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DeSean Jackson Lets Us Know How He’s Feeling on Monday

Following the Redskins’ embarrassing 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday, DeSean Jackson didn’t pull any punches when describing how he feels the morning after.

DeSean Instagram Comment

Sad thing is, DeSean Jackson is right. From the top of the organization, to the players on the field, the Redskins aren’t capable of epic shit with the current staff.

It may seem a bit awkward in context given Jackson’s role with the franchise, but he’s not saying anything different than what fans like you and I take to Twitter about nearly every week.

 

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Buccaneers

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 27-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. 

* * *

It’s hard to find a starting point when attempting to vent about games like these. Everything was bad. And everything was bad from start to finish.

To root for this team, to deal with the constant drama, to try and get up and excited for a game (even against a bad 1-8 team) — it’s a task. Being a Redskins fan feels like a part-time job and it’s a strenuous gig.

– The first play of the game was Robert Griffin III short-arming an easy pass that bobbled on the hands of tight end Niles Paul before being intercepted.

The. Very. First. Play.

Griffin never improved. Poor pocket presence (as usual), bad throws (both interceptions were on the quarterback), couldn’t read a defense, etc.

And bad field/situational awareness too, like this scramble followed by a body-heave.a

– Don’t let Griffin’s 23 completions fool you. He rivaled John Beck as the check-down king.

– Head coach Jay Gruden mentioned the jury is still out on the quarterback position, and Sunday’s game was good evidence as to why he maintains that stance.

Sure, Griffin has the strong arm and the track speed, but there’s a lot more to the position than sexy attributes. Griffin hasn’t given coaches (or fans, for that matter) any reason to chisel him in as the savior and franchise cornerstone.

– That said, I wouldn’t list Robert Griffin III as a career failure at the age of 24. Does he have a long way to go? Yes. Would that “long way” require patience? If you value your health, yes. But these final six games are very important.

– Left tackle Trent Williams left the game with an MCL sprain, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed it’s just a sprain and that all ligaments remain intact.

– As a whole, the offensive line was ugly. Chris Chester sucks. And Shawn Lauvao (who left with a concussion late in the game), he sucks too.

– It probably isn’t fair to say the offensive line allowed all six sacks on Sunday, but Robert Griffin III was sacked six times.

– With decent throws, DeSean Jackson should’ve finished the game with at least two scores. Griffin overthrew the speedster on two deep balls in which Jackson worked his way behind the defense and had nothing but space between he and the end zone.

– I’d complain about not enough DeSean Jackson, but there really wasn’t enough of any offensive playmaker on Sunday. Not enough Jordan Reed, not enough Pierre Garcon.

Alfred Morris deserves credit for running hard all game. Not everything was easy, and that’s not to say Morris was perfect. But he finished with 96 yards on 20 carries and stayed aggressive.

– The Redskins finished 4-of-13 on third down. Same old, same old.

– One thing I did like for the Redskins on Sunday (or at least, one thing I understood) was the way Jay Gruden handled his offense before the half. The Redskins were trailing of course, so points were certainly needed, but it was still a two-score game. Gruden had conservative play calls to start the drive with a little over a minute to go in the first half and on second down, Alfred Morris broke a draw play for about 20 yards.

I don’t know for sure of course, but it doesn’t seem like rocket science. Gruden was playing it conservative from his own 21-yard line because 1.) he was pinned back on his own side of the field, and 2.) despite how ugly it all was, it was still a two-score game. He didn’t want to risk a mistake to completely deflate his team heading into the locker room, but as soon as one of those conservative plays hit for a decent gain (ie. Morris’ run), Gruden changed his way a bit, called a timeout, and effectively worked the underneath stuff that eventually led to a score.

I know this was hardly a difficult task for Griffin, but I liked it from a coaching standpoint.

The defense actually wasn’t terrible to start the game, but Griffin didn’t do them any favors and by the end of the game they still came out looking like themselves. b

– Rookie wideout Mike Evans finished the game with seven catches for 209 yards and two touchdowns against the Redskins.

Ryan Clark seems like a nice guy. Seems like a good veteran voice. But in terms of on-field production, he’s not effective anymore. He’s average near the line of scrimmage and an absolute mess in coverage.

– This defense doesn’t/can’t generate turnovers.

– The Redskins came into this game off their bye week. They had two weeks to prepare for a 1-8 Tampa Bay team.

