NFL Wildcard Saturday – Betting Preview

NFL BETTING PREVIEW – WILDCARD SATURDAY

A brief respite from the final fortnight of the season has us well and truly pumped for the playoffs. A nice antepost ticket on the Dallas Cowboys @ 16/1 has us cheering on Jerry’s boys, so let’s dive straight into Wildcard Weekend, with numerous thoughts and selections.

ARZIONA CARDINALS @ CAROLINA PANTHERS

So it was the Panthers who emerged from the shockingly bad NFC South, though their play significantly improved down the stretch going 4-0 over their last four, highlighted by the shellacking they gave rivals Atlanta in the playoff-showdown last week in the Georgia dome. Finally resembling last year’s stellar defence, Ron Riveras crew notched 14 sacks in their last 4 games, with five interceptions so it could be hard work for the lifeless Arizona unit.

Ryan Lindley again has to take charge of the anemic Cardinal offence in the absence of Carson Palmer and Drew Stanton. He linked up well with Michael Floyd last week in San Francisco, so look for that partnership to have the most success for Arizona, given Larry Fitzgerald’s injury troubles. However it will still be tough sledding for a team will once again rely on it’s defence. Even with below-par offensive play, this is very much a winnable game for Arizona thanks to mastermind schemer Bruce Arians and their talented defence.

Recommendations:

Main selection: Under 38 pts @ 10/11 (Various) – Two dominant defences with less than explosive offences could see a tight battle with all the marbles on the line.

First touchdown: Cam Newton @ 10/1 (Various) – Cam has ran for a touchdown in his last 3 and will need his legs against a tough Cards front.

Additional selection: Arizona FG 1st Scoring Play @ 4/1 (BetVictor) – As mentioned two tough D’s could turn this into a field goal game.

BALTIMORE RAVENS @ PITTSBURGH STEELERS

Another huge AFC North playoff battle between these two, with the huge news that Le’Veon Bell will miss out for Pittsburgh. Bell is a huge loss for Mike Tomlin’s side, with Josh Harris filling in. Bell’s patience and burst saw him to second in the NFL in rushing and it remains to be seen what kind of game plan the Steelers will go for in his absence. Antonio Brown and Ben Roethlisberger have been fantastic this season, with Brown ending the regular season atop the receiving charts. Expect him to feature even more heavily in Bell’s absence.

In contrast, look for Baltimore to employ a control game plan, playing field position and keeping Pittsburgh dynamic passing game off the field. Justin Forsett had a breakout year and ended the season well against Cleveland last week. He now takes on a Steelers defence that gives up 4.31 YPC to opposing running backs. Quarterback Joe Flacco had success in his two games against Pittsburgh earlier this term, throwing four touchdowns.

Recommendations:

Main Selection: Under 44.5 pts @ Evens (Boylesports) – Maybe missed the boat here, but with Bell’s absence and a brutal weather forecast, this could turn into a defensive slugfest, with one Raven fan I talked to earlier this week declaring whichever team gets to 20 wins the game.

First Touchdown: Martivis Bryant @ 10/1 (BetVictor, Hills, Coral) – Bryant is the deep threat for Pittsburgh and can get in behind a very shaky Raven secondary if Ben is given time.

Additional selection: Justin Forsett over 70.5 Rushing Yards @ 10/11 (Lads) – We could see a heavy dose of Forsett if the conditions take a turn for the worse at Heinz Field.

NFL Betting Preview – Week 14

A busy mix of work and football last weekend prevented a Sunday Betting Preview, but we did hammer out some Thanksgiving Day selections that were a mixed bag. But with the regular season winding down, it’s time to get a few winners in the bag to give us some playoff spends!

PITTSBURGH STEELERS @ CINCINNATTI BENGALS

A huge game this week on the banks of the Ohio River, as the Bengals look to extend their divisional lead over the visiting Steelers. This could very well turn into a slug fest with so much at stake, with UNDER 47 PTS @ 10/11 the first selection of week 14.

Andy Dalton was poor last week in Tampa Bay, but his Bengals squad managed to squeeze out a vital win. He has a 7:10 TD-to-INT ratio over the past six weeks, while the former TCU man has faced Pittsburgh six times now entering his fourth year in the league, throwing just seven touchdown passes against five picks. Look for the Steelers to load the box to stop a decent Bengals running attack and make Dalton beat them.

Despite Pacman Jones and Terrance Newman being some of the elder statesmen in terms of defensive backs in the NFL, they’ve done a nice job this term limiting opposing passing attacks, as neither Vincent Jackson or Mike Evans passed 50 yards receiving last week. Antonio Brown has had a fantastic year so far for Pittsburgh but he may face a tougher task this week against the pair. Le’Veon Bell has carried the Steelers running game, touching the ball 64 times over the past two games, but again he could find life more difficult this week going against a Bengal unit that has held opposing running backs to 373 yards on 114 carries (3.27 YPC) over their last four games.

