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Antonio Brown’s offseason with the Oakland Raiders has been as well documented as any story in the news this year. From his frostbitten feet, to threatening to retire over a helmet, then threatening to punch his general manager and then posting a controversial video to YouTube, Brown had driven the Raiders officially insane. So they released him and in the process managed to recoup all of his $29 million dollars of guaranteed money. That happened Saturday morning after it was rumored Brown would be suspended for the season’s first week and then to be rumored he would play week 1 for the Raiders. The football world was in a frenzy over the situation, with many wondering whether another team would take a chance on the troubled receiver. Of course they would, he is a Hall of Fame caliber player! Which franchise rose to the occasion? Who else? The New England Patriots, that’s who. Brown inked a 1-year deal with $9 million guaranteed and another $6 million in incentives with New England just hours after being released from Oakland. He was ineligible to suit up Sunday night against – oh the irony – his other former team, the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Pats have been the island for misfit toys for over a decade under the guidance of Coach Bill Belichick and future Hall of Famer, Tom Brady. Randy Moss, Darell Revis, Aqib Talib, Lagarrette Blount and Josh Gordon all came over to the Patriots and turned their careers around in one way or another. Brown will likely do the same. His talent is still through the roof and, if anyone can keep his personal nonsense at bay, it’s Bill and Tom. The Patriots, fresh off their 6th Super Bowl win under Tom and Bill, now at a team-friendly cost add to an already dynamic offense, arguably the best wideout in football and they immediately surpass the Kansas City Chiefs to become Super Bowl favorites for 2020.  The Evil Empire is back for another run as the rich got richer.
Is your fantasy team in total shambles after week 1? We hope not! The NFL season has officially completed its first weekend of action. Result: There were a ton of fantasy surprises and a couple of fantasy stinkers in week 1. We take a quick look at the top 5 best surprises of this past week and guys who may be able to help your team all season long.

1. Lamar Jackson (Quarterback, Baltimore Ravens)

The scrambling quarterback had just six rushing yards week 1, yet managed to put up about 40 fantasy points. Wait …. what? Everyone knew Lamar Jackson would be a threat to run and could be a good fantasy QB this year, but he never put up huge numbers last year like he did over the weekend. He went 27-30 with 345 passing yards and five passing TD’s on his way to a perfect quarterback rating. Granted, it was against the lowly Dolphins, but we expect Jackson to continue down this path and have a huge year as the Ravens look like a formidable team in the AFC North.

2. Sammy Watkins (Wide Receiver, Kansas City Chiefs)

The Kansas City Chiefs WR2 played like a WR1 in week 1. In fact, he played like the number 1 wideout in the league! Tyreek Hill went down with a shoulder injury early in the first quarter and Watkins was already having a big day before that. He ended his day with 9 catches for 198 receiving yards and 3 touchdowns. This was against a Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense that is supposed to be tops in the league. With over 40 fantasy points on week 1, Watkins should be a major threat for the Chiefs’ number 1 offense all season, with or without Tyreek Hill active.

3. John Ross (Wide Receiver, Cincinnati Bengals)

A year removed from running one of the fastest ‘40’ times in NFL combine history; John Ross finally had the big game everyone had been waiting for, especially the Bengals. Ross caught 7 passes for 158 yards and 2 touchdowns against a good defense. Bengals new head coach, Zac Taylor, formerly of the Sean McVay’s LA Rams staff, might have the passing attack rolling for Cincy this year. The Bengals may not be a winning team, but they could surprise people and score a bunch of points all season. Ross is available in over 85% of fantasy league formats. After a 30+ point fantasy week, you’ll have to move on the speedster quickly.

4. Danny Amendola (Wide Receiver, Detroit Lions)

Danny Amendola’s career never seems to be over. After being a major contributor to the Patriots, Amendola went to the Dolphins and the masses believed he was done. Now he’s reunited with a former Patriots’ assistant, Matt Patricia, in Detroit and is immediately in the Golden Tate role on the offense. Danny grabbed 7 passes off of Matt Stafford with a whopping 13 targets and racked up 107 yards with a touchdown. Thirteen targets are no fluke and Danny is surely still available in your league. Snag him before it is too late, he is a WR3 until further notice.

