|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 11 starts, sits||11.16.12 at 9:04 am ET|
Welcome to the Week 11 starts and sits. It’s the year’s final bye week, so things will get easier going forward. Of course, the stakes only get higher, so you can replace all the busywork with playoff-chase stress. At this point, most people’s seasons are well-defined. You are either chasing a playoff spot or you are trying to hold on to one. Here’s my take on some of the tougher lineup choices for Week 11. If you are left wanting further assistance, check out our full lineup rankings at Rotobahn. I’ll be updating it over the weekend. I’ll also be hosting our usual 11 a.m. chat here at WEEI on Sunday morning. Join us if you have any last-minute lineup questions.
Tony Romo, Cowboys vs. Browns
Romo had a few bad fantasy outings early on, but he’s settled in since then and he’s averaging in excess of 20 points per game over the last three weeks. The Browns defense shouldn’t scare anybody, especially on the road. Romo’s receivers are healthy, and Felix Jones is functioning adequately as Demarco Murray’s replacement at tailback. The Dallas signal-caller should have a solid day for fantasy GMs and has upside to have a big day if things break right.
Josh Freeman, Bucs at Panthers
Overall, Freeman has been too good to sit, and though he was just decent in Week 10, he has a stronger matchup in Week 11 against Carolina. The Panthers have been a nice surprise on defense, but they have struggled some against the pass and we doubt they can shut down Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams. Freeman is a QB1 in 12-team leagues for this week.
Andy Dalton, Bengals at Chiefs
Dalton can start for you this week against a Chiefs team that, while not without defensive talent, can be had on most weeks. Dalton is using his alternative weapons and not relying solely on stud receiver A.J. Green, and that makes him a reasonable starting option in 12-team leagues. He is Rotobahn’s 13th-ranked QB for Week 11.
Joe Flacco, Ravens at Pittsburgh
Flacco is a viable option as a starter in 12-team leagues, but we’d prefer to avoid him in Week 11. The Steelers are always a tough matchup at home and they will be loaded for bear knowing that their offense is limited without starting QB Ben Roethlisberger. Flacco was great last week in a great matchup, but we’d avoid him in this bad one if you have a better option on your roster.
Jason Campbell, Bears at 49ers
Don’t get cute. The Bears backup is an upgrade over what Chicago has had in the past behind starter Jay Cutler, but you don’t want to use him here. Not against the 49ers on the road. Avoid.
|Bill Belichick and Nick Saban hanging at Pebble Beach||02.11.12 at 6:29 pm ET|
By Greg Cameron
Just six days removed from last Sunday’s Super Bowl loss to the Giants, Patriots coach Bill Belichick hit the links as a part of the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am as the amateur playing partner of PGA golfer Ricky Barnes. Currently, the pair sits in a tie for seventh place in the tournament heading into Sunday’s final round.
After teeing off on the famed course’s par-3 17th hole, Belichick and University of Alabama coach Nick Saban, who was playing with former Crimson Tide golf standout Bud Cauley in a foursome with the perpetually hoodie-clad coach (including during play on Saturday) and Barnes, spoke to CBS Sports’s Jim Nantz and Sir Nick Faldo. In addition to being critiqued on the finer points of their golf swings, both coaches, who are long-time friends talked about their time playing together in the tournament and blowing off steam after Super Bowl XLVI.
On what it was like playing together at Pebble Beach:
BB: “Oh it is. It’s awesome. It’s great to spend time with Nick and the pros here at Pebble Beach. It’s a great weekend.”
NS: “This is a fantastic place I’ve never been here before. This is my old friend and pal, and one of my real mentors in coaching and it’s great to be able to spend time with him as well.”
On playing so well with Barnes in the tournament despite not playing much golf in recent months:
BB: “Ricky Barnes has been playing great. He’s having a great tournament and he’s been carrying me the entire time out here. He’s going to have a back massage out here tonight.”
On what it’s been like after last week’s Super Bowl and the reactions from the gallery:
BB: “The reaction out here has been great. The fans have been great and it’s fun to be out here. It was a tough loss, a tough couple [of] days. But Pebble Beach is a great spot to take your mind off of some of the other problems we had.”
