The NFL says it was wrong to penalize Husain Abdullah after his slid into a Muslim prayer following his pick-6 of Tom Brady Monday night.


Welcome to the morning after, folks. In the words of John Winger, “and then depression set in.” It was a long weekend for Boston fans. First, they had give begrudging respect to Derek Jeter for three days, which is stomach-turning enough. Then there was Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City. Hopefully Gronk’s late touchdown did something for some of you. Hopefully a few of you listened to me and stashed Jerick McKinnon, who saved my bacon in a few leagues. No matter what your weekend was like, Rotobahn’s here to help pick up the pieces. Let’s get to work.

The ownership percentages are listed for each player. These rates of ownership are based on Yahoo! leagues, which tend to be smaller and more representative of the 10-team leagues most of us play in. Obviously, these numbers are mostly for perspective. What really matters is which players are available in your particular league, and you’ll need to do the legwork on that. If you play in really big leagues, as I tend to do, you should head on over to Rotobahn Monday afternoon and check out my expanded waiver wire. The expanded edition gives you about twice as many options. To keep pace with all WEEI and Rotobahn fantasy football content, including Sunday chats and The Fantasy Football Hour with my good buddy Jim Hackett, follow me on Twitter.

There is some good news. The Week 5 byes are not as painful as last week’s losses. Only Oakland and Miami have the week off. Not too many fantasy studs on those two powerhouses. Oakland doesn’t even have a coach right now after mercifully canning Dennis Allen on Monday night. The rumor mill is spitting out Tony Sparano‘s name as a possible replacement. Yikes.


Eli Manning, Giants – 48 percent

As I said last week, buy Eli now because the Giants have some solid matchups the rest of the way and they should get rookie WR Odell Beckham Jr. soon — perhaps this weekend in a sweet home matchup with the porous Falcons defense.

Alex Smith, Chiefs — 42 percent

The Chiefs were searching and grinding for a few weeks — trying to get the new offensive line in sync. It would appear that they’ve turned the corner and are back to taking good care of the ground game and of Alex Smith. Smith can help you in most leagues as a matchup play. He’s got a very interesting matchup at San Francisco this week.

Joe Flacco, Ravens — 39 percent

He’s a guy you can throw in there anytime you need him. The Ravens are throwing the ball well now that Gary Kubiak‘s system is beginning to take hold. Flacco can be your backup in any format.

Blake Bortles, Jaguars — 18 percent

He’s a foot-points guy. I love those foot points. Bortles also plays for a team that will be throwing in the fourth quarter almost every single week. The game doesn’t seem too big for the rookie and he can help you as a matchup play or QB2. He’s playable this week in a home matchup against the Steelers, who can’t stop much these days and who do not have Ike Taylor at corner for the foreseeable future.

Carson Palmer, Cardinals — 33 percent

Arizona’s starting quarterback is a viable fantasy play, whether it be Palmer or Drew Stanton. Palmer is the guy worth owning in smaller formats and he could return as soon as this week. HC Bruce Arians has Arizona moving in the right direction. Palmer should be a solid matchup play the rest of the way, though he might not be able to help you this week. His return may be one more week away. We’ll know more once practice reports start coming out.


Jerick McKinnon, Vikings — 17 percent

He’s not a stash anymore. Hopefully you already have him, but make a move for McKinnon if you haven’t already. He could end up being a weekly starter — even in smaller formats. He’s got special talent and freakish athleticism. Check out McKinnon’s full pre-draft scouting report. He must be owned in all leagues going forward.

Isaiah Crowell, Browns — 25 percent

He’s a player to stash in all formats. While Ben Tate should return this week, Tate’s returns are historically short-lived. The guy gets banged up. Tate’s next trip to the trainer’s table will lead to a permanent shift, as Cleveland’s two rookie backs are both outstanding talents. Crowell, as I said in his rookie scouting report, is as talented as any back in this year’s draft class. He could be a must-start option in all leagues in the not-too-distant future. Add him if you can.

Terrance West, Browns — 56 percent

West and Crowell both need to owned in all leagues because they both have great upside. West is the guy with better chops in pass protection and as a receiver. He’s also a high draft pick. My guess is that this backfield ends up being an equal split between West and Crowell. When you consider that Cleveland is a run-first offense, they both could have RB2 value.

