Analyzing Win Totals From the Last 10 NFL Seasons: The Overachievers

Oddsmakers aren’t wrong often, but that doesn’t mean they are infallible. By analyzing the last 10 years of over/under data we drew some conclusions about the way bookmakers looks at certain teams and the ways those teams perform relative to expectations. This O/U data is normally not available to the public but we painstakingly scraped it from over 100 emails to bring you this chart

This is the first installment of a three part series where we break down the data. The focus: The Overachievers, teams who consistently beat the win totals. Of the NFL’s 32 teams, nine beat their over/under win total at an average rate high enough to catch our attention. 

Teams That Exceed Win Total Projections

(wins per year above projection)

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers – +1.05 (7-3-0 overall)
  2. New England Patriots – +1.05 (7-2-1 overall)
  3. Atlanta Falcons – +0.95 (6-4-0 overall)
  4. Arizona Cardinals – +0.95 (6-3-1 overall)
  5. Carolina Panthers – +0.8 (5-5-0 overall)
  6. Minnesota Vikings – +0.6 (6-3-1 overall)
  7. Baltimore Ravens – +0.55 (5-3-2 overall)
  8. Denver Broncos – +0.45 (7-2-1 overall)
  9. New Orleans Saints – +0.45 (5-4-1 overall)

It’s important to point out that even these nine teams are, on average, very close to their projected win totals in the 10-year period. In a decade, they have about 10 more total wins than projected. Comparatively, teams on the bottom of the list (Broncos, Saints) have about 4.5 more overall wins than projected over the last 10 years. Bookmakers are extremely accurate.

But, this data shows small cracks.

First, the Steelers and Patriots have been so consistent, it’s hard for win projections to keep up. Some of the highest over/under projections are 11 or 11.5. It is very rare to see an over/under of 12. The Steelers and Patriots combined had 12 seasons of 12 or more wins during the data period so it’s easy to see why both teams consistently beat the over. Oddsmakers seemingly won’t go higher than 11.5 on an over/under and that has led to the Patriots and Steelers busting their win total projections on a year-to-year basis with 14 combined overs in the last 10 years.

When factoring in standard deviations for each team (essentially how consistently teams are beating or losing to the over/under line), the Steelers and Patriots rank among the four lowest teams in the league. This means their results are more consistent and dependable than teams with a higher standard deviation of results.

The Broncos are another interesting team. If they hadn’t underperformed so badly last season, they would be toward the top of this list. Last year’s disaster makes their 7-2-1 record against the O/U in the last decade even more impressive. For a team as high profile as Denver, it’s surprising oddsmakers consistently overlook them. Denver is in the bottom third in standard deviation (2.24), so we can reasonably rely on their decade of results as indicative of a larger trend.

Then, there are the non-traditional powers who get overlooked — the Cardinals, Panthers, and Vikings are good examples. At various times over the past decade, these three franchises have fielded competitive teams and it takes oddsmakers a little while to catch up. 

Besides going through transitions, none of these teams are tremendously reliable when it comes to standard deviation. This basically tells us that when they are under their win projection, they are way under and when they are over, they are way over. Carolina has the highest in the league (3.71) and Minnesota (3.09) isn’t far behind. Meanwhile, Arizona (2.56) is in the middle of the pack. These teams are too unpredictable to reasonably bank on a particular result relative to an O/U projection.

That leaves the Falcons, Ravens, and Saints. We’ve seen these teams consistently make the playoffs over the past decade, and if it weren’t for an epic collapse by Atlanta in Super Bowl LI, all three would have Super Bowl rings in the last 10 years. The teams have one thing in common: the core of their roster rarely changes, but key role players do. That constant churn (think Baltimore’s receiving corps or New Orleans’ defense) could be making bookmakers underestimate each team’s season win total.

When we look at standard deviations for these three teams, we get three different stories: the Falcons’ results are unreliable; the Saints’ are reasonably dependable; and the Ravens’ are very dependable. We can expect that Baltimore’s trend of beating O/U projections is the least random.

Where does that leave us? Below is a list of each team’s O/U for the 2018 NFL season. Later we will break down all the best bets but let’s take a brief look at what the data can tell us about the consistent overachievers this year: 

2018 Overs/Under Lines

New England Patriots – 11

Pittsburgh Steelers – 10.5

Minnesota Vikings – 10

New Orleans Saints – 9.5

Atlanta Falcons – 9

Carolina Panthers – 9

Baltimore Ravens – 8

Denver Broncos – 7

Arizona Cardinals – 5.5

Data provided by Bovada

As we mentioned, oddsmakers refused to go up to 11.5 for any team on this list. Can the top two — the Patriots (11) and Steelers (10.5) — continue to top over/under predictions? Once you start climbing into the double digits, it’s tough to say. Both teams have question marks with Brady’s drama and Bell’s contract but neither issue is a new one for either team. If you think those are red herrings, betting on the most consistently strong teams in the NFL has proved successful the past decade.

The next tier includes the Vikings (10), Saints (9.5), Falcons (9), and Panthers (9). All but Minnesota play in the NFC South, so it’s tough to predict all three would get at least nine wins, but there’s a good chance one will — especially because the Bucs will be without QB Jameis Winston for the first four games of the season. What to do? Pick the NFC South team you favor most and go from there.

Baltimore (8), Denver (7), Arizona (5.5) complete the list. What do these teams have in common? Changes or potential changes at quarterback. The Ravens still have a struggling Joe Flacco (who has reportedly looked good in training camp so far), and traded up to take Louisville star Lamar Jackson. Denver, which had a strong defense in 2017, has been unable to adequately replace Peyton Manning and signed Case Keenum, who brought Minnesota to the NFC Championship last year. He’ll start ahead of 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch and Chad Kelly. The Cardinals signed Sam Bradford to replace Carson Palmer and used a first-round pick on Josh Rosen. Star running back David Johnson, who missed most of last season, returns as well. 

Your confidence in these picks comes down to your confidence in each team’s quarterback. Every team has been underrated in the past, and it’s likely that one of these QBs will break out.  It’s your job is to decide who that will be.

Jacob Kornhauser is a sports reporter in Southern Oregon covering all sports, including Oregon and Oregon State athletics. He has been a national baseball writer for Bleacher Report and Rant Sports and has written two baseball books. He also specializes in sports betting analysis. He is a graduate of the University of Missouri Journalism School.

Giants’ Shurmur still believes in Eli Manning as his QB

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Despite mounting losses and a first season quickly turning into a mess, Pat Shurmur is sticking with Eli Manning as the New York Giants quarterback.

