October 17, 2019

Washington Capitals Power Rankings Week 3

To summarize: Mike Green is having The Best Week Ever, and the Caps escaped from western Canada with a 1-2 record. They’re still 4-2-2 on the season, so it’s not as bad as it looks. The Caps looked great in Edmonton, but hockey isn’t fair, so no points there. In Calgary, they worked hard and grabbed a few points. Vancouver is the new San Jose for the Capitals, because they just can’t win there. They looked a bit tired, but three games in 4 nights tends to tire one out.

There are a couple guys that I think are due for a goal or two, so maybe they can get that out of the way this week. The Caps play 3 of their next 4 games at home.

 

Rank Player The whatfor 
1 Mike Green Green leads the team in scoring with 8 points (3g, 5a). Though he was held scoreless during the Caps 3-1 win over the Flames on Saturday, Green already has 3 multi-point performances through 7 games. The only defenseman in the NHL with more points than Green is San Jose’s Brent Burns.
2 Marcus Johansson The Swede has already equaled his even-strength goal total (3) from last season, and it took him 72 fewer games to do it.
3 Andre Burakovsky Burakovsky skated with the second line for most of the three games this week, but was bumped to the third line during Sunday’s game in Vancouver, centering Jason Chimera and Joel Ward. His 2 assists this week are good enough to tie Nicklas Backstrom for a total of 7 points on the season.
4 Braden Holtby He allowed 3 goals in the loss to the Oilers, but finished with a .952 save percentage in the 3-1 win over the Flames. Not a bad week. He sits at .922 SV% through 5 starts this season.
5 Nicklas Backstrom He added a goal in Calgary and an assist in Edmonton. He failed to register even a shot on goal in the loss to the Canucks.
6 Joel Ward One half of the third line “twins,” Ward scored 2 goals in Saturday’s win in Calgary.
7 Brooks Orpik The other Brooks logged 10 hits and an assist in Calgary, and pretty much hit anything that moved in Western Canada.
8 Alex Ovechkin No goals this week for Ovechkin, after 3 games played, and he’s been scoreless since the Caps’ 6-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on 10/16. Oh, and he should probably cut back on the shot-blocking thing.
9 Justin Peters He’s only gotten 3 starts this season, but his performance in the Caps’ loss to the Canucks on Sunday kept the game much closer than it looked.
10 Eric Fehr Though he was momentarily separated from the top line for a bit, Fehr has spent the majority of the season skating with Backstrom and Ovechkin. He’s logged just 2 assists in 8 games. One of those points came while he was reunited with the third line.
11 Evgeny Kuznetsov Kuznetsov is another player who is due to get off the schneide any time now. He briefly centered a line with Johansson and Brouwer on Sunday, and I suspect his lack of production has more to do with his linemates and ice time than anything else.
12 Nate Schmidt This young defenseman hasn’t made an impact on the scoreboard, but he’s logging quite a few minutes with partner Mike Green and is averages 14:26 TOI.
13 Karl Alzner Alzner assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s 3rd period goal against the Calgary Flames. He took a penalty against Vancouver that led to a flurry of scoring – 3 goals in less than 2 minutes.
14 Troy Brouwer Brouwer hasn’t scored a point since 10/16 against the Devils. He was credited with 4 hits in the 4 games since, but there’s opportunity for him to produce a bit more if he’s skating on the first and second lines as he did this week and getting power play time.
15 Jason Chimera Not an exciting week for Jason Chimera. He’s registered just 2 points in 8 games.
16 John Carlson Carlson scored a power play goal in the loss against Edmonton, but didn’t contribute to the offense on the road trip otherwise.
17 Matt Niskanen One assist this week, and a whole lot of penalty killing.
18 Liam O’Brien Pretty nice week for O’Brien. He scored his first NHL goal in Vancouver, and got punched in the face by Matt Hendricks in Edmonton.
19 Michael Latta Not a remarkable week for the center, other than an assist on Joel Ward’s second goal in Calgary, which was Latta’s first point of the season.
20 Jay Beagle Made his return to the lineup in Edmonton. He had an otherwise uneventful week.
Brooks Laich Still out with an “upper-body” injury, per the team.
 – John Erskine Sidelined due to neck surgery. I’m doubtful he’ll crack the lineup any time soon.
 – Aaron Volpatti IR. Still.
 – Jack Hillen Scratched this week.
 – Tom Wilson His return to Hershey could signal an appearance in a Caps sweater sometime soon.
 – Chris Brown Scratched this week.
 – Dmitry Orlov Yup, still on IR.

 

Washington Redskins Postgame Audio: Sept. 22 loss to Detroit Lions

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

The Washington Redskins fell to 0-3 Sunday with a 27-20 loss to the Detroit Lions. The Skins played well at times, but continue to be plagued by inconsistencies and missed opportunities on offense, and downright shoddy defensive play, specifically talking and secondary play.

