What a weekend, folks. The NFL’s kick off to its 2014 season was chock full of surprises, comebacks, upsets and fantasy football let downs. The Wild Card standings in the MLB shifted once again as the Seattle Mariners and Pittsburgh Pirates are making their push. College football had an overall soft week as less than a handful of significant games were played. And it was all overshadowed by Ray Rice and the complete ineptitude of Roger Goodell.
It’s here, IT’S here, IT’S HERE! When the Seattle Seahawks and Green Bay Packers kick off that pigskin at 8:30 Thursday night, millions of fantasy geeks will release an orgasmic sigh of pure ecstasy. The next 13 weeks will be spent endlessly researching the right players to bench and to get into your line-up so you can play some December Fantasy Football in weeks 14, 15 and 16. Well, folks, we’re here to help.
Each week, you will get a few Starts of the Week and Sits of the Week from the Wayniac Nation fantasy experts (if you forgotten who they are, get familiar with them here). We’re not going to waste your time like some so called experts telling you that Peyton Manning and Dez Bryant are good starts. Nor are we going to sit here and tell you to bench the likes of Adrian Peterson or Aaron Rodgers because of the defenses they are playing. Let me give you a little hint: unless they are injured or on a bye, if you invested a first, second or third round pick on a player… you start them. How simple is that?
Not everyone is a Top 35 player though, and that’s where we come in. So, take out your lineups, open up those waiver wires and get ready for:
WEEK ONE STARTS AND SITS:
Start of the Week:
C.J. Spiller– Some of the shine has come off of Spiller after last year’s injury-plagued season, but he is an elite talent going up against a weak Bears defense. This will definitely help validate those owners that took a 3rd or 4th round chance on him.
Sit of the Week:
49ers Defense – Hard to come up with a sit for week one, since you should be starting your studs even with bad matchups. The 49ers though aren’t the 49ers without NaVorro Bowman and Aldon Smith, and Dallas has a ton of offensive weapons. Those fantasy owners that made SF the 2nd defense off the board will regret it starting in week 1.
Start of the Week: Nick Foles or Jay Cutler. Both have a lot to prove and should have great Week 1 starts against mediocre defenses.
Sit of the Week: Mike Wallace. He shouldn’t be a starter on most fantasy teams in the first place, but if you drafted him as one, you probably have a crappy team anyway. Don’t make it worse by starting him against Revis Island and the revamped Patriots defense.
So, what does The Wayniac think?
Starts of the Week:
QB: Tom Brady. He had a rough season last year for Brady standards, But, at least for Week 1, he has a healthy Danny Amendola, Shane Vereen and Rob Gronkowski for the first time in a while. Throw in the fact that Miami has a bottom five defense and over the past three seasons, Brady has performed remarkably well in Miami (1119 yards passing, 7 touchdowns and just three interceptions) it’s a perfect set-up for a repeat 2011 Brady performance. That day, when the Pats opened the season in Miami, Brady went off for 517 yards and four touchdowns.
RB: Frank Gore. Nuts, right? But here is the way you need to look at it. The Dallas Cowboys defense will vie with the 2012 New Orleans Saints for one of the worst of all-time. Frank Gore will most likely be hurt or replaced by Carlos Hyde in a few weeks. Why not take advantage of Gore’s one big matchup and then bench him for the remainder of the year?
WR: Jeremy Maclin. The Eagles are playing the Jaguars at home. The Jaguars offense may be on the field for ten total minutes and Chip Kelly doesn’t believe in stepping on the brakes. Maclin will probably see about ten targets.
TE: Antonio Gates. That’s right. Frank Gore and Gates are both starts for me this week. Arizona’s secondary is silly good and they are going to do their best to take Keenan Allen, Malcolm Floyd and Eddie Royal out of this game (which in reality isn’t all that difficult, I mean when was the last time Eddie Royal had a fantasy relevant game?). Philip Rivers will have to check down to his backs and find Gates in the middle of the field. He may be old and lost a step, but he’s still good a getting open.
Defense: Basically, I will pick this team each week the same way I do my survivor pool: whoever is playing the Jaguars. Until Blake Bortles takes over, I can’t see this team hanging with any team true playoff contender. Start the Eagles all day.
Sits of the Week:
QB: Cam Newton. The Bucs may have lost Darrelle Revis Island, but they are still pretty stout. I don’t like a mobile quarterback with a shoddy rib against a Top Ten defense, especially when Tampa is at home and starting the new Lovie Smith Era.
RB: Le’Veon Bell. Cleveland was already an up and coming defense and now they have Karlos Dansby and Donte Whitner (or is it Hitner?). Throw in LeGarrette Blount as one of the league’s premiere touchdown vultures, and this doesn’t look good.
WR: Kendall Wright. I think Wright has a huge season on the horizon in 2014. But it will start in Week 2 against the Cowboys. The Chiefs defense, led by Justin Houston and Tamba Hali, is going to fluster Jake Locker all day and their secondary will be too much for the new look Titans. Whisenhunt will get this offense flying, but don’t expect it to start in Week 1.
TE: Martellus Bennett. The Bills secondary may be questionable but their front line is pretty stout. Bennett may have to stay in more often than usual to keep Super Mario Williams and Marcell Dareus off of Cutler, who is going to look to shred that Bills secondary going to Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery all day.
Defense: The Baltimore Ravens. I’m not sure how these guys are still fantasy relevant and in the Top Ten on several charts. It has to be name recognition, I guess. The Ravens do thrive at home, but Andy Dalton has a huge chip on his shoulder as the entire world is still confused as to how this guy is making the money he gets. Ravens may win the game, but it won’t be because of their defense. A.J. Green is going to have a fun opening day.
