The underwhelming NFL Coaching Carousel spins on!

The NFL coaching Carousel is in full swing!

If you’re a fan of the Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Cleveland Browns or Green Bay Packers, may God have mercy on your souls.

If you’re a fan of the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins or Cincinnati Bengals, I’m praying for you.

You might be a fan of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If you are……well, something’s gotta give, right?

NFL coaching carousel - Bruce Arians
Bruce Arians” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Days before the NFL’s Divisional Round kicks off, five of the eight teams searching for a new head coach have filled those vacancies. Only one of those hires comes within the range of “inspiring.” Three teams have yet to make a move, but two out of three of those teams appear to be headed toward the same realm of an uninspired hire.

 

NFL Coaching Carousel Vacancies Filled

Arizona Cardinals

Coach Fired: Steve Wilks, one season, 3-13

Coach Hired: Kliff Kingsbury, USC Offensive Coordinator

The Cardinals have certainly taken the boldest route in the NFL coaching carousel, hiring Kingsbury away from USC, where he was hired as the offensive coordinator last month. Before that, he spent six seasons as the head coach of the Texas Tech Red Raiders, accumulating a career record of 35-40, including going 19-35 in Big XII play. In his first three seasons in Lubbock, he had two winning seasons. In his last three, he had zero.

So, why was he hired? Last year the Cardinals took quarterback Josh Rosen out of UCLA with the No. 10 pick in the first-round. Kingsbury is being viewed as a “quarterback whisperer,” akin to Bruce Arians (to whom we’ll get in a minute) and Rams head coach Sean McVay. Kinsbury first coached Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield at Tech, before then coaching Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes II. The Cardinals are banking on him getting the same type of production out of Rosen he did with Mayfield and Mahomes.

But being a head coach is so much more than that. Kingsbury has his work cut out for him with not only unlocking Rosen, but also fixing an offensive line that resembles Swiss cheese and re-tooling skill players that faltered in 2018.

Another point of praise for Kingsbury is that he only lost at Tech because he had bad defenses in the most pass-happy Power 5 conference. Well, guess what? The NFL is becoming more pass-happy by the second, and the Cardinals ranked 26th in points allowed and 20th in yards allowed defensively in 2018 under a defensive-minded head coach.

 

Cleveland Browns

Coaches Fired: Hue Jackson, two-and-a-half seasons, 3-36-1; Gregg Williams, half-season, 5-3

Coach Hired: Freddie Kitchens, Cleveland Browns Offensive Coordinator

This NFL coaching carousel hire screams three things: lack of inspiration, lack of imagination and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, circa 2015.

Recall, after the 2015 season, the Bucs fired head coach Lovie Smith in order to promote offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter, who had been getting some looks for head coaching vacancies elsewhere. Bucs management/ownership went with Koetter, who had spent 2015 improving quarterback Jameis Winston’s play, because they felt that partnership would only grow.

Skip to now, and the Bucs just replaced Koetter with Arians after going 19-29 over the past three seasons with zero playoff appearances.

And that’s why Kitchens was hired. He spent half of 2018 as Baker Mayfield’s offensive coordinator and seemed to get the most out of the rookie signal-caller. Sure, Cleveland interviewed others, but an in-house promotion of a guy with only eight games under his belt as a coordinator is uninspiring. Though no other team looked at Kitchens as a head coach candidate, he would have been sought for offensive coordinator openings. That struck fear into the Browns ownership, so they kept him around the only way possible: with a promotion.

 

Denver Broncos

Coach Fired: Vance Joseph, two seasons, 11-21

Coach Hired: Vic Fangio, Chicago Bears Defensive Coordinator

Let’s start with this: Fangio is an upgrade on Joseph. Joseph, who was the Miami Dolphins defensive coordinator before coming to Denver, flat-out failed as a head coach. Fangio may very well succeed, but he’s got some rebuilding to do in Denver and the AFC West, a division that holds two of the four remaining AFC playoff teams in the Chargers and Chiefs.

Fangio will need to hire an excellent offensive coordinator, but he may not even get that chance. Word is that John Elway, Football Czar, may insert into that role former Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak, taking away from his new hire a chance to implement his own favored scheme in Denver.

But the problem bigger than the defense is the lack of identity on the opposite side of the ball. Undrafted running back Philip Lindsay was a great find, but the Broncos need a quarterback. Case Keenum is not the answer.

Will Fangio, a defense-first guy, choose to spend the No. 10 pick in the draft on a QB? Or will he force Elway to go defense?

After whiffing on a defensive hire last time around, it was surprising to see Elway go that route again. Now the pressure’s on him to give Fangio the tools he needs to succeed.

 

Green Bay Packers

Coaches Fired: Mike McCarthy, (mostly) 13 seasons, 125-77-2; Joe Philbin, four games, 2-2

Coach Hired: Matt LaFleur, Tennessee Titans Offensive Coordinator

Not to be confused with Peter LaFleur, Matt LaFleur just wrapped his second season as an offensive coordinator. His first came with the Rams in 2017 when he didn’t even call the plays. The 38-year-old then left for the Titans, where he called the plays for Mike Vrabel, leading the offense to rank 27th in points scored and 25th in yards.

Exciting!

But, hey, every team is looking for The Next Sean McVay. The Packers are betting the last years of Aaron Rodgers’ Canton-worthy career that LaFleur is it.

Good luck with that, Cheese Heads.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Coach Fired: Dirk Koetter, three seasons, 19-29

Coach Hired: Bruce Arians, former Arizona Cardinals Head Coach

Surprisingly, of the five teams to have made their NFL coaching carousel hires, the Bucs are the only team who went with a retread, poaching Arians out of retirement to take over for Koetter as the next Jameis Winston Whisperer.

This isn’t a thrilling hire, especially when considering the team was linked, at times, to Notre Dame’s Brian Kelly, Michigan’s Jim Harbaugh and outgoing Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer, but it’s a solid one. In five seasons with the moribund Cardinals, Arians had three seasons of at least 10 wins, two playoff appearances, and even won a playoff game there. But in his last two seasons there, the Cardinals went 15-16-1. Yet, without him (and Carson Palmer), the team cratered to a 3-13 record.

Will he get the most out of Jameis Winston? Will anyone get the most out of Jameis Winston? Winston is entering his walk-year, so he’ll be playing for keeps. Sometimes, though, that hurts a team. Arians needs to find a solid running back (sorry, Peyton Barber) to fit in with Winston, tight end O.J. Howard and a solid receiving group led by Mike Evans.

The defense needs a lot of work, too, but Arians has already started the revamping by hiring former Jets head coach Todd Bowles as his new defensive coordinator.

Of the five hires thus far, this is the best.

 

NFL coaching carousel
Hue Jackson” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Still Vacant

In this NFL coaching carousel, the Cincinnati Bengals are linked to Hue Jackson, because of course they are. But recently it’s been reported the team is intent on hiring one of these three coaches: Chiefs offensive coordinator Eric Bienemy, Buccaneers offensive coordinator Todd Monken or Rams quarterbacks coach Zac Taylor. Any of those three would be a better call than Jackson.

The Miami Dolphins could be biding their time to make a play for one of the Harbaugh brothers, and hiring either of them would re-start a carousel, either in college or the pros. The Ravens are said to be working on an extension for John, and Jim’s said he’s staying at Michigan. But Miami’s owner, Stephen Ross, has big money to throw around. Surely, he could convince one of Jack Harbaugh’s sons to take over an essentially quarterback-less squad.

Mike McCarthy is rumored to be looking only at the New York Jets, but who else are they talking to? McCarthy won a Super Bowl with the Packers, but his final years in Green Bay left much to be desired. However, I don’t know that former Dolphins head coach Adam Gase is a better alternative. The Jets need to get this right. The progression of last year’s first-round pick, quarterback Sam Darnold, depends on it. A dark-horse candidate would be Baylor’s Matt Rhule.

*****************

As the NFL coaching carousel continues, here’s to hoping Bengals, Dolphins and Jets fans come out happy. And football fans in general, too. Because so far, this round of the Coaching Carousel has been completely dull.

I’m ready for a surprise.

I’m ready for a coaching hire that rocks the NFL’s landscape. Make the NFL coaching carousel exciting!

New Year’s resolutions for every AFC team who missed the playoffs

A new year has come, and with it the many resolutions we swear to. Each year we promise we are going to go to the gym more, or see the world more. Some short lived, some we actually see through.

NFL teams have New Year’s resolutions just like us. Below I’ve provided you with the resolutions for every AFC team who did missed the playoffs. I decided to keep the playoff teams out, because it is pretty obvious what their resolution should be. Win a Super Bowl.

Gregg Williams” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Just like ours, some are probably not going to be seen through, while others I think have a chance of happening up to the kickoff of 2019. Along with the teams, I also provided resolutions for each division and what they hope to accomplish for 2019.