Coach Mike Shanahan

On what they can take away from the game:
“Like I told our team, I was proud of the way they fought. We have to eliminate some of those mistakes in the football game. We had the opportunity to do it  and get it done, but you can’t make those mistakes that we made and expect to win. We have to play cleaner and be more consistent. Like I said, we did have some great effort out there.”

On the current state of the team:

“You find out how tough you are. There’s nothing you can do about it but go back and be tough on yourself and try to eliminate mistakes. That’s what our football team will do. We’ll come back be tough on ourselves.

Robert Griffin III

On how he feels after the team has started the season 0-3:

“We had too many mistakes at crucial times. Of course, the fumble and the interception early in the game, we’ve just got to make those plays to win the game. We actually put ourselves in the position to have a real good shot of winning the game and putting it away. The way our guys fought, we just didn’t come up with it. We’ve just got to clean it up.”

Full raw audio is below.

09-22-13 Mike Shanahan Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Robert Griffin III Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Alfred Morris Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Pierre Garcon Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Santana Moss Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Darrel Young Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Jordan Reed Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Trent Williams Postgame RAW

09-22-13 Brian Orakpo Postgame RAW

09-22-13 DeAngelo Hall Postgame RAW

Washington Redskins Recap: Skins fall short against Lions 27-20

The Washington Redskins looked better on Sunday against the Detroit Lions. They moved the ball better. They looked better against the run. They had a legitimate chance to win the game late in the fourth quarter.

Unfortunately, a combination of penalties, missed tackles and missed opportunities and a continued shaky pass defense led to a 27-20 loss to the Lions, dropping the Skins to 0-3 as they prepare this next week for a cross-country road trip against the Oakland Raiders, which could find the team winless heading into their bye week in Week 5.

Two plays were indicative how this game — really, this season — have gone for the Redskins.

First, Robert Griffin III busted containment and took off scampering down the field, outrunning defenders for 20 yards before deciding that discretion was the better part of valor. Instead of sliding, Griffin went head-first and upon impact, the ball squirted loose to be recovered by a Lions defender.

Later, Aldrick Robinson hauled in a 45-plus yard bomb from Griffin and fell into the end zone, only to have the ball come free upon impact. The pass was ruled incomplete, and for all intents, the game was over at that point.

Yes, the Skins kicked a field goal with 2:16 left that put them down by a touchdown and yes, they had one last Hail Mary attempt that could have tied the game.

But it really wasn’t that close.

We saw on Sunday what an average quarterback could do to the Redskins defense — dead last in the league overall and 30th in the league against both the pass and run.

Matthew Stafford is an average quarterback with a couple of exceptional wideouts. We saw time and again those receivers breaking free against the porous Skins secondary. On occasion, Stafford would hit them in stride for big gains. Sometimes, he’d make a crummy throw that resulted in a modest gain. Sometimes, he’d overthrow, or underthrow, or simply miss the target, as he did on DeAngelo Hall’s pick-six.

But never did the Redskins secondary force or pressure Stafford into doing what he didn’t want to do.

There was some pressure from the front seven on occasion that made Stafford rush a throw here or there. But for the most part, receivers ran open all day long and Stafford either hooked up with them or not.

On offense, Griffin had a better day. There were occasions where the Skins offense looked — dare I say — good. But Griffin had that fumble on an untouched downing of the ball. He threw one of the worst interceptions you’re ever likely to see, flinging the ball in the general direction of a clump of players as he’s being hauled down scrambling. And he’s still just not “there” yet running the ball.

He had a couple of plays where we saw some burst, but he’s also getting chased down by defensive linemen and linebackers all too often.

If this had been the first game of the season, you’d chalk it up to rust and move on. But this can’t be a moral victory even though the Skins had a couple of chances to tie or win this game in the fourth quarter. They needed to win this one. Odds of teams coming from 0-3 to make it to the playoffs are slim, indeed.

They are only two games out of the division after Week 3. Heck, the Giants are 0-3 after embarrassing themselves in Carolina on Sunday. But the Redskins face a cross-country trip to Oakland next week. Sure, the Raiders are no great shakes, but teams historically have trouble flying over three time zones and winning games.

The Skins are staring 0-4 right in the face with the bye week coming up. If someone wanted to make a sacrificial offering going into the bye week, it would be the perfect opportunity. We’re going to find out a lot about this team in the next seven days.

Redskins Wrap: Week 3 against Detroit Lions

Dave Nichols and Andy Holmes of District Sports Page discuss the Washington Redskins loss to the Detroit Lions, dropping the team to 0-3 this season with a cross-country trip to Oakland next on the schedule.

Listen to internet radio with DSPs Redskins Radio Shows on Blog Talk Radio

Fantasy Football: Week 3 Survivor Pool – Sunday Final

Survivor

A final look at Week 3 Survivor is below. Updates are in bold.

Week 2 wasn’t very kind to me either. I broke one of my cardinal rules when I changed out of Cincinnati for two of my entries to the Eagles. Of course, the Eagles lost and the Bengals went on to win. And the Texans certainly didn’t make things easy in their win. However, they won and as they say, there are no pictures on the scorecard.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of early Sunday AM:

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

Seattle Seahawks

48.60%

1

Seattle Seahawks

55.91%

2

Minnesota Vikings

16.10%

2

Minnesota Vikings

17.49%

3

Denver Broncos

16.00%

3

Denver Broncos

12.51%

4

New Orleans Saints

7.10%

4

New Orleans Saints

4.04%

5

San Francisco 49ers

6.00%

5

San Francisco 49ers

2.58%

6

New England Patriots

2.10%

6

New England Patriots

1.46%

7

Dallas Cowboys

0.90%

7

New York Giants

1.11%

8

New York Giants

0.70%

8

Dallas Cowboys

1.08%

9

Philadelphia Eagles (L)

0.40%

9

Chicago Bears

1.01%

10

Chicago Bears

0.40%

10

Green Bay Packers

0.53%

 

What in the world? I think everyone is getting a little too cute with the Vikings moving into the top 2. Christian Ponder is still their QB and the Browns’ defense is solid. Yes, Hoyer and McGahee are the new keystone combo for the Browns, but please read below.

The Week 3 pool is Morganna-esque in its top heaviness. Should we go with the clear number one or walk on the wild side?

Here are my final choices for Week 3 in order of preference. I will be back Sunday morning with a final look:

  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos have looked great in the first two weeks and their opponent this week provides little opposition as the Raiders are a bunch of no names on both sides of the ball. The Broncos did lose Ryan Clady to IR this week so they may have some protection issues, but that just means that Knowshon Moreno will get more time in the backfield. I give the Broncos a 91% chance to win.
  2. Seattle Seahawks – Most sports books don’t even have a line on this game. The one line I found has the Seahawks at -4500. That is, you bet $4500 to win $100. That line translates to almost 98% chance of winning for the ‘hawks.  Clearly, the Seahawks are the surest bet. However, should they lose, you’ve got a lot of equity in your pool heading your way if your pool breakdown looks like the above. I give the Seahawks a 95% chance of winning.

I’m going to stop you right here. There is no reason to choose anyone other than the two teams listed above. You likely won’t find many other 90%+ probabilities throughout the rest of the season. Take one of these two teams and live to see Week 4. However, if you don’t like listening, here are the other teams you could consider.

  1. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings’ matchup gets better and better every day. Their opponent, the Cleveland Browns, have elevated third stringer Brian Hoyer to start at QB for the injured Brandon Weeden and traded stud RB Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts leaving a mess at RB and a lifeline sent to Willis McGahee. I give the Vikings a 77% chance of winning.
  2. San Francisco 49ers –The Niners were embarrassed on the road against the Seahawks last week. They head home to face a Colts team that just got stronger with the addition of Trent Richardson. However, I don’t think he’ll have time to make an impact this week. Moreover, the Colt suspect defense will allow Colin Kaepernick to run wild on the ground and in the air. I give the 49ers a 77% chance to win.
  3. New Orleans Saints – The Saints enjoy home cooking this week against a one-dimensional Arizona Cardinals offense. The Saints have too many weapons for the Cards to have a chance of outscoring them. I give the Saints a 71% chance to win.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the New England Patriots against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs offense is mess, but they have a solid defense and the Pats are still without any consistent weapons on offense. You should have better options this week.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the New York Giants against the Panthers. Yes, the Giants are 0-2. However, they’ve been in both games and the Panthers are fighting injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants struggling out of the gate seems to be standard operating procedure for them for the last few years. I expect them to turn it around this week.

Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Washington Redskins Week 3 Preview: Detroit Lions

The Washington Redskins are off to an 0-2 start, which means everyone involved – players, coaches, front office and fans – are desperate for a win in Week 3 as they face off against the Detroit Lions at FedEx Field this Sunday.

It’s a critical game in a lot of ways. Detroit historically is not a good road team and has never won in Washington. Further, the Skins travel across three time zones next week to play at Oakland. If the Skins can right the ship this week and pull off a win on the other side of the continent the following week, they would sit 2-2 at the bye week and perhaps by that point, Robert Griffin III’s “preseason” will be over and he and the team can return to the business of defending the NFC East title they earned last season.

But a loss this week to a dynamic Lions offense and a poor showing due to travel and at 0-4, someone could very well get fired.

