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We’re approaching the time of the season when we see the rookies who are making a consistent impact. Some are first-round picks, but a few are mid-round steals. It’s time for an update of my rankings of the top rookies in the NFL. I’m going 30 deep on this one, and I’m including where each player landed on my final top 300 prospects list before the 2017 draft.
It wasn’t always going to be easy for Hunt, who had six total touchdowns in his first three games but hasn’t scored in his past three. He’s still on the fringe of the MVP race. Hunt leads the NFL in rushing yards (630) and is averaging 5.9 yards per carry, which ranks second in the league. What I liked about the third-round pick from Toledo is that he was involved in the passing game in college. He had 41 catches for 403 yards in 2016. He has catches for 255 yards and two TDs in Kansas City. The Chiefs have a tough month ahead, with games at the Raiders, Cowboys and Giants, plus a divisional home game against the Broncos.
Peterson continued to terrorize the Bears. In 16 career games through 2015, Peterson rushed for 1562 yards against us with 14 touchdowns and 4.94 yards per carry.
Hester continued to terrorize the Vikings. In 16 career games through 2014, Hester scored 10 touchdowns. His most against any other opponent was three. Those 10 TDs included four returns, also a top against any opponent.
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Hester’s receiving touchdown was the dawning of a new day in his career. The team began developing him as a wide receiver, leading to the most controversial portion of his career, and a two-year drought in return touchdowns.
In 18 minutes Sunday, he had 61. That’s what going up against the Patriots’ defense can do for a role-player wideout.
The Patriots adjusted, however, giving hope these plucky visitors can escape a showdown with the Jets with a road win. Malcolm Butler intercepted McCown with under a minute remaining to end a potential New York scoring drive and give New England new life. From there, Brady led the Pats 63 yards in 26 seconds to reset the game at 14-14 — a drive highlighted by a 42-yard bomb to new favorite target Brandin Cooks.
My favorite part of these weekly videos is finding excellent blocks by skill position players. And we found another one by Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster. The last time, JuJu knocked down a safety in the hole of a counter run. This past weekend, he helps a tight end knock down a defensive end on a goal-line run. This is beautiful from a receiver. I love it
Finally, we end in Dallas with the Los Angeles Rams. I can’t see the number on this receiver, but bravo, sir. Long runs/passes often turn into touchdowns when receivers throw blocks like this. The Dallas defender had no idea what was coming.
There’s not much to like about the Tennessee-Miami matchup (Matt Cassel vs. Jay Cutler, yikes) but the mix of Dolphin teal and Titan sky blue is incredibly soothing to me. Stop the game and make them do tai chi on TV, I’ll be perfectly centered.
Carson Wentz has thrown three touchdowns in the first quarter, and Philly leads Arizona 21-0. In the seven other games being played, only three teams have managed even a single touchdown.
If the Titans want to become the most intimidating team in the NFL, they should talk to this person and hire them to be the team’s newest mascot. This isn’t specifically for the month of October either. Being scary for just a month is easy. The Titans should invite this Troll Doll from the underground to the NFL Draft. That will be frightening.
The 31-year-old veteran was suspended for leaving the team facility before practice last week. He also left the bench then returned in the second half of the Giants’ loss to the Chargers, a move that prompted McAdoo to make Rodgers-Cromartie inactive for the Broncos game.
Rodgers-Cromartie is in his 10th season, with 26 tackles in five games this year with four starts.
After managing exactly two targets in each of Atlanta’s first three games, Austin Hooper’s role has increased during the team’s past two outings. Hooper was targeted eight times in Week 6 and caught seven balls for 48 yards. He has now seen at least seven targets in back-to-back games. Hooper was on the field for 89 percent of the team’s snaps, ran 89 percent of all possible routes and handled a 24 percent target share on Sunday. All three are career highs. Hooper’s emergence has correlated with Mohamed Sanu’s injury, but he should continue to see enough volume to warrant TE1 consideration. That’s especially the case against New England’s struggling defense in Week 7.
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The NFL said Elliott was violent: The woman took photos of herself the day after the alleged incident. In messages handed over to the NFL, Elliott’s accuser texted the photos to her aunt along with a note that said Absuive [sic]. The NFL confirmed the timestamps based on forensic analysis. The investigators determined Elliott had used physical force with the woman, causing injuries to her arms, neck and shoulders. The two medical experts consulted by the NFL’s investigators said the injuries in the photos appear recent and consistent with [the accuser’s] description of the incident and how it occurred.
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What she told police: The woman said in the police report that the two had gone out separately Sunday night and Elliott became angry when he arrived back at his apartment before she did. When she returned early Monday morning, she said that Elliott had choked her, leaving a bruise on her neck.
Womens Sheldon Richardson Jersey For the record, the ideal way to prep for a rematch with the team that chased down you and your 25-point lead is not to blow a 17-0 halftime lead at home to a team led by Jay Cutler. The entire combination of the way the Falcons lost and the Patriots won (an aforementioned questionable negation of a Jets touchdown) really bodes poorly for the Falcons. So does the way the Patriots keep surviving having the worst defense in the NFL.
Detroit can still get back to being a factor in the NFC, but it blew two games with big mistakes against New Orleans and Carolina. Now a banged-up Matthew Stafford will need to win the next one without go-to wideout Golden Tate.
Jay Cutler, after all the questions about whether he should be benched, is on the right side of .500 because of more pretty than gritty play the past few weeks. They are also helping him a lot with the running game.
The Jaguars have an excellent pass defense all-around, but it won’t work when they fall behind early because of passing offense or special teams miscues. They are meant to power ahead with Leonard Fournette, and game flow is critical to their success.
To see the Dolphins as the team over .500 for this game after that absolute mess of a loss to the Jets in Week 3 is a surprise. Granted, they have played one fewer game than the Jets, but Jay Cutler and Co. can make some quick amends to get right back into the thick of the AFC playoff race, nipping right at the heels of the Patriots and Bills in the division. They’ll keep it simple with a heavy dose of Jay Ajayi in the power rushing attack, leaving New York lost in catch-up mode.
Elite Brett Howden Jersey The Buccaneers’ passing game has been inconsistent with Jameis Winston healthy, and it looked like more of the same with Ryan Fitzpatrick. The latter, a former Bills starter, is likely to get the nod against his former team, but don’t expect Buffalo to be kind in the reunion. While Tyrod Taylor and LeSean McCoy rip through the Bucs’ weak front, Tampa Bay will turned back often by Buffalo’s stampeding defense.
Greg Hardy, who shifted his aspirations from football to MMA after his virtual exile from the NFL, looks to have his first fight booked for November.
Hardy shared the promo graphic for the Rise of a Warrior 21 event in Fort Pierce, Fla., when asked on Twitter when his next fight would be.
Hardy, 29, was embroiled in a domestic violence case in 2014 and hasn’t been on an NFL roster since the 2015 season. He’s been training with American Top Team in Florida for about a year.
In response to Levy’s testimony, the Lions said in a statement Friday, We are aware of (Levy’s) comments and we strongly disagree with his claim that anyone from our organization tried to silence him.
Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Harry Carson and Chris Nowinski, a former professional wrestler who co-founded the Concussion Legacy Foundation also testified during the forum on traumatic brain injuries that was hosted by Democratic members of the energy, commerce and judiciary committees, the Free Press notes.
Levy played for the Lions from 2009-16 before being released in March. He filed an injury grievance over his release, as he was recovering from knee surgery and was not paid a $1.75 million injury guarantee in his contract, according to the Free Press.
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Limited Mike Daniels Jersey Levy also told the forum that he believes the federal government should formalize a warning about the dangers of playing football, and that the NFL should eliminate full-contact practices.
In October — especially in the past few years — managers are pushing harder and harder to give all high-leverage innings to just three or four pitchers on their staff. They’re doing this while, at the same time, pulling their starting pitchers earlier and earlier. So Andrew Miller almost never pitches one inning in the playoffs. Last October, he got at least four outs in every appearance he made. Cody Allen did the same in six of his 10 appearances, and has twice this year. Meanwhile, traditional starting pitchers — such as David Price and Kenta Maeda, not in postseason rotations, and Chris Sale and Justin Verlander, working in extra games as relievers — are notching grueling, multi-inning relief outings of their own.
Exemplifying how much of a mess Johnny Manziel was, Davis was chosen to start ahead of Cleveland’s 2014 first-round pick for two games last season when Josh McCown was injured in Week 12.
What happened? Shaw never had the chance to build upon his lone NFL appearance. He landed on injured reserve in 2015 with a broken thumb and did the same in 2016 after hurting his knee while with Chicago. Currently unsigned, Shaw had a recent workout with the Texans.
Eagles hold the advantage in rushing. They have 93 yards on 22 carries, compared to Carolina’s 50 yards on 18 carries. The Eagles have also converted 5 of 12 third downs while Panthers have managed just 2 of 11 in the same category. Wentz has completed 14 of 26 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns. Newton has completed 18 of 32 passes for 146 yards, but he has two interceptions.
Field goal, Panthers. Gano hits again and now the Eagles lead 21-16 with 3:23 to go in the third quarter.
Fertitta didn’t lose the Rockets this time around, paying a record $2.2 billion to buy his hometown NBA team. When told via FaceTime by Rockets CEO Tad Brown that previous owner Leslie Alexander had given the green light to close on a deal, Fertitta dropped his head and shed a few tears.
The trailer for Marshawn Lynch’s new reality show No Script has been released and it looks hilarious:
The unscripted series captures Marshawn in random situations, like whipping figure eights in race cars with Lil Rel Howery from Get Out, to whipping a military tank… for real.
The show will start streaming this month and will reportedly consist of eight 10- to 15-minute episodes.
Want to check out the show? Episodes will be available here, on Facebook Watch.
Davis makes frequent appearances on FS1’s Speak for Yourself with Colin Cowherd and Jason Whitlock in Los Angeles.
Despite the ESPN and Fox Sports rivalry, Davis will still be free to appear on FS1, according to ESPN spokeswoman Belen Michelis.
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Davis spent 13 years in the NFL with the 49ers, Panthers, Broncos and Lions. He’s been busy in sports media, working for ESPNLA, NFL Network and Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.
Great pass-rushers are highly valued, but even if Garrett turns into a Pro Bowler, he can’t have the impact a franchise QB could 鈥?he does not have the ball in his hands on every play, plus defensive ends can be double-teamed and have their effectiveness limited.
The other players Cleveland selected as a result of trading down in the last couple drafts have been a mixed bag. Kizer is part of that group, and wide receiver Corey Coleman (No. 15 overall in 2016) has just 39 career catches and is on injured reserve for the second straight year (broken hand). Safety Jabrill Peppers (No. 25 this year) and right tackle Shon Coleman (third round in 2016) are starters and should become solid players. But they won’t make people forget about the Browns not taking top quarterbacks when the opportunities were there.
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Elite Terrell Suggs Jersey For this week. though, McGuire is the recommendation. McGuire is making the most of his opportunities by averaging 5.2 yards per carry, which is the eighth-best rate for running backs and almost a half yard more than Bilal Powell, the Jets’ 1A back. His ownership rate is below 15 percent and, based on his matchup this week, that needs to leap significantly.
If there’s any defense you want your skill position players facing, it’s the Patriots. New England has surrendered the most points to both opposing quarterbacks and running backs. In fact, the Patriots have allowed at least one running back to score double-digit points in each of their five games this year. Factor in that two quarterbacks also ran for 40 yards and it’s apparent that this defense is friendly to opposing rushing attacks. Don’t be shocked to see McGuire post 12 or more fantasy points despite not being the first option in the Jets’ backfield. — Daube
Schatz: Lamar Miller, RB, Texans. You might think it’s easy to rack up rushing totals against Cleveland because the Browns are always losing and their opponents are always killing the clock. But the Browns are actually third in run defense DVOA (compared to 31st in pass defense) and allow fewer fantasy points to running backs than the average defense this season.
Sando: Jared Goff, QB, Rams. Goff was my choice in Week 5 and I’ll stick with him heading into a road matchup with the Jaguars. His overall trajectory is up, but these are a couple of difficult matchups for him following a fast start.
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While Orleans Darkwa found the end zone for the Giants on Sunday, Gallman stood out to me for the second straight week. It’s not a high-ceiling position as the Giants starting running back, but it feels like Gallman offers the most upside between his rushing skills and receiving ability to merit low-end, flex consideration in PPR leagues. He handled 16 total touches in Week 5.
Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, considered a game-time decision due to a hamstring injury, has been ruled inactive Sunday against the Miami Dolphins, the team announced.
Mariota injured his hamstring in the Titans’ loss to the Texans a week ago as he dove for the end zone while outrunning a defender on a 2-yard touchdown run late in the second quarter. He tried to play with it and tested it out after halftime, but the team decided to be safe and go to Cassel.
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Mariota gradually did more at practice each day this past week, but most of his work consisted of throwing intermediate passes in individual drills before going inside for rehab, while Cassel led the first-team offense.
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The Titans signed veteran quarterback Brandon Weeden last week, who will serve as Cassel’s backup.
After all, he was held out of the second half of last week’s game for those exact reasons. Unable to fully step into his throws over that left leg may have accounted, at least in part, for an interception by Mariota just prior to halftime. Concern about his ability to move in and out of the pocket added to the rationale for holding him out. So, in order to return this week, Mariota would need to erase these same concerns. He did return to practice on Wednesday, but was very limited, making stationary throws and moving very little in general.
Coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota did more each day (although he remained limited throughout the week), and Mariota is certainly making the case to play. But, as ESPN.com’s Cameron Wolfe notes, the team will have to balance its own expressed desire to be safe with its quarterback with allowing him to take the field in a limited role. If Mariota does play, the test will come in-game, as he has not replicated those demands in practice thus far. The Titans will not make Mariota’s status official until game time.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee was walking around in the locker room on Wednesday with a wrap on his ribs, which he injured during last week’s loss to the Jets. He didn’t practice Wednesday, and it’s uncertain if he’ll be able to do anything the rest of the week. Not having Lee against Pittsburgh on Sunday would be a massive loss given that the Jaguars are already down Allen Robinson (torn ACL). That would leave Allen Hurns as the No. 1 receiver and little-used veteran Arrelious Benn, rookie Keelan Cole and first-year player Max McCaffrey as the rest of the crew. — Mike DiRocco
Kimes: Buffalo. Both teams have a shot, but the Bills have a clearer path to the playoffs. They get to play the Dolphins twice as well as the Jets, Colts and Chargers. And they’ve found a recipe that works, with a stout defense and an efficient, turnover-averse quarterback in Tyrod Taylor.
Sando: Buffalo. Mina’s reasoning makes sense, and could be why ESPN’s Analytics model puts the Bills’ chances near 50 percent, with the Rams’ closer to 30 percent. The Rams are a bigger surprise than the Bills, at least to me. My preseason projection had them starting 2-3 and then falling off the map, which probably is not going to happen now.
Seifert: Buffalo. A defense that is holding opponents to an NFL-low 13.5 points per game provides more cover … and more long-term stability. The Rams’ defense has been gashed for 26.3 points per game (28th in the NFL), putting their own offense in an unsustainable position.
This week’s bye came at the perfect time for the Falcons, with top receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu coming off injuries during a loss to Buffalo. Jones suffered a hip flexor injury, and a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Jones is not expected to miss any game action. Meanwhile, Sanu is expected to be sidelined two to three weeks with a hamstring strain, so he’s likely to miss the Falcons’ next game against the Dolphins in Week 6. But the bye gives both receivers a chance to rest and recover. — Vaughn McClure