Shurmur never hesitated Friday when asked if he was considering a change in the wake of a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that dropped

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — Despite mounting losses and a first season quickly turning into a mess, Pat Shurmur is sticking with Eli Manning as the New York Giants quarterback.

Shurmur never hesitated Friday when asked if he was considering a change in the wake of a 34-13 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles that dropped New York to 1-5.

“We believe in Eli,” Shurmur said.

It was as simple as that. There will be no change to either veteran Alex Tanney or rookie Kyle Lauletta.

Shurmur acknowledged Manning made some mistakes in the loss Thursday night at MetLife Stadium, but so did a lot of other players.

When he was pressed about whether he would give Lauletta a chance to play if the season slipped away, Shurmur stopped the question.

“Listen, we’re not talking about a quarterback change,” Shurmur said.

Statistically, Manning has played well. He has hit 158 of 230 passes for 1,662 yards, six touchdowns and four interceptions. His nearly 69 percent completion percentage would be a career best.

The problem is the 37-year-old Manning is not mobile and that is hurting the offense. He rarely turns a potential sack into a scramble that results in a first down or a big pass play. He has been sacked 20 times. The Eagles took him down four times and had 13 other hits.

“My confidence is always the same,” Manning said. “I know I can play better than last night. I have to make better decisions and get back to doing my job, not trying to do anything more, forcing things. Just find completions, move the ball and try to score points.”

Manning is surprised the Giants have the same record at this point as a year ago, when they finished 3-13.

New general manager Dave Gettleman and Shurmur turned over more than half the roster, bringing in both talented players and standup guys who put the team first.

“We expected to go win games,” Manning said. “We’re not playing as well as we need to and we will work on fixing that.”

Manning said the past two seasons have been tough, winning just four of 22 games. However, he said this year feels nothing like 2017, where it was hard to be optimistic with injuries and internal turmoil.

“This year, you see it can get better,” Manning said. “We have good players. We have good character guys. Guys are working. I think there is a great opportunity for us to improve and win a bunch of football games. That’s what we believe.”

Many football analysts and writers said over the past 24 hours that Manning’s time as the Giants’ leader is coming to an end in his 15th season. Many were calling for a quarterback change.

“It bugs me that we are 1-5,” the two-time Super Bowl MVP said. “What people say has never gotten to me, never bothered me. You work extremely hard to go have a big year and you are excited about things. To be in this situation, yeah, it bothers you, but the only thing you can do is keep working, grinding and try to bring this team together.”

Manning and Shurmur both said the Giants need to execute better.

“We are certainly not where we want to be record-wise,” Shurmur said. “We will acknowledge that. But I do know this: This group of players will stay in there and keep working and fighting to win a game.”

The Giants don’t play again until traveling to Atlanta to face the Falcons on Oct 22. The players will be off the weekend and won’t practice until Tuesday.

“What is important is you try to reflect where you are at and where you want to go,” Shurmur said. “Right now, we’re not where we want to be record-wise, so I encouraged them to reflect on that and then try to think of ways they can get individually better.”

NOTES: WR Cody Latimer (hamstring) was the only injury of note Thursday night, Shurmur said. … Shurmur seemed to accept Odell Beckham Jr.’s explanation that he head-butted a cooling fan to psych himself up during the game. Still, he wants his players to be more composed. “Is that what I would have done? Absolutely not,” Shurmur said. “Is that what I want my players doing? No. That’s it.”

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Dolphins’ Tannehill questionable (shoulder) vs. Bears

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is questionable for Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears with a throwing shoulder injury that first bothered him last month.

Tannehill was limited in Friday's workout — the first time he has missed practice time because of the injury. He wasn't on the injury report last

DAVIE, Fla. (AP) — Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears with a throwing shoulder injury that first bothered him last month.

Tannehill was limited in Friday’s workout — the first time he has missed practice time because of the injury. He wasn’t on the injury report last week, but was during the week of Sept. 24.

Brock Osweiler or David Fales would start if Tannehill can’t play.

Left tackle Laremy Tunsil has been released from the concussion protocol and is listed as questionable. Tunsil was not limited in practice Friday, and coach Adam Gase said it looks “promising” that he’ll be able to play.

Defensive end Cameron Wake is listed as doubtful with a knee injury.

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Chiefs lose wide receiver Thomas to broken leg in practice

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas fractured his leg during practice and could miss the rest of the season, the latest in a string of injuries to befall the unbeaten team.

The Chiefs also listed Justin Houston as doubtful for Sunday's game in New England with a hamstring injury.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Chiefs wide receiver DeAnthony Thomas fractured his leg during practice and could miss the rest of the season, the latest in a string of injuries to befall the unbeaten team.

The Chiefs also listed Justin Houston as doubtful for Sunday’s game in New England with a hamstring injury. Safety Eric Murray is out with an ankle injury and Jordan Lucas will start in his place.

Thomas was taking part in Thursday’s practice when he got stepped on from behind, fracturing the same leg that he broke in a game last December. Thomas had surgery to repair the break and had a metal rod inserted, though the latest break didn’t damage that repair.

Chiefs trainer Rick Burkholder said Thomas won’t need surgery, though he will be out for a lengthy period of time. The Chiefs had not yet placed him on injured reserve Friday.

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In London: Gruden wants more carries for Lynch vs Seahawks

LONDON (AP) — Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden wants Marshawn Lynch to see more of the ball when the running back goes up against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Lynch only had 31 yards rushing on nine carries in last Sunday's 26-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and Gruden is looking for bigger numbers

LONDON (AP) — Oakland Raiders coach Jon Gruden wants Marshawn Lynch to see more of the ball when the running back goes up against the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday.

Lynch only had 31 yards rushing on nine carries in last Sunday’s 26-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers and Gruden is looking for bigger numbers at Wembley Stadium in London when the former Seahawk gets his first chance to play his old team.

Problem is, Lynch isn’t the only offensive threat on the 1-4 Raiders who is looking for more touches.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who need to see the ball more,” Gruden said after arriving in the British capital following a nearly 11-hour flight. “We’ve done some good things offensively. But good is not good enough. We need to start playing great offensively. To do that we need to see more of Lynch. And we need to see a bit more of the ball going across the goal line, that’s the big thing.”

Quarterback Derek Carr also said he “definitely” wants to hand off more often to Lynch. He had 20 carries for 130 yards the previous week in the Raiders’ only win against the Cleveland Browns.

“We want to be 100 percent balanced every time,” Carr said. “That kind of balance is good for our football team. It’s good me, it’s good for him (Lynch), it’s good for our offensive line.”

That balance also includes figuring out how to spread the ball around more evenly between Carr’s top receivers, who have taken turns putting up big numbers in different games.

