Tag Archives: Antonio Brown

Casinos Are Bad, Mmmkay?

As you have heard by now, the NFL stepped in it AGAIN. This time they banned the first ever National Fantasy Football Convention, just weeks before its scheduled opening.

Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison
Star-Telegram/Rodger Mallison
Tony Romo has been the public face of the event, the NFFC, for the past several months. However, in the proverbial eleventh hour, the NFL put the deep-6 on the convention on, get this, moral grounds. The League had concerns about the event being held at a Las Vegas casino, because, of course, gambling does not look good for pro sports (see Tim Donaghy, Pete Rose, and the 1919 Chicago Blacksox).

The NFFC would have provided a great opportunity for players and fans to meet, greet and mingle. Not that anyone would want to help GROW the NFL brand, or anything.

Tony Romo, who only recently joined Twitter, thanks in part to the investigative work of our Founder, Jamie Kelly, said in one of the few tweets from his account:

Cowboys teammate and fellow NFFC headliner Dez Bryant was quite agitated in his response:

Fantasy football is a $3 Billion industry that affects every facet of the NFL. It brings in more fans who love fantasy sports, and it increases viewership, which obviously helps the League.

The NFFC was to feature Cowboys Romo, Bryant, and Jason Witten, and many other NFL stars, including Jamaal Charles, Antonio Brown, DeMarco Murray, T.Y. Hilton, Emmanuel Sanders, Randall Cobb, Eddie Lacy, Julio Jones and DeMarcus Ware. It was to also feature around a dozen media personalities, including Michael Fabiano of the league-owned NFL Network and NFL.com. Fabiano‘s participation alone further proves that the NFL has nffc posterknown about this event for some time, and simply chose to wait until it was beyond the point of no return to pull the plug.

This three-day event was scheduled to be July 10-12 at the Venetian Resort Hotel in Las Vegas. The NFL confirmed via email a Fox Sports report about the league’s longstanding policy that, “Players and NFL personnel may not participate in promotional activities or other appearances in connection with events that are held at or sponsored by casinos.”

HUH? The NFL won’t allow that, but they allow NFL owners to own stock in racetracks in New Jersey, Baltimore and Florida.

CBS Las Vegas
CBS Las Vegas
The NFL‘s indignation about gambling is a glorious, joke. It is estimated, conservatively, that anywhere from $70-100 BILLION is wagered on NFL games each year, and only a small part of that is done legally. I’m sure that many of you have participated in office pools, bought squares for a big football game, or even bet someone a Coke on a game. Obviously gambling boosts attendance and TV revenue. When you have money invested in something, you’re typically going to watch.

I’ll give you an easy example of how the NFL‘s actions are counter to what they say about gambling. The League requires each team to state before games (usually on Thursday) which players may have to sit out due to injury, and which players are questionable. Why? The information benefits gamblers. Does the League care that newspapers run the points spread? Of course not.

Just when you think it can’t get any worse… No, on second thought, I think we all agree that it can, and will, get worse. There are, in fact, several documented cases of the NFL getting in bed with either organized crime or big time gamblers.

1. The Chicago Bears

largeIn the early 1920s, George Halas turned to a man who was a noted bootlegger, gambler, racetrack owner and known associate of Chicago’s Al “Scarface” Capone‘s mob to finance the Bears. His name was Charles Bidwell. Yes, THAT, Bidwell. Later on, Bidwell bought the Chicago Cardinals. Guess whose family owns the Arizona Cardinals? Yep. The Bidwell family.

2. The Cleveland Browns

Cleveland_Browns_63602_zpsb375f1adThe Cleveland Browns were owned by crime syndicate bookmaker Arthur “Mickey” McBride, the head of the Continental Racing Wire, the mob’s gambling news service. The U.S. Senate’s Kefauver Committee called that news service “Public Enemy Number One.” In 1961, the team was sold to Art Modell, who among many things, was a partner in a horse racing stable with Morris “Mushy” Wexler, whom the Kefauver Committee named one of the “leading hoodlums” in McBride’s wire service. In 1969, Modell was married in Las Vegas at the home of William “Billy” Weinberger, who just happened to be the president of Caesar’s Palace, whose hidden owners included: Tony “The Big Tuna” Accardo, Sam “Momo” Giancana, and Vincent “Jimmy Blue Eyes” Alo. When he finally died in 1996, The Las Vegas Sun called Weinberger the “dean of casino gambling.”

3. The San Francisco 49ers

159571aThe Youngstown DeBartolo family, long involved in casinos and racetracks, owns the Niners. In the late 1990s Edward DeBartolo Jr., then the head of the 49ers, paid the Louisiana Governor $400,000 to get a riverboat casino license. The Governor went to jail for that crime, and DeBartolo got a slap on the wrist. He did have to leave the 49ers, but his family still runs the team while DeBartolo Jr. runs the company that is based back in Youngstown.

joe namath bachelors iiiNow, here’s an oldie but a goodie. In 1969, a hypocrisy of all hypocrisies happens in the Big Apple. New York Jets quarterback, Joe Namath invested in a Manhattan bar. The National Football League told him to sell his shares because the joint had ties to big time gamblers and unsavory individuals.


The league said NOTHING about Modell‘s ties or the unsavory ties of numerous other team owners.  The late Carroll Rosenbloom, a high roller with major interest in a mob-run casino, owned the Baltimore Colts AND the Los Angeles Rams at different times.

I personally think that the NFL got its feelings hurt because this National Fantasy Football Convention did not include them, nor were they going to see a red cent of monies from it either.

And, lastly, the NFL showed it’s immaturity when the NFL tweeted this to Tony Romo:

Was the league trying to be funny, or were they trolling Tony Romo? In either case, the league looks bad, and guess who’s the head of the NFL? Good ol’ Roger Goodell.

America! You can gamble on our games, but please don’t ask our players to have a meet, greet, and mingle with you at a resort because well, we have our integrity to protect.


