Fantasy Football Waiver Targets (Week 2)

Fantasy football waiver wire pickups are the difference between winning a championship, and failing to make the playoffs. It is important to be vigilant each week, especially when major injuries or suspensions can rid someone of a top pick. This week is especially important because of how many top fantasy stars failed to produce. It is too early to drop a top pick because of a disappointing performance, but adding a potential stud is a good insurance policy just in case. Below are eight players that everyone should be targeting.

1. Tarik Cohen, RB, Chicago Bears

Tarik Cohen provided the Bears with a big spark in his NFL debut. He seriously cut into Jordan Howard‘s touches after being used on 43% of plays, compared to Howard’s 56%. He carried the ball five times for 66 yards, an astonishing 13.2 YPC. Cohen also caught eight passes for 47 yards and a touchdown. In PPR leagues, Cohen is even more valuable after leading the team in targets with 12. He is not owned in many leagues, but will be after this week. (Percent owned: 1.5 NFL, 2.3 ESPN)

2. Alex Smith, QB, Kansas City Chiefs

Alex Smith has long been described as a game manager, not the guy to throw for 300 yards and four touchdowns. However, that is exactly what Smith did in the season opener. He made the reigning Super Bowl championship defense look foolish, and while doing so, locked up his status as a great waiver wire pickup. He is still not in the upper echelon of fantasy quarterbacks to start regardless of weekly matchups, but as of week two he is the top scoring fantasy quarterback. (Percent owned: 16.6 NFL, 9.7 ESPN)

3. Nelson Agholor, WR, Philadelphia Eagles

Nelson Agholor looked bound to be labeled a bust after a disappointing two seasons to start his career, but he looked like a different receiver week one. He led the team in targets, and finished with 86 yards and a touchdown. If he and second year quarterback Carson Wentz can build chemistry together it could be a very successful season for the young receiver. (Percent owned: 1.8 NFL, 1.6 ESPN)

4. Javorius Allen, RB, Baltimore Ravens

After Danny Woodhead went out with a hamstring injury, Javorius Allen
led the running backs in snaps. With Woodhead expected to be out at least a month, Allen’s stock skyrockets. The Ravens love to target backs on passing routes, so his value is even higher is PPR leagues. He still is splitting carries with Terrance West, but Allen is a quality waiver wire addition. (Percent owned: 1.6 NFL, 0.4 ESPN)

5. Kerwynn Williams, RB, Arizona Cardinals

Kerwynn Williams‘usage is in for a major uptick after star running back David Johnson
suffered a wrist injury that could sideline him for several months. He came in immediately for the injured Johnson and scored a touchdown. Williams was declared the number one back moving forward by head coach Bruce Arians. Williams has a very high ceiling as the number one back in Arizona. (Percent owned: 0.3 NFL, 0.7 ESPN)

6. Jesse James, TE, Pittsburgh Steelers

Jesse James was the top scoring tight end in week one. This is no doubt because he caught two red zone touchdowns and will not be the norm. However, if James can become Big Ben’s favorite red zone target there will be many more touchdowns in James’ future. The team’s recent addition of Vance McDonald was thought to hurt James’ targets, but he beat McDonald 8 to one in that respect. (Percent owned: 3.9 NFL, 2.5 ESPN)

7. Cooper Kupp, WR, Los Angeles Rams

Cooper Kupp is a good option in PPR leagues with 12 or more people in them. He had a solid week one, but his production depends on the Rams’ offense, which was lackluster last season. That being said, he led the team in targets last week and secured a touchdown pass from Jared Goff. (Percent owned: 4.7 NFL, 16.6 ESPN)

8. Mike Tolbert, RB, Buffalo Bills

The backup running back in Buffalo has consistently poached touchdowns from LeSean McCoy over the past three years, and Mike Tolbert has already began down that road. He scored a one yard touchdown in week one and ran the ball 12 times for 42 yards. His bruising downhill running style should do his fantasy value well as he looks to score many short yardage touchdowns this season. (Percent owned: 0.1 NFL, 0.5 ESPN)

 

Photo Credits: FanRag Sports
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Atlanta Falcons Season Preview

The Atlanta Falcons had a stellar season last year, but ultimately fell short in the Super Bowl to the New England Patriots. Although the dreaded Super Bowl hangover may be in the back of some fan’s minds, there is little reason to worry. They only got better over the off-season and look poised for another Super Bowl appearance.

