• Fantasy Frenzy: Cowboys' Murray looks to pummel Eagles

    Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is sacked by Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith. Flacco should bounce back this week after a rough outing.
    Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco is sacked by Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith. Flacco should bounce back this week after a rough outing.

    Week 8 of the fantasy season is upon us, so here are a few tips on who to start and who to sit.

    Start:

    1. Joe Flacco, Baltimore Ravens — Flacco had a terrible game on Monday night against the lowly Jaguars, passing for only 137 yards on 38 attempts in a head-scratching 12-7 loss. Flacco has been highly criticized for his performance during the week and has had to deflect talk about his inability to lead the team to victory. This week Flacco has the opportunity to silence his critics against a weak Arizona secondary. Expect him to bounce back well with a huge game.

    2. DeMarco Murray, Dallas Cowboys — Just in case you weren’t paying attention last weekend, Murray had a breakout game, rushing for 253 yards and setting a new Cowboys single-game rushing mark. While he most likely will not explode like that again, he has an excellent opportunity on Sunday night to make his performance a trend. The Cowboys will take on an Eagles front seven that has allowed 123.8 yards a game, so expect Murray to see plenty of opportunities and take advantage of the matchup.

    3. Jabar Gaffney, Washington Redskins — Gaffney has been a solid No. 2 option for the Redskins all season long, but with Santana Moss’ injury last weekend, Gaffney will have to step up. Gaffney should be able to do just that this weekend against a Buffalo secondary that allows the third most passing yards a game in the NFL.

    Sit:

    1. Jahvid Best, Detroit Lions — Detroit’s starting tailback went down two weeks ago against the 49ers with concussion-like symptoms and did not play last week against the Falcons. This week the Lions take on the Broncos in a good matchup for running backs, but you’d be smart to sit Best again this week. He is listed as doubtful, and with a bye week next week for Detroit, the Lions are likely to sit him rather than risk further injury.

    2. Dez Bryant and Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys — are two of the best receivers in the NFL and some of the most productive for your lineup. But this week the Cowboys will take the an elite trio of Eagles corners, who will make it hard for the pair to put up big numbers. Plus, they are going up against a poor run defense, so expect Dallas to run the ball early and often.

  • Fantasy Frenzy: Hot or Not?

    After Week 7 of NFL action, let’s play out the old favorite — who’s hot and who’s not.


     

     

    Hot:

    DeMarco Murray,
    Dallas Cowboys

    When your name is mentioned with Emmitt Smith and Tony Dorsett, you know you had a great day. Murray rushed for 253 yards against the Rams on Sunday, breaking the Cowboys’ single game rushing record. Murray’s game may have also gained him a shot at the starting job, ahead of a struggling Felix Jones. Watch that situation closely and don’t be afraid to pick up Murray — he might well be the steal of the season.

    Tim Tebow,
    Denver Broncos

    Well it certainly wasn’t pretty, but for the Broncos and fantasy owners, Tebow’s week was effective. Down 15 points, he led Denver back in the fourth quarter to tie the game up with just seconds left and eventually won in overtime. While his passing numbers weren’t spectacular, he still managed to put up 22 points in ESPN leagues. Tebow will never light up the scoreboard with his passing, but he looks like an effective starting quarterback for your lineup the rest of the way.

    The New Orleans Saints offense
    If you had a player on the Saints, you probably racked up the points thanks to their 62-point outburst against Indianapolis. Drew Brees spread the ball around beautifully and his receivers and running backs benefited.

    Not:

    Oakland Raiders quarterbacks
    The trade for Carson Palmer was the talk of the NFL all of last week, but Palmer’s performance did not live up to the hype. He didn’t even start the game — that distinction was left to Kyle Bowler, who turned in a spectacular three-pick, 61-yard performance before he was benched at half. Palmer didn’t fare much better in the second half though, throwing for three picks as well. Both Raiders signal callers finished with negative point totals in fantasy, but expect Palmer to improve as he gets more familiar with the offense.

    Chris Johnson,
    Tennessee Titans

    Johnson has had a horrible year after receiving his record-setting contract extension, and that slow start didn’t change on Sunday. Johnson only rushed for 18 yards on 10 attempts against a weak Houston run defense. Up until this season, Johnson was always a top-5 fantasy player, now he’s a borderline starter. His best chance to turn it around will come against the Colts next week, and if he can’t perform against that defense, he might just be done as a top-flight player.

    Click here to follow the rest of the Fantasy Frenzy series.

  • Stat Guy: Horns aren't breaking records

    Freshman quarterback David Ash (right) completes a pass to Mike Davis (left). Texas quarterbacks only have five touchdown passes combined this year, far from record setting but they are getting better.
    Freshman quarterback David Ash (right) completes a pass to Mike Davis (left). Texas quarterbacks only have five touchdown passes combined this year, far from record setting but they are getting better.

