“The Amateur Ward” The Front Seven: Linebacker/Defensive Line plays Week 9
Ah yes, twas Hollow’s Eve when all the kiddies are out on the streets, dressed up as princesses, dragons, or a Nerd’s Box….hold up a sec…a Nerd’s Box, as in the candy? I swear kids these days are not as fun as when my generation Trick or Treated. Of course, as a southern boy from Atlanta, my generation was the generation that definitely got lost in translation as we didn’t get the memo about well…anything. That, however, is a different story, and we’re in 2014, not the early 2000s. Yeah, Halloween has definitely lost an edge in my neck of the woods, but the kids these days will learn one day…one day. Alright, now back to football. Last week, I had a pretty solid week as I won my Battle Royale Championship prediction along with both preliminary winners, but at the same time missed horribly in one matchup.
I’ll admit, I’m more of a diehard college football fan, but also pay considerable attention to the NFL and was hoping FSU would lose Thursday Night. That, however, doesn’t matter when it comes to fantasy football, so let’s roll out the rankings!
Last Week’s Recap
Lavonte David (LB-TB)vs. Luke Kuechly (LB-CAR): David absolutely dominated Kuechly is last week’s marquee to the tune of 21.5 to 10.5. David has been the man of late with 54 tackles the last 4 weeks. Verdict: WIN! (Photo courtesy of buccaneers.com)
Muhammad Wilkerson (DE- NYJ) vs. Mario Williams (DE-BUF): In the Battle of AFC East rivals last week, Williams narrowly beat out Wilkerson for the bout 12-11.5. While I’m tempted to call this a WIN, it’s a TIE as half a point is pretty much a tackle assist in most leagues. Unfortunately, for Wilkerson, Geno threw 3 picks in 8 passes last week, and the Jets got walloped 43-23. Don’t worry Jets, you guys stand a legitimate shot at landing Jameis Winson in next year’s draft.
In my Championship Round of the Battle Royale, I won as I predicted David over Williams. Both had very solid weeks and are continued MUST STARTS going forward.
Ndamukong Suh (DT-DET) vs. Aaron Donald (DT-StL): This was another one-sided affair as Donald (19 points) dominated Suh (3 points) in this one in a loss to the Chiefs to the tune of 2 stuffs and a forced fumble, in a Rams blowout loss 34-7. Verdict: WIN.
Khalil Mack (LB-OAK) vs. Lawrence Timmons (LB-PITT): We continue the trend of absolute beat downs in this one as Mack dispatched Timmons 17.5-3.5. Mack is quickly becoming an IDP staple and provided a solid 1.5 hurries and 2.5 stuffs last week against the Browns. Verdict: WIN
Championship Round of the Battle of the Middle class goes to Donald (vs. MAck) by 1.5 FP; meaning I lost this one.
Jonathan Massaquoi (DE-ATL) vs. Cameron Jordan (DE-N.O.): As great as I looked in my previous predictions, I completely struck out this one as Massaquoi laid an absolute dud here with 1 FP. Jordan, on the other hand had a solid day in a win against the Packers 44-23 with 12.5 FP. I’m officially done with any Falcons DE for the rest of the season…this is just embarrassing. Verdict: Big LOSS.
Anthony Barr LB-MIN (vs WSH) vs. C.J. Mosley LB-BAL (@PITT)- This battle of rookies should be a doozy. Both linebackers will have their hands full with offensive weapons this week, but Mosley has the taller task of stopping the tough as nails Big Ben and Antonio Brown. Barr, on the other hand, faces RGIII, who is playing in his first game since Week 2 against Jacksonville. Signs are that RGIII has no restraints in his first game back from a dislocated ankle, but he will still have some rust, potentially setting up more opportunities for Barr to make plays. (Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)
Prediction: Both Barr and Mosley are emerging studs at linebacker, and will have solid days this week but the victor this week will be Barr as he is on a torrid rampage right now with 53.7 FP, a sack, a forced fumble, and 2 recovered fumbles the past 2 weeks.
Von Miller LB-DEN (@ NE) vs. Karlos Dansby LB-CLE (vs. TB)- Fans are in for a treat this week as two Hall of Fame QBs square off in Foxboro when Peyton and his Broncos take on Tom Brady and Co. Yes, this means that Miller will have the task of helping stop Brady who has an absurd 14-0 TD:INT ratio since the beginning of October. Dansby should be absolutely licking his chops at this matchup against the Buccaneers as Tampa has only had 1 player rush for over 50 yards in a game this season; Bobby Rainey back in Week 2 against the Rams. Add in passing attack that currently ranks 23rd in the NFL and Dansby and the Browns defensive line should produce a nice number of sacks and a few turnovers.
Prediction: Dansby over Miller by at least 6 points this week. Miller will have a pretty decent game in New England, but should be no match for Dansby this week.
Championship Round: In a battle of the stud veteran versus the emerging rookie, this week’s final round of B-R between Barr and Dansby goes to Barr. I’m picking the upset here as not only has Barr been lighting the NFL field on fire lately, but Dansby has been off his game the past few weeks. Barr was one of my LB sleepers coming into the season, and now he’s starting to prove me correct.
