The Falcons offense is loaded with play makers ala QB Matt Ryan, RB Steven Jackson, and WRs Julio Jones and Roddy White. Make sure to set your NFL RUSH Fantasy line-ups early this week if you plan to start one of them.
The Buccaneers offense is a work in progress but the Falcons have been giving up a ton of passing yards so far this season. You might consider QB Josh McCown, WRs Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson this week.
The action kicks off at 8:30 PM ET on the NFL Network and CBS.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receiver Vincent Jackson was voted the 44th-best player in the NFL by his peers on "Top 100 Players of 2014."
The 2014 draft is considered one of the deepest drafts with many talented and NFL ready players at each position. But teams like the Browns, Jaguars, Texans, Raiders, Buccaneers, Vikings, and Rams don't care about the wide receivers being one of the best ever or even some really intriguing defensive players, they just care about these quarterbacks. All of these guys know how to win whether it's a big name quarterback with a big name team and big name coach in A.J MCcaron, or even a quarterback in Eastern Illinois who led them to a 12-2 record, Jimmy Garoppolo. But to me there's one quarterback that stands out of the loaded quarterback class. That's Blake Bortles. When you hear the name Blake Bortles you might say "who?" but he is projected as the most NFL ready quarterback to start next season. So if you're one of those people who have no idea who Bortles is you're about to find out what Blake Bortles could do for his future team.
All college football quarterbacks are the same in the sense that they need time to develop but Bortles has that Ben Rothlesberger size, a great arm that produces accurate throws, and the athleticism to run if he has to which makes him ready and determined for a starting job. Last season in his junior year Bortles posted stats of a 67.8 completion percentage, 3,501 passing yards, and a touchdown to interception ratio of 25:9 with a 163.4 passer rating. With Bortles being at UCF where there isn't as much attention, he made the college football world look again at UCF because he put the team on his back with no supporting cast and climbed up the board over the likes of Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater, and Derek Carr in the NFL draft. Bortles has great talent and potential to be an elite quarterback because of all the tools he has but I think he could be taken by Texans at number 1, the Jaguars at number 3, the Raiders at number 5, the Buccaneers at number 7, or the Vikings at number 8. The reason I say the Texans is that he wouldn't be changing climate, he would have weapons in Andre Johnson and Arian Foster, and he wouldn't have to be pushed in the starting role too early because they still have a solid backup in Case Keenum and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Maybe the Jaguars too because they need a quarterback and Bortles would be staying in the state he played in college so he'd be comfortable. The Vikings and Raiders are also in the hunt and have showed interest as they are probably done with Christian Ponder. But to me the best fit would be the Buccaneers. I believe if they put him down in Tampa he could excel. First, just like the Jaguars it is in the same state where he has been playing in college. Second, the Buccaneers have a couple of great weapons to work with like Vincent Jackson, Doug Martin, a good offensive line, and Brandon Myers. And third, if Tampa drafted him he would have the most chance to win out of all four of these teams because the Buccaneers bolstered their defense with key additions and have a defensive minded coach in Lovie Smith that could take the pressure off his shoulders. To me it just looks like a great fit and McCown would be the perfect backup if he is not ready to be thrust into the job.
To me Blake Bortles has all the tools including confidence and a hard work ethic to be a starting quarterback. But he's just one of these many quarterbacks in this class that are not only ready to start, but ready to win.
Free agency has pretty much come to a close with just a few well known names left such as Chris Johnson getting released by the Titans. And now that the big names have been signed you wonder what they are going to do for their teams next year. Sometimes when a free agent hits the open market a team signs the player and gets that difference maker they need. Other times teams sign a player with a lot of hype and they turn out to be a bust. So here are the teams who snatched those difference makers and the ones who grabbed a player who might have been over evaluated and how these teams will excel and struggle.