Look for defences to step up in this one. UNDER 47 PTS @ 10/11 opens this week’s selections, as Pittsburgh grinds out a clutch 23-20 win on the road. AJ Green to score the first touchdown @ 13/2 appeals given the struggles Ike Taylor had on his return last week against New Orleans.

CAROLINA PANTHERS @ NEW ORLEANS SAINTS

Gonna roll the dice here in the Superdome with another divisional match up in which the Saints finally stake their claim for the NFC South division. NEW ORLEANS -10 PTS @ 10/11 is next.

Maybe last week was the game that finally broke the Saints out of the sleepwalking state they’ve been in all season. With the NFC South there for the taking, New Orleans snapped a three-game losing streak, as well as winning on the road for only the second time all year in Pittsburgh. The Saints now return home looking to build on that momentum ahead of a potential division-winning showdown with Atlanta in a fortnight’s time.

In the last three meetings between these two squads, Carolina has failed to score more than 17 points on each occasion. A similar total this time means Brees and co need four touchdowns and a couple of boots from Shayne Graham for the bet to click, easily within their range. Brees has thrown multiple touchdown passes in all but one of his six 2014 Superdome games, completing 71.5% of his throws with a 7.56 YPA, 14 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Look for more success against the Panthers for Jimmy Graham. The former hoops man has scored a touchdown or passed 100 yards in each of his seven outings against this defence.

Look for the boys from the Bayou to grab a hold of this division by the scruff of the neck this week, as NEW ORLEANS -10 PTS @ 10/11 is next on the slip, Nola taking it 31-17, with the main man Graham crossing first @ 13/2.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS @ ARIZONA CARDINALS

Cutting straight to the chase here, these two teams are offensively challenged. Despite the low line, we’ll take the UNDER 40.5 PTS @ 10/11 to round off week 14.

Arizona has held opposing quarterbacks to a 9:11 TD-to-INT ratio over their last eight games while play caller Todd Bowles’ blitz-heavy defense has racked up 18 sacks over the past four outings. Going against a Chiefs side that incredibly has still yet to have a wide receiver catch a touchdown pass. Patrick Peterson was embarrassed by former SEC foe Julio Jones last week, but look for a bounce back by the former LSU man back in Phoenix.

Carson Palmer is already on the shelf for the year, while Larry Fitzgerald’s age has finally caught up with him and Andre Ellington will also miss this week’s tilt, leaving a void in the playmaking areas of this Cardinals offence. Palmer’s replacement Drew Stanton is stinking the place up. He’s thrown five interceptions over his last three games and led just the one solitary touchdown drive across the last 11 quarters of football.

Not one for fantasy players, or neutrals, but we’ll dive right into this one with UNDER 40.5 PTS @ 10/11 rounding off the week, as Kansas City breaks their mini-losing streak with a 23-13 win in the desert. A bold pick of Alex Smith to run one in for the first score @ 20/1 isn’t the worst price in the world.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

  • Top cover man for the Indianapolis Colts Vontae Davis is out for the meeting with Josh Gordon and the Browns. Could this be the week Gordon gets his first touchdown of the year. Over 85.5 yards @ 10/11 is interesting, with Gordon to score the first touchdown @ 9/1 some decent value.
  • The Seattle D has returned to last year’s standards that carried them to the Super Bowl. Now the acid test against Chip Kelly’s uptempo offence in Philly, a test I think they’ll pass. Seahawks for the upset win at 11/10 could be a nice odds booster on any accumulators this weeekend.
  • JJ Watt to score the first touchdown is worst priced 14/1! Madness. Shorter price than half of the Jacksonville skill players. MVP.

Betting Preview – NFL Week 12

WEEK  11 BETTING PREVIEW RECAP

So the least said about Week 11’s selections the better. Denver were upset by St Louis, while Cleveland were also beaten at home and Robert Griffin III could only manage 7 points against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, leading to Jay Gruden throwing his quarterback under the bus. Onwards we move to week 12, with the race for the playoffs really hotting up.

JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS

My pre-season wager on Andrew Luck to be the NFL MVP at 28/1 has some legs considering the former Stanford man leads the league in passing yards. With top back Ahmad Bradshaw now on IR, look for Luck to put this team even more so on those broad shoulders of his. Indy put up 43 points in the first clash between these two early in the season, and a repeat performance is fancied, however this Jaguars outfit could have success as well, so OVER 50.5 PTS @ 10/11 kicks off this week’s slip.

Six of the last seven encounters between these two teams saw the total go under, however it was the game earlier this season that saw it easily over, with Luck notching over 385 all-purpose yards and four touchdowns. Another repeat performance could and should be expected of the number 1 pick. Despite losing Bradshaw and tight end Dwayne Allen, Luck still has plenty of targets available including TY Hilton who has burned the Jags in the past. The two games Hilton has played in Lucas Oil Stadium against Jacksonville saw the speedy wideout go for over a 100 receiving yards in each game. Couple that with the fact that Hilton has averaged 82.8 yards with 11 touchdowns across 26 career games indoors, the deep ball will be in play for this Colts offence.

