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Fantasy Football: Week 13 waiver wire

11.26.13 at 9:40 am ET
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Welcome to the Week 13 waiver wire, and happy Thanksgiving to all! It’€™s crunch time in most fantasy football leagues as teams fight for a spot in the playoffs or for a playoff bye. I’€™ve done my best to give you a wide array of choices, and I will be adding players all day over at Rotobahn for those of you who play in deeper formats. I’€™ll be back later this week with the starts and sits plus another Sunday chat. I hope to see you there!


Carson Palmer, Cardinals

You can add him in 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and he’€™s been on fire for fantasy purposes the last few weeks. Palmer has the weaponry to succeed, and his schedule is good enough with the probable exception of Week 16 at Seattle, though the Seahawks have taken a big hit in their secondary. Palmer is a fantasy asset in any format.

Read More: Andre Brown, Carson Palmer, Josh McCown, Matt Flynn

In Focus: Charting offensive opportunities for Patriots skill position players

11.26.13 at 9:15 am ET
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Every week over the course of the regular season, we’€™ll present a list of the Patriots’€™ ‘€œoffensive touches,’€ a running tally of which one of the offensive skill position players is getting the most looks. Like our weekly look at targets, it can occasionally be an inexact stat, but it remains a good barometer of how confident the coaches (and quarterback) are when it comes to the skill position players at their disposal. Eleven games into the regular season, here’€™s a breakdown of the New England offense for 2013:

RB Stevan Ridley: 144 (135 rushes, 9 catches), 12 negative rushes, 1 negative reception, 4 fumbles lost
RB LeGarrette Blount: 82 (82 rushes, 0 catches), 8 negative runs, 2 fumbles lost
RB Brandon Bolden: 69 (51 rushes, 18 catches), 4 negative runs, 1 negative reception
WR Julian Edelman: 63 (2 rushes, 61 catches), 6 dropped passes
RB Shane Vereen: 48 (25 rushes, 23 catches)
WR Aaron Dobson: 35 (0 rushes, 35 catches), 1 negative reception, 7 dropped passes
WR Danny Amendola: 33 (1 rush, 32 catches), 1 negative reception
TE Rob Gronkowski: 31 (0 rushes, 31 catches)
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 31 (0 rushes, 31 catches), 7 dropped passes
QB Tom Brady: 25 (25 rushes, 0 catches), 30 sacks, 15 kneeldowns, 3 fumbles lost
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 10 (0 rushes, 10 catches)
WR Austin Collie: 3 (0 rushes, 3 catches)
FB James Develin: 2 (0 rushes, 2 catches)
RB Leon Washington: 1 (1 rush, 0 catches)
TE Matthew Mulligan: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)
WR Josh Boyce: 1 (0 rushes, 1 catch)

Some offensive notes: The Patriots ran 84 plays on Sunday against the Broncos and 39 of them were in shotgun, a rate of 46 percent. To this point in the season, the Patriots have been in shotgun formation on 330 of their 784 offensive snaps, a rate of 42 percent. (Last year through 11 games, the Patriots were in the shotgun for 393 of their 839 plays, a rate of 47 percent.) ‘€¦ Against the Broncos, the Patriots were in no-huddle for 4 of their 84 snaps, a rate of 5 percent. On the year, the Patriots have operated in a no-huddle on 109 of their 784 plays from scrimmage ‘€” 14 percent of the time. ‘€¦ New England has run 784 offensive plays this year in 11 games. Not counting kneeldowns, 58 have been for negative yardage. Of the 84 plays Monday against the Panthers, four went for negative yardage ‘€” three sacks of Brady, as well as negative runs from Ridley, Bolden and Brady.

By way of comparison, here’s a look at the offensive breakdown through 11 games last season.

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Target Practice: Tracking opportunities in Patriots passing game

11.26.13 at 7:00 am ET
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Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat ‘€” a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback ‘€” it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown for the New England passing game after the first 11 games of the 2013 season:

WR Julian Edelman: 61 catches on 89 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 35 catches on 72 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 32 catches on 50 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 31 catches on 66 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 31 catches on 49 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 18 catches on 24 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 23 catches on 32 targets
TE Michael Hoomanawanui: 10 catches on 14 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 9 catches on 10 targets
WR Austin Collie: 3 catches on 7 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
WR Josh Boyce: 1 catch on 6 targets
TE Matthew Mulligan: 1 catch on 2 targets
TE Zach Sudfeld: 0 catches on 3 targets
RB LeGarrette Blount: 0 catches on 2 targets
RB Leon Washington: 0 catches on 1 target
TE/OL Nate Solder: 0 catches on 1 target

By position
Wide receiver: 163 catches on 290 targets
Running back/fullback: 52 catches on 71 targets
Tight end: 42 catches on 68 targets
Other: 0 catches on 1 target

By way of comparison, here’s a look at how the targets broke down through the first 11 games last season.

