BY JESSE COLLIN, Feedcrossing.com syndication
There have been several forces working against Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton this offseason.
The first was the “Madden Cover Curse,” which Newton seemingly avoided by losing the vote to Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson. Now, fans are worried that Newton will fall victim to a “sophomore slump” after putting up ridiculous numbers during his rookie season. However, Newton will have the benefit of a full offseason heading into his second year – something that he didn’t have last season because of the lockout.
While Ron Rivera is certainly aware that it won’t be an easy task for Newton to duplicate his record-breaking rookie season, the Panthers head coach isn’t concerned about a potential slump for his star quarterback. (more…)
BY WADE MCMILLIN, Couchsideshow.com editor
If the New York Jets didn’t give you enough to handle during the regular season, the team is already stealing even more headlines days before the divisional round of the NFL playoffs.
During wildcard week, two national stories surfaced about the Jets. And just yesterday two more hit the homepages of our favorite websites and the front pages of our sports sections. Now there’s no question that New York gets its fair share of ink. After all, the Jets are a historic franchise that demands success. But I can’t remember reading about New York almost everyday when Chad Pennington was at the helm, throwing passes to Santana Moss.
That’s because New York is the new Hollywood of the NFL and the Jets — not the Giants — are the team under the spotlight. And if you’re a common NFL fan, who doesn’t particularly care for the Jets, tough luck because you’re going to here about them. It does get tiring and news about the green and white is usually blown way out of proportion. So here’s the latest Jets headlines and translations of what they actually mean:
• The skinny: The headline says it all. The Jets hired former Miami Dolphins coach Tony Sparano, who couldn’t finish out the season without being fired, as their new offensive coordinator. Sparano replaces Brian Shottenheimer and takes over a dismal offense that failed to make it to the playoffs.
• Translation: Shottenheimer actually had two years left on his contract and because he couldn’t put up with all the egos within the team, I think he chose to leave. A lot of people blamed him for New York’s offense being 25th in the league and for Mark Sanchez not being developed as much as he should be in his third NFL season. So the Jets go with Sparano. He used to get a lot of attention during his coaching days in Dallas and for sort of turning around the Jets, so he should fit right in. A perfect fit.
BY DEREK BARSNESS, Couchsideshow.com writer
If you are fortunate enough to still be contending in a fantasy football league, chances are you had a little bit of good fortune this season.
For some managers, the benefit of a healthy team with minimal injuries is a recipe for smooth sailing into the league championship. For others, it could be the result of drafting a sleeper or combing the free agents throughout the season. Here’s a look at some of this year’s fantasy sleeper studs that likely have you playing in the championship and a few duds that may have ruined your season early.
• Cam Newton: The rookie has had a sensational fantasy season. Passing for over 3700 yards and running for another 600. He has nearly as many rushing touchdowns (13) as passing (17). Outside of a small percentage of leagues, Newton was drafted near the end of most drafts or picked up on the waivers after week 1. Just to show how good of a bargain Newton has been this season, take a look at these stats from a quarterback drafted in substantially higher rounds. 3900 yards passing and 30 total TDs (29 passing, 1 rushing). Any guesses? Anyone? Bueller? These stats belong to none other than Tony Romo. So Newton owners, you got your money’s worth.
• Fred Jackson: Before going down in week 10 with a broken leg, Jackson had amassed over 900 yards rushing, 39 catches for over 400 yards receiving, and 6 TDs. These are solid numbers for any back, especially if your league is PPR.
• Rob Gronkowski: Are you kidding me? Gronk and his partner in crime Aaron Hernandez both have the capabilities to put up solid fantasy numbers. The trouble that most fantasy owners saw in Gronk is whether or not he would be Brady’s go to guy on short yardage downs, or if Hernandez would get priority. This scared most owners away from taking either him or Hernandez. But those lucky enough to have gambled on Gronk saw huge dividends in over 1100 yards and 15 TDs. These are much better numbers than the highly valued Antonio Gates who has just 600 yards and 6 TDs this season. In our auction draft Gronkowski went for $5, Gates for $29.
• Victor Cruz: The NFL sophomore out of UMass has put up great numbers for many fantasy owners. His almost 1200 yards and 7 TDs put him in the top 10 in points scored for WRs, just behind Roddy White and AHEAD of Larry Fitzgerald.