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Thursday, September 26, 2013

Knee Jerk Reactions: 2014 Draft Deep at QB

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Knee Jerk Reactions: 2014 Draft Deep at QB
By Wild on Sports Analyst Bryan Ridall

There will be a very deep Quarterback Class for this year's Draft...

It is never too early to look ahead to the draft, and after watching the moves Cleveland has made this past week, as well as the absolutely pitiful Jacksonville Jaguars, there will be some competition for the first pick in the draft. There is still plenty of time to go in the NFL season, but depending on their records, teams like the Vikings, Buccaneers, Titans, Cardinals, Jets, and even Eagles could be looking to draft a quarterback in the first few rounds. The next few months will dictated what the 2014 draft will look like, which could make Jadeveon Clowney an afterthought.

After trading away last year's #1 pick Trent Richardson, and starting Brian Hoyer, it seems clear that the Browns have thrown in the towel on this year and are stockpiling picks, and evaluating talent for the team next year. Jacksonville has looked awful, scoring just 11 points in two games, and have had no production from either Chad Henne or Blaine Gabbert at the quarterback position. These teams will likely be fighting for the #1 pick and the chance to draft the quarterback they want. The list of quality quarterbacks in the upcoming draft seems endless, but as of right now, it look like Teddy Bridgewater might be the best, and most pro-ready quarterback that will be coming out. Bridgewater has great poise in the pocket which helps his downfield vision. He keeps his eyes downfield and has a great arm, both in arm strength and touch, and understands the type of pass he needs to make in every situation. Many people thought that if head come out last year, he would have been the first quarterback taken, and that should be the case this year, barring some serious injury. Behind Bridgewater is likely Aaron Murray, who has shown flashes of greatness, but has had problems winning important games his entire college career. Murray has the tools to be a solid prospect, with decent size (6'1, 210), and has a strong arm, but needs to show consistency in big games. Murray has been able to quiet some doubters coming off a tough loss to now #3 Clemson, by beating South Carolina, a team he hadn't beaten his entire career. If Murray can lead Georgia to another SEC East title, and play another strong SEC Championship Game, he should secure the second quarterback spot. The next quarterback to go should be Taj Boyd, who has had an amazing career at Clemson, and could very well vie for a National Championship in his senior season. Like Murray, Boyd has decent size (6'1, 225), but is a much more mobile quarterback, and with many teams utilizing the read-option offense, Boyd could be more attractive to faster teams. Boyd also has a great arm and has shown the ability to be explosive with a star receiver, and could be a solid professional quarterback for years to come.

Mixed in the draft will be Miami's Stephen Morris, Michigan's Devin Gardner, and UNC's Brynn Renner. Expect these quarterbacks to come in ranked relatively low due to season results, but each will make strides during their pro days and during private evaluations. Gardner is the biggest X-Factor of the group because of the limited exposure he has had at the quarterback position, playing wide receiver for most of the last three years. However, there are three quarterbacks whose draft stock will be extremely interesting to watch; A.J. McCarron, Johnny Manziel, and Marcus Mariota. McCarron is a prototypical game manager, using Alabama's imposing running game and defense to help him build a lead, and then pick apart inexperienced and underwhelming secondaries. It's hard to know how good McCarron will be once he leaves Alabama, but it is likely that a team with a solid starting quarterback would take a chance on him with a later round pick (NE, PITT, SD). Who really knows what is going to happen with Johnny Football; he is a first round athlete, but as a quarterback, he will likely struggle to find success. Manziel is about the same size as Murray and Boyd, but his arm isn't as strong, and he is at his best when he can turn a structured play into chaos, something that doesn't translate we'll to the disciplined NFL. Manziel doesn't run the traditional read-option at A&M, but is extremely capable of making plays when nothing is there. Many NFL teams won't touch him because of his off the field issues, but that all comes with being the first freshman ever to win the Heisman, and having America captivated by his every move. Some team will likely trade into the late first round or early second round to take a risk on Manziel, it will be interesting to see how it works.

The most intriguing of all of the eligible quarterbacks is Marcus Mariota, who is a redshirt sophomore, and could as easily stay in school longer. However, if he does declare, he could be coveted early in the draft by the right team, mainly the Eagles. The Eagles are working on an extension right now with Michael Vick, but Chip Kelly needs a long term answer at quarterback for his system, and Nick Foles and Matt Barkley aren't those guys. Mariota has a big arm and is unbelievably athletic, a perfect combination for a team looking for a read-option quarterback. However, Mariota doesn't have to make many reads against defenses in Oregon's offense and struggled last year against a physical Stanford defense. If Oregon can beat Stanford, they will likely get the chance to face Alabama in the National Championship game, which will allow Mariota to showcase his talents against one of the best defenses in college football. If Mariota can lead his team to the National Championship, it will be because of his play which could intrigue NFL teams to draft him in the higher rounds.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

NFL Week 4 Power Rankings

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NFL Power Rankings
September 25, 2013

And then there were seven... that's right just seven teams remain undefeated through week three, keeping their hopes of catching the '72 Dolphins and their perfect season alive. In all seriousness, there is one team that very well could and they sit atop our power rankings for the second consecutive week. The Denver Broncos seem to be the team to beat at this point, Peyton Manning might be on track for his best season ever and the defense has hardly missed a beat without star LB Von Miller. Checking in at #2 after their bye week victory over the lowly Jacksonville Jaguars are the Seattle Seahawks. They appear to be the cream of the crop in the west. The AFC East is well represented this week in the top ten with the New England Patriots (3) and surprise Miami Dolphins (5). Miami has knocked off very good teams in consecutive weeks in Indy and Atlanta. The road does not get any easier for them this week however as they take on our #4 ranked New Orleans Saints. 

Biggest Movers:
UP: New York Jets --  26 to 17.
DOWN: New York Giants -- 22 to 29

Where does your team rank this week?

1 Denver Broncos (3-0) (1)
2 Seattle Seahawks (3-0)  (2)
3 New England Patriots (3-0)   (3)
4 New Orleans Saints (3-0) (5)
5 Miami Dolphins (3-0) (10)
6 Kansas City Chiefs (3-0) (11)
7 Chicago Bears (3-0) (9)
8 Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) (12)
9 Dallas Cowboys (2-1) (13)
10 Indianapolis Colts (2-1) (14)
11 Baltimore Ravens (2-1) (15)
12 Houston Texans (2-1) (4)
13 San Francisco 49ers (1-2) (6)
14 Atlanta Falcons (1-2) (7)
15 Green Bay Packers (1-2) (8)
16 Tennessee Titans (2-1) (19)
17 New York Jets (2-1) (26)
18 Detroit Lions (2-1) (21)
19 San Diego Chargers (1-2) (17)
20 Philadelphia Eagles (1-2) (18)
21 Arizona Cardinals (1-2) (20)
22 St. Louis Rams (1-2) (16)
23 Cleveland Browns (1-2) (31)
24 Buffalo Bills (1-2) (25)
25 Carolina Panthers (1-2) (29)
26 Oakland Raiders (1-2) (28)
27 Pittsburgh Steelers (0-3) (23)
28 Minnesota Vikings (0-3) (24)
29 New York Giants (0-3) (22)
30 Washington Redskins (0-3) (27)
31 Tampa Bay Buccaneers (0-3) (30)
32 Jacksonville Jaguars (0-3) (32)

MLB Power Rankings - September 25th

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MLB Power Rankings
September 25, 2013

Our final edition of MLB power rankings for the 2013 season...

The Boston Red Sox check in at #1 again this week with the best record in baseball at 95-63. They are in a battle for home field advantage throughout the AL playoffs with this week's #2 -- the Oakland A's. The A's are winners of seven of their last ten and seem to be heading into October as one of the hottest teams in baseball. Representing the NL and checking in at #3 this week are the Atlanta Braves. The Braves have had the NL East locked up for quite some time now and they too are fighting for home field advantage with this week's #4 -- St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals are in a big more of a fight than the previously mentioned teams as the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds are both still within reasonable striking distance to take over the NL Central crown. Rounding out the top five are the Detroit Tigers.

Where do your team rank this week?

1. Boston Red Sox (95-63, last week No. 1)
2. Oakland A's (93-63, last week No. 4)
3. Atlanta Braves (92-63, last week No. 2)
4. St. Louis Cardinals (91-65, last week No. 3)
5. Detroit Tigers (91-65, last week No. 6)
6. Los Angeles Dodgers (90-66, last week No. 7)
7. Pittsburgh Pirates (91-67, last week No. 5)
8. Cincinnati Reds (90-68, last week No. 8)
9. Tampa Bay Rays (86-69, last week No. 10)
10. Cleveland Indians (86-70, last week No. 9)
11. Texas Rangers (84-71, last week No. 11)
12. Kansas City Royals (82-73, last week No. 12)
13. Washington Nationals (84-72, last week No. 15)
14. New York Yankees (82-74, last week No. 14)
15. Baltimore Orioles (81-74, last week No. 13)
16. Arizona Diamondbacks (79-76, last week No. 16)
17. Los Angeles Angels (76-79, last week No. 17)
18. San Diego Padres (72-83, last week No. 19)
19. Philadelphia Phillies (71-84, last week No. 18)
20. San Francisco Giants (72-84, last week No. 21)
21. New York Mets (71-84, last week No. 23)
22. Toronto Blue Jays (71-84, last week No. 20)
23. Colorado Rockies (71-86, last week No. 22)
24. Milwaukee Brewers (69-86, last week No. 25)
25. Seattle Mariners (68-88, last week No. 24)
26. Minnesota Twins (65-90, last week No. 26)
27. Chicago Cubs (65-91, last week No. 27)
28. Chicago White Sox (61-94, last week No. 28)
29. Miami Marlins (57-99, last week No. 29)
30. Astro's Doghouse: Houston Astros (51-105, last week 30)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

NFL Fanduel Week 3 Plays of the Week

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NFL Fanduel Week 3 Plays of the Week

A look at the best match-ups and value picks for Week 3 of NFL Fanduel...

QB - Aaron Rodgers  GB  $9,800
Really expensive but probably the best option out there this week. It could be a very high scoring affair in Cincy this week. Expect Rodgers to air it out to Cobb, Nelson, Jones & co.
QB - Ryan Tannehill  MIA   $6,100
The Falcons come into the game pretty banged up on defense and will be without top corner Asante Samuel. With two rookie CB's starting expect Tannehill to look for Wallace and Hartline often in this one. We could be in for a bit of a shootout.

RB -Marshawn Lynch SEA  $8,300
Going up against a woeful Jacksonville team. There are going to be a lot of point for Seattle in this one. Expect them to get up and feed Lynch the ball all afternoon.
RB - Knowshon Moreno DEN  $6,900
Moreno is now the feature back in Denver. He has Peyon Manning's trust and has a match-up this week against an Oakland team that is going to give up some points.

WR - AJ Green  CIN   $8,600
Like the Packers to take an early lead which should force Andy Dalton to air it out. The Packers secondary has its holes. Green should have big huge day in a losing effort.
WR - TY Hilton  IND   $5,800
Had a big game in week two with six catches for 120+ yards. Expect him to be a big target against for Andrew Luck this week.

TE - Owen Daniels  HOU  $5,800
Matt Schaub's favorite redzone target will get plenty of looks against a team that has looked pretty vulnerable against the pass thus far this season.

K - Steven Hauschka  SEA  $5,000
Simple here -- lot of scoring, lots of opportunities for points.

DEF - Chicago Bears  $5,500
The Bears are going to get up early forcing Big Ben to air it out. The Chicago secondary is full of ball hawks. Expect a couple of picks and a whole lot of points here.

NFL Week 3 Cash-In

Wild on Sports
NFL Week 3 Cash-In

Houston Texans (-2) at Baltimore Ravens
Baltimore comes into the game winners of six of the past seven meetings between the two teams. This time around it will be a much different looking Ravens team that Houston encounters. Gone is future hall-of-fame linebacker Ray Lewis, gone is saftey Ed Reed (well, not gone but on your team instead of against) and most notably gone is Ray Rice who will miss the game with a hip flexor problem. Houston is 2-0 on the season, both wins coming in come-from-behind fashion. Baltimore enters the game 1-1 after an opening night loss to the high flying Broncos and a bounce back win a week ago against the Browns. The NFL is one of those league where you can't read a ton into previous weeks. That said, we believe that Houston is one of the two or eventually three truly elite teams in the AFC. Baltimore is missing their primary offensive weapon and have are not the same team defensively that they have been in previous years.
PICK: Houston -2

Green Bay Packers (-3) at Cincinnati Bengals
Both teams come into the game 1-1, each having one good test and one lay-up win. The Packers offense is not new news to anyone. They are loaded and very dangerous at wide reciever (Cobb, Nelson, Jones) and have arguably the best quarterback in the NFL in Aaron Rodgers. Last week they seemed to discover a bit of a running game in the form of James Starks who broke the 100 yard mark for the first time in over a year. On the other side of the ball, Cincinnati has one of the best defensive fronts in football led by defensive tackle Geno Atkins. While the Bengals have a decent passing attack of their own, if Cincinnati wants to be competitive they are going to need Atkins to be in Rodgers face from the get go. When it is all said and done, its a QB league and we believe in the better one here.
PICK: Green Bay -3

Chicago Bears (-2.5) at Pittsburgh Steelers
This is a match-up between a team that looks playoff bound and a team that looks like a complete stinker. How the spread here is under a field goal is beyond me. The Steelers have scored just a combined 19 points in the first two games and are going up against a very good Bears defense this week. The Bears can get it done on both sides of the ball and should completely outmatch the Steelers from the get go. Consider this our lock of the week!
PICK: Chicago -2.5

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