One Thing Week 3


What a week this was. From the wild Thursday night game to the incredible finishes and stunning performances what a week this was. With all the recent talk of how the product in the NFL has declined and the lack of competition and no close games, this past week solved all of those concerns. Even though we haven’t yet made it out of the first quarter of the season teams are already writing the story of the 2017 season. Here’s one takeaway for each team from the latest chapter.

 

AFC

NORTH

Ravens- the Ravens must have been dealing with some serious jet-lag when they took the field Sunday against the Jaguars. Joe Flacco completed 8 of 18 pass attempts with 2 interceptions and no touchdowns. The Baltimore defense was equally as bad allowing 44 points and 4 touchdown passes from Blake Bortles. After 10 takeaways in their first two games no one was expecting this kind of performance. However, this was the first game the Baltimore Ravens franchise had ever played that wasn’t in America and I would still expect to see the team back to its usual self next week when they welcome their rivals, the Steelers, into Baltimore.

Steelers- For whatever reason the Steelers vaunted offense is not clearing the bar. An offense that features Big Ben, Antonio Brown and Le’Veon should score more than 17 points against the Bears.

Bengals- How about this Bill Lazor guy? Under their new offensive coordinator, the Bengals rolled to two touchdowns on their first two drives. Even though the offense couldn’t put away Aaron Rodgers and the Pack at the end, this game will serve as a jumping off point for the rest of their season.

Browns- saying this was not Deshone Kizer’s best day is an understatement. The rookie signal-caller was 22/47 with 2 touchdowns and 3 picks. The Browns made the score close at the end but the Colts had this game in hand.

SOUTH

Jaguars- this week the Jaguars looked more like the team that beat the Texans 29-7 and ekes like the team that lost to the Titans 37-16. The Jaguar’s defense almost blanked the Ravens. Jacksonville will have a chance to flex its muscles again next week against the Jets.

Titans- After their most recent performance, the Titans offensive line is ready to challenge for the title of best in football. Taylor Lewan, Quinton Spain, Ben Jones, Josh Kline, and Jack Conklin absolutely dominated the Seattle defense and for now, DeMarco Murray silenced all the people calling for Derrick Henry.

Colts- Colts fans have to be relieved that after expecting Scott Tolzien to start the first few games of this season the organization swung a deal for Jacoby Brissett. The second-year pro filled the game tape with a multitude of big plays and positive moments. The celebration will be short lived however as this team travels to Seattle to take on an angry Seahawks team.

Texans- Even though coach Bill O’Brien feels that there are no moral victories there is a lot of positives to take away from this loss. After underperforming the first two games of the season, the Texans pass-rushing trio of Mercilus, Watt, and Clowney got back to their old selves registering 3 sacks and a forced fumble combined. Deshaun Watson also kept New England’s defense off balance for much of the game and after players from both sides remarked how impressed they were with him.

 

EAST

Bills- After only managing 3 points a week ago against the Panthers expectations were low with an even more stingy defense in the Denver Broncos coming to town. But the Bills were ready and after a first quarter where they totaled only 10 yards the Bills managed 6 scoring drives and converted in key spots to put the game away. Even after a win against a quality team, things don’t get any easier next week when the Bills travel to play the defending NFC champions.

Patriots- Michael Jordan once said, “I’ve never lost a game, I just ran out of time.” The same can be said of Tom Brady. After trailing late all it took was a little Brady magic as he overcame a 2nd and 20 and a 3rd and 18 to get the Pats into the endzone. At 40 years old he completed 5 of 8 deep passes for 185 yards and 3 touchdowns and continues to defy logic about how aging players should perform. Brady’s heroics shouldn’t overshadow the poor offensive line play and shaky defense that put New England in a hole. This team is good right now but it’s still a far cry from the one people expected to be 16-0.

