Chip Kelly Turning Eagles into Dead Ducks?

Chip Kelly seems determined to dismantle his 10-win team

Chip Kelly seems determined to dismantle his 10-win Eagles team

Being a standout college football coach rarely translates into success at the professional level. There are notable exceptions of course, but it’s highly unlikely that Chip Kelly will ever be recognized with the likes of Jimmy Johnson or Pete Carroll. The Philadelphia Eagles are suddenly an organization in crisis and no amount of coaching genius (real or imagined) is going to help them recover.

LeSean McCoy is inexplicably in Buffalo, Jeremy Maclin is on his way to Kansas City and Nick Foles suddenly finds himself in a Rams uniform. Maybe coach Kelly’s next masterstroke will be calling on the Phillies to send over Cliff Lee to join his island of “Misfit Toys.”

There is no question that Kelly is doing things “his way,” even though each move seems to put Philly deeper into a hole that seemingly no coach could possibly dig his way out of. He’s scooping up players with serious injury issues (many of them former Oregon Ducks) and tossing away his best players without a second thought. The only ex-factor that might change the equation is DeMarco Murray. Even if Murray signs with the Eagles, there are no guarantees that he can succeed without the Cowboys offensive line.

Kelly started this self-destructive path when the Eagles sent all-star running back LeSean McCoy packing to Buffalo. This inexplicable “trade” was for linebacker Kiko Alonso, a player who has yet to recover from a torn ACL.

Then the Birds chased QB Nick Foles out of town to bring in Sam Bradford, a player who’s had two reconstructive knee surgeries on the same leg in successive seasons. Bradford, who hasn’t played in a regular season game since October of 2013, is now reunited with his offensive coordinator from the Rams, Pat Shurmur.

There is rampant speculation that this is nothing more than a move by Kelly to help Philadelphia trade up and grab Marcus Mariota, a kid with a lot of NFL fantasy potential, but the odds are stacked against the Eagles whether they land the former Ducks quarterback or not.


Breaking Down Panthers vs. 49ers Matchup

Can the Panthers shut down the 49ers offense again?

Can the Panthers shut down the 49ers offense again?

On Sunday the (12-4) San Francisco 49ers will travel to Carolina to take on the (12-4) Panthers. With the two teams having very strong defenses, a lot will ride on which quarterback, Cam Newton or Colin Kaepernick, can consistently get their offense rolling.

One of the biggest concerns for the Panthers fans is the status of star wide receiver Steve Smith. The thirteen-year veteran is currently battling a knee injury that has limited his participation in practice this week. It is believed that Smith will play regardless of the severity of his injury, likely as the primary decoy for the Carolina offense.

The San Francisco 49ers are having much better luck at receiver than their Sunday opponents. After missing a majority of the season, Michael Crabtree has returned from his Achilles injury and has shown what the 49ers have been missing in his absence. The receiver hauled in 8 receptions for 125 yards in last weeks 23-20 Wild Card victory over the Green Bay Packers.

With both defenses among the top in the league, the matchup between the San Francisco 49ers and Carolina Panthers will come down to which team’s offense can limit turnovers. With Panthers receiver Steve Smith likely to be a non-factor, and the 49ers Michael Crabtree coming back into form, the edge must go to the underdog San Francisco 49ers.

Usual Fantasy Stars Struggle During Week 16

Johnson fell apart when his team and fantasy owners needed him the most

Johnson fell apart when his team and fantasy owners needed him the most

Many, if not all, fantasy leagues played their championship weekend during Week 16, and unfortunately for owners of Calvin Johnson, Marshawn Lynch and the Kansas City defense, your fantasy team may have stumbled in the most important fantasy week of the season. While injuries may have been the reason for some of the production drop, some teams were just outplayed during Week 16.

The Detroit Lions took on the struggling New York Giants Sunday, and the league’s best receiver left many fantasy owners scratching their heads. It appears that a long season finally caught up to Calvin Johnson, and injuries that he has played through in the past were just too limiting. The Giants held a significantly less than 100 percent Megatron to a meager three receptions for 43 yards and zero scores. Head Coach Jim Schwartz said after the game that Megatron was limited due to both a knee and ankle injury and that was used sparingly in the team’s overtime loss to the Giants. Fantasy owners need to watch Megatron’s injury status carefully over the next week, especially if your championship round consists of two weeks.

