Category: Sports Blog

Week 9 Sit Em Start Em


By Ethan Cox, Brad Henning, and Zach Thomas

Hello all once again with the second straight installment of WIDB.net’s cohesive fantasy football article. We are more than happy each week to bring you who we think is worth a start and who is worth a sit on your fantasy football team. These picks will not include the Thursday Night Football game (as Tyler Eifert had 3 touchdowns) and will not include fantasy standouts like Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Devonta Freeman, Adrian Peterson, Rob Gronkowski, etc…Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!

 

START

 

QUARTERBACKS

Ben Roethlisberger vs. OAK: Big Ben struggled during his return from injury last week, throwing three interceptions and only one touchdown. This week, he gets a more than favorable matchup to rebound against in a Raiders defense that has given up back-to-back 300-yard passers.

 

Eli Manning @ TB: Manning was on fire last week, tossing six touchdowns against a middling Saints defense. The going gets sweeter for Eli as he takes on a bottom-dwelling Bucs pass D that has allowed more than 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns through the air the last three games.

 

Matt Ryan @ SF: Are you really not playing anyone against the tanking 49ers this year? I didn’t think so. San Francisco’s only advantage is that they are playing at home this week…which hasn’t made much of a difference this season. Not to mention, Matt Ryan may finally be feeling it again after throwing for almost 400 yards last week.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Doug Martin vs. NYG: The man formerly known as “The Muscle Hamster” saw his streak of 100+ rushing yards snapped after three games. Fear not as Jameis Winston is no Drew Brees and we should see plenty of running against the G-Men, who give up over 102 yards per game on the ground.

 

Chris Ivory vs. JAX: It may be too early to think about benching Ivory after he ran for a total of 58 yards over the Jets’ two-game skid. However, the Jaguars are giving up over 117 rushing yards a game on the road this season along with six touchdowns. Start Ivory with confidence.

 

Ronnie Hillman/CJ Anderson @ IND: We may have seen a sign of things to come in Denver a week ago as the Broncos’ running backs combined for 161 rushing yards and three touchdowns. With Manning’s arm not quite what it used to be, Denver could force the run more and more as the season rolls on. Indianapolis is a favorable test of this theory, as they allow at least 102 yards per game on the ground this year.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

Mike Evans vs. NYG: Evans has been up and down this year and fantasy owners just don’t know what to make of him. Luckily, he has a generous matchup this week against a Giants’ defense that gave up five touchdowns to receivers last Sunday. If Vincent Jackson does sit with an injury, Evans will be Winston’s biggest, and probably best, target.

 

Malcolm Floyd/Stevie Johnson vs. CHI: Phillip Rivers loves to throw the football. Without Keenan Allen, the other San Diego receivers will have to step up in his absence and handle the numerous targets Allen got each week. Their first challenge: a Bears defense that has allowed 12 touchdowns to receivers so far this season. San Diego’s passing game shouldn’t skip a beat.

 

Michael Crabtree @ PIT: Crabtree’s role in the Raiders’ offense has expanded since the bye, as he has 13 catches for 165 yards and two scores their past two outings. Believe it or not, Crabtree has almost the same amount of fantasy points as teammate rookie standout Amari Cooper in standard PPR formats. The Texas Tech alum and his Oakland squad will take on a depleted Pittsburgh secondary this week. Expect the Raiders to keep airing it out.

 

TIGHT ENDS

Ben Watson vs. TEN: Watson has been a real treat for owners who nabbed him off waivers when he started seeing more looks in the offense. He has a touchdown in three of his last four games and has two 100+ yard receiving efforts over that span as well. He is red hot right now and should be started in all leagues.

 

Vernon Davis @ IND: This pick may be more wishful thinking than anything else. If you’re struggling in the tight end department and VD is available on your waiver wire, make your move now to grab him as his move to the Broncos sets him up for the best opportunity to make a playoff run in the latter half of his career. Not to mention, Denver has been desperate for some consistency at the tight end position. It’s a high-risk, moderately high-reward play to put Vernon Davis in your lineups this week.

 

Heath Miller vs. OAK: The Pittsburgh-Oakland game is oozing with fantasy potential and Heath Miller’s ceiling has never been higher as he takes on a Raiders defense that is worst in the league against tight ends, allowing eight touchdowns to the position this season. If you can’t decide on a tight end this week, it’s Miller time.