The Detroit Lions (1-1) are currently second behind the Chicago Bears in the NFC North. The Lions are coming off of a 25-21 loss to the Arizona Cardinals and have plenty of weapons, but also have some serious issues with injuries, the most significant of which is to RB Reggie Bush’s knee.

Bush has bounced around from the New Orleans Saints to the Miami Dolphins and now to the Lions, where he has become a huge part of their offense. Bush is highly regarded for his ability to run the football as well as his prowess as a receiver out of the backfield.

For the second straight day on Thursday, though, Bush was not able to practice with his Lions teammates and is listed as questionable on the team’s injury report.

If Bush isn’t in the lineup Sunday against the Skins’ beleaguered defense, they can focus on superstar Calvin Johnson and underrated tight end Brandon Pettigrew. The bottom line is the Redskins will have a better chance of winning if the Lions have fewer weapons on the field with which to attack the so-far porous Redskins defense. If the defense can produce some three-and-outs, the offense will have more opportunities and better field position to work with.

The recipe is there for the Redskins offense to explode on Sunday and have an excellent day. The Lions pass defense is middle-of-the-pack at best.

The key for the Skins is to get the ball rolling in the early part of the game. They need to get Alfred Morris involved early. They really need to put some points up in the first quarter to establish some momentum for the rest of the game and put pressure back on the traveling Lions. The Redskins offense hasn’t been able to score on in the first half of the ENTIRE season. That desperately needs to change Sunday.

If the Redskins are going to win they have to do two things:

  1. Cover Calvin Johnson: Not the easiest task. Expect the Redskins to double-team “Megatron” and rotate safties over the top to help out with deep coverage. If the Lions throw to Johnson successfully and QB Matthew Stafford establishes good chemistry with the Pro Bowler early, then it’s going to be a long day for the Redskins defense.
  2. The Redskins offense needs to score early and often: If the Redskins offense scores early, hopefully that will allow RGIII to relax and will help get this Redskins offense back to the high gear it operated in in 2012. Look for them to run the ball early so the play action pass can be a big factor later in the game.
  3. Stay the course. Unless a new injury pops up, there’s no reason to remove Griffin from the game. The only way to get batter in this league is through live snaps, and this is just game three of Griffin’s preseason. The growing pains hurt, but if the Skins are able to establish the run early, Griffin should be able to get into more of a rhythm.

 

DSP Staff Intern Brandon Enroth contributed to this report.

Fantasy Football: Week 3 Survivor Pool and Thursday Night Game Preview

Survivor

Marshawn_Lynch_2011

From Kelly Bailey – 2011

Week 2 wasn’t very kind to me either. I broke one of my cardinal rules when I changed out of Cincinnati for two of my entries to the Eagles. Of course, the Eagles lost and the Bengals went on to win. And the Texans certainly didn’t make things easy in their win. However, they won and as they say, there are no pictures on the scorecard.

Bye week: None

Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and Yahoo! as of late Wednesday night:

Office Football Pool

Yahoo! Survival Football

Rank

Team

Picks

Rank

Team

Percent

1

Seattle Seahawks

54.20%

1

Seattle Seahawks

63.48%

2

Denver Broncos

17.20%

2

Denver Broncos

13.48%

3

Minnesota Vikings

10.00%

3

Minnesota Vikings

8.40%

4

San Francisco 49ers

6.50%

4

New Orleans Saints

3.81%

5

New Orleans Saints

6.40%

5

San Francisco 49ers

2.56%

6

New England Patriots

2.10%

6

New England Patriots

1.65%

7

Dallas Cowboys

0.90%

7

New York Giants

1.27%

8

New York Giants

0.50%

8

Chicago Bears

1.14%

9

Philadelphia Eagles

0.40%

9

Dallas Cowboys

1.14%

10

Chicago Bears

0.30%

10

Green Bay Packers

0.63%

The Week 3 pool is Morganna-esque in its top heaviness. Should we go with the clear number one or walk on the wild side?

Here are my early choices for Week 3 in order of preference. I will be back Sunday morning with a final look:

  1. Denver Broncos – The Broncos have looked great in the first two weeks and their opponent this week provides little opposition as the Raiders are a bunch of no names on both sides of the ball. The Broncos did lose Ryan Clady to IR this week so they may have some protection issues, but that just means that Knowshon Moreno will get more time in the backfield. I give the Broncos a 91% chance to win.
  2. Seattle Seahawks – Most sports books don’t even have a line on this game. The one line I found has the Seahawks at -4500. That is, you bet $4500 to win $100. That line translates to almost 98% chance of winning for the ‘hawks.  Clearly, the Seahawks are the surest bet. However, should they lose, you’ve got a lot of equity in your pool heading your way if your pool breakdown looks like the above. I give the Seahawks a 95% chance of winning.
  3. Minnesota Vikings – The Vikings’ matchup gets better and better every day. Their opponent, the Cleveland Browns, have elevated third stringer Brian Hoyer to start at QB for the injured Brandon Weeden and traded stud RB Trent Richardson to the Indianapolis Colts leaving a mess at RB and a lifeline sent to Willis McGahee. I give the Vikings a 79% chance of winning.
  4. San Francisco 49ers –The Niners were embarrassed on the road against the Seahawks last week. They head home to face a Colts team that just got stronger with the addition of Trent Richardson. However, I don’t think he’ll have time to make an impact this week. Moreover, the Colt suspect defense will allow Colin Kaepernick to run wild on the ground and in the air. I give the Bengals a 77% chance to win.
  5. New Orleans Saints – The Saints enjoy home cooking this week against a one-dimensional Arizona Cardinals offense. The Saints have too many weapons for the Cards to have a chance of outscoring them. I give the Saints a 71% chance to win.

Other teams I like this week: None

As for the avoid list, I would stay away from the New England Patriots against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs offense is mess, but they have a solid defense and the Pats are still without any consistent weapons on offense. You should have better options this week.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d think about the New York Giants against the Panthers. Yes, the Giants are 0-2. However, they’ve been in both games and the Panthers are fighting injuries on the defensive side of the ball. The Giants struggling out of the gate seems to be standard operating procedure for them for the last few years. I expect them to turn it around this week.

Just a reminder, if you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each team’s “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here

Thursday night game injury update – Kansas City Chiefs at Philadelphia Eagles

Andy Reid comes home to face the team and fans he spent the prior fourteen years of his life in front of. Hopefully, we’ll get an entertaining game as the Chiefs’ defense has been great in the first two weeks and the Eagles offense looks nearly unstoppable.

Kansas City

Jamaal Charles has been nursing a thigh injury, but he seems to a good bet to go on Thursday. He (and much of the rest of the Chiefs’ offense) look to offer a solid against a Eagles team that hasn’t been able to stop any in the first two weeks. Kansas City is thin on fantasy options, but Charles, Dwayne Bowe and even Alex Smith are viable standard league options this week.

The Chiefs’ defense has been the highest scoring fantasy D in most of my leagues. However, they face off against the high tempo Eagles’ offense so expectations should be tempered. If you can stream this week, I’d rather have someone like the Vikings in this spot than the Chiefs.

Philadelphia Eagles

So far, Chip Kelly’s offense has been a boon to fantasy squads. However, they face their toughest opponent so far in the Chiefs. I would temper my expectations for Michael Vick, DeSean Jackson and LeSean Mccoy. Beyond that, I’d stay away from everyone else. I think the Chiefs have a good shot of winning this game if their defense can control the game.

The Eagles defense isn’t an option this week except in the deepest of leagues. The Chiefs aren’t a dynamic offensive squad, but the Eagles’ D is below average and could offer lots of opportunities for the Chiefs.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

Washington Redskins Practice Update & Audio for Sept. 18

Audio courtesy Sky Kerstein

Midweek media day out at Redskins Park.

Head Coach Mike Shanahan

On if quarterback Robert Griffin III should have gotten some preseason snaps:

“I don’t know if anybody remembers, but Dr. Andrews said that there was no way he could play during the preseason. Does anybody remember that? We have to go back to this? Dr. Andrews said he could not play during the preseason. There was no chance for him to play.”

On if he thinks limited preseason action has caused slow starts for running back Alfred Morris:

“I’ll be honest with you, I thought Alfred was as good as I’ve seen a running back throughout all of camp, even in the preseason games. Anytime you do have a fumble on the first play, then you have a pitch on the goal line and there’s a safety, guys lose a little bit of confidence. And even starting out the game last week in the first half, you could see he wasn’t normal. And I tried to tell him, ‘Hey, don’t worry about it, you’re too good of a runner,’ and then he started running a little bit better. And you know that happens, especially with young guys – we have some conscientious people, they want to play extremely hard. And when they do make a mistake, sometimes they’re so conscientious they lose a little bit of that edge. I think you’ll see Alfred will do a lot of great things this season.”

For his full comment, and those of a handful of Redskins players and Lions receiver Calvin Johnson, please click the links below.

09-18-13 Mike Shanahan Practice RAW

09-18-13 Robert Griffin III Practice RAW

09-18-13 Pierre Garcon Practice RAW

09-18-13 Barry Cofield Practice RAW

09-18-13 David Amerson Practice RAW

09-18-13 Josh Wilson Practice RAW

09-18-13 Santana Moss Practice RAW

09-18-13 Calvin Johnson Conference Call RAW

Washington Redskins Game 3 Review: Despite Signs of Resilience, Redskins Suffer Heartbreaker Loss to the Bengals in Home Opener

Despite an unbelievable comeback fueled by the Washington Redskins’ (1-2) running game in the second half, the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) tore through a debilitated Skins defense from start to finish as the Burgundy and Gold fell 38-31 at FedEx Field Sunday afternoon.