Unfortunately for the Seattle Seahawks, Marshawn Lynch and his fantasy owners, no injuries could be blamed for his weak performance Sunday against a driven Arizona Cardinals football team. Lynch was held to under 75 rushing yards for the fifth straight week. The Arizona Cardinals defense honed in on the star running back and limited him to an average of just 3.9 yards per carry. While the Cardinals have had one of the top rushing defenses in the league this season, the usually dominant Seattle Seahawks struggled to get their offense going in the team’s 17-10 loss. Fantasy owners should not worry, as Lynch will face a more inferior rush defense in the St. Louis Rams next week.

One of the biggest surprises of the entire season is the Kansas City Chiefs and their jump from the worst team a year ago to one of the most dominant and electrifying in 2014. The Kansas City defense has been the most consistent components of the Chiefs success this season, and unfortunately for fantasy owners and the Chiefs alike, the defense fell apart Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.  

Much of the problem resided in the offenses’ inability to keep their defense off the field, and that became ever more apparent as they failed to score any points after stud running back Jamaal Charles’ 31-yard touchdown run early in the first quarter. Not to mention the Kansas City defense was only able to sack Andrew Luck once all game. Fantasy owners should expect the Kansas City Chiefs defense to rebound in the final game of the season against the San Diego Chargers, as the Chiefs look to gain momentum as the playoffs begin.


Week 16 Wide Receiver Sit and Start Report

Jeffery is a MUST-START against a hopeless Eagles defense

Jeffery is a MUST-START against a hopeless Eagles pass defense

With many fantasy leagues in their last week of the playoffs, starting the right players is more important than ever.


Alshon Jeffery- The rookie standout Alshon Jeffery has surprised everyone this season, posting monster games throughout, including two games with 200 or more receiving yards. Jeffery and the Chicago Bears will face the league’s second worst pass defense in the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Fantasy owners should expect Jeffery to improve upon his 22 receptions, 405 receiving yards and 4 touchdowns in his last three games, with another strong outing. Alshon Jeffery is a must start against the Philadelphia Eagles this Sunday.

Michael Crabtree- Since returning from what some thought would be a season ending Achilles injury, receiver Michael Crabtree returns to action for his fourth game of the season. Since his first start three weeks ago, Crabtree has been targeted 18 times, hauling in 11 passes for 153 yards and one touchdown. To make things even more appealing, the 49ers will face the porous Atlanta Falcons pass defense that currently ranks eighth worst in the NFL. Fantasy owners should expect Crabtree’s best performance of the season Monday night against the Atlanta Falcons.


Larry Fitzgerald- The good news for Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals is that he is expected to play on Sunday after suffering a concussion in the fourth quarter against the Tennessee Titans last week. The bad news for L-Fitz and the Cardinals is that they are playing one of the most ferocious defenses in the league, on their infamous home turf; the Seattle Seahawks. With the league’s top pass and overall defense, fantasy owners should not expect a productive game out of Fitzgerald.

Harry Douglas- Atlanta Falcons receiver Harry Douglas caught fire after stepping in for the injured Julio Jones earlier this season, and became a strong fantasy option at the WR2/FLEX option. Unfortunately, the Falcons will be traveling to San Francisco to take on the league’s fourth best pass defense on Monday. If that does not concern fantasy owners then his 7 receptions for 57 yards and zero touchdowns in his last two games should be a red flag. Fantasy owners should look elsewhere for wide receiver help in Week 16.


Percy Harvin Shut Down for Regular Season

If Harvin returns in 2013, it will be during the playoffs

If Harvin returns this season, it won’t happen until the playoffs

The first regular season of Percy Harvin’s Seattle Seahawk career will end with the receiver appearing in only one game as the team has decided to shut down Harvin for the team’s final two regular season games. With the team in prime position to lock up home-field advantage even without their big offseason addition, it seems wise to give Harvin the most rest possible before entering the gauntlet that is the NFL Playoffs.

Harvin was originally expected to get more playing time late in the season, but has not healed as well as he would’ve liked after his initial return. Seeing his first game action in Week 11, Harvin’s hip did not respond well after the game and has kept him out of the lineup since. The Seahawks have been examining his injury on a week to week basis, but the team seems ready to shut down the receiver.

For any fantasy owners who have been holding out hope to unleash the dynamic playmaker, this news can finally put to rest whether or not Harvin should be on fantasy rosters. With many league championships taking place this week, Harvin should not be on any teams playing in the finals unless in some form of keeper league.

It will be interesting to see how Seattle uses their new wide receiver come playoff time as it may give us a glimpse into how effective Harvin can be next season. In Minnesota, Harvin was a huge part of the offense, but may take a backseat role to Marshawn Lynch and Seattle’s running game. While Harvin’s 2013 season has ultimately been a wash, look for him to return to fantasy relevance next year.


Minnesota Backfield Hurting: Peterson, Gerhart Nurse Injuries

Toby Gerhart is dealing with a "TWEAKED" hammy

Toby Gerhart is dealing with a “TWEAKED” hammy

The Minnesota Vikings may be down to their third string running back come Sunday if neither Adrian Peterson nor Toby Gerhart can recover from injuries suffered in the Vikings wild loss to the Ravens this past Sunday. Peterson is highly unlikely to play while Gerhart is nursing what was has been labeled as a hamstring “tweak”.

Peterson, the NFL’s second leading rusher, is currently listed as doubtful with a mid-foot sprain which required Peterson to be carted off the field in the second quarter on Sunday. Luckily for the Vikings, he will not need surgery and has avoided the dreaded Lisfranc injury, but his chances of playing this week are slim to none. He will be in a walking boot for much of the week, and with the Vikings officially out of playoff contention, there is no need for the team to rush back their franchise player.

Meanwhile, Toby Gerhart filled in marvelously for the injured Peterson on Sunday, rushing for 89 yards and 1 touchdown, but suffered a hamstring injury on the Vikings second to last drive. Unable to return, head coach, Leslie Frazier, did not seem overly concerned about Gerhart’s injury after the game, but did acknowledge that Gerhart did tweak his hamstring. Gerhart is a must-add with Peterson’s doubtful tag, but his injury is a slight cause for concern.

If neither Peterson nor Gerhart are ready by Sunday, the Vikings will likely turn to their second year fullback/running back, Matt Asiata, to start at the position. Asiata has only three carries in his career and would be a risky fantasy play even if he were to get the start against a shaky Philadelphia Eagles run defense. It seems as if the Vikings just can’t catch a break in a very disappointing 2013 season.


Rob Gronkowski Done with Torn MCL, ACL

Gronk waves goodbye to another season shattered by injury

Gronk waves goodbye to another season shattered by injury

The Patriots controversial Week 14 win over the Cleveland Browns came at a terribly heavy price for New England. Super Star tight end Rob Gronkowski is done for the season and his career is once again in serious jeopardy.

After catching a pass up the middle from quarterback Tom Brady in the third quarter, Gronkowski suffered a devastating knee injury tearing his ACL and MCL. This destroys almost any Super Bowl hopes for New England and leaves Gronkowski out of the game for a year or longer.

While the likes of Adrian Peterson and Robert Griffin III have set the standard for professional athletes returning from knee injuries, everyone heals differently and the Pats, Gronk, and fans alike will not know when he will return to the field until a much later date.

Meanwhile, in his absence, the Patriots will turn to Michael Hoomanawanui and Matthew Mulligan at the tight end position. Fantasy owners should steer well clear of both players, as Brady will rely much more on his receivers with Gronk out, if the start of the season was any indicator of how the remaining three games and playoffs will look.


Snow Slips up Lions, Bush in Philadelphia

Bush aggravated injured calf during snow-plagued warmups

Bush aggravated injured calf during snow-plagued warmups

With a blizzard roaring down much of the east coast on Sunday, conditions were unbelievably bad at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia for the matchup between the first place Eagles and Detroit Lions. With inches of snow covering the field, the Lions lost one of their key pieces to their offense in Reggie Bush before the game even started when Bush slipped and aggravated a calf injury.

