Articles By Athlon Sports

All taxonomy terms: College Football, Overtime
Path: /college-football/what-fired-gene-chiziks-next-book-should-be-called

Poor Auburn fans. They went from celebrating a national championship in 2010, to a horrible 3-9 season in 2012 that was punctuated by an embarrassing beating from in-state rival Alabama.

Back in 2010, when things were good, coach Gene Chikiz was writing books about his awesomeness, penning "All In." Now that he's been canned, we think we may have sneak peek of what his next book should look like. We like the title "All Out." 

<p> We created the next book jacket for Auburn's former coach.</p>
Post date: Monday, November 26, 2012 - 04:50
All taxonomy terms: Monthly
Path: /monthly/which-former-athlete-made-most-successful-transition-pop-culture

Which former athlete made the most successful transition into pop culture? My husband says former Rams defensive lineman Merlin Olsen (“Little House On The Prairie,” etc.), but I vote for Chuck Connors, who played pro basketball and baseball before turning to acting (“The Rifleman,” etc.). What do you think? 

— Rhona Crixdale, The Bronx, N.Y.
Interesting question, Rhona. No doubt that many athletes crave attention after their playing days and make the transition into entertainment or other facets of pop culture. The two you mention are prime examples. But if you define the term “athlete” broadly, then there’s an obvious answer: Arnold Schwarzenegger. The four-time Mr. Universe and International Powerlifting Champion from Austria went on to become the greatest action hero of his — or possibly any — generation before becoming governor of the most powerful state in the union. Schwarzenegger’s signature role as the Terminator produced a quote — “I’ll be back” — that has embedded itself in popular culture. 
<p> Which former athlete made the most successful transition into pop culture?&nbsp;</p>
Post date: Saturday, November 24, 2012 - 14:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL, MLB, Monthly, Overtime, News
Path: /overtime/2012-holiday-gift-guide-sports-fans

Are you looking for the perfect and unusual gift for the sports fan in your life? Welcome. You’ve come to the right place. Here’s a look at some of our favorites.

Thanks to, you can actually give someone a framed share of real stock in a host of different companies. In the sports world, those companies include Churchill Downs, Callaway Golf, Manchester United and more. Talk about rooting…with interest!

Price: About $100
Found at:


Bring the house in the house! These mini stadiums (approx. 7” x 6”) from the Danbury Mint are expertly crafted down the very last detail. Available for a host of pro and college stadiums, they’re a wonderful collectible for the fan who wants a game day stadium experience, everyday. Talk about a home field advantage.

Price: $75-$199
Found at:


Some people want a tree on their lawn. Others want a defensive lineman. These giant inflatables football players (5-8 feet tall) come in two styles (lineman and TD scorer) and you can choose from NFL teams, many colleges and even college mascots. It’s a great way to show the world who rules in your house. At least on fall weekends.

Price: $90-$130
Found at:

Imagine giving someone the chance to enjoy the thrills and excitement of racing at the Richard Petty Driving experience. Available at 22 different tracks, attendees can choose to ride shotgun for a series of laps, or actually get behind the wheel and show off their skills. They’ll be so excited, they’ll be running in circles. Well, ovals.

Price: Ride-Alongs, $99-$159, Driving: $449-$3,499
Found at:


Talk about getting burned. This 2-slice retro-style toaster from Pangea Brands leaves the mark of your favorite team's emblem on one side of white bread, wheat bread, even waffles. Available for most NFL, MLB, NBA and NHL teams, it's a great way to for someone to show their support. At least until lunch.
Price: $39.00


These sterling silver cufflinks are made from material salvaged from old baseball stadium seats, classic college basketball courts and more. From Fenway Park to the University of Kentucky to Ebbets Field, this is a one of a kind gift. Well actually, two.

Price: $160-$200
Found at: 


This beautiful Steuben glass crystal baseball celebrates the national pastime in style. It’s a very special gift for the baseball fan in your life and would be perfect suited for a desk, or a mantle. Catch in the yard? Not so much.

Price: $600
Found at:


At Masks from the Past, you’ll find exact fiberglass recreations of famous NHL goalie masks. From a replica of JacquePlante’s first ever mask, to Gerry Cheevers’ scarred beauty from the 70s, the hockey fan in your life will love having a remembrance of days gone by. Shoot. Score.

Price: $200-$500
Found at:


Want to give someone a chance to show their allegiance to the bitter end? These MLB decorated caskets are velvet inside and have a half couch design with a matching pillow and throw, too. You can even have ashes placed in a MLB urn and then in a cremation casket. Either way, you’re outta here!

Price: Approx. $1,400-$2800
Found at:


Turn the backyard into a winter wonderland with this do-it-yourself ice rink. The Rink-In-A-Box package from NiceRink provides everything anyone needs for a little slice of ice heaven—liner, support brackets, resurfacer, nets--the whole thing. Put it down. Freeze ‘er up. Triple axle here we come!

Price: $350-$800
Found at:


It’s the perfect gift for the kid in all of us: pro wrestling title belts. Choose from a variety of shapes, sizes and titles. You can even have a name engraved on the removable plate. So why not give the gift that keeps on giving…body slams, that is. NOTE: folding chair and brass knuckles not included.

Price: $320-$420
Found at:

Here’s a great gift for someone who loves sweatin’ to the oldies (newies, too). The UltraFit 3000 earbuds are not only designed for greater stability, but the unique Moisture shield technology ensures sound remains at its very best. After all, "Bohemian Rhapsody" is not meant to be heard wet.
Price: $99
For the fan wanting a great view no matter where they’re sitting, the Pentax 62555 might be just the ticket. These high-powered binoculars offer a bright image and reduced reflection and work well in extreme weather conditions. Big game in a December freeze? No problem. Big game in a July downpour? Did we mention they’re waterproof?

Price: $299.00
Found at:
For you cold-weather tailgating fans, there’s nothing better than the warming effect of a great whiskey. Thankfully Jim Beam has brought forth three new taste sensations—Devil’s Cut Bourbon (a premium 90-proof whiskey packed with a flavorful punch, $23.99); Red Stag Spiced (a sweet, warm whiskey with hints of cinnamon, $17.99); and Knob Creek Rye (an aged, 100-proof whiskey that finishes with a lingering spiciness, $40.99). Game on!

Price: $17.99-$23.99-$40.99
Found at: (Must be 21 or over)

These unique stools are made from game day bases used by many MLB teams, including the Yankees, Cubs, Red Sox, Dodgers and Mets. It’s the perfect gift for the baseball lover in your life, who can slide into memorabilia. And sit on it, too.

Price: $950
Found at:

At Sports Traveler, you can plan a trip to the sporting event of your choice...anywhere in the world. From pro football to international tennis to the Olympics and more, you can give someone a gift card to help them arrange their dream sports trip. Ready, set, go!

Price: Gift cards start at $100
Found at:
Nothing says “I love you, team” like an NFL recliner. Made from a sturdy hardwood frame, each chair is decorated in theteam’s main color and features their name and logo. Even better, when they score and the beer and salsa go flying, the microfiber makes it easily cleanable with soap and water.

Price: $649
Found at:
Custom-built irons from SCOR are uniquely designed from shaft to head guaranteeing a better short game. In fact, they’re so sure they’ll help, they promise that if you’re not happy, they’ll buy you a wedge you think you like better. Need more accuracy from fairway to green? Think SCOR? Need more accuracy from tee to green? Maybe they should consider tennis.

Price: Approx. $150 each. Set of 5 for $640
Found at:
Wouldn’t it be fun to give someone the chance to play baseball with some of the all-time greats? Baseball fantasy camps offer fans a chance to play the game they love alongside some of the most memorable players on their favorite team. The good news: more than 20 MLB teams offer a fantasy camp (see the link below). The bad news: somebody you know just might get struck out by a 70-year-old.

Price: $4,000-$5,000
Found at:
These 7” tall bobbleheads can be personalized for that special someone. Just upload a photo, and rockbobble will create a custom-ordered hoops player. They’ll even send you photos along the way to ensure it’s looking exactly the way you want. Will they like this gift? The head says yes!

Price: $79
Found at:
Four bourbon recipes have been expertly selected by the Master Distiller at the peak of maturation to create a perfectly balanced small batch bourbon that offers a mellow symphony of rich, spicy flavors along with sweet, fruity aromas and hints of sweet oak and caramel. At least that's what Four Roses says about its Small Batch. All we know is that it tastes incredible, goes down sma-oooth and had us cheering even when our team was getting clobbered. 
Price: $25.99
Found at: (Must be 21 or over)
<p> Here's what every sports fan needs under their Christmas tree</p>
Post date: Friday, November 23, 2012 - 05:53
Path: /nascar/backseat-drivers-fan-council-36

The racing is over. All that remains is for NASCAR to get together in Las Vegas next week, dole out some money and party. Before the banquet arrives, members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council take a look back at the sport’s TV coverage this season and the racing, while looking ahead to 2013. Here is what they had to say:

Grade the TV coverage of NASCAR Sprint Cup races this season by FOX, TNT, Speed and ESPN/ABC

48.1 percent said Good
31.1 percent said Fair
12.6 percent said Poor
8.2 percent said Great

What Fan Council members said:
• ESPN had one of the best with their side-by-side halfway through the races of the Chase. This should be done for all races so we do not miss any action. And this should be in place for the ENTIRE Daytona 500! The most important race should be seen in its entirety. All networks could improve on their pre-race show except for FOX; FOX keeps it short and sweet and that is what it should be.

• This season was the first time that I actually changed the channel during a race or left the house completely. I always used to look forward to the TNT races, but even they dropped the ball this year. I seriously hope the 2013 season is better. The broadcasters need to stop "phoning it in" and actually listen to the fans and fix their coverage.

• Oh don't get me started! FOX might have good camera coverage, but I cannot stand the booth. TNT was just outright awful. SPEED has the most offerings, but they killed “Trackside” and “RaceDay” by making them way too silly. I love their programming, I just think sometimes it looks one step above cable access.

• It's nice to have the three TV crews covering the races because it’s a variety and they all do very good in their own way. I REALLY enjoy SPEED's pre-race and post-race coverage. I sure hope when they re-brand SPEED to FOX Sports they don't take away my NASCAR shows, including “Race Hub.’’

• Still a lot of room for improvement. Side-by-Side coverage = A+

• There's no better team than Bestwick, Jarrett and Petree. There's the gold standard right there. Mike Joy is another gem but the rest of the circus at FOX and SPEED are little more than a traveling carnival show, especially “Trackside,” which is no longer watchable. Oh yeah, TNT does broadcast a few races, but does anyone even recall them? Too little time on the schedule to be noticed or remembered.

• I said “good,” but in my opinion, it was borderline great. FOX is absolutely the best followed by ESPN/ABC. In Chris Myers' book, he explains that NASCAR really did listen to the fans when it came to TV programming. I've been a fan over 20 years, and I love the improvements the TV stations have done: more cameras, better announcers and most importantly the ability to listen to the drivers/crew chiefs/spotters radio communication. Mike Joy and Allen Bestwick are the best in the business! I also love the SpEED Channel and the pre- and post-race shows.

• “Great” for FOX because no matter how long the race goes over, they talk to the competitors. If it is short, then they go that much further to talk to others — not TNT or ESPN/ABC. They can have 15-30 minutes extra time and they'll go to some other stupid program.

Grade the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season

57.9 percent said Good
21.9 percent said Fair
16.8 percent said Great
3.4 percent said Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• This was a great season is so many ways. Having Brad win the championship was refreshing to see. What a great interview he gave on ESPN. He was real. Seeing Dale Jr. finally make it into Victory Lane in the Batmobile was awesome. Being in Victory Lane to celebrate with the No. 88 team was a thrill of a lifetime for me. Watching MWR teams do so well did a lot for the sport, too. Quite surprising to see Carl Edwards and Kyle Bush miss the Chase and Jeff Gordon just squeaking in. It was refreshing to see some emotions between drivers come to light this season. All in all, I enjoyed this season and am looking forward to the 2013 season.

• I have only been a fan since 200, but since then I have watched every race and have gone to at least one race a year. All I have to say is NASCAR has a serious problem on its hands, as this was the most boring season in memory. Do I have a solution to this problem? No. But something must be fixed.

• There were some good moments, but this year just did not seem to have the same buzz as last year. I enjoyed the Nationwide and Truck series races more this year.

• Flashes of brilliance followed by long stretches of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz ...

• Lots of drama, intensity, at times great racing, and there was always something new going on. I’m going to have withdrawals for the next few weeks.

• All in all, I would say this season has been good. I was almost leaning toward a “great,” because we got a new champion, but there were too many snoozer races to say it was great.

• Anyone who says anything less than great, must not remember Daytona, Watkins Glen, ‘Dega, Phoenix, among other great races, this year. Loved it and I hope next year is even better.

• I'm glad to see Keselowski as the champ. I'm glad to see Dale Jr. back in Victory Lane. But when I look back over the season, I don't have as many lasting images as I have from years past. There never seemed to be that "defining moment" of 2012. Maybe it's just me.

Grade Sunday’s Cup race at Homestead

53.1 percent said Good
26.9 percent said Fair
16.0 percent said Great
4.1 percent said Poor

What Fan Council members said:
• Most of the race was enjoyable, but I was disappointed that Jeff Gordon won. After his reckless behavior at Phoenix, I preferred that they take points away rather than suspending him for the benefit of sponsors and fans. However, the way everyone treated the win like it was some kind of vindication for his actions last week made me wish he'd been suspended. The championship race between Jimmie and Brad was great, and Brad's win made up for any other disappointment.

• I have to say great because Brad won. It is great that someone other than Jimmie or Tony won the championship.

• Not really a great race, other than I was thrilled at the ending. Very boring, at least on TV. As much as I loved seeing Brad K. and Jimmie J., it seemed like the whole race was just the two of them. Awful TV coverage.

• It was exciting to watch the 48 and the 2 battle for the championship. If that had not been going on, it would have been another boring race.

• It was typical of all the past races. Not a whole lot of excitement. Anti-climatic.

