This week we're joined by one of our staff writers, Graham Sell. You can check out Graham's article every week reviewing the state of our drinkfive fantasy league. I want to thank Graham again for making the trip up all the way from Florida to join us.
We had a couple of excellent brews during the show, the Bitchin' Blonde from Lake Effect Brewing Compay in Chicago and the Imperial Hatter from New Holland Brewing Company in New Holland Michigan. Both of these were excellent, but of course I'm partial to the Hatter, which is a hop loaded IPA.
So, the Arizona Cardinals are undefeated. Wonders will never cease, no? We also talked about the current crop of rookie QB's and we tried to pick between Bortles and Bridgewater. Green Bay is having a poor start and we tried to diagnose the patient to figure out what they need to cure them and make those guys fantasy relevant again. Dave then tries (and succeeds) to show that the high drafted WR's are much more durable and valuable than the high drafted RB's.
Week 9 featured plenty of winners and losers (an equal amount of each, as it turns out), but who wants to hear about losers anyway? Here's a breakdown of 10 real winners in week 9.
- Ben Roethlisberger, step right up into the history books. Ben is the only QB in NFL history to have thrown for 12 TD's total over two consecutive games. He has 862 passing yards in those two games, and a glorious zero interceptions. The Steelers seem unstoppable right now, manhandling the likes of the Colts and Ravens, both good teams. All of Ben's offensive weapons seem to be playing well during this stretch, and rookie Martavis Bryant is a sensation, scoring 5 TD's in his first 3 games. The Steelers have two more juicy matchups against the Jets and Titans before they go on bye for Week 12.
- Jeremy Hill lead all RB's with 28.3 pts in standard scoring leagues in Week 9. Hill was called upon with Giovani Bernard out with multiple ailments, and delivered in a big way. Hill put up 154 yards with 2 TD's and added 1 catch for 9 yards. Hill showed great versatility, scoring on a 1-yard run, doing short yardage work, and torching the Jags in the fourth quarter with a 60-yard touchdownrun that sealed the game for the Bengals. Hill should get the start at least one more time as the Bengals play on Thursday night next and will likely sit Bernard one more week. Don't expect 20+ carries to continue for Hill once Gio is back.
- Mark Sanchez played three quarters in relief on Sunday, leading the Eagles to victory in Houston. Impressive is the best word to describe Sanchez's play in this game, but is it really a surprise? This is a guy, after all, who played in two straight AFC championship games while being a wild card team each year. Enough about the past though, how well did he really do Sunday? Pretty damn well, from the coach's perspective. Sanchez had 202 yards passing on 22 attempts, so very efficient. He also found the Eagles best target Jeremy Maclin early and often. Finishing the game with 2 TD's and 2 INT's shows there's still room for improvement, but the early indications are the Sanchez could finish the season as the Eagles' starting QB.
- Brady vs Manning #87 (or whatever) wasn't that different than most of the previous matchups. Peyton "Crybaby" Manning (This is about as tongue-in-cheek as it gets. We used to poke fun at him, but he's seriously a QB god at this point...anyways) struggled in bad weather in Foxboro and the Patriots smashed his team. Manning is now 5-11 against Brady, and while his stats weren't bad for fantasy, his 57 pass attempts show that they were not balanced on offense at all, mostly due to being down for the whole game. Make any team one-dimensional, and Bill Belichick will own them every time. So who is the winner here? Clearly it's Tom Brady owners, who after sticking out a really bad start, have been rewarded with 27.4 points per game over the last 5 games.
- Terrance West continues his march up the Browns depth chart. He's already passed Isaiah Crowell, but on Sunday he also out-touched Ben Tate 16 to 14. West is a rookie still, but has run the ball OK on an offense that isn't that great. His biggest splash on Sunday was his pass blocking. He picked up a huge block in the 4th quarter which gave Brian Hoyer time to find Taylor Gabriel for a 34 yard TD in the 4th quarter, sealing the win for the Browns. The Browns are now a comfortable 5-3 and don't have a particularly tough schedule going forward. As for West, he will settle into the main role for the remainder of the season, but look for more of a committee approach on Thursday night with the short rest. Bonus: Check out Terrance West's awesome block.
