Posts Tagged ‘manning’

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

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.

 

 

Demaryius Thomas is another young athlete in the NFL that has already made a huge impact.  His story has to do with his childhood and how he overcame some personal struggles.  He is another example of a player that had numerous chances to give up, but chose to keep fighting.  Young players can learn a lot from Thomas, and he still has a long career ahead of him so look for him to continue to be a dominant receiver for the NFL.

Demaryius Antwon Thomas was born December 25th, 1987 in Georgia.  As a child Thomas was very shy and introverted; he was not very popular and for the most part just kept to himself.  He ended up being raised by his aunt and uncle after his mother was sent to prison.  I can only imagine that made Thomas even more introverted because he did not feel he could trust anyone and did not open up to many people. 

In high school he decided to channel his emotions into sports, and he excelled at football and basketball.  As a junior he was named an All-Region player and All-Heart of Georgia player.  As a senior he became nationally recognized as he recorded 82 catches, 10 touchdowns, and 1,234 receiving yards.  He was invited to participate in the North-South All-Star game and was once again named an All-Region player.  After graduation he was offered numerous scholarships from Duke, Georgia, and Georgia Tech.

After much thought he chose to go to Georgia Tech where he majored in management, and he sat out the 2006 season as a redshirt.  He made his first start in 2007 and played in all 13 games; he totaled 558 yards on 35 catches.  When 2008 rolled in, a new head coach came to Georgia Tech and he was more of a “run first” type coach, which made Thomas think about transferring schools.  He decided not to and he made the most of the chances he had and had 627 yards on 39 catches.  Even though he wanted to get utilized more; he just wanted to help the team win.  So the following year he had a break out year with 46 catches, 1,154 yards, and 8 touchdowns.  His performance earned him First Team All-ACC and finished his career with 120 catches, 2,339 yards, and 14 touchdowns.

In 2010, Thomas entered the NFL Draft and he was rated as one of the best receivers in the draft next to Dez Bryant.  The Denver Broncos drafted Thomas with the 22nd overall pick.  The Broncos wasted no time and used him right away.  In his first game he had 8 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown.  The sad part is that Thomas caught the injury bug his rookie year and sat out for the most part.  In 2011 the Broncos had a lot of QB issues which made it hard to get a rhythm with the receivers.  Thomas was still battling injuries, but when it came playoff time he made his presence felt.  In the playoff game against the Steelers, Thomas caught the game winning 80-yard touchdown pass in over time to win the game.  In 2012 the Broncos picked up Peyton Manning, and Thomas had a surgery so he could be healthy for the season.  Thomas worked as hard as he could in the off season and during the season and it all paid off.  By the end of the 2012 season he racked up 94 catches, 1,434 receiving yards, and 10 touchdowns.  That earned him his first Pro Bowl.

Even though Thomas is still young he shows people that even when you are kicked down that it is up to you to get back up.  In his shirt career he has 148 catches, 2,268 yards, and 16 touchdowns.  With Peyton Manning at the helm, all Thomas needs to do is stay healthy and keep working hard and he should continue to be a dominant receiver in the league for a long time.

There have already been some huge contracts in the history of the NFL, but it seems like every season someone becomes the new “highest paid athlete”.  I am not saying that these players have not earned a big contract, but sometimes it seems like they over pay these players just so they will not go to another team.  It sometimes feels like players are now chasing money and not chasing the Hall of Fame.  Below are the highest paid NFL players in 2013…so far (the amount included is per year).

1. Joe Flacco (Ravens) – Flacco just took his team to the Super Bowl and he was named the Super Bowl MVP.  Sounds impressive right?  I really don’t think so.  Joe has been a decent QB since joining the Ravens, but 2012 was the first year he took the team to the Super Bowl, and most experts will say that Flacco is a mediocre QB at best.  So the fact that the Ravens gave him a $20,100,000 contract really shocked me.  He is going to have to prove that he is worth that amount in the upcoming seasons.

2. Drew Brees (Saints) – Now this may seem hypocritical; but Brees is a QB that has proven his worth for a long time.  So the fact that he has a $20,000,000 contract doesn’t shock me.  Brees has won a Super Bowl with the Saints and he is considered by most to be one of the best QBs of our time.  Brees has been to numerous Pro Bowls, won numerous awards, and took a struggling Saints team to the Super Bowl.  Brees has been setting and breaking NFL records over the last few seasons and he is a perfect role model for young players everywhere.

3. Peyton Manning (Broncos) – Manning is a future Hall of Famer and after a serious neck injury a few seasons ago everyone thought he was done.  Manning has proven that he is still an elite QB so the fact that the Broncos have him on a $19,200,000 contract does not shock me.  There were a lot of questions about Manning before the 2012 season started and he shocked the world by taking the Broncos to the playoffs.  Manning is now surrounded by players in Denver and the Broncos will be in the Super Bowl hunt in 2013.

4. Tony Romo (Cowboys) – Romo has been an up and down QB since coming into the NFL.  He has not been good in the playoffs and he is not consistent in his passing.  I think I can speak for everyone when I say; “I don’t think Romo is worth $18,000.000 per year.”  The Cowboys have had one playoff win in the last 5 years and that has been with Romo leading the team.  With Romo accepting this huge contract he really is in a make or break season.  If he has another inconsistent season I think the Cowboys might finally be done with him.  The good news is that the Cowboys have a some what easy schedule in 2013.

5. Calvin Johnson (Lions) – Megatron has earned a big contract and he is a power house when it comes to catching the ball.  The Lions have Johnson for $16,200,000 and Calvin has been busting his butt to show the league that he is worth that.  Johnson did re-structure his contract with the Lions recently, but he will still be one of the highest paid players in the NFL.

+Other Players with Large Contracts+
Eli Manning (Giants) – $16,200,000
Larry Fitzgerald – $16,140,000
Mario Williams (Bills) – $16,000,000
Matt Schaub (Texans) – $15,500,000
Philip Rivers (Chargers) – $15,300,000
Jay Cutler (Bears) – $14,600,000
Adrian Peterson (Vikings) – $14,300,000
Julius Peppers (Bears) – $14,000,000
Chris Johnson (Titans) – $13,400,000
Darrelle Revis (Bucs) – $13,000,000