|Fantasy Football: Week 16 starts, sits||12.22.12 at 11:30 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 16 starts and sits. If you are reading this article, then there’s a good chance you are in the championship game for your league. Congratulations on that. Now let’s see if we can give you a little guidance on some of this week’s tough lineup choices. I will also be hosting our final Sunday morning chat this weekend, so feel free to swing by if you have any tough choices. We kick off the chat at 11 a.m. If you need comprehensive lineup help, join us at Rotobahn, where I will have full lineup rankings posted later Saturday.
Robert Griffin III, Redskins at Eagles
If he plays, you should play him. Washington sat him last week, so you know the coaches have some standards in place. They won’t just throw him out there. The matchup is favorable and he’s an effective QB even without his typical mobility. Unless you happen to have another elite option, you should start RGIII and just accept the risks. His upside merits it in my view.
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Saints
Dez Bryant proved that he can be a factor with his injury last week and this is a solid home matchup. Romo has been a fantasy asset over the last eight weeks and we expect that to continue in Week 16. Expect QB1 results in a high-scoring game.
Sam Bradford, Rams at Buccaneers
Bradford is playing well, has a nice matchup and has a full complement of weapons to work with now that Danny Amendola is back. He makes a solid start this week if you are in need. Start him in all leagues.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers vs. Rams
Freeman is reeling along with the entire Bucs offense. After last week’s debacle, we’d be very leery of starting him against a solid yet inconsistent St. Louis defense. If you have another viable option, I’d use it.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. 49ers
Yes, we love this kid, but this is not a great week to use him unless you are weak at the position. Wilson is viable, but we have him ranked as an average QB2 this week, not the monster he was in Week 15. He’s not running for a bunch of scores on San Francisco. At least, we’re not willing to bet our season on it.
Jake Locker, Titans at Packers
For those in deep leagues, don’t let Green Bay’s recent defensive struggles tempt you into using Locker. He’s missing way too many throws right now for you to trust your title game to him. He’s an exciting young player, but he could let you down on the road in Green Bay and hasn’t topped 20 points since Week 3. If you are a Freeman owner looking for another option, keep looking and avoid Locker in Week 16.
|Fantasy Football: Week 13 starts, sits||11.30.12 at 12:06 pm ET|
Welcome to the Week 13 starts and sits. I know it’s a high-stakes weekend for a lot of you GMs. I’ve tried to look at the options that are not totally obvious as I usually do, but there’s no way I can get to every possible scenario. With that in mind, please feel free to join us for our Sunday morning chat, when I can address your specific lineup questions. There are full lineup rankings at Rotobahn.com, so that is another good resource and I’ll be updating the rankings this weekend. Best of luck to all you folks fighting for a playoff berth and props to those who are sitting pretty or playing for a first-round bye.
Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Rams
He’s been very good so far and he gets you points with his feet, which raises his fantasy floor. If you need help at quarterback in Week 13, Kaepernick could be the answer in any league size. He’s actually available in 50 percent of Yahoo! leagues, which is a joke. This guy should be owned everywhere.
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Eagles
Not only is Romo a good play this week, but it would not shock me if he is the best play at the position in Week 13. The Cowboys have a chance to light up the Eagles. Romo is a great option in any league.
Chad Henne, Jaguars at Bills
Need help? Henne can be the answer to your QB problem and he is available in 88 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Start him in Week 13 if you are in need. He has QB1 potential. The one thing to check is the status of his starting receivers, but we expect Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon to play at this point.
Sam Bradford, Rams vs. 49ers
With injuries to his receivers and a rough matchup, Bradford should be avoided despite his modest success in recent weeks. Without a healthy Danny Amendola, Bradford might not have enough options in the middle of the field, and the 49ers will do a good job of taking away Chris Givens on the outside. Look elsewhere if possible.
|Fantasy Football: Week 9 waiver wire||10.29.12 at 1:57 pm ET|
Welcome to the Week 9 waiver wire. I’m hunkering down with Hurricane Sandy approaching Rotobahn headquarters. This week’s wire will be written before Monday Night Football because I probably will be without power by the time the game starts. There were some bust-outs this weekend and I want to touch on them now while I still can. Free agent moves could be tricky this week with so many people losing access to power. This is the point where I usually tell you to go to Rotobahn for more information, but this week, Rotobahn won’t have much more than you find right here. One thing I would recommend checking out are our full season rankings that I posted last week. It’s a great way to weigh trade offers and to establish player values if you are constructing a trade offer.
Good luck to all over the next few days.
Josh Freeman, Buccaneers
His team is improving around him, and a rising tide lifts all boats. That is to say, I’m not sure Freeman is playing that much better than he’s played in prior years, he just has a much stronger hand to play with Vincent Jackson and Doug Martin on board. Now the Bucs have the run feeding off of the pass and vice versa. This all bodes well for Freeman’s fantasy value going forward. He’s a guy to own in all formats.