 

DEFENSES

Falcons D @ SF: This again goes back to the argument of whether you are even questioning not playing any Falcons player against the struggling 49ers. Blaine Gabbert has 24 interceptions in 27 career starts so all systems go for all Falcons players this week.

 

Jets D vs. JAX: The Jets have been in a funk lately, not being able to stop the passing attacks of both the Patriots and Raiders the past two weeks. This week, they play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars who are prone to one or two game-changing turnovers a game. Don’t give up on the Jets D yet as Ryan Fitzpatrick may be able to keep the Jets ahead on the scoreboard.

 

Saints D vs. TEN: This is another desperation move if you need a defense to stream this week as they take on one of the worst offenses in the league in the Tennessee Titans. Mariota may not be 100% ready from his injury and the sudden change in head coaches could set up for a rough transitional period for the Titans. New Orleans is a great streaming option this weekend.

 

KICKERS

Blair Walsh vs. STL

Nick Folk vs. JAX

Josh Lambo vs. CHI

 

SIT

 

QUARTERBACKS

Andrew Luck vs. DEN: As the league leader in interceptions, no one thought Andrew Luck’s Colts would be 3-5 at this point in the season. Luck struggled against a Panthers defense a week ago and will be in for another rough outing against a Broncos defense that is tops in the league against the pass.

 

Teddy Bridgewater vs. STL: If you’re having bye week struggles at quarterback, pass up Bridgewater as a potential suitor completely. Teddy has one game this season of two or more passing touchdowns and has turned the ball over in every game except one. Not to mention, he takes on a St. Louis Rams squad that has been elite against quarterbacks this season.

 

Sam Bradford @ DAL: Bradford has had one week of complete fantasy dominance this season where he piled up 270 passing yards and tossed three TDs week four against Washington. The Philadelphia offense has been a mess this year and it’s a question mark each week as to who will get the most looks. This week, the Eagles get a Dallas defense that has yet to allow three touchdowns to quarterback any week. If Bradford has been on your bench, keep him there.

 

RUNNING BACKS

Latavius Murray vs. PIT: The Pittsburgh run defense has been a “Steel Curtain” so far this year, only allowing one rushing touchdown and two games of 100 or more rushing yards. Murray has gotten back into a rhythm since Oakland’s bye, but this matchup does not bode well for the ground game. If you have a better option, think about sitting Murray this week.

 

TJ Yeldon @ NYJ: Yeldon has progressed as a running back as the season has moved on. He has three straight games of either 100+ yards rushing and/or a touchdown. This week he faces a stout Jets front seven that has been dominant against runners this season, only allowing one touchdown so far and only two weeks of 100 or more yards. Yeldon is looking better and better each game, but this may not be the game to test his effectiveness for your fantasy team.

 

Darren McFadden vs. PHI: McFadden has been looking more and more like an asset in fantasy leagues, providing owners with one 100+ yard rushing performance and two games where he was prominent in the passing game. DMC may struggle this week in a matchup against an Eagles team that has allowed just one touchdown to running backs this season. If the Cowboys can’t get it done on the ground, they will have an even tougher time through the air with Matt Cassel under center.

 

WIDE RECEIVERS

TY Hilton vs. DEN: Along with Luck, Hilton has been a major disappointment this season for fantasy owners, having only one game of 100+ receiving yards to go along with three touchdowns. Battling an injury, Hilton’s status for week nine is up in the air. Not to mention that he goes up against Aqib Talib and the Denver defense IF he’s healthy. Don’t hold high hopes for Hilton, if he plays, this week.

 

Torrey Smith vs. ATL: Anquan Boldin is more than likely sitting this week with a hamstring injury, pushing Torrey Smith into the number one receiver role in San Francisco, which isn’t saying much. With Blaine Gabbert under center this week, you could do much better than Smith for a wide receiver bye week filler.

 

Jordan Matthews @ DAL: The Philadelphia passing attack has been an absolute mess so far this season and Matthews has not helped their cause with drops aplenty. With less than 60 yards receiving the past four weeks, Matthews is beginning to look more and more droppable and should stay on your bench for the time being.

 

TIGHT ENDS

Jason Witten vs. PHI: Jason Witten has not benefitted from Matt Cassel starting as quarterback, as he only gather 8 catches on 89 yards the past two weeks. In addition, Witten faces a Philly defense that has only allowed one touchdown t the position this year and Witten hasn’t scored since week one. There are better plays than Witten this week if you have one.