Kickoff is so close. I have all three of my rosters drafted and ready to roll and by now, most of you should as well. We have already discussed MVPs, breakouts, busts and top rookies to keep an eye on, but what else can we look forward to in the 2014 Fantasy Football Season? Today, The Wayniac Nation Fantasy Report explores FIVE BOLD PREDICTIONS FOR THE 2014 FANTASY SEASON.
5. The Oakland Raiders will produce FIVE fantasy relevant players in 2014.
I know what you’re saying. The Wayniac must have been out for a joyride with Le’Veon Bell. Well, I wasn’t. The Raiders have been virtually fantasy irrelevant since their 2002 Super Bowl season where the were led by former Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hen Rich Gannon. In fact, they haven’t had a winning season in the 11 years since then. This season, they have made some big changes. The Raiders have been led by these award winning quarterbacks over the last 11 years: Kerry Collins, Carson Palmer, Andrew Walter, Daunte Culpepper, JaMarcus Russell, Jason Campbell, Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin. Over that same amount of time Darren McFadden and Marcel Reese have the best passer rating out of that whole bunch. Derek Carr is already a huge improvement. This team got bigger and faster in the offseason. Maurice Jones-Drew is a rumbling back who loves the end zone. Now that he doesn’t need to be relied on for every play of the offense like he was on the Jaguars, he and McFadden will have lesser loads and more potent seasons than they have in a long time. Newly acquired James Jones is fast and can spread the field. Now he won’t have Aaron Rodgers chucking him the ball, but he has certainly proved an affinity for the end zone over the past few years. And you can never rule out Sebastian Janikowski. This guy can get you 15 points in a game with three 58-yard field goals. I’m not implying this is a playoff ready team or has elite week-to-week fantasy players on it, but they are vastly improved from last season. Keep them on your radar.
4. Philip Rivers will prove to be the biggest steal of the draft.
No, that doesn’t mean he will be the 2014 Fantasy Football MVP, nor does it mean he will necessarily finish in the Top 5. Looking at the overall average of where most experts have Rivers ranked, he is about the 15th best quarterback. His average draft position is about the 99th pick. This is a steal and if you can lock him down in the eighth to tenth round, you’ve probably built an offensive power house and now have a pretty reliable guy at QB. Rivers has one season in the past five that he has thrown below 4,200 yards. His lowest touchdown total over that same time frame is 26. He has a five-year average of 4,334 yards passing and 29 touchdowns. I’ll take that all day from my ninth round pick. I think Rivers outperforms Colin Kaepernick, Cam Newton, Tony Romo and possibly Nick Foles this season. All of those names have a reasonably higher ADP than Rivers. Yes, Whisenhunt is gone, but Frank Reich takes over as OC. He has a ton of weapons, including the speedy Keenan Allen, three good receiving threats out of the backfield in Ryan Mathews, Danny Woodhead and Donald Brown, and has two monster targets in the red zone in Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green. Rivers is ready for another solid fantasy year.
3. Devonta Freeman will be the top scoring rookie.
I love Mike Evans and in The WN MVP, Breakthrough, Busts and Rookies article, I picked the standout wide receiver from Texas A & M as the top rookie. The more I think about it, and the more I watch his explosiveness, the fourth rounder Devonta Freeman has a huge chance to put up big numbers. The Falcons beefed up their offensive line and Julio Jones and Roddy White are healthy. Steven Jackson is not, and most likely never will be again. Jacquizz Rodgers can not carry the load of a full time back, so that leaves Freeman as the Falcons lead back. This offense is one year removed from being an explosive dynamo. Freeman can be a pretty big cog in that offense if the Falcons return to those heights.
2. Eddie Lacy will finish a Top Three back in fantasy.
Eddie Lacy will do so well this season that you are going to have a hard time not picking him number one overall in 2015. Last year, Aaron Rodgers played a total of nine games. Lacy, without the services of one of the elite QBs in the NFL, still had nearly 1,200 yards on the ground as a rookie while gaining almost 300 more through the air. Rodgers return doesn’t take away from what Lacy can do, it adds to it. Rodgers has never had a premier running back to take the pressure off him and has still always produced. Lacy hasn’t had the chance to have defenses focus on much other than him in his short NFL career and he succeeded in lieu of it. Lacy is going to gain close to 2,00 total yards this season and score 12 to 15 touchdowns. He will enter elite status and, as I said, be a consideration for top overall pick next year.
1. Matthew Stafford is the number one QB in fantasy football in 2014.
Is it crazy talk to put Stafford over Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and quite possibly the all-time greatest quarterback ever, Peyton Manning? Maybe, but then again, maybe not. Manning lost Eric Decker and now, molly-loving, concussion-prone Wes Welker is gone for at least four games pending he doesn’t go off on a Walter White binge. Knowshon Moreno is gone to Miami, leaving an unproven Montee Ball in the backfield. He has great weapons in Julius Thomas and Demaryius Thomas, but this is going to be way more of a control offense than last season. Matthew Stafford has all of the pieces in place. Calvin Johnson is the best receiver in the Milky Way. People hate to admit it, but when healthy, Reggie Bush is one of the best receiving backs the NFL has ever seen. When he isn’t healthy Joique Bell is not much of a downgrade. Eric Ebron with no NFL experience at all is already a better option at tight end than Stafford has ever had and Golden Tate is unquestionably the best wing man Megatron has ever seen. Gone also is Jim Schwartz who could have easily been the worst head coach in the NFL. Pass happy head coach Jim Caldwell and new offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi won’t show any hesitation in putting the Lions’ season in Stafford’s arm. This is a guy who already has a 5,000 yard season under his belt and has a guaranteed 1,500 yards passing to Megatron. The sky’s the limit for Stafford, and if you have him, you may be carrying home that trophy at season’s end.