Dolphins- Jay Cutler giveth and Jay Cutler taketh away. After leading Miami to a close victory in Week 2 the league was reintroduced to the ugly side of Jay Cutler. It wasn’t all his fault though, not much can be expected from an offense when your leading rusher ends up with 16 yards on 11 carries and the other team just wants it more than you.

Jets- For Jets fans hoping for a tank and an 0-16 season to lock up Sam Darnold came away disappointed. Fans on the other end of that spectrum were excited to see the Jets play inspired football, avoid major mistakes and put together a great defensive game that should have ended in a shutout had it not been for a last play touchdown.

WEST

Chiefs- It’s hard to go 3-0. Only the Chiefs and the Falcons have remained unbeaten after Week 3. Kareem Hunt again put on a show but the real star of the game was KC’s defense which forced 3 interceptions and gave the conservative offense short fields.

Broncos- What a difference a week makes. After eviscerating the Cowboys defense Siemian came back down to earth when he was forced to make throws on third down after C.J. Anderson, who had been Denver’s driving force offensively, carried 8 times for 36 yards with 32 of them coming on one play. The Broncos will look to bounce back against the division rival Raiders next week.

Raiders- Coming into the game most expected the Oakland defense to have a rough go of it, what no one expected was the Oakland offense to have an outing that was just as bad or possibly worse but that’s exactly what happened Sunday night. Last season when he was part of MVP consideration QB Derek Carr was sacked only 16 times. Against the Redskins he was sacked 4 times and his two 1000 yard receivers from last year were nowhere to be found combining for 2 catches for 13 yards and two drops. Marshawn Lynch was a nonfactor as the Raiders O-line couldn’t push anybody around. The offense will be tested again when it travels to Denver next week.

Chargers- Through the first 2 games of the season it had looked like Philip Rivers had transcended his mistake-prone times but against an old foe he fell back on old habits throwing 3 INTs. Still winless the only bright spot, albeit an incredibly bright one, is their duo of Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa. Ingram had 3 sacks on the day and both he and Bosa were in the backfield all day. If this keeps up those two will become the most feared pass rush duo in the league.

 

NFC

North

Packers- down big at home – no problem, throw a pick six – no problem, defense allowing a team that hadn’t scored a touchdown to score 3 – no problem. When the game is on the line, money on the table let Aaron Rodgers go to work. During the game however it didn’t look too much like Rodgers game. He threw only the second pick six of his career and looked skittish for most of the game behind a line that gave up 6 sacks. They’ll need to get it together for a quick turnaround as the Bears come to town on a Thursday night. Last thing – for your “really?” moment; that was Aaron Rodgers first ever win in OT, really.

Vikings- coming in it looked like Jameis Winston and an explosive Buccaneers offense would take over a game in which Sam Bradford was out with an injury. However (Steven A voice) that prognostication couldn’t have been further than what happened. Case Keenum seems to have a knack for beating the Buccaneers as he’s now 3-0 against them in his career with 793 passing yards and 7 touchdown passes across those games. Keenum had a lot of help from Dalvin Cook who has become the unquestioned bell cow back carrying 27 times for 97 yards and a TD. The Minnesota defense also came up big picking off Jameis Winston 3 times and playing overall suffocating defense. With 3 teams in the division 2-1, the Vikings have a chance to take the number 1 spot in the division with a win against the Lions.

Lions- It just seems to be the fate of the lions to have their games decided by a wild sequence in the last minute of the game. The Lion’s defense was impressive picking off reigning MVP Matt Ryan 3 times returning 1 for a touchdown. Controversial ending aside, theLionss had many chances to win but Matt Stanford couldn’t get anything going consistently without a presence in the run game. This is a big week for the NFC north with 3 teams at 2-1 and all the teams playing division games. With a win over the Vikings, the could make an important statement in the division.

