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Ben Volin of the Boston Globe considers TE Jake Ballard (knees, active/PUP) "not a lock" for the Patriots' final roster.

We didn't think he was, but there's a perception that Ballard will have a big role in New England's offense. It's unlikely. Volin observed "stiff" movement from Ballard in OTAs, which is in addition to fellow Pats beat writers describing him as "rigid" and "slogging." The Late Round QB's JJ Zachariason has compared Ballard's running ability to a cross between Cam Cleeland and a dad.
Tue, Jul 23, 2013 08:57:00 AM

C.J. Anderson rushed 13 times for 87 yards with three touchdowns and caught two passes for 20 yards in Sunday's 47-14 Week 17 win over the Raiders.

Anderson continued his Pro Bowl caliber play since taking over the starting job, scoring for the 10th time in the last seven games. He's clearly an ideal fit for this Peyton Manning offense and has played virtually error-free football. However, he strangely lost a ton of high-leverage snaps and carries to Ronnie Hillman (15 rushes, one catch) as Hillman made his return from a foot injury. It's possible the Broncos were just saving CJA for the playoffs, where they earned a bye as the AFC's No. 2 seed. Hillman is best used as a scat-back kind of complement.
Dec 28 - 7:50 PM

Michael Floyd secured 8-of-12 targets for 153 yards and two touchdowns in the Cardinals' Week 17 loss to the 49ers.

Floyd finally showed what he's capable of when given a lot of passing-game volume. He's a true "No. 1" receiver; the Cardinals to this point just hadn't utilized him as one. Floyd made spectacular sideline catches in this one and repeatedly abused San Francisco's secondary. The Cardinals will need more of where this game from to have a shot at upsetting Carolina in the Wild Card round.
Dec 28 - 7:45 PM

Russell Wilson completed 17-of-25 passes for 239 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception in the Seahawks' 20-6, Week 17 win over the Rams.

With the win, the Seahawks have clinched the No. 1 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. With Seattle playing so well and every team having to come through the Pacific Northwest, it's hard to see anyone other than the Seahawks going to the Super Bowl from the NFC. The Rams gave Wilson and Co. a run for their money in the first half, taking a 6-0 lead into the locker room and picking off Wilson to go along with three sacks. But Shaun Hill doomed the Rams with a couple horrible interceptions. Wilson and the Seahawks get two weeks to rest up for another title run.
Dec 28 - 7:34 PM

Ryan Lindley completed 22-of-39 passes for 316 yards, two touchdowns, and three interceptions in the Cardinals' Week 17 loss to San Francisco.

Cardinals coach Bruce Arians caught a lot of flak for attacking the Seahawks' defense aggressively, allowing Lindley to pile up over 40 pass attempts in last week's loss. Arians stuck with his plan against the 49ers, allowing Lindley to sling it all over the field. It worked early in the game as Lindley twice found Michael Floyd for long first-half TDs, but fell to pieces as Lindley turned the ball over to kill Arizona's chances. The Cardinals will be Wild Card round underdogs to the red-hot Panthers, who will host next week's playoff game.
Dec 28 - 7:33 PM

Cam Newton completed 10-of-16 passes for 114 yards, one touchdown, and zero interceptions in the Panthers' division-clinching, 34-3, Week 17 win over the Falcons, adding 51 rushing yards and another touchdown on six carries.

The 7-8-1 Panthers end the regular season on a four-game winning streak and have clinched the No. 4 seed in the NFC. They'll host the Cardinals next weekend and have a good chance at pulling out the victory against the Ryan Lindley-led Arizona squad. On Sunday, the Panthers got off to a soaring start, jumping out to an early 10-0 lead with a field goal and touchdown on their first two possessions. Matt Ryan then tossed a pick-six before the Panthers then recovered a fumble at the Falcons' four-yard line. On the next play, Newton and the Carolina offensive line bullied their way into the end zone to stake themselves to a 24-3 lead. On Cam's touchdown pass, he found Ed Dickson in the flat in the front right corner of the end zone from five yards out. Cam is playing his best football of the season at the moment.
Dec 28 - 7:25 PM

Aaron Rodgers (calf) returned to the Packers' Week 17 game against the Lions midway through the third quarter.

