Behind The Sticks
Shots With MZE
Behind The Sticks
Shots With MZE
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 4 had some pretty big misses (Chubb and Godwin as Dives, whoops), but overall was a decent showing as I went 5-4-1 in my calls and that’s counting an L for Terry McLaurin after he was declared inactive. Let’s get to Week 5.
Andy Dalton, QB Cincinnati Bengals
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 15)
I know what you’re thinking, and yes I did watch Monday Night Football. Dalton was hit and sacked so much against the Steelers that I’m petitioning to change his nickname from the Red Rifle to the Red Rectum, because I’m pretty sure he’s bleeding out of his ass after taking all that abuse. If there’s a cure for an abused rectum in fantasy football, it’s the Arizona Cardinals. Man rocket Kliff Kingsbury will bring his team from the desert to Cincy on Sunday in a matchup of winless teams. To say the Cards have struggled on defense this season, would be an understatement. Through 4 weeks, their defense ranks 2nd in most fantasy points given up to QBs, 2nd most passing touchdowns against and have surrendered the 9th most yards through the air. Meanwhile, Dalton has ranked 3rd in dropbacks and 4th in passing attempts. The Bengals will be down John Ross this week, but this matchup is a glorious one. I think Dalton finds his way into being a QB1 this week. Let’s just hope that bleeding gets fixed.
LeSean McCoy, RB Kansas City Chiefs
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 15)
It’s important for us to look at this version of Shady McCoy as not the guy he was in Philly and Buffalo. He just doesn’t have the same ridiculous quicks that he did when he was younger. There’s still plenty of ability there though, and there’s definitely enough when you remember he plays with Patrick Mahomes. Give me that action all day boss. On Sunday night, the high flying Chiefs will welcome the Colts to Arrowhead. On the season, Indy’s defense has given up the 8th most rushing yards and 9th most fantasy points to RBs. McCoy isn’t playing every snap (46% last week), but at this point in his career, that’s probably for the best long-term. In a game that promises to have points galore, he offers very high-upside RB2/low-end RB1 status in Week 5.
David Montgomery, RB Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 20)
Are we doing this again? Yes. Yes, we are. Do I love this man? Maybe. This is now David Montgomery’s 3rd appearance on the Thrives list early in the season. What can I say? I’m a sucker for DMont even though Matt Nagy hasn’t totally bought in yet. The bald, visor-wearing 2nd year coach is starting to show signs that he’s shaking off his stupidity. In the last 3 weeks, the rookie from Iowa State’s snap percentages have only gone up.
Alshon Jeffery, WR Philadelphia Eagles
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 23)
In the words of the great Aldous Snow, “Who could be scared of a Jeffery?” The big bodied WR for the Eagles finds his way on the Thrives this year for several different reasons. The first and probably the most important is that Philly’s offense is a dynamic one as it continues to get healthy. Beyond that, the former Gamecock (what a name) has a great individual matchup against the Jets’ Darryl Roberts who has struggled mightily this season to say the least. After defeating Green Bay last Thursday, Jeffery has had a little extra rest time for his injury so he should be back to 100%. In our case, we’re going to hope that leads to more red zone looks from Carson Wentz for the WR. Fire up Alshon with confidence on Sunday.
Calvin Ridley, WR Atlanta Falcons
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 25)
Some calls are just a hunch. This is one. Ridley and the Falcons will take on the Texans on Sunday, and they’ve struggled a little bit against opposing passing attacks to start the season surrendering 260 yards/game and have given up the 9th most fantasy points to WRs. The 2nd year wideout from Alabama does have a great one-on-one matchup this coming week against 93 year old Jonathan Joseph. How is this guy still playing? I feel like he’s been in the league since 1991. Regardless of his age, he’s not setup for the most success against a supremely talented WR. The Falcons need to get this young man going, though. After lighting it up in the first 2 weeks, Ridley has gone for 4 catches for 38 yards the last two weeks. That’s not gonna get it done. It starts to change this week.
Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 7)
Does the dude ever stop bitching? He’s a great quarterback and is fun to watch play. It’s what happens in between plays that just irks me about him. He has a resting crybaby face and I just don’t get it. He’s so good. Why does he have to constantly look like he’s about to bitch about something? His bitching might continue this Sunday in a matchup against the Cowboys. Dallas’ defense has been impressive as they’ve allowed the 4th fewest fantasy points to QBs. That’s important and all but the bigger issue for ARod is going to be the potential lack of Davante Adams after he left the game against the Eagles in the 4th with a toe injury. It’s unlikely he plays, which leaves Rodgers’ top weapons as Marquez Valdes-Scantling, Geronimo Allison and Jimmy Graham. Not ideal. I don’t see him finishing in the Top 10.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 5)
Are you really going to do this again, Hank? Did you not learn your lesson last week? After being on the Dives list, Chubb went full rager (boner jokes again, yes!) on Sunday against the Ravens and buried my call. I’m going back to the well this week, however. The Browns will travel to San Francisco to take on the undefeated 49ers (that sounds weird) on Monday night. San Fran’s front 7 is legit, led by DeForest Buckner, Nick Bosa and a cast of other talented guys. While the Browns had great success on the ground against Baltimore, I don’t see it being the case against the Niners, who’ve given up the fewest fantasy points on average to RBs. If Chubb roasts me again, I might need to stop making boner jokes about him.
Josh Jacobs, RB Oakland Raiders
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 24)
They’re playing the Bears. Just don’t do it. That’s it. That’s all you need to know. Seriously. Moving on.
Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 5)
We got a lot of repeaters on the Thrives and Dives this week. After nailing down Cooper as a Dive last week, I’m calling it again. The Cowboys just don’t have enough weapons through the air with Michael Gallup down to take the pressure off of their number 1 option. Add on top of that, the Packers defense has given up the 3rd fewest fantasy points to WRs on the season. I’m a card carrying member of the Cooper Troopers fan club, but even I don’t want to mess with him up this high against Green Bay’s new defense. The biggest reason I’m not a fan of this matchup is shutdown corner Jaire Alexander, who is likely to shadow Cooper. According to Pro Football Focus, Alexander has the 2nd highest coverage grade out of all eligible corners on the season. That’s no bueno for Amari.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, WR Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 5 Rank: 12)
This one hurts. It hurts a lot. There were very few people who were as big on JuJu heading into the season as me, but even I as a Steelers fan have to be a realist. This offense just isn’t going to get it done consistently enough to sustain a high-end WR1. We all watched Monday Night where the Steelers wouldn’t let Mason Rudolph throw the ball down field often and Smith-Schuster finished with 3 catches for 15 yards. If that’s the gameplan moving forward, that crushes JuJu. Even in a great matchup against a Ravens defense that’s actually struggled against the pass, I’m not loving JuJu this week. I’m sorry, JuJu. I love you.
Hank Mardukus is the Blitzed Fantasy columnist. You can yell at him on Twitter 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. After lighting the world on fire by going 7-1-2 in Week 2, I came crashing back to Earth in Week 3 with a 4-5-1 record. That’s still decent (I shoot for about 50%) but ideally we’d have a higher hit rate. That’s where Week 4 comes in.
