Well it is! The defending champion New England Patriots are so close to defending another one of their asterisk covered Lombardi Trophies against the Steelers. With the start of a new year comes a new year of confidence pool picks!
For those who have not been with us the last two seasons, let me give you a quick rundown on what confidence pool is. First off, you pick the winner of every game in the week. After that, you assign a point value (1 through however many games there are that week) based on how confident you are that your pick will turn out to be correct. So you will want to assign a higher point value to those that you are more confident about. If you pick the game wrong, you don’t get those points. Whoever has the most points for the week wins! Some pools also have prizes for total score throughout the season.
So, without further ado, let’s get the 2015 season started!
WEEK 1 – HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – ARIZONA over New Orleans – After a few games last year I predicted that the Patriots dynasty had run its course. I’ll go ahead and throw that label on the Saints this year. Didn’t exactly hold up too well last year though I think it has a better chance of sticking this year.
15 – Green Bay over CHICAGO – The NFL has started its Monday Night Football season with two games for the last few years. On that, this game will allow me to start this season off with an unprecedented DOUBLE BOLD PREDICTION! (I’ll give you a minute to catch your breath ... ... ...) Here goes – THE BEARS WILL END THE SEASON ON THE CLOCK WITH THE WORST RECORD IN THE LEAGUE and even with the Jordy Nelson injury, THE PACKERS WILL WIN THE SUPER BOWL.
14 – DENVER over Baltimore – With the additions the Colts made in the off-season and everything related to the Patriots, everyone seems to be overlooking the Broncos. Peyton and friends will quickly remind the league who they are this week.
13 – NEW ENGLAND over Pittsburgh – Simply put, the Pats are in complete F You mode this season. Brady and the other “straight shooting, play it by the book” Patriots (wink wink) will take every chance they can get to stick it to the league – no better stage to start it than Opening Night.
12 – TAMPA BAY over Tennessee – This pick is obviously more of a bad Tennessee than a good Tampa Bay. The first battle of the top two picks in the draft will go the way of #1 to start. I see Jameis Winston being somewhere between Cam Newton and RGIII, but he’ll at least start off his career on the right foot.
11 – DALLAS over New York Giants – The Cowboys avoided a huge distraction this season by getting Dez Bryant signed long term. They still need to work on their running back situation, but they still look like they can do some damage in the NFC this season.
10 – SAN DIEGO over Detroit – A battle between two teams that could finish anywhere from top to bottom of their division. I’m sure the Chargers will play their hearts out for their home opener in front of all of their now temporary fans.
9 – NEW YORK JETS over Cleveland – The NFL loves to load their opening week schedule up with matchups that will keep us at the edge of our seats to really set the tone for what should be yet another exciting season of professional football ... ... ... this is not one of those games.
8 – Kansas City over HOUSTON – It’s going to be a long few weeks for the Texans before Arian Foster comes back...and even then it won’t be anything to look forward too. JJ Watt can’t play every position.
7 – Miami over WASHINGTON – The ‘Skins finally came to their senses by benching RGIII. They have senses...but they don’t have that much talent...which is pretty important in professional sports.
6 – Indianapolis over BUFFALO – The Colts are going to be scary this season. I can easily see them taking the AFC this year. They start the 2015 campaign with a tough test in Orchard Park, but it is a test that they should be able to pass.
5 – Carolina over JACKSONVILLE – The million dollar question in Charlotte is who will catch a pass from Cam Newton. Lucky for the Panthers they start the season against the lowly Jaguars.
4 – ATLANTA over Philadelphia – The Eagles look like they could challenge the Cowboys for the NFC East this season. The Falcons have struggled the last year or two but I really think they get things rolling again this season and it starts on Monday Night.
3 – ST. LOUIS over Seattle – The Rams beat Seattle at home last year. It is pretty easy to think that it can happen again this year especially with the Seahawks taking a bit of a hit with the current Kam Chancellor holdout situation.
2 – OAKLAND over Cincinnati – It seems like the Raiders have been consistently mentioned as a team on the come up. They need to win games like this to have a shot at a .500 record.
