By Jeff Risdon
Last Week: Into every life a little rain must fall. On this life, it poured. The worst week in over 10 years of picking games wound up 4-10. 98-61-1 on the season.
Gambling Update: The yearly profits were washed away in the deluge of bad picks. I lost all $2000 wagered on three games, putting me $500 in the hole on the season. Anyone want to lend me a debit card?
- Kansas City Chiefs at Oakland Raiders (+8): The wider world of football fans gets to see a winless Raiders team in prime time going against a Chiefs team that just beat the defending champion Seahawks. I know the marketing gurus will trumpet the intensity of the rivalry and the Marcus Allen saga, but the plain fact is this won’t be a very entertaining football game. The Chiefs still haven’t thrown a touchdown pass to a wide receiver, not exactly the kind of sizzle to sell a stinker of a game. The Raiders do play hard, and rookie QB Derek Carr has shown real promise. They’re just not talented enough to compete without the other team playing poorly.
Chiefs 24, Raiders 16
- Cincinnati Bengals at Houston Texans (-1.5): Echoes of past playoff failures haunt the Bengals in Reliant, where the Texans notched the only two postseason wins in franchise history at their expense. Andy Dalton was worse than awful in those two contests: 41-of-72, barely five yards per attempt and four INTs to zero TDs.
Those Texans teams were a lot better than the current incarnation, however. Dalton, a native of nearby Katy, is due for some vengeance. I think he got his legendary bad game against Cleveland out of his system. Sometimes you have to hit rock bottom before climbing to greater heights. Having Jeremy Hill and a return by Giovani Bernard to run the ball to balance the offense sure helps. I’m banking on at least one dumb penalty from safety D.J. Swearinger to help extend a drive, too. Ryan Mallett was decent in his first game, but now opposing teams have game film to evaluate and plan around. Cincinnati takes advantage and exorcises some recent playoff demons.
Bengals 24, Texans 20
- Arizona Cardinals at Seattle Seahawks (-6.5): I don’t care that this game is in Seattle, where the Seahawks are a significantly better team. No way is any team deserving of being a touchdown favorite over these 9-1 Arizona Cardinals, not with the way their defense can cover and create havoc up front. Not with their bevy of outside weapons and aggressive tactics. Not with the runaway coach of the year in Bruce Arians plotting out another masterful game plan. Will Seattle win? Maybe. Will they win impressively by more than a touchdown? I wouldn’t bet on it.
Seahawks 19, Cardinals 17
- Miami Dolphins at Denver Broncos (-7.5): Prevailing wisdom is that the Broncos will be howling mad after their embarrassing performance last week. But I’m not so sure their angst will lead to success here. Miami has a very good defense, able to consistently get to the QB by rushing just four and dropping seven into coverage. They’re very good at bottling up the run, too. With all the missing or walking wounded Broncos offensively, Peyton Manning could very well struggle once again. Don’t forget they were sluggish for most of the game against lowly Oakland the week before St. Louis smothered them.
It’s Denver’s defense that will lead them to victory over the inconsistent Miami offense. I don’t trust Ryan Tannehill in the cold against his old Texas A&M teammate Von Miller, and Miami’s dink-and-dunk offense will not create the big plays necessary to attack the questionable Denver back end. The Dolphins will keep it close and low-scoring, but in the end Denver is the more trustworthy and proven team in these sorts of situations.
Broncos 21, Dolphins 16
- Detroit Lions at New England Patriots (-6.5): The Rob Gronkowski touchdown catch and run last week is one of the scariest things I’ve ever seen on a football field. Going against NFL players, Gronk looked like the roller coaster crashing through the shaving cream at the bottom of the hill. He was not going to be denied.
The Lions have the best chance of anyone to slow down Gronk and the high-flying Patriots offense. And I think that’s exactly what Detroit will do--force Tom Brady to beat them with someone else besides the All-World tight end. If you’re one of the suckers who picked up Jonas Gray for your fantasy team, you’ll be dribbling the drool of remorse into the pillow of regret for starting him against this defensive front. Nobody runs on the Lions, period. Detroit has the ability to make the offense one-dimensional and also to limit Gronk. I think Brady will find some success against the league’s stingiest defense, but no more than two TDs and two field goals.
