Hawks Percy Harvin Hopeful for Playoffs

Harvin hopeful for the playoffs

Harvin hopeful for the playoffs

It was just about a week ago that Seattle head coach Pete Carroll said that the Seahawks might have to make a roster move sending Percy Harvin to season-ending injured reserve. Harvin returned from hip surgery on November 17th to play his only game of the season against his former Minnesota Vikings. The next few weeks weren’t so good for the 5th year receiver, and after missing the next four games, it looked like it was time to pull the plug on Percy.

However, with 2014 (and a playoff run) closing in, things might be taking a turn for the Seattle Seahawks and their essentially unused weapon. Harvin has been practicing this week as his team prepares for their first playoff game on January 11th, after a first round bye. Still dealing with a lingering hip problem, Harvin has been giving it a go in practice in hopes for a return. Pete Carroll said the young and dynamic receiver would do anything to play and is finally at a place where he has a chance.

Taking things a step further yet, Harvin apparently had an “amazing” workout with quarterback, Russell Wilson, on Monday. This was the deciding factor not to put Harvin on I.R. and to keep options open for the playoffs. After his throwing session, Harvin went on to tweet “go time once again.”

If it does prove to be “go time” for Harvin, the NFC had better look out. The Seahawks have proven themselves extremely dangerous on both sides of the ball, even without a multi-faceted threat like Harvin. The 25 year old out of Florida has proven himself both as a receiver and return man in four seasons with the Vikings.

He never went a season without 60 catches (until his 1 game 2013 season) and averaged over 10 yards per catch in each season as well. We’ll have to wait and see what happens over Week 18, but it would surely be perfect timing for the Seahawks if Harvin is able to suit up. The ‘Hawks will play the lowest winning seed out of the NFC Wild Card round on January 11th (between the Packers, 49ers, Eagles and Saints). In case you need a reminder, it is clearly PLAYOFF TIME IN THE NFL!

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Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco Crashes out of Playoff Hunt

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Flacco fell flat against the Bengals

Week 17 has come to an end and so has the regular season. Twenty teams are now looking towards the NFL draft as they have missed the playoffs, including the former Super Bowl Champion Baltimore Ravens. Led by the Super Bowl MVP Joe Flacco, the Ravens still had a chance at returning to the post season with a win against Cincinnati on Sunday.

Unfortunately the Ravens ended up losing their final two games of the season, a streak that was capped off by a dreadful performance by Flacco in the season finale. The former Super Bowl MVP completed 30 of 50 passes for just 192 yards, one touchdown, and three interceptions. This stat line is not what fans expected this season after Flacco’s enormous contract extension in the off-season.

The loss cannot be entirely blamed on Flacco, as the Ravens were only able to gain 47 yards rushing. One of the main reasons for Baltimore’s success last season was their ability to utilize star running back Ray Rice effectively in both the passing and rushing game. With their inability to establish a run game, much more pressure was put on Flacco’s strong yet inconsistent arm. The Bengals were able to get pressure on the quarterback on a consistent basis causing him to throw inaccurate passes.

Flacco did not play up to his giant $120.6 million contract this season and will come under much scrutiny in the offseason as their divisional rivals Pittsburgh Steelers and Cincinnati Bengals play in the post season. After ending the season completing 59 percent of his passes for 3,912, 19 touchdowns, and 22 interceptions, many sports fans will begin to wonder, if they were not already after he got the contract, what were the Ravens thinking giving Joe Flacco a six-year $120.6 million deal.

Rodgers’ Return Fuels Pack Past Bears

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Rodgers’ last minute heroics propel Packers into the playoffs

With their MVP quarterback returning from a two month injury hiatus, the Packers playoff hopes came down to Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears. Playing in a winner take all matchup for the NFC North title, Aaron Rodgers put the Pack into the postseason once again with a 48 yard touchdown strike to Randall Cobb in the game’s final minute, giving the Packers a 33-28 win.

Labeled as one of the premier matchups of the weekend, the game lived up to its billing as the two teams traded blows for much of the game. Rodgers looked rusty early as he was picked off on the Packers first two possessions, but the Packers took a 13-7 lead into half time thanks to one of the strangest plays of the year. Wide receiver, Jarrett Boykin, picked up an Aaron Rodgers fumble and walked into the end zone as Bears players stood and watched, thinking the play was whistled dead, allowing for the easy touchdown.

