NFL betting tips for Week 6: Bet Now or Bet Later

Studs & Duds: NFL Week 2 Fantasy Football Predictions

Originally posted here:
Every NFL week, we'll go game by game and name a Stud and a Dud for each contest. Studs and duds are relative to their consensus rankings and salaries on DraftKings and FanDuel. Meaning the Stud will not always be the player I expect to have the most fantasy points for a given game and the Dud will not always be a player I expect to get zero snaps.
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Cincinnati Bengals at Cleveland Browns

Stud: Joe Mixon

The usage was there for Joe Mixon in Week 1. 19 rush attempts and 2 targets. Unfortunately for him, the game script was garbage. That will not be the case in Cleveland. I see them moving the ball down the field on the back of Mixon Week 2. He also has Joe Burrow who looked impressive for a rookie QB with no preseason action.

Dud: Odell Beckham, Jr.

There is still time to fade OBJ and be contrarian. People are going to look at his 10 targets from Week 1 and see potential, but it will end in frustration. There is zero chemistry between Baker and Beckham. I'm avoiding him in Week 2 even with his embarrassingly low salary on DK and FD.

New York Giants at Chicago Bears

Stud: Allen Robinson

Mitchell Trubisky attempted 36 passes and targeted 11 different receivers in Week 1. Allen Robinson scooped up 9 of those targets for 5 receptions and 74 yards. He's the best offensive talent the Bears have and I'm expecting more looks to go his way Week 2. I'll be surprised if he doesn't score a TD against the Giants.

Dud: Saquon Barkley

Saquan Barkley is an incredible talent, but he has not been living up to expectations. In Week 1 against the Steelers, he started the game with 8 rushes for -8 yards. 8 rushes for -8 yards. Figured I'd write it a 2nd time to let it sink because I had to check multiple sources to confirm that stat. He's really good, but his consensus ranking is higher than his production. The Giants offensive line needs help.

Atlanta Falcons at Dallas Cowboys

Stud: Calvin Ridley

Which Atlanta Falcon WR had 9 receptions on 12 targets in Week 1? All of them, essentially... Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, and Russell Gage all had 9 receptions and 12 targets! However, Ridley was the only player to score a TD and did so twice. There is potential in this game for another shootout. I'm a big fan of Ridley season long and love him Week 2.

Dud: Russell Gage

Yes, Gage is coming off a 12 tgt / 9 rec / 114 yrd showing. Although I think we're going to see another shootout here for the Falcons, I'm selling that he sees the same volume Week 2.

Detroit Lions at Green Bay Packers

Stud: Davante Adams

Aaron Rodgers and Davante Adams tore up the Minnesota Vikings defense. An absolute monster game for Adams tallying up 17 targets, 14 receptions, 156 yards, and 2 TDs. Aaron Rodgers looked as crisp as ever and Davante Adams will continue to benefit.

Dud: TJ Hockenson

I had high hopes for TJ Hockenson Week 1. Especially with Kenny Golladay out. 5 target, 5 receptions, 56 yards, and 1 TD. It's a good game on paper, but it felt to me like this was TJ's ceiling. I worry he's shaping up to be a touchdown-dependent TE start week in and week out. The targets went to the WRs Quintez Cephus (10), Marvin Jones Jr. (8), and Danny Amendola (7).

Minnesota Vikings at Indianapolis Colts

Stud: Jonathan Taylor

I was a seller on Jonathan Taylor coming into Week 1. I wasn't buying that he won the starting job from Marlon Mack, which did appear to be the case. Now that Mack is out with a torn Achilles, the backfield will be in the hands of Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor. Hines made the noise with 2 TDs, but they both got a lot of play. 9 carries and 6 targets for Jonathan Taylor and 7 carries and 8 targets for Nyheim Hines. I like both of them, but coming into Week 2 I like Taylor as the higher value play. Phil Rivers is truly proving to be Captain Dump-off. Bold prediction: Nyheim Hines and Jonathan Taylor can turn out to be this year's Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon.

Dud: TY Hilton

The targets were there for TY Hilton, but he didn't do much with them. 9 targets, 4 receptions, and 53 yards for TY. I'm staying away from him until I see a little bit of chemistry with Captain Dump-off.

Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins

Stud: John Brown

John Brown is always overlooked and consistently produces. The new addition of Stefon Diggs to the receiving core added to the low valuation of John Brown. I see Diggs and Brown as 1A and 1B options for Josh Allen. 10 targets, 6 receptions, 70 yards, and 1 TD for John Brown in Week 1. He was wide open for a 2nd TD, but Josh Allen spazzed and could not hit him. Josh Allen did look good outside of that 1 pass and both fumbles.

Dud: Ryan Fitzpatrick

0 TDs and 3 INTs for Fitzmagic in Week 1 against the Patriots. The Pats are the Pats, but the Bills defense is pretty good too. A hammy issue for DeVante Parker isn't helping his cause. I'm waiting for the "Tuaaaaaa" chants before I take a chance on Fitz. He's always good to muddy the waters with a good game as soon as he's counted out.

San Francisco 49ers at New York Jets

Stud: Raheem Mostert

He's the best talent in the 49ers backfield and it's NOT EVEN CLOSE. The 49ers rode him through the playoffs and will continue to do so this season. He has the possibility for multi-touchdown 150+ all-purpose yardage week in and week out.

Dud: Jimmy Garoppolo

I like Jimmy G in general, but I think the 49ers run away with this one and don't have a need to pass the rock. He'll have to get his in during the 1st half if he wants to have any fantasy value.

Los Angeles Rams at Philadelphia Eagles

Stud: Jared Goff

This one is going to be a beat down and Jared Goff is going to be the benefactor. I see him spreading the football around and tallying up 3+ TD. Dwayne Haskins Jr. had what I consider to be a good game last week against the Eagles (for him). A win and 0 INT. This should be a piece of cake for the Rams and Goff.

Dud: Carson Wentz

The Los Angeles Rams just held Dak Prescott in check. This isn't going to go well for Carson Wentz. He's coming off of a 2 pick game against the Washington Football Team. The jury is still out if Washington's DEF is good or if the Eagles offense made them look good. Week 2 should shed some light on the answer.

Denver Broncos at Pittsburgh Steelers

Stud: Ben Roethlisberger

Big Ben was doing Big Ben things on MNF. He looks fully recovered from his surgery and has a lot of weapons to throw to. JuJu Smith-Schuster, James Washington, Chase Claypool, Eric Ebron, Vance McDonald, and Diontae Johnson. Good luck picking the WRs/TEs that will hit... Put Roethlisberger in your Week 2 lineup with confidence.

Dud: James Conner

I liked James Conner coming into the season and tried to steal him (unsuccessfully) in my draft. Turns out I'm happy I didn't get him. He looks stuck in the mud and now has an ankle injury he's nursing. Benny Snell looks Jr. spry. I'd think twice about firing him up in your Week 2 lineups against the Broncos if he gets clearance to play on the ankle.

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Stud: Christian McCaffrey

Alvin Kamara just ripped the Bucs for 2 TDs (should've been 3) in Week 1. Christian McCaffrey is prime for a monster game here. Anything less than triple-digit yardage and multiple TDs is a letdown.

Dud: Rob Gronkowski

This is a crowded receiving core in Tampa Bay. Mike Evans, Chris Godwin, Scotty Miller, OJ Howard, Cameron Brate, and Rob Gronkowski. The chemistry between Brady and Gronk I'm sure is still there, but OJ Howard is the youngefresher talent. I liked him to lead Buc's TEs season long before Week 1. Week 1 that proved to be the case and I think the pattern continues.

Jacksonville Jaguars at Tennessee Titans

Stud: Derrick Henry

He's unstoppable and Vrabel knows how to use him. The Titans are going to control this game on the ground. No TDs Week 1 was disappointing, but he'll get in the endzone in Week 2.

Dud: Gardner Minshew II

I caught a case of Minshew Mania, so it pains me to mark him as a Dud, but it's going to be extremely difficult to maintain his Week 1 efficiency. 19 completions on 20 attempts with 3 TDs and 0 INTs. With little help in the backfield, Minshew will most likely struggle to move the ball Week 2 against the Titans defense.

Washington Football Team at Arizona Cardinals

Stud: Washington DEF

I'm a buyer of this Washington defense. Chase Young came out of the gates hot Week 1 and lead The Football Team to a big win. I'm not expecting Washington to shut down the Cardinals, but I am expecting them to keep this game close and cover the 6.5 point Vegas spread.

Dud: Antonio Gibson

Later this season Antonio Gibson will be the guy, but Washington isn't ready to give him that role yet. I fired up Antonio Gibson Week 1 in my 14-team season-long league after Miles Sanders was ruled out. It started off promising as he was getting the early work. Then after 1 goalline series, it all went downhill. Gibson got stuffed on the 1st goalline carry. In came Peyton Barber who eventually pooonded it in. Barber finished with 2 TDs and appeared to the main RB for the latter half of the game. Barber is the safer play heading into Week 2.

Baltimore Ravens at Houston Texans

Stud: Marquise Brown

This game will be a little more competitive for the Baltimore Ravens compared to their Week 1 beatdown on the miz Cleveland Browns. Lamar Jackson only had to throw the ball 25 times, but Hollywood Brown was still able to tally 6 targets, 5 receptions, and 101 yards. Mark Andrews and Willie Snead took the 3 TDs thrown. I'm expecting a big week from Brown here in Week 2.

Dud: JK Dobbins

A lot of excitement after Week 1 for season-long JK Dobbins. Yours truly is a Dobbins owner. Unfortunately for me, I only felt pain Week 1 because I am also a Mark Ingram owner and had Ingram locked in as the starter. 4 total TDs vultured from my Week 1 starters Mark Ingram and Antonio Gibson. Dobbins is the future for the Ravens, but I think his 2 TDs were flukey in this blowout game. When push comes to shove I'm betting on Ingram over Dobbins and will keep Ingram in my Week 2 lineup.

Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers

Stud: Clyde Edwards-Helaire

CEH is a lethal weapon for the Chiefs and they know it. He put up big fantasy points in the opener without catching a pass and while getting stopped multiple times on the goalline. I'm not worried about his goalline abilities. Week 2 he'll continue to smash. It'll be tough to compete with McCaffrey season-long, but I can see CEH as the #2 overall RB when it's all said and done.

Dud: Austin Ekeler

The fantasy world is panicking about Austin Ekeler's usage in the passing game Week 1. He only saw a single target. He did have a respectable game on the ground picking up 84 yards on 19 carries. I am indeed pressing the panic button as well. Austin Ekeler is not a ground and pound RB. He's a scatback and Captain Dump-off is no longer in town. Maybe things change when Justin Herbert inevitably takes control. We're looking at a lot of 3 and outs with Tyrod trying to force the ball down the field as the Chargers play from behind in this one.

New England Patriots at Seattle Seahawks

Stud: Julian Edelman

Cam Newton only threw 19 passes Week 1. Julian Edelman was targeted on 37% of those pass attempts and put together an OK game in PPR. He was also used once on a successful end-around. The game script Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks will be different and the Patriots will need to pass to keep up.

Dud: Sony Michel

(See thoughts above on Julian Edelman). The Patriots came in against the Dolphins wanting to pooond the rock. And Sony Michel was still lackluster. He had a fantasy saving TD, but only registered 10 carries for 37 yards. This is a low-floor low-ceiling touchdown-dependent situation for Michel.

New Orleans Saints at Las Vegas Raiders

Stud: Latavius Murray

Alvin Kamara stole all the TDs, but Latavius Murray lead the team in carries Week 1. 15 carries for Murray compared to 12 for Kamara. The game script here calls for a Saints blowout. I'm expecting Latavius Murray to put the finishing touches on this one with a lot of pooonding the rock in the 2nd half.

Dud: Josh Jacobs

Josh Jacobs is no dud, but his Week 1 numbers are going to be hard to replicate. Especially against a New Orleans Saints team that held the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to under 100 yards rushing and only 1 rushing TD (Tom Brady). I see the Raiders playing from behind in this one making it difficult for Jacobs to perform for fantasy purposes.
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Ranking all 32 NFL teams in tiers pre-2020 season

Now that we have passed the opt-out deadline and are only about three weeks away from the Chiefs and Texans kicking off the 2020 NFL season, I wanted to put together my pre-season power rankings and put all 32 teams in separate tiers, to give you an idea of where I see them at this point.
When putting together this list, I considered the talent on the roster, coaching staff and what will be a more important factor coming into this season than it has been in previous – the continuity as a franchise, since the COVID situation has limited the amount of preparation and ability to build chemistry as a team. That will be especially tough for new head coaches and inexperienced teams.
With that being said, this is how I would group them:

Super Bowl contenders:

This group of four represents what I think are the four elite teams in the NFL. They all feature complete rosters, excellent coaching and continuity as a franchise. I think these are the franchises that will most likely square up against each other in the conference championship games on either side of the bracket.

1. Kansas City Chiefs
We have heard this many times over the course of the offseason – the reigning Super Bowl champs bring back 20 of 22 starters (actually 19 now) on offense and defense combined. They have the best player in the league, the most dangerous receiving corp, above-average O-line play and a still improving defense, that just added some much-needed speed at the second level, which will allow DC Steve Spagnuolo to even more versatile. So at this point I can not have anybody unseat them. I think Clyde Edwards-Helaire (LSU) will be a star in that offense, they get a couple of guys back that missed their playoff run and there are plenty of young, developing players on that roster. What general manager Brett Veach has done this offseason in terms of securing Patrick Mahomes for the next decade and still opening up cap room to also sign their best defensive player in Chris Jones is amazing to me. My only two concerns for Kansas City at this point are a lack of depth in the secondary and the fact they will have to go on the road when they face the four best teams on their schedule – Baltimore, Buffalo, Tampa Bay and New Orleans, which has me favoring the second team on my list for the number one seed in the AFC and which this year means having one more game in the playoffs on their road to another Super Bowl for Andy Reid’s troops.

2. Baltimore Ravens
Right behind the Chiefs, as the biggest competitor for the AFC is Baltimore. They were the best team in the regular season from this past year, but the Titans handed them only their third loss of the season in the Divisional Round at home. While they did lose what to me is a first-ballot Hall of Fame guard in Marshal Yanda, outside of that the Ravens to me have an even better roster. The reigning MVP Lamar Jackson is only entering his third season in the league, the Ravens just added a top prospect in J.K. Dobbins (Ohio State) to a backfield that set a league-record in rushing yards and some of these young receivers will continue to develop. On defense, they addressed the two areas that needed some help, when they brought in Calais Campbell to boost their pass-rush and two top-six linebackers on my board in the draft (Patrick Queen & Malik Harrison). They may not have as many superstar names as some other teams, but without a full offseason to prepare for it, that Greg Roman offense could be even tougher to stop if Marquise Brown becomes a more dependable deep threat (now fully healthy) and I love how multiple Wink Martindale is with his defense, combining the different pressure looks to go along with more versatile pieces up front and one of the elite secondaries in the game. You combine that with a rising young special teams coordinator in Chris Horton and a great motivator and in-game decision-maker in John Harbaugh – I just can’t find a lot of L’s on their schedule.