Part two, the NFC resolutions will come out early next week.

 

AFC East

Resolution: For any team but the Patriots to win the division next season

New England has had a stranglehold on the crown for ten years straight. I think I speak for everyone when I say it’s getting pretty old. No one has seemed to come close to the top. It really has made the division a laughing stock in the league. One has to assume the Patriots’ success has to be tied to the fact that New England plays the Bills, Jets and Dolphins twice a year. This year the Patriots’ road to clinching the division was through Buffalo and the Jets at home. The NFL will be a better place if just one team decides to be consistently competitive in the AFC East.

New York Jets

Resolution: Get Jim Harbaugh/No sophomore slump for Darnold

The Jets’ resolution is two parts. The first, the Jets have to do whatever it takes to ensure Sam Darnold does not go through a sophomore slump in 2019. They cannot afford to have Darnold regress in 2019 with a new coach. Darnold did not have an overly impressive rookie season. Though he had a bunch of bright spots, the Jets need Darnold to have a coming out party in 2019 to show 2018 was not a waste. Something good has to come out of this miserable season.

The second part of this resolution is in regards to the recent reports the Jets are pursuing Michigan’s Head Coach Jim Harbaugh. Though the reports have been refuted by Ian Rappaport, Jets ownership has been supposedly going to make the Michigan man an offer he can’t refuse. One that is well north of his already lucrative seven million a year contract. If that part can happen, you can almost guarantee Darnold is going to take steps in the right direction in 2019. They just  may be able to take over as the Kings of New York, at least for one year.

Buffalo Bills

Resolution: Spoil Josh Allen

The Bills’ resolution revolves around taking care of their prized possession, Josh Allen. I am fairly confident Allen has proven to most he has all the tools and intangibles to be a productive quarterback. The issue is, he did not have the ability to display those skills on a consistent basis. He is not good enough to make bad receivers look good. Throwing the ball to the likes of Robert Woods or Zay Jones did not help out Allen at all. No offense to them, but they are not clear cut number ones who can change the course of a game. The Bills have struck out as of late trying to get viable weapons at the Wide Receiver positions. Drafting Sammy Watkins, who ended up being a bust. Making a trade for Kelvin Benjamin, which showed the front offices incompetency. They need to do better for Allen. If they can’t get someone to throw to, then write a big check on the insurance policy and revamp the offensive line. Do something that will help Josh Allen carry this franchise to success, not make it harder.

Miami Dolphins

Resolution: Hire a coach with the intention of keeping them for more than three years

The Dolphins magically were on the cusp of a possible playoff birth with a few weeks remaining in 2018. The most inconsistent team in the NFL this year, the Dolphins looked like a dangerous playoff team one week, only to look like a team with no identity the next. The quick flashes of great play though were not enough to keep Adam Gase’s job, as he was fired a few days after their embarrassing 42-17 loss to the Bills.

The Dolphins are starting another off-season in the all to familiar position of finding a new head coach. They yet again let go of another coach after three seasons and mediocre numbers. Gase was 23-25 with one playoff appearance in three years. Wins matter, and owners have zero patience when it comes to waiting for them, so I get the move. 2019 has to be different for the Dolphins though. Thus their new year resolution has to be the either finding the right man for the job, who brings them back to the winning culture of the past, or they grow enough patience to at least give their new coach the time to get it right. I am not talking Marvin Lewis kind of time, but maybe four years, especially if they show some kind of promise. No Dolphins coach has lasted more than four seasons since Don Shula left in 1995. 2019 needs to be the year that changes.

 

AFC North

Resolution: The Browns win the division next year

This resolution is pretty easy for me. The North has long been dominated by the Steelers and Ravens. There needs to be a change, since the Steelers are looking more like a circus than a football team and the Ravens are too boring for the NFL’s liking to be the face of the North. Enter Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns. The North needs the Browns and Baker Mayfield to win the division in 2019 in a big way.

Cincinnati Bengals

Resolution: DO NOT HIRE HUE JACKSON

So the Bengals already accomplished my resolution for 2019, which was to fire Marvin Lewis and just start over. I honestly didn’t think that it would actually happen, so I am kind of surprised. I figured the only way he was to leave was if he just resigned. But the Bengals finally decided they are better than being mediocre every year.

I naturally felt good for the city of Cincinnati and all of their fans. That was until I remembered they hired Hue Jackson earlier in the season. There is a big possibility of him being their next Head Coach. Jackson saw great success while he was their offensive coordinator, enough success that landed him the job in Cleveland. Judging by the fact Bengals ownership allowed Lewis to stay their head coach for 16 years, they just may pull the trigger on a familiar face and name.

So now my resolution for the Bengals has transformed into them NOT HIRING HUE JACKSON. If they were to do that, you can bet they would be winless against the Browns and probably every team during the duration of his tenure there. Based off of the Bengals’ track record, that may be a long time!

Cleveland Browns

Resolution: Keep Gregg Williams as their Head Coach

The Browns are in unfamiliar territory. They are coming off one of their most successful seasons in recent memory and for once are going into an off-season with a lot of expectations. None of that will matter though if they decide to go in a different direction and get them a new head coach not named Gregg Williams.

The Browns clearly transformed once Jackson was let go and Williams took over. They adopted his demeanor and played with a relentless drive to win. Besides that, Williams, along with his offensive coordinator Eddie Kitchens, were able to harness Mayfield’s talent and bravado and turned it into a style that led men on and off the field. Williams is the perfect fit at head coach because his attitude matches his starting quarterback. No nonsense, “not here to make friends” mentality, that done right can result in many wins for a team and fanbase that has not seen many.

Pittsburgh Steelers

Resolution: Hope Ben Roethlisberger retires

It is time. The Steelers need an obvious shot of life right now. One of the most historic, iconic NFL franchises is being viewed as a joke right now. To many Steeler faithful, that is unacceptable.

Julius in Remember the Titans said it best when he told captain Gary Bertier that “Attitude reflects leadership, captain.” The Steelers have a mixed bag of personalities, egos and talent that have brought them a long way, but the name that leads them all is their quarterback Ben Roethlisberger. The team goes as far as he does. Recently, though putting up gaudy numbers, his attitude and questionable leadership skills have been dragging down a proud organization and fanbase. From him putting everyone on retirement watch to him blowing his injuries out of proportion, to calling people out on radio shows, Big Ben’s attitude is rubbing off on the rest of the team finally and the Steelers need him out.

They need 2019 to be the year he exits the league on his own, because the Steelers will never let him go, so in turn they will continue to get worse.

 

AFC South

Resolution: Prove they are a strong division

The South once again has two teams in the playoffs. An underrated division going into the season, the South has once again proven that in a dogfight, they will win. They need this momentum to carry forward into 2019 and make sure what we saw in 2017 and 2018 was not a fluke. Their division as a whole needs to be more competitive outside their own and prove the only reason why two teams represent the south for the second year in a row is not that of the fact that they have a weak division.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Resolution: Make people forget how bad the 2018 season was

I do not care what the Jaguars have to do, but they need to do something that makes their fans forget just how disappointing the 2018 season was for them. Very similar to when the Raiders went 6-10 in 2017 after going 12-4 with a playoff appearance the year before, the Jaguars came into 2018 with a tremendous amount of hype and expectations. Not only did they fall short to the lofty expectations, but they also managed to make 2018 into a train wreck, where there are more questions than answers.

Bortles was their answer, but now he is not. Fournette was poised to be the next great NFL running back to start 2018, but it ended with his future as a Jaguar in question. Jalen Ramsey was more worried about other teams’ quarterbacks other than his own. Their elite defense crumbled under the pressure of carrying their team once again to the playoffs.

The Jaguars need something to happen. Anything to happen to make everyone talk about something else and not how bad 2018 was in Jacksonville. From either firing their coach to making a big signing or trade, Jacksonville needs some kind of reprieve from the madness and aggravation.  

Tennessee Titans

Resolution: Make Marcus Mariota the main man

The Titans are a well-disciplined football team. They play smart fundamental football and take away a gutsy failed two-point conversion call late in the fourth because they did not want to tie against the Chargers, then I may be writing about the Colts right now instead.

Just like the Dolphins, the Titans played inspired football, only to follow it up with dismal performances which make you question which team is the real Titans. Part of their success is that they finally got Derrick Henry moving. He provided a jolt to the team and put an identity to them. The issue is though, Henry is not the answer. Mariota is. Until they provide him the weapons he needs, Tennessee will find themselves in this situation more often than not. They need to make sure that going into the 2019 season, Delanie Walker is not their number one weapon in the passing game. They need to make a big but smart splash in either free agency or the draft that builds Mariota’s confidence to see if he is the franchise quarterback they all thought he would be a couple of years ago.

 

AFC West

Resolution: Their two playoff teams right now need to make it to the Super Bowl

This resolution is more for the teams who are in the playoffs right now, the Chiefs and Chargers. The West needs to have one of their two teams in Super Bowl, and at the very least make the AFC Championship. The Chiefs for the past couple of season have been on top of the division, only to be bounced out in their first playoff game. That cannot happen this year as the top dog in the AFC. The Chargers are riding the coattails of Philip Rivers in what could be his last chance of a Super Bowl. The Chargers have disappointed the West way too much in the past and could use a run from the second-best team record-wise in the AFC, but the fifth-ranked team in the playoffs.

Denver Broncos

Resolution: Build around Phillip Lindsey

When the Broncos have been successful, there has always been a Hall of Fame caliber quarterback behind it. When the Broncos made the Super Bowl, it was with either Elway or Manning under center.

Denver will not find that with Case Keenum. He is a game manager, not a game changer. There is nothing wrong with that though, as long as you have a good running back who can carry the load. The Broncos have struck out in recent memory with drafting running backs, so it is pretty ironic that the one they found success with is one they did not draft. Phillip Lindsey is a dynamic multi-faceted running back who played more of a role in Broncos’ victories than Keenum did.

Elway needs to realize this and bring in a coach who will build a system around him who will run first to set up the pass, which I think is the exact system Keenum will excel in. The question is, will Elway do this or try to sign a big-name quarterback?

Oakland Raiders

Resolution: Settle on any place to play their home games this year that is not in San Francisco

It is well known the Raiders most likely played their last game in Oakland Coliseum. Yes, it is sad, but long overdue. The Raiders are the only NFL team who was still playing their home games on a converted baseball field. Though it helped win two of their games this year, they deserve a lot better. One of the solutions that was suggested was to have their home games played in Levi Stadium, which is the home field for the 49ers.

That is like recommending Michigan play its home games in Ohio State’s stadium. It is just a bad idea. The Raiders hate the 49ers and the Niners hate the Raiders. It is just how it is, and I do not see good things happening if the Raiders and Niners shared a field for 2019. Though it is not ideal, I would rather see them play at UNLV or even Bishop Gorman High School in Vegas (before you question my decisions just Google them and you will see their facilities rival those of top Division 1 football programs.)

Yes, I get the Raiders have a lot more problems than where to play, but if they want their loyal fans continuing to come, then they need to provide them with a better solution than playing at their rivals home.  

NFL Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 9

Marcus Mariota.jpg
Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans at Green Bay Packers (Preseason), August 9, 2018” by Chipermc is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

It’s that time of the week where we all plan for our next opponents. It’s also another week of byes that could impact our teams the most. This week we have six teams on bye, and it’s probably the most pivotal week of the season so far.

The six teams on bye are the Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Arizona Cardinals and New York Giants. That means some big players are also not available for our team.

Some of those players are QBs Andrew Luck, Andy Dalton and Carson Wentz. Then there’s RBs Marlon Mack, Joe Mixon, Saqoun Barkley, David Johnson, T.J. Yeldon, Corey Clement and Wendell Smallwood. We’ve also got WRs T.Y. Hilton, A.J. Green, Alshon Jeffrey, Larry Fitzgerald and Odell Beckham Jr. Finally, there’s TEs Eric Ebron, Zach Ertz and Evan Engram all on byes. This may play a big factor in your decisions this week.

So let’s see how we can improve our lineups with so many important players not available.

 

Quarterbacks
  1. Alex Smith, Washington Redskins, 50.8 percent availability
  2. C.J. Beathard, San Francisco 49ers, 93.5 percent availability
  3. Derek Carr, Oakland Raiders, 84.6 percent availability
  4. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 85.3 percent availability
  5. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 94 percent availability

Smith hasn’t had the season like we all saw last year. That’s mostly because of the different players around him. The Redskins don’t have any great receivers like Smith had with him as a Chief. Smith has yet to throw for 300 yards this season. A game against the Falcons could help him bring in more yards, as long as he has healthy receivers to pass the ball too. That is mostly the reason why he and all the Redskins’ WRs are on the waivers, but their schedule looks to be a bit more favorable as the season comes along.

Beathard and Carr play each other on Thursday night and we are expecting it to be a shoot out for both sides. Each team’s defense has given the opposing QBs whatever they’ve wanted. That is something we have seen all season long, so regardless of whose available to each QB, there will be a lot of points put up.

Mariota is coming off a bye, which could be a good sign for the Titans. If you were a follower of Mariota last year, you would’ve known he has better games after his bye week. I added him last year and he helped me turn my season around, but it was already too late. This year is different because my season has already started to turn around, although I did lose one game because of Mariota. But this should be the week where we see him and the Titans open up the offense more and hopefully connect with WR Corey Davis more often.

Fitzmagic is back and he should be added back to your rosters immediately. It was only a matter of time until we saw this again. The Buccaneers’ offense hasn’t been great with Winston, so it can only get better with Fitzpatrick. He’ll put his Harvard education into the football game and maybe save their chances.

 

Running Backs
  1. Jalen Richard, Oakland Raiders, 50 percent availability
  2. Doug Martin, Oakland Raiders, 48.3 percent availability
  3. Aaron Jones, Green Bay Packers, 51.8 percent availability
  4. Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 43.8 percent availability
  5. Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans, 42.8 percent availability

The Raiders still don’t have one primary back, which is why you should add both Richard and Martin. Richard is more of the passing catching back like he has been all season long. Martin will be getting the carries, but both men are capable of doing both things. The one thing about the Raiders and their moves over the bye week, is that they can open up the offense much more than usual. That’s why I have Carr and both RBs on the list this week.

After the way the Packers-Rams game went last week, the Packers will probably give Aaron Jones a much bigger role. What was once a three RB attack, may now be two, thanks to TY Montgomery. Jones will still share carries with Jamal Williams, but look for the both of them to be productive against one of the biggest games of QB Aaron Rodgers’ career. If you haven’t heard by now, Rodgers will go head-to-head with New England Patriots’ Tom Brady in what everyone calls the G.O.A.T. vs G.O.A.T. I think Jones and Rodgers will both have great games.

How about Barber? Are you still doubting his abilities as a RB? I know it’s tough to think Barber won’t continue his good performance with a pass heavy offense that Fitzpatrick brings with him. But Barber could be able to get some good receptions and yards as the Carolina defense focuses on WRs Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson. It may be a risk pick,  but if he can continue to do what he’s done in past weeks, then you may be the luckiest guy in your league.

Henry…  Oh Henry! He finally did something good for the Titans in week 7. I do expect him and Dion Lewis to continue to get more involved in the offense. Like I said about Mariota, Henry is poised for a big second half. He may be called on more against the tough Dallas defense. Don’t forget he has the explosive ability to take off running for 50+ yards or more with the right blocking. Look for Titans to start a strong stretch of good games.

 

Wide Receivers
  1. Marquise Goodwin, San Francisco 49ers, 38.8 percent availability
  2. Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears, 38.7 percent availability
  3. Danny Amendola, Miami Dolphins, 53.8 percent availability
  4. Mike Williams, San Diego Chargers, 72.7 percent availability
  5. Jermaine Kearse, New York Jets, 87.1 percent availability

Goodwin may or may not be available in your league, but if he is… ADD HIM! He is the No. 1 WR on the Niners team and Beathard has found a real connection with him. Against the Raiders, he should continue to put up big numbers as he finds a way to get open and find his way into end zone.

Whether or not WR Allen Robinson plays this week against the Bills won’t make a difference for the Bears. This team has found their stride and are using RB Tarik Cohen a lot with Gabriel. Gabriel is also been one of the fastest guys on the field, which he continues to show week after week. He has earned the trust of QB Mitchell Trubisky on 3rd down plays, and even when he needs to get out of jam. Gabriel is a good add because if you have a PPR league, you know he’ll get you receptions.

Amendola didn’t really do much on the catching side of things last week, but he did throw for a TD on a trick play to RB Kenyan Drake. Amendola will replace a top option for QB Brock Osweiler as they face the New York Jets this week. With Wilson on IR, both Amendola and DaVante Parker will benefit in the passing game as we saw from last week’s game against Houston.

Williams and Kearse are this week’s risky picks.

Williams is on a team that has too many weapons for QB Philip Rivers to handle. The teams best WR, Keenan Allen, only has one TD on the season thus far. Mike Williams is sharing snaps with Tyrell William and both RBs Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler. Both the backs have heavy usage in the passing game too, which is something we have all seen this season. But with the tough Seattle defense, Williams should be the guy to get the least amount of attention, which results in a big game.

Kearse didn’t do anything for the Jets during the absence of Quincy Enunwa, but with Robby Anderson still banged up, Kearse should find a way to get some receptions and maybe even a huge game against the young, inexperienced secondary of the Miami Dolphins.

