Football

Value Growing for Under Action on Remaining Bowls

Sunday, 29 December, 2013

Value Growing for Under Action on Remaining Bowls

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Thus far market activity for action on totals has been fairly one-sided—four of six bowl games have gone over the number. Extended preparation for bowl games has not done much to help defenses. Even the cold weather factor was thrown aside by San Diego State and Buffalo– a game that saw the total drop three points in a 72 hour time span. The second quarter ballooned any chances of that game going under.

There are phases to every bowl season that can make for a lucrative opportunity for an individual. Keys to successful handicapping correlate with the strengths of the teams that still remain to play in their bowl game. Discipline, balanced attacks, and execution of a game plan are just a few variables. Exiting the pre-Christmas bowls we are now going to start to see an exponential rise in numerous categories of offenses, defenses, and the forgotten category special teams.

As you go to place your continual daily bowl game wagers avoiding the unconscious placement of an over bet needs to sink into your mind. This is not the time to assume and go for it every bowl game (fourth down)—which has been a downfall in the NFL this season.

The whirlwind of college sports can be endlessly debated. What can’t be is the bottom line. Money. The Las Vegas Bowl is the only bowl game to eclipse a $1 million dollar payout to the victor thus far. Trailing the Vegas Bowl in terms of a payout was the Hawaii Bowl at $650,000. Going forward ,23, bowl games remaining will pay in excess of $1 million.

Recruiting is in a vital stage to secure potential signees. While at the Las Vegas Bowl several recruits could be seen at Mandalay Bay with USC players and coaches. A bowl game win can sway a young prospects mind, or give them confidence if already signed.

Coaches contracts in major conferences has spiked dramatically from a decade ago. Eking out a bowl game win can be a two-fold incentive for coaches. Reaching a win total bonus and getting a bowl game bonus is surely in the grasps of several coaching staffs. This is a major factor for the position coaches who have a smaller salary with the chance to duplicate their yearly salary with their team’s bowl victory. A major upset or outstanding showing gets the automatic media spotlight on the head coach but can be a great stepping stone for assistants to get a higher salary offer elsewhere.

All this can’t be said for the bowls played prior to Christmas. The level of play and potential net gross for a team just were not there. Scoring drive ratios of touchdowns to field goals indicate this. 75% of scoring drives in the first six bowl games have been touchdowns (48 out of 64). This is fool’s gold and a trend that will be short lived. Sportsbooks and oddsmakers will surely be taking advantage of this as bettors continue to bet the over.

If you thought the regular season was a roller coaster for your bankroll, bowl season can be the coup de grace for you. Balance your wagers appropriately and stick to conferences you had success with during the season.

Zack can be reached via email at notjustagame23@gmail.com or by visiting his website notjustagame.com

Bears Defense Set For Big Decline

Wednesday, 14 August, 2013

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The focus in Chicago and many other Bears fans in relocated cities for years has been their disdain for Lovie Smith. Nine years with Lovie Smith through all of the hot seat periods calling for his name seemed to be a little too long for the relationship to last. Frankly I thought he should have been let go a few years back. His coaching over the last few years actually was solid. Ultimately the front office decided it was just time for an overhaul of change. Change is good in the NFL ranks for coaches, and the time had come for Smith to depart.

Change though can be a period that players and coaching staffs undergo rough stretches. We all know how Jay Cutler has been portrayed by the media, and how he has a tendency to forgo making the right play with idiotic throws. His play will definitely be an adjustment for his new head coach in Marc Trestman. Cutler is not your ordinary temperament type of personality.

Trestman’s football background is there, and his success in the CFL convinced the Bears organization to take an unorthodox approach in hiring Trestman from the CFL.

A head coaching change was not the only big announcement the Bears had this offseason. They also did not retain Brian Urlacher at linebacker. The cornerstone linebacker had been with the team for 13 seasons. The Bears decision to only offer him a one year two million dollar deal at first drove Urlacher irate. He believed the offer was basically a cop out to tell him he was not wanted as a Bear anymore.

His plan to test the market as a free agent died quickly as he announced his retirement.

There were no mysteries that Lovie Smith was a defensive minded head football coach as a Bear and the team reigned and fed off his leadership defensively. Heck there style of play even got them to an improbable Super Bowl with Rex Grossman/Kyle Orton leading the way. That seems like many years ago, and it was. Chicago unlike most teams has retained quite a few players on the defensive side of the football.

