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NFL Training Camp Notes: Payday For OBJ

– Odell Beckham Jr. was given a five-year extension values at $95 million with $65 million guaranteed making him the highest-paid wideout in the NFL. This move makes a ton of sense for both parties as the Giants lock up their most talented player and Beckham doesn’t have to have this on his mind going into the season. Look for Beckham to be one of the elite fantasy wide receivers this season provided he stays healthy.

– Marquise Lee was officially placed on IR ending his season. The “next man up” will likely be Keelan Cole or Donte Moncrief who both make for nice late round picks. Cole had a nice four-game stretch towards the end of the season with 19 catches for 442 yard and three touchdowns. Moncrief received $9.6 million guaranteed to become a Jaguar in the offseason and is the biggest wide receiver they have at 6-2, 220 lbs.

– Andrew Luck suffered a minor injury during his preseason game over the weekend. Coach Frank Reich said he could play this week if they had a game and Luck could be back to practice as soon as today. For now, this is nothing to worry about.

– Rashaad Penny (finger) could play in Thursday’s preseason game. Chris Carson appears to have the starting role and should get the bulk of the carries against a tough Denver defense. However, this could be a situation that as Penny’s finger gets better Penny will see his role increase. Doug Baldwin also participated in practice and is on track to be ready for Week 1.

– Rishard Matthews, just activated from PUP list, practice Monday for the first time this season. Matthews is expected to be active for the Titans opener against the Dolphins and should line up opposite Corey Davis for Tennessee.

– Robby Anderson is still waiting to hear about a possible suspension from the NFL. Two arrests in nine months could see the speedy wideout suspended to open the season but the NFL appears to be dragging their feet on the case. If you’re an owner keep your fingers crossed he avoids any missed time.

– According to Hue Jackson, Josh Gordon won’t start Week 1 even if he’s 100 percent healthy. Note that this doesn’t in any way rule Gordon out Week 1 it merely means he won’t be on the field for the first snap. Chances are he may see a reduced workload but could see a higher percentage of targets to snaps when he is on the field. He’s likely a boom-or-bust play against the Steelers for the Browns’ home opener.

– DeVante Parker still cannot catch a football. At this point he’s been limited to conditioning drills and his Week 1 status is up in the air. The good news for Parker is Ryan Tannehill has looked good during his preseason games going 11-for-16 for 115 and a touchdown over the weekend against the Ravens.

Down Goes Russell

How many of you had Seth Russell in your DFS lineups only to find out the once superman of college quarterbacking statistics was human like the rest of us?  Count me as one.  Every DFS week that Baylor played, even at the $10K price tag he was playing with, I had to start him in at least one of my lineups.  I would get in my comfortable chair on Saturday afternoons and enjoy watching him carve up defenses and rack up fantasy points in video game fashion.  Sadly to say after taking a blow to the neck and shoulder during last week’s Iowa State game, Russell was removed in the 4th quarter with severe neck pain.  A few days later we discovered the neck injury is definitely season ending.  Say it isn’t so?  But unfortunately it is.  Your heart breaks for the young man who was having a Heisman worthy season going 119 out of 200, for 2,104 yards, 29 touchdowns and only six interceptions in not quite seven full games.  In addition, he had 49 carries for 402 yards and six touchdowns on the ground.  Fantasy Gold I call it.  While Russell’s pain and suffering is far greater than that of DFS players who count on him week in and week out during the college football season, we too have to make some adjustments.

While there are many other college quarterbacks to choose from with ample production, Paxton Lynch, Greg Ward, Brandon Doughty, and Luke Falk come immediately to mind,  for the purposes of this exercise, I would like to focus on what Seth Russell’s absence means for the rest of Baylor’s skill players.  So let’s start with his replacement.

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Bowl Game Confidence Picks

Hey guys, pretty busy at the moment so I apologize for the brevity/lateness of this post, but here are the confidence picks I’m going with in our own RotoWire pool for the bowl game slate this year. Feel free to message me on Twitter at the RotoWire NFL Draft account (@NFLDraft_RW)if you have any questions about the picks.

Also, be sure to check out how me and our other college football writers are picking against the spreads: http://www.rotowire.com/cfootball/showArticle.htm?id=22220

Thanks for reading!

