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Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-6
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Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 6 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF vs. NYG
2 Matt Bryant ATL vs. OAK
3 Greg Zuerlein STL at MIA
4 Stephen Gostkowski NE at SEA
5 Blair Walsh MIN at WAS
6 Lawrence Tynes NYG at SF
7 Justin Tucker BAL vs. DAL
8 Jason Hanson DET at PHI
9 Shayne Graham HOU vs. GB
10 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at ATL
11 Mason Crosby GB at HOU
12 Alex Henery PHI vs. DET
13 Matt Prater DEN at SD (Mon.)
14 Phil Dawson CLE vs. CIN
15 Nick Novak SD vs. DEN (Mon.)
16 Mike Nugent CIN at CLE

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

Additional Week 6 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 6 Waiver Wire

Week 6 Start or Sit

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 6</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 11, 2012 - 05:11
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/sandusky-statement-surfaces
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Bellefonte, PA (Sports Network) - Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for his conviction on charges of child sexual abuse.

Judge John M. Cleland handed down the sentence on Tuesday after Sandusky was found guilty in June on 45 counts charging him with sexual abuse of 10 boys over a 15-year period.

The scandal, which broke last November with Sandusky's arrest, brought down the Penn State football program, tarnished the legacy of the late Joe Paterno and scarred the entire university.

Teaser:
Former Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky was sentenced to 30-60 years in prison for his conviction on charges of child sexual abuse.
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 23:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-6
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Several top fantasy producers will be getting a rest in Week 6 with Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville and New Orleans all on bye. Not only does that mean no Drew Brees, Cam Newton or Jay Cutler, it also means owners won’t get anything out of Matt Forte, Maurice Jones-Drew, Brandon Marshall, Marques Colston, or Jimmy Graham, among others. And don’t forget about Chicago’s defense/special teams, which is far and away the No. 1 unit in all of fantasy football as the Monsters of the Midway have out-scored opposing offenses on their own over the past three weeks.

While there is not a suitable replacement for the Bears DST out there, that does not mean there aren’t any viable options available on the waiver wire. The same goes for other positions that are either impacted by the bye week, injury or a lack of production. Here are some names worth considering.

Week 6 Positional Rankings

Week 6 Start or Sit

Bye week teams: Carolina, Chicago, Jacksonville, New Orleans

Quarterbacks
Week 5 Recap: This past week didn’t go that well for Matt Hasselbeck, Kevin Kolb or Ryan Tannehill, although Tannehill’s Dolphins were victorious over the Bengals. Hasselbeck had the best fantasy numbers thanks to a fourth quarter touchdown in the Titans’ loss to the Vikings, but overall his numbers (200-1-1, 10 rushing yards) were nothing to get that excited about. Hasselbeck will get another chance this Thursday at home against Pittsburgh as Jake Locker (shoulder) has already been ruled out by head coach Mike Munchak. Hasselbeck also could benefit from facing a Steelers defense that won a physical, hard-hitting affair against the Eagles on Sunday, but besides being battered and bruised, suffered even more injuries and faces a quick turnaround for this week's game. Kolb and Tannehill scored even fewer fantasy points than Hasselbeck, as the Rams knocked Kolb around (9 sacks) and he committed three turnovers (2 INT, 1 fumle), while Tannehill wasn’t called on to do that much (17-of-26, 223 yards, 0 TD, 0 INT) in the passing game. Kolb appears to have the better match-up this week as the Cardinals will host Buffalo, while Tannehill and the Dolphins welcome the aforementioned Rams to Miami.

Kirk Cousins, Washington Redksins
Purely speculative, but starter Robert Griffin III suffered an apparent concussion in Sunday’s loss to Atlanta, so he will need to pass all the mandatory tests and be cleared to not only practice, but play Sunday against Minnesota. If Griffin can’t go, Cousins will get the start, as he made his NFL debut in relief of Griffin and picked up his first career touchdown pass, a 77-yard strike to Santana Moss to give the Redskins the lead early in the fourth quarter. He also was picked off twice as the Falcons scored the final 10 points for the victory, but the rookie still finished with decent numbers (5-of-9, 111 yards, TD, 2 INT) in his first taste of NFL action. He could be in line for significantly more this Sunday.

Josh Freeman, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Freeman hasn’t done an awful lot (790 yards passing, 5 TD, 4 INT, 22 yards rushing) in his first four games, but Tampa Bay is coming off of its bye week, allowing Freeman and the offense time to work out the kinks. Also, don’t overlook that this week the Buccaneers will host Kansas City. Even after holding Joe Flacco and the Ravens to just nine points (yet still losing), the Chiefs are still allowing the ninth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. They have given up a total of 10 passing touchdowns compared to just three interceptions so far.

Brady Quinn, Kansas City Chiefs
Matt Cassel left Kansas City’s 9-6 loss to Baltimore with an apparent head injury, opening the door for Quinn. The reality is that while injury may end up being the official reason for a quarterback change in KC, the truth is that this was probably coming regardless. The Chiefs are 1-4 and in spite of the defense’s own issues, it’s quite easy to point the finger at Cassel. He is completing less than 59 percent of his passes for an average of 230 yards per game. More troubling is the turnovers, as he’s coughed it up 13 times (9 INTs, 4 fumbles) while accounting for only six touchdowns (5 passing, 1 rush) in five games. Injury or not, there’s a good chance Quinn will get the nod this Sunday in Tampa Bay. Quinn started 12 games in 2008-09 for the Browns, and for his career has completed less than 53 percent of his attempts for 1,934 yards, 10 touchdowns and nine interceptions. One other thing to keep in mind: Tampa Bay has given up an average of 345 yards passing in its first four games.

Tim Tebow, New York Jets
Like Quinn, Tebow may soon get the chance to show what he can do under center for the Jets, especially if Mark Sanchez and the offense continue to struggle. By now, it’s no secret what Tebow can and can not do when it comes to playing quarterback, but if he gets the opportunity to start, it instantly increases his fantasy value. His shortcomings as a passer aside, Tebow has already shown that he’s capable of producing as a rusher. Even with his limited playing time so far, Tebow is third on the team in rushing and is responsible for the Jets’ longest running play (22 yards) from scrimmage.

Running Backs
Week 5 Recap: Rashard Mendenhall certainly made his presence felt in his season debut, as he led the Steelers in carries (14), rushing yards (81) and scored the team’s only touchdown in the win over the Eagles. There’s no reason to think he’s not the team’s top back moving forward. Kendall Hunter also had 81 yards rushing as he made the most of his opportunities in San Francisco’s 45-3 blowout of Buffalo. Jackie Battle, Brandon Bolden and Ronnie Hillman combined for 83 rushing yards on 21 carries as they saw the starters in front of them, namely Ryan Mathews for San Diego and Stevan Ridley for New England, assert themselves. All three are still worth owning, but expectations, barring injury, for each moving forward should probably be tempered.

Alex Green, Green Bay Packers
Cedric Benson left Sunday’s game in Indianapolis with a foot injury and Green got the most carries (9) after that. The second-year pro from Hawaii, who was the team’s third-round pick in 2011, finished with 55 yards (6.1 ypc) and is now in line for even more opportunities, as Benson will be out for at least eight weeks (possibly lost for the season) after suffering an apparent Lisfranc injury to his foot. James Starks (and perhaps Brandon Saine) could still have something to say about this. Starks, who was the presumed starter before the Packers signed Benson during training camp, has missed the first five games with a toe injury, but is reportedly almost healthy enough to return to the field. Regardless, I wouldn’t expect a great deal out of any of the Packers' backs this week when they take on the undefeated Texans and their No. 6-ranked defense.

Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers
Rashard Mendenhall made his triumphant return as the Steelers’ lead back on Sunday against the Eagles and looks to have cemented his status as such moving forward. That said, Redman finished with only one fewer carry (13 to 14) than Mendenhall and he is currently the team’s leading rusher. Also, the Steelers decided to make Jonathan Dwyer inactive, even though he was healthy, against the Eagles, so it appears that Redman, and not Dwyer, will maintain the role of the team’s No. 2 back. There could be worse positions to be in considering the Steelers’ propensity to run the ball and this Thursday’s match-up with Tennessee, who is giving up more than 144 yards rushing per game.

Darius Reynaud, Tennessee Titans
Chris Johnson isn’t losing his job as the Titans’ starting running back, especially now that backup Javon Ringer is out four to six weeks after spraining his left knee. However, that doesn’t mean that CJ might not lose some carries, as he’s been largely ineffective (210 yards, 2.9 ypc, 0 TD) running the ball and has yet to score. To that end, it appears that Reynaud (who also could be eligible at WR depending on the league) would get the chance, as he currently has more carries, targets and receptions than Jamie Harper, who is also on the roster. The Titans already know about Reynaud’s speed and playmaking ability, as he’s averaging 27.6 yards per kickoff return, including one he brought back 105 yards for a touchdown. At this point, it certainly can’t hurt to give someone other than Johnson a shot at running the ball.

LaRod Stephens-Howling, Arizona Cardinals
Beanie Wells is already on injured reserve because of a toe injury, but there’s a chance he will return at some point this season. The same cannot be said for Ryan Williams, however, as the shoulder injury he suffered during Thursday’s loss to St. Louis ended up being worse than initially believed. Williams’ 2012 season is over as the second-year back will need to undergo shoulder surgery to repair the damage. Stephens-Howling is expected to move to the top of the Cardinals’ depth chart at running back, although he has missed the past two games with a hip-flexor injury. He was reportedly close to playing last Thursday, so if he’s healthy enough, he should get the first shot. The Cardinals also have William Powell, the only other running back other than Williams to get a carry against the Rams, and Alfonso Smith on the roster. This is a situation that bears watching, especially in deeper leagues, as Arizona welcomes Buffalo to the desert on Sunday. The Bills’ defense is among the worst in the league statistically and it gave up 311 yards rushing and 45 points to San Francisco last week.

David Wilson, New York Giants
Ahmad Bradshaw rumbled for 200 yards on 30 carries (6.7 ypc) against Cleveland, but it was Wilson who perhaps made the most of his chances against the Browns. Andre Brown went down early with a head injury, presenting Wilson with an opportunity as the Giants looked to eat up some time with a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter. Wilson finally got another chance to run the ball and he promptly took it 40 yards to paydirt. Whether or not this results in Wilson getting more opportunities in the future remains to be seen, but it certainly doesn’t hurt the rookie that he capitalized on the chance he got on Sunday, especially in light of Brown’s injury and the Giants’ renewed emphasis on running the ball.

Wide Receivers
Week 5 Recap: James Jones (4-46-2) made the most noise in Week 5, while Brian Hartline, Domenik Hixon and Andre Roberts each caught at least four passes. Donald Jones only managed two receptions, but then again the Bills had a total of 204 yards of offense and scored three measly points against the 49ers. Hartline, James Jones and Roberts appear to the most appealing options of these moving forward based on their respective situations, although Hixon’s outlook is tied directly to the health of Hakeem Nicks.

Brandon Gibson, St. Louis Rams
The Rams will be without the services of leading receiver Danny Amendola for at least a month, meaning some other wideout will need to step up in his absence. Gibson appears to be the most likely candidate to assume Amendola’s role, as he’s second on the team in targets, receptions and receiving yards and he’s already caught two touchdowns. Rookie Chris Givens probably bears watching as well. He caught a 51-yard touchdown against the Cardinals, but has had problems holding on to the ball overall (4 receptions, 15 targets).

Mario Manningham, San Francisco Giants
Alex Smith, the NFL’s top-rated passer, threw for 303 yards and three touchdowns against Buffalo. Not to say the 49ers will continue to air it out, but Smith’s showing himself capable as a passer. To that end, Manningham is third on the team in both targets (23) and receptions (19) and has the same number of touchdown catches (one) as leading receiver Michael Crabtree. It also doesn’t hurt that this Sunday Manningham’s former team, the Giants, will be making the cross-country trip to take on the 49ers.

Robert Meachem, San Diego Chargers
Perhaps all it took was some familiar faces to get Meachem going. After catching just six passes for 92 yards in the Chargers’ first four games, the free agent acquisition erupted for three catches, 67 yards and two touchdowns against the Saints, his former team. Malcom Floyd is Philip Rivers’ top target and tight end Antonio Gates will probably continue to get more looks, but Meachem can still be a productive receiver for the Chargers and someone’s fantasy team. It starts by putting together two solid games in a row as the Chargers will host Denver this coming Monday night.

Mike Williams, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Vincent Jackson gets more targets (and makes considerably more money), but Williams has been a reliable and productive secondary option for Josh Freeman in Tampa Bay’s passing attack. Williams is averaging slightly more yards (19.9 to 19.0) per reception than Jackson and each have caught two touchdown passes so far. The Bucs have had an extra week to get ready for Kansas City, who has had its share of problems on defense and is giving up an average of 29 points per game.

Kendall Wright, Tennessee Titans
Tennessee’s offense is struggling, especially when it comes to running the ball, but you can’t pin it on the rookie. Not only is he leading the team in receptions, he’s tied for 19th in the league as his 27 is also the most of any first-year wide receiver. Wright’s not getting a lot of yards (214, 7.9 ypc), but he’s tied for the team lead in touchdown catches with two and has caught a total of 13 passes the past two games. Wright is worth keeping an eye on as the season progresses, especially in PPR leagues.

Tight Ends
Week 5 Recap: Scott Chandler was the Bills’ leading receiver (4 rec., 40 yds.) against San Francisco, which isn’t saying much, but he also lost a fumble. Greg Olsen fared similarly (2, 37), minus the fumble, but that’s not surprising considering Cam Newton was 12-for-29 for only 141 yards (4.9 ypc) against Seattle. The Bills will try to get some offense going at Arizona, while Olsen and the Panthers have the week off.

Jermaine Gresham, Cincinnati Bengals
Gresham is averaging five catches and 57 yards over his last three games and he’s also caught a touchdown during that span. He’s second on the Bengals in receptions and even though A..J. Green is the clear-cut primary option in the team’s passing attack, Andy Dalton has been averaging nearly 34 pass attempts per game and is seventh in both passing yards and touchdowns. With numbers like that, there should be more than enough to make Gresham fantasy relevant too.

Rob Housler, Arizona Cardinals
Housler’s not catching a ton of passes, only eight on the year, but seven of those have come over the past three weeks. He’s also averaging nearly 15 yards per reception and Kevin Kolb targeted him six times last week. If anything, it appears that Housler has established himself as the Cardinals’ primary tight end moving forward. If he can increase his production and show some consistency, at worst he could become a viable bye week replacement option.

Defense/Special Teams

Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins' defense has played well to start the season, especially against the run. The 'Fins are No. 1 in rush defense as they have allowed only 61.4 yards per game and have already faced off against running backs like Arian Foster and Darren McFadden. They have been a little more susceptible to the pass (281.8 ypg), but are only surrendering 20.6 points per game. Next up is a Rams team at home that's lost its top wide receiver and only completed seven passes last week. Following their bye in Week 7, the Dolphins have the Jets, Colts, Titans, Bills and Seahawks on their slate. Of these six teams, only Indianapolis ranks higher than 21st in the league in total offense.

Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings are tied for fourth among DSTs in fantasy scoring, largely due to their ability to pressure the quarterback (14 sacks) and having viable threats for both kickoff (Percy Harvin) and punt (Marcus Sherels) returns. Overall, the Vikings' defense has been a pleasant surprise thus far and their upcoming schedule — at WAS, ARI, TB, at SEA — doesn't appear to be all that daunting either. In fact, this week's game in Washington could look a lot different if Robert Griffin III is unable to play because of the concussion he suffered last week.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 9, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 6</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/top-25-college-football-game-capsules-0
Body:

Eugene, OR (Sports Network) - Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes on Saturday and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks dominated No. 23 Washington, 52-21, at Autzen Stadium. Mariota went 15-of-24 passing for 198 yards and an interception, while Kenjon Barner added 122 yards on 20 carries and De'Anthony Thomas chipped in 75 yards and a score on 10 rushes for the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12), who have scored 30- plus points in 19 straight games. Keith Price finished 19-of-31 for 145 yards and two interceptions for Washington (3-2, 1-1), which has lost nine straight meetings with the Ducks, which is the longest streak for either side in the 111-year history of the rivalry. Bishop Sankey rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a losing effort.

Final Score: North Carolina State 17, (3) Florida State 16

Raleigh, NC (Sports Network) - Mike Glennon's 2-yard touchdown pass to Bryan Underwood with 16 seconds remaining capped a furious second-half rally that propelled North Carolina State to a stunning 17-16 victory over third-ranked Florida State in Atlantic Coast Conference action from Carter-Finley Stadium. Glennon completed 30-of-55 passes for 259 yards -- all but 41 of which came after halftime -- and a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns as North Carolina State (4-2, 1-1 ACC) overcame a 16-0 deficit at intermission and knocked off a nationally-ranked Seminoles squad for the fourth time in the last nine years. Florida State (5-1, 2-1) was also upset in Raleigh by a 28-24 count in 2010, when the program was ranked 16th at the time, and was also dealt defeats by the Wolfpack while in the national polls during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.

Final Score: (10) Florida 14, (4) LSU 6

Gainesville, FL (Sports Network) - Mike Gillislee ran for a pair of second- half touchdowns to lead No. 10 Florida past fourth-ranked LSU, 14-6. Gillislee finished with 146 yards on 34 carries for the Gators (5-0, 4-0 SEC), who racked up 176 yards on the ground to remain undefeated. Jeff Driskel completed 8-of-12 passes for 61 yards and was backed by a stifling defense that held LSU to 1-for-13 on third-down conversions. Zach Mettenberger went 11-for-25 through the air for 161 yards and an interception for the Tigers (5-1, 1-1), who had their 18-game regular season win streak snapped. LSU had not dropped a game in the regular season since a 31-23 decision to Arkansas in the 2010 finale. The Tigers' Odell Beckham paced all receivers with 81 yards on four receptions in defeat.

Final Score: (6) South Carolina 35, (5) Georgia 7

Columbia, SC (Sports Network) - Connor Shaw threw for a pair of touchdowns and rushed for another as sixth-ranked South Carolina rolled over No. 5 Georgia, 35-7, on Saturday. Ace Sanders added a 70-yard punt return for a score for the Gamecocks (6-0, 4-0 SEC), who set a new school record with their 10th straight win dating back to last season. Shaw completed 6-of-10 passes for 162 yards and added 78 yards on 14 carries. Marcus Lattimore totaled 109 yards and a touchdown on 24 rushes as South Carolina improved to 6-0 for the first time since 1988. Aaron Murray went 11-for-31 through the air for 109 yards and an interception for Georgia (5-1, 3-1), which had its streak of 15 straight regular season wins snapped.

Final Score: (7) Kansas State 56, Kansas 16

Manhattan, KS (Sports Network) - John Hubert carried the ball 10 times for 101 yards and four touchdowns, lifting the seventh-ranked Kansas State Wildcats over the Kansas Jayhawks, 56-16. Collin Klein completed 7-of-14 passes for 129 yards and two touchdowns for the Wildcats (5-0, 2-0 Big 12), who are unbeaten after five games for the second straight season. Klein also carried the ball 10 times for 116 yards and two scores. Tyler Lockett and Travis Tannahill caught TD passes for Kansas State, which scored 35 points in the second half. Dayne Crist connected on 16-of-27 passes for 189 yards with one touchdown and three interceptions for the Jayhawks (1-4, 0-2), who have lost four in a row since starting the season with a win over South Dakota State. James Sims rushed for 115 yards and a score on 28 carries.

Final Score: (8) West Virginia 48, (11) Texas 45

Austin, TX (Sports Network) - Geno Smith threw four touchdown passes and Andrew Buie ran for 207 yards and a pair of scores, including the game-sealing TD with under two minutes left, as eighth-ranked West Virginia earned a wild 48-45 win over No. 11 Texas. Smith finished 25-of-35 for 268 yards for the Mountaineers (5-0, 2-0 Big 12), who got three TD receptions from Stedman Bailey. Tavon Austin caught 10 passes for 102 yards and a score. It was a far cry from a record-setting performance like last week, when Smith set school marks with eye-popping totals of 656 passing yards and eight touchdown throws in a 70-63 win over Baylor. Smith has 24 TD passes this season without an interception. David Ash connected on 22-of-29 throws for 269 yards, including an 8-yard TD pass to Marquise Goodwin with 15 seconds remaining. West Virginia recovered the ensuing onsides kick and sent the Longhorns (4-1, 1-1) to their eighth straight loss when facing a team ranked in the top 25.

Final Score: (9) Notre Dame 41, Miami-Florida 3

Chicago, IL (Sports Network) - Cierre Wood and George Atkinson III ran all over a shaky Hurricanes defense on Saturday as No. 9 Notre Dame dominated Miami-Florida, 41-3, at Soldier Field. Wood ran for 118 yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, while Atkinson ended his night with 123 yards and a touchdown on just 10 carries for the Fighting Irish (5-0), who have won the first five games of the season for the first time since beginning the 2002 campaign 8-0. Cam McDaniel and Theo Riddick each added a rushing touchdown in the victory as the Irish racked up 376 yards on the ground. Everett Golson was benched to start the game due to a violation of team rules, but entered on the team's second offensive series. He threw for 186 yards on 17-of-22 passing and ran for 51 yards on six carries as Notre Dame remained perfect at Soldier Field in program history with a 10-0-2 record. Stephen Morris threw for 201 yards on 18-of-35 passing for the Hurricanes (4-2), who had their three-game winning streak snapped. Jake Wieclaw accounted for the only Miami points with a 28-yard field goal.

Final Score: (12) Ohio State 63, (21) Nebraska 38

Columbus, OH (Sports Network) - Braxton Miller rushed for a career-high 185 yards and a touchdown on 16 carries and Carlos Hyde added four rushing scores as No. 12 Ohio State downed No. 21 Nebraska, 63-38, on Saturday at Ohio Stadium. Miller added 127 yards and a touchdown pass on 7-of-14 passing and Hyde finished with 138 yards on 28 carries for the Buckeyes (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten), who slipped past Michigan State on the road last weekend to open conference play. Nebraska quarterback Taylor Martinez threw for 214 yards and one touchdown on 15-of-25 efficiency, but tossed a career-high tying three interceptions in the setback, which snapped Nebraska's (4-2, 1-1) three-game winning streak. Rex Burkhead rushed for 119 yards on 14 carries, while Kenny Bell hauled in five passes for 133 yards in a losing effort.

Final Score: (14) Oregon State 19, Washington State 6

Corvallis, OR (Sports Network) - Jordan Poyer came up with three interceptions, and Sean Mannion threw for 270 yards and a touchdown, as 14th- ranked Oregon State downed Washington State, 19-6, at Reser Stadium. Markus Wheaton had 95 yards receiving and a touchdown for the Beavers (4-0, 3-0 Pac-12), who also got a pair of field goals from Trevor Romaine. Brandin Cooks contributed five catches for 82 yards. With the victory, Oregon State surpasses their three-win total from last season and improves to 4-0 for the first time since the 2002 season. Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday had a rough game, going just 9- of-20 passing for 81 yards and three interceptions. His replacement, Jeff Tuel, went 11-of-17 for 126 yards and an interception, and also was sacked three times. Gino Simone caught three balls for 83 yards and Andrew Furney connected on two field goals for the Cougars (2-4, 0-3).

Final Score: Iowa State 37, (15) TCU 23

Fort Worth, TX (Sports Network) - Jared Barnett threw for 183 yards and three touchdowns, Josh Lenz hauled in three TD passes and threw for another score, as the Iowa State Cyclones upset the No. 15 TCU Horned Frogs, 37-23, at Amon G. Carter Stadium. For TCU (4-1, 1-1 Big 12), the loss puts an end to the nation's longest active win streak, as the Horned Frogs had won 12 straight dating back to last season. It also marks their first loss to a conference opponent as a new member of the Big 12. The Horned Frogs were forced to face Iowa State (4-1, 1-1) without one of their biggest weapons. Junior starting quarterback Casey Pachall was arrested Thursday morning on suspicion of DWI and suspended by head coach Gary Patterson for at least a game, possibly more. Without Pachall, the Horned Frogs turned to redshirt freshman Trevone Boykin, who responded with a tough performance, going 23-of-40 for 270 yards and a touchdown. Boykin also threw three interceptions, with two in the fourth quarter, taking TCU out of contention.

Final Score: (15) Clemson 47, Georgia Tech 31

Clemson, SC (Sports Network) - Tajh Boyd threw for 397 yards and two touchdowns, adding 63 yards and a rushing score, as the 15th-ranked Clemson Tigers turned up the heat with a 47-31 decision over the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets in an ACC shootout at Memorial Stadium. DeAndre Hopkins totaled 173 yards and a pair of TDs on seven catches for the Tigers (5-1, 2-1 ACC), who have won two in a row and have two weeks to enjoy the victory before returning to action on Oct. 20 against Virginia Tech. Roderick McDowell posted two rushing scores, while Andre Ellington ended with 82 yards on 24 carries for Clemson. Tevin Washington passed for 144 yards and one score, adding 104 yards and two rushing touchdowns for the Yellow Jackets (2-4, 1-3), who have dropped three straight and also have a week off before a clash with Boston College. Orwin Smith rolled up 117 yards and two end-zone entries on just seven totes and Jeff Greene registered a TD reception in the loss.

Final Score: (17) Oklahoma 41, Texas Tech 20

Lubbock, TX (Sports Network) - Landry Jones threw for two touchdowns and Blake Bell added two scores on the ground as the 17th-ranked Oklahoma Sooners steamrolled the Texas Tech Red Raiders, 41-20, to earn their first Big 12 victory of the season. Jones completed 25-of-40 passes for 259 yards and connected with Justin Brown and Kenny Stills for scores. Bell took two 1-yard carries into the end zone for touchdowns as Oklahoma (3-1, 1-1 Big 12) rebounded nicely off its bye week following a 24-19 loss to Kansas State on Sept. 22. Seth Doege led Texas Tech to a victory over Oklahoma last season, but struggled on Saturday and was unable to replicate the same result. Doege finished 22-of-36 for 203 yards and was intercepted three times, with his third returned by Javon Harris for a score that put the game out of reach for the Red Raiders (4-1, 1-1), who were denied a 5-0 start for the second consecutive season.

Final Score: (18) Stanford 54, Arizona 48 (OT)

Stanford, CA (Sports Network) - Stepfan Taylor's 21-yard touchdown run in the first overtime period lifted the 18th-ranked Stanford Cardinal over the Arizona Wildcats, 54-48. Stanford's defense came up big in overtime. On Arizona's fifth offensive play, Matt Scott had his pass deflected at the line of scrimmage and Chase Thomas came up with the interception. Taylor then found a hole up the middle and sprinted 21 yards into the end zone for the come- from-behind victory. Taylor carried the ball 31 times for 142 yards and two scores for the Cardinal (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12), who have won nine straight games in the month of October dating back to Oct. 9, 2010. Josh Nunes completed 21- of-34 passes for 360 yards and two touchdowns for Stanford, which bounced back from a 17-13 loss to Washington on Sept. 27. Nunes also carried the ball seven times for 33 yards and three scores.

Final Score: (20) Mississippi State 27, Kentucky 14

Lexington, KY (Sports Network) - Tyler Russell threw for 269 yards and two touchdowns, leading No. 20 Mississippi State past Kentucky, 27-14, and helping the Bulldogs to their best start since 1999. Russell completed 23-of-39 passes to keep the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC) undefeated. Adrian Marcus caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the first quarter and Chad Bumphis paced all receivers with nine catches for 104 yards and a score. Bumphis' touchdown catch was the 18th of his career, passing Eric Moulds and Justin Jenkins for the most in school history. Jalen Whitlow returned as the Kentucky quarterback after Patrick Towles suffered an ankle injury at the end of the second quarter. Whitlow finished 10-of-21 for 73 yards and rushed for 26 yards and a score, but the Wildcats (1-5, 0-3) dropped their fourth consecutive game. La'Rod King hauled in two passes, both from Towles, for 46 yards and a touchdown in the defeat.

Final Score: (22) Rutgers 19, Connecticut 3

Piscataway, NJ (Sports Network) - Gary Nova threw a touchdown pass and the Rutgers defense forced five turnovers, as the 22nd-ranked Scarlet Knights earned a 19-3 victory over Connecticut. Nova completed 18-of-27 passes for 157 yards, including a 14-yard TD strike to Mark Harrison for the game's lone offensive touchdown in the third quarter of the struggle between the Big East's top two defensive squads. Wayne Warren returned an interceptions 25 yards for a late touchdown for Rutgers (5-0, 2-0 Big East), which played as a ranked team for the first time since 2009 and won a game while ranked for the first time since 2007. Jawan Jamison ran for 110 yards, eclipsing the 100-yard mark for the fifth time in as many games this season for the Scarlet Knights, who are unbeaten after five games for only the third time since 1976 and are 2-0 in Big East play for second straight year and third time overall. UConn running back Lyle McCombs sat out the first quarter for disciplinary reasons and finished with just 32 yards on 12 carries. The Huskies (3-3, 0-1) were playing their conference opener and coming off a win last week against Buffalo.

Final Score: Penn State 39, (24) Northwestern 28

University Park, PA (Sports Network) - Matt McGloin's five-yard touchdown run was the go-ahead score late in regulation, as Penn State rallied from an 11- point fourth-quarter deficit to upend No. 24 Northwestern, 39-28, in front of a delirious crowd at Beaver Stadium. McGloin finished with 282 yards passing and a pair of scores through the air for the Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-0 Big Ten), who won their fourth straight game. Allen Robinson and Michael Zordich added touchdowns in a 22-point final stanza for Penn State, which has won six in a row over its suburban Chicago foes. Trevor Siemian was 21-of-36 for 135 yards and one TD for the Wildcats (5-1, 1-1), who failed in their bid to start 6-0 for the first time in 50 years. Venric Mark totaled 72 yards and a score on 13 carries and contributed a 75-yard punt return for a touchdown which sent Northwestern up 28-17. Kain Colter picked up a score on the ground in defeat.

Final Score: California 43, (25) UCLA 17

Berkeley, CA (Sports Network) - Zach Maynard threw four touchdown passes as California knocked off the 25th-ranked UCLA Bruins, 43-17. at Memorial Stadium. Maynard completed 25-of-30 passes for 295 yards with an interception and also ran for a touchdown for the Golden Bears (2-4, 1-1 Pac-12), who snapped a three-game losing streak. C.J. Anderson had a huge day on the ground for the Golden Bears, running for 151 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He also caught a touchdown pass. Richard Rodgers led the receiving corps with seven catches for 129 yards and Keenan Allen caught eight balls for 79 yards and a pair of TDs. Brett Hundley threw for 253 yards on 31-of-47 passing and two touchdowns, but was intercepted four times. Cassius Marsh and Joseph Fauria caught touchdown passes for the Bruins (4-2, 1-2), who have dropped two of their last three. Johnathan Franklin ran for 103 yards on 15 carries in a losing cause.

Teaser:
Marcus Mariota threw four touchdown passes on Saturday and the No. 2 Oregon Ducks dominated No. 23 Washington, 52-21, at Autzen Stadium. Mariota went 15-of-24 passing for 198 yards and an interception, while Kenjon Barner added 122 yards on 20 carries and De'Anthony Thomas chipped in 75 yards and a score on 10 rushes for the Ducks (6-0, 3-0 Pac-12), who have scored 30- plus points in 19 straight games. Keith Price finished 19-of-31 for 145 yards and two interceptions for Washington (3-2, 1-1), which has lost nine straight meetings with the Ducks, which is the longest streak for either side in the 111-year history of the rivalry. Bishop Sankey rushed for 104 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries in a losing effort.
Post date: Sunday, October 7, 2012 - 23:00
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /mlb/alds-preview-baltimore-orioles-vs-new-york-yankees
Body:

Of course, New York is quite familiar with this Orioles team that is back in the postseason for the first time since 1997. New York split 18 meetings with Baltimore and battled for a division title with it all through September before finally securing the crown on the final day of the regular season.

New York had been in first place since June 11, but thanks to the pesky Orioles, needed all 162 games to nail down its 12th AL East crown in the last 15 years with a three-game sweep of the Boston Red Sox, coupled with Baltimore losing two of three to the Tampa Bay Rays.

It's no secret that New York is driven by its offense, an attack that this year belted a major league-high 245 home runs. Leading the charge is All-Star second baseman Robinson Cano, who may be the hottest hitter in baseball entering the playoffs.

Over his last nine games Cano is hitting .615 with three HRs, 14 RBI and seven doubles. He ended the year hitting .313 with 33 home runs, 94 RBI and 105 runs scored. His torrid stretch may continue, as he is a .338 hitter against the Orioles with 24 home runs and 89 RBI in 135 games.

Cano isn't the only superstar in the Yankees' lineup, as Derek Jeter led the majors with 216 hits, Curtis Granderson belted 43 home runs and Nick Swisher also had a productive season. Not to mention first baseman Mark Teixeira appears healthy after missing most of September with a calf injury.

Ichiro Suzuki has also fit the Yankees' lineup like a glove since being acquired from Seattle on Aug. 3. In 67 games with the Yankees, Ichiro batted .322 - 61 points higher than he hit in 95 games with the Mariners - with five home runs, 27 RBI, 28 runs scored and stole 14 bases.

Then, there is Alex Rodriguez. The three-time AL MVP missed a few months with a broken wrist, but had one the least productive seasons of his career, hitting .272 with 18 home runs and 57 RBI.

Plus he hasn't homered since Sept. 14. And of course, the postseason hasn't been kind to A-Rod, who is just 6-for-39 in his last two series with 10 strikeouts.

CC Sabathia will get the call for the Yankees in Game 1 following a down year by his standards, as Sabathia endured two stints on the disabled list and ended the season 15-6 with a 3.38 ERA.

Lefty Andy Pettitte came out of retirement and was pitching well up until a line drive broke his leg back on June 27. Pettitte returned in September and gave up just three runs in three starts and ended the year 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA.

The playoffs are where Pettitte shines, though, as he owns a major league record 19 postseason wins.

Hiroki Kuroda (16-11, 3.32) enjoyed a terrific first season in the Bronx and will likely get the nod in Game 3, while right-hander Phil Hughes (16-13, 4.23) will go in Game 4 if needed.

Rafael Soriano gave the Yankees everything they could have hoped for in the wake of Mariano Rivera's season-ending ACL injury in May. Soriano saved 42 games and pitched to a 2.26, but has nowhere near the air of invincibility as Rivera, especially come playoff time, where the all-time saves leader was close to automatic.

Righties David Robertson and Joba Chamberlain will serve as the main bridges to Soriano, while Boone Logan and Clay Rapada will be called upon to get lefties out.

As good as the Yankees bullpen is, it pales in comparison to that of Baltimore's, which is spearheaded by closer Jim Johnson, who led the majors with team-record 51 saves. He actually had 10 less strikeouts than he had saves.

Sidewinding Darren O'Day serves as his main setup guy and gives right-handed hitters fits. Lefty Brian Matusz may have found a home in the bullpen after struggling as a starter, as Buck Showalter doesn't hesitate to use him against a lefty in a big spot.

In all, five Orioles pitched in 50 or more games this year, and all five ended with ERAs between 2.28 and 2.64. Baltimore relievers threw 60 innings from the 10th frame on, and allowed five runs, for a 0.75 ERA.

Quite simply the bullpen is the biggest reason the Orioles posted their first winning season in 15 years.

It's the reason they went 29-9 in one-run games, the best record in one-run affairs since 1900. It's the reason they've captured 16 consecutive extra- inning wins, the longest streak since the 1949 Cleveland Indians won 17 in a row. And the reason they were 74-0 when holding a lead after seven innings.

It all added up to a 93-69 finish, the team's first winning record since 1997.

If you can name three Orioles starting pitchers, you are probably in the minority. Chris Tillman emerged as the team's ace down the stretch and went 9-3 with a 2.93 ERA. After a solid first half, Taiwanese product Wei-Yin Chen struggled and closed the year by losing his last four decisions spanning seven starts.

The group could get a lift in this series, though, with the return of right-hander Jason Hammel, who has missed most of the second half with a knee injury. Hammel, though, was the Orioles' top pitcher in the first half of the season and won eight of his first 10 decisions

"I would assume that if you would trust me to start, if I am starting, there wouldn't be a pitch count because it's a 25-man roster and you need those extra guys in the pen so you have to expect a guy to go deep for that important a game," Hammel said."I would think no pitch count until I was told otherwise."

Lefty Joe Saunders could also be a factor after giving up a run and six hits in 5 2/3 innings of the O's wild card win over the Texas Rangers.

Offensively, the young O's are led by burgeoning superstars Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. Jones hit .287 with 32 home runs, 82 RBI and 103 runs scored, while Wieters swatted 23 homers and knocked in 83 runs.

A player to watch in this series could be 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado, who has drawn comparisons to Rodriguez and really started to come into his own down the stretch.

Chris Davis has also contributed of late and closed the regular season by homering in six of his final seven regular season games.

The Orioles and Yankees are certainly no strangers to one another and in addition to all the regular season meetings, these teams also met in the 1996 ALCS, a series won by New York, but one that was made famous by the Jeffrey Maier catch. New York won that series in six games.

As good as Baltimore's bullpen has been, New York gets the overall edge based on a decided advantage in the starting pitching department. Still, given the way these teams fought tooth and nail down the stretch, this should be a pretty entertaining series.

But, in the end New York's experience should prevail.

PREDICTION: YANKEES in FOUR

Teaser:
The New York Yankees begin their quest for a 28th World Series title on Sunday when they open the American League Division Series against the Baltimore Orioles at Camden Yards.
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 23:00
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nascar/kahne-tops-talladega-qualifying
Body:

Talladega, AL (Sports Network) - Kasey Kahne claimed the pole for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 -- the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- after posting the quickest lap in Saturday's qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.

Kahne, who is one of the 12 drivers in the Chase field, turned a lap at 191.455 mph for his third pole of the season and the 25th of his Sprint Cup Series career. It will be the first time he starts up front for a race at this 2.66-mile superspeedway.

"It's fun to get my first pole at Talladega," Kahne said. "It's a tough track, and I've never done that. (The car) felt good, and we'll see how it runs tomorrow. It ran great (in practice) yesterday and really well today."

Ryan Newman, who is not in the Chase this year, secured the outside pole with a lap at 191.145 mph.

Title contenders Clint Bowyer, Tony Stewart, Greg Biffle and Jeff Gordon qualified third through sixth, respectively. Bowyer has won the last two fall Sprint Cup races at Talladega.

"I thought we were going to qualify poorly, and we didn't," Bowyer said. "We're in the top-five and certainly up front, and we need to try to stay there and stay out of trouble. Certainly going to race up there as much as I can until something crazy happens."

Carl Edwards, Trevor Bayne, Martin Truex Jr., a Chase driver, and Sam Hornish Jr. completed the top-10.

The remaining Chase drivers and their starting positions include: Dale Earnhardt Jr. (12th), Matt Kenseth (15th), Jimmie Johnson (17th), Kevin Harvick (21st), Brad Keselowski (22nd) and Denny Hamlin (23rd).

Keselowski currently holds a five-point lead over Johnson and a 16-point advantage over Hamlin. Bowyer is 25 markers out of the lead, while Stewart and Kahne both trail by 32. Keselowski has won two of the first three Chase races. He also won the spring event at Talladega in May.

"The best strategy is to be the guy who doesn't wreck, but you don't know until after the race," Keselowski said. "Things happen so fast late in the race here that even the best strategy can get thrown out the window. I just want to be there with five laps to go."

All 43 drivers who attempted qualifying made the starting field for Sunday's 500-mile race at Talladega, which is scheduled to start just after 2 p.m. (ET).

Teaser:
Kasey Kahne claimed the pole for the Good Sam Roadside Assistance 500 -- the fourth race in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship -- after posting the quickest lap in Saturday's qualifying at Talladega Superspeedway.
Post date: Saturday, October 6, 2012 - 22:00
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nfl/titans-qb-locker-out-sunday
Body:

Nashville, TN (Sports Network) - Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker has been ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Minnesota Vikings with a left shoulder injury.

The club's injury report on Friday confirmed the move, as it revealed Locker did not participate in practice at all this week.

Locker left Sunday's 38-14 loss to the Houston Texans when he was hit by Houston's Glover Quin midway through the first quarter. He stayed on the ground for several minutes before heading back to the locker room with his left arm tucked against his chest. He returned to the sideline in the second quarter in street clothes with his left arm in a sling.

The Titans listed linebackers Patrick Bailey (hand) and Colin McCarthy (ankle), wideout Kenny Britt (ankle), tackle Mike Otto (finger) and defensive end Scott Solomon (hamstring) as questionable.

Tight end Jared Cook was deemed probable after participating fully in practice on Friday after having been limited on Wednesday and Thursday.

Teaser:
<p> Tennessee Titans quarterback Jake Locker has been ruled out for Sunday's contest against the Minnesota Vikings with a left shoulder injury.</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 16:06
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-start-or-sit-week-5
Body:

Indianapolis and Pittsburgh are both back in action in Week 5, but Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay all get a break, which means even more players will be unavailable this week compared to last. Those who have Matthew Stafford or Tony Romo will be looking for a starting quarterback, while owners will also have to find a way to make do without Calvin Johnson, Darren McFadden and others this week.

Byes aside, everyone has to get their teams in order for this weekend’s action, and Athlon Sports is here to help you make those important lineup decisions for your Yahoo!, NFL.com or ESPN fantasy football league with our weekly Start and Sit suggestions. Keep in mind these are merely our suggestions as the ultimate decision comes down to you, the owner.

Week 5 Positional Rankings

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Bye week teams: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland, Tampa Bay

Sneaky Start of the Week
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego at New Orleans
No doubt, Mathews owners were a little worried if they took a look at the box score from San Diego’s 37-20 victory over Kansas City last week. If they did, they would have seen that Mathews had 14 carries and two receptions, but Jackie Battle had 15 and four, not to mention two touchdowns and 12.9 more fantasy points (22.1 to 9.2).

Some of this discrepancy can be explained in that Chargers head coach Norv Turner apparently benched Mathews at the start of the game due to a Week 3 fumble. While nothing was announced or, more impressively, was leaked regarding this decision prior to kickoff, what’s more telling is that after it came to light both the running back and coach seemed to be on the same page about it. In other words, message delivered, message received, let’s move on.

Unfortunately, further developments, namely the fact that Battle, and not Mathews, is currently listed atop the Chargers’ depth chart, would lead one to assume that this perhaps this matter isn’t over. Last week and depth chart positioning aside, I am fairly confident that it will only be a matter of time before this is behind everyone and that Mathews resumes his rightful place as the Chargers’ No. 1 back.

In fact, I am willing to go so far as to say that regardless of whether he starts or not this Sunday in New Orleans, that Mathews will do more than enough damage to merit starting for your fantasy team. The Saints are dead last in the NFL in both total defense and rushing defense, as they are allowing 186.8 yards on the ground. That’s more than enough for both Battle and Mathews to get theirs, and then some.

New Orleans also is allowing more than 30 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs, including 21.6 to Alfred Morris in Week 1 and 37.8 to Jamaal Charles in Week 3. While I don’t anticipate either Mathews or Battle reaching either of those levels, I am expecting them to do something along the lines of what the Carolina duo of Jonathan Stewart and DeAngelo Williams did in Week 2. In that game, Williams had more carries and rushing yards than Stewart, but Stewart was more productive as a receiver and ended up with slightly more fantasy points (13.3 to 12.9). Mathews is more versatile and more of a threat out of the backfield as a receiver than Battle, and I am expecting him to do a little more damage that way against the Saints, which will help him to finish with more fantasy points than his teammate.

Surprise Sit of the Week
Maurice Jones-Drew, RB, Jacksonville vs. Chicago
I know, I know. You never sit your studs. In general this is a theory I subscribe to, so by naming MJD here, I am not necessarily saying that you MUST sit him. I am merely trying to prepare his owners for what I believe will be a fairly pedestrian day at the office this Sunday.

Jones-Drew is currently seventh in the NFL in rushing with 352 yards and is averaging nearly five yards per carry. Quite an accomplishment considering he missed basically all of the preseason because of a contract holdout. However, a closer look at his numbers reveal that he’s had one fantastic game and three fairly ordinary ones.

In Week 3 against Indianapolis, Jones-Drew rambled for 177 yards on 28 carries (6.3 ypc) and a touchdown. In the three other games he has 175 yards on 54 carries (3.2 ypc) and no scores. Chicago is currently third in the league in rushing defense, allowing just 67.3 yards per game, 3.6 yards per carry, and the Bears have given up just one rushing touchdown.

Fantasy-wise, the Bears are allowing the third-fewest points to opposing running backs, having already shut down DeMarco Murray and Steven Jackson. Cedric Benson’s 81 yards in Week 2 is by far the most rushing yards they have allowed to a single back so far, and that was in a game in which Green Bay intercepted Bears quarterback Jay Cutler four times.

Jones-Drew is the best running back the Bears have faced yet, no argument here. However, the Monsters of the Midway have been up to the task to this point when it comes to defending the run. More importantly, I just don’t see Jaguars second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert faring any better than Tony Romo (5 INTs), Aaron Rodgers (1 TD, 1 INT) or Andrew Luck (1 TD, 3 INTs) did against the Bears’ D, allowing the Monsters of the Midway to focus their attention on stopping MJD. Jones-Drew won’t be shut out, he’s  too talented and tough for that, but he’s going to have to earn every yard he gets this Sunday, and I just don’t think it will be all that many.

Quarterbacks
START

Andrew Luck (IND) vs. GB
Since throwing three interceptions in his pro debut in Chicago, Luck has a 4:1 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Outside of Jay Cutler, Green Bay has allowed the opposing quarterback to score at least 19 fantasy points, and gave up 35.8 to Drew Brees in last week’s win at home. Luck isn’t Brees, not yet anyways, but he’s more than capable of taking what the defense allows and finding a way to move his team down the field. The Colts have allowed just five sacks in their first three games, which will be key against the Packers. I think they find a way to keep Luck upright, and if anything, the game situation will probably allow Luck plenty of opportunities to air it out in the second half.

Alex Smith (SF) vs. BUF
Smith posted back-to-back solid games to open the season, but has seen his production decline since then. Against Minnesota he saw his franchise record for passes without an interception come to an end. Then last week against the Jets, he didn’t need to throw the ball that much as the 49ers rushed for more than 250 yards and dominated the proceedings from start to finish. That could very well be the case this Sunday against Buffalo, but instead I am saying the coaching staff will let Smith take a few more shots down field against a Bills defense that is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks.

Christian Ponder (MIN) vs. TEN
The Vikings’ young quarterback is 8th in the league in passer rating and has yet to throw an interception. However, he’s also 25th in the league in passing yards, 22nd in passing attempts and has just four touchdown passes in four games. If there’s ever a week to let the second-year starter air it out it’s this week. Tennessee is allowing opponents to complete more than 75 percent of their passes, 285 yards per game through the air, and has given up 10 touchdown passes compared to just one interception. The Vikings’ offense also finally got Jerome Simpson back from suspension last week, giving Ponder another weapon in the passing game, along with fellow receiver Percy Harvin and tight end Kyle Rudolph.

SIT
Cam Newton (CAR) vs. Seattle

It probably seems like I’m picking on Newton, but actually I’m not. He certainly proved me wrong last week with his three-touchdown, zero-turnover effort against Atlanta. However, Seattle’s defense is fourth in the league in total yards allowed and their pass rush is even more disruptive than Atlanta’s. The difference here, in my opinion, is that the Seahawks will be able to contain Newton in the pocket more and limit his yards if he does escape. I also don’t see Newton finishing this game without turning it over at least once, even if this one is at home.

Michael Vick (PHI) at PIT
Like Newton, Vick is a dual threat who can hurt you with both his arm and his legs. Vick’s biggest issue so far has been turnovers, as he’s already produced nine (6 INTs, 3 fumbles) of them. However, Vick didn’t turn the ball over once in leading his Eagles to a win over the Giants this past Sunday night, and Pittsburgh’s defense has only produced three takeaways of its own. So why is Vick in the Sit section, you ask? 1) I don’t think Vick plays another turnover-free game, he’s been somewhat erratic (56.8 completion rate) when he’s thrown the ball, and hasn’t been all that dangerous (4.8 ypc) when running it. 2) The Steelers welcome back hard-hitters and defensive leaders Troy Polamalu and James Harrison this Sunday, have had an extra week to get healthy and prepare for Vick and the Eagles, and have allowed only 190 yards passing per game so far. Also, while Vick didn’t turn the ball over a single time against the Giants, he still only put up 20.5 fantasy points. I just don’t see him putting together a big game in this one.

Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF) at SF
Fitzpatrick leads the league in touchdown passes with 12 and is tied for second in interceptions with seven. He had four of each in the Bills’ 52-28 loss to New England last Sunday. This week the Bills are in San Francisco to take on a 49ers defense that’s sixth in the league in passing defense and has already held in check both Aaron Rodgers and Matthew Stafford. Chances are Fitzpatrick will finish Week 5 as a league leader, but my thinking is that it will be for interceptions and not touchdowns. Several solid starting quarterbacks are already missing this week because they are on bye, but I still think there are better options out there than Fitzpatrick for Week 5.

Running Backs
START

Cedric Benson (GB) at IND

After a slow start out of the gates in Week 1 against San Francisco, Benson has averaged 95.3 total yards and 13.5 fantasy points over his last three games. The biggest omission from his production to this point has been the end zone, as in he’s yet to find it. Green Bay’s offense obviously goes through Rodgers and his right arm, but the Packers have put more emphasis on the running game as of late. Here’s saying that continues against Indianapolis, who is giving up 131.3 yards per game rushing.

Alfred Morris (WAS) vs. ATL
Morris has gone from a nice story during training camp to surprise Week 1 starter to, dare I say it, reliable fantasy option. The main reason for this is twofold – Morris is getting the touches (averaging 20.5 carries per game) and the rest of the ‘Skins backfield is either banged up (or worse) or has been ineffective when given an opportunity. The bottom line is this – Morris is the man right now in the backfield and you want to keep rolling with him this week against an Atlanta defense that’s 29th in the league against the run.

Pierre Thomas (NO) vs. SD
Yes, the Saints also have Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram in their backfield, but this recommendation of Thomas is more of a usage thing. Thomas is second to Ingram in carries by only four fewer attempts, but he’s leading the team by far in rushing yards (152). What’s more, Thomas is fifth on the team in both receptions (11) and targets (16), meaning he’s getting his chances as a receiver too. Sproles is the undisputed backfield receiver, but Brees throws enough and spreads it out enough for others, like Thomas, to benefit. This week’s match-up with San Diego looks to be one of those prime opportunities as the Chargers have given up the third-most receptions (32) to opposing running backs. These factors make Thomas an appealing RB3/flex option this week.

SIT
Michael Turner (ATL) at WAS
Turner turned back the clock last week against Carolina, rushing for 103 yards and also taking a pass 60 yards for a touchdown. It was good to see Turner show off some of that speed and breakaway ability that seemed to be missing at the start of the season. Then again, this was against the Panthers, who are allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs. This week, I think the going will be a little tougher for Turner against Washington, who is giving up 89 yards on the ground per game. I also expect the Falcons to attack the Redskins’ 31st-ranked pass defense a little more than they will run it, which in turn limits Turner’s opportunities.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis (CIN) vs. MIA
The Law Firm can’t seem to get out of his own way. He’s getting the carries (averaging 20.5 per game), but not the yards (286, 3.5 ypc) or the touchdowns (2 total). He hasn’t been much of a threat out of the backfield (6 rec., 46 yds.) and has already lost two fumbles, which is uncharacteristic of him. Miami is No. 1 in the league in rush defense, as the Dolphins are giving up just 56.8 yards per game and 2.4 yards per carry. This seems like a pretty good week to leave BJGE on your bench.

Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller (BUF) at SF
I’m sure Jackson and Spiller owners alike were happy to see their guys back in action last Sunday against New England. I’m not so sure how they felt after the duo combined for 117 total yards, no scores and two lost fumbles, or a total of 10.2 fantasy points. That’s not enough for a starting running back and this was their combined output. Both seemed to make it through no worse for the wear in coming back from their respective injuries, but this also means they will be sharing the touches from here out. I’m not saying there’s not enough opportunities for each to produce, and I am curious to see how the timeshare plays out (who gets the most carries, what’s the breakdown). Just not this week, in San Francisco against a 49ers defense that’s allowing 3.2 yards per carry, has surrendered one rushing touchdown so far and has yielded less than 10 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs. No thank you.

Wide Receivers
START

Domenik Hixon (NYG) vs. CLE
In Week 3 against Carolina, Ramses Barden exploded for nine catches and 138 yards starting in place of an injured Hakeem Nicks AND Hixon, who missed the game due to concussion-related symptoms. Hixon returned last week to catch nine passes for 104 yards and a touchdown, as Nicks missed a second straight game. Nicks isn’t playing again this week against Cleveland, who is allowing the second-most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers and is still missing Joe Haden, their best defensive back. Barden isn’t expected to play either as he suffered a concussion in last week’s loss to the Eagles. So who does that leave?

James Jones (GB) at IND
One could make the argument that Jones, who is leading the Packers in touchdown catches with three, is second in yards (191) and fourth in receptions (16), is already a decent WR3/flex option. This argument only gets stronger with the knowledge that Greg Jennings will miss this week’s game (and possibly more) because of a groin injury. Jones may not get the official start opposite Jordy Nelson, but he’ll be out there plenty and should get strong consideration to receive the start from you if you own him or choose to pick him up.

Kendall Wright (TEN) vs. MIN
Wright leads all rookie wide receivers in catches with 18 and while he may not have accumulated lots of yards (148, 8.2 ypc) so far, it’s clear he’s getting plenty of opportunities. Even though he’s the Titans’ No. 3 receiver, he leads the team in targets by 13 over tight end Jared Cook and with fellow wideout Kenny Britt hampered by an ankle injury that could keep him out another week, this trend should continue. Also it’s worth pointing out that Wright’s first career touchdown pass, an 11-yarder in the fourth quarter at Houston last week, came courtesy of Matt Hasselbeck. Why’s that significant you ask? Because it’s Hasselbeck, and not Jake Locker, who will be the Titans’ starting quarterback this Sunday against Minnesota, as Locker is out with a shoulder injury. There appears to be no reason to think that Hasselbeck won’t continue to look Wright’s way in the passing game.

SIT
Dwayne Bowe (KC) vs. BAL
This is more of an indictment of Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel than Bowe. Cassel has thrown twice as many interceptions (four) as touchdowns (two) the past two weeks and has completed less than 60 percent of his attempts in that span. Baltimore has been susceptible to the pass, allowing Brandon Weeden to throw for 320 yards last week. However, they also have only allowed two receiving touchdowns so far and are still capable of forcing a turnover or two. Just not crazy about how this appears to be setting up for Bowe and his mates.

Jeremy Maclin (PHI) at PIT
In his defense, Maclin has been dealing with a couple of different hip ailments, which have limited his practice time and kept him from taking the field in Week 3. The real concern, however, is what he’s done when he has played, which is two catches for 30 yards in his last two games. One of those did go for a touchdown, but Maclin owners are looking for and needing more production from him. Unfortunately, I think the hip is still an issue and the Pittsburgh defense, with Troy Polamalu back in the secondary, will be an even bigger one come Sunday. The Eagles are off in Week 7. Maclin owners may have to be patient and hope for better things starting in Week 8. Right now, I don’t think he’s startable.

Pierre Garcon (WAS) vs. ATL
Similar to Maclin, Garcon also has been hampered significantly by a foot injury. Since breaking out for four receptions, 109 yards and a long TD (80 yards) against New Orleans in Week 1, Garcon has played in one game and caught  a total of, wait for it, one pass for 20 yards. He does finally appear to be getting healthier, as he’s been practicing fully for the first time in weeks, but his absence has allowed others, namely receiver Leonard Hankerson and tight end Fred Davis, to work on chemistry with rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Until Garcon makes it through an entire game and posts some decent numbers, you may want to stash him away and hope Week 1 doesn’t end up as his lone highlight for this season.

Tight Ends
START

Fred Davis (WAS) vs. ATL
In Washington’s first two games, Davis caught a combined four passes for 52 yards. In the past two, he’s caught 11 for 160. The only bugaboo that remains is he’s still searching for his first touchdown. I think that changes this week against the Falcons, who allowed Carolina’s Greg Olsen to go for 6-89-1 last week.

Joel Dreessen (DEN) at NE
Denver has two reliable tight ends in Jacob Tamme and Dreessen. Tamme is leading his position mate in targets, receptions and yards rather comfortably. However, Dreessen has two touchdowns to Tamme’s one. New England is allowing the second-most fantasy points to tight ends and Peyton Manning is not afraid to throw to either of his. Tamme may be the safer pick here because he gets more opportunities, but I say Dreessen is the one who makes the most of his by finding the end zone this Sunday in Foxboro.

SIT
Heath Miller (PIT) vs. PHI
Miller is tied for second in the league with four touchdown catches and he’s had an extra week to let his ribs heal completely. That’s great for Miller and his owners, but here’s what’s not: the Eagles are allowing the third-fewest fantasy points to opposing tight ends and held the Giants’ Martellus Bennett (No. 6 TE in fantasy) to one catch for two yards last week. Miller owners may be better off if they extend his break another week.

Tony Moeaki (KC) vs. BAL
Kevin Boss has been sidelined by injury, which theoretically should open up the door for Moeaki. Remember, Moeaki burst on the scene in 2010 when he caught 47 passes for 556 yards and three touchdowns as a rookie. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been the same since he tore his ACL during the preseason last year and has just nine catches for 76 yards and no touchdowns so far. There’s no telling when, or if, Moeaki will return to his rookie-year form and no reason why he should even be on your radar right now.

Defense/Special Teams
START

Minnesota Vikings vs. Tennessee Titans
The Vikings are fourth among defense/special teams in fantasy scoring. They are capable of getting after the quarterback (12 sacks) and the big kick return (2 TDs). The Titans’ offense has been inconsistent to start the season, is making a switch at quarterback (although Matt Hasselbeck has plenty of starting experience), and  is allowing 27.4 yards (eighth-highest in NFL) on kickoff returns. Seems like a decent match-up to me, no?

Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Philadelphia Eagles
This is certainly not a pick based on statistics. Granted the Steelers have only played three games so far, but they still have a total of just five sacks and three turnovers on defense. No, this choice is more circumstance-driven, if you will, as the Steel Curtain happily welcomes back two of its key members – safety Troy Polamalu and linebacker James Harrison. Do I think the addition of two All-Pro playmakers to the Steelers’ defense will make that much of a difference? Yes, yes, I do and we will see why starting this Sunday against the Eagles.

SIT
Green Bay Packers vs. Indianapolis Colts
The Packers are doing a good job of getting to the quarterback (14 sacks, 4th in the NFL), but they aren’t really forcing that many turnovers. The Colts have done a pretty good job of protecting Andrew Luck (5 sacks allowed, tied for 29th) and since throwing three picks against Chicago, he’s had only one interception in his past two games. I think the Colts’ offensive line will give Luck enough time and the rookie will continue to take care of the ball in a game that allows the home team to pile up some yards and put some points on the board against the Packers.

New York Jets vs. Houston (Monday)
As bad as the Jets’ offense has been recently, the defense hasn’t exactly been stellar. They gave up 254 yards on the ground against San Francisco last week and have just five sacks on the season. Enter an undefeated Texans team that loves to run the ball (most rushing attempts in NFL) and has given up a total of three sacks in four games. The Jets’ offense won’t be able to put up much of a fight against a stout Texans’ defense, which allows the Texans to wear down the Jets and pound them into submission with the ground game by the second half.

Kickers
START

Blair Walsh (MIN) vs. Tennessee
Walsh, a rookie, is 9-of-10 so far on field goal attempts, including three makes from 50 yards and out. He’s attempted more field goals than PATs (9). The Titans are allowing 37.8 points per game, the most in the league. What more could you ask for?

Robbie Gould (CHI) at Jacksonville
The always-reliable Gould is a perfect 20-for-20 on all of his kicks (12 PAT, 8 FG) so far. The thinking here is that his kick distribution evens up a little bit this week. The Bears will be able to drive the ball against the Jaguars, but have to settle for three enough times to allow Gould to put up double digits.

SIT
David Akers (SF) vs. Buffalo
Akers will score, as will the 49ers, but the majority of his kicks against the Bills will count for one point, not three.

Nick Folk (NYJ) vs. Houston (Monday)
The Jets scored no points against San Francisco, the No. 5 defense in the NFL. Next up is Houston, who just happens to be the No. 3 defense. It’s kind of hard for a kicker to score if his team doesn’t/can’t move the ball, right?

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 5, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 5</p>
Post date: Friday, October 5, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/red-sox-fire-valentine
Body:

Boston, MA (Sports Network) - The Boston Red Sox have fired manager Bobby Valentine after just one season.

Boston finished the 2012 season last in the American League East with a record of 69-93, the worst for the storied franchise since a 62-100 mark in 1965. He had one year remaining on the contract he signed last winter.

"Our 2012 season was disappointing for many reasons," said Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington in a statement Thursday. "No single issue is the reason, and no single individual is to blame."

The disastrous record wasn't the only problem for Valentine, who was back in a big league dugout for the first time since 2002. He had issues with some of his coaching staff and a few players during the trying campaign.

After the team's meltdown last September, in which a 7-20 record denied the team a playoff berth, the Red Sox parted ways with Terry Francona and hoped the change to Valentine would help restore the luster of two World Series championships.

It didn't. The Red Sox started with three straight losses, never really contended after a 4-10 start and went on to miss the playoffs for the third straight season.

"This season was by far the worst we have experienced in over 10 years here," Red Sox chairman Tom Werner. "Ultimately, we are all collectively responsible for the team's performance. We are going to be working tirelessly to reconstruct the ballclub for 2013. We'll be back."

Valentine kept three members of Francona's coaching staff, and in a radio interview on Wednesday before the season finale against the Yankees said he didn't feel full loyalty from all of his coaches during the season. He didn't mention any names.

It was, likely, the last straw in what had long been rumored -- Valentine's ouster.

"Bobby leaves the Red Sox's manager's office with our respect, gratitude, and affection," said Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino. "I have no doubt that he will continue to contribute to the game he loves so much and knows so well."

Player issues evolved early in the season when Valentine, on April 15, questioned whether Kevin Youkilis had been playing with the same passion as in the past. He quickly apologized, particularly after Dustin Pedroia came to Youkilis' defense. Youkilis was eventually traded to the Chicago White Sox in June.

In mid-August, reports surfaced about a meeting players had with ownership regarding Valentine. It had been speculated that the players asked management for a managerial change in the late July meeting.

Reports had indicated that players were upset when Valentine left pitcher Jon Lester in a blowout game on July 22, a game in which the left-hander gave up 11 runs. Owner John Henry and Pedroia acknowledged that meetings took place, but both denied that players asked for Valentine's removal.

The Red Sox also had plenty of key injuries during the season. Andrew Bailey, acquired from Oakland to be the club's closer, underwent thumb surgery just before the start of the season and didn't return until August, while outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury missed most of the first three months because of a dislocated shoulder. Pedroia also battled a thumb injury and David Ortiz missed the last 2 1/2 months because of an Achilles problem.

With the club quickly fading from contention in late August, the Red Sox then orchestrated one of the biggest post-waiver trades in baseball history by dealing first baseman Adrian Gonzalez, outfielder Carl Crawford, pitcher Josh Beckett and infielder Nick Punto to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

"We've been making personnel changes since August, and we will continue to do so as we build a contending club," Cherington added. "With an historic number of injuries, Bobby was dealt a difficult hand. He did the best he could under seriously adverse circumstances, and I am thankful to him."

Valentine spent six-plus seasons as manager of the New York Mets and parts of eight seasons as skipper of the Texas Rangers. He has an overall big league record of 1,186-1,165 and guided the Mets to the 2000 World Series.

"I understand this decision," said Valentine in the club's release. "This year in Boston has been an incredible experience for me, but I am as disappointed in the results as are ownership and the great fans of Red Sox Nation.

"It was a privilege to be part of the 100 year anniversary of Fenway Park and an honor to be in uniform with such great players and coaches. My best to the organization. I'm sure next year will be a turnaround year."

The Connecticut native also spent time as a manger in Japan, winning the Japan Series title in 2005.

Teaser:
<p> The Boston Red Sox have fired manager Bobby Valentine after just one season.</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 14:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Arian Foster HOU at NYJ (Mon.) Jets gave up 254 rushing yards to 49ers last week.
2 Ray Rice BAL at KC Could have field day against Chiefs.
3 Marshawn Lynch SEA at CAR Panthers allowing most fantasy points to RBs.
4 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. TEN Almost back to being a Top 10 RB.
5 LeSean McCoy PHI at PIT Should get another heavy workload vs. Steelers.
6 Jamaal Charles KC vs. BAL Ravens D not as fearsome as past years.
7 Frank Gore SF vs. BUF Bills allowed two Patriots to rush for 100+ last week.
8 Maurice Jones-Drew JAC vs. CHI Bears D has been solid against rush.
9 Reggie Bush MIA at CIN Didn't do a lot against Cardinals, but key is knee is OK.
10 Ryan Mathews SD at NO May finally break through against Saints.
11 Trent Richardson CLE at NYG More than held his own against Ravens last week.
12 Matt Forte CHI at JAC Limited, but still had impact on MNF vs. Cowboys.
13 Alfred Morris WAS vs. ATL Had first 100-yard game against Tampa Bay.
14 Chris Johnson TEN at MIN CJ finally got loose (141 yards) against Texans.
15 Stevan Ridley NE vs. DEN Even with Bolden's big day, ran for 100+ and 2 TDs.
16 Michael Turner ATL at WAS Busted out in a big way last week, encore?
17 Cedric Benson GB at IND Has one rushing TD so far.
18 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. MIA Dolphins have been good against the rush so far.
19 Willis McGahee DEN at NE Rib issue didn't slow him down (112, TD) vs. Raiders.
20 Darren Sproles NO vs. SD  
21 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG vs. CLE Didn't do much but still got majority of work over Brown.
22 Steven Jackson STL vs. ARI (Thurs.) Questionable (groin) vs. Cardinals, game-time decision.
23 Fred Jackson BUF at SF Got more carries, targets than Spiller last week.
24 Ryan Williams ARI at STL (Thurs.)  
25 C.J. Spiller BUF at SF Shoulder seems OK, but now in timeshare with Jackson.
26 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. SEA Had most carries of any Panther back against Atlanta.
27 Donald Brown IND vs. GB  
28 Michael Bush CHI at JAC Opportunities could decrease as Forte gets healthier.
29 Rashard Mendenhall PIT vs. PHI Expected to start, but will share carries.
30 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. SEA Returned, but crowded backfield limits impact.
31 Shonn Greene NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.)  
32 Ben Tate HOU at NYJ (Mon.) Texans not really limiting Foster's workload so far.
33 Kendall Hunter SF vs. BUF  
34 Pierre Thomas NO vs. SD  
35 Jackie Battle SD at NO More touches than Mathews last week, will it continue?
36 Mark Ingram NO vs. SD  
37 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at WAS  
38 Daniel Thomas MIA at CIN  
39 Brandon Bolden NE vs. DEN One-week wonder or is there a timeshare in NE?
40 Andre Brown NYG vs. CLE Didn't get a lot of chances with Bradshaw back.
41 Isaac Redman PIT vs. PHI Should get his chances even with Mendenhall back.
42 Shaun Draughn KC vs. BAL  
43 Ronnie Hillman DEN at NE Finally got some consistent playing time, more coming?
44 Robert Turbin SEA at CAR Had 45 yards on just six carries last week.
45 Bernard Pierce BAL at KC  
46 Daryl Richardson STL vs. ARI (Thurs.) Will start if S. Jackson (groin) can't go.
47 Bilal Powell NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.)  
48 Toby Gerhart MIN vs. TEN Not getting many chances with AP back.

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 06:03
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings

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

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Note: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye this week.

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> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:16
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Aaron Rodgers GB at IND Had best game yet (319-4-1) vs. Saints last week.
2 Drew Brees NO vs. SD Leading league in yards (1,350), 24th in accuracy (57.6).
3 Matt Ryan ATL at WAS No. 1 fantasy QB gets No. 31 passing defense.
4 Tom Brady NE vs. DEN Put up 340 yards passing vs. Bills, 4 TDs (3 pass/1 rush).
5 Eli Manning NYG at CLE Second to Brees in yards, Browns gave up 356 last week.
6 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. ATL Rookie has same number of passing and rushing TDs (4).
7 Peyton Manning DEN at NE No. 18 is 6-10 in regular season vs. Patriots, 36 TDs, 23 INTs.
8 Joe Flacco BAL at KC Ravens throwing more than running, will it continue?
9 Cam Newton CAR vs. SEA Rebounded vs. Falcons, but 'Hawks another tough test.
10 Philip Rivers SD at NO Averaging less than 225 yards per game, breakout vs. NO?
11 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. PHI Career vs. Eagles: 1-1, 314 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT total.
12 Matt Schaub HOU at NYJ (Mon.) Revis-less Jets D not nearly as fearsome.
13 Andy Dalton CIN vs. MIA Has 9 total TDs, only 3 INTs in last three games.
14 Michael Vick PHI at PIT Steelers have had extra week to get healthy, ready for Eagles.
15 Jay Cutler CHI at JAC Can he do it two games in a row?
16 Andrew Luck IND vs. GB Had extra week to prepare for Packers.
17 Alex Smith SF vs. BUF 49ers should feast on second straight AFC East opponent.
18 Christian Ponder MIN vs. TEN Will Vikes let Ponder air it out against Titans (27th vs. pass)?
19 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at SF First in league in passing TDs (12), tied for second in INTs (7).
20 Kevin Kolb ARI at STL (Thurs.) Had first 300-3 game since Oct. 2010 last week.
21 Matt Hasselbeck TEN at MIN Veteran gets start in place of Locker (shoulder).
22 Sam Bradford STL vs. ARI Shaky O-line holding Rams' passing attack back.
23 Russell Wilson SEA at CAR Rams bring rookie back to earth: 160 yards, 3 INT, 0 TDs.
24 Matt Cassel KC vs. BAL Ravens not what Cassel needs to maintain hold on job.
25 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. NYG Has 3:3 TD:INT ratio since tossing 4 picks in Week 1.
26 Ryan Tannehill MIA at CIN Coming off of 432-yard effort (1 TD 2, INTs) at Arizona.

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:15
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 A.J. Green CIN vs. MIA No. 1 fantasy WR right now.
2 Victor Cruz NYG vs. CLE Capable of carrying load if Nicks is out again.
3 Roddy White ATL at WAS Had most yards (169) since Week 7 of 2010 last week.
4 Larry Fitzgerald ARI at STL (Thurs.) Finally finding chemistry with Kolb.
5 Andre Johnson HOU at NYJ (Mon.) Jets won't have Revis to slow down big Texan.
6 Brandon Marshall CHI at JAC Looks to be back on same page with Cutler.
7 Percy Harvin MIN vs. TEN Should have bigger impact on offense vs. Titans.
8 Jordy Nelson GB at IND Finally found end zone last week.
9 Mike Wallace PIT vs. PHI  
10 Julio Jones ATL at WAS Hand issue holding him back.
11 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. DEN Looking for big game against former team.
12 Demaryius Thomas DEN at NE Big target could cause Pats' DBs problems.
13 Steve Smith CAR vs. SEA Smith vs. SEA secondary will be fun to watch.
14 Reggie Wayne IND vs. GB  
15 Marques Colston NO vs. SD Big game against Packers, foot issue behind him?
16 Wes Welker NE vs. DEN Been big part of offense since Hernandez went down.
17 Torrey Smith BAL at KC One of top vertical threats in NFL.
18 Dwayne Bowe KC vs. BAL  
19 DeSean Jackson PHI at PIT  
20 Stevie Johnson BUF at SF  
21 Malcom Floyd SD at NO Saints allowing fourth-most fantasy points to WRs.
22 Eric Decker DEN at NE  
23 Antonio Brown PIT vs. PHI  
24 Domenik Hixon NYG vs. CLE Big opportunity with Hakeem Nicks out again.
25 James Jones GB at IND No Jennings, means more snaps for Jones.
26 Danny Amendola STL vs. ARI (Thurs.) TD last week came on fake field goal.
27 Lance Moore NO vs. SD  
28 Brian Hartline MIA at CIN Leading league in receiving yards, but relies on rookie QB.
29 Jeremy Maclin PHI at PIT  
30 Michael Crabtree SF vs. BUF Will 49ers throw enough to take advantage of Bills?
31 Anquan Boldin BAL at KC After slow start, had 9 rec., 131 yds. vs. Cleveland
32 Pierre Garcon WAS vs. ATL Had only one catch last week, but foot appears OK.
33 Nate Washington TEN at MIN  
34 Kenny Britt TEN at MIN Hoping to at least practice (ankle), monitor status.
35 Andre Roberts ARI at STL (Thurs.) Top fantasy WR (No. 12) on Cardinals.
36 Andrew Hawkins CIN vs. MIA Big-play or bust option right now.
37 Donnie Avery IND vs. GB  
38 Randall Cobb GB at IND  
39 Greg Little CLE at NYG If only he could hold onto ball better.
40 Jerome Simpson MIN vs. TEN Led team in catches, yards in first game back.
41 Brandon LaFell CAR vs. SEA  
42 Davone Bess MIA at CIN Had strong game (7, 123) in support of Hartline last week.
43 Sidney Rice SEA at CAR  
44 Leonard Hankerson WAS vs. ATL Used Garcon's absence to carve out role in passing game.
45 Kendall Wright TEN at MIN Rookie could see more opportunities if Britt's out.
46 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. CHI Six catches, 48 yards a start for rookie.
47 Jeremy Kerley NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.) Holmes done for year, so could Jets' passing attack.
48 Donald Jones BUF at SF  
49 Alshon Jeffery CHI at JAC  
50 T.Y. Hilton IND vs. GB  
51 Brandon Stokely DEN at NE  
52 Mario Manningham SF vs. BUF  
53 Jon Baldwin KC at KC Starting to show more consistency, TD next?
54 Randy Moss SF vs. BUF  
55 Travis Benjamin CLE at NYG Injuries have given him a chance to produce.
56 Devin Hester CHI at JAC Caught TD vs. Dallas, more looks coming?
57 Kevin Walter HOU at NYJ (Mon.)  
58 Golden Tate SEA at CAR  
59 Eddie Royal SD at NO  
60 Chaz Schilens NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.)  
61 Santana Moss WAS vs. ATL  
62 Brandon Gibson STL vs. ARI (Thurs.) Second on team in receptions, targets.
63 Robert Meachem SD at NO Will facing former team finally get him going?
64 Harry Douglas ATL at WAS  

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Tight Ends
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:13
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Jimmy Graham NO vs. SD  
2 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. DEN  
3 Tony Gonzalez ATL at WAS  
4 Vernon Davis SF vs. BUF  
5 Jermichael Finley GB at IND  
6 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. TEN Titans have been awful against TEs.
7 Martellus Bennett NYG vs. CLE Just one catch vs. Eagles, but don't worry.
8 Antonio Gates SD at NO Still in search of first TD.
9 Dennis Pitta BAL at KC Not needed (0 rec.) against Browns.
10 Brent Celek PHI at PIT Clearly one of Vick's favorite targets right now.
11 Owen Daniels HOU at NYJ (Mon.)  
12 Greg Olsen CAR vs. SEA Leads Panthers in receptions.
13 Scott Chandler BUF at SF Two TDs vs. Patriots, No. 5 fantasy TE right now.
14 Fred Davis WAS vs. ATL Has had back-to-back solid games, still no TDs.
15 Heath Miller PIT vs. PHI Caught two TD passes in Week 3.
16 Coby Fleener IND vs. GB  
17 Jared Cook TEN at MIN First shoulder, now dealing with hand issue too.
18 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. MIA  
19 Jacob Tamme DEN at NE More targets and catches than Dreessen, but no TDs either.
20 Joel Dreessen DEN at NE Tamme had more catches, but he had TD vs. Raiders.
21 Marcedes Lewis JAC vs. CHI Best game (3, 32, 1) since Week 1 against Bengals.
22 Dustin Keller NYJ vs. HOU (Mon.) May finally return since injuring hamstring in Week 1.
23 Anthony Fasano MIA at CIN  
24 Ed Dickson BAL at KC  
25 Rob Housler ARI at STL (Thurs.)  
26 Craig Stevens TEN at MIN Made most of opportunities while Cook's been limited.

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Kickers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:11
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 Houston Texans at NYJ (Mon.) Just like 49ers, Texans should feast on Jets' O in disarray.
2 Chicago Bears at JAC Bears abused Romo (5 INTs) on MNF, greener Gabbert next.
3 Arizona Cardinals at STL (Thurs.) No. 2 DEF in fantasy, second in league in sacks (16).
4 Seattle Seahawks at CAR Hawks D vs. Cam Newton will be fun to watch.
5 Baltimore Ravens at KC Chiefs have turned ball over NFL-worst 15 times.
6 San Francisco 49ers vs. BUF Looking to feast on AFC East for second week in a row.
7 St. Louis Rams vs. ARI (Thurs.) Rams been strong against pass (8 INTs) so far.
8 Minnesota Vikings vs. TEN Vikings can get to QB, make big special teams plays.
9 New York Giants vs. CLE Will T-Rich run on G-Men like McCoy (123 yds.)?
10 Atlanta Falcons at WAS Last week it was Cam, this week it's RGIII.
11 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. PHI Should get Polamalu, Harrison back.
12 Green Bay Packers at IND Packers looking to pressure rookie Luck into mistakes.
13 Philadelphia Eagles at PIT Will need to get pressure on Big Ben to slow down passing attack.
14 Miami Dolphins at CIN Fins better against run than pass, could be issue with Green.
15 Cincinnati Bengals vs. MIA Leading league in sacks with 17.
16 New England Patriots vs. DEN Pats rely on turnovers, Manning has just 3 INTs so far.
17 New York Jets vs. HOU (Mon.) Offensive issues starting to bring down D.

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

 

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Kickers

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:10
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-5
Body:

Each week during the NFL season, we will 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 Web site can give you.

Dallas, Detroit, Oakland and Tampa Bay are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 5 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 David Akers SF vs. BUF
2 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. DEN
3 Mason Crosby GB at IND
4 Greg Zuerlein STL vs. ARI (Thurs.)
5 Matt Bryant ATL at WAS
6 Justin Tucker BAL at KC
7 Garrett Hartley NO vs. SD
8 Blair Walsh MIN vs. TEN
9 Robbie Gould CHI at JAC
10 Nick Novak SD at NO
11 Alex Henery PHI at PIT
12 Lawrence Tynes NYG vs. CLE
13 Shayne Graham HOU at NYJ (Mon.)
14 Matt Prater DEN at NE
15 Mike Nugent CIN vs. MIA
16 Phil Dawson CLE at NYG

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

Additional Week 5 Positional Rankings

Quarterbacks
Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 5 Start or Sit

Week 5 Waiver Wire

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 5</p>
Post date: Thursday, October 4, 2012 - 05:05
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /mlb/braves-sheets-retire-after-wednesdays-start
Body:

Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Atlanta Braves pitcher Ben Sheets will make the final start of an injury-plagued 10-year major league career when he takes the mound in Wednesday's regular-season finale at Pittsburgh.

Sheets, who returned to the big leagues in July after sitting out the entire 2011 season recovering from elbow surgery, told the Braves' official site of his decision on Tuesday.

"I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt I'm not playing again," he said. "No matter what, there is not enough help or money to pull me out of this one."

The veteran right-hander has not pitched since Aug. 24 due to a sore shoulder, but is expected to throw two innings to begin Wednesday's contest. Sheets will be taking the place of orginally scheduled starter Tim Hudson, who is slated to pitch Game 1 of a potential appearance in the National League Division Series if the Braves win Friday's wild card game at Turner Field.

Atlanta was eliminated from NL East title consideration following Monday's 2-1 loss to the Pirates.

Sheets is not expected to be included on Atlanta's postseason roster.

The 34-year-old has compiled a 94-96 record and a 3.54 earned run average over 249 career starts with Milwaukee, Oakland and the Braves and was named to the NL All-Star team four times (2001, 2004, 2007, 2008) during an eight-year stint with the Brewers from 2001-08. He missed all of 2009 after undergoing surgery to repair a torn flexor tendon in his elbow.

Sheets has gone 4-4 with a 3.54 ERA in eight starts with Atlanta this season.

Teaser:
<p> Atlanta Braves pitcher Ben Sheets will make the final start of an injury-plagued 10-year major league career when he takes the mound in Wednesday's regular-season finale at Pittsburgh.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 09:47
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nfl/report-jets-holmes-miss-rest-season
Body:

New York, NY (Sports Network) - New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes will miss the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, according to a report in the New York Daily News.

Holmes suffered the injury during the fourth quarter of Sunday's 34-0 loss to the San Francisco 49ers after making a catch. He immediately fell to the ground without being contacted and let go of the ball, which 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers promptly returned for a 51-yard touchdown

The seven-year veteran was unable to put any weight on his left leg and was carted off the field.

X-rays of the foot were negative, but the Daily News reported an MRI on the injury by foot specialist Robert Anderson in North Carolina discovered the extent of the injury.

Holmes recorded four catches for 29 yards before exiting Sunday, and has 20 receptions for 272 yards and a touchdown this season.

This would be the second significant injury for the Jets this season as the team already lost superstar cornerback Darrelle Revis for the season due to an ACL injury.

Teaser:
<p> New York Jets wide receiver Santonio Holmes will miss the remainder of the season with a Lisfranc injury in his left foot, according to a report in the New York Daily News.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 07:26
Path: /nfl/top-10-nfl-coaches-hot-seat-week-5
Body:

Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season will kick off on Thursday night, which means we’ve reached the quarter-mark of the regular season. Teams across the league are evaluating where things stand right now, and that starts with the head coaches. Speaking of which, while no coach seems in imminent danger of losing his job, there are certainly a few who are starting to feel the heat.

Top 10 NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat: Week 5

1. Rex Ryan, New York Jets
Preseason Rank:
3
2012 Record: 2-2


Yes, the Jets are currently tied for first in the AFC East, and technically hold the advantage thanks to a 2-0 divisional record. However, the overall picture and in many ways, the immediate outlook, does not paint nearly as rosy a picture. Following Sunday’s 34-0 shutout loss to San Francisco at home, the Jets have scored just 33 points in their past three games after scoring 48 in a Week 1 win over Buffalo. In that game, the Jets had 384 yards of total offense. Since then, they are averaging a little more than 250 per game, and had just 145 total yards against the 49ers.

Before the season started, Ryan expressed a desire to return to the team’s “Ground N Pound” ways. Well it’s the Jets’ whose run game, which is averaging 3.2 yards per carry, has been grounded, while their rush defense has been pounded. The defense is giving up nearly five yards a carry as the 49ers ran roughshod for 245 yards on 44 carries (5.6 ypc) on Sunday. That’s the most allowed by the team in 52 games under Ryan. Obviously the defense has been impacted by the season-ending loss of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, but the Jets’ problems, on both sides of the ball right now, run much deeper than that. These are now Ryan’s problems to try and address as he gets his team ready for a visit from the undefeated Houston Texans this coming Monday night.

2. Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Preseason Rank:
4
2012 Record: 2-2

Dallas is just one game behind current NFC East leader Philadelphia and has won its only divisional game (Week 1 against the Giants) so far, so there’s no reason to panic in Big D. However, there is certainly plenty to be concerned about following the Cowboys’ disappointing 34-18 home loss to Chicago on Monday night. The game wasn’t as close as the score indicated, as Tony Romo was picked off five times and the Bears returned two of those for touchdowns. The good news is the coaching staff and team have an extra week to work on things before travelling to Baltimore in Week 6. The bad news is that there is a lot to address, starting with a running game that has all but disappeared since Week 1, and Garrett and the coaching staff know that expectations are always high when it comes the Cowboys and owner Jerry Jones. The team has missed the playoffs the past two seasons. It’s entirely possible that Jones, who is not known for his patience, will decide to make a change should that streak continue this season.

3. Romeo Crennel, Kansas City Chiefs
Preseason Rank:
9
2012 Record: 1-3


Injuries derailed the Chiefs’ 2011 season and have been an issue for the defense at the start of this season. The team is getting healthier, now it’s just a matter of producing on the field. Running back Jamaal Charles has returned from a torn ACL to power the offense, which needs better play from quarterback Matt Cassel (6 total TDs, 10 total turnovers). The defense is having its problems stopping anyone, as they have allowed an average of 34 points per game. Only the Tennessee Titans (37.8 ppg) are giving up more. Crennel took over the team late last season, and is now 3-4 with the Chiefs in his second stint as a head coach. He went 24-40 in four seasons as the Browns’ head coach from 2005-08.

4. Jim Schwartz, Detroit Lions
Preseason Rank:
NR
2012 Record: 1-3


Much was expected of the Lions after finally putting an end to the franchise’s 12-year playoff drought last season. However, after scratching out a win over St. Louis in Week 1, the Lions have lost three in a row, including Sunday’s 20-13 divisional defeat at home to Minnesota. The Lions will have a week to reassess and address any issues that need to be fixed before starting a difficult three-week stretch – at Philadelphia, at Chicago and home to Seattle. The pressure is on Schwartz and his team to show that last year’s breakthrough wasn’t a fluke.

5. Pat Shurmur, Cleveland Browns
Preseason Rank:
8
2012 Record: 0-4


The Browns and the Saints are the only winless teams left in the NFL, but there’s no “interim” in front of Pat Shurmur’s title. Shurmur’s young charges are playing better, three of the four losses have been by seven points or less, but the easiest way to measure progress is with wins. After giving divisional foe Baltimore all it could handle last Thursday, the Browns will have another chance to make a statement when they go to New York to take on the defending Super Bowl champion Giants. The reality for Shurmur is he’s now 4-16 as the Browns’ head coach. Even with a rookie quarterback and running back leading his offense, he needs to find a way to get at least five victories or else the team may decide to bring someone else to oversee the rebuilding process.

6. Norv Turner, San Diego Chargers
Preseason Rank:
1
2012 Record: 3-1

For Turner, and general manager A.J. Smith for that matter, it’s pretty simple. At the minimum, the Chargers have to make the playoffs to have any shot at keeping their jobs. So far, so good as the Chargers have gotten off to an uncharacteristic 3-1 start. The offense hasn’t been as explosive as it has been in the past, but the defense is playing well, especially against the run (80.3 yards rushing per game, 6th in the NFL), and Philip Rivers and the rest of the offense have done a much better job of holding onto the ball (+3 turnover ratio). The Chargers go to New Orleans and then host Denver before their Week 7 bye, so we should know more about this team at that point.

7. Chan Gailey, Buffalo Bills
Preseason Rank:
7
2012 Record: 2-2


Buffalo rebounded from a rough opening week loss to the Jets to win their next two over Kansas City and Cleveland. That modest winning streak came to a screeching halt on Sunday as New England scored 35 unanswered points in the second half to erase a 21-7 Bills lead. The Patriots won the game 52-28, gashing a revamped Bills’ defense that was expected to be one of the team’s strengths after the offseason additions, for 580 yards. The Bills’ offense (387.8 ypg, 11th in the NFL) has more than held its own, but the defense must play better as they already face a 0-2 hole in the AFC East divisional race.

8. Andy Reid, Philadelphia Eagles
Preseason Rank:
2
2012 Record: 3-1

The Eagles are 3-1 and currently in first place in the NFC East, but that doesn’t mean the pressure is off for Reid and the coaching staff. First, owner Jeffrey Lurie has basically made it pretty clear that the Eagles need to do more than just into the playoffs this season. Second, the Eagles have been winning, but it hasn’t exactly been pretty. They’ve won their three games by a combined five points, while their one loss was by 21 on the road at Arizona. Also, the Eagles have turned the ball over 12 times already, with quarterback Michael Vick being responsible for nine (6 INT, 3 fumbles) of those. Vick and the team, however, did play turnover-free football in Sunday night’s big win over the Giants. So for now, everything seems copacetic in The City of Brotherly Love, but will only remain that way as long as Reid’s team keeps on winning.

9. Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Preseason Rank:
NR
2012 Record: 1-3


The Panthers lost a tough one in Atlanta on Sunday as the Falcons forced the Panthers to punt with a little more than a minute left in the game. Matt Ryan then drove the team into position for Matt Bryant to kick the game-winning 40-yard field goal with just five seconds left. The good news for Rivera and the Panthers is that quarterback Cam Newton rebounded nicely after a rough Week 3 outing, accounting for more than 300 yards of total offense and three touchdowns. Unfortunately, it didn’t result in a win and the Panthers will try again next week at home against Seattle.

10. Lovie Smith, Chicago Bears
Preseason Rank:
6
2012 Record: 3-1

Smith and the Bears have bounced back with two straight victories following an ugly 23-10 loss at Green Bay in Week 2. The Bears were at their best on Monday night, thoroughly beating Dallas in all aspects in a convincing 34-18 victory in the palace that Jerry Jones built. Besides the defense intercepting Tony Romo five times (returning two of those for touchdowns), the offense did its part as Jay Cutler threw for 275 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. He did have one fumble, but he was only sacked twice and the Bears also got Matt Forte back in the lineup. There’s still a long ways to go and the Bears are already down a game to the Packers in the NFC North race, but there’s still plenty of reasons to be optimistic regarding the team’s outlook this season.

Others:
New Orleans is 0-4, but remember they are being led by an interim to the interim right now, so it doesn’t matter how many games Joe Vitt/Aaron Kromer win or lose. They both know they are merely keeping the seat warm for Sean Payton. Minnesota’s Leslie Frazier (No. 5) and Arizona’s Ken Whisenhunt (No. 10) both made the preseason Hot Seat list, but have since poured a big ‘ol bucket of ice cold water on any such talk as their teams are a combined 7-1 to start the season. In fact, right now you have to say these two are the current leaders for Coach of the Year honors.

Of the six first-year head coaches, Jeff Fisher in St. Louis is the only one with two wins. The rest – Dennis Allen (Oakland), Mike Mularkey (Jacksonville), Chuck Pagano (Indianapolis), Joe Philbin (Miami) and Greg Schiano (Tampa Bay) – are either 1-3 or 1-2 as Pagano’s Colts were on bye in Week 4. There’s no reason to think any of these coaches are in jeopardy of losing their job just four games into it. That is especially the case with Pagano, who now has something far more important to deal with as he’s been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia.

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 3, 2012

Teaser:
<p> Top 10 NFL Coaches on the Hot Seat: Week 5</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 06:15
All taxonomy terms: MLB, News
Path: /mlb/mets-dickey-have-surgery
Body:

R.A. DickeyMiami, FL (Sports Network) - New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey revealed after his final start of the season he will undergo surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.

He received a no decision while allowing three runs on seven hits with no walks and eight strikeouts over six innings in the Mets' 4-3 extra-inning victory over the Miami Marlins on Tuesday.

The Cy Young candidate said he has been dealing with the injury since April, but it was not significant enough to keep him out of action.

Dickey will have the surgery on Oct. 18 in Philadelphia and expects to be ready for the start of spring training.

The 37-year-old knuckleballer is coming off a career year in which he went 20-6 with a 2.73 ERA and 230 strikeouts through 233 2/3 innings.

Teaser:
<p> New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey revealed after his final start of the season he will undergo surgery to repair a torn abdominal muscle.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 - 02:06
All taxonomy terms: Golf
Path: /golf/presidents-cup-assistants-named
Body:

International captain Nick Price named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his assistants for the Presidents Cup on Tuesday, while U.S. captain Fred Couples selected Jay Haas.

Dublin, OH (Sports Network) - International captain Nick Price named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his assistants for the Presidents Cup on Tuesday, while U.S. captain Fred Couples selected Jay Haas.

Couples will name additional assistants in the coming months.

This marks the first time that each captain has the option of naming three official assistants.

Maruyama, who has won three PGA Tour events, has an overall record of 6-2-0 in the Presidents Cup, including a 5-0-0 showing during the International team's lone outright victory in 1998.

McNulty, a Presidents Cup teammate of Price in 1994 and 1996, has a 3-4-2 overall record in the event. He currently competes on the Champions Tour.

Johnstone, who, along with Price and McNulty, hails from Zimbabwe, spent most of his career on the South African Sunshine Tour and the European Tour, where he won the 1992 British PGA Championship.

"Choosing my three captain's assistants was really very easy for me," said Price. "I grew up playing golf back home with Tony Johnstone and Mark McNulty. Maruyama-san was an inspiration to all of us in every Presidents Cup team he played on. His enthusiasm, dogged competiveness and incredible team spirit are things I will never forget."

Haas, a 9-time PGA Tour winner and 16-time victor on the Champions Tour, represented the U.S. in the Presidents Cup in 1994 and 2003, where he posted a combined 5-3-1 record. He also served as Couples' captain's assistant in both 2009 and 2011.

"Jay has really been my right-hand man these past two Presidents Cups, and I know I couldn't do my job as captain without him," said Couples. "Jay has been one of my closest friends for many years. I rely on his leadership qualities, organizational skills and ability to help bring the team together to play their best, but also have a great time in the process."

The President Cup returns to the United States at Muirfield Village Golf Club from Oct. 3-6, 2013.

Teaser:
<p> International captain Nick Price named Shigeki Maruyama, Mark McNulty and Tony Johnstone as his assistants for the Presidents Cup on Tuesday, while U.S. captain Fred Couples selected Jay Haas.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 13:58
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /mlb/mlb-announces-new-tv-deals-fox-turner
Body:

New York, NY (Sports Network) - Major League Baseball has announced new television agreements with broadcast partners FOX and Turner through the 2021 season.

Financial terms of the new deals, which will take effect in 2014, were not disclosed.

FOX will remain the home of the World Series and All-Star Game, while also continuing to air one League Championship Series. The network will also add two Division Series in 2014 and will double its number of regular-season national windows on Saturdays from 26 to 52.

TBS will retain one League Championship Series, two Division Series and one wild card game, while continuing to air Sunday games for the final 13 weeks of the season.

"I have often said in recent years that we are living in the golden age of baseball and that the game has never been more popular," said baseball commissioner Bud Selig in a statement Tuesday. "But to see the unprecedented and historic commitment these networks have made to televising Major League Baseball for years to come is truly amazing. On behalf of Major League Baseball, I am thrilled that we will continue our relationships with both FOX and Turner. Both networks are passionate about baseball and are committed to covering, promoting and growing the sport, and I want to thank them for their continued support."

MLB and ESPN announced an eight-year agreement, starting in 2014, in August.

Teaser:
<p> Major League Baseball has announced new television agreements with broadcast partners FOX and Turner through the 2021 season.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 12:14
All taxonomy terms: News
Path: /nfl/answering-key-nfl-questions-after-week-4
Body:

Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Most NFL teams have completed the first quarter of their regular season. So, despite the general unpredictability of the league, some trends are starting to develop.

Let's attempt to answer key questions on fans' minds:

WHICH 2011 PLAYOFF TEAMS ARE MOST IN JEOPARDY OF MISSING THE 2012 POSTSEASON?

Well, duh, the 0-4 New Orleans Saints have to top the list. Importantly, they're already four games behind unbeaten Atlanta in the NFC South Division standings. The wild-card route would likely be the necessary playoff path, but it's probably going to take a 10-6 record to nab one of the two spots.

So, can the Saints go 10-2 the rest of the way? With head coach Sean Payton suspended for the whole season, and with New Orleans' defense as porous as it's been, that would be wishful thinking. Yes, the Saints have plenty of talent, but they still have road games left against Denver, Atlanta, the New York Giants and Dallas, and they still have home games left against San Diego, Philadelphia, Atlanta and San Francisco.

At 1-3, the Detroit Lions will have a difficult time returning to the playoffs, too. Following their Week 5 bye, they have back-to-back road games at Philadelphia and Chicago. They could be staring at 1-5 after that, which would all but eliminate them from contention.

Even if they survive that tough stretch, they also have a Thanksgiving Day date with Houston and a Week 16 visit from Atlanta ahead. The home loss to Minnesota on Sunday really damaged the Lions' hopes. If not for a rally against St. Louis on opening day, the Lions would be 0-4.

Don't look now, but the defending Super Bowl champion New York Giants are 0-2 in NFC East games. Sure, they're 2-2 overall, and they didn't play particularly badly in either loss, but when you're in what figures to be the toughest division race in the NFL, starting 0-2 in divisional games is cause for concern.

The Giants, of course, are a championship-caliber team, but they still have road games against the likes of San Francisco, Dallas, Atlanta and Baltimore, and their remaining home schedule includes Pittsburgh, Green Bay and Philadelphia.

Last year, a 9-7 regular season was enough to get the Giants a championship. They might be looking at a similar record this year, but with the expected improved records of teams like Arizona, Philadelphia, Chicago, Seattle and Washington in the NFC, it's likely that 9-7 won't be enough to get to the postseason this time around. New York will need to win at least 10 games this regular season.

Pittsburgh is the other 2011 playoff team that probably needs to be concerned. At 1-2, the Steelers still have plenty of time to right the ship. It's just that there's a disturbing trend developing (although perhaps the expected return of Rashard Mendenhall on Sunday will solve it): The Steelers can't run the ball anymore.

No Pittsburgh player has rushed for more than 43 yards in a game this season. Imagine that. Sure, they had been a pass-first team the last few years with Ben Roethlisberger under center, but the Steelers had always been able to count on their rushing attack to close games out in the past.

If the Steelers continue to become more predictable on offense, it's going to be tougher to handle the elite teams. Pittsburgh looks like it's going to win between nine and 11 games. It's possible that nine wouldn't be enough for an AFC playoff berth.

WHICH TEAMS ARE MOST LIKELY TO WIN THEIR DIVISION TITLE, IN ORDER?

With a three-game lead already in the NFC South (as well as having a roster loaded with talent), Atlanta is certainly one of the most likely division winners this year. Top threat New Orleans is 0-4.

With an equally good chance of winning its division is 4-0 Houston, which has a 1 1/2-game lead over Indianapolis in the AFC South. Top threat Tennessee is 1-3.

New England has the third-best chance at a division crown, despite a mediocre 2-2 record. Currently, the Patriots are tied for first in the AFC East with Buffalo and the New York Jets.

Still, can anyone take Buffalo as a serious threat, now that New England rallied from a 21-7 deficit to crush the Bills, 52-28? Does anyone think that the Jets, minus all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis (and possibly top wide receiver Santonio Holmes for a lengthy time, too), can overtake New England?

Those are the only three teams that appear to be essentially a lock to win their respective divisions. Let's go with San Francisco as having the fourth- best chance. Yes, Arizona is undefeated and in first place right now, but the 49ers are just one game behind in the standings and they have the NFL's best defense.

Baltimore, in the AFC North, probably has the fifth-best chance to be a division winner. The Ravens are tied at 3-1 with Cincinnati, and perennial power Pittsburgh could still be a factor, but Baltimore just looks like the most complete team of the bunch.

The other three divisions are too close to call. The best guesses? Look for Peyton Manning-led Denver to edge perennially underachieving San Diego in the AFC West. Chicago and Green Bay will probably fight to the finish in the NFC North, and the NFC East race could involve all four teams. At the very least, Philadelphia, Dallas and the New York Giants ought to remain in the hunt until the end.

WHICH TEAM IS MOST LIKELY TO 'EARN' THE TOP PICK IN THE 2013 DRAFT?

The obvious pick would seem to be Cleveland, since the Browns and New Orleans Saints are the league's only winless teams. The Tennessee Titans have been outscored by a league-worst 70 points, but that could primarily be attributed to their extremely difficult schedule (New England, San Diego, Detroit and Houston).

Let's not pick either of those teams. Let's go with Jacksonville. It should be said, however, that there is about as much parity as ever in the NFL. Any one of six or so teams can challenge for the worst overall record.

If Jacksonville gets the top pick, the most interesting question centers around whether it would choose a quarterback (Matt Barkley or fast-rising Geno Smith) or be content with Blaine Gabbert and ship the No. 1 selection for a king's ransom, like St. Louis did with the No. 2 selection this past offseason.

WHO WILL WIN THE NFL COACH OF THE YEAR AWARD?

Quite a few teams are overachieving, so the Vikings' Leslie Frazier and the Cardinals' Ken Whisenhunt are among the top early contenders for this award. However, since St. Louis, with a 2-2 record, has already equaled its 2011 win total, here's a vote for Jeff Fisher.

The Rams led in the final minute against Detroit before losing a close one. This is possibly the most-improved team in the NFL, and that's what usually wins coaching awards. The Rams have been down for a while, but they've been quietly building a strong defense. They'd need to get to 8-8 for Fisher to win the award, and it says here that they will.

WHEN WILL THE 1972 MIAMI DOLPHINS BE ABLE TO CELEBRATE?

There's an urban legend that as the only team in the Super Bowl era to complete a season as undefeated champion, Miami's 1972 alumni annually get together for a champagne toast to celebrate the final unbeaten NFL team's initial loss of a given season.

Three teams sit at 4-0: Arizona, Atlanta and Houston. History shows that each of them will probably lose a regular-season game (or three or four) before it's over. Let's figure the '72 Dolphins will celebrate no later than Week 8.

Arizona's upcoming schedule is: Week 5 at St. Louis, Week 6 at home versus Buffalo, Week 7 at Minnesota, and Week 8 at home versus San Francisco.

Atlanta's upcoming schedule is: Week 5 at Washington, Week 6 at home versus Oakland, Week 7 bye, and Week 8 at Philadelphia.

Houston's upcoming schedule is: Week 5 at the New York Jets, Week 6 at home versus Green Bay, Week 7 at home versus Baltimore, and a Week 8 bye.

It seems like there's a potential loss during the next four weeks for each of those teams. Arizona will probably drop one of its next two road games. Houston will probably split those tough back-to-back home games against Green Bay and Baltimore. Atlanta will probably be an underdog at Philadelphia.

So, if there's any truth to the urban legend, get ready to drink up relatively soon, 1972 Dolphins.

Teaser:
<p> Most NFL teams have completed the first quarter of their regular season. So, despite the general unpredictability of the league, some trends are starting to develop.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 12:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-5
Body:

Chances are more fantasy teams will feel the impact of the bye week in Week 5 with four teams off compared to last week when just two were taking a break. While some owners will welcome Ben Roethilsberger, Andrew Luck, Mike Wallace and others back; there are those who will have to do without the services of players like Matthew Stafford, Tony Romo, Darren McFadden, Calvin Johnson, to name a few.

Have no fear; the NFL’s current leader in receiving yards, an undefeated starting quarterback and a top-five fantasy tight end are just some of the options that may be available on your waiver wire. Here are those names and some others worth considering for this week and beyond.

Week 5 Positional Rankings

Week 5 Start or Sit

Bye week teams: Dallas, Detroit, Oakland Tampa Bay

Quarterbacks
Week 4 Recap: Ryan Fitzpatrick is currently leading the league in touchdown passes (12), but he’s also tied for second in interceptions (7) and faces a tough match-up in San Francisco this week. Christian Ponder has yet to throw an interception, but he’s averaging a little more than 200 yards per game through the air and has just four touchdown passes in four games. Shaun Hill didn’t see the field for Detroit as Matthew Staffordmade the start, while Jake Locker wasn’t on the field that long after suffering a shoulder injury on a sack against Houston.

Matt Hasselbeck, Tennessee Titans
Jake Locker left Sunday’s game in Houston in the first quarter after injuring his left shoulder on a sack. The good news is that it’s his non-throwing shoulder. The bad news is he previously injured the same shoulder in the opener against New England and he watched the rest of the Titans’ 38-14 loss to the Texans on the sidelines in street clothes with his left arm in a sling. It’s still early, but there’s certainly a chance that Locker will not play this Sunday in Minnesota, which means Hasselbeck will take his place. Hasselbeck was not at his best in relief of Locker on Sunday as he threw as many pick-sixes as touchdown passes (two apiece), but this is an accomplished, 14-year veteran who threw for 3,571 yards and 18 touchdowns as the Titans’ starter last season. If Locker doesn’t play against the Vikings, you could do a lot worse than Hasselbeck, especially if you are a Locker owner or in need of a bye-week fill in.

Kevin Kolb, Arizona Cardinals
Don’t look now; but Arizona is one of three remaining undefeated teams left, joining Atlanta and Houston in that distinction. The defense has certainly done its part (see below), but Kolb deserves some of the credit too. Since taking over for John Skelton in the fourth quarter of the Cardinals’ opening game, Kolb has completed better than 62 percent of his passes for 752 yards and seven touchdowns. He’s added a rushing touchdown and has only turned the ball over three times (2 INT, 1 fumble). The Cardinals’ next three opponents are St. Louis, Buffalo and Minnesota, so the schedule appears manageable. He’s also coming off of his best statistical performance (324 yards passing, 3 TD, 2 INT) against Miami, so Kolb is at the least someone worth monitoring.  

Ryan Tannehill, Miami Dolphins
Tannehill threw for 431 yards against Arizona, showing what he can do with his arm. He still has a long ways to go as he has tossed three times as many picks (six) as touchdowns (two), but his favorite target right now is the league’s leading receiver (see below), and it looks as if the coaching staff is starting to trust him to air it out a little more. If this trend continues and Tannehill can continue to show progress in his accuracy (55.9 percent completion rate) and decision making, he could develop into a viable fantasy option, especially in deeper leagues.

Running Backs
Week 4 Recap: Both Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller returned for Buffalo in the loss to New England, rendering Tashard Choice (2 att., 14 yds.) an afterthought. Ryan Williams disappointed greatly in his first career start, gaining a total of 26 yards on 14 offensive touches, but he will get another chance to impress Thursday night in St. Louis. Shaun Draughn had 46 yards on eight total touches (4 carries, 4 receptions) and could continue to have value in deeper leagues, especially as long as Peyton Hillis is sidelined with an ankle injury. Bilal Powell didn’t get many opportunities (4 carries, compared to 11 for Shonn Greene) against San Francisco, not that it mattered much as the Jets rushed for a grand total of 45 yards against the 49ers. Lamar Miller out-rushed Daniel Thomas (13 yards to 4), but each only got four carries as Reggie Bush got the bulk of the carries despite dealing with a knee injury.

Jackie Battle, San Diego Chargers
Battle is the Chargers’ leading rusher, although Ryan Mathews’ broken collarbone has a lot to do with that. Still, the former Chief is averaging more than five yards per carry and has all three of the team’s rushing touchdowns so far. If anything it appears that Battle is the Chargers’ goal-line back for the time being, which certainly helps his value. Remember, Mike Tolbert scored 19 rushing touchdowns in 2010 and ’11 combined as the Chargers’ second back. I’m not saying the Chargers will use Battle like they did Tolbert, but he clearly has a role in their running game and he’s also produced as a receiver (4 rec., 42 yds., TD Sunday against the Chiefs).

Brandon Bolden, New England Patriots
I’ll go out on a limb and say that pretty much no one had Bolden, an undrafted free agent out of Ole Miss, on their roster, let alone in their starting lineup last week. After his performance (16 att., 137 yds., TD) against Buffalo, that seems all but certain to change. Unfortunately, Bolden’s breakout could come at Stevan Ridley’s expense; although Ridley did have more carries (22) and went for 106 yards with two scores himself. It remains to be seen what Bolden’s roll is going forwards, but he, and not Danny Woodhead or Shane Vereen, appears to be the other Patriots’ back to own.

Ronnie Hillman, Denver Broncos
Willis McGahee played, rib cartilage issue and all, but it was Hillman and not Lance Ball, who got the second-most carries in the win over Oakland. Hillman, the Broncos’ third-round pick, had 31 yards rushing on 10 carries and also caught two passes for 32 yards. Hillman offers more upside than Ball or any of the other backup running backs on Denver’s roster and he may finally have shown the coaching stuff enough to merit consistent playing time.

Kendall Hunter, San Francisco 49ers
Nine different 49ers had at least one rushing attempt as the team racked up 245 yards on the ground on 44 carries (5.6 ypc) in their shutout win over the Jets. That said, only two 49ers have more than 15 carries to this point and they are starting running back Frank Gore and Hunter. Gore has 40 more carries (66 to 26) than Hunter, but Hunter is averaging 4.6 yards per attempt and seems entrenched as the 49ers’ second back right now. The coaching staff has had it wants to limit Gore’s workload over the course of the season to save wear and tear on the veteran, so Hunter should still get a fair amount of opportunities. He’s also just one injury away from being the starter, and last season was the first in the past five in which Gore played all 16 games.

Rashard Mendenhall, Pittsburgh Steelers
Guess who’s back? Mendenhall, who averaged more than 1,100 yards rushing and 10 total touchdowns from 2009-11, is expected to make his season debut this Sunday against Philadelphia. Mendenhall tore his ACL in the final week of the ‘11 regular season, but he has been practicing in full and is expected to step right back into his starting role. The team will limit his workload early to help ease him back into things, but as the Steelers’ starting running back he should receive plenty of opportunities to have an impact. Now is the time to act if Mendenhall is still on your league’s waiver wire.

Wide Receivers
Week 4 Recap: Hakeem Nicks missed his second straight game for the Giants, but it wasn’t Ramses Barden (2 rec., 36 yds. on 4 targets), who took advantage of his absence this time. Nate Washington, like the rest of the Titan wide receivers, had a quiet game against Houston, but could benefit if Matt Hasselbeck ends up filling in for an injured Jake Locker. Washington put together a career year (74-1,023-7) last season with Hasselbeck under center. Jacoby Jones (2 rec., 17 yds., 7 targets) had problems connecting with Joe Flacco against Cleveland, while Jeremy Kerley (2, 12) and Cecil Shorts (1,8) were both stymied by their respective team’s ineffective passing attacks.

Brian Hartline, Miami Dolphins
Hartline leads the NFL in receiving yards with 455 and he’s tied for eighth in receptions with 25. He had another huge game (12 rec., 253 yds., TD) against Arizona and is the No. 4 wide receiver in fantasy football. He has just the one touchdown catch, so unless he finds the end zone a little more frequently, his scoring will be driven by receptions and yards. He’s clearly Ryan Tannehill’s favorite target right now, so as long as you can tolerate the rookie quarterback’s growing pains, Hartline is worth adding to your roster.

Domenik Hixon, New York Giants
Hakeem Nicks missed a second straight game, but it was Hixon and not Ramses Barden, the Giants’ leading receiver in Week 3, who benefitted. Hixon is the Giants’ regular no. 3 wide receiver, but he also missed the Week 3 game in Carolina because of a concussion. He was back in the lineup Sunday night against Philadelphia and started in Nicks’ place opposite Victor Cruz. Hixon finished with a game-high 114 yards receiving on six catches (19.0 ypc, 11 targets) and the early reports on Nicks’ availability for this week’s game in Cleveland are not promising. As long as Nicks remains out, Hixon is the other Giants wideout to own, although Barden still has value in deeper leagues.

Donald Jones, Buffalo Bills
Jones became the Bills’ other starting wide receiver following the season-ending injury to David Nelson. After not doing that much the past two weeks, Jones finally broke through courtesy of a 68-yard touchdown catch against New England. He only had one other catch (for 22 yards) against the Patriots, but he’s still the Bills’ second-leading receiver and should have his share of chances moving forward.

James Jones, Green Bay Packers
Aaron Rodgers does a good job of spreading the ball around, as evidenced by the fact five different Packers have 20 or more targets after four games. Jones is not only in that group, but he’s currently third on the team behind only fellow receiver Jordy Nelson and tight end Jermichael Finley. What’s more Jones leads the team with three touchdown catches and he could be in line for even more playing time as Greg Jennings had to leave Sunday’s game against New Orleans after re-aggravating his groin injury.

Andre Roberts, Arizona Cardinals
Roberts has stayed step-for-step with Larry Fitzgerald, his All-Pro teammate, through the first four games. Fitzgerald leads the team in receptions and yards, but Roberts has four touchdown catches and is averaging more yards (15.3 to 11.1) per catch than the perennial Pro Bowler. Roberts scored two of those touchdowns on Sunday against Miami and as long as Kevin Kolb plays as well as he has, it looks like there’s room for two viable fantasy options at wide receiver out in the desert.

Tight Ends
Week 4 Recap: Kyle Rudolph had a quiet day (2 rec., 8 yds.) in the Vikings’ win over Detroit, but Christian Ponder had only 26 pass attempts all game. Rudolph tied for the second-most targets on the team this past Sunday with five and there’s no reason to think he won’t remain one of Ponder’s primary pass-catchers moving forward. Craig Stevens also caught two passes against Houston, but one of them was a 19-yard touchdown pass. Still, Stevens’ value is tied directly to Jared Cook’s health. Cook, who played after leaving last week’s game with a shoulder injury, had three catches for 36 yards against the Texans.

Scott Chandler, Buffalo Bills
Chandler is the No. 5 tight end in fantasy football thanks in large part to his four touchdown catches, which also ties him for first in the league overall. Chandler got two of those in Sunday’s loss to New England, and right now he is Ryan Fitzpatrick’s favorite target in the red zone. Chandler’s overall numbers (12 rec., 175 yds.) aren’t bad, but his upside is tied directly to his red zone production.

Greg Olsen, Carolina Panthers
After a slow start, Olsen has established himself in the Panthers’ passing attack. The team’s leader in receptions, Olsen has 13 catches for 187 yards and a touchdown in the last two games combined. Steve Smith is and should remain as Cam Newton’s favorite target, but Olsen appears to be his second option. A few more scores would certainly help, but Olsen should get enough looks every game to be a viable weekly starting option, especially in PPR leagues.

Defense/Special Teams

Arizona Cardinals
The Cardinals are a surprising 4-0 thanks in large part to its defense. The unit is second in the league in sacks with 16, has forced 10 turnovers and blocked two kicks. They also are dangerous on special teams with Patrick Peterson and LaRod Stephens-Howling returning punts and kickoffs. Besides the early production, the upcoming schedule is also appealing as the Cardinals go to St. Louis, host Buffalo and are at Minnesota the next three weeks.

St. Louis Rams
The Rams are 2-2 as the defense has done a much better job of slowing down the opposition, especially when it comes to the pass. The Rams are allowing a respectable 213.5 passing yards per game and have a league-high eight interceptions. They need to do a better job of pressuring the quarterback (only 6 sacks), but they also aren’t taking on offensive juggernauts the next two weeks with a home date against Arizona and a trip to Miami on tap.

Scoring is based on Athlon Sports default scoring which is 6 points for all TDs, .5 points per reception and 1 point per 25 yards passing, 10 yards rushing/receiving and 40 return yards.

— By Mark Ross, published on Oct. 2, 2012

Teaser:
<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 5</p>
Post date: Tuesday, October 2, 2012 - 06:03
All taxonomy terms: NFL, News
Path: /nfl/reports-colts-pagano-has-leukemia
Body:

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) - Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has reportedly been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia.

According to the Indianapolis Star, Pagano underwent blood tests last week after feeling fatigued in recent weeks. The paper did not initially speculate on the nature of the illness, but added that the Colts are optimistic about his recovery and will have a press conference on Monday to discuss details.

ESPN then reported that Pagano has leukemia and will miss the next six weeks.

Colts owner Jim Irsay, on his Twitter feed, did not reveal specifics about Pagano's illness, but acknowledged the coach's upcoming battle.

"Colts n all NFL Fans..keep Coach Chuck n his family in your prayers..He is fighting with courageous energy n faith and WILL win this battle!" Irsay tweeted.

The Colts had their bye this past week and will face Green Bay next Sunday.

Offensive coordinator Bruce Arians is expected to take over the head coaching duties in Pagano's absence.

Pagano, who will turn 52 years old on Tuesday, is in his first season as Colts head coach.

Teaser:
Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has reportedly been diagnosed with a treatable form of leukemia.
Post date: Monday, October 1, 2012 - 23:00

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