Ronnie Garcia is the Voice of Reason at The Scoop. He is also an avid guitarist, educator, and all around smarmy guy. Ronnie co-hosts The Fanatics on Monday nights from 7-9pm on KTSR-db. You can follow him on twitter @TheRonMann.

Takeaways from the Trenches –- Week 6 (AND A CONTEST!)


As we begin this week’s column, you need to know … Joe Flacco just threw another touchdown. Much more on Flacco Time later. Who knows? By the time I finish writing this, maybe he’ll throw another. Or two.

SPECIAL NOTE: In today’s edition of the Takeaways, keep an eye out for quotes or phrases used in the classic film, The Princess Bride, sprinkled throughout. Take notes, kids, because at the end of this column, there will be a quiz. And you just may get lucky and win yourself a prize.

Six-Week Report Cards

Six NFL weeks should be enough time for experts and prognosticators alike to develop a legitimate understanding of the powerhouses and the push-overs in the league, right? In just six short weeks, we’ve witnessed enough to draw a few conclusions. Hear me out, as I attempt to make sense of it all, using these examples:

  • In the AFC East, the Dolphins beat the Patriots, the Bills beat the Dolphins, and the Patriots beat the Bills. Conclusion? The J-E-T-S, not having yet lost to any of their division rivals, must be the class of the division. Don’t let the facts (namely that they’ve not played the rest of the division) get in the way of this masterfully crafted hypothesis.
  • In Week 1, EJ Manuel’s Bills beat Jay Cutler’s Bears.
    Associated Press
    Associated Press

    In Week 2, Cutler’s Bears defeated Colin Kaepernick’s Niners. In Week 4, Kaep and the 49ers overcame Nick Foles and the Eagles. Conclusion? According to the Transitive Property of Equality, EJ Manuel is a better QB than Nick Foles. Right? Even while riding the pine, having been benched in favor of the NeckBeard himself, Kyle Orton? Makes sense to me.

  • And for a mind-blowing display of dizzying intellect, follow along now, won’t you? And don’t get lost. In Week 2, the Bengals took care of the Falcons. Subsequently, as the season has progressed, the following scenarios have played out: Atlanta beat the Saints; the Saints beat up on the Vikings; the Vikes handled St. Louis; the Rams squeaked past Tampa Bay; the Bucs bested the Steelers; Pittsburgh clawed past the Panthers; and, of course, Carolina tied the Bengals this past Sunday. Conclusion? It’s obvious; all NFL teams—other than the Jags and Raiders—are equal.

Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

You want crazy stats? As you wish …

  • QB: The Top 5 fantasy QBs are Cam Newton (he was obviously using his 50/50 hindsight), Flacco, Kaepernick, Tom Brady and Derek Carr. That’s right, ladies and gentlemen. No Peyton. No Rodgers.
  • QB Part Deux:
    Associated Press
    Associated Press

    Matthew Stafford finished the week behind the likes of Glennon, Bortles, Orton and Geno, at #25 on the list, just ahead of Charlie Whitehurst. [Those that read my stuff know I could not make it through a column without mentioning my namesake, #ClipboardJesus.] Anyone think Calvin makes a difference in that Lions offense?

  • RB: Week 6 RB rankings shaped up with regular, expected names topping the list. Names like Forte, Arian, DeMarco, Gio. However, coming in at #7 was Theo Riddick, who finished ahead of names like Le’Veon Bell, Eddie Lacy, LeSean McCoy and Andre Ellington.
  • RB Part Deux: Combined, Eddie Lacy (4.0), Frank Gore (3.8) and Shane Vereen (1.7) had less than 10 fantasy points on the day. Fozzy Whittaker, Dexter McCluster, Darren McFadden and Trent Richardson all scored more than 10.
  • WR: Your #3-5 WRs this week? Andre Holmes, Mohamed Sanu and Brandon LaFell. Any given Sunday, people. Holmes finished the week with 28.1 points, nearly doubling his season total through five weeks (31.8). Hello, Derek Carr.
  • WR Part Deux: Robert Woods came in at #7 with 22.8 points, outscoring the combined totals of Roddy (7.0), Emmanuel Sanders (6.8), Jeremy Maclin (3.6), Percy (2.9) and Welker (1.8). Yeah. Saw that coming.
  • TE: One stat here is enough. The Jets Jace Amaro was the top TE play in Week 6, with 22.8 points. Prior to this week, his single-game high score was 10.8, and he’d not scored a TD all year. Geno to Jace? I smell a new trend.

Quick Hits

1. #IGotPercy’d: After five weeks of erratic fantasy play from Sir Percy, I am officially the President of the #IGotPercy’d Support Group.


In Week 6, it wasn’t missed calls (see Week 2) or penalties negating a big offensive day (see Week 5). This time around, Percy unveiled his new magic act—The Incredible Disappearing Percy—by netting a preposterous negative 1 yard on 6 touches. Inconceivable! And no, that is NOT a typo, my friends. A guy who was drafted in the Top 25 WRs, Harvin currently sits outside the Top 65 WRs, averaging less than 10 fantasy points per game. And that’s in PPR! Drop Percy in all leagues and tweet me for local chapter meeting locations. Meetings take place weekly on Sundays, just after #IGetPercy’d again, where we discuss the topic: “Life is pain. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

2. Carrying the Load: Last year, the Bills coaching staff warned (or was it boasted?) that they’d run CJ Spiller until he threw up. I’m no puke professional, but I’m pretty sure CJ’s barf-to-target ratio was pretty low, as far as those ratios go. On the flipside, DeMarco Murray has been the very definition of a workhouse this season.

Associated Press
Associated Press

I’m not sure if he’s upchucking on the sidelines between series or not, but on the year, he has touched the ball on over 41% of ALL Dallas offensive snaps. [By comparison, Matt Forte is at 34% and Le’Veon Bell is at 30%.] He’s on pace to finish the season with more carries (424) than Larry Johnson’s record of 416 in 2006. So, on behalf of fantasy owners everywhere, DeMarco, get some rest. If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.

3. No Moral Victories: Hey, Jags and Raiders fans. You will win a game this year, I assure you. And although there are no moral victories in the NFL, you showed up. I mean, it’s not as if the Titans and Chargers, respectively, said, “I just want you to feel you’re doing well. I hate for people to die embarrassed,” and let you stay close. You played hard and with heart; and—from the all-important fantasy perspective—showed promise for next week and beyond.

Associated Press
Associated Press

Guys like Blake Bortles, Allen Robinson (mancrush alert) and Storm Johnson from Jacksonville, as well as Derek Carr and Andre Holmes for Oakland. There could be a bright-ish fantasy future ahead. We want you to feel you’re doing well.

4. #WeAllGotFlacco’d: Really? Anyone see this coming? No one will accuse Flacco of doing things slowly now, will they? Joe Flacco had as many TD passes in the first half—FIVE!—of Week 6 as Aaron Rodgers had before everyone started R-E-L-A-X’ing (Weeks 1-3). That’s only two TD passes less than Matthew Stafford has … on the year! So what happened? The Bucs defense happened for Flacco. But what to do with him moving forward? Tread with caution. Week 7 at home against Atlanta looks good, but don’t look for this sort of production on any regular basis. Or … get used to disappointment.

5. Welcome Back, Cameron: It’s been said, “There’s not a lot of money in revenge.”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

But there is pride in revenge. Pittsburgh beat Cleveland in Week 1; in Week 6, the Browns got said revenge, handily taking down the Steelers, 31-10. The fourth overall TE selected in fake football this year, Jordan Cameron, showed back up in a big way, even with limited targets. His 3/102/1 line won some folks their fantasy weeks. Or, in the case of one fantasy football writer who left Cameron sitting on his bench, lost a fantasy week. Oh well, revenge cometh again next week.

6. Teammates Top the Top 15: Check out the Top 15 fantasy scorers (PPR) through six weeks. Only one Bronco made the list, which is surprising to me. Omaha, Omaha. The 2nd QB on this list? Anyone want to make a guess, after Amish Andrew Luck? Peyton? Rodgers? Nope. Cry Me A Rivers, Philip Rivers comes in at #6 overall. And four sets of teammates make the list.

  • Packers: Jordy (#4), Randall (#13) and Aaron (#14). No shockers there.
  • Colts: Andrew Luck (#1) and … TY Hilton (#12). Really, Hilton? Yeah, those 40 catches help.
  • Bears: Matt Forte (#3) and … Jay Cutler (#15). Go smoke your cig now, Jay.
  • Steelers: Really? I guess that defense IS that bad, and fantasy isn’t reality, as Antonio Brown (#5) (mancrush alert) and Le’Veon Bell (#9) make the list.

Shhhh … Let’s Keep It Our Little Secret

Soooo, I was wrong.

  • From the Department of Redundancy Department, I was unequivocally incorrect about Mr. Percy Harvin. I predicted he would go off against Dallas at home. There’s only one word for my gaffe here. Hell, no!
  • I thought Wes Welker might have a big game, against some previously suspect slot corner coverage from the Jets. Welker’s 1 for 8 yards didn’t really do the trick. Perhaps some Molly is in order?

My Arm CAN Reach Around To Pat Myself On The Back

Yessssss, I was right!

  • I predicted a breakout game for Shady McCoy (mancrush alert), and it FINALLY happened. All my attempts to buy-low on acquiring him are shot.
  • I thought Gio Bernard would—how exactly did I say it?—have a “huge game.” 22 touches for 157 yards and a TD. Yeah. That’s a pretty fair day at the office.

Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox

OK, so did you catch all of my The Princess Bride references? BE THE FIRST TO TWEET ME WITH THE EXACT NUMBER OF REFERENCES (@FFHottieAsst), AND WE’LL SEND YOU A PRIZE. No, it’s not a collector’s edition #ClipboardJesus bobblehead. I’m keeping that one enshrined in my trophy case. But do go watch this flick again; it’s well worth your time. It will help you stay strong, show kindness and have NO RAGRETS.

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. PPR fantasy stats courtesy of eDraft.com.]

Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

Friday’s First and 10 –- Week 6

On Tuesday, we’ll be more than a third of the way through the fantasy football season. And what do we have to show for it?


For starters, we have J.J. Watt with more RECEIVING touchdowns than Keenan Allen, Anquan Boldin, Dwayne Bowe, Larry Fitzgerald, Michael Floyd, Emmanuel Sanders, Percy Harvin and Wes Welker. (Hint: those last eight guys are on the field for the specific purpose of SCORING RECEIVING TOUCHDOWNS.)

And, in standard leagues—yes, I’m bemoaning the struggles of my favorite mancrush … again—LeSean McCoy has been outscored by pedestrian running backs Matt Asiata, Knile Davis, Chris Ivory, Antone Smith, and Bobby Rainey. And even Trent Richardson. Pick it up Shady, or I may have to shift my mancrush allegiances. There are other fish in the sea, ya know.

But for now, Thank God It’s Fantasy Football Friday. On this TGIFFF, I’m looking forward to some things.

  1. Percy’d Again?

Dallas plays in Seattle Sunday, with Tony Romo attempting to NOT wilt under the 12th Man’s Spells and transform into Turnover Tony. But I’m more concerned with Percy Harvin, and his impact on MY fantasy world. I love me some Harvin, but have been Percy’d two out of five weeks already this year (as I outline here: #IGotPercy’d). So, what happens this Sunday? Will I be snake-bitten again by another Percy performance? I predict a big game for Percy; I’m calling for a long TD catch & run, and TD another on a running play. Dear fantasy football gods, I don’t want to be Percy’d again. I’ll be eternally grateful.

  1. Ball Buster

Now that Montee Ball is down for the count for a couple weeks, who will Peyton trust to occupy his office on Sunday? The most popular waiver wire replacement pickup was Ronnie Hillman—and he should, indeed, get the bulk of the early game looks, with C.J. Anderson sprinkled in. Having said that, this game has more of a Peyton to Demaryius and Emmanuel sort of feel to it. After all, the Jets yield the 6th most fantasy points to WRs on the year. But humor me here. I wouldn’t be at all shocked to see short Wes Welker completions take the place of the running game a bit, especially since Jets slot corner Kyle Wilson, who will likely line up across from Welker on most routes, has allowed 10 completions on 12 pass attempts this season.

  1. What Can Brown Do For … You, Versus the Browns?

I referenced earlier in this column, that I’m considering transferring my mancrush allegiances away from one Shady McCoy. Potential suitors include Percy Harvin, Brandon Marshall, Andre Ellington, the youngster Allen Robinson and Antonio Brown. Brown tops all fantasy WR scoring so far this year, and in that Pittsburgh offense, shows no signs of slowing his pace. After all, other than Heath Miller every third week, no other Steeler pass-catcher is showing up on the stat sheet. Big Ben has targeted Antonio 23 more times than any other Steeler WR (Markus Wheaton). Factor in that the Browns pass defense is 28th in the league, and Joe Haden is hobbled? You’ve got yourself a potential Brown-anza, my friends. AB could literally go off for another 200 yard and 2 TD game.

  1. Hurt Locker, ClipboardJesus or The Whiz Kid?

Jake The Hurt Locker Locker is still banged up. If you read my stuff at all, you know I’m a cult Charlie Clipboard Jesus Whitehurst follower. But he and his hair need to remain on the sidelines with said clipboard. So is it Zach The Whiz Kid Mettenberger’s shot this Sunday versus the Jags at home? Yes, I just gave him that nickname; let’s see if it sticks. The Titans are winless since Week 1, so why not give the kid a shot. And wouldn’t Jacksonville, at home, be the right opportunity for him to grow up? Reports have Jake sitting this one out, with Charlie getting the start. If Clipboard Jesus doesn’t work miracles for the Titans, I’d say we’re gonna see The Whiz Kid.

  1. Red Rover, Red Rover … Let Shady Come Over [IE: Ditto]

Shady McCoy’s slow start is well-documented. Through four weeks, McCoy is the 26th ranked (PPR) RB in fantasy. He’s averaged less than 3 YPC on the year. Right tackle Lane Johnson returned this week, to give the Eagles three of their five starting five on the offensive line. I continue to try and pry McCoy away from a couple other owners, with buy-low offers. So that should tell you I’m seeing some light at the end of the Shade. I say the slump is broken this week. What, you’ve read this before? Cut n paste works here, baby.

  1. Tears for Fears?
CBS Sports
CBS Sports

It’s being reported that Knowshon is nearing (?) a return to the field from a dislocated elbow; perhaps we’ll even be treated to one of his famous tear episodes? As well as his on-the-field know-how and veteran presence on display? Fantasy owners are left hanging, though, as Lamar Miller has performed admirably with Moreno on the shelf, averaging 14.95 fantasy points (standard) over his past two games—after only 8.55 per game in the first two. Will a timeshare be in effect? Will Knowshon revert to his 19.4 from game one? I think if healthy, Knowshon wins back the fantasy points battle.

  1. Cat Fight

The Bengals play the Panthers in the infamous Ferocious Cat Bowl. What, you’ve not heard of this? I read it was a thing. Of course, I wrote it down, then I read it. But still. One thing I’m watching in this matchup? Assuming A.J. Green sits out to rest his ailing Green Toe—see what I did there?—whose fantasy value increases? I picked up Mohamed Sanu in a couple leagues. BUT, I really think the Bengals lean on their run game, especially since Carolina gives up the 7th most fantasy points to opposing RBs. So, I’m looking for a huge game from Giovani Bernard. And to a lesser extent, Jeremy Hill, as well.

  1. Battle of the Pretty Boys?

I asked a female football fan this week what she thought of Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan. You know, from a … not strategic, on the field perspective. She called them both—and I quote—pretty boys. Whatever the case, I find this Bears at Falcons Sunday tilt incredibly enticing, fantasy-wise. Chicago’s defense yields the 8th most points to opposing WRs. And other than the Packers, they’ve not played anyone with WR weapons like Julio and Roddy. Meanwhile, Atlanta’s defense gives up the most points to opposing RBs. Hello there, Matt Forte. I will say I think Martellus Bennett continues a slow slide, not keeping up his early season gaudy fantasy numbers. So, my fake football friends, crank up your Falcons and Bears skill position player options. Forte. Brandon and Alshon. Julio and Roddy. And, of course, the pretty boys Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler. It should be a field day for fireworks and fun.

  1. Where Does It Hurt?

Like you, I’m keeping my watchful eye out for the other injury-riddled guys—and their replacements.

  • Will Megatron play? If not, how does this affect Matthew Stafford (likely down) and Golden Tate (likely up)?
  • The quarterback situation in Arizona remains a bit of a mess. Carson Palmer looks to be out (at least) another week, and Drew Stanton doesn’t look to be ready from his concussion. So, Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd get to run routes for Logan Thomas, he of the 1-for-8 passing and two sacks taken on ten dropbacks in relief last week. It seems we’ve heard this one before for Fitz and company.
  • The Bucs WR corps are banged up. Mike Evans looks good to go, as does Vincent Jackson, this week, though neither are at full strength. They’re going against a Ravens defense giving up only four passing TDs through five weeks. This bodes not so great for Mike Glennon.


I’m doing nachos, fajitas, soft tacos and Coronas Sunday. Why? Because I can’t go more than a couple days without eating Mexican-American / Tex-Mex food. And, hell, we’re into Week 6 now. I’m going through withdrawals.

Besides, a wise man once said that Mexican food and beer help you stay strong, show kindness and have NO RAGRETS. Nope, that wise man was not the Dos Equis Man.

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Standard fantasy stats courtesy of FantasyPros.com.]

Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

Takeaways from the Trenches –- Week 5

They say time flies when you’re having fun. Well, my mom has said it for years. And I’d bet she got it from her older—MUCH older and MUCH wiser—sister. And SHE likely got it from her boyfriend’s grandmother, who … well you get the picture. I’m not sure anyone knows where that phrase originated.


But I’m here to say that fantasy football season time flies as well … even when NOT having fun. Or at least when not winning, which I’m experiencing far too often this fake football season. We just completed Week 5 already.

Really, doesn’t it seem like just yesterday we were gearing up to avoid the pointless Bob Costas and Hines Ward halftime editorial perspectives on opening night? I mean, come on, I have nothing against either guy—in fact, I’ve long been a huge Costas guy, and Ward was an on-field fav—but, truthfully, what do they bring to each broadcast? Serious question here. If someone knows, please tweet me.

In the meantime, let’s look at some high-or low-lights from Week 5. Some of these PPR stats are downright sick, I tell you. Sick, as in not good. Not sick, as in very cool.

Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

  • QB: So yeah. Austin Davis, Brian Hoyer and Kirk Cousins (against Seattle!) all finished with more Week 5 fantasy points than Andrew Luck, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers and Matt Ryan. Just as we all thought.
  • QB Part Deux: In fact, both Davis and Hoyer EACH had more fantasy points than the combined total put up by Nick Foles and Matthew Stafford.
  • RB: Ladies and gentlemen, I present your leading fantasy RB for Week 5 (PPR). One Branden Oliver finished with 34.2 points on 114 yards rushing, 68 yards receiving and 2 touchdowns. Paging Donald Brown. Paging Donald Brown.
  • RB Part Deux: Oliver, undrafted out of Buffalo (college) after breaking James Starks school career rushing yardage record, scored more fantasy points than the combination of LeSean McCoy, Jamaal Charles, Giovani Bernard and Alfred Morris.
  • WR: Three of the Top 10 WRs this week were Kendall Wright, (who scored more in Week 5 than combined prior three weeks), Brian Quick and Travis Benjamin.
  • WR Part Deux: Taylor Gabriel, who cannot be higher than fifth in the ‘looks’ pecking order for Cleveland, finished with more fantasy points than Antonio Brown, Wes Welker, DeAndre Hopkins, Marques Colston, Julian Edelman and Steve Smith, Sr. Oh yeah, and more than Percy Harvin. [See below.]
  • TE: Showing up in your Top 10 fantasy TE list for this week? Timothy Wright and Jim Dray, both backup TEs on their respective teams (NE and Cleveland). Yes, I love fantasy football. Really, I do love fantasy football. I keep convincing myself.

Quick Hits

  1. Happy Fun Time with Tom and Bill: Have you witnessed a more annoying, yet comical, presser than Coach Belichick reminding the Boston media who the Patriots next opponent is?

    Repeatedly? On every question? In his monotone drone? I may be getting this wrong, but I’m pretty sure The Hoodie was trying to let everyone know the Bengals were coming to town. I think. And then, Brady’s SNF touchdown celebration (Is that what that was?) took me right back to 7th grade. From an outsider perspective, anyhow, those two seem like such polar opposites. I can just hear one of their conversations now.

TomTerrific: Hey, Coach, how’s it hanging?

Hoodie: We’re on to Buffalo, Tom.

TomTerrific: Whatevs. Have you seen the forecast yet?

Hoodie: [pause] Tom, you know we don’t focus on anything but the gameplan. It’s the Patriot way.

TomTerrific: Chillax, Coach. I just mean, will it be cold enough for me to wear my new Uggs? They’re totes amazeballs.

Hoodie: [irritated glare] We’re on to Buffalo.

  1. Getting Percy’d: I’m starting this new phrase, which of course means getting ripped off, hoodwinked, swindled, victimized, bamboozled. You may recall me lamenting that in Week 2, I lost a matchup due to my opponent unfairly receiving touchdown points on a long run, when Percy Harvin actually stepped out of bounds. In other words, I got Percy’d. But I’m not bitter.

    Well, it happened again in Week 5, when … not one, not two, but three times, Mr. Harvin scored on touchdown receptions. And all three were nullified by penalties. I’m sure I’m not alone here, but I lost a matchup where, this time, I owned him, and obviously didn’t receive those points. I’m starting a Percy Support Group. Won’t you join me?

  2. Have You Lost Faith in Jesus? Clipboard Jesus, that is. Charlie Whitehurst entered the Titans game versus the Browns in the 2nd quarter when—shockingly!!—Jake Locker got dinged up. His first three plays from scrimmage produced this stat line: 2 completions for 86 yards and 2 touchdowns.
    AP Photo/Mark Zaleski
    AP Photo/Mark Zaleski

    I think many believers had hands raised and were singing his praises. He didn’t make any game-changing mistakes on the stat sheet; yet he also wasn’t able to keep the Browns from changing water into wine … or more specifically, a 25-point deficit into victory. And now, rumblings in Nashville are that—assuming The Hurt Locker can’t go Sunday—the Titans may give rookie Zach Mettenberger a look against Jacksonville. Clipboard Jesus, let someone else take the wheel here. Believe me, there are an infinite number of puns to include in one short paragraph here. So many puns; so little space in this story. 

  3. Throwback Top 10: A quick look at the Top 10 fantasy RBs (PPR), through Week 5, provides a couple of major surprise performers from the “After the Top 4” bunch (DeMarco, Forte, Le’Veon, Marshawn); you’ll want to sit down to hear #5, #6 and #8 on the list. That’s right folks, Justin Forsett, Ahmad Bradshaw and Fred Jackson occupy those spots. [Honestly, I’ve discount double-checked this three times to confirm accuracy, because I find it hard to believe.] They all three are part of a timeshare backfield, and their average age is 30—otherwise known as the fated cutoff point for NFL RBs. Granted, receptions play a huge role in all three cases, but it’s still something to watch for. As the season progresses, will the name backs—I’m looking directly at you, Charles, McCoy and Lacy—rise to the top of fantasy lists? Or will it be next man up, in other NFL cities? Speaking on behalf of old guys everywhere, here’s your reminder: Don’t count out the old guys.

