Behind The Sticks
Shots With MZE
Behind The Sticks
Shots With MZE
Put a Ring on it (or not)
Hello, Blitzers! It’s your old pal, MZE, back with more content after a little holiday vacation time. We’re into the NFL’s second season where hopes are both found and lost in a heartbeat. The ultimate goal is, of course, to hoist the Lombardi Trophy. It’s a goal that has eluded one dozen NFL teams. I decided to dig into these franchises and have come up with my four top franchises without a Super Bowl title.
Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans
I'm leading this column with the Titans because even though they've never won a Super Bowl, they'll always have the title of "Patriots Dynasty Enders". God bless you, Derrick Henry.
The Houston Oilers were founded in 1960, joining the AFL. The team won back-to-back AFL titles in its first two seasons and made it to the title game in 1963. They joined the NFL in 1970 but didn’t achieve a .500 season until 1974. From 1978 to 1980, coached by O.A. “Bum” Phillips and his signature cowboy hat, the Oilers made the playoffs but came up short each time. It would be 1987 under Johnny Cash wannabe, Jerry Glanville, that the Oilers would get back to the post season. For the next seven seasons they would be a playoff team, three years under Glanville and the last four under Jack Pardee, but wouldn’t get any deeper than the divisional round. In 1997 the franchise moved to Nashville and changed names from the Oilers to the Titans. The 1999 season saw them advance all the way to the Super Bowl with dynamic quarterback, Steve McNair, and under the tutelage of Jeff Fisher, who apparently took several barrels of Texas oil for his hair. They’d make it all the way to the three yard line where their championship dream would end against the Rams (watch the replay because Kevin Dyson was not even close to only a yard short of the end zone). They’ve been back to the playoffs six times since that Super Bowl but have yet to make it back. This franchise’s history has become a country song without the dog dying.
San Diego/LA Chargers
Another team that had AFL success makes this list. From 1960 through 1969, the Chargers made five appearances in the AFL title game, winning once in 1963. They were merged into the NFL in 1970 but it wouldn’t be until 1979 and the advent of “Air Coryell” that they’d make the playoffs. For the next four seasons with Dan Fouts at quarterback (long before he was telling Brent Musberger to shut up while covering the Bourbon Bowl) the Chargers would be a playoff team, falling short each time. It would be 1992 before they’d get back to the post season under head coach, Bobby Ross, and puffy quarterback, Stan Humphries. In three of the next four seasons they would be a playoff team, making it to Super Bowl XXIX where they would succumb to Steve Young and company, 49-26. During the 21st century the franchise has made seven more playoff appearances with 2007 being the closest they’d come to making another Super Bowl visit, losing 21-12 to the Patriots in the AFC title game (but hey every team except for one from New Jersey lost to that team). Two California locations for the franchise and no Super Bowl rings won. I hear Burbank is a nice city.
The third and final AFL crossover team on my list is the Buffalo Bills. Another franchise that had success prior to joining the NFL, the Bills won back-to-back AFL titles in 1964 and 1965 before merging into the NFL in 1970. They made their first NFL playoff appearance in 1974 under head coach, Lou Saban, but were defeated by the Pittsburgh Steelers. They wouldn’t be back to the playoffs until 1980 then again in 1981with quarterback, Joe Ferguson, and head coach, Chuck Knox. They’d lose road games to the Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals in each of those years. Man, remember when the Bengals were relevant? It would be 1988 before the team would see the playoffs again but it would begin a fairly successful run for the franchise. With head coach, Marv Levy, and Hall of Fame quarterback, Jim Kelly, they would make the playoffs in eight of nine seasons. In the middle of this success came the most frustrating run in Super Bowl history. From 1990 through 1993 the Bills would represent the AFC in the Super Bowl. They would lose Super Bowl XXV when Scott Norwood would miss a field goal that made the words, “wide right,” send Bills fans into therapy for several years. They would spot the Redskins a 24-0 lead in Super Bowl XXVI, never recovering. They would be outscored 82-30 combined by the Cowboys in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII making the Bills the only team in history to lose four consecutive Super Bowls. The team would make the playoffs as a wild card in 1998 and 1999 under Wade Phillips. The 1999 team would put Bills fans back in therapy thanks to the words, “Music City Miracle,” and a controversial kickoff return for touchdown that to this day still causes outrage among Orchard Park residents (I don’t have the heart to tell them it may actually have been a backwards pass). The Bills have only made the playoffs one time this century, losing 10-3 to Jacksonville in the 2017 AFC Wild Card game but as far as franchises go, they’ve been left out in the cold and I don’t mean the December temps in New York’s Southern Tier.
You Like That? With all due respect to the above three franchises, no franchise in existence since 1960 has been more beleaguered than the Minnesota Vikings. The Vikings were formed in 1961, joining the NFL as an expansion team. They actually won their first ever game. It would be 1968 under second year coach, Bud Grant, that the team first made the playoffs. One year later they’d make their first Super Bowl appearance where they would be upset by the Kansas City Chiefs, the last one before the AFL-NFL merger. From 1968 through 1982 the Vikings would miss the playoffs just three times. They would play in Super Bowls VIII and IX, losing first to the Dolphins and then the Steelers. The 1975 team would be eliminated from the playoffs when Drew Pearson assaulted Nate Wright to free himself for a 50-yard touchdown pass from Roger Staubach on what would be dubbed, “The Hail Mary.” Apparently offensive pass interference is a gift from the heavens but I digress. Super Bowl XI would be the fourth one lost by the Vikings as they were pounded by the Raiders, 32-14. In all the Vikings have made 29 playoff appearances. They have lost games on the lone kick missed by a Hall of Fame kicker on the season (although that one was really lost by poor coaching choices but that’s for another time), the inability of a coaching staff to count to 11 after a time out, missed chip shot field goals, and other fun and exciting ways (writer’s note: these ways were not fun nor exciting for the writer). A franchise that has produced more Hall of Fame talent than any of the other four and the best overall franchise W-L record among the group but still one that has not been involved in a parade down Main Street, U.S.A. Maybe someday, most likely the day after my funeral.
What franchise without a ring would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments and please read the work of my fine cohorts in crime among the Blitzed family.
Until next time, don’t qualify as a wild card because winning on the road is a bitch, use the time on your bye week wisely, and if you haven’t won a ring yet just use the pull tabs from that six pack you just finished as a substitute.
Yours in football.
Mike Zimmers Ears is a die hard Vikings fan (SKOL!) and a regular columnist for Blitzed Football. You can listen to his Heart and Skol podcast here.
Blitzed Barkeep's Midseason Awards
The 2019 season is half-way done (already?) and two teams remain undefeated. Green Bay and New Orleans remained part of the one-loss club while Buffalo may have shown its true colors. Chicago has a QB issue to deal with and apparently still can’t find a kicker while Kirk Cousins once again shows he’s really no good on national TV (regardless of the Vikings win). The Blitzed crew put on a great show highlighting all things scary in the NFL, which was surprising since Stats Guy was in charge of it. I’m happy to report that your Barkeep is back in their good graces and gave them a winning drink. I’m also two for my last two on game of the week predictions but have put that streak at risk with a doozy below. If you missed the guys' show this week and what I gave them to drink, you can catch it here:
Alright enough chit chat. Let’s get into Your Barkeep’s Mid-Season Awards
Aaron Rodgers (GB)
It's hard to argue with making Rodgers the MVP of the league this year considering what he’s done with who’s he’s done it with. Various injuries have taken his top one, two and three receivers out at any given time (who’s heard of Jake Kumerow, Allen Lazard or Darrius Shepherd before this year?), while also losing one of his backfield mates, Jamal Williams to a scary concussion for several weeks. All Rodgers has done is put his team on his back and led them to a 7-1 record, which is good for 1st place in the competitive NFC North. Rodgers has proven time and again that he is king of the NFL in terms of being able to get it done, no matter who’s on the field with him.
Blitzed Stats: 185-283 (65.4%), 2,324 yds 16 TDs 2 INTs with a 106.7 QBR
Russell Wilson (SEA), Christian McCaffrey (CAR), DeShaun Watson (HOU)
Christian McCaffrey (CAR)
McCaffrey is a human wrecking ball that is the Carolina offense. 1,000 yards rushing and 1,000 receiving is not entirely out of the question at some point in his career. This year he is on pace for the second highest yardage total from scrimmage in NFL history (2,464 total yards behind on Chris Johnson in 2009). He can run, he can catch, he can block and he can protect his quarterback. He can probably play quarterback too if you asked him. Hell, he can probably throw the ball and run under to catch it himself the way he’s going this year. The scariest part of all this? He’s only 23 years old and will most likely have multiple Offensive Player of the Year awards when his career is all said and done.
Blitzed Stats: 141 car, 735 yds, 8TDs; 39 rec, 343 yds, 2 TDs
Dalvin Cook (MIN), Lamar Jackson (BAL), Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Myles Garrett (CLE)
Cleveland’s defense as a whole has not been entirely impressive, but Garrett has been. He is disruptive in both the passing and running game and leads the league in sacks. Additionally, he’s forced two fumbles to help keep Cleveland in the games that they’ve actually been competitive in. Unfortunately, their offense hasn’t been helping much so the defense has had to spend quite a bit of time on the field, protecting a short field at that. A physical specimen of a human being, he’s fun to watch and hopefully gets the chance to showcase his abilities to a national audience sooner than later. He’s my mid-season pick for Defensive Player of the Year.
Blitzed Stats: 24 tackles, 10 sacks, 2 FF
Stephon Gilmore (NE), Nick Bosa (SF)
Josh Jacobs (OAK)
Most NFL experts will probably go with Kyler Murray because he plays the most important position on the field. To be fair, he has performed admirably and deserves the votes that he will most definitely garner come the end of the season. However, Josh Jacobs has my vote. When the Raiders released Antonio Brown, the question arose where will the offense come from? Looking at his body of work, he has helped the Oakland offense remain relevant this season and has given his quarterback a reliable running back with which to keep defenses honest. Jacobs is a dual threat player that has finally been given the opportunity to be a bell cow back. Its paid dividends for Jon Gruden and especially David Carr. Jacobs should continue to produce this season and beyond and has my vote for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Blitzed Stats: 124 car, 620 yds 4TDs; 11 rec. 102 yds.
Kyler Murray (AZ), Terry McLaurin (WAS)
Nick Bosa (SF)
I was fortunate to actually watch the 49ers games these past two weeks and this is a no brainer. This kid is GOOD. Against Carolina (who I thought would put up a little bit of a fight but didn’t), he single-handedly disrupted the Panther backfield, had 3 sacks and picked off Kyle Allen from basically two yards away. When he isn’t sacking the quarterback, he’s either in the backfield causing a problem or being double teamed allowing his teammates to have a clear path for the sack. There’s a very good reason San Francisco is 7-0 and its because of their defense. Being fortunate enough to have Arizona give up on a first round QB from last year, select another QB first overall this year and allow Bosa to slide to them with the 2nd pick is not just a stroke of luck. It may end up being franchise altering. He’s the clear-cut Defensive Rookie of the Year.
Blitzed Stats: 24 total tackles, 7 sacks, 1 INT
Devin Bush (PIT), Darnell Savage (GB),
Coach of the Year
Sean Payton (NO)
First Drew Brees went down. Insert Teddy Bridgewater. Then Alvin Kamara went down. Insert Latavious Murray. Then Jared Cook went down. Bring on Multi-tasker Taysom Hill. Payton has masterfully navigated the injury waters and directed his team to a 5-0 record regardless of all these injuries. That speaks volumes to the coaching job he’s done this year. That defense is legit and the offense did just enough in the absence of all their stars to remain in 1st place in the NFC South. Payton again has them in position to make a Super Bowl run and a lot of it has to do with how well coached they are. At this point, he’s my choice for Coach of the Year over several very worthy candidates.
Matt LaFleur (GB), Sean McDermott (BUF), Kyle Shanahan (SF)
10 Things I THINK I Think
1: The NFC will come down to the Saints and the 49ers. Both are really, really good. I’m still waiting to see the 49ers get challenged.
2. The Patriots defense is one of the best I have ever seen and it makes me sick.
3. I told you Buffalo was not really a 5-1 team. Philadelphia brought them back to earth. Is that the loss they needed to wake up or are they really an 8-8 team with a kosher schedule?
4. Fitztragic showed up in game 3 against Pittsburgh. Its all downhill from here.
5. I didn’t even realize LA and Cincinnati were playing in London this week. Did you?
6. Speaking of Cincinnati, I think they’re worse than Miami without deliberately trying to tank. Yikes.
7. Jameis Winston continues to turn the ball over way too much. He’s done in Tampa.
8. Matt Schaub is still in the NFL? And he threw for 400 yards? How about that!
9. I can’t believe Mitchell Trubisky was a top 3 MVP candidate by Vegas odds at the start of the season. Even worse, Patrick Mahomes and DeShaun Watson were both picked after him.
10. Who needs the 1st overall pick worse? The Dolphins or the Bengals? And will they actually take Tua? Chase Young is making a strong case to be picked over him.
My Drink of the Week: Purple Rain Cocktail
Looking ahead to Week 9, I had one game circled from a while back that interested me. The reason why is that I figured this could be a game that the 7-0 New England Patriots lose as they travel to the 5-2 Baltimore Ravens. So, the guys this week will be drinking (happily or heavily depending on the outcome) a Baltimore Ravens Purple Rain Cocktail.
1 oz. pure Pineapple Juice
2 oz. vodka
1/2 oz. triple sec
1/4 oz. blue curacao
3/4 oz. concord grape juice
1/2 lime, juiced
Blitzed Build: Combine pineapple juice, vodka, triple sec, blue curacao, grape juice, and lime juice in a shaker with ice. Shake and strain into a sugar-rimmed cocktail glass.
The idea behind the name of the drink is that I’m hoping the Ravens bring the rain down on the Patriots and hand them their first loss of the season. Baltimore, and in particular Lamar Jackson, have the tools necessary to beat New England. You aren’t going to beat them through a heavy passing attack with the secondary they have in place. You have to run the ball. Ironically, Baltimore has that quarterback that everyone has downplayed as a running quarterback. It may just come in handy this weekend. Add in the human bowling ball Mark Ingram and Baltimore may have enough to keep Brady off the field and put up enough points to ruin the aspirations of their perfect season. Its time for Lamar Jackson to show his worth and have the game of his life. America is depending on it. I may have already sampled one too many Purple Rains, but your Barkeep is going out on a limb and picking the Ravens in an upset this week.
Blitzed Barkeep’s VERY BOLD Prediction:
Baltimore 24 New England 23
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again next week with my Week 9 review of the guy’s show and what they’ll be drinking next. As always, remember to always take Brady’s name in vein, tip your bartenders on the way out and if you’ve had too much to drink, give your keys to a friend.
The Blitzed Barkeep is a Buffalo Bills expert, an accomplished podcaster and the official bartender of Blitzed Football. You can follow him on Twitter here.
Bankin' on Tankin'
Hello, Blitzers. It’s MZE back to talk about another topic that’s been on my mind. We are watching some really bad football this 2019 season coming from Miami, Cincinnati, our nation’s capital, and New Jersey (twice). Being bad sometimes can be considered good. Being the worst in the NFL nets a team the first overall choice in the coming draft. The motto for awful football in 2019 is, “Tank for Tua,” as in Alabama quarterback, Tua Tagavailoa. I began to wonder how well this ‘tanking’ philosophy has worked for teams in the past. I grabbed the laptop and investigated number on picks from 1995 through 2014 to see who has gone big and who has gone home. You may ask, “But MZE why stop at 2014?” Then again you may just leave the page to grab a brew and a sandwich. For those asking my reasoning is I wanted to give the draftees time to play through their rookie contract in order to make a ruling on these picks and what they did with the team that drafted them. Question out of the way, I give you my personal three biggest flops and three biggest props.
David Carr (Houston Texans – 2002)
David Carr lit up the college scene at Fresno State University. He threw for 4,839 yards and 46 touchdowns in his senior year in leading the Bulldogs to an 11-3 record. The expansion Houston Texans thought they had their ride for years to come. Unfortunately this Carr turned into a hoopty that barely made it down the block. Carr had 75 starts for the Texans with his team going 22-53 in them. He threw for 13,391 yards with 59 touchdowns against 65 interceptions over that time. His offensive line didn’t wasn’t exactly Turtle Wax either in terms of protection the Carr as he was sacked 249 times during his time in Houston. This Carr turned out to be quite the lemon.
Ki Jana Carter (Cincinnati Bengals – 1995)
Ki Jana Carter was part of one of the best offensive teams in Penn State history. He ran for 1,539 yards and averaged 7.8 yards per carry during the 1994 Penn State regular season and added three touchdown runs in the Rose Bowl including an 83-yarder on Penn State’s first play from scrimmage to complete an undefeated season (which should have netted them the National Championship but I digress). The Bengals were coming off of a 3-13 season and had no clear cut bell cow running back. Carter seemed to be the perfect fit so they traded with the Carolina Panthers up to the one spot to get him. In his first preseason game, Carter blew out his knee at the Silverdome and his career never reached the level everyone had hoped. He was with the team for 64 games getting just 227 carries for 747 yards and 16 TDs. He also had 52 catches for 375 YDS and a touchdown. The team won just 22 of those games the former Nittany Lion never did earn his Bengal stripes.
Jamarcus Russell (2007 Oakland Raiders)
Russell was a strong-armed QB out of LSU. In total he threw for 6,625 yards over three years with a 61.9% completion rate, which improved in each of his three seasons 52 touchdowns and just 21 interceptions. The Raiders finished 2006 with a 2-14 record and between Andrew Walter and Aaron Brooks their quarterback situation looked dismal. Russell seemed to be a match for the Raiders but he quickly proved to be a bigger headache than help. He held out prior to his first training camp and made just one start as a rookie. After a 5-10 second year, Russell must have gotten a thumbs down from Chuck Norris or something as he showed up for camp weighing over 300 pounds. He would make just nine more NFL starts and ended his career with a 7-18 record, 4,083 yards, 18 touchdowns, and 23 interceptions. The man who allegedly could throw a football 70 yards from his knees couldn’t seem to push himself away from the dining table.