From the very first play, it was clear Sunday’s matchup was going to be a wild one. After the Bengals’ Brandon Tate returned the kickoff for 31 yards to the Cincinnati 27-yard line, the Bengals ran the wildcat on the first play of the game with a direct snap to rookie wide receiver Mohamed Sanu, who launched a 73-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Green, giving the Bengals a 7-0 lead in less than 20 seconds. [Read more…]

Fantasy Football: Week 3 Notes and Survivor Pool; Start ‘em and Sit ‘em

On to Week 3, the last week before bye weeks begin to alter the fantasy and Survivor landscapes. We still only have two weeks’ worth of data to utilize, but trends are beginning to emerge. I will attempt to recover from the Survivor disaster that was the Patriots last week. I usually like to use Rotoworld’s rankings as a quick guide and then see where I can take advantage of lower or higher rankings. Follow along, as I read aloud. As always, if you have questions, just leave a comment or send me a note on Twitter.

Quarterback                               

Up: Tony Romo should see lot of opportunities to throw the ball downfield at home against a hapless Tampa Bay Buccaneers secondary. Look for Romo to be a top 5 QB this week. I’d even start him over Aaron Rodgers who has a tough matchup on the road in the Seattle.

Outside of the top 20, I like Andy Dalton against the Washington Redskins even though the Bengals will be on the road. The Redskins haven’t shown the ability to stop the pass and with the recent injuries to Brian Orakpo and Adam Carriker, I don’t see that improving this week. The potential return of Brandon Meriweather doesn’t offer a lot of help in my opinion. I see Dalton with top 12 potential this week.

Look for Ryan Fitzpatrick to sneak into the top 15 this week against a suspect Cleveland Browns pass defense that remains without stud CB Joe Haden.

Down: Peyton Manning is not in my top 20 QBs for this week. The Texans defense has been stingy versus the pass and with shut down corner Jonathan Joseph basically taking out any receiver in his sights, I think there are far better options than Manning this week.

Michael Vick faces another tough matchup. He’s not a top 15 QB for me this week as he goes on the road to face a much improved Arizona defense. And, Jeremy Maclin is out this week as well.

Running back

Up: Donald Brown it is your time to shine. If Brown is going to be valuable to your fantasy team, this is the week he will do so. He’s up against the Jacksonville Jaguars who struggle on both sides of the ball. He’s a top 18 back in my mind this week and I’d give serious thought to starting him over Adrian Peterson (see below), Steven Jackson and Darren McFadden.

The Kansas City Chiefs and Detroit Lions both have very good matchups this week against the New Orleans Saints and Tennessee Titans respectively. The problem is both backfields look to be timeshares. Jamaal Charles is coming of an injury and Kevin Smith is an injury waiting to happen. Peyton Hillis is coming off a good performance and Mikel Leshoure is coming off of suspension. And don’t forget Shaun Draughn in the Chiefs backfield now or Joique Bell in Detroit. All of that said, I think Charles of the Chiefs and Leshoure of the Lions are the two highest scoring backs in their respective backfields this week.

For PPR players, Jacquizz Rodgers has an interesting matchup with the San Diego Chargers.  The Chargers have been fantastic against the run, but gave up 15 receptions in week one to Oakland Raiders RBs.

In deep leagues, monitor Javon Ringer of the Tenneseee Titans. He is back from injury and there is speculation that he will cut into Chris Johnson’s time this week starting with third down duties. Ringer has a chance to take over the lead gig at some point this season as Chris Johnson doesn’t seem to have the ability to overcome the Titans poor offensive line play.

In very deep leagues, preseason darling Travaris Cadet of the New Orleans Saints is getting repetitions at WR. Anyone in that Saints offense is intriguing so keep an eye on him.

Down: Adrian Peterson is still recovering from last year’s knee surgery. The 49ers run defense is not a place to succeed. You likely don’t have a better option to start over him (unless you drafted C.J. Spiller late), but do not expect top 20 RB scoring from Peterson this week.

Steven Jackson was “hurt” last week against the Redskins which gave Daryl Richardson the chance to shine. Jackson has missed practice time this week and now has Richardson in his rearview mirror. Jackson falls out of the top 25 RBs this week as he runs up against a tough Bears D and father time.

This is for next week of course, but it seems time to release lottery ticket David Wilson of the New York Giants. Perhaps, grab Javon Ringer and see what happens in Tennessee.

Oh, you can cut Michael Turner at your earliest convenience. He is D-U-N done.