Knile Davis, Chiefs — 67 percent

I think we all saw it Monday night and throughout the last two seasons. When Jamaal Charles is out, Davis usually is getting it done.

Lorenzo Taliaferro, Ravens — 38 percent

While West and Crowell are stash options, Taliaferro might be playable soon in smaller leagues. He’s looked good two weeks in a row and he may have passed Bernard Pierce on the depth chart. The rookie is a one-cut back and he fits OC Gary Kubiak‘s scheme very well. He needs to be owned.

Matt Asiata, Vikings — 65 percent

I’m not sure how much longer he’ll be a good fantasy start, but I think he’s a safe RB2 for now in 10-team leagues. We saw that Jerick McKinnon is the superior talent, but Asiata has shown well in short-yardage and goal-line situations, and they need two backs.

Alfred Blue, Texans — 23 percent

With Arian Foster’s hamstring woes, you’d be nuts to own Foster and not Blue. The rookie has looked pretty good in limited action and he’s an RB2 option if and when Foster sits out. He’s a classic handcuff option.


Rueben Randle, Giants — 62 percent

He is starting to find his groove, and the Giants are throwing the ball more and more. Randle can be a WR3 for you in all formats and he’ll have even more scoring potential as teams begin to account for Larry Donnell in the red zone. Randle should be owned in all leagues.

Jordan Matthews, Eagles — 35 percent

Here’s the upside play. Matthews has the ability to become Philadelphia’s No. 1 option in time. The Eagles are getting him good matchups out of the slot and he’s making plays against smaller slot defenders. Get him rostered in all formats.

Brian Quick, Rams — 56 percent

He’s been effective in every game and his talents are very real. Only the Rams’ nasty QB situation is holding him back. Quick’s a player to own in all formats. He can help you as a bye week replacement. Quick scored his first touchdown last week.

Kenny Stills, Saints — 14 percent

He’s been doing a little more each week, and he will have plenty of big-play potential as teams continue to crash on Jimmy Graham and Brandin Cooks. Stills is a nice bench option in smaller leagues and a very nice flex play in bigger leagues. Once he gets all the way back, he could be a WR3 in all formats. Roster him now.

Marvin Jones, Bengals — 15 percent

Here’s a very nice target of opportunity. Jones was ticketed for big things until a foot injury sidelined him back in August. He should return to the starting lineup this week and he could end up being a very nice WR3 in 10-team leagues once he’s in the groove. Add him now if you have a spot for him.

Greg Jennings, Vikings — 46 percent

I’m not jumping over people to get Jennings, but both he and Cordarrelle Patterson have better days ahead because all of the smaller names in Minnesota have been crazy productive with Teddy Bridgewater under center. Jennings has WR4 appeal for as long as the rookie stays healthy, and the ankle injury he sustained on Sunday appears to be minor and might not even keep him out for Thursday’s game at Green Bay. Jennings might just be up for that one.

Davante Adams, Packers — 5 percent

He’s a stash right now because he hasn’t taken the third receiver job clean just yet. That said, he is looking good and has top-shelf ability. Adams had a beautiful touchdown called back on a penalty last week. He’d have some buzz if it had counted, but he’s still a bit under the radar. Stash him if you have space.

John Brown, Cardinals — 13 percent

Brown can do plenty for you as a strong bench option with weekly scoring potential. As we told you months ago, the rookie is for real and his coaching staff really wants to keep him involved.

Eddie Royal, Chargers — 24 percent

Mr September is back, and this time he has a chance to be productive for the whole year. In smaller leagues, you consider riding the host streak, but Royal could be a year-long flex option in bigger leagues. The loss of Danny Woodhead means Royal’s role could be more consistent week to week.

Odell Beckham Jr., Giants — 2 percent

Do you like to get ahead of the curve? Here’s a chance. Stash Beckham Jr. and you could have a weekly option in the near future. If his hamstring holds up, he could start posting nice numbers very quickly. This kid is a high-end talent. He’d be ripping it up right now if not for the hamstring injury. I’m stashing him where I can. I suggest you do the same. Low risk. High upside.


Larry Donnell, Giants — 56 percent

You can still get him in a lot of leagues. He’s getting a huge percentage of the Giants’ red zone looks and he’s obviously scoring a lot of fantasy points. This guy is for real.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs — 68 percent

He’s a weekly starter in big leagues and needs to be owned in all formats right now. Grab him even if you have a strong top option. Kelce will have a lot of trade value if he keeps this up, and he has the talent to do it. It’s all about staying healthy.