Orlando Pace (1997 St. Louis Rams)
Pace was a mountain of an offensive lineman out of Ohio State University. The St. Louis Rams were coming off of a 6-10 season looking to bolster their offensive line. They traded their first round pick to the Jets, who held the top spot, and took Pace. In his 12 seasons with the team, the Rams made five playoff appearances and won a Super Bowl. Pace was named to seven Pro Bowls, was a three-time Pro Bowler and in 2016 was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Seems like the Rams were smart to keep Pace.
Eli Manning (2004 San Diego Chargers/New York Giants)
Right now you’re probably saying, “MZE, what the hell?” I get it but hear me out. This is an interesting case. In 2004 the San Diego Chargers had the first pick in the NFL Draft and chose Eli Manning from Ole Miss. It was here when we first got the professional version of the “Eli Pout.” Manning did not want the Chargers to choose him and let it be known. The Spanos family stuck its collective fingers in their ears and chose Eli anyway. He lasted about an hour with the Chargers and was dealt to the Giants for their first pick, Phillip Rivers, as well as other choices in the draft. Manning has made it to the Pro Bowl four times and took two Super Bowl rings away from Tom Brady, warranting him a place in my heart forever. As of the writing of this piece, Eli has a 116-116 record as a starter with 56,537 yards, 362 touchdowns, and 241 interceptions. He is also 8-4 in six playoff appearances. While Rivers has had a nice career with the Chargers, the Book of Eli has been an overall better read.
Peyton Manning (1998 Indianapolis Colts)
Peyton Manning had a fabulous career with the Tennessee Volunteers (remember when they actually fielded a good football team?). In his four-year college career, Peyton threw for 11,201yards, 89 touchdowns, and just 33 interceptions. The Colts were coming off of a miserable 3-13 season with Jim Harbaugh behind center and chose Manning with their first pick. He did not pout his way out of town. Instead Peyton started 208 games with the Colts, going 141-67 in that time. He amassed 54,828 passing yards and threw for 399 touchdowns in his time there. The Colts made 11 playoff appearances with Peyton at the helm and won a Super Bowl ring in 2006. He was named to 11 Pro Bowls and garnered five All-Pro honors as well. It’s clear that in the 1998 draft, Peyton found his place.
While most of the number one overall draft picks in this study had at least one playoff appearances with several having multiples, only Peyton Manning and Orlando Pace won Super Bowl rings with the team that drafted them. The individual honors among this group are many but is tanking for the top pick really worth it? If rings are the ultimate goal, MZE says it’s a no.
Until next time my friends, may all your number one picks be stars, may all your needs be filled, and may the only tanking you do involve choosing a lobster for dinner with your special someone.
Yours in football,
Mike Zimmers Ears is a Minnesota Vikings expert ad regular columnist with Blitzed Football. You can listen to his new Vikings podcast, Heart and Skol here.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 7 was ok. I went 4-5-1 which is one win short of what we’re aiming for. Week 8 is a new opportunity though. Time to get better.
Ryan Tannehill, QB Tennessee Titans
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 14)
First, let me say this: yuck. I, like you, cannot believe that I am calling Ryan Tannehill a Thrive this week. Crazier things have happened I suppose. After replacing Marcus Marioto (shoutout Roger Goodell) in Week 7, the former Dolphins’ QB went for over 300 yards and 2 TD’s against a good Chargers’ secondary. Even better for the Titans’ QB, he gets to face the Buccaneers and their very giving pass defense. On the season, Tampa has given up the 7th most fantasy points to QB’s and the most passing yards/game with over 300. Their pass defense #sucksbutts. Having found chemistry with top receiver, Corey Davis, everything is shaping up for Tannehill to be the streamer of the week at QB.
Todd Gurley, RB Los Angeles Rams
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 8)
Anything with Gurley this season is a bit of a risk. If you drafted him high, it was risky. If you’ve traded for him, it’s risky. If you play him in DFS, it’s risky. You get it. We can’t be, for lack of a better word, pussies in fantasy football. Embrace the risk. Ride it, live it, love it. Sorry if that felt like a McConaughey Lincoln commercial. I understand the fear with Gurley. Last week in Atlanta, he played 61% of snaps (it was a blowout) and hasn’t seen his usual level of production. This week, the Rams will play the winless Bengals in London. That’s great news for TGII. Cincinnati has given up the most fantasy points to RBs and has allowed the most rushing yards/game on the season with 189. Their rush defense #sucksbutts (I know that’s twice). Despite not having his usual point total and production, Gurley still has the 7th most red zone carries in the league and should see plenty of opportunities for more. Ride the risk this week.
Ty Johnson, RB Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 29)
I won’t lie, I don’t know much about this Johnson. He’s not the preferred Johnson in Detroit, but he’s the Johnson that’s going to have to work for now with Kerryon done for awhile due to his knee injury. What I have discovered about Ty Johnson, the 6th round pick out of Maryland is that his player comparison is Kenyan Drake. Drake is a damn good player; we just don’t get to see it that much because he’s stuck in the shit sandwich that is Miami. Johnson will be given the opportunity to carry the load left by K. Johnson this week in a matchup against the Giants. If you saw what Chase Edmonds just did to New York, this spot should be very interesting for you. The G-Men are giving up 131 rushing yards/game and have surrendered the 5th most fantasy points to RBs. The new Johnson should finish as an RB2 this week.
Courtland Sutton, WR Denver Broncos
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 18)
The second year WR from SMU has had a tremendous first 7 weeks to his season and is currently a WR1 in 12 team leagues. He deserves an award for being able to do that with Joe Flacco as his QB. That dude is an absolute statue back there. He’s tough to watch. Sorry, Broncos fans. Earlier this week, Denver shipped Emmanuel Sanders to San Francisco which vacates even more targets and opportunities for the skyscraper of a receiver. The Colts have been middle of the pack against WRs this year but Sutton has one of the better one-on-one matchups of Week 8 against Pierre Desir on Sunday, per Pro Football Focus. His QB is brutal to watch, but this guy is too good. I think he could crawl into low-end WR1 status this week.
Kenny Stills, WR Houston Texans
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 35)
Surprise, surprise: Will Fuller is hurt again. With Fuller being down for the 47th time in his young career, Kenny “Dollar Bills” Stills will more than likely fill that role. He did on Sunday against the Colts after Fuller’s latest injury where Stills dropped a 4/105 line on Indy. He should have even more opportunities this week against the Raiders. I, mean we all saw what Aaron Rodgers just did to Oakland’s defense on Sunday and more could be in store for their defense on Sunday against Deshaun Watson and company. The Raiders’ pass defense has given up around 290 passing yards/game and the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs. Stills is a volatile play because he’ll need to hit a big play or two to make it worth this call but at least his QB loves bombing it out. I think those big plays happen and Stills will be getting the bills for you and your team on Sunday.
Tom Brady, QB New England Patriots
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 6)
I’m by law required to say this because of who I write for: fuck this guy. Now that that’s out of the way with, let’s get to the fantasy breakdown. Brady is currently sitting at QB9 on the season but hasn’t wowed so far in terms of fantasy production. This Sunday could be more of the same against a Browns defense that has given up a little over 200 yards passing/game and should have a healthier secondary coming off of their bye week. New England should be in charge of this game and should continue to use their power running game and dominant defense to do it. They don’t need Brady to murder the opposition. (Brady proceeds to throw 6 TD’s on Sunday and we all get to hate him some more).
Christian McCaffrey, RB Carolina Panthers
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 2)
Yeah, I’m out of my fucking mind. I say this every week: there’s always a call that scares me most and here it is. The fantasy MVP so far will travel to San Francisco to take on their ferocious front 7. The Niners have given up the 2nd fewest fantasy points to RBs and have allowed under 100 yards rushing/game and that’s the basis for this call. CMC does get it done through the air frequently and could again on Sunday but the 49ers inside linebackers have some speed and coverage ability to potentially slow down white Tomlinson. I’m scared shitless on this one.
Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 12)
I don’t have much to say here. It’s the 4th time I’ve putt Chubb on this list and he’s beating me 2-1 so far. Those two wins of is are games where he stole my soul and then shit on my remains just for good measure, but we’re about to get even this week. New England’s defense is downright nasty and Belichick will always take away the other team’s best weapon and right now that’s Mr. Chubb. I don’t see the Pats fearing the Browns’ passing attack with Baker Mayfield looking like a less hammered Johnny Manziel and the Browns OLine letting more guys inside than a Kardashian. Chubb doesn’t finish as an RB1 or even a high end RB2.
T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 7)
Hilton looked great on Sunday coming back from injury, ripping the Texans for 74 yards and a touchdown. This call has more to do with the potential matchup of Chris Harris Jr. on Hilton (unless the Broncos go full sale and dump Harris like they did Manny Sanders). Denver has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to WRs and the 3rd fewest passing yards/game with under 200. Despite no Bradley Chubb, the Broncos’ defense is still a tough unit that can get pressure on QBs and make life tough on passing attacks.
Keenan Allen, WR Los Angeles Chargers
(FantasyPros Week 8 Rank: 9)
Maybe you’re new here. Something is wrong with the Chargers and their offense. Allen was on this list last week so I’m going to go ahead and plagiarize myself and show you a few things that I said last week.
“There’s something seriously wrong with the Chargers’ offense and it’s their offensive line. Noted father of 1800 children Philip Rivers doesn’t have any time to throw and hasn’t hooked up with his top target as much as we’d like.”
“Until we see a get right game, I don’t think Allen finishes in the Top 10.”
Yeah, all of that shit still stands, especially against the Bears.
Thanks for reading!
Hank Mardukus is a fantasy football expert and the Fantasy columnist with Blitzed Football. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Week 7 has come and gone. Still undefeated are the guys by the Bay and those cheaters from New England that we hate to mention here at Blitzed. The Saints continue to march along without their captain, while Green Bay and Buffalo keep pace with 1 loss a piece. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Miami and Cincinnati still have no wins while Atlanta picked a really bad year to suck as well. Speaking of sucking, the guys opinion of my drink last week was not too kind and that’s ok. The drink was still better than your producing abilities while Clippy was out, Stats Guy. Everyone is allowed to mess up once in a while so I’ll own up to this one. Perhaps it wasn’t my best cocktail but I’m still 14 for 15 on the year for great drinks which isn’t too shabby. I will admit though, the rest of the show was great, and I found their conspiracy theory especially intriguing this week. If you didn’t see it, you can catch it here:
Let’s get into Your Barkeep’s Week 7 in Review:
Aaron Rodgers (GB)
Holy sh*t. The quarterback that many consider one of the best in the game had his best performance ever as a pro at the expense of the Oakland Raiders. Unbeknownst to me, this was also his first ever game with a perfect quarterback rating (really?). He was so good that he had the same number of incompletions in this game that he did touchdowns (5 passing and 1 rushing). The real reason I’m buying his tab this week? He actually got a former 1st round pick traded from Oakland after game because he made him look so bad (not really but that the story we’re sticking with). Very nice Mr. Rodgers. Very nice indeed. Allow me to take care of your tab this week.
Blitzed Stats: 25 for 31, 429 yds 5 TDs, 1 rush TD
Marvin Jones (DET)
As a rule, I’ve only bought drinks for players who’s teams won that week but this week I’m making an exception. Why, Barkeep, is this the exception you ask? Well, Jones joins an exclusive company of being only the third receiver in the history of the NFL to catch four (4) touchdowns in one game on two separate occasions. Additionally, he actually dropped a 5th touchdown pass in this game, which would have tied the single game record. His other numbers don’t jump off the page at you: 10 receptions for 93 yards, but when you consider that 40% of those catches went for touchdowns? Wow. By the way, the other two players to catch four TDs in a game twice? Jerry Rice and Sterling Sharpe. Shots on me, Mr. Jones.
Blitzed Stats: 10 rec, 93 yds; 4TDs
Jacoby Brissett (IND)
Andrew Luck? Who’s that? Brissett put on his best Luck impression as the Indianapolis Colts took over sole possession of the AFC South behind Brissett’s impressive performance against a strong Houston defense. Brissett isn’t flashy. Normally the Colts lean on a strong running game. However, the Colts needed to air it out and Brissett’s arm capably took over. He showed why he was a coveted free agent (albeit a backup QB free agent) and why Indy promptly gave him an extension shortly after their franchise QB hung them up back in August. Indianapolis is confident in Brissett under center and he’s quietly led the Colts to a surprising 4-2 record. Colts Nation, welcome to the bar, your tab is on me this week.
Blitzed Stats: 26 of 39, 326 yds; 4 TDs
Latavious Murray (NO), 49er Defense, Kirk Cousins (MIN), Kansas City Defense
Sam Darnold (NYJ)
Last week, I took care of your tab. Apparently, I over-served you because this week you were “seeing ghosts” and throwing up prayers for your wide receivers to try and catch. This week’s performance was simply pathetic. I had hopes that the Jets would show up against the Patriots to give them a run for their money. Instead, you go 11 of 32, for 86 yds with no TDs, 4 INTs and a lost fumble. Please leave my bar. Now.
Melvin Gordon (LAC)
What do you get when you hold out for the first four games in order to be paid like a top 3 running back? 36 carries, 81 yards (2.3 avg) with 2 fumbles, 0 TDs to go along with 9 rec for 34 yds and 1 TD. Your team has also lost all three games you’ve been a part of. You fumbled trying to score from the one-yard line to win the game with :20 seconds left this past week and couldn’t score on two separate occasions. Yeah, those numbers SCREAM top-flight running back. Show me the money! As in, pay for your own tab and get out of my bar you bum.
Joe Flacco (DEN)
Watching that game on Thursday night, I couldn’t believe how bad Flacco looked. Part of it was his offensive line. Part of it was how long he held onto the ball. Most of it was that he simply just looked so disinterested in being a part of that game. He was sacked nine (9) times by a porous Kansas City defense and only managed to put up six points and 205 total yards against a defense that gives up an average of 21.4 points and 377 yards a game. Even though you need a drink, you can’t have one here. See ya, Mr. Flacco.
10 Things I THINK I Think
1: 49ers are going all in by trading for Emmanuel Sanders. Its still not enough to beat New England who also just traded for Mohammed Sanu.
2. Welcome back to relevancy, Los Angeles Rams. Ramsey is going to make that defense scary again.
3. 5-1 Buffalo has a Super Bowl-caliber defense but that offense just isn’t ready to take the next step. Playoffs? Yes. But they need more.
4. How many games will Fitzpatrick be amazing before he turns into Fitztragic again? The norm is 4. (Did you know he went to Harvard?)
5. Kirk Cousins is back. But can he win a big game?
6. I told you last week the Chargers were worse with Gordon. Now I think its time to cut ties with him. Someone will take him with all the injuries (hello, Detroit?)
7. What other quarterback can do what Rodgers did, without his number 1 receiver? I can think of maybe 2 others.
8. The Falcons have never really recovered from that Super Bowl loss, have they?
9. Either Baltimore is better than I thought, or Seattle isn’t as good as I thought. Either way, Lamar Jackson keeps on running.
10. What a difference an offensive line makes in Dallas, right? All right in Big D for the time being.
Drink of the Week: 49ers Bottom's Up Cocktail
As I peruse the Week 8 schedule, two games stick out to me: Carolina visiting San Francisco and Green Bay travelling to Kansas City. The more interesting game WOULD have been the Packers going to Arrowhead had Mahomes not dislocated his knee. Since there is no Mahomes/ Rodgers showdown, I think Kansas City is a shell of a team without him so I’m going to put that game on the back burner. Instead, my game of the week will be the 4-2 Carolina Panthers going west to visit the undefeated 6-0 San Francisco 49ers.
2 oz Disaronno
2 oz Triple Sec
2 oz Goldschlager
4 oz Cranberry Juice
Splash of Ginger Ale
Blitzed Build: In a shaker add Disaronno, Triple Sec, Goldschlager, Cranberry Juice and Fresh Ice. Shake and Pour into a high ball glass. Serve on rocks. Top with splash of Ginger Ale.
So, this week, I chose a drink that infused some gold flakes into the cocktail since the 49ers are, of course, named after the California gold rush of 1849. Carolina comes streaming into San Fran hoping to strike gold of their own with undrafted free-agent Kyle Allen at the helm on a 4-game winning streak. He’s currently undefeated himself as a starting quarterback in the NFL and may very well unseat Cam Newton permanently as the Panthers QB. On the other side, San Francisco would love to stay undefeated and has a defense that is unrelenting in their pressure on opposing QBs. Offensively, they bring one of the top-rated rushing attacks to the table with Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman that wears down defenses while Jimmy G uses play action fakes to make the most of his opportunities down the field. I just don’t think Carolina has enough to overcome the stingy defense the 49ers will throw at them. I like San Fran to move to 7-0 on the year in a game that will be close at first but will separate towards the end.
Blitzed Barkeep’s Prediction:
San Francisco 27 Carolina 13
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again next week with my Week 8 review of the guy’s show and what they’ll be drinking next. As always, remember to always take Brady’s name in vein, tip your bartenders on the way out and if you’ve had too much to drink, give your keys to a friend.
