Week 1 NFL Fantasy Rankings

by LaDonna Williams

QB’s

  1. Ben Roethlisberger            at Was
  2. Andrew Luck                        vs Det
  3. Aaron Rodgers                     at Jac
  4. Russell Wilson                      vs Mia
  5. Cam Newton                         at Den
  6. Eli Manning                           at Dal
  7. Carson Palmer                     vs NE
  8. Drew Brees                            vs Oak
  9. Brock Osweiler                     vs Chi
  10. Derek Carr                             at NO

QBs to stay away from

Whoever starts for the 49ers. Blaine Gabbert or Colin Kaepernick have not proven they are going to have an outstanding season this year. You might not want them on your team at all.

Tannehill playing against Seattle. The blitzing defense and Sherman is regarded as one of the best shutdown cornerbacks. Thomas the best safety for tackling, coverage and helps defensive backs line up in correct places.

RB’s

  1. Todd Gurley                       at SF
  2. Lamar Miller                      vs Chi
  3. Adrian Peterson               at Ten
  4. David Johnson                   vs NE
  5. Ezekiel Elliott                     vs NYG
  6. Eddie Lacy                           at Jac
  7. Deangelo Williams           at Was
  8. Devonta Freeman             vs TB
  9. LeSean McCoy                    at Bal
  10. Doug Martin                        at Atl

Reason Jamaal Charles isn’t on the list due to his unknown status for the game. Spencer Ware will get the ball, if Charles is out.

RB’s to stay away from

SF Carlos Hyde that line has major issues.

CJ Anderson, who had a mediocre season last year, will not have awesome game against Carolina. Although, Carolina defense wasn’t the best against the run last season. They will get the job done on Thursday.

Jeremy Langford wouldn’t be a good start either. They are playing the Texans and they have one of the best run defenses in the league.

 

WR’s

  1. Julio Jones                        vs TB
  2. Antonio Brown               at Was
  3. DeAndre Hopkins          vs Chi
  4. Dez Bryant                        vs NYG
  5. Odell Beckham                 at Dal
  6. Amari Cooper                   at NO
  7. Jordy Nelson                     at Jac
  8. AJ Green                              at NYJ
  9. Allen Robinson                 vs GB
  10. Brandon Marshall            vs Cin

WR’s to stay away from

Victor Cruz, he is just coming back from injury. He will be a little rusty.

Demaryius Thomas the biggest reason his QB. Trevor Siemian isn’t Peyton nor has he had a snap in the NFL.

Josh Gordon, who hasn’t played since 2014, will be suspended for the first game.

TE’s

  1. Rob Gronkowski       at Ari
  2. Jordan Reed                vs Pit
  3. Greg Olsen                  at Den
  4. Travis Kelce                 vs SD
  5. Gary Barnidge            at Phi
  6. Julius Thomas             vs GB
  7. Delanie Walker          vs Min
  8. Coby Fleener               vs Oak
  9. Zach Ertz                      vs Cle
  10. Jason Witten               vs NYG

TE’s to stay away from

Zach Miller, I see Orton doing horrible against Texans defense. Miller may get the ball just because a double team against Jeffery but not a significant amount.

Any tight end from the Jets… plain and simple they are all horrible.

 

Defense

  1. Panthers           at Den
  2. Seattle               vs Mia
  3. Vikings              at Ten
  4. Rams                   at SF
  5. Green Bay          at Jac
  6. Denver                vs Car
  7. Arizona               vs NE
  8. Houston              vs Chi
  9. Bengals                at NYJ
  10. Patriots                at Ari

Kickers

  1. Stephen Gostkowski             at Ari
  2. Chandler Catanzaro             vs NE
  3. Steven Hauschka                  vs Mia
  4. Mason Crosby                        at Jac
  5. Graham Gano                         at Den
  6. Dan Bailey                               vs NYG
  7. Justin Tucker                           vs Buf
  8. Blair Walsh                              vs Ten
  9. Chris Boswell                           at Was
  10. Adam Vinatieri                       vs Det

2016 Jaguars Spotlight: Tashaun Gipson

By: Ryan Catoe

Good morning Malik, this is Shad Khan owner of the Jacksonville Jaguars, who would you like me to make this check out to? …and then he made sure to add some zeroes on for good measure. 

It’s year four of the Bradley-Caldwell regime, and the results thus far have left a bit of a sour taste in our mouths. Not even the best brews of the Bold City could make up for the lack of success on the field. 

People who are not fans of the Jags can now name a player without the initials MJD. 

The pieces have started coming together however, even if more so behind the scenes. Thanks to a huge push by the Bold City Brigade. If you are ever in Jax for a gameday, make sure to find your way to one of their tailgates and you will not be disappointed.

The Jaguars, who gave up an average of 28 points per game last season, ahead of only the New Orleans Saints, had more money to spend than anyone in 2016 NFL Free Agency, and they were far from bashful with the checkbook. 

They brought in household names like Malik Jackson, Tashaun Gipson and Prince Amukamara on the defensive side of the ball. 

The concern for a lack of a pass rush should be relieved by the secondary help.

The run defense was middle of the pack, but the pass coverage was torched all season. These newcomers along with Jalen Ramsey and Myles Jack are going to attempt to turn that around this season. The lack of pass rush and depth in the secondary contributed to a defense that could not get off the field on third down. The loss of Dante Fowler at the beginning of camp put a definite damper on the excitement and hope for the pass rush.

The streak continued with Jalen Ramsey as he had been rumored to being injured, but were fortunate to have him healed up and ready to go for training camp. 

The biggest addition to the defense in my opinion this season is safety Tashaun Gipson. The 2014 Pro Bowler adds a dimension that the team has been missing. That ball hawk safety who can erase a blown coverage and a defensive mind that picks up on audibles and route keys. The concern for a lack of a pass rush should be relieved by the secondary help. 

Whenever the pass rush would get through it seemed that a receiver would get unrealistically open. Then when the coverage could actually hold we couldn’t break through the wall of opposing O-Linemen. Having that veteran playing center field will force the quarterback to channel his inner Blaine Gabbert and hit that perfect 10 yards out-of-bounds throw away pass.

 It will allow Jonathan Cyprien to play a role more suitable to him as an enforcer. It will allow Cyp to play in the box and shut down the run and impose his physicality. Only the die hard Jaguars fans could name you more than a handful of players, and almost none could name one of the safeties.

Gipson brings a leadership and swagger that will be contagious with the suddenly deep defensive secondary. He will serve as a leader and teacher for rookie Jalen Ramsey. 

It will allow him to learn the ropes and have a solid player to learn from in the meantime. Gus Bradley said the team was “built” last year, but obviously we were a little ways from being complete.

 With the additions this offseason through the draft and free agency, the new look defense could have Duval partying like it’s 1996.

Do all championships matter?

January 15th, 1967
Bart Starr and Vince Lombardi enjoy a cigar together. They have just won their 4th championship together, it’s a back to back championship  (they would 3-peat a year later) they had just won a game they had considered a formality. To us now it was a way more important game. It was Superbowl I. This date divides NFL fans like no other. Imagine what Vince and Bart would have thought if this game, that meant so little to them at the time, would matter more then the 3 championships they had already won. That this one was more real then then the one they had won just the year before.

…do all championships deserve to be counted in any sport?

In 2020, just 4 years from now, the NFL will celebrate it’s 100th anniversary. That NFL season will crown a champion at Superbowl LVI  (56). That leaves 44 championships that happened before the Superbowl. Do those presuperbowl championships count? This question divides many NFL fans. If you enjoy a good argument go to a group with a Packer fan (the NFL leader with 13 if you count presuperbowl) and a Steelers fan (the NFL leader if you only count Superbowls with 6) and ask them if championships count before the Superbowl era. 

This begs the question; do all championships deserve to be counted in any sport? Should we count World Series titles from before the league was integrated? NBA championships from before the NBA and ABA merged? Stanley cups from the original 6 days? College football National Champs from before the playoff system (or before the BCS)? Any heavy weight boxing champion since Lenox Lewis? 

Here’s the argument for why they shouldn’t count in the various sports. 

Baseball

So we can talk about how pitchers pitched in 3 and 4 man rotations on 3 day rest. Or how there was no such thing as specialized relief pitchers, set-up men, or closers. Let’s focus on the integration of the league. 

Stars like Satchel Paige and Josh Gibson would have dominated in any league or era. Had they not been stuck in the negroe leagues, how many MLB records would these two hold? How much would the influx of these stars affect who won world series? How can you say you’re the World Champs if half the best players in the world play in a different league?

Basketball 

Which  NBA team drafted drafted Dr.J? The Milwaukee Bucks. Thing is he signed with a team from the ABA. As did so many of the stars of basketball. The two leagues champions both can legitimately claim to be the world champs. They didn’t play each other so who is the true champ?

Hockey 

Six teams. “6.” How can you call yourself the champion of anything in a 6 team league?

College Football

Here’s the one the argument is easiest. Before the BCS sportswriters just picked a champ. The top 4 teams rarely had played each other in the season. There were multiple champions in several seasons. There were years that a one lose team was champ over an undefeated team. 

Even the BCS era can be debated. Could the 2007 Florida Gators really have beaten the USC squad thats almost entire defense has made a nfl pro bowl? How can anyone justify having the championship game being two teams from the same division of the same conference? 

The NFL

Really there is no reason other then calling it the superbowl to start counting then. It started at the end of the second Packer dynasty, how can you say that the 66 or 67 Packers are intrinsically better then the 65 or 63 Packers? Many will tell you 1932 is the true start of modern football. You can make the argument that football wasn’t the game we know until 1981, when the west coast offense proved that a pass first offense can win, and transformed the league from a running back driven league to a quarterback driven league. You can even argue that nothing before 1993 and fee agency really can count. Deion Sanders, Charles Haley, and Reggie Whites free agent moves definitely changed who would win the championships for the next few seasons.

This all seems legit. The athletes back then weren’t as big or fast as today. The number of teams they had to play was so small how can they be considered champs? There were other leagues playing so how can one leagues team be the true champ?

So why should all championships count?

Simply put those other leagues weren’t as good. The NFL and AFL had agreed to merge in 1962. They had drafted as one entity from that point forward. The AFL (then the AFC) wasn’t able to actually compete with the NFL until 1969. That’s 8 years of building on equal terms before they compete with the NFL. When the NBA and ABA merged the ABA contracted 2/3rd of its teams. They entered the nba as essentially ABA all star teams. They didn’t dominate, these all star teams didn’t even win a championship in the NBA. 

It comes down to this you play the teams they put in front of you. You beat them and you are the champion.

Can players play in any era? I’m sure Dick Butkus  would still be a pro bowl middle linebacker today. Jim Brown would still be a star. Deacon Jones could lineup with JJ Watt.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Oscar Robinson or Bill Russell would still dominate.

With their style of play, Jerry West and Pistol Pete Maravich would probably be bigger stars today then in their era.  Lou Gehrig and Ted William’s bats would have been feared in any era. 

You can only play the teams they put in front of you. You beat them and you are the champion. Period. If you win a NFL championship in 1941 and you win a championship playing in the NFL in 2011 you’ve won the exact same thing. What would you say if in 2027 they decide that all championships before instant replay don’t count, since they cannot be accurate?

You can’t pick and choose. You can’t say that college football championships only count from the BCS on and then say that all World Series count. You can’t say that all NBA championships count but only Superbowls count for the NFL. 

Either all championships count in all sports, or you have to draw a line in every sport. How does that line change if those teams were the best in the world in their time? 
J.Russell Zinn 7/28/16

Peter Wiseman’s Player Profiles: Allen Hurns

You may know him as the other “Allen” in the Jaguars receiving corps, but this kid came into the NFL with bad intentions, and doesn’t plan to take a backseat to anyone.

After going undrafted in 2014, Hurns signed with Jacksonville as a rookie free agent and promptly caught 4 passes, for 110 yards, and 2 touchdowns in his first game as a pro.

The experts quickly tagged that game as a fluke, and said it would be better to place your money on the more talented and athletic, Allen Robinson.

They may have been right about Robinson, but they were dead wrong about Hurns, as he finished the season with 51 catches, for 677 yards, and 6 touchdowns.

Hurns was a track star in high school, and won the Jack Harding Award as the Miami Hurricanes Most Valuable Player after setting the school’s single-season receiving yards record with 1,162 during his senior season in college.

“It hurt. I can’t lie.” Hurns said about going undrafted. “To this day, I’m always going to remember that day. It’s just one of those things, growing up as a child, you always want to hear your name called on draft day.”

His combine numbers were nothing special, as he ran a 4.5 40 yard dash, had a 31 inch vertical, 120 inch broad jump, and managed 14 reps on the bench press. 

The experts didn’t seem overly impressed with his skills either as they claimed he was, narrow – framed and non-physical, struggled to separate against tight man coverage, lacked polish and precision in his routes, had average burst out of his breaks, was not a burner, had limited long speed, and was a soft blocker.

Sometimes the analysts fail to see the intangibles however, and as we’ve learned since then, Hurns has plenty of “it”.Whatever that is, allowed him to haul in 10 touchdowns , on 64 receptions, and 1,031 yards last year, in just his second NFL season.

 

 Alongside fellow sophomore sensations, Quarterback Blake Bortles and Receiver Allen Robinson, it seems clear that Hurns has a long way to go before he hits his peak.

We will see if he still has that same drive after signing a 4 year, $40 million extension, and becoming the highest paid receiver in Jaguars history.

A Tweet from Hurns earlier today: “External things can only push you so far, got to want it from within.”

Lets us know that he is anything but satisfied, and if he stays hungry, and believes in his own words, instead of those from the doubters, he could find himself pushing to be not only the best receiver on this team, but in the league as a whole.

Blake Bortles has the Potential to Improve on his Breakout Season from 2015

In just his second year in the league, Bortles has already challenged the upper echelon of elite quarterbacks.

After a promising rookie campaign in 2014, where Bortles was called on to start from day one and came through with shinning colors, he followed it up with a brilliant season in 2015 where he racked up over 4,400 yards to go along with 35 TDs.

He did all of this despite being sacked 15 more times than any other quarterback in the league over the same two year period.

The knock on Bortles is that he makes poor decisions and throws too many interceptions. This is a fact that becomes far more understandable when you realize the amount of pressure the young signal caller has been under.

To help try to fix that problem the Jags went out in free agency and signed left tackle, Kelvin Beachum, and guard/center Mackenzy Bernadeau.

When healthy, Beachum helped anchor an offensive front that was very solid both running and passing the ball. The problem is he is still recovering from an ACL injury which cost him more than half the season last year and may not be fully recovered in time for this season, but should be a great asset to the unit when he returns.

 Bernadeau has started all 16 games of his four years as a Cowboy, and was a major contributor to a  front line which is widely considered the best in the league.

“I know there’s a plan they have, and being able to play those three positions will help,” Bernadeau said. “That helps in any situation, no matter what my role is. I think it’s a key point and [versatility is important] No matter what position you are, no matter what stage you are in your career. I’m just happy I’m able to do all of those positions and help contribute.”

The other player they are hoping to have contribute to taking pressure off of the passer, is newly acquired free agent running back, Chris Ivory. Last year’s rookie running back, T. J. Yeldon, did a decent job accumulating yards as he racked up 740 yards, but struggled in short yardage and in the red zone, as he only had 2 TDs. The Jags brought Ivory in to compliment Yeldon and to help move the chains with his punishing style of running.

This should help freeze the corners and move the safeties up in the box  to give 3rd year receivers, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, that extra moment they need to get open and make even bigger plays than they did last year.

Robinson is the more consistent and polished of the two, but I have a feeling that Hurns who has been surprising the league for the last two years since he came into the league, has a few more tricks up his sleeve and could end the year as a top 5 receiver.

If that happens, opposing defenses will spend 60 minutes trying to figure out a way to protect the line of scrimmage and still cover both sides of the field.

Enter Julius Thomas…

In his time playing alongside Peyton Manning in Denver, Thomas was one of the most feared tight ends in the league as he hauled in 12 touchdowns in both of his seasons in Denver.

That number dropped to 5 in his first year in Jacksonville after Thomas broke a bone in his hand during the preseason and missed the first four games of the regular season, but he and Bortles are both aware of how valuable he can be to the Jaguars offense. That’s the major reason they have been working hard on their rythym and timing this offseason.

“We had a chance this offseason to sit down multiple times, watch film and talk about things,” Bortles said. “Talk about what he wanted from me and what I wanted from him and how we can quickly get on the same page to grow together. He’s been unbelievable. He’s obviously a freak athlete and he’s continued to prove that and make plays.”

This offense is not only loaded to the gills with playmakers, but now they have actually started to be able to add specialists, which should make it even easier for the coaching staff to be able to implement the no huddle offense they believe will increase Bortles consistency and accuracy. This will not only give defenses less time to substitute and prepare for the next play, but it will simply the offense for the young players on offense and give Bortles more freedom to audible and change the plays at the line.

In spite of his success, Bortles only completed 58.6% of his total passes last season. If his offensive line can improve enough to keep him even somewhat upright, his running backs can move the chains, Julius Thomas can find the end zone, the receivers can get that extra step, and Bortles can raise that completion percentage even a few points…

It’s not impossible to imagine the young gunslinger being the next quarterback to throw for 5,000 yards and 45 touchdowns in just his third season in the league.

Primed to Shine in 2016

After being the laughingstock of the league last year, the Jaguars offense has quietly started to become a powerhouse in 2015.

They have blooming stars at all of the key skilled positions, and are poised to be even better next season.  

  QB-Blake Bortles

Just two years after being selected 3rd overall by the Jaguars, Bortles has shown the maturity and consistent performance to become the franchize’s quarterback of the future.

With one game left in the season he already has 11 games with multiple passing touchdowns, and 3 games with 4 or more TDs, and at least 300 yards.

In order to teach his full potential, he will need to cut back on interceptions (16), and improve his efficiency on 3rd downs. 

That should start to happen naturally in the upcoming year as he moves into his 3rd year of leading this team and becomes even more comfortable with his supporting cast.

For now his 4189 yards, and 35 passing TDs, coupled with 310 yards, and 2 rushing TDs, through 15 games should start to open some eyes to his dynamic potential. 

  WR-Allen Robinson

Due to an injury that cut last season short by 6 games, Robinson came into this year as the team’s best kept secret. That secret didn’t last long as he burst onto the scene as one of the top young playmakers in the league.

In week 2, Robinson had 155 yards, and 2 TDs on 6 receptions, as he began to establish himself as the go to guy for this young offense.

It was the first of three games in which he had at least 6 catches, 151 yards, and 1 TD. 

Not only did he start the season well, but he has had 7 touchdowns in his last 5 games, to accompany 25 receptions, and 421 yards.

With 75 receptions, 1292 yards,and 14 touchdowns, in 15 games so far this year, Robinson should be primed for an even stronger 2016, as he also enters his 3rd season in the league, and should definitely provide this offensive a dynamic weapon to build around. 

 WR-Allen Hurns

After starting out as a sort of decoy and big play novelty, Hurns has become a flat out beast, and has turned into the “wild card” for this offense.

He is definitely less polished than Robinson, but has shown that he can be every bit as explosive and consistent, as he had a streak of 7 games where he hauled in a TD.

For now he makes a way more than qualified 2nd receiver, and with his passion and sneaky talent, I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point he becomes top dog. 

In just 14 games, he is 2nd on the team with, 61 catches, 1013 yards, and 10 TDs.

 RB- T.J. Yeldon

The newest member of this group, could actually turn out to be the most important one, as Yeldon hopes to give this team the solid ground presence they’ve been looking for over the last few years.

What makes him even more valuable to this offense is his versatility, as he has shown the ability to pick up yards and TDs through the air, as well as on the ground. 

In just 12 games this year he has racked up 740 yards, and 2 TDs, on the ground, 36 catches, for  279 yards, and  1 TD, through the air. 

 RB-Denard Robinson

Robinson is probably  the most overlooked and versatile asset on this team. 

The diminutive back, who played quarterback in college, can also line up as a receiver, and has helped out on kick returns.

He has averaged 4.1 yards per carry on his way to 257 yards, and a rushing TD, and has helped out with 21 receptions for 165 yards.

I think it’s safe to say Robinson’s role on this team should expand even more in the next season, as his skills and confidence in his new positions continue to grow.

   TE-Julius Thomas

At 27 years old, and in his 5th year in the league, Thomas, is by far the oldest member of this group. 

Although he hasn’t been able to replicate the numbers that made him a pro bowler his last two years in Denver, he does bring quite a bit of experience to a team in need of a veteran leader.

As an ex-basketball player who stands 6’5″, Thomas makes for a large redzone target and is still athletic enough to get separation between the twenties. 

While still adjusting to a new team, he has been able to contribute 44 catches, for 443 yards, and 5 TDs in just 11 games, after recovering from an injury over the first 4.

His numbers should improve immensely in his 2nd year with the Jags, and even more importantly, if they should make the playoffs next year, he will bring valuable experience, as he won the AFC Championship  last year with Denver.