Winners and losers of the 2019 NFL Draft

The 2019 NFL Draft officially wrapped up yesterday. Now that we know where these new NFL players will be playing, we can take a look at which teams won or lost this draft. After evaluating the picks for every NFL team over the last day, I’ve put together my list of three winners and three losers of the 2019 NFL Draft.

NFL Draft, Chicago 2016” by Mary is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Winners

Arizona Cardinals

Draft Picks

  • Oklahoma QB Kyler Murray(No. 1)
  • Washington CB Byron Murphy (No. 33)
  • Massachusetts WR Andy Isabella (No. 62)
  • Boston College DE Zach Allen (No. 65)
  • Iowa State WR Hakeem Butler (No. 103)
  • Alabama S Deionte Thompson (No. 139)
  • Fresno State WR Keesean Johnson (No. 174)
  • Georgia C Lamont Gaillard (No. 179)
  • Morgan State OT Joshua Miles (No. 248)
  • Temple DT Michael Dogbe (No. 249)
  • UCLA TE Caleb Wilson (No. 254)

After going 3-13 last season, the Cardinals had a lot of work to do in this draft. Well, their worked seemed to pay off. Starting with QB Kyler Murray, the Cardinals were able to walk out of the draft with several probable day one starters. CB Byron Murphy, WR Andy Isabella, DE Zach Allen, WR Hakeem Butler and S Deionte Thompson are all potential starters for the Cardinals this season. When you throw Murray in that mix, the Cardinals got six players with their first six picks who could start right away.

In addition to getting several potential starters, the Cardinals got great value with several of their picks. Byron Murphy was arguably the top CB in this draft, and the Cardinals were able to get him in the second-round. Isabella and Allen went right about where they should have, but getting Hakeem Butler at No. 103 and Deionte Thompson at No. 139 are great value picks.

This draft class might not get the Cardinals to compete in the NFL right away, but they’ve got a ton of potential in this draft class. This draft by the Cardinals could end up being the best in this class when we look back on it in a few years.

 

New England Patriots

Draft Picks

  • Arizona State WR N’Keal Harry (No. 32)
  • Vanderbilt CB Joejuan Williams (No. 45)
  • Michigan DE Chase Winovich (No. 77)
  • Alabama RB Damien Harris (No. 87)
  • West Virginia OT Yodny Cajuste (No. 101)
  • Arkansas OG Hjalte Froholdt (No. 118)
  • Auburn QB Jarrett Stidham (No. 133)
  • Maryland DE Byron Cowart (No. 159)
  • Stanford P Jake Bailey (No. 163)
  • Mississippi CB Ken Webster(No. 252)

When I look at the first five picks for the Patriots, I see five guys who can make an impact for this team right away. N’Keal Harry is their new big red zone target, Joejuan Williams is a big corner who will get a ton of time opposite Stephon Gilmore, Chase Winovich will play significant time on the defensive line, Damien Harris will add to a strong backfield, and Yodny Cajuste will get a good amount of time in the Patriots’ offensive line rotation.

Skipping down to QB Jarrett Stidham, would anyone be surprised if he ends up being the guy to take over for Tom Brady when he finally decides to retire? He has the opportunity to learn from one of the greatest QBs in the history of the NFL. Stidham didn’t really fit well in Auburn’s system, but Belichick is one of the best at getting his system to adapt to his players.

I’m not sure how the Patriots did it, but they ended up with a bunch of guys who just seem to be players the Patriots can get the most out of. These guys may not be stars in the NFL, but they’re for sure guys the Patriots will turn into productive NFL players.

 

Chicago Bears

Draft Picks

  • Iowa State RB David Montgomery (No. 73)
  • Georgia WR Riley Ridley (No. 126)
  • Kansas State CB Duke Shelley (No. 205)
  • Florida Atlantic RB Kerrith White (No. 222)
  • Valdosta State CB Stephen Denmark (No. 238)

For not having a pick until the third-round, the Chicago Bears did really well in this draft. I love the selection of RB David Montgomery. Getting him at No. 73 is great value. I believe he’s one of the best RBs in this class. Don’t be surprised if Montgomery ends up being the next rookie RB to lead the NFL in rushing.

At pick No. 126, Riley Ridley is another great value. I thought he would go in the second-round. He didn’t put up a ton of production in college, but his potential is far greater than where he was selected. He should only add to a group of WRs who were pretty strong last season, helping Mitch Trubisky even more.

Their last three selections were great depth pieces. I think we also have to look at which UDFAs the Bears signed after the draft. Some notable players the Bears signed are WR Emmanuel Hall and TE Dax Raymond, who are both players I expected to be drafted.

Finally, I factored in the Bears’ trade for Khalil Mack last season. They may not have had a first-round pick in this draft, but Mack is far better than anyone the Bears would have selected. Mack will be far more productive than any player selected in this draft in 2019.

 

Losers

Houston Texans

Draft Picks

  • Alabama State OT Tytus Howard (No. 23)
  • Kentucky CB Lonnie Johnson (No. 54)
  • Northern Illinois OT Max Scharping (No. 55)
  • San Diego State TE Kahale Warring (No. 86)
  • Texas DE Charles Omenihu (No. 161)
  • Central Michigan CB Xavier Crawford(No. 195)
  • Texas A&M RB Cullen Gillaspia (No. 220)

I liked the position the Texans drafted with the No. 23 pick, but I hate the player. Tytus Howard is not a player who should have been selected in the first-round. I would have been okay with them selecting him in the second-round, but not the first. There were far better lineman available at the time. I’m not sure he’s the answer to protecting Deshaun Watson.

When I look at the selections of Lonnie Johnson, Max Scharping and Kahale Warring, I don’t see any of them being instant impact players for this team. I thought the Texans made a lot of reach picks in this draft. They may end up proving me wrong, but I didn’t like the value of these guys where the Texans drafted them.

 

New York Giants

Draft Picks

  • Duke QB Daniel Jones (No. 6)
  • Clemson DT Dexter Lawrence (No. 17)
  • Georgia CB Deandre Baker (No. 30)
  • Old Dominion DE Oshane Ximines (No. 95)
  • Notre Dame CB Julian Love (No. 108)
  • Wisconsin LB Ryan Connelly (No. 143)
  • Auburn WR Darius Slayton (No. 171)
  • Washburn CB Corey Ballentine (No. 180)
  • Kentucky OT George Asafo-Adjei (No. 232)
  • Syracuse DT Chris Slayton (No. 245) 

Let’s start with Daniel Jones at No. 6. The Giants drafted Jones because he has similar traits to Eli Manning. I hate to break it to the Giants, but Eli Manning’s style of play doesn’t win games in the NFL anymore. This is a new age in the NFL. I’m not sure a QB who can’t even complete 60% of his passes is the answer. Huge reach with the sixth pick.

