Welcome to my world.....

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fantasy Studs 'N Duds - Week 8


Each week I will give you any injury news I can find that may affect your FFL team. And I'll tell you who I think the Studs 'N Duds were. Two things to remember:  positions are QB RB WR & TE. I'm not bothering with Kickers or Defenses. Deal with it. As for the math, using a basic FFL scoring system that includes PPR, I'll tell you who really over shot their projected points and who really blew it. These are not necessarily the "hot" names in the NFL, but they are guys who the experts didn't expect to play this way and it could be a trend worth watching for both owners and waiver wire pickups.


Injuries:

RS Travis Benjamin, CLE - torn ACL right knee, IR  
     (RS = Return Specialist) 
WR Ryan Broyles, DET - ruptured rt Achilles tendon, IR
WR Mike Williams, TB - hamstring, IR 
WR Brandon Gibson, MIA - ruptured patella tendon, IR

QB Robert Griffin III, WAS - knee, removed from game, purely precautionary 
TE Jimmy Graham, NO - partial tear of plantar fascia 
QB Michael Vick, PHI - aggravated hamstring injury 
TE Julius Thomas, DEN - ankle, unknown seriousness, out 1-2 weeks
DE Ziggy Ansah, DET - ankle, unknown seriousness, unknown

Studs:

+33 WR Marvin Jones, CIN - Huh? Blind Squirrel / Nut if you ask me...
+30 WR Calvin Johnson, DET - it's about damn time, dude 
+25 WR Kenny Stills, NO - keep an eye on this kid, Brees needs someone to throw to!
+15 WR Golden Tate, SEA - another breakout game, could start a trend for him 
+13 RB Andre Ellington, ARI - may never happen again.  Just saying.
+11 to +12 WRs Dexter McCluster KC, Emmanuael Sanders PIT, Jordy Nelson GB and Josh Gordon CLE

Duds: 
QBs: 
RG3 got hurt 
Geno Smith played "meh," 
Tom Brady and Eli Manning both suffer from offensive issues and lack of talented targets.
RBs: 
Marshawn Lynch SEA - surprisingly bad matchup, won't happen again 
Steven Jackson ATL - back to the bench you go... still not over the hamstring injury 
Lesean McCoy PHI - he blames mental errors for lack of performance, says it won't happen again.  Uh-huh. Yeah. Right.
TEs: 
-10 Tony Gonzalez ATL 
-9 Jason Witten DAL 
-8 Rob Gronkowski NE 
All three of these guys are proven fantasy players. I'm chalking this up to a bad week. And crossing my fingers....

Respectfully submitted,
Cleveland Kate

Friday, October 25, 2013

Cheat Sheets: #4 OSU vs Penn State

Welcome to the fourth edition of The OSU Cheat Sheet - a look at the upcoming opponent, what they bring to the field, what players could give OSU trouble. This way, you'll know what names to watch for on Saturday and what parts of the game could cause the Buckeyes some problems.  

Hope this helps your enjoyment of another OSU victory.  O-H!

Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2)

Penn State is coming off of an Overtime win against Michigan and a Bye Week. They are more than prepared for the Buckeyes. In fact, after the Michigan game, QB Christian Hackenberg was named the winner of the Capital One Cup Impact Performance of the Week. That simple sentence alone should tell you that the Penn State offense is going to give the Buckeyes everything they can handle and more.

Our defense has had some troubles in the past few weeks – and don’t get me started on bad tackling – but there is no room for error this week.  Players have to wrap up their assignments, hit them cleanly, stay in the game and handle their business.  This could easily turn into a repeat of 2005, a loss which made Penn State fans consider the Buckeyes to be their biggest rival. And that means the Lions will be fired up and on top of their game this week.

Their Offense:
 
#14 QB Christian Hackenberg has 1,672 yards and 11 TDs already this season, with only 6 INT’s in 226 passing attempts. He’s averaging nearly 280 yards per game hitting 12 different receivers. On the bright side, he’s got 33 rushing attempts for -67 yards so we don’t have to worry about that. 

#08 WR Allen Robinson is the biggest receiving threat the Lions have. He’s got 43 catches for 705 yards and 5 TDs, averaging nearly 120 per game.

#85 TE Allen Felder comes in next with 22 catches for 232 yards. While #18 TE Jesse James and #87 TE Kyle Carter are also targets, anyone on the field is a possibility.

#28 RB Zack Zwinak, senior, is one of the best in the entire B1G and the toughest rusher the Buckeyes have faced this year. He’s got 402 yards on 92 attempts with 8 TDs.

#01 RB Bill Belton, junior, runs a close second to Zwinak. On just 70 carriers he’s racked up 387 yards and 3 TDs.


Their Defense:

With the departure of defensive coordinator Ted Roof, the defensive backs coach John Butler was promoted and so far has done a great job whipping this defense into shape and overcoming the loss of some great players since last season.

They’ve racked up 7 INTs and 4 Fumble recoveries, but aside from shutting out Kent State they’ve given up their share of points…. 40 to Michigan most recently.  #40 Glenn Carson LB and #91 DaQuan Jones DT lead the team in tackles and are their biggest threats.  

