Daily fantasy football: Building blocks for Week 11

Our daily fantasy sports experts are here to provide you with the best player to build lineups around in Week 13. This week’s column features picks from ESPN’s Tristan H. Cockcroft, Field Yates, Eric Karabell, Matt Bowen, KC Joyner and Jim McCormick.

Joel Embiid Kids Jersey For more daily fantasy advice for this week, check out Scott Kacsmar’s best and worst DFS matchups using Football Outsiders’ metrics.

Field Yates — Drew Brees, QB, New Orleans Saints

No need to overthink this one, as Brees at home is almost always a great bet. He shredded the Rams for five total touchdowns in Week 12 and faces an equally enticing matchup in the Lions this week. Brees has not scored fewer than 20 points in a home game this season and has topped 30 points on two occasions. The Saints have innumerable options to distribute the football to and Brees shouldn¡¯t face significant pressure from a Lions defense that has just 20 sacks this season (only four teams have fewer). Don¡¯t be surprised if he pushes for another 30 points this week.
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“I know he’s frustrated with [his place in the offense], but I know he’s a professional and he works hard,” Snead said. “I expect him to have a great game this week and bounce back.”

The Saints’ offense has long been known for spreading the ball around to a variety of receivers in the Payton-Drew Brees era. Tight end Jimmy Graham is the only pass-catcher who has made the Pro Bowl in that 11-year span.

“We’ve had a lot of real good football players here. But I don’t think we’ve ever been in a position where, ‘Man, they’re doubling such-and-such,’ and it’s panic,” Payton said. “So guys are gonna get doubled. Or it’s not doubled so much, specifically, as you see a better corner travel [to match up against Cooks no matter where he lines up]. Sometimes Cooks is gonna draw some of those matchups, sometimes he’s not. It depends on the team.

“But I think it was more of just the way the game unfolded [versus the Rams]. Like I said, the first play of the game was actually a down-the-field-shot play intended for Brandin. We got man-to-man coverage, different than what we were hoping to get. Things happen during the game, a progression takes you off a read high, and you end up underneath. It happens. I wouldn’t have known [tight end] Josh Hill was gonna have [six] catches in that game, and yet that’s the way it unfolded.”

Cowboys leaning offensive lineman in draft, Giants release Mathias Kiwanuka & other NFL news

One of the keys to the surprising success of the Dallas Cowboys’ 2014 season was a balanced offense fueled by the NFL’s second-ranked ground game. The Cowboys consistently won the battle at the line of scrimmage thanks to a massive offensive line that paved the way for DeMarco Murray’s historic rushing season and kept the pocket clean for quarterback Tony Romo, who led the league in passer rating and Total QBR.

However, with Doug Free and Jermey Parnell set to hit free agency next Omar Gonzalez Authentic Womens Jersey month, Dallas has no player under contract at right tackle for next season. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told ESPNDallas.com’s Todd Archer that “it certainly is” a strong possibility that the team will select an offensive lineman with their first-round pick, even though there is an obvious need to upgrade a defense that ranked 22nd in Football Outsiders’ efficiency ratings.

The ESPN draft guru also talked about an obvious trend over the past few years. With many college teams going to spread offenses which feature three- and four-wide sets regularly, there are more receivers developing NFL abilities. After the famed class of 2014 which included Odell Beckham Jr., Kelvin Benjamin, Mike Evans and Sammy Watkins, Kiper expects a similar crop again.

The 30-year-old started 12 games in two seasons as a nickelback. He missed the final eight games of the 2014 season with a fracture in his finger.

Veteran tight end Anthony Fasano is the Kansas City Chiefs’ latest salary cap casualty after Tim Howard Authentic Womens Jersey the team released him on Thursday. He appeared in 24 games that included 22 starts over the course of two seasons with Kansas City in 2013 and 2014. The emergence of Travis Kelce made the move possible. For his career, he has totaled 253 catches for 2,799 yards and 31 touchdowns.

The Oakland Raiders have released safety Tyvon Branch, according to Jason LaCanfora of CBSSports.com. Branch Timothy Chandler Authentic Womens Jersey dealt with injuries the past two seasons and only played in five games during that span. With his release, the Raiders free up $3 million in cap space.

Bulls to re-evaluate Michael Carter-Williams in two weeks

Chicago Bulls point guard Michael Carter-Williams has a bone chip in his left wrist and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

Carter-Williams visited with team doctors Wednesday, and a CT scan revealed the small bone chip.

Carter-Williams, who Branden Albert Authentic Womens Jersey has been out since injuring his left knee (bone bruise) and wrist in a win over the Brooklyn Nets on Oct. 31, is wearing a cast on his left arm, instead of the brace he had been wearing since the injury occurred. On Friday, the team estimated he will miss four to six weeks from the date he suffered the injury.

On Friday, Westbrook’s triple-double brought back statistical memories of one by Robertson (whose record of 181 career triple-doubles is safe … for now). Saturday’s could be hooked to Magic Johnson. Westbrook and Johnson are the only players in NBA history to have a 15-assist triple-double on consecutive days.

Westbrook has 15 career 30-point triple-doubles, passing Michael Jordan Brandon Doughty Authentic Womens Jersey for the second-most such games over the past 30 seasons. LeBron James has the most with 20.

It’s Westbrook’s fourth game this season with at least 30 points, 15 rounds and 10 assists. The only player with more in a season, per research by the Elias Sports Bureau, is Oscar Robertson, who had 10 in the 1961-1962 season.

More via Elias research: Westbrook is the first player to have at least 36 points, 18 assists and 12 rebounds since Robertson had 42, 18 and 15 in a 152-132 win against the Philadelphia Warriors. Also notable from that game: Wilt Chamberlain scored 65 points in a losing effort.

Asked to assess where his team is after Friday’s game against the Spurs, Stevens said, “We are playing better. I don’t know exactly where to put [the Spurs] on the spectrum of where we ultimately need to be, but we’re getting better.”

His players clearly yearn to play with the coolness and confidence the Spurs displayed late in a hostile environment.

Teams not seeking longer relief in ’17 (but they’re thinking about it)

In Game 1 of the American League Division Series between the Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox, the Indians led 4-3 in the top of the fifth inning.

There were two outs and nobody on base, Brock Holt at the plate, with Mookie Betts on deck and David Ortiz in the hole. Instead of letting Trevor Bauer finish the inning, Terry Francona made a decision that many believe will change the way managers operate in the future: He summoned Andrew Miller, his best relief pitcher, who proceeded to throw 40 pitches over two scoreless Graham Gano Authentic Jersey innings as the Indians held on for a 5-4 victory.

The Indians would sweep that series, win the American League Championship Series and reach Game 7 of the World Series, as Francona stuck to his plan of using Miller as the leverage dictated, instead of letting the inning dictate Miller’s usage. Miller made 10 postseason appearances and entered in the fifth inning three times and twice in the sixth. He recorded at least four outs in each outing and pitched at least two innings six times. Analysts who had been advocating for years for exactly this type of bullpen usage were ecstatic.

It wasn’t just Francona and Miller. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts brought in closer Kenley Jansen in the seventh inning of Game 5 of the NL Division Series and let him throw 51 pitches (although Clayton Kershaw had to finish it off). Jansen had a two-inning save in the National League Championship Series and then pitched three innings in a 5-0 loss in Game 6. Aroldis Chapman, who had appeared before the ninth inning just six times in the regular season — three of those in mop-up situations just to get some work — entered before the ninth inning in seven of his 13 postseason appearances for the Cubs, including twice in the seventh inning.

Jeff Sullivan of ESPN Insider went back to 1996 and counted all the postseason relief appearances of more than one inning: 2016 ranked first. The average innings pitched for starters dropped to 5 1/3, an all-time low in the postseason. Cubs manager Joe Maddon pulled Kyle Hendricks, the league’s ERA leader, in the fifth inning of Game 3 of the World Series when he was throwing a shutout and again in the fifth inning of Game 7 even though there were two outs, just one runner on and the Cubs up 5-1.