Teams that can excel this season:
Denver Broncos- It's hard to beat a record breaking season and a Super Bowl appearance but the Broncos had such a good free agency they can go back to the Super Bowl and win. They signed one of the best safeties in free agency ,TJ Ward, and they also picked up one of the best cornerbacks on the free agent market, Aquib Talib. But they surprised everyone by signing 3 defensive stars when Demarcus Ware joined Talib and Ward in Denver. Other signings were Emmanuel Sanders and Will Montgomery. All these players will improve the Broncos even though Knowshon Moreno and Zane Beadles both headed for Flordia. Talib will be a great cornerback in the system with Chris Harris and an upgrade from the aging Champ Bailey. TJ Ward will bring a new type of play into the safety position. Demarcus Ware will help the pass rush and compliment their defensive line. And finally Emmanuel Sanders will replace Eric Decker who signed with the Jets, at the number 2 receiver spot. With the Broncos new free agents they could do more than just go to the playoffs. They could be a top contender and threat especially with the other AFC west teams not being big factors in free agency. And with Peyton Manning and company already in Denver they can improve their already Super Bowl team.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers- Last season the Buccaneers were among the worst teams in the league. Then they fired head coach Greg Schiano and put Lovie Smith into that position and since then the Buccaneers have been rising. Free agency has been what now makes Tampa look like a more dangerous team. They grabbed Aluterraun Verner a young pro bowl cornerback to replace Darelle Revis and with Lovie Smith being a defensive coach he could develop him into more than just an elite corner. They also snatched Michael Johnson, one of the best defensive ends in the league, from the Bengals. They didn't just go all defense in free agency; they also got some free agents on the offensive side. They picked up what might be the starting quarterback for them next year in Josh McCown and they also signed left tackle Anthony Collins and tight end Brandon Myers. With Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, and a great offensive line already on the offensive side and Gerold McCoy and Dashon Goldson already on the defensive side combined with all of their free agent additions make them look dangerous. And now that they have released Darelle Revis and he has gone to New England they could maybe use the cap room for more great free agent moves to put the Buccaneers in the right direction.
Teams that will struggle this season:
Carolina Panthers- The Panthers went deep in the playoffs last season but in free agency they haven't gone deep to sign a player. The Panthers have an elite quarterback and a good defense but it looks like everything is falling apart on both sides of the ball. Their receiving unit fell apart when they cut Steve Smith, lost Dominek Hixon to the Bears, lost Brandon Lafell to the Patriots, and Ted Ginn to the Cardinals. Now they have a whole unit to build and so far all they've done is sign the aging Jerricho Cotchery and they have 3 more receivers to go. On the defensive side they put a franchise tag on Greg Hardy and signed Roman Harper from the Saints but they still have problems. They lost safety Mike Mitchell to the Steelers and cornerback Captain Munnerlyn to the Vikings. Both were good players for the defense. Now because of all the free agent moves the Panthers are left with several positions in need. They need secondary help, wide receiver help, and right tackle help. Now they have to rely on the draft and even though it's deep I don't think it'll be enough to fix all the Panthers problems. This is when they really need Cam Newton to carry the team on his back. If that doesn't happen they'll be a disappointment but if he does it'll be a miracle.
Cinncinati Bengals- Another playoff team who has just not been a factor in free agency. The Bengals didn't end their season well last season and didn't start the season well either this season. They just haven't been active in free agency. They lost Anthony Collins their left tackle and cut both James Harrison and Kyle Cook which will definitely sting but the big loss was Michael Johnson. Johnson and Collins both went to Tampa but he was not only the starting defensive end he was an elite and some might say one of the best defensive ends in the league. All of those losses including them losing both their offensive and defensive coordinators will really hurt the Bengals. Now you're probably wondering if the Bengals fought back and signed new players. Well, they didn't. They have been one of the quietest free agent teams with a big cap space. Any other general manager would take that money and spent it on free agent talent. Over this span of time they have only made one significant free agent move by signing safety Daniel Manning. To add to that Andy Dalton is coming off a disappointing year and quarterback might be next on the list for team needs. That adds to a list of needs that includes another defensive tackle to help Geno Atkins, another defensive end, and a cornerback. The Bengals would have to be loaded with draft picks to at least get a couple good fits for those positions but they're not. Just like the Panthers I don't think the draft will fix all of their needs. It is deep and I think they could trade up to get a good quarterback or any other position but they'll have to develop them. Now that they are not in very good shape you'd usually rely on the quarterback but Andy Dalton has been struggling so if it's a rough ride for him next season it'll be a rough ride for the team.
