Jets new direction is paying off:

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Photo credit: Marianne O’Leary

Author: Jon Kuzma

If anyone told you the New York Jets would be 2-0 over the first two weeks of NFL regular season action you would of been a fool not to laugh in their face. The Jets were a dysfunctional team under Rex Ryan and looked like they were going to continue that dysfunction when Geno Smith got his jaw broke by teammate IK Enemkpali in the preseason. Well, all that lack of cohesion went out the window when the regular season rolled around. The Jets now find themselves 2-0 on the season and walking around with a sense of pride under new coach Todd Bowles. Much of the Jets improvements can be credited to their draft picks on the defensive line and the new attitude that Bowles brought to the team. One Jet went as far to say “We had to grow up under Bowles.” A statement that makes you feel like coach Bowles holds the team more accountable. While that is certainly true the team also is much more talented this time around. They brought in Brandon Marshall to pair along with Eric Decker at the wide receiver positions. Giving the team a true aerial attack that can complement the team’s running game. On the defensive side of the ball guys like Muhammad Wilkerson, and rookie first round draft pick Leonard Williams have caused havoc for opposing offensive lineman. By dominating upfront the Jets are allowing opposing quarterbacks very little time to get the ball out of their hands. These quicker decisions have led to quarterbacks causing ill advised plays, which has been the foundation of the Jets success this far. It also should be noted the Jets got better on the defensive edges returning Revis and Cromartie as well. Together with the blend of outstanding defensive and a revamped offense the Jets look like a brand new team. Good news for owner Woody Johnson and high praise for head coach Todd Bowles.

  

Fantasy Sleepers to Pick up for This Week

Jaguars at Ravens 12/14/14
Photo credit: Keith Allison

Author: Joey Carr

Through two weeks of play, fantasy football is in a tizzy. Star players aren’t performing nearly as well as they did last year and unknown rookies are racking up mass amounts of points. CJ Anderson, Marshawn Lynch, Andrew Luck, and Jimmy Graham are all examples of players that were probably taken within the first 6 rounds of most drafts and aren’t producing like they should be. However, it’s still early in the season, and fantasy owners still have time to assess their lineup and work out ways to win games. The way they’ll do this? With the waiver wire. The waiver wire consists of the players that aren’t owned in most leagues and could make or break your season. Take a look below at players who you should and shouldn’t pickup for this upcoming week.

Dion Lewis, RB New England Patriots

This former Cleveland running back never really got a shot before this year, but boy is he making the Patriots thankful they let him loose. On the year, he has 258 yards from scrimmage, which only trails Matt Forte, Antonio Brown, and Julio Jones. He was one of the backs that was called in to replace the departed Shane Vereen as a pass catching running back and he has shown that he is fully capable of doing so. In two weeks, he has accumulated 28 fantasy points, and his production doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon, even with LeGarrette Blount back from suspension.

Advice: Pick him up if available

David Johnson, RB Arizona Cardinals

It’s safe to say no one saw this kid coming. The rookie from Northern Iowa has been sprinting all over the field in his first two games, racking up 27 fantasy points. With Andre Ellington out and Chris Johnson as the only other running back, look for David Johnson to add to his already impressive 3 touchdowns.

Advice: Pick him up if available

Mat Jones, RB Washington Redskins

After Week 1, most people didn’t know who this rookie was. He was a third round draft pick for the Skins and was supposed to be a backup to Alfred Morris, but Jones had other plans. He’s already at 151 yards on the season, mostly due to a 123-yard breakout performance in week 2 against the stout Rams defense. He also found the end zone one time, and looks to keep stealing snaps from Morris.

Advice: Pick him up if available

Travis Benjamin, WR Cleveland Browns

It’s hard to ignore the speedy Benjamin’s performance last Sunday against the Titans, where he caught two touchdowns and hauled in 115 receiving yards. He has garnered 43 fantasy points thus far, second in the league for wide receivers. However, he has only caught 6 passes

combined in his first two games and while they were for a good chunk of yards, it’s extremely hard to see him sustaining that kind of yardage with so few catches.

Advice: Don’t pick up yet unless in need of a Flex

Tyrod Taylor, QB Buffalo Bills

This should come as bit of surprise, but Tyrod Taylor is now a legitimate quarterback worth starting in most leagues. In his first two games as a starter, he has 5 total touchdowns and over 500 yards of total offense. His QB Rating of 103.9 ranks as one of the best in the league and with playmakers all around him, his production should remain steady so long as he doesn’t suffer a serious drop off in performance.

Advice: If in need of a quarterback, pick him up

Jordan Reed, TE Washington Redskins

DeSean Jackson is out with a hamstring injury for a couple weeks, and the targets for Reed will only increase during that time frame. He has picked up 20 fantasy points and is a solid option at tight end if you don’t have a reliable one already.

