|Fantasy Football: Week 13 starts, sits||11.30.13 at 8:23 am ET|
Welcome to the starts and sits for Week 13. I’ll be featuring better players than usual because there are no more bye concerns and most fantasy teams, especially those still alive, will be looking at better players when it comes to lineup decisions.
For those who have more questions than this article has answers for, you have two places to go. First, you can hit Rotobahn and consult our full lineup rankings, which will give you a ranking and a “skinny” on just about any player you might be considering in any league. Second, you can come back to WEEI.com tomorrow and participate in our Sunday morning chat where I will answer all of your lineup questions. You’ll find a link to the chat on the homepage in the “This Just In” section.
Tom Brady, Patriots at Texans
Just kidding, folks. This one is an ultra-obvious freebie — meant to do nothing but point out that Rotobahn had the future Hall of Famer on our trade-for list when others were running for cover. For those who stuck with Brady … or dealt for him, enjoy the next few weeks. He’s a QB1, period.
Josh McCown, Bears at Vikings
How often do we recommend a backup quarterback playing on the road? Not that often, but McCown has been very good so far in terms of fantasy production and this matchup is very solid. Start McCown in any format this week and you are in pretty good shape.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers vs. Rams
Two things factor into the decision to make CK a start. First, he looked much better last week. Second, he gets Michael Crabtree back this week. The Rams are not an easy mark, but they can be had, especially when on the road, and this one is at Frisco.
Andrew Luck, Colts vs. Titans
He may not inspire the kind of confidence that he did a few weeks back, but a lot of it is perception. Luck is still a very sound fantasy play in 12-team leagues and has produced good fantasy numbers in games that were pretty ugly from the Colts’ perspective. He was serviceable against the Titans on the road in Week 11 and he should be able to handle them this week in Indianapolis.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Chargers
He’s been a strong option for most of the season and he gets a decent road matchup here. We expect the Bengals to be ready after having an extra week to prepare. Dalton can start for you in any format this week. He always has nice scoring potential due to the quality of the weapons around him.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals at Eagles
The matchup is mediocre, but he’s playing well and has tons of good places to throw the football in Bruce Arians’ offense. The Eagles are playing well, but they will have trouble matching up with Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd. Palmer can help you in 12-team leagues this week.
Brandon Weeden, Browns vs. Jaguars
Here’s an option for those searching for an answer in a deep league. Weeden is not a great start, but he may be the best thing on waiver wires in 12-team formats and he could have a solid day at home vs. the Jaguars. Weeden can be your QB this week if you are hurting and he might just surprise you if he can get Josh Gordon going and hit on a few deep balls.
Mike Glennon, Bucs at Panthers
The rookie has been pretty good so far, but he lacks the experience and the firepower to play against the Panthers defense on the road in a hostile environment. Look elsewhere if you can.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 8: Colts leap to No. 2 after edging Broncos||10.23.13 at 11:12 am ET|
A major shakeup is the result of a thrilling and somewhat shocking Week 7. The Broncos relinquished the No. 1 spot, with the Seahawks retaking the crown. Storming all the way up to No. 2 are the Colts. Behind Andrew Luck, Indy knocked off what looked to be an unbeatable Broncos team that falls to No. 3.
The Saints (6), Bengals (7) and Packers (8) all dropped a few spots despite winning or being on a bye. The spectacular Indy win along with the Chiefs (5) improving to 7-0 is the reason why. This goes to show how close the top teams are. Parity is king in the NFL.
Coming off an exciting overtime victory over the Patriots (9), the Jets make a dramatic leap five spots to No. 14. Meanwhile, the Bears (15) continue to plunge, having lost three of their last four and Jay Cutler for an extended period of time.
Three teams have claimed the top spot in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings through seven weeks. Can the undefeated Chiefs be the fourth? Week 8 awaits …
1. (2) Seahawks (6-1) — Percy Harvin‘s imminent return should instill fear throughout the NFC. If the Seahawks get home-field advantage in the playoffs, it will take a perfect game to knock them off.
2. (9) Colts (5-2) — Forget the six fourth-quarter comebacks and nine game-winning drives, Luck’s signature game was this past Sunday when he outdueled future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning. The Colts have another special QB in Indianapolis.
3. (1) Broncos (6-1) — Turnovers at the running back position is a reason for concern in Denver. This team doesn’t have many weaknesses, but running back is one of them.
4. (4) 49ers (5-2) — That’s four straight for the red-hot Niners. The run game has been a major factor for the offense. Frank Gore spoke out about his lack of carries following a Week 3 loss to the Colts and has seen his workload increase dramatically ever since.