– I don’t know whether it’s delusion, foolishness, or both, but I support Jay Gruden. I think he has what it takes to be a good head coach. And I also recognize the lack of talent on this roster, as well as who his bosses are.

– I don’t support Jim Haslett. He remains firmly on the shit list.

– The rotten mismanagement and moronic football knowledge starts at the top. The Redskins are ran more as an advertising platform than they are a football franchise and we can all expect shit like this until a.) the owner somehow learns how to take a hint, or b.) we all get lucky enough to see the current owner sell the team. c

 

  1. And before you say Griffin had to leap because of the guy going low, note that Griffin also has the option to go right or left.  (back)
  2. A turd of a defensive unit.  (back)
  3. …which feels near impossible.  (back)

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 11

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap, others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *

Quarterback

Mark Sanchez ($5,800) @ GB

Two consecutive weeks of Mark Sanchez. How ’bout a round of applause for head coach Chip Kelly?

Grinning

Sanchez probably isn’t a world beater, but Kelly’s offense is a systematic work of art that’s beginning to show us its capability as a plug-and-play scheme.

The Eagles will be tested this week against a solid Packers pass defense, but Sanchez provides decent potential at this price.

Teddy Bridgewater ($5,900) @ CHI

When you hear the comparison of the Chicago Bears and a dumpster fire, those comparisons are pretty accurate, which is why Teddy Bridgewater is a solid option this week against a pitiful defense allowing an opposing quarterback rating of 107 (second-worst only behind the Jets).

 

Running Back

Alfred Morris ($5,400) v. TB

As mentioned last week, a capable Robert Griffin III helps the Redskins rushing attack, and Alfred Morris is receiving a huge boost with the return of his quarterback.

Tampa Bay’s rush defense has been better the last three weeks since their bye, but they still remain a susceptible unit. Meanwhile, Morris’ 19 carries and two touchdowns last week serve as a sign pointing in the right direction for a friendly $5,400 this Sunday.

C.J. Anderson ($4,800) @ STL

With Ronnie Hillman out with a foot injury, and Montee Ball dealing with an injury of his own (although he should play), C.J. Anderson is the next man up in Denver.

The Rams are giving up nearly 125 rushing yards per game and $4,800 is good value for a guy who’s sure to get some run.

Frank Gore ($4,500) @ NYG

Not to chug the Kool Aid, but the Giants run defense is bad to the tune of 145 yards allowed per game, making old man Frank Gore a viable starting option this Sunday for one of the lowest salaries of any starting running back this week.

 

Wide Receiver

Brandin Cooks ($5,800) v. CIN

The Bengals pass defense looks decent on paper, but the team as a whole doesn’t have much momentum after dropping an ugly game at home last Thursday.

The Saints, on the other hand, are coming off a loss too, but one that would seem to spark more flame than fizzle. New Orleans lost in overtime to San Fran following a questionable OPI call to end the game and they can’t afford to lose any more games (especially at home) if they want to remain the favorites atop the embarrassing NFC South.

To me, more Brandin Cooks is better for your offense. Sure the Bengals have only allowed 10 passing touchdowns all season, but Cooks should get his targets because the Saints should want to get the ball in his hands. 

Tina Bob's Burgers Sway

Roddy White ($5,500) @ CAR

The Falcons might suck, but Julio Jones and Roddy White remain one of the top wide receiver duos in the league. Jones himself will only set you back $7,000 this week, which is a solid play in itself, but having Roddy for just $5,500 could carry even more value.

Roddy is averaging 19+ fantasy points over his last three games and the Falcons guarantee you they’re passing the ball (that rushing attack/OL is blah).

Against a Carolina defense allowing more than 250 passing yards per game and tied for third-worst with 19 passing touchdowns allowed, Roddy gives you plenty of upside this week.

Kelvin Benjamin ($4,900) v. ATL

Speaking of bad defenses, Atlanta has one too. Somehow the over/under on this game is only 47.5, but perhaps that stems from Cam Newton’s recent struggles.

Kelvin Benjamin bailed us out last week with two late touchdowns, but points are points. He’s the key receiving target in Carolina (alongside tight end Greg Olsen) and the Falcons are bad to the point of Newton getting back on track this Sunday.

