5 Things To Know: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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1. TIME TO REBUILD THE SAINTS:

Despite a last-minute surge, the New Orleans Saints dropped their ninth game of the season to the Detroit Lions by a score of 35-27 Monday night. It’s the second straight losing season and will be the third year out of the last four in which they have missed the playoffs.

In truth, the rebuild began last offseason with the trade of tight end Jimmy Graham to the Seattle Seahawks for, among other assets, center Max Unger. Then, in November, the team fired underperforming defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, though that didn’t seem to change the fortune of the defense.

Now the Saints face an offseason that will bring difficult decisions. Do they stick with head coach Sean Payton who, despite the recent struggles, has an 85-57 overall record as head coach? A message can get stale after a time, and Payton has been around for nine years (not counting the season he was suspended for Bountygate).

There has been talk of both firing Payton and trading Drew Brees. While the QB has struggled at times the last two seasons, Brees continues to perform well and put together some impressive records, including one set Monday night.

Source: After two straight losing seasons, Saints should rebuild.

Lions roar in the red zone

The Lions scored a touchdown on five of their six red-zone drives in their 35-27 triumph over the Saints on Monday night. Dating back to its Thanksgiving matchup with the Eagles, Detroit reached the end zone 15 times in a span of 16 drives inside its opponents’ 20-yard line (through the first five red-zone trips on Monday night). Over the last seven seasons (since 2009), only three other teams had such a span within one season: the 2013 Broncos, 2013 Bengals, and 2014 Broncos. Each had a conversion rate of 15-for-16.

The Lions rank first in the NFL in red-zone offense this season, having scored a touchdown on 71.4 percent (30-of-42) of drives inside their opponents’ 20-yard line. Over the last 20 seasons (since 1996), they have finished in the top two in that category twice (1996 and 2010, ranking second each time).

+ Stafford stars in Lions’ win

Matthew Stafford completed 12 of 13 passes, including three that went for touchdowns, in the first half of the Lions’ victory. Only four other active quarterbacks threw at least three touchdown passes with one-or-fewer incompletions in the opening half of a game: Aaron Rodgers in October 2010, Tony Romo in November 2011 and December 2014, Matt Ryan in December 2012, and Ryan Tannehill in October this season.

Stafford finished the night completing 88 percent of his passes (22-for-25), the highest rate for any quarterback this season and the second-highest rate in a Monday Night Football game (minimum 20 pass attempts). The Raiders’ Rich Gannon went 34-for-38 (89%) in a Monday night rout of the Broncos in November 2002 (Gannon won the NFL Most Valuable Player award that season). And in third place on that Monday Night Football list? Eli Manning (27-for-31, 87%) last Monday night.

+ Tate stays golden’

Golden Tate caught a pair of touchdown passes (one in the first quarter and another in the second) in the Lions’ win on Monday, after totaling two TD receptions in last week’s matchup with the Rams. Tate is the fourth player with multiple touchdown receptions in each of two straight games this season, joining Doug Baldwin (four straight games, Weeks 12 to 15), Ted Ginn (three, Weeks 13 to 15), and Larry Fitzgerald (two, Weeks 2 and 3). The only other Lions player to do so over the last 10 years is Calvin Johnson, who had two such streaks – a four-game run in September/October 2011 and a two-game streak in November 2013.

2. Not Derrick Henry

Source: Heisman runner-up Christian McCaffrey of Stanford Cardinal is AP top player

Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey is The Associated Press college football player of the year, becoming the first non-Heisman Trophy winner to earn the honor in six years.

McCaffrey was the runner-up for the Heisman Trophy to Derrick Henry, but received 29 of 60 votes from the AP Top 25 media panel to edge the Alabama running back.

Henry received 16 votes and Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson was third with 11. Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds and Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield each received two votes.


3. You’re the Worst:

The Saints defense isn’t in need of a single statistic to sum up its historically awful season — there’s more than a few readily available. Neither does Brandon Browner, the team’s starting cornerback and captain, who has been at the center of the Saints struggles both on the field and off the field.

But on Monday night, as Matthew Stafford burned the Saints defense for three touchdowns, Browner made NFL history — the kind of history that perfectly represents his first season in New Orleans. On Monday night, Browner broke the NFL’s single-season penalty record.

Source: Brandon Browner sets new low: Most penalized player in an NFL season

4. The Lake-Show

Today in Sports History

On December 22, 1971, the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) defeat the Baltimore Bullets 127-120 in Baltimore for their 27th straight victory, breaking the previous record for the longest winning streak in professional sports. They had previously been tied with baseball’s 1011-lakers-favorite-526New York Giants, who won 26 games during the 1916 season.