FOOTBALL!!! It’s back, folks, as the NCAA opened its doors for the 2014 college football season. There were some exciting football games for week one, especially amongst the top two spots. Elsewhere, the NFL made some news not by who made certain teams, but more so for who didn’t. Baseball has been creeping along, but Monday is September first and that’s when the final leg of this intense playoff race really heats up. And today, my Nitro League drafts on Labor Day Weekend Sunday for the 17th year in a row. Now, that’s just wacky, my friends. So sit back and get caught up on you Wacky Week in Sports.
Week one is usually filled with some laughers to get the good teams rolling with some decisive victories. It didn’t quite go down that way, especially for the defending champs and Ol’ Saint Nick’s Rolling Tide. Jeremy Pruitt proved to be amongst the best defensive coordinators in the business, not just for what his new Georgia Bulldogs did in the second half of their game, but for how lost the Seminole defense looked without him. The unranked Oklahoma State put a huge scare into the number one seeded Seminoles, scoring 14 points in the final quarter to make Florida State sweat it out. The final score was 37-31 as the Cowboys outplayed the champs in the second half, outscoring them by one point. The Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Classic was almost an instant classic as unranked West Virginia hung around with Alabama for nearly the whole game, losing 33-23. TJ Yeldon made his presence felt as he went off for 126 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. Down the road in Athens, the Dogs came out shaky in their first half of the Hutson Mason/ Jeremy Pruitt era in the matchup of the day that pitted number 12 Georgia versus the number 16 Clemson Tigers. After a first half that saw the Bulldog defense get run over to a score of 21-21, the Dawgs completely shutdown the Tigers in the second half, outscoring them 24-0 for a 45-21 victory. The attack was led by 2014 Heisman Trophy winner (yea, I’m penciling it in already) Todd Gurley who went off for 198 yards rushing and three touchdowns. He also added another touchdown on a thrilling 100 yard kickoff return touchdown. Can I just take Gurley with my first pick in today’s fantasy draft? The Jerry Bowl, the other marquee matchup of the day, must have given my boy Jason Steen a heart attack. His number 13 LSU Tigers were down to the number 14 Wisconsin Badger’s 24-7. With the Badgers notorious clamp down defense and time killing rushing attack, it looked like the Tiger’s day was done. However, behind wide receiver Travin Dural’s 80-yard touchdown and 151 yard day, LSU came roaring back with 21 unanswered points for the 28-24 victory. Finally, my boys in Delaware made a bold move by opening their season against the ACC powerhouse Pittsburgh Panthers. We lost 62-0 and now my football season is over. The Florida Gators game was cancelled due to scary conditions. Aaron Hernandez escaped and was running amok in The Swamp. No official NFL suspension of Hernandez has yet to be handed down.
Which brings us to the NFL. Iron fisted Commissioner Goodell upheld Josh Gordon‘s one year suspension for smoking marijuana. Goodell admitted this week that he blew the Ray Rice domestic violence case in which he inexplicably only suspended Rice for two games after beating his wife unconscious. The punishment has now changed to a mandatory six game suspension for a first offense and a lifetime ban for a second offense. Now, while Goodell made one thing right, he blew a chance to make Gordon’s wrong a right. There is no excuse for a year suspension on any crime that doesn’t endanger someone else’s life. Think about it, a then 22-year old kid who should still be in college, was caught with marijuana. In other words, he was being a 22-year old college kid. He didn’t hurt the face of the NFL like Rice did who had feminist groups up in arms over the decision. He didn’t hurt anyone else, like Aaron Hernandez and his multiple killing sprees (who as I already said, still has no official suspension from the NFL). It didn’t effect his game in anyway as a performance enhancer (unless of course he is like Ki-Jana Carter and openly admits that he can’t play if he isn’t high, dumbass). The only people hurt by Gordon’s one year suspension are Cleveland fans and Fantasy Footballers like myself who now can’t have the second best wide receiver in football on their rosters. Thanks, Rog.
This week was also final cut week for the 53-man Opening Day rosters. There were some surprises, like The Law Firm of BenJarvus Green-Ellis from the Bengals and Daniel Thomas from the Dolphins, but none rang out louder than Michael Sam from the Rams. It was a lousy fit from the get go with the Rams being so deep on the defensive line, but Sam came out and did a lot of things right that gave him a positive grade from Pro Football Focus. In the end, his two sacks (one of which leveled Johnny Football to the tune of Sam throwing that stupid Cash Money Dance right in Manziel’s face) and quarterback hurries weren’t enough to make him the 53rd player on the roster. The Rams hope to keep Sam on the practice squad, however most experts don’t feel Sam will make it through waivers and may join another team this Monday.
You know who it must suck to be? Bryce Harper. He comes up side by side with Mike Trout as the face of the new era of the MLB. The two of them were to rewrite the beloved books of stat filled history for saber metric geeks everywhere. Since then, Harper has become an injury-prone, whiny, little, disrespectful baby, while Mike Trout has become the face of baseball. Yes, Harper’s Nationals are making quite the run at the NL pennant, but Trout’s Angels are arguably the hottest team in baseball, and a lot of that has to do with Trout. And who doesn’t love to watch Trout play? Does anyone outside of the DC area even care about Harper? I know Atlanta fans would love to see him duct taped at home plate so their pitchers could rifle endless fastballs at him. Anyone else?
