Top 5 Busts in NFL Draft History

By Thomas Albano

When you go fishing, sometimes you’ll catch the big one, other times you’ll reel in an old boot. The NFL Draft works the same way — except millions of dollars, publicity, players’ careers and a lot more are on the line. No pressure, everyone!

When a player gets drafted, the team’s GM has all the faith in the world the player can play their part and bring the team success, while the player hopes to achieve whatever they can — from re-building a franchise to winning the Super Bowl.

But not everything goes according to plan. With that being said, here are five of the biggest busts in NFL Draft history.

5. Charles Rogers
After a stellar career at Michigan, which saw him earn All-America honors in 2002 and comparisons to Randy Moss, Rogers was drafted second overall in the 2003 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions. His 2003 and 2004 seasons both came to an end due to clavicle injuries, and he was allowed to return home after the 2004 injury — a move Matt Millen later regretted.

Rogers was suspended in 2005 for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy for a third time, forcing him to miss four games and eventually have to repay a lot of the money paid to him by the Lions. In all, Rogers played just 15 games in a Detroit uniform before being released. He failed to make any other team he tried out for, and he fell to drug, alcohol and criminal problems years following the end of his playing days.

Charles Rogers

4. Lawrence Phillips
Despite his playing ability, Phillips was already a big risk for any team, considering he found himself in trouble numerous times while playing at Nebraska. He could have been a top-five pick — maybe even a No. 1 — in terms of talent, but in the end, he was selected sixth overall in the 1996 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams. The Rams believed in Phillips so much, they traded his predecessor to the Pittsburgh Steelers — that predecessor was named Jerome Bettis.

Phillips’ off-the-field troubles continued in St. Louis, as he was known to stay out in bars till 4 a.m. When he was told he’d be demoted to second-string, he stormed out of the practice facility. After multiple attempts to help him straighten his ways, Phillips was released. The Miami Dolphins ended up giving him a chance, but they released him after pleading no contest to assaulting a woman.

After a comeback stint in NFL Europe, Phillips was signed to the San Francisco 49ers. But by then, his playing ability had seriously deteriorated. Most notably, Phillips missed a tackle on Cardinals cornerback Aeneas Williams during a Monday Night Football game, and Williams would tackle Hall of Fame QB Steve Young, concuss him and end his legendary career.

After being released by the 49ers in November 1999, and failed AFL and CFL stints, Phillips was indicted on multiple assault charges in later years. And after Phillips was charged with first-degree murder for killing his cellmate — a charge in which the death penalty was being sought for — Phillips was found dead, hanging himself in his jail cell, on Jan. 12, 2016.

Lawrence Phillips

3. Tim Couch
There’s a world of expectations on the shoulders of anyone drafted first overall, let alone the first pick by an expansion team. That’s the situation Tim Couch — after a great career at Kentucky, where he earned All-America honors and was named 1998 SEC Player of the Year — found himself in. Couch was drafted No. 1 overall in the 1999 NFL Draft by the current iteration of the Cleveland Browns.

Couch could not achieve the same success he had in college. While he threw for just over 11,000 yards in his five seasons in Cleveland, he had a 64-67 TD-INT ratio and was plagued with injuries. To his credit, however, he helped Cleveland achieve a playoff spot in 2002.

After five seasons of injuries and inconsistent play, Couch was released by the organization. After a couple of failed comeback attempts, Couch was out of football, and the Browns have had a QB problem since.

Tim Couch

2. JaMarcus Russell
Russell was selected first overall in the 2007 NFL Draft by the Oakland Raiders. But he failed to reach an initial agreement with the team, holding out in training camp until signing a six-year deal worth $68 million (with $31.5 million guaranteed). But Russell did not step onto a field until December, coming in relief of Josh McCown.

Russell was inconsistent as a starter, obtaining a 7-18 record from 2007-2009, an 18-23 TD-INT ratio and just over 4,000 passing yards with a 65.2 passer rating. Meanwhile, the No. 2 pick in the 2007 draft, Calvin Johnson, went on to great success.

Russell was released in May 2010.

JaMarcusRussell

1. Ryan Leaf
After Peyton Manning was picked first overall in the 1998 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts, Ryan Leaf seemed like a nice consolation prize for the San Diego Chargers. But Leaf’s playing career was a miserable one, throwing just two touchdowns in his rookie year while being picked off 15 times and owning a 45.3 pass completion percentage.

After missing the 1999 season due to injury, Leaf’s 2000 season was an improvement, but not by much. After being released and failing a physical with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Leaf played four games with the Dallas Cowboys in 2001 before being released. Leaf seemed on his way to playing with the Seattle Seahawks before abruptly retiring.

