Posts Tagged ‘49ers’

That time of year again is here where NFL players have expired contracts and are either on the prowl for a new team or hoping to stay with their current team for a bigger contract.  Free agency can be a stressful for the fans, owners, and the players.  In the 2014 draft there were some players that were signed quickly because the team recognizes the value in keeping them, but we have also seen some high value players hit the free agency market due to either off field issues or cant afford them anymore.  What has been interesting is seeing how some teams have dived right into this and signed a bunch of players, and to see some teams sit back and let all the players slip through their fingers.  Some teams have had salary cap issues so it makes sense why they have been sitting back not doing anything; and they have been focusing on keeping their current players or waiting for the draft.  Some times the free agent period can make or break a team and its shaping up to be an interesting 2014 season.  Below are some of the big named receivers that have signed to new teams. 

Wide Receivers

1. Steve Smith – Went from the Panthers over to the Ravens.  The Ravens are giving him $11 million with a $3.5 million signing bonus for 3 years.  Even at the age of 35 Smith can still offer a lot to the struggling pass offense of the Ravens.  With Torrey Smith on the other side and Dennis Pitta across the middle it should be an open field for Steve Smith.  And we all know that Flacco could use another weapon in the offense.

2. Eric Decker – Went from the Broncos over to the Jets.  This was kind of surprising since he was in the best pass offense and he is now going to a team that had very serious pass issues.  Now Decker did hit pay dirt by signing a 5 year $36.25 million deal with $15 million being guaranteed money.  The Jets finally released Sanchez, but signed Michael Vick to replace him.  This is going to give Decker to shine now that he is out of the shadow of Thomas and Welker.

3. James Jones – Went from the Packers over to the Raiders.  I think this is a good move for Jones and his career.  The Raiders have added a lot of people to the roster already and with Jones being a deep threat it should add a lot of depth to the offense.  The Raiders added Matt Schaub and even though Schaub had a terrible 2013 campaign he should be able to connect with Jones.  We have to remember Schaub fed the ball to Andre Johnson for a lot of years so he should have no problem getting it to Jones.  Jones was bound to get picked up quick with how he has a knack for getting in the endzone. 

4. Golden Tate – Went from the Seahawks to the Lions.  I can see this going very well, or very bad.  Tate just helped the Seahawks win their first Super Bowl and now he is going to a team that has never been to the big game.  The plus is that the Lions is a pass happy team who has the best WR in the game in Calvin Johnson.  Now Stafford may not be the most consistent QB in the game, but he will have no problem getting the ball to both Tate and Johnson.

5. Hakeem Nicks – Went from the Giants to the Colts.  This is a great pickup for the Colts and I really think that Nicks needed to get away from the Giants.  As long as Nicks can stay healthy he should be able to have a fresh start with the Colts.  Andrew Luck is just getting better and better and Nicks could be a useful tool to help the team get farther in the playoffs.  Nicks was a big part of the offense in New York and when he was healthy he was almost unstoppable. 

Emmanuel Sanders – Went from Steelers to the Broncos
Andre Roberts – Went from Cardinals to the Redskins
Brandon LaFell – Went from Panthers to the Patriots
Devin Hester – Went from the Bears to the Falcons
Dexter McCluster – Went from Chiefs to Titans

It is no secret that I am a huge San Francisco 49ers fan.  I have been watching Niner football since I was 5 and in that time I have seen the franchise bring out some incredibly good linebackers.  Now, we have not always had the best defense in the NFL, but over the last 5 years the Niner defense has been one of the toughest to score on and its mostly in part because of how good our linebackers are.  If I was to build my perfect 49er defense; these are some of the linebackers I would love to have on my team while they were in their prime.

 

Patrick Willis – Coming out of Ole Miss the Niners wasted no time in drafting Willis in the 2007 Draft.  The Niners drafted Willis with the 11th overall pick and Willis quickly went to work  by winning the Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2007.  Since Willis started in San Fran he has been the leader of the defense and he makes everyone around him better and he normally leads the team in tackles and he always is one of the best linebackers in the NFL.  In his short career so far he has already racked up 854 tackles, 17.5 sacks, 7 interceptions, and 16 forced fumbles.  He has also made 6 Pro Bowls and been named to 6 All-Pro NFL Teams. 

Ken Norton Jr. – Between 1994 and 2000 Norton was the heart and soul of the San Fran defense.  After being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys Norton set a good name for himself.  Once the Cowboys released him the Niners were quick to scoop him up.  Norton helped lead the 49ers to the Super Bowl in 1994 and helped the Niners dominate and he became the first player to win 3 consecutive Super Bowls.  By the time his career ended he had 1,130 tackles, 12.5 sacks, 6 interceptions, and 2 defensive TDs.  He was also known for being a big hitter who had no problem plugging up holes and putting helmet to helmet and make you hurt.

NaVorro Bowman – Bowman is the other half of Patrick Willis.  Willis and Bowman have become one of the greatest linebacker duos of all-time.  Bowman was drafted out of Penn State in the 3rd round of the 2010 Draft; which was a steal for the Niners.  Bowman not only is a great run stopper; but he is excellent at defending the pass.  So far in his short career he has already had 406 tackles, 6 sacks, 3 forced fumbles, and 18 passes deflected.  Between him and Willis it is almost impossible to run the ball on the current San Fran defense.  Even without Willis; Bowman is a fantastic LB who will be in the league for a long time.  He earned his first Pro Bowl in 2012 and was a huge help in getting the Niners to the Super Bowl.

Bill Romanowski – One of the most controversial defensive players of all-time; but you cannot argue with how good of a player he was.  Romanowski was a brutal hitter who had great speed and excellent vision for an LB.  Between the years of 1988 and 1993 Romanowski did great work for the San Fran defense.  The Niners drafted Romanowski out of Boston College in the 3rd round of the 1988 draft.  He helped lead the Niners to 2 NFC Championships and was a 4 time Super Bowl Champion.  By the end of his career he had 1,116 tackles, 39.5 sacks, and 18 interceptions.  Despite his on field issues I would still take Bill any day of the week.

Gary Plummer – Most people may not remember him, but between 1994 and 1997 Plummer was an absolute beast on the field.  The reason I would pick him is because he had great vision and was very good at stopping the run.  He was also a quite guy who never had bad publicity; he just went out and played the game.  Plummer was drafted out of California by the Chargers, but eventually landed in San Fran.  When his career ended he had 1,029 tackles, 6 interceptions, and 4.5 sacks.  I view Plummer as a silent killer who would punish you if you came in the middle.

Aldon Smith – He has recently had some off-field issues, but regardless, Smith is going to be one of the NFL greats by the time his career is over.  In 2011 the Niners used their first round draft pick to get Smith out of Missouri.  In his rookie year he won Defensive Rookie of the Year and the NFC Defensive Player of the Year.  He also holds a franchise record for 19.5 sacks in a season; and he holds an NFL record for being the fastest player in NFL history to get to 30 sacks.  In just 2 seasons he has 121 tackles, 38 sacks, and 5 forced fumbles.  He may be young, but he will be a legend soon.

 

 

Pretty much everyone can throw their “pre-season” predictions out the window because it has been a crazy NFL season so far.  The worst team in the NFL in 2012 is now undefeated, we have two teams that have only won one game, and we have teams that were supposed to be Super Bowl contenders just fall off the face of the earth.  But, thats whats fun about football; you never know whats going to happen.  We are now 10 weeks into the 2013 season and a playoff picture is now starting to form.  There are some teams that we can tell are playoff bound, and at the same time I really think we will have a crazy Wild Card race going into the playoffs.  So, with that being said here is the current NFL Power Ranking; along with some other interesting facts.

1. Kansas City Chiefs (9-0) – Ten weeks ago when it was Week 1 the Chiefs were ranked at #22.  People will make the argument that the Chiefs have not played a tough team yet, but the fact remains they are undefeated.  The Chiefs defense has really been a surprise and they have been holding opponents to under 18 points a game.  The Chiefs offense is not the best in the NFL, but Smith and Company have been doing something that most teams do too much of and thats NOT turning the ball over.  It is very rare that the Chiefs turn the ball over and when you add that to a stout defense it equals victories.  In the next 3 weeks the Chiefs will play the Broncos twice so we will really see what they are made of.

2. Denver Broncos (8-1) – Peyton Manning has been a thrill to watch this year and he is leading the NFL in pretty much every passing category.  Another surprise on the Broncos offense has been Knowshon Moreno, he has found the endzone 8 times this season.  The Broncos defense has suffered some setbacks, but when you get an offense that will score almost 40 points a game it really helps.  The 3-headed monster on the team is the combo of Welker, Thomas, and Decker and with those 3 running routes at the same time makes it almost impossible to defend.  The lowest the Broncos ranking has been this year was 4th; I dont see a way that the Broncos wont be deep into the playoffs.

3. Seattle Seahawks (9-1) – When the season started the Seahawks were ranked #1 and the lowest they have gone is 5th.  The Seahawks have had one of the best defenses in the NFL, not to mention a very high powered offense.  Lynch has already scored 7 rushing TDs and is second in the NFL in rushing yards.  Between Richard Sherman and Earl Thomas they have combined for 8 interceptions which makes it very difficult to pass on the Seahawks.  I really cant see anything slowing Seattle down between Russell Wilson, Lynch, Golden Tate, and a powerful defense it would not surprise me to see Seattle playing in the Super Bowl.

4. New Orleans Saints (7-2) – When the season started the Saints were ranked at 14 and had a terrible defense in 2012.  It has been a major turn around this season with Brees throwing 25 TDs already and over 3,000 passing yards.  Lets not forget Jimmy Graham who has been a dominating force with 10 receiving TDs and 54 receptions; which is more than most receivers on other teams.  Someone that gets overlooked on this offense is Pierre Thomas; with Sproles not being as productive as usual Thomas has been the primary running back to shoulder the load in the running game and he has made a bigger impact this year than he has in previous years.

5. New England Patriots (7-2) – The Patriots have had their struggles this year, but they have made the adjustments they need to still win games.  Brady has been doing his best to utilize the young receivers he has and the running game has almost been non-existent up until a few weeks ago with Blount and Ridley.  Now with Gronkowski coming back into the mix it has given Brady a reliable target in the pass game and the young receivers have been improving every week. 

6. Carolina Panthers (6-3) – Yes you are reading this right; the Panthers are in the top 10 in the Power Rankings.  Just 10 weeks ago they were ranked down in the 23rd spot and now with a 5 game win streak they have cracked the top 10.  Its mostly the defense that is making this possible by holding opponents to under 19 points a game for the last 5 weeks.  Obviously Cam Newton has been keeping the offense rolling, but the defense is their best weapon as of late.  Players like Charles Johnson with 8.5 sacks, Mike Mitchell with 3 interceptions, and Luke Kuechly with 75 tackles is keeping the Panthers in games.  Believe it or not, but the Panthers could make a playoff run this season which would be the first in almost a decade.

7. Indianapolis Colts (6-3) – Despite getting handled by the Rams this week the Colts are still looking pretty sharp.  They have the weapons in Luck, Richardson, Hilton, and Fleener but they need to utilize them more.  Everyone thought that Richardson would be the answer to the run game, but so far it has been a disappointment and with Reggie Wayne going to IR the load has fallen on Hilton and Heyward-Bey.  The Colts defense has stepped up when needed as well in tough games.  What fans are hoping for is that Luck and Company can continue to get the ball to the endzone and make another playoff run.

8. San Francisco 49ers (6-3) – Once again the 49ers defense is one of the best in the NFL; but the offense is not doing their part.  The 49ers have an incredible running game with Gore, Hunter, and James; but Kap is literally dead last in passing yards.  The Niners have weapons too in Vernon Davis, Anquan Boldin, and Mario Manningham.  Eventually Crabtree will come back, but its not going to matter if Kap cant get the ball to them.  It would not surprise me if the Niners still make a playoff run, but it will be short lived unless the offense steps it up soon.  The good news is that the defense is stepping up big time.  When you have players like Patrick Willis, Navarrow Bowman, and Justin Smith you are bound to have a solid defense, but the Niners cannot rely on them to get them to another Super Bowl.

9. Detroit Lions (6-3) – When I think of the Lions there are 3 names that come to mind; Calvin Johnson, Matthew Stafford, and now Reggie Bush.  Between those 3 guys the Lions have become a very powerful offense.  Calvin has already found the endzone 9 times and is almost to 1,000 receiving yards already.  Reggie Bush has been a double threat by being the main rusher on the team and a safety valve for Stafford.  Picking up Bush was the best thing for the Lions and Bush has taken advantage of it by having 4 total TDs and almost 1,000 total yards.  Lets not forget about the defense, DeAndre Levy leads the NFL with 5 interceptions and Stephen Tulloch with 72 tackles.  The Lions actually do have a good chance at a playoff run with the Packers and the Bears both multiple games in the last few weeks.

10. Cincinnati Bengals (6-4) – The Bengals have now dropped 2 straight games; both in overtime, but dont count them out yet.  AJ Green leads the NFL in receiving yards and second in receptions; and between Bernard and Green-Ellis the running game has gotten a lot better.  To me, the issue is Dalton.  He is a good QB, but he is still making bad decisions in crucial times of the game.  When Dalton is hot he is almost impossible to stop, but when he is cold he is ice cold.  The Bengals have had an incredible defense this year and it is because of the defense that the Bengals are leading in their division.  If the Bengals can pull the offense together they should be able to take the NFC North with no problem.

11. Chicago Bears (5-4) – I had high hopes for the Bears after they came out of the gates with 3 straight wins, but recently they have been a bit disappointing.  Part of it was the fact that Cutler was injured, but you cant blame all of it on that.  The Bears main weapon is still Brandon Marshall, but Alshon Jeffery has been a nice compliment in the pass game.  Also, the emergence of Martellus Bennett has been a nice addition in the pass game.  My problem with the Bears is that they have re-vamped offensive line and a killer RB in Forte, but they are not giving him the ball enough.  Forte is almost to the 700 yard mark and a solid 7 TDs, but I feel he should be used more like an Adrian Peterson type back.  With Cutler back under center I think the Bears can give the Lions a run for their money, but only time will tell.

12. New York Jets (5-4) – The Jets were ranked dead last when the season began, but they have clawed their way up to #12.  The best thing that the Jets did was bench Sanchez; I am not saying Geno Smith is that much better, but it is definitely an improvement.  You cant blame everything on Smith though; the offensive line has given up a lot of sacks and the running game has not been too impressive.  So, how are the Jets 5-4?  Simple answer; defense.  The offense has stepped up in big situations, but the defense plays a full 4 quarters of football. 

13. Green Bay Packers (5-4) – Very rough season for the cheese heads.  The Packers have just been plagued with the injury big with key players going down, such as; Aaron Rodgers, Randall Cobb, and Jermichael Finley.  The bright spot though has been the outstanding play of rookie Eddie Lacy.  The Packers have been searching for a franchise RB and they found it big time.  Lacy as a rookie is ranked 8th in rushing yards and 7th in rushing attempts in the league.  This may not be the year that the Packers do well, but this team is going to be extremely tough for years to come.

14. Philadelphia Eagles (5-5) – Its been an up and down season for the Eagles, but I think they are on the right track now.  I think its official that Vick is not going to have a job next year, but Foles has played very well in a short amount of time.  And when you add in LeSean McCoy to the mix it just makes the offense that much better.  The Eagles have also found a star in Riley Cooper who is playing for the injured Jeremy Maclin; who also may not have a job next year.  The offense is finally coming together and even with the NFC East being a sloppy division, the Eagles could take the division easily.

15. Dallas Cowboys (5-5) – Speaking of NFC East its time to talk about the Cowboys.  What bothers me with the Cowboys is that they have all the weapons they need on offense and defense.  You have a better Tony Romo, Dez Bryant, Jason Witten, and DeMarco Murray.  And on defense you have Sean Lee and Ware who are having Pro Bowl years.  So whats the problem?  With the schedule that the Cowboys have I really thought they would be 7-3 right now.  Everyone wants to blame Romo (because its a habit), but I cant say its all his fault.  The Cowboys are going to need to step up their game if they hope to win this horrible division.

16. Arizona Cardinals (5-4) – Another team that has an awesome defense, but a mediocre offense.  I dont see the Cardinals making a playoff push, but if they can get some better offensive players I think they could be a contender in the NFC West.  In my opinion it starts with the offensive line.  The Cards have a decent run game and they have weapons in Fitzgerald and Roberts, but if Palmer cant throw the ball they will be useless.

17. San Diego Chargers (4-5) – They have had some bright spots in Woodhead, Rivers, and Gates, but they are having a tough time stopping teams from scoring.  Rivers is having a Pro Bowl type year, but that wont be enough in their division to make a playoff push.  They are competing in the AFC West that has the Broncos and the Chiefs; so I dont really see them going to the post-season. 

18. Baltimore Ravens (4-5) – Even with the Ravens being this low they could still make the playoffs.  The AFC North has the Bengals (who the Ravens just beat), the Steelers, and the Browns.  Over the alst few weeks the Ravens have been playing like the defensing Super Bowl Champs; especially the defense.  The biggest difference in the Ravens offense has been the poor play of Ray Rice who is barely averaging 3 yards per carry.  But, its not all his fault either the pass game has been almost non-existent this season.  But even with that said the Ravens could slip into the playoffs as long as they keep pulling in the wins.

19. Cleveland Browns (4-5) – Obviously in a re-building year trading away Richardson and going through QBs like I go through underwear.  The two bright spots have been the emergence of Jordan Cameron and Josh Gordon.  The Browns and the Ravens have the same record, but dont expect the Browns to be a playoff team.  There are a lot of holes in the offense, defense, and staff that will not benefit them for the remainder of the season. 

20. St. Louis Rams (4-6) – Sam Bradford is out for the rest of the year, the running game is finally working, and Tavon Austin finally had a breakout game.  There were some high hopes for the Rams coming into the season but they were quickly put to rest.  Up until last week the Rams didnt even have a rushing TD and we were just waiting for Austin to show why he was a first round pick.  The Rams could improve for future seasons, but I dont see them advancing for this season.

21. Tennessee Titans (4-5) – Even being ranked this low the Titans could push to be a Wild Card team.  In their division its the Colts, Texans, Jags, and the Titans.  Obviously the Jags and Texans have sealed their fate for this season, but the Titans still have a sliver of a chance.  You wont find any of the offensive players leading in any stats, but when you combine Chris Johnson, Jake Locker, Kendall Wright, and Nate Washington I think they could slide into a Wild Card spot if they get more wins under their belt.