5. Jamison Crowder (Wide Receiver, New York Jets)

Jamison Crowder was one of the top slot receivers in Washington while Kirk Cousins was in his prime years. He has fallen off since Kirk left and has also battled some injuries. Crowder signed with the Jets this offseason and immediately became Sam Darnold’s security blanket. Crowder had a whopping 17 targets on week 1, hauling in 14 of those targets for 99 yards. In a PPR format, Crowder is a major player. He won’t score a ton of touchdowns this year, but he will rack up major receptions every week and is available in over half of league formats. A must add player.

Notable Mentions

  • Mark Andrews, TE Baltimore Ravens
  • DJ Chark Jr, WR Jacksonville Jaguars
  • TJ Hockenson, TE Detroit Lions
  • Malcolm Brown, RB Los Angeles Rams
Marquise “Hollywood” Brown, WR Baltimore Ravens Check back in with us week-to-week as we will have all the fantasy advice and breakdowns you need to win your league this season.
The NFL season is 17 weeks long, but teams, players and organizations always want to get off to a good start. Week 1 can set the tone for the entire season or put a team in an immediate state of panic. We dive into the biggest disappointments from the NFL’s opening weekend.

1. The Cleveland Browns

A consensus pick to go to the Super Bowl, the Browns reminded everyone that they are still the Browns until they aren’t. Adding major stars to your roster doesn’t just make you a good team. You have to do it in all three phases, with everyone playing as a cohesive unit, week in and week out. The Browns under new head coach Freddy Kitchens didn’t do it as they suffered an embarrassing defeat in their home opener against the Tennessee Titans.  They lost 43-13, a 30-point loss in their home opener when they’re supposed to be a Superbowl contender! The Browns’ postgame meal was a large slice of humble pie. Let’s see what kind of character they have after a complete dismantling in their own building. They go to New York to take on the Jets next Monday night in primetime.

2. The Miami Dolphins

OK, we knew they would be bad, but this bad?  The Dolphins allowed scoring records to be set left and right as they gave up nearly 60-points to the Baltimore Ravens. They looked inept. It’s one thing to not have talent and to tank, but at least play hard! The Dolphins host Tom Brady and the Patriots next weekend.  Good luck.

3. The New York Giants Pass Defense

After a strong preseason and a rebuilt culture, the Giants came into week 1 full of belief and confidence. All of which dissolved quickly on the realization they can’t cover receivers or tight ends and they can’t rush a quarterback. The Giants pass defense made Dak Prescott look like Joe Montana as he racked up over 400 yards and 4 touchdowns, while hardly breaking a sweat. The G-men managed a stout run defense and their offense looked fluid, but we don’t think they can stop anyone with an average, or better, passing game. The Giants will host the Buffalo Bills next Sunday in their home opener.

4. The Pittsburgh Steelers

All the talk about cleaning up the locker room and setting the tone for a new culture is great, until you lose by 30-points in primetime. The Steelers didn’t make the Patriots work for one minute of their Sunday Night Football clash and looked to be way behind on the execution side of things. If their culture is strong, they can rebound, but their performance level is in question. The Steelers host a strong Seattle Seahawks team next week in their home opener.

