Fantasy Football Friday

This article gives a few great ideas when it comes to picking your first mock draft. Welcome to Fantasy Football Friday, folks!

Fantasy Football Friday: Brett’s First June Mock Draft For 2015, Pick By Pick – Battle Red Blog

If you love football, then you probably love fantasy football too. BRB’s Brett Kollmann satisfies some of your fantasy cravings by taking you through his first mock draft of the summer pick by pick.

Considering it is the middle of June and the Texans are still a month or so away from the start of training camp, we here at BRB are starting to run out of things to talk about in the world of football. What we can talk about, however, is the world of fantasy football. Mock draft lobbies have been in full swing for weeks now, and with news slowing to a trickle, I have decided to pass the time by putting together an endless procession of fake teams before creating my actual fake team later this August.

Because alliteration is fun, I’m going to call this little ritual “Fantasy Football Friday”. Each Friday, I will draft one team from a random spot in a standard ESPN 12-man mock draft lobby and then break it down – pick by pick – for all of you. Without further ado, let’s get to it.

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Fantasy Football Friday: Brett’s First June Mock Draft For 2015, Pick By Pick – Battle Red Blog

Fantasy Football For Beginners

This is a great article for those wanting to learn more about how to play fantasy football. Learn all about leagues, scoring variations, the draft, and much more!

Fantasy Football for Beginners | Fantasy Football Aid

There’s tons of information out there. It can be overwhelming. I’m going to touch on variations in fantasy football leagues, critical draft strategy and a few tips to aid beginners through the season. If you haven’t read our articles what is fantasy football and how to play fantasy football, please do so first. Otherwise, enjoy the valuable fantasy football advice for beginners from

Fantasy Football leagues

The number of league options is insane. What the heck is PPR, Dynasty, and re-draft?

Re-draft leagues – A redraft league is extremely common. All rosters are reset every year and all players are eligible for draft.

Keeper Leagues – In a keeper style, one or two players are designated as a player to retain the following year. In other words, no one else can draft them, you can keep them. In the tradition snake style draft, you have the option to forfeit the round the player is drafted in (or sometimes round minus one). For example, if you selected Josh Gordon in the 11th round, he can be designated as a keeper player by forfeiting your 10th round pick in the current draft. In our auction league, we allow teams to keep one player, but the value of that player is last year’s auction price + $10.

Dynasty leagues – dynasty fantasy football is a league format where part or a team’s entire roster is kept for the following season. Instead of drafting an entirely new roster each year, only free agents and rookies are drafted.

Daily leagues – In a daily league, rosters reset every week. Players usually have a dollar value and owners must create a starting lineup while remaining within a preset cap of money. It’s like having a brand new draft every week. FanDuel, DraftStreet and DraftKings are popular daily leagues.

Read more…

Fantasy Football for Beginners | Fantasy Football Aid

This is a great resource for Fantasy Football beginners. They answer several questions, give great examples, as well as tips to help you get started.

MORE Fantasy Football Draft FAQs for Beginners | The Snap

Considering the season has started and this is a really popular topic, we’re going to answer some more fantasy football questions for beginners. If you missed our original post on this, here it is. Knock yourself out.

1. I really don’t understand fantasy football. Can you explain how fantasy football works?

Don’t know about you, but my motto is: When in doubt, Google it. In this case, Google has a pretty good basic definition of fantasy football – “a competition in which participants select imaginary teams from among the players in a league and score points according to the actual performance of their players.”

Most everything fantasy mimics how things work in the NFL (I’m about get pretty detailed here and describe fantasy football at the most basic level, so feel free to skip ahead to the next question if you aren’t completely new to the concept.)

– You join a fantasy league to compete against other fantasy teams. A league means there are usually 9 or 11 other people with teams of their own competing against you. Within a league, everyone follows the same rules and everyone selects from the same pool of players.

– You select players that are currently in the league to be on your fantasy team. You acquire them through a draft (or if you are in a “keeper” league, they roll forward each year). Just as people can’t be in two places at once, players can only be on one team at any given time.

