Betting 101: What is a money line bet in sports betting?

Offseason Blueprint: The Denver Nuggets nearly reached the mountain top, but still have a few more steps to go

The NBA Finals are about to start, but there are now 28 teams sitting at home with nothing to do but twiddle their thumbs, watch LeBron, and wait for next season to start.
For their sake, we wanted to look ahead with the next edition of the OFFSEASON BLUEPRINT series. In each, we'll preview some big decisions and make some recommendations for plans of attack along the way. Today, we're looking at the Denver Nuggets.
step one: peaking at the right time
It doesn't take a basketball expert or even an enthusiastic amateur on reddit to know: this Nikola Jokic fella is pretty darn good. He's made two All-NBA teams already, and he's still only 25 years old. By the time the dust settles on his career, he may end up being one of the top 10 international players of all time.
Of course, even great players need some help to reach the promised land. Based on what we've seen this postseason, you have to feel more confident about that aspect as well. PG Jamal Murray had been one of the best players in the playoffs, averaging 26.5 points and hitting 45.3% from three.
Going forward, it'll be interesting to see if Murray can carry that breakout through the regular season. While pundits like Kenny Smith called him a "perennial All-Star," he's never actually made the All-Star team. To be honest, he's never been all that close either. Despite being in the league for 4 seasons now, he's never averaged more than 18.5 points and never averaged more than 4.8 assists. Perhaps this postseason has fueled his confidence and his greenlight to become one of the top scorers in the game.
Again: let's emphasize the perhaps there. I wouldn't necessarily bet on Murray to put up monster raw numbers a la Damian Lillard. For one, he defers a lot to Jokic as a playmaker, so it'd be harder for him to rack up huge assist numbers. Secondly, Murray doesn't get to the line very often -- only 3.1 FTA per game -- which lends itself to more inconsistency night in and night out. Unless he changes that aspect, it'll be hard for him to push past 24 PPG on a regular basis.
In some ways, Jamal Murray is starting to remind me of Kyrie Irving. They're both scoring guards who are among the best "tough shot" makers in the game. Neither one draws a ton of contact or free throw attempts -- which limits their raw totals in the regular season. Still, their games translate well to a playoff setting where you need to be able to break down and score against tougher halfcourt defenses. If Murray can continue that quality, then it won't matter if he's an All-Star or not. Denver has graduated past regular season worries; their focus now is entirely on the playoffs and a championship pursuit.
step two: if need be, overpay for a PF again
When the Denver Nuggets were a young and rising team, they pulled the trigger on a massive contract for PF Paul Millsap (around $30M a year.) It may have been an "overpay," but the timing made sense. The Nuggets had cap space to spend before they had to officially dole out extensions for Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. "Use it or lose it." Overall, Millsap may not have been worth $30M on his own, but his defense and professionalism turned out to be a major key to helping the team take the next step. In that sense, it was money well spent.
The Nuggets find themselves in a similar circumstance this offseason -- albeit for different reasons. The extensions for Jokic ($29M) and Murray ($29M) have both kicked in, meaning the Nuggets won't have much cap space for the foreseeable future. Since they're capped out, they can't go out on a spending spree and they can't go looking for big free agents. Instead, they're going to have to look within and toward their own internal free agents.
And as far as their own free agents go, there are more than a few. The biggest name will be Paul Millsap, but the hottest name will be fellow PF Jerami Grant (expected to turn down his $9M player option.) Grant had a great playoff run, hitting open threes and running around like a Tasmanian devil on defense. While he couldn't stop LeBron James, he's the only one on the team who even stood a chance. Losing Grant would be a difficult pill to swallow, especially in an NBA that features superstar forwards like LeBron, Kawhi Leonard, etc. Given their cap situation, there's really no reason to let Grant leave either. Sure, he'll be expensive. Sure, you'll go into the luxury tax. But this is the time to do that -- when your team is on the verge.
The other free agents will be tougher decisions. Millsap would be nice to retain, but only at a reasonable and severely reduced price. Backup center Mason Plumlee got roasted for his bad defense on that one Anthony Davis game winner, but he's still a good rotational player. It'd hurt the depth of the team to lose him. Swingman Torrey Craig is a solid defender and mediocre offensive player, but he's someone that coach Mike Malone trusted for 27 starts this year.
I'd probably rank their importance in that order -- Grant, Millsap, Plumlee, Craig. Retaining all four may be difficult, so the team should treat Jerami Grant as a priority and treat the others as luxury items. In an ideal world, you'd retain Grant and one of the two veterans (Millsap or Plumlee). Personally I don't think rookie Bol Bol is as close to being ready for 20 minutes a night as most of reddit does, so that frontcourt depth shouldn't be ignored. If the team thinks Noah Vonleh (also a FA) can give them 10-15 minutes a night that may be a cheap solution, but he got buried by the Nuggets this year so it's hard to imagine they're big fans.
step three: come to Michael Porter Jr.'s defense
One of the reasons that re-signing Jerami Grant may be a necessity is the concern about Michael Porter Jr.'s defense.
Although MPJ is still only a rookie, it's been a roller coaster career for him already. In high school, he had been seen as a potential top 3 pick -- the next Kevin Durant / Carmelo Anthony scoring machine. Back injuries derailed him in college and in his first season as a pro. Then suddenly, he looked back to normal in the bubble, lighting it up and looking the part of a future All-Star. Back down we go. Before long, teams started to realize and exploit his limitations on defense, relegating him to a bench role again.
Where do we go from here? Up or down? Down or up? It's hard to tell. The offensive talent is undeniable, but the defensive issues are a legitimate issue. I've heard some people dismiss his problems as inexperience, but it may go deeper than that.
Growing up, we tend to hear the old cliche that defense is all about "effort!" As adults, we've learned that's not entirely true. So much of your defensive ability is related to your athletic ability. Your wingspan, your change of direction ability. If you can't pivot your hips, you're going to struggle to read and react. (There's a reason why white dudes tend to be bad defenders, bad dancers, and bad NFL cornerbacks.)
Michael Porter Jr. has the size (6'10" with 7'0" wingspan) to be a good defender, but the hips are the issue for him right now. It may be directly related to the back injuries in the past, but he looks very stiff when he tries to change direction. To be fair, Porter is still working his way back to 100% health. If he can get there, maybe this won't be an issue at all. But if it's something that's going to plague him, then the Nuggets will need to adjust accordingly. They're going to need to pair him with good defenders like Jerami Grant, and they may need to stagger him and Nikola Jokic more than they'd like.
It'd be a shame if Porter can't get back to form on defense, and it'd be a shame if injuries limit him in the future. Clearly, we can see the massive potential he has on the other end. He averaged 20 points and 10 rebounds per 36 minutes this year -- as a rookie. If this is just the beginning for him, then the league's in a lot of trouble. If it's just a mirage and a fleeting moment of health, then the Nuggets will have to work harder to get to the next level.
step four: find the right wings to take flight
As great as Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray may be, they're not LeBron James. They're not Kevin Durant. And unless you have one of those transcendent players, it's difficult to win an NBA title. You basically have to nail every other aspect of the roster. No weak links allowed.
The Denver Nuggets don't have weak links necessarily (their depth is strong overall), but the fence isn't the sturdiest on the block either. Primarily, I'm thinking about the wing position (SGs, SFs, etc.)
This postseason, the Nuggets played without an injured Will Barton, and had Gary Harris returning from injury himself. All in all, it's impressive that they got as far as they did despite not being at full strength. Still, you wonder if the Harris - Barton combo is good enough to get them over the top even when they're healthy.
Gary Harris is the biggest concern right now. A few years ago, he looked like a future stud who justified his high-priced extension. Now...? That contract's looking like an overpay (at $19M + $20M remaining.) Harris has struggled with injuries and inconsistency. Over the last two seasons, he's shot 34% and 33% from three respectively. He hardly ever gets to the line either. That's a bad combination that explains the below-average TS% of 53% and 52% over the last two years. Defensively, Harris has solid fundamentals and effort but he's limited in terms of overall size at 6'4". That's a problem in a league dominated by giant wings.
Perhaps Gary Harris gets fully healthy and gets back to form, but I'm skeptical. "Pretty good" is not good enough. Gary Harris, Will Barton, Torrey Craig -- we need something more. We need something better. If I ran the Nuggets, I'd float Harris and others in trade packages. Harris still has a solid reputation, so there's a chance that you can sell him off on a team that feels like he'll bounce back. I wouldn't treat him as a toxic asset, but I'd look for an upgrade if possible. Harris + the # 22 pick may lend itself to that. If Indiana and Victor Oladipo are heading for divorce, perhaps the Nuggets could swoop in as a landing spot.
Ultimately, Denver may be faced with a choice. Right now, they're good. They're good enough to win a round or two in the playoffs in any given year. But to make the Finals? To win the title? They need another LEAP. And that LEAP may come down to two potential lanes. Do you trust that Michael Porter Jr. will stay healthy, fulfill his destiny, and become your third All-Star caliber player? Or do you cash in some of these chips and try to find one on the trade market instead? Gary Harris alone may not get it done, but Gary Harris PLUS Michael Porter is an awfully appealing trade chip. It may be enough to bring in an All-Star like Bradley Beal. At the same time, maybe Porter can be that guy himself. It's hard to tell from the outside, and it may even be hard to tell from the inside. Alas, these are the kinds of million dollar questions that come with the territory of being in contention.
previous offseason blueprints
ATL, BKN, CHA, CHI, CLE, DAL, DET, HOU, IND, GS, LAC, MEM, MIL, MIN, NYK, ORL, POR, SA, SAC, TOR, UTA
submitted by ZandrickEllison to nba [link] [comments]

"But Here's some Two Cent Maneuvers" -- Week 0 Rankings: The Draft

Welcome back to another year of projections for D/ST and Kicker (and QB...and soon others too). This is an introductory post to explain what's new, what to expect-- and to give draft suggestions at the bottom.

TL;DR - Models are updated for reliability. I expect Kicker to be a difference maker, perhaps QB too in smaller leagues. D/ST accuracy should be safely up there with our #1 ranker, Reddit pal Seabruh. I will also release points-allowed for new positions: WR, TE, and RB1. I'll be trying out Patreon. Unless you get a top-6 option, don't necessarily draft a D/ST or kicker for another couple weeks. Expect a lot of surprises as always.

Contents

Scope of what I do / What's new / Recap of last year / Review of what's in the model / What to expect / Draft Suggestions

What I do

If you're new to my posts, what I do is try to generate fantasy point projections (1) with improved accuracy (2) for future week planning, (3) based on crunching hard numbers without opinion ("machine learning" if we're trying to sound sexy). I give special focus to fantasy positions which I think commonly have sub-optimal rankings: But Here's the Kicker, Defensive Maneuvers, and recently Two Cents for a Quarterback. From the countless hours invested developing content, here's what you see in the end:

What's new 2020


Re-cap of last year

Last year was defined by demonstrating that my week 6 updates could boost predictive value: Capability to reach #1 for weekly kicker and QB, and top 3 for D/ST. I'll refer to you to my week 15 accuracy post, since the final ordering didn't change in week 16. (It was just a surprise crappy week for all rankers). Some extra notes:
But Here's the Kicker: Kickers ended up being tougher in 2019 because many high scoring kickers had an unusually worse second half. Part of this was because good kickers started missing field goals; see here. I think that was fluky, so I'm still expecting my updated model to differentiate itself in 2020.
Defensive Maneuvers: Only 4 of us in my accuracy analysis could surpass plain/stupid streaming (the strategy of using just Vegas betting lines alone). u/Seabruh repeated as top accuracy source, and all of Reddit should be grateful to have this guy around. No matter what accuracy metric I look at, he had another great year:
Measuring the 95% confidence interval of predictable fantasy points: How much each source let you control the score from its bottom-ranked team to the top.
Two Cents for a Quarterback: QB rankings were intended to be in "test-mode"/ beta-release last year, and the model surprised by producing top accuracy after my week 6 revision. Since it seemed helpful, I'll launch it again. Probably this is where I'll also put projections for the other flex points-against positions.

Review of what's in the model

Although I heavily guide the process, I don't choose what ends up into each model. I test >100 variables for significance, and cross-validate, add/remove/iterate, cross-validate. The method is multiple linear regression with a couple interaction terms, and the data is all in weekly time-series (no in-sample data, all foreknowledge). Additionally, I have a data-processing engine to: especially account for past opponent strength, to treat outliers, and to include the right ramp-down of previous season data. The rest is small print:
Factors analyzed include things like: game scores, betting lines, total yards, rushing yards, passing yards, TDs, home/away, dome/outdoors, turf, weather -wind, temp, precipitation-, day of the week, post-bye, win-loss record, sacks/FINT, positional fantasy points --QB/RB/Wetc. and RB2/WR1/etc.--, division, and some sensible products or ratios of these. Data from both teams is tested. Also all "factors-allowed" to opposing teams --for example "points-allowed". Of course, most data gets excluded; usually only 10 variables survive to the final model. I have tested regularizing with modern Lasso regression, but the best lambda value is 0, which just means OLS is already optimal -- there are plenty more samples than variables; bias is low. I deal with team changes --like when entering a new season-- by adjusting "+/- 1 standard deviation" to the given factor, based on reports of the positive/negative expectations. I also account for secondary effects based on historical correlations. What do my models overlook? Mostly the weekly details that can affect lineups and usage. E.g. I might miss changes in the OL/DL for example, or all the effects of coaching changes. Also, my database could be more complete-- I only have 1440 games of data, and I miss factors like three-and-outs, yards-after-catch, time-of-possession, etc.

