No surprise the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are at the top of the list.

They lost wideout Julian Edelman, who suffered a noncontact leg injury in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Detroit Lions, but the Patriots have more than enough talent to catch passes with tight end Rob Gronkowski, Chris Hogan and recently acquired Brandin Cooks.

Working the waiver wire is key to fleshing out a winning roster. Here are all of the top free agents you should consider picking up for the week ahead.

Jordan’s return would clearly eat into Harrell’s production, and whenever Danilo Gallinari (glute) returns, it would hurt Johnson’s production, but at the very least, they’re worth short-term interest and perhaps long-term, if Jordan is in fact moved and Gallinari is unable to remain healthy … again. And if Gallinari (available in 78.6 percent of leagues) does stay healthy this time, he’s the one who suddenly becomes interesting in fantasy.

The Clippers seem to have found their new base of success built around Williams and Griffin, and they’re providing a very fantasy-friendly environment for themselves and their teammates.

This is about maximizing the value of picks based on the current perceived value of the players involved. The Saints did very well in that regard. That was as much about good fortune as anything else. But that’s okay. Lattimore, the draft’s top cornerback, unexpectedly dropped out of the top 10 and the Saints were smart enough to take him at No. 11. They didn’t sign the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler to an offer sheet in restricted free agency or trade for him. Now they have their cornerback. It was a terrible first round for offensive linemen. But the Saints, again, benefited as Ramczyk fell to them for the final pick of the night.

The Packers couldn’t overcome the injury to Rodgers in their 23-10 loss to the Vikings. They weren’t the only NFC contender to stumble, as the Falcons suffered a surprising home loss to the Dolphins, 20-17. The wasn’t the only unexpected result of the day, as the Bears outlasted the Ravens in overtime for a 27-24 win, and the Saints beat the Lions 52-38 in a wild game. The 49ers nearly pulled off a road upset against the Redskins, but their bid to win their first game of the season came up just short in a 26-24 loss.chargers_001

2018 NFL Draft: Is QB Josh Allen turning into a consensus No. 1 overall pick?

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. caught people off guard Thursday morning when he predicted the Browns will draft Wyoming quarterback Josh Allen No. 1 overall in his most recent mock draft, but what might surprise fans even more is an NFL executive is backing him up.

However, he played against a lower level of competition in Wyoming, had some problems staying healthy this past season. Allen recorded some glaring stats teams will have to come to peace with, most notably his 56 percent completion percentage.

Kiper completely dismissed the completion percentage on SportsCenter Thursday saying Allen had little talent around him and played in tough conditions as well. Kiper had plenty more to say about those calling the completion percentage into question.

You’ve got to look beyond the stats. Stats are for losers, in my opinion, Kiper said. You have to watch the tape, look at every throw. They’ll find that completion percentage was a little misleading.

Steratore, a 15-year officiating veteran who has worked 11 NFL playoff games, will be working his first Super Bowl, as will down judge Jerry Bergman, a veteran of 16 seasons.

Roy Ellison, a 15-season veteran, will be the umpire, while Byron Boston (23 seasons) is the line judge and Tom Hill (19 seasons) is the field judge. Side judge Scott Edwards has 19 years experience, and back judge Perry Paganelli is a veteran of 20 seasons.

As soon as we learned of the reports, we formally requested that the NFL thoroughly investigate the matter to conclusively determine whether the Rooney Rule was violated — and if it was violated, to impose an appropriate punishment, Fritz Pollard Alliance counsel Cyrus Mehri and N. Jeremi Duru said in a statement obtained by Wyche.patriots_113_f059ffba91275395-180x180

The Eagles decided not to catch a punt, and it cost them the lead against the Falcons

red_wings_001After a poor offensive possession by the Falcons following the Eagles’ first touchdown of the game, Atlanta caught a break thanks to the Philadelphia special teams.

Matt Bosher’s punt soared through the air and was touched by the Eagles’ Bryan Braman. That allowed the Falcons to swarm to the football and recover it at the Eagles 18-yard line:

Whether it’s fans looking for reasons to fret or talk show hosts looking for a subject to stir conversation, the Steelers’ decision to rest Roethlisberger, Bell, offensive linemen Maurkice Pouncey and David DeCastro and defensive end Cam Heyward was widely debated in advance of the game and after the Steelers won 28-24 without them.

