|Tim Hasselbeck on D&C: Tom Brady ‘making a pretty good supporting cast look a lot better’||10.27.14 at 9:40 am ET|
ESPN NFL analyst Tim Hasselbeck joined Dennis & Callahan on Monday to discuss the Patriots’ big win over the Bears and next week’s battle against the Broncos. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
New England’s offensive outburst and Brady’s 30-for-35 passing performance has given the Patriots a lot of confidence heading into the second half of the season. Next Sunday the Patriots will face off against Peyton Manning‘s Broncos, a game that will pose another midseason challenge.
Said Hasselbeck: “It doesn’t need hype. … In terms of the tune-up, with the way [the Patriots] played offensively, just the points they had, they end up with over 50 points in that football game. So now everyone looks at it as if New England has solved all of the offensive woes that they had early in the season. And now it’ll be billed as a big shootout between the two star quarterbacks.”
New England’s wide receiving corps and Brady’s supporting cast during Sunday’s win, and over the last few weeks, have stepped up since the early part of the season. The hosts wondered whether it’s time to stop talking about the possibility that they are a weak group.
“I don’t know if a couple of weeks changes it,” Hasselbeck said. “Now, [Rob] Gronkowski is healthy, I think that all of us would agree, Gronkowski’s healthy versus what we saw from Rob Gronkowski after very little work in the preseason and playing about 30 snaps a game at the beginning of the year, versus what we saw yesterday is totally different. Tim Wright, I think we’ve seen very little from Tim Wright. They threw him a touchdown pass down near the goal line, but you probably could’ve taken Jim Dray from the Cleveland Browns and had it sneak out. I don’t that that was a matchup that was won necessarily by Tim Wright. Shane Vereen‘s a nice player, but he’s not Le’Veon Bell.
“I still don’t look at the supporting cast as this unbelievable group surrounding a very good quarterback. I see a very good quarterback making a pretty good supporting cast look a lot better than they did earlier in the year.”
|Adam Schefter on MFB: ‘It wouldn’t surprise me’ if Darrelle Revis does not start vs. Bears||10.24.14 at 1:04 pm ET|
ESPN’s Adam Schefter made his weekly appearance on Middays with MFB on Friday to preview the Patriots-Bears game and discuss other NFL news. To hear the interview, go to the MFB audio on demand page.
Darrelle Revis reportedly was sent home Tuesday after arriving late to practice. Coach Bill Belichick would not discuss the matter with the media, and it’s not known if Belichick plans to hold Revis out of the starting lineup Sunday against the Bears.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if he doesn’t start. That wouldn’t surprise me at all based on the way they’ve handled things in the past. I could see that happening,” Schefter said. “This is a game you obviously want him out there. Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffery, Santonio Holmes, Martellus Bennett — [the Bears are] loaded in the air, and they’re more formidable on the road.”
The Patriots are heading into a challenging stretch of six games against some strong competition, and they’ll be doing it without some key players who are out with injuries.
“Let’s be honest, the Patriots’ issues have compounded a little,” Schefter said. “You lose [Jerod] Mayo, you lose Chandler Jones, Revis is late, whatever that means, we don’t know. You’ve got all these issues out there. Now you’ve got really, arguably, the toughest teams in the NFL all on deck. You could make an argument that the Broncos, Colts, Packers and Chargers are four of the top five teams in the NFL right now.”
Looking at league news, reports out of Seattle indicate there are some issues in the Seahawks locker room, with quarterback Russell Wilson apparently viewed as “not black enough” for some teammates’ liking.
“A locker room is a melting pot — different races, different backgrounds, different ideologies, different everything,” Schefter said. “Russell Wilson seems to, by all accounts, lead a very clean existence. That doesn’t match up with everybody in that locker room. So, so what? So what? …
“I look at it this way: Last weekend Russell Wilson became the first quarterback in NFL history that threw for over 300 yards and ran for over a hundred yards in one game. Last season, in his second season, he led the Seahawks to a Super Bowl title. And, oh, by the way, we don’t even talk about the fact that a black quarterback won the Super Bowl. I thought we moved past that. And now, to hear that, it sounds so ‘street’ to me. Like, just so immature. That’s how it sounds to me.
“And I will say this, I’m sure there are some people in that locker room — I know this — that have some issues with Russell Wilson — that I know. So what? So what? … They have some questions about his character — not lack of, but just the way he handles himself. You know what it is? The teacher’s pet, goody-goody, ‘Go ‘hawks’ kind of thing.”
|Rodney Harrison on D&C: Reported racial issues in Seahawks locker room ‘speaks to the ignorance in our society’||at 10:31 am ET|
Earlier this week, reports came out that there is a division the Seahawks locker room. A Bleacher Report story, in particular, reported that some African-American players on the team feel that quarterback Russell Wilson “isn’t black enough.”