The Falcons arguably have the best trio in the NFL at the three major offensive skill positions with Matt Ryan, Devonta Freeman, and Julio Jones. Ryan, the reigning MVP, is coming off the best year of his ten year career. He led the league in passer rating with a ridiculous 117.1, and placed second in passing yards and touchdowns. A big reason why he was so effective is because of the weapons surrounding him. Jones is one of the top receivers in the league. The video game type talent was second in the league in yards, and second in catches of over 20 yards, highlighting his big play potential. The team also has a top tier talent at running back in Devonta Freeman. The back posted over 1,000 yards on the ground, and nearly 500 receiving. All of this talent on offense resulted in the team leading the NFL in points with 540.

The defense is regarded as the weakness to the team. They gave up the sixth most points per game with 25.4, and sixth most yards per game with 371.2. However, they were fourth in total turnover differential. This statistic is key to winning football games. The Falcons also had the league leader in sacks and forced fumbles in outside linebacker Vic Beasley. However, as a team they were very average coming in 15th in sacks. Even with pass rush specialist Beasley wreaking havoc, the team was carved up in the passing game. They allowed the third most passing yards per game, and fifth most passing touchdowns.

Over the off-season, the team lost fullback Patrick DiMarco to free agency, and defensive end Dwight Freeny to retirement. The Falcons did not add a lot of free agents to the team, hoping that they can replicate last years production, but with a better finish. To replace DiMarco the team signed former Seahawks fullback Derrick Coleman, which is not too much of a loss in talent. On the defensive side of the ball, they drafted defensive end Takkarist McKinley, linebacker Duke Riley, and signed defensive tackle Dontari Poe in free agency. They did not panic after the Super Bowl defeat, but instead kept the team together.

The biggest off-season change for the team did not involve the players, but the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan accepted the head coaching position in San Francisco, so the offense could see a dip in production. His replacement, the former Alabama offensive coordinator, Steve Sarkisian has some large shoes to fill. Sarkisian is a questionable hire due to his troubled past. He was fired from his head coaching position at USC in 2015 because he allegedly showed up to team meetings drunk. The entire scandal is murky, and what actually happened is up in the air. However, as long as he can keep the Falcons offense firing on all cylinders, his past matters little.

The Falcons rank 13th in strength of schedule for this season, and their division rivals have improved. The Saints and Buccaneers made major off-season moves in an attempt to dethrone the Falcons from the top of the NFC South. The Panthers did not improve as much, but will not be a push over either. If the offense can produce at near the same level as last season and the defense improves even a little, then the team should continue to dominate the division. I think that the Falcons will finish the season at 11-5 and return to the super bowl in a rematch with the Patriots.

2018 Prediction: 11-5, lose Super Bowl to Patriots

 

Photo Credits: CBS Atlanta

NFL Standing and Playoff Predictions

I know this is way too early. The preseason just started and so much can happen in the next few weeks. I DO NOT CARE. I am giving my predictions and if you are reading this, you obviously are intrigued. So let’s go.

AFC EAST

1. New England Patriots 14-2
2. Miami Dolphins 7-9
3. Buffalo Bills 5-11
4. New York Jets 2-14

The AFC East is the absolute worst in football. If it was not for the New England Patriots they would be a complete laughing stock. I think the only two games the Patriots will lose is on the road against the Steelers and Raiders. The Dolphins take a bit of a hit when they lost Ryan Tannehill and now they finish under .500. The Bills two trades look nice in the future, but I think it hurts them right now. The Jets well, they are the Jets. They will battle for the worst team in football this season.

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
2. Cincinnati Bengals 9-7
3. Baltimore Ravens 8-8
4. Cleveland Browns 5-11

The AFC North is always a battle. They beat up on each other within the division every single year. The Steelers would have a better record if they could play better on the road, but they have not shown that in recent years. The Bengals and Ravens will battle it out all year for second place. I think the Bengals get the slight edge just because of Flacco’s recent injury history. The Browns will not be as bad as they were last year. The defense is much improved and their offensive line may be one of the best in the league. They will play spoilers this year especially within the division.

AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans 10-6
2. Indianapolis Colts 10-6
3. Houston Texans 8-8
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 4-12

To determine who will take first place between the Colts and the Titans, it will go down to the fifth tiebreaker. Head to head they split. Their win loss records in the division, against common opponents and in conference is the same. The fifth tiebreaker is strength of victory. With a win over the Seahawks and another over the Raiders, the Titans take this tiebreaker. The Texans defense will dominate again, but their Quarterback play will haunt them. I do not see much going on with the Jaguars and I think they will disappoint once again.

AFC West

1. Oakland Raiders 11-5
2. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
3. Los Angeles Chargers 9-7
4. Denver Broncos 8-8

One of the toughest divisions in football this season will be the AFC West. I think every team will be at least .500 or over and they have a shot to send three teams to the playoffs. The Raiders are the best team in the division because they are polished all around. The Chiefs will finish right behind them because of their offensive play. I think they will struggle a bit running the ball this year and they do not have the big play Wide Receiver. The only bright spot on their offense is Travis Kelce. The Chargers have a chance to sneak into the playoffs this season if they can manage to stay healthy *Keenan Allen*. Allen has all the talent in the world, but he just cannot manage to stay on the field. The Broncos will finish in last with an 8-8 record. Their defense is top notch, but their quarterback situation will hold them back from getting into the playoffs.

NFC East

1. New York Giants 11-5
2. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7
3. Washington Redskins 7-9
4. Dallas Cowboys 5-11

I am going to stick with Ezekiel Elliot’s six game suspension. I think with his absence, the Cowboys will only win once in their first six games. They play the Giants, Broncos, Cardinals, Rams, Packers and 49ers in their first six. The Giants will be the best team in the division this year despite their terrible offensive line. They found a way to win last year with it and they will do so again this year. The Eagles and Redskins are both better than what their records show. However, the NFC East has some tough match ups this season. They all have to play the Chiefs, Broncos, Raiders, Chargers, Seahawks and Cardinals. The Redskins will also go up against the Saints on the road and Minnesota.

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers 11-5
2. Detroit Lions 8-8
3. Minnesota Vikings 7-9
4. Chicago Bears 4-12

The NFC North is all about the Green Bay Packers this year. The Packers will be one of the NFC contenders this upcoming season. I think their defense will improve this year and we all know about that dynamic offense. The Lions and Vikings will be mediocre. I think the Lions have a few tough games that hold them back from finishing with a better record. The Vikings’ problem is the offense. Bradford will disappoint, the running game will disappoint and they do not have that go to receiver. The Bears are in rebuilding mode. Better luck next year.

NFC SOUTH

1. Atlanta Falcons 11-5
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
3. New Orleans Saints 9-7
4. Carolina Panthers 7-9

The NFC South will be a tight race all the way to the end. The Falcons are one of the most complete teams in all of football. They have a real chance to redeem themselves this year. The Buccaneers are one of the most improved teams this season. They will make a lot of noise and surprise a lot of people. The Saints will be able to win games as long as they have Drew Brees, but their defense will once again let them down. The Panthers look good on paper. However, I think Cam will once again disappoint and their defense will take a step back.

NFC WEST

1. Seattle Seahawks 11-5
2. Arizona Cardinals 10-6
3. Los Angeles Rams 3-13
4. San Francisco 49ers 1-15

The NFC West is very top heavy. The Seattle Seahawks will be better this year, as they get a full healthy season from Russell Wilson. Their defense is still very good, but for them to make it to the Super Bowl they will need an improvement from their horrendous offensive line. The Arizona Cardinals will not be as good as their record will show. They get four easy games when it comes to the Rams and 49ers. They should be able to win at least 3 of those, if not 4. The Rams and 49ers are just dreadful. The Rams have a very good defense that will keep games close, but their offense just is not good. The acquisition of Sammy Watkins will not help if Jared Goff cannot get him the ball. The 49ers have nothing. I mean absolutely nothing. Their defense is young and improved, but it is not the defense the 49ers had a few years back. I think they will be the worst team in the league.