Our mantra all season has been to take things week by week and not get ahead of ourselves and it obviously has served us well. I regret that outside rumors gained a life of their own, Adams Strunk said last Sunday. No one has been a bigger supporter of Mike Mularkey than I have over the last two-plus seasons.

There were rumors Mularkey could be fired if the Titans had lost their wild-card game to the Chiefs. The Titans (10-8) rallied from a 21-3 deficit for a 22-21 victory, but saw their season come to an end on Saturday with a 35-14 loss to the Patriots.

Now the Bills have a tough road contest against a fierce Jaguars defense. They face further trouble if LeSean McCoy can’t play — McCoy suffered a sprained ankle in the regular season finale and is questionable for this game. The entire offense revolves around McCoy, so if he’s inactive, Tyrod Taylor will have even more on his shoulders when he makes his first playoff start.

The Jaguars didn’t need as much drama to reach their first playoff game since 2007. They clinched the division title early, though the team has struggled in recent weeks and heads into the postseason with two straight losses. The defense remains one of the best in football, with Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, Jalen Ramsey, and A.J. Bouye leading an outstanding unit.

Patriots reportedly ban Tom Brady’s trainer from sideline, team plane

The Patriots have revoked sideline privileges of Tom Brady’s trainer, Alex Guerrero, adding to the speculated rift between the trainer and coach Bill Belichick, according to a report from the Boston Globe.

The team also banned Guerrero from using the team’s jet, and he is no longer allowed to treat players other than Brady in his office at Gillette Stadium.

Several Patriots players, including Brady, have worked with Guerrero since 2013, and as a result of the new restrictions, they will continue to receive treatment from him at the TB12 Center located a few minutes away from the stadium.

He’s always honest and accountable and accessible.Wide receiver — They cut to gain some cap relief, but also because they need a more dynamic second receiver who might ultimately have a to replace .At a young age, he has already accomplished a tremendous amount the league, causing the value of signed Kane memorabilia to skyrocket.For the most part the stuff dealing with what Agee has been doing since the release of that classic 1994 film is interesting.Nonetheless, the gap between the two players is closer than people probably think.

Miami Dolphins linebacker Koa Misi didn’t participate Wednesday’s practice during the portion the media is allowed to watch.‘Cause I ‘t want to make it if it doesn’t empower people.There’s a mixed history of pitchers who had the surgery, and remember that have believed ‘ delivery is high risk separate from this surgery.NE is not just set but deep at linebacker.

Perhaps the disappointing has taught Jones how to deal with the rigors of being the No.4) No low-content self-posts that could be a comment another thread.But Kemp wasn’t finished making his on the game.Compton needs a new spirit of renewed energy, new vigor, ideas, and direction.

Q: On the Kelvin Benjamin overturned touchdown, what was the conclusive evidence to overturn the call?

CW: When the receiver got confirmed control of the football, he was not able to get both feet down in bounds. So, his back foot was already off the ground and it stepped out of bounds. His firm control did not occur until after he had one foot off the ground.

Q: On replay, did you feel that was clear and obvious?

CW: It was clear and obvious that he did not have control of the ball until he brought it all the way down into his chest.

Q: Field Judge Steve Zimmer pointed towards Benjamin’s feet after the play and he was the closest official. Was he consulted during that replay process to share what he saw?

CW: Well, he might share it with me before I go into the booth, but during the replay process, Steve is not consulted at that time.

Q: Is there one decisive angle that clinched for you when you’re reviewing it?packers_123_d567c3d63b08a125-180x180

The team later announced that Cutler would not return to the game.

It has gone final in Miami. The Dolphins fail to recover an onside kick and the Raiders run out the clock to secure the win.

Touchdown, Miami. Cutler completes a 15-yard TD pass to tight end Julius Thomas one play after Parker’s catch. Miami goes for two and converts on a run by Kenyan Drake. It trails by three with 1:32 to play.

Jay Cutler, QB, Miami Dolphins: At the start of the second half, the Dolphins replaced Cutler with Matt Moore and then announced that Cutler was being evaluated for a concussion.

Brady on the possibility of one day being traded: “Everyone has the opportunity to go to another team or get traded, or cut, or released. I have played with so many great players that that has happened to, several times, and coaches too. Player movement is not new to anyone.”

Once they traded up for Mahomes, though, the clock started ticking on Smith’s time in Kansas City. If that clock inspired Smith to take more shots and get more aggressive earlier in the season, it’s also going to inspire frustrated Chiefs fans to want Kansas City to be more aggressive when he struggles.

Again, while Sunday wasn’t a shining day for the Rams on offense, they’ll look back happily at the day they convinced Whitworth to move out West. The 35-year-old longtime Bengals left tackle immediately solidified the Rams’ offensive line, making everyone else’s job easier while protecting Jared Goff’s blind side.

And while Goff was under pressure for long stretches Sunday, he was sacked only twice. Whitworth was the guy matched up against Tashawn Bower on the second of those sacks, but it was a clear coverage sack on fourth down, trailing by 14 points with 19 seconds left.
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Eagles’ Zach Ertz catches ricochet pass that was destined to be an interception

Sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good. On Sunday Zach Ertz was both, and on one play.

The pass from Carson Wentz was awful. He totally missed a Chiefs’ defender who was just sitting on the route. This will almost always result in an interception, but the ball popped up perfectly to tight end Zach Ertz, who never gave up on the play.

It would have been understandable if he pulled up, because it really wasn’t close — but by keeping up a head of steam, he was able to catch the ball and run down the field. For a while it looked like he’d score, but we can forgive not getting into the end zone because after all, he turned nothing into something.

With Rice, the league issued a two-game suspension that was later changed to an indefinite ban after the video of Rice knocking out his then-fiancee went public. Rice’s wife, the victim, was present at his disciplinary hearing and gave a statement in support of her husband.

Goodell admitted he “didn’t get it right” with Rice’s discipline, and the league revised its domestic violence policy as a result and instituted that six-game threshold for players who violate it.

Greg Hardy was accused, and initially convicted, of domestic violence against a former girlfriend. The complaint alleged that Hardy hit her, dragged her, and threw her on a futon covered with firearms. Hardy’s conviction was overturned on appeal, in part because his accuser did not cooperate with prosecutors.

She also did not cooperate with the league’s investigation. Still, Hardy was suspended for 10 games, which is more than the baseline. The policy allows for that if there are “aggravating factors.” But his suspension was reduced to four games on appeal.
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Tony Romo didn’t just analyze plays, he predicted them

Tony Romo passed the Twitter test, so by the standard of not being crapped on by social media, he had a pretty good debut in the broadcast booth. CBS’ high-profile replacement was a massive upgrade over Phil Simms, clearing a low bar.

It’s nice to be loved by Twitter and be better than TV’s worst color commentator, but his most impressive feat was predicting the future, one play at a time.

He calls a safety blitz in the second quarter. In the fourth quarter, he pegged a run to the left. He called audibles, explained the rationale for fourth-down thinking and walked us through why the Raiders should’ve taken timeouts on defense at the end of the first half (so the offense would have more time).

“I’m just blessed with standing on the planet,” he said after Saturday’s game. “And then playing football? It’s just … I’m speechless.”

Marinovich left USC after two seasons, was selected by the Raiders in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft, but last only two seasons in the NFL. He went on to play for the L.A. Avengers in the Arena Football League, but drug and legal problems continued to follow him. Just last August, he was arrested after being found naked in another person’s backyard and in possession of meth, marijuana, syringes and a pipe. In March, he pled guilty to five misdemeanors related to that incident.

Raiders owner Mark Davis was among the 250-300 fans in attendance for Saturday’s Sharks-Coyotes game at Shadow Hills High School in Indio, Calif. Davis said seeing Marinovich in the SoCal’s white, silver, red and blue uniforms “made me think I was watching Tom Brady.”

We’re not sure about that, but it’s good to see Marinovich back on the right path.
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Glazer family to donate $1 million to Hurricane Irma relief

One day after Hurricane Irma ravaged much of Florida, the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, announced that they will donate $1 million to the storm’s relief efforts through the American Red Cross.