This year is going to be a true test of their defense that has lost nine years of Smith’s coaching, and thirteen years of Urlacher at linebacker. A combined twenty two years of experience.

Looking at the Bears roster they have players such as Charles Tillman (11th season), Lance Briggs (11th season), Julius Peppers (12th season), Tim Jennings (8th season), and DJ Wiliams (8th season) all as starters. You definitely do not see as much age on a defense as you do in Chicago. Particularly their core stars in Tillman, Peppers, and Briggs who are all in double digit years in the NFL. Longevity has never been a friend to NFL players and you have to believe at least one or two of these players is going to hit the backside of their talent this season.

The Bears will have a lot of decisions to make this offseason, and they’ll likely be just as tough as to how Urlacher’s ended. Baltimore made headlines the way it handled its championship defense and let them go via free agency. Their defense played solid in 2013 but was not elite at all. The key word for the Ravens is that they were opportunistic, but they gave up their fair share of points. As Ray Lewis said often, Joe Flacco and the Ravens offense was the reason the Ravens got as far as they did.

Bears fans be ready to embrace a down year in terms of defense.

Blackmon Ready To Prove High Value

Thursday, 26 April, 2012

By Vidur Malik

notjustagame23@gmail.com 

One of the by-products of the Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III sweepstakes is that it has taken the spotlight away from the other playmakers in the 2012 draft class. Count Oklahoma State receiver Justin Blackmon among the players that would have gotten top billing if not for the two superstar quarterbacks who will go 1-2.

 

The two-time Biletnikoff Award-winner is projected to be a top-10 pick and considered the best receiver in the draft along with Notre Dame’s Michael Floyd. Many experts have Blackmon going No. 6 to the Rams, but no matter where he goes, he should be an instant contributor and someone you look out for during your fantasy draft.

 

Both his own talent and the strong production of recent rookie receivers indicate that Blackmon will make an immediate impact. His size allows him to be an effective route runner and turn short plays into big gains, and he certainly came up big in the biggest moments. He caught eight passes for 186 yards and three touchdowns in the Cowboys’ 41-38 win over the Stanford Cardinal in the Fiesta Bowl and caught no fewer than six passes in any game last season.

 

Just last season, rookie receivers like A.J. Green and Julio Jones showed that they will probably be among the elite receivers in the NFL very soon. Seven rookies caught more than 40 passes last season, including Redskins running back Roy Helu.

 

There’s no reason why Blackmon can’t be in that category. If he goes to the Rams, he’ll have a chance to become one of quarterback Sam Bradford’s favorite targets. Brandon Lloyd, the team’s top receiver last year, is now with the Patriots, so there’s an opportunity for Blackmon to show he’s an NFL-caliber receiver.

 

Even if he doesn’t go to the Rams, he’ll have a chance to contribute to his team. Teams like the Packers have shown that if you have a quarterback who can distribute the ball, there can never be too many weapons on an offense. It’s almost certain that the quarterback on Blackmon’s NFL team won’t be able to do that as well as Aaron Rodgers does, but he won’t need to. As long as Blackmon gets a chance to show his talents on short routes and a few deep throws, he can become a legitimate talent and a consistent fantasy producer. He should be available as your fantasy team’s second or third receiver and even if he isn’t a consistent producer, he could still be a good player for your flex spot. Blackmon’s potential is sky-high and he’s clearly on the short list for best receiver in this year’s draft, so he’s definitely someone you should consider making a part of your team.

Sleeper Running Backs

Saturday, 3 September, 2011

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

There’s nothing like nabbing a late round pick or middle round pick that turns out to be a true gem. Last year Arian Foster and Brandon Lloyd were the top of the pack in their positions for overturned value. Lloyd, had faded into a special teams athlete for a few years, and was sort of written off. No one really knew how Houston’s backfield would shape up. Most thought it would be running back by committee. When Ben Tate went down though, it really opened up things for Foster as the lone back. The rest is 2010 fantasy history.

Of course the number one reason for opportunity is typically injury. Watchout for Beanie Wells having a significant year compared to projections. No longer is he in the shadow or worrisome of Tim Hightower. Ryan Williams was supposed to be that threat, but went down to a season ending injury in week two of the preseason. LaRod Stephens-Howling is a scatback type, but won’t get more than five carries a game.