The question then becomes if the Lions can outscore that. Unless Matthew Stafford plays significantly better behind his patchwork OL, the answer is a resounding no. The underachieving unit continues to be the Achilles heel of what is otherwise an outstanding overall team. The Patriots ability in coverage will do enough to fluster Stafford, and his propensity to stick to his primary read will lead to an untimely turnover that puts the game away for the home team. Good game to take the “under”, currently at 48.5. I’ll be surprised if it gets within a touchdown of that number.
Patriots 20, Lions 15
- Green Bay Packers at Minnesota Vikings (+10.5): Lead pipe lock of the week. No reason to dwell much on what should continue to be Aaron Rodgers’ strong campaign to seize the MVP once again.
Packers 35, Vikings 12
- Tennessee Titans at Philadelphia Eagles (-11.5): Tough task for the Titans to travel on a short week and face an Eagles team licking its wounds from being blown off the (almost) frozen tundra of Lambeau Field. Yet if both teams play this week the way they did last week, the visitors can absolutely pull it off.
One of the lessons from this unpredictable season is that what happened last week doesn’t necessarily impact what happens this week. In fact, teams often completely reverse their fates from one week to another for no particular reason. The Eagles are too talented and well-coached to get rolled at home, especially by the Titans. Gunslinging rookie QB Zach Mettenberger has provided a nice spark, finally unleashing the deep ball against Pittsburgh after slogging through a pathetic yards per attempt in his first two starts. The Eagles are vulnerable to breakdowns on the back end, so Tennessee could keep this game closer than expected. It’s extremely unlikely they win, however.
Eagles 30, Titans 20
- Jacksonville Jaguars at Indianapolis Colts (-13.5): Back when Peyton Manning was running the Colts and Jack Del Rio was coaching the Jaguars, this was always a much closer contest than the records of the two teams would indicate. Even in their down years those Jaguar teams were always a handful for Manning and the Colts.
The Patriots exposed the blueprint for attacking the Indy defense: punch them in the mouth and run around them while they look for their teeth. Judiciously sprinkle in smart passes and the occasional shot down the field between the safeties. Unfortunately the Jaguars don’t have Tom Brady or Jonas Gray or Rob Gronkowski to do those things. The Colts are angry and motivated to redeem themselves after their prominent national whooping by New England. This is not apt to be pretty for the Florida visitors.
Colts 36, Jaguars 17
- St. Louis Rams at San Diego Chargers (-6): It’s hard to ignore what St. Louis did last week in upending the mighty Broncos and Peyton Manning. They got consistent pressure and the back end played aggressively smart and tackled well. Meanwhile the Chargers sputtered once again in barely edging out the winless Raiders. The Chargers have trouble in pass protection, while the Rams pass rush has finally heated up. San Diego cannot run the ball at all, averaging a league-worst (tied with Arizona) 3.1 yards per carry. It sure seems like the Rams ought to have a great chance to win, even on the road.
Flash to the Allstate Mayhem ad where he’s a cheap bungee cord holding a grill and various other loosely-tethered objects in the back of a pickup truck. Mayhew casually utters “Nah” and the road is strewn with debris. A car crashes into it, but Mayhem isn’t done. He flings a giant tub of cheese puffs into the air in celebration. St. Louis, you are the car behind Mayhem.
Chargers 27, Rams 10
- Washington at San Francisco 49ers (-8.5): Can’t help but to be impressed with how well the 49ers have turned the tide after such a fractious, uninspiring start. One underexposed reason: penalties. No team was whistled for more flags in the first eight weeks than San Francisco. But in the last three games they rank eighth in the league with just five accepted penalties per game. That’s shaving more than three per week off their early-season average. They’re not beating themselves anymore. Washington stands little chance in pulling off the road shocker, and the Niners’ uptick in discipline makes it even more unlikely.
This is a critical game for RG3, who was unexpectedly slammed by his own coach before Jay Gruden went back to his characteristic fence-straddling self. Griffin has not been good, but more importantly he doesn’t appear to be getting any better. Progress against Chris Borland, Aldon Smith & Co. will be hard to come by, though finding Desean Jackson would be a good place to start. $1000 on the home team.
