Full10Lookahead – Week 6

By Tim Monk and Lawrence Vos

Eau de Toilet Bowl

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In the game widely regarded as the #tankbowl, Bill Callahan takes charge of his first game as interim head coach of the Washingotn Redskins as they take on the Dolphins.

Many will see the loser of this one in prime position to bag that lucrative #1 spot in the 2020 draft but you could argue that the #1 pick is needed by one of these teams more than the other.

Miami have a plethora of early picks in the next few years after some trading that has gone on from the Dolphins front office but Washington are in a bit of a mess.

Seemingly lacking in direction, focus and with barely any foundations in which to build this team on for both sides of the ball, Washington and their fans probably wouldn’t mind a terrible performance here to get ahead in the race for #1, even if that means it gives them the ability to acquire more picks by trading back from the 1st overall selection which will be highly sought after next year.

Miami do not have much more talent on their roster but have the war chest of picks in order to ease the pain the Dolphins fans are currently suffering and hopefully the light is at the end of the tunnel.

I think Washington’s tunnel may have caved in.

There once was a time that the Washington Redskins and the Miami Dolphins were NFL powerhouses. The teams were gritty, and won games by using a dominant running game to outmuscle opponents and break their will.

In fact the two teams have met twice in Super Bowls, once in the 70s and the second time a decade later. The results were split, the 1972 Dolphins ended up undefeated and the 1982 Redskins survived a strike-shortened season to lift the trophy thanks to the irrepressible RB John ‘The Diesel’ Riggins. Fast forward to 2019 and you have debatably the most pitiful NFL matchup since the woeful games of the 2018 0-16 Dan Orlovsky led Detroit Lions. Even they managed a fairy-tale ending as the Lions DE Cliff Avril went on to win a Super Bowl ring with the Seattle Seahawks.

Either Case Keenum or Josh Rosen will be responsible for their once-proud franchise falling to 0-6 with absolutely no end in sight. Redskins new interim head-coach Bill Callahan will be feeding Adrian Peterson the rock faster than a five-year old after consuming a selection box at a Christmas Day game of Hungry Hippos. The Dolphins will be looking for absolutely anything to stick, including any balls throw in the direction of UDFA WR Preston Williams. If rubbernecking is your thing, and you like to slow down at a motorway car crash then get your dash cam at the ready as the footage from this game will be a live recording of a crime against football. It should just about be a Redskins win (there I said it and thus the curse begins) but who is to say that Washington GM Bruce Allen is huge military fan. After all he may like a ‘tank’ as much as the Dolphins ownership.

When these two teams met in Super Bowl VII one of the greatest mistakes ever was committed when Dolphins kicker Garo Yepremian had a kick blocked, and instead of doing anything sensible he passed the ball right into a Redskins player who ran it back for a touchdown.

It is absolutely possible that the only scorers on Sunday are defensive players. 


Can Cousins continue chucking?

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Image Credit: Icon Sportswire (Getty Images)

There was definitely a focus on making sure the Cousins throwing narrative was chucked out of the window vs the Giants. The Big Blue defence provided a timely opportunity for Cousins to quell the detractors (which included some of his teammates) of the fully guaranteed signal caller as he was able to have time in the pocket and throw multiple touchdowns in a game for the first time since week 16 last year.

Will that continue as they welcome the Philadelphia Eagles?

Whilst they aren’t quite as bad as the Giants defence, they are no world beaters either due to injuries. It will be interesting to see if Cousins continues to throw as much as he did last week or whether they revert back to type and hand the ball off to Cook.


Watson vs Mahomes

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Image Credit: Kevin Jairaj /USA Today sports

2 quarterbacks that always put on a show get it on in week 6 with the Texans travelling to the recently Colt conquered Arrowhead stadium.

Both QBs combined account for just under 3400 yards so far this season and when they are healthy, they are definitely up there as the most exciting players to watch with the ball in their hands.

Mahomes is a bit dinged up, a feeling that Watson knows oh so well after having to resort to bus as a means of transport to and from games last season. Watson wasn’t actually touched by the Falcons last week so it’s possible this is the healthiest Watson will feel all season. The Chiefs’ defence isn’t the greatest, nor is the Texans, so we should get a shootout here in an all AFC clash.

On one of the rare occasions, Mahomes and the Chiefs have to bounce back from a defeat.


jack in the box

Image Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

People are starting to question the credentials of the 2018 #32 overall pick after a couple of poor performances.

A trio of interceptions on Sunday saw him fail his fantasy owners and now everyone is wondering whether or not Lamar Jackson has actually improved in his 2nd year.

First few games were plain sailing and as it turns out, against 2 very poor teams. Now that he’s faced a few tougher defences (and Arizona), things aren’t looking as rosy in the Baltimore garden.

We’ve mentioned on the NFL podcast before that he’ll have these questions to answer for pretty much every week of this season because of the nature of his play and the polarising opinion he gives the analysts and that will continue this week as he faces a Bengals team that should provide some respite for Jackson and his fans as a QB of similar ilk in Kyler Murray just got the win in the Jungle and a decent rushing performance.


Sunday Night Footb-oh

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Prior to the start of the season, the Steelers and Chargers were two teams expected to make the playoffs and produce an entertaining game.

Fast forward to now and this game looks like it’s not even worth the paper it’s written on.

Pittsburgh down and out for the 2019 and now down to possibly their 3rd QB after Mason Rudolph got walloped against the Ravens whilst the Chargers have whimpered so far this season losing last time out to Denver at “home”.

I think it’s fair to say that only the fans of these two teams will watch this one in the UK in the early hours, purely because I don’t think there are any Chris Collinsworth fans. Now here’s a guy who can get on your nerves…


Showcase showdown in London 

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Image Credit: Pitchcare.com

I haven’t got the intestinal fortitude to check if this has happened before in a regular season contest in England. This Sunday’s clash between the English noobs the Carolina Panthers and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers features three current major statistical category leaders.

The leading rusher, the leading tackler and the leading sack master all belong to teams who will be competing in the 26th NFL London matchup. Most surprising or impressive depending on your lens is Shaquil Barrett the Buccaneers edge who leads the league in sacks with 9 so far in 5 games. Not far behind him is the Panthers DE Mario Addison with 6.5 to his name.

What makes both of these feats truly impressive is that neither actually were drafted by any of the 32 teams. Addison bounced around three teams (Bears, Colts and Redskins) in his first two years before being signed by the Panthers in 2012. He has a solid 52 sacks in his career. Barrett, who has a Super Bowl ring from his stint with the Denver Broncos, had only started 15 games in four seasons at Mile-High, notching his best sack total of 5.5 as a rookie. Now he stands alongside the legendary Jets pass rusher Mark Gastineau (who sported a fine moustache) with the most sacks ever in both the first three and first four games in a season.

To see both players coming over to play at the impressive Tottenham Hotspur stadium will be a highlight for the 60,000 fans this Sunday. 


Fools Gold or real prospects? 