 

Tight Ends
  1. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 31.6 percent availability
  2. Ben Watson,  New Orleans Saints, 65.7 percent availability
  3. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, 59 percent availability
  4. Chris Herndon, New York Jets, 99.4 percent availability
  5. Ed Dickson, Seattle Seahawks, 99.8 percent availability

Hooper is back from a bye week and is looking to have another great week with the Falcons. In the game against the Giants, he wasn’t asked to do much, but he should be a huge part of this weeks offense, as the Redskins are one of the worst teams to defend tight ends. I would hope this is the week we finally get to see Julio Jones in the end zone,  but Hooper should also be expected to find his way there as well.

Watson, Herndon and Dickson all scored touchdowns for their teams, and we expect to see much of the same.

Like I said last week, Watson will benefit from the Ted Ginn injury. In fact, all three of these guys are benefiting from injuries to other players.

For Herndon, it’s been the Bilal Powell and Quincy Enunwa injury, combined with the lack of trust by the rookie QB Sam Darnold.

Dickson just returned from injury, but fits right in to what the Seahawks like to do on offense, as we saw in the big win against the Lions last week. QB Russell Wilson loves to find his tight ends. I picked Dickson up during the Seahawks bye knowing that I would need him for a week with Zach Ertz on bye.

McDonald isn’t really finding the end zone, but he is getting the yardage plays to help Pittsburgh convert the first down and advance the ball. He is looking for another big game against the Baltimore Ravens like he did the first time around, so keep an eye on him in your waivers this week.

 

Good luck to all the fantasy football players this week. Hope you can put together the best lineup to win your matchup in Week 9!

The Baker Mayfield Era is Upon Us!

Baker Mayfield
Baker Mayfield and Nick Chubb” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By Joel Deering

 

The Cleveland Browns have won a game! Repeat, the Cleveland Browns have won a game! Before last night’s victory, the Browns had gone 635 days without a win. Now the long drought has finally come to an end after they beat the Jets 21-17. In addition to waiting on a victory, Browns fans have been waiting for something else, the emergence of QB Baker Mayfield. This wait has been much shorter than waiting on a win, but now both waits are over.

Baker Mayfield got his first real NFL action last night against the Jets, and boy did he make the most of it. Mayfield entered the game in the first half after QB Tyrod Taylor went out with an injury. Although the injury to Taylor was the reason Mayfield got in the game, it seemed like it wouldn’t have been much longer for Mayfield if Taylor hadn’t been hurt. Before leaving the game, Taylor completed 4 of 14 passes (29%) for 19 yards and 0 TDs. He never even led the Browns to a score, putting Mayfield in a 14-0 hole to dig his way out of.

Fans were getting restless after being disappointed drive after drive. This led to chants for Baker Mayfield going through the stadium. Baker Mayfield did not disappoint. Being down 14-0 didn’t seem to phase the rookie QB, as he led the Browns to four scoring drives, and most importantly, a win.

 

Baker Mayfield’s Performance

In relief of Tyrod Taylor and on his way to being the Browns’ hero, Mayfield went 17 of 23 for 201 yards. His 74% completion percentage should have been even better if it weren’t for three drops on perfectly placed balls. Mayfield didn’t throw any TD passes, although he did catch a ball for a two point conversion, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that Mayfield showed Cleveland and the entire NFL that the Baker Mayfield era is upon us.

Mayfield was thrown in the game, but it didn’t seem to phase him one bit. He looked poised the entire time, even in the games’ biggest moments. I know it was only a little more than half a game, but Baker Mayfield showed exactly why I said he’s the best QB in this rookie class. You can read my article as to why I’ve always thought so here. You can also read an article I wrote right before the NFL Draft asking the Browns to draft Mayfield.

With Baker Mayfield leading this team, Browns fans should be excited to watch every single game. Trust me when I say their next win isn’t 635 days away. I can see their next victory coming as early as next week against the Oakland Raiders. The Cleveland Browns finally have something to be excited about. I’m not a Browns fan, but I loved watching Baker Mayfield come in and lead his team to a win. I was excited for the Browns. I’m excited for their future. Baker Mayfield has already made his mark in Cleveland, and don’t expect him to stop anytime soon.

The Cleveland Browns have won a game!

 

 

Week 3 NFL Picks

Untitled-1.png
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

By Joel Deering and the Fourth Quarter Sports Staff

Overall Prediction Records:

Aman: 7-8-1

Cullen: 10-5-1

Mickayeen: 7-8-1

Rahim: 6-9-1

Joel: 8-7-1

Adam: 11-4-1

Week 2 of the NFL had some great games for us, and we here at Fourth Quarter Sports expect much of the same in Week 3. Last week was our first week of our friendly season long competition to see who can predict the most games correctly. After the first week of picks, Adam Hatlan has the early lead on us all with a record of 11-4-1. Everyone got a tie on their record because of the Vikings and Packers game. Close behind Adam is Cullen Jekel, with 10 games predicted correctly. For the rest of us, we already have some catching up to do. Let’s take a look at all the Week 3 matchups and find out who we’ve all picked.

 

 

Jets vs Browns (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Jets

Cullen: Browns

Mickayeen: Browns

Rahim: Browns

Joel: Browns

Adam: Browns

What do we make of these two teams? The Jets score 47 points in Week 1 and look like a team to be reckoned with, but then in Week 2 they score 12 points. Cleveland almost came away with a win in Week 1 against the Steelers, but ended up tying. They also came close to a victory over the Saints, but were plagued by their kicking. They released their kicker, so hopefully that phase of their game is better. Despite not having a win yet, the Browns look competitive. They’ve been in both games they’ve played, which have both been against playoff teams from last season. Can they get it right this week? Most of us think so.

 

Bills vs Vikings

Predictions

Aman: Vikings

Cullen: Vikings

Mickayeen: Vikings

Rahim: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Adam: Vikings

I think it’s pretty obvious as to why we’re all picking the Vikings to beat the Bills. I can see rookie QB Josh Allen getting eaten alive by this defense. They didn’t play their best against Aaron Rodgers, but does anyone? There’s a big difference between Rodgers and Allen. I’m not sure if my fellow writers will agree with me on this, but I’m going to predict multiple turnovers for the rookie QB, which will set up the Vikings with good field position and easy scores. The Bills look like they’re going to be one of the worst teams this season. Don’t forget they had a player retire at half time of their game last week too.

 

Giants vs Texans

Predictions

Aman: Texans

Cullen: Texans

Mickayeen: Texans

Rahim: Texans

Joel: Texans

Adam: Texans

Did you see Eli Manning get destroyed by the Dallas Cowboys Sunday night? Dallas had 6 sacks and 8 QB hits in that game. Now he’ll have to go against JJ Watt and friends. Surprisingly though, the Texans have only 3 sacks in their first two games. They’ll need to get a little more pressure on Eli if they want him to feel as uncomfortable as he did last week. For the Texans’ offense, it’s about protecting Deshaun Watson. The offensive line has given up 7 sacks this season, but the good news is that they’re facing a Giants defense who has only recorded 1 sack. The weapons Watson has are far more dangerous than those of Dak Prescott’s, so with a little time, Watson should be able to make some big plays.

 

Packers vs Redskins

Predictions

Aman: Packers

Cullen: Packers

Mickayeen: Packers

Rahim: Packers

Joel: Packers

Adam: Packers

Aaron Rodgers almost gave us another miracle win last week, but the field goal that would have won the game was missed. Rodgers was hobbled by his injury and didn’t have the best game, but when they needed to him to perform at a high level, he did. That should be the case again against the Redskins. This Redskins offense didn’t look great against the Colts last week, scoring only 9 points. If you do that, you’re losing to Rodgers every time. It looks like we all think Aaron Rodgers, even an injured Aaron Rodgers will be too much for the Redskins this week.

 

49ers vs Chiefs

Predictions

Aman: Chiefs

Cullen: Chiefs

Mickayeen: Chiefs

Rahim: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Adam: Chiefs

How many TDs will Patrick Mahomes throw this week? 7? 8? Okay, maybe he’ll only throw 4. I say that as if 4 isn’t a lot. Here’s what’s interesting about the Chiefs: Their offense has scored the most points in the NFL so far, but their defense has given up the fourth most points. If they ever have a bad offensive day, it doesn’t look like the defense will help them out much. Are the 49ers going to be able to slow down Mahomes? The defense hasn’t been necessarily bad so far, but it hasn’t been great either. Last week they allowed Matthew Stafford to throw for 347 yards and 3 TDs. They’ll have to figure something out if they’re going to stop Mahomes, Kelce, Hill and company.