 

PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

AFC PLAYOFFS:

  1. New England Patriots
  2. Pittsburgh Steelers
  3. Oakland Raiders
  4. Tennessee Titans
  5. Kansas City Chiefs
  6. Indianapolis Colts

No surprise here. The New England Patriots will be the one seed in the AFC. The Steelers have a dynamic offense and good enough defense that will help them secure the two seed. Oakland is very good and very young. Derek Carr for the full season propels them into the three seed. Tennessee had a great off-season this year. The addition of a veteran receiver like Eric Decker will help Mariota take a huge leap. The Chiefs and Colts make the playoffs as Wild Card teams. Kansas City has a top five defense in the league, while Alex Smith will do just enough on the offensive side of the ball. The Colts hope Andrew Luck can stay healthy for a full season this year so they can get back into the playoffs.

In the first round we see two very tight match ups. The Raiders will be too much for the Colts’ defense to handle, but Andrew Luck will make it a game. In the end the Raiders move on to face the Steelers in the Divisional round. In the other Wild Card game the Chiefs pull off the upset and beat the Titans on the road. Mariota makes great strides this season, but needs a bit more experience to win in the playoffs. It does not last long for the Chiefs as they get dominated by the Patriots in the Divisional round. The Steelers love having home field advantage and this place a huge role in their win over the Raiders.

My AFC Championship game will be a matchup of the one and two seed. The Patriots vs The Steelers. Big Ben vs Tom Brady. Both offenses are dynamic and almost impossible to stop. I give the edge to the Patriots for two reasons. One their defense is better than the Steelers. The second reason, Bill Belichick. The Patriots once again return to the Super Bowl.

NFC PLAYOFFS:

  1. New York Giants
  2. Seattle Seahawks
  3. Atlanta Falcons
  4. Green Bay Packers
  5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  6. Arizona Cardinals

The first four seeds in the NFC had the same record. I think I did the tie breaking procedures right and this is how the seeding should play out. The Giants and their stout defense make it as the one seed. They have a ton of weapons on offense, but it just comes down to their offensive line play. The offensive line does just enough for them to win this season. The Seahawks have almost the same problem as the Giants. However, I think the Giants defense is better and they have more weapons than the Seahawks. Atlanta is the most complete team in the NFC in my opinion, but the tiebreaker rules move them to the three spot. Green Bay is the second best team in the conference, but once again the tiebreakers screw them. The Buccaneers are the best team after the divisional winners. They definitely deserve a Wild Card spot. The Cardinals do not deserve to be in the playoffs in my opinion, but an easy schedule helps them.

The NFC will be much tighter and harder to predict than the AFC. Any one of these teams can beat each other. I think home field advantage for the Falcons and Packers in Wild Card weekend will be huge for each team. They will defeat their opponents and move on. The New York Giants do not have a history of home field advantage being big for them and they will go down against the Packers in the Divisional round. The Seahawks, as we all know, love home field advantage. This is the only reason why they will come out on top against the Falcons.

Green Bay vs Seattle. Dynamic offense vs Dynamic defense. I am usually a big believer of defense over offense, but the Seahawks defense is not better than the Green Bay offense. I think that is the deciding factor. Aaron Rodgers figures out a way to beat the Seahawks’ defense and move on to face the Patriots in the Super Bowl.

SUPER BOWL

Green Bay Packers vs. New England Patriots

The Patriots once again are Super Bowl Champs. I just do not see any team in all of football that can beat the Patriots. They have it all. The defense, the offense, the future HOF Quarterback and one of the best NFL coaches of all time. They won last year and still managed to improve for this upcoming season. The only way the Patriots do not win the Super Bowl is if they beat themselves.

 

Photo Credits: Bleacher Report

Defense Wins Championships: Watt and Clowney Finally Together

When it comes to the sport of Football and how teams in the NFL are built around these days, 2 important mainstays are the epitome of good and elite teams in the NFL: A Good Starting Quarterback that can lead your team at any point of the game and A Good Defense to keep the team in the game when the offense is struggling.  Teams that have Great Defenses built all around are usually the key to winning championships hence the saying “Defense Wins Championships.”  The saying is so true though.  Building up your Defense is the key to success in the NFL along with great QB play.

