It’s week 3 of the regular season and the dust is finally starting to settle on who’s good and who’s, well let’s just say ‘rebuilding’. What better way to do that than with the NFL Ireland Team of the Week? Continue reading “NFL Ireland Team of the Week: Week 3”
GREEN BAY @ CHICAGO – SUNDAY 6PM – SKY SPORTS
The Spread: Green Bay -6.5
The Total: Under 49
The First Touchdown: Randall Cobb
Why: A tough total in Chicago, but Green Bay look good things despite the loss of Jordy Nelson. The man under centre for Green Bay will be on MVP ballots at the end of the year, though they may lean on Eddie Lacy against a porous Bear run defence. For Chicago, Jay Cutler has a 13:22 TD:INT ratio against Dom Capers-led Packers defence and Alshon Jeffrey could miss the opener as well. Expect a lot of Matt Forte (what’s new?) while Martellus Bennett could be the top passing game option.
Alshon Jeffery is very iffy for Sunday but so are rest of the Bears WRs. Downgrade all of them, plus Cutler. Forte, Bennett? #FanDuelNFL
— Will Carroll (@injuryexpert) September 11, 2015
BALTIMORE @ DENVER – SUNDAY 9.25PM – SKY SPORTS
The Spread: Denver -4.5
The Total: Under 48.5
The First Touchdown: CJ Anderson
Why: The Broncos defense ranked No. 2 against the run and No. 9 against the pass last year and the trio of DeMarcus Ware, Vonn Miller and rookie Shane Ray could be the best pass-rush trio in the league. Joe Flacco’s top target this term is 36-year-old Steve Smith and he’ll be up against the stingy Aqib Talib and Chris Harris. With Gary Kubiak running the show in Denver, look for Peyton Manning to be handing off a whole lot more this term.
CB Lardarius Webb is "very confident" going into Week 1 despite missing the preseason.
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) September 11, 2015
NEW YORK GIANTS @ DALLAS COWBOYS – MONDAY 1.30AM – SKY SPORTS
The Spread: New York +6
The Total: Over 51.5
The First Touchdown: Odell Beckham Jnr
Why: ODB made his name with THAT catch against Brandon Carr and the Cowboys last term. But it was his 7 games over 100+ yards receiving that really propelled him and he could be the leading wideout come season’s end. Greg Hardy doesn’t play till week so the pass rush could still be suspect for Dallas, however Tony Romo and Dez Bryant should pick up where they left off last term. Shootout potential under the lights on Sunday night.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 10, 2015
PHILADELPHIA @ATLANTA – TUESDAY 12.10AM – SKY SPORTS
The Spread: Philadelphia -3
The Total: Over 55
The First Touchdown: Nelson Agholor
Why: Another shootout in store for the opener on Monday Night Football. Sam Bradford is a significant upgrade on Mark Sanchez and Nick Foles but will he stay healthy? If he does this Eagles team will be one of the most high-scoring units in football. Jordan Matthews is ready for his breakout year out of the slot in Chip Kelly’s hyper-speed offence, while DeMarco Murray and Ryan Matthews provide a perfect one-two punch. New OC Kyle Shanahan will make Julio Jones one of the most targeted WR’s this term and look for him to have joy against a porous Eagle secondary.
— Graham Barfield (@GrahamBarfield) September 10, 2015
MINNESOTA @ SAN FRANCISCO – TUESDAY 3.20AM
The Spread: Minnesota -2.5
The Total: Under 41.5
The First Touchdown: Charles Johnson
Why: A one for the purists to close out week 1. With Adrian Peterson back, expect the Vikings to be even more run-heavy than usual, though they will be missing stalwarts John Sullivan and Phil Loadholt off the offensive line. Mike Wallace’s addition gives Teddy Bridgewater a field-stretcher out wide and the Vikes will make the playoffs under Coach of the Year Mike Zimmer. The Niners will finish the season with a top five draft pick, though NaVorro Bowman’s return will see him contender for Comeback Player of the Year.
Adrian Peterson trails career rushing leader Emmitt Smith by 8,165 yds. At current pace, it would take AP 84 games to break Smith’s record.
— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) September 11, 2015
First off, apologies for the lack of column last week. This column is written every Friday, however last week was taken up by the wedding of the best running back in Ireland, while the weekend was spent getting skint in London seeing the future Super Bowl Champion Dallas Cowboys dismantle a hapless Jaguars outfit. Anyhow let’s back on the horse this weekend!
TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS @ WAHSINGTON REDSKINS
This is a sneaky matchup in terms of points. Robert Griffin III returned for Washington last time out against Minnesota and did well, engineering five scoring drives. Meanwhile, Josh McCown was drafted back in under centre for the Bucs last time and also did well, finishing with 340 all-purpose yards. OVER 45 PTS @ 10/11 kicks off this week’s treble.
The usual Alfred Morris stat gets rolled out each time Griffin makes his return from any injury problem but it’s worth highlighting. With Griffin under centre, Morris has 4.86 yards per carry as opposed to 3.69 yards per carry without him. The threat of the read option with the former Baylor Bear calling the shots allows more room for Morris and he should run well. Griffin should also go well against a Tampa defence that has allowed a 103.7 passer rating to opposing QB’s – third worst in the NFL.
Washington’s defence has been badly affected by injuries with pass-rusher Brian Orakpo and top cover man DeAngleo Hall done for the year. Bashaud Breeland has been a rookie success, but David Amerson has been poor and big targets Vincent Jackson and Mike Evans could have success.
OVER 45 PTS @ 10/11 opens this week’s bet, with a scoreline somewhere in the region of 27-24 either way predicted here. V-Jax to score the first touchdown at 9/1 makes do.
HOUSTON TEXANS @ CLEVELAND BROWNS
Not the most attractive match on this week’s NFL slate, but we’re here to make money. Ryan Mallet is in at quarterback for Houston, but he has to take on a Cleveland defence that hasn’t given up more than 17 points over last three games. Coming off the back of a huge divisional win in Cincinnati, a 3 point spread at home looks to small for this Browns team. CLEVELAND -3 PTS @ 10/11 is next on the slip.
Over the last 5 games, the Browns unit has allowed only five touchdowns, while intercepting 10 passes and sacking the quarterback 12 times. Joe Haden has rediscovered his shutdown cornerback status and with an immobile quarterback under centre, it could be a long afternoon for the Texans offence.
Cleveland’s success on offence has come on the ground. The Browns ran it an NFL-high 52 times last week, with Crowell, Tate and West all getting involved. Brian Hoyer has been the stereotypical game-manager getting the ball out quickly, until the Browns take the Lamborghini out of the garage next week, with Josh Gordon’s return. Houston are allowing 4.38 yards per carry to opposing backs so expect plenty of the three-headed monster this week.
CLEVELAND -3 PTS @ 10/11 is next with a low-scoring Browns win in the region of 21-14. Ben Tate went in first last week, he’ll do again this week at a price of 9/1.
DENVER @ ST LOUIS
St Louis has finally generated a pass rush from it’s heralded linemen over the past two weeks, sacking the opposing trigger man 11 times over the last 2 games. However the Rams take on Peyton Manning under a roof, and that spells trouble for St Louis. DENVER -9 PTS @ 10/11 rounds off this week’s selections.
Manning and co bounced back from their loss to the Pats, with a win over the Oakland Raiders last week. Despite their pass rush success the last fortnight, expect Peyton to know this and a gameplan to revolve around getting the ball out quickly to a host of playmakers. Also as we mentioned the game is indoors. Manning has played three games indoors over the last two seasons with Denver, where he threw for 1200 yards (8.45 YPA) and an 11:2 TD-to-INT ratio.
Shaun Hill is under centre for the Rams, with coach Jeff Fisher finally losing patience with rookie Austin Davis, after a drop-off in play the last few months. Hill has played a total of 73 offensive snaps since the end of the 2010 season and is knocking on a bit – turning 35 by season’s end.
DENVER -9 PTS @ 10/11 with Denver handling St Louis by a score of 31-17. Touchdown machine Julius Thomas once again will do for first touchdown at 11/2.
- Minnesota has given up 55 receptions to running backs, good for 6th most in the NFL. They go up against the best pass-catching back in the league tomorrow in Matt Forte. Big day expected for the former Tulane man.
- Mark Ingram has been straight balling, finally showing his Heisman-winning talent despite a bum shoulder. He’s rushed for over a tonne his last 3 games, and now goes up against a Bengals D that was gashed to the tune of 169 yards and 3 touchdowns last week against a previously-terrible Browns running attack.
- Carolina allowed Mark Sanchez to pass for 300+ yards last week. They get Matt Ryan this week with the Falcons finally getting the monkey off their back and winning on the road for the first time in over two years. Expect a big day for Matty Ice.
- Two runners who should have plenty of touches – Frank Gore and Marshawn Lynch. The last 4 games the New York Giants have allowed 680 yards and four scores on the ground, while Marshawn Lynch is all the Seahawks have on offence at the moment. Pair that with Kansas City’s top ranked pass defence, it could be tough-sledding for Russell Wilson in Arrowhead.
