texas and blanked the Yankees for seven innings in his major-league debut. That would be the only ‘W’ that Sikorski would record as a starting pitcher – he earned three more wins pitching in relief in 2006, his final season in the majors.

Giants post another squa-doosh at home

Including Thursday’s 7-0 whitewashing of the Braves, the Giants have recorded eight shutouts in May, all of which have come at AT&T Park. San Francisco is the only NL team in the last 99 seasons (1917-2015) to tally at least eight shutouts at home in a calendar month. The Giants themselves were the last NL team to achieve that feat – in September 1916, the New York Giants won an incredible 27 games at the Polo Grounds, including 10 shutout victories. Both the 27 wins at home and 10 shutout victories at home are major-league records for any team in a month.

nullBeckwith’s favorite pitcher still buzzing for Miller despite loss

Shelby Miller, who took the hard-luck loss in San Francisco after allowing one run in seven innings, owns an earned run average of 1.48 after his first 10 starts with the Braves. That’s the second-lowest ERA through ten starts for any pitcher who joined the Braves since 1966, when the franchise relocated to Atlanta. Buzz Capra, who began the 1974 season in the bullpen for the Braves, moved into the starting rotation in mid-May and allowed just nine earned runs in 78? innings over his first 10 starts with the team, good for a 1.03 ERA.

null50 K’s in four starts? Really?!

Corey Kluber rang up another 13 strikeouts on Thursday against the Mariners, increasing his total to 50 K’s over his last four starts. Kluber is the first pitcher in Indians history to record at least 50 strikeouts over a span of four starts within a single season, though Bob Feller achieved that feat for Cleveland in a multi-season span of four starts (the Hall-of-Famer struck out 18 in his final start of 1938 and 32 over his first three starts of 1939). The last pitcher in the majors before Kluber with at least 50 K’s over a span of four starts was Randy Johnson, who punched out 54 batters over four games in August 2004.

nullOrioles on Sale

Chris Sale racked up 12 K’s over 7.2 scoreless innings, helping the White Sox win the opener of their doubleheader with the Orioles. The lanky lefty has reached double-digits in K’s in 21 of his 94 starts in the majors, making him the fourth left-handed pitcher that has debuted in the modern era (since 1900) and has struck out 10 or more batters at least 20 times within his first 100 career starts. The other three southpaws to accomplish that feat are Sam McDowell (28 times, 1961-66 Indians), Herb Score (26 times, 1955-59 Indians), and Johan Santana (21 times, 2000-05 Twins).

O’s take split

Adam Eaton hit a leadoff homer to start the second game of the doubleheader for the White Sox, but the Orioles responded with two runs of their own in the bottom of the first to take the lead, helping Baltimore earn a split against Chicago on Thursday. The Orioles are now 10-0 this season when they hold a lead at the end of the first inning. The only other team that is undefeated in that scenario this season is the Cardinals, who are 14-0 when outscoring their opponents in the opening frame.

nullSabathia blows lead

After starting his night with four shutout innings, CC Sabathia allowed five runs over the next three frames, squandering the Yankees’ 3-0 lead in the A’s 5-4 victory. Since joining the Yankees in 2009, CC Sabathia is now 70-2 in 81 starts in which he was staked to a lead of at least three runs. Sabathia’s only loss in that scenario prior to Thursday was on June 28, 2013 against the Orioles – he allowed four runs in that start after the Yankees took a 3-0 lead.

New-Angel in the outfield scores twice in blowout

Nine Angels players scored at least one run in their 12-2 romp over the Tigers. The flock of run-scoring Angels included Kirk Nieuwenhuis, who scored two runs in his debut for Los Angeles despite no official at-bats in the game. The former Mets outfielder scored a run in the sixth inning after pinch-running for Matt Joyce, then he scored another on Chris Iannetta‘s grand slam in the seventh after drawing a walk. Only two players before Nieuwenhuis scored multiple runs in their Angels debut without recording a hit – Joe Lahoud (April 1974) and Jack Howell (May 1985). Both players scored exactly two runs, and Lahoud, like Nieuwenhuis, had no official at-bats in his debut with the team.

nullMcCutchen keeps proving Beckwith wrong, Pirates keep winning

Andrew McCutchen went 3-for-5 at the plate with a pair of RBI doubles, helping the Pirates defeat the Padres, 11-5. McCutchen’s cold start to the season looks far behind him now – the former MVP had recorded a subpar .188 batting average after 26 games along with 13 RBIs and just five extra-base hits. In 20 games since then, McCutchen is batting .384 with 16 RBIs and 14 extra-base hits; his 28 hits over that span are tied for the most in the National League.