Shhhh … Let’s Keep It Our Little Secret

I’m man enough to admit when I got it wrong.

  • I said a Week 5 matchup with the Rams would be Shady McCoy’s slump-buster. Boy was I wrong. He barely topped the 10 point mark (PPR), essentially with volume (28 touches). But he’s still averaging less than 3 YPC and remains outside the Top 25 of fantasy RBs. At this point, you have to wonder if he can be counted on as a reliable RB2. Scary to think, much less, type that last sentence.
  • So, I wasn’t alone on this one! I thought Bishop Sankey would dance like a star against the Brownies. As my friend @RotoPat said, “Did I say more touches for Bishop Sankey? LOL. Whoops. I meant fewer touches for Bishop Sankey. Sorry about that. Love, Whiz.” Seriously, 8 touches, and playing less than 1/3 of the snaps? That’s not gonna cut it for your most talented back. You listening to me, Tennessee Titans? I speak for all of #FantasyFootball Twitter.
  • Jeremy Maclin entered Week 5 as the 6th rated fantasy WR, averaging right at 18.3 points per game. I thought he’d slow a bit, with more target distribution from Napoleon Dynamite’s twin. I was wrong, and I’ll give the fantasy gods their due here for consistency. Maclin finished Week 5 as the 6th rated fantasy WR, and scored right at 18.6 points.

My Arm CAN Reach Around To Pat Myself On The Back

I also pump my chest when I’m right because I’m the MAN!

  • I will quote myself here; I said Demaryius Thomas “explodes back into relevance” in Week 5. Yeah. 8/226/2 isn’t a bad line. And 42.6 (PPR) fantasy points isn’t bad either. And it could have been even more explosive. Thomas had a 77-yard TD called back due to penalty.
  • I predicted that Martellus Bennett’s fantasy value would slow, and I said it would be due to lowered targets. Shazam! Although playing 86% of the snaps, he was only targeted five times, resulting in three catches. He’d averaged 9 targets per game through four weeks. His 4.7 fantasy points were well below his 20.6 average. Sorry, Big Weirdo.
  • So I picked Justin Forsett to have a good game versus the Colts. Fantasy owners like me were pleased with his 13 touches for 97 yards and a touchdown. Oh yeah, the 22.7 fantasy points didn’t suck either. Now, will it last? I have to ask, ya know, “Justin case”.

So, yeah, fun can come in many forms. In my case, I’ll say I’m having fun getting my ass kicked in a couple leagues. Yeah, that’s fun. But at least I always do my best to stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS. You should too. Until next time …

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Fantasy stats courtesy of eDraft.com.]

Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

Tuesday’s Takeaways from the Trenches -– Week 4

Famed boxing trainer and manager Lou Duva famously said, “You can sum up this sport boxing in two words: You never know.”


After four weeks of the real and fake football season, those two—or would that be three?—words have never been more appropriate.


In one of the more telling stats I’ve seen this year…

Um. Wow.

As I shared last week in this very column, I’m having a very Brady-esque start to my year, especially in a couple leagues. To quote a classic line from one of my favorite movies of all time, Fletch, leaguemates are regularly asking me, Boy, what in THEEEE hell is the matter with you?

In one league, I’m now in the midst of my first four-game losing streak. Ever. In my history of playing fantasy football (over ten years now). But I’m not bitter. Wait, I think I am. Yes, I am bitter. Bitter, party of one.

I was feeling desperate, at 0-3, so made a blockbuster trade, attempting to bolster my incredibly lame, incredibly weak Week 4 #ByeNado-ridden WR corps. I brought in Brandon Marshall (plus spare parts), and departed with Gronk (plus spare parts). Looks good on paper, right? Well, had I not made the trade, I would have won my Week 4 matchup. Sigh. The great Bob Eucker once opined that he “led the league in ‘Go get ’em next time.’” I’m feelin’ ya, Bob. I’m feelin’ ya.

I think I actually may be one step closer to that fantasy bridge jump.

1. Stats That Make You Go Hmmmm

Stats that will certainly make you question your fantasy football intelligence:

  • QB: The Tom Brady struggle is real. He finished behind EVERY starting QB in Week 4—as well as behind backups Derek Anderson, Matthew McGloin and Jimmy Garoppolo (his real backup).
  • QB Part Deux: Joe Flacco finished as the fourth-best fantasy QB in Week 4. He had finished no higher than # 12 during the first three weeks.
  • RB: Matt Asiata, Trent Richardson, Justin Forsett and Lamar Miller all finished Top 8. JUST like we all called it.
  • RB Part Deux: Another LeSean McCoy mention. Of all the RBs who registered points in Week 4, Shady finished ahead of only 5. His 1.7 points put him at #59. And these resulted from McCoy playing on 45 of 60 snaps. Holy wow.
  • WR: Oakland’s Andre Holmes (18.4) finished with more points than the combination of Michael Crabtree (9.3), Cordarrelle Patterson (5.8) and Calvin Johnson (3.2). Um. OK.
  • WR Part Deux: Steve Smith Sr., Eddie Royal and Reggie Wayne finished Top 7. And yes, I played against a team that started all three. Oh, and I lost that matchup.
  • TE: Larry Donnell and Heath Miller finished as the top 2 TEs in Week 4. And Clay Harbor finished at #7, catching all eight of his targets from Blake Bortles for 69 yards.

2. Quick Hits

Being Trent Richardson: The quicksand-like start for one LeSean McCoy is being well-documented.Heck, in this very column last week, we relayed that SIXTY other RBs finished with more fantasy points in week 3 (PPR).

David Maialetti/Staff Photographer Philly.com
David Maialetti/Staff Photographer Philly.com

But now, he has dipped well under Trent Richardson’s infamous line of averaging less than 3 yards per carry. On the year, Shady is averaging 2.7 YPC; over the past two weeks? An astounding 1.35 YPC. Fantasy owners who took him Top 3 overall (which is essentially every league in the world) are drinking heavily.