- No team was as impressive on Sunday as the Miami Dolphins. They thoroughly whooped the Chargers, who yes, had to play at 1pm on the east coast. But seriously, is it that hard on a professional athlete going from San Diego to Miami. Life's tough, I know. Back to the Dolphins and Ryan Tannehill, who would likely be discussed as one of the better young QB's if it wasn't for Ben Roethlisberger throwing a TD every few minutes. Tannehill is now a must-start in 2 QB formats and is a great streaming option with lots of bye weeks coming up. One more note about the Chargers - I have never seen a team do something like win 31-0 and lose 37-0 in the same season...only 5 weeks apart too! It takes a special kind of...well special to accomplish that.
- The Cardinals have established themselves as the best team in the NFC thus far. They have lots of things to hang their hat on so far - they are the the last team in the league with only 1 loss and they are the first team to hold Demarco Murray to under 100 yards rushing. On a side note - congrats to Demarco for beating the great Jim Brown's record by two games! The Cardinals are getting contributions from everyone on their team on offense, including a bunch of people that were anonymous in the fantasy world at the start of the season, like John Carlson, Jaron Brown and Marion Grice. The Cardinals have the offense and defense to keep winning games, and if they secure the #1 seed in the playoffs, they will be a tough team to beat since they seem to have an answer for everyone they play in the NFC.
- The Rams defense was quiet stat-wise to start the season, but they have really turned it up lately. Sacking Colin Kaepernick7 times is a great way to get a win on the road, it turns out. The defense nearly lost the game too, but had perhaps the play of their season when they recovered a Kaepernick fumble with just seconds left in the game. The Niners had just drove all the way down to the Rams 1 yard-line and were positioned for a winning score or at least a tying FG. Kaepernick fumbled away the game and James Laurinaitis was there to scoop it up and secure the Rams victory. The Rams DST should be a good start later on in the season, but they do need to play Denver before you want to try and grab them.
- On a day when everything went right for the Chiefs, they were not going to be denied victory. After a first quarter crazy tipped pass touchdown to Anthony Fasano, you knew it was the Chiefs' day. Jamaal Charles continued his excellent production, gaining 88 yards from scrimmage and scoring a TD and Alex Smith was very serviceable with 199 yards and 2TD's and no picks to go with that. In all, a pretty ho-hum afternoon for the efficient but not flash Kansas City offense. The Jets were a little more interesting, if only because of their drama. While giving Geno Smith a timeout and having Michael Vick start, there is talk that Vick might not be available in Week 10. Vick wasn't great, but he wasn't bad either, not turning the ball over, but only scoring 1 TD.
- The Seahawks are just not the same team they were 11 months ago. With a record of only 5-3, you would have still expected them to handle the 0-8 Raiders better than they did, letting it come down to an onside kick at the end of the game. Russell Wilson may be the biggest up and down QB in fantasy football, scoring in the 20's just once, but in the 30's twice. He tends to have huge games, or games where he's just managing things and handing the ball the Marshawn Lynch all day. Don't expect this pattern to change much as the Seahawks will want to milk every last carry out of Lynch before they (likely) part ways with him at the end of the season.
Last time we spoke about fantasy, we broke down the AFC east, starting with the Super Bowl champion Patriots. This time, we will head west and cover the NFC west, starting with the Super Bowl losing Seahawks.
Signed Marshawn Lynch to a 2-year contract extension. Beast mode is staying put in Seattle for, presumably, the rest of the prime of his career. Maybe they’ll remember to give him the ball on the goal line in the 4th quarter the next time they’re in the Super Bowl. The biggest trade in the offseason saw Seattle acquiring Jimmy Graham from the Saints. This finally gives Russell Wilson a pro-bowl caliber pass catcher and is a huge upgrade for the offense.
They cut Zach Miller – don’t need him now, and besides, they have the other Willson for 2 TE sets. They also lost center Max Unger (as well as 2015’s first round pick) in the Jimmy Graham trade. This trade is still a net gain for the Seahawks offense, as they already have a center on the roster that filled in for Unger while he was out for 10 games last year.
Michael Bennett wants a new contract after just getting a new one last year. So far, he hasn’t reported to voluntary workouts. The Seahawks haven't made a ton of moves, their roster is already rather stacked (at non-fantasy positions)! They still just have Doug Baldwin and Jermaine Kearse at WR, and added Graham. I think all they need is Wilson and Beast-mode.
Signed Mike Iupati, a stellar guard from the 49ers. Iupati is signed to a 5 year deal, so he should anchor their line for quite some time. They also signed LaMarr Woodley, veteran LB who was on the Raiders last year.
Jonathan Dwyer – after his arrest, that’s a “no duh”. Rob Housler is no longer their TE, but that’s not really a position of great focus on this offense. Antonio Cromartie went back to the Jets. Larry Foote retired, Ted Ginn was released and signed with the Panthers and Darnell Dockett (D-lineman) was released to allow salary cap space.
The Cards need a QB, and they're going to wind up going with one less as they haven't offered a deal to Ryan Lindley. Maybe they want to draft one? They kept Larry Fitz, and they will ride with Ellington / Stepfan Taylor and Kerwynn Williams at running back.
Torrey Smith signed with the team, leaving the Ravens. He’ll be teamed up with Anquan Bolden for quite the 1-2 punch. Reggie Bush will provide a great change of pace behind an impressive Carlos Hyde. They also signed Darnell Dockett, Jerome Simpson, and of course Jim Tomsula as their new head coach.
Frank Gore, who seemed eternal in San Francisco, is finally gone and went to Indy. Patrick Willis and Chris Borland both retired due to future injury concerns / they didn't want to destroy their body playing football. They also lost (addition by subtraction?) coach Jim Harbaugh. Mike Iupati went to Arizona, Michael Crabtree signed with Oakland, and they cut Stevie Johnson.
The biggest change has got to be the coaching staff and the fact that there will be a new system. There's a ton of fantasy potential on this team now, so the 49ers could be in for a big turn-around, if they can get their in-house stuff in order. Of course, if you listen to our podcast, we both basically decided that it’s most likely that the 49ers finish last in the division this year.
Nick Foles is their new starting QB, one would assume, after acquiring him from the Eagles in a trade. They signed Nick Fairley, one of the best DL's in the league who played with Suh and joins the team that had the best line last year. They also added LB Akeem Ayers from the Pats - they will have a great defense again this year. Case Keenum has been signed from Houston as the backup QB, which is a rather important role in St Louis in recent years.
Sam Bradford & Shaun Hill have been shown the door. I'm sure people in St Louis are saying "good riddance" to these guys. The Rams must be sick of Bradford's annual injuries and swapped him for Nick Foles. I’m not sure if the mad genius Chip Kelly just doesn’t like Foles, or if he has some crazy grand plan with all of his QB’s. What I do know is that the Rams didn’t really upgrade or downgrade their QB situation, but I suspect that Foles has a higher upside.
The Rams vs Steelers in week 3 should be sweet, as defense usually is stronger early, before the offenses can get rolling. Games that feature strength vs strength are always entertaining. They still only have Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin, so the receiving core is awful for now. Jared Cook is not likely to pick up the slack (ala Jimmy Graham). Tre Mason is still a bit unproven, but could be excellent if there are other playmakers on the offense to take some attention away from him. This is all going to be on Nick Foles to make something out of the offense.
John Brown, a man of action -- a man who would not be deterred from his mission of abolishing slavery. Crap, wrong John Brown. But like the former John Brown, John Brown is a man of action and is also on a mission. Brown is an interesting target and has been climbing up draft boards over the last month. His ADP has gone from the 10th round, to the 7th. Heck, I have seen him go as early as the 5th!
Brown is from the college football powerhouse of Pittsburgh State. Fine, maybe not a powerhouse college but he is the all time leader of the Gorillas in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns. I will not even begin to get into the countless awards and the recognition he gained for his work on Special Teams. John Brown was drafted by the Cardinals in 2014 in the third round (91st overall) and had a 48/696/5 stat line last year.
In the off-season, Brown actually lived and worked out with Carson Palmer. They worked on getting their timing down and getting on the same page. This is nice to hear and see. Both players are committed to getting better in 2015 and Brown can learn a lot from a veteran like Palmer. It was also reported that Brown put on 10lbs in an effort to shed press coverage.
With a year under his belt and having adjusted more to the NFL's level of play, the Cardinals are going to find more ways to get the ball into Brown’s hands. Last season he only rushed 3 times for -6 yards. There will be more reverses and quick screens to get the ball to the speedster. With Fitzgerald drawing attention from defenses and Floyd missing fingers, watch out for Brown. If Palmer stays healthy, all signs point to him having a great season.
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!