1 – Minnesota over SAN FRANCISCO – The second half of the Week 1 Monday Night doubleheader concludes with Teddy Bridgewater starting the process of showing the country that he is a legit quarterback that teams should not have passed up in the draft last season. (that was a long sentence)
If you followed my picks last week, then you should be sitting pretty towards the top of the standings of your confidence pool. Getting 12 out of 16 right in week 1 is something to pat yourself on the back about…(excuse me while I pat myself on the back).
But as the old saying goes, this is a sprint, not a marathon…though you may have won the weekly payout for the week 1 sprint :). We have a bit of an understanding of what the 2015 version of each team looks like, but there is still room for adjustments. We are still looking for that elusive perfect week of picks…maybe it will be this week!
Week 2! … HERE WE GO!!!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – INDIANAPOLIS over New York Jets – The Colts came into the 2015 campaign labeled by some as favorites to win the AFC Championship this season. Losing in week 1 doesn’t help that case. Lucky for them they get a home game against the Jets to help the recovery process.
15 – PITTSBURGH over San Francisco – The season started off with an unexpected bang for the 9ers with a big win on a national Monday night stage. They should be brought back down to Earth pretty quickly in the Steel City.
14 – NEW ORLEANS over Tampa Bay – Last week the Saints were my lock to lose. This week they are on the winning side of the 14-point line … ah the fun of the NFC South.
13 – GREEN BAY over Seattle – Last week in Chicago, the Packers gave up a late TD to the Bears which led to an onside kick on the ensuing kickoff. How many Packer fans were brought back to a similar situation seven months ago in Seattle? This week they get their chance at proper retribution – and to put the Seahawks in an 0-2 hole to start the season.
12 – Miami over JACKSONVILLE – The Dolphins got off to a slow start but still pulled off the road win. Look for the same this week…with the probably exception of Miami starting off slow.
11 –Baltimore over OAKLAND – The Raiders proved last week that they are still a work in progress. Add in injuries to key players, including quarterback Derek Carr, and it’s really hard to see the Raiders pulling one out here either.
10 – CINCINNATI over San Diego –The announce team for the Bengals/Raiders game last week made it sound like the Bengals were on their way to the Super Bowl. That game was against Oakland, this is different – but the result won’t be.
9 – CAROLINA over Houston – Doctors in Houston are rushing trying to figure out how the bring Arian Foster back as soon as possible – won’t be this week though!
8 – KANSAS CITY over Denver – After edging the Ravens at home and a very not-Peyton like performance from Peyton Manning, the Broncos are in “Show-Me Mode.” Show me you can pull out big road games like this and I’ll have more confidence in you.
7 – MINNESOTA over Detroit – Both teams are coming off of a rough start to the season. Look for this one to be a shootout – an aerial assault from both teams. If for no other reason, the Vikings are the home team so they get the edge here.
6 – NEW YORK GIANTS over Atlanta – Apparently Eli told Rashad Jennings to NOT score at the end of the Dallas game last week … to NOT score! To NOT put points on the board! The Giants won’t make that mistake again.
5 – Arizona over CHICAGO – Carson Palmer looked like the Carson Palmer of hold. Expect to see more of the same on the lake this week. Arizona is looking solid enough to say that this week’sBOLD PREDICTION is that THE CARDINALS WILL OVERTAKE THE SEAHAWKS AND WIN THE NFC WEST.
4 – Tennessee over CLEVELAND – The scheduling Gods live in Nashville apparently. The Titans start the season with two road games…but those games are in Tampa and Cleveland. Johnny Manziel will be under center for the Browns this week. All Titan fans hail the scheduling Gods!
3 – BUFFALO over New England – Nothing motivates Rex Ryan more than a game against the Pats. Now he gets to go against New England with more talent than he has had in the last few years. I don’t think he will let this opportunity fall.
2 – PHILADELPHIA over Dallas – The Cowboys leading rusher a year ago will be on the other sideline. Their all-everything receiver will still be on their own sideline…but he won’t leave the sideline. Philly will just have too much firepower for Dallas to handle.
1 – St. Louis over WASHINGTON – Washington used their run game to keep it close against the Dolphins last week. They won’t have the same success against the strong Rams defensive line.
Its football – it’s the NFL – anything can happen. Last week was just a microcosm of that fact. The league as a whole was nearly flipped upside-down with upsets galore last week. So much so that the survivor pool that I was in ended! A winner in week 2! Crazy!