5. (7) Chiefs (7-0) — The Chiefs have the makeup of a Super Bowl contender. They win close games, don’t turn the ball over and have a ferocious defense. It’s not the Seahawks but the Chiefs who are allowing the fewest points per game in the league (11.6).
|Around the AFC East: Dolphins, Bills pull off narrow victories||09.15.13 at 5:12 pm ET|
With the Patriots having Sunday off, it gave us a chance to check out what’s going on in the rest of the AFC East. Here’s a quick look at what happened in the rest of the division over the weekend:
Dolphins (2-0): Miami won a highly entertaining contest Sunday against the Colts and Andrew Luck, coming away with a 24-20 victory to stay unbeaten on the year. Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill went 23-for-34 for 319 yards and one touchdown to give Indy its first home loss in 12 months. Miami, which is 2-0 for just the second time since 2004, saw Mike Wallace (nine catches, 115 yards) and Charles Clay (five catches, 109 yards) go over 100 yards receiving. The Dolphins needed the firepower, as Luck had the Colts in position to pull off another comeback win — he had the ball at the Miami 23-yard line with 1:45 left, but tossed three incompletes and was sacked on fourth down to finish things.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Falcons
Jets (1-1): Like the Patriots, New York also had the weekend off, but managed to make its share of headlines with the decision to place quarterback Mark Sanchez on injured reserve with a designation to return. While coach Rex Ryan said he believed Sanchez could contribute later in the season, the move means that Sanchez will be on the shelf for the next eight weeks. (The earliest Sanchez could be back is Nov. 17 at Buffalo, following the Jets’ bye week.) That means that for the foreseeable future, the quarterback job belongs to rookie Geno Smith, who was a bit of a mixed bag in Thursday’s loss to the Patriots. The West Virginia product was 15-for-35 for 214 yards, and was sacked four times and intercepted three times.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 vs. Bills
Bills (1-1): Buffalo got its first win of the season on Sunday with a dramatic 24-23 victory over the Panthers, thanks in large part to rookie quarterback EJ Manuel, who connected with wide receiver Stevie Johnson on a 2-yard touchdown pass with two seconds left to lift the Bills. Manuel engineered a game-winning drive late in the fourth, a nine-play, 80-yard series where he went 6-for-8 for 51 yards. (He ended the game 27-for-39 for 296 yards, with a touchdown and an interception.) Manuel got some help down the stretch when Carolina (and former Boston College) linebacker Luke Kuechly was penalized for pass interference on a third down play with less than a minute to go to help keep Buffalo alive.
Next up: Sunday, Sept. 22 at Jets
|Andrew Luck replaces Tom Brady on AFC Pro Bowl squad, Logan Mankins, Wes Welker and Vince Wilfork also out||01.21.13 at 7:38 pm ET|
Tom Brady is again politely declining a trip to Hawaii to play in the NFL’s greatest exhibition game.
Andrew Luck had one of the best seasons any rookie quarterback has ever had in living up to his No. 1 overall draft billing coming into the 2012 season.
On Monday, the Indianapolis Colts rookie was rewarded with a trip to Hawaii to replace Brady in the in the Pro Bowl. Brady was excused from the Pro Bowl with an undisclosed injury.
Brady was selected to his eighth Pro Bowl game in late December but hasn’t played the last six times he’s been selected. He played in Feb. 2002 after winning the Super Bowl and he played in Feb. 2005 after the 2004 season but hasn’t played since, as he has been designated as injured and has been replaced.
It appears Brady won’t be alone in turning down the leis in paradise. Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald reports Wes Welker, Logan Mankins and Vince Wilfork have also taken their names out of the Pro Bowl due to various injuries. Linebacker Jerod Mayo and special teams captain Matthew Slater were also selected but remain on the Pro Bowl roster.
As for Luck, through Week 9, Luck had thrown for the same number of yards as his predecessor, Peyton Manning, did in his first season in Denver.
His legend began to truly grow in Week 13 against the Lions. Luck and the Colts were trailing 33-28 with 1:07 left. He was able to get to the Lions’ 14 yard line and faced a fourth down with three seconds left. Luck then threw a screen pass to Donnie Avery who got free and ran in for the winning score.
The win gave Luck his eighth on the season – the most wins by a rookie quarterback drafted first overall in NFL history, as well as his fifth game-winning drive on the season, tying Vince Young and Ben Roethlisberger for the most by a rookie quarterback. On Dec. 23, 2012, Luck broke the record for most passing yards by a rookie against the Kansas City Chiefs, throwing 205 to bring his season total to 4,183. Cam Newton held the previous record with 4,051 yards.