Rodgers ended up missing two series after aggravating his left-calf injury late in the first half. His mobility will be extremely limited on a cold day in Green Bay, but it's a huge boost for a Packers team fighting for a first-round bye. Rodgers departed after staking the Pack to a 14-0 lead, but returns with the scored tied at 14.
Dec 28 - 6:19 PM

Mike Wallace was held catch-less on one target in the Dolphins' Week 17 loss to the Jets.

Wallace appeared to be benched in the third quarter of Sunday's game, for unknown reasons. On Sunday afternoon, NFL Network's Albert Breer reported Wallace was benched for "attitude problems." Nevertheless, Wallace's first season under OC Bill Lazor was a success. He showed top-notch red-zone skills, securing a career-high 10 touchdown passes and catching 67 balls for 862 yards. Ryan Tannehill's deep-ball limitations curb Wallace's upside, but he will continue to be an every-week fantasy WR2/3 in 2015 assuming the Fins don't upgrade the wide receiver position. And they have more pressing needs elsewhere. Wallace turned 28 in August and should have at least two quality seasons left.
Dec 28 - 6:05 PM

Odell Beckham caught 12 passes for 185 yards with one touchdown in Sunday's 34-26 Week 17 loss to the Eagles.

The Eagles secondary had no prayer against one of the best offensive rookies we've ever seen. In just 12 games, Beckham posted 91 catches, 1,305 yards, 12 touchdowns and seven 100-yard games -- doing it even though a nasty hamstring pull sidelined him for the entire offseason program plus training camp. The massive production is definitely not a fluke, as he gets open at will with elite route-running ability, has the speed to put defensive backs on skates and can win at the catch point. Next year, Beckham will pair with Victor Cruz (if healthy) and Rueben Randle to form one of the league's most dangerous wide receiver coprs. ODB is a lock first-round fantasy pick and has an excellent case to be the first WR off the board.
Dec 28 - 5:35 PM

Eric Decker went berserk in the Jets' Week 17 upset of the Dolphins, parlaying 11 targets into 10 catches for 221 yards and a touchdown.

Decker missed some second-quarter snaps with a shoulder injury. He returned in the third quarter to whip Dolphins RCB Cortland Finnegan all over the field, including for a 74-yard touchdown. Decker's first year in New York was a success, quietly finishing with 74 catches for 962 yards and five scores. He may not be a "No. 1 wideout" in the truest sense, but he's awfully close. We'd argue Decker was less a "product of Peyton Manning" than many made him out to be. Decker is owed just $5 million in 2015 and will be safely back with the Jets, despite front-office turnover. He could prove to be a value pick in 2015 re-draft leagues, depending on which direction the Jets take at quarterback.
Dec 28 - 5:27 PM

Mike Evans caught 5-of-6 targets for 54 yards and a touchdown in the Bucs' Week 17 loss to the Saints.

Evans closes the book on his highly-impressive rookie campaign the owner of 68 catches for 1,051 yards and 12 touchdowns. He scored 10 times over his final nine games, and would be getting attention as the best rookie wideout in some time if not for Odell Beckham's biblical eruption down the stretch. Evans plays every bit his 6-foot-5, 231-pound frame, bodying out smaller corners to both high-point passes and win in tight spaces. Going on just 22, Evans is primed to be a special player for years to come.
Dec 28 - 5:04 PM

Robert Griffin III completed 27-of-41 passes for 336 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions in Washington's 44-17, Week 17 loss to the Cowboys.

He added six carries for 19 yards and a second touchdown, but also lost a fumble which Cowboys DE Anthony Spencer housed for a score. Both of RGIII's picks were tossed into too tight of coverage, while his fumble came on a play where he should have gone down earlier. He never got in rhythm as a passer, with big chunks of his yardage coming after the catch from DeSean Jackson and Pierre Garcon. Griffin closes the book on 2014 having committed eight turnovers while accounting for just five touchdowns. He's not a fit for coach Jay Gruden's conservative, pass-happy offense, and Gruden doesn't appear particularly interested in making him one. It will be a disaster waiting to happen if RGIII is back as Washington's starter in 2015. A trade would be best for his fantasy future, but clueless owner Daniel Snyder likely won't be willing to sell low on someone he believes is his franchise player.
Dec 28 - 4:52 PM




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