5. New York Jets Kicker, Kaare Vedvik

The Jets have enough talent to be a winning team this season and potentially make the playoffs. Their offense looked good and defense was solid as long as linebacker C.J. Mosley was on the field. Their kicker however, a question mark coming into the season, cost them the game Sunday. He missed an extra point and a field goal. The Jets lost by one point. Vedvik needs to turn it around quickly or he will be jobless before October.
For the second straight year in Flushing Meadows, Serena Williams found herself in a U.S. Open Final against a rising young teenage star. Last year, Serena fell to 17 year old Naomi Osaka of Japan in straight sets, only to do the same Saturday afternoon to Canadian Bianca Andreescu who is just 19 years old. Ever since giving birth to her daughter in September of 2017, Serena has been unable to win a grand slam. She lost in the finals at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open in consecutive attempts. It’s as frustrating as it gets because this Open was her best chance to win one and tie with Margaret Court (24) for the most women’s grand slam titles. Serena sits at 23 and she’s 36 years old. Time is not on her side. Andreescu, on the other hand, makes history, becoming the first Canadian man or woman to win the U.S. Open, a year after Osaka was the first Japanese born to accomplish the feat. Andreescu’s power was like nothing Serena had seen all tournament. She managed to close out Serena in straight sets even as Williams came back from being 5-1 down to tie it at 5-5 in the second set. Andreescu is now 11-0 against top 10 players in her career. For Williams, maybe the best female tennis player of all time, losing to two teenagers in consecutive U.S. Open finals is something of a shock. Her experience should have propelled her, but it was her age that actually worked against her. Though the power side of her game remains strong, Williams’ is getting slower and older while the game is getting fitter and younger. Her window is nearly shut on breaking Court’s record. Her next chance is the 2020 Australian Open – she’ll be one year older.
Are you familiar with Tinder’s swipe left for yes, swipe right for no model? The online dating application’s selection style has become a standard for their platform and beyond. Now it’s making its way to Google. In a world in which there is an unfathomable amount of content to select from, viewers often find themselves stuck in a continuous cycle of decision making. Google is here to fix that thanks to their version of the swipe left/right idea model. Google Search product manager Matt Sheets explains, “Starting today in the US, when you search for things like ‘good shows to watch’ or ‘what to watch’ on mobile, you can tap the start button in the ‘Top picks for you’ carousel to begin rating TV shows and movies. You can swipe through to make some recommendations to start getting personalized choices, tailored just for you.” Once you have made your selection, the search tool also helps you find where it is available, be it Netflix, Amazon, HBO, or on cable television. The system will become more intelligent based on your prior selections.
British actor Sacha Baron Cohen has been known throughout his career for playing silly, politically incorrect and at times extremely controversial characters. In his self-created films such as Borat and Bruno and in his role in Talladega Nights as well as in his TV work as Ali-G and on his recent show Who is America, his hilarious, yet slightly disturbing roles define Cohen. Resume aside, Sacha is returning in a new Netflix, 6-episode mini series, The Spy that is a very serious role. The series is based on true events.  Cohen plays the role of Eli Cohen (not related), an Israeli accountant who infiltrated Syria as a deep cover Mossad agent for six years in the 60’s. The older Cohen was behind enemy lines gathering information about Syria’s military plans while posing as Kamel Amin Thaabet, a patriotic Syrian shipping magnate. Like Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie characters, Eli Cohen got results by going deep into character, but for real.  Cohen playing the role of a undercover spy is rather poetic. The Spy is now available on Netflix.

For kids of today, it is hard to imagine a time when you couldn’t sign-in online via your gaming system to drop into a virtual world to compete against online friends in various mini games, ie. Fortnite.  It was, however, a reality during the 90’s, as video games made their march toward what they have become, that you needed to have your friends over the house to compete. Oh the horror! Joking aside, the 90’s boasted some of the best video games ever.  We take a look at our top 5 timeless classics:

Super Smash Bros

This Nintendo 64 classic was a childhood favorite for any 90’s gamer. It’s one of the few games on this list that’s still played today. There was nothing like having three other friends over to compete, 2v2 or in a battle royale, with some of your favorite Nintendo characters like Zelda, Mario and Kirby. The title expanded over the years with new levels and new characters, most notably the Pokemon era. Was there anything better than being Super Smash Bros champ of the house?

Roller Coaster Tycoon

Who wasn’t an expert at running a theme park in the 90’s? This PC simulation game allowed users to construct and manage their very own theme park. From building the wildest roller coasters, managing prices at the park and concessions, overseeing park staff to ensuring the safety of guests, Roller Coaster Tycoon was the first business experience for many children growing up in that generation.

Mortal Kombat Series

Here is a classic title that has expanded through the years into something far bigger than developers ever could have imagined when the first version was released in arcades. Yes, you used to have to go to an Arcade to play this video game. As the game evolved through the years into versions with better graphics and response times, the classic characters remained. Choosing your destiny with the likes of Liu Kang, Scorpion, Sub Zero and Jax was a staple throughout the series. There was nothing better than “finishing him” at the end of a flawless round.  Mortal Kombat even had a movie made in honor of it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as good as the game.

Mario Kart 64

Yet another Nintendo classic, Mario Kart 64, was the first racing game for thousands of kids throughout the 90’s. Users selected their favorite Super Mario franchise characters, raced through tracks such as Rainbow Road and Bowser’s Castle, all the while dodging shell missiles and banana peels in the process. The power-ups made the races the most fun and there was nothing better than picking up a star when in second place on the last lap.