Anyway, Monday is September 1st and that means two things. One, rosters expand and we get to finally see all of those heralded minor league top prospects we have been hearing about all season. Two, these playoff races are heating up for an exciting finish. The AL has a legitimate six team Wild Card race going on, while the NL is a five team race with the surprise Miami Marlins still in contention. What is even more exciting is that aside from the AL and NL East, four of the divisions are still wide open. Justin Verlander finally put in a Justin Verlander performance to even the Detroit Tigers up with the surging Kansas City Royals atop the AL Central. Now the Michael Brantley led (yea, I actually typed that) Cleveland Indians, who are in a crucial series with the Royals, are creeping back into the hunt just 3.5 games out of first. By the way, is Corey Kluber the best pitcher in the AL? Where did he come from? In the NL, as Yusmeiro Petit keeps retiring batters (46 in a row, seriously?) and Madison Bumgarner continues throwing gem after gem, the San Francisco Giants are looking a lot like those 2010 and 2012 Giants. You know, those guys that wound up putting their one-time ace Tim Lincecum in the pen and got by on lights out pitching and timely hitting? Don Mattingly and his Dodgers better look out behind them!
That’s a wrap for this week, folks, because let’s admit it, no other sports really matter right now. That’s because we are just four days away from the kickoff to the NFL season. Enjoy your last Sunday of the Wacky Week in Sports because next week we move to Monday’s to recap all of your NFL action!
A few days ago, Wayniac Nation brought you the Inaugural WN Fantasy Football Report answering 5 Burning Questions for the 2014 Fantasy Season. Today, we will break it down further and bring you our picks for the MVP, some breakout stars, some busts and some rookies you may want to gamble on. First, you need to meet the Wayniac Nation Fantasy Experts.
Nomi the Greek is a member of The Thread and commissioner of The Brookhaven Fantasy Football League (BFFL) that I joined last season. He is a die hard Atlanta Falcons fan and knows the NFL up and down. Sperry is a member of both The Thread and the BFFL as well, although he will be taking a one year hiatus in his pursuit of law schools and a career. Damn higher learning, see where it gets you? Still, one year removed from being champion of the BFFL, Sperry has agreed to chip in on some fantasy advice. You probably remember Saucy T as Wayniac Nation’s NFL Draft expert and his first annual Mason’s Mock Draft. He is also the commissioner of his own league, THE LEAGUE (which Nomi the Greek is currently reigning champion of), and member of the BFFL. Benny Smalls is reigning champion of my 17-year league, The Nitro League. He defeated me last season as I went for back-to-back championships. Anyone who wins the coveted Nitro Trophy is worth listening to for some sound advice. Wayniac Nation’s golf expert, Mike Dunton, is also a member of The Nitro League. His name is on the trophy as well, and would have been even more if I hadn’t beaten him for my first championship back in 2005. Fee is the Commissioner of The Nitro League. He hasn’t won a championship since 1999, however, his team strung together one of the longest playoff appearance streaks in our league history. His Swami Squad has the distinct honor of running into the hottest team every post season. JD is my team mate in fantasy baseball. He also joined our Old School Football League three years ago and was in the championship game a mere one year later. Mike Cochran is the single greatest fantasy sport mind I know. I am in two of his baseball leagues and The Old School Football League with him for 11 years. He easily has close to 20 combined championships over that time. He will be the first to tell you that I would have at least three more championships in fantasy sports if it weren’t for him. He has knocked me out in the semi-finals or finals in three of the last four years. Ted Reed is not in any leagues with me, but has worked with me for the last three years and we talk fantasy football every day… even during baseball season. He is the reigning champion of his league and his 2014 draft is underway. Cavadi #2 is my brother Jonathan. We teamed several years ago to form the powerhouse Gumbel-2-Gumbel but that was the only year we have ever played together.
Now, that we are all acquainted, let’s get to it:
Nomi the Greek (reigning THE LEAGUE champion)
Fantasy MVP: Peyton Manning. If he has a season where he puts up 75% of last years stats, he is a fantasy stud.
Fantasy ROY: I like Teddy Bridgewater a lot….. if he plays. I’ll go with Jordan Matthews. He has the size and speed to be an elite receiver in the NFL. Chip Kelly’s offensive system is also going to help Jordan.
Rookie: Odell Beckham, Jr. is my guy here. He has all the tools and talents to be great. He has one problem though. He doesn’t seem to want to play through any pain and Tom Coughlin, historically, doesn’t seem to care much for players who can’t tough out small injuries.
Veteran: Eric Decker. Geno Smith is not Peyton Manning. Do I need to continue?
First non-running back taken: Calvin Johnson in a PPR league. He is Matt Stafford’s favorite weapon in a very pass happy offense.
Sperry (the doesn’t even play fantasy fantasy expert)
MVP: Jamaal Charles. His ceiling will get even higher this season when Aaron Murray takes over at QB in week 6.
Rookie of the Year: I think Brandin Cooks and Drew Brees are going to get on the same page and thrash some coverages. You know what? Scrap that. SAMMY WATKINS! Having the most talent and being, virtually, the only option I say he explodes in Buffalo and makes EJ look like a Pro Bowler (not really).
Biggest Bust: I love Beast Mode, but something isn’t sitting right with me about him this year. It might be the hold out. It might be the gifted young RB nipping at his heels. Whatever it is I would not take Marshawn as high as you would have to.
Best Comeback: I am going with Jay Cutler. I have bet on him in the past and he has let me down, but I think this just might be the year that he puts it all together.
Breakthrough: I want to be different here, but I just can’t see anyone having a bigger breakout year than Montee Ball. With light boxes all year Ball will be able to imitate Knowshon’s success from last season.
First Non-RB: Megatron. Megatron. Megatron. If it is not Calvin Johnson, then I would want to be in whatever league that is seeing as how you could probably get Jimmy Graham in round two.
Sleeper: Ladarius Green isn’t a name that most of your buddies will know offhand, but it should be. 6 feet 6 inches of 4.5 running goodness coming off the line for Phillip Rivers to play long ball catch with. He could very well be Jimmy Graham before he was Jimmy Graham.