However, as for the Texans, since becoming an expansion team in 2002 and taking David Carr with number 1 overall pick of the NFL Draft that year, the Texans have drafted 11 Defensive players in the first round of the draft since then.  11 Defensive players to 6 Offensive players drafted by the Texans in the whole history of the Franchise in the first round.  My point being with that is that type of strategy and thinking will pay off in the end and down the road in some years, and you will see the progress of those drafts.  For instance, in 2009 The Texans drafted Brian Cushing, Kareem Jackson in 2010, J.J. Watt in 2011, Whitney Mercilus in 2012, Jadeveon Clowney in 2014, and Kevin Johnson in 2015.  6 guys that would all become key parts to the defense and helped the defense groom over the years after being drafted by Houston.

In the 2016 season, the progression of the earlier years drafts had shown, and at one point of the season and for a while the Texans were the number 1 ranked Defense in the league!  That was without their best defensive player in J.J. Watt as well! To think about that actually is very impressive for the Texans.  They maintained a good defense throughout the year and even won the division!  It was a great year even without their defensive star and captain.

The 2017 season is coming up and it will be the actual first time since Watt being drafted in 2011 and Clowney in 2014 that these two guys will both be suited up on the field together and will play together.  Both have struggled with injuries at different times, so they actually have not played together yet which is crazy to think about.  However, it is not too late for them and the both of them together have the chance to be a force to reckon with!  We all know what J.J. brings to the table with his 299 career tackles, 76 career sacks, and uncanny ability to deflect any pass in his reach, so with Clowney opposite side him this year, both of them together will be fun to watch.  Clowney broke out last year with 6 sacks, 40 solo tackles and 52 total tackles in all to earn him his first ever Pro Bowl Selection.  The progress he has shown and what he did last year makes it very exciting to see what he can do along side JJ.

The Texans did lose some key starters this offseason with Quintin Demps leaving for the Bears, John Simon leaving for the Colts, and Vince Wilfork still undecided about retirement, the Texans were able to add depth to fill those voids with the draft this year and free agency.   2017 is the upcoming season and the season Texans’ fans are very excited about.  J.J. and Clowney together on the field are going to be a treat and we are all ready for it.  Hopefully, the two of them together will wreck havoc and anchor a number 1 ranked Defense again in 2017.   We can only hope, but having a strong Defensive to go along with your offense will only help you if you make it to the Super Bowl!

 

Photo Credit: Houston Forward Times

Predicting Every Team’s Record (Pre-Training Camp)

*BEFORE TRAINING CAMP*

AFC East

1. New England Patriots 13-3
2. Miami Dolphins 8-8
3. Buffalo Bills 6-10
4. New York Jets 3-13

AFC North

1. Pittsburgh Steelers 11-5
2. Cincinnati Bengals 9-7
3. Baltimore Ravens 9-7
4. Cleveland Browns 4-12

AFC South

1. Tennessee Titans 10-6
2. Indianapolis Colts 9-7
3. Houston Texans 8-8
4. Jacksonville Jaguars 5-11

AFC West

1. Oakland Raiders 11-5
2. Kansas City Chiefs 10-6
3. Denver Broncos 8-8
4. Los Angeles Chargers 7-9

NFC East

1. New York Giants 11-5
2. Dallas Cowboys 10-6
3. Washington Redskins 9-7
4. Philadelphia Eagles 9-7

NFC North

1. Green Bay Packers 11-5
2. Detroit Lions 9-7
3. Minnesota Vikings 7-9
4. Chicago Bears 4-12

NFC South

1. Atlanta Falcons 11-5
2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 10-6
3. New Orleans Saints 9-7
4. Carolina Panthers 9-7

NFC West

1. Seattle Seahawks 10-6
2. Arizona Cardinals 8-8
3. Los Angeles Rams 5-11
4. San Francisco 49ers 3-13

NOTES:

The NFC East and NFC South will be the two toughest divisions in all of football this year. They will be the only 2 divisions with every team having a winning record. Unfortunately, they will only be able to send two teams to the playoffs. The weakest division in all of football will be the AFC East. The Patriots will be the only team with a winning record. The Tampa Bay Bucs will surprise a lot of teams this year as they keep improving every year. Right now if we had to pick we would take the Packers v Patriots in the Super Bowl with the Pats repeating. Brady just continues to thrive and it seems as if the Pats got better this year. The NFL season is rapidly approaching and will be here before we know it!