State of the NFL Week 11

By Michael LoCoco
PSDC NFL Beat Writer

Let us know spare a thought for the less fortunate among us. This Thanksgiving week, as attention increasingly turns to the playoff race, it is only right that we spend some time thinking on the fans of the truly disappointing squads. Of course there are the Dolphins and Ravens. Both these teams hoped to contend for a Super Bowl, instead, one team lost its season to poor performance and the regression of Ryan Tannehill while the Ravens were simply injured to death. Then there are the Cowboys, another injured squad too proud to throw in the towel. Of course, we can’t forget the Lions. At the very least, they hoped to be competitive and while beating Green Bay in Wisconsin for the first time in decades serves as a consolation, this team certainly wasn’t hoping to get another top five draft pick. Thus, we turn our gaze to the playoffs, but not before we bow our heads and remember those who have fallen. Amen.

Now for a review of the week’s action.

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Dotdon’s Fantasy Football Preview

By Tony James
PSDC Contributor

It’s that time of year again. The weather gets a bit cooler, kids return to school and the rest of us prepare our minds and bodies for football. No, not playing football—elite athletes do that. I’m talking about fantasy football, the true test of a man’s heart and genius.

This article will give you a picture of who you may be able to steal early in your fantasy football draft this year, or, if you’ve drafted already, who you can pick up on the waiver wire now before they make a giant impact and disappear to another competitor before your eyes.

RUNNING BACKS

Depending on the size of your league and scoring rules, RB could be the thinnest of all positions and the most important to grab early and for depth. Although there are rare exceptions, generally speaking you need at least one good RB to win any league. With more and more “RB by committee” teams the pack of workhorse backs continues to dwindle. The key to becoming a consistent champion (like me) is spotting and nabbing RBs that emerge due to injury, opportunity or are poised for a breakout year. It is important to claim them now or at your draft so you’re not in a bidding war or relying on waiver-wire priority. Here are some breakouts and sleepers to target in 2015:

BREAKOUTS

1. Lamar Miller, Miami – Miller is poised to have a fantastic season. Ryan Tannehill is progressing as a QB, producing solid stats and improving year after year. Lamar Miller will be a top 8 RB this year in that Miami offense, so don’t be afraid to reach for him if needed.

Lamar-Miller-Dolphins

2. Doug Martin, Tampa Bay – Martin is quietly going in the sixth to eighth round of most mock drafts at this point, which is an absolute steal. Martin is shifty and fast. His down year last year was ended by injury, but he has great RB1 potential. Add in the WR corps and a rookie QB that is adept at moving the sticks for first downs, Martin could see top 15 production easily. [Read more…]

Reviews from the Road: Talking Chicago Bears in Reno

By Joe Hines
PSDC Staff & Chicago Guru

The cat just farted as he leaps away from me. Thank you for that Shadow, I’m inspired. Have you been into my ham?

I’m a thousand, maybe two away from the center of my sports universe hard by the shores of Lake Michigan. The Bears are 3-3 with the Miami Dolphins coming to call this Sunday. I’m only two weeks removed from Davie, FL where the Dolphins train. The buzz when I was there had to do with Coach Joe Philbin being cryptic about who his starting quarterback would be for the game in London which the Dolphins wound up winning easily, and Ryan Tannehill bought himself a week long reprieve. I expect that the Bears will be the reason for those questions to arise once again. Tannehill has a tendency not to throw the football straight, and the Bears have one of the best young corners in the league in Kyle Fuller who has shown thus far in his career that he is a ball magnet. Look for Tannehill to complete at least two passes to No. 23 of the Bears and for the Bears to roll. [Read more…]

2013 NFL Team Preview: Miami Dolphins

By Bryan Douglass
PSDC Go-To Guy

At the close of the 2012 season, the Miami Dolphins stood as a team conflicted. Pushing rookie passer Ryan Tannehill represented the concession to start the campaign and the team, as predicted by all, struggled. The 7-9 record indicates progress over a horrific 2011 season, but fans in Miami will remind the wins over St. Louis (17-14) and Seattle (24-21) could have very easily been counted as losses… and many of those fans are worried the team overhaul of the resulting offseason is likely to lead to more growing pains in 2013.

To be fair, there has been turnover. There’s more than a few starting positions being filled by players who weren’t employed in Miami last season, and while some of them could bring benefit and gain, all are learning a new system under a new staff with new teammates. This is rarely a recipe for success in this league, but give the Dolphins this: they are doing it differently than they have in the past, and with a little luck, we might see progress on both sides of the ball.

