For the record week 12

Week 12

Jacksonville -3 @Buffalo

If the Jags have any pride whatsoever, they win big in Buffalo. If they lose you can write virtually everyone involved with this team off, from the top down. Jags to cover.

Pats -10.5 @ Jets

The Pats dynasty was built on three things: the genius of Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and by no small part, a perpetually horrid AFC East. Talk this week of the demise of Brady and the possible retirement of Gronk will likely leave plenty of people looking stupid. Pats to cover.

@ Eagles -5 vs. Giants

The Jags and Eagles are suffering similarly disappointing years after great 2017 campaigns. No team fared better last year than Philly, and with that Super Bowl confidence still somewhere there under the surface, I’ve been expecting a late season surge to take the NFC East. The work gets harder after last week’s crushing defeat to the Saints and it’s now-or-never time for Philly. I expect them to be considerably motivated to beat a lousy and overconfident Giants team who just managed back to back wins. Big cover by Philly.

@ Buccaneers -2.5 vs San Francisco

I can’t imagine the Buccaneers quarterback carousel has helped confidence in the room, let alone chemistry and timing on the field. This coaching staff is teetering on the brink of extinction and looks desperate. Kyle Shanahan, on the other hand, has considerable job security and is making progress with his 3rd QB. He should be able to take advantage of the flailing Buccs. 49ers to cover and win.

@ Chargers -13 vs. Arizona

Thirteen point seems a lot for this Chargers team whose wins have come against: Buffalo, San Fran, Oakland twice, Cleveland, Tennessee and Seattle, a veritable who’s who of who’s awful, injured or average at best. I appreciate that the Cardinals certainly fit that description but am betting Byron Leftwich, Josh Rosen and company continue to make enough progress not to be blown away. Cards to cover.

@ Minnesota -3 vs Green Bay

The Vikings continue to get average to bad play from their offensive line and this just doesn’t seem to be their year. Aaron Rodgers has had a challenging few weeks with losses, a public spat with his family and Mike McCarthy’s continued blacklisting of rational coaching. I’ll take Rodgers as an underdog though every time. Packers to cover.

@ Cincy -1 vs Cleveland

Being a 1-point underdog on the road seems like a watershed moment for the Browns. This is legitimate respect. Respect I think might be a little premature. Bengals to cover.

Bruce Arians has said he wants the Browns’ HC job and it’s the only one he will take. The Browns have zero competition to grab a great offensive mind, capable of building pretty solid team identity and team chemistry. Look for Haslem to take a hard pass and sign Bill Cowher.

@ Carolina -3 vs. Seattle

A tough call in which I’ll err on the side of the team with the coaching staff capable of abstract thought. Panthers to cover.

@ Baltimore -10.5 vs. Oakland

One team possibly reenergized by a new quarterback at the helm, the other watching another departed possible-star shine elsewhere. It’s been one gut punch after the next for the Raiders room and Cooper’s explosion this week can’t help morale or confidence in their staff. Nor can it help that they are travelling across the country to face a Ravens team fighting for their playoff lives. Lamar breakout game, Ravens to cover.

Indianapolis -7.5 vs. Miami

Tannehill comes back and has to find his game on the road against an Indy team on an upswing. I won’t be surprised if Miami is a little better down the stretch, but there should be too much rust to overcome this week, to keep pace with Frank Reich and Andrew Luck. Indy to cover.

Pittsburgh -3 @ Denver

If Denver can hang in with the Chiefs offense, I think they should be able to keep a hold on a Steelers team that has been a little uneven. Denver to cover.

@ Texans -5.5 vs. Titans

Houston seems a year away from being a very scary offense. A fully healthy receiving corps, a healthier Watson, a new running back or two and an improved offensive line and this team seems well armed to be in the Rams, Chiefs talent level. Of course, coaching is another matter and I remain skeptical of the Texans staff. The Titans have been up and down all season. This is a game that matters to them if they care to stay relevant in the AFC South race. I expect they come to play. Titans to cover.

For the record – week 11

Shit is getting real. This week’s slate has blockbuster matchups as well as some really great under the radar, must-win games. Here’s how I’m guessing they might go down along with a bold prediction or two.

@ Atlanta -3 vs. Cowboys

Atlanta has been under the radar in their wretchedness. Aside from a win over the Panthers and a must-win against Washington two weeks ago, they simply haven’t come through. After losing all momentum last week versus the Browns, they are faced with another must win, this time at home against Dallas. The Cowboy’s have been better of late but Atlanta’s desperation and offense are likely too much for Jason Garrett and company to overcome. Atlanta to comfortably cover.

@ Ravens -5.5 vs. Cincinnati

A huge AFC North matchup. The Ravens are a game behind the Bengals and now get them on their home field. There are some hurdles to overcome for both teams as Baltimore will be starting either Lamar Jackson and/or RG3, while the Bengals are missing perennial offensive MVP AJ Green. Guessing at the future, I’d expect Harbaugh to craft a game plan based on a ball control offense that takes advantage of his mobile back up QBs particular skill sets, while leaning heavily on his defense. This seems like a winning formula versus average Andy and absent AJ. Ravens to cover and then some.

Bold prediction: Monster week for Alec Collins.

Lamar Jackson skeptics have to re-evaluate their hate after this one as Jackson should fare better with consistent snaps and series. It’s difficult to be accurate coming in cold for the occasional cameo play. This will be his first real audition tape since the pre-season. The end is nigh Joe.

Panthers -4.5 @ Detroit

This is the time of year where desperation and fighting for playoff lives becomes a supreme motivator. The Panthers go to Detroit coming off a big loss against the Steelers. Detroit is just a strange team, The Lions have a lousy three wins, but two of those wins came against the Packers and Patriots though, so you never really know what they are going to give you. Four and a half is plenty to give t home, but this Panthers team has plenty of weapons to unleash Detroit’s fast track. This could be a high scoring, fun game to watch. In the end I expect Cam and the Panthers to be too much. Panthers to cover.

Texans -3 @ Washington

Two teams sitting atop their divisions who I would guess don’t finish the season there. The Texans have a list of fluky wins, a lousy offensive line and a banged-up offense. Washington has a decimated offensive line, modest offense and sometimes great defense. This seems to be a battle of which offensive line can be less-worse and I would anticipate a season-high game penalty total, with neither team getting into any sort of rhythm. Last week Washington’s offensive line survived the lowly Buccs defense, I’d expect the Texans are able to expose them this week. Texans to cover.

Bold prediction: The Washington fade begins and excellerates from here. Sell anything you own not named Guice.

@ Giants -2.5 versus Buccaneers

From two average teams somehow atop of their divisions, to two shitty teams, right where they belong. The Giants have a little momentum from recent weeks while the Buccs seem determined to get themselves a new coaching staff. Another high scoring shootout affair for Ryan Fitzpatrick, but Eli, faced with the Buccaneers embarrassing defense should be able to get out of his own way and allow his elite weapons to score big. Giants to cover.

@ Colts -1.5 vs. Titans

An underrated matchup of two teams who seem to be slowly but surely getting better under the guidance of their new coaching staffs. The Colts are a game behind the Titans who are chasing the Texans, so both should be considerably motivated. The inventive offensive staffs should also make this one pretty entertaining. I’ll opt for Andrew Luck over the less consistent Mariota here. Colts to cover.

Steelers -5 @ Jacksonville

The division leading Steelers off an impressive win over Atlanta versus a Jacksonville Jaguars team that has shat the bed all season long. The Jags do seem to get themselves motivated for big matchups, however, and any game involving the Steelers fits that description. With their backs against the wall and their wobbling reputations at stake I’m guessing the Jags put up a good showing at home. Jags to cover.

Bold prediction: I’m not sure if it’s this week or next, and truly wish no ill will on James Conner, but would it not be fitting if the Steelers had a sudden and desperate need for LeVeon Bell the moment he became unavailable?

@ Cards -5.5 vs Raiders

Sigh. It’s garbage time from the opening kickoff onwards. I’ll opt for the revamped Cardinals to cover.

@ Chargers -7 vs. Broncos

The Chargers are trying to keep pace with a Chiefs team that has a solid chance of losing this week, so LA won’t be flat for this one. The Broncos, meanwhile have held tight more often than not and generally put up good showings versus division foes. This is probably a much better game than expected. The Chargers will win but I’d expect the Broncos to hang around and cover.

@ Saints -7.5 versus Eagles

Defending Super Bowl champs giving 7.5 points while they are still in the running to win the NFC East seems high. This is a huge test and a watershed game for the Eagles season. Last week I guessed that with Alshon and Wentz healthier, and Tate indoctrinated into the offense, the Eagles would win and start their second half surge. This week I’m doubling down. I still believe the Eagles are going to figure this thing out and win the division. Eagles to at least cover, if not win.

Bold prediction: Watch for Dwayne Washington down the homestretch. He’s a former receiver, big bodied RB who could fill the Mark Ingram role for the Saints next year, should the veteran depart for greener pastures.

@ Bears -2.5 vs. Vikings

A game Minnesota absolutely needs. The Vikings pathetic offensive line will be up against a tremendous pass rush on the road. It’s now or never time for Zimmer to figure this one out and I he and Cousins have enough magic to pull it out this week. Vikings to cover.

@ Rams -3.5 vs. Chiefs

The game of the season so far. I’m not sure who gets the W here at all but we all win as spectators, in what should be an offensive explosion of a game. Three and a half points is just enough for me to opt for the Chiefs as I expect this one comes down to a last second kick. KC to cover.

Dynasty trade deadline targets

Mid-season Dynasty transactions

What follows are a collection of guys I’m targeting at the trade deadline. There are a variety of reasons I believe they should be bought, some are injured, or underperforming, some are off the radar guys I expect to see get off-season sleeper and deep sleeper love, while others are break out players I expect have only shown us the tip of their proverbial ice-bergs.

Quarterback

Jimmy Garoppolo – I like me some hurt guys. The offseason hype has nauseating. His value was inflated to unreasonable levels, to be scoffed at by seasoned fantasy snobs. But now, after sitting idle for months, everyone has found newer, shinier lures to nibble on and Jimmy G might have settled into reasonable territory.

 

Lamar Jackson – I read a tweet this week that suggested Jackson’s poor pre-season performance was reason not to start him over Flacco. I hope all of my league mates read and agreed with this takes because I certainly do not. Preseasons are for learning, players learn and grow and improve, unless of course they are Joe Flacco, who’s game and hairstyle seem trapped in another time. If someone is stupid enough to trade you Jackson at any price, oblige them.

Running back

Justin Jackson – Austin Ekeler and Melvin Gordon have been excellent and Jackson, every bit as good as Ekeler, is waiting in the wings quietly learning. He was a complete and completely dependable back in college, he will find a place and time. A deep roster stash who will eventually get some waiver wire chatter this season.

Chris Warren – An NFL pedigree coming off a huge pre-season now forgotten by many, thanks to a September injury. Everyone’s memories will be jogged this offseason when he’s on absolutely everyone’s sleeper list and after Lynch and/or Martin are purged from the Raiders’ shit show. He’s a beast of a player and Gruden will love him as a front man for his brand.

Kenneth Dixon – I’m a glutton for punishment so I will once more advocate for Dixon, oft-injured, once suspended and now facing another round of league scrutiny. He’s looked every opportunity in the eye and said “naw, maybe later”. Well maybe later could be next season, and if not, he’s done for. Hopefully he realizes the gravity of the situation and pulls himself up by the bootstraps.

Elijah McGuire – A possible 3-down back on a team desperate to find a home for go-to targets and touches. All bets are off as to what happens in New York this offseason, but we know the Jets need help on offense and the current staff was hyping McGuire during training camp as Tomlinson-light. Given that ridiculous endorsement, I like his chances to get a good, long look this year. If he shows anything at all, his name could find itself generating some off-season sleeper intrigue.