Luck advanced the Colts, one season removed from 2-14, to the the playoffs, where they lost to the Ravens in Baltimore.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings, Week 15: Patriots charge to No. 1||12.13.12 at 7:14 am ET|
The mighty have fallen. After seven straight weeks occupying the top two spots, the Texans (4) and Falcons (5) no longer can be called the two best teams in the league. The Patriots surge all the way to the No. 1 spot for the first time this season after a dominating Monday night performance. The 49ers (2) and Broncos (3) round out the new top three.
The Seahawks (9) finally break into the top 10 after winning four of their last five games. Their impressive play of late has catapulted them in front of both the Bears (10) and Steelers (12). The Colts are another team that continues to inch closer into the league’s elite. Andrew Luck has Indy (11) poised to make a playoff appearance after the team won just two games last year.
The top two teams in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings rarely play each other, not to mention in December, but we’ll get to watch the regular-season version of the Super Bowl this Sunday night. That’s not the only top-10 matchup we’ll see in Week 15. The Broncos (3) play the Ravens (8), and the Giants (7) will take on the Falcons (5). We’re in for another interesting week of pro football.
1. (3) Patriots (10-3) — The Patriots defense did what it had to do: improve. Bill Belichick‘s D held the Texans to just 14 points. The only other team in the league that was able to hold Houston to fewer points was the Bears. Under Tom Brady, the Pats have won a remarkable 20 straight home games in the month of December. Super Bowl-caliber teams get better in December and that’s just what New England is doing once again.
2. (4) 49ers (9-3-1) — The relentless 49ers defense is at the top of the league in pass defense, run defense and points allowed. Sunday night’s matchup pits the best defense in the league against the best offense. Football fans are in for a treat.
3. (5) Broncos (10-3) — The way Knowshon Moreno has been able to step up and fill Willis McGahee‘s shoes is very encouraging for Broncos fans. With Peyton Manning at the helm, an effective run game makes the Broncos offense extremely difficult to defend against.
4. (1) Texans (11-2) — Are the Texans good enough to rebound from a loss like this? Their pass defense has officially been exposed. On a big stage, the Texans crumbled. Stupid penalties, turnovers and an overall lack of competitiveness has many across the NFL questioning if this team is as good as its record indicates.
5. (2) Falcons (11-2) — The Falcons have a tremendous opportunity this Sunday to prove to the NFC that they are an elite team. The defending Super Bowl champion Giants will be in Atlanta and both teams have a lot on the line.
6. (7) Packers (9-4) — Green Bay has won seven of its last eight and has come storming back to take control of the NFC North. Aaron Rodgers has been terrific, though it has been production from the run game over the last two weeks that has made a huge difference on offense for Green Bay.
7. (8) Giants (8-5) — Keep an eye on the NFC East race and the Giants. New York travels to Atlanta and Baltimore the next two weeks while the Redskins and Cowboys are just one game back and hold a better divisional record.
8. (6) Ravens (9-4) — It’s never a good sign for a playoff team to fire its offensive coordinator in December. Unlike the Patriots and Broncos, the Ravens have played worse as the season has progressed. If recent play is any sign, the Ravens look to be on track for falling just short of the Super Bowl once again.
9. (11) Seahawks (8-5) — There have to be many organizations out there that are extremely jealous of the Seahawks’ recent success. This is a team that not only drafted a quarterback in the third round but started him over Matt Flynn after signing the former backup to a three-year deal. Teams struggling to find a quarterback like the Cardinals, Jets and Bills must be envious. Russell Wilson has played outstanding of late. In his last five games, he’s thrown 10 touchdowns and just one interception.
10. (9) Bears (8-5) — Jay Cutler‘s health is imperative to the Bears’ success. Everyone watched the Bears go 1-5 last year at the end of the season when Cutler was injured. The starting QB has been sacked 31 times this year and already has suffered a concussion. The offensive line has to get better if this team is going to be successful. Chicago has dropped four of its last five.
|10 things to know about Ryan Tannehill||11.28.12 at 7:35 pm ET|
On Sunday, the Patriots will have the opportunity to clinch the AFC East, but they’ll have to beat Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins in order to do it.
Tannehill, the third quarterback taken in the 2012 draft behind Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, was selected by the Dolphins eighth overall with the hopes that he could finally provide some stability at a position that has been in flux since the retirement of Dan Marino.
Thus far, Tannehill has put up lackluster numbers, completing 197 of 334 passes for 2,373 yards with seven touchdowns, 12 interceptions and a 72.9 quarterback rating. In the process, he’s led the Dolphins to a 5-6 record which, while not outstanding, is good for second place in the AFC East.