Coached by Bill Sharman and led by future Hall of Famers Wilt Chamberlain, Jerry West and Gail Goodrich, the 1971-72 Lakers began their historic run of victories on November 5, 1971 (also over the Bullets). They set a new NBA record with their 21st win on December 11, beating the Atlanta Hawks 104-95 and surpassing the 20-game winning streak of the Milwaukee Bucks the previous year. As Chamberlain told the press on December 22, “We did our celebrating when we won No. 21. That was the big one.”

Source: L.A. Lakers break pro sports winning streak record – Dec 22, 1971

5. Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 13

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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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

5 Things To Know: Tuesday Morning Quarterback

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1. C’Mon Man!:

Is this Odell’s best catch of the year or was it last week against Washington?  Odell had 2 TD’s and 166 yards and the Giants beat the ‘Fins to continue a 3-way atop the NFC (L)east.  If you’re a Patriots fan you hope kryptonite doesn’t make the playoffs – furthermore, if that happens and Eli wins it all – we’ll have to hear about a new category of quarterback – Worst Elite QB of all time.  Seriously, Eli is like a box o’chocolates.

Too much Manning and Beckham for Dolphins

Eli Manning completed 87 percent of his passes on Monday (27 of 31), including an 84-yard, go-ahead touchdown to Odell Beckham in the Giants win in Miami. That’s the highest completion percentage in a regular-season game by a Giants player who threw at least 20 passes, although all Giants fans of a certain age remember Phil Simms completing 88 percent (22 of 25) in the Giants win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI.

Manning and Beckham have now connected on three touchdown passes that covered 80 or more yards, the highest total for any duo in Giants history.

2. FanDuel – 2×4’s and Milk

Source: NFL Week 14 Retrospectacle: Another Window of Opportunity Closes

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QB Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks (32.28 FanDuel points)—His increased production since Marshawn Lynch (hernia) went down probably shouldn’t be considered a coincidence. The Seahawks have opened it up and Wilson has responded. His matchup at home vs. the Cleveland Browns in Week 15 looks like a dream, too.

WR Doug Baldwin, Seattle Seahawks (29.2)—As much as Wilson has gone off post-Lynch, Baldwin has been bonkers post-Jimmy Graham (knee). The Wilson ($8,800)-Baldwin ($7,400) is still relatively cap-friendly, too.

RB Isaiah Crowell, Cleveland Browns (27.9)—The true takeaway from this performance for one-week fantasy players is not the value of Crowell ($5,700) in a tough road matchup next week at Seattle. That’s minimal. Stacking plays against the lowly San Francisco 49ers is the real lesson here. Hello, Bengals’ Hill ($6,000) and Bernard ($5,600), especially with Dalton (thumb) out.

RB Todd Gurley, St. Louis Rams (27.2)—Forget all that rookie wall talk, eh? The breakout running back of the season was a monster in just 16 rushes and one reception against the Detroit Lions. He should be plenty capable for 20-plus touch effort, carrying the Rams against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Thursday night.

QB Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars (25.7)—Most of his Year 2 credit has gone to his receiving corps, but this performance was eye-opening because Allen Robinson ($8,100)managed just one reception for four yards and Bortles still enjoyed a huge day. That matchup at home against the struggling Atlanta Falcons at $7,900 sure looks inviting, particularly with all of his receivers healthy right now.

WR Ted Ginn Jr., Carolina Panthers (25.5)—As consistently excellent the Panthers andCam Newton ($9,400) are, the receivers have been tough to figure. Ginn ($6,600) has five touchdown receptions in three games though, and has a matchup looming against the worst pass defense in football coming off a short week, the New York Giants.

WR Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks (25.4)—The rookie has reeled in 13 passes for 194 yards and two touchdowns in his past two games. His $6,000 price, involvement in the offense of late and the re-emergence of Wilson make Lockett an intriguing value play.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets (24.82)—If you love the run and price of Bortles, but don’t like following the sheep, perhaps Fitzy is your alternative for Week 15 at $7,800. Him and his two physical receivers Brandon Marshall ($8,500) and Eric Decker ($7,500)are on a roll.

RB James Starks, Green Bay Packers (24.3)—The Packers have shown a commitment to the run, which is not surprising this time of year. Starks ($5,800) will remain involved as the receiving back at the Oakland Raiders next week, too.

WR Golden Tate, Detroit Lions (24.0)—If this performance intrigues you, you will want to load up on Tate ($6,900) and Calvin Johnson ($8,000) for Monday night magic at the New Orleans Saints and their woeful secondary.