Penn State ranks 2nd in the B1G for Pass Defense but only 7th in defending the Rush which is a good thing since the Buckeyes RB Carlos Hyde will definitely be getting a workout tomorrow!

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate


Browns vs Packers - what can I say?

Browns 13 Packers 31

My momma always said… if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Well, that’s hard when you write about the Cleveland Browns. Ya’ll know I love my team but there was very little good on the field this week. So, since I can‘t find five positive things about this week’s game, how about I try five things that can definitely be improved during practice this week?  (I’m trying – I really am!)

This was one of those games that I had as a Loss before the season started, but I always have hope. Add the injuries to the Packers and I thought maybe, just maybe, we are playing them at the right time and we can come out of Green Bay with a win.  And for the second week in a row, the Browns turned a relatively unknown receiver - #11 Jarrett Boykin – into a fantasy football point scoring machine. Sigh.


Keeping things in perspective, however, we did come away healthy.  Thoughts and prayers to Jermichael Finley who suffered a spinal contusion in the game. Hope he recovers quickly and that he's ok.

For Kate’s  Five Takes, click this link: http://www.nflfemale.com/featured/finding-the-positive/

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fantasy Studs 'N Duds - Week 7

Each week I will give you any injury news I can find that may affect your FFL team. And I'll tell you who I think the Studs 'N Duds were. Two things to remember:  positions are QB RB WR & TE. I'm not bothering with Kickers or Defenses. Deal with it. As for the math, using a basic FFL scoring system that includes PPR, I'll tell you who really over shot their projected points and who really blew it. These are not necessarily the "hot" names in the NFL, but they are guys who the experts didn't expect to play this way and it could be a trend worth watching for both owners and waiver wire pickups.


Injuries:Where do I start?  It seems that every week guys are getting knocked out for the season. The QB situation across the league hasn't been pretty and WRs are also beginning to feel the pain.

QB Jay Cutler CHI: strained adductor magnus muscle (torn groin), 4 weeks min.
QB Sam Bradford STL: sprained knee (ACL), done for the year
RB Doug Martin TB: torn labrum (shoulder), 2-4 weeks (yeah, right)
RB Arian Foster HOU: strained hamstring, two weeks
RB DeMarco Murray DAL: Sprained knee (MCL), 2 weeks
WR Reggie Wayne IND: sprained knee (ACL), done for the year
TE Jermichael Finley GB: Spinal Contusion, unknown....

Bright side:  Calvin Johnson, Rob Gronkowski, CJ Spillar, Nick Foles, Percy Harvin are all either back or should be back this upcoming week.


Studs - (sadly, the Browns continue to turn average receivers into studs... sigh...)
TE Jordan Reed, Washington
+18 Roy Helu Jr., RB WAS: Where you been this season son?  Welcome back!
+18 Calvin Johnson, WR DET:  Injury. Officially. Healed.
+17 Vincent Jackson, WR TB: Proof that even crappy teams can have good FFL players
+16 Jordan Reed TE WAS: Um, who?  Exactly. Rookie TE out of Florida, he's been avg at best this season but saw 9 receptions for 134 yards and a TD this week. Might just become RG3's new favorite target.... 
+15 Harry Douglas, WR ATL: another guy who looks like a stud but really faced a crappy defense. Although, if he continues to play well, he might actually be worth the pickup.
+10 Jarrett Boykin, WR GB: so yeah, like I said, first DET Fauria and now Boykin. Perhaps you should look for the least familiar WR in KC this week and grab him... Cleveland is coming to town.  Oy.

Other notable Over-Achievers:Jeremy Kerley WR NYJ, Brandon Gibson WR MIA, and Mike Brown WR Jax.

Duds - Sigh (I have three of these guys on my team)
-14 DeSean Jackson WR PHI: I got nothing.
-13 Adrian Peterson RB MIN: Dude... you are making FFL owners crazy! 
-11 Josh Gordon WR CLE: Bad QB, we'll see if Jason Campbell can find Flash this week
-10 Bilal Powell RB NYJ: Close game with NE means no rushing... he'll bounce back
-09 Larry Fitzgerald WR ARI: Week after week he's just not right. I'm dropping him.
-09 Tony Gonzalez TE ATL: Rumors of possible retirement and trade back to Chiefs killed whatever production Grampa Gonzo was getting. Hope he turns it around. Soon.


Respectfully Submitted,
Cleveland Kate

Friday, October 18, 2013

Cheat Sheets: #4 OSU at Iowa

Today marks the third Cheat Sheet in the series - a look at the upcoming opponent, what they bring to the field, what players could give OSU trouble. This way, you'll know what names to watch for on Saturday and what parts of the game could cause the Buckeyes some problems.  

Hope this helps your enjoyment of another OSU victory.  O-H!

Iowa Hawkeyes (4-2)

After losing the season opener to Northern Illinois 30-27, the Hawkeyes went on a four game winning steak only to lose in week six to Michigan State, 26-14. They also had a Bye last week to prepare for the trip to Columbus to face the Buckeyes, game starting around 3:36 pm EST. While the Buckeyes should be up for this challenge, the defense better pay attention. Iowa has scored between 23 and 59 points in their victories this year so their offense has some power.

