August 27, 2014 Leave a comment
The BLITZED Podcast is now live at TheHuddle.com. Coming soon to iTunes!
August 25, 2014
August 25, 2014
This past year’s draft was full of talent at just about every position. Next years draft seems to have just about as much talent but much more so at the the most important position in football. Quarterback. Here are my top five draft eligible college quarterbacks.
1. Marcus Mariota: Mariota is the new prototype of the NFL today. He’s big, listed at 6′ 4″, athletic, and has a very live arm. He has a feel for running lanes and uses his legs to pick up yards and extend the play. Watching him play he feels a lot like a more polished Ryan Tannahill. About the same size both had good arms and are athletic. The only real flaw in Mariota’s game at this point is under pressure. When asked to carry the offense he seems to get overwhelmed quickly. he will need to learn to make more reads in the NFL where he will be asked to go through his progressions as apposed to at Oregon Where he is asked to throw to only one side of the field.
2. Bryce Petty: Where as Mariota is a sports car Petty is much more of the family sedan. He’s got good size at 6’3″ and a very good frame to be able to take the hits in the NFL. He shows good ball placement and accuracy and also has a strong arm. Don’t be fooled into thinking he’s a running quarterback by his 14 rushing touchdowns. He is very much so a pocket passer who is a niffty runner able to get those scores in the red zone but do not look for him to remind you of Cam Newton in the open field. The biggest question I have about Petty is if his success is because of him, his coach, the players around him, or a mix of all of these.
3.Brett Hundley: For my money Hundley is by far the best most physically gifted draft eligible QB. He’s big, strong, fast, big frame, big arm, and has the change of direction skills coaches look for in running back not quarterbacks. Hundley like many college quarterbacks doesn’t have a lot of reads. He mostly looks at one receiver then runs if nothing is open but on broken plays he does a great job keeping his eyes down the field. The problems? Well for starters he has a low release point and a slower throwing motion then you would like. Also the UCLA offense is built a round short quick passes that doesn’t always show Hundley’s arm strength throwing the ball down the field. But with another year as a starter under his belt we could see Hundley become the top QB prospect by the time all is said and done.
4. Jameis Winston: There is so much to love about Winston and yet so much that will make you cringe. On the good side he’s a huge hulking man who is so strong he can shrug off defensive ends. But the bad part of that is he will old onto the ball too long and take a sack. Hes got an amazingly strong arm. But he often throws late. He just wills his way to victory. But he sometimes kills the team with mistakes. There were games last year i didn’t believe him to be the best QB on the field. I’m not as big a fan of his as most people are. He has one of the slowest releases you will ever see and that unlike footwork and mechanics is almost impossible to change. I don’t have too big of an issue with his mental mistakes considering this was his first year starting at this level. He is inconsistently accurate but his ball placement is terrible. There are about 3 or 4 times a game where he would throw it up to Kelvin Benjamin, who would of course come down with it, where if Jameis had thrown it right at Kelvin it would have been an even bigger play because of yards after the catch. I see Jameis as a good player though i don’t believe he is a great player and i don’t know if he will ever be that. Especially at the next level.
5. Sean Mannion: The purest pocket passer out f all the guys on this list, I really like the way this kid throws the ball. He’s large at 6′ 5″ and has the frame to put on a little more weight to take the hits in the NFL. Mannion’s arm strength is by far his biggest asset. Not many quarterbacks in the NFL can make the throws he does off their back foot. But that is also a down side for Mannion, turn on the tape against Utah and he seems to never set his feet. Now that has a lot to do with his offensive line but even when given time there are times he doesn’t step into his throws. He goes throw progressions to some extent though not at an NFL level yet. With a very quick release for his size Mannion has all the tools to be a very good NFL QB. The biggest things he need to fix are the habit of throwing off his back foot, locking into targets, and most importantly throwing with accuracy on a consistent basis. He can make throws that take your breathe away but then he can turn around and overthrow a target that’s wide open. Mannion could turn into the best QB out of this draft but he needs to fix those problems.
August 23, 2014 Leave a comment
David “Sho” Showalter
August 23, 2014
This season a second year running back is going to be put into a great position to succeed. He will be the bellcow in vertical passing offense that is about to take off. This back is explosive, elusive, and more durable than he is given credit for. Hearing that you’d think people would be all in especially at the value you can get him at, but numerous analysts never paint the complete picture for this guy who averaged 5.53 yards per carry as a rookie. You’re gonna need a bigger boat, Andre Ellington is gonna be an absolute monster!