Leaf’s career was also plagued by behavioral problems. Leaf skipped his interview with the Colts and skipped the final day of a mandatory symposium for rookies. Leaf was known to put blame on teammates for failures and many called his work ethic into question.

Since 2010, Leaf has been in and out of trouble with drugs.

Ryan Lea

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Top 5 Late-Round Selections in NFL Draft History

By Thomas Albano

When it comes to the NFL Draft, fewer people seem to care about anything that happens in the later rounds. In fact, with the first round having its own television slot on Thursday nights since 2010, it seems more and more only care for the first 32 picks. “Oh what does it matter?” they may say. “Everything from the second round on is mostly a crapshoot.”

Well, what if I told you that plenty of NFL legends weren’t drafted in the first round? What if I told you that, in fact, plenty of NFL stars were drafted late — some still playing to this very day.

With the 2018 NFL Draft upon, taking place April 26-28 from AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas — home of the Dallas Cowboys — it’s time to look back in the annals of NFL Draft history. Whether you call them steals, late selections or diamonds in the rough, here are my top 5 late NFL Draft selections in history.

5. Antonio Brown

I wanted to start this list off with someone more modern, and after much thought, I have to pick Antonio Brown. Brown was selected in the sixth round of the 2010 NFL Draft, with the 195th overall pick, by the Pittsburgh Steelers. When he was drafted, a lot of people thought he would just be another depth receiver, but Brown has proven to be anything but. Since getting drafted, Brown has received six Pro Bowl selections, been named First-Team All-Pro four times and Second-Team All-Pro once. As of the end of the 2017 season, Brown has a little less than 10,000 career receiving yards on 733 total receptions with 59 receiving touchdowns and five return TDs and plenty of highlights along the way. He went from sixth-round nobody to being arguably the best receiver in football — reality or fantasy — and has such paydays that make Le’Veon Bell and Odell Beckham Jr. jealous.

Antonio Brown

4. Terrell Davis

Davis was elected to the football Hall of Fame in 2017, but no one expected him to reach such heights originally. Davis was drafted in nearly the same spot Brown was — with the 196th overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Denver Broncos. He was not expected to even make the team, but after an impressive preseason performance, he was named the starting running back. In his seven-year playing career in Denver, which included being a member of the Super Bowl XXXII & XXXIII championship teams, he rushed for a total of 7,607 yards and 60 touchdowns. Davis led the league in rushing touchdowns and was named Offensive Player of the Year in both 1996 and 1998. In addition, Davis led the NFL in rushing yards in the 1998 season. These accomplishments earned Davis AFC Player of the Year honors in 1996 and the title of NFL MVP in 1998. He was the MVP of Super Bowl XXXIII, where he set a Super Bowl record with three touchdowns.

Terrell Davis

3. Bart Starr

The NFL Draft was quite different when Starr was selected; in fact, the entire league was. There were 30 rounds — with about 11-13 picks each round. Drafts in the 1950s usually took place in January, and Starr was picked in the 17th round (200th overall pick) by the Green Bay Packers in the 1956 draft. Starr started as a backup before splitting time for a few seasons with Babe Parilli until a man named Vince Lombardi entered the Packers scene. With Lombardi’s arrival, Starr was named starting QB, and he held that distinction until the end of his career. Starr was a key figure during the AFL-NFL battles of the 1960s and eventual merger. Starr led the Packers to five NFL championships, and he was named to the Pro Bowl four times. In addition, Starr was the MVP for the first two Super Bowls, both won by the Packers (representing the NFL against the AFL when the event was called the AFL-NFL World Championship Game). Starr was named First-Team All-Pro once and Second-Team All-Pro twice, led the NFL in passer rating five times, and he was inducted into both the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Packers Hall of Fame in 1977. His No. 15 has been retired by the team.

Bart Starr

2. Deacon Jones

Selected in the 14th round (186th overall pick) of the 1961 NFL Draft, Jones never won a Super Bowl or NFL MVP. What earned Jones the praises and honors from football fans and executives everywhere was how he revolutionized the game. A defensive end, Jones was noted for his speed and tackling ability, able to get from one sideline to the other for a tackle, something completely unheard of for the time. In addition, Jones is the man who, legend has it, coined the term “sack.” Jones played for the Los Angeles Rams for 10 years, becoming a part of one of the greatest defensive lines in football history, before playing two seasons with the San Diego Chargers and one with the Washington Redskins. Jones was selected to the Pro Bowl eight times, and he was named First-Team All-Pro five times and Second-Team All-Pro thrice. The “Secretary of Defense” was the NFL Defensive Player of the Year for 1967 and 1968, selected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1980, and his No. 75 has been retired by the Rams.

Deacon Jones

1. Tom Brady

Let’s face it — this may be the near-unanimous choice. Most football fans know the story of how Brady was selected in the sixth round (199th pick overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots. One of Brady’s reflections on being picked so late brought us the always-hilarious meme of Brady crying his eyes out on an ESPN special.

But (and I have to swallow a lot of pride here as a New York Giants fan), Brady has done things no other quarterback has done before. Brady is just one of two NFL players to play in at least five Super Bowls, and the only person to have done so for just one team. The rest of Brady’s resume is unreal — five-time Super Bowl champion, four-time Super Bowl MVP, three-time NFL MVP, 13-time Pro Bowl selection, two-time NFL Offensive Player of the Year, and a lot more.

Whether you love him or hate him, it will be quite the shakeup — the end of an era — once Brady (and Bill Belichick) chooses to step away from the game of football.

Tom Brady

The Danger Zone: From Mad Dog to Big Buck

By Nick Morgasen

Editor’s Note: Tom Albano here. Like Nick Fodera’s newest Yankees column, here’s another new edition to Cheap Seats Sports. This is Nick Morgasen, another fellow podcaster, and his new column called The Danger Zone, where he’ll give his hot takes on anything in sports.

The way we consume sports media has changed over the last couple of years. We no longer have to just watch games on TV or radio. Now, we can watch or consume games with social media and other devices. All this new technology is great, but the new technology has brought out red-hot opinions from sports analysts on TV and radio.

Two big-time stories that everybody brings attention to are 1. Boomer Esiason blasting Mike and the Mad Dog for comments they made on WFAN. 2. With Peyton Manning turning down Fox it looks like Joe Buck and Troy Aikman are reportedly going to call the new Thursday Night Football package.

There is a lot to break down here, and depending on what hot takes you agree or disagree with, you might find this interesting. Or you might be reading this because you are a sports media nerd like I am.

Boomer Esiason vs. Mike and the Mad Dog

If you have been following the news, WFAN recently went through a lot of station changes as they made some changes to their morning show and their afternoon drive Show. For mornings, they replaced Craig Carton with Gregg Giannotti, and for the afternoon drive, they replaced Mike Francesa (egotistical blowhard) with Maggie Gray, Bart Scott and Chris Carlin. Now that I gave you context for this situation, let’s get to the story.

Everybody who has listened to sports talk radio knows there is one famous duo that really thrived on sports talk radio and let it to 24/7 sports talk radio stations around the country. This duo would be none other than Mike and the Mad Dog (Mike Francesa and Chris Russo). They were, and still are, one of the most iconic sports talk radio duos of all time and they made it happen in the biggest market in the world — New York.

We all know Mike and Chris had their moments, but together they had this unique chemistry that just worked. We all know about the big break up they had ( Russo left for Sirius XM, and eventually for TV on MLB Network, and Mike stayed at WFAN). Long story short, Francesa recently left WFAN and we are still waiting to hear what his next venture is going to be.

He has still been making media appearances and recently he went on Russo’s show, High Heat on MLB Network to do a full hour to discuss the annual over/under they do for all 30 MLB teams for the year. Is it just me, or do Mike and Chris want to get back together and do a show again?

There have been many rumors and speculations that they have been discussing it, but nothing has come of it. Putting that aside, towards the end of the hour, “Mad Dog” decided to stir up some controversy when he started to make comments about WFAN, and he and Mike started to joke about it.

Russo said, “I’ll tell you right now, though, there’ll be nobody on WFAN before you know it. I guarantee it.” I don’t understand why Russo is opening his mouth about WFAN still…he left in 2008. I feel he talks about WFAN a lot because he misses being on in the New York spotlight. Could it possibly be frustration or anger for how his situation ended with WFAN in 2008? Nobody really knows except for Russo.

So after Russo made that comment, Francesa laughed and said “Oh Geez.” Russo responded, “I shouldn’t have said it. Forgive me.” Francesa said, “Who’s leaving? Benigno?” and Russo finally responded with “Boomer. Then they’ve got nobody on.” In today’s world of media, controversy is what sells and gets many eyes and ears to tune in. These personalities are trying to keep themselves in the spotlight and trending on social media. I do think Mike and Chris were way out of line talking about the company they used to work for, and airing out dirty laundry, so to speak.

Like I said before, today’s platform of media is different and everything you say is posted to social media so quotes and video clips of this conversation showed up instantly on social media and sports media websites. Eventually, these comments made its way over to WFAN and surfaced on their morning show Boomer and Gio, where Boomer did not hold back. What I found interesting was that when Boomer and Gio were talking about this, they had WFAN Program Director Mark Chernoff in the studio while they were discussing it. Boomer was quoted as saying, “The Only time those idiots make news is when they talk about what’s happening here.”

Boomer

I happen to agree with Boomer; Mike and Chris always have major opinions about WFAN when they should be worrying about their own jobs. Mike should worry about what his next project is, which he was supposed to announce April 1, rather than taking shots at his former employer. Chris does really good work for Sirius XM and MLB Network, but for some reason, he can’t stop blabbering away about WFAN.

I honestly think having a fiery competition between Mike and Chris and WFAN will lead to some great controversy and some amazing headlines. But Mike and Chris do need to take it down a notch and give the new shows some time to breathe. Once they have been on for a while, then you can make a proper judgment on them. Mark Chernoff is one of the best program directors in the history of radio, and he will find a way to turn this fire into amazing content for air.

Mike and Chris will always be sour about WFAN forever and that is why they will always take shots at all the different shows. What I will never understand is, what was Russo’s reason for bring up WFAN in this conversation and how does it relate to anything on High Heat?

Peyton Manning Turns Down FOX TNF

For the last few years, Thursday Night Football (TNF) has been giving many different issues to the NFL and causing a re-evaluation for how they handle the production for it. Starting this season, FOX will be handling the production for TNF When they were in the running for the deal, they started calling around to figure out who they were going to put in the booth to call the games. You would think they would have had this all prepared if and when they got the deal right?

San Francisco 49ers v Indianapolis Colts

Both FOX and ESPN decided to pursue former QB Peyton Manning, with some rumored speculations that the companies were willing to pay him $10 million a year to be a color commentator. First, he rejected ESPN (surprise, surprise!!!) and everybody thought FOX was in the clear for his services. Instead, Manning decided to turn down FOX, also leaving them in an awkward spot where there 3 and 4 hitters both sneezed and pulled their backs out, and like Sammy Sosa, need to go on the Disabled List.

In light of this mess, it is now being reported we are going to get more Buck and Aikman as they will now be calling TNF. You can’t see my reaction right now but, I’m jumping for joy so hard that it’s killing me…

https://giphy.com/embed/3o7aD4kZn5k0SEvPmo

via GIPHY

 

Is this FOX in true desperation mode to get viewers to watch TNF or did the NFL get involved, like it did with NBC and not allowing Mike Tirico to fill in for Al Michaels so he could have a day off? One game a week with Buck/Aikman is enough, but two?!? There is only so much I can take of Buck yelling, “TROYYYYYY!!!!!!”

Buck and Aikman

Why can’t they just take the No.2 Fox commentating team of Kevin Burkhardt and Charles Davis for TNF? Stop this madness, and the NFL should stay out of those decisions because FOX is paying the $3.3 billion to the No Fun League, so they should have the right to put who they want there. The NFL should be happy they get as much money as they do because people desperately want their product. Even if its absolute garbage, it still does better then most anything else.

Let’s get two WWE-style matches going. We can Have Mike Francesa & Chris “Mad Dog” Russo vs. WFAN, and Joe Buck & Troy Aikman vs. the World.

Hope everybody enjoyed this introductory column and if there is a hot take you count on it ending up in The Danger Zone.

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 16

It’s here. The moment of truth. Championship time has arrived. If you’ve made it this far, congratulations, but your job isn’t done yet. There’s just one more match-up standing between you and ultimate fantasy football glory.

But first, here’s my fantasy advice.

Start ‘Em:
QB Case Keenum: The Packers’ season is done, and so is Aaron Rodgers’. Tough break, Packers fans, but the Vikings have skol’d their way to the NFC North title, and now a potential first-round bye. And Case Keenum may be one of the more underrated fantasy QBs this year, at least in my opinion. But if you have him, depending on your other QBs, Keenum might just be the must-start that helps you towards the title. Two reasons: 1. He’s scored at least 20 fantasy points every week except Week 9 (BYE) and Week 11 (19.2 vs. the Rams). 2. The Green Bay defense has allowed the most fantasy points over the last six weeks than any other fantasy defense. Heck, one step further — if you have ANY Vikings offensive player, you should probably consider playing them. Keenum is my pick of the week.

Case Keenum 3

RB Kenyan Drake: Drake seems to be another one of the “must-start” picks universally around fantasy football this week. And it’s not surprising by looking at Drake’s numbers — he has become the Miami offense. He reached double-digit point totals in five of the last seven weeks, plus he’s had at least 22 touches and 113 yards in each of the last three games. A match-up against the Chiefs may concern some, but you have to realize the Chiefs aren’t the Chiefs of the beginning of the season. Plus, Melvin Gordon was able to light them up in a loss.