Some folks are calling this a "Trap Game." No way. Head Coach Urban Meyer and the rest of the staff know exactly what they are in for this week. They've had extra time to prepare, just like Iowa, and I don't believe for a second they are looking past the Hawkeyes or treating this game like an easy win. There are NO easy victories in football. They all come with a price. Let's hope the Buckeyes paid the price during the last two weeks of practice.

Their Offense:
They've put up 28, 27, 59 and 23 points in wins this season, largely in the air. 

#15 QB Jake Rudock, Sophmore, is a passing threat. He's got 1,200+ yards this season, a 60% completion record, with 8 TDs / 6 INTs. Two of those INT's came in their last game, a loss to Michigan State. He's also got 5 rushing TDs so he's not afraid to scramble out of the pocket, run the ball and take the game into his own hands.

#11 WR Kevonte Martin-Manley, Junior, has seen the most targets this season with 26 receptions for 225 yards. 

#22 WR Damond Powell, Junior, only has 6 targets but he's cranked up 225 yards, with a long of 74. He's the deep threat to watch out for.

#86 Fiedorowicz and #17 Hillyer don't have many yards but have been hit for two TDs each.

#45 RB Mark Weisman, Junior, has 126 carrier for 624 yards and three TDs. While not flashy, he's plowing his was to a five yards-per-carry average and he gets enough done to setup play action.

They've got six other players who average four yards or better per carry. That indicates an offensive line that knows how to block and protect. 


Their Defense:
They've got 9 interceptions... NINE.... with two getting taken back for TDs. This is the big threat to OSU. With shaky play recently from QB Braxton Miller, turnovers are Iowa's best shot at winning this game. Now, they've only got one sack this year. That tells me they won't be putting pressure on Brax, but when you've got four different guys with INTs, well, they'll just sit back and wait for their chance to get the ball.  Names to watch: #19 Lowery DB, #44 Morris LB, #5 Miller DB and #20 Kirksey LB. I'm hoping we don't hear those names on Saturday because if we do, we got troubles.

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fantasy Studs 'N Duds - Week 6

Each Tuesday (yeah, I'm a day late this week. Sorry), I will give you any injury news I can find that may affect your FFL team. And I'll tell you who I think are the Studs 'N Duds. Two things to remember:  positions are QB RB WR & TE. I'm not bothering with Kickers or Defenses. Deal with it. As for the math, using a basic FFL scoring system that includes PPR, I'll tell you who really over shot their projected points and who really blew it. These are not necessarily the "hot" names in the NFL, but they are guys who the experts didn't expect to play this way and it could be a trend worth watching for both owners and waiver wire pickups.

Injuries: Brace yourself – it’s going to get UGLY!
WR Green Bay Randall Cobb & James Jones – both left game on Sunday and it doesn’t look good for Aaron’s receiving corps.

RB Demarcus Ware DAL - quad... hasn't missed a game since 2005 but I'm thinking he misses this week.
  
WR Stevie Johnson BUF – still hurt, they keep projecting him as a “game time decision” but clearly he’s not ready

WR Calvin Johnson DET – played, but not 100%. Heck, maybe not even 50%.

WR Danny Amandola & TE Rob Gronkowski NE – Danny is hurt again and, well, listen, I don’t know what is going on between Gronk and The Hoodie, but I wouldn’t start him in FFL until I actually see him get into a game.

WR Mike Williams TB and WR Jerricho Cotchery PIT – if you have either of these guys, I just have one question… WHY???

Studs 

+25 Vernon Davis, TE SF – Welcome back to the NFL, V-Man! 8 catches on 11 targets for 180 yards and 2 TDs!  NICE!

+16 Riley Cooper, WR PHI – Riley becoming a favorite target of QB Nick Foles with 4 receptions for 120 yards and a TD.

 +15 Vincent Jackson, WR TB  - yes, even without Josh Freeman, The Bucs are finding ways to move the football. QB Mike Glennon and VJacks hooked up 9 times for 114 yards and 2 tds!

Other notable improvements: These guys have been underperforming this season but seem to be back on track now:
  • Brandon Jacobs, RB NYG +15
  • Stevan Ridley, RB NE +15
  • Knowshon Moreno, RB DEN +14
  • Marshawn Lynch, RB SEA+14
  • Justin Blackmon, WR JAC +12
  • Brandon LaFell, WR CAR +12

Duds

-12 Torrey Smith, WR BALT – yes I dislike the Ravens but that doesn’t influence the fact that Joe Flacco can’t seem to find Torrey Smith anywhere.
-10 Dez Bryant, WR, and -8 Jason Wittern, TE  DAL – overall a bad week for Dallas players.
-9 Trent Richardson, RB IND – Fantasy Owners need to give up on Trent. The thought that he just might have a break out week has been going on for six weeks now and no sign of anything… Sigh.
-9 Ray Rice, RB BALT – their offense has issues and Ray hasn’t been right since the injury. Just saying.
-8 Victory Cruz, WR NYG – he’s dead to me. I’m done. Enough is enough already. You can hold on to him if you want but I give up.
-7 Alshon Jeffery, WR CHI – ok so maybe his projected value was over-estimated based on his awesome week 5 performance… hold on to him but be cautious once the bye-weeks are over.
-7 Antonio Gates, TE SD – they are still finding their rhythm so be patient. Antonio will get his eventually. 