What to expect

It's gonna suck. I mean it. So let's set expectations from the start. Blame yourself though, since you're the one choosing to play fantasy, and every fantasy football model will always sucks. Correlation coefficients are all under 0.5, and my accuracy improvements can't change that. We just hope my models will suck significantly less than the other sources suck. But... among the other sucky models, I do expect my KickeDST/QB to perform near the top (meaning non-sucky). For a review of how predictable each fantasy position is, here's the chart (more information in this post).
Expectations for predictability levels of each position, based on the past 3 years of correlations
Some reminders about expectations at Kicker: (1) My recent post about kicker streaming supports that, on average, my model should get you 9 points-- about the same as holding a top kicker in hindsight. (2) But, using the 95% confidence interval for season kicker streaming: There will be some 2.5% of you who unfortunately average fewer than 7 kicker points per game. (Sorry in advance....) Then again, another 2.5% of you may manage to get double digit kicker scoring all season. (3) To demonstrate how there will always be surprises, I thought this graph I showed last year did a good job at showing how the top-ranked guy can easily end up 8 points lower than projected. Week 7 happened to demonstrate nicely:
https://preview.redd.it/8qude1p6djj51.jpg?width=1253&format=pjpg&auto=webp&s=49f0386d38dbd38ef7fc37d634626df477614649

Rankings and Draft Suggestions

I know it was cruel, I made you scroll all the way down here to find what you really wanted. These suggestions are based on: (1) Modeling all 16 weeks of scores, (2) weighting them towards the near-term, to find the most likely "hold" candidates, and then (3) assuming that you'll plan to stream, if you don't get one of these top hold-candidates.
EDIT 30Aug: Matt Gay might not remain the TB kicker. Stay tuned.
Draft options in tiered categories. For now, if your league doesn't hog these positions..., then you could count on streaming a kicker and D/ST later-- meaning you don't need to draft one now (instead, take a gamble drafting another flex). But if you can grab a top-6 option here, then you might as well do so. I know the QB information may not be so useful for week 1, but if you need a QB outside the top-12 (or your main QB has a tough week-- I'm thinking of Kyler Murray), then these should be decent streaming options.
Good luck! And I'll see you again soon with Week 1 projections, when we get there. (EDIT: just launched Patreon here for anyone who finds this stuff useful and feels like buying me a virtual beer.)
submitted by subvertadown to fantasyfootball [link] [comments]

Downvote me all you want, but there is too much negativity in the world right now and this sub is about as Bi-Polar as they come. Here’s my take after calming down.

Super Bowl this, Super Bowl that. Sip sip sip. Now something bad happens and everyone’s off the fucking wagon. Jesus Christ calm down. Shit happens. Stop focusing on the bad, alls that does is ruin your week/ends. Breathe. Calm down and breathe. Look at it objectively.
The first 4 games we all agreed were going to be tough. After the first week of NFL football we have some takeaways for those teams.
The Vikings D has regressed. A lot. The offense didn’t look particularly we either. The score didn’t look awful because they scored with 1:21 left. A Vikings fan should check in because I know they lurk.
AZ was a grindy ass game and their offense didn’t look incredibly good. They also faced a SF offense that is in trouble. The 49’ers shit the bed in more ways then one. Go to their sub, it’s a dumpster fire. Much like ours.
NOLA didn’t do shit. Look at the stats. Sub 200 yards passing and Sub 90 yards rushing. TB is just bad. The ST is atrocious and Brady is 43 years old and proved Jameis wasn’t the issue.
Was this loss frustrating for the lions and fans. Yes. Did I overreact to seeing a collapse. Yes. Am I still frustrated, yes. BUT now that I have calmed down and looked at it rationally. We played our no. 2, 5 , 6, 7 CB’s, we lost Collins to bullshit * read the refs words, dude flopped worse than an NBA player. That was a complete overreaction, Collins was trying to explain the runner led with the crown of his helm which is a penalty btw We lost our starting RT, and No. 1 wideout. Golladay not being in the lineup hurt us about as much as 4 of our corners leaving the game.
Things for optimism are: our defense was solid the first 3 quarters before the CBs legs snapped. (Strength and conditioning coach probably needs to be questioned here) the play calling was conservative to say the least.
Fox the punter is a stud. Found a replacement for Martin.
AD looks like a man possessed and you bet your ass he’s getting on this entire team about what happened today. A veteran leader with Stafford getting on everyone will only help.
We had a pass rush for much of the game. Okwara also left the game in the third.
Overall the offensive line was decent. Not bad, but not great. They held up.
Besides the forced pass, Stafford was smart with the ball. The deflection literally went straight up into the air (fucking oof)
The first 4 games were never going to be easy. You also have to remember the Chicago D ranked 9th last year overall. We still did incredibly well against their stacked ass D with conservative play calling and no Golladay.
A few things to round this out.
Kerryon needs to be #3 on the depth chart. AD > Swift > Kerryon.
The play calling; both offense and defense CANNOT go into conservative mode. Foot on the gas all game. Now was this because they were missing a few players, with no preseason and concerns over injury’s. It could. There is no doubt about it. But play calling especially for Bevell needs to be more aggressive. It will get better though, I have faith in that. With the defensive injuries, I might give a pass here. Our bench CB’s couldn’t keep up in man or in zone. It was extremely obvious.
The goal post is a fucking traitor.
Tavai getting the offsides is most definitely on him. No one else. You can coach until your face is blue, players still have to make plays / execute. Of course the coach is going to be called into question but it’s still on the players.
Thank you for coming to my Ted talk.
If you are going to respond to this post, PLEASE I BEG OF YOU, have constructive feedback.
submitted by Zeketec to detroitlions [link] [comments]

The Rookie Report: Buy or Sell?

Rookie Report Special: Rookie buy or sell

Welcome back to the Rookie Report! The season is almost upon us. The NFL season kicks off Thursday, but if you’re like me you’ve likely put off most of your redraft fantasy drafts as long as possible in these uncertain COVID times. I’m guessing a large portion of fantasy leagues will be drafting over the long holiday weekend or early next week, and I wanted to give you some last minute tips on some rookies that you may not be as familiar with. The lists below are by no means a straight ranking of the rookies, rather it’s a look at which guys I am willing to reach for, which guys are a little too rich for my blood, and which guys I think are priced just about right based on FantasyPros average draft position. Let’s dive in…

Guys I’m buying:

QB Tua Tagovailoa, MIA (Average Draft Postion: QB28): Recent camp headlines have made it clear that Ryan Fitzpatrick is going to be starting for Miami week 1, but it’s only a matter of time before Tua takes over under center. If you’re in superflex or 2-quarterback leagues, Tua is a guy you can draft as a QB3 at a deep discount who has a chance to smash once he gets onto the field. He’s an efficient and accurate passer in the mold of a young Drew Brees, and he’s currently being drafted later than Derek Carr, Gardner Minshew and Teddy Bridgewater. When you’re drafting that far down, I want the upside of the rookie over the known limitations of the other options.
RB Cam Akers, LAR (ADP: RB 26): An injury to Darrell Henderson is making it clear that Akers is the Rams’ back that you want for fantasy. He’s been a star in camp so far, and the Sean McVay offense is a good one for running back production. Todd Gurley was obviously an elite talent at the position, but he finished RB1, RB1, and RB12 in his 3 years under McVay and was clearly just a shell of himself in year 3. In his 3 years as Washington’s offensive coordinator McVay also got a top-15 season out of Alfred Morris and a top-25 season out of Robert Kelley. Akers should be better than either of those players. If he takes the job and runs with it, he has true RB1 upside that you can draft outside of the top-50 overall picks.
RB JK Dobbins, BAL (ADP: RB32): Clyde Edwards-Helaire has gotten a lot of press for falling into the absolute best scheme fit possible for him, but people have been ignoring that basically the same thing happened to Dobbins. Yes Mark Ingram is still in Baltimore for this season and Dobbins true upside may be a year away, but Gus Edwards carried the ball 133 times last season and the talent gap between Ingram and Dobbins isn’t as big as the gap between Ingram and Edwards. Dobbins is going to be a factor this season. I view him as someone who is likely to finish as a top-30 back and would have borderline RB1 upside this year if anything happens to Ingram. I’d much rather leave a draft with Dobbins than the guys going right in front of him – Jordan Howard, Kareem Hunt, Ronald Jones (this was written before the Fournette news).
RB Zack Moss, BUF (ADP: RB41): It appears Moss’s master plan of greasing up every football that Devin Singletary uses in practice is working, as Singletary’s summer fumbling woes have given Moss a leg-up over the incumbent for early-down and goal line work. The Bills still project to be a run-first football team despite the addition of Stefon Diggs, and there should be ample goal-line opportunities for Moss if he can cash them in. Frank Gore carried the ball 10 times from the 3-yard line or closer last season, but totaled zero yards and scored just 2 touchdowns on those attempts. Moss should play a similar role to the one Gore did last season, and if the Bills’ offense takes a step forward double-digit scores are not out of the question for him. You should be targeting Moss as an RB3 with upside for more, especially in half- and non-PPR formats.
RB Antonio Gibson, WAS (ADP: RB50): Washington surprisingly moved on from Adrian Peterson just a week before the season kicks off, and that can’t be anything but good news for Gibson. Peyton Barber is still a threat to handle the early-down work, but Barber isn’t anything special and given Gibson’s pass-catching skills he will probably finish the year as the top fantasy running back on the team. JD McKissic has shown himself to be a capable 3rd down back, and Bryce Love was explosive in college, but all signs in camp pointed to Gibson being ahead of them both on the depth chart. New head coach Ron Rivera and new offensive coordinator Scott Turner were both in Carolina last year, and they’ve compared Gibson’s dual-threat capabilities to those of Christian McCaffrey. That’s obvious hyperbole, but I think Gibson will get every opportunity to be the lead back in this offense, and is likely to finish as a top-30 running back that you can get quite a bit later than that. Be warned though: the Peterson news is going to move that ADP up in the coming days.
RB Josh Kelley, LAC (ADP: RB68): I honestly don’t know how to explain why Josh Kelley is being drafted later than AJ Dillon and Ke’Shawn Vaughn in redraft leagues. The Chargers lost Melvin Gordon in free agency this offseason, and all reports out of camp are that Kelley is going to be the guy who picks up most of the work that he left behind. Austin Ekeler is obviously a fantasy stud who will be worth the draft capital it costs to draft him, but he shouldn’t be a 20-touch per game kind of back, and the Chargers realize that. His efficiency as a runner last year was underwhelming as he averaged more than 4 yards per carry in just 5 out of 16 games (and fewer than 3 yards per carry 7 times). Ekeler’s value comes from his work in the passing game. I expect Kelley will open the year splitting early down work with Ekeler and growing into a bigger role as the season goes on. The rookie is an above average athlete (68th percentile SPARQ-x score) who posted over 1,000 yards in both of his college seasons at UCLA. To give you a little context on just how low RB68 is, Justin Jackson finished last season with 222 scrimmage yards and zero touchdowns and was the RB71 in non-PPR scoring. Kelley is a slam dunk to outproduce his ADP, and I expect he’ll do it by a lot. You should be looking to draft him as an RB4 and reaping the rewards as his role grows.
WR Denzel Mims, NYJ (ADP: WR67): Mims had the unfortunate luck of pulling a hamstring the day before training camp started, but he returned to practice this week and expects to be healthy enough to suit up week one. It’ll likely take him a few weeks to work his way into the starting lineup after missing so much practice time, but there is almost NO wide receiver talent ahead of him on the depth chart outside of slot maven Jamison Crowder. The rest of the options to play on the outside consist of Breshad Perriman who currently is dealing with a knee injury that could keep him out a bit, journeymen Chris Hogan & Donte Moncrief, and a trio of replacement-level players who may not even make the roster (Josh Malone, Vyncint Smith and Jehu Chesson). Mims is big, fast, and has excellent hands and body control. He improved his game throughout his college career and landed on a team that projects to be throwing a ton. He’s a natural fit as a deep threat who should complement Crowder’s short game well. He’ll be a great best-ball option and is a guy you should be targeting late in drafts, especially ones that are not full PPR leagues.
WR Bryan Edwards, LVR (ADP: WR72): Edwards’ college stats don’t jump off the page at you, never reaching 900 yards in any season, but South Carolina only reached 3,000 passing yards once in his 4 seasons there. As a freshman, Edwards had 21% of the team’s receiving yards in an offense that also featured Deebo Samuel and Hayden Hurst, and in the 10 games he played last year he totaled a whopping 35% of the team receiving yards. The former Gamecock should start right away in Las Vegas and will be a better option in the intermediate part of the field than Henry Ruggs or Hunter Renfrow. He’s already drawn rave reviews from his new QB Derek Carr, who has compared Edwards to his college teammate Davante Adams and former pro teammate James Jones. Edwards has a chance to be a total package alpha receiver in his career, and although he walks into a crowded group of pass catchers (Ruggs, Renfrow, Darren Waller, Jason Witten, Jalen Richard, etc.) he should get a chance to showcase his potential this year. There is a real chance that he finishes as the top fantasy WR on the Raiders this season, and you can get him in the late rounds of your draft.
WR Laviska Shenault, JAX (ADP: WR73): Shenault was long considered to be among the best wide receiver prospects in this class and a potential top-20 overall draft pick entering the 2019 season, but lackluster production in 2019 and injury woes drove his stock down a bit. He landed on what should be a miserably bad team, but that should afford him plenty of opportunities to play. He’s built like a running back but stands 6’2” and is dangerous with the ball in the open field. He was used in a lot of different ways in college (he had 9 more college rushing attempts than Antonio Gibson), and that versatility should make him a valuable part of a Jaguars’ offense that will be desperately looking for playmakers outside of DJ Chark. He should be available in the last couple rounds in most redraft leagues and is likely to have a big role as a rookie.

Guys I’m selling:

RB Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC (ADP: RB8): I understand the love for CEH. He landed in what seems like a dream spot, playing in the most explosive offense in the NFL that seems tailor-made for his skill set, and to top it off the returning starter at his position opted out of the 2020 season. “RB1!” “Take him in the first round!” Not so fast, I say. CEH posted just 1 productive college season and doesn’t have the freakish athletic profile of top backs like Saquon, Christian McCaffrey or Derrick Henry. He’ll certainly play right away in Kansas City, but he’s being drafted as though he’ll be an automatic workhorse back when it still remains to be seen if that’s the case. I do believe that Edwards-Helaire should be going in the top-20 picks in most drafts, but to get him in most leagues you’ll have to reach into the first round to do it. That’s a price I’m not willing to pay at this point. I’d rather take a top WR and get a player like Miles Sanders or Kenyan Drake in the 2nd or Austin Ekeler in the 3rd who can put up similar production at a lower cost.
RB Ke’Shawn Vaughn, TB (ADP: RB46): Vaughn was widely expected to compete with Ronald Jones for the starting job in Tampa this season, but that outlook has changed drastically in recent weeks with the signings of LeSean McCoy and Leonard Fournette. The Fournette signing just happened, so I would expect Vaughn’s ADP to take a significant tumble in the next few days. He’ll likely be limited to special teams for much of his rookie season barring injuries ahead of him.
RB AJ Dillon, GB (ADP: RB52): Dillon has been a popular name this summer after photos surfaced showing off his ridiculous tree trunk thighs in camp (basically the opposite of the kind of camp photos we were used to with Eddie Lacy). Despite how he looks in shorts, Dillon will be hard-pressed to make a huge impact for fantasy purposes this year. He’s likely going to eat into Jamaal Williams workload, but I don’t expect Williams to go away entirely. Aaron Jones is the Green Bay back you want, and I’d expect Dillon’s presence to make both Williams and Dillon bad bets to finish as productive fantasy backs. Williams has never finished higher than RB29 without Dillon to compete with. I’d steer clear of both.
WR Jerry Jeudy, DEN (ADP: WR41): Jeudy is an outstanding talent, but he goes to an offense that ranked 27th in passing attempts last season and is likely to lean on the run game again after adding Melvin Gordon to their backfield mix. Courtland Sutton is essentially a lock for 120+ targets, and Noah Fant should see a nice bump in volume as well. I’d expect Jeudy to wind up somewhere around 80 targets assuming health. 67 players had more than 80 targets last season, and we still aren’t certain whether or not Drew Lock is any good. I’m not too keen on drafting Jeudy at his current ADP.
WR Henry Ruggs, LVR (ADP: WR47): Ruggs was the first wide receiver taken in the NFL draft this year, but he isn’t the best one taken in the first round. He’s just the fastest. The Raiders will certainly get him involved in the offense after drafting him so high, and he is projected to open the season as a starter after Tyrell Williams had season-ending labrum surgery. The problem for Ruggs is that Derek Carr is notorious for not throwing the ball deep, and the deep ball is going to be the best opportunity for Ruggs to pile up fantasy points. Bryan Edwards is a more well-rounded wide receiver, and Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller are better possession options in the short part of the field. Unless Carr changes his approach and starts throwing deep, or Gruden finds creative ways to scheme the ball to Ruggs, it’ll be hard for him to live up to the draft capital you’d have to spend on him.
TE Cole Kmet, CHI (ADP: TE29): Kmet is the only rookie tight end being drafted in the top-30 at the position, but I would be surprised if he finishes as the top scoring rookie tight end this year. Old man Jimmy Graham has been raved about as the best player at Bears’ camp and is likely going to be the starting tight end, and there are plenty of other tight ends on the roster who could factor in as well including Demetrius Harris and Adam Shaheen. I just don’t see an obvious path to a lot of early playing time for Kmet. The Bears should still be in win-now mode (despite the QB situation) and a rookie tight end playing a bunch doesn’t make sense with so many capable vets on the roster.

Guys that are priced correctly:

These are players that are certainly worth drafting at their current ADP and may have upside for more, but also carry enough risk that I would be hesitant to reach too far for them. If you really like a player in this group, I wouldn’t fault you for reaching a bit for them to make sure you get them.

QB Joe Burrow, CIN (ADP: QB18): In two quarterback leagues, Burrow is a good player to target as a second QB that you can get a little later who still gives you the upside you get from the QBs that would be going in the 12-15 range. He’s assuredly going to start week 1, and the Bengals do have enough weapons around him for him to succeed. There is always risk with a rookie QB, but Burrow is a gunslinger who will have a long leash and the Bengals will be throwing a lot.
RB Jonathan Taylor, IND (ADP: RB19): You don’t need me to tell you that Jonathan Taylor is good. In his *worst* college season he ran for 1,977 yards and 13 TDs. He was a monster at Wisconsin. Defenses knew he was getting the ball and still couldn’t stop him. He has monster upside in the NFL as well, but I’m going to throw a little bit of a wet blanket on that upside for this season. The Colts aren’t going to stop using Nyheim Hines on 3rd downs, so if you’re counting on much receiving production from Taylor you’re hanging your hat on Philip Rivers’ habit of heavily targeting his backs and hoping he catches a lot on early downs. Hines had 64% of the running back targets that Indy backs saw last season. A more likely scenario for Taylor is a dominant rushing season a la Derrick Henry. Derrick Henry finished last season as the RB5, but he also was the unquestioned starter from day one and handled 80% of the Titans’ non-QB rushing attempts. He was also the only top-10 back in PPR scoring that had fewer than 49 targets. Taylor will enter the year splitting the early down work with Marlon Mack, so it’s hard to envision him coming close to what Henry did last year. If you’re a big Taylor fan, I wouldn’t fault you for reaching into the mid-2nd round to make sure you get him, but know that he most likely won’t be producing what you paid for until the middle of the season.
RB D’Andre Swift, DET (ADP: RB29): Like Jonathan Taylor, Swift lands on a team that already has an established starting running back that has been solid, but not great. Kerryon Johnson’s injury history means that there is a solid chance that Swift will have some weeks as the starter, but if KJ stays healthy Swift will most likely work in tandem with him. I like Swift as a player, but Detroit hasn’t had a running back finish in the top-20 fantasy backs since Reggie Bush back in 2013, and I don’t like Swift’s chances of breaking that streak. In the last 4 seasons, 73% of Detroit’s offensive touchdowns have been scored through the air (league average is typically in the low to mid 60s). I’d rather draft Swift than Kerryon Johnson – he’s the more talented back, but I’d prefer a safer option if we’re talking about your #2 running back or a high end RB3.
WR CeeDee Lamb, DAL (ADP: WR38): Lamb is without a doubt the best wide receiver in this rookie class, but the pass-catching group in Dallas is crowded. Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup are both WR1 types who should command 120 or so targets apiece. Blake Jarwin and Zeke Elliot should combine for another 150. That still leaves room for Lamb to establish himself on the pass-happy Cowboys, but I’m not sure his breakout starts week 1. I think the best plan of attack with Lamb is to let someone else reach for him and then make a deal for him a few weeks into the season if the person who drafted him gets impatient.
WR Justin Jefferson, MIN (ADP: WR50): Jefferson was a first round draft pick in the NFL draft, but he finds himself opening the season as the WR3 behind Adam Thielen and Bisi Johnson in an offense that had more than 2 receivers on the field on just 25% of their snaps last season. No other team was below 40%. They also ranked 30th in the league in pass attempts. Offensive coordinator Kevin Stefanski bolted for Cleveland, and there should be a little bit of regression to the mean when it comes to their passing volume, but the run-heavy game plan is part of who Mike Zimmer wants this team to be. Jefferson should eventually overtake Bisi Johnson for the starting role opposite Thielen, but how high do you want to reach for a guy who likely won’t be producing like a top-40 WR until the back half of the season?
WR Jalen Reagor, PHI (ADP: WR52): I would be talking about Reagor as a player to target in your drafts, but one of the biggest factors working in his favor was the expected early season absence of Alshon Jeffery giving him the opportunity to establish himself in the offense. Instead, Reagor will miss the start of the season with an injury of his own and it’ll be JJ Arcega-Whiteside and John Hightower who should see the increased early opportunity instead. This passing game is still going to run through Zach Ertz, but Reagor was picked in the first round and brings game-breaking speed that the Eagles’ offense was desperate for last season. They’re going to get him on the field when he’s healthy. Three receiver sets should be made up of Jeffery, Reagor and DeSean Jackson for much of the season, and given the health history of the other two Jalen should have plenty of chances to produce. Reagor’s ADP isn’t crazy high, and the upside that he’ll bring in the back half of the season will make him worth the price tag even if he misses the first few games.
WR Brandon Aiyuk, SF (ADP: WR65): WR65 probably feels low given Aiyuk’s likely starting role and the injuries to Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd, but it’s sounding more and more like Samuel will be back by week 2 at the latest and this offense doesn’t run through the wide receivers. The 49ers had the 4th-fewest pass attempts in the league and the 5th-lowest wide receiver target share in the league (51%) last season. George Kittle and the running backs should remain very involved in this low-volume passing attack. Aiyuk has forged a nice rapport with Jimmy Garoppolo in camp and has a similar skill set to Deebo’s, but he figures to be the WR2 behind him for much of the season. In this offense, that makes him more of a WR5 for your fantasy team.

Deep League Flyers:

These guys are basically going undrafted in most leagues but may be worth a flyer in really deep leagues or are at least worth monitoring in the early weeks of the season to see what kind of role they have.

RB James Robinson, JAX: Jacksonville dumping Leonard Fournette just days before the season kicks off was a bit of surprise, but it opens the door for several young backs on their roster to get a chance. Reports out of camp suggest that Devine Ozigbo may have the inside track on the early down work, but Ryquell Armstead and Robinson should factor in as well. Armstead was the backup to Fournette last season, but he was placed on the league’s COVID reserve list on Friday opening the door further for the rookie. Robinson went undrafted after running just a 4.64 40-yard dash at the Combine, but he dominated the FCS level with 1,899 rushing yards and 18 TDs last season. He’s worth a late flyer in really deep leagues and worth monitoring early in the year in shallower formats. It’s not impossible that he beats out Ozigbo for the starting job.
WR John Hightower, PHI: Injuries will leave the Eagles’ WR depth chart wide open in the early part of the season with Alshon Jeffery and Jalen Reagor each sidelined for at least the first few weeks. The rest of the depth chart includes DeSean Jackson (33 years old and played just 3 games last year), JJ Arcega-Whiteside (had an extremely disappointing rookie season in 2019), and Greg Ward (AAF star who was serviceable when the team was depleted last year). The Eagles draft strategy at the WR position was clear after they struggled mightily to stretch the field last season. They wanted to add speed, and Hightower brings that. He averaged 18.3 yards per catch at Boise State last year and ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the Combine. He should see the field early in the year, and if he flashes, he may keep seeing the field.
WR Van Jefferson, LAR: I admittedly wasn’t very high on Jefferson coming out of the draft despite the Rams taking him in the 2nd round. He’s old for a prospect at 24-years old entering his rookie season. He isn’t a supreme athlete, and he wasn’t overly productive in college (despite playing at an advanced age). He seems like a player best suited to the slot, but that’s also where Cooper Kupp does his best work. This all added up to Van looking like a long shot to see the field much as a rookie but reports out of camp are that he is going to beat out Josh Reynolds for the WR3 role in the offense. He’s the son of former standout NFL WR Shawn Jefferson, and he has the route-running acumen and natural feel for the game of someone who grew up around it. It’s possible the Rams play more 2-tight end sets given the departure of Brandin Cooks and the breakout of Tyler Higbee last season, but only the Bengals spent more snaps in 11 personnel (3-WR) than the Rams last season. Monitor the Rams offense early in the season. If they continue to play a lot of 3-WR sets, Jefferson is going to have some value in most leagues.
TE Devin Asiasi, NE: Rookie tight ends are notoriously poor fantasy producers, and there are a plethora of upside options to target this season among the veteran tight ends, but there might not be another rookie better positioned to produce in year 1 than Asiasi. He was considered mostly a pass-catching tight end when drafted, but his blocking has also drawn raves in camp and the only thing standing between him and a starting role is Matt LaCosse. The Patriots’ offense is light on receiving weapons, and Cam Newton has always liked throwing to his tight ends. Asiasi is no Greg Olsen, but he has a legitimate chance to be a top-20 tight end as a rookie.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I’ll be back next week with a quick look at some week one rookie matchups, but feel free to hit me up on twitter (@Shawn_Foss) if you have any questions or anything you want to yell at me about that’s written above. If you’ve already done your draft, you can use this info to help you target early season trade or waiver wire candidates if another person in your league gets impatient with a slow start. If you haven’t drafted yet, good luck in your drafts and enjoy the holiday weekend. As always: Good luck, trust your gut, and have fun. It’s just a game. Original article from drinkfive.com
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My Introduction to a Professional Sports Betting Syndicate

This is part 1 of a 3 part story I recently shared within The Betting Network community. The Betting Network or TBN is a group of sports bettors that all share information with a common goal of winning more bets. I also do weekly lessons, a mentorship program, game previews and just pass along any and all information I’ve gathered over the past 15 plus years, the main goal is to help members improve their overall sports betting IQ and help them avoid the brutal trial and error I had to go through before becoming successful in the sports betting industry.
I decided to share this story because of the feedback I received within The Betting Network, hope you guys enjoy it and also gain something from it.