 

Coby Fleener vs. DEN: Fleener had his second best game of the season against a tough Panthers defense a week ago, posting his second score on the year. However, with the up-and-down play from Fleener this year and a rocky matchup against Denver, Fleener does not warrant a start this week.

 

Jordan Reed vs. NE: Reed was impressive a week ago in his return from injury, hauling in 11 passes, two of which for touchdowns. The Redskins may rely on the short game this week against a tough New England squad. However, if Kirk Cousins isn’t able to stay upright or hang onto the ball, we could see very little from the Washington offense. A risky play, but it could pay off…but we aren’t holding out hope.

 

DEFENSES

Panthers D vs. GB: A defense that has maintained fantasy relevance throughout the season, the Panthers will face their toughest challenge in Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers. They could do what they did to Luck a week ago, but Green Bay is one of the best teams in the league at not turning the ball over. The Carolina defense is too risky to play this week.

 

Redskins D @ NE: Taking on Tom Brady and the undefeated Patriots will warrant a sit no matter how good your run defense is.

 

Steelers D vs. OAK: Oakland’s offense has been red hot the past two weeks while the Steelers have been inconsistent. A good run defense may not be enough to stop Derek Carr and the Raiders, who has seven touchdowns the past two weeks.

 

Week 9 NFL Picks


Jeremy Sneed & Xavier Cantrell

Thursday Night Football

7:25 Browns (2-5) @ Bengals (7-0)

Jeremy & Xavier: The Bengals are coming off of a hard fought victory in Pittsburgh to improve to 7-0. The Browns announced that Johnny Manziel will be starting this game.  We think that is just too short of a notice for Manziel and the Browns offense will be no match for the strong Cincy defense.  The Bengals will improve to 8-0 this week with a 34-20 victory.

12:00 Dolphins (3-4) @ Bills (3-4)

Jeremy & Xavier: The Dolphins lost a tough game last week against the Patriots, but they have had a week and a half to prepare for the Bills who are getting Sammy Watkins and Tyrod Taylor back.  With all that being said, we think the Dolphins will come out victorious in this matchup.  Final score:  27-17

12:00 Packers (6-1) @ Panthers (7-0)

Xavier: The Packers looked like a completely different team Sunday night against the Broncos losing 29-10.  I think the Packers are better than that and they will bounce back this week against the undefeated Panthers.  I think the Packers will blow out the Panthers 41-20.

Jeremy: I think the Panthers deserve more credit than what some people are giving them.  They have a solid offense and pretty damn good defense.  Cam Newton and Greg Olsen are playing like superstars and Jonathan Stewart has stepped it up lately.  I think the Panthers have a lot to prove in this game and I think they get it done this week and hand the Packers their second straight loss.  Final score: 19-17

12:00 Jaguars (2-5) @ Jets (4-3)

Xavier: With Geno Smith and Ryan Fitzpatrick banged up, rookie QB Bryce Petty might be making his NFL debut Sunday.  Lucky for him it is against the Jaguars.  I think Chris Ivory, Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker are going to help the young guy out and help him to the first win of his career.  Final score:  24-17  

Jeremy: The Jaguars are coming off of their second win of the season and a bye week and I think they will carry that momentum into their third win of this season against the Jets this week.  I think the offense will be fresh and crisp thanks to that bye week and I think the Jets offense will be no much for the Jaguars on Sunday.  Final score:  26-20

12:00 Rams (4-3) @ Vikings (5-2)

Jeremy & Xavier: Todd Gurley has set the record for most rushing yards in the first four career games (530).  He has been carrying the Rams offense the last few weeks and we think he is going to do that again this week against the Vikings.  The Vikings are 5-2 but they have beaten the Bears, Chargers and Lions twice, which isn’t very impressive.  We think the Rams will win this game with a final score of 23-16.

12:00 Redskins (3-4) @ Patriots (7-0)

Jeremy & Xavier: Simply put, it’s Tom Brady at home versus the Redskins.  We think this will be an easy win for the Patriots as they blow out Kirk Cousins and the Redskins 52-17.