It looks like we have more sure-fire match-ups this week though. We should be able to get back on track and get some points back on the overall season total.
Week 3! … HERE WE GO!!!!!!
(HOME TEAM IN CAPS)
16 – SEATTLE over Chicago – This might have been the 16-point game before Jay Cutler got hurt and Kam Chancellor decided to come back. Seattle is hungry for their first win of the season – hard to think they won’t get it this week.
15 – NEW ENGLAND over Jacksonville – The Pats should have to play with an actually fully deflated ball to keep this one close.
14 – ARIZONA over San Francisco – The Cardinals tore up a depleted defense last week. I expect more of the same this week.
13 – GREEN BAY over Kansas City – Green Bay got hit hard by the injury bug last week. Thing about that is they have been dealing with the injury bug for the last few years yet they still find ways to win.
12 – Pittsburgh over ST. LOUIS – The offense of the Steelers has been almost unstoppable. Now they get Le’Veon Bell back. The black and gold could be a force to keep an eye on the rest of the year.
11 – CAROLINA over New Orleans – The Saints are spiraling downward faster than we could have thought. With Drew Brees not at 100% it’s hard to see them getting a divisional road win.
10 – NEW YORK GIANTS over Washington – Countless injuries in Dallas and a lackluster Eagles’ squad means that the NFC East is wide open this year. New York has the needed experience to get the job done on Thursday Night.
9 – NEW YORK JETS over Philadelphia – Are the Jets for real? A Monday Night win in Indy last week certainly was a large step in the right direction. With game-manager extraordinaire Ryan Fitzpatrick under center I’ll say that my BOLD PREDICTION for this week is that THE JETS WILL MAKE THE PLAYOFFS THIS SEASON.
8 – MINNESOTA over San Diego – Not really too much to say about this game – going to brush off an old gem and give the Vikes the win is a “because they are the home team” situation.
7 – Indianapolis over TENNESSEE – OK, this is a game against the Titans…the Colts SURELY can win this one … right?
6 – MIAMI over Buffalo – Remember when everyone was thinking the Dolphins would surpass the Pats this year? The Fins will need this one to hang on to post-season hope.
5 – Denver over DETROIT – Denver was literally handed the win in Kansas City last week. They sit at 2-0 but still seem to have a lot to prove to the league. Look for a statement in Detroit.
4 – Atlanta over DALLAS – Raise your hand if you are able to play offense for the Cowboys this week! Not too fast though, you’ll probably hurt yourself!
3 – Cincinnati over BALTIMORE – The Ravens are two minutes away from being 2-0…instead they sit at 0-2. This could end up being the game of the week. Look for this to go down to the wire…which hasn’t worked out to well for Baltimore so far this year.
2 – Oakland over CLEVELAND – Neither one of these teams are in last place in their respective divisions. Yes, I’m fully aware that it’s week 3, but would you ever think that this early season match up COULD have an effect on the playoffs down the stretch?
1 – HOUSTON over Tampa Bay – The Texans will pull this one out because the coin I just flipped came up tails.
Football is back, and with it comes the return of the weekly articles that drinkfive has always tried to provide on a timely basis. With 'Under the Radar' I hope to help raise some awareness of players that could make a leap in performance but are likely still available for cheap or even free on your league's waiver wire. Thanks to FantasyPros player cards, you can take a quick look at all of these guys just by clicking on the icon next to their names. Please leave any questions/comments below and remember to have fun in week 1 and wreak havoc in your leagues this year!