Kenyan Drake

WR Robert Woods: Santa Claus has come early for Rams fans — Robert Woods is back, and last week, Woods played a role, getting 16.5 points for those in PPR leagues as the favorite receiver of Jared Goff once more (of course he’ll only score the touchdowns if Todd Gurley can’t for some reason). And the Rams next face the Titans, a weak team that has given up seven touchdowns and the fifth-most PPR points to receivers when in Tennessee. Seems like a fun Christmas for Woods, his team, and his fantasy owners.

Robert Woods

Sit ‘Em:
QB Jimmy Garoppolo: If anyone ever listens to The Unspoken Podcast, then you know how I and my co-host Nick Fodera feel about the Jimmy G Hype Train. He’s been doing great things, he’s revitalized the team, and maybe, just maybe, he can be their franchise QB for some time. But let’s face it — this is the Jags defense we’re talking about. This isn’t necessarily a game I’d risk my fantasy championship on if I have Garoppolo as a QB.

Jimmy Garoppolo

RB Samaje Perine: Another week, another time where Perine fails to meet expectations. After back-to-back weeks of 15+ points in Weeks 11 & 12, Perine’s stock has fallen since. The Broncos have given up just six touchdowns to runners and an average of 21 PPR points per game to runners. And even then, this one just sounds ugly all around. Best to avoid Perine with fantasy title implications.

Samaje Perine

TE Austin Seferian-Jenkins: Anyone still believes in his hype? The Jets’ playoff chances fell into obscurity, and so too did all the great fantasy things that cam with ASJ. He’s been targeted only once or twice per game for four straight weeks now, and standard league owners have gotten 2.7 points from him at most in that time frame. He definitely has bust written all over him in a match-up with the Chargers.

Austin Sefarian Jenkins

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15

It’s semi-final time for most leagues. Saturday games join up on the NFL schedule, and the lights go up for fantasy owners. Time for the final push to try to get to the championship.

Who will get you there? Who may hinder your chances? Time for another edition of start ’em, sit ’em.

Start Em:
RB Alex Collins: Collins has been on absolute fire, scoring 20+ points for the second week in a row last week. He’s also scored double-digit fantasy figures for five of the last six match-ups the Ravens have had. Starting him against a weak, winless Cleveland team seems like an obvious (to me).

Alex Collins

WR Josh Gordon: Gordon, who I promoted as a start ‘em for Week 14, had another great day with the Browns. He caught three receptions for 69 yards and a touchdown, getting 15.9 PPR points against Green Bay. Even though Cleveland is winless and facing Collins and Baltimore, Gordon has already established himself as the top target for the Browns, and hopefully, at least his streak continues.

Josh Gordon 2

WR Marquise Goodwin: Goodwin has received 75 yards in four of the last five games the 49ers have played. Over the last two weeks, Goodwin ranks 12th in points among WRs. The Titans defense is pretty generous to receivers, and Goodwin has established a good connection with Jimmy Garoppolo. Goodwin may have FLEX worth.

Marquise Goodwin

Sit Em:
WR DeVante Parker: Parker and the Miami quarterbacks, including Jay Cutler, are having some sort of connection issue. Parker, in fact, has been one of the biggest disappointments in fantasy this year. With his consistent disappointment, plus seemingly moving behind Kenny Stills in the depth chart, Parker should be avoided at all costs.

San Francisco 49ers v Miami Dolphins

QB Andy Dalton: You would think Dalton could have done something last week against the Chicago Bears. But after three straight weeks of earning over 15 points in PPR leagues — including a Week 13 matchup with Pittsburgh, Dalton got only about 7 points against a lowly Bears defense. And now with a match-up on the road against the Vikings, who have let up the third-fewest fantasy points to QBs at home and fighting for a first-round bye, don’t look to Dalton to do much.

Andy Dalton

RB Frank Gore: Last week, at the age of 34, Gore had the most touches he’s ever gotten in a game with 36 for 130 yards (he better be giving his thanks to the snow gods). But he’s playing on Thursday night, and I don’t see much of a scoring affair between the Colts and Broncos. If you have better options, may be better to just bench Gore.

Gore

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 14

I hope you made it into your fantasy football playoffs. If you did, congratulations! Time to bear down and strategize for the first round (in most leagues).

If you didn’t, well hopefully I can still help you avoid coming in last place in the consolation bracket — especially if a punishment awaits last place.

Here are three players to start, and three to sit (and I’ve even included one sleeper pick).

Start ‘Em:
QB Case Keenum: If you’ve had Case Keenum on your roster, and you haven’t started him yet, then unless you have one of the best quarterbacks in fantasy football (ex: Brady), what are you waiting for? Keenum has gotten at least 20 points every game since Week 8 (and the one game he didn’t reach it — Week 11 against the Rams — he was at 19). He’s thrown 200+ yards every week in that time frame, and with the schedule the Vikings have for the rest of the year — even a Week 14 showdown with Carolina — Keenum’s output shouldn’t slow down soon.

Case Keenum

RB Jamaal Williams: While Williams as the only healthy Green Bay running back has given his fantasy owners a lot of production these past two weeks, things seem doubtful to get to levels like those with the return of Aaron Jones. But even with Jones’ return, Williams is still worth taking a look at. He still has gotten over 15 touches for four straight weeks now. So Williams may still have an RB2 ceiling and FLEX floor.

Jamaal Williams 2

QB Jameis Winston: In his return from injury, Winston threw 270 yards and got 2 touches for approximately 22 fantasy points against Green Bay. With his match-up against a Detroit defense that let up similar numbers to Joe Flacco and has left up about the same number of fantasy points to QBs every week since Week 5. Winston’s definitely at QB1 level.

Jameis Winston

Sleeper: WR Josh Gordon: Gordon actually put up some decent numbers in his first game back since 2014. Gordon caught 4 passes for 85 yards, and his 11 targets ties him for the most a Browns receiver has gotten this year. While it’s hard to judge based off of one game, it seems he has already elevated to the top Browns receiver, and he might be worth picking up as a FLEX option for this week against a weaker-than-normal Green Bay secondary.

Josh Gordon

Sit ‘Em:
WR Cooper Kupp: Despite an injury to Robert Woods — a big loss for the Rams passing game — things seem to have been held intact by Kupp’s performances. Kupp is tied at No. 6 for receptions since Week 10, and PPR leagues have seen him enter double-digit fantasy points for the past month. But with a match-up against the dominating Philadelphia Eagles on the horizon for Week 14, it may be best to try to consider other options.

Cooper Kupp 2

WR Marqise Lee: Lee has entered double-digit fantasy point figures for three of the last five weeks for standard-scoring leagues, and he’s averaged 16.8 fantasy points in the past six games — excluding the Week 12 stinker against the Arizona Cardinals. Lee has some appeal against a Seahawks defense missing Richard Sherman, but with the Seahawks recently, and surprisingly, shutting down the Eagles, give Lee a second thought before inserting him as a starter.

Marqise Lee

TE Vernon Davis: It’s quite disappointing for Vernon Davis right now. Despite favorable match-ups against the Giants and Cowboys in the last two weeks, Davis has produced little to diddly-squat for fantasy owners. And with Jordan Reed’s return possibly coming, Davis’ fantasy value is decreasing dramatically.

Vernon Davis

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 13

Ben McAdoo, Jerry Reese, John Mara and Steve Tisch have disappointed me as a Giants fan. That’s all I’m going to say for the real football storylines.

As for fantasy football, Week 13 usually presents the final week of the regular season. It’s “make or break” time for those fighting for playoff spots.

Here are three players you should start, and three you should sit, in Week 13.

Start ‘Em:
RB Jamaal Williams: This one’s more a conditional selection. Under the most normal circumstances, I would make Williams my start of the week here. The only problem is I can see the number of touches Williams gets go down a bit this week, as Aaron Jones returned to practice this week, and Ty Montgomery’s return is unknown. If Jones and Montgomery both don’t play this week, it could be a big day for Williams, especially for those of you in PPR leagues. Tampa Bay’s defense is bad, and they’re worse on the road. The defense that has given up the second-most PPR points to RBs through 12 weeks may have a rougher time in Lambeau. Even if Jones still plays, Williams can at least still be at the very least an RB3 with RB2/1 ceiling.

Jamaal Williams

RB Jordan Howard: So, Howard didn’t do much against the Eagles. No surprise there. Against a one-win Niners team however? This may be the biggest chance for Howard to run all over an opposing defense — more specifically, one that’s allowed the most fantasy points to running backs through 12 weeks.

Jordan Howard

WR Cooper Kupp: Kupp had his best game last week, scoring about 20 points last week against the New Orleans Saints. He should have another decent turnout against the Arizona Cardinals, who have let up an average of about 18 points to slot receivers this season.

Cooper Kupp

Sit ‘Em:
QB Jacoby Brissett: I didn’t exactly have high hopes for Brissett and the Colts fantasy-wise last week, considering the non-entertaining affair last time they faced the Titans, but many were riding high on the man. After putting up about seven points last week, do you trust him against that Jacksonville defense? You’re insane if you do.

