Mock Draft 2.0 (Roid Rage)

Mock Draft Monday!

We are coming down the homestretch and the rumors are a swirling!  The latest, Mitchell Trubisky to the 49ers (nailed it)!

I could be falling for the Reuben Foster smokescreen (pun intended); I don’t worry too much about the failed drug test, or the meltdown he had at the combine, but his medicals are a bit concerning given his style of play.  He is an absolute missile on the field, so I believe he will still go early on Day 1 but Top-10 is probably too risky.

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
3 Chicago Bears Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
6 NY Jets Jamal Adams (LSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Malik Hooker (OSU) S
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE

Fournette to the Jags seems like a foregone conclusion.

10 Buffalo Bills O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
11 New Orleans Saints Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
12 Cleveland Browns Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
13 Arizona Cardinals Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
15 Indianapolis Colts Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DT
16 Baltimore Ravens Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
17 Washington Redskins Taco Charlton (Michigan) OLB
18 Tennessee Titans Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
20 Denver Broncos Kevin King (Washington) CB
21 Detroit Lions Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
22 Miami Dolphins Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
23 New York Giants TJ Watt (Wisconsin) OLB
24 Oakland Raiders John Ross (Washington) WR
25 Houston Texans Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB

QBs are the wild card this year (just like every year!)

26 Seattle Seahawks Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Deshaun Watson (Clemson) QB
28 Dallas Cowboys Obi Melifonwu (UConn) S/CB
29 Green Bay Packers Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) RB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Forrest Lamp (W. Kentucky) OL
31 Atlanta Falcons Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
32 New Orleans Saints Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB

Instant Analysis:  Ginger King lays out a compelling argument for why the G-men will draft Tight End David Njoku.  While that makes perfect sense, I still have Big Blue adding an Edge defender that can terrorize NFC East QBs for years to come.  The Giants will add a ho-hum TE later in the draft (whom will be a fantasy football asset playing with such an elite QB).

I’m having trouble finding a home for Dalvin Cook.  His college production was so good, yet his combine numbers were so pedestrian.  TB at 19 makes some sense, but I believe we’ll go late in Round 1, if not slip into the second Round.

The Raiders double down in true Al Davis fashion, first by moving the team and then by selecting the faster player in the Draft.  Injury history be damned!

Mock Draft 1.0 (Roidrage)

I know I’ve got my work cut out for me to catch up with Ginger King, but don’t be fooled, despite the 1.0-tag this is like my 17th rough draft.  The Big Board is set, but there is so much fluidity and fragility in sorting out the noise and honing in these mocks.  Let’s get right to it:

Round 1 Team Pick Position
1 Cleveland Browns Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) DE
2 San Francisco Mitchell Trubisky (UNC) QB
3 Chicago Bears Solomon Thomas (Stanford) DE
4 Jacksonville Jaguars Leonard Fournette (LSU) RB
5 Tennessee Titans Mike Williams (Clemson) WR
6 NY Jets Jamal Adams (LSU) S
7 Los Angeles Chargers Reuben Foster (Alabama) LB
8 Carolina Panthers Christian McCaffrey (Stanford) RB
9 Cincinnati Bengals Derek Barnett (Tennessee) DE

The future Face of somebody’s Franchise

10 Buffalo Bills Gareon Conley (OSU) CB
11 New Orleans Saints O.J. Howard (Alabama) TE
12 Cleveland Browns Malik Hooker (OSU) S
13 Arizona Cardinals Patrick Mahomes (Texas Tech) QB
14 Philadelphia Eagles Haasan Reddick (Temple) DE
15 Indianapolis Colts Jonathon Allen (Alabama) DT
16 Baltimore Ravens Kevin King (Washington) CB
17 Washington Redskins Marshon Lattimore (OSU) CB
18 Tennessee Titans Tra’Davious White (LSU) CB
19 Tampa Bay Bucs Garett Bolles (Utah) OL
20 Denver Broncos Charles Harris (Missouri) LB
21 Detroit Lions Corey Davis (Western Michigan) WR
22 Miami Dolphins Jarad Davis (Florida) LB
23 New York Giants Jabrill Peppers (Michigan) S/CB
24 Oakland Raiders David Njoku (Miami) TE
25 Houston Texans Zach Cunningham (Vanderbilt) LB