49ers 34, Ethnic Slurs 19
- Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Chicago Bears (-5.5): It’s Lovie Smith’s return to Chicago, the city where he was a mediocre-at-best coach for far too long. The Bears replaced him with another apparently mediocre-at-best coach in Marc Trestman, unfortunately. It’s also the homecoming for Bucs QB Josh McCown, who was better than Jay Cutler in relief of the injured Bears QB a year ago. McCown won’t be fazed by the cold and wind, or the toothless Chicago back seven. Even though Lance Briggs played well last week, this Bears unit still has major holes all over the place. They’re going to have serious problems with dynamic rookie wideout Mike Evans, who looks like he fits right in with Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery physically.
The problem for Tampa is that their own defense also stinks. Trestman will be able to easily pick up on Smith’s predictable tendencies, and the Bears also have the virtue of Matt Forte and a running offense. The Bucs don’t have that amongst their meager list of assets. $500 on the Bears to cover.
Bears 30, Buccaneers 17
- Cleveland Browns at Atlanta Falcons (-3.5): This game marks Josh Gordon’s return to the Browns lineup after his most recent drug-related suspension. The NFL’s leader in receiving yards last year, it remains to be seen how quickly he can get back to his old self. It was encouraging to hear he took his car sales job seriously during his mandated time away, and he’s had quite a bit of time to get over his chronic stoner physiological addiction.
He gets a favorable matchup in his first game back. In fact, he could be poised for a big day because this game could wind up being a “last score wins” kind of affair. The first-place (at 4-6) Falcons have major issues in pass coverage. They rank 29th in Pro Football Focus pass coverage rankings and they get little help from an anemic pass rush. Brian Hoyer can’t look nearly as bad as he did in last week’s putrid loss…right?
I really like the message Browns coach Mike Pettine sent by dismissing perennially disgruntled RB Ben Tate. I think it will resonate in the locker room, where Tate had few advocates. Remember, this is a guy who openly complained about being behind Arian Foster in Houston when Foster was leading the league in rushing. Browns players will respect the smart decision, and I think between that and the Gordon bump they pull off the road win. Atlanta is never an easy place to visit but these Falcons just aren’t that good.
Browns 27, Falcons 24
- New York Jets at Buffalo Bills (-4.5): The story here isn’t the game, it’s the snow. As of Thursday morning Ralph Wilson Stadium was filled with more than six feet of snow, and more was on the way. If the community can get this stadium ready for Sunday’s game, the Bills deserve to win.
Bills 14, Jets 9
- Dallas Cowboys at New York Giants (+3): The rested Cowboys have a chance to pick up a critical NFC victory as they jockey for playoff positioning. The Giants have not quit on Tom Coughlin, but they’re not exactly crashing through cement for the venerable old coach either. Sometimes it can come down to something as simple as the date of the game, and I think that matters here: Tony Romo is 27-6 in November, while Eli Manning is 16-23. Romo finds ways to win in this month, while Manning is at his worst. I smell a big fantasy week for Dez Bryant. I also smell one for New York’s Odell Beckham, but he might be the only Giant to find the end zone in this one.
Cowboys 29, Giants 13
- Baltimore Ravens at New Orleans Saints (-3): Somewhat surprisingly the Baltimore Ravens have quietly accrued the AFC’s second-best point differential at +80 on the season. They’ve accomplished much of that by pounding NFC South opponents. Baltimore is 3-0 against the NFL’s weakest division, beating Carolina 38-10, Tampa Bay 48-17 and Atlanta 29-7. That’s +81 in three games, meaning the rest of their season is pretty much a wash. I have a hard time seeing the Saints play so poorly once again under the spotlight at home in a game they really need to win, but Drew Brees is really going to miss Brandon Cooks. Baltimore’s defense will give Brees enough problems that Joe Flacco can outgun him.
Ravens 33, Saints 28
49ers -8.5 for $1000
Bears -5.5 for $500
Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Diego Chargers, San Francisco 49ers, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans, Washington Redskins, IQ
By Jeff Risdon
- Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin. Gordon is an obvious choice coming off a weekend where he broke Ladanian Tomlinson’s NCAA record for rushing yards in a single game. He put up 408 on a ranked Nebraska team that will no longer sniff the privilege of the famed black shirts. Gordon did that in three quarters, too. Yet it was the manner of how he put up those astonishing stats that excites draft evaluators.
