Cleat Geeks

Johnson Is Sitting Out & A New Signing

This weekend is a mandatory three day minicamp in Tempe for the Arizona Cardinals. This is no longer voluntary, it is mandatory. And star running back David Johnson is going to miss it. This is not the most disturbing part to me, that would be why he is missing the mandatory camp. Why is he missing camp, we are not sure, but the rumor mill is growing by the hour. It is being reported that Johnson has an injury that is not significant.  Johnson, 26, missed practice time last week with an injury the Cardinals weren’t disclosing. As the Cardinals began their three-day minicamp on Tuesday at the team’s facility in Tempe, Johnson, who watched voluntary practice last Thursday, but was not present on Tuesday.

Image result for david johnson arizona cardinals

Photo by; The Daily Courier

“It’s the off-season, and I’m not going to really indulge in injuries or things like that,” coach Steve Wilks said Thursday when asked why Johnson wasn’t practicing. “We’re going to talk about the guys that are out there.”

Johnson missed 15 games last season after suffering a wrist injury in the season opener. He was cleared medically earlier this year and until this week had been participating fully in the off-season program.

Johnson was not available for comment after Thursday’s practice. So everyone is ignoring this situation. In my 45 years on this earth, usually when people ignore, won’t talk and then go as far as to make excuses for any situation, it means there is something more going on than we are being told. What could be going on? I assume (no inside sources, just my opinion here) that he either has a worse injury than we are being told or he has been advised to hold out of practices until he gets a new contract. He is in the final year of his rookie deal that will pay him a healthy $1.8 million this season. There have been some rumblings that the two sides are talking contract extension, but nothing makes me angrier in the sports world than someone who does not want to fulfill their current contract while negotiating a newer, larger contract.

A New Signing

The Cardinals signed safety Travell Dixon to replace rookie safety Jonathan Owens, who was waived after suffering a knee injury. Owens, a free agent from Missouri Western, had impressed coaches in off-season work before suffering the injury.

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Photo by; Arizona Sports

Dixon played one game for Carolina in 2016 after spending the first 16 weeks on the Panthers practice squad. He played for Cardinals coach Steve Wilks that season with the Panthers. Dixon actually entered the NFL with Oakland in 2015 as a rookie free agent from Washington. He found his way to Carolina and was released by the Panthers last year in training camp. His college career consisted of playing two seasons at Washington following a brief stint at Alabama and two years at Eastern Arizona College.

 

Rosen’s Quote Gives Me Hope On Cardinals Decision

Josh Rosen was upset after he was taken 10th overall in the first round by the Arizona Cardinals on Thursday night at the NFL draft. Not at the Arizona Cardinals, they showed they wanted him by making a deal with the Oakland Raiders in which they gave up 2 picks for him, one in the third round and another in the fifth round. He just believed he should have been drafted much higher in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Image result for josh rosen ucla

In a press conference, he said, “There were nine mistakes made ahead of me, and I’m going to make sure they all know it was a mistake.”

I personally have always had a problem with the fact that he was talented, but never really seemed to want to play football. I have always questioned his desire, not his talent. I was of the mindset that the Cardinals were just going to stay pat at the 15th selection in the NFL Draft and see if Rosen fell to them. I was surprised when they decided to trade up and get him. At the time of the trade, I actually had mixed emotions about the selection. I wanted the Cardinals to get a cornerback to shut down the passing ability of the other teams in the league. The Cardinals already have one of the top 5 cornerbacks in football with Patrick Petterson, and another young talented corner, to me, seemed to be the way to go making teams one dimensional so they could in turn “load up the box” and stop the run. I felt that if they could do that, they could hold most teams to 17 points or under and thus would have a chance to win virtually game thinking David Johnson and Sam Bradford and Larry Fitzgerald could top 17 points more often than not.

Jaire Alexander and Mike Hughes were both available with the 10th pick, and would both have been available with the 15th pick as well. But both were talented enough that other teams saw the value in them and made them first round selections as the Vikings took Hughes with the 30th overall pick and the Packers made Alexander the 18th overall selection.

Rosen was one of the quarterbacks projected to go early in the first round. But he sat and watched as three other passers – Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield (first to the Cleveland Browns), Southern California’s Sam Darnold (third to the New York Jets) and Wyoming’s Josh Allen (seventh to the Buffalo Bills) heard their names called. Perhaps the most pro-ready passer in the entire draft, Rosen is nearly flawless mechanically in terms of his delivery and footwork honed as an accomplished tennis player. He reads the field well at all levels and is highly intelligent. There is still the fact that he suffered two concussions last year and the fact that he is the definition of a pocket passer who won’t make plays with his legs. Now Rosen joins a loaded quarterback division that includes Garoppolo, Russell Wilson and Jared Goff.

I like that Rosen seems to now have a chip on his shoulder. He has the talent, now maybe he has the motivation to make that talent shine on the football field. That was my main complaint with him was his motivation. I am starting to like this pick, and I hope he is motivated to be the franchise quarterback that some think he could be.

#ManCrush Monday Series: Cooper Kupp

This is the fourth in a series of articles that will all include the hashtag #ManCrush in which I will highlight specific players that I have fallen in love with in terms of fantasy football and why I am excited about their 2018 season and beyond. Some aspects of subsequent articles may stem from previous articles, so I encourage you to read them all. I also encourage you to check out each of the links for a more in depth look at what makes these players so special.

