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Fantasy Football 2011: Week 4 Waiver Wire

09.27.11 at 12:03 pm ET
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Here is a look at the best waiver wire additions for week four. If you play in a really deep format, check out our full waiver wire column at Rotobahn.com coming out later today where we have even more options.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, QB, Bills

He’€™s looked very good obviously and it’€™s always encouraging when a player performs against a Bill Belichick defense. He’€™s been largely good since taking over as the starter last year, and he’€™s got a great array of weapons to work with. He’€™s a guy you can start in all formats right now. Of course, he is only available in about 10% of leagues.  Nevertheless, you should get him if you need help and he’€™s there.

Chad Henne, QB, Dolphins

Henne is proving to be a serviceable QB2 for fantasy GMs. Brandon Marshall gives him a top-flight weapon and Miami is playing more aggressively on offense this year. He’€™s a good pickup if you need QB depth.

Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers

He’€™s a Rotobahn favorite, but the big reason for his inclusion here is the injury to Frank Gore. Hunter is clearly the next back up in the 49ers’€™ pecking order, and he showed why by finding the zone in week three. He won’€™t be flying under the radar much longer–if at all. Nevertheless, he is still available in 82% of CBS leagues and we’€™d snatch him up in most formats.

Jonathan Stewart, RB, Panthers

He’€™s largely taken, but he’€™s available in a few leagues that I am in, so he is worth mentioning. I wish I had a decent ‘€œcut’€ player so I could go get him, but I have Ben Tate and Arian Foster on my bench. He should be owned in all formats. Stewart is the Panthers back to own at this point as their offense becomes more and more diverse.  He is a superior player in the passing game in comparison to starter DeAngelo Williams, and he’€™s right there with him as a ball carrier.

Read the rest of this entry »

Pressure points: Which Patriot defenders have been getting after opposing quarterbacks?

09.27.11 at 9:35 am ET
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According to official NFL gamebooks, opposing quarterbacks have 129 dropbacks against the Patriots through three games this season, and have been hit by New England defenders a total of 16 times, to go along with six sacks (the latter of which is tied for 20th in the league). Here’s a breakdown of who has been getting to the quarterback for the Patriots:

Quarterback hits:
Linebacker Dane Fletcher: Four
Defensive lineman Vince Wilfork: Three
Defensive lineman Myron Pryor: Three
Defensive end/linebacker Mark Anderson: Two
Linebacker Rob Ninkovich: Two
Defensive end Andre Carter: One
Safety Pat Chung: One

Sacks:
Anderson: Two
Chung: One
Ninkovich: One
Carter: 0.5
Wilfork: 0.5
Pryor: 0.5
Mike Wright: 0.5

Read More: Andre Carter, Dane Fletcher, Mark Anderson, Mike Wright

Beer company sues Patriots for backing out of deal

09.27.11 at 7:48 am ET
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Beer company MillerCoors filed suit against the Patriots Monday after the team backed out of an exclusive deal that would have run from 2012-19, according to CNBC’s Darren Rovell.

MillerCoors, which has been a sponsors of the Patriots for almost a decade, claims it had a deal in place before the Patriots backed out and gave a similar package to competitor Anheuser-Busch InBev.

“We appreciate competition, but we respect the integrity of a deal above all else,” MillerCoors vice president of media and marketing services Jackie Woodward said.

Read More: MillerCoors, Patriots,

WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 4

09.27.11 at 7:14 am ET
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The first month of the NFL season is complete and teams are shooting up and down the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Patriots held the No. 2 spot for two straight weeks but fall to No. 4 after giving up a 21-point lead to the Bills. Speaking of the upstart Bills, Ryan Fitzpatrick and his team take their league-leading 113 points all the way to No. 8. Right ahead of the undefeated Bills is the undefeated Lions (7).

Falling fast are the Falcons (12), Eagles (13), and Bears (16). All three teams lost in divisional games. To add injury to insult for the Eagles, Michael Vick had to leave the game once again. This time it was for a deep bone bruise to his right hand (originally it was thought to be broken).

Take a look at the 12 teams ranked 20-32. It’s safe to say there’s a lot of parity between the bad teams in the league. From the 49ers (20) on down to the Colts (32), the overall quality of those teams is similar. However, only one of those inferior teams will get a ticket to the playoffs. The NFC West should “feel shame” with its four squads: 49ers (20), Rams (21), Seahawks (29), and Cardinals (30).