(Higher the number, more confident the pick)

38. Stanford over Maryland

37 Auburn over Wisconsin

36. Arizona State over Duke

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College Football TUE/WED MACtion Rankings

Hey guys, here are the rankings I’m going with this week for the Tuesday/Wednesday MAC slate. This week we have Buffalo vs Akron, Northern Illinois vs Toledo, Bowling Green vs Kent State, and Massachusetts vs Ball State. The first two games are Tuesday, the second pair Wednesday.

NOTE: There are a couple high-impact injury situations to monitor. One is the lower leg injury suffered by Bowling Green RB Travis Greene, the other a leg injury suffered by Toledo QB Logan Woodside. If Greene is out, it greatly heightens the value of RB Fred Coppet. If Woodside plays, you can raise Toledo WRs Corey Jones and Alonzo Russell on the list, because Woodside looks significantly better than backup Michael Julian.

Feel free to shoot over questions on Twitter to @NFLDraft_RW. Good luck this week!

QB

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College Football TUE/WED MAC Rankings

Hey guys, here are the rankings I’d go with for the Tuesday/Wednesday slate of MAC games for college football this week. Today we have Akron vs Bowling Green and Kent State vs Toledo, with tomorrow’s slate being Ohio vs Buffalo and Ball State vs Northern Illinois.

Feel free to shoot any questions on Twitter to @NFLDraft_RW if you had any questions about the slate.

 

QB

1. Drew Hare – Northern Illinois at Ball State
2. Kyle Pohl – Akron vs Bowling Green
3. Jack Milas – Ball State vs Northern Illinois

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FantasyElite $8,000 CFB Kickoff Tournament

Fanium’s FantasyElite.com games are some of the most unique DFS formats out there, as the game combines the salary cap aspect of traditional DFS with a twist: the games are head-to-head and players are acquired through a draft, meaning no two teams in a single contest can own a given player at the same time. There’s never overlap, and it’s not as simple as picking the ‘best’ player at each pick – you need to consider how any given player’s salary might limit your selection options at the subsequent picks. You can play either on the web or through the site’s iPad/iPhone app.

http://cfbkickoff.fantasyelite.com/

On Wednesday night I drafted a team in FantasyElite’s $8,000 College Kickoff tournament, a 32-entry bracket with a $250 entry fee and big payouts ($625-$2,000) for the players that manage to make it into the Elite Eight. As you might expect with a relatively high-stakes contest like this, this bracket is nothing less than a shark tank. The first round’s player pool drew from the four FBS games in Thursday’s slate – South Carolina/Texas A&M, Mississippi/Boise State, Washington State/Rutgers, and Vanderbilt/Temple.

The game starts QB/QB/RB/RB/WR/WR/FLEX/FLEX/FLEX, with the flex spots allowing the use of RB, WR, or TE-designated players. The scoring system is somewhat unorthodox – it’s 2PPR, awards 0.1 points per carry, and all touchdowns are worth six points. This puts a premium on high-level passing quarterbacks and reception-heavy players at RB/WR/TE.

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Week 8 College Football Thoughts