Advice: Pick him up if you don’t have a trustworthy tight end

Michael Crabtree, WR Oakland Raiders

After his turbulent time in San Fran, it was unclear whether this former stud of a wideout would find a permanent home again. Well, after a great training camp and productive first two games, it seems Michael Crabtree might still be a name to keep an eye on. He has accrued 20 fantasy points so far along with one touchdown, and is a solid add to have on your bench.

Advice: Pick him up if bench depth is needed

James Jones, WR Green Bay Packers

He’s back. James Jones was once one of Aaron Rodgers’ favorite targets and after stints with the Raiders and Giants, he’s back to catching touchdowns at Lambeau. He’s caught 3 TD’s so far but the majority of Rodgers’ targets will go to Randall Cobb and Davante Adams. However, he could be a valuable bench piece if one of your players goes down with an injury.

Advice: Pick him up for bench depth if available

Other notable waiver wire targets include: Johnny Manziel, Derek Carr, Eric Ebron, Heath Miller, Lorenzo Taliaferro, James Starks, Leonard Hankerson, Doug Baldwin, Donte Moncrief, Stevie Johnson, Markus Wheaton, Ronnie Hillman, Eddie Royal, Fred Jackson, Cole Beasley, Tavon Austin.

  

The 0-2 Teams that are in the Most Trouble

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Photo credit: Mike Morbeck

Author: Joey Carr

The 0-2 Teams that are in the Most Trouble No matter how you script it, there will always be teams that start the season slower than others. These sluggish starts sometimes can be attributed to injuries, personnel turnover, or just sloppy play. Many expected the Titans and Bucs to lose their first couple of games due to the fact that they have two rookies under center who are still trying to get the lay of the land. However, they’re both 1-1 and have looked decent thus far, with Jameis Winston outshining Drew Brees in New Orleans this past Sunday. The Titans and Bucs join a few other lower tier teams from last year in the 1-1 club, including the Jaguars and Browns. In fact, the only teams that are 0-2, with the exception of the Bears, had high playoff aspirations coming into this year. But after some turbulent starts, they’re just trying to stay afloat in their divisions. Out of the 0-2 teams, which include: the Seahawks, Colts, Eagles, Saints, Giants, Lions, Bears, Ravens, and Texans, there are a few teams in particular that should be hitting the panic button sooner rather than later.

Eagles- The Philadelphia Eagles are arguably the most disappointing team out of the gate. They have no running attack, even though they landed 2014 rushing champ DeMarco Murray in free agency, an average passing game with Sam Bradford, and a defense that has nothing too special about it. The additions of Bradford and Murray paired with the offensive mind of head coach Chip Kelly was supposed to elevate this offense to new heights but instead they’re ranked 25th in the league in total yards with 312.5. However, that number is a bit misleading due to the fact the Eagles have a pitiful 70 yards of rushing on the year. DeMarco Murray has 11 of those yards. 11. LeSean McCoy on the other hand has 130 yards rushing, who was traded by Philly to the Bills in the offseason for linebacker Kiko Alonso, who is now out for some time with a partial ACL tear. To sum it up, the Eagles have nothing going on offense, looking stagnant most of the time due to the issue that the offense Chip Kelly wants to run isn’t working because he doesn’t have the right personnel to execute it. The defense is giving up an average of 377 yards per game, which isn’t going to cut it with the offense averaging a mere 17 points per game. If Philly can’t right the ship within the next couple of weeks, we might be seeing a roster overhaul come midseason. However, if they can turn things around, they have a decent shot at winning the NFC East with the Giants at 0-2 and the Cowboys without Tony Romo.

Ravens- Last year, the Ravens were one interception away from reaching the AFC Championship. This year, they’ve lost to an aging Peyton Manning in week 1 and the Oakland Raiders in week 2, resulting in an 0-2 record. Their defense looked tremendous against Denver, allowing only field goals and one touchdown late in the game. However, they lost their anchor on defense, Terrell Suggs, for the year with an achilles tear, which is a huge blow to morale and performance overall. The loss of Suggs really showed in their next game against the Raiders, when they allowed 37 points to last year’s 26th ranked offense. Derek Carr picked apart the Ravens secondary, passing for 351 yards and tossing 3 touchdowns in the process, including a 68-yard bomb to Amari Cooper. This is obviously a concern, as the Raiders shouldn’t be able to dissect a defense that was supposed to be top 10 in the league. The offense is also an issue, as it has been very inconsistent over the past two games. Justin Forsett, who was one of the top rushers a year ago, hasn’t been able to get anything going on the ground, managing only 111 yards on 29 carries. If the Ravens want to capture that elusive AFC North Title, they’ll have to shore up their defense and run game and find a way to start winning games, as they have suffered last minute losses in both of their games.