Nick Chubb – After his monster week 10 he’s undoubtedly and deservingly expensive. That said, he has the profile of a player capable of every down, elite production, so feel free to aggressively pay up. Chubb is going to be this year’s Kamara. Kamara you’ll remember started 2017 slow but had a tremendous finish. I expect Chubb to read from a similar script in 2018. Remember, though, that Kamara’s success came alongside a hall of fame quarterback, some elite offense weapons, and an excellent coaching staff. Chubb, on the other hand, is finding success in an unsettled system, with a reshuffled coaching staff, with a rookie QB. I expect this year to be very good for Chubb, but imagine what the future may hold if Cleveland gets the coaching right and Mayfield continues to improve.

C.J. Prosise – I’m saving up to buy Pete Carroll enough plutonium for the DeLorean that can allow him to escape 1985 and join the present-day NFL. The Seahawks remain reluctant to take advantage of the QB friendly landscape and allow Russell Wilson to be the best QB in the league. If they ever hit 88 miles an hour and rejoin us, I think they’ll find a pass catching hybrid RB/receiver is an excellent weapon to have. He has yet to make an appearance this year, but he offseason could bring considerable changes in Seattle and I think Prosise remains in the picture.

Aaron Jones – Another talent harnessed to a horrid coaching staff. Week 10 was a sign of things to come and while he’s nowhere near Nick Chubb, I’d pay asking price to get a piece of a Packer (that sounded horrible). Jones value could grow considerably this offseason if the Packers opt to part ways with Mike McCarthy.

Dwayne Washington – Mark Ingram remains an integral part of the Saints offense but when he is eventually dismissed for cap reasons, former big body wide receiver Dwayne Washington will be a promising replacement. Refer to Matt Waldman’s RSP, he of Nick Chubb backing fame, for more info on Washington. It’s possible Washington puts himself on the radar late this year if the Saints face injury, but I fully expect he finds himself on sleeper lists this offseason if Ingram leaves town.

Gio Bernard – Another great talent in a lousy situation. Gio Bernard reminds me of DeAngelo Williams. Both players were three-down backs considered a little too small or fragile to bear the weight of the full workload. In both cases their teams drafted an early round back that lightened their usage. In the case of Williams, he was I the wrong place at the wrong time and we never got to see what he was truly capable of. In the case of Gio, he’s been in the wrong place so far but his timing may be about to improve. Today’s NFL and PPR scorings popularity lend itself to players like Gio’s talents. The Bengals seem prepared to let Gio go, having drafted the Mark Walton and his similar skill set. Landing spot will determine a lot of Bernard’s go-forward value, but if he hits the jackpot and lands somewhere like Philly, you’ll be happy to have taken the modest risk of paying his current price.

Chase Edmonds – Offseason wild card call – the Cardinals would be wise to trade David Johnson to a team who can benefit from him now. If they were wise enough to do so, a longshot, yes, Edmonds is waiting in the wings and has a three down back profile.

Spencer Ware – An injury away from being a RB1, exactly what he was before he himself was injured and Wally Pipped a year ago. He deserves another look as he’s been great in with limited touches. He may have another year to wait, but he may one day find a new home. This duo reminds me of Priest Holmes and Larry Johnson of yesteryear.

Royce Freeman – I could add Phil Lindsay to this list who has been better and rightly out-touched Freeman so far for Denver. It’s just a matter of time though, until Freeman finds his footing.

Receiver

Deon Cain – Andrew Luck looks pretty healthy and it wasn’t so long ago we’d draft Colt’s receiver on his presence alone. There seems to be a good deal of skepticism still surrounding luck and the Colts and their weapons seemed to have remained relatively cheap as a result. Cain’s value has likely slipped more than most as he’s an unproven talent with no regular season games under his belt. He has the profile of a WR2 in a team without one. With plenty of time to recover from the early season injury and the Colts coming back with more confidence in 2019, get a piece of the offense on the cheap.

Chris Godwin – Desean Jackson is pissed off and on his way out of Tampa. It’s unlikely his absence will be felt much with the talented Godwin in the wings. He’s certainly not the same sort of talent but he can amass the same number of passing yards, albeit on a greater number of catches. An offseason darling this year who has the physical profile of a top tier talent. Next year, with Jackson subtracted, many offseason prognosticators will be passing those yards over to Godwin in their projecting, puffing his ADP.

Corey Davis – Davis has had a tough time breaking out over his short career but is slowly gravitating to greatness. This all hinges on how Mariota and the Titans staff evolve as an offense. Davis has not been consistent on a game to game basis but he has been great in a few games that truly matter, two of which came against the Patriots. I’ll take a talented player rising to the occasion as a very good sign for their future.

Josh Gordon – The winds of change are coming to new England. Gronk could be on his last legs (though we hope not) and Edelman has some serious miles and injuries on his record. With failing hands, they will pass the torch to Gordon and Sony Michel. Be there to hold them high, which is what their prices are sure to be. If the Patriots are to stay atop the AFC, or at least the AFC East, new stars need to emerge. Gordon is a pretty strong candidate.

Tight end

Rob Gronkowski. Dark days in Gronkland. The former uber-alles tight has provided frustration, angst and panic in owners in place of his usual alpha production. This past offseason there were whispers he was considering early retirement. After this season’s trials, it’s safe to assume those whispered rumours will be converted to safe assumptions by many. And yes, he may actually retire. But what if the panicked owner in your league is willing to part with him for peanuts. It’s a gamble worth taking. A healthy Gronk at 100% or even 80% is an asset to ride into the offseason.

David Njoku – Njoku has been long on targets and short on production so far this season. He has yet to truly blow up the box score. On the field, however, he looks every bit the part of the dominant physical force he was advertised as a draft pick. He simply seems stronger, faster and better than most of those defending him. One of these weeks that box score will explode and when it does there will be no looking back. Time is ticking on him, so pay up big now and expect a quick return in the next week or two, and considerable hype beyond.

Jonnu Smith – His showing week 10 in New England put him back on the radar after several lackluster outings. If Mariota and company have indeed made some sort of leap as an offense, then Smith could provide a decent return this season. Delanie Walker remains a bit of a hurdle, but the late blooming Titans offense may have many returning to their bandwagon late this season, and into 2019.

For the record – week 10

@ Bears -6.5 vs. Lions

This game appears to be a clash of skewed confidences. The Bears have some swagger from back to back wins against the Jets and Bills, while Detroit just lost at home to Seattle and in Minnesota. Or put another way. The Bears beat two lousy teams and the Lions lost to two decent ones. I’m not sure anyone really knows what these teams are yet, and that includes the teams themselves. For this week I suspect Detroit’s desperation to win might outweigh the Bears false sense of confidence from their big wins over bad teams.

Detroit to cover and win.

Saints -5.5 @ Bengals

A team that just dismantled the undefeated Los Angeles Rams is now only giving 4.5 points against Andy Dalton in Cincinnati. What am I missing here? The Bengals are without their one and only dependable offensive weapon in AJ Green and I can’t see them keeping the pace in this game without him. Many are calling for Tyler Boyd to fill the void but I suspect he struggles against WR1 coverage. I’d also suggest Joe Mixon is a great talent and fun to watch but I certainly haven’t seen him, or the Bengals ground game for that matter, truly dominate. I just don’t see a path for Bengals success here.

Saints to cover big.

Falcons -4.5 @ Browns

Atlanta started their season 1-4, followed up with wins against the messy Buccaneers and disastrous Giants to finish on a high note before their bye week. At the break their season appeared to be at a tipping point as they prepared for a matchup with Washington. They delivered in a pretty big way with a lopsided win. The big point total was certainly encouraging, but when you look under the hood and realize they walloped a team who lost a good portion of their offensive line mid-game, the result may leave you less enthusiastic. This week they face Cleveland, a team under constant reconstruction, guided by an interim coaching staff and hoping like hell some leaders emerge from their locker room. On paper this is a game Atlanta should certainly win and that’s the bet.

Atlanta to cover (but there is upset risk here).

Patriots -6.5 @ Titans

There have been a few former Pats coaches who have fared well versus Belichick. The long-forgotten Eric Mangini for one, and Josh McDaniels not so long ago, and most recently Matt Patricia’s early season win with the Lions. Given the state of the Titans QB situation, it seems highly unlikely that Mike Vrabel and the Titans will add their names to the list. A coaching staff that can’t harness the strengths of their best players, isn’t likely to out maneuver the Patriots.

Pats to cover.

@ Colts -3.5 vs. Jags

The Jags are coming off a bye week and a whole lot of disappointing early season losses. I suspect management and the coaching staff are putting a lot of weight into the outcome of this week. I’m guessing the Jacksonville defense finds it swagger and the Colts and Andrew Luck take a bit of a step back.

Jags to cover and win.

@ Chiefs -16.5 vs. Cardinals

Sixteen and a half is a lot of points and a real temptation, but this is the Chiefs at home against a rookie quarterback a few weeks into his career with a newly anointed offensive coordinator. This is a learning curve year for Rosen and the Cards and this week’s lesson won’t be pleasant.

Chiefs to cover.

@ Jets -7.5 vs. Bills

The Bills defense is better than you think. The Bills offense is worse than you can imagine. The Jets coaching is far better than the Bills and I fully expect them to walk away 8 points better than Buffalo. Also, Josh McCown is better right now than Sam Darnold. Buckle up for some Fitzmagic light.

Jets to cover.

@ Buccaneers -3.5 vs. Washington

The Washington offense line has been shattered by injury. Even if the replacement players were Pro Bowl caliber talents (they aren’t) it would take them weeks to form chemistry as a unit. Yes, Tampa’s defense is dreadful. The issue is, the only way Washington can win this game is if they dominate on the ground, hold on to the ball and suffocate Tampa with their defense. My concern is that Washington’s defense has little room for error and may find themselves on the field more than they like. A gassed Washington defense and an ill-equipped offense won’t be able to match Tampa’s output.

Tampa to cover

Chargers -10.5 @ Raiders

Another big spread that isn’t tempting enough to take. The Raiders appear to be in complete disarray. The scorched earth approach Gruden and Davis have employed seems to be taking its toll on the locker room as this looks like a dysfunctional team with little cohesion of confidence. The Raiders are entering 2015-17 Browns territory.

Chargers to cover

@ Packers -10.5 vs. Dolphins

A questionable QB situation in Miami versus a Green Bay team coming off two difficult games. The season is getting away from them (and hopefully Mike McCarthy this offseason). This should be a statement game. They’re home, they’re pissed off and they’re up against a pretty lousy, and banged up Dolphins team. I expect they should come out with guns blazing and try to set the tone for a strong finish.

Packers to cover.

@ Rams – 10.5 versus Seattle

The Rams off a loss are a tempting bet, but this Seattle team may be annoyingly competitive the rest of the season. I say annoyingly because I would like to see nothing more than the dismissal of Pete Carroll and his staff at year end and the hiring of a more progressive staff, one with the wherewithal to embrace Wilson’s unique set of skills. But after watching Wilson play this past week, it seems his own competitive nature may overcome Seattle’s archaic game planning. I suspect Seattle’s pride and feistiness will keep them hanging around late in this one.

Seattle to cover

@ Eagles -6.5 vs. Cowboys

Timing is everything and time seems to be on the Eagles side in this particular case. They’ve had two weeks to indoctrinate Golden Tate, they’ve had several more to get Alshon Jeffrey back to full strength and Carson Wentz’s knee, the subject of much early-season consternation, might be that much closer to 100%. This is the time of the season that the cream starts to rise to the top and the coaches who shouldn’t be employed, cement their cases for more golf time. Book your tee times Jason Garrett.

Eagles to cover

@ 49ers – 3.5 vs Giants

Two disappointing teams with built in excuses. San Francisco has a 3rd string QB/possible scapegoat starting while the Giants have perennial train wreck Eli Manning at the helm, holding back all of their otherwise explosive talents. Truly this feels like a coin toss game, but let’s give Eli one last chance and opt for the Giants.

Giants to cover.

Best Fantasy Football Podcasts

I play fantasy football as an escape from the reality of my day to day work life. Fantasy provides a welcome distraction from the monotony or stress of my workday. In years past that escape took the form or reading websites. In recent years I find myself reading less and turning instead to podcasts. This way as I walk the dog, sit in traffic or go for a run I can multi-task my procrastinating.