Image Credit: Tony Avelar/AP/Shutterstock

The Jimmy Garoppolo led San Francisco 49ers have been patient, they have had a plan and GM John Lynch and Head Coach Kyle Shanahan are starting to show that they know their way around a football field.

Both the GM & HC signed epic six-year deals just days apart in 2017, and vowed to bring back the 49ers to a time when they were as dominant as the New England Patriots are right now. The plans to progress were seriously scuppered in 2018 when both QB Jimmy Garoppolo and highly-touted RB Jerrick McKinnon both got injured. McKinnon is still crocked but Jimmy G has been kept upright and his team are now 4-0. No they have not faced the likes of the Saints or Bears yet, but to be the last undefeated NFC team is still an achievement.

The 49ers travel to L.A. on Sunday to play the reigning NFC champion Rams. This will be a true test if the 49ers are the real deal or a shiny lump of pyrite. The dual punching power of a bruising running game, made up of Matt Breida and Tevin Coleman is arguably the best backfield pairing in the league, and this is only enhanced by the lead blocking of the NFL’s top fullback Kyle Juszczyk. Jusczyzk to his credit can catch the ball too as evidenced by his 6 snags so far.

Being able to draft the premier defensive chess piece in this year’s draft in the form of Nick Bosa (Joey’s not so little brother) has helped a lot, but this is a team that boasts the league’s number one rushing attack (200 yards a game) and the second highest scoring offense (31.8). Not even laid-back Californian surfer dude types would have projected the 49ers to be undefeated heading into Week 6.

This is not the 49ers of old, but spending years shining the shoes of, and carrying the clipboard for Tom Brady looks to be paying dividend. 


Can someone tune up Le’Veon Bell

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Image Credit: Michael Owens / Getty Images

After a year spent on his sofa chewing on sunflower seeds and experimenting no doubt with himself as the protagonist in a Madden Franchise, Le’Veon Bell returned to the NFL with a new team, a new attitude but an old goal, to win a Super Bowl. So far this is as likely as the Miami Dolphins going on an 11 game winning streak.

The New York Jets are languishing in the cess pool that is the lower half of the AFC East. Without a win, without a starting quarterback and averaging under 10 points a game is classic Bruce Coslet territory (an old and unsuccessful Jets head coach in the 1990s). Behind a poor offensive line Bell is averaging under three yards a carry, has zero rushing touchdowns and is only barely being tolerated by fantasy owners because he is projected to end the season with a whopping 108 catches.

If this was any other season the Jets would be the lowest power ranked team, but even they are unable to sink to the levels of ineptitude on display in South Florida. Sam Darnold, the saviour, is due to return to action after his bout of Mono in a tough contest against a crest-fallen Dallas Cowboys team who will be wanting to prove to doubters that the incredibly slow start against Green Bay was an anomaly. Bell when on fire is a sight to behold. His 2017 running style was a unique blend of power, patience and incredible vision, mixing snake hips with poisonous tongue darts between defenders. Bell at the moment is more komodo dragon than slippery lizard.

After the Cowboys allowed four touchdowns to Aaron Jones in Week 5 the Jets will at least go into this Week 6 matchup with some degree of hope, along with Sam Darnold at the wheel. Look to Bell to maintain his short passing route production, but ultimately enter Week 7 without a team victory in sight.


Third becomes first after Mason mashed

Not one to stay up for, but it is worth noting undrafted rookie Delvin Hodges will make his first start in Sunday Night Football for the Pittsburgh Steelers against the Los Angeles Chargers.

Hodges got a $1000 signing bonus and initially made the team because the Steelers traded backup Josh Dobbs to the Jaguars in September. Undrafted quarterbacks have performed miracles – the likes of Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme and Mike Tomzak have all reached Super Bowls.

In Tomzak’s case he won a ring backing up Jim McMahon on the legendary 1985 Bears team, and for Kurt Warner he got a ring starting against the Tennessee Titans. Mason Rudolph, deputising for an already injured Ben Roethlisberger, suffered a horrific hit in Week 5 but managed to get up after minutes of collective breath holding. The NFL may be doing some things wrong but the concussion protocol is being taken dead seriously now, unlike in the past when players would be back far earlier that they should have been.

Nothing is expected from Delvin Hodges against a Chargers team that still cannot find a way to post a winning record in the first half of a season, but 2019 it seems is a year that will go down as one that saw unknown quarterbacks take centre stage and perform admirably. Hodges could be the man to spark Steelers WR Juju Smith-Schuster back to life after a somewhat soggy start to the season.

Without Antonio Brown (remember him) as his partner in crime prevention JuJu is looking like a rather distressed Robin, and not even the good one from the 1960s TV show, he looks like the Chris O’Donnell version who wore the red nipple-protruding chest piece.

The Chargers are going to have to face life without QB Philip Rivers at some point soon, so this is a much needed win that would put them at 3-3 and still in contention for a Wild-Card berth come the Winter. 

Full10Takeaways – Week 5

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland) and Shaun Blundell (@Shaun_F10Y)

Ouch!

Image Credit – Joe Sargeant / Getty Images

You could be excused for confusing the NFL redzone coverage on Sunday for an episode of casualty. Several times the electric cart was brought out onto an NFL field on Sunday as what was a day that several players saw their season come to an abrupt end.

2 of the more notable season ending ones were Colts 2nd year pass rusher Kemoko Turray, who broke his ankle in SNF. Tony Jefferson tore his ACL earlier in the day to leave a big hole in the Ravens secondary. Several players left games with varying injuries throughout the day but the scariest of the lot though without doubt was Mason Rudolph lying unconscious on the Heinz Field turf. It certainly wasn’t the worst hit you will ever see but a combination of Brandon Carr from behind and an Earl Thomas helmet to the chin had the young QB out cold.

Thankfully he regained consciousness and walked from the field which was lucky as the electric cart broke!


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16 Weeks on the Road?

Image Credit – Harry How / Getty Images

Talking of injuries, thats a nice link to arguably the most unlucky team in football the LA Chargers.

A team that seemingly gets a bigger slice of the injury pie than anyone else, actually welcomed back a player this week, as Melvin Gordon saw the field. He however was part of a predictable and conservative gameplan which was too much dink and not enough dunk. On a day that Austin Ekeler caught a career high 15 passes the Chargers couldn’t get anything going consistently offensively, as Vic Fangio tasted success for the first time in his short head coach career.

Its unsurprising that this brand of football isn’t attracting fans into watch the franchise as the move from San Diego continues to look like a mistake as the Broncos fans hugely outnumbered the fans of the supposed “home” team.


Texans Feast on Falcons

Image Credit – Troy Taorimina / USA Today Sports

DeShaun Watson is good.

DeShaun Watson when not getting pressured is superb, and that was the case on Sunday as the Texans dropped a 50 burger on the Falcons. A career high 426 yards through the air was accompanied by 5 touchdown passes and a further 47 yards rushing. His main weapon on the day was Will Fuller who caught 14 balls for 217 yards and 3 touchdowns.

Atlanta battled and had the deficit at a 1 possession game for much of the contest but the takeaway here isn’t so much how good Watson and co were offensively but just how bad this Atlanta defense is.