Colts- “Finally their year to reach the Super Bowl.” “Andrew Luck is the favorite to win the MVP Trophy this season.” “This offense could possibly be the best we’ve ever seen.” All of these were things we heard before the season about the Indianapolis Colts. Each year they’ve had Andrew Luck, they’ve progressed one round in the playoffs, and this year was their year to reach the Super Bowl after falling to New England in the AFC Championship last year. They added proven skill players in Frank Gore and Andre Johnson in the offseason, hoping age wasn’t going to be an issue with either of them. They would be getting Robert Mathis back, who in 2013 had 19.5 sacks but missed all of last season due to injury. They added a couple more players to their defensive and offensive lines and of course, still had Andrew Luck, who led all quarterbacks in yards last year. The talent on the roster seemed like it was a recipe for success and Indy could book a plane ticket to Santa Clara, California. But so far, the Colts are living a nightmare instead of a fairy tale. The offense that was believed to be one of the best in the league has only scrounged up 21 points in two games, almost getting shut out by the Jets on Monday night. Andrew Luck has thrown 5 interceptions and coughed up one fumble. Frank Gore has shown to be ineffective so far and even fumbled on the goal line in the loss against the Jets. The defense is letting the opposing offenses walk over them, as they are giving up 343 yards per game so far. The offensive line can’t protect Luck at all, causing him to throw erroneous passes into No Man’s Land half the time. This team is anything but a Super Bowl favorite right now. The high aspirations Colts fans had going into the season are disappearing and some fans are surely pounding the panic button. Some boos could even be heard from the crowd on Monday night. Indy has got to find a way to get their offense back on track otherwise they’ll let Marcus Mariota and the Titans steal away the AFC South from them.

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Roethlisberger and the Steelers give the San Francisco 49ers the juice:

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Photo credit: Steelcityhobbies

Author: Jon Kuzma

Even though the Steelers came up short against New England in their opener. Football analyst knew it was only a matter of time before the Steelers offense broke out and did great things. That finally happened in week 2 against the San Francisco 49ers. In the match up which took place at Heinz field, the Steelers were able to get out in front early striking quickly against the Niners. Ben Roethlisberger looked in charge and in control all night and the Steelers had a commanding 29-3 lead at halftime. Roethlisberger would contribute 3 touchdown passes and 369 passing yards. Completing 21 of 27 passes and compiling a 155.8 passer rating. It was evident that his deep ball is a weapon to be feared at this point for the Steelers. Roethlisberger was able to complete a number of bombs against the 49ers really showing off his deep pass accuracy. He took advantage of the Niners secondary time and time again. Whether it was connecting with Darrius Heward-Bey on a 35 yard touchdown pass. Or hitting Markus Wheaton on a 48 yard strike which had Niners defensive backs arguing their assignments with each other. If you’re a Ben Roethlisberger fantasy football owner you’re likely going to be enjoying a fine year of production from the former Miami of Ohio Quarterback. Other notable performers for this Steelers offense were DeAngelo Williams who has been on fire for the Steelers so far. He has rushed for 204 yards and 3 touchdowns over the first two games of the season. Showing that maybe the Steelers ground attack is a result of the whole unit being strong rather than just Le’Veon Bell being the star. The offensive line seems to open holes no matter who is in the backfield. However Williams has been phenomenal with ball in his hands and has made the most of his opportunities. Antonio Brown was also a force for the Steelers in that match recording 9 receptions for 195 yards. Brown is showing yet again why he is one of the best receivers in the National Football League after his dominant performance in 2014. This season over the course of two games he has been able to haul in 18 receptions for 328 yards and 3 touchdowns. Good enough to have him right back in the hunt for the #1 receiver spot in the league. Keep an eye on all of these playmaker and what they are able to do throughout the regular season. Because of them they were able to finish this game against the Niners with a 43-18 victory. Thus far it’s been a lot of fun to watch!

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The Cowboys have Reason to Panic after Losing Tony Romo

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Photo credit: S.P Ablab

Author: Joey Carr

Every heart in Dallas dropped like a rock when their star quarterback Tony Romo went down in the third quarter of Sunday night’s game between the Cowboys and Eagles. In what seemed like a routine tackle, Romo suffered a fractured left clavicle instead of simply dusting off the hit. Dallas already has stud wideout Dez Bryant sidelined with a foot injury until week 7 and now their franchise quarterback is out for at least 8 weeks, which should have Jerry Jones and the rest of Cowboys nation very panicked.