I like Dexter Lawrence and Deandre Baker as players, but I really hated how the Giants didn’t address their WR need with one of those picks. Instead, they waited until pick No. 171 to grab Darius Slayton. Slayton is not going to replace Odell Beckham Jr.

If I had to say one nice thing about the Giants’ draft, it’d be that they have a nice new pair of CBs in Baker and Julian Love. I think Love could have gone a lot higher than No. 108, so that was a great value. Overall though, I don’t believe the Giants made the right moves in this draft.

 

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Draft Picks

  • LSU LB Devin White (No. 5)
  • Central Michigan DB Sean Bunting (No. 39)
  • Auburn CB Jamel Dean (No. 94)
  • Kentucky S Mike Edwards (No. 99)
  • Iowa OLB Anthony Nelson (No. 107)
  • Utah K Matt Gay (No. 145)
  • Bowling Green WR Scott Miller (No. 208)
  • Missouri DT Terry Beckner Jr. (No. 215)

I loved the pick of LB Devin White at No. 5. I think he’s going to be a great NFL LB. However, pass rusher Josh Allen was still on the board. If Allen ends up being a big time sack artist, Bucs fans may end up hating the pick of White. Still a good pick, though.

After the pick of White, I didn’t like what the Bucs did. Sean Bunting was taken too early, as well as Jamel Dean. Skip down to K Matt Gay, and you’ve got another guy who was taken too early. He is a K after all. The Buccaneers had the opportunity to draft players who were higher ranked, as well as who fit their team needs.

Not addressing their biggest team needs is another major reason why the Bucs were losers in this draft. They didn’t grab an offensive lineman or RB, which were two positions they really needed to address for this upcoming season. Not sure what happened after the selection of Devin White.

The Canton Worthy: Defensive Backs

After looking at head coaches on Wednesday and then linemen on both sides of the ball yesterday, I wrap up the week (but not the series) looking at a group of defensive backs up for the NFL’s Hall of Fame. Three of these men played the bulk of their careers as free safeties, while the other two were corners. Interestingly, the last three all played together in 2009 for the Denver Broncos*, and four out of five of these players played in Denver at some point in their careers, while three out of five played for the Jets–but never together.

*That Broncos squad, Josh McDaniels’ first, went 8-8 while the defense ranked third against the pass.

For my comparisons throughout this series, I’ve been looking at the Hall of Fame list posted on pro-football-reference.com. According to the last, there is no distinction between safeties or cornerbacks. Instead, PFR refers to all of those players as “defensive backs.” So, instead of breaking these five players down by position like I did yesterday with guards and tackles, I’ll be comparing them to fellow defensive backs.

However, I will be comparing them to defensive backs of a certain era–from 1989 until 2013, the former because that’s the earliest any of these five began his career, and 2013 because that’s the last year that any of these guys played.

Veterans Day with the Baltimore Ravens” by Maryland National Guard is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Steve Atwater, Free Safety: Denver Broncos, 1989-1998 & New York Jets, 1999

Atwater, known for his bone-crushing hits over the middle, went 20th overall to the Broncos in the 1989 draft out of Arkansas. Over the next decade, he started at least 14 games every season. He picked off 24 passes, forced five fumbles, recovered eight fumbles and collected 1,125 total tackles. He made All-Pro in 1991 and 1992 while reaching eight Pro Bowls in a span of nine years. He was one of the team’s defensive leaders when Denver won back-to-back Super Bowls in the 1997 and 1998 seasons.

 

John Lynch, Strong Safety/Free Safety: Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 1993-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2007

Over the years in Tampa Bay, John Lynch led a revolution that helped transform the Bucs from the Yuks into a Super Bowl winner. The Stanford product went in the third round of the 1993 draft to Tampa, where he’d patrol the center of the field for the following 11 seasons. In that time, he went to five Pro Bowls, made All-Pro twice, and won Super Bowl XXXVII. Lynch later left for Denver, where he made another four Pro Bowls before retiring. In the end, that’s nine Pro Bowls, two All-Pro selections, seven trips to the playoffs and one championship.

 

Ty Law, Cornerback: New England Patriots, 1995-2004; New  York Jets, 2005, 2008; Kansas City Chiefs, 2006-2007; Denver Broncos, 2009

Ty Law was another first round pick, going No. 23 to the Patriots out of Michigan in 1995. He was part of the team that lost Super Bowl XXXI to the Packers, but then he collected three Super Bowl rings at the start of the Brady-Belichick Dynasty. By the time he retired as a member of the Broncos, he’d made five Pro Bowls (four with the Patriots, one with the Jets) and had been named All-Pro twice. He finished his career with 53 interceptions, seven of which he returned for touchdowns, which is the 11th most all-time.

 

Champ Bailey, Cornerback: Washington Redskins, 1999-2003 & Denver Broncos, 2004-2013

Before getting dealt to the Broncos for running back Clinton Portis prior to the start of the 2004 season, Champ Bailey had already intercepted 18 passes and collected 312 total tackles while getting voted into four Pro Bowls as a five-year member of the Redskins. Over the next 10 seasons in Denver, he’d be named All-Pro three times while making another eight Pro Bowls. He led the league in interceptions with 10 in 2006 and finished his career with 52.

 

Ed Reed, Free Safety: Baltimore Ravens, 2002-2012; New York Jets, 2013; Houston Texans, 2013

The 24th overall pick out of Miami (Fla.) in the 2002 draft, Reed played 11 years for the Ravens before splitting his final season between the Jets and Texans. In his first decade-plus in Baltimore, Reed was named the 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, won one Super Bowl, made nine Pro Bowls and was elected All-Pro five times. Throughout his 12-year career, Reed intercepted 64 passes, which is seventh all-time. His 1,590 interception return yards is the most all-time.

 

The Breakdown

Which of the five of Atwater, Lynch, Law, Bailey and Reed gets into the Hall of Fame? Remember two things: 1) Only a maximum of five finalists can be inducted in a given year, and 2) I’ve already selected center Kevin Mawae and guard Alan Faneca. I have at most three remaining spots between these five and three offensive playmakers I’ve yet to discuss.

Based on those factors, I believe only one defensive back has a shot at making it into Canton this season. Right off the bat I’m going to eliminate three of them: Steve Atwater, John Lynch and Ty Law. Each of those three defensive backs previously had shots to make it, yet failed. This year, they face even tougher competition with first-time nominees Champ Bailey and Ed Reed.

And it’s at those two that I’m going to take a closer look.

There are 26 defensive backs in the Hall of Fame. Of those 26, five retired after 1999: the ageless Darrell Green, Rod Woodson, Deion “Primetime” Sanders, Aeneas Williams and Brian Dawkins.

