Week 4 Spar

Joe to Greg

The first quarter of the NFL season has already gone by. During the MLB season, we broke down our awards and playoff predictions at the mid-season point. With four games under our belts, who do you think performed above/below expectations so far? We’ll leave the playoff talk for the mid-season point but do you have any favorites or maybe the “Top 2” candidates for AFC/NFC MVP and Rookie of the Year? Also any thoughts or headlines on the past weekends games.

Greg to Joe

I’m not really going to give an MVP prediction right now because it will probably look foolish by the end of the year. I mean, at this point last year, NO ONE would have said it would have come down the Adrian Peterson or Peyton Manning for MVP. I just do not think it’s reasonable to do it over a quarter of a season. A mid-season awards will be in order, but you will probably want to name a dark horse  when you make those predictions. Also, I have already pegged Andrew Luck the MVP this year, so I am going to ride that ship until it goes down. Not backing down.

I do think that the Broncos have been RIDICULOUS so far, and I was not expecting that. I tweeted this awhile ago, but they are the 2007 Patriots.


I mean that in every sense of the word. They will blow out everyone the whole year, make the Super Bowl and lose in a blizzard to the Saints, 49ers, or Seahawks. Peyton can’t play in the cold anymore because of his neck surgery. I do not think that is a one time thing what happened against the Ravens last year. I remember specifically at the beginning of the game that there was worry about Peyton playing in the cold because he might lose feeling in his hands because of the neck surgeries. That isn’t a one time thing. That’s forever. Broncos will not win the Super Bowl, but they will make it there with no losses. Watch.

Rookie of the Year – For offense, it will end up being Giovani Bernard or DeAndre Hopkins. The Defensive ROY will be really competitive, but Kiko Alonso is proving to be a force in the middle of the Bills D and I think he could win it.

Giants and Steelers both suck because their offensive lines suck.

Matt Schaub will be the reason the Texans don’t win the division. They should try to go all in on a QB in the draft.

Anything big you got from this week and award predictions if you wanna

Joe to Greg

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning (Photo Cred: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Tom Brady and Peyton Manning (Photo Cred: Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

The Broncos remind me a lot of the Patriots from 2007. I think Peyton Manning has just as good, if not better, as Tom Brady was in 2007. It really is fun to watch, but I can’t wait for Peyton to come into New England on November 24th to play under the lights. A great Brady-Manning duel in the making. Meanwhile, I’ll sit on predictions as well. I didn’t know if you had any glaring candidates, but Luck is an interesting one to watch.

I’ve been very impressed with the Saints and Drew Brees so far. Don’t sleep on them coming out of the NFC depending on if they can clinch a higher seed than Seattle. Seattle should get the award for most inconsistently great team. They are a completely different team on the road. They have a big game coming up against the Colts in Indy so that should be an interesting game to watch.

The Texans confuse me. There’s a huge game for them coming up in San Francisco Sunday night, but I feel better about San Fran. The Texans gave up a huge lead to San Diego in Week 1 (but held on to win) and gave up a late lead against the Seahawks this past week (and lost)…They don’t have any excuses for that loss against Baltimore; Baltimore just flat out beat them, but combine that with a shaky overtime win over Tennessee and the 2-2, Texans very well could be 1-3 or even 3-1…(Quick fantasy note: In Chris’s ESPN league I traded Ben Tate and Eddie Royal for Steven Jackson and Michael Floyd…I already have a Frank Gore/Stevan Ridley/Danny Woodhead as RB’s plus a combination of Megatron/Steve Smith/Kenbrell Thompkins/Hakeem Nicks/Julian Edelman as WR’s…my logic behind this was basically Stephen Jackson coming back for Atlanta strong and putting up good numbers once he’s healthy. I didn’t mind giving away Tate or Royal because as good as Tate is playing as a backup, he’s on the Texans and Foster will continue to get looks, and Eddie Royal was more of a buy low/sell high option…any thoughts?).

While I know you wont make any predictions about the NFL. Do you have any expectations or high hopes for your fantasy teams after seeing how they’re coming together? Any thoughts for Week 5?

