Only three games left of the regular season and things are tight in a lot of divisions, even the bum AFC South is exciting with three teams sitting on 6-6, something that will change later tonight with two of them facing each other, spoiler alert – @jayhatton49 has chosen the Colts to win that one https://touchdowntips.com/2016/12/10/week-14-review-and-fantasy-outlook-jayhatton49/ for a read of his full predictions and a little fantasy advice if you’re that way inclined.
The televised football in the UK kicks off with the Broncos travelling to the deep south to take on the Tennessee Titans. At the start of the season you’d think I was a fool for thinking anything other than the reigning Superbowl champions winning this match, but here we are 3 months into the season and i’m having serious thoughts of a Titans win. They’re one of those three teams sitting at 0.500 in the South, and before their bye week were the most interesting and exciting of those teams. The Colts got a lot of attention with how they destroyed the god awful Jets in prime time and have taken a bit of attention away from them, but i’d still much rather have the Titans winning this division (at the end of the day it doesn’t really matter as they’ll likely lose the first match of the playoffs anyway, but still) they’re a more balanced team than the Colts and watching my cat clean itself is more interesting than having to sit through a Brock Osweiler game for the Texans. Marcus Mariota entered his sophomore year as arguably the third best QB from his rookie class behind Jameis Winston and Blake Bortles, but he’s been essential for the teams progress this year, he’s deadly in the red zone, a top 3 QB in TDs with 17, and throwing no interceptions in the final 20 yards of the field, he and the running backs corps there have led the Titans to top the league in Red Zone conversions, scoring with nearly 3/4 of their plays down there, the trouble today will be getting there, the Broncos secondary remains one of the best in the league, so passing won’t be a sensible option for the Titans, luckily they have one of this seasons best Running backs, DeMarco Murray sits second in rushing yards this season, scoring 8, and has looked dynamic whenever they’ve asked him to run the ball, he’s even added a passing TD to his stats, he was getting a bit worn down before the bye week but now rested he’ll be back to 100% and goes against a Denver defence that is susceptible to the run, 28th in yards given up. They said before the bye week that they were going to get beast rookie RB Derrick Henry more involved, and he got himself a TD in their last game, with the run game probably being highly favoured today i’d expect to see him get a few carries and run through some Broncos linemen. The WRs for the Titans are varied bunch who’ve stepped up this year, Rishard Matthews, Kendall Wright and even Tajae Sharpe have provided catches in regularity to keep them moving down the field. But the main guy for the Titans is veteran tight end Delanie Walker, and I can’t see that changing today, even if filthmerchant Aqib Talib follows him as is being rumoured, Denver have actually only given up two TDs to tight ends this year so he’ll be a risky bet, although has the talent and physicality to still have a chance.
The Broncos were very poor last week being led by Paxton Lynch against the stinking Jaguars relying on pick 6 behemoth Blake Bortles to give them points and running in a short field today as an interception, but thankfully for them, and an entertainment point of view they welcome back Trevor Siemian this week, he’s not exactly a top QB himself, he sits below Brock fucking Osweiler in passing yards, and is level with him on completion percentage, but he works this offence a hell of a lot better than any of the other options. I always struggle writing about the Broncos for the blog because they just aren’t an exciting team on offence. They’re effective, without a doubt, and do what they need to do well, but it’s just tough to write about them. Siemian will throwing the ball to Thomas and Sanders a handful of time, they’ll get around 60-80 yards each, one of them will score a TD, one of them might even break 100 yards, but it’s all just a little.. Bleh. The running game isn’t much better and has completely stagnated in recent weeks, Devontae Booker is averaging 2.6 yards a carry, which is woeful, better than Jeremy Hill of course, but not good. Kapri Bibbs had been looking a lot better than him over the last month or so, and did a lot of the work on their scoring drive last week, but he’s now on season ending IR, so they brought in Justin Forsett who joins his thrid team this season. It looks like he’ll be around 50/50 on snaps with Booker so i’ll be having a look at the odds on him, although the Titans run D is actually pretty good, top 10 in rushing yards and rushing TDs given up which makes that a little risky. Other than the big 3 well known guys, they like to mix in a lot of other WRs who occasionally pop up with a touchdown, Jordan Norwood, Jordan Taylor, Bennie Fowler have all had action this year, and their tight end position is a bit of a state as well although AJ Derby has seen more action in recent weeks since joining from the Patriots.
I’ve had the unders on my notebook all week for this match, the points total is at 43.5 which is a bit skinny for my liking, I have also had in my head that i’d take whoever the underdog was this week, it started as the Titans getting points, but has shifted over to Denver +1.5 points. I want the Titans to win, and they’ve got a good chance, but I think i’m just being clouded by my dislike of Denver, they always seem to get the job done. I think i’m going to have to avoid both and stick to a boring DeMarco Murray anytime 5/6 and a slightly more interesting Derrick Henry anytime – 14/5 both 365. Denver +1.5 10/11 (treble)
Next up is my game of the night, the Seahawks go over to Lambeau to take on the Packers. Russell Wilson this week has said he’s hoping for a snow game, and he’s probably going to get one, there’s a 90% chance of snow in Green Bay, this probably helps the worse team out, so he really should of been hoping for it to stay away. It all came together for the Hawks last week as they pasted the Panthers 40-7. My man Thomas Rawls blew them away in the first half, going for 2 TDs, and I 103 yards in that first half before leaving the game with a suspected concussion, which fortunately didn’t develop. He was quiet second half as he just wasn’t needed and they kept his workload very low, he finished with 106 yards from just 15 carries as the Seahawks set their 4th highest YPC at 8.6. I love the way Rawls runs, so much energy and anger, it probably isn’t good longterm for his career but it’s great to watch. A 75 yards Tyler Lockett run definitely helped pad out the rushing stats! He looked back to full health for the first time this season (incidentally a 7/2 shot for the the blog) and he’s likely to put up another big game for them tonight against a suspect Packers secondary, he ended with 170odd total yards from catches and kick returns. Doug Baldwin should get involved tonight as well, and I could easily see a multiple TD game for him as well as they look to exploit the Packs weakness against slot receivers. It’s really a case of pick your poison for Wilson as Jimmy Graham will probably get a lot of targets in the middle of the field as well. This match is shaping up to be a bit of a bonanza for Seattle.. providing the weather isn’t too extreme, we saw last week what snow can do to a games prospects, and i’m praying it doesn’t affect this match too much. In fairness Seattle are good with short passes so they should be able to cope with conditions relatively well anyway, Jermaine Kearse may even see some ball to help move the sticks as well. Worth noting that Troymaine Pope was in as the back up to Rawls last week when he was off the field, not Alex Collins as I’d previously thought it would be. The Seattle defence needs a mention here too, last week they lost Earl Thomas to a broken leg, he’s the organiser there, he notes the formations, and sorts the defences coverage. He’s a massive loss for them, but they are hugely talented and should cope, they just won’t be as good as usual.
The snow would benefit the Packers more than the Seahawks, they’re more used to playing in it, and Aaron Rodgers looked at home in the conditions last week, with defenders being pushed back and unable to get any purchase, he pranced around the backfield at ease and delivered his usual accurate passes on the run to great effect to Cobb and Nelson for TDs. As expected at the start of the season, Nelson is the go to guy for Rodgers once they get down the field, he leads the league in red zone scores, and you can’t see that changing today, although he faces a tough matchup against Richard Sherman or whoever finds themselves against him, they’re all more than capable – since the first month where he was finding his way back in, he’s looked in very good shape. Davante Adams has been a bit of a revelation this year and has become a largely reliable and profitable player to go with, he’s 4th in receiving TDs for the season (behind 2nd placed Nelson who’s on 10) making him arguably the best no.2 in the league on stats this season, so he can’t be ignored. Unfortunately for me, I drafted Randall Cobb in most of my fantasy teams this season as I tried to get a bit of this GB offence, because of the emergence of Cobb he’s been a big disappointment for me despite putting up decent enough numbers, it does mean they have three viable targets in the passing game which is why they score so many TDs as a team. Their running game however is the the opposite, Eddie Lacy was doing ok, but since they lost him they’ve struggled, they did actually stumble on a good solution with TY Montgomery out of the backfield, but it seems that Mike McCarthy is too stuck in his ways for anything like that so went back to a standard running back in James Starks, who has stank, they brought in Christine Michael after he was released by the Seahawks, and he ran better last week, and in this REVENGE game he could step up, he knows who to avoid and target on the Seattle team at least. Full back Aaron Ripkowski did smash in another touchdown from a few yards out last week though, not for the first time this season, if the other RBs are still gash, then I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get a chance again from short yardage (6/1 available on both C Mike and Ripkowski)
The handicap has Seattle as favourites by a field goal, I think that’s about right, if it was at the C-Link then it would be far more, but at Lambeau, in the light snow, I think that’s about right and it’s got me tempted, I think the line was around 5.5 earlier in the week. I’ll probably be going for a both players to score bet on this game as well, there should be plenty of TDs scored.
