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All taxonomy terms: Overtime
Path: /overtime/aaron-rodgers-girlfriend-olivia-munn-rips-fox-espn-washington-post-twitter
Body:

When football players are playing badly, the first place fans look is at their significant others. Look at Russell Wilson and Ciara, James Harden and Khloe Kardashian, and so on.

 

People are trying to put the blame for Aaron Rodgers' bad play on anyone other than the quarterback himself. Unfortunately for them Rodgers' girlfriend Olivia Munn has decided to strike back at media outlets who used certain Packers fans' comments to justify their articles

 

 

 

 

Teaser:
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 11:41
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-patience-or-panic-peyton-manning-green-bay-packers-lucky-fantasy-team
Body:

The fantasy season is truly winding down and for many it is only a few more weeks before you are fulfilling your destiny to become a league champion. For others, you are biting your fingernails dangerously low each and every minute of the next three weekends hoping for victory and a chance to advance.

 

Then there are those of us whose season is already over and setting a lineup is merely a formality at this point. And to add insult to injury, while you are doing this a tear drops from your eye as you think of what could have been with the team you had such high hopes for back in September.

 

Either way you should fit into one of these groups and whether it was injury, disappointing seasons from highly drafted players, dangerously slow starts, or even worse, poor fantasy management... (I know, I know but it DOES happen!) this is the point of the season where there is no rest for the weary. Uou must kick it into overdrive, not get complacent and most importantly know whether to stand pat or cut bait. It’s time for...

 

Patience or Panic?

 

1. Peyton Manning, QB, Denver Broncos

I have had Manning in this post before early on in the season and begged for patience. However, we are well past that point after the last several weeks. And now he’s injured, which all but seals his fate in fantasy leagues.

 

The Verdict: Panic (Hopefully you did weeks ago!)

It’s time to send Manning off into the dreaded sunset or the waiver wire, whichever you prefer. It actually was weeks ago, but if for whatever reason you are still holding out hope for a return come fantasy playoff time expect to be disappointed. Also, is there anyone out there who could play him with any confidence at this point? I think not.

 

2. Green Bay Packer fans and fantasy owners

This is my chance I guess to jab at Packers fans a little as a Vikings fan. I also fully realize this weekend’s upcoming battle could be the week Green Bay gets back on track, but either way this is about fantasy, not reality.

 

Although you can’t have one without the other, Green Bay has been more than disappointing over the past three weeks. The seemingly unstoppable offense from the start of the season can’t complete big plays or deep passes. Their running game is hit or miss and James Starks, not early-round draft pick Eddie Lacy, appears to be the focal point now.

 

Jordy Nelson is deeply missed, as it seems like Davante Adams is simply not a plug-and-play receiver to fill those big shoes. Aaron Rodgers is still an elite fantasy QB and producing, but other than that the seed of doubt both offensively, and defensively, has been planted.

 

The Verdict: Patience

As a fan you likely aren’t worried, and still consider your squad to be one of the best in the league, the world and of all-time. After all, you have Aaron Rodgers and those championships of long ago. You also are only one game behind Minnesota and if your team wins this week, normalcy will have returned to Titletown.

 

In all reality Rodgers and Randall Cobb are too good to ignore, and eventually this team has to get the offense cooking again. The Packers’ defense should really have you scared, but in fantasy that doesn’t really matter too much right?

 

3. That Owner in the running for the final playoff spot, but in the bottom quarter of the league in points scored

OK, that was long-winded I know, but hopefully you got the point. There is one of these owners in every league and almost every season. They have a winning record but only because they are LUCKY! They play the team that loses players in the first quarter, or simply puts up a dud that week. You know which ones I am referring to. The team that somehow gets a win even though it would have only beat one other team that week. This team can win but can't put up points.

 

The Verdict: Panic

There should be no confidence in this owner’s mind and know that their team will likely struggle if it makes the playoffs. This team may even miss the playoffs altogether. If you are that owner of said team, there may still be a window to try and make moves to improve your team for a push to make the playoffs. However, you must realize you have been lucky most of the season and in all likelihood it will come to an end sooner than later. Luck typically fades when you need it most.

 

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Patience or Panic: Peyton Manning, the Green Bay Packers, and that Lucky Team
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 11:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-must-start-larry-fitzgerald-and-other-wr-te-startsit-fantasy-advice-week-11
Body:

Julian Edelman went down with a broken foot and several top fantasy wide receivers and tight ends are on bye in Week 11. So who should you start and who should you sit? Before we get to that, let’s see how some of my advice for Week 10 turned out.

 

Good Calls:

 

Start Allen Robinson (11.1 fantasy points) – Robinson is the No. 1 target in an improving passing attack.

 

Sit Jeremy Maclin (1.7 FP) – Maclin has taken a back seat in the Chiefs’ offense since the emergence of Charcandrick West.

 

Sit Sammy Watkins (1.4 FP) – Watkins didn’t do anything last week against Darrelle Revis and the Jets on Thursday night.

 

Start Jordan Reed (14.9 FP) – Thank goodness he scored another two touchdowns.

 

Sit Martellus Bennett (1.8 FP) – It’s probably a good idea to sit Bennett for the rest of the year

 

Bad Calls:

 

Start Demaryius Thomas (7.1 FP) – Who knew Peyton Manning was going to struggle that badly against the Chiefs?

 

Sit Larry Fitzgerald (13 FP) - Fitzgerald is back to being the 1,400-yard Fitzgerald of old

 

Start Delanie Walker (5.2 FP) – As goes Marcus Mariota, so does Walker.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Wide Receivers

 

START THESE WRs...

 

Larry Fitzgerald, ARI (vs. CIN)

Fitzgerald shredded the vaunted Seahawks defense last week for 130 yards on 10 catches in a matchup that many thought the entire Cardinals offense would struggle in. If Carson Palmer is going to be matchup-proof, then you have to put his No. 1 wide receiver in the same category. This week is another tough matchup for Fitzgerald and the Cardinals against the Bengals, a team that is giving up the sixth-fewest fantasy points to WRs. Both Michael Floyd and John Brown are hampered by hamstring injuries, which means plenty of targets for Fitzgerald in this one. Look for another 100-yard receiving game and Fitzgerald’s first touchdown catch since Week 8.

 

Amari Cooper, OAK (at DET)

You could gamble and also say that Michael Crabtree should be the must-start, but I’m going with super rookie Cooper as the Raiders travel across the country to take on the Detroit Lions. Cooper’s quarterback (Derek Carr) has been one of the most consistent and productive over the past several weeks and that’s not going to stop this week against the Lions and their 23rd-ranked pass defense.  In fact, the Lions rank eighth in most fantasy points allowed to WRs. Cooper has been slumping lately, but this is the perfect game for him to break out of it. Look for him to go well over 100 yards for the first time since Week 7 and add at least one touchdown.

 

Brandon Marshall, NYJ (vs. HOU)

While Marshall has been slowed by injuries lately, which has led to a decent drop in production, he has been a touchdown machine on the year. He’s gotten into the end zone in six of his nine games and now he should be as close to 100 percent healthy as he can be at this time of year after getting 10 days’ rest. This week the Jets travel to Houston to take on a Texans team that has allowed 16 touchdown passes in nine games this season and also is currently giving up the 12th-most fantasy points to wide receivers this season. It’s true that the Texans were able to hold down a pretty good Bengals passing attack on Monday night, but the Jets are playing for their playoff lives and this is a game where Marshall will step up and make both New York fans and his fantasy owners happy.

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

 

Davante Adams, GB (at MIN)

It appears that you never know what you are going to get with the Packers offense on a week-to-week basis. One week Aaron Rodgers throws for only 77 yards, the next week he throws for more than 300 and Randall Cobb comes back from the dead to be fantasy relevant. Then last week Cobb disappeared once again and all Rodgers did was throw the ball Adams’ way, targeting him an incredible 21 times. Adams was able to haul in 10 of those passes for 79 yards, which led to a pretty respectable 17.9 fantasy points in PPR leagues. This week the Packers have a very tough matchup as they travel to Minnesota to take on the division-leading Vikings. The Vikings are currently allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to WRs and you can bet that this is another game where Cobb will be a non-factor. Rodgers will need to throw the ball to someone, so look for Adams to have another game with 12-plus targets and if he can catch 75 percent of those, he might end up with 100 yards receiving.

 

SIT THESE WRs...

 

Randall Cobb, GB (at MIN)

If you look under bust in the dictionary, you’ll find a picture of Cobb. Easily a second-round pick in many fantasy drafts this season, Cobb has only had two games where he’s scored more than 15 fantasy points. He’s more likely to hurt your fantasy team by scoring five or fewer fantasy points than help on any given Sunday. It’s just too hard to trust Cobb on a week-to-week basis and Week 11 has the Packers heading to Minnesota to take on a Vikings defense that is currently allowing the eighth-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers. You can count on Cobb to be a complete non-factor once again this week.

 

Demaryius Thomas, DEN (vs. CHI)

Good thing Thomas got his boat load of money before the season. Thanks to erratic and poor quarterback play, Thomas has seen his fantasy production take a decent hit in recent weeks. It’s not as if Thomas has been a bust or anything like that. He does have 68 catches for 816 yards on the season and is seeing on average at least 10 targets per game. The problem is that he’s only scored one touchdown on the year, after scoring 14 in 2013 and 11 last year. Again, that’s not his fault, but like any wide receiver, Thomas is dependent on the QB getting him the ball. This week Thomas will have Brock Osweiler throwing passes to him and no one knows what to expect. Thomas should still see his share of targets, but Osweiler is likely to struggle and Thomas will be more in line for a game with five catches for 60 yards than a game where he goes over 100 yards and scores two touchdowns.

 

A.J. Green, CIN (at ARI)

Would you believe that Green has only scored double-digit fantasy points in three games this season? And one of those games he only scored 10.5 fantasy points. In his last two games Green has been a complete non-factor, scoring only 5.3 and 4.7 fantasy points. He’s watched as Tyler Eifert has taken a more prominent role in the red zone and Green has even seen his targets drop to well under 10 per game. This week the Bengals travel all the way to Arizona for another prime time game. This means that Andy Dalton will struggle just like he did last week on Monday night, where he led the Bengals to only six points. Obviously if Dalton is going to struggle, Green isn’t going to do much of anything. The Cardinals have an excellent defense and are currently giving up the 10th-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers this season. Another five-point fantasy game is in store for Green this week.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

 

Alshon Jeffery, CHI (vs. DEN)

In a game where the Bears scored 37 points and Jay Cutler threw for 258 yards and three touchdowns, Jeffery saw only four targets, catching three of them for a whopping 23 yards. So much for the thought that Cutler would throw the ball to Jeffery no matter the game plan. Okay, so it’s not as if Jeffery had a terrible game. He only played 35 of 65 snaps thanks to a groin injury. Who knows how his groin will feel this week, but he’s got a terrible matchup this week with the Denver Broncos paying a visit to Solider Field. Aqib Talib, Denver’s best cover cornerback, will be back from his one-game suspension and providing blanket coverage on Jeffery all game. Throw in the fact that even though the Chiefs scored 29 points on them last week, the Broncos are still allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to wide receivers on the season. Jeffery isn’t going to help your quest to make the fantasy playoffs this week.