Jacksonville will have spent plenty of this week studying the tape of New England running the ball down Indianapolis’ throat on Sunday Night Football, as the Pats dominated the Colts up front. Denard Robinson has really come on for the Florida side recently, running for 389 yards with four touchdowns on 72 totes (5.40 YPC) over his last four games. If Jacksonville can avoid being blown out early, then it could be another good day for the former Michigan Wolverine.

So OVER 50.5 PTS opens this week’s selections with a scoreline in the region of 34-20 to the Colts doing the job. As mentioned TY Hilton is money against the Jags at home, let’s hope he brings us the dough by going in for the first touchdown at 8/1.

CLEVELAND BROWNS @ ATLANTA FALCONS

Going back to the well with Cleveland again this week. Feel me once shame on you, feel me twice…It’s ok though as finally the Browns get to unleash the beast. Josh Gordon returns from his suspension and immediately slots in as the main pass catching weapon for Brian Hoyer. Both defences have been hit by injury as well as some downright poor play, so again let’s hope for points in the dome in Georgia. OVER 47 PTS @ 10/11 is next.

Let’s start with Gordon then. He immediately offers Cleveland a big body and big time playmaker on the outside. Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel have done a nice job with inside routes, screens and general quick hitters and have even done well when asked to stretch the field. Brian Hoyer ranks third in the league with completions of 20+ yards with 43 and that’s all without a legitimate downfield threat, or seam-stretching tight end. Now he gets his main man Gordon back, expect the top to be well and truly taken off the Atlanta secondary.

Despite being 4-6, the Falcons lead the disappointing NFC South, and have even managed to get the road monkey off their back, winning their last two on their travels. Now they return home with Matt Ryan back in his comfort zone under the roof in the Georgia Dome, expect plenty of yards and points out of this offence. The former Boston College man has thrown 10 touchdowns against only one interception this year at home, and he could well take advantage of a banged up Browns unit. Despite Joe Haden lifting his game the last month, the Browns don’t have much up front so this often-criticised Atlanta offensive line could have it somewhat easier this week allowing for Ryan to find star receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones.

OVER 47 PTS @ 10/11 looks good here, with Atlanta squeezing out a victory 27-23. No messing about, Josh Gordon to score first at 11/1 is a must-bet.

ARIZONA CARDINALS @ SEATTLE SEAHAWKS

Never like taking under on a low line but it’s strength versus strength in this crucial NFC-West clash on Sunday in Seattle, with the NFL’s best two cornerbacks set to share the turf at Century Link Field in Patrick Peterson and Richard Sherman. Drew Stanton did enough to lead Arizona to victory against Detroit last week, but going into Seattle against Sherman and the 12th man is a whole new ballgame. UNDER 41.5 PTS @ 10/11 rounds off week 12.

Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch are pretty much all Seattle have on offence at the moment, after the departure of Percy Harvin and the off-season loss of Golden Tate. Lynch has been dominating recently and over the past four seasons the bulldozing back has scored 35 TDs across 30 home games compared to just 16 touchdowns in 28 games on the road, so Beast Mode should be a good bet to find the endzone against a very stout Cardinals defence. Arizona held DeMarco Murray under a tonne for the first time all season a few games back so Lynch won’t have it all his own way but don’t expect Seattle to get away too much from the gameplan.

Despite two first quarter scoring throws from Stanton, he didn’t lead Arizona to anymore scoring drives on offence the rest of the game and was also picked off twice. Up against the Legion of Boom and the 12th man it could be more tough sledding for Stanton. The run game of Arizona has also slowed down with Andre Ellington going over 4.0 YPC just once over his last eight games, while he’s averaging 1.76 yards per rushing attempt over his last two. Seattle showed an outstanding defence can carry you to glory last year, but they had more on offence than this current Cards unit has at the moment.

A low-scoring slobberknocker is likely in store in the Pacific North West this week, so UNDER 41.5 PTS @ 10/11 is attractive, with the home side taking it 21-17. Wilson on the QB keeper to score first at 16/1 with Paddy Power appeals.

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS

  • Great game in store live on Sky in the 6pm slot as the #1 ranked Lions D take on the Patriots in Foxboro. Despite Jonas Gray going off on the Colts last week, it could very well be Shane Vereen who has the most success on Sunday. Detroit has given up the 4th most receiving yards to backs with 520 this term, so look for the scat back rather than the bulldozer against this strong Lions front.
  • Phillip Rivers has a rib injury according to Antonio Gates. Now he has the small matter of the St Louis Rams pass rush to deal with. Robert Quinn and co virtually shut down Peyton Manning a week ago. Any bets involving sacks stands out, while Rivers under 255.5 yards passing is also in play.
  • The New York Giants have allowed the most rushing yards and rushing touchdowns in the league this term. Now they host the juggernaut Cowboys attack led by DeMarco Murray. 6/1 to find paydirt first is a great interest bet for those up late on watching Sunday Night Football.