- Litmus-test for Mark Sanchez this week. On the road at Lambeau against a white-hot Green Bay squad. Will the real Mark Sanchez please stand up? It’s a tough ask for the former Jet, as he’ll be going toe-to-toe with the best player in football at the moment Aaron Rodgers. A-Rod has video game numbers at home – he’s not thrown a pick at home since December 4th 2012, and has 15 td’s already this year at Lambeau. Green Bay will win this football game.
QB Start of the Week
Matthew Stafford (DET)
Stafford has been struggling in recent weeks without his main weapon in the passing attack. He will more than likely be without Johnson again this week, but I would still roll with him in your lineup, as the matchup is just too good to miss. The Falcons are giving up around 20ppg to opposing signal callers and I would look for Stafford to eclipse this mark on Sunday.
QB Sit of the Week
Matt Ryan (ATL)
Ryan has been really suffering as a result of his offensive line and they lost another starter last week. This week he faces one of the toughest pass defences in the league and will be under constant pressure. Factor in that he has been poor away from home and hasn’t eclipsed 15 fantasy points over the past few games, and you have to keep him benched.
[columnize]1 Peyton Manning DEN (vs. SD)
2 Aaron Rodgers GB (@NO)
3 Andrew Luck IND (@PIT)
4 Tom Brady NE (vs. CHI)
5 Russell Wilson SEA (@CAR)
6 Tony Romo DAL (vs. WAS)
7 Drew Brees NO (vs. GB)
8 Matthew Stafford DET (@ATL)
9 Nick Foles PHI (@ARI)
10 Philip Rivers SD (@DEN)
11 Carson Palmer ARI (vs. PHI)
12 Jay Cutler CHI (@NE)
13 Ryan Tannehill MIA (@JAC)
14 Kyle Orton BUF (@NYJ)
15 Alex Smith KC (vs. STL)
16 Cam Newton CAR (vs. SEA)
17 Mike Glennon TB (vs. MIN)
18 Joe Flacco BAL (@CIN)
19 Ben Roethlisberger PIT (vs. IND)
20 Matt Ryan ATL (vs. DET)
21 Andy Dalton CIN (vs. BAL)
22 Geno Smith NYJ (vs. BUF)
23 Ryan Fitzpatrick HOU (@TEN)
24 Teddy Bridgewater MIN (@TB)[/columnize]
RB Start of the Week
Jerick McKinnon (MIN)
McKinnon has been really good since taking over the starting job from Asiata in Minnesota, and showed exactly what he can do against a tough run defence last week. This week he gets an easy matchup against a TB defence that gives up the 7th most fantasy ppg to opposing runners. I expect a huge performance from him.
RB Sit of the Week
Chris Ivory/Chris Johnson (NYJ)
Neither of the Jets RB’s have been great this season, although Ivory has emerged into the clear number one ahead of Johnson. I would keep both of them benched this week as they face a tough Bills defence that gives up the 2nd fewest ppg to opposing rb’s.
[columnize]1 Jamaal Charles KC (vs. STL)
2 Arian Foster HOU (@TEN)
3 Matt Forte CHI (@NE)
4 DeMarco Murray DAL (vs. WAS)
5 Marshawn Lynch SEA (@CAR)
6 Andre Ellington ARI (vs. PHI)
7 Le’Veon Bell PIT (vs. IND)
8 Lamar Miller MIA (@JAC)
9 LeSean McCoy PHI (@ARI)
10 Ronnie Hillman DEN (vs. SD)
11 Shane Vereen NE (vs. CHI)
12 Jerick McKinnon MIN (@TB)
13 Giovani Bernard CIN (vs. BAL)
14 Eddie Lacy GB (@NO)
15 Ahmad Bradshaw IND (@PIT)
16 Ben Tate CLE (vs. OAK)
17 Justin Forsett BAL (@CIN)
18 Joique Bell DET (@ATL)
19 Branden Oliver SD (@DEN)
20 Darren McFadden OAK (@CLE)
21 Alfred Morris WAS (@DAL)
22 Mark Ingram NO (vs. GB)
23 Doug Martin TB (vs. MIN)
24 Isaiah Crowell CLE (vs. OAK)
25 Bryce Brown BUF (@NYJ)
26 Tre Mason STL (@KC)
27 Travaris Cadet NO (vs. GB)
28 Bernard Pierce BAL (@CIN)
29 Chris Ivory NYJ (vs. BUF)
30 Denard Robinson JAC (vs. MIA)
31 Anthony Dixon BUF (@NYJ)
32 Reggie Bush DET (@ATL)
33 Jonathan Stewart CAR (vs. SEA)
34 Bishop Sankey TEN (vs. HOU)
35 Stepfan Taylor ARI (vs. PHI)
36 Benny Cunningham STL (@KC)
37 Jonas Gray NE (vs. CHI)
38 Storm Johnson JAC (vs. MIA)
39 Jeremy Hill CIN (vs. BAL)
40 Chris Johnson NYJ (vs. BUF)
41 James Starks GB (@NO)
42 Matt Asiata MIN (@TB)
43 Joseph Randle DAL (vs. WAS)
44 Darren Sproles PHI (@ARI)
45 Roy Helu WAS (@DAL)
46 Bobby Rainey TB (vs. MIN)
47 Antone Smith ATL (vs. DET)
48 Daniel Thomas MIA (@JAC)[/columnize]
WR Start of the Week
Sammy Watkins (BUF)
The number 1 pick in most rookie drafts has emerged into an every week starter ever since Orton took over at QB for the Bills. He has been fantastic over the past few weeks apart from when he matched up against Revis Island. I expect another great performance from him this week as he matches up against the Jets terrible pass defence.