Tim wrote last week about Dan Quinn and his seat getting warmer, displays by the side of the ball he is supposed to be stronger in will do nothing to turn the temperature down a few degrees.


High, Wide and Not Handsome

Image Credit – James Kenney / AP Photo

Cairo Santos, dear oh dear oh dear. In a game that was the most obvious candidate ever to be decided by a small margin, it wasn’t a good night for the Titans kicker to suffer a disastrous tilt.

He left a total of 12 points off the board with field goal misses from 50, 36, 32 and 53 yards away. Missing kicks, especially from 50 plus yards is obviously not uncommon, but Santos was closer to threatening supporters sitting behind the posts as opposed to the kicking net as he kicks were way off throughout.

A strange decision by Mike Vrabel to even attempt the 53 yarder when down by 7 points and under 7 minutes left in what had proven to be the defensive slugfest that we had predicted.

Maybe he will find himself as a member of Jason Garret corner on this week’s podcast?


Super Ted

Image Credit – David Grunfeld / nola.com

Ladies and gentlemen, Teddy Bridgewater can still throw!

For the first time in nearly 4 years the signal caller threw for over 200 yards as he powered the Saints to a dominant divisional win over the Bucs. 4 touchdown passes also found the box score as on the day Teddy remembered how to air it out, Michael Thomas remembered how to dominate on the outside. He was a perfect 9/9 when lined up against press coverage on a day when the Bucs star receiver Mike Evans was held catchless.

The post game interview with Teddy was a reminder of just how far he has come since suffering what many thought to be a career ending injury. He couldn’t tie his shoelaces and now he has steadied the Saints in Drew Brees absence, a remarkable turnaround.


Tottenham triumph 

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Image credit: Pitchcare.com

All the hype about the shiny new Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is 101% justified. The stadium is situated right on the Tottenham High Road opposite some local shops such as bookies and kebab outlets.

Fans took full advantage of the road being closed, throwing balls and gathering en-mass to play NFL jersey bingo. Any fans wanting to buy any merch can expect to queue up as the store has security arches. Inside the stadium the views are awesome wherever you are sitting, and the experience is full immersive. The three rings of digital information screens, along with jumbo screens in all four corners mean you will never miss a highlight, a replay or a challenge. The sound is quality and the lights are stunning.

Fans were treated to some pyrotechnics around the roof’s inner ring on Sunday which is something you simply have to be in the stadium to experience. If the NFL plan to lure an existing team to London it won’t be a hard sell on the stadium.

England captain and World-Cup golden boot winner Harry Kane was a guest of honour on Sunday and he looked like he had a whale of a time. If he does decide to one day transition to an NFL kicker, what’s the odds that he doesn’t even need to change his parking pass? 


You’d be crackers not to like Jacobs 

Image Credit: AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth

As the top drafted rookie running back on a team in transition with a new (returning) head coach you could excuse the output to less than impressive for the Oakland Raiders Josh Jacobs. Thing is Jacobs is absorbing that pressure like a seasoned veteran.

Jacobs was voted the Tottenham game ‘man of the match’ winner even before he went airborne for the game winning score. Jacobs has been a number one back all season and is easily justifying his high pick position.

After five weeks he is 6th in the league in rushing with 430 yards and four scores. Jacobs picked up the hard yards in London both rushing and receiving, and arguably could have had three scores. Backup RB Deandre Washington was a TD vulture.

Jacobs would not be achieving such positive results without two key factors being delivered – his ability to pass block when called upon and the play of the Raiders offensive line. Khalil Mack flew home with a Union Jack fridge magnet, a six inch Beefeater and a jar of Marmite but had no sack to put them in. 


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Redskins change the locks 

Image Credit: Nick Wass/AP

Jay Gruden, when asked by the media on Sunday, after the Washington Redskins fifth consecutive loss, about his job security he said that he would carry on if his key still worked.

That was enough for owner Dan Snyder and GM Bruce Allen to dial up a locksmith and get a shiny new Chubb installed at the gates of Fed-Ex Field (no Browns fans they did not trade for Nick).

This was the most obvious firing and was inevitable after Tom Brady, in second gear, helped himself to an easy victory against a Redskins team that atrocious to say the least. Gruden was unable to overcome major injuries to stars, failed to develop and true WR talent and had zero playoff wins in his tenure.

New ‘interim’ Head Coach Bill Callahan led the Raiders to s Super Bowl in 2001, and is a true advocate of a strong running game. Gruden seemingly banged nails in his own coffin when he deactivated future Hall of Fame RB Adrian Peterson in Week 1. Trent Williams the All-Pro T is the last remaining holdout, and the defence has been as porous as Sponge Bob Square Pants.

In fact Spongebob would probably be an upgrade in the secondary.  

Top 5 London International Series moments

By Tim Monk (@Tim_MonkF10Y)

It’s the first of 4 London games this weekend as part of the International Series, so let’s take a trip down memory lane at 5 memorable moments in the history of the game played this side of the pond.


5. Allen Hurns TD vs Buffalo


Image Credit: Getty Images

Despite 4 punts in the opening 5 drives, this game came alive shortly after as Buffalo and Jacksonville traded blows. In what was supposed to be an easier assignment than other years at “home”, the Jags raced out to a 27-3 lead. Then 28 unanswered points from Buffalo, led by EJ Manuel saw the Bills take the lead inside of 5 minutes left in the game.

Blake Bortles then escapes the pressure, rolls to his left and throws a pinpoint 31 yard bomb in to the front corner of the endzone where Allen Hurns managed to dive, touch his elbow/shoulder in bounds on the slide for one of the best touchdowns seen at Wembley stadium.


4. The tied game/Missed field goal


Image Credit: Sports Illustrated

Washington and Cincinatti produced a decent matchup in this International Series game but it was a game full of turnovers and missed field goals.

Kirk Cousins threw for 458 yards (might take him a whole season to accomplish that this year!) in a game that was nip and tuck all game.

In overtime, Kirk Cousins drove 67 yards to the Bengals 16 yards line for Dustin Hopkins to miss the 34 yard field goal, leading to the first ever tie in London.


3. Matt Prater field goal


The Detroit Lions found themselves 21-0 down at half time in this one despite being the favourites. They were still 21-10 down going in to the 4th quarter.

Deep in the 4th, the Lions managed to score a touchdown but FAIL the 2pt conversion, leaving the score at 21-19 to the Falcons. The Falcons were unable to run the clock down and left 1:38 on the clock after pinning the Lions down inside their own 10.

Matthew Stafford drove the Lions down immediately, with big plays to Golden Tate and Theo Riddick. After a Stafford spike, there was :04 left in the game. Matt Prater steps up and misses from 43 yards. However, due to a delay of game penalty, Prater got another shot 5 yards further back. Of course, he nails it straight through and the comeback is complete.


2. Titans Tried for 2


Image Credit: Associated Press

In a strange game between the Titans and the Chargers, the trend for going for two at the death may have started here.

Down for the majority of the game, the Titans thought they found the endzone on 3rd and goal on a Mariota scramble but was overruled. On 4th and goal, they go to Luke Stocker on the run fake with 35 seconds left on the clock.

