Christian breaks down what the Patriots need to do to beat the Raiders this Sunday

Welcome to the Week 3 starts and sits. Between injuries, suspensions, deactivations and the like, the average fantasy football GM’s head is spinning. I know mine is. As always, I will avoid the easy calls. I’m not here to tell you what to do with players you’d never consider benching.

I’ll be back Sunday morning with my partner in crime, Jim Hackett, for another Fantasy Football Hour. Check it out! We’re on air from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. on 93.7 FM. If you sleep in, you can listen right here on In addition, I’ll be here, as always, with a chat on Sunday starting at 11 a.m. Head on over if you have any lineup questions.

If you are looking for info on players not listed in this article, go to Rotobahn and check out my full Lineup Rankings. I’ll be updating them over the weekend, as always. And, to keep track of all things fantasy football at both Rotobahn and WEEI, feel free to follow me on Twitter. I always tweet links to new articles.



Russell Wilson, Seahawks vs. Broncos

He’ll shine in a rematch of last year’s Super Bowl. Wilson’s an underrated fantasy QB and he’ll give you some touchdowns this week. He’s playable in all formats.

Colin Kaepernick, 49ers at Cardinals

Kaepernick’s always a solid play and should get it done this weekend in a tough divisional matchup. Yes, he has some injuries to his tight ends, but San Francisco has more offensive depth than in the past. Start Kaepernick if you normally would.

Kirk Cousins, Washington at Eagles

He’s not an ideal option because he’s got injuries to his tight ends and receivers, but he’ll also be playing in a high-scoring game and his team will not be in close-it-out mode at the end. Washington is far more likely to be throwing the football in the fourth quarter. Cousins can help you in deep formats.


Joe Flacco, Ravens at Browns

He’s playing decent football, but the Browns are looking tough at home and can take his receivers away for much of the game. Flacco is playable, but this is a week to look for other options if you can.

Derek Carr, Raiders at Patriots

It may be tempting to start him in a deep league because he’ll be throwing a lot and playing from behind, but I hate playing rookie quarterbacks against Bill Belichick defenses. I’d avoid doing so if possible.



Zac Stacy, Rams vs. Cowboys

Stacy’s owners rightfully are concerned about Stacy and the Rams. Still, this is a get well matchup and you should have him active. Stacy’s struggles are more about his team than his game, but with talented rookie Tre Mason in reserve, the time for Stacy to get things going is now. He looks like a solid RB2 this week in all leagues.

Terrance West, Browns vs. Ravens

He’s looked good so far and he’ll start one more time in place of Ben Tate. It’s a medium matchup at home vs. the Ravens, but West will get plenty of volume and that should get him RB2 numbers by the close of business.

Khiry Robinson, Saints vs. Vikings

We like Khiry, and he’ll get a chance at meaningful playing time for the next few weeks as Mark Ingram recovers from a hand injury. He’s an RB2 option in big leagues if you need him or a strong flex play in this solid home matchup.

Pierre Thomas, Saints vs. Vikings

He’s been a little disappointing so far, but that should change for the next couple of weeks with Mark Ingram on the shelf. In PPR formats, I am comfortable using Thomas as a RB2 or flex. He should have a bigger early down role and a bigger role in the red zone.

Jerick McKinnon, Vikings at Saints

He’s a reach play in big leagues — not 10-team leagues. If you are hurting for an RB option in a big league, this kid has some upside. He’s getting worked in slowly, but he’s a big play waiting to happen and I like the possibilities that he and Cordarrelle Patterson present if they are on the field together. Remember, McKinnon is a player who thrived playing in a triple-option offense. If OC Norv Turner wants to get creative, he has the athletes to do it. I’ve added this kid in all leagues where I could, just for his potential.


Bernard Pierce, Ravens at Browns

I do not love the matchup for Pierce. The Ravens need more versatility, and that should mean more of Justin Forsett and less Pierce, who I see as more of a closer or ball-control option. I don’t see the Ravens trying to win time of possession and I don’t see them protecting a big lead, so be careful with Pierce this week, especially in PPR formats.

Darren McFadden, Raiders at Patriots

The Patriots can stop the run and the Raiders aren’t particularly good at blocking for it anyway. McFadden might get the most touches with Maurice Jones-Drew playing a smaller role as he comes back from a hand injury, but I’d avoid playing him. I’m thinking he’s worth less than 60 combined yards this week.



