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Tom Brady sends good wishes to former backups Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer via Facebook 11.13.14 at 1:48 pm ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady gave a Throwback Thursday shoutout to two of his former backups — Ryan Mallett and Brian Hoyer — who are slated to meet this weekend when the Texans face the Browns.

Read More: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady,
Tom Brady thinks Brian Hoyer against Ryan Mallett is ‘pretty cool’ 11.12.14 at 11:20 am ET
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Ryan Mallett will be running the show for the Texans this Sunday in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

Ryan Mallett will be running the show for the Texans this Sunday in Cleveland. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Tom Brady can’t wait to see his last two back-ups square off against each other.

Brian Hoyer will lead his 6-3 Cleveland Browns into battle against the 4-5 Houston Texans Sunday in Cleveland. The Texans starting quarterback will be Ryan Mallett, getting his first career NFL start.

Hoyer has his team all alone in first place in the AFC North while head coach Bill O’Brien decided to make a change, giving Mallett the chance after Ryan Fitzpatrick struggled heading into last week’s bye.

“It’s pretty cool,” Brady said. “It speaks to their work ethic and I think what they’ve been able to accomplish. They’ve both overcome quite a bit in their career, so it will be fun to see. We play at 8 o’clock, so I’m sure a lot of guys from our team will be paying attention.”

Of course, Brady will have some extra time to pay attention Sunday afternoon if he’s not napping. The Browns and Texans play at 1 p.m. in Cleveland while the Patriots don’t kick off in Indianapolis until 8:30 p.m.

Brady has already faced another former back-up this season head-to-head, when the Patriots beat Matt Cassel and the Vikings, 30-7, in Week 2.

Read More: Brian Hoyer, Cleveland Browns, houston texans, Matt Cassel
Bill Belichick on Tom Brady Backup Bowl: ‘Lot of respect’ for Ryan Mallett, Brian Hoyer at 6:30 am ET
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Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett will get his first professional start this weekend against another ex-New England signal-caller in Brian Hoyer. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

Former Patriots quarterback Ryan Mallett will get his first professional start this weekend against another ex-New England signal-caller in Brian Hoyer. (Bob Levey/Getty Images)

FOXBORO — This weekend marks the Tom Brady Backup Bowl, a contest that will feature Cleveland’s Brian Hoyer going up against Houston’s Ryan Mallett in a duel of former New England second-string quarterbacks.

Mallett will be making his first career start after taking over the No. 1 job with the Texans. Meanwhile, Hoyer has led the Browns to a 6-3 start, completing 58 percent of his passes for 2,212 yards and 10 touchdowns.

“Both those guys worked really hard here,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick. “They both did a good job for us. I have a lot of respect for both of them and a personal liking for both guys. We wish them well.”

On the topic of ex-New Englanders, Belichick was also quizzed earlier in the week about two former Patriots who have found a home with the Colts in safety Sergio Brown and cornerback Darius Butler.

‘€œWell, I’€™d say Darius has been in pretty much the same role that he was in last year as a nickel back [with Greg] Toler and [Vontae] Davis usually outside and Butler usually in the slot,” Belichick said of the 28-year-old Butler, who was a second-round pick of the Patriots in 2009 before joining Indy in 2012.

As for Brown, he was an undrafted free agent who spent the 2010 and 2011 seasons with New England before joining the Colts.

“Sergio’€™s had a big role in the kicking game,” Belichick said, “and then when [Laron] Landry was out the last four or five weeks then he had a lot of playing time at safety on defense and has been a little bit less involved in the kicking game.

“He’€™s been in those two roles. It looks like they’€™re kind of independent of each other, so the more involved he is on defense, the less in the kicking game; the less on defense, the more in the kicking game. He’€™s done both.’€

Read More: Bill Belichick, Brian Hoyer, Darius Butler, Ryan Mallett
Rodney Harrison on D&C: Bengals ‘just pathetic’ after latest embarrassment 11.07.14 at 10:12 am ET
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NBC NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss Thursday night’s Bengals-Browns game and the state of the Patriots as the team goes into its bye week. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

The Bengals, playing at home against their AFC North rival, struggled all night during a 24-3 loss. Quarterback Andy Dalton completed just 10 passes for 86 yards and threw three interceptions. It was the fifth-worst statistical game for a quarterback since 1960.