As far as longevity, both Bailey and Reed stack up with those five. Bailey made more Pro Bowls than any of those players, while Reed made more than all but Woodson. Only Woodson and Sanders made more All-Pros than Reed, while Bailey only edges out Green in that category. Regarding interceptions, only Woodson’s 71 overshadow Reed’s 64. Meanwhile, Bailey’s 52 interceptions only beats Dawkins’ 37.

Here’s what I’m getting at: Bailey and Reed both compare very well to the five defensive back members of the Hall of Fame from around their era. Much like with the discussion I had yesterday about guards Alan Faneca and Steve Hutchinson, though, the two will be compared against each other as their careers overlapped from 2002-2013.

Starting with longevity, Bailey gets the edge as he started longer at his position. Bailey also has a 12-9 edge regarding Pro Bowls. But, in less time as a starter, Reed has more All-Pro selections, 5-3. Reed won a Defensive Player of the Year award while Bailey never did. Reed also collected 12 more interceptions than did Bailey (again, in fewer years), and Reed was part of a Super Bowl-winning squad whereas Bailey never reached that height.

For the time being, Ed Reed gets my vote for Canton. Perhaps, after the next article, I’ll re-visit Bailey.

But for now, I’ve used three of my maximum five slots: Ed Reed joins Kevin Mawae and Alan Faneca.

Unpredictable results renewing interest in NFL

Note: Article originally published in The Talon in November of 2018: Dacula High School’s newspaper and is published with permission.

Chicago Bears vs. Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on December 25, 2011.” by Mike Morbeck is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Since the early 2000s, the New England Patriots have dominated the NFL, appearing in the Super Bowl eight times and winning five. Along with that, as a Chicago native, my beloved Bears were not doing so well, so it felt like every season was the same. But on Sep. 9, 2018, I witnessed two results which made me question my lack of interest in football. That was the Houston Texans losing to the New England Patriots 20-27 and the Green Bay Packers beating the Chicago Bears 23-24. Just like before, the Patriots won and the Bears lost, but this time, the wins for the Patriots and the Packers were much harder to achieve.

I was still questioning if football can really become this entertaining again, and if the Bears were really capable of challenging the top teams this season. But that weekend, two other surprising results posed new questions. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers beating the New Orleans Saints 48-40 and the Pittsburgh Steelers tying the Cleveland Browns? After drafting running back Alvin Kamara from the University of Tennessee, the New Orleans Saints were not just massive favorites to top their division, but also to perhaps make a run to the Super Bowl. However, Tampa Bay’s signing of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick produced results with their offense, managing to score eight more than the Saints. The second result really put Pittsburgh to shame. The Cleveland Browns. The Browns. The team that had won only once in two years? Seriously Pittsburgh? They could not beat the Browns?

This result is promising, a promise of more competition, more fun, more unpredictability. As I started to renew my interest in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns played the New Orleans Saints, and nearly won. The Browns had reassured their seriousness this season, and despite not being able to win against the Steelers, they took on a far harder challenge and almost handed the Saints what would have been their second embarrassing defeat of the season. However, later that week, an even crazier result happened. Yet another tie took place, this time between rivals Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. After scoring 22 points in the final quarter, the Vikings fought the Packers to a draw in overtime, not only making the competition between these two teams fiercer, but also creating a new pathway for the other teams in the NFC North, the Chicago Bears and the Detroit Lions to move to the top.

That was exactly what happened. The Chicago Bears won their next three games, including a game-changing 17-24 victory against the Seattle Seahawks and a 10-48 thumping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and moved to number one in the NFC North. Today, Chicago’s arch-rival Green Bay is on the verge of not making the playoffs, a team who has made the NFL playoffs 13 times since 2001! However, it is not just the Bears who are having an incredible season. The Miami Dolphins, Cincinnati Bengals and Tennessee Titans are all having really excellent seasons, with the Dolphins holding a 5-5 record and the Bengals and Titans boasting a 5-4 record (including a Titans’ massive 34-10 victory over the New England Patriots in Week 10).

Normally, by now, well over half-way into the season, it should have been easy to predict who will make the playoffs, if that has not been decided by now already. But right now, no team has clinched the playoffs. Even the Cleveland Browns, with their three wins, are still in contention for the playoffs. It is nearly impossible to predict exactly which team will compose the playoff bracket, as the competition is so tight. For example, in the AFC, the Cincinnati Bengals, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins are all on five wins, but it is unlikely all three teams can make the playoffs, thus building a very interesting and tough concentration. In the NFC, the usually more competitive conference, five teams are all currently tied on four wins, with Super Bowl winners Philadelphia Eagles on the same level as the Dallas Cowboys right now. Because the “weaker” teams have been playing really well this season, giving trouble to the usual dominators of the NFL, even a team like the Oakland Raiders, with only one win, has not been eliminated from playoff contention yet (although it is highly unlikely they make it).

With only six weeks left, the playoff picture is still really blurry. Not only is it unclear as to which teams will make the playoffs, predicting the winners of the next few matches are going to be really difficult. For the first time in years, strong teams like the Green Bay Packers and the Seattle Seahawks could be forced to give up their spots for teams like the Dallas Cowboys and Chicago Bears. All of this together makes for one of the best NFL seasons in the modern era, one of the most entertaining seasons, and most definitely one of the most heart-stopping.

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!

NFL fantasy waiver wire: Week 13

Jameis Winston - NFL Fantasy Week 13
Jameis Winston” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Was your NFL fantasy game a dogfight last week? Or were you lucky enough to have played the last place guy in your NFL fantasy league?

Either way, it had to be a tough matchup with the playoffs set to start next week. Many of us, including myself, are still fighting for a playoff spot.

I hope you were able to find the pieces you needed to help you win last week. With the recent news about all the players on the injured reserve list, you may be wondering how to replace them. Some of those players were noted on Monday as out for the season. Detriot Lions’ WR Marvin Jones, Cincinnati Bengals’ QB Andy Dalton, and Indianapolis Colts’ TE Jack Doyle were a few to be named. All these players have played a big role in the success of their teams.

Hopefully, they aren’t going to be the reason why you miss the playoffs. If you’re still struggling to find the right pieces to fill your NFL fantasy team, let me help you figure it out. Let’s see who’s available.

 

Quarterbacks
  1. Dak Prescott, Dallas Cowboys, 56.5 percent availability
  2. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns, 56.9 percent availability
  3. Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 45.1 percent availability
  4. Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans, 83.7 percent availability
  5. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens, 50.9 percent availability

Prescott has suddenly become one of the top QBs in NFL fantasy. The addition of WR Amari Cooper has helped the team massively! The Cowboys are currently on a three-game winning streak heading into to biggest game of the season against the New Orleans Saints. The Cowboys have taken over their division and Prescott looks to continue finding his way into the end zone with his feet. This next game against the Saints should be a good enough performance from him and the Cowboys. If you still need a QB because your starter is hurt or playing bad, Prescott will fill in nicely.