The fantasy podcast options grow longer every day. Finding a show that is well produced, well hosted and unique can be a challenge though as there are a lot of podcasters learning on the job, providing echo-chamber takes or just plain bad. I’m constantly kicking tires on new hosts and new shows and suggest you do the same, because there is plenty of great stuff out there to be discovered.

The list below are the shows or voices I find myself returning to most frequently, and while they are ranked in no particular order, the last name on the list is far and away my favourite.

The Dynasty Blueprint with Matt Williamson and Ryan McDowell.

The original draw for me here was Matt Williamson, who I read and listened to years ago when he was working for ESPN. Williamson is a former NFL scout and his insights are focused more so on the actual game on the field, rather than the fantasy angles; and this is where Ryan McDowell comes in. McDowell, who I didn’t know previously, is a fantasy industry veteran from Dynasty League Football. As the name of the site and this pod suggests, he views player values on the long-term dynasty time horizon. The two work well together and offer unique perspective; Matt’s football vantage point gauging talent and Ryan’s fantasy experience measuring value. The format varies from week to week, but this year’s in-season weekly podcasts have been sourced from listener questions. It’s a nice interactive element and it’s easy enough to get your questions addressed. For a few weeks they had adopted a trade-debate show, where Ryan threw out hypothetical dynasty trades that he and Matt hash out. It makes for a fun listen and one I hope they refine and return to soon.

It is not the tidiest show production-wise, and you get the sense they are still looking for their groove. What has me coming back week after week are their takes, both voices are worth your time and energy.

Harris Fantasy Football Podcast

Another ESPN alumnus, the exhausted and sometimes exhausting Chris Harris pumps out 5 shows a week during the regular season. Chris prides himself on watching every game, using film to decipher player values, rather than sifting through the box scores. Monday and Tuesday shows are for game film review and waiver wire pick-ups, Wednesday is dedicated to players ranks, Thursday Chris reveals his Flexual Healing pole results and talks DFS, while the week culminates with Cousin Josh’s visit on Friday. I find myself tuning in most days but if I had to narrow it down, I’d opt for Tuesday’s waiver wire portion of the show, in which Chris and his industry guest run down the virtues or warts of their top five pick-ups of the week. Friday’s have been entertaining recently and Chris and Cousin Josh have been running though fun lists of players they would trade for or trade away, along with general fantasy football topics, such as what ails the game and what could improve leagues. The two are pretty fun together and you can certainly feel the family familiarity.

Chris has some pretty strong opinions and can sometimes rage against a specific topic, dogmatic player take, or stat usage. There have been a few tense moments on the show where he and a guest have sparred, which was both uncomfortable and entertaining. He’ll also rail, on acasion, against the fantasy community at large, which can be a little self-aggrandizing and off-putting. That said, I’ve been going back for more for years and have no plans on giving him up. We tune in to these shows for opinion and debate and he doesn’t apologize for providing just that.

Matt Waldman’s RSP Cast

For a kinder, friendlier podcast with a depth of knowledge, there’s Matt Waldman’s RSP Cast. This is the newest and most unique animal of the fantasy football podcast universe. To call the show a fantasy podcast would be inaccurate as it’s really more of a pure football show. Matt and his guests meander through a number of topics including scouting in general, the evaluation process and philosophy, as well as a good dose of grey bearded football history. The show is understated and underproduced, yet clear, one course and thought inspiring. Waldman provides his audiences with unique guests and unique conversations in a landscape where one podcast content, format or guests are often echoed. He’s also just a good, straight up conversationalist and giving host. The conversations are an exploration, rather than a list of questions. I sometimes find myself skeptical in the opening moments of a show, but am drawn in time after time. The fantasy nuggets are not on the surface, as they are with many shows, but hidden within the conversation

Matt’s recently hosted Dane Brugler, another well respected football mind who produces a scouting report that likely comes into direct competition with Waldman’s Rookie Scouting Portfolio. In some industries, some personalities would shy away from inviting the competition in, not so here. Instead, Brugler and Waldman have a great conversation on process and how they continue to learn and refine their craft. I have yet to decipher the show’s exact schedule or frequency, but I’m always happy when it pops up in my subscriptions.

So, come for the Nick Chubb confirmation bias, but stay for the football mind expansion.

The Audible

If you couldn’t get out with the lads for a Thursday Night Football pint, crack one on the couch and enjoy the banter between the Football Guys. First Dr. Gene Bramel pops in for a visit and some injury Q&A with the guys. The balance of the show is a very laid-back and meandering conversation between three of my fantasy industry favourites: Matt Waldman, Sigmund Bloom, and Cecil Lamey as they watch the game unfold. You’ll never know exactly what to expect, but it’s a fun relaxed format that allows for a free-flowing conversation.

Evan Silva Exposure

Silva is another Fantasy community heavyweight I hold in high regard. You can catch Evan regularly on the Fantasy Feast Podcast with Ross Tucker, as well as the Rotoworld Football pod with Josh Norris. I like both shows well enough but don’t seem to return to them as regularly as I do the others. Silva is all over the place and whether you pick him up here, or via his weekly column or just follow him on twitter he’s a valued opinion you should seek out. It seems to me it would serve him well to consider a new format for a regular pod.

Living the Stream

This is a show I don’t listen too nearly enough and that’s mostly to be blamed on my not playing re-draft and needing to stream QB. That said, JJ Zachariason and Denny Carter are really likeable and deserve more ear time. JJ also hosts the Late Round Podcast which is a short and sweet mailbag show he bangs out once a week. I like these two guys a lot and would love to see them expand their podcasting horizons.

On the Couch with Sigmund Bloom

If I had only one podcast to listen to, or to recommend it would very easily be On the Couch with Sigmund Bloom. The weekly show is conversation between host Bloom and a who’s who of fantasy industry experts. Bloom is a kind and generous interviewer who knows how to run his show, how to keep his guests speaking and running through their fantast football stream of consciousness. If you know nothing about the fantasy football community or podcasts, this is where you start. Bloom will introduce you to everyone, one by one. Think of him as your only friend at the party. Stand next to him for a while and before you know it, you’ll be on a first name basis with everyone in the room.

