|Fantasy Football: Week 14 waiver wire||12.03.13 at 10:20 am ET|
As we look toward what is a playoff week in most fantasy football formats, there certainly are a few solid new options to consider adding. The sad reality is that half of the teams in most leagues just got sent packing, and that obviously cuts down on the competition for talent. Hence, we are concentrating on the better players vs. the depth moves, but we still have a little of both.
If you are looking for deeper options, you can head over to Rotobahn later Tuesday and check out my expanded wire for those in deep formats. As always, I’ll be back later this week with Jim Hackett for the Fantasy Football Podcast, plus the starts and sits. Then, on Sunday, I’ll be hosting a chat to help with any last-minute lineup issues that you might have. To those of you reading this, please accept our congratulations on making your league’s playoffs. Now let’s see if we can bring home the fantasy bacon!
Andy Dalton, Bengals
He’s available in about 25 percent of Yahoo! leagues, and that percentage could rise after the stinker that Dalton had in Week 13. Still, we like Dalton’s Week 14 matchup, and Week 16 is pretty sweet, too.
- Week 14 – Colts
- Week 15 – at Steelers
- Week 16 – Vikings
Joe Flacco, Ravens
He plays at home vs. the Vikings this week, and that could be enough to make him a great add. As an added bonus, he’s playable on all three remaining weeks. In Week 14, Flacco may also see the return of his favorite target, Dennis Pitta.
- Week 14 – Vikings
- Week 15 – at Lions
- Week 16 – Patriots
Carson Palmer, Cardinals
He can’t help you Week 16, but he’ll be useful this week and next. Palmer has been very good lately, with multiple touchdown passes in five consecutive games. He can help you as a QB2 in most leagues, and you can still add him in 54 percent of Yahoo! leagues.
- Week 14 – Rams
- Week 15 – at Titans
- Week 16 – at Seahawks
EJ Manuel, Bills
He plays a solid, though not incredible, schedule the rest of the way, and he’s been getting better in terms of health. Manuel also has scored well the last two weeks, so he can help you if you need to add a QB2 in a 12-team league. His receivers are healthy and he now has C.J. Spiller ripping off big runs, and that could take the edge off of the pass rush going forward.
- Week 14 – at Buccaneers
- Week 15 – at Jaguars
- Week 16 – Dolphins
|Fantasy Football: Week 6 starts, sits||10.11.13 at 9:08 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 6 starts and sits. I’ve tried to vary the level of options to give people in all league sizes something to chew on. If you are looking for more comprehensive rankings, go to Rotobahn.com, where we rank them all every week and update the rankings every weekend. Jim Hackett and I will be doing our weekly podcast later Friday and we’ll cover these starts and sits in depth. Check it out. You can find it in our audio on demand area. I’ll also be back Sunday, as usual, to answer all of your lineup questions in our Sunday morning chat sponsored by our friends at Mohegan Sun.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Bills
There are better options out there, obviously, but Dalton should do well this week against a Bills squad that is beat up on the back end. He’s got weapons all around him and a solid ground game to work off of.
Ben Roethlisberger, Steelers at Jets
The Steelers are looking better than they did a few weeks back and they get a Jets team that may be down a few cornerbacks. This bodes well for Big Ben and his receivers. He’s a good play in most formats.
Alex Smith, Chiefs vs. Raiders
If you are looking for help this week, Smith can step in for you. A big game may not be in the cards, but a solid effort seems to be something you can count on from Smith and Andy Reid’s offense.
Joe Flacco, Ravens vs. Packers
There will be plenty of points in this game, and Flacco will need to attack the Pack downfield. Ray Rice’s major contributions likely will be in the passing game, and that helps Flacco. He’s a decent play if you are in need.
Matt Schaub, Texans vs. Rams
He’s risky, as he could have a short leash this week in a home game in front of potentially hostile fans. He’s playable if you are stuck with him, but this is definitely a week to consider other options. Schaub may not get a chance to finish if he starts poorly.
