November 16, 2011

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NFL Fantasy Predictions: Week 11

By: Rick Jarrell

What an off week for my Week 10 NFL fantasy predicitons. Sam Bradford nor Michael Vick produced like they should, MJD was solid with 100+ yards and a TD but did not explode as I expected, and Anthony Fasano recorded 60 receiving yards, which is good but not great depending on your fantasy situation.

Overall it was a strange week. Week 9 had a lot of upsets, so naturally Week 10 the favorites prospered the majority of the time.

On to this week’s NFL fantasy predictions…

Frank Gore                                    

LeSean McCoy didn’t explode like he should have against the Cardinals Sunday, but I maintain their run defense is lacking and Frank Gore should benefit this coming week.

Chad Ochocinco

He may have lost a step or two, but he has to score a few touchdowns this year, right? New England’s matchup against the beleaguered Kansas City Chiefs seems like a good opportunity to find the end zone. Ochocinco had a 50 yard reception against the Jets Sunday night that Tom Brady actually under threw. The Chiefs don’t have nearly the defense the Jets have, especially without top sophomore Eric Berry. Plus, Matt Cassel is likely out for the season. He’s not exactly lighting it up, but Tyler Palko is unproven, and will lead to the Chiefs defense  being on the field for the majority of the game.

Look for the Patriots offense to try and spread the ball around against the Chiefs this week.

Panthers Offense

I began to write Deangelo Williams and Jonathon Stewart, but remembered this is the Lions. Not only do they  have a poor rush defense, but a poor pass defense as well. They started off undefeated thanks to an explosive offense (see Stafford to Megatron). This game’s got shoot out written all over it.

Williams and Stewart have not been the dynamic duo of the past, but this is a good opportunity for them to regain form. There’s also a strong possibility the Panthers decide to let Cam Newton go wild, so Steve Smith and Greg Olsen are good plays here, too.

James Starks / Ryan Grant

The limelight is on Aaron Rodgers, and deservedly so. Hands down, he’s the MVP so far this season. But the Packers match up Sunday with the Bucs favors the ground game. Rodgers will get his, I’m sure. As I type this, they just went up 14-0 in the first quarter Monday night. It’s too easy.

For those looking for running back depth, Starks or Grant deserve a start this week. Tampa Bay has one of the worst run defenses in the league, and have in general underperformed the whole year.

Cleveland Defense

This team is an enigma. The run defense is absolutely horrible. Any team with a marquee back (other than Steven Jackson, for whatever reason) has ran all over them. But their pass defense is ranked first in the league in yards per game. A few factors should be considered. First, teams run the ball a lot because they can, so they pass less. Second, Cleveland constantly gets blown out, so there’s even more opportunity for the opponent to run the ball. Lastly, the Browns schedule has been easy, so the offenses aren’t exactly high octane.

The Jaguars fit into the latter of the above. Maurice Jones-Drew can explode, as I said before, but a rookie quarterback won’t fare well against the surprisingly good Browns defense. They don’t force many turnovers, but they also won’t allow many points either.

Plus, when you have Josh Cribbs as you’re return man, there’s always potential for him to break one off, and Jacksonville has a poor special teams defense.

November 15, 2011

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NFL landscape changes in week 10

By: Joe Williams

The path we are going down this NFL season became much clearer this week. Some teams showed they are pretenders, some lost key players to injury and others took a big step toward the playoffs. Here’s what I learned:

Giants vs. Cowboys

The NFC East is a two team race. The Giants hold a one game lead over the Cowboys but face a much tougher schedule the rest of the way. They meet twice in the last month of the season and those games should determine the division winner. The “Dream Team” in Philadelphia has a stranglehold on the most disappointing team in the NFL crown after losing at home to a two-win team playing with its backup quarterback.

Lions must beat Packers or Saints

After losing three of four, the Lions are in danger of blowing their 5-0 start. They are at 6-3 with two games coming up against Green Bay and one against New Orleans. If they lose those three games, they will likely be on the outside looking in at the playoffs because Chicago is also 6-3 and has a much easier schedule the rest of the way.

49ers headed for a bye

It’s no surprise the Packers are headed for a first round bye but who would have expected the 49ers to do the same? San Francisco is already 8-1 with five games left against the NFC West. They should finish with at least 12 wins and probably the No. 2 seed in the NFC.

Colts getting Lucky

After another loss drops the Colts to 0-10 and the Dolphins and Rams both pick up their second win, Indianapolis has a commanding lead in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. Now the questions about what they will do are really going to start. Will Manning be back next year? Do they take Luck and let him sit behind Manning? Or could they trade Manning and really begin the rebuilding process?

 Bills, Bengals on the brink

Buffalo and Cincinnati have been surprisingly good teams in the AFC. However, they could be coming back to earth. Cincinnati has three games left against Baltimore and Pittsburgh. They really need to win two of those games to stay in the AFC North race. Buffalo has lost four of six and cannot afford any more no shows like they had against Dallas.

 AFC West truly pathetic

Get ready to see an 8-8 team hosting a first round playoff game. At least the NFC West has one team playing well. San Diego has lost four in a row. The Chiefs,who have lost two straight against two of the worst teams in the league, now get to face five straight teams with a winning record. The Broncos are scared to throw the ball and continue to let the fans run the show in Denver. And you never know which Raiders team is going to show up. They beat some good teams and then turn around and lose to some of the bottom feeders.

November 11, 2011

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NFL Players are Fathead’s Top Sellers for (11/3 – 11/10):

By: Junior

It is past the halfway mark in the NFL season, and NFL players are dominating Fathead product sales. With NFL teams and fans rising and falling with their favorite NFL Players, it makes sense that all 10 of our top sellers came from the NFL this week. It is also not surprising that it all kicks off with 3 products from the 8-0 Green Bay Packers.

1. Aaron Rodgers – Home

Being the QB of an 8-0 football team I am sure has a lot to do with this. Being the Super Bowl Champion (as well as Super Bowl MVP) the previous year can’t hurt either. Having a funny commercial out at the same time? Well that’s just the icing on the cake. Put all of that together, and Rodgers having the top selling Fathead this week is a no brainer.

2. Aaron Rodgers

See above.

3. Clay Matthews – No. 52

As much as we would like to take sole credit for this with the great Clay Matthews Fathead commercial we have out right now, we know better. Matthews is one of the most feared linebackers (and Fatheads) in the game right now, and with a Monday night game coming up, his sales are only going to continue to rise.

4. Troy Polamalu / 5.  Troy Polamalu – Home

Steelers fans stocked up on Polamalu Fatheads as they geared up for their rivalry game with the Baltimore Ravens last week. So much so in fact that Troy was the 4th and 5th best selling Fathead. While a loss certainly spoiled Steeler Nation’s mood, they at least got to come home to a life size version of Polamalu.

6. Michael Vick

Eagles fans didn’t let a loss stop them from believing in the Eagles surge to make a comeback after stumbling out of the gate.  Winning 2 of their last 3, Michael Vick is leading the league with 8 YPC this season and is a large part of why Eagles fans still have faith. With Arizona coming to town this week, Eagles fans are hoping they have even more reason to believe.

7. Cam Newton

The front runner for NFL Rookie of the Year, Cam Newton is the face of the Carolina Panthers. Coming off of a 3 Touchdown, 0 Interception game last week, Newton looked good even in a Carolina loss. Panthers fans obviously couldn’t stand not to see Newton this weekend (Carolina’s bye week), hence the spike in sales for the rookie QB.

8. Clay Matthews Mural

See #3. This also could have spiked as a result of people being afraid to order the Clay Matthews #52 version due to the recent commercial. Just a theory.

9. Drew Brees Quarterback

New Orleans took a big step last week in securing the NFC South lead. With their win over Tampa Bay, they now shift to Atlanta, and a win there would give them a little more cushion in the division.  Saints fans geared up and made Drew Brees the 9th best seller this week. Having thrown 8 touchdowns to just 3 interceptions in his last 3 games, Drew Brees is getting New Orleans ready to make a run for the playoffs.  

10. Tom Brady

Nothing soothes the pain of a 2 game losing streak like the purchase of your QB’s fathead. With a big AFC East matchup this weekend with the Jets, New Englanders bought up Brady Fatheads so they could still be with Tom while the team is on the road. A win over the Jets would do a lot to calm Patriots fans fears, and possibly for Brady’s Fathead sales.

November 9, 2011

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NFL Predictions: Week 10 Fantasy Picks

By: Rick Jarrell

How about that Tim Tebow? The man can’t throw a spiral but he wins games. Oakland chose to take away the Broncos ground game and make them beat them in the air, and Tebow did. His performance completely blew up my prediction of a strong fantasy football game for each defense. I’d say I would never doubt him again, but his match up against the New York Jets in a couple weeks will likely be ugly.

The Texans dynamic duo in Arian Foster and Ben Tate ran over the Browns, as expected, and Matt Forte had a huge game, as expected, against the Eagles. The Packers are clearly the favorite to make it out of the NFC this year, but if the Bears continue to feed the ball to Forte and Jay Cutler limits his turnovers, watch out.

Now, let’s talk Week 10.

Sam Bradford / Rams Offense

The Rams have not made that jump to the next level most people expected. The Niners have surprised as the fill-in there. Having said that, Bradford is still going to be an elite quarterback one day, and this Sunday he’s going to show a glimpse of that future stardom.

The Browns have a relatively solid defense. Joe Haden is becoming a lockdown corner and TJ Ward plays a decent centerfield, but the team suffers from constant mental lapses (see the first game against the Bengals). The top passing defense in the league is coupled with one of the worst run defenses due to a suspect set of linebackers. The Rams should be able to pound the ball on the ground, setting up Bradford to play nicely for those desperate for a fantasy football signal caller.