Welcome into 5 to Thrive, 5 to Dive. In this weekly write-up, I’ll try to predict which players will outperform their weekly FantasyPros rank (Thrives) and those who will underperform (Dives). This isn’t a start-sit piece. It’s simply telling you who has a chance to do what this week. Week 6 was very successful as I went 6-3-1. Like I’ve said before, I consider 5 correct to be a solid week. So if you read last week, you’re welcome. And if you’re reading this week:
Daniel Jones, QB New York Giants
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 14)
First of all, we need a better nickname for Jones than “Danny Dimes.” I can’t think of one but that one just doesn’t hit for me. This week, the rookie from Duke and the Giants will take on the Cardinals in New York. I’m loving Danny Generic Fratboy Jones for a multitude of reasons. The most important one for him is that most of his weapons, Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, should return from injury. Great news because he won’t have to rely on a running back that they found on the street and a bunch of receiving options that they pulled out of a Manhattan bar. Add on top of that the Cardinals just got buttpounded by Matt Ryan for over 350 yards and 4 TD’s last week and on the season have given up the most fantasy points to QBs and the 3rd most passing yards. This game has shootout potential and Jones should be a QB1 this week in 12 team leagues.
Tevin Coleman, RB San Francisco 49ers
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 18)
Every time I see the name Tevin, I think of Tevin from I Love You, Man because he just the biggest douche in the world. Thankfully, Tevin Coleman isn’t that guy. The 49ers are 5-0. If you saw that coming, you’re either full of shit or an oracle. In his 2 games back from a high ankle injury, Coleman has looked pretty good while getting a ton of goal line work. The 49ers are going to run, run and run some more on a Washington defense that has allowed the 3rd most rushing yards/game in the league and the 6th most fantasy points. The R-Words are going to be in big trouble. I love both Coleman and Matt Breida this week and see Coleman finishing as a high-end RB2.
Frank Gore, RB Buffalo Bills
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 34)
2 weeks in a row with recommending an old running back. 2 weeks in a row with using the “guy with the old balls” gif from Big Daddy. It’s a good day. If you read my Adrian Peterson write-up last week then you’ve basically read what my Gore article is going to be. The Bills, off of a bye, get to take on the Dolphins this week in a game where Buffalo is heavy favorites. The veteran running back from the U has looked spry for his old age and the Bills have rewarded him with a heavy workload. On the season, Frank the Tank has 11, 19, 14, 17, and 14 carries. He’s getting the volume and this week he gets the matchup with a Dolphins defense that has surrendered the 2nd most fantasy points and 2nd most rushing yards/game to running backs. Frank is gonna Gore the hapless Dolphins (sorry).
Allen Robinson, WR Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 26)
I’m going to keep this one pretty short and simple. Robinson is probably going to be shadowed by Marshon Lattimore, who has been lights out the last few weeks so that’s not ideal. ARob’s QB is either Mitchell the Bitchell Trubisky or Chase Daniel and that’s definitely not ideal. But, I don’t think I care. The former Jag WR is just too talented to not think that he finishes this week at least as a WR2. He owns a 25% target share and when actually given an opportunity to shine, he has. Don’t be afraid to fire up Robinson, even with the Saints defense playing well and the Bears QB situation being worse than we can put into words. Fun fact: the Bears passed on Deshaun Watson and Patrick Mahomes for Trubisky. Sorry, Bears fans.
D.K. Metcalf, WR Seattle Seahawks
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 35)
I have no idea what D.K. stands for and I don’t even care to look it up. I’m just going to assume that it means Downfield King. On the season, Metcalf’s aDOT (average depth of target) is over 15 yards. He’s getting the opportunities to make plays downs the field due to his freakish body and athleticism and the fact that he really can’t run the precise routes yet because he looks like an 18 wheeler turning. But, let’s focus on the positives. His quarterback is the front-runner for MVP right now and Baltimore’s defense isn’t what it used to be. They did add Marcus Peters this week but even with that addition, the Ravens can be susceptible to the big play. This game should be a lot of fun between two QB’s who are playing at their peaks. I’ll put my money on Metcalf coming up big on Sunday.
Lamar Jackson, QB Baltimore Ravens
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 2)
Well you’ve arrived to the call that scares the shit out of me for the week. Calling Lamar Jackson as a dive is a dangerous idea considering how even when he can’t get the passing game going, he has the ability to be Right Vick and rush for over 100 yards. I don’t love the Ravens’ talented QB’s situation this week, however. He could be without Hollywood Brown once again as the rookie continues to sit out with an ankle injury. The Seahawks have been in the middle of the pack when it comes to QB production but their home-field advantage is a staggering one. Jackson is my favorite QB to watch in the league. He’s exciting and uber talented. He’s not facing a defense like the Dolphins, Cardinals or Bengals this week though. Seattle will make things tough for the Heisman winner.
Ezekiel Elliott, RB Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 4)
I’m thinking that I’m just going to make a rule that whatever running back is playing the Eagles needs to have expectations tempered. On the season, the Eagles defense has allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points and the 2nd fewest rushing yards/game to RBs and this past week they slowed Dalvin Cook and the Vikings run game down. This week, Philly will take on the Cowboys in Dallas in a game where Amari Cooper might not play and we’re still waiting to see if the stud tackles the Boys’ have will return. Elliott does so much with the volume he gets, but he’s going to need Dak to step up a little bit this week and actually earn his $40M/season deal that he wants and create a little bit of breathing room if Zeke is going to return value. I think he finishes outside the Top 10 at RBs this weekend.
Le’Veon Bell, RB New York Jets
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 8)
He’s playing the Patriots. Belichick takes away the other team’s best player. New England’s defense has been ridiculous this season and held him in check a few weeks ago. There is hope with Darnold back but he doesn’t move the needle enough for me to really believe that he’ll return value. Do I need to say more? No? Ok, good.
Michael Thomas, WR New Orleans Saints
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 4)
Michael Thomas is a target machine and has been able to survive without Drew Brees because of Teddy Two Gloves reliance upon him. Things might be a little more difficult for MT this week though. The Bears are coming off of a bye and have given up the 5th fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season. Alvin Kamara is looking very iffy to play this week and if he doesn’t suit up, Chicago should and will key on the big money WR from Ohio State because behind Kamara and Thomas, there’s not much there on offense for the Saints.