All of these teams have been through great and not so great free agencies before so they know what they're doing. And for the teams that don't look very good at the end of free agency must have a secret when they're in the boardroom on draft day.
Christian Ponder should be the quarterback in Minnesota. He is well deserving of the role as well. While the offense has been riding on Peterson's success, there hasn't been much talk about the job under Leslie Frazier. Given the fact that the Vikings are 1-3 , the quarterback situation has been brought up.
According to sources, the Vikings have recently signed Josh Freeman. He was the former quarterback of Tampa Bay under Schiano. Even though Minnesota had a rough start, Ponder contributed to the Vikings surge to the Playoffs, but was benched in the first game due to a shoulder injury. One reason the Vikings have struggled is their lack of passing. Opposing defenses are prepared for the run which could possibly be causing the Vikings to lose. Bringing in Jennings was a smart move by the front office. Now Frazier needs to Ponder more opportunities to throw and develop as a passer. If he develops in a positive manner the Vikings offense will be set. With Matt Kalil blocking, Adrian in the backfield, Jennings catching passes and Ponder improving, they could be a 12-13 win team.
We have seen what Josh Freeman can do. The Bucs brought in star receiver Vincent Jackson from San Diego and they still could not surpass the Saints, Falcons and the Panthers.
NFLRUSH Kid Reporter
The San Diego Chargers have played at a mediocre level each of the past three seasons, and missed the playoffs in each. As a result, the Chargers' ownership decided to do something about it. The Chargers fired the long-tenured Norv Turner and brought in Mike McCoy, who was the Broncos' offensive coordinator last year. Also, a new GM was brought in to help upgrade the San Diego's roster. While we do not know yet how McCoy will fare as a head coach, it is almost certain that the hiring of Tom Telesco as the new GM was the right move. Under the leadership of Telesco, the Chargers not only had their best draft since 2001, but they also had the best draft of any NFL team this year. Here is how the Chargers hit the jackpot.
1st pick: DJ Fluker, OT, Alabama, #11 overall in the 1st round
Offensive tackle was a major need for San Diego and franchise quarterback Philip Rivers. Fluker is a big tackle from the tough SEC, and is coming off of 2 BCS Championships. Since Mike McCoy is a former offensive coordinator and is now the head coach, a tackle that would help the offense through run blocking and pass protecting was needed for his scheme. Fluker does both well, and he was worth using a first round pick on.
2nd pick: Manti Te'o, LB, Notre Dame, #38th overall in the 2nd round
Anytime the Chargers select a linebacker whose last name sounds like "Hey, Ow", San Diego fans should get excited (see Junior Seau). Manti Te'o was a top-10 prospect and Heisman trophy finalist who dropped out of the first round because of one bad game and an embarrassing off the field issue. Te'o fills a need at inside linebacker, a position whose players are dubbed "quarterbacks of the defense". Te'o will undoubtedly help this defense A LOT!
3rd pick: Keenan Allen, WR, California, 76th overall in the 3rd round
Keenan Allen was thought to be a first round pick, but he dropped all the way to the 76th spot due to a poor performance at the NFL combine. There was no chance that the Chargers, who are short on play-making targets for Philip Rivers since Vincent Jackson left, would pass on Allen. Allen has all of the skills to be a great wide receiver in the NFL, and should make an impact in the offense early. In a seemingly anti-skill position draft, Allen could prove to be better than any of the wide receiver selected before him.
