Volquez looks to continue revival against Giants (Yahoo Sports) - PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Edinson Volquez's renaissance began with a simple game of catch. Hughes overtakes Moore in title race - Richard Hughes passes Ryan Moore in the jockeys' title race after completing a double at Salisbury. Coleman 'doesn't care' about critics - Wales manager Chris Coleman says he will never win over some supporters and is "not bothered" by the criticism. Paceman Mills set to leave Essex - England Lions paceman Tymal Mills is to leave Essex, while spinner Tim Phillips retires after 16 seasons at Chelmsford. 'Pardew can handle Magpies pressure' - Alan Pardew can handle the pressure at Newcastle despite calls for him to leave the club, say two former team-mates. Dettori to ride Ruler in Arc - Frankie Dettori will ride 2013 Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World in Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Dettori to ride Ruler at Arc - Frankie Dettori will ride 2013 Epsom Derby winner Ruler Of The World at Sunday's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. McIlroy named PGA Player of Year - World number one Rory McIlroy is voted PGA Tour Player of the Year for a second time after winning two majors in 2014. Charging documents show Phelps DUI tied to alcohol (Yahoo Sports) - Michael Phelps can't seem to break a disturbing pattern. McIlroy wins PGA Tour player of the year (Yahoo Sports) - ST. ANDREWS, Scotland (AP) -- One incredible month of golf was enough for Rory McIlroy to be voted PGA Tour player of the year.

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Week 5 Flames: Fiery expectations for under-started Flacco, Crowell and Quick [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: October 1, 2014, 1:25 pm]
Each week the Noise highlights 12-13 somewhat obscure, un-obvious names who he believes are destined to torch the competition. To qualify, each player must be started in fewer than 60 percent of Yahoo! leagues. Speaking as an accountability advocate, I will post results, whether genius or moronic, the following week using the scoring system shown here. If you're a member of TEAM HUEVOS, reveal your Week 5 Flames in the comments section below. Joe Flacco, Bal, QB (12-percent started)Matchup: at IndEvery time the 'elite QB' discussion is broached by mainstream analysts, it's always hilarious when Flacco is mentioned in the same breath as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. A Super Bowl ring isn't an automatic qualifier for greatness, nimrods. You gotta have stats to back up such a bold declaration. Numbers-wise the signal caller is nowhere close to top-shelf, but through four weeks he hasn't exactly lived down to his mediocre fantasy reputation. Thanks to Steve Smith's rebirth, Flacco, despite averaging just 6.89 yards per attempt, ranks No. 12 among passers in per game output. He's already surpassed the 300-yard mark twice and tallied a pair of multi-TD games. Due in large part to a restrictive offensive line – he's been under duress only 25.8 percent of the time this year – he's dropped bombs more precisely and frequently. Last year, his 26.1 accuracy percentage on chucks beyond 20 yards ranked No. 39 of 40. Raising that rate to 50.0 percent through four weeks, he's cracked the top-five in the category. Down pill popper LaRon Landry due to a failed drug test (SHOCKER!), an already vulnerable Colts secondary is even more exploitable. Indy has yielded 7.95 yards per attempt and the 10th-most fantasy points to QBs so far. In a game with shootout appeal, Flacco is a fantastic plug 'n play option for streamers.  Fearless Forecast: 26-41, 296 passing yards, 2 passing touchdowns, 1 interception, 21.8 fantasy points [Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5

Big Board: Charles charges back [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 30, 2014, 11:01 pm]
The Big Board takes into consideration past returns, current performance and expected future gains in determining who should be included among the top 50 fantasy football players. Essentially, the Big Board is a cheat sheet designed for an owner who is planning to participate in a draft today. Yahoo! Sports Fantasy Football default scoring settings are used as the baseline for the Big Board, which is updated on a regular basis during the season. [Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first] Big Board 50: Football PlayerPos.StockComment 1. DeMarco Murray (DAL) RB 0 Has been an owner's dream w/ at least 25 touches, 131 YFS and a TD in four straight games - schedule has a few speed bumps the next few weeks but sets up well down the stretch 2. Marshawn Lynch (SEA) RB 0 Only other RB in Murray's fantasy neighborhood on a per game basis - one of the toughest rest of season SOS among RBs is a bit of a buzz kill, though 3. Jamaal Charles (KAN) RB +9 Happy returns in Week 4 (TD hat trick and 108 YFS) - good to see all is OK with his ankle, though K. Davis (back-to-back 100-yard games) likely has carved out a sizeable role going forward 4. Matt Forte (CHI) RB +1 Still looking for TD but bounced back in W4 w/ 2nd 160+ YFS effort of season - next 6 opponents all rank among top 15 most generous in fantasy to the RB position 5. LeSean McCoy (PHI) RB -2 Dreadful 29/39 rushing line over past 2 weeks - O-line issues, turf toe are top suspects for his struggles, but don't be overly concerned unless he lays egg vs STL in W5 (Rams allow 5.1 YPC) 6. Calvin Johnson (DET) WR -2 Bum ankle in W4 forced DET to use him as window dressing (2/12 line) - as No. 46 ranked WR for past 3 weeks, his owners are praying that ankle heals quickly (FWIW, Megatron says it is) 7. Julio Jones (ATL) WR -1 With ATL troubles on ground, pretty much a guaranteed week in, week out high performer - has at least 6 catches and 76 rec. yards in 9 straight re

Mostly NFL Notes: Tom Brady's continued decline and a look around the league in Week 4 [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 30, 2014, 6:28 am]
Tom Brady threw for just 159 yards (6.9 YPA) with one touchdown while committing three turnovers (there should’ve been a fourth) as he continues to be one of the most disappointing players in 2014. New England’s offensive line struggled badly again, and it’s clear Rob Gronkowski isn’t yet 100 percent, so there are some excuses, but there’s no question he’s played poorly. The safe bet is the inner-circle Hall of Famer plays better over the rest of the season, but in a tough situation and clearly in the decline phase of his career at age 37, Brady simply can’t be counted on in fantasy leagues (he gets a Bengals team in Week 5 that’s allowed a 2:6 TD:INT ratio on the season). I fully expected a big year from Brady, but he’s yet to throw multiple TDs in any of his four games and has produced a 7.0 YPA in just one of them. His YPA has dropped each of the last three seasons and currently sits at a career low 5.8. It’s probably meaningless, but it was interesting to see Jimmy Garoppolo immediately lead a TD drive once he took over. [Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first] Monday night marked the first time New England allowed 300 yards in the first half during the Bill Belichick era. Kansas City entered having zero takeaways on the year before recording three…With Aaron Dobson apparently a total bust, Brandon LaFell, who led the Pats with 10 targets, becomes an interesting waiver wire add this week…Travis Kelce looked terrific and will be a top-five fantasy tight end moving forward if the Chiefs continue to feature him like that…Jamaal Charles looked healthy (aside from briefly leaving with cramps) and needs to be treated as a top-three fantasy asset, although Knile Davis remains the most important handcuff in fantasy football…Alex Smith has a 6:0 TD:INT ratio over the past two weeks. Like last year, the Smith to Charles connection inside the 10-yard line is unstoppable…Gronkowski may not be full

Week 4 rewind: Buying in on rookie Blake Bortles having fantasy value [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 29, 2014, 11:16 pm]
You're not supposed to get emotional over the stocks, as Gordon Gekko once said. You're not supposed to get emotional over fantasy football players, either.  But I dare you to watch Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles and not get excited for his immediate future.  Bortles didn't have a magnificent fantasy day in his first NFL start (29-for-37, 253 yards, one TD, two INTs, 24 rushing yards), to be fair. Most of the completions came on short throws. He ranked just 17th in basic Yahoo scoring amongst quarterbacks, and that's on a heavy bye week. Teddy Bridgewater did better in his first start. Mike Glennon and Ryan Tannehill posted better numbers, too. And all of those other quarterbacks probably have better supporting casts than Bortles does (it's a certainty with Bridgewater). Nonetheless, I think Bortles can be a solid QB2 this year and maybe a sneaky QB1 later in the season. For a rookie, he's awfully smart and polished. He's got every attribute you'd want at the position: size, arm strength, running ability, intelligence. I'm excited to see where this goes.  [Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first] The signature Bortles highlight from Sunday's loss at San Diego came in the second quarter (it's the first play here). Bortles took a snap around midfield and set up in the pocket, quickly met by the Chargers rush. Bortles sensed the rush and shifted to his left, reset to a balanced throwing position (from a quiet area), then uncorked a perfect toss to an uncovered Allen Hurns down the seam. The play should have been a 46-yard touchdown, but Hurns bobbled the ball before securing it, eventually gang-tackled short of the goal line. (It's not the first time Hurns has left a long touchdown on the table.) If Chad Henne were still quarterbacking the Jags, that completion never happens. Heck, the play probably turns into a sack. Take note of this eye-popping stat from the first quarter of the season: Henne has a sack ra

Monday Rewind: Buying in on Blake Bortles [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 29, 2014, 11:16 pm]
You're not supposed to get emotional over the stocks, as Gordon Gekko once said. You're not supposed to get emotional over fantasy football players, either.  But I dare you to watch Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles and not get excited for his immediate future.  Bortles didn't have a magnificent fantasy day in his first NFL start (29-for-37, 253 yards, one TD, two INTs, 24 rushing yards), to be fair. Most of the completions came on short throws. He ranked just 17th in basic Yahoo scoring amongst quarterbacks, and that's on a heavy bye week. Teddy Bridgewater did better in his first start. Mike Glennon and Ryan Tannehill posted better numbers, too. And all of those other quarterbacks probably have better supporting casts than Bortles does (it's a certainty with Bridgewater).  Nonetheless, I think Bortles can be a solid QB2 this year and maybe a sneaky QB1 later in the season. For a rookie, he's awfully smart and polished. He's got every attribute you'd want at the position: size, arm strength, running ability, intelligence. I'm excited to see where this goes.  [Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first] The signature Bortles play from Sunday's loss at San Diego came in the second quarter (it's Play 1 here). Bortles took a snap around midfield and set up in the pocket, quickly met by the Chargers rush. Bortles shifted to his left, reset to a throwing position (from a quiet area), then uncorked a perfect toss to an uncovered Allen Hurns down the seam. The play should have been a 46-yard touchdown, but Hurns bobbled the ball before securing it, eventually gang-tackled short of the goal line.  If Chad Henne were still quarterbacking the Jags, that completion never happens. Heck, the play probably turns into a sack. Take note of this eye-popping stat from the first quarter of the season: Henne has a sack rate of 17 percent (which is horrendous), while Bortles is at four percent. Even through a small sample of plays,

Phew: Teddy Bridgewater feeling better, on track for Thursday [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 29, 2014, 5:58 pm]
Minnesota Vikings rookie Teddy Bridgewater was mostly excellent on Sunday in his first regular season NFL start. He lit up Atlanta's defense for 317 passing yards on just 30 attempts, and he rushed for 27 yards and one score. Bridgewater rarely put the ball at risk, he attacked at multiple levels, and he was decisive, accurate and generally unflappable. It helped, of course, that his offensive line decisively won almost every battle. With Bridgewater at the controls, Minnesota's offense gained 558 total yards and averaged 7.5 yards per play. [ Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first ] Unfortunately, Bridgewater also exited late in the Vikes' 41-28 win, not long after rolling his left ankle. He downplayed the severity of the injury in postgame comments, as did head coach Mike Zimmer. Still, when a guy gets carted to the locker room, we worry — it's only natural. Not only were X-rays negative on Sunday, but Bridgewater's MRI reportedly came back clean on Monday. So it appears he's avoided any sort of serious multi-week sprain, and he remains in play for Thursday's trip to Lambeau: Mike Zimmer expects Teddy Bridgewater to play Thursday— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 29, 2014 Huge relief. The Vikes offense is more interesting, by orders of magnitude, with Bridgewater behind center. Perhaps you don't fully agree, however, if you're a Cordarrelle Patterson owner. Let's review Teddy's target distribution from Sunday: Jarius Wright, 10 (132 yards) Greg Jennings, 4 (72) Cordarrelle Patterson, 4 (38) Matt Asiata, 4 (22) Chase Ford, 4 (17) Jerick McKinnon, 3 (17) Rhett Ellison, 1 (19) Basically, everyone other than Wright had a supporting role in the Vikings' passing game. Bridgewater opened with short strikes to Wright, a receiver he clearly trusts; those two worked well together in the preseason. Minnesota's biggest passing gain on Sunday was an early 52-yarder by Wright off a bubble screen, a play that Bridgewat

Phew: Teddy Bridgewater is feeling better, on track for Thursday [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 29, 2014, 5:58 pm]
Minnesota Vikings rookie Teddy Bridgewater was mostly excellent on Sunday in his first regular season NFL start. He lit up Atlanta's defense for 317 passing yards on just 30 attempts, and he rushed for 27 yards and one score. Bridgewater rarely put the ball at risk, he attacked at multiple levels, and he was decisive, accurate and generally unflappable. It helped, of course, that his offensive line decisively won almost every battle. With Bridgewater at the controls, Minnesota's offense gained 558 total yards and averaged 7.5 yards per play. [ Join FanDuel.com's $1.5 million Week 5 fantasy league: $25 to enter; $150,000 to first ] Unfortunately, Bridgewater also exited late in the Vikes' 41-28 win, not long after rolling his left ankle. He downplayed the severity of the injury in postgame comments, as did head coach Mike Zimmer. Still, when a guy gets carted to the locker room, we worry — it's only natural. Not only were X-rays negative on Sunday, but Bridgewater's MRI reportedly came back clean on Monday. So it appears he's avoided any sort of serious multi-week sprain, and he remains in play for Thursday's trip to Lambeau: Mike Zimmer expects Teddy Bridgewater to play Thursday— Chris Tomasson (@christomasson) September 29, 2014 Huge relief. The Vikes offense is more interesting, by orders of magnitude, with Bridgewater behind center. Perhaps you don't fully agree, however, if you're a Cordarrelle Patterson owner. Let's review Teddy's target distribution from Sunday: Jarius Wright, 10 (132 yards) Greg Jennings, 4 (72) Cordarrelle Patterson, 4 (38) Matt Asiata, 4 (22) Chase Ford, 4 (17) Jerick McKinnon, 3 (17) Rhett Ellison, 1 (19) Basically, everyone other than Wright had a supporting role in the Vikings' passing game. Bridgewater opened with short strikes to Wright, a receiver he clearly trusts; those two worked well together in the preseason. Minnesota's biggest passing gain on Sunday was an early 52-yarder by Wright off a bubble screen, a play that Bridgewat

Sunday Scene, Week 4: Steve Smith punishes the Panthers [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 29, 2014, 1:01 am]
Steve Smith Sr. had promised a reckoning. "Blood and guts everywhere," he said back in March. During Baltimore's season opener, when cameras found Smith on the sideline, he let us all know — in the clearest possible terms — that he was looking forward to seeing Carolina in Week 4. Predictably, Smith roasted his former employer on Sunday, hauling in seven passes on 10 targets, finishing with 139 yards and two touchdowns. If anyone actually doubted whether Smith was amped for a fight this week, his first reception settled the issue. After the catch, he stiff-armed Roman Harper to the turf — almost needlessly, since he had the safety beat. Smith's first score was a tip-drill miracle that went for 61 yards. His second was a 21-yarder on which he out-fought coverage. Smith didn't seem to engage in much mid-game yapping, but he gave us this gem when all the numbers were in: "I'm 35 years old and I ran around those boys like they were schoolyard kids." You'll get no argument from ... well, from anyone. Because only an idiot would choose to argue with Steve Smith. We're now a quarter of the way through Baltimore's season, and Smith has already topped the 100-yard mark three times. These are his week-by-week target totals: 15, 10, 7, 10. That sort of usage will definitely play. Baltimore has used him to attack all levels, against every defense. Last year in Carolina, Smith never reached 70 receiving yards in any game. This year, he's been over 70 each week. At this point, it seems senseless to expect any other Ravens wideout (Torrey included) to leapfrog him in the team's receiving hierarchy. Wherever you ranked him entering the season, it wasn't high enough. He's a no-doubt start at his current usage, with three friendly matchups on deck: at Indy, at Tampa, vs. Atlanta. • If Bernard Pierce played in Week 4 against the Panthers, I missed it. All the backfield touches went to Justin Forsett (17 touches, 97 yards, TD) and bulldozing rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro (15, 58, T

Booms and Busts: Week 4 pinball with Aaron Rodgers [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 28, 2014, 9:59 pm]
It's a common frame every week - some fantasy players exceed our expectations, some fantasy players let us down. Here's a scoreboard from the first-wave of Week 4 action.  Booms -- Packers Offense: After a tricky first three weeks, it was refreshing to see the Packers back at full throttle in their romp at Chicago. Aaron Rodgers played just about a perfect game (22-for-28 passing, 302 yards, four touchdowns), and he brought his big-name receivers along for the ride (Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb combined for 221 yards and four touchdowns). The game was at Soldier Field, but the Packers banged on the drum all day. Eddie Lacy owners didn't enjoy the game nearly as much, though he at least contributed something (59 total yards on 18 touches, one touchdown). A second Lacy touchdown was wiped out by a holding penalty. The Packers host Minnesota on Thursday. -- The Smiths, WRs, Baltimore: Stop me if you think you've heard this one before - Steve Smith has the highest motor of any player we've ever seen. And when his old Carolina chums came to town, he flicked the switch up to 11, dominating the game from start to finish (139 receiving yards, two TDs). Sure, his 61-yard touchdown was a little fluky, a tipped pass intended for a teammate, but Smith has a way of making his own breaks. The Panthers interfered with Smith on his second touchdown, but No. 89 made the grab anyway. Torrey Smith's day was much quieter (2-53-1 on three targets), but at least he found the end zone for the first time this season. Anything to quell the panic. Baltimore heads to Indianapolis for Week 5.  -- Ryan Tannehill, QB, Dolphins: Rumors of a benching didn't seem to bother him, nor did a trip to London. The Dolphins quarterback put on a jolly good show (21-for-31, 278 yards, two scores), perhaps saving Joe Philbin's job in the progress. Spot on, Tannehill. If the Raiders had put up a little bit of a fight, the numbers could have been much larger. Miami's big-name playmakers also were heard from:

Throwing Darts: The Tampa Bay zig-zag [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 28, 2014, 3:41 pm]
Five selections against the Yahoo PickEm line, that's how we roll.  Classic zigzag theory requires a pick on the Bucs +7.5. Tampa just looked horrendous on National TV, while Pittsburgh had its best effort. An outlier is never a fair approximation of any team, and I expect the Bucs offense to actually have a fighting chance now that Mike Glennon is the starting quarterback.  I'll take the Jets +1.5, liking how they move the ball between the 20s. Geno Smith's turnover issues are maddening, but correctable.  I know Philly has a ton of offensive line problems, but I love the depth of the skill players, not to mention the mind of Chip Kelly. What scares us about San Francisco's defense? I'll try Philly +5.  We've learned not to trust the Saints on the road, but Jerry World is not an intimidating place for visiting teams. Dallas's defense might not be the sieve we feared in August, but Tony Romo will give the ball away a few times. Grab New Orleans -3.  When you see conservative teams that are closely matched and the line creeps over three, you have to side with the dog. Baltimore's offense isn't built to blow teams out. Carolina +3.5, let's do the dance. Last Week: 2-3 Season: 8-7

Closing Time: Miguel Gonzalez, Chris Heston set for Sunday [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 27, 2014, 8:13 pm]
September is the silly season for fantasy baseball. Rosters get large, players get shut down, no-names get playing time. If you've lasted this long, you know the risks by now. Everything is tentative and in flux.  Nonetheless, we wanted to you to know about a couple of pitching changes for Sunday.  Miguel Gonzalez is getting the call for the finale at Toronto, taking the spot initially marked for Ubaldo Jimenez. Gonzalez has been excellent in the second half of the year, posting a 2.35 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 10 starts. Jimenez is expected to see relief work in this game.  The Giants have decided to use rookie Chris Heston for their finale against San Diego; Madison Bumgarner is being saved for the playoffs. Heston, 26, had a solid summer with Triple-A Fresno, with a 3.38 ERA and 1.17 WHIP over 173 innings. He struck out 2.45 men for every walk.  Tim Lincecum was in consideration for the Sunday start, but the Giants opted to keep him in the bullpen. He'll probably see an appearance in one of the two final games.  I can't promise you Gonzalez or Heston will pitch well (or even deep into their games), and I can't promise you the Orioles or Giants will take their finales seriously. They're both in the playoffs already, as you know. There's no weird baseball quite like September baseball. But every probable starter has some theoretical value, depending on your context, so we provide you the information. I'm using both pitchers in one of my leagues, where I have little ratio risk but could use a win or even a handful of strikeouts.  May the baseball gods be with you. Let's be careful out there. 

Injury Wrap: Week 4 waiting game for Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 27, 2014, 8:20 am]
With six vacationing NFL clubs, Week 4 is a tricky one to navigate. But all things considered, it's not that bad an injury report. We'll start with the wide receivers and tight ends. • Calvin Johnson (ankle) had a limited workout Friday after missing the two previous days. The Lions have an early start at the Jets, so you'll want to double-check before locking in the lineup. Johnson usually plays through most maladies, but he did have one surprise game-day scratch last season. • Brandon Marshall (ankle) looked superhuman in the Week 2 win at San Francisco, but it's been a tricky slog since. He was clearly compromised Monday at New York, and he hasn't practiced all week. He's a true game-day call for Sunday's division grudge match against the Packers. Santonio Holmes gets a rank upgrade if Marshall is forced out of action, in theory anyway, and tight end Martellus Bennett has been a target monster in the early going. • Vernon Davis (ankle) did some practice the last two days but nonetheless will be a game-time decision for Sunday's home match against Philadelphia. It's a second-wave start, which makes it tricky for fantasy owners. Vance McDonald (knee) is also a game-day call. • The Jets think they'll get Eric Decker (hamstring) on the field in Week 4, but no one can say how many snaps he's ready to handle. Recall that he played Monday against Chicago but lasted a mere 12 snaps. I have a handful of Decker shares, but I'm not going to risk it with him this week. • Marqise Lee (hamstring) isn't going to play at San Diego, which cleans up the Jacksonville receiver group a bit. Allen Robinson, Cecil Shorts and Allen Hurns are the main targets for rookie QB Blake Bortles. • Jarrett Boykin (knee/groin) didn't work Friday and is unlikely to play, which could push Davante Adams into a bigger role. • Delanie Walker (shoulder) had a limited Friday and is listed as questionable. Barring a setback in warmups, it looks like he'll play against the Colts. • 

Breakfast Table: Moon Rivers [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 27, 2014, 6:21 am]
Two guys talking about football, long form. You might enjoy it. You might prefer to be mauled by polar bears. The choice is up to you.  From: scott pianowski Date: Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 4:33 PMSubject: enjoy every sandwichTo: Mark Stopa The AFC East pisses me off. I'm not sure how Joe Philbin survived the Richie Incognito scandal last year, but he returned - and now he's making a mess of the Dolphins. Messing with Ryan Tannehill is short-sighted. Quarterback isn't an effort position, it's a skill and preparation position. I rarely think in-season firings make sense, but Miami should consider it after they're done with the Werewolves of London. You have the silly Jets, with their Michael Vick tinkering. Apparently they learned nothing from their Tebow mistakes. Tom Brady doesn't have much to work with, but what's happened to his dreamy pocket awareness? And then there are the Bills, with two sports cars (and a Toyota) but no one to drive. [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid] Did we just see the game of the year in Seattle? The first three quarters were pedestrian, but the finish made up for it. What's good this time around. Niners and Eagles? Packers and Bears? The weekly Baltimore slobberknocker? Your witness. From: mark stopa Date: Thu, Sep 25, 2014 at 10:56 AMSubject: Re: enjoy every sandwichTo: scott pianowski Why are we talking about the AFC East? If those four teams merged into the CFL, would anyone notice? Tannehill, Manuel and Geno Smith belong in Canada, and Tom Brady looks like the game manager we saw in 2001, not the inner-circle Hall of Famer who emerged in subsequent years. Only 5.5 yards per attempt? The Pats are ripe for the picking, yet nobody else in the East seems capable of doing it. I have half a mind to bet Blake Bortles throws more TD passes than Brady for the rest of 2014. Last week's ending in Seattle was fun, but how can it be the game of the year when Denver never scared a win? Remember Denv

Week 4 Starts/Sits: Bombs away for Big Ben against the Bucs [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 26, 2014, 4:49 pm]
The bye week season opens with a bang, as five of the six teams sitting out rank in the upper half of the league in scoring (Seattle, Denver, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Arizona). With a considerable amount of "juice" missing from this week's fantasy player pool, here's a look at some players that you can count on this weekend, as well as a few that you'll want to try and avoid. STARTS Ben Roethlisberger, PIT vs. TB – Big Ben is off to a modest start, but a matchup against a Tampa Bay defense allowing a 77 percent completion rate to opposing quarterbacks, and the highest QB Rating allowed (117) should help him pick up the pace this weekend. Roethlisberger should have little trouble returning top 10 fantasy QB numbers against a badly struggling Bucs squad.Stevan Ridley, NE at KC – Ridley is being rewarded for hanging on to the football (0 fumbles in '14), receiving 45 touches combined the past two weeks (compared to just 17 for platoon mate Shane Vereen). Facing a KC defense that is allowing a whopping 5.7 yards per carry to the running back position, Ridley is about as safe a play as any running back can be under the direction of Bill Belichick. Put him down for something in the neighborhood of 20 touches, 80-90 yards and a goal-line plunge. [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid] Donald Brown, SD vs. JAC – Brown had the anti-Midas touch in Week 3, failing to turn a whopping 36 touches against Buffalo into fantasy gold. But the ridiculous workload should continue for the former Colt this weekend as San Diego is without running backs Ryan Mathews (for a few more weeks) and Danny Woodhead (for the season). The Chargers have few other options (Branden Oliver as a garbage time sleeper?) against a Jacksonville defense that has allowed a touchdown and 80-plus yards to each featured back it has faced this season. Brown should keep the Jags' generosity streak alive.DeAndre Hopkins, HOU vs. BUF – As noted by Michael Salfi

Week 4 Over/Under: Should you welcome back Doug Martin with open arms? [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 26, 2014, 4:28 pm]
Fantasy is a speculative game. Predict the future, and you look like a genius. Don't, and you're painfully human. Gazing into the crystal ball, here's our view on 10 intriguing over/unders for Week 4. Doug Martin, who's tortured owners with injury and ineptitude, combined yards in his return against the Steelers 79.5.  Scott – UNDER. Martin showed us nothing in Week 1 and nothing last year (and he's dinged up now). At what point do we accept that maybe he became significantly overrated after a couple of huge games in his rookie year? Oakland's rushing defense isn't walking through that door. I do like Vincent Jackson to have a big game, and Mike Glennon has to be better than Josh McCown. But I'll need a prove-it game from Martin before I step up with a strong ranking.  [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid] Andy – OVER, probably with ease. After last Thursday's disaster, I can't get too excited about Bobby Rainey. He's not a worry for me. Martin is facing a Steelers defense that's allowed 5.1 YPC on the season, so the opponent isn't a concern, either. Brandon – UNDER. Martin is coming off a knee injury, not to mention he ran for nine yards on nine carries when last we saw him in Week 1. And, of course, let's not forget the traveshamockery that was the Bucs last week, losing to the Falcons 56-14. Tampa Bay has generated the third-fewest yards per game in the league. On the road in Pittsburgh, I'm not expecting much from anyone on the visitor's side of the field. Steve Smith, who promised "blood and guts" against his former employer, receiving yards against Carolina 84.5 Andy – OVER. I don't think I even need data to back this up. Smith has warned of a reckoning, and it's now upon them. Brandon – OVER. You have to love how Smith has meshed with QB Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense, thus far. And I've said before that Pittsburgh's Antonio Brown reminds me of a younger Smith, and Brown just got done torch