3. San Francisco 49ers
Obviously the Super Bowl hangover will be brought up a lot of times with the loser of that contest, but unlike a lot of these teams coming off the big game – yet similar to the actual winners in the Chiefs – John Lynch did a great job re-tooling for the few losses they did have and didn’t overspend on some of their talented guys. Kyle Shanahan to me is the best offensive play-caller and game-designer in football, with a diverse rushing attack and the type of personnel to match it, while Jimmy G, despite some issues, is coming off his first 16-game season in his career. Defensively, they are losing what I thought was their best player in DeForest Buckner, but they did replace him with a top ten prospect in Javon Kinlaw (South Carolina) and Fred Warner is an emerging superstar. Their Seattle-based scheme under Robert Salah may not be very complex, but the Niners have a ferocious pass-rush, fast-flowing linebackers and a great safety tandem to be very sound in their execution. The Deebo Samuel injury is definitely a concern for me and if he doesn’t get back a few weeks into the season, I might drop San Fran a spot or two, plus I don’t love what they have at that second cornerback spot, but as for now I see the recipe that made me predict them winning the NFC West ahead of 2019 and what allowed them to be up double-digits in the fourth quarter of the Super Bowl.

4. New Orleans Saints
One of the themes this offseason for me has been how loaded this Saints roster is and that they just need to win this year. This is the final season with Drew Brees at the helm, they are already in a horrible place with the cap – before that even goes down in 2021 – and to be honest, a lot of their key contributors are getting pretty old now. While I have seen a significant drop-off in the arm-strength of Brees, other than that I don’t see any offense with this Sean Payton-led offense – the front-five is elite, Alvin Kamara should be back to 100 percent as a dynamic dual-threat back and they finally found a number two receiver in Emmanuel Sanders. When healthy, that defensive line is a dominant unit, I think third-round pick Zack Baun (Wisconsin) gives that linebacker group some versatility and they have a lot of experience in the secondary, including a guy I thought would be a future star on the outside in Marshon Lattimore. Before anything else, they need to take care of divisional-rival Tampa Bay – which is a very tough challenge already – but if they can do that, they are fairly in the hunt for the NFC’s top seed. There’s a lot of pressure on this group because of the cap situation, their all-time great QB having his “Last Dance” and brutal playoff losses in recent years, but they have all it takes to finally break through all the way.

Playoff contenders:

This second tier consists of eight teams that to me have only or two holes on their roster, while their coaching gives them an advantage over the majority of teams in the league and they bring back most of their pieces from a year or at least improved in those areas. I expect all but one of these squads to make the playoffs in 2020, as long as they don’t suffer significant injuries along the way.

5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Number five in the entire league seems pretty high for a team that finished below .500 last season, but this is not just about Tom Brady coming in, but rather the roster Tampa Bay has built around him. To me Mike Evans and Chris Godwin are the top receiver duo in the league, the Bucs arguably have the best tight-end room in the league and the offensive line only got better with superhuman Tristan Wirfs (Iowa) playing one of those spots on the right side. I have talked about this a lot over the offseason, looking at the match between Bruce Arians’ vertical-based passing attack and what Brady is used to, in terms of spreading the field and getting the ball out of his hands quickly. My bet is they go to a bit of hybrid and figure things out. Maybe more importantly, I don’t think people realize what they have put together on defense. Last season the Bucs finished number one against the run, they forced the fifth-most turnovers (28) and tied for sixth with yards per play (5.1) in the league. Todd Bowles is excellent defensive mind, who now enters his second season with as much talent as he has had since his Arizona days. Jameis turned it over 35 times last year (12 more than any other player in the league), while Tom didn’t even crack double-digits once again, and he immediately improves their situational football awareness and overall execution. This is a very dangerous squad.

6. Dallas Cowboys
When you talk about some of the most talented rosters in the league, the Dallas Cowboys come to mind right away – especially on the offensive side of the ball. Dak Prescott now has one of the premiere receiver trios with the selection of Ceedee Lamb (Oklahoma) in the draft, still probably a top-five offensive line and Zeke looking to re-establish himself as a top-tier back, after looking a step slow for most of last season. Defensively they are getting back Leighton Vander Esch, whose energy they desperately missed for stretches last season, and they have a very deep rotation at the defensive line (even though nobody knows what we’ll get from a couple of guys that were out of the league), while Mike Nolan will change things up a little more and get his guys into the face of opposing receivers. We have yet to see how much Mike McCarthy will want to have say in the offensive play-calling, but I like that they retained a young and creative OC in Kellen Moore, and as far as in-game control and CEO duties go, I certainly believe McCarthy is an upgrade. There are some questions with the secondary after the loss of Byron Jones and losing Travis Frederick to retirement hurts, but I think those are things that can be overcome. Something that I think should not be overlooked is the signing of former Rams kicker Greg Zuerlein and his special teams coordinator John Fassel, after converting only 75 percent of their field goal attempts last season (6th-lowest in the league) and missing a couple of crucial kicks.

7. Philadelphia Eagles
Right behind the Cowboys, I have their division rivals from Philadelphia. I think the Eagles actually have a better quarterback, the best defensive player among the two teams in Fletcher Cox and a more experienced secondary. However, with Brandon Brooks out for the season and maybe the worst group of linebackers in the NFL, I could not put this group ahead of Dallas, even though they have come up victorious against them in the big games recently. Last year Carson Wentz carried a group of skill-position players from the practice squad and a banged-up O-line to a division title. This upcoming season he will go from already wasn’t an overly dynamic receiving crew to a group of track stars, most notably with first-round pick Jalen Reagor (TCU) and a hopefully healthy DeSean Jackson, plus Miles Sanders I think is ready to emerge as a star back for Philly. The defense did lose some long-time stalwarts like Malcolm Jenkins and Nigel Bradham, but I loved the addition of Javon Hargreave in the middle to free up the other guys to attack upfield and with Darius Slay as their new CB1, not only does that move everybody one spot lower on the depth chart, but it also finally makes more sense for Jim Schwartz to be as aggressive with those zero-blitzes, since he has the guys to cover. Those two newcomers also fit perfectly when matching up against Dallas, because of an improvement interior run defense and having a guy who can match up with Amari Cooper, after the other guys got toasted for the most part.

8. Buffalo Bills
For the first time in about twenty years, a team not named the Patriots will enter a season as favorites in the AFC East – and it’s actually not that close for me. Buffalo made a switch last season offensively to more 11 personnel and quick-tempo with Brian Daboll moving to the booth. This offseason they finally got the big-armed Josh Allen a dependable deep threat in Stefon Diggs, who averaged 12.0 yards per target last season (second-highest in the league), which – similar to what I just talked about with the corners in Philadelphia – moves everybody else down one spot in the food chain. And I love what they do defensively, with Sean McDermott and Leslie Frazier’s game-plan specific zone pattern coverages, with a versatile secondary to execute those, to go with a deep D-line and two super-rangy linebackers. Even outside the Diggs trade, Buffalo has made some sneaky-good deals since losing that Wildcard game at Houston in such heart-breaking fashion. Whether that is Mario Addison as double-digit sack guy in four straight years, added depth on the O-line or a really solid draft class to complement what they already had. I don’t want to crown them at this point, but to me they are the favorites for the AFC’s number three seed as for right now, since I think the South doesn’t have that clear front-runner to win the majority of their divisional games.

9. Seattle Seahawks
I would have probably had the Hawks as the final team of this group or right at the top of the next one a couple of weeks ago, but after acquiring Jamal Adams, I think they have re-established themselves as that second team in the NFC West, since I had them very close with Arizona originally, I did not love what they did in the first two days of the draft (somewhat of a trend with them), they lost their second-best defensive player at that point in Jadeveon Clowney, I’m not sure if they upgraded on the offensive line and we don’t even if know if Quinton Dunbar will be suspended at this point. With that being said, Seattle has finished above .500 every single year with Russell Wilson under center and while I’m not a fan of their conservative approach offensively, where they don’t allow Russ to throw the ball on first downs and push the tempo a little at times, they are one of the most effective rushing teams and they have two lethal weapons to catch those trademark rainbow balls from the Seahawks QB. Defensively there are still some questions about the edge rush and at second corner spot, but Pete Carroll at least has what he wants most in a team at those positions – competition – and you already saw them go to more two-high looks in coverage than we are used to, telling me they utilize Jamal’s versatile skill-set more than what that strong safety mostly does in that system.

10. Green Bay Packers
The whole Aaron Rodgers-Jordan Love drama has been looming large over the offseason and that has brought us some interesting discussions, but let’s not allow this to take away from the fact Green Bay just had a first-round bye in the playoffs and made it to the NFC title game. While they were 8-1 in one-score games and should regress more towards the mean in terms of the success rate in those close games, the North is still wide open and they have a few things going for themselves – they have the best quarterback in the division, the best offensive line, the most versatile and effective pass rush and a lot of young talent in the secondary. The first-round selection of a future signal-caller aside, I wasn’t too fond of what they did in the draft. Even though I liked Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara and can see what they want to do with him as H-back/move guy in this offense, I thought they did not get Aaron Rodgers help in the receiving corp, which has no proven commodity outside of Davante Adams. Their defense got absolutely steamrolled in two games against the eventual conference champion 49ers, but I hope to see Rashan Gary develop in his second season and I think Christian Kirksey was a very under-the-radar signing as a run-stopping linebacker. I think schematically with Matt LaFleur’s offense based on what they did under Sean McVay and Mike Pettine being very creative himself they are one of the better coaching staffs in the NFC, but I would like to see them open up the offense more for Rodgers and break tendencies more often with their coverage calls.

11. Pittsburgh Steelers
Another very dangerous squad for me is the Steelers. I have talked many times about how bad the Steelers quarterback situations was last season, as both Mason Rudolph and Devlin Hodges finished near the bottom in air yards per attempt, percentage of throws beyond the marker and many others. We have only seen Big Ben throw in some short clips on the internet, but if he is just 70-80 percent of what he was in 2018, this team is bound for a playoff berth. There are some question marks with this group of skill-position players, but I expect Juju to bounce back in a major way with a capable QB and being healthy himself, I have already picked Diontae Johnson as a breakout candidate for this season and I like the diversity of this group of backs. Pittsburgh’s defense was already elite last year, finishing top five in both yards and points allowed, tied for first in yards per play (4.7), the most takeaways (38) and sacks (54). If former Raven Chris Wormley can replace Javon Hargreave as a two-down run-stopper at least and rookie Antoine Brooks Jr. (Maryland) can fill a very specific role as their second sub-package linebacker in place of Mark Barron, I think they will one of the scariest units in the NFL once again. So the best all-around defense for my money and an offense who I would say has top ten potential at the very least is a tough match-up. Maybe not quite battling with the Ravens for the North, but the top Wildcard spot for sure.

12. Indianapolis Colts
If there is one team in the AFC that could go from finishing sub-.500 to making it all the way to the conference championship game, the Colts would be my pick. I thought Philip Rivers had a really rough 2019 campaign, in which his arm looked rather weak and his decision-making hurt the Chargers on multiple occasions, but he will play behind by far the best offensive line he has ever had and they will run the heck out of the ball. Indy already had a pretty good back in Marlon Mack, but Wisconsin superstar Jonathan Taylor, who they selected in the second round, will be one of the front-runners for Offensive Rookie of the Year if given the chances in combination with what I believe is the best front-five in the entire league, plus their other second-rounder Michael Pittman Jr. (USC) will be that Vincent Jackson/Mike Williams type target for Rivers. More importantly, with the trade for a top 50 player in the league in DeForest Buckner, this entire Colts D immediately takes a step forward, since he is a perfect fit as that 3-technique in their front and help them disrupt plays at a much higher rate, to go with range in zone coverage behind that, including the “Maniac” Darius Leonard chasing people down. I’m a big fan of Frank Reich and the coaching staff he is has put together, in terms of in-game decision-making, offensive gameplans and just the intensity his team plays him.

Fringe playoff teams:

This middle tier is made up from all those teams who I expect to be at .500 or above, firmly in contention for a Wildcard spot at least. They can be some areas of concern, but overall they have the roster ready to compete with the big dogs and/or feature above-average coaching. With a couple of these there is a change at quarterback and head coach respectively, but they have enough around those to overcome that.

13. Tennessee Titans
This definitely seems a little low for a team that is coming off an AFC Championship game appearance, but people seem to forget the Titans were 8-7 ahead of week 17 and if it wasn’t for the Steelers losing their final three games, this group wouldn’t have even been in position to lock down the six seed. Things were also made a lot easier by their division rival Texans, who sat most of their starters after beating Tennessee two weeks prior. So as impressive as their playoff run was, you have to think of what happened before that and put it into perspective a little. With one more playoff spot in each conference, their chances of making it to the tournament should be at least equally as good, but I believe the Colts are the favorites to win the South and for me the Steelers are the favorites for the fifth seed. With all that being said, there is plenty to like about this team still – they can pound you with the Derrick Henry and the run game, Ryan Tannehill at least gives them the threat of pulling the ball and going deep off play-action, they have some young weapons catching the ball and defensively they are very versatile in how they set up gameplans. I also like the mind-set Mike Vrabel installs in these guys and I was impressed with what OC Arthur Smith did in 2019. If there are two spots that could decide if this group is fighting for a division title or that final playoff berth, it will be their rookie right tackle Isaiah Wilson (Georgia) and recently signed edge rusher Vic Beasley.

14. Cleveland Browns
While I don’t see them competing for the AFC North – just because of how loaded the Ravens are – the Browns are pretty clearly the most talented team that is considered to be third in their division. In terms of their group of starting skill-position players at least, they are near the top of the NFL, the O-line to me already just made my top ten ranking with room to move up, if healthy they are at least in the conversation for that with the D-line as well, with a Defensive Player of the Year candidate in Myles Garrett, and I like how they have assembled their secondary. Now, they have some unproven guys at the linebacker level and Cleveland’s potential is largely dependent on which Baker Mayfield we will get. With Kevin Stefanski coming and installing an offense that will be built on the zone run game and bootlegs off that, where his quarterback is put on the move, I could see much more efficient play and more comfort in that system. Something that really jumped out to me on tape was how many times Baker seemed to not be “on the same page” with his receivers, expecting routes to break off differently and unfortunate drops in certain situations. Even though the preparation for the season does look a lot different and QB & WRs haven’t been able to spend too much time together, I expect this to improve and more suitable roles for those pass-catchers overall. And if they are ahead in more games, that pass rush will be a problem.

15. Arizona Cardinals
There are certainly still some issues here, but the Cardinals are probably the most exciting young team in all of the NFL. Kyler Murray was a one-man show last season and is due for a big jump, with DeAndre Hopkins being added to a receiving corp that severely lacked dependable weapons, to go with some other youngsters fully healthy, Kenyan Drake looked like a different player once he came over from Miami and the O-line should at least be marginally better. Defensively they transitioned a little up front, with big gap-pluggers on the line and Isaiah Simmons being that ultra-rangy player on the second level, who can run guys down on the edges, if those ball-carriers forced to bounce outside, plus they have maybe the most underappreciated edge rusher over the last four years in Chandler Jones. I don’t think they are very deep in the secondary, but Budda Baker is an absolute baller, Jalen Thompson emerged late last season and I already predicted Byron Murphy would have a breakout second season. With Kliff Kingsbury and Vance Joseph, Arizona has creative play-calling on both sides of the ball and they now have the personnel to execute at the needed level as well. Like I mentioned, I was ready to have the Cardinals at least go toe-to-toe with Seattle for a playoff spot, but the addition of Jamal Adams has shifted the balance again to some degree. And if you just go based off my rankings, two NFC Wildcard spots already go to teams from five to seven.