12:00 Titans (1-6) @ Saints (4-4)

Jeremy & Xavier: The Titans are a mess right now and after firing Head Coach Ken Whisenhunt this week, we think things are just going to get worse for them.  Drew Brees is coming off of a 511 yards and 7 touchdowns performance in week 8.  With momentum and the Saints side right now we think they will easily beat the Titans this week with a final score of 45-16.

12:00 Raiders (4-3) @ Steelers (4-4)

Xavier: If it weren’t for a couple untimely interceptions from Big Ben, the Steelers probably would have beaten the Bengals last week.  But, I think the Steelers will bounce back this week, even without Le’Veon Bell and take down the Raiders at home.  Final score:  27-21

Jeremy: With Le’Veon Bell out for the year, the Steelers are going to rely on Roethlisberger and the Steelers receiving core.  I think the Raiders will win this week simply because they are healthy and have a cohesive unit that is clicking very well offensively, especially the last two weeks.  Final score: 31-21

3:05 Giants (4-4) @ Buccaneers (3-4)

Jeremy & Xavier: Even though they lost last week, Eli Manning did throw 6 touchdowns and no interceptions.  The defense just couldn’t stop Drew Brees.  The Buccaneers have a lot of momentum after beating the Falcons in overtime last week.  We think the Giants will outduel Jameis Winston and the Buccaneers this week.  It will be a close and exciting game but the Giants will win 23-20 this week.

3:05 Falcons (6-2) @ 49ers (2-6)

Jeremy & Xavier: The 49ers have decided to bench Colin Kaepernick and start Blaine Gabbert who since 2006 has the lowest QBR of ANY quarterback over that stretch (and he has only been in the league since 2011).  The Falcons offense is too strong for them to lose to Blaine Gabbert.  We think the Falcons will easily win this game 38-14.

3:25 Broncos (7-0) @ Colts (3-5)

Xavier: The Broncos showed last week against the Packers that their offense is still effective and can help them win games.  This week will be no different against the Colts.  The Broncos will win this game easily 29-17.

Jeremy: In my upset of the week, I think the Colts are going to beat the Broncos.  I am making this prediction because Luck has faced the Broncos multiple times the past few years and I think he will have a good game plan to beat them this time.  I think Frank Gore steps up and finally has a really good game and I think Luck stops turning the ball over this week.  Final score: 24-19

Sunday Night Football

7:30 Eagles (3-4) @ Cowboys (2-5)

Jeremy & Xavier:  Yes, Dez Bryant came back last week and he is fully healthy now, but he still has Matt Cassell throwing to him.  Until Romo comes back, we think the Cowboys will keep losing.  We think the eagles win in a very close, turnover driven game.  Final score: 17-10

Monday Night Football

7:30 Bears (2-5) @ Chargers (2-6)

Xavier: The Chargers have had some bad luck playing against some really good offensive teams this year like the Packers and Raiders.  I think they finally pick up that third win of the season against the Bears who have one of the worst defenses in the league this year.  Final score: 36-24

Jeremy: I am being a little bias this week picking the Bears to win, but I do really think they will win because of how well Jay Cutler has been playing lately.  Yes, the defense is the main problem for the Bears, but the Chargers defense is pretty bad too.  I think Cutler has another good game and the Bears win this one 34-27.

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Saluki Womens Basketball opens exhibition play


By Jeremy Sneed

The Salukis took home their first win of the season tonight against the Maryville Saints.  Though an exhibition game, there was plenty to be learned.

With Dyanna Pierre and Azia Washington out for potentially a few weeks, the first thing the Salukis needed to learn was how they could perform without their two best players.  Well the answer to that question, is not very well.  The Salukis did win 66-60 but the game should have never been that close.  Maryville is a Division II school and SIU was listed as one of the best school’s in the Missouri Valley Conference Pre-season Poll.

It seems as though the Salukis felt overly confident going into this match-up thinking Maryville didn’t stand a chance. However, the Saints came back multiple times to make it a close game, including a 12-9 run to end the first quarter only trailing by three – a small gap the Saints pushed the Salukis to again later in the game.

Needless to say, the game was very ugly on both sides. There were a total of 33 turnovers in this game, 19 of which were by SIU.  It will be very tough for the Salukis to get at least 4th in the conference with 19 turnovers.  After the game, Coach Stein was critical of the team saying that the two things they need to work on are controlling the turnovers and hitting free throws.  The Salukis only went 9-21 from the line for a 42.9%.  Coach Stein’s synopsis of the game was stated simply, “Way too many turnovers.”  I would have to agree.