Greg Jennings ($5,000) @ CHI

Again taking advantage of the struggling Chicago Bears, Greg Jennings serves as an interesting option this week. Clearly the Bears can’t stop anyone, but a bulk of Jennings’ value stems from his consistency over the past few weeks (13.7, 12.8, 13.6). He appears to be one of Teddy’s most trusted pass-catchers, and he’s good for a handful of catches every game — and against this defense, very capable of a score too.

Pierre Garcon ($4,000) v. TB

This week’s wildcard will be Pierre Garcon. He’s been a huge disappointment this season with DeSean Jackson gobbling up his targets, in addition to the roller coaster ride of a quarterback situation. But good news for Garcon — with RG3 back in the fold, the Washington offense has its most potential, which hopefully reunites the QB/WR duo again for at least a handful of catches per game.

 

Tight End

Dwayne Allen ($4,200) v. NE

Yes, Dwayne Allen is very touchdown reliant. But when you have seven touchdowns through nine games, it kind of starts to become a thing.

Admittedly so, starting Allen still rattles me a bit because I’m always waiting for the wheel to tilt the other way, But New England isn’t exactly stout against tight ends and the Colts have other receiving weapons to help spread things out.

Travis Kelce ($4,000) v. SEA

No one but Andy Reid has answers as to why Travis Kelce isn’t more involved, but the big red coach might not have a choice against Seattle this weekend.

Andy Reid Kool Aid

Not only is Anthony Fasano (the other, other tight end) questionable for the game with an injury, but the Seahawks secondary feasts on wide receiver groups like the one in Kansas City. By process of elimination, that leaves my main squeeze Travis Kelce to be the Chiefs’ focal point in the passing offense (as he should be no matter the situation, anyway).

Jordan Reed ($3,300) v. TB

Jordan Reed brings lots of upside and is typically a huge part of the Washington offense. However, with RG3 easing his way back in, it’s hard to preach consistency anything close to when Reed gave us 17, 10, and 11 in consecutive weeks. Like Garcon, Reed is a bit of a wildcard play.

 

Is It Your Fault Your NFL Fantasy Team Sucks?

rams-cardinals-football (1)

 

Written by: Fred Reynolds

 

Blame it on whatever you want. Too many beers, too deep a league, unexpected injuries… the excuses for a poorly performing fantasy team are endless. But if you’re really honest with yourself, isn’t there a little bit of you that knows, deep down, you just made some poor choices?

Before you get defensive, yes, there are some players that you never could have expected would end up screwing over your lineup, but in reality, those are fairly rare. Take a look at some players you could make an exception for and those you’ll have to own up to as just a bad draft.

These Bad Picks May Be Your Fault


Carson Palmer

Now, I don’t want to kick a guy when he’s down, but depending on the size of your league, he shouldn’t have been a first-round pick. He would have made a decent starting quarterback if your WR and RB positions were solid, or as a backup for your bye-week. However, if you put all your money on Carson Palmer to lead you through the season since the beginning, it wouldn’t be out of line to look at your drafting capabilities.

He had a relatively solid year in 2013 with over 4,000 yards. But according to his NFL stats, he had only accumulated a little over 1600 by week 10, thanks to a shoulder injury earlier this year. That’s plenty of time for you to have acknowledged a spotty, low-scoring season and make other arrangements.

Look on the bright side though, at least his season-ending ALC tear came after he signed the contract extension with the Cardinals.

Robert Griffin III

Coming off a subpar 2012 in which he was benched for the later portion of the season, RG3 was a risky early choice. Add a new head coach and quarterbacks coach on top of that and you may as well be looking at a “rebuilding” year. Granted, foreseeing injuries and a franchise going from RG3, to Kirk Cousins, to Colt McCoy in a single year was probably pretty impossible, too.

That’s not to say you weren’t warned though. CBS Sports said back in April that RG3, in two seasons, had proven himself to be high-risk for the franchise (and therefore fantasy players). Unfortunately, they were right. Griffin suffered from a dislocated left ankle against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 2.

Both of these quarterbacks would have been risky picks that could have been great or total failures. The stats of the year prove that it was unfortunately the latter. Even though you may have made a questionable decision at QB, it’s not their fault your entire team did poorly. That line of hate can be aimed at the next two players.

petersonRice

These Bad Picks Aren’t Your Fault


Ray Rice

Rice finished 2013 at under 1,000 yards and only 4 touchdowns, but the Ravens’ offense wasn’t functioning properly. Also, for the majority of the season, Rice was dealing with an aggravated hip injury that kept him from performing at his best. 2013 was certainly an isolated year given the impressive stats of his past seasons, and he was still a worthwhile early selection for fantasy players. Anyone would have been crazy to leave him available past the first or second round.