In my first rookie draft going into the second season of my dynasty league, I had the 10th pick and was in an interesting position to try to improve on a team that had just won a championship, lost only one game, and outscored the next highest person by a full week’s worth of points. My immediate need was running back depth, and I missed out on a chance to grab Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook, Christian McCaffrey, Joe Mixon or Kareem Hunt, as they all went in the top 8. I chose Samaje Perine, who has yet to claim any significant role with Washington. If he pans out at all in the next year or two, I may write a #ManCrush article on him. If not, he’ll be a bust for me. I had a chance to take Alvin Kamara, and hindsight is 20/20, but at the time the Saints had recently acquired Adrian Peterson and still had Mark Ingram, and it was uncertain how much Kamara would be involved. He actually fell all the way to pick #38.

In the second round, I grabbed Patrick Mahomes as the first QB off the board because I didn’t want to miss out on him.

Coming into the third round, my pick had moved up because two members or our league had elected to keep more players rather than having rookie draft picks. Since I had gotten a running back and a quarterback, my next look was to wide receiver. By this 28th overall spot, Corey Davis, Mike Williams, John Ross, and Zay Jones had already been taken. Which brings us to the man this article is really about: Cooper Kupp.

Kupp was a unique prospect out of Eastern Washington, an FCS program who plays in the Big Sky Conference. Much like last week’s #ManCrush Adam Thielen, Kupp was unrecruited by any FBS teams, and wound up choosing EWU. The FBS missed out. Kupp was incredibly productive in college, averaging 107 receptions, 1,616 yards, and 18 touchdowns over four seasons, including an average line of 8-124-1 on a per-game basis. Kupp is the most prolific pass-catcher in FCS history, setting all-time records in total receptions (428), receiving yards (6,464), and receiving touchdowns (73). Now you may be thinking what many people think: his production came against a lower level of competition. You’re right, but you’re also wrong. Over his four years at EWU, Kupp had a chance to play against a Pac-12 opponent to start each season, and he produced just the same. Have a look:

Season Opp Rec Yards TD
2013 Oregon St. 5 119 2
2014 Washington 8 145 3
2015 Oregon 15 246 3
2016 Washington St. 12 206 3

 

The most important thing to take from this table is the the 2014 Washington secondary featured eventual 1st and 2nd round NFL picks in CB Marcus Peters, CB Sidney Jones, CB Kevin King, and S Budda Baker. As you can see, the “level level of competition” argument is not very strong.

Because of his production and rising fame, Kupp earned an invite to both the Senior Bowl and the NFL Scouting Combine, performing well at both. Kupp does not possess top-end speed, but he is an advanced route-runner with the agility to get in and out of breaks, great hands and ball-tracking ability, decent size, incredible football IQ, and a competitive drive on every snap. He is also willing to block, which is becoming more and more important in today’s NFL. He has an ability to play both outside or in the slot, and at 6’2″, 205lbs., he is similar to Adam Thielen. Kupp was drafted in the third round by the Los Angeles Rams, which paired him with the offensive mind of new head coach Sean McVay. Despite all the playmakers on the Rams roster, Kupp quickly became one of QB Jared Goff’s favorite targets, particularly on third down. Kupp had 18 first down catches on third down. Are you starting to sense the Thielen-Kupp trend? All in all, Kupp led the Rams in receiving, and among rookie wide receivers in 2017, Kupp ranked 1st in catches (62), tied for 1st in catches of 20+ yards (12), 2nd in receiving yards (869) behind only JuJu Smith-Schuster, 1st in total first downs (42), and tied for 4th in touchdowns (5). Looking like a solid third round pick for both the Rams and myself.

Coming into 2018, there is nothing but optimism for Kupp and the Rams. After leading the NFL in scoring in 2017, there’s no reason why they couldn’t do it again. Goff will continue to grow in his third year as he continues to learn from McVay. 2017 MVP runner-up Todd Gurley will continue to be a three-down threat with a solid offensive line in front of him. The young duo of tights ends in Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett have the potential to become what Jordan Reed and Vernon Davis were for the Redskins with McVay calling the plays there. Moving specifically to Kupp, the departure of Sammy Watkins leaves production to be claimed, particularly in the touchdown department. While Robert Woods had his best statistical season last year with the Rams, he has still never surpassed the 1,000 yard mark in his five year career. The Rams acquired Brandin Cooks from the Patriots in an unexpected move and he will help fill Watkins’ role, but Kupp will get his share along with what he had last season. Cooks ability to stretch the defense will open things up underneath for Kupp. As we see across the league, solid chemistry and trust between a quarterback and a receiver cannot be overlooked. After falling just short of 100 targets in 2017, I expect Kupp to surpass that this year and give the Rams at least 75-1,050-6 in 2018, especially if he can cut down on the drops that hurt him in 2017.

Thanks for reading! Be sure to go back and read my first three articles on David JohnsonPatrick Mahomes, and Adam Thielen if you haven’t already! Stayed tuned for my next #ManCrush article! Check out all my work and follow me on Twitter @brad_petrowitz.