Jacoby Brissett 2

RB Jay Ajayi: Don’t get me wrong; Ajayi has a lot of talent. But him being traded to the Philadelphia Eagles earlier this season has done nothing good for him. He has gotten about seven or right snaps overall over his three games as an Eagle. Combine that with a match-up against the Legion of Boom, and it’s hard to trust Ajayi.

Jay Ajayi

TE Tyler Kroft: Kroft is usually a streamer, but it might best be smart to avoid him. The Pittsburgh defense, however, has allowed just two touchdowns to tight ends this year. For someone who most likely needs a touchdown to have what’d be considered a good and productive outing, it might be best to turn elsewhere.

Tyler Kroft

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 12

It’s Turkey Day, y’all. While you’re getting ready to stuff your face full of Thanksgiving goodness and participate in your own family and friends football games, there’s three NFL games today and plenty more on Sunday. So, here’s my start ’em and sit ’em picks for Week 12.

Start ‘Em:
RB Latavius Murray: I don’t think I need to tell you how good of a season the Vikings are having. And while Case Keenum has proven himself thus far with his arm, and Adam Thielen has been achieving as a receiver, it’s Murray and Jerick McKinnon who have taken over the running game in the NFC North. But Murray definitely has had more production, putting up about 20 points last week against the L.A. Rams. In a big Thanksgiving Thursday game against the rival Detroit Lions, let’s hope Murray continues to show up and produce greatly.

Latavius Murray

QB Matt Ryan: For Ryan owners, it has been a trying season. He has reached only 20+ points twice this season, and last week was the first time he missed 200 passing yards in 2017. Luckily, things ay change this week, as Ryan will have his first of two matchups in four weeks against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, whose defense has been lacking and has let up the fourth-most points to quarterbacks as a road team. If he can’t pull something nice off here, not sure what else to say.

Matt Ryan 3

WR Mohamed Sanu: Speaking of the Falcons, Sanu may have only pulled in 34 yards against Seattle (and lost receptions and yardage after Week 8). However, Sanu has proven to be one of Ryan’s favorite targets in the end zone; in fact, more so than Julio Jones! If you’ve got a flex spot open or in a deep league, definitely consider Sand to start.

Mohamed Sanu

Sit ‘Em:
QB Josh McCown: Believe it or not, McCown has been doing very well in terms of fantasy play this year. But his play is finally starting to come back down to Earth. McCown scored 20+ points against the likes of New England, Miami and Atlanta, but fell back to about 15 points back in Week 10 against Tampa Bay before the Jets’ bye. With what may be a daunting match-up against the Carolina Panthers defense, who have allowed the second-fewest points to quarterbacks on the road, and then games against the likes of Kansas City and New Orleans upcoming, has McCown’s hot streak burned out?

Josh McCown

RB Frank Gore: Gore definitely has had consistent production, getting 16-17 carries for three straight weeks. But Gore seemed to hit a wall against Houston and struggled against Pittsburgh before the bye week. Back in Week 6, the last time the Colts faced the Tennessee Titans, Gore had just 10 carries and rushed for 49 yards. Gore’s a big risk this week.

Frank Gore

TE Charles Clay: Clay has put up a combined three fantasy points on five receptions and 40 yards over the past two weeks. His schedule doesn’t get any easier, as the Bills are taking a trip to Kansas City this week. Clay’s too much of a risk this week.

Charles Clay

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 11

We’re nearing the end of the fantasy year. Unfortunately for us, the NFL has been plagued with problems like declining ratings, blowouts and uninteresting match-ups (or interesting match-ups on paper that turn awful ones, and vice-versa), and now the Roger Goodell extension drama.

Is fantasy saving your interest? Who knows. But it’s coming down to the wire. So here are my starts and sits for Week 11.

Start ‘Em:
QB Alex Smith: As a Giants fan, it pains me to say the following, but it must be said: isn’t it obvious? The Kansas City Chiefs are Super Bowl contenders. The Giants, meanwhile, have let up 20+ points every week this year other than Week 1 (when the Cowboys scored…19). I think this is a rather choice.

Kansas City Chiefs v New England Patriots

Kansas City D/ST: …Again, it’s a game against the Giants. Enough said.

Kansas City Chiefs D

WR Jarvis Landry: Five touchdowns over a six-game span + a nice streak of double-digit points + a game against a weak Tampa Bay defense = Landry is a must-start. Hell, I might be so tired while writing this, or insane enough, that if you somehow have Landry, DeVante Parker AND Kenny Stills, and have no one else better than Stills at flex somehow, start all three!