“I think that a notion that you’re not black enough or you’re a sellout because you talk a certain way, because you dress a certain way, if you marry outside your race, I just think it speaks to the ignorance in our society,” Harrison said. “When you look at someone, obviously you have to judge them by spending time with them, how the way he carries himself. But that is a problem, a problem to small section of our community where they think if you’re successful, or if you talk a certain way, I mean people come up to me and say, ‘Russell Wilson, is he black?’ Why would you say that? Just because he’s a very intelligent guy, he dresses a certain way and maybe because his ex-wife was white. … I think it’s just very ignorant and I think it’s just a very closed-minded way of looking at people.”
Continued Harrison: “You talk about the Seattle Seahawks in particular, I think that’s why it’s so hard to repeat as Super Bowl champs because there’s a lot of jealousy in an NFL locker room. A lot people won’t admit to it, but there’s a lot of jealousy. When you have success, some guys get more attention than others. A lot of times, certain guys can’t handle that.”
When Harrison played with the Patriots, he said he never had a problem with Tom Brady, and the team itself was a very close-knit unit. That’s what, as Harrison said, helped make New England successful.
“Tom’s one’s of those dudes where he’s just so smooth, and he was just a good guy,” Harrison said. “I honestly didn’t look at what we had in white teammates. We were just like a big family. Everyone cared about each other and we had Bible studies together, we had a real good group of guys.”
|Fantasy Football: Week 3 starts, sits||09.19.14 at 11:22 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 3 starts and sits. Between injuries, suspensions, deactivations and the like, the average fantasy football GM’s head is spinning. I know mine is. As always, I will avoid the easy calls. I’m not here to tell you what to do with players you’d never consider benching.
I’ll be back Sunday morning with my partner in crime, Jim Hackett, for another Fantasy Football Hour. Check it out! We’re on air from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on 93.7 FM. If you sleep in, you can listen right here on WEEI.com. In addition, I’ll be here, as always, with a chat on Sunday starting at 11 a.m. Head on over if you have any lineup questions.
If you are looking for info on players not listed in this article, go to Rotobahn and check out my full Lineup Rankings. I’ll be updating them over the weekend, as always. And, to keep track of all things fantasy football at both Rotobahn and WEEI, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I always tweet links to new articles.
He’ll shine in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Wilson’s an underrated fantasy QB and he’ll give you some touchdowns this week. He’s playable in all formats.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Cardinals
Kaepernick’s always a solid play and should get it done this weekend in a tough divisional matchup. Yes, he has some injuries to his tight ends, but San Francisco has more offensive depth than in the past. Start Kaepernick if you normally would.
Kirk Cousins, Washington at Eagles
He’s not an ideal option because he’s got injuries to his tight ends and receivers, but he’ll also be playing in a high-scoring game and his team will not be in close-it-out mode at the end. Washington is far more likely to be throwing the football in the fourth quarter. Cousins can help you in deep formats.
Joe Flacco, Ravens at Browns
He’s playing decent football, but the Browns are looking tough at home and can take his receivers away for much of the game. Flacco is playable, but this is a week to look for other options if you can.
Derek Carr, Raiders at Patriots
It may be tempting to start him in a deep league because he’ll be throwing a lot and playing from behind, but I hate playing rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick defenses. I’d avoid doing so if possible.
|Fantasy Football 2014: 20 high-value targets||07.17.14 at 11:50 am ET|
Let’s take a look at draft value based on a player’s average draft position. It’s a good way to get a quick feel for where the big values might be in drafts when August rolls around. As we like to do at Rotobahn, we’ll be counting the values down from late selections to the early ones. Jim Hackett and I will get into some of these players in Friday’s podcast, so be sure to check that out. For a look at our take on the top 200 fantasy options for 2014, head on over to Rotobahn.com, where you will also find scouting reports on over 60 rookies and early projections for the upcoming season.
ADP data was obtained at Fantasy Football Calculator.
Andrew Hawkins, WR, Browns — ADP 224
He’s not being drafted at all in smaller leagues, and you can get him very late in large formats, as his ADP indicates. That’s not bad for a player who could be the Browns’ top receiver in 2014. Frankly, if he stays healthy, I can’t see anybody else on the roster outplaying him. In fairness, that speaks to how underrated Hawkins currently is, but it also speaks to how woefully thin Cleveland is at receiver.
Odell Beckham, WR, Giants — ADP 163
Do not wait until 163 to draft this guy. Beckham, for whatever reason, is being ignored in fantasy circles and we think he’s a potential WR3 in 12-team leagues. As we said in his Rotobahn scouting report, Beckham has perhaps the best hands we’ve seen since we scouted Michael Crabtree. He’s also got all the skills you want a receiver to have, including outstanding agility and speed. He should fit right into the Giants offense and could be a fantasy force from Day 1. He’s a steal at his current ADP.
Justin Hunter, WR, Titans — ADP 159
Hunter’s ADP has risen about 10 spots over the last month … and he’ll jump a bit more before most of us draft, but he still projects as a value this season. He should be ready to take a step forward in 2014, and with Kenny Britt now gone, Hunter’s snap totals should more than double. We expect him to be a starter or an in-effect starter. He has a chance to post double-digit scores if things go well in Tennessee. Hunter is by far the most explosive athlete the Titans have on offense. He has WR1 upside in long-term leagues and has the upside to be a WR2 this year. He should be off the board somewhere around the 100 mark in our opinion. He’s a potential steal right now.
