5 Things To Know: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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1. That’s How You Lose?

From almost disaster to celebration for the Broncos last night.  That kick though, by Mcmanus at the end of regulation – Cripes!  It almost cost them, but hey at least Denver figured out how to play in the 2nd half – problem is, it seems they haven’t played a full game since the Packers.

For me, the issue becomes less about Osweiler or Manning – it’s Denver’s line play.  The playoffs are a different animal and the inability to protect the QB, or run the ball consistently, or consistently generate a pass rush could lead the Broncos chances in the playoffs as a little more than Fool’s Gold.

Yes we have seen flashes of the line holding up, running the ball and sacks.  But look back at the playoff game against the Colts last year in Denver.  Ware and Miller never touched Luck and if you’re gonna play that much man-to-man coverage you need pressure on the other-team’s QB, if you can’t run the ball.  This team has something going for it, it’ll just depend if they can put it all together long enough to make it to Superbowl L.  It could be worse, you could be the Bengals and just keep watching guys go down like the Edmund Fitzgerald – if McCarron is hurt they’ll have to start what’s-his-name – here are some more thoughts about the game, with help from Elias Sports Bureau.

Broncos are the comeback kings of 2015

The Bengals led 14-0 late in the second quarter, but the Broncos came back to win 20-17 in overtime. It was Denver’s third win this season in a game in which it trailed by at least 14 points. No other team has won more than one such game in 2015.

Cincinnati had won its previous 29 contests in which it led by at least eight points since losing to Chicago in the first week of the 2013 season. That had been the longest active streak in the NFL.

+ Another long go-ahead TD run by Anderson

C.J. Anderson’s 39-yard touchdown run gave the Broncos a fourth-quarter lead in their overtime win over the Bengals. There have been three go-ahead rushing touchdowns of 30-plus yards in the fourth quarter or overtime this season, and Anderson has been responsible for two of them; he scampered 48 yards for the winning score in overtime against the Patriots in Week 12. The other run of that type in 2015 belongs to Marcus Mariota, who ran 87 yards against the Jaguars in Week 13.

Dunlap sets Bengals sack record

Carlos Dunlap sacked Brock Osweiler three times Monday, bringing his career total of quarterback takedowns to 49. Dunlap, who has spent his entire career with the Bengals, passed Eddie Edwards (47½) for the most sacks in team history (the NFL has recorded this statistic for individual players since 1982). Cincinnati is the only current franchise for which no player has produced 50 sacks.

2. FanDuel – 2×4’s and Milk

Source: NFL Week 16 Retrospectacle: Making Sense of Topsy Turvy Fantasy Action

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Arizona Cardinals Defense (33.0)—Nine sacks, four turnovers and two touchdowns in a rout of Rodgers, of all quarterbacks. You cannot love this play on FanDuel against the Seattle Seahawks next Sunday, but wouldn’t most have thought the same thing against Rodgers?

QB Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (31.22)—He still turns the ball over way too much for the Jags to be an elite contender or to be immune to the matchups, but you have to love the way he came through in the dream matchup against the New Orleans Saints defense. Bortles posted his sixth 300-yard game and his fifth game of three-plus touchdowns. We cannot recommend him against the Houston Texans defense in Week 17, but he is going to be a top-eight fantasy starter for 2016.

RB Tim Hightower, New Orleans Saints (30.4)—A long-time fantasy goner making countless fantasy owners champions, posting 169 combined yards with three receptions and two touchdowns. Who’da thunk this one? He’s even more surprising from August to December than Bortles. Hightower looks like a solid FanDuel play against the Atlanta Falcons run defense that has given up a league-high 19 rushing touchdowns.

RB DeAngelo Williams, Pittsburgh Steelers (30.3)—In an offense that is counted on for huge fantasy passing numbers, the ageless Williams continues to deliver for FanDuel owners even in losses and tough statistical matchups. The Baltimore Ravens had only given up five rushing touchdowns to fantasy backs before Williams posted two, 153 combined yards and six receptions Sunday. The Steelers need a victory and help, so D-Will will be a huge FanDuel play in NFL Week 17 against the Cleveland Browns, the NFL’s worst run defense.

WR Julio Jones, Atlanta Falcons (28.3)—The mark of a true fantasy star—one worth his salt on the FanDuel price list and a first-round candidate in season-long formats—is being immune to the matchups. Mark Jones down in the category after he torched Josh Norman’s Carolina Panthers for 9-178-1. He is 243 yards from breaking Calvin Johnson’s single-season receiving yards record. Chalk that up as a distinct possibility with that Saints defense on tap.

QB Drew Brees, New Orleans Saints (28.18)—He went from game-time decision to game-time fantasy monster. We don’t love him against the Falcons secondary next week, but clearly he is not done being an impact fantasy player, passing for 412 yards and three touchdowns in a shootout victory over Bortles’ Jags. You have to love great fantasy quarterbacks with bad defenses in favorable matchups.

WR Brandon Marshall, New York Jets (27.5)—Usually a move to the Jets turns fantasy wideouts into wastes. It has given Marshall the best season of his career with a career-high 13 touchdowns. His 8-115-2 from Sunday should have a solid encore next week against the Buffalo Bills.

WR Allen Hurns, Jacksonville Jaguars (26.6)—He turned out to be an outstanding pivot play in that Jags stack with Bortles and WR Allen Robinson, as we wrote Sunday morning the NFL Week 16 Tipsheet. Hurns’ 8-106-2 put him over the fantasy receiver holy grail of 60-1,000-10.

WR Allen Robinson, Jacksonville Jaguars (24.1)—Many were all over the Robinson breakout this season, but no one could have imagined this. He went 6-151-1 and moved into the elite with his 75-1,292-14 season totals. The Jags have an exciting set of Year 3 fantasy picks for 2016.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (23.14)—The Jets QB-WR stack has made FanDuel players a lot of prize money this season, something that won’t be forgotten in a must-win game against the New England Patriots. Fitzpatrick posted 296-3 and has averaged just a cut below that the past five games. Marshall and WR Eric Decker have helped Fitz to a career year, and a clear-cut starting role for 2016.

K Blair Walsh, Minnesota Vikings (23.0)—We have always loved a fantasy kicker backed by a great running game to get the ball into scoring position and a quarterback who struggles to stick the ball into the end zone. The Vikings with RB Adrian Peterson and QB Teddy Bridgewater are precisely that.

Houston Texas Defense (22.0)—This unit is rolling and is just a home victory over the Jags away from the AFC South title, something few could have expected this summer. Like the Cards above, it is not the most favorable of final matchups for the Texans, but they are the hot hands on FanDuel.

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QB Ben Roethlisberger, Pittsburgh Steelers (5.8)—Just 215 yards, two interceptions and no passing touchdowns is not what we’re used to seeing from Big Ben. This was a Baltimore Ravens defense that came into the game with a league-worst four interceptions all season and just one since Week 3. D’oh!

WR Martavis Bryant, Pittsburgh Steelers (1.5)—His appearance here goes down as a first in his Year 2 breakthrough. He hadn’t had a week this bad: Just one catch for six yards. The good news is we should jump back on the Big Ben stack against the Browns in Week 17.

WR Randall Cobb, Green Bay Packers (3.2)WR Jordy Nelson’s (knee) loss for the season was supposed to be a catalyst for Cobb’s best season of his career. Instead of bringing him fantasy production, it brought him extra attention and frequently to our bums list. You cannot play him against the Minnesota Vikings this Sunday.

TE Richard Rodgers, Green Packers (0.7)—Did he make a deal with the devil before that Week 13 Hail Mary touchdown? In the three games since, he has caught just three passes for 12 yards. Thwadt!

TE Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints (1.0)—Now, this one just isn’t fair. We get the matchup right against the Jags because Brees goes off for 400-plus yards and three touchdowns; yet, Watson manages just one catch for five yards. That’s not just elementary, Watson. You simply stunk.

K Jason Myers, Jacksonville Jaguars (1.0)—His team scores 27 points in a shootout and all he can muster is one measly PAT. Fantasy football fate is just so unforgiving.

CoachingHotSeat3. TRYING TO PREDICT ‘BLACK MONDAY’:

In one week, the complexion of numerous NFL coaching staffs will change following the annual round of “Black Monday” firings. Besides affecting the lives of the coaches and their families, these decisions dramatically alter the NFL landscape, setting up some teams for future success while crippling others.

However, just as important as the firings are the teams that instead choose to retain their current coach. For one reason or another, some good coaches struggle to obtain success early. In those instances, patience from the front office and ownership can lead to reward later on. The past decade certainly would have played out much differently had the Giants parted ways with Tom Coughlin before 2007 or 2011, as they reportedly considered.