NOTE: Due to a busy work week, these write-ups will be a little shorter than usual. My apologies but it’s free, so don’t bitch too much now.
Matt Stafford, QB Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 13)
Matty Snapback has a chance to enter the Top 10 for QBs this week. In his matchup against Kansas City and the juggernaut that Patrick Mahomes is running, the Lions are going to have to play keep up. Stafford should have to go to the air early and often against a Chiefs’ secondary that has faced Gardiner Minshew, Derek Carr and an inaccurate Lamar Jackson. That’s significant to note because Kansas City hasn’t been terrible this year but Stafford and his weapons (Kenny G, Jones, Hockenson) provide a different challenge.
James Conner, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 7)
I’m not sure if this is me hoping things turn around for Conner and the Steelers or if I truly agree with what I’m saying here. So do with that what you will. The Terminator has a golden opportunity in a potential get right game for the Steelers this Monday Night at home against the Bengals. Cincinnati has struggled against the run, giving up the 2nd most rushing yards thus far. If Conner and the Steelers don’t get it done this week, I’m going to start drinking heavier.
Wayne Gallman, RB New York Giants
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 22)
After Saquon went down Sunday against Tampa, we’ve seen a lot of different opinions on Wayne Gallman and whether or not he can help your team that much. The one that has made me laugh the most though on Twitter is the amount of people who have said that Gallman isn’t Saquon. Well, no fucking shit he’s not one of the most talented running backs ever with generational abilities. If you follow those people, stop. They’re bad. Gallman does have a great opportunity this week at home against a Redskins defense that has given up the 4th most rushing yards this season. The G-Men’s offense looks reborn under Daniel Jones. I think Gallman will provide you high-end RB2 value.
Terry McLaurin, WR Washington Redskins
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 23)
I love this Giants-Redskins game. Both of their defense are fucking terrible and their offenses have been surprising. McLaurin, the rookie from Ohio State has had a tremendous start to his young career. In all 3 of his games, Scary Terry has gone for over 50 yards and a TD. Good news for him, that should continue this week as he is likely to see a lot of the burnt remains of Janoris Jenkins. He’s #suckedbutts this year. Be on the lookout however as he popped up on the injury report late in the week.
Christian Kirk, WR Arizona Cardinals
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 24)
Captain Kirk is a great volume play. In his 3 games so far, the 2nd year player out of Texas A&M has seen 32 targets which accounts for a 24% target share for the Cardinals offense. Arizona will continue to implement the air raid system with Kyler Murray and that’s a great thing for Kirk as he’ll continue to get looks every week. This week, Kirk should gets a great individual matchup against Shaquill Griffin of the Seahawks and should look to take advantage.
Deshaun Watson, QB Houston Texans
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 3)
Another week, and another appearance for my dear Watson on the Dives list. Last Sunday, Deshaun decided to take a big shit in my mouth with my call as he rolled to an absolutely bonkers game against the Chargers. I’m going back to the well this week though, however. Watson will face a Carolina defense that can get pressure on the quarterback. Houston’s offensive line has struggled so far and could again against the Panthers. Carolina’s secondary has been impressive as well, giving up the 2nd fewest passing yards. I don’t see Deshaun posting another monster game, but I also didn’t see my “parents” telling me that I was adopted either.
Dalvin Cook, RB Minnesota Vikings
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 5)
Yeah, Cook leads the league in rushing. And yeah, he’s looked great doing it. I’m going to bet against him this week, however. Chicago’s defense is ferocious and has given up the 5th fewest rushing yards and the 4th fewest fantasy points to the position. They’re also smart enough to realize that they need to take away the best thing Minnesota has and make Kirk Cousins beat them. If this season has been any indication, he can’t. I don’t see Dalvin finishing in the Top 10 this week.
Nick Chubb, RB Cleveland Browns
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 11)
Despite starting to take over the backfield as he should’ve all along (he played 99% of snaps last week), I think Chubb is gonna have a hard time against the Ravens this week. Boner jokes, they’re funny. Anyways, Baltimore’s defense has been stout against the run this season giving up the 3rd fewest rushing yards and 6th fewest fantasy points to the running back position. And much like the Bears’ D, I can see the Ravens’ D making the QB beat them. Baker Mayfield has not looked right so far and if that continues, the Browns offense is going to continue to struggle.
Amari Cooper, WR Dallas Cowboys
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 5)
Every week, there’s a call that scares me the most. This is the one for this week. Cooper will take on a Saints’ defense this week that has been lit up through the air so far. So why is he on the Dives, Hank? Well, his individual matchup isn’t one that I love. Marshon Lattimore is a solid cover corner who figures to shadow the Cowboys top option in the passing game. Additionally, news broke this week that Cooper had to get an MRI on his ankle on Wednesday. I’m not a big fan of that at all. If the Saints are smart, they’ll make another WR beat them.
Chris Godwin, WR Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(FantasyPros Week 4 Rank: 15)
Tough matchup. A QB I don’t trust. Potential health problems. That’s a bad recipe for a young WR. This week, the 3rd year WR from Penn State will take on the Rams in LA. The Rams have been phenomenal against WRs this year as their secondary has shut down all of the passing attacks they’ve seen so far. And despite balling out last week, I don’t trust Jameis Winston at all, no matter how skrong he is. And much like Cooper, Godwin’s name popped on the injury report as well. He’s the GOD, but we should look to worship somewhere else this Sunday.
Hank Mardukus is a Fantasy Football expert and a weekly columnist at Blitzed Football. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Hello, Blitzers. It’s MZE back with another shot just for you. This time it’s a little different than my trip down memory lane. This past weekend I made some memories in Orchard Park, NY, with my friends from the Bills Mafia. Last season I made my inaugural trip to New Era Field for the Titans/Bills game. At that time I had no real AFC affiliation and that day I was repping the Titans. Long story not worth talking about. That day I met the Blitzed Barkeep and immediately felt a kinship to this fan base. It was a great game won by the Bills on a Steven Hauschka field goal. While that particular day was not my greatest experience, it started something life changing for me. In December of 2018 my friend Lora, who I met on Twitter (you can follow her here) and in person the first time that day in October, invited me to the season finale against the Dolphins. I borrowed her Bruce Smith jersey and repped the 716.
The Bills buried the Fins, Kyle Williams caught the only pass in his pro career, and I had an AFC team to call my own. I had made a few other Bills Mafia friends, thanks to the Bills-Vikings game and my praise for the Bills performance. They asked me if I was coming for the home opener against the Bengals this season and I couldn’t say no. I hopped in my car and made the four plus hour ride. When I got there I found my friends, Mike and Celeste, who have a Bills-themed wedding planned for next year.
They actually made the final cut for a chance to be married at halftime of the Bills-Patriots game but the honor went elsewhere. It was great seeing them and after a quick visit, it was time to visit the legendary Red Pinto Tailgate for a bit.
Tailgating in Orchard Park is always epic but Red Pinto is the must see party every week. They literally use an old, red Pinto and several other items not normally used for cooking to create the day’s feast. They serve breakfast in the morning and incredible tailgate cuisine for lunch. The menu is in a book out front but there are no prices. Everything is on the Pinto folks.