1. (1) Packers (3-0) ‘€” In a rematch of the NFC championship game, the Packers went into Chicago and got a huge win. Aaron Rodgers has done a great job utilizing all of his weapons on offense. The talented running backs, wide receivers and tight ends create major mismatches across the field. There are few defenses in the NFL that will have an answer for this elite offensive group. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: aaron rodgers, Drew Brees, NFL Power Rankings, Rex Ryan

Should Devin McCourty just have let Fred Jackson score? It’s not that simple

09.26.11 at 8:19 pm ET
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FOXBORO — The pivotal play of the game-winning drive by the Bills on Sunday proposes one of the most intriguing questions in all of football. How do you teach instinct?

When Fred Jackson got loose in the secondary at about the Patriots 25 after hauling in a simple dump pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick and was gaining a head of steam toward the Patriots goal line, there were those watching thinking out loud just let him score to give Tom Brady a chance to drive the team to a game-tying touchdown and force overtime.

Instead, cornerback Devin McCourty stepped in at the Patriots 3 and brought Jackson down. Originally ruled a touchdown, replay from the booth inside the two-minute warning clearly showed his right knee was down as the ball was at the 1-yard line, following a 38-yard gain.

Did McCourty – with the best of intentions – make the wrong decision on the play?

“[Jackson] was the outside guy, he came underneath [and] he caught the ball on a short pass,” Belichick said Monday. “We had two guys converging on him, he split us. Devin made a good play to run him down. We just didn’€™t play well enough, obviously.

In hindsight, is that a situation you go over where you want to let the player score?

“I think the way the play happened, that Devin did what he instinctively would do,” Belichick added. “I wouldn’€™t second-guess him on that.”

But that doesn’t mean you don’t teach.

The play was shown to McCourty, Kyle Arrington and the rest of the secondary in Monday’s film session.

“All of us can look at it and we can all learn from those types of situations,” Arrington said.

So what was learned on Monday in film class?

“I guess you let the guy score, therefore give our offense a chance to go down and score themselves,” Arrington conceded.

Read More: Bill Belichick, Buffalo Bills, Devin McCourty, Fred Jackson

McClain: Patriots are a ‘finesse’ team

09.26.11 at 6:12 pm ET
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Calling the Patriots a ‘€œfinesse team,’€ Oakland linebacker Rolando McClain told reporters in the Bay Area Monday the Raiders were looking forward to facing New England on Sunday in Oakland.

‘€œ(It’€™s a) huge game. One of the best teams in the league and they’€™ve been a premiere team in the league for a while,’€ McClain said. ‘€œJust another way to measure where we are right now. Just go out and compete against these guys.’€

Asked if the Patriots are different from the physical Jets (who the Raiders beat on Sunday), McClain agreed.

‘€œThis is just a finesse team,’€ said McClain, who is second on the Raiders with 23 tackles. ‘€œI mean, Tom Brady‘€™s a smart guy, has many weapons around him, with his receivers as well as his tight ends. His tight ends are playing great right now.’€

Read More: Rolando McClain, Tom Brady,

Vince Wilfork on The Big Show: ‘We’re inconsistent as a defense’

09.26.11 at 5:15 pm ET
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Patriots defensive tackle Vince Wilfork made his weekly appearance on “The Big Show” Monday afternoon and addressed the team’s loss Sunday in Buffalo after leading 21-0.

Wilfork acknowledged the defense has plenty of room for improvement, but also cautioned that it is too early in the season to jump to any conclusions.

“There’s things that we certainly have to get better at, but we have to play more consistently,” Wilfork said. “At times we do have things called where we execute it [well]. It turns out okay. When you don’t execute it, you give up a big play.”

Wilfork also addressed the higher scoring games in the NFL this season. On Sunday, New Orleans beat Houston in a 40-33 shoot-out. Baltimore scored 37 points in its game against St. Louis. Oakland beat the Jets 34-24. Although Wilfork is a defensive player, he said he does not mind the high scores as long as he is on the winning end of it.

“I don’t care if it’s 100-101,” Wilfork said. “As long as we have the 101, we win. Get away with the W. That’s the key.”

Following are more highlights from the conversation. To hear the interview, go to The Big Show audio on demand page. Read the rest of this entry »

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