 

Tight Ends

 

START THESE TEs...

 

Tyler Eifert, CIN (at ARI)

Coming off of a three-touchdown performance, many fantasy owners were expecting another big game last week against the Houston Texans. Instead Andy Dalton once gain laid an egg in prime time and Eifert sure didn’t help with three massive drops. Eifert went from scoring 23.3 fantasy points to just 2.6. Talk about consistency issues. Now this week Eifert and the Bengals travel to the desert to play the Arizona Cardinals, which on paper is a terrible matchup for Eifert. The Cardinals are fourth in terms of fewest fantasy points given up to tight ends, so you might think it best to sit him, but hold on a second. Dalton is going to have to throw the ball to keep the Bengals in the game and his go-to wide receiver A.J. Green will be a non-factor as he will see blanket coverage from Patrick Peterson. This will mean plenty of opportunities for Eifert to catch six or more passes for more than 70 yards and we already know that Dalton loves looking Eifert’s way in the red zone.

 

Travis Kelce, KC (at SD)

So much for Kelce being called “Little Gronk” because his size and athleticism compares very well to Gronkowski’s. As long as Kelce is on the Chiefs with Andy Reid as his head coach and Alex Smith as his quarterback, Kelce will never reach his full potential. That doesn’t mean however that Kelce can’t produce great fantasy numbers from time to time. It all depends on his matchup. As it goes so happens, this week the Chiefs get the lucky assignment of travelling to San Diego to play a Chargers defense that would struggle to stop a DIII school right now. The Chargers are giving up the ninth-most fantasy points to tight ends and since the Chiefs really don’t have anyone else to throw the ball to (sorry Jeremy Maclin), look for Kelce to possibly have his best game of the season with around eight catches for close to 100 yards and a touchdown.

 

Antonio Gates, SD (vs. KC)

Gates’ knee injury should be as close to 100 percent as it can be given his age and the time of year coming off his bye week. On paper, this week’s matchup against the Chiefs isn’t a favorable one. The Chiefs have been one of the toughest defenses in the league against tight ends, currently giving up the second-fewest fantasy points to the position. However, you need to consider what Gates has done against the Chiefs in his career. In his last five home games against Kansas City, Gates has scored a touchdown six times, meaning he’s scored at least once in all five of those games. The Chargers’ wide receiver corps is decimated with injuries so look for Gates to be targeted heavily and end up with at least one touchdown.

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

 

Zach Ertz, PHI (vs. TB)

Last week Ertz set season highs in yards, catches and targets in the Eagles’ loss to the Dolphins, but unfortunately, Ertz still has yet to find the end zone on the season. What makes Ertz an intriguing play this week is the fact that he has seen a steady dose of targets over his last five games, which means he is a solid part of Chip Kelly’s game plan and is starting to get some opportunities in the red zone. This week the Eagles play host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and their defense that is middle of the road against tight ends. The Bucs are 16th in the league in most fantasy points allowed to the position. Look for Ertz to see another seven-plus targets and this is the week he finally scores a touchdown.

 

SIT THESE TEs...

 

Vernon Davis/Owen Daniels, DEN (at CHI)

Stay away from the Broncos’ tight ends this week because of the huge unknown that is Brock Osweiler. Other than a couple of games when Daniels was able to get into the end zone, Broncos tight ends have been an afterthought this year in the passing attack with Peyton Manning under center. Now with Osweiler set to make his first career NFL start, you know that the Broncos are going to lean heavily on their running game (which sucks), and when he goes back to throw, he’s going to be looking in the direction of Demaryius Thomas. Plus, the Broncos travel to play in Chicago against a Bears defense that is allowing the sixth-fewest fantasy points to opposing TEs. Stay away from Davis and Daniels moving forward.

 

Charles Clay, BUF (at NE, Mon.)

Other than in Weeks 3 and 4, where Clay scored 14.2 and 11.1 fantasy points, he really hasn’t done anything. He’s been injured, completely ineffective and not even fantasy relevant for most of the season. This week the Bills travel to New England where they consistently struggle to score points. Throw in the fact that while the Patriots do allow a lot of yards through the air (around 250 per game), they are currently allowing the seventh-fewest fantasy points to tight ends. It will be a good game for Sammy Watkins, not Clay.

 

Martellus Bennett, CHI (vs. DEN)

Bennett has been one of the most disappointing players from a fantasy perspective so far this season. Many thought that he would have a breakout season where he became one of the elite tight ends, especially when the Bears started the season with Alshon Jeffery sidelined by injury. Who else was Jay Cutler going to throw the ball to? As it turns out, Cutler likes throwing to anyone but Bennett. Just look at last week when Zach Miller (5-107-2) did most of the damage. This week the Bears play host to the Broncos, whose only chance of winning is to lean on the defense. The Broncos are allowing an average of 6.61 fantasy points to opposing tight ends this season, so put Bennett on your bench this week.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

 

Jordan Reed, WAS (at CAR)

Normally Reed is a must-start because he is easily Kirk Cousins’ favorite target, but the two don’t really seem to be on the same page as of late and the game flow has gone away from Reed and more towards using Matt Jones out of the backfield to catch screens and balls in the flat. Reed has caught five touchdown passes in his last three games, which is outstanding. But touchdowns are fickle and it’s highly unlikely that Reed keeps finding the end zone at his current rate. What is much more alarming is that Reed has a total of six catches in his last two games and this week the Redskins travel to play the undefeated Carolina Panthers. The Panthers have given up the 15th-fewest fantasy points to tight ends, which isn’t good or bad, but the problem is that Cousins might not have the time he needs in the pocket to get Reed the ball. Be cautious with using Reed this week.

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Why You Must Start Larry Fitzgerald and Other WR/TE Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 10:30
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-should-start-marshawn-lynch-and-other-rb-startsit-fantasy-advice-week-11
Body:

No DeAngelo Williams or Mark Ingram in Week 11, so which fantasy running back do you want to start and which should you consider leaving on your bench? Before I address that, here’s a quick look at some good and not-so-good calls in Week 10.

 

Good Calls:

 

Start DeMarco Murray (17.9 fantasy points, PPR league) – Murray is a key cog in the Eagles’ passing game, which makes him a must start in PPR leagues

 

Sit Doug Martin (10.3 FP) – Martin’s averaging barely over 3 yards per carry in his last three games

 

Sit Jeremy Hill (2.0 FP) – Ugh. Leave Hill on your bench for the rest of the season

 

Bad Calls:

 

Start Mark Ingram (9.8 FP) – Ingram only got five carries because the Saints’ defense is so bad that the offense was forced to play from (way) behind the entire game last week against the Redskins.

 

Start Justin Forsett (6.4 FP) – Forsett failed to either total 100 yards from scrimmage or score a touchdown for the first time since Week 3.

 

Sit Lamar Miller (15.3 FP) – Miller keeps catching balls out of the backfield and running a few of them into the end zone.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

START THESE RBs...

 

Darren McFadden, DAL (vs. MIA)

Since taking over the No. 1 role for the Cowboys, McFadden has been a fantasy gem and anyone who was smart enough to draft him or pick him up has been pleasantly surprised. Prior to last week where he only scored 5.8 fantasy points (32 yards rushing on 17 carries), McFadden had scored 10 or more fantasy points in each of the previous three games, including a season-high 22.2 fantasy points in Week 7. Two things are really going in McFadden’s favor this week. First off, Tony Romo is back, which means the Dolphins’ defense can’t just focus on stopping the run. Second, only one team has given up more fantasy points to opposing RBs than the Dolphins thus far. Put those two things together and you have a game where McFadden should easily gain more than 100 yards rushing with at least one touchdown and that’s not even taking into account the numbers that he’ll put up in the passing game.

 

Marshawn Lynch, SEA (vs. SF)

It wasn’t too long ago when Lynch was an absolute must-start and would never be considered as someone that you might sit based on a matchup. Well, the way that Lynch has played this year, you’ve been better off leaving him on your bench for most of the year. Lynch has been banged up a lot and looks like his career is trending downwards. He only has 417 rushing yards and three touchdowns on the season. But don’t fret, he still has gas left in the tank. The last time Lynch played the 49ers he had his best game of the year, scoring 18.2 fantasy points thanks to 122 rushing yards and one touchdown. This week the 49ers (6th in terms of most fantasy points allowed to RBs) come to pay a visit to the Seahawks. Even though the Seahawks’ offensive line is terrible, you can expect Lynch to reach the century mark with at least one touchdown on the day. He might even score more than 20 fantasy points.

 

Charcandrick West, KC (at SD)

It appears that Andy Reid has realized that if the Chiefs have any shot at winning and staying in the wild card race, they need to make sure that West gets the ball early and often. In his last three games, West has scored 18.9, 18.2 and 28.1 fantast points, helping the Chiefs win all three of those games. This week the Chiefs travel to San Diego to play a Chargers defense that is allowing the most fantasy points to opposing running backs on the season. Not only is West the best running back on the Chiefs’ roster, he might be their best receiver as well because quarterback Alex Smith loves throwing him the ball in the flat and in the open field. Look for West to have another monster game and come close to scoring another 20 fantasy points.

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

 

Jeremy Langford, CHI (vs. DEN)

This is 100 percent dependent on whether or not Matt Forte plays. If Forte does play Langford will no doubt still have a role in the Bears’ offense, especially the way he’s been playing, but you know Forte would see his share of touches. If Forte doesn’t play, Langford should be in for a decent day against a Broncos defense that has really gotten beaten up lately and might be on the field a lot with Brock Osweiler as the starting quarterback this week. Langford is a key contributor both on the ground and in the passing game and it’s that volume that makes him an interesting play. Even though the Broncos have been pretty stingy to fantasy running backs, Langford’s versatility should allow him to once again score north of 15 fantasy points and a heck of a lot more in PPR leagues.

 

Related: Evaluating Chicago Bears Backfield, Danny Amendola's Outlook, Carson Palmer's Season and More Week 10 Fantasy Observations

 

SIT THESE RBs...

 

Justin Forsett, BAL (vs. STL)

The term fantasy bust gets thrown out a lot, but you can definitely call Forsett that this season. While he wasn’t a sleeper or a breakout candidate, he was a guy who was coming off his best season as a pro, rushing for 1,266 yards and eight touchdowns. Forsett was expected to at least duplicate those numbers and see an increase in production in the passing game. So far Forsett hasn’t done much of anything. He’s had seven games this season already where he’s scored 10 or fewer fantasy points. He only scored 6.4 fantasy points last week against the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars. This week the St. Louis Rams come to town, a defense that has arguably one of the best front fours in the NFL and is currently allowing the 11th-fewest fantasy points to RBs on the season. Hopefully you have been able to play it smart on the waiver wire and have another RB you can plug in place of Forsett this week.

 

Chris Johnson, ARI (vs. CIN)

Don’t look now but Johnson’s fantasy magic might be wearing off. In his last two games he’s scored 6.9 and 5.8 fantasy points respectively, despite getting over 25 carries in each game. Last week against the Seahawks it was Andre Ellington who led to way helping the Cardinals knock off the Seahawks in Seattle. This week the Cardinals play host to the Bengals and it should be a decent matchup, as they are middle of the pack (17th) in terms of fantasy points allowed to running backs. The problem if you have Johnson on your team is that Ellington’s touches have been going up with each passing game. Johnson needs all the opportunities he can get to maintain his fantasy relevance.

 

Doug Martin, TB (at PHI)

From Weeks 4 to 7 Martin looked like the best fantasy running back in the game today. He scored 20.3, 33.8 and 17.1 fantasy points in that span (three games). There’s no doubt he helped many fantasy owners to victory during this stretch. Those of you who have been trotting Martin out there in your lineups ever since however have surely been disappointed. He’s scored about 20 total fantasy points in his last three games and now it appears he’s in a time share with Charles Sims. It also doesn’t help that this week Martin and the Buccaneers travel to the City of Brotherly Love to take on the Eagles. Philadelphia’s defense has done a fine job against running backs, allowing the fourth-fewest fantasy points on the season. Martin is an easy must-sit this week.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

 

LeSean McCoy, BUF (vs. NE, Mon.)

McCoy has looked like his old self again since the Bills had their bye week. In his last two games, McCoy has scored 17.9 and 15.9 fantasy points, going over 100 yards rushing in each game. It appears that McCoy might not be the fantasy bust so many thought he was destined to be. But unlike past years, McCoy is not matchup-proof and this week the Bills travel to New England, a place where Buffalo usually struggles. It doesn’t help matters that the Patriots play some defense. New England has given up the fifth-fewest fantasy points to opposing RBs thus far. This looks like a game where McCoy will be splitting carries with Karlos Williams and both should probably be left on your bench if you can stomach it.

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Why You Should Start Marshawn Lynch and Other RB Start/Sit Fantasy Advice For Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 10:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy Football, NFL, Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/why-you-should-sit-andy-dalton-and-other-qb-dst-startsit-fantasy-advice-week-11
Body:

It’s Week 11 and time for another installment of which fantasy quarterback and defense/special teams (DSTs) you should start or sit. But first, I know you are really interested to see how I did in Week 10.

 

Good Calls:

 

Start Eli Manning (21.44 fantasy points) – Manning always plays well against Tom Brady and the Patriots.

 

Start Joe Flacco (22.34 FP) – Flacco always plays well at home and he torched the Jaguars last Sunday.

 

Sit Marcus Mariota (8.8 FP) – When Mariota plays against a good defense, he’s not very good.

 

Sit Russell Wilson (17.8 FP) – Wilson finished as the 11th-best fantasy QB last week.

 

Bad Calls:

 

Sit Jay Cutler (24.72 FP) – Thanks to a couple of short passes that turned into huge gains; Cutler had a great game against the Rams.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Quarterbacks

 

START THESE QBS...

 

Derek Carr, OAK (at DET)

For a player that went mostly undrafted in the majority of fantasy drafts this year, Carr has been quite the pleasant surprise. He’s already had five games (out of nine) where he’s thrown for more than 300 yards and on the year he has 21 touchdown passes touchdowns to only six interceptions. Those are elite numbers. What is making Carr so consistently good in fantasy is that he can put up numbers not only at home, but on the road as well. That will come in handy this week as the Raiders travel to Detroit to take on a Lions teams that is currently giving up the fifth-most fantasy points to QBs. Amari Cooper has had a couple of quiet games in a row now, so expect Carr and the first-round draft pick to hook up a lot on Sunday, as the young QB posts another 300-yard game with three TDs.

 

Philip Rivers, SD (vs. KC)

Guess who trails Tom Brady by 10 yards for the league lead? No it’s definitely not, Peyton Manning or even Drew Brees. It’s Rivers, who has 3,033 yards passing and 19 TDs in nine games. A lot of those yards are due to the fact that the Chargers are only rivaled by the Saints in having the absolute worst defense in football. That means that there is a lot of garbage-time fantasy points to be had by Rivers and if you have him on your team, you should be very thankful for that. You might not think that there will be a lot of garbage time this week as Kansas City comes to town, but the Chiefs just put up 29 points on Denver, so Alex Smith and company could be in for a big day against the Chargers’ pathetic defense. Look for Rivers to put up another 20-plus fantasy points this week against a Chiefs defense that ranks middle of the road against fantasy quarterbacks (15th to be exact).

 

Carson Palmer, ARI (vs. CIN)

It appears that Carson Palmer is matchup-proof (I really hope he is as I have him on three of my fantasy teams). Last week he travelled to Seattle and took the heart out of the once-feared “Legion of Boom,” throwing for 363 yards and three touchdowns. Palmer does face another tough matchup this week in prime time, as the Cincinnati Bengals and their defense, which is giving up the seventh-fewest fantasy points to quarterbacks this season, comes to town. With the weapons that Palmer has at his disposal you can see why he is matchup-proof. Throw in the fact that this is kind of a “revenge” game as Palmer faces his old team, and you can expect him to throw for close to 300 yards and three touchdowns again.


Related: Evaluating Chicago Bears Backfield, Danny Amendola's Outlook, Carson Palmer's Season and More Week 10 Fantasy Observations

 

MIGHT BE WORTH THE RISK...

 

Alex Smith, KC (at SD)

Alex Smith is Alex Smith, the king of the check-down and the dink-and-dunk pass. Combining him with head coach Andy Reid makes for one of the most conservative offenses in the history of football. That said, Smith and the entire Chiefs offense have really picked things up as of late and a large part of that has to do with how well RB Charcandrick West is playing right now. With guys like Ben Roethlisberger, Eli Manning and Drew Brees all on bye, you might be looking for a quarterback to stream. Thanks to his matchup this week against the Chargers, Smith could be in for a decent game. Don’t expect Smith to throw more than 300 yards with three touchdowns, but he should creep close to 20 fantasy points this week and at least keep you in your matchup.

 

SIT THESE QBs...

 

Andy Dalton, CIN (at ARI)
It appears that playing in prime time once again led to Dalton shrinking under the pressure. How else do you explain him putting up a pathetic 9.88 fantasy points thanks to 197 passing yards, zero touchdowns and one interception against one of the worst defenses in football, the Houston Texans? Since Dalton has been one of the best and most consistent fantasy quarterbacks this season you might think that it can’t get any worse. Well it can and it will. Up this week is yet another prime time game for Dalton and the Bengals as they travel to face Arizona on Sunday night. If you think his game against the pitiful Texans was bad, wait until Dalton takes the field against a Cardinals defense that is currently giving up the eighth-fewest fantasy points to QBs this season? It would be wise to find an alternative to Dalton this week.

 

Ryan Tannehill, MIA (vs. DAL)

So much for the breakout season that everyone and their grandmother were predicting for Tannehill at the start of the season. If you look back to everyone’s breakout players list for 2015, you’d be hard pressed to find one that didn’t include Tannehill. Too bad that isn’t going to happen this year. In nine games this season, Tannehill has eclipsed 20 fantasy points twice. That’s brutal. Things don’t get any better for Tannehill this weekend as the Dallas Cowboys come to town. For all of the Cowboys’ ills, their defense has given up just nine touchdown passes on the season and are sixth in the league in fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs.  Hopefully by now you’ve found a better option at quarterback.

 

Joe Flacco, BAL (vs. STL)

Believe it or not but Flacco has been one the better fantasy quarterbacks the past three weeks, a span that includes two games and his bye week.  Back in Week 8 Flacco had 22.96 fantasy points against the San Diego Chargers and last week he scored a nice 22.34 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. So you could say that Flacco is hot right now and that you should keep on riding the wave. But notice the opponents for those two games – the Chargers and the Jaguars. Do those teams even have a defense? This week the St. Louis Rams come to town and they will be angry. The Rams are currently allowing the second-fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs, but are coming off a game where they surrendered 37 points to Jay Cutler and the Bears. That won’t happen this week as the Rams D will get back on track and stymie Flacco all game.

 

YOU’VE BEEN WARNED...

 

Tony Romo, DAL (at MIA)

Romo is back to save the Dallas Cowboys’ season. Romo missed the past seven games and the Cowboys lost all seven, as they barely were able to do much on offense. Now that Romo is back everyone will assume that he will pick up right where he left off. Remember back in Week 1 Romo scored 24.14 fantasy points thanks to 356 yards passing and three touchdowns (with two picks). This is an absolute must-win game for the Cowboys if they want to have any chance at a wild card berth, but Romo might be playing a week or two early, so rust and rhythm could be issues. If you need to play Romo this week to save your fantasy season, then you’re already out of it. I would wait one week on Romo and see how things go before starting him. He could easily have a big game against the Dolphins, who are a middle-of-the-pack defense (15th) in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks this year, but Romo aslo could play conservative and check down a lot or hand the ball off to Darren McFadden all game.

 

Defense/Special Teams (DSTs)

 

START THESE DSTs...

 

New York Jets (at HOU)

The Jets haven’t really been a “elite” defense over the past several games, as they have allowed opposing teams to score a lot of points. Regardless of the past, this week’s matchup against the Texans is a great one for the J-E-T-S. Texans starting quarterback Brian Hoyer might not play due to a concussion and that will mean that T.J. Yates will be under center. Yates wasn’t even in the league three weeks ago. If Darrelle Revis can contain DeAndre Hopkins, Houston isn’t going to score many points.

 

New England Patriots (vs. BUF, Mon.)

It’s true that the Patriots DST has been on a steady fantasy scoring decline over the last three weeks, culminating in a lowly five-point effort last week against the New York Giants. But this week the Patriots are at home and playing against a Rex Ryan-led Buffalo Bills team that struggles in the hostile environment that is Gillette Stadium. Plus, over the last four weeks, DSTs that have faced the Bills have averaged a solid 10 fantasy points per game. Start the New England DST this week.

 

SIT THESE DSTs...

 

Cincinnati Bengals (at ARI)

The Bengals have scored a respectable 33 fantasy points over the last four weeks and it wasn’t their fault that they lost to the Houston Texans last week. Cincinnati only gave up 10 points, which should be more than enough to win. This week the Bengals travel to play the uber-hot Carson Palmer and all the weapons that the Arizona Cardinals have. Opposing defenses that have gone up against Palmer and company have averaged a meager 4.78 fantasy points per game.

 

Buffalo Bills (at NE, Mon.)

The Bills are not the elite defense that many thought they would be. This week the Bills travel to New England to take on Tom Brady and that is never good for opposing defenses. Even though Brady has lost a few of his weapons over the past couple of weeks in Dion Lewis and Julian Edelman, that’s not enough to turn a matchup against the Patriots into a favorable one for any defense. After the first 10 weeks of the season, opposing DSTs are averaging 3.11 fantasy points against the Patriots. Don’t be silly and start the Bills this week.

 

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Why You Should Sit Andy Dalton and Other QB/DST Start/Sit Fantasy Advice for Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 09:30
Path: /nfl/tennessee-titans-vs-jacksonville-jaguars-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

Tennessee interim head coach Mike Mularkey leads his 2-7 Titans to the place where his last head coaching venture ended, Jacksonville. Things started out well enough for the Titans in 2015, starting with the 42-14 stomping of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in which rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota had a record day. After that, nothing went right.