22. Miami Dolphins (4-5) – Everyone was shocked when the Dolphins came out guns blazing winning 3 straight games.  But it has not taken long for the whole team to just crumble.  Since their 3 win start they have only won one more game which was in OT against the Bengals.  People thought having Mike Wallace in Miami would be an improvement and that has proven to be a disappointment, and most people listed Lamar Miller as a sleeper for fantasy players which has also been a disappointment.  Now with the Dolphins getting a lot of negative attention its only going to add to a growing problem for the franchise.

23. Washington Redskins (3-6) – I just dont understand this team at all.  Alfred Morris is probably one of the more reliable backs in the game, yet he is getting a lot less carries than his rookie year and more importantly, Morris is getting a lot less redzone carries which confuses me greatly.  I really cant tell what is going on with RGIII either.  One week he is unstoppable then the next week he cant do anything right.  It has been a treat to see Garcon play to his potential this season and I think he is one of the main reasons that the Redskins have won 3 games.  The Redskins have a long road ahead of them, but I still think that RGIII is the answer to most of the problems.

24. Pittsburgh Steelers (3-6) – Another team that just baffles me.  They are just letting games slip through their fingers.  Antonio Brown leads the NFL in receptions and has proven to be a reliable target for Big Ben, but he cant get in the endzone.  When it comes to the running game its literally hit or miss.  Le’Veon Bell is a good runner when he is healthy, but they do not have that reliable RB to back him up if something happens.  The “Steel Curtain” has not been up to par either this year and I cant tell what the problem is.  The Steelers are a good team and they have been for decades, but this has not been a good year and I dont see a playoff birth for 2013.

25. New York Giants (3-6) – Talk about a team that just fell right on their face.  It was mostly in the running game when they released Bradshaw, then Wilson played poorly, then Wilson and Brown got hurt, then Jacobs got hurt, then Hillis stepped in, and now Brown is back.  The defense has been really soft this year too by allowing well over 20 points a game which equals a lot of losses.  I know the Giants are a good team, but they got off on the wrong foot this year and they are paying for it now.

26. Buffalo Bills (3-7) – Between having a rookie QB and Spiller being a bust its just been one thing after another for the Bills this year.  People were really putting a lot of faith into Spiller and Manuel going into the season, but injuries put a stop to that quickly.  The Bills also have weapons that can add up tp wins, but they need to be able to put all the pieces of the puzzle together.  Eventually I could see the Bills being a playoff contender; just not this year.

27. Oakland Raiders (3-6) – It has been a treat to see how much Pryor has improved since the beginning of the season and I think Oakland finally has a QB they can groom to be a franchise QB.  One piece of this puzzle though is DMC needing to stay healthy for a full season.  McFadden has put up good numbers this year, but he is still plagued with the injury bug.  I gotta give the Raiders defense some credit because the few wins they have had this year have been won by the defense.

28. Houston Texans (2-7) – I really thought the Texans were going to be a solid playoff team this year; was I off or what?  It was very hard to watch Matt Schaub literally throw this team into the ground for the first 4 weeks, but its even tougher now with Foster being injured and the defense has fallen apart now that they are talking about cutting Ed Reid.  I am hoping this is just an “off” year for the Texans and they come back next year and get back on track.

29. Atlanta Falcons (2-7) – Roddy White, Julio Jones, Matt Ryan, Steven Jackson, and Tony Gonzalez.  When you look at those names all you see is Pro Bowls, TDs, and great players.  The fact that they are all on the same team you would think that it would be an unstoppable offense; well its been a different story this year.  I was predicting the Falcons to make another deep playoff run, but between injuries and just poor play they find themselves searching for answers.  2013 was not kind to the Falcons, but they will be better next season that much I know.

30. Minnesota Vikings (2-7) – I can sum up this teams season in two words; QB issues.  I can seriously say that the Vikings can blame the majority of this crappy season on the poor play of all 3 of their QBs.  Adrian Peterson is playing well and carrying the team as best as he can right now, but the QB (no matter who it is) is not helping matters.

31. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-8) – With the loss of Josh Freeman and Doug Martin the Bucs have been using inexperienced players to try and carry the team.   Its been a sad year for the Bucs, but its mostly sitting on the offense to pick up the slack for next season.

32. Jacksonville Jaguars (1-8) – They finally got a win.  To be honest I dont really think too many people had high hopes for the Jags this season.

As we approach the mid-way mark of the 2013 season it is time to see how our fantasy “projections” have turned out.  At the start of the season everyone had their opinions on who was going to be the best fantasy options.  Also, there were plenty of sleeper and bust articles written and now we get to see if any of those projections were correct.  In this article I will go over every position that encumbers a fantasy football team and I will go over who is leading in fantasy points and see if the projections earlier this season were correct or way off.  The point system I am using is a Standard ESPN Fantasy Football Scoring Format.  At the end of this article I will show the top rankings for all positions.

+QUARTERBACKS+

The QB section is pretty close to what we had expected.  The big surprise was how good of start Peyton Manning started off with.  Through 7 weeks Peyton has already put up a monstrous 168 fantasy points.  The next QB down is Drew Brees with 130 fantasy points which is still very good obviously.  A name that has shocked me is Jay Cutler; she is 7th in fantasy points for QB with 102 points which is above Aaron Rodgers (100), Matt Ryan (96), and Cam Newton (92).  Cutler was not even drafted in some leagues and in other leagues he has been just sitting on the bench.  People may want to think about starting him for future games now that he is proving to be a better QB than before.  Another big surprise was Tony Romo; he is 4th in fantasy points for QBs with 115 points and he has made some mistakes but not nearly as many as previous years.

The players that I have been disappointed with are Colin Kaepernick (76), Tom Brady (79), and Matt Schaub (72).  Kap in his first game looked like he was going to be just amazing, but since that game he has not been playing to the standard we had thought he would.  Tom Brady is going to the Hall of Fame, but with an inexperienced receiving squad he has really had to struggle to get the ball downfield this season.  There are some Patriot receivers who are stepping up, but it is a far cry from where he was just a few years ago.  Matt Schaub has just been a mess this season and if he is on your fantasy team then you are just wasting a slot.  He has been a turnover machine and he is not making it easy for the Texans to win.

+RUSHING+

There have been some big shockers here.  People who picked up Jamaal Charles are sitting pretty right now since he leads all RBs in points with 112.  LeSean McCoy is sitting at 98 points while Marshawn Lynch is at 93.  Outside of those 3 people it has been an absolute mess with RBs.  As it stands right now Knowshon Moreno is 4th in points for RBs with 92 which is ahead of Adrian Peterson (84); who I am sure was drafted #1 in every league.  In most leagues Moreno was not even drafted since it was said that Montee Ball would most likely be the starter.  Reggie Bush is also fitting in very well with the Lions by scoring 77 points already and that is with him missing one full game.  Adrian Peterson has had a lot of things happen this season but he is still producing numbers and he is 5th in points with 84 points so far this season.

Now for the disappointments in the RB column.  Here are some of the running backs that people picked in the first round of their drafts; CJ Spiller, Ray Rice, Doug Martin, Trent Richardson, Arian Foster, and Alfred Morris.  Now I am not saying they are all doing bad but I am going to put this into perspective.  Ray Rice has 37 fantasy points; that is one point more than back up running back Jaquizz Rodgers (36) for the Falcons.  I know Rice has had some injury issues but he is only averaging 2.8 yards per carry.  People had high hopes for CJ Spiller but he has only put up 39 points while his counter part Fred Jackson has racked up 71 points.  I dont think anyone saw that coming.  I think my two biggest surprises are Doug Martin (47) and Trent Richardson (45).  Martin had an incredible rookie year but he is proving to have a huge sophomore slump right now and the same goes for Richardson who even got traded to a better team!  I know most people who have Richardson or Martin have not been impressed yet.  Arian Foster is still having a good year so far with 80 points but he would be putting up a lot more if Schaub was not turning the ball over so much.  Some other quick disappointments are Maurice Jones-Drew with 40 points (27th ranked); and Chris Johnson with 46 points (19th ranked).

Some surprises at the running spot; besides Moreno; is DeMarco Murray, Frank Gore, and Danny Woodhead.  Even with Murray battling an injury he is still 10th in points for RBs, Gore is 11th in points with 67, and Woodhead who is playing behind Ryan Mathews is 16th in points with 49 while Mathews is 26th with 41 points.  There is still a long way to go in the season and there is always going to be players that just explode in November and December.

+RECEIVING+

This is where most of the fun is taking place right now.  I will go over the receivers first then the tight ends, but I am shocked that DeSean Jackson is the leader in points for receivers right now with 87 points.  Wes Welker is in second with 80 points, Dez Bryant is 3rd with 78 points, Brandon Marshall is 4th with 76 points, and Demaryius Thomas is 5th with 74 points.  There are a lot of familiar names toward the top of this list like Victor Cruz (73), Julio Jones (65), and Jordy Nelson (71).  One name that stands out right now is Alshon Jeffery with 63 points which ranks him 10th overall.  Another surprise name is Denarius Moore ranking in at 11th with 62 points which is above big named players like Reggie Wayne (56) and Calvin Johnson (55).  One player who is still consistent as ever is AJ Green with 69 points and coming in 8th in overall points.

The disappointments are all over the place here.  Most leagues had Calvin as the first picked receiver and so far he is ranked 16th in points which is pretty bad compared to his previous seasons.  At number 21 we have Anquan Boldin who had a monster first game, but since then has literally done nothing to keep his fantasy value up.  Another big name that is yet to impress is Vincent Jackson; I know he has had two games that were good, but other than that he only has 50 fantasy points and is ranked 23 right now.  One surprise here is Josh Gordon who missed the first 2 games of the season; yet he is ranked number 18 with 55 points.  All of the Bronco receivers are in the top 20 with Welker at number 2, Thomas at number 5, and Decker at number 17 so if you have any of those guys keep them in your lineup forever. 

When it comes to TEs we all know that Jimmy Graham is ranked first with 93 points, but sis you know the second TE with the most points is Julius Thomas with 78?  Bottom line if you have any Broncos receiver, you better hold on to them.  Vernon Davis comes in 3rd right now with 74 while the 4th ranked is Jordan Cameron with 73 points.  Antonio Gates is 5th on this list with 53 points and he is showing glimpses of previous seasons.  But that is a huge gap between 4th and 5th place right now; thats a whole 20 points.  There really are not any surprises when it comes to TEs except for the absence of Gronkowski.  There have been reports of Gronk coming back very shortly and I can see Brady putting him to good use very quickly.

+DEFENSE+

Most people dont really see how many “fantasy” points defenses put up.  I bet right now that most people dont know that the Chiefs have scored the most points with 113; the next defense down at number 2 is the Seahawks with 75 points.  So go to your fantasy team and add the Chiefs right now.  Also, the Titans are 3rd in defensive points with 66 and the Browns are 4th with 58 points.  After the first few defenses on this list they all are about equal; just a few points off so if you need a defense; you best pick up one of these.

+KICKERS+

Kickers and defenses are pretty similar.  Most kickers will do about the same amount of points give or take 10 points.  Right now Matt Prater leads all kickers with 72 points while Stephen Gostkowski comes in 2nd with 67 points.  Garrett Hartley and Steven Hauschka both have 62 points while Mason Crosby has 60 points.  After that they all pan out to be pretty much equal; but if you are in need of a kicker one of these guys will do the trick.

+TOTAL POINTS ALL+

1. Peyton Manning – 168
2. Drew Brees – 130
3. Philip Rivers – 119
4. Tony Romo – 115
5. Chiefs – 113
6. Jamaal Charles – 112
7. Matthew Stafford – 110
8. Jay Cutler – 102
9. Sam Bradford – 102
10. Aaron Rodgers – 100
11. Michael Vick – 98
12. LeSean McCoy – 98
13. Andrew Luck – 97
13. Matt Ryan – 96
14. Marshawn Lynch – 93
15. Jimmy Graham – 93
16. Knowshon Moreno – 92
17. Cam Newton – 92
18. Russell Wilson – 92
19. Alex Smith – 87
20. DeSean Jackson – 87
21. Adrian Peterson – 84
22. Matt Forte – 82
23. Andy Dalton – 81
24. Wes Welker – 80
25. Arian Foster – 80
26. Tom Brady – 79
27. Robert Griffin III – 79
28. Dez Bryant – 78
29. Julius Thomas – 78
30. Reggie Bush – 77
31. Terrelle Pryor – 77
32. Brandon Marshall – 76
33. Colin Kaepernick – 76
34. Joe Flacco – 75
35. Seahawks – 75
36. Vernon Davis – 74
37. Demaryius Thomas – 74
38. Victor Cruz – 73
39. Jordan Cameron – 73
40. Geno Smith – 73
41. Matt Schaub – 72
42. Matt Prater – 72
43. Fred Jackson – 71
44. Jordy Nelson – 71
45. DeMarco Murray – 71
46. Eli Manning – 70
47. AJ Green – 69
48. Frank Gore – 67
49. Stephen Gostkowski – 67
50. Titans – 66
51. Ben Roethlisberger – 65
52. Julio Jones – 65
53. Jake Locker – 65
54. Ryan Tannehill – 64
55. Alshon Jeffery – 64
56. Garrett Hartley – 62
57. Steven Hauschka – 62
58. Denarius Moore – 62
59. Torrey Smith – 62
60. Carson Palmer – 60
61. Larry Fitzgerald – 60
62. Mason Crosby – 60
63. Antonio Brown – 60
64. Nick Novak – 59
65. Gio Bernard – 59
66. EJ Manuel – 59
67. Browns – 58
68. Adam Vinatieri – 57
69. Alex Henery – 57
70. Reggie Wayne – 56
71. Bengals – 56
72. Colts – 56
73. 49ers – 56
74. Calvin Johnson – 55
75. Eric Decker – 55

With the NFL season about a third of the way done it is time to see how the best players in the NFL are doing so far.  There have been a lot of surprises, trades, upsets, and close games thus far and some players are rising to the challenge while others are crumbling under the pressure.  Due to some of the great playing there are teams that are still undefeated while some other teams are still searching for that first win.  The one thing that always gets in the way is injuries.  There have been a large load of injuries that have already taken place proving that no player is safe.  Ill be going over the leaders in passing, rushing, receiving, defense, and kicking to see who is on top.

+PASSING YARDS+
Right now Peyton leads this group and if he stays on this path he will have well over 5,000 yards by the end of the season.  The same thing goes with Drew Brees; both of these QBs are deadly when they get into a groove and I do not see anything slowing them down.
1. Peyton Manning – 1884
2. Drew Brees – 1722
3. Matt Ryan – 1649
4. Philip Rivers – 1610
5. Matthew Stafford – 1524

+PASSING TDS+
This is a category that is pretty shocking to me.  I am used to seeing different names on this list, but this year has shown that no matter who is taking snaps, they can succeed with a solid offensive line and a good group of receivers.  Tom Brady is not on this list due to him having a lot of young receivers; same thing with Eli Manning except he has a weak offensive line.  At this rate we could have 7 QBs with over 40 TD passes by the end of the season and Manning could have well over 50.

1. Peyton Manning – 20 TDS and 1 INT
2. Tony Romo – 13 TDS and 2 INT
3. Philip Rivers – 13 TDS and 5 INT
4. Drew Brees – 12 TDS and 4 INT
5. Jay Cutler – 10 TDS and 6 INT
6. Matt Ryan – 10 TDS and 3 INT
7 Sam Bradford – 10 TDS and 3 INT

+RUSHING YARDS+
I was expecting a lot more rushing yards from certain players and so far this season it has really showed that teams are throwing the ball more.  There are only a handful of running backs that have actually lived up to their expectations.  I am not saying they are not playing well; but I am saying that teams are not running the ball like they used to.  McCoy is still on pace to have over a 1500 yard season and Peterson is on track to have at least 1300.  But players like Spiller, Jones-Drew, and Chris Johnson have been mostly a bust so far this season.

1. LeSean McCoy – 514
2. Adrian Peterson – 421
3. Marshawn Lynch – 410
4. DeMarco Murray – 399
5. Jamaal Charles – 397
6. Arian Foster – 390
7. Frank Gore – 376

+RUSHING TDS+
There have not been too many rushing touchdowns yet, but as the season goes on these numbers should get better.  What is more shocking to me is how some of the best players have not reached the end zone at all or just once.  Like Arian Foster has 1 rushing TD in 5 games; or CJ Spiller only having 1 rushing TD. 

1. Adrian Peterson – 5
2. Fred Jackson – 4
3. Knowshon Moreno – 4
4. Frank Gore – 3
5. Marshawn Lynch – 3
6. Matt Forte – 3
7. Ray Rice – 3
8. Jamaal Charles – 3
9. LeSean McCoy – 3
10. BenJarvus Green-Ellis – 3

+WR RECEPTIONS+
Here is where the big boys are and where some big numbers are being posted.  With most teams looking to pass the ball more, receivers are becoming better fantasy options than running backs.  Even with injuries, suspensions, and constant depth chart moves, receivers are getting the ball a lot. 

1. Julio Jones – 41 receptions and 60 targets
2. Andre Johnson – 37 receptions and 57 targets
3. Julian Edelman – 36 receptions and 50 targets
4. Demaryius Thomas – 34 receptions and 44 targets
5. Antonio Brown – 32 receptions and 42 targets
6. Wes Welker – 31 receptions and 42 targets
7. Brandon Marshall – 31 receptions and 47 targets
8. Victor Cruz – 31 receptions and 55 targets
9. AJ Green – 31 receptions and 59 targets
10. Cecil Shorts – 31 receptions and 61 targets

+WR RECEIVING YARDS+
Just because you catch a lot of passes does not mean that you get a lot of yards or touchdowns.  The players in this category make the best use of their receptions by turning them into big plays.  Some of these players are set to have well over 1300 yards by the end of the season.

1. Julio Jones – 580
2. Torrey Smith – 556
3. DeSean Jackson – 525
4. Victor Cruz – 473
5. Demaryius Thomas – 450
6. Alshon Jeffery – 429
7. Eric Decker – 4278. Dez Bryant – 423
9. Antonio Brown – 412
10. Cecil Shorts – 411

+WR TDS+
1. Wes Welker – 7
2. Dez Bryant – 6
3. Eddie Royal – 5
4. Calvin Johnson – 4
5. Demaryius Thomas – 4
6. Victor Cruz – 4
7. Austin Pettis – 4
8. Larry Fitzgerald – 3

+TE RECEPTIONS+
The NFL over the last few years is really starting to use the tight end more like a receiver than a blocker.  I am not saying that tight ends dont block anymore, but we are starting to see them put up receiver like numbers.  There are some teams where the TE is the main receiver on the team.

1. Jimmy Graham – 37 receptions and 54 targets
2. Tony Gonzalez – 33 receptions and 46 targets
3. Jordan Cameron – 33 receptions and 47 targets
4. Antonio Gates – 32 receptions and 43 targets
5. Jason Witten – 28 receptions and 43 targets
6. Julius Thomas – 27 receptions and 36 targets

+TE RECEIVING YARDS+

1. Jimmy Graham – 593
2. Antonio Gates – 438
3. Jordan Cameron – 396
4. Julius Thomas – 359
5. Tony Gonzalez – 339
6. Jason Witten – 313
7. Charles Clay – 297

+TE TDS+

1. Jimmy Graham – 6
2. Julius Thomas – 6
3. Jordan Cameron – 5
4. Vernon Davis – 4
5. Tony Gonzalez – 3
6. Jason Witten – 3
7. Owen Daniels – 3
8. Martellus Bennett – 3
9. Garrett Graham – 3

+DEFENSE+
We have seen the emergence of some pretty good defenses and special teams this year.  Just based on fantasy points scored here are the defenses that lead the NFL.

1. Chiefs
2. Seahawks
3. Browns
4. Titans
5. Colts
6. Bengals
7. Cardinals
8. 49ers
9. Bears

Three weeks of the 2013 NFL season is now in the books and it has already been a crazy ride.  There are teams that were supposed to do well that are not, teams that were not supposed to good who are, rookies making big plays, and crazy trades.  I made some predictions a few months ago about who I think was going to win their division and obviously I need to throw those out the window.  Below is some new predictions based on what has happened so far in the first three weeks thus far.

In the NFC East the big surprise for me is that the New York Giants are 0-3, while the Dallas Cowboys are 2-1.  Also, a lot of people had high hopes after the Eagles opening game, but after winning their first game they have dropped two straight.  I had some high hopes for the Washington Redskins, but I was way off on that since they have started their season 0-3.  With what has happened so far it would not surprise me to see the Cowboys take the NFC East; the only other team that might have a shot is the Eagles, but Vick needs to step his game up for that to happen.  As long as Romo keeps playing the way he has they should be able to roll through the rest of the season.  Romo in three games has had 6 touchdowns and only one interception which is a huge improvement since the 2012 season.

In the NFC North the Bears are on top with a 3-0 record behind their powerful defense.  The Bears are only allowing 88 yards per game on the ground and less than 300 passing yards a game.  The Bears are also passing the ball better and Marshall has already pulled in 20 receptions and two touchdowns.  The Bears offensive line is getting the job done as well only allowing 3 sacks so far this season.  On the other end the Vikings are 0-3 even with Adrian Peterson scoring 3 touchdowns so far this season.  The Detroit Lions have had some close games but they are at 2-1 behind a brutal passing game.  Stafford already has over 1,000 passing yards and 6 touchdowns, and with all the weapons the Lions have on offense this may be the year they make a playoff push.  The surprise here is the Green Bay Packer losing to the 49ers and to the Bengals.  Rodgers does have 8 touchdowns, but the Packers are pretty banged up when it comes to the running backs.  As long as the Bears and Lions keep playing the way they have been I think one of them could take the division.

In the NFC South the Saints are off to a big start at 3-0 behind the great play of Brees and Graham.  Jimmy Graham has already pulled in 4 touchdowns while Brees has thrown 6 touchdowns.  I am a bit surprised that the Falcons are 1-2, but with Roddy White and Steven Jackson injured it makes a little more sense.  Once the Falcons can get healthy they should be able to make a comeback from their terrible start.  The Panthers are being led by Cam Newton but the rest of the team is letting him down and they are 1-2 so far.  I am surprised that the Bucs are having this many issues already.  They are 0-3 and the defense is not playing up to the standard people had anticipated; and the offense is not getting the ball into their playmakers hands.  Vincent Jackson has 15 receptions and is yet to reach the end zone.  Doug Martin is doing his best to carry the team with 297 rushing yards, but he has only reached the end zone one time.  I think the Saints are going to be a strong contender this year and the will be tough to beat.

The NFC West has the Seattle Seahawks on top with a 3-0 record behind the outstanding play of Russell Wilson and the defense.  The Seahawks have only allowed 27 points in 3 games with is only a 9 point average.  The Seattle defense is also only allowing 146 passing yards a game which makes them the best defense in the NFL right now.  As for the 49ers, they are having some major struggles right now after a lot of people predicted them to be one of the best teams.  They have 3 key players out right now with injuries (Davis, Crabtree, and Manningham), but Colin is not playing well.  The 49ers can turn it around but they need to step it up in every aspect of the game.  The Cardinals and the Rams are both 1-2 which was to be expected from both of them.  I think the Seahawks will be the team to beat, but the 49ers could come back from this and be a contender.

In the AFC East the Patriots and the Dolphins are both 3-0.  Yes; you heard right, the Miami Dolphins are undefeated.  The Dolphins have been laying excellent defense, but Ryan Tannehill is becoming a leader for the team.  Tannehill may not put up the number Tom Brady does, but he knows how to win.  Speaking of Tom Brady, he is adjusting well to the young receivers around him while he waits for Amendola to heal.  The Patriots defense is making a huge contribution as well by only allowing 34 points so far.  They are only allowing 188 passing yards per game as well.  The surprise for me is the New York Jets; they are now 2-1 behind their rookie QB Geno Smith.  Even with Geno learning he has found a way to lead the Jets to victory with a dismal running game, and a banged up receiving squad.  The Bills are 1-2 behind their rookie QB EJ Manuel, but the Bills are having more issues than anticipated.  Spiller is not putting up the numbers people had expected so its putting a lot of pressure on Manuel.  I can see the Patriots making a playoff push, but honestly I think the Dolphins could be a Wild Card team as long as they keep pulling wins.

In the AFC North the Bengals are playing some good football which has made them 2-1.  Andy Dalton has already put the ball in the end zone 5 times and has been connecting with AJ Green for a lot of them.  The Bengals have an improved run game as well with Ben Jarvus Green Ellis and Giovani Bernard making them a difficult offense to slow down.  The Ravens are also 2-1 even with the absence of Ray Rice and Jacoby Jones.   The Browns have traded away Trent Richardson and are talking about trading Greg Little and Josh Gordan which has made them a 1-2 team.  No one is really sure why the Browns are getting rid of all their playmakers, but thats Cleveland for ya.  The biggest surprise here is the Steelers being 0-3.  Big Ben and company have had a lot of offensive struggles and has been putting too much pressure on the defense.  I don’t see the Steelers making a playoff push this year, but I do think the Bengals have a strong chance to take the division.

The AFC South is a race thus far with the Texans, Titans, and Colts all being 2-1.  The Jaguars are exactly what we thought with a 0-3 record.  The Texans offense has not been as deadly as last year but they are finding ways to win.  Arian Foster is only averaging 3.9 yards per carry and has only had one rushing touchdown so far.  The Titans running game is much of the same with Chris Johnson only averaging 3.7 yards per carry and is yet to find the end zone.  The Colts acquired Trent Richardson from the Browns and is splitting carries with Ahmad Bradshaw which gives the Colts a huge advantage in the back field.  Andrew Luck is throwing the ball well and finding all his receivers in crucial situations.  The Jaguars are struggling everywhere, Maurice Jones-Drew is yet to have a breakout game, and the defense has allowed 92 points already which averages 30 points a game for opposing teams.  With three teams having the same record its hard to say who will come out on top, but as of right now I think the Colts have the best chance.

Finally the AFC West its the Broncos and Chiefs who have 3-0 records.  It has been a shock with the Chiefs since they were the worst team in the NFL last year and now with a new head coach and new players they are undefeated.  Alex Smith is not going to put up Peyton Manning numbers, but Smith does have 4 passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.  Jamaal Charles is also stepping up by having 2 rushing touchdowns and averaging 4.3 yards per carry.  The Broncos are playing behind their veteran QB Peyton Manning who leads the NFL in touchdown passes with 12 and zero interceptions.  Manning also leads the NFL in passing yards with 1,143 and completing 73% of his passes.  The Raiders and Chargers are both 1-2, but the Chargers are showing life in Rivers.  Philip Rivers is second in the NFL in touchdown passes with 8 and only 1 interception.  The Raiders are struggling, but they have found a diamond in the rough with Pryor.  The Broncos will win the division, but the Chiefs could be a wild card team.

 

Well; the first week of the 2013 season was everything I wanted plus more.  We had blow out wins, upsets, huge performances, and numerous busts.  I have been looking forward to the start of this season since the last play of the Super Bowl and watching the games this week was pure heaven.  There were a lot of players that were traded to new teams, numerous contract re-negotiations, and new coaches and managers.  It was really hard to tell how some teams were going to do just based on personnel and schemes.  

The Broncos and the Ravens got the season off to a huge start since it was a repeat of the AFC Divisional Game from 2012 when the Ravens just barely beat the Broncos in the final seconds which killed the Super Bowl run for the Broncos.  Peyton was not going to let that happen again and he had a career day throwing 7 touchdowns and over 400 yards to destroy the Ravens in the season opener.  There were other QBs that had awesome performances as well.  Eli Manning had 450 passing yards and 4 touchdowns in his loss to the Cowboys.  Colin Kaepernick had a career day passing with his first 400 yard performance and 3 touchdowns in his win over the Packers.

What surprised me was that there were only two running backs that rushed for over 100 yards in week 1.  LeSean McCoy took to Chip Kelleys offense very well with 184 rushing yards and a touchdown.  The other 100 yard rusher was Shane Vereen after Stevan Ridley had a terrible performance.  Vereen ended up with 101 yards on 14 carries in the Patriots victory.  It seemed that most RBs got their fun in short passes and touchdowns.  Adrian Peterson scored 2 touchdowns on the ground and caught 1 touchdown in the Vikings loss to the Lions.  On the other side of the ball Reggie Bush had 90 rushing yards, 101 receiving yards, and 1 touchdown.  Most of the first round draft picks for fantasy football did not do as well as owners wanted to, but it is early in the season so there is nothing to worry about.

A lot of the action in Week 1 came through the passing game and Victor Cruz took full advantage by having 118 yards and 3 touchdowns.  The surprise for week 1 was Anquan Boldin with his 13 receptions, 208 yards, and a touchdown in the 49ers win over Green Bay.  AJ Green did what he always does and had 9 catches for 162 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Bengals loss to the Bears.  With Peyton throwing the ball almost every Denver receiver had a good game (excluding Decker), Demaryius Thomas pulled in 161 yards and 2 touchdowns in the Broncos victory over the Ravens.  Even though Andre Johnson did not find the end zone he did manage 12 catches for 146 yards in the Texans win over the Chargers.  There was a nice surge for the Cardinals with Palmer throwing the ball to Fitzgerald; he had 2 touchdowns and 8 receptions in the loss to the Rams.  There was also a lot of tight ends that made their name known in week 1.  Both Vernon Davis and Jason Witten had 2 touchdowns; and Jared Cook also had 2 touchdowns and 141 receiving yards.  The big surprise was Julius Thomas who had 2 touchdowns from Peyton Manning and 110 receiving yards.  Jordan Cameron led all tight ends with 9 receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown for the Browns.

+Scores+

Broncos – 49
Ravens – 27

Dolphins – 23
Browns – 10

Vikings – 24
Lions – 34

Raiders – 17
Colts – 21

Chiefs – 28
Jaguars – 2

Bucs – 17
Jets – 18

Falcons – 17
Saints – 23

Titans – 16
Steelers – 9

Bengals – 21
Bears – 24

Seahawks – 12
Panthers – 7

Patriots – 23
Bills – 21

Packers – 28
49ers – 34

Cardinals – 24
Rams – 27

Giants – 31
Cowboys – 36

Eagles – 33
Redskins – 27

Texans – 31
Chargers – 28