Thursday Matchup Edge: CIN vs. HOU

Cincinnati (0-1) vs. Houston (0-1)

Open: O/U 38, CIN -3
Press time: O/U 38, CIN -6

Andy Dalton’s struggles were among the top stories from Week 1, as he headed into Sunday a home favorite but was shut out with a 170-yard, four-interception line on 31 attempts. The offensive line certainly didn’t help, however, giving up five sacks while allowing plenty of disruption on the other plays, too. There’s a decent amount of pedigree on this line, so perhaps its struggles can largely be explained by the strength of the Baltimore front seven. As intimidating as J.J. Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, and Whitney Mercilus might be, the Texans allowed 155 yards on the ground last week and might be a tad less imposing than last year without Vince Wilfork. This game should be a fairer test for the Cincinnati line.

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Was Week 1 the beginning of the end for Tom Brady?

The first postmortem for the career of Tom Brady was written by many sports analysts on the evening of September 29, 2014 after he completed 14-of-23 passes for 159 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions when the Patriots were destroyed 41-14 in a Monday night game at Kansas City. Those who predicted his demise quickly learned that betting against this legend proved to be a lesson in futility, and after the next five games were in the books, all Patriots victories, he had thrown 18 touchdown passes without an interception, and on February 1, he was hoisting the Lombardi Trophy.

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Run-N-Shoot: Race in (Fantasy) Sports

The conversation started innocently enough.  Yahoo’s Scott Pianowski wondered why Twitter had so much love for Stefon Diggs yet such little interest in fellow Vikings wideout Adam Thielen.

“Race,” I wondered openly.

Nobody responded.  Race impacting sports?  Or our decision-making in fantasy?  That’s a topic too PC for most to broach.

Yet my comment about race did get one “like,” from Dodgers starting pitcher Brandon McCarthy.  Emboldened to initiate a chat with Brandon, I decided to ask him about race in the sports world.  The following exchange ensued:

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NHL Picks for the 2017-18 Season

With the hockey season just weeks away, we’ve polled our expert pucksters on how everything should shake out over the course of the 2017-18 campaign. Interestingly, everyone picked a different Stanley Cup champion, and only yours truly appears to be bullish on 2017 Hobey Baker Award winner Will Butcher right out of the gate. The criteria for making the picks was loosely defined (by design), but here’s hoping it will help you get a basic idea of who to look out for or even avoid in drafts. Hint: None of us seem to like Jeff Carter this year. Agree? Disagree? Let’s hear your take!

Mike Gay Kyle Riley Tim Schuler AJ Scholz Jordan Buckley Doug Greenberg Joe Mahoney
Rising in September Alex Wennberg Alex Wennberg David Pastrnak Matt Murray Ryan Strome Artemi Panarin Johnny Gaudreau
Falling in September Brock Boeser Andreas Athanasiou Jeff Carter Connor Hellebuyck Brandon Dubinsky Joe Thornton Mike Smith
2 Players I Want on My Teams Leon Draisaitl, Justin Schultz Jack Eichel, Brady Skjei Jack Eichel, Auston Matthews Patrick Marleau, Mark Scheifele Jamie Benn, Aleksander Barkov Brad Marchand, Jeff Skinner Leon Draisaitl, Erik Karlsson
2 Top-50 Players to Avoid Nazem Kadri, Steven Stamkos Pekka Rinne, Henrik Lundqvist Jamie Benn, Jeff Carter Jeff Carter, Wayne Simmonds Corey Perry, Anze Kopitar Claude Giroux, Eric Staal Pekka Rinne, Corey Perry
Forward I’m Optimistic About Mitch Marner John Tavares Jakob Silfverberg Leon Draisaitl Jordan Eberle Ryan Johansen Nik Ehlers
Forward I’m Pessimistic About Alexander Ovechkin Viktor Arvidsson Eric Staal Mike Hoffman Artemi Panarin Jeff Carter Eric Staal
Defenseman I’m Optimistic About Anthony DeAngelo Mark Giordano Zach Werenski Dustin Byfuglien John Carlson Dougie Hamilton Matt Dumba
Defenseman I’m Pessimistic About Shayne Gostisbehere Andrej Sekera Mark Giordano Dougie Hamilton Justin Schultz Victor Hedman Kevin Shattenkirk
Goalie I’m Optimistic About Matt Murray Corey Crawford Craig Anderson Marc-Andre Fleury Ben Bishop Andrei Vasilevskiy Craig Anderson
Goalie I’m Pessimistic About Ben Bishop Henrik Lundqvist Marc-Andre Fleury Mike Smith Brian Elliott Pekka Rinne Corey Crawford
Draft Crosby or McDavid first overall? McDavid McDavid McDavid McDavid Crosby McDavid Crosby
Select Will Butcher in top half of drafts? Yes No No No No No No
Outside Top-100 to Finish Top-25 Jonathan Drouin Jordan Eberle Zach Werenski James Neal Nathan MacKinnon Jonathan Drouin Aleksander Barkov
Top-15 to Finish Outside Top-40 Sergei Bobrovsky Cam Talbot Jamie Benn Nikita Kucherov Matt Murray Joe Pavelski Carey Price
2017 Fantasy MVP Connor McDavid Patrick Kane Auston Matthews Connor McDavid Nikita Kucherov Connor McDavid Sidney Crosby
Stanley Cup Edmonton over Columbus Chicago over Columbus Washington over St. Louis Pittsburgh over Edmonton St. Louis over New York Rangers Edmonton over Pittsburgh Anaheim over Pittsburgh

Week 1 Observations

Of the ~375 fantasy football weeks I’ve endured over the last 23 years, this had to be bottom five. For starters, I lost three of my four survivor entries before the season even started. Then I went 4-10 ATS pending Monday night. Virtually all my teams have either Tom Brady, Andy Dalton or Andrew Luck as their primary quarterbacks, and the Patriots, Texans and Giants as their defenses. I sat Kenny Golladay in one of two leagues in which I have him and Austin Hooper in two of three.

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