 

Former head coach Ken Whisenhunt was fired after six straight losses and inexplicably allowing Mariota, the franchise cornerstone, to return to a game in which he was obviously hurt. Two weeks ago, the Titans looked like a rejuvenated squad, albeit against a bad Saints team with an atrocious defense. Even after last week’s loss to the undefeated Panthers and the AFC South being what it is (awful), the Titans are still somewhat “in the hunt.”  That being said, a loss to the Jaguars on Thursday night would essentially end the season for the Titans.

 

The Jaguars (3-6) have a fantastic opportunity to put themselves in the thick of the AFC South race with the Texans and Colts. Three of Jacksonville's next four games are against the Titans and Colts. Two wins against the Titans knocks Tennessee out of contention completely and a win against the Colts should get the Jags within a game of winning the division. Are the Jags up for the test?

 

Tennessee at Jacksonville

 

Kickoff: 8:25 p.m. ET (Thursday)
TV: NFL Network

Line: Tennessee +3

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Quarterback Play

Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has been showing glimpses of improvement as the season progresses, throwing for 13 TDs in his last five games. Interceptions, however, are still are an issue for Bortles. His 11 interceptions account for most of the Jaguars' 15 total turnovers. Bortles' play against the Titans fifth-ranked pass defense will be vital. 

 

One advantage that Bortles will have on Thursday night over Mariota is his talented wide receiver corps gets to face a beat-up Titans secondary. Allen Hurns and Allen Robinson are turning into one of the best wide receiver tandems in the AFC. Both Hurns and Robinson have seven receiving touchdowns this season, good for third in the AFC. Hurns set a franchise record last week against the Ravens with his seventh straight game with a TD catch and Robinson currently sits fifth in the AFC with 758 yards receiving. The Titans will likely be without cornerbacks Jason McCourty and Blidi Wreh-Wilson on Thursday night.

 

Eight of Marcus Mariota’s 13 touchdown passes have come in two games: Week 1 against the Bucs and two weeks ago against the Saints — the only two games the Titans have won this season. Take away the two outstanding games and Mariota has struggled. In the Titans' five losses that Mariota has played, the rookie has thrown more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (five) while posting an average QBR of 33.9. Thursday night’s matchup against the 24th-ranked Jaguar defense provides Mariota with a significant opportunity to bounce back from last week’s uninspiring performance against the Panthers. 

 

2. Pressuring the Quarterbacks

Last week against the Panthers, the Titans' defense was able to sack Cam Newton five times, the most either team has surrendered or given up this season. Bortles is athletic, but he's nowhere the caliber of Newton. With a thinner Titans secondary playing on a short week, Bortles might have more time to make some throws. But the Jaguars are one of the worst teams at protecting their quarterback, as Bortles has been sacked 28 times this season. Only four teams have given up more. 

 

One of those teams, however, is the Titans, who have surrendered 29 sacks and also have allowed the third-most QB hits this season with 65. Since Mariota is still probably limited from his MCL injury, look for Jags defensive coordinator Bob Babich to dial up scores of blitz packages to throw at the rookie QB.

 

3. This Could Get Ugly

I don’t think anyone is expecting a Giants-Patriots type performance from the Jags and Titans on Thursday night. The Jags and Titans have five wins between them in a combined 18 games. Only one of those wins has come against a winning team, when the Jaguars beat the now 5-4 Buffalo Bills in London. 

 

Both teams feature quarterbacks that are still learning the position and aren't protected very well by their offensive lines. Neither team features a valuable running game, as the Titans and Jags rank 25th and 26th in rushing offense — both under 1,000 yards for the season. 

 

The Titans' offense is lacking in any constant firepower, ranking in the bottom third in total yards, points per game, first downs, third downs converted, and turnover margin — and the Jacksonville offense isn’t too far behind or ahead in these categories either. 

 

Compound poor offense with middle-of-the-road defense from both teams and a ridiculously short work week and this game could be very, very ugly to watch.

 

Final Analysis

 

This game could go either way. The Jaguars certainly have more to play for since they are only a game back for the AFC South lead, while the Titans' future is full of uncertainty regarding the coaching staff and front office. If the Titans hope to steal their third road victory on the season, they must get to Blake Bortles early and often, forcing him into bad throws and turnovers. Neither team has the ability to run the ball with much effectiveness. This game is going to come down to quarterback play. Advantage: Bortles and the Jags.

 

Prediction: Jaguars 24, Titans 21

 

— Written by Jake Rose, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Follow him on Twitter @JakeRose24.

Teaser:
Tennessee Titans vs. Jacksonville Jaguars Preview and Prediction
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/betting-against-spread-nfl-picks-week-11
Body:

The fickle nature of the NFL was illustrated this past weekend. If you woke up from a coma, you'd think Peyton Manning was the worst, Kirk Cousins was the best and Andy Dalton wasn't clutch. While that last one may be true, the first two absolutely are not. The New Orleans Saints could probably find a way to let Baylor score 21 points on them. I also think we've written Manning off two or three times this season and somehow he's come back with good games each time. We'll see how many of those Broncos fans chirping and complaining will be happy with Brock Osweiler's output.

 

Record: 23-17-1 (1-3 last week)

 

Dallas Cowboys (2-7) at Miami Dolphins (4-5)

Tony Romo is slated to make his long-awaited return for this one as the Cowboys try to snap their losing streak. Dallas' offense has stalled, scoring just 71 points in the last five games. The running game figures to struggle against a Miami defense that has held opponents to 100 yards or fewer on the ground in four of the last five. You can't deny the toughness that the Fins have had since changing coaches. They are coming off a win in Philadelphia and have to be feeling pretty good. The offense did just enough to win and should be happy to be home after three straight on the road. Miami has gone under in 20 of its last 26 against the NFC East. The Dolphins also have covered each of their last two against those four teams. I think we are getting good value with the home team. Romo's return doesn't solve all that ails the Cowboys. SELECTIONS: Under 47 and Miami Pick

 

St. Louis Rams (4-5) at Baltimore Ravens (2-7)

Baltimore has had the worst luck this season following another tough (and controversial) loss, this time  to the Jaguars. The Rams come to town and they were undressed by the Bears last week. The Ravens have moved the ball well on offense although they'll look to get a little more from the ground game. St. Louis has sprung some leaks on defense, allowing its last two opponents to pile up 298 yards rushing combined. The Rams have a made a quarterback change, turning to Case Keenum, but he doesn’t figure to be the catalyst to jumpstart this anemic offense. Todd Gurley isn't as effective with eight and nine defenders in the box. The Rams have failed to cover in 13 of their last 20 road games and in an odd trend are 10-26 ATS in road games where the total is between 38.5 and 42. SELECTION: Ravens -2

 

Denver Broncos (7-2) at Chicago Bears (4-5)

The aforementioned Brock Osweiler gets the call at QB as the Broncos travel to Chicago to play the Bears. Osweiler's appearance means this team will probably get a bit more conservative. The problem with that is Denver is only averaging 86 yards per game on the ground. The offensive line just hasn't opened too many holes. The Bears’ defense is playing a lot better than we thought this unit would fare.  So is Chicago's offense with Jay Cutler at the helm. Denver's defense didn't play poorly against the Chiefs even with having to defend a couple of short fields. Money is streaming in on the Bears because of the quarterback change. If it keeps moving and we get Denver at anything over two points, take the road team. SELECTION: Under 41.5

 

San Francisco 49ers (3-6) at Seattle Seahawks (4-5)

It's been a rough year for Seattle, who has already lost two games at home. The Seahawks figure to get real healthy against the 49ers, whose offense is in bad shape. You've got Blaine Gabbert at quarterback, a banged-up Carlos Hyde leading the ground game and a wide receiver corps without Anquan Boldin most likely. Seattle won 20-3 in San Francisco on Oct. 22 in a game that saw the 49ers put up just 142 yards of offense. This is almost like the Seahawks earlier home against the Jimmy Clausen-led Bears, which they won 26-0 as a 16-point favorite. The 49ers have already lost road games by 40 and 21 points. SELECTION: Seattle -12.5

 

Notes:

 

- I don't understand the Raiders love. They have sprung some leaks defensively and are now without Aldon Smith, who had been

playing well. This week Oakland's flying east and taking on a suddenly confident Lions team. I'm guessing there are some who think Detroit will be too full of themselves after winning in Green Bay? Matthew Stafford should have a field day against a banged-up Raiders D. Still, it's hard to trust the Lions in a situation that they should win.

 

- I really wanted to take the Packers in their game against the Vikings. It's the perfect time to get the better offense and a defense that's capable of a lot more. Minnesota has won five straight and is a covering machine right now. The Vikings are doing it with a real good run game (Adrian Peterson) and a defense that is playing well despite forcing just two turnovers in the last four games. If the Packers can stack the box against Peterson, then they should be able to bottle up the Vikes. This is the type of game that Aaron Rodgers wins. Strong lean to the road team.

 

- Man, the Sunday night game features so many trends and things to consider. You've got a Bengals team that picked up its first loss on Monday night and are traveling on a short week out west to face an Arizona team that is flying high after a win in Seattle. Cincinnati's defense is rolling right now, holding the last three opponents to just 10 points each. The Cardinals present a whole new challenge with their potent aerial attack and a defense that is hot in its own right. I really like the under in this one although I thought the game against the Seahawks also was an easy under. Lean to the under in this one.

 

— Written by Matt Josephs, who is a part of the Athlon Sports Contributor Network. Josephs prefers non-Power 5 college football and may be the only one wagering on the Sun Belt. Follow him on Twitter @MidMajorMatt.

Teaser:
Betting Against the Spread: NFL Picks For Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:30
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-wide-receiver-rankings-week-11
Body:

Week 11 is upon us and with it are some big-time fantasy wide receivers that are on bye. Antonio Brown, Odell Beckham Jr., and even the red-hot Brandin Cooks are all off this week.

 

There are still plenty of great options for Week 11, but many owners may be finding themselves looking for receivers ranked below the top 30 this week to fill a void. There's also the matter of some top options like Demaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, T.Y Hilton and possibly DeAndre Hopkins and Jordan Matthews that will be working with a different quarterback than the normal starter this week because of injury. At least Dez Bryant (and maybe Terrance Williams) owners can rejoice in the fact that Tony Romo is back!

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

One can hope these rankings will help and be accurate to help you sort through all the options. Good luck this week everyone!

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Wide Receiver Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-defensespecial-teams-rankings-week-11
Body:

Despite letting the Arizona Cardinals put up 39 points last week the Seattle Seahawks still finished seventh in fantasy points (standard scoring) among defense/special teams (DSTs) for Week 10. This week, the Seahawks host the San Francisco 49ers, who are fifth in terms of fantasy points allowed to oppposing DSTs. Blaine Gabbert has replaced Colin Kaepernick as San Francisco's starting quarterback, but it doesn't change that fact that he still has more turnovers (28) than touchdowns (26) in his NFL career. And as a team, the 49ers are last in the league in both total (286.2 ypg) and scoring (14.0 ppg) offense.

 

When Seattle played San Francisco in Week 7 (with Colin Kaepernick at QB), the Seahawks finished fourth in fantasy points among DSTs. Put it all together and despite the 4-5 record, Seattle is the top-ranked DST for Week 11.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

The other DST rankings are below:

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Defense/Special Teams Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: Fantasy
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-kicker-rankings-week-11
Body:

Maybe it's high time we start giving the kickers a little credit when it comes to fantasy success. Last week, 11 kickers scored double-digit fantasy points. Cairo Santos again led the way with 21 points in leagues that award additional points for longer field goals.

 

While most leagues mock kickers, quite often it can be a kicker that wins — or loses — you a week. With that being said, Stephen Gostkowski is still the top-ranked kicker (did you see that game-winning kick?). Justin Tucker and Matt Bryant round out the top three kickers for Week 11. And while Santos remains a strong play, his No. 7 ranking this week is representative of the fact that you never know what to expect from a kicker week-to-week.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

The rest of the Week 11 kicker rankings are below:

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Kicker Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-quarterback-rankings-week-11
Body:

Welcome to Week 11, the last week with any teams on a bye for the 2015 fantasy season. In this week, we get an outpouring of backup quarterbacks to join the ranks with Andrew Luck and Peyton Manning already ruled out for Week 11. In addition, Sam Bradford and Brian Hoyer are injured, and Nick Foles was benched.

 

It makes a tough week to rank the quarterbacks for fantasy owners, but the one beacon of good news is that Tony Romo is back this week and immediately slots into QB1 neighborhood. But what about those who are taking over for injured or ineffective starters. Between Tim Hasselbeck, Brock Osweiler and Case Keenum (and possibly Mark Sanchez and T.J. Yates); are any of these guys worth starting this week? Check the rankings below to find out what I think.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Sarah Lewis, who is part of the Athlon Contributor network and lives, eats, and breathes fantasy football. She also writes for SoCalledFantasyExperts.com among other sites. Have a fantasy football question? Send it to her on Twitter @Sarah_Lewis32.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Quarterback Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-flex-rankings-week-11
Body:

As the fantasy regular season winds down these final weeks can be truly detrimental to your playoff hopes. It may be the worst possible time to be without Antonio Brown, Ben Roethlisberger, Odell Beckham Jr., Drew Brees or Brandin Cooks, and those are just the guys on bye in Week 11. What about all of those who were already injured like Jamaal Charles, Arian Foster and others, along with the most recent additions (Andrew Luck, Peyton Manning, Julian Edelman, etc.) to the long list of those with Out (or worse) designations?

 

However, if you have some big holes to fill look no further than this week's flex rankings, as well all of our other positional rankings on AthlonSports.com. We certainly hope our rankings and articles have helped lead you to success so far this season.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Fantasy Football Rankings powered by FantasyPros

 

— Written by Chris Meyers, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the FSWA. Meyers' work appears on many other sites, including socalledfantasyexperts.com. Follow him on Twitter @FantsyChillpony.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Flex Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-running-back-rankings-week-11
Body:

Pittsburgh is one of the four teams on bye in Week 11, so DeAngelo Williams can't be the No. 1-ranked fantasy running back. Then again after last week's disappointing showing (69 total yards), he might not have been in the first place.

 

Todd Gurley also has been less than spectacular as of late, so he’s not No. 1 either. Adrian Peterson is coming off of a 200-yard game, so he's certainly in the conversation. So if it’s not any of these guys then who is No. 1 this week? Darren McFadden? Charcandrick West? Maybe even Jeremy Langford?

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

Enough with the suspense. Here are the running back rankings for Week 11:

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Devonta FreemanATLvs. IND
2Adrian PetersonMINvs. GB
3Charcandrick WestKCat SD
4Darren McFaddenDALat MIA
5Chris IvoryNYJat HOU
6Todd GurleySTLat BAL
7Marshawn LynchSEAvs. SF
8Lamar MillerMIAvs. DAL
9DeMarco MurrayPHIvs. TB
10Jeremy LangfordCHIvs. DEN
11Jonathan StewartCARvs. WAS
12Latavius MurrayOAKat DET
13LeGarrette BlountNEvs. BUF (Mon.)
14Doug MartinTBat PHI
15Frank GoreINDat ATL
16Ronnie HillmanDENat CHI
17Justin ForsettBALvs. STL
18LeSean McCoyBUFat NE (Mon.)
19James StarksGBat MIN
20Chris JohnsonARIvs. CIN
21T.J. YeldonJACvs. TEN (Thurs.)
22Danny WoodheadSDvs. KC
23Matt JonesWASat CAR
24Giovani BernardCINat ARI
25Antonio AndrewsTENat JAC (Thurs.)
26Melvin GordonSDvs. KC
27Alfred BlueHOUvs. NYJ
28Jeremy HillCINat ARI
29Joique BellDETvs. OAK
30Ryan MatthewsPHIvs. TB
31Charles SimsTBat PHI
32Carlos HydeSFat SEA
33Denard RobinsonJACvs. TEN (Thurs.)
34Theo RiddickDETvs. OAK
35Karlos WilliamsBUFat NE (Mon.)
36C.J. AndersonDENat CHI
37Andre EllingtonARIvs. CIN
38Shaun DraughnSFat SEA
39Dexter McClusterTENat JAC (Thurs.)
40Eddie LacyGBat MIN
41Jay AjayiMIAvs. DAL
42Alfred MorrisWASat CAR
43Jonathan GrimesHOUvs. NYJ
44Darren SprolesPHIvs. TB
45James WhiteNEvs. BUF (Mon.)
46Ameer AbdullahDETvs. OAK
47Ka'Deem CareyCHIvs. DEN
48Javorius AllenBALvs. STL
49Toby GerhartJACvs. TEN (Thurs.)
50David JohnsonARIvs. CIN

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

 

(Top photo courtesy of Getty Images)

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Running Back Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
Path: /fantasy/fantasy-football-2015-tight-end-rankings-week-11
Body:

Ranking tight ends for fantasy purposes isn't as easy as one may think. Slotting Rob Gronkowski in the top spot every week (except when he was on bye), is what makes the most sense, but that doesn't mean Gronk is going to lead all tight ends in fantasy scoring.

 

And the pecking order after Gronk is anything but certain. Even guys like Tyler Eifert and Gary Barnidge either have their ups and downs (Eifert was terrible on Monday night) or their circumstances changes. For Barnidge, the change from Josh McCown to Johnny Manziel as the Browns' starting quarterback could have a big impact on the TE's value the rest of this season. The good news for Barnidge owners, is they don't have to really worry about that until next week since the Browns are on bye.

 

Still it’s this mass confusion and lack of consistency (even Gronk has had his rough patches) that makes tight end rankings like these an important resource to consult before setting your lineup.

 

Positional Rankings: QB I RB I WR I TE I DST I K I Flex

 

Teams on bye: Cleveland, New Orleans, New York Giants, Pittsburgh

 

RankPlayerTeamOpp
1Rob GronkowskiNEvs. BUF (Mon.)
2Greg OlsenCARvs. WAS
3Tyler EifertCINat ARI
4Travis KelceKCat SD
5Delanie WalkerTENat JAC (Thurs.)
6Antonio GatesSDvs. KC
7Jimmy GrahamSEAvs. SF
8Jordan ReedWASat CAR
9Jason WittenDALat MIA
10Eric EbronDETvs. OAK
11Jacob TammeATLvs. IND
12Charles ClayBUFat NE (Mon.)
13Crockett GillmoreBALvs. STL
14Garett CelekSFat SEA
15Zach ErtzPHIvs. TB
16Richard RodgersGBat MIN
17Martellus BennettCHIvs. DEN
18Julius ThomasJACvs. TEN (Thurs.)
19Coby FleenerINDat ATL
20Jared CookSTLat BAL
21Vernon DavisDENat CHI
22Jordan CameronMIAvs. DAL
23Ladarius GreenSDvs. KC
24Austin Seferian-JenkinsTBat PHI
25Darren FellsARIvs. CIN
26Anthony FasanoTENat JAC (Thurs.)
27Kyle RudolphMINvs. GB
28Clive WalfordOAKat DET
29Lance KendricksSTLat BAL
30Scott ChandlerNEvs. BUF (Mon.)

— Written by Michael Horvath, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Horvath is a Canadian who also happens to be a fantasy football (not to be confused with CFL) and fitness nut. Follow him on Twitter @realmikehorvath.

Teaser:
Fantasy Football 2015 Tight End Rankings: Week 11
Post date: Thursday, November 19, 2015 - 08:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, College Football, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, SEC, News
Path: /college-football/cover-2-podcast-special-kirk-herbstreit-talk-playoff-rankings-week-12
Body:

Host Braden Gall sits down with ESPN college football guru Kirk Herbstreit on this special edition of the Cover 2 podcast. Herbstreit offers his thoughts on the College Football Playoff rankings as well as how the Committee process works.

The ESPN analyst also offers his thoughts on a potential Ohio State-Alabama rematch, the big games of Week 12 and which team in the top four is most likely to lose.

 

Check out AllStateCFB.com and listen to the podcast for your chance to win $100,000 and an all expense paid trip to the National Championship game.

 


Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com/podcastiTunesStitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 17:24
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News
Path: /college-football/college-football-cover-2-podcast-week-12-preview
Body:

Hosts Mitch Light and Braden Gall break down another weekend of college football with special guest Louie Belina of 1150 The Zone in College Station. The guys break down the latest Playoff rankings.

 

The Big 12 takes center stage this weekend with two marquee championship type bouts in Stillwater and Norman. The Big Ten features a great slate of games highlighted by a top 10 matchup between Michigan State and Ohio State. North Carolina visits Virginia Tech in a big ACC Coastal showdown while USC heads North to Eugene to battle Oregon.

 

The SEC has an interesting slate of games and the AAC has two important battles as well.

 

The guys pick every Top 25 game and offer locks of the week against the spread.

 



Subscribe: iTunes | Stitcher

 

Send any ideas, questions or comments to @BradenGall or @AthlonMitch or email [email protected]. The podcast can be found on athlonsports.com/podcastiTunesStitcher and our podcast RSS feed.

Teaser:
College Football Cover 2 Podcast: Week 12 Preview
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 15:45
Path: /college-football/big-12-may-again-be-outside-looking-in-college-football-playoff
Body:

It seems that with each passing week the College Football Playoff selection committee finds ways to exclude the Big 12 Conference from the top four spots. This week's rankings were no different and honestly it seems the closer we get to Dec. 4 the less likely it will be the Big 12 will have a representative in the Playoff, again.

 

Related: Five Thoughts on the Nov. 17 College Football Playoff Rankings

 

Last season the Big 12 was criticized for its lack of a conference championship game and the committee seemed to mirror that sentiment stating that a 13th game could have been a difference-maker for Baylor or TCU.

 

This season there is a team planted firmly in the all-important fourth spot that also will lack that elusive 13th game - Notre Dame. This is where things will get interesting.

 

Let’s take a look at who still has a chance to make the final four and why the committee may yet again shun the Big 12:

 

No. 4 Notre Dame

The Irish have a cakewalk of a game this weekend against Boston College at Fenway Park in Boston. Assuming a victory, the Fighting Irish will stay put in next week's rankings, depending on the outcome of other games this weekend.