Carson Palmer, Cardinals at 49ers
It’s a bad matchup, and Palmer has really been struggling lately. He may post some garbage-time numbers, but the 49ers usually are pretty good at playing hard for 60 minutes. I’d avoid Palmer this week. This offense has a lot of upside, but this is not the week to roll the dice with it.
|Catching up with … the Ravens||08.07.13 at 9:25 am ET|
As we count down to the start of preseason games, we take a look at all 13 opponents on the Patriots’ regular-season schedule and break down each one of them. We’ve already featured the Bills, Jets and Dolphins, as well as the Buccaneers, Falcons, Bengals, Saints, Steelers, Panther, Broncos, Texans and Browns. Now, we wrap up with the Ravens.
Specifics: Christmas is coming early for Patriots fans, who get to watch the team visit the defending Super Bowl champion Ravens in another prime-time matchup on Dec. 22.
Say goodbye to … linebacker Ray Lewis, wide receiver Anquan Boldin, defensive back Ed Reed, defensive back Bernard Pollard, linebacker Dannell Ellerbe, defensive end Paul Kruger, defensive back Cary Williams.
Welcome … defensive end Elvis Dumervil, tight end Visanthe Shiancoe, linebacker Rolando McClain, safety Matt Elam, linebacker Daryl Smith, linebacker Arthur Brown, defensive back Michael Huff.
Recent history: The game most prevalent in everyone’s mind will be, of course, Baltimore’s 28-13 win in the AFC championship last January. The Patriots’ 13-7 halftime lead quickly evaporated as Joe Flacco threw for three second-half touchdowns en route to the Ravens outscoring the Pats 21-0 in the final two quarters.
Playoffs included, the teams have split their six games since the start of the 2009 season. New England last came out on top in the January 2012 AFC championship, when Tom Brady — who threw for 239 yards and no touchdowns — ran it in from one yard out for the eventual game-winning touchdown.
The Patriots should be worried because … well, you never want to discount the defending champs, right? Baltimore will be without a number of its biggest names on defense from a year ago — Lewis, Reed, Ellerbe and Pollard among them — but the Ravens re-tooled and could be even better this time around. They added Dumervil, a Pro Bowler, took Elam and Brown in the draft’s top two rounds and signed a reliable veteran in Huff. Just a few weeks into training camp, the defensive corps’ early showing has Ravens players and coaches alike clamoring about the potential.
The Patriots shouldn’t be worried because … in tearing apart its Super Bowl-winning core, the Ravens also lost significant contributors in its passing game. They traded Boldin to the 49ers, then lost Dennis Pitta for the year due to a hip injury, and now are facing Ed Dickson missing time with a hamstring tear. As it is right now, Torrey Smith is the No. 1 receiver with Jacoby Jones backing him up. Flacco, who despite signing a six-year, $120.6 million contract still is in the middle of the pack in terms of quarterback rating, completion percentage and yards per game, could have some trouble.
The skinny: The average margin of victory in the teams’ last nine games spanning the last decade is eight points, with five of those contests being decided by a field goal or less. The personnel has changed aplenty in that time, of course, but the message should be to sit back and enjoy the ride. January’s season-ending loss could serve the Patriots well in the motivation department.
|Boomer Esiason on D&C: Ravens are ‘team of destiny,’ but 49ers have better players||02.01.13 at 9:26 am ET|
Boomer Esiason called in from New Orleans to talk with Dennis & Callahan about the state of the 49ers and Ravens as they head into the Super Bowl, and whether the Ravens’ intangibles or the 49ers’ talent will prevail.
In a week filled with off-field news items about Ravens and 49ers players, Esiason said he doubts the accusations of PED use will slow down Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, but that 49ers cornerback Chris Culliver seems shaken up by the media attention he’s gained this week for an anti-gay remark.
