Archive for the ‘Week 1’ Category

While I was busy watching some of my money disappear on Sunday, I was also enjoying what proved to be quite an interesting first week of NFL football.

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Each week as we all recover from our Sunday hangovers, we’ll roll out the best in moving, repeating pictures from the day that was with the help of our office GIF master/enthusiast/observer of comical sporting events, Scott Lewis.

The Week 1 GIFs below show a range of emotions: rejection, elation, and vulnerability to the guile of the American flag.

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The Packers will easily cover and beat San Francisco.

Week 1 is finally here. I’ve been examining these games for nearly two months now, so I felt the need to make these write-ups longer than I normally would make them. Eventually carpal tunnel syndrome and sheer laziness will set in and they’ll get a whole lot shorter, so enjoy them while they last.

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Even without James Harrison healthy, PeytonManning has a horrible matchup against Pittsburgh.

Week 1. Soak it up, drink it in, or eat it if you wish. Right now, I’m more excited than a duck enthusiast who was just chillin’ and strolling in the woods, and happened upon 2,000 ducks. I’m more excited than a kid who accomplished the life-altering feat of beating Super Mario 3 in 11 minutes. And I’m more excited than a fat guy who busted a bag of chips in space, and can now float around weightlessly while gaining weight.

Normal folk have that kind of excitement for the opening week of a new season, with all the hope and all the new beginnings and stuff. Fantasy folk have that too, plus some. Sure, the season technically started Wednesday, but that was one game on one night, and it never truly feels like a new year is upon us until the first Sunday, when I can not move for upwards of 12 hours and watch multiple games due to my deft remote control skills.

You spent months analyzing and scrutinizing your draft rankings, an effort that peaked in August when you assembled the best team possible. Now it’s time to see how those decisions play out, and to begin to play a game in earnest in which you usually have a one in 10 or one in 12 chance of success. It’s the most fun you’ll ever have while feeling deep shame.

So welcome to the 2012 NFL season and fantasy season, and welcome to our weekly preview. Please, come with us as we meander through some of the good and awful matchups — an exercise that may result in me eating crow, my favorite meal — in addition to forecasting the best and worst case scenarios for two key players, and many other fun and wonderful adventures.

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Week 1 composite player rankings

After Wednesday night’s spectacular performance from Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree, fantasy football owners have been scrambling to set their line-ups and praying to the football gods that they don’t leave too many points stranded on the bench this weekend (only owners who read this website would have had the foresight to start Ogie).

Since we know you’re busy, or lazy (or some sort of impossible combination of both…buzy?) and you’d rather down a couple of alcoholic beverines than do any sort of research, we’ve done all the research for you.

We’ve combined the fantasy rankings of ESPN’s Matthew Berry, NFL.com’s Michael Fabiano/Dave Dameshek, and CBS Sports’ Dave Richard into five convenient and easy to read charts (I’m sorry if this sounds like an infomercial).

Keep in mind, these rankings don’t involve anyone from the Cowboys or the Giants, as their Week 1 game is already over.

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Opening line: Giants -3/46.5
Current line: Giants -4/45 (SportsInteraction, Pinnacle), Giants -3.5/45 (Bet365, 5Dimes)
Current betting consensus: 75% backing the Giants, 64% backing the OVER
Dallas Cowboys (2011): 5-10-1 against the spread, UNDER was 10-6
New York Giants (2011): 8-7-1 against the spread, OVER was 8-7-1
Trends: In their last six meetings, the underdog is 5-1 against the spread, while the OVER is also 5-1.

The NFL changed the setup of this game in 2004 so that the game would be hosted by the defending Super Bowl champions, and since adopting that format, the home team has won all eight contests.

This year that team is the Giants, who are 9-4-1 against the spread in their last 14 games in September. They opened their 2011 season with a 28-14 loss on the road against Washington.

The Giants had some cap issues in the offseason and were forced to let some players go, most notably Brandon Jacobs and Mario Manningham. However, the team added some good pieces through the draft, so expect David Wilson and Rueben Randle to pick up the slack. Meanwhile, Eli Manning, Hakeem Nicks, and Victor Cruz are back to lead one of the most dangerous passing offenses in the NFL.

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Oh man. I’d compare this day to Christmas Eve, or maybe even the day before St. Patty’s if you’re Irish and drinking is your thing, but neither of those events come close to the childlike giddiness we’re all experiencing right now.

You see, there was once a time when the excitement over the start of football season and, more importantly, fantasy football season was countered by the depression of school starting. There really was nothing worse than sitting down to the opening night game with the semester’s first algebra assignment watching, waiting, and taunting. Remember kids, math isn’t important, and you don’t need it to succeed in your future endeavors. Just look at me.

Now, though, for me and many others the distraction of education that will improve your future quality of life is long gone, so we can focus solely on wetting ourselves over the return of football, and go about the business of scrutinizing injuries and setting lineups for the week. Ahhh, bliss.

A little later on today we’ll have a full injury roundup, touching on the current status of all the major injuries that you’ll need to worry about this week. For now, let’s focus on Trent Richardson, mostly for selfish reasons because my excitement to watch him play has reached an unhealthy level. It’s to the point that I sort of want algebra homework so that I can procrastinate, and feel young again.

Richardson, of course, is the stud rookie Browns running back who — along with Brandon Weeden — is tasked with turning around a woefully inept franchise. Yeah, no biggie.

And he’ll be doing it after two knee surgeries since last January, the most recent one coming in the middle of training camp when he experienced swelling in his knee, and a scope was required. Immediately after that procedure was done, it was expected that he’d be ready for Week 1. After he returned to practice yesterday for the first time since Aug. 9, it’s looking like that’s still the case.

He wore a black protective sleeve on the injured knee during yesterday’s workout, but his participation wasn’t limited. Now throughout the week his knee will be monitored to see how it responds to the activity, and the contact.

Yesterday head coach Pat Shurmur said about as much as you’d expect a head coach to say on a Monday about a major injury, which was close to nothing. He didn’t disclose when a decision will be made on Richardson regarding his status for the Browns’ opener at home Sunday against Philadelphia, but he did say that if he’s deemed healthy enough to play, he’ll be the starter.

Quite appropriately on the first day of school, the sound you just heard was Richardson’s fantasy owners shrieking with delight, myself included.

From The Associated Press:

”If he’s ready to go, he will be our starter,” Shurmur said. ”Trent looked good. He was in team (drills). I knew he’d be out here and he did a good job. It was his first day back in practice, so we did what we could do. Trent looked healthy running around.”

Shurmur wouldn’t say when a decision will be made on Richardson making his pro debut .

”Each person is different when they come back from injury,” he said. ”We’ll see as we go. All along I’ve been hopeful that he’d be there.’

He’ll either play and go full throttle without being babied, or he’ll sit. Since the Browns have their only full-pad practice this week on Thursday, we’ll likely get a definitive word on Richardson by then, and if the latter and crappier option is the decision Shurmur rolls with and he sits the prized rookie (which seems unlikely), you’ll have plenty of time to make alternate plans.

Hopefully you handcuffed Montario Hardesty to Richardson if you didn’t have the opportunity to invest in another trustworthy and capable backup. Not to worry, though, because if you’re in a league with medium or shallow depth, Hardesty is surely still available.

But yeah, starting Hardesty is a pretty depressing way to begin the fantasy season. Like algebra depressing.

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