A look at which competitive teams could benefit the most from adding Tony Romo as their quarterback.
A look at the top points getters and top value plays for the Thanksgiving DFS slate.
Week 11 of the NFL season was once again full of disappointing fantasy performances for owners all over the country. With only two weeks left until playoffs start in most fantasy leagues, dud performances are starting to really take a toll on playoff chances. Here are 3 of the most disappointing fantasy players from this past week.
Buffalo Bills quarterback Tyrod Taylor has actually been a fairly consistent fantasy option for people who opted to draft a quarterback in the later rounds. Before Sunday, Taylor had only failed to eclipse 15 standard fantasy points just one time. Unfortunately for his owners, Taylor was almost non-existent from a fantasy perspective against the Cincinnati Bengals. He managed just 166 yards through the air with no touchdowns and an interception. He also only managed 39 yards on the ground. Despite a gritty 16-12 win for the Bills, Taylor left his owners, myself included, out in the cold.
The Bills schedule is filled with exploitable defenses for the rest of the season, so Taylor should be able to turn it around sooner rather than later. The possible return of injured star receiver Sammy Watkins in the next couple of weeks would certainly bolster Taylor’s fantasy upside.
Arguably the biggest Week 11 disappointment, Roethlisberger entered Sunday with the juiciest fantasy match-up he could have, the winless Cleveland Browns. Despite ranking near last in every major defensive category, the Browns held Roethlisberger to just 167 passing yards and no touchdowns. In Big Ben’s defense, Steelers running back Le’Veon Bell stole the show with over 200 total yards from scrimmage, but being held under 200 yards passing by the hapless Browns is more than a bit embarrassing.
Roethlisberger will have another juicy match-up this week against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday Night Football on Thanksgiving. His owners will hope for the Big Ben who put up 408 yards and 3 touchdowns against the Dallas Cowboys instead of the unenthusiastic play he showcased against the worst team in the league.
Oakland Raiders veteran wide receiver Michael Crabtree exploded onto the fantasy scene this season as the Robin to Amari Cooper’s Batman. Thus far, he has amassed 601 yards receiving to go along with 6 touchdowns. Unfortunately for his owners, none of this production came to fruition this week against the Houston Texans. Crabtree only managed 5 yards on 3 receptions, far below his projections. He did manage to draw 2 pass interference penalties that moved Oakland way down the field, but flags don’t count towards fantasy points.
He will look to turn it around next week against the Carolina Panthers, a team that has been struggling to stop receivers all season.
What if Jimbo Fisher does end up leaving FSU for LSU? Who might Florida State turn to as a replacement? GN insiders tell us some within the FSU community would be interested in Jeremy Pruitt returning to Tallahassee. Pruitt, currently the defensive coordinator at Alabama, served as the DC at FSU during the Seminoles’ 2013 […]
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Few doubt how tough you have to be to play in the NFL. This week has many examples of how players react and play through injury.
LeSean McCoy got up and casually walked to the Bills sideline as if almost nothing happened. He missed the second half with a dislocated thumb, which could not be reduced and now needs surgery. Yet, he is likely to play next week. The crazy part is this actually makes sense as by video, he dislocated his small (IP) joint without fracture. Once reduced with surgery today (as the flexor tendon blocks reduction). The thumb should be stable and relatively pain free.
No one even knew Giovani Bernard was injured but he reportedly tore his ACL on his final catch. Since the Bengals were down by four with under a minute to go and no timeouts, he hopped up to avoid a 10 second runoff then went right back to line up for the next play and even attempted to throw a block before the play was called dead. With the stoppage, Bernard then subbed himself out. Now he will need major surgery and will have to race to return for Week 1 of 2017.
A.J. Green’s season is likely over with a significant hamstring tear, yet his body language indicated a routine play with a minor issue. The injury appears to be high up and proximal hamstring tears take longer to recover.
Safety Eric Reid acted like nothing happened when by video, he tore his distal biceps tendon. He almost continued to play until stopped by a delayed timeout. Typically, this injury ends one’s season and requires surgery.
Terrell Suggs is delaying surgery and playing with just such a distal biceps rupture. Sunday he had a sure sack, but due to weakness to flexion/supination on his injured left arm, Dak Prescott stepped through the tackle.
Even long snappers got in the tough guy act. Clark Harris limped badly with a foot/ankle injury and was about to be driven off. He hopped off the injury cart to play, even though he could no longer even jog to cover punts.
In a bad injury week, there were plenty of examples of how the NFL is a real man’s game.
MMMD 1: Emotional Luke Kuechly
The former defensive player of the year was not showing weakness when he appeared to reveal vulnerability. Certainly he was red-faced and sweating from the game; however, Kuechly’s body was heaving to try and catch his breath, not blubbering in tears.
By video, he took a blow to the chest/sternum and was gasping for air from having the wind knocked out of him. He also hit his head and it is a known medical fact that a concussion can cause mood alterations. Combine the fear of not being able to breathe and the loss of emotional control from head injury and you get Kuechly’s reaction to injury.
MMMD 2: Seahawks RB carousel
Seattle leads the NFC West but will start its third running back in three weeks. Christine Michael was released after a mild hamstring issue. Now C. J. Prosise is injured.
By video, the worry was a scapula fracture for Prosise who did not return in the second half. Typically, a scapula body fracture does not need surgery but is very painful and leads to a 4-6 week recovery. A report surfaced that Prosise will not return until the playoffs.
Fortunately for the Seahawks, Thomas Rawls is finally healthy after an early season fibula fracture. This truly has been “next man up” after Marshawn Lynch retired.
MMMD 3 Accuracy of team reports
Two weeks ago, I documented the differences in teams’ use of the “questionable” designation. “Questionable” also seems to be the tag whenever a player initially exits for injury, but is it accurate?
Demetri Goodson suffered a horrific multi-ligament knee injury. (Video here but warning: graphic) The Packers officially classified him initially as questionable to return to the game. In reality, what is questionable is whether Goodson can return to a productive career as a cornerback. Best wishes to him.
MMMD 4: Who is ready to return?
Three quarters of teams have yet to use the single “designated for return” spot to bring a player off injured reserve. With six weeks left in the regular season, watch for more teams to start bringing players back.
Ameer Abdullah is seeking a second opinion and may be the Lions player to return off IR.
Sammy Watkins is slated to have a CT scan to assess fifth metatarsal bone healing and might be able to come off IR to help with Robert Woods’ absence.
Everyone has forgotten about J.J. Watt after his second back surgery. I know the club wants to be cautious but he is eligible to come off IR after today. I expect Watt to be medically healthy now and lobbying to help his team to the playoffs. The Texans lead the AFC South and if they beat the Raiders tonight, they would be in position for a possible playoff bye.
Branden Albert missed this week after surgery on a dislocated wrist and could be back next week.
Rob Gronkowski was not allowed to fly to California this week with a pneumothorax, but I fully expect him to travel and play against the Jets next week.
Mo Claiborne having torn “some bone off the pelvis” sounds ominous but it simply is a groin avulsion, which usually heals without surgery. A 6-8 week timeline from injury puts him back at Week 14-16. Hope his follow up MRI confirms this expected healing.
Look for lots of late season roster moves.
MMMD 5: Harvard health study
A comprehensive report with medical recommendations for the NFL and NFLPA was released this week. I promised to analyze the top ten recommendations but there were just too many injury issues this week to find the space in this column.
I will agree with one finding. Stop using player health as a bargaining chip in the collective bargaining agreement. My full thoughts are to follow in the coming weeks.
MMMD 6: Injury rundown
Zach Miller has a broken left foot and needs surgery.
By video, Robert Woods has a MCL sprain and is on crutches. He is likely will miss several weeks.
Cody Kessler is out with his second concussion of this season. Don’t be surprised if an extended absence is coming.
Fortunately, Leonard Floyd seems to have escaped significant neck injury. He took a head down hit and was sent off on a spine board.
Seattle FS Earl Thomas and CB DeShawn Shead both have hamstring injuries.
Dee Ford has a hamstring issue as well. Justin Houston has returned from February ACL surgery to help the Chiefs linebackers.
Ryan Matthews is reported to have a MCL sprain and Darren Sproles has a rib injury.
Laremy Tunsil left with a shoulder injury and did not return for the second half.
Rams LB Josh Forrest by video has a major knee ligament tear, which is likely the ACL.
Matthew Slater was knocked out with a left foot injury and seen post-game in a walking boot.
By video, Halapoulivaati Vaitai suffered a MCL sprain. Hopefully he can return in a week or two with a brace.
MMMD 7: ProFootballDoc scorecard
Even though Branden Albert finished last week’s game, he did have wrist surgery and missing this week but has a chance for next week. Tom Brady had no issues despite a scare. Rob Gronkowski was not allowed to travel with his pneumothorax. Jordan Howard avoided Achilles tear or other significant injury to play well. Kyle Long does have a high ankle injury requiring surgery. Kelvin Benjamin overcame mild AC sprain and returned in the same game.
Cody Kessler does have a concussion. The Leonard Floyd news is encouraging. Jake Ryan and T.J. Lang missed this week after being rolled up on last week. C.J. Prosise has a presumed scapula fracture. Eric Reid does have a left distal biceps tear. Nick Perry’s mild ankle sprain is OK and he returned to play.
This improves last week’s 117-6 (95.1%) scorecard to 130-6 (95.6%) through Week 11.
As the college football playoff teams sort themselves out, and having advanced past the halfway point of the NFL schedule what better time than now to start focusing our attention onto the 2017 NFL draft.
While the draft is not until April it is never too early to start scouting prospects who could turn out to be future NFL stars.
This week we preview the top-five defensive edge rushers who look to be available come the Spring of 2017.
1. Myles Garrett, Texas A&M
Garrett tops my list of edge rushers as the Texas A&M junior possesses the height, length, and speed to present a consistent pass rush threat. While Garrett’s numbers are down in 2016, as he has been dealing with a lower leg injury for the better part of the season (missing two games and limited in many other), he can win off the edge with a quick first step and speed to turn the corner with a burst, and acceleration to close in quickly on the quarterback.
He has demonstrated that he can convert speed into power, and bull rush an offensive lineman back into the quarterback.
Garrett is a versatile defender who can be used as both a hand in the dirt defensive end or an outside linebacker asked to rush from a two-point stance while also dropping back into coverage.
Appearing to finally be shaking off the effects of his leg injuries Garrett put on a one-man show in the Aggies victory over UTSA this past weekend, as he registered 4 1/2 sacks to go along with eight tackles, a pass defended, and a forced fumble.
2. Jonathan Allen, Alabama
Unlike Myles Garrett and some of the other top rushers in the country Allen does not win his battles up front with shear athleticism or speed. Instead he uses sound technique, instincts and his strength to dominate at the line of scrimmage. He is a thicker-bodied defensive end who can hold his ground at the point-of-attack. He has strong hands and when he extends his arms and plants them into the offensive lineman’s chest he can knock them back, and get them retreating.
Allen displays natural instincts for a lineman as he can quickly locate the ball post snap. He is a versatile defender as he can play both outside as a defensive end or shift inside at tackle. In fact, as a pass rusher Allen is more effective inside as a defensive tackle as his quickness and strength allow him to eat up blockers (drawing double-teams) or split a center and guard combo block to knife through to the quarterback.
Jonathan Allen is a defensive force who has produced in a power five conference against some terrific athletes. His versatility, instincts, and overall competitiveness will make him a coach’s delight. In the NFL Allen, should project better as an interior defensive tackle in a four-man front, while also capable of physically playing defensive end in a 3-4 defense.
3. Derek Barnett, Tennessee
Derek Barnett has been one of the Volunteers more disruptive defenders the moment he stepped foot onto the Tennessee campus. In his first season Barnett set a school record for the most tackles for loss (20.5) and sacks (10) by a true freshman.
Barnett’s strengths as a pass rusher center around his first step quickness, and the all-out hustle and determination in which he plays the game. As a hand in the dirt defensive end Barnett is one of the first players off at the snap of the ball quickly getting into the offensive lineman, using his active hands to keep them from getting a grasp on him. He displays the ability to bend around the corner, and get below the tackles pad level in route to the quarterback. He is competitive at the point-of-attack and does a good job of quickly locating the ball.
Similarly, to Jonathan Allen, Barnett is also very effective sliding inside and matching up against interior offensive lineman. Barnett used his quickness to attack a gap and overwhelm guards, able to sneak through, and helping collapse the pocket. As a tackle, he did a better job of converting speed to power and would usher offensive lineman straight back into the quarterback.
Barnett is a physical and efficient player who can affect the game in multiple ways with his scheme, and positional versatility.
4. Takkarist McKinley, UCLA
As a former high school track athlete McKinley’s speed, and athleticism is one of the first traits you notice when scouting the Bruins senior edge rusher. What is also noticeable is the all-out hustle and effort the 6’2” 265-pound defender exhibits down in and down out.
McKinley possesses an active body with good overall thickness, and long arms. He shows good power off the snap, and uses his hands to fend off the arms of offensive lineman. He gains leverage on the tackles outside shoulder and will use a rip under move to clear by him and into the backfield. He also has the quickness to cross the lineman’s face, when he over sets, and beat him to the inside as well.
He is quick to locate the ball, and will flatten down the line of scrimmage in pursuit of the ball carrier from the back-side.
McKinley headed into this weekend’s action leading the PAC-12 conference in tackles for loss with 18, to go along with his 10 sacks and three forced fumbles.
McKinley projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker in the NFL, appearing to have the look, and feel of developing into a natural pass rusher.
5. Tim Williams, Alabama
While there may be some questions and concern about Williams character off the field there is no denying the talent on it when you see Williams help Alabama dominate opponents up front.
The senior outside linebacker, and former four-star prospect out of Louisiana, has a tremendous get-off at the line of scrimmage, and does a good job of using his hands to free himself from the blocker keeping his pad level low to get the outside leverage as he turns the corner. He can combat offensive lineman hands by ripping down or swiping them off his body.
He uses a hesitation head and shoulder fake move to get inside leverage on a backpedaling lineman to beat him to his inside shoulder. Williams can quickly cross a blockers face, split the gap, and penetrate the offensive backfield.
Williams athleticism and quickness allow him to quickly change directions and chase down fleeing quarterbacks outside the pocket.
Williams currently leads the Crimson Tide with eight sacks, and his 14 tackles for loss are second to only teammate Ryan Andersons (14.5) total.
With Williams speed, athleticism, and production (having produced against some of college football’s better athletes in the SEC conference) Williams has the potential to develop into a “superstar” at the next level.
Follow Danny on Twitter @dshimon56
A look at big plays that affected Week 11 in the NFL.
Fantasy football is a game of almost constant disappointment because even the best players in the league occasionally have a bad game in a great matchup. This is what makes fantasy football such a fun, interesting and difficult game to play. These are the three biggest fantasy disappointments from Week 10 of the 2016 NFL season.
Tom Brady became the most coveted quarterback in fantasy football when he returned from his four-game suspension, and he instantly proved that he was worth the hype. Brady put on an amazing performance in his first four games of the season, but he finally disappointed his fantasy owners in his Week 10 matchup against the Seattle Seahawks. While he still managed to throw for 316 yards, Brady did not put up the fantasy numbers everyone has come to expect from him. The high yardage total did not account for many fantasy points because Brady ended up with zero touchdown passes. He also threw his first interception of the season. Brady is still the best quarterback in the NFL, so his fantasy owners should expect a few more great games before the end of the season.
No pass catcher disappointment his fantasy owners in Week 10 more than tight end Jordan Reed of the Washington Redskins. While Reed often struggles to stay healthy, he usually puts up great numbers when he gets on the field. While the Minnesota Vikings have one of the best defenses in the league, they usually give up a lot of yards to the tight end. The Vikings defense has a strong pass rush and great cornerbacks, so the quarterback is usually forced to throw the ball to the tight end. While the Redskins were able to get the ball to one of their tight ends for a big play, it was a great touchdown pass to Reed’s backup Vernon Davis. Jordan Reed’s two catches for 41 yards was his worst game of the season, so he should be able to quickly bounce back the rest of the season.
Few players in the NFL are as unpredictable as Jonathan Stewart. He can easily get several touchdowns in a game, or he can fail to find running room for an entire game like he did in Week 10 against the Kansas City Chiefs. Since there are very few running backs in the league that get consistent carries, fantasy owners are forced to rely on Jonathan Stewart nearly every week. He may be coming off a game where he only got 39 yards, but Stewart has an extremely favorable schedule the rest of the season. Fantasy owners should be rewarded for sticking with the Panthers running back very soon.
Other coaches don’t like Alabama using former Crimson Tide players on the scout team? That’s their problem, Nick Saban says. Saban got fired up about criticism of the practice during his weekly radio show, as reported by al.com. Alabama’s program has come under criticism from coaches, notably Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, for using past Tide […]
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It looks as if Ole Miss coach Hugh Freeze has gotten involved in a Twitter tiff. Freeze fired back Friday at a Mississippi State fan who posted a photo to Twitter, a photo that supposedly depicted marijuana use at a gathering with Chad Kelly, and made a sarcastic reference to Freeze. The original poster, apparently […]
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