HYBRID

26 Seattle Seahawks Ryan Ramcyk (Wisconsin) OL
27 Kansas City Chiefs Deshaun Watson (Clemson) QB
28 Dallas Cowboys Obi Melifonwu (UConn) S/CB
29 Green Bay Packers Joe Mixon (Oklahoma) RB
30 Pittsburgh Steelers Takk McKinley (UCLA) DE
31 Atlanta Falcons Cam Robinson (Alabama) OL
32 New Orleans Saints Dalvin Cook (FSU) RB

Instant Analysis:  Why wouldn’t the 49ers take Mitch?  New GM, new Coach who fancies himself a QB-guru and a Depth Chart populated with the likes of Brian Hoyer and Matt Simms.  Yikes.  What, I’m suppose to believe they are going to wait around to hopefully land Kirk Cousins.  Yeah, no.  They lock up their Franchise QB right out of the gate and have the rest of the draft to go BPA.

Obviously, I’m not a big believer in Ohio State CB Marshon Lattimore;  he plays too stiff and I will struggle with faster WRs at the next level.  That said, he could easily land in the top-10.

I have no idea where to slot Jabrill Peppers.  He is a tremendous athlete and a really good pure football player.  But where exactly do you play him?  I think he’ll go in the 20-30 range as a luxury pick for some team.

If you’re keeping track at home: that’s 2 RBs in the Top 10 (4 total in the 1st Round);  1 QB in the Top 10 (3 total in the 1st Round).

Oh, this guy sneaks into the backend of the first:

Go down swinging!

There’s no sugar-coating this.  This is disgraceful.  Just awful.  If a team drafts him, regardless of the round, or signs him as an UDFA, there is going to be a backlash.  Your PR department will be working some overtime.  Buuuut, our attention span is short and talent has a way of helping us “forgive and forget”.  Talent-wise, Mixon is a Top-10 pick, so I feel the end of the first already has a hefty discount baked in.

Super Bowl 51: Why the Patriots will win

“Hilariously, Roid Rage has to tell you why the Patriots will win the Super Bowl.  For a devout Buffalo Bills fan (is there any other kind?) that must be the most painful experience since the Music City Miracle”

That’s me quoting Ginger King.  And while it’s true that I had to get 7 or 8 Genny Lights deep before even powering up the laptop, at least I’m not delusion.  I’m mean, the Falcon’s beating the Patriots in the Super Bowl?!  Only if Jacoby Brissett is playing (is that dude even still in the league, or is he bagging groceries in the Midwest somewhere?!) [Editor’s note: despite being activated from IR for the playoff run, Brissett will likely be a healthy scratch for the Super Bowl.  But he’ll still get one of those big ass Super Bowl rings after the Pats dismantle the Dirty Birds!]  Thanks for the note editor, I couldn’t have said it better myself.

The argument for the Falcons is laughable.  The hot young quarterback—that’s never played in a Super Bowl—leading a “high-powered” offense against (future HOF coach) Bill Belichick and (future HOF QB) Tom Brady?  What could possible go wrong?  Do you know who doesn’t care that the Falcons have the reigning MVP on their team?  Or that the rest of the league has had a hard time stopping their offense?  Or that Julio Jones seems to be a cyborg dressed in a football jersey?  That’s right, this guy…..

Can his Canton bust please be wearing a hoodie

Guess how Bill is going to crack Matt Ryan?…..Pressure.  Guess what his plan will be for taking Julio out of the gameplan?….double coverage, bracket coverage, bump-and-run with safety help.  Guess where they are going to catch the Falcons underprepared?….special teams.

While the Falcons have built themselves an awesome football team, it’s the exact OPPOSITE of the kind of team that gives the Patriots fits.  If there is a “blue-print” to beating the Patriots, what is it?  The ’08 Giants and ’16 Broncos should come to mind?  No, you don’t need a Manning under center….or a miraculously stupid catch (or two)…..Those teams had dominate defensive lines that could generate consist pressure (up the middle) with 4-guys, while dropping 7 into coverage.  The Falcons can’t do that.  If anything, their defensive line, especially up the middle, is a liability.  To generate pressure they’ll be forced to send a blitzer.  And blitzing Brady is like playing with fire, you’re bound to get burned Napalmed. The guy doesn’t miss a beat.  He checks every play at the line, aligns the blocking assignments and never misses a hot read.   It’s not like they are going to throw something at him he hasn’t seen (which is exactly what BB will do to Matty Ice btw).  Oh, Dan Quinn’s defense.  Yeah, played against that…..in a Super Bowl none the less….oh, and won that game.  Yawn.