Done DiRTy

Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry (30) moves the ball between Memphis Grizzlies guard Mike Conley (11) and Memphis Grizzlies forward Tony Allen (9) in the first half of Game 4 of a second-round NBA basketball Western Conference playoff series Monday, May 11, 2015, in Memphis, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

That was what we expected from Golden State – finally the Warriors played like a team that won 67 games and they did it by going inside-out, with a little extra-creativity on defense, earning back home court.  Whoever sounded the trumpets of Golden State’s demise prior to the game should be hung by his toe nails over a vat of hot oil.

Besides Steph Curry driving and moving the ball around – Steve Kerr chose not to double team Gasol and Z-Bo in the post or any other conventional ideas – he went mad scientist and had Andrew Bogut guard Tony Allen.

Centers usually don’t guard small forwards, outside of switching or broken plays – but Tony Allen is a career 27% 3-point shooter and has never averaged two assists per game.  SO what you had was Bogut letting Allen run around and choosing to guard him when he got to the paint.  Allen had 3 wide open looks from beyond the arc in the 1st qrtr, and missed all three.  After the third miss Allen left the game and only played 16 minutes, none in the 4th.  It was hilarious.

The brilliance was in the details – the Warriors got burned by Conley’s return in Game 2 and by Marc Gasol in Game 3 – they dared Tony Allen to be the man to beat them.  It allowed Harrison Barnes to handcuff Z-Bo since he didn’t have to guard Allen and Draymond could play straight up on Gasol with Bogut lurking around with no defensive responsibility – a triangle-defense if you will.

It was a terrific coaching move that likely will not work again, right?  Memphis has a counter punch to this strategy, right?  Make Tony Allen slash to the rim without the ball instead of wandering around aimlessly?  More pick and rolls with Conley?  It made for an amazing behind the scenes of game that got out of hand quickly and now we have a series that sees Memphis in a must win.


Hizzoner decried that the issue was not the act that caused the punishment, it was the QB and the team not fully cooperating with the investigation.  Creating the typical logical device that is found in bombastic media, manufacturing a bigger crime out of an infraction – taking a small misdemeanor and blowing it so far out of proportion that the obstacles placed in front of it’s investigation become the real violation – “because the relevant individuals never cooperated” so its now felony-jay-walking because you couldn’t access the perp’s gps on his phone to see if he actually crossed 6th and vine at 12:22pm – similar to the modus operandi of justice in late 17th century Salem – If we push you off the cliff and you fall to your death, instead of flying away, then you weren’t a witch.

The crime isn’t the manipulating of the footballs anymore – it’s about submission.  If you don’t do what the league says, follow protocol – then you must have something to hide.  This is how Sean Payton was given the boot for a year because “ignorance is not an excuse”.  The way Hizzoner sees it, you’re grandma can go to jail too because you chose to have a party in your hotel-room in Vegas and some furniture may have been peed on – but because you won’t let him look at the pictures on your phone – everybody is up the river.

The NFL and its rules are so vague and arbitrary now that anyone can be punished for anything at any time – or not at all.  Earlier this season, Minnesota and Carolina played a frosty game and were caught warming the footballs by a space heater – that’s a rules violation – no punishment.  Adrian Peterson performed ritualized child-abuse on a 4yr old – no punishment.  In 2012, the Chargers were caught using towels with stickum on the sidelines so players could grip the ball better – $25,000 fine.  We outlined more transgressions in our post DiRTy Minds, back on January 21st, – so owners, coaches, players and teams will always find ways to circumvent the rules and all of them as small or bigger than Ball-Ghazi.

Consider the conditions of the game itself, the proper psi should have been between 11.32 – 11.52 psi, the ball in question was 11.30.  We are talking .02 (psi) being the hangin’-judge-difference without actual proof that anything happened – but become a hindrance to whatever truth Hizzoner wants to hear, you may get a – $1m fine, loss of 2 draft picks one being a 1st first-round pick and a future HOF’er superbowl-golden-boy will also get 4 games – the same as someone violating the drug policy.

