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New York Jets franchise quarterback Sam Darnold was supposed to have a breakout season this year under offensive guru Adam Gase. That idea is now on hold for a few weeks. The Jets announced Darnold will miss Monday night’s game against the Cleveland Browns because of mononucleosis and he’s likely to miss more games this month as he recovers.

Mono is a tricky thing for athletes because it severely dehydrates the body and significantly lowers energy levels. Darnold will get the best possible treatment, so it’s possible he’ll be able to return faster than us common folk would.  Trever Siemian, formerly of the Broncos, will step as quarterback in the interim.

Hiding under the bad Darnold news was Le’Veon Bell going for an MRI on his shoulder and the health uncertainty of pro-bowl middle linebacker CJ Mosley. If both cannot play Monday night, in addition to Darnold, the Jets will be in for a rough evening against a desperate Browns team that was blown out in their opener. But wait, it gets worse. The Jets next five games are at New England, at Philly, home verses Dallas, then home verses New England. The Jets could easily be 0-7 in the blink of an eye and Adam Gase could be fighting with reporters come mid-October. Might be time to cancel the football season in New York as the Giants don’t look to be in much better shape. At least the New York Yankees are going to make the playoffs this year.

Every football fan’s favorite Monday night of the year is week 1 of the NFL season where ESPN’s Monday Night Football has not one, but two feature games to open the season. Unfortunately, for ESPN, the start of the first game was not positive. Their new scoreboard graphic was roundly criticized. Throughout the first half of the New Orleans Saints – Houston Texan game, fans took to Twitter destroying the new scoreboard graphic which featured a yellow background where the down & distance is found. The color yellow, which usually signals there was a flag on the play, flashed after every play when the down and distance changed. People were confused and bothered enough to tweet. Despite the original mistake, give them credit, ESPN adjusted. Mid-game, the production team put a new background in place and launched it live for the second half.  Order was restored to down & distance and fans were no longer confused about whether or not there was a flag on the previous play.
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.
Social media often functions, wittingly or unwittingly, as a major form of advertising.  When users post pictures of themselves drinking Pepsi, they are unwittingly promoting it. Given the incredible amounts of time that millions of people spend on social media, it makes sense that companies would be looking to social media for predicable, controlled advertising solutions. To that end the NFL recently announced a new collaboration with TikTok, a social media service owned by the Chinese company ByteDance. The NFL hopes that TikTok will help to get popularity points with its generation z users given that it was the third most downloaded application in the US during the first quarter of this year. The need comes after Morning Consult data showed that football is losing popularity among younger people – TikTok’s audience – because they’re watching less TV and they’re playing less football because of head injury concerns. The NFL is going where their future audience is to drive them back into the fold. Adapt or die.

Ezekiel Elliot and the Dallas Cowboys have settled their contract dispute just in time for the season.  As expected, the deal is for 6 years and $90 million.

Now the focus shifts to Melvin Gordon and the Los Angeles Chargers, who are going through their own contract standoff. Gordon, like Zeke, is a top running back in the NFL. Despite the fact he has had injury troubles throughout his career, his production when he’s on the field and healthy is through the roof. The Chargers know it, but they have zero leverage when it comes to potentially trading him. Here’s why.

It is reported that Gordon is looking to earn about $13 million a season which is less than what Zeke got from Dallas. Though Gordon is only 26, he’s had injury problems unlike Zeke who has been healthy so far. With that said any team that would be enticed to trade for Gordon would have to consider his contract demands, potential for injury and the Chargers compensation package. The latter is incredibly high given the value put on the running back position in the NFL.

According to Josina Anderson of ESPN, the Chargers are asking for a 1st round pick for next year’s draft or a 1st and 5th round pick in the 2021 draft. In a time when players like Alvin Kamara and Kareen Hunt were drafted in the third round, it’s hard to justify paying a 1st round premium for a position that runs deep in drafts. Gordon is among the elite tier of running backs in the league, but the position he plays is working against the Chargers in their negotiations with other teams. Don’t be shocked if Gordon has already played his last game in Charger blue or he doesn’t play until late in the season or doesn’t play this season at all.

When looking at the talent on TV across NFL coverage, many of the personalities are former players and or coaches. Excluding the broadcaster-hosts for each network; NFL Network has Michael Irvin, Kurt Warner, Deion Sanders, and LaDainian Tomlinson; FOX has Michael Strahan, Terry Bradshaw and Howie Long; ESPN has journalist, Steve Smith Sr, with Teddy Bruschi, and Randy Moss. TV having become a great option for a former player’s life after football, but only if he/she has the personality for it. So who are in the next wave of NFL talent that can crush it in the studio? Some of the current on air talent weigh in on their picks. Spoiler alert, Baker Mayfield is a top choice. “I want any piece of Baker,” said Kyle Brandt, co-host of Good Morning Football on the NFL Network. “I want Baker Mayfield because he just doesn’t follow the rules. He breaks all those sports media rules that have been around for 25-50 years on the ancient scrolls [like] don’t talk this way about a teammate or an opponent. He just doesn’t care and that would be great on the air.” Baker Mayfield is likely a long way away from retirement, but would be big ratings on TV.  Baker has already made many controversial comments, as Brandt alluded to, most recently regarding the Giants and the Daniel Jones draft selection. Other TV personalities, like LT and Steve Smith, have suggested the likes of Josh Norman, Jalen Ramsey, Greg Olsen, and Aqib Talib. For us, the most obvious choice right now is Rob Gronkowski.  Gronk, unlike the aforementioned players is actually retired, so the opportunity is more realistic. He is hilarious, he was one of the best to ever play his position and he is relatable to the full spectrum of viewers and listeners. The question is less about can Gronk do it, it’s more about does he wants to do it.

As August rolls into September, preseason football rolls into the regular season. Throughout the month of August, the hype train of fantasy football is at an all time high, with proclaimed experts giving their opinions on who is this year’s best or worst and who’s a sleeper pick. At the end of the day, fantasy football is chaotic and something we ultimately have no control over. Who would have known for example, that last year Pat Mahomes, who was drafted on average between the 5th and 8th rounds, would have one of the greatest fantasy seasons of all time.  In light of Mahomes historic season, we took a look at the best, offensive fantasy seasons since 2000 by players at their respective positions.

Using the standard format of scoring and standard roster size, here’s the breakdown.

Quarterback – Peyton Manning 2013 Season

Could we have put Mahomes season here from last year, absolutely. Tom Brady in 2007 was also an obvious choice for top QB spot, but it is hard to argue with Peyton Manning’s record setting season in 2013. Peyton threw 55 Passing touchdowns and over 5,400 yards, with just 10 interceptions. He even added a rushing TD that year in very un-Peyton like fashion. It was good for over 420 fantasy points.

Running Back 1 – LaDainian Tomlinson 2006 Season

The best fantasy season hands down for any player pound-for-pound at any position.  LT set both NFL and fantasy football records with over 1,800 rushing yards, over 500 receiving yards, 50+ receptions, an NFL record 28 rushing TD’s and 3 receiving TD’s. The greatest, all time, single season for a running back and it was good for 480 fantasy points.

Running Back 2 – Marshall Faulk 2000 Season

The greatest show on turf, Marshall Faulk, was a dual threat running back who was ahead of his time. His receiving stats were better than over half the league’s wide receivers in 2000! Totaling nearly 1,400 yards rushing, over 800 yards receiving, a whopping 81 receptions and 26 total touchdowns (18 rushing 8 receiving), Faulk’s season racked up 460 fantasy points for owners.

Wide Receiver 1 – Randy Moss 2007 Season

Randy Moss set the NFL record for most TD’s in a single season in 2007 with the help from Quarterback Tom Brady. The number was 23 and it’s a record that will likely stand for a long, long time. He also racked up 1,500 yards in the air with 98 receptions. He accomplished this while often sitting out the end of blowout wins as the Patriots went 16-0 in the regular season. What’s even crazier is he was a mid-round pick for that season, having come off question mark season with the Raiders.

Wide Receiver 2 – Antonio Brown 2015 Season

He may be a head case, but there is no denying Antonio Brown is one of the great wideouts the game has ever seen. 2015 was his best season – he racked up a lofty 136 receptions for over 1,800 yards and 10 receiving touchdowns. This was good for 386 fantasy points, earning him a spot on the all time squad.

Tight End – Rob Gronkowski 2011 Season

Gronk smash! Arguably the greatest tight end of all time and certainly one of the most fun football personalities, Gronk’s 2011 season was the only year in which he started all 16 games. A healthy Gronk is unstoppable and uncontainable and he showcased it through that entire campaign. He wasn’t a top pick, like he became after 2011, so you got great value if you drafted Gronk in 2011. He put up 90 catches, over 1,300 yards and led the entire league in receiving touchdowns with 17. If you had Gronk in 2011, you likely Gronk-smashed your league.

FLEX – Priest Holmes (RB) 2003 Season

A shame his career was cut short due to injuries because Priest Holmes was, before dealing with neck problems, en route to breaking NFL all time records. In 2003 he bested his 2002 season which was thought to be an all time season. He set the record for rushing touchdowns in 2003 (27) only to see it broken by LT in 2006. He also added 74 catches for 690 yards while tallying over 1,400 yards on the ground. The Priest was a beast!

Kicker – David Akers 2011 Season

Kickers are getting booted out of fantasy leagues left and right, but for us, it is still a big part of fantasy football. Who doesn’t love it when a kicker makes or breaks your week (kidding, sort of). At any rate, Eagles Kicker David Akers had the best fantasy season for any kicker in 2011 when he set an NFL record for attempts (52) and makes (44). He also drilled in 7 from over 50 yards which are of course worth more. To all the fantasy owners, good luck in the 2019 season!

Andrew Luck is one of the classiest, most professional guys to have participated in the modern game of football. He has never been a me-first guy, rather he has always been a we-first guy. He was a team guy. When Luck came to the Indianapolis Colts as the number 1 overall pick in 2012, he had massive shoes to fill, Peyton Manning  had been arguably the greatest quarterback in NFL history. Luck sacrificed his body for horribly built teams that didn’t protect him. But he went out and battled nonetheless to become a true leader, a captain, and a perennial all pro.  Andrew Luck gave everything he had to the game of football, the city of Indianapolis and the Colts franchise. Saturday night, in the middle of the Colts third preseason game, it was announced that Andrew Luck was retiring from football. It was a shock to everyone, including his teammates. The somewhat awkward part was that there was a game going on and Luck was on the field in practice clothes – not the usual retirement announcement setting. Still, it was time for Andrew Luck to go. He could no longer physically or mentally do what was required to compete at the highest level in a game that had given so much to him. So, he retired. How did Colts fan’s react that night in Indy? With boo’s. They booed Andrew Luck off the field as he walked from the sideline into the dressing room. The problem here isn’t the roughness of the NFL, the position the Colts are in without Luck or the timing of his announcement. It is the knee jerk mentality of people whose first instinct, all too often, is inherently selfish, self-centered and shallow. Be it Colts fans who booed Luck off the field or Raptors fans who cheered when Kevin Durant went down in the NBA finals, far too many people forget the human element of life when it isn’t their own life in discussion.  There is too much “what have you done for me lately” and too little gratitude and appreciation for the quality of the effort, even for the guy on the other team. Meanwhile, Luck’s teammates and peers have supported his decision whole-heartedly. Ty Hilton admits he still cries a bit everyday when he thinks about it. Coach Frank Reich, who took this job last year mainly for the opportunity to work with Andrew Luck, couldn’t have praised Luck more. The Colts chose not to recoup from Luck any of the $24+ million they could have, letting him keep the whole thing for his service to the franchise and the community. If the people around Luck, who are affected most by his decision, can react so genuinely with love and respect, why can’t the average fan? The NFL will miss Andrew Luck for all of his talent, personality and professionalism on and off the field. Indy fans likely would welcome a mulligan on how to better handle themselves in a moment of adversity, but they won’t need one from Andrew Luck.  He understands them and has probably already forgiven them. We wish Andrew Luck the best in his life after football.  We wish him a life of health, happiness, and fulfillment for the man who is an even better person than he was a quarterback and he was quite the quarterback.