“Given all that Ray Lewis has been through, from the double murder back in 2000 to all of his gyrations during games and all of the publicity that’s he’s gotten, that’s the last thing that they worry about,” Esiason said.
“Now, on the other side, Culliver, who made the anti-gay statement, he was really uncomfortable and really felt badly about what he said. I don’t necessarily know that he understood the enormity of what he said. His situation’s a little bit different, and he’s probably going to carry that a little into the game, because I really felt that he he looked very very embarrassed and overwhelmed by the whole dust-up that his comments created.”
Asked about Ravens safety Ed Reed, whom Bill Belichick admires, Esiason said he could see Reed aiming to play with a quarterback like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning assuming he leaves the Ravens as a free agent this offseason.
“I’m sure that Ed Reed probably loves this experience that he’s having with the Baltimore Ravens right now,” Esiason said. “I would think he’d be willing to take a little less money — I imagine, I don’t want to put words in his mouth — to play for one of those franchises for a chance at a Super Bowl ring.”
Esiason’s Super Bowl prediction was a tight, defense-dominated battle: “This game should be a fourth-quarter game. It should be a relatively tight game. It should stay in the 20s. I’d be really shocked if somebody scores 30 points in this game, unless there’s some breakdown on special teams, which I really don’t expect.”
|Terrell Suggs: ‘Ever since Spygate, [Patriots] haven’t been able to win’||01.21.13 at 1:00 am ET|
FOXBORO — The first thing Terrell Suggs did after leaving the Gillette Stadium field and entering the hallways after the Ravens’ 28-13 beating of the Patriots was shout, all the way to the locker room, “Tell them to have fun in the Pro Bowl! Arrogant f***ers.”
Suggs was overheard taking verbal shots at the Patriots, and was captured by Yahoo! Sports’ Dan Wetzel on his Twitter feed, calling them “the most arrogant pricks in the world, starting with [Bill] Belichick on down.”
Wetzel also tweeted that Suggs said, “That’s funny, ever since Spygate they haven’t been able to win.”
Suggs and the Ravens avenged a playoff loss in Foxboro last year with a convincing 28-13 win on Sunday night that included a second-half shutout of the league’s top-ranked offense in points per game. Afterwards, Suggs spoke several times with reporters, and eventually toned down his distaste for New England by paying tribute to the former AFC champs.
“That’s a hell of a team out there. That’s a hell of a ballclub,” Suggs said. “But not to take anything away from the men in this locker room. We went out there and we played a game, and both sides — offense and defense, and special teams — played damn near flawless, and that’s what you have to do to come here and beat a giant. All praise be to God.”
When asked if he was surprised at all by the win over the Patriots, Suggs answered with an emphatic, “Nope.” Read the rest of this entry »
|Snap Judgments: Patriots thumped by Ravens in AFC title game||01.20.13 at 9:48 pm ET|
FOXBORO — The Patriots season came to a close Sunday night at Gillette Stadium, as New England suffered a 28-13 defeat to the Ravens in the AFC title game. New England took a 13-7 lead into the half, but a dominant second half by the Ravens on both sides of the ball sealed the Patriots’ fate, as New England turned the ball over twice in the second half (once on a Stevan Ridley fumble and another on a Tom Brady interception) and failed to score in the second half.
Brady finished 29-for-54 for 320 yards, with one touchdown and two picks. Ridley had 18 carries for 70 yards, while Wes Welker — who had a big second-half drop — ended up with eight catches for 117 yards and a touchdown. Baltimore was led by Joe Flacco, who was 21-for-36 for 240 yards and three touchdowns. Bernard Pierce had nine carries for 52 yards, while Torrey Smith had four catches for 69 yards. Anquan Boldin had 60 yards receiving and two touchdowns.
Baltimore will advance to the Super Bowl for the first time since the end of the 2000 season, when the Ravens beat the Giants.