Gordon showed excellent acceleration and the ability to consistently plant and cut while at full gallop. It harkens to Robert Smith or even Eric Dickerson in their primes. His vision before he even gets the handoff or toss also stood out; he’s setting up his blocks with subtle body positioning as soon as the ball is snapped. Gordon has always shown good functional strength and speed. It’s been nice to see him used more in the passing game as well, something that many have held as a criticism.
The Badger also unintentionally gained due to the torn ACL by Georgia RB Todd Gurley in his return from the bizarre suspension for profiting from being himself. They are different enough stylistically to appeal to different types as the top running back, but Gordon’s clean bill of health gives him a leg up in the quest to be the first running back selected. Both will merit strong first round consideration, though it’s hard to project the running back market in the draft. I’ll phrase it differently: both Gordon and Gurley (even injured) are two of the top 32 players in this draft class.
- T.J. Clemmings, T, Pittsburgh. In just his second year playing offense after originally playing defensive line, Clemmings has performed well enough to earn a Senior Bowl invite. That’s tremendous progress for the rapidly improving former basketball player. He’s gained almost 60 pounds but remains light on his feet, and his length and strong hands seem ideally suited to protecting the blind side. Clemmings is likely to test through the roof in postseason workouts--think Taylor Lewan’s impressive numbers (minus the gaudy 40 time) from a year ago--so get on the bandwagon now. In talking to a couple of different NFL scouts, the league is well aware of the Panthers up-and-comer.
I’ve now seen three of his games and he’s clearly got the highest ceiling of any offensive lineman in this draft class. He needs work on anticipating blitzes and stunts and he can actually get out to the second level too quickly on edge plays. Don’t be surprised if he winds up being drafted ahead of Texas A&M’s Cedric Ogbuehi or Iowa’s Brandon Scherff. I strongly believe Clemmings is a better prospect at the same point than Lane Johnson, the #4 overall pick in 2013. Clemmings won’t go that high, in part because the offensive tackle market doesn’t appear to be high relative to other years, but he could wind up being better than any of the three top-4 tackles from that ’13 draft.
- Quinten Rollins, S, Miami OH. The casual fan has probably never heard of Rollins. Even hardcore college football fans would probably struggle to pick him out of a player lineup. He’s much more recognizable as a basketball player, where he played four years for the RedHawks and finished 2nd in career steals.
Rollins was a high school football star in Wilmington OH but didn’t play the game in college until this year. He apparently never lost his superlative ability. He’s a well-built 6’1” and 205 pounds, and the quickness and nose for the ball that made him successful on the hardwood clearly translates to the gridiron. Rollins has proven he can make the athletic play on the ball in the air, and he’s shown surprisingly polished instincts in coverage. Run support is coming along nicely too. Rollins is a thumping hitter crashing on the ball, though he’s much better at attacking receivers in space than runners in traffic. He played quite well against Michigan, including a couple of situations where he locked up first-rounder Devin Funchess.
Rollins is another Senior Bowl invitee and an under-the-radar player you need to make yourself aware of. Here is a YouTube highlight reel to give you a taste. Don’t EVER scout off a highlight tape, but his athleticism, closing burst and hitting prowess are on full display. The RedHawks take on my Ohio Bobcats next Tuesday on national TV, a good chance to get an extended look against a Bobcat team with a strong running game and mobile QB.
- Andrus Peat, T, Stanford. Headlining the annual barrage of overrated prospects from Stanford, the NFL scouts appear to finally be waking up to the fact that Peat is nowhere near the player he was hyped to be this past summer. Giving up 3.5 sacks, 10 tackles and a forced fumble to Utah’s Nate Orchard (a legit top-75 prospect) continued Peat’s dismal descent down draft boards. Orchard gets by on exceptional effort and technical prowess more than great athletic ability, and his ability to consistently rock Peat with his hands and avoid the lunging and weak punching from the Stanford left tackle really stood out.