Trading touchdowns for most of the second half, the Bears looked primed for the win as Jay Cutler hooked up with Brandon Marshall to start the fourth quarter, giving the Bears a 28-20 lead. The Packers answered right back, though, as Eddie Lacy punched in an impressive touchdown run to cap a 6 play, 77 yard drive which cut the Bears lead down to one.

Down one, Rodgers showed why the Packers are once again Super Bowl contenders with him in the lineup. Facing fourth down on three separate occasions on the game-winning drive, Rodgers and the Packers found a way each time to save their season. None was more impressive than Rodgers’ 48 yard bomb to Randall Cobb on 4th and 8 which saw Rodgers elude pressure to hit the receiver in stride. Given less than a minute to stage a comeback, Jay Cutler and the Bears fell short as Sam Shields intercepted Cutler on the game’s final play.

With all their weapons finally back from injury, the Packers seem ready for yet another deep playoff run. Rodgers was a god-send for the receiving corps which saw a healthy Randall Cobb score 2 touchdowns and Jordy Nelson record 10 receptions for 161 yards. Eddie Lacy was also effective even on a bum ankle and will provide yet another dimension for a Packers offense which looks dangerous once again with Rodgers at the helm. Sunday was proof that as long as No. 12 is under center for the Packers, anything can happen.

Vikings Matt Asiata In Line to Start Again

Matt Asiata in line for a big game against the Lions

Matt Asiata in line for a big game against the Lions

Vikings running back Matt Asiata will be starting this Sunday at home against the Detroit Lions. With starter Adrian Peterson doubtful, and second string tailback Toby Gerhart ruled out with a hamstring injury, Asiata will receive the bulk of the carries.

In Asiata’s only other start in Week 15, he was able to do some serious damage. Though he was only able to manage 51 yards off of 30 carries, he picked up 3 touchdowns in the process. He got into the end zone multiple times due to Minnesota’s inability to maintain a solid passing offense, as they were forced to rely on the back in his first start of the season.

Expecting Asiata to reach that high touchdown total again is very foolish, and his match up will not allow him to pick up many yards on the ground either. Detroit is fourth in the league in allowing only 94.8 rushing yards per game and Matt Asiata will struggle to produce. The Lions are coming off a loss that is keeping them out of the playoffs, so expect them to come back with a vengeance and shut down the Minnesota Vikings.

Asiata should only be used as an RB2 if a fantasy manager is desperate for a fill in for Peterson and Gerhart, but other than that he should be avoided.

Bonus Wide Receiver Sleeper Report

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Look for Crabtree to score against the Cardinals

The final week of the 2013 NFL season is upon us and so is the final week of fantasy football. While many fantasy championships were won or lost last week, there are still some leagues playing for fantasy glory this week. If you happen to play in one of these leagues, make sure to check out the season’s final sleeper report for the wide receiver position.

Michael Crabtree, San Francisco 49ers

Still available in almost half of NFL.com leagues, Michael Crabtree is a solid sleeper candidate for Week 17. Catching fire since returning from injury, Crabtree posted his first 100 yard receiving game of the season last week against the Atlanta Falcons and has now scored double digit fantasy points in two straight weeks. It looks like his chemistry with quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, is as good as ever and his recent success should continue this week against the Arizona Cardinals.

 Cordarralle Patterson, Minnesota Vikings

Patterson has been doing it all lately for the Minnesota Vikings as the rookie wideout has now scored a touchdown in four straight games. Not only dominating through the air, two of his last four touchdowns have come on the ground as the Vikings are finding more and more ways to get the ball to one of their most explosive players. This week, the Vikings take on the Detroit Lions who give up the 3rd most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers this season at 26.7 PPG. If the Vikings can find ways to get Patterson the ball on Sunday, the wide receiver could be a sneaky play to secure a championship for his owners.

Andre Holmes, Oakland Raiders

Holmes did not register a single catch for the Raiders until Week 11, but has become one of the team’s top receiving options. Developing a solid connection with quarterback, Matt McGloin, Holmes has averaged 82 yards a game over the last four weeks and has one touchdown in that span. He saw eight targets last week and led the Raiders with five catches for 71 yards. This week, Holmes and the Raiders take on the Denver Broncos in what may be a high scoring affair. If the Raiders do get into a shootout with Peyton Manning and the Broncos, Andre Holmes may produce a solid game in the season’s final week.

Shane Vereen Very Unlikely to Suit Up

Don't expect Vereen to see Vereen against the Bills

Don’t expect Vereen to see Vereen against the Bills

In typical Bill Belichick style, the New England Patriots listed 11 players as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Buffalo Bills. Among those include running back Shane Vereen, who hurt his groin against the Baltimore Ravens last Sunday. He’s been listed as questionable and has been limited in practice.

After already clinching a playoff berth in last week’s victory, this Week 17 game carries just as much weight. With a win, the Patriots will receive a first-round bye. Their best opportunity for that in the run game is in the sure hands of Shane Vereen, who has only played in 7 games this season.

Stevan Ridley had become a decent backup in Vereen’s absence. The Patriots still boast an 11-4 record as Ridley averaged 4.2 yards a carry and had 7 touchdowns. But even a Hall of Fame quarterback can’t control how frequently your running back fumbles, which Vereen did in 3 consecutive games.

Vereen is the steady hand. He has fumbled once in 3 seasons with the Patriots compared to Ridley’s 9 in the same amount of time. The old football adage, “turnovers lose games” could hold true if Vereen doesn’t play this Sunday. The Bills have a great opportunity to make their division rivals chances just a little bit tougher in the playoffs, don’t expect them to roll over so easily.

NFL Week 17 Running Back Sleeper Report

Blount could put up some impressive numbers against the Bills

Blount could put up some impressive numbers against the Bills

Hopefully, as you read this, you are preparing for the last leg of your fantasy championship. However, even if you aren’t, and you have some sort of consolation bracket, you’ll want a few tips in this last week of the regular season. Bragging rights are real, and the person on the other side of the matchup doesn’t want to lose either.

Here are a couple running backs that could come through in week 17.

LeGarrette Blount (NE)

Blount has been hit or miss for most of the season, mixing great efforts (such as last week against Baltimore – 76 yards, 2 TD’s) with subpar outings (like week 1 against Buffalo – 7 carries, 15 yards). I bring up Buffalo because that is who the Patriots are facing this Sunday. The Bills defense has been stingy against opposing running backs for most of the year, and Blount will be sharing carries with Stevan Ridley.

However, New England needs this game to secure a first round bye and perhaps gain home field advantage throughout the playoffs if Denver loses. And they have been quick to rely on their running game since Gronk went down. Blount should get a chance to help push the Patriots to victory.

James Starks (GB)

The Green Bay Packers received the best holiday present they could have ever asked for when Aaron Rodgers was cleared to play on Thursday. Amazingly, they stayed afloat in the NFC North while he was out, and now they find themselves in a play-in game against Chicago.

Seeing the Bears defense can only mean good things for those on Green Bay’s offense. The Bears have been nothing short of horrendous on defense, especially later in the season. Starks is second-fiddle to the workhorse that is Eddie Lacy. But Lacy re-injured an ankle last Sunday, so there may be extra carries out there for Starks. If he gets even 10 touches, he will be a productive fantasy back on Sunday.

Week 17 Tight End-Wide Receiver Sleeper Report

Boykin could be in for a big game with Aaron Rodgers back in action

Boykin could be in for a big game with Aaron Rodgers back in action

Week 17 is here and it’s championship week for anyone still playing. Luckily there aren’t many teams that will be treating Week 17 as a bye week with all the playoff and seeding implications in almost every game, it should be a great week for fantasy owners.

Aaron Rodgers has been named the starter for Week 17 making several Green Bay wide receivers relevant again and with Romo out, owners should not be starting anyone besides Dez Bryant and Jason Witten. Calvin Johnson is going to be a game time decision and did not practice all week so Megatron owners might need a backup plan for him as well.

Jarrett Boykin, Nate Washington and Joseph Fauria lead the crop of Week 17 WR and TE sleepers.

There are

Jarrett Boykin (WR – GB)

Jarrett Boykin has been up and down with Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien at quarterback and couldn’t really be trusted on a weekly basis without Rodgers in the lineup. With Rodgers back in the lineup this week, Boykin is a solid WR3 and Flex play in PPR leagues.

The only concern with Boykin is that Randall Cobb may play this week which would make Cobb the third best option on the team. Keep an eye out for Cobb’s status on Sunday because with Cobb in the lineup, it decreases Boykin’s value quite a bit. If Cobb does get the start, he wouldn’t be a bad option as well and is available in a lot of leagues.

Nate Washington (WR – TEN)

Ryan Fitzpatrick has really helped the likes of Nate Washington, Kendall Wright and Delanie Walker this season. There has been a lot of buzz around Wright and Walker in recent weeks, but Nate Washington has actually been keeping pace with both the last two weeks.

Washington has totaled 13 catches for 209 yards and a touchdown the past two weeks.  He’s getting lots of targets and is benefiting from Fitzpatrick’s gun-slinger mentality.  The Titans and Texans don’t have much to play for in Week 17 but Ryan Fitzpatrick wants to prove that he belongs in the NFL and will be taking this game very seriously.

Washington is a bit of a reach for a championship game, but Washington would be a good spot start if Calvin Johnson doesn’t end up playing.

Joseph Fauria (TE – DET)

For owners that made it to the championship game without  one of the top 3 0r 4 tight ends, it might not be a bad idea to give Joseph Fauria a start this week. Fauria is a touchdown machine and has the tight end position to himself with Brandon Pettigrew on the IR.

Fauria only managed three catches for 43 yards and a two point conversion in Week 16 but he did have six targets may have more if Calvin Johnson doesn’t end up playing.  Fauria is a great red zone and goal line target at 6’7″ and 255 pounds.  

Considering Fauria’s size and Detroit’s match-up against the Vikings (3rd most points to tight ends this season), owners could do a lot worse than Fauria with the lack of production at the tight end position this year.

 

Week 17 Wide Receiver Sit and Start Report

Jackson is line for another huge game against a faltering Dallas defense

Jackson is line for another huge game against a faltering Dallas defense

It is never a happy moment when Week 17 rolls around and fantasy owners and NFL fans know that many of their teams will be finished for the season after Sunday. However there is still one more game and we should all be thankful for that.

Start:

DeSean Jackson- The Philadelphia Eagles will face their bitter inner-division rivals in the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, in a show down that sends the winner to the playoffs. Luckily for the lightning fast Desean Jackson the Cowboys have the league’s second worst pass defense in the NFL, a unit that has allowed an average of 290.7 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Start Jackson against his rival Cowboys.

Greg Jennings- While his first season as a Minnesota Viking has been less than stellar; Greg Jennings still showed that he was the one of the team’s only passing threats. In the final game of the season, the Vikings will host their divisional rival Detroit Lions. While their rush defense is one of the best in the league, Detroit’s pass defense has struggled all season, as they are sixth worst in the league against the pass with the final game coming this Sunday. Greg Jennings is a good FLEX player in Week 17.

Sit:

Harry Douglas- The Atlanta Falcons could be fighting for the most disappointing teams of the season award this year. However there have been some bright spots in Atlanta, and one of them is Harry Douglas. The fifth year receiver stepped into a depleted group of Atlanta wide outs and recorded his first 1,000-yard season of his career. Unfortunately his season finale brings the tough Carolina Panther defense to town, a squad that ranks second in the league, and seventh against the pass. Harry Douglas serves a better purpose on most benches to end the season.

Torrey Smith- The Baltimore Ravens find themselves in a must win scenario going into Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals. After getting blown out against the New England Patriots last week, the Ravens need big games from some of their star players. Unfortunately for receiver Torrey Smith, the Bengals have the league’s sixth best pass defense, a unit that has allowed an average of just 211.3 yards per game to opposing quarterbacks. Smith has been held to under 70 yards receiving in his last three games and his matchup in the season finale is not favorable.

Aaron is Back, Roger That!

Rodgers needs to be sharp to vault Green Bay back into the playoffs

Rodgers needs to be sharp to vault Green Bay back into the playoffs

The Green Bay Packers announced that all-star quarterback Aaron Rogers is back.

This is great news for the Green Bay Packers as they will not have to see the likes of their sub-par backup quarterbacks anymore. A win this week against the Bears and the Packers will clinch a spot in the playoffs. This is also a big week for fantasy owners who have a week 17 championship game.

There is no doubt that Rogers is going to be a “must-start” because he is Aaron Rogers. The Bears have been a little stingy against the pass this year as only Ben Roethlisberger has thrown for more than 300 yards against them. Never the less, if you have Rogers on your team, you have to play him.

Some more good news for Rogers owners is that Randal Cobb is also slated to play on Sunday. Cobb is the Green Bay Packers most valuable weapon and Rogers will look to get the ball into his playmakers hands. The duo will look to get back at the defense who knocked out Rogers in week 9 which is the last time Rogers played.

This game is for all the marbles, its a championship week for many fantasy owners and a make or break game for the Packers.