Mike Wallace, Dolphins vs. Chiefs

He’s burned me a few times this year. First he posted good numbers on Revis and then he made plays in Week 2 despite a hamstring injury. This week I am getting with the program and starting Wallace at home against a Chiefs defense that has nobody capable of containing him.

Michael Floyd, Cardinals vs. 49ers

Don’t get scared off because of a bad week and a backup quarterback. Floyd should see some single coverage against San Francisco, which likes to play straight up, and that makes him a very solid WR3 option — even with all the concerns. Keep him active.

Brandin Cooks, Saints vs. Vikings

Don’t get scared off because of a bad week. Cooks is a core component in the Saints scheme and they’ll get him the football. And, once he gets it, he’s exceedingly dangerous. He’s got WR2 upside in all formats. Keep him active.

Brian Quick, Rams vs. Cowboys

He’s looked good as we thought he would, and this is a plus matchup. Quick makes a fine flex option or even WR3 in big leagues with 12 or more teams. His quarterback situation is somewhat limiting, but he’s the clear No. 2 target right now. He’s going to see the ball.


Victor Cruz, Giants vs. Texans

Maybe he could get enough volume to post good numbers and perhaps that could give him PPR appeal, but I am a bit scared in standard leagues. The Texans are going to be all over Eli Manning and they will be able to put extra defenders on Cruz with so many injuries to the other Giants receivers.

Eric Decker, Jets vs. Bears

His hamstring injury was not minor. When you can’t go, it’s more than a tweak, and Decker had to opt out in crunch time last week. The fact that he plays on Monday night complicates matters, and there are not a lot of available options to protect yourself with. Unless Decker practices and is announced as good to go, you might want to avoid the headache this week.



Larry Donnell, Giants vs. Texans

The Texans give up points to tight ends, and Donnell has looked very good so far. He’s a big part of the offense, and that includes the goal-line offense. This guy can start for you in any league this week. He’s going to see the ball. They need him.

Travis Kelce, Chiefs at Dolphins

His playing time rose in Week 2, and we expect the trend to continue. The Chiefs are simply desperate for places to throw the football and Kelce is a potential white knight. Keep him active in larger formats for the upside potential.

Niles Paul, Washington at Eagles

He’ll start again for Jordan Reed, and he was very active last week. Paul should get plenty of action with all the injuries on the Washington offense. He can help you in large formats in a game that should be high-scoring.


Charles Clay, Dolphins vs. Chiefs

He’s working mostly the short passing game, and that’s something the Chiefs handle well. Clay may have some PPR appeal, but I’d avoid him and his sore knee in standard leagues this week.

Ladarius Green, Chargers at Bills

He’s just not involved enough right now. I’d complain about it, but since the Chargers just beat the Seahawks, it’d probably sound like sour grapes, which of course it is. Green is a potential breakout, but as long as the Chargers want to play Eddie Royal major snaps, Green will struggle to post meaningful fantasy numbers. I’d keep him rostered in big formats, but I’d also keep him benched.

Blog Author: 
Peter Davidson

NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss league news, including the domestic abuse problem. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

NBC Sports NFL analyst Rodney Harrison joined Dennis & Callahan on Friday to discuss league news, including the domestic abuse problem. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

Adrian Peterson and Ray Rice, among others, have dominated the headlines the last couple of weeks because of their domestic abuse cases and the league’s reaction. Harrison said the few players who have done bad things off the field have overshadowed the good people in the league.

“It’s really unfortunate because you have five or six guys involved in these domestic disputes,” Harrison said. “It’s really sickening because you have some of these guys doing positive stuff across the league. Unfortunately four or five guys take away the body of work that everyone else is doing. It’s unfortunate, it’s sad. There’s never a room or space to hit a woman, to lay your hands on a child like that. It’s heartbreaking. It’s heartbreaking for the victims. It’s heartbreaking because these young men are putting their careers on the line, their reputations, everything they worked for. It’s sad. I feel bad for everyone.”

The recent domestic violence cases in the league have made some wonder whether these issues are only known because of modern technology. Many believe incidents like the ones occurring lately have been happening for years throughout the league.

Said Harrison: “I think with the emergence of social media and cameras, there’s a chance of it getting out a lot more. Back when I played, when I first came into the league, things would happen and you would hear conversations in the locker room. Players would say certain things about what’s going on at home. Some guys would say, ‘Hey, man, you shouldn’t be in that situation. Hey, man, you should walk away.’ Obviously with the social media thing everything comes front and center with the public.”