WR Sit of the Week
Torrey Smith (BAL)
After a slow start to the season, Smith has been great over the past few weeks scoring 4 TD’s over the past 4 games. That run could end this week as he faces a tough Bengals defence that historically has a good record against Smith.
[columnize]1 Demaryius Thomas DEN (vs. SD)
2 Jordy Nelson GB (@NO)
3 Antonio Brown PIT (vs. IND)
4 Dez Bryant DAL (vs. WAS)
5 Golden Tate DET (@ATL)
6 Randall Cobb GB (@NO)
7 Alshon Jeffery CHI (@NE)
8 Sammy Watkins BUF (@NYJ)
9 Julio Jones ATL (vs. DET)
10 Michael Floyd ARI (vs. PHI)
11 T.Y. Hilton IND (@PIT)
12 Brandon Marshall CHI (@NE)
13 Jeremy Maclin PHI (@ARI)
14 Emmanuel Sanders DEN (vs. SD)
15 Mike Wallace MIA (@JAC)
16 Vincent Jackson TB (vs. MIN)
17 Marques Colston NO (vs. GB)
18 Steve Smith BAL (@CIN)
19 DeAndre Hopkins HOU (@TEN)
20 Kelvin Benjamin CAR (vs. SEA)
21 Larry Fitzgerald ARI (vs. PHI)
22 Eric Decker NYJ (vs. BUF)
23 Roddy White ATL (vs. DET)
24 Doug Baldwin SEA (@CAR)
25 Andre Johnson HOU (@TEN)
26 Terrance Williams DAL (vs. WAS)
27 Pierre Garcon WAS (@DAL)
28 Mohamed Sanu CIN (vs. BAL)
29 Julian Edelman NE (vs. CHI)
30 Torrey Smith BAL (@CIN)
31 Allen Robinson JAC (vs. MIA)
32 Davante Adams GB (@NO)
33 Mike Evans TB (vs. MIN)
34 DeSean Jackson WAS (@DAL)
35 Brandon LaFell NE (vs. CHI)
36 Wes Welker DEN (vs. SD)
37 Dwayne Bowe KC (vs. STL)
38 Brandin Cooks NO (vs. GB)
39 Kendall Wright TEN (vs. HOU)
40 Andre Holmes OAK (@CLE)
41 Percy Harvin NYJ (vs. BUF)
42 Eddie Royal SD (@DEN)
43 Greg Jennings MIN (@TB)
44 Justin Hunter TEN (vs. HOU)
45 Kenny Stills NO (vs. GB)
46 Jermaine Kearse SEA (@CAR)
47 Cecil Shorts JAC (vs. MIA)
48 Louis Murphy TB (vs. MIN)[/columnize]
TE Start of the week
Jordan Reed (WAS)
Reed has looked good since coming back from an injury and I expect a great performance from him this week. The Cowboy s have been really bad at stopping TE’s this season and Reed should score double digit points this week.
TE Sit of the Week
Delanie Walker (TEN)
Walker had a fantastic start to the season, but his numbers have been declining and with news that the Titans are to start Mettenberger at QB this week, he is a risky start. The Texans have also been very good at defending TE’s this season.