PART 1/3

Before I get into the good stuff I have to explain what my job entailed at the time. The company I use to work for scraped sports betting information and data off the internet. A lot of pro bettors use “data scrapes” and what it does is it searches the internet 24/7 every second of the day for anything that has the keywords you programmed into the software. Think about how much time and effort this saves. You input “LeBron James Injury” and the second anything related to that is posted anywhere online it will be sent to you and even compiled in an organized fashion. You could put Steph Curry 3pt attempts and it will gather all that info and compile it. Data scrapes are really the only way a person could compile stats and information on entire leagues, it would take the entire season alone if you attempted to input it yourself without a scraper.
One of the most important data scrapers is for injuries and the company I worked for had it set up where it would be constantly searching the internet for injury related news and it would “ping” our computers already formatted so it could be sent out to members and social media. For example, this is what a “ping” would look like - CLE-F [LeBron James] - Calf- Questionable or GSW-G [Steph Curry] - wrist - Doubtful. Our job was to edit any errors and basically just click a button that was linked to send it out on all platforms, members text services, on twitter, everywhere we wanted. Our company's injury scrape was so good that live odds services like Don Best would simply have a scrape on our Twitter account. Pro bettors would just have notifications set for our tweets because we were breaking injury information 10 to 20 seconds before ESPN sometimes. By the way, 10 to 20 seconds is an eternity in the sports betting world. If you couldn’t tell already I’m no computer wiz, but what I believe separated our scrape from many others was how the information was formatted when we got it and how it was streamlined with all the platforms it needed to be sent out to after we got it. In other words, injury news breaks, we get the ping, hit one button and it’s sent. Other people may receive the injury information and have to type out the format and then send it out one by one to twitter or on their website. But like I said I have no fucking clue how it all works all I know is we were considered one of the best for NBA, NFL.
If you want to learn more about how to actually set up a scraper I provided a good intro to scraping link here: ⬇️⬇️⬇️⬇️
http://crowdsourcesyndicate.info/MommyWowMyFirstScraper.html
The MIT Sloan conference is one of the biggest sports analytics conferences in the world. Myself and a few co-workers were sent to the Sloan conference to represent our company. It’s a big 2 day event and everybody from the sports world is there, anyone from sports book operators to NBA head coaches and players. Link below for this years speakers at Sloan ↙️↙️↙️
http://www.sloansportsconference.com/2020-conference/2020-speakers/
Anyone that’s heavily involved in the sports betting industry is usually there because it’s a great way to network with everyone all in one place. My company had a booth there and we would just answer questions, hand out promotional fliers and point out all the famous people we saw. This is where it gets good. While sitting at the booth a guy approaches me and asks: “What do you do”? Me: I’m a data analyst Guy: ok, but what do you do?
I explained to him my job responsibilities adding in a bunch of stuff to make it sound more important because the truth was I sat at a computer for 8hrs a day waiting for pings and answering phone calls where 90% of the callers had the wrong number. He pretended to be interested in the job details and before I could get into what he did or why he was there the convo ended with him asking if I’ll be attending day 2 of the conference. I said yes and he told me he would also be back tomorrow for day 2 and that after the conference tomorrow him and a bunch of guys were going to meet for drinks at the Westin hotel across the street from the conference, “drinks on me” he said while walking away.
The next day after the conference I went across the street to the Westin and they have a restaurant. I see “George” who I met the day before and invited me, he’s sitting at one end of a table that has 2 big tables pushed together making one big table. He waves me over and I sit next to him, there’s about 7 other people there. He tells me to order anything I want, drinks, food whatever and made a point to tell me and everyone there that he’s covering the bill. The Westin is really nice and expensive, not a place I would be going to eat and drink on my own considering I think I was making $16 an hour at this time. I couldn’t help but wonder why he invited me and only me when I had 2 other co-workers. After a couple hours and 4 vodka tonics I found out.
“George” was a professional bettor and was (still is) the head of a nationwide sports betting syndicate. He knew exactly what the company I work for dos and even knew my boss. Once we got into talking about what he does he wasted no time telling me what he wanted to do. He wanted me to notify him and his team about injuries before sending it out to the public, 15 seconds after to be exact. He knew that a majority of sports books used the live odds screen Don Best and that Don Best used our company for breaking injury news and if he was able to get the injury news before Don Best he would be able to beat the line on all the books that copied lines from them.
For example: Your bookie isn’t sitting in front of the computer moving the lines when an injury happens, it’s done automatically. Most local books set up what’s called an auto-mover and this copies the feed from another sports book. Some local books may copy the feed from say pinnacle or 5dimes or any book they feel has strong accurate lines. They can’t set up a direct feed to pinnacle or 5Dimes because established books such as those can detect software. So what they do is set the auto-mover up onto a live odds service like Don Best. Once the line moves on don best all the books that are copying lines will then move their lines.
George had software of his own that allowed him to bet games on thousands of accounts with a few clicks of a button. He explained to me how this would all work - I get the ping - CLE-F [LeBron James] - Rest - Out, I would copy and paste that onto the telegram messenger app and press send, he said sing happy birthday and when finished then I could post it to the world like I normally would. With his automated bet software he could pick off all the books that didn’t move the line yet based on Lebron being OUT. Of course not every single book was reliant on Don Best to move lines, many of the bigger well known offshore books had their own data scrapes and injury software, but more than enough books did rely on Don Best, who relied on my company. So the potential for this was through the roof.
I had some serious thinking to do, as much as I wanted to say yes on the spot my instincts held me back. I told him I had to weigh the pros and cons. After all I basically would be tanking my job duties and going from a committed employee to what seemed like a sneaky spy. It does our company and it’s members no good if I’m sending out information late or at the same time as every other company. Also, without getting too detailed regarding the financial arrangement I felt I needed to counter his offer. The biggest upside for me besides the money was my strong desire to get involved with a real sports betting syndicate but the negotiations quickly let me know that there is a dark side to the industry and I had one foot in.
To Be Continued....
PS I’ll likely share part 2 and 3 in the coming days.
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NFL W4 Value Plays - DraftKings

Value Stack of the Week - Ryan Fitzpatrick ($5,400) and DeVante Parker ($5,700) - Seattle may be firing on all cylinders offensively, but their secondary looks like straight-up Swiss cheese through the first three weeks of NFL action, allowing over 430 passing yards per game while being the most generous defense to both the QB and WR positions. I wouldn't be surprised if this stack helped win someone the Milly Maker this week.
Value plays to me consist of any QB $6,000 and below, any position player at $5,000 or below, and any defense at $3,000 or below. I slightly adjust these scales based on the slate, as prices jumps can effect who is considered value and who isn't.
QB
Matthew Stafford ($5,900) vs. NO: Stafford has been fairly consistent through three straight games, and I believe the return of Kenny Golladay ($6,000) last week will be a boost for the gunslinger going forward. New Orleans has talent on defense but hasn't translated that into much outside of Week 1's win over the Tom Brady-led Buccaneers - the Saints have four sacks and a fumble recovery over the last two weeks. This trend bodes well for Stafford, who should be comfortable throwing the ball to Golladay as well as options like T.J. Hockenson ($4,800) and Marvin Jones Jr. ($4,900) after coming off a narrow win over the high-flying Cardinals last week. We haven't seen tremendous upside with Stafford yet, as he hasn't posted 20+ DKFP in a game thus far, but he's a solid-floor option with a potential to hit big in what could be a shootout (NO has allowed 30+ points in the last two weeks).
Baker Mayfield ($5,800) @ DAL: Okay, I know thus far Baker's been below average from a fantasy standpoint (averaging 13.8 DKFP/game), but he's faced three straight defenses that do well against the pass - not to mention the Browns are a run-first team, running 53% of the time with Nick Chubb ($7,000) and Kareem Hunt ($6,200, groin), but keep in mind Dallas' secondary is one of the kindest to opposing QBs, with only the Seahawks being less threatening. With Dallas notching two turnovers in their first three games as well as a potential for Hunt to miss this game with his groin injury, I think Mayfield could do well stacked with Odell Beckham Jr. ($5,800) in this one. Mayfield attempted just 23 passes in each of his last two games, but that trend has a high chance of ending in a back-and-forth scenario with the Cowboys.
Nick Foles ($5,700) vs. IND: Yes, the Colts' defense has looked astounding over their first three games, but to be fair, they played Kirk Cousins and Sam Darnold in their last two. Nick Foles is not the kind of guy to lean on long-term, however there's value in playing him on a slate with a bunch of stud options and other appealing value plays. Foles' connection with Allen Robinson II ($6,700) in the 30-26 comeback win over Atlanta was a good start to his tenure with Chicago. I'm not expecting the Colts to get stomped obviously, but Foles could make this a much more interesting game than the numbers let on. With complementary options like Anthony Miller ($4,900), Jimmy Graham ($3,800) and Darnell Mooney ($3,000), Foles has a chance to make the Colts' defense look less superhuman than they've been over the start of the 2020 season. Keep Foles in your player pool, even if you're personally skeptical.
Derek Carr ($5,300) vs. BUF: Carr has been, for the most part, solid in his first three weeks, completing 74% of his passes while throwing for a 6:0 TD:INT ratio and at least over 200 yards per week, though he has fumbled three times in his last two games. His salary has dropped little by little each week, and Buffalo just got gashed by the Rams' offense. The Raiders' receiving corps is banged up, with Henry Ruggs III ($4,800, hamstring) possibly not playing and Bryan Edwards ($3,300, ankle) is also trending in the wrong direction. But don't let that discourage you from playing Carr, who will still have Darren Waller ($5,200!!!) as well as Hunter Renfrow ($4,600) and other veteran options like Nelson Agholor ($3,500) and Zay Jones ($3,000) to lean on in the passing game. Buffalo has good talent on defense but has allowed 60 points and two 300+ yard, 2 TD performers in their last two weeks.
RB
Myles Gaskin ($5,000) vs. SEA: Gaskin has 12 targets out of the backfield in his last two games and has appeal in the passing game despite Seattle's stinginess against RBs (the Seahawks allow the 6th-fewest DKFP to the position). Playing Gaskin in the hopes that he sees the end zone to cap off an otherwise-decent stat line isn't the worst bet you can make this week. Gaskin hasn't scored yet but this is a decent matchup for him to do so... just as long as Jordan Howard ($4,100) doesn't poach ANOTHER goal line score.
J.K. Dobbins ($4,800) @ WAS: His limited opportunities make him a huge risk for fantasy, but there's a large chance Baltimore gets ahead early over the Football Team - in that scenario, Dobbins is likely to see extra work, which could translate to the fantasy scoreboard. Dobbins may not be a top value option, but keep him on your radar as he's an explosive talent who could start seeing more touches if he can maximize his opportunities this week.
Ronald Jones II ($4,700) vs. LAC: Let me preface this by saying RoJo is not in an ideal situation in a crowded backfield with LeSean McCoy ($4,000) and Leonard Fournette ($5,600, ankle), though the injury to the latter caused him to miss practice Wednesday and has a chance to effect his availability against the Chargers. RoJo has seen consistent usage in the offense, and just saw 17 touches against the Broncos. Averaging 10.1 DKFP/game, RoJo is a TD-dependent option on a team that will not have Chris Godwin (hamstring) and has a banged up backup option in Scotty Miller ($4,100, hip/groin). Tom Brady ($6,100) has thrown 35+ times in each game thus far, but RoJo may be leaned on a bit more than normal with Godwin on the sideline.
Chris Thompson ($4,100) @ CIN: James Robinson ($6,500) is the king of this backfield, and make no mistake about that. But that doesn't mean Thompson doesn't get any looks - with 10 targets over his past two games, Thompson sees opportunity in the passing game, though not a whole lot. You're banking on a TD from the veteran scat back, but Cincy is kind to RBs, allowing over 180 YPG on the ground (31st in the NFL) while also allowing the 27th-most DKFP to RBs. Cincy's defense isn't good, so I expect them to get gashed by Robinson and Thompson whenever either is on the field.
WR
Darius Slayton ($5,000) @ LAR: Some of us probably jumped on Slayton against the banged-up 49ers defense, but we didn't think Daniel Jones ($5,100) would be so bad. The Giants will certainly be playing catchup in this contest as well, so hopefully Slayton continues to see 5+ targets as the Rams have been fairly middle-of-the-pack against the WR position, though they allow over 250 passing YPG (21st in the NFL). Nothing astounding, but opportunity is still there for Slayton with no Saquon Barkley or Sterling Shepard for New York. Slayton's very boom or bust, but could be a solid GPP play, as his Week 1 stat line (6-102-2 on 9 targets) vs. Pittsburgh shows that he's capable of being a producer if given opportunities down the field. Assume Jones will rebound a bit here against the Rams and Slayton can reap the benefits. Golden Tate ($4,600) is a high-floor option for the Giants offense due to Shepard's absence, but Slayton has more upside.
Randall Cobb ($4,800) vs. MIN: Just 10 targets in his last two games, but Deshaun Watson ($6,600) has been hitting him for big gains (Cobb had a 4-95-1 line @ PIT last week). Watson is bound to throw more than 30 times against the Vikings' subpar secondary that allows 292 YPG through the air, and while Will Fuller ($5,900) will see his targets, Cobb is a solid complementary option that's hitting his stride at the right time.
Cole Beasley ($4,700) @ LV: Fellow Bill John Brown ($5,100, calf) is looking like he'll play, but Beasley sees solid usage as the slot in Buffalo (20 targets over his first three games), which I think can translate well with the Raiders needing to be focused on containing QB Josh Allen ($7,300) as well as star receiver Stefon Diggs ($6,800). The Raiders have been stingy against WRs, but keep in mind they've played the Saints without Michael Thomas and the Patriots, who rammed the ball down the Raiders' throats. Worth putting in lineups despite an okay matchup on paper.
Hunter Renfrow ($4,600) vs. BUF: No Ruggs or Edwards here, so I love Renfrow at this price and in this matchup. Really don't need to explain this one that much.
Tee Higgins ($4,500) vs. JAX: Just caught 2 TDs, and I think it's a sign of things to come. The Jaguars are fairly decent defensively, but also have to cover A.J. Green ($5,500) as well as Tyler Boyd ($6,100). Obviously recency bias makes Higgins more intriguing than he'll likely be for Week 4, but he's worth slotting in to the occasional lineup in the hope of a repeat performance - plus, a rookie WR getting 9 targets in a game is a good sign, even if said game went into OT.
Mecole Hardman ($4,300) vs. NE: New England has an elite corner in Stephon Gilmore, but speedy receivers are king against the Patriots' defense. The way I see it - Tyreek Hill ($6,900) will likely see plenty of double coverage (over-top from Devin McCourty), while Travis Kelce sees similar treatment - if Gilmore shadows Sammy Watkins ($4,400) to take him out of the game, that leaves Hardman as the sort-of odd man out - someone likely to be forgotten about by the notorious game-planning of Bill Belichick. Will that translate into a HUGE game for Hardman? Likely not, but I think he could have a long TD - which is enough to warrant playing, especially at $4,300.
Justin Watson ($3,400) vs. LAC: Okay, no Chris Godwin (hamstring), and Scotty Miller (hip/groin) has missed practice both Wednesday and Thursday. Makes Watson's outlook fairly decent, even against a tough Chargers' defense. While Mike Evans ($6,400), Rob Gronkowski ($3,600) and O.J. Howard ($3,300) will see their targets, Watson's got a nice projected volume heading into Sunday.
TE
T.J. Hockenson ($4,800) vs. NO: Saints haven't handled TEs well, allowing TDs to O.J. Howard and Darren Waller, with the latter piling up 105 yards on 12 receptions. While Hockenson is not on the same level as Waller, the former is headed for a good line on Sunday if he sees a similar workload to the 7 targets he saw against Arizona, especially with Kenny Golladay ($6,000) active.
Hunter Henry ($4,600) @ TB: Sees too many targets to not be in your player pool (23 over his first three games). Henry is talented enough to consistently be in the top tier of the TE position, and is averaging 12.2 DKFP despite the Chargers 1-2 record. With at least 5 receptions and 50+ yards in each game thus far, Henry's a safe floor option who may not have the best matchup at Tampa Bay, but just needs to find the end zone to become an elite option on the slate.
Dalton Schultz ($4,300) vs. CLE: 16 targets over the last two games tells me that Schultz will be relevant as the top TE for the Cowboys (get well, Blake Jarwin!). Cleveland does not defend TEs well, so I'm hoping we get another solid outing from Schultz as Dak Prescott ($7,200) looks to sling the ball around following a tough loss to the Seahawks last week.
Jimmy Graham ($3,800) vs. IND: Some recency bias here with his 2 TD performance against the Falcons, but Graham should become a more fantasy-relevant option with Foles under center. Don't necessarily expect 10 targets a game, but Graham is still a legitimate red zone threat, and you saw what I mentioned earlier about the Colts defense and their matchups of late. Don't fade Graham just because the matchup makes his outlook worse than it really is.
Rob Gronkowski ($3,600 vs. LAC: Like I said earlier about Watson, Gronk can also benefit from no Godwin or potentially Miller. Gronk's snap count has continued to increase, and while I don't love the matchup vs. LAC per se, I do like Gronk's chances of nabbing a red zone score at some point. Gronk and O.J. Howard ($3,300) are worth looks as cheap options at the TE position.
D/ST
Chargers ($2,900) @ TB: Not much value as far as defenses go this week - the best options are certainly at the top. That being said, there's a possibility the Chargers' pass rush makes life difficult for Tom Brady and the Buccaneers, which is why I like their floor this week. I know the Bucs have plenty of offensive weapons and will likely score 20+ points, but you can hope for 3+ sacks and maybe a turnover or two from this Charger defense, which would be a solid outing considering the opponent. Keep in mind LAC kept the Chiefs to 23 points in Week 2, which is the most they've allowed to an opponent thus far.
Panthers ($2,700) vs. ARI: This one revolves a bit more around recency bias, as the Panthers made life difficult for Justin Herbert ($5,800) and the Chargers last week with 4 turnovers (1 INT/3 FR) and sacked Herbert twice. Kyler Murray ($7,000) and the Cardinals will be a tougher offensive opponent, and Murray's elusiveness makes the Panthers' floor a bit volatile, but I think they're good for a solid 4-5 DKFP at least - which is decent at their sub-$3,000 price point.
Who are you targeting for Week 4? Let's talk about the slate below!
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Offseason Review Series: Los Angeles Rams

