By Brett Malamud
Congratulations! You made it all the way to the end of the year untouched and into the finals of your fantasy football league. Let’s help you out in completing your journey to the promised land and take home that title! It all starts with making the right decisions and that’s where this week’s column of Take It To The Bank comes in handy. Let’s get to it!
There’s no reason to think that Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will be stopped anytime soon. While the Atlanta Falcons have had a dangerous secondary this season, they’ve been shaky over the last few weeks and that’s where Cam comes in. I’m very confident in his abilities to get it done on Sunday.
To Belichick…Or Not To Belichick?
That is the question. The New England Patriots defense has been great all year. They’ve scored 35 fantasy points over their last two games, but head to MetLife Stadium this weekend to take on the New York Jets. This might be the week for you to look elsewhere for another defense because the Jets passing game has been phenomenal between wide receivers Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker with quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. I’d also bench the Jets defense, even with knowing that wide receivers Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman will be sitting this game out. There’s two reasons for that. Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski.
Gurley Birds: Finals Edition
Did St. Louis Rams running back Todd Gurley propel you into the finals? Gurley fell to me as the 93rd overall pick before I swiped him up, setting up a fun season once he hit the field. Now, he heads into Seattle to take on the Seahawks, who haven’t allowed more than 46 rushing yards to an opposing running back during their five game win streak. Gurley is touchdown dependent for me this week, and belongs as a RB2/Flex play.
In the finals, you have to take the easy matchups when given. For me, this one is simply Kansas City Chiefs running back Charcandrick West against the Cleveland Browns. While there isn’t much explanation needed for this pick, the Browns have allowed the second most rushing yards in the entire league, and West is due for a big day. If you have West on your team, you certainly should start him in your lineup if you want any chance of winning it all.
Brett Malamud is an English Rhetoric Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy
By Seth Schuster
After capturing his ever-elusive fourth Super Bowl ring in Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks on February 1, New England Patriots Quarterback Tom Brady has vaulted himself to the top of the National Football League’s All-Time quarterback pyramid. While unquestionably already on the Mount Rushmore of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks alongside the likes of Brady’s childhood idol, Joe Montana, the San Francisco 49ers’ great, Tom Terrific has finally become its centerpiece.
Yes, that’s right! Move over Joe Cool, Tom Brady is the greatest quarterback of all-time.
Could this be argued? Of course! This debate could last centuries if we wanted it to—but I don’t want it to. I want to end this debate right now.
Up until this point, Montana held a slight advantage over Brady for the obvious reason—Montana had four rings, Brady had three. Today, Tom Brady and Joe Montana both have four rings. It can be argued that Montana achieved this accomplishment more efficiently than Brady did. Montana went 4-4 in Super Bowl appearances, while Brady managed a lowly 4-6.
That argument is a complete joke. Brady has led his team to SIX Super Bowls over the course of a 15-year career, winning three in a four-year span. It is about consistency, people say. “Montana was more consistent. He never lost a Super Bowl.” Well, actually that argument can be made two ways. Maybe Brady is more consistent because he was able to make the playoffs, and lead his team to the big game, more often than Montana did. It is ludicrous to make this argument against Brady, as Montana only appeared in four—perhaps he would have lost his next two Super Bowl appearances if given the opportunity.
Where else does Tom Brady eclipse Joe Montana?
Brady, for starters, is fifth all-time is passing touchdowns. Where does Joe Cool rank? Oh, that’s right…16th. Additionally, Brady has the highest winning percentage of any player in history, boasting an incredible .773. Montana posted a still spectacular .713, but ranks as second to Brady in all-time wins. This stat not only holds for the regular season, but for the postseason as well. Brady yet again outshines Montana, holding 21 postseason wins compared to Joe’s 16 wins.
In the postseason, Brady not only has the upper hand in wins, but a plethora of other categories as well. This past playoff stretch, Brady passed Montana’s record of 45 postseason touchdowns and finished with a total of 53. Brady also holds the record for leading the most game winning drives in the fourth quarter, with nine—his ninth coming in Super Bowl XLIX.
Leading the Patriots downfield with the clock ticking away, Brady connected on a late touchdown pass to wide receiver Julian Edelman to take a final 28-24 lead. Throughout the duration of the game, Brady threw 50 times, completing a record 37 passes. But that wasn’t the only record Brady set or tied that day. He threw four touchdown passes, setting a new record for most career touchdown passes with 13. Brady also set new Super Bowl records for career passing yards (1,605) and most career completions (164). This stellar performance allowed him to tie, none other than Joe Montana, for the most Super Bowl Most Valuable Player awards, with three.
All of these accolades have been achieved despite the fact that—apart from the 2007 season—the Patriots have been notoriously skimpy when it comes to importing talented wide receivers. That year Brady has wide-out Randy Moss.
That year, Brady set an NFL record for most passing touchdowns.