Aaron Dobson, WR, Patriots — ADP 138
This could change, and you may pay a bit more for him in this part of the country, but Dobson is a pretty solid WR3 option in 12-team leagues if he’s healthy — and the news on his foot has been positive lately. If he’s starting at split end, he’s worth a pick closer to 100 overall, and he’d still have some upside there due to his touchdown potential.
Marvin Jones, WR, Bengals — ADP 129
As with Hunter, Jones’ ADP has risen a bit this summer and he’ll move up another round, and perhaps more in the coming weeks, but we still like him at that price tag. He’s a much more complete player than he gets credit for, and he should have no problem holding on to the starter’s spot opposite A.J. Green. He looks like a borderline WR3 to us in 12-team leagues with upside to be more.
|Media prognosticators split heading into Super Bowl||01.31.14 at 1:56 pm ET|
What happens when the best defense in the league faces off against the best offense? Even media prognosticators aren’t too sure.
ESPN‘s group of 13 analysts heavily favor the Broncos, with nine leaning toward Denver and just three favoring Seattle. Eric Allen, Merril Hoge, Ron Jaworski, KC Joyner, Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, Mark Schlereth, Tom Jackson, and Mike Ditka all believe that the Broncos will take the Super Bowl title. Meanwhile, Seth Wickersham, Keyshawn Johnson and Cris Carter project the Seahawks will take home the trophy. Mike Golic did not choose a team.
Who wins Sunday's Super Bowl?
- Seahawks in a close game in regulation (63%, 275 Votes)
- Broncos in a close game in regulation (20%, 86 Votes)
- Seahawks in a rout (9%, 38 Votes)
- Broncos in a rout (7%, 30 Votes)
- Seahawks in overtime (1%, 5 Votes)
- Broncos in overtime (0%, 0 Votes)
Total Voters: 434
The prognosticators at SB Nation gave the advantage to Seattle. Ryan Van Bibbler, Joel Thorman, Jason Chilton and Matt Ufford went with the Seahawks, while Stephen White and David Fucillo say the Broncos will win it.
Meanwhile, the CBS Sports panel came out completely split. Pete Prisco, Will Brinson, Josh Katzowitz and Jamey Eisenberg think Denver will win, whereas Jason La Canfora, Ryan Wilson, John Breech and Dave Richard favor Seattle.
Following are more predictions from around the country.
Elliot Harrison, NFL.com, Broncos 27, Seahawks 23: “The weather won’t be bad enough to slow [Peyton Manning's] air game drastically. If Seattle is to have a chance, [Russell Wilson] and the ‘Hawks will have to get it together in the air to make it close at the end. Ultimately, though, given how the Broncos defense has played of late, I feel that Denver will win Super Bowl XLVIII.”
Don Banks, Sports Illustrated, Broncos 24, Seahawks 20: “Elite defense usually trumps elite offense in Super Bowl showdowns of this ilk, and sometimes in blowout fashion (think Tampa Bay over Oakland from 11 years ago). But not this time. I can’t shake the feeling that it’s Peyton Manning‘s year and the rest of us are just along for the ride. Even the much-discussed weather will wind up breaking right for the Denver passing game on Sunday in the Meadowlands.”
|Steve Young on M&M: Postseason record would drive Peyton Manning ‘crazy’ if he loses Sunday||at 1:52 pm ET|
Hall of Fame quarterback and ESPN analyst Steve Young joined Mut & Merloni on Friday to discuss quarterback legacies. To hear the interview, go to the Mut & Merloni audio on demand page.
“You can say, ‘Oh, it’s just perception and truly teams go to the Super Bowl,’ ” Young said. “It doesn’t matter. That’s what it is. … I think Peyton at this point recognizes he laid it all out here in the seasons he’s had, but I think that he’s getting sick of hearing about his postseason record. The Super Bowl championship would stop that part of it.
“That’s the part of life that never goes away, even 15 years after I played, there are things that happened that I still hear about because they happened and I can’t stop it. Peyton would not want to retire and always hear about his postseason record. It would drive him crazy.”
For Young, Tom Brady is a great quarterback because of the way he plays even without strong weapons on the field with him.
“Tom has done more with less than anyone who ever played,” Young said. “He is a master, and it’s remarkable. Literally during the season, there are games I can’t believe what he just did with what he had. You can say that’s a fault of the GM or injuries or bad luck. It doesn’t really matter, that’s just a fact. That’s part of the equation when you talk about greatness — what did you do with the guys you had?
“To me, this season was one of the more remarkable ones that I’ve seen Tom over the remarkable career he’s had, and it’s unfortunate because if you have those steady weapons, you look at what Peyton’s doing with his steady weapons and you have consistency and you’ve got not a lot of turnover in the era of free agency.
“It’s hard for me to watch the greatest generation not get the support they really need.”
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