• The race had it all: Kyle leading but not winning again, Jeff winning at a track he never won at, Matt's last race in the No. 17, Jimmie about ready to make the biggest comeback in championship history and Brad topping the season off with the top prize and a cool 5 million bucks to boot! Not bad for a guy whose family was about ready to lose it all just a few short years ago because of their investment in their son. Wow!

How much faith do you have that the 2013 car will make the Cup racing better?

39.0 percent said Some
30.2 percent said A little
20.3 percent said None
10.5 percent said A lot

What Fan Council members said:
• They've been working on them a long time so hopefully they'll get them right. They have nailed the looks of the cars. They look great and I can tell them apart now. If they race as well as they look, we will have a very exciting 2013 season.

• It's not the cars that are at fault, it's the track configurations and NASCAR rules that hamper competition. Daytona and Talladega are little more than Barnum & Bailey near-death experiences. Nothing will change there until NASCAR kills its next driver.

• NASCAR is a corporation that is trying to promote a product. Sadly, I will have to see it to believe it.

• I don't quite understand why tighter competition is a good thing. If you make the cars the same, they all run around the track together and can't pass. Don't fans already complain about restrictor-plate racing forcing them into packs? Besides, I believe the problem is the TV coverage, and no change to the car will fix that.

• I give them the benefit of the doubt. As much as a few may have issues with NASCAR, they do a way better job at most issues than other sanctioning bodies.

• I had awesome faith for the CoT to be a lot safer for these drivers and we haven't had a death in NASCAR for a long time. Now we need to focus on tight racing cars and hopefully this new car will work. I have faith.

• Little faith but lots of hope. Soooo tired of hearing “track position is key.” I hope to hear that a fast car is key.

The Backseat Drivers Fan Council was founded and is administered by Dustin Long. Fans can join by sending Dustin an email at [email protected]

Please include the following information:
Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.

<p> Dustin Long and the Backseat Drivers Fan Council discuss the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup season.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 13:08
All taxonomy terms: Links, NFL, NBA
Path: /college-football/athlons-essential-eleven-links-day-nov-20

This is your daily link roundup of our favorite sports posts on the web for November 21:

A basketball player went off for 138 points last night. Of course, it took 108 shots for him to get there. The game film is what Kobe Bryant now refers to as "porn."

• Speaking of Kobe, naturally, someone went to him for a reaction to the 138-point game. Naturally, his reaction was pretty priceless.

• The Jon Gruden to Tennessee train has left the station for some hopeful Vol fans. This article and accompanying photo won't do anything to dampen speculation.

• The NCAA is playing hardball with Miami Hurricanes players, who are apparently guilty until proven innocent.

• Welcome to Montreal, a foreign city where pro sports are now a foreign concept.

• Not to pile on our neighbors to the north, but the mayor of Toronto beclowned himself for our enjoyment.

• If you ever wonder how the sausage is made at the Worldwide Leader, our friends at Deadspin are always happy to show you.

• Like coach, like QB. Matt Barkley's stand-in is guaranteeing victory vs. top-ranked Notre Dame.

• I didn't know that the Curse of the All-Star Game was a thing, but apparently it is.

• It's Thanksgiving Eve, and here are a few helpful hints for enjoying the holiday from our friends at The Onion. My favorite: Have children sit at a small table so they feel gigantic.

• Today's video honors a great American tradition: Barry Sanders running wild on Thanksgiving Day.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

November 20

• Last night, the Niners emasculated the Bears on national TV.  Here it is, summarized in one GIF. 

• Our Girl Gallery of the Day includes USC's finest cheerleaders.  

• Remembering Metta World Peace's former identity as the scariest guy in the NBA (instead of just the weirdest). Hard to believe it's been eight years since the Malice in the Palace.

• Andy Reid draws a line in the sand: You want me gone? You gotta fire me.

Apparently, there are still he-man woman-haters clubs out there. 

• Gotta love the late-'70s disco font on this vintage Magic cover.

• Snoop Lion's latest inspiration. Not sure what he's thinking, but hey, weed's a helluva drug.

• Well, if it's good enough for Commissioner Bud, it's good enough for me.

• SI's already anticipating the post-Gruden era of Monday Night Football.

• FSU to Maryland: Don't let the door hit ya where the Good Lord split ya.

• Today's video features Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski living down to every NASCAR stereotype. Congrats on securing that lifetime beer sponsorship.

--- Email us with any compelling sports-related links at [email protected]

<p> The best sports links from the NFL, college football and basketball, MLB, the NBA, NASCAR and the world of entertainment.</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 21, 2012 - 09:48
Path: /nascar/nascar-news-notes-week-11

Until last week, crew chief Jimmy Fennig admits he had “very seldom’’ talked to Carl Edwards in their years together at Roush Fenway Racing.

“I’m the type of crew chief that I focus in on the job at hand and the driver I have and don’t really pay too much attention to other drivers,” said Fennig, who most recently was Matt Kenseth’s crew chief.

Next season, Fennig and his crew will partner with Edwards as Kenseth drives for Joe Gibbs Racing. It’s part of a series of changes taking place at Roush Fenway Racing. Two-time defending Nationwide champion Ricky Stenhouse Jr. replaces Kenseth in the No. 17 Cup car. Trevor Bayne takes Stenhouse’s Nationwide ride. The Cup team of Greg Biffle and crew chief Matt Puccia will remain intact.

Fennig, who became a crew chief in 1986 and won the 2004 championship with Kurt Busch, admits he doesn’t know Edwards too well but doesn’t see that as a hinderance in their pairing.

“My goal has always been to win races,” said Fennig, the winning crew chief in the 1988 Daytona 500 with Bobby Allison and this year’s Daytona 500 with Kenseth. “No matter who drives the car, that’s what I try to do every week and that’s something I know we already have in common.”

Fennig will be Edwards’ third crew chief since the start of the 2012 season. Bob Osborne started with Edwards. Osborne, citing health issues, stepped down as crew chief in July and was replaced by Chad Norris.

Edwards was winless this season and finished 15th in the points a year after losing the championship on a tiebreaker to Tony Stewart. Edwards scored only four top-10 finishes in the 17 races with Norris as crew chief, thus a change wasn’t surprising.

“We all just sat down and looked at it and Chad and I talked at length about it,” Edwards said of the change. “Everyone agrees the opportunity to have the experience of Jimmy Fennig on the box to get ... back to Victory Lane is what we should do. It wasn’t something that I single-handedly requested or just that Jack (Roush) wanted to do it. As a team we thought this was the best thing to do. The biggest thing at Roush is that he has so many good people that we can move people around and do things like this and it is good for the whole company.”

Along with that move, Roush will pair Stenhouse Jr. with crew chief Scott Graves. Both will be rookies in Cup.

“I would normally not be an advocate for bringing a crew chief who hadn’t been established with a rookie driver into the Cup Series, but Scott Graves – in my words – he’s been a prodigy for the small amount of experience he’s had making the final decisions,” Roush said.

“He made great decisions for Carl at Watkins Glen and he’s made great decisions for Ricky when he’s been with him this year. So I think given the fact he’s a mechanical engineer as well as an experienced team engineer, he’s going to bring enthusiasm and creativity to Ricky that we might not otherwise be able to achieve with somebody that had more experience.”

<p> Athlon Sports contributor Dustin Long highlights the NASCAR news and notes of the week. Carl Edwards and Regan Smith get new crew chiefs, Kyle Busch searches for sponsorship and Elliot Sadler has a new home at Joe Gibbs Racing.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 20, 2012 - 11:21
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-12-0

It’s been a long road back, but Notre Dame has risen to the top of the Legends Poll for the first time ever.

And the top-ranked Irish are one win away from their first ever trip to the BCS championship game.

“You know, it’s hard to classify Notre Dame as a really, really good football team at this point,” former Virginia coach George Welsh said, “but they are undefeated. It’s not easy to win all of your games.”

Notre Dame received 13 of the 17 first-place votes in the Legends Poll and remains the only eligible unbeaten team in the FCS.

No. 2 Alabama received three of the remaining first-place votes and moved back into the driver’s seat for the BCS title game as well. The final top vote went to No. 3 Georgia.

If the Alabama and Georgia can both survive their in-state rivalry games, a BCS title game berth will be on the line in the SEC championship game.

No. 4 Oregon and No. 5 Kansas State each fell three spots, following shocking upsets.

No. 6 LSU remained the top two-loss team after the Tigers outlasted Ole Miss Saturday night, 41-35.

Florida State, Florida, Texas A&M and Clemson rounded out the top 10.

No. 21 Oklahoma State moved back into the top 25 after a victory over Texas Tech. No. 24 Washington and No. 25 Utah State also made their way into the Legends Poll rankings, the first appearance for each team this season.

USC, Louisiana Tech and Wisconsin dropped out of the rankings this week. 

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll.


1 Notre DameNotre Dame (13) 11-0 420 3
2 AlabamaAlabama (3) 10-1 411 4
3 GeorgiaGeorgia (1) 10-1 391 5
4 OregonOregon 10-1 368 1
5 Kansas StateKansas State 10-1 333 2
6 LSULSU 9-2 324 6
7 Florida StateFlorida State 10-1 319 7
8 FloridaFlorida 10-1 311 10
9 Texas A&MTexas A&M 9-2 309 9
10 ClemsonClemson 10-1 284 8
11 StanfordStanford 9-2 257 12
12 South CarolinaSouth Carolina 9-2 242 11
13 UCLAUCLA 9-2 207 15
14 OklahomaOklahoma 8-2 204 13
15 NebraskaNebraska 9-2 187 14
16 Oregon StateOregon State 8-2 175 16
17 LouisvilleLouisville 9-1 143 18
18 TexasTexas 8-2 130 19
19 RutgersRutgers 9-1 104 21
20 MichiganMichigan 8-3 102 24
21 Oklahoma StateOklahoma State 7-3 71 -
22 Boise StateBoise State 9-2 62 23
23 Mississippi StateMississippi State 8-3 52 25
24 WashingtonWashington 7-4 32 -
25 Utah StateUtah State 9-2 26 -

Others Receiving Votes: Louisiana Tech 19, Northwestern 14, USC 7, TCU 7, San Diego State 5, Wisconsin 2, Georgia Tech 2, Tulsa 2, Northern Illinois 1, San Jose State 1, Kent State 1

Teams Dropped Out from Last Week's Poll: USC, Louisiana Tech, Wisconsin

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward. You can see the entire Poll at

<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, November 19, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /nfl/5-most-dangerous-nfl-teams-under-500

Ten weeks into the NFL season and there’s a pretty clear line between who’s in and who’s out. There are patterns beginning to emerge, as well as powers. The playoff picture is beginning to take shape.

But it would be a mistake for teams to look forward toward the Lombardi Trophy in the distance without at least glancing a few times in their rearview mirror. If they do, they’ll notice a bunch of sub-.500 teams who may really loom larger than they appear.
Here are the five most dangerous “losing” teams in the NFL right now. All of them still have a shot at the playoffs. And all of them should be making the teams in front of them in the standings worry – at least a little bit:
New Orleans Saints (4-5)
There is no team in the NFL that wants to play the Saints right now, especially after the way they knocked off the undefeated Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. They remain an explosive offense (the NFL’s second-best passing attack) that can out-score anyone and the Superdome remains one of the loudest and toughest places to play.
And now they’re rolling. They are 4-1 after they got off to a disastrous 0-4 start under the weight of the BountyGate scandal. This is not a team that was short on talent. It was a team that had too many outside influences. Those are still there, to an extent, but they’ve become part of New Orleans’ new normal and now the Saints have learned to thrive.
It may be too late for them to catch the Falcons (8-1) in the NFC South, but the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (5-4) should be frightened, along with all the other wild-card contenders in the NFC.
San Diego Chargers (4-5)
The enigmatic Phillip Rivers and the strange coaching of Norv Turner tends to make life tough on this team, which has now lost four of its last five games. They also head into a dangerous two-week stretch with a road trip to Denver and home game against the tough Baltimore Ravens after that.
So yes, this could fall apart in a hurry. But this team can play a little defense (seventh in the NFL) and it would be a mistake to completely count out this Rivers-led offense. He’s struggling without departed receiver Vincent Jackson, but he has weapons on his team if he could just manage to find them. He’s done it in the past, and if he can do it again this team is capable of a little run.
They better beat the Peyton Manning-led Broncos (6-3) on Sunday, though, otherwise the AFC West will likely be out of reach.
Dallas Cowboys (4-5)
Don’t look now, but Tony Romo and Dez Bryant are showing signs of clicking and becoming what could eventually turn into one of the most dangerous QB-WR combos in the NFL. Running back DeMarco Murray is coming back, too. And the Cowboys, despite all their problems, have the NFL’s eighth-ranked defense.
Also, it’s worth noting, that the Cowboys’ recent two-game losing streak that dropped them under .500 including a narrow loss to the defending Super Bowl champion Giants and another narrow loss in Atlanta against the NFL’s last undefeated team. That’s not exactly a major crisis (except in Jerry Jones’ world).
Are they good enough to catch the Giants (6-4)? They were good enough to beat them on Opening Night in New York. The Giants also have lost two straight games and are in their annual second-half swoon. The Cowboys could be just a half-game out by the time the Giants return from their bye on Sunday night, Nov. 25.
Cincinnati Bengals (4-5)
The Bengals announced their return to relevancy with authority on Sunday with a 31-13 humiliation of the Giants. They flashed the talent that had made up their underachieving defense and showed everyone why the combination of quarterback Andy Dalton and receiver A.J. Green is something to be feared.
Everyone knew that going into the season, but the Bengals fell apart with four straight losses – including inexcusable ones to the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns. They were in all four of those games, which is something to consider but not enough of a positive for a true contender. The way their defense played against the Giants – now that’s the sign of a contender.
It’s unclear if there’s really an opening in the NFC North, though. The Ravens (7-2) lost Ray Lewis, but have somehow managed to survive and thrive anyway. But the loss of Ben Roethlisberger for the Pittsburgh Steelers (6-3) could be just the opening the Bengals need.
Tennessee Titans (4-6)
It’s hard to like a team with the NFL’s 25th-ranked offense and the 29th-ranked defense. Jake Locker hasn’t done a whole lot to inspire confidence as a playoff-caliber quarterback and he’s hardly surrounded with excellent weapons. Chris Johnson is experiencing a revival at running back (862 yards on 5.1 yards per carry), but is that enough for a team that can’t stop anyone else from scoring?
Probably not, especially in a division led by the Houston Texans (8-1) and, not far behind them, the Andrew Luck-led Indianapolis Colts (6-3).
Here’s why there’s hope, though. Down the stretch they face the awful Jacksonville Jaguars twice, the dysfunctional Jets once and they get another shot at Luck’s Colts. If Luck experiences any type of second-half fade – certainly possible for any rookie quarterback -- that might just be enough to get the Titans to 8-8.
Would that be good enough in a wild-card race where the Steelers (6-3) and Colts (6-3) are the leaders? Probably not. But if the Titans can ride their rushing attack, they might not just go away.
<p> Despite their record, these teams still have a shot at the playoffs</p>
Post date: Wednesday, November 14, 2012 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: MLB
Path: /mlb/trout-harper-named-leagues-top-rookies

New York, NY (Sports Network) - There was never a doubt who was going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award.