Saucy T (fantasy legend and Wayniac Nation NFL Draft expert)
Fantasy MVP: Calvin Johnson. Megatron played the last month or two of last season injured and playing through it still managed to be a top 3 fantasy receiver.
Fantasy Rookie of the Year: Carlos Hyde. I don’t love this rookie classes for fantasy purposes, but if I had to pick one I would take my chances with the most talented RB in this class who’s playing behind a RB past his prime on one of the most run heavy teams.
Biggest Bust: Arian Foster. Sorry Wayne, but I don’t know that he can stay healthy and if the Texans are 1-4, what reason does he have to play through it?
Breakout Candidate: Michael Floyd. Larry Fitzgerald is still a great receiver, but if you look at their numbers after the bye week last year, Floyd started to become Arizona’s number one.
Sleeper: Travis Kelce. Kelce is a Gronk-lite playing in Andy Reid‘s pass happy system on a team who’s RB was their leading pass catcher last year. I expect Kelce to challenge Charles for that honor this year.
I think Megatron is first non QB to go. I’d say pick 7 in standard, pick 5 in PPR
Bounceback: Roddy White. Maybe it’s the homer in me, but I could see Roddy having a 90 catch, 1200 yard bounce back.
Benny Smalls (reigning Nitro champ)
Fantasy MVP: Adrian Peterson – All Day has been consistently atop the rankings for the past few years.
ROY: Brandin Cooks – speed, catching ability and a dangerous weapon throwing to him.
Biggest bust: Le’Veon Bell – he’ll still be productive, but Blount will pull from his numbers.
Best comeback candidate: RGIII – weapons to throw to, no knee brace & options in the backfield…lets not forget how scary good he was prior to his injury.
Breakthrough candidate: Monte Ball – the backfield is all his and Manning takes pressure off any RB as D’s will have a hard time stacking the box against him.
First non RB taken and when: Unless folks draft with their hearts, the smart pick here is Calvin Johnson at 5 – guaranteed production. Taking a qb seems risky, can’t waste this on a Eddie Lacy, only other option would be Jimmy Graham at 5.
Biggest sleeper: Since I rarely discuss any fantasy anything with folks in my league I am hesitant to answer this question more than the others…HOWEVER, in an effort to support The Wayniac’s Fantasy Edition…I will go with Kai Forbath!
Mike Dunton (my 17-year arch rival in Nitro)
Fantasy MVP: Petyon Manning. This could be Peyton’s last ride in Denver and it’s Super Bowl or bust for these Broncs.
Rookie of the Year: Sound like a homer here but I’m going with Eric Ebron. This guy is on a team of offensive weapons and he may become Matthew Stafford‘s second favorite target.
Biggest Bust: Cam Newton. He will be taken way too early in drafts, he has no WR’s and this ankle thing bothers me.
Best Comeback: Roddy White or Julio Jones are great candidates but that Atlanta offensive line scares me. So with that being said, I’m going with Jay Cutler. He has weapon upon weapon and a healthy Jay Cutler could put up numbers similar to Aaron and Drew.
First Non RB Taken: Our league is known to be non traditional. Don’t be surprised if the first non RB taken happens at #2 when Swami Squad picks. Back to back Jimmy Graham years? I would not put it past them.
Fee (The Commish of Nitro, playoff regular)
Fantasy MVP: Aaron Rodgers
Fantasy ROY: Sammy Watkins
Biggest Bust: Cam Newton
Best Comeback: Roddy White
First Non-RB taken: Peyton Manning – 1st round
Biggest Sleeper: Lamar Miller
JD (my fantasy baseball team mate and fantasy football guru)
Cochran (the greatest living fantasy sports player alive)
MVP: Aaron Rodgers or Jamaal Charles depending on scoring (4 points vs. 6 points QB touchdowns)
ROY: Mike Evans, but Blake Bortles if he gets the job
Biggest Bust: Reggie Bush
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Biggest Breakthrough: Ben Tate or Montee Ball. Tate may be crazy good this year.
First Non-RB Taken: Megatron at sixth pick
Sleeper: Toby Gerhart
Ted Reed (Reigning champ of Braxton’s Shoulder League)
MVP: Peyton Manning
ROY: Bishop Sankey
Biggest Bust: Steven Jackson (again!)
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Biggest Breakthrough: Josh McCown
First Non-RB Taken: Peyton Manning anywhere between 4th and 7th
Sleeper: Eric Ebron
Jonathan (My brother and only guy I know in a 14-team keeper league)
Fantasy MVP: Peyton Manning (and nfl MVP)
Fantasy ROY: Carlos Hyde
Biggest Bust: Arian Foster if you get him Round 1 or 2, Victor Cruz if Round 3
Best Comeback: Julio Jones
Breakthrough: Dennis Pitta
First non-RB: Peyton at 6 in a Standard scoring league, but Megatron at 4 in a PPR
Sleeper: Kyle Rudolph – all Norv Turner does is make 1,000+ yard TEs (Cooley, Gates, Cameron)
And last but not least, The Wayniac:
Fantasy MVP: Peyton Manning. Ball may turn out better than Knowshon Moreno and Emmanuel Sanders could be better than Eric Decker.
Fantasy ROY: Johnny Manziel. Oh come on, people, you know I think this guy is a bum. I really like Mike Evans down in Tampa.
Biggest Bust: Colin Kaepernick. No way this guy remains a Top Ten QB for much longer.
Best Comeback: Percy Harvin. If he stays healthy he is one of the most dynamic players on the field.
Breakthrough: I’m going homer here. I don’t care if it’s Ryan Fitzpatrick, DeAndre Hopkins is going to make a huge jump this season. He had a pretty good rookie campaign playing catch with three different QBs and no steady offensive personnel.