Odell Beckham Jr Trade Possibilities

As you’ve probably heard, The New York Giants are listening to trade offers for Odell Beckham Jr. Confusing, I know, because he’s allegedly not on the “trade block.” Going into his 5th season, Beckham has already stated that he will not be stepping onto a field for any team without a new contract. Sounds like a pretty tenuous situation between arguably the most talented wide receiver in football and a Giants franchise looking to bounce back from an abysmal 2017 campaign.

I for one, am not convinced that Beckham gets dealt (all of it sounds like the public banter between a team and a players’ reps). Odell is likely commanding a massive contract probably in the vicinity of 5 yrs/$100m with $60m guaranteed and the Giants are trying to drive that number down as far as possible. Who hasn’t already seen this story played out a thousand times?

$100m may sound crazy for a WR but Mike Evans just got 5yrs/$82.5m with $55m guaranteed. The $55m will be paid over the first two years which will make years 3-5 really interesting. Beckham and Evans would appear (on the surface) to be very similar- elite level receivers, primary targets for their teams, and usually counted on as fantasy football studs for those given the opportunity to draft them. Which means that a contract on Evans’ level seems very realistic but let’s look closer at their production.

Image result for odell beckham jr. pictures

Photo by; Muscle and Fitness

*Stats provided by profootballreference.com

*Since entering the league in 2014

                  Odell Beckham           Mike Evans

Targets –            498                           579

Receptions-       313                           309

Yards-               4,424                        4,579

Touchdowns-     38                             32

Yards/Gm-         94.1                          75.1

The numbers are pretty close, right? Not so fast… Mike Evans has played in 14 more games which is almost an additional full season than Beckham Jr. For me, the number that is really telling is the yards per game. Odell is making more out of less with fewer targets, better catch rate and more yards per game. His production on a per game basis blows Evans away. A fact that I’m sure isn’t lost on Odell’s agent. Evans contract set the market and Odell is about to reset it.

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Photo by; RotoBiz

The news for the Giants gets a little worse because they just ate $20m in dead money by dealing JPP to the Buccaneers (the damn Buccaneers are really giving it to the Giants this offseason). This move has essentially crippled them for the remainder of the off-season. As of 3/28/18 spotrac.com shows the Giants have about $7.6m under the cap which is not nearly enough to get moving on OBJ’s new deal.  

There is some good news for the team though, they don’t have to extend Beckham right now…They could do what the Redskins did with Kirk Cousins and slap him with a franchise tag or two. OK, bad example. At least Odell is under contract for 2018 and can be franchise tagged easily for 2019. With that said we can only expect this drama to continue to play out until a contract is signed or a trade is made…Lucky us.

…In the meantime, let’s look at some possible trades. For the record, none of these are based on insider info, offer little factual data and were mostly conjured up from the dark recesses of my mind for your entertainment.   

Let’s get started!

Los Angeles Rams

It’s been reported that #23 is on the table as part of a deal but any offer would have to include a 2nd first round pick and a possible mid rounder.  Not to mention they’ll need to find some money to give him. Easier said than done with Aaron Donald due up for an extension and Todd Gurley right behind him in 2019.  As of 3/28/18 the Rams have $35m in cap room but that doesn’t appear to include Ndamukong Suh’s $14m just inked this week. Having only $21m to work with might hamper their ability to get this done.  

Trade:

Rams get:                              Giants get:                                 Beckham contract:

Odell Beckham Jr               2018 #23 overall              5yrs/$90m with $60m guaranteed

                                          2019 1st rd pick

                                          2019 2nd rd pick

This seems really unlikely given Donald, Gurley, and Goff will all need to be extended over the next three years.  

Fantasy Impact: Odell’s value changes little. He’ll still be force fed the ball and should be considered an elite option at his position. It would hurt Robert Woods the most and potentially open the middle of the field for Cooper Kupp to work underneath.  

Cleveland Browns

Contestant number two, like the Rams, the Browns haven’t been shy about making some trades to make major changes to their team. Unlike the Rams ,the Browns have plenty of draft capital and money to make the deal and pay him after it’s been consummated. This one is a bit muddier though due to the Browns adding Jarvis Landry, and already having Josh Gordon and David Njoku. If I’m running the Browns I would at least kick the tires, knowing full well the Giants will attempt to get a major haul in return the deal below may be something both side could agree to.

Trade:

Browns get:                        Giants get:                                   Beckham contract:

Odell Beckham Jr             2018 #1 Overall                 5yrs/100m with $65m guaranteed

2018 #2                            2018 #4 Overall

                                         2019 3rd rd pick

The reason I’d like this one for the Giants is the idea of flipping the power in the draft from Cleveland to New York. The Giants can then draft any combination of Barkley, Chubb, and/or a QB. Heck, they could even trade down with Buffalo to and add even more picks. Trade #4 to Buffalo for #12 and #22? The Giants could in theory turn Beckham into three 1st’s and a 3rd and that’s a good haul by any measure.

Fantasy Impact: I would expect Beckham, Landry, and Gordon to have fewer catches but all three would break 1,000 yards and the Browns would be exceptionally difficult to cover in any defensive scheme.

San Francisco 49ers

Another team that has the money and draft capital to make a major move. All of these trades should be considered long shots at best but this one seems especially far off. Theoretically though, the Niners could offer a package like this.

Trade:

49ers get:                          Giants get                                  Beckham contract:

Odell Beckham Jr           2018 #9 Overall                  5yrs/$95m with $60m guaranteed

                                      2018 #70 Overall

                                      2019 2nd rd pick

This move would give Jimmy G a legitimate #1 WR to throw to for the foreseeable future. However, with all of the holes the Niners have it seems unlikely that they’d be willing to move more than #7.  

Fantasy Impact: Having Beckham here would actually help everyone in the 49ers offense except for Marquise Goodwin. The draft will tell more of the story but assume OBJ is a WR1, George Kittle if healthy is a high end TE2/Streamer is smaller formats, McKinnon will see soft fronts opening him up for a bigger year than Hyde had in 2017.    

The moral of the story here is this; while an OBJ trade is fun to talk about it’s likely NOT happening. All due respect to Antonio Brown as the best WR in the league, but OBJ is the most talented and will hold the best WR mantle all to himself sooner than later. If you’re playing in a dynasty/keeper league don’t sell low. OBJ should be held and only given up for a king’s ransom.

Trade talk: Giants Beckham For Rams Donald & 1st Round Pick?

Every offseason in the NFL, there is always a huge change of dynamics within the organization. The New York Giants went to the playoffs with an 11-5 record in the 2016-2017 NFL season. After much hope and training, the Giants underwhelmed heavily with the 2nd worst record in the NFL at 3-13. Now the Giants are looking for answers and players to acquire in the 2018 NFL Draft starting on April 26th. Star Wide Receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is continuing to put his name on the list of elite Wide Receivers in the NFL by asking for more money in a new contract extension. Not only is he asking to be one of the top paid Wide Receivers in the league but reports are saying that he is wanting to be paid as one of the top overall players in the league. OBJ is threatening to hold on team activities and training camp until he gets a new contract. This would be a similar situation to where the Los Angeles Rams expressed the holdout from 4-time Pro Bowl/3-time All-Pro DT/DT Aaron Donald.

While the New York Giants do want Odell back on the team, they are entertaining the notion that they are open to trading Beckham to another team. The believed asking price for Odell Beckham Jr. are two 1st round picks in the NFL Draft (doesn’t specify if it’s one single Draft). This is a steep price despite OBJ being one of the top Wide Outs in the league but there are scenarios where the Giants can get in a close figure of what they want and where the other team can get better through this trade. One team that is highly interested in acquiring Odell are the Los Angeles Rams where they could likely trade their 23rd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft as well DT Aaron Donald. While this trade is only hypothetical, both teams have likely talked about this particular trade offer. This is a trade where both teams highly benefit as the trade rumors only get heavier.

 

Both Odell Beckham Jr. and Aaron Donald are elite players but they are headaches for their teams

Last off-season, the Rams expressed a holdout from Aaron Donald after the two sides exercised a 5th-year option on his contract where he received a $6.982 million for this season. Donald was wanting a new long-term contract where he would be paid that matches the level of play he puts on the field. Donald did not take part in any training camp or preseason team activities until just before week 1 of the 2017-2018 regular season. He could not play because he did not pass his physical in time. Despite holding out until the last minute and then some, Donald still played like one of the top players in the league by accounting for 41 total tackles, 32 solo tackles, 11 sacks, 5 forced fumbles. Donald was a Pro Bowler, an All-Pro selection and was also voted the AP NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Contract talks have not been discussed yet from either side but Donald will be an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming 2018-2019 NFL season.

Image result for aaron donald rams

Photo by: LA Rams

A similar situation is expected to come from the New York Giants with WR Odell Beckham Jr. asking for a hefty long-term contract. Odell Beckham Jr. is one of the top Receivers in the league by being selected to 3 Pro Bowls in his 4 years in the league including being a two-time All-Pro selection. The Giants can afford to pay Odell like one of the top Receivers but the Giants have too many problems on their team than to give him all of their money in the salary cap. Odell does have a history of personal disruptions with the Giants although they are not the same level as someone like Johnny Manziel where it affected his playing ability. Odell is coming off a 2017-2018 NFL season where he missed the first game with an ankle injury as well as suffered a broken fibula in week 5 and was out for the remainder of the season. It isn’t wise to not give Odell a long-term contract but it might be too big of a price to handle for now. Beckham’s current contract will have him as an unrestricted free agent after this upcoming 2018-2019 NFL season.

 

A trade deal involving Odell to the Rams and Donald & a 1st round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft to the Giants works for both teams

There could be a likely situation where Aaron Donald and Odell Beckham Jr. could likely go into free agency looking for new teams that would want to pay them for what they are worth. The Giants and the Rams have to think about the effect that will leave on their teams with more potential holdouts as well lose them for nothing. The Rams need a #1 Wide Receiver after rookie WR Cooper Kupp accounted for 62 receptions for 869 yards and 5 touchdowns. The Rams need more reliable Receivers with Kupp after Sammy Watkins only accounted for 39 receptions for 593 yards and is now with the Kansas City Chiefs. The Giants need more defensive help after they traded DE Jason Pierre-Paul to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for multiple picks.