 

The final test for Notre Dame will come next Saturday at Stanford. The No. 11 Cardinal will represent a quality win for the Irish and one that would keep the Big 12 from gaining ground. Let’s be honest, the Irish will be playing in a different time zone against a highly ranked opponent, the committee loves this.

 

Long story short, Notre Dame wins out and the Big 12 is again on the outside looking in.

 

No. 5 Iowa

The Hawkeyes have been in cruise control at the No. 5 spot for the last two weeks despite less-than-convincing wins over Indiana and Minnesota. Iowa only has to win one of its final two games to earn a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game. If the Hawkeyes can somehow can pull off the upset and beat presumably either Ohio State or Michigan State for the Big Ten title, then Iowa is more than likely in the Playoff and the Big 12 will have to wait and see how the committee treats the loser of a conference championship game.

 

Pay attention to Iowa's game on Saturday against 2-8 Purdue. If the Hawkeyes continue to win in unimpressive fashion yet keeps a firm grip on its No. 5 position while Big 12 contenders keep winning then the committee's perceived lack of respect for the Big 12 will become pretty apparent.

 

No. 7 Florida

The Gators have won the SEC East and will play in the SEC Championship Game, presumably against Alabama. If the Gators can pull the upset and win the SEC, the Gators will likely move up into the final four and then the Big 12 has to hope the Crimson Tide fall out.

 

Florida has a huge showdown coming against Florida State next Saturday. It would not be a shock to see the Gators leapfrog a Big 12 team if they beat the Seminoles, especially if they do so in convincing fashion.

 

No. 9 Michigan State

The Spartans' Playoff hopes are entirely on the line this Saturday, as they travel to Columbus to face No. 3 Ohio State. A Spartan victory would only muddy the Big Ten picture even more, while adding more variables for Big 12 backers to worry about. First and foremost, Michigan State would be in excellent position to make a significant jump in the rankings, potentially leapfrogging both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State next week.

 

Why is that possible? Well Michigan State jumped four spots this week after beating a terrible Maryland team 24-7. The committee seems to love the Big Ten.

 

Despite being presently ranked behind the Big 12 schools, should the Spartans win out, including the Big Ten Championship Game, it would most likely put the Spartans into the top four, at the expense of both Notre Dame and the Big 12 potentially.

 

While Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby has said he did not intentionally backload the schedules this season that is exactly what has happened.

 

A Baylor victory over Oklahoma State on Saturday could only make the Big 12's path to the Playoff more challenging. Currently ranked 10th, the Bears need to not only win out, but also get help from several teams to put themselves back into the discussion for a spot in the top four. Further, the Cowboys losing would take some of the significance out of next Saturday's showdown at home against Oklahoma. A Sooners loss to TCU this Saturday could have the same effect.

 

And speaking of the Horned Frogs, they seem to have gotten the shaft from the committee more than any school in the country. After losing to the No. 6 team (Oklahoma State) two weeks ago, TCU dropped from eighth to 15th. To pour salt into the wound, the Frogs dropped three more spots this week after just getting by Kansas even though they lost their Heisman Trophy candidate quarterback and No. 1 wide receiver to injuries. Struggling against a winless team loses you style points, period. The Frogs are currently the lowest-ranked one-loss Power 5 conference school in the Playoff rankings.

 

What makes this worse is that three two-loss teams ranked ahead of TCU have fallen to unranked opponents. Stanford lost this past Saturday to then-unranked Oregon, Utah also just lost to Arizona, and LSU lost to Arkansas. North Carolina (9-1) also sits one spot above the Frogs at No. 17. The Tar Heels' loss was to an unranked South Carolina. But let’s not muddy this with facts. TCU struggling to win against Kansas is apparently WAY worse than actually losing a game.

 

As you can see, the Playoff selection committee has set itself up to have multiple reasons NOT to include the Big 12 again this season. With what seems to be an ever-changing criteria both Oklahoma and Oklahoma State may very well NOT control their own destiny.

 

— Written by Jeremy Simon, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and editor-in-chief of BlueGoldSports.com, a must visit for any and all West Virginia Mountaineer fans. Follow BlueGoldSports.com on Twitter @Blue_GoldSports.

Teaser:
The Big 12 May Again be on the Outside Looking in at the College Football Playoff
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 14:30
Path: /college-football/east-carolina-pirates-vs-ucf-knights-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

East Carolina's postseason dreams hang from a loose limb with two games to play, but the Pirates look to have quite a favorable matchup at a good time. Needing to win both games to break even for the season and clinch bowl eligibility, East Carolina must do so on the road Thursday night against a struggling UCF.

 

Struggling may be putting UCF's status a bit too kindly, as the Knights have been a mess from start to finish this season. But can the Knights pull it all together just once and pick up their first win of the season, knocking ECU out of bowl consideration? Former Conference USA rivals will continue their series for the second time as members of the American Athletic Conference

 

East Carolina at UCF

 

Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

TV: ESPN

Spread: East Carolina -15

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. Can East Carolina score any points?

East Carolina opened the season by scoring no fewer than 21 points in each of its first seven games of the season. Then it hit a brick wall, managing just 14 points, 13 points and 17 points in each of the last three games. Quarterback struggles have held the Pirates' offense back at times, but more on that in a moment. Playing UCF may be just the cure for the scoring drought. Last year ECU scored 30 points against the Knights and they have scored at least 30 points in three of the last four meetings with UCF.

 

2. ECU going with a two-QB system

After heading into a bye week on a three-game losing skid, Pirates head coach Ruffin McNeill made the decision to come out of it with a new approach to the quarterback position. Rather than pull starter Blake Kemp from the starting job entirely and hand it off to James Summers, McNeill will use both to run the offense. How that two-quarterback system will work remains to be seen, but East Carolina needs something to rejuvenate the passing game.The problem is there has never been any real consistency in the passing game, regardless of who takes snaps. Kemp has completed 69.8 percent of his passes with 11 touchdowns but 10 interceptions. Summers, when on the field, has completed 63.7 percent of his attempts with four touchdowns and two interceptions. Summers also gives the East Carolina offense a bit more of a dynamic look, as he is second on the team behind Chris Hairston in rushing yards (443 yards) but leads with eight rushing touchdowns. The good news is UCF does not particularly play well against the pass. The Knights have given up 24 touchdowns through the air, with just four interceptions this season.

 

3. Can UCF play spoiler?

This UCF team is a far cry from the team that beat Big 12 champion Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl just two seasons ago. These Knights are floundering in just about every conceivable way. The Knights do next to nothing well this season, which is reflected by a record of 0-10. UCF did find some scoring plays last time out against Tulsa, but still lost 45-30 loss, and there is no reason to trust this team to score more than two touchdowns on a regular basis. UCF has scored more than 15 points just three times this season, including a 16-point effort against Temple. UCF will need plenty of lucky bounces to go its way to keep pace with an ECU attack that should be ready to rekindle some offense of its own.

 

Final Analysis

 

At this point in time, UCF is pretty much just playing through the motions and ready to shift its focus on the future, which will start with finding a new head coach for the program. East Carolina has taken a step back but had a bye week to try and fix some things. Against UCF, the Pirates may not have to have everything fixed, even on the road. Look for ECU to see what this two-quarterback system can do, but do not be surprised if head coach Ruffin McNeil pulls the plug on the idea and sticks with one guy leading the offense if good things are happening on a consistent basis from either. East Carolina is a big favorite, and should cruise to a victory in a big bounce-back performance.

 

Prediction: East Carolina 34, UCF 13

 

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Football Foundation. McGuire also writes for CollegeFootballTalk.com and hosts the No 2-Minute Warning Podcast. Follow him on Twitter @KevinOnCFB.

Teaser:
East Carolina Pirates vs. UCF Knights Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 14:00
Path: /college-football/ulm-warhawks-vs-texas-state-bobcats-preview-and-prediction-2015
Body:

With just three games remaining on its 2015 schedule, ULM didn’t wait until the end of the season to part ways with head coach Todd Berry. School officials announced Berry’s firing on Saturday, following ULM’s 59-21 loss to Arkansas State, the Warhawks’ ninth of the season. Defensive coordinator John Mumford was tabbed to replace Berry as interim head coach, a role Mumford's played twice in his coaching career. He served in the same capacity when Berry was fired as Army's coach six games into the 2003 season.

 

Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione, who has been the lead man at TCU, Alabama and Texas A&M, is now in his second stint with the Bobcats. He also coached in San Marcos, Texas, back in 1990-91 when the school was known as Southwest Texas State. This year's team is just 2-7 following a 41-19 loss to Georgia State last week.

 

With a combined three wins between them, both teams meet Thursday evening in Central Texas for a Sun Belt matchup in front of a nationally televised EPSNU audience. ULM hasn’t won since Sept. 12, while Texas State’s last victory came back on Oct. 24. The Warhawks hold an 8-3 series advantage, but Texas State won last year's meeting in Monroe, La., by a score of 22-18.

 

ULM at Texas State

 

Kickoff: 9:30 p.m. ET (Thursday)

Television: ESPNU

Spread: ULM +7

 

Three Things to Watch

 

1. ULM QB Earnest Carrington

The Warhawks took a hit at quarterback last Saturday when starter Garrett Smith left the game with a shoulder injury that was later diagnosed as an AC sprain. Smith has passed for 2,033 yards and 17 touchdowns through 10 games.

 

Backup quarterback Earnest Carrington replaced Smith, but struggled in relief duty, as he connected on just five of his 19 attempts. And although he accounted for two touchdowns (one rushing, one passing), he also threw three interceptions. On the year, Carrington is 8-for-26 for 79 yards, one TD and four INTs.

 

Carrington draws a favorable matchup against a shaky Texas State defense that didn’t record an interception until last week when it snagged two against Georgia State.

 

2. ULM interim head coach John Mumford

The Warhawks defensive coordinator joined Todd Berry’s staff in 2014 after a 14-year stop at Army. Mumford brings continuity to a program in transition, as he and Berry served on the same coaching staff in the early 2000s when Berry was Army's head coach from 2000-03.

 

As a head coach, Mumford compiled a 40-70 record from 1990-99 at Southeast Missouri State, and was the 1994 Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year.

 

ULM has been plagued by injuries to a number of key players this season and Mumford’s coaching mettle will be tested as he attempts to stabilize the program through these last few games.

 

3. Texas State S Damani Alexcee

Heading into last week’s contest against Georgia State, Alexcee had tallied 47 solo tackles, which ranked second in the Sun Belt. The junior safety had just five stops against the Panthers last Saturday – his second-lowest output of the season. For the season, Alexcee has been credited with 70 total tackles.

 

Alexcee has broken the double-digit tackle mark on three occasions this season, to go along with two sacks and three pass deflections. While the Texas State defense as a whole has struggled, Alexcee hasn’t. And against an unexperienced Carrington, he could further add to the Bobcats’ interception total by the end of the evening.

 

Final Analysis

 

Interim head coach John Mumford will lead an ailing ULM team into Bobcat Stadium on Thursday in search of its first win in more than two months and second overall on the season. The Warhawks do have some favorable matchups following this one, as ULM travels to Hawaii (2-9) on Nov. 28 and hosts New Mexico State (2-7) on Dec. 5 to close the season.