First Non-RB Taken: I honestly think Peyton should go number one overall, but I don’t think the Fantasy world is ready for that. I’m going with Megatron.
Sleeper: Gerhart. He’s the only real guy in Jacksonville, and Maurice Jones-Drew led the league in rushing for a terrible Jaguars team a few years back.
It’s that time boys and girls. Fantasy Football drafts have started across the nation. So today marks the first of Wayniac Nation’s Fantasy Football Reports. Each week, we will bring you insights, good starts, better sits and a smorgasbord of information to help you look like a fantasy football genius.
I know what you’re asking yourself. There are millions of fantasy football resources out there, why listen to The Wayniac? It’s justified. What makes me any better than any other fantasy expert? Let’s take a look at the ol’ resume and perhaps I can convince you that out of all the fantasy geeks out there, I am one of the biggest.
I am entering the 17th year in my Nitro League. That’s right, folks, 17 years with essentially the same original owners in a 10-team league. This league is so old it started back when you had to tally scores by hand. We don’t really have bad teams as it is ultra-competitive and has always been more about the trophy and bragging rights than the money. I have been to the last two back-to-back championship games and if I didn’t run into Peyton Manning, Adrian Peterson and the Junior Mafia, I would have two wins in a row. I have been in my other league, The Old School Football League, for 10 years. It is a 12-team league that has had essentially the same owners for the bulk of its existence as well. Over the past three seasons, no team has more regular season wins or points than my Fightin’ Blue Hose. Unfortunately, although I have finished in the money all three of those years, I have no rings to show for it as a major injury has derailed me seemingly every Week 15 in the semi-finals. It is your typical scoring league and in the history of the league only four times has a team broken the 200 point barrier. Three of those times were the Fightin’ Blue Hose. Last year I joined a third league run by Nomi the Greek and has every member of The Thread in it. The Englishman is the reigning champ in his first year ever of fantasy football.
Am I bragging a little bit? Sure, but I also want you to know that I do have an idea about how this fantasy thing works. I also bring you insight to how to succeed in a 10-team league as well as a deeper 12-team league. My panel of Wayniac Nation Fantasy Experts that I have put together is an All Star selection of people who I have run in fantasy circles with for nearly the last two decades.
Later this week, we will bring you insight to key players and busts to look out for, but first let me take a selfie.
No, seriously, folks, before we get into player breakdowns, we need to first answer THE TOP FIVE BURNING QUESTIONS COMING INTO THE 2014 FANTASY FOOTBALL SEASON.
5. When will the first non-running back come off the board?
This is an entirely new fantasy football era and the conversion from running back heavy teams to dominating through the air is complete. That being said, AP, Matt Forte, LeSean McCoy and Jamaal Charles will be the first four off the board (in no particular order). I personally don’t see a running back worth taking after the Big Four until the second round. Wide receivers, especially in PPR (point per reception for those not savvy) formats are way more valuable in the right system, and the way quarterbacks amass forty to fifty point Sundays makes a few first round worthy.
4. Can Peyton Manning come close to last year’s production?
Of course not. Peyton Manning set records last season and had the single greatest season for a quarterback in fantasy and NFL history. It’s a lot like watching Keanu Reeves in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. You knew no matter what, you were watching the best he had to offer and nothing would ever again match that. Now, I’m not suggesting Peyton Manning numbers are going to fall off the way Keanu Reeve’s acting abilities have (Johnny Mnemonic, anyone?), but you do have to tame your expectations. While the Broncos lost Eric Decker when he unforgivably signed his career away to the New York Haven’t Had a Legitimate QB in a Decade Jets, they brought in an even better Emmanuel Sanders so the offense won’t miss a beat. They did also bulk up their defense with big names like Aqib Talib and DeMarcus Ware. That means more ball control and less shootouts for Manning. While his numbers will be down to human level, he is still the best QB fantasy has to offer and may even be in consideration for the fifth overall pick. Plus, he’s already a better actor than Keanu Reeves.
3. Who do you consider at running back once the big four are off the board?
I have already said that after McCoy, Charles, Forte and All Day AP are gone, I really feel this is the season that running backs get put on the back burner. But if you insist on being a traditionalist (also known as The Guy Who Finishes Last) and feel you must pick an RB in the first round then there is only one choice. As much as I love Marshawn Lynch and his Beast Mode, I don’t feel he is first round worthy this year. That is based on his past. He held out a few days for a bigger contract and made it open that he considered retirement. When he wanted out of Buffalo, he played like he didn’t care, and with Seattle’s deep arsenal of RBs, we may easily see that down season from Lynch. So if you must take an RB, you go with Eddie Lacy. The guy is a total beast and will have a full season with Aaron Rodgers for the first time in his career. This is a kid with potential for a 2,000 total yard season in that offense, however, I don’t think that season is 2014.
2. Where is the best place to look for top fantasy advice?
Wayniac Nation, of course. Seriously though, the simple answer is your notes. If you are reading this blog, you are most likely competitive enough that you are beyond the casual twenty dollar “for fun” fantasy league. If you aren’t already, you need to become your own fantasy expert. The best thing to do for starters is to grab a few friends and do some mock drafts on (I can’t believe I am saying anything positive about these shlubs) ESPN. Secondly, do some research on ADP (that’s the average draft pick of a specific player for you newbies). A lot of leagues will have a draft lottery weeks before the draft. Once you know your spot, you can begin researching what players are most commonly going in that location. You can also do your own mock drafts from that slot and practice, practice, practice until you have the team you want. Lastly, and this comes from my own old school mentality, take notes. Make a list of your Top 20 at each position and cross them off as you go. Colin Kaepernick is in everybody’s Top 5 quarterbacks, but this guy would never start on my team. So, my list is going to be very different from other “experts”. So should yours. Nothing sucks more than when you are unprepared and the guy right before you takes the player you had queued. If you are properly prepared with your own notes, you don’t need to spend your minute thirty googling “fantasy advice”!