16. Denver Broncos
A team that has been getting a lot of love this offseason is the Broncos. They have pretty much all the pieces that you usually see with those rising squads – a promising second-year quarterback with a lot of weapons surrounding him, a ferocious defensive front and having shown signs late last season. My belief in them has taken a bit of a dump unfortunately since I thought they did well to improve the offensive line, with Garrett Bolles on the left end being the only weak-spot, but now that Ja’Wuan James won’t be available at right tackle for the second straight year (injury last season and now opting out), their duo of OTs is a concern for me. Defensively you have to love what they have in the front seven, with Von Miller and now again Bradley Chubb coming off the edges, Jurrell Casey added to the interior to go with Shelby Harris and Alexander Johnson being an under-the-radar standout at linebacker. I’ve always been a big fan of Justin Simmons, but that second corner spot is still up in the air. I like Vic Fangio and that coaching staff they have put together in Denver, with Pat Shurmur providing a QB-friendly offense, the game’s best O-line coach in Mike Munchak and most of the people that have helped Fangio put out elite defenses at multiple stops before. So the Broncos are still the most dangerous opponent of the Chiefs in the AFC West, but now I’m not sure if they can add some drama over the fourth quarter of the season.

17. Minnesota Vikings
At the same time, a team that has been a little overhyped to me this offseason is Minnesota. While I don’t love how the Packers have operated since February, what have the Vikings done to really improve? They traded away the best deep threat in the league last season in Stefon Diggs, stalwarts on the D-line in Everson Griffen and Linval Joseph are now gone, their entire group of corners has combined for less than 1500 career snaps and their offensive coordinator is now in Cleveland. I’m intrigued by the combination of Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson, who could be pretty interchangeable in their roles and I like their 12 and 21 personnel groupings, but they lack depth at the receiver position. And the defense will be relying on several inexperienced pieces to step in. I mean their three starting corners from last year are off the team now. So I don’t really get how most people all of a sudden put them ahead of the Packers. With that being said, I like the offensive scheme and always thought Gary Kubiak was a huge factor in their success on the ground at least. On defense there are certainly question marks – especially in the secondary – but Minnesota could easily have a top five player at their respective position at all three levels, with Danielle Hunter, Eric Kendricks and Anthony Harris, plus they still have some promising young guys like Ifeadi Odenigbo, Mike Hughes and a deep rookie class. Their only true shade nose Michael Pierce opting out hurts though.

18. New England Patriots
This offseason must have been a rollercoaster for Patriots fans. First, Tom Brady leaves and everybody goes crazy. Then people start getting onto the Jarrett Stidham hype train and talk about how good the rest of this team still is. Out of nowhere they sign Cam Newton for the veteran minimum basically and they are back in the conversation for the top teams in the AFC all of sudden. And now, they lead the league in players opting out of the season, with key defensive pieces like Dont’a Hightower and Patrick Chung, to go with a couple of role players on offense at least. So now they are right at the bottom of these fringe playoff teams for me, because purely based on the roster, they are not even in the top 20 league-wide, but they still have maybe the greatest defensive mind in NFL history in Bill Belichick and one of the best offensive play-callers right now in Josh McDaniels. Obviously a lot of this will come down to what version of Cam Newton we will get and even if he is and can stay totally healthy. Not only is New England the most adaptable team in terms of how they can adjust to personnel and how flexible they are with their game-plans, but Cam is a great fit in that offense, where he can spread the field and make decisions based on defenses adjusting. The one area that took the biggest bump – outside of quarterback I’m guessing – is the offensive line, because they lost a legendary position coach in Dante Scarnecchia and their probable starter at right tackle in Marcus Cannon. While the Pats do have some young players, who can replace part of the losses, they were already more in plan for the pieces that left before there was any virus outbreak.

Around .500:

This broad group of seven teams represents all those franchises who will be dancing around .500 mark in the win-loss column. A couple of teams have the potential to win nine or ten games, while others could see those numbers on the wrong side of the column as well. There are obvious question marks in certain areas, even though they might feature top-tier players and/or coaches.

19. Houston Texans
It’s kind of tough to put a team here that has won its division the last two years, but I think the Texans are pretty clearly number three in the South now. I love Deshaun Watson and I think he has fairly established himself as a top five quarterback in the NFL, but Bill O’Brien just took away an elite wide receiver in DeAndre Hopkins and replaced him with an injury-prone Brandin Cooks to go with another always banged up Will Fuller and a declining Randall Cobb, to go with a David Johnson in the backfield, who was unrecognizable last season. I think the O-line is improving, but outside of Laremy Tunsil maybe, they don’t have anybody other than Deshaun who is clearly above-average in their role. And defensively they finished in the bottom five in yards allowed and tied with Cincinnati (who picked first overall in the draft) for an NFL-high 6.1 yards allowed per play. Hopefully having J.J. Watt back for a full season should help, I like the selection of Ross Blacklock (TCU) on the inside and there are some talented young corners on this roster, who could be better much in 2020. I would not be surprised if they are that .500 team at heart and their quarterback carried them to a couple of wins that they weren’t supposed to get – which we have seen him do many times before – but it’s more likely to me that they are fighting for one of the two bottom Wildcard spots.

20. Atlanta Falcons
Very rarely do you have a team that was among the worst over the first half of the season and among the best over the second half. The Falcons started out 2019 with a 1-7 record, but would go on to win six of the final eight games. Their defense was absolutely atrocious early on last season, with no pass-rush impacting the opposing quarterback and several miscues in coverage. With Raheem Morris taking over the defensive play-calling, they showed a lot of improvement already and there are signs that trend will continue. While there are some questions about the back-end and if they can get consistent production from their rush outside the top two guys, I think Dante Fowler is an upgrade over Vic Beasley, I like Marlon Davidson (Auburn) as a guy with inside-out flexibility on sub-packages and Keanu Neal is back healthy, as that Kam Chancellor-type, who can be that extra defender in the box in their system and punish receivers when catching the ball over the middle or in the flats. Offensively I believe this is still a team that can move the ball – they just have to start doing so earlier in games. While the top NFL receiver duo is in their own division with the guys in Tampa Bay, Julio Jones and Calvin Ridley could easily be that next one. They lost a very productive tight-end in Austin Hooper, but I believe Hayden Hurst can replace at least 80 percent of that production, and while we have no idea what we get from Todd Gurley and his knees at this point, last year the Falcons had one of the least effective per-touch backs in Devonta Freeman. Plus, the O-line should take a step forward with former first-round pick Chris Lindstrom returning from injury.

21. Las Vegas Raiders
To me the Raiders are still in transition, not only moving to Las Vegas, but also in terms of roster construction and the culture Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock are trying to establish. Outside of Tyrell Williams, that entire group of receivers was overhauled, they have a lot of young pieces on the defensive line and the secondary, plus they will have at least two new starters on the second level of their defense. By far the biggest thing they have going for them is the offensive line and second-year back Josh Jacobs running behind it. When I did my top ten offensive lines in the NFL a couple of weeks ago, I had the Silver & Black at number five, and Jacobs was already a top 100 player in the league for me, with how physical and elusive a runner as he is. I could easily see the Raiders finish near the top in terms of ground production, and I also like the young guys they brought in around that, with Henry Ruggs III (Alabama) keeping the defense honest with his speed, Bryan Edwards (South Carolina) as a physical receiver, who will get hands after the catch, and Lynn Bowden Jr. (Kentucky) as that chess-piece potentially, that you can use in a multitude of way. My bigger question here is if Derek Carr is willing to push the ball down the field. Defensively I like the rotation they have on the interior D-line and the two linebackers they brought in via free agency, most notably Corey Littleton. There are still some questions about how snaps will be split between their corner group, but I’m excited to see a full season of Jonathan Abram hopefully. These guys have some attitude and an energetic head coach.

22. Los Angeles Rams
Oh, how far we have come. Just one-and-a-half years ago the Rams were officially 20 spots higher basically, when they lost the Super Bowl to New England. Ahead of last season, I predicted them to miss the playoffs and while they made a bit of a run at it late, that’s what ended up happening. Now I see them as the fourth team in their own division – even though that says more about the competition they face rather than them. I still believe in Sean McVay and his ability to win on paper with play-design and game-planning, but Jared Goff has turned out to be an average quarterback, they don’t have a prime Todd Gurley setting the table anymore and the offensive line had some major issues, for large stretches of last season, especially in the run game. I was very high on Cam Akers, who they selected in the second round out of Florida State, but he will obviously be a rookie with shortened preparation, rather than an Offensive Player of the Year like Gurley was for them. Defensively, they have two elite players in Aaron Donald and Jalen Ramsey and I like some of the other guys in their roles, but overall the high-end talent beyond the two biggest names isn’t overly impressive. Leonard Floyd might be their top edge rusher and he has always been more of a Robin, they have no proven commodity as stand-up linebacker and I have yet to see if Brandon Staley can actually be an upgrade over Wade Phillips as their defensive coordinator.

23. Detroit Lions
While I was going back and forth with putting the Lions third or fourth in the NFC North, I recently said they are among the top two teams that could go from worst to first in their division and I would not be surprised if they were in the hunt for a Wildcard spot in the last couple of weeks of the season. His second year in a system under Darrell Bevell – where he wasn’t just going in shotgun 40 times a game and asked to make magic happen – Matthew Stafford looked like an MVP candidate as long as he was healthy in 2019. That duo of Kerryon Johnson and my top-ranked running back in the draft D’Andre Swift (Georgia) could be one of the most dynamic ones in the league, the receiving corp is highly underrated and I like those rookies competing for the two guard spots. Defensively, they seem to finally look like what Matt Patricia wanted, when he came over from New England, in terms being versatile with their fronts and having guys who can take on receivers in man-coverage. With that being said, there is also a good chance that the Patricia experiment could go to shambles, if some of the veterans get turned off by his style of coaching without having established that winning culture, and this team has simply been dealing with too many injuries to key players. I don’t think there is much of a gap between the Lions and Vikings for example, but Detroit has not shown the stability of some other organizations.

24. Chicago Bears
A franchise that I don’t really hear anybody talk about – unless it’s their quarterback competition – is that team from the Windy City. I understand that the Bears aren’t really sexy because they lack those superstars on offense that people will recognize, but I’m higher on some of the guys they do have on that side of the ball and on defense they could be much closer to 2018, when they led the league in points allowed and turnovers forced, rather than being just inside the top in most categories last season. A guy I already predicted to break out for Chicago this upcoming season with a bigger workload is running back David Montgomery, to go with Anthony Miller as a gadget player and developing young pass-catcher and one of the more underappreciated receivers out there in Allen Robinson. Defensively, I thought the biggest issue last season was Akiem Hicks missing double-digit games, as a table-setter with his ability to disrupt plays from the interior, and Leonard Floyd didn’t provide much on the opposite side of Khalil Mack, who they upgrade from with Robert Quinn, who just had his best season since the Rams were still in St. Louis. Now, I don’t love what they have at that second safety spot to complement Eddie Jackson, someone will have to fill that second corner spot – even though I’m a fan of second-round pick Jaylon Johnson (Utah) – and nose tackle Eddie Goldman opting out is a huge loss. If the quarterback position can just complement the rushing attack and the defense plays up to their potential, this group could be competing for second in the North, but Foles or Trubisky could still hold them back.

The final tier is in the comments!!

If you enjoyed this breakdown, I would really appreciate if you could visit the original piece -
You can also listen to my analysis on the Youtube channel -
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A Creative Discussion on the Quarterback Situation

