Tag Archives: NFL

HDH: June 25th, Donovan McNabb


one thing a lot of people don’t realize is that McNabb was actually a very good football player. Over his 13 year career he built a very strong resume, one that has even stirred up some Hall of Fame talk. 59% completion, 85.6 passer rating (NOT QBR), over 37K passing yards, over 3,400 rushing yards, and 6 trips to Hawaii. However, D-Mac will always be known for not being able to get it done on the biggest stage, and that along with the absence of the big shiny thing on his finger will very likely keep him out of Canton. That might sit sour in Donovan’s stomach for the rest of his life, but the way he played the game and had fun on the field has to bring a smile to his face. One of my favorite tunnel entrances of all time was performed by number 5 himself…

Oh, Jerry Jones wants to make us all walk through a bunch of fans and get spooked? How bout I slay the air guitar and scare the shit out of some mother and her child watching me through the glass…

He was an out of shape scrambling quarterback who could unleash 70 yard bombs off his back foot… He rarely buckled his chinstrap… He didn’t know that you could tie an NFL game… He was a Campbell’s chunky soup athlete… And he had a killer Andy Reid impression… How about the time he ran into the Giants bench and decided to pick up their QB phone and act like he was calling someone, legendary stuff. Watch this clip below of D-Mac making unreal play after unreal play, all while goofing off whenever he had the opportunity.

Truly one of the best scrambling QBs ever to do it, not to mention he was doing it before it was cool. At the end of the day McNabb had endless amounts of fun on and off the field, that’s just the type of guy he was and still is, but he was also a warrior who left his heart on the field. I will never forget this one..

So take on your Wednesday like Donovan McNabb took on every game, have a blast, but bust your ass.

– Throc Morton


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Falcons Hard Knocks Preview


So it looks like I was off when I said most teams would deny HBO’s offer to film as long as they were able to… well fortunately I was wrong with that prediction because the Falcons should be an awesome Hard Knocks team. I’m still a little butthurt we wont get to see Jay Cutler and Jared Allen just be really cool people, but the Falcons have the ammo to make for a top notch season. Why is that you ask? Let’s get into it..

Julio Jones. He was on pace for a monster season last year before he got injured with a foot injury. It will be awesome to see how he bounces back and how hard he works to get back to the top tier level. I think we could be looking at what AJ Green was to Knocks last season, but with a little more swagger. What intrigues me more is his parter in crime, Roddy White. Not so long ago Roddy was considered a top 5 reciever in the league, hands down. Unfortunately for Roddy injuries have also slowed him down, but one thing has remained constant, the dude can run his mouth. He is known for being a physical reciever who has no problem getting in your face after the play. I can’t wait to see him get into a scuffle with some rookie DB trying to make it in the league. Needless to say, the once unstoppable WR tandem has a whole lot to prove this year, and it all starts in camp.


Matty Ice. You just know HBO is going to do a great job making us all love Matt Ryan a little more than we already do. I have a feeling the whole team looks up to him as a god even though they havent won a big one in a while. We all know hes a good guy who has proved he can will ball games, but I wanna know more about his personal life, looking forward to seeing him playing cornhole in his backyard or something cliche. (PS: his wife’s name is sarah marshall, you know HBO is gonna get a crack in there at some point).

Luckily for the viewers, Roddy White isnt the only one on the roster known for being outspoken… Asante Samuel and Osi Umenyiora both do their fair share of sub-tweeting off the field, and shoving on it. Asante has never gone a day in his life without asking for a new contract or bashing his current team for not wanting him enough, so that will be interesting to watch, and Osi sure as hell isnt camera shy, these two will not disappoint.


Steven Jackson and Devin Hester. In the past decade, it’s hard to find two more respected men when it comes to game planning for them. Unfortunately for us they are both on their way out, but I’m sure HBO will get some cool segments dedicated to how good they once where and how they still show signs of greatness. Who knows, maybe we will see the return of one of them first hand.

A couple other individuals who will make for solid TV… Jake Matthews (6th overall pick), Jacquizz Rodgers (shifty lil guy), Arthur Blank (the owner is heavily involved with the organization), and the TE crew (who’s gonna fill in for big Tony?). This time last year the Falcons were a very popular candidate for NFC champ, boy did they take a fall, we get the oppurtunity to see a team try to bounce back to the top. Not exactly sure what we are in store for besides the names I mentioned, but at the end of the day we will see some good football, and HBO will do an excellent job. I’m excited to see the Dirty Birds open up camp, you should be too. Peep the Dirty Bird below…


-Throc Morton

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Hard Knocks is Knocking


Die-hard NFL fans struggle this time of year, because football is dangerously close but yet still so very far away. Most teams are wrapping up OTA’s within the next several days, which means training camp is lurking in the distance. I’m sure there are millions of “fans” out there who don’t follow OTAs, training camp, or let alone any of the offseason. For the fans who love the offseason like myself, its time to start getting very excited, because with training camp comes… HARD KNOCKS. One of HBO’s greatest series they have ever created, yes I said it. The NFL is such an entertaining and special league, and Hard Knocks gives us a first-hand look at what these men go through on a daily basis. Training camp aint easy, and HBO does a superb job of showing how much blood, sweat, and tears go into making an NFL roster. Hard Knocks is the perfect mix of football, entertainment, emotion, and passion.

In my opinion, last season was tremendous. So many good story lines, some unreal characters on the Bengals roster, and pro-bowl talent every which way. It was all you can ask for and then some. Marvin Lewis & co. did what they needed to do for us to enjoy the show, but that was last year, time to move on to this year. Just incase people have forgotten or never even knew in the first place, the NFL has applied some rules to decide who HBO is allowed to make participate in Hard Knocks if no teams volunteer. If a team has a new headcoach, made the playoffs within the last two years, or has been on Hard Knocks before, they are safe. 8 teams do not fall under any of those categories, therefore if no NFL team accepts HBO’s offer, anyone of the 8 can be forced to partake. The Jags, Raiders, Steelers, Bills, Cardinals, Rams, Bears, and Giants make up the (not so) elite 8… Now, I know alot of you would want nothing more to see your favorite team on Hard Knocks, but you have to understand how the coaches, front office, and even veterans can see it as nothing but a distraction, therefore you have to respect teams turning down the offer. James Harrison was a total asshole to the cameras for most of training camp, and he explained why when he basically said ‘HBO doesnt deserve to see how hard we work, they havent done shit to get here’. Harrison isn’t the only player in the league who feels this way, and thats why Hard Knocks has become unappealing to some of the more old-school players. Regardless, HBO will find a team one way or another, and its going to be great entertainment.