2019 Summary

Division: NFC West
Record: 9-7 (3rd in Division, 7th in Conference)
After a wildly successful 2019 season, the Los Angeles Rams had high hopes for 2020. It was truly Super Bowl or bust for the team, and unfortunately as high as the expectations were the end result was disappointment almost as high. Despite the shortcomings (and media doubt), the team is still in great shape to have another great year and playoff hopes are completely within shooting distance. Here's a brief summary of some of the positives and negatives on the 2019 season.
Positives
Negatives

2020 Coaching Staff/Changes

Position Name (* indicates new coach) Notes
Sean McVay Head Coach Total babe
Joe Berry Assistant Head Coach/Linebackers Coach
Thad Bogardus Assistant Defensive Line Coach/Defensive Quality Control Dope name
John Bonamego Special Teams Coordinator* Previously with the Detroit Lions
Thomas Brown Running Backs Coach* Previously with the South Carolina Gamecocks
Liam Coen Assistant Quarterbacks Coach Previously WRs coach
John Cooley Defensive Quality Control* Previously Akron CBs Coach
Andy Dickerson Assistant Offensive Line Coach
Ejiro Evero Safeties Coach Dope name
Eric Henderson Defensive Line Coach
Aaron Kromer Run Game CoordinatoOffensive Line Coach
Zak Kromer Offensive Quality Control lol nepotism
Bill Nayes Assistant to the Head Coach insert The Office joke here
Kevin O'Connell Offensive Coordinator* Previously with the Washington REDACTED
Wes Phillips Tight Ends Coach
Aubrey Pleasant Cornerbacks Coach
Zac Robinson Assistant Wide Receivers Coach Was Assistant QB coach in 2019
Chris Shula Outside Linebackers Coach
Brandon Staley Defensive Coordinator* Previously with the Denver Broncos as OLB Coach
Shane Waldron Pass Game Coordinator
Eric Yarbor Wide Receivers Coach
Key Changes

Free Agent Signings and Departures

Key Signings
Player Position Former Team Contract Details
Michael Brockers Defensive Tackle LA Rams 3 y31.5 million
Andrew Whitworth Offensive Tackle LA Rams 3 y30 million
Austin Blythe Offensive Guard/C LA Rams 1 y3.9 million
A'shawn Robinson Defensive Tackle Detroit Lions 2 y17 million
Leonard Floyd OLB/Defensive End Chicago Bears 1 y10 million
Key Departures
Player Position New Team Contract Details
Greg Zuerline Kicker Dallas Cowboys 3 y7.5 million
Todd Gurley Running Back Atlanta Falcons 1 y5.5 million
Dante Fowler Jr OLB/Defensive End Atlanta Falcons 3 y30 million
Cory Littleton Linebacker Las Vegas Raiders 3 y36 million
Marquis Christian Safety New York Jets 1 y2 million
Jojo Natson PKR Cleveland Browns 1 y1 million
Clay Matthews OLB/Defensive End Free Agent n/a
Eric Weddle Safety Free Agent n/a
Nickell Robey-Coleman Cornerback Philadelphia Eagles 1 y1.35 million
Lets start our discussion with the departures, because we lost a lot of key starters. Dante Fowler, Cory Littleton, Clay Mathew, and Eric Weddle were four starters on our defense, with NRC being our primary slot DB. Weddle was more of a leader than an anchor on defense, and did a remarkable job mentoring his replacement in rookie Taylor Rapp. Clay Mathews had a nice season but at his age is certainly replaceable. What isn't going to be replaceable is Cory Littleton, who might be one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL. His coverage ability is going to be sorely missed and leaves the linebacker room, which was already weak, almost defunct.
The strategy regarding our free agent signings is a little mysterious. In early free agency we signed Floyd and Robinson, which filled two holes left by Fowler and Brockers, who had originally signed with the Baltimore Ravens. A few weeks afterwards Brockers offer was rescinded by the Ravens, and he resigned at a lofty amount. This effectively leaves the team with a log jam at defensive tackle, with two DTs that do virtually the same thing to be paired with Aaron Donald. I'll explain later in this post how I think our defense might look, but it's certainly a puzzling signing.
Resigning Whitworth, in what should be his final contract, is a nice bonus even if it was for another larger than anticipated deal. It gives our numerous young OL talent a wonderful vet to learn from, and despite media reports our offensive line room actually isn't bad. It's just incredibly young, and we have many sophomores who look to make jumps this year.

2020 Draft Class/Undrafted Free Agents

Round Pick Player Position College Team
2 52 Cam Akers Running Back Florida State
2 57 Van Jefferson Wide Receiver Florida
3 84 Terrell Lewis OLB/DE Alabama
3 104 Terrell Burgess Safety Utah
4 136 Brycen Hopkins Tight End Purdue
6 199 Jordan Fuller Safety Ohio State
7 234 Clay Johnston Linebacker Baylor
7 248 Sam Sloman Kicker Miami (OH)
7 250 Tremayne Anchrum Offensive Line Clemson
Cam Akers and Van Jefferson are the only players on offensive who should make an immediate impact. Akers could battle for the starting position with Gurley out, and Jefferson could battle Josh Reynolds for WR3. The intriguing pick is Terrell Lewis, who could have been a 1st rounder if healthy. He fills a major need at EDGE for the team, and if he works out will be a massive value pick.
Brycen Hopkins will battle with Johnny Mundt for the final TE spot, which may be a tall order given Mundt's proficiency on special teams. But he's a good prospect to replace Gerald Everett, who will demand a larger contract next year. Tremayne Anchrum is probably a longshot to make the team, especially with no preseason games considering we have a logjam of OL prospects with Bobby Evans, David Edwards, Joe Notebloom, among others.
For more information on the UDFA list, check out this link. The interesting choices are Easop Winston, Josh Love, and Bryce Perkins. Easop I think may have a decent shot at making the roster, while Josh Love and Bryce Perkins may be able to battle it out for the backup position. The Rams will look to shed future salary cap space where ever possible, and both players have decent ceilings and could be a cheap backup alternative for Goff, but both will have to usurp AAF legend John Wolford who is the leader in the clubhouse.

Projected Depth Chart/Scheme Changes

Offense (* indicates rookie)
Position 1st 2nd 3rd
QB Jared Goff John Wolford
RB Malcom Brown Cam Akers* Darrell Henderson
WR Cooper Kupp Van Jefferson*
WR Robert Woods Nsimba Webster
WR Josh Reynolds Easop Winston* Trishton Jackson*
TE Tyler Higbee Gerald Everett Brycen Hopkins*
LT Andrew Whitworth Bobby Evans Tremayne Anchrum
LG Joe Notebloom David Edwards
C Austin Blythe Brian Allen
RG Austin Corbett Coleman Shelton
RT Rob Havenstein Jamil Demby
The first thing that I envision changing for this Rams offensive is to break out of our traditional 11 personnel into more 11 or 22 based packages. Sean McVay has made no secret about our change to a running back by committee team, which makes sense given the different types of backs we have on the roster. Malcom Brown probably gets the start due to his veteran presence, and because he's a traditional runner of the football. But Cam Akers and Darrell Henderson are both Alvin Kamara-like backs and can open things up for McVay to get more creative.
An interesting camp battle will be to see who makes it at wide receiver. Kupp, Woods, Reynolds, Jefferson, and Webster are all locks to make the team, but we will probably carry 6-7 on the roster. I'm partial to Easop Winston and Trishton Jackson to fill those voids but other guys like JJ Koski could also impress and camp and make an impact. As the season goes on, the Rams are going to hope that at least one of these rookies can manage to impress enough to replace Josh Reynolds, as both him and Cooper Kupp are in contract years and we probably won't be able to afford to resign both.
On the offensive line front, I'm really excited to see the development that Bobby Evans, Joe Notebloom, and David Edwards show. Make no mistake, if our team is to have flexibility moving forward it is absolutely vital that one, if not all three, of these guys pan out. Luckily, due to injury Bobby Evans and David Edwards were given starting jobs and performed really well all things considered. Evans in particular was given the task to block Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack and really held those guys to minimal impact.
As a quick update, the only member of the team to opt out of the 2020 season is OL Chandler Brewer, who was probably a good bet to make the team as a backup OL. In his place I slot Jamil Demby who's been a prospect on the team for what seems like a decade. In any other year, I'd slot a rookie to take over that slot but given the lack of a structured offseason I think the team stays with someone familiar for another year.
Defense (* indicates rookie)
Position 1st 2nd 3rd
DE Leonard Floyd Ogbonnia Okoronkwo
DT Aaron Donald Sebastian Joseph-Day Greg Gaines
DT Michael Brockers A'shawn Robinson
DE Samson Ebukam Justin Lawler
LB Micah Kiser Kenny Young Travin Howard
LB Terrell Lewis Clay Johnston*
CB Jalen Ramsey Darious Williams
CB Troy Hill Donte Deayon
CB David Long Jr Adonis Alexander
S John Johnson III Jordan Fuller*
S Taylor Rapp Terrell Burgess*
Our biggest change in identity is going to come from the defensive side of the ball. Losing Wade Phillips is a huge blow to the leadership of the team, but newcomer Brandon Staley may be able to provide a McVay-like spark in ingenuity that provides results. The way that the Rams targeted safeties in the draft, and avoided a massive need in linebacker, makes me believe that we are transitioning to a DB let system similar our neighbors in the LA Chargers. If you do film study on the Chargers, you can see them run a package that consists of 7 DBs occasionally, which works well when you have physical safeties like Derwin James. Luckily for us, we have two incredibly physical guys in Johnson and Rapp, and with the team clearly focusing on DBs I think its in the cards for us to roll this package out in 2020.
One area that might be a struggle for us is going to be our defensive line, and generating pressure via the pass rush. Luckily again, we have the greatest defensive player in the NFL and the greatest defensive tackle of all time on our team. Another fortunate circumstance is that we no longer will be marred by Wade Phillips conservative play calling, and in fact may be able to use DC Brandon Staley's expertise as an OLB coach to get improvement out of guys like Okoronkwo and Ebukam, In free agency we signed A'Shawn Robinson, who paired with Michael Brockers can be a force against the run, but neither player is a threat to rush the passer. Leonard Floyd, another free agent signing, is another guy who is strong against the run but struggles in pass rush. This area of defense will be key to the success of the team, and these guys are gonna have to find ways outside of relying on Aaron Donald to generate pressure.
Special Teams (* indicates rookie)
Position 1st
K Sam Sloman*
P Johnny Hekker
LS Jake McQuaide
PR Trishton Jackson*
PR Nsimba Webster*
Losing Greg Zuerline is going to hurt, and he will always have a place in Rams history for making clutch kicks in the 2018 NFC Championship game. But he grew inconsistent especially inside the 40 yard line, and struggled with injuries since 2017. We drafted Sam Sloman in 2020 but also have two decent UDFA that will compete for the starting job..