Wide Receiver

Up: Miles Austin is a top 10 WR this week against the Bucs. I see him scoring more than his counterpart Dez Bryant (who has been up and down for his entire career) and I’d start Austin over Larry Fitzgerald as well.

No Joe Haden means Steve Johnson of the Buffalo Bills should have a field day against the Cleveland Browns. Johnson is a top 15 WR this week and I’d start him over the slightly injured Marques Colston, Greg Jennings and Dez Bryant.

The WR2 roulette in Cincinnati takes on a bit more importance as they face the Redskins this week. I’d say that Andrew Hawkins is a WR3 this week (a solid flex play) and Armon Binns is a play in deeper leagues.

Don’t be scared off by Percy Harvin’s matchup with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers haven’t been great against WRs and the Vikings will make every effort to get the ball into Harvin’s hands in any way possible.

In deeper leagues, Leonard Hankerson is a solid play and could pick up 75 yards and a TD as he likely will sub in for Pierre Garcon. In the Redskins offense, the Garcon (now Hankerson) position is the most important WR spot on the field and Robert Griffin III will look early and often for Hankerson.

Last, but not least, Greg Little should have room against the Buffalo Bills. He’s been targeted 11 times in the first two weeks. I can see a top 30 WR this week and he’s a flex option in many leagues.

Down: Brandon Marshall goes up against the St. Louis Rams and more specifically Cortland Finnegan. Marshall is ranked highly and the Rams have been average against WRs, but Finnegan can still shut down WRs. I see Marshall around the top 20 of WRs this week.

Greg Jennings…ugh.

Demaryius Thomas will likely face off against the Houston Texans’ Jonathan Joseph . Joseph is paid to shut WRs down. I’d drop Thomas out of the top 30 this week against this defense.

Austin Collie looks to be back for the Colts this week, but the Colts face a tough Jags passing defense. And with Donnie Avery around, neither Avery nor Collie are likely worthwhile starts in anything, but the deepest of leagues. I think Avery still has more long term value based on Collie’s lengthy injury history and Andrew Luck’s reliance on Donnie Avery.

Tight End

Up: Brandon Pettigrew. Playing the Tennessee Titans? Check. In your lineup? Should be. He’ll be a top 5 TE this week.

For as stingy as the San Francisco 49ers defense has been this year (and last), they have struggled against the TE this year. The 49ers have given up TDs to TEs in each of the first two weeks. Kyle Rudolph is certainly a matchup play in deeper leagues and I like him over Tony Gonzalez, Jermichael Finley and Jason Witten.

I’m not a huge Jermaine Gresham fan, but if you are going to start him, this is the week to do so. He may be freed up a bit from blocking with the injuries along the defensive line for the Redskins and the Redskins have been relatively friendly to TEs.

Down: If you’ve been excited by Heath Miller’s TD explosion so far, temper those feelings. He’s going up against a Raiders team that has allowed a total of 64 yards in two games to TEs.

Dustin Keller is out for the New York Jets this week. None of his potential replacements intrigue me in the slightest.

Kicker

Up: If Alex Henery doesn’t perform this week for the Eagles it’s time to drop him. The Cardinals have given up the seven FGs in two games.

Down: Both Sebastian Janikowski and Matt Prater have tough matchups this week and if you have other options, I’d look for them thought I don’t advocate backup kickers. Just know that you can’t expect a great deal from either one this week and may want to take a risk in other places on your roster.

Defense

Up: The Arizona Cardinals this week and beyond. Take a look at their schedule after the turnover prone Philadelphia Eagles – Miami, St. Louis, Buffalo and Minnesota. Not too shabby at all. They are a top eight defense this week and beyond.

Down: The Pittsburgh Steelers may be living on reputation this week as they travel to Oakland to face the Raiders. I don’t see them as a top 10 defense this week as the Raiders have enough weapons to pierce the Steelers curtain.

IDP

I won’t cover a lot of IDPers every week as the player pool is too vast, but I will try to give a couple of ideas for everyone.

DL – Get Cameron Jordan of the New Orleans Saints in your lineup this week and expect at least one sack against the porous Kansas City Chiefs offensive line.

Does Henry Melton have one more week of magic left for the Chicago Bears? I’d say give him a start as well against the Rams. The Rams are still struggling to piece an offensive line together from the pieces left over after the injury bug struck them.

LB – Wesley Woodyard continues to play well for the Denver Broncos and should be an IDP factor until D.J. Williams returns from suspension in Week 6. There is always the possibility that Woodyard keeps the starting job, but that is unlikely. Ride Woodyard while he is hot.

Look for Stephen Nicholas to have a big game for the Atlanta Falcons against the Chargers as San Diego will likely try to establish the run to keep Atlanta’s offense off the field and get Ryan Matthews back up to speed.