Of all the names above, Williamson, Harris, Waldman, Silva, and Zachariason, as much as I enjoy their own shows, I’d trade them all for a one-hour stint On the Couch with Sigmund Bloom.

For the record week 9

Bears -9.5 @ Bills

I appreciate that the Bills are pretty flawed team, but I also think giving 9.5 points at home is pretty insulting…and then I recall Nathan Peterman is starting this week and how he has managed to turn every appearance into a disaster. I also am aware that Chicago has a defense that could make him look considerably worse. But Chicago is a team trying to build an identity while the Bills are a team the may be able to muster enough pride to keep Trubisky slightly off his awkward game. Bills to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’m not buying into the Gabriel as Tyreek Hill narrative. He may fill that role this season but he’s nothing more than a place holder. Miller is showing up more, Cohen is providing highlight footage and even Kevin White has a pulse. All that to say I’m not buying anyone with conviction. We need to see more.

Chiefs -8.5 @ Browns

A week of disarray in Cleveland should provide the Chiefs an opportunity to get back to their explosive ways. The long overdue departure of Hue was welcome news. My fear, however, is what ails this teams starts at the top. Recent rumours suggest the Browns may look to hire Mike McCarthy, if available, this offseason. A hire like this seems like a typical Brown move: a recognizable name, past success; essentially a guy with a good CV on the surface. Nobody should want to look under McCarthy’s hood. He’s taken a generational QB and gotten in his way. If the Packers make him available this offseason it is because they have finally realized this. The Browns hiring McCarthy, or any other “known” retread name, would be a certain disaster. It seems Jimmy Haslam’s creativity and imagination is limited to to accounting practices. Take the Chiefs.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I remain hopeful that the new administration can get some of their more talented players involved: Duke Johnson, Nick Chub and David Njoku in particular. Chubb remains expensive but I remain an aggressive buyer, the same goes for the other two, slightly cheaper options.

As for the Chiefs, all that can be bought on the cheap are backups. I’d stash Spencer Ware, who becomes an immediate RB1 should Hunt fall, the same is true of Demetrius Harris should Travis Kelce get injured.

@ Dolphins -3.5 vs. Jets

Sam Darnold on the road versus Brock Osweiler or a weak armed Ryan Tannehill. What else is on? These teams aren’t exciting at the best of times, but subtract Tannehill and Stills from Miami, along with Enunwa, Anderson and Powell from the Jets and you’ve got yourself an exceptionally uninteresting matchup. I’m holding my nose, and breath, and taking Osweiler to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Todd Bowles and the coaching staff have expressed enthusiasm for both Eli McGuire and the running game in general. McGuire is officially back from injury this week and he’s 50 yards away from being on everyone’s waiver wire list.

@ Vikings -4.5 vs. Lions

It seems unlikely that the Vikes would allow back to back home losses. Last week’s loss to the Saints will be fresh in their minds when they face an inconsistent Lions Team. Detroit has been great against great teams (Pats, Packers) and lousy against average teams. Detroit will also be adjusting to life after Golden Tate, using a reimagined offense. A road game against a very decent defense isn’t the best place for tinkering. Vikings to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Obvious call for the Kenny Golladay coming out party for the second half of the season. But the Tate move also seems to be an endorsement of Jones. Golladay is getting all of the love this week, so perhaps Jones is the guy to target in trades. Theo Riddick is likely to get a second lease on life with Tate gone, eating the departed receivers dink and dunk diet.

@ Washington -1.5 vs. Falcons

Out of the bye the Falcons should be energized and motivated to turn their season around. Their losses have all come against respectable teams, while Washington has won just enough respect to no longer be taken for granted. The Washington defense is legit and the addition of Clinton Dix only makes them better. A tough game, but one Atlanta desperately needs. Falcons to win and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Austin Hooper gets no love. He’s one the field for north of 80% of the Falcons’ snaps thanks to his capability in the receiving and blocking games. He should remain a permanent fixture in the offense, and with some luck may find himself collecting enough targets to get him to the 700-850-yard mark.

@ Panthers -6.5 vs. Buccaneers

Logic suggests that the Panthers, who are undefeated at home and containing offenses in general, should be able to easily best the volatile Buccaneers. Were Winston starting this week I would fully expect the Carolina defense to have its way with Tampa. I think that the TB offense may find new life this week with Fitzpatrick back at the helm. While I don’t expect them to win I do expect them to be around late in this one, and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Chris Godwin and Desean Jackson are relevant once more. I’d buy both for the home stretch, with an emphasis on Godwin.

DJ Moore has had a few rough outings, but has also provided enough tape to suggest better days are ahead. Rookie lethargy may have set in on the owner who drafted him, why not see what they want in return. Devin Funchess has played well and surprised me every time I’ve watched the Panthers, but I expect he yields looks to Moore sooner than later.

@ Ravens -3.5 vs. Steelers

The Ravens are coming off of two losses and will certainly have a fire in their belly for the Steelers. The Ravens defense will make life difficult on bad karma Big Ben who I would guess has been reveling all week ion Haley’s dismissal in Cleveland. The Steelers simply haven’t impressed me this year.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

The Montgomery trade certainly had me looking in the mirror and considering my continued blind faith in Kenneth Dixon. Hope is fading, but I remain a believer that he will make the most of his touches when he gets back.

@ Broncos -2.5 vs. Texans

A surprising spread given the Texans have been on a run of wins while the Broncos have been on a losing streak. The Broncos losses, however, have come to some pretty great teams (KC twice, Rams and the Ravens) while the Texans win streak is a who’s who of mediocrity: Colts, Cowboys, Bills, Jags and Dolphins. I suppose 2.5 to a home team in a tough stadium is reasonable. Broncos to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Courtland Sutton has looked great all season and kudos to the Broncos for clearing his path and trading Thomas. Ditto their handling of Phil Lindsay. The team could easily force fed high draft pick Freeman, but opted for meritocracy over draft capital. If only they could find a quarterback, I’d feel that much better about buying both. Keke Coutee, despite Demaryius’ arrival, is worth buying here as I suspect his value has dipped slightly in the wake of the new arrival.