Battle of the Middle Class
Everson Griffen DE-MIN (vs. WSH) vs. Cameron Wake DE-MIA (vs. SD)- Don’t look now, but the new emerging DE in Minnesota is Everson Griffen who has 8 sacks on the season. This week, like teammate Anthony Barr, he faces the Redskins who will turn the reigns loose on RGIII, but the scent in the air seems to be that of another sack for Griffen. If RGIII is truly back to his old self, watch out, but there is likely to be some conservative play by RGIII himself. Wake, on the other hand, is a steady veteran who has 5.5 sacks in his own right and 3 forced fumbles. His matchup is a tougher one against a San Diego offensive line that has only allowed Rivers to be sacked 15 times this season, meaning fantasy owners should temper expectations a bit given the pass heavy nature of the Chargers sans Mathews (run game ranked T-19th), but still expect a nice game from Wake.
Prediction: Griffen- I don’t like going against mobile QBs, but despite the reports of no restraints on RGIII this week, the rust will be there. Expect more short passes from RGIII as he gets re-acclimated to an NFL game for the first time since Week 2. Wake should produce a decent game for fantasy owners, but with Rivers and Allen making music, his chances will be limited this week.
Ricky Jean François DT-IND (@ NYG) vs. Gerald McCoy DT-T.B. (@CLE)- While McCoy (TB) just got a brand new contract extension for seven years, worth up to $98M, it remains to be seen whether or not he has been way overpaid as a DT. $14M/year for a DT is absolutely absurd, and he better produce double-digit sacks and nearly 20+ stuffs a season to justify that money. François, on the other hand, has been quietly consistent this season at DT for the Colts as they take on the Colts this week. On paper alone, this matchup is more favorable for François against the Giants who will be without Cruz the rest of the season, but if money truly does talk, then McCoy will have the better day. (Photo courtesy of joebucsfan.com)
Prediction: Both François and McCoy are on the road this week, but Cleveland figures to be a tougher matchup, given their surprise emergence this season and better run game. François takes this one in close fashion. Expect both to produce a sack this week, but without Rashad Jennings and Cruz, the Giants may struggle offensively, despite Eli Manning (14:5 TD:INT ratio) coming off a 3 TD performance 2 weeks ago against the rival Cowboys last week in Dallas.
Championship Round of Middle Class Battle: Griffen vs. François- My gut wants to go with the underdog François this week, but Griffen has been too consistent this season and has a more favorable matchup. François should be a fantasy factor at DT the rest of the way, but Griffen is looking like the Minnesota DE anchor for the next few seasons.
Demarcus Ware DE-DEN (@NE) vs. Ryan Davis DE-JAX (@ CIN)- There’s a reason I have 2 defensive players from Denver on this list; the Broncos are going to have to get to Brady (sacked 5 times since October 1) this week to beat the Patriots, and it starts with the defensive line. Both Miller and Ware are the best bets for sacks this week and will definitely be busy trying to contain Brady and his torrid pace. Ryan Davis has produced back to back solid fantasy weeks the past 2 weeks, and with the Bengals on tap, it figures to be another day where the Jaguars defense is on the field a ton. Davis is more boom/bust than Ware this week as he will either produce or lay an absolute goose egg, but he remains a sneaky start this week. (Photo courtesy of zimbio.com)
Prediction: Ware. As previously stated, the Broncos will need to provide ample pressure on Brady this week to win. The Broncos can keep up with the Patriots on offense, but can their defense make one more play than the Patriots? I’d gamble yes. Expect 1.5 sacks from Ware this week in the battle of Future NFL HOF QBs. Davis should quietly produce a sack and a couple of tackles against the Bengals.
I’ll be looking to carry over from last week’s success into this week’s predictions, but at the same time will be more than accepting for whatever the fantasy Gods throw my way. Once more readers, thanks for tuning into this site and MLFS Radio for your fantasy football advice as we are all pleased to assist you. For further IDP assistance, feel free to contact me at email@example.com or leave it as a reply to this post.
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Major League Fantasy Sports Radio: Join Ej Garr and Corey D Roberts on Sunday November 2nd at 11am EST for this weeks episode of Major League Fantasy Football Radio sponsored by The Sports Palooza Radio Network. We will be taking live callers at 646.915.8596. We will be taking live questions that pertain to anything Fantasy Football related. Our two guests this week are Andy Macuga and Bryan Luhrs. Andy Macuga is the head football coach for Borrego Springs H.S. in Southern California and an owner in our baseball & football leagues. Bryan Luhrs is the owner of Real Deal Dynasty Sports which is the dynasty arm of MLFS. He is also an owner in MLFB & MLFF leagues. Come join the conversation and don’t be afraid to ask a question.
Don’t forget to join Bryan Robinson on reddit.com (/r/fantasyfootball)this Saturday for a live Q&A session in which he will answer all your burning line up decisions. Then call in on Sunday for last minute advice on air. You will be part of the conversation so don’t think we will rush you off the phone