Now Mike Trout has his sights set on a much larger prize.

The Los Angeles Angels' center fielder Trout and Washington Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper were named the Jackie Robinson Award winners as the top rookies in the American and National League, respectively, as voted on by members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

The 21-year-old Trout became the 18th unanimous rookie of the year victor -- eighth in the AL.

And he may not be done taking home trophies.

Trout, along with triple crown winner and Detroit Tigers third baseman Miguel Cabrera, New York Yankees' Robinson Cano and Texas' Adrian Beltre and Josh Hamilton, is among the nominees for the AL MVP voting.

If Trout wins the MVP, he'd join Fred Lynn (1975) and Ichiro Suzuki (2001) as the only two MLB players to win both the MVP and Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.

Trout, the first Angel to win rookie of the year since Tim Salmon in 1993, is the only player in major league history to hit at least .320 with 30 home runs and 45 stolen bases in a single season.

In all, Trout batted .326 with a .399 on-base percentage, 30 home runs, 129 runs and 49 stolen bases.

He led all rookies in nearly every offensive category and was named the AL Rookie of the Month in May, June, July and August, becoming the first player to claim the award in four consecutive months.

It was also no coincidence that the Angels' ascension up the standings coincided with Trout's recall from Triple-A Salt Lake on April 28.

A pair of foreign-born stars, Cuban and Oakland Athletics outfielder Yoenis Cespedes and Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish of the Texas Rangers were the other two nominees for the award.

Harper narrowly edged Arizona Diamondbacks left-handed pitcher Wade Miley for the NL honor. Harper earned 112 points, compared to Miley's 105. Cincinnati Reds third baseman Todd Frazier had 45 points.

Harper, one of the more hyped players in recent memory, burst on to the scene as a 19-year-old in late April.

The first overall pick of the 2010 MLB Draft ended the year hitting .270 with 22 home runs, 59 RBIs and 98 runs scored. He also stole 18 bases and played all three outfield positions. He showed terrific range and tallied eight outfield assists.

<p> There was never a doubt who was going to win the AL Rookie of the Year award.</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 - 04:04
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-11
The Oregon Ducks have overtaken the No. 1 spot -- just barely edging second-ranked Kansas State -- thanks Texas A&M’s upset of the Crimson Tide.
Oregon received 10 of the 17 first-place votes.
“I have been very impressed with Oregon all year,” former USC coach John Robinson said. “More than I thought I would be. The interesting thing about Oregon’s offense is they block the perimeter. Remember back when the wishbone teams were just starting how dramatically those wide outs blocked the perimeter and you just couldn’t stop them outside? That’s what Oregon does.”
No. 4 Alabama slid three spots after losing its stranglehold on the top spot for the entire calendar year of 2012.
Unbeaten Notre Dame moved up as well, one spot ahead of Alabama at No. 3. Georgia rounded out the top five, moving past twice-beaten LSU, which slid to No. 6. No. 9 Texas A&M and No. 10 Florida made five SEC teams in the top 10. No. 7 Florida State and No. 8 Clemson represented the ACC near the top of the rankings.
No. 18 Louisville took the biggest tumble in the top 25 this week, dropping eight spots after Syracuse handed the Cardinals their first loss of the season.
Texas A&M was among the biggest movers in the rankings, jumping four spots following its 29-24 upset in Tuscaloosa.
The two newcomers this week came from the Big Ten, No. 22 Wisconsin and No. 24 Michigan.
Northwestern and TCU dropped out of the rankings. 

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll.


1 OregonOregon (10) 10-0 417 2
2 Kansas StateKansas State (7) 10-0 415 3
3 Notre DameNotre Dame 10-0 386 4
4 AlabamaAlabama 9-1 371 1
5 GeorgiaGeorgia 9-1 355 6
6 LSULSU 8-2 338 5
7 Florida StateFlorida State 9-1 313 7
8 ClemsonClemson 9-1 291 9
9 Texas A&MTexas A&M 8-2 286 13
10 FloridaFlorida 9-1 282 8
11 South CarolinaSouth Carolina 8-2 264 11
12 StanfordStanford 8-2 243 14
13 OklahomaOklahoma 7-2 226 15
14 NebraskaNebraska 8-2 192 16
15 UCLAUCLA 8-2 175 17
16 Oregon StateOregon State 7-2 153 12
17 USCUSC 7-3 139 19
18 LouisvilleLouisville 9-1 121 10
19 TexasTexas 8-2 119 22
20 Louisiana TechLouisiana Tech 9-1 86 20
21 RutgersRutgers 8-1 79 24
22 WisconsinWisconsin 7-3 58 -
23 Boise StateBoise State 8-2 48 18
24 MichiganMichigan 7-3 42 -
25 Mississippi StateMississippi State 7-3 41 23

Others Receiving Votes: Texas Tech 36, Oklahoma State 12, Northwestern 10, Kent State 7, North Carolina 6, Washington 5, TCU 5, San Diego State 4

Teams Dropped Out from Last Week's Poll: Northwestern, TCU

* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward. You can see the entire Poll at

<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, November 12, 2012 - 05:00
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-start-or-sit-week-10

Week 10 marks the unofficial start to the second half of the NFL regular season. Eight games remain until the NFL’s postseason, but it’s fewer than that when you take into consideration the start of your fantasy league’s playoffs. Week 10 also means that fantasy owners begin their stretch run without the services of Aaron Rodgers, Robert Griffin III, Trent Richardson, Alfred Morris, Larry Fitzgerald, Randall Cobb, the Arizona and Green Bay DSTs, among others.

Have no fear, Athlon Sports is here to help you make all of those important lineup decisions for your Yahoo!, 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 10 Positional Rankings

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Bye week teams: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington

Sneaky Start of the Week
Mike Williams, WR, Tampa Bay vs. San Diego
Vincent Jackson is Tampa Bay’s No. 1 wide receiver and No. 8 at his position in fantasy scoring, but don’t discount the Buccaneers’ “other” starting wideout, Williams. While Jackson has a huge advantage on Williams when it comes to receiving yards (710 to 504), Williams has just two fewer receptions (29 to 31) and one less touchdown (5 to 6) than his well-paid teammate.

To put it another way, Williams is No. 22 among receivers in fantasy scoring, ahead of the likes of Andre Johnson, Steve Smith, DaSean Jackson and Torrey Smith, to name a few. Williams has scored 13.4 or more fantasy points five times, while managing 5.6 or fewer only twice.

With as well as Josh Freeman has been throwing the ball lately (11 TDs, 1 INT in his last four games), there should be enough passes for both Jackson and Williams to be viable starting options. On top of that, the Buccaneers host San Diego this Sunday. The Chargers are allowing the 11th-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including 11 touchdown receptions.

This matchup also finds Jackson facing off against his former team. While Jackson will probably have a little extra juice headed into this game, it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Chargers a little more fired up than usual either, as the defense attempts to limit the amount of damage done by their former teammate. The extra attention paid to Jackson, may present more opportunities for Williams, who is averaging 17.4 yards per reception.

Surprise Sit of the Week
Hakeem Nicks, WR, New York Giants at Cincinnati
Just when you thought Nicks may finally be over the hump with the issues related to his ankle/foot, word comes out that he experienced more swelling in his knee this week. The good news is that he was able to return to practice on Thursday, albeit in a limited fashion, and, for what it's worth, he has said he will play Sunday.

Injuries have consistently been an issue for Nicks, who broke his right foot back in May. He started in Week 1, but missed three games after experiencing soreness with his foot/ankle while also dealing with the knee issue. He’s played in the last four games, and while it appears he will continue that streak Sunday in Cincinnati, his owners have no doubt gotten a little tired of the will-he-or-won’t-he guessing game about his playing status.

If the injury bug and his constant “Questionable” or "Game-Time" designation haven’t been enough of a headache, there’s also the matter of Nicks’ lack of production. In Week 2 against Tampa Bay, he caught 10 passes for 199 yards and a touchdown. In the other five games he’s played, he’s had a total of 17 receptions for 191 yards and no scores.

It also doesn't help that Eli Manning has been struggling lately too. He has only two touchdown passes compared to four interceptions in his last four games. I don’t really worry about this week’s matchup against Cincinnati as it applies to Manning’s outlook, but I do think this would be a good week to give Nicks a break and not worry about the will-he-or-won’t-he decision. Just put him on your bench and check back with him in two weeks (Giants are on bye in Week 11).


Ryan Fitzpatrick (BUF) at New England
Fitzpatrick had his best game of the season back in Week 4. Despite throwing four interceptions, he also piled up 350 yards passing and four touchdowns. Who was that game against? You guessed it, New England, who the Bills are playing in Foxboro this Sunday. As good as the Patriots’ defense has been against the run, the unit is 28th against the pass and is allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks. If this game looks anything like the 52-28 affair it was in Week 4, don’t be surprised if Fitzpatrick puts up similar, if not slightly better, numbers.

Alex Smith (SF) vs. St. Louis
Smith played arguably his best game of the season in Week 8 on “Monday Night Football” in Arizona. He only missed one of his 19 pass attempts for 232 yards and three touchdowns. Now coming off of the bye, Smith and the 49ers host NFC West division rival St. Louis. The Rams’ defense has held up pretty well, but gave up 304 yards passing to Tom Brady and 45 points to the Patriots in London in Week 8. Even though the Rams are also coming off of a bye and no one will ever mistake Smith for Brady, I see no reason why he can’t repeat his Week 8 numbers against the Rams. Especially considering I think the 49ers’ defense at home will do its part to give the offense plenty of chances to put points on the board.

Ryan Tannehill (MIA) vs. Tennessee
Tannehill didn’t let a bruised quad/knee keep him off of the field last week against Indianapolis. Not only that, he put up his second-highest yardage total of the season, as he had 290 passing yards and a touchdown in the 23-20 loss to the Colts. Another week away from sustaining the injury, Tannehill should be back to near 100 percent health this Sunday against Tennessee. And what better opponent to get “healthy” against than the Titans, who have allowed 20 touchdown passes and the third-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks. Tannehill may be a rookie, but keep in mind that the fewest fantasy points the Titans have surrendered to a starting quarterback thus far is 18.3 to Matthew Stafford in Week 3. Don’t’ forget, when it comes a start/sit designation here, 16 points is considered start-worthy for quarterbacks, running backs and wide receivers.

Andy Dalton (CIN) vs. New York Giants
Dalton is just outside of the top 10 for fantasy scoring at his position, and he’s posted four games of 26 or more points. My concern with him is that he has a tendency to produce based on his opponent. By that I mean he has done a good job of feasting on teams with weak defenses, as his top performances have been against Washington, Cleveland (twice) and Jacksonville. On the other hand, he hasn’t fared as well against defenses that can bring consistent pressure, like Baltimore, Miami and Pittsburgh. The Giants (25 sacks) certainly fall into the latter category, and even though they are the road team, I like the defense this week (see below) to play with a chip on its shoulder, following last week’s disappointing home loss to the Steelers. Dalton can thank the schedule-maker for being cast in the role of prey this Sunday.

Matt Schaub (HOU) at Chicago
The Bears may be just 16th in the league in pass defense, but anyone who has watched the Monsters of the Midway play this season knows that this is merely a number. They are tied for the league lead in interceptions with 17 and have returned seven of them for touchdowns. The defense has scored more touchdowns on interception returns than it has allowed (six) to quarterbacks. The Texans run the ball more than they throw it anyway, which already makes Schaub more of a matchup guy than every-week starter. To that end, can you think of a worse matchup for him than this?

Jay Cutler (CHI) vs. Houston
While Cutler’s defense may be getting all the attention and blowing away the competition when it comes to fantasy scoring, Houston’s D, which he will face on Sunday, is certainly no slouch. The Texans are third overall in total defense (Bears are 6th), second against the rush and fourth versus the pass and in scoring defense. Statistically speaking, the Bears are only better than the Texans in scoring defense and takeaways. Cutler may be coming off of a three-touchdown game against Tennessee, but the only similarities between the Titans and the Texans is that they both play in the AFC South, have ties to Texas and their team names start with the letter T. When it comes to their respective defenses, there are no similarities just as there is no good reason, other than if you have no other option, to start Cutler this week against the Texans.

Running Backs

Stevan Ridley (NE) vs. Buffalo
Ridley has gotten 15 or more carries in every game but one this season. While his best game came in Week 5 against Denver when he had a season-high 28 attempts (151 yards), he also has shown he can do some damage with fewer chances. In his last game, Ridley ran for 127 yards against St. Louis on just 15 carries. Trying to figure out Bill Belichick’s running back rotation is a exercise in futility, but considering the Bills are yielding an average of 5.7 yards per carry, this seems like as good a week as any for Ridley to do some damage even if he doesn’t get the lion’s share of attempts. Don’t forget he went for 106 yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries in Week 4 against these same Bills.