Looking past the negatives, players like Rishonda Napier, Cartaesha Macklin, and Kylie Gielbelhausen were the bright spots in tonight’s game.  Napier looked smooth as butter tonight, besides having 5 turnovers of her own, swiftly moving past defenders at will.  Throughout the night Napier was a problem to match up with, crossing over and going behind her back to create opportunities for her and her teammates on the court.  Napier finished the game with 10 points on 4-9 shooting and 8 assists.

Gielbelhausen gets my vote for player of the game for her performance tonight.  She only shot 6-16 but she had 16 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks and 2 steals.  Pretty much she did everything out there – without her this game would have been completely different.  Macklin shot 50 percent from the field scoring 15 points and adding 10 rebounds.  If the Salukis get more performance like the ones Macklin and Gielbelhausen put on tonight, they should be in good shape while Pierre and Washington are out.

While the ladies do need to watch the turnovers and shoot better than 42% from the free throw line, key players like Napier and Macklin stepped up and helped the Salukis to their 66-60 victory.  Post game, not only did Napier and Gielbelhausen sound optimistic about the season, Coach Stein did as well.  Regarding her team being ranked 4th in the pre-season poll and she replied with, “It’s fair,” adding that those were the teams that finished ahead of the Salukis last season and “the plan is to win it all.”

The Salukis will continue exhibition as they take on the Kentucky Wesleyan Panthers at 2 p.m. November 7 at SIU Arena.

Start’Em, Sit’Em: Week 8


By Ethan Cox, Zach Thomas, Brad Henning​

Start’Em

  1. Coming in at start of the week, we have another San Diego Charger. This time, we have veteran quarterback, Philip Rivers. Rivers is ranked number three in overall fantasy points among everyone else in the league. He matches up this week against the worst pass defense in the NFL, the Baltimore Ravens. Although he and his team are playing on the road, Rivers has shown how dangerous his offense can be while playing in enemy territory.
  2. Although it is hard to believe it, Chris Johnson of the Arizona Cardinals has brought his career back from the grave and has been nothing but spectacular in the backfield. Johnson is in second place in yards this season mostly because he hasn’t started every game this season. This week, he gets a perfect matchup against the Cleveland Browns defense that has given up the most points to running backs. After putting up an amazing performance against the Ravens last week, we expect him to continue his hot-streak.
  3. The first rookie on this week’s list is the up and coming Minnesota Viking wide receiver, Stefon Diggs. These past few weeks, Diggs has been putting up nice numbers which is the main reason why he hased move up the ranks in the receiving core of Minnesota. After coming off two straight 100-yard games, expect more of the same performance as the Vikings make the trip to the windy city as the play their division rivals, the Chicago Bears. The Vikings matchup against a Bears secondary that has been inconsistent for the most part of the season, so this should be a reason to start him.

Notable Starts: Matt Ryan (vs TB), Justin Forsett (vs SD),  Todd Gurley (vs SF)

Sit’Em

  1. Oakland Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has been a fantasy football gem this season thanks to the addition of rookie receiver, Amari Cooper, and has proven to his team why he is their franchise quarterback. However, this week he faces a New York Jets defense that boasts an impressive secondary that ranks number one overall and made Tom Brady sweat a little bit last week. So if you have an option to play another quarterback on your team, chose the safe route and bench Carr.
  2. The New York Giants are leading the NFC East this year and it is no surprise as they have an efficient running attack for the first time in a while. This past week, the Giants unveiled their new running back-by-committee that includes undeniable talent. However, any running back-by-committee that includes undeniable talent. That is why we suggest benching any and every New York Giant running back. Although the matchup against the New Orleans Saints is in their favor, it is not likely that the Giants will have a specific running back take the leadership role against the Saints.
  3. After earning the starter role for his team, Darren McFadden showed why he deserved it. Last week, he put up over 150 yards for his Dallas Cowboys. This week, McFadden faces a big challenge as the Cowboys after the Seattle Seahawks rolling into Dallas. The Seahawks have the second best rush defense in the entire league, so it would not be wise to start McFadden this week.

Notable Sits: Latavius Murray (vs NYJ), T.Y. Hilton (@ CAR), Colin Kaepernick (@ StL)