Keenan Allen, WR Los Angeles Chargers
(FantasyPros Week 7 Rank: 6)
As a Steelers’ fan, Sunday was awesome to see as there was Black and Gold everywhere in LA. Second, that’s what you get Chargers ownership for moving your team from San Diego. I hope every game is like that for you in the future. But let’s get to Allen. After going scorched earth, motherfucker on everyone to start the season, KA13 has slowed down considerably the last few weeks with only 11 catches for 99 yards the last three games. There’s something seriously wrong with the Chargers’ offense and it’s their offensive line. Noted father of 1800 children Philip Rivers doesn’t have any time to throw and hasn’t hooked up with his top target as much as we’d like. The Titans defense has been very solid on the season and have given up the 6th fewest passing yards in the league. Until we see a get right game, I don’t think Allen finishes in the Top 10.
Hank Mardukus is a Fantasy Football expert and a regular columnist for Blitzed Football. For tips on Fantasy you can find him on Twitter here.
Well that was an interesting Week 6. The Rams got manhandled by an impressive 49er defense. The Jets appear to be competitive with Darnold behind center (while the Cowboys continue to struggle), the Chiefs dropped another game as Mahomes looked relatively human, the Redskins and Dolphins decided someone had to actually win, the Chargers look worse with Gordon back and Kirk Cousins decided to finally show up to the 2019 season. My apologies for missing Week 5 as your Barkeep was on the IR with a bit of a bug. I couldn’t mix up a drink of the week for the guys this week, so they decided to do some vodka and rum shots. You know how that turned out. If you didn’t see it, or your imagination is turned off for the day, you can catch it here:
Kirk Cousins (MIN)
Apparently being called the weakest link is exactly what Kirk Cousins needed to prove he is worth $88 million. It may have taken 6 weeks but Cousins finally showed up to the 2019 season. Stud wide receivers Adam Thielen and Stephon Diggs (and an entire Minnesota fanbase) breathed a sigh of relief for at least a week as Cousins delivered his best game of the season. Over the past two weeks, Cousins has thrown for 639 yards, 6 TDs and 1 INT while the Vikings have scored 69 points. I’ll gladly take care of your tab, but I have a feeling I’m not the first in line for that this week.
Blitzed Stats: 22 of 29, 339 yds, 4 TDs, 1 INT
Stephon Diggs (MIN)
On the receiving end of Cousins day was one disgruntled star pass catcher, who blew up in a serious way. Trade rumors flying, Diggs played street ball and had a field day against a loose Philadelphia secondary that forgot just how good Diggs can be. Time and again the Eagles secondary left Diggs wide open to the tune of 7 catches for a whopping 167 yards. For Vikings fans, I hope this is just the beginning. Shots all around for Vikings fans this week, on me.
Blitzed Stats: 7 rec, 167 yds, 3 TDs
Sam Darnold (NYJ)
0-4. 23 points combined in the games he missed with mononucleosis. Laughing stock of the NFL. Back comes Darnold and promptly 21 points are put in the first half alone. Not only that, but the Jets come away with their first victory of the season against a team that many considered to be a Super Bowl contender just a week or two ago (not so sure at this moment). Regardless, Darnold had arguably one of his finest games of his young career and drove his team to victory, which is exactly what the Jets had in mind when they drafted him 3rd overall last year. Welcome to the club Mr. Darnold. Your drinks are on me. Just don’t share them with anyone. You’re probably still contagious.
Blitzed Stats: 23 of 32, 338 yds, 2TDs; 1INT
New Orleans Saints Defense, 49er Defense, Kyler Murray (AZ), Matt Ryan (ATL)
Marcus Mariota (TEN)
When Mariota was drafted 2nd overall in 2015, he came in as a highly decorated college QB out of Oregon and was expected to take the Titans to the next level. He has never gotten to that point. He was benched this past week after going 7 for 18 for just 63 yards and 2 INTs. His passer rating was an embarrassing 9.5 while his team was shut out. He’s not the answer in Nashville and it appears they may be kicking him out of their bars too. Permanently.
Jameis Winston (TB)
2015 was not a great year for quarterbacks. The only QB taken before Mariota is making his second appearance on my ‘Duds’ list by throwing 5 INTs and fumbling once across the pond in England. If you’re counting, that’s six turnovers by one person. They’ve seen enough American football now to know that’s not how you’re supposed to be a good quarterback. Arians may give him a vote of confidence on the surface, but Winston has done this far too often now for anyone to really say that his job is secure past this season. In less than five full seasons, he now has 68 career picks. That’s entirely far too many to give your team a chance to win. You’re out of my bar. Again.
NFL Referees (AGAIN)
I said it last week and I’ll say it again. This has got to stop. I was appalled watching the game be taken out of the players hands in the Monday night game. Games are taking longer because there’s a flag on EVERY. SINGLE. PLAY. On top of it all, Pass interferences were supposed to be reviewable and only 7 out of 40 (17.5%) total have been overturned this year. 1 out of 21 since week 3 have been overturned. I personally have watched at least 10 that should have been reversed. The game has become less enjoyable to watch. At this point, no referees are allowed in my bar until this changes. No matter how well you tip.
10 Things I THINK I think
1: Want a conspiracy? The NFL is run by Vegas and gambling. Outcomes are determined ahead of time and games are called as such. (It’s the only explanation I can come up with for how bad the refs are at this point)
2. What the hell happened to the Rams?
3. The NFC is really competitive while the AFC is really not. Don’t believe me? Go look at the standings from top to bottom.
4. That “2-point-attempt” was laughable by the Dolphins to win the game. Tanking is fun.
5. The NFC North is the best division in the NFL. The NFC East is shaping up as possibly the worst.
6. The Chargers are worse now that Melvin Gordon is back.
7. Kyler Murray has a chance to be really good. Give him some talent around him.
8. The Buffalo Bills quietly are the 2nd best team in the AFC. They need some confident, offensively-charged wins to quiet the naysayers about them being true contenders.
9. Lamar Jackson is a freak athlete, however defenses will eventually figure out how to contain him. Just like Michael Vick.
10. That 49ers team is starting to look really good, don’t you think? One of four teams ever to start 5-0 after winning four games or less the previous year.
My Drink of the Week: