Posts Tagged ‘Houston Texans’

The NFL playoffs kick off today with wild card weekend. The first game we’ll see today has the (12-4) Oakland Raiders at the (9-7) Houston Texans.

Both of these teams are dealing with what you could call interesting quarterback situations. The Raiders where 12-3 with Derek Carr as there starting quarterback, but in Week 16 Carr went down with a broken leg and is done for the season. Oakland turned to back up Matt McGloin for the final game of the season and then hopefully into the playoffs. Then in what has to be looked at as just bad luck McGloin got hurt in the Week 17 game against the Denver Broncos. McGloin has been limited in practice all week and is listed as “Questionable” on the injury report. While most reports are saying McGloin won’t play we won’t actually know until inactive list for the game is released. So the Raiders are down to there 3rd string quarterback. That is Connor Cook who was the Raiders 2016 4th round draft pick. Cook will actually ne the first quarterback in NFL history to make his first career start in a playoff game. Cook did go 14 of 21 for 150 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception in relief of McGloin against the Broncos. The Raiders did sign Garrett Gilbert to the practice squad to serve as a back up quarterback.

The Texans quarterback situation was affected by injury in Week 17 as well. Tom Savage had taken over as the Texans starting quarterback when he replaced Brock Osweiler in Week 15’s game against the Jacksonville Jaquars. Savage made starts in Week 16 and Week 17, but Savage suffered a concussion in Week 17 against the Tennessee Titans and has not cleared the NFL’s concussion protocol. That means Osweiler gets the job back as Houston’s starting quarterback for today’s playoff game. Osweiler was 8-6 as the Texans starter this season. He completed 59% of his passes and threw 15 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. After taking over for Savage against the Titans Osweiler went 21 for 40 for 253 yards and a touchdown. It was the most passing yards Osweiler had thrown for sine Week 6. The other injury the Texans are dealing with is to leading rusher Lamar Miller. Miller has been inactive the last two weeks, but wasn’t on the Texans final injury report for the playoff game. Miller ran for 104 yards in the Texans 27-20 loss to the Raiders in Week 11.

Here’s how we’re picking this game. Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I are all going with the Houston Texans. That means Dan the Man is the only one picking the Raiders.

The second playoff game today has the (9-7) Detroit Lions at the (10-5-1) Seattle Seahawks. The injury situation isn’t as bad for either of these teams entering the playoffs, but there is some concern with the way they both played down the stretch. The Lions come into this game on a 3-game losing streak that dropped into a wild card spot. Now the Seahawks did win there final regular season game of the season, but it was just a 2-point (25-23) win over the 2-14 San Francisco 49ers. Luckily for the Seahawks they are the home team and they’ve never lost a playoff game at CenturyLink Field. The Lions have also never won a game in Seattle. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford will still be wearing a glove on his throwing hand to protect his injured finger. Detroit has made only two playoff appearances since 1999 and has not won a postseason game since 1991. The Lions have also trailed in the fourth quarter of every game during the regular season, and they overcame nine fourth quarter deficits while getting out to a 9-4 record before falling back to earth in December and early January. The Seahawks ate just 2-2 since Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas was injured and some sideline squabbles only added to the idea that Seattle is a team in turmoil. The Seahawks are also missing wide receiver/return man Tyler Lockett who broke his leg in the game against the Arizona Cardinals on December 24th. To fill the void Lockett leaves in the return game Seattle signed veteran return man Devin Hester. Hester has an NFL record 20 returns for touchdowns, including a record 14 on punts, 5 on kickoffs and 1 on a missed field goal attempt return. Hester played in 12 games for the Baltimore Ravens this season. Hester returned 25 punts averaging 7.2 yards per return. He also returned 19 kickoffs averaging 24.5 yards per return.

We’re all in agreement with our pick for this game as we all have the Seahawks getting the win.