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Photo by; NY Times

This trade would give the New York Giants the 23rd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft as well as arguably one of the best Defensive Tackles in the NFL in Aaron Donald. No defensive player has been more consistent than and as efficient as Donald, as he will continue the long list of successful Defensive Linemen for the New York Giants. The Giants need more impact in the pass rush as they were tied for 29th in the league in total sacks accounted for with 27 sacks. The Giants were 27th in the league last season in rushing yards allowed per game (120.8) and 31st in passing yards allowed per game (252). Donald will be a huge boost to the defense as they need someone who matches the intensity and performance as star Safety Landon Collins. The Giants will also get a 1st round pick which will likely be used on a Wide Receiver with the potential of Odell of being traded. The Giants were underwhelming in the deep passing game as WR Sterling Shepard was the only legitimate deep threat Wide Out as he accounted for 731 yards for 59 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Giants might take a look at Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk and Maryland WR D.J. Moore for their team as both prospects have been increasing their stock.

While the Rams would get a legitimate #1 Wide Receiver in Odell Beckham Jr. who is expected to repeat his 1,300+ receiving yards and 10+ touchdown performance in each of his first 3 years in the league before he broke his fibula. Last season, the Rams were 10th in the NFL in passing yards per game (239.4) where no veteran Wide Receiver played at a top level as Julio Jones or Antonio Brown or even Odell did before his injury. Having Odell Beckham Jr. in their more experienced passing game under QB Jared Goff, where he increased his level of play from his underwhelming rookie season in the 2016-2017 season to a high-power in the 2017-2018 NFL season. Having an offense where a great Quarterback Jared Goff is passing the ball to a top-3 Receiver in the NFL in Odell Beckham Jr. as well as 2-time Pro Bowler and 2017 NFL Offensive Player of the year RB Todd Gurley will make the Rams even more impressive.

 

In the end, both teams will win the trade

Despite potentially having a Defensive Line where Aaron Donald and Ndamukong Suh share the same position, the Rams can’t turn down the likelihood of acquiring a #1 WR such as Odell. The Giants will benefit from the addition of DT Aaron Donald and the extra Draft pick. The extra 1st round pick will especially help the Giants considering that they only have 6 picks in the 2018 NFL Draft so far. Odell Beckham Jr. has said he would like to continue his career with the Giants, there are reports that he prefers to play for the Los Angeles Rams now.

The Rams and the Giants will be risking a lot to make this trade deal but with the way that both of these players are performing at a high-level is a great opportunity for this trade to happen. Both the Giants and the Rams will likely give the money and contracts that Aaron Donald and Odell Beckham Jr. wants respectively. Both of these players will likely get a new contract with the teams that they are traded to.

 

Top 5 NFL Play-off Games #3; Hasselbeck’s Words Come Back To Haunt

Image result for matt hasselbeck seahawks

Photo by; The Seahawks Asylum

In football it is better to talk smack after the game is done. The football gods can easily switch sides from being on your side to being on your opponents side. Unfortunately for Seahawk’s long time quarterback Matt Hasselbeck that would happen to him.

The Seahawks (10-6) traveled to Lambeau to take on the Packers (10-6) in the 2003 NFC wild card game. Seattle was able to put up a field goal to give the Seahawks a 3-0 lead in the 1st quarter. In the 2nd quarter Green Bay got the ball at midfield, they would then comeback to tie them game on a 31 yard field goal by Ryan Longwell which was set up by a 29 yard reception from Brett Favre to fullback William Henderson. Seattle would come back and retaliate with a field goal of its own to put them back up 6-3. Green Bay would then start its next drive on a big play when Brett Favre completed a 44 yard pass to wide receiver Javon Walker, 2 plays later Favre put Green Bay on top with a 23 yard touchdown pass to tight end Bubba Franks to make it 10-6. Next possession Green Bay got the ball, they ended up getting a 27 yard field goal by Longwell to give them a 13-6 lead heading into halftime.

Seattle would take the second half kickoff to go 74 yards in 10 plays topped of by a Shaun Alexander 1 yard touchdown rush, Seattle’s defense forced a 3 and out to get the ball back which would then lead to another Alexander 1 yard touchdown run to put Seattle up 20-13. Green Bay on the next possession would take over seven minutes of clock by going 60 yards in 11 plays which ended up with an Ahman Green 1 yard touchdown run that would tie the game at 20.

Image result for we want the ball and we're gonna score

Green Bays defense would hold Seattle to a 3 and out to get there offense the ball back. Favre would then lead Green Bays on a 12 play 49 yard that was topped of with another Green 1 yard touchdown run to give Green Bay a 27-20 lead with 2:39 left in the 4th quarter. This was do or die time for Hasselbeck and the Seahawks either they tie it and send it to overtime or they lose and go home. Matt would then go on to complete three of his next 5 passes for 59 yards that was topped of by Alexander’s third touchdown run of 1 yard. Favre would then get Longwell in field goal range for a 47 yard field goal but Longwell missed the field goal and the game went into overtime.

Seattle won the overtime coin toss, Hasselbeck would go on to say “we want the ball and were gonna score.” Both teams defenses would then stop each others offenses to 3 and outs. Seattle would then drive down to their own 45 yard line. On 3rd down Hasselbeck would audible, well it was a bad decision as Al Harris would jump the route for a 52 yard pick 6 to give Green Bay the win 33-27.

Thank you for reading, be sure to like and share on Twitter. If you enjoyed the article follow us @Petty_LBJ and @cleatgeeks for more to come.

Top 5 NFL Play-off Games #5 Kaepernick’s Historic Game

In the NFL playoffs the biggest names and no names can make a name for themself after having a big game. Anything from a backup quarterback leading a 32 point comeback to a 5 time Super Bowl champion winning the big game after being down 28-3. With that being said, there are a lot of great performances in the playoffs that people really do not get how special the performance was.

One performance that comes to mind when talking about this is Colin Kaepernick in the 2012 playoffs. Green Bay (11-5) was trying to get back to the Super Bowl for the 2nd time in 3 seasons as they flew out to San Fransisco to take on the 49ers (11-4-1). If there were a couple of big things that Green Bay’s defense needed to do in this game it would be stopping Kaepernick’s arm and stopping San Fransisco’s running back Frank Gore. Green Bay’s defense couldn’t stop Gore’s legs and Kaepernick’s arm and legs. 

Image result for colin kaepernick 2012

Aaron threw for 257 yards and 2TDs and ran for 28 yards, James Jones caught 4 passes for 87 yards and a TD, Greg Jennings added 6 receptions for 54 yards and a TD. Colin threw for 263 yards and 2TDs and ran for 181 yards and 2TDs, Frank Gore ran for 119 yards and a TD on 23 carries and added in 2 receptions for 28 yards, Michael Crabtree snagged in 9 receptions for 119 yards and 2TDs. Lets not forget though that the 49ers in 2012 had lots of talent on the team, Kaepernick at quarterback, Frank Gore at running back, Vernon Davis and rookie Delanie Walker at tight end, Randy Moss, Michael Crabtree and Ted Ginn Jr. at wide reciever, no matter what anyone says that is a stacked offense.

Colin broke the record for most rushing yards by a quarterback in any regular season or playoff games beating Michael Vick’s record (173 in 2002). This is a very underrated performance because this was Kaepernick’s first year that he was a starter and he was barely in the league at all before he became a starter. Another reason it is underrated is because people don’t get how hard it is to do what Colin did, he is the only quarterback in a playoff game to throw for 200+yards and run for 100+yards, he came up 2 rushing yards shy from doing it to Green Bay in back to back years. Colin’s 181 yards are 15th most for rushing yards in a playoff game in NFL history. 

 

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The Fantasy Impact of Replacement Quarterbacks in 2017

The Fantasy Impact of Replacement Quarterbacks in 2017

 

In 2017 we saw a number of high-profile, elite level players go down with injury. Other players were replaced by seemingly more viable options. At the most important position in sports, this turnover of talent can have a huge impact both on the field and in the fantasy football world.

This article aims to outline the variance in production of certain team’s weapons when their signal caller was replaced, willingly or otherwise. These quarterbacks include Mitch(ell) Trubisky of the Bears, Brett Hundley of the Packers and of course Mr.Moneybags Jimmy Garoppolo of the 49ers.

 

Mitch(ell) Trubisky – QB – Chicago Bears

Image result for mitchell trubisky

Photo from Fansided.

Height: 6’3” Weight: 222lbs Age: 23 years Exp: Rookie

2017 production: 12 games started 60% completion, 2193 yards for 7TD and 7INT (248 yards and 2 TD on the ground)

 

Coming out of the 2017 draft (2nd overall) there were a number of questions surrounding the Bears future franchise QB (?). Most notably his lack of college starts, of which he only amassed 13 starts in a 3 year career at North Carolina.

After taking over from Mike Glennon in week 5 as the starter, Trubisky flashed lots of potential but was limited by the play calling of John Fox and team. In 12 starts he average just 27.5 pass attempts against, almost 5 fewer than the league average (32.46). But how did this reflect his surrounding talent? Lets take a look.

With Trubisky With Glennon
Name Position Touches/Game Yards/ Game TD/Game Touches/Game Yards/ Game TD/Game
Jordan Howard RB 18.83 78.7 0.42 18.25 75.5 1
Tarik Cohen RB 7.17 32.67 0.17 13.5 82.75 0.25
Kendall Wright WR 3.75 38.33 0 3.5 38.5 0.25
Dontrelle Inman WR 2.88 41.75 0.13 NA NA NA
Josh Bellamy WR 1.27 23.82 0.09 2.5 28.5 0
Deon Sims TE 1.2 14.1 0.1 0.75 9.75 0
Adam Shaheen TE 1.22 13.89 0.22 0.25 0.5 0.25
Zach Miller TE 2.3 31 0.67 3 35.75 0

 

In an unspectacular first season for the man out of North Carolina there is certainly room for improvement. Clearly, the under-utilisation of Tarik Cohen was evident and we can all hope that the new coaching staff changes this.

But ultimately, it is hard to give Trubisky too much flack for his first year. The Bears need more weapons. Simple as that. When your top WR is averaging just 40 yards a game you should be concerned. With another year under his belt, some competent weapons and a more adventurous coaching staff, look for Trubisky to improve in year two.