(Listen to the Fantasy Football Podcast, 9/8/15: Week 1 Preview)
Steelers @ Patriots
Tom Brady’s triumphant return after defeating the evil Roger Goodell? Maybe. The Patriots started slowly last season and will likely do the same thing this year with a depleted secondary, banged up wide receivers and rag tag group of running backs. Under the Radar: DeAngelo Williams, Markus Wheaton, Dion Lewis, Brandon Bolden, Danny Amendola
Colts @ Bills
The Colts have built up their offense with proven veterans like Andre Johnson and Frank Gore in an effort to get to the big game now, rather than waiting to draft and develop talent around Andrew Luck. Might work for them! The Bills have perhaps the best defense in the NFL, and some great offensive weapons in guys like Watkins, McCoy and Harvin but their QB situation with Tyrod Taylor under center is extremely volatile. The Colts defense is a good play here in week 1, as is any defense going up against the new guy. Under the Radar: Phillip Dorsett, Donte Moncrief, Dwayne Allen, Tyrod Taylor, Karlos Williams, Charles Clay
Browns @ Jets
Not the most exciting match-up in NFL history; both teams lost the battle for relevancy pretty early on in 2014. Both teams have very solid defenses and equally unstable situations at quarterback with re-tooled receivers. Josh McCown and Ryan Fitzpatrick are less than interesting, but that doesn’t mean that the game is without standouts at their positions. Under the Radar: Eric Decker, Brian Hartline, Duke Johnson, Chris Ivory
Panthers @ Jaguars
Standout rookie Kelvin Benjamin is gone for the season, leaving Newton and the Panthers with Jonathan Stewart, Devin Funchess and Greg Olsen. That’s not enough on paper to get where they were last year, so without a superman season from Newton, they’re in trouble. The Jaguars are looking better each year, growing a good defense and turning some unfortunate seasons into good draft picks like Allen Robinson. Under the Radar: Cameron Artis-Payne, Corey Brown, T.J. Yeldon, Allen Hurns
Packers @ Bears
Sorry Bears, rebuilding really hurts the fantasy value of your players. The Packers win this one, hands down, even without Jordy Nelson. Does Alshon Jeffery get a chance to play? That news may not come out until game day, unfortunately. Under the Radar: James Jones, Richard Rodgers, Jeremy Langford, Eddie Royal
The Chiefs upgraded at wide receiver by picking up Jeremy Maclin and ditching Dwayne Bowe. Their other skill positions are filled to the brim with talent with names like Jamaal Charles and Travis Kelce. The Texans have a killer defense that only gets better with Jadeveon Clowney included and one of the best upcoming WRs in DeAndre Hopkins. What they don’t have right now is a quarterback or a running back. Under the Radar: Knile Davis, Cecil Shorts, Jaelen Strong, Garrett Graham
Dolphins @ Redskins
The Dolphins are making strides this season both defensively and offensively. They’ve picked up wide receiver depth and talent as well as strengthening the defense with Suh and bringing on Jordan Cameron. Tannehill has improved every year and looks to keep on going with his new tools. The Redskins are struggling mightily at the quarterback position and it looks as though they have finally decided to ditch RG3 in favor of Kirk Cousins. For better or for worse, it’s a new era in Washington. Under the Radar: Jonas Gray, Kenny Stills, Jordan Reed, Matt Jones
Seahawks @ Rams
The Seahawks got better? Nuts.. Adding Jimmy Graham and Fred Jackson has increased the offensive power of this defensive juggernaut. Teams should be very afraid this year. Kam Chancellor may hold out for some or all of the season, but that’s not enough to push the Seahawks from being Super Bowl favorites. The Rams have some talent to develop in Todd Gurley but he looks like he’ll come along slowly. Their new QB, Nick Foles, is a big question mark in the Rams offense.. will he mesh with #1 WR Brian Quick? Under the Radar: Tyler Lockett, Kenny Britt, Tre Mason
Lions @ Chargers
Megatron and Tate should find all the success in the world this year in Detroit’s offense, especially with newcomer Abdullah adding a threat to the backfield. The Chargers’ offense is a little lacking in 2015 with aging TE Gates suspended for 4 games and Keenan Allen regressing from his rookie season. New acquisition Stevie Johnson should provide a spark as well as Danny Woodhead, who is healthy once again. Under the Radar: Stevie Johnson, Danny Woodhead, Eric Ebron
Saints @ Cardinals
Drew Brees and the Saints had a losing season last year, and it’s not likely that will continue to happen. Even though he lost some important offensive tools in Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills, Brees has always had the ability to spread the ball around. The Cardinals will need Carson Palmer to stay healthy this season in order to make it to the playoffs, but if he can last the duration of 2015 that could mean big things for this offense. A weak point is at RB, and it’s unclear who will come out on top this year (Ellington, Johnson or Johnson). Under the Radar: Brandon Coleman, C.J. Spiller, John Brown, Jaron Brown