Mayfield and the Browns shocked the world in their game against the Bengals! Or did they? Mayfield has been playing great football and has been able to find ways to win games lately. In fact, they are on a two-game winning streak themselves, beating both the Falcons (week 10) and Bengals in that time. With rookie RB Nick Chubb playing well alongside Mayfield, this Browns team could make some noise in the future. We’ll see if they can surprise teams like the Texans and Panthers.

It’s been a rocky season for Winston. Can he continue having success on offense like he had last week? He is looking to finish strong and hopefully secure his job for next year. We’ve seen Winston throw for 300+ yards in three of his five starts. He is playing for his job, so having him as your starter isn’t bad if you have full confidence in him and his play for the rest of the season. We do know he has plenty of weapons to give the ball too, so maybe this isn’t a bad pick.

Mariota had a bad week against the Indianapolis Colts after throwing an interception and being injured, causing him to miss the rest of the game. He was able to return in their game against Houston on Monday night, having another great game. Like I have been saying about Mariota, he and the Titans get hot in the second half of the season. As long as he continues to connect with Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith as the season winds down, Mariota should be a good option. I do continue to see Mariota play at this high of a level as long as he stays healthy. If you need a full-time replacement for guys on the IR like Alex Smith or Andy Dalton, Mariota should be that guy.

This year seems like the year of the rookie quarterbacks. All five first-round rookie QBs have started at least two games this season. We have to see what Mayfield has been able to do lately, and also what Sam Darnold did early. Now we get to watch Lamar Jackson, as he continues to start for the Ravens while starter Joe Flacco deals with an injury. It’s a pretty interesting way as to how the Ravens use Jackson compared to how the offense was running with Flacco as the starter. It could be a good thing for those who are interested in adding Jackson to help them make the playoffs. I mean, it makes sense with the next opponent being the Falcons. They have a  weak defense due to the injuries, so let’s add Jackson to our NFL fantasy teams.

 

Running Backs
  1. Josh Adams, Philadelphia Eagles, 33.3 percent availability
  2. Austin Ekeler, Los Angeles Chargers, 45.4 percent availability
  3. Gus Edwards, Baltimore Ravens, 45.3 percent availability
  4. T.J. Yeldon, Jacksonville Jaguars, 40.5 percent availability
  5. Theo Riddick, Detriot Lions, 62.9 percent availability

Adams is clearly the best RB on the Eagles roster right now. He’s actually the only player not named Zach Ertz who is worthy of being on our NFL fantasy rosters. Let’s be honest, the Eagles haven’t looked like the same team they were last year when they won the Super Bowl, but at least Adams has helped give them some faith in the season. Hopefully, last week will help spark the Eagles and they’ll turn themselves around. Maybe Adams will be the difference maker for you in your quest for the playoffs in your NFL fantasy leagues.

Ekeler is now going to be the primary back for at least two weeks, as it was reported that Melvin Gordon will miss the next few games. If you have been following the Chargers, you know Ekeler has always been a big part of the offense. With Gordon out, his workload will increase and his production will too. We got to see a sample of that this past week against the Cardinals, as he and the Chargers took it to Arizona.

Edwards is a rookie RB like Adams, who looks to help the team continue to win. Edwards and Jackson came into the starting spots together. That might have been the best decision for the Ravens. With Alex Collins out and Buck Allen struggling to get anything going as of late, Edwards has taken over the job and doesn’t plan on giving it back.

When you think about what a player has done for you lately, Yeldon isn’t the one you think of, right? I mean, what has he done for us lately? I can answer that with a simple NOTHING! This week he’ll get his chance to prove himself once again! He is probably in the best scenario this week in terms of how much he’ll be used. He might even be the spark the Jaguars need to get off their seven-game losing streak. See, this is an easy decision to make for this week because we know Leonard Fournette will be suspended for their next game.

Riddick didn’t do as well as we all wanted him to do in their Thanksgiving Day game against the Bears. Instead, it was LeGarrette Blount who had the best game of his career as a Lion this season. With Kerryon Johnson still likely to miss time, Riddick and Blount should both continue to be the primary targets from the backfield. Riddick will obviously get the bulk of the receptions between the two backs, but the rushing attack will be Blount. If you’re in the situation where you can’t figure out which one to add, think about adding both of them. That’ll probably be the only offense the Lions have.

 

Wide Receivers
  1. D.J. Moore, Carolina Panthers, 41 percent availability
  2. Josh Reynolds, Los Angeles Rams, 66.1 percent availability
  3. Mike Williams, Los Angeles Chargers, 88.7 percent availability
  4. John Ross, Cincinnati Bengals, 81.5 percent availability
  5. David Moore, Seattle Seahawks, 93.2 percent availability

It’s been obvious the Panthers’ primary weapon is Christain McCaffery, but QB Cam Newton does like to pass the ball around a lot. The Panthers’ WR core has dealt with a lot of injuries, which means Moore has been given a lot more chances. In the last two weeks, Moore has had 15 catches for 248 yards and one touchdown. With Devin Funchess and Torrey Smith battling through injuries, both Moore and Curtis Samuel have stepped up and helped the Panthers stay in front in the Wild Card race. They could help you sneak your way into the playoffs.

Reynolds has taken over the void left behind when Cooper Kupp went out for the season with an injury. If you haven’t added him yet, then you should consider doing so. The Rams are coming up to the part of their schedule where they’ll need to have an explosive offense to win games. He could also have the opportunity to get a lot of looks with the defense focusing more on Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks.

Williams had a phenomenal game against the Cardinals this past week, but then again, which Chargers player didn’t. I believe the success of Williams for the Chargers will go as the Chargers success goes. Like Ekeler, Williams should be looking for more opportunities with Gordon out. Williams has had a shaky season and is a risky receiver to add. He doesn’t always get the receptions he should with there being too many offensive weapons on the Chargers.

Ross has been a nice addition to everyone’s NFL fantasy rosters as a fill-in for A.J. Green and his injury. Ross has had a touchdown in three consecutive weeks. We should continue to watch Ross remain a key target in the Bengals’ offense, whether or not Green returns. I believe Jeff Driskel and/or Tom Savage will actually be looking forward to having Ross as an option as a receiver.

David Moore has quickly become a top weapon for Russell Wilson, as the Seahawks are looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. Moore is third on the Seahawks in routes run and second in targets since Week Nine. He was having a great few weeks before the bye week, but has since then fallen off. If he plays like he did this past weekend against the Panthers, we should be looking for him to continue playing a great role in the offense.