Note his preference for targeting TEs. Zach Miller is unlikely to return to his former self (if at all) and Adam Shaheen is a physical specimen, potential high upside waiver wire claim.

Finally, be weary of Jordan Howard’s production. He is without doubt an immense talent but for fantasy purposes he can be quite scary. In his 4 games with Glennon, Howard surpassed 80 total yards and/or scored a TD in 75% of games. With Trubisky he only achieved this in 41.67% of games (5/12). Although his per game production was still impressive he was prone to ‘bust’ games peppered with huge explosions.

 

Brett Hundley – QB – Green Bay Packers 

Image result for brett hundley packers

Photo by Newsweek.

Height: 6’3” Weight: 226lbs Age: 24 years Exp: 3 Seasons

2017 production: 9 games started 60.8% completion, 1836 yards for 9TD and 12INT (270 yards and 4 TDs on the ground)

After Aaron Rodgers suffered a broken collarbone at the hands of Vikings OLB in week 6, Brett Hundley valiantly stepped up to the plate. The results were, mixed. At times he flashed some ability but fell completely flat at home in Lambeau Field, failing to score a single passing TD.

Despite this, his rapport with recently extended Davante Adams built as the season progressed, providing a glimmer of hope for us fantasy nerds. Clearly, Hundley will not be starting for the Packers in 2018 but it is worth evaluating him nonetheless. Fingers crossed Aaron is healthy in every game for the rest of his career. But in the absence of another back-up, the responsibility may fall to Brett once again if injury strikes for the most talented QB of all time.

With Hundley With Rodgers
Name Position Touches/Game Yards/  Game TD/Game Touches/Game Yards/ Game TD/Game
Ty Montgomery RB 6.3 44.67 0.33 16 70.25 0.75
Jamaal Williams RB 17.33 83 0.67 3.67 11.67 0
Aaron Jones RB 6.5 32 0.33 7.4 47.2 0.4
Jordy Nelson WR 3.13 20.5 0 3.6 43 1
Davante Adams WR 5.86 69.86 0.56 4.67 57 0.83
Randall Cobb WR 4.13 40.38 0.25 6 60.4 0.4

This table mainly shows how much of a dominant force Aaron Rodgers is in this league. Exclusively looking at Jordy Nelson’s numbers with Hundley under center may trick you into thinking the once excellent WR is over the hill. Although this may be true to some extent it is not the complete picture. He has certainly lost a step at the hands of age and injury. But, his almost telepathic-like connection with AR12 keeps him relevant in this league.

As for the RB situation; Ty Montgomery was largely injured after a promising start to the year. There are rumours of him returning to WR which would be a shame after he exhibited potential at RB. Aaron Jones may be one dimensional but he is a powerful runner who will make a great number 2 in this league.

The real story is Jamaal Williams. After he surpassed Montgomery and Jones on the depth chart, Williams’ receiving ability out of the back field impressed the football world a great deal. The Packers are likely in the market for a RB in the draft (potentially late round) but if Williams maintains his role, keep an eye on him.

Lastly, Adams just got paid. He will be used and he will be effective. Cobb is a few years removed from pro-bowl level play and could save the Packers a sizeable chunk of cap space if released. Just saying.

 

Jimmy Garoppolo – QB – San Francisco 49ers 

Image result for jimmy garoppolo 49ers

Photo by worldnewsinsider.

Height:6’2” Weight: 225 Age: 26 years Experience: 4th Season

2017 Production: 5 games started, 67% completion,1542 yards for 7TDs and 5INT (7 yards and 1 TD on the ground)

 

As a 49ers ‘Faithful’ I will do my best to keep a level head when discussing The Bay Area’s newest superstar. Having said that, it is clear that the addition of Garoppolo was just the push the 49ers needed to get back to winning football. Not only did the offence flourish but the defensive seemed to step up, leading to five start wins for the 49ers to end the season.

The mind boggles at the potential this team would have had if Pierre Garcon were healthy during the inauguration of King Jimmy. It is no question he was the team’s most reliable weapon at the start of the season, leaving Jimmy G to throw to less-than-elite weapons.

Although his TD:INT ratio doesn’t pop off the stat sheet he amassed a tremendous amount of yardage.

 

With Jimmy G Without Jimmy G
Name Position Touches/Game Yards/ Game TD/Game Touches/Game Yards/ Game TD/Game
Carlos Hyde RB 18.6 70.8 0.8 18.73 84.91 0.36
Matt Brieda RB 11 55.6 0.2 6.45 33.36 0.18
Kyle Juszczyk FB 3.6 39.6 0 2.44 14.33 0.11
Marquise Goodwin WR 5.8 76.8 0.2 2.6 23.9 0.1
Trent Taylor WR 3.4 38.2 0.2 2.6 23.9 0.1
Kendrick Bourne WR 1.8 30.8 0 1.17 17.17 0
George Kittle TE 3 44.8 0.2 2 29.1 0.1
Garrett Celek TE 1.6 37.6 0.4 1.18 13.45 0.18

Much like Trubisky’s situation with the Bears, expect Jimmy G to be surrounded by new weapons in 2018. One can dream that Allen Robinson will not be tagged by the Jaguars and Lynch&Co snag him in free agency. Assuming that, Sammy Watkins may become available and in light of being tagged; Jarvis Landry may be in a position to be traded for.