Ravens @ Broncos
Marc Trestman’s offense gets a good test in week 1 against the Denver Broncos – all signs point to Forsett continuing to be productive here and Steve Smith will likely shine early in the season as he has done throughout his career. The major issue here is the lack of depth at wide receiver. Look for Kamar Aiken to surprise if he can play up to the task at hand. Not much has changed for the Broncos except slightly more of a focus on the running game, with the aging Peyton Manning under center. Don’t get me wrong, Manning will still play lights out football but the Broncos will try to be more conservative to keep him healthy all season. Under the Radar: Kamar Aiken, Ronnie Hillman, Owen Daniels
Bengals @ Raiders
The Bengals will look to capitalize on what successes they have already had and keep pushing the running game with Jeremy Hill. The WR2 spot still has yet to be consistently filled and a lot of those targets will fall to TE Tyler Eifert. The Raiders have a new/young offense including guys Amari Cooper and Latavius Murray led by Derek Carr, who could take another step forward this season. Watch out for this team in 2015. Under the Radar: Michael Crabtree, Mychal Rivera, Tyler Eifert
Titans @ Buccaneers
Marcus Mariota is going to lead the Titans to a more successful season than in 2014. The big question is how much more successful? Without a lot of developed weapons, probably not that much more. Kendall Wright could shine here in PPR leagues with the volume of targets that he is slated to receive, but the rest of the team is a toss-up. The Bucs also have a rookie QB in Jameis Winston but they have more established tools on offense (Doug Martin, Vincent Jackson, Mike Evans, etc). The Bucs should enjoy more early success because of this. Under the Radar: Delanie Walker, Austin Seferian-Jenkins, Terrance West
Giants @ Cowboys
The Cowboys jump into the 2015 season with a great passing attack, but a very jumbled backfield. Neither Joseph Randle nor Darren McFadden seem to be the guy that will lead them out of chaos, so it’s more likely that this situation will just be a rotating carousel of running backs depending on who is performing better from week-to-week. The Giants look to improve on their record from last year and should be able to do just that, though they have a similarly muddy looking backfield with Jennings and Williams. Best to focus on the pass with these two teams until their running situations become more fleshed out. Under the Radar: Reuben Randle, Shane Vereen, Terrance Williams, Christine Michael
Eagles @ Falcons
We could talk about the Eagles forever – the combination of explosive talent and fast-paced play running that Chip Kelly has bottled right now in Philadelphia could catapult the Eagles to the top of the charts pretty quickly. Bradford’s health and Murray’s production will ultimately determine whether or not this team makes it in the post-season. The Falcons have a comfortable passing attack and one of the best NFL receivers in Julio Jones, but they have major issues at the running back position. It looks like Tevin Coleman will start off the season with the job, but can he really make it his? Under the Radar: Jacob Tamme, Ryan Mathews, Leonard Hankerson
Vikings @ 49ers
The Vikings have impressed in the preseason (which doesn’t mean a whole lot) with good performances from Teddy Bridgewater and Co. The return of Adrian Peterson definitely adds an air of confidence for the team, and their defense has been looking like a cohesive unit lately. Looks like the battle of the NFC North might end up between Green Bay and Minnesota this year. San Francisco has lost a ton of players on offense and defense and I’m not sure that they can successfully recover this year. One bright spot is the addition of Torrey Smith, and the sure-handed Anquan Boldin is still kickin’. Nope, things do not bode well for the 49ers in 2015. Under the Radar: Reggie Bush, Charles Johnson, Vernon Davis
We're joined by fantasy football veteran and former drinkfive.com contributor Vince Foss as we discuss the very best plays moving forward into championship week. We'll analyze the matchups and go over recent NFL news and updates that can impact the production of your players.
For Fantasy Football team managers, playing in week 15 is all about making the right starts to get to the championship. Whether you fought hard to get into the playoffs from the bottom of the league or coasted into a bye spot early on, everyone is on an even playing field and (in most cases) only has one shot.
We'll be paying special attention to the players that you should and shouldn't start in week 15 and what matchups to keep in mind should you make the championship game in Week 16. We're joined by regular guest and drinkfive.com contributor Mike Mocerino.
Welcome back! We're joined this week by fantasy football veteran Matt Ellis to discuss the best starts moving forward into Week 13. This is the last week of the regular season of most fantasy football leagues, so put your best foot forward!