Every year Brady does more with less. He makes no name players into household names: Wes Welker, Julian Edelman, and Rob Gronkowski, just to name a few. The cast of characters in the Patriots locker room is a revolving door—one minute the top wide receiver is Randy Moss, next it’s Aaron Dobson. Who? Exactly. The only constant is Brady.
For Montana, the constant was the entire 49ers’ team.
Montana achieved his success in a much different era. There was no salary cap. There was no free agency. In and out, each year Montana won with the same group of players—they were able to grow and develop with each other. It also doesn’t hurt that Montana had the greatest wide receiver ever to play the game, Jerry Rice. For every Super Bowl run, Rice was always Montana’s top target
In Brady’s six Super Bowl appearances, he has had a different go-to-guy. In Super Bowl XXXVI (2001), the man was Troy Brown. In Super Bowl XXXVIII (2003) and Super Bowl XXXIX (2004) it was Deion Branch. In XLII, Randy Moss was Brady’s favorite. It was Wes Welker in XLVI (2011). And in the most recent game, Super Bowl XLIX (2014), Rob Gronkowski served as Brady’s safety blanket.
Not only does Brady do more with less, he has done it more consistently and for a longer time. Brady’s run has been sustained over a 15-year period. Joe Montana won four, but Brady, year in and year out has been competing for a title. Oh yeah, and Brady has won four also—and also holds almost every postseason record in the book.
Brady is the best. Case closed. Drops mic.
Seth Schuster is a student at Blind Brook High School in Westchester, New York. He is an avid sports fan, who knows it all when it comes to the Boston Red Sox, Boston Celtics, New England Patriots, and Boston Bruins. Yup, that’s right – a Boston sports fan living in New York! Seth’s favorite all-time athletes include David Ortiz, Tom Brady, and Paul Pierce. Follow Seth on Twitter for all your Boston Sports updates at @Seth_Schuster
By Brett Malamud
This week has Peyton Manning on the precipice of NFL history. Manning needs just two touchdowns to tie Brett Favre for the all time touchdowns record. Here’s what else is on tap for week seven:
BYES: Philadelphia Eagles, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
-Jets (1-5) at Patriots (4-2), Thursday @ 8:25 PM EST
The Jets come into this matchup off their loss to Peyton Manning and the Broncos. They showed signs of promise, and kept with Denver for most of the game. This week they’ll face another hall of fame quarterback in Tom Brady. Brady was excellent last week against the Bills and hopes to continue his success. I believe that the game will be close throughout, but I’m taking New England. Verdict: Patriots
-Falcons (2-4) at Ravens (4-2), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
The Falcons lost to the Bears last week in a game that was close through three quarters before Chicago pulled away. They’ll face the Ravens, who return home after their biggest win this season. Joe Flacco finished his day with five touchdown passes in route to a 48-17 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I’m going to pick the Ravens to stay hot. Verdict: Ravens
-Titans (2-4) at Redskins (1-5), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
The Titans barely edged out the Jacksonville Jaguars last week, in a performance that Tennessee should not be proud of. They allowed 336 passing yards to Jaguars rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. This week they’ll have a tougher matchup against Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins who threw for 354 yards against a tough Arizona Cardinals defense. The task will be tough, and I think it’ll be too difficult for the Titans to stop Cousins. Verdict: Redskins
-Seahawks (3-2) at Rams (1-4), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
The Seahawks were shocked last week by the Dallas Cowboys. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson was held to just 126 yards on the day. The Rams also were defeated last week, taking a Monday night loss to the San Francisco 49ers. Look for Rams rookie quarterback Austin Davis to show some promise against a deadly Seahawks defense, and ultimately win. The Rams will continue powering through their rough schedule. Verdict: Rams
-Browns (3-2) at Jaguars (0-6), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
I picked the Browns to win last week and they did against the Pittsburgh Steelers. They’re going to win this one too, especially against the winless Jaguars. Verdict: Browns
-Bengals (3-1-1) at Colts (4-2), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
Last week’s Bengals-Panthers game ended with Mike Nugent kicking a 36-yard field goal wide right as the clock expired to end the game in a tie. The Bengals now look to regroup as they head into Indianapolis. They’ll try to stop a red-hot Colts team, led by quarterback Andrew Luck and wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. The Colts come off of a win in Houston on Thursday Night Football. They’ll take this one, especially at the rate they’ve been playing at. Verdict: Colts
-Vikings (2-4) at Bills (3-3), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
