Posts Tagged ‘panthers’

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

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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

Everyone has there own idea of who is good and who is bad; who is a sleeper and who is a bust.  Based on the research I have done, watching the draft, and staying updated on NFL news I have come up with my list of busts for the 2013 season.  In my eyes; a bust is a player who is ranked high on the ranking chart; but is not going to perform to expectations.  Most of these busts are players who are strctly ranked high because of their name; but there are some who are getting a lot of attention but I do not feel they will perform the way fans think they will. 

DeMarco Murray RB Cowboys – Not only do the Cowboys have a mediocre offensive line, but Murray is an injury junkie.  It seems like everytime I read about him he is injured and trying to get healthy.  On top of that he has never played a full season due to injuries.  Now I know Murray is a strong runner but it makes fantasy owners not want to draft him when he is always hurt.  He could prove me wrong in 2013; but I doubt it.

Cam Newton QB Panthers – The reason Newton is making this list is due in part that he wants to throw the ball more.  Newton in my opinion is not a pocket passer like Tom Brady or Drew Brees.  Newton is a scrambling QB who can make plays with his feet or make throws on the run.  So it makes me nervous that he wants to be more of a pocket passer because that is just not his style.  Not to mention he only really has one good WR in Steve Smith.  Just on pure number Newton has had 29 interceptions in 2 seasons; that averages out to be about 15 interceptions a year.  So if he does try to force throwing the ball I imagine that number will only go up.

David Wilson RB Giants – For some reason everyone is ranking Wilson to be one of the better running backs in 2013.  I look at it as he is going to be splitting time with Andre Brown and Brown will get the majority of the goal line carries.  Now I am not saying that Wilson is going to do bad; but I dont think he is going to put up the numbers experts are predicting.  Also, the Giants still have a pretty shakey offensive line that could make it difficult to run the ball.  I think he is still worth drafting; but not until the 6th or 7th Round.

Montee Ball RB Broncos – I know it is weird to have a rookie on the bust list; but it is not because of Ball at all; it is because of the team.  The Broncos are a passing team and Fox has never been happy about starting rookies.  Fox will give Ball the carries; but he will be splitting time with 2 other running backs who have tenure on him.  Ball will still get good playing time; but he is another example of being ranked higher than he should be.  Sae with Ball; if he is available in Round 6 or 7 then I think he is worth taking but no earlier than that.

Rob Gronkowski TE Patriots – I do know that Gronk is an amazing tight end; when he is healthy and that is still going to take some time.  He had numerous surgeries in the off season and he will miss some time.  So if you take a gamble on him and draft him early then you will need to snag another TE until he gets healthy which may not be until week 5 of the season.  Even when he does come back there is no guarantee that he will play like he did before; I would be careful about drafting Gronk this season.  Plus with Hernandez gone he will have more coverage once he does come back which will make it hard for Brady to get him the ball.

Pierre Garcon WR Redskins – When Garcon is hot he is super hot; but when he is injured he is super cold….obviously.  The problem is that Garcon was hurt for pretty much the entire 2012 season.  I have read that he is better now and should be good to go for 2013; but it is hard to believe because he is always getting injured.  Plus everyone is still waiting to see what happens with RGIII; if RGIII cant play right away then the Redskins will run the ball more than they pass and that is no good for Garcon.

Antonio Brown WR Steelers – The reason Brown made this list is because he has never been put into the #1 WR role before so it is hard to tell how he will handle it.  He obviously does not have the speed that Mike Wallace had and Brown had some issues with ball control in 2012.  Lets not forget about Big Ben; he has never been a huge fantasy QB since the Steelers are a running team.  And now with the Steelers having 4 RB’s on the roster it would not surprise me is they run the ball more than they pass.

LeSean MCoy; is one of the young backs in the NFL today; and he has already made a huge impact in the league.  As a young player, he was one of the best running backs in the country; due to some injuries he was hampered in 2012, but now that he is healthy he will be a very dangerous back.  He is a triple threat as a running back, he has speed, he can catch the ball, and he has great vision.  He is a combination of Walter Payton and OJ Simpson and Barry Sanders.  As long as he can stay healthy, he will always be a premier back in the NFL.

LeSean Kamel McCoy was born on July 12th, 1988 in Pennsylvania.  as a child his nickname was Shady and he attended Bishop McDevitt High School.  As a high school football player he was amazing and was considered one of the best high school running backs in the country.  In one game as a sophomore he rushed for 506 yards; and in his junior season he had rushed for 2,828 rushing yards and 85 touchdowns in a single season.  He received numerous honors including being named to the All-State team, and was an Offensive MVP.  As a junior he actually had committed to the University of Miami, but McCoy was not the best student while in high school, and had a severe ankle injury.  He ended up going to the University of Pittsburgh instead.