 

Raiders vs Dolphins

Predictions

Aman: Dolphins

Cullen: Dolphins

Mickayeen: Dolphins

Rahim: Raiders

Joel: Dolphins

Adam: Raiders

Miami is 2-0. Surprise! Not trying to take credit away from them, but their two victories have been over the Titans and Jets, who haven’t been the strongest teams this year. Now they play the Raiders, who don’t have a win yet. Oakland has played well at times, but they can’t put together a complete game. For example, they hung in there with the Rams for a half, but then got destroyed. They almost beat the Broncos, but couldn’t do enough when it mattered most. Will the Dolphins continue their surprising start to the season? Can the Raiders play a complete game?

 

Colts vs Eagles

Predictions

Aman: Eagles

Cullen: Eagles

Mickayeen: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Adam: Eagles

Most of us picked the Colts to lose to the Redskins last week, but they surprised us with a 21-9 victory. There are still concerns about Andrew Luck, for me at least. Luck has always throw a lot of interceptions, and he’s still doing it. He may have been able to get away with throwing 2 INTs against the Redskins, but he probably won’t get away with it against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles look to be getting stronger with the return of QB Carson Wentz this week, but we’ll see how he performs. Even if he doesn’t have a great game, the Eagles should be carried by their defense.

 

Titans vs Jaguars

Predictions

Aman: Jaguars

Cullen: Jaguars

Mickayeen: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Adam: Jaguars

The Titans got tricky on us last week by pulling off a fake punt for a TD, which helped them beat the Houston Texans. We’re not so sure the Jaguars will fall for that if they try to pull it again. Jacksonville is coming off a huge victory over the Patriots, so their confidence has to be high right now. They’ve got one of the best defensive units in the NFL, and none of us expect them to have a tough time handling the Titans. A bright spot for the Jaguars last week was QB Blake Bortles. He threw 4 TD passes and looked like a legit QB. He probably won’t need to do that again to beat the Titans, but Jaguars fans certainly won’t mind if he does.

 

Bengals vs Panthers

Predictions

Aman: Bengals

Cullen: Panthers

Mickayeen: Panthers

Rahim: Panthers

Joel: Bengals

Adam: Panthers

Cincinnati has started the season off hot. After their second win, I wrote about the two biggest reasons for their 2-0 start. Those two reasons are their offensive and defensive lines. Last week against the Ravens they got after Joe Flacco. This week they face a different kind of QB in Cam Newton. It will be interesting to see if they can put the pressure on Cam and still contain him. Cam Newton has 100 yards rushing in two games. The Bengals will need to find a way to stop Cam from extending drives with his legs. The more Cam can extend drives, the greater the chances of a Panthers win.

 

Broncos vs Ravens

Predictions

Aman: Ravens

Cullen: Ravens

Mickayeen: Broncos

Rahim: Ravens

Joel: Broncos

Adam: Ravens

Last week the Ravens couldn’t handle the defense of the Cincinnati Bengals. They gave up 4 sacks and 8 QB hits, forcing the Ravens into several turnovers. Those turnovers really set them back. The Ravens offense better be careful this week because Von Miller and the Broncos are coming for Joe Flacco. If they can get to Flacco like the Bengals did, it could be another rough day for the Ravens. Although the Ravens did get behind in their game last week, the made a comeback attempt and at least put themselves in a position to have a chance. Joe Flacco’s weapons seem to be a lot better this year. A key to this game for the Ravens will be how well they run the ball. Last week their leading rusher ran for 35 yards. It’s easier to run the ball when you’re not playing down 21 points in the first half.

 

Saints vs Falcons

Predictions

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

Joel: Falcons

Adam: Falcons

The Saints are lucky they didn’t take a loss against the Browns. A couple missed kicks turned into makes and they’d be 0-2. There hasn’t been a whole lot to be excited about with the Saints this year. Alvin Kamara hasn’t been running the ball well, and the defense hasn’t looked that great. Where the Saints have been good is in the passing game. QB Drew Brees has completed 81.3% of his passes, which earned himself a spot on my Week 2 MVP list. He and WR Michael Thomas seem to have a real connection. Thomas is leading all receivers with 28 receptions, and he’s also second in receiving yards with 269. Atlanta struggled in Week 1 against the Eagles, but bounced back nicely against the Panthers, scoring 31 points. QB Matt Ryan had 4 total TDs (2 passing and 2 rushing). Not having Devonta Freeman didn’t seem to hurt them much, as RB Tevin Coleman ran for 107 yards on 16 carries. Will the Falcons be able to stay hot on offense?

 

Chargers vs Rams

Predictions

Aman: Rams

Cullen: Rams

Mickayeen: Rams

Rahim: Rams

Joel: Rams

Adam: Rams

The battle of the LA teams is upon us! The Chargers rebounded nicely against the Buffalo Bills last week to get to 1-1 after being shredded by Patrick Mahomes in Week 1. Now they face a Rams offense who currently ranks fifth in scoring. Does the fact that they gave up 20 points to the Bills concern anyone else? It’s obvious this defense is missing Joey Bosa. They have 6 sacks on the season so far, but with Bosa it’d likely be 9 or 10. They need that pressure on opposing QBs. It’s going to be tough to get that pressure on Jared Goff when they have to focus on stopping Todd Gurley.

 

Bears vs Cardinals

Predictions

Aman: Bears

Cullen: Bears

Mickayeen: Bears

Rahim: Bears

Joel: Bears

Adam: Bears

So the Cardinals scored 0 points last week. Sam Bradford has been complete trash. In two games, Bradford has 243 passing yards, a completion percentage of 60.7%, 0 TD passes, 2 INTs, and a passer rating of 55.6. Maybe it’s time to make the switch to rookie QB Josh Rosen?? Regardless of who the QB is for the Cardinals, it’s going to be tough against the Bears. Chicago currently leads the NFL in sacks (10). Khalil Mack and his teammates are a force to be reckoned with, and it’s likely they’ll have a field day against the Arizona Cardinals.

 

Cowboys vs Seahawks

Predictions

Aman: Cowboys

Cullen: Cowboys

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Cowboys

Adam: Cowboys

This game should be interesting. Seattle hasn’t won a game yet, while the Dallas Cowboys are 1-1, but haven’t looked great offensively. The winner of this game will likely be whoever takes advantage of the other teams’ weaknesses the most. In Week 1 against the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton was able to keep his team on the field by using his legs. The Cowboys’ defense was pretty good against the pass, but they couldn’t seem to stop Newton until it was too late. Now they face Russell Wilson, who can also pick up a lot of yards with his legs. Can Russell Wilson make enough plays with his legs to keep his offense on the field? For the Dallas Cowboys, this matchup is all about their defensive line making plays. They currently rank 2nd in the league with 9 sacks. The Seahawks have given up 12 sacks in two games, which is the most in the NFL. Can Dallas take advantage of the bad offensive line in Seattle and contain Russell Wilson?

 

Patriots vs Lions (Sunday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Patriots

Cullen: Patriots

Mickayeen: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Adam: Patriots

Lions Head Coach Matt Patricia faces his old team this week. I bet he wishes the first two weeks would have gone a lot better leading up to this game. Last week the Patriots struggled against the Jaguars and that tough defense. The Lions’ defense has been anything but tough so far this season. In two games they’ve allowed 78 points, which is tied with the Bills for the most points allowed so far. The next closest team is the Saints, who have allowed 66 points on the season. New England has recently acquired WR Josh Gordon from the Browns, which seems to make them stronger. If he will play in this game, I don’t know, but I do know we’d all love to see him play with Tom Brady. After a tough loss to a tough defense last week, it doesn’t look like the Patriots will have trouble with the Lions.

 

Steelers vs Buccaneers (Monday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Buccaneers

Cullen: Steelers

Mickayeen: Steelers

Rahim: Steelers

Joel: Buccaneers

Adam: Buccaneers

If the Steelers scored 37 points against any other team in the league last week, they would have had a victory. Unfortunately for them they played against red hot QB Patrick Mahomes of the Chiefs. Now they play red hot Ryan Fitzpatrick and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Will Fitzpatrick continue to take the league by storm and shred the Steelers? The key for the Steelers is to find a balance of productive running and passing. In Week 1, James Conner ran for 135 yards and 2 TDs, but it was Roethlisberger who plagued the Steelers with his 3 INTs. Last week was the opposite, as Roethlisberger threw 3 TD passes and scored a rushing TD, but the Steelers only had 33 total rushing yards. Pittsburgh needs to do well in both the running and passing game, not one or the other. If they can do that, they might be able to keep Fitzmagic off the field long enough to get a win.

NFL Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 3

43345158955_6e330bbb33_o.jpg
Case Keenum” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

By RahimAli Merchant

 

Before I get trade happy and try to replace the weak points on my roster, I want to share with you my waiver wire for week 3 in fantasy football.

How did you do this week? I hope you replaced your injured players with some of the top players on the waivers? Or maybe you were comfortable with what you had on your roster and did not feel like you needed to improve on what you had?