On making the cut with Barnes:
BB: “It’ll be fun. I’ve never done that before and played here on Sunday. I’m looking forward to that.”
Belichick is joined in the Pebble Beach field with other entrants with NFL ties including 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh, Packers quarterback and newly minted league MVP Aaron Rodgers, former Jets coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards, and Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who is playing with Tiger Woods this weekend.
Here’s video of Belichick and Saban chatting with the CBS crew after their round Saturday:
|Is Tom Brady still Mr. Clutch? Stats show a different story||02.02.12 at 10:09 pm ET|
In sports, there are revered and fundamental truths, statements and realities that are unquestioned and rarely debated.
Principally among them, especially in New England, is this: Tom Brady will always find a way to perform and help put his team in a position to win with the game on the line. In short, Brady is a clutch player and it’s that simple.
It is a reputation that Brady has deservedly built over the course of his distinguished career, with late-game heroics in big-game, high-pressure situations cementing his legacy as a winner.
But statistics from the 2011 season paint an entirely different picture of the revered quarterback. If anything, they show a decline in Brady’s late-game statistical performance from years when the Patriots captured the Super Bowl.
In the 2011 season in games decided by 0-7 points, Brady has completed 63.7 percent of his passes for 14 touchdowns and nine interceptions, all of which add up to a 90.8 passer rating, a mark that places him below Aaron Rodgers (119.2), Tony Romo (98.1), Matthew Stafford (98.0), Drew Brees (97.5) and Eli Manning (92.9).
Brady’s passer rating in games decided by 0-7 points is also down from three of the four years in which the Patriots advanced to the Super Bowl.
The problem hasn’t even just been when Brady’s production has dipped. It’s also been when it’s spiked, as he has performed significantly better in games which the Patriots have won by 15 or more.
Compared to his 90.8 rating in closely-contested games, Brady has a passer rating of 119.0 in games that the Patriots won by more than two touchdowns.
While it’s easy to assume that a quarterback performs better when his team is firmly in control of the game, Brady has a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 1.6-to-1 in those 0-7 point games. As for that number in games decided by 15 or more? 13-1.
That contrast in performance is in fact a contrast to the rest of Brady’s career, at least in the Patriots’ most successful seasons.
|WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 7||10.18.11 at 6:16 am ET|
Just one undefeated team remains after six weeks of football. As expected, the Packers (1) rolled all over the Rams and cruised to 6-0. The Ravens (2) and Patriots (3) also continued their winning ways and jump one spot each to round off the top 3. The Lions (7) suffered their first loss of the season to the upstart 49ers in a gritty and exciting game. The 49ers (6) are buying what Jim Harbaugh is selling and they’ve now rattled off four straight wins as they head into their bye week.
Desperate teams like the Jets, Eagles (19), and Falcons (13) all managed to squeeze out wins and stay alive in the playoff race. The Jets stay put at No. 11 but could jump higher next week if they can beat the 4-1 Chargers (4).
There’s been a lot of commotion at the quarterback position across the NFL. The Broncos (26) are set to go with Tebow, the Redskins (20) have yet to name a starter for Week 7, the Seahawks (24) are uncertain if Tarvaris Jackson will be available, and the Raiders (12) suffered a big blow losing Jason Campbell.
At the bottom, misery loves company. The three remaining winless teams, the Rams (30), Dolphins (31), and Colts (32) are getting comfortable in their spots. All three teams are reaching new levels of terribleness.
What to watch for in Week 7:
The Falcons travel to Detroit to face the Lions in a game that could have playoff implications down the road.
In the hunt to win the AFC South, with the Manning-less Colts a non-factor, the Texans and Titans will square off in a huge divisional game.
Byes: Bills, Bengals, Patriots, Giants, Eagles, 49ers
1. (1) Packers (6-0) — Packers players should be prepared to fend off whispers of a possible perfect season because they’ll get louder and louder each week. The defending Super Bowl champs are over-matching their opponents and 7-0 looks inevitable with the Vikings next. With the way Aaron Rodgers is playing, undefeated certainly seems like a very real possibility.