We have a few guys listed below that will likely get drafted in deeper leagues. Keep them stashed on your bench, as opportunity could come your way for these young athletes.

Delone Carter:

He was never exceptionally flashy at Syracuse, but he piled up a solid career. His nature of running the football isn’t going to benefit him for a long career, but his first five should be decent. He is an in between tackles runner, that is going to carry defenders and fall forward for extra yards. With Indianapolis getting impatient with former first round pick Donald Brown, and Addai’s injury struggles, Carter could be the main back by mid-season.

CJ Spiller:

After an extremely disappointing rookie year, Spiller has a lot to prove. He wasn’t supposed to just be a special teams force. The Bills spent a first round pick on him, and were willing to part with Marshawn Lynch. The backfield remains the same, meaning the Bills haven’t given up on Spiller yet. Look for Spiller to make more of his carries this year as he tries to gain back coaches trust. The Bills have likely got the cheapest backfield in the NFL.

Rashard Jennings:

When will the bowling ball, fade into the gutter lane? Maurice Jones-Drew has been able to sustain the hits even at his small stature. The reason is because of his tremendous sized thighs and quads. Yet, it hasn’t staved off soreness and minor injuries for Drew. He has fought through them somehow, but the message in Jacksonville seems to be a new change coming. Jennings has slowly gained carries from Drew. If the opportunity presents itself, Jennings has shown that he can get the job done.

Roy Helu:

Everyone has been ranting and raving over Tim Hightower. He is the perfect back to run the zone blocking scheme, etc. Hightower has had a dandy preseason, but what will happen when teams actually game plan against the Redskins? They’ll get after their main weakness, which is at quarterback. Once that happens, the holes will clog up. Hightower is a breakaway runner, not a slasher in between the tackles. His main issue will pop up again, as they have year after year. Fumble prone. It just doesn’t alleviate a running back. Shanahan is an impatient coach, and Helu has been just as impressive in the preseason.

Ben Tate:

There really is no reason too elaborate here. Tate has been a monster in the preseason and if it weren’t for Foster, would instantly shoot up to a top ten fantasy running back. Good luck to the rest of the NFL on shutting the two down.

Jacquizz Rodgers:

The mileage on Michael Turner’s legs is in need of a Ricky Williams hiatus to refuel. The pattern of backs being over ran and tanking is predictable. Turner might have a year left in him before he fades like Larry Johnson. Rodgers can fit the old mold the Falcons were accustomed to with Warrick Dunn. A small back, but one that can carry the load twelve to fifteen times a game.

How LT’s Fantasy Role Will Venture

Wednesday, 29 September, 2010

By Zack Cimini
Notjustagame23@gmail.com

For all the bad publicity the New York Jets have received this year there has been a very bright spot. Their signing of LT has quietly been the key to their early season success. He has by far outperformed Shonn Greene. Greene was expected to storm by LT, and make him look like a cast away veteran in the last stage of his career. Instead Greene looks like LT’s backup. Fantasy owners have to be boiling that drafted Greene as he has done little. Most likely you’ve been forced to start him based on the position you drafted him.

LT’s departure from San Diego wasn’t handled in the best way, but LT acted like a business man during the whole matter. He could have been bitter and voiced his opinion in a fashion that tore apart the organization. Everyone knows the Chargers have not been the best in handling situations with their players. As the writing was on the wall, LT looked for a place that he felt he could still thrive and win a title.

The way LT has been hitting the whole he looks like he may get the last laugh on the rest of the league that was ready to write him off. Brian Shottenheimer currently calls the first half run plays as even as possible. LT and Greene get to showcase for full time second half duties. Whoever is performing better gets the bulk of those second half carries. For the first three games those carries have shifted to LT. Currently he has over 200 yards rushing with a whopping 5.6 yards per carry average.

The burden he has lifted off of Mark Sanchez has been enormous. Could you imagine how the Jets would have started the season with just Greene as the main back? Teams would have had a feast and forced the Jets to throw every down like some teams are forced. As erratic as Sanchez has been who knows how he would of handled the pressure. Starting off the year poor with a young quarterback could have dug Sanchez a mental blow he would of never got out of. You just don’t know how a quarterback is going to handle himself under the scope of an increased role.