That’s it for me this week.... feel free to send me questions via twitter @ClvlndK8!
Respectfully Submitted,
Cleveland Kate

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Browns Fans: Reevaluate your expectations!

If you are a level-headed football fan and can see that the entire Cleveland Browns team shares in the blame for today's 31-17 loss to the Detroit Lions, Thanks and Congrats!  You can go on with your life and just skip this blog.  HOWEVER, if you want Brandon Weeden to be traded, cut, terminated immediately; if you think he is the only reason we lost the game; if you think he's the worst QB to ever play the game, then you, my friend, are the intended audience for this blog and need a dose of Cold. Hard. Facts.

What did you think the Browns were going to do this year?  The most optimistic predictions I heard in the pre-season ranged around the 8-8 mark.... hoping to avoid double-digit losses and make some progress over last year. With the 2014 NFL Draft promising somewhere between 5-11 NFL ready QBs, we just wanted to get through the season and get the franchise QB that every fan dreams about. Even the trade of Trent Richardson after Week 2 was billed as being a way to help us get that QB. No one thought this team would win the division or make the playoffs and no one, me included, thought that BW was our future. What changed?

Brandon Weeden is who we thought he was as a QB. He has skills, and if he can "manage the game" (meaning don't make any mistakes!) we'll be ok. We have a great defense, a solid punt returner named Travis Benjamin, a true #1 WR in Josh "Flash" Gordon and a great pair of TE's in Jordan Cameron and Gary Barnidge. Plus WRs Davone Bess and Greg Little have been good. The addition of RB Willis McGahee is even turning out to be ok. This team won't be blowing the doors off the competition but surely they can be .500.

And yet today my twitter timeline is full of folks calling for Brandon's head, screaming that he can't lead us to the playoffs, that he can't make the big plays, take this team onto his shoulders like Tom Brady or Peyton Manning and lead that last-minute, game-winning drive. Well, who said he could? Today's stupid INT that killed a promising drive seemed to take the air out of the team and I understand being frustrated. But to say that's the only reason we lost? Come on! Did we watch the same game?  I listened to the game when it was on and just finished watching it on my DVR and here's what I've come up with...

You don't want to see the stats because they mean nothing, right?  Like first downs: Lions 24 Browns 23. Like total offensive yards: Lions 366 Browns 395.  Like passing completions: Lions 25/43 Browns 26/43. How about rushing: Lions 28 for 118 yards, Browns 21 for 126 yards. Well. If stats mean nothing, lets look at game situations....

  • Turnovers:  Lions 1 Browns 2.  Fair point. Lions got 7 points as a result of a turnover.
  • Time of Possession: Folks are claiming the defense was gassed because of how much time they spent on the field. Hmmm. Let's look at ToP by Half.  First half was pretty balanced but second half:  Lions 19:25 Browns 10:35. Ouch. Fair point. Yet how tired was defense when they gave up these TDs?
    • First Quarter: Score is 0-0. Second Lions drive of the first quarter, they start on their 42, move the ball down the field. A pass interference penalty gives them the ball on the 7 yard line. A second PI penalty gives them the ball on the 1. And then touch down Lions.
    • Third Quarter: Score is 17-7. First Lions drive of the third quarter, they start on their own 21, move the ball down the field. Reggie Bush breaks a run for 39 yards, and later catches a pass for 18 yards and a Touch Down. How tired was the Browns defense if this was the first Lions possession of the second half?  Score 17-14.
  • Field Position. In the first half, Browns had six offensive possessions, two started from their own 26 - scored on both. Started the other four at the 20 or worse and scored once. In the second half, Browns also had six offensive possessions but never started a drive any closer than their own 20. Credit Lions kicker for keeping them in the end zone and not allowing a run-back but still... let's look at the 2nd half drives:
    • First drive: punted on 4th and 1, drive contained a -5 yard penalty
    • Second drive: punted on 4th and 4, no McGahee rush attempts
    • Third drive: punted on 4th and 19 after Weeden got sacked
    • Forth drive: punted on 4th and 12, drive contained -15 in penalties and a Greg Little incompletion that I still think should have been a catch.
    • Fifth drive: moved ball 40 yards and was starting to click when Weeden threw an ugly INT
    • Sixth drive: moved ball 86 yards - including overcoming another sack - when they just ran out of time.
OK - that 4th quarter interception when we were only down by 7 really leaves a bad taste in Browns Fan's mouths and it's easy to see why Weeden gets all the blame for the loss. And he should take some of the blame. I'm not saying he shouldn't. All I am saying is that poor defense, bad penalties, crappy field position also contributed to the mess that was the second half. And I'm asking you to try and see that while Brandon absolutely made mistakes, that doesn't mean he shouldn't start another game.  His first half was really good, the whole team played well, everything clicked, and the score at half-time showed that.  I have no idea what happened when they came out to start the second half but frankly, it was like a different team came out onto the field. 