Frustratingly, issues in Rice’s personal life led to his demise on the field. After a video of him assaulting his wife on an elevator was made public, the Ravens franchise and the NFL wanted to be as far away from the incident, and Rice, as possible.

Betfair contributor Romilly Evans even said that the controversy could have influenced the ability of other players on the team. After the Ravens released Rice in early September, Evans wrote here that “the Ravens lost much of their offensive flair” and that “any warm and fuzzy locker-room atmosphere will also have followed Rice out the door.”

So if you had other players on the Ravens along with Rice, you now have published evidence, written by a sports writer, that your teams failings were likely unavoidable.

Adrian Peterson

Arguably more shocking than Ray Rice was the downfall of the Minnesota Vikings’ golden boy. When the messages sent between Peterson and his son’s mother were published, the public and Vikings fans alike were horrified to see how flatly he talked about beating his son. Shortly after an investigation was started and photos emerged of the wounds that Peterson inflicted on his 4-year-old son.

We all know Peterson can take a hit, and that he’s one of the strongest and fastest running backs in the league. However, his always-pleasant demeanor with fans and charisma with the press led most of us to believe that he was capable of turning off his brut side once the game clock hit zero.

Those who drafted him (likely as one of their first picks) completely get a pass if their team went to shit after he was banned. Before the incident came to light, Peterson was involved in community outreach programs and charities, and his personal life never made headlines due to dangerous antics or legal troubles. No one could have possibly predicted that his off-the-field behavior would have an impact on the season.

At the beginning of the season, anyone would have told you that it was wise to draft one of these players as your first choice. In fact, you’d have been stupid not to if they were available. So, those of you who picked them up first in the hopes they would carry your team, you definitely get a pass for having a weak team now.

Yes, you should have been able to make up for losing one player, but your main guy, taken away at the start of the season, without any warning, is hard to come back from. Just don’t be that guy who looks for excuses all year for a poor performing team. Also, next year, limit the beers to one or two.

Trading Bradley Beal for Kobe Bryant Would Suck for the Wizards

Kobe Bryant

Search the basketball interwebs and you’re likely to stumble upon one of the most ridiculous Wizards-related stories/ideas you’ve seen in quite some time.

The initial post comes from Chicago Bulls blogger Sam Smith, who writes the following,

It’s about young stars with the Lakers, which is why they are where they are. Magic and Worthy, Shaq and Kobe. But as much as Lakers’ fans believe it’s about Kobe, Lakers’ management would have to jump at a chance for a young star to accelerate their rebuilding. Which is why Kobe to the Wizards may be the one.

The Wizards have a young, potential star shooting guard in Bradley Beal. You can build with a player like him. Then you give the Lakers Nene and another player since the Wizards have plenty of guys they’re not much using to include in trade.

For the Wizards, it’s the chance to take a shot, which they really don’t have now. With the addition of Paul Pierce, the Wizards are about now. Adding someone like Kobe with Pierce, John Wall and Marcin Gortat gives them a shot at the top of the weak East. And how sweet would it be for Kobe to go where Michael Jordan couldn’t win and get somewhere? Kobe’s not getting that sixth title. Maybe besting Jordan that way would appeal to him.

As a Lakers supporter, I imagine you’d enjoy an idea like this. Even as a profound #KobeOrDie kind of fan, shipping off old parts for the young stud that is Bradley Beal would be entirely too good to pass up.

But from a Washington fan’s perspective, um, this idea is terrible. And unless Ernie Grunfeld really wants to take this Wizards fan base behind the wood shed, not even the team’s general manager would think of something so ridiculously stupid.

Here’s a shortlist of why this idea sucks for the Wizards and/or why it’s not going to happen.

1. Because Bryant is earning $23.5 million this season, and set to make $25 million next year, the Wizards would have to add another player to the Nene-Beal package, like a Martell Webster, DeJuan Blair or Otto Porter.

2. Bryant’s $25 million salary next season would be almost as much as the combined income of both John Wall and Marcin Gortat. Or as much as the combined contracts of Webster, Paul Pierce, Beal, Porter, and Kris Humphries.

Please GTFO with that nonsense.

3. Bryant is 36 years old. Beal wasn’t able to buy alcohol before last June.

4. Smith says, “For the Wizards, it’s the chance to take a shot, which they really don’t have now.”

Says who? Sure, Washington may not be the favorite, but the Eastern Conference isn’t the Western Conference. The Wizards have a good shot at a decent seed in the playoffs, therefore giving them the “chance to take a shot”. a

5. According to Smith, John Wall + Paul Pierce + Kobe + Gortat gives them a (better) shot at the weak East. But does it really? Give me Beal and a healthy Nene come playoff time, along with Wall, Pierce, and the Polish Machine. We’re not even sure Kobe lasts until playoff time.

6. Does anyone really think Michael Jordan is even a little down on himself for not winning more than 37 games a season in Washington at the ripe age of 38 and 39? As if he’s on the golf course somewhere in Florida and just can’t seem to concentrate because, dammit, he could’ve done more for the Wizards?

The answer is no.

7. Therefore, we’re just assuming Kobe is a massive idiot himself for believing Jordan gives a shit about the Washington years. Like Kobe’s really getting the best of Jordan in that spend-the-last-couple-years-of-your-career-in-Washington-trying-to-do-something department? Jordan doesn’t give a shit, and neither does Kobe.

8. It’s funny that near the end of the post, Smith says “Kobe’s not getting that sixth title.”

But he might if he came to Washington, right?

9. This sort of idea was obviously constructed with ZERO consideration for the effect it could have on the Wizards organization. Like, I dunno, with John Wall, who may expectedly ask something like, “Why the fuck are you trading away a promising young shooting guard and long-term running mate in exchange for a guy that has two years left at best?”

10. No-trade clauses. Kobe has one, meaning he’d have to fully support a trade to Washington.

That’s not to say he wouldn’t if he became disgruntled enough in LA, but c’mon.

11. To be more clear about that last statement, I’m in the belief that Kobe is never leaving the Lakers. He’s a lifer. And while he’s threatened to skip town in the past, that team is his team, and really no one else’s. He only moves if he wants to move and I think he appreciates his legacy in Los Angeles (even more so than any potential two-bit run in the nation’s capital just before retirement).

12. While on the topic of NBA rumors, the idea of Kevin Love opting out of Cleveland after this season and making a return to California to play for the Lakers makes a whooooole lot more sense than a Beal-for-Kobe swap.

And if California Love were to in fact go down, Kobe’s team is suddenly hot again.

13. Oh yeah, and the Wizards have that whole #KD2DC thing to work on, and adding Kobe would completely shatter those dreams. So, no — gimme Kevin Durant in 2016 over Kobe Bryant right now.

  1. Totally accepting of being called delusional for making claims like this.  (back)

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 10

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *

Quarterback

Matt Ryan ($6,300) @ TB

He hasn’t had an “oh-wow” game since Week 1, but Matt Ryan comes with a really friendly price tag coming off he and the Falcons’ bye week.

The last time these two teams met in Week 3 on Thursday night, the Bucs didn’t look like a real team and lost 56-14 on national television while Ryan passed for 286 and three scores.

Things have changed since then I guess (Atlanta is 2-6), but Tampa Bay still isn’t a good team. They’re allowing close to 286 passing yards per game and their 18 passing touchdowns allowed are tied for second-worst in the NFL.

Mark Sanchez ($5,400) v. CAR

The Return of Sanchez. In theaters November 10.

I’m actually buying Chip Kelly’s offense more than Mark Sanchez the quarterback, but he’s the benefactor of the former and he’s one of the cheapest starting options you’ll find this week. Carolina’s pass defense (17 pass touchdowns allowed) isn’t threatening enough to move us off a low-lying QB like Sanchez, so saddle up and hold on. This one should pay off fine.

 

Running Back

LeSean McCoy ($5,600) v. CAR

The Panthers are giving up more than 130 rushing yards per game for an average of 4.8 yards per carry. Meanwhile, LeSean McCoy has received 20+ carries in his last four games with an average of 15.6 fantasy points over that span. This is a favorable matchup for less than you’d pay for guys like Jamaal Charles, Mark Ingram, and Lamar Miller, all of whom face much tougher defenses.

Justin Forsett ($5,000) v. TEN

There’s some sort of committee working in Baltimore, but Justin Forsett is the guy to have when the dust settles. Not only is he the most trusted member of the team’s backfield, but also the most versatile. He’s averaging 15 fPts per game thanks to his receiving contributions and Tennessee’s defense isn’t posing a threat on the road.

Bobby Rainey ($4,400) v. ATL

You’ll have to keep a close eye on Charles Sims’ status as we approach Sunday’s game, but it’s pretty clear the Bucs like Bobby Rainey. He’ll have a nice matchup against a bad Falcons defense this week and you’re hoping others have cooled on him given his three-game scoring drought.

 

Wide Receiver

Dez Bryant ($6,400) @ JAX (in London)

Tony Romo and his flailing spine are set to play, so Dez Bryant is very much a solid option this week. The Jaguars are arguably the worst team in the league, and Bryant shouldn’t have any trouble eating against this Jacksonville secondary. That sub-$6,500 salary is a steal.

But again — make sure Romo plays.

Percy Harvin ($5,300) v. PIT

Targets, targets, targets.

It doesn’t matter who starts at quarterback, it doesn’t matter how bad the Jets are, it doesn’t matter who has what kind of attitude. All that matters is that Percy Harvin is a weapon and the Jets need weapons.

I wouldn’t necessarily call this a sure-fire play, but the price is right for what could come of it. The Steelers offense should pick apart the Jets secondary, putting New York in position to throw, throw, throw in an effort to catch up.

Kelvin Benjamin ($4,200) @ PHI

This feels like easy money, which may be the very reason to run the other way.

At any rate, after putting up an atrocious offensive performance last week, Cam Newton and the Panthers are on the rebound and in desperate need of wins a. That’s not to say they’ll trot into Philly and steal one, but the Eagles defense isn’t anything special.

In a game that Vegas currently puts at 48, Kelvin Benjamin seems like the easy beneficiary against a Philly defense giving up the third-most passing touchdowns in the NFL, as well as playing for a Panthers team that’s sure to leave everything on the field.

Julio Jones ($6,600) @ TB

Nine catches, 161 yards, two touchdowns, 40+ fantasy points.

That was Julio Jones’ stat line the last time he played the Bucs. And perhaps he won’t hit quite the lottery this go’round, but I also wouldn’t rule it out.

Jones enters this game claiming that his ankle is now at 100 percent following the bye, and the Falcons are somehow still alive in the NFC South. This matchup is well worth the price tag.

Markus Wheaton ($4,100) @ NYJ

He may not be Antonio Brown or see a whole mess of targets, but Markus Wheaton is a sneaky wildcard this weekend against a pitiful Jets secondary. Yes, Martavis Bryant cuts into target share (especially in the redzone), but Wheaton has the speed to create for himself.

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($5,100) @ BUF

I promise you there’s no one who loves Travis Kelce more than I love Travis Kelce.

 

  1. They’re somehow very much alive in their weak division despite a 3-6 record.  (back)

John Wall Looks Off Carmelo to Find Paul Pierce for 3-Pointer

There’s obviously lots to like about this pass from John Wall to Paul Pierce in last night’s 98-83 win over the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. But even more impressive than the look-off to freeze Carmelo Anthony, I think I’m in love with the cohesion of Wall and Pierce after just four games.

 

At the very beginning of the video clip, Pierce isn’t even in the shot. But that doesn’t mean Wall doesn’t see him. He attacks down toward the basket, gives the impression he’s dishing to a shooter in the corner (a play the Wiz like to run) and instead passes back to the arc where Pierce can walk into receiving a pass and blast a wide-open three.

This assist (one of Wall’s seven on the night) was quite delicious.

Cloudy with a Chance of Knee Jerk: Redskins v. Vikings

In the hours following a Redskins game, thoughts and ideas and assumptions run rampant through the mind of a Washington fan, forcing a scattered and cloudy backdrop between the ears. 

Here are my initial notes following the Redskins’ 29-26 loss to the Minnesota Vikings in Robert Griffin III’s return to action. 

* * *

Robert Griffin III was not awful. Did he make bad throws at times? Yes. Did some of those bad throws occur just before halftime and at the end of the game? Yes. Did he hold on to the ball too long? Yes. Did he look a bit hesitant to take off and run? Yes. But think of the plays Griffin did make — most of which wouldn’t have been made by any other quarterback on this roster. He may not have been perfect, but Griffin played well enough for the Redskins to win the game.

– And even without the ball in his hands, Griffin left an imprint on the game by way of Alfred Morris and the Redskins’ ground attack. Griffin’s presence and the read-option threat help to open up things for Morris, who averaged nearly five yards per carry and finished with 92 yards and two scores.

– Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett went from all the praise following Monday night’s win over the Cowboys, to making his way back into the doghouse after this loss to the Vikings.

– In their four games prior to Sunday, the Vikings were averaging 12 points a game on offense. They scored 29 against the Redskins.

– Jason Hatcher didn’t play enough. After the game Jay Gruden confirmed Hatcher was not hurt and that they went with Stephen Bowen a lot to counter the Vikings’ inside run game.

– It’s obviously easier said than done (I guess), but the Redskins need to do a better job of getting the football in DeSean Jackson‘s hands. He finished the day with 120 yards and a touchdown on just four catches. And with that kind of speed and homerun ability, we should see a lot more screens, some quick slants, more shots down the field, etc.

– While on the topic of DeSean, let’s not forget this happened minutes after his touchdown catch.

– One way to help that, I suppose, would be to make a stop on defense. Make a stop, increase your opportunities on offense. Something of that nature.

– Oh, and another one of your playmakers that NEEDS to get the ball: Jordan Reed. One target isn’t getting it done.

– The Redskins finished 6-of-13 on third down. So there’s that.

– Not the best of games for Pierre Garcon. He had an opportunity to pull in a long pass (I believe it was on 3rd-and-9 with a little over three minutes to go in the first half) in which Griffin threw a perfect ball that went right through the curled arms of Garcon. Not cool.

Chris Chester not playing well — we should all be used to that.

– On that final drive for the Redskins, the offensive pass interference call on DeSean Jackson on 1st-and-10 from their own 29 was a killer. Suddenly the Redskins were looking at 1st-and-20 and then 3rd-and-20 after giving up a sack on second down.

– And while on the topic of harsh penalties, the holding call on Shawn Lauvao on 4th-and-6 from the Redskins 43 was awful. Not in terms of the call itself, because it was indeed a hold, but the timing was brutal. The defensive holding call on the same play would’ve given Washington the first down. Instead, offsetting penalties led to a replay of 4th-and-6 and we got that terrible throw from Griffin to end the Redskins’ day.

Bashuand Breeland turned out another good game. He’s been awesome over the past few weeks and I’m now throwing around the hashtag #BashaudTheGaud because I’m super lame.

Back end of the defense was ugly.

Perry Riley had a couple nice tackles, but it often seemed like he was flowing the wrong way and putting himself out of position. Meh.

– We could cut Jim Haslett some slack for the lack of talent he has to work with, but the miscommunication and overall sense of players being lost falls at the coach’s feet. That’s what he gets paid to do. Teach your players, prepare your players.

Pass rush was gnarly. As usual, not enough.

– I might be calling it a thing too soon, but rookie Trent Murphy showed signs of an under pass-rushing move, which is great to see after just nine games. Repertoires for pass rushers is a good thing.

– As for the pregame Sunday morning noise that seems to find its way to national media outlets every effin’ week — it’s embarrassing. While I don’t believe Robert Griffin III has alienated himself from the rest of the team, I do think there are guys in the locker room and on the team that don’t like him. And I also think that kind of thing occurs in every locker room. The foundation of all of this, however, is the fact that the Redskins suck, they’re not winning, and the organization is plagued at the top. Even if this kind of shit is going on within the organization, be professional and keep it in house.

– Being a Redskins fan is a job. It’s an extremely frustrating task.

 

Daily Fantasy Bargain Shopping: Value Plays for NFL Week 9

DFS Bargain Shopper Cover Photo

Some call me cheap. Others stingy. I prefer thrifty. And in the world of daily fantasy sports, finding the best bargains can lead you to the promise land of those jubilant $3.60 pots at the end of the pretend football rainbow.

These are my bargain bin dumpster dives for the upcoming NFL week. 

* * *
Although it’s not generally the strategy of yours truly, salaries this week allow for further dumpster diving amongst the running back position, in turn giving us the ammo to move up to land a decent quarterback, as well as into the area of this week’s top-priced receiver (Antonio Brown) and tight end (Rob Gronkowski).

 

Quarterback

Andy Dalton ($6,300) v. JAX

Despite not throwing a touchdown in two weeks, Andy Dalton’s future this Sunday seems to be looking up (as most things do when preparing to face the Jacksonville Jaguars). Not to mention, A.J. Green has been practicing and could return to action, which is kind of a big deal if he’s on your team and you happen to be a thrower of footballs.