You can kind of add this to the list of it happens to everybody. Last night the Golden State Warriors blew a 24 point lead and ended up losing to the Memphis Grizzlies 128-119 in overtime. The loss took place at Oracle Arena where Golden State was 16-2 coming into last nights game. Golden State entered the 4th quarter up by 19 points which normally leads to victory. The Warriors came out “lethargically” at the start of the 4th quarter and Memphis went on a 23-6 run. It took the Warriors offense 7 minutes to score those 6 points. Down the stretch the Warriors used there “Super Death Line Up” of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Andre Iguodala and it looked as though they would hang on for a win. Then, the end of regulation was ugliest of all for Golden State. Tony Allen muscled home a follow-up to a key offensive rebound. With the Warriors up two, the Warriors delivered what might have been their most awkward sequence of the season. As Curry dribbled it appeared that Durant did not know where to be, as Green gesticulated. The play led to a Curry miss, salvaged by a Thompson rebound. From there Durant and Curry deliberated over what was supposed to happen, until Curry finally gave up the rock. Then Curry set a less than forceful screen and Durant, facing Zach Randolph’s closeout, missed an off the dribble 3. Green sauntered to the bench looking less than pleased, before exchanging heated words with Durant. The Warriors continued their struggles into overtime and after Troy Daniels hit a 3-pointer the Grizzlies where up 6 points. It looked as though Durant had a chance to pull the Warriors within three as it appeared he scored and was fouled, but after a review of the play the called was changed and a foul was called on Durant. It seemed as though the Warriors couldn’t get back on track and after Mike Conley hit a step back jumper Memphis had the game in hand. After the game Draymond Green had some pointed comments, but pretty much blamed everyone for the loss. This is the kind of loss that doesn’t happen to a team like Golden State. In the end it won’t affect much as they’re still looked at as the best team in the Western Conference and any issue they might be having; they’ll have 45 regular season games to work out.

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We’re three weeks into the NFL season and our pick contest. Schaumburg Stu and Dan the Man tied for the lead in Week 3 at 9-7. Mr. Fantasy came in with a 8-8 record and I was under .500 at 7-9 for the week. For the season Schaumburg Stu has the lead at 29-19. Dan the Man is just one game out of the lead at 28-20. Mr. Fantasy and I are tied and under .500 at 23-25 on the year. Maybe I can get myself over .500 with a good Week 4.

The Houston Texans hold the early lead in the AFC South with a 2-1 record. The Indianapolis Colts and the Tennessee Titans are 1-2 with the Jacksonville Jaquars at 0-3. It’s a very winnable for the Texans, but their chances of doing that took a huge blow now that J.J. Watt is going to be out an extended period of time. There are reports that the Texans will place Watt on injured reserve (IR) today. That means Watt won’t be allowed to practice for 6 weeks and won’t be able to return to game action for 8 weeks. If Watt goes on IR the earliest he could return would b November 27th against the San Diego Chargers. As tough as it would be for the Texans to stay in contention with Watt gone 8 weeks there is talk that this injury may keep him out for the rest of the season. There’s a quote from a Texans team source that’s making the rounds saying “I do believe that he will miss the season, but with the new rule this year, if he were ready in December, he could come off IR”. Long shot. Watt missed all of training camp and the preseason after he had surgery for a herniated disk in his back in late July. The 3-time defensive player of the year and 4-time Pro Bowler played part of last season through the injury, before aggravating it late in the offseason. He also had surgery in January to repair five torn core muscles. Watt started all three of the Texans’ regular season games so far this season. Watt has 1 1/2 sacks, 1 tackle and assisted on 7 other tackles. Watt has never missed a regular season game in his 6-year career and when he missed practice on Monday Texans head coach Bill O’Brien called it “a day off”. The Texans did re-sign defensive end Antonio Smith to help in the place of Watt. Now if Brock Osweiler and the offense can step up in Watt’s absence maybe the Texans can compete in the AFC South, but if they can’t handle the extra pressure even if Watt returns in 8 weeks it might be too late for the Texans to get into the playoffs.

The Washington Nationals clinched the National League East division last week and where battling with the Los Angeles Dodgers to see who would host their opening round playoff series. Now the Nationals knew they would face the Dodgers and any other playoff opponent without inured pitcher Steven Strasburg, but in Monday’s 14-4 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos torn his ACL and is done for the season. Ramos was injured a throw to the plate where he had to jump to make the catch. There was no contact with another players, but when Ramos landed he torn the ACL. Ramos is over shadow in Washington by the Bryce Harper name and the season Daniel Murphy is having, but Ramos was putting up good numbers before he got hurt. Ramos played in 131 games and was hitting .307. Ramos had 22 home runs 80 RBI’s as well as 25 doubles. Now it’s not just the hitting the Nationals will miss. Ramos has caught 1096 1/3rd innings this season for a staff that has an ERA of 3.50. That’s the second best ERA in baseball. When Ramos caught the teams ERA is 3.46.

How will the Nationals replace Ramos. Jose Lobaton is the veteran option Dusty Baker could go with. Lobaton has played in 36 games for the Nationals this season and is hitting .226 with 3 home runs and 6 RBI’s. Washington does have another option in 23-year old rookie Pedro Severino.  Severino has played in 13 games this season and is hitting .333 with 1 home run and 3 RBI’s. I’m sure both catchers will be on the playoff roster, but who’s going to get the at bats. Do you go with the veteran in the playoffs or do you take a shot with a rookie? Will have to wait and see what decision Dusty baker makes.

Now I mentioned Washington was already short handed with Strasburg out due to a strained flexor mass in his pitching elbow. There is a chance that Strasburg could be back before the NLDS, but it looks like they’ll be going into the playoffs without him, at least for the first round. Also added to the injury list is 2015 MVP Bryce Harper. Harper has been banged up all season and is now dealing with a thumb injury. There have also been reports that Harper has been dealing with a shoulder injury all season, but he has denied that. Either way he’s not playing like the MVP he was last season.

Now playoff related with the Ramos injury is the fact that he’s going to be a free agent this off season. He was looking at a pretty good pay day until this injury. now you have to ask yourself; what’s a team going to pay a catcher who’s recovering fro a torn ACL. With this injury happening so late in the season you have to wonder if his recovery will carry over into next season. What kind of a contract will a catcher who’s going to miss the start of the 2017 season get. If Ramos’ rehabilitation takes longer than expected he could be out until the All-Star break. Ramos is 29 and it will be interesting to see if there’s a team out there that’s willing to pay him will he’s doing his rehabilitation.

Have you watched any pre-season NHL yet? They just got the pre-season going this week and I’m going to check out some of the Chicago Blackhawks/Pittsburgh Penguins game tonight. Now with the World Cup of Hockey in the finals there are still a few guys that aren’t with their NHL teams. Since it’s pre-season and there are only 2 more possible games left in the finals those players will be back with their teams soon. Before you know it October 12th will be here and they’ll be dropping the puck in the regular season.

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The playoffs kickoff this afternoon in the NFL as it’s Wild Card weekend. We have continued your picking of the games and I’ll let you know who we’re going with today at the end of the blog. What I thought I’d try to do is look at both of today’s games from a fantasy perspective. I’ll use the FanDuel system since that’s what Mr. Fantasy and I use on the Sunday podcast of Sports Time Radio when we put line ups in. Mr. Fantasy and I will be here tomorrow (Sunday) from 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. to review today’s games, preview tomorrows games, let you know who we think will win and like I mentioned find the best FanDuel plays for your money.

The first game today has the Kansas City Chiefs (11-5) at the Houston Texans (9-7). Houston is the home team because they won the AFC South while Kansas City got into the playoffs as the top wild card team.

Let’s start with the quarterbacks. This may not be the game you want to play a quarterback from as the Texans average giving up just 210.4 yards a game through and the Chiefs give up an average of 231.1 passing yards a game. Of course you only have $60,000 to spend and Alex Smith (Kansas City) at $7100 or Brian Hoyer (Houston) at $6900 might be what you can afford. Smith hasn’t broken the 20 point mark on FanDuel in 5 weeks, but he got close last week at 18.34 points. Hoyer returned to the Texans line up since leaving their Week 14 game with a concussion. Hoyer out up 12.96 points last week on FanDuel. Smith averages a few more fantasy points a week 17.4 to Hoyer’s 15.8. If you’re at the point where you have to go with one of these two quarterbacks; I’d lean towards Smith. With Smith’s running ability he should rack up some rushing yards for you and might end up with a rushing touchdown.

Maybe you’ll find a better play at running back, but both defenses are solid against the run as well. Kansas City averaged giving up 98.2 yards rushing while Houston was just a little behind them giving up 99.8 rushing yards per game. Charcandrick West is the Chiefs main running back, but in the last two weeks he has failed to score more than 7 points on FanDuel. West has actually managed to score over 15 points in the last 6 weeks. West may look like a good value at $6400, but with his performance as of late and this match up you might want to look elsewhere. Alfred Blue is #1 on the Texans depth chart at running back. Blue has been dealing with a calf injury and is listed as probably for the game. Blue scored 10.9 FanDuel points last week; it was his first time over 10 points in 5 weeks. Blue will cost you $5700 while his back up Chris Polk is at $4700, but remember Polk only got 3 carries in last weeks game because of a knee injury. None of these backs are featured in the passing game; so you won’t find any extra point there. It would be a tough choice here, but West is the only running back coming into the game without a nagging injury; so maybe he’d be the choice, but it’s a toss up.

Kansas City’s Jeremy Maclin ($7200) has had 3 solid weeks to close out the season, but hasn’t scored over 20 FanDuel points in 5 weeks. Albert Wilson ($4900) has played his way into the #2 wide receiver spot for the Chiefs. Even though Wilson has found his way into the starting line up has hasn’t scored more than 7 FanDuel points in 4 weeks and has managed to score over 15 points just once this season. Houston’s DeAndre Hopkins has established himself as not only one of the top wide receivers in football, but a top weekly fantasy pick. Hopkins is one of those fantasy players who seems to get his catches every week no matter what the match up. Hopkins got his catches last week (7), but didn’t find his way into the end zone; so his FanDuel scoring was 12.4 points. Of course there’s a price with this production. Hopkins is the 2nd most expensive wide receiver on FanDuel for today at $8800, but he might be worth it to you. It’s difficult to pick a 2nd Houston wide receiver between Nate Washington, Cecil Shorts who’s returning from injury and rookie Jalen Strong. Shorts could be a under the radar pick if the Texans use him in the wildcat formation, but they’ve never used that formation when Hoyer has been at quarterback. Shorts will cost you $5200 and that gamble might not pay off with Hoyer under center. Maclin and Hopkins are players you can use today, but after them it’s tough to find a reason to get any other wide out from this game in your line up.

Tight end Travis Kelce normally is a major weapon in the passing game for Kansas City, but as of late has been up and down FanDuel wise. Last week Kelce scored just 1.5 points and at $6200 that could end your fantasy day. Of course the 2 weeks before that Kelce scored 13.3 and 10.3 points; so which tight end are you going to get? Kelce has had some groin issues, but practiced all week and should be full strength. I think the best advice I can give you about playing a Texans tight end is DON’T. Ryan Griffin ($4800) averages the most points for Houston’s tight ends at 5.2 points per game while C.J. Fiedorowicz ($4500)averages just 2.2 points per game. Kelce might turn out to be a good play today even against a tough Houston defense as he’ll be a good red zone weapon for the Chiefs if they can get there.  

At kicker Kansas City’s Cairo Santos ($4800) averages 9.7 points per game this season while Houston’s kicker Nick Novak ($4600) averages 7 FanDuel points per game on the season. If you think this might turn into a field goal game since it does feature 2 good defenses one of these guys might be a solid choice. The question you’d have t ask yourself is how many field goal attempts do you think they’ll get?

You would probably be alright using either team defense in this game. Kansas City is the most expensive defense on FanDuel today at $5100 while Houston is the 2nd most expensive defense at $4600. You wouldn’t think this will be a high scoring game; so go with the defense of the team you think will win the game.

Let’s move along to tonight’s game. It’s an AFC South match up as the Pittsburgh Steelers (10-6) take on the Cincinnati Bengals (12-4) in Cincinnati. The Bengals won the AFC South while Pittburgh picked up the last AFC wild card spot.

This looks like the game where you’ll find your quarterback. The Steelers Ben Rothlisberger appears to be the top quarterback on FanDuel for Saturday and at $8400 he’s the highest priced. The Bengals do give up an average of 248.5 passing yards per game. So while it appears that Rothlisberger is the best quarterback start could A.J. McCarron be the sleeper FanDuel quarterback of the day. At $6400 McCarron is the lowest priced of the 4 starting Saturday quarterbacks, but does he have the best match up. Pittsburgh was the worst team in the AFC giving up an average of 271.9 passing yards per game. I always jump in on thee type of match ups and they haven’t really worked out for me, but if you go with McCarron as your FanDuel quarterback you should have some extra money to spend at the other positions.

Like I said with Houston’s tight ends’ I’d stay away from any Steelers running back. DeAngelo Williams has been ruled out for the game. That means that Fitzgerald Toussaint and Jordan Todman will be the Steelers rushing attack. As you’d expect they both are very good values with both Toussaint and Todman costing $5700. Pittsburgh hasn’t really said this, but you’d think Toussaint would get the majority of the carries since Todman hasn’t played in a game since pre-season (9/3) when he was a member of the Carolina Panthers. Oddly that game was against the Steelers. Pittsburgh’s defense is only giving up an average of 91,2 yards per game, but you have to wonder if that number is low because teams are having so much success throwing the football against them. The Bengals feature that 2-back attack. Jeremy Hill ($6700) normally gets most of the rushing attempts, but is effective in the passing game as well. Hill is paired up with Giovani Bernard ($5600) in the backfield. The tough part is picking between the Bengals running backs as Hill averages 10.2 points per game on FanDuel while Bernard’s average is 9.8 point per game on the season. Hopefully you’ll make the right choice if you go with a Bengals running back.

Since this is expected to be a high scoring game wide receiver might be the place to spend your FanDuel money. It’s no surprise that Antonio Brown is the most expensive player listed for Saturday at $9500. Even though teams know Brown is the Steelers top receiving target he still gets his catches and puts up numbers. While it’s a lot of money for one player Brown has proven he’s worth it. Martavis Bryant has had some issues with his neck and has caught 1 pass in each of the last 2 games. I’m sure you heard that Pirrsburgh”s quarterback “Big” Ben challenged Bryant, but will it have an affect on his play. Will you go wit Bryant at $6900 or save the money and take a shot with Markus Wheaton at $5900? Wheaton is the Steelers wide receiver who benefits the most if Bryant struggles. Wheaton has also found his way into the end zone in 4 of the last 6 weeks. It’s an interesting choice, but saving that extra $1000 on Wheaton could mean an upgrade somewhere else. At $8300 is A.J. Green the best wide receiver play on the FanDuel board today?  Remember Green is going up against the worst pass defense in the AFC. Green has scored touchdowns in his last 2 games and remember the last time he went up against the Steelers pass defense he scored 22.2 FanDuel points. Marvin Jones is the Bengals #2 wide receiver and at $5500 could turn out to be a great value against the Pittsburgh defense, but there are a lot of good receiver choices and you might not get down to Jones. If this game goes as it’s expected to this may be the position that helps you win.

Tight end is another position that should really pay off today. Heath Miller is a solid tight end for the Steelers that every now and then can have a big game. Miller has averaged 6.5 points per game this season, but against Cincinnati he should go over his scoring average and at $5600 he could turn out to be a good deal. Tyler Eifert is the highest price tight end playing Saturday at $6400. This is the type of season people have been waiting for Eifert to have, but he has missed 3 games this season because of concussions. Eifert has a reasonable price on him and should be a very good play for whoever pays for him.

Again; if this game goes as expected either kicker would be a good choice for your FanDuel line up. Pittburgh’s Chris Boswell will cost you $4900 while Cincinnati’s Mike Nugent is at $4800. On the season Boswell averages 10.5 points per game while Nugent scores 8.2 points per game on the season. It comes down to which team do you think will give the kicker more field goal attempts or you might need the extra $100 to upgrade another position. It looks like both kickers from this game should be good choices.

Defense in this game is a whole other story. The Steelers defense will cost you $4500 while the Bengals defense comes in at $4400. I’d have to lie t you to give you a good reason to play either one of these defenses. Would you use the Steelers defense hoping since it’s McCarron’s first playoff start he’ll have issues or could you possible give Cincinnati’s defense a play hoping that that with a depleted running game Rothlisberger will have to throw the football so many times that he’s bound to have some turnovers.

As we go into the playoffs with a clean slate here are our picks for today’s game. All of us Dan the Man, Schaumburg Stu, Mr. Fantasy and I all like Kansas City to win the first game. Now we’re split on the second game as Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu like Pittsburgh to won and Mr, Fantasy and I have Cincinnati winning.

Don’t forget tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Mr. Fantasy and I host the 2-hour Sunday edition of Sports Time Radio a BlogTalkRadio.com

You can find me on Twitter @Burketime