Listed as questionable for Sunday’s game, Bush was limited in practice all week due to a newly concerning calf injury. Bush had been dealing with a knee issue all season, but this calf injury was new and had threatened Bush’s availability for Sunday. However, Bush was in line to start Sunday afternoon before he slipped in pregame warm-ups. Bush was seen slamming his helmet down in disgust and was unable to play in the game as a result.

With Bush being such a valuable piece to many fantasy owners this season, the new injury is very concerning as the extent of the injury still has not been revealed. If Bush is to miss any time, Joique Bell will be a must-add for any Bush owner. Bell filled in adamantly for the injured Bush on Sunday as he fumbled twice in the snowy conditions, but gained 127 total yards and scored a touchdown as well as a two-point conversion.

Bush owners who are still alive at this point in the season are sure to be in a bind, but still have one or two options on the waiver wire. Both Daniel Thomas and Toby Gerhart could be productive next week if Lamar Miller and Adrian Peterson need to miss time from their injuries sustained on Sunday.


Adrian Peterson Ready to Roll Against Ravens

It seems like Adrian Peterson is listed as questionable almost every week, but that hasn’t stopped him from destroying opposing defenses during the past two weeks. Peterson has been dealing with a groin injury that has forced him to miss multiple practices the past few weeks. 

Peterson has been affected by the injury during the practice week, but not on game day. The past two weeks the reigning MVP ran for over 350 yards. He set a season high Week 12 with 146 rushing yards against the Packers then topped that last Sunday rushing for 211 yards against the Bears.

The rest has obviously been paying off so owners could possibly look at his absence from Wednesday’s practice as a good thing. This injury did sideline Peterson during Week 11 against the Seahawks but the game was out of reach and head coach Leslie Frazier could have just been protecting his best player.

All Day A.P is the best running back to step onto the field during the modern era. He is a freakish talent and heals remarkably fast regardless of the severity of the injury. Owners should keep an eye on him to make sure there are no setbacks up until Sunday.

Peterson is an absolute must start Sunday against the Ravens.



NFL Week 14 Wide Receiver Sit and Start Report

Bowe has a great Week 14 matchup against a porous Redskins defense

Bowe has a great Week 14 matchup against a porous Redskins defense

Week 14 is upon us and most fantasy leagues are likely beginning their playoffs. It is now more important than ever to make sure you get your matchups right. In today’s pass-happy NFL, receivers now have the ability to post huge numbers.


Dwayne Bowe- Kansas City Chiefs receiver Dwayne Bowe has not been having an eye-opening season, however, his Week 14 fantasy matchup makes him a favorable starter. The Chiefs will travel to Washington to take on a struggling Redskins secondary, which is allowing an average of 265.2 yards per game through the air. Fantasy owners can expect a lot of targets for Bowe on Sunday.

Harry Douglas- Ever since fellow receiver Julio Jones’ season ending injury, Harry Douglas has been an every week fantasy starter. Douglas has 50 receptions and three 100+ yard receiving games since stepping in for Jones. The Falcons will be taking on the struggling Green Bay Packers on Sunday, a team who’s pass defense ranks 11th worst in the NFL. Keep Douglas in a starting role in Week 14.


T.Y. Hilton- Colts receiver T.Y. Hilton started the season off as one of the hotter receivers in the league, recording four 100+ yard receiving games through the first 10 games. However, Hilton has slowed down as of late, not eclipsing the 50-yard receiving mark in each of his last three games. His matchup is again less than favorable, as the Colts will be taking on the league’s 8th best pass defense in the Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday. Sit Hilton in Week 14.

Michael Crabtree- San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Michael Crabtree was one of the hottest names after last season. Unfortunately due to a torn Achilles in the off-season, Crabtree has not been able to make an appearance until last week. When healthy, Crabtree is a must start, however given the circumstances and the opponent, the Seattle Seahawks, fantasy owners should look else where for receiver help.