[coulmnize]1 Rob Gronkowski NE (vs. CHI)
2 Julius Thomas DEN (vs. SD)
3 Greg Olsen CAR (vs. SEA)
4 Dwayne Allen IND (@PIT)
5 Jordan Reed WAS (@DAL)
6 Owen Daniels BAL (@CIN)
7 Antonio Gates SD (@DEN)
8 Zach Ertz PHI (@ARI)
9 Jimmy Graham NO (vs. GB)
10 Jordan Cameron CLE (vs. OAK)
11 Martellus Bennett CHI (@NE)
12 Coby Fleener IND (@PIT)
13 Charles Clay MIA (@JAC)
14 Jared Cook STL (@KC)
15 Delanie Walker TEN (vs. HOU)
16 Scott Chandler BUF (@NYJ)
17 Clay Harbor JAC (vs. MIA)
18 Gavin Escobar DAL (vs. WAS)
19 Jason Witten DAL (vs. WAS)
20 Jermaine Gresham CIN (vs. BAL)
21 Travis Kelce KC (vs. STL)
22 Jace Amaro NYJ (vs. BUF)
23 Austin Seferian-Jenkins TB (vs. MIN)
24 Lance Kendricks STL (@KC)[/columnize]
In a week of big comebacks and close wins, it takes a lot to stand out from the crowd. The honour of making the NFL Ireland Team of the Week has to be earned, and this collection of heroes managed to do just that. Here’s our Team of the Week for Week 5:
Offense | Defense
Quarterback: Peyton Manning – Denver Broncos
It was a close-run thing between Manning and Tom Brady this week, as both wily old veterans had milestone games. Brady passed the 50,000 career passing yards mark, while Manning broke 500 career touchdown passes. In the end, plumping for Manning was the only choice as he threw for 4 TDs and 479 yards against a Cardinals D that had been tough to break down so far this season. Oh, Peyton only needs 6 more TDs to hold the career total touchdown passes record. Who’d bet against him getting it this weekend at the Jets?
Running Back: Arian Foster – Houston Texans
As the Texans passing attack came shuddering to a halt, the decision to start Ryan Fitzpatrick looks as bad as we predicted in preseason. Thankfully the Texans have the return to form of their star running back to lean on. Foster hit local rivals the Dallas Cowboys for 157 rushing yards and 2 rushing touchdowns in a close game proving that, if he can stay healthy, he’s still one of the best backs in football.
Tight End: Rob Gronkowski – New England Patriots
A return to form in an offense designed around his strengths once more, the Pats star TE hit the previously stingy Bengals defense for 100 yards and a touchdown on six receptions. It’s no coincidence that the Patriots offense found a spark in their best receiving weapon, and after working slowly back from ACL injury in the offseason a healthy Gronk spells trouble for the rest of the league.
Wide Receiver: Demaryius Thomas – Denver Broncos
After a comparatively slow start to the season Broncos fans must’ve gone into last week’s bye wondering when Thomas was going to show up. They didn’t have to wait long as the star wideout went for 228 yards and a pair of touchdowns on 8 receptions. He had another 77-yard TD called back for a chop block by Julius Thomas on Calais Campbell. Had it stood, Thomas would have had a day for the ages. As it stands, he had to settle for just a franchise record in yards for a wide receiver.
Wide Receiver: Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
As Mike Glennon has settled back into the starting QB role in Tampa, he’s found comfort with his old favourite target Vincent Jackson. VJ came out against the Saints for 144 yards on 8 receptions, leading the line in a narrow overtime divisional loss. If he can reproduce this form consistently the Bucs might just stand a chance of being relevant this season.
Offensive Line: Cleveland Browns
The Browns offensive line has been quietly productive all season long. Allowing just one sack on QB Brian Hoyer and creating the holes that allowed Ben Tate 124 rushing yards, Alex Mack and co. were the bedrock upon which the Browns’ historic comeback road win was based. The AFC North has a number of the leading offensive lines in the business. Might this group be the best of the best?
Defense | Offense
Defensive Line: Buffalo Bills
The Bills had a last-gasp win at the Detroit Lions, continuing their good form against the NFC North. The win was based upon dominance in the trenches, as the defensive line was all over Matt Stafford. Marcell Dareus, Jerry Hughes and Mario Williams combined for 12 tackles, 2 forced fumbles and six sacks as they took the Lions line to town in a frighteningly efficient performance. More of the same and Kyle Orton will be playing with the lead a lot more in 2014.