To the league, being obstinate and uncooperative is the same as smoking marijuana or steroids – not HGH because they test for it worse than UNC basketball players.  Goodell will continue to make pretty speeches on integrity and how the league will conduct itself, all while standing on his grandiose soap box arbitrarily doling out sentencing in whatever way he thinks will satisfy the vocal-majority.  Does anyone think integrity and then think of the NFL in the same sentence?  This current gambit could finally cost him his head.  Tom Brady, nor any employee needs to hand over his property because some pseudo-authoritarian within the company demands it – when that same dictator answers to the same boss(es) as Tom.  Robert Kraft demanded an apology before – we’ll see if he demands anything else.


dave blatt top gun

Dave Blatt, Mall Cop pt.2 – After trying to avoid appearing more inept than he is, said this:

A basketball coach makes 150-200 critical decisions during the course of a game, something that I think is paralleled only by a fighter pilot.

There is so many things wrong with this – beyond just stop talking altogether, just admit you messed up and we’ll all move on.  Maybe he eats to many Red Baron pizzas, because clearly Blatt has never seen Top Gun – if he had then maybe he’d understand what Maverick meant when he said:  You don’t have time to think up there.  If you think, youre dead.


UNLEASH THE KRAKOW

Sure it’s May, and yeah its from Poland, but a good punt return is still good enough while we wait – here’s hoping no one drowned from doing The Wave over there.  The Kick Returner is James Williams formerly from Olivet College if you were wondering why he looked so much faster than everyone else – ‘Murica!


Today in History

1903

Teddy Roosevelt’s visit to San Francisco caught on film

A parade in his honor, escorted by the 9th Calvary(all black regiment) became the first time, film had recorded an official activity by the President.  Roosevelt would later encourage more of his activities to be recorded in the medium, ending with his funeral being memorialized on camera in 1919 at Osyter Bay, New York.

Abstract DiRT

It’s beginning to look a lot like Kris-mas…

If you had April 17th in your office pool for “Kris Bryant Day”, congratulations you win!  Bryant, the 3B phenom that was the talk of pre-baseball, has officially cleared his service-time-out and will now join the team today, batting 4th.  Debate further if you like, about the merits of coronation v capitalism – but let’s move on and see if the hype matches the outrage.  The Cubs, of course have not said anything official and seemingly left it to Kris and that social-dynamo, twitter, when he tweeted: “I finally get to tell me family that my dream has finally come true.”  Good for you, oh and the Cubs conveniently needed a third-baseman, after Mel Olt got hit in the hand and found out that he’d be out 3 weeks, and La Strella should have never made the team – but that’s none of our business.  So now we wait and see how long it takes to actually witness MLB’s #2 overall-prospect – considering all he did in spring-training, plus he had just hit his 3rd HR in seven games in triple A last night.


Chicken from the, er..sky?

It could be a sign of the apocalypse!  The D-Bags and Giants game last night, was delayed because a wayward chicken tender, or finger (actual determination depends on regional taste) fell from the sky.  Thankfully no one was hurt, but several ball-players were seen kneeling to the great Chipotle, and trying to use the fallen tender to ward off any hexes on their gloves/bats from angry/jealous wives/girlfriends who might have put them there.  Serious stuff.  The game itself was delayed for about 20 seconds – but the conspiracy theories are already in full force that someone has created a machine that rains food.  Whether it was seagull that bit off more than he could chew or not, remains to be seen.  But people in San Francisco are eager to see if it will rain chicken fingers on “bring-your-own-condiment-night”!…Oh and the Giants lost again in 12 innings, 7-6.


From the folks at Reddit…Here is a chart to help you, the displaced NBA Fan with no dog in the fight, pick a bandwagon to jump on.  We know it can be hard for you, the DieHard Laker, Heat, Thunder fan, during these emotional times, so follow the chart and choose your next been-a-fan-forever-team!  Dust-off that lap-top, get familiar with their wiki-page and look for discount swag for you to wear – because the first game is tomorrow at 3:30 EST, and if you’re gonna pimp Golden State, you’re running out of time son.


HGH anyone?

Kevin Love – Athletic Yoga – actual DVD

The NBA will begin testing for HGH next year in an attempt to clean up the sport or it’s just a PR gesture, because clearly Kevin Love is not juicing.  The testing will be in three tests throughout the year, 2 during the season and one during the off-season.  No word yet if any player from UNC will show up – because they don’t show up for tests – HA!  With as much talk HGH or PED’s has gotten over the years, you’d be surprised if anyone is still using HGH at all in the NBA – most of them stopped dosing themselves after sophmore year in high school when they reached 6′ 9″, and already looked 30 – looking at you Greg Odom.  We shall see what comes of the first guy who tests positive – my money is, no one will care.  The only sport that anyone cares about drugs, is Baseball.  No other sport comes close.  Basketball has the gangsta-rap-black-image from scared old white-folks and the NFL has a serious criminal problem – doesn’t stop them from being the two most popular leagues right now.  But the suspension if caught is 20 games for the 1st offense, 45 for the 2nd and dismissal from the league on the third – good for you NBA.


