Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-15
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 15 — Defense/Special Teams Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 15 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 Chicago Bears vs. SEA
2 Green Bay Packers at KC
3 Pittsburgh Steelers at SF
4 Baltimore Ravens at SD
5 Cincinnati Bengals at STL
6 San Francisco 49ers vs. PIT
7 Houston Texans vs. CAR
8 Detroit Lions at OAK
9 New York Jets at PHI
10 Dallas Cowboys at TB (Saturday)
11 Atlanta Falcons vs. JAC (Thursday)
12 Tennessee Titans at IND
13 Seattle Seahawks at CHI
14 Arizona Cardinals vs. CLE
15 Philadelphia Eagles vs. NYJ
16 Miami Dolphins at BUF

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 07:50
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-15
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 15 — Kicker Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 15 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 John Kasay NO at MIN
2 Dan Bailey DAL at TB (Saturday)
3 Stephen Gostkowski NE at DEN
4 David Akers SF vs. PIT
5 Mason Crosby GB at KC
6 Billy Cundiff BAL at SD
7 Sebastian Janikowski OAK vs. DET
8 Neil Rackers HOU vs. CAR
9 Jason Hanson DET at OAK
10 Robbie Gould CHI vs. SEA
11 Nick Novak SD vs. BAL
12 Mike Nugent CIN at STL
13 Rob Bironas TEN at IND
14 Matt Prater DEN vs. NE
15 Alex Henery PHI vs. NYJ
16 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. WAS

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 07:41
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-15
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 15 — Wide Receiver Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 15 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Wes Welker NE at DEN
2 Calvin Johnson DET at OAK
3 Hakeem Nicks NYG vs. WAS
4 Jordy Nelson GB at KC
5 Roddy White ATL vs. JAC (Thursday)
6 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. CLE
7 Marques Colston NO at MIN
8 Steve Smith CAR at HOU
9 Percy Harvin MIN vs. NO
10 Mike Wallace PIT at SF
11 A.J. Green CIN at STL
12 Brandon Marshall MIA at BUF
13 Vincent Jackson SD vs. BAL
14 Miles Austin DAL at TB (Saturday)
15 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. GB
16 Victor Cruz NYG vs. WAS
17 Dez Bryant DAL at TB (Saturday)
18 Steve Johnson BUF vs. MIA
19 Brandon Lloyd STL vs. CLE
20 Julio Jones ATL vs. JAC (Thursday)
21 Santana Moss WAS at NYG
22 Anquan Boldin BAL at SD
23 Antonio Brown PIT at SF
24 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. NYJ
25 Laurent Robinson DAL at TB (Saturday)
26 Santonio Holmes NYJ at PHI
27 Michael Crabtree SF vs. PIT
28 Mike Williams TB vs. DAL (Saturday)
29 James Jones GB at KC
30 Nate Washington TEN at IND
31 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. NE
32 Pierre Garcon IND vs. TEN
33 Doug Baldwin SEA at CHI
34 Eric Decker DEN vs. NE
35 Mario Manningham NYG vs. WAS
36 Lance Moore NO at MIN
37 Jabar Gaffney WAS at NYG
38 Plaxico Burress NYJ at PHI
39 Damian Williams TEN at IND
40 Torrey Smith BAL at SD
41 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs. NYJ
42 Malcom Floyd SD vs. BAL
43 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK vs. DET
44 Titus Young DET at OAK
45 Reggie Wayne IND vs. TEN
46 Deion Branch NE at NE
47 Riley Cooper PHI vs. NYJ
48 Nate Burleson DET at OAK
49 Johnny Knox CHI vs. SEA
50 Greg Little CLE at ARI
51 David Nelson BUF vs. MIA
52 Early Doucet ARI vs. CLE
53 Kevin Walter HOU vs. CAR
54 Davone Bess MIA at BUF
55 Jerome Simpson CIN at STL
56 Arrelious Benn TB vs. DAL (Saturday)
57 Vincent Brown SD vs. BAL
58 Golden Tate SEA at CHI
59 Earl Bennett CHI vs. SEA
60 Steve Breaston KC vs. GB
61 Robert Meachem NO at MIN
62 Harry Douglas ATL vs. JAC (Thursday)
63 Legedu Naane CAR at HOU
64 Jacoby Jones HOU vs. CAR

Teaser:
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Post date: Wednesday, December 14, 2011 - 07:35
All taxonomy terms: Funny, viral videos, Overtime
Path: /overtime/10-greatest-sports-related-viral-videos-2011
Body:

Viral videos are usually what your spend the majority of your workday watching (don't worry, your boss is doing the same thing.) So here are the 10 best viral videos from the sports world in 2011. These aren't the best plays or craziest athletic moments, but the most entertaining viral videos that fall into the sports or sports culture category. Enjoy.

10. Police Officers Trick Deadbeat Parents with Fake Alabama/Auburn Tix

This ruse is genius in its simplicity. And the simplicity of it's victims. The Alabama County police sent out letters to parents suspected of not paying child support telling them they won tickets to the Auburn-Alabama game. All they had to do was show up with ID to collect. Instead of winning free tickets, they won an arrest. They called it "Operation Iron Snare."

9. LeSean McCoy Jabs Andy Reid in the Stomach

This video is why slow motion was invented.

8. Troy Polamalu Scares the Crap out of People at a Wax Museum

Sure this was basically a commercial for Head and Shoulders, but seeing people get the bejesus scared out of them makes it all OK.

7. Water Skiier Smashes Face

Meet Kyle Dammeyer. He's a water skiier for THE Ohio State university. And now his face is getting smashed up against THE water skiing ramp. This video gets bonus points for the announcer who takes a little too much glee in the replay of this crash after he learnst hat Kyle's OK.

6. We Don't Need No Cats...We Need More Dogs

I think I understand what Coastal Carolina's Dave Bennett is trying to say in this really weird and bizarre press conference. But it takes this analogy a while to pay off and when it does, it's totally worth it.

5.  Holy Crap! It's Carp!

Some people think fishing is a sport, but to me it looks a lot like riding around in a boat and trying not to get hit in the face with a giant fish. This doesn't seem very hard to me.

4. The Honey Badger

This one falls in the sports realm because LSU Tigers' cornerback and Heisman Award nominee Tyrann Mathieu has taken on the nickname "Honey Badger" this season. Is it because Tyrann "don't care, he just takes what he wants." The language in this is very NSFW.

3. Tampa Rays Cameraman Falls Down

There's three absolutes in life: 1. Death, 2. Taxes, and 3. Falling Down is always funny. It's also enjoyable that Adrian Beltre just points at the guy as he's going down and keeps trotting to home plate.

2. Antelope Destroys Biker

This is exactly what you think should happen to someone stupid enough to try and bike across Africa. You don't just get your bike and start riding it around Africa. This isn't Central Park. This is the wild, where antelopes and wildebeasts and whatnot will take you out just for bringing your mountain bike out for a stroll. 

1. Kenny Powers Takes Over K-Swiss

Remember when I said that "Honey Badger" video was NSFW? Well, take that and add a few more F's to this instant classic where "Eastbound and Down" star Kenny Powers becomes the CEO of K-Swiss. There would be no Occupying of Wall Street if real life CEO's conducted themselves like Mr. Powers. (Sidenote: This is the greatest commercial of all time.)

Teaser:
<p> Here are the 10 best viral videos from around the world of sports</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 15:36
All taxonomy terms: bikes vs cars, biking, infographic, News
Path: /news/how-bikes-can-save-america-and-world
Body:

Biking And Health
Created by: Healthcare Management Degree

Here's a news flash: Biking is better for you than driving in your car. OK, OK, so you already knew that, but here's a handy little infographic that breaks down how much better pumping your little legs on a two-wheeler is better than pushing the pedal on your gas guzzler.

For example, Portland, OR is investing in biking and giving their residents incentives to skip their cars and it's going to save that town $400 million in health care by 2040. The average cyclist will lose 13 pounds in their first year of riding to work. Plus, you'll save a ton in gas money.

What more do you need to know? 

Teaser:
<p> Ditch your car for your bike and everyone will be better for it</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 14:42
Path: /nfl/fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-15
Body:

So you made it to Week 15. Congratulations. That either means you won a quarterfinal game or your league’s playoffs begin this week.

This time of the year there is not usually that much to find on the waiver wire that will be of that much benefit to you — you would like to play with who got you here. But injuries, bad matchups and other unfortunate circumstances might have to scouring the wire to see what’s out there to help you advance.

Easily, the No. 1 waiver wire pick of the week will be Dallas running back Felix Jones. It is very rare that a player who was the team’s starter when the season began, loses the job and comes back to be the starter for you in the fantasy playoffs. So consider it a gift if you have No. 1 priority this week. He was never a back you could consistently count on, but with Dallas having to win, perhaps Jones hoping to prove he’s the top back and two easy matchups against Tampa Bay and Philadelphia the next two weeks this is about as good a scenario a fantasy player could have.

After that, the wire is full of matchup quarterbacks and a few receivers that are favorite targets that could pay some dividends in Week 15. So enjoy 3,200 words that will hopefully keep you moving along in the fantasy postseason.

QUARTERBACKS
Rex Grossman, Washington
Did you see how wide open Miles Austin, Laurent Robinson and Dez Bryant (at least on his 50-yard catch) were against the Giants on Sunday night? Now Grossman gets to try and duplicate Tony Romo’s 321-yard, four-TD 36.84-point game with Santana Moss, Jabar Gaffney, Anthony Armstrong and Brandon Banks. Not necessarily the same trio, but he also has Roy Helu as a shifty pass-catcher out of the backfield. Grossman racked up 19.08 fantasy points on just 19 completions and one interception against New England’s terrible pass defense in Week 13 and now he gets the 29th-ranked Giants pass defense that has allowed more TDs and less interceptions than the Patriots (24-15 to 21-18).