Seahawks -3 – Evens (treble), Rawls anytime – evens (WillHill) Baldwin anytime – 13/10, 2 or more – 10/1 (both 365)
Ooooooooooooooooooooohhhhhhhhhhhhhhh Sunday niiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiight – sees the NFC Champions elect Dallas Cowboys visit their divisional rivals the NY Giants – The Giants are the only team to have beaten the Cowboys this season, a 1 point win in the first game of the season where Dak was still finding his feet and Zeke was playing like a rookie. How things have changed since then, they’re probably the most impressive rookie duo in history this season since then. Zeke leads the league in rushing yards, and is second in TDs scored, Dak has looked comfortable without needing to risk anything and is forming a good connection with Dez Bryant after relying heavily on shorter dump offs to Cole Beasley and Jason Witten earlier in the season. I’ve talked up the Cowboys a lot this season as they’re on TV frequently, they are “Americas team” after all, but this season they deserve the air-time, and this match vs a NY team was always going to be on, even if they were b0th 1-11. There’s not much more for me to say about them to be honest. Zeke is brilliant, one of the top 3 RBs in the league (Bell and D.Johnson), he’s already 18th in the History of Cowboys running backs in terms of total yards. Let that sink in, one of the most successful franchises with hall of famers everywhere, and he has the 18th most yards after just 12 games. He’s averaging nearly 5 yards a carry behind the best offensive line in football. They have dealt with all who have faced them with relative ease this season with the exception of last weeks game where if the Vikings had even an average offence they would have lost. The Giants don’t have the defence that the Vikings do, but that was a blueprint of how to cause the Cowboys some trouble. Dallas still did enough though.
The Giants come into the game after suffering a demoralising defeat to the Steelers last week, it wasn’t because they lost, it was the manner of the defeat, they were largely inept, they targeted Beckham repeatedly and Eli threw a few killer interceptions. Again. It’s something he’s done far too much this season killing drives and swinging momentum to the opposition in too many games. His arm just doesn’t appear to be as strong as he thinks it is, he underthrows too many. However, luckily for him, he faces a Cowboys team with only 4 interceptions all year, and without one since week 6 vs the Packers. This should be a good week for Sterling Shepard, the Cowboys are weak against slot receivers and that’s his usual spot, although Odell does line up all across the line and I wouldn’t be shocked to see him get a big play from the slot, the Cowboys give up receptions, but try and tackle quickly and limit yards after the catch, that’s where Mr. Beckham excels, it will be a good match up to watch. Victor Cruz didn’t get a target last week, and has been losing snaps to Roger Lewis, so I can’t trust either of them with anything really. Will Tye is a poor tight end, Adams has been mixing in there and looks a more favourable target.
Without Jason Pierre-Paul this week a lot will be on Olivier Vernon to provide a pass rush… against the best OL in the league, he’s going to struggle to get that done alone, it gives Dallas a big advantage and Dak should have all day to pick a pass. I think this one will be fairly low scoring with the Giants offence being fairly anaemic this season, i’ll pick the unders to finish off the televised treble.
Under 47 pts – 20/23 (treble), Sterling Shepard anytime 21/10 (365)
Various others from around the league.