4th pick: Steve Williams, CB, California, 145th overall in the 5th round
The selection of Steve Williams filled a San Diego need in the secondary, a place where Williams' speed will help cover the speedy AFC wide receivers. The Chargers will especially need Williams when they face Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. I would have liked for the Chargers to have gotten a starting corner, though, like Terry Hawthorne, but this was a solid 5th round pick.
5th pick: Tourek Williams, DE, FIU, 179th pick overall in the 6th round
The Chargers made a VERY good pick by getting a speedy pass rusher in Tourek Williams. Williams will learn behind Kendall Reyes and Corey Liuget, but he will definitely see some action in big games. Now, with a ferocious pass rush that can pressure opposing quarterbacks every down, defensive backs like Eric Weddle will be able to make big plays in the San Diego secondary.
6th pick: Brad Sorenson, QB, Utah State, 221st pick in the 7th round
With their 7th round pick, the Chargers opted to get a third-string quarterback in Brad Sorenson. The virtually unknown Sorenson could be a late-round steal for the Chargers and is a great pocket passer. Sorenson will learn a lot from Philip Rivers and could be the next Tom Brady. I am actually interested to see preseason games.
If you want to win, these are the guys you should have in your lineup.
QB: Tom Brady – New England Patriots
Bill Belichick likes to punish division rivals and the Dolphins have issues in their secondary. Need we say more?
RB: Trent Richardson – Cleveland Browns
Will this be the week that Richardson busts out? Yes, yes it will be!
WR: Calvin Johnson – Detroit Lions
When in doubt, we go with the best. Megatron IS the best!
You may want to avoid these three players this week, as they have tough matchups.
QB: Joe Flacco – Baltimore Ravens
At the start of the season, there was talk of Flacco being an “elite” QB. Not so much as we approach the end of the season.
RB: Marshawn Lynch – Seattle Seahawks
The Dolphins held him in check last week and we expect the Bears to do the same this week.
WR: Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Over the years, DB Champ Bailey has had Jackson’s number. That’s enough for us to suggest you sit him.
If you want to win, these are the guys you should have in your lineup.
QB: Ben Roethlisberger – Pittsburgh Steelers
Big Ben is on a roll, and we expect that to continue against the Giants.
RB: Arian Foster – Houston Texans
He’s baaack! Foster is a scoring machine and, after a week off, should obliterate the Bills defense.
WR: Vincent Jackson – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
We like to play our hunches at WR, and we think Jackson is the best-kept secret in Fantasy Football right now.
You may want to avoid these three players this week as they have tough matchups.
QB: Tony Romo – Dallas Cowboys
Seriously, if you’re still playing Tony Romo, you need to stop it right now!
RB: Alfred Morris – Washington Redskins
In this week’s big Cam vs. RGIII match-up, Morris’ stats might suffer.
Buccaneers WR Vincent Jackson had a monster game last week with 216 receiving yards and a TD. He scored more than all WRs in NFL RUSH Fantasy with 27 points. But it's not his first big game this season. Last week he grabbed two TDs and 66 yards and the game before, he posted 100 yards and a TD.
Why aren't you paying attention to Vincent Jackson?
Add him to your NFL RUSH Fantasy team.
Take a look at the best possible team that you could have used in Week 7 of NFL RUSH Fantasy. I don't know if any crystal ball would have seen Chris Johnson leading the way this week.
QB: Drew Brees (Saints), 29 points
RB: Chris Johnson (Titans), 31 points
WR: Vincent Jackson (Buccaneers), 27 points
TE: Rob Grnkowski (Patriots), 19 points
Defense: Vikings, 18 points
Wild Card: QB Josh Freeman (Buccaneers), 28 points
Total: 152 points
Make your picks for Week 8 now!