I know I am comfortable with what I have, but like I said last week, my teams are different. You see I drafted players on my team from one specific college football conference, so of my three leagues I did three different conferences. One was the SEC, in which Matthew Stafford is my quarterback, while having Alvin Kamara, A.J. Green, Jarvis Landry, and Amari Cooper. I failed to win last week with the terrible play of Stafford and Cooper, but this week is a different story.

It was nice to see Matthew Stafford and Amari Cooper bounce back with performances we are used to seeing, but there are still other players available on the waivers who have had consecutive solid weeks in fantasy. So let’s see who you may be able add on your roster.

 

Quarterbacks:

1. Ryan “Magic” Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 69.9 percent availability

2. Case Keenum, Denver Broncos, 75.7 percent availability

3. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 81.5 percent availability

4. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens, 91.1 percent availability

5. Blake Bortles, Jacksonville Jaguars, 89.9 percent availability

Four of the Five are repeats from last weeks waiver wire additions. This week is much of the same, and it may stay like this for a while, especially if you’re in a 10 team league and everyone has a good quarterback. The moment one of the top quarterbacks have a bye or get injured, you know who to jump on. I’m not sure how much longer Ryan Fitzmagic will be the starter with Jamies Winston returning in a few weeks. Case Keenum had an explosive week one and proved to all the Denver fans that they shouldn’t fear of a last-place finish in the division, and the backfield duo really helps make everything easier for him. Dalton and top receiver A.J. Green lit up the Ravens in the first half of their Thursday night divisional showdown, and we could see a lot more passing from Dalton and the Bengals with running back Joe Mixon likely to miss a few weeks. Flacco might have lost to Dalton and the Bengals, but the Ravens offense has its moments where they can be explosive, and it looks like they plan to use all the offensive weapons available to Flacco, like running backs Alex Collin and Buck Allen (running back waiver). Bortles and the Jaguars beat the Patriots with ease this week, and it is one of the first times he has beaten the Patriots in his career. He also did it while proving that there is more to the Jaguars than star running back, Leonard Fournette, who missed week 2 with an injury. That was no problem for Bortles as he found four different teammates in the end zone for touchdowns.

Speaking of touchdowns and finding the end zone, all of the running backs on this week’s waiver wire have been a huge part of their team’s offense and are likely going to see more with the different situations they are in.

 

Running backs:

1. Bilal Powell, New York Jets, 42 percent availability

2. Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos, 38.4 percent availability

3. Javorius “Buck” Allen, Baltimore Ravens, 81.2 percent availability

4. Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals, 60.6 percent availability

5. Chris Ivory, Buffalo Bills, 96.8 percent availability

Bilal Powell and Isaiah Crowell both look to continue to be part of the Jets offense while rookie quarterback Sam Darnold gets more and more comfortable with the feel of the NFL. Even though both backs are splitting carries, Powell’s power to run through the tackles and get you small yards on more rushes is a good feeling for those who add him. I hope you were able to add Lindsay to your roster before last weeks games. If not then you better get him quick cause he could be the new top back in the Broncos offense. Of course, I think that both he and Royce Freeman will be a part of the team’s success. Lindsay should be on your team and in your lineup, just hoping for him to find the end zone. Javorius “Buck” Allen has found the end zone in back to back games in the passing back role and we should continue to see that from him as the season goes on. Allen has really helped Flacco and the Ravens offense gets off to a quick start, and hopefully it will stay this way for all the season as the Ravens look to take their division. Giovani Bernard may not be on your roster yet, but with Joe Mixon expected to miss a few weeks, Bernard’s value is set to rise and he could be very productive as a pass-catching back with an already explosive offense after two weeks. How about Chris Ivory? Remember when he was the star running back for the Jets? Well, we may be able to see if he has any star ability left as he becomes the first Buffalo Bills player to score a touchdown this season. With LeSean McCoy also banged up, Ivory could see more snaps and be an option to make your roster.

With the news about the Cleveland Browns trading Josh Gordon to the New England Patriots, everyone who dropped him will try to grab him up again, but that’s good for those who don’t make much of that move because it allows us to add other receivers who  have proven themselves.

 

Wide Receivers

1. DeSean Jackson, Tampa Buccaneers, 38.9 percent availability

2. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets, 43.2 percent availability

3. Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars, 51.6 percent availability

4. John Brown, Baltimore Ravens, 76.1 percent availability

5.  Antonio Callaway, Cleveland Browns, 96.3 percent availability

With Fitzmagic at quarterback, Jackson is playing like it’s 2013, and these two could very well be the biggest surprise duo of the season. In just two games, D-Jax has 275 yards and three touchdowns off nine catches, and there is at least one more start for the two of them, so jump on it while you can. Enunwa stood out as the top option for Sam Darnold this week despite a losing effort. Look to continue seeing Enunwa be a big part of the Jets’ offense and add him to your roster as soon as you can. Keelan Cole and the Jaguars had a huge game against the Patriots, and this was actually the first step of what could be a nice season for the young, talented receiver. Let’s not forget his ODJ-ish catch of the football that changes the momentum of the game. You had to have a lot of confidence in Ravens’ John Brown to add him before their Thursday night game against the Bengals. After his performance in that game, your confidence is even higher, and if you’re in need of a receiver, John Brown could be your guy. He is already becoming one of Joe Flacco’s favorite receivers and it’s only week three. For Callaway, his biggest chance to prove himself is now. After the Browns traded Gordon, Callaway is the next man up behind Jarvis Landry and he had a good week against the Saints as he caught his first ever NFL touchdown in the regular season. As the Browns continue to put themselves in nail-biters and coming up short, Callaway could help them win a few games, and you could win as well.

Of course, your team can’t be complete without a tight end, and I hope you found your replacement for Walker and Olsen, but don’t let it be their backups. Even if you have a good tight end, you may just want another one to fill your roster or even start as a flex. I have a feeling that’s what I’ll need to do with my PAC-12 team. But let’s see who is available for you when you need them.

 

Tight End:

1. Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints, 63.6 percent availability

2. Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts, 64.4 percent availability

3. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 82.5 percent availability

4. Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Jacksonville Jaguars, 70 percent availability

5. Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks, 75.7 percent availability

I still believe Watson could have value on the Saints’ offense, especially in PPR. I know he hasn’t done much of anything thus far, but he’s still worth a spot on the bench for when you need him in bye weeks. But who is Eric Ebron? I forgot how talented of a catching tight end he was at North Carolina before being drafted by the Detroit Lions. He has since joined the Colts and Andrew Luck is not afraid to give him the ball. I honestly think Ebron will pass up Jack Doyle as the top tight end. In the first two weeks, Ebron has scored a touchdown in each game while Doyle hasn’t done much. So keep an eye on this one as Ebron could be a sleeper tight end in most leagues. I gave you a heads up last week about Austin Hooper and I’m not sure how long he’ll be a hot waiver add, but while Falcons’ running back Devonta Freeman is out with an injury, Hooper is a solid add and we saw that as the offense woke up and Hooper got himself a touchdown. Austin Seferian-Jenkins was part of the Jaguars big win over the Patriots this past weekend. He was one of four players to catch a touchdown pass from Blake Bortles and we could expect to see him continue to get looks as long as Leonard Fournette is out and Bortles actually plays well. He many just be a part replacement, but should be stashed on the bench as a backup in all leagues. Will Dissly is still on the list from last week. I believe in him already and it’s only been two weeks. In those two weeks, quarterback Russell Wilson has found him twice for touchdowns. Dissly may be a pass-blocking rookie tight end, but he is slowly emerging as the top tight end and Wilson’s end zone threat. Dissly  should be added on your team as a starting or flex tight end as long as Doug Baldwin is out, especially with the running game lacking. Believe in the rookie and add him, that’s what I did.

NFL Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 2

 

Tyrod Taylor
Tyrod Taylor” by Erik Drost is licensed under CC BY 2.0

By RahimAli Merchant

So I know it’s a bit late to tell you who you may or may not need to have on your roster come this weekends games, but I’ll do it anyways.

You see I had to make sure I got my team set. I got a little trade happy after week one and very active on the waivers. But you see my teams are nothing like any of yours, and after week one, it worked out well.

If it weren’t for the poor play of Lions QB Matthew Stafford and Raiders WR Amari Cooper, I would’ve won in all three of my leagues.

How did you do? Did you win your first game in your league, but still aren’t satisfied with the roster you have? What about if you lost your game and need to really make some improvements? How about just being a smooth Fantasy owner and like to add the hottest players available to you? If that’s the case, then I will share with you some of the bigger names to add on your rosters whether you really need them or not.