Arizona Cardinals @ Dallas Cowboys – Game Preview

 

ARIZONA CARDINALS @ DALLAS COWBOYS – 6PM IRISH TIME

The Dallas Cowboys could be without starting quarterback Tony Romo for the huge clash with the 6-1 Arizona Cardinals at AT&T Stadium this week.

Romo took a sack in the defeat against the Washington Redskins last Monday Night and hasn’t practiced all week. Latest news suggest the former Eastern Illinois signal caller has fractured some small bones in his back and hasn’t practiced all week. He is officially questionable but it would be a huge call to allow the trigger man to suit up for the game with the blitz-happy Cardinals.

Arizona have been somewhat of a surprise package so far in the NFC. Despite losing Carson Palmer for a handful of games early in the season, Drew Stanton was able to fill in admirably, until Palmer returned.

The Cardinals enter the game on the back of a win over Dallas’ NFC East rival the Philadelphia Eagles. A late John Brown touchdown in the fourth quarter was enough to see the Cards move to 6-1 on the season, with all the momentum heading into the game in Texas this weekend firmly in the favour of the visitors.

If Romo can’t go for Dallas, Brandon Weeden will draw the start under centre. Weeden came into the game last week when Romo was knocked out and led the ‘Boys to two scoring drives, including a perfectly thrown touchdown pass to Jason Witten.

Weeden has more experience than a number of backups in the league, given his time as the #1 in Cleveland. He also draws most of the practice work early in the week at Valley Ranch, due to Romo taking every Wednesday off after his offseason back surgery, so there shouldn’t necessarily be a huge change in gameplan for Jason Garrett’s outfit. DeMarco Murray will look to continue his huge year running the ball, while Weeden will look to get the ball out quick to Witten and possibly slot receiver Cole Beasley, who could be key against this aggressive ‘Zona defence.

Arizona has blitzed offenses on 47.5 percent of its dropbacks since Todd Bowles took over the defense last season, and after Washington had plenty of success attacking this Cowboys offensive line last week, look for more of the same from Bowles this week.

Kick off from AT&T Stadium is 6pm – live on Sky Sports.

Prediction: Dallas 24 – 21 Arizona

NFL Ireland Team of the Week: Week 8

Week 8 marks the halfway point for most teams and it’s a good time to sit back, take stock and appreciate what we’ve got. The NFL Ireland Team of the Week has been dishing out the most-sought after honours in sport for half a season now, and the players keep making plays, each one desperate to get their name on the teamsheet! Whether it’s a quarterback making history or a veteran DB revisiting his island, Week 8 saw great performances from some of the top players in the league. Here’s your NFL Ireland Team of the Week!

Offense | Defense

 

TOTW-Offense-8

Quarterback: Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers

In case you were living under a rock this weekend, on Sunday Ben Roethlisberger gave us one of the greatest QB performances of all time. He was completely error-free, with a box score full of numbers so good they’d make Rachel Riley blush: 40 of 49, 6 passing TDs, 522 passing yards, 0 INTs, 0 sacks. Although he finished a TD shy of tying the single game record, and just 32 yards short of the all-time single-game passing record, Big Ben’s performance made him the first player in NFL history to have TWO games with over 500 passing yards. And this Colts team came into the game looking like one of the better defenses in the NFL. Ben, we salute you.

Running Back: Mark Ingram – New Orleans Saints

Mark Ingram is often the victim, sometimes of injuries, more often of the many-headed running back committee in New Orleans. With Darren Sproles  now injured in Philly and Pierre Thomas and Khiry Robinson both forced to sit out the Saints’ Sunday matchup against the Green Bay Packers, Ingram was finally used as the featured back his Heisman-winning college career promised he could be. The 4-th year veteran didn’t disappoint, carrying the rock 24 times for 172 yards and a touchdown as the Saints got their season back on track with a 44-23 win. Have they finally found how to use the talented back?

Tight End: Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots

We’ve said it before: Gronk is back and when he works, the Patriots work. The tight end and Tom Brady were partying like it was, well, 2011, as they hooked up on 9 passes for 149 yards and  3 TDs in a blowout win against the misfiring Bears in Foxboro. With Gronk in this kind of form, he only needs to stay healthy to keep the Patriots offense firing. Of course that’s always been his problem, but he is the key to New England booming or busting.

Wide Receiver: Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles

Maclin is putting any fears about his ACL recovery to bed this season. Having hauled in a scary 12 passes for 187 yards and two touchdowns in the Eagles’ painful loss to the Cardinals this week, he’s also showing why Chip Kelly had no problem in letting DeSean Jackson walk this offseason. Maclin’s performances have made Nick Foles look good and saved Philadelphia’s blushes on a couple of occasions. It wasn’t enough this time, but if he maintains this form the Eagles will always be in with a chance.

Wide Receiver: Mohamed Sanu – Cincinnati Bengals

The Bengals improbably top the AFC North despite putting in some absolute stinkers since their bye week. A big reason for these bad performances has been the continued injuries of A.J. Green, but in his absence, Mohamed Sanu has stepped into his considerable shoes and performed admirably. In a tight divisional game against the Ravens, Sanu caught five balls for 125 yards, adding another 27 yards on two rushing attempts. Plays like this bobbling catch-and-run reception to bring the Bengals into scoring range are a big part of what Sanu does every week, and to do it in this tough a matchup was impressive.

Offensive Line: Denver Broncos

The Broncos managed to keep Peyton Manning’s jersey clean all day Thursday against the Chargers. As well as keeping their QB sack-free, they made the holes for Ronnie Hillman’s second rushing game of at least 100 yards this season. The Broncos O-line has been a strong base from which this offense is able to get downfield and score, which they do better than anybody.

 

Defense | Offense

TOTW-Defense-8

Defensive Line: Tennessee Titans

Looking for bright spots as a Titans fan is tough right now, but their D-line is starting to click again having faded after a promising start to the season. Jurell Casey, Sammie Lee Hill, Mike Martin, Al Woods and Ropati Pitoitua served as a reliable rotation in the hybrid fronts of Roy Horton on a team struggling for reliability on both sides of the football. Now if only they could get some help.

Linebackers – Buffalo Bills

So the Bills aren’t missing Kiko Alonso as much as people might have feared. Against a hapless New York Jets side they held the opposition running backs to just 78 yards while also forcing a fumble and taking an interception. A good game for a unit that continues to impress despite injuries to key players.

Cornerback: Darrelle Revis – New England Patriots

The Patriots big offseason acquisition has been a solid performer in recent weeks. Against the Bears he was targeted 8 times but he only gave up 23 yards for 3 receptions. He also managed to catch his second pick since moving to New England. If he continues to perform like this the Patriots will be looking at another deep postseason run.

Cornerback: Antonio Cromartie – Arizona Cardinals

Cromartie landed in Arizona as the second corner behind Patrick Peterson. He’s been a good contributor at times this year, but his talents really shone on Sunday against an Eagles side who like to throw the ball. He had a pass breakup and by the end of the game Cromartie was also celebrating his first multiple-pick game since 2010. He also had this glorious juke on a red-zone interception return to leave two Eagles players smashing into each other.

Free Safety: Tashaun Gipson – Cleveland Browns

After a strong start to the season that saw him make our team in Week 2, Gipson’s form slipped slightly at the start of the month. He’s bounced back in the last two weeks with 3 passes defended, all picks. His most recent interceptions came against Derek Carr and a Raiders team who found it difficult throwing his way, and the Browns safety chipped in two tackles for good measure. With continued good all-round play, Gipson is fast being recognised as a quality safety in the NFL.

Strong Safety: D.J. Swearinger – Houston Texans

Swearinger’s return to form this season has been somewhat overshadowed by the stellar form of J.J. Watt, and his performance against the Titans was again quietly efficient. He didn’t allow a single reception into his area of coverage per PFF, breaking up one pass and picking off another. He’s always been strong against the run but his work in coverage this year has improved, and he has proven to be an excellent and consistent performer for the improved 2014 Texans.

Week 5 Gifs

A selection of some of the best plays from week 5.

Warning: This one takes a while to load!

Seattle Seahawks 27 – 17 Washington Redskins


Cousins gets lit up


Wilson’s great escape

Chicago Bears 21 – 24 Carolina Panthers


Jeffrey’s one handed catch


Cam blocks Breeze

St Louis Rams 28 – 34 Philadelphia Eagles


Shady’s fumble

Buffalo Bills 17 – 14 Detroit Lions


Watkins’ juggle catch

Arizona Cardinals 20 – 41 Denver Broncos


Manning stops a touchdown


Ellington has get away from the cops speed

Baltimore Ravens 13 – 20 Indianapolis Colts


Luck takes a big hit and Ngata intercepts

Atlanta Falcons 20 – 30 New York Giants


Julio Jones one handed catch


Odell Beckham Jr’s touchdown catch

Houston Texans 17 – 20 Dallas Cowboys


Romo avoids JJ Watt sack


Arian Foster jukes Barry Church

Kansas City Chiefs 17 – 22 San Francisco 49ers


Brandon Lloyd’s athletic catch

NFL Ireland Team of the Week: Week 3

In another week where the lead-up was dominated by off-field issues, the weekend couldn’t come quickly enough. And what a weekend it was; overtime, big scores, big plays, and a reminder of everything we love about the NFL. Here we list the best of the best according to NFL Ireland. Week 3 winners, here we go!

Offense | Defense

 

Team of the Week 3: Offense

QB: Kirk Cousins – Washington Redskins

In his first start of the season Cousins made his case for taking the QB job ahead of the injured Robert Griffin III. He threw for 427 yards and three TDs, and if Cousins keeps playing like this, the former Offensive Rookie of the Year might not have a job to come back to.

Running Back: Rashad Jennings – New York Giants

Against a stout Houston defense Jennings managed to rack up 176 rushing yards and a TD. More importantly for the Giants, he was able to dominate the game and regulate the pace of the attack, keeping the Giants in control of what many thought would be a tough home matchup.

Tight End: Martellus Bennett – Chicago Bears

Another week of banged-up receivers for the Bears but another strong performance from Bennett. The former Cowboy and Giant stepped up when it counted with two TD catches against the Jets on Monday Night Football. He’s had a great start to the season.

Wide Receiver: Julio Jones – Atlanta Falcons

Sure it was only against the awful Bucs, but you can’t ignore 181 yards and 2 touchdowns. Jones is back and better than ever, and when he’s reeling off 40-yard TD catches like this one (from a poor Matt Ryan throw too) opposing defensive backs should be scared. Very scared.

Wide Receiver: Jeremy Maclin – Philadelphia Eagles

DeSean Jackson graced his return to Philly with a TD, but it was the Eagles no.1 receiver who put on a clinic, catching 8 balls for 154 yards and a 4th quarter score. Coming off an ACL injury which sidelined him all of last season, Maclin is showing there is life after DeSean in this Eagles receiving corps after all.

Offensive Line: Washington Redskins

The Redskins didn’t give up a single sack and gave Kirk Cousins the time and space to be our QB of the week. A solid effort from an improving unit.

 

Defense | Offense

 

 

Team of the Week 3 Defense

Defensive Line: Kansas City Chiefs

The Chiefs notched up 4 sacks and, with Dontari Poe and Allen Bailey leading the way, kept Ryan Tannehill on the backfoot to ensure an inept passing game from the Dolphins. This week saw a big jump from the Chiefs D-line, and KC needs that trend to continue.

Linebackers: Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins linebackers are still struggling with injuries, but this unit dominated against the Chiefs. Alex Smith moved the ball in spite of their pressure, as Jelani Jenkins, Jason Trusnik and Philip Wheeler combined for 23 individual tackles, with Jenkins adding a pair of sacks and forcing a fumble for good measure.

Cornerback: Brandon Flowers – San Diego Chargers

The beleaguered Chargers passing defense of 2013 was boosted by the addition of Flowers in free agency. Flowers held receivers in his area to just 29 yards and added a pass breakup too. The Chargers already see his signing as money well spent.

Cornerback: Kyle Fuller – Chicago Bears

Fuller makes his second team of the week appearance in as many weeks. The rookie had a red zone interception and a crucial pass breakup against the Jets. If he continues to play like this, the Bears won’t miss injured veteran Charles Tillman one bit.

Free Safety: Tony Jefferson – Arizona Cardinals

In spite of losses all over the defense, Cardinals defensive coordinator Todd Bowles has found a way to keep this unit not just competitive, but dominant. A perfect example was Jefferson’s week 3 performance against the 49ers, as he managed 8 tackles and a sack to help keep the Cardinals’ divisional rivals scoreless in the second half.

Strong Safety: Kam Chancellor – Seattle Seahawks

Both safety spots could easily have been occupied by Seahawks players, but Chancellor had the edge on Earl Thomas with a pick on Peyton Manning in Seattle’s overtime win. The Legion of Boom has faced questions this season, but there was no questioning Chancellor’s performance on Sunday.

If you think we missed somebody, hit us up on Facebook, Twitter or in the comments section!

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits Week 3

Each week during the season, deciding on who to start for your fantasy team is the most pivotal decision. Each week in my Rankings, Starts and Sits article, I will list the players at each position. This will show you who the best play at each position is. I will also recommend a less obvious player at each position who is primed for a big week, and a player at each position who you should avoid. If you have any start/sit questions fell free to contact me on twitter @JamesMaguire21 where I would be happy to answer all questions.

 Quarterbacks

QB Start of the Week

wilson

Russell Wilson (SEA)

The last time Wilson faced the Broncos it was in the Superbowl, where he had a fantastic game. The Broncos have improved on defence but with Manning throwing the Ball for the Broncos; Wilson will have a nice stat line as he will have to throw to keep up with them. The Seahawks and Wilson are always better at home where Wilson has scored over 18 points in 11 of the 17 games he has played there. Wilson has also thrown for 9 TD’s in his last four home games against AFC opposition. He is a great start this week.