This guy

This guy

Trust me, I want Brady to get clobbered and throw an interception on EVERY pass attempt.  That’s what I root for when they play against the Bills….or the Dolphins….or the Jaguars for crying out loud.  But it just doesn’t happen.  The guy is averaging 335 yards and 2.5 TDs in the postseason this year.  He wakes up (next to a supermodel) and pisses excellence.  True, he only eats baby seal liver on a bed of Kale and goes for blood palette therapy like you or I go to the barbershop, but such is the life a rockstar.  As much as it pains me to say it, he is the greatest quarterback of all time.  Don’t take my word for it; all of these boners lined up on media row to say the same thing this week.  You could argue the Texans (easily) and maybe even the Steelers have a better defense than the Falcons.  Those teams didn’t have any answers for TB12 and company, so how exactly are the Falcons going to slow down them down? Not gonna happen.

No Gronk?  No problem!  Brady will spread the ball all over the field, exploiting match-ups and throwing his guys open.  Seriously, Brady can take any other teams third WR and turn him into a star.  Hello Wes Welker Chris Hogan.  Edelman seemingly can’t be covered within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage.  It’s death by a 1,000 paper cuts when you play the Patriots.  If they need 6-yards for a first down they get 8.  3rd-and-1: QB-sneak for 2 yards.  First-and-goal, here comes the battering ram LeGarrett Blount.  Wait until they get Dion Lewis matched-up against a linebacker.  Think Brady won’t exploit that?

Not catching passes from EJ Manuel sure has its upside

Not catching passes from EJ Manuel sure has its upside

I do like what the Falcons have going on the offensive side of the ball.  Matt Ryan is peaking at the right time.  He isn’t necessarily locking onto Julio (which is exactly what I’d be doing), and spreading the ball around.  They’ve done a nice job bringing in complimentary pieces to bolster their attack, mainly Mohammad Sanu.  Perhaps there best way to attack the Patriots is their one-two punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman.  Both are excellent receivers out of the backfield and both possess game-breaking speed.  New England’s linebackers struggle in pass coverage.

New England’s defense does give up chunk plays; and have long been regarded as a bend-but-don’t-break defense.  But they are so well coached that they always seem to be in the right place at the right time.  They always seem to punch the ball loose just before the runner’s knee hits the ground.  Or get their hands up just in time to deflect a ball for an interception.   Julio will have to work for everything he gets in this game.  He’s such a physically dominate player he could go off despite New England’s efforts to shut him down.

At the end of the day [narrative alert] this is a legacy cementing game for BB and TB12.  A win here…..better yet, a beatdown here…. and they’ve both blasted the GOAT conversation out of the water.  You know Tom wants to force Goodell to hand him that Super Bowl MVP trophy (and shitty Nissan truck that he’ll give to Jackie Slater for making a key tackle on punt coverage).  And there is a little part of me (okay, all of me and the entire Bills Mafia) that wanst Brady to give Goodell the ultimate FU and retire!  Yeah, that’ll show him Tom!  I mean, Brady and his agent  are forming their own league.  Said league would draw a much bigger audience if they had the greatest quarterback in the world running the show.  Just thinking out loud here!

GOATCITY

GOATCITY

So get your popcorn, chili, nachos, smoked wings, 18-layer bean dip and whatever other goodness you’re going to cram into you face ready, because it’s SUPER BOWL SUNDAY BABY!!!

New England 24, Atlanta 18

***(Yes, hammer the under!)***

 

AFC CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP

logo01Pittsburgh @ New England (-6), Sunday, 6:40 pm

The Playoffs are back!!  Hot damn!  Those Divisional Games were awesome.  Aaron Rodgers moved from ‘Elite’ to ‘Legendary’ status with one throw.  Seriously.  Moving to his left, throws a 37 yard rope along the sidelines to a sliding/kneeling Jared Cook.  Nice catch too…but that throw!

The Steelers-Chiefs game was compelling in its own right; what with the touchdown, made-two-point-conversion-called-back-due-to-holding followed by a failed two-point conversion in the last two minutes.  Good stuff.  But the highlight came about 7 minutes after the game, when Antonio Brown (genius) decided to Facebook Live the Steelers lock room.  Thanks for this gem AB:

It’s mostly just AB running his hands through his hair, flashing the “call me” sign and showing teammates bragging, dancing, swearing, undressing and just goofing around.  15 of the 17 minutes basically goes like this….”God is good man….we at fucking 42k…..bang bang bang….we live…God is the greatest”…Oh, and Antonio thought it’d be a great idea (which it was) to keep the video rolling during coach Tomlins postgame address.  You know, the one where he calls the Patriots a bunch of assholes (more on that in a bit) among other things.  But the best part is Tomlin literally telling the guys to “keep a low profile….be cool on social media” and “keep your mouth shut”.  At one point LeVeon Bell turns to Brown and snickers something about keeping it cool on social media.  Brown is unfazed, continuing to stream away.  It’s ridiculous and glorious at the same time.  Social media is going to be a torn in the NFLs side for a long time to come.

Tomlin, Brown and the Steelers went to work on damage control.  But honestly, the comments were pretty harmless and much ado about nothing.  Seriously, how can that be considered “bulletin board material?”  The Patriots are assholes!!  I know it, you know it, hell even they know it. Tom Brady is a giant asshole, but he’s just following the lead of his lying, cheating asshole coach.  But it starts at the top; Bob Kraft is a walking, talking live-action asshole.  Come to think of it, the city of Boston is filled with only assholes.

And you thought that foul smell was from all the beans they eat!

And you thought that foul smell was from all the beans they eat!

With all that said, on to the game!

What a matchup.  Two prolific offenses.  Two HOF quarterbacks.  Two dynamic running backs.  Two bend-but-don’t-break defenses.  While everyone is expecting a shootout between the Packers-Falcons, this one certainly could go down that road.

The matchup to watch

The matchup to watch

This game will be a rematch of Week 7….sort of.  The Patriots won, 27-16 in convincing fashion.  Much has been made this week that Belichick used Malcolm Brown to shadow, and contain Antonio Brown (57.4 passer rating when thrown to, 0 TD, 1 INT ….@NFLReasearch).  I’m going to go ahead and take that game- and those stats- with a giant Himalayan rock crystal of salt for one reason: Ben Roethlisberger didn’t play.  Landry Jones was on the other end of those AB throws.  And Brown still finish the game with 7 REC for 106 YDS.  More impressive however was the Patriots containment of LeVeon Bell, whom only average 3.9 yards per carry.  Bell did most of this damage through the air (as a result of playing from behind), adding 10 REC for 68 YDS.  Meanwhile, Tom Brady was his ever efficient self, going 19/26 for 222 YDS and 2 TDS.  LeGarrette Blount carried the mail with 27 carries for 127 YDS and 2 TDS.

Like I said, the Steelers were without Big Ben.  And the Patriots had Gronk in that game.  Week 7 was a long time ago.

12 to 11, all day

12 to 11, all day

The Patriots have had an easy playoff run so far: bye week and a cakewalk past the Texans.  On the other hand, the Steelers faced a feisty Miami team and a tough Kansas City team in hostile territory.  The Patriots are going to try to wear the Steelers defense away with their intermediate passing attack that features Julian Edelman and a healthy Dion Lewis.  I’d be shocked if Edelmen doesn’t catch 10 balls this week.  Blount could be in for another heavy usage game if the Patriots can build an early lead.

The Steelers do have weapons galore on offense, so they should be able to keep it within striking distance.  But they aren’t going to beat the Patriots by settling for FGs like they did against the Chiefs.  I’d expect Tomlin to be aggressive all day, particularly in the redzone.

We’ve been crowning the Patriots the AFC Champs for 3 weeks now (it makes us nauseous too).  It seems like a forgone conclusion.  Bettors agree, pushing the line to NE -6.  I think it’ll be much closer than that and I won’t be shocked if Pittsburgh wins this game outright!

Pittsburgh 25, New England 27

Who ya got?

Who ya got?

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND – AFC (SUNDAY)

KCPITTHey, what do ya know, an AFC Playoff game that actually looks good on paper!  The Steelers high-power offense travels to Arrowhead to take on the Kansas City’s Chiefs dynamic defense.  What could possible go wrong?  Oh, maybe just a giant fucking Midwestern ice storm!  I’ve been to Kansas, it’s a terrifying place on the best of days.

You say "Ice Storm", we say "Good Football weather"

You say “Ice Storm”, we say “Good Football weather”

Pittsburgh @ Kansas City (-1.5), Sunday, 8:20 pm

The Steelers walked all over the Dolphins last week.  Bell, Ben, Brown, they all got theirs.  To that point (rant alert!) how the hell do guys like Anthony Lynn and Sean McVay score head coaching gigs and Todd Haley can’t even get an interview.  Sure, he’s got a great quarterback and weapons to work with, but that’s not held against Josh McDaniel’s, whom is everyone’s favorite “hot” coordinator.  Haley does a great job of involving and maximizing the players’ talents on the roster, not to mention he has head coaching experience.   He must be a giant dickhole.

HALEYNAABAnyways, the Steelers avenged their Week 6 loss to the Dolphins.  As we mentioned last week, that game was the turning point of the Steelers offense.  Similarly, the Chiefs turned their season around after their Week 4 dismantling in Pittsburgh.  In that game, which KC lost 43-14, Ben Roethlisberger tossed 5 TDs before the Chiefs found pay dirt.  Since that game, the Chiefs went 10-2.

The Chiefs remind me quite a bit of the Broncos from a season ago.  Aggressive defense that pressures the quarterback and takes the ball away (first in the league in interceptions).  Their offense, led by the perpetually underrated  Alex Smith, has been well-balanced.  Travis Kelce is a match-up nightmare over the middle and down the seam.  The Chiefs find creative ways to the get the ball to Tyreek Hill, who is as explosive and creative in the open-field as he is on Twitter! Hill has also made a significant impact on the return game.

KCs dynamic duo

KCs dynamic duo

Big Ben tweaked his ankle late in the game against the Dolphins.  Like, really late when the game was out of hand.  I like Tomlin and all, but when are these coaches going to use their damn brains?  Protect your assets!

Speaking of assets!

Speaking of assets!

Offensively, the Steelers average almost a full touchdown less on the road this season; while KC allowed less than 16 points on average at home.  KC’s defense is more than capacble of hanging with Ben & Co.

This game is going to be close and probably come down to the final few drives.  I give a slight edge to Kansas City due to their defense, the extra week of rest and special teams.  Either way, one of these teams will be on to Foxborough!

Kansas City 18, Pittsburgh 13

DIVISIONAL WEEKEND – AFC (SATURDAY)

nfl01The playoff games are going to get more exciting, competitive and fun to watch; I promise.  After Wildcard Weekend kicked off with a thud….the Machine did go 3-1 SU and 2-2 ATS)….the Divisional Round has much more enticing matchups…..the exception being this dud:

Houston @ New England (-16), Saturday, 8:15 pm

Is it me, or does it feel like New England has finished the last 15 seasons with a 13-3 record (or better), with a first round bye, with home field throughout and inevitably end up hosting the AFC Championship.  I’m not even going to bother looking up how close I am, and not because I’m lazy (well, sort of because I’m lazy), but mostly because I know I’m close.

So instead of doing an analysis of both teams, and how they match-up, and who will defend whom and yadda yadda yadda, I just want to focus on one thing: -16.

Can this Patriots team really cover 16 points?!  Can the Texas keep it within two freaking touchdowns?!

I’m taking the points, because it is too many.  The Patriots will win, make no mistake.  But even if they win 27-12, it’s not enough to cover.

money-throwingLook, we all know the storylines, right?  The 9-7 Texans basically slept walked through their game against the reeling Raiders, who were down to their third string rookie quarterback making his first ever start.  Not exactly a confidence booster.  Speaking of third string quarterbacks, it was the Jacoby Brissett (remember him, yeah, me neither) lead Patriots that shutout the Texans earlier this year in Foxborough.  The betting public hasn’t forgotten that game, and has wagered a considerable amount of bank on the Pats this week.  Nearly 85% of the money has come in on NE -16.  So, if the Patriots do win big and cover the spread, Vegas will take a beating.  It’ll be a bloodbath.  Guess what, the only thing more bankable than the Patriots in Foxborough in January is Vegas winning money all the time.

This is getting old

This is getting old

I’m picturing a cold, frozen field.  The Patriots win the coin toss and Hoodie defers, because he always freaking defers.  Osweiler looks lost and the Texans go 3-and-out.  The Patriots start with excellent field positions, because they always have excellent freaking field position.  They dink and dunk, complete their first 7 passes, flawlessly execute a hurry-up quarterback sneak on 3-and-1 picking up 3 yards and eventually score a touchdown because they always freaking…..okay, you get the drift.  But after they build their two TD lead they start hammering away with Lego Blount.  They are effective at running the ball, which shortens the game (and makes a significant blowout less likely).  Now, all we need is one or two scoring drives from Brock.  I know, it’s a tall task, but not unreasonable.  Maybe the Texans defense didn’t forget their embarrassing Week 3 performance and manage to get some pressure on Brady.  Maybe they score a special teams touchdown.  There are plenty of ways they can be down by 20 points and come up with a backdoor cover (hey-oh).

So there it is.  Any given Sunday (or Saturday Night).

New England 31, Houston 17

ne01

WILDCARD WEEKEND- AFC (SUNDAY)

nfl-wild-cardAnother AFC playoff game, another team starting a backup quarterback.  Woof.  Ginger King was right; can we just skip to the part where the Patriots win the AFC?  And how long after Belichick retires until they change the name of the Lamar Hunt trophy?

Miami @ Pittsburgh (-11), Sunday, 1:05 pm

This game is a rematch of Week 6, were the 7 point home underdog Miami Dolphins upset the Pittsburgh Steelers, 30-15.  That game was the turning point of the Dolphins season.  Entering the game with a 1-4 record, the Dolphins won 9 of the next 11 to secure a playoff berth.

Of course, there are quite a few differences between then and now.  For starters, it’ll be about 70 degrees colder.  The Dolphins can downplay the weather all they want, but they are kidding themselves if they think it won’t affect them.  Of far bigger concern is the Week 15 MCL injury that has sidelined starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill.  Tannehill doesn’t exactly scare defenses, but he was quietly putting together a solid season (3,000 yards, 19 TDs) under the tutelage of quarterback-whisperer Adam Gase.  Next man up is journeyman Matt Moore.  Best descripted as a “gamer”; meaning he isn’t shy to throw it around…whether it’s his guys or the other team catching it is another story.

Where's the clipboard?

Where’s the clipboard?

The Steelers are going to be looking for redemption from the Week 6 matchup as it was their worst offensive game of the season.  Ben Roethlisberger got knocked out of that game early and missed an offensive series before returning, but was never quite right.  As a result, the entire offense was in a funk and never could snap out.  These are highly uncharacteristic stat lines:

Week 6

Roethlisberger :  19/34, 189 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs

Bell: 10 attempts, 53 yards, 0 TD

Brown:  4 catches, 39 yards, 0 TD

The Steelers have been red-hot, winners of their last seven games.  They are 6-2 at Heinz Field and average nearly a touchdown more at home as opposed to the road.  They will move the ball on the Dolphins and score points.  The Dolphins won’t be able to shutdown Ben, Bell and Brown this time around.

Defensively the Steelers should sellout to stop the run and force Matt Moore to beat them.  Jay Ajaji gashed them for over 200 yards.  Ajaji has a bit of Beastmode in him and seems to get stronger as the game wears on.

The house that Ketchup built

The house that Ketchup built

I don’t think the Dolphins can keep pace with the Steelers at Heinz Field.  I’ve got the Steelers cruising to victory, putting them in Arrowhead next week.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 34, Miami 17

Miami Dolphins v Pittsburgh Steelers

WILDCARD WEEKEND – AFC (SATURDAY)

nfl-wild-cardIt’s not how you start, it’s how you finish!  Welcome to the 2017 NFL Playoffs.  The kickoff game isn’t exactly get-your-popcorn-ready material.  This unwatchable match-up (which probably pulls twice the rating of the Cubs/Indians World Series Game 7) features the team that drafted Khalil Mack (Oakland Raiders) and the team that should have drafted Khalil Mack (Houston Texans).  Vegas agrees,, this game has the lowest total (37) of the weekend….but hey, it does have the smallest spread (HOU -3.5), so maybe it’ll be close?!

STAR POWER

STAR POWER

A lot of people thought the Texans were crazy when they signed Brock Osweiler to an $72 million dollar contract in the offseason…..and those people were right.  Through 15 games, “B.O.” completed under 60% of his passes, threw more picks (12) than touchdowns (11) , took 27 sacks and fumbled a handful of times.  In other words, good enough to win the AFC South!

Not surprisingly, the Texans skill players collectively turned in a down year.  Lamar Miller barely cracked a 1,000 yards; a threshold DeAndre Hopkins couldn’t even reach.  Safe to say Nuk wasn’t on many fantasy championship rosters this year.

LOL

LOL

Despite losing their best player before the season began, defense is the name of the game in Houston.  JJ Watt was too busy creating his own logo and filming Bose commercials to train in the offseason and promptly blew out his back, missing the entire season.  Ironically, if you look at his logo upside down you can kind of see an inflated ego. #hiddenmessage.  That has left the 2014 No. 1 overall pick, Jadeveon Clowney as the face of the defense.  For his career, The Clown has amassed 72 tackles, 10.5 sacks and 1 forced fumble….or what we like to call a “down year” for All-World Khalil Mack (University at Buffalo shout out).

The Texans defense ranks first in yards allowed.   Or is it last in yards allowed??  Either way, teams had trouble moving the ball for positive gains against the Texans.  I guess they can hang their oversized cowboy hats on that…..oh and the fact that they don’t have to face….

Might want to mix in a few squats to the workout routine

Might want to mix in a few squats to the workout routine, just saying.

Derek Carr was in the MVP discussions before he broke his leg in half on Christmas Eve.  Not to be outdone, backup Matt “The other Red Rifle” McGloin broke his McShoulder the following week.  To top it all off, starting Left Tackle Donald Penn has been ruled out with a knee injury.  When the Raiders move to Vegas any chance they change their logo to a black cat breaking a mirror with an upside down horseshoe under a ladder?

Soulless embrace. #14

Soulless embrace. #14

Truthfully, the McGloin injury is a blessing in disguise considering he’s 1-7 as a starter.  That’s bad, right?  The Raiders at least get to trot out the “element of surprise” in 4th round rookie Connor Cook.  The Texans are literally going to have to breakdown his college tape to game plan for him.  Have fun with that.

The 3.5 point spread makes a ton of sense.  The Raiders are going to protect Cook as much as possible (translation: run the ball) knowing that the Houston offense isn’t exactly going to blow the doors off the hinges.  Turnover machine Osweiler will see to that.  This game feels like it is going to come down to a fluky special teams play or a missed extra point.

Since I’m practically the president of the Khalil Mack fan club (is it that obvious?), my pick here may be slightly biased, but I’ll take the RAIDERS +3.5.

Final Score: Houston 24, Oakland 22

2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS – TEs

Get some!

Get some!

We’ve got you covered for QBs, RBs, WRs and even DEF & Kickers.  We finish with Tight Ends.  As you can see there isn’t much discrepancy between our TE ranks, because basically there is Gronk and everyone else.  Olsen, Kelce and Reed are interesting, but on average, they are only going to give you a few points per week over the likes of Fleener, Allen and Gates.  If I don’t get Gronkowski I’m fine with waiting on TE and grabbing one of the guys beyond the top 10.  and could but up big numbers in their offenses, but on a week to week basis they

2016 Rankings: Tight Ends
Composite Rage Ginger
TE1 Rob Gronkowski 1 1
TE2 Greg Olsen 2 2
TE3 Travis Kelce 4 3
TE4 Jordan Reed 3 4
TE5 Delanie Walker 5 5
TE6 Tyler Eifert 6 6
TE7 Julius Thomas 8 7
TE8 Coby Fleener 7 10
TE9 Gary Barnidge 10 8
TE10 Ladarius Green 9 11
TE11 Zach Ertz 14 9
TE12 Dwayne Allen 11 12
TE13 Antonio Gates 12 13
TE14 Jason Witten 13 14
TE15 Jimmy Graham 15 15
TE16 Martellus Bennett 17 16
TE17 Charles Clay 16 17
TE18 Eric Ebron 18 20
TE19 Kyle Rudolph 19 19
TE20 Jordan Cameron 20 23
TE23 Will Tye 22 21
TE21 Jared Cook 23 22
TE24 Austin Seferian-Jenkins 28 18
TE22 Vance McDonald 21 25
TE25 Jace Amaro 25 24
TE26 Clive Walford 26 26
TE27 Richard Rodgers 24 32
TE28 Larry Donnell 31 27
TE30 Jacob Tamme 27 31
TE31 Hunter Henry 29 29
TE29 Benjamin Watson 31 28
TE33 Brandon Pettigrew 32 30
TE32 Cameron Brate 30 33

(Note: rankings were compiled prior to the Ladarius Green “headache/retirement” rumors.  I’d avoid Green like a pregnant lady dodging mosquitoes at Copacabana).

Tight Ends

Tight Ends

 

2016 FANTASY FOOTBALL RANKINGS – DEFs & KS

And with the last pick in your draft…

2016 Rankings: Defense & Special Teams
Composite Rage Ginger
DEF1 Denver Broncos 1 2
DEF2 Seattle Seahawks 3 1
DEF3 Arizona Cardinals 2 3
DEF4 Carolina Panthers 4 5
DEF5 LA Rams 5 7
DEF6 Houston Texans 8 6
DEF7 New England Patriots 11 4
DEF8 Cincinnati Bengals 7 10
DEF9 Minnesota Vikings 6 12
DEF10 New York Jets 9 9
DEF11 Buffalo Bills 13 8
DEF12 Kansas City Chiefs 10 11
DEF13 Oakland Raiders 12 18
DEF14 Jacksonville Jaguars 14 16
DEF15 Green Bay Packers 16 14
DEF16 Pittsburgh Steelers 15 15
DEF17 New York Giants 20 13
DEF18 Baltimore Ravens 18 17
DEF19 Philadelphia Eagles 17 20
DEF20 Miami Dolphins 19 19
DEF21 Tampa Bay Buccaneers 21 24
DEF22 San Francisco 49ers 24 21
DEF23 Detroit Lions 22 23
DEF24 Indianapolis Colts 26 22
DEF25 Washington Redskins 23 25
DEF26 Tennessee Titans 25 26
DEF27 Atlanta Falcons 27 29
DEF28 Chicago Bears 28 28
DEF29 Cleveland Browns 30 27
DEF30 Dallas Cowboys 29 30
DEF31 San Diego Chargers 31 32
DEF32 New Orlean Saints 32 31
Winning Championships since 1966.

Winning Championships since 1966.

2016 Rankings: Kickers
Composite Rage Ginger
KR1 Stephen Gostkowski 1 1
KR2 Steven Hauschka 2 2
KR3 Justin Tucker 3 3
KR4 Dan Bailey 6 4
KR5 Mason Crosby 4 6
KR6 Graham Gano 5 7
KR7 Adam Vinatieri 9 5
KR8 Brandon McManus 7 9
KR9 Blair Walsh 8 10
KR10 Chandler Catanzaro 11 8
KR11 Josh Brown 10 11
KR12 Dan Carpenter 13 12
KR13 Matt Prater 12 13
KR14 Cairo Santos 14 14
KR15 Sebastian Janikowski 15 15
KR16 Robert Aguayo 16 16
KR17 Robbie Gould 17 17
KR18 Chris Boswell 18 18
KR19 Greg Zuerlein 19 19
KR20 Matt Bryant 20 20
KR21 Graham Gano 21 21
KR22 Mike Nugent 22 22
KR23 Nick Novak 23 23
KR24 Connor Barth 24 24