Let’s take a look at the current landscape via Magic 8 Ball-like predictions……(continue reading)

Source: A look at which NFL coaches will be fired next week.

DesmondCespedes4. MLB HOT STOVE UPDATE: BUYER BEWARE

For those among us who yearn for baseball season and all the happiness that comes with it, good news: We are closer to the first day of pitchers and catchers reporting (54 days until Feb. 19) than we are the last day of the World Series (56 days since the Royals beat the Mets).

The not-so-good news for a bunch of players out there is that they are about to start a new year without new jobs. That’s normal, of course, with free agency’s biggest names (the David Prices and Zack Greinkes and Ben Zobrists of the world) highlighting November and December and the next tier (the Justin Uptons and Alex Gordons) seeing action any day now.

So with a couple of dozen quality, established big league free agents still to be had, a reminder: They come with tremendous risk, and some more than others. Here’s a bit of a closer look at a handful of those seemingly brand-name free agents and why they might not be as attractive as one might assume, in the hopes of explaining why the market isn’t moving very fast.

Source: Some MLB free agents are riskier than others.

5. Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 16

All we want to do is provide you valuable information at a great price.  We’ve already helped hundreds of people learn how to make some extra lettuce playing fantasy sports; so let us Teach You How to #win!

Giving you the Perfect Lineup is easy and we tweet it, post it on Facebook and create an entire post about our RESULTS, so……What about if you had the greatest value lineup of all time?  A Lineup that every player chosen had low ownership, way less, and never cost you more than $6k – well my friends this is the Ultimate Value Lineup – culled directly from the numbers and our reports – look for us on twitter when we post the less than 12% lineup and follow along with the value-madness!!!

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Coached Up

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Trying to figure out or rank the NFL’s coaches is a difficult task because so many X-factors exist in the determination of success and failure. Sometimes an average coach is in the right environment and he thrives and sometimes a good coach is in a toxic environment that even the best couldn’t dig their way out of. One thing is for sure, though, the better your head coach the higher the chance you’ll have at winning. Below is a smattering in no particular order:

Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

Belichick is on a legen…(wait for it)…dary path and while discussing 32 coaches is difficult, agreeing on who is #1 is not. Belichick has been AP Coach of the Year three times, won four Super Bowls, and been to the playoffs 12 out of 15 seasons.

Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs

Reid’s run in Philadelphia was a very good one but more impressive perhaps is how quickly he turned the Chiefs into a playoff team. Anytime you can do that in multiple environments, you’ve shown your abilities. Injuries bit the Chiefs last year, as well as the allergic reaction his WR’s had to the endzone, lead an expectation that Reid will lead his team to a rebound year.

Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints

Last year’s meltdown was hard and it would be quick to condemn both Payton and the Saints based on one bad season. The Saints rebounded from their post Bountygate season to make the playoffs and in 2009 they rebounded from 7-9 to win a Super Bowl. Payton is likely the best offensive mind in the game. His offense has been in the top five every year except for one since he coached the Saints and they were #1 in the NFL last season. He’s been AP coach of the year and led his team to the playoffs five times in eight seasons.

John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens

Any coach that survives the retirement of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed to maintains this level of success, deserves credit. He’s been to the playoffs 6 times since 2008 and he has won a Super Bowl.

Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers

The Steelers looked like they might be falling apart, before we saw a big resurgence from Ben Roethlisberger last year in part thanks to the explosion of Antonio Brown and Le’Veon Bell. Make no mistake, Tomlin plays a huge part in keeping this team competitive despite the big drop off defensive talent and the hole now left by Lebeau . He’s been to the playoffs 5 times with a Super Bowl title since 2007.

Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks

His player friendly style has worked wonders both at USC and in Seattle. While anyone could win with the talent he’s assembled he deserves a lot of credit for cultivating and maximizing those players. His run the last two years with two Super Bowl trips and one title has been dominant.  Maybe next time he’ll run the ball.

Chuck Pagano, Indianapolis Colts

He brings a certain level of toughness, and the Colts seem to be on the verge of really big things.  But it seems we have seen this movie before with the previous QB era.  Jury is still out until we see more besides just Andrew Luck.

Jeff Fisher, St. Louis Rams

Fisher is a fantastic coach that knows how to assemble a roster and get the most out of his players. His Achilles heel in St. Louis remains his inability to get consistent healthy quarterback play. Maybe Nick Foles can bring consistency and change that; and if he can the Rams are a team to take very seriously.