The problem with Peat is that he’s wildly inconsistent. Against Oregon, where most of the defensive players will at least be in NFL camps, Peat looked dominant. The son of former NFL player Todd Peat also kicked Anthony Barr’s tail last year, crushing UCLA’s star pass rusher. He has shown he can be an athletic brick wall when he wants to be. Yet he also has the clunkers like Utah and Notre Dame and Arizona State, where he’s ineffective as a run blocker and a step slow and too tall in pass protection.
In talking to an NFL scout who watched him in person versus Notre Dame, I get the impression the upside is going to prevail come draft weekend. Yet his overall body of work is littered with games that should raise real flags for any team taking him in the top 25 picks. And I would bet good $$ he winds up being selected that highly, deserving or not.
- Marcus Mariota, QB, Oregon. The elusive Mariota is as tough to pin down as a prospect as he is for defenders trying to bring him down. Opinions on the Ducks QB are all over the map. The nation’s leader in passing efficiency, Mariota often makes the uptempo Oregon offense look easy even against strong defenses. He consistently puts up points in bunches, and his ability to move the chains with both his arm and his legs draws comparisons to Colin Kaepernick or Andrew Luck.
There is no question he’s an elite collegiate quarterback. I would argue he has been a better college QB than Luck, Robert Griffin III or Cam Newton. Everyone loves and respects his football mind and his athletic potential, and he’s got flawless character. Yet many have lingering questions about how well Mariota’s game will translate to the NFL. One anonymous scout told NFL.com he questions if Mariota is “too nice”. There are persistent grumblings that his incredible accuracy and efficiency are as much a product of Oregon’s system as Mariota’s individual ability. Some take shots at his ability to handle adversity, though I would point those folks to last year’s Oregon State game where he was awful for the first 2/3 of the game before completely dominating and rallying the Ducks to a tough win.
His draft stock remains high. Even at this early juncture I doubt Mariota will last beyond the first five picks of the draft. I strongly believe he would have gone in the top 5 in the last draft, too. So why is he twiddling? Because Mariota is unable to climb any higher, it’s time for the nitpickers to expose every little flaw in an effort to create some wiggle room in their evaluations. NFL personnel folks do this too, though not to the extremes which many carry it out. I’ve seen nothing to indicate that Mariota won’t be a very good NFL quarterback very quickly, and I would not hesitate to take him with the #1 overall pick.
- Cameron Erving, OL, Florida State. The agile Erving made many preseason mock drafts as a first-round tackle projection, yet his underwhelming play as Jameis Winston’s edge protector was steadily pushing him down. He struggled to square up speedier edge targets, often lazy with his feet and not putting much oomph behind his punch.
In order to cover for some injuries, the Seminoles moved the senior into the pivot for the first time in their primetime game in Miami. Erving looked like a duck finding water at center. How good was he?
His ability to quickly get out to the second level and lock up targets in space was mighty impressive. His lack of punch is mitigated in the middle because he doesn’t play on an island, and it’s easier to recover when other bodies are tightly packed. Because the rushers inside aren’t as speedy or can’t get the longer start, Erving actually did a better job anchoring even though he’s going against stronger, heavier linemen.
It’s been just one game. Coach Jimbo Fisher indicated the move was permanent, however, and that gives Erving a few more games to demonstrate his ability at his new position. There is a bit of a track record for success here, including Seattle’s solid Max Unger as well as Wes Johnson from last May’s draft. The Vanderbilt left tackle was a marginal tackle prospect but moved to center and was taken in the fifth round. Erving is bigger and stronger and could wind up being the first center taken in a down year for the position if he continues to impress. Can he sustain it?
- Frank Clark, Edge, ex-Michigan. Had I written this two weeks ago, Clark could very well have been in the Thumbs Up section. The senior pass rusher was showing real technical improvement and increased awareness, which pushed his above-average quickness to another level. He was likely ascending towards a 2nd or 3rd round pick, depending on how well he tested.
After what happened over the weekend, there is little chance Clark gets drafted. He was arrested on some pretty horrific domestic violence charges at an indoor waterpark/hotel in Sandusky, Ohio, the city of my birth. The initial report with the sordid details is available here from the Sandusky Register. Michigan subsequently dismissed Clark from the program on Monday morning.