In an attempt to stir up something more substantial in how it relates to the current Jimmy discussion, I wanted to put forth some interesting ideas (involving Jimmy and not) so that we could simply think about the road ahead. The NFL is extremely hard to predict, but as fans of the 49ers, I believe we'd all like to examine the future and imagine those in which we win another Lombardi. I like the memes too, don't get me wrong, but I'm not a huge fan of the tiny whining posts. Let's try to make something with a little more meat to it.
Now, be warned. There will be extremely unpopular OPINIONS below. But, if you don't like hot takes, stay out of Real's kitchen. That's what I always say... or at least, I'm saying it now... okay, I won't say it again. Anyways, here we go.
Other Options - Part 1:
That's right, I said it. Here are things as I see it.
  1. We continue to play with Jimmy G at the helm. Look, this is NOT a doomsday opinion because we lost the opener, it's the way I've personally felt since last season. This guy isn't going to win a Super Bowl of his own volition. If we win a Super Bowl with him (I am agreeing that it's possible, by the way), it would ultimately in spite of his ability, not because of it. It's not as bad as having Trent Dilfer at QB, so if he can win one maybe Jimmy can too, but he's just simply not this out of the world potential talent that people once thought he could grow into. I am of the opinion that he essentially played at his cap at the end of 2017 when we thought that was his floor and believed he would grow tremendously.
    The reality is... he's okay. He might even be the new Dalton line, to be honest. He's better than other starters in the league, but we also have probably the easiest starting QB job in the entire National Football League. Our team is fucking stacked at a lot of key positions. The QB here is asked to throw with a quick release in the short to intermediate range in fairly open lanes. This is often times due to Shanahan's WR philosophy of "one can be schemed into an open look, what matters more is what is done once the ball is in your hands."
    Here are some of the other requirements of being the 49ers QB - do NOT take a sack if it can be helped, do NOT be inaccurate on these short range passes, and be smart enough to absorb this playbook. Compared to every single starting QB job in the league, it's less responsibility. The only exception MIGHT be the Titans and Tannehill's position, but only because their offense is far more rudimentary in it's application, largely because they have a Henry. It works for them, I'm not knocking the Titans at all, Shanahan's offense is just objectively more intricate. Now, be honest, even a guy like Gardner Minshew (who seems pretty good honestly!) is asked to do more than Jimmy is here. Jimmy often times struggles to meet those requirements (specifically, inconsistent accuracy) while excelling at his quick release, which ultimately doesn't matter if you aren't accurate, as well as his smarts. Jimmy is a smart guy, scoring 29 on the Wonderlic. Just how important is the Wonderlic for QB's? It's debatable. Lamar Jackson scored a 13. What isn't debatable is that counting Mahomes, the last 10 Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks — Tom Brady (33), Nick Foles (29), Peyton Manning (28), Russell Wilson (28), Joe Flacco (27), Eli Manning (39), Aaron Rodgers (35), Drew Brees (28) and Ben Roethlisberger (25) — had an average Wonderlic score of 29.6. I'd argue it's probably more important for one of the hardest playbooks in the league.
    Now, IF this is the option, I think the absolute best way to go about it is to pay Jimmy in a bracket that makes us reach a sweet spot in between of paying a rookie QB and resetting the market for your franchise guy. I don't think the $27.5m average is worth it for ol' Jimbo even if the top tier QB's keep making more and more money. He simply doesn't belong in that category or conversation. I'm not sure what exactly this figure should be, but it is probably in the $19m to $25m range for a per year average, but obviously it all depends on a multitude of things (how much QB contracts continue to trend up, how far the cap drops and what it's at when you got to extend him, etc.) Currently, he's on the books for $23.8m this year, and $24.1 in 2021, and $24.2 in 2022. The ultimate idea here is that if we can't have an upper echelon QB, he should be paid less than he currently is, and that way we can at least try to stay stacked in as many positions as financially possible. At any higher a dollar figure, I'd have a tough time not thinking it'd be better to draft a kid that costs like $4m - $7m a year and going aggressive in free agency for years to come.
Other Options - Part 2:
Now, here's where it's actually actually gets real spicy boys, buckle up.
  1. If Rodgers wants to leave Green Bay, we're obviously the prime candidate and I'm highly interested even if it's only for a season or two. This would be one of, if not, the best team he's ever been on. Granted, he's probably gonna light it up this year and they'll just let Love rot on the bench behind him if they have to. Like brady, I don't think he'll leave until he's over the hill, if he does leave at all. Despite their apparent rift (Rodgers and Green Bay's management) they'll eventually trade bait Love and draft someone else to be the heir in a few years. Rodgers still has seasons (plural) of top 3-5 QB left in him, in my opinion. I'd bet a lot of chicken nuggets that he'd bring a Super Bowl to The Bay with this roster.
  2. If the Browns get smoked on Thursday and they initiate "Lose for Lawrence" protocol and ditch the sunk-cost fallacy due to the recent Arizona Cardinals successful model of doing so, I'd love to have Baker Mayfield. There, I said it. Hammer me for it, go ahead. Let me hear it - "Baker sucks!" "He's washed!" "What a trashcan!" "Can't pass to OBJ and Landry wtf is he gonna do here?!"
    Ok, shut up and let me tell you.
    I like this kid. I know his mentality/demeanor might not be your thing, but let me tell you one thing that might change your mind even just a little bit - it's not an act for him. The dude has a genuine and strong-willed belief that he can be the best. Despite the cliche, I think that (while it can manifest in many different ways) trait is borderline required to be "that guy" in the National Football League. Wilson, Mahomes, Lamar, they all do it different ways. Wilson through copious amounts of seemingly (but probably, not really) kinda fake "goodness" and miracle water sales. Lamar just has Mark Ingram say it all for him. Mahomes has his ketchup on steak swagger. If you want to compare Baker's demeanor to any current top QB, it's honestly probably Rodgers. Lots of people don't like Rodgers cause he's kinda an arrogant prick sometimes. Baker is similar. Regardless of how successful he has been so far and therefore can't back it up yet, that didn't seem to matter to Rodgers either when he said he'd make us regret not drafting him before he ever played a down in the league.
    Now, onto his play. I watched this guy in person a couple of times while visiting my brother who was going to OU during Baker's reign. I think he's legit. His arm is actually pretty powerful (somehow this has become a flipped narrative on /nfl lately) and I've personally seen him overthrow a receiver that was slowing down because of a whistle (during Baker's windup so he let it loose anyways) uncorking an absolutely BEAUTIFUL 70 yarder. He sits low into his throw really naturally and, memes aside, the boy has a THICC rear end so he can really get down and generate power from below and through the hips like you're supposed to.
    Here's the problem though - he's not playing well right now. Why? Well, part of it is his Alex Smith-esque cast of Duck Duck Goose OC's and HC's (I believe he set the record for the most changes this early in his career in the off season). I think another large part of it is the toxic football relationship he has with OBJ and attempting to feed him. That's just my opinion, but let's at least look at some stats. At OU, he was extremely accurate. 68.1%, 70.9%, and 70.5% in his 3 years there. That puts him in the same range as Drew "The Wild Midget" Brees and "The Sons of Drew Brees" (otherwise known as guys that aren't trusted to make hard throws, lol)
2019 Completion % Rankings Percentage
1. Drew Brees 74.3% (nuts)
2. Derek Carr 70.4%
3. Ryan Tannehill 70.3%
4. Jimmy Garoppolo 69.1%
5. Kirk Cousins 69.1%
... ...
31. Baker Mayfield 59.4%
  • Now, let's analyze this a bit. First of all, one of these guys is not like the other. Drew Brees. He pretty much consistently shits on everybody with 70%+ and the other top guys that year are usually a full couple of percent lower than him (been that way since like 2017). I'm not sure if it will be the same this year, but he's adapted with his age to continue to make even shorter, and more sure-fire throws. Brees is great.
  • Second of all, look at the rest of the names, any pattern here? These are all guys that are largely asked to do less, to varying degrees, than most QB's. They also have good run games. Carr has Jacobs with Gruden's offense, Tannehill with the Hulk in the backfield, us with Mostert and the Island of Misfit Toys, and Cousins with the Chef. Now, having the highest completion percentage doesn't necessarily mean they're the best QB (Jackson was #9, Mahomes was #11) but it is important.
  • Third of all, I would be willing to bet several burritos that Jimmy will not reach his 2019 completion percentage again in his career. His passing mechanics are regressing (or not improving, if you want to word it slightly less harshly) and his footwork especially is alarming, although you could indicate that he's not confident in his line, but it would also be slightly worrisome to say that he can't be trusted to make a mechanically sound pass if the line isn't perfect, so either way you look at it the mechanics are an issue. I'm willing to give him a pass on this until he at least gets a 2nd string Center back, though. It is frustrating though because he allegedly was improving in training camp, then we all saw the Cardinals game. Still, I'll give it a pass for now.
  • Lastly as it relates to this list, and I will yell it out for the people in the back: THE QB OF THE 49ERS UNDER KYLE SHANAHAN SHOULD BE AT THE TOP OF THIS LIST. Almost without compromise. This relates back to what a QB is asked to do here. Jimmy had some of the lowest "Average Intended Yards" of any QB in the league last season. I just thought that this thread by wafflehauss was pretty neat from Week 1 last season, because not much changed. To be clear, I'm not really ripping Jimmy here, I'm just trying to illustrate that we aren't pushing this guy to some unrealistic standards or anything. The starting QB job in SF is physically easier than most places, and there are a lot of advanced metrics that point to that. The completion percentage should always be nuts. With Jimmy's mechanical issues seemingly not improving, and the interior of our line not improving, his accuracy will continue to get worse and worse because he is not much of an improv guy and he definitely "feels" pressure. 3:10 here. His scrambling is... not natural and whether or not you want to blame that on his ACL that's fine, but regardless he resorts to completely fuckified tactics once the pocket gets a little dirty.
Other Options - Part 2 Continued:
Now, lets look at Baker's most recent game and analyze some of the problems there. Highlight link.
  • 2:20 – beautiful roll out and a laser to Landry with a great covered catch.
  • 2:59 – despite him seeming to trip on the dropback, Baker - frequently shows off a nice touch pass that he has. This one is wide open and “easy”, but he does it a lot. He really has a great ability to “drop” the ball into the receivers hands, especially on out routes.
  • 3:50 – this is a routine pass for him, and one that would be expected of him a lot on a team like ours. You could argue that there is some wasted movement in the dropback here, but I'd rather see a little waste than have him throw off the back foot whenever it isn’t necessary. He delivers the pass in stride. Don't misunderstand me here, this is not a remarkable throw or anything, I am merely pointing out that he performs the intricacies to success in our offense well.
  • 3:59 – off balance, but manages to set and deliver a ball with higher velocity than Jimmy is capable of. Here's proof of that. Baker has a cannon. Jimmy is not bad in this category, but Baker is in the top tier. I was slightly impressed by this one.
  • 5:44 – this is something I was gonna highlight further, but this is a great example of it. Baker has a great, stealthy handoff. This is something that helps sell your play action pass (which I'll get into in a second), but Chubb doesn’t even try to sell it and immediately puts his hands back up, but this isn’t something the secondary can see and therefore doesn’t matter too much as this isn’t a super long developing route. Baker shoots and throws a great pass into the small soft spot of the secondary near the numbers.
  • 5:55 – cool touch here by Baker despite the foot placement, and Njoku makes a great catch. I can’t tell if Young got to him and forced him a couple feet away from his desired trajectory or not in the slight time we can’t see on camera. If not, Baker could’ve placed this a lot better.
  • 6:12 – there is something wrong with Beckham to be dropping a crucial pass like this on 3rd down. He has even said himself that Baker’s velocity is an issue for him, but he didn’t even rocket this pass. 3 receptions for 10 targets in this game, I really hate the way they’re trying to force feed him. This is not an indictment against him specifically either as some of the passes Baker threw him were dogshit, I just don’t think he’s well used in this way for the Browns and these sorts of drops specifically aren’t Baker’s fault.
  • 7:34 – this, though, is entirely Baker’s fault. Ball wobbles a bit and he stared down Beckham through the whole route and gets the ball smacked down by one of the best in the game. This is part of what I mean by "Baker and OBJ's toxic relationship". Baker was honestly better without OBJ's stardom and was much better at spreading the ball around when it was him, Landry, and some decent receivers all around.
  • 8:26 – say what you want about this pass, but I liked that Baker thought “I can beat 36 right over his head”. I like throwing to your best receiver on 3rd and 7 WAY BETTER than checking down and getting 4 yards instead. His demeanor feeds into him making “gunslinger” (I know I hate it too) throws like this frequently.
  • 8:38 – he does it again here. Yeah, the Ravens are up 25 but their starting secondary is still on the field here, which is one of the best in the league. I like the soft spot throws here, and his arm allows him to do it.
  • 10:15 – he loads it up and misses Beckham here, should’ve been a score. I think all the purple scared him. A tiny display of his arm strength, though.
So, just a quick overview of that game. The Ravens are amazing and the Browns suck. This is known. I didn't watch the all-22, but I watched the game. Baker makes some pretty big mistakes and some pretty bad throws in it. I am willing to bet Shanahan could turn him into a star, though. Kevin Stefanski is... not in Kyle's stratosphere as a Head Coach or Playcaller, in my opinion.
Now, one other thing I wanted to point out is Baker's massive strength in play action, as this site shows, Mayfield's passer rating was 36.8 points better on pass attempts involving play action.
It continues with some neat numbers in reference to last season. “From Weeks 1-8, the Browns offense used play-action on only 26.6% of Mayfield’s dropbacks, which was 15th in the league. The Browns were 2-5 over the time period and struggled immensely on the offensive side of the ball. In contrast, from Weeks 9-12, the Browns offense has utilized play-action on 40.0% of Mayfield’s dropbacks, which is the most in the league, with a corresponding 3-1 record. Mayfield has posted the following statistics and ranks using the strategy:
  • 44 completions on 60 attempts (most)
  • 574 passing yards (most)
  • 4 touchdowns (T-2nd)
  • 15.2 completion percentage differential (8th)
  • 125.3 passer rating (9th)
Compare that to the 60% of dropbacks where play-action was not deployed over the same time frame:
  • 50 completions on 86 attempts (T-17th most)
  • 457 passing yards (23rd)
  • 4 touchdowns (T-8th)
  • 83.3 passer rating (17th)”
So, what's my overall point here? I ultimately didn't want to answer my take on the future of this team at the QB position with "LeTs JuSt GeT LaWrEnCe LoL" or something overly-homerish about Jimmy. I tried to think of a more legitimate and realistic answer, with a scenario that involves Jimmy and two that don't.
In conclusion, my point is this: I believe Baker Mayfield, at about 3.5 years younger than Jimmy G, could be his replacement, at a lower cost, for marginally to seriously improved production from the QB position on this team. I still believe Mayfield has star potential. I do not believe Jimmy does. I understand that many fans on /nfl and /browns believe he's a total bust, but I do not. He is nowhere near perfect, but I legitimately think he could be plugged into this exact offense (with a down year, just like Jimmy and Matt had) with more success than Jimmy will provide. Shanahan will be his new Lincoln Riley and revive him to great heights. I think the Niners should acquire him and cut bait on Jimmy if the opportunity were to present itself because the Browns decided that "Lose for Lawrence" is the better option than Mayfield.
  • I think Baker has a better arm than Jimmy.
  • I think Baker is smart enough to figure our offense out.
  • I think Baker can make the short and intermediate throws required more consistently than Jimmy.
  • I think Baker can perform even better than Jimmy in our already extremely prominent overall usage of the play action pass.
  • I think Baker can scramble a bit more naturally than Jimmy in a wonky pocket.
  • I think Baker is more capable of big plays that break the game open.
  • I think Baker can provide the moxie on offense that this team doesn't have when Deebo or Kittle aren't on the field (but regardless, having it come from your defacto leader is invaluable).
  • I think the 49ers could win a Super Bowl BECAUSE of Baker Mayfield, not in spite of him.
Now, you may downvote, but I hope instead you contribute with something substantial. Thank you for your time.
Edit: Spelling mistakes.
submitted by Realkers to 49ers [link] [comments]