John Skelton, Arizona
He stepped in for an injured Kevin Kolb (head) against San Francisco last week and threw for 282 yards, three scores and two interceptions. Monitor Kolb’s status for this week, but Skelton gets the ball down field better and could remain the starter. Up next for the Cardinals are the visiting Cleveland Browns and their No. 2 ranked pass defense that kept the Pittsburgh passing game in check until Ben Roethlisberger’s late 79-yard touchdown hook up with Antonio Brown pushed Big Ben to 280 yards on the night. Skelton has Larry Fitzgerald and Early Doucet to get the ball to for big plays the 46- and 60-yard scores he connected on with those two receivers against the 49ers.

Jake Locker, Tennessee
If Matt Hasselbeck (calf) is out or the Titans feel it’s time to turn to the rookie, then Locker could be a decent play at Indianapolis. Locker can certainly get it done with his legs, but also has shown the ability to stay in the pocket in the limited time he has played this season. Hasselbeck scored 14.86 fantasy points the last time the Titans played the Colts, and Locker should be good for at least that against an 0-13 Colts team that has allowed 23 touchdown passes to just six interceptions.

T.J. Yates, Houston
The Panthers’ run defense is ranked 23rd in the NFL, so this could be an Arian Foster-Ben Tate kind of day in Houston. However, Yates can push the ball down field and could have Andre Johnson (hamstring) returning. Yates led the game-winning drive Sunday against Cincinnati, connecting with Kevin Walter in the end zone to get the Texans into the postseason for the first time in franchise history. He finished 26-of-44 for 300 yards and two scores for a 24.6-point fantasy day. The Panthers are ranked 19th in pass defense, giving up 236.5 yards a game with 22 touchdowns allowed to 10 interceptions.

Andy Dalton, Cincinnati
Only because it is St. Louis would I recommend Dalton outside of a two-QB league setup. He continues to be the 12-point quarterback — only dipping below it in Weeks 1 and 3. Problem with St. Louis, much like Cleveland, the reason the pass defense numbers look so good is because teams can run all day on them as well. The Rams are ranked 8th against the pass at 208.4 yards per game with 18 touchdowns allowed against 10 interceptions. Against the run, they are ranked last in the league. But Dalton does still have A.J. Green, and he could be worth two long balls and two TDs alone to give Dalton a quick 15 points.

Christian Ponder, Minnesota
This would be the type of play you know you’re hoping for garbage-time production. Vikings coach Leslie Frazier says Ponder will return to the starting role after being pulled for Joe Webb last week against Detroit, and the Saints do have the 30th-ranked pass defense in the league at 268 yards per game with 20 touchdowns allowed to seven interceptions.

Charlie Batch, Pittsburgh
If Ben Roethlisberger (ankle) is out then it’s Charlie Batch time against a 49ers defense that is average against the pass and No. 1 against the run with no rushing touchdowns allowed all season. Rashard Mendenhall’s chances of success are nil, so it could go to the arm of Batch. It’s not the arm you want to be relying on in Week 15 of a fantasy football season, but he does still have Mike Wallace, Antonio Brown, Hines Ward, maybe a healthy Emmanuel Sanders as his receiving corps and TE Heath Miller as a safety valve. Again, it’s not who you want to trot out there in your semifinals, but if you are desperate you can look to John Skelton having a 26.78-point day off the bench against San Francisco and see some glimmer of hope.

RUNNING BACKS
Felix Jones, Dallas
Easily the No. 1 waiver wire pickup of the week after DeMarco Murray fractured his ankle early in the Sunday night game against the Giants. Jones was out four games himself this season with a high-ankle injury, ineffective in five others and had no shot at grabbing the starting role back from the rookie. However, he is back as the starter and there is pretty much no one behind him. He finished with 106 yards on 16 carries and six catches for 31 yards Sunday against New York.

What a fun season to have Cowboy backs. We thought this would be the year Jones would emerge, then Tashard Choice is kept on, Murray is drafted and Phillip Tanner showed some flashes. We had a three or four-headed backfield for a bit. But it all washed out and Murray was the clear-cut starter. Now here comes Jones to save us in the playoffs. He gets the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their 28th-ranked rush defense to start off with, followed by Philadelphia’s 18th-ranked rush defense. Jones was never great when he was the clear-cut starter, but we look at him differently now that so many backs have either gone down with injuries our been busts themselves. Now he’s here to be our playoff savior, and the two matchups he has make that a likely scenario.

Ryan Grant, Green Bay
I was completely wrong about Grant in Week 14. He hadn’t done anything all season, the Packers’ backs haven’t done anything all season and Grant busts off a 47-yard TD run in the first three minutes and then scores on a 6-yarder in the middle of the second quarter. Grant finished with 85 yards on 10 carries. James Starks’ one TD in Week 1 was the only other TD a Green Bay feature back had scored this season, and the Packers, despite beating teams by an average of 13.2 points per game coming into the Oakland beatdown, were 22nd in rushing attempts per game at 25.7 and 29th in rushing yards per game (96.5). Guess that philosophy changed against the 28th-ranked Raiders.

Now after beating down the Raiders in a rematch of Super Bowl II, the Packers get the Chiefs in a rematch of Super Bowl I. The Chiefs just allowed Super Bowl III winners, the New York Jets, to rush for 159 yards on 42 attempts. Grant got his shot and saw his carries increase because second-year man James Starks (ankle) was out and rookie Brandon Saine (concussion) went out with an injury during the game. If Starks and Saine return, and John Kuhn (10-46) gets carries like he did Sunday, one would have to think Grant’s value goes right back to where it was before Sunday’s kickoff — back on the bench.

Toby Gerhart, Minnesota
If Adrian Peterson is back this week from his ankle injury then Gerhart is of no value. But if he isn’t then he gets a Saints team that had been terrible against the run until the Titans made them look like world beaters to the tune of 59 yards on 17 carries, including 11-for-23 from Chris Johnson. Gerhart has put up fantasy days of 13.3, 17.3 and 19.4 points in his three fill-ins for Peterson. I wouldn’t expect this one to stay close, but it is in Minnesota and the Vikings have shown a commitment to the run with Gerhart as he has games of 17, 21 and 19 — all losses.

Marion Barber, Chicago
You can’t hold grudges that he fumbled on the last offensive play for the Bears or that he went out of bounds when he wasn’t supposed to; the only affect it had on you was minus two points or one for the fumble. Other than that, he had 27 carries for 108 yards and scored the only TD for Chicago en route to a 20-point fantasy day. He does have two things going against him in Week 15: he could be in the doghouse with the coaches for the bonehead plays and the Bears play host to the No. 11-ranked rushing defense of the Seattle Seahawks. Seattle allows just over 100 yards per game and have surrendered eight rushing TDs. But there is not much left on the waiver wire, and the Bears can’t just step away from a back they gave the ball to 27 times a week earlier with a QB like Caleb Hanie at the helm.

LaDainian Tomlinson, New York Jets
He played through a knee injury in Week 14 and put up 13.4 fantasy points against the Chiefs. Now the Jets travel to play the 18th-ranked rush defense of the Philadelphia Eagles. Monitor his health and that of Joe McKnight’s, who missed the Chiefs game with an elbow injury. But LT could be a viable flex play as a change of pace for Shonn Greene. One big problem that has emerged is QB Mark Sanchez stealing goal line TDs. There’s nothing you can do about that, but LT’s going to get 10-15 touches (12 against Kansas City) and that’s what you’re looking for from a flex.

Kendall Hunter, San Francisco
Frank Gore isn’t 100-percent and the 49ers have already clinched the NFC West. He had just 10 carries against the Arizona Cardinals. He gets until Monday night to rest for the Pittsburgh Steelers and their No. 6 rush defense that allows 97 yards per game and just six TDs this season. Hunter is a wait-and-see play, and his matchup is terrible, but he is quick and can help in the passing game.

Ricky Williams, Baltimore
I’d like to say he’d be a decent play against the 25th-ranked rush defense of the Buffalo Bills, who give up 130.7 yards per game and 15 scores. But a week after Willams got 76 yards in a win over the Browns, he did nothing in a blowout over the Colts. If you are really desperate then roll the dice.

WIDE RECEIVERS
Demaryius Thomas, Denver
So instead of wondering whether Tim Tebow can complete enough meaningful passes to Eric Decker, we now have Thomas to contend with. And it has been Thomas as the favorite the last two weeks. He had 13 targets for seven catches, 78 yards and a TD against Chicago; six catches came in the fourth quarter. A week earlier, he had 144 yards and two scores on four catches and seven targets. If there is a favorite receiver, it seems to be Thomas. And now the Broncos travel to New England, where everyone not named Tyler Palko has had success in the air. Thomas is probably the No. 2 waiver wire pickup behind Felix Jones. And with his good back-to-back weeks and the terrible Patriot pass defense, if you get him you might as well play him.

Titus Young, Detroit
The rookie has been on this waiver wire report a few times this season, alternating with Nate Burleson. It would be great if it was set in stone who was going to benefit the most playing opposite Calvin Johnson, but it’s rarely the right week; we miss it either a week before or a week after. Young made a big splash early against the terrible Vikings pass defense with a 57-yard score — the majority of his, seven-target, 4-for-87 day. But Oakland is coming off an Aaron Rodgers torching and Matthew Stafford was looking good on Sunday. The Lions keep getting running backs injured, so it might have to be just the air attack that they go with to try and dispose of the Raiders.