The Bills couldn’t handle Tom Brady and the Patriots last week, and that sent them to an even 3-3 on the season. Bills quarterback Kyle Orton did look good though and hopes to continue that this week. He’ll match up against Vikings rookie quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. Bridgewater couldn’t find the endzone last week against the Detroit Lions. I think that will change, but the Bills will run away with this one. Verdict: Bills
-Dolphins (2-3) at Bears (3-3), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
Jay Cutler impressed last week, torching the Atlanta Falcons for 381 passing yards in route to a 27-13 victory. This week, the Bears turn their attention to the Miami Dolphins, who come off of a closely contested game with the Green Bay Packers. This game will be very close, but I’m going with Chicago here. Verdict: Bears
-Saints (2-3) at Lions (4-2), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
The Saints head off of their bye week into Detroit, where they’ll take on the Lions. Injuries will have an impact in this one, as the Saints will likely be without tight end Jimmy Graham, and the status of Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson is up in the air as well. The one achilles heel of the Lions could be their running game, currently ranked 29th in the league. With that said, look for wide receiver Golden Tate to step into the spotlight and lead the Lions to a close victory. Verdict: Lions
-Panthers (3-2-1) at Packers (4-2), Sunday @ 1:00 PM EST
The Panthers escaped last week’s game with a tie after the Bengals kicker Mike Nugent missed a 36-yard attempt as time expired in overtime. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton had 284 passing yards and two touchdowns through the air, in addition to his 107 yards and a touchdown on the ground. The Panthers will take on the Packers at Lambeau Field this week. The Packers beat the Dolphins this week and look to continue their win streak. I believe that they will. Verdict: Packers
-Chiefs (2-3) at Chargers (5-1), Sunday @ 4:05 PM EST
The Chiefs come in off of the bye week after being defeated in San Francisco the week before. The Chargers on the other hand squeaked out a victory against the Oakland Raiders. Quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 313 yards and three touchdowns. San Diego has the third ranked defense and will have to stop the Chiefs’ run game. I think they will, and will charge past the chiefs this weekend Verdict: Chargers
-Cardinals (4-1) at Raiders (0-5), Sunday @ 4:25 PM EST
I’d be shocked to see Oakland come away with a victory in this one. The Cardinals took down the Redskins last week, and the Raiders took a loss to the Chargers. Look for the Cardinals to keep the Raiders winless. Verdict: Chargers
-Giants (3-3) at Cowboys (5-1), Sunday @ 4:25 PM EST
A battle is brewing in the NFC East. The Eagles and Cowboys are currently tied for first place at 3-1 and lurking behind them is the Giants at 3-3. The Giants are sure to miss wide receiver Victor Cruz after he tore his patella tendon, ruling him out for the rest of the season. Odell Beckham Jr. and Ruben Randle will have to step up, knowing that they’ll have to get open quick due to the bad offensive line that the Giants have. I’m going to have to go with the Cowboys simply because of their offense, that took down the mighty Seattle Seahawks last weekend. Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray should have a big day. Verdict: Cowboys
-49ers (4-2) at Broncos (4-1), Sunday @ 8:30 PM EST
My game of the week is right here, with the 49ers traveling into the Mile High City. The Broncos are fresh off of their win against the Jets last week. Peyton Manning is two touchdown passes away from tying Brett Favre for the all time touchdowns record. He’ll most likely tie the record on Sunday. The 49ers took down the Rams last week, but will probably take a loss to Peyton and the Broncos here. Verdict: Broncos
-Texans (3-3) at Steelers (3-3), Monday @ 8:30 PM EST
The Texans took a loss at home on Thursday Night Football to send them to an even 3-3 record. The Steelers took a loss to the Cleveland Browns. With both teams looking to bounce back, expect a good game here. I’m going with the Steelers, who head into this week with the sixth ranked offense in the league. Verdict: Steelers
Jack Allen is a writer for dabuzzza.com. He is a fan of the New York Mets, New York Islanders, New York Knicks, New York Jets, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Mariners, Queens Park Rangers, and West Virginia Mountaineer football and basketball. His favorite athletes are David Wright, John Tavares, Geno Smith, Allen Iverson and Charlie Austin. He is a very passionate and determined fan. You can follow him on twitter @JackAllen99.
By Brett Malamud
Week four was full of blowouts, and it was pretty easy to point out the studs and duds of the week. The week began on Thursday night with a 45-14 Giants blowout in Washington, and ended with a 41-14 Patriots blunder in Kansas City on Monday night. It was quite the shock for many, and even though it feels like the season just started, the week could play a big role in the end of season standings for certain teams. Here’s week four’s edition of Studs and Duds:
Stud: Eli Manning, New York Giants
Eli Manning…a stud? In a shocking twist of fate, Manning finished the week leading the entire league in fantasy points with 32 (in ESPN standard leagues). Talk about a comeback. Eli threw for 300 yards and four touchdowns in what was nothing short of a blowout in Washington.