QB Cam Newton, Carolina Panthers (23.0)—He deserves the NFL and fantasy MVP awards this season. He turns water into wine every week with his modest supporting cast. Next week against that Giants secondary might send him over 40 FanDuel points.

QB Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans (22.86)—It should be noted he scored up with the NFL Week 14 leaders despite failing to throw a touchdown pass. The run has been an increasingly important part of his game in recent weeks and should keep him productive at $7,300 next Sunday at the New England Patriots—even in a blowout.

TE Jordan Reed, Washington Redskins (22.5)—He was coming off one of his worst performances this season, but this effort proves his importance to the Redskins’ attack. Reed ($6,300) should be a red-zone threat against the Buffalo Bills next Sunday, too.

Carolina Panthers Defense (23.0)—The Panthers rebounded from a disappointing effort against the Saints to enjoy their best performance of the season. A matchup against Eli Manning and the error-prone Giants is next, too.

Jacksonville Jaguars Defense (23.0)—They have been difficult to trust, but three of the past four games at home have been very kind to this unit in terms of fantasy production. The struggling Falcons come to town in Week 15, which makes the Jags an interesting play at a mere $4,400.

K Chris Boswell, Pittsburgh Steelers (18.0)—As much as you have to love the productivity of the Steelers offense and their kicker, a matchup against the Denver Broncos’ defense looms. Boswell looks like a bad buy at $5,000 for that one.

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QB Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers (13.68)—This wasn’t a complete dud, but the expectations against the Saints defense were sky high. Winston goes down as a FanDuel bum for his failing to torch the Saints.

QB Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals (1.36)—It was a promising day against the suspect Steelers secondary that ended in insults and injury. Dalton not only cost you in Week 14, but he is now down for the fantasy season with a fractured thumb (throwing hand).

RB C.J. Spiller, New Orleans Saints (2.4)—This one should go down as a career dis-stink-tion. Spiller had an opportunity with Mark Ingram (shoulder) done for the season. Instead, Spiller took the opportunity to show fantasy just how truly worthless he is. Tim Hightower ($6,300) is the Saints back to consider.

RB Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals (3.4)—Let’s chalk this bad news up as good news. Hill, who shouldn’t have been used against the rugged Steelers run defense anyway, is down to $6,000 on the FanDuel price list and the ball should be in his hands early and often going forward.

WR Emmanuel Sanders, Denver Broncos (0.7)—You think Brock Osweiler ($6,700)should be anointed as the Broncos’ quarterback for the rest of the season over future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning (foot)? Not so fast. Ask Sanders’ fantasy owners.

WR Dez Bryant, Dallas Cowboys (1.4)—Just one catch for nine yards. Ugh. FanDuel probably shouldn’t even bother listing him the rest of the season, even if his price is down to $6,900.

WR Calvin Johnson, Detroit Lions (2.1)—As disappointing as one catch for 16 yards is, we cannot wait to load up on Johnson ($8,000) for some Monday night FanDuel magic against the Saints in Week 15.

TE Travis Kelce, Kansas City Chiefs (3.3)—The season opened with so much hope and is concluding with so much fantasy disappointment here. He had as many touchdowns in Week 1 as he has had in the 13 weeks thereafter (two). Yuck!


3. Even Year = Giants ru#Win it All – Again:

Cueto is a pretty good consolation prize for a Giants team that missed out on both David Price and Zack Greinke. He’s been one of the best pitchers in the league since 2012, and although he struggled a bit in the second half of last season, $130 million is a good deal for a guy who has the potential to be a true ace.

Source: Giants Sign Johnny Cueto, Make The NL West More Interesting

4. Juice Got Loose, pt.1

Tomorrow in Sports History

 On December 16, 1973, the Buffalo Bills running back Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson becomes the first player in the National Football League (NFL) to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a single season.

After leading the University of Southern California (USC) Trojans to a Rose Bowl victory and winning the Heisman Trophy, Simpson was drafted by Buffalo as the first pick in the 1969 NFL draft. He struggled for several seasons on weak Buffalo teams but first rushed for more than 1,000 yards in 1972, ending the season with a league-leading 1,251. The following year, he totaled 219 rushing yards against the New England Patriots in the next-to-last game of the season, putting his total at 1,803. On December 16, with the Bills facing the New York Jets in New York’s Shea Stadium, Simpson rushed for another 200 yards, for a record-setting total of 2,003.

Source: OJ Simpson rushes record 2,000 yards in a season – Dec 16, 1973

5. Ultimate Value Lineup – Week 13

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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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).

Quick and DiRTy

Just like starting oo-ver…

In what is typically called Black Monday in the NFL we have already seen several dismissals.  how many more could there be before the day/week is done?

Bears – fire Marc Trestman and the GM Phil Emery.  Trestman, the media proclaimed QB guru, was 8-8 and 5-11 as a coach and saw Jay Cutler get worse.  Phil Emery is the guy who decided to pay Jay Cutler all that scratch.  Trestman in his grand delusion, thought he was still going to retain his job – this after losing to the vikings and no touchdowns were scored.  It would be hard to see Trestman get another Head Coaching job in the NFL, and I am not sure he could get a QB coach or O-Coordinator job either, considering that dwarf-star-implosion we witnessed this year.  A good coach would have to take a desperate-housewives-type-chance on Trestman, along with that team’s offense needing to be DYNAMIC, to repair his self-inflicted-damage.  Otherwise it is back to the CFL for Marc.

Jets – fire Rex Ryan and GM John Idzik.  This was clear as day, and Rex had his last hurrah for the Jets and Idzik had to go with him.  Does it seem more like a PARDON from the Governor then an actual firing?  The owner of the Jets had some nice things to say and stayed classy, but is now conducting a search for replacements with the help of Charlie Casserly and Ron Wolfe.  This seems more like a restoration project than a rebuild or quick-flip.  The Jets have a solid D-Line and Geno has played well, (who saw that against Miami?) since taking over for Vick, but does he work harder at getting better and how much does the new GM and Head Coach have to say about Geno – it’s not like he’s RGIII.

Falcons – fire Mike Smith.  GM Dimitroff may not be far behind, so this decision clearly came from the Home Depot.  The Falcons best coach in their 49 seasons of playing da-foos-ball continued to degrade in his management of a team that has contention-type Offensive talent.  The D was terrible but played good in stretches and the O-Line had to contend with a ton of injuries.  It won’t take long for the next guy to be looked at like a savior because this team is not as bad as their record.  Next year, whomever is the coach, will be Fool’s Gold; but none of it will matter if they look like the 2012 team.

49ers – Harbaugh is gone and it was reported yesterday – by several sources like this one csnbayarea.com – that he had already accepted the Michigan job.  The last time the 49ers had this kind of stretch was ’95-’98, so be careful what you wish for.  With the potential rumored replacements, it might be even longer for this Bay-area team to be relevant.  For Harbaugh, he goes back to his Alma-mater and resurrect a dying program.  However, you wouldn’t know it by the Detroit-Free Press’ headline.  Maybe the Michigan job is gonna be a lot more difficult than we thought?

That’s brother John, Head Coach of the Ravens – not Jim – Cripes!

Giants – retain Tom Coughlin after going 6-10.  You would have to believe the spark generated by OBJ is what helped Tom keep his job.  All OBJ did was become the R.O.Y. – (if not, then what a joke) – tie Michael Irvin’s record of 9 games with 90+ yards receiving, (a NFL record that took Irvin until his 8th season to get, OBJ his first) – score 12 touchdowns in 12 games.  The Giants got too 6 wins by running off two 3-game win streaks, one of them being in the last 4 games of the season.  So now what for the Giants?  Victor Cruz will come back and the the D will have to find a way to limit the big-plays that killed them all year – but think of the potential of that offense or could it be a puzzle with to many mouths to feed?  The what-if game is tricky because, what-if Jarvis Landry, Jeremy Hill and OBJ had stayed at LSU?

The Best in Team (their)History?

The Cowboys throttled the Fightin’ Americans in what could only be an attempt to gain precious mo’ and swagger heading into the playoffs.  Remember in 2007 when the ‘boys were 11-1 and coasted the rest of the season to then get bounced by the Giants?  Need proof of how serious the Cowboys were in trying to exorcise demons and announce their presence with authority – how about an onside kick with 11:30 left in the second quarter after being up 20-7.  Jason Garrett, playing his starters was a statement to the team that players play and the importance of maintaining a winning attitude.  It could also have been a statement on the new triplets, sans rings, but team records.  DeMarco Murray eclipsed Emmitt in Yards, #of 100yd games and total yards from scrimmage in a season.  Dez Bryant surpassed Terrell Owens for most receiving touchdowns in a season.  Tony Romo passed Troy Aikman last week and moved up further on the all-time passing yards list and threw his first interception of December this year.  The NFL’s second season tournament will determine the faith needed for what this team might accomplish, if this 3 is ever to contend with their past.

Uncle Rico Retires

Kyle Orton, at 32, has decided to be a Dad and stay home with his family, and just like John Elway, he went out with a W.  Let us pause and reflect on all those special-moments we shared, watching uncle Rico…like that one play he made when he…or that throw to that guy when…that game in the playoffs when…Kyle Orton was a decent QB out of Purdue and was always the guy in the last-man-on-earth scenario; like the NFL version of FKM (got benched for Tebow).  For now, the future is all on the Bills ownership and what do they do with EJ Manuel; or who else is gonna play the role of Uncle Rico, (only one other QB on the roster, Jeff Tuel)?  You’d have to wonder the direction of this franchise considering they do not have a first round pick in 2015.  However, just like Michael Corleone in Godfather III, I’m sure someone is gonna pull him back in.  Until then, all we’ll have is that highlight reel and those Wonder Years to get us through.

The Playoffs…non-Playoff team Draft order

Game Date Kickoff (ET) TV
Wild Card playoffs
Arizona Cardinals at Carolina Panthers January 3, 2015 4:35 pm ESPN
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers January 3, 2015 8:15 pm NBC
Cincinnati Bengals at Indianapolis Colts January 4, 2015 1:05 pm CBS
Detroit Lions at Dallas Cowboys January 4, 2015 4:40 pm Fox
Divisional playoffs
TBA at New England Patriots January 10, 2015 4:35 pm NBC
TBA at Seattle Seahawks January 10, 2015 8:15 pm Fox
TBA at Green Bay Packers January 11, 2015 1:05 pm Fox
TBA at Denver Broncos January 11, 2015 4:40 pm CBS
Conference Championships
NFC Championship Game January 18, 2015 3:05 pm Fox
AFC Championship Game January 18, 2015 6:40 pm CBS
Super Bowl XLIX
University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
AFC Champion vs. NFC Champion February 1, 2015 6:30 pm NBC

Seeding is now official.  The Seahawks and the Packers both have a bye, with Seattle taking the #1 seed with the best 12-4 record of all other 12-4 records – there can only be one.  Dallas and Carolina both host a playoff game with Dallas hosting Detroit and Carolina hosting the Cardinals.  It’s probable that Carolina goes to Seattle and then plays in Jerry-World for the NFC championship, after Dallas beats Green Bay.  In the AFC, New England and Denver both get a bye, with New England keeping their #1 seed with a loss against Buffalo and having a better 12-4 record than Denver – there can only be one.  Pittsburgh and Indy both host a playoff game with Pittsburgh hosting division rival Baltimore and Indy hosting AFC North alternate Cincy.  No matter what happens either Indy or Pittsburgh will travel to Denver and from there it is safe to say that we could get another Peyton v. Tom for the AFC crown.

The non-playoff team draft order is set for the first 20 picks of the first round of the 2015 NFL draft, and Tampa, you are now on the clock.  Consider (in)Famous Jameis Winston to be the 1st pick and the only QB in the top 10.

1. Tampa Bay (2-14)

2. Tennessee (2-14)

3. Jacksonville (3-13)

4. Oakland (3-13)

5. Washington (4-12)

6. N.Y. Jets (4-12)

7. Chicago (5-11)

8. Atlanta (6-10)

9. N.Y. Giants (6-10)

10. St. Louis (6-10)

11. Minnesota (7-9)

12.Cleveland (7-9)

13. New Orleans (7-9)

14. Miami (8-8)

15. San Francisco (8-8)

16. Houston (9-7)

17. Kansas City (9-7)

18. San Diego (9-7)

19. Cleveland (from Buffalo 9-7)

20. Philadelphia (10-6)

Today’s Bowl games on ESPN, all times Eastern

Dec. 29 Texas Houston, Texas 9 p.m. Texas Longhorns(6-6) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks(6-6)
Dec. 29 Russell Athletic Bowl Orlando, Fla. 5:30 p.m. Clemson Tigers(9-3) vs. Oklahoma Sooners(8-4)
Dec. 29 Liberty Memphis, Tenn. 2 p.m. West Virginia Mountaineers(7-5) vs. Texas A&M Aggies(7-5)

Clear as Mud

Week 16 in review – FanDuel

How did your lineup compare to the perfect lineup?  Matt Musico from FanDuel breaks it down.

fanduel-nfl-week-16-perfect-lineup

65% — Percentage of players in the top 20 owned who scored at least 11 points

When looking at the highest-owned players, most owners roster these guys for certain reasons. Either they’re on a ridiculous hot streak, the matchup is favorable or an injury to another player has cleared the way to make a big impact. The faith some FanDuelers put into these players doesn’t always end up with a huge performance at the end of the day, but 13 players finished in double digits this week.

