Fantasy Football Week 3: Waiver wire pickups

Brandon LaFellWhile some of you will be interested in seeing how your higher draft picks who have been under-performing do in Week 3, (Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Larry Fitzgerald, Eric Decker, etc,) others more fortunate are looking to improve on what they already have. So here are this week’s pickups for you to consider:

Brandon LaFell-WR-Panthers- He really impressed Ron Rivera, Carolina’s coach after his six catch-90 yard performance on Sunday. “He’s developing into a fine receiver”, said Rivera. We liked that he was targeted eight times and are really high on his 17.2 YPC average over the first two weeks. Owned in 50% of leagues, he is a must add if you can still get him.

Brandon Gibson-WR-Rams-There is some good news-bad news that comes along with this 25-year-old receiver out of Washington St. The good news is that he has two touchdowns in two games and should have had a third had coach Jeff Fisher challenged the ref’s blown call last week vs the Redskins. Although he seems to be getting a nice share of Red Zone looks, the bad news is that he has only been targeted eight times through two games. In deeper leagues he’ll make a nice WR3 option & is only owned in 12% of leagues.

Andre Brown-RB-Giants- In the absence of RB Ahmad Bradshaw (neck)  for Thursday’s matchup against Carolina, Brown will get the start after filling in so well last week vs Tampa Bay when he rushed 13 times for 71 yards and a touchdown. He also added a 2-point conversion and had two catches for 19 yards. The Panthers give up an average of 140+ yards per game which makes Brown an excellent Flex play in all formats. He is available in around half of all leagues. Read more…

Panthers are not completely shifting to the 3-4

It’s easy to see why some might think the Carolina Panthers are switching things up on defense. But they’re not changing it to the extent some might suggest.

In an item at yesterday, former NFL personnel man Mike Lombardi made reference to the Panthers switching to a 3-4 system. The item was later edited to read: “mixing in elements of the 3-4.”

Two Panthers sources said last night (one in stronger terms than the other) there was no intention to change their base defense, and any use of the 3-4 would be situational.

It’s been considered by many that Ron Rivera might want to make such a move, given his background with the 3-4 and the Panthers abject lack of pass-rush. The only problem is their personnel doesn’t really fit the style. Read more here…


Cam Newton charging for autographs?

Cam Newton

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton will appear at a mall on Saturday and sign autographs for anyone who has the time to stand in line — and at least $125.

Newton is appearing at an autograph session at which he’ll charge $125 to sign a picture, $150 to sign a football and $175 to sign a jersey, with another $50 on top if you want him to personalize it. Newton will be there for two and a half hours, and he could easily sign his name enough times that he and the organizers of the event could bring in more than $100,000. Not bad for an afternoon of work.

But that doesn’t sit well with everyone. Charlotte Observer columnist Scott Fowler takes Newton to task for charging for his signature, saying that it’s a false step for a guy who usually comes across as sincerely grateful for the position he’s in as a sports superstar, and happy to engage with his fans.

“The Panthers pay Newton plenty of money,” Folwer writes. “Charging for autographs in Charlotte seems a little cheap.”

I get where Fowler is coming from, but I can’t agree. I wish we lived in a world where everyone asking for an autograph was an innocent kid who wanted a memento to savor the thrill of meeting his hero, and where every athlete was delighted to sign for every fan who asked. But the reality is we don’t live in that world. We live in a world where people who ask athletes for autographs turn around and sell them on eBay, and a world where famous athletes can’t go out in public without being mobbed by autograph hounds.

In the real world we live in, a famous person’s autograph is a valuable commodity, and the sports autograph market is a multimillion-dollar business, and the athletes whose autographs are being sold are doing nothing wrong at all if they choose to share in the proceeds. Read more here…

2012 NFC South Season Preview

cam_newtonThe NFC South has been ruled by New Orleans in recent years, with Atlanta periodically fighting for the throne. Although Atlanta overtook New Orleans in 2010 to win the division title, 2011 was a return to normal for the division as the Saints went 13-3 and reclaimed the division. Offseason turmoil on multiple fronts for the Saints might mean that the NFC South sees a new power emerge.  Read More…

Steve Smith doesn’t want Burress in Carolina


Plaxico Burress says he wants to play with the Panthers, but the team’s No. 1 receiver says there are no job openings in Carolina.

Steve Smith said on NFL Network’s Total Access that he doesn’t see how Burress could fit on the Panthers’ depth chart, which Smith believes already has the right mix of veterans and youngsters. Smith also said he supports coach Ron Rivera’s effort to build the team primarily through bringing in young talent, rather than aging stars.

“We’ve filled our chairs in the receivers room with already a lot of guys – young and older guys,” Smith said. “To bring in Plax [and] to let one of those guys go it wouldn’t be the coach Rivera way. The guys that are in there, they earned those chairs for right now and allowed them to go through training camp.”

Smith said he thinks highly of Burress and thinks it’s possible that Burress could help the Panthers if they lose receivers to injury, but at the moment Smith believes the Panthers have all the receivers they need, and adding Burress could stunt the growth of younger players.

Read more here…

Can Cam Newton avoid the ‘sophomore slump’?

Cam Newton

This offseason is crucial to Cam Newton’s development as a pro. He was special as a rookie in 2011. The Carolina Panthers QB threw for 21 TD’s and rushed for over 700-yards while racking up 14 scores on the ground on his way to the offensive rookie of the year award.

Give Carolina some credit here also for their offensive game plan. A scheme designed to utilize the skills that Newton brings to the stadium on Sundays. And I can tell you from a defensive perspective, this is one QB that will force coaches to spend extra prep time working to slow down his production.
The next step for Newton? Continue to develop and avoid a “sophomore slump” in 2012. Key for any rookie when they make the jump to their second season as a pro. Read more here…

NFL Draft 1st round recap: 5.0

Mario WilliamsIn our fifth 2012 NFL 1st round draft recap, we take a quick analyses of the Buffalo Bills, Carolina Panthers, Miami Dolphins, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and Dallas Cowboys draft choices. Some of these picks were expected, some were unexpected, but with that, here is a quick analyses of picks 10 through 6.

10. Buffalo Bills-CB Stephon Gilmore, South Carolina

With the selection of Gilmore, and the addition of Williams (90) via free agency, the Bills improved two levels of their defense in one off season

With the 10th pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills decided to pass on Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd, Iowa offensive tackle Riley Reiff, and Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox amongst other players to select Gamecocks’ cornerback Stephon Gilmore.

With the Gamecocks’ last season, Gilmore recorded 46 total tackles and 4 interceptions for the Capital One Bowl Champions, helping South Carolina record a school record 11 wins in 2011. Gilmore is not the biggest (188 pounds) cornerback, but Gilmore possesses nice height (6’1) to match up against AFC East wide receivers. Read more here…

Kuechley signs with Panthers

Luke Kuechly PicGetty Images

ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports that the Carolina Panthers have signed rookie linebacker Luke Kuechly, the No. 9 overall pick in the draft, to a four-year, $12.58 million contract. The deal is fully guaranteed. Considered the most instinctive linebacker in the 2012 draft class, Kuechly was a tackling machine at Boston College and is athletic enough to play any of the three positions in Carolina’s 4-3 scheme. He is tentatively expected to man the middle of Ron Rivera’s defense, although Kuechly could also end up on the weak side. Read more here…

Heisman quarterbacks don’t always work out in the NFL

This is a journey into the deep dark abyss of college quarterbacks who dominated Saturdays but failed when it came to Sunday in the NFL.  Over the past 12 seasons, ten college quarterbacks have won the Heisman trophy, including Cam Newton, Sam Bradford, Tim Tebow,  Matt Leinart, and RGIII.

Winning is an honor that recognizes an athlete as the best of the best as related to college football.  Unfortunately this coveted collegiate prize has been somewhat of a curse for quarterbacks; a stigma that says you’re the best in college but not good enough for the NFL.  Since 2000, of the nine quarterback Heisman winners, all have gone on to have some interaction with the NFL. Unfortunately for Cam Newton, their track records aren’t in his favor, or are they?  Let’s take a look, and you decide.

#9 –  2000 Heisman Trophy winner, Chris Weinke, Florida State

Weinke Spent seven years in the NFL from 2000-2007 with the Carolina Panthers and San Francisco 49ers.  His career statistics were 15 TD, 26 interceptions, 3,904 passing yards, and a 62.2 passer rating.  For his lack of contributions in the NFL, Chris Weinke was a BUST!

#8 – 2001 Heisman Trophy winner, Eric Crouch, Nebraska 

Coming out of college at 5’11 it was thought that Crouch was too small to play NFL quarterback.  He was originally drafted by the St Louis Rams as a wide receiver where during his one season with the team he racked up a whopping zero receptions.  In 2005 Crouch attempted a comeback signing with the Kansas City Chiefs but was sent to NFL Europe where he played safety.  Eric Crouch was a BUST!

#7 – 2002 Heisman Trophy winner, Carson Palmer, USC

To date, Carson Palmer has spent eight seasons in the NFL with the Bengals and a few games with the Oakland Raiders. He has thrown for over 22,000 yards, 154 touchdowns with an 86.9 passer rating.  He is the only Bengals quarterback to pass for over 4000 yards in two seasons.  His accomplishments make Carson Palmer a BEAST!

#6 – 2003 Heisman Trophy winner, Jason White, Oklahoma 

 White is the only of our Heisman heroes to go undrafted.  He tried out with the Chiefs but the team did not sign him.  He again tried out with the Titans and this  time he was offered a contract but instead decided to leave the game of football  because of his bad knees.  Jason White is without a doubt a BUST!

#5 – 2004 Heisman Trophy winner, Matt Leinart, USC

Matt, Matt, Matt…To date, Matt Leinart has five years in the NFL with theArizona Cardinals and the Houston Texans. In those five years he has thrown for less than 4,000 yards with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.  Coming out of college most thought he’d be the next great thing but this guy wasn’t fooled!  He proved he wasn’t hungry for the NFL when he opted to return to USC for a final year after back to back Rose Bowl and National Championship victories and a Heisman Trophy.  Although his career isn’t over it’s not going anywhere fast and because of that, Matt Leinart is a Big Time BUST!

 #4 –  2006 Heisman Trophy winner, Troy Smith, Ohio State 

After four years in the league Troy Smith threw eight touchdowns and five interceptions with the Baltimore Ravens and the San Francisco 49ers before signing with Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League. The highlight of Troy’s career was a sideline blowup with last season with then 49ers Head Coach, Mike Singletary.  Troy Smith was a BUST!

  #3 – 2007 Heisman Trophy winner, Tim Tebow, Florida 

Tebow is only entering his third season in the NFL.  Tebow led the Broncos into the playoffs and stunned the Steelers but would eventually lose to Tom Brady and the New England Patriots. After John Elway stated he was going to help Tebow, something better came along and Tebow was traded to the New York Jets.  Although the jury is still out on Tebow as to whether or not he can be a successful NFL quarterback, Tebow gets the benefit of the doubt and a PUSH!

 #2 – 2008 Heisman Trophy winner, Sam Bradford, Oklahoma 

In his rookie season Bradford threw 18 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and accumulated just over 3,500 passing yards.  Despite his 76.5 passer rating, Fantastic Sam almost led the hapless St. Louis Rams to the playoffs in 2010.  Bradford definitely has tremendous upside but has not improved upon his rookie numbers in 2011.  Although his time is short, we’ve seen enough of Bradford to classify him as a BEAST!

 #1 – 2010 Heisman Trophy winner, Cam Newton, Auburn 

And then there was one!  Fasten you seatbelts this one’s gonna get a little bumpy. With virtually no off-season to prepare due to the lockout, Cam Newton entered the NFL pre-season in a quarterback competition with Jimmy Clausen.  Despite his poor statistical pre-season the Panthers decided his time was now, and the keys to the franchise were handed to the rookie. What did Cam do? He broke the rookie record for passing yards in his first game. He also broke the NFL record for rushing touchdowns as a quarterback.

Of the previous eight quarterbacks, all were Heisman winners, but only two, were the number one overall pick in their respective NFL Drafts.  They were, Sam Bradford and Carson Palmer; two of the three beasts on this list.