Linebackers: Carolina Panthers
Making their second appearance on these pages the Panthers once again dominated against the Bears. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis are the best linebacker duo in football, and while forcing Matt Forte into receptions and out of the running game, they also allowed just 67 yards combined in coverage. They’re carrying the load for a Panthers defense which is patchy at other spots.
Cornerback: Chris Harris – Denver Broncos
It wasn’t just on offense that the Broncos shone this week. Harris didn’t allow any receptions on seven attempts into his coverage, per PFF, as the Denver secondary held the combined talents of Drew Stanton and Logan Thomas under 200 passing yards on the day. A solid performance from an underrated player.
Cornerback: Alterraun Verner – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Another repeat defender on our list Verner was once again on song as the Bucs nearly clinched a victory in New Orleans. Adding an interception on Drew Brees to two passes defended and just 42 yards allowed in his coverage, the free agent signing continues to prove shrewd business in his new home in Florida.
Free Safety: Harrison Smith – Minnesota Vikings
In an otherwise miserable loss to the Green Bay Packers, the continued good form of Harrison Smith proved to Minnesota’s lone bright spot in the rain of Lambeau. With almost no help whatsoever Smith managed a team-high five tackles with a pass defended and an interception to boot in a game with not a lot riding on it after half time. A solid performance from an improving player.
Strong Safety: Morgan Burnett – Green Bay Packers
On the other side of Thursday night’s game, Burnett was a monster for the Packers. His tackling stats and a forced fumble don’t even begin to tell the story of his performance. He was good in coverage and against the run, stopping the Vikings on five of his eight tackles, and looked like a leader for this defensive secondary. In bad weather, in divisional matchups at home you want your players to stand up and stand out, and Burnett did just that.
Who did we forget? Tell us on twitter, facebook or right here in the comments!
MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ GREEN BAY PACKERS – 1.25 AM FRIDAY IRISH TIME
The Green Bay Packers return to Lambeau Field to host the Minnesota Vikings in an NFC North clash at 1.25am tonight.
Green Bay thumped divisional rivals the Chicago Bears this past Sunday 38-17 in the Windy City, with the offense firing on all cylinders. Aaron Rodgers threw for 302 yards and four touchdowns, a pair each for Randall Cobb and Jordy Nelson, who both went over 100 yards on the day.
Minnesota meanwhile were equally-impressive winners over the Atlanta Falcons, 48-21 in the scoreline. Rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater made his first NFL start in the game and played like a ten-year veteran, throwing for over 300 yards and rushing for a score.
However Bridgewater took a shot to the ankle late in the game and had to leave, with Christian Ponder coming in for mop up duty. The former Louisville star is officially questionable for the game in Wisconsin, with Ponder waiting in the wings to get the start under centre if Bridgewater doesn’t make it.
After a very encouraging first start, the smart money would be on Bridgewater suiting up for this always crucial NFC North battle.
Whichever quarterback gets the nod this evening won’t have it as easy as this past Sunday. Green Bay ranks fifth in pass defence, giving up only 214 yards a game, through the first four weeks. Opposition quarterbacks included Russell Wilson, Matt Stafford and Jay Cutler.
Prediction: Minnesota 17 – 31 Green Bay.
WEEK 3 RECAP
GREEN BAY PACKERS @ CHICAGO BEARS
TENNESSEE TITANS @ INDIANAPOLIS COLTS
CAROLINA PANTHERS @ BALTIMORE RAVENS
#Dolphins 2nd in NFL in yards per rush attempt but 22nd in rush attempts. Dead last in yards per pass attempt. 2nd in NFL in pass attempts.
— Evan Silva (@evansilva) September 22, 2014
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″]Jerick McKinnon – Running Back – Minnesota Vikings[/feature_headline]
Rookie Jerick McKinnon has had just three carries in the regular season with the Vikings for a meagre 8 yards but now finds himself second on the Minnesota depth chart due to the absence of Adrian Peterson. While Matt Asiata will get the majority of the carries over the next coming weeks, the Vikings are confident they have a future star on their hands with McKinnon. Weighing in at 5’9″ and 208lb, McKinnon was drafted in the third round of the 2014 NFL Draft out of Georgia Southern. At Georgia he was used at quarterback, slotback, fullback, defensive back and kick returner and put up 3,899 rushing yards and 42 touchdowns during his time there. McKinnon ran a 4.37s 40 time at the Combine and while he has great acceleration, he wont be the fastest in the open field.
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″]Kyle Fuller – Corner Back – Chicago Bears[/feature_headline][image src="http://giant.gfycat.com/NegativeCheerfulAmericanbobtail.gif" alt="Kyle Fuller picks off Colin Kaepernick for the second time" float="none" title="Kyle Fuller picks off Colin Kaepernick for the second time" info="popover" info_place="bottom" info_trigger="hover" info_content="Kyle Fuller picks off Colin Kaepernick for the second time"]
Kyle Fuller was the standout performer last week for the Bears in their win against the San Francisco 49ers in week 2. The first round pick out of Virginia Tech had two interceptions in the game where Charles Tillman injured his tricep putting him out for the season. Fuller had a tough start to his NFL career with a poor game against Buffalo where he received a defensive rating of -2.0 from ProFootballFocus, but his week 2 outing earned him the honour of NFC defensive player of the Week. Fuller only had 35 snaps in week 2 of the preseason but the Bears have put their faith in him to replace Tillman. In his four years at Virginia Tech, he only had six interceptions but 173 tackles and was one of the Hokies permanent captains for the 2013 season. Kyle is the younger brother of Detroit Lions wide receiver Corey Fuller and former Tennessee Titans safety Vincent Fuller. Keep an eye out for younger bother Kendall, a starting corner at Virginia Tech, in the future too.
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″]Kurt Coleman – Safety – Kansas City Chiefs[/feature_headline]
Coleman is a four year veteran who the Chiefs signed in the offseason to provide cover for Eric Berry after Berry spent the preseason recovering from tendonitis. Coleman, who played with Chiefs head coach Andy Reid in Philadelphia, was cut by the Eagles coming into the 2014 season and then had an unsuccessful stint with the Vikings in the preseason. With Berry now questionable after leaving the week 2 game against Denver with an ankle strain, the Chiefs will look to Coleman to fill the void. In Coleman’s four years in the NFL he has 221 tackles, seven interceptions, and two forced fumbles. He has yet to get on the field for the Chiefs but could prove important as a backup considering Berry’s injury prone career so far.
[feature_headline type=”left” level=”h2″ looks_like=”h4″]Khiry Robinson – Running Back – New Orleans Saints[/feature_headline]
With Mark Ingram breaking his hand in week 2, second year running back Khiry Robinson will share carries in the backfield with Pierre Thomas. Robinson is an elusive running back with good pass catching ability, though with a 4.71s 40 time he isn’t the fastest. Robinson has already had 14 carries this season gaining 4.2 yards per carry, he also lost a fumble against Cleveland in week 2. His ball security wasn’t an issue last year on his 75 carries, on which he gained 4.3 YPC and scored two touchdowns. Robinson, who measures in at 6’0″ and 220lb, was an undrafted free agent out of West Texas A & M. In his final year with the Buffaloes Robinson put 6.6 YPC and scored 15 touchdowns on 247 carries, he also had 38 receptions with 11.3 yards per catch and four touchdowns.
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.
QB Start of the Week
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
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]
RB Start of the Week
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 (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]
WR Start of the Week
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
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]
TE Start of the Week
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 (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]
Can we get you JJ Watt money? No…but hopefully some of our advice in our Betting Preview will help you out at the bookies!
It’s finally upon us. The Seattle Seahawks beatdown of the Green Bay Packers on Thursday evening was a perfectly-sized starter portion, ahead of the main course of week 1 NFL action this Sunday.
And most importantly (for some), with the return of the NFL, comes more ways to lose win money.
Rather than X’s and O’s, we’ll take a look at the odds and spreads to find the best selections and hopefully make it a profitable season of American Football punting.
We won’t drown you in tips for every game, we’ll pick out just a handful of selections that appeal the most!
BUFFALO BILLS @ CHICAGO BEARS
We’ll start with game one on the schedule – Bills @ Bears. CHICAGO -6.5 PTS leaps off the screen immediately. A home win by a touchdown or more; Jake Cutler and his deadly duo outside Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey vs. yet-another 1st round quarterback bust EJ Manuel.
First and foremost, Buffalo. EJ Manuel, to put it kindly to the Florida State alum, was pretty average in pre-season.
Now pre-season is pre-season, but Manuel is about to enter Chi-town with what is set to become Buffalo’s best offensive player in Sammy Watkins, ailing with injury, even before he makes his NFL regular season bow.
Aside from Watkins, nobody else in that Bills receiving corps strikes fear into you, and with the addition of veteran defensive end Jared Allen rushing the passer, the Bears could jump into the top 10 this year in pass defence.
Fantasy owners have been scrambling for Marshall and Jeffrey, with the pair set to have a big second year in Marc Trestman’s offence. They’re also very good each way shouts with regards to the antepost market for most receiving yards – if that tickles your fancy.