1. Ok, so who is the first overall pick?
This is a tough question. My Hongbits team in The Nitro League has the first overall pick, so this is something I have been contemplating for some time. All of the big four (again: Charles, Forte, McCoy and AP) are complete studs, yet they all also come with injury risk. All four play for very questionable offenses. Charles’ Kansas City Chiefs are notorious for having a terrible season when following a strong one. While everyone sees Chicago as a legitimate contender this season with a high octane offense, one must remember that Jay Cutler is still at the helms. Was Chip Kelley’s offense for real or was it a flash in the pan like the Wildcat that defenses can now prepare for? And who the heck is going to be the quarterback in Minnesota, Matt Cassell?
That being said, I think there are two ways to go with this pick. If you want the home run hitter, the guy that is capable of getting you 50 points in a game by himself, you go with Charles. He is lightening quick and is a lock for 50 receptions, but can be relied on for over 60 like last season. But if you want to play it safe, the answer is simple. No running back has been more consistent with less talent around him than All Day Adrian Peterson. His lowest touchdown total over the past five seasons is ELEVEN. Last year, despite missing two games and abysmal quarterback play, he still ran for over 1,200 yards. He is not your PPR dream back, but if Teddy Bridgewater takes over, you can be sure there will be a ton of dump offs and last year’s change of pace back, Toby Gerhart, is gone to Jacksonville.
So which direction will I go with my first round pick? I’ll let you stew over it, so be sure to check in weekly for up to date Fantasy Football advice this NFL season!
We really need the NFL and college football to start their real seasons. It has been another pretty drab week in the sports world, but there is always a few things that keep us interested. This week, while I usually like to keep this light hearted and a bit tongue and cheek, we need to start with tragedy.
What a boring week in sports, folks. It seems that there are points of the year that sports news takes a lull. Take February after the Super Bowl for example. I mean sure, if you are one of the 16 Americans who tune in to the NHL, you’re having a blast, but for the rest of us, it’s excruciating. While this week crawled down the road like your boy who can’t handle his liquor, there was still some interesting tidbits that went down.
Onward to the wacky week that was!!!
The reason I started Wayniac Nation, for those that are still unaware, was my complete and utter disdain for ESPN. I think a majority of their anchors are hacks and that their programming has become complete fluff. As I have said before, they are the TMZ/ Enquirer of sports. I get way more from my daily dose of Chuck and Chernoff than I do from ten minutes of SportsCenter. The coverage of the LeBron James Decision Part Deux has only justified my remorse.
That said, the biggest sports news of the week comes from the NBA. First overall pick Andrew Wiggins completely outplayed second overall pick Jabari Parker in their first meeting Friday in the NBA rookie summer league from Las Vegas. Elsewhere, LeBron James, aka The King, aka The Chosen One, also returned home to Cleveland, the place he left four years ago to rise to amazing heights in Miami while Cleveland sunk into obscurity. Fans burned Bron’s jerseys when he left for the Heat, Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert said some harsh words about his character, and people across the nation deemed The Decision as the biggest egotistical piece of horse manure they ever had to endure. And now he is back. The Cavaliers went from 60-1 underdogs for the NBA title to the 3-1 overall favorites to win the whole dang thing. Here’s the thing: if this whole sign and trade with the Lakers and Bulls falls through for Pau Gasol and the Spurs wind up with Gasol, none of this matters. Tim Duncan and Gregg Popovich will have one for the other hand.
This whole thing smells fishy to me. I feel like this was David Stern’s master plan, and if any league in the world would set something up simply for ratings, it is certainly the soap opera that the NBA is. No one cared when Bron was in Cleveland, so did the NBA ship him to Miami, a major market, to revive the fading NBA viewership? You can’t argue that it didn’t work. The NBA is back and now, LeBron can go home. Maybe I give to much credit to the Illuminati, but I feel like that this was all set up four years ago. And now poor Carmelo Anthony has resigned with New York. I guess this guy never wants to win a championship, but at least he got a chip with my boys up in ‘Cuse!
Moving on to futbol, today is the day we find out the kings of the world. The 2014 World Cup concludes today with Agrentina facing off against Germany. Germany decimated host country Brazil, scoring more times in six minutes than seniors do on prom night. It was unreal and seemed entirely too easy. Four goals in six minutes and a nation was left crying. CRYING!!! Could you imagine if Jimmy Dugan was the coach?
Lionel Messi gets the chance to add the final piece to his ultimate trophy collection and prove that he truly is the best player in the world. Argentina advanced to the finals after a grueling 120 minutes of nothing. Seriously, that game was why it is so hard to get Americans to completely convert to futbol. Then, when nothing was decided, they turned to penalty kicks. I like the concept of penalty kicks, but I do have a problem with such a big game being decided by them. They are largely luck, either the goalie chooses correctly and dives in the right direction, or you lose. Regular season games, sure. Quarter final games, why not? But once you are in the semi finals, I think you play until someone scores. And if players start collapsing then so be it! Could you imaging Game 7 of the World Series tied after 10 innings and they go to a home run derby to decide the world champion? Wait a second, that actually sounds amazing!
Speaking of the MLB, Clayton Kershaw and Tim Lincecum continue to do ridiculous things with the baseball. Kershaw’s scoreless innings streak was snapped at 41 yet he still hurled a complete game. His last seven starts are video game-esque: he has allowed a mere three runs while striking out 71 and walking six with a no hitter along the way. The Freak has been equally superb allowing just one run over his last four starts with a no hitter as well. Meanwhile, the Yankees have one, ONE, starting pitcher in their rotation that started the season with them. Looks like I picked the right year to start writing for my favorite team. Oooo, can I really line up that Jeff Francis interview now?