 

QB Sit of the Week

kap

Colin Kaepernick (SF)

Kap is coming off a game where he threw 3 interceptions and lost a fumble against the Bears. This week he faces a tough Cardinals defence who have done a good job of limiting QB’s over the first 2 games. If I had a better option I would bench Kap for this week, if not you will just have temper your expectations.

 

[columnize]1              Matthew Stafford DET (vs. GB)

2              Andrew Luck IND  (@JAC)

3              Drew Brees NO (vs. MIN)

4              Aaron Rodgers GB (@DET)

5              Peyton Manning DEN (@SEA)

6              Nick Foles PHI  (vs. WAS)

7              Russell Wilson SEA (vs. DEN)

8              Jay Cutler CHI (@NYJ)

9              Matt Ryan ATL  (vs. TB)

10           Tom Brady NE (vs. OAK)

11           Cam Newton CAR (vs. PIT)

12           Philip Rivers SD (@BUF)

13           Colin Kaepernick SF (@ARI)

14           Tony Romo DAL  (@STL)

15           Andy Dalton CIN (vs. TEN)

16           Kirk Cousins WAS (@PHI)

17           Joe Flacco BAL  (@CLE)

18           Ryan Tannehill MIA (vs. KC)

19           Eli Manning NYG (vs. HOU)

20           Ben Roethlisberger PIT  (@CAR)

21           Alex Smith KC (@MIA)

22           Jake Locker TEN  (@CIN)

23           Josh McCown TB  (@ATL)

24           Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU (@NYG)[/columnize]

 

Running Backs

RB Start of the Week

vereen

Shane Vereen/Steven Ridley (NE)

Both Vereen and Ridley are nice starts this week against a bad Raiders defence. As you can see from my rankings, I prefer Vereen to Ridley, but both of them are great starts this week as the Raiders have given up almost 30ppg to opposing RB’s.

 

RB Sit of the Week

steven-jackson

Steven Jackson (ATL)

The aging back has only scored 10.5 points over 2 games so far this season and is seeing a decrease in his touches. This week’s matchup is a tough one as he faces a Buccaneers defence who have been quite good against the run this season, giving up the sixth fewest points to opposing RB’s.

 

[columnize]1              Arian Foster HOU  (@NYG)

2              LeSean McCoy PHI  (vs. WAS)

3              DeMarco Murray DAL  (@STL)

4              Marshawn Lynch SEA  (vs. DEN)

5              Giovani Bernard CIN (vs. TEN)

6              Matt Forte CHI (@NYJ)

7              Alfred Morris WAS (@PHI)

8              Knile Davis KC  (@MIA)

9              Eddie Lacy GB (@DET)

10           Joique Bell DET  (vs. GB)

11           Zac Stacy STL (vs. DAL)

12           Le’Veon Bell PIT (@CAR)

13           Shane Vereen NE  (vs. OAK)

14           Rashad Jennings NYG (vs. HOU)

15           Terrance West CLE (vs. BAL)

16           Khiry Robinson NO (vs. MIN)

17           Montee Ball DEN (@SEA)

18           Andre Ellington ARI  (vs. SF)

19           Ahmad Bradshaw IND  (@JAC)

20           Jonathan Stewart CAR (vs. PIT)

21           Doug Martin TB  (@ATL)

22           Stevan Ridley NE (vs. OAK)

23           Lamar Miller MIA  (vs. KC)

24           C.J. Spiller BUF (vs. SD)

25           Bernard Pierce BAL (@CLE)

26           Chris Ivory NYJ (vs. CHI)

27           Steven Jackson ATL (vs. TB)

28           Matt Asiata MIN (@NO)

29           Frank Gore SF (@ARI)

30           Jeremy Hill CIN (vs. TEN)

31           Darren McFadden OAK  (@NE)

32           Pierre Thomas NO (vs. MIN)

33           Donald Brown SD  (@BUF)

34           Darren Sproles PHI  (vs. WAS)

35           Fred Jackson BUF (vs. SD)

36           Trent Richardson IND  (@JAC)

37           Reggie Bush DET  (vs. GB)

38           Justin Forsett BAL (@CLE)

39           Chris Johnson NYJ (vs. CHI)

40           Bobby Rainey TB (@ATL)

41           Isaiah Crowell CLE (vs. BAL)

42           Danny Woodhead SD (@BUF)

43           Stepfan Taylor ARI (vs. SF)

44           Toby Gerhart JAC  (vs. IND)

45           Shonn Greene TEN (@CIN)

46           Carlos Hyde SF (@ARI)

47           Benny Cunningham STL (vs. DAL)

48           Bishop Sankey TEN (@CIN)[/columnize]

 Wide Receivers

WR Start of the Week

patterson

Cordarrelle Patterson ( MIN )

Patterson has had a decent start to the season, but has done most of his damage from running the ball. I expect his receiving totals to greatly increase this week as he faces a Saints team that have given up the 2nd most points per game to opposing WR’s. With Peterson also being out it could force the Viking to throw the ball more or to give some extra carries to Patterson.

 

WR Sit of the Week

fitz

Larry Fitzgerald/ Michael Floyd (ARI)

I listed Fitzgerald as a start last week, but then Palmer was injured and forced to miss the game, and that ruined any chance of him having a good game. If Palmer is out again this week, then I would be very cautious about starting either Arizona WR as Stanton severely limits any upside he may have.

 

[columnize]1              Calvin Johnson DET (vs. GB)

2              Dez Bryant DAL  (@STL)

3              Jordy Nelson GB (@DET)

4              Brandon Marshall CHI (@NYJ)

5              Randall Cobb GB (@DET)

6              Demaryius Thomas DEN (@SEA)

7              Julio Jones ATL  (vs. TB)

8              Keenan Allen SD (@BUF)

9              Antonio Brown PIT (@CAR)

10           Cordarrelle Patterson MIN (@NO)

11           Jeremy Maclin PHI  (vs. WAS)

12           Julian Edelman NE  (vs. OAK)

13           Percy Harvin SEA (vs. DEN)

14           Mike Wallace MIA (vs. KC)

15           Vincent Jackson TB (@ATL)

16           Marques Colston NO  (vs. MIN)

17           Pierre Garcon WAS (@PHI)

18           Alshon Jeffery CHI  (@NYJ)

19           Emmanuel Sanders DEN (@SEA)

20           Roddy White ATL  (vs. TB)

21           Victor Cruz NYG  (vs. HOU)

22           Andre Johnson HOU (@NYG)

23           Kelvin Benjamin CAR  (vs. PIT)

24           Wes Welker DEN  (@SEA)

25           Sammy Watkins BUF  (vs. SD)

26           Golden Tate DET (vs. GB)

27           Michael Floyd ARI (vs. SF)

28           Reggie Wayne IND  (@JAC)

29           Brandin Cooks NO (vs. MIN)

30           Steve Smith BAL (@CLE)

31           Michael Crabtree SF (@ARI)

32           Larry Fitzgerald ARI (vs. SF)

33           DeAndre Hopkins HOU (@NYG)

34           Rueben Randle NYG (vs. HOU)

35           T.Y. Hilton IND  (@JAC)

36           Kendall Wright TEN (@CIN)

37           Terrance Williams DAL (@STL)

38           Brian Quick STL (vs. DAL)

39           Markus Wheaton PIT (@CAR)

40           Anquan Boldin SF (@ARI)

41           Mohamed Sanu CIN (vs. TEN)

42           Torrey Smith BAL (@CLE)

43           Greg Jennings MIN (@NO)

44           Andrew Hawkins CLE (vs. BAL)

45           James Jones OAK (@NE)

46           Jermaine Kearse SEA (vs. DEN)

47           Justin Hunter TEN (@CIN)

48           Harry Douglas ATL (vs. TB)[/columnize]

Tight Ends

TE Start of the Week

Martellus Bennett

Martellus Bennett (CHI)

Bennett is off to a fantastic start this season scoring 2 TD’s and he is currently second on the team with targets. His success should continue this week as he faces a Jets team who is struggling with it’s secondary. He is a great start this week.

 

TE Sit of the Week:

Jason-Witten-Dallas-Cowboys

Jason Witten (DAL)

So far this season Witten has been pretty anonymous in the Dallas passing game, and that trend could continue this week against a Rams defence that has only allowed three tight ends to reach double digits in Fantasy points over the past 34 games. I would keep him benched until we see him return to form.

 

[columnize]1              Jimmy Graham NO (vs. MIN)

2              Rob Gronkowski NE (vs. OAK)

3              Julius Thomas DEN (@SEA)

4              Zach Ertz PHI  (vs. WAS)

5              Antonio Gates SD (@BUF)

6              Greg Olsen CAR  (vs. PIT)

7              Delanie Walker TEN  (@CIN)

8              Martellus Bennett CHI (@NYJ)

9              Kyle Rudolph MIN  (@NO)

10           Dennis Pitta BAL (@CLE)

11           Dwayne Allen IND (@JAC)

12           Larry Donnell NYG (vs. HOU)

13           Niles Paul WAS (@PHI)

14           Jason Witten DAL (@STL)

15           Jared Cook STL (vs. DAL)

16           Derek Carrier SF (@ARI)

17           Travis Kelce KC (@MIA)

18           Heath Miller PIT (@CAR)

19           Owen Daniels BAL (@CLE)

20           Jermaine Gresham CIN (vs. TEN)

21           Charles Clay MIA  (vs. KC)

22           Eric Ebron DET (vs. GB)

23           Brandon Myers TB (@ATL)

24           Scott Chandler BUF (vs. SD)[/columnize]