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Jamal Murray, Denver Nuggets (40.2): Despite being a slight violation of the premise of being rostered in fewer than 40 percent of leagues, Murray is worth mentioning as a valuable fantasy prospect, since he can sustain elite scoring benders.
Those trends ran into a highly favorable matchup against New Orleans, as the Saints ranked 30th in YBCT allowed (2.9) and 29th in GBYPA allowed (9.1) in Weeks 6-10.
The combination of those weaknesses ended up working in Washington’s favor, as Jay Gruden’s team posted a 48.3 percent mark in my good blocking rate (GBR) metric that gauges how often an offense gives its ball carriers quality run blocking. That was the second-highest GBR Washington has posted this season. The 7.9 GBYPA Washington posted against the Saints was also the second-highest total they have tallied this year in that category.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr’s deep pass to Johnny Holton bounced off the receiver’s shoulder pad and into the hands of Patriots defensive back Duron Harmon for an interception at New England’s 16-yard line. Holton was hurt on the play but jogged off the field on his own power after some attention from trainers. He entered concussion protocol but later returned to the game.
While Oklahoma quarterback Baker Mayfield shined, running backs like Notre Dame’s Josh Allen and Georgia’s Nick Chubb struggled on Saturday.
With several marquee matchups, NFL teams had numerous scouts in the field to watch the top prospects face elite competition.
Against the nation’s sixth-ranked defense, Mayfield had his way while leading Oklahoma to a 38-20 victory over TCU. Mayfield was 18 of 27 for 333 yards and three touchdowns and has all-but locked up the Heisman Trophy.
Touchdown, Carolina. Christian McCaffrey takes a handoff near the goal line, makes a pair of Dolphins tacklers miss and runs into the end zone to put Carolina ahead 10-0. That Panthers’ drive ate up 6:17 of game time.
Taurean Prince, Atlanta Hawks (30.3): The wing position is decidedly shallow past the starting tier, which means the market should appreciate a productive player such as Prince, who ranks 14th among small forwards on the Player Rater over the past two weeks.
Marcus Morris, Boston Celtics (34.0): What Morris has lost in minutes and touches in transitioning from Detroit to Boston, he’s countering with a rewarding spike in scoring efficiency. The savvy ball movement in Boston facilitates higher-percentage offensive opportunities for key rotation contributors such as Morris.
Derek Carr’s fantasy managers had some hope that things were getting better for him of late. He came into the Week 11 contest against the New England Patriots having thrown for 300 or more yards in three straight games and was only a couple of games removed from having posted 30.2 points against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 7.
Unfortunately, Carr didn’t build on that performance, as he averaged only 13.1 points in the two contests that followed the Chiefs’ matchup.
Back to the scene of the crime: Some 13 months ago, on the same field, these teams played a 6-6 tie that made fans question what was wrong with the quality of play in this league. Good thing, then, that the home team is playing its backup quarterback in Drew Stanton, and the visitor just got held to one touchdown and missed three field goals in a loss to Washington. It’s fair to wonder whether the Cardinals running Adrian Peterson 37 times, as if he’s in his early 20s again, is an ideal offensive strategy. (For them, it might be.)
The Falcons force a three-and-out as Doug Baldwin drops a pass on third down. Seattle challenges the call but the ruling on the field is upheld and the Seahawks punt for the first time with 8:57 to play.
Rodriguez mostly elides over what happened next, when they found themselves on opposite sides of baseball’s most heated, and often most genuinely nasty, rivalry. “When you’re trying to play for the pennant, emotions are high,” says Rodriguez. “If you talk about any dislike, and I don’t think that’s the word, it was less than one percent of a twenty year relationship.”
Despite being hampered by a hamstring injury, Marcus Mariota continues to make strides in his third NFL season. The Titans are 4-1 in games that Mariota has started and finished. Second-year safety Kevin Byard (41 tackles, 11 passes defensed, four interceptions) also has become a difference-maker while appearing on every defensive snap in 2017.
Asked Friday on Twitter if he would be working with RFR’s crop of young drivers in the upcoming season, Martin responded, simply, “No.” Martin, who drove for Roush Fenway from 1988-2006 — the vast majority of his Sprint Cup career — said at the time of his hiring as a driver development coach that he was happy to be reuniting with the organization where he earned 35 of his 40 career Sprint Cup wins.
It was announced in mid-January that Martin, 56, has joined forces with late model dirt-racing legend Scott Bloomquist to field two entries in the Lucas Oil Late Model Championship in 2015. Bloomquist and up-and-coming driver Jared Landers will drive the two team cars, respectively, with both carrying sponsorship from Batesville, Ark.-based Mark Martin Automotive Group.
Franks, who has been thrown around like a rag doll all afternoon, is sacked by J.R. Reed for a loss of 20, but before he even hits the ground (again) he fumbles and Reed picks the ball up and walks in for a 3-yard touchdown. It’s 35-0 Bulldogs, and I’m pretty sure Malik Zaire is warming up on Florida’s sideline, right?
“I have a lot of faith in my stunts, my opponents, and myself. My stuff looks crazier than it is. It’s controlled chaos.”
Using all his tools to scratch and claw to the top of the professional wrestling game, Janela remains one of the hardest working and innovative wrestlers on the indie scene.
“People have realized I can go 40 minutes and hold-for-hold with Zack Sabre Jr., but I’ll also put on a fun match with Marty Jannetty and Glacier,” said Janela. “I’ll do anything to have a good match.”
Two weeks ago, CBS had it. The problem was that both the Rams and Chargers were on Fox. So Fox was forced to choose, and chose Rams/Cowboys on Ch. 11 over Eagles/Chargers.
It was another decisive, devastating labor win for the NFL owners. Preventing the players from participating in the Week Five games—dubiously citing concern for injury after their extended time off—and thus keeping another week of pay was the final flourish.
If he slides, he doesn’t. You’re asking the tackler to anticipate what the QB is going to do, especially difficult on a third down in what was (at that point) a competitive game.
If the play is over once a knee touches no matter what, then the tackler has more reason to hold up. It also eliminates the occasional people’s elbow (that’s the only thing I know about post-80s pro wrestling) on a player who has slipped. The only thing you lose is the once-in-a-season hilarity of a receiver making a diving catch, the defenders forgetting to touch him and the receiver getting back up and running.
The 0-8 Niners were expected to target their quarterback of the future this offseason, but they’ve made a move earlier than anybody expected in trading their 2018 second-round pick to the Patriots for quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo.
Everyone but Jordan and Willie Reed has permission to rush the ball upcourt; the coaches track which players dribble over half court, and exchange giddy looks the moment — usually early the second quarter — when every non-center has done it.
About 100 feet way, clear on the other side of the court, Archie Miller takes a knee. The Hoosiers’ new coach is the shortest man on the floor — at 5-foot-9, he doesn’t clear sophomore forward De’Ron Davis’ shoulders. But after Devonte Green, Miller’s flashy New York-native guard, lobs a sloppy pass, Miller feels far from small. He waves his arms in a frenzy and his whole being practically vibrates — a powerful tornado of disgust.
The search for the right lineups in Boston, featuring every wacky possibility imaginable. The Celtics’ roster is stocked with tantilizing possibilities and led by a coach creative enough to try them all.
On the other hand, there’s the relatively anonymous up-and-coming advanced stats darling who fits more naturally with Charlotte’s other pieces. How will coach Steve Clifford handle his two centers? And how will Howard handle himself if his role starts to shrink?
It’s easy to debate which approach is right. Some think Washington should have signed Cousins when it had the advantage and he didn’t have a long résumé—say, two years ago. But back then, team president Bruce Allen had no idea Cousins would consistently be a 4,000-yard-per-season passer. So if Allen paid him like a premier player and he fizzled, he’d be stuck with an Osweiler-like contract.
Khan agreed to allow The MMQB shadow him this weekend, as part of our “24 Hours” series, as he takes in the festivities.
Jay Ajayi (1.4 OTD) ranks fifth in the NFL with 138 carries but has yet to score a touchdown this season. Ajayi was traded to the Eagles on Tuesday, but his scoring struggles point to the overall ineffectiveness of the Miami offense. The Dolphins are the only team yet to run the ball at least once inside the opponent’s 5-yard line (each of the 31 other teams have at least two).
Klemko sent me the menu and I looked it over and said, sure, I’ll go. Uncle’s is a pretty hot spot. We waited about 30 minutes for a table—actually three chairs at a long table, because every chair in the packed place gets used throughout the night.
I told Klemko the spicy chicken ramen looked good … but I could do without the soft boiled egg part of it. “That’s the best part!” he said. I went egg-less. The food was really good, particularly the shrimp bun and the ramen, with its noodles and sprouts and tender mouth-burning chicken.
It is also a new way to unlock Griffin’s expert playmaking — another small method of regaining some of what went out the door with Paul. Once defenders respect Griffin from deep, they’ll have to run out on him harder — leaving them vulnerable to Griffin’s pump-and-drive game:
If he shoots like this, the Clippers may not need him to.
In addition, Sellers is the only player since 1992, the earliest year for which we have target data, who had fewer targets (16) in a season with at least seven receiving scores. Fuller’s big-play ability is a huge boon to the aggressive Watson, and while Fuller’s touchdown success is sure to regress to the mean in coming weeks, Watson maximizes Fuller’s weekly upside and the team has a pretty favorable remaining schedule, beginning with an excellent matchup with the Indianapolis Colts in Week 9.
Rodriguez had a head start on Ortiz in the TV world.
On Aug. 11, the NFL finally announced a six-game suspension for Ezekiel Elliott to start this season, after an investigation spanning more than a year. The suspension stems from domestic violence allegations made against Elliott in July 2016.
Knowing Seattle GM John Schneider, if he thinks he can get a tackle like Brown, just coming off a long holdout in Houston, and the most vocal of the Houston veterans against owner Bob McNair after McNair’s “inmates running the prison” remark in ESPN The Magazine last week, he’ll find another way. The Seahawks are snug up against the salary cap, and if they want Brown, they may have to redo Brown’s deal and redo some of their own contracts. That’s, of course, if Schneider can find a deal to satisfy the Texans by the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline Tuesday. My money’s on Schneider.
Based on the way he’s played, it’s outrageous that Jonathan Allen was available to the Redskins with the 17th pick in April. He looks like the same dominating player he was at Alabama. If his shoulders hold up, and that’s a significant if, then Washington got itself a steal.
What very easily could have served as Philadelphia’s trap game ended in a comfortable win for the Eagles, who used a wild minute of game time at the end of the first half to blow open what was otherwise a close contest.
The big-bodied receiver leapt to catch a 50/50 ball over Ahkello Witherspoon (who had just intercepted Wentz on the previous possession), break his tackle attempt and outrun two more defenders for a 53-yard touchdown. It was Jeffery’s best play as an Eagle and a demonstration of Wentz’s resiliency, airing it out through the rain moments after throwing an interception that led to a Niners touchdown.
For now, the offense is working. In some ways, things are not so different. The Clippers are still playing at a slightly below-average pace — even after misses — and minimizing turnovers, hallmarks of a Paul team. They are tossing almost exactly the same number of passes as they did last season.
But the touches and time of possession are spread out more evenly, and the Clips are running like bananas when Griffin rests, per NBA.com. That makes intuitive sense: When your best one-on-one weapon in the half-court hits the pine, run like hell so you don’t have to play in the half court at all.
The glow of Blake Griffin’s game winner at the buzzer in Portland on Wednesday faded with a loss to Detroit on Saturday, their first of the season. The Clips still own the NBA’s best defense by a considerable margin. They can get greedy this week, with four games at home. The first will be against the Warriors, against whom the Clippers are 1-11 since defeating the Dubs in a first-round playoff series in 2014.
“I always tried to push him as a little kid to play soccer, and it was strange, he didn’t like it,” says Roque Ortiz, Andres’ father. “Then all of a sudden when he was in middle school, he started to get interested in football, and he came home complaining, Oh, why you didn’t teach me football?”
Although he’s just 5’9” and 160 pounds, Ortiz knew he had a good arm, from playing some flag football at recess. He wrote down his position as quarterback at the very first meeting and has been the Panthers’ starter ever since.
But it’s easier to make an educated guess which owners want Goodell to push harder to get players to stand: Dallas, Washington and Houston, certainly.
Going into Week 7, before he had to miss the game against his former team, the Titans, with an ankle injury, McCourty was Pro Football Focus’ highest-graded overall corner this season. Given he’s 30, it would merely be a short-term move for the Chiefs, but one that would also net another developmental QB project in return. Marcus Peters and McCourty would give the Chiefs one of the league’s best cornerback duos and erase a big weakness.
As much as Andy Reid and the Chiefs’ coaching staff have raved about Mahomes and his arm, Kizer’s skill set is better suited for a Smith successor. Mahomes needs to be on the field somewhere soon, and the Browns might as well take a chance on a fourth QB. It’s clear they have already lost patience with Kizer.
As I talked about last week, there is a complete culture change under Brian Kelly from last season. It’s neat to see successful leadership at work. Brandon Wimbush continues to improve as a passer and Josh Adams has impressed me lately at running back. Confidence is growing for this team, as it took care of business at home against NC State on Saturday.
If the Astros win: Get the party started in H-Town! Over the past 55 years, Houston’s baseball experience has included the opening of the wondrous Astrodome in 1965, 12 postseason appearances, a pennant in both the National and American leagues and a list of stars that includes Nolan Ryan, Jose Cruz, Cesar Cedeno, J.R. Richard, Mike Scott, Roy Oswalt and the Killer B’s: Craig Biggio, Jeff Bagwell and Lance Berkman. One thing Houstonians have never seen: a World Series championship. And there wouldn’t be a more appropriate time for it than in the aftermath of the devastation from Hurricane Harvey.