NFL W4 Value Plays - DraftKings

Value Stack of the Week - Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,400) and DeVante Parker ($5,700) - Seattle may be firing on all cylinders offensively, but their secondary looks like straight-up Swiss cheese through the first three weeks of NFL action, allowing over 430 passing yards per game while being the most generous defense to both the QB and WR positions. I wouldn't be surprised if this stack helped win someone the Milly Maker this week.
Value plays to me consist of any QB $6,000 and below, any position player at $5,000 or below, and any defense at $3,000 or below. I slightly adjust these scales based on the slate, as prices jumps can effect who is considered value and who isn't.
Matthew Stafford ($5,900) vs. NO: Stafford has been fairly consistent through three straight games, and I believe the return of Kenny Golladay ($6,000) last week will be a boost for the gunslinger going forward. New Orleans has talent on defense but hasn't translated that into much outside of Week 1's win over the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers - the Saints have four sacks and a fumble recovery over the last two weeks. This trend bodes well for Stafford, who should be comfortable throwing the ball to Golladay as well as options like T.J. Hockenson ($4,800) and Marvin Jones Jr. ($4,900) after coming off a narrow win over the high-flying Cardinals last week. We haven't seen tremendous upside with Stafford yet, as he hasn't posted 20+ DKFP in a game thus far, but he's a solid-floor option with a potential to hit big in what could be a shootout (NO has allowed 30+ points in the last two weeks).
Baker Mayfield ($5,800) @ DAL: Okay, I know thus far Baker's been below average from a fantasy standpoint (averaging 13.8 DKFP/game), but he's faced three straight defenses that do well against the pass - not to mention the Browns are a run-first team, running 53% of the time with Nick Chubb ($7,000) and Kareem Hunt ($6,200, groin), but keep in mind Dallas' secondary is one of the kindest to opposing QBs, with only the Seahawks being less threatening. With Dallas notching two turnovers in their first three games as well as a potential for Hunt to miss this game with his groin injury, I think Mayfield could do well stacked with Odell Beckham Jr. ($5,800) in this one. Mayfield attempted just 23 passes in each of his last two games, but that trend has a high chance of ending in a back-and-forth scenario with the Cowboys.
Nick Foles ($5,700) vs. IND: Yes, the Colts' defense has looked astounding over their first three games, but to be fair, they played Kirk Cousins and Sam Darnold in their last two. Nick Foles is not the kind of guy to lean on long-term, however there's value in playing him on a slate with a bunch of stud options and other appealing value plays. Foles' connection with Allen Robinson II ($6,700) in the 30-26 comeback win over Atlanta was a good start to his tenure with Chicago. I'm not expecting the Colts to get stomped obviously, but Foles could make this a much more interesting game than the numbers let on. With complementary options like Anthony Miller ($4,900), Jimmy Graham ($3,800) and Darnell Mooney ($3,000), Foles has a chance to make the Colts' defense look less superhuman than they've been over the start of the 2020 season. Keep Foles in your player pool, even if you're personally skeptical.
Derek Carr ($5,300) vs. BUF: Carr has been, for the most part, solid in his first three weeks, completing 74% of his passes while throwing for a 6:0 TD:INT ratio and at least over 200 yards per week, though he has fumbled three times in his last two games. His salary has dropped little by little each week, and Buffalo just got gashed by the Rams' offense. The Raiders' receiving corps is banged up, with Henry Ruggs III ($4,800, hamstring) possibly not playing and Bryan Edwards ($3,300, ankle) is also trending in the wrong direction. But don't let that discourage you from playing Carr, who will still have Darren Waller ($5,200!!!) as well as Hunter Renfrow ($4,600) and other veteran options like Nelson Agholor ($3,500) and Zay Jones ($3,000) to lean on in the passing game. Buffalo has good talent on defense but has allowed 60 points and two 300+ yard, 2 TD performers in their last two weeks.
Myles Gaskin ($5,000) vs. SEA: Gaskin has 12 targets out of the backfield in his last two games and has appeal in the passing game despite Seattle's stinginess against RBs (the Seahawks allow the 6th-fewest DKFP to the position). Playing Gaskin in the hopes that he sees the end zone to cap off an otherwise-decent stat line isn't the worst bet you can make this week. Gaskin hasn't scored yet but this is a decent matchup for him to do so... just as long as Jordan Howard ($4,100) doesn't poach ANOTHER goal line score.
J.K. Dobbins ($4,800) @ WAS: His limited opportunities make him a huge risk for fantasy, but there's a large chance Baltimore gets ahead early over the Football Team - in that scenario, Dobbins is likely to see extra work, which could translate to the fantasy scoreboard. Dobbins may not be a top value option, but keep him on your radar as he's an explosive talent who could start seeing more touches if he can maximize his opportunities this week.
Ronald Jones II ($4,700) vs. LAC: Let me preface this by saying RoJo is not in an ideal situation in a crowded backfield with LeSean McCoy ($4,000) and Leonard Fournette ($5,600, ankle), though the injury to the latter caused him to miss practice Wednesday and has a chance to effect his availability against the Chargers. RoJo has seen consistent usage in the offense, and just saw 17 touches against the Broncos. Averaging 10.1 DKFP/game, RoJo is a TD-dependent option on a team that will not have Chris Godwin (hamstring) and has a banged up backup option in Scotty Miller ($4,100, hip/groin). Tom Brady ($6,100) has thrown 35+ times in each game thus far, but RoJo may be leaned on a bit more than normal with Godwin on the sideline.
Chris Thompson ($4,100) @ CIN: James Robinson ($6,500) is the king of this backfield, and make no mistake about that. But that doesn't mean Thompson doesn't get any looks - with 10 targets over his past two games, Thompson sees opportunity in the passing game, though not a whole lot. You're banking on a TD from the veteran scat back, but Cincy is kind to RBs, allowing over 180 YPG on the ground (31st in the NFL) while also allowing the 27th-most DKFP to RBs. Cincy's defense isn't good, so I expect them to get gashed by Robinson and Thompson whenever either is on the field.
Darius Slayton ($5,000) @ LAR: Some of us probably jumped on Slayton against the banged-up 49ers defense, but we didn't think Daniel Jones ($5,100) would be so bad. The Giants will certainly be playing catchup in this contest as well, so hopefully Slayton continues to see 5+ targets as the Rams have been fairly middle-of-the-pack against the WR position, though they allow over 250 passing YPG (21st in the NFL). Nothing astounding, but opportunity is still there for Slayton with no Saquon Barkley or Sterling Shepard for New York. Slayton's very boom or bust, but could be a solid GPP play, as his Week 1 stat line (6-102-2 on 9 targets) vs. Pittsburgh shows that he's capable of being a producer if given opportunities down the field. Assume Jones will rebound a bit here against the Rams and Slayton can reap the benefits. Golden Tate ($4,600) is a high-floor option for the Giants offense due to Shepard's absence, but Slayton has more upside.
Randall Cobb ($4,800) vs. MIN: Just 10 targets in his last two games, but Deshaun Watson ($6,600) has been hitting him for big gains (Cobb had a 4-95-1 line @ PIT last week). Watson is bound to throw more than 30 times against the Vikings' subpar secondary that allows 292 YPG through the air, and while Will Fuller ($5,900) will see his targets, Cobb is a solid complementary option that's hitting his stride at the right time.
Cole Beasley ($4,700) @ LV: Fellow Bill John Brown ($5,100, calf) is looking like he'll play, but Beasley sees solid usage as the slot in Buffalo (20 targets over his first three games), which I think can translate well with the Raiders needing to be focused on containing QB Josh Allen ($7,300) as well as star receiver Stefon Diggs ($6,800). The Raiders have been stingy against WRs, but keep in mind they've played the Saints without Michael Thomas and the Patriots, who rammed the ball down the Raiders' throats. Worth putting in lineups despite an okay matchup on paper.
Hunter Renfrow ($4,600) vs. BUF: No Ruggs or Edwards here, so I love Renfrow at this price and in this matchup. Really don't need to explain this one that much.
Tee Higgins ($4,500) vs. JAX: Just caught 2 TDs, and I think it's a sign of things to come. The Jaguars are fairly decent defensively, but also have to cover A.J. Green ($5,500) as well as Tyler Boyd ($6,100). Obviously recency bias makes Higgins more intriguing than he'll likely be for Week 4, but he's worth slotting in to the occasional lineup in the hope of a repeat performance - plus, a rookie WR getting 9 targets in a game is a good sign, even if said game went into OT.
Mecole Hardman ($4,300) vs. NE: New England has an elite corner in Stephon Gilmore, but speedy receivers are king against the Patriots' defense. The way I see it - Tyreek Hill ($6,900) will likely see plenty of double coverage (over-top from Devin McCourty), while Travis Kelce sees similar treatment - if Gilmore shadows Sammy Watkins ($4,400) to take him out of the game, that leaves Hardman as the sort-of odd man out - someone likely to be forgotten about by the notorious game-planning of Bill Belichick. Will that translate into a HUGE game for Hardman? Likely not, but I think he could have a long TD - which is enough to warrant playing, especially at $4,300.
Justin Watson ($3,400) vs. LAC: Okay, no Chris Godwin (hamstring), and Scotty Miller (hip/groin) has missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday. Makes Watson's outlook fairly decent, even against a tough Chargers' defense. While Mike Evans ($6,400), Rob Gronkowski ($3,600) and O.J. Howard ($3,300) will see their targets, Watson's got a nice projected volume heading into Sunday.
T.J. Hockenson ($4,800) vs. NO: Saints haven't handled TEs well, allowing TDs to O.J. Howard and Darren Waller, with the latter piling up 105 yards on 12 receptions. While Hockenson is not on the same level as Waller, the former is headed for a good line on Sunday if he sees a similar workload to the 7 targets he saw against Arizona, especially with Kenny Golladay ($6,000) active.
Hunter Henry ($4,600) @ TB: Sees too many targets to not be in your player pool (23 over his first three games). Henry is talented enough to consistently be in the top tier of the TE position, and is averaging 12.2 DKFP despite the Chargers 1-2 record. With at least 5 receptions and 50+ yards in each game thus far, Henry's a safe floor option who may not have the best matchup at Tampa Bay, but just needs to find the end zone to become an elite option on the slate.
Dalton Schultz ($4,300) vs. CLE: 16 targets over the last two games tells me that Schultz will be relevant as the top TE for the Cowboys (get well, Blake Jarwin!). Cleveland does not defend TEs well, so I'm hoping we get another solid outing from Schultz as Dak Prescott ($7,200) looks to sling the ball around following a tough loss to the Seahawks last week.
Jimmy Graham ($3,800) vs. IND: Some recency bias here with his 2 TD performance against the Falcons, but Graham should become a more fantasy-relevant option with Foles under center. Don't necessarily expect 10 targets a game, but Graham is still a legitimate red zone threat, and you saw what I mentioned earlier about the Colts defense and their matchups of late. Don't fade Graham just because the matchup makes his outlook worse than it really is.
Rob Gronkowski ($3,600 vs. LAC: Like I said earlier about Watson, Gronk can also benefit from no Godwin or potentially Miller. Gronk's snap count has continued to increase, and while I don't love the matchup vs. LAC per se, I do like Gronk's chances of nabbing a red zone score at some point. Gronk and O.J. Howard ($3,300) are worth looks as cheap options at the TE position.
Chargers ($2,900) @ TB: Not much value as far as defenses go this week - the best options are certainly at the top. That being said, there's a possibility the Chargers' pass rush makes life difficult for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, which is why I like their floor this week. I know the Bucs have plenty of offensive weapons and will likely score 20+ points, but you can hope for 3+ sacks and maybe a turnover or two from this Charger defense, which would be a solid outing considering the opponent. Keep in mind LAC kept the Chiefs to 23 points in Week 2, which is the most they've allowed to an opponent thus far.
Panthers ($2,700) vs. ARI: This one revolves a bit more around recency bias, as the Panthers made life difficult for Justin Herbert ($5,800) and the Chargers last week with 4 turnovers (1 INT/3 FR) and sacked Herbert twice. Kyler Murray ($7,000) and the Cardinals will be a tougher offensive opponent, and Murray's elusiveness makes the Panthers' floor a bit volatile, but I think they're good for a solid 4-5 DKFP at least - which is decent at their sub-$3,000 price point.
Who are you targeting for Week 4? Let's talk about the slate below!
submitted by Kilik_Ali12 to dfsports [link] [comments]


-teams with new head coaches and respective coordinators may have a very difficult time trying to get in sync with the players, especially with no preseason or OTAs during the summer.
-the unusual year we have had will affect the offense more than the defense. QBs getting in sync with their weapons is crucial to offensive success, so look out for starting or rookie QBs who just signed with a new team/their first team. Avoid all totals at all costs in Week 1, likely the entire month of September, and possibly the entire season.
Spread Magic Numbers (from most frequent): 3, 7, 10, 6, 4, 1, 2, 17, 8, 13, 21, 5, 20, 18, 16, 15, 12, 9, 19.
Totals Magic Numbers (from most frequent): 41, 43, 37, 44, 51, 33, 47, 40.
Teams that do consistently well & do not implode are teams with good, stable organizations top to bottom: Owner, GM, Head Coach, Staff, Captains (QB included), & rest of players.
-Examples: Baltimore, New England, Buffalo, Kansas City, Indianapolis, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New Orleans, Tampa Bay, San Francisco, Los Angeles Rams, Arizona Cardinals, Seattle Seahawks, Tennessee Titans, Green Bay Packers, Denver Broncos (on the fence).
BYE WEEKS MATTER. Not only after byes, but when the bye weeks occur. Teams with early bye weeks will start to get tired by the time Week 12/13 rolls around, and teams with very late byes will start to struggle when their bye week approaches.
Which QB do you trust with the game on the line? If all else fails, bet on the QB. Mahomes vs. Trubisky? Obviously Mahomes. Garoppolo vs. Jones? Garoppolo. Look at QB's record when coming back from 4th Quarter deficits, 2 minute drill comebacks, etc. Lean towards picking these types of QBs, ESPECIALLY when they are Underdogs.
Treat NFL betting strategies like diminishing returns. It's great to have strategies, but too many will make you overthink and over-analyze. Keep it simple. Keep it smart.
Offense - chemistry is extremely important. This is why many free agent signings of offensive skill players and QBs need time to gel with each other and with the schemes.
Picking Super Bowls: Lean towards teams with the dynamic players. Who has the ability to make a big play when it's needed?
Young teams tend to be more distracted than older teams. Whoever the coach is doesn’t seem to matter much. Young teams visiting popular cities like Miami, New York, and Los Angeles will tend to underperform than veteran teams.
Dak Prescott & Aaron Rodgers are not that great on the road.
Positions by order of importance:
  1. Quarterbacks (Big Arms are flashy and nice to look at, but reliability and accuracy are just as important, if not more. This is why Brady, Rodgers, and Brees last so long in the league, while Jay Cutler has been out of a job for a while. Recently, dynamic, athletic QBs who can use their legs if needed are in demand. Ex: Lamar Jackson, Patrick Mahomes, Russell Wilson, Deshaun Watson, Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, Trey Lance).
  2. Pass Rushers (Teams need a good QB, and then a Pass Rusher to make opposing QBs uncomfortable).
  3. Offensive Tackles (Teams need a good OT to make sure opposing Pass Rushers do not make your QB uncomfortable).
  4. Defensive Tackles (Good DTs not only bring attention & double teams from Guards and Centers, freeing up Edge Rushers and Interior Linebackers to blitz, but they also clog running lanes and give the illusion to young QBs that there are more players rushing him than there really are).
  5. Guards (protects the disruptive DTs and open running lanes in A and B gaps. Guards with elite lateral and downhill speeds are critical for successful zone runs and screens).
  6. Interior Linebackers (the QBs of the defense. Elite ILBs also can run with slot receivers coming across the middle, or RBs serving as checkdown/screen options for QBs).
  7. Center (QB of the OL. Calls out any potential blitzes and audibles. Helps out to double team guards).
  8. Cornerbacks
  9. Tight Ends (ideally you want a TE who not only has speed, hands, elite route running, but also someone who can chip pass rushers and run block. Ex: George Kittle, Travis Kelce, Mark Andrews, Darren Waller, T.J. Hockenson, Zach Ertz, Rob Gronkowski. A TE who can do both well can confuse opposing defensive coordinators and keep them honest and on their toes, as offensive coordinators don't need to bring in a pure blocking TE for run plays. TEs also create pass-catching mismatches for slower linebackers & smaller safeties).
  10. Safeties
  11. Wide Receivers (the game is increasingly becoming pass heavy, so getting a good wide receiver who can get separation from opposing corners is key. A large receiver with reliable hands who can stretch and convert critical third downs is becoming increasingly in demand as the game goes away from pounding the rock. Finally, also getting a receiver who can get separation on go, post, and corner routes for critical explosive plays are getting increasingly more important as well).
  12. Running Backs (prefer a group that is reliable; do not pay a star RB big money, like CMC & Gurley. Coaches like Bill Belichick and Andy Reid are leaning towards Running Backs by committee. Running Backs who not only can run but has sure hands and route running are extremely in demand. Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley, Alvin Kamara, Todd Gurley, Ezekiel Elliott, and Dalvin Cook are a new breed of RBs who can run and catch. Guys like Mark Ingram and C.J. Andersen are becoming a dying breed. Watch for Derrick Henry like Running Backs to come into demand. 6'3, 240 lb. Backs like him who can create mismatches against the smaller outside linebackers and defensive backs are the ones many front offices will be looking for).
  13. Full Backs (not much in use these days, but still just as important. New England, Kansas City, and San Francisco use Full Backs, and are a critical part of their success to either make up for the lack of dynamic weapons on the outside, or to shake things up in short yardage/goal line situations. They are usually used to block the first man to create explosive runs for guys like Matt Breida, Sony Michel, and Damien Williams Anthony Sherman, Kyle Juszczyk, & James Devlin are examples).
  14. Placekickers (most frequent score in the NFL is 23-20. Public doesn't realize how important placekicking is. Belichick put a higher priority on a reliable, clutch placekicker than getting weapons on the outside for Brady).
  15. Punters
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MAC's Week 3 NFL Update & Game Predictions - Below
Week 2 in the National Football League was as wild as it gets. The Cowboys provided one of the greatest comebacks in history, and the injury bug hit the San Francisco 49ers. MAC has 3 Top Rated NFL plays today plus his exclusive 2x NFL parlay. The MAC has been riding the magic bull, special release plays going 4-1 in weeks 1-2-3 and today will be a true bookie smasher day. MAC is making bankrolls fat again for his Patreon Clients and Gambling Report subscribers have been reporting record earnings since the start of the newsletter! Today's game releses are courtesy of the team as well as Roland "The Roarin MAC" McGuillaman - The Odds Maker Assassin and International Sharp Betting, A True Sports Betting Professional! Get Today's NFL Hush Money Move + MAC's Late Info Action only on Patreon - $7.00 Get's all MAC's Special Release Action & Top Stock Picks and Options Moves for 1 Month. Guaranteed to make you a fatter bankroll!! - MAC's Picks

MAC's Week 3 NFL Update & Game Predictions -

Week 2 in the National Football League was as wild as it gets. The Cowboys provided one of the greatest comebacks in history, and the injury bug hit the San Francisco 49ers.
2021 Super Bowl LV Odds
  • Kansas City Chiefs +500
  • Baltimore Ravens +500
  • San Francisco 49ers +1200
  • New England Patriots +1800
  • New Orleans Saints +900
  • Pittsburgh Steelers +1800
  • Dallas Cowboys +1600
  • L.A. Chargers +5000
  • Green Bay Packers +2000
  • Seattle Seahawks +1200
  • Philadelphia Eagles +4000
  • L.A. Rams +2200 (MAC's Long shot)
  • Cleveland Browns +4000
  • Minnesota Vikings +4000
  • L.A. Raiders +5000 (MAC's Money Mover)
  • Indianapolis Colts +2500
  • Tennessee Titans +2200
  • Houston Texans +6600
  • Chicago Bears +5000
  • Atlanta Falcons +8000
  • Buffalo Bills +2200
  • Tampa Bay Buccaneers +1600
  • Denver Broncos +10000
  • Carolina Panthers +17500
  • New York Giants +15000
  • New York Jets +20000
  • Detroit Lions +10000
  • Arizona Cardinals +2000
  • Jacksonville Jaguars +17500
  • Cincinnati Bengals +20000
  • Miami Dolphins +15000
  • Washington Football Team +12500
San Francisco 49ers lose Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas - The 49ers beat the New York Jets 31-13 in Week 2, but it came with a huge cost. The Niners two starting defensive-ends, Nick Bosa and Solomon Thomas, suffered ACL injuries. Both are out from 6 to 8 weeks. Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo is questionable in Week 3 due to a knee injury. Running back Raheem Mostert is listed as doubtful due to an MCL sprain. The 49ers play the New York Giants in Week 3.
There’s a good likelihood the Niners sit both players even if either is ready to go. San Francisco is 1-1. Their next division game is in Week 6. That’s the battle coach Kyle Shanahan should circle for Mostert’s return. Garoppolo should be ready by Week 4. When it comes to Bosa and Thomas, other defenders must step it up. The 49ers have a good defense, but they lost Richard Sherman in the first week. The Giants, Philadelphia Eagles, and Miami Dolphins are there next three opponents. But, after that, the Niners play the Rams, New England Patriots, Seattle Seahawks, Green Bay Packers, and New Orleans Saints all in a row. Things could get tough for the SF defense unless a couple of players step it up.
Cowboys provide amazing comeback against Falcons - At halftime of Sunday’s win against the Atlanta Falcons, the Dallas Cowboys were down 29-10. Not only did the Cowboys come back and win, but they came back to win 40-39. The Boys got an onside kick, unheard of in today’s NFL, and then converted a field goal. What’s interesting about the onside kick is that instead of pouncing on the football, Falcon players waited for it to go out of bounds. That makes absolutely no sense and is the reason the Cowboys were able to notch their first win of the season. Atlanta’s defense is the worst in the NFL. Coach Dan Quinn is on the hot seat because of it. Boneheaded plays like the one that led to the loss at home won’t help Quinn’s case to keep his job.
Ravens and Chiefs on collision course in NFL Week 3 - There were other Week 2 highlights. The Las Vegas Raiders opened Allegiant Stadium with a solid 31-24 win over the New Orleans Saints while the Seattle Seahawks and Russell Wilson beat Cam Newton and the New England Patriots 35-30. Also, both the Ravens and Chiefs won their respective games. The Baltimore Ravens beat the Houston Texans 33-16 while the KC Chiefs required overtime to beat the Chargers 23-20. Los Angeles quarterback Justin Herbert played exceptionally well. Coach Anthony Lynn said Herbert would remain the backup if Tyrod Taylor were healthy enough to play in Week 3. We’ll see how long Lynn sticks with that plan. Next Monday night, the Chiefs and Ravens battle. Baltimore looks like the team to beat in the AFC. They were the team to beat last season as well. It will be interesting to see how the Ravens’ defense handles Patrick Mahomes.

MAC's Top Rated NFL Picks and Parlays - NFL Odds at MyBookie

09/27 - 01:00 PM - Houston Texans vs Pittsburgh Steelers
Play: Pittsburgh Steelers -4
09/27 - 01:00 PM - Chicago Bears vs Atlanta Falcons
Play: Over 47
09/27 - 08:20 PM - Green Bay Packers vs New Orleans Saints
Play: New Orleans Saints -3
09/27 - MAC's 2x NFL Parlay
09/27 - 04:25 PM Detroit Lions vs Arizona Cardinals
Play: Over 54.5
09/27 - 01:00 PM - Washington Football Team vs Cleveland Browns
Play: Over 44
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r/NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season - #20-11

Welcome to the reveal for players ranked 20-11 for this year’s NFL Top 100 Players for the 2019 Season!

Players whose average rank had them land in places 20-11 are on this portion of the list revealed today. Players are associated with the team they finished 2019 with.
Below you will see write-ups from rankers summarizing the players' 2019 season and why they were among the best in 2019. Stats for each player are from this season and are included below. Additionally, their previous ranks in this long running series are also available for all of you.
  1. A CALL FOR RANKERS just after the Super Bowl.
  2. Rankers for each team nominated players to rank. 10 Games Played Minimum Threshold. Players are associated with the team they finished the 2019 Season with.
  3. The Grind. Utilize ranking threads for individual rankers broken up by positional group. Users were tasked with ranking players within the following tiers based on their evaluation: T-25, T-50, T-100, T-125 based on 2019 regular season only. There were no individual case threads. There were no arbitrary position limit caps. Just questions and rankings.
  4. Users submitted their individual Top 125 list. Ranking out to 125 is new for this year.
  5. User lists were reviewed for outliers by me with assistance from two former rankers. Users were permitted to correct any mistakes found. Once complete, lists were locked.
  6. Reveal the list… right now.
So now, without further ado, here are the players ranked 20-11 in the NFL Top 100 Players of the 2019 Season!

#20 - Danielle Hunter - EDGE - Minnesota Vikings

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R N/R 32
Written By: uggsandstarbux
Khalil Mack. Von Miller. JJ Watt. Those are the names that come up when you mention edge players in the NFL over the last half a decade. Yet none have as many sacks as Danielle Hunter in the last two years. Hunter is continually passed over in the conversation of edge rushers. Even among young edge rushers like the Bosa brothers, TJ Watt, Myles Garrett, and Bradley Chubb, Hunter is forgotten. He only received 4 All Pro votes from AP (of a possible 50). He failed to make PFF’s All Pro team. Is it because he wasn’t a 1st round pick? Is it because the Vikings defense was already dominant before his arrival?
Hunter has improved every year he’s gotten into the league (88 pressures this year vs 67 last year vs 55 in 2016). His first couple years in the league, he rotated in behind Everson Griffen and Brian Robinson. Yet he holds the record for most sacks before his 25th birthday and was one of only a handful of players in 2019 with double digit sacks and 15+ TFLs last season. He earned an 89.0 overall grade from PFF and forced 3 fumbles this year.
Beyond the numbers, Hunter is a unit. He came out of LSU as one of the more raw pass rushers in his draft. However, under the tutelage of the mighty Andre Patterson, Hunter has become one of the most athletic, versatile, technical, dominant edge defenders in the game. He can beat you with a pure bull rush, but he can also beat you with his speed and agility. He’s picked up Everson Griffen’s deadly spin move and has the motor to work through double teams. He can win with an inside move, or he can play pure 3T for an entire game (a la vs NO). He’s got a great understanding of the game and is a force to be reckoned with. If you’re placing bets for DPOY in 2020, don’t waste your money on the big name guys like Aaron Donald (+750) or Khalil Mack (+1100). Don’t spend it on young up and comers, lke Nick Bosa (+1300) or TJ Watt (+1500) either. Place it on Danielle Hunter (+2300). He’s going to continue dominating as he gains more recognition and climbs toward stardom.

#19 - Chris Godwin - Wide Receiver - Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Written By: MysticTyph00n
At the beginning of the 2019 NFL season Bruce Arians said:
"I think Chris Godwin is going to be close to a 100-catch guy, especially because I think he can play in the slot,"...."He's never coming off the field."
Bucs fans thought this could be very well true in BA's system, especially with the departure of Desean Jackson which only really left Mike Evans as the only other real target on the team.
The 3rd round pick from Penn State showed up big time this year after having two relatively quiet seasons. Through 13.5 games (missing the final 2.5 due to a hamstring injury) he amassed 86 receptions for 1,333 yards, 9 TDs and only one drop(In fact he's only had 2 drops total in 2018 & 2019)He very well could have gone over 100 receptions , 1,500 yards as well as double digit TDs, but that's just projecting right?
According to PFF he was an absolute monster in the slot with an outstanding 96.5 grade, which shows he can line up anywhere on the field and still produce big time for the Buccaneers.
In 2020, I honestly expect Chris Godwin to have close to the same production, and possibly even better with how much he produces from the slot.
Please don't leave us…

#18 - Quenton Nelson - Offensive Guard - Indianapolis Colts

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 70
Written By: Zzyzx8
Selecting a guard 6th overall was a bold movie for second year GM Chris Ballard, even one as highly touted as Quenton Nelson. Casual fans hated it, while draft junkies loved it. Two years later, it’s become clear that the pick was a home run. Nelson’s selection single handedly turned around a unit that was largely responsible for a slew of injuries to Andrew Luck into one of the best units. Nelson’s second year was only better, cementing himself as one of the best guards in the league, a true road grader. He spent the past year terrorizing nfl defensive lineman en route to his second pro bowl and all pro selections. Plus, he pulled off what was by far the best touchdown celebration of the season

#17 - Jamal Adams - Strong Safety - New York Jets

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R 18
Written By: the_fuzzy_stoner robdog1330
I would just like to start with a moment of silence for the fans of the New York Jets after Jamal Adams recently demanded a trade from that inept organization with a dumpster fire of a coach in Adam Gase.
Anyways, after an incredible sophomore season, Adams has kept up with his awesome play in his third season as one of the NFL's best and most versatile defensive players as well as the clear-cut best player on a football team that somehow won seven games. Adams, also known as President 'Mal, recorded an interception (which was returned 61 yards to the house), 7 passes defended, 11 hurries, and 36 stops, but that's not all! Adams also garnered 6.5 sacks (which is amazing for a DB) and forced two fumbles (like this one he returned to the house on my guy Daniel Jones 😔). With his exceptional play, the star safety was named to the 1st Team All-Pro as well as his second Pro Bowl selection (an honor which none of his other Jets teammates got this year).
What makes Adams so special is that he is exceptional against both the running and passing game. Whether he's with Gang Green or another franchise next year, I'd expect another stellar season out of Jamal Adams in 2020 (assuming there is one) and even as a Giants fan who watched him dominate my team this past season, I really appreciate the guy's play.

#16 - Derrick Henry - Running Back - Tennessee Titans

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2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
Written By: broccolibush42
This part man part tractor was the plow that turned our barren field into a bountiful wheat field full of Nashville Hot Chicken. This beautiful muscly man with a poop rat tail decimated opponents and General Sherman'd the AFC South. Totaling at 1540 yards and 16 Touchdowns in 15 games, with 6 coming from a slow start in a Mariota lead offense, he caught fire and dragged his nuts all over teams like the Chargers, Chiefs, Jags, Colts, Texans, Raiders and was showing just absolute dominance on the field. (Sadly we arent able to take the playoffs into account otherwise i'd gush over how he embarrassed a couple of scrub one and done teams).
Henry has this certain tenacity and a godlike level of endurance that just makes him an absolute beast in the 2nd half. He is just able to keep going, and going, and going, until finally, players get tired of it and turn into lead blockers for him. He is extremely hard to tackle to. Take a look at this play against the Chiefs in week 10, guys just bounce off him like he's running through toddlers. Derrick Henry is so hard to tackle that, according to PFF, Henry had over 1200 of his 1540 total yards after contact. Like this dude was getting hit at the line of scrimmage and he is just like, fuck this shit, i aint no dion lewis, and keeps going. How is this guy even real???
Another thing about Henry is his speed! Henry is a 6'3" 240 pound dude running 20+ MPH down the field when he breaks the open one. Like look at this speed he gets vs the Browns in week 1. Or this one against the Jags where he outruns guys and stiff arms the ones who barely managed to keep pace. Speaking of stiff arms, Derrick Henry has one of, if not, the BEST Stiff Arm in the league. If I had to pick a way to die, I think I would like Henry to stiff arm me in the face running at me at 21 miles per hour with this face, because there would be no greater honor to a titans fan than death by Henry. That concludes my Henry jerk fest. Here are some more highlights. and here are the real link.

#15 - Travis Kelce - Tight End - Kansas City Chiefs

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/R 84 N/R 28 31 13
Written By: DTSportsNow
Travis Kelce was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2013 draft. He wound up missing his rookie season due needing to receive microfracture surgery on his knee over the offseason and dealing with a bone bruise during the season. Since then he's received 4 All-Pro designations and was named to the NFL 2010s All-Decade team. He's also become the 1st TE in NFL history to have 4 straight 1,000+ yard seasons. Not bad considering how his career got started.
In 2019 he finished his 2nd straight season of 1,200+ yards and 3rd straight season leading the league in deep receiving yards by a tight end (274). He finished top 4 in overall TE grade for the 4th straight year (85.1), and was named to his second 2nd-team All-Pro designation. In the Sunday Night Football contest against the Chicago Bears he caught his 500th career reception, becoming the fastest TE in NFL history to reach that mark.
There's no doubt that Kelce is one of the best tight ends in the game, and winding up in the top 20 proves many believe him to be one of the very best players in the league. Since Gronk's decline it's essentially been between him and George Kittle for the top player at the position. He's a key component of what Andy Reid and the Chiefs like to do on offense, even as stacked as the offence is. With a Super Bowl victory and a few records to his name already his legacy will be decided by how long he can keep up his premier play. His partnership with Patrick Mahomes should take him to a locked up Hall of Fame bust.

#14 - Ryan Ramczyk - Offensive Tackle - New Orleans Saints

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 100 74
Written By: Dahki
In 2017, sb nation wrote an article claiming that Ryan Ramczyk wasn't a first round talent at LT. The site went so far as to say he would benefit from a switch to RT. In short, they ended up nailing that on the head. The three-year vet has spent almost the entirety of his career anchoring the right side of the Saints O-line after being picked at 32 overall, and boy, has it worked out for both the team and the Wisconsin alum.
Ram makes the /nfl top 100 list for two reasons. First, he was really good. Second, we really wanted to hammer in the idea that the Saints O-line as a whole was really good. Most notably, Ram exits the 2019 season with his first first-team all pro, and he was more than deserving of it. Similar to teammate Terron Armstead, Ram refused to allow Brees or Teddy to be touched, giving up no sacks on the season. Even better, Ram kept his QBs almost squeaky clean in the pocket, allowing just one hit on the entire season, good for 2nd best in the league among nominated tackles. And Ram didn't just do well in pass pro; he was PFFs top graded OT when run-blocking, showcasing his power and quickness from his spot. In total, Ram spent the 2019 season as the biggest challenge for opposing D-lines to overcome when facing the Saints.