This was not his first serious scrape with the law. He was arrested for felony theft two years ago for stealing a laptop, a charge which was wiped out after he successfully completed his probation. With all the brouhaha over Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Greg Hardy and others, it seems extremely unlikely any team will take a chance on a two-time criminal who brutally assaulted a woman in front of small children.
Draft, Draft Misc, NCAA
By Neema Hodjat
Stars of Week 11
QB: Aaron Rodgers, GB: 22-36, 341 yards, 3 TDs
RB: Jonas Gray, NE: 37 carries, 201 yards, 4 TDs
WR: Mike Evans, TB: 7 catches, 209 yards, 2 TDs
TE: Coby Fleener, IND: 7 catches, 144 yards, 0 TDs
Aaron Rodgers predictably torched the Eagles’ secondary, and makes it back to back weeks as the top QB. Jonas Gray ran roughshed over the Colts in the Sunday night game - we’ll take a closer look at Gray below. As mentioned last week, Mike Evans is the new #1 WR for the Bucs – so move over Vincent Jackson. Coby Fleener took the top TE nod this week with a valiant effort against the Patriots.
Week 11 Takeaways – A Closer Look
Each week we’ll take a closer look at a handful of performances and sort out what such performances mean going forward.
- Ryan Mallet, QB - HOU: 20-30, 211 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT
Analysis: In a move that probably should have happened a few games back, Ryan Mallet took over the starting QB duties for the Texans from Ryan Fitzpatrick. Mallet played well overall, and his performance gives reason for the Texans to be optimistic. Mallet flashed his potent arm and also showed good chemistry with Andre Johnson. Only two teams have a bye remaining, so you likely won’t need a fill-in QB going forward. But for those of you in larger leagues or who otherwise need a QB for whatever reason, then Mallet could be an intriguing option, especially with the Titans and Jaguars coming up on the schedule (after the Texans face the Bengals next week). Mallet should be viewed as a QB2.
- Jonas Gray, RB – NE
Analysis: No one ever knows which Patriots’ RB will be the lead guy from week to week. So with Gray blowing up against the Colts, can we feel fully confident that Gray will dominate the carries? Still, the answer is no. Gray should be owned in all leagues, and most likely started in most, but you need to account for the risk of Belichick frustrating you once again. Gray can be looked at as a risky RB2 going forward, but don’t overreact. If you do start Gray, it would be best to go with a safer play with your other RB spot. That’s if you can afford to do so, that is – not too many of those guys left.
- Charles Sims, RB – TB: 13 carries, 36 yards, 0 TDs
Analysis: The Bucs manhandled the Redskins on Sunday, but the running game did not contribute in a major way. Nevertheless, we can gleam important information from what took place among the Bucs’ RBs. As predicted here, Charles Sims took a bigger chunk of the carries than did Bobby Rainey to the tune of a 13 to 5 ratio. While Sims did not assert himself with his performance, look for him to continue to get the majority of the carries going forward. The Bucs are playing for next season, and need to see what they have in Sims. They already know what they have in Rainey – a solid RB, but most likely not a player in their long term plans.
- Jordan Matthews, WR - PHI: 5 catches, 107 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Jordan Matthews continued to show promise for the Eagles, now having posted strong weeks back to back (138 yards and 2 TDs last week). Matthews is the real deal, and has clearly supplanted Riley Cooper as the second wide receiver option for the Eagles. Matthews won’t supplant Maclin, but you should expect WR3 numbers for the remainder of the season. He’s a great talent playing in a potent offense. Sanchez running the offense won’t limit Matthews’ performance – not in Chip Kelly’s offense, anyway.
- Kenny Britt, WR – STL: 4 catches, 128 yards, 1 TD
Analysis: Kenny Britt has emerged as the number one target for the Rams. That’s not the same thing as being the number one target for a team like the Packers, so let’s not get too excited here. But, Britt has shown nice chemistry with Shaun Hill, and he led the team with targets this past week against the Broncos. Britt should be considered a low-end WR3/high-end WR4 for the rest of the season. He’s always had the talent to be a good WR. We’ll see if he’s finally taking the next step down the stretch.
Rapid Fire Pickups
Each week we’ll throw out potential free agent pickups from each position for deeper leagues, in each case 1) someone who has NOT been referenced above, and 2) a player available in most leagues.