Clipboard Jesus’ Fifteen Minutes Are Now Over:

#TBH, I wish one Charlie Whitehurst was a better player. And by “better player”, I obviously mean I wish he could last a full game on the field for the Titans, as the backup to Jake Locker, so that he could be in the news more. But not too good. Ya know, because if he was actually really good, one of the best nicknames of all time wouldn’t make any sense. [Whitehurst would not be proverbially holding said clipboard if he was too good.]

Associated Press
Associated Press

As former Montana Tech football coach Bob Green so eloquently put it, “It’s kinda like watching your mother-in-law go off a cliff in your brand new Cadillac. You got mixed feelings.” I like the image the nickname conjures so much, that my Twitter handle—I made one minor edit; I’m the ClipboardJaysus—and image reflect as much. Check me out, Tweeps, @FFHottieAsst.

The Black Unicorn Is Actually The Big Weirdo

Who’s the leader in the clubhouse after four weeks, at the TE position?

FOX Sports
FOX Sports

The Bears TE Martellus Bennett has a few nicknames—read about them here—but he really wants teammates to call him Marty. Just doesn’t feel right to call the fantasy leader simply “Marty”, now does it? What about The Orange Dino? Yeah. I won’t ask if you won’t.

Projections Schmojections

In the aforementioned league where I am … shall we say, ‘struggling’—have I mentioned I am winless in one particular league?—I’ve been projected to win every week. One week I was to score around 120 points; I scored around 80. Don’t let me get my rant on about automated site projections.

3. Top 7

If one were analyze the fantasy rankings (full-point PPR and 4 points for passing TDs) thus far this season, one would find some interesting findings. Well, lucky for you, I’ve done it for you. OK, get this. In the top 7 scorers, you’ll find 1 QB, 1 RB, 1 TE and 4 WRs. Zero RB strategists unite.

  • QB: Bet you, like I, would have wagered something quite valuable that the QB would be Peyton, Rodgers or Brees. WRONG. The answer is Peyton’s replacement in Indy, Andrew Luck.
  • RB: Again, good money would have said that one RB would be someone from Charles, Shady, AP or Forte. NO SIR. DeMarco Murray is your man.
  • TE: It would be ludicrous to think anyone other than Jimmy or Julius or Gronk would be that guy. THANK YOU FOR PLAYING. One Martellus Bennett.
  • WR: There are a couple of household names included here: Antonio Brown, Jordy and Julio. Then … REALLY?? Steve Smith, Sr., who is resurrecting his career with Joe Flacco in Baltimore. I do love his swagger, when he says things like, I’m 35 years old and I ran around them boys like they was schoolyard children.

4. Shhhh … Let’s Keep It Our Little Secret

I can admit it. I was wrong.

  • Ah, yes. Eddie Royal strikes again. And I was DEAD wrong. With breakout-potential-candidate-to-make-Antonio-Gates-irrelevant-gone-south, Ladarius Green, on the shelf Sunday, Philip Rivers found Royal for a 5/105/2 line, good for the 5th best WR slot this week. Ouch.
  • So I’ve been secretly drinking the Allen Robinson Twitter Hype Kool-Aid. He’s certainly got the tools, and hopefully now the QB to get him the rock. Anyhow, he finished with only 5 catches for 38 yards, barely staying in the Top 50 of WRs. Hopefully, I’m simply a bit early in my call. Help me mix up the Kool-Aid next week, won’t you ARob?
  • Is THIS a glimpse of the Trent Richardson the Colts traded for last season? On Sunday, he again played more than half the snaps and got 24 touches. But he actually produced for the brave—or desperate—fantasy owners who played him, finishing as the sixth best RB for the week. And I. Was. Wrong.

5. My Arm CAN Reach Around To Pat Myself On The Back

I’m also not very humble. I’m the MAN!

  • I boldly told everyone to R-E-L-A-X and then start Aaron, Jordy and Randall. OK, perhaps not a huge risk. But I’ll take the honors anyhow. How’d they do? Well, Rodgers finished with 27.88 points (#3 QB), while Nelson and Cobb came in at #2 and #4, respectively, amongst WRs. Don’t know about you, but I’m relaxed again.
  • I said Bishop Sankey would begin grabbing the backfield job for the Titans, at least from a fantasy perspective. He didn’t change the world, but he did finish as the #14 RB for the week. Your move, Whiz.
  • Again, I didn’t walk out on a brittle limb here, but I did think Antonio Brown would eat. And he feasted on the Bucs D, to the tune of a 7/131/2 stat line. The boy can ball. I think I might just have a new mancrush.

And we’ll bring it back around—to boxing. The iconic Muhammad Ali once said, “If they can make penicillin out of moldy bread, they can sure make something out of you.” So, I presume there’s hope for my moldy fake football team this year.

As always, stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS.

[NOTE: This week’s NFL stats courtesy of ProFootballFocus.com. Fantasy stats courtesy of eDraft.com.]

Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.

Friday’s First and 10 –- Week 4

Welcome to Hell Week.

Dreamworks, LLC
Dreamworks, LLC

Crazy, but I always thought Hell Week referred to the week of hazing before initiation into a college fraternity or sorority. Ya know, when the experienced, current brothers or sisters force you to do things against your will, in order to show your stripes, indicating you are worthy. For whatever reason, as I’m typing this, all I can envision is the scene where Will Ferrell runs naked through the streets in the now cult-ish classic flick, Old School.

While looking ahead in this year’s NFL schedule, most circled Weeks 4 and 9 of the 2014 fantasy football season and officially pronounced them Hell Weeks. The schedule-makers take on the role of the experienced frat brothers, making us fake footballers do things against our will. Things like picking up and starting Greg Jennings and Riley Cooper, while Demaryius Thomas and AJ Green are on byes. I’ll be honest; I’m not sure I want to be the guy running through the streets, though.