Projected Game Results

Week 1: Win (1-0)
Dallas Cowboys @ Rams - NBC Sunday Night Football
Opening the season at the new SoFi stadium, with potentially no fans is going to be an odd experience. The last time the Rams beat dem boyz was in the 2018 Divisional round of the playoffs. Both teams will struggle early to find continuity, and I'd expect a relatively low scoring, run heavy game. In the end I think the Rams will get the season off to a good start with a win. Rams 24 Cowboys 17
Week 2: Win (2-0)
Rams @ Philadelphia Eagles - FOX 10am PST
We should finally get to see Goff vs Wentz healthy in full game for the first time. The Eagles have beat the Rams both times they've played Sean McVay, and I think they get things back on track in 2020. I believe our strength at the DL and DBs will be able to effectively manage the weaknesses of the Eagles WRs and aging OL, though the key will probably be Zach Ertz. Rams 30 Eagles 28
Week 3: Loss (2-1)
Rams @ Buffalo Bills - FOX 10am PST
Our first stumble will come against an underrated team in the Bills. I think having two close games in a row to open the season will leave the team waiting for a crash, and how else to crash than by facing what might be the best defense in the NFL. I expect Tre White and the rest of the secondary to handle Goff and company in a convincing loss. Bills 23 Rams 10
Week 4: Win (3-1)
New York Giants @ Rams - FOX 1:05PST
Home sweet home, the Rams get back on track with a convincing win over a struggling Giants team. I'll predict an offensive explosion from Goff, somewhere around 400 yds and 4 TDs in a blow out win. Sorry Giants fans, nothing personal. I'm expecting an early struggle for this Giants team as it adjusts to new coach, young QB, with little prep time.Rams 42 Giants 16
Week 5: Win (4-1)
Rams @ Washington [REDACTED] - FOX 10amPST
I think this gsme is much closer than most might expect. The [REDACTED] are my surprise pick of the year, I have them winning the NFC East. An already tenacious defense led by Ron Rivera and gaining a bona-fide star in Chase Young is going to be fun to watch. I think the key to this game will be quick passes to avoid that ferocious defensive line as much as possible. Rams 24 [REDACTED] 21
Week 6: Loss (4-2)
Rams @ San Fransisco 49ers - NBC Sunday Night Football
As much as I want to win this game, I think Shanny and those fucks take this one from us. Divisional games tend to be unpredictable and chaotic, and while I do think we split the series with them, being on the road for this one isn't going to favor us. Its going to be interesting to see how DC Brandon Staley chooses to defend Kittle. I dont think shadowing him with Ramsey is the best play, perhaps it's a combination of jamming him at the LOS and covering him in zone. Either way, its a tall order for whoever gets that assignment. 49ers 31 Rams 25
Week 7: Win (5-2)
Chicago Bears @ Rams - ESPN Monday Night Football
As it stands, McVay will be 1-1 on the year in prime time games. His record as a coach is , which leads me to believe he'll have an edge in winning this one. Of course the Ram fucker Foles might be in at QB, which could spell disaster for our team. I think that our offensive prowess will shine during this long week, and we win in convincing fashion. Rams 36 Bears 20
Week 8: Win (6-2)
Rams @ Miami Dolphins - FOX 10am PST
We continue this offensive success against a team that will probably be pretty good defensively. HC Tom Flores is a Bill Belichek disciple who learned something important from his former mentor; acquire as many great DBs as you can. The improved secondary will make things tough for Goff and gang, but ultimately working with a rookie QB is going to be hard against a defense with all pros scattered around it. Rams 17 Dolphins 0 ' Week 9: BYE
Week 10: Win (7-2)
Seattle Seahawks @ Rams - FOX 1:25PST
And entering the second half of the season we have our first three game winning streak. Coming off a bye week will give McBae ample time to prepare for a Seahawks team thay frankly will have a struggling offensive line and holes on its defense. Even with Jamal Adams, I expect this team to take a step back in 2020. Rams 31 Seahawks 17
Week 11: Loss (7-3)
Rams @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers - ESPN Monday Night Football
Facing the best offensive weapons in the league is going to be a tough order for any team this season. Now that they have a QB that will make effective, eccifient decisions this Bucs team should take off. I dont think its particularly close, this is a complete team on both sides of the ball. Bucs 28 Rams 10
Week 12: Win (8-3)
San Fransisco 49ers @ Rams - FOX 1:05PST
The winning continues as the team really clicks into high gear. A brutal NFC West game will likely be a repeat of Week 6, but with a few more bounces going our way. Being at home will be a helpful factor. Rams 26 49ers 24
Week 13: Win (9-3)
Rams @ Arizona Cardinals - FOX 1:05PST
If there is any team in the league that McVay can be relied on to spank, its the Cardinals. McVay has yet to be beat by the team in his tenure with the Rams and I expect that to continue at least through this week. Despite a huge game from future MVP Kyler Murray, the Rams prevail, improving to 9-3
Week 14: Loss (9-4)
New England Patriots @ Rams - FOX/NFLN/Amazon Thursday Night Football
A short week against Belichek spells doom for almost every team, and McVay will continue his struggles against the GOAT. The Pats defense was able to throw Goff off his game on the Super Bowl a few years ago, I expect we see more of this on Thursday.
Week 15: Loss (9-5)
New York Jets @ Rams - TBD
Every team had one puzzling loss, and this matchup with the Jets is ours for the year. I dont expect the Jets to have a grest year but I do think Sam Darnold is universally underappreciated and will have a great game against us.
Week 16: Loss (9-6)
Rams @ Seattle Seahawks - CBS 1:05PST
And we are really ending the year on a slump. Losing to the Seahawks this late in the year isn't great for our playoff hopes, but its always a tall order to go into Seattle and leave with a W. This game may he one of the most important games going into the playoffs and I wont be surprised to see it get flexed.
Week 17: Win (10-6)
Arizona Cardinals @ Rams - FOX 1:25PST
Luckily for us we end the season against our little cousins, and use this opportunity to get our chakras realigned. This game will move us into the 6th seed and bounce Arizona into the 7th seed, becoming the first division in history to have every team make the playoffs.

Conclusion

I think people have forgotten that the Rams were a mkssed field goal away from making the playoffs last year, and thats with playing very sloppy through most games. The only thing holding this team back is the fact that they play in the toughest division in football. I think that Goff has a bounce back year and ends up a top 10 QB for the season. This season will be critical for McVay to really show the new coaches and players that he's capable of not only calling proficient offense but leading an entire team of players. It will be an interesting season, so make sure to wear your damn mask so it actually happens.
Thank you for reading, and bless all the knees and keep them healthy!!
Thanks for reading!! Bless all the knees and keep them healthy.
Link to hub
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Offseason Review Series: The 2020 Indianapolis Colts

Indianapolis Colts

Division: AFC South

Coaching Changes

Colts lost defensive line coach Mike Phair to the Panthers and replaced him with Brian Baker who is most recently out of Alabama. Mike Groh reunites with Frank Reich as he was hired as wide receivers coach, while Patullo moved to the role of pass game specialist to accommodate. Tyler Boyles was signed on as the assistant to the head coach to replace Parks Frazier who is moving to offensive quality control coach.

Free Agency

Players lost/cut
Name Position New Team
Adam Vinatieri K Free Agent
Clayton Geathers S Free Agent
Joe Haeg T Buccaneers
Jabaal Sheard DE Free Agent
Eric Ebron TE Steelers
Devin Funchess WR Green Bay
Pierre Desir CB New York Jets
Quincy Wilson CB New York Jets
Adam hasn’t officially announced his retirement, but I doubt he comes back to the NFL. He struggled throughout the year before going on IR. Geathers is a great character guy who began the season as the starting strong safety, but slowly lost reps to the impressive rookie Khari Willis. Haeg is the only guy the Colts probably wanted back as he’s a capable backup at all five slots on the line. Sheard is getting up there in age, Ebron seems to have made a business decision, and Funchess was the worst affected in the week one Claviclysm when injured his clavicle alongside Hill and Foles while being the only one to miss the rest of the season. Pierre Desir was an unexpected cut this offseason after playing well enough through the year despite playing through an injury. Quincy Wilson was traded to the Jets after a few disappointing seasons.
Players signed
Name Position Old Team Length Money
Philip Rivers QB Chargers 1 Yr 25 Mil
DeForest Buckner DT 49ers 5 Yr 21 Mil/Y
Sheldon Day DT 49ers 1 Yr 1.75 Mil
Xavier Rhodes CB Vikings 1 Yr 3 Mil
Trey Burton TE Bears 1 Yr .91 Mil
Roosevelt Nix RB Steelers 1 Yr .96 Mil
TJ Carrie CB Browns 1 Yr 1 Mil
Let’s start with Philip Rivers. It’s clear that Jacoby Brissett is not the guy and the Colts had to make a choice. They went with a player that both head coach Frank Reich and offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni have worked with previously, which may be quite valuable as we implement the offense during a shortened offseason. Regardless, Philip underwent a dramatic statistical drop last year. I think he’s still got juice left in him and can make a great deal of good throws if he has a decent amount of room in the pocket. If you have some time, I recommend this video by The Scouting Academy featuring former offensive coordinator turned quarterback guru Steve Fairchild.
While DeForest Buckner was not technically a free agent, he was a massive departure from the Chris Ballard modus operandi of building through the draft. The team desperately needed a 3T and they traded their first round pick for one of the best in the league. Joining him will be recent teammate Sheldon Day who will likely take over quite a few snaps at the 1T.
Xavier Rhodes was signed on almost immediately after cutting Pierre Desir. He certainly seemed physically incapable of doing what was asked of him last year. Some players have called out the scheme change as a reason that Rhodes might return to form. Personally, I don’t quite see it and think his primary value on the team might be on using his intelligence as a veteran presence in a young CB room.
Of the remaining three, Trey Burton seems like a lock at TE2 after an injury filled stint with the Bears. Roosevelt Nix is an interesting choice as I expect him to continue his heavily blocking role he played with the Steelers as well as pick up a few more rushing snaps than he did with the Steelers as we lack a true fullback. Carrie is a guy that has a chance at being the backup slot behind Kenny Moore, but I don’t think he’s secured a spot yet.