Not forgetting the versatile Matt Forte, he seems taylor-made for this offence with his excellent receiving skills out of the backfield offering a great safety blanket for Cutler, if for some insane reason the guys on the outside are covered.
So, CHICAGO -6.5 PTS will get our Week 1 accumulator rolling as Chicago wins it by 10 points despite the best efforts of Bills RB CJ Spiller, who by the way, looks overpriced at 11/1 to score the first touchdown of the game, given his home run hitting ability.
MINNESOTA VIKINGS @ ST LOUIS RAMS
Ok, can these teams between them score 44 points? No they won’t, so that’s why UNDER 43.5 PTS is the next selection on the bet slip.
The answer is no, for a handful of reasons. Firstly, quarterback. Shaun Hill is in for Sam Bradford after another ACL tear for 5th-year man. Now Hill is no slouch, but he isn’t exactly helped by his weapons outside, even with a somewhat rejuvenated Kenny Britt catching passes in St Louis.
Zac Stacy is the bellcow for the Rams at running back and expect a heavy dose of the sophomore, as well as Benny Cunningham, as St Louis looks to “manage the game” and more importantly to us, manage the clock, relying on what is set to be a feared defensive line this term.
For Minnesota, some dude named Adrian Peterson is once again ready to tote the rock. With Teddy Bridgewater waiting in the wings, quarterback Matt Cassell is on the hotseat, more than likely leaving it to Adrian and a bit of magic from another sophomore Cordarelle Paterson to get the job done.
St Louis wins this one 20-17 bagging the UNDER 43.5 PTS in the process. As a wise man once told me – keep it simple stupid. 5/1 for Peterson to find paydirt first will do nicely for first touchdown scorer purposes.
JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS @ PHILADELPHIA EAGLES
There will come a point this season that the Jaguars will be a fantastic bet at a fantastic price. The only man who knows when that day will be is head coach Gus Bradley. In case you didn’t get it, I’m referring to the game that Blake Bortles finally gets the nod at signal caller over Chad Henne.
So anyway, PHILADELPHIA -10 PTS. This selection is based purely on Chip Kelly’s offence. If this was Jacksonville playing maybe around 28 other teams in the NFL, we’d lean on the Jags and their retooled defence under defensive wizard Bradley.
But giving the maestro that is Kelly a whole off-season to get his guys into shape and a whole 10 days to gameplan for the Jags, just how can this Jags team score enough to keep up?
Let’s cut right to the chase here, does this Jaguars offence score enough to stay within 10 points of Philly’s offence come the final whistle? An Eagles squad who averaged 417 yards a game last term (good for 2nd in the NFL) against a Jags squad who managed only 293 yards a game (good for 31st in the NFL).
Foles’ cannon arm, McCoy the most elusive back in the league, Darren Sproles the best receiving back in the league, a healthy Jeremy Maclin, an athletic freak in Zach Ertz. An array of weapons. On the flip side…
Chad Henne, let’s say it again, Chad Henne. Breakout wide receiever Justin Blackmon. Scratch that he’s suspended. Cecil Shorts and rookie Marqise Lee. Toby Gerhart.
Simply put, this Jaguars squad does not end up only 10 points worse off with the Eagles by the end of the game. 14/1 about Zach Ertz opening the floodgates appeals for first td purposes.
- The 2/1 about a Titans victory in Kansas City is long gone, but 6/4 appeals. Outside of Jamaal Charles and Alex Smith, who plays offence for the Chiefs? Yeah I don’t know either.
- Dallas Cowboys fan alert. Yes I’m one of those people you all hate. A Cowboys fan. But my team is one of the most punter-friendly in the league. Until the points line gets to astronomical proportions, over the points in any Dallas game is accumulator material with such a putrid defence in Big D.
- Most bookies don’t take multiples on player rushing/receiving/passer yard lines, but if anyone likes to play that way. Rob Gronkowski under 87.5 receiving yards for the Patriots in Miami. 88 yards for a guy who’s been under the knife more times than a chopping board in recent years. A guy who is going to be on a pitch count no doubt in his first game back.
- Detroit Lions -6 pts. **Insert Eli face here**
CHICAGO – 6.5PTS – CJ Spiller first td scorer
MINNESOTA-ST LOUIS UNDER 43.5 PTS – Adrian Peterson first td scorer
PHILADELPHIA -10 PTS – Zach Ertz first td scorer
remember to always gamble responsibly gambleaware.ie