Kevin Walter, Houston
Well of course it wasn’t Jacoby Jones who had a decent day against the Bengals, playing the No. 1 role with Andre Johnson out. Instead it was Walter, who received 10 targets from rookie QB T.J. Yates and caught six of them for 76 yards and the game-winning score in the closing seconds. The Texans play host to Carolina this week and they might not need the passing game as Arian Foster and Ben Tate get their chance to tee off on the 23rd-ranked rush defense. But if Yates has built a rapport with Walter and the Texans released Derrick Mason on Monday, then he could be the pass-catcher not named Owen Daniels or Joel Dresseen to see some action in Week 15.

Pierre Garcon, Indianapolis
He continues to be Dan Orlovsky’s favorite target, leading the team the last three games, and he’s had success against the Titans during his career. The question will be: Does he draw Titans CB Cortland Finnegan in coverage or does Finnegan go to Reggie Wayne? If Finnegan goes Wayne’s way, then there could be some success in a game the Colts should likely be behind in. Garcon had 12 targets for seven catches and 63 yards in a loss to Baltimore. This comes a week after he had 12 targets, nine catches, 150 yards and two scores against New England.

Damian Williams, Tennessee
If Matt Hasselbeck is out and Jake Locker is in then it might be hard to know what kind of rapport Williams has with the rookie QB until we see it on Sunday in Indianapolis. We know Williams can get open all over the field and we know he can score. It’s a good matchup against the pass, but a better matchup against the run. The Colts are ranked 30th against the run, so Chris Johnson should conceivably have a good day. But he just laid a 23-yard egg against the Saints’ 15th-ranked rushing defense in Week 14, so it’s hard to say what you’re going to get. Williams would be the best passing option for Tennessee. He had 10 targets to lead the team against New Orleans — his seventh week to tie for or lead the team in targets since Kenny Britt’s Week 3 injury.

Jabar Gaffney, Washington
Gaffney was targeted eight times, catching six of them for 92 yards and a score against the pitiful New England pass defense. Santana Moss was also targeted nine times, catching three for 81 yards and a score on a pass from fellow receiver Brandon Banks. This week, the Redskins get another pitiful pass defense in the New York Giants. Gaffney and QB Rex Grossman surely are familiar enough with each other from their Florida Gator days and Gaffney can be a good flex play against New York this week.

Donald Driver and James Jones, Green Bay
So the Green Bay Packers’ receiving corps situation loses its leader right as the fantasy playoffs are in full gear. Greg Jennings is out for the rest of the fantasy season and we have to figure out will it be James Jones or grizzled veteran Donald Driver to pick up the slack. Driver had six targets for four catches and 75 yards, while Jones had two catches for 29 yards on three targets. Jones, after three double-digit days in Weeks 4-6, has had just one since then and four games under four points — three under 1.4 — in the last five games. Driver has not been much better. He had 17.4 against the Giants two weeks ago and 9.5 against the Raiders. It was Driver’s fourth game of at least 9.5 points since Week 6, but there were three games under three points in there as well. The Packers spread the ball around so much that Jordy Nelson might be the only dependable play at receiver this week against the Chiefs’ solid corners, while tight end Jermichael Finley, a fter a ZERO against Oakland, might have success against a team susceptible to the tight end position.

Oakland’s receivers
Darrius Heyward-Bey was targeted 11 times, catching five for 78 yards in Sunday’s loss at Green Bay. He injured his heel in the game, and his participation is dependent upon the health of Jacoby Ford (foot) and Denarius Moore (ankle), who both went through workouts on Monday. The same can be said for Louis Murphy, who was targeted nine times, catching four of them for 70 yards against the Packers. If Moore and Ford are out once again, then both Heyward-Bey and Murphy could be decent plays against a Detroit team the Raiders should probably be trailing early. If Moore and Ford are healthy, Heyward-Bey and Murphy are not playable and probably only Moore becomes a decent play.

TIGHT ENDS
Joel Dreessen, Houston
Young QBs love the tight end and Houston has two of them in Owen Daniels and Dreessen. Daniels is certainly the one that he goes to more often — 10 targets for 7 catches and 100 yards on Sunday — but in the red zone all bets are off. The Texans have become synonymous with the backdoor play where the QB rolls one way, the TE releases the other and boom, he’s wide open in the end zone. Dreessen caught a TD like that on Sunday, his sixth TD of the season. Consider this a type of play like a goal line vulture, or how tight ends used to be — three catches, 22 yards and a score: Dresseen’s line from Sunday.

Anthony Fasano, Miami
He had a season-high eight targets Sunday against Philadelphia, pulling down three of them for 56 yards. It was his second straight game with at least 56 yards and third since Week 10. Now the Dolphins get a Bills team that is the worst in the league against tight ends and allowed a TD to Fasano in Week 11.

Kevin Boss, Oakland
The Lions have allowed at least 10.8 points the last two games against tight ends — Jimmy Graham and Visanthe Shiancoe. This would be a giant reach for the former Giants TE, but the Raiders are out of receivers with Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore still not back in the lineup (at least as of Week 14) and Darrius Heyward-Bey injuring his heel in Sunday’s debacle at Green Bay. Boss had a season-high seven targets against the Packers, catching five of them for 43 yards and a score. The Lions could come in and beat the Raiders up just as easily as the Packers did, and Boss could be a good source of GTP — garbage-time production.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati
He had seven targets on Sunday against the Texans, catching three of them for 45 yards. The Bengals travel to St. Louis in Week 15 and the Rams have only allowed one TD to a tight end this season — Jason Witten in Week 7. The Rams have allowed 18 passing TDs this season, so obviously TE is not getting the love against them in the red zone. But Gresham continues to be a target all over the field for rookie QB Andy Dalton, and has not dipped below seven targets in the last three weeks and has only done so four times all season.
 

Teaser:
<p> Felix Jones is the must pick-up as you hit the playoffs</p>
Post date: Tuesday, December 13, 2011 - 08:37
Path: /nfl/indianapolis-colts-will-regret-not-drafting-andrew-luck
Body:

The biggest race of the 2011 season – the one that could have the biggest impact on 2012 and beyond – is all-but decided. The Indianapolis Colts are the worst team in the NFL. They are going to own the rights to super-quarterback Andrew Luck.

And if they don’t exercise those rights next April and draft their future franchise quarterback – no matter how healthy their current quarterback is – they’ll be making a mistake that they’ll end up regretting for the next decade at least.

That’s the price of the biggest decision the Colts’ franchise will have to make since 1998 when they made the decision – which wasn’t a slam dunk at the time, by the way – to take Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf.

Now, 13 years later, Manning is 35 years old. He’s three months removed from spinal fusion surgery, which was his third neck surgery in the last 19 months. The Colts and the Mannings have been guarded about what they’ve revealed publicly about the future Hall of Famer’s condition. He was never placed on injured reserve though even owner Jim Irsay recently conceded he’s not likely to play this season.

The more vague they are, the more we are all left to wonder: Will Peyton Manning ever play again?

“He loves to play, he wants to play and I think if he gets his health back, he still capable of playing at a high level,” Peyton’s dad, Archie Manning, said recently on ESPN Radio. “That’s his DNA.”

And that’s great. But he’s still 35 – 36 by the time the 2012 season starts. He’s still coming off a lost season and three surgeries on his neck in the last 19 months. He may be one of the five greatest quarterbacks who ever lived, but age and surgeries – particularly neck surgeries – can even cause super-human athletes to deteriorate.

If he returns, will he be the same? How many Hall of Fame years does he have left? How many good years? What happens to his neck (and arm, and shoulder) the next time he takes a hit?

And with no clear answers to those questions, how in the world could the Colts pass up the chance to draft the next Peyton Manning – or if you listen to some star-struck scouts, maybe next Joe Montana and John Elway rolled into one?

The problem with doing so, of course, means they have to figure out what to do with Manning, who has a $28 million option on his contract that the Colts can either exercise or let him become a free agent. Archie dropped a big hint a few days ago in a Fox radio interview that if the Colts draft Luck they’ll have to let Peyton be free.

“I don't think it'd necessarily be great for either one,” Archie said. “I think Andrew's the type of mature player (where) he can walk right in. I mean, these other three or four guys that are playing this year, (if) they can walk in and contribute, Andrew can, too.”

Archie later walked that remark back, saying “I’m sure they could” co-exist. He said his only point was that Luck is “too good to sit.”

Whether a rookie quarterback should sit or not is a long-standing argument in the NFL with no right answer. Peyton Manning started as a rookie and went 3-13 and threw 28 interceptions. His little brother Eli started the last seven games for the Giants in his rookie season in 2004, threw nine interceptions and lost his first six starts.

Both of them, though, swear the experience of playing right from the start helped them immensely. Then again, how much was Aaron Rodgers helped by spending three years sitting and watching Brett Favre in Green Bay. When Rodgers took over in 2008 he threw for 4,000 yards and immediately became one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. Two years later he was a Super Bowl champion and Super Bowl MVP.

Favre never liked having his eventual replacement behind him and Rodgers never liked sitting. Eventually management was forced to make a choice that became messy, tarnished the legacy of one of the franchise’s greatest quarterbacks, and became a national soap opera for a while. But the sight of Rodgers bringing the Lombardi Trophy back to Lambeau Field last February had to make all the pain worth it, because if the Packers hadn’t planned for the post-Favre era as well as they did they would still be searching for his replacement.

One of the toughest things in sports for a general manager or owner is to figure out when to turn the page from a legendary figure who has meant immeasurable amounts to a franchise and its fans. Do it too early and there’ll be fan backlash. Do it too late and it’ll set you back for years.

This is the pivotal moment for the Colts, who once boasted Johnny Unitas, once lost out on Elway, and for more than a decade have been at the top of the NFL’s class thanks to Manning’s right arm and sharp head.