The Cowboys were easily one of the better teams in the league coming into this season; they had arguably the best offensive line, one of the best receivers, a top 5 quarterback, and an average defense. A roster like that usually spells success for most teams, but like we’ve seen in the past, great teams are sometimes not always destined to stay great. Their offensive line is still one of the best in football but the losses of Dez Bryant and Tony Romo are huge. Gigantic. On Sunday night, the first game without Bryant, Romo had trouble finding open receivers, as he only managed 195 yards and no touchdowns in two and a half quarters of work. Now, Terrance Williams and Cole Beasley are the Cowboy’s primary receivers along with the ageless tight end Jason Witten. Brandon Weeden is now the starting quarterback for “America’s Team”; the same Brandon Weeden that struggled tremendously in Cleveland and got booted out of the city. Cowboy’s fans should sweating buckets right now. It wouldn’t be as bad if Dallas still had last year’s DeMarco Murray to lead the charge, but they don’t, and now it’s up to Joseph Randle and Darren McFadden to head the offense. However, while running behind that offensive line, anything is possible. Also, the Cowboys don’t have a game-changing defense like Seattle to keep the pressure of the offense, although they looked good Sunday night against the Eagles. Although next week we’ll really see what that defense is made of when they try to cover the seemingly unstoppable Julio Jones and his Atlanta Falcons.

If you put all of these players and dynamics together into a roster, what you end up with isn’t very pretty. Weeden isn’t the answer, not for 8 weeks at least. His past isn’t comforting in the slightest and he has shown time and time again that he just doesn’t have what it takes to be a starter, especially for a team like the Cowboys. Many fans in Dallas were chanting “Tebow Time” and even the Governor of Dallas said the Cowboys should sign the former Eagle. Right now, that is certainly a long shot at best but crazier things have happened. Others have suggested they trade for Robert Griffin III, which does seem like something Jerry Jones would do, but it would involve a lot of moving pieces and doesn’t seem likely at this time, but things could change if Weeden becomes a liability Dallas can’t afford. The Cowboys desperately need their running backs and defense to step up if they want any chance of hanging on to the NFC East Title. The rest of the division is looking surprisingly good thus far however, except for Philly, and are undoubtedly hungry to make a run at the NFC East, which definitely should have Cowboy’s fans concerned.
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New England survives against a talented Bills team in week 2 action:

New England Patriots at Washington Redskins 08/28/09

Photo credit: Keith Allison

The New England Patriots are a phenomenal football team. They won the Super Bowl just last year and look like they haven’t skipped a beat coming into this season. The Buffalo Bills are also a very talented football team. After landing Rex Ryan as their head coach and many other big name acquisitions they looked to be a legitimate competitor to New England in the AFC East. The Patriots had to put things back in perspective for football fans however and show why they are the defending champs. Brady was red hot for his second consecutive week posting 466 passing yards and 3 touchdowns. The Patriots are 27-3 in their last 30 games against AFC East opponents. Being an absolute terror in that division. Brady seems to be on a personal mission after the deflategate scandal. He has 7 touchdowns, no interceptions, and 754 yards passing on the season. At this pace of 3.5 touchdowns a game Brady would finish the season with 56 touchdown passes. Which would be 1 touchdown better than Peyton Manning’s all-time record of 55 touchdown passes in a season. Brady isn’t the only Patriot having a outstanding year however. Rob Gronkowski continued his reign as the NFL’s best tight end bringing in his fourth touchdown reception of the season and recording 113 yards through the air. Gronk was a match up problem for the Bills and that is why he was able to have 7 catches against the tough Buffalo defense. Julian Edelman also turned in a notable performance for the Patriots hauling in 11 catches for 97 yard and a pair of touchdowns. Together those three players really have the Patriots offense clicking. It’s hard to see this team losing anytime soon.

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Manziel impresses in his first start of 2015 as Brown top Titans:

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Photo credit: Erik Drost

Manziel looked good in his first start of the 2015 season. After Josh McCown was sidelined with a concussion the young Manziel showed glimpses of why the Browns drafted him in the first round. While Manziel completed just 8 passes for the Browns. Two of them were touchdown passes which helped lead the Browns to victory over the Titans. The match was highly anticipated because it pitted Manziel versus Marcus Mariota. The second pick overall in the 2015 draft and a player who threw for four touchdowns in week one. In fact all the praise was on Mariota coming into this week, while people drew questions marks when speaking about Manziel. Well that all changed when they got on the field. Manziel’s two touchdowns passes were brought in by Browns receiver Travis Benjamin. Benjamin has been on fire for the Browns scoring four out of their five touchdowns this season. The offense in Cleveland is clearly more dynamic when Manziel is at the helm. While the team likes McCown, that first touchdown score was just a play Josh McCown will never be able to make. It would be in the Browns best interest to allow Manziel to continue to lead this team regardless if McCown comes back this week from his concussion or not. When things aren’t broke you shouldn’t try to fix things and clearly the Browns are not broke with Johnny Football at the helm. It will be exciting to see what decision the team makes and if they do decide to start Manziel,will he continue to play at a high level like he did against the Titans? All signs seem to point to him continuing to progress. The number 2 jersey should be selling well this season out in Cleveland. Now if he just make this club a winning football team the whole state of Ohio will hail him.

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