With Sanchez having the comfort ability of a veteran back he is slowly emerging into a quarterback. Before you could tell Sanchez’s play calls were scripted. One or two reads and deliver the football. The Jets were not going to take chances with him. Now he is lobbing paces up and trusting Dustin Keller. He’s also making some precision throws and prime spots.

Shonn Greene will break out of his bog soon. Once he does who knows how scary this team is going to be. Defensively they’ve been stout. If this offense picks up momentum, watch out. Sanchez is likely going to go into the playoffs with a phenomenal rushing attack. Santonio Holmes will be back from suspension soon. Adding another big play threat to replace Jerricho Cotchery who is at best a fourth receiver on most teams.

Praise the Jets for their signing of LT and for the way he has responded. He is having more of a fantasy impact than he has in a long time. The past two seasons he looked dog tired and physically not there. Whatever it was….rest, new regimen, or a new beginning, it is working for LT. He is not a fantasy starter but is one of the highest ranking third backs to have on a fantasy team. You never know what’s going to happen over the course of the year. He could be that familiar weapon that you need down the stretch when injuries begin to take place.

Share the Wealth

Tuesday, 25 May, 2010

 

By Zack Cimini

notjustagame23@gmail.com

Spread offenses with potent quarterbacks are love affairs to fantasy owners. Often times an owner with such a quarterback will try to double down their points by landing a receiver on that offense. Numbers used too evenly spread throughout the course of the year. In most of these offenses though getting consistency on a weekly basis from the second or third receiver has scaled back a bit. Out in Indianapolis is one of the more intriguing snapshots to try and figure out who will get the balance of Peyton Manning’s precision throws.

We know that Reggie Wayne and Dallas Clark should be natural locks to stay of pace statistically of there prior years. Should we be so sure of that though? Receivers often decline out of no where and this is going to be Wayne’s tenth season in the league. At some point deterioration begins to happen and he will not be able to shake opposing teams number one corners with ease. For the Colts to allow Wayne to use his veteran tactics to stave off diminishing skills he will need to be able to rely on the Colts other receivers.

Folks have a little taste of what Pierre Garcon can do. He emerged last season when Anthony Gonzalez was unable to come back from nagging injuries. Garcon proved to be a big play target and was the home run threat Manning depended on. Speed is his best asset and he is currently slated as the Colts third receiver. We’d like to think that if Garcon improves on other areas as a receiver that he could surpass Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a steady possession receiver type that seems more suited for third down pass plays. When he was their third receiver a few years ago behind Harrison and Wayne, he was able to find space in zones for Manning to drop the ball into. As an every down receiver though that type of player is already on the field in Dallas Clark.

A good sign for fantasy owners that own the Colts receivers is that they’ll likely lead the league in combined trio production. The reason being is that their running game has been very poor over the last few seasons. Joseph Addai’s yards per carry continue to be dismal and last year was at 3.8. It’s hard to believe that the Colts running game has been this poor with the amount of audibles Manning is able to call at the line, and how he keeps defenses on their heels with play action. Their running game was towards the bottom of the league, but should spike up a little as the Colts will look to give Donald Brown more touches in his second year.

The battle for second receiver will be an interesting one. Austin Collie did fine in the third receiver role last year with over 700 yards receiving and 7 touchdowns. So those numbers will not be bad for either Garcon or Gonzalez, and should be upgradeable based on their talent. Fantasy owners want an every down threat though as you should.

We just can’t see the Colts keeping Garcon’s big play ability off the field. Gonzalez is coming off a year of injuries and is going to have to fend off Garcon who continued his great regular season with a monster playoffs. He caught eleven balls for over 150 yards and a touchdown in the AFC championship game against the Jets, and scored a touchdown in the Super Bowl as well. The situation is comparable to when a teams starting quarterback goes down and they find something better when that backup comes in and starts winning.

Of course the Colts could just use their spread offense more if the ground game stays stagnant, but they know their lack of a ground game hurt them in the Super Bowl. Garcon has better fantasy value currently than Gonzalez and it’ll likely remain that way. Look for Garcon who is in the third year of his four year deal, to build upon last year in hopes of working out a new deal before the final year of his contract.