The NHL free agency period continued this week.
Lastly, the Andre Johnson soap opera continues out of Houston in the NFL. Andre wants out, but John McClain, who knows more about the Texans than Gary Kubiak ever did, says Johnson isn’t going anywhere. Due to his hefty contract, the Texans won’t trade Johnson and eat all of that money, so the question remains whether he will hold out or play. Across the state in Dallas, Kyle Orton still hasn’t reported either, leaving Brandon Weeden the backup for Tony Romo. That is the worst sentence ever typed in the history of the NFL.
Another week of sports is in the books. We have a lot on deck here at Wayniac Nation this coming week, including a look into why minor league baseball is so much fun. When you are finally Bron-ed out, come on back and check out some quality sports insights! Till next time.. MESSI MESSI MESSI!!!!
Yet another week of sports has found its way into the books. (Incidentally, I always wondered what books stuff seems to find its way into, especially with the Internet and Wikipedia these days. But I digress…) It’s also the last day of my ten day road trip up and down the east coast. After taking in a lovely Single-A Hickory Crawdads baseball game last night, I am ready to head home. But not before one last week in review from the road!
The final four in the World Cup is set. The host nation of Brazil is set to take on Germany on Tuesday, while the upstart Netherlands club, who sent my beloved Ticans of Costa Rica home yesterday vi penalty kicks, is ready to play Argentina. The big news moving forward is that two of the biggest names in the world will be absent from the pitch for the remainder of the Cup. Sergio Aguero of Argentina remained sidelined but hopes to be prepared for the semi finals, although it looks bleak. Brazil lost Beats By Dre spokesperson Neymar for the remainder of the Cup. He broke a vertebra in his back on a controversial play against Colombia and would eventually be airlifted to a hospital. His absence could invoke them to play stronger to bring home the Cup for him, or it could be a devastating blow as he is their clear cut leader. This past Tuesday brought an end to the United States impressive run. Although many were happy and proud of this team, I saw it a little differently. In case you missed last Wednesday’s story, here are the three reasons you should not be happy with the USMNT performance in the World Cup. Also, as depicted in the picture above, the largest locust in the history of the world assisted in a goal for Colombia’s James Rodriguez. After the game, the locust tested positive for PEDs.
Does Josh Gordon simply not want to play in the NFL? Justin Blackmon Part Deux was arrested on Saturday morning for a DUI after blowing a 0.9. This of course comes after he was caught in May for marijuana. While Gordon seems like a blast to hang out with, his 2015 season and career are clearly in jeopardy. This would be a huge blow to the Browns and fantasy geeks nationwide. For those of you who don’t know Josh Gordon, he was the guy who made Brandon Weeden, Brian Hoyer, and Jason “Captain Checkdown” Campbell look like NFL quarterbacks last season. Johnny Manziel reportedly tweeted how angry he was at Gordon as Mr. Football felt he was the only Browns’ player allowed to hog the limelight. In other big NFL news, Jimmy Graham was declared a tight end and not a wide receiver as he had hoped in his franchise tag ruling. So if you get a chance, please tweet Jimmy (whose own Twitter account says he’s a tight end, Einstein) and tell him how sorry you are for him that he has to make ONLY a little over seven million this season while he negotiates what will most likely be the largest tight end contract of all time.
Queen James and the Big Three are still currently unsigned in the NBA. Early reports were that LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh were negotiating amongst themselves to figure out a way to get all three back together on the Heat next season. Now, there are reports surfacing that James may indeed go his own way, with Phoenix being a potential suitor. I guess he figures Phoenix will be a shorter flight home from San Antonio when he loses to Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili, aka The Real Big Three, again next season. In other NBA news, the 2014 draft picks have started play in the Orlando Summer League. Shabazz Napier and Marcus Smart had shaky debuts but finished out strong. Nerlens Noel impressed everyone, dropping 19 points while grabbing two boards, and adding three assists, four steals and one block in his first professional performance.
How do you describe the play of Clayton Kershaw of late? Gnarly? Sick? Silly? Whatever you choose, Kershaw has decimated MLB lineups and has now dealt 36 consecutive scoreless innings over 32 innings while allowing a mere 13 hits while striking out 44 and walking four! That’s insane. Kershaw is honing in on his second consecutive season with an ERA under 1.90 and back-to-back Cy Young Awards. That would give him three in four years at the age of 26. That’s right, folks, Kershaw is just hitting his pitching prime. Throw on top of it that he just got paid some serious loot and unlike other divas in the world of sports, he’s still actually performing! We are watching something truly special in LA and pretty soon everyone of his starts is going to be a prime time game. Across the country, this past July 4th marked the 75th anniversary of Lou Gehrig’s immortal farewell speech. The greatest first baseman of all-time gave a speech on July 4, 1939 that rivals any ever given. It evokes tears and gives chills to every sports fan to this day.
BONEHEAD OF THE WEEK AWARD: Finally some NHL news that is worthy to write about. Philadelphia Flyers’ captain and forward Claude Giroux was arrested on Canada Day in Ontario for repeatedly grabbing a male police officer’s rear end. Seriously. I didn’t even have to make any of that up, so I say thank you Claude. According to USA Today, Giroux said, “”I regret my actions on Canada Day and sincerely apologize to my fans, teammates and the Philadelphia Flyers organization for my misguided attempt at humor.” Don’t sell yourself short, pal, you’re the funniest hockey player to ever live. Well, next to these guys at least:
There you have it. An entire week in less than 1000 words. Hope everyone had a good Fourth of July Weekend and stay tuned for another wacky week of sports!!!