And part of me blames Brian Hoyer and the AFC North. After only 2 games, we all got caught up in the story of the Local Kid who gets to live his dream by starting for the Browns. And we anointed him the Second Coming of Bernie Kosar. Add to that the fact that the Steelers were 0-4 and the Ravens/Bengals were not looking dominant or impressive, well, Browns fans started to "Up the Ante" on this team. And that just isn't fair. Heck, if we take a close look at the teams we beat this year so far, well, two of them just aren't good. 

Bottom line:  THIS TEAM IS WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE. They are a .500 team with some very talented pieces. I understand the mentality that the QB is responsible for everything that happens on the field. As the team Leader, it's his job to take the blame. But as fans, we are responsible to take a good hard look at our team and see them for who and what they really are. A lot of work was done in the off-season on the defense and it shows.  We need more work on the offense. We need to be patient as fans and stop reacting with anger and craziness when they let us down. We need to manage our expectations.  Heck, we travel to Green Bay and Kansas City for the next two weeks. It's going to get harder before it gets easier. 

But 8-8 is absolutely possible.  We have Jacksonville once and Pittsburgh twice this year.  That would give us 6 wins.  We might be able to get a couple more. Who knows? But I still have faith in this Team. I have faith that the ability Brandon Weeden showed in the first half can be extended into the second half of a game. That the other problems we have can be corrected.

Because for two quarters today, football was fun.  The Cleveland Browns were a Real NFL Team. 

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Friday, October 11, 2013

Gary Barnidge: Giving Back to Browns Fans

As a sports fan and a complete Twitter addict, you may be surprised to find out that I don't follow every athlete that plays for a Cleveland Team.  That being said, I do follow quite a few.  Usually, I'll look to see if a guy has twitter and then look at his timeline to see if he interacts with fans or just keeps to himself. If he's cool with the fans, I give him a follow.  So I was delighted to see that Cleveland Browns TE Gary Barnidge not only tweets with fans, he also runs a weekly contest during the season.

Each Wednesday, Gary tweets out a question related to the movie industry.  It can be something simple like "If you could be in any movie, what would it be?" or a trivia question like "What was the first feature film that Tim Burton directed?"  The first 10 answers, or correct answers, get the opportunity to go to the movies with Gary that week and he'll buy your ticket.  Now, you are on your own for popcorn and soda or if you want to bring a date, but still... this is way cool.

Oh, I don't mean the part where he pays for the tickets. That's nice but that's not really the cool part. The cool part is that you can arrive at the theater around 7:15 pm and hang out with Gary until the movie starts at 8:00.  How do I know this?  Because I was one of the lucky winners this week.  BTW - Tim Burton's first FEATURE FILM direction was in "Pee Wee's Big Adventure."  (Yeah, I know some stupid stuff).  And did I mention that he brings a couple of teammates with him?  We got to hang out with Gary, LS Christian Yount, and QB Brandon Weeden.  I know, right?  I went total "fan-girl" for a minute before I gathered my wits together. I think I handled it well. You know I talked way too much, but that's me keeping it real.


We hung out for 30-45 minutes before going in to the theater. They were all very friendly and we had some fun conversations. We talked about where people lived, what we liked to do in Cleveland. We talked about football, Louisville, Teddy Bridgewater.  I even got some Fantasy Football advice. ("Never Bench Brady"). It wasn't just "here's you ticket, thanks for coming." It was a sincere thank you to fans. Gary did this last season when he was with Carolina and he plans to continue doing this for as long as he's in the NFL, regardless of where he is playing.  I asked him how Browns fans were different from Panther fans... he said "you people are seriously Die Hard.  Every team has their share of Fair Weather Fans, but the vast majority of Browns fans stick by the team no matter what."  Yeah, he gets us.

Something else he was involved with when he was in Carolina is a charity called Samaritan's Feet.
 "Not just a non-profit, nor just a humanitarian aid organization – but a community of more than 70,000 volunteers who have joined together to make a difference in the lives of children in need in every corner of the world. From a dream to the reality of over four million impoverished children and adults in more than 60 nations being served by having their feet washed, receiving a new pair of shoes, and hearing a message of hope."
He remains very connected to them, and in September, brought their efforts to a local YMCA, the West Park - Fairview Park Family Park in Cleveland. If you would like to get more information on becoming involved with Samaritan's Feet, check out their website.

If you are on twitter, you can follow him at @garybarnidge... it's pretty easy.  And keep an eye out on Wednesday nights for the weekly question and YOUR chance to spend some time hanging with a Browns player or two. A lot of athletes give away items to fans or do other stuff to show their appreciation, but after experiencing this evening myself, I have to say "winning" an hour of their time was freaking awesome! It isn't necessary, but it is very cool to see guys that are interested it talking to fans. And I find it a good sign of Gary's personality, his character, that not only does he stay involved with a charity he could have easily left behind when he moved from Carolina, but that his teammates support his contest with the fans and join in.

Lastly, I have to say I was very impressed with the fans in attendance - everyone was on their best behavior.  You just never know with Browns Fans, but everyone was great and I'm proud of us!