007 Golden Eye

One needs to look back at the graphics from Nintendo’s 007 Golden Eye to really understand how far gaming has come. At the time, it was the best and coolest shoot’em up game out there. Based on the James Bond movie, Golden Eye had an interactive story mode that built around the movie as well as a super competitive multiplayer mode for up to four players.

Other notables:

  • Legend of Zelda Series
  • The Sims Series
  • Sonic The Hedgehog Serie
  • Super Mario World
  • Doom
Female icon Nicki Minaj has decided to quit her music career at least for now. Reason: to focus on starting a family. Minaj, is 36 years old, has been atop the female rap game for a decade, sees the window closing on settling down and having a couple kids. The announcement came in the form of a typical Minaj tweet, “I’ve decided to retire & have my family. I know you guys are happy now. To my fans, keep reppin me, do it til da death of me, (X) in the box- cuz ain’t nobody checkin me.” Though she has mentioned that she is planning on getting married very soon, some have suggested that the announcement is “fake news,” that Nicki only did this for attention or that it’s an act of spite to her haters.  It actually makes sense for her to step away at least for a little while. Minaj has sold millions of albums since her first release Pink Friday in 2010 and she’s done major collaborations with famous artists such as Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Ariana Grande, and Madonna. Her work as gotten her ten Grammy nominations, five MTV Video Music Awards, nineteen BET Awards and the record for the most Billboard Hot 100 entries by a female solo artist. If this is the end, it has been one heck of a career. We just don’t think it is. Just imagine the return of Nicki Minaj as a mom, still beefing with Cardi B. That will be fun.
Disney fans rejoiced after the D23 Expo announcement confirming the return of Lizzie McGuire to Disney + streaming service. Even more excited than the fans is the show’s star, Hilary Duff, who is chomping at the bit to work again on the project that brought her into the limelight. “I’m so excited as a fan.” said Duff. “The response has been insane. We’re back. The band’s back together!” The last we saw Lizzie McGuire, she was traveling through Italy and becoming a major pop-star in the process. This was after spending four years dealing with the ups and downs of middle school and high school life. The show will resume some 15 years later with Lizzy at age 30, living in Brooklyn, engaged to a hot chef and working as an apprentice for an interior designer. A very cool throw back from the original series will be the return of narrator Lizzie as a cartoon for those moments in which Lizzie needs to monologue inside her own head. Cartoon Lizzie will return in the form of the 13 year old Lizzie – pink shirt, blue jeans and all. A release date for the series has yet to be announced. Here is the bottom line, if Hilary is pumped for the series, fans should be too. We think this will be an absolute hit for Disney+ as they build up their original content library.

Crazy Rich Asians was an absolute hit, earning over $238 million dollars worldwide. The romantic comedy was so big, Warner Bros. decided to renew the title for two sequels. But there is a problem. One of the two film writers, Adele Lim an Asian American, has left over a pay inequality claim.

Lim apparently was set to be paid $110,000-plus for the two films while her co-writer, Peter Chiarelli, was set to earn $800,000 – $1,000,000 for his effort.  Lim argues that regardless of the fact that Chiarelli’s resume boasts far more big screen experience than Adele’s, the size of the pay difference is too extreme given the fact that both worked on the initial hit project.

It has been reported that Lim apparently rejected a deal to split her counterpart Chiarelli’s salary with him, hoping to receive a salary closer to what he earns. Now it’s far lower than what that number would have been.

Adele told the Hollywood Reporter, “Pete has been nothing but incredibly gracious, but what I make shouldn’t be dependent on the generosity of the white-guy writer. If I couldn’t get pay equity after Crazy Rich Asians, I can’t imagine what it would be like for anyone else, given that the standard for how much you’re worth is having established quotes from previous movies, which women of color would never have been (hired for). There’s no realistic way to achieve true equality that way.”

With negotiations spewing out into the public light, the pressure is on Warner Bros. to either cut a new deal with Adele to bring her back or move on to find a new writer to keep the story culturally true. Unless Ms. Lim was doing the work of an assistant, rather than co-writer, she needs an increase.  It will be a shame to break up the team that was responsible for such a culturally important moment in entertainment history.  In the age of pay equity, Warner Bros. ought to step up