Said Harrison: “First of all, if I was a member of that organization, I don’t know if I would’ve went on a limb and paid [Dalton] just based off of everything that’s happening in prime-time games as well as in the playoffs. But everyone acts like it’s a surprise of what’s going on with Andy Dalton and inconsistent play. Marvin Lewis, he has to take a big responsibility, but that’s something we can talk about later. But Andy Dalton, just his performances, the inconsistencies, and we’ve seen it from this team this entire year from the Patriots and the Bears and from the Indianapolis Colts shutting them out. From the tie with Carolina to last night, it’s just pathetic.”

Continued Harrison: “You look at Marvin Lewis, and I see this team last week, he was smiling, he was enjoying the victory. But they’ve been so inconsistent, and part of that is the lack of preparation with the players.”

While the Bengals battle their own problems, the Browns have moved to 6-3 and into a first-place tie in the AFC North.

“I don’t believe in the Browns like a lot of people,” Harrison said. “It’s easy to look at a team’s record and jump on the bandwagon. Just last week, or was it the week before, where they lost to Jacksonville, then everybody kind of jumped off the Browns. Then all of a sudden they’re back. Cincinnati, it’s one of those teams that’s hot and cold. I just don’t believe in the Browns right now. I like what they’re doing, I think Mike Pettine, I mean, he’s probably on pace to be Coach of the Year, not Bruce Arians. But I look at that team still far, far away now.”

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Read More: Andy Dalton, Brian Hoyer, Rodney Harrison, Tom Brady
Brady Backup Bowl? Ryan Mallett set to face Brian Hoyer next weekend 11.05.14 at 3:22 pm ET
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If everyone stays healthy, it’ll be a reunion of former Tom Brady backups next weekend, as Ryan Mallett — who was named the new starter for the Texans on Wednesday — will lead Houston against the Browns, who are quarterbacked by Brian Hoyer.

The 26-year-old Mallett, who spent three years with the Patriots, takes over for a struggling Ryan Fitzpatrick. Texans head coach Bill O’Brien praised Mallett on Wednesday, saying he’s improved across the board since he arrived in Houston in a trade with the Patriots in September.

“Watching Ryan in practice every day, I believe it’s gotten better and better,” O’Brien told Houston reporters on Wednesday. “His huddle command, his knowledge of the offense, he’s been in this system for four years. … I think he’s made a lot of progress whereas he’s never played in a game or hasn’t had many reps in a game. We’re going to give him his shot to play.”

“It sure didn’t seem like it, I’ll tell you that,” the 26-year-old Mallett said when asked if he ever thought he’d get this chance. “I’ll tell you that. It’s been four years. It didn’t seem like it … I was starting to question if I’ll ever get a shot. Well now I’ve got a shot. We’ll see what I do with it.”

Hoyer has been at the controls of a Cleveland team that has a 5-3 mark at the midway point of the season. The 29-year-old, who was cut loose prior to the start of the 2011 season — ostensibly for Mallett, who took over as the No. 2 quarterback in New England — has completed 58 percent of his passes this year, to go along with 2,014 passing yards and 10 touchdowns.

Read More: Brian Hoyer, Ryan Mallett, Tom Brady,
Fantasy Football: Week 6 starts, sits 10.10.14 at 1:50 pm ET
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WEEI_FantasyFootball_2014_hdr

As we near the midpoint of the fantasy football regular season, we’re seeing things come into focus. Whether you’re a seasonal GM or a weekly player, you probably are starting to get a feel for how you want to play things. It’s been a strange year, but that’s the NFL. While Eddie Lacy and Jamaal Charles owners are feeling some much-needed relief, those who rely on Calvin Johnson, LeSean McCoy and Adrian Peterson are on the ledge — staring into the fantasy abyss. I have good news for those who drafted McCoy. He’€™ll get things going — probably this week. Those with Johnson probably are out of luck on Sunday but have long-term hope. If you drafted Peterson, you have my sympathy as well as my commiseration. He’€™s a sunk investment — a potential season-wrecker.

As always, I’ve attempted to avoid the obvious stuff. If you are looking for information on players not listed below, follow this link to my full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. If your guy’s not listed there, get on Twitter and give me what for.

For those in need of Sunday lineup advice, feel free to stop by our chat, which kicks off at 11 a.m. and runs through noon every week. And don’t forget to check out the Fantasy Football Hour every Sunday morning.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Eli Manning, Giants at Eagles

He’s now rolling, and with a full complement of weapons we like his chances in this game, which looks like a bit of a shootout going in. Manning’s a projected QB1 in all formats this week.

Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Browns

He’s got all the weapons he needs and the Browns have some injuries at cornerback. Big Ben is a good play in Week 6 regardless of your league’s size. He should get you QB1 stats.

Cam Newton, Panthers at Bengals

While Newton is not an elite start this week, as he often is, he is playable. There’s no reason to look to the waiver wire. He may begin to run more with a battered backfield behind him and a need to win games due to the team’s 3-2 start in a very competitive division. He’s my 12th-rated passer this week.

Brian Hoyer, Browns vs. Steelers

If you are hurting in a big format, Hoyer is an option. He’s not even in my top 20 this week, but he’s playable and that’s why I listed him — to illustrate the depth of the Week 6 quarterbacks. If you are in need, just consult the Rotobahn QB rankings for the best available option.

Sit

Kyle Orton, Bills vs. Patriots

I feel like the Patriots could take his best weapon away, and that’s a potential problem. Orton’s not loaded with upside as it is, so you hopefully have other options. Beware of Revis Island.

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Read More: Andre Williams, Ben Roethlisberger, Brian Hoyer, Cam Newton
Fantasy Football: Week 2 starts, sits 09.12.14 at 2:15 pm ET
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Welcome to the Week 2 starts and sits. I hope you all did well last week, but if bad luck befell you, we’re here to help you up off the ground. There are some good sleepers this week and I’ve tried to bring a few to the surface. However, if you need more information on players not listed, you can always hit Rotobahn and check out my full Lineup Rankings, which will be updated over the weekend as always.

Jim Hackett and I will be back again on Sunday morning on 93.7 FM with another Fantasy Football Hour. We’ll be getting into some Week 1 fallout and looking forward to Week 2 by getting into some matchups and some potential value plays in both seasonal and weekly fantasy football. Join us! Our show comes on at 6:30 a.m. for all you early risers, but you can always listen to us later on as the show will be posted right here at WEEI.com. To keep up with all of our fantasy football content, follow me on Twitter. I tweet links to all our chats, articles and rankings.

QUARTERBACKS

Start

Andy Dalton, Bengals vs. Falcons

Dalton has a home matchup vs. a porous defense. This is when you use him if you have a need. He’s a better option than some guys who are typically QB1 caliber, like Robert Griffin and Jay Cutler.

Jake Locker, Titans vs. Cowboys

On paper, this is definitely the week to play Locker. He’s got the Dallas defense and he’s at home. After he stood up to KC on the road, you have to like his chances here. His weapons are all healthy and ready to go.

Brian Hoyer, Browns vs. Saints

You probably don’t need him, but he looked good last week in the second half and this is a better matchup at home. Hoyer’s a solid player and his knee looks healthy enough at this point. He can help you if you’re in a jam.

Sit

Alex Smith, Chiefs at Broncos

I just don’t trust his line, and though Dwayne Bowe returns, he’ll be shadowed by Aqib Talib all day. I’m staying away from Smith until the Chiefs get their offense sorted out.

Philip Rivers, Chargers vs. Seahawks

He’s got injured receivers and he’s facing an imposing defense. He’s playable if you need him, because he’s a fine player. However, if you have another option like Andy Dalton or Jake Locker, this is the week to consider using them.

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Read More: Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Brian Hoyer, Frank Gore
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