FFL Sunday: Advice to help you survive a hellish bye week at 9 AM ET, 6 AM PT [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 26, 2014, 1:38 pm]
No Beast Mode. No Peyton. No. Green. Welcome to bye-week hell. Your pitchfork, ‘Transformers’ movie box set and permanent fantasy rights to Trent Richardson are available just inside the gates. With six teams on a one-week siesta, these are certainly lean times. On this week’s deep-digging program, Melanie Collins, Brad Evans, Brandon Funston, Andy Behrens and Super Bowl champ, Shaun King, will do their damnedest to get you a W. Our fearless forecasters will square off over Colin Kaepernick and Jay Cutler, project who stands to benefit most in Sunday night’s shootout in Little D, explain why Steve Smith Sr. is an absolute must start and, as we do every week, tend to your every fantasy need. Here’s how YOU can join the circus: Phone: 877.FFL.Guru Twitter: @YahooFantasy As always, Brad Evans and Brandon Funston will round the wagons on our Yahoo Sports Radio pregame show. The boys will offer their sleepers, busts and shocker specials for every remaining Week 4 game, go over or under on Doug Martin and answer your pressing questions.  Get in on the action here: Phone: 800.777.2907 Twitter: @YSRFFL Don’t fret. We’ll get through this brutal bye week together. LISTEN TO FANTASY FOOTBALL LIVE RADIO HERE (SUNDAY 9 AM ET, 6 AM PT)     

Closing Time: Yasmani Grandal, come splash with me [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 26, 2014, 10:12 am]
We've seen plenty of ebb and flow in the brief career of Yasmani Grandal. He was a buzzy hitting and catching prospect at the front of the decade; a hot-hitting rookie upon promotion in 2012; a suspended sophomore last year; and not much of anything this summer, invisible in the post-hype days.  But it's time to reopen the Grandal case. He's swinging a mean bat of late, and can help you on the final weekend of the season.  [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid] Grandal made his biggest splash of the year, most literally, in Thursday's 9-8 loss at San Francisco. He cranked a solo homer off the right-field foul pole in the sixth inning, then dunked a grand slam an inning later. Enjoy the sweet swings on the video - both balls were absolutely crushed.  Grandal's overall stat line isn't going to entice many, but let's focus on what he's done in September. He's on a .282/.395/.535 binge, with four homers, 15 runs and 11 RBIs, over the final month. Those numbers will play anywhere. And while he's a catcher for eligibility sake, he's not burdened by the tools of ignorance: 16 of his 20 starts this month have come at first base. No surprise he's hitting better, freed from the physical demands of catching.  Add it up, let's see what we have here. Grandal is an OBP machine with some pop (15 homers), a hot hitter who's up against a Giants team he generally owns. A faux catcher is always welcome for our purposes. He's free to add in 93 precent of Yahoo leagues. Take some hacks with us. 

If you landed a top fantasy draft slot ... um, sorry. That has not gone well [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 25, 2014, 11:47 pm]
So when you landed that top-five pick in your fantasy draft this year, you were probably pretty stoked. Maybe you talked a bit. Or you placed a few side bets. Or suggested to your commish that the league go winner-take-all. [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid] I mean, you were perfectly positioned. Jamaal Charles or Adrian Peterson in the first, then maybe Aaron Rodgers in the second. That's a title winner right there. Boom. CHAMPIONSHIP. Time to get yourself fitted for one of these: But here we are entering Week 4, and things have not quite gone according to script. Through the first three weeks of the 2014 season, across the full universe of Yahoo leagues, teams that drafted at the back half of the first round are outperforming the early pickers by a non-trivial margin. Clearly, the ugly, unforeseeable Peterson situation is a significant factor, as are the slow starts by Charles, Matt Forte and Eddie Lacy. Courtesy of our friends at Automated Insights, here's a look at fantasy team winning percentages by draft slot through Week 3, in leagues with 10, 12, 14 and 16 managers: As you can see (and as you probably could have guessed), the later you picked this year the better your current record, in all likelihood — especially in deeper formats. That swing in winning percentages between the top-five and bottom-five picks in 16-team leagues is huge. (I've included ADP info above, just so you can see the picks that were most commonly associated with each spot. Dez obviously did not go ninth in every draft, Lynch did not always go tenth, etc.) Again, this phenomenon is really all about the early running back duds, and of course there's still plenty of time for the top-of-draft RBs to justify their ADPs. Charles is expected to return this week, while Lacy and Forte finally get friendlier matchups. There are really no clear takeaways from the data above; it's basically just barstool trivia at this stage, not actionable