Can a new regime on the field reverse the struggles of the regime in the front office, or are the Dolphins done with one step forward and facing two steps back? Let’s take a look. [Read more…]

Project Shanks Fantasy Football Preview: Quarterbacks

Here we go kiddos, it is time again to get ready for everyone’s favorite pastime: FANTASY FOOTBALL! We here at Project Shanks have lined up a top-notch crew of Bryan Douglass, Alan Posey, Joe Hines, Bobby Roberts, Matt Rogers and Robbie Marbury to bring to you all the knowledge you will need for this upcoming fantasy season. We have compiled everyone’s ranking for each position, with the writer that had the most and least amount of love for a player giving you their commentary as to why that particular player should be higher or lower on your draft board. This approach will give you the good and evil that comes with each player.

In this installment, we will be bringing you our expert opinions on the most important part to every NFL team; the quarterbacks. After last season’s craze of having to get one of the top 3-4 QB’s in first round fizzled out miserably (just like we told you it would) most experts have gone back to the traditional line of thinking that you should shore up an every-down running back or elite receiver with your first-round pick. There were seven QB’s that finished within 2.5 points-per-game of the leader, Drew Brees, by season’s end. Drafting a QB in the first round is not a must, but just don’t get stuck having Eli Manning as your best QB.

1. Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers)

(Robbie) Rodgers wasn’t a unanimous choice as the No. 1 ranked QB, but he was first or second on every contributor’s ballot. He is young, mobile, strong-armed, plays in a pass-happy offense and has three talented receiver. It’s no wonder why he was no worse than second on every ballot.

2. Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints)

Good (Robbie) Last season Brees finished first in passing yards and passing TD’s. He has finished no worse than third in passing yards over the past three seasons, and no worse than third in passing TD’s over the past five seasons. With the return of Sean Payton to the sideline the New Orleans offense should be more stable and have less turnovers and sacks. Brees will also be playing all his home games indoors, as well as two road games in domes. In the final eight games of the season, the Saints will play one game with potential bad weather, at Seattle in Week 13, but that one game will be before the start of fantasy playoffs. The other top QB’s this year (Rodgers, Manning and Brady) all play their home games outdoors in cold-weather cities. Give me the QB that is considered one of the top three or four in the league playing in a comfortable setting.

Evil (Bryan) Brees comes off his worst completion percentage since 2003 and his receiving corps is as depleted as it’s been in years (Jimmy Graham and Marques Colston are the only targets worthy of trust, & Colston comes off three consecutive years of rising returns… a trend I don’t anticipate will continue as Colston reaches 30 years of age). However, my rank may be influenced more by several statistical oddities I see in his splits from last year, leading me to believe the decline has begun… and I’d rather not be on the wrong side of it. [Read more…]

5 Things I Learned on Sunday

By Chris Stuckey
Editor-in-Chief

1. Real Refs Back, Still Human

We finally got what we had all been begging for since the opening kickoff of the season. Our “real” officials were finally allowed to rejoin us and put an end to all of this missed call nonsense. Well, that was what was supposed to happen. But it only took a few minutes after the standing ovations for us to realize that these real refs that were so sorely missed for the first three weeks are human as well. [Read more…]

2012 NFL Team Preview: Miami Dolphins

By Bobby Roberts
PSDC Staff 

The Miami Dolphins are this season’s focus on HBO’s “Hard Knocks”. If you’re not watching this show, I don’t know what to say. It’s riveting television…but after the television show is over, there’s a good chance the public will forget about the Dolphins. The quarterback situation is messy, Reggie Bush wants to be the every-down, feature back and the Dolphins lack a dependable veteran receiver.

How will rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill handle the pressure? Can they hang with the rest of the AFC East?

Here is our 2012 NFL team preview for the Miami Dolphins…out of respect for new head coach Joe Philbin, I will refrain from using potty language. [Read more…]

NFL Rookies Give Their Own Ratings in Madden 13

By Bobby Roberts
PSDC Staff

SB Nation Studios asked some incoming NFL rookies including Robert Griffin III, Mohamed Sanu, Trent Richardson and Ryan Tennenhill what their ratings should be in Madden 13. Do you think the rookies were modest in their rankings?

Spoiler: they’re not.