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Chandler Jones loves the ‘guys that Bill Belichick has put on this team’

11.25.13 at 9:08 pm ET
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Sometimes it takes more than just pure toughness to get back into a game when all hope appears lost.

Chandler Jones reminded everyone of that Monday in the hours after he and the Patriots defense limited Peyton Manning to one second-half touchdown and held steady as Tom Brady got the team back in the game.

“I feel like it’€™s more than the mental toughness,” Jones told’s Chris Price. “It’€™s just the kind of guys that Bill Belichick has put on this team. I feel like we have guys that are willing to put 110 percent on every snap on every play. You can talk about Brandon Spikes. He had a great game. He went out there and he recovered a fumble. It’€™s certain things, just the camaraderie and the brotherhood and how we work so well together and that’€™s the progression you’€™re going to get.”

Jones was one of five defensive players to play all 90 snaps. Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon, Rob Ninkovich and Chris Jones) were the other four and are certainly among the “guys” to whom Jones was referring.

After playing 73 minutes of draining football, including a sack and six total tackles, what was the day after like?

“First thing I’€™ll say, I’€™m very sleepy, to be honest with you,” Jones said, after tweeting “goodnight!” at about 3 a.m. on Monday. “But I feel great to go out there and get a good win and to see our team battle like that for more than 60 minutes, actually. I looked at the snap count, we played 90 snaps defensively, so [inaudible] and have to keep moving forward.”

Does Jones feel good about where his team is right now with the post-Thanksgiving stretch looming?

“Personally, I feel like we have to take it one game at a time, one play at a time and try to execute and be perfect that one play or that one game ‘€“ never look back, never look forward, just take it where you are now,” Jones said. “That’€™s my take on that.

“Just go ‘€“ just keep going, don’€™t stop. No matter what the score is, just keep going. That should be the motto for everyone not just the rookies, but for any team and not just for our team. Any team that saw us play the other night, I’€™m pretty sure that there are other players that watched that game and it just goes to show don’€™t stop, just keep going.

“It was an emotional win but it’€™s over. I would say take some time off and celebrate but I celebrated it last night in my dreams when I was asleep. That’€™s about it and we’€™re moving on to Houston.”

Read More: chandler jones, Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, nfl

Julian Edelman comes through again in clutch for Patriots

11.25.13 at 7:06 pm ET
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As a free agent, he didn’t inspire the same passion as any of the other big names who were coming or going from Foxboro this past offseason. But Julian Edelman has had just a big an impact in 2013 as any one of the free agent moves that impacted the Patriots.

Edelman, who signed a one-year deal to come back to Foxboro after taking exactly one free-agent visit — the Giants — has been immense for the New England receiving corps this year. Through 11 games, he has a team-high 61 catches (tied for 11th in the league) for 610 yards and four touchdowns, all of which represent career-highs for the former college quarterback.

But it’s not just the numbers that are impressive — it’s how they’ve been compiled. Time and again on Sunday night, when the Patriots needed to move the chains, Brady went to Edelman. The former college quarterback responded with nine catches for 110 yards and a pair of touchdowns, his second two-touchdown game of the 2013 season. That stat line includes four of the 10 longest plays from scrimmage against the Broncos, with the capper coming on a 43-yard reception in the third-quarter where he got two Denver defenders to bite on a fake work himself into the open.

‘€œHe’€™s been so dependable and consistent all year for our team,’€ quarterback Tom Brady said of Edelman, who has accounted for 24 percent of all of Brady’s completions through 11 games. ‘€œHe’€™s been the one veteran player on our offense that’€™s been in there and has been around. He always does a great job. He’€™s tough, smart, disciplined. It’€™s fun to see him do well because he deserves it.’€

Which means that despite the resurgence from tight end Rob Gronkowski, running back Shane Vereen and wide receiver Danny Amendola — and even though his numbers have taken a small hit since he started the season on a red-hot pace — Edelman figures to play a sizable role in the passing game going forward.

“[Sunday], my number was called a few times and I was able to have a couple opportunities and I just try to take advantage of them,” said Edelman. “A couple games back it was [Kenbrell Thompkins], [Aaron Dobson], Danny [Amendola.] That’€™s our job ‘€“ our job is to be able to get open and catch the football, and I was able to do that a few times.”

Edelman, who has seen 28 of his 61 catches go for a first down, not only has tremendous offensive value, but is really distinguished by his work as a punt returner. He’s averaged 11.7 yards per return over the course of the first 11 games, and has become one of the most consistent returners in the league the last few seasons — he has one of the best career averages in the history of the NFL when it comes to return yardage.

Against the Broncos, he had three returns for 39 yards, including a 20-yarder. He wasn’t immune to the fumble issues that plagued everyone on Sunday because of the wind and cold — he muffed a punt return of his own in the early going before corralling the ball.

The conditions made it a rough one for everyone.

“I fumbled a punt after I muffed one, so that’s not that good,” Edelman said. “[The wind had] a pretty decent effect in the kicking game, more so than the passing game. But I mean, both sides had to deal with it. I mean, we muffed one, so I’€™ll probably get yelled at for that one, so we’€™ll see.”

Even if he does hear it from the coach when it comes to post game film review, there’s the very real likelihood he’ll also hear some good things.

“Julian did a great job,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said after the game. “First of all, he did a good job of handling the ball, especially in the third and fourth quarter there. Made a couple good runs with the ball in his hands, also got open, caught the ball. The end route he got there gave us the field position in the overtime, it was a big play.

“Julian is a tough competitor.”

Read More: Julian Edelman, Tom Brady,

Pats-Broncos highest-rated prime-time November game in 17 years

11.25.13 at 1:45 pm ET
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Sunday night’s Patriots-Broncos game on NBC posted a 17.0 overnight rating and 28 share, making it the highest-rated prime-time November NFL game since a Steelers-Dolphins game in 1996.

The rating peaked at 17.9/34 from 11:30-midnight, during the game’s closing minutes.

The game is the fifth-highest-ranked game in the eight-year history of Sunday Night Football on NBC, excluding NFL Kickoff games.

Denver had the highest rating of metered markets with a 48.2/71. Boston was second at 37.3/59, followed by Providence at 30.2/46.

The rating was a 26 percent increase over last year’s Season 12 Sunday Night Football game between the Packers and Giants.

Rob Ninkovich on M&M: Bill Belichick’s decision to take wind over ball to start OT showed confidence in defense

11.25.13 at 1:39 pm ET
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Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich joined Mut & Merloni on Monday for his weekly chat, following Sunday night’s 34-31 overtime victory over the Broncos.

Ninkovich was one of the team captains who went on to the field before overtime, and he appeared confused about coach Bill Belichick‘s instructions regarding the coin toss, as Belichick went against conventional wisdom and elected to take the wind rather than the ball.

“Bill came up to each one of us and kind of explained what he wanted,” Ninkovich said. “When we won the toss, I was looking at [Devin McCourty] and I was like, ‘We want the ball, right.’ Because I thought that he was explaining we want — it was just a miscommunication between everybody when we won just of, ‘OK, Bill told us that we want to kick the ball so they’re facing the wind.’ But I guess when we won, it’s a natural instinct on overtime to be like, ‘Oh, yeah, you want the ball, right?’ ”

Ninkovich eventually looked back at the sideline to confirm Belichick’s order that the team wanted to choose the wind over the ball.

“The wind was definitely a factor. So, to have the wind at your back is definitely an advantage,” Ninkovich said. “Bill just had confidence that the defense was kind of getting into a groove there, shutting them down on their third-and-shorts, so they were trying to run those intermediate routes and stuff like that.

“It was a good call, right?”

The Broncos came into the game with the league’s leading passing offense, but they switched to the ground game for this one, with Knowshon Moreno rushing for 224 yards on 37 carries.

“I think when they realized that the wind was a factor and it was kind of difficult to get the ball down the field usually how they would normally run their offense, they just decided let’s get in third-and-manageable, like third-and-shorts so we can throw the ball maybe five to eight yards and pick up the first down,” Ninkovich said. “I think they ran the same play it seemed like 30 to 40 times. It felt like that they just ran the same inside run, inside run. It just felt like they ran it over and over again on first and second down and then they got in their spread, intermediate route type thing on third down.

“I think they might have changed their game plan once they took the field and realized that it was going to be difficult to get the ball down the field.”

Ninkovich was called for a questionable pass interference penalty during Denver’s fourth-quarter drive that led to the game-tying touchdown. On third-and-seven, Ninkovich was called for interfering with Jacob Tamme. The Broncos scored a touchdown on the next play.

“I was really surprised, because I was playing through the guy with my opposite hand to the ball,” Ninkovich said. “I was pushing through to the ball and I dove to get to the ball and the ball was thrown outside. And it almost was uncatchable, because I was right there. I didn’t feel like I tackled or grabbed the guy. I think he did a pretty good job of acting. As I tried to get to the ball, he kind of fell down.

“Again, it’s one of those things that I don’t have too many of those flags thrown on me. So, again, at the time it’s disappointing to have a good third-down stop giving them another chance to score and tie the game up.”

Added Ninkovich: “If I’m looking at the ball, and we’re both playing the ball and I’m trying to get to the ball with my hands, then there’s some contact. It happens when you’re both going for the ball. It’s not like I was just tackling him or just looking at him and he fell. I was looking at the ball the whole time. Again, it’s one of those calls that you just have to move on and move past and hope that it doesn’t affect the game to where you don’t get the win. We won, and I’m happy about that.”

To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

Read More: Bill Belichick, Rob Ninkovich,



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