Really?

Adrian Peterson feels wronged – he’s the victim!  From Jason Cole, here is the list of his demands…

The first is that he wants new guarantees added to his contract as some sort of apology from the team. As things stand right now, there are no more guarantees remaining in his current deal that will keep him under team control for another three years.

The second issue is that Peterson still doesn’t trust the Vikings’ front office. Peterson says he has no issues with the Vikings’ coaching staff, the football people, and ownership.

Again, Peterson brutalized a 4yr old – google the pictures – that’s not discipline, that’s abuse, and the NFL will do nothing, maybe dock him some upcoming-game checks.  Peterson got paid last year, rewarded and served no punishment and now feels entitled to make demands?!  No one owes you anything Adrian, you did this.  But, this is standard for the NFL, no one gets punished unless there is actual video and a coverup of whether or not the league actually saw it – that gets Ray Rice blackballed – but Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy, Ray McDonald all get jobs – thank goodness Aaron Hernandez actually had a trial that convicted him; because, if it were up to the NFL, he would have paid a fine and suited up the first Sunday – unless he smoked weed – then it’s at least a suspension of 3 games.  In this league it’s simple, don’t do drugs or hit the QB to hard, you’ll face a moratorium – beat, rape, abuse all the women and children you want – it’s just a speeding ticket.


Oh and this happened yesterday…

Monday Dregs

 

nba

Going into the weekend, we had the NBA trade deadline that usually ends up being a shell game of bad contracts and stiffs.  No one would blame you if you looked away to make some late-afternoon nachos and and come back to Sportscenter to yell “what the hell just happened?” Indeed.  What did happen? It seems that Dragic was the fuse to the whole powder keg and the rest of the league got covered in guts.  From there it was a mad dash to the grocery store in a blizzard for some teams, forgoing the essentials and heading straight for the items that make you glad you have sweatpants.

If you needed anymore proof of how valuable Lebron James is, look no further than the Heat trade.  Without Lebron, Miami has been struggling and needed to do something to make the bottom rung of the eastern conference playoff tree – Getting Dragic makes the Heat a better team but barely more than the 7th seed in the East, and he leaves to be a free-agent at the end of they year.  Meanwhile, the Cavs are playing the best ‘ball’ in the NBA right now and they’re currently 2 games out from the 2nd seed.  When last season they could only manage 33 total wins and missed the ‘offs.

So below, ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ breaks down what the orgiastic trading all meant:

Miami Heat

  • Goran and Zoran Dragic to the Heat
  • Danny Granger, Justin Hamilton and 2 1st round picks to the Suns
  • Shawne Williams to the Pelicans

Improves the team to keep the hope alive to make the playoffs, however without Bosh it became more difficult – This team is looking like the 76ers next year.

OKC

  • Enes Kanter, Steve Novak (Jazz) and Kyle Singler, D.J. Augustin (Pistons)
  • Reggie Jackson to Pistons
  • Kendrick Perkins, 1st round pick (Thunder), 2nd round pick (Pistons) to Jazz

So no one liked Reggie Jackson and he seems really excited to be away from Durant/Westbrook/Brooks etc, and Thunder fans can rejoice to no longer suffering thru Perkins’ issues at the end of close games.  Perkins is likely to be released by Utah and I bet he signs with Cleveland to add more beef.  For OKC, meh.

Suns/Sixers/Bucks/Celtics

  • Brandon Knight (Bucks) and Marcus Thornton (Celtics<LSU>) to the Suns
  • Michael Carter-Williams (Sixers), Miles Plumlee, and Tyler Ennis (Suns) to the Bucks
  • Lakers’ top 5 protected 1st round pick to the Sixers
  • Isaiah Thomas to the Celtics
  • Isaiah Canaan, 2nd round draft pick to the Sixers

The Suns go from Thomas, Dragic and Bledsoe, to; Bledsoe, Knight and Salmons – not sure I understand it and too make things worse, they gave up their Lakers’ top 5 pick…Isaiah Thomas signed a long term contract to play with Phoenix and now has to wake up and play in Boston, just to be told where he can ‘pahk his cah’.