These included Marques Colston (11), Jonathan Stewart (19.9), Fred Jackson (14.8), Matt Bryant (15), Drew Brees (13.32), Le’Veon Bell (13.7), Calvin Johnson (13.3), Rob Gronkowski (12.1), Joique Bell (15.7), Dez Bryant (15.8), C.J. Anderson (23.8), Tre Mason (14.8) and Jordy Nelson (21.8). Those owning some of these players wouldn’t consider their production very good, but at least they didn’t sink into the single digits, right?

4 — Number of Not-So-Perfect-Lineup players owned by at least 20% of FanDuelers

Nobody wants to see players from their fantasy team end up in the Not-So-Perfect-Lineup, but it happens. One of the qualifications for this exclusive club is being owned by at least 10% of FanDuelers. However, there were four players in this unfortunate lineup with over 20% ownership. They included Matthew Stafford (32.5%), Donte Moncrief (22.4%), Shayne Graham (21.6%) and the Bills defense (37.5%).

Going up against the hapless Chicago Bears defense, many thought Stafford would go off, especially with all the offensive weapons around him. Well, he only scored 7.92 points on Sunday. Despite throwing up a goose egg in Week 15, Moncrief was anticipated to have a huge game with T.Y. Hilton out, not the 1.5 points he produced.

With Drew Brees running the show against a bad Falcons defense, Shayne Graham would kick the ball through the uprights a lot, right? Nope — he scored just two points. Finally, the Bills defense was fresh off a huge win against the Green Bay Packers and completely shutting down Aaron Rodgers. They were going to feast on the Oakland Raiders, but finished the game with just one fantasy point and a loss in real life. Woof.

30.8 — Number of points Odell Beckham, Jr. has averaged over the last three weeks

Although he missed the season’s first four weeks with hamstring issues, Odell Beckham, Jr. has made up for lost time and should be considered a favorite to walk away with Rookie of the Year honors. He was at it again on Sunday against the St. Louis Rams, pulling in eight catches for 148 yards and two touchdowns. He’s been great all season, but OBJ has been producing at an insane level over the past three weeks. He’s caught 31 passes for 421 yards and six scores during that span. His $9,000 price tag was expensive, but it was worth it.

1 — Number of tight ends who cracked the list of top 20 scorers

Seattle Seahawks tight end Luke Willson was owned by just 0.1% of FanDuelers. I’d like to know why they rostered him because they look like geniuses after he caught three passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He scored a surprising 27.4 points on Sunday night — not only the highest for any TE in Week 16, but good enough to crack the list of top 20 scorers.

And talking about finding some value, rostering Willson would’ve only taken $4,500. The only other option on this top scorers list at that price was the Falcons defense.

$14,100 — Cost to roster both C.J. Anderson and Lamar Miller

If we asked you back in September which two running backs would be in the Week 16 Perfect Lineup, nobody would’ve answered C.J. Anderson and Lamar Miller. Why? Because neither RB was their team’s starter heading into Week 1. Both have taken advantage of the opportunities given to them, becoming consistent fantasy producers every Sunday.

Anderson’s price tag was at $7,800, but he produced 23.8 fantasy points by rushing for 83 yards and a touchdown to go with eight catches for another 55 yards. Miller was much cheaper ($6,300), but ended up with virtually the same number of points (23.5) by rushing for 92 yards and a touchdown, while adding five receptions for 58 yards.

1.36 — The point difference between Russell Wilson and the entire Not-So-Perfect-Lineup

It’s always fun to see how some of the week’s top scorers stack up against the Not-So-Perfect-Lineup. This week’s group of disappointing players posted an uninspiring 37.72 points. While no one player outscored them this time around, Seahawks QB Russell Wilson came awfully close. He completed 20-of-31 passes for 339 yards and two touchdowns, adding another 88 yards and a score with his legs for a total score of 36.36 fantasy points.

15% — Percentage of top 20 scorers that were either a tight end, kicker or defense

The top 20 scorers list is normally dominated by high-profile skill positions like quarterback, running back and wide receiver, but some other positions find their way in on occasion. This week, three players made an appearance: tight end Luke Willson, kicker Randy Bullock and the Falcons defense.

We already talked about Willson’s 27.4-point outburst for the 0.1% that owned him, but the other two were just as surprising. Bullock basically beat the Ravens by himself — the kicker scored 19 fantasy points thanks to one successful extra point and six made field goals. Only 0.8% of FanDuelers had him on a roster.