Mike Vrabel and co decided to get out with the win by trying to go for a two point conversion.

Mariota’s pass to Tajae Sharp was incomplete, but due to defensive holding, they get another go from the 1 yard line. Give it to Derrick Henry. No, don’t be silly. They try another play deep in the tomfoolery playbook to Taywan Taylor but Adrian Phillips was able to tip the pass, giving the Chargers the win.


1. Landon Calling


Couldn’t get through the article without a pun (and it’s a beauty to be fair!) but here is one for the defensive guys!

In a cold Autumn evening in Twickenham, there was a red hot play on the defensive side of the ball.

In what was a pretty poor game overall, the one highlight was with the Giants 10-3 behind, Landon Collins picking off Case Keenum at the 45 yards line and literally going through the whole Rams team into the endzone.

This helped the Giants facilitate a 17-10 win at the home of Rugby and is regarded by many as the single greatest play in London to date.

#NFL100Memories – 14/100

The greatest second quarter ever By Lawrence Vos @NFLFANINENGLAND


It seems like a dream now.

I was 13 years old, had been an NFL fan since 1985, and in only the second ever Super Bowl I was watching live, I was staying up in the middle of the night to watch my team, the Washington Redskins, as they took on the favourites the John Elway led Denver Broncos. It’s a game I will never forget, and over 30 years later the memories are still vivid.

This was the Super Bowl that saw the first African American starting quarterback, Doug Williams, who had endured racism, lack of faith and a career with lots more lows than highs.
Williams took the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to an NFC Championship wearing the creamsicle uniform long before he wore the burgundy and gold.

I recall having my tray of goodies with me (a Marathon bar chopped into slices, peanut M and M’s, and a can of Pepsi) and I knew that unlike the year before I would remain wide
awake to see every play of Super Bowl XXII.

I can remember Redskins head-coach Joe Gibbs running onto the field with his knitted jumper and big glasses. This was during an era where Super Bowl starting line-ups were individually announced, before the Patriots ‘one-team’ ethos ruined the ceremony and drama of the individual announcements as players ran out the tunnel.

The game began as a disaster for my Redskins, after going three and out John Elway hit rookie Ricky Nattiel on a bomb on the Broncos first play from scrimmage and boom we were 7-0 down. Then to rub it in Elway caught a pass himself, again many, many years before the Philly Special. The drive stalled but the Broncos kicked a field-goal and it was 10-0 Denver going into the second quarter.

Fans in the stadium, fans around the world, and me sitting on my sofa in a block of flats on a council housing estate in Surrey (yes they have council estates in Surrey) had no idea what was about to happen….the single greatest offensive explosion in a quarter of NFL football,
which happened to be in the second quarter of a Super Bowl, by a team that looked outmatched and out classed in the first fifteen minutes.

From the moment the quarter began the Redskins went absolutely wild. The first play saw Doug Williams hit Ricky Sanders on an 80-yard bomb, then on the next drive Gary Clark
caught a game-changing score. Technically the 14-10 lead was enough to win the game
there and then, but Williams and Coach Gibbs could not stop.
Absolutely unknown rookie running back Timmy Smith, who was only told he would make his first NFL start hours before the game, then scored a 50 plus yard touchdown, and
Williams then added two more scores through the air, a second to Sanders and his fourth to tight-end Clint Didier.

As this was only my second Super Bowl I thought this was normal, but I pretty soon realised that scoring 35 points in a quarter, in what turned out to be only 18 total offensive plays, was historic.
The Redskins went on to run the ball and play solid defense in the second half to win 42-10.
This game was the first time a team had come back from a 10-point deficit in a Vince Lombardi trophy contest, and Doug Williams was named an incredibly worthy MVP.

Records get broken every year, including Super Bowl specific ones, but I have a feeling this is one record that will stand the test of time.
It’s possible that Patrick Mahomes can somehow break this record one day, but he has to lead his team to the big dance first, something easier to say than do.

That incredible quarter will be my favourite fifteen minutes of NFL watching as long as I live.

NFC East Breakdown

by Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland)

Last Season 

Dallas 10-6

Philadelphia 9-7

Washington 7-9

NY Giants 5-11

Dallas Cowboys:

Draft selections1st Round traded last season for Amari Cooper WR (via LA Raiders), Trysten Hill DT (2.26), Connor McGovern G (3.26), Tony Pollard RB (4.26), Michael Jackson Sr CB (5.20), Joe Jackson DE (5.27), Donovan Wilson S (6.41). Mike Weber RB (7.4), Jalen Jelks DE (7.27)

Offseason key additions: Alfred Morris RB, Jason Witten TE (came out of retirement), George Iloka S, Randall Cobb WR/RET,

Offseason key departures
: Allen Hurns WR, Scott Linehan Offensive Co-ordinator, Geoff Swain HB, Cole Beasley WR

Super Bowl odds: 20-1

Analysis:

Offense
The Cowboys rose to the top of a murky NFC East bloodbath with a second-half surge, winning seven of their last eight regular season games by just 35 points in total. This was the Zeke Elliot show most of the season as he led the league in rushing. If Zeke can tear himself away from the fajitas and Margaritas in Mexico then he stands a decent chance to repeat this feat. If Zeke is still holding out in September then the Cowboys will lean on rookie Tony Pollard. Dallas’s greatest strength is the offensive line, stacked with Pro Bowlers and led by All Pro Tackle Tyron Smith. The biggest in-season trade last year saw Amari Cooper move to Dallas, and he immediately made an impression, leading the team in receiving yards five times in the second half of the season. With a full off-season in Texas under his belt Cooper is primed to have his best output ever as a pro. Elsewhere Jason Witten has un-retired and will continue his journey to Canton with another season at tight-end. His return will stunt the growth of Blake Jarwin who looked a potential breakout candidate. The Cowboys defense is jam-packed with studs and if the core group can stay healthy this is going to be the first time the Cowboys can legitimately return to the Super Bowl since the days of Aikman, Irvin and Emmitt Smith.

Look out for:  The unfolding situation regarding Zeke holding out. This is nothing to worry about now, but if this is still the case in two weeks then start praying to the fantasy gods. If the Cowboys start 3-1 they have the tools to go to the Big Dance. Rookie running back Tony Pollard, a fourth round pick, will be well worth monitoring in the pre-season. A dark-horse tip for fantasy success is Randall Cobb, who can suck up all the slot catches. Demarcus Lawrence is an unadulterated beast and will be pushing for an All Pro season.

Philadelphia Eagles:

Draft selectionsAndre Dillard OT (1.22), Miles Sanders RB (2.21), JJ Arcega-Whiteside WR (2.25), Shareef Miller DE (4.36), Clayton Thorson QB (5.29),

Offseason key additions:  Desean Jackson WR (returning back), Eli Harold DE, Jonathan Cyprien S, Zach Brown LB, Jordan Howard RB, Malik Jackson DT, Andrew Sendejo S,

Offseason key departuresGolden Tate III WR, Nick Foles QB, Jordan Hicks LB, Jay Ajayi RB.