@ Seattle -1.5 vs. Chargers

The Seahawks have managed to get themselves off to an average start in an ugly fashion. The road gets harder soon though, with games against the Chargers, Rams, Packers and Panthers in November. I suspect this is where the Pete Carroll regime might start to look wobbly. The Chargers have been better than they are getting credit for. They’ve lost twice but those losses came against the Rams and Chiefs and they’ weren’t exactly embarrassed in either. Chargers to win in Seattle.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

For the long-term investor, I’d accumulate shares of Hunter Henry, who you might be able to pry off someone’s IR and Justin Jackson, who is a 3 down back, one injury away from relevancy.

@ Saints -2.5 Rams

This game would be much easier to bet of the Rams were favoured by 2.5, and frankly I’m surprised they aren’t. Looking at each team’s wins reveals the Saints have beat 3 ½ good teams to the Rams 3. I suspect this one isn’t the shootout we might expect, but one both teams would rather control on the ground. This might be the game where we realize how good the Rams defense is, as they frustrate Brees and company. Take the Rams.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Tre’quan Smith is a popular waiver name and I’ve certainly mentioned him here in the past. I’m a little concerned about buying him though for a few reasons: (1) Michael Thomas, (2) the running game and (3) Drew Brees will eventually retire and I’m not convinced Teddy Bridgewater can provide similar volume. Receiver is very deep and this is a landscape destined for change. So like David Moore in Seattle, we can all sit back and observe for a while and only grab these guys if they’re truly eye-popping.

@ Pats -5.5 vs. Packers

Another week, another disrespectfully high line against Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers does not flake out in big games, he thrives. Brady and company beat the Chiefs and nobody else all that impressive. Rob Gronkowski is a shadow of his former self and Sony Michel isn’t healthy. I’ll take Rodgers and the points to hang tough with Brady and a depleted arsenal. Pats might win, but just.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’m sitting back and scouting these rookie receivers in Green Bay.

@ Dallas -6.5 vs. Titans

Good news – you won’t have to stay up late Monday night watching this shit show. The Cowboys giving 6.5 seems like a crime to me given how horrid that coaching staff is and how anemic their offense has been at times. I’m guessing that the Titans, fresh of their bye, will be better than the Cowboys fresh off of theirs. Titans to cover, if not win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

For the stretch run I am counting on this Titans staff making some strides and the trio of Mariota, Lewis and Corey Davis, all to factor in. It’s show me time for this staff and these players, with the QB and receiver, in particular, under the microscope. If they shit the bed down the stretch I’ll be ready to write both of them off.

For the record – week 8

Week 8

Philly -3.5 @ Jags (in UK)

A matchup of 2017 goliaths who have provided few meaningful wins, and plenty of disappointment. Each team started well with big early season wins. The Eagles beat the Falcone on their banner-raising season opener, while the Jaguars managed to beat the Patriots in week two. Since then both have been huge disappointments, managing wins only against the league’s lesser lights. This week they travel to London, where games often seem to get sloppy. Given the desperation of both these teams, I’d expect it to be a close and ugly matchup, with the Jaguars tightening things up enough to keep it close and cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Sigh. My belief in Keelan Cole gets costlier by the week. Perhaps a full rollout of Carlos Hyde will help uncork him over the top but patience is wearing thin.

I’m still stashing shares of Darren Sproles as the Eagles will eventually find their footing, and need help out of the backfield to do so.

@ Bears -7.5 vs. Jets

Todd Bowles deserves more credit than he gets. He is two years removed from what seemed to be his certain dismissal as head coach. Over that period he has managed to find modest success with a very modest roster. One hopes he will be given the time and players to make this team truly matter. Bowles praise aside, this week his rookie QB travels to Chicago to keep pace with an explosive offense, in the face of an aggressive defense. This seems too tall an order for Darnold and Bowles at this stage. Bears to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Eli McGuire is on his way back and I suspect he will claim a significant role by mid-November.

Kevin White has a pulse and should anything happen to the prematurely anointed Taylor Gabriel or the increasingly average looking Allen Robinson, who’s to say he can’t surprise us all. It speaks volumes that White is the name I’m drawn to here as the other assets are out of bargain price range: Trubisky, Gabriel, Cohen and Burton are all too expensive for me. Struggling Jordan Howard appears to be a value trap that you don’t want to own. If you don’t already own a Bear, perhaps it’s best to sit them out all together.

@ Bengals -4.5 vs. Buccs

I continue to believe the Bengals are getting far more respect than they deserve. The point spread has narrowed over the week, after starting at 6, but even 4.5 seems generous. The TB defense made strides last week versus Cleveland and I don’t consider the Bengals to be a much greater challenge. Buccs to cover.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I continue to think the Bengals, and more importantly Tyler Boyd and Joe Mixon are overhyped, overvalued assets. I’d be looking to sell both. Gio is coming back and Watson will steal enough touches to matter and both of those issues will cap Mixon’s ceiling. Boyd on the other hand is a player who has enjoyed a few weeks, has enjoyed some fancy stats love, but is destined for a pull back. Because he has become a popular name at this stage in the season, I’d look to trade him for a name I prefer longer-term.

Chris Godwin and Peyton Barber still have value. I’d also load up on OJ Howard as a dynasty tight end, and pay through the nose for him.

@ Lions -3.5 vs. Seattle

I remain a believer that Russell Wilson can overcome his weak supporting cast and archaic coaching staff. Detroit has done well against great teams and crapped the bed versus weak ones. I suspect Wilson pops at some point this season and playing on the fast track in Detroit is a good place to get his rushing yard numbers up. I expect a fun game, one of Seattle’s first this season.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

For dynasty I’m buying all Seahawks in this order: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett, CJ Prosise, Chris Carson. I’ve heard the Lockett touchdown regression talk and realize the fall off is coming for those points. I suspect he’ll start replacing them though, this year or next, with yards.

As for the Lions, Golladay is too expensive, Keryon just spiked and only Marvin Jones and Golden Tate may be discounted.