The real show though is, “The Bowling Ball Shot.” The rules are simple. You step up to the portable bar and they pour a cherry liquor that makes cough syrup seem tasty into the holes of an old bowling ball. Guests then pick up the ball, down the shot, drop the ball to the ground, and sound the horn. Don’t worry though, it’s very sanitary. They wipe down the ball with baby wipes after every shot.
After a little time at the Pinto party, my friend, Lora, arrived. We went to Lot 7 to hang out with the Bills’ Stormtrooper. Yes, they have a Stormtrooper and it’s glorious. Lora usually brings a box of shots and they always have Jell-O shots in syringes for the guests. Lora has a plan for every home game. Drink early, stop by noon, and be ready to get home safely after the game. She has it down to a science and it always works. Everyone is invited whether they know you or not. In time, you become family. There’s always a group picture before kickoff it’s tradition. The call of, “Hey a-holes! We’re doing the picture!” rang loud and we all took our spots. It’s not harsh. It’s just who they are. If you are at the game with Lora, be prepared to say hi to a lot of the Bills’ game day staff. She’s a season ticket holder and everyone there knows her. They’re all part of the family too.
The Bills home opener is always a special day but this one was different. This one was for Pancho. Ezra Castro, know amongst Bills fans as Pancho Billa, passed away this past off season due to cancer. He fought the good fight and did a lot of good in his time on this Earth. The Bills made this day for him. His family was on the field for the pregame and Bills’ owners, Terry and Kim Pegula, presented them all with special jerseys to commemorate the day. After a military fly over during the National Anthem, it was time for some football. The crowd was deafening from the opening kickoff.
A 14-0 halftime lead was erased by 17 unanswered Bengals points. Josh Allen led a big drive late, capped by a Frank Gore touchdown with 1:50 to play. A Tre White interception off of a tipped ball sealed the 21-17 win for the home squad and the Bills went to 3-0. I sat in my customized Bills jersey happy for them all. They get the label of ‘table jumpers’ but until you spend real time with them, you just don’t get it. They’re so much more than that awful stereotype. They’re good people who love their team and who open their arms to anyone willing to open them back. My heart will always belong to the Vikings but now I truly know what BuffaLOVE feels like. Can “Skol Bills!” become a thing?
Until next time, Blitzers, may your wings be crispy, your bowling ball holes be clean, and for God’s sake leave the ranch dressing at home.
Yours in football,
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. After an absolutely brutal Week 1 (2-6-2), I rebounded with an outstanding Week 2, going 7-1-2. I just needed to get that shitfest of Week 1 out of my system. Hopefully I’m ready to keep the fire coming for you. Let’s get to Week 3.
Jameis Winston, QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers
(FantasyPros Week 3 Rank: 13)
What in the H-E-DOUBLE FUCK am I doing?! I’ve preached to you guys for a while now to never trust the crab stealin’, Uber gropin’ skrong QB from Tampa. Much like doing the stranger, this just doesn’t feel natural, but here we are. Winston is setup with an absolutely glorious matchup at home this week against the Giants. New York has gotten torched the first two weeks of the season by Dak Prescott and Josh Allen. The G-Men’s defense has given up the 3rd most passing yards on the season as well as the 3rd most fantasy points to QBs. They #suckbutts. The Bucs’ have the weapons on the outside to dominate the Giants’ lowly secondary in Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. It’s hard to believe, and it’s incredibly difficult to trust, but I’m on board with Winston this week getting in the Top 10 of QBs.
Aaron Jones, RB Green Bay Packers
(FantasyPros Week 3 Rank: 10)
Matt Peter LaFleur needs to just #FreeAaronJones already. Recently, the 1st year head coach said to the media that he wants to split touches up between Jones and Jamaal the human bowling ball Williams. Yeah ok sure, Matt, and I want to be inflicted with gonorrhea. I’m not buying it. The 3rd year back from UTEP is the supremely talented one in this backfield and LaFleur knows it. He’s coming off an enormous Week 2 performance against the Vikings, going over 100 yards on the ground while adding 4 receptions. This week he’ll get to run behind his solid offensive line against a Broncos’ defense that has given up the 10th most rushing yards in the league to Josh Jacobs and David Montgomery. I love Jones this week.
David Montgomery, RB Chicago Bears
(FantasyPros Rank: 21)
Mr. Montgomery finds his way on the Thrives list for the 2nd week in a row after his head coach Matt Nagy decided to listen to our pleas and give the rookie the ball more. The only question now is this: will Nagy continue being smart or will he fall back into outsmarting himself? If he continues keeping the ball out of Mitchell the Bitchell Trubisky’s hands, the running back from Iowa State should have another solid outing for your fantasy teams. This week, the Bears will take on the Redskins at home on Monday Night Football. Do yourself a favor and mute the game because, yikes to that MNF crew, and enjoy watching D-Mont on mute rip up a Redskins defense that has given up the 2nd most rushing yards so far this season.
Kenny Golladay, WR Detroit Lions
(FantasyPros Rank: 17)
Last week, Kenny Golladay Powers and his smooth routes were on my Dives list when he was facing a tough matchup against the Chargers. And Golladay responded to my challenge because he definitely read this piece by torching the LA secondary for over 100 yards and a TD. I see you, Kenny. The Lions will travel to Philadelphia this weekend in a matchup that the tall receiver should dominate. On the season, the Eagles have given up the 2nd most fantasy points to WRs while giving up 680 yards through the air. In his first two games, Golladay has seen 19 targets (26% target share) and that number should increase in a game where the Lions should look to the air for offensive success. Kenny gonna make it rain this week.
Marquise Brown, WR Baltimore Ravens
(FantasyPros Rank: 32)
I’m not 100% sure what the guys at FantasyPros are thinking with this ranking, but I’ll take it. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood Brown is shaped up to ball out this week in a game that has the biggest shootout potential. Not only is he a big play waiting to happen, he’s been highly targeted by Right Vick Lamar Jackson. On the season, Brown has seen 19 targets, which equates to a 30% target share in this explosive offense. His snap total in Week 1 was a concern (18% of offensive snaps) but last week he jumped up to a 65% snap rate. The lightning quick rookie from Oklahoma has a terrific one-on-one matchup against KC corner Charvarious Ward and should win consistently on the outside. Time for Hollywood to shine again. He just needs to dance like Leo when he scores.
Deshaun Watson, QB Houston Texans
(FantasyPros Rank: 4)
This one hurts. My dear Watson is one of my favorite players to watch in the league and calling him a Dive isn’t meant as an insult, so please forgive me, Deshaun. I do not love his matchup this week though. The Chargers have a decent secondary and a formidable pass rush with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Unless the Texans’ offensive line stops leaking like Henrik Lundqvist’s five-hole, (I know he’s good, but hooray it’s hockey season, too) Watson is going to be in trouble. He gets the shit beat out of him every game. And while his mobility can save him from pressure, he still gets hit way too often and has been sacked 10 times this season. If you have him, you’re obviously playing him. I just don’t love this spot for the QB from Clemson.