“So you’re going to see starters pitch less and less. Relievers will go more, and it’s Greg Olsen Authentic Jersey likely that the best relievers will go even more than that. Bullpens will become ever more top-heavy, as managers worry less about overuse in a playoff schedule riddled with off days,” Jeff Sullivan wrote.

Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien doesn’t come across as a fiery person

Colts quarterback Scott Tolzien doesn’t come across as a fiery person. He didn’t stand in front of the media Tuesday and talk about what he plans to do if he ends up starting against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Thursday, which at this point appears to be the case with Andrew Luck still in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

Tolzien, in fact, came across as a rather bland person who prefers to keep his conversation simple. He repeatedly talked about simply doing his job in some form countless times during a six-plus minute interview session.

“I don’t know if that’s who I am or who I’m not, but Jadeveon Clowney Authentic Womens Jersey I think it’s really about the preparation and always remembering it’s a kid’s game,” Tolzien said about his mild demeanor. “I’ve played this game since I was 7 years old when I started. You have to remember that always you still have to prepare but when game day comes, play like a kid and play it loose.”

Tolzien didn’t seem too concerned that he’ll likely be the starting quarterback for a team that’s on a two-game winning streak and trying to remain in playoff contention while facing a Pittsburgh team that’s thoroughly handled them the past two seasons.

Coach Chuck Pagano said Tolzien was still at the team’s facility at 10:30 p.m. Monday watching film in preparation for his first start since Nov. 24, 2013, when he was with the Green Bay Packers.

Tolzien is 56-of-91 for (61.5 percent) for 721 yards in his career. The alarming stat is that he’s only thrown for one touchdown and he has five interceptions.

“He appears to be a quick decision maker,” Steelers coach Mike Tomlin said. “He has good arm strength, he gets the ball out and makes good and quick decisions. I just watched a couple videos from Green Bay when he played significantly.”

There’s no replacing Andrew Luck in the Colts’ offense. The Colts don’t expect Tolzien Jaelen Strong Authentic Womens Jersey to be Andrew Luck, either. They just want him to play football.

“Just play, you can’t press,” Pagano said his message was to Tolzien. “Prepare, prepare, prepare, prepare. It’s better to sweat in times of peace than times of war. So get prepared and when Thursday comes, go play. Get the call, get them out of the huddle, get to the line of scrimmage, go play. Go execute. He doesn’t have to put the whole thing on his back. Andrew never does.”

Joe had a helluva a career, and he did well after the NFL

It’s just one of those things that happened. I knew he was hurt when I heard him under the pile yelling and I understood. That’s why I tried to get everybody off him and get some help for him. I knew when you’re sitting on the bottom of the pile — I don’t care if it’s a toe sprain, or an ankle sprain, I don’t care what it is — it seems like forever, like the people on top of you are never going to figure it out. All you want is the people to get off of you and to get some help. And to breathe again.

“I think that’s very troublesome to many of us,” Popovich said. “It would be great if he [Trump] made some statements to all of the groups he disparaged, to bring us all together, and to allay fears, because there are a lot of fearful people, and for good reason. But rather than doing that, he inflamed it even more with that appointment.”

Popovich also answered a question about whether Latrell Sprewell Authentic Womens Jersey the Holt family, who owns the San Antonio Spurs and was one of Texas’ biggest Trump donors, gave him the “freedom” to express his distaste for Trump.

“No, (the Holts) haven’t given me that freedom,” Popovich said. “I live in America. That’s what has given me that freedom.”

You can read the full transcript here.

I knew this would happen. I was driving home during the latter stages of the game and I had the feeling Westbrook was going to do something nefarious. I didn’t know what exactly, but my gut was telling me that he was up to no good as usual.

I felt like a parent who grows suspicious when their child is unusually quiet. All Marreese Speights Authentic Womens Jersey you can do is squint at them and point to your eyes with your index and middle finger to let them know that you got your eyes on them. And then they smile at you in a knowing and unnerving way, showing all of their teeth. They know that you know they’re going to do something terrible, but you’re not prepared for it.

I turned on the game and there were some odd things going on. James Harden was struggling to score. The Rockets, a Mike D’Antoni team, only scored 13 points in the fourth quarter. My cat was rotating its head around 360 degrees like it was possessed. Andre Roberson was trying to do stuff. Victor Oladipo had almost 30 points and 10 rebounds. Things were just out of whack.

Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre leads coaches on the rise this season

Stand up if you predicted in August that Colorado’s Mike MacIntyre and West Virginia’s Dana Holgorsen would be hosting arguably the two most marquee games of Week 12.

Sit down, sir. You, too, ma’am. No one actually saw this coming.

MacIntyre entered the season at No. 2 in ESPN’s hot seat rankings, while Holgorsen checked in at No. 5. Both seemed unlikely to turn around their programs, but Colorado and West Virginia are a combined 16-3 and ranked 10th and 14th, respectively, in the CFP rankings.

The season that began with the fear of being defined by the “Super Bowl hangover” all of a sudden is being defined by head injuries.

Kuechly, who is in the concussion protocol, could be the sixth Carolina player to suffer a concussion this season. Left tackle Michael Oher Josh Wilson Authentic Womens Jersey has missed seven games with one and there is no sign of when he will return.

Quarterback Cam Newton missed a Week 5 game against Tampa Bay. Backup safety and special teams ace Colin Jones has missed the past two games. Outside linebacker A.J. Klein missed Thursday’s game.

In that scenario, the committee could possibly be comparing the résumés of two-loss conference champions from three leagues: the Big Ten (Penn State or Wisconsin), the ACC (Louisville) and the Big 12 (Oklahoma). The best-case scenario for the ACC would be for Clemson to beat Wake Forest and South Carolina, then win the conference title, leaving no doubt it’s a top-four conference champion.

One thing we know for sure: Clemson and Louisville aren’t getting in now.

The Big Ten is the only conference with any legitimate hope of two playoff teams, but that’s assuming that Ohio State wins out but doesn’t win its division. Fans have to remember that winning a conference title is one of the tiebreakers the committee uses Kevin Ogletree Authentic Womens Jersey to rank teams with comparable résumés. If it comes down to Ohio State or Penn State, and the Nittany Lions win the Big Ten title, the Buckeyes would have two strikes against them in the committee’s protocol.

How Trader Danny accelerated the Boston Celtics’ rebuild

They don’t call him Trader Danny for nothing.

“I know him and I don’t think he would just say something to be saying it,” Anthony said of James, his close friend. “Whatever was said, I’m pretty Authentic James Carpenter Jersey sure it hit home and he responded to it. I don’t know exactly what was said.”

Anthony said he doesn’t think Jackson meant to use the word “posse” in a racial connotation, but he also didn’t want to speak on Jackson’s behalf.

Anthony added that he isn’t concerned with how the James-Jackson interaction may impact the way free agents view the Knicks in future offseasons.

“No, that don’t worry me,” he said. “I don’t Authentic Jarvis Jenkins Jersey really know what was the gist of the conversation, what was the topic or why Phil was even talking about LeBron in the first place. I don’t think we play them anytime soon. It’s a whole month away.”

The Knicks next play the Cavs at home on Dec. 7.

“I missed shots,” Harden said.

Asked about the double-teams causing him problems, Harden shook that off, too.

“Normal, I still was able to make passes,” he said. “A couple of passes we missed, but normal game, just didn’t make shots, especially down the stretch like we needed to, and that was it.”

With two Thunder defenders on the ball, that meant more open looks for the Rockets. Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza missed seven each. Eric Gordon missed nine, and Harden himself went 0-for-3 on uncontested shots.

As the game began to slip away from the Rockets, they reverted back to isolation basketball — Harden dribbling and dribbling and dribbling. When he did pass, the Rockets had open looks, only to misfire.

“Regardless if it moved enough or not, we still got the looks that we like, the looks that we’re going to take,” Ariza said. “Unfortunately, we didn’t hit them tonight.”

Saints’ Brandin Cooks proves he’s more than just a deep threat

Brandin Cooks talked this summer about wanting to prove he is more than just a deep threat.