Read more…

MORE Fantasy Football Draft FAQs for Beginners | The Snap

Fantasy Football: Top Rankings

Here are the top 100 rankings for PPR fantasy football leagues this year. This is a great resource for anyone looking to get started with fantasy football.

Fantasy football 2015: Top 100 rankings for PPR leagues –

The 2015 NFL Draft is just around the corner, which means rosters will fill out with the nearly 300 rookies entering the league.

This will impact fantasy football rankings, which are of particular note as dynasty leagues begin their 2015 drafts.

Last week, we put together Top 200 rankings for standard leagues. Now, we are back with Top 100 rankings for PPR leagues.

All of this will, of course, change in the coming days.

Next week, we embark on a four-night roller coaster of emotions that even the cast of Furious 7 would look at and say, “Screw that, I’m out.”

By next week, Philip Rivers could be wearing blue and white (sorry, Chargers fans), Adrian Peterson could be sporting the silver and black (sorry, Vikings fans), or Marcus Mariota could be Fireman Ed’s new favorite thing (sorry, Mariota fans.)

But that’s next week.

These “rankings as of this moment” are just that.

But first, a few quick notes…

Fantasy football 2015: Top 100rankings for PPR leagues –

Here’s a breakdown and a chart for the top 200 rankings for Fantasy Football for the 2015 season. It’s a great resource for those who are thinking ahead!

Fantasy football 2015: Top 200 rankings –

The league never stops, so why should fantasy?

Football is coming.

To be honest, football is always coming.

Even if you ignore free agency, the month of March, just to name a month, and saw two of the league’s absolute biggest fantasy names — Jimmy Graham and LeSean McCoy — change teams, there are enough other moves around those to keep depth-chart trackers in business for weeks.

And that’s a month that is just about as far from actual games being played as it gets.

With that in mind, it makes sense to make fantasy rankings close to a year-round process as possible. So, below is a top 200 for 2015 fantasy.

Everything below is “rankings as of the moment.” Before the draft, no rookies will be in the rankings, because I don’t know where they’ll end up for certain, and players I expect to eventually lose their jobs to new draftees still have them.

Possible suspensions are still only possible, so players are ranked as though that isn’t a concern. Guys who are still free agents as of an update don’t get ranked.

Any, I don’t know, star Minnesota running backs who might switch teams but haven’t done so as of the ranking update will still be ranked on their team.

(Also, no defenses or kickers, because blech.)

Keep Reading…

Fantasy football 2015: Top 200 rankings –

NFL Fantasy Football: 5 Players That Crash And Burn In 2015

Here are five players who did amazingly well in the 2014 NFL Fantasy Football season, but who might not end up repeating their successes.

NFL Fantasy Football: 5 Players That Crash And Burn In 2015


Several players put forth excellent NFL fantasy football seasons in 2014. Enough to the point that assumptions are already strong they’ll duplicate those feats in 2015.

Not so fast.

Here are just five of those standouts who face the probability of a major regression.

DeMarco Murray (RB, Philadelphia Eagles)
2014 output: 294.10 points

A few things are going against DeMarco Murray this year. First, he’s no longer in the same offensive system and behind the same offensive line that helped him win the rushing title last year. Running backs who are coming off 400+ carry workloads also tend to regress the next year. On top of that, Murray will have Ryan Mathews and Darren Sproles competing with him in the backfield for touches during games. All of that speaks to less output and by default fewer fantasy points.

Drew Brees (QB, New Orleans Saints)
2014 output: 302.98 points

Rumors persist that the coaching staff of the New Orleans Saints are concerned about the arm strength of Drew Brees, who is now 36-years old. So there is that to worry about. Then one must consider the substantial losses he’s seen to the offense, specifically the trading away of tight end Jimmy Graham and wide receiver Kenny Stills. They were two of his most reliable targets and will prove very hard to replace. Brees has adapted before but Father Time is against him and the lack of weaponry is bound to slow him down from where he was last year.