Erin Henderson is out for the Minnesota Vikings which opens up playing time for Marvin Mitchell. I’d stay away from Mitchell as there are other viable options.

DB – Michael Griffin and Alterraun Verner have a great matchup this week against the Detroit Lions who don’t like to run the ball a great deal. Griffin has 18 solo tackles through two games. Verner is more of an interception/turnover play for those looking for upside.

Patrick Peterson of the Arizona Cardinals should pick up a turnover this weekend against Michael Vick.

Survivor Pool – Week 3 selections – Updated

Last week was a bloodbath as around 40% of all survivor entrants were wiped out with the New England loss at home to Arizona. This week as not shaping up as an easy one as the largest favorite on the board is the 0-2 New Orleans Saints at home. Updates are in bold.

Here is what we have for a top 10 from Office Football Pool and ESPN as of late on Friday night:

Office Football Pool

 

ESPN Eliminator Challenge

Team

Picks

Team

Picks

1 New Orleans Saints 34.90% 1 Chicago Bears

21.20%

2 San Francisco 49ers 17.10% 2 San Francisco 49ers

20.00%

3 Chicago Bears 16.50% 3 New Orleans Saints

18.30%

4 Dallas Cowboys 12.60% 4 Pittsburgh Steelers

6.00%

5 Pittsburgh Steelers 5.60% 5 Dallas Cowboys

5.60%

6 Indianapolis Colts 2.90% 6 Green Bay Packers

5.00%

7 Detroit Lions 2.80% 7 Detroit Lions

4.50%

8 Washington Redskins 1.50% 8 Buffalo Bills

4.30%

9 Green Bay Packers 1.30% 9 Indianapolis Colts

2.90%

10 Buffalo Bills 1.30% 10 New York Jets

2.60%

The Saints are moving up in both pools and I’m taking them out of my top three selections. I just cannot trust them at this point in the season. They have to outscore ever opponent and Kansas City is getting healthier on defense.

The top 3 are the same, but in a much different order which represents the concerns over the Saints as a heavy favorite even though they haven’t shown much in the first two weeks. My initial thoughts on my top 3 picks for the week:

  1. Chicago Bears – The Bears have had a nice long layoff from their last game and enough time to incorporate Michael Bush as the starting RB in the lineup.  St. Louis is coming off a hard fought win at home against the Redskins and has questions in their own backfield.  I give the Bears a 71% chance of winning.
  2. Dallas Cowboys – I noted in my earlier column that you might see Dallas bump the Saints out of the top three. They do and they move the 49ers down a notch as well. This is the Cowboys home opener. They played poorly at Seattle, but looked good against the Giants on the road. I think the Cowboys get up for the game and can take advantage of a porous Tampa Bay pass defense. I give the Cowboys a 70% chance of winning. They are my pick this week as I’ve already used the Bears.
  3. San Francisco 49ers – The 49ers have been the best team over the first two weeks of the season. They go on the road to a Minnesota Vikings team coming off of a tough loss to the Colts. The 49ers are clearly the better team and have the defense to handle Adrian Peterson and Percy Harvin as well as confuse young Christian Ponder.  I give the 49ers a 68% chance of winning.
  4. New Orleans Saints – I’ll grudgingly go with the Saints as the fourth choice. They have not looked good on defense over the first two weeks. They are likely still adjusting to their third string head coach and the continued “Bounty Gate” news has to be a distraction. I’ll give the Saints a 60% chance of winning. But, when the final column comes out don’t be surprised to see the Dallas Cowboys sneak into this spot.

If you ever wanted to see what Vegas thinks each teams “chances of winning” are, use this handy little converter to transform money lines into win percentages. You can also create a spreadsheet if you’d like (or use this one – scroll to the bottom) to do it for fun at home. This percentage chance to win is another quick way to gauge win expectations for each team each week. You can get a variety of money lines here or here.

This is a tough week and the bye weeks are on the horizon which means it will only get tougher.

As for the avoid list, I’d lean away the Green Bay Packers. Seattle is a tough place to play and the Packers certainly haven’t looked in sync on offense. The Packers defense will likely cause enough havoc to rattle Russell Wilson and the lead the Pack to the victory.

If you get bonus points for picking an underdog, I’d look no further than last week’s surprise winner the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals defense is legitimate and Michael Vick gets confused easily. The Cardinals have a great shot to cover and a decent shot to win.

Chris Garosi is a contributor for District Sports Page. One of his favorite sports memories is witnessing Wilson Alvarez’s no-hitter at Memorial Stadium in 1991. Chris has played fantasy sports since the pre-Internet days and participates in any league for any sport to which he’s invited. He even won an XFL fantasy league. Really. You can follow him on Twitter at @chrisgarosi.

 

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