Monday, June 22, 2015

Q&A with Fantasy Stud Justin Forsett

I recently had the opportunity to spend a few minutes chatting with Ravens RB Justin Forsett. I told him only I wanted to talk fantasy football, and he was kind enough to agree. There are several revealing insights in this Q&A that I think every Fool will find interesting. Enjoy.

Question from The Chief Fool: 2014 was obviously a career year for you, Justin. Congratulations. I know you have a lot of confidence in yourself, like all athletes do, but honestly…were you as surprised as everyone else with your breakout season? Did you see it coming?

Answer from Forsett: I wasn't surprised once I got the opportunity. I knew I could do it if I ever got one. But the opportunity came open in an unfortunate way [The Ray Race incident], so I decided to take it and run with it. That was definitely a blessing last year.

Q: So why do you think it took until your seventh year to get that opportunity?

A: Well, I played with some great running backs when I came in. I was behind TJ Duckett and Julius Jones in Seattle – two guys they had just signed in free agency – so I was coming in as a returner guy, special teams guy, helping out on third down… Then toward the end of my career there, they brought in Marshawn Lynch, and he’s a pretty solid player…[Chuckles]

And in Houston, there was Arian Foster. In Jacksonville, Maurice Jones-Drew, so there were a lot of good players. 

Another thing is my size. No one could overlook the fact that I’m 5’8”, 198 lbs. When you’re my size, you can get placed in a box easy. Some people won’t give you a chance. They just put you in a box…you’re a third down guy, scat back, change of pace guy and special teams guy. So, I never really had the opportunity to do a full-time thing. Last year I did, and it worked out well.

Q: With the arrival of Marc Trestman, how do you think your role is going to change this year? Everybody thinks you’re going to get a lot more looks in the passing game. Does that sound right?

A: I’m excited about his offense, with [Trestman's] track record and seeing what he did last year with Matt Forte. I’m going to be able to show a little more versatility, be able to line up and catch passes out of the backfield, as well as run the ball like we did last year. So I’m excited about the expanded role.

Q: So you’ve got a new rookie there. Do you think Buck [Javorius Allen] is going to get a lot of playing time? One of the things fantasy football players most want to know when we get to draft time is are you going to be the workhorse back or do you think you’ll be part of a committee?

A: For one, I think Buck is going to be a great player for us. But we’ve got a stable of backs here with Lorenzo Taliaferro, Fitzgerald Toissaint and Terrence Magee that we got and he looks really good as well. So we’ll see how it all shakes out but I’m confident I can have a better year than I did last year.

Q: Should we worry that you're hitting 30 this year, that dreaded age for RBs, or do you think you’ve still got a lot left in the tank?

A: I think I have a lot left in the tank. I’ve been blessed throughout my career to not have much wear and tear and not many injuries, and staying healthy, so I feel good. I may be 29, turning 30 in October, but my legs are 26 and I’m feeling good!

Q: Are you a fantasy football guy at all? Have you ever played?

A: Nah, I tried it once about four years ago, but it was just too much work to keep track…

Q: Okay, but you’re a little bit familiar with it at least. So you were the #8-ranked RB in fantasy football last season. Should you be a first-round draft pick this year? You think you’re going to be up there in that same class again?

A: I believe so. If it was me picking, I may be a little biased, but definitely I’m expecting greater things and working harder toward that goal and I don’t see anything that will stop that, Lord willing.

Q: Last question. You just had your breakout year. Tell me somebody on the Ravens that you think is going to have a breakout year in 2015. Somebody who might surprise us.

A: Hmm…might surprise you…I wouldn’t be surprised if Lorenzo Taliaferro was the guy.

Q: Really? Why do you say that?

A: Just because he’s been working hard, he’s a young guy, with the opportunities he had last year, he did well. I think we have a great stable here and he’s one of the young guys I’m taking under my wing and if he gets the opportunity, I think he’s gonna do well.

[For the record, I didn't think it was appropriate to debate his somewhat contradictory predictions that he (Forsett) was worth a 1st-round pick and that Taliaferro was in for a breakout season...]

Fantasy Fools thanks Justin Forsett for this interview. Hopefully there will be more like this to come prior to the beginning of the preseason.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Drew Brees lines up with Walk-On's

Because some of you care about these things, and it's a long offseason...and not least of which because in my day job, Walk-On's is one of my PR clients...I thought I'd share this major announcement involving a fantasy superstar. Drew assures me his new venture will not negatively affect his fantasy performance in 2015 and beyond...

Drew Brees Joins the Walk-On’s Team
Saints star and wife buy in as co-owners of ‘Best Sports Bar in North America’

NEW ORLEANS, LA (May 20, 2015) – Drew Brees knows a winning team when he sees one. So when he and wife Brittany saw that Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar in New Orleans had been voted “Best Sports Bar in North America” by ESPN, they were immediately intrigued.

Today, Brittany and Drew Brees announced that they have reached an agreement to become co-owners of Walk-On’s Enterprises, the company that created and now operates the popular Walk-On’s sports bar chain, as well as its sister concepts, Happy’s Irish Pub and Walk-On’s Catering.

“When I first stepped into Walk-On’s, I was impressed by its culture, environment and the quality of the food,” said the All Pro NFL and New Orleans Saints quarterback. “Walk-On’s is unique in that it’s a great place to bring my family, teammates and business colleagues. Brandon [Landry] and his team have built something truly special, and we are excited to join them as we look to expand the brand across the nation.”

The agreement, which had been in the works for several months, was finalized on May 18. Financial terms will remain confidential.

“When you consider all the people we could have associated our brand with, there is absolutely no one I can think of that would be higher on our wish list than Brittany and Drew,” said Landry, co-founder and owner of Walk-On’s Enterprises. “I’ve been impressed by their business savvy and the vision they have for the brand. I’m very fortunate and honored to call the Breeses my partners.”

Brittany Brees stressed that Walk-On’s Louisiana roots were an important factor in their decision to buy into the company.

“Drew and I consider New Orleans to be our home now, so we love the idea of investing in a Louisiana-based brand that is so well respected in its industry,” she said. “We’ve done our homework and we truly believe Walk-On’s has the potential to become a successful national chain.”

Drew noted that he will play an active role in Walk-On’s as the company prepares to take the brand national.  

“We’re not just passive investors. Brittany and I are committed to working closely with Brandon and the team to do whatever we can to contribute to Walk-On’s success going forward,” said Brees. “I think we’re going to have a lot of fun, and celebrate a lot of wins, in the years ahead.”

Walk-On’s Enterprises recently announced its first franchise agreement in Lake Charles, La., as well as a new company-owned restaurant under construction in Houma. Additional markets are expected to be unveiled in the coming weeks. Walk-On’s currently has four locations – two in Baton Rouge and one each in New Orleans and Lafayette.

Walk-On’s Enterprises is arguably the most distinctive restaurant company in America. Its concepts are fresh, fun and original, from Walk-On's Bistreaux & BarSM — voted ESPN's “Best Sports Bar in North America” in 2012 — to Happy's Irish Pub and Walk-On’s Catering. Additional growth lies ahead, as the company expands on its winning combination of delicious, affordable food and drinks presented in an uncommonly warm and friendly atmosphere. For more information, visit, or contact Ladd Biro at Champion Management at or 972.930.9933.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Offseason moves of note

It's that time of year again, when NFL players shake, rattle and roll on to what they hope will be greener pastures. Most often, bigger bucks don't translate to better performance; so keep that in mind once draft time approaches.

As we do every season, we'll be tracking all the free-agent moves, trades, releases and other news affecting offensive players of note. Please let me know if I've missed anyone. We only report on done deals, though, so we won't post news until it's confirmed.

As of June 17, here's your update on who has relocated or is out looking for work:

Sam Bradford, Eagles - Traded by the Rams in exchange for Nick Foles.
Nick Foles, Rams - See above.
Josh McCown, Browns - Former Bear and Buc signed a free-agent contact with the QB-starved Browns.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jets - Former Texan could be new #2 in New York.
Matt Cassel, Bills - Traded from the Vikings.
Christian Ponder, Raiders - Ex-Vike will backup Derek Carr.
Shaun Hill, Vikings - Former Ram will play backup role in Minnesota.
Brian Hoyer, Texans - Heads south from Cleveland.
Matt Schaub, Ravens - Cut by the Raiders. That's never good. Will backup Flacco.
Tim Tebow, Eagles - Chip Kelly will pray he never sees the field.
Josh Freeman, Dolphins - Vagabond QB will try to stick in Miami as a clipboard-holder.
Jake Locker - Announced his retirement. 

LeSean McCoy, Bills - After one subpar season, and several stellar ones, traded by the Eagles to Buffalo.
DeMarco Murray, Eagles - Reigning NFL rushing champ defects to Cowboys' rivals.
Frank Gore, Colts - Former Niner will try to find a workhorse role in Indy.
C.J. Spiller, Saints - So much for clarity in the New Orleans backfield.
Trent Richardson, Raiders - Dropped by Indy the day after Gore arrived. Gee, never saw that coming... Lands in Oakland.
Darren McFadden, Cowboys - Will try not to get hurt while competing for Murray's old carries.
Steven Jackson - Lost a step, then lost his job in Atlanta.
Stevan Ridley, Jets - The turnover of New England's backfield continues, as Ridley heads to the hated division rivals.
Reggie Bush, 49ers - Cut loose by the Lions before signing in San Fran.
Ryan Mathews, Eagles - Former Charger will apparently backup Murray (and Sproles?) until he gets hurt again.
DeAngelo Williams, Steelers - Released by the Panthers before moving to Pittsburgh.
Pierre Thomas - Set free by New Orleans.
Shane Vereen, Giants - Leaves crowded New England backfield for another mess in N.Y.
Bernard Pierce, Jaguars - Waived by the Ravens after a DUI arrest. Claimed by the Jags.
Jordan Todman, Panthers - Former Jag will provide depth behind J-Stew.
Travaris Cadet, Patriots - Former Saint will presumably be part of another jumbled backfield.
Peyton Hillis - Former Madden cover boy released by the G-men.
Jacquizz Rodgers, Bears - Perennial backup will now get in line behind Forte.
Ahmad Bradshaw - Set free by the Colts.
Shonn Greene - Released by the Titans.
Maurice Jones-Drew - Signed a one-day deal to retire with the Jaguars. Farewell, MJD.

Brandon Marshall, Jets - Acquired from the Bears.
Percy Harvin, Bills - Released by the Jets after contributing, um, nada. Will try to do better in Buffalo.
Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs - Former Eagle reunites with head coach Andy Reid.
Andre Johnson, Colts - Released by the Texans in a cost-cutting move. Finds nice landing spot in Indy.
Mike Wallace, Vikings - Disgruntled former Dolphin dealt to Minnesota.
Kenny Stills, Dolphins - Traded from the Saints to fill Wallace's disgruntled cleats.
Dwayne Bowe, Browns - Released by Kansas City to sign with Cleveland.
Torrey Smith, 49ers - Follows Anquan Boldin from Baltimore to San Fran, a couple years later.
Harry Douglas - Released by the Falcons.
Jarrett Boykin, Panthers - Packer WR3 got Carolina on his mind.
Cecil Shorts, Texans - Former Jag moves to division rival.
Miles Austin, Eagles - Well-traveled WR gets one-year deal in Philly.
Brian Hartline, Browns - Released by the Dolphins and signed in Cleveland.
Brandon Gibson, Patriots - Also cut by Miami before New England scooped him up.
Eddie Royal, Bears - Moves from San Diego to Chicago.
Denarius Moore, Bengals - Fantasy flash-in-the-pan in Oakland will get another chance in Cinci.
Greg Jennings, Dolphins - Released by the Vikings in a salary cap move, but finds a warmer place to lay his head.
Hakeem Nicks, Titans - Will try to extend his career in Tennessee.
Leonard Hankerson, Falcons - Former Skin to shore up Atlanta's WR corps.
Nate Washington, Texans - Ex-Titan will probably spare us to death in Houston now.
Lance Moore - Lasted just one season with the Steelers.
Stevie Johnson, Chargers - Dumped by the 49ers. Moves down the coast.
Vincent Brown, Colts - Remember when we cared about him that time in San Diego?
Greg Little - Apparently the Bengals weren't real impressed with his six-catch season.
James Jones - Released by the Raiders post-draft.

Jimmy Graham, Seahawks - Traded by the Saints to Super Bowl losers. Book their ticket to the next one, too.
Julius Thomas, Jaguars - Cashes in in Jacksonville. But will he disappear???
Jordan Cameron, Dolphins - Escapes Cleveland for Miami. Sounds familiar.
Anthony Fasano, Titans - Cut by the Chiefs before latching on in Tennessee.
Owen Daniels, Broncos - Signed three-year deal to step into Julius Thomas' cleats.
Scott Chandler, Patriots - Released by the Bills. Will be an also-ran to Gronk in New England.
Tony Moeaki, Falcons - Former Chief lands in Atlanta.
Jacob Tamme, Falcons - Ex-Bronco will also will fight for Gonzo's old job.
Bear Pascoe, Bears - The former Falcon's signing in Chicago is of no interest save for the awesome name connection.

Shayne Graham - Set loose by the Saints. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

2014 Perfect Draft: The Final Cut

What if your league-mates gave you a draft-day do-over?

I’ll bet you’d take a “chance” on DeMarco Murray instead of a “safe” pick like LeSean McCoy or, heaven forbid, Adrian Peterson.

Perhaps you’d let Montee Ball slide on by and grab Le’Veon Bell instead?

Maybe pass up Vernon Davis for, say…any…other…tight…end?

Sadly, there are no do-overs in fantasy football. But there sure is plenty of crying. Yes, dear reader, it’s time to grab a tissue as we explore what could have been with my oft-imitated, always-controversial, yet magically delicious Perfect Draft: The Final Cut.

As always, we start with a few key assumptions. First, we’re in a 10-team non-keeper league using a standard scoring system that starts one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, and one tight end, kicker and team defense. Second, we are drafting from the middle (fifth) position in a snake format. Third, since all drafts play out differently, we’ll need a little luck along the way. And finally, our goal is nothing short of Kim Jong-un-style domination and the abject humiliation of our opponents.

Now, with the fifth pick of the 2014 Perfect Draft, we should have selected…

Round 1: DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys. The Fantasy MVP slid to the second round in most leagues due to durability concerns and, well, everybody knew the Cowboys would be terrible. All Murray did was win the rushing title by nearly 500 yards.

Round 2: Le’Veon Bell, RB, Steelers. Arian Foster was our mid-season pick in this round, but Bell came on strong down the stretch to vie for MVP honors with Murray.

Round 3: Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers. In PPR leagues, Brown ran away from the field. In standard leagues, he still set the gold standard for consistent, stellar production.

Round 4: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts. If we’re smart enough to bench him during the playoffs, Luck will really be on our side.

Round 5: T.Y. Hilton, WR, Colts. He didn’t find the end zone until Week 6, but we still want our QB’s favorite receiver.

Round 6: Jeremy Maclin, WR, Eagles. Despite turnover and inconsistency at quarterback, Maclin flourished in his new leading role.

Round 7: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos. As predicted, Sanders stepped into the vacuum left by Eric Decker and flourished in Denver’s pass-happy offense. Sadly, predictions about Decker’s fate as a Jet were similarly accurate.

Round 8: Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers. He’s no Rob Gronkowski (not even close). But Olsen quietly gets the job done. We’ll pick up a better tight end later.

Round 9: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks. One of the most underrated players in Fantasyland, Wilson almost always compensates for mediocre passing stats with his rushing prowess.

Round 10: Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers. In the Year of the Rookie WR, young blood is more than welcome on our perfect roster. Once Evans got his feet wet, he was nearly unstoppable.

Round 11: Jeremy Hill, RB, Bengals. He won’t start often, if ever, for this team. But we’ll like him better on our bench than in an opponent’s lineup after he seizes the starting job in Cincinnati.

Round 12: Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens. Here’s where we start getting a little silly with our picks. Forsett had never finished among the Top 30 RBs in his previous six seasons, yet he quietly took the reins in Baltimore and became an every-week fantasy starter on his way to a Top 10 finish.

Round 13: Antonio GatesTE, Chargers. Ladarius who? Gates not only returned to elite status but had one of the best seasons of his Hall of Fame career.

Round 14: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Giants. Fantasy’s unquestioned Rookie of the Year was arguably the MVP of the second half of the season. Beckham simply dominated down the stretch, leading countless grateful owners to fantasy championships.

Round 15: C.J. Anderson, RB, Broncos. Until he was injured, Ahmad Bradshaw was a gem of a late-round pick. Anderson delivered in the second half of the season.

Round 16: Eagles defense/special teams. Fantasy’s top defense (in most scoring formats) was an afterthought at draft time. But what a weapon they’ll be most weekends.

Round 17: Cody Parkey, K, Eagles. Stephen Gostkowski led the way, but he’d cost us a much earlier pick. Parkey wasn’t even the Eagles’ kicker when most leagues drafted, but he finished his rookie season as the runner-up.

Looks just like your draft, right?

That’s okay; we’ll get ‘em next year! Until then, be sure to check in on the Fantasy Fools blog for offseason developments and all the info you’ll need to make next year’s draft perfect.

Monday, December 29, 2014

9th Annual Biro’s Heroes and Zeros Awards

Movie stars have the Oscars. Sports stars have the ESPYs. Fantasy football players are stuck with Biro’s Heroes & Zeros.

I’m sorry. It’s just the way it is.

Once again, before we close the books on another exhilarating / frustrating / victorious / humiliating (circle one) fantasy season, we must take a quick stroll back through 2014 to examine the players we rooted for and against and – with as much objectivity as we can muster – give credit where credit is due.

As always, our annual accolades (and condemnations) have but a few important criteria:

  1. Consistency on a weekly basis is next to godliness.
  2. Production during the fantasy playoffs – NFL Weeks 14 through 16 – is given extra weight.  Players who let their owners down at the worst possible time earn our eternal scorn.  (I’m looking at you, Mr. Luck.)
  3. Week 17 is dead to us. (Sorry, Geno.) 
Without further ado, I am pleased to present the 9th Annual Biro’s Heroes & Zeros Awards:

Most Valuable Player: DeMarco Murray, RB, Cowboys. Andrew Luck lost his claim to the honor with his Week 16 implosion. Odell Beckham, Jr. deserves consideration after leading countless teams that added him early in the season to titles. Le’Veon Bell had an outstanding season, especially down the stretch. But Murray earns the nod thanks to his dominating rushing performance and remarkable consistency. Runner-up: Bell, RB, Steelers.

“Peerless Price Memorial” Bust of the Year: Adrian Peterson, RB, Vikings. The Top 5 pick racked up a combined 93 yards in the opener, then was never seen again thanks to his off-field transgressions.  Runner-up: Montee Ball, RB, Broncos.   

Rookie of the Year: Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, Giants. In the “Year of the Rookie Wide Receiver,” OBJ was clearly the pick of the litter. Despite missing the first four games while recovering from a hamstring injury, Beckham worked his way into the Top 10 fantasy ranks. No receiver in NFL history has scored as many as his 12 TDs in his first 12 career games. Runner-up: Mike Evans, WR, Buccaneers. 

Comeback Player of the Year: Julio Jones, WR, Falcons. After missing all but five games in 2013, Jones not only returned to form, but he piled up the most receptions and yards of his career. Runner-up: Arian Foster, RB, Texans.

Mr. Reliable: Antonio Brown, WR, Steelers. We may soon need to name this award after Brown, who delivered receptions, yardage and scores at a consistently stellar clip for the second consecutive year. This time, he averaged 7.6 receptions for 98 yards per game, with 12 TDs, through 16 weeks. Runner-up: Murray.

Surprise of the Year: Justin Forsett, RB, Ravens. This was supposed to be Ray Rice’s backfield. Then Bernard Pierce’s. Lorenzo Taliaferro had his 15 minutes. But it was Forsett, who had never finished among the Top 30 RBs in his previous six seasons, who quietly took the reins and became an every-week fantasy starter on his way to a Top 10 finish.  Runner-up: Brandon LaFell, WR, Patriots.

Best Waiver Wire Acquisition: Beckham, Jr. Because he entered the season injured and destined for a backup role, OBJ typically was available well into October. When Victor Cruz went down in Week 6, the rookie’s prospects soared. After that, it was game over.  Runner-up: Eagles defense/special teams.

Mr. Big Play: Jordy Nelson, WR, Packers. Among his 13 TDs were scoring jaunts of 40, 45, 59, 60, 66, 73 and 80 yards, which makes the one that slipped through his fingers in Week 15 that much more painful. Runner-up: Beckham, Jr.

Most Devastating Injury Loss: Giovani Bernard, RB, Bengals. Bernard was money until he hurt his hip in Week 8. The injury lingered while rookie Jeremy Hill slowly stole his job. By the time Bernard got healthy, it was too late. Runner-up: Victor Cruz, WR, Giants.

Steal of the Draft: Antonio Gates, TE, Chargers. His backup, Ladarius Green, was typically drafted ahead of Gates, who was available in the 15th round or later. All the wily veteran did was return to elite status and finish with one of the best seasons of his career.  Runner-up: Emmanuel Sanders, WR, Broncos.

Most Overrated: Percy Harvin, WR, Jets. He runs, he catches, he even returns kicks! He just doesn’t produce much in the process, whether in Seattle or New York.  Runner-up: Vernon Davis, TE, 49ers.

“Thomas Jones Memorial” Most Underrated: Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Colts. His own team even refused to acknowledge that he was the most productive and reliable RB on the roster. Despite Top 10 production while healthy, Bradshaw was routinely benched by owners that just didn’t believe he could keep producing from his backup role. Runner-up: Russell Wilson, QB, Seahawks.

Might As Well Be Injured: Darren McFadden, RB, Raiders. The perpetually sidelined tailback played in all 16 games, but who could tell? McFadden was so awful he wasn’t even owned in roughly nine out of 10 fantasy leagues. Runner-up: Reggie Bush, RB, Lions.

Made Chicken Salad from Chicken Scratch: Mike Evans. Playing for a two-win team now on the clock for the first pick of the 2015 draft, Evans scored in more than half his games and finished just outside the Top 10 rankings. Runner-up: Chris Ivory, RB, Jets.

Biggest Postseason Disappointment: Andrew Luck, QB, Colts. Posted the worst performance of his career in Week 16, and wasn’t terribly sharp the previous week either.   Runner-up: Peyton Manning, QB, Broncos.

Most Spectacular Bench Performance: Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Steelers. After an up-and-down start to the season, Big Ben put on a masterful 522-yard, 6-TD performance in Week 8. Many of his owners were so incredulous, they didn’t start him in Week 9 either, thus missing out on his 340-yard, 6-TD encore. Runner-up: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Texans (9 receptions for 238 yards and 2 TDs in Week 13).

Most Marginalized by Pathetic QB Play: Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Cardinals. The future Hall of Famer’s talents were squandered by the lousy backups subbing for Carson Palmer.  Runner-up: Eric Decker, WR, Jets.

“Frisman Jackson Memorial” Irrational Exuberance Award: Jonas Gray, RB, Patriots. Countless fantasy enthusiasts positively swooned over his 199-yard, 4-TD breakout in Week 11. Even Sports Illustrated fell for it, making Gray the cover boy of their next issue. Then Gray slept through a team meeting, LeGarrette Blount was scooped up off waivers, and the rookie was rarely heard from again. Runner-up: Donte Moncrief, WR, Colts.

Starter in Name Only: Trent Richardson, RB, Colts. It’s bad enough when the starter is consistently outplayed by his primary backup. But Richardson not only paled in comparison to Ahmad Bradshaw, but to third-stringer Daniel “Boom” Herron as well. Runner-up: Doug Martin, RB, Buccaneers.

Worst Sophomore Jinx: Zac Stacy, RB, Rams. Much was expected after Stacy’s midseason emergence as a rookie. But he never got on track in 2014 and was quickly relegated to the bench. Runner-up: Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Vikings.

Team Bust of the Year (a.k.a. They Are Who We Thought They Were): Jacksonville Jaguars.  There isn’t a player on this team that you regret not drafting. Runner-up: Oakland Raiders.

“Plaxico Burress Memorial” Bonehead of the Year: Josh Gordon, WR, Browns. He was suspended for the first 10 games of the season because he couldn’t keep his head out of the weeds. Then Gordon capped off his lost year by skipping a team walkthrough prior to the finale and was suspended again. Runner-up: Ray Rice.

Most Likely to Succeed in 2014: Brandin Cooks, WR, Saints. Marques Colston has lost a step and Kenny Stills clearly doesn’t have the rapport with Drew Brees that Cooks developed early in his rookie season. Look for Brees and Cooks to soar with another offseason under their belts. Runner-up: Devonta Freeman, RB, Falcons.

As always, I’m open to your feedback on these awards.  Feel free to comment below, and be sure to begin your message with “You’re an idiot because…”

Week 17 Heroes & Zeros

This was a great week to start…

Geno Smith, Jets – Out of nowhere, passed for 358 yards and 3 TDs, with a fumble.
Matt Stafford, Lions – Passed for 217 yards and 3 TDs, plus a fumble.
Aaron Rodgers, Packers – Despite missing time with a calf injury, generated 226 yards and 2 TDs, plus 14 rushing yards and a 3rd TD, without a blemish.

C.J. Anderson, Broncos – Ran for 87 yards and a TD trifecta, plus 2 receptions for 20 yards.
Lamar Miller, Dolphins – Raced for 178 yards and a TD.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals – Scored twice while catching 8 passes for 153 yards.
Eric Decker, Jets – Hauled in 10 passes for 221 yards and 1 TD.
Dez Bryant, Cowboys – Grabbed 4 passes for 99 yards and 2 TDs.
Randall Cobb, Packers – Caught 4 passes for 80 yards and a pair of TDs.
Odell Beckham, Jr, Giants – Pulled down a dozen passes for 185 yards and a TD.
Andre Johnson, Texans – In PPR leagues, his 10-reception, 134-yard, 1-TD performance was sweet.

Coby Fleener, Colts – Caught 5 passes for 56 yards and 2 TDs.

Panthers – Accumulated 6 sacks, 2 INTs, a fumble and 2 pick-six TDs while holding Atlanta to 3 points.

This was a great week to play against…

Philip Rivers, Chargers – Held to 291 yards without a TD, plus 3 costly turnovers.
Jay Cutler, Bears – Unimpressive in his return to the starting job, with just 172 passing yards and no scores.
Tom Brady, Patriots – Just 80 passing yards without a score before hitting the showers early.
Peyton Manning, Broncos – Gave way to his RB before exiting early, finishing with just 273 yards and no TDs, plus a fumble.
Russell Wilson, Seahawks – Had 239 passing yards with an INT but no scores and only 7 rushing yards.
Matt Ryan, Falcons – Passed for 260 yards, but didn’t have a TD, and tossed 2 picks.

Chris Johnson, Jets – Only 20 yards rushing and lost 3 yards on his only reception.
Devonta Freeman, Falcons – Ran for just 13 yards and took 2 receptions 3 yards.
Trent Richardson, Colts – Outplayed by his backup again after generating just 11 rushing and 9 receiving yards.
Tre Mason, Rams – Ran for 28 yards and caught 3 passes for 29 yards.
Jamaal Charles, Chiefs – Just 62 combined yards.

T.Y. Hilton, Colts – Blanked by the Titans.
DeAndre Hopkins, Texans – Held to 5 yards on 2 balls.
Kelvin Benjamin, Panthers – Limited to a 9-yarder.
Vincent Jackson, Bucs – Caught an 11-yarder.
Mohamed Sanu, Bengals – Settled for a 16-yarder.
Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals – Just 2 receptions for 29 yards.
Dwayne Bowe, Chiefs – Only 30 yards on 3 catches.
Alshon Jeffery, Bears – Just 34 yards on 2 receptions.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Sunday morning Foolishness -- Week 17

Good morning, Fools. I imagine there are much fewer of you reading this than normal, and that's a good thing. Unless you play in a weekly league, or have something akin to the "Free for All Bowl" that a couple of my leagues run, there's no reason to be focusing on starting lineups this weekend.

That said, some boneheaded leagues still play their Super Bowls this weekend, so we must remain vigilant for their benefit. Here's what they need to know:

As covered in my Starters & Benchwarmers column, nearly 20 teams have either been eliminated from the playoffs, or have little or no incentive to play hard to improve their playoff seeding. Guys like Tom Brady are expected to play a half or less. Rob Gronkowski has already been made a healthy scratch. No reason to think Tony Romo or Dez Bryant will play long either. Look for DeMarco Murray to get in long enough to break Emmitt Smith's team rushing record (he needs 30 yards), then quickly exit.

Everyone else is a dicey proposition, and there's little doubt that some unheralded backups will be among the day's top performers. Figuring out which ones in advance takes more work than I'm willing to put in for such little benefit. (Sorry...I've got a family!)

Steven Jackson is out for the Falcons, so Devonta Freeman will get a whole game to audition for next year's starting job. Freeman is a prime candidate.

Forget my flier of the week pick, Jonas Gray. He's already been ruled out. It could be a nice day for James White and/or Brandon Bolden, though. Julian Edelman is also inactive.

Julio Jones will suit up in Atlanta's all-or-nothing game with Carolina.

Here's a sneak pick at this year's honoree for the "Plaxico Burress Memorial Bonehead of the Year Award:" Josh Gordon, who got himself suspended for Week 17 for missing Saturday's walkthrough with the team. He apparently was playing hooky with Johnny Manziel, though not necessarily together. Can that duo be anything but trouble? We will likely be hearing a lot about them in the offseason, for all the wrong reasons.

Meanwhile, the Browns will be led by rookie Connor Shaw at QB today. Oh my.

Terrance West gets the start at halfback for the beleaguered Browns.

Percy Harvin and Dwayne Allen have also been declared inactive.

That's it for now. More inactives coming next, but I'm heading to church. Will get out as many as I can. Good luck to all Fools!