If the New Orleans Saints receiver hadn’t accomplished that already, he did so with three fantastic catches in the second half of Sunday’s 25-23 loss to the Denver Broncos.

Speight started the first 10 games of Deion Sanders Authentic Womens Jersey the season for Michigan and threw for 2,156 yards and 15 touchdowns. He favored his left side during the fourth quarter at Iowa and finished the game with 103 passing yards, his second-lowest total of the season.

1. Washington loses the Apple Cup in Pullman. That would give Washington State the Pac-12 North title and send the Cougars to the Pac-12 title game. Given Derrick Shelby Authentic Womens Jersey the Huskies’ poor overall strength of schedule — their best nonconference win was against Rutgers — there’s virtually no scenario in which the selection committee would put a two-loss Washington that didn’t win its own division into the playoff.

2. Louisville loses to Houston or Kentucky. The Cardinals are a real problem for the Big 12. Behind quarterback Lamar Jackson, they have been about as impressive as any team in the country, outside Alabama, and would be a strong choice for the committee even if Clemson won the ACC. A one-loss Louisville would almost definitely get into the playoff over a Big 12 champion. The Cardinals have to lose again.

3. The Big Ten winds up with only one playoff option. What does this mean? Essentially, the Big 12 needs Michigan to win out. An 11-1 Ohio State, which would have a win against the Wolverines, would be an unconquerable obstacle for the Big 12, even if the Buckeyes didn’t advance to the Big Ten championship. Ohio State throttled Oklahoma in Norman, which has basically locked in Ohio State ahead of the Big 12 champion in the pecking order. But if the Wolverines ran the table, they would be handing the Buckeyes a second loss, blocking Penn State from making the Big Ten title game and eliminating Wisconsin from the discussion. And when the dust settled, Michigan would be the Big Ten’s only real playoff possibility.

“I know that’s what I can do,” said the Saints’ third-year pro, who ranks 10th in the NFL with 77.1 receiving yards per game and is on pace for 78 catches, 1,233 yards and 11 touchdowns. “It’s just a matter of having the opportunities to do it, and when they present themselves, taking advantage of it, to be able to put that on film for the coaches.

Basketball is more fun when it’s competitive

This is the second bit of that self-description: “a competitor at everything.” Chess gets heated. Checkers gets heated. Connect Four — Connect Four! — gets heated. Video games aren’t merely a relaxing diversion; they’re another avenue in which to compete. (His top choice is “Mortal Kombat XL.” His main character? Raiden. “I don’t think anyone can beat me,” he said.)

Indeed, these are the two things other people say about Jackson: that he is a really nice guy and crazy competitive, and that the difference is never more noticeable than when he steps on and off the court.

“He’s very easy to get Dave Hollins Youth Jersey along with,” Lucas said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen a person, or a personality type, not fit with him.”

This is the same person who, earlier this year, blocked a shot from NBA legend Gary Payton’s son in a high school game — and then started talking trash to Gary Payton.

Kerr pulled the plug on his evening with 5 minutes, 52 seconds remaining in the contest after Durant was called for an offensive foul for plowing over Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried on his way to the basket. Durant went down awkwardly upon contact, which was all Kerr needed to see.

“I knew about the [points] streak and I told him that when he came off the floor, but I’m not going to mess with the basketball gods,” Kerr said. “If you want to leave a guy out there to get some kind of record, you’re asking for an injury. The game Frank Herrmann Youth Jersey called for him to come out. He came out; he had no problem with it.”

Some members of the Warriors feared this game since it was their second in a back-to-back and because they arrived in Denver around 3.a.m. local time. Curry’s shooting stroke made sure they wouldn’t be the victims of a trap game, as the Warriors led by as many as 31 points.

It was the Nuggets who were the ones trapped at home all night.

“I think the energy was great on both ends of the basketball,” Green said. “Back-to-back coming to Denver, it’s tough. That’s a tough flight. Two-and-a-half-hour flight after a game, you’re losing time, and to come out with the energy that we did showed that this team is maturing.”