Aaron Rodgers celebrates with his teammates after a thorough shellacking of the San Francisco 49ers.

Tony Avelar/AP

Last week's slate proved absolutely brutal, featuring upsets galore, bad beats aplenty, and odd play every which way.

Week 8 Vibe Check (2-3) - I was NOT prepared to live in a world where not only did the Chargers and Rams NOT cover, they lost outright. I circle back to my original theory that the Bolts must've been cursed to a never ending stream of competitive football seasons with no meaningful wins. Herbert's already starting to look a lot like Philip Rivers, a competent, even top tier QB, destined to mediocrity.

The Rams probably regret making Jared Goff the third highest paid player in the NFL after that loss. Can't even blame the time zone shenanigans, since McVay and co. have had no issues going east during his tenure.

As for our wins, Philip Rivers moved from Southern California (to a non-cursed team) and, suddenly, things are looking up. The Colts' line was so good that Jordan Wilkins went off against the Lions, frustrating Jonathan Taylor's fantasy owners, but delighting his teammates.

As for Mahomes going over 2.5 TDs, he basically had that wrapped in the first quarter. A win there was almost as easy as taking the Packers -7 on Thursday night against the 49ers, who had one eligible receiver on the roster due to COVID protocols and not a single skill player on the field from when these two teams last met in the NFC Championship game, a mere 292 days ago.

Let's see if we can find any matchups as ripe for the picking as those…



Ravens -1 over Colts

The Colts have started to surge on both sides of the ball based around their strength in the running game. They excel at both pounding the rock and stopping it in equal measure, but to be clear, they haven't faced a team as adept and inventive in their rushing attack.

Lamar looked very un-Lamar-like last week, but the Steelers D can do that to anyone and even with his four turnovers, the Ravens held the lead for a good chunk of the game and had two chances to win at the end. They are clearly undervalued coming into this week and the Colts appear to be overvalued, so this is the exact moment to take advantage and go big on the more talented and better coached team with a transcendent player at QB.


Expect the return of this Lamar Jackson this week against the Colts. Nick Wass/AP Photo


Steelers -14 over Cowboys

I would normally never recommend taking a team favored by this much, even the Chiefs last week against the Jets at 19.5 just felt a little too ridiculous, but I'll give a two touchdown head start to this Cowboy team any day. In a post-Dak world, it's become clear just how hapless Mike McCarthy looks coaching offenses in today's NFL and Mike Nolan's D matches it blow for blow. As a fan, it must be a little like Tabasco to the eye. The Steelers pass rush might account for more sacks than first downs in this one.



DeVante Parker over 4.5 Receptions

The Dolphins' offense went from surprisingly fun to dull in record time under the new reign of Tua. The team went run heavy against the Rams to support their rookie signal caller. Not to mention, they didn't need to do much more after Goff imploded into himself like a dying sun.

Excluding last week, Parker has quietly shown flashes of dominance this year, and against a just barely above average Cardinals D, he might be able to show out even more. Sure, he'll be matched up with Patrick Peterson, but the former superstar has looked less impressive with age.

He's allowed catches on over 55% of targets his way, two statistical categories that he no longer ranks in the top 30 of for cornerbacks. Miami will need to establish their offense in what could either be a shootout or blowout, either way they'll need to put the ball in the air.


Los Angeles Chargers Pick'Em over Las Vegas Raiders

Let me throw out going against Jon Gruden's Raiders, who've alternated between proficiency and problematic in equal measure. Coming off the NFL punishing them with fines and lost draft picks for repeatedly ignoring COVID protocols, they'll be without Josh Jacobs, Jonathan Abrams, Trent Brown, and five other players to face the deeply unlucky Chargers. This feels like a great chance for Justin Herbert to take advantage and lead his team to a much deserved win.

Steph Curry has came back from injury with one of his best seasons as a pro

Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports

As we're just over a week away from seeing the new play-in format the NBA has decided to go with this season, it means that teams are vying to be in the top 10 in their respective conferences to keep their postseason dreams alive.

We have seen LeBron James make public statements opposing the new format even though it was unanimously approved by the NBA Board of Governors last year. It's understandable that James would have negative feelings about the new format as his Lakers have struggled throughout the season as both him and superstar teammate, Anthony Davis, have dealt with injuries which have caused them to miss significant time.

Keep reading... Show less

Cole Irvin is making waves on the west coast for the Oakland A's

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Baseball is a game of hot streaks and slumps, and as a fantasy baseball manager it's sometimes difficult to know when to part with someone on your roster to take a chance on someone new.

Here we'll examine three players you may want to consider moving on from if you have them rostered, and provide three potential replacements for them. Just like in real baseball, sometimes you have to make the tough moves in order to win. But if you don't know what the right moves are to make then you just end up looking like the Pittsburgh Pirates of your fantasy league.

Here's some advice for you so you don't become the Pirates of your league.