Everyone was probably bummed to hear the news that the Browns turned down HBO’s offer, but I shouldn’t even have to tell you why that was a very very very smart move by that organization. So I’m going to assume that most NFL teams that have the offer to decline Hard Knocks will do so, and we will be watching one of the 8 teams listed above during training camp. Time to talk about the potential candidates.

Jacksonville Jaguars: I want to kick my own ass for what I’m about to say here, but the Jags interest me in what they could bring to the Knocks table. Gus Bradley is an energetic coach who knows how to win football games, just hasn’t done much of that yet in j-ville. Blake Bortles was picked 3rd overall to be the future of the franchise, and it is always interesting to see how big name rookies handle early pressure on and off the field. Justin Blackmon showed signs of brilliance last year, but he also has shown signs of mental retardation off the field, he’s no diva, but he is an interesting story. Posluszny is a beast, he doesn’t have too much around him, but he is a tackling machine and I think he would be the blue-collar hard worker the show needs. They have set out to go extreme home makeover on the franchise the past few years and this year is supposed to be the big change, could be cool to watch.


Oakland Raiders: Like the jags, another rookie QB who is supposed to eventually take over as the face of the franchise. On top of that we have tons of popular new faces coming over through free agency that know how to play some serious ball; Justin Tuck, Matt Schaub, James Jones, Lamarr Woodley, and Maurice-Jones Drew. So we have a serious QB battle to watch which is always entertaining. Some more than respected defensive vets in Charles Woodson, Woodley, and Tuck. Might be pretty cool to watch them mentor the 5th pick in the draft Khalil Mack. Besides Run DMC the raiders don’t have many “superstars”, which he still probably isn’t considered, but overall they have a talented roster and a young coach.

Pittsburgh Steelers: I personally think Mike Tomlin is one of the coolest coaches out there, I don’t think he would bring the Rex Ryan approach to the show but his personality would make people excited to watch each week. The Steelers have a VERY strong roster when it comes to Hard Knocks. They have two of the most recognizable names in the NFL (Roethlisberger and Polamalu). Two very productive receivers and one who you might know from shooting himself in pretty much the dick (Antonio Brown, Lance Moore, Plaxico). A couple young guys who have the potential to be studs as well (Le’Veon Bell, LaGarrette Blount, Jarvis Jones). I think the Roster along with the coaching staff and history of the franchise would make for very solid television. Also I can’t wait to see how fast Dri Archer’s actually is.


Buffalo Bills: I’ll tell you one thing that is a fact, there is no shortage of hype surrounding the bills this year. Brandon Spikes has gone as far as saying they are gonna shock the world. Newly ‘polished’ EJ Manuel is now surrounded with Sammy Watkins, CJ Spiller, Mike Williams, Fred Jackson, Robert Woods and Scott Chandler; training camp or not that is going to be a fun offense to watch. I think if the Bills got the show it would be a lot more on football and we would see a lot less non-football entertainment, but the show is supposed to be about the grind of training camp, and I think the Bills would make NFL fans very pleased if they get the show.

Arizona Cardinals: we would get the opportunity to witness one the the classiest men the league has ever seen go to work everyday, Larry Fitz. Richard Sherman can’t even talk shit to Larry because of the kind of guy he is. I truly believe Larry Fitz would be a good enough reason to enjoy the Cardinals on the show. Luckily for us, Arizona has an all time great roster when it comes to personalities. Darnell Dockett has destroyed twitter over the past few years, throw him in the locker room with Hard Knock Hall of Famer Antonio Cromartie and we are gonna have some serious laughs. In my eyes patrick peterson has the most potential in the league, I think he might be the best all around player in the game, and it would be sick to see him and the honey badger doing LSU thangs all over the place. Between the secondary, Larry Fitz, a vet QB (palmer), and Dockett, the Cards have to be high on your Hard Knock wish list.


St. Louis Rams: Please god no. I have absolutely nothing wrong with gay people, I fully support Michael Sam and I hope his journey ends well when all said and done, but we all know what will happen if the rams get the show. Its a shame because the defense has so many young studs and it would be cool to see how relentless those guys are day in and day out, but the Rams just can’t get the show. Regardless if they end up cutting Sam, it will be virtually impossible for HBO not to take advantage of the opportunity they have. Besides that, I think they boast a below average Hard Knock roster. I’d like to witness Bradford try to get things going first hand, but I’m gonna be the first one throwing chairs if the Rams get it.

Chicago Bears: Out of the eight teams, the Bears NEED to get the show, plain and simple. Jay Cutler is one of the coolest guys in the game, thats a fact, you are not allowed to argue with facts. Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffrey are now the undisputed best WR duo until proven otherwise, and B-Marsh has a very cool story to go along with him (look it up). Matt Forte is silently one of the best players in the league. Oh did I forget one of the most ridiculous guys in the world let alone the NFL? JARED ALLEN is a die hard hunting redneck who has a mullet most of the year. Charles Peanut Tillman is a fan favorite and watching him and Tim Jennings mentor first round pick Kyle Fuller would be very cool. They just missed the playoffs last year so we would be watching a team that knows how to things the right way (for the most part). I want the Bears, you should too.


New York Giants: For some reason I feel like Eli would be incredible on this show, so for that reason I can’t say I would rather watch the Michael Sam saga than the Giants, but it is pretty damn close. I know I’m biased when I say this (#phillystandup), but Tom Coughlin just makes me want to fall asleep. They do have a pretty good roster as far as Hard Knocks goes, but personally I wouldn’t want to see the g-men get the show. Have they won superbowls in recent years, sure, do they make for good television, I don’t want to find out. If they do get it, hopefully Victor Cruz and JPP can lead the way to spice things up, not to mention a very solid offseason minus Will Hill officially becoming a drug addict.

Potential Hard Knock Power Rankings: (out of the 8 that are eligible to get chosen)

1. Bears     2. Cardinals     3. Steelers     4. Bills     6. Jags     7. Giants     8. Rams

-Throc Morton

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Apologies Pillow Talkers, Connor has spent the last couple days moving back into his college house down in Florida, and I have been running around getting ready to move back to mine on friday. We should be getting back to our daily posts now.