Dwayne Allen, Colts — 40 percent

His hip is holding up and he’s scoring touchdowns. Allen has plenty of unexplored fantasy upside.

Jordan Reed, Washington — 44 percent

He should return this week, though the matchup (vs. Seattle) is bad. Reed will be a solid source of fantasy points for as long as his health lasts. He should be owned in all leagues.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson
Husain Abdullah races into the end zone moments before sliding to his knees in a Muslim prayer. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Husain Abdullah races into the end zone moments before sliding to his knees in a Muslim prayer. (Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

The NFL says it was wrong to penalize Husain Abdullah after his slid into a Muslim prayer following his pick-6 of Tom Brady Monday night.

In the fourth quarter, Abdullah picked off Brady, raced 39 yards for the touchdown and then slid into Sajdah, a common Muslim prayer. Abdullah, a devout Muslim, was making good on a promise that if he ever scored a touchdown, he would “prostrate before God” in the end zone.

The officials assessed a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty for the slide, which is not permitted as part of any celebration.

Rule 12, Section 3, Article 1 (d) states: Players are prohibited from engaging in any celebrations or demonstrations while on the ground.

But on Tuesday morning, NFL spokesman Michael Signora clarified the interpretation of the rule.

“However, the officiating mechanic in this situation is not to flag a player who goes to the ground as part of religious expression, and as a result, there should have been no penalty on the play,” Signora told ESPN’s Ed Werder.

Abdullah was very understanding after the game and apparently not upset.

“For me, I just got a little too excited,” Abdullah told reporters. “I think it was for the slide.”

Abdullah said that Chiefs coach Andy Reid told him the penalty was not for the prayer but his slide.

“He said, ‘You can’t slide,’” Abdullah said.

Abdullah played for the Minnesota Vikings from 2008 to ’11, then took a year off to make a pilgrimage to Mecca.

The 29-year-old veteran safety took to Twitter Tuesday morning with a Muslim prayer of thankfulness.

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

Through four games, the Patriots have been flagged for 33 penalties (seventh-most in the league) for a total of 352 yards (fourth-most in the NFL). To this point in the season, here’€™s a breakdown of the calls that have gone against the Patriots this year, not including penalties that were declined or offset:

Most penalized players, listed by total flags and with total yardage lost:
ST/DB Logan Ryan: 5 penalties (illegal block above the waist, two defensive pass interference, defensive holding, illegal use of hands), 78 yards
LB Dont’€™a Hightower: 3 penalties (roughing the passer, defensive offsides, unnecessary roughness), 35 yards
WR Brandon LaFell: 3 penalties (offsides on free kick, two offensive pass interference), 25 yards
OL Nate Solder: 3 penalties (offensive holding, illegal block above the waist, false start), 10 yards
CB Malcolm Butler: 2 penalties (defensive pass interference, offensive holding), 34 yards
DL Chandler Jones: 2 penalties (2 roughing the passer), 30 yards
OL Jordan Devey: 2 penalties (offensive holding, false start), 15 yards
TE Rob Gronkowski: 2 penalties (offensive holding, false start), 15 yards
OL Cameron Fleming: 2 penalties (false start, offensive holding), 15 yards
OL Ryan Wendell: 1 penalty (facemask), 15 yards
ST/DB Don Jones: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
OL Marcus Cannon: 1 penalty (offensive holding), 10 yards
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 penalty (offensive pass interference) 10 yards
DL Dominique Easley 1 penalty (neutral zone infraction), 5 yards
DL Sealver Siliga: 1 penalty (illegal use of hands), 5 yards
CB Darrelle Revis: 1 penalty (defensive holding), 5 yards
Team: 1 penalty (offsides on free kick), 5 yards
WR Danny Amendola: 1 penalty (face mask), 15 yards

Most penalized by position
Offensive line: 9 penalties, 80 yards
Cornerback: 7 penalties, 107 yards
Wide receiver: 5 penalties, 50 yards
Defensive line: 4 penalties, 40 yards
Linebacker: 3 penalty, 35 yards
Special teams: 2 penalties, 20 yards
Tight end: 2 penalty, 15 yards
Team: 1 penalty, 5 yards