And THANK YOU Gary and Friends for a once-in-a-lifetime experience!  Then again, I can always enter the contest next week....

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate


P.S. You know I offered some advice to Brandon... I tried to keep my mouth shut but I'm just not wired that way. All I will say is if he's out there Slinging It on Sunday, you can thank me.  And yes, he called me "Ma'am."  Sigh.

Browns vs Bills & My Interview with Rookie Leon McFadden Jr

Getting ready to face the Bills
Winning always comes with a price, and for the Cleveland Browns this past Thursday the price was QB Brian Hoyer.  After an injury sidelined starting QB Brandon Weeden, Hoyer was elevated from 3rd string to starter and has two wins under his belt. In his third start, while trying to get extra yards and a first down, he injured his knee and will now be out for the rest of the season.  Weeden returned and led the team to a 37-24 win over the Bills, but Browns fans are saddened by the loss of Hoyer and what looked to be a promising start to his starting career and the possible end of our QB woes.

Training Camp 2013
On the bright side, the Browns have another of their 2013 draft picks on the field and beginning to make an impact: CB Leon McFadden Jr. The team took a lot of grief for last year’s draft, doing a lot of trading and coming away with only a few new rookies to add to the roster. One of their biggest positions of need was in the secondary and 3rd round pick McFadden was one of their solutions to this problem.  He arrived late this summer due to finishing up school at San Diego State and then had a groin injury in the preseason. He has seen limited playing time so far, but has 3 tackles through five games and looks to be catching up to the other DBs. While Buster Skrine has made great improvements in his play from last year and Chris Owens is coming in off the bench a lot, McFadden is being given his chances on the field and is making the most of them. I had a chance to talk to him this week, so here are my five takes from that interview…

Kate’s  FiveTakes/Questions for Leon McFadden (click link to go to www.nflfemale.com)

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Fantasy Studs 'N Duds - Week 5



Each Tuesday, I will give you any injury news I can find that may affect your FFL team. And I'll tell you who I think are the Studs 'N Duds. Two things to remember:  positions are QB RB WR & TE. I'm not bothering with Kickers or Defenses. Deal with it. As for the math, using a basic FFL scoring system that includes PPR, I'll tell you who really over shot their projected points and who really blew it. These are not necessarily the "hot" names in the NFL, but they are guys who the experts didn't expect to play this way and it could be a trend worth watching for both owners and waiver wire pickups.


October 3-7, 2013

Injuries:
1.     QB Brian Hoyer, CLE – out for season. Killing me, Smalls.
2.     QB EJ Manuel, BUF – knee, out 4-8 weeks
3.     QB Michael Vick, PHI – hamstring, 1-2 weeks
4.     RB Ryan Mathews, SD – concussion, should be ok but watch
5.     WR Julio Jones, ATL – injured foot on MNF, could be out for year, still waiting on details, but it doesn’t look good.

Studs 
  • +24 Alshon Jeffery, WR Chicago – great game for this guys who’s been very quiet this season. Might be worth the chance he can do it again while we are getting through the Bye Weeks.
  •  +22 Tony Romo, QB Dallas – even Peyton Manning couldn’t eclipse a great performance from the Romo-Coaster.
  • +20 TY Hilton, WR Indianapolis – the rookie is finally living up to projected value this season.
  • +18 Julius Thomas, TE Denver – don’t know why he was only projected around 9 points. When he and Peyton get together it’s magical!
  • +17 Terrance Williams, WR Dallas – yeah, I picked him up this week. Needed a bye week sub and thought maybe, just maybe, TW and Romo would hit big.
  • +13 Justin Blackmon, WR Jax – even with a bad season underway, Blackmon is finding a way to get into the action. Now that he’s clicking, I’d keep playing him.
  • Other notable improvements:
    • Rueben Randle, WR NYG +16
    • Keenan Allen, WR SD +14
    • Jeff Cumberland, TE NYJ +14

Duds
  • -13 Tom Brady, QB NE – yes, I put the Great One on my list. He stunk up the field this week.  I know he’s missing some key guys (Amandola / Gronkowski) but I expect better from Tom.  While you “Never Bench Brady,” if he has another No TD week, I’m benching him!
  • -12 Matt Schaub, QB Hou – drop him. Fast. Now. #JustSaying
  • -10 Marques Colston, WR NO – Brees is fining everybody on the field except Marques. Either they are having personal issues or Brees just has too many targets to choose from.  Whatever the reason, Brees is a good play, his receivers are not… too much being shared and no one standing out and grabbing it all… well except maybe Pierre Thomas…
  • -10 Lamar Miller, RB Miami – Dolphins had a rough week and couldn't get anything going in the run game. I’d hold off on playing Miller again – unless you don’t have another option – until their schedule lightens up a bit.

That’s it for me this week.... feel free to send me questions via twitter @ClvlndK8!

Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate

Friday, October 4, 2013

Tyler Thigpen - some quick data

Just some quick stuff I was able to dig up:

2003-2007 went to Coastal Carolina University, first year they had a football program. Missed 2006 season with shoulder injury.  Other CCU players you might know:  WR Jerome Simpson and RB Mike Tolbert

Drafted by Minnesota Vikings in 7th round, waived before season (HC Brad Childress)

2007 Picked up by KC Chiefs, played in one game replacing an injured Damon Huard, tore MCL that week in practice and was put on IR.

2008 Thigpen's final statistics for the season included 21 total touchdowns, 12 interceptions, and 2,994 all-purpose yards. He lost 10 of the 11 games he started at quarterback, six of which were lost by margins of seven points or less.

2009 Traded to Dolphins after Chad Pennington injury, Henne got one start and then they put in Thigpen for 9 weeks. When Pennington returned, Thigpen was back on the bench.

Basically, he fills in when a guy gets hurt, does ok, but hasn't shown enough to keep the job. Perhaps it was youth and the fact that he was a star in a brand new college program. It may simply be that he needed more time and attention to do well. He showed some skill at the spread offense.


Cheat Sheets: #4 OSU at #16 Northwestern

Today marks the second Cheat Sheet in the series - a look at the upcoming opponent, what they bring to the field, what players could give OSU trouble. This way, you'll know what names to watch for on Saturday and what parts of the game could cause the Buckeyes some problems.  


Hope this helps your enjoyment of another OSU victory.  O-H!


Northwestern Wildcats (4-0)

The Buckeyes travel to Illinois this weekend to face the Northwestern Wildcats. After four impressive wins and an offense that is putting up big numbers, the Wildcats enjoyed a Bye Week to watch the Buckeyes play the Wisconsin Badgers and get ready for this Saturday night’s 8pm game. I'm hoping that the game SB Nation's Sippin' on Purple is calling the Biggest Game in Wildcats History turns out be a statement victory by the Buckeyes.

The Offense:
So far they've put up 48, 44, 38 and 35 points in wins this season. They have a very balanced offense, gaining 48 first downs by passing and 47 by rushing. As for yardage, 985 in the air and 998 on the ground. A lot of this is due to their two QB system which plays to the strengths of Colter and Siemian. 

The Colterian: two-headed QB
QBs #2 Kain Colter, with 3 rushing TDs and #13 Trevor Siemian, the passing machine, share time based on game situations. Siemian leads the Big Ten in avg yards per passing completion with 14.6 and threw for nearly 400 yards vs Syracuse.

#22 Treyvon Green leads the rushing pack with an average of 101 yards per game and 5 TDs. 

#5 Venric Mark, Senior RB and Punt Returner, will be back from a leg injury that kept him out of the past three games. I'm not sure how "healthy" or rusty he is, but keep an eye on him.  

#6 Tony Jones leads the receiving corp with a 90.5 yards per game average and 3 TDs. 


The Defense:
While the offense is busy putting up big numbers, so have their opponents. This defense has given up 30, 27, 17 and 21 points already. They are allowing an average 300+ passing yards per game and rank dead last in the Big Ten. The key to their success has been the offense but they do have a few guys worth watching. They have, however, forced four fumbles and gotten ten interceptions.

#45 LB Collin Ellis has two interceptions vs Cal - and returned BOTH for TDs

#24 S Ibraheim Campbell three INT's this year, ranked 5th nationally. 

The Wildcat pass defense isn't great, but if you give them an opening, they'll take it.  The Buckeyes need to keep the ball SAFE! Basically, this team is completely beatable if you score early and score often. The Wildcats get off to very slow starts, averaging only 6 first quarter points. If the Buckeyes can get points on the board early, even the tricky 2 QB System won't cause too much second-half trouble!

Respectfully Submitted,



Cleveland Kate

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Fantasy Studs 'N Duds - Week 4


Each Tuesday, I will give you any injury news I can find that may affect your FFL team. And I'll tell you who I think are the Studs 'N Duds. Two things to remember:  positions are QB RB WR & TE. I'm not bothering with Kickers or Defenses. Deal with it. As for the math, using a basic FFL scoring system that includes PPR, I'll tell you who really over shot their projected points and who really blew it. These are not necessarily the "hot" names in the NFL, but they are guys who the experts didn't expect to play this way and it could be a trend worth watching for both owners and waiver wire pickups.
  
 You've survived Bye Week One 2013.... Only 8 more to go!



September 26-30, 2013

Injuries:
1.     QB Jake Locker, Titans, hip injury, out
2.     RB Darren McFadden, OAK, hamstring strain, probable
3.     RB Alfred Morris, Redskins, rib contusion, bye week
4.     WR Stephen Hill & Santonio Holmes, J-E-T-S, head injury / hamstring, both questionable

Studs 
  • +22 Tony Gonzalez, TE Atlanta – dude had an amazing week for an old guy!
  • +18 Nate Washington, WR Tennessee – Jake Locker is out so Ryan Fitzpatrick will be playing this week and a vet like Nate could see a bunch of targets
  • +17 Darren Sproles, RB New Orleans – yeah, so NO just ran all over Miami – literally. Nice to see Brees share the love with his RB this week.
  • +16.5 Greg Jennings, WR Minnesota – yeah I’m a wee bit grumpy about this one. He’s done nothing all year for Ponder but you throw Matt Cassell in there and BAM Greg wants to play!  Could see a trend as long as Ponder is out.
  • +15 WR Galore! Torrey Smith BAL, Victory Cruz NYG, and Alshon Jeffrey CHI all came out with something to prove this week and nailed it!
  • Other notable improvements: Le’Veon Bell saw his first action of the year after being hurt and came in nearly +14 this week. Jerricho Cotchery is another guy I had written off who had a great game, also coming in +14. Both are risky pickups but for a Bye Week replacement, why not?