 

Tight Ends
  1. David Njoku, Cleveland Browns, 33 percent availability
  2. Vance McDonald, Pittsburgh Steelers, 41.2 percent availability
  3. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 91 percent availability
  4. Chris Herndon, New York Jets 93.4 percent availability
  5. Jonnu Smith, Tennessee Titans, 94.6 percent availability

If you somehow can find Njoku still available in your NFL fantasy league, you might need to grab him. He is a game changer and should be looked to as a TE1 with the way the Browns have been playing lately. He should continue to be a major piece in the offense, as he continues to find the end zone! Although they have a tough schedule for the rest of the season, the Browns have a winning chance if they can get Njoku involved early and often. So make sure to add him in all NFL fantasy leagues!

McDonald continues to be a huge part of the Steelers’ success this season. Though he’s had a lot of on and off games, he should be able to find a way to finish the season strong. His performance on the field will be pivotal to the Steelers’ offense, as they look to continue to hold onto their division and try to get a top spot in the AFC. Can McDonald be the difference maker he’s been all season? I believe the Steelers have a lot of confidence in McDonald, meaning they should get him more targets.

Brate is now the primary tight end on the Buccaneers and will continue to be a big offensive weapon for QB Jameis Winston. Brate has proven time after time that he is worthy of a roster spot. He could be a good replacement for those TEs who have been struggling, like Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph!

Herndon hasn’t really been all that great or impressive, but who has been on the Jets’ offense? Since RB Bilal Powell and rookie QB Sam Darnold went out with injuries, this team has been all over the place on offense. Herndon has been right in the middle of it. In a PPR league, he’ll be great because he gets targeted so much that he’ll likely get you six to eight points just from catches. He might even get you a touchdown if you’re lucky. He is definitely a primary target for the Jets’ QBs. Whether it’s Darnold or Josh McCown, he should be rostered on all teams lacking tight ends.

Smith has suddenly turned into a big weapon for the Titans. Honestly, he is probably the only weapon aside from WR Corey Davis. That’s a good thing for us, right? Smith has averaged double digit points in NFL fantasy in four straight weeks based on the PPR standard format. He’s also had three touchdowns in four games and looks to continue proving himself worthy of the starting job next year. When Delaine Walker went out earlier in the season, Smith was on everyone’s radar, but didn’t produce the way we expected. However, now is the time where he should be rostered on our teams, so let’s make it happen.

 

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

Good luck to everyone still trying to make playoffs. I hope all this week’s additions help you get a big win in Week 13! I would also like to inform you all that I will continue to be with you through it all, regardless of whether or not I win my NFL fantasy league. So make sure to return next week for the waiver wire picks that will give you the win in your playoff matchup!

The QB Ghosts of Florida

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Jameis Winston” by Keith Allison is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 and “Halloween Pumpkin Dark” is licensed under CC0 Creative Commons

Lean in and I’ll tell you not one, but three ghost stories this Halloween. These harrowing tales of NFL “franchise quarterbacks” gone awry and mediocre management are sure to make you gasp with shock and tremble in fright (or, at the very least, ponder, rub your chin, and let out a pensive “hmm.”) These accounts are not for the faint of heart, and may hit a bit too close to home if you’re a fan of any of these three NFL franchises in Florida. So before you continue, don’t say you weren’t warned. For those who aren’t fans of any of the Florida franchises, sit back, pop some leftover Halloween candy, and enjoy the haunting ride.

 

Tampa Terror

Upon being drafted with the first overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, “Famous Jameis” Winston was supposed to be the savior the Bucs needed at the quarterback position. He was expected to improve each year and lead Tampa to playoff contention. Instead, his tenure has brought about contention and unmet expectations. While his numbers largely stayed steady from 2015-2017, this season, he has been humbled. With just 6 touchdowns to 10 interceptions, “Famous Jameis” is remaining famous for all the wrong reasons. Winston has only himself to blame for missing the first three games of the season. With all of his disturbing off-the-field baggage, it’s a wonder he’s still plugging away as an NFL QB. On the field, Jameis is officially becoming a ghost – Ryan Fitzpatrick will start for the Bucs in this week’s game against the Carolina Panthers. The memory of Winston’s subpar starts will linger and haunt fans in Tampa until they reach the heights of playoff contention again, whenever that may be.

 

Dolphin Doom

Oh how fans of the Miami Dolphins must yearn for the days of Dan Marino. Since his retirement in 1999, the Dolphins have started a number of quarterbacks who were unable to match his glossy statistics or playoff acumen (I get that he never won “The Big One,” but hey, at least he made it there.) From Jay Fiedler to Matt Moore and beyond, nothing has seemed to work. This is a franchise that hasn’t made it out of the divisional round of the postseason since 1992. At 4-4, the Dolphins postseason hopes for this season aren’t dead yet. But, when will they find a reliable, statistically sound signal caller to drag them from the dark depths of mediocrity? Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler are workable QBs, but they are not Marino. This is an ongoing ghost tale that will be fascinating to watch unfold.

 

Jacksonville Jaws

In Florida, one has to beware the jaws of alligators. The way this year’s Jaguars are playing, the Florida Gators probably believe they can challenge and chomp this unit. For a team that made it all the way to the AFC Championship game last season, 2018’s Jaguar squad is off to a bumpy start. At 3-5, the Jaguars’ playoff chances are already on life support. The ever-outspoken Jalen Ramsey has been silent and their injury prognosis is grim. Lest they become offseason zombies without a playoff berth, the Jaguars must take inventory and assess their quarterback position. Statistically, Blake Bortles is arguably having his worst season since his rookie year in 2014. With 10 TDs to 8 INTs, his reliability appears to be in question. The Jags are still pinning much of their hopes on Leonard Fournette coming back and frustrating opposing defenses, but they need Bortles to be effective and relatively error free to truly contend for a Super Bowl. If Landry Jones takes the place of Bortles due to injury, does anyone really think he is the one who will lead Jacksonville to their first Super Bowl appearance? Stranger things have happened. Kurt Warner went from grocery stocking to Super Bowl MVP. A sixth-round man named Brady became the GOAT. But would I bet on Jones (or Bortles, for that matter) to elevate their team to similar heights? I’m ‘afraid’ not.

Which ‘cursed’ Florida team do you think will find the fastest success at the quarterback position? Fellow ghost hunters: contemplate and comment your perspective. Happy Halloween!

NFL Fantasy Waiver Wire: Week 7

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Eli Manning and the Giants in shot-gun” by Marianne O’Leary is licensed under CC BY 2.0

After dealing with another week of disappointment, it’s time to look at the waivers, especially for those who are like me and have more than one player on a bye. We also hope that injures don’t shorten the season for some of our top players.