Michael Vick

Arizona has one of the worst pass defenses in the league, and West coast teams never play well during 1:00PM games on the East coast. He didn’t have a great game against Chicago because Brian Urlacher and the gang was able to limit his impact on the ground. Every time Vick rolled out and went to turn the corner, someone was there. Without his legs, the field can’t open up for Vick to be effective in the air.

There’s no one on Arizona’s defense that can perform as well as the Bears did. Look for Vick to be able to exploit the Cardinal secondary, who traded their best corner to the Eagles in the offseason.

Maurice Jones-Drew

I really like MJD, but he’s a frustrating fantasy football player. He’ll go three weeks without a touchdown, and then explode for three the next week, and always finishes the fantasy football season as one of the top backs. If you could pin point his offensive explotions you’d be on easy street, assuming you have a good back up. But they tend to be unpredictable.

The Colts have the 3rd worst run defense in the league, and appear to be adopting the “Suck for Luck” plan. Their defense just doesn’t appear to be trying anymore. That’s a jackpot for a quick, explosive back.

Anthony Fasano

Need a tight end for your fantasy football team? Always look for a young (or bad) quarterback on a losing team and expect his tight end to prosper from check downs. Fasano could be a good play on Sunday.

Miami’s surprising offensive outburst likely won’t replicate itself against the Redskins this week, who boast a solid defense, but Matt Moore is usually good for a couple touchdowns (as well as interceptions).

November 4, 2011

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NFL Predictions: Week 9 Fantasy Picks

By: Rick Jarrell

Was Drew Brees on the football field Sunday? Didn’t feel like it. Honestly, I’m not that surprised the Rams beat the Saints. There are no actual facts to back up this theory, but sometimes teams that blow up offensively one week don’t perform the next game. It happens in football, basketball, and baseball. Whether the team grows overconfident in their abilities and slacks off, is tired from the week before, or something else, I don’t know. It just seems to happen more often than it should.

Brandon Pettigrew was a disappointment, too. I had high expectations for him last week, and the entire season, but he just hasn’t performed. If you can’t capitalize in that high powered offense when the opposing secondary is focusing on Calvin Johnson, you’re not worth a starting spot on a fantasy team.

Detroit’s defense had a good game, though, thanks to Tebow performing like many of us expected. He’s a good guy, and you want him to win based on personality alone, but I’m worried he’s not a pro caliber quarterback.

Adrian Peterson performed, well, too, as he always does. But he didn’t blow the roof off, like you’d expect. Part of the problem was the Vikings went down early to the Panthers and had to throw more than they’d like. Still, Christian Ponder used a lot of check-down passes to Peterson, recording a TD on that end, too.

Not a bad week overall… on to Week 9 picks.

Matt Forte

Forte has been tearing it up this year, and will certainly be paid in the offseason (unless the Bears slap the Franchise Tag on him). Sunday he faces the Philadelphia Eagles, who I see as playing strong the rest of the season after they had the bye to get situated.

The Eagles defense shut down Tony Romo and the Cowboys, but their offensive “forte” is the passing game, and with Nnamdi Asomugha, Asante Samuel, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie patrolling the secondary off of a bye, it’s easy to see why the Cowboys offense stalled.

The Bears “forte,” though, is Forte. The Eagles’ frontline has not performed well this season. Look for the Bears to feed their workhorse back (and potentially Marion Barber if he plays) plenty.

There’s also a good chance Jay Cutler throws a few picks, but that’s always on the table.

Arian Foster / Ben Tate

I presume Foster will get the bulk of the carries now that he’s healthy, but you never know, so I include Tate here. The Browns have had a tough time stopping the run this year, as the secondary is responsible for keeping them in games. There’s a good chance both these guys score Sunday in Houston, and a decent chance the Texans eclipse 30 points.

Oakland Defense

I’m going to continue to pick on Tebow here, and say that Oakland will have a solid defensive game. Despite losing Asomugha in the offseason, the defense remains the strong suit of the team. Their defensive line is strong and will surely pressure Tebow like Detroit’s big line did last week.

Denver Defense

Staying in the same game, I’ll now pick on Carson Palmer. I’ll dismiss his three interception performance two weeks ago – he was only with the team for a few days, and had spent the entire season throwing to high school kids until he was traded from Cincinnati. But Palmer has not been the top tier quarterback he once was since he blew out his knee in the playoffs.

Last year he had a fairly solid fantasy season and qualified as a top ten quarterback. But I find it hard to believe, even with a bye week to catch up, that he’ll be able to hit the ground running for the Raiders. They’ll likely feed Darren McFadden and Michael Bush and limit Palmer’s impact. If Tebow manages to work some of his intangible magic and jump to a significant lead, and Palmer’s forced to perform, look for pick city.