In 2004 he recorded a 4.25 40 yards dash, and the Panthers used him mostly for the Wildcat offense.  By the end of his freshman year he was totaled up 1,328 rushing yards, and one newspaper compared him to the great Tony Dorsett.  He also had 14 rushing touchdowns and was selected for the All-Freshman team.  In his sophomore year with Pittsburgh he had another fantastic year by rushing for 1,403 yards and 23 rushing touchdowns.  He made the All-Big East team for the second time, and he was also getting recognized for his receiving skills.  McCoy still had 2 more years of college to go when he decided to go into the NFL Draft.  I am not saying that it was a bad choice, but it could have helped him I think to stay at least one more year at Pitt.

In the 2009 NFL Draft, McCoy was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in the second round (53rd overall).  McCoy came in at a good time because Brian Westbrook had a bad ankle injury and McCoy was named a starter right away.  In his first start he had a touchdown and he proved to be a viable asset to the team.  McCoy and Westbrook were sharing the load for the Eagles, but every time Westbrook got hurt, McCoy would come in and play very well.  By the end of his rookie year he had 637 yards and 4 touchdowns.  In 2010 the Eagles released Brian Westbrook so it was McCoys back field now.  In 2010, McCoy proved he could run and catch.  He finished the season with 1,080 rushing yards and 7 rushing touchdowns.  He also totaled 78 catches, 592 receiving yards, and 2 receiving touchdowns.  The 2011 season was his best season to date; he rushed for 17 touchdowns and 1,309 rushing yards.  In the 2012 season McCoy was battling injuries and spent the majority of the season on the sideline. 

So far as a professional he has totaled up 3,776 rushing yards, 30 rushing touchdowns, 206 catches, 1,450 receiving yards, and 8 receiving touchdowns.  He made his first Pro Bowl in 2011, in 2011 he was the FedEx Ground Player of the Year, and was an All-Pro selection.  LeSean McCoy still has a very long career ahead of him.  As long as he can stay healthy I think he could be one of the best of all-time.  He is on a team that just got a bunch of new offensive lineman so I predict the 2013 season will be a good one for McCoy.

Larry Fitzgerald is probably one of the best receivers in the game right now.  The only down side is the team he is on; if he was on a team with a franchise QB; he would be breaking records left and right.  Fitz is very dedicated to the team that drafted him though; and that is commendable.  Fitz does not have a sad story, but an inspirational story instead.  He has always been considered one of the best, and it will continue to stay that way for the rest of his career.

Larry Darnell Fitzgerald Jr. was born on August 31st, 1983 in Minnesota.  I do not know the origins of his high school career, but I do know that he was one of the highest recruited players coming out of high school.  Fitz attended his college career at the University of Pittsburgh, and for the majority of his college career he was considered one of the best wide receivers in the country.  In 2003, he was recognized as the best player in the NCAA when he won the Walter Camp Award and the Touchdown Club of Columbus Chic Harley Award, he also won the Biletnikoff Award.  In 2003 he was also an All-American selection and the runner up for the Heisman Trophy.  Fitz played 26 games with the Panthers, and in that time he caught 161 passes, 2,677 yards, and set a Panther record with 34 receiving touchdowns.  He was the first Panther player to have back-to-back 1,000 yard receiving seasons.  Fitz also set a record for having a receiving touchdown in 18 straight games.

When you do the math, Fitz only played 2 seasons with the Pittsburgh Panthers, and he entered the 2004 NFL Draft pretty young.  The Arizona Cardinals drafted Fitz as the third overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft.  He made an immediate impression with the Cardinals, as a rookie he caught 58 passes, 780 yards, and 8 touchdowns.  The following year he led the NFL with 103 catches, 1,409 yards, and 10 touchdowns.  In 2006, Fitz had some injuries he was dealing with, but for the most part he played through them and still managed 69 catches, 946 yards, and 6 touchdowns.  After being completely healed Fitz exploded again the following season by hauling in 100 passes, 1,409 yards, and 10 touchdowns.  After proving himself for his first few seasons, the Cardinals signed him to a 4 year $40 million contract.

In 2008, the Cardinals were on their Super Bowl run, and Fitz lit up the scoreboard, and he was the main reason the Cardinals made it to the Super Bowl.  In the conference championship game, Fitz caught 3 touchdown passes in one game.  Fitz also set a postseason record with 546 receiving yards, 30 catches, and 7 touchdowns.  Those numbers surpassed the record which once was held by Jerry Rice.  Even in the Super Bowl, Fitz had 2 touchdown catches, and when he went to the Pro Bowl, he caught 2 more touchdown passes which earned him the MVP of the Pro Bowl.