This week sees Arizona, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Denver, Seattle and St. Louis on bye weeks. That means dependable 2014 fantasy staples such as Marshawn Lynch, Giovani Bernard, Peyton and his schoolyard friends, as well as the Seahawks D/ST are not available.

Yet, in spite of the impending #ByeNado,—@AdamAizer, I hope you trademarked that phrase—life, or Fantasy Football as we know it, carries on. And you can rest in the comfort that today is TGIFFF: Thank God It’s Fantasy Football Friday. Now let’s get to what I’m watching for this weekend.

1. Start Your _________________ ?

Last week, we said to start your Saints. That ended with a big meh. This week, we’re saying to start your Bears and Packers. Fake footballers everywhere are praying to the football gods that Brandon Marshall plays, and that Matt Forte actually has some yards per carry.

CheeseheadsRodgers and his gang assuredly should bounce back … if we all just R-E-L-A-X. In case you don’t know about this, Aaron Rodgers encouraged the cheeseheads everywhere to simply relax. Then when you’ve finished relaxing, start Aaron, Jordy and Randall on your fantasy teams.

2. Pick a Jag, Any Jag.

I’m actually somewhat interested in seeing some of the young receiver talent the Jags have accumulated for Blake Bortles to throw to. There’s Cecil Shorts, Marqise Lee and the Allens (Hurd and Robinson). [This doesn’t even include their 2012 fifth overall pick, Justin Blackmon, suspended indefinitely for substance abuse.] The only problem is … are any of them experienced/healthy enough to play … effectively? Who knows who will get the looks—my money is on Robinson, long-term—or if they’ll simply cancel one another out for the remainder of the season. But it should be fun to watch.

3. Running Backs … Back

In Week 4, a couple of name-backs return to action.

Kansas City Star/David Eulitt
Kansas City Star/David Eulitt

If all goes according to plan, Jamaal Charles is set to return to action, pushing dependable fill-in Knile Davis back to the bench. Fantasy owners hope that a definitive announcement as to Charles’ health is made … sooner than later. Unless your friend, The Handcuff, has been implemented, you’re left to guess how much work JC Superstar will actually garner, and how much a shared backfield will be implemented.

Secondly, will Doug Martin have any impact whatsoever, as HE is set to return against the Steelers on Sunday? Since his strong rookie campaign of 2012, he’s had one 100-yard game, rushed for less than 500 yards total and caught 13 passes. And then we find out he doesn’t like the nicknames Dougie Fresh or Muscle Hamster. Sigh. OK, now read this.

4. The Bishop Needs Dancing Lessons?

After compiling a whopping 28 yards on 8 carries though the first two games, rookie Bishop Sankey “exploded” for 70 yards on 11 touches.

George Walker IV/The Tennessean
George Walker IV/The Tennessean

In spite of being the obvious bright spot in Tennessee’s backfield, Titans head man Ken Whisenhunt still wonders aloud if the Bishop has the feet for the job. All preseason, I said Sankey would eventually become the man in the Titans backfield—but I preached patience. Perhaps we’ll see that soon after some dance lessons, as suggested by Eric.

5. Running of the Colts

Do you think Chuck Pagano and Pep Hamilton watch the same games as we do?


USA Today Sports
USA Today Sports

I’m beginning to wonder. How can Trent Richardson continue to “start” and see more touches than Ahmad Bradshaw? SURELY, smarter heads will prevail. I know this fantasy owner hopes that to be the case. Bradshaw just looks faster, more energetic and, simply put, more valuable to Luck and that Colt offense.

6. Royal Flush?

Eddie Royal fooled the fantasy world once. Shame on us.

FOX Sports
FOX Sports

Last year he began the season with 5 touchdowns on 10 catches, over his first two games. Over his final 12 games, he averaged just over 3 catches per game and 3 total touchdowns. Fool us twice, shame on you. After logging a single catch in Week 1, Royal has tallied 11 catches and 2 TDs in the past two weeks. Here we go again? I’m not buying. Are you?

7. What Can Brown Do for You?

Eight months back, I wrote that Antonio Brown would be a Top 5 fantasy WR in the 2014 season.

Peter Diana/Post-Gazette
Peter Diana/Post-Gazette

After three weeks, AB is the #3 fantasy scoring player (PPR), not just receiver, trailing only Julio Jones and Andrew Luck. It seems Big Ben looks to him every time he drops back to pass. And it certainly helps that Pittsburgh’s ground attack has picked up steam, opening up the passing game. As the 1. and 1.A. option for Roethlisberger, Brown is poised to continue his rise to fantasy stardom. I know what Brown can do for my fantasy team. Do you?

8. Scones—and Kickoff—at High Noon

There’s been so much off-the field shenanigans through the first three weeks of this NFL season, it feels like the on-field play has taken a backseat to the tabloids. So I wonder how many others heard that the Miami “at” Oakland game would be played across the pond and wondered why this hadn’t gotten more press?

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Oh yeah, I guess it got buried on page 13 of the NFL press releases, behind some headlines involving Rice, Roger, Adrian and Greg. I almost feel sorry for the London game ticket purchasers. They’ll be treated to that magical Tannehill-to-Wallace connection. The NFL London Experience will be getting to see which past-his-prime, injury-prone back the Raiders trot out to get stuffed by the Miami D. If the Packers v. Bears game is a bonanza, is this one a Costanza?

For Week 4, in homage to Old School, I’m going all college life by ordering pizza and drinking cheap beer. You know, PBR in the can or some Natty Light. Or if you really want to class the joint up, you could go all out and get some Coors Light. Live a little.

So enjoy the waiver wire pickups playing their British hearts out for your fantasy teams, the pizza and beer. And go watch Old School again. Or Animal House.

Until next time, stay strong, show kindness and NO RAGRETS.

Jay Marks is the Fantasy Football Lead for The Scoop. Follow him on Twitter at @FFHottieAsst.