Greg to Joe

Fantasy football… well my team is top tier in the Yahoo league. I have finished second for the ten dollar weekly price twice, but I have won every one of my matchups. So I am top of the standings and I think I will be contending for a title in that league. With the trade I just made with Grant (was agreed upon, but never accepted in the actual league), I think I will be good to go this week as well. In ESPN, I feel like I have a really good team despite my 2-2 record. The record is coming from poor line up management. My bench is this magical place where players, who should perform poorly, play well. It’s actually quite depressing, especially the loss to Dan…

I like the trade you made, but I think I would rather have Tate than Jackson. If you think you will be able to hold up with the running backs you have now, Jackson could pay off later. I just wouldn’t be too surprised if Foster goes down, and Tate just takes off. Getting something for Royal was a great decision though. His scores were not going to be consistent all year. Actually, I doubt he scores more than 2 touchdowns the whole year. Good move to sell him.

Seahawks home crowd is referred to as the 12th man

Seahawks home crowd is referred to as the 12th man

Seattle is not good on the road, and I am not sleeping on the Saints. I honestly think the only way that the Seahawks make the Super Bowl is if they have home field advantage throughout the playoffs. I think their crowd changes the whole game. They are so loud. I am obsessed. I’ll say it. They can’t play defense without the crowd behind them. I think the Colts will push around the Seahawks like they pushed around the 49ers. I am pretty high on the Colts, but even I am surprised at how well they have played. Luck will be leading them to a division crown.

To switch gears a bit, I am watching the Wild Card playoffs game, and the Indians cannot beat a good team. Also, Alex Cobb is filthy. I have never watched him pitch before, but he is awesome. It is insane. So who do you think will win the World Series? Also, who do you think will become a household name by the end of the playoffs that isn’t now?

Joe to Greg

I think this years playoffs is the best in recent memory for starters. I love the Pirates and their momentum with that crazy crowd from the other night. That place was going nuts, and they should be given an RBI or something for that home run they caused. Poor Johnny Cueto. I’m very high on the Red Sox representing the AL for a couple of reasons. They announced their rotation to start the ALDS today (Game 1: Lester, Game 2: Lackey, Game 3: Buchholz) and I’m glad they put Buchholz in the three hole because he’s undefeated on the road. It speaks to the quality of his starts, but he didn’t play the whole season so I take some of his stats with a grain of salt. Lackey deserves a shot to pitch at home because he’s had his best year since coming to Boston, from what I’ve seen at least. I haven’t even mentioned their bullpen which is pretty close to lights out (with the exception of the Baltimore Orioles game Saturday night which I attended). Also seeing some recent news about Miguel Cabrera being hurt has me concerned for the Detroit offense. You can never turn your back on their starting pitching though. It’s scary. I expect a Boston-Detroit ALCS and in the NL I’m going with the Cardinals to knock off the Dodgers and my official pick is Boston in 6 (AL receives home field advantage). What are your thoughts on the World Series?

To answer your question about a breakout player, I like Clayton Kershaw from the Dodgers. I just love to watch him pitch, and I think he can be lights out for the Dodgers. You can obviously argue that he is a huge name in the game, but he has a huge impact on the Dodgers’ success so it should be entertaining to watch. There are a couple young guys I like but it’s so hard to judge who’s going to become that household name until the games get underway. Any good predictions for a player to watch? Any other thoughts on MLB or NFL? Or even your thoughts on the shocking news that the Philadelphia Flyers lost their first game of the season tonight!

Greg to Joe

I posted my whole playoff situation this morning. I have Cardinals over Rays in 7. Baseball is truly a game that’s a marathon and it is decided by a sprint. Like how would you feel if you won a marathon and then at the end they say, “Actually Joe… you have to beat the top 10 finishers in a 100m dash to be the true champion.” Obviously, it is because of the money, and what I am going to suggest will never actually happen, but I am going to suggest it anyway. It should be decided like the Premier League does. Make a table, and make every team play each other the same amount of times. It would show the true champion.

For your breakout player, it’s definitely hard for me to call Clayton Kershaw a breakout candidate for this year’s playoffs. He is already a Cy Young award winner (should have two), and will be getting his second (should be third) this year. He is the best pitcher in baseball and will be paid as such this offseason. It will be the biggest contract to a pitcher ever.

Wil Myers (Photo Cred: Carlos Osorio/AP)

Wil Myers (Photo Cred: Carlos Osorio/AP)

My personal breakout player will be Wil Myers. I know that I talk about him all the time, but he gives the Rays a lineup that can survive in the playoffs. I am picking them to make it to the World Series, and he is going to need to become a household name to do so. He is true old school. No batting gloves, no tape, no nothing. Just a little bit of dirt and pine tar. The former Royals’ prospect that hit 13 homers with a .293 batting average and a .357 wOBA (one of the better indicators for success at the plate). He has been slumping a little bit, but he will make himself known within the next month. And just to toot my own horn, I predicted 14 homers for Myers this year when he got called up.

Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

Week 3 Spar

Ed Reed playing his first game as a Texans in Baltimore (Photo Cred: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)

Ed Reed playing his first game as a Texans in Baltimore (Photo Cred: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports)

Greg to Joe

Week 3 brought a weird set of games. A lot of things did not go as expected, there were some dominant performances that I did not expect. The Ravens stomped on the Texans and spoiled Ed Reed‘s first game as a Texan. I really don’t think the Texans are that good (I have the Colts winning that division), but I did not expect the debacle that happened yesterday. I think the 49ers are in trouble. Colin Kaepernick might be as good as everyone says he is if he has good receivers. He is no Brady, or Flacco all things considering, when it comes to making his receivers productive. If the 49ers lose Boldin or Vernon Davis for an extended period of time, they must run the ball more or they will lose like they did to the Colts. It was frustrating to watch because the Colts could have been dominated at the line of scrimmage if the 49ers made a commitment to running the ball. Now the 49ers are in trouble going into St. Louis without Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis and maybe Vernon Davis. Giants’ and Steelers’ offensive lines are so bad that those teams might be horrendous all year. The Giants got dominated by a Panthers defense, while good, should have never dominated a game like that. Eli is on his back too much and unable to throw the ball to his talented receivers.

Finally, I get to go to Seattle this week, and I am excited to see if there is a lot of Seahawk pride out there. That team is the class of the NFL. I know they played the Jaguars this week, but there starters came out of the game in the 4th quarter. Now that the 49ers lost to the Colts, I am not sure that win in Week 2 was as impressive, but it was still a dominant win. I wish the Seahawks had the Thursday night game and it was at home. I bet I would be able to hear that stadium from my hotel room it is so loud.

Anything you notice from Week 3 and how are you looking going into MNF for fantasy?

Joe to Greg

You’re right when you say that things did not go as expected. There were some dominant performances (Ravens over Texans, Colts over 49ers, Panthers over Giants) and some competitive games (Dolphins-Falcons, Browns-Vikings, Bengals-Packers). Quickly going over some of the dominant performances, I think people tend to forget that Colin Kaepernick’s sixteenth game of his NFL career, or one full complete 16-game season, came last week. He’s still learning and developing but it seems like defenses are starting to figure out ways to slow him down. Defenses started covering using man to man, forcing Kaepernick to make reads in the pocket and make him a little less mobile. Once again I’ll say it, watch out for the Miami Dolphins. They came back against Matty Ice and the Falcons and have a huge game against the New Orleans Saints coming up on Monday Night. The Colts also look poised to become a contender but even Andrew Luck said after the game they aren’t going out to make statements. The Giants are having all sorts of issues, whether that is in on the defensive side or offensive side. They managed just 150 yards of total offense. The Ravens got a big win against a confusing Texans team that always seems to have trouble with injuries or sub-par player performances when they start playing well.

draftstreetWeek 3 was a tough week with the spreads in my opinion. Let me tell you, Green Bay owes a lot of people some money because they blew the lead in Cincy and it hurt. Really, really bad. Which reminds me that I won our head-to-head matchup on DraftStreet and I also won in another 10 team league paying out 1st-5th. Thank you, Drew Brees…who I started for both of my teams. In Yahoo Fantasy, I registered my first win regardless of the outcome of tonight’s game and in ESPN I’m winning by 18, but my opponent has Darren McFadden left so it could be close.

Joe’s Fantasy Seasons Through Week 3:

ESPN: What Would Breesus Do — 3-0

Yahoo: Daaa Brady’s — 1-2

Monday Night Pick:

Denver 34 – Oakland 17

Any thoughts on tonight’s game and who your top performers for Week 3 were?

Greg to Joe

You won this week on DraftStreet so its 1 and 1. Carson Palmer really screwed me. He is also going to screw me in Yahoo if Welker scores another TD in this MNF game and Demaryius Thomas doesn’t.  I should easily be 3-0, but there is a small chance that I lose to Gerdes this week. We’ll see what happens as this game goes on. Dan is going to beat me this week in Chris’s ESPN league. It is REALLY depressing when something like that happens. It just really hurts.

I do have Jordan Cameron EVERYWHERE. I love it. I also have Gronk in the Yahoo league. My team is just straight up stacked. It’s shocking I haven’t scored the most points in the whole league one week.

I was positive betting this week again. After going below .500 in my picks, I been good the past two weeks and this week would be thanks to the Ravens and the Bears.

I agree with you on the Dolphins. I called a late game win for them in my weekly BucStop.com fantasy corner article. I was wrong about my disappointing dud, but who’s counting. I still agree with the process of picking my selections. My surprise selection wasn’t as good as I expected, but the Cardinals’ running backs were the only players to put up points for them this week.

I am going to change it up with a baseball thing. First, the Pirates are in the postseason. First winning season in 21 years. Incredible. Andrew McCutchen is my favorite not named Mike Trout or Manny Machado so I’m happy for him.

Manny Machado screaming after his knee buckled (MASN Screenshot)

Manny Machado screaming after his knee buckled (MASN Screenshot)

It was really hard to watch the Machado injury. The Orioles were out of the playoffs, barring a miracle. He was giving all is effort to beat out a grounder after he saw Tim Beckham bobble it. His left knee just gave out. I doubt he plays until 2015. His left knee is the knee that must withstand all the torque he creates from his swing, and he can’t risk reinjuring by coming back early next year. The only excuse would be if the Orioles really need him to make a final playoff push and the doctors give him a 100% go ahead. However, I can see a Derrick Rose-esque situation happening. We’ll see, but I want to hear what exactly is wrong tomorrow after the MRI.

Back to the NFL, early look to Week 4, who ya got ATS?

Joe to Greg

I’m glad to hear that the Machado injury wasn’t too serious. Hopefully it’s a speedy recovery. In Week 4 there are some interesting games. I’m intrigued by the Colts -9 in Jacksonville. High off their win in San Francisco and a little more chemistry among the offense and Trent Richardson, It wouldn’t surprise me to see the Colts cover here. Also, Seattle -3 at Houston makes me think. Houston just came off a terrible loss to the Ravens. Seattle just pounced on the Jaguars and their starters did play in the 3rd quarter. I think Seattle’s D wants another challenge or rather the challenge of preparing for the Texans sometimes potent offense. Any last notes on the upcoming week ahead? Should we expect a good showing from the Ravens traveling up to Buffalo?

Greg to Joe

I was happy about the Machado injury. He will most likely not need surgery and he will be just fine for the upcoming season. I doubt that he breaks out offensively like many people are hoping, but that should come in 2015, the year he returns to shortstop (I hope).

My opinion on the Vegas lines this week is this… If there was ever a week to try to hit on a full slate teaser, this would be that week. I feel there are a lot of favorable lines right now. The Bears as an underdog is absolutely foolish. The fact that the Ravens are only 3 point favorites is also pretty easy bet. The Bills have an injury depleted roster, and the Ravens just took the Texans to town last week. With Ray Rice coming back, I see no problems for them. The hardest game for me this week would be the 49ers @ Rams. The 49ers have serious problems on offense if they don’t get Vernon Davis back. They could just go with the running game and hope Frank Gore gives a DeMarco Murray type day against the Rams. The 49ers are also going to be in trouble without Patrick Willis. He is the Ray Lewis presence in the middle of that defense and he makes everyone in that defense around him better. I can see this being an extremely high scoring game or low scoring game. I can also see a Rams blowout, a 49ers blowout, or a close game where the team who has less turnovers wins. I am lost on that game, which will make it more interesting for me to watch.

Larry Johnson when he was playing with the Kansas City Chiefs

Larry Johnson when he was playing with the Kansas City Chiefs

The last thing I want to say before I hear your thoughts on the Pats and just Week 4 in general is Arian Foster is not the same running back. His yards per carry continue to drop and Ben Tate‘s have been about double Foster’s. I would be starting to shy away from calling him an elite player. I could be wrong, but I think we are about to see a fall of the table decline much like Shaun Alexander, Larry Johnson, etc.

Joe to Greg

To add to your list, LaDainian Tomlinson towards the end of his career. I think you touched on something important because one of the biggest issues and something that made headlines this summer was the settlement reached between the NFL and the NFLPA. The settlement has agreed to pay out $765 million over 20 years. That is an incredible amount of money. Then you add the fact that the NFL’s annual revenue peaks around $10 BILLION, does that settlement do anything? The reason behind bringing this up is because players are getting bumps and bruises earlier in their career and I don’t think there is a position that gets banged up more than running backs. Arian Foster is on a decline but that doesn’t mean he can’t change that. The only problem is his body may limit the competitive level he can reach. Tate has nine rushing attempts in each of the first 3 games so there is something to say about how much Houston utilizes him.

I’ve been pretty patient on talking about the Patriots and I’m going to remain sealed about my feelings for them. Mainly because I don’t want to judge when all the pieces aren’t there. Also because they have a big game coming up Sunday Night which may be nominated for my “Game of the Week” column later this week.

 Greg Danchik and Joe Meola

(Side Note: This trip to Seattle is awesome, but has very little to do with sports. There is a whole sports biomechanics session tomorrow. Mostly about concussions, but there are some presentations about Ligaments. And that’s why this is up late.)

Texans v. Ravens Review

Baltimore Orioles

Baltimore Orioles

The Ravens squared off with the Texans in Ed Reed‘s return to Baltimore, and the Ravens returned the beating that was handed to them last year. The Ravens used a defensive touchdown and a special teams’ touchdown to take the lead and never look back. Quick hits from the game.

  • Torrey Smith is a really good football player and is willing the run across the middle to catch a pass.
  • Bernard Pierce did not look great, but he has a shot at redemption against the Bills in Week 4.
  • Joe Flacco is earning his contract so far, no matter how bad you thought it was in the off-season. Flacco has one returning receiver from last year, and is making the most of the crop he has.
  • I still do not like Tandon Doss, but his punt return TD was nice.
  • Daryl Smith is an absolute stud. Luckily, no one knew about him because he used to be a Jaguar so the Ravens were able to get him late when the cap space opened up in June. Much better than Dannell Ellerbe and Ray Lewis last year.
  • The defense is so much better than last year, and I couldn’t be happier about it.
  • Ben Tate is better than Arian Foster right now. Check out the yards per carry numbers. End of Story.
  • DeAndre Hopkins would have looked nice in purple.
  • JJ Watt is not as effective as he was last year because of the constant attention, but he is still a dominant force. That is how good he was last year.
  • Ed Reed might help the Texans’ secondary at some point, but he didn’t help against the Ravens
  • Texans will be a Wild Card team, at best

Greg Danchik

Week 3 Preview

While I may have announced our picks for the best game to watch in Week 3 through our Sparring, here is a better platform for discussion on the predictions for upcoming games and player performances.

Game of the Week

Atlanta Falcons at Miami Dolphins

The Falcons are hurt, and the Dolphins are gaining confidence. The Dolphins have developed a dangerous pass defense. They have knocked down opposing quarterbacks 22 times in two weeks, totaled a league leading 9 sacks (tied with TB, OAK, BUF, KC), and also have 18 batted or deflected balls (second on the NFL). I like the direction the Dolphins team is going. Atlanta always poses threats with Julio Jones  and Tony Gonzalez, but Roddy White, Steven Jackson, Asante Samuel, and Sean Weatherspoon are all hurt and starters in their respective positions. Atlanta has two sacks in two games and it’s also worth noting those two sacks came against Drew Brees in Week 1. The Falcons failed to sack Week 2 foe, Sam Bradford.

Prediction– Dolphins 24 – Falcons 20

Fantasy Predictions (Based on ESPN PPR scoring)

Calvin Johnson reflecting off Patrick Peterson's face mask

Calvin Johnson reflecting off Patrick Peterson‘s face mask

Fantasy StudCalvin Johnson @ Washington — (Projected Fantasy Points: 24)

As much as I feel like I took everything from our sparring and put it in this, my stud is Megatron. After a dull Week 1, Johnson went off for 6 Receptions, 116 Yards, and 2 TDS. Good for 29 fantasy points. Going against a Redskins D that has given up six touchdowns in two games, I like my chances for Megatron to have a great day.

Fantasy Bust– Stevan Ridley vs. Tampa Bay — (Projected Fantasy Points: 8)

I gave myself a whole hour to not put his name down, but I couldn’t think of someone else. Ridley has 86 yards on 25 carries… in two games. He loves to mess with my fantasy team and overall positive hope for the Patriots this season. His name is here mainly because he hasn’t shown many owners a reason to believe he’s turning things around. Wait, he doubled his point total from Week 1 (2) to Week 2 (4) so maybe he is picking it up!

Joe Meola