#13 - Julio Jones - Wide Receiver - Atlanta Falcons

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
32 93 23 8 2 21 17
Written By: CokeZ3ro
It's a bird, it’s a plane, no it's Jet Jones! In his 9th season Julio continues to be one of the most dominant receivers in the NFL, and the undisputed best player on the team. He’s a force that defenses must give their full attention, and even then he can explode. Even when he doesn’t get the ball, his influence and abilities still shape the play, and better everyone around him. This past offseason Julio agreed to a three-year contract extension worth $66 million, making him the NFL’s highest paid WR, and extending him to 2023. Even though 2019 was a down year statistically, Julio continued to show why the money is worth it. In a “down year” Julio was 2nd in reception yards, 3rd in Yards/Game, and 1st in Scrimmage Yards/Touch, and made his 6th consecutive Pro-Bowl.
But stats can hardly capture the elite combination of athleticism and skill that makes Julio so great. A combination perfectly captured here where Julio is able to jump over the coverage of CB Leodis McKelvin and then tiptoe to complete the coverage on the way down. Later that same game, with the Falcons against the wall, Julio showed that no man can catch him in a 53-yard burst (shoutout to Jake Matthews for the Pancake Block). Julio utilized his route skills to make CB Pierre Desir eat turf before making a 34-yard reception; which likely would have been much more if Ryan didn’t underthrow it. He’s pretty good at catching too, exhibited as reaches over CB Quincy Wilson and manages to hold onto the ball through tackles from Wilson and SS Clayton Geathers to score. Doesn’t matter who you are, Luke Keuchly, Marshon Lattimore, AJ Bouye; doesn’t matter. bUt hE dOEsn’T gET tOUchDoWnS I hear the Fantasy owners say. Watch this and notice how often in the redzone Julio is serving to support his team (blocks, inside presence, taking double defenders), or is just ignored. He’s open more often people realize.
Even in a disappointing season for the Falcons, Julio continues to shine through as one of the NFL’s premiere combos of athleticism and skill. Julio is and will continue to be an absolute force for the offense.

#12 - Chandler Jones - EDGE - Arizona Cardinals

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/R N/R N/R N/R 60 24 100
Written By: Beehay
In my write up of ChanJo last year, I mentioned that the return to the 3/4 (even if it's under Vance Joseph) will be huge for his stats. And boy howdy was it! At 30 years old and after double digit sack totals for 5 straight years, Jones set a career high of sacks at 19 this year. He had 8 Forced Fumbles, 53 Tackles, and 26 QB hits. Most of his stats improved from 2018, some more drastically than others. His pass coverage marginally improved but why the hell would you really want him to cover guys? (Don't say it Niners fans, DON'T SAY IT)
Chandler Jones is the prototype for edge defenders. He is what all other Defensive Coordinators wish they had. Strong, fast, smart, consistent. Here's a guys opinion and a breakdown. Here's some highlights because not everybody watched all 16 Cardinals games last year and I don't blame them. I think he will rank even higher next year if he stays healthy because he will finally get to settle into a defense again. Even if it's Vance Joseph's.

#11 - Ronnie Stanley - Offensive Tackle - Baltimore Ravens

Previous Ranks
2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018
N/A N/A N/A N/A N/R N/R 97
Written By: Letsgomountaineers5
Where to begin with Ronnie Stanley? Oh, how about a nearly minute long clip of him absolutely bullying First Team All Pro and NFC DPOY Chandler Jones. You like that? (Sorry Cards fans, but hey we all know Chandler Jones is a beast). Ronnie Stanley was the best LT in the league. No wait, actually he was the best overall tackle in the league. Actually, Stanley was the best lineman in the league, bar none. I truly believe Stanley was a top 5 player in the NFL last season and even tried (and failed/came to senses) to argue Stanley as a top 2 player. His dominance on the left side of that line was unprecedented.
I know stats don’t paint the entire picture, especially for OL, but I have to start there because his stats were unworldly as a blindside protector facing the best pass rushers the NFL has to offer. Going against the likes of TJ Watt twice a year, Carlos Dunlap twice a year, Myles Garrett, Chandler Jones, Nick Bosa, Shaq Barrett (need I go on), he allowed zero sacks and six pressures on 445 pass blocking snaps. Of tackles with at least 400 pass blocking snaps to allow 6 pressures or less, he was the only one. Wait, the only one? Let’s expand. 10 pressures on 400 snaps? Hmm. Only Ronnie Stanley. 15? Hmm only Ronnie Stanley. 20 and no sacks? Only Ronnie Stanley. Unreal.
So how does he do it? Well for starters, he has an elite pass rusher’s explosion as an offensive lineman. He can pack a pop that will knock the best rushers off line or on their ass without overextending. Just ask Nick Bosa. Refer back to the Chandler Jones lowlight reel for a second and check out how often he simply beats Jones (one of the most explosive and best bending edge rushers in the game) to his spot time and time again. Stanley is out of his stance so fast it looks like he’s false starting and, be it film review/sixth sense/sheer athleticism (my money is on all three), he hits the pass rushers’ marks before they do. Sometimes, he even chips defenders to the ground he doesn’t have a responsibility for. Because of these reasons, he’s basically the only lineman in the game not playing catchup and is tremendously equipped to react to counters. In the run game, he was a driving reason behind that team’s record setting running success. He can be a mauler, but with his speed also can pull like the best guards in the game and lead block for some of the fastest players in the game.
At the end of the day, his dominance in both pass blocking and run blocking makes him a worthy top 15 player, and if not for a tendency to underrate linemen, I believe he should’ve been a shoe-in for the top 10. If you read this far, thank you. Now I need to go puke after that glowing endorsement for a Raven.




Schedule Change

Unveiling of ranks 10-6 will take place Monday, July 6 instead of Tuesday. Unveiling of ranks 5-1 will take place on Thursday, July 9. Thank you!
submitted by MikeTysonChicken to nfl [link] [comments]

Key position battles at 2020 NFL training camp:
We have finally reached NFL training camp and with the agreement between the league and the players association, there is a little more clarity about how the preparation for the 2020 season will look. With such a long time off, the early stages of this will involve a lot of lifting and running, before the players actually go out on the field and compete, but like I have done for several years, I want to look at some of the more interesting battles for starting positions.
Now that preseason has been cancelled, it will only enhance the importance of these competitions and even though I usually have a little bias towards rookies, since I studied them a lot since the Super Bowl ended, this whole situation should actually favor the more seasoned veterans. For this exercise, I tried to avoid a few of the really obvious ones, such as the Bears QB competition that has and will be talked to death by all the major networks, or the Dolphins entire offensive line pretty much, where you can’t point to one specific spot.
With that being said, here at the ten that I will follow the closest:

Green Bay Packers – Number two receiver

Key competitors: Allen Lazard, Marquez Valdes-Scantling & Equanimeous St. Brown

This seems to make my list pretty much every year and I still don’t feel like the Packers have found a solution. Head coach Matt LaFleur wants to build this offense on the zone run game and play-action passing off it, but this team needs help on the receiving end regardless and that is even more apparent after not going one player at the position in a historically great draft at exactly that. I ended up just calling it their “number two receiver”, because the Packers like to move Davante Adams around and if they use more 12 or 21 personnel this year, with high expectations for Jace Sternberger coming into his second season and drafting a flex H-back type in Cincinnati’s Josiah Deguara, it is more about that second guy on the field for them, who can play inside and out. Geronimo Allison went into the 2019 as the guy Rodgers seemed to have the most trust, but he is now Detroit and Allen Lazard emerged as a dependable target over the second half of last season. He came in as an undrafted free agent two years ago and made plays as a big-bodied target, who did his best work in the slot and only dropped two of 37 catchable targets for the second-highest team total of 477 receiving yards. However, Green Bay has two more talented players waiting to finally establish themselves in the pros as well. Coming in as a fifth-round pick in 2018, MVS has had all the chances possible and at running a 4.37 at 6’4”, 205 pounds made me believe he was ready to break out last season, but unfortunately drops and inconsistent play overall have limited his production to some degree. Equanimeous St. Brown came in the same year as a sixth-rounder and as another one of those height-weight-speed freaks, but outside of a strong first showing on offense, his rookie campaign was more about flashes and lacking trust from his QB, before missing all of last season with an ankle injury suffered in preseason. You have to question if any of these three is actually ready to become a major contributor in 2020 – which is exactly why a lot of questioned not using any draft capital on receiver – and the role of the “number two” could be one that is combined for by all of them, but at least the starting gig is still up for grabs.

Philadelphia Eagles – Nickelback

Key competitors: Nickell Robey-Coleman, Sidney Jones & K’Von Wallace

After playing about five or six different cornerbacks in each of the last two seasons – due to injury for the most part, but also trying to figure out who they can rely upon – the Eagles took advantage of the opportunity to acquire a true number one guy, when Darius Slay demanded a trade from the Lions. I believe Avonte Maddox when healthy has shown enough to earn that second starting spot, being deployed at outside and slot corner, only allowing one score in each of the last two seasons as the primary coverage defender and being a reliable tackler (missed right around 10 percent of attempts over the same stretch). I would expect him to switch to more of a field-side corner role full-time, because Philly has more options in the slot. The most obvious one seems to be eight-year veteran Nickell Robey-Coleman, who has played more than half of the defensive snaps every single season since coming into the league, but I think he has become a little overrated because of the great name for the spot he plays, due to allowing almost two thirds of the passes his way to be completed over the last two seasons and missing too many tackles. Sidney Jones is the guy the Eagles still hope for to emerge, as a highly touted CB prospect coming out of Washington a few years ago, but falling to the second round of the draft because of a torn Achilles, that he has never returned from fully and has been fighting through injuries ever since. He finally showed some promise last season, with better overall performance in coverage, tackling and coming up with his first two career picks. If he impresses the coaching staff in training camp, he could end up starting on the outside also, if they feel more comfortable with Maddox in the slot. And the third guy in this conversation is this year’s fourth-round pick K’Von Wallace from Clemson, who was labelled as a safety, but really played big nickel for the Tigers for the most part. I love his competitive swagger and ability to get involved as a blitzer, which fits very well with Jim Schwartz’s aggressive play-calling, but he may not be best suited to carry speedsters down the seams. So I think all three brings something different to the table, whether it is quality experience and track record, high level of talent and feel for the position or a more versatile player who features strong run defense and blitzing ability. I could see all three log around 50 percent of the snaps with how many DBs Philly likes to play at the same time.

Cincinnati Bengals – Guard spots

Key competitors: Billy Price, Michael Jordan, Xavier Su’a-Filo & Hakeem Adeniji

As much as you can like what the Bengals have done this offseason, in terms of getting their franchise quarterback in Joe Burrow with that first overall pick, getting rid of some injury-riddled veterans and finally spending money in free agency to improve the defense, if there is one position group that still holds them back from making it out of the bottom of the AFC North, it is the offensive line. Considering they seem content with one of the worst starters in the league at right tackle in particular, I am talking about the two guard spots in particular, where you usually want no more than one of these four players starting. However, they will have to choose two guys and it is really hard to tell who they will be. Last year’s fourth-round pick Michael Jordan ended up starting nine of 13 games and really struggled all-around. Even though he offers some intriguing measurements and athleticism, I always thought he was more of a backup with position flexibility. Third-year man Billy Price has been even more disappointing since they invested a first-round pick in him. Similar to his former teammate at Ohio State, I was lower on Price than most people, but not even I suspected he would have these issues at both guard and center, since you saw the power and grip strength to make you believe he would be a solid starter. Now this year in the sixth round of the draft, Cincinnati grabbed another one of those guys who could give them some versatility in Kansas’ Hakeem Adeniji, who played tackle for the Jayhawks, but projects well to the inside as well with the athletic upside he features. To throw into the mix with these three young guys is Xavier Su’a-Filo, who was once seen as a disappointing second-round pick for Houston, but then ended up starting 31 of 32 games over the last two years for the Texans and was a quality backup for Dallas, who played well when inserted into the lineup. Maybe he is the guy, who gives the Bengals some stability on the interior, but then they need to pick somebody on the opposite side to center Trey Hopkins. If he can get more consistent technically, I would personally like to give Adeniji a shot at some point at least.

Las Vegas Raiders – 3-tech defensive tackle

Key competitors: Maurice Hurst, Jonathan Hankins & Maliek Collins

Just two years ago, the Raiders finished dead-last in total scoring defense and their 13 sacks on the year was less than half of the next-closest team. Last year they improved to 24th in points allowed and more than doubled their sack output (32), thanks to some rookies coming onto the scene. This team is still far from getting to where they ultimately want to be defensively and if they want to make noise this season as a group, they will need to take that next step. Outside of maybe wide receiver, linebacker was the biggest need for this team coming into the offseason and they addressed it with two free agents in Corey Littleton and Nick Kwiatkowski, who will immediately upgrade this group. I also like some of the young talent in the secondary, but on the D-line is where I’m totally sure yet how snaps will be split. Maxx Crosby and last year’s fourth overall pick Clelin Ferrell should be starting on the edges, to go along with Carl Nassib and Arden Key as rotational pieces, but the interior is where playing time will still be decided as we move towards the regular season. Last year, three defensive tackles were on the field for 50+ percent of the defensive snaps – Jonathan Hankins, P.J. Hall and Maurice Hurst – and they moved free agency addition and former Cowboy Maliek Collins to Vegas with them. For this discussion, I am looking at that strongside defensive tackle in particular, who is shading the outside shoulder of the guard. Since Hall has primarily taken on the role of a 1-technique, who got mostly subbed out on passing downs, he is not considered here. Hurst is the most interesting to me, since I was really high on him coming out of Michigan due to the disruptive style of play he presented, but he dropped all the way to the fifth round of the 2018 draft because of a pre-existing heart issue. In 29 career games, he has recorded 7.5 sacks and seven more tackles for loss, but I’d have to say he hasn’t really lived up to my expectations yet. Hankins lead this group in playing time last season as a 16-game starter, who made most of his impact against the run, and also carried the biggest cap hit (around five million). That was until they signed Collins this offseason, who was a promising young player in Dallas, but couldn’t be paid because of all the other high contracts being handed out already. In four seasons with “America’s Team”, he recorded a combined 20 TFLs, 14.5 sacks and an additional 40 QB hits. However, I’m not really sure how much he has improved. So these guys should all play significant snaps, but who will emerge as the top option? And how much could that entire group be subbed out with three DEs that have the body-type to slide inside on passing downs?