Callahan was surprised Harrison did not have fiery comments regarding the NFL’s problems this week during the pregame show on “Sunday Night Football.”

“People want me to say something controversial, people want me to say something they can take and run with,” Harrison replied. “I’m a football analyst. Yes, I have to analyze certain situations that go on. And I’ve done that. I’ve talked about this. I just told the guys, ‘Hey, let’s just talk football. There are a lot of great things going on in the football world.’ ”

Commissioner Roger Goodell has been widely criticized for his handling of the situation. He has not spoken publicly following the last few cases.

Said Harrison: “He’s the leader. He’s probably the most important man in football outside of the owners. I think he needs to step up, he needs to say something. He needs to address the fans, the NFL community. I’m sure he’s trying to gather all of the information before he can come out and make a statement. But that’s something that I can’t control. I can’t control what he says and how he controls. … I’m just sitting back like everyone else, waiting.”

Following are more highlights from the interview. For more Patriots news, visit the team page at

On if the Raiders can beat the Patriots on Sunday: “[The Raiders] are still a professional team. They’re not a very good team. They make a lot of mistakes. They’ve got a lot of veteran players out there, they have a lot of pride. But you see the same mistakes. James Jones, he catches a ball, he fumbles. He goes out of bounds, he comes back in and fumbles. It’s just some really bad plays happening in Oakland. They don’t play a lot of disciplined football. But who knows. They come out here, come out East and play and get it together, and the rookie quarterback plays well. If the Patriots show up and think just because they’re the Patriots that they’re going to win this football game, it could be a tough football game.”

On Chandler Jones’ comment that teams play the Patriots with a better effort because they’re the Patriots: “It’s very true. I’m glad the young players realize that, because when you put on that jersey there’s a certain responsibility, accountability that you have to have. People expect certain things from you. When you talk about New England, [people] always have a level of respect for the New England Patriots and that organization.”

On if Tom Brady‘s performance has declined this year: “It’s funny because [the fans] don’t understand. They only see what they see on Sunday. They don’t understand the hard work and everything that goes behind the scenes. Tom, he’s not putting up a lot of great numbers. It’s the third week of the season. How do you judge someone based on the third week of the season? Especially a guy that’s been as good as Tom for so long as Tom. … How could you ever doubt Tom Brady?”

Blog Author: 
Andrew Battifarano
Bill Belichick has embraced the use of a tablet on the sidelines in games. (Getty Images)

Bill Belichick has embraced the use of a tablet on the sidelines in games. (Getty Images)

FOXBORO — Without technology, most in today’s society would be lost. Without Dan Famosi, Bill Belichick would be lost when it comes to preparing his team in today’s NFL. That’s what the Patriots coach admitted Friday when heaping praise on the Patriots IT guru.

“We’ve had to adjust to new methods of technology, teaching, apps and different things we’re not familiar with that our players are that will help them,” Belichick said.”I think the apps are certainly convenient. Guys can be getting treatment in the training room and watching iPad. It’s a lot easier than when I came into the league when you had to take a projector and a roll of film home and watch it. Now everybody has that. They have the access to it where before they had to take our film and put it on VHS, not that any of our players would know what a VHS is.

“They would pop it in their TV and watch it. That’s what we had to work with. We progressively worked through those stages and now we’re into another stage. It’s been very educational for me and I’d say I’ve learned on a lot of our IT people, like Dan Famosi. He’s done a tremendous job in coordinating all of this. Also, our coaches who have, in some cases, have used it with other teams or organizations they’ve been with. It’s been brought to our attention this is how another team is doing it and then one of our coaches or scouts will then go and find out how somebody else is doing it and see how we can apply it to us.”

Starting in the preseason and now in the regular season, the Patriots coaching staff has started to use Microsoft Surface tablets [pictured] on the sidelines. That’s a move Belichick would never consider if he didn’t feel his staff was prepared for going into games.

And before a play is called on Sunday, Famosi is the guy Belichick turns to if he needs a play, team or player on film processed on his tablet device for distribution to the team or even his coaching staff.

“Dan’s really been the guy for us who has taken all that stuff to the level that we’re at and just daily handling all the moron coaches like me who can’t turn it one or can’t get from one view to another to our players, the compatibility and accessibility of all the information,” Belichick said. “There’s a ton of information, and being able to access and utilize it is the key to doing that. We spend a lot of time on it and the organization is committed to it but on a daily, hands-on basis, he does a tremendous job.