First Up

Cole Irvin Oakland A's SP (30% Rostered in Yahoo)

Irvin hasn't allowed more than two runs in the past four starts and will carry a 3.09 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 34/5 strikeout to walk ratio heading into his next one against Tampa Bay this weekend. To put how effective Irvin has been into perspective, he's averaging nearly a strikeout per inning while only .1 walk per inning.

Even if Irvin comes back down to earth a little, now is the time to pick him up while he's riding this hot streak. He is coming off a game against the hard-hitting Blue Jays where we saw him set his career-high in strikeouts with nine over eight innings. Take into consideration he has three quality starts (out of six) and his most recent loss was to the Rays who he sees again on Saturday. In that last appearance against Tampa he went six innings, striking out eight, allowed only two runs and earned a quality start in a loss.

If you're looking for a long term option at starting pitcher, Irvin presents a great opportunity to snag a hidden gem off waivers but don't expect him to last much longer if he puts in another strong performance against the Rays on Saturday.


Keep reading... Show less

Oshae Brissett

AP Photo

Who needs an Avengers incorporated ESPN broadcast when the real nerd-sports crossover is right here?

Welcome to the final round of the basketball fantasy season. You're either in the championship or you've decided that you wanted to set your lineups early and actually enjoy watching basketball.

In any case, you need to fill your rosters and we have the players you need to look out for on those waiver wires.

Booms

Oshae Brissett Guard/Forward Indiana Pacers

You'd be excused for not knowing who Oshae Brissett was before this week. He went undrafted in the 2019 NBA Draft and started his professional career in the NBA G League. Now, he is making a name for himself in Indianapolis.

Last week, the former Syracuse forward averaged 16 points, made three three-pointers, 10.7 rebounds, 1.3 steals and four blocks. With multiple Pacers players fighting injuries, Brissett should have plenty of opportunities to prove he can be a consistent contributor in the final stretch of the NBA season.

Ricky Rubio Point Guard Minnesota Timberwolves

Much like the Timberwolves, it has been an objectively bad statistical year for the Rubio. Also much like the Timberwolves, even he can have a span of success. Rubio didn't provide a ton in any category this past week, but he did average a solid 10.5 points, 1.8 made threes, four rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.8 steals and 0.8 turnovers.

Rubio may have had a good week, but even his good week isn't much in terms of massive contributions. He may be high on last week's rankings, but he isn't worth the pick-up unless you're really desperate for steals and assists.

Isaiah Stewart Forward/Center Detroit Pistons

Stewart goes back-to-back on the list despite his scoring numbers dropping. In three games last week, Stewart scored 11 points on 53.8 percent shooting, 7.7 rebounds, one steal and 3.3 blocks.

While minutes volatility is still a fear with any Pistons player, Stewart has shown that he can contribute in four or more categories for another week. Pick him up for the rest of the season if you can.

Saddiq Bey Small Forward Detroit Pistons

Bey may still be figuring out how to be successful in the league, but at least he can score like a seasoned vet. In three games last week, he averaged 17 points, four made threes, 7.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals.

He's still a liability in terms of accuracy (39.5 percent from the field last week), but if you need scoring and rebounding, there aren't a ton of other options on the waiver.

Busts

Dillon Brooks Guard/Forward Memphis Grizzlies

The former Duck has developed into a consistent scorer for the Memphis Grizzlies. Unfortunately for fantasy owners, he doesn't provide much else. Last week, he averaged 17.5 points, but only managed to average 1.8 made threes, 1.5 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 0.8 steals.

He may not provide much in fantasy, but Memphis is fighting hard to stay in the playoff picture. Brooks will have plenty of chances to keep up his scoring numbers so if that's something you require, he is a great option to give you a boost.

Duncan Robinson Guard/Forward Miami Heat

Shooters in fantasy basketball are DCEU movies: Sure, you'll get a Snyder cut of "Justice League" or "Wonder Woman," but you have to wade through the other travesties to really appreciate them. Duncan Robinson's last week was "Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice"-esque.

In four games, Robinson averaged three made three-pointers but only 10.3 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.8 assists. People aren't picking up Robinson for his other stats, but if he's not scoring or shooting at an elite level, he's a tough pickup at best.

Danilo Gallinari Forward Atlanta Hawks

Gallinari's up and down year hit another valley last week when he averaged 10.3 points on 37.9 percent shooting, 1.3 made threes, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists.

With Kevin Huerter and Bodgan Bogdanovic to compete with for minutes, anything consistent from the Italian baller can't be counted on moving forward.

Delon Wright Guard/Forward Sacramento Kings

Wright was making the most of his minutes in Detroit but since he was traded to Sacramento, his lack of opportunity has been frustrating for anyone who manages him. In four games last week, he averaged 10 points, one made three, 3.3 assists and 1.3 steals.

If you are holding out hope that Wright will step up in the finals weeks of the season, I have a monorail I think you'd be interested in.