@ Chiefs -10.5 vs. Broncos

The Broncos defense has awoken from its slumber but the sledding gets harder on the road in K.C. where the Chiefs have kept rookie phenom protected and upright. 10.5 is plenty of points for a divisional game, but the trend favours the Chiefs. Denver has had a rough week with the Chad Kelly news and now is contending with various trade rumours. In the road environment, with that sort of cloud over the team, it is hard to imagine Case Keenum holding his own in a road shootout.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’ve heard plenty of calls by season-long commentators suggesting Pat Mahomes is a “sell high” at his current lofty price. This is a nice play for season long leagues, I agree. In dynasty terms, however, I think you obviously want to buy him, Tyreek Hill, Sammy Watkins and Travis Kelce, even at their lofty current values.

@ Steelers -9.5 vs. Browns

The Steelers are coming off a bye and have had an extra week to prepare for the increasingly disorganized Browns organization. While 9.5 points is a lot for a Steelers team that has been underwhelming, this feels like the week they put it all together and Antonio Brown’s light finally shines. Steelers to cover as the coaching staff rumblings grow louder in Cleveland.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

I’ll beat a dead horse and suggest you look to acquire Njoku and Chubb and also add that I have zero interest in Mayfield or Calloway, who I believe are destined to have mid-range career ceilings, in a league drowning in similar talents at their respective positions.

I’d sell any Antonio Brown rally between now and next season. The name recognition is high but the talent is only going to appear more diluted as new names emerge or improve. He may have above market alpha to sell and net you a big catch. I’d also bet the Steelers part with him sooner than we expect. For heir apparent reasons I am a buyer of Juju and James Washington.

Washington -1.5 @ Giants

Here’s a game I hope isn’t aired in my region. Both are quarterbacked by underwhelming pivots and coached by dullards. It’s a coin flip as to who pulls this one out, but I’ll side with Washington.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

Pass.

Ravens -2.5 @ Carolina

Here are two teams who may end up being very good, but they’ve had enough missteps this season that they could also fade dramatically down the stretch. I suspect this could be one of the more exciting games of the week. Panthers to cover.

IN DYANSTY TERMS

The Ravens have not solved their RB issues and Kenneth Dixon is a few weeks from returning. He’s been a horrible disappointment, but given that the Ravens are desperate enough to try out Jamaal Charles this week, it’s fair to assume Dixon will get another good long look from week 11 and beyond. He was good in his brief appearances early this season, if he stays healthy once back you may have something for the next year.

Colts -3.5 @ Raiders

This appears to be an easy one. If the word on the street is to be believed, the Raiders are in disarray and are likely still reeling from the Cooper trade and Carr controversy. Let’s not forget the Khalil Mack drama that opened the season. One would have to imagine the morale in Oakland isn’t sky high as players wonder about job security and the organizations master plan (if there is one). In come the Colts, a team where things all seem to be coming up roses of late: Luck appears healthy, Mack is popping, the defense is getting healthier and the head coach is emerging as this year’s darling. Colts to blow the doors off them.

IN DYANSTY TERMS

Deon Cain is on the IR and if you have space to acquire him now – do it. He will be on everyone’s offseason sleeper list and you might as well beat them to the punch, particularly if you are rebuilding.

@ Cards -0.5 vs. 49ers

I’m enthusiastic about the long-term prospects for Byron Leftwich, but Rome was not built in a day and he will take some time to find his legs. Kyle Shanahan, on the other hand, has been rolling with the many punches he has absorbed this season, and it’s fair to assume he has enough fire power to overcome this reset Arizona squad. 49ers to win.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

This is a buffet of young guys who may or may not matter for years to come. For dynasty purposes we should all be piling out plates with Kittle, Kirk and Pettis, while nibbling at Goodwin and the injured McKinnon. I see no alpha-value in Josh Rosen in the near-term, but a few years down the road when he is regularly facing Shanahan, Nagy and whoever is coaching Seattle, 6 times a year, the prospects for garbage time yards are rich. That said, buying garbage time yards tells you a lot about how I feel about him versus his divisional peers.

@ Rams -9.5 vs. Packers

Yes, the Rams are wonderful. Yes, they are at home. Yes, the Packers have some injuries and yes, they are still coached by Mike McCarthy, but with all of those cards in the deck stacked against him, I can’t see any way that Aaron Rodgers allows his team to get blown out. This seems like the kind of game he reminds everyone he is AARON MOTHER FUCKING RODGERS and does crazy Aaron Rodgers things while the play by play announcers climax simultaneously before collapsing into each other’s arms. Packers to cover, and maybe even win in some batshit crazy fashion we’ll meme for 2 weeks or more.

IN DYNASTY TERMS

It’s hard to imagine any Ram being affordable. Josh Reynolds as a long-term stash.

As for the Packers, I’m taking a wait and see approach on the RBs and rookie receivers.

Saints -0.5 @ Vikings

A defense looking to finds its way versus an offensive line doing the same. Two pretty great coaches. Several great receivers and running backs. One above average QB. One hall of fame QB. Brees to cover.

IN DYANSTY TERMS

Buy all the Kamara they will sell at any price. Sell all of the Michael Thomas and Adam Thielen they will buy at a premium. Buy all of the Tre’quan Smith you can get on the cheap, ditto Stefon Diggs, ditto the falling knife that is Dalvin Cook.

Pats -14.5 @ Bills

This looks like trouble. The Pats haven’t really thumped anyone this season save for the Dolphins at home. Next week they have a huge matchup versus Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. This has the feel of an old school Bill Belichick “do just enough to win” games. I expect a vanilla ground and pound game that will have us reminded of all of the lower end depth chart players on the Pats with names like James Develin getting mentioned on waiver wire podcasts. Meanwhile, for this Bills this game is a measuring stick. This will be their Super Bowl. The fans will be in rabid Pats-hating mode and the defense may be inspired enough to keep the Pats vanilla version offense at bay. Either that or New England will kick the holy hell out of them. My money is the Bills keep it close and cove.

IN DYANSTY TERMS

Probably the last chance to buy Sony Michel. The injury history narrative will get a nice walk around the block and it may give you a chance to get him at a reasonable price. Get him while you can, he won’t be there long.