Jeremy Maclin (WR, Kansas City Chiefs)
2014 output: 191.80 points

Playing in the Chip Kelly offense has proven quite profitable for wide receivers over the past two years. Jeremy Maclin turned it into a major financial gain when he signed with the Kansas City Chiefs. The problem is that decision also gets him away from the Kelly offense that made him so productive in the first place. Yes, he’s reuniting with former head coach Andy Reid but keep in mind Maclin never had a 1,000-yard season when he played for Reid. Top it off with Alex Smith being his quarterback, who isn’t known for his prolific passing numbers and it leads to belief Maclin will take a step back.

Julius Thomas (TE, Jacksonville Jaguars)
2014 output: 120.90 points

Nobody can blame Julius Thomas for following the money. Free agents are expected to do that. However, he did so at great risk to his own reputation as a playmaker. Thomas emerged with the Denver Broncos when he had Peyton Manning as his quarterback. Now he joins the Jacksonville Jaguars with second-year kid Blake Bortles coming off a rookie year where he threw more interceptions than touchdowns. Nobody is debating Thomas has talent, but he can’t be expected to duplicate his numbers with that steep of a drop in QB play.

New England Patriots Defense
2014 output: 139.00 points

Stop for a second and take stock of what the New England Patriots have lost over this offseason: Darrelle Revis, Brandon Browner, and Vince Wilfork. Arguably those three were the biggest keys to their defensive dominance last season. Now Devin McCourty may be on the move back to corner where he was never as effective as he’s been at safety. Nobody is saying Bill Belichick can’t adjust, but there is no way he can hope to keep the unit as strong as it was last year. Not with those losses and the prospect of losing Tom Brady for a stretch of games.

NFL Fantasy Football: 5 Players That Crash And Burn In 2015

Oakland’s Woes Continue?


Agent’s Take: Examining where the Oakland Raiders go from here

Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis preached patience when he hired Reggie McKenzie as general manager in January 2012 to oversee one of the NFL’s most difficult rebuilding projects in recent history. Back-to-back 4-12 records in McKenzie’s first two seasons while watching the Indianapolis Colts and Kansas City Chiefs go from 2-14 records to the playoffs seemed to have tested Davis’ patience.

GM Reggie McKenzie has gotten the Raiders out of salary-cap hell, but his lack of success in the draft and free agency has put his job in peril. Agent’s Take: Examining where the Oakland Raiders go from here


Johnny Manziel unlikely to play with first team

People in Aggieland are on pins and needles to see if Johnny Manziel will start for Cleveland or take a back seat role. For a young man very used to the limelight, will warming the bench be something he can do well?

“I don’t think he will,” coach Mike Pettine told reporters Thursday of his plans for Manziel against the Lions on Saturday night. “I think we’re going to let Brian (Hoyer) go. The circumstances could change that obviously. For this game, I think pretty much stick to the units as we’ve practiced so Brian with the ones and Johnny with the twos.”

That veers away from what Pettine suggested Wednesday, when he hinted that Manziel might see first-team reps against Ndamukong Suh and Detroit’s pass rush.

Pettine said there was no “solid” reason for keeping Manziel with the second team beyond “we just didn’t want to mix the units in this game.”