Bears- These are the types of games the Bears can win. Games where they take advantage of opportunities and run the ball. A lot. Jordan Howard and Tarik Cohen. Combined for 216 yards on 35 carries. Through 3 games Tarik Cohen has the most targets and catches of all running backs. Until Mitch Trubisky gets a shot this team will have to rely on its two young running backs to win games. And of course, we have to talk about Marcus Cooper. He now joins an infamous group of players who had a touchdown but because of cockiness, unawareness, or pure stupidity fumbled the ball and cost his team 6 points.
South

Falcons- the Falcons are 3-0 right now, a lucky 3-0 but undefeated none the less. Opening the season against 3 NFC north teams their blowout of the packers is bracketed by scares from the bears and the lions. It’s still too early to call it for any team but despite what their record suggests they have been less than perfect. During his MVP season, Matt Ryan didn’t have a multi-interception game but he threw 3 on Sunday almost throwing away the game in the process. The Falcons have one more game next week before their bye so they have time to get themselves in order before mid-season.

Panthers- Something is not quite right with Cam Newton. The 2015 MVP has not regained that form that won him the award. Throwing 3 INTs against one of the worst secondaries in football is never a good sign. The only bright spot was first round rookie Christian McCaffrey catching 9 balls for 101 yards. Struggling to stay relevant in the division race, the Panthers have a tough one next week when they travel to Foxborough to take on the Patriots.

Buccaneers- 2 games into their 2017 season the Buccaneers have put together two very different performances. After blowing out the Bears in their first game Tampa Bay’s offense could not get it together against a stingy Minnesota unit. Their Franchise QB Jameis Winston threw 3 INTs and the ground game only managed 26 yards. Equally concerning was the Buccaneers defensive effort against a team missing its starting quarterback. There’s still reason for optimism though Doug Martin comes back in two weeks and the 0-3 New York Giants come to Florida in what could be a good bounce back game.

Saints- The Ted Ginn revenge game really wasn’t. The former Panthers wideout caught 2 balls for 44 yards and a TD with 1 carry for 15 yards. The biggest takeaway from this game is Sean Payton admitting that he still hasn’t quite figured out how to best utilize his 3 running backs. New Orleans has a chance next week to get to .500 with a win against a Miami Dolphins team still seeking direction.
EAST

Eagles- what a joy it is to watch Carson Wentz develop and progress. The second year quarterback is loads more athletic than defenses seem to realize dazzling defenses with one “wow” run or escape each week. There’s a lot to like about a close win against a division rival the fact that the Eagles let the Giants get back into this one is concerning. If it hadn’t been for rookie Jake Elliot and his rookie record 61 yard buzzer beater field goal the Eagles could be answering questions about an epic collapse if things hadn’t gone their way in OT. Sitting atop the division the Eagles visit the underperforming chargers next week.

Cowboys- Dallas did not get off to a particularly good start on Monday night. After a rough first quarter, the offense steadily improved eventually rolling to 28 on four touchdowns from Dak and Zeke. The defensive MVP is split between DE Demarcus Lawrence who seems to be turning into the premier pass rusher the Cowboys envisioned he would be when they took him in the second round, and rookie cornerback Jordan Lewis who was all over the field with good coverage and sound tackling. After rebounding well from their loss to Denver and a poor start on Monday night, Dallas will take on the suddenly hot Los Angelos rams offense.

Redskins- it was almost a dominant performance in all three phases from the Washington Redskins on Sunday night. The secondary led by Josh Norman nabbed 2 INTs and their pass rushers bullied the Oakland offensive line racking up 6 sacks on Derek Carr. Kirk Cousins completed 25 of 30 passes for 3 touchdowns and no interceptions and Chris Thompson had another dominant all-purpose performance. The Redskins will have an opportunity to show that Sunday night wasn’t a fluke when they take on the undefeated Chiefs on Monday night.

Giants- almost. They almost did it. After a late rally and big plays from their wide revivers the giants had finally reached 20 points for the first time in their last 10 games. 0-3 is not the way any team with playoff hopes wants to start the season. The Giants have major problems along their offensive line and under center and they may be too big for the defense and OBJ to overcome. The Giants have a chance to turn their season around next week when they visit an also underperforming Buccaneers team.