Carson Palmer and the Arizona Cardinal’s offense is about to take a major step forward this year. Having threats at receiver position, consummate pro Larry Fitzgerald, budding star Michael Floyd, and offseason sensation John Brown, will greatly benefit Ellington and his overall effectiveness as a runner as well as a receiver. With Palmer having no fear to sit back and sling the rock as much as Bruce Arians asks him to, opposing defenses won’t be able to stack the box. Ellington should consistently see 7 or less defensive fronts making it easier for him to consistently reach the second level of the defense. That plays into one of his greatest strengths; his explosiveness.
I’m not someone who thinks “Pro Football Focus”(PFF) is the end all be all of player evaluation, but a lot of valuable information can be obtained through their statistical records. One of PFF’s signature stats for running backs is “breakaway percentage” that shows which runners earn the highest, and lowest, percentage of their yardage on big plays (any runs of 15 yards or more). Ellington led the NFL last year in “breakaway percentage” in a little more than half the amount of attempts as it took a fellow explosive Clemson back, C.J. Spiller, who was second. Spiller is known as a home run threat anytime he touches the ball. There is no reason to think Ellington can’t be just as electric as Spiller.
Now with that being said, you could attempt to make an argument, that with such a large percentage of this yardage coming from big plays (47.9%), if Ellinton doesn’t hit a home run, his yards per game could be really fluky. Another great PFF signature stat is their “elusive rating.” “Elusive rating” rates a runner’s success beyond the point of being helped by his blockers. Ellington also ranks very high on this list at 5th in the NFL just barely below star backs like Marshawn Lynch, Adrian Peterson, and considerably above another stud, LeSean McCoy. Stop the press!, this guy sounds like he could be legit! To reinforce that point even more, he was 2nd in the NFL with 3.15 yards after contact (9th with 2.47 Yco on inside runs and 1st with 4.62 Yco on outside runs). Take a second to let that sink in. Little old Andre Ellington had a higher average than the Purple Jesus.
All those bells and whistles sound great right, but how will Ellington last an entire season with a 5’9 199 frame? Well first off he put on 8 to 10 pound of muscle this offseason in preparation of a larger workload. Cardinal’s beat writers reported that he hasn’t lost any of his elusiveness or explosiveness. Let me tell you, 209 pounds is extremely compact and thick for someone who is 5’9! Second, Ellington can be just as durable as backs that aren’t as stout as he is like Chris Johnson (5’11 203) and Jamaal Charles (5’11 199). Both of those backs are/were the focal parts of their offense and the primary concern of defensive coordinators. Ellington is not the primary focus! He will be in a better situation than people realize.
All this disbelief about Ellington needs to go away. He has legit high end RB 1 upside at a RB 2 value and should be pounced on when he falls to you. It’s time for everyone to grow a pair and make the bold move to draft him so you’ll look like a genius. Don’t fear the Reaper, Andre Ellington will be a fantasy superstar!
August 23, 2014 Leave a comment
David “Sho” Showalter
August 23, 2014
If you ask any analyst who the best young receivers are, 10 times out of 10, they’d say A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Demaryius Thomas, and Dez Bryant with no hesitation. Given all their track records it’s pretty hard to make a case against these studs being the top, up and coming, elite wide outs. But what about Alshon Jeffery?
This underrated receiver, in his second year as a pro broke out for 89 receptions on a massive 150 targets for 1,421 yards and 7 touchdowns. After having a monster season like that, you’d think people wouldn’t shut up about him. Instead, his success was met with caution and uncertainty that he’d continue to perform at that level. A reason for these tempered expectations is because Jay Cutler overly favors Brandon Marshall. This is a misconception that many people have.
The thought that Josh McCown favored Jeffery over Marshall seems to be universal around the league. But when faced with the facts you’ll be quite surprised. In the games only McCown started (games 8, 10, 11, 12, and 13) the targets were actually identical at 52 each. Wait what? Mind blown right!?
On the flip side, during the games only Cutler started, Marshall barely over took Jeffery with 89 targets to 73. This really isn’t as huge a difference given the relationship Cutler and Marshall have had on and off the field over the course of their careers.
Now that the fog from this myth has been lifted, let’s refresh everyone’s memory that Jeffery was the best receiver in the SEC in 2010. It’s easy to see that he completely DOMINATED the conference that year with 88 catches for 1,517 yards and 9 touchdowns. Yes I used all caps because when you have almost 400 more than the next receiver, 384 to be exact, it’s justified. Who was the next receiver I wonder? Mr. Julio Jones, the receiver held in much higher regard. Jones posted a 78-1,113-7 stat line and Green had 57-848-9 that same year. Both of these “studs” were blown out of the water by Jeffery. Seems like a lack of logic.
Another plus for Jeffery is his fluid situation. Out of Jeffery, Jones, and Green, he is the only receiver whose situation didn’t change, but instead got better. In the offseason this year Marshall was able to train instead of rehabbing his hip from surgery. Last year he was still successful despite not being able to train due to his surgery. Marshall is gonna be a monster this year. Plus one for Jeffery! Jones, from a target perspective, is in a better situation, but with the loss of the ageless wonder, Tony Gonzales, cannot be understated. With Gonzales being gone, coverage will roll even more towards Jones. People don’t take into consideration the adverse effect this could have on Jones’s numbers. Green’s new offensive coordinator, Hue Jackson, runs a scheme that’s more run orientated and wants to control the game clock. Paired with an uncertainty that Marvin Jones can be the threat, opposite of Green, the Bengals need; Green also seems to be in a less than ideal situation. Jeffery is the most likely of the three to repeat his success or even surpass it.
With all that said, any of these beasts are a safe bet to draft as a cornerstone of your dynasty team. So let people talk up the other receivers, draft them first, and you can be the one to smirk while drafting Jeffery knowing the steal you just got. The receiver I believe could very well surpass all of them and possibly, one day be the best receiver in the league.
August 8, 2014 Leave a comment
It’s that time of year which a growing number of people every year are very much looking forward to. Okay, a larger number of mostly guys are looking forward to (with all due to respect to the Jenny MacArthurs of the world), it’s Fantasy Football time!
Yes, that time of year when your spouse gets tired of seeing you reading updates on player news and managing your team. When your daughter is rolling her eyes hearing you gab on the phone about shady trades you’re proposing or others in your league are attempting and you’re whining with the same passion they do when they’re gossiping about their classmates. When Microsoft’s “seriously” commercial showing people detached from the real world as it continues on without them due to typing on smartphones is being redubbed/reimaged to show how “seriously” we zone in on all things Fantasy Football, oblivious to your children, work, and life in general. Yes, it’s finally that time of year again.
Well, I hope to share some snippets and thoughts I have on the matter. Hope they’re useful to you as you know exactly what “not” to do after reading my suggestions, or perhaps the coin will land heads and my advice will coincide with being useful.
Let the Draft preparations begin!
August 7, 2014
August 8, 2014
Let’s face it, striking fantasy gold in the late rounds of your fantasy football draft is like… well, I guess it’s kinda like striking gold. It’s great when your 16th round sleeper emerges to fantasy relevancy, but if your honest with yourself, you know these instances are few and far between. On the flip side, players drawing tuff match-ups occurs on a weekly basis. Regardless of weather or not you’re a fan of the “streaming” strategy, every manager spends time analyzing the waiver wire and playing the matchup game to some extent. So why don’t we spend any time on the matchup game in our drafts? Instead, we take shots in the dark, wasting the last few picks of our draft on has-beens and hail mary rookies that we know won’t even be on our rosters in a week. Why not draft a player who can potentially pick up the slack when your WR3 is going up against Seattle in week 1? Don’t waste your late round picks on long shots. Instead, why not draft your streaming options? Here are some nice “plug and play” options that can potentially get you through your ugly, early season match ups this year.
Current ADP: Undrafted
Week 1-5 opponents: Min,TB, Dal, Phi
Bradford’s strength of schedule (SOS) at the beginning of the ’14 season is as good as it gets. His first four match-ups are against four of the worst pass defenses in the league based on fantasy points allowed to QBs last season. Bradford was in route to a breakout season last year and many have forgotten that he was actually the 7th best QB in fantasy prior to his week 7 ACL injury. It’s also worth noting that Bradford had most of his success without the benefit of a running game. Zach Stacy didn’t hit his stride until after Bradford’s season had ended. With a complimentary running game and a receiving core that’s by far the best Bradford has had during his stay in St. Louis, the potential is real for him to produce QB1 numbers early on. He’s going un-drafted in most re-draft leagues and will cost you next to nothing to roster.
Owners that should target Bradford: Tony Romo, Robert Griffin III, Jay Cutler
Week 1-5 opponents: GB, SD, DEN, WAS
Kearse has flown under the radar this off-season, but that should change after the first few weeks of the season. Reports out of Seattle are that Kearse is taking all the snaps in 3-WR sets and appears to be locked in as the third WR on the depth chart. He came on late last season during the Seahawks championship run, earning the trust of both Pete Carroll and Russell Wilson. The Hawks showed their confidence in Kearse on the biggest of stages, and he responded with huge TD catches in both the NFCC and Super Bowl. With Kearse’s ability to high point the ball, and his knack for making the big catch, there is huge potential for Kearse to become a true red-zone threat. He starts the season against four cupcake defenses that all finished in the bottom third of the league in red-zone defense. All signs point to Kearse becoming a point of emphasis in the red-zone. He quietly led all Seattle receivers in RZTs last season, and should emerge as a nice source of TD’s early this year. Think of Kearse as this season’s Jerricho Cotchery.