2. (3) Ravens (5-1) — Baltimore has outscored its opponents by 77 points. The Ravens defense has been good all year and once again showed how tough and physical they can be against any offensive weapon the opposing team might throw at them. Arian Foster was shut down by a run defense that has been superb this season. On the other hand, Ray Rice has been lethal in the run and pass game.
3. (4) Patriots (5-1) — The improvement from the Patriots defense over the past couple of weeks has to be encouraging for Bill Belichick heading into the bye week. The pass rush is progressing and they’re getting off the field on third-down. This defense came up huge against the Cowboys and finally picked up the offense. Tom Brady and crew turned the ball over four times but the Pats D held Dallas to just six points on those turnovers. It’s a perfect time for a bye week for the Pats. Jerod Mayo, Albert Haynesworth and others can heal up and the defense can work on its problems before the team enters a tough stretch of games.
4. (2) Saints (4-2) — Tough day all around for the Saints. Not only did they lose to a divisional opponent, head coach Sean Payton tore his MCL after colliding with tight end Jimmy Graham. The injury will probably prevent the fiery Payton from coaching on the sidelines for a good period of time. All in all, the Saints should be able to overcome the tough defeat- thanks to the schedule. Two of the three winless teams in the NFL (Colts and the Rams) are next.
5. (6) Chargers (4-1) — The first-place Chargers sat back this past weekend and watched their biggest competition in the division lose its starting quarterback. The AFC West is theirs to lose. The Chargers now have to prove they can beat the good teams in the NFL. They’ll start by playing the Jets in New York this Sunday.
|Boomer Esiason on D&C: Sunday ‘may have been [Patriots'] best win of the year’||10.17.11 at 10:30 am ET|
CBS Sports NFL analyst Boomer Esiason made his weekly appearance on the Dennis & Callahan show Monday morning to evaluate the Patriots’ 20-16 win over the Cowboys Sunday.
The New England offense was mediocre at best Sunday, as quarterback Tom Brady recorded his lowest passer rating of the season at 82.3, throwing for 289 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. The offense also fumbled the ball once and had to settle for field goals twice. Still, Esiason said he thought the game was a good sign for the Patriots entering their Week 7 bye.
“I will tell you that that may have been their best win of the year simply because they were playing against a very good team in Dallas,” Esiason said. “They were playing against a team that has a plethora of offensive stars and has DeMarcus Ware as their pass rusher. That was a solid win for a team on their own field where they probably felt like they weren’t playing their best football.”
Esiason said one of the keys to the game was better play from the defense, who held Dallas to just six points off of four turnovers and limited the Cowboys to 16 points overall.
“It is a team game,” Esaison said. “The Patriots defense has been maligned. Thirty-second ranked. We all get it. We all know it. We see it. Yesterday was probably their best game as a defense, I thought. Getting the turnovers and keeping the Dallas Cowboys out of the end zone. That’s ultimately what the Patriots have always been about. Bend, bend, bend, make a turnover here or there, and then force the other team to a field goal because we know our quarterback is going to come down and score a touchdown.”
Following are more highlights of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.
On the perceived lack of trust between Cowboys coach Jason Garrett and quarterback Tony Romo: “What the Cowboys are going through right now is kind of a weird situation between their head coach and their quarterback. I think the head coach feels like he’s putting the quarterback in bad situations early in the season. Then the quarterback has just been getting ripped left and right after they lose these games late in games. So yesterday when the game is in the balance, they have to make plays on offense, Jason Garrett basically takes the ball out of Tony Romo’s hands and plays into the hands of the New England Patriots.
“It’s weird how these teams go through emotional states and how they look at each other and coaches manage situations. If we were talking about Tony Romo’s interception late in the game or Tony Romo’s inability to find [wide receiver] Dez Bryant late in the game, then I would tell you that the shackles are off and Jason Garrett feels confident about his quarterback. But with the way the game ended in the case of the Dallas Cowboys, you can’t help but obviously see there that there’s no confidence there in Tony Romo and they were just trying to keep him out of making a major mistake there late in the game.”
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