Fantasy: Free Agency Period – The Winners

by Rob Grimwood – @FFBritBaller

It’s been a busy free agency for NFL teams over the last couple of weeks; but a much needed and welcome distraction to everything else that’s currently happening in the world.

But what do these moves mean for your fantasy teams in 2020? Over the next two articles, i’m going to break down the winners and the losers from all of the transactions that have taken place so far.


Kyler Murray


The Arizona Cardinals pulled of a move during the free agency that left everybody scratching their heads, wondering how they pulled off such a coup. That was, of course, the acquisition of superstar receiver DeAndre Hopkins from the Houston Texans.

Kyler Murray all of a sudden now has one of the most tantalising skill set offenses in the NFL. From Hopkins to legendary Hall of Fame receiver Larry Fitzgerald returning for one last year, and the emerging star of Christian Kirk alongside 2nd year hopefuls Andy Isabella, Hakeem Butler and KeeSean Johnson. The Kliff Kingsbury ‘air raid’ offense really has got no excuses to be raking up the air miles on the field in 2020.

Photo Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

After a QB7 rookie campaign in fantasy last year, it’s hard to think Murray will be doing anything other than improving on that. Kenyan Drake made a good enough impression since his move from Miami that he’s earned another year on this offense too, yet another reliable, tried and trusted weapon for Kyler out of the backfield.

It’s exciting times for Cards fans and this ever-improving offense, fantasy fans should be sharing this excitement for Kyler Murray, there’s no such thing as too many weapons when it comes to fantasy QB’s


Amari Cooper


Staying in Dallas was one of the best places for Cooper to keep his fantasy value. He clearly loves it there in ‘Jerryworld’, and the feeling seems to be mutual between the fans and the other players.

In his 25 games for the Cowboys, Cooper has amassed 1,914 receiving yards with 14 touchdowns; that’s 77 yards per game and a touchdown every other game (0.56 TD’s per game). For context, that’s in the same vicinity as DeAndre Hopkins’ time in Houston (78 yards per game average with 0.49 TD’s per game) and Mike Evans in Tampa Bay (80 yards per game with 0.53 TD’s per game). Both of which will be within the top 2 wide receiver tiers for 2020.

Dez Bryant had many productive seasons as a WR1 in fantasy football from his time in Dallas with Tony Romo and Dak Prescott under centre. Now it is time for Amari to step up and continue being the reliable receiving option for the Cowboys and fantasy owners in turn for the next few years.


Indianapolis Colts’ Receivers


Indy is lacking in skill position depth, but those that are there have just received a significant bump up in fantasy value with the upgrade of quarterback to Philip Rivers. Jacoby Brissett was admirable, and was far from terrible, but he wasn’t the best at getting great receiving production out of anyone not named T.Y Hilton.

Photo Credit: SI .com

Rivers in an experienced veteran who finally has a competent offensive line ahead of him to give him enough protection to provide some actual time in the pocket rather than being constantly under pressure like he was for the Chargers, especially in recent years.

I expect Indy will add to their receiving corps through the upcoming draft; but for now, T.Y Hilton cements himself as a fringe WR1 for a likely cheap price of a 4th/5th round pick, and last year’s rookie Parris Campbell will likely be in the sleeper category for analysts as the season grows closer.

If Jack Doyle remains the only pass catching tight end in Indy too, expect his value to also rise in a treacherous tight end fantasy landscape as Rivers has always produced fantasy relevant TE’s with the likes of Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry in the past.

One of my favourite sleepers already also due to the Rivers’ upgrade, is running back Nyheim Hines. The swiss army knife is Indy’s version of Austin Ekeler (see later in article for Ekeler’s 2019 production), who should see plenty of work in the passing game out of the backfield.


Cleveland Brown’s Skill Players


One of the main contributing factors for the Browns’ miserable 2019 campaign was the offensive line, or lack-of, being unable to give Baker Mayfield time in the pocket.

Jack Conklin (former Titans OT) is a massive upgrade for that line and you can only imagine Cleveland will be taking whichever stud tackle is left with the 10th pick of the 2020 draft.

These pieces may well prove to be the difference for this offense which will open up the fantasy value for all of the keys players. Nick Chubb had a great season in 2019 and was third in the NFL for rushing yards (1,494) and has 18 combined touchdowns since becoming a Brown in 2017 so we can expect that to continue. As we can with Jarvis Landry, as he once again will benefit from OBJ taking the premier defense away, like in 2019. OBJ’s production might rise once again if Mayfield is able to improve and between David Njoku and newly acquired Austin Hooper, the tight ends’ should have their week to week match-up based values too.


Austin Ekeler


With all the running back moves this off-season, i don’t think any have won more so than Austin Ekeler has. Not only does he see Melvin Gordon move away (to the Denver Broncos) from the backfield and no significant replacement brought in, he finds himself in a passing offense that will be moving forward with someone new. Therefore, a bigger emphasis may be placed on the tried and trusted running game with Ekeler as the sole star.

Photo Credit: Wilfredo Lee / Associated Press

The beauty of the situation is- even if the Chargers do bring in another running back, they probably aren’t going to be the same quality as Melvin Gordon where Ekeler was still productive enough to see him finish as the RB4 in PPR scoring (RB8 in non-PPR) last season.

The new QB in LA will likely be a rookie in from the first round, if not the veteran Tyrod Taylor who served as Rivers’ backup last season. Either way, Ekeler is going to be hyper-targeted out of the backfield and should be a top 10 PPR running back once again in 2020.

Season in Review – Arizona Cardinals

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

The NFL season is over which means 2 things, 1 – it’s time to be sad for a few months until the NFL Draft and 2 – You now have a lot of time on your hands.

In this series of articles, we try and take care of number 2.

Today, it’s the turn of the Arizona Cardinals…


Entering the season

The Cardinals were seen as the wildcard in which everyone wanted to see them do well, but wouldn’t be overly vocal about it.

Image result for kyler murray kliff kingsbury
Image Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

With more changes than you can shake a kaleidoscope at, the Cardinals not only got a new HC in Air raid specialist Kliff Kingsbury but also swiftly changed their franchise QB when they took Kyler Murray 1st overall and shipped 2018 1st round selection Josh Rosen off to Miami.

Whilst success wasn’t necessarily expected, forward progress was (well, unless the refs blew it dead first….).


During the season

The Cardinals expectedly had teething problems; Kyler Murray adjusting to the pace of the game and Kliff Kingsbury struggling to implement the offence meant that the Cardinals had to wait until week 5 for their first win against the Bengals.

Despite the improvements as the season wore on, they did not defeat a team with a winning record outside the division all season and only defeated the Seahawks in week 16, a game that meant very little to the Seahawks so it’s arguable at how far they have come since this time last year (NFC West is always a throw of the dice regardless of gap in quality of team), especially when you consider they only put up over 350 yards of total offence 8 times this season, though 3 of those instances came in the last 3 weeks of the season.

Kyler Murray ended up with a respectable rookie season and left the impression that he will be better for the run. Inhis rookie season he accounted for 4266 yards, with 544 coming on the ground, a 20:12 TD/INT ratio on a 64.4 pass completion %.

Image result for kenyan drake
Image Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

The Cardinals transitioned to Kenyan Drake at running back, effectively storing David Johnson in the closet but the backfield was a mess all season. At wide receiver, Christian Kirk (when healthy) built up a nice rapport with his quarterback and Larry Fitzgerald popped up every now and then.

On the defensive side, things didn’t improve all that much when Patrick Peterson returned from suspension, though Chandler Jones continues to rock the air guitar, doing so 19 times this season.

No-one was expecting the Cardinals to be legitimate playoff contenders this early on but maybe on the basis of their 2019 showing, a playoff berth may not be too far away if they continue on their upward trajectory. The division strength would be a concern though.


Offseason outlook

The Cardinals will look to address that porous defence and also give some more help to the offensive line which has been awful for a few years now. Whilst they wont have the #1 pick this year, they will be picking high up in the first round. They still have holes on the offensive line which will need a few darts thrown at it this year too.

Image result for larry fitzgerald
Image Credit: Norm Hall/Getty

In terms of current personnel, the Cardinals may want to try and find David Johnson a new home but his salary may be an issue. Future Hall of Famer Larry Fitzgerald will no doubt be coaxed into staying for another season and it remains to be seen whether Larry has the appetite to keep it going when there is no chance of a Super Bowl in the near future (he may be tempted in trying to reach Jerry Rice’s receptions record which he is only x away from though).

The nucleus of the team is there with a lot of youth being brought in from the plethora of draft picks they’ve had, especially on offence so the offseason will be spent ensuring the chemistry and rapport continues to build.

The foundations are set, time to build the house.


Fun Fact – Arizona were 30th in terms of 3rd down conversions allowed in 2019 but 1st overall on 4th down conversion allowed on defence, whilst on offence they were 21st on 3rd down but 3rd on 4th down.

Half-Term Report: AFC/NFC West

It’s just about the half way point in the NFL regular season. Depending on your outlook on such things, that’s good or bad.

In this series of articles, we take a look back over those 8 glorious weeks of pigskin action and also project how the 2nd half of the season will play out.


AFC West

Image result for afc west
By Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Current Standings

  • Kansas City Chiefs 5-3
  • Oakland Raiders 3-4
  • LA Chargers 3-5
  • Denver Broncos 2-6

*Kansas City Chiefs*

Midseason Grade: B

How has it gone so far?

The offensive juggernaut picked up where they left off. Patrick Mahomes has spread the ball around with ease despite missing Tyreek Hill for most of the 1st half of the season. A trade on the eve of the season for LeSean McCoy had solidified the backfield and Travis Kelce remains the league’s best tight end.

However the achilies heel is once again the defence. In particular it has been the Chiefs inability to defend the run. Only the winless Bengals have given up more yards on the ground and teams have found a formula to beat the Chiefs.

Having tasted defeat in 3 of the past 4 contests the Chiefs will be anxious to get Mahomes back from injury to allow the offence the greatest opportunity to make up for the defensive deficiencies. 

Rest of Season Outlook:

The Chiefs are comfortable within the division and the 3 losses they have tasted were against quality opponents. They take care of business in the games that you would expect them to do so. They will not be concerned with regular season record however as they will be concentrating on what they want to achieve in January.

Fixing the run defence will have to be a top priority as the ground game becomes more of a factor as we get towards playoff time. The offence will continue to cause problems for anyone and outside of games with the Vikings and Patriots, the Chiefs will be big favourites in the other contests they have left to play.

Regular Season Record Prediction – 11-5 – Division Winners


*Oakland Raiders*

Midseason Grade: C

How has it gone so far?

The team of hard knocks has very quickly moved on from Antonio Brown to post some decent performances in the first half of the season.

Losses to the Chiefs, Vikings, Packers and Texans are nothing to be ashamed of. Derek Carr has been very accurate, completing over 72% of his passes as he has found himself 2 new best friends. Darren Waller has been a revelation at tight end, he leads the team with 46 receptions,over twice the amount of the next leading receiver.

Josh Jacobs is arguably one of the leading candidates for offensive rookie of the year honours with 620 rushing yards from the 7 games played.

Rest of Season Outlook:

Winnable looking games against the Jets, Bengals and Chargers provide plenty of optimism for the Raiders in the second half of the season.

The impending move to Vegas should hopefully mean plenty of motivation to give the fans over in the Bay area a good send off.

Look out for the continued development of the 2 young playmakers mentioned as the Raiders may have stumbled across a nice young core to develop with. 

Regular Season Record Prediction: 7-9


*LA Chargers*

Midseason Grade: D+

How has it gone so far?

In the conversation for the most underwhelming team of the 2020 season, the Chargers have fallen off massively from where they were last year. The offensive line has been a problem throughout and what feels like the standard injury curse has once again struck. Melvin Gordon backed himself in a contract hold out in a move that appears to have backfired having been outperformed by Austin Ekeler during the campaign.

Mike Williams found the endzone on 10 occasions last campaign but has yet to find pay dirt this time around. In fact Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry are the only 2 skill positions outside of the running backs that have scored a touchdown for the Bolts so far.

Rest of Season Outlook:

Looking for consistency, the Chargers need to stop beating themselves. 2 games against the Chiefs along with difficult looking matchups against the Vikings and Packers make the road ahead look difficult. WIth 5 divisional games still ahead though, with a heavy fair wind the Chargers aren’t quite out of things just yet.

Getting Michael Badgeley back on the field will help also as even if the Chargers get into winning positions the find a way to lose.

Regular Season Record Prediction: 7-9


*Denver Broncos*

Midseason Grade: D

How has it gone so far?

As you would expect a Joe Flacco led offence to look, a little pedestrian. Ranked just 28th in points scored at just 15.6 per game the defence is keeping the Broncos competitive. That unit ranks 8th in terms of points against so its clear to see where the issues are in Mile High. An 0-4 start has been followed by a 2-2 stretch for a team struggling to establish an identity.

Philip Lindsay is still the most valuable offensive piece but despite his superior production he is stuck in a timeshare with Royce Freeman. Von Miller is having a relatively quiet season with only 4 sacks so far on the campaign.

Rest of Season Outlook:

After criticizing the defensiveness of offensive play calling Joe Flacco has miraculously picked up an injury so Brandon Allen is in at QB. The schedule does not look kind with Vikings, Texans and Chiefs all still to come. The Broncos would have been hoping for more of a boost from Vic Fangio than they have received and this has a feeling of a 1 and done season.

Development of the young wide receiving core will be crucial as the Broncos will hope that Drew Lock will be able to take over this offence in the non to distant future.

Regular Season Record Prediction: 3-13


Get 10% off at NFL Europe Shop with code FULL10


NFC West

Image result for nfc west
By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Current Standings 

  • San Francisco 49ers – 7-0
  • Seattle Seahawks – 6-2
  • Los Angeles Rams – 5-3
  • Arizona Cardinals – 3-4-1

*San Francisco 49ers*

Midseason Grade: A

How has it gone so far?

Without doubt the surprise package of the season, the 49ers are not so much dark horses, but sparkly rainbow unicorns, with the only undefeated record in the NFC. How are they racking up the W’s?

A perfect blend of creative and consistent running and a tough tackling defense led by rookie Nick Bosa and wily veteran CB Richard Sherman. Jimmy Garoppolo has been upright all season and only sacked 11 times. He needs to cut down interceptions (7)  but at a nearly 70% completion rate Garoppolo is just fine. The strong running game is led by a three-headed monster of Matt Breida, Tevin Coleman and Raheem Mostert who have combined for over 1000 ground yards already and 10 combined touchdowns.

The receiving unit has been a big letdown, with the exception of All-Pro TE George Kittle, so a mid-season trade for Emmanuel Sanders from Denver was a welcome boost. 

Rest of Season Outlook:

The remaining part of the 49ers schedule is much harder than the first half. Two matchups against the Seahawks, plus the Ravens, Saints and Packers. The 49ers will not go 16-0 regardless of however hard they run or tackle.

The two Seahawks games will define the season, and will provide the difference between a division win and a wild-card. Emmanuel Sanders will need to strike up immediate rapport with Jimmy G, as ridiculously his nine touchdown passes this season have gone to nine different team-mates. The return of versatile FB Kyle Juszczyk in the final third of the season will be a big boost.

Regular season record prediction: – 12-4 (and a wild card)


*Seattle Seahawks*

Midseason Grade: B+

How has it gone so far?

The Seahawks have not been convincing in 2019, winning their six games by a combined 32 points, including two one point wins. Regardless Russell Wilson is having a spectacular season, 2,127 yards, 17 touchdowns and just the one int in 8 full games.

Elsewhere the offence has been performing admirably, RB Chris Carson is on track for 1,200-1,300 yards and the mix of veteran WR Tyler Lockett and rookie WR DK Metcalf is providing a winning combination.

LBs Bobby Wagner and K.J Wright continue to play at a Pro-Bowl level and the addition of DE Jadeveon Clowney may not have yielded gaudy sack totals, but he leads the team in tackles for loss and forced fumbles. 

Rest of Season Outlook:

The Seahawks have the 49ers clearly in their line of sight, and the two games they face against each other will be box office television both times. It’s all NFC games for Seattle for the rest of the season and six more wins is a realistic target. Seattle and San Francisco should have safely punched their ticket to the post-season by Week 16, so the Seahawks hosting the 49ers in Week 17 will likely determine who wins the division.

CenturyLink Field is no longer a fortress for the Seahawks, but they will use the wet-weather to squeak a W17 win and with it a division title. 

Regular season record prediction: – 12-4 (and a division win) 


*Los Angeles Rams*

Midseason Grade: B-

How has it gone so far? 

It’s been a bit of a rollercoaster for the Rams so far, starting with a three game win streak, followed by a three game crash, before crushing two awful teams.

In the space of three weeks (2-4) L.A. put a beat down on the Saints, scraped past the Browns and then leaked 55 against Tampa. Jared Goff is on pace for 5,000 yards and WR Cooper Kupp is looking like an All-Pro. Kupp’s 220 yard outing at Wembley will take a long time to forget.

Todd Gurley has flattered to deceive, his 7 touchdowns hiding a rather unimpressive season so far. LBs Dante Fowler and Clay Matthews are on pace for double digit sacks. The biggest impact on defense is CB Jalen Ramsey who was traded in from the Jaguars in October. Ramsey is currently undefeated as a Rams star.  

Rest of Season Outlook: 

The Super Bowl hangover is for real.

A tough run of games against Seattle, Dallas and San Francisco are sandwiched between two contests against the Cardinals. There have been five receiving yardage leaders on the team in eight games, and Todd Gurley has not had a single 100 yard rushing game this year.

Two home MNF games (Chicago and Seattle) will put the Rams in the spotlight, but they are not going to make the playoffs because their offensive line is their weak link, that will cost them dearly in the Winter months.

Regular season record prediction: 9-7


*Arizona Cardinals*

Midseason Grade: C+

How has it gone so far? 

Three wins and a tie in half a season is above expectation for a Cardinals team expected to be near the foot of the conference whilst they let rookie QB Kyler Murray settle in to the team.

The three wins were against weak opponents by a combined 10 points. Murray has shown improvement from his first four games, but he has been let down by a poor running game, which now has former Dolphins RB Kenyan Drake moving to Arizona from Miami.

The immortal WR Larry Fitzgerald is still churning away, and with an upsurge in targets could get another 1,000 season under his belt. David Johnson is still underperforming and he has more touchdowns catching than he does rushing. 

Rest of Season Outlook:

There are not a lot of winnable games left for the Cardinals in the second half of the season, ending in two tough road-trips to Seattle and L.A. Kyler Murray is going to see better days as the Cardinals move into a new era.

The youth movement will soon takeover throughout the roster, with WRs Christian Kirk, KeeSean Johnson and Andy Isabella making competition healthy of offense. Arizona still need help on the defense and offensive line, but another impactful draft could see them competitive as early as 2020.

One small shoutout to LB Terrell Suggs, coming up to his 38th birthday, as he is still performing at a high level – five sacks, four forced fumbles and 9.5 tackles for loss. Oh and he can act too if you have seen Ballers. 

Regular season record prediction: 5-10-1

Full10Takeaways – Week 2

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y), Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y) and Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Get 10% off NFL Europe shop with the code FULL10

Hungry for more? We’ve got some more takeaways for you to digest looking back at week 2 in the NFL…

Heisman Hullabaloo

Image Credits: Associated Press

Week 2 saw two Heisman Trophy winning quarterbacks pitted against each other, as Kyler Murray faced the red hot Lamar Jackson.

There appears to be a pattern developing from both teams, with Baltimore dominating early and Arizona dominating late. The single biggest play of the game was not a touchdown or turnover, it was a frozen rope from L-Jax to rookie wide receiver Hollywood Brown, a 41 yard sideline streak on 3rd and 11 in the 4th quarter. That play alone dispels the myth that he has no touch on his passes. Murray was again let down by a non-existent running game in the desert, David Johnson was a pathetic 7 carries for 14 yards and 1 catch for 1 yard.

The Murray Show is a prime time viewing experience but without any resemblance of a running game it’s going to be an exhausting season with far more Sports Centre highlights than wins.

Gold – always believe in your Jimmy G

Image Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The San Francisco 49ers are named and kitted out to remember the 1849 Gold Rush, when folks flocked to California in pursuit of something special, that was hidden amongst the rocks.

The 49ers are already starting to shine, after a quiet but highly efficient 2-0 start.  72 points and two road wins is a fantastic start against any opponent, and following that up with a home opener against a spluttering Steelers team this could be the most under the radar 3-0 team in the league.

Last season Jimmy G only lasted three games, now he is hoping for a post-season berth. Perhaps the biggest indicator of success is the fact Garropolo has only been sacked once all season, but the news that perennial Pro Bowl tackle Joe Staley is out for up to half the season is a huge blow. The Niners will need to find a replacement immediately to fill a huge hole.

Big call for Big Len but Big bust

Image Credit: Getty Images

The Jaguars will face the Texans at Wembley in their divisional rematch, here’s hoping the game is a better matchup than this forgettable encounter in Week 2.

Well almost unforgettable, as this game came down to a botched two-point conversion when Leonard Fournette failed to take a handoff the required two yards for paydirt. Until that point the NFL’s new moustachioed maestro Gardner Minshew had been conducting the Jaguars orchestra to perfection. Then Doug Marrone decided to opt for the triangle player to play the tune, and he hit a bum note. Music to the Texans fans ears, who have now moved to 1-1.

The Jaguars are still failing to impress and this is frustrating the hell out of their star defensive player Jalen Ramsay who has been quoted this week to say he just wants to ‘f%&*king win’. No one blames him, and whilst Minshew is a media darling and a cult hero, he is not winning games and that is all that matters.

Buffaload of this!

Image Credit: Associated Press (AP)

Buffalo are now officially the front runners to challenge the Patriots in the AFC East;

Miami, well are Miami. New York just lost their star QB until further notice whilst the Bills are quietly going about their work.

Yes, they didn’t beat much in the form of the Giants and their back-to-back “road games” were in the same stadium not far from home. But all you can do is do your job and beat what is in front of you. No fuss, no hassle. After their first drive ended in a punt, 3 straight touchdowns for the Bills was enough to get the W. Josh Allen had a much cleaner game; No turnovers (after 4 last week), over 8yds per attempt, completing passes to 8 different receivers

They have a solid Defence and enough of offence (though we’ll have to monitor Devin Singletary’s injury) to make it to the post season, especially when the other likely middling teams such as the LA Chargers, Pittsburgh, Cleveland are stuttering.

I’m not expecting a divisional challenge as such to the Patriots, but they are certainly building towards being the team that will have first dibs on divisional title aspirations when Belichick and co come back to the field.


Steelers digging a Pit for themselves

Image Credit: Gene J. Puskar/Associated Press

The roses are wilting in Pennsylvania and is Mike Tomlin a dead man walking in terms of head coaching tenure at the Steelers?

A deflating loss to the Seahawks which in a vacuum cant do too much in the way of wildcard hopes, but now at 0-2 they are staring down the barrel already with the injury fallout. Long road trip west next week to face the 49ers which is not too far from the crime scene of their shocking defeat last year against the Raiders.

You cannot overstate the importance of this game and a loss here for the Steelers and they are already done if they aren’t done already;

The back end of the schedule is not too difficult with matchups against Dolphins, Bills, Jets, Cardinals and Colts along with 2 divisional games vs the Bengals but if they are 2-4 going in to the week 7 bye, they may struggle to make the postseason. Add in to that the loss of Big Ben for the season with an elbow injury, James Conner is nicked up and the defence being even worse than the offence. I’m not saying the final nail is in the coffin yet because i think Mason Rudolph is serviceable, but the Steelers franchise landscape as we know it could be all change and Mike Tomlin may be about to throw in the terrible towel.

On a more positive note, Steelers #1 WR JuJu Smith-Schuster became the youngest player to reach 2,500 career receiving yards in NFL history, previously held by randy Moss (per NFL Research). Might take him a bit longer to get the next 2,500 though…


Pack mentality

Image Credit: Quinn Harris/Getty Images

Even at this early stage, the Packers take a strong grip of the NFC after their dominant 1st quarter performance vs divisional rivals, the Minnesota Vikings.

TD throws the Jamaal Williams and Geronimo Allison complimented with a TD run by Aaron Jones saw the Packers blow away the Vikings D in the first home game for the Packers.

From that point on, the Packers always had the number of the Vikings and just whittled down the time on the game clock.

It could however, have been a different story if Kirk Cousins was not picked off late in the 4th at the Green Bay 8 yards line on a pass intended for Diggs. The throw itself was very reckless; 1st down, scrambling to the right, on the back foot and lofted in to double coverage. Not a good decision.

This is another row to put into the table of “Times Kirk Cousins didn’t show up in big games” database. Throw the ball away and dial up another play. Redzone turnovers are brutal in this league.

With the win, the Packers now have not only a game cushion over their 2 fiercest division rivals, but also a win, meaning that at worst, they can only split the series with the Bears and the Vikings should Head to head come in to play at the end of the regular season. Judging by the performances of the 3 teams so far, it probably wont.


Injuries Are A Real Kicker

Image Credit – Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times

The LA Chargers would have been a popular Superbowl pick for many in the off season , 2 weeks in and that looks like a very optimistic prediction.

A team that feels as though it has to deal with more injuries than any other in the league has once again been struck with the dreaded curse and is missing key players in Derwin James, Hunter Henry, Russell Okung. Following the game against Detroit on Sunday we may be able to add Joey Bosa and Adrian Phillips to that unwanted list and I haven’t even mentioned Michael Badgley yet.

Why is the kicker significant? Well despite all of the injuries and a generally sloppy game the bolts still could have escaped Ford Field with a victory if they had a solid kicking performance but they left 6 points on the field with 2 missed field goals.

It would be harsh to criticise a punter stepping in whilst Badgley recovers but if the Chargers are serious about a deep playoff run then surely they should bring in a specialist!


Real Life Madden

Image Credit – Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

“He scores when he wants,” the chant heard in many a UK football stadium should be aimed squarely at Patrick Mahomes.

278 yards and four touchdowns would be a decent stat line by the end of the game but that was what Mahomes delivered in the 2nd period as the Chiefs quickly erased a 10 point deficit with the most productive quarter of play delivered by a QB since Drew Brees way back in 2008. The last 5 passes that he attempted to close the quarter covered 42, 32, 43, 27 and 39 yards respectively with 3 of those bombs finding the endzone. Arguably his best pass was one thrown back across his body and was called back by penalty, had it stood he would have had over 300 yards in the quarter.

Last week it was Sammy Watkins lighting up the secondary, this week it was Demarcus Robinson and Mecole Hardman. Moral of this story…. Mahomes is nothing short of incredible, whoever is lining up at wide receiver for the Chiefs he puts up video game numbers.
A real treat for the fans in the coliseum, who witnessed the final game where the baseball dirt was present on the field. Small victories.


Why Draft A Top 10 Clipboard Holder?

Image Credit – Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Interceptions, poor play and regression. Unfortunately for fans of the Giants and the Dolphins, they are the 3 things that initially spring to mind when I think about Eli Manning and Ryan Fitzpatrick.

Another disappointing Sunday saw more touchdowns thrown to their respective opponents as opposed to their own teams. The real frustration here though is that nobody is really surprised!

Every man and his dog has seen Eli get worse and worse over the past few years and as fun as the occasional flash of Fitzmagic is, it happens far too infrequently for a starting quarterback.

Look at the side-lines and the potential starting quarterbacks of the future are standing there holding clipboards. Josh Rosen was a top 10 pick a year ago and Daniel Jones was the Giants first rounder this year, finally it’s time for Jones to get on the field when it matters, surely it’s time for Rosen too?

ANYONE GOT CHANGE OF A DOLLAR?

Image Credit: Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

Couple of teams need a Quarterback! Injury at the starting QB position is the most brutal and immediately scuppers your chances of winning a Super Bowl. They are called backups for a reason. Teddy Bridgewater, who turned down a chance to start in Miami and preferred to stay patient in New Orleans has finally got his chance after years of turmoil and seemingly made the right choice (and only choice; it would have done even if he never played for the Saints because you don’t want to be in South Florida at the moment).

Brees is expected to miss around 6 weeks with the thumb injury which is causing Brees to not even be able to grip a football. Yikes.

The 32nd pick in the 2014 draft out of Louisville has a 17-12 record as a starter, 57% completion percentage and a 29-23 TD:INT ratio thus far in his career. He now gets the chance to show everyone if he still has it and is more than just a backup.

The New York Jets, Pittsburgh Steelers and potentially the Carolina Panthers may have their secondary signal callers in action this weekend. The Fantasy waiver wires will be burning this week!

Did you have that change of a dollar?

Full10Lookahead – Week 1

In a new weekly feature, here are our 10 top things we are most looking forward to this week in the NFL.

-Zeke and destroy-

IMAGE CREDIT: Getty Images

Ezekiel Elliot, the newly $90m, 6 year contracted running back.

Will his offseason away from the team in Cabo turn in to rustiness and on field lack of rhythm and chemistry with Dak? Probably not, especially seeing as though Tanner Lee was flown out to Cabo for Zeke to get the requisite reps. That being said, it’s been far from ideal for the Dallas Cowboys with contract stories literally in every position group in their team. Dak and Amari Cooper will probably be dealt with next offseason now judging by the other contracts that were settled over the past few weeks but now it’s time for America’s Team to get on the field and put away the Giants.

If they can put all of it behind them, there is Super Bowl calibre team here. Regardless of how well they do this season, surely all eyes are on how Zeke slots back in to the operation of this offence.


-How Charged up is the LA running game-

IMAGE CREDIT: Associated Press

L.A. Chargers GM Tom Telesco has stuck a marker in the Californian sand with a refusal to negotiate RB Melvin Gordon’s contact until the season is complete. A bold move, but you don’t want such a big distraction as you start a season with QB Philip Rivers in the twilight of his Hall of Fame worthy career.

With Gordon still disgruntled and not reporting this means the powder-blue ball pounders will be Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Ekeler has proved to be a quality plug and play, but the real excitement lies with Jackson and his burst.

The Chargers are a balanced team that are pretty safe locks for a playoff spot, and if Ekeler and Jackson can find early rhythm then they will be saying “Melvin who?” by January.


-Chiefs grabbing Shady-

IMAGE CREDIT: James Wooldridge

K.C. head coach Andy Reid helped LeSean McCoy to become a superstar in Philadelphia, and now the two are reunited. Grabbing McCoy, who was unceremoniously cut by the Buffalo Bills, is a move that will be making Chiefs fans scratch their heads.

For fantasy fans they will be doing more that scratching, they will be pulling clumps of hair out. RB Damien Williams proved he can manage the spotlight and is a quality ball-catcher. Darwin Thompson has shown too that he can pound the rock, but now you add in a veteran back who is on the downward spiral.

Reid will reignite McCoy’s career as will being in the same huddle as Patrick Mahomes. So tough to project his immediate impact, but stay tuned Week 1.


-I’ll take a Big Mack-

IMAGE CREDIT: USATSI

Khalil Mack was on his way to making Aaron Donald sweat for the Defensive Player of the Year, was it not for a small injury that slowed him down a tad.

Mack was the biggest news of the start of the 2018 season, and twelve months later he has a year of better appreciating his surroundings in Chicago. The Bears defense is the best unit in the NFL, and with tackling machine Roquan Smith by his side Mack is going to be gunning for 20 sacks in 2019.

I can see the Bears v Eagles in the NFC Championship, and pray to the spirit of George Halas that Mack’s outstanding play is not crippled by another double-doink. 


-Pats Old Guard try to repeat the trick-

IMAGE CREDIT: Jim Davis

New England will start the defence of their Super Bowl crown with the visit from the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday night, and will do so with the oldest roster in the NFL when young players have seemingly never been so valuable.

In todays salary cap age, the ability to keep cost controlled draft picks is seen as a vital way to remain competitive. However, the Patriots have seemed to eschew that school of thought recently. Arguably the only impactful players playing on their rookie deals are running back Sony Michel and guard Joe Thuney, although they will no doubt hope that this years class headlined by messrs Harry and Winovich and one of last years first rounders, tackle Isaiah Wynn, will make an impact following a rookie season curtailed by an Achilles injury sustained in camp.

It seems Bill Belichick is forever zigging while the rest of the league zags, the rest of the league looks to get quicker, stronger and more athletic he is relying on know-how and experience to take them back to the Super Bowl. Even today, surrounded by the electrifying technicolour highlights of Mahomes, Barkley etc few would bet against them doing just that.


-Kliff, Kyler and the air raid offence-

IMAGE CREDIT: Mark J Rebilas

In Glendale on Sunday evening the Arizona Cardinals will try to take their franchises first baby steps back to viability as a contender when they welcome the similarly rebuilding Detroit Lions to the University of Phoenix Stadium.

Attention will certainly be focused on how rookie HC Kliff Kingsbury and no. 1 pick Kyler Murray perform in the first test of the pass-happy, hyperactive Air Raid offence. While its fair to say elements of the scheme have been a staple for many teams over the past few years, the Cards have made it clear they will ride or die with their youngsters for better or worse this year.

With a fresh receiving core including Christian Kirk and rookies Andy Isabella and Keesean Johnson, complemented by old reliable Larry Fitzgerald and star running back David Johnson, hopes are high in the desert that the road back to competitiveness starts here. And if not, it will certainly be fun to watch!


-Rams try to avoid Super Bowl hangover-

IMAGE CREDIT: Rich Pedroncelli (AP)

Sean McVay will try to pilot his teams path back to the Super Bowl beginning with a cross country trip to Charlotte to face Ron Rivera’s Carolina Panthers. While last years offence was, for large parts of the season unstoppable, they seemed to run out of steam as the season reached its most crucial phase.

Over the season the Rams were the second highest scoring offence in football, only behind the remarkable Chiefs led by MVP Patrick Mahomes, however over the last month of the regular season their PPG decreased by over 10 points capped off by the 3 point performance on the biggest stage at Super Bowl LIII.Young receiver Cooper Kupp went down with an season ending injury and when star running back Todd Gurley was hampered by a knee injury by the latter stages of the season, the Rams overall effectiveness on offence seemed to go with him. 

Has the rest of the NFL caught up to Sean McVay’s scheme or will the Rams be back lighting up the scoreboard this year? Any team boasting the talents of reigning DPOY Aaron Donald, Andrew Whitworth, Aqib Talib, Eric Weddle, Jared Goff, Robert Woods etc plus the hopefully back to full health Gurley and Kupp should be challenging in the very competitive NFC.


-OBJ = Odell’s Browns Jersey-

IMAGE CREDIT: AP Photo/Ron Schwane

It really wasn’t a dream…..OBJ will be wearing orange and brown to kick of the 2019 NFL campaign.

The sensational trade that shook the NFL back in March has been the standout moment in a summer full of positive vibes out of North Eastern Ohio and at last we get to see the on field product on Sunday. OBJ has been wrapped in cotton wool throughout the offseason, practising sparingly and not seeing any preseason action so all eyes will be on how quickly he establishes a connection with Baker Mayfield.

The Browns host the Titans looking to win a season opener for the first time since 2004, here’s hoping!


-Ring that Bell!-

IMAGE CREDIT: Associated Press

So Le’Veon Bell didn’t win any additional money from his contract holdout, but did he win by preserving his body?

The running back will see the field for the first time in over 18 months when the Jets open up against the Bills on Sunday in New York. Bell has always had a patient running style but would have been afforded superior line play during his time with the Steelers. Will he be able to transition this style to his new surroundings or will we see him bouncing to the outside more regularly?

Despite plenty of optimism of growth in the second season of Sam Darnold, the Jets may only go as far as Bell can carry them.


-Time for a new Colt hero?-

IMAGE CREDIT: John Minchillo/AP

Jacoby Brissett, what an opportunity you have in front of you.

You may argue he had this chance in 2017 when as the full time starter for the year he led the Colts to a 4-12 record, but don’t underestimate how much better this overall Colts team is now. He will have arguably the best O-line in football in front of him with Quenton Nelson leading the group in his 2nd year. He has a nice array of options in the passing game to throw to and a committee approach at running back should see the Colts very competitive.

Once considered a potential heir to Tom Brady, I’m looking forward to seeing Brissett grasp his chance this time around.


Head Coach Hotseats

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

At this point in the season every head coach in the NFL is 0-0 for the 2019 season, full of optimism and jam-packed with motivational speeches, outstanding PowerPoint content and a team willing to run through a brick wall for you, unless your name is of course Jay Gruden.

Tim and I ranked our coaches in terms of sleeping in a luxury king size bed, on the sofa, on someone else’s sofa or sleeping in the car in a recent podcast, go and check it out. Here are some of our disagreements and my side of the argument…

Sean McDermott – Buffalo Bills

Coaching facts

The Bills 22nd head coach, McDermott boasts a 15-17 record in two seasons and a 0-1 playoff record. The team drafted QB Josh Allen early in 2018, but this failed to yield immediate results as the Bills slipped to 6-10 after a 2017 playoff berth. McDermott comes from the Andy Reid coaching tree, having worked his way up from secondary coach in Philly to defensive coordinator, also serving as the DC in Carolina.

Coached DBs for Eagles in 2004 when they reached and lost Super Bowl 39 to the Patriots, alongside Pat Shurmur (QB coach), Brian Dawkins and Michal Lewis both starting safeties were Pro Bowlers. Fired as defensive coordinator by Eagles Jan 15 2011. Reached second Super Bowl as defensive coordinator for the Panthers – losing to the Broncos.

In 2017 made the massive error of benching Tyrod Taylor Week 10 following a huge loss to the Saints, bringing in Nathan Peterman – yes that game where Peterman threw five first half interceptions before being benched himself. Somehow steered the Bills to 9-7 and their first playoff game in 18 years – the biggest drought in the NFL. Bills lost that game 10-3 to Jaguars.

FUN FACT: McDermott was a National prep champion wrestler in high school.

Opinion

Since 2000 The Bills have had 10 head coaches – roughly one every two years. The last one to get into their third season was Chan Gailey (2010-2012). McDermott is a defensive guru and takes great pride in developing his defensive players but this is 2019 and you need to maintain possession of the ball and keep your defense fresh. A second sub .500 season for McDermott, and not enough progress from Josh Allen will see McDermott watching his back from around Week 12. Maybe not an in-season sacking, but this is someone who could be a Black Monday casualty.

Prediction: 7-9 and the Bills ownership lose patience.


Pat Shurmur – New York Giants

Coaching facts

Shurmur has a career NFL head coaching record of 9-23, including two years with the not so good Browns, and a 5-11 record with the Giants in 2018. Another disciple from the Andy Reid coaching tree, Shurmur has spent most of his time as an offensive coordinator – most recently helping the Vikings get one game away from a Super Bowl in 2017-18. His son Kyle is a quarterback, and in 2019 he was an Undrafted free agent pickup by the Chiefs.

Was Associated Press Assistant coach of the year in 2017 when the Vikings went all the way to the NFC Championship behind Case Keenum. His uncle Fritz Shurmur was a coach in the 70s – 90s. Coached Eagles quarterbacks in 2004 helping Donovan McNabb to a Super Bowl – a loss to the Patriots – alongside Sean McDermott.

Opinion

Shurmur has won 15 of 49 contests and made a huge splash in the 2019 draft taking Duke’s Daniel Jones at pick 6. Pick 6 how ironic. 9 wins in two years in Cleveland, 1 win as interim Eagles coach and 5 wins in NY last year, Shurmur has finished bottom of his division in all three full seasons. The NY media will be scrutinising Shurmur’s every move and another basement finish, whist hardly a surprise could signal a premature end to this coach’s stint. This will be all about how Daniel Jones develops and when he starts. Eli is untouchable, apart from the day he was benched for Geno Smith, but this could be a messy final year. The Giants mess is at WR– Corey Coleman won’t play on 2019, Golden Tate is suspended four games, Sterling Shephard is injured, leaving tight end Evan Engram become a Pro Bowler, but that means little. Barclay will shine, but it’s the weak Giants defense that will again let down this offensive minded coach.

Prediction: 5-11 – Misery in the Big Apple as Shurmur is hounded out by the media in the Big Apple.


Matt LeFleur – Green Bay Packers

Coaching facts

LeFleur has spent most of his career serving Kyle Shanahan, at three different NFL team. This is his first head coaching gig. He played for the Omaha Beef in the Indoor Professional Football League in 2003 as a backup QB. In May 2019 LeFleur tore his Achilles playing basketball – an offseason injury for a coach.

Since 2003 has had 11 coaching jobs. This is his sixth coaching job in the NFL. Following on the youth movement he is 39 – 40 in November. He was Redskins QB coach in 2012 when they drafted RG3 and Cousins. In 2016 LeFleur was the Falcons quarterback coach (reporting to Kyle Shanahan) and helped Matt Ryan to become league MVP and the Falcons reached the Super Bowl, but they could not hold on to a 28-3 lead. He choked. In 2018 he was the Titans offensive coordinator but Titans finished 25th in offensive output. In addition, the Titans is a place where wide receivers go to die.

Opinion

Big pressure on LeFleur to get Aaron Rogers back to the promised land, he is an offensive guru. The Packers have plenty of talent and a bucket load of WR ready to break out and Aaron Jones has one of the best yards per carry in the NFL. The defense is where the Packers will need to step up and I’m not sure he is the man to help the Pack with that issue. Packers have brought in three new starters in FA – Preston Smith OLB from the Redskins, Zadarius Smith OLB from the Ravens and Adrian Amos S from the Bears. The Packers D is going to be the team’s downfall. LA Fleur is safe but his posterior is already warming up.

Prediction: 9-7 – winning record but no playoffs


Mike Tomlin – Pittsburgh Steelers

Coaching facts

Tomlin has a pretty decent records in Pittsburgh, 125-66-1 in the regular season, but a disappointing 8-7 in the playoffs and only one Super Bowl win, despite having arguably the most talented roster for al lot more than just one season. In the last six season he has finished first or second in his division.
Tomlin has never had a losing season in 12 years coaching the Steelers. Was Bucks DB coach when they won Super Bowl and had three defensive return touchdowns. Fined 100k for putting off Ravens Jacoby Jones on a kick return – look this up on You Tube.

Opinion

Steelers do not like making changes at head coach, and considering Tomlin got a winning season despite their star player not playing one down last year that is credit to his leadership. The NFL does not have many jobs for life but Tomlin has lasted a long time on just one Super Bowl win. With Helmet monster Brown gone this is going to be a different looking Steelers team, with T.J. Watt looking after the defence and Juju Smith-Schuster looking to go All-Pro. Tomlin and Big Ben are the next best thing to The Sith Lord Belichick and Tom Brady, and was it not for these two the Steelers would probably have had 2-3 Super Bowls in the last decade.

Prediction: 10-6 – Wild card winner but divisional playoff loser


Kliff Kingsbury – Arizona Cardinals

Coaching facts

Another NFL head coaching newbie, Kingsbury is the most fascinating of all the new coaches to join in 2019 due to his offensive style, his brand new QB and his college pedigree.

Kingsbury set a ton of passing records playing at Texas Tech. He was drafted by the Patriots in 2003 – 6th round but went on I/R. He did get a Super Bowl ring, but was waived in 2004.

Bumped around the NFL and CFL on practice squads. Threw only two passes in the NFL in 2005  – 1 of 2 for 17 yards for the Jets in a 27-0 loss. He played in NFL Europe for the Cologne Centurions.

Opinion

An offensive genius at Texas Tech – he tutored Patrick Mahomes. He has averaged 550 yards offense and 42 points a game in college in past 7 years. This explosive output did not however equate to wins as he went 35-40 in six season, winning just one bowl game – Holiday Bowl in 2013. This is pure curiosity as Kingsbury has spent lots of time in NFL locker rooms as a clipboard holder but never as a head coach. He has the number one overall pick to work with, having dispensed of 2018 first rounder Josh Rosen. He will be looking for big things from running back David Johnson, and the veteran savvy of Larry Fitzgerald. The Cards have new wide receivers in Isabella and Johnson, and Christian Kirk will be looking for a 1,000-yard season. It will be a wild ride ahead but again the defense will let down the progress of the team.

Prediction: 4-12 – Keeps job as it’s the start of the journey.


Zac Taylor – Cincinnati Bengals

Coaching facts

Another head coach cutting his teeth in the NFL in 2019. Taylor was a QB at three different colleges including the Butler Community College Grizzlies. Two winning seasons at Nebraska. Was not very mobile – ran for –MINUS 64 yards at Nebraska. Was signed by Buccaneers in 2007 as quarterback but cut and was then 4th string at the Winnipeg Blue bombers in the CFL. Taylor is married to the daughter of former Packer head-coach Mike Sherman.

Opinion

This move is relative to waiting for a lovely Christmas present and thinking it’s something you always wanted like a signed Sean Taylor shirt only to open it and its socks, but not even nice M&S socks, pound shop novelty ones you won’t want to be seen dead in after December 26th. He originally worked his way up to offensive coordinator with the Dolphins.

Taylor was the offensive coordinator of the Cincinnati Bearcats in 2016, before becoming the Rams QB coach in 2018. He got Jared Goff to a Super Bowl and then got schooled by the Dark Sith Lord Belichick.

Prediction: 6-10 – Anonymous season anonymous coach anonymous team.


Bill O’Brien – Houston Texans

Coaching facts

O’Brien has steered the Texans to a 42-38 record in 5 years, including three division wins, but he only has one playoff win. This is a coach who always looks intense, but maybe a bit too intense for some.

Opinion

O’Brien has been coaching since 1993. Was offensive coordinator for Pats in Super Bowl 46 – a loss to the Giants. Became the replacement for Legendary Joe Paterno at Penn State and despite sanctions he became college coach of the year in 2012 – guiding Penn State to 8-4. Could have become the Jaguars coach that same year. He signed a four-year extension in 2018

Prediction: 11-5 another division win


Kyle Shanahan – San Francisco 49ers

Coaching facts

Shanahan is 10-22 in two full seasons and really needs a playoff run to keep his job. He is the son of Super Bowl winning head coach Mike Shannahan – who won two titles with John Elway and the Broncos. Coached under his dad at the Redskins 2010-13. Was fired alongside his father – debatable nepotism. He resigned from OC job with the Browns in 2015 disagreeing about Johnny Manziel starting. He served under Jon ‘Chucky’ Gruden in 2004-5

Was the offensive coordinator for the Falcons when they collapsed against the Patriots in the Super Bowl. Shanahan’s QB coach then, Zac Taylor, is now head coach at the Bengals.

Opinion

Shanahan’s head coaching tenure is in the hands of Jimmy Garropolo. Who was injured last season leaving the likes of Nick Mullens to take the helm for a team that has five Super Bowl wins. With new RB Tevin Coleman to be the feature back this is a team that many have as dark horses for a playoff push in 2019. I’m not as confident.

Prediction : I can see an 8-8 type performance.

Don’t forget to go and check out our in depth podcast from Tuesday 27th August where myself and Tim discuss all of these head coaches and their vulnerabilities ahead of the 2019 season.

Pac 12 Conference Preview – By Lee Wakefield

Welcome to the Full 10 Yards Pac 12 Conference Preview

Man, I love myself some west coast college football action. The Pac 12 is probably about as even a conference as you get at the top of college football, which certainly has its drawbacks in some respects but it makes for some competitive action and the 2019 season should be no different.

Looking Ahead…

When trying to call the conference champion, I find myself having a pretty hard time. I feel like there are a lot of really good players in the Pac 12 and there are some really solid teams too. Whether they will trouble the college football playoff is a different matter altogether because, as I alluded to earlier, without one truly outstanding team à la Clemson in the ACC, all of the teams kind of beat up on each other and therefore take a dip in the rankings.

What About 2018?

Last season was a perfect example of these things; Washington State had the best overall record in the conference at 11-2, however Washington won the North division due to their Apple Cup win over the Cougars and went on to win the conference championship over South division champion, Utah (9-5 overall record) by a score of 10-3, with the only touchdown of the game being a pick 6 by now Arizona Cardinals cornerback, Byron Murphy.

Pac 12 teams play each other tough.

Washington State finished the 2018 season the highest ranked team at #10 in the AP rankings too. So yeah, it’s one higgledy-piggledy, mushy mess in terms of trying to figure out who is going to be good again, or good at all in 2019!

Back to Looking Ahead…

Aside from the team’s I’ve mentioned already there are players who I feel are about to set the conference and college football landscape on fire.

The first player that came to mind when I wrote that sentence was Colorado wide receiver, Laviska Shenault.

Shenault was the Buffs offense last season. Unfortunately, Shenault was injured after 5 games of the season… Colorado were 5-0 at that point and the do-it-all wide receiver had accounted for, 708 receiving yards (141.6 apg) and 10 touchdowns (6 receiving, 4 rushing), playing wide receiver, running back, H-back and even some Wildcat QB. For context, the Buffalos had a total of 1,465 passing yards through those 5 games, so Shenault’s 708 receiving yards was a shade over 48% of the receiving yards of the team. That’s O N E player. Like I said, Laviska Shenault is the Colorado offense and I cannot wait to watch him again in 2019. Oh and for further context, the Buffs finished the season 5-7… Yep, they didn’t win without #2 on the field. I hope he can stay healthy in 2019 because I’m really interested in seeing just how far he can drag his team.

Lastly on Colorado, special mention to QB, Steven Montez, who I’d certainly describe as an interesting prospect for the coming year.

Who Else Should You Keep Tabs On?

Well some might say that the Pac 12 is the conference of quarterbacks and this year shouldn’t be any different with my personal QB1 residing in the Pac 12 North – That man is of course, Justin Herbert of Oregon.

During the pre draft process for the 2019 draft, prior to final declarations, I was hoping that Herbert was going to go back to Oregon for his Senior season, even though he’d have probably been QB1 for me in the draft class and would have been a top 10 pick, if not top 5. As you can probably deduce from that, I’m a fan but I do appreciate that Herbert definitely needed some more experience and time in college perfecting his game. I feel that with Herbert at the helm, Oregon can better their 9-4 overall record. However, as always in the Pac 12, it’s how the Ducks navigate their conference games… Let’s see if they can better their 5-4 conference record. 

The Ducks have the most talented offensive line in college football to protect one of the best QB’s in the country, so offensively they should be pretty solid, as long as the likes of Jaylon Redd and Johnny Johnson can step up and fill the void of Dillon Mitchell, who really was the Robin to Herbert’s Batman in 2018

I’m also a fan of Jordon Scott and Troy Dye in the Ducks’ front 7 on defense too. Will it be enough to power them to the top of the Pac 12, or even trouble the college football playoff?

Oregon were the last Pac 12 team to make it to the Championship game since the current format was introduced and one of only two west coast teams to make it to the final four in the same timeframe.

Anyone Else?

Before we talk more QB’s, let’s talk a little defense.

One player who I’m really looking forward to watching more of in 2019 in Utah corner Jaylon Johnson. I feel like Johnson will become a star of this talented Utes defense that had four members voted on to the first team All-Pac 12 defense last year (Johnson, defensive linemen, Bradley Anae and Leki Fotu and linebacker Chad Hansen). This group is stingy, folks.

In my view, Utah will once again be the pick of the Southern conference and I really don’t think it’ll be close… Tyler Huntley is back after his collarbone injury and we all saw what Zack Moss is capable of last year and Utah is just a really, really solid team.

Other defensive players that I haven’t already mentioned that I am going to be keeping an eye on in the Pac 12 are; Corners Paulson Adebo out of Stanford and Darnay Holmes of UCLA, interior defensive lineman Mustafa Johnson of Colorado (who tied the lead for sacks in 2018 with Bradley Anae with 8) and Jaylin Hawkins of the California Golden Bears, who lead the conference with 6 interceptions last year at safety. Defense may not be the strongest aspect of the Pac 12 but there are certainly some dudes worth keeping tabs on.

Back to offense now and back to the sport’s most important position.

Jacob Eason may be the most intriguing player in the whole of the Pac 12 next year. A former 5-star recruit who went to Georgia but couldn’t unseat the King of Athens, Jake Fromm, from his starting berth for the Bulldogs.

Eason ended up transferring the Washington and is now pencilled in to he the Huskies starting QB.

Interestingly, Huskies head coach Chris Petersen, recently said that the transfer portal gives the opportunity for athletes to “tap out” and is harmful for them, which is all kinds of levels of poor self-awareness, given the above.

However, Coach Pete is an awesome coach and if it all clicks in Seattle, Eason could be something really special in his homecoming, given the Lake Stevens native is only a 50 minute drive along the I-5 from his home town.

During my summer film studies, Eason was a really tough evaluation given that all of the tape I could find on him is from 2016 when he was at Georgia but the thing is, the talent is certainly there, it’s just a case of putting it together in a new environment and with a new team.

Washington are another team who I expect to play everyone tough and would bet on them having a good season in the North. Also watch out for Eason to strike up a nice partnership with talented, Senior wide receiver, Aaron Fuller. [Insert Eyes Emoji, Fire Emoji, Drool Face Emoji]

Who Are The Young Upstarts?

J.T Daniels and Amon-Ra St. Brown down in L.A are a pair of Sophomore’s who the Trojans fans will be looking to make some noise. Neither of whom are draft eligible until the 2021 draft but given the hype and buzz around both of these young men, I would imagine we will be hearing lots about them both way before then.

For St. Brown, 60 receptions and 750 yards as a True Freshman says it all. Plus we know there’s talent in the blood lines since older brother Equanimeous plays for the Packers after coming out of Notre Dame and Brother, Osiris plays at Stanford.

As for Daniels, well, USC has a long lineage of QB prospects, of which he’s the latest one and he played in 11 games for the Trojans last year as a True Freshman… that was after the former 5-star recruit graduated from high school early and won the USC starting job a mere three weeks after arriving on campus.

Like I said, this isn’t some Sun Belt Conference school either… This is the University of Southern California, I’m talking about.

Dropping Down a Notch From 2018?

The Washington State Cougars – I just can’t see the Cougs having quite as much success as they did in 2018, which was one of the best in programme history. The loss of charismatic leader, Gardner Minshew and star tackle, Andre Dillard will be a huge blow and I feel it’ll mean a season which will be a regression to the mean for Washington State. Mike Leach is an unbelievable coach and fully deserved his Coach of the Year honour last season but Gage Gubrud just ain’t it when it comes to piloting Leach’s hyper-pass centric Air-Raid offense when you consider that Minshew lead the FBS in passing attempts and completions and was second in passing yardage.

Shout Out to…

Khalil Tate. Man I want to see Arizona get back to what they were in 2017, so badly. The Wildcats took the phrase, lighting up the scoreboard to another level, averaging 41.3 points per game and scoring 71 touchdowns during the 2017 season.

What caught everyone’s eye so much was the method… Arizona’s run game went insane as they rushed for over 4,000 yards on the season.

Who was their leading rusher in 2017? Quarterback Khalil Tate with 1,411 yards at a conference leading 9.2 yards per attempt, whilst scooting in for 12 scores.

E L E C T R I C.

Running back J.J Taylor also got 847 yards and 5 TD’s which made him the 10th best rusher in terms of total yardage in the Pac 12 and with Tate and Taylor, the Wildcats, ran well… wild on their opponents.

Unfortunately, there was no repeat in 2018 as Tate was severely hindered by a high ankle sprain which sapped his mobility and he racked up a poultry 224 yards on the ground – his worst return in Tucson.

Kevin Sumlin will surely want to bring back that running attack for this 2019 season whilst he still has Tate and Taylor available to him, the two players who were absolutely intrinsic to Arizona’s offensive potency two years ago.

I drafted both Tate and Taylor in my most recent CFB fantasy league so I’m the driver of that particular hype train this season. 

And Finally… Who’s Bringing up the Rear?

In the South, UCLA and in the North, it’ll be a familiar story with Oregon State propping up the rest and probably being the worst team in the Pac 12.

Maybe I’m wrong on UCLA, maybe Chip Kelly gets it together in year 2 after a pretty awful debut season but I really don’t see a great deal of proven talent on this roster that makes me think otherwise. I think this is another building year for the Bruins although, I’ll be keeping an eye on Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The Sophomore QB was highly recruited when he attended high school football powerhouse, Bishop Gorman in Las Vegas. DTR, is a lively dual-threat, which can always be utilised well in Kelly’s spread offense.

However, I can’t muster much optimism for Oregon State… Sorry Beavers fans.


Follow @Full10YardsCFB on Twitter

Follow Lee @Wakefield90 on Twitter

NFC West Breakdown

By Andy Moore – (AJMoore21)

Last Season

Los Angeles Rams – 13-3

Seattle Seahawks – 10-6

San Francisco 49ers – 4-12

Arizona Cardinals – 3-13

LA Rams:

Draft selections: Taylor Rapp (R3 P.61), Darrell Henderson (R3 P.70), David Long (R3 P.79) Bobby Evans (R3 P.97), Greg Gaines (R4 P.134), David Edwards (R5 P.169), Nick Scott (R7 P.243), Dakota Allen (R7 P.251)

Offseason key additions: Clay Matthews (Packers/FA), Dante Fowler (Re-signed), Eric Weddle (Ravens/FA)

Offseason key departures: Roger Saffold (Titans/FA), Lemarcus Joyner (Raiders/FA), Ndamukong Suh (Buccaneers/FA)

Super Bowl odds: 15/2

Analysis:

Last season ultimately ended in disappointment for the Rams, but no-one could deny that they fully deserved their place in the Super Bowl. Averaging 32.9 points a game, Sean McVay’s offense was exhilarating to watch, with Wade Philips assembling an equally impressive cast on the other side of the ball.

Expectations have only grown this time around, with both Mcvay and Jared Goff both determined to bounce back from a spluttering Super Bowl performance.

Key to that bounce back will be the continued proficiency of Todd Gurley. A lot has been written this off-season about the health of the former Georgia star’s knee, which is rumoured to be hampered by arthritis. A reduced pre-season schedule would appear to confirm something is amiss, as did the drafting of Darrell Henderson out of Memphis.

If Gurley can’t drive the offense, renewed emphasis will be placed on Goff and his receiver core. The healthy return of Cooper Kupp will be a boost, and in Robert Woods and Brandin Cooks the Rams have two of the most versatile threats in the league. The key question will come when defensive co-ordinators start to learn lessons from Bill Belichik, putting pressure on McVay to guide Goff through defensive looks he might not have seen before.

Most of the Rams key personnel losses have come on defense, with Ndamukong Suh and Lemarcus Joyner the major departures. The addition of Clay Matthews and Eric Waddle will go some way to soothing that loss, and although both players are into the twilight of their career they’ll do nothing but add a ton of experience to an already mean unit.

Look out for:

The way Sean McVay updates his playbook in the wake of a Super Bowl defeat to the Patriots will be incredibly interesting to watch. Despite a scintillating season, McVay said of the 10-3 defeat ‘I didn’t give us the chance really to have offensive production, period.” A frank omission from the man who has been hailed as the premier creative mind in the league. Expect to see that mind generate new ideas that we’ve never seen before in 2019.

Seattle Seahawks

Draft selections: LJ Collier (R1 P.29), Marquise Blair (R2 P.47), DK Metcalf (R2 P.64), Cody Barton (R3 P.88), Gary Jennings (R4 P.120), Phil Haynes (R5 P.124), Ugochukwu Amadi (R4 P.132), Ben Burr-Kiven (R5 P.142), Travis Homer (R6 P.204), Demarcus Christmas (R6 P.209), John Ursua (R7 P.236)

Offseason key additions: Ziggy Ansah [Lions/FA], Mike Iupati [Cardinals/FA], Jason Myers [Jets/FA]

Offseason key departures: Earl Thomas [Ravens/FA], Frank Clark [Chiefs/trade], Doug Baldwin [Retired], Kam Chancellor [Retired]

Super Bowl odds: 28/1

Analysis:

The Seahawks continued their transition from their storied Legion of Boom era to a new look team this offseason.

Kam Chancellor and Doug Baldwin departed off the back of serious injuries, Earl Thomas got the move he has long desired and dominant defensive-end Frank Clark was dealt to the Chiefs. New, exciting faces came through the door, Ziggy Ansah, LJ Collier and DK Metcalf are all generating a buzz in the Pacific Northwest.

It couldn’t be clearer that Pete Carroll is fully invested in rebuilding around his two prized assets, Russell Wilson and Bobby Wagner. Both players signed new deals in the off-season ($140m & $54m respectively), and both are at least top five players in their position in the NFL.

If they’re going to kick on from a promising 2018 season, new players are going to have to step up. Tyler Lockett is being crowned as the receiver who will take on the role of Wilson’s primary target, Shaquill Griffin needs to establish himself as a true lockdown corner and Rashaad Penny will be looking to push past Chris Carson and justify his first-round pick.

The new additions need to contribute as well, with Ziggy Ansah’s addition standing out as particularly intriguing. The Ghanaian has two seasons with 12+ sacks, but has been hampered by injury and inconsistency. Carroll and Defensive Co-ordinator Ken Norton clearly have a track record of developing defensive talent and if they can get Ansah fit and healthy he could be a steal on his $9m ‘prove it’ deal.

There’s still a few holes in the roster, namely at Tight End and Corner, where Nick Vannett and Griffin are the best of an average bunch, but with Wilson’s versatility and Wagner’s leadership, Seahawks fans will be expecting another playoff berth.

Look out for:

Rashaad Penny – there were flashes of quality in Penny’s rookie season, 108 yards against the Rams and a 20-yard touchdown run against the 49ers the main examples, but by and large it was a disappointing campaign. Where Penny struggled, Chris Carson stepped up with a 1000-yard season as the Seahawks looked to move to a ground and pound offensive style.

Renewed emphasis has been placed on his pass protection skills this offseason, and there appears to be a plan to go with whoever is hot to the touch on any given Sunday. This can only be beneficial for Penny who might find himself firmly behind Carson if he didn’t happen to be a first rounded.  Look for him put everything in when his chance comes and maybe, just maybe, grab the RB1 job.

San Francisco 49ers

Draft selections: Nick Bosa (R1 P.2), Deebo Samuel (R2 P.36), Jalen Hurd (R3 P.67), Mitch Wishnowsky (R4 P.110), Dre Greenlaw (R5 P.148), Kaden Smith (R6 P.176), Justin Skule (R6 P.183), Tim Harris (R6 P.198),

Offseason key additions: Dee Ford [Chiefs/Trade], Kwon Alexander [Buccs/FA], Tevin Coleman [Falcons/FA]

Offseason key departures: Pierre Garcon [Free Agent], Cassius Marsh [Seahawks/FA]

Super Bowl odds: 33/1

Analysis:

Kyle Shanahan is entering his third season as the Head Coach of the 49ers, and it’s fair to say the fanbase, and possibly the ownership, will want to see some improvement. Over the past two seasons the ‘Niners are 10-22 having seen injuries ravage their starters on both sides of the ball.

The Athletic reports that no team had more contract value on the injured reserve than San Fran in 2018, with key players such as Jimmy Garoppolo & Jerick McKinnon missing most or all of the season.

With those players back, and a stack of good business across the offseason, many are tipping Shanahan and go to turn things around and put together a winning season in the Bay Area.

There’s certainly merit to that argument, Nick Bosa, Dee Ford and Kwon Alexander are high quality additions, with Bosa and Ford joining DeForest Buckner on what is a now a ridiculously talented defensive line. Talent will have to turn into production quickly if that 4-12 record is going to improve, the defence only managed six sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception all year.

Offensively, anticipation is slowly building with fans looking to see what Shanahan can do with three running backs who all have RB1 potential. Tevin Coleman joins Matt Breida and McKinnon in what seems like a fantasy football player’s nightmare, in reality it will give San Fran a punch they may have lacked in recent seasons. Deebo Samuel and Jalen Hurd will look to compliment George Kittle as the Tight End seeks to repeat what was a monster 1377 yard season.

All that considered, perhaps the most crucial element of a successful 49ers season is the health of the franchise Quarterback. After signing a $137.5m deal in 2018, Garoppolo played in three games before tearing his ACL. There are some that have their doubts about his play, but Shanahan and the coaching staff have complete faith in the former Patriots backup and will be relying on them to carry them towards an improved record in 2019.

Look out for:

Dante Pettis – everyone is touting Pettis as a breakout star, Pete Schrager even detailing how San Francisco avoided making moves for Odell Beckham and Antonio Brown because they liked the tools possessed by their second year wide out.

Pettis’ route running is one of his most exciting traits, his burst off the line and deep ball threat only aiding that. With Samuel, Hurd and veteran Marquise Goodwin all drawing coverage with threats of their own, look for Pettis to establish himself as a dominant WR1.

Arizona Cardinals

Draft selections: Kyler Murray (R1 P.1), Byron Murphy (R2 P.33), Andy Isabella (R2 P.63), Zach Allen (R3 P.65), Hakeem Butler (R4 P.103), Deionte Thompson (R5 P.139), KeeSean Johnson (R6 P.174), Lamont Gaillard (R6 P.179), Joshua Miles (R7 P.248), Michael Dogbe (R7 P.249), Caleb Wilson (R7 P.254)

Offseason key additions: Terrell Suggs [Ravens/FA], JR Sweezy [Seahawks/FA], Jordan Hicks [Eagles/FA], Robert Alford [Falcons/FA]

Offseason key departures: Josh Rosen [Dolphins/Trade], Antoine Bethea [Giants/FA], Jermaine Gresham [Free Agent]

Super Bowl odds: 120/1

Analysis:

Not many teams hired a Head Coach that had a losing record in the NCAA last year. Not many teams traded their 2018 1st round QB to draft a new one in 2019. The Cardinals are not however, most teams.

Kliff Kingsbury arrives in Arizona riding the wave of the Sean McVay’s revolution. His offensive mind and Air Raid scheme promise high octane thrills for the Cardinals’ faithful. The question is, can he deliver it?

First overall pick, Kyler Murray, will be the make it or break it man, and you can’t help but feel if he makes it, he could herald a real long-term change in the NFL. The undersized QB has long been an anomaly in the NFL, but with Drew Brees and Baker Mayfield setting a precedent, Murray seems to have arrived on the scene a little differently. The hype has been constant all through the offseason, and somehow it seems the media have decided he’ll be a certain success.

Whilst that remains to be seen, the Cards have done a fair bit of business to improve his receiving options. Larry Fitzgerald and Christian Kirk have been joined by Andy Isabella and Hakeem Butler in a revamped wide out group. The four-receiver set is the main stay of the Air Raid offense, and it’s fair to say all of the above players are going to need to produce a lot if the 3-13 record is going to improve.

On defence, talisman Patrick Peterson has been suspended for six games, but the addition of Robert Alford & Terrell Suggs gives the unit a couple of out and out playmakers. But it wasn’t the defence that was that bad last season.

With the NFL estimating Kingsbury’s men face the 12th hardest schedule in 2019, will the Cards be picking near the top of the draft again next Spring? Either way, there’s an awful lot of responsibility on a 5ft 10” QB out of Oklahoma, but that sounds familiar, right?

Look out for:

David Johnson – it seems obvious to spotlight one of Arizona’s best players, but, after a disappointing campaign last year, Johnson will hope to be back to his best.

The Air Raid offense, whilst focused on the passing game, should prevent opposition defences stacking the box, giving Johnson more freedom to search for those strong power runs and allowing him to be as dangerous as ever as the pass catching back he is. Look for nearly 2000 all-purpose yards if he can stay healthy.

2019 Season Prediction

LA Rams 13-3

Seattle Seahawks 8-8

San Francisco 49ers 7-9

Arizona Cardinals  5-11