Most frequently called penalties
Offensive holding: 7
False start: 4
Roughing the passer: 3
Offensive pass interference: 3
Defensive pass interference: 3
Illegal block above the waist: 2
Defensive holding: 2
Illegal use of hands: 2
Facemask: 2
Offsides on free kick: 1
Neutral zone infraction: 1
Defensive offsides: 1
Unnecessary roughness: 1
Offsides on free kick: 1

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Brandon LaFell

Brandon LaFell

Targets have been compiled by the NFL since the start of the 2009 season, and while it remains a vaguely imperfect stat — a badly thrown ball from a quarterback can often go against the record of the receiver as opposed to the quarterback — it remains a good indication of the confidence level a passer might have in his pass catcher. Here’€™s a look at the target breakdown after three regular-season games this year.

WR Julian Edelman: 26 catches on 36 targets
RB Shane Vereen: 15 catches on 21 targets
TE Rob Gronkowski: 13 catches on 26 targets
WR Brandon LaFell: 10 catches on 24 targets
WR Kenbrell Thompkins: 6 catches on 11 targets
TE Tim Wright: 4 catches on 5 targets
WR Danny Amendola: 3 catches on 7 targets
RB James White: 3 catches on 3 targets
RB Stevan Ridley: 3 catches on 4 targets
FB James Develin: 2 catches on 2 targets
RB Brandon Bolden: 1 catch on 3 targets
WR Aaron Dobson: 1 catch on 2 targets
TE Michael Hoomananwanui: 1 catch on 1 target

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

Bill Belichick spent most of Monday night searching for answers that never came. (Peter Aiken/Getty Images)This one was on the coaches.



Bill Belichick spoke for 10 minutes after Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City but he didn’t need many words to sum up what he felt after his team was beaten in every possible manner, 41-14, by the Chiefs.

Tom Brady and the Patriots suffered a humiliating 41-14 loss to the Chiefs Monday night.</p>
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Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Bill Belichick spoke for 10 minutes after Monday night’s debacle in Kansas City but he didn’t need many words to sum up what he felt after his team was beaten in every possible manner, 41-14, by the Chiefs.

The team stands 2-2 but it feels much worse. The team traded away Logan Mankins and their offensive line has responded with a disastrous start. The middle of the line was somewhat improved Monday night but Sebastian Vollmer and Nate Solder were beaten badly on back-to-back drives in the third quarter as the Chiefs edge rushers blew right by them.

It appears they haven’t recovered since the trade of their captain on the offensive line.

‘€œI mean, we can sit here and have a lot of hypothetical questions,” Belichick said. “We are where we are and we’€™re going to do better.’€

But perhaps most troubling Monday night was the defense. They allowed 303 yards in the first half, the worst defensive half of football in the Belichick era in Foxboro.

‘€œWe need to perform better,” Belichick said. “It wasn’€™t good enough.

‘€œI’€™ve said many times, every year we’€™ve got to go out and prove ourselves every year, all of us. So we all have to do that.’€

More takeaways from Belichick Monday night:

‘€œAll right, well, obviously we just didn’€™t have a very good night tonight. It was disappointing. Chiefs played well, we just didn’€™t really play well enough at all. We gave up some third down conversions in the first half, long drive, field goal at the end of the half, couldn’€™t really move the ball consistently on offense and then turned it over in the second half and gave up another long drive. We just didn’€™t play very well, Kansas City played well, so that’€™s a bad combination for us. We all have to do a better job.’€

On their inability to establish a running game, and how did that impact the passing attack:

‘€œIt was a combination of both. We didn’€™t really have a lot of success doing anything. So I think if we had gained more with the running game we probably would have run it more. I don’€™t know.’€

On the team struggling after four games:

‘€œI never make predictions going into the season. Never have, never will.’€

On inserting Jimmy Garoppolo:

‘€œWe played everybody tonight.’€

On the mixing and matching of offensive line:

‘€œTrying to do what we think’€™s best.’€

On the offensive problems:

‘€œWell, we need to do everything better offensively. We had like five first downs in the first half or something like that. We did a lot of things wrong and we turned the ball over in the second half. So pretty much, we need to do everything better.’€

On Jimmy Garoppolo competing:

‘€œI think our team competed. I mean, I thought we competed there at the end and that’€™s what they should do.’€

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia