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OffsprngofAwsum's Blog

All Out. All Game. All Season

Super Bowl LI: 1 and 2 Seeds (NFC)

Looking ahead just a bit (I don't want to Jinx my Green Bay Packers) lets look into those two NFC squads who have a week off.

Dallas Cowboys
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 1 goal at the start of every season is to win the Super Bowl. To get to the Super Bowl a team has to qualify for the tournament, something these Cowboys wrapped up weeks before the season finale. With four weeks remaining, Dallas kicked-off a Sunday night matchup already having clinching a playoff birth. Dallas has been the NFL's storied juggernaut all season. Led behind two rookies Dak and Zeke, the Boys reeled off 11 straight victories this year. Wins that came in a terrible towel environment against the Steelers, completing the hat-trick sorta speak in a brutal three game stretch over 11 days. Games in which they steamrolled the Ravens, Washington, and Minnesota. As impressive both rookies have been the entire unit seems to have all the confidence in the world heading into the postseason. Make no mistake about it, these boys are for-real and that offensive line is as advertised!

After failing to throw a TD pass in the Cowboys' season-opening loss to the Giants, Dak Prescott finished the regular season with 24 touchdown passes to only 4 INTs. Every game I've caught this season, Prescott has been money in the fourth Quarters, completing 76 percent of his passes. I believe Tony Romo is in his rear view mirror and Dak has command even after #9s little showing in a meaningless Week 17 loss to Philly. Counter-part Ezekiel Elliott has not rushed for fewer than 83 yards since his week one; 20 touch, 51 yard game. Zeke has been a freak of nature, crowned the rushing title champ after a rookie showing of 1,631 yards and 15 rushing touchdowns. The formula has worked all season, teams know its coming and quite frankly can't stop it. I expect it to continue, the Public Eye is awaiting for Dallas to self-destruct and beat themselves as they've done in the past. People their not....Their different!

Atlanta Falcons 
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

M.V.P front runner Matt Ryan has led one of the most efficient offenses we've seen of recent years. Do you remember the Greatest Show on Turf?? This year (much credit to Kyle Shanahan) they've scored as many points as those Rams of '00. At age 31, the MVP in my eyes (no shade to that Bad Man in Aaron Rodgers) had the best season of his career. Behind Ryan, Atlanta led the league in scoring at 32.9 points per game through the first 14 weeks of the season. Per ESPN Stats and Information this Falcons squad finished with the 10th-best scoring average since the merger. Ryan’s 9.2 yards per attempt registered him the seventh-highest mark in a single season. So in only their second year under the aforementioned Shanahan the Falcons are flying above the rest headed into the postseason with a #2 seed and a bye.

Contender or Pretender, the fate of Atlanta's postseason success comes down to one thing: Can the positives of Matty-Ice high powered offense outweigh the troubles on the other side of the ball defensively. It's almost as if the offense has made it irrelevant of how bad the defense has been. Giving up an average of 420 yards a game (29th in the NFL) while surrendering THIRTY a game (28th), it doesn't give Ryan and the O much room for error. But with #2 slingin' it like he has, win two games with one guaranteed at home -- and you're off to Houston.

Fantasy Football 2016:

Winning last year's Fantasy Football Championship I've decided to forego the upcoming season & enlighten those of you who plan to win your league's this year (humbled brag). Take a look at a few fantasy studs and sleepers who will keep you in contention week-in-and-week-out. {QB, RB, WR}


Cam Newton: PROJ - 3908 yds 29 TD (8 rushing TD)

The league's MVP (2015) took his team and game to new heights a year ago. Throwing for a career-high 35 TD passes and running in 10 scores led the league as fantasy's top scorer. Cam has always given you that dual threat ability to pick up points on the ground and through the air. Ranking atop in carries, rushing yards, and touchdowns in each of his five seasons. How much of this should carry over to this season? Most of it should, considering Cam averaged nearly 40 yards a game in 2015 on the ground and had a 10.5 yard average depth of throw down the field. Kelvin Benjamin last years first-round draft pick is back on the field to pair with a seasoned nucleus of targets Cam as already built a rapport with. He's primed for yet another MVP caliber season.