– The Noles went into Death Valley and delivered a beat em down style victory over Clemson on Saturday night that neither team won’t soon forget.  Famous Jameis Winston was spectacular with four touchdowns, leading his team with swagger few, if any, possess.  He is clearly in the Heisman race, if not the front-runner at this time.  He is second in the nation in passer rating, second in yards per attempt, and sixth in completion percentage. It wasn’t just him in this game though, as his wide receivers made great plays after the catch and the FSU defense held Clemson to just 3.79 yards per play and turned them over four times. The next big game for the Noles is a matchup with Miami on Nov. 2, where each team will likely be undefeated. In past seasons, many bought into the Noles, only to see them disappoint against lesser opponents (see NC State in 2012 & 2010), but this feels like a different team with Winston at the helm.
– Texas A&M’s run defense has been among the worst in the nation all season long and this past Saturday was no different, as Auburn ran for 379 yards against them, on their way to 45-41 upset in on the road. Credit needs to be given to new/old offensive guru Gus Malzahn and his coaching staff for the work they have done with this group of players.  Their turn around is nothing short of amazing and make this season’s Iron Bowl that much more intriguing. But there also needs to be some questioning as to just who A&M coach Kevin Sumlin is allowing to coach his defenses. This season the Aggies rank 117th in terms of yards allowed per play, which is just between Troy and Kent State near the bottom of the barrel. Moreover, defense was a problem for Sumlin while he was at Houston as well. Johnny Manziel’s case for the Heisman took some shots this weekend because some want to penalize him for the poor play of the Aggies’ defense, which is unfair to him as he has no control over their play. One should realize that part of the reason he’s on the field for so much, making incredible play with his arm and legs is because he has to, as his defense is terrible and has left him no choice to but bail them out with his heroics. If he had an even average defense behind him, there is little doubtful he would have to produce games of 500 total yards, as he did this season against Alabama and Auburn, which, by the way, is insane. But not even he can bail out a defense this bad every week. If anything, his critics should realize he’s the only reason Texas A&M is even in these games to begin with. To me at least, he’s still the most outstanding player in college football and worthy of winning another Heisman trophy.  It’s just tough to separate his individual success and talent from that of his team’s success and talent, which is tied so heavily to the anchor that is the Aggies defense. 
– Missouri is for real. They took Florida to the woodshed for 500 total yards of offense and destroyed what was once, and I guess still technically, considered at Top 10 defense. The Gators were without DT Dominique Easley, who is lost for the season due to a torn ACL & MCL in his right knee, but that’s still no excuse for getting rolled by frosh QB Maty Mauk, who was starting his first ever college football game. Maybe the Gators should look to travel more, as this was the farthest north the team has traveled for a road game since 1991, when they went up to Syracuse. Up next for the Tigers is a home game against South Carolina, who is likely to be without QB Connor Shaw, who is out with a sprained left knee. As recently as this past week, I thought the Gamecocks were the favorites to win the SEC East, but not after they lost to Tennessee in Knoxville this weekend. Now it appears Missouri is all but a lock to win the East, which is crazy considering the verbal abuse and public doubting their program experienced, when they came over to from the Big 12 to the SEC last season. 
– Ohio State and Miami (FL) narrowly escaped defeat against conference foes. For the Buckeyes, once again, just too much Carlos Hyde. Their pass defense has become a real problem though, as they’ve allowed 7.4 yards per attempt to FBS teams this season, which ranks 67th in the nation and 8th in the Big Ten. For the Canes, it’s not often that your QB throws 4 interceptions and you lose one of your best WRs to injury and you still go on to win the game. They were very lucky to get past North Carolina. It’s doubtful they’ll be as lucky when they face Florida State and Virginia Tech in back-to-back weeks next month. 
– What happened to LSU’s defense this week against Ole Miss?  Usually the Tigers are one of the best teams and shutting down opposing offenses with their fantastic secondary, but that was not the case as they gave up over 500 total yards to the Rebels. QB Zach Mettenberger looked like the old Mettenberger, as he threw 3 interceptions and severely hurt his team’s chances to win. And it’s not like these were tipped or deflected passes either, each of them he threw into double coverage, two of which were in the end-zone. He’ll need to make better decisions against Alabama.
– I’m not sure I can recall a team with such high expectations beaten down by injuries so badly the way Georgia has been this season. At Vanderbilt this weekend it caught up with them, as they just didn’t have the skill players needed to help QB Aaron Murray make one final drive to win the game. With the World’s Biggest Outdoor Cocktail Party on the horizon, the Bulldogs will need to get as many healthy bodies back on the field as they can, if they’re going to beat Florida. For Vandy, it’s a win they badly needed, before they face Texas A&M, Florida, and Tennessee on the road, in three of their next four games. One last thing from this game, the targeting rule has drawn criticism this season for being improperly called and no play may personify this more than the penalty Georgia drew in this game. Take a look for yourself, does this sort of play warrant a player being ejected? The play was reviewed and the ejection was upheld. A roughing the passer call would have been more appropriate in this instance. This happened again in the Ohio State game, with maybe an even worse call, as unnecessary roughness would have sufficed. On the flip side, this call, in the South Carolina game, for targeting seems appropriate and rightly called. It might seem like I’m splitting hairs here, but you’re ejecting a player, which is a sever penalty that affects the outcome of the game. 
– Stanford rebounded nicely from their loss to Utah with a defensive smothering of UCLA. They held the Bruins to just 266 yards of offense. The play of the game has to go to Kodi Whitfield, who made an amazing one handed catch in the endzone to give the Cardinal a lead they would never relinquish. Up next for Stanford is a meeting with Oregon State in Corvallis against QB Sean Mannion, who is starting to garner Heisman steam, what with his 29 passing touchdowns and 427.4 passing yards per game, both of which lead the nation. Just how good the Beavers are though is still suspect, considering they lost to Eastern Washington, a 5-2 FCS team, earlier this season, at home.  
– And finally this week, we shed ourselves of Louisville and their false dreams of going undefeated, as UCF overcame a 21 point deficit to beat them on the road. QB Teddy Bridgewater did what he could, and played a pretty good game going 29-of-38 for 341 yards, but it wasn’t enough. Their loss now opens up the BCS door to Fresno State and Northern Illinois, who if they continue to remain undefeated, will have a shot at a major bowl game come January. For UCF, they now have a very real shot at winning the conference, if they can beat Houston at home on Nov 9. They’re also left to wonder what might have been, as their lone loss of the season was by 3 points to South Carolina at home. And if it wasn’t already obvious, Teddy Bridgewater will not be winning the Heisman and will be lucky to even make it to New York as a finalist. Don’t feel bad for him though, as he’s likely to be the top pick in the upcoming NFL draft.
– This week we get Florida State at home, looking for serious payback for what NC State has done to them recently to derail their seasons and yet another test for Missouri at home against South Carolina. And perhaps this is the week that someone finally tests Oregon, who is at home against UCLA.  The game I’m most intrigued by though is Texas Tech, who remains unbeaten, on the road at Oklahoma.  It’s time to see what the Red Raiders are all about and if they’re someone we need to take seriously. Vegas has them as a touchdown underdogs in Norman. 

Games to Watch


Tuesday
7:00 PM ESPN2: Louisiana-Lafayette @ Arkansas State – Both teams are undefeated in the Sun Belt.

Thursday
6:30 PM ESPN: Kentucky @ Mississippi State – You’re better off watching the World Series.
6:30 PM FS1: Marshall @ Middle Tennessee – I know I’ll be watching baseball.

Friday
7:00 PM ESPN: Boise State @ BYU – I see few reasons to watch this game.

Saturday
11:00 AM ESPN/2: #25 Nebraska @ Minnesota – After knocking off Northwestern, maybe we should take this Gophers team more seriously. 
11:00 AM ESPNU: Wake Forest @ #7 Miami – If the Canes can win this one, they’ll be undefeated entering their Nov. 2 meeting with the Noles at Doak.
11:21 AM SEC: Vanderbilt @ #14 Texas A&M – How bad will the Aggies defense play and can the Commodores defense contain Mike Evans?
2:30 PM ABC/ESPN2: NC State @ #3 Florida State – Famous Jameis.
2:30 PM CBS: Tennessee @ #1 Alabama – ROLL TIDE. 

2:30 PM ESPN: #9 Clemson @ Maryland – The Tigers will likely take out their frustrations on this Terps team. 
2:30 PM ESPNU: Duke @ #16 Virginia Tech – The Hokies continue to quietly roll along. 

2:30 PM FOX: #10 Texas Tech @ #17 Oklahoma – Time for Kliff Kingsbury and crew to show if they’re a contender or pretender in the Big 12. 
6:00 PM ESPN/2: #12 UCLA @ #2 Oregon – Playing Stanford and Oregon back to back just isn’t fair to the Bruins.
6:00 PM ESPN/2: #20 South Carolina @ #5 Missouri – Can the Tigers withstand the pressure of being the hunted? And more of this please. 
6:00 PM ESPNU: #6 Baylor @ Kansas – I’ll be sad if the Bears don’t hang a hundred on the Jayhawks.
6:30 PM FS1: Texas @ TCU – What has happened to this Horned Frogs team? They’re in jeopardy of not making a bowl game for the first time since 2004.
7:00 PM ABC: Penn State @ #4 Ohio State – Can the Nittany Lions take down Michigan and Ohio State in back to back games?
9:30 PM ESPN: #8 Stanford @ Oregon State – In Corvallis, Stanford will have it’s hands full with Sean Mannion (29 TDs & 3 interceptions) and this Beaver’s offense.
9:30 PM ESPN2: #15 Fresno State @ SDSU – The Bulldogs remain undefeated, as they march towards a BCS Bowl game.
10:00 PM FS1: Cal @ Washington – Late night Keith Price action.