    Everything is bigger in Texas, especially statistical troubles. With records being shattered week after week all over the country, the Longhorns continue to lurk in the shadows of the college football world, posting modest numbers. While the majority of people would tell you merely winning the game is the most important aspect, putting up significant numbers doesn’t hurt either.

    In terms of revving up the crowd, leaving an impression with recruits and swaying pollsters in the teams’ favor, running for 200-plus yards or tossing five touchdowns per week can do leaps and bounds for a program.

    Taking a look around the country, there are a number of players leaving their mark on the record books, and some well on their way in it. Lets take a look at some of the players making noise on Saturdays.

    Up the road a little ways in Lubbock, Texas Tech quarterback Seth Doege (pronounced DAY-gee, to settle the everlasting debate) recently set the NCAA record of highest completion percentage in one game, recording a 90.6 percent completion rating against New Mexico a month ago. Doege has already passed for 2,608 yards and 22 touchdowns paired with a mere four picks. Doege was the No. 18 quarterback in the 2008 class.

    Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore is one win away from breaking Colt McCoy’s all-time wins as a starting quarterback record at 45. With Boise State’s soft schedule, the nation’s 31st-best quarterback from the 2007 class will surely surpass McCoy’s mark.

    So why don’t the Longhorns have a quarterback on his way to a 40 touchdown season, or a receiver that consistently goes over the 100-yard mark each time they step on the field? Quarterbacks David Ash and Case McCoy have a combined 910 yards passing and five touchdowns between them. Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III does half of that in one game. Not surprisingly, neither Ash nor McCoy rank in the top-100 nationally in passing. Malcolm Brown’s 516 rushing yards is the 66th-best mark in the nation. Jaxon Shipley is No. 80 with 65 receiving yards a game.

    To be fair, the youth of the Longhorns is responsible for some low statistical numbers and, as Brown and Shipley become more experienced, they should become mainstays among the national leaders. But, for now, with the Longhorns finishing with top recruiting classes year after year, it’s surprising the team isn’t putting up bigger numbers.

  • Texas defense doing fine without Muschamp

    Former Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, has excelled at installing his defense at Florida, where they are ranked 12th in the nation.
    Former Texas defensive coordinator Will Muschamp, has excelled at installing his defense at Florida, where they are ranked 12th in the nation.

    When Will Muschamp accepted the head coaching position at Florida last December, Texas fans were left stressing over what seemed to be the only sure piece of the football program. With the defensive situation up in the air, it certainly made for a December to remember. Mississippi State defensive coordinator Manny Diaz was hired by Texas, bringing an electric energy and an attacking defense with him.

    So with the season halfway over and with the Longhorns holding a bye week, now’s the perfect time to take a peek at Florida to see how former Texas defensive coordinator and head-coach-in-waiting Will Muschamp is doing at the helm of the Gators.

    In terms of total defense, the Gators are ranked No. 12 in the country, allowing 291 yards per game. The Longhorns, on the other hand, have allowed 321 yards per game up to this point, ranking them No. 24 in the nation.

    Texas struggled last weekend containing the run, allowing Oklahoma State running back Jeremy Smith to gain 140 yards and two touchdowns. The Gators had their own problems earlier in the year with another talented running back, as Alabama’s Trent Richardson racked up 181 yards and two touchdowns.

    All of that aside, the Longhorns are allowing just 122 yards per game, putting them neck-and-neck with the Gators, who give an average of 121 yards a game.

    In the pass-defense department, Texas ranks No. 55 in the country, allowing 216 yards per game, while Florida sits at a stingy No. 12 nationally, holding opponents to 176 yards through the air per game. Remember though, the Longhorns have played two of the most dynamic passing offenses in the country the past two weeks.  

    When Texas lost Muschamp to the Gators, it lost one of the best in-game defensive adjusters in the country. Without missing a beat, Diaz stepped into a high-pressure role and has produced a defense worthy of the Longhorns’ prestigious standards. As the games go on and as the players continue to become more familiar with the defensive schemes, expect Diaz’s defense to make a lot more noise.

  • Senior infielder dismissed from team

    Jordan Etier has been released from the Texas baseball team, school officials announced Monday.
     
    The senior infielder was arrested over the weekend for possession of marijuana and evading police, both misdemeanors. Etier will remain enrolled at the University of Texas but will be prohibited from participating in any team-related functions.
     
    A starter at second baseman last season, Etier, a graduate of Westlake High School, had a .237 batting average and hit two home runs.

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