Saban: Talks with Peyton, Gase not together

Nick Saban visited with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning at the Alabama football offices early last week. Saban also spent time with Broncos offensive coordinator Adam Gase — on the same day and in the same location.
But don’t connect the dots any further than that, Saban insists.
“I never said we sat down together,” Saban said in an interview with The Denver Post on Friday night.
The Alabama Crimson Tide coach made headlines Thursday when he told reporters of an earlier visit with Manning and Gase.
The meeting, as Saban described it, was a mutually beneficial experience in which Manning sought out ways to improve his game, Gase was able to talk shop and Saban and his staff were able to learn a thing or two about the no-huddle offense.
But had the visit of Manning and Gase occurred simultaneously, it might constitute a violation of the NFL collective-bargaining agreement that forbids players from having meetings with coaches before teams begin their offseason workout programs.
Saban’s vague language on Thursday — “The two of them were just making some visits” — seemed to indicate it was a collaborative effort, prompting an NFL investigation into the matter. Saban’s collective use of the word “them” seemed to tie the coach and coordinator together.
As he told reporters Thursday night: “Since they’re a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that gives them problems. That was kind of a mutual, hopefully beneficial.
“I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well.”
But after a day of the get-together running through the news cycle, Saban spoke with The Denver Post to clarify his comments.
On the eve of Alabama’s final spring scrimmage, he told the newspaper that he was “shocked that anybody would think someone did anything wrong” and that this is “what happens when people assume.”
“I never met with Adam,” he said. “When I talked with him I talked about his family. Peyton, we talked an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon. Adam had been talking to our assistant coaches. I never talked with Adam about football.”
Saban said that Manning and Gase didn’t arrive together. If they left together, you’d have to ask them.
“Peyton had called and said he wanted to drop by,” Saban said. “Adam had already been around for a couple days when Peyton showed up. It was kind of a coincidence that they were around at the same time. I don’t know if they left together but I know they didn’t arrive here together.
“I was asked about their visit at my coach’s clinic press conference but I never said we sat down together. Because we didn’t.”
Saban’s ties to Manning and Gase are well documented. Saban coached against Manning while at Miami and has been friends with father Archie Manning for some time. Gase, meanwhile, got his start coaching under Saban, first at Michigan State and then at LSU.
It was clear in Saban’s tone Thursday that he didn’t perceive anything untoward about Manning and Gase’s visits to Tuscaloosa. In fact, Saban used Manning as an example for other athletes to follow.
“A lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, from a career standpoint and about as good as anyone has been in the history of the league,’ ” Saban said of Manning. “After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out to try and seek more knowledge and understudying of the game of football so he can play better.”
Whether attempting to improve himself as a football player will get Manning or Gase in trouble remains to be seen. If the case of Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and coach Jason Garrett in owner Jerry Jones’ suite at the NCAA Final Four is any indication, it might be all smoke and no fire, as the NFL has not come down on the Cowboys.Covers Alabama and the SEC.Joined ESPN in 2012.Graduate of Auburn University.


Ravens, 49ers set joint preseason practices

There’s obviously no lingering hard feelings between John and Jim Harbaugh.
Two seasons after battling in the Super Bowl, the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers will hold four joint practices after their preseason opener in Baltimore on Aug. 7, John Harbaugh said Friday night.
This is certainly not the Har-Bowl — which was the unofficial name when the Ravens beat the 49ers in the Super Bowl in February 2013 — but it’s certainly a way for John and Jim Harbaugh to break up the monotony of the preseason.
After playing a preseason game on Thursday, the Ravens and 49ers will hold a light workout together at M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday before conducting practices the next three days at the Ravens’ Owings Mills headquarters.
“It’s just going to be fantastic. I can’t wait to do it,” John Harbaugh told The Baltimore Sun in Oxford, Ohio, where he is going to have his statue erected Saturday at his alma mater, Miami (Ohio). “Dad is going to be out there. He’s going to be the unofficial official.”
The Ravens have never held joint practices with another team, although they had scrimmages with the Washington Redskins in 2000, ’05, ’06 and ’07. This has become a popular trend among NFL teams. The Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills will have an agreement to practice against each other in training camp this year and next. The New England Patriots had combined practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Philadelphia Eagles last year.
“It was our idea,” John Harbaugh said. “I called Jim about a month ago and asked him if he would want to do it. I really wasn’t sure and he said, ‘Absolutely, let’s do it.’ “University of Maryland graduate
Lives in the Baltimore area with his wife and son