The Dolphins certainly hope that Tannehill is the long-term solution, so the Patriots figure to see plenty of Tannehill over the next however many years. Here’s an introduction to the rookie with nine more things to know about Tannehill:
He played a lot of receiver in college
Though Tannehill was recruited to Texas A&M as a quarterback, he was moved to receiver in his redshirt freshman season after competing for the starting job at quarterback.
Tannehill stuck at receiver for his first two seasons and played the first six games of his junior year there before getting more snaps splitting time at quarterback with Jerrod Johnson and, eventually, earning the starting job. He completed 152 of 234 passes for 1,638 yards with 13 touchdowns and six picks as a junior and went 327 of 531 for 3,744 yards with 29 touchdowns and 15 interceptions in his senior year.
His wife has gotten a lot of attention
We’ll get this one out of the way early. Put it this way: When you Google Ryan Tannehill’s name, “Ryan Tannehill wife” is the first item below his name on autocomplete.
Tannehill met his wife, Lauren, at Texas A&M and the two were married in January. Over the course of the pre-draft process through the draft and the Dolphins’ appearance on “Hard Knocks,” Lauren gained more and more attention from fans. She currently has over 17,700 followers on twitter.
When Tannehill was asked after being drafted why he got married at 23 years of age, he responded by pointing to her and asking, “Do you blame me?”
He’s one of 10 rookie quarterbacks to start from Week 1 on in the last five years
Think about that. Remember the days when a team would draft a quarterback in the first round and have a veteran signal-caller around to start the season and help him ease into life as an NFL quarterback? That’s becoming a thing of the past. Read the rest of this entry »
|Boomer Esiason on D&C: Patriots lose a ‘major, major player’ with Rob Gronkowski injury||11.19.12 at 10:13 am ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance with Dennis & Callahan and talked about Rob Gronkowski’s injury, the Patriots’ 59-24 win over the Colts, and more news from around the NFL. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
After the Pats’ commanding win Sunday, all focus shifted to Gronkowski, who reportedly broke his left forearm on an extra-point attempt while the Patriots were ahead by 35 points. Esiason said the loss would be big for the Patriots over the next few weeks.
“Gronkowski is a beast in the middle,” Esiason said. “He is impossible to cover. When he’s playing at the level that he played at yesterday, he’s a major difference-maker every time the Patriots play. With him out for the next maybe three to four to five weeks, maybe Aaron Hernandez comes back, maybe he’s ready to go. I don’t know. That is a major, major player that now is missing out of this Patriot offense. I know everybody else did their part yesterday, but certainly he is one of the guys that spearheads the success of that team. … We have never seen a guy who is that big, that talented, that athletic and to be able to make a play like that, to hold on to the ball while he’s getting hit in the back is pretty damn impressive.”
Added Esiason: “I would think that once Tom [Brady] found out, he probably was like, ‘I can’t believe this, I have to go down the next three or four weeks without legitimately my best player.’ ”
Keeping with the Patriot way, Bill Belichick did not pull his starters, including Gronkowski, out of the game even though New England far ahead and has a short week before the Thanksgiving game with the Jets on Thursday.
“I think it’s a part of the game,” Esiason said. “Belichick has always played it that way. Whether their team is 15-0 and there is a 16th game to be played, and they’ve already locked up home-field advantage, he’s playing his guys. He makes no excuses for that, he makes no apologies for that. It’s just the way it goes.”
The Patriots will have to plug the big void Gronkowski leaves as he recovers from the injury, and Esiason said he wasn’t sure exactly how they would go about this.
“A lot of this depends on where Aaron Hernandez is. I know he practiced on Friday,” Esiason said. “I thought when they first brought Aaron back, that was way too early. When you come back with the ankle injury he had suffered, you’re asking a lot for a guy to come back that quickly. … A lot of that will be determined by whether or not he is healthy. The other thing, too, remember, it’s a short week. So, I just don’t know if he is ready to go or not. … They’ll figure something out. If there’s a team that can do something on a short week and still be very good offensively, even without one of their best players, it’s going to be the New England Patriots.”
Overall, Esiason was impressed by the Patriots’ strong performance against the Colts on Sunday.
“Yeah, it was pretty impressive, no question,” Esiason said. “Julian Edelman was great. Certainly Tom Brady was more than efficient; he was actually surgical if you ask me. And then a couple of those interceptions that Andrew Luck threw were because of pressure that he was receiving. Anybody who watched the game can certainly see that Andrew Luck has all the skills to be one of the great ones, his time will definitely come. … I give Aqib Talib a lot of credit. He was in the right spot at the right time. A little bit of pressure forced the interception. To me, that was the point that really changed the whole dynamic of the game.”
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