 

With just two wins this season, Franchione, who ranks third behind Frank Beamer (Virginia Tech) and Brian Kelly (Notre Dame) in wins by active FBS coaches, has not been able to follow up on the success of last season's 7-5 (but no bowl invite) showing.

 

The Bobcats definitely are not going bowling this season, but they should coast to their third win of the season Thursday night.

 

Prediction: Texas State 31, ULM 14

 

— Written by Elton Hayes, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. A Washington, D.C.-based sports writer, Hayes is a member of the Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) and he also has been an invited guest on “The Paul Finebaum Show.” Follow him on Twitter @EHDC12.

Teaser:
ULM Warhawks vs. Texas State Bobcats Preview and Prediction
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 13:30
All taxonomy terms: College Football, News, Magazines
Path: /magazines/6-greatest-games-iron-bowl-history
Body:

College football has hundreds of annual grudge matches, dozens of trophy games and a handful of rivalries that every year, regardless of record, that are mandatory viewing for fans across the country.

 

And yet none of them are the Iron Bowl.

 

In celebration of this year’s Alabama-Auburn game, one of the greatest rivalries in all of sports, Athlon Sports has released an exclusive digital edition that chronicles the greatest games and players in the history of the rivalry.

 

Here’s a taste of what you can find in the digital edition, including this run down of the greatest games in Auburn-Alabama history.

 

 

Punt Bama Punt

Auburn 17, Alabama 16

Dec. 2, 1972

 

In a game that did more than any other to put the Alabama-Auburn rivalry into the national consciousness, the Tigers’ shocking 17–16 win over the unbeaten, No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide featured the unlikeliest case of déjà vu in college football history. A lackluster contest for three quarters, the 1972 edition of the Iron Bowl entered the pantheon of greatest games ever played thanks to the dynamic special-teams duo of Bill Newton and David Langner, who pulled one rabbit out of a hat and then, miraculously, followed it with another. [READ MORE]

 

The Kick

Alabama 25, Auburn 23

Nov. 30, 1985

 

“It was one of the greatest games I’ve ever been associated with,” Alabama coach Ray Perkins said after the wild finishing sequence. “All year long, I’ve said this group of men has been special to work with. I’m just honored to be a part of this team and this game.” [READ MORE]

 

The Drive

Alabama 26, Auburn 21

Nov. 27, 2009

 

The season-saving march culminated with an unlikely hero — a little-used running back who hadn’t caught a TD pass in his career. Coming out of a timeout, Greg McElroy found Roy Upchurch with a 4-yard TD toss with 1:24 left to cap a march that consumed more than seven minutes. Auburn fought its way to the Alabama 37, but a final-play Hail Mary was batted down by Rolando McClain. [READ MORE]

 

The Cam-Back

Auburn 28, Alabama 27

Nov. 26, 2010

 

The year after Auburn nearly pulled a championship-spoiling upset of Alabama, the tables were turned for another classic renewal of the rivalry. Auburn was the unbeaten team with an eye on a national championship and had a Heisman Trophy winner of its own in one-year wonder Cam Newton. The Tide, who entered the season as the nation’s top-ranked team and defending national champions, had suffered a couple of uncharacteristic losses and were ranked No. 11. They also found themselves in the unfamiliar posture of underdogs against their rivals from the Plains. [READ MORE]

 

The Kick Six

Auburn 34, Alabama 28

Nov. 30, 2013

 

The Tide lined up for what they hoped would be a game-winning 57-yard field goal from Adam Griffith. Here’s how Auburn broadcasters Rod Bramblett and Stan White called the final play:

 

“Chris Davis is going to drop back into the end zone in single safety. Well, I guess if this thing comes up short he can field it and run it out. Alright, here we go. 56-yarder, it’s got—no, it does not have the leg. And Chris Davis takes it in the back of the end zone. He’ll run it out to the 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, 45, 50, 45.

 

“Chris Davis just ran it 109 yards and Auburn is going to the championship game!” [READ MORE]

 

The Shootout

Alabama 55, Auburn 44

Nov. 29, 2014

 

The highest-scoring game in Iron Bowl history produced an offensive outburst that must have had Bear Bryant turning over in his grave — though even he would have to be pleased that it came at the expense of that hated “cow college” to the east. Alabama came into the game ranked No. 1 in the nation, yet again with a single blemish on the ledger — a loss to Ole Miss — while Auburn was 8–3 and ranked No. 15 in the nation. The Tigers’ leaky defense had been its undoing in losses to Mississippi State, Texas A&M and Georgia, and it would be its Achilles heel on this afternoon in Bryant-Denny Stadium. But the explosive Tigers offense sure kept things interesting. [READ MORE]

Teaser:
The 5 Greatest Games in Iron Bowl History
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 13:10
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/predictions-every-college-football-game-week-12
Body:

Week 12 of the 2015 college football season starts on Wednesday night with two matchups from the MAC. Northern Illinois looks to move one step closer to a MAC West title in a key conference game against Western Michigan. Central Michigan also travels to Kent State on Wednesday night. The pre-Saturday action continues on Thursday with East Carolina at UCF and ULM at Texas State, followed by two intriguing matchups on Friday night in Cincinnati at USF and Air Force at Boise State. The Saturday slate features six matchups between top 25 teams, with the biggest taking place in Columbus between Ohio State and Michigan State. Outside of the Big Ten, the Big 12 is in the spotlight once again. TCU plays at Oklahoma and Oklahoma State hosts Baylor in two of the week’s most important matchups. The SEC’s Week 12 slate is light on standout contests, but LSU-Ole Miss and Mississippi State-Arkansas headline the schedule.

 

Related: Post-Week 11 Bowl Projections

 

Which teams will come out on top in every FBS game for Week 12? Athlon's editors predict the winners for every game this week:

 

College Football Week 12 Predictions
 

Steven

Lassan

Mitch

Light

David

Fox

Braden

Gall

Mark

Ross

Central Michigan at

Kent State

Western Michigan at

Northern Illinois

East Carolina at 

UCF

ULM at

Texas State

Cincinnati at

USF

Air Force at

Boise State

Fresno State at

BYU

Houston at

UConn

Tulane at

SMU

Memphis at

Temple

Navy at

Tulsa

Buffalo at

Akron

South Alabama at

Georgia State

NMSU at

UL Lafayette

Nevada at

Utah State

Wake Forest at

Clemson

FAU at

Florida

Chattanooga at

Florida State

Georgia Southern at

Georgia

Charlotte at

Kentucky

Indiana at

Maryland

Georgia Tech at

Miami

Syracuse at

NC State

Michigan State at

Ohio State

Michigan at 

Penn State

Louisville at

Pittsburgh

Citadel at

South Carolina

Duke at

Virginia

North Carolina at

Virginia Tech

WKU at

FIU

North Texas at

MTSU

Rutgers at 

Army

Miami, Ohio at

UMass

Charleston Southern at

Alabama

Mississippi State at

Arkansas

Idaho at

Auburn

Purdue at

Iowa

West Virginia at

Kansas

Iowa State at

Kansas State

Illinois at

Minnesota

Tennessee at

Missouri

TCU at 

Oklahoma

Baylor at

Oklahoma State

LSU at

Ole Miss

Texas A&M at

Vanderbilt

Northwestern at

Wisconsin

Arizona at

Arizona State

UCLA at

Utah

Louisiana Tech at

UTEP

USC at

Oregon

Washington at

Oregon State

California at

Stanford

Colorado at

Washington State

Old Dominion at

Southern Miss

Colorado State at

New Mexico

Rice at

UTSA

Notre Dame vs.

Boston College

San Diego State at

UNLV

San Jose State at

Hawaii

Bowling Green at

Ball State 

(Tuesday)

Ohio at 

Northern Illinois

(Tuesday)

 

Teaser:
Predictions for Every College Football Game in Week 12
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 13:00
Path: /college-football/mike-rileys-cornhuskers-rebounding-thanks-sound-minds
Body:

Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment. Late American entrepreneur Jim Rohn once said that and it certainly applies to Nebraska football’s 2015 season.

 

Penalties will be the death of a football team’s dreams, their goals, their accomplishments. In the month of September, the Cornhuskers averaged nearly 11 flags per game. That’s a good way to lose any contest, regardless of the opponent. However, the Big Red is clearly gelling under head coach Mike Riley’s watch.

 

In October, Nebraska nearly slashed its shaming by the refs to six penalties per tilt. After crushing the College Football Playoff hopes of Michigan State and knocking off Rutgers, the Big Red has shaved that number down to four.

 

It’s no coincidence that Nebraska is able to upset teams like the Spartans when they play disciplined football even when hobbled. Nebraska lost the turnover battle by one versus the green and white, but Michigan State stacked 76 yards worth of penalties on top of its performance. Nebraska only totaled 55 yards.

 

Six of those Spartan penalties came in the second half while the Huskers committed zero. Zilch. Nada.

 

While Nebraska lost the third quarter 14-7, that discipline was rewarded with a 19-7 fourth quarter and…well, you know the rest.

 

All two of the Big Red’s penalties against Rutgers were for a combined 15 yards and came in the second quarter.

 

What does this mean? It certainly speaks to offensive line coach Mike Cavanaugh’s ability to keep his unit from jumping very much as the year’s gone on. The illegal procedure penalties that were too common earlier in the year were cleaned up, too.

 

In short, the Big Red’s game was polished up, which puts this team in a prime position to knock off yet another top-ten opponent when Iowa comes to Lincoln the Friday after Thanksgiving.

 

It’s always ideal to keep that turnover margin in your favor or at least even, but playing crisp, clean ball likely sends the fans home happy next weekend.

 

— Written by Brandon Cavanaugh, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Be sure to follow Brandon on Twitter @eightlaces and like his Facebook page.

Teaser:
Mike Riley’s Cornhuskers Rebounding Thanks to Sound Minds
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 09:30
All taxonomy terms: NFL
Path: /nfl/week-11-nfl-picks-challenge-athlon-sports-experts
Body:

The NFL is in full swing, and the competition off the field among fans is nearly as heated as the competition on the field on game day.

 

The Athlon Sports Pro Football Experts Club presented by New Era gives you the chance to compete with your friends and our experts each week.

 

Think you’re up for taking on our experts every week? Think you can beat the writers and editors each week? Join our weekly pick ‘em game and compete for tons of cool prizes.

 

Here are this week’s picks from Athlon Sports senior editor John Gworek:

 

Tennessee at Jacksonville

These teams have only five wins between them, but the winner of this game is actually still in the AFC South race. Jacksonville has won two of three, forcing four turnovers in each victory.

Gworek's Pick: Jacksonville, 17-13.

 

Oakland at Detroit

The Raiders need to get back on track after a disappointing home loss to Minnesota. Despite winning in Green Bay for the first time since 1991, Detroit ranks 27th in offense and may not be able to keep up.

Gworek's Pick: Oakland, 30-20.