Structural engineers will inspect the Miami Dolphins’ Daimion Stafford Jersey stadium after a possible tornado was reported in the area during Hurricane Irma, according to multiple reports.
“Hurricane Irma left a path of destruction throughout the entire Authentic Dustin Colquitt Jersey state of Florida. The long recovery process is already underway, and the entire Buccaneer organization stands in support of all those who have been impacted,” Bucs co-chairman Bryan Glazer said.

The deal gives Hekker $10 million guaranteed, the most ever for a punter, a source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Hekker has been named first-team All-Pro three times in six NFL seasons. Last year, he downed an NFL-record 51 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line. Hekker registered a 46.0-yard net average on 98 punts that year, breaking his own NFL record from 2013 (44.2-yard net average on 78 punts).

Hekker, who initially signed a six-year extension in 2014, downed all five of his punts inside the 20-yard line in Sunday’s 46-9 win over the Indianapolis Colts.

The Rams signed defensive lineman Ethan Westbrooks through 2018 earlier on Monday. They’re still looking to agree on extensions with defensive tackle Aaron Donald, inside linebacker Alec Ogletree and defensive back Lamarcus Joyner.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. could contribute to NBC’s NFL coverage, report says

When Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series racing career ends at the conclusion of the 2017 season, he’ll head to a media role — a move many expected.

Few, on the other hand, have imagined Earnhardt becoming part of NBC’s NFL coverage.

Sports Business Daily reported Monday that NASCAR’s most popular driver has signed a multiyear on-air deal with NBCUniversal, effective beginning in January. Included in SBD’s report: “It is possible that Earnhardt, a noted Redskins fan, could be worked into the (network’s) NFL or even Olympics coverage.”

A federal judge blocked part of President Trump’s immigration order Saturday night, ordering that refugees detained at U.S. airports not be returned to their home countries. Yet the ruling did not allow them to enter the U.S., either.

Two active NBA players, Los Angeles Lakers veteran Luol Deng and Milwaukee Bucks rookie Thon Maker, originally hail from what is now South Sudan, which is not on the list of affected countries. However, they were born in Sudan. There has been some concern about possible problems wtih Deng or Maker, for example, returning from a trip to play the Raptors in Canada.

Maker’s family fled his home country when he was 5. He lived in Australia as a youth, is an Australian citizen and holds a passport from that country. Deng’s family fled the Sudanese civil war for Egypt when he was 5, and he has lived in the U.S. for 17 years.

Beyond those two players, the NBA is also eyeing several Sudanese players attending U.S. high schools or colleges who might one day play in the league.

“The NBA is a global league and we are proud to attract the very best players from around the world,” Bass told The Vertical .t_rangers_001-115x115

Michael Bennett believes Seahawks would be ‘perfect place’ for Colin Kaepernick

Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett voiced his support for Seattle to sign Colin Kaepernick, after rumors surfaced that the team may be looking to add him as a backup quarterback.

It’s been an unnecessarily long and drawn-out process for Kaepernick, but Bennett stepped up to the plate and spoke in support of the free agent.

The move is a response to criticism over a seemingly excessive amount of celebration penalties in 2016. There were 16 conduct flags through the first six weeks of the season, spurring complaints the NFL had become the “No Fun League.” In fewer than two months, more than $340,000 in fines was levied against players for violations like hugging referees, using the ball as a prop, and acts as egregious as a 1.5-second choreographed dance.

The change will be welcomed by officials and players alike. Scott Green, executive director of the NFL Referees Association, told SiriusXM Radio listeners, “Nothing is worse than someone going 80 yards for a touchdown and then we’re trying to figure out does that warrant a flag for what he’s doing in the end zone.

“We don’t really enjoy that. If we could get to a point where it would simply be fines by the league, that would be great. The issue we’ll still have is that guys can get pretty creative out there. The question of whether it’s a foul or not a foul, hopefully we’ll get closer to more of a black-and-white situation.”

The new rule will give officials some leeway in calling these penalties, allowing them to issue an unofficial warning before a celebration can cross the line. However, since most celebrations come and go in a matter of seconds, it’s unclear just how effective a warning system will be.
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