John Fox, Chicago Bears

Fox has had successful stops in Carolina and Denver. The Bears are elated to have someone of his quality and he should be able to turn things around quickly, but the ceiling is always low.

Tom Coughlin, New York Giants

His improbable two Super Bowl title runs have kept him in New York much longer than anyone expected. He knows how to get his squad up for the most important games, that’s for sure.  Remember, his Jaguars still have more playoff victories than the Cowboys in the last 20yrs.

Bruce Arians, Arizona Cardinals

The Cardinals were a Super Bowl contender before the injury of Carson Palmer. Arians has done a fantastic job there after being a very successful assistant coach for a long time. He deserves that job based on how he filled in for Pagano in Indianapolis.

Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers

One could argue McCarthy has underachieved a little bit considering his quarterback is Aaron Rodgers. He’s still an excellent offensive mind, though, and there’s no question his 94-49-1 record speaks for itself.

Jim Caldwell, Detroit Lions

He’s a disciplinarian that runs a tight ship and has Super Bowl experience with the Colts. His first season in Detroit was promising.

Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals

He catches some heat and he’s been fortunate to hang on to his job as long as he has but he is a premiere defensive coach. Unfortunately he’s never had enough talent, under center, to really take this team to the next level, but he’s still an above average coach.

Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers

The Panthers defense has been dominant the last couple of years and Rivera has greatly benefited from a weak division. He’s been a gutsy coach that seems to have a great feel for the game.

Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans

His turnarounds of both the Texans and Penn State are nothing short of remarkable. But can he compete at the top?

Mike McCoy, San Diego Chargers

The Charges have been ok under McCoy, but he’s been a bit of a disappointment and hasn’t really shown that he’s an upgrade over Norv Turner.

Rex Ryan, Buffalo Bills

Ryan is a good coach who had success in New York for a while despite poor quaterback play, but can he turn around a team in Buffalo with the same exact problems?

Jack Del Rio, Oakland Raiders

Will he be able to succeed where it seems like everyone else fails? He’s got a good history as a defensive guy, but for this team to win Derek Carr will need to develop and Del Rio will need to stay out of the way.

Gary Kubiak, Denver Broncos

This is a good fit for a prolific offense. His stint in Houston was mediocre at best but he’ll be working with more talent.  It is now or never to show what he is capable of.

Chip Kelly, Philadelphia Eagles

The jury is still out on Kelly but he certainly seems to have blown up his roster. And as explosive and exciting as his style has been at times, the team still hasn’t won a playoff game in two seasons with him. A lot of talk without results. It’s hard to see the Eagles being better this year unless Sam Bradford can stay healthy and productive.

Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons

Quinn seems as solid as it comes in terms of coaching defense. The Falcons will need it as they were 32nd overall last season. We’ll see how he does as a head coach, though, there are a lot of unknowns.  Lucky for him he has Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to help him figure it out.

Mike Pettine, Cleveland Browns

A solid effort to get the Browns to 7-9 last year but with Hoyer gone it could be worse this year.

Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys

Garrett has underachieved and like Romo he cannot get it done in the postseason.

Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings

He did an admirable job last season considering the Adrian Peterson situation. It remains to be seen if he’s the right man for that job, though.  Having Norv Turner is going to help.

Todd Bowles, New York Jets

He’s had a couple good years with elite talent as a defensive coordinator in Arizona. A lot of unknowns exist on how he’ll do as a head coach in a new environment.  Alot hinges on the growth of Geno Smith.

Lovie Smith, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

His credibility took a big shot as the Bucs regressed last year. The future of his head coaching career now rests on the arm and head of Jameis Winston. I’d be nervous.

Joe Philbin, Miami Dolphins

He’s 23-25 since 2012 with no trips to the playoffs. He’s a mediocre coach for an average football team.

Ken Whisenhunt, Tennessee Titans

Last season was a disaster in Tennessee. He’ll be looking for a new job soon if results don’t improve.

Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins

Not only was Gruden’s team a disaster on the field last season, there were issues off the field surrounding the management of RGIII. I’m not sure any coach could succeed in this environment, many have tried.

Jim Tomsula, San Francisco 49ers

Really have to question his qualifications here and based on the offseason he’s really set up to fail.

Gus Bradley, Jacksonville Jaguars

7-25 since 2013 speaks for itself, unfortunately, but there is talent and they play harder than most teams.