QB: Mark Sanchez, PHI
RB: Latavius Murray, OAK
RB: Theo Riddick, TB
WR: Charles Johnson, MIN
WR: Jarvis Landry, MIA
TE: Jacob Tamme, DEN (if Julius Thomas misses any time)
Week 12 Rankings
1. Aaron Rodgers
2. Andrew Luck
3. Drew Brees
4. Peyton Manning
5. Jay Cutler
6. Tom Brady
7. Matthew Stafford
8. Tony Romo
9. Colin Kaepernick
10. Russell Wilson
11. Mark Sanchez
12. Philip Rivers
13. Ryan Tannehill
14. Matt Ryan
15. Josh McCown
16. Joe Flacco
17. Robert Griffin III
18. Andy Dalton
19. Alex Smith
20. Kyle Orton
1. DeMarco Murray
2. Jamaal Charles
3. Arian Foster
4. Eddie Lacy
5. Matt Forte
6. Marshawn Lynch
7. Mark Ingram
8. LeSean McCoy
9. Justin Forsett
10. Rashad Jennings
11. Denard Robinson
12. Jeremy Hill
13. Andre Ellington
14. Alfred Morris
15. Ryan Mathews
16. Trent Richardson
17. Frank Gore
18. C.J. Anderson
19. Tre Mason
20. Isaiah Crowell
21. Joique Bell
22. Chris Ivory
23. Lamar Miller
24. Jonas Gray
25. Jerick McKinnon
26. Shane Vereen
27. Giovani Bernard
28. Bishop Sankey
29. Terrance West
30. Darren Sproles
31. Charles Sims
32. Fred Jackson
33. Branden Oliver
34. Reggie Bush
35. Bryce Brown
1. Demaryius Thomas
2. Calvin Johnson
3. Jordy Nelson
4. Dez Bryant
5. A.J. Green
6. T.Y. Hilton
7. Randall Cobb
8. Brandon Marshall
9. Alshon Jeffery
10. Julio Jones
11. Mike Evans
12. Jeremy Maclin
13. Sammy Watkins
14. Josh Gordon
15. Golden Tate
16. Odell Beckham Jr.
17. Mike Wallace
18. Jordan Matthews
19. DeSean Jackson
20. DeAndre Hopkins
21. Emmanuel Sanders
22. Torrey Smith
23. Andre Johnson
24. Reggie Wayne
25. Julian Edelman
26. Percy Harvin
27. Vincent Jackson
28. Anquan Boldin
29. Mohamed Sanu
30. Keenan Allen
31. Michael Floyd
32. Doug Baldwin
33. Brandon LaFell
34. Steve Smith Sr.
35. Rueben Randle
1. Rob Gronkowski
2. Jimmy Graham
3. Antonio Gates
4. Martellus Bennett
5. Julius Thomas
6. Larry Donnell
7. Jason Witten
8. Coby Fleener
9. Travis Kelce
10. Owen Daniels
11. Delanie Walker
12. Kyle Rudolph
13. Zach Ertz
14. Jordan Reed
15. Mychal Rivera
- Neema Hodjat is the fantasy sports expert for RealGM. He can be reached via email at email@example.com and followed on twitter at @NeemaHodjat.
The NFC has become extremely crowded with the Cardinals, Packers, Lions, 49ers, Eagles, Seahawks and Cowboys
The Packers improve playoff positioning, Seahawks in trouble, Rams get an "Any Given Sunday" win over Denver, Detroit's loss, the NFC South, college playoff jockeying and more.
The Lions and Cardinals battle for the inside track for homefield in the NFC, while the Eagles go to Green Bay, Seahawks at Chiefs, Colts at Patriots and the rest of the slate.
The elite of the elite in Marshawn Lynch, Aaron Rodgers, Dez Bryant and Jimmy Graham were excellent in Week 10. Who should you start in Week 11?
John Fox and the Broncos are now ranked No. 2, while Aaron Rodgers and the Packers are No. 4 in the Trench Counter.
On the Lions at 7-2 for first time since '93, the Browns at 6-3, Chicago in disarray, a bad loss by the Steelers, the 49ers salvage their season and more.