Super Bowl odds: 14-1

Analysis: The talisman is gone, Nick Foles earned himself a monster monster FA deal in the sunnier climate of Jacksonville, leaving Carson Wentz atop the depth chart with no real challenge (backup Nate Sudfeld broke a bone in his hand in pre-season week 1). The Eagles went for a future replacement for stud T Jason Peters in round one, but the biggest impact rookie will be second-rounder Miles Sanders who will fight tooth and nail with FA signing Jordan Howard for starting snaps. The Eagles have quietly added to their defense with some solid but not headline grabbing signings. Malik Jackson will compliment All-World DT Fletcher Cox, and Zach Brown is a tackle magnet who the Redskins will sorely miss. Zach Ertz is arguably the best TE in the league as long as you are not a Chiefs or 49ers fan. Ertz will not match his 2018 output as Dallas Goedert will be looking to establish a bigger target share. The Eagles weakness is the secondary that will be a mixed bag in 2019, after suffering more injuries than a Saturday night at Holby City Hospital. Philly used 15 defensive backs last season and whilst Malcolm Jenkins and Ronald Darby return they are not a top 10 pairing.

Look out for: Desean Jackson will be tearing down the flanks and will be odds on to lead the NFL in yards per catch as well as being a YAC (yards after catch) madman. Providing the chemistry with Carson Wentz melds together early this could be enough to win a few games alone. The way that Jordan Howard and Miles Sanders work together will be key, and expect both on the field at the same time in certain situations. The season will rest on Wentz staying upright, and that is where the offensive line will determine their destiny. Lookout for a swansong from pocket rocket Darren Sproles, who has the biggest heart in the league.

New York Giants:

Draft selectionsDaniel Jones QB (1.6), Dexter Lawrence DT (1.17), Deandre Baker CB (1.30), Oshane Ximines DE (3.31), Julian Love CB (4.6), Ryan Connelly LB (5.5), Darius Slayton WR (5.29), Corey Ballentine CB (6.7), George Asafo-Adjei OT (7.18) Chris Slayton DL (7.31).

Offseason key additions: Golden Tate WR, Markus Golden LB, Jabrill Peppers S, Kevin Zeitler G, Antione Bethea S, Cody Latimer WR, Olsen Pierre DT, Rod Smith RB.

Offseason key departures: Odell Beckham Jr WR, Landon Collins S, Connor Barwin LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Is it finally here? Is the Eli Manning era finally over when the Giants controversially selected Duke’s Daniel Jones at 6th overall in the 2019 NFL draft. Jones looked efficient in his pre-season debut against the Jets, but this is not real football. We all know RB Saquon Barkley will be over-worked like an Egyptian donkey but he simply cannot take defensive snaps and is powerless for half of every game. The Giants must have a curse over their pass catchers as Golden Tate is suspended four games (pending an appeal), Corey Coleman is lost for the season with injury and Sterling Shephard has a broken thumb. And some other no-name guy left to go and work in a dog pound. The best option Manning has is to find TE Evan Engram early and often (after all he is on my Full 10 yards staff fantasy roster). The Giants went heavy on defense in the draft with a DT and CB in round one. Both will likely move into early starting roles. This is not a dominant defense by any means, arguably one of the weakest in the NFL, with no big names and two new safeties in the form of Jabrill Peppers and Antoine Bethea. If you play the Giants go deep and do it often.

Look out for: The betting line is not going to be about wins in the Big Apple, it’s going to focus on the week that Daniel Jones gets the starting gig. The Giants and Redskins will compete for overall ineptitude in the entire NFC conference, so apart from Barclay I can’t see much to get excited over. After all who drafted Wayne Gallman, Rhett Ellison, Russell Shepherd or Bennie Fowler onto their fantasy rosters – nobody !

Washington Redskins:

Draft selections: Dwayne Haskins QB (1.15), Montez Sweat EDGE (1.26), Terry McLaurin WR (4.10), Bryce Love RB (4.10),  Wes Martin G (4.29), Ross Pierschbacher (5.15), Cole Holcomb LB (5.35), Kelvin Harmon WR (6.34). Jimmy Moreland (7.13), Jordan Brailford EDGE (7.39)

Offseason key additions: Landon Collins S, Case Keenum QB, Jon Bostic ILB, Dominic Rogers-Cromartie CB, Ereck Flowers OT, Donald Penn OT.

Offseason key departuresZach Brown LB, Preston Smith OLB, Jamison Crowder WR, Ty Nsekhe OT, Ha-Ha Clinton Dix S, Maurice Harris WR, Mason Foster LB.

Super Bowl odds: 100-1

Analysis: Remarkably just after the half-way point of the 2018 season the Redskins were 6-3, leading the NFC East, watching two grizzled veterans (Alex Smith QB and Adrian Peterson RB) having outstanding seasons, and then one missed assignment and one hit later and the whole season went to hell in a handcart. Once Alex Smith suffered a gruesome leg break the season went on a downward spiral that would have even been too much for Jamie and his magic torch (look him up on YouTube). Two new quarterbacks, Case Keenum and rookie Dwayne Haskins, will battle it out for starts during the season, but the bigger problem is who will be catching the ball. The Redskins probably have the weakest set of wide outs in the entire NFL, and will be hoping rookies Terry McLaurin or Kelvin Harmon can step up. The offensive line is currently without All Pro Trent Williams who wants to leave, and the running game is questionable with projected starter second-year back Derrius Guice yet to take a regular season handoff. Jordan Reed at tight end simply can’t stay on the field, but at least the supporting cast of Vernon Davis and Jeremy Sprinkle offer some hope. The mega-bucks signing of safety Landon Collins from the Giants will be under the spotlight. Collins grew up loving former Redskins superstar Sean Taylor, if he can be a quarter as good as #21 then this is a winning move. The Redskins traded back up to the end of the first round to grab Montez Sweat a DE/OLB hybrid, who will learn a lot about how to survive in the NFL from Ryan Kerrigan.

Look out for: This season should hold no expectations for Redskins fans as the likes of Dwayne Haskins, Derrius Guice, Terry McLaurin and Kelvin Harmon will be playing their first games in the pros. Late round fantasy tip is Trey Quinn WR, one of my slot machines. CB Josh Norman is now Josh Normal at corner, and S Landon Collins is new and will need to make a big impression in his first month to garnish fan respect. The defensive line is the Redskins only real strength, with high profile draft picks Jonathan Allen and Darron Payne looking for end of season award recognition. Look out for the lesser known DT Matt Ioannidis, he is emerging as a star and has 10 sack potential.