Today i’m gonna break down some of the teams that have looked sharp this preseason. I’m only talking first team units here, sorry but when Rex Grossman goes in the game, i stop paying attention.

1. Chicago Bears: 


The boys! Cutler and Marshall’s love affair has reached new heights. Last year Cutler targeted Marshall an absurd 192 times. New coach, new offense, but the absurdity has continued into this preseason. Cutler keeps throwing “the beast” the rock, and it’s working out. New addition Martellus Bennet has looked good early as well. Matt Forte looks like he’s back to 2010 form, and Michael Bush has looked good as the #2. With Tressman at the helm, this offense is poised for a big year. The defense has looked crisp early on led by Peppers. He’s getting up there in years but you wouldn’t notice it. Peanut Tillman is the man, but other than those guys this defense isn’t full of studs, but they always end up at the top of the league regardless.

2. Kansas City Chiefs


Smith and Andy Ried…the saviors? It’s funny how a coach who was just ran out of town, and a QB who has been criticized his whole career come into town and all of the sudden they’re  a playoff threat. But it’s the truth…Andy Ried is a great coach he just needed a change of scenery, and Smith is a quality QB who can ball out. Those 2 guys will help, but Jamaal Charles is still the guy on offense, he looked great before his injury, and if he stays healthy they will be solid on offense. I know the 49ers beat them up pretty good, but that was without Charles. Charles, Smith and Dwyane Bowe, with the hybrid spark plug that is Dexter McCluster is solid, but they do need 1 more receiver to step up…perhaps recently traded for Aj Jenkins?…ha. Defensively this team might be the most underrated in the league, and they’ve looked legit this preseason. Their linebackers can rival San Fran’s…Tamba Hali, Derrick Johnson and Akeem Jordan are legit. At corner they’re riding with Brandon Flowers, Dunta Robinson and Sean Smith – 3 legit starters. Not sure which one of them will be the nickel and cover the slot. Last but not least, they have one of the best young safeties in the league, Eric Berry. If Andy Ried can work his magic with that offense, this team has a chance to be dangerous in a very weak AFC.

3. New England Patrios


No Welker, no Hernandez, no Lloyd, no Gronk, and yet the Patriots have looked as sharp as ever. Before the preseason, I was not one of those guys who believed that Brady could run out there with any random group of receivers and do work. But so far this preseason, he has proved me wrong. Amendola, Dobson, Kembrell Thompkins? So far it doesn’t matter who “The greatest living American” has thrown to, all that matter is he’s completing passes. It looks like the Pats will be going to Ridley in a power run game. They have been an underrated rushing team the past couple of years, and will crank it up on the ground even more this year. They straight up bullied the eagles on the ground in their 1st preseason game. The defense has looked pretty average this preseason. It doesn’t need to be great though, it just has to be good enough. In a year with the Steelers down, the Broncos banged up, and the Ravens rebuilt, the new-look Pats just might be the favorite.

4. Buffalo Bills


I’m sure i wasn’t the only one who said, “What in the hell?” when the Bills drafter EJ Manuel. I was actually with a couple Bills fans during the draft, and they were not pleased. But now the new Bills regime looks like prophets, because this kid has been for real. Now there’s no telling if it will continue when the regular season starts, but as far as preseason performances go, this kid has put 2 special ones up. He had minor knee surgery but will be back for week 1, hopefully the Bills let this kid cook when the time comes, because they have no chance with Kevin Kolb. CJ Spiller is a top 5 RB talent in the league, and now he finally has his chance. Robert Woods has impressed everyone as well. Stevie Johnson, Woods, Spiller, and Manuel at the helm running the read-option? Could be fire. The defense has looked improved as well, stifling Andrew Luck and the Colts in their first game. Now of all 4 of these teams,  I would say that the Bills have the highest chance of not translating into the regular season. Teams will cover the quick throws much tighter, and will game plan for Manuel. Manuel has shown me enough to where i believe he can still be a good playmaker though. With Manuel, the bills will put up points, but can their defense hold up…that is the question.

-Steve Butabi



Butabi here, informing you that our fantasy guru Philipp J. Ferstenblatt is back to give you some more underrated players in fantasy for the upcoming year. In this post he breaks down 3 underrated WR’s and TE’s.

Top 3 Underrated Wide Receivers

1.) Alshon Jeffrey


This player has been turning heads since his Gamecock days when his chemistry with full time USC party legend and part time quarterback Stephen Garcia was beyond explosive. He has a fiery temper, which is displayed in all of the penalties he tallies up and absolutely thrilling fights (particularly with Alfonzo Dennard), have lead to some face palming moments, but do not let that scare you because his job is definitely on the line this year. He can make a successful career for himself as long as he listens to his mentor, Brandon Marshall (scary thought, right?! Never thought mentor and Brandon Marshall could be used in the same sentence.), stays healthy and reduces the amount of penalties he obtains from just playing far too aggressively. As a fantasy owner, you always want that hot head mentality in your players, but you also want consistency, which is clearly lacking. His 3 “tuddies” were far from acceptable for the number two man on the Bears, however, if you can get your hands on him towards the second half of your 12 man draft, snag him. He’s a good guy to have once you have an established wide receiver corps. For those of you who want to see this fight, here. Okay, maybe I hyped this up a lot, but as far as NFL football brawls go, I think its pretty sweet. (0:52)

2. Brian Quick

I was the laughing stock of my league for taking him last year, but then again, I was made fun of for taking Jimmy Graham in the 6 so, child please. Brian had an atrocious year last year, but he may be able to step it up this year. There’s a lot of talent all of a sudden on the Rams aerial attack, and he is one of the reasons. With Givens, Pettis, Austin, and Quick, there is a lot of competition for field time. This offseason should’ve given the former second round draft pick time to learn the playbook since clearly last year, he had no idea what sport he was playing. I know I’m not selling him well thus far, but let me remind you of his competition. Seahawks, a team he must face twice a year, have Sherman and Browner who seem to have the speed, instincts, and coverage skills to take out anyone of these 6-foot or shorter wide receivers. This is where Quick comes in. Quick’s niche comes in play when he is utilized for the fade routes and jump balls. If Brian Quick has the hops to get over these secondary players, there is no one in the league who’ll be able to sufficiently cover him in the red zone. That is why he will be a tremendous fantasy player. I don’t care how well his out routes or his drags are, he is a red zone player and that is all the reason I need to save him a spot on my WR bench.