On the shortlist this week i’ve got Russell Shepard at Tampa Bay, after losing Cecil Shorts last week, (to a brutal, but fair, hit which did so much damage, I doubt he’ll play again, dislocated knee which tore his ACL, PCL and MCL) and Adam Humphries possibly out with a concussion, there’s not many options other than Mike Evans and Cameron Brate for Winston to throw to against an improving, but still beatable Saints defence. You can get 7/2 on him at PP.
Robby Anderson is a name I mentioned in passing at the end of the write up on the Jets from Monday night, he went and got himself a touchdown when Fitzpatrick was replaced by Bryce Petty. It sounds ridiculous, but i’m all over him this week against the 49ers. He received over 60% of the targets from Petty last week, so there’s obvious chemistry there, put that against one of the worst defences in the league and you’re looking at a good thing. I’ll be honest, I was hoping for closer to 5 or 6/1 but it seems the bookies aren’t stupid and there’s only 21/10 available. That’s put me off a bit, but i’ll still put him up anyway.
Golden Tate is a man in form at the moment, it’s whether I go for yards, or a touchdown from him against the Bears, his yards are as low as 64.5 at 365, while you can get 7/4 on him scoring. I think the yards are safer as he’s not usually a red zone target for the Lions who prefer the bigger bodies of Ebron and Boldin when they’re closer. Marvin Jones is expected back today, but won’t be fully fit so i’m happy sticking with Golden. o64.5 is 4/5.
I’ve got to look at the Bengals v Browns game as a good thing, but who for… Jeremy Hill is 21/20 to score anytime, he had his best game of the season vs Cleveland earlier in the year, and above evens is good enough for me to go on him, Eifert is 6/4, Pryor is most likely for Cleveland at 2/1, he and RG3 had a good connection in pre-season and the first game before RG was inevitably injured. For some reason though I like the look of a rookie for the Bengals, not the one you’d think, Cody Core is available at 8/1 on Skybet, he caught 2 for 58 yards last week as the Bengals spread their offence, that could of been a one-off, but at that price i’ll have a small go on it.
Taylor Gabriel looks good for the Falcons as well, Julio Jones is questionable, Sanu is out, they don’t have much else at wide receiver. Gabriel is a small WR, listed at 5’8, but he’ll likely get a decent match up against one of the shorter corners in the league. Other than him, they’ve got a trio of tight ends to aim for and obviously their RBs Freeman and Coleman. It is against a tough home defence who don’t give up many points, and Jay has the Rams to win this one. You can get 7/4 on Gabriel at William Hill if you fancy it though. Tbh I prefer Freeman at anything over evens, and he’s 11/10 on WillHill as well.
Fat Rob is in a good spot against the Eagles, they were useless last week and couldn’t stop anything, Kelley had a decent game despite the game script getting away from him against the Cardinals, again, anything over evens is good with me, you can get 5/4 on him again at WillHill.
I’ll have an anytime treble, and a first scorer trixie on Hill, Freeman and Kelley at William Hill I think. 2pts on the treble and 0.5 on the trixie (2pt total)
- DeMarco Murray anytime 5/6 (365)
- Derrick Henry anytime – 14/5 (365)
- Rawls anytime – evens (WillHill)
- Baldwin anytime – 13/10, 2 or more – 10/1 (1pt)(both 365)
- Shepard anytime – 21/10
- Denver +1.5 -10/11, Seahawks -3 1/1, Dal v NY u47 20/23 – 3pt treble @ 6.13
- Russell Shepard anytime – 7/2 (PP)
- Robby Anderson – 21/10
- Golden Tate – o64.5yds – 4/5
- Cody Core anytime 8/1 (1pt)(Skybet)
- Jeremy Hill anytime 21/20 – NAP – 5pts (365)
- Devonta Freeman anytime- 11/10 (WillHill)
- Rob Kelley anytime – 5/4 (WillHill)
- Anytime treble – 2pts
- 1st TD trixie 2pt total (I put it on at WillHill)
34 pts total outlay
Good Luck if you’re following anything, some cracking games on today, and tense times all round!