2019 Season Prediction

With the offensive line intact, and the cornerback duo of Byron Jones and Chidobe Awuzie, along with Demarcus Lawrence wreaking havoc and Leighton Vander Esch tackling everything in sight I simply cannot look beyond the Cowboys, who I can realistically see representing the NFC in the Super Bowl this season. This only happens if Zeke Elliot is back, and if Dak Prescott keeps his focus. The Cowboys got off to an awful start last season and they cannot afford to do the same this time. The Eagles will be a quality team again, but Carson Wentz simply cannot stay fit for 16 games. Philly’s running game will be a nightmare for fantasy owners and the pocket rocket Darren Sproles will want to go out on a high. The Giants will wrestle between giving Eli a respectful farewell tour or giving Daniel Jones regular season game reps. I suspect Jones will be starting by Week 10 at the latest. The Redskins will simply be a hot mess. This is one of those years that you simply have to take on the chin if you are a Washington supporter. With no proven wide receivers, a brittle tight end and an offensive line whose best player (Trent Williams) may be gone before the end of pre-season don’t expect a 6-3 start like 2018.

Dallas 12-4* (* = with Zeke from Week 1)

Philadelphia 11-5 (Wild Card)

New York 4-12

Washington 3-13

Slot Machines

By Lawrence Vos – @nflfaninengland – 25th July 2019

It’s somewhat fitting that the global marketing machine that is the NFL is soon to have a presence in the city that never sleeps, where day is night and night is day, where it seems people actually have tried to break the will of chefs at an ‘all you can eat’ buffet, and where Mike Tyson’s tiger once got stolen by an orthodontist.

Las Vegas is the home to the grandest casinos and the brightest lights, along with an abundance of slot machines. In fact, it is estimated the region is home to around 200,000 slot machines. The biggest win from one of these machines was just under $40m by a software engineer from Los Angeles.

So why the gambling references in a fantasy football article you say? Well if we are to talk about slot machines, especially ones that can yield the jackpot then let’s examine 10 of the top NFL slot machines, just before you go looking for a 3rd or 4th wide receiver in your upcoming PPR (points per reception) fantasy drafts.

On our visit to Sin City let’s also stop-off at a diner or two and play the 5c machine by the broken payphone and see if we can get a few bucks worth of cheap fantasy slot action too.

To add some show-time flair let’s commence my personal countdown, sung by none other than the nippletastic Janet Jackson, who is only a few days from a two-month residency in yes, you guessed it, Las Vegas (in fact for just $4,102 per person you can get a VIP banquet ticket !!!).

Now I’m not dismissing the likes of Adam Humphries talent but unfortunately he has gone to the team where wide receivers die (the Tennessee Titans) so he does not make my top 10.

10) Braxton Berrios – New England Patriots

Berrios may not have caught a regular season ball in his short NFL career, but he landed in perhaps the single greatest place to develop, under the tutelage of Tom Brady and Sith Lord Belichick. Drafted in the 6th round of the 2018 draft Berrios was a fan favourite at ‘The U’, where he caught clutch touchdowns and established himself as potential replacement material for the likes of Danny Amendola or Julian Edelman if he ever made the pros. It was inevitable that he would end up with the Patriots, and with Edelman currently side-lined with a thumb injury this is Berrios’s opportunity to fight for a place on the 53-man roster. 

9) Trey Quinn – Washington Redskins

Unless you are a hard-core Redskins fan or you have some love for the 2018 Mr Irrelevant (the person drafted last) then you may not be familiar with this guy. Another product of the SMU wide-receiver factory that has produced the likes of Courtland Sutton, Emmanuel Sanders, Aldrick Robinson and Cole Beasley, Quinn is in a position to explode onto the NFL scene in 2019. He will likely have two quarterbacks throwing to him early in the season, which may not help in terms of building confidence. Quinn made a small cameo as a rookie, scoring once in a three-game stint in November and December. The stage is set for a huge upsurge in production – possibly 70 catches for 750 yards and 7 scores, but only if he can stay healthy for at least 15 games.

8) Randall Cobb – Dallas Cowboys

Not quite a Swiss Army knife, but not far off, Randall Ladonald Cobb II has been darting his 5ft 10-inch frame around NFL fields since 2011, starting 100 games and gaining over 5,000 yards on 470 catches. Cobb has been listed as a RB/WR back in 2012, but manning a slot position is the reason he is still around, and in a game of SwapSlot he now replaces Cole Beasley in Dallas. Cobb had a quiet 2018, in part due to injury, and is expected to bounce back in 2019 catching balls from Dak Prescott. Not necessarily great expectations for Cobb in Dallas, as Amari Cooper will look to put up All-Pro numbers in 2019, but he can carve out a quality role and hope for 60-70 catches and around 5 touchdowns.

7) Jamison Crowder – New York Jets

It was always a case of ‘next season he will be a breakout beast’ but it never quite happened in Washington, so the Redskins cut ties and Crowder ended up in the snazzy new Green of the New York Jets in free-agency. Before injury cut short his 2018 season Crowder had averaged 64 catches a year, and also had a cameo role as a returner, but occasional dazzling displays have never gained the momentum to move him into the realm of a fantasy stud. Now in the Big Apple and catching the pigskin from second year passer Sam Darnold we could finally be witness to a Crowder breakout that has been threatening for almost half a decade. With Darnold’s safety blanket Chris Herndon suspended and LeVeon Bell drawing coaches’ attentions Crowder roaming the slot could be an awfully familiar sight for Jets fans by the time the white stuff makes an appearance.

6) Anthony Miller – Chicago Bears

No not the second last criminal to be executed in Scotland (look it up), and no not the son of former Chargers legend with the same name, Anthony Miller the Bears second round pick from 2018 went a little under the radar in his first professional season. 33 catches were par for the course for a rookie, a huge dip considering his junior and senior seasons at Memphis yielded 191 catches for a smidge under 3,000 yards and 32 scores. The Bears were locked on grabbing Miller and traded up to grab him, and his seven rookie touchdowns were a pleasant surprise, they in fact led the Bears and were the most by a rookie since Willie Gault in 1983. Miller will be stronger and more confident in 2019 and will enjoy his trip to London, where he will be able to show a global audience that he is going to be a star.

5) Cole Beasley – Buffalo Bills

If Cole Beasley was a cartoon character he would be Scrappy Doo, as he is a hairy fighter who fights for every yard. Another free agent signing, moving from the warmth of Texas to the chill of upstate New York and the Buffalo Bills. Josh Allen was a fantastic fantasy rookie, surprising everyone with his legs, but now he has weapons, including John ‘Smokey’ Brown, All-Pro returner Andre Roberts and Beasley, who will become a snuggle blanket. With breakout candidate Robert Foster and Brown running the medium to long routes Beasley will be that 8 yards and a smack in the mouth kinda guy, and every team needs one. Beasley won’t set the stats sheet on fire but he will keep it simmering throughout 2019 with 75-85 catches and around 800 yards.

4) Dede Westbrook – Jacksonville Jaguars

I have taken part in a bunch of PPR (Points Per Reception) drafts so far and this guy seems to be one of my mid to late round picks that I simply can’t avoid. With a legitimate, but still erratic, quarterback Nick Foles now taking the reins in Jacksonville now is the time for Westbrook to make his first Pro-Bowl appearance. 16 games in 2018 and 66 catches was a big step in the right direction for a guy who made three playoff appearances as a rookie (in 2017) but failed to make any significant impact in those postseason contests. Now Westbrook can move that production up by 1.5x and push for an eye-popping 90 catches and over 1,200 yards. Not a big name now but give it a year and he will be a legitimate 2nd round fantasy pick.

3) Cooper Kupp – Los Angeles Rams

Blighted by injury, Kupp tore his ACL in a Week 8 game last season and missed the Rams playoff run, including a trip to the Super Bowl, where he was sorely missed. Jared Goff had a torrid time against the Patriots and the lack of a wily fox in the middle of the field was apparent. Now recovered Kupp has a high ceiling, and 2019 could see him catch between 90-100 balls. In half a season he managed 40 catches and a very respectable 14 yards a catch. He caught 73% of passes thrown and caught touchdowns in 5 of his 8 outings. Kupp is a terrier and his FCS college statistics gained at Eastern Washington are in fact legendary, that legendary that he has 6,464 yards in four seasons, more than Jerry Rice. Kupp is waiting to replicate his college production in the NFL and keeping injury free he can lead the Rams in targets, receptions and touchdowns in 2019.

2) Jarvis Landry – Cleveland Browns

Not so much a YAC (yards after catch) monster as he is a ball magnet, Landry does the dirty work, the 6-yard buttonhook on 3rd and 5. With OBJ taking up the mantle of the superstar wide-out in amongst the Dawg Pound, you can’t ask for any more than someone who runs beautiful routes and is not afraid to operate in the trenches. Landry has 481 catches in his 5-year career, mostly by playing disciplined football. If London had a 2020 franchise they could not do much better in the slot than grabbing Jarvis Landry and his superglue hands. Landry boasts the most receptions in the first four years of a career in NFL history, including two seasons with over 110 catches. Simply put Landry is on target to break NFL all-time catching records if he continues this pace. With Baker Mayfield throwing him the ball who is going to bet against him becoming the fastest player to 1,000 catches by 2023. (Incidentally the record is held by former Colts great Marvin Harrison who did it in 167 games.)

1) Julian Edelman – New England Patriots

If Tom Brady is the goat then Edelman is the ferret, wriggling into places that seem impossible to reach, making clutch catch after clutch catch. What more can be said for Edelman than winning a Super Bowl MVP award, one that he fully deserved in a game that even Patriots fans won’t want to watch ever again. Edelman has already written himself into Hall of Fame contention, and on that front is a published children’s author to boot. With Rob Gronkowski retired (well temporarily) Edelman will be the leader of the skill players both on and off the field. Providing his thumb injury heals nicely in August Edelman could produce a season for the ages with 100-110 catches and around 1,150 yards. Tom Brady may not be human, and that cyborg mentality has rubbed off on Edelman who has made more clutch catches than Ben Stokes and the rest of the England cricket team put together.

Five Fantasy Wastelands

By Lawrence Vos (Twitter: @nflfaninengland) July 13 2019
For many of you that are relatively new to NFL fantasy football the thought of those late round picks may fill you with a bit of fear. After all who is Simmie Cobbs or Jeff Driskel?
Sometimes you need to take a punt, no not a 53-yard coffin-corner, but a shot in the dark at someone who is not a household name and realistically not someone that will make or break your season.
To help you figure out some situations to avoid, Lawrence Vos dons his best Mad Max costume and holds your hand to guide you through some team-unit fantasy wastelands to steer well clear from.

Miami Dolphins quarterbacks
I am saying it here and saying it loudly, the Dolphins are not tanking for Tua (Tagovailoa) they will be trying to win as many games as possible in 2019. Whether they actually obtain more than three wins is a completely different matter. Will there be some Fitzmagic in the sunshine or will everything come up smelling of Rosen? Ryan Fitzpatrick, the veteran bearded wizard, will likely open the season as starter, but despite his gaudy stats to begin 2018 there is no Mike Evans, DeSean Jackson or OJ Howard loitering on South Beach in 2019. Miami bought in former first-round selection Josh Rosen to compete. A better financial move than personnel move, as the Dolphins avoided paying any kind of signing bonus, already absorbed by the Arizona Cardinals. Nobody likes a situation where it’s Havaianas Time on a Sunday morning, and nobody wants to carry two quarterbacks that are not commanding starters. Fitzpatrick can burn brighter than a comet, but his rocket man arm can fizzle too, and guessing the week he is on fire is a lottery. Don’t light a candle in the wind for either of these signal-callers.

Washington Redskins wide-receivers
Much like drinking a Brussel sprout, cranberry and radish smoothie, drafting any Redskins wide-outs will leave you with a lingering bitter taste in your mouth, and likely a bit of something stuck in your back teeth. The situation may be significantly different in a season or two, but the combination of the woefully disappointing Josh Doctson (a first round pick in 2016 who has accrued 1,100 yards, 81 catches and eight touchdowns in three season) two unproven rookies Terry McLaurin (Round 3) and Kelvin Harmon (Round 7) and Paul Richardson, who in his five seasons has averaged 23 catches a year and two touchdowns, is truly unappetising. You have more chance of a breakout season from second-string third-year tight-end Jeremy Sprinkle. If you want to tank with your fantasy team then pick up one of these bundles of burgundy and gold decorated joy. And if you truly want to stun your league then why not add Redskins 5th WR Brian Quick, who had three catches for 18 yards in 2018.

Buffalo Bills running-backs
More messy than Mr Messy after he has done ten shots of tequila and then on the way home decided to douse his kebab in a pint of habanero sauce, the Bills have as eclectic a backfield as anyone in the NFL. Two veteran Pro-Bowlers, a potential rookie stud and an under-the-radar young free-agent. Great for depth and therefore superb for team rushing output, but a cold-sweat inducing nightmare for fantasy owners. Both in their 30’s, LeSean ‘Shady’ McCoy is on the downward spiral of his career arc and Frank Gore it turns out is a cyborg who cannot be terminated. McCoy performed badly in 2018 with rookie Josh Allen handing him the pigskin, averaging a paltry 3.2 a carry and three total touchdowns. Gore is clearly partaking in some wine from Cliff Richard’s vineyard as he continues his inevitable journey to Canton, Ohio via Western New York. Gore, much like Fitzmagic, will get the ball at some stage, and this means carries getting split. Throw in a dynamic rookie in the form of Devin Singletary, who scored nation-leading 32 touchdowns in 2017 for Florida Atlantic, and you have a 5ft 7inch end-zone vulture. Now throw in the grossly underrated T.J Yeldon, who has very soft hands, and averages over 40 catches a season, and you have wonderful talent, but no workhorse and as a team no clear fantasy asset.

New England Patriots tight-ends
He may currently look like he’s had colonic treatment that has sucked half his body weight up a faecal extraction tube, but the odds on Rob Gronkowski coming out of retirement by week 15 is higher than you might think. Rich Eisen recently asked Gronk to perform a mock conversation between him and Tom Brady, and it ended with the tight-end saying ‘call me when it gets to the playoffs’. Meanwhile Brady will be facing at least three months of struggles with the return of Ben Watson delayed for the first four weeks of the season due to a substance misuse suspension. Watson was coaxed out of retirement thinking he could catch 50-60 balls from Tom Brady in a swansong, now he might play a bit-part from week 5 onwards. Sitting atop the depth chart as we stand in mid-July is one of my sleeper sweethearts Matt LaCosse. LaCosse has never been a feature tight-end but he does have the physical tools to develop some early season rapport with Brady. Behind LaCosse is third-year former Texans tight-end Stephen Anderson. You can likely get Watson and LaCosse cheap in deeper leagues, and in some cases one will be available on waivers. This does not mean you should pull the trigger on any Patriots tight-end. Gronk was a unique proposition, and cannot be replaced. If you want to take a gamble late with Patriots skill players grab rookie WR N’Keal Harry who will get a worthwhile target share to justify a spot on your bench.

Denver Broncos wide-receivers
Joe Flacco. The name alone makes you think about mediocrity, middle-of-the-road, conservative, no thrills gameplay. Hardly words that wide-receivers will want to describe the man that is throwing them the ball in 2019. This situation is not only eroded by an uninspiring passer, its due to the depth chart being equally vanilla, and no I’m not talking about Madagascan vanilla pods, I mean the budget ice-cream type you get at a child’s birthday party. Emmanuel Sanders is getting old and coming back from an Achilles injury, and the other two starters Desean Hamilton and Courtland Sutton are only in their second seasons yet they have to start from scratch building a pass catching relationship with the former Super Bowl MVP Flacco. There will be big pressure on Hamilton and Sutton to step up and one will likely establish himself as Flacco’s favourite by mid-season. Put simply there are better bench options to pick-up in the latter stages of your draft. You need big help with your team in you are drafting any Broncos wide-receiver to start. These three will likely sit on your fantasy bench for a few weeks before you lose faith and drop one for a waiver hot-shot. Do yourself a favour and avoid this dilemma wasting any time in your fantasy-football addled brain by avoiding drafting Denver wide-outs.

Are there any other wastelands you are avoiding? Let me know on Twitter personally or direct it at our Full10Yards Fantasy account, @F10YFantasy.

Ready To Pounce – Five rookies in fantastic positions 

By Lawrence Vos (@NFLFanInEngland) – 26 June 2019
We all know the mega-stars drafted early who are already projected as starters and are being projected to be wearing rookie achievement crowns come the end of the 2019 season. Some of you will draft these guys in the latter rounds of a traditional fantasy draft, and some will be high on waivers.
But what about those guys that are not big names, but are one injured colleague away from having a significant impact in the upcoming fantasy season?
Here are five names of rookies who are not necessarily the big names but are in an idealistic situation to have major fantasy success if the giant chocolate chip and maple pecan cookies, that they were persuaded to buy from a doe-eyed six-year-old girl scout, crumbles their way.
I’m not recommending you draft them all, but I am recommending that you monitor the waiver wire for these names like a hawk.

Alexander Mattison – RB – Minnesota Vikings
Big things are predicted for Dalvin Cook in his third season leading the Vikings backfield if he can stay healthy. Cook’s problem is he has only played in 15 of 32 regular season games. In addition, the Vikings moved on from backup RB Latavius Murray and instead opted to go down the draft route. Alexander Mattison is not a household name, but the third-round pick can be someone that could be an instant plug-and-play success. The former Boise State star opted to try the NFL after just three seasons in college, just like former smurf-turf Super Bowl winner Jay Ajayi. Mattison’s last two NCAA games saw him rush over for 200 yards in each contest. Mattison is a hard-nosed runner who has never missed a game. A fluent Spanish speaker and former wrestling champion Mattison has brains and brawn and is in an ideal place to make a big initial impact.

Benny Snell – RB – Pittsburgh Steelers
Another Junior who elected to enter the NFL draft a year early. Snell joined a select club in 2018 as one of only four running backs in SEC history to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons. Not bad considering one of those four is Herschel Walker. With the Steelers RB James Connor being possibly the biggest breakout star of 2018, Snell has landed in a place where the immediate pressure is off him, but this situation is one hit from being back-stage to the spotlight. Snell owns a plethora of University of Kentucky records, and just in case you are wondering why the name Snell rings a historic NFL bell (not a LeVeon named one) his great uncle is Matt Snell (who ran for 121 yards in the Jets upset win over the Colts in Super Bowl III).

Josh Oliver – TE – Jacksonville Jaguars
Unlike Mattison and Snell, Josh Oliver has a legitimate shot at being the Jaguars starting tight-end from Week 1. The 6ft 5 inch Oliver played at the rather innocuous San Hose State Spartans and did nothing worth noting until his senior year. His competition in Duuuuuuval is none other than former Cowboys tight-end Geoff Swaim. With Napoleon Dynamite oops sorry Nick Foles now leading the offense the Jacksonville tight-end spot should see a boost and with Leonard Fournette due a significant bounce-back this is ideal spot for Oliver to be one of those rare fantasy relevant rookie tight-ends. Evan Engram bucked the trend a few seasons ago proving rookie tight-ends can make a difference, and Oliver has the physical toots to catch 50 balls plus in the Florida sunshine.

Terry McLaurin – WR Washington Redskins
The Redskins wide-receiver production in the past couple of seasons has been akin to eating American cheese, bland, unimaginative and very disappointing. Since the departure of DeSean Jackson (now back in the NFC East for a second stint with the Eagles) and Pierre Garcon the Washington wide-receivers have failed to impress. The supposed future star Josh Doctson’s career has never taken off and Jamison Crowder is now catching passes from Sam Darnold in the Big Apple. This leaves the door wide open for anyone who can show consistency. The Redskins drafted Terry McLaurin from Ohio State to re-join his signal-caller Dwayne Haskins in an NFL uniform. Haskins is not guaranteed the starting quarterback Week 1 but right now he will be targeting McLaurin early and often in camp. Someone has to step up for the Redskins and whilst later pick Kelvin Harmon could become a red-zone vulture, hopefully its McLaurin who will be establishing himself as a reliable PPR option and a potential cheap DFS consideration.

Hunter Renfrow – WR Oakland Raiders
Fans, colour commentators and team-mates alike will be focussed on the hands and route running of Antonio Brown in the Silver and Black (still the best looking uniform in the NFL).
Doubling Brown or putting a team’s top corner on him will leave the slot more open for the Raiders and this is where Renfrow can become a PPR monster. The former walk-on has had an amazing college career with Clemson, winning two National Championships, catching the winning score from Deshaun Watson in the 2017 title game. At 5ft 10inches Renfrow is the archetypal slot dude, and likely someone Bill Belichick had on a draft list (on this note watch out for Patriots second-year slot wideout Braxton Berrios – you have been warned). Renfrow can establish his credentials in the return game before he does anything impactful in the Raiders offense. Clemson coach Dabo Swinney described Renfrow as ‘Clark Kent’, but he has the opportunity to be a short Superman in Oakland.

Honourable mentions, and guys you should be monitoring;

  • Kelvin Harmon – WR Washington Redskins
  • Trayveon Williams – RB Cincinnati Bengals
  • Caleb Wilson – TE Arizona Cardinals (Mr Irrelevant).