“You think about people like Paul [Brown], Vince Lombardi, Sid Gillman in a picture, I think of them next to a projector with a film running. I have still a lot of films in my personal possession. I don’t even know if I have anything to watch them on. It’s been obviously a huge change. Film technology and teaching and being able to do cut-ups and I do something and I can share with somebody else.”

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia

With the events of the last two weeks, it’s now become stop-the-presses news when an NFL star shows up on TMZ.

But the latest “bombshell” involving a member of the Patriots turned out to be harmless, when the news outlet tracked down one of Tom Brady’s old construction bosses.

Tom Brady

Tom Brady, hard-working man.

With the events of the last two weeks, it’s now become stop-the-presses news when an NFL star shows up on TMZ.

But the latest “bombshell” involving a member of the Patriots turned out to be harmless, when the news outlet tracked down one of Tom Brady’s old construction bosses.

In the wake of Brady releasing his college resume via Facebook Thursday, TMZ apparently found one of his old employers, Dudlar & Sons Inc. (custom home building), where he spent the summer of 1997 doing manual labor in Michigan. The boss, Frank Dudlar, told TMZ that Brady was a model employee, despite the fact that he had long hair and “was a real skinny kid.”

“He’d scrape concrete curbs with a push broom and shovel,” Dudlar told TMZ. “Brady was the hardest worker that I’ve ever had. I remember my son Gunnar came in one day and said, ‘That Brady kid’s a worker.’”

Check out the rest of the story here. And for more Patriots news, check out

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price
Darrelle Revis and the Patriots will meet Oakland on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Darrelle Revis and the Patriots will meet Oakland on Sunday. (Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Each week, we’€™ll present The Revis Report, a look at what’€™s on tap for the Patriots cornerback. This week, New England welcomes the Raiders to Foxboro for the first time since 2005.

Overview: Revis and the Patriots open up their home slate Sunday at one against the Raiders. Oakland is coming into the game with an 0-2 mark, having lost its first two games by scores of 19-14 (at the Jets) and 30-14 (home against the Texans. For Revis, it will be a chance to play a regular-season game in front of a home crowd for the first time with the Patriots, as well as catch up with a few old friends in the Silver and Black.

‘€œIt’€™s finally here,’€ he said when asked about the home opener. ‘€œI think the team is excited. We’€™re looking forward to playing in front of our home crowd.

‘€œI know a lot of guys on that team, so I’€™m really looking forward to it,’€ he added. ‘€œThe Raiders always come to play. We just have to be ready for what they’€™re going to bring. They’€™re 0-2 right now, and I’€™m sure they’€™re searching for a win coming off 0-2. We know they’€™ll be ready — we just have to be focused and make sure we don’€™t let one slip away at home.’€

Last week: Per NFL gamebooks, Revis played 58 of a possible 66 defensive snaps on Sunday against the Vikings. (In terms of overall snaps, he played 88 percent, which was tied with Devin McCourty for highest playtime percentage among the defensive backs. Logan Ryan was first with 66 snaps.) While he was utilized mostly on one side in the preseason, as well as the opener against the Dolphins, last Sunday against Minnesota, it was mostly Greg Jennings. (He told the CBS broadcast crew the night before the game that he was going to be matched up against Jennings for most of the afternoon.) The nine-year veteran caught just one pass for 4 yards (in the fourth quarter) on four targets while matched against Revis. By the looks of the All-22 film, Revis did not allow another catch to any of the other receivers he was against, either in man or zone coverage. (It was a group that included Cordarelle Patterson.)

Perhaps the highlight of the year to this point for Revis came when he picked off Matt Cassel for his first interception of the season. With just over 13 minutes left in the second quarter and the Patriots holding a 10-7 lead, Cassel and the Vikings faced a 2nd and 10 situation at their own 38. The

Vikings quarterback dropped back and fired a pass deep down the right side for Jennings, only to see it picked off. It was the 22nd career pick for Revis, and New England quickly cashed it in — seven plays later, Tom Brady found Julian Edelman for a 9-yard touchdown pass to make it 17-7, giving the Patriots a double digit lead they would enjoy the rest of the afternoon.

Including what he yielded in Week 1, to this point in the season — when matched in man coverage — Revis has yielded three catches on nine targets for 40 yards, with one interception and three pass breakups.