Broncos’ visits to Bama catch NFL’s attention

Updated: April 18, 2014, 6:04 PM ET

Jeff Legwold |

The NFL will have questions for the Denver Broncos about how offensive coordinator Adam Gase and quarterback Peyton Manning came to cross paths at the University of Alabama earlier this month, the league confirmed Friday, even though the two did not travel together and Gase was in Tuscaloosa for two days before Manning started his visit.
A coach and a player taking a campus visit together before their team starts its offseason program would be a violation of the league’s collective bargaining agreement. The Broncos start their offseason program Monday.
Whether it is a punishable violation, the league said, is to be determined.
Alabama coach Nick Saban may have painted things with too broad of a brush earlier this week when he said Gase and Manning “were making some visits” and wanted to include Tuscaloosa on the list.
Several sources confirmed Friday that Gase and Manning were indeed at Alabama at the same time, on what some with the Broncos privately described as separate trips, and affirmed that the two are not making “visits,” as Saban had characterized it.
Gase’s wife has family in the New Orleans area, and Gase was on vacation when he drove to Tuscaloosa to spend a few days at the Crimson Tide’s complex as part of the trip. Saban gave Gase his start in coaching when Saban was at Michigan State and Gase was a student at the school.
Gase was on Saban’s staff at LSU as well. Because of that, Gase also has long relationships with several assistants on Saban’s staff at Alabama. Gase is known to make several on-campus visits around the country each offseason to meet with many of coaches he knows.
Manning, who has visited Tennessee and Vols coach Butch Jones on several occasions in recent years, has known Saban for a long time, through Manning’s father, Archie. Manning held workouts at Duke with some of the Broncos’ pass catchers earlier this month, too. His former offensive coordinator at Tennessee, David Cutcliffe, is the Blue Devils’ coach.
The Broncos said Friday the team would have no official comment on the matter. Any punishment considered by the league would likely hinge on how much football was discussed and in what setting, and whether the visit constituted a boot-camp type setting with Xs and Os that had been planned by Gase with Manning asked to be there.
Some in the league said Friday that they believed Saban revealed the visit to bolster his recruiting efforts.
“A lot of people would say, ‘Wow, the guy is one of the best, if not the best, from a career standpoint and about as good as anyone has been in the history of the league,'” Saban said of Manning. “After all the experience and knowledge that he has, he’s going out to try and seek more knowledge and understudying of the game of football so he can play better.”
He added, “Since they’re a no-huddle team, we had a lot of questions for them, in terms of what gives them problems and what defensive teams do that give them problems. That was a mutual benefit. I know it was a benefit to us. I hope it was a benefit to them as well.”
The coach also called Manning “a friend and very well respected for a long time, ever since I coached in the league” and that Archie Manning “has been a really good friend of mine for a long, long, long time.”
In recent weeks, Saban hosted a football clinic that included Baylor coach Art Briles, Seattle Seahawks special teams coach Brian Schneider and Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees.
It is a murky part of the current CBA, given situations like Dallas quarterback Tony Romo and coach Jason Garrett sitting in team owner Jerry Jones’ suite during this month’s NCAA Final Four at AT&T Stadium. Broncos defensive end DeMarcus Ware, who played for the Cowboys for nine seasons before being released earlier this year, was also in the suite. Covered Broncos for nine years for Denver Post and Rocky Mountain News
Previously covered Steelers, Bills and Titans
Member of Pro Football Hall of Fame Boardof Selectors since 1999


OTL: He may have shot Tillman

Updated: April 18, 2014, 1:58 PM ET

Mike Fish |

OLYMPIA, Wash. — In his first public statements about the death of Pat Tillman, the former NFL player turned Army Ranger, one of the fellow Rangers involved in the 2004 friendly-fire incident in Afghanistan told ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” he has lived for 10 years with the thought that he might have fired the fatal shots.
“It is possible, in my mind, that I hit him,” said Steven Elliott, who had been engaged in his first firefight as an Army Ranger when Tillman died on April 22, 2004, in the mountainous terrain of southeast Afghanistan.

The events leading up to one of the most infamous friendly-fire deaths in U.S. military history were rife for second-guessing from the start: After an Army Humvee broke down in the mountains, Tillman’s platoon was ordered divided by superiors so that the Humvee could be removed; a local truck driver was hired as the hauler. But the two groups struggled to communicate with each other as they traversed the steep terrain. And the second group soon became caught in a deafening ambush, receiving fire as it maneuvered down a narrow, rocky canyon trail.
Tillman’s group, which had traveled ahead, scaled a ridgeline to provide assistance to fellow Rangers under attack. But a squad leader, Sgt. Greg Baker, in Elliott’s armored vehicle misidentified an allied Afghan soldier positioned next to Tillman as the enemy and opened fire, killing the Afghan and prompting Elliott and two other Rangers to fire upon what Elliott called shadowy images, later learned to have been Tillman and then-19-year-old Bryan O’Neal.
The Army either has never determined or has never released whose shots killed Tillman. Tillman had left the Arizona Cardinals after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks to join the Army, a decision that immediately turned him into a national symbol of sacrifice.
Elliott, 33, who left the Army in 2007, has spoken at length with “Outside the Lines” in recent months. He said he has been treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and is speaking now because he believes that his story might provide hope for fellow veterans who suffer similar afflictions.
The other two shooters who have acknowledged firing at Tillman’s position declined comment for this story, as they have in the past.
Investigations by the Army determined that Tillman died from three shots to his head. Elliott, whose weapon was an M240 Bravo machine gun, and platoon mate and Spc. Trevor Alders have been most widely suspected of having fired the fatal caliber of rounds, based on autopsies and Army investigations.