Owners that should target Kearse: Terrance Williams, Dwayne Bowe, Torrey Smith
Week 1-5 opponents: ATL, CLE, MIN, DAL, TB
Sean Payton has voiced his desire to deploy a more balanced offensive attack in New Orleans this year. With the departure of Darren Sproles, and Payton’s desired change in philosophy, there is definitely opportunity for a more tradition tailback to emerge out of New Orleans. Mark Ingram, who never really fit the mold of a Saints running back in the past, is the perfect fit for what Payton is looking to do in the running game. Pierre Thomas will be coined the starter on the official depth chart, but PT has never seen more than 147 carries in a season, and at the end of the day, he’s still just a glorified change of pace back. Don’t expect much work (if any) for Ingram in the passing game, but 12-15 carries a game is achievable. Ingram will no doubt have to compete with Khyri Robinson for work as well, but Ingram’s running style bodes well for him to see a substantial increase in carries, especially around the goal line. The Saints first 4 games are against defenses that yielded an average of 21.175 fantasy points per game to opposing backs last year. With a favorable early season schedule, Ingram is definitely worth his current ADP at the end of the 13th round.
Owners that should target Ingram: Ray Rice, Steven Jackson, Ryan Matthews
New York Giants TE:
Week 1-5 opponents: DET, ARI, HOU, WAS, ATL
The Giants TE situation is still unclear early in camp. 2nd year TE, Larry Donnell (My personal favorite to win the job) got the nod as the starter in the HOF game and looked good hauling in a nice 13 yard reception on 2 targets. The Giants’ TEs, in the past have been used in a more traditional sense, lining up off tackle, and were used primarily as blockers. That could all change this year. The Giants new OC, Ben McAdoo, lined his TEs up all over the field in the Giants’ first preseason game. McAdoo will look to get his TEs in space this year, making them more of a threat in the passing game like he did with Jermichael Finley in Green Bay. This bodes well for a guy like Donnell who is known more for his athleticism, route running and hands than his blocking ability. Whoever is named the eventual starter will face the 2nd easiest SOS (weeks 1-5) vs the TE based on last season. In weeks 2-5 the Giants will face the 32nd, 21st, 22nd and 25th ranked defenses in fantasy pts vs TE. Pay attention to this camp battle. You could end up with a nice early season sleeper.
Owners that should target NYG TE: Charles Clay, Delanie Walker, Jason Witten
Week 1-5 opponents: CLE, BAL, CAR, TB, JAX
There is a youth movement taking place on the defensive side of the ball in Pittsburgh. Dick LeBeau’s defense is looking to get faster by injecting an old veteran defense with some young talent that can fly around on the field. This blend of young rookie talent, such as MLB Ryan Shazier, and veterans like Troy Polomalu, could put the Steelers defense back on the fantasy radar. The Steeler’s early season schedule should give them just the opportunity they need to get off on the right foot. Its hard to not get excited about Pittsburgh’s early season potential with QB’s like Hoyer, Flacco, McCown, and Henne on the docket. If you’re a fan of streaming defenses, and/or draw some tough match-ups early on with your #1 defense, take Pittsburgh late in your draft. They should easily put up top 10 fantasy numbers through week 5, if not beyond.
Owners that should target PIT: Denver, San Francisco, Kansas City
August 5, 2014 1 Comment
If you are looking to get started as a writer & you aren’t affiliated w/a site (if you have contributed to a site but aren’t regularly published you can still take advantage of this opportunity) and have an article(s) you’d like to write/publish I’m opening up my Full Impact Football Blog to give you a place to have them published on the web. I have the blog set up with four categories (NFL, NFL Draft, Fantasy Football and IDP) that I plan to group all posts in.
In order to participate as a writer you will have to have a WordPress account (it’s free) and you’ll need to send me an email at Fullimpactblog AT gmail DOT com with a request for me to add you as a contributor. Once I get your request I’ll send you an invitation and then you can get started writing. After your article is finished you will need to send me another email telling me it’s ready to be published — make sure you include the category it should be listed under, and also, at the beginning of the article, include your name, date and twitter handle. I will not be doing any editing and your articles will be posted as you wrote them. With that said, if I find something to be offensive I will not publish it.
I want to give back and I know that having a chance to be read and get exposure is great opportunity. My hope is to have the Full Impact Football Blog be a minor leagues of sorts, where other sites can cultivate new writers that are trying to get started in the industry.
Also, I’m adding mentors that can help those getting started. As a mentor you can be as involved as you’d like…with one or multiple writers. The main requirement for mentors is that they supply their email addresses so that new writers can reach out for guidance is they so desire. A mentor can also feel free to reach out to a new writer to help coach and develop them if they’d like. If you are interested in being a mentor shoot me an email: Gallo AT thehuddle DOT com or a DM on twitter. #PIFWP (Pay It Forward Writer’s Project)