Los Angeles Rams – Running back

Key competitors: Malcolm Brown, Cam Akers & Darrell Henderson

In today’s NFL, where it’s all about running back by committee and finding those specific skill-sets, there are only like three or four workhorse backs left, but I don’t think there is any team with as much as uncertainty about how touches will be split as the Rams. With the release of Todd Gurley, who was on the field for more than 70 percent of the snaps in each of the last four seasons and has been a star until his knees started becoming a huge question mark, a lot of opportunities have opened up with this group of young guys. Malcolm Brown is the veteran among this unit, who coming into his sixth season with the Ramsm has averaged 278 scrimmage yards over the last three seasons and scored a career-high five touchdowns in 2019. He may not be a very flashy player, but he is a dependable pass-catcher as well as -protector and had a role near the end-zone last season. Last year’s third-round pick Darrell Henderson was anything but dependable as a rookie, dropping one of his six targets and fumbling a toss on one of his 39 rush attempts. He recorded less than a hundred offensive snaps (8%) and only six of them were spent blocking for his quarterback Jared Goff. With that being said, he was a big-play machine at Memphis, putting up a combined 3600 yards from scrimmage and averaging a ridiculous 8.9 yards per carry in each of the last two seasons for the Tigers. He is an excellent fit for this zone-based rushing attack under Sean McVay. And then there’s this year’s second-rounder Cam Akers from Florida State. Once the number one running back recruit in the country, Akers’ career with the Seminoles didn’t go quite as expected, but a lot of that had to do with horrendous O-line play and he still showed plenty of flashes. The amount of miscues up front made it kind of hard to project his game to the next level, but he has tremendous feet to navigate through traffic, great burst through the hole and the ability to run through arm tackles. All those skills will be handy when lining up behind L.A.’s starting five, which had some major issues last season, but started to come together once a couple of rookies were inserted. That whole interior will be decided through training camp as well most likely, but if I had to bet how the usage of this backfield will look like, this is what I would say – Akers should get the majority of the touches, because otherwise the Rams would not have invested a high draft pick in him, with other needs on that roster. Brown will be their primary third down back and see plenty of goal-line work as well. And Henderson might be more of a designated runner, with the burst to threaten the edges of a defense.

New Orleans Saints – MIKE linebacker

Key competitors: Kiko Alonso, Craig Robertson & Joe Bachie

When you look at this Saints roster, it is hard to find a lot of holes – if any – but if you are looking for a spot, where they may not be fully settled, look no further than the middle of this defense. With Emmanuel Sanders finally being that second guy to go with Michael Thomas and being dominant up front on either side of the ball, you have to look at the second level defensively here. Demario Davis is coming off a first-team All-Pro season as their WILL, but the other two spots I would say aren’t locked in yet. As far as the strong-side goes, now that A.J. Klein left in free agency and Alex Anzalone just not being able to stay healthy, to me rookie Zack Baun from Wisconsin is set to become a key contributor for this group with his hybrid ability to play off the ball and come down on over fronts or as a rush end in sub sets. MIKE is really the spot that I’m not sure about. Kiko Alonso once was a very promising young LB, but he had probably the worst season so far now on his fourth team and played a career-low 27 percent of the defensive snaps last year. Craig Robertson amassed over 500 tackles in first six years with the Browns and Saints as a strong run-defender, but he has only started one game these last two seasons in New Orleans and struggled when on the field in 2019 in particular. He missed 18 percent of his tackling attempts and allowed all but one of the 14 targets his way to be completed. My personal favorite is undrafted rookie Joe Bachie from Michigan State, I had him as a top 100 prospect and talked about him as one of my impact UDFAs early in May. Bachie is a ferocious run-defender with excellent instincts for the position and a track-record of making plays in coverage. While some athletic limitations caused him to not hear his name called over the three days of the draft and may lead to him being subbed out on third downs, I think he can absolutely play base downs for them and his blitzing may keep him on the field in some passing situations as well. I’m interested to see how Dennis Allen deploys his personnel in those situations in general, since Baun can not only rush off the edge, but also be used as a roaming blitzer, and they have guys with inside-out versatility up front.

Washington TBD – Tight-end

Key competitors: Jeremy Sprinkle, Thaddeus Moss & Richard Rodgers

Just for future reference, I think I will refer to this franchise as the Washington football team, but not as the nickname “Washington Football Team”, since this obviously has to be a joke to make an official announcement after a few weeks into this whole process and to come up with this. Regardless of that, there are some issues with this roster, even though there is a lot to like as well. The defensive line is filled with first-round picks, Terry McLaurin was a stud receiver as a rookie and even though it didn’t look great last season, people seem to write off a very talented passer in Dwayne Haskins. While this team will likely have to win low-scoring affairs this season, the offense can almost only surpass the cellar-low expectations. There is at least one questionable spot on the O-line and we have yet to see anybody emerge among that receiver crew outside of “Scary Terry”, but they have a loaded running back room, including third-round pick Antonio Gibson, who could be that “swiss army knife” for offensive coordinator Scott Turner. The one spot that is definitely still up for grabs is tight-end. In the Turner offense, that Y has to be able to execute multiple run schemes as an in-line blocker, but also run wide receiver routes from a detached alignment. With such demands from that position, I was surprised Washington didn’t go after a more established tight-end in the offseason, with the only two additions coming in the form of an undrafted free agent and a one-year, one million dollar signing. UDFA Thaddeus Moss to me is actually the favorite of earn that starting gig, since his combination of hand-placement and leg drive make him an asset as a blocker, while also having experience being flexed out and winning on horizontal routes. The second guy added is Richard Rodgers, whose most memorable play came when catching a hail mary from Aaron Rodgers five years ago. Since leaving Green Bay, he has caught just one pass over these last two seasons, but his size and ball-skills still make him an intriguing receiver. Both of them are looking to beat out Jeremy Sprinkle however, who once Vernon Davis went down with an injury early on last season, started the final 13 games. He gets the job done as a blocker, but is a very limited pass-catcher (26 receptions for 241 yards and one TD last season).

Denver Broncos – Number two cornerback

Key competitors: Bryce Callahan, Isaac Yiadom & Michael Ojemudia

Going into this offseason, the Broncos needed to address three areas of their team – wide receiver, interior offensive line and cornerback. With their first two picks in the draft, they went out and got two stud pass-catchers in Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy and Penn State’s K.J. Hamler to give this offense a lot of firepower and in the third round they selected LSU center Lloyd Cushenberry, to go with Graham Glasgow coming over from Detroit in free agency. Corner is the one spot they didn’t really invest into, outside of spending another third-rounder on Michael Ojemudia from Iowa, since swapping Chris Harris Jr. for A.J. Bouye was a parallel move at best. Even though Bouye might be in the early stages of his decline, he is still a very good player. That position across from him however isn’t completely settled in my opinion. The favorite right now seems to be Bryce Callahan, who missed all of last season with a foot injury after signing a three-year, 21-million dollar contract with the Broncos. While he did average over 82 percent of the snaps with Chicago’s number-one ranked defense in 2018 in the games he finished, the majority of those were spent in the slot. So even assuming he will play a big role for Denver, with them being right in the middle of NFL defenses with five plus DBs out there for 73 percent of the snaps, these three players could theoretically make up for two “starting” spots next season. Isaac Yiadom played almost half the defensive snaps for the Broncos last year. A sort of hybrid cornesafety coming out of Boston College two years ago, he lined up almost exclusively on the outside, but had some struggles with a passer-rating allowed North of 100 and being responsible for over 400 yards on 45 targets. The guy I think is most likely to eat into that playing time is the rookie from the Hawkeyes. In a deep class at the CB position, Ojemudia is a guy that really stood out to me because of the physical profile he presented and how I saw him being able to use it, when he manned up against some of the nation’s top receivers at the Senior Bowl, after being in an almost pure zone system at Iowa. While the size may scream press-corner, he doesn’t have a lot of experience with that and my biggest concern for him is finding the air in the air late. However, in a Vic Fangio scheme that won’t leave him on an island too much and having Justin Simmons as an in-between the numbers eraser, I would like to see him get extended playing time as a rookie.

Los Angeles Chargers – Z receiver

Key competitors: Andre Patton, Joe Reed & K.J. Hill

Whenever people talk about the Chargers, they obviously talk about this loaded defense and the next thing they bring up is this group of skill-position players with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Hunter Henry and Austin Ekeler, who was unbelievable with the ball in space last season and made Melvin Gordon expendable. I like the way they have constructed this backfield to complement Ekeler, but even though Virgil Green has been a very solid blocking tight-end as their number two, he is averaging just 122 receiving yards per season in his career and there really is nobody with any production to speak of behind those two starting receiver. Andre Patton accounted for only 56 yards as a rookie, despite seeing 17 targets on the season, and Joe Reed and K.J. Hill were fifth- and seventh-round picks in April for them. To identify who L.A.’s WR3 will be, we first have to look at which type of player they are looking for in that offense. Mike Williams is your classic big-bodied X receiver, who they like to target on vertical patterns, such as fades and post routes, where his ability to attack the ball in the air can really shine through. Yet, with the offense using Ekeler a lot as a threat on jet or fly sweeps and just motion him around the formation, as well as Henry being flexed out wide as a single receiver at times, Williams on paper lined up quite a bit at Z and in the slot as well. Keenan Allen is a savvy route-runner, who is a nightmare to mirror off the line and is at his best creating separation underneath. He can obviously play out wide and keep corners guessing, but he is excels at operating out of the slot. So what would make sense here is that field-stretching Z receiver, who can create that space at the short and intermediate level. Patton ran a 4.4 flat coming out of Rutgers as a UDFA and even though no other receiver outside of him has more than two career receptions, I have already mentioned how ineffective he was despite actually logging just over 500(!) offensive snaps in 2019. Joe Reed clocked in at 4.47 and while he was used more in the slot and as a gadget player last season, in 2018 he averaged 18.6 yards per grab and you still saw that quick acceleration once the ball was in his hands. I think he telegraphs his routes too much at this point, but he should at least be a factor on special teams, as one of the premiere return-men in the country. And then there’s Hill, who dropped this far because the athletic testing was underwhelming (4.6 in the 40) and he needs to be more effective with getting in and out of his breaks, but he routinely got open at Ohio State and made crucial plays for the Buckeyes. He is much better suited to play inside though.

Seattle Seahawks – Right tackle

Key competitors: Brandon Shell, Cedric Ogbuehi & Jamarco Jones

As brilliant as Russell Wilson has been and how he has hidden the issues on this Seahawks roster, the one group that has been a problem child for several years now is the offensive line. We still have to see how the addition of some young guys on the interior will work out, but the right tackle spot in particular has been an issue for a while. With Germaine Ifedi moving on, you would have hoped that Seattle finally finds a long-term solution, but instead they signed two more fringe starters at best in free agency. Brandon Shell has started 37 of 48 games over these last three seasons and has the athletic traits you want to see at the position, but he allowed seven sacks last season and the Jets decided to not re-sign him despite having questions at both tackle spots at that point (before drafting Louisville’s Mekhi Becton in the first round). Then the Seahawks brought in another former first-round pick from a team with one of the worst track records of picking OTs early. Cedrick Ogbuehi started 25 combined games in his second and third season in the league, but even the Bengals with major issues at that position decided to let him walk after he was responsible for 14.5 combined sacks over that period. Last season he was a full-time backup in Jacksonville and now he is on a one-year prove-it deal. The third guy of the bunch is 2018 fifth-round pick Jamarco Jones, formerly of Ohio State, who started two games at right guard and one at left tackle last season, after missing his entire rookie campaign with an ankle injury. He did have his fair share of struggles and fought through some nicks and bruises on a weekly basis, but he brings a lot of thump at initial contact as a run-blocker and has excellent foot-quickness in protection. He definitely still has some technical work to do, but the talent is absolutely there. Shell has the highest cap hit at 3.5 million dollars and Ogbuehi got a pretty good base salary of 1.3 million, considering the start to his career, while Jones counts less than 100.000 against this cap this year as part of his rookie deal. So the money would say Shell has the best chances and Ogbuehi can make a run at this, but the guy I really want to man that position for future years is Jones and he should also be in the running for one of those guard spots.

Other notable position battles:

Chicago Bears – Nickelback (Buster Skrine, Duke Shelley & Kindle Vildor)
Detroit Lions – Defensive end (Julian Okwara, Romeo Okwara & Austin Bryant)
New York Giants – Outside corner (DeAndre Baker, Sam Beal & Grant Haley/Darnay Holmes)
Atlanta Falcons – Sub-linebacker (Deonne Bucannon, Foyesade Oluokun & Mykal Walker)
Arizona Cardinals – 5-technique (Jonathan Bullard, Michael Dogbe & Rashard Lawrence)
Baltimore Ravens – RUSH linebacker (Pernell McPhee, Tyus Bowser & Jaylon Ferguson)
Buffalo Bills – Defensive end (Mario Addison, Trent Murphy & A.J. Epenesa)
Houston Texans – Tight-end (Darren Fells, Jordan Akins, Jordan Thomas & Kahale Warring)
Jacksonville Jaguars – Free safety (Jarrod Wilson, Andrew Wingard, Josh Jones & J.R. Reed)
Kansas City Chiefs – Center (Austin Reiter, Andrew Wylie & Darryl Williams)

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Green Bay Packers vs Arizona Cardinals Full Highlights, Playoff Game 2016 2010 Falcons @ Bucs Green Bay - Arizona Decided by Blown Face Mask Call Rodgers Hits Adams for the Toe-Tap TD on 4th Down! Arizona Vs Green Bay 1 /10 /10 Free Pick NFL

Arizona Cardinals. 2-2 (2-2-0)-7.0-6.5-340: 56.7%: New York Jets. 0-4 (0-4-0) 47.0: 46.5 +280: 42.9%: 1:00 PM ... LINE OPEN ML FPI; Los Angeles Chargers. 1-3 (3-1-0) 50.5: 50.0 +320: 22.2%: New ... Arizona (-334) at New York Jets (+270) There is no way I’m ever going to risk my money betting on the Jets. They are the worst franchise in the NFL and its not close. Arizona is favored by 7 points (-110 on both sides). Bettors would like to see it a point less, but I’d be willing to give 10 points to the hapless Jets. Detroit Lions vs Arizona Cardinals Score NFL Week 3 Result NFL Betting Odds & Scores The Detroit Lions are 1-2 after beating the Arizona Cardinals. Matt Prater made a 37-yard field goal as time expired and the Detroit Lions snapped an 11-game losing streak with a 26-23 victory Sunday over the Arizona Cardinals at Glendale, Ariz. Detroit Lions ... Compare Arizona Cardinals vs Green Bay Packers matchups. Up to date offshore betting odds of over 30+ sportsbooks available including money lines, point spreads, totals and futures. Green Bay Packers (-1.5) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Bet now. It didn’t take long for this line to start moving away from the Bucs after their bumbling loss in Chicago on Thursday. Tampa Bay opened ...

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Green Bay Packers vs Arizona Cardinals Full Highlights, Playoff Game 2016

Green Bay - Arizona Decided by Blown Face Mask Call ... Green Bay Packers vs. Arizona Cardinals ... [Detroit/Green Bay] CONTROVERSIAL Facemask Call ... Aaron Rodgers finds Davante Adams for the clutch touchdown! The Arizona Cardinals take on the Green Bay Packers during Week 13 of the 2018 NFL season. Going back to 2010, where Matt Ryan leads his 9-2 Falcons into Tampa to face Josh Freeman and the 7-4 Bucs in a close and crucial late-season contest. Green Bay Packers at Arizona Cardinals 1/10/10 Free pick against the spread NFL Football Wildcard Playoffs. Enjoy the videos and music you love, upload original content, and share it all with friends, family, and the world on YouTube.