Drew Brees: PROJ - 4930 yds 33 TD

Drew Brees has every reason to have one of his best fantasy seasons ever, here's why. Brees is entering the final year of a contract extension he signed in 2012, the last time he played out the final year of his deal he had the best season of his career. Posting career highs of 5,476 yards, 46 touchdowns, and a passer rating of 110.6. Granite Brees had a bevy of targets in 2011, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore, Darren Sproles out of the backfield. He is as efficient as they come and will mirror such off the chart numbers he's posted in the past. His 68.3 percent completion rate last season ranked second only behind Washington's Kirk Cousin. Brees has finished among the top eight QBs in fantasy points now 10 years in a row per ESPN Sports Fantasy and now has a supporting cast that features TE Coby Fleener and second-round draft pick WR Michael Thomas.

Tom Brady: PROJ - 4263 yds 36 TD

A four-game suspension to start and now 39 years of age entering the 2016 season - Yes, stash Brady away on your bench and await his return. Many of us caught a bargain drafting Brady last year because he fell on draft day with the same 4 game suspension looming from his role in Deflategate. As we know the rest is history, Brady started all 16 games throwing for over 4,700 yards, 36 passing touchdowns and only 7 INTs. Keep in mind this was with an underwhelming and injury-plagued supporting cast which now features ex-Chicago Bear Martelleus Bennett to line up opposite of Gronk and a healthy receiving core. Only limited to 12 games, Brady should still post quality stats in 16'.

Derek Carr: PROJ - 3867 yds 29 TD

Seeming as though a second-year breakout was unfolding right before our eyes in Oakland with Derek Carr. Topping 23 fantasy points 4 times in a 9 game span he was unable to sustain such success during the final stretch of the season. A favorable start to this season, facing the Tennessee Titans, Falcons, Saints and Ravens - teams in which allowed on average 18.5 fantasy points to opposing Quarterbacks a year ago is the easiest start during the league's first four games. With a year of added experience and chemistry with Amari Cooper, Michael Crabtree, and Latavius Murray. Year 3 looks promising. 

Aaron Rodgers: PROJ - 4600 yds 45 TD

4,643 passing yards, 45 Touchdowns, QB Rating of *122.5 (NFL Record) was Aaron Rodgers stat line from 2011. Despite the career lows and woes of last season, Aaron finished with the lowest passer rating of his career at 92.7 - meaning his career low is just seven points less than Cam Newton's career high which he totaled last year. So if a "down year" consist of (31 TD 8 INT) it's still a great season finishing in the top 10 in fantasy scoring amongst QBs. The Packers offense should get their juice back with the return of WR Jordy Nelson, and their one lone FA signing of TE Jared Cook this offseason. If healthy, look for Rodgers numbers to reflect those of 2011. Note, the Packers have the easiest strength of schedule in 2016 based on the opponents records from a year ago.

Running Backs

Todd Gurley: PROJ - 1600 yds 14 TD

With all the concerns the public eye and the now Los Angeles Rams had about Gurley's ability to produce at the NFL level because of a torn ACL he suffered at Georgia were answered last season. An impressive rookie campaign earned Gurley the Offensive Rookie of the Year award after posting a 1,106 yard, double digit (10) rushing touchdown performance in just 13 games. Missing 3 games and then putting up the performance he did landed him only behind Falcons Devonta Freeman for most fantasy points amongst running backs. Consensus projections have Gurley as the top player at the position and third-best player in overall standard-scoring leagues. But if you're sitting there with the 2nd pick and Antonio Brown is gone at 1, I'm inclined to say yes - take RB Todd Gurley 2nd overall.

Le'Veon Bell: PROJ - 1050 yds 9 TD

Set to serve a 3 game suspension - suffering from a torn MCL and PCL in his right knee last year - yes, all of this I know. Still Le'Veon Bell personally is the most complete back in the NFL until proven otherwise. Sharing the load upon his return with DeAngelo Williams is expected but he's still in a select group of backs that will surpass the 1k yard marker this season on the ground. Just in five complete games in 2015 Bell averaged 102.5 rushing yards and a proficient 15.6 fantasy points a game. With Bell ready to take on a heavy workload as a runner and receiver in Pittsburgh's high-powered offense should make him a top fantasy back in every league.

David Johnson: PROJ - 1036 yds 8 TD

I like David Johnson here to solidify himself as a Tier-1 back and top fantasy scorer this season in both standard-scoring and PPR leagues.  Now there were indeed times last year where Johnson seemed inefficient, but through the last quarter of the season Johnson averaged 21.5 fantasy points and totaled the highest scoring point game amongst running backs against the Eagles with 40 in week 15.  During that stretch he also averaged nearly 5.0 yards a carry and 2.6 yards after first initial contact. Now the clear cut #1 running back in Arizona's high scoring attack offense, Johnson is primed to be a household name in the desert.

Wide Receivers 

DeAndre Hopkins: PROJ - 106 rec 1398 yds 11 TD

It's a very compelling argument that DeAndre Hopkins should be recognized as a Tier-1 receiver in the league.  Yes Julio Jones, Antonio Brown, and ODB are all shoe-ins and set aside from the rest but make room for Hopkins. There are no holes in his game, taking him 4th or 5th overall isn't a reach by any means because you're getting a ton of value you really can't afford to miss out on. If you can snag in 111 receptions, 1,521 yards, and 11 touchdowns with the likes of Brian Hoyer and T.J. Yates as your quarterback. Odds are Hopkins will be well off with Brock Osweiler tossing him the rock in 2016. Keep in mind that you now have to respect Houston's rushing attack after the club's signing of ex-Dolphin Lamar Miller to a four-year deal. All signs point upward to a Monster season for Nukdabomb.

Allen Robinson: PROJ - 87 rec 1354 yds 11 TD

Consider this a warning. Robinson's 80 catches, 1,400 receiving yards, 14 touchdowns were good for 5th a season ago. First and Second in yards and TD grabs amongst his draft class which included Odell Beckham Jr., Sammy Watkins, Mike Evans to name a few. There were six games where Robinson topped over 100 yards with half of those going over a buck fifty. Now only 23, there's no reason to believe he won't pay dividends for his investors in 2016. If you're not as confident in Robinson's ability as I am and fail to draft him, start considering his worth to you in future drafts. 

Antonio Brown: PROJ - 131 rec 1801 yds 10 TD

Hear ye Hear ye, the Holy Grail of Fantasy Football and who some including myself says Antonio Brown is the best receiver in all of football. The key to Fantasy Football is consistent playmakers, well he embodies consistency. In the past 41 games (2.5 seasons), AB has posted 10-plus Fantasy points 30 times. Bets don't come any safer when taking Brown #1 overall. He's a matchup nightmare every week he steps on the field. The only negative would be when Big Ben is not under center, typically a book-in to miss a couple games a season. Imagine if Ben were able to start in all 16 last year (missed 4.5 games), Calvin Johnson's record setting year of 1,964 receiving yards would have fell to the hands of Antonio Brown.

Go Hester Go!

The Atlanta Falcons announced Tuesday morning that they have released the most accomplished return man in NFL History.

The chant of Go Hester Go could echo from Lambeau Field with the possibility of future Hall of Famer Devin Hester returning kicks in Green Bay.  Ian Rapoport, National Insider for NFL Network and reported earlier today that Hester has no plans to retire.  Surgery last January caused Hester to miss 11 games of the 2015 season.  During the teams third preseason game Hester suffered a turf toe injury and was placed on injury reserved with a designation to return.  Due to the inability to push off & cut made him functionally ineffective through the last quarter of the season.  

Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff alluded to earlier in a statement that Hester had passed his physical, however "It was a football decision for us in the very end" and thought it was best the organization move forward wishing him all the luck.  Devin holds the NFL record for touchdowns (20), also holding the record for punt-return touchdowns with (14).  Yes, turning 34 this November; going to a contender and automatic shoe in at returner with Green Bay makes all the since entering the 2016 NFL Season.

The 2014 Green Bay Packers were good at many things, they ran the ball effectively with than 2nd year Running Back Eddie Lacy, they perhaps played better than expected on the defensive side of the ball and like any led Aaron Rodgers team with a full arsenal they put up points in bunches a top of the League with the #1 Ranked Offense (2014).  However a lot like last year, in 2014 the Packers were amongst the worst in Special Teams.  So bad the Packers finished dead last in the Dallas Morning news' annual special teams report. With the firing of Shawn Slocum On January 30, 2015, the Packers promoted Ron Zook to Special Teams Coordinator by Head Coach Mike McCarthy on Feb. 12, 2015.  Looking for a boost here in Year 2 with the Unit snagging long time ex-Rival Bear in Devin Hester could go a long way for Zook and the Pack.  

Note Hester was due to make $3 million in 2016 with cap figure of $3,833,334.  The Green Bay Packers Cap Space (w/Top 51) is $8,992,449, it makes sense money wise & would prove to make sense on the field. "GO HESTER GO"