Wide receiver Amari Cooper has been the most inconsistent, with two 100-yard outings mixed with a total of four catches for 36 yards in the other three games combined. Against the Chargers, he finished with one catch for 10 yards and was only targeted once.

However, quarterback Derek Carr insisted that stat was a bit misleading.

“When I look at targets, I don’t look at it as I only looked his way one time,” Carr said. “There was definitely multiple times I was looking his way. But they just didn’t end up working out.”

Cooper is only the team’s third leading receiver this season, behind tight end Jared Cook and former Green Bay Packer Jordy Nelson.

The two-time Pro Bowler said he’s happy sharing the load, but also wants to see all of the team’s top threats putting it together at the same time.

“We have a lot of guys with ability. A lot of guys who can go off and kind of take over a game, and that’s a good thing,” Cooper said. “We’d like to do it a bit more collectively, as a group. That would be better, and give us our best shot of winning.”

Lynch, who spent six seasons with Seattle (2-3) and helped the team win the Super Bowl in the 2013 season, was not among the five players who spoke to media at their hotel next to Wembley on Friday. But there’s no doubt he’ll be the main focus when the game kicks off on Sunday.

“He’s had a lot to do with the Super Bowl ring that the Seahawks wear,” Gruden said. “He was the heart and soul of that team. In a lot of ways he’s the heart and soul of the Raiders right now. He’s still running with that incredible physicality. He’s been durable, he’s practiced every day.

“Behind the scenes, he’s one of our leaders. He’s a bit misunderstood by a lot of people. But believe me, if you were coaching a football team, I think he’d be one of the first guys you’d want on your team.”

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RB Freeman, DT Jarrett out with injuries for Falcons-Bucs

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The injury plagued Atlanta Falcons will be without defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and running back Devonta Freeman for Sunday's game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jarrett is sitting out his second straight game with a sprained ankle, while Freeman is sidelined yet again with a foot injury. The

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — The injury plagued Atlanta Falcons will be without defensive tackle Grady Jarrett and running back Devonta Freeman for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Jarrett is sitting out his second straight game with a sprained ankle, while Freeman is sidelined yet again with a foot injury. The Falcons (1-4) have lost three in a row.

Freeman has played only two games this season, gaining 68 yards on 14 carries. He sat out three weeks with a bruised knee sustained in the opener at Philadelphia.

This is the second straight season that Freeman has been slowed by injuries. A year ago, he sustained two concussions, missed a pair of games and also dealt a knee issue.

Jarrett is one of four starters missing on defense. Safeties Keanu Neal and Ricardo Allen are out for the year. Linebacker Deion Jones will have to miss at least eight games while on injured reserve.

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Jets’ Buster Skrine out, Trumaine Johnson doubtful vs. Colts

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets' secondary will be without a few key members against the Indianapolis Colts.

Cornerback Buster Skrine has been ruled out for Sunday with a concussion. Fellow cornerback Trumaine Johnson is listed Friday as doubtful with a quadriceps injury that sidelined him last Sunday against Denver.

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — The New York Jets’ secondary will be without a few key members against the Indianapolis Colts.

Cornerback Buster Skrine has been ruled out for Sunday with a concussion. Fellow cornerback Trumaine Johnson is listed Friday as doubtful with a quadriceps injury that sidelined him last Sunday against Denver.

Rookie Parry Nickerson could fill Skrine’s nickel spot, while Darryl Roberts and Rashard Robinson could see time in the base defense in Johnson’s place.

Safeties Marcus Maye (ankle/foot) and Doug Middleton (hamstring) are questionable.

Running back Isaiah Crowell, coming off rushing for a franchise-record 219 yards, is questionable with an ankle ailment. He was limited Friday after not practicing the previous two days.

Wide receiver Charone Peake (hamstring) is out, while linebacker Kevin Pierre-Louis (foot) is doubtful.

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September New Jersey Sports Betting Handle Jumps to $184M, Revenue $24M

In Las Vegas on Tuesday, New Jersey Director of the State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) David Rebuck said that the September sports betting financial reports would be stunning.

They weren’t quite stunning, but the numbers were pretty huge: $184 million betting handle across retail sports betting operations at Atlantic City casinos and

In Las Vegas on Tuesday, New Jersey Director of the State’s Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) David Rebuck said that the September sports betting financial reports would be stunning.

They weren’t quite stunning, but the numbers were pretty huge: $184 million betting handle across retail sports betting operations at Atlantic City casinos and two racetracks, with the majority of the betting handle coming online, $104.8 million, versus $79 million across counters in person. Total revenue was just about $24 million, or a roughly 13 percent hold (which is a bit inflated as a result of accounting methods, explained below).

Month-over-month, the $184M represents nearly a doubling from the $96 million betting handle and $9.2 million revenues in August, when only the DraftKings Sportsbook was operating online the entire month, to be joined in Sept. by FanDuel Sportsbook, SugarHouse, William Hill and others. Below let’s dig a bit closer into the numbers.

 

Read more September New Jersey Sports Betting Handle Jumps to $184M, Revenue $24M on SportsHandle.

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Jaguars sign former Giants 1st-rounder OT Ereck Flowers

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jaguars have signed former New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers and placed left tackle Josh Wells on injured reserve with a groin injury.

Flowers was waived by the Giants on Tuesday after he failed to live up to lofty expectations. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2015

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jaguars have signed former New York Giants offensive tackle Ereck Flowers and placed left tackle Josh Wells on injured reserve with a groin injury.

Flowers was waived by the Giants on Tuesday after he failed to live up to lofty expectations. He was the ninth overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft. Flowers was moved from left to right tackle this season after the Giants signed Nate Solder, but lost that job to Chad Wheeler after just two games.

The move Friday reunites Flowers with Tom Coughlin, the Jaguars’ executive vice president of football operations who was the Giants’ coach when he was drafted. Jacksonville offensive line coach Pat Flaherty served in the same role in New York during Flowers’ rookie season.

The Jaguars are down both Wells and Cam Robinson at left tackle, and will start Josh Walker at Dallas. Flowers could take over as early as next week against Houston.

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Report: Eagles’ Peters tore biceps, could keep playing

Report: Eagles' Peters tore biceps, could keep playing

Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is believed to have torn a biceps muscle after leaving Thursday night's game and not returning, according to an NFL Network report Friday.

The report adds that an MRI is pending, but doctors are "optimistic" Peters

Report: Eagles’ Peters tore biceps, could keep playing

Philadelphia Eagles left tackle Jason Peters is believed to have torn a biceps muscle after leaving Thursday night’s game and not returning, according to an NFL Network report Friday.