 

WEST

Rams- The youngest head coach in NFL history is off to a good start sitting atop the division at 2-1 with two 40 point games under his belt. He’s gotten there with inventive offense and an enterprising defense. After a disappointing 2016, Todd Gurley looks to be back to what we saw in the first few games of 2015. We’ll get a good look at whether this Rams team is legit or not when they take on the Dallas Cowboys next week.

Seahawks- We know the Seahawks offensive line is a problem but who would have that now the Seattle defense might be a problem. This unit was manhandled in the second half of the game as it appeared that Mike Mularkey’s “exotic smash mouth” offense wore them down. Russell Wilson’s career passing day was overshadowed by his defense which gave up two touchdowns of over 50 yards including the first rushing touchdown 75 yards or more since 2009. Seattle will have to hope that it can sort itself out defensively and return to form against the Colts next to get to .500.

Cardinals- There was a lot of bad Monday night from the Arizona Cardinals but let’s start with the good; Larry Fitzgerald is Amazing. He finished with 13 grabs for 149 yards and a score. He was absolutely electric out there making one spectacular catch after another. Now for the bad. Bruce Arians playcalling and game management were atrocious in the final quarter and the offensive line couldn’t block three rushers. Their season is on life support right now but a home game against an 0-3 Niners team could be just what the doctor ordered.

49ers- Despite their 0-3 start it can be argued that the 49ers have had a successful season so far. In their Thursday night loss to the Rams, the Niners showed a fortitude and fight not seen since the Jim Harbaugh era. Kyle Shanahan takes his squad next week to take on a reeling Arizona in a game where the 49ers could find some success in the win-loss column as well.

 

Sunday Primer Week 3

You would be forgiven for not expecting much excitement in a Thursday night game that featured the Rams and the 49ers. But the game between the two youngest coaches to ever face off against each other in NFL history far exceeded expectations featuring great play design, lots of scoring, a fourth-quarter comeback, and best of all some gritty, no-quit football from both sides.

 

5. Seattle @ Tennessee

Two teams that don’t play each other often and two teams most are picking to make the playoffs. With both teams sitting at 1-1 this game is an opportunity to

 

4. Kansas City @ Los Angelos Chargers

Andy Reid’s squad has looked like maybe the NFL’s best team through two games and now they have a divisional test against a talented but underperforming Chargers team that has blown two big fourth quarter opportunities in as many games. An 0-3 start puts the Chargers in a big hole in maybe the NFL’s division. Expect the Chargers to pull out all the stops in this one.

 

3. Houston @ New England

Last season in 432 regular season pass attempts Tom Brady threw only 2 interceptions. In one divisional playoff game against the Texans, he threw 2. After their week 1 debacle, the Patriots have appeared to bounce back after beating the Saints but this game will be a true test on both sides of the ball for the defending champions even though this Texans unit gave up 22 points to the Jaguars and has the second least amount of passing yards in the league with only the Buccaneers (who have only played 1 game) behind them.

 

2. Atlanta @ Detroit

With the Lions off to their first 2-0 start since 2011 and the Falcons looking to build off last years success with their own 2-0 start, this game features two hot quarterbacks and enterprising defenses and will serve one team with its first loss of the season. A win for the Lions gives them sole possession of first place in the NFC North while a win for the Falcons allows them to keep pace with the also 2-0 Panthers. Expect a shootout between these two hot QBs with young defenses.

 

1. Oakland @ Washington

Another matchup of two teams that don’t play each other often, the Sunday night game features two high-flying offenses from 2016. The only difference in 2017 appears to be that the Raiders have recaptured their 2016 glory right out of the gate hanging 45 on the Jets last week. Kirk Cousins and his offense have struggled some only managing 17 points against the Eagles in the opener and then getting by for a win against the Rams. If Jay Gruden can get his offense running again this should be a high-scoring game filled with points on both sides.

Sunday Primer Week 2

img_1135     Week 2 got off to a fairly uninspiring start with rookie QB Deshaun Watson and the Texans outlasting the Bengals in a defensive battle on Thursday night. But this weekend’s slate of games should provide much more entertainment and intrigue. Here are this week’s top 5 games.

 

5. New England @ New Orleans

Savor this matchup. This might be the final time these two legendary QBs face-off against each other. This is very well a game that should be high scoring with New Orleans suspect secondary and New England still trying to figure itself out on that side of the ball.

 

4. Philadelphia @ Kansas City

The student faces the master when Andy Reid’s former offensive coordinator Doug Pederson comes to Kansas City. Reid’s squad should be riding high after upsetting the Patriots last week and the Eagles looked good in all phases last week beating a division rival. Even without the coaching intrigue, this is still a matchup of two good teams looking to go up 2-0 in competitive divisions.

 

3. Minnesota @ Pittsburgh

Sam Bradford was practically perfect last week completing 27 of 32 passes for 346 yards and 3 touchdowns. The Vikings defense put the clamps on Drew Brees and the Saints offense for most of the game last week and look to have a repeat performance against the Steelers explosive offense. Top rookie T.J. Watt looks to offer a repeat performance after his 2 sack, 1 int, 7 tackle performance week one.

 

2. Dallas @ Denver

The Denver defense will be arguably the best unit Dak and Zeke have ever faced. Both second-year players came up big in their week one win but this game will test both of them. After an offseason of uncertainty, Trevor Siemian emerged as the starter and did enough to lead Denver to a win last week. He’ll face a Dallas defense that racked up 3 sacks on Eli Manning in week one.

 

1. Green Bay @ Atlanta

Here’s the big one, a rematch of last year’s NFC Championship game. After being embarrassed last January Aaron Rodgers and the Packers will be looking to spoil the Falcons on their new stadium’s opening night. This potential playoff matchup between two top NFC teams could become important later in the year as playoff positions are decided.

Finally, it’s back…​

Well, here we are. At 8:30 tonight, the NFL will kick-off and the road to Super Bowl LII will be underway. Of course, with the season comes everybody’s favorite weekly escape, Fantasy Football. Maybe you play because you’re a football junkie and can’t get enough of the game. Or, maybe you’re a Jet fan like me and you need a reason to root for some other players as well this year. Hey, maybe you’re not even a huge football fan, but you’re in a league with friends or at work and just want to win for the sake of bragging rights. Whatever the case may be, this gridiron game brings people together and Fantasy Football is the cherry on top to a season that brings so much excitement. Here we go with my weekly Fantasy Advice:

Fave Five

  1. Kelvin Benjamin
    • Benji could have a major bounce-back season this year and it starts week 1 in San Francisco. Not only does Benjamin have arguably the weakest cornerback schedule in the league this season, but the addition of Christian McCaffrey as a Swiss Army knife for that offense should force defenses to respect the run more. Plus, now a year removed from ACL surgery and with the Panthers looking to have Cam Newton be more of a pocket passer and run less, I see Benjamin torching a weak 49ers secondary and improving upon the two scores he’s already had this preseason.
  2. Melvin Gordon
    • I know, I know. They’re playing Denver this week. Yes, I expect Denver to have a good showing and play LA tough (it’s still weird to me that they’re not San Diego anymore). The thing is, by volume alone I expect Flash Gordon to start this season with a bang. Over the past three years, Phillip Rivers’ target share to receivers goes from 54% to 47% against Denver. Where do all those targets go? To the running back, and with Danny Woodhead now in Baltimore, Melvin should get an enormous amount of touches through the air and on the ground, especially with the all-world cornerback duo of Chris Harris and Aqib Talib patrolling the secondary.
  3. Brandon Marshall
    • Another bounce-back candidate for me, I fully expect Marsh to return to form as an elite end zone target. I keep hearing about how he’s old and continue to see people point to his regression last year. Relax. First of all, he’s only 33, it’s not like the guy is hobbling around out there and he’s not on an Andre Johnson-esque trajectory. I’ll admit, he uncharacteristically dropped way too many balls last year, but how much of that was his miserable situation combined with the fact that he had ineffective quarterbacks throwing him the ball? The Giants can’t run and will look to feast on an uninspiring Cowboys’ secondary. Couple this with the facts that I don’t expect Odell Beckham to be 100% and the Giants love to deploy 3-wide receiver sets and I see tremendous opportunity for B-Marsh. Not only is it a tough task to cover Marshall man-to-man, but the Giants also drop back to pass the 4th-most in the NFL in the red zone over the past two years… and now have the best fantasy wide receiver in the red zone since 2012. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that this looks pretty promising for his debut for Big Blue.
  4. Todd Gurley
    • I fully expect the Rams to run the ball down Indy’s throat with the intentions of exploiting a weak defense and controlling the clock. Throw in the fact that Andrew Luck is out and Scott Tolzien, who can be subject to turnovers, is starting for Indy and I expect a huge day for Gurley – one that puts his disappointing 2016 firmly behind him.
  5. Bilal Powell
    • I mean, who else is going to get the ball? I don’t expect Josh McCown to throw very much on Sunday and when he does, will can that offensive line even hold up? My bet is he checks it down when he drops back and hands it to Powell the rest of the time. I do think Matt Forté will get some work too and have a nice game himself, but with the former pro bowler in his age 31 season and the best veteran leader the team has, I expect it to be the Bilal Powell Show in Buffalo.

 

Cause for Concern

  1. Keenan Allen
    • See: Melvin Gordon. I’m actually high on Allen’s prospects this season and expect him to finally have a healthy year this year. *Knocks on wood* Unfortunately for him, he begins the season against that all-world secondary I mentioned earlier and if Rivers plays Denver the same way he has over the past 3 years, then the LA receivers will have only 47% of the target share to split amongst themselves. Over the course of the season, I consider Allen a great pick and major sleeper at his current draft position, but I’d temper expectations for this week.
  2. Dez Bryant
    • The oft-injured receiver would make me nervous as a fantasy owner with his physical style of play. Although obviously a great talent, I don’t trust him against high-end corners. Yes, he typically devours mediocre corners, but in tough matchups he chokes far too often for me to trust him as a low-end WR1. Oh yeah, and in TWO games against the Giants last year he had two receptions for 18 yards and a fumble. I’m wary of Dez this week.
  3. T.Y. Hilton
    • Ultimately, T.Y. is way too make or break for me to trust him as a WR1. Of course, you have to respect any player that led the league in receiving yards, but with Scott Tolzien starting for Indy week 1 against a respectable Rams defense I don’t have much confidence that he’ll put up WR1 numbers. Plus, I think the Colts’ decision to trade for Jacoby Brissett says something about their confidence in Tolzien. Beware.

 

Top Streaming Options

  1. Paul Richardson
    • Green Bay surrendered the most fantasy points to opposing wide receivers in the entire league last year. Now playing out wide opposite Doug Baldwin and with the Seahawks’ running game a major question mark, I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Richardson get some volume in a game that could see a lot of scoring. Yes, Seattle has a great defense, but is anybody really ready to count out Aaron Rodgers? Against the best quarterback in the league, Russ is going to have to air it out and I don’t think the Green Bay secondary has anybody to stop Richardson from having a great day.
  2. Zay Jones
    • Sammy Watkins is gone. Jordan Matthews just arrived and may or may not be hurt. Um, this Jets-Bills game this weekend could be the worst combination of receivers I’ve ever seen in a regular season game. That being said, is it that crazy to say that the rookie Jones might be the best receiver on the field? Coming off a season where he caught a ridiculous 158 balls at ECU, I’d say it’s not that crazy. Despite the fact that I expect the Jets’ defense to be much improved this year, I think it’s a great matchup for Jones and could see him getting some nice volume as the Bills’ top receiver.
  3. Andy Dalton
    • The Red Rifle finished last season as the 12th best QB in fantasy despite missing AJ Green, Tyler Eifert, Gio Bernard, and having to deal with a regressing Jeremy Hill. Two seasons ago he was top 5. The guy is a sneaky great fantasy quarterback and with Green, Eifert, and Gio all fully healthy, plus the addition of Joe Mixon, I could see him having a resurgent year. Against a Baltimore defense that doesn’t inspire a ton of fear anymore, I see him hitting Eifert and Green for a few scores as Cincy rolls over the Ravens.