Let’s start with the QB position. Of course, we all saw what Drew Brees, Tom Brady, and Aaron Rodgers were able to do, but if you’ve got guys that you like and hope to have a good season like I do with Stafford, you might just ride with who you have. Or you may have guys like Matt Ryan, who is struggling to find the end zone. But that’s why there’s a waiver, and you can pick up some of the quarterbacks while they are hot.

 

Quarterbacks:

1. Tyrod Taylor, Cleveland Browns, 54.1 percent availability

2. Ryan “Magic” Fitzpatrick, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 69.9 percent availability

3. Case Keenum,  Denver Broncos, 75.7 percent availability

4. Andy Dalton,  Cincinnati Bengals, 81.5 percent availability

5. Joe Flacco,  Baltimore Ravens, 91.1 percent availability

Fitzpatrick looks to prove to the coaches why he should remain the starter when Jameis Winston returns from suspension. Another great performance against one of the best defenses in the league could help his status, and even yours if you need a quarterback for the week. Of course, you will now have to wait until next waiver period to get Dalton and Flacco due to them having played this past Thursday. But, that’s okay, we can still get by with Taylor and what looks to be a Browns team looking to tie the knot. Or Case Keenum and his continued play from last year, as he helped the Broncos offense be more reliable.

Speaking of Broncos offense, their two rookie running backs are something else, and if possible, I would try to add both of them on your roster. That’s what I had to do because you never know when you might need one, or both if they continue to split the work.

 

Running backs:

1.  Phillip Lindsay, Denver Broncos, 39.5 percent availability

2. Bilal Powell, New York Jets, 42.6 availability

3. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers, 59 percent availability

4. Javorius “Buck” Allen, Baltimore Ravens, 80.8 percent availability

5. T. J.  Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars, 49.5 percent availability

Lindsay and fellow rookie Royce Freeman both had the same number of rushes and rushing yards against the Seattle Seahawks in week one, but Lindsay scored a receiving touchdown and recorded some receiving yards as well. That’s why he is atop this list. Powell didn’t score any touchdowns, but he does look to continue to share the workload with teammate Isaiah Crowell. Ekeler is not the primary back on the team. That belongs to Melvin Gordon, but Ekeler is one of the favorite targets to QB Philip Rivers, and for that reason, he should be on your roster, especially if it’s PPR format. Allen has two touchdowns in two weeks, and though he isn’t available for this week, he should be somebody who is added to your waivers for next week. Yeldon looks to be getting more time in the backfield while Leonard Fournette gets back to 100 percent. Any of these players should be worth a start at the flex position, especially if you’re down some top guys like Atlanta’s Devonta Freeman.

Already after one week, we have seen some key players get injured and could miss some valuable time. The two key players are Seattle Seahawks’ Doug Baldwin and San Francisco 49ers’ Marquise Goodwin. But let’s take a look at who you could add as a replacement pick.

 

Wide Receivers:

1. Tyler Lockett, Seattle Seahawks, 34.4 percent availability

2. Quincy Enunwa, New York Jets, 45.8 percent availability

3. John Brown, Baltimore Ravens, 76 percent availability

4. Keelan Cole, Jacksonville Jaguars, 50.1 percent availability

5. Cole Beasley, Dallas Cowboys, 84.5 percent availability

Adding Lockett makes perfect sense to those who are owners of Doug Baldwin. Even if you don’t, Lockett is still a good add, as he’s looking to be the primary receiver and could find more receptions in PPR leagues. Enunwa returned from an injury in the preseason and scored a touchdown in the Monday night beatdown of the Detroit Lions. Enunwa and Robby Anderson are looking to take the WR 1 and WR 2 spots on the roster, and that only means good things for QB Sam Darnold. John Brown has emerged as Joe Flacco’s favorite target so far this season, and we look for that to continue. Again, you will have to wait until the next waiver period, so good luck with that. Cole is the next one on this list, and there are still a lot of questions that need to be answered with the Jaguars offense and how things will be run. Cole is still the top receiver available on the Jaguars roster that could be an exciting offense with or without Fournette. Beasley is probably the only receiver who is trust-worthy of having on the team at this point. Of course, it’s only been one week, and we are all still interested in what is going to happen with the receivers down the road.

Below are other players to keep an eye on down the road as the season goes along, especially with the injuries to Pro Bowl tight ends, Greg Olsen and Delanie Walker.

 

Tight End:

1. George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers, 19.2 percent availability

2. Jared Cook, Oakland Raiders, 22.9 percent availability

3. Ben Watson, New Orleans Saints, 63.6 percent availability

4. Will Dissly, Seattle Seahawks, 75.9 percent availability

5. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 82.8 percent availability

Kittle will be the biggest beneficiary of the Goodwin injury as the 49ers look to bounce back from a tough loss to the Minnesota Vikings last Sunday. He has proven that he could be one of Jimmy Garrapolo’s favorite targets, and with their opponent being the Lions, we could expect a shootout. Cook is clearly the Raiders top guy this early in the season. With Cooper and Carr struggling to get anything going, Cook is expected to see the same numbers he did in week one, especially against tough defenses like the Rams and Broncos. Watson may not be on everyone’s watch list, but with the explosive offense that the New Orleans Saints have, there will always be space for receptions to Watson, especially in the red zone. Dissly is still one of those rookie players who has a big question mark? With his emergence as a pass-catching tight end over a pass blocking tight end, he could very well be one of those players added to replace the injured Walker or Olsen. Hooper is another one of those tight ends who could be a replacement, although I think it will be for this week alone due to Freeman not suiting up for the Carolina game.

Good Luck to those of you looking at the last minute waivers. Continue to follow these articles as there will be an updated waiver wire every week.

Let’s go get the W, and I’ll hear from you all next week!

Week 2 NFL Picks

Week 2.png
Source: https://www.norebbo.com/?s=nfl

 

By Joel Deering and the Fourth Quarter Sports Staff

Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season provided us with some great games, and now it’s time for more in Week 2. If you read my picks from last week, you only read my picks. This week, and every week for the rest of the season, you’ll be getting the picks from all six of our writers (Aman, Cullen, Mickayeen, Rahim, Adam, and myself). We’re going to have a friendly competition to see who can pick the most games correctly. I’ll be keeping track of everyone’s record, and we’ll see who the winner is after all the regular season games have been played.

Below you’ll find all of our picks for each game. Below our picks you’ll find a brief overview of how each team performed last week, as well as how that could translate into this week’s matchup. Bring on Week 2!

 

Ravens vs Bengals (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Ravens

Cullen: Ravens

Mickayeen: Ravens

Rahim: Ravens

Joel: Ravens

Adam: Ravens

This week starts out with a battle between division rivals who both started their season off right. Baltimore put on a show against the Bills, while the Bengals beat the Colts after scoring 34 points. Neither of these teams played a tough opponent in Week 1, so now we’ll get a better picture of who these teams really are. The Ravens have one of the better defensive units in the NFL, and the offense played well. Last season their defense was good, but the team was plagued by the offense. If they can keep it up, which it looks like we all think they can, the Ravens will be a tough team to beat this season.

 

Chiefs vs Steelers

Predictions

Aman: Chiefs

Cullen: Steelers

Mickayeen: Steelers

Rahim: Chiefs

Joel: Chiefs

Adam: Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill put on a show last week against the Chargers, getting both of them placed on my MVP list after Week 1. The Steelers on the other hand, didn’t really impress anyone. They tied with the Cleveland Browns……. Ben Roethlisberger was throwing interceptions left and right. Take that away and the Steelers likely win. They had bright spots in James Conner, JuJu Smith-Schuster, TJ Watt, and of course Antonio Brown, but the team as a whole couldn’t win when it mattered most. If that kind of play continues for Big Ben and the Steelers, Patrick Mahomes and Tyreek Hill might go off on them.

 

Dolphins vs Jets

Predictions

Aman: Jets

Cullen: Jets

Mickayeen: Jets

Rahim: Jets

Joel: Jets

Adam: Jets

After throwing a pick six on his first career throw, Sam Darnold rebounded very well against the Lions last week. His numbers weren’t huge, but he was very effective. That’s all the Jets need from him right now. If the rest of the season for the Jets goes like it did against the Lions, the rest of the team can carry the Jets while Darnold works his way up to being a huge number guy. It was a pretty solid all around effort for the Jets. This week they play the Dolphins, who also got a Week 1 victory. While they did win, their win wasn’t anywhere near as convincing as the Jets’ win. They played a good chunk of the game against the Titans backup QB, Blaine Gabbert. To give their defense credit though, they did pick off Mariota twice. It was a decent showing for Tannehill and the offense, but not dominating. I don’t think the Dolphins convinced us they’re not a bad team by beating the Titans, while the Jets did, which is probably why we all chose the Jets to win this week.