Draft

Round Pick Name Position College
2 34 Michael Pittman WR USC
2 41 Jonathan Taylor RB Wisconsin
2 85 Julian Blackmon S Utah
3 122 Jacob Eason QB QB
4 149 Danny Pinter G G
6 211 Robert Windsor DT Penn State
6 211 Isaiah Rodgers CB UMass
6 212 Dezmon Patmon WR Washington State
7 213 Jordan Glasgow LB Michigan
Michael Pittman Jr, WR, USC 2.34 Grade: A
This man just feels like a Colt. He’s a physical player and will immediately slot in as Philip River’s YOLO target. He’s got great size and uses it well both in positioning himself against a receiver to win the ball as well as using his frame and forcing his way down field. Even on truly contested catches, he has great hands with only 5 drops against 176 catchable targets in college. Lastly, his frame and hand usage make him a valuable blocker, which is particularly valued by Frank Reich as he plans to run the damn ball.
Jonathan Taylor, RB, Wisconsin 2.41 Grade: A-
This man is going to run the damn ball. Let’s start by mentioning his toughness, with nearly 1000 rushes through three years. The man’s body doesn’t show any sign that it will ever give up. He has enough cutting ability to dodge the occasional tackle, but excels at using his physique and contact balance to force his way through a tackle. If the defense fails to collapse on Taylor quickly, they’re at risk of him taking off. Taylor was the fastest running back at the combine running a 4.39 at 225 pounds. Going 1-on-1 with him nearing full speed is almost a futile prospect. As he finds lanes behind probably the best run blocking line in the league, he’ll be plenty of trouble. Not without flaws, he’s had a somewhat questionable history with fumbles that will likely lead to plenty of time with Tom Rathman. He also has limited experience in the passing game.
Julian Blackmon, S, Utah 3.85 Grade: C+
Perhaps I’m being a bit too harsh on Blackmon because I’m slightly addicted to watching Pittman embarrass the Utah defense in the Utah vs USC game. Perhaps it’s just because I’ve watched limited tape and safeties struggle with getting on tape for failing in coverage more often than being particularly good in coverage. Either way, as the heir apparent to Malik Hooker’s starting free safety position, Blackmon feels in a way like the opposite player. While both players had an eye for the ball coming out of college, Blackmon feels overall much more inconsistent in coverage, but he also feels like a much more solid tackler. Blackmon is also a recent convert to safety from corner, so perhaps what I’m seeing is simply growing pains especially because my reviewed games are from early in the season.
Jacob Eason, QB, Washington 4.122 Grade: C+
Jacob Eason was a surprise drop for many who considered him a second round prospect. His arm is an absolute cannon belonging right in that Josh Allen tier of pure arm strength. Of course, he’s a fourth round pick for a reason. He struggles to work through his progressions, he can’t consistently throw with touch, and there are some huge question marks regarding his work ethic. There’s a whole lot of potential, but I’m not going to call the future franchise QB spot secured for the Colts yet. For the time being, I’ll call him a fine backup for a team that didn’t otherwise have a QB rostered for 2021.
Danny Pinter, G, Ball State 5.149 Grade: B-
Danny Pinter is an undersized prospect that is moving in to play guard after most recently playing as a tackle. As a tight end convert from a small school, he still lacks a lot of the technique and strength and conditioning that you would hope for in an NFL O-line prospect. I’ve seen him be pretty weak with his hand placement and he’s let the defender get into his chest a couple times. The upside here is Pinter’s mobility. He ran the second fastest 40 of all offensive linemen at the combine at 4.91 seconds at 306 pounds and put up respectable numbers for the remaining footwork related drills. Altogether a fine pick for a team with a solid offensive line that will hopefully have time to develop their rookie.
Robert Windsor, DT, Penn State 6.193 Grade: C
Robert Windsor has a good first step and a motor that doesn’t stop. That’s all the good I can say about him. Windsor doesn’t have the strength, length, or technique to make an impression. With the potential of Denico Autry moving to the edge, it seems like they might be looking at Windsor as a backup for Buckner. If Tyquan Lewis continues to be a disappointment in the limited camp, Windsor might just sneak onto the roster by need alone, which is the only reason I can bump my grade to a C, though perhaps I’m a little too critical as I felt there were a couple of other players that are more roster worthy.
Isaiah Rodgers, CB, UMass 6.211 Grade: A
Isaiah Rodgers is an absolute burner. His pro-day speed was 4.28. Admittedly hand timed is always faster, but he’s clearly quick on tape. A bit undersized at 5’10”, he’ll likely be relegated to the back end of the cornerback depth chart until he can develop into an NFL level corner, but his immediate value seems very obvious on special teams. His speed makes him a threat at kick returns and he’ll likely get tried out as a backup punt returner. As a gunner, he will gladly hit you with everything he’s got. Check this hit.
Dezmon Patmon, WR, Washington State 6.212 Grade: B+
Patman is an intriguing prospect. He’s got a great combination of size and speed. While easily compared to second round pick Pittman because of his physical traits, Patmon lacks a lot of the polish. Worse hands, worse route running, and doesn’t quite play to his size like Pittman does. Regardless, I expect him to find production in his rookie year as Frank Reich was playing with the most injured wide receiver core in the league last year and has proven an ability to scheme depth players open consistently. Lastly, I think his size and River’s tendencies towards giant players is going to come into play fairly often near the redzone.
Jordan Glasgow, LB, Michigan 6.213 Grade: B+
Glasgow isn’t a guy I want to see playing a lot of defensive snaps in a game. He’s technically refined enough, but physically doesn’t seem to have a very high ceiling. During the Middle Tennessee State game that I reviewed for him, Michigan used him plenty to blitz the quarterback where he was plenty effective, but I won’t pretend that he was up against top tier opponents. Ultimately Glasgow is going to be a special teams specialist after a college career where he excelled at special teams, which at the end of the 6th round is all you can ask for.

Roster

QB: 3 Rivers, Brissett, Eason
Things are pretty straightforward for the Colts this year. There aren’t any preseason games, so nobody can retire after one. Rivers is the starter, hoping to prove that his career isn’t over after a down year last year. Brissett is a capable enough backup. Eason is the team’s insurance for 2021 when no other quarterbacks are on the roster and will hopefully not have to start during what is sure to be an odd season. First man out is $wag Kelly, who seems mainly to hold a roster spot as a favor between Frank Reich and his old friend Jim Kelly.
RB: 4 Mack, Taylor, Hines, Nix
For a while at least, Mack gets to hold the starting job. It’s certainly a competition with Taylor’s level of talent and I expect a pretty even split over the course of the year. Despite some competition at the position, Hines may have his best year considering River’s appreciation for receiving backs. Rosie Nix is the new fullback from the Steelers who might get a few touches here and there, but exists primarily for his blocking ability. First man out is Jordan Wilkins. This is a contentious cut for Colts fans. Wilkins has an unusual level of highlight type plays that lend to his 6.0 yards per attempt over 51 carries last year. Alas, roster spots are at a premium and running backs are not.
WR: 6 Hilton, Pittman, Pascal, Campbell, Marcus Johnson, Dezmon Patmon
Hilton’s the obvious choice. After two years struggling with health issues, Colts fans are hoping their WR1 remains healthy for the whole year. Pittman comes in as a fairly polished candidate from the top of the second round in a stacked receiver class. He’ll hold down the X receiver immediately. Zach Pascal was a pleasant surprise for Colts fans last year. With a list of injuries above him, Pascal did his best as WR1 for several games last year and led the Colts in receiving yards. As a WR3, he’ll get less focus and still be fairly valuable. Campbell has shown plenty of big play ability, what he needs to show is durability. He suffered four separate injuries last year including training camp. Hopefully, it was just a fluke and he can show off more of what he can do with a ball in his hands. Marcus Johnson is a fan favorite after his Tampa Bay showing last year. After starting the season on injured reserve, he returned to the practice squad and eventually made the roster last year. Colts fans are hoping his 16.3 yards per reception last year and 17 yards per reception in 2018 weren’t flukes and can be duplicated on more snaps Rivers. Dezmon Patman comes in as a somewhat unrefined option. I’ve already mentioned his physical traits. With a little bit of help from Reich’s scheming, I think he’ll find a handful of receptions this year, particularly towards the red zone. The first man out here is Daurice Fountain. After moving to the active roster in mid-2018, Reece was a training camp hit in 2019 until suffering an ankle injury in camp. While he might compete for the position, I haven’t seen enough from him in the first two years to give him right of way over Johnson and the rookie Patmon.
TE: 3 Jack Doyle, Trey Burton, Mo Alie-Cox
Jack Doyle has been a reliable pass catcher and mauling run blocker for years. He’s solid in his position as a starter. Trey Burton reunites with Frank Reich and is only two years removed from having a 569 yard season with the Bears. After struggling with injuries last season, Burton is hoping for a return to form this season. Mo Alie-Cox was a bit disappointing as many were expecting more receiving stats, but he’s still a talented run blocker with plenty of potential for next year. With Rivers having an appreciation for big bodied receivers, perhaps the 6’5.5” receiver with a 7’1” wingspan will find a few jump balls his way.
OL: 9 Castonzo, Nelson, Kelly, Glowinski, Smith, Clark, Patterson, Pinter, O’Donnell
The Colts are lucky enough to return all 5 starting offensive linemen this year. Castonzo played some of the best football of his career last year and signed on for two more years after considering retirement for a while. Quenton Nelson is coming off his second First Team All-Pro year. Kelly is a great Center coming off a fairly healthy season and going into a contract year. Glowinski is the weak point of the line, but that’s not so much an insult to Glowinski as it is a credit to the rest of the team. He’s still a very serviceable guard. Braden Smith is surpassing my wildest expectations from the day he was drafted as a guard. With early 2018 injuries to the tackle position, Smith made the shift and has been great at the position. Beyond the starting five, things get a bit more questionable with a significant loss of depth this past year. Clark returns on a one year contract and will be taking over the swing tackle position now that Joe Haeg has left. Patterson suffered a torn ACL in his rookie year, but is the only center on the roster behind Kelly and not including Nelson who only holds the position so he can keep 56. Pinter seems like the obvious option as a backup guard. O’Donnell is a Canadian football prospect that I assume the Colts found at the East-West Shrine bowl where he played fairly well. The Colts need depth at tackle and I can see O’Donnell doing that. First man out is Eldrenkamp as a backup guard.
DL: 9 Autry, Buckner, Day, Houston, Turay, Stewart, Muhammad, Lewis, Banogu
Autry has largely played DT the past couple years and done a fine job of it. With Sheard leaving in free agency, I currently have Autry slotted as the guy to move outside and take over the job. Buckner is our 3T we’ve been looking for. I hopefully don’t need to say anything else. Sheldon Day is competing with Grover Stewart for the 1T spot. I’ve got Day listed as my starter, but for a position that will see plenty of rotation I don’t think it matters either way. Turay is the “if only” story of 2019. Houston had a surprisingly healthy year and racked up 11 sacks, tied for second most in his career. Turay showed a ton of talent in his few snaps prior to injury in 2019. Over the five weeks he played, he ranked second in PFF’s pass-rushing grade and pass-rush rate with a 22.9% pressure rate. If he can build on these past two years, Turay may be a monster. Tyquan Lewis is the disappointment of Chris Ballard’s 2018 draft. He’s struggled with a couple of injuries and he’s had a few healthy scratches that I haven’t heard anything verifiable to explain away. Alas, I’m leaving him in the lineup as a guy who is flexible enough to back up Buckner, but also play outside as need be. Banogu is another guy that has shown flashes here and there. First one out is Robert Windsor, who might take that 3T spot if Lewis doesn’t shape up in camp.
LB: 6 Leonard, Walker, Okereke, Speed, Adams, Glasgow
13 games, 5 Int, 2 FF, 7 PD, 5 Sacks, 121 Tackles. Darius Leonard put up some impressive stats last year and he’s aiming for the top. If he can pull off a 16 game season with similar stats, he’ll have an argument for DPOY. Walker is a smart player, if a little limited athletically and in coverage skills. I’ll keep him as the starter, but many fans are arguing for Okereke to take over the role. Okereke was PFF’s top ranked rookie linebacker last year, particularly for his athleticism and strength in coverage. EJ Speed had some limited play last year while Leonard was dealing with a concussion. He played fine, but has yet to show anything to get excited about. Glasgow takes the final spot primarily for special teams value. Adams has played a handful of snaps here and there, but is primarily going to be a special teams player. First man out is Zaire Franklin was only getting special teams snaps anyways.
CB: 5 Rhodes, Moore, Ya-Sin, Tell, Rodgers
Rhodes is hoping for a resurgence in a different scheme. I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt and give the former first team all-pro the nod as CB1. Kenny Moore II has been a great slot corner for the Colts these past couple years. He struggled with injuries for a long while to end out the year last year, but I fully expect him to continue his efforts to make himself a household name this year. Rock Ya-Sin was our rookie pick last year near the top of the 2nd round. He had some common rookie CB mistakes, but showed enough talent and growth to believe he has a high chance of taking over the CB1 role. Marvell Tell is an incredible physical specimen that the Colts took last year with the expectations of moving him to CB from Safety. With injuries to the cornerback position, he got a few more snaps than we were hoping, but he flashed a great deal. If Xavier Rhodes’s physical decline last season continues, I wouldn’t be completely surprised to see Tell starting over a healthy Rhodes. Rodgers is still very developmental as a corner, but holds plenty of value for special teams. First man out is TJ Carrie who would have been a fine slot backup in case Kenny Moore went down.
S: 5 Hooker, Willis, Odum, Blackmon, Milligan
Malik Hooker is entering the last year of his contract with the Colts after having his fifth year option declined. Hooker lit up the stat sheet his rookie year, but ever since the scheme change, has struggled to prove he was worth the draft position. With an improved pass rush this year, perhaps his sixth sense in finding the ball will come into play more often. Khari Willis was a pleasant surprise last year. It was clear the Colts liked him when Ballard traded draft capital to move up, but I wouldn’t have expected him to so clearly take over the starting strong safety position. On top of that, Willis played reasonably at free safety during Hooker’s injury last year. Odum is a solid backup who can play at both strong and free safety. Julian Blackmon is the new rookie who I assume is intended to be Hooker’s successor next year. For the time being he’s coming back from an ACL injury and may not be available until midyear, but as the successor to the starting position, I think it’s important to at least give him a spot for now. Milligan is a versatile player. He’s really a free safety, but played a bit of slot corner last year when Kenny Moore went down.
ST: 3 Blankenship, Sanchez, Rhodes
Hot Rod is my guess to be kicker. While McLaughlin played well enough for the Colts. Even with a 100% hit rate on extra points, there’s plenty of room for more consistency as he ranked 22nd overall in field goal percentage last year. It’ll be a tough contest in camp, but if I’m calling my shot with Hot Rod. Sanchez hasn’t played his best football these past couple years. I’m hoping someone else takes over kickoffs and Sanchez can focus entirely on punting in hopes of returning to form.