3. Darrius Heyward-Bey


The best overall receiver Oakland has finally departed for the Midwest and joined the Indianapolis Colts. Darrius will probably be the most productive player to line up on the other side of the hash marks from Wayne since Marvin Harrison (except for Austin Collie but his brain was always half functional due to an unbelievable amount of concussions, so his lack of presence on the field gives me the ability to count him out as a consistent AND productive tool). This star has had a history of knee problems, which is a huge red flag so beware! However, out of all the sleepers I have discussed, he will be the most productive, but is also the biggest risk at the same time so don’t say I didn’t warn you. He will challenge the AFC South secondaries along with T.Y. Hilton and Reggie Wayne. Not to mention Luck’s longtime friend and favorite target, Coby Fleener. I can see Darrius finally living up to his potential and demolishing his measly 5 TD career high season from last year.

Top 3 Underrated Tight Ends

1. Rob Housler

Perhaps one of the fastest 6’5” guy you’ll ever come across. At 250 pounds and running a 4.4, this makes him one tough dude to cover. He has been compared to Jimmy Graham and we all know how athletic he is. Larry Fitzgerald has nothing but praise for the guy. He can run, jump, block (but who cares, no fantasy points for that) and most importantly, has been significantly improving his catching skills. Honestly, with all these positive reviews on the guy, I can’t see a good reason why you wouldn’t take him…Oh, yeah, because he is completely unproven! Look, if you are looking at how Bruce Arians utilizes his tight ends (South Park ski instructor meme input), “your gonna have a bad time”. Bruce has been known to ignore the tight end in the passing game’s scheme and would rather use a wide receiver and take tight ends off the field. However, if you are one to see the glass as half full, then examine how Palmer targets his tight ends. According to http://www.4for4.com’s John Paulsen, when Carson has “talent” at the tight end position, he will throw to them on average 6 times a game, putting him in the upper half of the league for quarterbacks aiming for the tight end. To cut to the chase, size, height, and speed do not lie, but his poor hands from last season have me worried. If he can adapt to Arian’s vertical offense well, sky is the limit, which he could certainly reach. There is no doubt that he will be a key element in this new offense, but it is really up to you to gamble on Rob. Is he worthy to have a bench spot on your team? The skill set is present, but the professional experience is clearly vacant.

2. Jordan Cameron


I’ll inform you all right off the bat, injuries have been the name of the game for this guy, so he is walking on a thin line. This behemoth was a basketball player who decided to return to the sport he truly loved, and I couldn’t be happier. Well, honestly, I would be happier if he wasn’t on the Browns, but beggars/sleepers can’t be choosers. Also, I am not a fan of how he has two first names; very untrustworthy. Cameron will probably be the most targeted person on the team since Gordon has been “discovered” and will be facing some serious coverage all season long. I have a feeling the Jordon will be beyond capable of beating most defenders to the jump ball, which is a huge plus when examining his red zone usage. On a weak offense, he really is one of the few shining stars. There isn’t much I can say about this guy, but I have a gut feeling that he will be Cleveland’s hero this season.

3. Travis Kelce

WHO? Yeah, I’m psychic and knew you were going to say that. Cool, so lets go over what his deal is. Let me introduce him as nothing short of a pure athlete. This rookie was the wildcat quarterback for Cincinnati, an absolute bear in run blocking, and a beast in hauling in passes in the end zone as he caught 8 last season in college. Understandably, he is a rookie, and I despise going with rookies as sleepers, but lets zoom in and examine the trees instead of the forest. The tight ends for KC are Tony Moeaki and Verona’s very own Anthony Fasano. The problem with these two? Moeaki’s knees are essentially the same pieces use for Lego’s Bionicles at this point so you can be pretty sure they won’t hold up for an entire 16 game season. Anthony is a blocker, and catches as if he were wearing oven mitts (not saying I can do a better job, but c’mon man, its your full-time job). So, considering Alex Smith has been spoiled with Vernon Davis, I am sure he will want to break in the new glove, and that glove is named Travis Kelce. Smith loved getting rid of the pigskin to his tight ends in SF and something tells me he won’t be changing up his tendencies all too much. A pretty deep, heavy sleeping pick, but a rewarding one at that.

This is what Tony Moeki looks like underneath his pads.

From your favorite and number 1 fantasy football guru,

Philipp “Phil” J. Ferstenblatt

Fantasy questions? Email me at Baldinaf@miamioh.edu

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Boy am i glad that the NFL season is around the corner. Nothing better than weekends in the fall. Great college games on saturday, followed by NFL sundays. Throc and myself are both hitting you with 3 bold predictions each for the upcoming season. Here are mine:

1. Larry Fitzgerald Finishes Top 3 in Receiving Yards


I stil think Larry Fitz is the second most talented wide out in the league. He had his worst year as a pro last year, hauling in only 4 td’s to go with his abysmal 789 yards. It’s not that his quarterbacks were bad, it’s that his quarterbacks were pathetic…worst in the league by far. That’s saying a lot considering the Jets’ Sanchez-Tebow nightmare. So this year the Cardinals brought in Carson Palmer, a massive improvement from last year, but still no star. But luckily for Fitz, Palmer doesn’t have to be a star, he just has to be able to get Larry the rock, which he is surely good enough to do. In addition to Palmer, the Cardinals brought in Bruce Arians,  who has consistently built great passing attacks over the years. Last year he made what everyone thought was going to be a horrible Colts offense into a downfield passing machine. Arians loves to throw it deep, and attack down the field…sound at all like Larry Fitz’s game?

2. NFC East Comes Back This Year to be NFL’s Best Conference


The NFC East was horrible last year. The Eagles were a disaster, the Cowboys couldn’t put it together, the Giants were a little above average, and the Redskins were solid but never a big threat. This year it seems like everyone loves the NFC West with the 49ers, Seahawks, and improved Cardinals and Rams. Personally I am a big NFC North fan. Packers are always good, Bears will be good again, Vikings were solid last year and will be even better with Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson, and the Lions added Reggie Bush and have the talent to go from 4-12 to 12-4. But i think this year is the revival of the NFC East.

-Eagles go from a nightmare to a dream (not dream-team). Chip Kelly’s fast paced offense will be effective, especially with Vick at the helm. Chip Kelly is more than just a play-caller though, his offense overshadows his motivating and overall coaching skills. They really could have used Maclin, but still will be fine and will put up points. They have a solid front 7, and with Nnamdi gone their defense will improve, that guy can’t cover his own damn bed.

Cowboys will be improved as well. They paid Romo big money, and he will back it up. When Dez Bryant stays out of trouble he is scary good, and has shown that in the preseason. If Demarco Murray can stay healthy they will be able to pound the rock as well as dish to weapons like Dez, Miles Austin and Witten. The defense has talent and can rush the passer.

Giants finally have everyone on their offense healthy going into the season. Nicks and Cruz are both legit, and camp reports say that Rueben Randle has been unreal this august. I like David Wilson and Andre Brown to replace Bradshaw. Wilson has big play ability, Brown is great on the goal line. JPP is out right now but i think he will be fine once the season starts. Osi is gone which doesn’t hurt, he was a liability in the run game. Giants don’t miss playoffs twice in a row.

Redskins were a solid team last year. RGIII has obviously re-energized the franchise. Alfred Morris is a good consistent runner, and Pierre Garcon and company are speedy weapons. It’s going to be interesting to see what Kyle Shanahan does in year 2 for RGIII coming off his injury. The defense is pretty solid, and will get Orakpo and Ryan Kerrigan back. Defense will be improved a lot, but i don’t think the offense enjoys the same success as last year. I think the Skins will be solid, but could actually finish last in the division somewhere in the 6-10 to 8-8 range.

3. Jets Will finish .500


Hey…it’s a bold prediction. Let the world know that yes, i am indeed a jets fan so i am a bit subjective here. But by no means am i saying the Jets will be good or make a playoff push or anything like that. I just don’t see how people are calling them one of the worst teams in football. Their roster top to bottom is not that bad. Plus the AFC East is no juggernaut this year. They can at the least go .500 within that division. Their defense was top 10 last year without Revis, and all they did was add Dee Milliner, Sheldon Richardson, Antwan Barnes and a couple other guys. Muhammad Wilkerson is a stud, Coples has started to come on, David Harris is a stud…their front 7 is legit. Cromartie and Dee Milliner as corners with Kyle Wilson as the nickel…i’d take that any day. Their defense can and will be top 10 again. Now their offense…It was horrible, it was pathetic, it was hard to watch last year. I was at the Thanksgiving Night game in which the “Buttfumble” occurred. The Jets organization should pay back all the people who bought tickets to that game. Anyway, Tebow is out of town, and Sanchez finally has to try hard now that they drafted Geno. It’s been a good competition so far, and Geno has actually seemed to adapt a little better and quicker than people thought. Chris Ivory is no stud, but he is absolutely an upgrade from Shonn Greene. Stephen Hill looks improved from last year, and the signing of Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow should help even though they are both nearing the end of their careers. Willie Colon was a good sign at left guard as well. Jeremy Kerley is a great little slot receiver, and If Santonio Holmes comes back, this offense can be much improved from last year. Holmes, Kerley, Stephen Hill, Edwards, Winslow, and Ivory…not a fearsome group by any means, but much improved from last year.

Now let’s go eat a goddamn snack.

– Steve Butabi




The tight end position is traditionally a tricky one to rank, and this year is no different. There are so many question marks out there. When will Gronk be back/how will he be when he returns? Gates is 33 years old, and had only 49 catches last year, is he finished? Can the godfather of TE’s Tony Gonzalez still get it done at 38? Can Owen Daniels stay healthy? Vernon Davis’s production went down when Kaepernick took over, will that continue? Outside of Jimmy Graham I can’t really name any sure fire, consistent studs.

1. Jimmy Graham: He came back down to earth a little bit last year, but still finished with close to 1,000 yards and 9 td’s. With the aerial attack that they have down there in New Orleans, Jimmy will have plenty of opportunities to get back to his incredible numbers from 2011. The NFC south doesn’t exactly boast inordinate defenses either. I think Graham improves on his number from last year, and gets back to his 2011 form.

2. Tony Gonzalez: There are a lot of weapons in ATL, but that didn’t stop TG from reeling in 93 balls last year.The best tight end of all time is 38 this year, but is still productive. He was close to the 1,000 yard mark last year, and had 8 td’s.  In an offense that boasts weapons all over the field in Julio Jones, Roddy White, and now Steven Jackson, people often forget about that old guy in the middle of the field.


3. Rob Gronkowski: He’s at 3 almost by default.  So many question marks surrounding this guy with his countless injuries and surgeries. But when healthy he’s the best in the league. If he can get back on the field, he could come back in a huge way. Think about it…who else on god’s gracious earth is Tom Terrific going to pass to? Something tells me that Brady will be looking Gronk’s way often. I think even if Gronk misses a couple games early on, he could still finish #1 in TE points. It’s just a matter of whether you want to take that risk.

4. Jason Witten: He’s still a viable target. Witten was the only tight end in the league to get to the 1,000 yard mark last year. He had an unreal 110 catches. But only 3 td’s? For whatever reason Romo just does not look Witten’s way in the red zone. I think that changes this year. It will be very hard to replicate 110 catches and over 1,000 yards, but i think Witten at least doubles his touchdown count from last year.

5. Kyle Rudolph: The golden domer alum nabbed 9 tuddy’s last year. But he was extremely inconsistent with only 53 catches and not even 500 yards receiving. In Rudolph and Ponder’s 3rd year together, I see improvement. The game plan will continue to be feed the beast that is Adrian Peterson, but Rudolph can work off play-action and will rarely get double teamed now that Greg Jennings is in town. He also sees soft defenses in the Packers and Lions twice a year. Look for the Vikings O to be improved, and Rudolph’s catches and yards to go up.


6. Greg Olsen: Olsen has been Scam Newton’s number 2 receiver thus far. The entire panthers offense got off to a horrid start last year, but actually started to make big under the radar improvements as the year went on. I think Cam was humbled by the lack of wins last year, and will come back this year ready to shine. Olsen is a huge target with great red zone leaping ability. I like Olsen to get back to consistent fantasy relevance in 2013.

7. Owen Daniels: Daniels is another guy who can’t stay out of the training room. He has dealt with hammy and back issues his whole career. But like Gronk, when healthy, this guy is good.  The Texans have evolved into more of a run first attack, but that doesn’t mean that there won’t be plenty of balls for Daniels to catch. With Andre Johnson and now DeAndre Hopkins on the outside, Daniels will be able to own the middle of the field, and Schaub will hit him there.

8. Vernon Davis: The guy is a physical specimen. If Alex Smith was still the quarterback in San Fran, Vernon Davis would be number 2 in my rankings. But as we saw last year, this Kaepernick read-option offense is so perimeter oriented, it is hard for Davis to get looks in the middle of the field. The offense is all about winning the edge, and utilizes a lot of sideline comeback routes. There have been camp reports that the Niners have tried him a little at WR to get him more involved. But Delanie Walker is gone, and Crabtree is hurt, so maybe Kaepernick will prove me wrong and use his TE more this year, but i just can’t rank him too hight after he averaged less than 2 catches in the 7 games that Kaepernick started last year.


9. Antonio Gates: Finally Gates was relatively healthy last year, and had a somewhat decent year. He was able to find pay dirt 7 times which was solid, but his yardage did not impress. But Rivers will continue to look to the big fellow in the middle of the field. Yes, Gates is 33 now. But he’s never been a speedy tight end anyway, he uses his size and crisp route running to get open, and i think he’ll continue to do that for a couple more years. Plus Rivers doesn’t exactly have supreme outside targets, so look for Gates to go up in yards.

10. Brandon Meyers: Meyers had a very good year in the woeful raiders offense. This year he comes East to the G-men. I feel a pretty good offensive year from the giants now that Nicks is healthy and Cruz is signed. Eli traditionally has made average tight ends look good, so what can he do with Meyers?

11. Jared Cook: Cook is a lot like Vernon Davis in terms of his physical ability. But he has never really broken out the way people thought he might. Well it’s tough to do that in Tennessee’s awful passing game. Now he is in St. Louis with Sam Bradford and rookie Tavon Austin. Chris Givens is a solid target as well. St Louis has built a pretty solid passing attack, and hopefully Cook will enjoy more targets than he is used to.

12. Martellus Bennett: Jay Cutler really hasn’t had anyone to throw to other than Brandon Marshall. The addition of Martellus Bennett could help this Bears offense a lot. Bennett had 5 td’s with the giants last year, but i think he could improve on that with the Bears. Cutler needs a second option, and Bennett has the talent to become that.

13. Jermichael Finley: The guy with a huge mouth had a small amount of td’s last year, 2 to be exact. But now Jennings is gone, and Jordy Nelson is out for training camp after having knee surgery. Cobb is still there and James Jones is solid, but neither guy is a prime red zone target. I think Finley has a chance to get back to his 2011 numbers when he grabbed 8 td’s from within 12 yards. All of this can only happen if Rodgers stays upright, which will be difficult with the offensive line woes.

14. Ed Dickson: Dickson has never really shown me that much, but i put him at 14 because, well, somebody has to catch passes in Baltimore. Boldin is gone and Pitta is out for the year. Both those guys did all their work in the middle of the field. Torrey Smith is legit, but he does all his work on the perimeter. The opportunity for Dickson to step up and be the guy is there.


15: Brandon Pettigrew: He’s a receiver on the Lions not named Calvin Johnson i know. But Pettigrew is a pretty talented young tight end. Stafford drops back so many times a game that there will be opportunities a plenty for Pettigrew to rack up stats. Plus we all know how much attention Megatron gets.


16: Coby Fleener

17: Tyler Eifert

18: Fred Davis

19: Dustin Keller

20: Jermaine Gresham

21: Dwyane Allen

22: Jordan Cameron

23: Delanie Walker

24: Heath Miller

25: Rob Housler

– Steve Butabi

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Fantasy Guru: Underrated Players

Butabi here introducing one of our partners in crime, Philipp J. Ferstenblatt, our fantasy guru. Philpp is doing an underrated fantasy players piece for us. Today he breaks down 3 underrated QB’s and RB’s.


Top 3 Underrated Fantasy Players At Every Position


1. Andy Dalton

Yes, the Red Rider himself. I had him on every fantasy team since he has enteredthe league, and to be honest, I’ll probably take him again for the third year in a row.He is always available late, and never gets the recognition he stoutly deserves. Let’s examine his numbers. Last year, he had 31 TDs (4 of which were from running) andhad over a 62% completion rating. Not bad when you have to face every AFC Northteam twice a year (the division with probably has the best secondary in the entireAFC). Only the very experienced Big Ben (Miami University alumni!) had a better completion rating than Dalton within that division, which speaks pretty loudly about Dalton’s accuracy. And there is only upside to this kid. Why? Tyler Eifert (who is a hell of a golfer by the way) has joined the Bengals, which inspired a possible two tight end system. Could this be the next New England Patriots? Only time will tell, but probably not. I can’t picture Marvin Lewis in a Belichick hoodie.

2. Alex Smith

I may get a lot of heat for this, but honestly, I’m in sales so I hear more insults from strangers over the phone than you could even imagine so I’ll go ahead and completely disregard anything negative you have to say about this one. The former Utah superstar quarterback has a lot to offer. There is definitely a controversy still whether or not Jim should’ve continued to name Alex the starting QB over Colin, but whatever, they went to the ‘ship so I guess Coach Harbaugh knows what he’s doing. Regardless, Alex was brought to KC for a reason, and truthfully, I still think he’s got a lot of fire. First off, he has a chip on his shoulder, and I know he wants to prove the 49’ers wrong for getting rid of him. He deserved that starting job, but unfortunately in the world of sports, sometimes things don’t always work the way you want them to. Believe it or not, Smith has a lot of decent targets to work with, including Bowe, Baldwin, and Moeki (who will soon be replaced by a huge rookie who will explode in the near future named Travis Kelce, but I’ll talk about him later in another article). Alex has plenty to offer and I believe KC will find success with him.

3. Ryan Tannehill

AKA, the guy with a smoke show for a wife. I am not a huge fan of the guy personally, but there are only so many “sleepers” at the QB position you can select. Ryan has been given plenty of weapons to utilize for next year (most notably, Mike Wallace), so he better prove to the Dolphin’s organization that he wasn’t the worst first round selected quarterback drafted to a Florida team in recent memory. LOL JK that award definitely goes to Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars.