 

Eagles vs Buccaneers

Predictions

Aman: Buccaneers

Cullen: Buccaneers

Mickayeen: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Buccaneers

Adam: Buccaneers

Before the season started, this game looked pretty obvious as to who would be the winner. The defending champs against the Buccaneers, who were expected to be terrible this season. Well Week 1 has obviously changed the minds of some, as four of us have the Buccaneers beating the Eagles this week. Ryan Fitzpatrick, or should I say, Fitzmagic, looked incredible against the Saints. The defense didn’t look great, as they allowed 40 points by the Saints, but the offense was on another level last week. For the Eagles, they looked poor in Week 1 despite their victory over the Falcons. The defense was good, but Nick Foles and the offense barely got anything going. The Eagles defense should be good all season, but can the Buccaneers knock them off? That depends on if we get Fitzpatrick or Fitzmagic.

 

Browns vs Saints

Predictions

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Saints

Rahim: Saints

Joel: Saints

Adam: Saints

After tying the Steelers in Week 1, the Browns are already a better team than they were last season! Their defense was much better than we had seen in years past, as well as the offense. This team has some real threats on both sides of the ball now. If Week 2 goes anything like we all think it will, the Browns will unfortunately have to wait at least one more week to finally get a victory. Drew Brees and the Saints scored 40 points last week, but got outscored. Crazy right? It’s not often a team scores 40 and ends up losing the game. While the Browns do seem better, they’re probably not ready for an offense with this much fire power.

 

Colts vs Redskins

Predictions

Aman: Redskins

Cullen: Redskins

Mickayeen: Colts

Rahim: Redskins

Joel: Redskins

Adam: Colts

Andrew Luck looked decent in his return to action, but he couldn’t lead his team to victory. They were playing from behind, which led Luck to passing 53 times! In addition to being behind, the ground game wasn’t all that good, which probably led the Colts to throw more passes. The Redskins had a pretty good opening week. Alex Smith played well, and his running backs got the job done on the ground and in the passing game. After giving up 34 points to the Bengals, the Colts defense will probably do the same against the Redskins. That will lead Luck to pass another 100 times. Two of our writers picked the Colts, so it looks like they believe Andrew Luck will return to his true Andrew Luck self.

 

Chargers vs Bills

Predictions

Aman: Chargers

Cullen: Chargers

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Adam: Chargers

I think it’s pretty obvious why we all picked the Chargers to win this game. The Bills scored 3 points last week while allowing 47. Not a recipe for victory. Buffalo started with Nate Peterman as the QB, but he was worse than trash, completing just 5 passes in 18 attempts for 24 yards and 2 INTs. Buffalo made the switch to rookie QB Josh Allen, who was technically better, but not really. Despite losing to the Chiefs, the Chargers did some nice things. Rivers had 3 TD passes, and they had two 100 yard receivers, one of whom was RB Melvin Gordon. It’s pretty obvious by our picks that we just can’t see the Chargers letting this one get away from them.

 

Vikings vs Packers

Predictions

Aman: Packers

Cullen: Vikings

Mickayeen: Packers

Rahim: Vikings

Joel: Vikings

Adam: Vikings

Now this game will be exciting! Aaron Rodgers is coming off an incredible comeback victory against the Chicago Bears, while the Vikings started off the season exactly how we thought they would. The Vikings defense was great, picking off Jimmy G 3 times and holding the 49ers to 16 points. The Packers defense looked good at times, mostly at the end of the game, but that was against a Bears offense that didn’t look great. This game is going to be about who can make more impactful plays. Will it be Aaron Rodgers or the Vikings’ defense?

 

Panthers vs Falcons

Predictions

Aman: Panthers

Cullen: Falcons

Mickayeen: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

Joel: Panthers

Adam: Falcons

Neither of these teams looked great in Week 1. Carolina got a victory, as the defense looked great, but the offense not so much. There were some flashes of things, but they did only score 16 points. The Falcons scored only 12 points, which led them to a loss against the Eagles. Atlanta had problems executing in the red zone, and this week isn’t a good matchup for them to fix those problems. Carolina has one of the best defensive units in the NFL, but they’re playing an offense with a lot of potential. Another factor in this game will be injuries. Both teams are pretty badly banged up already. Watch for each team to try to attack those weak points. Whoever does it better should come out on top.

 

Texans vs Titans

Predictions

Aman: Texans

Cullen: Texans

Mickayeen: Texans

Rahim: Texans

Joel: Texans

Adam: Texans

A team who came close to beating the New England Patriots or a team who lost to the Miami Dolphins? It seems pretty clear to all of us, as we all picked the Texans to win this game. The Titans QB situation is unclear. Will they get Blaine Gabbert or an injured Marcus Mariota this week? Neither seems great. For the Texans, Deshaun Watson didn’t play great either. The offensive line struggled protecting Watson. How will they do against a Titans defense with only 1 sack and 2 QB hits last week? If they can keep Watson from taking 1,000 hits, we might see him go off.

 

Cardinals vs Rams

Predictions

Aman: Rams

Cullen: Rams

Mickayeen: Rams

Rahim: Rams

Joel: Rams

Adam: Rams

This one was an easy decision for all of us. The Cardinals looked bad against the Redskins. The Rams took a little while against the Raiders to get things going, but then turned it on when they needed to. Everyone expects the Rams to win their division and be one of the top teams in the NFC. If they’re going to do that, they can’t lose to a team like the Cardinals. Sam Bradford didn’t look good, and David Johnson looked average. A bad quarterback and an average running back aren’t going to work against Jared Goff, Todd Gurley and the Rams.

 

Lions vs 49ers

Predictions

Aman: Lions

Cullen: 49ers

Mickayeen: 49ers

Rahim: 49ers

Joel: 49ers

Adam: 49ers

Neither team looked particularly great last week. The 49ers had a tough matchup against the Vikings, which was not good for Jimmy Garoppolo. He completed less than 50% of his passes and threw 3 INTs. Then there’s the Lions, who lost to the surprisingly good Jets. Or was it that the Lions were just surprisingly bad? Well the Lions’ QBs were really bad. Matthew Stafford threw 4 INTs. Then Matt Cassel came into the game and threw an INT. If Stafford plays like that again, the Lions are starting 0-2. Can he rebound? Can Jimmy G rebound from his bad performance? Whoever rebounds better will likely lead their team to victory.

 

Raiders vs Broncos

Predictions

Aman: Broncos

Cullen: Broncos

Mickayeen: Broncos

Rahim: Raiders

Joel: Broncos

Adam: Broncos

The Raiders actually looked decent for a while in Jon Gruden’s debut. That is until Derek Carr threw the game away with some interceptions. The Rams’ defense got the best of him when it mattered most. This week Carr plays against a Broncos defense who looked pretty good against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. Can they get Carr to make mistakes when the game is on the line? Most of us think so, but Rahim has the Raiders bouncing back. Can Jon Gruden make the needed adjustments to get the Raiders back on track?

 

Patriots vs Jaguars

Predictions

Aman: Jaguars

Cullen: Jaguars

Mickayeen: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Adam: Patriots

The rematch of the AFC Championship game should be a good one. Brady and Gronkowski looked just as good as ever against the Texans. What will Jalen Ramsey have to say about that? Despite winning last week, the Jaguars offense didn’t look great. Leonard Fournette got hurt and may not play this week. Even if he does, he’s still coming off an injury. Can the Jaguars defense carry this team once again? Last time they faced Brady they couldn’t hold up, but this year might be different.

 

Giants vs Cowboys (Sunday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Giants

Cullen: Cowboys

Mickayeen: Giants

Rahim: Giants

Joel: Giants

Adam: Cowboys

Both teams were terrible in terms of scoring last week (Giants 15 points and Cowboys 8 points), but they both showed some promising things. Despite the offensive struggles that plagued the Cowboys, their defense gave up only 16 points, which at least gave the Cowboys a chance to win the game. The Giants didn’t score much, but RB Saquon Barkley and WR Odell Beckham Jr. were both impact players. Eli Manning was still bad though. Can the Cowboys’ defense contain Barkley and Beckham enough for the offense to outscore them? Can Eli Manning play well against a defense which looks to be much improved? One important thing to note, I (Joel Deering) picked the Giants to win. I’m a Cowboys fan, but I just can’t pick them after what I saw from them offensively last week.

 

Seahawks vs Bears (Monday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Seahawks

Cullen: Bears

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Bears

Adam: Bears

Seattle’s defense played decent last week. They picked off Case Keenum three times, but they also allowed 27 points. On offense, things were tough for Russell Wilson. He was picked off twice and sacked six times! Von Miller had three sacks. He’s one of the best defensive players in the NFL, and this week the Seahawks play Khalil Mack, who is also one of the best defensive players in the NFL. Mack made his presence felt last week against the Packers, and that was against one of the better offensive lines. Seattle’s line is much weaker, which could make for a long day for Wilson. Our writers are split down the middle on this game. Who will prevail? Russell Wilson or the Bears’ defense?