Duds
  • -12 Darren McFadden, RB Oak – Ok so he got hurt, but fragile guys are killing by FFL teams!
  • -11 Stevie Johnson, WR Buf – he’s just continually having bad weeks. Facing the Cleveland defense and Joe Haden this week? Yeah, bench him.
  • -10 Ray Rice, RB Balt – still injured, limited duty, don’t even bother putting him back into your line-up until he shows some life.
  • -10 MJD and Bernard Pierce – not a good week for the RB and winter isn’t here yet!
  • -9 Doug Martin, RB TampaBay, Chris Johson, RB Tenn – Both these guys were suppose to be fantasy gold regardless of their poor team play. Without Josh Freeman and Jake Locker, I expect the run game to rule. Instead, they are doing their imitations of the Invisible Man.

  • Other notable crappy performances -9 Vincent Jackson, WR TampaBay and DeSean Jackson, WR Philly.  Yeah the WR are having issues as well. Both these guys have serious talent and should straighten out but their teams are a mess right now. Be cautious.
That's it for me this week.... feel free to send me questions via twitter @ClvlndK8!

Respectfully Submitted,
Cleveland Kate


Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Fans Need to Relax: Browns vs Bengals

With all of the excitement surrounding the Cleveland Browns and their two-game winning streak, it's time to relax, step back and learn a couple of lessons from this week.  And yeah, I'm here to play Teacher for you.  Don't get me wrong - I love almost everything I'm seeing from this team. But we need to stop the talk of QB Brian Hoyer being the second coming of Tom Brady. We need to stop the Pro-Bowl talk for TE Jordan Cameron and WR Josh Gordon.  We need to be careful how we brag about our Defense being the best run stopping group in the league.  Do I believe all of these things are true?  Maybe. But we tend to jump to conclusions in this town, take things to extremes.  Let's just enjoy the winning for now and even more importantly, enjoy watching Good Football again!  It's been a long time coming.

While Hoyer/Gordon/Cameron have had some really great weeks lately, we need to be prepared for the fact that opposing defenses now have more film to watch. DC's will be game planning for Flash Gordon and try their best to take him out of the offensive equation. It will take a really excellent CB to do that, but we have some of those on the schedule this year. Yes, Hoyer can go to Cameron if Gordon isn't open but again, defenses will watch for that.  In order for this offense to truly be effective, WR Davone Bess, TE Gary Barnidge, and WR Greg Little need to be ready to step up their games and give the defenses something NEW to worry about.  With the return of Shaun Lauvao this week the offensive line will just keep getting better.  I actually thought Cousins and Schwartz played really well together this week. Perhaps their chemistry is finally kicking in after four games together.

On the defensive side of the ball, the same problem is coming: offensive coordinators have more film and can game-plan more effectively.  Frankly, I think that the entire league has overlooked the Browns. Add to that the tumultuous events of two weeks ago (aka the TRich trade) and you can see why no one really thought we were a threat. We were overlooked and both Minnesota and Cincinnati paid the price for that. Future opponents won't make that same mistake.  Major props to Buster Skrine - he takes a lot of crap from fans but has really put together a couple good games this year. He's making serious improvement in his game by "seeing" the field more clearly and knowing where to be when the ball gets there. Oh, he's always been fast, but it seemed like it took him a beat too long to decide where the play was headed.  Not this week. Dude was balling!

As far as Run Defense, we haven't given up a rushing play over 14 yards this season. UNREAL! I've said it before and I'll say it again, we have the NASTIEST front 7 in the NFL!  Where we have a real issue in the mid-field range on pass coverage and don't be surprised to see teams go with the bubble screen or the TE passing route in future weeks to put TJ Ward to the test and see just how soft we are up the middle. At the same time, CB Joe Haden and Rookie Barkevious Mingo have been stellar and opposing QBs should be scared. Very very scared.

Of course the future looks bright for the Browns. Of course I'm loving these games and I'm proud of the progress they have made in such a short time.  I'm just trying to reel in a few of my fellow fans who are off the deep end thinking we can win the division and go to the playoffs.  Yes, that's absolutely possible.  But if they lose a few games in the near future, don't be all "doom-and-gloom, this team sucks" guy. We may experience some growing pains in a short while and we need to remember that this team DOES have talent, that they CAN perform, and that, most importantly, they have a coaching staff that KNOWS how to game-plan and motivate the players to be the best they can be.  And that's all we as fans can ask for.

You can read Kate's 5 Takes for this week on www.nflfemale.com "The DAWGS Are Back!"


Respectfully Submitted,

Cleveland Kate