Le’Veon Bell, RB New York Jets
(FantasyPros Rank: 9)
I’ll admit, I was wrong about Lev. He’s looked like his old self in his action with the Jets. The dude is just a great back. This week shapes up to be a potentially difficult one for Bell, however. Traveling to Foxboro to take on the Patriots is always a challenge. It’s going to be an even bigger challenge with Luke Falk at QB. Who and a what is a Luke Falk? If Sam Darnold could not tongue-fuck someone when he kisses, this would be a better opportunity for Le’Veon , but alas here we are. Besides winning, cheating and being a generally miserable human, if there’s one thing Bill Belichick is known for, it’s that he takes away the other team’s best weapon, and in the Jets’ case, their only weapon. Unless Bell just says fuck it and takes every snap himself, I don’t see him as an RB1 this week.
James Conner, RB Pittsburgh Steelers
(FantasyPros Rank: 18)
Another tough one to put down for me on Dives is James Conner. But, I can’t be a homer. He’s got a lot of question marks right now. His health status is a question (no practice as of Wednesday) as well as his new situation with second year QB Mason Rudolph taking the keys to the offense. If that wasn’t enough, Conner faces a 49ers defense this Sunday that has only given up 3.2 yards/carry and has surrendered the 4th fewest fantasy points to the position. They are going to key on the 3rd year back from Pitt much like other defenses have. So far this season, Conner has faced an 8 man box on 38% of his carries. Not ideal. That number could go even higher unless Rudolph and the Steelers offense can turn it around.
Michael Thomas, New Orleans Saints
(FantasyPros Rank: 9)
Thomas is an absolute beast and has a terrific matchup against the Seahawks secondary that has struggled thus far in 2019. So why is he on the Dives? Quarterback. Who the hell is going to be throwing him the football on Sunday? Is it Teddy Two Gloves or Taysom “Steve Young” Hill? (Where does Sean Payton get comparing that dude to Steve Young? I mean, seriously.) Either one doesn’t inspire much confidence. In both games this season, Thomas has seen 13 targets and volume will have to continue to be there for him to return value. Problem is, the volume might not be there. The Saints like to put the ball on the ground and should lean on Alvin Kamara and Latavius Murray even more with Drew Brees down for 6 weeks.
T.Y. Hilton, WR Indianapolis Colts
(FantasyPros Rank: 14)
I swear that I don’t hate T.Y. Hilton. He is perpetually a dive for me and I can’t exactly explain it. He’s a tremendous football player but for some reason, I just don’t trust him all that much. Teams have to start figuring out that he’s the only weapon that the Colts have in the air right now (don’t bring Eric Ebron at me, please. I said weapon.) The Falcons could and should bracket Hilton and make others beat them. Not only should they do that, they should let shutdown corner Desmond Trufant shadow him everywhere (Trufant doesn’t traditionally shadow). Even if they don’t follow through with that strategy, Hilton could be in for a tough week. The Falcons have given up the fewest passing yards this season and that number is inflated by Kirk Cousins’ Week 1 performance of 98 yards, but this defense is improved in 2019. Hilton gets here a lot and usually burns me. Here’s to hoping that doesn’t happen again.
Thanks for reading. I really appreciate all of the views. Throw a follow at me on Twitter. I’ll make it worth your time. @Blitzed_Fantasy
Happy Week 2 Blitzers. A lot happened this week and just like the guys on the show said, there was a perspective adjustment for some teams. We lost Drew Brees and Big Ben to injuries, which could potentially derail their seasons. The Dolphins managed to lose even worse and trade their best player for another 1st round pick in the process. The Packers, Bills and 49ers all moved to 2-0 while the Browns appear to have righted the ship. Kansas City continues to churn out wide receivers while neither fake New York team can find an offense outside of their running backs. One thing that didn’t need a perspective adjustment is that we still miss Clippy. Stats Guy, I love you but a show producer, you are not. In case you missed this week’s show, you can catch it here but again, you didn’t miss much:
Demarcus Robinson (KC)
I could easily have put Patrick Maholmes here but he does what he did, Every. Single. Week. Instead, another Kansas City wide receiver exploded for one hell of a week. Patrick Maholmes is quickly becoming the new quarterback guru in that he can take any Joe Shmoe off the street and turn him into a stud wide receiver capable of shredding any defense. Demarcus Robinson was fresh off a one game absence and turned what was easily the best game of his career- 6 catches, 172 yards and 2 TDs. Perhaps it was that he was so well rested, or that the defense focused so much coverage over to Sammy Watkins. Whatever it was, Robinson went off. Personally, I chose the wrong KC wide receiver to roll with in fantasy (I picked Mercole Hardman) but moving forward I think it’s a crap shoot which one will go off on any given week.
Blitzed Stats: 6 rec, 172 yds 2 TDs
Russell Wilson (SEA)
All Russell Wilson did was go into Pittsburgh and come out victorious with a 28-26 win (no easy task whoever is at QB). He was vintage Russell Wilson evading the pass rush, getting out of the pocket and only missing 6 passes all day. His QB rating of 130.9 was nearly perfect and he added an additional 22 yards on the ground, picking up key first downs with his legs. Seattle is 2-0 and without Wilson under center, I don’t believe they’re undefeated and tied atop the NFC West with the suddenly resurgent 49ers. This Barkeep was impressed with Wilson’s performance on Sunday and was even angrier to see him sitting on the bench in favor of Carson Wentz in his fantasy league.
Blitzed Stats: 29 for 35, 300 yds, 3 TDs, 22 yds rushing
Lamar Jackson (BAL)
How do you not put the quarterback who put up 274 yards passing and 120 yards rushing into your players of the week? Baltimore is 2-0 and is one of the top offenses in the league. Lamar Jackson is the reason for that. Baltimore traded Joe Flacco- Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco- because they believed in Jackson so much and its paying gigantic dividends thus far. He’s electric and I’ll be the first to eat my words and say that I was wrong about him being a complete quarterback. I, for one, would not want to have the job of game-planning for Lamar Jackson.
Blitzed Stats: 24 for 37, 272 yds 2 TDs, 16 car, 120 yds
Odell Beckham Jr. (CLE), Patrick Maholmes (KC)
Mitchell Trubisky (CHI)
For a guy that was touted as a potential MVP candidate, Trubisky has been awful. Yes, I know he led them to the game winning FG but that doesn’t change his 16 of 27 for 140 yard performance while averaging 4.4 yards. His QB rating of 29.9 also doesn’t scream #2 overall pick. Chicago’s defense deserves better.
We don’t really need to beat a dead horse here but how does a professional team honestly tell its fan base with a straight face that its “trying to win” when it puts this product on the field? Its not fair to the players, the fans, the city and anyone that’s ever had to do with the organization. The ’72 perfect team must be pissed.
New England Patriots
Word on the street is that Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization “were not aware of the allegations of sexual misconduct against Antonio Brown” prior to signing him. You were, however, aware of them after and not only did you allow him to play but you made him a focal point of the offense against the worst team in the league. Additionally, you didn’t make him available to the media after the game was over, which is also against league rules. I’m not surprised. Neither is anyone else. Now get out of my bar.
10 Things I think I think after Week 2
1: I refuse to acknowledge the New England Patriots anymore in this column until I have to come playoff time. I’m disgusted that Antonio Brown stepped foot on the field this week.
2. The Bears may not be as good as I thought they were. The defense is still great. I’m worried about that offense.
3. Josh Allen is going to be really, really good when he puts it all together and he gets a true #1 WR. He doesn’t get enough credit.
4. I don’t care for the Dolphins but I feel bad for their fans.
5. Told you the Colts would still be pretty good.
6. Cam Newton’s shoulder is done. He may pull an Andrew Luck.
7. Patrick Maholmes will break every record Brady ever has. And I’m rooting for him to do so.
8. Drew Brees has been the epitome of health. You know it was a weird week when both he and Ben Roethlisberger go down at the same time.
9. Baker Mayfield to OBJ could be a very scary duo.
10. When’s the last time someone in the NFL missed a game for mono?
My Drink of the Week: New Orleans Saints Hurricane
In 15 seasons, Drew Brees has been the constant of health. He never misses games. Due to a freak accident, Brees is out at least six weeks after undergoing thumb surgery to repair a torn ligament. Not only is a great, record-breaking quarterback for the Saints, but he’s a better human being for the community in New Orleans. That’s why this week, the guys will drink to the Saints and have a traditional New Orleans cocktail, a Hurricane.
2 oz. light rum
2 oz. dark rum
2 oz. passion fruit juice
1 oz. orange juice
½ oz. fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon simple syrup
1 tablespoon grenadine
Garnish: orange slice and cherry
Blitzed Build: Shake all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice and strain into a hurricane or pint glass filled with ice. Garnish with a cherry and an orange slice.
The Saints are a talented team and Bridgewater is a capable backup who can hold the ship afloat until Brees returns. With games at Seattle, then home against the Cowboys and Bucs, on the road to Jacksonville and Chicago and finally back home against the Cardinals before their bye week, the Saints are more than capable of winning three, possibly four of those games that Brees will miss. If they can go 4-2 they will be in good shape. Don’t stress out Saints fans. I have faith in you.
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again next week with my Week 3 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 fan Blitzed Football's official bartender. You can follow him and suggest a drink for the guys on Twitter here.
Hey, Blitzers. It’s MZE back for more fun and frolic from the football field…unless you’re a Dolphins fan. It appears that the Miami Dolphins are tanking to a level Rachel Phelps would envy. Two games into the season the Fish, who don’t even realize they're named after a mammal, are 0-2 and so far have been outscored 102-10 AT HOME. To keep that in perspective, the 2018 Chicago Bears didn’t allow their 102nd point until Week Seven of the season. To go even further, after two games the 2019 Dolphins have already allowed over a third of the points the Bears allowed for the entire 2018 season. One Fitzpatrick has already been traded to Pittsburgh. The other hasn’t even given the Dolphins his standard three games of hope at quarterback. From my experience, it's never as easy an explanation as 'they're tanking'. So what's behind this epic collapse in South Beach? Here are a four other factors that I believe may be contributing to this historically bad team.
Underutilizing Kenyan Drake
I may be wearing too much of a fantasy hat here, but I expected a lot out of this guy. After spending much of his first two seasons on the bench, Drake emerged in the final five games of the 2017 season putting up 444 rushing yards and showing promise as the next emerging star. Since then he’s had just 566 rushing yards in his last 18 games. What is it about Drake that the Dolphins don’t like? Is this because he went to Alabama where Nick Saban ended up after walking out on Miami? Are they holding a grudge against an innocent bystander? Guys, Nick Saban doesn’t care. He has taken you out of his contacts, unfriended you on Facebook, and moved on. Maybe you should too and find out what Kenyan has to offer.
Trading Jarvis Landry
In four years with the Dolphins, Jarvis Landry was the go-to receiver. He had 400 catches and 4,038 yards in receptions. The 400 catches were the most for a receiver in his first four years in the league. Jarvis and the Dolphins just couldn’t get along. He wanted a big deal and the Dolphins would have none of it. Know what they did to teach him a lesson? The Dolphins sent Jarvis from the shores of South Beach to the Flats of Cleveland. Hah! That’ll show him. Oh wait…
Drafting Tannehill with no Plan B
Ryan Tannehill came to the Dolphins as the overall 8th pick of the 2012 NFL draft. He had a great career at Texas A&M, giving the Fins high hopes for the future. The Dolphins were all in on Ryan and never had a Plan B. He wasn’t bad but he really wasn’t very good. The team went 42-46 in his career starts and while he threw 124 TDs, he also threw 75 INTs. The Dolphins finally cut bait this season, allowing Tannehill to become the backup QB in Tennessee. They traded with the Arizona Cardinals for Josh Rosen, who is just a year removed from being their first round draft pick. Rosen currently sits behind the man with the golden beard, Ryan Fitzpatrick, wondering what famous retirement community he’ll be traded to next.
No Stability on the Coaching Staff
The Dolphins have begun to go through coaches the way the Kardashian women go through NBA players. Since 2015 they are on head coach number four, offensive coordinator number five, and defensive coordinator number five. Do the coaches even know each other? You know these guys have to present ID every time they show up for work. It’s hard to find a winning combination when you wrote it down on a gum wrapper and flushed it down the commode.
The Dolphins were once a proud franchise, with the only unbeaten season in NFL history, a legendary coach in Don Shula, and a Hall of Fame quarterback in Dan Marino. Now their story is tragic, they can’t remember who the coaches are, and their quarterback has a better beard game than game plan. Somewhere Ray Finkel is smiling…or is it Einhorn?
Until next time, Blitzers, take your talents to South Beach at some point, talk about your favorite member of the Golden Girls, and hit the clubs like Crockett and Tubbs.
Yours in football,
Mike Zimmers Ears is a Vikings fan and a regular columnist for Blitzed Football. You can follow him on Twitter 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. Let’s just say that Week 1 didn’t get off to a great start. I came in thinking I was spiting hot fiya and all I did was spit out shit. This week, things are gonna turn around. I believe it, and you need to as well. Let’s get to it.
QB Buffalo Bills (Fantasy Pros Week 2 Rank: 15)
This dude had 4 turnovers last week against the Jets and still found a way to finish with over 16 fantasy points on the week. He literally finished behind Trubisky, Big Ben and Jameis Winston in grades according to Pro Football Focus and in case you missed it, they #suckedbutts last week. This week, Josh “Uncle Rico” Allen gets to take on the Giants and their absentee defense. Dak Prescott lit up the GMen for 400 yards and 4 touchdowns in Dallas last week while giving up a lot of chunk plays. Not only does Allen possess a cannon for an arm, his mobility keeps his floor high. The 2nd year signal caller finds his way into QB1 status this week.
RB New England Patriots (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 18)
In the words of the great White Goodman, let me introduce you to my fitness consigliere, Michel. Picking a dude as a Thrive who had more carries than yards in Week 1 isn’t normally a recipe for success. But, when you get to play the Miami Dolphins and their defense that just gave up 59 to the Baltimore Ravens in a vicious slaughtering, you can look past some things. Not only did the Fins let Lamar Jackson light them up all day through the air, they gave up 190 yards on the ground as well. The Patriots have a good offensive line and should roll in this one, and if we know anything about Belichick, he’ll run the score up until the game’s over. Michel should bounce back this week.