But none of that matters because you can’t live in the past, and whether he likes it or not, Manning, at his age, is much more past than future. Yes, he should still be given the option to stick around if he wants, to teach Luck, and to see if his neck can withstand a few more seasons.

But the Colts can’t pass up Luck in deference to a man that will soon be a ghost. Otherwise they’ll find themselves chasing the next Luck for years.

By RALPH VACCHIANO
 

Teaser:
<p> The Colts have to take Andrew Luck in the 2012 NFL draft. And they probably know it</p>
Post date: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 09:28
Path: /college-football/best-big-east-teams-bcs-era
Body:

— by Mark Ross

The BCS is wrapping up its 14th season of action and Athlon has dissected the numbers and reviewed the tapes of all six BCS conferences in order to rank the best each league has had to offer. Which Oklahoma team was the best of the decade? Which Florida team was the toughest to stop? How do you rank the Florida State teams of the late 90s? Which Miami team was the best? How about those loaded USC teams? Alabama vs. Auburn?

The debates will most assuredly rage on for decades, but here is Athlon's two cents. Here are the Top 10 Big East teams of the BCS Era (1998-present):

"First Day" indicates 1st and 2nd round NFL Draft picks
* - team played in the ACC Championship game

10. West Virginia Mountaineers, 2006 (11-2, 5-2)
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Championships: Gator Bowl
Key Stats: No. 2 in nation in rushing offense (303.0 ypg), no. 3 in scoring offense (38.9 ppg), no. 5 in total offense (461.4 ypg), Steve Slaton no. 4 in nation in rushing (134.2 ypg) and no. 2 in all-purpose yards (161.9 ypg)
Award Winners: Dan Mozes (Rimington Trophy), Pat White (Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Gator Bowl co-MVP)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (1): Pat White (2nd, 2009)

These Mountaineers began the season ranked No. 5 in the AP Poll and rose as high as No. 3 as they won their first seven games handily. The stage was set for a Nov. 2 nationally televised showdown with No. 5 Louisville on the road. The Mountaineers would lose to the eventual Big East champion Cardinals 44-34 and later fall at home to South Florida 24-19. West Virginia would rebound to win its final two games, first defeating No. 13 Rutgers 41-39 in triple overtime and then beating No. 25 Georgia Tech in the Gator Bowl. The Mountaineers were powered by a high-octane offense that scored 34 or more points in 11 of 13 games and was led by dual-threat quarterback Pat White and consensus All-American running back Steve Slaton.

9. Cincinnati Bearcats, 2008 (11-3, 6-1)
Head Coach: Brian Kelly
Championships: Big East
Key Stats: Led the nation in net punting (41.5 yards per punt), no. 9 in the nation in sacks (2.9 per game), Mardy Gilyard no. 11 in the nation in kickoff returns (27.6 ypr) and all-purpose yards (162.9 ypg)
Award Winners: Mardy Gilyard (Big East Special Teams Player of the Year), Brian Kelly (Big East Coach of the Year)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (1): Connor Barwin (2nd, 2009)

Cincinnati would rebound from an early-season beat down at No. 4 Oklahoma, 52-26, to win the Big East and earn a berth in the Orange Bowl against the ACC Champion Virginia Tech Hokies. The Hokies would hold the Bearcats to just one touchdown as Cincinnati’s season ended with a 20-7 loss on New Year’s Day.

8. Louisville Cardinals, 2006 (12-1, 6-1)
Head Coach: Bobby Petrino
Championships: Big East, Orange Bowl
Key Stats: School record 12 wins, no. 2 in the nation in total offense (475.3 ypg), no. 4 in scoring offense (37.8 ppg), no. 2 in sacks (45 total, 3.5 per game), Art Carmody no. 4 in scoring (9.5 ppg), made all 60 PATs and 21 out of 25 field goal attempts
Award Winners: Brian Brohm (Orange Bowl MVP), Art Carmody (Lou Groza Award)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (3): Amobi Okoye (1st, 2007), Brian Brohm (2nd, 2008), Eric Wood (1st, 2009)

These high-flying Cardinals’ lone blemish on the season was a three-point loss to No. 14 Rutgers on the road in November. Louisville placed seven on the first-team All Big East team including three offensive linemen and two future NFL draft picks in defensive lineman Amobi Okoye and cornerback William Gay. The offense was led by quarterback Brian Brohm, running back Kolby Smith and wide receiver Harry Douglas. The Cardinals would bounce back from the Rutgers loss and win their final four games, capped off with a 24-13 Orange Bowl victory over No. 15 Wake Forest. A week after the program’s first BCS Bowl win, head coach Bobby Petrino left to become the head coach of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons.

7. West Virginia Mountaineers, 2007 (11-2, 5-2)
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Championships: Big East co-champions, Fiesta Bowl
Key Stats: No. 3 in rushing offense (297.2 ypg), no. 7 in total defense (301.7 ypg)
Award Winners: Pat White (Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Fiesta Bowl Offensive MVP), Reed Williams (Fiesta Bowl Defensive MVP)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (1): Pat White (2nd, 2009)

Ranked No. 3 in the preseason, the Mountaineers went into the final game of the regular season, the 100th Backyard Brawl against Pittsburgh, as the top-ranked team in the Coaches Poll. The unranked Panthers got the best of their bitter rival, 13-9, dashing the Mountaineers’ title hopes in the process. To make matters worse, head coach Rick Rodriguez left to become Michigan’s head coach as the team prepared for its Fiesta Bowl showdown with No. 3 Oklahoma. The team would rally behind interim head coach Bill Stewart as the Mountaineers stunned the nation by dominating the Sooners 48-28. Pat White led the way with 326 total yards of offense and the Mountaineers ran roughshod over the Sooners, gaining 349 yards on the ground alone.

6. West Virginia Mountaineers, 2005 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Rich Rodriguez
Championships: Big East, Sugar Bowl
Key Stats: No. 4 in nation in rushing offense (272.4 ypg), Steve Slaton no. 14 in nation in rushing (112.8 ypg), no. 3 in scoring (19 TDs) as freshman
Award Winners: Rich Rodriguez (Big East Coach of the Year), Steve Slaton (Big East Rookie of the Year, Sugar Bowl MVP)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (1): Pat White (2nd, 2009)

In what would be the first of three straight 11-win seasons, the Mountaineers ran over and through the Big East, with their lone blemish being a 34-17 defeat to the No. 3-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies in Morgantown. A 46-44 triple overtime victory over Louisville helped West Virginia finds its stride offensively, as the Mountaineers would score 38 or more points in five of their last six games, including their season-ending 38-35 upset of No. 8 Georgia in the Sugar Bowl. Steve Slaton capped off a sensational freshman season by rushing for 204 yards and three touchdowns against the Bulldogs to earn Sugar Bowl MVP honors.

5. Cincinnati Bearcats, 2009 (12-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Brian Kelly
Championships: Big East
Key Stats: School record 12 wins, finished regular season undefeated and ranked No. 3 in BCS standings, no. 2 in nation in passing efficiency, no. 4 in scording offense (38.6 ppg)
Award Winners: Mardy Gilyard (Big East Special Teams Player of the Year), Brian Kelly (Big East Coach of the Year)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks: None as of 2011 NFL Draft

The Bearcats unleashed their high-scoring offense on the Big East and their other opponents in 2009, scoring 41 points or more six times. They captured the Big East title and ended the regular season undefeated by coming back from 21 points down in the first half and then scoring the game-winning touchdown with just 33 second left to defeat Pittsburgh 45-44 on the road. Despite being undefeated, the Bearcats were left out of the BCS National Championship game and instead were sent to the Sugar Bowl to face the Florida Gators. They would do so without head coach Brian Kelly, however, as he left to become Notre Dame’s head coach prior to the bowl game, which Cincinnati would lose 51-24 to the Gators.

2009 Schedule:

Sept. 7: Cincinnati 47, Rutgers 15 (Piscataway, NJ)
Sept. 12: Cincinnati 70, Southeast Missouri State 3 (Cincinnati, OH)
Sept. 19: Cincinnati 28, Oregon State 18 (Corvallis, OR)
Sept. 26: Cincinnati 28, Fresno State 20 (Cincinnati, OH)
Oct. 3: Cincinnati 37, Miami (Ohio) 13 (Oxford, OH)
Oct. 15: Cincinnati 34, (#21) South Florida 17 (Tampa, FL)
Oct. 24: Cincinnati 41, Louisville 10 (Cincinnati, OH)
Oct. 31: Cincinnati 28, Syracuse 7 (Syracuse, NY)
Nov. 7: Cincinnati 47, Connecticut 45 (Cincinnati, OH)
Nov. 13: Cincinnati 24, (#25) West Virginia 21 (Cincinnati, OH)
Nov. 27: Cincinnati 49, Illinois 36 (Cincinnati, OH)
Dec. 5: Cincinnati 45, (#15) Pittsburgh 44 (Pittsburgh, PA)
Jan. 1: (#5) Florida 51, Cincinnati 24 (Sugar Bowl)

4. Virginia Tech Hokies, 1999 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Frank Beamer
Championships: Big East
Key Stats: No. 1 in nation in scoring offense (41.4 ppg) and scoring defense (10.5 ppg) in regular season; Michael Vick led the nation in passing efficiency as a freshman
Award Winners: Frank Beamer (Paul “Bear” Bryant Award, Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year), Corey Moore (Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Lombardi Award, Nagurski Award), Michael Vick (Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Big East Rookie of the Year)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (4): Michael Vick (1st, 2001), Ike Charlton (2nd, 2000), Andre Davis (2nd, 2002), John Engleberger (2nd, 2000)

Led by freshman quarterback Michael Vick and a stingy defense headlined by unanimous All-American defensive end Corey Moore, the Virginia Tech Hokies went through the regular season unblemished and pretty much unchallenged as their closest margin of victory was two points on the road against West Virginia. Pitted against the top-ranked Florida State Seminoles in the Sugar Bowl, the Hokies held onto a one-point lead at the end of the third quarter. The Seminoles would outscore the Hokies 18-0 in the final quarter, putting an end to their national championship dreams.

1999 Schedule:

Sept. 4: Virginia Tech 47, James Madison 0 (Blacksburg, VA)
Sept. 11: Virginia Tech 31, UAB 10 (Blacksburg, VA)
Sept. 23: Virginia Tech 31, Clemson 11 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 2: Virginia Tech 31, (#24) Virginia 7 (Charlottesville, VA)
Oct. 9: Virginia Tech 58, Rutgers 20 (Piscataway, NJ)
Oct. 16: Virginia Tech 62, (#16) Syracuse 0 (Blacksburg, VA)
Oct. 30: Virginia Tech 30, Pittsburgh 17 (Pittsburgh, PA)
Nov. 6: Virginia Tech 22, West Virginia 20 (Morgantown, WV)
Nov. 13: Virginia Tech 43, (#19) Miami (Fla.) 10 (Blacksburg, VA)
Nov. 20: Virginia Tech 62, Temple 7 (Philadelphia, PA)
Nov. 26: Virginia Tech 38, Boston College 14 (Blacksburgh, VA)
Jan. 4: (#1) Florida State 46, Virginia Tech 29 (Sugar Bowl)

3. Miami Hurricanes, 2000 (11-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Butch Davis
Championships: Big East, Sugar Bowl
Key Stats: No. 2 in nation in scoring offense (42.6 ppg) and no. 5 in scoring defense (15.5 ppg) through regular season
Award Winners: Ken Dorsey (Sugar Bowl MVP), Dan Morgan (Big East Defensive Player of the Year, Bednarik Award, Butkus Award, Nagurski Award), Santana Moss (co-Big East Offensive Player of the Year)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (20): Phillip Buchanon (1st, 2002), Vernon Carey (1st, 2004), Andre Johnson (1st, 2003), Damione Lewis (1st, 2001), Jerome McDougle (1st, 2003), Willis McGahee (1st, 2003), Bryant McKinnie (1st, 2002), Dan Morgan (1st, 2001), Santana Moss (1st, 2001), Ed Reed (1st, 2002), Antrel Rolle (1st, 2005), Mike Rumph (1st, 2002), Jeremy Shockey (1st, 2002), Sean Taylor (1st, 2004), Jonathan Vilma (1st, 2004), Reggie Wayne (1st, 2001), Vince Wilfork (1st, 2004), D.J. Williams (1st, 2004), Kellen Winslow (1st, 2004), Clinton Portis (2nd, 2002)

This is the team that laid the groundwork for the 2001 national championship as the roster featured five All-Americans, 12 first-team All Big East selections and 20 future first- or second-round NFL draft picks. Despite beating then No. 1-ranked Florida State earlier in the season and being ranked higher in the polls, the Hurricanes were prevented a chance to vie for the national championship. Instead, they went to the Sugar Bowl and took their frustrations out on another in-state rival, defeating Florida 37-20 and finishing the season ranked No. 2. That victory also was the last for Butch Davis as a collegiate coach, as he left Miami to become the head coach of the NFL’s Cleveland Browns.

2000 Schedule:

Aug. 31: Miami (Fla.) 61, McNeese State 14 (Miami, FL)
Sept. 9: (#15) Washington 34, Miami (Fla.) 29 (Seattle, WA)
Sept. 23: Miami (Fla.) 47, West Virginia 10 (Morgantown, WV)
Sept. 30: Miami (Fla.) 64, Rutgers 6 (Piscataway, NJ)
Oct. 7: Miami (Fla.) 27, (#1) Florida State 24 (Miami, FL)
Oct. 21: Miami (Fla.) 45, Temple 17 (Philadelphia, PA)
Oct. 28: Miami (Fla.) 42, Louisiana Tech 31 (Miami, FL)
Nov. 4: Miami (Fla.) 41, (#2) Virginia Tech 21 (Miami, FL)
Nov. 11: Miami (Fla.) 35, Pittsburgh 7 (Miami, FL)
Nov. 18: Miami (Fla.) 26, Syracuse 0 (Syracuse, NY)
Nov. 25: Miami (Fla.) 52, Boston College 6 (Miami, FL)
Jan. 2: Miami (Fla.) 37, (#7) Florida 20 (Sugar Bowl)

2. Miami Hurricanes, 2002 (12-1, 7-0)
Head Coach: Larry Coker
Championships: Big East
Key Stats: No. 1 pass defense (119.7 pg) in nation; Willis McGahee no. 4 rusher (134.9 ypg), no. 2 scorer (28 TDs) in nation
Award Winners: Ken Dorsey (co-Big East Offensive Player of the Year), Willis McGahee (co-Big East Offensive Player of the Year), Brett Romberg (Rimington Trophy)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (15): Vernon Carey (1st, 2004), Kelly Jennings (1st, 2006), Andre Johnson (1st, 2003), William Joseph (1st, 2003), Jerome McDougle (1st, 2003), Willis McGahee (1st, 2003), Antrel Rolle (1st, 2005), Sean Taylor (1st, 2004), Jonathan Vilma (1st, 2004), Vince Wilfork (1st, 2004), D.J. Williams (1st, 2004), Kellen Winslow (1st, 2004), Rocky McIntosh (2nd, 2006), Sinorice Moss (2nd, 2006), Roscoe Parrish (2nd, 2005)

This team lived up to its billing as defending national champions as it started the season ranked No. 1 and maintained that ranking until the final game. Thirteen Hurricanes were named first-team All Big-East with running back Willis McGahee and center Brett Romberg earning consensus All-American honors. The lone blemish on their record came in the BCS National Championship Game as the ‘Canes fell in two overtimes to Ohio State, ending their reign as national champions and 34-game winning streak.

2002 Schedule:

Aug. 31: Miami (Fla.) 63, Florida A&M 17 (Miami, FL)
Sept. 7: Miami (Fla.) 41, (#6) Florida 16 (Gainesville, FL)
Sept. 14: Miami (Fla.) 44, Temple 21 (Philadelphia, PA)
Sept. 21: Miami (Fla.) 38, Boston College 6 (Miami, FL)
Oct. 5: Miami (Fla.) 48, Connecticut 14 (Miami, FL)
Oct. 12: Miami (Fla.) 28, (#9) Florida State (Miami, FL)
Oct. 26: Miami (Fla.) 40, West Virginia 23 (Morgantown, WV)
Nov. 2: Miami (Fla.) 42, Rutgers 17 (Piscataway, NJ)
Nov. 9: Miami (Fla.) 26, Tennessee 3 (Knoxville, TN)
Nov. 21: Miami (Fla.) 28, Pittsburgh 21 (Miami FL)
Nov. 30: Miami (Fla.) 49, Syracuse 7 (Syracuse, NY)
Dec. 7: Miami (Fla.) 56, Virginia Tech 45 (Miami, FL)
Jan. 3: (#2) Ohio State 31, Miami (Fla.) 24 (2OT) (BCS National Championship)

1. Miami Hurricanes, 2001 (12-0, 7-0)
Head Coach: Larry Coker
Championships: Big East, Rose Bowl, National
Key Stats: No. 3 in nation in scoring offense (42.7 ppg), no. 1 in scoring defense (9.8 ppg); average margin of victory 33.2 points per game
Award Winners: Larry Coker (Paul “Bear” Bryant Award), Ken Dorsey (co-Big East Offensive Player of the Year, Maxwell Award, Rose Bowl co-MVP), Andre Johnson (Rose Bowl co-MVP), Bryant McKinnie (Outland Trophy), Ed Reed (co-Big East Defensive Player of the Year)
“First Day” NFL Draft Picks (17): Phillip Buchanon (1st, 2002), Vernon Carey (1st, 2004), Andre Johnson (1st, 2003), William Joseph (1st, 2003), Jerome McDougle (1st, 2003), Willis McGahee (1st, 2003), Bryant McKinnie (1st, 2002), Ed Reed (1st, 2002), Antrel Rolle (1st, 2005), Mike Rumph (1st, 2002), Jeremy Shockey (1st, 2002), Sean Taylor (1st, 2004), Jonathan Vilma (1st, 2004), Vince Wilfork (1st, 2004), D.J. Williams (1st, 2004), Kellen Winslow (1st, 2004), Clinton Portis (2nd, 2002)

Simply put, this team was loaded and is viewed by many as one of the best ever in college football history. With a roster featuring six first-team All-Americans and 13 first-team All-Big East selections, not to mention 32 future NFL draft picks, these Hurricanes dominated on both sides of the ball and steamrolled their competition from start to finish. They started things off by going to Happy Valley and dominating Penn State 33-7, which tied the record for the Nittany Lions’ worst home loss under Joe Paterno. Later on, the ‘Canes defeated No. 14 Syracuse and No. 12 Washington in consecutive weeks at the Orange Bowl with a combined score of 124-7, which set the NCAA record for largest margin of victory over consecutive ranked opponents. They capped things off by dismantling the No. 4 Nebraska Cornhuskers 37-14 in the Rose Bowl, in a game where they held a 34-0 lead in the first half.

2001 Schedule:

Sept. 1: Miami (Fla.) 33, Penn State 7 (State College, PA)
Sept. 8: Miami (Fla.) 61, Rutgers 0 (Miami, FL)
Sept. 27: Miami (Fla.) 43, Pittsburgh 21 (Pittsburgh, PA)
Oct. 6: Miami (Fla.) 38, Troy 7 (Miami, FL)
Oct. 13: Miami (Fla.) 49, (#14) Florida State 27 (Tallahassee, FL)
Oct. 25: Miami (Fla.) 45, West Virginia 3 (Miami, FL)
Nov. 3: Miami (Fla.) 38, Temple 0 (Miami, FL)
Nov. 10: Miami (Fla.) 18, Boston College 7 (Chestnut Hill, MA)
Nov. 17: Miami (Fla.) 59, (#14) Syracuse 0 (Miami, FL)
Nov. 24: Miami (Fla.) 65, (#12) Washington 7 (Miami, FL)
Dec. 1: Miami (Fla.) 26, (#14) Virginia Tech 24 (Blacksburg, VA)
Jan. 3: Miami (Fla.) 37, (#4) Nebraska 14 (Rose Bowl)


Athlon Sports Ranks the Best Teams in Every BCS League:

The Top 10 Big East Teams of the BCS Era

The Top 10 ACC Teams of the BCS Era

The Top 10 Big Ten Teams of the BCS Era
The Top 10 Pac-12 Teams of the BSC Era
The Top 10 Big 12 Teams of the BCS Era
The Top 10 SEC Teams of the BCS Era

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Monday, December 12, 2011 - 08:00
Path: /mlb/albert-pujols-new-10-year-deal-angels-good-cardinals-fans-take
Body:

DALLAS, Texas — Let me start with this disclaimer: I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan. There I said it. It’s out there. The walls in my office are decked out with newspaper front pages of the Cardinals’ World Series victories and all things Redbird red. As I write this, a banner hangs over my shoulder with the St. Louis Cardinals logo and the 10 dates of their World Series titles (I haven’t taken it to a seamstress yet to get 2011 added. I need to put that on my to-do list.)

I bleed St. Louis Cardinals red.

That said, I am one of the few St. Louis Cardinals fans who is not in mourning after the news that Albert Pujols — the face of our franchise since 2001 — signed a 10-year, $254 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels. The deal is free of deferred money and also has milestone incentives that could fill Pujols’ pockets with as much as $280 million when his contract expires at the age of 41.

I am OK with Pujols trading in Cardinal red for Angel rouge because, well, I think Los Angeles and their general manager Jerry DiPoto made a mistake giving a player at the age of 31 a 10-year contract.

This deal screams quick payoff, long-term stress for the Angels.

The signing of Pujols will give the Halos an automatic boost. The phones will ring off the hook this off-season to purchase season tickets. Pujols No. 5 jersey sales will soar like a rollercoaster at nearby Disneyland. The Angels are now the automatic favorite to win the AL West in 2012, and be considered strong contenders to be in the World Series. The Angels just became the sexiest ticket in the fickle sports market of L.A.

L.A. just traded in Dodger blue for Angel red.

That’s the forecast for life with Pujols for the foreseeable future in 2012, 2013 and maybe a few more years.

What you have to wonder is how will the Angels-Pujols relationship look like in 2018 and beyond? Will Angels’ fans be singing a chorus of “Hallelujah!” when Pujols’ numbers at the plate drop when he hits age 37 and the aches and pains of a long career begin to take their toll? Will they see benefit in paying Pujols’ his big check in the years that his plate appearance dwindle due to nagging injuries, even if there is the DH position that could help him stay healthy at the end of his career? Pujols’ 2011 numbers of .299 BA, 37 HRs, 99 RBIs were the lowest of his career, let’s not forget.

Like a failed marriage, this relationship could end up in a nasty divorce. As the years play out, the Angels could turn into the old guy at the baseball club, wishing they could be in the hunt for the next young superstar, but instead having to go home and sit on the couch with their old, aching and nagging wife, err, I mean franchise centerpiece.

The Cardinals’ offer of 10 years, $220 million also made bad business sense, and this is coming from a man who has a replica World Series championship trophy that his wife made for him after the Cardinals’ most recent World Series title this year to go along with my costume for our work Halloween party. I went to the party as “a World Series champion.”

If the Cardinals would have signed Pujols to their 10-year deal I would have been more upset than I am about Pujols leaving “our team” to go to the Angels.

To have been saddled with paying Pujols $22 million a year in the final years of that deal would have been a major hurdle in fielding a competitive team in the future. The Cardinals would have had more than $40 million per year dedicated to two players, Pujols and Holliday, and both of them would have been playing into the mid to late 30s.

Would I have liked to have seen Pujols sign with St. Louis and “be a Cardinal for life?” Absolutely. There is something about baseball, more than any other sport, that makes its fans yearn for the “good ol’ days,” and root for their team through rose-colored glasses.

We yearn for our 21st century heroes to stay with their teams like Stan Musial did in the 1950s — but let’s not forget Stan Musial never had a chance to test the free agent waters.

For many Cardinal fans it is tough to imagine life without No. 5 at first base, batting third and putting up consistent numbers year after year after year.

It is tough to take out the images of Pujols helping the Cardinals win World Series titles in 2006 and 2011. It’s hard to accept the fact that Pujols will end his career in something other than Cardinal Red.

But, let’s remember, that was the past. This deal was about the future.

This generation, my generation, wanted our own Stan Musial. We wanted to tell our kids about the great No. 5, El Hombre, Albert Pujols, who played his entire career with the birds on the bat logo and loved playing in front of “the greatest fans in baseball.” We wanted to watch, along with Pujols, as they erected a statue of No. 5 next to Stan Musial outside Busch Stadium.

Sure, there could still be a statue of Pujols outside Busch Stadium some day. He deserves one, but it should never be as big as Stan the Man.

No one should ever wear No. 5 again in Cardinal red. Pujols’ jersey number will be retired next to other Cardinal greats, as it should be, once his career is over.

But those celebrations and ceremonies will not be the same. They never are.

Pujols had a chance to cement his legacy in St. Louis as El Hombre for the 21st century generation.

Now, it just goes to prove, that were will only be one “man” who will always be a testament to what it means to be a Cardinal.

And that man goes by the name Stan.

Rick Rogers is a freelance sports writer for Athlon Sports based in Frisco, Texas.
 

Teaser:
<p> Cardinals fans should feel pretty good that their team dodged a financial bullet</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 19:33
All taxonomy terms: Funny, hu on first, News
Path: /news/no-really-hus-first
Body:

If only Abbott and Costello were alive to see Japanese baseball. Then their classic routine would be more of a play-by-play than a series of puns.

Teaser:
<p> You probably thought that old Abbott and Costello routine was a joke</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 17:50
Path: /news/dottie-sandusky-wife-jerry-says-she-believes-hes-innocent
Body:

Dottie Sandusky, the wife of Jerry Sandusky has broken her silence for the first time since the the allegations of sexual abuse were levied against her husband. It seems the trigger for her to step forward was her implication of negligence in the most recent accusations.

One of the two new victims who testified to a grand jury said that he was kept in the basement of the Sandusky's house and that he cried for help while Jerry was sexually abusing him and Dottie never came to his aid. He makes it clear that Dottie was home during this incident, but in her statement she denies it.

Her complete statement is below:


I want to thank our children, our family, our extended family of former Second Mile participants, and all our friends for standing by us through these difficult times. Jerry and I want to express our sorrow for all the hurt that has come to those who have supported us and our beloved Penn State and State College Communities.

I have been shocked and dismayed by the allegations made against Jerry, particularly the most recent one that a now young man has said he was kept in our basement during visits and screamed for help as Jerry assaulted him while I was in our home and didn't respond to his cries for help.

As the mother of six children, I have been devastated by these accusations. I am also angry about these false accusations that such a terrible incident ever occurred in my home. No child who ever visited our home was ever forced to stay in our basement and fed there. All the kids who visited us ate with us and our kids and other guests when they were at our home. Our children, our extended family and friends know how much Jerry and I love kids and have always tried to help and care for them. We would never do anything to hurt them. I am so sad anyone would make such a terrible accusation which is absolutely untrue. We don't know why these young men have made these false accusations, but we want everyone to know they are untrue.

I continue to believe in Jerry's innocence and all the good things he has done. Jerry's many success stories with his Second Mile kids and positive memories of those kids keep me going. I am asking everyone to please be reasonable and open-minded until both sides of this case are heard, and Jerry has the opportunity to prove his innocence.

I would like to thank all those individuals who continue to support Jerry and hope they will continue to support us through the conclusion of this very sad time in our lives.

--Dottie Sandusky

 

via statecollege.com

Teaser:
<p> The wife of the accused Penn State Coach Jerry Sandusky says she thinks he's innocent</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 16:28
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 — Wide Receiver Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Calvin Johnson DET vs. MIN
2 Greg Jennings GB vs. OAK
3 Steve Smith CAR vs. ATL
4 Wes Welker NE at WAS
5 Hakeem Nicks NYG at DAL
6 Mike Wallace PIT vs. CLE (Thursday)
7 Roddy White ATL at CAR
8 Larry Fitzgerald ARI vs. SF
9 Vincent Jackson SD vs. BUF
10 Dez Bryant DAL vs. NYG
11 Brandon Marshall MIA vs. PHI
12 Jordy Nelson GB vs. OAK
13 Percy Harvin MIN at DET
14 Marques Colston NO at TEN
15 A.J. Green CIN vs. HOU
16 Steve Johnson BUF at SD
17 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. IND
18 Jeremy Maclin PHI at MIA
19 Victor Cruz NYG at DAL
20 Laurent Robinson DAL vs. NYG
21 Brandon Lloyd STL at SEA
22 Antonio Brown PIT vs. CLE (Thursday)
23 Michael Crabtree SF at ARI
24 Mike Williams TB at JAC
25 Santonio Holmes NYJ vs. KC
26 Julio Jones ATL at CAR
27 Miles Austin DAL vs. NYG
28 Dwayne Bowe KC at NYJ
29 Santana Moss WAS vs. NE
30 DeSean Jackson PHI at MIA
31 Deion Branch NE at WAS
32 Malcom Floyd SD vs. BUF
33 Lance Moore NO at TEN
34 Eric Decker DEN vs. CHI
35 Plaxico Burress NYJ vs. KC
36 Nate Washington TEN vs. NO
37 Pierre Garcon IND at BAL
38 Torrey Smith BAL vs. IND
39 Nate Burleson DET vs. MIN
40 Damian Williams TEN vs. NO
41 Johnny Knox CHI at DEN
42 Jabar Gaffney WAS vs. NE
43 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at GB
44 Reggie Wayne IND at BAL
45 Greg Little CLE at PIT (Thursday)
46 David Nelson BUF at SD
47 Golden Tate SEA vs. STL
48 Jerome Simpson CIN vs. HOU
49 Demaryius Thomas DEN vs. CHI
50 Titus Young DET vs. MIN
51 Davone Bess MIA vs. PHI
52 Vincent Brown SD vs. BUF
53 Kevin Walter HOU at CIN
54 Mario Manningham NYG at DAL
55 Doug Baldwin SEA vs. STL
56 Earl Bennett CHI at DEN
57 Arrelious Benn TB at JAC
58 James Jones GB vs. OAK
59 Early Doucet ARI vs. SF
60 Harry Douglas ATL at CAR
61 Legedu Naane CAR vs. ATL
62 Jacoby Jones HOU at CIN
63 Steve Breaston KC at NYJ
64 Riley Cooper PHI at MIA

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 15:09
Path: /news/albert-pujols-angel
Body:

Albert Pujols has signed a 10-year $250 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, ESPN's Buster Olney is reporting.

This qualifies as a huge surprise as just yesterday his flirtation with the Miami Marlins ended and it seemed like he was going to stick with the St. Louis Cardinals. Everyone assumed he was talking to other teams to teach the Cards a lesson for not making him feel as wanted as he had hoped earlier this year. But there was an assumption that he was always going to go back to St. Louis because that's where his legacy was, and that's one of the best baseball cities in America.

But this giant deal feels a lot like A-Rod's crazy deal with Texas. When Pujols is 42-years-old, he will be making 26 million dollars a year. And while all the buzz and hype his signing creates right now, this will be a distant memory in the year 2021 and the word "albatross" will be thrown around a lot.

The only saving grace is that the last few years of his contract, when he will be putting up Josh Willingham type numbers, he will be creating a little buzz because he should be approaching the home run record and a few other big numbers like 3,000 hits etc.

But the the problem is, this is so far above what other teams were rumored to be offering him. The Caridnals were rumored to have pushed it up to $22 million a year. The Angels paid an extra $27 million over the contract.

But at the end of the day, the Cardinals may have dodged a bullet. They come out of this looking like the good guys. They tried. They gave it their all, but Pujols is now the LeBron who left the town that had embreaced him for the first half of his career. And now, St. Louis can go after more pitching or maybe even someone like Prince Fielder, who is a poor man's (and a cheaper version) of Albert Pujols.

 

Teaser:
<p> The Cardinals slugger and best player in the league signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 10:24
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 Fantasy Football Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

DEFENSIVE SCORING
0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

KICKER SCORING
PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Teaser:
<p> Athlon Sports ranks all the positions to help you set your fantasy line up</p>
Post date: Thursday, December 8, 2011 - 06:08
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 — Defense/Special Teams Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

0 points allowed = 12 points
1-6 points allowed = 10 points
7-13 points allowed = 8 pts
14-20 points allowed = 6 points
21-27 points allowed = 2 pts
28+ points allowed = 0 points
Safeties = 2 points
Fumbles recovered = 2 points
Interceptions = 2 points
Sacks = 1 point
Defensive/Special Teams TDs = 6 points

Rk Player OPPONENT
1 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. CLE (Thursday)
2 Baltimore Ravens vs. IND
3 San Francisco 49ers at ARI
4 New York Jets vs. KC
5 Seattle Seahawks vs. STL
6 Houston Texans at CIN
7 Chicago Bears at DEN
8 Denver Broncos vs. CHI
9 Green Bay Packers vs. OAK
10 Atlanta Falcons at CAR
11 Dallas Cowboys vs. NYG
12 Miami Dolphins vs. PHI
13 Cincinnati Bengals vs. HOU
14 Detroit Lions vs.MIN
15 Philadelphia Eagles at MIA
16 St. Louis Rams at SEA

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 16:26
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 — Kicker Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

PATs = 1 point
39 yards and under = 3 points
40-49 yards = 4 points
50-59 yards = 5 points
60+ yards = 6 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF at ARI
2 Dan Bailey DAL vs. NYG
3 John Kasay NO at TEN
4 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at GB
5 Billy Cundiff BAL vs. IND
6 Stephen Gostkowski NE at WAS
7 Mason Crosby GB vs. OAK
8 Robbie Gould CHI at DEN
9 Jason Hanson DET vs. MIN
10 Nick Novak SD vs. BUF
11 Neil Rackers HOU at CIN
12 Matt Bryant ATL at CAR
13 Rob Bironas TEN vs. NO
14 Connor Barth TB at JAC
15 Mike Nugent CIN vs. HOU
16 Matt Prater DEN vs. CHI

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 16:25
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 — Tight End Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Rob Gronkowski NE at WAS
2 Jimmy Graham NO at TEN
3 Antonio Gates SD vs. BUF
4 Jason Witten DAL vs. NYG
5 Jermichael Finley GB vs. OAK
6 Tony Gonzalez ATL at CAR
7 Aaron Hernandez NE at WAS
8 Brent Celek PHI at MIA
9 Vernon Davis SF at ARI
10 Kellen Winslow TB at JAC
11 Brandon Pettigrew DET vs. MIN
12 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. HOU
13 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. KC
14 Jake Ballard NYG at DAL
15 Greg Olsen CAR vs. ATL
16 Owen Daniels HOU at CIN
17 Ed Dickson BAL vs. IND
18 Heath Miller PIT vs. CLE (Thursday)
19 Scott Chandler BUF at SD
20 Anthony Fasano MIA vs. PHI
21 Jared Cook TEN vs. NO
22 Jacob Tamme IND at BAL
23 Benjamin Watson CLE at PIT (Thursday)
24 Visanthe Shiancoe MIN at DET
25 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. TB
26 Daniel Fells DEN vs. CHI

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 16:19
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 — Running Back Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Ray Rice BAL vs. IND
2 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC vs. TB
3 Arian Foster HOU at CIN
4 LeSean McCoy PHI at MIA
5 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. STL
6 Chris Johnson TEN vs. NO
7 Michael Turner ATL at CAR
8 Ryan Mathews SD vs. BUF
9 Frank Gore SF at ARI
10 Rashard Mendenhall PIT vs. CLE (Thursday)
11 Michael Bush OAK at GB
12 DeMarco Murray DAL vs. NYG
13 Willis McGahee DEN vs. CHI
14 Reggie Bush MIA vs. PHI
15 Steven Jackson STL at SEA
16 Roy Helu WAS vs. NE
17 Darren Sproles NO at TEN
18 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. KC
19 C.J. Spiller BUF at SD
20 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at DAL
21 LeGarrette Blount TB at JAC
22 BenJarvus Green-Ellis NE at WAS
23 Beanie Wells ARI vs. SF
24 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. ATL
25 Cedric Benson CIN vs. HOU
26 Marion Barber CHI at DEN
27 Maurice Morris DET vs. MIN
28 Toby Gerhart MIN at DET
29 Mark Ingram NO at TEN
30 Donald Brown IND at BAL
31 Mike Tolbert SD vs. BUF
32 Ryan Grant GB vs. OAK
33 Peyton Hillis CLE at PIT (Thursday)
34 Ben Tate HOU at CIN
35 Brandon Jacobs NYG at DAL
36 Pierre Thomas NO at TEN
37 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. ATL
38 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. PHI
39 Ricky Williams BAL vs. IND
40 Dexter McCluster KC at NYJ
41 Felix Jones DAL vs. NYG
42 Danny Woodhead NE at WAS
43 Montario Hardesty CLE at PIT (Thursday)
44 Joseph Addai IND at BAL
45 Thomas Jones KC at NYJ
46 Kendall Hunter SF at ARI
47 D.J. Ware NYG at DAL
48 Delone Carter IND at BAL

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 16:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /columns/winning-game-plan/fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-14
Body:

We rank enough players at each position to appease everyone from those in 8-team leagues to 16-team leagues, those that can start two QBs, two TEs, three RBs and four WRs. We cut out the rest, because if you're looking at who the 50th-best running back or the 17th-best kicker is for that week, you need more help than any Website can give you. Click here for all of our fantasy football rankings each week.

These rankings are our suggestions, but of course as always: You are responsible for setting your own lineup.

2011 NFL Week 14 — Quarterback Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Athlon Sports Week 14 Waiver Wire

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

OFFENSIVE SCORING
All touchdowns are 6 points
1 point for 25 yards passing
1 point for 10 yards rushing/receiving
Receptions are .5 points
Interceptions/fumbles are minus-2 points

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. OAK
2 Drew Brees NO at TEN
3 Cam Newton CAR vs. ATL
4 Tom Brady NE at WAS
5 Matthew Stafford DET vs. MIN
6 Eli Manning NYG at DAL
7 Tony Romo DAL vs. NYG
8 Matt Ryan ATL at CAR
9 Michael Vick PHI at MIA
10 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. CLE (Thursday)
11 Tim Tebow DEN vs. CHI
12 Philip Rivers SD vs. BUF
13 Carson Palmer OAK at GB
14 Joe Flacco BAL vs. IND
15 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at SD
16 Rex Grossman WAS vs. NE
17 Mark Sanchez NYJ vs. KC
18 Alex Smith SF at ARI
19 Matt Moore MIA vs. PHI
20 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. NO
21 Josh Freeman TB at JAC
22 Andy Dalton CIN vs. HOU
23 Tarvaris Jackson SEA vs. STL
24 Christian Ponder MIN at DET
25 T.J. Yates HOU at CIN
26 Kevin Kolb ARI vs. SF

Teaser:
<br />
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 16:12
All taxonomy terms: cheerleading mom, Overtime
Path: /overtime/winner-insane-cheerleading-mother-year-video
Body:

I used to think that insane cheerleading moms were a mostly an urban legend. But I think I'm wrong after seeing this classic example of a mom who is trying to live out her cheerleading fantasies by being overly critical of her daughter's attempt to get through a rah-rah routine.

Without trying to look at this video too logically, does the mom think that unleashing primal screams at her daughter's (I hope she at least has a little offspring stake in this) cheer team is helping? My guess is no, and my other guess is that her daughter is going to grow up to marry a guy who has a tear drop tattoo on his face and wears wifebeater's to Thanksgiving dinner.

Just a guess, though.

Teaser:
<p> Screaming at your daughter's cheer team is really helping</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 15:15
Path: /news/jerry-sandusky-arrested-new-sex-abuse-charges
Body:

Jerry Sandusky has been taken from his home in handcuffs again. The former Penn State Nittany Lions assistant coach was arrested today after new allegations of sexual abuse surfaced.

A grand just questioned two new accusers (victims 9 and 10) who claimed that they were molested by Sandusky in 1997 and 2004. The following information is not for the light of heart.

According to Victim 9 in the grand jury report:

"I took it at first that he was just a nice guy, like he went to church every weekend, his kids would come over every once in a while and stuff. And after a while, like, he got used to me and stuff and started getting further and further, wanting -- to touchy feely." He further stated that, in the beginning, Sandusky started out with hugging, rubbing and cuddling and tickling. These contacts, initially viewed by the victim as simple acts of affection, escalated to sexual assaults. Victim 9 was 11 or 12 years old when the sexual assaults took place.

Victim 9 testified that Sandusky's wife never came into the basement when he visited and often slept over. Sandusky had "barely any" contact with her.

The victim also testified that Sandusky forced him to perform oral sex on numerous occasions. Sandusky also attempted to engage in anal penetration of Victim 9 on at least 16 occasions and at times did penetrate him. Victim 9 testified that he screamed for help on one occasion, knowing that Sandusky's wife was upstairs, but no one ever came to help him.

According to Victim 10:

Victim 10 has testified that at one point during a wrestling session with Sandusky, Jerry pulled down his gym shorts and performed oral sex on the boy.

According to the report, Sandusky told both boys that he loved them and bought gifts for both and asked each of them to keep everything a secret.

Sandusky's lawyer could not be reached for comment, but it appears that this will be the way things go for Sandusky until he is taken to trial.

An the question that no one is asking is where is Joe Paterno in all of this? Sandusky has spoken twice (and looked the worse for it), but Joe Paterno's silence is deafening. I understand it's tricky to talk about an ongoing investigation, but shouldn't Joe Pa at least give some sort of statement insinuating what he knew. Otherwise, everyone will think the worst.

Read the full second grand jury report here.

Teaser:
<p> The former Penn State assistant coach has been arrested again.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 14:11
All taxonomy terms: Andrew Luck, Golden Arm, Golden Arm award, News
Path: /news/andrew-luck-takes-phone-call-accepting-johnny-unitas-golden-arm-award
Body:

Andrew Luck, winner of the 2011 Johnny Unitas Golden Arm award, took the phone call directly from Johnny Unitas' son, John Unitas Jr., when he was told of his honor.

And luckily for us, the Golden Arm Foundation recorded the phone call between John Jr and Andrew Luck, when Luck is informed that he has won the prestigious honor. It's interesting because you can hear how humbled the Stanford quarterback is to hear he won the award, which is given to the nation's top quarterback who exemplifies character as well as scholastic and athletic achievement.

To see video of Andrew taking the call from Johnny Unitas' son, John Jr., click here.

Teaser:
<p> This is a phone call very few football players receive</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 12:49
All taxonomy terms: Harry Morgan, MASH, News
Path: /news/harry-morgan-actor-who-played-col-sherman-potter-mash-dies-96
Body:

Harry Morgan, the actor who played Col. Sherman T. Potter on the long-running hit TV series M*A*S*H has died at the age of 96. Morgan had played his famous Potter character from 1975 to 1983.

Morgan, who had won an Emmy for his role on M*A*S*H in 1980 for best supporting actor in a comedy series, had played many roles in TV and film, and was an avid football player in high school in Muskegon, Michigan.

But beyond acting, horses were his primary love. His horse, Sophia, even had a role in the final episode of M*A*S*H and Morgan tended to quarter horses on his ranch in Santa Rosa, California.

He achieved some notoriety for his role in Dragnet, but nothing came close to the popularity of his character on M*A*S*H.

He is survived by his second wife, four sons and eight grandchildren. Cause of death at this time is unknown.

Here are a few of Morgan's most famous quotes as Col. Potter:

Just remember, there's a right way and a wrong way to do everything and the wrong way is to keep trying to make everybody else do it the right way. ~Colonel Potter

It's too big a world to be in competition with everyone. The only person who I have to be better than is myself. ~Colonel Potter

Sometimes I think it should be a rule of war that you have to see somebody up close and get to know him before you can shoot him. ~Colonel Potter

Frank Burns: I'm as good a doctor as the next man.
Col. Potter: Provided the next man is Lou Costello.

"This is happy hour. Angry hour starts at ten."
--Harry Morgan as Sherman T. Potter

You have to give Winchester a credit. He is bright, educated, and an A-1 surgeon, and with all that he still found a room to be a total jerk. -- Potter

It's 3 'blessed' a.m.! Even roosters are comatose! -- Potter

It always amazes me how a baby can take a normal adult and turn him into a babbling idiot. -- Potter

You'll have to excuse these two, they are themselves today. -- Potter

You blow another kiss, Pierce, and those lips will never walk again. -- Potter

Pierce, are you deaf? I'm giving your hijinks the heave-ho, post-haste! I'm the boss here! I can do that! -- Potter

You know sometimes I think there should be a rule of war saying you have to see someone up close and get to know 'em before it's ok to shoot 'em. -- Potter

Listen, it's too big a world to be in competition with everyone. The only person who I have to be better than is myself. And in your case, that's tough enough. -- Potter to Hawkeye

Teaser:
<p> The popular M*A*S*H and Dragnet actor has died at 96</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 12:10
Path: /news/jet-powered-rocket-boots-are-reality-video
Body:

I don't know how to explain this new piece of equipment from Sea-Doo called the Flyboard Zapata. On the surface, it looks like jet propelled boots that use water to let you fly through the air like the Green Goblin from the Spider Man movies.

I'm not sure how much these cost, but I'm pretty sure they're more money than what most bank accounts can afford, but holy crap these things look awesome.

I'm guess it would take a while to figure out how these to use these things like the inventor. My main concern is that I would just start to get the hang of them, and as I started to fly out of the water, I would lose control and send myself headlong into a pile of rocks. Which would turn this awesome Christmas gift into a sad, bloody funeral gift.

If anyone wants to buy us these water powered jet rocket boots, please feel free. We'll pay for our own funeral costs.

Teaser:
<p> The jet powered boots are the coolest gift this millenia</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 11:45
Path: /overtime/what-albert-pujols-would-look-cubs-or-marlins-jersey
Body:

Albert Pujols is dominating the MLB hot stove headlines right now. One of the greatest players in baseball history (who has never tested positive for steroids) is now a free agent and is testing the waters to haul in a giant payday. Reports have surfaced that the Miami Marlins, St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs have offered Pujols a 10-year deal.

While pundits discuss whether it's prudent to give a 31-year-old baseball player a $200 million, 10-year contract, we'd rather just see what he'd look like in one of his new jerseys.

But while we're on the subject, do we think it makes sense? From a financial perspective, no. Pujols does bring much greater value than what his stats are worth. What he brings to his new (or old) team in terms of marketing buzz, promotion and overall interest can't be quantified. But if you look at A-Rod's numbers since he signed his contract extension in 2008, his AVG has gone from .303 to .284, and he's gone from averaging 43 homers a year to 28. Father time will catch up on Pujols and one big thing about marketing buzz is that it's quick to go away.

If the Marlins sign Pujols today they will get a huge boost in interest in the team. They'll sell a ton of tickets and luxury boxes. But what happens in five years, when wear and tear hits Pujols and he goes from his big numbers to something more pedestrian and similar to A-Rod's. 

Pujols in Miami will be old hat by then, and people will care as much for that team as they did when they were the Florida Marlins. And let's face it, Pujols is one nagging injury away from making this a terrible financial investment.

But having said that, let's see what he'd look like in his new jerseys anyway:

Albert Pujols as a Miami Marlin:

Albert Pujols as a Chicago Cub:

Since you probably already know what he looks like in a Cardinals jersey, we'll refrain from posting that photo.

Teaser:
<p> The Cardinals slugger is going to land somewhere soon, here's a few different possibilities</p>
Post date: Wednesday, December 7, 2011 - 10:43

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