One of those top players is Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper, who left the game in London against the Seattle Seahawks with an injury. Fortunately, he and the Raiders are heading into the bye, so that should give him time to get healthy.  That’s the same of the Green Bay Packers WR’s Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, who have both missed the last two weeks with injuries.

The Seahawks’ WR Doug Baldwin missed the first three games of the season with an injury before returning, but he’s still trying to get reconnected with QB Russell Wilson. Let’s not forget that Pittsburgh Steelers’ RB Le’Veon Bell said he would report to the Steelers in week 7. So the bye week couldn’t have come at a better time. All four of those teams are still fighting to keep their season alive.

How about your season? You still alive in hopes of making the playoffs? Do you have any player from the four teams on bye and need a replacement? I’m here to help you figure out what moves to make again this week.

 

Quarterbacks
  1. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears, 67.2 percent availability
  2. Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals, 37.7 percent availability
  3. Jamies Winston, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 42.9 percent availability
  4. Alex Smith, Washington Redskins, 41.1 percent availability
  5. Eli Manning, New York Giants, 88.8 percent availability

Trubisky has suddenly found his way and is moving the ball around to his receivers and running backs. He will remain on this list for the next few weeks. This week he faces the New England Patriots, who have allowed big games to every QB they’ve faced who not named Ryan Tannehill, so we should expect one from Trubisky as well.

Dalton is in a similar situation. He has the Bengals offense rolling, and with their next opponent being the Kansas City Chiefs, who are one of the worst defenses in the league,  Dalton should have himself another great day.

Winston played a great game against Atlanta until the end. His next opponent is the Cleveland Browns, who have actually been better than they look, but Winston should have some success off the young defense as long as he can find the connection with his receivers.

Smith bounced back nicely against the Carolina Panthers and will look to continue to improve. It won’t be easy, seeing that he has to face the tough defense of the Dallas Cowboys. If Adrian Peterson can continue to run and help Smith control the game, he should have better numbers. The Redskins could find some big plays to their receivers like Paul Richardson, who is emerging as the favorite option for Smith.

Eli, Oh, Eli! Let’s be honest, this is the biggest risk taking add you can do. But it may be a high reward considering the opponent is the Atlanta Falcons, who haven’t been the same defense since week one with all the injuries they have faced.

 

Running Backs
  1. Duke Johnson Jr., Cleveland Browns, 55.3 percent availability
  2. Corey Clement, Philadelphia Eagles, 37.9 percent availability
  3. Peyton Barber, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 57 percent availability
  4. Latavius Murray, Minnesota Vikings, 53.3 percent availability
  5. Ito Smith, Atlanta Falcons, 86.3 percent availability

For some reason Duke Johnson is available in more than half the leagues.  I know he isn’t the primary back, but he is used a lot on passing downs. With the receiving core struggling to move the ball down field,  Johnson could be a sleeper.  Playing against the Buccaneers should only open up more opportunities for him, but if you don’t trust him yet, still stash him on the bench for later use.

How Clement is still on the waivers in some many leagues beats me. I guess it’s because he played on a short week and his status was unclear. But now we know the status is Clement as the primary back, or at least until he’s not productive. Honestly, if you have the space on your roster, why not just add him and Smallwood? Playing Carolina on Sunday, both backs could be involved heavily.

Has Barber finally gotten himself to where the Buccaneers wanted him? It’s still a big question, but he did scored a touchdown in their last game. If Winston continues to involve Barber in the passing game, then his value would only rise. Expect a heavy dose of Barber against the Browns defense.

Murray has done a nice job filling in for Dalvin Cook while he’s been out with an injury. If Cook remains out, Murray will get the workload again. Despite Cook’s injuries, he hasn’t been producing like the team had hoped. Murray may still get some touches and snaps that could be important to the game. I would still add Murray, but keep an eye on the availability of Cook before starting him.

Now Smith is a different story. With Devontae Freeman likely out again week 7, Smith will continue to play a huge role in the running game of the Falcons. He has scored a touchdown in each of the last three games and could likely get one Monday night against the terrible Giants defense. I would only start him as a low-flex in all leagues unless you absolutely need an RB2 because of bye week and injury.

 

Wide Receivers
  1. Dede Westbrook, Jacksonville Jaguars, 57 percent availability
  2. Keke Coutee, Houston Texans, 67.7 percent availability
  3. Taylor Gabriel, Chicago Bears, 68.2 percent availability
  4. Mohammed Sanu, Atlanta Falcons, 36.8 percent availability
  5. Albert Wilson, Miami Dolphins, 94 percent availability

With all the receivers who have a bye this week, it is important to make sure you have a solid replacement who you may be able to trade away for value. Westbrook is one of those guys. He’s Bortles’ primary target and has the speed to out run the defenders. In the game against Houston, he’ll have a tough challenge trying to get free from Texan’s CB Jonathan Joseph. But we do expect him to get a lot of targets and have himself a nice day, so do consider adding him off the waivers if you haven’t done so already.

Coutee may have been quiet last week, but that will change this week. With the Jaguars CB Jalen Ramsey upset about the way he played against the Dallas Cowboys, he’ll be looking to shut down DeAndre Hopkins, which means Coutee should be available more often in this game as long as QB Deshaun Watson can connect with him again.

Like I said about Trubisky, the Chicago Bears offense is turning out to be something, and Gabriel has been a factor in that. Coming off back to back weeks, Gabriel and Trubisky are connecting well. With the Patriots’ defense giving up so many yards, Gabriel could be on the receiving end of a nice game for the Bears. If you have Robinson, I’d still start him over Gabriel, but Gabriel is a nice flex-like player.

Gabriel’s former teammate, Mohammed Sanu has made an appearance on the list. As of right now, we don’t know the status of rookie WR Calvin Ridley after suffering an injury late in their win over Tampa Bay. With that being unknown, Sanu, who was already involved in the Falcons’ offense, could have a bigger role.

Wilson has been one of the main targets for the Dolphins’ QBs this year. With the team struggling on offense, they likely use him in a lot of different ways to try and get something going. We’ve already seen him throw a big touchdown and catch several more. In the game against Detroit, we should expect to see Wilson have a big game again with the attention being placed else where, but since he’s third on the depth chart, I wouldn’t be to jumpy in wanting to add him to my lineup.

 

Tight Ends
  1. Austin Hooper, Atlanta Falcons, 75.3 percent availability
  2. O. J. Howard, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 63.5 percent availability
  3. Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 83.4 percent availability
  4. C. J. Uzomah, Cincinnati Bengals,89.7 percent availability
  5. Ricky Seals-Jones, Arizona Cardinals, 84 percent availability

Hooper is now considered one of the top TEs in the league heading into week 7. As much as the Falcons’ offense has struggled to score points, Hooper should be considered a must start at TE or even flex if you another TE who is good.

Howard or Brate? Why not both? I was having a conversation with a friend of mine about both tight ends. They both scored touchdowns last week, but Howard got more yards and catches. I don’t see anything wrong with grabbing the both of them either.  Winston loves to throw it to his TEs, as we have seen over the years. They could very well have a good game, seeing how that’s one of the weaknesses of the Browns’ defense. So look at both as possible starts this week if you absolutely need them.

Uzomah seems to be taking over the primary TE position since Tyler Eifert has been out.  He’s not really one of Dalton’s favorite targets, but he could give you a good amount of yards. If you’re in a PPR, he’ll give you more with the receptions. Uzomah is still a must watch. He shouldn’t be started, but if you happen to have a great team and need a TE to fill a roster spot, I would go with Uzomah if the rest are not available.

Seals-Jones is slowly starting to became one of the top receiving guys for rookie QB Josh Rosen. Since Rosen has been the QB, Seals-Jones’ production has increased. Despite the win over the 49ers two weeks ago, because that was all David Johnson. I do expect to see him continue to have a continuous role in the Cardinals’ offense, who are still trying to figure things out. I wouldn’t be afraid to add and start him on a team that has Jimmy Graham or Jared Cook on a bye.

 

 

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

Week 4 NFL Picks

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

By Joel Deering and the Fourth Quarter Sports Staff

 

Last Week’s Prediction Records:

Aman: 7-9

Cullen: 10-6

Mickayeen: 9-7

Rahim: 9-7

Joel: 6-10

Adam: 7-9

 

Overall Prediction Records:

Aman: 14-17-1

Cullen: 20-11-1

Mickayeen: 16-15-1

Rahim: 15-16-1

Joel: 14-17-1

Adam: 18-13-1

Last week was another great week for NFL football. We saw a lot of surprise upsets, mixed with a lot of what we all expected. It was a better week for some of us in Week 3 than for others. Above are our prediction records for Week 3, along with our overall records. Adam had the lead after Week 2, but now Cullen is the man to beat. We’ll see if anyone can catch up or take him down this week. So let’s see who we all have winning each Week 4 game!

 

 

Vikings vs Rams (Thursday)

Predictions

Aman: Rams

Cullen: Vikings

Mickayeen: Rams

Rahim: Rams

Joel: Vikings

Adam: Vikings

Minnesota got wrecked by the Bills last week, but it didn’t make half of us lose confidence in them against the NFL’s best team right now. Here’s one reason why: The Rams are missing Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters. Their two top corners are out. Peters still has a chance to play, but even if he does, he won’t be at full strength. With Peters and Talib out, who’s going to cover Stefon Diggs, Adam Thielen and company? Todd Gurley and Jared Goff better keep the offense moving if they’re going keep the Minnesota offense off the field. Despite what we saw last week, this Vikings defense is tough. If anyone can get through it though, it’s Todd Gurley. I suspect the Vikings will be focused on Gurley, much like everyone is, so Jared Goff will need to make some key plays to win this game.

 

Texans vs Colts

Predictions

Aman: Texans

Cullen: Texans

Mickayeen: Texans

Rahim: Texans

Joel: Colts

Adam: Texans

Houston continues to fall short of victories and has now started 0-3. This game becomes a must win for them. Most of our staff believes they’ll come through this week against the Colts. I’m the only one who’s choosing the Colts to win. Indy is 1-2 this year, which isn’t great, but they’ve been better than expected in my mind. They came close to beating the Eagles last week. Aside from Week 1, their defense has actually been pretty good. The offense needs to be better though. The key for the Texans to win continues to be protecting QB Deshaun Watson. He hasn’t played great football this year, but his offensive line isn’t helping him. They’ve given up 10 sacks, which is 8th most in the league. The Colts’ defense has 10 sacks, which is tied for 4th. Which line will win this division battle in Week 4?

 

Bills vs Packers

Predictions

Aman: Bills

Cullen: Packers

Mickayeen: Packers

Rahim: Packers

Joel: Packers

Adam: Packers

Does anyone believe the Bills are for real after the beat down they put on the Vikings last week? Aman is the only one of us picking the Bills to beat the Packers. I don’t know about the rest of our writers, but for me at least, I’m taking Aaron Rodgers over Josh Allen any day. Even an injured Aaron Rodgers. Josh Allen will have his good games, but he’ll also have his bad ones. I just can’t see him outperforming the best QB in the league. If the Bills win this week, the NFL might start taking them seriously. Will that motivation be enough to carry them to another big win in Week 4?

 

Buccaneers vs Bears

Predictions

Aman: Bears

Cullen: Bears

Mickayeen: Bears

Rahim: Buccaneers

Joel: Buccaneers

Adam: Buccaneers

How will FitzMagic do against this Chicago defense? Or will we see FitzTragic again? This game will likely come down to whichever defense can disrupt the opposing offense more. If you think about last week’s game against the Steelers, they had 30 points on the Bucs at halftime. Guess how many points they had at the end of the game. Yeah, 30. They didn’t score at all in the second half. The main reason why they scored in the first half is because their defense got 3 INTs and put the offense in a good position. This Tampa Bay defense can be nasty, but so can the Chicago defense. Khalil Mack has been a force this year, being a thorn in everyone’s side. If FitzTragic is going to happen again, Mack will likely be the reason. Which defense wins in Week 4? Will it be the Bears against Fitzpatrick, or the Bucs against a young Mitch Trubisky?

 

Dolphins vs Patriots

Predictions

Aman: Dolphins

Cullen: Patriots

Mickayeen: Patriots

Rahim: Patriots

Joel: Patriots

Adam: Patriots

It’s time to find out if the Dolphins are real and if the Patriots are not. Miami has started off very well this year, going 3-0, which pretty much nobody expected. The thing is, those three wins have come against the Titans, Jets and Raiders. Not really the most convincing 3-0 start. New England has started off 1-2, which is not like them at all. Even though they don’t have a winning record right now, the Dolphins getting a win over them would give us all a lot more confidence in their good start. I think most of us would like to see the Dolphins win and move the Patriots to 1-3, but all of us except Aman picked the Patriots to overcome their early season struggles and get a much needed win over their division rival.

 

Cowboys vs Lions

Predictions

Aman: Lions

Cullen: Lions

Mickayeen: Lions

Rahim: Lions

Joel: Lions

Adam: Cowboys

With a win over the Patriots last week, the Lions are being looked at differently now. Matthew Stafford and the offense put up 26 on the Patriots while holding them to 10 points. If they can hold the Patriots to 10 points, they can probably shut out the Dallas Cowboys. I’m a Cowboys fan, so if I’m saying the Cowboys could be shut out, you know it’s bad. I thought there was hope for Dallas after scoring 20 points on the Giants, but much like in Week 1, they decided to make stupid play calls and do nothing on offense until the fourth quarter against Seattle. By that time it was too late. Jason Garrett has said there won’t be any changes offensively, so I’m thinking the Cowboys probably won’t score until it’s too late to come back, if they score at all.