Others receiving votes: Alex Smith ($5,700) v. NYJ

 

Running Back

Ben Tate ($4,300) v. TB

I too was a part of the Week 7 meltdown in which we banked on the Browns offense against Jacksonville, only to be squarely kicked in the groin by Ben Tate and every other member of the Cleveland offense.

However, Tampa Bay is bad a, and this is a very nice price for a lead back in a game that should feature lots of action on the ground.

And just as a fantasy note — you shouldn’t allow previous frustration move you off a player. This Ben Tate play is a perfect example. There’s undoubtedly some owners out there who wouldn’t touch Tate with a 10-foot pole this week, simply because he threw up four points two weeks ago and screwed their Week 7 lineup. But that’s no way to play. Just like in blackjack where staying on 19 doesn’t always win, you have to maintain discipline and play your best matchups.

LeSean McCoy ($5,200) @ HOU

There’s been a feedbag attached to LeSean McCoy the last three weeks, with carry totals of 24, 22, and 21 for nearly 45 fantasy points. The problem, however, stems from Shady only having reached paydirt ONCE all season (Week 2).

Houston has been just so-so against the run this season, so the matchup feels okay. Additionally, the $5,200 salary seems too good to pass up given the type of chances and opportunities McCoy sees both as a rusher and pass-catcher.

Ahmad Bradshaw ($5,800) @ NYG

This looked like a sweeter deal with news of Trent Richardson missing practice, but he now looks in line to play. Either way, Ahmad Bradshaw’s versatility and knack for finding the end zone make him a nice play for $5,800 against his former team. The Giants are allowing 122 rushing yards and more than 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs.

Alfred Morris ($3,900) @ MIN

I agree that Alfred Morris looked better last week against the Cowboys, but I’m not willing to say he looked good. He had a low floor to begin with, so it wasn’t going to take much for him to simply “look better”.

That said, $3,900 for a lead back in a game that should see plenty of rushing attempts thanks to wind and cold weather feels like a solid play.

Three reasons I like Morris this week: price, the quick pitch style we saw reincorporated last week b, and the fact that a healthy Robert Griffin III under center helps open up the ground game c.

Although Mike Zimmer is one helluva defensive football mind, the Vikings are giving up nearly 25 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs and Morris should see a hefty workload in this game.

Others receiving votes: Lamar Miller ($5,600) v. SD

 

Wide Receiver

Andrew Hawkins ($4,900) v. TB

After stringing together just three catches and 5.6 points against Tennessee and Pittsburgh over the course of two weeks, Andrew Hawkins quickly became yesterday’s forgotten. But since then, Hawk has pieced together 12 catches and 41.8 points over his past two games and he’s in line for another juicy matchup on Sunday against Tampa.

The Buccaneers give up tons of points to opposing wideouts, and are worst in the league when it comes to keeping receivers out of the end zone (allowing 1.7 touchdowns to wide receivers per game). Even if the Browns generate a successful ground attack, Hawkins is a natural benefactor and faced with a perfect matchup.

DeAndre Hopkins ($5,400) v. PHI

Only one game this season has DeAndre Hopkins posted a single-digit output, and this week he faces a Philadelphia defense giving up more than 35 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers.

There’s obvious concern surrounding Nuke because he hasn’t scored in his last four games, but he’s getting his targets (6.6 per game), he’s ripping off big gains (15.8 YPC), and he’s his team’s best option to score by way of a pass (leads all Houston pass-catchers with three touchdowns), all of which provides good value for just $5,400.

Others receiving votes: Andre Johnson ($5,500) v. PHI; Allen Robinson ($4,900) @ CIN

 

Tight End

Travis Kelce ($4,100) v. NYJ

Anyone find a reason why Travis Kelce isn’t seeing more snaps in Kansas City? Cool, me neither. Yet despite the coaching, Kelce is a decent play this week against a Jets defense allowing better than 13 points per game to opposing tight ends.

Sooner or later Andy Reid needs to warm to the idea of playing one of his top playmakers more often, right?

Others receiving votes: Jordan Reed ($4,400) @ MIN

 

  1. to the tune of 123 rushing yards allowed per game  (back)
  2. The quick pitch isn’t on every running play, but Morris seems to thrive with it as opposed to the traditional handoff method, as it provides him with a better and earlier look at the defense, as well as effective downhill momentum  (back)
  3. Dependent on gameplan, of course, but Jay Gruden isn’t stupid.  (back)
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