Although free agency appears to be the focus of John Lynch, the 49ers have enough late-round picks in the upcoming draft so look for a WR selection on the third day.

In terms of fantasy advice, Pierre Garcon will be a valuable late round selection as he has been for the majority of his career. He inhales targets, providing a cushion of security in PPR formats. Depending on the fate of Carlos Hyde, Matt Brieda may be a player to keep an eye on. He has top end speed and is more elusive than his glass-cannon counterpart (Hyde).

Finally, George Kittle and Trent Taylor are primed for a break out season (ignore the cliche). Kittle had more production (in terms of yardage) in his final 5 games than Vance McDonald had in his entire tenure with the 9ers. Trent Taylor loves to convert third downs.

 

Thank you for reading my first article with Cleat Geeks, please do not hesitate to contact me, George Murphy by following me on Twitter and provide comments or criticism. Everything is welcome.

In the future I will be trying to produce two articles a week during the off-season covering a range of topics and I promise to keep my Jimmy G bias to a minimum.

 

 

Cardinals Tab Steve Wilks As Head Coach

With a full plate on his hands entering the 2018 off-season, General Manager Steve Keim has named Carolina Panther Defensive Coordinator Steve Wilks as the 41st head coach in the 98-year history of the Cardinals franchise and the 10th such coach since they moved to Phoenix in 1988.

Wilks, who has a fairly lengthy coaching career between college and the NFL that dates back to 1996, has served as either a DB or Secondary coach in 16 of those years. While last season was his only year as a DC in the NFL, Wilks does have three seasons of being a DC in college and was the head coach of Savannah State University in 1999. While being a DB coach since arriving in the NFL in 2006, the newest Cardinal coach has served as assistant head coach to Ron Rivera since 2015.

In 2016, the Panthers defense was 26th in points per game given up. Under Wilks in 2017, they jumped up to 11th while giving up a total of 327 points, 75 points less than the previous season.

With step one in the books, Keim and Wilks’ next order of business will be forming his offensive, defensive and special teams staff.

Cards Enter Wk-17 in Win-Win Situation

It’s not very often that you get to eliminate your division rival from the playoffs, but that is exactly what is in front of the (7-8) Arizona Cardinals as they head to Century Link Field to face the (9-6) Seahawks.

Image result for arizona cardinals vs seahawks 2017

Even with a victory over the Cardinals, Seattle still would need help to reach the playoffs. Not only do the Seahawks need to win, they also need the Carolina Panthers to handle their business against Atlanta. Both games will be played at 2:25 p.m. locally. That could all be a moot point if the Cardinals can walk out of Seattle victorious for the fourth time in five tries in the Bruce Arians era. A win would cement Arians as the winningest coach, regular  and post-season combined, in the near 100-year-old franchises history. Both Arians and most recent head coach, Ken Whisenhunt, have 49 career wins, even though it took B.A. 17 less games to reach his win total.

Image result for bruce ariansAn Arizona win would keep Seattle out of the postseason for the first time in six seasons since Russell Wilson took over as the Seahawks starting quarterback in 2012, his rookie year. No QB has ever made the postseason in his first six seasons. Wilson has more playoff victories (8) than seven NFL franchises, including the Cardinals (7). And if the Cardinals aren’t able to play the role of spoiler against Russell Wilson and the Seahawks, that means they would have bettered their draft spot once April rolls around (could be the difference in having to trade up to select a potential QB-of-the-future or not), hence the win-win. Currently sitting with the thirteenth pick entering the last week of the 2017 season, the Cardinals will more than likely be drafting between 11-15 in the upcoming 2018 NFL Draft.

The only loss the Cardinals have suffered in the Pacific Northwest under Arians’ watch was the only game that Drew Stanton started. Stanton and the Cardinals will look for much better results than that 2014 19-3 loss when Stanton went 14 of 26 for 149 yards, to go along with 0 TD’s and 1 INT. With last weeks shutout win against the Giants, Stanton’s career record as the Cardinals starter is now 7-4. While it’s not always pretty, Drew, who is an unrestricted free agent after the game, has proven to be one of the better backup QB’s in the league. If this is Stanton’s last game as a member of the Cardinals, it would be fitting if it were a victory to keep the Seahawks out of the postseason, a team that he is 0-2 against in his career (both starts have come as a Cardinal).

As for the game itself, the two names everyone will be watching for is Chandler Jones and Larry Fitzgerald.

Chandler had his third sackless game of the season last week, but still sits only 1.5 sack behind the Cardinals single-season record of 16.5 by Simeon Rice in 1999. The good news is that Chandler hasn’t had multiple games in a row this season without a sack. Jones had one sack in the game against Seattle earlier this year.

Fitzgerald enters the last week of the season two catches shy of the NFL leader, Jarvis Landry. Larry, who has 101 on the season, will finish the year with his third consecutive 100 catch season. Before this stretch, Fitz never had two seasons in a row with 100 receptions. If Larry can outright pass Jarvis for the top spot this week, he’ll be the first player to be the sole leader in receptions in back-to-back seasons since Sterling Sharp in 1992 and 1993.

 

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