Dud: Tom Brady, New England Patriots
Tom Brady…a dud? Yes, Tom Terrific wasn’t so terrific on Monday night in Kansas City. The future hall of famer fumbled twice and threw two interceptions. Brady also was limited to one touchdown pass on the day. Brady will not be able to produce anything positive if he’s stuck behind an offensive line that cannot protect him. He was replaced by Jimmy Garoppolo in the fourth quarter in the midst of a slaughtering.
Stud: Andrew Luck, Indianpolis Colts
This is the second straight week that Luck made the studs list, and for good reason. Luck threw for 393 yards and four touchdowns in a 41-17 crushing blow to the Tennessee Titans. Looking ahead, Luck will face the Baltimore Ravens, a team that ranks 24th against the pass, in Indianapolis.
Dud: Kirk Cousins, Washington Redskins
This is proof that you can move from stud to dud in one week. Kirk Cousins did just that, after coming out flat against the Giants. Cousins threw four interceptions and lost a fumble. Looking ahead, Cousins could stay on the duds list for another week, as the Seattle Seahawks travel to Washington for a week five matchup.
Stud: Steve Smith Sr., Baltimore Ravens
Smith faced his former team, the Carolina Panthers, in Baltimore this week. A 61 yard capped off a day to remember for Smith. He finished the game with 139 yards and two touchdowns on seven receptions. Smith continues to produce for his new team, and leads Ravens receivers in all major categories.
Dud: LeSean McCoy, Philadelphia Eagles
For the man they call Shady, it was a very disappointing week. The 49ers were ranked seventh against the run headed into this game, and proved that ranking to be true this week. While Darren Sproles only had one carry for four yards, I felt that as a backup, it wouldn’t have been fair to be classify him as a “dud.” Instead I point at McCoy, who ran for just 17 yards on 10 carries. With that, McCoy has ran for just 39 yards on 29 carries in his last two games. I’d tip him about $0.20 for that performance.
Stud: Kansas City Chiefs
The Chiefs abused Tom Brady this week, and forced a fumble and two interceptions, one of which was returned by FS Husain Abdullah for a touchdown. The entire team was happy to have the return of Jamaal Charles, who scored three total touchdowns in the game. Looking ahead, the Chiefs now will look to pair Charles with Knile Davis, who took over the starting job while Charles was out of the lineup with injury, to create a one-two punch that many teams have this season in the backfield. They’ll travel into San Francisco next week before heading into their bye week.
Dud: Oakland Raiders
The Oakland Raiders have a lot of work to do. The men in silver and black traveled to the beautiful Wembley Stadium in London, England, hoping for a last gasp of air before they head into their bye week. Unfortunately, they failed to get much of anything going. Rookie and starting quarterback Derek Carr suffered a high ankle sprain and sprained MCL and had to be replaced by third-string quarterback Matt McGloin. Why the third-string quarterback, you ask? Backup quarterback Matt Schaub didn’t travel to England with the team after his wife underwent an emergency c-section a week ago to deliver their baby several months prematurely. The team decided that it was best for him to stay home, rather than travel to London. That didn’t help the quarterback troubles. The day can be best highlighted by a shotgun formation snap in the third quarter that went about a foot to the left of Carr, landed behind him, and was scooped up by Dolphins CB Cortland Finnegan, who brought it back 50 yards for a touchdown. The game ended in a in a 38-14 Dolphins victory that sent the winless Raiders to 0-4 on the season. The bad news continued, as the Raiders announced Monday night that head coach Dennis Allen was fired. Allen was 8-28 as Oakland’s coach. An announcement on the interim coach is expected today. Many believe that offensive line coach Tony Sparano will be given the job, after he recently was the head coach of the Miami Dolphins from 2008-11, and has the most coaching experience of the likely candidates. We’ll see what ultimately happens but it’s a relief that the coach will have two weeks to prepare themselves with the bye week coming up.
Stud: Teddy Bridgewater, Minnesota Vikings
The rookie quarterback entered the day with high expectations and finished the day with no regrets. Bridgewater was excellent in the first start of his career, taking over for the injured Matt Cassel. The second round pick out of Louisville threw for 317 yards and rushed five times for 27 yards and a touchdown. He was carted off of the field with a sprained ankle but Vikings Head Coach Mike Zimmer remains completely optimistic that Bridgewater will start Thursday against the Green Bay Packers.
Stud: Terrance Williams, Dallas Cowboys
Tony Romo attempted just 29 passes in a run-heavy game for the Cowboys. But Williams made the most of his opportunities. The second year wide receiver was targeted a team high seven times, and he hauled in six of those for 77 yards and two touchdowns. As teams focus on stopping the Cowboys run game, Tony Romo will be given the option to pass. The man with the spotlight on him is Dez Bryant and with that, Williams should be able to produce a lot of strong stats moving forward.
Brett Malamud is a Computer Science Major at Binghamton University. He is the co-founder of dabuzzza.com. His favorite athletes are Derek Jeter and Todd Bertuzzi. You can follow him on twitter at @brettnyy