The report adds that an MRI is pending, but doctors are “optimistic” Peters will be able to continue playing this year. The 36-year-old told reporters after the game that he was “OK,” and head coach Doug Pederson said Friday morning that he had received “positive” news from the medical staff, calling Peters “day-to-day.”

Peters was replaced by Halapoulivaati Vaitai, who filled in at left tackle last year after the nine-time Pro Bowler went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in Week 7. Vaitai was whistled for six penalties (two false starts, four holding) and allowed seven sacks in 10 starts in 2017, according to STATS, Inc.

Now in his 15th season, Peters has battled nagging injuries throughout his career, but he hadn’t missed more than three games in a season since 2004 until last year’s torn ACL. He sat out most of the Eagles’ Week 2 game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with a quad injury and missed a few snaps in Weeks 1 and 5 before getting hurt Thursday.

Right tackle Lane Johnson is also injured, as he hurt his ankle in Week 5 and was in and out of the game against the Giants.

“Tough kid battled through it,” Pederson said of Johnson’s performance.

Pederson also said cornerback Sidney Jones, who left Thursday’s game with a hamstring injury and did not return, is “week-to-week.”

After playing on a short week, the Eagles have until Oct. 21 before hosting the Panthers. A week later, they’ll battle the Jaguars in London before hitting their Week 9 bye.

–Field Level Media

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Jags’ Ramsey questionable Sunday; Fournette could play next week

 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is officially listed as questionable for Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys, and head coach Doug Marrone said he is legitimately "50-50" to play.

 

Ramsey was added to the injury report on Thursday and was limited Thursday and Friday due to knee soreness. He played in Week

 

 

Jacksonville Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey is officially listed as questionable for Sunday’s game against the Dallas Cowboys, and head coach Doug Marrone said he is legitimately “50-50” to play.

 

Ramsey was added to the injury report on Thursday and was limited Thursday and Friday due to knee soreness. He played in Week 3 after being listed as questionable, but that was due to an ankle injury.

 

The Jaguars will be without cornerbacks D.J. Hayden (toe) and Tre Herndon (hamstring) against Dallas after both sat out practice all week.

 

Marrone told reporters that Hayden and running back Leonard Fournette — who was ruled out for Sunday earlier this week with a hamstring injury — both have a chance to play in Week 7 after running on a side field Friday.

 

Fournette has yet to finish a game this season, tweaking his hamstring in Week 1 and aggravating it during his return in Week 4. A Florida Football Insiders report earlier this week suggested the Jaguars could hold Fournette out through their Week 9 bye to make sure he avoids re-injury.

 

The Jaguars will also be without left tackle Josh Wells (groin), who has been filling in for Cam Robinson since the starter tore his anterior cruciate ligament in Week 2. They reportedly brought in former New York Giants first-round pick Ereck Flowers for a visit this week, but no signing has been reported or announced.

 

The team also placed longsnapper Carson Tinker on injured reserve with a knee injury and signed Matt Overton to the roster to take his place. Overton replaced Tinker for nine games last season after Tinker tore his ACL. Overton spent his first five seasons with the Indianapolis Colts.

 

–Field Level Media

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Panthers coach Rivera optimistic Olsen will play vs Redskins

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera is optimistic that three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen will play Sunday against the Redskins after participating in his third straight day of practice.

Olsen is listed as questionable on the injury report, but Rivera says he's looking ready after missing three games with a broken

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Panthers coach Ron Rivera is optimistic that three-time Pro Bowl tight end Greg Olsen will play Sunday against the Redskins after participating in his third straight day of practice.

Olsen is listed as questionable on the injury report, but Rivera says he’s looking ready after missing three games with a broken foot. Rivera says Olsen took more reps than normal Friday and “he ran around really well, so we’re pretty excited about it.”

Barring any setbacks, Olsen will start Sunday.

Rivera also says the Panthers plan to place linebacker Jared Norris on injured reserve Saturday with a toe injury which will create a roster spot for linebacker Thomas Davis, who is returning from a four-game suspension.

Wide receiver Damiere Byrd (ankle) and linebacker Andre Smith (hamstring) have been ruled out for Sunday.

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RotoRadar Podcast Episode 6

NFP is pleased to present On the RotoRadar. In partnership with RotoRadar, the podcast will dig deep into DFS advice with their experts as well as NFL best bets from professional sports bettor, Christian Pina. Pina will analyze which games are getting action and why, and provide opportunistic spots and angles including prop bets.

NFP is pleased to present On the RotoRadar. In partnership with RotoRadar, the podcast will dig deep into DFS advice with their experts as well as NFL best bets from professional sports bettor, Christian Pina. Pina will analyze which games are getting action and why, and provide opportunistic spots and angles including prop bets.

DFS analysts and experts include Cash Game Pro Analyst, OnceHarby went an amazing 18-3 last Season. GPP Pro Analyst, FadeToBlack has qualified for three FanDuel Live Finals. Handicapping Pro Analyst and @Ericsports

 

TIME STAMPS

3:38 Seattle Seahawks vs Oakland Raiders

9:10 Chicago Bears vs. Miami Dolphins

13:45 Indianapolis Colts vs. New York Jets

18:25 Buffalo Bills vs. Houston Texans

27:00 Tampa Bay Bucaneers vs. Atlanta Falcons

33:45 Pittsburgh Steelers vs. Cincinnatti Bengals

41:10 Arizona Cardinals vs. Minnesota Vikings

44:30 San Diego Chargers vs. Cleveland Browns

47:05 Carolina Panthers vs. Washington Redskins

49:30 Kansas City Chiefs vs. New England Patriots

54:15 Philadelphia Eagles vs. New York Giants

1:00:30 Twitter Qs

1:07:30 Closing Remarks

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They are called Diva Receivers for a reason

They are called Diva Receivers for a reason. We tend to find out why when NFL pass catchers open their mouths.

Cases in point most recently would be two of football's biggest stars, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. What they've spouted, no matter how it gets spun and by whom, can't be anything but

They are called Diva Receivers for a reason. We tend to find out why when NFL pass catchers open their mouths.

Cases in point most recently would be two of football’s biggest stars, Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham Jr. What they’ve spouted, no matter how it gets spun and by whom, can’t be anything but detrimental to the team.

The history of wideouts with wide mouths — or free rein on social media nowadays — includes, naturally, the likes of Terrell Owens, Plaxico Burress, Keyshawn Johnson and Chad Johnson/Ochocinco. To call their utterings constructive criticism would be like calling Lambeau Field balmy in December.