Meanwhile, the Falcons scored 20 points on the defensive front thanks to collecting five sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles. Just 1.6% of owners spent the $4,500 to roster them.

5 — Number of Lions players in the top 20 owned

As mentioned before, a lot of fantasy players figured the Lions would completely embarrass the Bears. After all, Chicago’s defense is awful, while the Lions have a great defense and were facing QB Jimmy Clausen. The confidence in Detroit was displayed through the ownership numbers for Stafford (32.5%), Joique Bell (29.1%), Calvin Johnson (26.7%), Golden Tate (25.4%) and the Lions defense (22.9%).

Detroit did walk away with a victory and a playoff berth, but it wasn’t nearly as easy as many anticipated. Out of these five players, only Megatron (13.3) and Bell (15.7) scored in double figures. Stafford had the distinction of being the highest-owned of the group, but was also the lowest scorer (7.92).

66% — Percentage of the Perfect Lineup with less than 10% ownership

The members of the Perfect Lineup from each week is a combination of players we’re not surprised to see and others we’re completely shocked about. Judging from the ownership numbers from Week 16′s group, not a lot of FanDuelers were expecting two-thirds of the lineup to have big games.

The six players that played great while being owned in less than 10% of contests include Russell Wilson (3%), Rueben Randle (1.1%), Emmanuel Sanders (5.8%), Luke Willson (0.1%), Randy Bullock (0.8%) and the Falcons defense (1.6%).

Of the top performers we haven’t talked about yet, Randle scored 22.2 points despite another monster game from OBJ. With 37 points scored by the Giants, there was plenty to go around, and the WR caught all six of his targets for 132 yards and one touchdown. Sanders has been playing at a Pro Bowl level in 2014, but not many expected a big game from him this week. They were mistaken because he scored 22 points off the strength of six catches for 70 yards and two touchdowns.

$1,903 — Average TE savings for FanDuelers if they rostered Luke Willson

When it comes to spending money on tight ends, FanDuelers don’t usually shell out a lot of money — unless it’s for a top-tier guy like Rob Gronkowski, Jimmy Graham or Julius Thomas. The average percentage of the salary cap spent on this position was 11%, less than the QB, both RBs and WR1 and WR2. That cost comes out to $6,403. If you made the bold move of rostering Willson, it would’ve saved you $1,903 to spend elsewhere, while also getting the best-performing tight end of the week.

The DiRT-y (almost)Dozen

Remember when…

…teams used to sit/rest their starters the last few weeks of the season and we would get to watch and see who was on the practice squad?  Thanks to the prescience of the main office five years ago, we now witness division games at the end of the season – increasing the probability of meaningful games.  This year we have 3 division titles up in the air on the last week of the season – it’s working!  The AFC North – Cincinnati @ Pittsburgh – Pittsburgh has clinched a spot in the ‘offs for the first time in 2yrs.  The NFC North – Detroit @ Green Bay – Detroit has not won in Green Bay since ’91.  The NFC (went)South – Carolina @ Atlanta – Carolina could become first division repeat champ after realignment in 2002 – p.s. the NFC South is the only division in the NFL that each team has been in a conference championship game.

Speaking of titles, the bane of the NFC West, took it to the Cardinals last night – even with the kicker being a shank-a-potamus(missed 3 FG’s) – honorable mention to Marshawn Lynch, apparently hungry for his skittles 79 yards away, after suffering from the splats early on – or so it might have been reported.  Now Seattle is staring at a possible #1 seed, and if the road back to Glendale goes thru the Great Northwest – then we could have a repeat Superbowl champion – something we have not seen in 10 yrs (New England ’04,’05).

DeMarco Murray ran the ball for 58 yards on 20 carries after hand-surgery 6 days earlier – either that type of surgery is not a big deal or we could all use that kind of pain tolerance injected into our lives.  DeMarco only needed 29 more yards to break Emmitt Smith’s team record of 1,773 and instead the Cowboys blew out the Colts to clinch a playoff spot, and their first NFC East title since 2009.  Clearly a healthy Murray would have continuously been fed the rock to earn the team record at home and now must travel to Washington for the finale for the chance.  The game still is important to Jerry, who wants a HOME playoff game.

1st time in 12 years that a team has not gone from worst-to-first in the NFL.  Houston was the team that made it close, only to have Indy seal it last week.