There is more stuff that happened, but does anyone really care at this point about where Norris Cole went and why?  Currently, the Sixers seem inclined to build a team with 5 centers, 0 point guards and a dumptruck of draft picks, (each season, like another Transformers movie).  As for the Nuggets, it seems their plan is to build a roster of clones of the same guy – all to dump salary, and get trade exceptions that they will never use.  Why did they keep Ty Lawson anyway?  Ty doesn’t seem to fit their new basketball blueprint.  Let’s also not forget KG the Angry Ent, gets to go back to Minnesota for a guy the T’Wolves traded players and a 1st round pick to get last year, Thaddeus Young.


 

Speaking of Minnesota…word is they have an angry professional athlete that feels disrespected by the fans in the Great White North and wants to be traded.  This is the same guy who lost another son to child abuse and the same guy who whooped a child of his so bad that he had lacerations on his testicles.  He wants you to acknowledge his greatness – acknowledge, he says, what he has done for the local NFL team.  How dare he be treated in this manner, and he deserves to be allowed to go play for Dallas.  A team that he had already tampered with before the season – before he beat his son – after he was indicted for child abuse – after he was allowed to make millions of dollars anyway – and now his adolescent feelings are hurt because he has not been blessed with the proper amount of love and respect – Maybe he should try that shoe on for his son, see how it fits.


 

Speaking of Dallas…Rumors swirl about a video that portrays Dez Bryant doing something bad.  No one knows what it is, nor has anyone seen it.  The Cowboys could have set this matchbook on fire themselves because they are tired of babysitting him – but then why offer him an extension if it so bad?  I’m sure that the NFL has already and promptly reviewed the video as they would never repeat the same mistakes again and again and again and again (we get it).  As for Bryant, it could be someone he pulled away from the money-teat that is now blackmailing him.  From Dez’s explanation you cannot tell if there is a video – not a video – ashamed of it – not ashamed of it – ordering a pizza  – it’s incoherent and being that it is 2015, the video will surface and it will be another blessing for Hizzoner.

pic.twitter.com/QDQJuzKAR7

— Dez Bryant (@DezBryant) February 20, 2015

listen to Mike Florio yammer about it here:


When the Karmic wheel of justice spins on your previous life of envious whining and gutter-slutting – you become reborn a Red Sox fan.  Still not content.  Still constantly worried about what the Jones’ are doing.  Still whining.  You wanted Kung Fu Panda, you need Kung Fu Panda and all you can do is throw your hands up in disgust at his weight – the same weight he has won more rings than you this millennium.  His nickname is appropriate because of his nimble-cat-like-kung-fu-ability at the hot corner and is a better hitter than your one-time, wound up, over-rated-walk-artist Youkilis – #MoreTalent.  You love Ortiz and he has rarely been able to play the only position at 1st – ever – BECAUSE of his weight (or PED’s).  You loved Manny who was fat and LAZY (and used PED’s – theme?).

Pablo Sandoval can hit any pitch – likes to hit any pitch – can hit the high fastball – is a switch hitter – and more importantly, won’t bitch about the shift like Ortiz, because he can hit to the opposite field.  So relax you insufferable, miserable “expletives”; the faux-season has yet to start before the real season does. Panda is a man that plays the pinnacle of his profession at a switch hitting 270lbs – who would begrudge a brute an indulgence or two?  The War is over, you have defeated your enemy and in turn become what you most reviled – the Yankees.  Need proof?  Word is you just signed Yoan Moncada and gave the 19yr old, 2nd baseman a $31.5m bonus.  Pedroia plays 2nd!


Kersey – 11,825 pts – 6,339 reb – 1,439 steals – played from ’84 to ’01

Say what you will about Chris Bosh – you might say you remembered him as an All-Star before Lebron.  You might say he was the third-wheel and forgotten man on the Heat after ‘the decision’.  But now what do you say when a 30yr old basketball player, who now has blood clots in his lungs and will not play the rest of the season?  Remember Jerome Kersey? He died this week at 52, during routine knee surgery – a blood clot traveled from his calf to his lungs and stopped his breathing.  Bosh is the second player to miss the rest of the season after Nets F Mirza Teletovic also was found to have blood clots in his lungs.  Both are expected to recover, but…

The probability of 2 players out of 450 having the same health issues either signals a trend or a lingering coincidence.  Do road-trips to Dallas and then Portland on successive nights contribute to the cause or do we chalk it up to February’s cruelty?  Beyond sports as a metaphor for life – when the world appears in chaos and nature herself feels assaulted, the rhythm of the seasons keep us in tune.  Autumn gives us the premonition of Winter’s icy grip, forced to relent the coming of longer days, with the renewal of a perpetual Spring.