Carson Palmer, Raiders
As I said last week, he is out there cheap and he won’t hurt you if you need to start him. The Raiders slowly are rounding into form and Darren McFadden finally showed up against the Jets last week, which could really help Palmer going forward. Palmer is a solid QB2 who can start for you in all formats when you need him.
Sam Bradford, Rams
He can’t help you this week, but he apparently is getting Danny Amendola back after St. Louis’ Week 9 bye. That gives him a nice assortment of weapons to work with. He will be a legit QB2 from Week 10 on.
Jake Locker, Titans
He should be back soon, and with so many healthy receivers and a fired-up ground game, he could do very well for fantasy purposes. Locker gives you the big play and he gives you points with his feet, which raises his floor. Be aware of his Week 11 bye, but we like him as a very strong backup option that can be had in many leagues. It’s hard to imagine the Titans not taking this soon-to-be-lost season and developing Locker regardless of how well Matt Hasselbeck plays.
|Setting the scene: Patriots-Rams||10.28.12 at 10:47 am ET|
Cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-40s are expected for the 5 p.m. local time kickoff at Wembley Stadium as the Patriots square off against the Rams in the annual NFL International series game.
There is a 10 percent chance of rain with light winds of 10 mph expected.
The Patriots head into the game without seven players, including cornerback Ras-I Dowling, who was placed on season-ending injured reserve on Friday with a thigh injury. His spot on the 53-man roster was taken by Malcolm Williams, who was signed off the practice squad on Saturday.
On the offensive side, the Patriots will not have tight end Aaron Hernandez, who was ruled out after having a setback this week with his right ankle.
Also out today for the Patriots are safeties Patrick Chung and Steve Gregory, running back Brandon Bolden. defensive end Trevor Scott and linebacker Tracy White.
The Patriots’ road trip to London – 6,500 miles roundtrip – will be longer than the Packers (5,774) will travel all season. Between their trips to Seattle and London in a space of three weeks, the Patriots will travel 11,480 miles, a total more than 11 teams will travel in all of 2012.
The Patriots enter this game ranked first in points per game (31.0) and yards gained per game (436.1) while the Rams and Sam Bradford are 28th in yards (315.1) and 26th in points (18.6).
The Patriots have beaten the Rams three straight times, starting with their Super Bowl XXXVI win against Kurt Warner and the “Greatest Show on Turf” on Feb. 3, 2002. The Patriots beat the Rams, 40-22, at Edwards Jones Dome in 2004 and 23-16 in 2008 at Gillette Stadium. The Rams built a 16-13 fourth-quarter lead before Matt Cassel led the comeback. Deltha O’Neal sealed the win with an interception with just over a minute left.
The last Rams win in the regular season series – which is tied at five wins apiece – came in the 2001 Super Bowl season when Warner led the Rams to a 24-17 win on Sunday night football at Foxboro Stadium. That would be the last loss as the Patriots won their final six games and all three in playoffs to capture their first NFL title.
Keep an eye on Bradford. Four of the last five quarterbacks to face the Patriots defense have posted their season-best passing yardage total. Another factoid that is of concern, the Patriots defense have allowed an NFL-worst 36 plays of 20 yards or more.
|Sam Bradford on NFL in London: ‘Very apparent that we were in a foreign country’||10.24.12 at 9:10 pm ET|
The NFL began introducing American football to Europe and England with the American Bowl in 1986 with exhibition games. Then came NFL Europe.
In 2007, the Dolphins beat the Giants at Wembley Stadium starting a series that will continue on Sunday with the Patriots and Rams doing battle.
But, even with all that exposure, the NFL still has a lot of work to do to reach the next generation of fans in England.
“Yeah, it’s definitely different,” Rams quarterback Sam Bradford said Wednesday from London. “We went to that “Play 60″ event [Tuesday] and it was very apparent that we were in a foreign country. Just the youth here compared to the youth in America, I mean, they had very little awareness to what American football was. I think it surprised me a little bit just how little they knew about our game, which I think is one of the reasons it’s such a great opportunity for the NFL to come over here. These kids aren’t exposed to American football and if we want to expand our game, we’re going to have to do things like this to get them active and get them interested in learning more about the game.”
Bradford was then asked to compare the football skills of the American and European kids he’s interacted with at the “Play 60″ events.
“You really can’t even compare them because I mean, I have a feeling that yesterday some of the kids we were dealing with, it was probably the first time they’d ever seen an American football,” Bradford said honestly. “Obviously they play a lot of soccer over here. I asked a couple of them what they played and the predominant answers were soccer and cricket. I think, obviously, they’re just brought up a little differently in terms of the sports they’re exposed to. It really is kind of hard to compare them talking about football.”
Maybe it speaks to the urgency of the season. Perhaps it has something to do with his toughness. It’s possible it has something to do with the potential gains to be made against the Patriots secondary or maybe he’s just feeling a lot better.
Whatever the reason, Rams star receiver Danny Amendola was back at practice on Wednesday in London on what St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher called a “limited” basis.