Position Group Strengths and Weaknesses

QB
The Colts QB room seems solid. I’m expecting Rivers to return to his typical self that still throws a decent amount of interceptions. Regardless, a quarterback that doesn’t constantly hold onto the ball for 3+ seconds playing behind this line is going to have plenty of opportunities to make great plays. For this year of all years, it seems like the value in having backup quarterbacks is going to be at an all time high and I don’t feel so bad about what the Colts have. I’ll call it a fairly average group until Rivers can prove his career isn’t over.
Backfield
The Colts have a group of good backs, but lack an elite option particularly when considering that none have proved themselves a threat in both the rushing and passing game at the moment. As a group, I’ll call it borderline top 10 in large part because any one of these players could get injured without it feeling season ruining as may be true with a few of the teams with top running backs.
OL
I have no complaints about the starting offensive line, the huge question mark is about the depth. The Colts were lucky enough to start the same five men all season last year, but one injury to Anthony Castonzo and Colts fans will have flashbacks to the five game stretch he missed in 2018 where Luck suffered 10 of the 18 total sacks on the season. Alas, many teams struggle with depth and I hope I don’t have to argue too much about this being one of the best groups in the NFL.
Pass catchers
By Adjusted Games Lost, the Colts had the single most injured wide receiver room last year. The single biggest thing that needs to be proven is that we can stay healthy across the board. If they stay healthy, the Colts are a mid tier group, but under the assumption that TY’s health issues these past two years continue, I’m forced to assume they’re a bottom third group until we can trust someone to be a true WR1 in most games.
DL
The Colts starting lineup seems pretty strong, but for a position group that we want to rotate with depth players on, I’ve gotta question what kind of play we’re going to see out of guys like Tyquan Lewis and Ben Banogu. As such, I’ll call this group middling overall.
LB
It’s just a solid group all around. The fact that we can’t decide between Okereke and Walker as starters is primarily a question of which is better, not which is worse. Behind them is plenty of serviceable depth that holds an important role in special teams.
Secondary
This is the one group with question marks at basically every spot. Can Rhodes return to All-Pro form? Was the apparent growth for Ya-Sin real and can it continue? Can Moore stay healthy? Can Tell develop into a starting safety? Can Hooker stay healthy after missing significant time these past two years and can he prove he’s worth his draft position?
Special Teams
What just one year ago felt like a solid group for kicking and punting, now feels a bit questionable. I don’t want to get so down about Rigo’s down year as it was still overall decent. With the new search for a kicker, I can’t complain about either of the current options and I don’t believe either will get nearly the leash that Adam Vinatieri got last year, so I’d say the floor there is much higher. The returning seems like it’s best in years after Hines has impressed and our return team overall just seems to be getting stronger. With the addition of Isaiah Rodgers, this may be a group to beat.

Schedule Predictions

Week 1: @ Jaguars (W)
Ah yes, the Jaguars. An eternal question mark for the Colts. Generally believed to be one of the worst rosters in the league, I’d have to agree. There are plenty of question marks on their defense that they’re hoping will be filled in by rookies. I would expect them to have growing pains even without a shortened offseason. Week one, this seems to weigh heavily with the Colts who’ve added strong veteran talent in Rivers and Buckner.
Week 2: vs Vikings (W)
Despite having one of my favorite drafts of the year, the Vikings have many of the same struggles as the Jaguars. First, we must accept that moving from Diggs to Jefferson isn’t likely to be a smooth transition in Jefferson’s first year. Just as notably they’re losing their two corners that put up the most snaps for them in 2019. While neither of their 2018 corners were playing at their best, it currently looks like they’ll have two rookie starting corners with Gladney and Dantzler and I think all of reddit knows to expect cornerbacks to have rookie year struggles.
Week 3: vs Jets (W)
Can TY play corner? The Jets draft is another one of my favorites, but they’re still not quite there as a whole. Despite my love for Becton, I don’t think their list of offensive line changes have turned into a complete group. On top of that, I’m still not quite happy with their weapons. Bell looks like he’s still got mileage left in him if only he had a better line. Their tight end group is highly dubious, and their wide receiver group has really better hope Mims can actually play like a WR1. I think it’ll be a better game than some might assume based on a lot of opinions I hear on the Jets, but I’ve got the Colts with the edge.
Week 4: @ Bears (W)
As a fan of watching line play, this will be a game to remember. The Bears d-line is arguably the best run defense in the league and they’re not bad against the pass either particularly when backed by a good secondary. Unfortunately for the Bears, I’m expecting their weaker offensive line to struggle vs the Colts defensive line more than the opposite.
Week 5: @ Browns (L)
Ah, yes. I get to another one of my favorite offseasons. Just about everything the Browns did seemed like a good move. On paper, the Browns offense is scary as hell and I just don’t have any arguments for why they would be worse. Jack Conklin and Jedrick Wills are going to be great additions to fix that line, then you go and add Hooper as if you didn’t have enough weapons. With even half-decent coaching this team can be dangerous and I can’t trust the Colts secondary to handle every weapon.
Week 6: vs Bengals (W)
After five straight years of the Bengals losing their first round pick for a significant amount of time due to injury, maybe this year will be an exception. With the return of Jonah Williams, perhaps that line can actually have a half decent year, but I’m not going to bet the house on it. For the time being, the Bengals are still working on their rebuild.
Week 7: Bye
Week 8: @ Lions (W)
What little I watched of the Lions last year seemed like a decent quality team. As rarely as I like to bet on rookie corners, Okudah is as complete as any college corner I’ve seen. I’m not ready to call them a strong team, but they don’t seem weak by any means. A return from Stafford could make the NFC North one of the most internally competitive divisions to watch. Regardless, I feel like the Colts have a somewhat stronger roster.
Week 9: Ravens (L)
If only I could go to this game in person. I’d love to see how the Colts defense matches up against that Ravens offense in person. Top to bottom the Ravens have one of the strongest rosters in the league, so they get the strong edge.
Week 10: @ Titans (L)
I hate Thursday night games. The home team has a huge statistical advantage. Going into Tennessee tired after a tough Ravens game certainly isn’t going to do the Colts any favors when they’ve gotta try to tackle Derrick Henry.
Week 11: vs Packers (L)
This is just a long stretch of teams asking a lot of the Colts physically. Stopping the run week after week with the Ravens then Derrick Henry then Jones/Dillon is just going to be physically brutal. Luckily, the Colts are coming off a ten day bye at home, but the Packers are just an overall solid team all around and I think they’ll still be very competitive at every phase of the game.
Week 12: vs Titans (W)
I don’t think the Colts will be happy with their string of losses. I think they’re coming back hungry and trying to prove themselves against a divisional opponent at home.
Week 13: @Texans (W)
After the Texans split games in 2018 and 2019, the Colts are going to get the first win of 2020. For two closely matched teams in 2019, the Colts have lost nobody of any particular importance and purely added more talent, while the Texans sold off Hopkins in hopes that Cooks and Cobb will somehow elevate their offense. It’s a risky bet.
Week 14: @ Raiders (W)
Last year’s Raiders led the Colts by 7 points with just over 2 minutes to go in the half prior to Brissett’s pick 6. Looking at things from a clean slate, I’d fully expect the return of previously inactive Hilton, Leonard, and Hooker to cover the gap between the two teams and I have the Colts winning next year’s game.
Week 15: vs Texans (L)
Let’s not underrate Deshaun Watson. Having watched Luck carry a questionable offense for years, I think Deshaun’s got enough talent to pull some wins out of his ass. I’m certainly not so low on the Texans roster to believe Deshaun can’t push it to a win.
Week 16: @ Steelers (W)
Last year’s game was a 2 point Steelers victory after an Adam Vinatieri kick went awry with about a minute left in the game. So, they question is, were the Colts offseason improvements worth 2 points on the Steelers? Both of these teams are expected to improve greatly with the return and hiring of 2004 quarterback legends, but I’d have to give a slight nod to Big Ben as the greater improvement from Mason Rudolph vs Rivers replacing Brissett/Hoyer. For remaining Inactives, I’d have to credit the loss of TY Hilton as a more significant factor than that of James Connor. What I think finally takes the Colts over the top is the combination of their first round pick for DeForest Buckner as well as a stronger pair of second round additions with Pittman and Taylor vs Claypool.
Week 17: vs Jaguars (L)
If you don’t like the look of that L next to the Jaguars game, you don’t like AFC South football. The Jags always seem like a much better team about once a year. I’m looking at you 2018 Jags. At 10-5, I think the Colts have a good chance at being guaranteed a playoff berth and the Jags probably just want to prove themselves more.

Schemes

Offense
If you’re looking at last year’s team as a model for this year’s offense, you’re probably missing something. To quote Ozzurip from last year’s review, “The point is that there isn’t a specific scheme.” Frank Reich isn’t beholden to doing one thing every week. He wants to find every mismatch and exploit it to the best of his ability by using a diverse set of tools. Jacoby’s limitations as a player saw the passing offense get unnecessarily flat last year. Philip Rivers is the bet to run Frank Reich’s offense properly.
This starts by looking at your traditional West Coast offense utilizing a lot of nickel and dime throws in order to set up a rush. Of course with the Colt’s power running and more modern RPO usage, the run game is setting up this short passing game just as well. When teams are playing too close to the box, Frank will call up a play to push the ball deep where his new quarterback is more than willing to follow through. Ultimately, Reich will push whatever works. If the Colts are running over the opposing team, he won’t be afraid to lean into the run, but I personally believe the Colts will want to be a pass first offense once again. This is admittedly not a commonly agreed upon point among Colts fans. Feel free to take my opinion with a grain of salt.
The Colts have a diverse set of weapons that allow them to play just about any game they want to and will gladly lean on certain weapons to target specific weaknesses in the opponent’s defense. You want big guys? Let’s throw Doyle, Alie-Cox, Pittman, and Patmon out there. This not only puts out a selection of big bodies to have to defend against, but also a good list of run blockers for whichever running back they’re throwing out. Want speed? Hilton, Campbell, and Hines are each capable of stretching the field vertically. The last note I want to add would be a likely increase in 22 personnel. Just toss out Patmon and mix and match some running backs. Reich has mentioned seeing Mack and Taylor on the field at the same time, but I would fully expect plenty of plays with Nix holding a lead blocker role or even a more Tom Rathman-esque fullback that pulls in passes in the short game.
Defense
The Colts defense is a pretty simple scheme based on a 4-3 Tampa 2 defense. Despite some excitement after the Chiefs game where the Colts played man on 73.3% of snaps, expect for the Colts to play a vast majority of their snaps in zone coverage. Playing man for that one game was likely just taking advantage of a weakened receiving core than it was a proof of the Colts sudden willingness to move to a different scheme.
The Colts are heavily reliant on the front four to generate pressure and do so by rotating through 8-9 defensive linemen with the goal of keeping players fresh. The Colts defensive lineman with the highest snap count last year was Justin Houston who only played in 65.18% of snaps. Perhaps bringing in Buckner will cause the team to add a bit more consistency after Buckner’s 78.72% snaps on the 49ers last season. This focus on the front 4 is accentuated by the 6th lowest blitz rate in the league in 2019.
Part of what helps the defensive line be effective is their ability to focus on the passer while the linebackers work heavily to stop the run. The Colts run a lot of a concept called patterns where the play side linebacker’s goal is to control the offensive line and push the run outside where the other linebacker is meant to be athletic enough to cross the line and stop the run. For a more detailed look at the Colts implementation of this concept, read Zach Hicks’s writeup on this
Behind the linebacker group is typically a Cover-2 whose primary goal is to cover the deep zones and prevent any big plays. The idea is that forcing a team to dink and dunk down the field forces the offense to be successful on more plays to reach the end zone. More plays means more opportunities on each drive for interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles, and simply missed passes in order to set the offense back. The Colts were ultimately tied for 10th in the league at 13.1 percent of drives ending in a turnover.
Shoutouts to those who helped:
Ozzurip
Link to hub
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ACS | October 8th, 2020 | Patty Smyth

Download/Listen: https://adamcarolla.com/patty-smyth/
Summary:
Adam opens today’s podcast lamenting the fact that no one will listen to him despite his success. Teresa Strasser is also on the line, explaining why she tends to take Adam’s advice, and the guys go on to take a phone call about Paris Hilton’s claims of abuse. Adam then shares a video of Rick Moranis getting punched by a stranger, and talks to Bryan and Teresa about his shawarma shenanigans. Later, Teresa begins the news with a follow up on Rick Moranis, and they also comment on stories about the death of Van Halen, a library worker who embezzled $1.3 million, and votes on the most iconic Halloween movies.
Patty Smyth joins the show, and the conversation begins with talk about life in Malibu. They also talk about Patty being asked to tour with Van Halen back in the day, as well as her marriage to John McEnroe. Along the way Adam brings up some of his favorite tracks, and the guys also discuss the plans for touring once the pandemic ends. In the last part of the show, Jim Gray joins along with Jeff Cesario for today’s All Balls All Sports. They discuss Jim’s new book, ‘Taking to GOATs’, as well as some of the incredible sports moments he witnessed. As the show wraps up, they talk about the death of Ayrton Senna, how helmet technology saves NFL players’ lives, and the pursuit of perfection.
Patty’s new album, ‘It’s About Time’ is available tomorrow. You can get more info at http://pattysmythandscandal.com and follow her on Twitter @PattySmyth4Real
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Links
Actor Rick Moranis sucker punched while walking in NYC
Top 5 Eddie Van Halen Live Solos
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