Chris Johnson (TEN) vs. Miami
Despite my best guess, Johnson was the lone bright spot in the Titans’ 51-20 shellacking at the hands of the Bears last week. Johnson went for 141 yards rushing, including an 80-yard touchdown, which is by far the most damage the Bears have allowed to a running back this season. Yes the game was well decided by the time Johnson broke off his 80-yarder, but it still counts all the same and he has now posted 91 or more yards on the ground in five of his last six contests. As well as the Dolphins have done against the run, they have yielded at least 91 yards rushing to running backs in each of their past three games. As hot as Johnson has been of late, I would have no hesitation plugging in him this week if he was on my roster.

Mikel Leshoure (DET) at Minnesota
A first glance at Leshoure’s stats last week show 70 yards rushing, which isn’t that great. But scan two more columns over and you see 3 under the TD heading. Even though Joique Bell out-gained (73 to 70) Leshoure on the ground and through the air (36 yards receiving to 0), Leshoure made the most of his opportunities, scoring three rushing touchdowns from eight yards and in, all in the second quarter. Bell will get his touches, but Leshoure also will certrainly get his fair share of carries and gets to face a Vikings’ defense that has allowed an average of 121 yards rushing to the last three No. 1 running backs they have faced – LaRod Stephens-Howling, Doug Martin and Marshawn Lynch.

Jamaal Charles (KC) at Pittsburgh (Monday)
Charles ran for 140 yards against Baltimore in Week 5. In the three games since, he’s gained a total of 83 yards on the ground. It doesn’t help that he’s only had a combined 29 carries in those games, compared to the 31 he received against the Ravens, but the Chiefs constantly having to play from behind has contributed to the decline in production as well. There’s no reason to expect that the Chiefs won’t be playing from behind Monday night against the Steelers, who are tied for seventh in rush defense. The Steelers have allowed no more than 74 yards rushing to a team’s backfield over its last three games. Unless Charles can do some damage early, I think it will be another quiet outing for the guy who racked up 233 yards on the ground back in Week 3.

Ryan Mathews (SD) at Tampa Bay
Mathews has yet to top the 100-yard mark since his return in Week 4 from a broken collarbone. He also has scored a total of one touchdown. Tampa Bay is tops in the league in rushing defense, and given the Chargers’ offensive struggles throughout the season, there’s no reason to think they will solve them all, especially having to make the cross-country trip to play the Bucs on Sunday. If Mathews has a big game on Sunday, chances are it will be due to his production in the passing game. While that may end up happening, the Bucs’ track record says otherwise when it comes to his outlook as a rusher this week.

Ahmad Bradshaw (NYG) at Cincinnati
Bradshaw has already shown what he can do when he gets a bunch of carries. Try 200 yards on 30 attempts against Cleveland and 116 the following week on 27 totes on the road against San Francisco. However, he’s also been a constant on the Giants’ injury report, as he can’t seem to get over issues related to his troublesome feet. While he’s only missed one game, he’s been a game-time decision on more than one occasion, which is the last thing an owner wants to worry about when it comes to finalizing their lineup. The team also seems to have grown somewhat weary with his injury issues, as his carries have declined since the 49ers game. Andre Brown is back and completely healthy, and he has been cutting into Bradshaw’s workload more and more each passing week it seems. Bradshaw’s been limited again in practice this week, and while there appears to be no real danger of him not playing against Cincinnati, it may be best to treat him along the lines of his teammate Hakeem Nicks (see above). That is, put him away for two weeks and then check back to see if it’s time to dust him off and give him another chance.

Wide Receivers

Kenny Britt (TEN) at Miami
If not for a fumble, Britt would have posted his best fantasy outing of the season after catching five passes for 67 yards against Chicago. Now while a possible maximum of 9.2 fantasy points may not seem like something to get that excited about, at least it’s a step in the right direction for Britt, who has 25 receptions and just one touchdown on the season. Two other things going for Britt his week are the matchup with Miami and the likely return of Jake Locker under center. The Dolphins are allowing the fourth-most fantasy points to wide receivers, including the second-most receptions (126), more than 1,600 yards and nine touchdown catches. Also, I think Locker suits Britt’s deep-threat ability more as he has a stronger arm than Hasselbeck. Health doesn’t appear to be an issue for Britt at this point, so hopefully some more production on the field is forthcoming.

Emmanuel Sanders (PIT) vs. Kansas City (Monday)
Antonio Brown is not expected to play after sustaining a high ankle sprain last week, which means Sanders will replace him as the starter alongside Mike Wallace. While Wallace is the dangerous vertical threat, Brown is leading the Steelers in receptions and yards, and there’s no reason why Sanders can’t assume that role against Kansas City. Opportunity is clearly knocking, and I think Sanders will answer the call this week.

Davone Bess (MIA) vs. Tennessee
The only thing missing from Bess’ stat sheet this season is a touchdown. He’s averaging nine targets over his last three games and has five games with four or more receptions. Touchdowns are the easiest way to rack up the points in fantasy, and the Titans have allowed 20 of them to wide receivers already. I think is the week when Bess finally puts together a complete stat line.

Percy Harvin (MIN) vs. Detroit
Earlier in the week, Harvin, who sprained his ankle last week against Seattle after re-aggravating a nagging hamstring injury earlier in the contest, pronounced himself “a long shot” to play this Sunday. I would go so far as to label him as a “no shot” for this week, especially considering the Vikings are on bye next week. As hard as it may be to sit Harvin, there’s no reason to take your chances and start him this week. He relies too much on his speed and big-play ability, as evidenced by his league-leading 517 yards after the catch, two skills that are greatly impacted by the health of one’s ankle and hamstring.

Andre Johnson (HOU) at Chicago
I’ve already opined how I feel about Matt Schaub’s chances on Sunday against Chicago, which not surprisingly, ties into Johnson’s outlook. Not only has the Bears defense picked off 17 passes and allowed just five touchdown catches to wide receivers, the secondary has done a pretty good job of shutting down top-flight receivers. Reggie Wayne, Steve Smith and Dez Bryant all have posted 100-yard games against the Bears, but the score in the game had a lot to do with their production. Charles Tillman, Tim Jennings and company have also held the likes of Calvin Johnson (3 rec., 34 yds.), Jordy Nelson (6, 84), and Danny Amendola (5, 66) relatively in check. Considering I think this will be more of a defensive battle, I think Andre Johnson will put up numbers more along the lines of Calvin Johnson, Nelson and Amendola rather than Wayne, Smith and Bryant.

Dez Bryant (DAL) at Philadelphia
Bryant came fingertips away from helping the Cowboys beat the Giants and not only did his leaping catch in the end zone not count because his hand landed out of bounds, he took a hard hit on his hip when he landed as well. While the team and Bryant both acknowledged the blow to the hip, it didn’t prevent him from playing last week against the Falcons. Still, after catching just one pass for 15 yards, you have to wonder if his hip was more of an issue than he was letting on. Either way, his lack of production last week and Tony Romo’s struggles throwing the ball are enough reasons for me to recommend looking elsewhere for a starting wide receiver this week. The Eagles have had their issues on defense, but they have given up the third-fewest receptions and just eight touchdowns to opposing wide receivers.

Tight Ends

Jason Witten (DAL) at Philadelphia
Remember when Witten was catching just two passes a game? Yeah, those days are long past as Tony Romo has really locked onto his favorite target recently. Witten had 18 catches two weeks ago against the Giants and the last time he had fewer than six receptions was back in Week 3. The Eagles have only allowed two touchdown receptions to tight ends, but in Witten’s case, he has shown he can be productive without getting into the end zone.

Jermaine Gresham (CIN) vs. New York Giants
Gresham has scored 7.2 or more fantasy points in five of his past six games, including three double-digit performances. He has had at least five receptions four times during this same span, and in one of the other two games he had a touchdown catch. Although the Giants have surrendered just one touchdown catch to a tight end, they have allowed the second-most grabs (57) to the position. A.J. Green is Andy Dalton’s top target, and although I don’t think the quarterback will have a huge game this Sunday (see above), I still like Gresham’s chances of putting together a start-worthy (which is 10 points for tight ends) effort.

Brent Celek (PHI) vs. Dallas
Celek has caught a decent number of passes (33), but he still has just one touchdown so far. He’s only had one double-digit scoring game this season and I wouldn’t count on one this Sunday. Dallas is giving up an average of 6.0 fantasy points per game to tight ends, which ranks them 27th in points allowed to the position.

Jared Cook (TEN) at Miami
Cook’s scoring has dropped in each of the past five weeks, starting at 12.2 in Week 5 to a total of 0.6 (2 rec., 6 yds., fumble) last week. Now while I am fairly certain he will do better than 0.6 this week, the Dolphins have yet to allow a touchdown catch by a tight end. Even though I am looking for Kenny Britt to benefit from the return of Jake Locker (see above), I don’t have the same opinion when it comes to Cook. He’s simply been too inconsistent and too much of a disappointment (dare I say bust?) to trust right now.

Defense/Special Teams

Pittsburgh vs. Kansas City (Monday)
The Steelers are following a similar script from last season, a statistically dominant defense on the field, but not very productive when it comes to fantasy scoring. The Steel Curtain is ranked No. 1 in the league in total and pass defense, but are tied for 25th in fantasy scoring as a DST. That will probably change this week, however, with Kansas City coming to town. Not only do the Chiefs have a league-worst 29 turnovers, they are also allowing the most fantasy points to opposing DSTs. The Steelers’ DST has scored double-digit fantasy points just twice so far. I feel fairly confident this number will be three after this game.

New York Giants at Cincinnati
The Giants gave up 158 yards rushing to Pittsburgh last week in a 24-20 home loss that had their home coach using the dreaded four-letter word to describe their effort. No defense wants to be called “soft,” let alone that of the defending Super Bowl champs. True to their championship pedigree, I expect this defense, which is second only to Chicago in fantasy scoring among DSTs, to play with a little extra fire in its belly this week in Cincinnati. Pity Andy Dalton (see above) and the rest of the Bengals, who are in the Giants’ cross-hairs, and have allowed the third-most fantasy points to DSTs.

New England Patriots vs. Buffalo
While the Patriots came out on the winning end against the Bills in Week 4, the defense still gave up 28 points and 438 yards of offense. Six turnovers fueled the majority of the Patriots DST’s 15 fantasy points that week, and there’s no guarantee the unit will be able to generate that many this time around. I’m expecting another fairly high-scoring affair, especially due to the Patriots’ issue stopping the pass (see Ryan Fitzpatrick, above), and think this type of game is too risky to count on significant production from their DST.

Baltimore Ravens vs. Oakland Raiders
A Ravens defense that’s already missing two key pieces in linebacker Ray Lewis and cornerback Lardarius Webb, could be down a few more as defensive linemen Haloti Ngata and Pernell McPhee and safety Ed Reed all missed practice on Wednesday. That’s not to say any or all won’t suit up on Sunday, but it’s not the type of news this defense needs either. The Ravens’ DST, who for years was one of the top scorers in fantasy, hasn’t reached double digits in three games. Not saying Carson Palmer will throw for another 414 yards against the Ravens on Sunday, but I do believe the Ravens are anything but a safe option at DST this week.  


Shaun Suisham (PIT) vs. Kansas City (Monday)

Kansas City is giving up 30 points per game. The Steelers are scoring around 24 points per game. I expect both of these averages will go up after the conclusion of Monday night’s game. I’m not sure how cold it will be in Pittsburgh on Monday night, but I don’t think Suisham will have to worry about keeping his leg warm. The number of times he will have to use it on the field will do the job.

Dan Carpenter (MIA) vs. Tennessee
The Titans are allowing more than 34 points per game and the most fantasy points to kickers. Six of the nine kickers the Titans have faced have scored 10 or more fantasy points. That’s the magic number that kickers need to score to be considered start-worthy. I fully expect Carpenter to join the double-digit kicker club this Sunday.

Stephen Gostkowski (NE) vs. Buffalo
Gostkowski got 10 fantasy points last time against the Bills in Week 4, but it came thanks to seven PATs and a 30-yard field goal. I expect the Patriots to score a fair amount of points, but not quite as many as they did in Round 1. And as long as the Patriots put six on the board, it means Gostkowski’s kicks count for just one point and not three.

Connor Barth (TB) vs. San Diego
The Chargers have given up a total of seven field goal attempts thus far, and while the Buccaneers have scored 28 or more points in four straight games, Barth hasn’t played a big role in this production. He’s scored more than eight fantasy points in only one of these games and also has missed four of his last eight field goal attempts. I expect more of the same, if not less, as the Chargers’ defense is ranked ninth overall and giving up less than 20 points per game.

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 10</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Philadelphia Eagles, NFL
Path: /nfl/5-coaches-who-could-replace-andy-reid-philadelphia

It’s all beginning to fall apart in Philadelphia where the Eagles showed so much promise a year ago. Maybe it was never smart of them to embrace the “Dream Team” nickname, but after their spending spree before the 2011 season everyone was sure they’d be good.

But they haven’t. Their record is a disappointing 11-13 since then. Michael Vick, once an MVP candidate has become a turnover machine and after a 28-13 loss to the New Orleans Saints on Monday night, they have put themselves in a 2 ½-game hole that appears far too deep for them to climb out.

And now, after 13 1/2 mostly successful seasons – albeit 13 ½ seasons without a Super Bowl championship – Andy Reid looks lost. He seems clueless about how to revive the franchise. And there are many who think Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie is finally ready to pull the trigger on a coaching change.

It won’t be easy to replace a man who has become a fixture in that rough-and-tumble city, who has managed a .597 winning percentage (129-86-1) despite residing in the hyper-competitive NFC East. When Reid was hired, he was a largely unknown assistant coach who came highly recommended but didn’t carry the star power fans usually crave.