Amendola, who has 32 catches, 395 yards and two TDs, missed the last two games – both losses – and the Rams have gone from 3-2 to 3-4. Rams quarterback Sam Bradford was pretty pumped up to see his top target return after suffering a nasty collarbone injury in a 17-3 win over the Cardinals on Oct. 4.
“It would mean a lot,” Bradford said in a conference call from London Wednesday. “Obviously I’ve said it before: a lot of our offense runs through Danny when he’s healthy. You look at the Washington game when he caught 15 balls and everything really started with him. There’s no doubt that we miss him, but I think in the past couple weeks, the guys that have had to step up and make plays because he’s not there, I think they’ve done a great job and I look for them to do the same this week. Everyone has really elevated their game since he went down.”
While attempting a diving catch against Arizona, Amendola dislocated his clavicle, but in a very unusual way. Instead of popping out, the clavicle popped in and came millimeters from puncturing his trachea and aorta, which would have probably killed him. Considering this injury was life-threatening, it’s almost shocking to think he’s back on the practice field just under three weeks later.
“It was really good to see him, obviously,” Bradford added. “Me and him are pretty close; we talked about it last week. He told me that he was going to be out there with us today doing some stuff. I was a little surprised – just from the initial reports, I thought it was going to be quite a bit longer for him to get back on the field. But anytime you get him back out there, I think it just brought a whole spark to the whole group today and just lifted everyone’s spirits a little bit seeing him back out there. Even though he didn’t do a whole lot, just having him on the field really energized our group.”
|How good will the Patriots make Sam Bradford look?||10.23.12 at 1:05 pm ET|
FOXBORO — So far this season, Joe Flacco, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Peyton Manning and Mark Sanchez have all thrown for over 300 yards against the Patriots, while Russell Wilson came seven yards away from the feat. Will Sam Bradford be the next signal-caller to go to town on New England’s secondary?
Since taking the Rams from being a one-win team to a 7-9 record in his season rookie season, Bradford hasn’t seen his numbers or the Rams progress much. Now in his third season, the 2010 first overall pick has just 13 touchdowns and 12 interceptions over his last two campaigns (a 17-game span since he missed six games last season), while the Rams finished with the second-worst record in the league last season, earning them the pick that they flipped to Washington for a boatload of draft currency.
Yet while the numbers might not be pretty for Bradford, one shouldn’t underestimate the highly talented 24-year old.
“Very good passer,” Patriots coach Bill Belichick said of Bradford on Tuesday. “We played against him here [in the preseason] a couple years ago. Of course, talking to Josh [McDaniels] about him, who had him last year, I think this guy’s a very, very good quarterback. I think he’s smart, sees coverages well, reads things well, has a good understanding of the passing game, accurate throwing the ball, good mechanics, a tough kid. I think he’s got a lot going for him. He’s a good quarterback.”
The last time the Pats saw Bradford in that 2010 preseason game, he stole the show with the help of a current Patriot. Bradford hit tight end Michael Hoomanawanui on four connections for 53 yards and a pair of touchdowns as the Rams beat the Pats, 36-35.
While Bradford went to Hoomanawanui often in his half of work in that preseason meeting, his targets have obviously changed over the years. His favorite target these days, slot receiver Danny Amendola, suffered a rare injury involving the dislocation of his clavicle in what could have been a life-threatening injury in Week 4 against the Cardinals and has been out since then. Even having missed the last two games, Amendola still leads the Cardinals in receptions (32) and receiving yards (395), while his 49 targets on the season is 10 more than the next guy in line, receiver Brandon Gibson.
With Amendola out, Bradford has focused more on the likes of Gibson (seven targets last week against Green Bay), Steve Smith (6) and Chris Givens (4). Austin Pettis has played in Amendola’s slot role.
Bradford has thrown for 300 yards just twice through the first seven weeks of the season, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he becomes the latest to accomplish the feat against the Pats. One advantage the Patriots hope to have with Bradford is his former offensive coordinator in McDaniels.
“I hope so,” safety Steve Gregory said Tuesday when asked if McDaniels can help them prepare for Bradford. “We’ll find out. I haven’t talked with him yet, but we hope. We’ll watch that guy on film. He’s a good quarterback, he spreads the ball around, so we’ll have to be ready for him and try to pick up on some of his tendencies and things that he’s doing on the field.”
2013 PATRIOTS DRAFT PICKS
2013 NFL DRAFT
- New England Patriots Links 6/19/13 - Patriots Dominate on First Down
- Police Searched Aaron Hernandez' Home For More than Two Hours
- Aaron Hernandez Questioned, Has Home Searched after Killing
- Report: Rob Gronkowski Back Surgery Completed and Successful
- Fantasy Outlook: Patriots RB Stevan Ridley
- The Top 20 Most Memorable Patriots Moments of 2012: Number 5
- New England Patriots Links 6/18/13 - Shane Vereen: Offense Has 'Sour...