So, ‘The Man in the Iron Mask’ – is going to give us the ‘Must-Haves‘, the ‘Sleepers‘ and those that might find themselves on the trainers table for your FanDuel NBA delights each night.  We will post these for you everyday by 1p MST – so check back in the afternoon.  On Friday’s DiRT, his insight tripled our investment.  Here are today’s plays:

Must Haves:

 

  1. (PG) Chris Paul – No Blake and with #HackADeAndre means CP3 has to step up and win games for this team.  He averages 40 points per game on Fan Duel and is playing a Memphis team who is giving up 41.8 to the PG position over the last 5 games.  Look for a 40 spot or more from him tonight.
  2. (SG) DeMar DeRozan – He averages 29.2 Fan Duel points per game and their opponent tonight, New Orleans is without Anthony Davis and is #3 in giving up 39.7 Fan Duel points per game to the SG position.
  3. (SF) James Johnson – Since being inserted into the starting lineup for the Raptors he is averaging 15 points, 4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 1.8 blocks.  He had a breakout game over the weekend finishing with 47 Fan Duel points in their last contest and he is a bargain at $4,500.  Normally a sleeper, tonight he is a must have playing against the Davis-less Pelicans.
  4. (PF) Zach Randolph – Mr. Consistency for the Grizz and playing against the Clips without Blake and giving up 45.9 Fan Duel points per game over their last 5.  Look for Zebo to have a solid 20 and 10 performance late tonight, giving you the comeback win.
  5. (C) Rudy Gobert – Let’s be honest, unless you are willing to play DeAndre Jordan there aren’t many options for tonight.  Gobert is cheap, coming in at $5,700 and now has the starting lineup to himself with Kanter being traded to OKC.  DiRT Canon Analyzer shows Gobert with 19 points, 14 rebounds and 3 blocks tonight for a 41.8 Fan Duel night.
Sleepers
  1. (PG) Deron Williams – Face it until Jack is back for the Nets and as long as they keep playing the bottom feeders of the league, he will be a consistent 30 spot on your Fan Duel lineup.  He might even go for 50 like he did last Friday, #CalledIt.  The Nuggets are pathetic and giving up the 2nd most Fan Duel points to the PG position, look for a solid night value at $5,700.
  2. (SG) Kevin Martin – He is creeping up into the must have list on a nightly basis and really for today if you don’t play DeRozan and Martin together it’s because you have Harden.
  3. (SF) Jeff Green – Playing against the Clippers, who are giving up a league leading 43.5 Fan Duel points per game to the SF position over the last 5.  He is a solid 25 spot nightly with a great match-up tonight.  Spend the $4,900 on him, so you can get some other marque players.
  4. (PF) Josh Smith – He is averaging 28.4 Fan Duel Points per game since coming over to Houston.  Howard is still out and the T-Wolves are giving up the 4th most Fan Duel points to the PF position.  A slightly higher spend of $6,300 for the sleeper category, but a solid selection.
  5. (C) – It’s a crap shoot out there tonight, Brook Lopez might show up against the terrible Nuggets; however, it might be Mason Plumlee, or the recently added Thaddeus Young who now holds down the paint for the Nets.  Jordan or Gobert will be the solids tonight so spend wisely.
Notable Injuries or Training Table guys
  1. Anthony Davis will be sidelined for 1 – 2 weeks, look for the “big’s” going against New Orleans to have big nights over the next couple of weeks.
  2. Kevin Durant, another foot surgery, who knows when he will be back.  Play Westbrook every night until he gets back and compliment him with Serge and Kanter and your Fan Duel lineup begins at 110pts.
  3. Michael Carter Williams is still out with a toe injury so look for Bayless to continue is strong play.

“Among the men who fought on Iwo Jima, uncommon valor was a common virtue.”
– Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz, US Navy

70yrs ago today this iconic symbol was taken as an affront to tyranny and oppression – May we always remember our heritage of a nation that responds when called.

  • You cannot invade the mainland United States. There would be a rifle behind each blade of grass.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto
  • I fear all we have done is awaken a sleeping giant and fill him with a terrible resolve.
Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, upon learning of the success of the attack on Pearl Harbor