 

Indianapolis at Atlanta

Atlanta had the week off to get healthy and figure out how a 5–0 start turned into a 6–3 record. Indianapolis again turns to Matt Hasselbeck (2–0 as a starter this season) at quarterback for the injured Andrew Luck.

Gworek's Pick: Atlanta, 27-21.

 

N.Y. Jets at Houston

Houston has not allowed a touchdown in winning its last two over Tennessee and Cincinnati. After turning the ball over four times in a loss to Buffalo, the Jets have a minus-9 turnover differential in their four losses.

Gworek's Pick: N.Y. Jets, 23–20.

 

Tampa Bay at Philadelphia

Two 4–5 teams hoping to stay on the edge of the NFC playoff chase meet. Philadelphia, which will be without quarterback Sam Bradford for at least a couple weeks, needs Mark Sanchez to avoid the big turnover.

Gworek's Pick: Tampa Bay, 26–24.

 

Denver at Chicago

The Broncos have lost two in a row and give Brock Osweiler is first career start with Peyton Manning hurting. The Bears have won two in a row and moved into the NFL’s top 10 in total defense.

Gworek's Pick: Chicago, 16–14.

 

St. Louis at Baltimore

The Rams switch to Case Keenum at quarterback, but it won’t matter if the defense plays like it did in a loss to the Bears. The Ravens can’t catch a break and have lost seven games by 32 total points.

Gworek's Pick: Baltimore, 26–20.

 

Dallas at Miami

The Cowboys get Tony Romo back after going 0–7 without him. Amazingly, they still have a chance in the ugly NFC East. Miami needs to get hot fast and plays five of its last seven at home.

Gworek's Pick: Dallas, 23–21.

 

Washington at Carolina

Carolina may run away with home-field advantage in the NFC but plays four of its last six on the road. The Redskins are just a half game out of first place in the NFC East with four division games left.

Gworek's Pick: Carolina, 28–20.

 

Kansas City at San Diego

Kansas City has won three in a row to get right into the thick of the AFC Wild Card race. The Chargers have lost five in a row but can play spoiler with every team left on its schedule still in the playoff picture.

Gworek's Pick: San Diego, 27–24.

 

Green Bay at Minnesota

After averaging 127 yards per game on the ground during a 6–0 start, the Packers have averaged 69 yards per game since. Green Bay ranks 24th in the NFL against the run; the Vikings lead the NFL in rushing.

Gworek's Pick: Minnesota, 20–17.

 

San Francisco at Seattle

Seattle won the first meeting, holding the Niners to 142 total yards in a 20–3 victory. Blaine Gabbert beat Atlanta in his first start for San Francisco two weeks ago, but a road game at Seattle will be a bigger challenge.

Gworek's Pick: Seattle, 26–10.

 

Cincinnati at Arizona

Andy Dalton struggled in a 10–6 loss to the Texans, and it didn’t help that Bengals running backs gained only 51 yards on 15 carries. Cincinnati will need to be better to keep up with the NFL’s No. 1 offense.

Gworek's Pick: Arizona, 28–23.

 

Buffalo at New England

New England won the first meeting 40–32 in Buffalo, sacking Tyrod Taylor eight times. Before last season’s finale when the Pats rested starters, Buffalo’s last win in Foxboro was Nov. 5, 2000.

Gworek's Pick: New England, 24–20.

 

Week 9 Record: 5–9

Overall Record: 85–61

Teaser:
Week 11 NFL Picks: Challenge Athlon Sports Experts!
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 09:00
Path: /college-football/outrageous-college-football-predictions-week-12-2015
Body:

We are at the point in the college football season where the contenders make statements and the pretenders fall by the wayside. A handful of teams have their eyes on conference championship game appearances with outside shots at berths in the College Football Playoff. For three of those teams, Week 12 will mark the end of what were shaping up to be dream seasons, thanks to some outrageousness.

 

Here are the Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 12.

 

Penn State takes down Michigan

Would this be a giant upset? No, but it would certainly increase the degree of difficulty for the Wolverines to get to the Big Ten title game. Look for Penn State's defense to stymie an inconsistent Michigan offense, getting to Jake Rudock early and often. On the other side of the ball, an ever-improving Penn State running game is going to loosen up the Michigan secondary, allowing Christian Hackenberg to have his way. The loss would mean that Michigan no longer controls its own destiny in the Big Ten East Division.

 

Virginia Tech upsets North Carolina

The Tar Heels can taste the ACC title game, and with it, an outside shot at the College Football Playoff. The Hokies will be playing for pride when they host North Carolina on an otherwise sleepy fall afternoon in Blacksburg. Look for the Virginia Tech defense to keep Frank Beamer's squad in the game, matching the intensity of the Tar Heels' D. In the end, it'll be Beamerball that prevails, as a special teams play by Virginia Tech seals the upset.

 

Cal ends the dream for Stanford

Just like Oregon, Cal likes to score and score fast. Look for quarterback Jared Goff to constantly challenge the Cardinal secondary all day, eventually breaking through and opening the game up. Once that happens, Stanford will find itself in yet another track meet that the Cardinal aren't built to win. A second conference loss won't keep them from playing for a Pac-12 title, but it will end any hopes the Cardinal had of sneaking into the College Football Playoff.

 

Iowa blanks Purdue

Of course Iowa will win, but look for the Hawkeyes to take out their frustrations on the Boilermakers — imposing their will and attempting to demonstrate that they belong in the national title conversation. Iowa matches up perfectly on defense to shut down basically everything Purdue wants to do. Combine that with Iowa's elite, clock-killing run game and the Boilermakers have little-to-no shot of putting together any sort of scoring drive. The Hawkeyes will be out to show that they can put away inferior teams the way a contender is supposed to.

 

Derrick Henry carries the ball only once against Charleston Southern

This is a case where the national championship far outweighs the Heisman Trophy. Henry is the consensus front-runner for college football's most prestigious award, but he's also the biggest reason Alabama looks like the team to beat. Nick Saban is smart enough to know better than to risk any damage to the biggest hammer he has. Look for Henry to take the first carry of the day to the house for a touchdown — adding to his Heisman-highlight reel — and coming out of the game immediately after.

 

— Written by J.P. Scott, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Scott is the editor-in-chief of KnowItAllFootball.com, a Big Ten site for Big Ten fans. Follow him on Twitter @TheJPScott.

Teaser:
Outrageous College Football Predictions for Week 12
Post date: Wednesday, November 18, 2015 - 09:00
All taxonomy terms: ACC, Air Force Falcons, Akron Zips, Alabama Crimson Tide, Appalachian State Mountaineers, Arizona State Sun Devils, Arizona Wildcats, Arkansas Razorbacks, Arkansas State Red Wolves, Army Black Knights, Army West Point Black Knights, Auburn Tigers, Ball State Cardinals, Baylor Bears, Boise State Broncos, Boston College Eagles, Bowling Green Falcons, Buffalo Bulls, BYU Cougars, California Golden Bears, Central Michigan Chippewas, Charlotte 49ers, Cincinnati Bearcats, Clemson Tigers, College Football, Colorado Buffaloes, Colorado State Rams, Connecticut Huskies, Duke Blue Devils, East Carolina Pirates, Eastern Michigan Eagles, FAU Owls, FIU Panthers, Florida Gators, Florida State Seminoles, Fresno State Bulldogs, Georgia Bulldogs, Georgia Southern Eagles, Georgia State Panthers, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Hawaii Warriors, Houston Cougars, Idaho Vandals, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Iowa State Cyclones, Kansas Jayhawks, Kansas State Wildcats, Kent State Golden Flashes, Kentucky Wildcats, Louisiana Tech Bulldogs, Louisville Cardinals, LSU Tigers, Marshall Thundering Herd, Maryland Terrapins, Memphis Tigers, Miami Hurricanes, Miami Ohio RedHawks, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Mississippi State Bulldogs, Missouri Tigers, MTSU Blue Raiders, Navy Midshipmen, NC State Wolfpack, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Nevada Wolf Pack, New Mexico Lobos, New Mexico State Aggies, North Carolina Tar Heels, North Texas Mean Green, Northern Illinois Huskies, Northwestern Wildcats, Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Ohio Bobcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Oklahoma Sooners, Oklahoma State Cowboys, Old Dominion Monarchs, Ole Miss Rebels, Oregon Ducks, Oregon State Beavers, Penn State Nittany Lions, Pittsburgh Panthers, Purdue Boilermakers, Rice Owls, Rutgers Scarlet Knights, San Diego State Aztecs, San Jose State Spartans, SMU Mustangs, South Alabama Jaguars, South Carolina Gamecocks, South Florida Bulls, Southern Miss Golden Eagles, Stanford Cardinal, Syracuse Orange, TCU Horned Frogs, Temple Owls, Tennessee Volunteers, Texas A&M Aggies, Texas Longhorns, Texas State Bobcats, Texas Tech Red Raiders, Toledo Rockets, Troy Trojans, Tulane Green Wave, Tulsa Golden Hurricane, UAB Blazers, UCF Knights, UCLA Bruins, UConn Huskies, UL Lafayette Ragin Cajuns, UL Monroe Warhawks, UMass Minutemen, UNLV Rebels, USC Trojans, Utah State Aggies, Utah Utes, UTEP Miners, UTSA Roadrunners, Vanderbilt Commodores, Virginia Cavaliers, Virginia Tech Hokies, Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Washington Huskies, Washington State Cougars, West Virginia Mountaineers, Western Kentucky Hilltoppers, Western Michigan Broncos, Wisconsin Badgers, Wyoming Cowboys, American Athletic, Big 12, Big Ten, Conference USA, Independents, MAC, Mountain West, Pac 12, SEC, Sun Belt, News
Path: /college-football/new-college-football-top-25-playoff-committee-rankings-nov-17
Body:

The College Football Playoff Committee released its third set of top 25 rankings of the 2015 season on Tuesday night. Clemson remained No. 1 for the third straight week in a row, followed by Alabama at No. 2, Ohio State at No. 3 and Notre Dame at No. 4. 

 

The committee will meet each week until the end of the season, releasing rankings on Tuesday night until the final reveal on Dec. 6 for the last top 25 and playoff announcements.

 

While the weekly rankings are critical in gauging where teams stand in early November, it’s important to remember last year’s top 25 featured Mississippi State at No. 1 and Ohio State – the team that won it all in 2014 – ranked No. 16.

 

Needless to say, this poll will look significantly different in early December.

 

College Football Playoff Committee Top 25 Rankings (Nov. 17 Edition)
RankTeamRecord
1Clemson10-0
2Alabama9-1
3Ohio State10-0
4Notre Dame9-1
5Iowa10-0
6Oklahoma State10-0
7Oklahoma9-1
8Florida9-1
9Michigan State9-1
10Baylor8-1
11Stanford8-2
12Michigan8-2
13Utah8-2
14Florida State8-2
15LSU7-2
16Navy8-1
17North Carolina9-1
18TCU9-1
19Houston10-0
20Northwestern8-2
21Memphis8-2
22Ole Miss7-3
23Oregon7-3
24USC7-3
25Wisconsin8-2

 

Teaser:
New College Football Top 25 Playoff Committee Rankings (Nov. 17)
Post date: Tuesday, November 17, 2015 - 21:55

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