And they hardly are the only guys who have damaged the locker room vibes with their, well, bad vibes. Do you think cornerback Jalen Ramsey deriding opposing players made for comfortable feelings in Jacksonville? Guard Richie Incognito bullying a teammate in Miami? Jay Cutler calling out his own guys just about everywhere, including on the sideline?

Hey, cornerback Josh Norman and Beckham pretty much came to blows in a 2015 game after their trash-talking shenanigans.

Sure, lots if not most NFL players like to run their tongues during games. Philip Rivers might not be the greatest Chargers quarterback ever — remember Hall of Famer Dan Fouts? — but he’s unquestionably the franchise’s great trash-spewing QB. Steve Smith, one of the most combative receivers the NFL has seen, definitely didn’t believe in the bromide “if you have nothing good to say, say nothing.”

And Ray Lewis not only was an all-world tackler and leader for the Ravens, his stream of words directed at opponents was steady — and often comical, if unprintable.

But in the particular cases of Brown and Beckham, there can be considerable negative fallout for their clubs. So much so that the tension and mistrust they create can be as damaging as a fourth-quarter pick-6 by an opponent.

Brown might be the NFL’s most talented offensive player. He might also be the most thin-skinned.

Among other items this year, he tweeted that Pittsburgh should “trade me let’s find out” when it was suggested his success is due more to Ben Roethlisberger than to Brown’s skills. Brown also didn’t show up at team headquarters for a day last month, and famously once livestreamed a locker room celebration following a playoff victory over Kansas City.

He also used Twitter in September to threaten a reporter who covers the team, forcing the Steelers to issue an apology. Explaining away Brown’s behavior, words and social media posts has become nearly a regular chore in Pittsburgh.

All of this doesn’t mean Brown needs to be sat down by the Steelers, which isn’t likely to happen considering they are in the business of winning games and he is their best player. It does mean he should be sat down and told that his proclamations and actions are a distraction for a team that isn’t exactly tearing up the NFL, sitting tied with Cleveland and behind Cincinnati and Baltimore in the AFC North.

The Beckham blowups have been more inflammatory and, without question, potentially more harmful. When you question your teammates’ heart while carefully removing yourself from such a claim, irreparable damage often results.

“A lot of it has to do with the energy we have that we don’t bring every single day,” he said last week. “You know me, I’m a passionate, energetic person. I always have to have that. If I don’t, it’s going to be a problem for me. Playing with some heart, we need to play with some heart.”

Beckham also blasted the play-calling of first-year coach Pat Shurmur, mainly because, in Beckham’s view, he wasn’t getting the ball enough, particularly deep. Never mind that the offensive line has been such a sieve that asking Eli Manning to throw balls anywhere downfield has often been problematic.

Recognizing how counter-productive his comments were — or being instructed by a livid coach or, perhaps, someone higher up in the Giants’ command chain — Beckham went into crisis control last Sunday. He asked to speak to the team in the locker room, and then he ran something of a fly pattern away from his earlier statements.

This season is hardly the first time Brown or Beckham have acted up or acted out. It probably won’t be the last. But maybe the concept of “team first” will sink in before what they do or say sinks their teams.

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Rams’ Aaron Donald tops AP defensive tackle rankings again

Many an NFL opponent has had a game plan waylaid by the speed, strength and instinct of Aaron Donald over his not-yet-five-full seasons in the league.

The 6-foot-1, 280-pound kingpin of the Los Angeles Rams' defense was a unanimous pick for the best defensive tackle in the NFL by a panel of 10 football writers

Many an NFL opponent has had a game plan waylaid by the speed, strength and instinct of Aaron Donald over his not-yet-five-full seasons in the league.

The 6-foot-1, 280-pound kingpin of the Los Angeles Rams’ defense was a unanimous pick for the best defensive tackle in the NFL by a panel of 10 football writers for The Associated Press in this week’s edition of the position rankings.

“He’s been as disruptive as anyone on the interior, ever,” said the AP’s Josh Dubow, who is based in the Bay Area.

Just ask the Minnesota Vikings.

The Rams had a 10-point lead on Minnesota last month, but the Vikings were on the move as the fourth quarter began and Kirk Cousins dropped back.

Donald leaped off the line to engage with his blocker, before breaking free to the inside of the guard with a textbook swim move. After shoving the center aside, Donald darted forward and swallowed up the quarterback with a bear hug for a 10-yard loss and a harbinger for a punt.

The Vikings still had a chance later in the game, trailing by just a touchdown, when Cousins settled in the pocket looking to pass. Donald veered right this time to squeeze between the guard and the tackle, foiling a desperate attempt by the center to slow him down as he closed in on another sack. After tossing Cousins to the turf , Donald simply pointed to his right biceps for his latest celebration.

“Early in the game I thought the protection was good,” Vikings coach Mike Zimmer said after the 38-31 loss to the Rams last month, “and then Donald took it over a little bit at the end.”

Donald also topped the AP rankings for defensive tackles last year.

After staying away from offseason workouts for a second straight year to protest his lack of a new contract, the Rams finally relented at the end of the preseason with a six-year extension for Donald worth $135 million.

For the Rams (5-0), one of the NFL’s two remaining unbeaten teams, the defensive tackle tandem of Donald and newcomer Ndamukong Suh has the potential to change a game as much as their high-octane offense.

“It’s almost unfair the way the Rams have stocked up on their defensive line,” said the AP’s Teresa Walker, who’s based in Nashville.

Suh finished fifth in the voting released Friday, following Geno Atkins of the Cincinnati Bengals, Fletcher Cox of the Philadelphia Eagles and Gerald McCoy of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. That’s quite the quintet of experience, power and quickness at a position that’s as stacked with elite players as any around the league these days. Donald, Atkins, Cox, McCoy and Suh have played a combined 39 seasons and been picked for the Pro Bowl 24 times, with a cumulative total of 250½ career sacks playing a role that’s predicated on stopping the run first.

Suh and McCoy were the second and third overall picks in the 2010 draft. Atkins, who went in the fourth round that year, is in the top two with Donald in sacks, quarterback pressures and quarterback hits over the last five seasons. This year, Atkins is tied for the league lead with six sacks.

“Doesn’t seek attention, but his consistent excellence demands it,” said the AP’s Simmi Buttar, who’s based in New York.

The only new addition to the top 10 from last year’s rankings was Jurrell Casey of the Tennessee Titans, who finished sixth.

Kawann Short of the Carolina Panthers was seventh, DeForest Buckner of the San Francisco 49ers was eighth, Linval Joseph of the Minnesota Vikings was ninth and Damon Harrison of the New York Giants was 10th. Yes, that was Joseph rumbling down the field last week with a fumble he caught midair and returned 64 yards for a touchdown .