RB Chicago Bears (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 33)
To pick David Montgomery is to trust Matt Nagy. Can Matt Nagy actually be smart this week and not a total fuckin idiot? We’ll see. I’m going to roll the dice and trust that he’ll recognize the fact that the rookie from Iowa State is his most talented running back and should get the ball more than 6 carries and 1 reception like he did in Week 1 against the Packers. We were all obviously disappointed by that usage (38% snap rate) and need to see more from DMont if he’s going to return his draft day value. A road matchup with the Broncos could help. On Monday night, Denver gave up 113 total yards and 2 touchdowns against fellow rookie Josh Jacobs. If used correctly, Montgomery could see similar success. When Nagy uses the rookie correctly, he’s gonna feel real good about himself.
WR Los Angeles Rams (FantasyPros Rank: 17)
Time for a Kupp check. In his return from a torn ACL, Kupp played on 90% of the Rams snaps while seeing 10 targets from rich-ass Jared Goff. He’s a trusted weapon who should continue to get even more comfortable as he sees more game action. This week, Los Angeles takes on the Saints in a rematch of the NFC Championship and is a game that screams shootout. Points should be scored fast and furious and I love Cooper Kupp this week not only for that but for his individual matchup. If he continues to play the majority of his snaps from the slot, he’s going to see a lot of PJ Williams. PJ Williams is no bueno. Cooper Kupp is going to eat him alive.
WR Oakland Raiders (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 33)
A backup 6th round pick was 22 for 25 for 275 yards and 2 touchdowns in emergency action for Jacksonville against the Chiefs defense last week. I’m no fan of cool guy Derek Carr, but I’m thinking the Raiders passing game can find a way to have some success Sunday in Kansas City in a game where Oakland could have to play catch-up. And if the Raiders are going to have success, Tyrell the Gazelle Williams is going to play a big part of it. With the release of total asshole Antonio Brown, Williams is the de facto number 1 option in the passing game and proved that on Monday night against Denver going for 6 catches and 105 yards with a house call. The Raiders will move him all over the field to get him looks and should find WR2 value in Week 2.
QB Carolina Panthers (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 8)
Wham bam no thank you, Cam. The QB in Carolina got off to a rocky start in Week 1 against the Rams talented defense only throwing for 239 yards and an interception. And while is passing numbers aren’t spectacular, his shoulder seemed fine. What concerns me most about the giant man playing QB is that he didn’t run. Like at all. He had negative yards for rushing. We’re interested in Cam because of his rushing ability and if his foot is still banged up from a preseason injury, we might not see him be too mobile anytime soon and that’s what scares me most. The Bucs defense played pretty well against handsome Jimmy Garoppolo and while Newton is a better QB, I don’t trust him until he starts scrambling. So Cam, for the sake of my fantasy team: Run.
RB Arizona Cardinals (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 9)
It took new coach Kliff Klingsbury all of one week to figure out that you need to throw the ball to DJ. In Week 1 against the Lions, Mr. Johnson caught 6 passes for 55 yards while adding 83 yards rushing in a game that ultimately ended in a tie. This week however, the young Cards travel to Baltimore in a less than ideal matchup. The Ravens absolutely skullfucked the Dolphins in Week 1 and should come in to Baltimore flying high off of their win. They did lose some key contributors to their defense this offseason, but it’s still a solid group that should give rookie Kyler Tyler Murray some issues. And if that’s the case, we could see Arizona playing from behind. Gamescript won’t be kind to Johnson. He’s going to have to get it done through the air if he hopes to live up to his rank this week.
RB Jacksonville Jaguars (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 16)
Earlier I attached a GIF of Uncle Rico with Josh Allen because they can both throw a football over them mountains. But if we’re going by physical appearance, Jags rookie Gardiner Minshew is the definition of that. And I bring up the 6th rounder in this Fournette write-up because that’s his QB for at least this week if not until Big Dick Nick Foles returns from injury. That’s significant. Halloween Leonard already faces 8 man fronts regularly, but with an unchallenged rookie QB in, he’s going to see them even more. And that’s going to start this week in Houston against a Texans team that got gashed by Alvin Kamara on Monday Night. I like Fournette, but he ain’t Kamara. And the Texans should bounce back on defense at home. Their defense only allowed 3.4 yards/carry last season. Much like Johnson, Fournette is going to need to get it done in the air if he’s to return value.
WR Green Bay Packers (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 4)
This is the one that might come back and get me the most. Adams is an awesome receiver playing with a Hall of Fame quarterback at home in a game that everyone who owns him is hoping he rebounds from his 4 catch Week 1 outing. Xavier Rhodes and the Vikings defense might have other ideas though. Last week, Minnesota held Julio Jones to 6 catches and only 31 yards on 11 targets (he did score a garbage time TD, but this is fantasy so we’ll take it) while swarming the computer generated quarterback Matt Ryan in the pocket and forcing him into some bad throws. The Vikings defense is legit and last year they allowed the 3rd fewest passing yards/game. Davante Adams is talented enough that shadow coverage normally won’t bother him, but Rhodes is a great corner. I’m betting on the Vikes and Rhodes here. Adams won’t finish in the Top 12.
WR Detroit Lions (FantasyPros Week 2 Rank: 21)
Casey Heyward and the Chargers made me look like an absolute fuckin’ moron last week. I called T.Y. Hilton as a Dive here and he proceeded to go out and light San Diego, er Los Angeles on fire (they should still be in San Diego). I’m going back to the well with Heyward again though against Kenny G and his smooth routes. The physical corner should shadow the lengthy Lions WR on Sunday and that could be reason enough for Matt Stafford to look to other options in the passing game. Dear Casey,
Hank Mardukus is the Blitzed Football Fantasy columnist. You can yell at him on Twitter here.
Well Blitzers, I for one am very happy that we have football back. Sunday was once again spent creating my ass groove on the couch, eating wings, drinking booze and thinking about all the ways that my beloved Buffalo Bills were screwing up their game, only to pull it out in the end. Funny it was eerily similar to the Blitzed Guy’s show this week produced by Stats while Clippy was out. It was a rough go only to come out with the W in the end. In the guy’s case, the W is that the show was produced and made it to air. Clippy, I miss you. Come back. In all seriousness, if you missed their “show” you can catch it here:
The guys got one thing right- it is Over-Reaction Monday. Browns and Bears fans- relax. Rookies and marginal players who blew up in Week 1 may not produce again all year and superstars that were held in check will figure it out. It’s a long season. Let’s get into Your Barkeep's Week in Review:
Sammy Watkins (KC)
Finally, Sammy Watkins showed why he was a first draft pick all those years ago when the Buffalo Bills traded a ransom to move up to draft him 8th overall. He’s never quite reached his potential simply because he’s never really been able to stay healthy. Watkins certainly looked healthy this past Sunday. He torched the “vaunted” Jacksonville defense to the tune of 9 catches, 198 yards and 3 TDs. More importantly, he came out unscathed and will enter week 2 as the potent Kansas City offense’s #1 wide receiver after Tyreek Hill went down with a significant injury. This Barkeep had Watkins on his Draft Kings roster but left him sitting on his bench in his Yahoo Fantasy league. How dumb.
Blitzed Stats: 9 rec, 198 yds, 3 TDs
Lamar Jackson & Hollywood Brown (BAL)
Yes, it was the Dolphins. Yes, they’re clearly “Tanking for Tua”. But holy crap did they connect on another level. Tanking or not, Jackson was critiqued as being a running back at the quarterback position and he proved his critics wrong. Jackson connected on 17 of 20 for 324 yards and 5 TDs. His QB rating was 99.4 and overall rating was 158.3. His newest toy out of the garage is Hollywood Brown who he connected with 4 times for 147 yards and 2 TDs. I was impressed with the blazing speed and Dolphins or not, those passes were pretty. Their reward for putting up 59 points in week 1? An outing at home against Arizona. I expect much of the same from Jackson and Brown.
Blitzed Stats: Jackson: 17 for 20, 324 yds, 5 TDs; Brown 4 rec, 147 yds 2 TDs
DeSean Jackson (PHI)
Welcome home DeSean Jackson. Its like you never left. Down 17-0, Carson Wentz decided to open up the offense and find his deep threat. Jackson still has the speed to get behind the defense and his Philadelphia reunion resulted in 8 catches for 154 yards and 2 very important TDs. Additionally, it opened up the offense for Philly and they scored 32 unanswered points to win the home opener against division foe Washington. That would have been a very bad loss if they didn’t figure it out. Jackson is certainly buying shots at the bar today.
Blitzed Stats: 8 rec, 154 yds 2 TDs.
Marlon Mack (IND), Austin Eckler (LAC), John Brown (BUF), Josh Jacobs (OAK), Dalvin Cook (MIN)
Baker Mayfield (CLE)
High expectations, a home game and lots of talk does not equal the play that was produced on the field. 25 for 38 for 285 yds does not scream terrible week. 1 touchdown with 3 INTs does. So does a 43-13 thrashing. Cleveland did not see that coming.
Jared Goff (LAR)
Ultimately his team won, but it wasn’t because of him. He was inconsistent with some very ugly passes to the tune of 23 for 39, 186 yds with 1 TD to go along with 1 INT. That doesn’t scream big new contract. The Rams won the game despite Goff’s performance. Does LA have buyer’s remorse after that lucrative contract?
Jameis Winston (TB)
At what point does Tampa move on from Winston? You get a home game against a west coast team traveling 3,000 plus miles on Week 1 and turn in a performance like that? 20 for 36, 194 yds with 1 TD and 3 INT doesn’t cut it for a former #1 overall pick. Personally, I’d get more satisfaction from some crab legs.
10 Things I think I think after Week One
1: The Patriots cheated again and told Antonio Brown before he was released they were signing him. Notice you haven’t heard a peep from Brown since?
2. The Bears are better than how they played Thursday night.
3. The Packers actually have a defense?? They were impressive.
4. How do the Buffalo Bills turn over the ball 4 times and still win the game? Defense. Really, really good defense.
5. The Indianapolis Colts will still be competitive without Luck. Not great, but competitive.
6. Did I mention the Patriots cheated?
7. I will literally give anything in the entire world for the Patriots to not make a 4th straight Super Bowl but after watching them Sunday night, I don’t know how that doesn’t happen.
8. Lamar Jackson is the real deal. Yes, I said it. Baltimore always known for their defense now has a scary offense.
9. I’m as confused as anyone by the Browns, but I think they’ll be alright. But they never should have gotten rid of Gregg Williams.
10. Oakland played lights out. Releasing Antonio Brown gave them a big sigh of relief and they played their game. They’re young, talented and hungry.
My Drink of the Week
It would be too easy to pick the Dolphins as my team and fan base that needed a drink of the week. I feel sorry for their fan base to have to go through what their organization is putting them through. That being said, there was no team this week that came into the season with higher hopes than the one who laid the biggest egg- the Cleveland Browns. I myself picked them as my AFC North division winners this year and well, they just did not look good. Therefore, the guys this week are going to be drinking to all our Browns Blitzed fans because hell. You need it. I give you, the Cleveland Browns Burnt Orange Old Fashioned. *Pay attention to the preparation* I’m talking to you Coach and Stats.
2 oz of a Bulleit Bourbon
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
3 teaspoons sugar
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
Blitzed Build: In a small sauce pan, brown the sugar and orange juice. Don’t cook it too long or it will become very thick. Rub an orange peel around the edge of the glass you’ll be serving the drink it, so it gives it an orange flavor. In a shaker, add one slice orange rind, and 1 teaspoon burnt orange sugar. Muddle the orange rind and sugar together. Add 2 dashes bitters and stir, then add in 2 ounces bourbon whiskey, stir again. Pour over ice in a rocks glass.
This is a little more involved and I’ve given the guys a week to prepare and practice how to make it. I’m sure they will try on Monday night for the first time and completely screw it up. If made correctly, this is an absolutely delicious twist on an original drink. Either way, Browns fans, I feel for you this week. You had high hopes and by the looks of your stadium mid-way through the 4th quarter, the majority of the dog pound was not pleased with the product that was put on the field to begin the 2019-2020 season. But as I said above, it’s a long season so relax. It will get better and I have faith in you.
That’s all for now Blitzers. I’ll be back again next week with my Week 2 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 huge Buffalo Bills fan and Blitzed Football's official bartender. You can follow him on Twitter here or come back every week for his tasty articles.
Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve made it. It’s finally Week 1 of the NFL regular season! After struggling through the offseason and the shitshow that is the preseason, we’re here. And with the start of the season comes a need for fantasy advice. That’s where I come in. 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 have a chance to do what this week. Week 1 is definitely the hardest time of year to write this because we don’t have much to go on in terms of data for this season. But, I’m not going to complain. That’s not what Blitzed is paying me for. They’re paying me to spit hot fiya at you and help your fantasy team. Let’s get to it.
QB Minnesota Vikings (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 14)
Everyone hated Kirk Cousins last year despite throwing for 4,300 yards and 30 touchdowns. But, when you pay a guy eleventy billion dollars like the Vikings did, I guess that’s fair. Captain Kirk gets to kick off year 2 of his tenure in Minnesota with a home matchup against the Falcons. Last season, Atlanta allowed the most fantasy points against the quarterback and around 260 yards/game through the air. They are returning two key starters in Deion Jones and Keanu Neal, so their defense should be improved, but I’m not ready to crown their asses the 85’ Bears yet. Plus, Cousins has arguably the most talented duo of wide receivers in the league in Stefon Diggs and Adam Thielen to throw to (as of this writing, Diggs is questionable with an injury like he always fuckin’ is!) and what the Vikings hope to be an improved offensive line. I’m on Cousins this week. Sorry, that sounds weird. But I’ll ride Cousins. Nope, that’s worst. You get it, though.
RB Seattle Seahawks (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 7)
Total Request Live with Chris Carson Daly should be rejuvenated this weekend with the Seahawks playing at home against the Bengals. Seattle and play caller Brian Schottenheimer want to run, run and run some more and this situation sets up perfectly for the back from Oklahoma State. Not only is Carson a talented, powerful back, he gets to take on a Bengals defense that gave up 138 yards/game on the ground last year and is a significant underdog taking on Seattle and the 12th man. The Seahawks have talked during the preseason about giving Carson a role in the passing game and if they expand his role to that, fantasy owners should be stoked. He’s already in the Top 10 for the week, but I expect this beast to finish in the Top 5 this week.
RB San Francisco 49ers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 31)
To Tevin Coleman owners’ chagrin, the 49ers listed Matt Breida as their starting running back to begin the season. He gets a pretty nice gift getting to fire off his season against the Tampa Bay defense. Last season, the Bucs surrendered 124 yards/game on the ground and the 6th most fantasy points to RBs. Even if Breida splits work with Coleman, he can more than return value. He’s a quick, dynamic runner and a special weapon in the passing game. Manrocket Kyle Shanahan is going to find ways to get this dude the ball. Play Breida.
WR Los Angeles Rams (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 19)
If you read anything I wrote last year, then you know that I fucking love Robert Woods. I think he’s a BAD dude, and so do the Rams. Aspiring male model/rocket scientist/head coach Sean McVay loves getting the ball into Woods’ hands any way possible and should look to do so again starting off the season against Carolina. Last season, Woods led the Rams with a 24% target share and should catch the eye of newly crowned King Jared Goff (my God, did he get a poop ton of money) more this season. Todd Gurley and his knee have been discussed at length this offseason and if it’s truly banged up, I think we could see the Rams go to the air more this season. Rolling the dice on the 3 stud Rams’ WRs can be tough, but Bobby to the Woods is worth it against a Panthers defense that gave up the 6th most TDs through the air last year. He’ll flirt with WR1 status this week.
WR Houston Texans (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 28)
The Texans visit the Saints on Monday Night Football’s opener and holy hell, this game should be a shootout. I’m pretty sure Houston is just saying to hell with running the football and letting Deshaun Watson air it out. I mean, Bill O’Brien has been on some wild shit since basically becoming the GM of the Texans. Acquiring Duke Johnson, Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills while saying bye-bye to Jadeveon Clowney and a ton of future picks, and I AM HERE FOR IT. Throw the ball 800 times a game, Billy! And this is where Will Fuller comes in. When he actually plays with Watson, he is an absolute stud. He’s never going to be more healthy than he is in Week 1 so use him before he falls apart! The Saints gave up the 4th most passing yards last season and we could see their best corner Marshon Lattimore shadowing DeAndre Hopkins, which should lead to Watson to look away from him a little more. I love Fuller this week.
QB Tampa Bay Buccaneers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 3)
It’s not that I don’t think Winston isn’t a decent play. He is. But coming in at number 3?! Holy schnikes! I do not trust this guy whatsoever, even in a terrific matchup. He’s turnover prone and that’s something that I don’t want anything to do with. Last season, Winston threw 14 INT’s in only 11 games and now he’ll be working under head coach Bruce Arians’ new system which calls for longer dropbacks and potentially more pressure. Like I said in my preseason write-up, more pressure means bad decisions which means interceptions which means I’m not a believer in a Top 10 finish this week for this crab stealin’, Uber gropin’ gunslinger.
RB New York Giants (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 1)
WHAT?! HUH?! ARE YOU FUCKING HIGH?! I know what you’re thinking, this is fuckin’ crazy. Saquon is a stud. He’s the best RB in the league. You don’t mess with him. I hear you. If you have him, you’re obviously playing him. This is where it helps to read up top (not a start-sit piece). Playing on the road in Dallas, my boldest call of the week goes here: Barkley won’t finish the week inside the Top 10. The Cowboys allowed the 5th fewest rushing yards/game last season while surrendering 3.8 yard per carry rate to rushers. Their front 7 is damn good. And if history indicates anything, they’ll stack the box against the 2nd year back from Penn State. Last season, Barkley faced an 8 man front on 23% of his carries. That is a huge number. They’ll try and let Eli Dumbface throw it to Sterling Shepard, Evan Engram and the other unknown members, but I’m not sold on the GMen. I know it’s wild, but Barkley isn’t a super-duper play this week.
RB Tennessee Titans (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 21)
Nope, not gonna do it. I don’t care if he looks like Gigantor running a football, I won’t trust him. For starters, Henry has been banged up throughout training camp with a calf strain. Next up on my list of no-no is his role. If and when the Titans fall behind this Sunday against the Browns, Henry will lose passing game work to Dion Lewis. That’s a huge red flag! On top of that, Henry faced an 8 man box 32% of the time on his carries last season. When this large human is on the field, the defense knows what’s coming. For all the talk that Cleveland’s offense has been getting, their defense has improved significantly as well with Sheldon Richardson and Olivier Vernon upfront. I’d never say it to his face because he could kill me with his pinky, but Henry is a bust this week.
WR Pittsburgh Steelers (FantasyPros Week 1 Rank: 6)
Oh, this pains me so much. What kind of Steelers fan am I to put this dude on the list? And to put him on the list when he’s going against the rival Patriots? Man, I suck. But, so does JuJu’s matchup. If there’s one thing I know about Bill Belichick (other than his hard on for white skill players) it’s that he knows how to take away an offense’s best weapon. And I’m sure the curmudgeon has spent most of his time game planning on how to do that to the number 1 in Pittsburgh. He’s going to challenge the Steelers ancillary pieces to step up and beat them. Last season, New England allowed the 2nd lowest catch rate at 61% and their defense is shaping up to be a pretty decent one this season. Trust me, this hurts to say and everyone knows it, but Belichick knows how to murder the Steelers. I don’t see JuJu as a WR1 this week. Cries uncontrollably.
WR Indianapolis Colts (FantasyPros Rank: 23)
T.Y. in texting used to stand for “thank you.” Fantasy owners and Colts fans alike have been saying thank you to Mr. Hilton for a while now as he’s been a standout receiver since coming into the league. This week, Hilton faces off against the Chargers without Andrew Luck (RIP, again) and Jacoby Beef Brisket Brissett at QB. I’m not trusting Hilton with Brissett until we see some sort of chemistry. Add on top of that, Hilton could be shadowed by corner Casey Heyward this weekend. I’m saying no T.Y. this week to Hilton.
Hello, Blitzers! It’s MZE back from vacation and ready for some regular season football. Folks are out here making all kinds of predictions. Add MZE to the list but my predictions are outside of the keg. Let’s take a trip around the league as I do my best Nostradumbass impression.
There they are, my predictions for every team this coming season. What are some of your wild predictions? Hit us up in the comments.
Until next time Blitzers, I predict @Blitzed_Coach still won’t know how to use a Smartphone before Tom Brady retires, every mistake on the Blitzed Radio show will be blamed on @Blitzed_Barkeep, and my compensation for writing for Blitzed won’t buy me a pre-chewed stick of gum.
Yours in football,