Could the Eagles go that route again? Or will they go for the big splash? It’s far too early to tell. Who knows if Reid even will be fired after the season? But if he is, here are 5 very interesting names for Eagles fans – and fans of any team around the NFL that might soon have a coaching search – to watch:

Sean Payton – First of all, he’s a longshot for anyone. But the door was opened last week when the NFL reportedly voided the contract extension he signed with the New Orleans Saints, putting him on schedule to be a free agent after the season. Despite the BountyGate scandal that he oversaw, the Saints want to retain the only coach that took them to the Super Bowl. But Payton is also a Dallas native and would be just the sort of big splash Jerry Jones would love to make. If he’s available, if nothing else, you could bet the Philadelphia Eagles would get in line if they were looking for a replacement for Reid. Payton, a former assistant with the Giants and Cowboys, does have roots in the NFC East.
Steve Spagnuolo – He wouldn’t be a splashy hire, but he’d be a solid one with Philly roots. He was a long time assistant there under beloved defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Then he left and was the defensive coordinator that helped the Giants upset the mighty New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII. His stint as St. Louis Rams coach wasn’t good, but most people saw that as an impossible situation – same for his position now as defensive coordinator of the BountyGate-saddled Saints. He’s still well-respected, knows the division, and has a defensive mind that would get the Philly faithful inspired.
Jon Gruden – In a division that has Tom Coughlin and Mike Shanahan and whatever big name Jerry Jones eventually hires to replace Jason Garrett, the Eagles may choose to match and there might be no bigger available name than Gruden. OK, there’s Bill Cowher and you might as well throw his name in too, but Gruden’s brash, confident, outgoing natures seems more Philly’s style. It helps, too, that his last stop before he became a head coach was as the Eagles offensive coordinator from 1995-97.
Mike McCoy – If the Eagles did want to go the unknown assistant route – especially since it served them so well with Reid – they might consider McCoy, the offensive coordinator of the Denver Broncos. Think about what he’s done in the past two years. He started running an offense with Kyle Orton at quarterback, quickly changed midstream to win with Tim Tebow, and then re-overhauled everything in the offseason when they brought in Peyton Manning. To continue to have success while reinventing your own scheme is pretty impressive. He’s going to be high on the list of a lot of teams looking for the next bright young mind.
Chip Kelly – Ask people around the NFL for the top college coaching prospect in the nation and they’ll probably mention Alabama’s Nick Saban. But since nobody expects him to leave the Crimson Tide, Oregon’s Kelly is next on the list. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers reportedly tried to hire him before they hired Greg Schiano, and a few other teams will come knocking on his door this offseason. His spread offense with the Ducks is not only exciting it’s proved to be a winner. He may not be able to run that exact same scheme in the NFL, but he might be able to adapt some components to help out a nimble quarterback such as … oh, maybe Michael Vick?
<p> If the Eagles Fire Their Coach, Here Are Their Best Bets</p>
Post date: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 05:52
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-10

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 10 Fantasy Football Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 10 Start or Sit

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Note: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 05:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-10

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.

Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington are all on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Tom Brady NE vs. BUF Tom Terrific is 19-2 vs. Bills w/ 49 TD passes.
2 Peyton Manning DEN at CAR Came up just 9 yards shy of 5th 300-3 game in a row.
3 Drew Brees NO vs. ATL Has thrown for 15 TDs vs. 3 INTs in last five games.
4 Matt Ryan ATL at NO Threw for 342 yards, but no TDs (or INTs) vs. Dallas.
5 Ben Roethlisberger PIT vs. KC (Mon.) Only two games with 300+ yards, but 16 TDs.
6 Andrew Luck IND at JAC (Thurs.) Posted NFL rookie record 433 yards last week.
7 Matthew Stafford DET at MIN Only eight TD passes in eight games so far.
8 Eli Manning NYG at CIN Only 2 TDs w/ 4 INTs in last four games.
9 Cam Newton CAR vs. DEN Total TDs after 8 games: 18 in '11 vs. 10 in '12.
10 Josh Freeman TB vs. SD Has 11:1 TD:INT ratio over last four games.
11 Michael Vick PHI vs. DAL Has 11:3 TD:INT ratio in 6 career games vs. Dallas.
12 Tony Romo DAL at PHI Nine of his 13 INTs were thrown in two games.
13 Carson Palmer OAK at BAL Posted fifth career 400-yard game last week.
14 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at NE Put up 350-4-4 in Week 4 loss to Patriots.
15 Philip Rivers SD at TB Tampa Bay last in league (321 ypg) in pass defense.
16 Joe Flacco BAL vs. OAK Less than 200 yards passing in 3 of last 4 games.
17 Andy Dalton CIN vs. NYG Giants 26th against pass, allowing 264 ypg.
18 Alex Smith SF vs. STL Tied season high with 3 TD passes in last game.
19 Ryan Tannehill MIA vs. TEN Played through injury, put up 290-1-0 vs. Colts.
20 Matt Schaub HOU at CHI Bears are 4th in sacks, tied for 1st in INTs.
21 Jay Cutler CHI vs. HOU Texans are No. 4 against pass, tied for 6th in sacks.
22 Jake Locker TEN at MIA Will resume his starting job, barring a setback.
23 Russell Wilson SEA vs. NYJ Has yet to throw an INT at home.
24 Sam Bradford STL at SF Comes off of bye to face league's No. 2 pass defense.
25 Blaine Gabbert JAC vs. IND (Thurs.) Tied season high with 2 TD passes vs. Lions.
26 Mark Sanchez NYJ at SEA Seahawks have allowed only 3 TD passes at home.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Week 10 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 04:59
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-running-back-rankings-week-10

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.

Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Running Backs

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Ray Rice BAL vs. OAK Rookie Doug Martin gashed Raiders for 251 last week.
2 Adrian Peterson MIN vs. DET All Day is leading the league in rushing.
3 Marshawn Lynch SEA vs. NYJ Beast mode could be in effect vs. No. 27 rush defense.
4 LeSean McCoy PHI vs. DAL Averaging 96 rushing yards per game over last four.
5 Arian Foster HOU at CHI Faces tough task against No. 6 rush defense.
6 Doug Martin TB vs. SD Rookie has 386 rushing yards, 5 TDs in last two games.
7 Stevan Ridley NE vs. BUF Bills giving up league-worst 5.7 ypc.
8 Willis McGahee DEN at CAR Averaging 20+ attempts over last three games.
9 Frank Gore SF vs. STL Sore ribs shouldn't be an issue coming off of bye.
10 Matt Forte CHI vs. HOU Texans have yet to allow rushing TD.
11 Reggie Bush MIA vs. TEN Titans are allowing 141.6 yards rushing per game.
12 Chris Johnson TEN at MIA CJ (141, TD) lone Titans bright spot last week vs. Bears.
13 Jamaal Charles KC at PIT (Mon.) Has 83 yards rushing in last three games combined.
14 Ryan Mathews SD at TB Bucs are No. 1 in league against rush (77.3 ypg).
15 Michael Turner ATL at NO Posted second 100-yard game vs. Cowboys.
16 Ahmad Bradshaw NYG at CIN Averaging only 56.3 ypg over last three.
17 C.J. Spiller BUF at NE Averaging 7.2 yards per carry.
18 Rashad Jennings JAC vs. IND (Thurs.) Colts allowing seventh-most fantasy points to RBs.
19 Mikel Leshoure DET at MIN Leshoure had just 70 yards, but 3 TDs vs. Jaguars.
20 BenJarvus Green-Ellis CIN vs. NYG Season-best 91 yards rushing came back in Week 1.
21 Isaac Redman PIT vs. KC (Mon.) Should get another start after 147-yard effort vs. Giants.
22 Vick Ballard IND at JAC (Thurs.) Donald Brown's health dictates Ballard's workload.
23 Shonn Greene NYJ at SEA Hoping to get Ground and Pound going coming off of bye.
24 Pierre Thomas NO vs. ATL His role increases if Sproles (hand) is out.
25 Steven Jackson STL at SF San Francisco is No. 5 in league vs. rush.
26 Fred Jackson BUF at NE Longest rush thus far has been just 13 yards.
27 Jonathan Stewart CAR vs. DEN Broncos are ninth in the league in rush defense.
28 Felix Jones DAL at PHI Saw Lance Dunbar cut into carries last week.
29 Marcel Reece OAK at BAL Should have impact in the Raiders' passing game.
30 Daniel Thomas MIA vs. TEN Averaging 10 carries over last three games.
31 Andre Brown NYG at CIN Bradshaw's lingering foot mean more work for Brown.
32 Darren Sproles NO vs. ATL DNP last week (hand surgery), may be back vs. Falcons.
33 Joique Bell DET at MIN Making an impact as both rusher and receiver.
34 DeAngelo Williams CAR vs. DEN Fewer touches, but scored TD last week on 30-yard run.
35 Mark Ingram NO vs. ATL Saw more carries with Sproles sidelined.
36 Jonathan Dwyer PIT vs. KC (Mon.) Expected to be back this week.
37 Chris Ivory NO vs. ATL His role is dependent upon Sproles' health.
38 Daryl Richardson STL at SF Has gotten 7+ carries in four straight games.
39 Jacquizz Rodgers ATL at NO Has been more active in passing game recently.
40 Danny Woodhead NE vs. BUF Second on team in carries, 4th in receptions.
41 Taiwan Jones OAK at BAL His workload is dependent on Goodson's ankle.
42 Kendall Hunter SF vs. STL Total of 19 carries in past two games.
43 Mike Goodson OAK at BAL Next up after McFadden, but he also has ankle injury.
44 Peyton Hillis KC at PIT (Mon.)  
45 Michael Bush CHI vs. HOU Doesn't get many chances if it's not a blowout.
46 Donald Brown IND at JAC (Thurs.) Listed as Questionable, but played vs. Dolphins.
47 Ronnie Hillman DEN at CAR  
48 Ronnie Brown SD at TB Role has increased over past four games.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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 10 Positional Rankings

Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Week 10 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Running Back Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 04:58
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-wide-receiver-rankings-week-10

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.

Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Wide Receivers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 A.J. Green CIN vs. NYG Tied for league lead with 8 TD receptions.
2 Julio Jones ATL at NO Saints have allowed 14 TD catches by WRs.
3 Roddy White ATL at NO New Orleans giving up most fantasy points to WRs.
4 Victor Cruz NYG at CIN Ranks among top 7in catches, yards and TDs.
5 Calvin Johnson DET at MIN Seven-catch, 129-yard effort welcome sight for CJ owners.
6 Brandon Marshall CHI vs. HOU Leading fantasy scorer at his position.
7 Reggie Wayne IND at JAC (Thurs.) Leads league with 837 yards receiving.
8 Wes Welker NE vs. BUF Put up 11-129 against Bills in Week 4.
9 Vincent Jackson TB vs. SD First game against former team.
10 Demaryius Thomas DEN at CAR Seen six or more targets in every game but one.
11 Marques Colston NO vs. ATL Had just 4 rec., but caught sixth TD last week.
12 Mike Wallace PIT vs. KC (Mon.) Chiefs allowing 16.9 ypc to WRs.
13 Miles Austin DAL at PHI Has seen 9+ targets in each of last three games.
14 Eric Decker DEN at CAR No. 7 fantasy WR has 7 TDs in last 5 games.
15 Steve Smith CAR vs. DEN Scored first TD last week vs. Redskins.
16 Brandon Lloyd NE vs. BUF Scored twice in last game, had TD in Week 4 vs. Bills.
17 Andre Johnson HOU at CHI Has eight or more receptions in each of past three games.
18 Denarius Moore OAK at BAL Saw TD streak end at three games in a row last week.
19 DeSean Jackson PHI vs. DAL Produced just second 100-yard game of season last week.
20 Torrey Smith BAL vs. OAK Only one 100-yard game, but 5 TDs.
21 Stevie Johnson BUF at NE Dealing with hip issue, but should play Sunday.
22 Dwayne Bowe KC at PIT (Mon.) Bowe better fantasy option with Cassel at QB than Quinn.
23 Dez Bryant DAL at PHI Hip could be issue, just one catch for 15 yards vs. Falcons.
24 Hakeem Nicks NYG at CIN More swelling in knee, keep eye on status.
25 Mike Williams TB vs. SD Averaging 17.4 ypc, has 5 TDs.
26 Malcom Floyd SD at TB Bucs are giving up second-most fantasy points to WRs.
27 Brian Hartline MIA vs. TEN Posted first 100-yard game since Week 4.
28 Jeremy Maclin PHI vs DAL Has total of 61 yards receiving in last two games.
29 Michael Crabtree SF vs. STL Caught two TD passes vs. Cardinals in last game.
30 Kenny Britt TEN at MIA Dolphins allowing fourth-most fantasy points to WRs.
31 Lance Moore NO vs. ATL Averaging 15 ypc and has two 100-yard games so far.
32 Emmanuel Sanders PIT vs. KC (Mon.) Big opportunity with Antonio Brown (ankle) likely out.
33 Danny Amendola STL at SF Rams, Bradford should get No. 1 option back this week.
34 Anquan Boldin BAL vs. OAK Only TD came back in Week 1.
35 Sidney Rice SEA vs. NYJ Has TDs in three of past four games.
36 Cecil Shorts JAC vs. IND (Thurs.) Colts have allowed 11 TDs to WRs.
37 Nate Washington TEN at MIA Fins have given up second-most receptions to WRs.
38 Jeremy Kerley NYJ at SEA  
39 Titus Young DET at MIN Didn't fare as well in second game as starter last week.
40 Darrius Heyward-Bey OAK at TB Averaging 19.1 ypc since return from head/neck injury.
41 Davone Bess MIA vs. TEN Has seen at least 6 targets in every game.
42 Donnie Avery IND at JAC (Thurs.) Dealing w/ hip issue, watch status for Thursday game.
43 Laurent Robinson JAC vs. IND (Thurs.) Put up 9-41 against Lions in first action since Week 4.
44 Golden Tate SEA vs. NYJ Only 24 receptions, but 5 TDs.
45 T.Y. Hilton IND at JAC (Thurs.) Could see more targets if Avery (hip) is limited/out.
46 Michael Jenkins MIN vs. DET Increased role if Harvin (ankle) can't go.
47 Chris Givens STL at SF  
48 Justin Blackmon JAC vs. IND (Thurs.) Rookie caught first NFL TD pass last week vs. Lions.
49 Kendall Wright TEN at MIA Injured elbow last week, but should still play Sunday.
50 Donald Jones BUF at NE Patriots allowing ninth-most fantasy points to WRs.
51 Andrew Hawkins CIN vs. NYG Hasn’t produced much since Week 3.
52 Stephen Hill NYJ at SEA  
53 Randy Moss SF vs. STL Flashed old form on 47-yard TD vs. Cardinals.
54 Brandon Gibson STL at SF Looking at reduced role with Amendola's return.
55 Mario Manningham SF vs. STL Posted 3 or more receptions in every game.
56 Danario Alexander SD at TB Bucs have allowed second-most yards (1,847) to WRs.
57 Brandon Stokley DEN at CAR  
58 Ryan Broyles DET at MIN  
59 Jerome Simpson MIN vs. DET More opportunities if Harvin (ankle) is out.
60 Devery Henderson NO vs. ATL  
61 Kevin Ogletree DAL at PHI Posted best game (3-96-1) since Week 1 breakout.
62 Earl Bennett CHI vs. HOU  
63 Kevin Walter HOU at CHI  
64 Percy Harvin MIN vs. DET Says he's "a longshot" to play vs. Lions.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Week 10 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 04:57
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-tight-end-rankings-week-10

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.

Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington all are on bye.

2012 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Tight Ends

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Rob Gronkowski NE vs. BUF Has caught 2 TDs in each of past two games.
2 Jimmy Graham NO vs. ATL Back in form after missing game b/c of ankle injury.
3 Tony Gonzalez ATL at NO Only one TD in last five games.
4 Jason Witten DAL at PHI Leads all TEs in catches (58), only one TD.
5 Heath Miller PIT vs. KC (Mon.) Second only to Gronk w/ 6 TD catches.
6 Owen Daniels HOU at CHI Has a TD in five of past six games.
7 Vernon Davis SF vs. STL Has just 5 receptions in past three games.
8 Aaron Hernandez NE vs. BUF Should be back this week (ankle), but watch.
9 Antonio Gates SD at TB Only 3 catches, but did have TD last week.
10 Jermaine Gresham CIN vs. NYG Has at least 3 rec. in every game.
11 Martellus Bennett NYG at CIN Has not caught a TD since Week 3.
12 Brandon Myers OAK at BAL No. 7 TE in terms of fantasy scoring.
13 Dustin Keller NYJ at SEA Seven catches in each of past two games.
14 Brandon Pettigrew DET at MIN Has 39 receptions, only 1 TD.
15 Dwayne Allen IND at JAC (Thurs.) Fleener out for second straight game.
16 Brent Celek PHI vs. DAL Five or more targets in all but one game.
17 Scott Chandler BUF at NE Caught 2 TD passes vs. Patriots in Week 4.
18 Greg Olsen CAR vs. DEN Broncos allowing third-most points to TEs.
19 Jared Cook TEN at MIA Inconsistency makes him hard to trust.
20 Kyle Rudolph MIN vs. DET No receptions in 2 of last 3 games.
21 Anthony Fasano MIA vs. TEN Titans have allowed 7 TDs to TEs.
22 Joel Dreessen DEN at CAR Averaging a TD every 5 receptions.
23 Dennis Pitta BAL vs. OAK Has seen sharp decline in targets.
24 Jacob Tamme DEN at CAR Has 29 receptions, but only 1 TD.
25 Dallas Clark TB vs. SD Chargers have allowed 1 TD catch to TE.
26 Zach Miller SEA vs. NYJ Getting a few more looks, but still not many.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Defense/Special Teams

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Week 10 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Tight End Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 04:56
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-kicker-rankings-week-10

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.

Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Kickers

Rk Player Team OPPONENT
1 Lawrence Tynes NYG at CIN
2 Matt Bryant ATL at NO
3 Stephen Gostkowski NE vs. BUF
4 Blair Walsh MIN vs. DET
5 Sebastian Janikowski OAK at BAL
6 Jason Hanson DET at MIN
7 David Akers SF vs. STL
8 Justin Tucker BAL vs. OAK
9 Robbie Gould CHI vs. HOU
10 Shaun Suisham PIT vs. KC (Mon.)
11 Matt Prater DEN at CAR
12 Greg Zuerlein STL at SF
13 Shayne Graham HOU at CHI
14 Garrett Hartley NO vs. ATL
15 Connor Barth TB vs. SD
16 Dan Bailey DAL at PHI

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Week 10 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Kicker Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 04:55
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-10

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.

Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay and Washington are all on bye.

2012 NFL Week 10 Fantasy Football Rankings — Defense/Special Teams

Rk Player OPPONENT Notes
1 San Francisco 49ers vs. STL Have shutout Rams in 2 of last 3 played at home.
2 Chicago Bears vs. HOU Have 28 takeaways (17 INT, 11 fumbles) in 9 games.
3 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. KC (Mon.) Chiefs have league-worst 29 turnovers.
4 Houston Texans at CHI Texans are No. 3 in total, pass defense, No. 2 vs. rush.
5 Seattle Seahawks vs. NYJ Seahawks giving up 13 ppg at home.
6 Denver Broncos at CAR Broncos eighth against pass, tied for 6th in sacks.
7 New York Giants at CIN Have only given up 28+ points once this season.
8 Miami Dolphins vs. TEN Dolphins are No. 3 in league against rush.
9 Baltimore Ravens vs. OAK Ravens likely won't see McFadden in backfield.
10 Detroit Lions at MIN Christian Ponder struggling, Percy Harvin hurting.
11 New York Jets at SEA Rush defense (27th, 141.4 ypg) will be tested by Lynch.
12 Minnesota Vikings vs. DET Defense has struggled last two games.
13 New England Patriots vs. BUF Tied for 7th against rush, but 28th against pass.
14 Atlanta Falcons at NO Falcons looking to slow down Brees on road.
15 Dallas Cowboys at PHI Defense has allowed total of 2 TDs in last two games.
16 St. Louis Rams at SF Rams are 13th in both total and rush defense.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

Additional Week 10 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends

Week 10 Waiver Wire

Week 10 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 10</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 8, 2012 - 04:54
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-waiver-wire-week-10

And then there were two, bye weeks that is. Week 10 is the second-to-last bye week on the NFL schedule, but this is one that Aaron Rodgers and Robert Griffin III owners have possibly been dreading. No Packers, Redskins, Browns and Cardinals this week mean no reigning MVP or RGIII, also known as the top two scorers in all of fantasy football, along with several other reliable fantasy producers.

Whether you are looking for a fill-in quarterback or have a need at another position because of a bye or injury issue, here are some options worth considering as you prepare your team for Week 10.

Week 10 Positional Rankings

Week 10 Start or Sit

Bye week teams: Arizona, Cleveland, Green Bay, Washington

Week 9 Recap: Matt Cassel added to his league-leading turnover total with two more in Kansas City’s 31-13 loss to San Diego. If Brady Quinn is cleared to practice, he may get the start on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Matt Moore didn’t even see the field on Sunday as Ryan Tannehill played through his injuries and performed pretty well (290-1-0) in the Dolphins’ 23-20 loss in Indianapolis.

Ryan Fitzpatrick, Buffalo Bills
Fitzpatrick had his best game of the season the last time he faced New England, throwing for 350 yards and four touchdowns in a 52-28 loss to the Patriots in Week 4. He did have four interceptions in that game, but still managed to score 32.4 fantasy points. The Bills and Patriots hook up again in Foxboro, Mass., on Sunday and as good as the Pats have been against the run, they are 28th against the pass and are allowing the fifth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks.

Russell Wilson, Seattle Seahawks
Wilson has thrown nine touchdown passes and no interceptions in four home games, compared to four scores and eight picks in five road contests. He is averaging 29 fantasy points over his last two contests played at CenturyLink Field. The Seahawks are home to the Jets this Sunday, and while the Jets are No. 6 against the pass, keep in mind that Wilson’s flawless home performances have come against the Packers, Cowboys, Patriots and Vikings.

Running Backs
Week 9 Recap: Joique Bell had a nice day for Detroit, leading the team in rushing with 73 yards on 13 carries and a score and adding three receptions for 36 yards. Even though Mikel Leshoure had three rushing touchdowns in the Lions’ win in Jacksonville, he and Bell tied in terms of total of number of touches (16 each), meaning Bell is someone definitely worth keeping an eye on moving forward. Donald Brown was listed as Questionable heading into Sunday’s game with Miami. He did play, but managed only one catch for seven yards and didn’t receive a single carry in the Colts’ win over the Dolphins. Justin Forsett got just six carries as Houston struggled somewhat to put away Buffalo. Peyton Hillis got seven carries, second most on the team, against San Diego, but finished with just 14 yards on the ground.

Lance Dunbar, Dallas Cowboys
DeMarco Murray will resume his role as the Cowboys’ lead back once he returns from his foot injury. There’s a chance Murray could be back in there this Sunday in Philadelphia. Until he’s back, however, the team continues to look for ways to jumpstart a sluggish running attack, which is why Dunbar got one less carry (9 to 8) than Felix Jones in Sunday’s loss in Atlanta. Dunbar finished with only 26 yards rushing (3.3 ypc), but with Jones’ well-documented injury history and the fact that Phillip Tanner got just one attempt against the Falcons, don’t be surprised if Dunbar gets a fair amount of touches against the Eagles should Murray miss a fourth straight game.

Mike Goodson, Oakland Raiders
Darren McFadden left Sunday’s game against Tampa Bay with a leg injury that is now being reported as the dreaded high ankle sprain. He was scheduled to undergo an MRI on Monday, but at this point, he has to be considered very questionable for this week. The Raiders abandoned the running game after McFadden left, but that’s also partially due to the fact they were trailing the Buccaneers 28-10 headed into the fourth quarter. Goodson figures to be first in line to take McFadden’s place in the backfield and he’s averaging 6.5 yards per carry in limited action. He also has been hampered by injuries, including an ankle injury on Sunday, so Marcel Reece and Taiwan Jones are two other names to watch. Reece is extremely valuable as a receiver, as he led the Raiders in receptions (8) and yards (95) and caught a touchdown pass from Carson Palmer. The team also likes Jones, but he has missed a lot of time with a knee injury and got his first carry of the season on Sunday.

Isaac Redman, Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers have certainly had their share of injuries when it comes to running backs, but it also seems like whoever they hand the ball to lately is getting the job done. Sunday was Redman’s turn as he rushed for a career-high 147 yards on 26 carries (5.7 ypc) and a touchdown in the win over the Giants. The Steelers don’t lack for backfield options with Redman, Jonathan Dwyer and Rashard Mendenhall all taking their turn as lead horse, but right now it’s Redman who is the healthiest and he played a huge role in Sunday’s victory. If Mike Tomlin chooses to stay with the hot hand, Redman could have another big game with Kansas City on tap for Monday night.

Wide Receivers
Week 9 Recap: T.Y. Hilton had a hand in Andrew Luck’s record-setting performance against Miami as the rookie hauled in five passes for 108 yards (21.6 ypc) and a score. Darrius Heyward-Bey accumulated 74 yards receiving on just five catches against Tampa Bay, while Titus Young managed just two for 20 against Jacksonville. Dexter McCluster got more carries than receptions (4 to 2), but finished with only 34 total yards in the Chiefs’ loss to San Diego.

Danario Alexander, San Diego Chargers
After being with the Rams the past two seasons, Alexander signed on with the Chargers in late October. Injuries to Robert Meachem and Eddie Royal thrust Alexander into action on Thursday night against Kansas City and the San Diego’s newest receiver responded by catching all three targets thrown his way for a team-leading 61 yards. Alexander averaged better than 16 yards per reception when he was with the Rams, and Philip Rivers has been looking for a deep threat to take Vincent Jackson’s place all season. It remains to be seen exactly what Alexander has to offer in terms of fantasy production, but it certainly does look like he will get more chances to prove his worth in the Chargers’ passing attack.

Danny Amendola, St. Louis Rams
Keep an eye on the practice reports, but Amendola could be back in action this week after missing the Rams’ past three games with a shoulder injury. The match up with San Francisco isn’t great by any means, but Amendola is quarterback Sam Bradford’s undisputed No. 1 option, as evidenced by the 44 targets he saw in his first four games. For the season, Amendola has 32 receptions for 395 yards and two touchdowns. It’s not often you have the possible opportunity to add a No. 1-caliber wide receiver as late as Week 10.

Davone Bess, Miami Dolphins
Teammate Brian Hartline has better numbers, but one could argue that Bess has been more consistent. He has caught at least two passes in every game and has five games with four or more receptions. He’s seen nine targets in each of the past three games and has reeled in 16 receptions during that span. He’s still in search of his first touchdown on the season, but that could change with Tennessee’s porous pass defense on tap this Sunday. The Titans have allowed 20 touchdown passes, which is tied for the most in the league. Because of his consistency and match up, Bess could be a WR3/Flex option this week, especially in PPR leagues.

Justin Blackmon, Jacksonville Jaguars
It took eight games, but Blackmon, the fifth overall pick in this year’s NFL Draft, finally found the end zone. Blackmon has struggled getting acclimated in his first pro season, but he’s showing signs of progress. He has nine receptions for 99 yards and a touchdown in his last two games. In his previous six he had 14 catches for 126 yards and no scores. Better still, he has caught 57 percent of his targets (9 of 17) in his last two contests, compared to only 38 percent (14 of 37) in his first six. Cecil Shorts is still the Jaguar receiver to own, but the team has a lot invested in Blackmon, so he should continue to get his opportunities as well.

Emmanuel Sanders, Pittsburgh Steelers
Antonio Brown suffered an apparent high ankle sprain in Sunday’s game against the Giants, and Sanders made the most of his opportunity. He caught both targets thrown to him, including the Steelers’ first touchdown of the game. For the season, Sanders is fourth on the team in both targets and receptions and should see his role increase if Brown misses any games because of the ankle injury. Jerricho Cotchery, who caught four passes for 50 yards on Sunday, also could see more opportunities if Sanders replaces Brown as the starter opposite Mike Wallace.