The Patriots were unable to finish off drives — the New England offense was in the red zone four times on the night, and only came away with one touchdown. And after Aqib Talib went down in the first half, the Patriots were unable to do much to slow down the Baltimore passing game, as the Ravens had scoring drives of 90, 87, 63 and 47 yards. Baltimore made four trips to the red zone, and finished off all four trips with touchdowns.
Here are a few quick notes:
WHAT WENT WRONG FOR THE PATRIOTS Read the rest of this entry »
The Ravens scored 21 straight points in the second half and the Patriots offense could not overcome several costly mistakes on offense as Baltimore beat the Patriots, 28-13, Sunday at Gillette Stadium in the AFC championship. Anquan Boldin, who predicted a Ravens win earlier in the week, caught a pair of fourth-quarter touchdown passes from Joe Flacco as the Ravens earn revenge for last year’s loss in the AFC title game at Gillette. The win sets up a matchup of the Harbaugh brothers in Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans as John Harbaugh leads his Ravens against Jim Harbaugh‘s 49ers on Feb. 3.
Tom Brady lost a game at home for the first time when leading at the half. He had been 67-0 before losing Sunday. The Patriots also lost an AFC championship game at home for the first time in five tries and for just the second time in their history.
Wes Welker dropped a key third-down pass on a third-quarter drive deep in Baltimore territory, Brady mismanaged the clock at the end of the first half and Nate Solder had a holding penalty that wiped a first down in the third quarter. But the biggest play of the game came when Patriots nemesis Bernard Pollard knocked out Stevan Ridley with nine minutes left in the fourth, causing a fumble that resulted in Boldin’s second TD catch of the fourth quarter and a 28-13 lead. Ridley left with head injury and did not return.
Early on, the Patriots won the field position battle, as all five Baltimore first-half drives started inside their 15.
The Patriots took an early lead when Stephen Gostkowski hit a 31-yard field goal on their second possession of the first quarter. The Patriots then got some bad news when starting right cornerback Aqib Talib injured his right thigh on a pass breakup of a pass intended for Boldin.
He came off the field and was replaced by Kyle Arrington for the rest of the game.
On the Ravens’ fourth possession, they started at their 10 and drove 90 yards to take their only lead of the first half. Going no huddle for most of the drive, Flacco completed a pass to Torrey Smith to the Patriots’ 15. Ray Rice capped it off with a two-yard run around the left end to put Baltimore up, 7-3, with 9:33 left in the second quarter.
Brady came back immediately to engineer a 79-yard drive in 11 plays, capped by a one-yard TD strike to Wes Welker on third-and-goal that put the Patriots up, 10-7. The Patriots appeared ready to go in for another touchdown moments before halftime. After a short punt, the Patriots got the ball at the Baltimore 43 with 2:32 left in the half. A Brady 17-yard pass to Aaron Hernandez advanced the ball down to the Ravens’ 10 with 26 seconds left in the half.
But on the next play, Brady scrambled on first down to the 7 and was forced to burn his final timeout and the Patriots had to settle for a 25-yard field Gostkowski field goal and only a 13-7 halftime lead.
The Patriots defense held the Ravens on the first drive of the third quarter and appeared to be driving for another score but Welker dropped a third-down pass that would have been a first-down and kept the drive going. The Ravens answered with an 87-yard drive in 10 plays, capped off by Flacco TD pass to Dennis Pitta that gave the Ravens the lead for good.
The Ravens scored twice in the fourth on Flacco TD passes to Boldin to build the lead to 28-13. Brady connected with Welker for 36 yards down to the Baltimore 24. But Brady’s next pass was tipped and intercepted by Dannell Ellerbe at the Baltimore 18 with 6:49 left in the fourth. Cary Williams intercepted Brady in the end zone with 1:06 left to seal the game.
For complete coverage from Chris Price and Mike Petraglia on scene at Gillette, visit the Patriots team page at weei.com/patriots.
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