Posts Tagged ‘seahawks’

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

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

Running backs are almost becoming a dying breed these days in the NFL since its turning more into a passing league.  For running backs like Marshawn Lynch that is not a problem since he is a powerful runner and a great pass catcher.  Lynch has made a reputation for being a bruising running back that can punish you with his strength, or burn you with his speed.  Lynch is one of the best running backs in the league and he is always picked in the first round of every fantasy football draft since he has proven to be a tough player.  He has the potential to be a Hall of Fame player and if he stays in “Beast Mode” he should have no problem getting there.

Marshawn Terrell Lynch was born on April 22nd, 1986 in Oakland California.  Lynch attended Oakland Technical High School.  In his 2003 high school season he racked up 1,722 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in only 8 games.  In the postseason he had 375 rushing yards and 10 touchdowns in two games.  He was voted a PrepStar and SuperPrep All-American and was also voted as the San Francisco East Bay Player of the Year.  He also played defensive back, a little bit at QB, and dabbled in the wide receiver position.  Rivals.com ranked him as the #2 player in the nation right behind Adrian Peterson.  While in high school he kept in shape by being a track star and played basketball in the offseason. 

Lynch decided to play his college ball at the University of California, Berkeley.  He played football for the California Golden Bears and was a major in social welfare.  As a freshman he was the back up running back but still totaled up 628 yards and 8 touchdowns.  In 2005, Lynch was named the starter for the Golden Bears and he took advantage of it by rushing for 1,246 yards and 10 touchdowns.  He led the team to the Las Vegas Bowl where he ran for 194 yards and 3 touchdowns and was named MVP.  The 2006 season was an interesting one for Lynch.  He was on track to win the Maxwell Award and the University launched a program for Lynch to win the Heisman.  He rushed for 1,356 yards and 11 touchdowns including a game winning touchdown against Washington.  Lynch was named the Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year and holds the school record for most 100-yard games with 17.

Lynch decided to enter the 2007 NFL Draft and was selected 12th overall by the Buffalo Bills and agreed to a six-year, $18.935 million contract.  The Bills were in need of a running back badly so they had him start as a rookie.  He made an immediate impact by being able to rush, catch, and even throw the ball.  He missed some time due to injuries but he still went over 1,000 yards and totaled 7 touchdowns.  He even threw a TD pass, which was the first touchdown pass completed by a Bills non-QB since 1981.  The next season the Bills got a new offensive coordinator and did not utilize Lynch like people expected.  Lynch still had 1,036 rushing yards and 8 touchdowns, but there were numerous times he was on the sideline during crucial parts of the game. 

In 2009, Lynch plead guilty to a weapons charge and was suspended for 3 games.  In his absence Fred Jackson shouldered the load while Lynch only had 450 yards and two touchdowns.  He did not have a single game over 100 yards while Jackson had over 1,000 yards.  In the 2010 season Lynch suffered an ankle sprain in the preseason and was expected to be out for a few weeks.  He played in three games that season before the Bills traded him to the Seattle Seahawks for two draft picks, a fourth-rounder in 2011 and a conditional pick in 2012.

Lynch went to Seattle where he was welcomed with open arms and utilized as much as they could.  His first TD came against the Bears on October 17th and then on Dec 5th he had 3 scores against the Panthers.  The Seahawks made the playoffs  that season and against the Saints Lynch had one of the best runs to ever be seen.  Lynch had a 67-yard touchdown run where he broke nine tackles for the touchdown.  The reaction from the crowd was so strong that it was recorded as seismic activity at a monitoring station 100 yards away from the stadium.  In the short time he played that season he still managed 747 yards and 6 touchdowns. 

The 2011 season would prove to be one of his best years by rushing for 1,204 yards and 12 TDs.  He set a franchise record that year for consecutive games with a rushing TD with 10.  After the season ended the Seahawks signed Lynch to a 4 year $31 million contract.  In 2012 Lynch was in the best “Beast Mode” we have ever seen by rushing for 1,590 yards and 11 TDs.  During the two seasons he has been on the Seahawks he has been playing the best football of his career and has made the Pro Bowl both years.  Now in 2013, Lynch is already off to a great start by making big plays and helping his team win.  He is already on pace to have a record year.

Lynch was ranked #24 in the Top 100 Players of 2013; been named to 3 Pro Bowls, First Team All-Pro in 2012, and ranked #94 in the Top 100 Players of 2012.  So far in his career he has 6,132 rushing yards, 46 TDs, and averaging 4.1 yards per carry.  I do not see anything slowing Lynch down at this point in his career.  He will be around for a long time and I can see him ending his career with a lot more awards under his belt.

Whenever I see a ranking of NFL players I normally get skeptical because it is normally based purely off stats or it is made up by a few people instead of a large group.  I prefer it to either be a fan vote; or a large panel of experts that decides a ranking.  In this ranking this is purely based off the fans.  NFL.com did a large poll on who the most popular players in the NFL are for 2013.  Now in this day and age it is very important to be a popular player because it helps your image as a player, helps to get fans to the stadium to watch you play, and of course; merchandise.  Now NFL.com did the top 100; I am going to show you the top 20 players that were voted on by the fans.

20. Clay Matthews LB Packers
19. Rob Gronkowski TE Patriots
18. Julio Jones WR Falcons
17. Russell Wilson QB Seahawks
16. Von Miller LB Broncos

Just in the first five I was kind of shocked.  I would have thought that Clay Matthews would have been higher.  He has been in commercials. I see his jersey everywhere, and everyone flexes when they see him.  I also noticed a lot of young players too like Wilson and Julio.  That is a good sign for their career that they are young and popular; as long as they keep the bad publicity away from them then this can only help their careers.  I also thought that Gronkowski would have been placed higher now that Welker and Hernandez is out of New England; maybe after he plays a few seasons with no injuries he will be bumped up.

15. Ray Rice RB Ravens
14. Andre Johnson WR Texans
13. AJ Green WR Bengals
12. Larry Fitzgerald WR Cardinals
11. Robert Griffin III QB Redskins

Once again a few young players on here and that is impressive.  What’s interesting here is that RGIII sells the most jerseys; but he is not the most popular player….interesting.  Seeing players like Fitzgerald, Johnson, and Ray Rice should be a nice reminder that there are classy players in the NFL that can play for a long time.  Most of the players we have listed on this list so far have had no publicity and they handle themselves with class.  There has not been one real troublemaker on this list and that should go to show that being classy and dependable will get you a long ways in the NFL.  Now it is time for the top 10!

10. Patrick Willis LB 49ers
9. Marshawn Lynch RB Seahawks
8. Arian Foster RB Texans
7. Drew Brees QB Saints
6. JJ Watt DE Texans

Once again; classy players and young players.  I am also noticing numerous Texans on the list too.  Another thing that all of these players have in common is that they put up good numbers every game they play.  They may have off games; but for the most part you can rely on these guys to come through when you need them.  I think that is another reason why people voted these guys to be the most popular.  Now for the Top 5!

5. Aaron Rodgers QB Packers
4. Tom Brady QB Patriots
3. Peyton Manning QB Broncos
2. Calvin Johnson WR Lions
1. Adrian Peterson RB Vikings

All 5 of these top 5 players have something in common too.  They all are on their way to the Hall of Fame.  Rodgers is one of the best passers in the NFL right now; he is so good he is making people forget about Favre.  Brady has won numerous championships with the Patriots and has turned the club into a dynasty.  Peyton has been one of the most outstanding passers in the NFL for awhile and has achieved everything a player could ever want to have.  Calvin is going to be around for awhile and has already been breaking records.  Adrian Peterson is a freak…that’s alli can say about him.

With the 2013 NFL schedules being released everyone is already analyzing how their teams are going to do.  Well I am no different; I just spent the last 24 hours going over each schedule to see who has a good chance at the playoffs and who has no shot at the playoffs.  I will go over each division and give a short description of their schedule then give a prediction of what I think their record will be.

+AFC EAST+
1. Patriots (14 – 2) – Patriots don’t have too hard of a schedule in 2013; they play the Jets twice, Bills twice, and the Panthers.  I do not see why the Patriots would not have anough good season.
2. Dolphins (10-6) – This was kind of surprising to me only because the Dolphins have a medium difficulty schedule this year and with the free agents they picked up they actually could have a good season.  The Dolphins will struggle in the beginning of the year with having to play the Colts and Falcons.
3. Bills (5 – 11) – Not really a shock because the Bills still don’t have a solid QB.  They are playing a lot of tough teams in 2013 like the Patriots, Bengals, and Falcons.  I do not expect them to be a sleeper team, I expect them to be the Bills and not do well.
4. New York Jets (2 – 14) – I really am not kidding with this prediction.  The Jets are really struggling and they have holes everywhere on that team.  The schedule they have does not help either; and to be honest the 2 wins I gave them are generous.

+AFC SOUTH+
1. Texans (13 – 3) – The Texans have a little tricky schedule, but they have really made an upgrade in the offseason so I think they can handle it.  They have a few easy games in the Titans, Rams, Jags, and Cardinals so I see another playoff berth in their future.
2. Colts (12 – 4) – The Colts are very similar to the Texans and there schedule has some difficult times, but with the additions they made I think they will be just fine.  In the beginning of the season the Colts might struggle with playing the 49ers, Seahawks, and Broncos before their bye week.
3. Titans (5 – 11) – The Titans are just like the Bills; they have some talent, but there are a lot of holes in the team.  They have a rough start to the season playing the Steelers then the Texans; and later in the season they have the 49ers and the Seahawks.  I am not expecting too much from the Titans
4. Jaguars (3-13) – Even with them getting the second overall pick I don’t see them making any drastic turn arounds.  It is going to be a long season for the Jaguars who play the Colts twice, Texans twice, Seahawks, and 49ers.

+AFC NORTH+
1. Bengals (11 – 5) – Some people may disagree with this, but based on the schedules it really could happen.  The Ravens and the Steelers are not going to be as dominant as they usually are; and with the Bengals having a great offseason they very well could win the AFC North.  I am betting the Bengals will be a huge sleeper team
2. Brown (9 – 7) – Once again I am sure people are wondering if I am crazy, but the Browns could be a lot better then they were in 2012.  They made some key pick ups in the offseason for their defense and I am sure they will add more in the draft.If Weeden steps his game up the Browns really could be a hard team to beat.
3. Steelers (8 – 8) – I am not really expecting a big performance from the Steelers this year since they lost a bunch of players in the offseason.  They have not made any offseason moves and they are relying on the draft to save them. 
4. Ravens (7 – 9) – With all the players the Ravens have lost they really do not stand a chance at a playoff run.  I know they picked some people up, but it will not be a contender team right away.  Plus they have some difficult games ahead of them.

+AFC WEST+
1. Broncos (14 – 2) – This is no surprise to anyone; as long as this team stays healthy they will be the team to beat in the AFC.  They do not have a hard schedule with playing the Raiders, Giants, Jags, Chiefs, and Redskins.  Even if they had a hard schedule the Broncos would still have a great season.
2. Chiefs (8 – 8) – The Chiefs are going to be a good team eventually, coming off a terrible season they will be better in the 2013 season.  There are a few games that could go either way for the Chiefs; so if they pull some close games out they might be a Wild Card team.  Plus the Chiefs have made numerous upgrades to the team that will make them much better than in 2012.
3. Chargers (6 – 10) – Charger have some good players, but they have not found a way to put it all together.  They still have a terrible offensive line and Rivers has been turning the ball over a lot.  I don’t see them making any drastic improvements in 2013.
4, Raiders (3 – 13) – Even with the signing of Flynn; the Raiders are still not going to be a contender for the playoffs.  They lost a handful of defensive players and the offense is still not a dominant force.  I don’t see them being any worse than 2012, but I also don’t see them improving in 2013.

+NFC EAST+
1. Cowboys (8 – 8) – The Cowboys don’t have a hard schedule, but the Cowboys are their own worst enemy.  The NFC East is full of sloppy teams, and the Cowboys have the best chance to win the NFC East.  The Cowboys have a lot of talent and young players, so if they can pull it together they will have a good season
2. Eagles (6 – 10) – The Eagles made some improvements on the defensive side, but there is still a huge question mark where the QB should be.  The Eagles could be a power house of a flop depending on who is leading the team.  For now I am assuming Vick will be the one under center and that can only lead to losses.
3. Redskins (5 – 11) – RGIII is a machine and he should be healthy for the start of the season.  Also, the Redskins have a dominating run attack and a pretty solid defense.  So why am I not giving them a better record?  The actually have a pretty tough schedule and most of the Redskins are still young and inexperienced.  They have to play the Packers, Broncos, 49ers, Falcons, and Vikings.
4. Giants (5 – 11) – The Giants in my opinion have fallen down quite a bit.  They have lost a handful of defensive stars and are having trouble keeping their current stars.  The Giants also have a tough schedule ahead of them so I do not think they will be having a good 2013 season.

+NFC SOUTH+
1. Falcons (14 – 2) – The Falcons have made a huge splash in the offseason by picking up some valuable players.  They have a pretty simple schedule to go along with it.  As long as they stay healthy they should coast into a playoff spot.
2. Bucs (9 – 7) – The Bucs picked up some defensive players to strengthen the secondary; and the offense has a lot of talent.  As long as Freeman can put the ball in the end zone; and not to the other team; then the Bucs should have a solid year.  They do have some tricky games with the Pats, Falcons, Seahawks, and 49ers though.
3. Saints (8 – 8) – The Saints had the worst defense in 2012 and I know they are working on that to make it better.  But this is the first season with their head coach back and I am sure it will take some time before the Saints get back to where they were before.  The Saints will have some challenges in their schedule as well so hopefully Brees and company have a few tricks up their sleeves.
4. Panthers (3 – 13) – The Panthers still need a lot of help and they have not really addressed them in the offseason.  Also, the Panther have a hard schedule which does not help their cause.  They have to play the Falcons, Vikings, Pats, 49ers, and Seahawks.

+NFC North+
1. Packers (11 – 5) – Eben with losing Jennings the Packers will still be an amazing passing team, which will win them a lot of games.  The secondary has some holes that need to be fixed, but the Packers will still have a tight defense as well.  The Packers have a medium difficulty in schedule, but they should handle it just fine.
2. Vikings (10 – 6) – The Vikings are going to surprise a lot of people in 2013.  They made some key offensive changes and are looking to add to an already stout defense.  The big question with the Vikings is Ponder; so if he can start playing better then the Vikings will have a great chance at the playoffs.
3. Bears (10 – 6) – The Bears had some good upgrade on the offensive side of the ball, but lost a big player on defense in Urlacher.  The Bears are going to have some close games this year and if they can pull those games out then they could win the NFC North.
4. Lions (7 – 9) – The Lions added a few players, but they lost some big time players in the offseason.  They still have weapons on offense, but the defense is going to be sloppy.  I get the feeling that the Lions will put up a lot of points, but also give up a lot of points.

+NFC WEST+
1. 49ers (15 – 1) – I am sure a lot of people are rolling their eyes at me by saying the 49ers will only lose one game, but you have to take a deep look at that team.  They just added another big time receiver, they have 3 solid running backs, a QB that can run and throw, and a stellar defense.  The Niners will have their challenges, but this team is going to be very hard to beat especially at home.
2. Seahawks (14 – 2) – The Seahawks had a very impressive offseason and picked up a lot of defensive players that will make it very hard to score on.  The offense also got a face lift and I imagine they will be putting up big offensive numbers.  For the first time in a long time the NFC West is going to be a power house and the Seahawks will have a great season.
3. Rams (3 – 13) – This is just another typical year for the Rams; they lost a bunch of players in the offseason and only added a few back.  The defensive secondary is very soft and I really don’t see any progress with the Rams in 2013.
4. Cardinals (2 – 14) – I know the Cardinlas have made a lot of pick ups in the offseason, but that doesn’t mean they are going to be good.  Palmer will have a learning curve and this will be the first time Mendenhall is going to be starting since 2010.  The defense lost Adrian Wilson, and they will struggle hard for that.