Jarvis Landry

Sit ‘Em:
QB Brett Hundley: So Hundley got his first win last week, and it came against the Chicago Bears defense. Good for the young kid, maybe his story can write itself out similar to Aaron Rodgers’. Unfortunately, when it comes to fantasy (as Shania Twain sings) that don’t impress me much. It was a decent game, but Hundley still feels like just a backup. Doesn’t help the Baltimore Ravens D doesn’t like to give up many points to QBs. Hundley, if anything, should be considered week-to-week before choosing to start him, especially this late in the fantasy year.

Brett Hundley

TE Coby Fleener: The New Orleans Saints are run-heavy now, as Mark Ingram and rookie Alvin Kamara have been having quite the time putting points up for Brees and the rest of the team. With dependance on the passing game going down, despite a great fantasy QB in Brees, Fleener’s already unimpressive numbers will continue to be where they are, if not worse.

Coby Fleener 2

RB Austin Ekeler: Ekeler raised eyebrows last week, rushing 119 yards with two touchdowns. But if any of you have already grabbed him, may not have been the smartest move. And to those of you who are tempted, do it only if you need to and/or have a bench spot. It’s still the Chargers, which have a running game dominated by Melvin Gordon. Ekeler’s going to need lighting to strike twice for him in the same manner as last week.

Austin Ekeler

Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 10

It’s another day, it’s another week. I’m now a year older, and the NFL has yet another game filled with terrible match-ups ahead.

God, you suck this year, NFL — please improve your scheduling of match-ups.

But, here are my three start ’em and sit ’em picks of Week 10.

Start Em:
QB Matthew Stafford: Stafford had another great week, throwing 300+ yards and two touchdowns in a victory against the Green Bay Packers. Sure, the offense may have struggled at times closer to the end zone, but Stafford flat out whipped Green Bay all around the field. And his reward? A game against the Browns. Yeah, I definitely smell another A+ performance here.

Matthew Stafford

RB Jerick McKinnon: The Minnesota Vikings are fresh off of a bye week, and McKinnon has scored at least 20 points in his last few games. The man has been on fire, and he’ll look to continue that role on Sunday against the Washington Redskins. The Redskins D has allowed three top-six PPR performances, and McKinnon may even get some passes coming his way with how Washington’s defense is. McKinnon seems like he is the clear-cut No. 1 back in Minnesota, and this is a matchup you’re going to want to put him in for.

Jerick McKinnon

Pittsburgh Steelers D/ST: Sure, Jacoby Brissett and the Indianapolis Colts might have managed to defeat the Houston Texans 20-14 last week, and T.Y. Hilton finally had a big fantasy week, but let’s be realistic. It’s not going to last, because it’s not going to happen against Pittsburgh. The Steelers are fresh off of a bye, and two-thirds of the defenses that have faced the Colts this season have finished in the Top 10 D/STs weekly. Grab Pittsburgh if you can.

Pittsburgh D

Sit Em:
QB Matt Ryan: There’s just no supporting Matt Ryan and the Falcons right now. When it comes to Ryan, yes, he performed well last week, but he also didn’t complete any passes of 20 or more yards for the first time since Week 1. He got some of his good fantasy points from last week on TD passes, but he’s also matched the same number of interceptions as he did all of last season already. And as of Thursday morning, Julio Jones is questionable to even play on Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys. Ryan’s too risky this week; I feel he rides the pine for you if absolutely possible.

Matt Ryan 2

RB Aaron Jones: Michael Fabiano has mentioned that there are questions regarding the roles of Jones and Ty Montgomery when it comes to the depth chart of Green Bay’s backs. Here’s the thing: that has no matter. The Packers are lame ducks without Aaron “Hold My Beer and Watch Me Throw This Hail Mary” Rodgers. And yes, you can laugh at the Bears and rookie QB Mitch Trubisky all you want, Chicago’s defense, to me, is no laughing matter, ranking sixth in total yards and eighth in total defense. It sounds like it’s going to be a tough time for the Pack to get points on the board.

Aaron Jones

WR Will Fuller: Oh, Deshaun Watson, why did you have to go down in practice? Now that you’re gone, Tom Savage is back. And I cry in dismay at what you could have been for the second half of the NFL season. Savage definitely is no Watson; we know how bad Savage is. Houston cried when it realized the ball would be turned back to him. Fuller only scored about five fantasy points last week with Savage at the helm. Not to mention, even though the Rams rank 17th in total defense thus far, this is still a good Rams team that’s looking towards a playoff run. No way would I play Fuller this week in my lineup.

Will Fuller