What is impressive about Fitz is that he will always find a way to make himself better, and his team better.  Since 2008, the Cardinals have not had a good QB, but somehow Fitz will still put up good numbers.  Fitz owns 5 NFL Records and 6 franchise records.  As a professional he has totaled 764 catches, 10,413 receiving yards, and 77 touchdowns.  He has also made 7 Pro Bowls, has had 4 All-Pro selections, and the 2008 NFC receiving yards leader.  As long as Fitz is in the NFL, he is going to be a great player and if you play fantasy football, he is always a good choice for your team.

 

It was only a matter of time before I did a post about Dan Marino.  The NFL has had many talented quarterbacks, but Marino will always be a top that list.  Dan Marino experienced everything he could ever want in the NFL except the elusive Super Bowl victory.  He had a brilliant 17-year career; and in that time he became something of legends.  Marino is still in football as an analyst, but you can still see the fire in his eyes about the game that he loves.

Daniel Constantine Marino Jr. was born on September 15th, 1961 in Pennsylvania.  Marino is a mix of Italian and Polish ancestory and he is the oldest child of Daniel and Veronica Marino.  By the time that Marino had gotten into high school he became very interested in sports, mostly baseball and football.  He attended Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh where he was named as an All-American honors in football.  Marino was actually drafted in the 4th round by the Kansas City Royals in 1979, but he decided to play college football instead.

Marino played his college football at the University of Pittsburgh.  As a freshman he led the Panthers to a victory in the Backyard Brawl over West Virginia, which gained him national attention.  The following year he took the Panthers to the 1982 Sugar Bowl where Marino threw a game winning touchdown to defeat the Georgia Bulldogs, which gained him ever more national attention and was considered one of the best college quarterbacks.  The following year he took Pittsburgh to the Cotton Bowl Classic, but was defeated by the Pony Express.  He also finished 4th in the Heisman voting that year.  His senior year was not the best year, but he still ended his college career with 7,906 passing yards and 74 touchdowns.  With his senior season being less than stellar a lot of NFL teams were hesitant to draft him.  There were a lot of quarterbacks entering the draft and Marino’s chances did not look good.

Marino was actually drafted by the USFL to go play for the Los Angeles Express, but the Dolphins drafted him as well and Marino chose to play for Miami.  Even though he did not start right away, it was in week 6 of his rookie year that he got his first start, and as a rookie he set numerous records.  Such as; only rookie to lead the conference in passing yards, had the highest completion percentage, and lowest number of passes intercepted.  In his second season Marino totally blew up the NFL; he set an NFL record for most touchdowns thrown in a season (that record stood for 20 years), most passing yards in a season (which stood for 27 years), and was the NFL MVP. 

I am not going to go over every season Marino had, but what I do want to go over is his achievements.  As a professional he had 9 Pro Bowls, rated #25 on the NFL Best Player List, 1984 NFL MVP, 1984 NFL Offensive Player of the Year, holds 31 Miami Dolphin records, and hold numerous NFL Records.   Some of the NFL Records that are still active are; 13 games passing over 400 yards, 200TD passes in fewest number of games, Most game winning drives in the 4th quarter or overtime with 51, and Most Monday Night Football wins at 20.  Marino has a crazy amount of former records such as; Most passing yards in a season with 5,084, he had 9 seasons passing over 3,000 yards, most TDs in a season with 48, highest passer rating as a rookie with 96.0, and many many more.

The bottom line is that Dan Marino was an amazing QB and as a Dolphins he took them to the playoffs 10 out of 17 seasons.  He had to deal with a few injuroes, but even then he proved that he could stand in the pocket and deliver a bullet of a pass anytime he wanted to.  It is sad that he never got his Super Bowl ring, but few players will ever have the success that Marino had.  Marino also had his #13 retired from the Miami Dolphins and since retiring football he has stayed in the spotlight.  He is currently on CBS for The NFL Today pregame and post-game shows, he had his hands in NASCAR for a short period of time, and he opened up two restaurants in Florida.  There was also a Dan Marino Foundation that was founded in 1992, after Dan’s son was diagnosed with autism.  The foundation has distributed over $22 million in research, services, and treatment programs.

His total stats once he retired were amazing; he played in 242 games, had 147 wins, completed 4,967 passes, had 61,361 passing yards, 420 passing touchdowns, a passer rating of 86.4, and a pasing percentage of 59.4%.