Possible man matchups this week (with the understanding that it won’€™t be solely one-on-one): This week, it appears likely that the primary candidate for Revis Island will be veteran receiver James Jones. Called a ‘€œsavvy vet’€ by the Patriots corner on Thursday, the 30-year-old Jones is a 6-foot-1, 200-pound presence out of San Jose State who is in his first season with Oakland after spending the last seven in Green Bay. A solid combination of size and speed, his performance last week likely moved him to (or at least near) the top of the wide receiver depth chart in Oakland.

After being held to three catches for 34 yards and a touchdown in the opener against the Jets, Jones had an impressive afternoon last week against the Texans when he had nine catches for 112 yards and a touchdown (although he did fumble three times in the loss, losing one of them).

Jones and Carr have developed a nice chemistry with each other — Jones, who caught passes from Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay for six years, says he compares favorably to the Packers‘€™ quarterback.

‘€œHe’€™s really calm, really cool in the pocket,’€ Jones told the San Francisco Chronicle in September when asked about Carr ‘€œHe acts like he’€™s been there before. I’€™ve been calling him mini A-Rod since he got here.’€

In one career game against the Patriots — the 2010 contest best known for Dan Connolly‘€™s impression of Devin Hester — Jones had five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown while with the Packers. Jones’€™ one career game against a Revis-led defense came in 2010, when he had zero catches on six targets in a 9-0 Green Bay win. (While there’€™s no way to be 100 percent sure, it’€™s likely that Revis spent the bulk of that contest matched up on Jennings, who was with the Packers that afternoon and was probably the closest thing that Green Bay team had to a No. 1 receiver that week. He ended with six catches on 12 targets for 81 yards.)

Money quotes: ‘€œTheir receiver corps, they have [Denarius] Moore, who’€™s very fast. I’€™ve played against him in the past. Him, you have to watch him at all times on the deep routes. [Rod] Streeter — we don’€™t know, but we’€™ll figure that out. Then you’€™ve got James Jones, the savvy vet. We feel like we give them a lot of respect, their receiving corps. We’€™re just looking forward to the matchup and covering those guys. Like we said, there’€™s not a lot of material on Carr. We just have to focus on what we know about Jones, Moore and Streeter.’€ — Revis on the Oakland receivers

‘€œDarrelle is obviously one of the best players in football. The guy is phenomenal at what he does. I have nothing but respect for the guy. My plan is just to continue to watch film, continue to see what I need to do within our game plan and I’€™ll go from there. But I have nothing but respect for the guy. He’€™s one of the best — not corners, best players — in the game.’€ — Carr on Revis

One more thing: Revis took his first penalty of the season last week against the Vikings, picking up a defensive holding penalty on the second play from scrimmage in the second quarter. (It was one of 15 penalties whistled on the Patriots on the afternoon.) It marked just the sixth penalty against Revis since the start of the 2010 season, who has become quite skilled at avoiding flags. According to Pro Football Focus, Revis was only one of two corners in the league last season who played at least 900 snaps and had just one penalty. (Chicago’€™s Tim Jennings was the other.) According to, Revis didn’€™t take one in 2012 (mainly because he only played two games before going down with a season-ending knee injury.) He had three (one declined) in 2011, and just one (with one declined) in 2010. In all, he’€™s played nearly 100 percent of the snaps in 2013, 2011 and 2010, and had just five penalties to show for it in that time.

Blog Author: 
Christopher Price

FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo returned to full participation in practice Thursday after being away Wednesday due to the birth of his third child.

FOXBORO — Jerod Mayo returned to full participation in practice Thursday after being away Wednesday due to the birth of his third child.

Safety and special teams player Don Jones returned Thursday after nursing a hamstring issue that caused him to miss Wednesday. Jones was one of 10 Patriots listed as limited. That list also included tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee), linebacker Jamie Collins (thigh) and offensive lineman Ryan Wendell.

For the Raiders, linebacker Sio Moore (ankle) and receiver Rod Streater (hip) missed their second straight day of practice. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (hand), corner Carlos Rogers (knee) and defensive lineman Justin Tuck (illness) all returned after missing Wednesday.

Here’s the complete report:

S Don Jones (hamstring)
DE Michael Buchanan (ankle)
LB Jamie Collins (thigh)
OL Dan Connolly (knee)
CB Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder)
WR Julian Edelman (back)
TE Rob Gronkowski (knee)
DT Sealver Siliga (hand)
RB Shane Vereen (shoulder)
OL Ryan Wendell (knee)

Blog Author: 
Mike Petraglia