Shuffle Up: Le'Veon Bell takes the leap [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 25, 2014, 5:50 pm]
Rest-of-season value is the goal when we do these Shuffle Ups. These are not Week 4 ranks. What's happened to this point is merely an audition.   The dollar values are unscientific, and merely provided as a tool to compare the players at the same position (I wouldn't suggest you use them to compare players at different positions). Groups of players at the same price are considered even.  [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid] Assume a standard format (non-PPR), and remember that league and roster context will always trump any in-a-vacuum ranking. If you want to use this as a checkpoint against your own ideas, that's lovely. But you know your league environment better than anyone else does.  We'll Shuffle the running backs and tight ends in even weeks. Quarterbacks and wideouts get Shuffled for the odd weeks.  For now, just the prices. I'll add commentary, and might re-rank a few guys, later in the afternoon.   $31 Marshawn Lynch$31 DeMarco Murray$30 LeVeon Bell$30 LeSean McCoy$28 Matt Forte$27 Giovani Bernard$26 Eddie Lacy$23 Alfred Morris$23 Montee Ball$22 Rashad Jennings$21 Jamaal Charles$21 Arian Foster$21 Andre Ellington$20 Zac Stacy$19 Reggie Bush$18 Darren Sproles$18 Lamar Miller$17 C.J. Spiller$16 Frank Gore$16 Ahmad Bradshaw$15 Donald Brown$14 Shane Vereen$13 Fred Jackson$12 Chris Ivory$12 Joique Bell$12 Doug Martin$11 Stevan Ridley$10 Khiry Robinson$10 Jeremy Hill$8 Matt Asiata$8 Knile Davis$7 Pierre Thomas$6 Toby Gerhart$6 Steven Jackson$6 Ben Tate$6 Lorenzo Taliaferro$5 Trent Richardson$5 Chris Johnson$5 Bishop Sankey$5 Isaiah Crowell$4 Ryan Mathews$4 Carlos Hyde$4 Terrance West$3 DeAngelo Williams$3 Bernard Pierce$3 Darren McFadden$3 Knowshon Moreno$3 Mark Ingram$3 Justin Forsett$3 James Starks$2 Shonn Greene$2 Maurice Jones-Drew$2 LeGarrette Blount$2 Bobby Rainey$2 Roy Helu Jr.$2 Alfred Blue$2 Jerick McKinnon$2 Robert Turbin$2 Devonta Freeman$1 Jonathan Stewart$1 Benny Cunningham$1 Denard Robinson$

Open Book: Build your bankroll, stack Steelers in FanDuel [Yahoo! Sports: Blogs: September 25, 2014, 5:28 pm]
Straight cash homie! In his never-ending quest to pay off his kids' college education early, Brad Evans unveils his FanDuel picks for the upcoming week and explains his reasoning behind them. Make that money, #TeamHuevos.  [Join FanDuel's $350,000 1-week fantasy league: $10 to enter; top 6,764 teams get paid. Starts THIS SUNDAY at 1 PM ET.] CONTEST RULES AND SCORING FAKE BUDGET: $60,000 Ben Roethlisberger, Pit, QB (FanDuel Price: $7,700) – I'm convinced the entire Tampa defense is dealing with an incurable case of scurvy. Corners Alterraun Verner and Jonathan Banks have surrendered a combined 126.6 QB rating. Overall, opposing signal callers have averaged 8.96 passing yards per attempt against them. If Derek Anderson can hang 230-2 against this defense, Big Ben, who's completed 66.3 percent of his throws and notched a 7.7 ypa, is sure to sink the ship. It's entirely feasible the Steeler finishes as the No. 1 QB in fantasy this week.   Le'Veon Bell, Pit, RB ($8,800) – Jenny Craig has done Bell wonders. Lean, still mean and chewing up large chunks of green, the league's most patient runner has quickly proved skeptics wrong. A near lock for 100 total yards each week, he ranks top-seven in elusive rating, breakaway percentage and yards per route run among all rushers per Pro Football Focus. Flourishing in the Steelers' zone-blocking scheme, he should have little difficulty sprinting his way to elite numbers in Week 4. Battered by injuries, the Bucs' interior line has performed marginally against RBs. And that was against the likes of DeAngelo Williams, Zac Stacy and Steven Jackson. There's a shot at 125 combined yards and multiple TDs here.  Donald Brown, SD, RB ($6,300) – On an exhaustive 31 carries in Buffalo, Brown did his best Matt Asiata impersonation, netting a disgusting 62 yards (2.0 yards per carry). Though his Week 3 outing was nothing short of hideous, investors shouldn't be swayed. Blessed with the friendliest matchup imaginable (Jacksonville) and





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