 

Bengals vs Falcons

Predictions

Aman: Falcons

Cullen: Falcons

Mickayeen: Falcons

Rahim: Falcons

Joel: Falcons

Adam: Falcons

Atlanta seems to have figured out their offensive woes. Even though they lost last week to the Saints, they still scored 37 points. Calvin Ridley stepped up big last week, and Julio Jones is always going to be a threat. The Bengals seemed to take a step back last week against the Panthers. Their offense didn’t perform well against a tough Carolina defense. Here’s what’s interesting about this game. The Falcons’ defense is banged up. Can the Bengals take advantage of that and attack their weak spots enough? If they don’t, and the Falcons offense continues to score in bunches, this game could get away from the Bengals quickly.

 

Jets vs Jaguars

Predictions

Aman: Jaguars

Cullen: Jaguars

Mickayeen: Jaguars

Rahim: Jaguars

Joel: Jaguars

Adam: Jaguars

All of us picked the Jaguars to beat the Titans last week, which didn’t go in our favor after a 9-6 victory by the Titans. We’ve all picked the Jaguars again this week. Here’s to hoping it works out better this time. Sam Darnold has shown promise at times, but he’s also shown us he’s still a rookie. One of his biggest problems in college was giving the ball away, which is exactly what he did at the end of last week’s game against the Browns. Jacksonville needs to get after Darnold and force him into bad throws. We’re all pretty confident they can do that.

 

Eagles vs Titans

Predictions

Aman: Eagles

Cullen: Eagles

Mickayeen: Eagles

Rahim: Eagles

Joel: Eagles

Adam: Eagles

None of us have picked the Titans to win so far, but they keep finding ways to squeeze out victories. They pulled off a victory against a tough Jaguars defense last week, but can they do it again against the Eagles? The Eagles’ offense should get better and better the more Carson Wentz plays. He played decent last week, and that should be enough to get them past the Titans this week. We can’t see the Eagles scoring only 6 points, so the Titans offense will have to do more if they’re going to win this one.

 

Browns vs Raiders

Predictions

Aman: Browns

Cullen: Raiders

Mickayeen: Browns

Rahim: Raiders

Joel: Browns

Adam: Browns

If the Browns were excited about getting their first win in 635 days, imagine how excited they’ll be if they get two wins in a row! This is a great opportunity for them to do so. Baker Mayfield entered last week’s game and played great football. He was exactly what the Browns needed. This Browns team has been tough all year, even though they’ve only got one win. They tied the Steelers and almost beat the Saints. The defense is doing their part to keep them in games. If Mayfield can play another great game and the defense continues to play well, the Raiders could be looking at 0-4. For Jon Gruden, this game has to be won. He has a veteran QB and veteran playmakers. They’ve been in games, but they can’t win them. Can they finally play a complete game in Week 4?

 

Seahawks vs Cardinals

Predictions

Aman: Seahawks

Cullen: Seahawks

Mickayeen: Seahawks

Rahim: Seahawks

Joel: Seahawks

Adam: Seahawks

The Cardinals looked decent for a little while last week, but then Sam Bradford was terrible and was replaced by rookie QB Josh Rosen. Rosen wasn’t great either, as he threw an INT late in the game which sealed their loss. This week Rosen has been named the starting QB. How will he perform against a still surprisingly tough Seattle defense? We’re all taking Russell Wilson to make more plays than Rosen in this one.

 

Saints vs Giants

Predictions

Aman: Saints

Cullen: Saints

Mickayeen: Saints

Rahim: Saints

Joel: Saints

Adam: Saints

If the Saints score 40+ points again, the Giants aren’t winning this game. Even though they have Odell Beckham and Saquon Barkley, the Giants offense hasn’t been great this year. They’re nowhere near as good as the Saints. Drew Brees, Alvin Kamara and Michael Thomas are a much better combination right now than what the Giants have. The Saints have given up a lot of points defensively, but they’re still not bad enough to give up that many points to the Giants. Are they? We sure hope not, but if they do, we have confidence in Drew Brees and the offense.

 

49ers vs Chargers

Predictions

Aman: Chargers

Cullen: Chargers

Mickayeen: Chargers

Rahim: Chargers

Joel: Chargers

Adam: Chargers

No more Jimmy G for the 49ers this year. The starting QB spot goes to CJ Beathard now. With Beathard at QB last season, the 49ers weren’t good. They haven’t been great already this year with Jimmy Garoppolo, but now their hopes of a playoff appearance have pretty much vanished. The Chargers have had a tough schedule so far, having to play the Rams and Chiefs in two of their first three games. This game looks to be a game they can easily win, as long as they don’t make dumb mistakes to keep setting them back like they’ve been known to do.

 

Ravens vs Steelers (Sunday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Steelers

Cullen: Steelers

Mickayeen: Steelers

Rahim: Steelers

Joel: Steelers

Adam: Ravens

Ben Roethlisberger has been relied on to carry this team so far this season. Now that can either go really well or very poorly. Ben can throw the ball all over the field. He has a lot of weapons who can make plays for him. The problem is when he tries to do too much. He threw an INT against the Buccaneers trying to do exactly that. He tried to do too much on the play, throwing the ball to a bad spot, which was then picked off. There’s the key for the Ravens in this one. Make Roethlisberger try to do too much. Make him uncomfortable. The Browns did it to him in Week 1, forcing him to throw 3 INTs. The Chiefs didn’t do it in Week 2, which led to 37 points by the Steelers. Good thing Mahomes threw 6 TD passes. The Buccaneers did it, but not soon enough. How much pressure can the Ravens put on Big Ben in Week 4?

 

Chiefs vs Broncos (Monday Night)

Predictions

Aman: Chiefs

Cullen: Chiefs

Mickayeen: Broncos

Rahim: Broncos

Joel: Chiefs

Adam: Chiefs

Patrick Mahomes continues to light up the NFL. He’s thrown 13 TD passes in the first three games, which is most in NFL history. Can he keep up this pace? You’d think it’d have to slow down sometime right? If you read yesterday’s Buy or Sell article by Cullen, RahimAli, and Mickayeen, you’ll notice they talked about this very thing. Both Cullen and RahimAli were selling the Chiefs in the Super Bowl. They also believed a game would come where the Chiefs offense would slow down and they’d have to rely on their defense to win. Will it be this week? Division games are always tough, but it’s even tougher when they’re against Von Miller and the Broncos. Can Denver slow down Mahomes in Week 4?