Bye Felicia

Miami Dolphins – The Chargers came back to beat the ‘9ers and squash their hopes.  Apparently missing the playoffs again – 6 straight losing seasons – is not enough to fire Joe Philbin(3yrs on the job) who the owner Stephen Ross announced he was bringing back, (if that is the answer, what was the question again?).  Philbin is 23-24 and as Ross said “really likes the way this team plays and where they are headed.”  Huh? say that again? A close win against the Vikings gives you this feeling that, this team, this coach, is headed in the right direction?  Is mediocrity a direction, and do you travel thru Miami now(not Dallas this year) to get there?  Standards have been lowered or the owner is still intoxicated from that win early in the year – at home – against the Patriots.  Bet we still see Philbin fired before the end of the 2016 season, if not sooner.

Buffalo Bills – have the longest playoff drought – 1999 (thank you, Prince) – in the NFL, and yesterday swirled their chances away, losing to the Raiders.  The Defense played great all year and if Ol’man Orton(Uncle Rico) is still your starter next year you can count on extending this streak.  EJ Manuel may not be the answer, but if he fails to beat out the statuesque-Orton (screw you Kyle) next year, what hope do you have that it gets better for Buffalo.

Philadelphia Eagles – The dynamic fantasy offense lost to Washington and lost their chance to prove Mark Sanchez could play in this league – or has any trade-value.  Do they cruise to the division title if Foles does not get hurt?  Who knows, but few believe that Foles is any better than Sanchez in the grand scheme-over-talent.  The Eagles must find a way to be more consistent – one week, better than sliced-bread – the next, bread.

Kansas City Chiefs – KC was second in the league scoring TD’s in the redzone with 67.5% this year, only to struggle scoring with only 4 FG’s against Pittsburgh.  Alex Smith still has not thrown a touchdown to a receiver this year and if you watched him miss a wide open DeAnthony Thomas for a potential bomb – you understand why small-hands can never take you to the Superbowl.  KC now needs to beat San Diego – Cleveland to beat Baltimore – Jacksonville to beat Houston – to make the playoffs.  The Chiefs need more than Charles on offense, to have any shot.

New Orleans – ‘Tis the twilight of the golden age of Saints football.  To lose(like that) to the Falcons – at home – is evidence to the hallucination of hope that was/is the 2014 season.  With those home losses, we learned a lot about this team’s testicular fortitude and how often they snatched defeat from the jaws of victory to clinch the division.  Forget the last game against Tampa – play the practice squad, sit everbody – Let’s hurry up and bury this year, get a better draft pick – and get more players who do not let their alligator mouths overload their jaybird assess – or guys who are not softer than warm brie (that means you Jimmy).

Johnny Manziel – found out that the NFL is really hard and causes pain.  Manziel played 3 possessions and 1 play of the Browns fourth possession, before exiting with an injury – not sure if pride is acceptable on the injury report.  He was 3-for-8 for 32 yards and ran twice for 3 yards – Flacco was 3-for-20 at one point so…  It might be a short career if he doesn’t figure it out, regardless of how many practices Manziel thinks he was really good at.  Welcome to the Not For Long Johnny, at least you made that money brah.

Dominic Raiola – another fine is coming his way after (allegedly) stomping on the leg of Ego Ferguson.  Raiola was already fined $10,000 this year and this recent behavior is similar to Suh’s who received a 2-game suspension.  We’ll see if Hizzoner’s new conduct policy will be imposed in this case, because it would mean Raiola misses a playoff game.

Rex Ryan – from the Jets to….who knows exactly but there are several rumors – none being how great it would be to see Rex being the DC in Philly with Chip at the helm.  However one rumor seems to be heating up and it might be that Rex goes south.

Mike Smith – appears to be on the hot seat, regardless if they win the division.  Because it might be that he’s done enough to cost himself the job and too bring in Rex Ryan as his replacement.  The perfect scenario for Saints fans is; he wins the division, wins a playoff game, maybe go to the conference championship game and receives a new 5 year deal.  For Falcons fans, I’m sure they would rather see Arthur Blank give Jim Harbaugh a boat-load of Home Depot’s to coach them next year.

Jim Harbaugh – The forty-whiners stated they will be done with Harbaugh 48hrs after the season ends.  Why wait that long?  This might be the most entertaining free-agent drama in a looong time.  Does he go to Michigan? Oakland?  What does the bidding war look like?  To me, Harbaugh stays in the NFL and the Michigan talk is all a smoke screen to make more money and have more control, because several NFL teams will give him a ton to coach there.  Rumors are that the ‘9ers are seriously(?!) looking at Josh McDaniels – how awesome would that be ‘9er haters?!!