1. Lesean McCoy

Okay, I get it. He is still a first round draft pick in most standard fantasy leagues of 12 or greater but I am still going to justify this because he is going to have the best season in his career this year and will perform like a top tier player. Several reasons for this. First, Chip Kelly is a new coach in the NFL, and there is no safer way to start off your career than the old fashioned ground-and-pound. I can easily see Shady McCoy adapting easily to Chip’s Oregon uncertain and unpredictable offense. Options, counters and screen passes galore! Secondly, the NFC East teams all have ENORMOUS holes within their defense. Want to hear them? Okay well the Giants have JPP who is a tremendous pass rusher but an embarrassingly bad run stopper (which is surprising considering how much praise he gets.) Don’t believe me? Watch every game when the Redskins play the Giants and run it at his direction as he bites for the fake handoffs and him falling for the counter like a Boonton Bomber (s/o to the Herd). Cowboy’s interior will be a mess when they don’t have Jay Ratliff due to his hamstring injury so they better stack the box and hope for the best. Lastly, Redskins have an intimidating defense… if you were looking at the right side. They lost Kerrigan due to surgery for 4-5 months and the 3-year man Jarvis Jenkins is an easy fix with a double team. That leaves the old man London Fletcher to hobble down the field to catchy the young, elusive running back. Yeah, that’s not happening. Last reason why McCoy will light the league on fire this year is because of his unbelievable, natural, play-making ability. He is a no brainer in my opinion and I wouldn’t let him slip if I were you. EDIT: I wrote this the night before Jenkins was suspended, which just proves my point even further. The guy has to take PEDs to keep his side of the defense on par, but failed miserably because he got caught.

2. Chris Ivory

This kid shined every time the ball was in his hands. I am so happy now that he is not on a pass heavy team. The Jets organization certainly has its question marks, but one safe way to get yards is to run it up the gut (especially with Mangold paving and mauling the way). This will take the pressure off Sanchez (Or Geno?) and lead to perhaps better decisions and maybe lead to a successful play action giving the whole team confidence. Don’t get me wrong, I respect what Shonn Greene did, but I don’t think he is as nearly talented as Ivory. I say this because Chris is a big back at 6 foot and over 220 lbs but is light on his feet and lowers his shoulders for the linebackers. His timing when it comes to putting on the right move for a defender is impeccable, to say the least. I hope Chris pays off for New York and I am sure he will give you a run for your money.

3. Rashard Mendenhall

If Carson Palmer doesn’t work out, the former Steeler will be able to relieve some stress. This division has an abundance of ridiculously gifted linebackers and secondary players, but there is some opportunity for a well-designed running game to thrive. Especially with superstar tackle Eric Winston’s recent signing and rookie guard Jonathan Cooper (who will sign), that right side looks pretty strong all of a sudden. Bruce Arians should have a field day with unexpected draws and right side pitches to Rashard, Beanie Wells, Andre Ellington. But for the sake of my prediction, lets just hope he sticks with Mendenhall.

Next up, WR and TE.

From your favorite and number 1 fantasy football guru,

Philipp “Phil” J. Ferstenblatt

Fantasy questions? Email me at Baldinaf@miamoh.edu

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“We’re talking about our idiot kicker, who got liquored up and ran his mouth off.”

– Peyton Manning

Mike Vanderjagt was one of the most accurate place kickers in the league during his time. He’s had some all-time great seasons as a kicker, none better than his incredible 37 for 37 year in 2003 (fist kicker in NFL history to not miss a single FG). While in the league, there was no question he was one of the most talented players at his position. But you don’t get to be a Press Box Pillow Talk TBT honoree by simply being a good player. Vandy had some legendary off the field moments that made him, in my opinion, the most ridiculous kicker to ever play in the league.

2003: Like i said, the man was 37 for 37, he could kick the lights out of the stadium. But whats great is everybody remembers him for something else. After the Colts lost in the playoffs Vaderjagt ripped Tony Dungy and Peyton Manning. I know he was riding high off of his great season but come on, what kind of kicker rips a head coach and quarterback? He was quoted after the year as saying, “I’m not a real big Colts fan right now, unfortunately. I just don’t see us getting better.” He also said “Coach Dungy, he’s just a mild-mannered guy. He doesn’t get too excited, he doesn’t get too down and I don’t think that works, either. … I think you need a motivator, I think you need a guy that is going to get in somebody’s face when they’re not performing well enough.”

This sparked one of Peyton Manning’s more memorable quotes to come about at the probowl. Sound clip is in this video:

2005: After coming back down to earth and making a relatively average 20 of 25 FG’s in 04, Vanderjagt had another great year going in 05. He was a solid 23 for 25 on year. Then came the infamous playoff game, at home, in the dome, against the Steelers. With the season on the line, Vanderjagt barely keeps this ball in the stadium to lose the game and the Colts’ season.

Weird video and poor quality, but seeing Cowher’s reaction to the awful kick is priceless.

It doesn’t end there. 4 days after the atrocious miss, Vanderjagt thought it would be a genius idea to go on Letterman. On the show he kicks a 46 yard field goal and drills it. Him and Letterman are laughing and having a good time. Again…this was only 4 days after the game. As expected, Colts fans went crazy. It was the last straw for Vanderjagt with the Colts, and he was cut a couple weeks later.


But don’t worry, Vanderjagt has matured since. Last year while coaching, a student was heckling him and making fun of that famous miss. Naturally, Vanderjagt went over and grabbed the kid by his throat. So as you can see Vandy is still being Vandy. Good to know he’s still at it. Keep doing you Mike.

– Steve Butabi

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Time to cover another fantasy position that can make or break your team. Wr’s are crucial in fantasy. Every year it seems like there are guys that breakout, and guys that are huge busts (Braylon Edwards in ’08, still haven’t forgiven him for that). Wide outs are valuable because there are always decent ones on the waiver wire. Like i said in the RB’s preview, these are the rankings as of today, injuries and suspensions can occur which could possibly throw these off. (Note the injuries that have already taken place).

1. Calvin Johnson:


 Not even going to waste my time writing a long explanation for this one. Almost 2,000 yards last year…absolutely absurd. I see nothing but improvements to the Lions O by adding a lineman and Reggie Bush, which means Megatron should pick up right where he left off.