“Might be the fastest 330-pound guy in sports,” said the AP’s Rob Maaddi, who’s based in Philadelphia.

Now that’s a true defensive tackle.

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Cover City: NFL Week 6 Picks, Preview And NFL Stats With ESPN’s Mike Clay

 

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports). Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

Before diving

 

Sports Handle is pleased to present Cover City: A Pro Football Betting Podcast, hosted by Eric Rosenthal (@ericcports). Rosenthal is a professional sports bettor who focuses on NFL and college football. He’s wagered more than $25 million in the last nine years, getting banned from many sportsbooks along the way.

Before diving into the NFL Week 6 breakdown and picks, special guest Mike Clay (@MikeClayNFL), a projections and fantasy football specialist with ESPN NFL, joins the pod to discuss advanced stats, best wide receivers for Week 6, his top survivor pool picks and more.

Producer Sean Sean Pfeiffer (@RotoRadarCEO) joins to discuss the slate and some big totals, plus don’t miss Rosenthal’s SuperContest picks of the week.

Time codes for the episode follow below. Listen and subscribe on Spotify here.


0:45 – ESPN’s Mike Clay joins the program and explains what you need to know about #ADOT.

3:55 – NFL data is evolving every year. What key metrics can we expect in the next 10 years?

9:21- Rosenthal and Clay discuss the strategy behind two point conversion attempts.

11:55 – Clay talks about who his favorite teams are according to his proprietary algorithm and shares the best odds of winning Week 6 Survivor Pools.

14:18 – Clay talks about his favorite teams to pull off an upset in Week 6: The Cleveland Browns and Indianapolis Colts.

16:02 – Clay’s final thoughts on the scoring trends through Week 5. What does this mean for NFL defenses for the rest of the season?

18:31 – Clay talks about his favorite Wide Receivers of Week 6 and his new column on ESPN Plus. Where does Michael Crabtree rank?

20:05 – Cover City Producer Sean Pfeiffer (@RotoRadarCEO) joins the show to go game-by-game with Eric and cover his favorite bets of Week 6.

20:16 – L.A. Chargers -1 at Cleveland Browns — Will Rosenthal keep his pledge to not bet on the Chargers and Philip Rivers or is the Browns upset too tempting?

22:46 – Carolina Panthers +1 at Washington Redskins — Is the NFC East the worst division in the NFL? Rosenthal breaks down why this game is a winner for sports bettors.

24:41 – Indianapolis Colts +2.5 at N.Y. Jets — How do T.Y. Hilton and Jack Doyle’s absences impact the Colts this week?

26:31 – Jacksonville Jaguars -3 at Dallas Cowboys — Jags and Cowboys face off in what should be a low scoring game.

28:06 – Baltimore Ravens -2.5 at Tennessee Titans — Titans ranked 26th offense but Rosenthal doesn’t trust the Ravens.

29:32 – Arizona Cardinals +10 at Minnesota Vikings — Will the Vikes run away with this one?

30:45 – Houston Texans -10 vs. Buffalo Bills — Sean’s Texans are the favorites, and Rosenthal lays out his Vikings/Texans/Packers teaser.

32:41- San Francisco 49ers +9.5 at Green Bay Packers — The Pack are the heavy favorites and the ideal pick for Rosenthal’s trifecta.

34:42 – Kansas City Chief +3.5 at New England Patriots — With a total at 59.5, watch this game and enjoy it.

37:00 – Rosenthal’s SuperContest picks of the week! (CLE +1, CAR +1, HOU -9.5, IND +2.5, JAX -3)


Bonus! Check out this week’s episode of  The Pro Football Handle featuring Robert Walker And Matt Perrault:

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Hopkins wows with nifty catch, leads NFL in yards receiving

HOUSTON (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins has made a lot of great catches in his time with the Houston Texans, but his latest one might be his best.

The 49-yard catch and run that included two nifty spin moves and set up the winning field goal in overtime against Dallas has inspired memes and internet tributes.

HOUSTON (AP) — DeAndre Hopkins has made a lot of great catches in his time with the Houston Texans, but his latest one might be his best.

The 49-yard catch and run that included two nifty spin moves and set up the winning field goal in overtime against Dallas has inspired memes and internet tributes.

It also caused a tough night for Buffalo coach Sean McDermott, whose team visits Houston on Sunday.

“I didn’t sleep much (Sunday) night because of watching that,” he said.

It was the talk of Houston’s locker room this week with everyone from players to coaching raving about the play where he evaded several would-be tacklers to help the Texans to their first win over the Cowboys since 2002.

“It was crazy,” receiver Will Fuller said. “I was right in front of him. I saw the whole thing. I think Hop is the best there is, so just to see that live is just great.”

Hopkins, who was drafted by the Texans in the first round in 2013, said it was probably the best catch of his career.

“I think so because I set my team up for the win,” he said.

Houston’s defenders, especially the team’s defensive backs, watched the play with amazement, thankful that they aren’t tasked with covering the two-time Pro Bowler.

Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu said when a receiver makes moves such as Hopkins did on that play there’s really no way to defend him.

“I don’t think you can stop it,” he said. “At that point it’s just him doing him. He’s going in slow motion, everything is just moving slow for him and it’s tough.”

Hopkins, who signed a five-year, $81 million extension before last season, loved the videos made about his catch and was particularly amused with one that showed him spinning past a ballerina. He said he doesn’t really think about or practice the spin moves, they’re just something that comes naturally in certain situations.

“Just instinctively,” he said. “All it takes is a glance sometimes for you to know where someone is. Playing football for so long, you kind of anticipate the hit like that.”

Coach Bill O’Brien wasn’t as concerned about the flashy aspect of the play as everyone else, but he was pleased to see him add yards to the catch with such a nice run.

“He’s really worked hard over the last five years … (on) running after the catch, and he’s really done a good job of that,” O’Brien said. “I think in the past couple games we’ve had close to 300 yards of yards after catch, and he has a lot of those.”

The only criticism some people had about the play was the security of the ball as Hopkins held onto it with just one hand through part of the run. But Hopkins has such large hands that he insisted that the ball was perfectly secure even when he wasn’t holding onto it with both hands.

“Sometimes me holding it in one hand is stronger than some people holding it with two,” he said.

The play is the highlight of a strong season for Hopkins, who leads the NFL with 594 yards receiving. He’s had three 100-yard games this year and has surpassed the 150-yard mark in each of Houston’s past two games.

Second-year quarterback Deshaun Watson loves playing with Hopkins and enjoyed watching him make that play on Sunday.

“I’m always impressed with the things he does,” Watson said. “He’s a talented guy … he just continues to get better each and every year, but that’s something that he really expects of himself and I expect him to do the same thing.”

And Watson knows that he can always count on Hopkins when the team needs a big play.

“Just give him the opportunity to make a play and he’s going to make that play, and that’s what he did Sunday night,” Watson said.

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Von Miller shoulders blame for Broncos’ skid

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller has done the math and believes he has the solution.

He's gone three weeks without a sack and the Denver Broncos have gone three games without a win.

"To win," Miller said Thursday, "I've got to get sacks."

Although he's being chipped or double-teamed on most plays and quarterbacks

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Von Miller has done the math and believes he has the solution.

He’s gone three weeks without a sack and the Denver Broncos have gone three games without a win.

“To win,” Miller said Thursday, “I’ve got to get sacks.”

Although he’s being chipped or double-teamed on most plays and quarterbacks are getting their passes off lickety-split, Miller acknowledged he hasn’t beaten tackles 1-on-1 much, either.

“I’ve had opportunities to rush the passer, I just haven’t been able to get home,” Miller said. “It doesn’t matter if it’s one rep to get there or two reps. That could be two sacks or forced fumbles that I’m not taking advantage of.”

So, Miller said, beginning Sunday when the Broncos (2-3) host the Los Angeles Rams (5-0), he’s taking it upon himself to stop both quarterback Jared Goff and Denver’s skid.

“I’ve just got to run over my guy, run straight through him, put him on his back and just get a sack,” Miller said.

And Miller offered that he hasn’t been playing the run all that great, either, accepting the blame for Denver’s myriad woes, including allowing an eye-popping 323 yards rushing to the Jets last week.

“I can fix that,” Miller said. “I like living in a world where it’s me and the problem is me and the quickest way to fix it is me.”

Miller insisted he’s not shouldering too much of the blame or burden, either, for the Broncos, who have slipped to 7-14 under head coach Vance Joseph .

“Too much what? I’ve got to get sacks. That’s what I do. I’ve got to get sacks,” Miller said. “I’ve gotten 87½ of them. I’ve played games where I got a lot of sacks and I’ve played games where I didn’t get any sacks. I’m going to have a little bit of both going forward.

“It’s just the phase that I’m in right now, and I’ve been here before. I’ve gotten out of it before.”

Miller was held without a sack for the final month of the 2016 season, which cost him in a one-vote loss to Khalil Mack for NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors a year after he was the MVP of Super Bowl 50.

Miller also went without a sack in the opener last season, extending his sackless streak to a career-long five games before he corralled Dallas’ Dak Prescott twice in Week 2.

Getting back on the sack track is “No. 1 on my list,” Miller insisted. “It’s the only thing I have to do on the football field. It’s something that I’m pointing the finger at myself and I’ll be able to get it fixed. I’ve just got to get it turned around quick.”

Miller isn’t alone in his misery.

The Broncos have managed just five sacks since dumping Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson a half dozen times in the opener last month, three of them by Miller.

Denver boasts an abundance of edge rushers featuring three first-round draft picks in Miller, Shane Ray and rookie Bradley Chubb.

It’s a defense that’s set up for “getting sacks and getting pressures,” Miller said.

“That’s how I want it to be. I don’t want to be in a defense where we’re playing zone all day and it’s about the corners. I want the defense to be about us, and it is,” Miller said. “I just haven’t been doing my job how I’m supposed to do it. And I’m on it. I’m going to get it fixed.”

At age 29 and in his eighth NFL season, “I’m in my prime,” Miller noted. “I want to take advantage of all the games and all of the opportunities that are out there for me.”

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Giants’ Olivier Vernon active for 1st time this season

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants linebacker and top pass rusher Olivier Vernon is active for the first time this season.

Vernon missed the first five games with a high ankle sprain, but he is expected to see action Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

New York will be without its top two

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — New York Giants linebacker and top pass rusher Olivier Vernon is active for the first time this season.

Vernon missed the first five games with a high ankle sprain, but he is expected to see action Thursday night against the Philadelphia Eagles.

New York will be without its top two tight ends. Evan Engram is going to miss his third straight game with a sprained knee. Rhett Ellison is out with a foot injury.

Placekicker Aldrick Rosas is active despite quad problem.

Eagles right tackle Lane Johnson will start despite an ankle injury.

Eagles: LB D.J. Alexander, LB Nathan Gerry, S Corey Graham, T Jordan Mailata, DT Haloti Ngata, G Matt Pryor, RB Darren Sproles.

Giants: Besides Engram and Ellison, WR Russell Shepard, QB Kyle Lauletta, S Kamrin Moore, C Evan Brown and DT John Jenkins.

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Winston’s focus on helping Buccaneers improve on 2-2 start

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — While most of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used their bye week to get away from work and relax, Jameis Winston stayed closer to home and continued to prepare for his first start in nearly 10 months.

The No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft missed the first three games of

TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — While most of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers used their bye week to get away from work and relax, Jameis Winston stayed closer to home and continued to prepare for his first start in nearly 10 months.

The No. 1 overall pick from the 2015 draft missed the first three games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s personal conduct policy.

Winston came off the bench for the second half of a 48-10 loss to the Chicago Bears two weeks ago. On Sunday, he resumes his role as Tampa Bay’s starting quarterback against struggling NFC South rival Atlanta.

The fourth-year pro said Thursday he’s both grateful to be back and eager to help the Bucs improve on a 2-2 start.

“I’m thankful I had the support of my teammates and the (organization) throughout the suspension,” said Winston, who was disciplined by the league following an investigation of an accusation that he groped a female Uber driver in Arizona in 2016.

“I worked so hard for this opportunity,” to have a NFL career, the quarterback said. “To have it taken away briefly, it can make you reflect on things. Every day is a blessing to be a Tampa Bay Buccaneer and play this great game. I’ve got to do my best to take advantage of it.”

Winston is taking the reins of the NFL’s top passing attack and No. 2-ranked offense overall, thanks to a record-breaking performance by veteran backup Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Fitzpatrick, who’s played for seven teams during a 14-year career, became the first player in league history to top 400 yards passing in three consecutive games.

The Bucs opened with upsets of New Orleans and Super Bowl champion Philadelphia, then were outscored 68-13 in the first half of losses to the Pittsburgh Steelers and Bears, who led 38-3 when Fitzpatrick was benched.

Winston was 16 of 20 for 145 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in the second half at Chicago. Sunday’s start will be his first since Dec. 31, when his 39-yard TD pass to Chris Godwin on Tampa Bay’s final offensive play of last season gave the Bucs a 31-24 upset of the Saints.

The Bucs were encouraged by the way Winston played after sitting out three games with a shoulder injury last fall.

One of the knocks on the 24-year-old has been his lack of accuracy on deep throws. However, coach Dirk Koetter and offensive coordinator Todd Monken said Winston has made strides since returning from the injury that hindered him most of 2017.

“The thing on that is Jameis’ shoulder was worse than we thought it was for a longer period than we thought,” Koetter said.

“Jameis is a competitor and wants to play. We finally rested his shoulder, he threw the ball better, period, after that,” the coach added. “He definitely had to alter some things mechanically in order to play when his shoulder was hurt. He’s not the only quarterback in the league who does that.”

While teammates scattered for the bye week, Winston chose to spend the six-day break doing individual work and getting acclimated to his normal routine.

“I basically did similar things I did the three weeks I was away,” Winston said. “It was kind of an odd place for me to be because I hadn’t played three games. I did get the little experience against Chicago, so I had to stay on it.”

Now that he’s back, Winston and the Bucs don’t see any reason the team shouldn’t continue to be explosive offensively with Winston throwing to a talented group of receivers that includes Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson, Adam Humphries and Godwin, as well as tight ends O.J. Howard and Cameron Brate.

“I’m very confident about that. We have some great (playmakers),” Winston said.

“You started to see more confidence throwing the ball down the field, making those types of throws (late last season),” Monken said Thursday. “That’s carried over from what I’ve seen in the preseason and the last couple of days.”

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FANTASY PLAYS: Starts and sits for a make or break week

After five weeks, fantasy owners of Dalvin Cook and Devonta Freeman are lamenting those draft picks, while those who gambled on Austin Ekeler and Tyler Boyd feel as if their fantasy IQs went up sharply.

Week 6 constitutes a make-or-break moment for a host of players who have yet to live up to their preseason

After five weeks, fantasy owners of Dalvin Cook and Devonta Freeman are lamenting those draft picks, while those who gambled on Austin Ekeler and Tyler Boyd feel as if their fantasy IQs went up sharply.

Week 6 constitutes a make-or-break moment for a host of players who have yet to live up to their preseason projections, along with those labeled as breakouts who are still digging to see the light of the expectations placed among them.

START: Jameis Winston, QB, Buccaneers: Making his first start of the season, Winston gets a plum matchup against a Falcons secondary that has been strafed for 12 touchdown passes and is 28th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Winston was 16 of 20 for 145 yards and a touchdown after mopping up for Ryan Fitzpatrick in a loss at the Bears. He won’t waste time getting the ball downfield to Mike Evans and DeSean Jackson, so plug him in and watch him make up for lost time.

SIT: Jared Goff, QB, Rams: Receivers Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp both remain in concussion protocol and while it’s possible both will play, the matchup at the Broncos is filled with hurdles. Goff has been just OK on the road, averaging a modest 18 fantasy points in his first two road games compared to the 33 PPG he has averaged in three games in Los Angeles. Facing the Denver pass rush is also an issue, but Mother Nature will be the biggest reason to sit Goff, as the forecast Sunday calls for snow flurries and temperatures in the mid- to upper-20s at kickoff.

START: James White, RB, Patriots: Even with Julian Edelman back and Josh Gordon continuing to be added into the flow of the passing game, White remains a great play for the potential Sunday night slugfest against the Chiefs. In the last two games, White has 18 catches for 145 yards and two touchdowns and will maintain that type of production against a Kansas City defense that allows seven catches and 90 yards per game to opposing running backs. In PPR formats, White is a borderline RB1 this week.

SIT: Adrian Peterson, RB, Redskins: The injuries (ankle, knee, shoulder) are piling up on Peterson, who had only six yards on four carries in the Monday night loss at New Orleans. The Panthers have the sixth-best run defense in the league and it’s unlikely the Redskins will give him a full workload. If Peterson is limited, it will be a mild disappointment for those who’ve used him as a sneaky good pass catcher in PPR formats.

START: Tyler Boyd, WR, Bengals: Only the Buccaneers and Saints allow more fantasy points per game to opposing receivers than the Steelers, who can no longer put the bulk of their focus solely on A.J. Green. Boyd has caught nearly 70 percent of his targets and has seven catches of better than 20 yards, making him an excellent WR2 play against a Pittsburgh pass defense that has given up 13 touchdown passes and 21 completions of better than 20 yards.

SIT: Amari Cooper, WR, Raiders: He’s become too inconsistent, drawing only one target in last week’s loss to the Chargers. Whatever the cause of the disconnect between him and quarterback Derek Carr, Cooper’s down-up-down-up-down act is already wearing thin with his fantasy owners. The Seahawks secondary is no longer the feared unit it once was, but they are still ninth in the league in passing yards allowed per game and are second with nine interceptions. Maybe Cooper continues his yo-yo trend, but there’s little motivation to risk a spot in the lineup for it.

START: Chester Rogers, WR, Colts: With T.Y. Hilton doubtful, Rogers again plays the role of top wideout for Indianapolis, who faces a Jets team that is 26th in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing receivers. This should play well for Rogers, who was targeted 11 times in each of the last two games. He has yet to score a touchdown this season yet the high volume of targets from Andrew Luck only increases the chances of him finally visiting the end zone.

SIT: Greg Olsen, TE, Panthers: Yes, he’s slated to play against the Redskins on Sunday. However, there is no indication as to how much he’ll be used. Either way, Olsen will need this game to get back into form. Washington is a modest 17th in fantasy points allowed to opposing tight ends, so there’s no need to feel that Olsen is missing a must-start opportunity. Olsen owners will be best off using this game as a gauge to how far along he is before becoming a viable fantasy starter once again.

START: Andy Dalton, QB, Bengals: After failing to throw multiple touchdown passes for the first time this year in last week’s loss to the Dolphins, Dalton will make up for lost chances against the Steelers, who are 31st in fantasy points allowed per game to opposing quarterbacks. Dalton is averaging a solid 23 fantasy points per game and will exceed that number facing a defense that’s allowing 320.4 passing yards and nearly three touchdown passes per contest.

SIT: Dion Lewis, RB, Titans: Since scoring 16 fantasy points in Week 1, Lewis has a combined 15 FP in the last four games. The Titans have been unable to effectively utilize Lewis, who has only 60 rushing yards on 25 attempts over his last three games. Don’t expect those numbers to suddenly trend upward against a Ravens defense that is seventh in the league in rushing yards allowed and has given up only two rushing touchdowns all season.

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For more Week 6 lineup advice and tidbits, visit RotoExperts: https://rotoexperts.com

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