The locations of the fatal bullets, all in an approximately two-inch area of Tillman’s head, could have been too neat and too precise to be the work of a machine gunner. But Elliott said he was trained to fire his automatic weapon with the precision of a rifle, not to spray fire in Rambo-like fashion.
“You aim at a point, and you fire a burst. You are holding your trigger for a fraction of a second, but that fraction of a second releases three to five rounds,” he said. “If it looked like you had [three] rounds and very close to one another, well, that was very consistent to how I was firing my weapon at that point. … It would be disingenuous for me to say there is no way my rounds didn’t kill him, because my rounds very well could have.”
Elliott’s machine gun was normally equipped with a multipower scope for daytime, but the scope was broken and no replacement had yet to be found. As he took aim low on the ridgeline where Baker first engaged, he peered down the weapon’s rudimentary, V-shaped iron sight. He said he remembers catching peripheral glimpses of the person he later learned was the allied Afghan soldier and of the shadowy figures — presumably of Tillman and O’Neal — silhouetted in front of rocks.
They were less than the distance of a football field away when Baker opened fire.
“The mantra is that when all else fails you do what your team leader does, you go where your team leader goes and you shoot where your team leader shoots, and so effectively … ” said Elliott, his chin quivering as he lifted his right hand to wipe away tears during an interview. “Effectively him firing at that position is, is the same as his giving an order to fire. … And it breaks my heart to say that, because I know that he regrets that — so much.”

Baker, a respected platoon leader and the fittest of Rangers, previously acknowledged to “Outside the Lines” having mistakenly engaged the Afghan despite his wearing a desert camouflage uniform similar to what the Rangers wore rather than the tunic-and-baggy pants ensemble of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters. Baker acted upon seeing spitting muzzle flashes from the Afghan’s AK-47 — also the enemy’s weapon of choice — fired in the direction of his vehicle. But the Afghan, along with Tillman and O’Neal, actually were targeting an enemy position on the opposite hillside, O’Neal said.
Baker is out of the Army and lives in the Seattle area. Reached for comment on this story, he politely declined, saying, “I’m good, thanks.”
O’Neal, a Ranger who survived dozens of large caliber rounds raking the hillside and kicking up the earth around him, remains in the Army. After another tour in Afghanistan in 2011-12, O’Neal said he still can’t shake the high-definition images from a scene he was so sure he’d forget about.
“I remember seeing the rounds were impacting — ‘pop, pop, pop, pop’ — just walking in a line right up to where I was laying,” said O’Neal, recently posted as a U.S. Army Ranger School instructor at Fort Benning in Georgia. “And thinking, ‘I am going to die right now.’ And then feeling the round go over the top of me. Just watching the dirt kick up off the ground coming to me. Just knowing without a shadow of a doubt, knowing so positively that I am going to die that I actually prayed for forgiveness: ‘Please God, forgive me. I’ll do whatever you want to get me and Pat out of this.'”
The mention of those words and the images they bring back are haunting for Elliott, who, through time and counseling, said he is able to tell a personal story today of hope and redemption. Of a man who reconnected with his God and his wife. And who finds himself in a healthier place with his family, blessed by two daughters.
But he still lives with the guilt of what happened a decade ago. “If I could change what happened, I would change it in a heartbeat. Change it in a heartbeat.”Investigative reporter for
10 years at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Twice nominated for a Pulitzer Prize