Tight Ends
Week 9 Recap: Brandon Myers led all tight ends in fantasy scoring with 22.9 points as he caught eight passes for 59 yards and two touchdowns against Tampa Bay. Zach Miller didn’t score, but he did add two more receptions for 47 yards to his recent stretch of solid production.

Dwayne Allen, Indianapolis Colts
Teammate Coby Fleener is expected to miss a second straight game with a shoulder injury, meaning Allen will get the start once again this Sunday in Jacksonville. This past Sunday, the rookie from Clemson saw seven targets from Andrew Luck, hauling in six of them for 75 yards. He has passed Fleener in receptions and yards on the season and has a two-to-zero advantage on him in touchdowns too. With as well as Luck has been throwing the ball (NFL rookie record 433 yards passing against Miami), Allen is definitely starter-worthy this week against the Jaguars.

Joel Dreessen, Denver Broncos
Dreessen may trail teammate Jacob Tamme in terms of targets, receptions and yards, but he has four touchdown catches compared to just one for Tamme. The opportunities have also been a little more even in recent weeks as both saw four targets on Sunday against Cincinnati. Dreessen, however, is clearly Peyton Manning’s more favored target in the red zone, as evidenced by his four touchdown receptions, and scores from tight ends is what makes all the difference when it comes to fantasy value.

Defense/Special Teams
Week 9 Recap: San Diego’s defense converted two Matt Cassel turnovers into touchdowns in the fourth quarter as the unit scored 27 fantasy points in the win over the Chiefs.

Denver Broncos
The Broncos are seventh among DSTs in fantasy scoring, thanks to an effective pass rush (24 sacks) and the ability to capitalize on turnovers (three defensive touchdowns so far). Denver goes to Carolina this Sunday, and while Cam Newton is not the easiest quarterback to bring down (sacked just 17 times), the Broncos’ pass rush could still prove beneficial in forcing Newton into making a mistake should he choose to throw the ball while being pressured. The Broncos also seem to have found a new special teams weapon in the addition of kick returner Trindon Holliday, who took the opening kick of the second half against Cincinnati back 105 yards for a touchdown.

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 Nov. 6, 2012

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Waiver Wire: Week 10</p>
Post date: Tuesday, November 6, 2012 - 05:05
All taxonomy terms: College Football, Legends Poll, News
Path: /college-football/legends-poll-top-25-college-football-week-10

The Legends Poll Top 25After surviving in a thriller at LSU, Alabama proved once again it’s worthy of the No. 1 ranking in the Legends Poll.

Trailing by three with just over a minute left in the game, quarterback AJ McCarron was able to lead Alabama down the field, and connected with running back T.J. Yeldon for the go-ahead score.

The Crimson Tide received all 17 first-place votes for the seventh straight week.

“I think Alabama has got the total package,” former Syracuse coach Dick MacPherson said. “And I don’t think anybody else has what they have.”

Oregon and Kansas State continued to jockey for second in the top 25 poll. Oregon edged Kansas State this week and jumped back into the No. 2 spot.

Notre Dame remained at No. 4 after it survived a scare of its own, a triple overtime victory over Pittsburgh.

No. 6 Georgia and No. 7 Florida State flip-flopped in the rankings after Georgia’s victory over Ole Miss. The Bulldogs can wrap up the SEC East title with a win over embattled rival Auburn.

Florida, Clemson and Louisville rounded out the top 10.

No. 20 Louisiana Tech also jumped five spots, but No. 17 UCLA was the biggest mover in the rankings, vaulting back into the top 25 after a 66-10 victory over Arizona.

Texas and TCU were also newcomers to the rankings.

No. 23 Mississippi State fell seven spots in the rankings after suffering its second straight loss.

Texas Tech, Oklahoma State and West Virginia dropped out of the poll.

To see the individual votes by coach, visit the Legends Poll.


1 AlabamaAlabama (17) 9-0 425 1
2 OregonOregon 9-0 401 3
3 Kansas StateKansas State 9-0 397 2
4 Notre DameNotre Dame 9-0 368 4
5 LSULSU 7-2 338 5
6 GeorgiaGeorgia 8-1 337 7
7 Florida StateFlorida State 8-1 336 6
8 FloridaFlorida 8-1 309 8
9 ClemsonClemson 8-1 296 9
10 LouisvilleLouisville 9-0 268 10
11 South CarolinaSouth Carolina 7-2 227 11
12 Oregon StateOregon State 7-1 226 12
13 Texas A&MTexas A&M 7-2 224 14
14 StanfordStanford 7-2 222 13
15 OklahomaOklahoma 6-2 197 15
16 NebraskaNebraska 7-2 166 19
17 UCLAUCLA 7-2 106 -
18 Boise StateBoise State 7-2 95 17
19 USCUSC 6-3 85 18
20 Louisiana TechLouisiana Tech 8-1 79 25
21 NorthwesternNorthwestern 7-2 78 23
22 TexasTexas 7-2 71 -
23 Mississippi StateMississippi State 7-2 66 16
24 RutgersRutgers 7-1 44 24
25 TCUTCU 6-3 38 -

Others Receiving Votes

Texas Tech 29, Michigan 24, Oklahoma State 20, Cincinnati 16, Utah State 13, West Virginia 10, Wisconsin 9, North Carolina 2, Miami (FL) 2, UCF 1

Teams Dropped Out from Last Week's Poll

Texas Tech, Oklahoma State, West Virginia


* The Legends Poll voting process is exactly what the BCS is trying to create and Athlon will bring it to you as the de facto Selection Committee for fans to follow over the next two seasons, allowing you to see how the Selection Committee will operate from 2014 onward.  You can see the entire Poll at

<p> As voted on by 17 coaching legends</p>
Post date: Monday, November 5, 2012 - 05:05
Path: /news/donald-brown-unlikely-play-expect-vick-ballard-start

UPDATE: Several sources are now reporting that Donald Brown will sit this week.

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts

Donald Brown, RB, Indianapolis Colts vs. Miami Dolphins
A return to practice on Friday gave us optimism that Donald Brown would be good to go for today’s game against the Dolphins. A downgrade to questionable on Saturday after swelling was found in the knee now leaves Brown owners pessimistic as Sunday’s Week 9 games will soon kick off.  It was already expected to be a time-share with Vick Ballard, much like last week’s 14-12-carry advantage for Brown over Ballard. Brown did more with his carries (14-or-80 to 12-for-55) but Ballard got the TD on his lone catch, leaping into the end zone for a 16-yard score. That was against a Titans team now ranked 30th against fantasy backs; today the Colts draw the seventh-ranked defense against fantasy RBs. They haven’t allowed a TD on the ground to a RB since Week 1 and haven’t allowed a TD through the air since Week 2.  Along the way, yardage totals of 79, 76 and 77 are the most allowed. Look elsewhere if you’re counting on a Colts RB as anything more than a deep flex.

Post date: Sunday, November 4, 2012 - 09:02
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-start-or-sit-week-9

The calendar has turned to November as we enter Week 9 of the NFL season. Following this week, eight weeks remain in the regular season, meaning in essence, we are halfway home. However, there are still three more bye weeks to manage, including this week as any Patriots, 49ers, Jets or Rams you have on your roster won’t get you any points in Week 9.

Athlon Sports is here to help you make all of those important lineup decisions for your Yahoo!, 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 9 Positional Rankings

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Bye week teams: New England, New York Jets, St. Louis, San Francisco

Sneaky Start of the Week
Dwayne Allen, TE, Indianapolis vs. Miami
Allen may have been drafted a round later than teammate Coby Fleener, and has fewer receptions and targets than the former Stanford Cardinal, but he definitely has one advantage this week. Allen is playing and Fleener is not.

Fleener injured his shoulder in last week’s overtime win in Tennessee and is expected to miss the next two games. This means Allen will replace Fleener as the Colts’ starting tight end and likewise he won’t be competing with him for targets during this time.

Fleener and quarterback Andrew Luck may have been teammates at Stanford, but that hasn’t affected Allen and Luck’s chemistry one bit. While Fleener does have more targets and receptions, Allen has just four fewer catches (17 to 21) and he has two touchdowns, compared to zero for Fleener.

Between Fleener and Allen, Luck has targeted these two a total of 59 times in seven games. That’s an average of more than eight per contest. While Allen won’t get every single TE target this week against Miami (Weslye Saunders is also on the roster), I think he will get more than enough additional opportunities to make him a legitimate starting option in a week that has Rob Gronkowski, Vernon Davis, Aaron Hernandez and Dustin Keller on bye.

Surprise Sit of the Week
Doug Martin, RB, Tampa Bay at Oakland
Wait a minute. Sit the guy who led all running backs in fantasy scoring last week by piling up 205 total yards (135 rush, 69 receiving) and two touchdowns against, by all appearances, what seemed to be a pretty good Minnesota defense? More on the Vikings' D later (see below), but as it relates to Martin, feel free to call me crazy, but I just don’t think he will have near as much success this Sunday against Oakland.

The Raiders are ranked 11th in the league against the run, allowing 102.1 yards per game. Of the 715 total yards rushing the Silver and Black have surrendered, 583 have been gained by running backs. Of that total, 284, or a little less than half, belong to Reggie Bush (172) and Willis McGahee (112). They also have scored three of the five rushing touchdowns the Raiders have allowed to backs.

Outside of these two, the other running backs have accumulated 299 yards rushing on 113 carries, which works out to 2.6 yards per carry, and two touchdowns. I’m not saying Martin has not performed on the same level or better than a Bush or McGahee to this point. I just don’t think the Raiders’ run defense has been that bad if you look at the whole picture.

My other hesitation with Martin for this week revolves around the loss of All-Pro left guard Carl Nicks. Nicks, who was one of the Bucs’ big free agent signees this offseason, has been placed on injured reserve with a toe injury. Regardless of how deep Tampa Bay’s offensive line is, the loss of Nicks will have an impact that's almost certain to show up on the field.

Someone will have to move over and take Nicks’ left guard spot, which results in a domino effect across the line, or a reserve will be asked to fill some pretty big shoes. Either way, I would not be surprised to see the Bucs’ running game, and perhaps even pass protection, struggle this week on the road against the Raiders. I don’t think Martin will get shut out, but I wouldn’t count on an encore performance this week out west.


Cam Newton (CAR) at Washington
Regular readers of this feature would probably bring up the fact that on more than one occasion, I have suggested sitting Newton. I still view Newton as one of the bigger disappointments in fantasy football this season, when you compare production with draft position, but that doesn’t mean he still can’t put up big numbers any given week. And considering Washington is last in the league in passing defense, has allowed the most touchdown passes (18) and yards (2,532) to quarterbacks, I really like his chances to do just that on Sunday.

Michael Vick (PHI) at New Orleans (Monday)
Like Newton, Vick has been another frequent Sit target here. What’s worse, Vick could be playing for his job, as the heat is on him, head coach Andy Reid and the rest of the team and organization to try and turn things around. Whether the Eagles can pull out the win in New Orleans on Monday night or not remains to be seen, but I do like Vick’s chances to do his part against the Saints. New Orleans is allowing the sixth-most fantasy points to quarterbacks, and outside of 7.1 points by Matt Cassel, no quarterback has scored fewer than 23.2 against the Saints. Like Cassel, Vick has had his problems with turnovers, but I think he flips that script this week and plays his best game of the season. If not, he may find himself on the bench, and I’m just not referring to the fantasy aspect here.

Jay Cutler (CHI) at Tennessee
Cutler has been about as boom or bust as a quarterback can be this season. He’s had three games of 22 or more fantasy points, yet he’s also posted three games with fewer than 10. Last week against Carolina was one of those (9.8), but I will grant him some leniency as I think his sore ribs were bothering him more than he let on. So why am I on the Cutler bandwagon this week? Let’s just say I think the home cooking will do him some good. Cutler played his college ball at Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn., and on top of a visit to his old stomping grounds, he also gets to face the Titans and their 29th-ranked passing defense. What better medicine for an ailing quarterback than a defense that has given up 17 touchdown passes and the fourth-most fantasy points to the position.

Joe Flacco (BAL) at Cleveland
The last time Flacco faced the Browns back in Week 4 he threw for 356 yards, had two touchdowns (1 pass, 1 rush) and just one interception (24.6 fantasy pts). So why the change of heart for this week’s rematch? Two reasons, the first of which is that Flacco has not played well in Cleveland. In four career games in the Dawg Pound, Flacco has completed less than 59 percent of his passes for an average of 165.8 yards per game, to go along with four touchdown passes and one interception. The bigger reason is that when the Ravens and Browns played in Week 4, cornerback Joe Haden did not as he was in the midst of serving a four-game suspension. Haden returned in Week 6 and in the Browns’ last two games, the defense has given up a total of 340 passing yards and no touchdowns. I just don’t see the Ravens throwing it as much or with near as much success this time around against the Browns.

Christian Ponder (MIN) at Seattle
After not throwing an interception in the first four games, Ponder has seven in the past four. He also has just six touchdowns in that same span, further limiting his fantasy production. The Vikings are in Seattle this week to take on a Seahawks defense that has already held Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady and Tony Romo in check at home. Last time I checked, Ponder wasn’t on any of these guys’ level, even with the issues Romo has had recently with interceptions.

Matt Hasselbeck (TEN) vs. Chicago
With news coming out that Jake Locker is dealing with a fracture in his non-throwing (left) shoulder, Hasselbeck will remain the Titans’ starter until further notice. That said, I wouldn’t plan on using the veteran this week against Chicago. Even though the Bears’ defense has fared worse against the pass than the run, it’s still a pretty stout one overall and I don’t think the Titans have an offense that can be expected to do all that much. For what it’s worth, Hasselbeck isn’t the only Titan I’m down on this week (see below).

Running Backs

Alfred Morris (WAS) vs. Carolina
Let’s see, Morris is third in the NFL in rushing and he’s facing a Carolina defense that’s giving up 114.4 yards per game along with the fifth-most fantasy points to opposing running backs. No one it saw coming, but Morris has become basically a must-start option each week and that’s certainly the case this Sunday.