2017 Player Predictions

IMG_1101

Almost there…

We’re only a few hours away from the start of a new NFL season. With a new season comes new storylines, new rising stars, and a chance for anything to happen. With this in mind let’s take a look at some bold predictions for the upcoming season.

 

Joey Bosa will be All-Pro

With Melvin Ingram coming into his own on the other side of the line the second year will face less double teams. Even with JJ Watt back spending a full offseason with the Chargers should help Bosa outperform his 10.5 sacks in 12 games from his rookie year.

 

By the end of the season Joe Mixon will play the most snaps of any Bengals running back

Even though at the time of writing this he’s 3rd on the depth chart behind Giovanni Bernard and Jeremy Hill the 2017 2nd rounder’s talent is undeniable. With Jeremy Hill in a contract year and Bernard’s primary role as a pass catching back the bengals will want to take a look at the 6’1″ 226 pounder.

 

Stephon Gilmore will earn Pro Bowl honors this season 

When the New England Patriots signed Gilmore to a 65 million dollar contract this offseason it was met with some skepticism. How could a player who was never voted to a pro bowl deserve that kind of money? Well all reports out of patriots camp his performance in the teams preseaon games (preseason, I know) seem to have him poised for a big season under head coach Bill Belichick.

 

Drew Brees won’t reach 5000 yards passing

With the additions of Adrian Peterson through FA and Alvin Kamara through the draft joining mainstay Mark Ingram the Saints are poised to become a much more run heavy team. Giving carries to those three talented backs will cut into Brees passing attempts keeping him from breaking the 5000 yard barrier for the 6th time.

 

Jameis Winston will emerge as an MVP candidate in Tampa Bay’s high octane offense

Jameis Winston’s numbers have improved every year, increasing his yards and touchdowns in 2016 from his rookie numbers. 2017 should be no different and when you add O.J. Howard and Desean Jackson and Chris Godwin to a passing offense that already featured Mike Evans there’s potential for big passing numbers. The Buccaneers already have a solid defense and the return of Doug Martin after his suspension should allow for the team success necessary to generate MVP buzz.

 

Big year for Jamison Crowder

Desean Jackson is gone. Pierre Garçon is gone. Those were the top two receivers in Washington’s vertical offense last season. Both now play for teams other than the Redskins. All those targets and receptions have to go to someone and Terrelle Pryor can’t have them all. The third year pro out of Duke has quietly impressed in his first two seasons and caught a team high 7 touchdowns last season and there’s still room to improve.

 

Saints Michael Thomas ascends to one of the top 5 receivers in the league

In his rookie year, Michael Thomas put up 92 receptions, 1,137 yards, and 9 touchdowns in 15 games with 12 starts. And that was him sharing an offense with Brandin Cooks who’s now on the Patriots. With a full season as Drew Brees top target it’s not crazy to think he could put up monster numbers and join the ranks of the truly elite receivers of the game today.

 

Christian McCaffrey helps rejuvenate the Panthers offense

Panther’s Offensive Coordinator Mike Shula saw the same Super Bowl LI the rest of us saw. According to the MMQB’s Peter King, the amount of dump off passes that James White caught was eye-opening. “In the Super Bowl, how many passes do you think Tom Brady threw to his backs? Mostly completed, right?” McCaffrey will be that outlet for Cam Newton to keep the offense from stalling and help the Panther’s offense return to prominence.