2. AJ Green: AJ had a bit of a scare a couple days ago when he hurt his knee. Luckily for the Bengals and fantasy owners, Dr’s concluded that it was just a bruise. I don’t think that bruise or opposing defenses will be able to slow him down this year, as him and the Red Rider continue to develop together. Green was sensational last year, 1350 yards and 11 TD’s, and with another year of experience for him and his quarterback, I’m predicting he finishes somewhere around 1,500 and 12 tuddys in 2013.

3. Brandon Marshall: Love B-Marsh as a person and a player. But Cutler loves him even more (118 receptions for Brandon last year). There is no question who Cutler is throwing to when he drops back. It doesn’t matter how covered he is, Marshall is getting the rock. Targets are crucial to wide outs in fantasy, which is why i love B-Marsh. Also, first year head coach Marc Trestman loves to air it out, and Marshall has been on record already saying how much the Bears already love this new offense.

4. Dez Bryant:


I just have a good feeling about Dallas’s offense this year. Jerry decided to back Romo by paying him big bills, which i think will ultimately help him play better. Dez is super talented and broke out last year with 1,382 yards and 12 TD’s. When Demarco Murray is healthy the Cowgirls have a very balanced offense, and Jason Witten and Miles Austin keep the double teams at bay for Dez.

5. Juliooooo Jones: 

I waffled over this one for a long time. First i had him at 8, then i moved him to 4, finally i settled here at 5. I just don’t know about taking Julio as a top 5 wideout when he doesn’t even finish number 1 in catches on his team. Roddy White is the safe target for Matty Ice. But Julio is the big play guy. We saw what Julio could really do last year, and this year I think we see it even more. The benefit of Rowdy Roddy White being opposite Julio is it keeps defenses from keying in on Julio. I think Jones gets enough big plays this year to solidify himself as a top 5 fantasy wide out.

6. Andre Johnson: What? This old guy at 6?!? The Natural is still a top 5 WR talent in my opinion, he has just been hurt a lot lately. When healthy, this guy can ball. He was banged up all last year and still was close  to 1,600 yards (only 4 TD’s though). 1 thing he’s been missing his whole career is a legit threat opposite him. I think the Texans have that now in rookie DeAndre Hopkins. Kubiak says Hopkins has been very impressive early on in camp. If Hopkins can prove himself early and take some pressure off Andre, i see a big 2013 for The Natural in my crystal ball.

7. Demaryius Thomas: Be warned, there are a lotttt of hands that could be touching the ball for the Broncos this year. Thomas had a big year last year, but I think the addition of Welker could actually hurt him. The guy eats catches like I eat my grandmother’s lasagna. But I still like Thomas as a top 10 wide out. Peyton Man-thang knows how to get the ball to all of his weapons, and i think DT will still be the priority as the outside deep threat. Any fantasy points that DT loses to Welker in yards, he will make up for in touchdowns.

8. Roddy White: Rowdy’s tuddys were down to the lowest they’ve been since 2008. But he is always a reliable target and still piles up the catches. The falcons offense is poised to have another big year, and Roddy White will be right in the middle of it. I feel like this guy is always a lock for around 1,300 yards. Even if he doesn’t have the huge 2 TD games that Julio sometimes has, he will always provide consistent points week to week for your team. I love consistent players in fantasy.

9. Larry Fitzgerald: 


With a consistent QB, this guys is one of the first 3 WR’s off the board every year. I just couldn’t bring myself to leave such a talent out of the top 10. While an improvement from Skelton, I just don’t know if Carson Palmer is the answer for Larry. But i do think Palmer is experienced and good enough to get Larry back to relevance. I mean all you have to do is lob it up to this guy for christs sake how hard can it be. I think Fitz finds pay dirt 10 times this year.

10. Vincent Jackson: V-Jax is a physical specimen, and has always been a great downfield threat. I like what Tampa Bay did this offseason and i think they can make a playoff push. Doug Martin provides the balance that Josh Freeman needs. Mike Williams is solid opposite Jackson as well. I think V-Jax could have a very good year.

11. Randall Cobb: Almost got to 1,000 yards last year to go along with his 8 touchdowns. I’m high on Cobb as well as Jordy Nelson this year now that Jennings is gone. Jordy Nelson is the more talented downfield threat, and it wouldn’t surprise me if he finished with more fantasy points than Cobb, but i like Cobb’s versatility and the number times Rodgers looks Cobb’s way. Cobb is the safer pick because he works the slot and will get more targets. He is also good for a punt return or 2 every year.

12: Victor Cruz: I would probably put Cruz ahead of Cobb if i didn’t see Cruz complain about his brand new contract. The guy just signed for good money then complains like come on Vic figure it out kid. But I like Cruz’s ability to get fantasy points nonetheless, with a healthy Hakeem Nicks with him, the sky is the limit for the giants passing game. You know Cruz will get catches and yards working the middle of the field, but the question is can he mimic all those big plays he had last year?

13: Jordy Nelson: Like I said before, i’m high on the Green Bay wide outs. Nelson is the best of the bunch when he’s healthy. I have Cobb a couple spots ahead of him, but I really think if Nelson stays healthy he has a shot to have the biggest year. But both should be solid options.

14. Marques Colston: With Sean Payton back, Brees can go back to just playing QB. There used to be a lot of hands reaching in the pot in New Orleans, but the departure of  Meachem last offseason helped Colston have a solid year last year. They throw it a lot, he’s bound to catch a good amount of em.

15. Wes Welker: 


You know he’s going to work the slot and get catches, but there is too much talent on the outside of this Broncos offense for Welker to up around double digit TD’s in my opinion. Peyton will get him the rock, and he will be a solid constant fantasy WR, just not a fantasy stud.

16: Reggie Wayne

17:  Danny Amendola

18: Hakeem Nicks

19: Steve Smith

20: Mike Wallace: (Tanny can throw the long ball…could be a sleeper).

21: Torrey Smith

22: Antonio Brown

23: Eric Decker

24:  Dwyane Bowe

25: James Jones

This was tough, there is so much talent in the 16-25 range. I think any of those guys especially Torrey Smith, Antonio Brown, and Amendola can have great years. There guys outside this top 25 that can easily finish top 15. Guys like Greg Jennings, Desean Jackson (in Chip’s offense), Tavon Austin and Kenny Britt could easily have big years. This year wr’s go deep.

– Steve Butabi

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