Reggie Bush (MIA) at Indianapolis
Bush hasn’t rushed for more than 67 yards in a game since exploding for 172 against Oakland in Week 2. Fortunately for him, Indianapolis and the Colts’ 27th-ranked run defense are on tap. The Colts have already given up 177 yards to Maurice Jones-Drew and 161 to Shonn Greene. I’m not sure Bush will get that many, but I am predicting he will end up with around 100 and probably a score or two.

Jonathan Stewart (CAR) at Washington
The Redskins have done a decent job against the run this season, as they are ranked 10th in the league. However, Jonathan Dwyer put up 107 on the ground against them last week and while Stewart probably won’t reach that mark, I think he will do more than enough as both a rusher and receiver to put up decent numbers. Remember, Stewart has been named the No. 1 ball carrier for the Panthers, so he’s getting more touches than he was in previous weeks. After having just six in Week 5, he’s averaged 17 in the past two games. More touches don’t automatically result in production, but they certainly don’t hurt either.

Fred Jackson (BUF) at Houston
It’s bad enough for Jackson owners to have to watch him share carries with C.J. Spiller (and the same goes for Spiller owners too). Now, the Bills have the pleasure of going down to Houston to face a Texans’ defense that’s fourth in the league in rushing yards allowed and has yet to give up a rushing touchdown. Reduced opportunities have already taken away from Jackson’s production potential, combine that with a tough match up and you come up with a strong argument to leave Jackson on the bench this week.

Chris Johnson (TEN) vs. Chicago
Credit Johnson with this much, he has done a good job of turning things around after getting off to a horrendous start. He has 91 or more yards rushing in four of his last five games. Unfortunately, this Sunday he will be facing the NFL’s top rush defense (77.9 ypg), which has given up more than 63 yards to any running back only once. The Bears also have given up just one rushing touchdown, and that came in Week 1. Johnson has taken several steps forward in recent weeks, but it looks like it will be a step or two backwards on Sunday.

Michael Turner (ATL) vs. Dallas
Take out Turner’s lone 100-yard effort this season (103 vs. Carolina in Week 4), and he’s rushed for 312 yards in six games. That’s averages out to 52 yards per game. He’s also scored a total of three touchdowns in those six games and has only seven receptions for 15 yards. He’s still getting the opportunities (24 carries last week), but Turner the Burner just doesn’t seem to be getting the job done any more. I don’t expect Dallas, which is 13th in the league in rush defense, to make things any easier on him this week either. With Matt Ryan, Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez doing as much damage as they have, the Falcons are slowly becoming a more pass-oriented team, which does not bode well for Turner’s fantasy outlook the rest of this season.

Wide Receivers

Steve Smith (CAR) at Washington
If Cam Newton (see above) is going to have a big game against Washington, he’s going to need some help from his receivers. Brandon LaFell is a little banged up, which means Smith and even tight end Greg Olsen (see below) will be asked to carry the load. The good news is that Smith is more than capable of doing so, and the Redskins’ defense has more than obliged this season. The Redskins have allowed the most receptions (124) and yards (1,819) to opposing wide receivers this season, to go along with 10 touchdowns. What more needs to be said?

Jeremy Maclin (PHI) at New Orleans (Monday)
Similarly to the Newton-Smith connection, Michael Vick will need his wide receivers to come through if he’s to enjoy the fantasy success against New Orleans on Monday night that I am predicting (see above). While I do think DeSean Jackson is a solid play this week, I am casting my vote for Maclin. The Saints are allowing the most fantasy points to wide receivers, including 13 touchdowns, so there should be plenty to go around regardless. However, I think Maclin is more of a complete receiver than Jackson, who relies heavily on the big play/reception, so I like his prospects of having a big night down in the Big Easy a little better.

Titus Young (DET) at Jacksonville
In fantasy football, there’s no better change agent than injury when it comes to a player’s outlook. Take the case of Young. Labeled a sleeper or player on the rise to start the season, the young receiver couldn’t seem to get out of his own way and was passed in the Lions’ pecking order by Nate Burleson. Burleson then breaks his leg in Week 7 against Chicago and Young immediately becomes the starter opposite Calvin Johnson. Young then proceeds to catch nine passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns against Seattle the very next game. Johnson may be dealing with a sore knee, but as long as he’s on the field he will draw the majority of the defense’s attention, not Young. Change can be a good thing, and that appears to be the case here for Young, not to mention his owners.

Jordy Nelson (GB) vs. Arizona
Nelson missed last week’s game against Jacksonville because of a hamstring injury. Reports are he won’t even try to test it until Friday, and even then he will probably be a game-time decision at best. Green Bay is on bye next week and the Packers have already have seen what happens when someone comes back from injury too soon. Greg Jennings tried to do that after injuring his groin and now he’s out indefinitely after deciding to undergo surgery. One has to figure that even if Nelson does play, he will be limited. For the Packers, the more prudent decision would be to sideline him this week in hopes that he will be back to full strength after the bye. I think that’s the wise decision for his fantasy owners too.

Torrey Smith (BAL) at Cleveland
Smith caught six passes for 97 yards and a touchdown against Cleveland in Week 4. But, as has already been referenced (see Joe Flacco, above), that was against a Browns’ defense missing its best cover corner – Joe Haden. Haden will be back for this game and not surprisingly, the Browns’ pass defense has fared much better in the last two games. Smith relies too much on big plays to get his numbers and I don’t think Haden and co. let him get them this Sunday.

Kenny Britt (TEN) vs. Chicago
The good news is that Britt has played in the last four games, and no other injury issues have appeared during this stretch. The bad news is, he hasn’t done a lot in these four games either, catching a total of 13 passes for 149 yards and one touchdown. Don’t expect this trend to change this Sunday as the Bears have given up four touchdown receptions to opposing wide receivers. Britt may be playing, but I wouldn’t start him unless I had no other choice.

Tight Ends

Greg Olsen (CAR) at Washington
The Redskins have allowed the second-most receptions to tight ends (52) and are tied for the most touchdown catches (7). Olsen is a tight end who is averaging better than six targets per game. Sometimes it is just as easy as that.

Kellen Davis (CHI) at Tennessee
The only team to allow more catches to opposing tight ends than the Redskins is the Titans (56) and they also have surrendered seven touchdowns to the position. Davis has only caught a total of 10 passes so far, but two of those are for touchdowns. I don’t think Davis will double his reception total in one game, but I will be surprised if he doesn’t finish with more than three, his current season high, and finds the end zone for the third time.

Kyle Rudolph (MIN) at Seattle
Rudolph does have five touchdown receptions, which ties for him for the third-most among his position, but he’s caught a total of two passes in his last two games. That’s also the number of touchdown passes the Seahawks have allowed to tight ends all season. In this instance, 2 + 2 = Rudolph on the bench.

Dennis Pitta (BAL) vs. Cleveland
Pitta had 18 receptions and two touchdowns in his first three games. Since then he’s caught 12 passes for no scores in his past four contests. Cleveland has given up only two touchdowns to opposing tight ends, and in Week 4 against these same Browns, Pitta didn’t catch a thing. I’m not expecting an exact repeat, per se, but I also would look at other options if I had Pitta on my roster.

Defense/Special Teams

Denver at Cincinnati
The Broncos held Drew Brees to 213 yards passing and the Saints to just 14 points last week. This week they go to Cincinnati to face a Bengals team that is struggling to run the ball (26th in the league in rushing) and has allowed five sacks and eight takeaways in its last three games. Advantage Denver.

Atlanta vs. Dallas
The Falcons have been fairly steady when it comes to DST production. They are 10th overall in fantasy scoring and have scored 10 or more points five times. The Cowboys are coming off of a game in which they turned it over six times, have a running game that’s pretty banged up and a quarterback that’s thrown 10 interceptions in the past four games. It doesn’t hurt that this game is on the Falcons’ home turf either.

Minnesota at Seattle
This appears to be a defense that’s reeling somewhat. Since Week 5, the Vikings’ DST has scored a total of 27 fantasy points. Seventeen of these came in one game, a dominating Week 7 performance against Arizona and its porous offensive line. In the past three games (which includes that same game against the Cardinals), the Vikings have surrendered an average of 156 yards rushing. Next up? Marshawn Lynch and the Seahawks, in Seattle. I’ll pass, thanks.

Philadelphia at New Orleans (Monday)
The Eagles have a new defensive coordinator, a lot of other defensive issues and are on the road this weeks. Chances are you weren't planning on playing New Orleans' DST in this game either as this one has the look of an entertaining, high-scoring affair. And if that wasn't enough reason to give you pause on plugging the Eagles in there, how about this? The Saints have only turned the ball over nine times. Contrast that to the Eagles, who have coughed it up 17 times.

Lawrence Tynes (NYG) vs. Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh is 2nd in the league in total defense and tied for ninth in scoring defense (20.6 ppg). However, this game is in New York and there's a reason that Tynes has already made 24 field goals, six more than any other kicker. I think the Giants will be able to move the ball against the Steelers, but will be held out of the end zone enough times to allow Tynes to add to his league-leading total of three-pointers.

Garrett Hartley (NO) vs. Philadelphia (Monday)
Hartley has only made seven field goals, as the Saints have been somewhat a touchdown-or-nothing kind of offense. That said, I don't think it matters this week as I am fully expecting the Saints-Eagles match up on Monday Night Football to feature lots of offense and plenty of points. Unless it's a safety, the only way a team can score points is with a kick (field goal) or a play that results in a kick (PAT). That's where Hartley comes in for the Saints. Likewise, I think Eagles kicker Alex Henery would be a solid option this week as well.

Rob Bironas (TEN) vs. Chicago
I will admit, Carolina's Justin Medlock proved me wrong last week, as he drilled five field goals and added a PAT in the Panthers' loss to Chicago, after I tabbed him as a Sit. So even though I am somewhat tempting fate by picking Bironas this week against the Bears, I'm willing to take that chance. The Bears' defense is still pretty good and as you can see by my previous Sit designations for Matt Hasselbeck, Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt (see above), I'm just not that optimistic about the Titans' prospects of doing much of anything on offense on Sunday. This blanket statement includes Bironas.

Jay Feely (ARI) at Green Bay
Arizona managed a total of three points on Monday night at home against San Francisco. Does anyone really expect the Cardinals to fare that much better this Sunday on the road at Lambeau Field? Green Bay is tied for first in the league (ironically with Arizona) in sacks (26), while the Cardinals have given up 39 quarterback takedowns. That's 11 more than any other team in the league. Does anyone else think these two statistics portend a rough day at the office for John Skelton and company?

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Start or Sit: Week 9</p>
Post date: Friday, November 2, 2012 - 06:20
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-positional-rankings-week-9

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 9 Fantasy Football Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Start or Sit

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Note: New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye this week.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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

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

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

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Positional Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 06:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy football rankings, NFL, Fantasy, News
Path: /nfl/2012-fantasy-football-quarterback-rankings-week-9

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.

New England, New York Jets, St. Louis and San Francisco are all on bye this week.

2012 NFL Week 9 Fantasy Football Rankings — Quarterbacks

Rk Player Team OPPONENT Notes
1 Drew Brees NO vs. PHI (Mon.) Brees looking for home cooking vs. Eagles
2 Aaron Rodgers GB vs. ARI Jags held A-Rodg to 186 yds., 2 TDs.
3 Peyton Manning DEN at CIN Threw 3 INTs in 1st qtr vs. ATL, 1 in other 27.
4 Robert Griffin III WAS vs. CAR Redskins have given up league-high 18 TD passes.
5 Matt Ryan ATL vs. DAL Has four games with 3 TD passes.
6 Matthew Stafford DET at JAC First multi-TD pass game (3) vs. Seahawks.
7 Eli Manning NYG vs. PIT Steelers No. 1 against pass, but 11 TDs vs. 3 INTs.
8 Ben Roethlisberger PIT at NYG Giants are No. 26 in pass defense, but have 16 INTs.
9 Cam Newton CAR at WAS Redskins: 314 passing ypg, 19 TD passes.
10 Michael Vick PHI at NO (Mon.) Saints' pass defense's TD:INT ratio is 15:3.
11 Andrew Luck IND vs. MIA Dolphins giving up 281 ypg through air.
12 Josh Freeman TB at OAK Freeman has 9 TD passes, 1 INT in last 3 games.
13 Tony Romo DAL at ATL Season-high 437 yds last week, but also 4 INTs.
14 Carson Palmer OAK vs. TB Bucs are yielding 310 passing yards per game.
15 Matt Schaub HOU vs. BUF May not need to pass much vs. Bills run defense.
16 Joe Flacco BAL at CLE Put up season-high 356 yds. in Week 4 vs. Browns.
17 Andy Dalton CIN vs. DEN Broncos held Brees to just 213 yds. last week.
18 Jay Cutler CHI at TEN Vanderbilt alum returns to old stomping grounds.
19 Philip Rivers SD vs. KC (Thurs.) Put up 209-2-1 in Week 4 win at Kansas City.
20 Ryan Fitzpatrick BUF at HOU Could throw a lot if Bills have to play catch up.
21 Brandon Weeden CLE vs. BAL Threw for 320 yds. against Ravens in Week 4.
22 Russell Wilson SEA vs. MIN Rookie is 3-0 w/ 6 TDs, no INTs at home.
23 Christian Ponder MIN at SEA Four straight games with at least one INT.
24 Matt Hasselbeck TEN vs. CHI Bears tied for league lead with 16 INTs.
25 Matt Cassel KC at SD (Thurs.) If only he could cut down on turnovers.
26 Blaine Gabbert JAC vs. DET Showed toughness playing w/ broken labrum.

Rankings are based upon Athlon Sports' standard scoring system:

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 9 Positional Rankings

Running Backs
Wide Receivers
Tight Ends
Defense/Special Teams

Week 9 Waiver Wire

Week 9 Start or Sit

<p> 2012 Fantasy Football Quarterback Rankings: Week 9</p>
Post date: Thursday, November 1, 2012 - 05:59